‘The Owl of Minerva takes flight only at Dusk’ ~ Walter Benjamin
“We have met the enemy, and he is us” ~ Pogo Comics quoted in the “IS is US: The Shocking Truth Behind the Army of Terror.”
April is the cruelest month: Four years ago as the Fahrenheit rose on a beautiful Easter Sunday morning in April 21, bombs exploded simultaneously at seven different locations, luxury hotels and churches, on the east and west coasts of Sri Lanka. It was a complex logistics operation designed Over the Horizon (OTH), hybrid-war-style, to cripple the tourist-dependent economy and multi-religious society in the strategic Indian Ocean island that is perpetually in the cross-hairs of big power rivalry.
After the attacks droves of foreign intelligence agents and experts arrived in the country which was kept in economically-devastating lockdowns, including fisheries harbours, for almost three months. This appeared to be a dry run for the Covid-19 lockdowns that followed a year later.
Last week, as citizens remembered the victims of the attacks 4 years ago, Cardinal Malcom Ranjith renewed his call for justice and accountability for the victims and the truth about the hidden hand behind the attacks.
Clearly, the Mastermind behind the carnage must be identified to ensure non-recurrence of the crime. While the attacks were mysteriously claimed by the Islamic State (IS), which had no previous history in Sri Lanka, a virtual smoke-screen of local investigations and a party-political blame-game ensured. There were also claims that local intelligence agencies and police sleuths had links to the suicide bombers. Disinformation covered up traces of the external actors and networks whose fingerprints were evident in the design of the crime, the selected targets, and cover-up operation.
The Missing Mastermind
Last week, the Former Attorney General, Dappula De Livera, was summoned to the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), purportedly to explain his quite reasonable statement on the existence of a ‘Mastermind’ (mahamolakaru), or conspiracy behind the blasts that killed more than 280 people four years ago.
While harassing the former AG for having spoken out on the need for accountability of the Mastermind, the Ranil Rajapaksa regime had also scheduled a New Year celebration, ‘Wasantha Siriya’, for April 22, the day after attacks. This despite the fact that the Sinhala and Tamil population had already celebrated the New Year two weeks earlier! Was Wasantha Siriya to distract from calls for justice for the victims and accountability and erase national memory and the history regarding the puzzling details in the Easter 2019 crime when Muslim suicide bombers attacked sea-front luxury hotels and churches in a Buddhist and Hindu dominated multi-religious country where Christians and Muslims had co-existed amicably for centuries?
Remarkably, the World Bank “upgraded” Sri Lanka to an Upper Middle Income Country (MIC) in 2019 although the Easter attacks were a huge Exogenous Economic Shock to the tourist dependent economy. MIC status disables a country’s access to concessionary borrowing at low interest rates, reserved for Less Develop Counties (LDC), in the global financial system dominated by the Washington Twins. This compounded Sri Lanka’s Debt trap leading to last April’s first ever Sovereign Default on Sri Lanka.
April is indeed the cruelest month in Sri Lanka.
The Mastermind: External Actors and an Over the Horizon Operation (OTH)
International intelligence experts who studied the Easter bombings noted that a leader of a terror group would never kill himself in the first attack. After all, a leader of a group would have a broader goal; and to accomplish his goals he would wish to remain alive if only to conduct further operations to achieve his Goal, which again begs the question: Who was the Mastermind behind bombers led by Zahran who was clearly was a bit player funded and manipulated by external networks?
While the April 21 Easter attacks were mysteriously claimed by the Islamic State or (IS), which had NO history ex ante (or ex post), of operating in Sri Lanka, the local leader of the group responsible for the attacks, Zaharan from Kathankudi, had exploded his suicide bomb remarkably at the brand new Chinese owned Shangri-La Hotel, rather than at a religious site although the crime was claimed to be religiously motivated, compounding the puzzle about the motive.
Shangri-La faced the Colombo Port and Chinese-built Port city. The blast there and at St Anthony’s Church that overlooked the busiest port in South Asia, where a Chinese research vessel Yang Wang 3 was berthed at the time, were reminiscent of the blasts at Lebanon’s Beirut Port.
To add to the mystery, the Saudi and Indian embassies had advanced notice of the attacks. The Saudis had also funded the National Thowheed Jamat (NTJ) network through local politician M.L.M Hizbullah of Kathankudi to Zaharan also of Kathankudi. Hizbullah was famous for switching sides between the main political parties– a practice that promotes the bi-partisan corruption racket, also with foreign funding in the Sri Lanka Parliament.
Meanwhile an Israeli new agency, Whitestream, claimed that Bitcoin had funded the suicide bombers, but dropped the narrative when Bitcoin threatened to sue! There were clearly a lot of foreign intelligence agencies fishing in Sri Lanka’s troubled waters after the Easter attacks and gaming the narrative and investigation.
As calls to identify the Master-mind behind the attacks refused to die down, subsequently, parliamentarian, Harin Fernando, whose father also had also received advanced notice of the attacks, claimed that the American Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA), which had removed the cell phones of the Easter suicide bombers during ‘investigations’ had informed him that an entity named ‘Sonic-Sonic’ was the Mastermind behind the attacks. As Sonic pertains to sound waves, this begs the question was Sonic-Sonic an internet Bot in an Over the Horizon Operation whereby religion and a real or purported Islamic network– was weaponized and if so, who has the technology, capability, expertise and experience of using “Mullahs on the Mainframe” to stage IS terror attacks around the world?
The book by a group of US and EU intelligence experts titled “The ISIS is US: the shocking truth behind the Army of Terror” on the history of the IS provides some clues here
Game of Thrones amid Cover up investigations
After the Easter attacks of 2019 a virtual ‘Game of Thrones’ unfolded between Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Rajapaksa brothers, who controlled the two main political parties – UNP and SLFP/PP. They traded places with one another- between President and Prime Minister – with the support and participation of their and other political parties–to greater or lesser extent funded and used by the external actors claiming to ‘aid’ the people of the strategic island.
Are democracy and the parliament a political puppet show, replete with horse-trading, increasingly gamed in Over the Horizon Operations for Full Spectrum Dominance with official development assistance for Lawfare, while investigations morph into smoke-screens for Disinformation with redacted reports that a embargoed from public scrutiny?
Investigations into the Easter Sunday 2019 crime quite early on morphed into a smoke-screen of disinformation, with a party-political blame game to cover up the external actors, geopolitical interests and the master-mind behind the crime. Thus, a real time television show, in the form of the Parliamentary Select Committee hearings promoted a blame game among local actors, intelligence agencies, and Defense officials. This effectively distracted from the external actors, networks and geopolitical interests evident in the design, detail and targets of the crime.
Meanwhile as droves of foreign intelligence agents, agencies and experts arrived in Sri Lanka, the CIA removed crucial evidence from the crime scene and country– the cell phones of the suicide bombers, and subsequently claimed that the Master-Mind of the attack was called ‘Sonic-Sonic” –code for sound waves. Was the mastermind of the Easter Attacks an internet BOT or an intelligence agent? Who gave remote OTH directions to the suicide bombers?
The Weaponization of Religion and AI
Four years after the Easter Sunday attacks, new developments and debates about the use and abuse of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the call by Elon Musk and other AI experts for a pause in research to assess possibly dangerous impacts of AI technologies to human society may provide insight into the Mastermind and technologies behind the staging of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, as well as, the cover up operations.
Also relevant here are the more recent cover-up investigations into the mysterious chilling killing last December (2022), of Mr. Dinesh Shaffter, a primary material Witness in the Court Case on the 2015 Central Bank bond scam in which the current Washington backed- President Ranil Rajapakse and his network are implicated.
It is perhaps not a co-incidence that at this time Ranil Rajaaksa who was implicated in the CBSL bondscam is planning another bond scam this time officially on IMF watch; having recently promised to borrow USD 1.4 billion from Eurobond traders this year alone (2023), in exchange for a loan of a mere $2.9 billion over four year from the IMF as a bailout! These bond traders, the largest of which is BlackRock forced Sri Lanka’s first ever Sovereign Debt Default last year in April 2022!
Mr. Shaffter, primary witness in the Bond scam court case, was found dead in his car after a mysterious phone call lured him to the Colombo cemetery in an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), enabled Voice Cloning, phone data hacks and wipes, and high financial and cyber-crime, by networks of international actors who have the technology and local networks to stage cybercrimes, virtual reality shows and hybrid proxy wars around the world.
AI also enables ex-post data editing, manipulation, and data wipes, and gaming the narrative including of Debt and climate crisis. Cell phones provide the clues as to who was behind the crimes but data are wiped and manipulated also through VOICE CLONING.
Even as CHATGPT and other such AI platforms may enable access to large amounts of certain kinds of data, information, knowledge and narratives the algorithm enables gaming the archive as these systems mediate access to information and thus how knowledge and history comes to be constituted. Indeed, reverse engineering of Debt data, as well as, weather and climate numbers appear ongoing in Sri Lanka where data security is non-existent at this time.
In the context, questions arise as to whether Easter Sunday was an OTH operation? So too, the chilling killing of Mr. Shaffter as bond scams and high financial crimes unfold via global-local networks amid phone hacks and other forms of cybercrime at this time, as the government prepares to borrow another USS 1.4 billion from private markets that charge predatory interest rates once again on the watch of the IMF and World Bank in 2023, as part of its so-called bailout agreement with Ranil Wickramasinghe who is implicated in the 2015 bond scam.
Perhaps this too is why Elon Musk and other AI experts have called for study of the potential use and abuse of Artificial (AI), particularly impacts on democracy and election gaming, and a pause in certain areas of AI research to assess possibly dangerous impacts to human society and security.
Disinformation and Data Security
Connecting the dots in the use and abuse of AI technology, the weaponization of religion and transnational religious networks increasingly ubiquitous in Social media platforms on the internet may provide retrospective insight into the OTH Mastermind, as well as, the Cover-up investigations by local intelligence agencies, police and military, often trained, funded and reliant on the technical assistance including AI of external intelligence agencies of ‘donor countries’ that were also involved in the investigations of the Easter Sunday crime in 2019.
Patterns of Disinformation and cyber operations to manipulate Data and game narratives, also by erasing them are visible at this time in a country where Data Security is non-existent. During the Covid-19 pandemic there was a cyber-hack and data wipe of the National Medicines Regulatory authority (NMRA), as the Ministry of Health spent huge sums to purchase Corvid injections.
However, Countries hit by as stream of compounding crises and staged exogenous economic disasters piling up like the IS terror attack, Covid-19 bio war lockdowns, or climate shocks like the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, or the Debt crisis and rapid currency depreciation, or the MV Pearl and MT Diamond sea of Sri Lanka disasters have little time for reflection, research and study of patterns in the endless disasters staged to “Make the Economy Scream” as the debt compounds due to these Exogenous Economic Shocks.
In the final analysis it is clear that the Disinformation campaign to cover up the externalities in the Easer Sunday was much like the crime and cover up operation with regard to the mysterious killing of Mr. Dinesh Shafter, Primary Witness in the Court Case on the 2015 Central Bank Bond scam in which the current President Ranil Rajapakse is implicated.
Finally, the official aversion to acknowledging the truth about the external masterminds, foreign hands, and geopolitical interests evident in the design of the Easter attacks has been echoed among various civil society, research think tanks, and NGOs, seeking to craft social memory, history, archives, museums, and reconciliation with foreign, mainly EU and USAID funding.