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Sunday, 27 December 2009

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The Greatest Betrayal - 2:

Differentiating the PATRIOT and TRAITOR

Greatest affront to valiant Security Forces:

Controversial newspaper interview

Sri Lanka has just passed the seventh month after recovering from a 30- year-long fatal epidemic that resulted from LTTE terrorism. The wounds are yet to heal. A sudden shock can shatter this frail situation. Thus it is not the time for experiments and recriminations regarding the war and the post-war period. Sri Lanka has suffered enough already. There should be no room for giving oxygen to the vestiges of separatism here and abroad.

The people are eagerly waiting to reaffirm their faith in the leadership and choose a direction that will influence and shape Lanka’s future. The forthcoming Presidential election would be one of the most significant and memorable in the electoral history of this island nation.

This year was indeed remarkable for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity and religion. It was in 2009 that our valiant soldiers fighting under the solid leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and with the able guidance of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa eliminated ruthless terrorism forever from this island.

For the first time in the post independence era, people of Sri Lanka felt genuine optimism and excitement about the prospect of living as one nation defeating death, oppression, suffering, hate and division. The heroes of the Sri Lankan Security Forces were never kept behind the curtain.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Commander-in-Chief never showed reluctance to bring them to the limelight and avoided any injustice as he very well knew these men fought risking their lives.

Hence, he never deceived them. Yet, sadly but truly, one of their own had brought misery to the very men and women who so valiantly defended the Motherland.

Three weeks have passed since the day, the New Democratic Front Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka’s comment to the ‘Sunday Leader’ newspaper.

It is not necessary to repeat it here, for those words are excruciatingly painful to any patriot, leave alone the heroic members of the Security Forces. But in essence, what he implied was that our Security Forces had committed war crimes in the last days of the conflict.

Our war heroes were embraced and loved by Sri Lankans from all parts of the country. They deserved these accolades for showing their true colours of bravery and commitment to free the Motherland of the menace of terrorism.

There were many officers and men who braved enemy fire to complete the battle. Major General Jagath Dias, Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, Maj. Gen.

Nandana Udawatta, Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage, Maj.Gen. Prasanna de Silva, Maj.Gen. Shavendra Silva and Brigadier G.V. Ravipriya were among them. These war heroes had humane qualities and they ensured that all humanitarian norms were followed in the battles with the LTTE. After all, the operation was called a “humanitarian mission” because their objective was freeing the nearly 300,000 people held hostage by the LTTE, even more than gaining LTTE-held territory.

Every Sri Lankan knows it is their duty to protect these heroic men of our era. Today it is extremely distressing to note that such men of valour are facing tremendous pressure through a wretched attempt of dragging them to international tribunals for war crimes. All reactionary national and international forces, seen and unseen, have come together in this great conspiracy and treachery.

One has to understand what it takes to be both an Officer and a Gentleman.

False allegations are thrown at our true heroes of the nation for war crimes they never committed. Unfortunately for the Nation, they have gained some credibility and mileage, having been uttered by the very man who headed the Army.

“We raised our voice against sinister elements that attempted to undermine the Security Forces’ achievements in the North and the East,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said addressing representatives of over 64 Trade Unions at Temple Trees the day following the statement of the Opposition’s main candidate. Another immediate reaction was from Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya. In his speech delivered at the handing over of certificates of honour to every member of the Sri Lanka Army, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya categorically denied the allegation raised at his officers and the Army.

The effort to take the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva to international war crimes courts and bring disgrace to their unblemished careers drew flak from all quarters. All patriots living here and abroad vehemently condemned this move.

Equally, people and leaders expressed their rejection of such insidious attempts. The statement by the Opposition candidate had only fulfilled the whims and fancies of divisive forces at home and abroad.

Questioning whether Gen. (rtd) Sarath Fonseka is engaged in a ritual of self-immolation accusing the Army of killing terrorists in action, veteran lawyer Gomin Dayasri says that with Fonseka’s disclosure, he can be summoned to an international war tribunal to testify against his own Forces.

“Indeed he is a material witness against his own men,” Dayasri states based on his vast experience in defending the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force as their lawyer in all actions against the Tri Forces on alleged War Crimes.

Indeed, many legal experts have pointed out that even if Fonseka becomes the President, he might still have to face a war crimes inquiry, which would be an utter disgrace to the entire country.

“Fonseka has damaged his candidature through a lone article in a newspaper favourable to him. The scribe cannot be blamed for the harm caused to the candidate because the content is newsworthy and an enlightened damage assessment would not have been made. Fonseka could lose more votes but gain a few from those human rights angels and LTTE loyalists in search of a witness to hang Sri Lanka for war crimes,” Dayasri said. Imagine a nation where the main witness for an international prosecutor against its Armed Forces would be its possible head of state? Who can the Nation turn to defend itself and its Forces?

It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Commander in Chief, who united all progressive forces with great difficulty and paved the way for a magnificent victory achieved after many failures in the long battle against the LTTE. President J.R. Jayewardene signed an agreement that merged the North and the East as one province. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister signed another agreement with Prabhakaran and allowed the LTTE to dominate certain areas in the North and the East. The Tri Forces were confined to their camps.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa took a bold decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement as the LTTE paid scant regard to it. The LTTE’s blockage of Mavil Aru proved to be the turning point, with the President ordering the Forces to liberate the East. This action was taken to its logical conclusion with the liberation of the entire North and the decimation of the LTTE leadership in May this year.

While the greatest role was unarguably played by the Army, the Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence Force also played their individual roles perfectly. Particularly the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force played a vital role to curb the LTTE menace and thus one cannot say it was led by him alone. Especially if the Navy did not cut off the sea supply lines that were operating to deliver armaments to the LTTE and if the entire load of weapons reached our shores we would still be fighting the bloody terrorist outfit. It was a turning point of Eelam War IV.

It was in 2007, with the intensification of offensives by the Sri Lankan Forces in order to liberate the entire Eastern Province that the LTTE felt the need to strengthen their weaponry. But the Navy was able to detect and successfully destroy seven ships in 2007 alone. The greatest achievement for the Sri Lanka Navy is the capture of ‘Princess Chrisanta’ that reached Sri Lanka on December 21, 2009. It was reported to be the largest ship, detected so far, within the LTTE support network.

The Sri Lanka Air Force had to face false allegations about attacking a children’s home - remember the Sencholai saga ? Yet officers knew their targets were accurate. They killed LTTE Political Wing leader S.P.

Thamilselvan in an airstrike and clandestine broadcasting facilities.

None of the Forces was against the ordinary Tamil civilians. They were keen enough to detect the LTTErs and destroy their camps and hideouts. They never killed Tamil civilians even if the circumstances dictated risking their own lives.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Commander-in-Chief never undermined efforts of the Security Personnel. He always treated them with equal value.

As Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda said last week in a popular TV talk show, none worked expecting a return from the Government or the people. “It was our duty and we were determined to achieve our targets,” he added.

This is what determined their value of service. In this backdrop, accusing the Government of undervaluing his service, Sarath Fonseka does bring disgrace to all genuine officers and soldiers. For a true soldier the first priority is motherland, second priority is motherland and the third would be the same. His family, his life and benefits come second.

No citizen can forget the value and honour of his or her motherland. To those who are reluctant to accept President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s role as the Commander-in-Chief, he may not have solved 100% of our country’s problems, yet he solved the gravest problem the entire nation suffered for nearly three decades.

With this success, he assures the Nation that he is capable of finding solutions to other dilemmas we face. Fonseka or any other candidate cannot even come close to his track record of serving the people.

Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, in the letter to the President dated December 18, 2009 demands explanations regarding the allegations made by Fonseka that the Defence Secretary has instructed the Commander of the 58th Brigade of the Army to shoot those surrendering. The letter states “These allegations made by the Commander at the time of events and subsequent Chief of Defence Staff, (now retired) Gadihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka, in an interview to the newspaper ‘The Sunday Leader’. The accounts of journalists embedded with the SLA 58th Brigade confirm some of the alleged circumstances of the death of Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh and their families.”

The Government is making a careful study of the UN Rapporteur letter prior to any sort of a formal response and any action that may be necessary.

Can a Presidential candidate jeopardize national interests, simply because of a personal dispute? Fighting against the world’s most ruthless terrorists. 30,000 soldiers have died and another 20,000 became displaced in 30 years.

Can one individual pave a path to block international level training for all three Forces? Can an individual stop the UN from recruiting our officers, soldiers and sailors into their missions abroad ? A sense of self-glorification seems to be the only justification for his candidature.

The actual response would be from the people, on January 26, 2010. They will give a fitting verdict to the treacherous elements bent on defaming the Forces and destabilizing the Nation.

People from all walks of life are rallying round President Mahinda Rajapaksa for an unprecedented victory. The UNF and the JVP, the main backers of Fonseka, are not capable of reinforcing democracy or good governance. Besides both parties have blood stained histories with damning violations of Human Rights. The country needs to be in the safe hands of President Rajapaksa again.

The Cabinet condemn the malicious and contemptible attempt



Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayaka

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, making a special statement after last week’s Cabinet meeting, said the Cabinet was appalled at the total irresponsibility and blatant statement of General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka’s which is reckless and entirely without foundation. “The Cabinet condemned unreservedly the malicious and contemptible attempt by General (Rtd) Fonseka to cast wholly unwarranted aspersions on the honour and integrity of our Security Forces and to assail their richly deserved reputation,” the statement added. The statement added that the Cabinet of Ministers at their meeting on December 23, 2009, took serious note of the recent allegations made in the media by Fonseka and the consequences arising therefrom. The Cabinet took note of the grave threat to the good name of our country as well as to every member of the security forces as a result of this false statement.

Buddhist, Christian prelates deplore... Fonseka’s despicable act


Ven. Ambalangoda Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thera Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

Sarath Fonseka was misled by the LTTE supporters who had wept hearing Velupillai Prabhakaran’s death, said Chief Sanghanayake of Amarapura Nikaya, Ven. Ambalangoda Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thera.

The Mahanayake thera who emphasized the bravery and the leadership qualities of the President said that Sarath Fonseka will not able to come closer to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election.

“The ruthless terrorism led by Prabhakaran and his coterie of killers was eliminated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. No other Sri Lankan leaders were able to do so, the Mahanayake Thera said.

Ven. Sri Sumangala said that he was also born in Ambalangoda as Sarath Fonseka. But at present Fonseka is being misguided badly by local and foreign forces who had worked for LTTE and Prabhakaran, are now with Sarath Fonseka to defeat the greatest leader in recent times, Mahinda Rajapaksa, he concluded.

Several international organizations and some Western countries are attempting to meddle in Sri Lankan affairs again, said Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith.

Addressing a special religious ceremony held at Temple Trees, Colombo, the Archbishop said the whole country should thank the security forces and the police for their heroic attempts in safeguarding the country from terrorism and ushering in peace. If not for the heroic leadership given to the country and the security forces by President Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka may still be in the grip of terrorism, he said.

Foreign and local elements were able to subdue Sri Lanka in the past due to the weaknesses and disunity of the local leaders. The 30 long years of terrorism in Sri Lanka gave an opportunity to some foreign elements to get the maximum benefits owing to the war. A great country lost its valuable human resources as well as its wealth and became a poor country due to the 30-year long terrorism, he concluded.

War Crimes Tribunal threat - Former Navy Commander

Former Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda said that in case the allegations against Sri Lanka are upheld by the United Nations, our leaders may have to face a War Crimes Tribunal. A similar situation arose some time ago with reference to President Slobodan Milochovic of Serbia who was hauled before the International War Crimes Tribunal and convicted, he added. Admiral Karannagoda said Sri Lanka may also not receive the opportunity of sending our soldiers for International Peace Keeping Operations of the UN.

Incalculable damage - Prof. G. L. Peiris

Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof G.L.Peiris said that Sarath Fonseka’s statement has caused incalculable damage to the country and the Army. It was a treacherous act no Sri Lankan had done before, the Minister added. This very serious allegation is even more harmful than the charges that were brought against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as they were only circumstantial whereas the charges made against Major General Shavendra Silva were categorical.

Greatest crime - Wimal Weerawansa MP

National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa said that the NDF candidate Sarath Fonseka had not taken revenge from one person but from the entire Nation and it was the greatest crime he had committed against the country. People should stand up as one, irrespective of party differences to defend the country, he added.

 

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