21 September, 2020

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Political abductions, Abductions-For-Ransom And A Top Informer

By Frederica Jansz

Frederica Jansz

Colombo Telegraph last week unearthed another WikiLeaks cable. According to the cable Major General Prasad Samarasinghe the former Military Spokesman and Director, Directorate of Media in the Army, has been passing highly sensitive information to the US Embassy in Colombo on a burning issue – Abductions.
Many of those abducted were believed to have been individuals who had fallen foul of the Rajapaksa trio. Mahinda, Basil and Gotabhaya. The President’s other brother Chamal seemingly does not figure. Not in this triumvirate. The cable dated July 6, 2007 and written by then Charge d’Affaires James R. Moore to the US Embassy is classified as “SECRET” and discusses Sri Lanka’s problem of political abductions and abductions-for-ransom.

The cable very specifically mentions that Major General Prasad Samarasinghe must be protected describing him as “a political insider” within the Rajapaksa administration.  Why Samarasinghe chose to back his bosses and pass information to the Americans is what needs clarification.

Sources speaking on conditions of anonymity to The Sunday Leader but loyal to Prasad Samarasinghe told us the Major General has insisted to confidantes that he never once met James R. Moore. Nor, did he meet Robert R. Blake Jnr.  who was at the time Ambassador.  He has further flatly denied having supplied any information to the Americans. But the matter most certainly does not rest there. After all, James R. Moore could not have penned a cable and used the name of a top army officer merely to lend authenticity to what he was writing to his bosses in Washington D.C. Are we to believe that Robert R. Blake would fabricate or implicate the name of a top army officer in allowing him to be named as a source of “classified, secret” information?

Why Samarasinghe chose to back his bosses and pass information to the Americans is what needs clarification.

The question then is this.  Did the US Embassy in Colombo hoping to use him as an informer, bribe Major General Prasad Samarasinghe with an offer of citizenship in America for him and his family?
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was recently quoted in a weekly English newspaper saying just that. He charged that the Americans made an abortive attempt to bribe Major General Prasad Samarasinghe to make allegations against Sri Lanka.  Accusing the US Embassy in Colombo of being involved in a sordid operation, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa  charged the diplomat, who had made the move after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 offered to accommodate Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe and his family in the US.
Interestingly, Rajapaksa made these allegations before the WikiLeaks cable was unearthed.
The newspaper report quoted the Defence Secretary as saying the ongoing efforts to bring to the fore a so-called affidavit should be examined in the context of an attempt to employ a serving officer against Sri Lanka. He was clearly responding to the fact that the Americans had placed on record that Samarasinghe as a serving army officer has provided valuable information to the US and contradicted the government’s official versions, on an issue that to date continues to haunt the credibility of the Rajapaksa regime.
The issue is this. On June 22, 2007 America’s then Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake, sent a cable to his political masters in the US.  The cable was classified as “confidential” and carried the reference number: 07COLOMBO899.
In this, Blake wrote a summary of events which had taken place in Sri Lanka the previous day. He wrote that on June 21, a special unit of the Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CID) arrested former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayake in connection with an ongoing probe into abductions, extortion and extra-judicial killings.  Among other crimes, Gajanayake is alleged to have arranged the abduction and killing of two Tamil Red Cross employees on June 1, 2007.
But here comes the coup de grâce.  Gajanayake’s arrest was mired in political controversy.  On June 18, 2007, the United National Party (UNP) filed a no-confidence motion with the Speaker of Parliament alleging that Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella deliberately misled Parliament when he said that Tamils evicted from Colombo had left voluntarily.  The truth was that the government in June that year evicted from lodges and hotels 376 ‘jobless’ Tamils from the north and the east on grounds of ‘national security’ and packed them in eight buses headed for the Vavuniya district in the north and Batticaloa district in the east. The move was condemned by the Opposition and civil society groups insisting it would lead to further polarisation between the different ethnic communities and heighten the sense of marginalisation and alienation of Tamil people of this country. This was later halted after a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court revoked the order following a petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives which argued the move was a violation of basic human rights.
The government counter-attacked by filing its own no-confidence motion with the Speaker on June 20 against UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne, in part for his explosive allegations.
On June 6 that year, during an emergency session of Parliament to discuss the Government’s forced transport of hundreds of Tamils from Colombo, Lakshman Seneviratne accused Nishantha Gajanayake of working on behalf of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and in concert with Deputy-Inspector General of Police Colombo, Rohan Abeywardene to orchestrate abductions.  Seneviratne stated that Gajanayake arranged abductions and extra-judicial killings using Karuna’s cadres on orders from Gotabhaya and with the assistance of police officers acting under Abeywardene’s instructions.  Although Seneviratne alleged he had evidence to verify his accusations, the link between Gotabhaya, Abeywardene and Gajanayake was never proved nor verified. The UNP which threatened to release information, it maintained it had gathered, that connected Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Gajanayake has not been released to date – nor made public.  Another red herring of the United National Party.
The upshot was this. The Americans in Colombo sent an explosive cable to the US government naming their source as Major General Prasad Samarasinghe in which cable James Moore opined that, “Despite the GSL’s efforts to tout arrests of alleged abductors, critics and some government insiders claim that there is little genuine connection between the abductions and those that the Government has arrested. Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect), a political insider within the Rajapaksa administration, told us that the arrest on June 26 of the five alleged abductors working with Gajanayake was political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration. Samarasinghe further alleged the GSL felt compelled to demonstrate concrete examples of progress on abductions to appease the international community.”
Major General Prasad Samarasinghe is currently the Chief Signal Officer (CSO) of the Army and Chief Controller, Centre for Research and Development at the Ministry of Defence. He has also been the Commander for three separate Brigades in Jaffna, Wanni and Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, 22 Division Headquarters, Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, Directorate of Operations, Army Headquarters, Assistant Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and the Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Signal Corps. He previously served as the military spokesman to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London on a diplomatic posting. Read the cable here.

Courtesy Sunday Leader

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Latest comments

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    What are the golden rules of journalism, Chetty? White van abduction after writing something? Where do you learn those golden rules? From Dayan or from Gota?

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    Frankly in my reckoning, people are like Frederica and Chetty are both plain crap. They play to agendas of others or to their own sick twisted minds. Sri Lanka does not need ‘journalists’ of this calibre.

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    This woman is a liar. She says anything or lick even the back of people if she is getting money. White flag evidence is a good example.

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    Untrustowrthy and lying woman. Her writing has no credibility. Not worth reading even.

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    For all of you, this article is in reference with Wikileaks cable mention above!

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    Fredrica,i admire you quoting Wikileeks.So for starters why don’t we get together and try to get Julian Assange freed?I am sure that he will have a lot say about the Norwegians.Even he might have some gossip cables about you(specially some juicy bits to keep us going).Oh! Fredrica what happened to that case filed against you by Gotabaya?Dropped,eh?You fixed Fonseka.Now it’s Prasdas turn.Who is next?What’s this rumor about Ranil giving your outfit 10 million bucks a month sometime back?There are other juicy things i would like to ask you,but i wouldn’t cause this is a public forum.Specially a beautiful lady like you deserve some privacy!Oh! by the way Fonny must be having his beautiful sleep at Walikada.You are one hell of a lady!Very smart and beautiful!

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    Colombo Telegraph is doing an excellent job in “unearthing”sensitive info.Thanks for exposing the racist militarized GOSL.But for your sake why don’t you make it balanced? Otherwise it would appear to be seen as another branch of Tamilnet.For instance Wikileeks cables about so called journalists being in the pay off of the LTTE terror outfit!If you have not already”unearthed”them pl send me an email.I will provide them.Also to make it appear more balanced why don’t you come out with a few pictures of that great freedom fighter Mr Prabakaran’s heroic deeds?A picture or two on Aranthalawa massacre,Kabithigollawa massacres etc.I know it’s against your policy.But for your sake just make it balanced.Whatever it is we have one thing in common.That is in having confidence in Wikileeks.So putting aside everything why don’t we all get together to try and get Julliane Assange out?Let’s do it.
    In a couple of months time i will come out with a piece of sensational news.Not for money or political reasons.For the simple fact that i happened to be working as a part time cleaner way back in 1979 in a particular apartment block around Earl’s Court where this beautiful lady happened to live.A very kind down to earth beautiful young lady.I used to take her Golf car to the car wash.Of course she tipped me.What’s this rubbish about war crimes?It was the human crime of the century.When i come out with it i am sure that Colombo Telegraph along with the likes of our esteemed journalist Fredrica will call for the heads of those perpetrators.Let them play their war crimes game.I am not sure for how long i will be at your website.Who cares?Life is there to enjoy! “Boston Breaks” is just the tip of the iceberg.Hold your breath!

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    As Sunday Leader is now under Rajapaksa control, and FJ was kept as the Editor by Gotabaya, it is her duty to save their names from any wrong doings. Prasada is not a saint, and he may have given this information to get help from USA, but now FJ is on a mission to save the names of Rajapaksa siblings from these leaks. Good job FJ, but you failed to impress the reading public after your admission on 26th February Sunday leader the nambiar spoke to Mahinda Rajaaksa about the white flag fiasco.

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    Upasiri.
    The Sunday Leader is now owned by Tiron Alles and Mangala Samaraweera. None of the Rajapakses are involved. So you should address your complaints to those people and also ask them why Kusal Petrera an fierce anti government campaigner and a former confidant of Mahendra Raja[pakse was unceremoniously thanked without the golden handshake.
    By the way for the ignorant my sur name is Casie Chetty not Chetty. I have been in journalism longer than any there pretending to be of the profession. If 1966 is a good year to start with.

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    Excuse the typing errors.

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    One simple question for Ms Janz,
    Do you really believe that sending Fonseka to jail,solely relying on your evidence is justice done?I am not an admirer of Fonseka.But sending him to jail relying on evidence given by someone like Ms Janz whose credibility is highly questionable stinks.Ms Janz being a journalist does not absolve you of crime.Fonseka is no angel.But considering his contribution towards eliminating the LTTE terror thugs cannot be forgotten.Journalism and human rights have gone to the dogs because of characters like Janz,Paki,Sunanda etc.Sad but true.

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