Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Lies and Damn Lies!

by V Gunaratnam

Next, the envoy left the US security people shell-shocked and shaking their heads in disbelief when he uncovered Sri Lanka’s latest ‘findings’ that the easy access EU citizens have to the US (using the stolen/sold passports) posed a real security risk to the US, something even the sophisticated and far flung US and EU security networks had no inkling of? Mind you, all this from a government which up to now does not even have the craziest notion about who is behind the criminal abductions and disappearances taking place right under their own nose!

Ambassador Bernard Goonetileke, Sri Lanka’s man in Washington, must be hallucinating from the “Gotabharotti” stuff being fed to him through the diplomatic bag from Colombo for him to have come out with the story that the LTTE has stolen 130,000 Norwegian passports and sold them to the "highest bidders," including operatives of Al Qaeda, and adding, "One of them (an LTTE cadre) surfaced with 700 of the stolen passports in Thailand and got caught to the police."

It was a startling revelation, but after the Norwegian government categorically denied that a "large number of Norwegian Passports were stolen," and the allegation was "drawing links between unrelated matters and ha[s] no basis in reality," the ambassador's credibility went plunging down like what the Sri Lanka rupee is doing these days. In the end, the despicable lies have left Sri Lanka with nothing but a diplomatic red face, and its credibility ruined by another propaganda attack crashing in flames.

The foray by Sri Lanka into the international  “sniffing business” to ferret out intelligence, poking its nose into other people’s missing passports and god only knows what else, must be a first for any country! Yes, it must be like the wonky idea to get rural folk to call up a 911-like phone number on hearing LTTE aircraft flying overhead, never mind that there is no way of distinguishing between aircrafts flying overhead, people snoring, the mooing of cows, croaking of frogs, or the cacophony of other sounds that pierce the night air in the countryside!

Next, the envoy left the US security people shell-shocked and shaking their heads in disbelief when he uncovered Sri Lanka’s latest ‘findings’ that the easy access EU citizens have to the US (using the stolen/sold passports) posed a real security risk to the US, something even the sophisticated and far flung US and EU security networks had no inkling of! Mind you, all this from a government which up to now does not even have the craziest notion about who is behind the criminal abductions and disappearances taking place right under their own nose!

And then this prize observation, accusing the LTTE of pioneering the use of “…low flying aircraft and bomb places,” as if it was a crime to fly low! More seriously, he was trying to portray the LTTE attacks as unprovoked, hiding the fact the “places” were the main air force base in Katunayake, and a key oil facility near Colombo, which were being used in Sri Lana’s cruel aerial bombardment of Tamil lands, the cornerstone of Rajapakse’s scorched earth policy to kill, destroy, displace, disperse and terrorize them into submission.

Finally, the ambassador’s piece de resistance was declaring, referring to the LTTE, "They started sitting down for negotiations and thereafter left the negotiating table showing that they would never be satisfied with anything else other than a separate state." Just a few years ago this might have meant something in the wake of 9/11, but no longer. The world knows better now.

International condemnation of Sri Lanka is intensifying, calling on them to rein in the horrendous human rights violations against the Tamils, honor the ceasefire agreement, and return to the peace process, but to no avail. They continue, however, to keep their heads buried in the sand. President Rajapakse has even stopped pretending he is searching for a peaceful solution, as the genocide continues, under one pretext or another, with even greater intensity. They have never wanted to end the conflict except on their own terms and that, up to now, has simply meant conceding nothing!

For sixty years the government has been stepping all over the Tamils, never venturing to lay down anything on the table for discussion that made sense, spelled peace and moderation, or contained even the germs of a solution. And now, as if to mock the Tamils and the world, Rajapakse has dug up a set of discredited proposals from the past, which even right-thinking Sinhalese have been constrained to denounce as a retrograde offering. But what Rajapakse is probably focused on is a second term, to the detriment of all other vital issues, to ride back to power on the misery of the Tamils.

There have been opportunities in the last sixty years for Sri Lanka to have solved the Tamil problem without the catastrophic consequences people on both sides have suffered, but all they did was to exacerbate the conflict that has all but extinguished the hopes of the Tamils for a fair resolution of their problem. Even today, the government holds all the cards that could make the critical difference. But they have still not ceased negotiating with themselves about what the Tamils should be given. That’s something that’s been going on for a good sixty years!

So what was the good ambassador talking about? At best, his diatribe was a pack of untruths and distortions, crude, simplistic, and unconscionable, part of a hurried and ill-thought-out propaganda blitz to shore up Sri Lanka’s faltering international image by characterizing their human rights violations as the 'war on terror.'