MoU on UNA to
be signed on Nov. 3?
- Spite of state
media towards Gen. Fonseka
- Tiger leaders
panic after Raj’s arrest
- Rudra gone into
Full text of
speech of General Fonseka in Washington DC
|The following is the
text of the speech of Chief of Defence Staff
Sarath Fonseka made at Washington Vihara on
“This is the first speech of mine in a Temple.
If I have made any mistake, please pardon me. I
made it abundantly clear to Ven. Dharmasiri
Nayake Thero on what happened in the past, and
what ought to happen in the future.
When I came to America last time, some of you
here must have been there on that occasion too.
We gave a solemn promise last year that by 2009
we will finish the war. We are happy that we are
here on this occasion after finishing the war.
We gave the promise that we will eradicate the
terrorists and liberate the country to give the
citizens a life of security.
We toiled and sacrificed a lot for this
victory. This was not a victory won simply and
easily. We sweated a lot. We made a lot of
valorous efforts for this. As the Ven. Thero
says, some are trying to show that this victory
was easily got and share its credit. Those who
know how the victory was secured, I think, are
only those who participated in the action, as we
suffered to earn that victory, specially the
Though I am serving all three Forces now, I
will be failing in my duty, if I don’t speak of
the supreme sacrifices made by the Army in this
victory. 5200 died from the Army and 28,000 were
maimed in the course to victory. As a commanding
Officer of the Army, we owe a debt to these
soldiers. But for their sacrifices, this war
would not have been won. During that period
about one lakh of recruits joined the Army. If
they had not joined, perhaps we would still be
in Vavuniya. We couldn’t have progressed
further. The people’s support and their
blessings were with us. This is why so many
joined the Army. Of those recruits, there are
80,000 of them still with us. 20,000 would have
gone away without leave. But for such
co-operation, however skilful we may be as Army
Generals or politicians, this victory could not
have been achieved. Even before, we had a need
to recruit soldiers, yet not even 3000 soldiers
could not be recruited for an year. However, at
the right circumstances, 40,000 soldiers joined.
I think that was also a great victory.
By this victory, we do not expect to jubilate
and celebrate for ever because Prabhakaran died.
There was no Prabhakaran earlier. Prabhakaran
emerged only 30 years ago. Those Sri Lankans who
have forgotten their origins, may forget the
amount of toil, sufferings and sacrifices we
made during these 30 years. The future
generations, I am sure will meet Prabhakarans.
“Hence, I accept what the Nayake Thero said,
all must stand united. Building unity is
important. If everyone of us contribute to this
in their own way honestly from wherever they
are, this unity can be achieved and carried
forward. If that happens this country can be
“But we can see for ourselves in some instances,
some of those in Colombo, have already started
speaking as though this victory was won like in
a sweep draw. They are also people with
responsibilities in the country. If they also
understand in the future the difficulties and
hardships through which this war was won, it
will do a great deal of good.
We will perform our tasks duly in respect of
our future duties. Uniformed generals will not
always be in uniform. I have been in the Army
four years beyond my pension age. But I don’t
think everything has been fulfilled. Just
because Prabhakaran died, that does not mean
there is 100% security in the country.
“The IDPs should be re-settled with the
assistance of the Forces making sure that this
scourge does not become contagious again. In the
people’s refugee camps, there are thousands of
terrorists. If only these terrorists are
identified and arrested, and the civilians are
isolated and re-settled, there can be a
certainty and contentment that the war is over.
We must somehow accomplish this. Sometimes,
specially people like us may have to remove our
uniforms. We cannot wear uniforms forever.
However, if there arises a need to come forward
to protect the national security, I will not
hesitate to give my might.
If there are steps to be taken for the
country’s progress and security, as citizens of
the country, it is our duty to contribute to
them. Instead of talking of the war victory all
the time and jubilating, what is important is to
think of the country and see what other measures
must be taken. Having this in mind, I hope all
of you too will continue showing the same
concern you displayed during the time of the
war. Keep your vigilance and see whether the
country is in the right direction, or should it
be changed in the right direction. If there is a
time of need for security, provide that and be
of service to the country.”
The importance of student’s scholarships must
be made special mention. I am encouraged by the
support and service rendered by you towards
this. My appreciation for it. I thank you for
providing me this opportunity.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on
the much publicised United National Alliance of the UNP,
SLFP(M), SLMC and the Democratic People’s Front will be held
at the Parliamentary complex on November 3, says UNP General
Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
The UNP had at the outset announced, that the event was
to take place shortly after the Southern PC elections. After
several postponements the UNP leadership had announced
October 29 as the D-day. According to the latest
announcement, the long-looked for day is to dawn on November
According to party insiders, the main reason for the
event getting postponed is the mounting opposition to the
proposed combine from a large section in both UNP and SLMC.
UNP front liners Rukman Senanayake, S.B.Dissanayake,
Johnston Fernando and Lakshman Seneviratne have from the
very inception taken up the position that that there is no
point in forming a political alignment with the People’s
Democratic Front which had always been with the UNP, fast
declining SLMC and a `three-wheeler party’ like the SLFP (M)
of Mangala Samaraweera.
An Executive President for 6 months
Meanwhile, UNP’s Tissa Attanayake told a media briefing last
Wednesday that they were engaged in negotiations with 12
other political parties and groupings which are keen on
joining the Alliance. He had said that there are several
civil organisations including a professional body willing to
throw in their lot with the Alliance. However, he had not
identified any of these parties or organisations.
The latest coming down the grapevine is that two loyalists
have now gone to South India with the horoscopes of Ranil
Wickremesinghe and Mangala Samaraweera, to consult a leading
astrologer regarding an auspicious time for the signing
In terms of the UNA’s Dasa Raja Pratipattiya, the main
obligation on the part of the Joint Opposition Presidential
candidate in the event of his victory at the poll is to
abolish the Executive Presidency within 180 days of his
election to make way for an Executive Prime Minister. He is
also required to repeal within 30 days Constitutional
provisions relating to the immunity from prosecution that
the President now enjoys. Ranil Wickremesinghe is to become
the Executive Prime Minister after the abolition of the
Executive Presidency and the UNA’s successful Presidential
candidate would continue as a nominal President.
Media reports on a Ranil –Sarath powwow
It is doubtful whether a person of a national stature would
come forward as a Presidential candidate if his high office
is to become powerless in six months reducing him to a mere
figurehead. Tissa Attanayake has said that the name of the
Joint Opposition Presidential candidate would be kept a
secret until the Presidential election is officially
Amidst mounting speculation over the possible joint
opposition Presidential candidate, Ranil Wickremesinghe left
the island last week.
Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Sarath Fonseka left
for Washington on October 23.
Meanwhile, a pro-UNO website reported that General Sarath
Fonseka had a lengthy discussion with UNP leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe when they met in Singapore recently.
However, the UNP Media Unit giving a different version said
that Ranil Wickremesinghe in Bangkok had a lengthy chat with
General Fonseka in Washington over a satellite phone.
When media personnel questioned Ranil Wickremesinghe about
the two contradictory versions at a media briefing last
Tuesday, the latter evaded making a clarification.
General Fonseka’s speech
Meanwhile, a pro-UNP website had reported a speech supposed
to have been made by General Sarath Fonseka at the
Washington Viharaya. The report quoted the General as having
said that he was prepared to give up his uniform and rescue
the country if he felt it was heading for disaster. The
Washington Viharadhipati had lost no time sending a
statement to the website refuting the remark attributed to
General Fonseka. The website later carried the full text of
General Fonseka’s speech, but it did not contain the
controversial remark attributed to General Fonseka. The
Youtube website is now carrying the video tape containing
General Fonseka’s speech.
Spite of state media
It is no secret that a section of state media has been
spiteful towards General Fonseka through certain acts of
commission and omission. Some events he had participated in
as well as his speeches have been blacked out. Pressures
have been brought on newspaper managements to remove
journalists who had been in close contact with General
Fonseka. Certain stupid self-appointed advisors (
Kevattayas) in places like the Media Centre for National
Security are responsible for this type of acts of
indiscretion, say informed government sources. They say that
the Opposition has got an opportunity to champion General
Fonseka thanks to the stupidity of these Kavattayas.
Secret behind promoting Gen. Fonseka
UNP seniors like Rukman Senanayake and Sajith Premadasa
publicly say that the UNP should field Ranil Wickremesinghe
as the party’s Presidential candidate. Ranil Wickremesinghe
himself has not so far said that he is not coming forward as
the party’s Presidential candidate. Meanwhile, Tissa
Attanayake and Mangala Samaraweera are trying to keep the
talk about a Joint Opposition Presidential candidate alive
in the public domain. The strategy that seems to have been
planned by Mangala and Ranil is to introduce into the
Presidential race a popular person like General Fonseka
capable of eroding the Sinhala vote base of President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, while Ranil Wickremesinghe himself is in
the fray. According to their calculation, Ranil can romp
home when there is a split in the Sinhala majority vote, say
S.B. a Presidential hopeful
Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganesan making a
strong objection to fielding General Sarath Fonseka as the
Joint Opposition Presidential candidate, has threatened to
quit the alliance on this issue. UNP National Organiser ever
hopeful S.B. Dissanayake is aspiring to be the UNP
Presidential candidate if Ranil decides to step down. He
says that he is confident of mustering the majority of the
Sinhala and minority vote to win the election.
Maitripala expresses his viewpoint
“The Common Opposition candidate should mean a candidate
representing all opposition parties. Have they picked such a
candidate?” asks SLFP General Secretary Maitripala Sirisena.
He adds:” People like Vasudeva and Wickramabahu Karunaratne
too may come forward. At a time when the SLFP was very weak
- during the regimes of J.R. Jayewardena and Ranasinghe
Premadasa, we also held negotiations to field a Common
Opposition candidate. But our attempt failed. We at that
time, thought of fielding a common candidate because it was
quite apparent that we could not win. The UNP is also
planning to field a common candidate because they are
certain that they would not win.”
Tamil- Muslim alliance in the making
The initiative taken by the SLMC and the People’s Democratic
Front to forge a political combine of Tamil-speaking Tamil
and Muslim parties, while being the virtual constituents of
the UNP-led United National Alliance (UNA,) has become a
moot point in political circles.
A round of discussion on the formation of the proposed
Tamil-Muslim alliance was held at the Renuka hotel, Colombo
SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, TULF
leader V. Anandasangaree, PLOTE leader Dharmalingam
Siddharthan, Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganesan
and a leader from the Sritharan wing of the EPRLF had
participated in the talks.
Resettling of displaced Tamils and Muslims in the North,
issues relating to the land alienation in the East, and a
roadmap for Tamil and Muslim political parties, are among
the eight topics that had figured in the talks at this
The first round of discussion on the proposed
Tamil-Muslim alliance was held at the Kollupitiya residence
of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem on October 3. The participants
at this meeting decided to invite the absentee-Tamil parties
to the next meeting. “Six parties were represented at the
second round of discussions. It was a great success,” an
SLMC spokesman said. “We are meeting again on November 3. We
hope to arrive at a consensus on all basic matters on this
occasion and forge our alliance. We hope to announce
policies and the plan of action at a media briefing to be
held soon after,” the spokesman added.
Tiger leaders, activists agitated
The arrest of Galleon Hedge Fund manager Sri Lankan born-
billionaire Raja Rajaratnam by FBI investigators over the
massive insider trading scam, has thrown LTTE leaders and
activists in the US and other countries into a spin.
Rajaratnam has not only heavily funded the LTTE, but also
played a lead role in securing international recognition for
the terrorist outfit. It was V.Rudrakumaran, an attorney at
law now domiciled in the US who took the initiative to
establish the so called Transnational Tamil State of Eelam –
a Tiger government in exile, soon after decimation of the
LTTE with their leadership. The chief legal advisor of the
LTTE Rudrakumaran had been a member of Tiger delegations
that talked peace with the Sri Lankan government on a number
of occasions. After the death of Prabhakaran and other Tiger
leaders, Rudrakumaran set up the Transnational State of
Tamil Eelam as the rallying point for Tiger activists
scattered the world over. He has openly represented the LTTE
internationally. It was Rudrakumaran who led a delegation of
representatives from 16 pro-LTTE organisations in the States
that met US Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs
Robert O Blake to complain that Sri Lankan government was
violating human rights.
Rudrakumaran gone into hiding?
Rudrakumaran who was so much in the public eye has allegedly
gone underground since the arrest of Raj Rajaratnam by the
FBI investigators. The reason is obvious. He had been a
close associate of Rajaratnam.The other Tiger leaders and
activists in the States too are maintaining a low profile. A
number of Tiger websites too are closed.
Being the LTTE’s chief legal advisor, he represented the
interests of Tiger activists in court cases in the States on
numerous occasions. However, interestingly, Rudrakumaran has
not appeared for Raj Rajaratnam in the bourse scam case.
Surprisingly, the Tiger website, Tamil Net has failed so far
to report anything about the arrest of Raj Rajaratnam.
Funding LTTE an offence in US
It is an offence to aid and abet on the American soil any
terrorist outfit proscribed in the US. It has transpired
during investigations that Rajaratnam had donated US $ 5
million to the Tiger front TRO. Therefore, he is also facing
prosecution for indirectly funding the LTTE.
Meanwhile, a group of Sri Lankans in the US has filed 30
cases against Rajaratnam in a law court in New Jersey citing
him as an accessory to the killing of their family members
and relations In Sri Lanka by the LTTE. They have in their
plaints pointed out Rajaratnam should be held partly
responsible for the killings as a person who had aided and
abetted the LTTE. A statement made by LTTE’s International
Coordinator Kumaran Padmanathan alias KP, to the effect that
Rajaratnam had funded the LTTE would no doubt, serve as
strong evidence in support of the charge against Rajaratnam
in the cases filed by Sri Lankans in the New Jersey court.
Investments in the bourse
Legal experts point out that the Sri Lankan government will
be able under the Terrorism Prevention Act to confiscate a
record Rs.13 billion invested by Rajaratnam here in the
event of New Jersey court finding him guilty of funding the
Court restricts Raj’s mobility
Rajaratnam now enlarged on a bail bond of US $ 100 million
is prohibited from travelling a distance exceeding 170 kilo
meters from New York. Besides, FBI investigators can monitor
his movements from signals coming from an electronic ring
put on his leg.
Meanwhile, Rajaratnam’s Counsel has made an appeal that the
value of the security bond imposed on him be reduced to US $
25 million from US $ 100 million. There is anticipation that
the names of some businessmen and politicians who had had
dealings with Rajaratnam would transpire in the course of
the proceedings of the scam case against him.
SLFP’s National Convention
Arrangements are now underway to hold the SLFP National
Convention at the Khettarama stadium on November 15.
Two hundred and fifty delegates from each electoral division
in the country are expected to participate in the
convention. “This means that the total number of delegates
would be something between 50,000 and 55, 000,” SLFP General
Secretary Minister Maitripala Sirisena said.
Minister Sirisena said that at this convention where a
series of far reaching decisions are to be taken, President
Rajapaksa will announce which of the two impending national
elections is to come first.
According to Temple Trees sources, President Rajapaksa is
now meeting representatives from SLFP and UPFA organisations
to seek their view as to which national election should come
first. Most of them have told him to hold the Presidential
Common candidate talk, a ploy?
Meanwhile, some government strongmen feel that the
propaganda now being carried out by the UNP and the JVP
saying that plans are underway to field a Common Opposition
Presidential candidate, is nothing but a ploy to induce the
government to hold the General Parliamentary elections
“We are not at all concerned about the opposition gimmicks.
We are prepared to face any national election at any time.
In fact, we are planning to launch our election campaign
soon after the November 15 national convention,” said
Minister Maitripala Sirisena.