2ND LEAD (Adds audio on abuses of power)

Fein seeks SL Defence Ministry approval to visit Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 June 2008, 02:37 GMT]
Responding to Sri Lanka Defence Ministry posting that labeled U.S. based attorney for a Tamil activist group, Bruce Fein, as "Carrion Bird of LTTE Terrorism," Fein said in a letter to Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse that he accepts Sri Lanka Defence Ministry's invitation to "any interested party to visit Sri Lanka and see how the people of all ethnicities live in harmony in this country," and requested the Ministry to inform him the travel dates allowing him to obtain "direct and candid testimony of Tamil sentiments toward a unitary state as opposed to separate Tamil statehood."

Full text of the letter released to TamilNet Saturday follows:

Bruce Fein
Bruce Fein, constitutional lawyer
June 7, 2008
Honorable Mahinda Rajapaksa
Minister of Defense
Honorable Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Secretary of Defense
Ministry of Defense
Colombo, Sri Lanka

RE: Bruce Fein and Tamils for Justice

Dear Mr. Minister:

PDF IconSri Lanka Defence Ministry article on Fein
I was pained to discover that you have been deceived by your spies and informants about the Bruce Fein Project (BFP) and Tamils for Justice (TFJ) in posting the polemic, “Bruce Fein—A Carrion Bird of LTTE Terrorism.” You might wish to consider discharging your intelligence network to save your Ministry a treasure trove of money with no loss in information because everything done by Tamils for Justice is disclosed on its website free of charge. www.tamilsforjustice.org.

The remainder of this letter will concentrate only on the polemic’s cardinal errors as a concession to the shortness of life.

The BFP and TFJ do not represent the LTTE. They are not fronts for the LTTE. They neither give nor receive funds or guidance from the LTTE. TFJ is financially and otherwise independent of all other organizations. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and companion law enforcement authorities know exactly what TFJ is doing because everything it does is transparent and available on its website. If you or your agents traveled to the United States and accused me of representing the LTTE, I would sue you for defamation. You are hiding behind distance and official immunity in making your false accusations.

You express disbelief that Tamils are outside the law in Sri Lanka. I refer you to Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act—a despotic law more to be marveled at in its repressiveness than imitated. Among other things, the Act makes criminal peaceful Tamil protests against discriminatory laws or persecution that stirs a Sinhalese Buddhist monk to ill-will or resentment. It punishes persons who “by words spoken or intended to be read by signs or by visible representations…cause or intends to cause communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities or racial or religious groups.” Under any civilized system of law, such expression is protected by the Constitution. The whole purpose of free speech is to challenge orthodoxies and complacency with things as they are. Slavery and witch burning would still be prevalent without free speech. Tamils will remain oppressed for eternity if peaceful protest through words or otherwise is forbidden.

The Act puts every Tamil at the mercy of every policeman. They may arrest, search, or seize articles or documents without warrants. Further, the Justice Minister can detain for up to 18 months any Tamil he declares might be implicated in a criminal activity with no judicial review whatsoever, for example, peacefully protesting against persecution or the failure of the GOSL to compensate the victims of the 1983 state organized race riots.

The Act also shields GOSL officers from legal accountability—a virtual incitement for abusing Tamils. It stipulates: “No suit, prosecution or other proceeding, civil or criminal, shall lie against any officer or person for any act or thing in good faith done or purported to be done in pursuance or supposed pursuance of an order made or direction given under this Act.”

The GOSL has never prosecuted and punished a single government official for the countless crimes of kidnappings, extra-judicial killings, torture, rape, disappearances, or arbitrary detentions perpetrated against Tamils for decades, for example, the killings of the five Trincomaleee students, the assassinations of four Tamil parliamentarians, or disappearances once every five hours. Virtually every outside observer who has been permitted into Sri Lanka has voiced alarm at its dysfunctional system of law enforcement that has created at climate of impunity, for example, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbor. Three Nobel Peace Prize winners recently denounced the GOSL’s human rights record while successfully opposing its continuation in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Fein on US Constitution
Much more evidence could be marshaled about Sri Lanka’s subjugation of Tamils, but brevity must prevail over repetition. But if there are any Doubting Thomases, I hereby challenge the Ministry or any Ministry agent to debate me at any time or venue of your choosing before an impartial audience addressing the following resolve: “Tamils in Sri Lanka have been victims of GOSL persecution every bit as grisly as the persecution of Kosovar Albanians by Slobodan Milosevic that occasioned his indictment and prosecution for genocide and crimes against humanity.”

You insinuate that Tamils in Sri Lanka exult in living with Sinhalese in a unitary state. If you have the courage of your purported convictions, then you should have no fear of a free and fair referendum on Tamil statehood. If you are correct, a commanding or simple majority would vote to retain a unitary Sri Lankan state. TFJ is not demanding a Tamil state, but only making that an option in a free and fair referendum.

Your observation that the GOSL sports Tamil appointees is uninformative. Every group has their Quislings and Benedict Arnolds. Further, if the appointees truly represent Tamils, then Tamils will vote to maintain a unitary Sri Lankan state in a free and fair referendum. I suggest that you may be protesting too much about the allegedly wonderful condition of Sri Lanka’s Tamils. If only handful were disgruntled and coveted an independent Tamil state, the GOSL would not have amended the Constitution to criminally punish any person for peaceful advocacy of that objective.

You assert that freedom of the press is robust in Sri Lanka. Anyone can publish anything without fear of retribution or retaliation. These statements are counterfactual. Every human rights organization, for example, Human Rights Watch or Reporters Without Borders, in addition to the opposition UNP, reports severe repression of the press in Sri Lanka. Freedom House downgraded Sri Lanka’s press to “Not Free” in 2007 because of escalating attacks on journalists, especially Tamils.

You suggest that nothing can be known or said about the Tamils in Sri Lanka absent a personal visit to Colombo. That is like saying that Isaac Newton should have said nothing about the force of gravity or the laws of motion in Sri Lanka because he never paid a visit. Should Jews have been disbelieved about Nazi extermination camps by anyone who was unable to make a personal visit?

In any event, I readily accept your invitation to visit Sri Lanka to talk with Tamils in confidence in Colombo and elsewhere to obtain direct and candid testimony of Tamil sentiments toward a unitary state as opposed to separate Tamil statehood. I fully concur with your tacit view that the majority sentiments of the Tamils should prevail. Please inform me of travel dates that would be convenient for the Ministry.

Sincerely,
Bruce Fein
Attorney
Tamils for Justice


Chronology:


External Links:
SLDefence: Bruce Fein - A Carrion Bird of LTTE terrorism
FL: Bruce Fein on Constitutional Law

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=25933