The official spokeswoman of the US Embassy in Colombo decided to do an interview with the Gotabaya Rajapaksa aligned Derana TV without the knowledge of other US Government agencies Colombo Telegraph learns.
The interview happened while the rumour mill was in overdrive that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had not yet sorted out his US citizenship issues and his lawyers released multiple sets of documentation that made things even murkier.
Colombo Telegraph learns that the decision to have Nancy Van der Horn on Derana TV which is owned by Rajapaksa campaign manager Dilith Jayaweera was not endorsed by other sections of the US Government.
If the US Embassy needed to clarify matters based on ongoing public debate about a candidate’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, it was unclear why they singled out the Gotabaya Rajapaksa aligned television network, analysts said.
As a reward Derana TV broadcast the interview and published it on the internet claiming that the US Embassy had confirmed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was no longer a citizen of the US. However, at no point during the interview did Van Der Horn claim that the SLPP candidate was no longer a US citizen causing another cycle of discrediting of the Rajapaksa campaigns claims on citizenship.
But the collusion with the Rajapaksa aligned network has buoyed suspicion that the US Embassy in Colombo is working hand in glove with Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s campaign. Led by Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz the Embassy is hoping that their support in this matter in the event of a Rajapaksa victory will ensure leverage for Washington under a Gotabaya Presidency that will help to keep Beijing’s influence at bay.
First signs of an emerging nexus were revealed in May 2019 when former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake praised former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa during a speech to apparel exporters.
The discussion was organised by Milinda Moragoda’s secretive Pathfinder Foundation an ex US citizen. It caused shockwaves because Blake was strongly critical of the Rajapaksa regime when he was serving as US envoy.
But at the discussion former Ambassador Robert Blake hailed Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his handling of intelligence services and told the ruling government that it should follow his example.
A prominent businessman organised a dinner for Blake to which the former Defence Secretary was also invited. Oddly the ex US Ambassador also praised the Sri Lanka Navy and received a memento from the former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda. Blake said that the Navy had not been implicated in human rights abuses but Karannagoda himself is about to be served indictment for conspiring to murder 11 young boys the navy abducted for ransom in 2009. (By Catherine Madugalle)