6 December, 2021

Blog

Journalist Iqbal Athas Exposed In ‘Poison-Pen’ Propaganda Operation

Iqbal Athas

Sunday Times former defence correspondent and current political Editor Iqbal Athas has exposed himself badly by circulating an anonymous poison pen note aimed at damaging the reputation of Krishantha Prasad Cooray, who served as chairman of Lake House and Hilton Hotel during the Yahapalanaya regime.

The note titled “Fixer” was widely circulated anonymously to selected individuals in Colombo in a Microsoft Word Document format.

The properties of the word document a copy of which Colombo Telegraph has obtained reveals that the author of the document is no other than the journalist Athas. A screenshot of the properties of the document is shared below:

According to the properties of the Word Document was created on 15th April 2020. The document contains harsh critique of many individuals Athas has targeted in very similar ways in his Sunday Times political column of late. He has made no secret of his antipathy towards a group he refers to as the “Anti Gotabaya cabal” and the former CID led by Shani Abeysekera and journalists, activists and NGOs who have worked against the policies and conduct of the Rajapaksa regime.

Colombo Telegraph learns that recent analytical articles penned by Cooray that has been widely published across the English and Sinhalese media may have angered Athas and the political masters he has lately served. It is not clear whether the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration is using Athas as its hit-man against Cooray because of his recent visibility in the press.

The poison pen note also attacks former Sunday Observer editor Dharisha Bastians against whom Athas makes several unsavoury insinuations and several other business associates linked to Cooray and at least one public official. Athas’s poison pen note accuses the Lake House duo of carrying out a malicious campaign against the current President.

It also falsely claims that Cooray left the island on Christmas day and alleges that former CID SSP Shani Abeysekera had assisted the former Lake House chairman to leave the island directing the OIC CID at the airport to assist the family. However even if the travel dates were accurate, which Colombo Telegraph learns they are not Abeysekera had already been removed as Director CID by 25 December last year.

Both Cooray and Bastians have been forced to leave the country due to threats to their physical safety.

The Sunday Times political column, once a must-read on the weekend for its informative versions of the political happenings of the week and their long term implications became a propaganda piece for the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration since the 16th November presidential election.

Athas’ column leaned towards the SLPP in the run up to the election too, but once Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office as president the Sunday Times political column sank to new depths and Athas became the hit man of all Rajapaksa critics and activists who were perceived as unfavourable to the ruling dispensation.

The Sunday Times political column served as important propaganda for the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration as it navigated the controversial Swiss embassy abduction case. The column in an “independent” newspaper amplified the Government propaganda, criminalizing the victim of the abduction, attacking the Swiss Embassy and its diplomatic officials and specifically targeting CID officer Nishantha Silva and all those who might have helped him to flee the country. Cooray, against whom Athas holds a personal grudge has been a prime target of his attacks in the newspaper in relation to the Swiss case.

Athas’ about turn has shocked many. Just over one year ago the journalist in a lengthy speech revealed many details about how Gotabaya Rajapaksa hunted him and drove him out of the country because of his reporting on the MiG-deal in 2006. Athas is the journalist that first broke the MiG purchase story implicating Gotabaya as defense secretary. Athas told of how men packing weapons had been dispatched to his home by the defence establishment and that he had escaped death or grave physical harm in the nick of time. Wikileaks cables reveal the extent of the former Rajapaksa regime’s anger against Athas.

It is believed that the President’s Lawyer Ali Sabry PC has been a crucial factor in repairing relations between Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Sunday Times reporter. (By Chinthika De Silva)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 48
    4

    Cheap people sell their soul for a pittance.

    • 46
      3

      Jehan,

      The question now is ‘did the man have a soul in the first place?’

      The jury is still out.

      • 5
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

        • 12
          39

          Well, well, Krishantha Prasad Cooray seems to be funded by the US Deepstate also to sell its Covid 19 propaganda.. and surveillance project
          Covid panicdemic is really a Fake pandemic and infodemic to destroy Asian Economies and start a war with China – to make America great again. But of course it back -fired.
          Cooray in the article linked here has copied and pasted– seemingly comparing Covid 19 with Spanish flu.
          What a bunch of Tosh!

        • 0
          1

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

          For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 22
      5

      Author Colombo Telegraph,

      So the Rajapaksa Mafiaso has bought Iqbal Athas, to manufacture fake news and lies.
      //
      They have bought several people, including the monks, imbeciles etc. This time, the Mafia has hired a Muslim to attack the journalists Guess he won’t attack the Chinese in the China virus.
      //

      The Racist Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist “ are claiming that the China virus is a Muslim Virus.The Scientists disagree.
      //

      Scientists Are Tired of Explaining Why The COVID-19 Virus Was Not Made in a LaB

      //
      https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-what-scientists-think-of-the-coronavirus-was-made-in-a-lab-rumour/amp
      //

      It’s a rumour that just won’t die. When asked whether the COVID-19 virus was genetically engineered in a lab, scientists have already said “no” rather firmly, but the matter of the new coronavirus’ origin is unlikely to be put to rest so easily.
      //

      • 12
        2

        Hi Amere,
        Why you expect Muslim to be a 100% Muslim, as Sri Lankan like other community we also have boot likers and ball sackers, No exemptions. you get two good examples.

    • 15
      1

      This country is filled with fools.
      :
      Fools lead the fools
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNmJokOq2iw

      Srilankens in the country feels that they have managed and controlled COVID.
      .
      But they dont know that there are whole lot of smaller countries that have controlled also without a single death.
      :
      Examples
      Vietnam- tests performed sofar -over 200 000 no single death
      Nepal – tests performed sofar – over 30 000 no single death ( Nepal is poorer than srilanka)
      Srilanka – tests done sofar – 6500 with 7 deaths

      • 6
        8

        Do what as I say, not as I do- This is USA Policy- COVID 19 failed and unsuccessful in the USA, so far 47, 681 deaths, 849,092 cases. In Sri Lanka so far 7 deaths, 330 cases. Well done Mr. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this is your policy “do what as I say not as I do”

  • 32
    0

    Journalists are like politicians!!

    No permanent enemies and no permanent friends.

    • 15
      1

      Jagath!
      They continue to Somersault for their selfish reasons.
      Unfortunately, Athas belong to a community noted for ‘Thoppi Praddies’
      and the other communities with similar tendencies are termed as as ‘Shirt Changers’

    • 8
      0

      JOURNALISTS are like PROSTITUTES, more money more sex, more prostitutes

  • 24
    5

    Now the man – alleged to have robbed over 7-14 millions of US dollars – in that MIG deal is out on bail.
    Once upon a time, he was one of the INTERNTIONALLY searched CRIMINAL. But he as an another cousin or nephew – to criminal leadership – once for all, nothing worked serving the justice in that case.

    Now the BUGGER is OUTand this partiuclar MAN Iqbal with his close association with CURRENT leadership may have played roles in getting that man out… next days, Udayanga WEERATHUNGA will be introduced as one another poweful man in LEAERSHIP – so was the case with secretary weerathunga who now plays the purohitha role also that President.
    :
    These men are like the BLUE FLIES seen on heaps of JARAWA – dog’s faeces ´.
    Lankens in general are passive to take up against these men.

    This is good old SRILANKA – the name of BUDDHA-AAGAMA, society is made to be servile to THUGs.
    :
    Please god, help these buggers be away from our sights sooner than later. That would be the only what we can pray for.. not CORONA but RAJAAPSHES are that virulent to this nation.

  • 30
    2

    Its unbelievable how Iqbal has done a 360 degree sinking his column, his spirit and ethics to pathetic depths of journalism. Lets be frank his column was once the hallmark of fearless investigative journalism and rational exposure. The question is why he has turned around? Or tuned off? Something dark, murky, shifty and shitty has happened. The turning point must be after his speech one year ago. Somebody said last Sunday he was sniveling about the hate mail he was receiving. Kishali Pinto Jayawardene is now the most popular and fearless columnist in the ST. Iqbal! What the heck has happened?

    • 8
      4

      I hear he was bribed a few million dollars to turn his coat. The broker was Ali Sabry PC, who collected a handsome ‘commission’.

  • 21
    1

    Anyone who has come to contact with Iqbal Athas, especially the journalists knows his vindictive ways. He never had permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.
    Even Covid 19 will not change him and he will continue to be a bitter man, full of hatred against human beings. Start a new life Iqbal.

    • 16
      1

      Poor miserable Iqbal…what a wanker!

      He must hate himself when he looks in the mirror.

      How does this poor bastard sleep at night?

      • 4
        1

        Traitor to Heladiva (Sri Lanka) Cut his body to 4 parts and hang 4 corners of Sri Lanka. Because of him, our greatest Army, Navy, and Air Force top leaders killed by LTTE. He the one who gave all the Govt. information to LTTE. This is the Muslim Bastard keeping Holy Quran in his hand and telling lies even he prays 5 times a day also. Insult for Islam religion also

  • 26
    1

    The worst thing that could happen to any journalists is to lose credibility.

    Athas will forever be be tarnished with this ugly behavior. What goes around, comes around. It seems Athas has a lot of soul searching to do, and wonder where he went wrong. To turn against your own colleagues, at a time like this, is utterly disgusting.

  • 23
    0

    Lankadeepa newspaper is also toeing the Gota line.

  • 19
    1

    If this info is correct, the credibility of even the respected journalists in Sri Lanka is down the toilet as they can be bought with money.

  • 3
    13

    KPJ the most fearless ???? Oh yes, at one time she was seen hovering in the corridors of AHRC.
    That speaks volumes for her fearlessness.

    Anti Rajapakshe Hyenas are out again to get hold of a bone from a carcass.

  • 22
    2

    Iqbal

    Now that you seem to have a new found high regard for GR, have you wrongly implicated him in the MIG scandal? You have even accused him of kidnapping & torturing you, so was he responsible or were you mistaken in this case as well? A respected journalist is expected to get the facts right before going public, so if you were so wrong, shouldn’t you publicly apologise before kissing his ass? Or has he got you by your nuts?

  • 17
    0

    In Lanka “Every one has their price” and when the price is right , Iqbal is just one among many who switched their loyalty . There are politicians , MP,s, ministers, lawyers, judges, doctors, civil servants, media – – – the list goes on. The ones who resisted either got murdered, disappeared or left country for good.

  • 2
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 6
    1

    Unlike the Old Royals, King’s Royals team is doing things in sleek way. Old King, while the sky was wide open, he sent the thugs to attack Muslim communities, from 2009. In contrast, King’s stratagem is learned from Hakeem: “show the fish the face and the tail to the snake”. This is what happened even after the 4/21, Tamil Churches bombing. Yahapalanaya and Chitanta governments organized it. King came from US and benefited from it. So unlike Old King, he did not take the credit for the bombing, but only reaped the harvest of Old King. He has developed the art of making other men’s wives as surrogate for his children’s. That is how Election Commission took the blame for making him as the dictator. He want Muslims feel him as not their enemy, but Sinhalese to adore him for having destroyed Muslims. Now Athas has been made to appear that he was jealous on King for having earned few pennies on the MiG Deal.

    We never can understand what happened here, whether Ali helped Athas or Ali killed Athas. They are or may remain as foes or friends, but King’s empire will certainly benefit out of it in managing Muslims.

    The best advice I give to Journalists, based on many’ s death in last Old Royal’s government is, “Don’t be too close to any politician or journalist until Lankawe political culture change and become normal” .

  • 3
    11

    gee sherlock.

    I don’t know what this is about because I don’t read stuff on this rag of a site.

    But knowing the LTTE fools who post here I think it is probably some garbage.

    • 1
      0

      It certainly IS – as usually is.

  • 11
    0

    When old journalists have no purpose or appeal with their readership they resort to desperate measures. Shocking that Athas who had to flee the country or face wrath of Gota not so long ago has decided to sacrifice his pen and become mere stooge. This is not the way for an old journalist to end a career. He will be remembered as traitor to his profession.

    • 4
      0

      RF. The aged prostitutes also does the same.

  • 19
    0

    I have been a keen reader of the political column of Sunday Times for more than three decades, I used to anxiously await till Sunday to read this column, I couldn’t wait till Sunday and I used to go on Saturday evening to buy the paper from a newspaper vender in Kandy town, such was my regard for the paper then, however since of late the political column has stooped to such abominable level and it is now none other than a piece of Rajapaksa propaganda. I have now given up reading it. it was the best English language newspaper the country had and now it has become another rag, how sad.

    • 6
      0

      Sumith, One thing for sure. During my school days. Te achers at Anada. askes us to read, Daily News,Onserver-There was a thing called evening Observer,tTmes both papers, in order to learn to write good English. I did. To my astonishment, I find the Times group of papers – English papers- is not worth reading as the quality of English had sunk.This dates back tomabout 10 yearsThey do not know how to spell, one artlcle sent by a person known to me was edited by the Times staff and he rewrote the article by writing it again in Sinhala and then patching it up with English word. illiterate people, say bus conductors speaking to English speaking foreignes use that type of English.
      PATHETIC IS NOT IT?

  • 5
    0

    Oldest profession?

    • 1
      1

      sorry why bring your mother to this

  • 8
    4

    Prasad Cooray a perceptive writer ?

    Read the flowery article he wrote about Ranil, you will see how shallow the guy is.

    All our heroes are made of mud. This guy while supposed to be in UNP working committee was a confidant of MS. Perceptive writer or intellectual I don’t know,but for sure Cooray is a good player of the system.

    As for Iqbal , when your job is to examine dirt ( as a self claimed investigative reporter), unless grounded in a firm ethical background, some of that dirt will stick to the guy. He has worked for Wijewardenas (Ranils relative) for several decades. How can he be clean in a gay paradise?

    In the 1960s the Lake House then owned by Wijewardenas was exposed for Foreign Exchange rackets. In this Century Ranil was exposed for Central bank robbery ! Elite family ? Now go back to the Prasad Cooray article on Ranil .

  • 1
    11

    Those who pint their finger at Athas don’t realise at least three fingers pointed at themselves , by themselves. They don’t feel the smell of their shit…………

  • 9
    0

    Come on iqbal, what is this venom you have with the people in the same profession as you? I think you are old enough, to be dharisha bastions father. Disgraceful behavior, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You also have a daughter don’t you? Why are you trying to compete with this girl bastions who must be the same age as your daughter? For your survival, you have all the right to support the present president and I have no problem with that, but why on earth are you resorting to this kind of childish and vicious behaviour? Open your eyes and look at what’s happening in the world. However much you try, even the rajapaksas will not trust you if you continue like this. Spend your time doing something useful iqbal, the life you are leading is terrible and horrible. Practice your faith and practice your professional ethics.

  • 2
    1

    Do what as I say, not as I do- This is USA Policy- COVID 19 failed and unsuccessful in the USA, so far 47, 681 deaths, 849,092 cases. In Sri Lanka so far 7 deaths, 330 cases. Well done Mr. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this is your policy “do what as I say not as I do”

  • 3
    4

    If Dharisha Bastian and Krishantha Cooray circulate an anonymous poison pen note in a few years to come like Iqbal Athas does today, what would be the likely ‘comments’ on CT by our ‘intelligent’ reader community?
    I’m just curious since President Trump has stopped all immigration to USA!

  • 7
    0

    “The Sunday Times political column, once a must-read on the weekend for its informative versions of the political happenings of the week and their long term implications became a propaganda piece for the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration since the 16th November presidential election.”

    Commentator ‘SarathP’ is of the view “Lankadeepa newspaper is also toeing the Gota line.”

    What does this CONVEY about the OWNERS of the publishing company Wijeya Newspapers Limited – Ranjit Wijewardene (Chairman) and his son Sujan (Deputy Chairman) and the EDITORS of the newspapers concerned? Any claim that the owners do not interfere in editorial policy just won’t wash – there is ample evidence to trash such an excuse. What of the EDITORS concerned? Are they not willing accomplices? Another son of Ranjit Wijewardene – Ruwan was Media Minister under first cousin PM Ranil despite his father being a media mogul! Evidently ‘conflict of interest’ means nothing to such people. Ruwan has preferred to remain in Ranil’s camp rather than join the vast majority of the UNP who are now in Sajith’s camp. Ranil’s current political leaning is not consistent with that of the majority UNPers who are with Sajith.

    Amrit Muttukumaru

  • 3
    0

    Iqbal has transformed from being good investigative journalist to a heartless mercenary working for the highest bidder. Last year on the eve of the Presidential elections, he went on rampage against ACSA with the US, accusing senior diplomat Prasad Kariyawasam on trumped up charges, for allegedly being the main driver to ‘force’ President Sirisena to renew this pact which was originally signed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in 2007. And in response, the Sunday Observer, then led by its internationally recognised Editor Darisha Bastian, published a feature exposing lies and deceit of Iqbal on his accusations about renewing of ACSA with the USA, with verifiable facts and figures. Nevertheless Iqbal continued his attacks on Kariyawasam for working as an Adviser to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya with the aim of professionally discrediting Kariyawasam, fearing that he may return as Foreign Secretary, replacing Iqbal’s buddy one time news reader Ravinatha Ariyasinghe, a Sirisena confidant. And now exposing his diabolical pretense, Iqbal is silent about ACSA with US, though Iqbal is fully aware that Rajapaksa govt can withdraw from ACSA any time. Iqbal is no more a journalist but just a contract hit man. It appears that Iqbal, now enjoying his ill gotten power by writing nonsense, is trying to settle his old scores with Darisha and Krishantha Cooray for standing up against his several ill motivated diabolical vendettas on innocent folks. No doubt, Sunday Times will decline rapidly if this vicious, venomous, old senile man continues to work for ST.

    • 2
      0

      This comment about Iqbal is quite accurate . He is devious and he is seen linking up with other corrupt media persons like Bandula Jayasekara . And he seems to dislike any quality media person like Darisha Bastian . He is a shame to Muslim community of Srilanka and has sold the pride of muslims and their interests down the drain for his personal benefit . may the God will punish him soon

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.