Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

 Here are some activities of the US before and after the Yahapalana puppet government came to power.

American Bar Association

American Bar Association (ABA) made repeated attempts to register a Branch Association of the ABA in Sri Lanka. The first request was in January 2018.  The Bar Association of Sri Lanka strongly objected. Nowhere in the world will a legal system permit a foreign Bar Association to set up a branch office.

It is an unprecedented request and if allowed will have serious consequences on the independence of the legal profession and   on Sri Lanka’s independence, they said. ABA will start making comments and statements on internal matters and that will have an impact on Sri Lanka‘s sovereignty. Also what will Sri Lanka do if other foreign Bar Associations also ask to set up offices.

ABA then tried to come in as an NGO. ABA made a request to the Ministry of Justice, through a local legal firm, asking it to issue a letter to register the ABA here as an NGO. This request was also referred to the BASL which rejected it.

Prasad Kariyawasam

In June 2019 it transpired that former Foreign Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam  had been appointed to Parliament as an International Affairs adviser to the Speaker. This is the first time  in Sri Lanka that a Speaker has had the services of an international affairs advisor, MPs commented. There is no such position  as International Affairs adviser among the list of officials  in Parliament.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya     said USAID is funding different projects in  Parliament  through its agent, Development Alternatives  Incorporated . Development Alternatives Incorporated is a known CIA front. Its specialty is ‘democracy promotion’  said Kamal Wickremasinghe.  

DAI had initially selected Karunathilaka Amunugama, another former Foreign Ministry secretary for the role of adviser, but he had passed away a day before commencing duties.  Kariyawasam was appointed as his replacement.

DAI had given Rs. 2,000 million for a programme called Parliamentary Diplomacy”, to foster close relations with other Parliaments worldwide, and also facilitate exchange programmes for MPs and Parliament staff.

 Kariyawasam  is assisting in this programme, the Speaker said. He is coordinating the Parliamentary Diplomacy group involving around 50-60 countries. These programmes  facilitate MPs to travel to foreign countries to understand how Parliaments function there. Kariyawasam also  assists me in obtaining scholarships for parliamentarians he said.  

Speaker admitted that Kariyawasam was being paid by Development Alternatives, not by Parliament. In July 2019 Speaker announced that the salary of Prasad Kariyawasam, would be met from Parliament funds.

Prasad Kariyawasam had  also arranged for the  ambassadors of  the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Countries (OIC) to come to Parliament to meet the Speaker. The diplomats included those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Director of Military Intelligence were also present.

 MPs questioned this. The task of summoning Colombo-based diplomats  is the sole responsibility of the Foreign Minister or his Ministry Secretary. It is also the responsibility of the President or the Prime Minister, particularly during emergencies. The intelligence chief of the country, who knows all the intelligence and secret information, including investigations that are ongoing, was summoned for the meeting, along with the IGP. Summoning the intelligence chief in front of foreign envoys has not been done by any other Speaker.

Speaker explained I convened a meeting of envoys of these Muslim countries in Parliament to brief them on the latest situation. The IGP came for this meeting, along with other senior officers. Meeting was to brief the envoys of the Muslim countries and ease their fears. The meeting was held with good intentions to explain the current situation and give a guarantee on security. There was no leaking of state secrets.”

Would it not have been better to ask the Foreign Ministry to invite  these envoys, countered MPs. This clearly shows that Kariyawasam was running a parallel operation, commented the media.

US Peace Corps

In February 2018   Yahapalana signed an agreement with the US to re-establish a US Peace Corps programme in Sri Lanka. The negotiations had started in 2016 . The Peace Corps was returning to Sri Lanka after some 20 years.

The first 25 American Peace Corps Volunteers will arrive in Sri Lanka in late 2019 and undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years. 

The US Peace Corps evolved from a CIA front known as the International Voluntary Services   during preparations for the war against Vietnam. The US Peace Corps has been expelled from a number of countries for spying for the CIA, meddling in local politics, and running drugs. Indonesia ordered them out in 1965, after 16 months.  Pakistan and India refused to renew approval of Peace Corp projects in their countries in the early 1970s.

Peace Corp volunteers in Sri Lanka will focus on English language education. They will complement the English teaching programs funded by the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

They will be given diplomatic privileges. The Diplomatic Privileges Act provisions have been invoked  for the Peace Corp and persons performing functions under contract with the Peace Corps and their dependents.

The Government will provide to the Peace Corps and their families,  the same exemptions with respect to taxes, income, customs duty as provided to  those in the Embassy of the United States in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Why has teaching English to Sri Lankan children becomes such an urgent priority, asked Kamal Wickremasinghe. Because US wishes to  place  persons   at grass roots level in Sri Lankan villages,  close to the   2019 election, came the reply. The return of the controversial US Peace Corps, in 2019 shows Washington’s fears about the forthcoming General  and Presidential Elections, observed Tamara Kunanayagam.

Working Group on Labor Law Reforms

National Labor Advisory Committee (NLAC) was told in July 2017, that the Government has decided to appoint a Working Group on Labor Law Reforms, in collaboration with USAID. Trade unions  strongly objected to  this. Neither the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade nor USAID has any right to intervene in reforming labour laws in Sri Lanka, they said. Labor reform came under the Labour Department and the Ministry of Labor.  There is a well tested tripartite mechanism including trade unions and employer representation for this purpose. What was the actual intention behind this urge to reform labour laws of the country, the trade unions asked.

  Trimble Navigation

The Government Surveyors’ Association (GSA) said in January 2017, that there was a move to hand over several operations of the Sri Lanka Survey Department (SLSD), including Land Information System (LIS) and Aerial Survey Operations to Trimble Navigation , a US-based  company,  for 15 years.  ‘The required plans are already in place to complete the transfer. This may  help to revive the abandoned US Tropical Forest Act as well said observers. 

Trimble Navigation Ltd, a US company, has forwarded a proposal for ‘Title/Tenure Regularisation and Cadastral Registry Modernisation’ in Sri Lanka. A high level committee headed by Prime Minister’s senior advisor R. Paskeralingam had recommended this  proposal and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), within the Prime Minister office,  had approved it.

 The Minister for Lands told the Surveyors Association that the government has decided to implement the proposal and the Association must support the project. Trimble would work with the Ministry of Lands to identify 2.5 million state-owned lands and help to give permanent titles to the persons currently occupying these lands. Bim Saviya programme launched during the previous Rajapaksa regime has become a white elephant. Only 405,000 title deeds were issued from 2005.

The surveyors observed that the main functions of the Sri Lanka Survey Department, as well as its Land Information System (LIS) and Aerial Survey Operations would be vested in Trimble for 15 years. Survey Department staff and resources will also go to Trimble. 400 public surveyors and 200 additional private surveyors with crews will serve under Trimble, conducting pre-survey, survey and data collection. If Trimble is given the management of Sri Lanka Survey Department, then Trimble will take control of Sri Lanka’s electronic land register and details of lands. This will be a threat to country’s national security, said the surveyors.

Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera

Before 2012, Galagodaatte Gnanasara  thera was completely unknown to the public,  said  C.A.Chandraprema. He said that even he never knew such a monk existed. When Gnanasara’s name came up for the first time in the anti-Halal campaign of 2013,  journalists  had confused him with Gangaramaya’s Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara. That was how unknown Gnanasara was at that time, said Chandraprema.

However, the monk was known to the USA. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera was given  a five- year multiple entry visa  to USA, in 2011, sometime after  he had begun a  campaign of hatred and incitement of violence, on religious issues.

On what basis did Gnanasara qualify for a five year multiple entry visa to the USA as far back as 2011 asked Chandraprema. How is it that the US embassy issued a five-year multiple entry visa to an unknown monk whose only claim to fame at that time was having pleaded guilty to a change of drunk driving and having disrupted meetings of the Anti-War Front . For a Buddhist monk to plead guilty to a charge of drunk driving was very unusual and was probably the first time that such a thing occurred in Sri Lanka’s history.

Then in 2014 the visa was cancelled. The US authorities appear to have panicked that if this monk made another visit to the USA on this visa in the middle of all this controversy, their role in all this mayhem would be badly exposed, said Chandraprema. (Continued)

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