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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 83

Monthly archive

Douglas Devananda

Australia: Long-delayed “terrorist” hearings to commence in Sydney

By Mike Head – World Socialist Web Site

On March 5, almost exactly 16 months after they were arrested, nine Muslim men will finally be brought to a Sydney court for committal hearings on charges of “conspiring to prepare a terrorist act”. Since November 8, 2005, they have been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay-style isolation cells. The nine men were arrested, along with 10 others, in Melbourne, in the largest police raids ever conducted in Australia. In their immediate aftermath, the media ran lurid claims from government leaders and police that they had prevented an imminent and “catastrophic” terrorist attack. On the basis of unsubstantiated police allegations, Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and other media outlets accused the men of “stockpiling” weapons and explosives, planning “violent jihad” and discussing “dying for holy war”.

The India, China, Russia Triangle

By M Rama Rao & Atul Cowshish - Syndicate Features

Surprisingly, the New Delhi meting of foreign ministers of India, China and Russia did not draw a wider notice. It could be because a major focus of the three-way talks was trade and energy, not conflict resolution, though tricky issues like terrorism and West Asia were on their agenda. Undeniably, however, the trilateral cooperation has the potential that may start to command a wider and urgent notice on the global stage when the US position as a self-appointed global policeman is increasingly questioned, if not disliked. The governments of many European allies of the US may not have said explicitly but they fear that backing the current US policies blindly would bring disaster to them. If the unipolar world is about to change it may be a good time to forge new and potentially powerful relationships amongst India, China and Russia.

Persecuted Journalist faces Set Back in Sedition Trial Actions by Bangladeshi Court Belies Government Assurances

By Dr. Richard Benkin

Crusading Muslim journalist, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, suffered a major setback in the government case against him for alleged “sedition, treason, and blasphemy.” The current government of Bangladesh had recently given explicit assurances to several US and other officials that the admittedly false charges would be dropped and done so “within the framework of Bangladeshi laws.” We have learned that the procedure would have three successive court dates at which government witnesses failed to show, forcing the charges to be dropped. That happened on January 22 and was supposed to happen again on February 28.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry facilitating illegal immigration

BY Dushy Ranetunge in London

Corruption, nepotism and lack of transparency has led to the use of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service by some as one way tickets to first world countries, causing grave embarrassment to Sri Lanka’s foreign service and contributing to the woes of genuine visa seekers who tend to be tarred with the same brush. Many Sri Lankan staff sent from Sri Lanka as locally recruited staff to foreign postings have disappeared into the local community and simply refused to return home. In the past, Sri Lankan authorities have turned a blind eye to this resulting in severe embarrassment to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service and its credibility.

Norway plans to continue its development co-operation to Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

The Royal Norwegian Embassy says it has decided to continue Norwegian development co-operation to Sri Lanka. Releasing a press statement, the embassy spokesman Numberg Eric said , in 2006, Norway’s total development co-operation to Sri Lanka amounted to almost Rs. 4 billion. Of the long-term assistance provided, around 64% went to the South and the country as a whole, and 36% to the North and East.

U.S. Tactics of Containing Regional Roles in Middle East

By Nicola Nasser*

Two-pronged U.S. tactics of confrontation and engagement unfolded last week and described by some media as “turnabouts” in the strategy of containment of what Washington perceives as adverse regional roles in the Middle East, but in the Iraqi context and in historical perspective these tactics are revealed only as old diplomatic manoeuvres in the drawers of the State Department. In remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Unite States will engage Iran and Syria, previously condemned by President George W. Bush as two pillars of the world “axis of evil,” in two meetings of Iraq neighbours and the veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSEC) next March and April and expressed hope they “will seize this opportunity.”

International community must take retaliatory action against the Tamil Tigers - Douglas Devananda

Douglas DevanandaAppealing to the international community not to be taken for a ride by the Tamil Tiger excuses and propaganda, Douglas Devananda, leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) and Mininster for Social Services and Social Welfare told the "Asian Tribune" that "the serious crime of knowingly attacking the Western diplomats visiting the east warrants serious retaliatory measures against this terrorist group." "Besides," he said, "the sovereign state of Sri Lanka is under no obligation to inform a terrorist group about the arrival of diplomats to any part of its territory. Furthermore, we have information that the Tigers were well aware of the time and date of the conference organized by the Government Agent to discuss with the diplomats the issues related to the resettlement of the internally displaced persons. The Tigers also knew that the diplomats would be flown in for the conference,” Douglas Devananda said.

Ambassador Blake, LTTE Terrorism, Tamil Grievances and Washington Times

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Recognizing that Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils have legitimate grievances and the Tamil Tigers unwillingness to return to talks, the "Washington Times" Editorial of March 1 however notes that the major players in the international community need to persuade the separatist LTTE or Tamil Tigers to enter the negotiating process.