By Kalinga Seneviratne
“I gave leadership to the government that defeated the terrorists that no one thought could ever be defeated. From the moment this government came into power in January 2015, they have been persecuting the members of the armed forces and the intelligence services that ended that war,” said former President and Current Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse in an emotional 10 minute address to parliament on April 23.
With his voice almost cracking up with emotion, the war-winning president said that “the armed forces personnel who carried out their duties on behalf of the nation were harassed and hunted down by this government”. He slammed the government for listening to foreign (western) powers and undermining national security.
“The government should at least now realise that you cannot run this country according to the dictates coming from foreign countries. We have to solve our own problems. Because the government was engaged in relentlessly persecuting its own armed forces, we became an easy target for terrorists,” pointed out Rajapakse, adding that “no other country in the world has persecuted and weakened their own armed forces and intelligence services in this manner”.
While social media is blocked by the government, his comments have triggered a debate in much of the mainstream media about how the government led by President Maitripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been inept at protecting the security of the country, because they have allowed western governments, NGOs funded by them and UN organisations like the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to dictate national security policies to them.
In September 2015, the government virtually surrendered the policy making process to the UNHRC when it co-sponsored a resolution calling upon the government to account for alleged war crimes and missing persons during the final push to eliminate one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world at the time, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
This has led to pressure on the government to set up war crimes courts with foreign judges, set up a missing persons investigation centre and imprisonment of former intelligence officers and army personnel, many of whom are seen by most Sri Lankans as war heroes, who brought peace to the country. At the time of the Easter Sunday attack, the government was on the verge of repealing the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ under the dictates of the West and UNHRC.
“If that had happened what position would we be at today?” asked Rajapakse.
In a video interview given by leading Constitutional Lawyer Manohara de Silva on April 23 that was widely circulated via email, he also slammed the government for giving the responsibility for the country’s security to the international community. He blamed the 2015 UNHRC resolution for the current situation where the country’s security guard was lowered.
He pointed out that the new anti-terror law that was presented to parliament recently, makes it impossible to pursue or charge anyone for terrorism activity if that person is a foreign national – even though he may have been a Sri Lankan national before.
“If the country he lives now don’t agree, we can’t charge him,” he notes. “So this law is going to be subservient to the West (because most of those who support terrorism in Sri Lanka have obtained asylum in Western countries, especially LTTE sympathisers)”. He accuses the government of trying to please the West rather than protecting “our citizens”.
Silva pointed out in the interview that about 40 intelligence officers who helped to end terrorism in Sri Lanka are now behind bars. “They are still held on remand when there is no sound evidence against them,” he notes. “If so they should be charged by now.”
This has led to a situation, argues Silva, that intelligence officers are afraid to investigate terrorism threats today because they are worried that they would be framed like those in jail. “We cannot operate our intelligence services this way. This is why we have to depend on Indian intelligence,” he argues.
Silva also points out that 54 bills have been passed against “our army” under pressure from UNHRC and the missing persons act passed does not allow the police to the investigations, but delegates it to the ‘Office of Missing Persons’ that is stacked with anti-national NGO types, one of whom is Dr Nilmalka Fernando, a well-known anti-Buddhist western-funded NGO activist.
In a statement released to the media today on April 25, Sri Lanka’s major Buddhist chapter, Asgiriya chapter, called upon the government to give an immediate pardon to all imprisoned intelligence officials and draft them back into the country’s national security framework. “Religious extremism spread in the country because experienced intelligence officials have been imprisoned for various reasons. They did an immense service to defeat terrorism. We need to consider our national security and they should be pardoned and released immediately,” the statement said.
Another Sri Lankan lawyer, Dharshan Weerasekare, author of ‘UN’s Relentless Pursuit of Sri Lanka’ in a commentary published in Lankaweb has called into question the timing and reason for the Easter Sunday attack.
“What is crucial is that the bombings not be permitted to become a pretext for the Government to join the U.S.’s ‘War on Terror.’ For the past four years, the U.S. and India (the U.S.’s new ally in Asia) have been busy trying to gain maximum indirect control over Sri Lanka in order to prevent the Chinese from establishing a presence in this country,” he argues.“They would have succeeded had it not been for the collapse of the ‘National Government’ and the subsequent collapse of the drive to enact a new Constitution”.
With both presidential and parliamentary elections due in Sri Lanka within the next 12 months, the nationalist alliance led by Rajapakse is strongly tipped to win both elections. Survival of the staunchly pro-Western Wickremasingle is crucial for the West to control Sri Lanka’s destiny.
In March 2018 when a no-confidence motion against the PM was gathering momentum a riot broke out between Muslims and Buddhists in Central Sri Lanka. Timely action by local community leaders of both communities prevented it becoming a major nationwide conflict.
Then when Sirisena sacked Wickremasinghe and appointed Rajapakse as PM in November 2018, Western ambassadors in Colombo openly interfered in the domestic political process to get Wickremasinghe reinstalled. Now come the terror attacks that have the potential to create chaos in the country so that Sri Lanka could be called a ‘failed state’, ripe for the West’s new-colonialism via the R2P (Right to Protect) framework.
“Sri Lanka which sits at a strategically vital spot in the Indian Ocean is crucial for both the Americans as well as the Chinese, the former in order to further entrench their control over this region, the latter to break out of the ‘encirclement’“ notes Weerasekare, pointing out that a new government that would take power after elections next year could be heavily pro-nationalist as well as pro-Chinese.
“In short, all the hopes that the Americans/Indians had in January 2015 are now in ruins, and the ‘gains’ they made in the last four years are very much in danger of being reversed.”
Sri Lanka’s oldest leftist party Lanka Sama Samaji Party (LSSP), while issuing a condolence message to victims of the bombing, said there was something more sinister than what meets the eye. “This whole attack has similarities with events abroad that have been attributed to the CIA of the USA,” the statement argued.
The statement added: “It is known that the CIA and USA think tanks are operating here with the support of the Government. With the blue print for a police state, the diabolical Counter Terrorist Act (CTA) available, to ensure that the UNF (governing alliance) can stay in power, without holding elections, the path to becoming a neo-colony of the USA can go ahead without interruption.”
Thus, what happened on Easter Sunday, may not be merely a jihadist attack on Christians and Western tourists to take revenge on the New Zealand Christchurch massacre in March 2019. This could well be part of the dirty geo-political wars being fought around the world by major powers with young brainwashed religious zealots as fodder.