26 October, 2021

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SF And RW Will Have To Liaise

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Website Verite Research  said in a recent report: “Newspapers report that former army commander Sarath Fonseka has already initiated discussions with a view to developing a common political front, adding he is planning to meet with two powerful UNP figures in this regard once he is freed; Lakbima May 20 p1.”  It carries the report under the head “Speculation” but I am inclined to call it inevitable, unless SF and RW are both of unsound mind – which is not impossible. Or is SF meeting rebel UNPers to engineer a split? The government is barren and at a dead end, its popularity is at a low, but will it be an anti-government walkover for an opposition that doesn’t get its act together? No Sir! There is a vote bank for Rajapaksa in rural areas and in Sinhala communal strongholds; a divided opposition is all he needs to scrape through for a third term.
The outcome of the first round of Egyptian presidential elections has stunned the radicals who took over Tahir Square and forced the fall of Mubarak. Ahamed Shafiq, a one time prime minister under Mubarak and the military’s favoured man came second with 24% of the vote close behind the populist Muslim Brotherhood backed candidate Mohammed Mursi, 25%. The radicals, the left and progressive nationalists, simply split their votes among  five candidates. Mursi Shafiq benefited from the revolutionaries’ divided votes. Furthermore, deep town versus village rifts were also apparent in the poll.

“They made a mistake by not unifying” said the April 6 Youth Movement, a leading force in the uprising, “We said from the beginning, we need one candidate for the revolution, not two or three.” Despite several rounds of negotiations, persuading some to withdraw in favour of a common candidate came to nought. Egypt’s left seems to be as frighteningly sectarian and fratricidal as Lanka’s.
Indeed, revolutionary candidates together had far more votes than Mursi or Shafiq but were fragmented into five. Hamdin Sabbahi (22%), one of the favourites came third, and the modern Islamist Aboul-Fotouh (19%), fourth. The others who gained only small votes are the charismatic liberal leftist Khaled Ali, Hisham El-Bastawisi and Abul Ezz El-Hariri. These three and Sabbhai are leftists. Abul-Fotouh supported the revolution but is not a leftist. Sabbahi won Cairo and Alexandria while pro-Muslim Brotherhood Mursi came in a distant third in both Egypt’s major cities.
We now have the absurd spectacle where pro-revolution candidates, who among themselves polled over 50%, have to watch a final runoff between an Islamist (Mursi), albeit a moderate one, and a throwback to Mubarak’s Neanderthal times (Shafik). Lanka beware; learn from Greece where SYRIAZ, a broad left alliance, is tipped in opinion polls to win the rerun parliamentary elections of June 17.

SF’s choices
The public euphoria that greeted SF’s release was somewhat muted compared to what had at one time been anticipated – no big marches and demonstrations carrying the General shoulder high, and so far no massive public meetings. The reason is simply that time has passed, the mood of early 2010 has abated and the public is taking things easy; watching. The current political spectrum is also unstable. I have two matters in mind; the stability of the UNP led alliance that leans on Mano Ganesan’s DPF, Bahu’s NSSP, Siritunga’s USP, and on an understanding with the TNA, is not assured.
Secondly, though the left in this front wants an alliance with the bourgeoisie for democratic objectives – which is correct – and rejects governmental commitments, it also speaks of the need for left unity; but it is doing next to nothing about the later task. Attention and effort are focused on the democratic front with the bourgeoisie; what about simultaneously drafting a programme in alliance with other leftist entities? The mood in the FSP and Lanka’s large non-party left is critical of Bahu and Siri these days because of this neglect.
It is in this context that RW-SF trends take on significance. SF has little residual strength and really has no option but to ally with this front. If he tries to go it alone in the hope of unnerving RW into breaking his current alliance and rushing to the succour of the General, he will fail, provided RW has the nerve. But that’s the question; does RW have the nerve to withstand Sinhala pressure if this is the tool the General chooses to panic RW? I am not saying SF will choose this strategy, nor that RW will panic; I only think it is a possibility. If so what becomes of a left that has neglected left unity?

The Egyptian merry-go-round
I will close with a comment on the ongoing negotiations in Egypt that Lanka needs to learn from. There is nothing in heaven or earth that is new – not even how to implement LLRC recommendations! Mursi has no hope of winning the second round unless he sues for support from the revolutionaries. Seemingly, this option is already-chosen and the Brotherhood is adopting a more progressive and reconciliatory tone to align with revolutionary forces, gain their endorsement, and a percentage of their voters. Mursi would have to agree to give the revolutionaries a hand in writing the new constitution and compromise on a more liberal vice president, prime minister and cabinet composition. He would also have to agree to goals on women’s rights, civil rights and secularism.
By way of analogy, if RW and his allies have the nerve, it is the General who can be called to order; he has little prospect of emerging as an independent third force even with a JVP tail.
If the revolutionaries (throughout this piece the word revolutionary means one who participated in the 2011 Egyptian uprisings) can force such a compromise out of Mursi they should go for it; much better than opening the door for a Mubarak era dinosaur.
Things will not be easy if Mursi wins; the dialectic of the Egyptian Revolution has already shown how complex historical progress is, but at least revolutionaries must stop behaving like downright sectarian asses; so must Lanka’s left.

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    LONG LIVE UNP !!! LONG LIVE THE SRI LANKAN REVOLUTION!!!

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    Dr Kumar David you are Trostkit- who non-beliver of amred or militiary leadership of politics in any part of world. As A well trusted Trostkist according to doctrine of Peremaent Revolution is made by the support or ORIGIN BY WORKERS OR PROLETARIT.
    Revolution is NOT led by ARMYMEN but by PEOPLE MOVEMENT.
    Now you have RADICALLY CHANGE into double standred workers movement entersted UNIFORM ARMYMAN to LED the OPPOSITION.(WHO WERE 40 YEARS IN STATE APPRATUES) . DR KUMAR D. your are now alined with ARMY LEADERSHIP and seek UNITED all forces under HIM (SF) bring human rights, democratic values into Sri lankan society.
    You lost principles of Democratic means and goal.
    I think as Trostkist you denied democratic values not accpect fundamnatal principle of right to VOTE had been pratice in Sri Lankn democracy enjoy since 1931.
    We as Sri Lankan democratic traditions will weakening if we suport state authortariansm of Militiry Politics who have army background.
    There is no differance between terrorism and Militiraism in essance.
    Two sides of same coin.Its undermine RIGHRS OF DEMOCRATIC.

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    There is one commonn aim among these die hard communists and the capitalist west … That is to do a REGIME CHANGE IN SRI LANKA by using any method … Deceit , lies or any immoral methods included … The reason is different … West knows that the current government in SL has a backbone and they can not bend it according to their desires … Die hard leftists like Kumar D wants to deny the Sinhalese/Buddhists their rightful place in Sri Lanka. They would even throw ‘das kapitol’ to the fire if it helps to achieve regime change and thereby denying the just place for Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.

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    Dr Kumar D,1 Achieve democratice revolution & task the leaders of LEFT were ignorant of thier own task and programe,they were unable to identifiy themself completely with the suffering of the workers peasents of people of island.As most of LEFT and other leaders were ignorant of thier own language and culture.The revolutionary slogans has become an imitative fashion among the young men who are still victims of an educational system imposed on them by neo-colonial rulers.
    Most of so-called democratic-front leaders whom you mention above , find it difficult to identify themself with large number of workers and peasants country population.
    The social background in cities and rulers towns still remains a part of the legacy of colonoal and neo-colonial rule.The its class basis a form of Westernised patten,encourages even our angry young generation to treat workers and peasants as the lower classes.
    Far from trying to identify themself with latter,they aspire to imitate the middle and upper classes even in revolutionary attitudes.
    The basis of class structure in Sri Lanka is not merely capitalism.English colonial rule created an environment and atmoshere in Sri lanka which easliy converted the educated into an elite of society who succumbed to the English lalguage and to Weaten behaviour patterns.
    Without support of workers, peasants, the merchant class and even native welthy capitalist of urban and rural of broad alliance , is quite impossible to reached to democrtic task at all.It is not only individual as well as broad class of front need to change neo-colonial politicla-economic-cultural STRUCTURE OF SRI LANKA.
    DEMOCRATIC AND SOCIALIST REVOLUTION but not in one UNCHANGEIN DOGMATIC FORM;has been adopted by different conditions in Sri Lanka with modification.

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    Wait a minute. Isn’t this an advocacy of the alliance of late 2009? As a strategist of proven excellence, SF isn’t likely to repeat that failed move, is he?

    The photos and footage of SF’s release shows that he’s far more in tune with the anti-RW ‘patriotic’ or ‘nationalist-populist’ tendency of the UNP.

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    Dr Kumar D.We are in stage of capitalist path and revolution,timely led by ruling and opposition bourgeoisis of pliticial parties.
    Turn into pending democratic task and revolution has meet two main conditioned .
    1 future leaders should disciplie themself together in relation to the local envioroments.And until progressive leaders and young generation identify with workers and peasants who are the real nation.
    2 And build party with requires not only impassioned leadership but also a disciplined rank and file.An intense feeling for and a real knowledge of the oppression and suffering of the people creat the human sympathy which is the best basis for unity and discipline in the pary and rank and file.
    The rise of dialectical materialism and marxsist theory of economics materialism inspired humanists and intelletuals to fight against old dogma,which encouraged the expoliation of man by man.
    Dr Kumar D, no one will venture to deny that the INTELLIGENTSIA AS SPECIL STRTAUM of modern capitalist society,is characterzed by and large,precisely by individualism and incapacity for discipline and orginization…Lenin said.But bourgeois revolution and its leadership most of times selfishness,it place personal interset FIRST and interest of revolution task and programe into second.This gives rise to ideological politicial and orginization flabbiness and insatbility of party and task of democratic revolution in Country.

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    DJ, “..The photos and footage of SF’s release shows that he’s far more in tune with the anti-RW ‘patriotic’ or ‘nationalist-populist’ tendency of the UNP..”

    Being kicked on the butt and thrown out like a meatless fish bone, it is surprising Dayan still say never die and go about opinion building laundry operations for the regime! You use “photos and footage” but we use “comments and statements” issued by both you and SF to come to conclusions as to the direction that would ensue.

    Post release, SF has given several interviews in all of which he is self same based on the stance RW has taken: LLRC recommendations must be implemented, there must be reconciliation, war crimes punished, 13th amendment implemented, political solution given, peace reconciliation and brotherhood among Sinhalese Tamils Muslims etc. must be promoted and built etc. etc. where MR’s SF release calculations have completely gone in tatters! DJ’s party hoped SF would join Sajith and the conspirators faction and split the UNP into two! On the contrary SF now says “I don’t mind who holds the power, I am not bothered about being the President of this country, what I am concerned is restoration of good governance!” I don’t think DJ would be a fool to fail to read between the lines! But what I do suspect is your morbid and adamant aversion to admit the truth!

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      Gabriel says “….Post release, SF has given several interviews in all of which he is self same based on the stance RW has taken: LLRC recommendations must be implemented, there must be reconciliation, war crimes punished, 13th amendment implemented, political solution given, peace reconciliation and brotherhood among Sinhalese Tamils Muslims etc ….”

      During the ‘war’, commander SF wanted to have Sinhalese only country with no rights to minorities ….
      Post ‘war’, commander SF said his army had to conduct the war in different manner and had to shoot even white flag carriers … Also wanted to increase the army by two folds and throughly protested to release refugees in camps at the time …etc
      Pre election SF joined with all LTTE backers, wanted to prosecute the people who killed the white flag carriers in international courts, reduce the army and wanted to release all refugees in camps …
      Read above what Gabriel says regarding Post Release SF …
      Story goes on ….
      Gabriel, Please post any pre, post or during ‘….put whatever you want here….’ regarding SF’s wants and desires …. people are waiting because they know ‘change in policy’ is the under laying theme of the poltics of SF …

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      Gabriel writes:

      “..meatless fish bone…”???

      “…DJ’s party….”???

      Whaaat?

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    Tamil communalism and Tamil racism are also big issues blocking the integration of the nation. Tamils love to live and prosper in so called non-Tamil areas but they also want to have the cake and eat it too. Racist jerks like Sambandan want exclusivity for Tamils just like the Tigers did forgetting or lying to the international community about the demographic breakdown of the nation. ALL of Sri Lanka SHALL belong to ALL of it’s people. Which means just like Tamils and Muslims who buy property, invest and prosper in Sinhala areas even as far as Hambantota and Matara are perfectly entitled to doing so and logically and rationally Sinhalese shall also be entitled to go anywhere and live anywhere. That is the real racist Tamil mentality that bothers everyone.

    Mr. David, your leftist bogus crap has left the building. Be frank and either say “You tamils need to accept anyone in Jaffna just like the sinhalese accept anyone in the south” and start a dialogue from there buddy. Tamils cannot have the cake and eat it too. It maybe politically incorrect to call the racist attitude of Tamils and Muslims because they are a minority, but look at the demographics of the major cities. By your arguments, Colombo is 100% in Sinhala area right? Why the bloody hell is it dominated by minorities? Please do not just blame Sinhalese. Sambandan and his cronies are Tiger apologists and racists jerks who want to have the cake and eat it too. SF would not tolerate that crap. His views on minorities are well known.

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    Kumar David You are talking nonsense.What support RW has in the country for that matter in the UNP party.Person who has no support in the party can be useful to SF.I hope SF will nto make that mistake again.what SF must do is to break away some good people from UNP and form another party.Just imagin those broke away form UNP joined SF,he would have won easily.There is no UNP under RW.Only some idiots and yes men who has not done politics and win in a political battle.Choksy,Tilak Marapana these are his people.Hope Karu,Sajit,Ranga Bandara,Dayasiri will realize the reality and join with SF andcreat some new waves.
    RW will die with Ravi who is no way if Sajit put his man to Colombo and Tissa who will never have any public support and who can not address a public meeting effectively.When they are defeated Tissa A can come on the TV and come out with his popular song of reason to loose “Unfair election syndrom”He is an expert on this.
    SF stay away from RW better than coming to politics.If you have the idea to join him you are better off by staying away from politics…When you were released he blame the people who got you released.This is him.Hope SF will read this comment..I am a die hard UNPer who has got fed up with RW..There are many more…

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    This is what KD wrote”
    Quote”
    It carries the report under the head “Speculation” but I am inclined to call it inevitable, unless SF and RW are both of unsound mind – which is not impossible. Or is SF meeting rebel UNPers to engineer a split?
    Unquote”

    It is more likely that the person with unsound mind on this subject is the author himself.

    The fact is the UNP leader and the former army commander have not spoken to each other leave alone there had been no attempts to even meet. There is no plans either to meet or talk.

    Looks like the President in waiting is hoping that RW will paying his poojas by visiting him soon. Nor has the leadership of the UNP have gone to greet in the last 2 weeks, other than the rebel groups. As I have written elsewhere on this website, the minorities will not support Fonseka if he is a Presidential candidate, on his own minority opposition party or a grand alliance where UNP once again abdicates it’s right to contest the Rajapakses directly.

    Eitherway, the losers will be both Fonseka and the UNP.

    Fonseka first and foremost must come out with the truth on several matters regarding the war, white flag incident, how many Tamil civilians the military killed, what ever happened to the bones, how Lasantha was killed and by who.. Of course he will deny the use of all illegal weapons, and any killings of civilians. Then, what is the difference between Fonseka and Gotabaya?

    Fonseka, should be unequivocal regarding an independent international investigator on war crimes and crimes against humanity. If both of them are confident that no crimes were committed in the 5 months of 2009, why don’t they agree on an independent international investigations?

    Immaterial, all US citizens and residents come under the US jurisdiction for investigations whether they agree or not. The wheels of Justice moves slowly, and it will take some time to catch up. Tamils do not want future Presidents to be claiming immunity like the current one. So there won’t be any minority vote or support for Fonseka! Let that be very clear to all the dreamers and they better come to reality soon.

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    So, Gabriel thinks that SF won’t have second thoughts about uniting with the dominant faction of the UNP that did the following:

    War on terror revisited:The Aturugiriya Affair
    June 3, 2012, 7:27 pm

    By Shamindra Ferdinando

    In the run-up to the Dec 5, 2001 parliamentary polls, UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged that the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) was planning to assassinate him. He claimed that the DMI was training Tamil terrorists at the Panaluwa Army Testing Range to mount an attack on his campaign bus, as well as his political rallies. The unprecedented allegation triggered hostilities between the ruling People’s Alliance (PA) and the UNP, with the army placed in an extremely embarrassing position.

    On the instructions of Wickremesinghe, UNP Chairman Charitha Ratwatte and Deputy Chairman Daya Palpola wrote a hard-hitting letter to Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle warning that he would be held responsible ‘in the event of an unfortunate incident’. The UNP duo accused the Army chief of training personnel to engage in a destabilisation campaign against the UNP.

    Having consulted the political leadership, an irate Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Balagalle addressed a letter to Ratwatte and Palpola dismissing their accusations. The Island, in a front-page exclusive captioned ‘Army chief says no truth in UNP claims,’ in its Nov 11, 2001 issue revealed the exchange between army headquarters and te UNP headquarters, Sirikotha. The report was based on what Lt. Gen. Balagalle had told this writer the previous evening. The army chief, himself a one-time head of the DMI, said that there was absolutely no basis for the UNP allegation that a hit squad was undergoing training in the use of high explosives and thermobaric weapons.

    The UNP ignored the army chief’s letter. The allegation was repeated throughout the campaign.

    The UNP-led United National Front (UNF) emerged victorious with 109 seats, while the defeated PA managed to retain 77. The remaining seats were shared by the JVP (16), the TNA (15), the SLMC (5), the EPDP (2) and the DPLF (1). It was one of the bloodiest elections with the five-week campaign claiming the lives of almost 50 people, with the Dec. 5 massacre of a group of SLMC supporters at Udathalawinna being the single worst incident. This massacre, allegedly carried out by troops attached to the Vijayaba Infantry Regiment (VIR) caused a vindictive UNP leadership to order a raid on a safe house used by the DMI situated at Millennium City, Aturugiriya, on Jan. 2002, which changed the course of the conflict. The UNF cited intelligence reports that Anuruddha Ratwatte’s sons wanted in connection with the Udathalawinna massacre were taking refuge at Aturugiriya.

    Although the UNP subsequently played down the incident, it turned out to be one of the major turning points in the conflict. It contributed to a deterioration of the security situation and thereby helped the CBK-JVP combine undermine the UNF government. President Kumaratunga took over three key ministries in Nov. 2003.

    Had the UNP leadership been a little cautious, it would never have publicly accused the army of an assassination plot, Gen. Balagalle told The Island last Thursday.

    Operating hit squads behind enemy lines had been a key element in the army’s strategy, Lt. Gen. Balagalle said, alleging the then Opposition had failed to grasp what was going on. He said: “Had they quietly raised the issue with us and sought a clarification without playing politics with national security, the Aturugiriya fiasco could have been averted. Even ex-LTTE cadres were brought in for operations along with a valuable input from civilian informants. We were successful due to many reasons such as training from Pakistani instructors. We also accommodated troops from other fighting battalions to engage in operations behind the enemy lines, though the Special Forces and Army Commandos spearheaded the campaign.” At the time troops were undergoing training in Pakistan, he had functioned as Security Forces Commander, Jaffna, he said.

    The Aturugiriya raid ruptured relations between the UNP and the Army. It caused irreparable damage to national security and giving the PA an opportunity to undermine the UNF government.

    At the behest of the UNP, a section of the media, including the Colombo-based correspondents working for international news agencies, highlighted the Aturugiriya raid speculating the army’s alleged involvement in anti-government activities. Investigating officers alleged that those based at Aturugiriya had been involved in the alleged attempt to assassinate Wickremesinghe in the run-up to the Dec 5 polls. Subsequently, they were accused of planning attacks in the city and suburbs to sabotage the Norwegian-led peace process.

    The UNP allegations had the desired impact in the wake of state television showing recovered items, which included 66 sets of LTTE uniforms, four thermobaric weapons, seven claymore mines each weighing 10 kgs, 10 claymore mines, each weighing one kg each, three T-56 assault rifles along with 400 rounds of ammunition, 10 anti-tank weapons, detonators, cyanide capsules, exploders, remote controlled devices and wire rolls. While a section of the media lashed out at the army, in a front-page exclusive captioned ‘Controversy over police raid on army officer’s Millennium City residence,’ on Jan 4, 2002, The Island revealed that police team from Kandy led by UNP loyalist, Kulasiri Udugampola, had raided an army safe house. The police team was backed by a team of CCMP (Ceylon Corps of Military Police). In spite of the army strongly objecting to the police action, with both Lt. Gen. Balagalle and the then Director of DMI, Brigadier Kapila Hendarawithana (currently Chief of National Intelligence) reassuring the government of the legitimacy of operations undertaken by the DMI, the police was let loose on covert operatives. In spite of Lt. Gen. Balagalle rushing Hendarawithana, who later figured in many controversies to the scene, SP Udugampola went ahead with the raid. He had obtained permission from courts to search the premises. Udugampola had the backing of the then Interior Minister, John Amaratunga. IGP Lucky Kodituwakku, though being convinced of the legitimacy of the DMI operation, was helpless.

    Interestingly, Amaratunga, who authorised the damaging Aturugiriya raid was among those seated in the front row along with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the recent launch of ‘Gota’s War’ by The Island columnist, C. A. Chandraprema. ‘Gota’s War’ dealt with a range of issues culminating with an alleged US attempt to hire one-time security forces spokesman, Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe to go against Sri Lanka on the human rights front.

    The Island revealed former US ambassador Patricia Butenis’s plot in an exclusive captioned ‘GR rejects testimony attributed to unnamed Gen.’ with a strap-line ‘Reveals US attempt to bribe serving officer,’ in the Jan 30, 2012 issue.

    The Kandy police raided the safe house shortly after the officer-in-charge of the DMI operation had handed over part of their arsenal. Those involved in the hit-and-run operations in LTTE held-areas had returned to Colombo on Dec 27, 2001 in the wake of the Wickremesinghe administration declaring its readiness to go ahead with a Norwegian initiative to bring about a truce. The Kandy police also accused the army of planting two claymore mines targeting a UNP candidate along the Wattegama-Panwila road, in the run-up to the Dec 5, 2001 polls.

    The then security forces spokesman, Brig. Sanath Karunaratne emphasised that those operating from Aturugiriya were involved in ‘army duties’ (The Island Jan 4, 2002). Regardless of protests by the army, those arrested were taken away to the Narahenpita CMP headquarters before being transferred to Kandy. They were treated like criminals and held under humiliating conditions. Six of them, including an officer were held in one room. For two weeks, the media reported all sorts of conspiracy theories.

    Those arrested were held for almost two weeks before being released. The police raid would never have been possible without an influential section within the army cooperating with the political establishment to undermine a vital operation, which brought the LTTE under immense pressure.

    The UNP and the police justified Udugampola’s raid. Asked whether he had used the safe house to accommodate his sons, one-time Defence chief, Anuruddha Ratwatte, candidly acknowledged that he wasn’t even among those who knew of the existence of that particular rear base, though the army kept him informed of operations undertaken by the DMI. (Feb 1 issue of The Island, 2002)

    The then Defence Minister, Tilak Marapone, one-time Attorney General, to his credit, thwarted an attempt by the Kandy police to prolong the detention of DMI operatives using the provisions of the PTA. The Wickremesinghe regime didn’t even bother to consult the armed forces and police top brass regarding the provisions of the agreement. Then Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) how then Defence Secretary, Austin Fernando, had bypassed them with regard to sensitive military issues.

    Fernando in an article captioned ‘The Peace Process and Security Issues’ (Negotiating Peace in Sri Lanka: Efforts, Failures and Lessons) admitted that the failure on the part of the then government to consult the military had been a failing. Fernando said (page 42): “The military chiefs weren’t consulted in the drafting of the CFA. Of course, a casual opportunity was given to them to discuss the draft with Ministers of Defence (Tilak Marapone) and Constitutional Affairs (Prof. G. L. Peiris). This wasn’t considered adequate by them as they didn’t get an opportunity to discuss the CFA with their senior officers”.

    The UNP realised the importance of clandestine operations undertaken by the DMI when the CFA declared that ACTIVITIES BY DEEP PENETRATION UNITS should be ceased along with the cessation of all military action. The LTTE wouldn’t have demanded a ban on DMI operations unless it had been vulnerable to those hunting them in their own backyard. Obviously, the LTTE wouldn’t have bothered about the DMI had the latter been stalking Wickremesinghe in the run-up to Dec 2001 polls.

    Retired Senior DIG Merril Gunaratne, who was Defence Advisor to Wickremesinghe during the CFA, exposed the UNP leadership in the recently launched ‘COP IN THE CROSSFIRE.’ The first book of its kind, written by one-time Director General of Intelligence, revealed how the top UNP leadership has taken security issues lightly at the expense of the country as well as the party. Asked whether he had been involved in the operation to move the Kandy police against the DMI, Gunaratne told The Island on Friday that he categorically opposed the move. “I was convinced the PA government wouldn’t target Wickremesinghe, thereby allowing the UNP to benefit from the sympathy vote. Unfortunately, Wickremesinghe and his top advisors felt the army was hell bent on destroying the UNP.”

    ‘COP IN THE CROSSFIRE’ revealed how the then Interior Minister John Amaratunga’s son-in-law (Dinesh Weerakkody), did a weekly piece on military/intelligence matters after he turned down a directive to do a newspaper column in support of the peace effort.

    The Aturugiriya raid had a catastrophic impact on the armed forces, which experienced untold hardships due to miscalculations on the part of political and military leaders. Following the betrayal of the DMI, the LTTE unleashed a series of operations in the city, its suburbs and in the Eastern Province. Altogether, about 50 military personnel, Tamil informants as well as ex-terrorists, died at the hands of the LTTE as their identities were revealed owing to the raid on the army safe house. The dead included two senior military officers, both killed in Colombo. Although, the two military officials, holding the rank of Major and Colonel could have been on a hit list regardless of the Aturugiriya fiasco, the LTTE exploited the situation to demoralise the army. Daring operations directed at the DMI and police intelligence helped boost the LTTE’s image. The military was placed in an unenviable position as the suspension of the PTA effectively neutralised counter-measures directed at LTTE hit squads.

    Inspector Dale Gunaratne, the then President of the Police Inspectors’ Association, was perhaps the only official publicly critical of the UNP’s response to the LTTE threat. Although his superiors reacted angrily, Gunaratne lashed out at the government for allowing the LTTE to exploit the CFA to its advantage. Citing the killing of Inspector Thabrew at the Dehiwela police station, IP Gunaratne alleged that the suspension of the PTA in keeping with the CFA was nothing but a grievous threat to those fighting terrorism. He kept on lambasting the UNP and his own superiors for not taking action to neutralise the LTTE threat. But the UNP was determined to salvage the crumbling peace process at any cost. For those at the helm of the government, the lives of security forces and police didn’t matter, as long as they believed the LTTE would remain in the negotiating process. Politicians felt whatever the provocations, the peace process should continue.

    (Next installment on Wednesday (June 6)

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