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Arresting Fonseka and Los Angeles protestors

By Dr. Stephen Long, Los
Angeles, California

About twenty protestors gathered in the sunshine recently in front of the high-rise building housing the Sri Lankan Consulate in Mid-Wilshire Los Angeles. They very vocally voiced their displeasure over the arrest and detention of Retired General Sarath Fonseka who is in Sri Lanka, of course. When I heard about the feeble, not-well-attended protest I wondered why in the world those people were protesting his arrest in America – a country where the retired general would surely be arrested should he show his face here again. Among other things, suspected illicit arms trading by a US Green Card holder is not generally tolerated in this country; and the retired general most definitely would have been nabbed and detained at the airport. Furthermore, here in the US he would not have been lodged in a comfortable, Navy officer’s five-star apartment. He would have been unceremoniously dumped in a cold, lonely jail cell without the good food, service, and visits he gets from his good wife. You’ve all heard the horror stories about over-crowded jails in America; the retired general would truly have been horrified had he been thrown in one.

I couldn’t understand why they were protesting on Wilshire Boulevard – rather than going back to Sri Lanka where the protest really belonged – that is, if they felt so inclined and so in need of expressing their outrage. These sorts of protests on American soil only make Sri Lanka’s image even worse than it already is in the eyes of the State Department, and they provide even more fuel for LTTE-paid lobbyists and journalists like Bruce Fein.

It is interesting to note here that before the end of the war the LTTE Diaspora, some unscrupulous international NGO’s, and certain meddling ‘foreign powers’ used their money to stage protests against the Government. When the war finally ended, the various political parties of Sri Lanka were mostly united in spirit, if not in ideology. During the recent presidential election the same LTTE Diaspora, the same NGO’s, and the same foreign powers used their funds behind the scenes to promote protests by blind followers of the UNP and JVP which caused the country to become polarised and divided. The unwitting protesters – including the ones in LA – have been used as pawns in a vicious conspiracy to cause a breach in the country where before there was unity; and to cause unnecessary divisiveness where just a few months ago there was a shared energy directed towards a bright future.

Also note that according to Mangala Samaraweera, both he and Ranil Wickremesinghe of UNP fame, clandestinely visited the retired general while he was still wearing his uniform. In fact, they had several top-secret meetings – even going so far as to change vehicles en route to their rendezvous point to evade the CID. The purpose of these meetings was to convince Fonseka to join their efforts to unseat the president by serving as their common candidate. This comes from an actual statement made by Samaraweera. In my book, this is a very good reason for Fonseka’s arrest.

Remember when the retired general was last in the US and he was called to testify before the State Department about possible atrocities committed during the end of the war? Remember that the retired general fled the country before his scheduled appointment with his questioners? We have recently learned that the secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva, was the person Fonseka consulted before making his decision to leave the US on that late night flight. This information comes directly from Silva who proudly announced it to the press. In actual fact, if Fonseka was going to consult with anyone, he should have sought the advice of his superiors in the Government, don’t you think?

Perhaps the retired general’s most serious alleged offence against Sri Lanka are the statements he made to the BBC and other international media in which he had the audacity to accuse his own military colleagues, albeit by inference and innuendo, of war crimes during the end of the war. This offence alone is cause for arrest.
By the way, no need to mention here that little matter of his son-in-law selling illegal weapons on both sides of the front line. This has been covered ad nauseum elsewhere by this writer and others.
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