1 October, 2020

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The General and the Witch-hunt

By Tisaranee Gunasekara –

For all their patriotic rhetoric, the two omnipotent presidential-siblings, Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, tend to be more open and truthful with major and minor US officials than with Lankan people.

Perhaps this proclivity to lie less to American officialdom is a carryover from their long years as hardworking US citizens chasing the American dream. As far as it is known, both siblings are still dual-citizens, and thus subject to American laws. This may explain their obvious eagerness to present their doings in the best possible light to US diplomats and other US officials.

Since the Rajapaksas may not want him to die a prisoner, the President may pardon him, once he becomes too ill to engage in any political action and the will of his family to resist has been broken by constant and consistent persecution.

Thanks to this curious compulsion on the part of the two Rajapaksa Siblings, we Lankans have been provided with a fascinating glimpse of the Fonseka-phobia of the Ruling Family. According to a Wikileaks cable, soon after winning the Presidential election, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa informed a US diplomat that “unlike outrageous claims by regular political opponents, Fonseka’s threats and betrayals had to be taken more seriously” (reproduced inColombo Telegraph – 18.11.2011 – www.colombotelegraph.com). This revelation should be juxtaposed this with another Wikileaks cable in which the Defence Secretary is reported heaping praises on the supremely ineffectual Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, describing him as a “very reasonable, a professional politician”. According to the same cable, Mr. Rajapaksa informed Mr. Wickremesinghe, “You should have been the candidate; you would have got more votes”.

“Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is not known as a moderate voice, and his remarks were emblematic of his downplaying government actions while exaggerating the opposition threat. It is interesting that he did not mention the allegation of coup plans by Fonseka, but his promise of more military purges to come was ominous”. -US Ambassador Patricia Butenis (Wikileaks)

Had Mr. Wickremesinghe been Mahinda Rajapaksa’s main contender in 2010, the presidential election would not have been a contest. The election became a keenly contested one because of Gen. Fonseka’s entry into it as the common oppositional candidate. And as Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revealed in his heart-to-heart with the US diplomat, the Ruling Family was perfectly cognizant of the threat presented by the Fonseka candidacy and took it with the seriousness it deserved.

Fonseka Phobia

The persecution of the defeated candidate Sarath Fonseka (and his family) by the victorious candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa (and his family) commenced almost as the voting ended. The hotel in which Gen. Fonseka and other opposition leaders were temporarily residing was surrounded by hundreds of armed soldiers and policemen.

This ‘siege’ continued for almost twenty four hours and rendered it impossible for the defeated candidate to take part in the traditional ceremony held at the Elections Commissioner’s office to announce the outcome of the election.

The siege ended due to national and international pressure and Gen. Fonseka was allowed to leave the hotel with his family, unharmed. Interestingly, the regime was unable to arrest even one of the many hundred deserters it claimed were littering the hotel. Instead, members of Gen. Fonseka’s official security detail (granted to him by the military, in accordance with the orders of the Election Commissioner) were arrested the moment they came out of the hotel to report to their original unit. These uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police.

It was an ominous portent of the repression that was to come.

The Defence Secretary’s meeting with the US diplomat happened against this backdrop. Mr. Rajapaksa’s intent in engineering the meeting was to offer the US a series of explanatory-excuses for past, present and future actions by the regime aimed at negating the political efficacy of Gen. Fonseka. According to the cable, “On February 2, Defense Secretary Dotabhaya Rajapaksa summoned DATT to a hasty meeting under the pretext of discussing an upcoming engagement activity with the U.S. military. As expected, Rajapaksa also wanted to explain the government’s position on the treatment of General Fonseka following the January 26 presidential election… Rajapaksa accused Fonseka of manufacturing hysteria among the diplomatic corps, senior religious leaders and others by claiming the government wanted to harm him. He also accused Fonseka of inventing grievances as CDS in order to appeal to the opposition. The Defense Secretary claimed Fonseka and his supporters had no reason to fear government reprisals. He pointed out there had been no reprisals carried out after the 2005 election, and there was no reason to expect such behavior now….. Fonseka held a press conference yesterday and the opposition leadership with Fonseka met with the diplomatic corps today. The hasty summoning of Embassy DATT was an effort to get the Rajapaksa spin on developments” (ibid).

During and after the siege of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa publicly and officially accused Gen. Fonseka of planning a ‘Bolshevik style coup’ aimed at assassinating President Mahinda Rajapakse, brothers Gotabhaya and Basil and senior ministers: “With the military officers who were active partners of the conspiracy spilling the beans, it is frightening to contemplate the result of what may have happened if such a Russian Revolution – style military coup had taken place” (Daily Mirror – 6.2.2010). Minister Yapa went on to say that “if the deadly deed was carried out, the country was to be told that government leaders had been killed by an angry public disgruntled with the performance of the government. ‘In a popular revolt when people get killed it is not possible to pinpoint the killers. That was how the plotters planned to divert the attention of the public from the bloodbath and prevent investigations being conducted’, he said. Minister Yapa said that similar to what happened at the 1917 Russian Revolution, ‘Bolshevik Committees’ headed by military officers handpicked by General Fonseka were to be appointed to carry out the work at various state institutions” (ibid).

It was Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who started the coup-rumour several months ago, as the differences between the Ruling Siblings and their former top-soldier were reaching the boiling point. In an interview with the state-owned ITN in October 2009, Mr. railed against the ‘pillis’ sent by conspirators to depose his brother, the President: “This can cause us tremendous challenges in the future… (They) might send various zombies (pilli)…… We know our country is a democratic country. There are plenty of people willing to do anything for narrow gains. There are politicians; there are people who have become degraded; there are people filled with hatred…. All they want is to come to power. They will be used by national and international conspirators, those who want to protect the LTTE and to regain Eelam…. It is very easy to mislead people, through false propaganda…”

Interestingly enough, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in his outpouring to the US diplomat, made no mention of the coup story. “He did not mention a coup attempt, as had been charged in the media, but said Fonseka was planning violent reprisals against the Rajapaksas and their supporters if he had won” (Colombo Telegraph– 18.11.2011). This curious omission is proof positive that the coup-story was just that – a story. Obviously Gotabhaya Rajapaksa knew that US officials would not believe such an obviously apocryphal tale. So he decided to omit it from his barrage of charges against Gen. Fonseka, just as he and Brother Basil decided to admit to US officials that the war had been far from ‘clean’.

The Defence Secretary also made some references to the repression the regime was planning to unleash on Fonseka-supporters, especially within the armed forces: “He claimed Fonseka his supporters had no reason to reason to fear government reprisals but also warned there would be more transfers and compulsory retirements of officers who were seen as Fonseka supporters in the security forces” (ibid). In the Rajapaksa politico-psychological universe, supporting Candidate Fonseka was not a democratic option available to any Lankan citizen. It was an act of treachery, which only anti-Lankans resorted to.

Within days of the election, Gen. Fonseka’s office was raided by a 200 strong STF contingent, searching for ‘army deserters’ and ‘illegal weapons’; having found neither one or the other, the raiders arrested 15 members of Gen. Fonseka’s staff, all of them duly retired army men. The army was subjected to a spate of transfers and compulsory retirements. Eventually, the war-winning Army Commander was arrested, charged under military law of financial misappropriation, and after a travesty of a trial, sentenced to jail for 30 months.

Silencing Gen. Fonseka

The Siblings’ determination to remove gen. Fonseka from the political scene becomes perfectly explicable in the light of the Wikileaks revelations. The Rajapaksas fear Gen. Fonseka. They are also furious with him for turning against them (this is revealed by the use of the term ‘betrayal’), even though by opting to join the Opposition Gen. Fonseka was doing nothing more than exercising his democratic right. What is the best way of taking care of such a political migraine?

Incarceration seems the most sensible option, especially if the target can be imprisoned as a common or garden criminal and not a political prisoner. A political trail would make the charge of political victimisation harder to refute. A criminal trial, on the other hand, can be passed off as a normal law-enforcement exercise, unrelated to political events.

Are the Rajapaksas planning to get Gen. Fonseka sentenced sequentially, for this crime or that, so that he does not get to leave the prison? If so, cumulatively he may get what amounts to a de facto life sentence. The rigorous imprisonment he is being sentenced to is likely to further undermine his precarious health condition, a result of the Black Tiger attempt to murder him in 2006. Since the Rajapaksas may not want him to die a prisoner, the President may pardon him, once he becomes too ill to engage in any political action and the will of his family to resist has been broken by constant and consistent persecution.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Excellent analysis

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      ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PEOPLE! DO NOT BLAME RAJAPAKSHAS! DO NOT BLAME THE JUDICIARY OR THE POLICE!! THEY ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE ASSIGNED TO DO – NO MORE, NO LESS. IF THERE IS ANYONE TO BE BLAMED IT SHOULD BE “US” AND NOBODY ELSE. WE WERE THE MASTERS WHO PUT THEM THERE AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SUPREME UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. ARE WE FELLING HELPLESS, VULNERABLE AND FEEL LIKE TELLING THE SUPREME GOD ABOUT INJUSTICE CAUSED TO US. THAT IS ONLY ONE WAY OF CONSOLING OURSELVES, FOR THE GOD KNOWS THAT THIS IS WHAT WE WANTED AND THIS IS WHAT WE GOT. YOU CANNOT UNDO WHAT YOU HAVE DONE? SURE, YOU CAN DO IT, BUT THAT NEEDS MATERIALS LIKE HONESTY, SINCERETY, COURAGE, FORESIGHT. DO YOU HAVE THEM? IF SO USE THEM COLLECTIVELY RATHER THAN BLAMING AND BEMOANING!!!!

      • 0
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        Well said, Manel. You’ve hit the nail on the head!

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        Hi Manel Deshapriya,
        You are too Dumb! Typing few words did not hide that.

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        My country will be paradise for these kind thugs as long as people like you live in Sri lanka.

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    Its a personal revenge by politicians , Lets fight to get SF released soon

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    This was a just decision and I was convinced from the outset that Fonseka was guilty of the charges. However as an astute student of justice I shall be grateful if Justice W T M P B Waraweera could state the points he had apparently dissented on.

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      KARU ABESINGHA,

      Find another profession, you are too dumb to grasp concepts of law {I mean real law}. It was staged, Deepali is friend of MR. MR signed for her daughter’s wedding and gave Rs 1 M & a Car. Evidence submitted was insufficient etc. etc. I can go on but you will not understand Dummy !
      Try Plucking coconuts as a profession, hopefully that will not be too challenging for you to grasp. Good Luck Karu!

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      When you become a lawyer ,I will be sorry for your cliant.

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    SF should have made some money, of course. he is the army commander in a country which spend 20% of its budget for military.
    my question is was he the only one who got commission every other minister in lanka is clean?

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    Dont worry citizens, Justice will prevail, what ever judgement is given by a human is judged by the true judge the lord God, wait and see for the judgement.

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    By forcing Judges to convict general Fonseka this foll Gotabaya proved to the world that he gave the orders to kill the LTTE Leaders, nadesan and Pulidevan. This Drug Good father is not aware that the Commander of the Army if he has ever make such a statement then it is true. Once again when GSF says he didn’t say anything of this nature to Fredrica, this Drug Good father wanted the world to know that he is responsidble for this order. On May 20th and 24th this news was in papers right arond the world, but still for something GSF told on December 009, he is taken for task. These guys should be taken before the War Crimes Tribunal and charge for extra judicial killing. Gota and Mahinda Bangawewa,

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    Thank you Tisaranee for this insightful article, It is with saddness that I watch the country been dragged to that of an African state starting with a great history and 3 great religions and the influence and affluence of the worlds democracies. Unlike Libya and may other dictatorships we dont have resouces such as oil. Yet the educated and business people are silent till the rogues and killers knock on their door. I say action now do not support the goverment with profit or remitances. educate one person a day showing the reality of what is happening and how it affects the poor mans life. May be then our people will realize and gather to throw this regime out.

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    I will never vote for the JVP again simply because they abandoned General Sararth Fonseka.

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    Welcome to Sri Lankan justice- -Terrorist leader responsible for thousands of killings- not only no word about justice but govt. showers with blessings, comforts, security -Ex Attorny General – dismisses criminal cases ( murder, rape) specifically against politicians and one of them kills again -Underworld kingpins, rapists given authority to monitor law enforcement – Underworld killers sent abroad with in hours after killings- No one responsible -Man ties another man to a tree- and he is given minister of public relations -Top politicians boasting about law and order- sleeps, cuddles, kisses, with underworld kingpins doing extra judicial killings/ kidnappings – Many journalists killed/ missing- no one found guilty – Around 30 have died under police custody- no one guilty -Billions plundered from the state, inferior oil imports, oil hedging, world cup cricket loss of billions- no one guilty – Most govt. departments running at a loss of billions- no one responsible -Ex president CBK says 80% politicians corrupt- no one found guilty But SARATH FONSEKA – ‘Doing politics while being in the army’- GUILTY ( oops not applicable to presidents son !!) -’White flag case’ – GUILTY -’Irregularities of war procuments’- GUILTY – ‘Keeping army deserters’- GUILTY ‘Dealings with Hicorp company – GUILTY – Medals removed -No pension – and many many more guilty verdicts to come….. He must be GUILTY of saving the country !!! Welcome to Lanka – the country with animal law !
    XXX for the writer

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    Good for Sarath. He deserves it, he should have stood by the truth. He told the truth about the white flag case and later denied his statement to safeguard the culprits, so he deserves this sentence, he should have got more.

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      What a low life scum bag you are, eat some human waste and jump in the sea.

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    Despite all the efforts taken by the govt, they do not have any solid proof to victimize Mr. Fonseka. These reasons prove that Mr. Fonseka is far better than the political thieves, working against him. The nature will look after those people for their sins.

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      I know for sure that he has several layers of bullet-proof vests. He should now think of wearing bullet-proof headgear etc. The question is for how long???

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    Witch-hunt!!! :) Not surprising at all, when the Country is ruled by a power crazy lunatic with Jungle Law and Kangaroo Courts. M.R knows for certain that General Fonseka won the election with a majority that he rigged and changed the result. This was proved with the Generals immediate arrest followed by Kangaroo Courts to put him behind bars. How can he leave a gentleman loved and respected by the majority free ??? In preparation he brought the Justice Dept. under him and appointed a C.J. who’s husband is a political stooge holding a political appointment. The white flag case is true, but the real culprits are M.R. & family and few from the Forces on Diplomatic Assignments to get immunity. May this family rot in hell.

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    What Nonsense!!! Rajapakse might fall ill more than General Fonseka. SF has an easy life and no worries since everything is found for him except family. For a War Hero who killed 100,000 Tamil civilians that is an easy punishment.

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    Sooner or later this power crazy lunatic (and his family) will be thrust into the limbo of forgotten things. This madman has to go, like Saddam Hussein!!!

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      Good thing he’s already in jail.

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    Rajapaksa,s are living like prisoners. They cannot move outside the country. There power rest in the hands of the underworld such as Kudu Duminda, Mervyn the cannibal and sajin Vass the pimp. Rajapaksa,s will suffer omore intime to come. They all will die like beggars. Retribution will come

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    SF IS A BLOODY GOAT. BEING THE FORMER ARMY CHIEF HE SHOULD NOT HAVE UTTERED ANYTHING OF THIS SORT AS IT WAS HIS RESPONSIBITY TO SEE THAT NO VIOLATIONS SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE DURING HIS PERIOD OF HIS OFFICE. IN HIS EVIDENCE HE PROTECTED HIS MEN AND THERE WAS NO EXCEPTION TO MAJ GEN SHARINDRA SILVA. HE SHOULD PAY FOR HIS OWN FOLLIES.

    IT IS VERY STRANGE TO SAY THAT “Had Mr. Wickremesinghe been Mahinda Rajapaksa’s main contender in 2010, the presidential election would not have been a contest. The election became a keenly contested one because of Gen. Fonseka’s entry into it as the common oppositional candidate. And as Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revealed in his heart-to-heart with the US diplomat, the Ruling Family was perfectly cognizant of the threat presented by the Fonseka candidacy and took it with the seriousness it deserved”.

    THAT MEANS YOU EXPECTED MORE THAN 60% MAJORITY WOULD HAVE BEEN GATHERED IF IT WAS RW. I SAY RW WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER CANDIDATE AS HE HAS ATLEAST POLITICAL MATUREITY. SF DID NOT HAVE THAT AND LATER HE GOT IT.

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    An absolute lie. What a fraud of a journalist this Tisaranee Gunasekara is (after all that is not her last name even).

    This revelation should be juxtaposed this with another Wikileaks cable in which the Defence Secretary is reported heaping praises on the supremely ineffectual Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, describing him as a “very reasonable, a professional politician”. According to the same cable, Mr. Rajapaksa informed Mr. Wickremesinghe, “You should have been the candidate; you would have got more votes”.

    1)This was NEVER in a Wikileaks cable. It was in Sri Lanka’s press reported in the dailymirror, island (their Sinhala counterparts), SundayTimes and Adaderana, Sirasa.

    2) It was MAHINDA who was pouring praise on Ranil after the election.

    See how this women has LIED by switching names and tossing wikileaks to give “credibility” to her deciet.

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    More LIES from this fraud of a journalist pushing through her political frustrations and hatreds. This women had no love for Fonseka when he was in the Army during the war (when he needed peoples support the most since he apparently ran a one man army) and wanted him removed, dead or tried in her white masters kangaroo courts. She is singing praises to suit her political desires and answer her frustrations and hate.

    “The siege ended due to national and international pressure and Gen. Fonseka was allowed to leave the hotel with his family, unharmed. Interestingly, the regime was unable to arrest even one of the many hundred deserters it claimed were littering the hotel. Instead, members of Gen. Fonseka’s official security detail (granted to him by the military, in accordance with the orders of the Election Commissioner) were arrested the moment they came out of the hotel to report to their original unit. These uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police.

    1) Who on earth holes themselves up in a hotel during an election? When has this ever happened before? You either stay in your own home, the elections office or your party HQ, not some hotel.

    2) Fonseka refused to leave by his own choice. He was clinging their as part of a pack with the US to unleash/coordinate violence. After all he was America’s “chosen candidate” and new pet designate to rule the country how he pleased i.e. with an iron first, the only “rule” being he is subservient to the US. Upon discovery (via secret surveys carried out by the West NGOs lackeys like the CPA) that Fonseka was going to lose the election they ordered him to unleash violence (in UPFA strongholds) in an attempt to decrease voter turnout. Thus in turn to reduce the margin of victory to thus make it possible for Fonseka to successfully challenge the result and unleash violence (he had 300,000 fake ballet papers prepared to help him in this process). Of course that all backfired because the masses of this country overwhelmingly rejected him and still do.

    3) He stayed hoping the US would come bail him out.

    4) He left finally when he had an argument with his “political partners” and hit Mangala on the head. They all left at that point and he decided to as well, also noting the US was noting coming to fly him out.

    5) Fonseka has a personal security detail made up of Army deserters and low life criminals he hired which was separate to the official detail given to him since he did not trust the latter and saw them as Gota’s men. (His plan was to kill the lot of them when he “won”).

    6) If this “These uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police” we would have all seen it.
    An absolute lie by this women who has conjured it up trying to use the near two years since the event passed to push her despicable lies thinking people have forgotten the chain of events that happened back then. For certain this never did take place. Only in this fraud of a journalists head did it happen.

    There was foreign media and local media. A spectacle like this would have been caught on camera and spread around the world. It never was because it never happened.

    This women now “cries” for our soldiers. This is con work. She never gave a damn and has always spouted vicious hatred against our soldiers, revelled in extremist Christian venom against Buddhism and has always been a strong supporter of the LTTE and Tamil violence to lover of Tami racism as she saw it as a way to “purge” the country of Buddhism. Like Lasantha she viewed the LTTE as “soldiers of christ doing gods work to clear the land of heathens that refuse to submit and change their ways for that is the power of the devil so strongly within them for they must be removed.”

    This women is a mad frustrated Christian extremist loser desperate to get her way and settle political jealousies by writing rubbish to re-write history and piggy back off Fonseka. A man she does not really care about.

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    More LIES from this fraud of a journalist pushing forward her political frustrations and hatreds. This women had no love for Fonseka when he was in the Army during the war (when he needed peoples support the most since he apparently ran a one man army) and wanted him removed, dead or tried in her white masters kangaroo courts. She is singing praises now to suit her political desires and answer her frustrations and hate.

    “The siege ended due to national and international pressure and Gen. Fonseka was allowed to leave the hotel with his family, unharmed. Interestingly, the regime was unable to arrest even one of the many hundred deserters it claimed were littering the hotel. Instead, members of Gen. Fonseka’s official security detail (granted to him by the military, in accordance with the orders of the Election Commissioner) were arrested the moment they came out of the hotel to report to their original unit. These uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police.

    1) Who on earth holes themselves up in a hotel during an election? When has this ever happened before? You either stay in your own home, the elections office or your party HQ, not some hotel.

    2) Fonseka refused to leave by his own choice. He was clinging their as part of a pack with the US to unleash/coordinate violence. After all he was America’s “chosen candidate” and new pet designate to rule the country how he pleased i.e. with an iron first, the only “rule” being he is subservient to the US. Upon discovery (via secret surveys carried out by the West NGOs lackeys like the CPA) that Fonseka was going to lose the election they ordered him to unleash violence (in UPFA strongholds) in an attempt to decrease voter turnout. Thus in turn to reduce the margin of victory to thus make it possible for Fonseka to successfully challenge the result and unleash violence (he had 300,000 fake ballet papers prepared to help him in this process). Of course that all backfired because the masses of this country overwhelmingly rejected him and still do.

    3) He stayed hoping the US would come bail him out.

    4) He left finally when he had an argument with his “political partners” and hit Mangala on the head. They all left at that point and he decided to as well, also noting the US was not coming to fly him out.

    5) Fonseka had a personal security detail made up of Army deserters and low life criminals he hired which was separate to the official detail given to him since he did not trust the latter and saw them as Gota’s men. (His plan was to kill the lot of them when he “won”).

    6) If this ” uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police” happened and was true we would have all seen it.

    It is an absolute lie by this women who has conjured it up trying to use the near two years since the event passed to push her despicable lies through. Thinking people have forgotten the chain of events that happened at that time on the 27th of January 2010. For certain this event never took place. Only in this fraud of a journalists head did it happen.

    There was a plethora of foreign media and local media in the country and outside the hotel (and inside it as well). A spectacle like this would have been caught on camera and spread around the world. It never was because it never happened.

    This women now “cries” for our soldiers. This is con work. She never gave a damn and has always spouted vicious hatred against our soldiers, revelled in extremist Christian venom against Buddhism and has always been a strong supporter of the LTTE and Tamil violence to lover of Tami racism as she saw it as a way to “purge” the country of Buddhism. Like Lasantha she viewed the LTTE as: “soldiers of christ doing gods work to clear the land of heathens that refuse to submit and change their ways for that is the power of the devil so strongly within them for they must be removed.”

    This women Tisaranee Gunasekara is a mad frustrated Christian extremist loser desperate to get her way and settle political jealousies by writing rubbish to re-write history and piggy back off Fonseka. A man she does never cared about and still does not care about.

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