Colombo Telegraph

Sunday Island Carries Fake News: Gota

The Sunday Island news story: ‘Key suspect in Lasantha killing given diplomatic post by Gotabhaya’ is fake news, misleading the public, says the former secretary to the ministry of defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

He has tweeted “Fake news misleading public ” with a link to a criticism written by one Sanjaya Amarathunga which was posted on Viyath Maga Facebook page.

We publish below the Gotabaya’s recommended post in full:

WHY DO NEWS PAPERS CARRY FAKE NEWS MISLEADING THE PUBLIC?

It was disappointing to read the headline news today on Sunday Island which says ‘Key suspect in Lasantha killing given diplomatic post by Gotabhaya’.

According to this article, one major Bandara Bulathwatte was given a diplomatic posting to Thailand by then defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in January 2010. Bulathsinhala is now a suspect in the investigation of the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge in January 2009.

The news item is factually incorrect to start with. Given the sensitivities involved, the journalist should have taken better care in understanding the background before publishing this news item.

Firstly, Bandara Bulathwatte was nominated to go to Germany and not to Thailand. Secondly it was not a diplomatic posting. He was nominated for active service in a foreign country as an undercover intelligence officer.

It had been a standard practice in the army to place intelligence officers at Sri Lankan embassies in countries where there were active LTTE operatives. Most European counties fell under this category and army intelligence officers were routinely posted to the relevant embassies.

Posting of intelligence officers to Europe to monitor LTTE activities commenced in 2005. ASP Latheef from NIB was the first officer to receive such a posting. Since then, more than 25 intelligence officers from police and army have been sent to various countries on similar missions. This is practiced even today. These are intelligence offers who operate under cover holding junior posts at the embassies. They are not sent as Defence Attaches.

Major Bandara Bulathwatte was in active service of the army intelligence in January 2010. If he was nominated to be sent to Germany, that would have been a decision of the army.

When army wants to send an intelligence officer to a particular country, the request to the ministry of external affairs is sent through the ministry of defense under the signature of the ministry secretary.

Why Bulathwatte was selected for this particular mission and why the posting was subsequently cancelled is a question that should have been directed to the army and not to the ministry of defense.

Sanjaya Amarathunga ( BSc. Eng. )

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