Sri Lanka learnt from Israel

October 9, 2009 Comments Off on Sri Lanka learnt from Israel

daily star regional (2)

Neither Sri Lanka nor Israel should have impunity in their ‘wars on terror’

Compare the international outcry over the Gaza massacre to the relative silence toward  Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil people in 2008 and 2009. Conservative estimates place the death roll at over 20,000 people, perhaps as high as 50,000. The Colombo regime dismissed all attempts to cease its military operations, negotiate with the Tamil Tigers or allow the transfer of hundreds of thousands of civilians to safety. Today, close to 300,000 Tamils are trapped in government-imposed camps, surrounded by barbed wire and unable to leave.
The International Crisis Group told the European Parliament in early October that “such restrictions on freedom in the absence of due process are a violation of both national and international law.”
Sri Lanka was fighting its own “war on terror” with the Israeli playbook. Ban all independent media from the war zone, demonize human rights groups as sympathetic to terrorists, dismiss all questioning of tactics as giving in to terrorism and support the doctrine of overwhelming fire-power. Like Israel, Sri Lanka won the battle, but will inevitably lose the war.

Gotabhaya refused access by US officials

October 6, 2009 § 1 Comment

This article appeared in Sri Lankan media. Please note we cannot verify the independence of the information in this report.

Colombo Times: US officials refuse to meet Gotabhaya

US Deputy Secretary of State for Asia Robert Blake has turned down several attempts by Defence Secretary who is in the US and has even refused to speak to him over the telephone. Robert Blake is a former ambassador for the US in Sri Lanka.

During his tenure as US ambassador in Sri Lanka, the Defence Secretary treated him similar to a terrorist.

Robert Blake has refused to meet with the Defence Secretary even after Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse has made a request for him to meet with his brother. Diplomatic sources said the Defence Secretary has made four attempts to meet with Blake.

The Defence Secretary planned to meet with Blake to minimize the propaganda being carried out against Sri Lanka among the international community over the violation of human rights and media suppression.

A senior Foreign Ministry official told Lanka News Web that the refusal of Blake and other US officials to meet with the Defence Secretary in the backdrop of Sri Lanka being accused of war crimes has further isolated the country in the international arena.

Review of Patriot Act: American tamil doctor plaintiff in appeal

October 3, 2009 Comments Off on Review of Patriot Act: American tamil doctor plaintiff in appeal

Justices to review Patriot Act

cnn_politics. (2)

The Supreme Court has agreed to review a civil liberties dispute over the government’s power to criminalize “support” of a terrorist organization.

The justices on Wednesday accepted review of a key provision of the 2001 Patriot Act, and whether it threatens free speech rights of those who would assist non-violent activities of designated groups.

Another plaintiff is an American physician who wanted to help ethnic Tamils in his native Sri Lanka. Much of the island nation is controlled by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which has also fought for decades to carve an independent state. The government claims the Tamil Tigers have “used suicide bombings and political assassinations in its campaign for independence, killing hundreds of civilians in the process.”

HLP and a group of Tamil doctors say they merely wanted “to provide their expert medical advice on how to address the shortage of medical facilities and trained physicians” in the region but “they are afraid to do so because they fear prosecution for providing material support.”

Read full article here

Malaysian Indian sues officials over LTTE link charge

September 12, 2009 Comments Off on Malaysian Indian sues officials over LTTE link charge

The Times of India : Malaysian Indian sues officials over LTTE link charge

KUALA LUMPUR: Firmly denying any links with Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Malaysian Indian legislator on Friday sued senior government officials for defamation.

M. Manoharan, a legislator from Kota Alam Shah in Selangor state and a former legal advisor of the now-banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) said neither he nor any of the other Hindraf leaders had links with the Tamil Tigers.

He filed an RM 100 million ($28.67 million) defamation suit against Inspector General of Police Musa Hasan, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail and media organisations.

The two senior officials had told the court of the LTTE links to justify the detention of Manoharan and four others under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) in December 2007.

A fortnight before their arrest, the five had led a protest rally in Kuala Lumpur to protest discrimination against Tamil Hindus who form a bulk of the nearly two million ethnic Indian population.

The rally attracted 10,000 people. It was declared illegal and forcibly dispersed.

Detained for two years, Manoharan and his colleagues were released on bail in April this year by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who called it “a conciliatory gesture”.

Manoharan had got elected to the Selangor assembly while in detention, but was not allowed to perform his duties as a legislator.

“Ours is a people’s struggle, we are not terrorists and neither are the movement’s main members P. Uthayakumar, P. Waythamoorthy, S. Ganabathi Rao and K. Vasathakumar,” he said.

Manoharan added that his detention over allegations that he was linked to the Tamil Tigers was absurd.

“Never have I visited Sri Lanka and our movement has no links with the LTTE. It is a figment of the government’s imagination,” he said.

Manoharan said he now needs to catch up with his family, look for a house in Klang and resume his legal practice, The Star reported.

Sri Lanka’s Tamil rebels were defeated in May in a major military campaign that left the LTTE leadership dead.

Not all Tamils are Tigers

May 15, 2009 Comments Off on Not all Tamils are Tigers

Guardian UK : Not all Tamils are Tigers
The international community is dithering over the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka because of its need to condemn rebel fighters

“There are two possible reasons why this is happening. First, that the Tamil Tigers are terrorists, and civilian deaths are unfortunate collateral damage in Sri Lanka’s domestic war on terror. Or, second, that killing Tamil Tigers is a ruse for killing Tamils, and that the government is using the terrorist line to spin a sinister agenda.

While the international community grapples with Sri Lanka’s insistence that it is the former, a depressing body of evidence points towards the sinister. There is the censorship – areas restricted to journalists including the “safe” zone where undercover reporters have to sneak out news of horrors. There is the witch-hunt for dissenters – Sri Lankan bloggers report that the government has now set up a hotline to report on those who question the war, and Unesco just awarded its World Press Freedom prize to Lasantha Wickrematunge, the latest Sri Lankan journalist to pay the ultimate price for free speech. And there is the state-sponsored terror – Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter argued last year that Sri Lanka should be struck off the UN human rights council for its abuses: internment, torture and abductions…

…Not all Tamils are supporters of the rebels – I’m certainly not. Despite all the flags, I know that many of us who are turning out in Parliament Square have a humanitarian agenda, not a pro-rebel one. But if we want the crisis to stop, we’ve got to realise that there’s no use condemning the Tigers and trying to save Tamils, because in the eyes of the Sri Lankan government, we seem to be one and the same. The hope of the civilians facing mortal harm and starvation in Sri Lanka is that the world will not watch in silence while their lives are destroyed – and will not be fooled by the constant carping about the ills of the Tigers as a justification for throwing every last grain of humanity out of the window.”

Read full article here.

Recent shelling in safe zone

April 11, 2009 Comments Off on Recent shelling in safe zone

Herald Sun : Sri Lanka army kills 129 civilians, say rebels

CBC News : Sri Lankan military denies shelling safe zone

BBC : ‘Civilians die’ in Sri Lanka zone

Guardian : At least 128 reported dead in Sri Lanka’s ‘no-fire zone’

Media coverage of Tamil rallies in Sydney + Melbourne

April 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

Sydney Morning Herald: CBD blocked by Tamil protest [watch from source]

SBS World News: Tamils protest in Melbourne [watch from source]

ABC Radio Australia: Sri Lankan Tamil’s Melbourne protest

Sydney Morning Herald: Protest closes CBD block in rush hour
SBS Photo Gallery: Tamil protests
NineMSN: Tamils rally in Sydney over rebel deaths
Macquarie National News: Protest causes Sydney CBD peak hour chaos
ABC News: Tamil supporters stage protest in Melbourne CBD
Brisbane Times: Tamils rally in Sydney over rebel deaths



MIA tells Al Jazeera

April 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

Al Jazeera interviews MIA
“The Tamil Tigers…they weren’t the ones who shot at me…When I was 8 years old, my school was bombed by the [Sri Lankan] Army not the Tigers,” says MIA. “And just because I speak up for them [the Tamils] doesn’t make me a terrorist,” she adds.

Man cleared in Tamil Tigers trial

April 7, 2009 Comments Off on Man cleared in Tamil Tigers trial

BBC: Man cleared in Tamil Tigers trial
A man accused of aiding the Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka has been cleared.

Canadian Tamil writes…

March 21, 2009 Comments Off on Canadian Tamil writes…

National Post: Roy Ratnavel: Why Canada’s Tamils are upset
The freedom we enjoy in Canada is precious to me. I state this at the outset, because I grew up in a country where freedom is a rare commodity, and the slaughter of innocents is common…I am ecstatic that this great nation has given me a rebirth. I am Canadian first; my loyalty is non-negotiable. Yet the constant suffering of the people and the families I left behind troubles me…

While we debate about which protestors were waving which flags, lives are being lost…Regardless of how one feels about the Tamil Tigers, Canadians must speak up against Sri Lankan government savagery. It is the only position that is consistent with our own democratic ideals…For the sake of the Tamils still living in Sri Lanka, I hope that Canadians will spare them a thought, and force our government to raise its voice against an ongoing tragedy.

Read full article here.

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