17 January, 2021

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Gotabhaya The Prophet And The State Of His Dreams

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The Solution was to establish terror as a normal condition of life.” Roberto Calasso (The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony)

A fortnight after the UPFA won the 2010 parliamentary election Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa gave an interview delineating his dream-state. His ideal Sri Lanka would be a state locked in a permanent political war with its many and varied ‘enemies’; a state in which every institution must function as a weapon-of-war and concepts such as judicial independence and human rights are considered inimically alien.

That was April 2010, a time when Rajapaksa excesses were seen by most people as conjunctural rather than structural. Consequently, Mr. Rajapaksa’s interview, despite its foreboding content, went largely unnoticed. In April 2010, the 18th Amendment existed only in the minds of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and his brothers. With the term-limit provision very much in place, there was every reason to believe that the Rajapaksa grip on power would be over in seven years. After all, JR Jayewardene’s term-limit provision had effectively terminated the Bandaranaike reign in the SLFP; Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga did not want to retire from presidency or bow out of politics, but eventually the constitution compelled her to do both. In April 2010, there was no reason to believe that the same desirable fate would not befall Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Just two and a half years later, we know better. The term-limit provision is gone and, barring a miracle, Rajapaksa rule will last quite a long while. Currently we are living in a period of transition; Sri Lankais being transformed from an imperfect democracy into a patrimonial oligarchy, from within. Many recent developments, from the impeachment of the CJ and the multi-pronged attack on the judiciary to the destabilising repression unleashed on Jaffna university students, are the inevitable birth pangs of the Rajapaksa security state Gotabhaya Rajapaksa drew a word-picture of in his April 2010 interview.

In April 2010, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa identified the main challenge before post-war Sri Lankaas thwarting “a fresh attempt by separatists operating abroad to throw a lifeline to the LTTE (backed by) a section of the international community” (The Island – 17.4.2010). He advocated the launching of a total political war to defeat this ‘challenge’: “Suppressing the separatist movement and tackling its propaganda apparatus should be a major part of Sri Lanka’s strategy against the LTTE….. The new government should go all out against any local element promoting separatist sentiments regardless of political consequences” (ibid – emphasis mine).

Last week Mr. Rajapaksa identified the latest ‘local element’ which is ‘promoting separatist sentiments’ – the judiciary.

At a public function he spoke at length about “…..a conspiracy…..hatched by foreign elements to topple the Rajapaksa regime” and stated that “….the country was facing challenges similar to those that existed during the military conflict (Daily Mirror – 29.12.2012). He then animadverted on the ‘local agents’ of these ‘foreign conspirators’: “Everyone knows that school children, university students, university lecturers and trade unions were used to create trouble…. Today they are attempting to do it through the judiciary. They want to destabilise the country” (ibid; emphasis mine).

In April 2010, Mr. Rajapaksa said that his brother’s government “should go all out” against such ‘destabilising elements’ “regardless of political consequences”. Today the Rajapaksas are doing precisely that, with their inane impeachment, their efforts to fracture the Bar Association, their attempts to sabotage the annual gathering of judges and their attacks on the judiciary/legal fraternity. These moves are bound to have a shattering effect on public confidence in the Lankan state itself (the executive and the legislature at war with the judiciary is not the most inspiring sight), but the Rajapaksas do not care. Like Vellupillai Pirapaharan, they will not hesitate to kill in order to cure.

A Transition Foretold

Many of the anti-democratic moves made by the Rajapaksa administration since the parliamentary election of 2010 were foretold in Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s April 2010 interview – not because Mr. Rajapaksa is a seer but because he was articulating some of the plans being hatched by he and his brothers to create a state within a state, a ‘deep-state’ and to defend it by any means necessary.

So what would this new state, eternally at war with unending enemies, require to survive and thrive, according to Mr. Rajapaksa?

  1. “New laws to meet security requirements” (ibid).
  2. Knowing that “a section of officialdom could help the separatist cause by trying to appease foreign governments and some funding agencies” (ibid).
  3. Ensuring that the “the judiciary, particularly the Attorney General’s Department, support…the government’s efforts to suppress terrorism” (ibid).
  4. Ensuring that “Opposition political parties or constituent partners of the ruling coalition (are) not…allowed to engage in divisive politics” (ibid).

Given the Rajapaksa habit of equating themselves with the nation and their opponents with terrorists, ‘new laws to meet security requirements’ can be anything which promotes Rajapaksa rule, satiates Rajapaksa needs/desires and hounds Rajapaksa opponents. The 18th Amendment and the Expropriation Bill, though tailor-made to promote Rajapaksa interests, were presented as national security necessities; the same is being done with the equally Rajapaksa oriented Divineguma Bill. Future constitutional reforms, including downgrading/abolishing the 13th Amendment too will be presented in this disarming guise.

Preventing ‘a section of officialdom’ from helping ‘the separatist cause’ is a euphemism to destroying every last vestige of bureaucratic autonomy and making civil and military institutions of the state totally subservient to the Rajapaksas. The replacement of the democratising 17th Amendment with the despotic 18th Amendment was a pivotal great leap in this direction, as is the ‘Leadership Training Programme’. The Rajapaksas abhor and fear institutions which are not in thrall to them. Moving relentlessly to subvert/destroy those spaces which still retain a modicum of autonomy (such as the judiciary) is an important component of the Siblings’ state-building plan.

The third condition identified by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in his April 2010 interview explains the impeachment and other measures taken to replace the rule of law with the law of the rulers. The Rajapaksas need to transform the judiciary and the AG’s department into weapons in the Rajapaksa political war against Rajapaksa enemies. Within a month of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s April 2010 interview, his Presidential brother placed the AG’s Department – and the Legal Draughtsman’s Department – under his control. These two deadly moves barely caused a ripple even within the legal fraternity. This subjugation of two essential cogs of judicial independence enabled the Rajapaksas to use the AG’s Department as a rampart to protect their kith and kin and as a battering ram to hammer their enemies. It is thanks to this move that Duminda Silva remains a free man, despite repeated judicial orders for his arrest, while General Fonseka’s aged mother-in-law is being prosecuted by the state for not ratting on her fugitive grandson.

Once the Rajapaksas defeat the ‘Hulftsdorf coup’ and the judiciary becomes as much of a Rajapaksa tool as the AG’s Department, the Siblings will turn their attention to remaining democratic/anti-Rajapaksa holdouts, from those constituent parties of the UPFA which they deem insufficiently loyal/cowed to the opposition. Total control of everyone and everything is the foundation of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s dream state. And that dystopia is within reach.

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Latest comments

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    Like the madman who thinks that the rest of the world is INSANE, Gota the white van goon has claimed that there is an international conspiracy to mislead Sri Lankans (including extra-terrestrials)!
    He claims that the judiciary, CJ, lawyers, FUTA, women’s groups, trade unions etc are being used to attack the poor, innocent and virtuous Rajapakse brothers and sons! A
    The guy seems to think that Lankan citizens are a bunch of ignorant morons (like the morons in the Diya-wenna Parliament who support the most CORRUPT PRESIDENT EVER – Mahinda Rajapakse)
    The guy is clearly Cuckoo!

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      @James Bond
      Well, a vast majority of Lankan citizens are just that…a bunch of ignorant morons. That is why they voted for this government and remain silent while the government rides rough shod over them.

      • 0
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        Mr bean
        a vast majority of Lankan citizens are just not a bunch of ignorant morons, but some stooges who support corrupt regime.
        and you forgot computer gilmart done by Jarapassa, and Hothambaya and clan.

  • 0
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    These days it is raining yellow, red and green. Various extra terrestrial UFO sightings are being reported etc This situation is similiar to the Grease Yakas who came and went.

    Sri Lankas own satellite blasts into space controlled by one of the sons.

    Then there is the bogey man of the new LTTE who is gearing up to kill the sinhalese. Innoocent students are being rehabilitated because they dared light a lamp.

    We have leaks in the O level, Law exams etc. No doubt there are more leaks yet to be discovered.

    A dog is imported on an Sri Lankan flight and due to news report the editor is fired. She is asked to eat pig shit.

    University students being sent for military training because they dared to strike. CJ being impeached because the judiciary rule divinesuma as against the constitution.

    We have the impeachment fiasco and patently unfair procedure followed by the Parliment. CJ is abused by Govt MP’s in filthy language. Now the Judiciary and Parliment / Executive on a collision course. The constitution in tatters.

    Divinesuma is to be passed in parliment without amendments against the ruling of the supreme court.

    The list of these achievements of the Rajapakses is endless and Gotabaya says the country is being destabilised. By whom?

    • 0
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      OOOps by the way did you know the LUCKY dog died! Did not live to be tortured.

  • 0
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    Once again your article is very very relevant to the ground realities
    of us Sri Lankans and the intellectuals not being able to do anything
    except write Features.
    May I suggest you draw up a Plan/Chart/Poster of this Oligarchy, graphically illustrating the misdemeanour of the Regime since 2005, with names/date/place etc. chronologically in Sinhala for circulation amongst all Villages Councillors, Provincial Councillors,
    all School Principals and all Universities; similar to the MoD leaflet sent re the Ghost LTTE. The UNP will undertake to distribute to its
    2 million new members too.
    This form of presentation will be more effective than reading of the
    Amounts spent on each Stadium/Airport/Harbour/Foreign Visit etc.

  • 0
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    Gota’s dream state is the Permanent Ouucpation of Sri lanka under MARA,GOTA,BARA,CHAMA,…. craving people to accept that the Rajapakses are the Saviors of Sri Lanka…..and nobody else.

    Anybody oppose to their false ideology is either a Terrorist or treasonist betrayer or a foreign conspirator….or a regime Changer.

    Recent speaches give by Gota say it all clearly…….and will not stop at anything to move away from what he said including using…..state terrorism to suppress any peoples uprising against their ideology.

    Recent attakes both in Jaffna and colombo university students, white van abductions, inpresionments, against Judges and judcial officers, are few of them.

    MEANWHILE THE MOST GRUESOME ISSUE IS THE RECENT OVER 15 HARD CORE MURDER CONVICTS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM WELIKADA PRISON AND THEIR WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN. THE SPECULATION IS THEY COULD BE USED FOR VARIOUS GOVT. CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AGAINST ANY OPPONENTS THAT GOTA.FEELS AS A THREAT TO THE DICTATORIAL REGIME.

    There are some basic queations that opposition parties should answer and prepared for.
    ————————————————————————-
    1)Given January.10th 1013 if Govt. Parliament issue the verdict as CJ is guilty and should vacate her position…..similar to PSC ruling……what is opposition parties plan to do………

    2)Is opposition parties plan to cordinate trade unions, Clergy, students unions, professionals and general public to protest against the verdict…..

    3)Is opposition parties planning to educate International community,UN, CW and SL Diaspora community on the danger of the Verdict….and how Govt.try to suppress liberty and justice in Sri Lanka.

    4)If mad GOTA plan to unleash violent suppressions against peoples protests……what action opposition parties plan to take for safety of CJ, Judiciary, Supreme Court and the Buildings and Files and Documents…etc.

    5)How opposition parties plan to keep CJ in her position intact without allowing MARA/GOTA and their Party goons from taking over CJ and judiciary powers………

    6)How opposition parties plan to inform and educate public as to how public could contribute to safeguard CJ and Judiciary….and their rights.

    If opposition Parties (Mainly UNP and JVP)…or anybody could answer these questions will be helpful.

    • 0
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      Sorry…it’s January 10th 2013.

    • 0
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      There is no opposition when Ranilpaksha is the “Leader of No Opposition.” ??

  • 0
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    The neo-conservative Republican extreme right-wing pro-Zionist cabal of former US president George Dubya Bush’s inner circle of advisors, in their Plan For The New American Century (PNAC) in the year 2000 (before September 11) propagated a political strategy that involved manufacturing an endless succession of enemies of America to strike fear into American citizens and therefore gain acquiescence to condone wars of choice against both state and non-state actors. That era has come to pass, with the ascension of a Democratic president not influenced by such a lobby group….

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      Lasantha Pethiyagoda:
      When you say “That era has come to pass, with the ascension of a Democratic president not influenced by such a lobby group….” you are saying that the Obama administration IS following through on what Dubya Bush and Co. put in place. Is that what you meant to say?

      • 0
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        Yes Pacha-Epa,

        Suspect that LP is drawing a similar close parallel to the SL scene today and the near future, as observable from the opposition leader RW stand or rather no stand but aiding and abetting the damnation of the people of SL through an ongoing oppressive change that favours the ruling elite to a more totalitarian regime. From LP’s written slips of omissions and commissions he would like to think like the majority of the Germans who welcomed the rise of Hitler and rued it too late.

  • 0
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    The foreign forces who are conspiring against Sri Lanka is not a dream of Gota. He is correct in mentioning this. But only the foreign forces he is identifying is wrong. Gota is a green card holder of USA and he is the one who is killing democratic rule in Sri Lanka. His illegitimate private army and his actions beyond the boundaries of a simple government servant has to come to courts one day. If not today but some day so that such things do not happen in the future.

  • 0
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    Notwithstanding who is to be the next CJ – which change must take place
    in the Regimes agenda of making SL another Myanmmar (also a member of UN)
    it would not be late if Public Interest cases are filed on all matters
    that will bring out the stand of the Regime:
    1. Gota as Public Servant making Policy Statements?
    2. The disclosure of the whereabouts of certain named Prisoners.
    3. The production to Courts of various prison records
    4. The Exchange Control failure in the personal finances of a Chairman.
    5. Then Secretary Finance & Customs raids stoppage.
    6. etc etc

  • 0
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    Tamil Nadu Terrorist Police arrested the wheel chair bound ex LTTE explosives expert and three of his undestudies.Another 4 are still absconding.

    Malaysian LTTE cell provided Air tickets for trip to Srilanka.

    Premachandran is working hard on the Jaffna Campus and rounding up the ex LTTE cadres to train new crop of Puppies.

    This is not prophecy.

    Thisaranees of Lankan origin do not have kiddies catching over crowded buses to school.

    Neither they or their kith and kin travel in overcrowded buses to work.

    That is if they still reside in the motherland. Even then their passports are already stamped by Western Embassies and HCs

    Do the poor mums and dads who copped thirty years of terrorism want a another bout of the same?

    Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    • 0
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      Sumanasekara

      You are hallucinating and day dreaming

      • 0
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        Kautilya says:

        “You are hallucinating and day dreaming”

        After snorting large amounts of Sinhala/Buddhist nationalistic drugs just as the Tamils did under LTTE’s pure Tamil nationalism.

        Both drugs were/are too expensive in terms of lives and resources.

    • 0
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      Sumanasekera:
      Nobody spewing the LIES and hate that you do deserves to inhabit this earth.
      Let us hope that our world will be rid of the likes of you in 2013! It is not as good as being rid of The Fascist Regime that you extol, but it’s a start!

    • 0
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      HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU
      AND FULL OF COMMISSIONS AND JARAWA FULL NEW YEAR TO YOUR BOSSES .YOUR JARAPASSA AND HOOTHAMBYA AND ALL JARAPASSA CLAN.

    • 0
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      Hello Sumenesekera, Machang , t hose days we / our kids could not use busses. But now with those four thugs we can not even stay at home.

  • 0
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    there is no hope for SL as long as we have the Rajapakse scoundrels who are dictators, corrupt, dishonest, greedy for more power & rogues. remember the Tsunami funds that you know who tried to play out ? they are a total disgrace to humanity.

  • 0
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    The question which Sri Lanka’s bravest and most skilled journalist asks and that needs to be answered urgently is: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT GOTABHAYA RAJAPAKSA AND HIS FAMILY OF MURDEROUS, GREEDY THUGS?

    Some suggestions have begun to emerge. They need to be followed up and ACTION needs to be taken.

    If you are afraid now of these monsters, you are going to be cowering in abject terror before too long unless you act. THEN IT WILL BE TOO LATE!

  • 0
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    Coming events cast their shadows before. It’s our tragedy that we failed to see what was before our very eyes. Writers like Tisaranee saw back then what some of us are finally starting to see today.

  • 0
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    The final attack will be on Parliament itself. Constituent parties will first take the death blow. Next, the rest. It has been coming step by step;one by one. Eventually a Mara-ChaRa-GoRa and Nara show

    • 0
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      The MARA, CHARA, GORA, NARA show came alive on the killing fields
      of Sri Lanka. The war victory without witnesses was presented as a great act of patriotism of a purported saviour and “lack of war” was projected as tantamount to peace.
      The recent reports in the news of “Tigers and Tiger activity” show that the Tigers have not been wiped off as claimed.Where is the war victory?
      While some other countries are prosecuting and arresting tigers, no action is taken against KP, KARUNA who were responsible for many murders of innocent civilians.They are being nurtured to prop up the regime.Those responsible for war crimes are being protected. MARA and his clan and the brothers were brought in and elevated to powerful positions to rule roughshod over the rights of the citizens of of the country.The rule of law and Democracy have been destroyed.The Judiciary which provided protection to the citizens is being made powerless.
      This is what has been achieved as a result of the war victory.
      What we see now is the step by step mega plan to perpetuate the power
      of the regime comprising the kith and kin and supporters of the Rajapakses, in operation, to rule this country for years to come.

  • 0
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    LET US ORGANIZE A YELLOW ROBE SHARP SHOOTER TO BLOW THESE ASSHOLES INTO OBLIVION. SAME FATE OF S W R D.

    • 0
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      Yet this is a HYDRA or Star fish like with many tentacles that automatically regrow that the coalition of the 30 odd western powers will be needed with the regional super power spear heading both overtly and covertly to be rid of the Red menace akin to removing VP and his followers.

  • 0
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    Oh Danny Boy’s proposal of getting a yellow- robed fellow to blast these brothers and the rotten rats like Premjayanth, Rajitha,Anura Priyadarshana Begal Yapa and Wimal of maranthika upawasya fame is great.

  • 0
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    Oh DANNY BOY THE PIPES THE PIPES ARE CALLING ….Your suggestion
    of a yellow robed sharp shooter to blow the assholes into oblivion
    would be the hope and wish of all patriots of Sri Lanka.Happy
    New Year!!

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