18 November, 2019

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Enemies Of The President’s Promise – Doc 2

By Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

In 2011 I had personal experience of how diffident Lalith could be. After the Darusman Report came out, with its excessive attack on the manner in which Sri Lanka had dealt with LTTE terrorism, I thought it necessary to warn the President about what was going on. I saw him in his office and said we had done nothing to fulfil our own commitments. When he asked me what I meant, I cited two clear examples.

The first was the negotiations with the TNA, which had shown no progress. He understood immediately what I meant, and acquiesced straight away with the suggestion that I be put on the negotiating team. Ordinarily I would have been wary of putting myself forward, but there seemed to be no alternative, and the President seemed to agree.

The second point I made was that there had been no progress whatsoever on implementing the interim recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. He evinced surprise when I said this, and declared that he had appointed a Committee which was doing its job. But I told him I thought that Committee had never met, and that he should put me on it.

He agreed again, and immediately rang Lalith and told him to appoint me to both positions. He also told the Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, who he thought knew about the work of the Committee, to send me all relevant papers, since I told him that I should see the minutes of meetings and find out what had been going on, if I were to contribute.

Lalith rang me in the car as I was leaving. He told me that the letter putting me on the negotiating team would be sent straight away, and added that he had spoken to Mohan Pieris, who chaired the Committee to implement the LLRC interim recommendations, and he had no objection to my appointment.

I only understood the implications of this after I had put down the phone. I realized that, when the President made a decision, there was no reason for Lalith to consult anyone else. Keeping Mohan informed as a courtesy that there would be a new member of his Committee was one thing, seeking his acquiescence was quite another.

I had every reason to worry. Lalith told me a few days later that it was felt inappropriate for me to be on the Committee since I was a Parliamentarian, and the other members of the Committee were officials. I called the President about this, but he told me he had been told it would not be proper. By then I had been told by the Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs that there were no minutes of meetings. The only papers he had were those prepared when the Committee was first appointed, and a report was made to Geneva. Like me, he too suspected that the Committee had not done very much.

I told this to the President, who thereupon agreed that amongst my duties as his adviser on Reconciliation would be monitoring the work of the Committee and reporting to him on what was happening. Fortunately Lalith had failed for six months to send me my terms of reference (having it seems lost the original draft I had sent him, and then delayed further when I sent him a copy). So now he made no objection when I told him the President had agreed that this should be added.

I therefore duly got a fairly comprehensive list of duties. But I then found, as noted previously, that Mohan, having first admitted that the Committee had never met, but claimed he was waiting for a date from the Secretary of Defence, finally confessed six months later that the Secretary did not want there to be any meetings. There had certainly been some progress in matters pertaining to the work of the Ministry of Defence, but no measures had been taken to expedite action on other matters of urgency, such as restoration of lands, which the LLRC had highlighted.

Was Lalith aware of what was going on? I was not sure, but in any case, even if he was busy, he was certainly culpable in not making sure that the Committee he had appointed on the instructions of the President met and did the work prescribed for it. Initially my view was that Lalith had simply lost track of basic administrative requirements, and was no longer capable of systematic follow up. But further conversations with Dayan Jayatilleka on his return from Paris suggested that there was another view.

***

In 2007 Dayan had been very positive about the Secretary of Defence, and had indeed helped him in arms procurement. During our visits to Geneva for the Human Rights Council, he would set up meetings for Mohan Pieris with various ambassadors, and I came to understand that this was about arms deals. Mohan at that time, though still in the private bar, was the head of the procurement agency that Gotabaya had set up which helped to clean up the corruption that had reigned before in the Ministry about such matters.

Gradually however Dayan began to feel that Gotabaya was becoming intransigent about a political settlement, and he felt that this was because he was getting too close to Israel, and assuming that he could adopt an Israeli approach both to international relations and also to containment of future Tamil political aspirations, once the LTTE was overcome. He told me that he had once warned Gotabaya of possible consequences of such an approach, and met with the flat response, ‘So what?’

I was reminded of this in March 2014 when Dayan told me the President had declared that both Cuba and Israel had told him that he did not need to worry about UN resolutions. Dayan noted that the President did not seem to understand what Cuba meant, which was that such resolutions could be defeated if a strategy similar to that of Cuba was followed with regard to relations with the bulk of countries that had votes. Cuba, through skilful diplomacy, had ensured that no resolution against it was carried, and they certainly did not mean that a country that did not engage in similar activities could be complacent in the face of hostile moves led by the United States.

Israel’s contempt for UN mechanisms, on the contrary, was not based on strategies to avoid majority votes against them. But that approach was not available to other countries. The reason Israel had no reason to worry was that the United States was opposed to any resolution against Israel and would ensure that any such would not be implemented. Sri Lanka obviously could not behave like Israel, when it was the United States that was in the forefront of moves against us.

It was the Israeli model though that the Secretary of Defence thought could be followed. I had previously thought that the plans Sarath Fonseka had had, to expand the army, were in accordance with this model, with settlements to be imposed in the Northern Province which was to be treated rather like the West Bank. I had assumed that the Secretary of Defence had no part in this initiative, but later I realized that he must have initially gone along with the plan even though in the end he stood by the President at the time of confrontation with Fonseka. And later it turned out that, though perhaps not in the original form, the plans to settle Sinhalese in the North who had not been there previously were revived. Unfortunately they were implemented in a way that made the President clearly complicit, with one new settlement even being called Namalgama, after his son.

And the protests even of government politicians in the area, for instance the Muslim Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, were ignored. Indeed the latter was nervous about bringing the matter up, and it was only after I raised the issue at the Ministry of Resettlement Consultative Committee meeting in Parliament that he too complained, forcefully. Significantly, he added that he only did this because there were no Opposition members of Parliament at the Committee that day, which indicated the way in which government could proceed with irregular actions, claiming that internal criticism amounted to letting down government. But Rishard on that occasion was scathing in his critique, expressing his disappointment at what he claimed was a new policy of government, to introduce Sinhalese villages in between Tamil and Muslim ones on the grounds that this would promote ethnic harmony. He made it clear that such a policy was unacceptable unless widely discussed and approved, but as it was, the impression was that it was both secretive and totally impractical, if the rationale was the one that had been given him.

Dayan’s view was that Lalith too was part of this particular coterie, that thought the victory against the terrorists should be used to promote a chauvinist agenda. He used to describe it as the Brotherhood, a term he used for what he saw as an aggressively Sinhala Buddhist mindset. And though clearly the Jathika Hela Urumaya, which had a large number of Buddhist monks as representatives in Parliament between 2004 and 2010, and the more extreme wing of the JVP (as represented by Wimal Weerawansa, who in fact split from the JVP during this period), shared such a mindset, Dayan used the term Brotherhood for what he saw as a comparatively sophisticated group.

Chief amongst these was Gotabaya Rajapaksa, along with Palitha Kohona, who had been my predecessor as Head of the Peace Secretariat, and was then Secretary to the Foreign Ministry until 2009. Later Dayan thought Palitha had become more moderate, as was understandable in someone who had worked for several years for the Australian Foreign Ministry and then the United Nations. But I remembered that Lalith had been a good friend of Palitha’s when they were both young, and had indeed mentioned, way back in 2001, that perhaps he should be persuaded to come back to Sri Lanka.

Lalith then had probably been the principal factor in persuading the President to bring Palitha back into a prominent position. And Dayan claimed too that he had been one of the principal factors in his own removal from Geneva in July 2009, having been pushed into this, along with Gotabaya, by the Israelis. At the same time Dayan granted that Palitha, having begun to see the bigger picture, had not contributed to this move at the time, and indeed Palitha told me that he had refused to sign the letter of dismissal – though he had allowed it to be signed by his Deputy.

It is possible that Dayan exaggerated the animosity of Israel. But given the careful way Israel operated, it is understandable that they wanted to get rid of someone who had given intellectual as well as moral leadership to the cause of the Palestinians. In contrast to the generally circumspect manner in which the more sophisticated Third World diplomats conducted themselves, someone like Dayan who was forthright in his condemnation, not just of Israeli excesses, but also of Western hypocrisy in this connection, and also elegant and convincing in expression, was to be got rid of if possible.

Certainly, in 2011, when Tamara Kunanayagam was appointed to Geneva in place of Kshenuka Senewiratne, the Israeli ambassador told her how much he had disliked Dayan, whereas he had found Kshenuka much better. Tamara had expressed her disagreement, and perhaps this contributed in turn to her own removal a few months later, just when she was beginning to rebuild the coalition that Dayan had used so masterfully, and with mutual benefit to all, during his tenure.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    1

    Still thinking that he, together with Dayan and Tamara are intellectually superior to others.

    I doubt that Israel even knows who Dayan is, I think he flatters himself too much !!!

    • 2
      1

      “The reason Israel had no reason to worry was that the United States was opposed to any resolution against Israel and would ensure that any such would not be implemented. Sri Lanka obviously could not behave like Israel, when it was the United States that was in the forefront of moves against us.”

      This is so telling of the fool’s failure to see clealrly.

      Isn’t that the best reason, Einstein, to have China (and Russia) on side so that we have the protection of other veto-wielding UNSC members?

      When will you get a brain my fiend? may be after Jan 8 you should invest all your free time energies to find a brain.

    • 2
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      Palitha Kohonna is an out and out racist.His very brief stint in the Australian Foreign Service lasted just a few years before his superiors in Canberra decided to get rid of him by shunting off to the UN Archives Office.There , like the documents he was the custodian of,Kohonna languished in obscurity while of course drawing UN perks.

      Later, on retirement he became a Rajapaksa hireling, ready to do the dirty work.He was utterly unsuited for the offices he held subsequently in Sri Lanka,coming across as a loner rather tan a team player, with an air of undeserved superiority.In contrast to the likes of the legendary Jayantha Dhanapala, Kohonna’s achievements are nothing to crow about.But in the eyes of those “natives” like Laith W , Kohonna was an UN god/goddess to be venerated, so much so he survives to this day

    • 5
      0

      I spotted Dayan on Rupahavini extolling the virtues of MR and why he needs a third term.

      I guess the “Israeli” threat against Dayan within the government must have gone LOL.

      “Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave , When First We Practice To Deceive” –Sir Walter Scott

      Oh and please do read Emil’s latest article on CT, he mentions your highness in it.

  • 11
    1

    All of disgruntled Rajivas’s lamentations can be summarised as follows

    1). He and his buddies Dayan and Tamara are the true patriots and politically astute advisors

    2) Every diplomat from Japan to US and every head of reputable UN agencies are infatuated by Rajiva’ s intellect and confide in him. And dear Rajiva has no qualms about kiss n tell.

    3). The president can do no wrong and above blame for all and sundry; it’s the people that are around him (who couldn’t care less about Rajivas views) that are the baddies

    It is this same Rajiva who addressed a group of Sri Lankan university students in UK and said they should mobilise support for the president.

    So my wish for rani a for 2015 is that he will grow up and stop boring us with his crap. Let him show his true patriotism by going and teaching English in village schools.

    Hope CT will maintain a higher standard and only publish articles of the calibre of those of tisaranee. She is great.

    Joyeux noel et Bon a annee

  • 4
    5

    that thought the victory against the terrorists should be used to promote a chauvinist agenda

    Interestingly, compare the situation with Kashmir, viewed as an integral part of India. Then you see that this writer’s thinking is that of an alien rather than a Sinhalese or even Tamil who stands for a unitary state.

    The chauvinist agenda is presumably re-settling sinhalese in the North, which was cleansed of Sinhalese and Muslims by the LTTE as well its earlier militant formations, from 1975 onwards.

    According to an Indian think-tank report, even the Tamil-speaking Muslims have not been fully settled, except for a few efforts by the Muslim MP in Mannar.

    Maintaining and perpetuating ethnic enclaves is surely a worse sin, and inter-migration of Sinhalese into the North, and Tamils into the south, with government incentives for this to happen is a sensible policy. Clearly, Tamils moving to the more salubrious and prosperous South is a given. But government incentives are needed to make the Sinhalese move to the North.
    How does that become Chauvinism?

    Mr Rajeev Wijesinghe does not understand that the Israelis are putting settlements in territory that does NOT belong to the Isreali state. They are ILLEGAL settlements.

    Does Dr. Rajeev W think that The Northern province DOES NOT BELONG TO SRI LANKA?

    I am sure that if any Indian MP or minster were to utter the sort of thing that RWijesinghe is uttering, he would be put right very rapidly.

  • 2
    1

    Rajiva is blaming Lalith unnecessarily for the non implementation of the LLRC report knowing fully well that gota is the defacto president.Lalith is merely a public servant and can’t go against gota’s hardline policies.As for mahinda feigning ignorace of what is happening he should know that wikipedia says the following of mahinda rajapakshe”He also had a few cameo roles as a movie actor in Sinhalese movies”.

  • 3
    1

    Rajiva,

    1.Correct me if I am wrong,aren’t you/or some one from GoSL mentioned in your reply to UNHRC that more than 90% of the LLRC recommendations were fulfilled?
    Now you have the audacity to mention that LLRC Recommendations were deliberately scuttled by GoSL.

    2.Systematic GoSL Sponsored colonization of Sinhala in Tamil predominant area was going on Since the Gal oya Scheme days hence Ampara District became predominantly Sinhala.
    Under the Guise of Mahavali Scheme Trincomale District lost Seruvilla which became a predomantly sinhala village.
    Now the GoSL is moving North in to Mullitivu district.

    This is what the Tamil activist are calling as Structural Genocide.

    These are real dangers,Tamil speaking People in Srilanka are facing,If the International Community doesn’t take note and act to arrest this trend, in 50 years Tamils in Srilanka will belong only to History books.
    Rajiva Thanks for exposing this.

    • 1
      3

      Systematic GoSL Sponsored colonization of Sinhala in Tamil predominant area was going on Since the Gal oya Scheme days hence Ampara District became predominantly Sinhala. Under the Guise of Mahavali Scheme Trincomale District lost Seruvilla which became a predomantly sinhala village. Now the GoSL is moving North in to Mullitivu district.

      Ampara district is today significantly Muslim B. F. Farmer (Cambridge) and others studied carefully this question of peasant colonization and pointed out that the Galoya colonization was done on considerations very different from ethnic control as claimed by Tamil nationalist spokesmen. This issue was even raised with the Soulbury commission in regard to earlier irigation schemes, and rejected even by top tamil civil servants of the irrigation dept. The Galoya Board chairman was Mr. Kanagasundaram. Most of the high officials of the Gal Oya as well as River valleys Board were in fact Tamil speaking civil servants and officers, who were far in excess of the demographic ratios. If D.S.Senanayake was Chauvinist, then he would have loaded those boards with Sinhala militants.

      Seruvila and other villages, and their ethnic composition even in the early part of this century have been discussed in detail by Prof. Gerald Peiris who showed that only the coastal stretches were Tamil speaking, while the immediate interior was Sihala speaking. Most academics know this well-founded research very well. However, Tamil natonalists have their own narrative which has no foundation in research.

      I think if people want peace, they should stop asking for ethnicity and allow free mingling of people, recognizing that the population growth is fastest and largest in the less-educated rural areas. In this free mingling, people will also learn the local language to a large extent.
      This bulging population growth in the South will move, mostly towards the less populated North. As an Indian commentator (Raghuvan) of this column has pointed out, perhaps there has been some hesitation for this population to move North.

      But, contrary to what he thinks, I believe that the new developments in the North will help in normalizing the ethnic-ghetto mentality that has existed for centuries, especially in the North.

      • 0
        0

        Kautilya,

        Here is an alternative to your view.Please read.
        http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/4821
        Thanks.

        • 0
          0

          Peace refers me to
          “http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/4821”
          In my view the material here is now outdated and well answered by researchers which include Tamil scholars..
          The article referred to is abandoned even by some of the marginally better informed exponents of the Tamil Homeland claim, as you would see in a memorandum published in I think the April 1995 issue of the Tamil Times. The 46 or so signatories to that memo included almost all Tamil scholars of some repute who were in SL at that time.

          See also the discussion, statistical data, census data etc., on the Gal Oya project found in Prof. Gerald Pieries’s book “Sri Lanka: Challenges of the New Millennium“, ch. 11 and ch. 17 etc; these clearly shows the incorrectness of the claims made. prof Pieris concludes that

          “Before the Gal Oya Scheme began, the area over which the River Division extends had a population of mixed ethnicity with the Tamils and Muslims forming the overwhelming majority. Though some reallocation of land did occur when these areas were absorbed into the Gal Oya Scheme, the tiny share of the River Division population (2%) which the Sinhalese colonists account for today is substantially less than what it was before the commencement of the Gal Oya Scheme”.

  • 1
    0

    Why My3 accepted [Edited out]

    After eating Chandrika and MR he is now going to eat My3.

  • 1
    0

    Very very interesting; I mean the account of the depth of Israeli influence on SL decision making. And Gotha is described as the key link!
    No wonder the deep stand-off with the Muslims.

  • 0
    1

    Hello there Prof.

    A cosmopolitan Jaffna is in the interests of the whole island as well as Tamils themselves.

    Palastine situation is different. There must be encouragement and incentives for all kinds of people to be present in the north. The north must have an equal balance of people.

    TNA will not like it precisely because its Tamil National Alliance. It needs to change too and be inclusive of others. Change in the ground reality will force them to change too.

  • 0
    1

    As others would want to point out, I don’t know about tamara as she had not written many articles.

    It is very sure, Rajiv think that he is very intelligent because he got a PROF. title from some where.

    Otherwise, Rajiv does not want to understand what would be going behind the doors or what is practical and and realistic and what is not.

  • 1
    0

    Rajiv Should write an article exposing who asked Mahinda Rajapakse to agree to the commission on LLRC.

    Initiation of LLRC itself is very intriguing.

  • 0
    1

    Rajiva, you are akin to the avalangu kasi – no longer legal tender.

    [Edited out]

  • 2
    0

    “Gradually however Dayan began to feel that Gotabaya was becoming intransigent about a political settlement, and he felt that this was because he was getting too close to Israel, and assuming that he could adopt an Israeli approach both to international relations and also to containment of future Tamil political aspirations, once the LTTE was overcome. He told me that he had once warned Gotabaya of possible consequences of such an approach, and met with the flat response, ‘So what?’”

    The deceit is now clear. Designate “no-fire-zones”, request the civilians to move to that area for protection, and then once they are there they are to be incessantly bombed. Gotabaya had one single thing in his mind – to annihilate as many Tamils as possible to reduce their political bargain and power. If this is not genocide, what else is this? His “so what” remark displays his genocidal behaviour, hell-bent on murdering Tamils by large numbers. I wish there will be a place on earth that he can hide from when he is prosecuted for genocide.

  • 1
    0

    SL has had ‘advice’ from both Mossad and the old South African (NIS)and few others too, on matters of ‘security’ long before Gota’s reincarnation.

    Rajiva could clearly see the way people were being used, and abused, and he clearly understood the deviousness of those he dealt with. Yet he continued to wilfully mouth hurtful lies, couched in soothing platitudes, defending this regime to all who would give him time of day (particularly the foreigners who have been taken in by his plausibility, and his poor man’s version of the Nonis accent.)

    BUT, he did not have the integrity to stand up and be counted. Now. in his Judas incarnation, he has turned on the very King he defended, and is trying through some cathartic writing to try and tar others with his brush of shame.

    How sad to see him, an Oddjob for hire, in return for keeping the perks of office.

    Professori, we can see right through you.

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