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UN Denies Journalist Accreditation to Mathew Lee of Inner City Press

New York, 07 June, (Asiantribune.com):

It comes to the notice that Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press’s dishonorable and unethical behaviour, has lead to an investigation to expel him from the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA).

In the meantime his UN Journalist Accreditation also has been denied until United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) completes the investigation.

It was reported that after three times last week telling Inner City Press its request for re-accreditation to cover the UN would be granted and on Monday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit on June 4 reversed course and declined to process the renewal request

Some of the charges leveled against him include falsified reporting, questionable conduct and harassment of fellow journalists. Falsification include disingenuous and biased and usage of adjectives such as “alleged war criminal” when referring to General Shavendra De Silva, who is an Ambassador, attached to Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission in New York.

But, most are unaware of his surreptitious dealings with the LTTE and other influential parties with vested interests.

It has been alleged that Matthew Lee had close relations with Tamrat Samuel and Nicholas Haysom of the Secretary General’s office, to the extent where the questions Lee asked were actually prepared by these individuals to elicit desired responses. It is no coincidence that the High Level panel was approved, its report published and subsequently sent to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva (without even informing Sri Lanka) following the intensive questioning by Matthew Lee. Haysom had even told Matthew Lee that Sri Lanka’s LLRC was a sham.

Allegations that Matthew has been given a house in Toronto by the LTTE have surfaced over the past several years. His frequent visits to Canada to collect his payment (in cash) for defaming Sri Lanka and its officials is suspicious, all the time avoiding paying maintenance for two groups of children in Queens and the Bronx.

Should such an individual be allowed to continue his façade as a “journalist”? Or even enter the hallowed chambers of the United Nations? It all depends on the members of the UNCA investigations board. Till they come to their conclusion, all we can do is echo the sentiments of others concerned about ethical reporting ; “it’s time to consider whether he truly belongs to an organization of journalists committed to professionalism, ethics and covering the United Nations.”

Will he spill the beans on his UN “sources” to save his skin?

– Asian Tribune –

 

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Daily News: “French Envoy Impressed By Development”

French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Christine Robichon toured the North and East as well as areas in the South of the country to oversee development projects being carried out.

She visited Matara, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts and met Government Agents, representatives of civil society and local politicians.

In Matara, she was received by the Ruhuna University Deputy Vice Chancellor. She visited centers run by local NGOs providing support and training to vulnerable groups, particularly children and young people. She also attended the Annual General Meeting of the Alliance Francaise in Matara and Galle.

During her three days in Vanni, the ambassador observed progress in the development of the region and the improvement of infrastructure facilities.

After her visit to the garment factory opened by the Hirdaramani group in Vavuniya, she said: “It is encouraging to see that a private Sri Lankan company, exporting to France, is creating jobs and employing women, in a region where many of them are breadwinners. I was impressed to see how the Tamil and Sinhalese employees quickly developed a team spirit despite the language barrier.”

In Vavuniya, the ambassador visited the Family Tracing Unit supported by UNICEF, which aims at reunifying missing children with their parents.

In Kilinochchi, she was briefed by representatives of UNHCR and other UN agencies on their humanitarian activities.

In Pudukkudiyiruppu DS Division, she spoke with former IDPs who came back to their land and others who have been relocated to the Kombavil new village.

“The decision to launch the demining process in the coastal GN in Maritimepattu is good news for these people,” Robichon said.

In Mullaitivu, she met members of the Muslim community, who came back to their land after 20 years and benefitted from small grants to start a business.

Lake House Copyright © 2012 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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Dambulla Protests An Insult To Buddhism (Lanka Web)

by  anuradhini


All Sri Lanka patriots should ponder over aftermaths of  the Dambulla Mosque incident.

First of all it is worthy of mentioning that there was a rumor spreading in foreign lands that a mosque has been demolished or burnt down by a mob attack lead by Buddhist priests. Such rumors have surely been purposefully alighted by anti- Sinhala-Buddhist enemies within and the evil west. No such incident took place.

Watching the incident one can clearly see the agitated crowd marching  towards a poorly constructed shed used as a mosque by Dambulla Muslim community.  Intention appeared to be causing damage to the controversial shed constructed illegally(as alleged)  in the sacred area of Rangiri Dambulla and to show off the mighty people’s power.  Peoples power movement  and protest method of removing regimes was a new method introduced by the west to get rid of long standing single party governments and dictatorships ( as they call it).  It is the reaction to such protest by armed forces that will normally fuel the process further  to continue and grow. However, police forces acted extremely well to contain the anger of people and the heated arguments followed.

What was interesting was the dialogue took place between a female Muslim resident and the yellow robed person acting as the Chief Monk. The lady spoke with respect to the person in robes and said that the mosque was there for a long time. While the reason given by the lady would not validate the legality of the presence of the mosque in the sacred area of cultural heritage, the reply of the robed person was harsh, arrogant and is an insult to Buddhism. This is where the systematic demolition process of Buddhist culture is clearly evident as taking place.

This yellow robed person is not a “Buddhist Monk”. The proof of this statement is given in  Kakachupama Sutta. Here,  the  Buddha has described his followers as follows.

Monk should be trained this way. In any event, you should train yourselves:

• ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words.

• We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to the great earth — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.

As an example The Buddha goes on , “ If a Bandit were to carve your limb savagely with a saw?

Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled

saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourself.

After the incident government has indicated the intention to relocate the praying shed to a location outside the Dambulla sacred area. Neither demolition nor burning down took place and the Government acted in a commendable way with the help of police forces and officials.

Leaving aside the incident, disgusting behaviour of persons wearing robes of traditional Shagha and calling themselves as “Sangha” should be condemned by all Buddhist. If the person is really the Chief Monk of Dambulla, he should be removed immediately, even before the demolition of the shed used as the mosque. That will be a great benefit to Buddhism.

Results of this act by yellow robed bandits is a complete insult to Buddhism and what would probably happen is that the  Muslim residents  will get a properly constructed beautiful mosque somewhere else instead of the shed and this incident would likely to add fuel to  diminution process of  real Buddhism in Sri Lanka, unless these yellow robed persons are not allowed to lead the general public in a disgraceful manner.

Meanwhile Islamic  extremism will be spread gradually, unless proper legal methods of containing  aggressive  movements determined to  demolish Sinhala-Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka are established.

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Will the Real Buddhists Stand Up?

At a time when the enemies of Sri Lanka, especially those of the pro-LTTE Diaspora are spreading a claim of discrimination of the minorities by the “ majority Buddhist Sinhalese”, it is a shame that the Dambulla Mosque incident took place  in Sri Lanka.

It is quite shameful that people who call themselves Buddhists conduct themselves in such an uncivilized and violent way to claim ownership of land.

I am a Buddhist who lives outside Sri Lanka who has on many occasions witnessed on international TV, rude and shocking behavior of some Sri Lankan men in yellow robes calling themselves the Buddhist clergy.  Do they practice the precepts they preach? Do they believe in non-violence? Have they given up worldly possessions?

What is more surprising is that the population living inside Sri Lanka seems complacent about all these horrible things happening in the country; they don’t seem to care. Politicians of all parties turn their heads when these individuals, in the name of religion destroy the  fabric of the country. Sri Lanka is supposed to be a nation of law abiding citizens guided by  the principles of kindness , gentleness and peaceful co-existence. Just because the countryside is strewn with Buddhist statues, it doesn’t mean the religion is practiced by these hooligans who take the law into their own hands.

We, who are Sinhalese, Buddhist Diaspora have no answers to questions people ask us about these incidents of disharmony and violence in a Buddhist country. I personally believe the  time has come to  put an end to pandering to the  so called Buddhist  clergy who do not practice the basic tenets of Buddhism. They should not be political; nor should they enjoy the luxuries of lay life. They should be involved in Dana, Sila and Bhawana and find some caves in which to meditate.

We are tired of  seeing these quasi clergy seeking power to destroy the Buddhist stance of non-violence. Give them a begging bowl and teach them humility or ask them to disrobe and enter politics.

A concerned Buddhist

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Criticism of Sri Lanka Ignores Tiger Threat

BY:GREG SHERIDAN, FOREIGN EDITOR – The Australian

THE criticism of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he visited Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, left the key Sri Lankan villain out of the story.

The criticism was that the Sri Lankan government engaged in serious human rights abuses, shelling areas where civilians were present, at the end of its civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in May last year.

Both sides committed atrocities in this war, but the defeat of the Tamil Tigers was a decisive defeat of perhaps the bloodiest and most murderous terrorist group the world has seen.

Alexander Downer, Australia’s foreign minister for 11 years of the war, tells me: “I know the Sri Lankan government played very hard ball and committed some human rights abuses, but it’s a wonderful thing the Sri Lankan government won that war. I have always regarded the Tamil Tigers as absolutely a terrorist organisation.”

It is easy to forget how bloody the Tamil Tigers were. In their 2 1/2-decade campaign, perhaps 70,000 people died. The Tamil Tigers pioneered the suicide bomber, conducting hundreds of such attacks and using a woman with a suicide vest to murder India’s prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. They also murdered a Sri Lankan president. Rohan Gunaratna, an authority on terrorism based in Singapore, tells me the Tamil Tigers also pioneered suicide attacks at sea. The sinking of the USS Cole was an imitation of a Tiger operation.

The Tigers were authoritarian under the leadership of Vellupillai Prabakaran. They murdered Tamil and Sinhalese civilians, within the areas they controlled and within Sri Lanka generally. They used civilians as human shields, engaged in forced recruitment, routinely bombed civilian targets, used child soldiers and refused to let civilians leave the combat zone. They also engaged in sectarian attacks against Muslims.

They were connected with Islamist terror groups, having received early training from Palestinian extremists and became involved in the illicit arms trade.

They got funds from Tamil Tiger support networks across the world, especially Canada, the US, Britain and Australia. Downer says: “I have no doubt the Tamil Tigers raised a lot of money in Australia.”

Gunaratna says: “After the conflict ended and the LTTE was decimated in Sri Lanka, they still had a presence overseas. They have been involved in bank fraud and people-smuggling to get their members overseas, especially to Canada and Australia.

“Australia should not permit anyone who is connected to any terrorist organisation to settle in Australia because that will affect Australia’s security.”

Gunaratna stresses, no doubt rightly, that the vast majority of Tamils are law-abiding people.

Since Labor changed border protection policy in 2008, more than 1400 Sri Lankans have arrived, unauthorised, by boat, though the rate has declined this year. There is no reason to assume any particular individual has a connection with the Tigers and each case must be judged on its merits. But membership of the Tamil Tigers is not just support for Tamil self-determination. By any measure, the Tamil Tigers were as deadly, unscrupulous, murderous and committed to terrorist attacks on innocent civilians as al-Qa’ida or the Taliban are.

In 2007, several Sydney and Melbourne men were arrested for providing funds to the Tamil Tigers. They were charged with terrorism offences but, because Canberra had not listed the Tigers as a terrorist organisation, the charges were downgraded to supplying funds to a UN-proscribed organisation. The courts heard evidence that more than $1 million had gone to the Tigers from Australia, and electronic components that were used in terrorist bombings had also come from here.

The men were convicted of the lesser charges and given suspended sentences. The prosecutions occurred as similar charges were laid against other men of Tamil background in several other Western nations. The Sri Lankan government in 2005 provided Western governments with intelligence and urged them to act to stop the flow of funds to the Tigers. These funds, though billed as humanitarian relief, were essential to the Tigers’ ability to continue their terrorist campaign.

The inside story of the Howard government’s failure to get the Tigers proscribed under Australian legislation has never been told. The Tigers were on a list of terrorist organisations proscribed by the UN. It was because of this that it remained a crime to supply funds to them. More than 30 countries explicitly banned the Tigers and listed them as a terrorist organisation under their own laws. Australia failed to do this.

This is not because the Howard government did not regard the Tigers as terrorists. But the inside bureaucratic story is complex and reflects poorly on Australia as an episode where ethnic politics impeded serious counter-terrorism.

Initially, the bureaucracy was hesitant about designating the Tigers as a terrorist organisation because it might lead to retaliation against Australians in Sri Lanka. It was important to upgrade security for the Australian High Commission in Colombo.

The attorney-general at the time, Philip Ruddock, declines to discuss the matter. However, sources tell Inquirer that Ruddock required the agreement of state governments to proscribe the Tigers. He wrote to state governments seeking that agreement. But within Australia the Tamils were a well-established lobby, with strong support from numerous non-government organisations and some human rights lobbies. The Sri Lankan community is politically divided: the Sinhalese vote Liberal, the Tamils vote Labor.

Sources tell Inquirer that at least one Labor state refused to agree to the Tigers being listed as a terrorist organisation. This was against Ruddock’s assessment, the assessment of Australia’s security agencies and the assessments and actions of the UN and dozens of foreign national governments, including friends and allies of Australia. Later, the court case itself inhibited proscription.

Gunaratna says: “Australia’s response was not very decisive.”

The Tamil war in Sri Lanka is over for the moment. Overwhelmingly, the priority for foreign governments should be to assist Sri Lanka in economic development, which is the dynamic most likely to aid reconciliation.

At the Perth demonstrations against Rajapaksa, some Tamil Tiger flags were displayed. It would be poor policy for Australia to allow the development of a Tamil Tiger network on its shores.

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From the pariah to the pinnacle – Sri Lanka turns tables at CHOGM | Asian Tribune

From the pariah to the pinnacle – Sri Lanka turns tables at CHOGM | Asian Tribune.

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The Nation: ABC Follows Ch-4 Into Gaffe-land

The latest round of international LTTE misinformation and derogation propaganda against President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka armed forces, a cooked up documentary on the ABC TV channel, Australia to coincide with the visit of the President to that country, has proved a hoax.

The truth behind the ABC Channel’s recent documentary over alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka has been exposed. The documentary by the ABC was based on an alleged eyewitness Meena, who says that she witnessed the massacre of civilians and armed forces attacking hospitals with cannon fire. It has levelled war crime charges against the President, Permanent Representative for UN Dr. Palitha Kohona and the Lanka High Commissioner for Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe.

Meena was an LTTE cadre who is portrayed in the documentary as a civilian Australian national who had come to Sri Lanka during the war to learn Tamil which happens to be her mother tongue.

A number of defence personnel and political commentators are of the view that it was diabolically fabricated and designed as propaganda for the defeated LTTE terrorist outfit. Sri Lankan military has information to prove that she was a LTTE cadre who served in Castro’s office and that she had undergone military training.

Defence Intelligence sources said they believed that the documentary had been produced aiming at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Western Australia, from October 28, which President Rajapaksa will attend.

Military sources have found all the details of the so-called eye witness proving Meena was not an innocent civilian but an identified LTTE cadre who actively worked for the terror outfit. At the final phase of the humanitarian operation by the Sri Lankan forces, she had managed to get shelter at an IDP camp in Vavuniya and later had left for Australia as she had connections there.

Political commentators have repeatedly pointed out that knowingly or unknowingly international NGOs as well as some well known media organizations are still supporting the

LTTE overseas rump’s propaganda around the world. They also stressed that their ultimate effort is to badly tarnish Sri Lanka with such malicious propaganda.

It is opined that this is only another step of tarnishing the Sri Lanka government like ex LTTE cadre Ramesh’s wife Vathsala Devi filing a case against the Deputy Permanent Representative of UN Major General Shavendra Silva and former LTTE activist Vani Kumar’s false story on Channel 4 documentary which the Sri Lankan government debunked with another video named ‘Lies Agreed Upon’.

According to military intelligence, the so-called eye witness’s full name is Krishnamoorthy Navarangi Meena and Eelanadee is the code name given her by the LTTE terror outfit. She was born on October 30, 1982 at Velvettithurai, the hometown of Prabhakaran. She had received her education in Australia and has received citizenship also. She arrived in Sri Lanka in 2004 to conduct a research study.

During her visit, she had met LTTE’s International Propaganda, Procurement and Fundraising Unit Head Castro and joined the outfit and had undergone military training for six months in an LTTE base in Muthaiyankaddu. She was attached to the LTTE’s female infantry regiment Malithi and attached to the LTTE’s International Division functioning under Castro as she was fluent in English. She married LTTE cadre Kuberan (Irasarathnam Thayakaran) in 2007. The LTTE had sent her to South Africa to follow a course on law and again to Malaysia for some LTTE work.

She was pregnant in 2008 and registered for the delivery in Ponnambalam Hospital in Wanni used only for providing treatment for LTTE cadres. She had given birth to a still-born. ABC has insinuated that this unfortunate eventuality was an outcome of shelling in the area. At that time there were no military operations in the area, a fact well-known to UN agencies, INGOs and others working in the area.

When the humanitarian operations by Sri Lankan forces concluded, she had concealed her LTTE identity and moved to an IDP Centre in Vavuniya and later had left to Australia. Her husband Kuberan, a wanted senior LTTE cadre, had surrendered to the Sri Lanka Armed Forces on May 16, 2009 but had managed to escape from a rehabilitation centre.

Analysts who have thoroughly examined her statement in the documentary ask why she does not name the hospitals or at least the area which she witnessed attacks by the Government forces. She also fails to mention where she saw the massacre of civilians by Sri Lankan forces. . She says that she worked in an orphanage but the place or name of the orphanage is not given. Although she claims her husband was a civil administrator, but he has an identified LTTE combatant who participated in the LTTE Peace Talks Delegation too.

Courtesy: The Nation

http://www.youtube.com/user/onslorg#p/a/u/0/UA5ycWfeOAM

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