By Rajan Hoole –
Border Aggression and Civilian Massacres – Part 14
In the drive to establish paramilitary Sinhalese settlements in the North-East, the circumstances we have given leave little room to doubt that Israeli agencies were involved, although the basic idea was much older and moves were already afoot in July 1983. In establishing the Weli-Oya settlement, the strategy was originally not to drive away the Tamils in one go. For a few weeks there was methodical harassment by the convicts planted there. It then stopped, and soldiers approached Tamils in the area and talked to them pleasantly. Such sophistication was new to the Sri Lankan Army.
In stirring up troubles in the Eastern Province from April 1985, the role of the Mossad has been widely alleged. However, there are no obvious links on the surface, except again the sophistication involved in bringing different elements together the state media, Muslim ministers and Muslim thugs from Colombo and the Security Forces. There are also other considerations, which lead us to answer the question of Mossad involvement in the East in the affirmative. The involvement of the STF in the troubles is beyond doubt.
While the Special Task Force, the STF, was being formed, Ravi Jayewardene took along with him on his visit to Israel DIG Police, Mr. Shirly Wijesuriya. They visited the Mossad chief and the Mossad training field. One of the purposes as Ravi Jayewardene told the Mossad Commission was to “gather special techniques” for the STF. Selected personnel from the STF were sent to Israel for training. Ravi Jayewardene was intimately involved in the formation and the functioning of the STF. According to Herman Gunaratne, the men for the STF, their commander Zernie Wijesuriya and the ex- SAS mercenaries from KMS to train the STF were all hand picked by Ravi Jayewardene.
Following the Indo-Lanka Accord in July 1987, the STF was deployed in the South to fight the JVP insurgency, where they earned a comparable reputation for killing Sinhalese youth. Gunaratne tells us that Ravi Jayewardene was deeply upset and lobbied hard to get the STF removed from the South. For a man who intimately followed the fortunes of the STF, we have no record of any concern or protest on Ravi Jayewardene’s part when the STF was admittedly fighting a dirty war in the East. It was killing Tamils without remorse, while being protected at the highest levels as in the Paul Nallanayagam affair. Killing of innocent Tamils was not an issue, which is the stamp of the whole saga.
Moreover, having got the Mossad and allied Israeli agencies into this country with high expectations in the face of costly Arab displeasure, it would have been inexplicable not to use them in the projects of immediate interest. This was particularly so in projects where the Mossad was rich in wisdom. Furthermore, Ravi Jayewardene, Mossad and the STF made a single compact. This gives us a strong indica- tion of the Mossad role in the East. There is also good reason to believe that Ravi Jayewardene was the single most influential figure behind security operations then. Herman Gunaratne tells us that it was Ravi Jayewardene who took the initiative and hand picked Lt. Gen. Cyril Ranatunge for the position of Joint Operations Command chief.
President Jayewardene knew his own ilk well and would not have trusted anyone else with too much power in the security apparatus. He used Athulathmudali with his semantic powers to handle public relations and metaphorically to take the rotten tomatoes shied from around the world. But Athulathmudali’s real power appears to have been limited.
The Mossad Commission went through a strange ritual to answer the question: “Whether any Sri Lankan informed the authors (Ostrovsky and Hoy) that funds from the World Bank and other donors towards the Mahaveli Project were being used to purchase arms for the Sri Lankan Army?” The Commissioner called for documents and ap- prised himself that Ravi Jayewardene has been a citizen of Australia from 16th April 1975 and his wife from an earlier date. The Commissioner was sticking rigorously to his terms of reference. He contended that he found no evidence that answers the question in the affirmative. The point about the couple was that whatever, if any- thing, they told the authors, they did as non-Sri Lankans.
Such was the level of democratic accountabil- ity here that the Government was hardly held an- swerable for how a single manan ordinary Australian citizen – was given so much power over the country’s security matters. This man, moreover, with his amateur, emotionally driven ap- proach, having no understanding of the consequences, was allowed to steer the country irreversibly into deep waters. The fault was not his. He is not even answerable. The authority he wielded had the complicity of persons in high places, besides hyper-patriotic editors and writers. These gentlemen have heaped superlative praise on him and even dubbed him the protector of Sinhalese in the border areas! The question whether any Muslim ministers in the Sri Lanka- Arab Friendship Society worked with Mossad on operations in the East remains unanswered.
To be continued..
*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish. To read earlier parts click here