Lessons of bankruptcy, pogroms against minorities and decades of civil war in Sri Lanka (II)
The UN Resolution No.51/1 on Sri Lanka raises questions including the possibility that Western governments may be attempting to conceal the role of western financial institutions, transnational corporations, and others in the collapse of the economy.
Impact of Sri Lanka’s civil war and economic crisis on India
The World Bank Economist Joseph Stiglitz in “Globalization and its Discontents” refers to the “briberization” process accompanying market reforms; that is the indiscriminate privatization of profit-making public sector companies at grossly undervalued rates in many countries, by governments purporting to implement ‘market reforms’, yet not on the basis of sound financial and economic policies or the correct evaluation of the state company to be privatized, with focus on whether it is necessary to privatize or its future viability, but indiscriminately, to enrich local oligarchies. This ‘briberization’ process, in turn, directly impacts the electoral process, political parties, and consequently the governance of countries.
Sri Lanka is a case study of such policies. The country has sunk into a political and economic abyss and ceased to be a functioning constitutional democracy. For almost two decades continuously, Sri Lanka has been ruled by executive fiat of the political family of the Rajapaksas, who ran the country like a family business. Four Rajapaksa brothers were in key political posts in the cabinet and parliament, “taking over ministries controlling three-quarters of the national budget” (3). Their sons and nephews were also beneficiaries of posts in the same government. When President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost a bid for a third term in 2019 on serious allegations of corruption, "a coalition of pro-Western business executives, military hardliners, and Buddhist Monks" allied with the Rajapaksas and ‘identified’ his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as their Presidential candidate.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former army officer, was Secretary of Defense during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s Civil War against the Tamil minority, in the government headed by his brother President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and is responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Tamil minority and other citizens of Sri Lanka. The recent ‘Aragalaya’ uprising called for the immediate stepping down of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President on public demand, as the Rajapaksa family, including Mahinda and Gotabaya, their brothers, and wider clan, along with the Sri Lankan business elite and foreign capital, are held responsible for Sri Lanka’s economic collapse. President Gotobaya Rajapaksa, it is reported, took shelter at a naval base during the uprising, fleeing thereafter with the assistance of a section of the armed forces supported by foreign powers, initially to Maldives, then to Singapore, and thereafter to Thailand.
According to a report on August 23, 2022, cited by Reuters, “the cost of maintaining his lifestyle overseas – including a private jet, presidential suite, and security – had already mounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars." (4) In Singapore, there is a demand for the arrest of Gotbaya Rajapaksa and the Rajapaksa brothers and their associates for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil minority during the civil war. The governments of both the Maldives and Thailand permitted Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s stay only for a few days, reluctant to grant him asylum. Finally, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, forced to step down by the people, recently returned to Sri Lanka after one more Rajapaksa relative has been appointed as a minister in the Sri Lankan so-called "National government", which is ‘old wine in new bottles;' with most major political parties represented in the “National government" responsible for the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy.
Other members of the family and associates of the Rajapaksa clan among others have been restrained from leaving Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court after a petition was filed to restrain those culpable in the government from leaving the island nation. The reality is that the supreme courts of many countries in South Asia are under siege by the political executive or under political influence for one reason or another, with honorable exceptions. As a consequence, the checks and balances of the constitutional and political systems have broken down in many countries in South Asia and in Sri Lanka.
Another aspect of this crisis is that successive governments of Sri Lanka, for various reasons, sought foreign investment in large infrastructure projects, beyond their capacity to repay. The major parties in Sri Lanka, with few exceptions, were involved in aiding and abetting the debt trap, in the interest of 1 percent of the Sri Lankan business and political elite, with the exception of the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, an outstanding Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the first woman Prime Minister in the world. The two outstanding and far-seeing Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi of India and Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, both sponsored and supported the historic Resolution in the UN General Assembly on the New International Economic Order on May 1, 1974, to end economic colonialism. The Resolution called for “full and effective participation on the basis of equality of all countries in the solving of world economic problems in common interest," bearing in mind the necessity to ensure the accelerated development of developing countries. The Resolution asserted “the right of every country to adopt the economic and social system that it deems most appropriate for its development and not to be subjected to discrimination of any kind." The Resolution reiterated the principle of sovereignty of every country “over its natural resources and all economic activities… calling for “regulation and supervision of the activities of transnational corporations by taking measures in the interests of the national economies of countries;" and focused on the need for a “just and equitable relationship between the prices of raw materials, primary commodities, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods exported …… and the prices of goods imported ….”
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s policies were continued by the alliance government of her daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga, though not to the same extent. Prime Minister Chandrika Kumaratunga narrowly escaped an attempt on her life, though her husband Kumaratunga was assassinated for attempting to act as a bridge between Sinhalese and Tamils, during some of the worst pogroms of the Sinhalese majority instigated by the Sinhalese political elite against the Tamil minority, which was the cornerstone of the policy of the Sri Lankan business elite and its Western patrons and "Israel", to divert political attention and to camouflage the real nature of economic policies being implemented by the comprador Sinhalese elite allied with foreign capital; not in the interests of Sri Lanka or the vast majority of middle-income and working people of Sri Lanka and its farmers and middle classes, middle and small scale industry and traders, among others, whether Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, or Christian.
The direct involvement of "Israel" in the training of all sides for a civil war in Sri Lanka from the seventies onward was referred to by a former agent of the Israeli Foreign Intelligence Agency (Mossad) in a book published after he left "Israel". Israeli involvement in Sri Lanka from the seventies onward was known to the then government of India headed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and to Indian Intelligence Agencies. A strong diplomatic protest was lodged by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi against Israeli involvement in Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan government as Israeli involvement in Sri Lanka had an adverse and serious spillover effect in India and in India’s neighborhood. Tamil refugees began fleeing from Sri Lanka, seeking safety and security in India, against repeated pogroms by the Sri Lankan State.
India too paid a heavy price as a consequence of the political turmoil in Sri Lanka, being directly linked to Sri Lanka’s neoliberal economic and political policies, dictated by the ‘Washington Consensus’, and was dragged into the complications of the Sri Lankan civil war, influenced (it is reported, by Western governments) into sending troops into Sri Lanka, for “Indian Peace Keeping Operations” between 1987 -1990 after the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord was signed on July 29, 1987. The Indo-Sri Lanka accord bailed out the Sri Lankan government, keeping it in power. The dispatch of the IPKF, the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka, was opposed by several opposition parties in India, aware that Indian troops would be viewed with hostility both by the Sinhalese and Tamil minorities, locked in a fierce civil war. Subsequently, though the Indian Peace Keeping Force was withdrawn within two years, scores of Indian officers and soldiers died, a sacrifice for the politically unethical policies of another government, though it was impacting India. The IPKF was intended to stabilize Sri Lanka, yet the scars of the Indo- Sri Lanka Accord and the IPKF remained; casting a shadow on India’s relations with Sri Lanka, even though India had not been involved in creating the conflict or the civil war in the first place. However, it is true that India was earlier constrained to give assistance to the Tamil minority, the majority of whom are working class and included plantations workers, who were victims of brutal Sri Lankan state-organized pogroms, in view of historical, cultural, and social ties between the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Indian Tamil provincial state of Tamil Nadu.
The IPKF operations stabilized the Sri Lankan state and its political elite, facing a revolt from its Tamil population and a serious secessionist movement, with India directly impacted in the province of Tamil Nadu. The Sri Lankan government while agreeing in principle to grant provincial autonomy within the Sri Lankan state to the Tamil minority, reiterated in the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, immediately violated the accord and refused to implement what was agreed on, with the objective of keeping the fires of discontent burning, to use Tamil discontent for internal political purposes, to divide and rule, to continue and exacerbate the civil war.
The Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka, even after its withdrawal, later served as a convenient ‘smokescreen’ for those who plotted and were the masterminds behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during an election campaign in India. This was the second political assassination after the 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi. These assassinations led to a dramatic alteration of course and policies in India. A few months before the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat through political channels of the PLO, sent a message to New Delhi, informing the government of India, that he had learned through his backdoor channels in the Middle East that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was targeted for assassination. These assassinations may have been a part of regime change operations, an adjunct of ‘re-colonization’ by either financial or military means of many countries in recent decades. These members of the government of the United States and the UK are now openly calling for a regime change in the Russian Federation and the removal of President Putin, merely because the Russian Federation refuses to be a puppet state with huge flights of capital and resources as under President Boris Yeltsin and earlier President Gorbachev. This demand for regime change and the removal of President Putin is supported by former members of the US administration like John Bolton, among other public figures in the US, Europe, and the UK. This behavior would lead to the conclusion that these assassinations in India and in some other countries in South Asia, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, may have had ulterior motives and that the real plotters who were behind the scenes creating crises and then using the crisis as an excuse for the assassination have not been indicted.
One of the first acts of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s so-called ‘National government’ was to arrest leaders and prominent activists of the ‘Aragalaya’ movement that led the ‘uprising’ under draconian national security legislations and the 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act; among other such acts, which some governments in South Asia have enacted to effect arrests without evidence of any serious crime, to deny bail to those jailed on political grounds, languishing in prisons for several years before they are placed on trial, and to make an example out of them to others. Using such draconian enactments, a few governments of South Asia have been incarcerating in prisons those who have extended legal aid and other assistance to marginalized and exploited sections of society; or raised the issue of injustices to socially and economically weaker sections of society including religious minorities; or focused on other serious injustices, by peaceful and non-violent mass protests.
It is now reported that the Sri Lankan government has proposed a new law that stipulates sending leaders of the ‘Aragalaya’ peoples movements and activists who had participated in the uprising, labeling them as ‘extremists’, though they had legitimately protested against policies of mass penury and economic misery in Sri Lanka and for a change of government to rehabilitation concentration camps along with drug addicts and others. The arrest and detention of drug addicts is only a smoke screen, as the clandestine drug trade of South Asia, globally laundered into elite banks and financial institutions the world over, is controlled by the very business and political elites who control governments and dictate policies.
Objective research will expose that all resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly are not necessarily fair, legal, or objective, as in the case of the resolution to partition Palestine and create "two states", which India opposed; the resolution expelling Libya from the UN Human Rights Council, although Libyans mercilessly bombed thereafter by thousands of bombing sorties of countries of the NATO alliance were never taken notice of by the UN Human Rights Council or the General Assembly of the United Nations; and the recent resolution suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council without even investigating the deaths at Bucha, where no mass deaths had taken place when Russian, LPR, and DPR forces were present, or when they withdrew from Bucha; after which Ukrainian forces, including the infamous and fascist Azov Battalion, took over the area. The subsequent deaths at Bucha were possibly a false flag operation, or a brutal operation to purge those who had assisted Russian and allied forces, including in distributing humanitarian aid; to set a frightening example to the people of Ukraine, enslaved by the regime, with Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to the army of the Russian Federation shot in the back by Ukraine Azov neo-Nazi battalions. Prisoners of war camps for Ukrainian soldiers, taken prisoners by Russian forces, in Russian-held territory have been mercilessly attacked and bombed by Ukrainian forces.
It is widely known that many governments are subjected to ‘arm twisting’ to secure their vote, both in the UN Human Rights Council and in the UN General Assembly, by the governments of the US and its NATO allies, leading to a recent request by the Russia Federation for secret voting procedures, which has been opposed and not granted. However, recently in the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka faced its worst-ever defeat ... last week when the Council voted on Resolution No.51/1 titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’. The Sri Lankan government was supported only by 7 out of 47 governments. This was the 9th resolution of the UN Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka. The significance of the recent resolution on Sri Lanka is that, apart from other serious crimes committed in Sri Lanka, including during the civil war, there is an “addition of economic corruption to the watchlist of crimes that have taken place” in Sri Lanka. Several questions arise, including the possibility that Western governments may be attempting to conceal the role played by western banking and financial institutions, transnational corporations, and others in the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy, by corrupting and collaborating with the corporate, business, and political elite of Sri Lanka, sought after and patronized by them, leading them into a monstrous debt trap, which has devastated the people of Sri Lanka.
Does the UN Human Rights Council have the objectivity to indict Western banking and financial elites, transnational corporations, and others for the corruption of those sections of the corporate sector and business and political elites in Sri Lanka, leading to the abject poverty of millions denied basic necessities in Sri Lanka and battling for their lives and livelihood? The truth is that the scale of financial and economic corruption destroying the lives and livelihood of millions has been caused by both halves in a collusive conspiracy. There has even been a ‘foreign hand’, apart from the involvement of the Sri Lankan state and its functionaries under successive governments, during the brutal Sri Lankan pogroms against minorities and the civil war, witnessed by an objective Mossad Intelligence Agent, who after leaving "Israel", has given us an account of the training of all sides to the civil war by the Israeli military and security agencies, probably acting as an instrument of Western financial interests and the corrupt Sri Lankan business elite.
1. Multipolarista, Ben Norton, Real debt trap: Sri Lanka owes vast majority to West, not China, July 11, 2022.
2. Multipolarista, ‘Real debt trap: Sri Lanka owes vast majority to West, not China,' July 11, 2022.
3. Reuters report, ‘Sri Lanka’s ousted President may return home by September,' August 23, 2022.
4. The Washington Post, Gerry Shih and Hafeel Farisz, ‘Inside the Collapse of the Rajapaksa Dynasty in Sri Lanka’, May 22, 2022.