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The Sri Lankan governement finally crushed the Tamil Tiger rebellion last week, killing the top three rebel commanders including their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran The government ignored the pleaas of the U.N. and most of the Europeans nations to allow civilians to escape from the last contested areaa. Civilian casualties are said to be very high.  The non Tamil population celebrated the end of the Tiger’s reign of terror, but Tamil people were conspicuously absent from the celebration. Discrimination against the Tamil ethnic group is pervasive in the country and some felt that Prabharkaran’s tactics gave the few Tamil elected officials bargaining chips  in governement negotiations. Sensing an opportunity perhaps for real peace, President Mahinda Rajapaksathe delivered  a speech to the country which included a message to the Tamil ethnic minority, which he delivered in their own language. He alluded to having a power sharing agreement that included the Tamils.  Peace can be elusive though, and the lull in fighting is not necessarily a guarantee for peace.  Twenty-five years of fighting leaves plenty of memories of injustice and rebellions are easily made. Two things need to happen to insure peace. Government has to offer full participation and representation to the Tamil minority, and atrocities committed during the war, on both sides must be investigated and prosecuted. President Rajapaksathe can make  a good first step by allowing medical personnel and U.N. representatives into the Tamil area so that civilians who have been without medical assistance and in some cases without food, can receive immediate aid.

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Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta announced Thursday that The CIA had emptied its secret detention facilities and that they would be decommissioned. This is the latest step in accomplishing President Obama’s promise to have transparency in government and to return the US to the rule of law. The secret detention facilities or “black sites” were allowed to operate in foreign territories under former President Bush’s “War on Terror”. It is believed that harsh interrogation techniques which rose to the level of torture took place in these facilities, in contravention of US obligations under the Geneva Convention. President Obama has also taken steps to close Guantanamo, to release those detainees that do not pose a threat to the US, and to try those who do in regularly constituted civilian courts. These small steps will earn the US tremendous goodwill as both Guantanamo and the secret prisons were condemned by human rights organizations as well as from our allies all over the world and they are a welcome sign that we are on track to rejoin the world communities as a nation that respects and adheres to the rule of law.