Despot Disrobed or Potshot Misdirected?
Posted on May 1st, 2018

Dilrook Kannangara

I was shocked to read Sarath De Alwis’ article titled ‘Despot Disrobed’ in Colombo Telegraph. It’s aimed at Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It prompted me to write this response to dispel many false allegations and shocking connotations in that article. This is my right to reply as a very concerned citizen.

It starts with a quote on Polpot, the Cambodian dictator responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. This is a very unfair comparison which ruins the objectivity of the entire article. Gotabaya has not shown any resemblance or potential of the Cambodian dictator. In fact, Gotabaya contributed as an uniformed military personnel and Defence Secretary to eliminate local Polpots, twice. Robert McNamara is a far better comparison, but Gotabaya’s restraint in warfare far exceeds that of the former US Defence Secretary. Alleged use of force and violence outside the war are merely accusations; unproven and unsubstantiated. It is best to allow courts to take the course of justice without jumping into conclusions.

The main charge of the article is that the former Defence Secretary was in charge of intelligence services during the time of Lasantha’s murder. Chronology of events doesn’t support this claim. The writer quotes from a speech made by the former Defence Secretary in 2013 on how he merged a multitude of intelligence agencies to better co-ordinate under his supervision. Lasantha was killed in January 2009. The speech was made more than four years of the conditions that existed in 2013. The writer may be unaware of the fact that our intelligence services were restructured in 2011 when they were brought under the supervision of the Defence Secretary. Concurrently, a new modern building was to be constructed for their use. Were there any incidents like the Lasantha incident after that?

Following the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of 2002 which was declared illegal by the Court of Appeal in 2008, Tamil terrorists killed dozens of intelligence personnel. This prompted these agencies to decentralize to save their personnel. The army had many intelligence units. As the Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka was in charge of these. In addition, he also supervised the role of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). He did an excellent job in keeping Colombo safe from repeated Tamil terrorist attempts. Some of his highly effective yet controversial security arrangements including the tighter control of visitors to cheap lodges in Colombo sparked rowdy protests by Tamil sections. When the terrorism threat was eliminated in May 2009, it made sense to amalgamate intelligence services.

Gotabaya settled matters with Lasantha through courts. He filed defamation cases against Lasantha. Media reach of Lasantha was at an unprofitable low by early 2009. According to another senior associated with the newspaper group, a weekly donation from a third party sustained the finances of the company. It made no sense for Gotabaya to allow the killing of Lasantha who had become irrelevant in the wider Lankan society by then.

It is important to complete the investigation and prosecute the culprits. Welikada prison massacre must be investigated and its culprits must be punished. Convicted criminals carrying machine guns is not a matter to be pushed under the carpet. As a responsible government, guns had to be separated from criminals. It does not justify execution-style killings (if they happened).

‘White van abductions’ is another series of events blamed on Gotabaya. Strangely, there is not a single police complaint backed by evidence of anyone permanently missing due to this. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in restricting movements of a terrorist or anyone with explosives or attack plans in their possession. That saves lives.

I’m no apologist for Gotabaya who is capable of defending himself through the courts system. Clearest proof of his innocence comes from USA. He is a US citizen and there is nothing that prevents the US government or any US citizen from filing legal action against him. US citizens are under the US law no matter where they reside. Besides Gotabaya never held any position that attracts diplomatic immunity. Even if he had diplomatic immunity, it doesn’t operate against USA for a US citizen. It’s an internal matter to USA. Close to 9 years have passed but nothing of the sort has happened. The war crimes beggar’s wound keeps the Tamil separatist lobby and a Sri Lankan political section going. Both lose if the war crimes beggar’s wound heals. One needs it to sell their separatist demands while the other needs it to win votes.

As the 2019 presidential election draws near, these things against Gotabaya (who is poised to win it) will only increase. With Ranil outsourcing contesting it to someone more capable, the Opposition must not take the contest for granted. Only Gotabaya can win the 2019 presidential election from the Opposition camp. Anyone else will most likely lose.

6 Responses to “Despot Disrobed or Potshot Misdirected?”

  1. Christie Says:

    India is after Gota from the time of defeat of Indian terrorist arm formed, financed, trained, managed, armed and branded Tamil Tigers by India.

    India will make sure a Sinhala leader will not win with the Indian block vote here.

    In 2005 India got Mahinda by Indian block vote abstain from voting and 2015 Indian block vote got Sirisena.

    I an sure Lasantha was killed by his own masters as what Indians do and blame someone else.

  2. Hiranthe Says:

    As Christie mentioned rightly, Lasantha was used by his pay master to discredit Gota. However they could not get Gota due to the fabricated nature of the claims. Then the inevitable happened to Lasantha by the pay master. This is a part of the game.
    “Kumbiyo” is a nice example. But Lasantha was not that smart to protect himself.
    Similar to Lasantha, My3 should be careful to protect himself as he could not deliver as expected by his pay master. To the master, My3 knows too many of their secret deals and it is a threat to the Pay master’s reputation.

  3. NAK Says:

    Sarath used write balanced and interesting articles but of late he seems to have undertaken a butchers contract against Gota. Most of what he writes today are the already stale Tiger propaganda with new twist. It is quite apparent that someone seem to have got really scared of Gota becoming the next presidential candidate and Sarath has got the hatchet job.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    Gotabaya is entitled to a fair trial. By spreading false allegations against him some are trying to create predisposition in the minds of judges against him. If a fair trial is denied to him due to propaganda affecting the judgement, Gotabaya can petition the Supreme Court for a fundamental rights violation.

  5. Sarath W Says:

    We saw a similar campaign of mud slinging against Mahinda in the 2015 election. The reasoning then was when you continue to sling mud it will stick and it worked against Mahinda. Sarath de Alwis is the new mud slinger and I am not sure who he works for. But can the voters be fooled again by these scum bags again?

    India and the Western mafia must be really worried by the thought of Gota becoming the president in 2019. They had some control of Mahinda who never had the courage to even to talk about repelling the 13th amendment. If Gota was responsible for the murder of Lasantha, they would have got him by now.

  6. Ratanapala Says:

    We Sri Lankans are an Asian Country. By nature and by history we are accustomed to look up to leadership. Follow the leader mentality is ingrained in us. History of Asia and in fact around the world is that of leaders and their exploits in building and destroying nations. The concept of democracy is alien to our souls and in fact pure democracy is not found anywhere else in the world either. This concept has been used by imperialist nations to keep their former colonies in perpetual subjugation. Democracy is the ambrosia they feed the populace to drug them into a comatose state and is the keyhole through which they enter to wrest control of any who deviate from the ‘assigned path’!

    In Sri Lanka we have a majority who yearn to keep the country whole and work towards a common wealth and minorities who are interested in balkanizing the country and having fiefdoms for themselves and others who are working towards wholesale taking over by population and economy control.

    The democracy we have in the country today where the majority has got evenly divided between two warring factions dependent on minority support is leading the country down the slippery slope back to enslavment by the imperialist forces as well as ‘johnny come lately’ powers such as India.

    There is no major policy difference between the SLFP and the UNP in thier modus operandi. Only hindrance that they have is their inablitiy to form a stable government without the support of minorities – Tamils and Muslims who are in the final analysis for the continuation of the Sri Lankan state in the present form. In this scenario it is of paramount importance that all patriots – in the SLFP and the UNP unite under one banner to defeat the ‘camels who have their heads in the tent, as well as the ‘Greeks who come bearing gifts’!

    There is no better way forward, -for we are already in a ‘hole’- other than to continue with the democracy fiasco without loosing our wits. Over the last 70 years since Independence from the Imperialist forces it is obvious that we have not had proper statesmen leading our nation. Politicians have all played ‘ping pong’ infront of a mesmerised populace and over the years we have ended up with an uneducated lot as our lawmakers. Three years have passed since the coming into power of the Jadapalanaya which went to rob the entire nation within weeks of coming into power, practically nothing has happened to advance the cause of progress in the country. Indebtedness has increased by leaps and bounds and our food, environmental and physical security has deteriorated ad nauseaum.

    We have a chance and a way forward at the coming 2020 Presidential Elections – and that is to bring in a President who need not cowtow to the minorities for his existence. It is now up to the patriots in the SLFP and the UNP to do this by uniting under one banner – Pohottuwa and Gotabhaya!

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