Lessons to be learnt from the CFA
Posted on August 15th, 2010

Ajit Randeniya

The report last week of former head of the Peace Secretariat, Bernard Gunatilleke’s evidence before the Lessons Learnt Commission on the processes relating to the signing of the so-called 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) was “ƒ”¹…”enlightening’, unfortunately in a frighteningly negative way.

 While Bernard Gunatilleke’s evidence brings to light the usual, deceptive tricks employed by neocolonialists (US, UK, Canada and Australia supported by sundry other “ƒ”¹…”white’ nations, Norway in this case,) in their attempts at influencing the national political and economic affairs of developing countries, the apparent lack of sophistication in advising the government by advisors such as Mr Gunatilleke on suitable responses to such conspiracies is disturbing.

 Mr Gunatilleke’s evidence reveals an appalling level of naivety of the (then) government regarding its alertness to the mechanics of the conspiracy the CPA represented, and the Government’s assessments of the conditions that led to their succumbing to the deal; the almost “ƒ”¹…”detached’, oblivious, narration of these deficiencies by a senior diplomat such as Mr Gunatilleke who bore the responsibility for providing sound advice to the Government should be chillingly concerning to all Sri Lankans.

 Mr Gunatilleke deserves credit for his decision to forgo the opportunity to give evidence in camera, and the offer to reveal to the Sri Lankan public the anatomy of the unmitigated disaster the CFA constituted; without his revelations, Sri Lankans would have been none the wiser. However, his decision also shows that he is still oblivious to the enormity of the problem he is partly responsible for creating!

 Apart from Mr Gunatilleke’s evidence, it is also noteworthy that the US and Canadian agents were there “ƒ”¹…”to monitor’ the proceedings. Though they might like to portray their presence as “ƒ”¹…”for purposes of monitoring its usefulness etc,) the real reason is that they are nervous about any unwelcome revelations of their role in corruption and other criminal activity during the war years! The reason why the Norwegians themselves were not there was because they were always only the “ƒ”¹…”facade’ of this conspiracy hatched by the US and UK, and also because they probably rely on local agents, say a “ƒ”¹…”reporter’ from the Sunday Leader.

Mr Gunatilleke’s evidence contains a number of “ƒ”¹…”facts’ which he seems to have clung on to as “ƒ”¹…”excuses’ for the failure of the government to fully analyse and evaluate the ramifications of signing such an obviously biased “ƒ”¹…”agreement’ with Prabhakaran. Gunatilleke seems to be motivated also by his apparent loyalty to Ranil wickremesinghe, and to “ƒ”¹…”save’ him from any further blame or even culpability under the law.

 The first of the facts Gunatilleke has provided is the allegation that the Norwegians imposed “ƒ”¹…”a sense of urgency’ on the government to finalise a CFA with the LTTE, “ƒ”¹…”regardless of Sri Lanka’s concerns’. The second is his revelation that these champions of democracy limiting the consideration of the CFA to a select group of Ranil Wickremasinghe’s inner sanctum, Milinda Moragoda, G. L. Peiris and Rauf Hakeem.

Through these two key, fraudulent mechanisms, the Norwegians have put themselves in a commanding situation, and as Gunatilleke has revealed, to determine the conditions of the agreement, pressing the need to keep amendments “ƒ”¹…”to a minimum’ and rejecting key suggestions such as [raising the issue of] child soldiers and freedom for the government and other Tamil political parties to engage in political activity in LTTE-held territory. “Our concerns were brushed aside,” Gunatilleke has said, on account of such requests “ƒ”¹…”hindering’ a CFA.

Astonishingly, in a show of on-going poor judgment on his part, Gunatilleke has also said that “ƒ”¹…”the CFA had been a ploy for them [the Government] to take time and prepare for war’; he said this while knowing that the US and other conspirators were watching from the sidelines!

In an apparent attempt to save the skin of the “ƒ”¹…”gutless wonder’, Gunatilleke asserts that Wickremesinghe only finalised the ceasefire process that had been initiated by Chandrika Kumaratunga; he has also gone on to strongly defend Wickremesinghe’s decision to sign the CFA due to a number of major military defeats the government suffered during the period leading up to it. The ultimate insult was their recognition of the LTTE as a military “ƒ”¹…”equal’ to the government at the negotiating table.

His position on the failure of the so-called Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) tasked with supervising the CFA, is as naive as anything Gunatilleke revealed before the Commission; he believes that the monitors were simply “ƒ”¹…”powerless to act’ and the LTTE simply ignored their rulings!

 Perplexingly, Gunatillake then acknowledges that the CFA was a “bad model”, but justifies signing it on account of the urgency, which he had earlier blamed on the Norwegians!

 In attempting to analyse these circumstances that led to a “ƒ”¹…”peace agreement’ that prolonged the war by nearly another decade, causing the deaths of thousands of Sri Lankan servicemen as well as civilians, not to speak of the fear psychosis and misery it created throughout the country, it beggars belief that advisors such as Mr Gunatilleke failed to grasp the real objectives of the so-called “ƒ”¹…”Norwegian’ initiated CFA.

 Back around 2000, there was plenty of speculation and evidence amongst international intelligence agencies about the sources of the LTTE’s military “ƒ”¹…”strength’. While “ƒ”¹…”donations’ and involuntary contributions by the Tamil Diaspora would have made a contribution to arms procurement, the Government should have been privy to the information that the LTTE received significant help in terms of military equipment and training clandestinely from the very people who were pushing for “ƒ”¹…”peace’!

 Had the thinking had been influenced by such information, the Government could have seen the motives of the “ƒ”¹…”Norwegians’ more clearly. The alternative inference is that people such as Milinda Moragoda diverted attention from such issues to sign the CFA in a hurry.

 Secondly, the “ƒ”¹…”urgency’ created by the Norwegians is one of the oldest tricks of the trade; they could have been told calmly, but firmly, that the issues are too grave and important to be signed-off without proper and detailed deliberation. After all, the matters were not crucial to the existence of Norway, but to that of Sri Lanka!

 Then the fraudulent Norwegian strategy of limiting of deliberations to Ranil, Pinto Moragoda and G. L.Peiris; there is no more evidence to a “ƒ”¹…”plot’ than this! They obviously knew that most Sri Lankans, let alone politicians, would have “ƒ”¹…”seen through’ this fraud. They knew clearly that Ranil Wickremesinghe and Milinda Moragoda, their agents, who are terminally “ƒ”¹…”compromised’ and desperate, and G.L. Peiris who was of decent and ineffective disposition posed no threat to their evil plans. Their key man was Moragoda whom they had groomed since early adulthood, and they successfully kept the CFA away  from any one who could’ve “ƒ”¹…”potentially’ objected to it.

 Obviously, there are many aspects to debacles such as this; the key issue that should attract attention here is the role of the bureaucracy in appropriately advising the politicians who make decisions that affect the lives of millions of poor people.

 In their own countries, every major decision including hatching conspiracies to subvert or invade other countries, is done on “ƒ”¹…”sound’ (in a specific sense of the meaning of the word) “ƒ”¹…”advice’ provided by professional bureaucrats who develop “ƒ”¹…”expert’ knowledge on global affairs on the basis of geographical, economic, and other strategically important factors.  

 Major US foreign policy disasters that culminated in the Iraqi and Afghani invasions took place when this sound infrastructure was methodically corrupted by the neocon cabal (Paul wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Rumfeld in particular), who usurped the US government in a blood-less coup back in 2000 and started “ƒ”¹…”stacking’ the key public service positions with their lackeys.   

 The greatest lesson Sri Lanka could learn from this particular Commission process is not to waste resources and time by setting up a “ƒ”¹…”Truth Commission’ or such other western-promoted “ƒ”¹…”white elephant’ with a view to placate them, but to put in place a structured training program to better educate its senior public servants on the realities of the international strategic environment they will be operating in.

 The remark by Mr S.L. Gunasekera that there is a “crisis in the diplomatic service” reinforces the need for such an initiative.

Mr Gunatilleke’s recount of the processes that committed Sri Lanka to the disastrous CFA should form the subject of a “ƒ”¹…”case study’ to be used in future training for all government bureaucrats, the Foreign Service in particular, to guide them in their dealings with foreigners.

 Especially those bringing gifts!

4 Responses to “Lessons to be learnt from the CFA”

  1. wasantha bandara ranagala Says:

    The contents in your article are a dangerous revelation that needs a serious analysis in retrospect. It’s quite pertinent to question how the man called Bradman Weerakone, held the mantle of serving at the highest level as sec to the head of state, imagine 5 consecutive times. Wait and see by a stroke of luck the UNP is back again Brad will be back in business. Didn’t his actions proved what a hypocrite and an enemy he is of the Sinhala nation. Along with him this Bernard played the role of real architect behind the CFA and continues to play the same game under Mahinda. His comments at LLRC that CFA helped bifurcating the LTTE is yet another ploy to water down the traitorous deed that cost thousands of innocent lives and billions of rupees damage to the economy.

    What I would like to add here is that with or without Karuna the rolling juggernaut of Sinhala reply to the terrorist onslaught was gathering momentum at the time MR won the presidency with the fall of bandit queen and it was just a matter of time that crushed Karuna faction in the east before extending the forces to North. Karuna must be thanking his gods for convincing him to strip the Tiger emblem in time.

    Ajit, though your writings worth compiling into a must read module for the Foreign Service yes men, let me tell you, with the same old fraudster GL doing business with the same old set of rouges is just an utter wastage of your precious time form a cooler clime. Forget SL and Enjoy your life man!

  2. jana Says:

    It is interesting that the effective advice was lacking until Buddhist advisors took over.

  3. helaya Says:

    You got it wrong. Bernard Goonatilake is not traiter or incompetent person. I have know whenb he was a ambassador to US. I wroked with him in sevral occasions on SL matters. He is the only ambassodr who wrote replying to repotrs oublished by the local newspapers like Washington post. Do not judge people by stating the facts as he knows it.

  4. Geeth Says:

    What Ajit pointing out is that Mr. Gunatilaka’s testimony regarding CFA has not given due attention to some of the critical aspects of the CFA. The reason could be because Mr. Gunathilake is a senior most diplomat we have and therefore the nation expects him to see some aspects and bring them for the attention of the nation in this regrd.

    First and foremost, to my understanding, the CFA must be evaluated within the big picture of the global affairs and on the other hand, the CFA can never be evaluated as a domestic affair of SL. It is a reflection of regional and international affair therefore needs a careful scrutiny connecting it with other things that related to the region and the global.

    CFA is a strategic landmark of the western regional agenda. Any similar event of conflict resolutions in the world that had reached to such extent like the CFA, would never have turned the table other way around like in the case of Sri Lanka. That is why Sri Lankan case becomes so unique and a miracle. Among many objectives of the CFA, there was an objective of creating material condition favorable for the Tamil separatist agenda. By achieving this objective the architects of the document has envisioned establishing a moral justification for an external intervention that can bring final solution. There was only one obstacle left troubling a smooth journey to the planed culmination of the agreement. That was the stupidity of Prabhakaran. I do not understand why the architects never attempted for a leadership change in the LTTE camp. Even though we have no info about it, they might have tried it.

    I think, CFA must be situated within the large picture of global affairs for any acceptable evaluation. Anything short of that level of thorough study will never be a comprehensive study. For instance, how CFA becomes a major part of the grand regional strategy of the west is a vital question? Who approved CFA in the local, and why and on what basis? Do these local agent have any international obligations for interested external parties outside SL?
    What are the true intentions and the goals of the CFA although we were given false reasons and asked to believe them naively? What would be the end result of the CFA if it was fully implemented and observed to the end? How CFA becomes illegal?

    In post CFA political culture we may have to address some terrible shortcomings in our political culture. Firstly, we must have an institution to educate our people about current global affairs that related to our very existence in the region. This is applicable even to our ministry of external affairs. At least our parliament and the Ministry of External Affairs must have equipped with data basses and libraries to provide all necessary data and information about current world affairs and also related developments in the literature in critical theory fields. I do not believe Bandaranayake institution of international relations has fulfilled this vacuum. Due to Sri Lanka becoming a sensitive location in the Indian Ocean region, our indifference to the larger spectrum of global realities may have far reaching consequences. We must immediately address this problem in order to equip our bureaucracy to handle global affairs with a consistent foreign policy to safeguard national interests irrespective of different regimes.

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