24 May 2022
UKRAINE & MIG DEAL
The message from outgoing PM Scott Morison, during his campaign was that it was about us the People. I identify with it. We discuss politics in various groups – at different depths. We win or lose arguments as if they were our elections to lead the respective groups. The winner often administers the group. In more democratic groups – the winner educates the group as per her/his own findings.
The Ultimate reality is identified with – by one who takes the truth from each group and goes to the next level where that truth leads. In the meantime one is not allowed to take any benefits or accept any costs along that pathway. They both deviate us from finding the truth at that time in that group.
A social media group therefore should not take pleasures – including status – if it is to naturally merge with the wider community that it is part of. Likewise, official media with politics.
The Washington post’s report ‘Inside the collapse of the Rajapaksa dynasty in Sri Lanka ; How two powerful brothers fell out and took their country down with them – highlights some such weaknesses highlighting through the mind of the cousin Udayanga Weeratunga and the ‘timing’ commonness with Ukraine:
Washington Post: “You cannot win [in politics] if you’re not from an established family,” said Razeen Sally, a professor at the National University of Singapore. “So the system is left to established insiders who can pillage the state.”
The second of nine children, Mahinda was charismatic, loved crowds and stuck close to his younger brother, Basil, who is considered the family’s political strategist. Their middle brother, Gotabaya, was always different: aloof, politically inexperienced, a teetotaler and vegetarian who spent 21 years in the military. “He would visit the ancestral home only during New Year,” recalled Weeratunga, their cousin who is close to Mahinda.
1.1 Udayanga Weeratunga’s role in public life was revealed through his involvement in the MIG deal
In two articles in August 2007, (Journalist Iqbal)Athas reported on the purchase of second-hand MiG-27 jet fighters from Ukraine, suggesting that the deal had been corrupt. The first, on 12 August, was titled "MiGs loaded with millions in mega frauds; The Sunday Times investigation reveals shocking double-deals and wheeler-dealings; While Lanka remains hush-hush, Ukraine Govt. orders full probe". Athas traced the purchase to "Belimissa Holdings", a company ostensibly based in the UK but not listed in the UK Company Register
After the report, his security was withdrawn by the government, leading Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists to issue statements of concern for his safety. A protest was held outside Athas' house on 27 August by government supporters, which RSF described as a "parody of a demonstration, clearly organised by the authorities and putting Athas in serious danger." The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association criticised it as "systematic intimidation". W. G. Gunaratne, a journalist who translated Athas's articles into Sinhala for the newspaper Lankadeepa, also reportedly received a death threat from an Air Force officer.
The Parliament of Sri Lanka later launched a probe into the purchase
Indicator based Discovery: The above highlights the power of the connection of local (Sinhala) minds to English media. Until that grassroots level translation happens – the People’s mind would continue to depend on their seniors who would ‘give’ benefits.
2. The anatomy of the MiG deal - https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/01/06/news-features/anatomy-mig-deal - 06 January 2019
The Sunday Observer: By January 2006, the Air Force Commander, Air Vice Marshal Donald Perera had placed on record that the air force should give up on MiG-27 aircraft and modernise its fleet by considering options available from several other countries, including the United States and Israel. The following month, however, the Commander was to make a u-turn, following a sudden meeting summoned by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
That meeting, held at the Defence Ministry on February 6, 2006, was for Rajapaksa’s cousin, Udayanga Weeratunga, and his business associate Dmytro Peregudov of Ukraine, to pitch MiG-27 aircraft to the air force once again. The Air Force Commander listened intently, but shared his concerns borne from bad experiences in dealing with DS Alliance, who had supplied the earlier aircraft. Weeratunga gave an assurance that DS Alliance would be left out of the equation, after which the Air Force Commander was urged to reverse his previous stance and accept a proposal from Peregudov and Weeratunga.
When Perera took the Peregudov-Weeratunga proposal to air force officers the following day, he was immediately advised of a procedural issue. Since the proposal was ‘unsolicited’, the air force was stymied from accepting it without following the standard government procurement procedure. Under pressure, Donald Perera resolved the impasse by issuing a comical letter to Peregudov, dated 7 February 2006, requesting to receive the proposal that he had been handed the previous day in the Defence Secretary’s office. Thereafter, a ‘tender process’ was sparked off, a committee was appointed to evaluate the proposal to purchase the MiG aircraft pitched by Peregudov, without any call for competing bids from competitors. Indeed, the air force used an expedited procurement procedure that bypassed the need to call for competing bids on the basis that the proposal was ‘government-to-government’ originating directly from a Ukraine state-owned entity, Ukrinmash.
The above report questions the validity of the statements to Washington Post by Mr Weeratunga. It also indicates the common reason why in terms of problems of Sri Lankans surfaced during this time when Ukrainians are experiencing attacks from Russian armed forces.
2. The anatomy of the MiG deal - https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/01/06/news-features/anatomy-mig-deal - 06 January 2019
The Sunday Observer: In December 2006 it was exposed by the Sunday Times that the MiG aircraft purchased through ‘Bellimissa Holdings’ by the Rajapaksa regime had cost US $2.4 million per plane, or double the price paid six years earlier per aircraft under the Kumaratunga regime.
In July 2007, Lasantha Wickrematunge and The Sunday Leader blew the deal wide open, by exposing that there had never been any ‘Bellimissa Holdings Limited’ registered in the United Kingdom, and that the address and fax number provided to the air force were ghost forwarding services.
In the weeks following Wickrematunge’s exposè, the Defence Ministry, and Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in particular, rose to defend the MiG deal, asserting that the aircraft they had purchased had a much longer lifespan than those acquired in 2000, and denying the existence of a third-party in the transaction. Rajapaksa even went so far as to say he had no knowledge or involvement with the deal. Then, in September 2007, Wickrematunge and The Sunday Leader struck again and filled in the gaps, exposing February 6, 2006 meeting chaired by Rajapaksa, at which the MiG deal began, and detailing the involvement in the deal of Udayanga Weeratunga, who by then had been appointed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ambassador to Russia and the Ukraine. The Defence Secretary then threatened to sue Wickrematunge in the District Court of Mount Lavinia, demanding Rs. 1 billion in damages. Wickrematunge responded by threatening to countersue the Defence Secretary for Rs. 2 billion in damages. The editor’s lawyer explained the higher damages he would seek from Rajapaksa as follows: “My client’s estimate of damages will be greater than that of your client since my client has always remained in this country and worked for its betterment and your client has voluntarily left this country and migrated to the United States of America and taking citizenship in that country by swearing allegiance to that country.” Eventually, Rajapaksa did file defamation action against The Sunday Leader.
Lasantha Wickrematunga was murdered shortly before the case was to come up for trial, and never had his day in court. Ownership of The Sunday Leader changed hands, and the new owners settled the defamation suit with Rajapaksa by withdrawing their articles and tendering an unconditional apology. Since the FCID began investigating the deal in 2015, it has come to light that the infamous ‘Bellimissa Holdings’ was a shell company in the British Virgin Islands that was all along owned by ‘T.S. Lee’ and the DS Alliance cabal.
Their bank account was traced by FCID to Singapore, to the same bank as DS Alliance. A parallel Ukrainian investigation into the MiG deal has revealed that the Ukrainian government never was a party to the MiG deal.
The aircraft that arrived in Sri Lanka in 2007, it turns out, were sold by Ukraine to DS Alliance for less than US $1 million each, with the middle men more than doubling the price they charged the Sri Lanka Air Force and pocketing the remaining US $1.4 million per aircraft. Several air force officers interviewed by the FCID have made it clear that despite breathless denials and a defamation settlement, there would have been no MiG deal without Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Udayanga Weeratunga. Based on the evidence collected so far from several jurisdictions and with the assistance of Interpol and the CID, the FCID has secured the arrest of Udayanga Weeratunga, who was in hiding outside Dubai.
The former Ambassador now awaits extradition to his home country. As the FCID net grows wider and wider, it is only a matter of time before the remaining culprits of the MiG deal are brought to book, and the public finds out who profited from the MiG deal.
For now, thanks to the tireless efforts of the FCID, everything that The Sunday Leader alleged about the MiG deal has been proven factually correct, and Lasantha Wickrematunge has been posthumously vindicated.
Indicator based Discovery: The media has reported but given that it was not taken to grassroots level before the Presidential and Parliamentary elections – the karmic network caused the economic problems at voter level. Is media not responsible?
As per Wikipedia report ‘Weeratunge was arrested in Dubai on 4 February 2018, by international police based on a request made by Sri Lankan Authorities
The Washington Post’s report loses credibility due to suppression of vital information about their informant.
3. Wikipedia report – Common Law Immunity
Wikipedia : In April 2019, Ahimsa Wickrematunge, the daughter of Lasantha Wickrematunge, filed a lawsuit against Rajapaksa in the state of California. Rajapaksa, while on vacation in the United States, was served notice of two civil lawsuits. In October 2019, the court in California rejected the case based on lack of jurisdiction to consider Wickrematunge's claims, because, in the Court's view, Rajapaksa is entitled to common law foreign official immunity for the alleged acts of torture, extrajudicial killing, and crimes against humanity.
“MANTAR V. YOUSUF, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the argument that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) should be read to encompass all suits brought against individual foreign officials for acts performed in an official capacity. 1 The Court held that when plaintiffs sue a current or former foreign official “in his personal capacity and seek damages from his own pockets,” the suit “is not a claim against a foreign state as the Act defines that term.” 2 Instead, an individual defendant’s immunity “is properly governed by the common law.” - https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2089&context=faculty_scholarship
Indicator based Discovery: Ahimsa may have been dismissed by the Court of law at the level she could afford. But just minded People would find it difficult to reconcile this with the following:
[On 14 February 2020, The United States State Department imposed sanctions in the form of a travel ban preventing General Silva and his family from entering the United States having found him accountable through command responsibility for what it stated as “gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings, by the 58th division of the Sri Lanka army" at the final stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009, when up to 70,000 Tamil civilians were killed. The Government of Sri Lanka has strongly opposed the measure.]
If a US citizen is protected by Common law, but not a Sri Lankan to enter the USA – then that law cannot be Common Global Law.
4. Political takeover by the American Government?
Wikipedia: In May 2019 former Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia in the Obama Administration, Robert O. Blake Jr., praised Rajapaksa on the management of the intelligence services during and post war. On 26 April 2019 he confirmed that he will be contesting the presidential election, following the deadly Easter Sunday bombings.
During the campaign, several political parties including then ruling United National Party accused him of having American citizenship and claimed that he stayed and lived in America for more than ten years and revealed that he was not a Sri Lankan citizen. Gotabaya was also pressured to not to contest at the Presidential elections because of holding dual citizenship. Further he was alleged to have carried a duplicate Sri Lankan passport with him and court cases were pending against him over the citizenship issue and the issue regarding his passport. Former President and the elder brother of Gotabaya, Mahinda Rajapaksa was also accused of using his executive powers to grant his brother, the Sri Lankan citizenship after commencing his first term as president in November 2005. The judge of the Court of Appeal gave verdict on the former's pending court cases on 4 October 2019, dismissed the petition challenging Gotabaya's citizenship. He was also allowed to contest at the elections but did not take part in the debate among Presidential candidates which was held on 5 October 2019, was also historically Sri Lanka's first-ever debate to have been conducted among Presidential candidates for an upcoming election. Rajapaksa's name was included in the Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate for Q2 2020.
Indicator based Discovery: One wonders whether the Sri Lankan President is directly or indirectly being blackmailed by the American Government. The bait was given by the Court that used ‘Common Law’ protection which would apply to Mr Rajapaksa as a politician – now that he has given up US Citizenship. The appropriate Tamil saying is ‘Arasanai Nambi Purusanai Kai vitta kathai/ The story of abandoning the husband to become dependent on the king!