22 April, 2024

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Was There A Conspiracy Behind The Easter Sunday Attacks?: A Follow-Up

By Leonard Jayawardena

Leonard Jayawardena

This article is intended as a follow-up to my earlier article entitled “Was There a Conspiracy Behind the Easter Sunday Attacks?” published in the Colombo Telegraph of September 19, 2023. The principal content of that article consists of eight serious objections against the most popular conspiracy theory relating to the Easter Sunday attack of April 2019, viz., the Rajapaksas orchestrated this attack to create concerns about national security among the masses with a view to influencing them to vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) at the presidential election of November 2019 as a president who would ensure their security.

What two recent surveys confirm

In a survey commissioned in October 2023 by Syndicated Surveys, 30% of the respondents agreed that the Easter Sunday attack of 2019 had been carried out by “Sri Lankan extremists who [had been] working with local political forces,” 23% agreed that both “dangerous foreign forces” and local political forces had been behind the attack and 39% had no opinion or refused to express one. Only 8% believed that it had been carried out without the involvement of local political forces. [Note 1]

This means that, if the survey (which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% at a 95% confidence level) is truly representative of the Sri Lankan population at large, 53% of the population believe that local political forces were behind the Easter Sunday attack. Interestingly, 53% is very nearly the percentage of votes that GR garnered at the 2019 election: 52.25%! It is possible–nay, probable–that the actual pecentage is even higher because a good percentage of the respondents who refused to express an opinion subscribed to this conspiracy theory but refused to express it through fears of personal safety.

The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, which was presented to Parliament on 23 October, 2019, states that, having examined the evidence before it, the Committee “reached the conclusion that intelligence and other parties with a vested interest took steps over the years that culminated in the tragic events of 21st April 2019.” The “vested interest” is specified below in the report as “to demonstrate the lack of control by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government and amplify calls for a change of regime” with a question mark at the end. There were some who, before November 2019, went further and alleged that there had been a “mastermind” behind the attack and thus the Easter Sunday “mastermind” conspiracy theory predates the 2019 presidential election.

It is safe to say that practically no one who subscribed to the “mastermind” conspiracy theory in November 2019–or even its milder form in the PSC report mentioned above–would have voted for GR as president. Obviously then, this percentage of people could not have believed in this conspiracy theory back then as otherwise he would not have been elected president. Subject to the exception of the “revelations” of Asad Maulana, reported in the media beginning from September 2023, there has been no substantial addition to the body of “evidence” cited in favour of this conspiracy theory between November 2019 and now. And, even before Maulana’s “revelations,” it was an observable fact that the percentage of people who believed that the Rajapaksas were the “mastermind” was easily over 50%. Then what could have caused this change?

I submit that it was the massive loss of popularity of GR–and his party the SLPP–consequent to the financial crisis that gripped the country not long after he ascended to the presidency that mainly accounts for this change of public opinion. One who was hailed as a war hero and enjoyed a reputation as a dynamic go-getter, became the most reviled figure as the nation plunged into a financial and economic tailspin. Hence in keeping with the common tendency of humans to readily believe negative things about people they dislike, the new haters of the Rajapaksas rapidly embraced this conspiracy theory and swelled the ranks of the believers.

It is interesting–and significant–that, according to an Institute for Health Policy survey conducted in June 2023, 9% of the population were likely to vote for an SLPP presidential candidate. This is almost the same percentage of people who, as we saw above, do not believe that local political forces were behind the Easter Sunday attack! Is it coincidence? I think not. The 8% of the Syndicated Surveys survey probably represent the Rajapaksa loyalists at least for the most part, who were unmoved by the “evidence” for the Easter Sunday attack conspiracy.

The above survey results appear to confirm and corroborate what was already obvious to the perspicacious: People are believers or disbelievers of the conspiracy theory depending on their attitude towards the Rajapaksas (pro or anti), which confirms the truth of what I stated in my first article: In issues such as this, the opinions most people form are products of their ignorance and biases, not enlightened thinking. I daresay that many of even the 8% would very likely end up subscribing to this false conspiracy theory if for some reason they got disillusioned with and defected from the SLPP! I personally know one such case.

Formation of opinions based on one’s party, ideological, etc. affiliations and biases is a common human flaw. Donald Trump lost the last US presidential election but he refused to accept it saying that Joe Biden had won through election fraud. But numerous legal challenges to the election in court mounted by Trump’s side alleging voter fraud and misconduct all failed and ballot recounts confirmed that Biden had won. In spite of the absence of evidence for fraud demonstrated in numerous ways, many of his supporters still believe with him that the election was “stolen.” (This is comparable to so many Sri Lankans obstinately continuing to believe in the Easter Sunday attack “mastermind” conspiracy theory despite neither the numerous investigations into the attacks by the Government, including a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, nor international agencies such as the FBI and INTERPOL that assisted in these investigations reaching any conclusion that would support this conspiracy theory.)

It can go the other way too: refusal to accept a fact in spite of overwhelming evidence. The best recent example for this is pro-Palestinians either denying that atrocities were committed by Hamas on 7 October or choosing to believe a diluted version of it. One’s education level does not make one immune to this flaw. We have had an academic who is a regular contributor to this journal and a denier of Hamas’ atrocities on 7 October repeatedly glossing over the events of that day in his articles as merely “rocket attacks” by Hamas!

People’s propensity to form opinions and reach conclusions based on their biases—and ignorance—was evident in the readiness with which various conspiracy theories were propounded and accepted after the attack. There were some who jumped to the conclusion that the SLPP was behind the attack even before the identity of the attackers became known. A buddhist monk I gave a car lift to on the afternoon of the bombings wondered if the LTTE was behind the attacks. Various other conspiracy theories were not long in coming. Some thought that some foreign hand was behind it. India (RAW), Israel (Mossad), China, and, of course, the US (CIA)–the usual suspect in many things–were mentioned. This last was our “worthy” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s first view, which he later discarded in favour of his current view because of, according to him, the slow and unsatisfactory progress of the investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks by the Government. At another time he also said he had changed his view to fall in line with the vox populi. The various conspiracy theories faded out leaving only the currently dominant view, which increasingly gained more traction as the Rajapaksas’ popularity plummeted following the financial crisis.

Why the conspiracy theory is a non sequitur

Subscribers to this conspiracy theory reason thus: GR benefited from the Easter Sunday attack; therefore he must have been behind it. In Objection 5 of my first article, I pointed out that countless examples could be cited from history where X benefited from event Y but X had nothing to do with Y. I cited the example of Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel narrowly winning the general election in May 1996 helped by a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings that battered the nation, though he had trailed Shimon Peres, his rival, in opinion polls before those terror attacks, yet no one accused Netanyahu of being behind the suicide bombings. In our case, unlike Netanyahu GR was actually the favourite to win the 2019 presidential election even before the Easter Sunday bombings, so it is not even certain that he could not have won without the attack. [Note 2]

Arguments for the conspiracy theory

The comments that were posted under my first article and disagreed with me were remarkable for the reason that their writers made absolutely no attempt to engage with any of the eight objections I urged against this false conspiracy theory. They had no answer to the objections but nor did they seem to be impressed by them, which is not surprising and entirely in keeping with the fact that believers in conspiracy theories are normally impervious to logic and reason.

A commenter of my article reproduced a litany of the sort of “evidences” typically cited in favour of this conspiracy theory and complained that I had “conveniently omit[ted]” them in my article. (He “conveniently” ignored my eight objections.) And this after I had enumerated the eight objections and stated that cumulatively they were so fatal to the conspiracy theory that nothing short of evidence of a direct kind could override them. Except the “revelations” of Asad Maulana, which were brought to public attention in September of this year and I deal with in the article, the other “evidences” and arguments, which are inconclusive and unconvincing for the following reasons, do not fall into that category.

1. Even where the basic facts of the conspiracy allegations are correct, they may have other explanations. For example, it has been alleged that certain intelligence officers, most famously “Sonic Sonic,” had links with the suicide bombers prior to the attack with a sinister motive. But, according to Rohan Gunaratna’s book Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Massacre: Lessons for the International Community, Zahran and his group had been on the radar of the state intelligence agencies for a number of years prior to the attacks and Sonic Sonic was an undercover operative of the SIS who had infiltrated the local branch of the Islamic State. [Note 3]

(Incidentally, this accusation of complicity by state intelligence officers in the Easter Sunday attack gives rises to a ninth objection: Does it make sense that these officers would jeopardize their reputation and careers, not to mention risk criminal punishment if caught, by conspiring to commit an atrocity of an unprecedented scale in order to bring to power a politician who was not yet in power? State employees’ success and career advancement depends on being loyal to the government in power, not to an outsider who might not have come to power even with the help of the Easter Sunday attacks [if there was a doubt about the person they were trying to “help” being elected].)

Early this year the Supreme Court found former President Maithripala Sirisena and four other officials as being responsible for failing to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks. Isn’t it more reasonable and sensible–and natural–to think that the alleged cover ups, such as erasing the phone data of a certain senior police officer, if real, more likely represent attempts to protect those responsible for the security and intelligence failures committed, which stand proven, rather than the alleged “mastermind,” whose existence has never been proven?

2. Some of the allegations have been proven even factually false. For example, it was reported early this year that DNA tests had confirmed that Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah (the wife of St. Sebastian’s Church suicide bomber), who was thought to have fled to India and figured in the conspiracy theory, had died in the suicide bomb blast at the terrorists’ safe house in Sainthamaruthu on 26 April 2019.

In an article titled “Time for Truth to Come Out,” published on The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka website in September 2023 (and reproduced in the Colombo Telegraph of September 19 ), Jehan Perera (JP) argues that;

the suicide bombers would [not], on their own volition, have chosen to target the Catholic and Christian communities when there was no history of enmity between them and the Muslims in Sri Lanka [because if] they had wanted to target any community it might have been the Buddhists, sections of whom have on many occasions rioted against them led by Buddhist monks. It has to be therefore an external “master mind” who was behind those attacks.

These views are both based on ignorance of facts and logically flawed.

Ignorance because, as I have explained below, (a) Buddhist targets were included in the original attack plan of the terrorists, which was changed due to certain circumstances; and (b) Christian churches were targeted to avenge the massacre of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch mosques in New Zealand on March 15, 2019, as Zahran states in their farewell video, plus the fact that in IS ideology, which Zahran and his fellow suicide bombers followed, Christians anywhere were considered legitimate targets for attack by their association with the religion of the West, which the IS regarded as their arch enemy.

Logically flawed because JP has not considered how you could persuade a bunch of local Islamic jihadis to kill a group of people (Christians) whom, in his view, they had no cause to hate while killing themselves and helping a group of Sinhala politicians whom they did hate–as JP would readily agree–to come to power in the process.

It behooves people in positions of influence to do their research properly before putting pen to paper and making serious allegations!

Another argument for the “mastermind” theory questions whether the terrorists had the ability to carry out such a coordinated series of attacks as happened on 21 April 2019 by themselves. Investigations have shown that they had the wherewithal, organisational capability and the technical expertise (bomb-making ability) to do this. After that it was just a matter of casing and selecting targets and then travelling to them with a backpack at a time when there were hardly any security measures in place in the country as exist now.

Zahran’s “suicide note”

Many who commit suicide leave a suicide note behind, which is one of the first things the police look for when investigating the suicide. In the absence of clear evidence of foul play, the suicide note, if proven genuine, establishes both the cause of the death and (usually) the reason for the suicide. The farewell speech video of Zahran Hashim, who recorded it in the company of his fellow attackers just prior to the suicide attacks, is their suicide note. [Note 4]

In the video Zahran plainly declares the twofold objectives of the imminent bomb attacks: (1) to establish in Sri Lanka the Islamic Caliphate (=Islamic State); and (2) to avenge the massacre of Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosques in New Zealand on 15 March 2019. [Note 5] Zahran also expresses his belief that following the attacks many in Sri Lanka will be pledging allegiance to the IS, to which Zahran and his fellows had also pledged allegiance and in obedience to whose rulings and commands, they, as the local branch of the IS, carried out this dastardly act.

On 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then leader of the Islami State of Iraq and Sham (=Syria), i.e., ISIS, announced the formation of a caliphate with himself as the Caliph. Professor Rohan Gunaratna writes;

To build a global caliphate, [in 2014] the self-proclaimed caliph reportedly … instructed followers unable to travel to Iraq and Syria to kill non-Muslims in the country or the region where they resided. The IS envisaged controlling territories–including Sri Lanka–by 2020. In its map, Sri Lanka was identified as a part of the Khorasan province. [Note 6]

According to the ideology of the IS, which Zahran and his group followed, the Crusades, a series of medieval military expeditions made by Europeans to the Holy Land in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, never ended. The IS taught that the western countries that opposed them are the modern-day Crusaders, with whom they were waging war, from which they would ultimately emerge victorious. The IS also held that Christians everywhere were legitimate targets for them by their association with the religion of the Crusaders.

Gunaratna writes;

Since the proclamation of the caliphate in 29 June 2014, the IS emphasized attacking Christians and their houses of worship. … [T]he IS directed and inspired a series of attacks against non-Muslims, especially Christians. In fact, before the Easter Sunday bombings, the world also witnessed a global surge of strikes against Christian houses of worship…. [Note 7]

The terrorists’ original attack plan

The original plan of Zahran and other leaders of the IS Sri Lanka branch was to launch a series of strikes throughout the island in August 2020 but the detection of their base in Wanathavilluwa, where the terrorists had a bomb-making facility and stored weapons and explosives, in January 2019 by the security forces and the fragmentation of the local IS branch prompted Zahran to scale down and fast track the operation. August 2020 was chosen by Zahran to coincide with the Kandy Esala Perahera as he was personally incensed with Sinhala Buddhists on account of such incidents as the Digana Riots. Zahran was a fugitive and the fact that the authorities were closing in on him was another reason to advance the date of the attack. “The decision to strike on Easter Sunday was taken immediately after the Christchurch attack on 15 March, 2019.” [Note 8]

Gunaratna:

The targeting [for attack] was curated not only for disrupting social order but also to cripple the economy. Consistent with the IS ideology, Zahran advocated attacks against hotels, churches and casinos, which were places with high volumes of people and, according to them, kafirs [unbelievers]. … [Tourism] was a principal target. [Note 9]

Miscellaneous

Zahran apparently thought that their “martyrdoms” would be the catalyst for their movement to grow, for in their farewell video he expresses his belief that after their suicide attacks crowds of people will be pledging allegiance to the IS. This, as we know, did not materialize.

Prior to his death Zahran appointed his brother Rizwan, who died in a mass suicide with others in Sainthamaruthu on 26 April 2023, to succeed him as the next leader of the IS Sri Lanka branch and entrusted him with funds to carry on a second wave of attacks in his stead. [Note 10]

Gunaratna:

According to accounts, none of those involved in the attack subscribed to the conspiracy theory that it was staged by Sri Lankan intelligence or by a foreign government. Like most others, they too knew the truth; Zahran was driven by the IS ideology–and religious extremism precipitated the Easter attack. [Note 11]

I close with a correction to my earlier article. I wrote, “After the suicide bombings, white clothes such as are worn by women in Buddhist temples were discovered in the homes of the members of Zahran’s group, suggesting that they had plans to attack Buddhist temples later.” This was how it was reported in the media at the time but, according to Rohan Gunaratna’s book, Zahran had made a prior arrangment for the wives of the suicide bombers to wear white clothes during the period of mourning for their dead husbands (iddah). [Note 12]

Notes

1. “Over 50% of Lankans say local political forces behind Easter Sunday attacks: Survey,” Daily Mirror, 9 December, 2023.

2. In his article “The Specter Of Gotabaya” (Colombo Telegraph of 15 March 2018), Sarath Alwis wrote, “Gotabaya Rajapaksa will surely end up the supreme law giver of this blessed island.” This was after the excellent performance of the SLPP at the February 2018 local goverment elections. In spite of this knowledge–but not very surprisingly given his antipathy to the Rajapaksas–he ended up subscribing to this conspiracy theory as a recent article of his shows!

3. Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Massacre: Lessons for the International Community (Penguin Random House, 2023), p. 51.

4. Zahran’s farewell video can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCU2lYBkzZw&t=7s.

5. “[On 19 March 2019] the IS spokesman Abur Hassan al Muhajir released an audio recording calling for retaliatory attacks [for the Christchurch massacre],” Gunaratna, p. xlii.

6. Ibid., p. xix. In “Acknowledgements” at the end of the book Rohan Gunaratne writes that he had access to, inter alia, information from intelligence services, law enforcement authorities, military forces and their foreign counterparts and interviewed those arrested after the attack. He had also travelled six times to interview detainee families in Kattankudy.

RG’s book, which I read after I had written my first article, has confirmed my view of the Easter Sunday attack and filled in a number of gaps in my own knowledge of the subject. I would highly recommend this book to any one seriously interested in this topic.

7. Ibid., p. lxv.

8. Ibid., pp. 10-12, 186-187. “Zahran promised to turn Sri Lanka into a ‘bloodbath’ after the February to March 2018 Digana riots, where Muslims and establishments were targeted” (p. 19).

9. Ibid., p. 20.

10. Ibid., p. 122ff.

11. Ibid., p. 192.

12. Ibid., p. 36.

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Latest comments

  • 24
    2

    A pitiful attempt at sounding like an academic, citing references and using statistical inferences (which are largely unsubstantiated) to flog a forlorn theory that contradicts all evidence over the years, including the valiant attempts at erasing evidence, transferring diligent CID staff and various witch-hunts to discourage revelation of the truth, carried out by the co-conspirators of these crimes.

    • 2
      18

      LP: “A pitiful attempt at sounding like an academic, citing references and using statistical inferences (which are largely unsubstantiated) to flog a forlorn theory….”

      Well,

      “Don’t cast your pearls before….”

    • 16
      0

      LP, thank you for saving my time. How sure is LJ, that informed SB , did not vote for the master mind , as in Trump getting re-elected ??????

      • 9
        0

        History suggest informed Silly / Stupid/ Sorry Lankan ( in this case SB ) regardless voting in support of murderer, rapist , criminals , crooks and swindlers, in getting elected. SB elected Pissu Sira with a thumping majority even after staging a constitutional coup, and found guilty of neglect ( according to courts). Isn’t Deshabandu now appointed as IGP ???? This is Lanka and her academic citizens including LJ in nutshell.

        • 8
          0

          Today’s news, SC orders police commission to take disciplinary action against Deshabandu and 3 other police officers to pay a compensation of 2 MILLION out of their personal funds to a victim for violating fundamental rights while being detained at Mirihana police station. ( any guess what kind of violation ). The same Deshabandu was appointed as acting IGP, by none other than President just few days ago. Soon a Thero, demanded Deshabandu to be made permanent IGP. If this is the current scenario, how on earth we are to believe, informed academics ( knowing who the master minds are) did not vote for Gotha / Kaputas. ???

          • 8
            3

            c
            You seem to have an unduly high opinion of informed academics.
            Being an academic, however well informed,is no assurance of integrity.
            I can give a pretty long list of academics who went behind utterly corrupt politicians seeking positions while shamelessly lecturing on all manner of ethics and norms.
            It is not unique to this country: I say this not as an excuse.

    • 0
      2

      why Like an academic ? I thought he is.

    • 12
      0

      Hello Lasantha,
      I agree with you that the author is using completely irrelevant surveys to prop up his case that there was no conspiracy.
      I have gone through the evidence presented by Channel 4 Dispatches, which I think presents a good case for an independent inquiry (almost impossible in Sri lanka). I have also watched Ranil Rajapaksa’s interview on DW, during which he became a ranting incoherent racist. He also claimed that the FBI had done a report on the bombing as had Scotland Yard.
      Both the FBI and Scotland Yard have denied producing Reports on the Easter Bombings. Can we ask Leonard Jayawardena to produce these documents or give us a Web Link to them?
      I looked closely at the report detailing the warning from the Indian Government about the immanence of the bombings – 09 April 2019 STAFF 05/1GP/OUT/2860/19. Why was this ignored and why didn’t a single politician attend Easter Celebrations? “MP Harin Fernando’s father was in the ICU of the Nawaloka Hospital when he had informed his family members not to attend Easter Sunday mass”.
      Finally would there be any point in responding to the author’s 8 points?
      Best Regards

      • 0
        9

        LankaScot,
        .
        I thought the Directors of the Channel 4 documentary subsequently accepted that their key witness was misrepresenting facts? I think the fact that he met with a particular intel officer according to SL government was not even in the country at the time this meeting was said to have occured.

        • 9
          0

          Hello Ruchira,
          No they didn’t say that, however they accepted that they did not have evidence of where Sallay was at the time of the supposed meeting in Sri Lanka.
          Where was Sallay in April 2019? He was in India, according to the Colombo Telegraph “Maj. Gen. Sallay has also told Channel 4 that on April 21, 2019, the day of the Easter Sunday blast, he was in India, where he was accommodated at the National Defence College (NDC). That could be verified with the Indian authorities” At the same time the Indian authorities were sending urgent messages to the Sri Lankan SIS regarding the immanent bombing of the churches and hotels. Do you think that he wasn’t informed of this?
          Why was Sallay intent on stopping any investigation into the events “State Intelligence Services (SIS) Chief Suresh Sallay has ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director to arrest prominent Catholic priest Father Cyril Gamini Fernando,” Colombo Telegraph 27 Oct 2021
          If you do some investigation into the cesspit of events that Pillayan and Maulana have been involved in, I am sure that you will reflect seriously on the involvement of senior government figures in this atrocity.
          Best Regards

            • 0
              7

              Dear LankaScot,
              .
              Thanks for the replies and directing me to DBS Jeyaraj’s blog that contain Maulana’s statement.
              .
              With reference to your following statement: “If you do some investigation into the cesspit of events that Pillayan and Maulana have been involved in, I am sure that you will reflect seriously on the involvement of senior government figures in this atrocity.”
              .
              No, I wasn’t trying to deny any of the claims that has been made by the Ch4 documentary, If that’s the impression you got. I was a little perplexed by certain statements that the Directors of the same, said to have made since the airing of the documentary. If I can remember right there were some sentiments expressed locally that the Directors have accepted that they did not have proof, that the said meeting between Salley and team Zaharan took place.
              .
              Also Salley if I can remember right claims he wasn’t in the country at the time the supposed meeting is said to have taken place.
              .
              I guess that it is this, his whereabouts, of which that Ch4 directors are not aware of.
              .
              Thanks for the clarification.
              .
              What do you think of Salley’s claim that he wasn’t in the country at the particular time. It should be fairly easy to establish if that’s tru or not, isn’t it?

              • 8
                0

                Hello again Ruchira,

                One of my relatives on my wife’s side is ex Air Force and spent a lot of time at Bandaranaike Airport. He explained to me that all the Passenger Lists are confidential and are kept for 10 years or so by the Airlines. However they are accessible by Governments and International bodies like Interpol etc. Another caveat, he explained that VIP Entry at the Airport had been used in the past to smuggle contraband etc. and even people in and out of the country. So if you need to hide Sallay’s entry to Sri Lanka it would be very easy. The only people I know that could shed light on this are Bellingcat. If you ask them nicely they might help! By the way Zahran definitely had contacts in Singapore. Kuthubdeen Haja Najumudeen was arrested there in May 2019 for funding Zahran and for his connections to ISIS.

                Best Regards

                • 0
                  0

                  Thanks LankaScot. Appreciate thd reply.

            • 0
              5

              LS:

              In the article you linked to Maulana says that he “met Zahran and his group only one time in [early] February 2018 during the meeting with Suresh Sallay.”

              According Maulana’s “revelations” in the Channel 4 video, a meeting had been held in February between Sallay and the terrorists, after which Sallay had told him to wait outside and, when the meeting was finished, Sallay had told Maulana that the Rajapaksas needed a “unsafe situation in Sri Lanka” as it was “the only way for Gotabaya to become President.”

              In Maulana’s statement in the article you linked to Maulana is more specific about the date of the meeting: early February.

              The local government elections were held on 10 February 2018 and the SLPP’s performance was excellent. The opinion polls before that would have given a favourable prediction for the SLPP.

              In the circumstances, do you think that is conceivable that the Rajapaksas would have thought and told others just on the eve of the local government elections, which they would win, that some “help” from Zahran and company was the “only way for Gotabaya to become president” in November of that year? Didn’t they have the simple common sense to wait for a few days more to find out exactly how the people would vote?

      • 0
        5

        LS:

        “Finally would there be any point in responding to the author’s 8 points?”

        Still waiting for a reply from him, eh? You can wait until the cows come home but this guy won’t reply to you. He can’t respond to my eight objections/arguments against this false conspiracy theory but is intelligent enough, unless I am very much mistaken, to appreciate the weight of those eight objections, so he is silent.

        In any case, this guy is like a gun that can fire only a single shot. If you respond to him he doesn’t reply back. Being a master of arguing by assertion, once he has fired a shot, he has no more ammunition left (fact, figures, arguments to back up his views) or wisely refrains from firing a second shot, knowing that it would be a dud (pussa).

        As for you, if you sincerely doubt if there is any point in responding to the eight (nine with the new addition) objections, you don’t know the first thing about properly analysing this issue and there is no hope for you.

        • 1
          0

          Hello Leonard,
          You are mind reading again, I thought Juju was only practised in West Africa. To give an objective reply to your points would require an article sized document. Given the 200 word limit and 5 day termination on replies it would take up too much time and space.
          Please read the Supreme Court Report on case SC FR 163/2019
          https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiZnpHeipGDAxWh-TgGHctnBgcQFnoECAoQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.supremecourt.lk%2Fimages%2Fdocuments%2Fsc_fr_163_2019.pdf&usg=AOvVaw34KZRZJ-QEA0HOT3LbYeb4&opi=89978449
          Sorry for the long link but it is to a pdf document. I have done a fair bit of researching documents from the Crimean War (1850s) looking at events reported by the Russians, British and some French. If you don’t examine all sides of the evidence it is difficult to piece together a realistic narrative of what took place (statistics don’t help, even Bayesian). The evidence of what took place leading to the Easter Bombing will eventually surface (many dead rats will be on the table) sooner or later. In the meantime something smells very bad. As Shakespeare said “There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” (or Sri Lanka)
          Best regards

          • 0
            1

            LankaScott:

            You: “To give an objective reply to your points would require an article sized document.”

            I am calling your bluff–write an article replying to my nine points/arguments (8+1) against this false conspiracy theory, if you can, and submit it to CT for publication, so we could all read and comment it–provided it is published.

            The Supreme Court judgment–This deals with omissions of those responsible for security and intelligence, resulting in failure to prevent the attack. It says nothing about a “mastermind.”

            In spite of having one of the best security and intelligence apparatuses in the world, October 7 happened in Israel. Was there a political mastermind behind it? In fact under a CT article relating to that issue published soon after that event, I wrote a satirical comment alleging a mastermind behind Oct 7 to poke fun at subscribers to the Easter “mastermind” conspiracy theory. Many were initially fooled and believed it (!) until OC pointed out I was engaging in a bit of leg pulling and I then acknowledged. My little “social experiment,” I must say, was rather successful! Human gullibility and stupidity has virtually no limits.

            Ponder on this: Love makes one blind and so do hatred and prejudice.

  • 7
    2

    LJ,
    Your arguments or survey results or any other explanations are not enough to prove that Gota is not involved in Easter Bombing. He always tried to escape the country illegally because he knows well that he is a criminal.

    • 0
      9

      Ajith
      “Your arguments or survey results or any other explanations are not enough to prove that Gota is not involved in Easter Bombing.”

      What more proof do you require before you accept that he was not involved?

      The “survey results” were not cited and discussed to prove that Gota was not the mastermind but (a) to show the present percentage of believers in the conspiracy theory and (b) as possible corroborative evidence for my view that for most people it is their attitude towards the Rajapaksas (pro or anti) that determines whether they are believers or disbelievers of this false conspiracy theory. This misunderstanding is evidence either that your comprehension skills are poor or that you need to reread the article more carefully.

      • 1
        5

        LJ,
        .
        In your above comment to Ajith you state: “The “survey results” were not cited and discussed to prove that Gota was not the mastermind but (a) to show the present percentage of believers in the conspiracy theory and (b) as possible corroborative evidence for my view that for most people it is their attitude towards the Rajapaksas (pro or anti) that determines whether they are believers or disbelievers of this false conspiracy theory.”
        .
        At best it could be a hypothesis that requires proving, how I wouldn’t know.
        .
        Aren’t you making a similar mistake that you say the conspiracy theorists are making, when you make such assumptions, based on two surverys that have no connection whatsoever to each other, conducted by two unrelated parties?
        .
        It could be pure chance if for nothing else.

        • 1
          8

          Thanks, Ruchira, for this refreshingly intelligent comment, a departure from the insufferably boneheaded, imbecilic comments I have seen thus far under this article. Four things:

          First, the use to which I put the two survey results forms only a minor, subsidiary part of the article and forms no part of the argumentation for the main thesis, viz., that there were no local (or foreign) political forces ( “mastermind”) behind the Easter Sunday attack.

          Second, recognizing the strictly unscientific nature of certain inferences, I use qualified language (“probably,” “appears to,” etc.).

          Third, on reconsideration, what I really should have said is that “the survey results appear to corroborate the otherwise observable fact that subscribers to this conspiracy theory are those who already disliked the Rajapaksas.”

          (As I am writing this , I just saw your second post now and I agree with you.)

          Continued in next post.

          • 0
            5

            LJ,
            .
            Thanks for the reply. Glad that you found it to be of worthy.
            .
            You state: “First, the use to which I put the two survey results forms only a minor, subsidiary part of the article and forms no part of the argumentation for the main thesis, viz., that there were no local (or foreign) political forces (“mastermind”) behind the Easter Sunday attack.”
            .
            I did notice that it is only a part of your reasoning, but nevertheless thought it was used as a substantial support for the claim you make.
            .
            Because, if I understand correctly, with the survey results you are trying to say that those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory, to a great extent, do so based on their disposition towards Rajapakses, which has taken a big u-turn since Gotabhaya’s election, keeping perhaps in line with the increased popularity of the conspiracy theory.
            .
            Therefore the conspiracy theory is mostly fuelled by changing sentiments of the people towards Rajapakses, hence unlikely to be grounded in any facts or evidence, something you support by quoting the PSC report and Rohan Gunartne’s book.

            • 0
              7

              Ruchira:

              As I have said in this and my first article the arguments against this conspiracy theory (the eight objections stated in my first article, to which I added a ninth in this article) are so overwhelming, nothing short of evidence of a very compelling and direct nature, such as Asad Maulana’s “revelations” (which I think are false and can be shown to be so) could override them. I consider the other evidences and arguments cited in favour of this theory inconclusive and unconvincing and I have explained why in this article.

              The inferences I make from the survey results, which form only minor theses in this article, even if invalid, in no way impact my main thesis: The Rajapaksas were not behind the Easter Sunday attack. I think you are intelligent enough to understand that. If you still can’t get it, then there is absolutely no hope for the others!

              Continued.

            • 0
              8

              Continued from above comment.

              You: “Therefore the conspiracy theory is mostly fuelled by changing sentiments of the people towards Rajapakses, hence unlikely to be grounded in any facts or evidence, something you support by quoting the PSC report and Rohan Gunartne’s book.”

              Yes, I am saying that the conspiracy theory is, as you put it, fuelled by people’s sentiments towards the Rajapaksas, but the arguments against the theory are quite independent of such sentiments.

              I think if another survey was carried out which asked the respondents their view on the Easter Sunday attack and their view of the Rajapaksas and if they answered honestly, 100% of those who believed in the “mastermind” conspiracy theory would also say they viewed the Rajapaksas unfavourably.

        • 1
          8

          Continued from reply to Ruchira.

          My statement, “People are believers or disbelievers of the conspiracy theory depending on their attitude towards the Rajapaksas (pro or anti),” implies that all disbelievers are also pro-Rajapaksa. In addition to that part not being supported by the survey results, it is also not true in itself because I myself am not a supporter of the Rajapaksas (I have never voted for them) but don’t subscribe to this theory.

          Fourth, I stand by my first use of the first survey results, which is independent of my use of it in combination with the second survey results (IHP survey).

          With that said, here’s my justification for the revised inference.

          According to the “Syndicated Surveys” survey, 8% believed that the Easter Sunday attack was carried out without the involvement of local political forces.

          According to the second survey (IHP), 9% were likely to vote for an SLPP candidate. Now you will agree that since the SLPP is identified with the Rajapaksas, no one who hates them would vote for an SLPP candidate.

          According to the same survey, 40% would vote for AKD, 35% for Sajith, 15% for Ranil. 9%+40%+35%+15%=99%. What happened to the balance 1%?!

          Continued.

        • 1
          8

          Continued from my last reply to Ruchira.

          Now the 90% who would not vote for an SLPP candidate (who is still unnamed) do not like the Rajapaksas, otherwise they would vote for him. Therefore 90% of the people of this country do not like the Rajapaksas right now. Would you agree?

          The 9% of the people who would vote for an SLPP candidate also cannot believe that the Rajapaksas were behind the Easter Sunday attack, otherwise they wouldn’t vote for him? Agree?

          8% and 9%. Almost the same percentage. Is it coincidence? I think not.

          Therefore those who subscribe to this conspiracy theory must be drawn wholly from the ranks of the Rajapaksa haters (the 90% who would not vote for them).

          Still disagree?

          • 1
            8

            Sorry, there shouldn’t be a question mark at the end of the antepenultimate para. of the above comment (correctly “… otherwise they wouldn’t vote for him.”).

            • 1
              2

              LJ,
              .
              The third statement in your above reply, I thought contradicts the second. But nevertheless I do get your point.
              .
              But as a whole I thought your attempt to justify your claim using the survey results and voting pattern in last Pres. Elections, if at all jeopardises your effort. It brings in rather unnecessary complexity to the argument based on whole lot of assumptions.
              .
              To cut a long story short, see LankaScot’s response to your comments here.
              .
              Also conspiracy theories may originate because of various reasons not necessarily only due to any negative feelings people may have on someone.
              .
              For examole think of JFK assassination, 9/11, and various other conspiracy theories in the USA, like alien landings in Roswell. And in the home front Upali Wijewardena’s disappearance. And disappearance of Malasian airlines flight. So reasons for the existence of conspiracy theories probably are much more complex. But that may be an entirely a separate topic.
              .
              Just to add a minor point -did you know that the day the Easter Sunday attack was carried out was also Queen Elizebeth’s birth day?
              .
              Anyway thanks for your responses.

          • 8
            0

            Hello Leonard,
            Many Christians in the USA are well aware of Donald Trump’s misogyny and his trysts with porn stars, yet would still vote for him. You cannot infer that the 9% don’t believe that the Rajapaksas were involved without concrete evidence. I knew many Stainists in Glasgow that were well aware of Stalin’s genocides and still supported him. To second guess voters beliefs from a poll is not scientific.
            Best Regards

            • 4
              1

              Yups, my sentiments too. Leonard in my view make sweeping genralisations and assumptions by dragging in these surveys to support his claim.

              • 0
                6

                Ruchira

                Which claim?

                • 2
                  0

                  Leonard,
                  .
                  The claim that the conspiracy theory has no validity.
                  .
                  In my view the survey and election results you quote and the connections you make among them and inferences you make based on such connections are highly presumptive in nature.
                  .
                  I think the best and probably the only way to debunk a conspiracy theory or any other theory for that matter is by presenting facts and evidence to the contrary.
                  .
                  That said I am sure you’ve heard the saying that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!”
                  .
                  Anyway your position is clear. Thanks for all the comments and explanations.

                  • 0
                    2

                    Ruchira

                    You: “The claim that the conspiracy theory has no validity.”

                    Well, for the umpteenth time–and for goodness’ sake!–the survey results and the inferences (as revised in our exchanges) were discussed only to point out a common factor among subscribers (Rajapaksa hatred) to the theory, not to support my main thesis, that the conspiracy theory is false. It’s like my writing an article presenting the evidence for a round earth and then saying a common factor among flat earthers is a desire to be non-conformist, appear different from others and so gain cheap recognition in the world and then citing some survey results and trying to use inferences therefrom to support this claimed common factor. My arguments against the flat earth theory would stand independently of that. Now do you understand?

                    Continued.

                  • 0
                    2

                    Continued from above post.

                    Ruchira: “I think the best and probably the only way to debunk a conspiracy theory or any other theory for that matter is by presenting facts and evidence to the contrary.”

                    I DID present my arguments against this theory in my first article (the eight objections, which, like others, you haven’t even touched. Why?). This article is a follow-up to that and supplements that earlier article. Again, the section containing the survey results and the inferences were not meant to “debunk” this false theory.

                    You: “That said I am sure you’ve heard the saying that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!'”

                    Well, that’s disappointing because I thought you were more intelligent and sensible than that. Are you saying that in spite of the weight of the arguments against this theory, which I have discussed in this and the earlier article, you still believe in this theory in spite of the absence of compelling evidence for it?

                    Finally, would it be safe to say that you don’t like the Rajapaksas and are extremely unlikely to vote for them in future elections?😊

              • 5
                0

                Hello Ruchira

                Have a look at this smoking gun, which you may have seen already. The Supreme Court report takes your breath away. There are two choices after reading this – extreme incompetence or deliberate obfuscation. I tend towards the latter.

                SC FR 163/2019
                Supreme Court Sri Lanka
                https://www.supremecourt.lk › documents › sc_…
                PDF
                Nov 15, 2019 — Brigadier Suresh Sallay,. Senior Deputy General of Police – State. Intelligence Service,. No. 10, Cambridge Place,. Colombo 07. ADDED 73A RESPONDENT. 74A. Hon …
                124 pages

                Best Regards

                • 0
                  0

                  LankaScot,
                  .
                  Thanks but difficult to trace the report on the site.
                  .
                  I am on my mobile device atm, the site is not mobile friendly, like most local govt sites. Will try later.

            • 0
              6

              LankaScott:

              I concede that my view that the 9% who would vote for a SLPP candidate do not believe in the conspiracy theory is only an assumption but I am willing to bet a lot of my money that more than 95% (just mentioning that figure to be on the safe side but I think actually 100%) of them, if asked would, say that they did not believe the Rajapaksas were behind the Easter attack. My reason is that the evidence for the theory is so weak and that against it so overwhelming that only one’s view of the Rajapaksas could tip the balance.

              Continued.

              • 0
                0

                “My reason is that the evidence for the theory is so weak and that against it so overwhelming”
                Are we talking about the evidence that is accessible to the public?
                *
                The far more likely reason is that most people have already forgotten about it. Elections are about issues closer to ones own existence, and that is among reasons why cash and other such inducements can buy votes.

            • 0
              6

              LankaScott:

              (Continued from last post)

              You are right. It is possible for someone to believe that X is guilty of the negative act Y but still support him politically, but the examples you give are not exactly parallels to our case. In Trump’s case what you said about him are trivial (just picadillos, his supporters would have thought) compared to the Easter Sunday atrocity, which is entirely of a different magnitude and the Rajapaksa supporters would have had nothing but sympathy for the victims, and not an iota of hatred. In Stalin’ case, those massacred were Stalin’s political opponents and his supporters wouldn’t have had much problem with that, just as the alleged massacres of Tamils in the last stages of the war with the LTTE did not deter at least most of the majority community from supporting the Rajapaksas, if they believed such massacres took place at all–because the Tamils were their “enemies.”

      • 3
        0

        LJ,
        .
        Additionally I have no idea what coclusions or assumptions you make from the findings of first survey cited and the percentage of people that voted for Gotabhaya at the Presidential elections, and how it helps you to arrive at the conclusion you make.
        .
        From the survey 53% believes that there was an involvement from local politicians, it is comparable to 52.25% – the fraction of the population that voted for Gotabhaya. But you further state, given that 30% of the survey respondents either had no opinion or didn’t want to express theirs, the actual percentage of people that believe there was an involvement of local politicians should be probabbly higher than 53%.
        .
        What does this infer?
        .
        Because having cited a second survey, where the proprtion of people that would still vote for SLPP is similar to the proprtion of people who doesn’t think there was an involvement of local politicians in the Easter attack from the first survey; you conclude:

        “The above survey results appear to confirm and corroborate what was already obvious to the perspicacious: People are believers or disbelievers of the conspiracy theory depending on their attitude towards the Rajapaksas (pro or anti), which confirms the truth of what I stated in my first article:”
        .
        In my opinion, there appears to be no logic in using these survey figures to support your claim, which may have merit on its own without these survey findings.

        • 7
          0

          Ruchira
          You should by now have recognized a truly dedicated defence attorney who will not be intimidated by anyone or anything, including the truth.

          • 0
            2

            SJ: “You should by now have recognized a truly dedicated defence attorney who will not be intimidated by anyone or anything, including the truth.”

            Please read my above reply to Ruchira and my exchanges with him elsewhere. It might clarify some things for you–hopefully.

          • 0
            0

            SJ,
            .
            😀

        • 0
          2

          Ruchira:

          “In my opinion, there appears to be no logic in using these survey figures to support your claim, which may have merit on its own without these survey findings.”

          A belated reply to this and a repetition of what I have already stated in my later exchanges with you elsewhere for the benefit of other readers who may read your above comment.

          This survey results and the inferences I draw from them (as revised in our exchanges) were NOT meant to support the main thesis of my two articles, which is that the “mastermind” conspiracy theory is false, but to support a minor thesis, which is that the subscribers of this theory have one thing in common: Rajapaksa-hatred (or dislike). My arguments against the theory, presented in my first article and supplemented in this second article, stand independently of this minor thesis. Even if the inferences from the survey results are proved untenable, this in no way affects my main thesis.

  • 9
    0

    This is another attempt to whitewash the truth. If the Sri Lankan government was so strong with its position that no military intelligence organizations or politicians were not involved why not form an international investigation team for which the members are selected from the armed forces of SL, Politicians, and members of foreign intelligence agencies where the citizens of those countries lost their lives in the attack?

  • 0
    7

    LP:

    I forgot to thank you for confirming the following statement in my article through your comment:

    “[B]elievers in conspiracy theories are normally impervious to logic and reason.”

    I am tempted to respond to specific points in your “reply” but I would be a fool to do that given the above statement and my earlier reply, wouldn’t I?

    • 2
      0

      LP & LJ
      “[B]elievers in conspiracy theories are normally impervious to logic and reason.”
      One may add that creators of conspiracy theories have their own motivating logic that relies on the distortion of normal reasoning.

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