A Centre for ‘Wealth Analysis’ Now!
e-Con e-News 20-26 October 2019
A1. Random Notes: Dedicated Officials • Sinhala Justice, Floods & Debt • A Centre for Wealth Analysis Now!
A2. Reader Comments: 39 dead in truck –Who are the English recruitment agencies? • Tax holidays Bull • Norway goes to Temple? • India’s trains in Lanka • Sharing ee with others?
A3. Quotes of the Week: Trade & Monetary Exchange in a Precapitalist Economy – The Case of the Kandyan Kingdom of Sri Lanka • “It is easy to sing when the streets are alive with singing”
B. ee Focus
B1. US abuses diplomatic status: Lessons for Sri Lanka – Sunday Times
B2. Premadasa on Foreign Relations: President or Proxy? – Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
B3. Sri Lanka’s Development & Pitfalls – Garvin Karunaratne, Former Govt Agent, Matara
B4. Batty Weerakoon – Gamini Seneviratne
B5. So Why is Dutch Rabobank, financing the ‘building of rural bridges’ in Sri Lanka?
C. News Index
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
• Claiming to be honestly critical, yet perhaps sounding cynical, ee does not want to underplay the work of those organizations, politicians and officials who have untiringly dedicated themselves to the country midst limited tools and hostile mechanisms.
An anti-politics and anti-politician rhetoric is heavily promoted by the corporate media. Yet organizing people may be the highest science, and who are the corporate media to blame it all on ‘politics’ alone? Are merchants, media, artists, professors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, less corrupt?
• Many early ‘concessions’– free education, guaranteed prices for peasants, wages boards, limited industrialization – were made by the English under pressure, to forestall independence, especially after WW2 when Japan marched into Singapore. ee has shown how a local steel industry in India was also promoted when shipping was blocked in their WW1, after India started buying steel from other sources.
However, as the last ees have tried to show, there were those who went beyond the limited English attempts to resist impending defeat. There was also the ‘unpaid’ conscientiousness of many political institutions, their builders and organizers who dedicated their lives to the country. ee has harped on but two or three individuals… GVS de Silva, Senake Bibile, and yes, SBD de Silva… still countless others.
Most of the advances Lanka has made came about due to such dedicated workers, especially when guided and aided by a scientific socialist movement. A tradition that surely must and shall be emulated again (see ee Focus, Garvin Karunaratne, Batty Weerakoon), for despite retreats life is ever forward …
The next World War (already WW3, 4 or 5?, or is it a ‘world war’ only when whites are mass murdered?), may again offer opportunities, if we are not all blown up, to unclasp the claws of imperialism. And people must be ready to act with focus, calling up the spirit of such paths forerun.
• The Sinhala System of Justice
All these rains and floods in this the wettest month of every year, remind again that the very pivot of our underdevelopment lies in the colonial destruction of irrigation systems. The corporate media always acts like a visiting tourist, surprised by rains, floods and drought, and consequent devastation and disease. But hasn’t it long been like this? Is it only to do with ‘climate change’?
English-promoted historians KM de Silva praised the colonial Governor Henry Ward’s efforts at reorganizing agriculture, saying Ward had “good reason to be proud”. But, as SB de Silva recalled, later English officials had noted the total collapse of the old village system under the English.
Little research has been done, said SB, on the purana villages (PV). The little evidence we have indicates it was a highly cooperative & collective enterprise involving an assurance of labor supply, proper fencing, movement of cattle, maintenance and repair including the desilting of canals, and cooperation during drought, where water was a social and not a private asset even where Ratay Mahattayas owned reservoirs.
The gansabha (village council) control of water was the very pivot of the purana gam (ancient village) system. Solidarity, especially in the maintenance of water systems, was vital for agricultural production in a monsoonal country, with gansabha also resolving exigencies of siltage, drought, transactions and debt.
As SBD de Silva noted (see ee Quotes below), under the Sinhala Kings: “The adjudication of any transactional nexus was governed by the general principle of equity.” This principle of justice, the basis of solidarity, also governed debts. The traditional Sinhala system of debt payment was one where debts unpaid after harvests failed, would be paid in the next. There was no robbing of people’s land, to impoverish the cultivator.
With the imposition of plantations and private property, a paddy tax only payable in cash, along with compound interest, was enforced under the English after 1833. The plantations also grabbed chena and forest land, the commons of the peasantry.
The gansabha were undermined and replaced by judicial courts. The solidarity required to maintain intricate water systems were eroded. Maybe our numerous law or accounting graduates could tell us when compound interest was first ‘enforced’ by these courts. Compound interest and paddy tax also led to massive ‘legal’ landlessness, sharecropping, and the dominance of a parasitic merchant-usurer, shopkeeper, absentee-landlord class. Next year’s harvest is still bartered in exchange for imported industrial goods, etc.
The paddy surplus in the economy was thus monetized outside the farm, and shifted into towns, undermining the rural economy, dominated by parasites who still prevent its transformation.
Midst the clear scandal of Central Bank dereliction in the midst of the microfinance tragedy linked to these parasites (“to live on the village you do not have to live in the village”), we have the daily harping on the odious debts that the country may never be able to pay.
ee offers this discussion below on this debt business, based on a talk by Michael Hudson, a former Chase Manhattan bank analyst of their ‘balance of payments’ business (a source of no end of worry to our media and their economists) that ends up stripping a country of its ability to control its economy.
The old Sinhala principle of equity in paying debts is also recalled in the 1920s post-WW1 German reparations debate. Some ‘victors’ wished to totally strip Germany. Maynard Keynes argued otherwise, and exactly what our countries should also do with debt today. Keynes said if a creditor demands money, the creditor must say how it wishes to be paid: “Here are the exports we will pay for.”
Keynes had developed the notion that capacity to pay was important. When the economic system broke down, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was formed in 1931 to make calculations of how much a country had to pay. The BIS then limited Germany’s debt service without it having to selling off all its resources, all its capital. There was first a scale-back of the debt Germany owed and then a moratorium. But that was then and Germany!
In the recent Greek meltdown, the EU did not go to Greece and say: ‘here are the agricultural goods we will pay for with the money you owe us’. When Greece joined the EU, it did not benefit from the EU common agriculture policy, like France and Germany have done. Instead, Greece had to stop producing agricultural goods. They demanded Greece hand over raw materials, transportation, energy rights to private companies. IMF knew Greece could not pay its debt in this way, some even arguing it was wrong to do this. The EU’s IMF analyst on Greece even quit and wrote a book about it. But the European Central Bank insisted otherwise.
No similar institution like the old BIS has been advocated today. The present financial system promoted by the IMF-World Bank-US Treasury is an exercise in throwing countries into debt and stripping them of their assets. They want all of country’s entire surplus to be spent in paying interest on debt to foreign banks, most often interest on interest not paid for the foreign debts. They rob an economy until it is unable to pay.
Then, finance capitalism goes into its next stage. Hudson calls this the ‘foreclosure phase’, with finance as the new mode of warfare. In a military war people fight back, yet how do you prevent a country fighting back against finance capitalism? When it can only act as a parasite, like in biology, except feeding on more than blood and income, it takes over the host’s brain, releasing an enzyme that makes the host believe that the parasite is part of the body. Financial capitalism and the economists and media it pays for, do that. Finance capitalism bases its economic theory on the notion that all debts can be paid, and paying foreign debt is no problem. Hudson likens financial capitalism to military invasion, where they plunder land, raw materials, gas rights, and public utilities. This is how Michael Hudson defines ‘neoliberalism’.
The BIS is now only a meeting place for central banks, who only represent the commercial banks, which promote an anti-labor policy. All they wish is to reduce the price of labor. All the economic models taught at universities, which the IMF applies, are anti-labor –demanding that when a country has difficulty paying debts, they must reduce labor costs.
Yet an opposing economic tradition has always argued that raising wages also raises labor productivity. This is what the US did after their civil war (see ee Economists). Conversely, when wages go down, people are forced to migrate. Most evident in our economy today.
Our countries have been reduced to debt peonage by financial interests, and the Left has not been prepared. Some believe it’s because Marx and Left leaders were optimists. They believed industrial capitalism would be so strong, it would industrialize banking. Instead, finance has financialized the banking industry, and turned the economy into an extractive system.
As opposed to financing an extractive system, we need a real central bank, we need a real treasury. The purpose of a treasury is to run a budget deficit. Budget deficits are what pump money into a economy. If there is no treasury or central bank, the economy will be entirely dependent on commercial banks, which don’t lend for the same things. Private bankers are into takeovers and the asset stripping business. We need to put in place a treasury-based productive financial system, to finance growth rather than stripping assets…
• A Centre for ‘Wealth Analysis’ Now!
We need a Centre for Wealth Analysis! A CWA would tell us how our rich have become rich, and if all of us could also become rich this way as well?
A Centre for Wealth Analysis could also tell us what our rich think ‘rich’ means? Are they rich like their white principals who advanced through invasion, genocide and industrialization? Or do they think rich also means a poor person with money merely filling always-emptying pockets?
A CWA would tell us, who tells them what rich means? Who or what limits the depths of their desires? A foreign-controlled advertising sector that dangles imports before their eyes?
For example, we have a Centre for Poverty Analysis (CPA) in Colombo! We know there may be 1,001 ways to be impoverished. They keep analyzing. The CPA is funded by Germany? by the EU? Funded by the US’s Asia Foundation and USAID? A CWA could tell us how many of these foreign ’poverty’ experts have gotten wealthy through the CPA!
A Centre for Wealth Analysis could also tell us how Germany, EU, USA got rich and whether we could become rich the way they did. And would Germany, the EU and USA help us in becoming rich the way they did, or do they only let us buy their machinery and station their war machines here?
A CWA could tell us: Who runs the country’s economy? Is it China as broadcast by the English media, or is it the US Treasury’s IMF/WB? A CWA would measure the parameters of our innumerate illiteracy.
A Centre for Wealth Analysis could tell us if our economy is controlled by ‘minorities’? Is the real minority a ‘multicultural’ oligarchy! Is the economy controlled by those ‘minorities’, coddled by the English and other invaders before them, with religio-linguistic merchant links to India, West and Southeast Asia, and the white man of course?
A CWA could also tell is who or what is behind the rise of such merchants ‘of the soil’, as a Dhammika Perera or a Harry Jayawardene. How many machines do they make, that make what they sell? Is it true they are mere fronts for foreign capitalists? These questions are not asked or answered by our ‘liberals’. These CWA analyses are necessary to counter ‘conspiracy’ theories of who is responsible for this system.
A Centre for Wealth Analysis is vital because there is very little analysis of the perpetrators of this system we are shackled to. A system run for low and high commission men.
A CWA could show if this rich made their money through boondoggles like the Mahaveli ‘development’ program, the beggars’ wounds of a 30-year war, the privatization of public goods (health, education, food distribution), the demolition of local industries?
A Centre for Wealth Analysis could tell us the different types of capitalists we have, and why we do not have industrial capitalists. It could explore the type of economy that derives from the short-term nexus of money (usurer, finance) capitalists, land (rentier) capitalists, import/export merchant capitalists, bureaucratic capitalists, etc.
A CWA would show how the now dominant companies can be traced back to the imposition of plantation capitalism. How these plantation agency houses have not just monopolized local resources and lands, but also dominated imports and exports. A CWA would then show why they wish to limit the economy to promoting such port activity!
A Centre for Wealth Analysis may tell us why the media and the politicians act like there is no alternative to finance dominating our economies. A CWA would show why such capitalists wish to remove the power of central planning from our governments and put it into the hands of the IMF/World Bank (i.e. the US Treasury), their big banks and their financial centres.
A CWA would show how international lenders, like the US banks, do not lend for capital formation, not for investment in new plant or new equipment, or new hiring. Most loans by commercial banks are for the transfer of property in land, for mortgages!
A CWA would show how Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (designed by the US Treasury!) has been captured by these private commercial banks & multinationals, who do not lend for production.
After all, a bank is like a vaeva, a reservoir of water, which is shared among the producers. This has long been part of our living heritage. Long live the CWA!
A2. Reader Comments
• “Why is it taking the English so long to identify the 39 Asian workers who were murdered in a truck in England? The lucrative traffic in workers is linked to a few European recruitment companies and employment sectors.”
• “Candidates offering to give tax holidays for industry is utter bullshit. What industries require is not reduced taxation on profits yet to be earned, but protection from advantaged foreign imports and reduced tariffs on imported raw materials, where those are not available locally. Otherwise, already existing commercial enterprises will simply transfer their profits to “manufacturing” subsidiaries, and show losses on the other, trade and service subsidiaries.”
• “See the Norwegian ambassador following US’ Alina Teplitz who visited the Mahanayakas after Easter carnage to sell SOFA. Shouldn’t the MFA ask ambassadors to refrain from playing religious politics in Sri Lanka?” (see ee Sovereignty)
• The ee on SWRD’s assassination and its links to an independent foreign policy was much easier to understand than earlier ees!”
• “The new Colombo to KKS train is from India, the opening of airports in Palali and Batticaloa are also a subsidy for Indian airlines because we pay for the maintenance while their airlines profit. Weird that even neoliberals do not point this out as a huge fiscal burden. It is likely that the MCC focus on transport infrastructure is also for benefit of Indian (and Japanese) rail and automobile manufactures.”
• “Great stuff on SWRD! Can we share ee with others?”
(Response: ee is written to and for, perhaps too limited to, a small circle of people who may go beyond the usual view of our world. ee receives requests to share with others unknown. “Go ahead”, as reticently advised, just do not share the email address, mainly because ee is ‘fabricated’ by several people. ee welcomes critical comment from all quarters.)
A3. Quotes of the Week_____________________________________
• Trade and Monetary Exchange in a Precapitalist Economy – The Case of the Kandyan Kingdom of Sri Lanka: “Transactions in property and in money were characterized by a high degree of complexity and flexibility; different forms of transactions dovetailed into each other. The system of adjudication was suited to deal with an assortment of disputed transactions that seemed to be mixed up in rich profusion. Unlike under the Roman-Dutch law where different transactions are considered as falling into distinct classes and governed by discrete laws, in the Kandyan society there was a fluidity of transactions. For instance, a fine or a money debt was commutable into a land transfer and even into the produce of a crop season. In contrast to the complexity of transactions in property and in money, the resolution of disputes was based largely on a fairly general acceptance of sanctions by the chiefs, and the appeal to commonsense. The Kandyan chiefs had authority to pass and execute decrees, and to decide on land claims. The adjudication of any transactional nexus was governed by the general principle of equity. In one instance, equity was held to override the mistaken discharge of a bond, and the bond was revalidated by the court and the consequent debt obligations were adjusted. The simplicity of this system did away with the need for an extended legal profession.” (from Chapter 8, SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment)
• “It is easy to sing when the streets are alive with singing,
When the drum beats the rhythm we want in us all…
It is easy enough to speak the words that move
When the crowd is aroused and wants what you wish to prove.
What’s not so easy is to lead in the dark
From moment to moment knowing just where the spark
And just how strong, may be struck. For the real work
Is the work that no one sees and earns no remark.”
– by Randall Swingler, “Dedicated to a Communist”, possibly VI Lenin (a poem quoted by Maurice Dobb in his On Economic Theory and Socialism)
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. US abuses diplomatic status: Lessons for Sri Lanka – Sunday Times
“One does not have the space to spell out in detail the terms of some provisions of SOFA which President Sirisena put a stop to. The US embassy hopes to take it up again after the presidential election knowing that its links with both sides will allow the US to further its interests.”
…What sticks in the craw besides the secret deals going on under the table is the invitation to the US Peace Corps to return to Sri Lanka after it was packed off by the Sirima Bandaranaike government somewhere in the early 1970s. If our diplomatic panjandrums do their homework they would surely know that individually or collectively Peace Corps volunteers have been kicked out of several developing countries for espionage activities or involvement in domestic politics. Among the privileges extended to them include tax-free and other concessions and import of personal goods and equipment etc. It is as though the teaching of English requires sophisticated equipment unless it is to correct American spelling into the Queen’s English and the American accent into something more comprehensible. Still the larger question remains: Who in this government invited them back?
Although the full details of the proposed SOFA pact still remain largely confidential, what is now known should surely ring alarm bells among those in this country concerned about its sovereignty and security.
Among the privileges that the US embassy’s diplomatic note to our foreign ministry on SOFA asked for is the right of US military personnel to carry weapons and be subject not to Sri Lankan jurisdiction but to US law in the event of some crime or criminal activity. They will be beyond Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction even if one of them kills or wounds a local person with his weapon unlike Anne Sacoolas which was admittedly an accident but one for which she is responsible.
Those stationed in Sri Lanka will be using their US driving licences which need not be produced before any local authority. Nor would their passports or other travel documents be inspected when they travel abroad. Their vehicles on Sri Lankan roads cannot be inspected or boarded. They could kill anybody and get away with it as they would just wave their diplomatic papers.
There is also a clause that exempts US vessels and aircraft being boarded and inspected by Sri Lankan authorities. It also exempts equipment and other articles and material being used under this agreement, from inspection within Sri Lanka.
To put it rather crudely these privileges in theory allow the US to plant a nuclear weapon in President Sirisena’s back garden or carry on board a US vessel and none of our sleuths will be any the wiser.
US ambassador Alaina Teplitz might think that she can hoodwink the Sri Lanka people as President Trump, now being investigated for impeachment, does to his own people and drops friends and allies all over the White House floor, does by describing the SOFA as one of not too much consequence and not one that compromises Sri Lanka.
If that Ambassador Teplitz thinks this is all harmless may be she has read the wrong script which Sri Lankans should read assiduously and rebel against any attempt to seal it.
A consequence of SOFA and ACSA collectively is to enmesh Sri Lanka in big power geopolitics at a time when the Indian Ocean is a vital sea lane for Pacific nations. In a narrower context US personnel will be able to get away with murder because Sri Lanka has no jurisdiction over them.”
B2. Premadasa on foreign relations: President or proxy? – Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
United National Front (UNF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa’s remarks on the foreign policy that could be expected of a government, led by him, in the event of an election victory, have been sketchy. There have also been contradictions in positions taken at different times and at different venues. This leaves the voter in a quandary as to the policy that would emerge in this important area, if Premadasa became the Head of State, Head of the Executive and of the Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as the next President of Sri Lanka. We need to remember that the leadership change takes place at a time when the country needs to skillfully navigate geopolitical tensions caused by big power rivalry in the region.
On Thursday, at rallies in the Kurunegala District Premadasa spoke, with emotion, about sacrifices made by security forces during the war, vowing never to betray them, even if it meant ‘laying down his life’. The fiery speeches came after his main rival, SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa held his first press conference at the Shangri-La hotel, on Tuesday, where he categorically rejected UNHRC resolution 30/1, co-sponsored by the yahapalana government, in 2015. Gotabaya said he ‘couldn’t recognise what they had signed with another government’ and that it was not a legal document, asserting, however, that he would continue to work with the UN rights organization to resolve issues. Resolution 30/1 has met with opposition as it is widely seen as being anti-Sri Lanka, and particularly inimical to the security forces, credited with ending LTTE terror. Although then foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera signed up to co-sponsor the resolution, President Maithripala Sirisena has said he never endorsed the move.
One of Sajith Premadasa’s first statements, on foreign policy, was at an interaction with diplomats on 2nd Oct. Flanked by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and Minister of Development Strategies Malik Samarawickrema, the newly declared presidential candidate spoke on what he described as ‘Sri Lanka’s policy in the future with regard to inter-state relations.’ Premadasa wound up his comments saying ‘I want to assure you that we remain firmly committed to working as a team in government, and that we will ensure that Sri Lanka meets its voluntary international commitments.’ Although it is not explicitly mentioned, the latter assertion would seem to refer to the US-led Geneva resolution which Sri Lanka ‘voluntarily’ co-sponsored. Premadasa’s statement was circulated to media by minister Samaraweera’s office.
Samaraweera’s touch may be detected elsewhere in the document as well. Buzz words & phrases such as ‘open trade,’ ‘freedom of navigation,’ ‘rules-based order’ ‘transforming Sri Lanka into a hub in the Indian Ocean’, etc, are associated with the US’s economic/political reform agenda in SL, of which the pro-US finance minister is a key proponent. Premadasa’s statement describes them as ‘principles’ that ‘Sri Lanka will remain firmly committed to.’ There is also reference to ‘countering violent extremism’ – a concept increasingly being discussed by international-relations organisations, and which turns out to be Western in origin. It has been critiqued by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as one which ‘lays the blame for the dissemination of radical ideologies and expansion of the social base of terrorism on political regimes that the West has proclaimed undemocratic, illiberal or authoritarian’. While the UNF candidate’s remarks to the diplomatic corps were of a general nature, nowhere was there any mention of Non-alignment, or UN Charter principles, only a commitment to ‘maintaining a policy of friendship withal nations, both in the region and beyond’.
The reference to promoting Sri Lanka ‘as a Rest & Recreation Centre in the Indian Ocean with sports tourism & newer forms of tourism’, as part of the foreign policy agenda, is also a matter of concern. Particularly so in a context where it is known that the US seeks to use Sri Lanka as a military logistics hub in the Indian Ocean (‘Duplicity & doublespeak at work: US military logistics hub,’ The Island 05.02.19 http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=198866 )
‘Rest & Recreation’ or ‘R&R’ in US military terminology, is ‘a term used for the free time of a soldier or international UN staff serving in unaccompanied (no family) duty stations’, according to Wikipedia. ‘Prostitution has long been part of what military men have participated in as part of their “R&R”,’ it adds. The question arises as to whether ‘promoting Sri Lanka as a Rest & Recreation Centre in the Indian Ocean’ is in fact a veiled reference to promoting sex tourism.
The R&R centre envisaged in the foreign policy statement also needs to be seen in the context of the Acquisition and Cross Service Agreement (ACSA) signed by Sri Lanka, in August 2017, which, according to available information, lays the groundwork for various units of the US military, listed in annexures running into nearly 80 pages, to enter the country. In addition, a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), currently under negotiation between the governments of SL and the US, seeks to give US military personnel, arriving in the country, immunity from prosecution under Sri Lanka’s judicial system (among a slew of other privileges and concessions). If a rape, murder or other crime is committed in Sri Lanka, diplomatic immunity will be cited to protect the US nationals concerned.
The recent case in the UK, where a 19-year-old British man, Harry Dunn, was killed in a crash involving a car driven by the wife of a US diplomat, stationed at Royal Air Force Croughton, a US military base, is a grim warning of the kind of problems that could arise with issues relating to diplomatic immunity. The US and the UK are now in the throes of a diplomatic spat after Anne Sacoolas, who was driving on the wrong side of the road when her car crashed into the motorcyclist, left Britain for the US – reportedly ‘under diplomatic immunity’. Reports say Sacoolas refuses to return to Britain to cooperate with the investigation.
It may not be the case that Sajith Premadasa advocates sex tourism in Sri Lanka or that he wishes to convey the impression that it will be encouraged, or to suggest that he is a proxy for US interests. But the relatively young presidential hopeful would need to distance himself from a variety of party interlocutors if he expects to build the popular, people-friendly image he seeks, or for that matter, to project an independent profile of any sort. The extent to which he remains shackled by demands of the party hierarchy, or the degree to which he is compromised by those to whom he is indebted, remains unclear. None of these circumstances are excuses for blunders on the part of someone pitching for the highest office in the land.
One event at which the UNF candidate spoke his mind, unaccompanied, was an AmCham forum where he expressed support for market-based economic policies. Asked for his view on how Sri Lanka should be managing its international relationships, Premadasa said external relationships will be ‘purely based on achieving national interest’ and that he would adopt ‘a highly realist power-politics based approach that will bring maximum benefit to the country’. This does not fully correspond with the drift of his remarks to the diplomats.
Following Gotabaya’s rejection of Resolution 30/1, Samaraweera issued a media statement, defending the resolution. He claimed that following the presidential election of January 8, 2015, the government co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 to ‘reassert Sri Lanka’s sovereign right to solve its own problems locally’. But it is precisely the fact that Resolution 30/1 did NOT allow Sri Lanka to ‘solve its own problems locally’ and instead called for the participation – in a judicial mechanism – of foreign judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators, that triggered outrage at home. The resolution was seen to compromise sovereignty.
In further sleight of hand, the former foreign minister sought to equate the foreign judges in the mechanism anticipated in Resolution 30/1 with the legal Advisory Council and team of foreign experts who advised the Paranagama Commission, appointed by the Rajapaksa government to look into possible HR violations during the war (‘a mechanism … in which there would be the participation of foreign jurists, just like President Mahinda Rajapaksa had foreign experts in the Paranagama Commission’). Surely the minister would know there is a difference between the role played by a legal advisor and that of a judge. He also said the co-sponsorship of the resolution was ‘based on the mandate received from the voters to implement the 100-Day programme’. On the contrary, what the 100-Day Programme said (item 93), was that any allegations of war crimes will be adjudicated by a ‘national, independent court’ (desheeya swaadeena adhikaranayak).
Samaraweera was among Premadasa’s earliest backers during the UNP nomination saga. Is he attempting to influence positions taken on the diplomatic/foreign relations front? What the candidate himself thinks on these matters is far from clear. Rather, his speeches have been filled with an abundance of welfare-related promises. This makes it difficult for the discriminating voter to know who or what the ‘swan’ symbol stands for in the vital area of foreign policy.
B3. Sri Lanka’s Development & Pitfalls – Garvin Karunaratne, Former Government Agent, Matara
“I am prompted to write about what was achieved in development since Sri Lanka achieved independence, because some of our presidential aspirants have said that Sri Lanka had no development whatsoever since gaining independence 71 years ago. It is sad to note that some of our presidential aspirants happen to be that ignorant.
We made strides in development in increasing agricultural production, poverty alleviation and industry. Of course there were pitfalls due to political interference at times, and finally in 1978 we caved in to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which decimated most development work done by us, by imposing its Structural Adjustment Programme on us.
I assumed duties as an Assistant Commissioner for Development of Agricultural Marketing in 1955. At that time there were some 400 staff officers and worked in a few departments specially established to deal with development. Above us were members of the Civil Service, about 125 in number, holding senior positions in Departments and also worked as Permanent Secretaries in charge of Ministries. There were some 12 Ministries and a few Departments. We never left a stone unturned. The Ministers decided the policies and it was left to us to implement them. There was no stopping us. We even clashed with local Ministers, MPs and Trade Unions. The maximum punishment was to transfer us. We were happy to pick up our bag and baggage and move to start working in another district. Though not officially members of leftist parties, we were influenced by savants, leaders like Dr NM, SA Wickremasinghe & Philip Gunawardena. It was to uplift the down-trodden masses and alleviate them from the depths of poverty. Of course there were pitfalls, but we knew to surmount them all.
The main Departments of Irrigation, Agriculture and Survey were already equipped with trained staff. Their work was exceptional. On the first day of my consultancy in Bangladesh I called for the one-inch survey sheets of the country, the basic document from which we start work in Sri Lanka. They had no one-inch sheets. No surveys were ever done. I knew the Superintendents of Surveys in the Districts I worked in and their work was meticulous.
It is sad that the current Government had to call in the services of a Survey Company from the USA to do some surveys, ignoring our Survey Department. That is a sad saga of the Americanization we are going through in the last few years.
The Department of Agriculture and Irrigation did wonders. Suffice it to state that the Irrigation Department reconstructed the lost tanks in double quick time, and this enabled the development of thousands of acres. In Agriculture we achieved self-sufficiency in paddy by 1970, which no other country could achieve.
One main felt need was the lack of land for residence and development. During the days of the State Council, well before we gained independence, plans were laid for peasant colonization schemes, where lands were brought under cultivation under tanks that were restored by the Irrigation Department. This was a major task done very quickly.
Land had to be alienated to people and this task fell on the Government Agents in charge of the Districts. A Land Commissioners Department was established and District Land Officers were posted to the Districts to work under the GAs. There was a full cadre of officers – Supervisors of Land Development and Overseers appointed, and their task was to help the peasant colonists in the newly cultivated colonization schemes. Each District also had a Surveyor to attend to minor surveying. Major surveying was passed onto the Survey Department.
The Land Development Department was formed to make roads and buildings in the colonization areas, and each unit had a labour force of hundreds. They were equipped with D8 and D4 land machines, graders and many lorries and theirs was a major task. Colonists were settled in the thousands and the Land Development Department had to attend to all their wants. There were many colonies and the work was so important that certain key areas like Anuradhapura had a member of the Civil Service, specially tasked to ensure that the colonists were cared for. It is important to note that the officers had to work in malaria-infested areas. Once it so happened that the colonists were fleeced by traders in Padaviya, and when this was raised at the District Coordinating Committee meeting, I as the Assistant Commissioner for Marketing undertook to establish a Fair Price Shop. This was done within a week. We worked that fast.
In Districts where there were no major colonies, crown land if available was apportioned among the landless, and at times estates belonging to private owners were taken over on payment and allocated to landless people.
In all this land alienation utmost care was taken to ensure that the land will remain with the people. The land could be handed over to children and their kin, but not sold outright. In fact this system was arrived at after careful consideration by Prime Minister DS Senanayake. He appointed a Committee to make recommendations and it is on record that this Committee held deliberations for over a year. The current MCC Compact Proposal has tried to provide full sale rights of this land, and if this had gone through and the land was made freely saleable, the main aim of providing land to the landless would have been undermined; with multinationals coming in, and this land could have ended in their lap.
The Department of Local Government was established to ensure that the local government institutions elected by the people did function efficiently. Contracts were given for the councils to attend to the construction of roads and public utilities like water supply, and the Assistant Commissioners were very strict to ensure the work was done well. In an instance known to me, an Assistant Commissioner who did not approve the work done was obstructed by placing a tree across the road. Luckily, his car was a Peugeot 203, a hardy car that went over the tree. He had to fight his way through firing a gun he had. His life was saved.
If any council was found wanting the Assistant Commissioner took over and functioned as a Special Commissioner in charge. I can remember Sonny Gunawardena the Special Commissioner at Anuradhapura acting like a dictator in serving the people, very efficiently without bending to influence. The main function of any local council happens to be the collection of garbage and at that time there was never any garbage pile ups to talk of. The current pile ups of garbage commenced with politicians taking over power from officials – a trend from the ‘70s.
Very early after achieving independence it was felt that the rural areas need development. To attend to administrative work there were Village Headmen in every cluster of villages, and they were under a Divisional Revenue Officer (DRO). Initially their tasks were administrative, but gradually they were handling rural development.
The people in rural areas had to be helped with employment – to create incomes, and with this aim a Rural Development and Cottage Industry Department was established, to function under the Government Agents. A Rural Development Officer was posted to each Divisional Revenue Officer’s area. In each village area a Rural Development Society was formed – elected by the people. These RD Societies had to look into the needs of the village. To attend to small infrastructure development tasks like small roads. This was done on a self-help basis where the people also had to contribute their labour. The Rural Development Societies were given in charge of the work. Every District had an allocation of funds for infrastructure development work. Some districts could not spend the full allocation and in the 2 years I worked as Additional GA at Kegalle I liaised with the Director of Rural Development to obtain the unspent funds from other Districts. He would scout to find the possible savings and inform me to commence projects at short notice…” (for full text:
B4. Batty Weerakoon – Gamini Seneviratne
“I knew of Batty from way back, initially from stories of undergrads up in Peradeniya / Kandy during the great hartal of 1953. By the time my batch-mates up there became Trotskyites/‘Trots’ he would have completed his exams and training in that field and become a practicing lawyer. I assume he took to activism with our several big trade unions right from those days but have no knowledge of it.
I joined the LSSP as a Candidate Member in 1958 for two years and was, unusually, confirmed as a full Member within a year. We had occasional meetings/discussions with NM, Colvin, Bernard, Bala and Edmund but came in time to understand that the General Secretary, Leslie Goonewardena, was the path-maker. Leslie was succeeded by Bernard and Batty took over from him. Those may be said to have been the last of the path-makers.
There should have been some old comrades who understood what the LSSP stood for and something of its history but those whose names come to mind, Sidney Wanasinghe, Vijaya Vidyasagara, NSE Perera, Piyasena Goonatilake et al are all gone. Perhaps Tissa Vitarana, now, like Colvin, the President of the Party could bring Henry Peiris’s history up to date. Actually, Colvin was briefly styled ‘President’ in the early days and once again in his last days.
As we heard the other day when potential candidates at the coming presidential election, there are a few (or at least one) ‘comrade’ who claims to be of Trotsky’s Fourth International: he was patently a fraud, a mercenary sustained by Tamil communalist groups.
In the early 1970s Batty appeared for me in a rent-control matter that involved a pseudo-Samasamajist of a different cloth. Some 20 years later he outflanked other lawyers and on a writ of habeas corpus obtained the release of a number of young or mostly young men who had been taken into custody on a complaint that they were ‘Lalith Athulathmudali’ men. (Actually they developed into the core group of Janatha Mithuro: none of them had ever met Lalith).
On a Fundamental Rights application filed thereafter for Malinda Channa Pieris Seneviratne and the others and presented by distinguished counsel RKW Goonasekera supported by several senior lawyers, all appearing pro deo, the Secretary/Defense and the police were ordered to pay compensation out of their private funds to those who had been wrongfully confined. This case has been reported in the NLR.
Batty had ‘sprung’ them and took no part in the case before the Supreme Court. A decade later however Batty, then Minister of Scientific Affairs, supported a case (also argued by RKW Goonasekera) against the attempt by Chandrika Kumaratunga to sell off the phosphate deposits in and around Eppawala to a consortium of US-Japanese-Australian companies.
Minister Weerakoon referred that proposal to the Lankan scientists in our Universities and those associated with the department of Geological Survey and the Mines & Minerals Corporation for study. He obtained the advice eventually of the national scientific council, headed by Dr ROB Wijesekera – the body that was statutorily empowered to advice the government on such a matter. All such reports would have guided the Supreme Court which held that the proposed mining project would have destroyed the basis of an ancient hydraulic civilization that was an important and irreplaceable part of the human heritage. The case was filed by the Loku Hamuduruvo of the temple and residents/farmers around the Jaya Ganga.
That judgment was delivered by Justice ARB Amerasinghe who also drew attention to a judgment made by Justice CJ Weeramantry before the International Court in The Hague in which Justice Weeramantry had described the foundations of the self-same hydraulic civilization.
But we are getting ahead of time regarding the assault on Eppawala and its environs that include Anuradhapura itself. It was attempted much earlier by a perennial bad-egg in the UNP. JR was President at the time and even casual readers of our newspapers might recall pictures of JR with NM and Colvin near the Jaya Ganga, ‘seeing for himself’ what irreparable harm such a project would cause. He vetoed the proposal.
NM and Colvin had been briefed on the matter by Batty whose gampalatha was there, but – surprise! – he does not figure in the photographs.
I had been assisting Bernard at the Ministry and when Batty succeeded him I continued to be around. When I last met him there he said, ‘There are some musical instruments here that had been gifted to Bernard. Get them over to some deserving persons – you know the kind of people he liked.’
Batty Weerakoon was distinguished in several fields of human engagement in social life. Strengthening trade unions as well as the LSSP as a political force were related activities in which he left his mark. A part of his contribution as Minister of Scientific Affairs have been sketched above. His attempts to have the National Science Foundation focus its resources better were well known at the time – not all such initiatives proved productive but the share of failure was, in Batty’s case, surely quite low.
A fond farewell, Comrade!”
B5. So why is Holland’s Rabobank, financing the ‘building of rural bridges’ in Sri Lanka? (ee thought they were more into dykes?)
What is Rabo Bank’s link to ‘Anglo-Dutch’ Unilever? Last ee mentioned Rabo building bridges in Sri Lanka, and its origins in Holland’s farmer banks, monopolizing Holland’s rural market, becoming that country’s second-largest bank. This news item below, glossy PR though it may be, is interesting, because of the importance of investing our own rural surplus to our own benefit:
‘Through the Langholm Capital Partners Fund, Unilever and Rabo together invest in Unilever Technology Ventures, Santa Barbara, California, and “technology based funds and business start-ups for genomics and advanced materials science”. LCPF’s first investment was NextGen Partners, a materials science and nanotechnology venture fund. Rabobank and Unilever are also linked in a “consortium of international banks, corporates, fintech startups, an NGO and a research institution” that released “a new model for blockchain-enabled sustainable supply chain finance”, called Trado. Led by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the group includes BNP Paribas, Barclays, Rabobank, Sainsbury’s, Sappi, Standard Chartered, Unilever, as well as technology companies Provenance, Halotrade and Meridia, and IDH.
A live pilot saw blockchain technology track tea from farmers in Malawi being sold to Unilever and financed by BNP Baribas. The “Ethereum-based blockchain solution” was “developed by Provenance, a social enterprise that helps firms track supply chains using blockchain, and Halotrade, a fintech firm that uses “smart contracts to convert supply chain sustainability data into automated access to trade finance”.
The pilot saw Meridia, a data collection company, collect data on individual smallholder farmers supplying the tea, all verified by IDH. This included ‘democratic data’ (such as gender and educational level), economic data (for example, type of transport and source of income), financial data (such as savings and borrowing) and agricultural data around the crop. All information was recorded on a blockchain Provenance application. Production data (quality, quantity, date, price and sample approvals) were provided by Unilever’s direct supplier (a local tea factory) which the recording blockchain shared with Halotrade’s system to enable faster invoices, with the local factory given earlier access to Unilever’s supply chain finance programme – what the Trado model calls a “data-for-benefits swap”. It’s “all about” having “data verified and shared across the supply chain” to enable earlier payment of invoices, and “reduce the working capital cost of the factory.” Unilever buyers make the information available to shoppers to increase sales and use the data to gull regulators of environmental and labour standards. It gives “the buyer confidence to instruct its bank to release supplier financing early, as soon as the goods are produced. Under traditional supply-chain finance programmes, a buyer only approves financing for a supplier once the goods are boarded on a ship and the buyer gets received relevant invoice and bill of lading.
In the report, ‘Trado: New technologies to fund fairer, more transparent supply chains’, the consortium explains:
“In the period between producing the goods and those goods being boarded, a supplier would normally need to rely on more expensive local financing. With the Trado model, however, the supplier can borrow sooner at the buyer’s lower rate from the buyer’s bank when the goods have been produced.”
Unilever gets “the visibility of the contract being fulfilled”, and with “that trust and transparency” allows Unilever to take “the preshipment risk and give a payment obligation to its bank before the goods had even left the factory.”
Being able to receive supply chain financing 35 days earlier provided savings for the factory, which was “reinvested in sustainability initiatives in the farming community”. According to the consortium, Trado generated up to a 3% increase in tea farmers’ income & invested in sustainable farming training.
For banking, the new technology offers “better data”, and therefore better “oversight of transactions”, also enabling “compliance with domestic regulations such as the Climate Change Act, Modern Slavery Act and Bribery Act” and to “demonstrate social and environmental leadership”.’
(ee:This last bit of ‘liberal talk’ is to divert from the fact they keep millions of plantation workers in a state of super-exploitation)
C. News Index______________________________________________
C1. Sovereignty (ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Foreign spies here for polls
“Foreign intelligence agencies are showing greater interest in the presidential election on Nov 16. Some have turned up in Colombo from their home stations, of course under cover, to see how the political parties are fighting it out. Of concern to them, it appears, is the role of foreign nations and their links to the different parties.”
• EU to deploy over 80 election observers
• EU won’t intervene, sidesteps query on foreign interference
“EU mission couldn’t intervene in case an attempt was made to discourage the voters in the Northern and Eastern provinces from exercising their franchise.”
• Global liberal Mafiosi mobilizes against the Rajapaksas – Chandraprema
• USA’s Threatening Interventions during the Eelam War in 2009
“This essay is an effort to unravel the whispers about an American military team’s secret mission to Sri Lanka at the height of the SL armed forces successful squeeze on the LTTE in 2009…”
• Norwegian Ambassador visits Kandy
She was Chief Guest at the 7th convocation of Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy, funded by Norway, and paid respects to Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya chapter Most Venerable Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thero, Chief Prelate of the Malwatta chapter Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thero, and the Bishop of Kandy His Lordship Joseph Vianney Fernando. She also visited a number of home gardens in Galaha area, which receive technical assistance from Caritas Sri Lanka, an organization supported by Caritas Norway.
• Botched Airport Opening Ceremony: Sri Lanka Cries
“The Airforce Commander failed to cooperate. When an Indian technical crew on 16 Sept 2019 after a hard day’s work asked for tea, he retorted that the Indians were doing it for Tamils and demanded ‘Do you expect me to serve you tea?’”
• November Lanka polls to test India’s presence in southern Indian Ocean region
• GSMB committed serious violation by allowing export of gold mixed soil, admits its Director
• An election that could threaten Sri Lankan democracy – Brahma Chellaney
“Gotayaba’s camp has also confirmed that he plans to ‘restore relations’ with China…” Chellaney is Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research and Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin.
• PSC on Easter attacks under a cloud over Hakeem-Zahran powwow
• Hakeem responds to controversial video with Zahran
‘Then I went to Kattankudy to console our supporters. Zahran had also crawled into this. What am I to do about that?’
• Tamil leadership re-igniting anti-Sinhala-Buddhist racism for political gain
• New turn in northern Tamil politics – Chandraprema
“The 13 demands put forward by five Tamil political parties in the north want marks a watershed in northern Tamil politics.”
• JVP’s NPP agrees with Tamil parties on several proposals
“…the NPP was against the proposal to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces and claimed it was a move by the separatists to demand a divided administration.”
• Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election: Focus on Divisive Politics and Beyond
“Scholars also note that over decades, Sinhala politicians have played up a virulent form of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, which holds that the island is home to Sinhala Theravada Buddhism and that minorities are only tolerated if they accept Sinhala hegemony.” – Amresh Gunasingham is associate editor at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, a specialist center within Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
• Tamil Politics and Presidential Elections
“Tamil nationalist politics… Worse, they have placed their entire future in the mirage of international intervention, which is not only farthest from political realities but also provides fodder for the campaigns of their nationalist counterparts in the South.”
• Presidential Elections: A breath of fresh heirs
“The stupidity of these constitution traffickers could be gauged, by the powerless post-Nov president being elected by 14 million and the powerful Executive Prime Minister by a picayune 225.”
• An efficient energy sector for economic growth – Somaratna wants MCC?
“I believe constraints analysis used by Millennium Challenge Corporation is a good methodology for analysing this relationship between economic development and other sectoral efficiencies…”
• The Resistible Rise of Gotabaya Rajapaksa – Tisaranee wants MCC?
“Thanks to the Rajapaksa mandated STOP USA campaign, President Sirisena deferred the renewal of the Millennium Challenge Corporation grant by 6 months. As a result, Sri Lanka stands to lose (if not already lost) a grant of US$ 480 million.”
• Revoke all Agreements detrimental to SL’s sovereignty & nonaligned status — LSSP
Bring down the cost of living. The IMF policy of raising indirect taxes push up the price of all commodities and services in the market, thus placing the burden on the people, especially the poor. This must stop.
• Peacekeeping operations: Sri Lanka continues to demand justice from UN
• Addressing UN accountability ‘properly’
“The UNHRC Resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka was co-sponsored by Minister Mangala Samaraweera without reference to Parliament”
• UN’s National Dialogue on Responsible Business and Human Rights
the United Nations Development Program), supported by the Government of Sri Lanka, co-hosted… in partnership with the UN Global Compact. Robert Juhkam, Resident Representative of UNDP SL spoke …also, Dr Harpreet Kaur, Business and Human Rights Specialist from the UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was attended by Prof. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Prof. Surya Deva, member of the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights, Sean Lees, Business and Human Rights specialists from the UNDP Regional Bureau
• How the Easter Bombings Left Sri Lanka’s Muslims with No Path Forward
“In the aftermath of Aluthgama, when the government took great pains to internationalise a narrative of Muslim culpability for the violence, MP Champika Ranawaka, in a short film The True Story of Aluthgama, outlined that the violence occurred because there was a large meeting of Jihadists.”
• They can’t instruct us on PDS – MP Donkor urges Ghana to snub MCC
• Reporter beaten at HK airport hailed as national hero
“The US, without any attempt at concealment, is stirring up this violent separatist insurrection that conceals its nature by following an earlier protest against an extradition law already shelved. But, given that these riots are an attempt by the US to destabilize China, it is not surprising that China objected. China sees the West as having exploited, repressed and denied China its place in the world for 150 years, and they’ve got a good point…”
• China at 70
“They cannot grasp that the work done [after the Revolution] also laid the groundwork for the continuing overall success of Chinese socialism in improving the lives of its people.”
• Mass Hysteria and the Riots in Hong Kong – David
“The initially peaceful and self-disciplined protest movement in Hong Kong against the central government’s intrusions into democracy has twisted itself into ugly rioting and mob violence that is antithetical to democracy!”
• Obama’s War in Syria Led to Trump’s War in Syria
Democrats pretend that the bloodshed in Syria is Donald Trump’s legacy, but, “We have to remind people of the role that the Obama administration played in engaging in regime change war in Syria.”
• “This week marked 8th anniversary of Gaddafi’s death in Sirte, Libya. The lesson of his life is: If you do exactly what the US demands, they’ll still enter your country, overthrow your government, hunt you down, torture you to death and display your mangled body in a meat locker. Class dismissed.”
• Millions march for social equality across Chile (with little corporate media coverage)
There are 19 dead and hundreds injured, 123 people by police and military gunshot alone.
• Russia & the US: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood
The Russian Navy arrived on both the east and west coastlines of the US late Sept and early Oct 1863 …The timing was highly coordinated due to intelligence reports of when Britain and France were intending their military action. The Russian navy would stay along the US coastline in support of the Union for 7 months! They never intervened in the US civil war but rather remained in its waters at the behest of Lincoln in the case of a foreign power’s interference.… Czar Alexander II: “All this I did because of love for my own dear Russia, rather than for love of the US Republic. I acted thus because I understood that Russia would have a more serious task to perform if the US Republic, with advanced industrial development were broken up and Great Britain should be left in control of most branches of modern industrial development.”
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance.
• Tri-forces to be deployed to maintain law and order
…in the 25 districts and territorial waters as stipulated in the President’s extraordinary gazette notice.
• US says SL army chief appointment will curtail cooperation
“Robert Destro, the official in charge of human rights issues at the US State Department, told a congressional hearing Silva’s appointment undermined…”
• State Minister of Defence sees transnational Oceanic threats becoming major issue
Speaking at the ‘Galle Dialogue- 2019’, the 10th Annual International Maritime Conference of the Sri Lanka Navy in Colombo, under the theme “Refining Mindset to Address Transnational Maritime Threats; A Review of the Decade”
• Foreign Sec on need for an overarching security architecture in Indian Ocean
No mention of European states robbing the seas… but only… “non-state actors engaged in human smuggling, drug trafficking, sea piracy, and terrorism.”
• ‘Ray of Hope’ may trigger conflict of interest
“The Legal Officer’s Association of the State Legal Advisor – the Attorney General’s Department, which is bound to be an impartial body, has now come under criticism for obtaining advertisements from private organisations and state institutions for a souvenir they are going to publish.”
• Tuning-up security in plural social networks
“3rd session of the Daily FT-CICRA 7th Annual Cyber Security Forum… Delivering the first keynote, Facebook Public Policy Manager (India &South Asia) Bhairav Acharya spoke about how the world’s largest social media company works on the policy aspects of data collection… Israel’s UDC Ltd and Voyager Labs Chief Executive Officer Udi Shaked was the second keynote speaker… Shaked has been greatly involved in Homeland Security with a focus on high-end cyber solutions and associated technologies… The strategic partners of 2019 Cyber Security Summit were Cisco and Visa, and the Co-Sponsor was Cellebrite. Other partners included official payment network, LankaPay; insurance partner Sri Lanka Insurance; official printing partner, Lake House Printers and Publishers; hospitality partner, Cinnamon Grand; creative partner, Triad; and electronic media partner, TV Derana.
• Manna from heaven to Rajapaksa complaints of ‘victimisation’
“Controversial statements by state law officers alleging ‘pressure’ to file cases against Gotabhaya, the astounding admission by a former Justice Minister (now skipped over to the Pohottuwa camp) that he intervened to stop these prosecutions indicates that there is a well planned scheme underway to strike at the core of the legal system. Notwithstanding Rajapaksa’s ringing announcement that he would free ‘war heroes’ held on ‘bogus charges’… The Rajapaksa leadership had no compunction about clapping dozens of soldiers into jail along with former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Rather, what is aimed at here is the release of the Rajapaksas themselves, along with their sycophants and loyalists from the very many cases that they are now enmeshed in, from the Magistrate’s Court upwards.”
• Heroes and others in battle for ballots
“When questioned about LTTE cadres that surrendered to the troops… it was conceded that former president Rajapaksa and defence secretary Rajapaksa did not lead the army, that it was the army commander that led the troops and he should be asked what happened…”
• Gota’s Ally Gen Chagie Gallage Barrages Civil Rights Activists
“Gallage, was once in charge of the Presidential Guard for then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. [He] hails from a traditionally UNP family with his mother – Daisy Rathnawalie Nananayakka, serving at the UNP Headquarters as an accountant when it was located on the Galle Road and the family was close friends with one-time Party Chairman N.G. Panditharatne.”
• Snowden in the Labyrinth
“It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact: an interface that allows you to type in pretty much anyone’s address, telephone number, or IP address, and then basically go through the recent history of their online activity. In some cases you could even play back recordings of their online sessions, so that the screen you’d be looking at was their screen, whatever was on their desktop.”
• The US Deep State Would Sooner Sacrifice the Republic Than Lose Again to Trump
“There are two vehicles – one filled with Democrats, the other Republicans – careening towards an intersection at a high rate of speed, and neither looks willing to yield to the other.”
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Promises… promises
Number One promise – “I will encourage more exports.”
• No quick fixes for household debt crisis! – Wedagedera
“When the wealthiest 20% bags a monthly income of 158,072, the poorest 20% only gets an income of 14,843. Such a disparity is also visible in an urban, rural and estate sector comparison. Instead of jobs that can guarantee living wages, 68% of the available jobs in Sri Lanka came from the informal sector by 2017… other element of the government action was an interest rate cap to regulate interest rates of microfinance lending. The Central Bank, the empowered entity to regulate the financial sector is a reluctant actor. Instead they advocate self-regulation… As a result of increased donor funding, the number of MFI outlets increased from 83 in 2002 to 14, 000 by 2015… The finance industry has been profiting from the refusal of the politicians as well as policymakers to accept serious dispossession embedded into the present economic development strategy…A perfect example is the boom in Real Estate in Sri Lanka. When high-end housing complexes proliferate Colombo opening up investment opportunities for the wealthy, renting houses/ apartments has become an almost impossible task even to the middle class. The irony of such financialised development is when the same finance sector starts to loan to the homeless poor who cannot find money to pay for housing advances when they rent.”
• Policy-oriented banking for industrial development – Kariyawasam
“Sri Lanka has adopted the exact opposite of policy-guided banking, as seen most evidently in the exponential growth of micro-credit in the northern and eastern provinces after the end of the armed conflict in 2009.”
• When elephants fight: Implications of US-China trade dispute on bystanders
“Sri Lanka’s unrivalled comparative advantage of geography would become even more potent than what it is now. New investments in ports and other related infrastructure are early signs of Sri Lanka’s future place in the shifting global economy.”
• Fixing lending rates and waiving farmer loans: 2 policies that do not augur well for borrowers – Wijewardena
“Central Bank’s requests going unheeded by commercial banks…”
• Take a “shortcut” – Abeyratne
“On the way to becoming rich, the agriculture sector should undergo a rapid transformation… Technology is available to buy and capital is available to invest. Technology is also a commodity available in the world market for sale. It is not necessary to start saving to find money to buy it; there are enough investors who are willing to invest in it.”
• Lament of the middle class – Abeyratne
“There is no any economic term other than “development” discussed and debated so widely and deeply in economics as well as in some other social sciences. If you set aside all theoretical and technical details of the concept, “economic development means simply the expansion of the middle class.”
• Formidable economic challenges in 2020 – Sanderatne
“A root cause of this economic predicament is the country’s electoral politics.”
• Managing Development: People, Policies and Institutions
“Over the past 30 years about 40% of development projects in Sri Lanka failed to achieve their intended objectives…”
• Fresh Thinking for a New Generation – A Moragoda Agenda
“The Government will completely stay out of all commercial activities. In keeping with international best practices, SL should open out its utilities and infrastructure sectors to private investment. Regulations and regulatory frameworks should replace public ownership of commercial assets. Impediments to private investment and business activity should be removed on an urgent basis.”
• A Critique of Economic Recovery Plan of SLPP – Harsha Gunasena
Ajith Nivard Cabraal on behalf of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna has proposed a 12-point methodology to boost the economy of Sri Lanka.
• Political uncertainty of presidential poll retards economic growth
“The third scenario of the elected President not being able to work with the Prime Minister and government controlled by a majority in parliament… would create a constitutional crisis like that of October 2018 and bring the government into a standstill. This would be a severe blow to the economy, especially the balance of payments and external finances.
• Policy inconsistencies and communication gaps in presidential election campaign – 1
“Today, some 10 different ministries oversee over 25 social welfare programmes.”
• Black holes in cyberspace
“young experts help you handle your tech issues, the way the IMF and the World Bank assist developing world in tackling its economic problems: they ensure that you will never learn how to solve your problems on your own and you will remain ever dependent on them.”
• Political Economy
“The northern US economists who focused on protective tariffs, infrastructure investment and a national bank to promote industrial and agricultural technology before and after the Civil War (1861-65)… provided the economic policy that enabled the USA to industrialize and overtake England. They also emphasized the positive effect of rising wage levels and living standards on the productivity that made the US economic takeoff possible. Every major Northern politician and region was associated with a major economist… They developed the logic for tariff protection as opposed to Ricardian free-trade theory, and for government-sponsored internal improvements and a national bank to finance industry and achieve monetary independence from Britain… It is testimony to the censorial power of subsequent free-trade ideology that these writers make no appearance in histories of economic thought.”
• Economics’ Biggest Success Story Is a Cautionary Tale
Field experiments now dominate development economics… Yet… RCTs played no role at all in some of the greatest development successes of the past (including the creation of a free and universal public education system and widespread public health measures in the 19th and 20th centuries).
C4. Economy (usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Air tickets in Sri Lanka dollarized after ‘flexible exchange rate’ collapse
• Sri Lanka, India growth downgraded by IMF; Bhutan, Nepal up
“Both Sri Lanka and India faced monetary instability in the second half of 2018, while the respective central banks juggled with dual external and domestic anchors triggering currency collapses and liquidity shortages in the credit system. Both countries are seeing a spike in bad loans and an import collapse in 2019.”
• IMF downgrades Sri Lanka’s growth to 2.7%
Nonetheless, Asia still remains the fastest-growing major region in the world, accounting for more than two-thirds of global growth in 2019. China alone accounts for 39 % of global growth, India 16%, and ASEAN 10 %.
• Sri Lanka national inflation hits 5.0% in September
The National Consumer Price Index compiled by the Census and Statistics Department had risen 3.4 percent in August 2019, and 2.2 percent in July… owing to the monthly increases of prices of items in both food and non-food categories as well as the effect of a low base a year ago…
• JVP Leader says economy has collapsed due to govts living beyond their means
“The first is the loan crisis. The revenue received by the Treasury is not sufficient even to pay the installments of the loans taken. To pay back the due installments the country needs to borrow an additional 135 billion rupees. The second is the import-export crisis. The country spent 22.2 billion US$ on imports in 2018. The income we earned from exports was 11.8 billion US$. So, there is a deficit of 10.4 billion US$. Third crisis is the weak government revenue. In 2016 the government income was around 23% of the GDP. As at 2014 the figure dropped to 11.5%. The fourth crisis is the collapse of industrial sector owing to the high cost of production materials, failure to combine technological support with the industrial process and inability to create a proper market for industrial output. The fifth crisis is the inequitable distribution of national wealth. Of the total population the top 10% of rich enjoy 38.4% of national income while 10% at the bottom receive only 1.1% of the national income…” Among those present: Dr Anil Jayantha Fernando, Chartered Accountant Dr Dayananda Ambalangodage, Dr Kingsley Karunaratne, Dr Chandana Jayalath, former Deputy Director of the Central Bank Nirmala Siriwardena, Mahinda Ratnayake, Attorney-at-Law Lal Wijenayake, Abdul Rahuman, former Chairman of the Engineering Corp Chartered Engineer Gratien Peiris, JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, former Chairman of SL Insurance Corporation and Singer SL, Hemaka Amarasuriya, economic specialist Shiran Fernando, VP of SL Private Tea Factory Owners’ Association W Jinadasa, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Professionals Association Donald Rajapaksa, former Chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs Forum Kasun Rajapaksa, Deputy General Manager of Galle Face Hotel Nihal Muhandiram and General Secretary of Colombo Businessmen’s Association Chaminda Widanagamage.
• “I’ll downsize cabinet to 20”: Mahesh Senanayake
1. Maximise national resources, strengthen agriculture and local production and develop a sustainable export-based economy.
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Unions demand release of arrested Sri Lankan fishermen in India
“Fishing trade unions in the North took to the streets today (Oct 23) demanding the immediate release of some 18 Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested in India for allegedly trespassing its waters. The fishermen began their protest from the Jaffna District Secretariat and headed towards the Indian Consular General’s office in Jaffna… The Northern Fisheries Federation and Eluvaithivu Fishermen Union had collectively organized the protest…The arrest had been carried out near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) – which is not owned by any country, unlike Indian fishermen who are apprehended only while poaching Sri Lankan waters…”
• 12 suspects arrested for catching sea cucumber illegally
“…with the office of the Assistant Director of Fisheries-Mulaitivu, at the Pudumathalan beach area.
Further, 11 persons who caught and transported sea cucumber without permits, were nabbed by the Navy during raids conducted in Nallur beach area and in Vankalai, Mannar”
• Bill to enhance minimum monthly wage of private sector workers
“Minimum monthly wage to go from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,500… wage up from Rs. 400 to Rs. 500… Bill to be presented to Parliament shortly…” [But FT says not when! – ee]
• Inflation inches up to 5% in September
“Due to price increases in groups of ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other fuels’ (1.33%), ‘Health’ (0.42%),‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ (0.31%), ‘Education’ (0.25%), ‘Clothing and Footwear’ (0.17%), ‘Alcoholic beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics’ (0.15%), ‘Furnishing, Household equipment and Routine household maintenance’ (0.12%), ‘Restaurant and Hotels’ (0.12%), ‘Recreation and Culture’ (0.11%) and ‘Transport’ (0.08%)…”
• Apparel gears to become a better place to work
The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Ex-Co Member and head of the “Matai Mage Ratatai” campaign Felix Fernando said… the industry has been initiating advertisements on television and also during the cricket world cup, “ highlighting success stories…We want to remove the image that ‘uneducated girls’ are working at the factories…” In the meantime, it is learnt that the industry is working on the possibility of also hiring foreign workers…Funds for the Rs.60 million campaign are jointly provided with 50% from Export Development Board (EDB) and rest from industry.
• Lankan stabbed to death in South Korea
“2.42 million migrant workers in Korea, nearly doubling in the past 10 years. The number of Sri Lankan migrant workers on the Employment Permit System (EPS) is close to 30,000. It is learnt that there are a number of cases especially alcohol-fuelled incidents being heard in Korean courts against Sri Lankan migrant workers. “
• Will stop women going for domestic work in Middle East – Anura
“Women face many issues that are unique to them, just for being a woman. Therefore, many women who come back from foreign employment wish to return abroad again, to seek freedom and economic factors. The pressure in this country affects them to leave their husbands behind and go abroad…”
• Unanswered questions
“With 1.1 million government sector workers, 300,000 more in the military, 90,000 in the police and 500,000 pensioners the public sector, its salary and pension bill is estimated to top a trillion rupees this year. Politicians, feeling the pressure for government jobs from their constituents, create more of them – mostly unproductive – and this process has gone on for too long. The Samurdhi poor relief scheme employs an unbelievable 27,000 officials working out to one official for every 52 beneficiary families.”
• Retirement Benefits
“Informal workers face an even bigger challenge in Sri Lanka where wide swathes of the population are not covered by any form of pension or insurance scheme and often have to rely on their children for support…”
• “2,500-bed newly declared National Hospital of Kandy serves patients from Central Province but also from Sabaragamuwa, Uva, North Central Province, North Western Province, Northern Province and Eastern Province. This amounts to 7 of the 9 provinces and about 60% of the country’s population.”
• The Crisis of Rentier Capitalism in Venezuela: A Conversation with Oscar Figuera
The secretary-general of the Venezuelan Communist Party calls for “unity within diversity” in the Chavista movement… The world powers don’t want us to establish alliances with China, Russia, and India, because those alliances are key to breaking with our dependent situation.”
• UK police launch mass murder probe after 39 bodies found in truck
inside a shipping container on an industrial estate in southeast England…
• Opioid companies reach tentative $260mn settlement just before landmark trial in Ohio
… 400,000 killed…
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Lack of rural monetization, commercialization, etc. The need to make, not import, agricultural machinery.
• Sri Lanka can make farms more productive with emerging tech: IPS researchers
“The country’s poor, marginalised farmers may not be able to use these sophisticated technologies yet.”
• Maximum Retail Price on coconuts lifted
• Tax on imported dried chilli, fish reduced
Minister P Harison said the decision was taken by the Cost of Living Committee, which had also approved to import chicken and eggs to control the prices in the local market considering the upcoming festival session.
• PA sounds alarm on growing discrepancy between tea auction & export prices
• Sri Lanka-Canada trade surge on rising exports
“High Commissioner of Canada to SL David McKinnon met Minister Rishad Bathiudeen… Sri Lankan garment exports to Canada are on the rise, and rubber and other by-products such as tyres, coconuts and seafood… A variety of high-quality Canadian products, notably wheat and lentils, make their way to households…”.
• Rural Life in Imperial Ceylon
“The chapter on Land Grabbing gives us some rare insights into the rise of a land-owning class in the wet-zone. We know more about the plantation economy which was developed by the British than about the rise of an indigenous land-owning class with interests in coconuts, rubber and tea. In the 1970s, with land reform, SL’s land-owning class was heavily diminished. We knew very little of how these very large land owners built up their properties in the first place. According to this volume, this class of people not only obtained crown land, but also acquired by various devices, the lands of the peasantry.”
• Thailand rejects US opposition to food chemical ban
C7. Industry (false definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• Locally made concrete electric poles help import substitution
Poles are made of spun concrete in Sri Lanka but using technology from Japan…
• Anil Moonesinghe and the CTB
• Confederation of SMI steps in for MSME growth
“Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are grappling to sustain in a global value chain as such industries cannot compete with cheap imports…cheap quality raw material is being dumped… they recommend anti-dumping legislation to avoid this and protect the local industry.”
• Sri Lanka Economic Acceleration Framework 2020-25 Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s key recommendations on power & energy
“Listing a percentage of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) on the stock market would also help to increase public oversight and increase accountability.”
• Swisstek bags US$4.5mn Cinnamon Life flooring contract
…for the supply and installation of solid wood flooring for the John Keells Holdings’ Cinnamon Life project, which is the single largest ever timber flooring project…
• Sri Lanka’s first locally manufactured proprietary aluminium systems here
Aluminium industry market leaders, Alumex PLC, a subsidiary of Hayleys Group, announced
• Two Chinese companies to run Aruwakkalu landfill
“The World Bank pulled out due to the Ministry awarding the contract for the project to a Chinese company… the losing bidder M/s Kolon-Hansel-KECC, a South Korean joint venture has questioned CHECC’s eligibility to carry out such a project”
• How to promote innovations to transform our nation
“Developed countries and the recently graduated industrialised nations have unique state agencies that promote and provide backbone infrastructure to foster creativity and innovation. Institutes such as Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) of Japan, ‘Enterprise Singapore’ in Singapore, National Innovation Agency (NIA) in Thailand, National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in India and National High Technology Programme in China are just a few examples…”
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• CBSL issues license cancellation notice to The Finance Company PLC
• CSE’s amended Iceberg order rule takes effect this week
“During trading hours, orders are matched according to fixed rules and execution prices are set. Price and volume details of all completed transactions are electronically communicated immediately to all the members involved.” Amen!
• Investors wait for policy manifestos
“Total foreign outflows from government securities through Oct. 16 stood at Rs 55.6 billion as per central bank data.”
• Govt’s trade reforms global ‘Rising Star’
“The Government’s reforms to make SL’s economy more trade-oriented are responsible for the country being placed among the top 20 ‘Rising Stars in Global Trade’…by international banking giant Standard Chartered.”
• Sri Lanka set to become outlier in slowing global economy: Softlogic stockbroker
“Improved fiscal deficit came at the cost of lower GDP growth with the introduction of various new taxes on the private sector and the increasing of existing tax rate…”
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc.
• Elpitiya test market: Implications for brands Gota & Sajith
“Marketing a political candidate ensures voters make more informed decisions. Hence, it can be said that it is right to spend Rs 4 billion.”
• Doing good, cashing in, making a change and creating impact
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Chairman Information and Communication Technology Agency reiterated that the ‘world’ means not ‘this little market of 21 million people’.
• Smarter Lotteries
Around 40% of the country’s 14 million mobile subscribers possess a smartphone, although internet penetration stood at 29.3%… “DLB posted Rs12.96 billion turnover up to September this year…DLB has contributed a sum of Rs.1,767 million to the President’s Fund up to August this year…”
• BBC helps the alcohol trade through regular postings that appear as news.
This promotion is worth billions for the trade and they probably compensate handsomely, the relevant individuals within BBC.
• October brings losses for short sellers in US opioid-related shares
… a rough month for short sellers betting against companies at the heart of opioid crisis…
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• Funding political campaigns
It would cost around Rs3-4 billion per candidate to run a proper campaign. Asked whether candidates would run short of funds, he said “I don’t think so. They will somehow find the funds.”
• Batty Weerakoon
• The Presidential Race: Samarasinghe’s Evaluative ‘Punches’, II & III – SWR de Samarasinghe
“The two major political parties, in the south, have had a long tradition of being managed more like private clubs belonging to a particular family cabal than vital public institutions in a democracy. Whoever happens to be the leader has had an iron grip on the party.”
• Sajith, Gota campaigns get going, but internal issues persist
“Premadasa’s propaganda campaign is now being handled by the media staff of Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. It is they who advise the media of dates, time and venues of meetings addressed by the NDF candidate…They distribute photographs. The main centre…is an office in Vauxhall Street, run by Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, a former Media Minister, assisted by Tissa Attanayake, a former UNP General Secretary who left the party and joined Rajapaksa for the 2015 Presidential election. A parallel office has been opened by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, once an archenemy of Premadasa, at the UNP headquarters… Yet, not many from the Vauxhall Street office visit this Sri Kotha campaign office in Kotte. That only highlights the underlying tensions and perhaps the deep divisions still continuing…”
• Importance of JVP/NPP Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake; Principles & Policies
• The Mahesh Senanayake Candidacy – David
• Movement to Unite Motherland backing Rajiva W
• Upcoming election would be ’Mother of all elections’: Patali Champika
‘The Minister said that the candidate who won the presidential election would be empowered to dissolve parliament in March 2020 and that would lead to a parliamentary election in the same or the following month. Pointing out that the all provincial councils now stand dissolved with the term of the Uva Provincial Council lapsing this month…’
• Presidential Selection
“First, if Sajith Premadasa is elected president, he would likely expand individual freedoms, democracy, and liberal norms, including socio-economic reforms as well as move towards a closer relationship with big-brother India… In stark contrast, if Gotabaya Rajapaksa secures the presidency, China will have a more protracted role in the country…”
• A Spooky Past, Haunts a Hero
“One must give the devil his due. It was Gotabaya and his team of mind manipulators who were responsible for the conception and the success of this agitprop project of creating the ‘heroic soldier syndrome’.”
• Mendacious Presidential contenders
• Victory paths via Elpitiya or Palaly? Plenary promises in spite of court ruling – Philips
Interestingly, 7 of the 16 districts that Mr Premadasa won convincingly in 1988, namely, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Badulla, Monaragala, and even Hambantota are now safe Rajapaksa havens.
• Moragoda wants all candidates to declare their friends to electorate
Pathfinder’s Moragoda stated: “Those associates within their inner coteries include their political allies, advisors, business persons aspiring to be oligarchs and of course, family members. If presidential candidates do not set an example and control their surrogates and associates before they are elected into office, it is naive for us to expect them to do so after they are sworn into office… ‘Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are’ is a quotation attributed to the Russian revolutionary, politician, political theorist and Premier of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin. In SL’s patronage-based, tribalized political system, well-meaning leaders have often been destroyed by those closest to them.
• Scientific Cabinet: the rhetoric, reality and way forward
“Nine Ministers in charge of Development (in addition to specific subject development)”
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Digital rivers
“A study of 2,103 data points on Facebook – including posts and videos – published by Ada Derana, Hiru and Maharaja from early August to early October, provides for the first time, the degree of partisan polarisation in terrestrial broadcasts, mirrored and exponentially spread over Facebook. Aside from those who ‘tuned in’ to watch news broadcasts, rallies, speeches or live coverage of a political event, around 8,3810,000 watched video content from one of these three channels on Facebook.”
• Bolivia election: Protests as Evo Morales officially declared winner
How BBC will report if ‘their’ candidate loses…
• How Google Helps Select Candidates
Tulsi Gabbard is the only US anti-war, progressive presidential aspirant. The NYT demeans her “unorthodox political views.” Powerful interests want her campaign prevented from gaining traction. CIA-connected Google-owned You Tube suppressed her search results. What’s going on is polar opposite how parent company Alphabet campaigned for Hillary in 2016, featuring favorable results, concealing negative ones, manipulating sentiment for her against Trump, a failed scheme as things turned out. Last summer, Gabbard sued Google for censoring her campaign by temporarily suspending her advertising account, infringing on her constitutionally guaranteed free expression rights, her campaign saying: “With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 US presidential election,” adding: “In the hours following the 1st (Dem) debate, while millions of Americans searched for info about Tulsi, Google suspended her search ad account w/o explanation. It is vital to (stop) big tech companies (from manipulating) the outcome of elections… Throughout this period, the campaign worked frantically to gather more information about the suspension.” “In response, the campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google” – a firm with over a 90% world search engine market share, power letting it manipulate what’s seen or suppressed.
• Quilliam Foundation Lawyers Threaten Libel Action Against This Blog
“The Quilliam Foundation is the branch of New Labour tasked with securing the Muslim vote and reducing British Muslim dissatisfaction with New Labour over the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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