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19th July 1998

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Foreign lotteries: don't get tempted by them

Sri Lankans have been tempted by a new lottery that promises millions of rupees as return.

Most of these international lotteries have been found to be bogus, experts have warned.

A recent lottery in circulation, U.K. National Lottery based in Denmark claims to offer a cash reward of more than US$ 27,500or jewellery worth the price with genuine diamonds.

While would-be buyers have been tempted by the large sums offfered, diplomats of the countries to which the lottery belongs have equally been amazed of their existence and operations.

The U.K.National Lottery which is run by a company named 'Reed Dunhill Associates', assures players a chance to be 'instant multi-millionaires' and that "this broke the world record for the highest single, lump sum, tax-free jackpot win ever".

"Your chances of becoming an instant multi-millionaire will expand dramatically the more games you play. You can play upto 10 different games at the same time with 10 different sets of 6 numbers for each game you play.

"You can become a multi-millionaire in just two weeks time," the lottery promises participants.

However, Danish Embassy officials told 'The Sunday Times' that an inquiry into the lottery had shown it to be a fake.

"We have taken necessary action against the lottery as it is a fake," the diplomat said.

Similarly an Australian lottery has been offering upto $2.3 million to locals. The Australian Lottery Winners Services in a letter to winners have requested them to come forward to accept their winings.

These sets of numbers are limited to 100 specially selected residents from around the world.

"You have been selected as one of those worldwide residents....... Our firm is bound to notify this award payment opportunities. The decision to claim the opportunity as described is yours alone," it says.

'We cannot treat them like Sri Lankans' — French leader

PARIS, Saturday (Reuters) - One of France's staunchest conservatives, former interior minister Charles Pasqua, did an about-face on Thursday and suddenly called for over 70,000 illegal immigrants here to be granted residency -but he seems to have little respect for Sri Lankans.

Speaking in the aftermath of the World Cup victory for France's multiracial football team, he said Paris could not simply expel foreigners — mostly Africans — who had tried without success to regularise their status under new guidelines.

"When France is strong, it can be generous and make a gesture," Pasqua told the daily Le Monde. "(General Charles) de Gaulle would probably have done this."

Pasqua criticised both Gaullist President Jacques Chirac for urging more expulsions and the Socialist-led government for granting papers to only half the "sans papiers" (paperless) immigrants put into a legal limbo by a law that bears his name.

Under the so-called Pasqua Law, passed in 1993 while he was interior minister, France earmarked 140,000 illegal immigrants for expulsion only to find out they could not be thrown out because they had French-born children or other exemptions.

The left-wing government elected last year pledged to review their residence applications case-by-case, but has granted papers to only half of them and begun sending others home.

Sunday's victory by a French team with players of European, Arab, African and New Caledonian descent has suddenly brought back into favour the multicultural model that the far-right National Front has long opposed.

Pasqua said he had opted for "an electroshock" to try to forge a new national consensus on immigration after both the left and right had failed to solve the problem.

The popular outpouring of support for the soccer team showed that 90 percent of the French believed racial integration had succeeded in this country, he said. Paris should control the flow of newcomers but let those already here be legalised.

"Napolean used to say there were some situations one could get out of only by making a mistake," he remarked. "In this case, we can only move forward by regularising all who have applied, as long as they have not committed any other crimes."

The leading anti-racist group MRAP promptly heaped praise on the man who is normally one of its favourite targets."MRAP applauds this proposal by the former interior minister following the World Cup," it said.

"This statement sounds like a confession from the author of the laws that unsettled and drove underground tens of thousands of immigrants."

The Greens party was so surprised it issued a statement asking: "Is Charles Pasqua an English Trotskyite?"

"After the World Cup victory of a multicultural French soccer team, which showed splendidly how much immigration has contributed to France, the former herald of repression Charles Pasqua has suddenly called for residence for the sans papiers."

The Rally for the Republic (RPR), Pasqua's and Chirac's party, was less enthusiastic, with spokesman Francois Fillon welcoming his criticism of the left-wing government but stopping short of backing a blanket pardon for illegal immigrants.

Pasqua said Paris should tighten controls on its borders and draw up immigration quotas favourable to applicants from former French colonies.

"One cannot forget the part that Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians and Africans played in the Liberation of France (in 1944)," he said. "We cannot treat them like Sri Lankans."

The "sans papiers" immigrants, championed by left-wing intellectuals, have staged repeated protests against the Pasqua Law since it threw them into legal limbo five years ago.

Generals vs. journalists: the next war coverage could be live

By Barrie Dunsmore

"Live" coverage is no longer a technological marvel, though networks still rush to superimpose the word "live" over their coverage of a Presidential news conference, a Congressional hearing.

Indeed, "live" coverage has been an option, though at the beginning an awkward and costly one, since the political conventions of 1948 and 1952. Over the years, as cameras have become smaller, satellites more sophisticated, and the world more "digitalized," costs have dropped dramatically, and many news events are now covered "live" routinely - except for the coverage of war. Yet, even here, too, it seems to be only a matter of time before anchors introduce " live" reports from a hot battlefield as matter-of-factly as cut-ins from Washington. And then what?

Barrie Dunsmore, for more than 30 years a fair and fearless diplomatic reporter for ABC News, has spent much of the last year exploring this question. The result is surprising and subtle, as befits a complicated subject handled in a serious manner.

Dunsmore wrote "The Next War: Live?" while a Fellow at the Shorenstein Centre on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government during the fall semester of the 1995-96 academic year. He read the relevant literature, much of it on the Gulf War; he interviewed 31 key officials and prominent journalists, including Generals Shalikashvili, Powell and Schwarzkopf and TV anchors Brokaw, Jennings, Koppel, Rather and Shaw; and he delved into his own deep reservoir of experience covering wars and diplomacy — all in an effort to understand, on the one side, the journalistic and technological impulses likely to drive "live" coverage of the next conflict and, on the other side, the political and military considerations and constraints.

The generals sound, in this report, as if they have learned a great deal about press relations from both the Vietnam and Gulf wars; the journalists also seem wiser. The lessons are not necessarily the same ones; nor should they be, given the vastly different professional responsibilities of the general and the journalist in a free society. But, in anticipation of the inexorable drift toward "live" coverage from the battlefield, both sides have been struggling to prepare a mutually acceptable set of guidelines in full recognition that their effort, while sincere and determined, may fail. And so they "negotiate." They say they respect each other's needs. They are sensitive to the awesome power of public opinion in the age of television, faxes, cellular phones and other such miracles of communication. They are aware that any agreement reached in an atmosphere of peace may quickly collapse in the pressures of war.

Neither side has to be reminded that the precedent for "live" coverage of war has been set. Twice already, during the Persian Gulf war of 1990-91, network correspondents reported "live" from the Kuwaiti front - Forrest Sawyer for ABC News and Bob McKeowan for CBS News. It was a costly and cumbersome operation.

Each came flanked by six colleagues and an armada of four trucks loaded with more than a ton of technology: a portable ground station with a six-foot wide satellite dish, a power-producing generator with its own fuel supply, and of course cameras, lights and sound gear.

Now, five years later, a network would need only a two-person crew, equipped with a digital camera, a wide-band cellular phone to establish contact with the satellite and a lap-top computer to coordinate the transmission — miniaturized machinery weighing no more than 100 pounds and fitting into two cases. And there are so many more networks now than there were then, meaning competitive pressures would be compounded enormously.

Will there be "live" coverage of the next war? Absolutely. The Pentagon is already planning for such an eventuality — in the opinion of senior officials, a very worrisome but probably unavoidable eventuality. "From my position as the Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," said General Shalikashvili to Dunsmore, "the most immediate issue is how live coverage might adversely impact on the safety of the troops.... That's my main concern."

Retired General Powell, no longer in the line of command but attuned as ever to the shifting requirements of public relations, bluntly warned that if his mission were jeopardized by "live" coverage, he would arrest the reporters. "I'd have locked all of you up," he told Dunsmore, "and you could have taken me to every court in the land. And guess who would have won that battle? I mean the American people would have stripped your skin off."

Perhaps, but journalists are acutely mindful of the current wave of popular distrust of the press, and they clearly do not wish to offend their readers, viewers and listeners by reporting on events that might be interpreted as endangering American lives. They too want to be seen as patriots as well as reporters. NBC's Tom Brokaw said: "God, the last thing I want on my personal conscience or my professional resume is that he caused the death of one, say nothing of 100 or 1000 or 2000 American lives because in his zeal to get on the air, he spilled secrets."

Dunsmore discovered, interestingly, that journalists are not of one mind about "live" coverage - some, such as, Nightline's Koppel, arguing against it; others, such as, CBS's Rather, arguing for it.

Koppel said: "..... [when] you have a declared war,... you simply cannot have that coexisting with an unedited rendition of what is going on in the battlefield... There just has to be some application of common sense here."

He continued: "The essence of journalism lies in the editing process, not in training a camera on an event. That is not journalism." Rather, taking a much more traditional line, sharply disagreed: "Live coverage, when directed and carried out by professional journalists of experience, is journalism and can be very good journalism. I don't agree that it isn't journalism. I don't agree with 'well, it's just television.' Live coverage of the four dark days in Dallas during the Kennedy assassination - that was television. It also was a lot of damn good journalism."

Dunsmore is of the view that "live" reporting in war, not in peacekeeping, is so controversial, potentially so damaging to the national interest, that any administration would be driven to impose severe limitations on such coverage without fear of a public backlash. After all, he concludes, "live" coverage is not protected by the First Amendment not synonymous with "the public's right to know", and not essential to the "practice of good journalism."

Obviously, during war, such a rational set of conclusions may run into the reality of ferociously irrational competition among American and foreign networks that could undermine the best of journalistic intentions.

Not a gentleman

Remember how a group of media personnel were harassed and humiliated when they went to cover a passing out parade at the Diyatalawa Military Academy, of all things, on invitation?

It has now come to light that none other than a big man at the DMA has been responsible for the episode. And that too, despite a written request sent in by the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence to extend courtesies to the media to cover the event where Foreign Minister, Laksh–man Kadirgamar, was the Chief Guest. Insiders say this is the finding made by a three member Court of Inquiry headed by Major General Patrick Fernando. Assisting him in this task were Brigadiers Piyasoma and Edirisuriya.

The Court was appointed by Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Rohan de S. Daluwatte, who vowed to take strong action against those responsible.

Even those who train young cadets to become "officers and gentleman" are themselves not gentlemanly at times. Who will train them to behave is the billion dollar question ?

A Court of Inquiry probing another incident two years ago also raised serious questions on the conduct of the same man.

Olara's mission

It's months since UN Special Envoy, Olara Otunnu, came to Sri Lanka to study about children and war.

He was also engaged in a lesser known task for the United Nations - putting together an international group of leading policemen to help re-organise the Police service in Sierra Leone. He sought the assistance of the Sri Lanka Government too.

The result - Senior DIG (Administration), Dharmadasa de Silva, will leave shortly to be Sri Lanka's member in the UN sponsored team.

Open arrest

There are whispers in the uniformed circles about an unusual event in an area which is the centre of much action these days.

They say the big man has placed under "open arrest" his top most guy, ones who are generally identified as number ones.

Most are asking how and why this has come about. That's a top secret.

Tigers under water

Is LTTE's Sea Tiger wing trying to manufacture boats for under water sabotage ?

Intelligence circles say they were tapping suppliers in an European and Scandinavian country for equipment and parts for this purpose.


Some of our intelli gence sleuths do need a good briefing on foreign affairs if one is to go by a recent summary dated May 4, 1998.

One of the countries where the LTTE is listed for certain activity (details withheld) is said to be "Czechoslovakia" - a country that no longer exists in that name.

It's Czech Republic and Slovakia. That's how the countries have bifurcated after the recent turmoil in the Balkans. Time some help is sought from the Foreign Ministry. Even though the document is listed "secret," the fact that Czechoslovakia is no longer one is no secret !! That's for sure.

Recognizing some valuable lessons

The Krishanthi case in retrospect

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

Perhaps the best proof of the efficacy of the July 3rd verdict in the Krishanthi Kumarasamy case lies in the notably disgruntled silence of otherwise voluble advocates who predicted that the case would, in fact, come to naught. It is, actually, not only the verdict itself but also its aftermath that is interesting. Barring a few discordant voices, the judgement of the Trial-at Bar has been hailed positively as an important step towards a national recognition that what happened to Krishanthi was shameful, profoundly so. This, in effect, could be said to be the true worth of the verdict.

Some of its benefits are, of course, obvious. From an international human rights perspective, the country's human rights record had been coming under critical scrutiny. This was apparent by the increasing acerbity with which we were being called to order by UN monitoring mechanisms on human rights. In fact, the pressure had been unprecedented this year, with state representatives combating tough questions in succession from the Commission on Human Rights, during the Torture Committee sittings and in the reports of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of children in armed conflict. Now, it would seem that this grumbling international pressure has eased, at least for the moment.

For the Government therefore, the Krishanthi verdict could not have come too soon. Like the atrocity of the Premawathi Manamperi case which symbolized the 1971 era, the rape and murder of Krishanthi Kumarasamy, a fifteen year old school girl and the subsequent murder of her mother, brother and neighbour who went in search of her, by eight soldiers and one policeman on duty at the Chemmani check point will mark the 1990's. In the Manamperi case, belatedly, at least, those responsible were prosecuted, found guilty and punished.

In 19898, justice was more swift and the sincerity of President Chandrika Kumaratunga in pushing the case from the time it was brought to her notice has to be acknowledged. Without this leave from the top, nothing would have been accomplished, as indeed it was in the time of the UNP. In retrospect, now is time to rethink and re-plan one's strategies if the real advantages of the Krishanthi Kumarasamy case are not to be lost or looked upon as a momentary aberration. To look at the case from a pro army or anti army standpoint would be simplistic to the point of being absurd.

It is, after all, a matter of some note, that crucial evidence implicating the first accused during the trial came from a reserve police constable and an army corporal who had, in fact, attempted to rescue the detained girl. The question remains this and only this: Should rights abuses by erring army and police personnel be glossed over and denied, thus tainting the entirety of men who are attempting to serve honourably in very difficult circumstances ? Or should such abuses be acknowledged and a consciousness created that such incidents are, indeed, hugely counterproductive?

This is, of course, quite apart from the fact that the death penalty imposed on the guilty men ought not be implemented. While the sentence is understandable and indeed needed, in terms of the message it passed to society, its actual carrying out would, of course, be contrary to all international human rights norms. A more contentious argument however concerns the process by which offending service personnel could be brought to account for their misdemeanours. In the Kumarasamy case, it was obvious that the international and national pressure brought to bear on the government resulted in the case being heard before a civilian court, notwithstanding the explanation given by Additional Solicitor General D.P. Kumarasinghe during the course of the trial that the accused were not indicted before a court martial under the Army Act since one of the accused was a reserve police officer. It has to be conceded that past experiences where instances of human rights abuses by service personnel were handed over to the army for investigation have not been reassuring.

The example of the Kokkadicholai massacre of 50 civilians in 1991 where a court martial found only a single officer guilty of not keeping his soldiers under sufficient control is only one example.

The question is however whether a practice of handing over all cases of alleged indiscipline in the armed forces to civilian courts would be an advisable course to follow, given the fact that it amounts to a substantial abdication of the authority of the army over its men.

In the context of the intensity of the war being fought in the country, such abdication of authority carries with it all its attendant demoralisations, not the least being that no real change can be effected in army ranks if punishments on erring members are looked upon as alien sentences imposed by alien courts. The case, therefore, above all, serves as a warning to the army high command to review its own disciplinary structures with regard to human rights abuses. That they cannot shrug off their responsibility in cases such as these has been now widely acknowledged. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions put the matter very well when he stated in his report that:

"Human rights violations are most frequent in the context of operations carried out by the security forces against the armed insurgency. While considering it inappropriate to affirm the existence of a planned policy of systematic violation of human rights, the violations have been so numerous, frequent and serious over the years that they could not be dealt with as if they were just isolated or individual cases of misbehaviour by middle and lower rank officers, without attaching any political responsibility to the civilian and military hierarchy. On the contrary, even if no decision had been taken to persecute the unarmed civilian population, the Government and the high military command would still be responsible for the actions and omissions of their subordinates"

That is, then, the army. If serious reforms in the army disciplinary structures are contemplated, future pending cases of rights violations could well be taken out of the purview of civilian courts and pursued before a court martial with, of course, appropriate monitoring and observing. The Government meanwhile, cannot afford to rest on its legal laurels. Much needs to be done if the Kumarasamy verdict is to be of real effect.

Reportedly, quite in contrast to the surfeit of commentary in the Colombo based press following the verdict, the reaction in the North has been muted. While the point has to be made that legal or disciplinary action against officers implicated in rights violations can only be after careful investigation, the fact remains that effective mechanisms have yet to be set up for this purpose.

The recommendations of the three Disappearances Commissions in this respect have been of no effect. One example is a recommendation by the central province commission that an assistant superintendent of police who had been named as being responsible for "disappearances" in the Anamaduwa area and who had been implicated in attempts to intimidate witnesses testifying against him be sent on compulsory leave. To date, this has not happened. Instead, to all intents and purposes, the same officer is reportedly attached to a Colombo police station. Again, in early 1996, President Kumaratunga reportedly directed the then Commander of the Army to deal severely with some 200 army officers found involved in "disappearances" by another presidential commission. This action, too, has not been taken, up to now.

The argument that it is unrealistic for bleeding heart liberals to call for action against members of the police and armed forces who are implicated in human rights violations in the context of the current war can only be taken so far and no further. At the very minimum, the Kumarasamy verdict has underscored the effectiveness of stern action. It remains for the army and the police top command to distinguish and recognize the value of its message.

An anniversary that Lake House won't celebrate

The Government take- over of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. (Lake House) exactly 25 years ago on July 19, 1973, marked the first step in a process that virtually crushed the independent national press in Sri Lanka.

Less than one year later the SUN/DAVASA Independent Newspapers group was sealed and before the United Front Government was thrown out, it had manipulated a management battle which sent the old Times Group crashing.

The UNP solemnly promised to revoke Government control of the Lake House Group. But it never did. The PA in its 1994 Election Manifesto also promised to broadbase Lake House and make it independent. But little progress was made though a committee was appointed to look into the matter. Instead, it made a mockery of board room principles by hiring and firing chairmen — five in four years.

On this 25th anniversary of the take-over of Lake House, we re-publish a front page news item from the SUN newspaper of July 19, 1973, giving a valedictory message from the outgoing board of directors and the Lobby comment from the veteran writer Douglas Grenier.

The SUN is now defunct and Mr. Grenier dead, but the powerful stand they took on behalf of a rival newspaper group will be long remembered in the continuing crusade for the freedom of expression and the right to information.

"The following statement was issued on July 18, 1973, by the outgoing board of directors of Lake House:

"The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., which was founded by the late Mr. D.R. Wijewardene in 1926 ceases to be an independent newspaper company once the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., (Special Provisions) Bill is debated and passed by the National State Assembly and becomes law.

"Whatever the ultimate intentions of the Government may be for the future of the company as detailed in the provisions of the bill the factual position remains that no sooner the legislation under consideration is implemented, the Public Trustee becomes the sole owner of approximately 82 per cent of the shares of this company and therefore the newspapers and allied publications now printed and published by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., become overnight Government-controlled newspapers and publications. It is a misconception to think that the principal object of the bill is merely to convert a private company to a public company by broadbasing shareholdings. At all stages of the implementation of the Bill, the sole discretion of broadbasing the share holdings is vested in the Government alone.

The newspapers and allied publications which will be taken over by the Government are the Dinamina, Ceylon Daily News, Thinakaran, Janata, Ceylon Observer, the Ceylon Observer Magazine Edition, Silumina, Thinakaran Vaara Manjari, Navayugaya, Tharunee, Mihira, Sarasaviya, Budusarana, Subasetha and Ceylon News.

The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., from the time it was founded has always striven to serve the larger interests of the people and foster and maintain the ideals of a free and democratic Press. We have endeavoured to give all the news without fear or favour and, while our views, especially on matters of national importance, have been expressed in no uncertain terms, we have nevertheless always kept our columns open for divergent viewpoints of the public which, quite often, were contrary to our own views. In keeping with the democratic tradition of freedom of expression, the only restraint which we have consciously tried to impose on news and views is the democratic restraint imposed by the laws of our land and the needs of a developing society. The freedom of the press is no greater nor less than the freedom of the individual.

We make no claim to perfection, and indeed what human institution can presume to make such a claim?

However, we can be excused some pride and satisfaction that despite the growth of several newspapers run by well-organised newspaper groups of varying political hues throughout the years, our group of newspapers and allied publications have continued to enjoy the confidence of a steadily increasing readership, by and large.

The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., is a 100 percent Ceylonese newspaper institution which was founded by Mr. D.R. Wijewardene during the heyday of the British Raj. This institution, as many of our readers are well aware, played no insignificant part in the national upsurge for and the winning of political independence.

It not only reflected the public views on matters of national importance while Sri Lanka was a British colony, but also helped actively to guide and mould public opinion till political independence was won.

Since that day, it has been the endeavour of this group of newspapers both to stimulate and reflect public opinion with a view to giving that political independence substance and content economically, socially and culturally, so that the political independence achieved may be meaningful to the people.

In our endeavour to be of service to the nation, we have throughout the years steadfastly refused to bow down to politicians or Governments, whatever their avowed political philosophies or policies may be, because we have been conscious of the fact that service to the people, according to our own lights, is the best policy for a national group of newspapers to follow in the national interest. As a result we have often been the target of attack by politicians of all parties.

It will be idle to pretend therefore that at a time such as this, that it is not a matter of disappointment and regret to us that our group of newspapers and allied publications are to be taken over by the Government.

We, for our part, have done our utmost to thwart peacefully and legally this Government take-over which has been threatened since July 1960. And now we have failed.

When the bell is about to toll for a not inconsiderable section of the free Press of Sri Lanka, the occasion is one of sadness for us, as it must be for all men and women who have a deep and abiding faith in democratic freedoms, even though they may not be eloquent or even articulate about such freedoms.

Last Rites over lost rights

By Douglas Grenier

National State Assembly, Wednesday

As the Associated Newspapers (Special Provisions) bill was carried along to its ultimate and predestined conclusion — in much the same way as the corpse of the ill-fated General Sir John Moore was hurried off, at dead of night to the ramparts at Corunna — one sensed the dark forces at work giving the whole proceedings the flavour of a tragedy by Euripides.

As the Last Rites were being solemnly performed over the lost rights of the people, one felt that the Government MPs, fully conscious of the historic importance of the occasion, bided their time to plunge a dagger into the prostrate body of press freedom in this country.

Mr. Ratna Deshapriya Senanayake, Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, was the first to get in his blow, brandishing, what he alleged was a Print Order to prompt that the circulation of Lake House newspapers, far from decreasing, was actually on the increase.

He alleged that Lake house newspapers had always militated against the progressive measures of the Government and supported the forces of reaction.

"Racketeers", "Criminals", "Humbugs"- the epithets were spat out by the speaker with bullet-like precision.

The MP for Minneriya was obviously tasting to the full the savour of sweet revenge — the realisation of a dream that has obsessed the Leftists of this country for more than 30 years.

Quoting copiously from a long and detailed list of money alleged to have been spent by the Lake House Group in supporting the UNP at the elections, he embarked upon a long and bitter tirade of the alleged misdemeanours of the directors of the Group.

Switching off suddenly to the financial aspects of the take-over, he expressed considerable anxiety about the disposal of the Provident Fund of employees of Lake House, undertaking to do everything possible to protect the interests of the workers.

In a voice of Jovian reverberation, he warned the other newspapers of the country that if they went against the interests of the people, "they would be severely dealt with."

The floodgates of vituperation, and invective let loose by the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs in the course of his long and thunderous speech, reminded one of nothing so much as the denunciations with which the notorious Judge Jeffreys of the "Bloody Assizes" in England sent his wretched victims to the gallows.

What struck one most forcibly, in the Deputy Minister's speech was that it was not in the run of the thrust and parry or ordinary parliamentary debate.

It was a bitter personal attack delivered with ferocity and venom.

Ethnic hatred : Of Vested Interests and Warfare

War is today sweeping Kosovo. The UN-brokered peace is breaking down in Angola. In Rwanda, Hutu militiamen killed 34 Tutsis watching the World Cup in a hotel.

We hear about it all and ring our hands in despair at the ethnic hatred that now seems to be unhindered by the disciplines imposed by the exigencies of big power politics during the Cold War. What we don't do much of is to look at it in, should I say, more positive terms. What use is conflict? In whose interest is it waged?

We assume too blithely that these wars happen despite the intentions of rational people. In fact they happen often because of the intentions of thinking people.

War is often not simply a breakdown of the system but a way of creating an alternative system of profit, power and protection. To paraphrase Clausewitz, war has increasingly become the continuation of economics by other means.

Indeed, "winning" in the conventional sense may not be particularly desirable. For war lords and their foot-soldiers - Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola is the supreme example - The point of war may be nothing less than the legitimacy which it confers on actions which in normal times would be punishable as crimes.

We hand-wringers on the outside assume war is an "end", and the abuse of civilians the unfortunate "means". We are wrong. The end in many of those wars (ex-Yugoslavia is the most dramatic example) is to engage in abuse (torture, rape etc). And crimes (looting, stealing houses and their contents from those they dispossess) that bring immediate reward. The means is war and its perpetration.

In the days of colonial empire or communist expansion fighting was seen as either the struggle for a specific goal - liberation from imperial possession or the overthrow of an oppressive feudalistic structure. In both cases there tended to be ideological self-discipline. By and large, troops under the command of Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro or Che Guevara did not pillage. Nor did they rape and intimidate the population they were trying to liberate. And in Cold War days rebels could often win subsidies, both cash and guns, from Moscow, Beijing or Havana.

Nowadays everything has to be paid for. UNITA in Angola, the Khemer Rouge in Cambodia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia are all examples of movements that have gravitated from a strong ideological purpose to a narrow, self-satisfying, economic one. (In Colombia these erstwhile leftist guerrillas are today called the "Third Cartel" , so deep is their involvement in the drug business.) Moreover, rebels without a financial and political godfather are more likely to resort to brutality in an effort to make maximum impact with minimum funding. Civilians have become a tool of war.

Much of it is initiated not by rebels seeking to transform the state but by elites intent on defending vested interests. Many of such elites gained power in post-colonial states; others like Milosovic in Yugoslavia won their privileged position in communist days, and were determined to hang on to it after, come hell or high water.

All this begs the difficult question, what can be done by outsiders to diminish the power of such people, hamstring their effectiveness and give a better chance of life and security to their would-be victims? Can the international community "reduce the benefits of violence and increase those of peace?" This question is posed in a lucid exposition by David Kean in a new study written for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

One way is to give the leadership an economic incentive to switch to peace. This, in fact, is what the Oslo Accords did for Yasser Arafat and his cabal of officials who run the Palestinian Authority. They have gained tangible economic benefits from "peace" with Isreal - from international aid, business monopolies and the ablilty, much of the time, to move freely in and out of Israel. The Ministers of Civil Affairs, Jamil Tarifi, has even won contracts to build Israeli settlements!

Such "peace" can be a problem when the violent men make peace, as the Palestinian case shows only too well.

But it is much better than what went before and gives the chance for outside pressure to be brought to bear to fashion a long-term peace that is more attractive than war for the majority, not just for the elite.

In fact, all outside help can be double-edged. Emergency aid, while reducing the need to bleed the populace, can fuel the violence by feeding the combatants to fight another day, as is clearly happeining in the Sudan today.

Even pushing for democracy may not always be a panacea for deeply divided societies. Crime is eminently compatible with democracy as Milosovic has shown.

Unless the law is also free, and the press and the non-governmental organizations too, thus enabling the development of a widespread peace culture, democracy can be manipulated to the old elite's advantage.

Thus whilst offering the carrot of economic incentives - rather than the often negative blunderbuss of sanctions - it is useful to couple them with certain penalities. One way, rarely used surprisingly, is to deny the leadership and their families access to foreign bank accounts and overseas travel.

Colombia's decision to freeze guerrilla bank accounts and confiscate their assets seems to have been more effective than direct military attacks.

If the warlords are in the ethnic violence business essentially for economic reasons then the would-be peacemakers must also play the economic game.

Making peace in today's world has this new dimension. It deserves more.

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