26 May, 2019

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Is Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda To Be The Sacrificial Lamb At The Altar Of The 40th UNHCR Sessions?

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

The 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva is currently underway. The report on Sri Lanka will be formally submitted on the 20th of March. 

Less than a week before the Geneva Sessions commenced on the 25th of February, former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda’s impending arrest hit the headlines as the 14th accused in connection with the investigations into the abduction and killing of 11 youths in 2008-2009.

Lest it be forgotten, it was he, the then Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda who in May 2009, made the initial explosive revelations of a gruesome abduction for ransom racket by some officers serving in the Sri Lanka Navy. Investigations into the racket began immediately, but fell by the wayside soon after. 

Save a few amongst the disgruntled Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and the incumbent government, no one really gives a damn for these ‘Geneva sessions’ anymore. Even the United States, which was the main backer of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka pulled out, calling it a “cesspool of political bias.” However the incumbent government of Sri Lanka is pushing for a Resolution in favour of the country to appease the international community.

It certainly defies reason how a Government, conscious of its independence and its sovereign right to make decisions on behalf of its people, free of foreign influence, could make such sweeping pledges to foreign countries with regard to matters relating to national interest. 

No nation in the world has ever come forward to co-sponsor a resolution against their own country. But, in 2015, Sri Lanka made history by becoming a co-sponsor of the UNHCR resolution on Sri Lanka. It seems like a typical case of cutting off the nose to spite the face. 

Co-sponsorship means the admission of allegations levelled against a country and support for the actions proposed in the resolution. Hence, Sri Lanka is now heavily under pressure to implement the recommendations in the resolution.

For this, the government now needs a sacrificial lamb. They obviously can’t offer Sarath Fonseka for sacrifice at the altar of the current Geneva Sessions despite multiple heinous allegations of war crimes against him, as he’s safely ensconced within the incumbent government and cannot be ‘touched’. So, he is safe, pro tem.

Hence a desperate government decides to make the gallant apolitical wartime veteran Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, the sacrificial lamb. Some amongst the disgruntled Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora would love to see him hanged for his role in accelerating the end of the war in 2009. He did this by changing the primary naval strategy in place at the time which led to the destruction of the entire floating LTTE arsenals on high seas.

During my tenure as Director Communications of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE were requested by the co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor conference to return to the negotiating table in 2006. Both parties agreed and as the official coordinator for the Peace Talks, SCOPP was where all preliminary discussions took place amongst members of the Government delegation. Amongst them, those who stood out from the rest with their dignity, integrity, decorum and class were, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Major General Mendaka Samarasinghe. 

Wasantha Karannagoda won President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s confidence during the Norway-led peace process. She was especially impressed by his performance as the COM East (Commander, Eastern Naval Area) when he took steps to strengthen government defences in Trincomalee. She went on to appoint him the Commander of the Navy which was a very wise and strategic move she made.

Those like Wasantha Karannagoda tend to have many enemies, as is usual with those with integrity and a conscience who stand up for justice. 

Hypothetically, had this highly decorated War Hero holding the rank of four-star Admiral – the first and only Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy to hold the prestigious ‘four-star rank’ whilst in active Naval service – been devoid of integrity and a conscience and had blood on his hands, viz.  – abduction and killing of 11 youth, the cold blooded murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, beaten up the former Editor of The Nation, Keith Noyahr, former Rivira Editor, Upali Tennakoon, Journalist-activist, Poddala Jayantha, journalist Namal Perera etc., – would he not have sucked up to the UNP, got himself comfortably ensconced as a Minister within the incumbent government which would have ensured that no matter who he got killed or bashed to near pulp, he would never be charged?

Now, who should rightfully be the Sacrificial Lamb at the altar of the current Geneva Sessions?

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Latest comments

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    Upali you are right Bro. It was a shocker and a let down for me too. Especially after our good old Prof from Down Under Laksiri took a U – TURN, I am not sure who to trust or not. But Sharmini you are free to express your opinion and I respect that as long it is not , as in Laksiri.(that is not difference in opinion, it is difference in PERSONALITY)

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      “NO NATION IN THE WORLD HAS……………. Similarly no nation in word has killed thousands of their countrymen just because they belong to a minority community, asking for their rights. Highly decorated war heroes use their decoration as the smoke screen for their crime against humanity .

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        I know this has been said thousand times, but I still know LTTE supporters would not shut up. And still again, if we needed to kill Tamils, we would have simply let LTTE to exist in wanni. LTTE was doing a GOOD job of killing Tamils.

        SL army saved not hundreds but thousands of Tamil civilians. And that is why more than 300000 Tamil civilians came to government side asking for protection from the armed forces. Even the racist fascist TNA politicians used to ask for government security and chose to live in Colombo.

      • 2
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        Agree with you more. Could the people have been hoodwinked all the way ?
        – Yes, lanken people are caught by permanent abuse/brainwash in today s political backdrop and for public being deliberately kept in dark preventing them from truthful information. Any researcher would do some work can cover all the nudity of today’s media mafia in SL.
        – People’s comments to YT videos well hint the level of knowledge of the average mindset and how they have been misled. Local media coverages contain nothing about the size of Chinese debt trap and as to why we were dragged on that levels
        So long the close collaboration of both politicians and selfish media mudalaalis/owners works well, people’s awareness remains restrict to their boundaries. Facts and figures lie aside for the last few years. No palpable changes are seen
        – Average mindset is constantly being abused by above mentioned close collaboration and their premeditated hoodwinking tactics.

        – The kind of tactics are part and parcel of Rajapakshe politics. As it is the reality that a criminal mindset can only become normal if he or she would be subject to proper rehabs, Rajapakshes would need to see it right IF NOT TODAY WHEN ?; all these are to harvest very same amount of votes also in next election
        Aforementioned close collaboration appears to have been evolved early in the Rajaapkshe regime (since 2005)
        – In an environment, where the average mindset is misled by feeding them with untruths, them to behave as if all is better in the high days of MR authoritarian rule is just understandable. Going by the comments constantly being added to comment panels underneath to each video prove enough. People are lack of proper balanced views.

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      Chiv, whether Karannagoda was involved directly or indirectly, is not the main problem, he does not seemed to have disciplinary control over his staff. That is bad considering that this was said to be a military force

  • 1
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    Sharmini, Thanks again for that article on Independence which was translated to other languages.

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    “Every Body Loves a Lion “.
    Like we respect our war heroes. but WE HATE KILLERS, Specially Child killers.
    Those who killed innocent children and people must not be set to allowed to live with society.
    Must give punishment as per the international criminal law.

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    SF the Head of the Army was punished for wrong doings and was behind bars for two years. So anyone else if wrong who e had been made should be punished if wrong doings had been made. Same if any other LTTE to had made any wrong.

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