26 May, 2024

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Was There A Conspiracy Behind The Easter Sunday Bomb Attacks?

By Leonard Jayawardena –

Leonard Jayawardena

On Easter Sunday 2019 suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three Christian churches (two Catholic, one Evangelical) and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing over 250 people, including some foreign nationals. They belonged to a local Islamist extremist group called National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) and were led by one Zahran Hashim.

In the wake of the attacks, various conspiracy theories were floated, reflecting the particular prejudices of the originators of the theories. Some thought that an invisible international hand lay behind the attacks and several suspects were named, including India (RAW), Israel (Mossad) and, of course, the US (CIA).

Of all the conspiracy theories, the one that gained the most traction was that which alleged that the bomb attacks were a plan hatched by the Rajapaksas to create chaos and fear in the country with a view to coming back to power. Thus they were “the masterminds” behind this atrocity. This most popular conspiracy theory received a fresh impetus with the recently-aired Channel 4 film titled “Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings: Dispatches,” which, among other things, featured a whistleblower named Asad Maulana, one-time secretary to Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (aka Pillayan), whose testimony, if true, provides corroborative evidence of a direct kind.

Before I comment on that, let me first present below for the readers’ consideration the following serious objections that may be urged against this conspiracy theory:

1. In a video statement issued just prior to the bomb attacks, Zahran, accompanied by members of his group, expressly declared the main object of the attacks, viz., to establish an Islamic State in Sri Lanka. [Link to the video in Note 1.]

He says that following the attacks crowds of people will be pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (which was not to be, as we now know). He and his group had pledged allegiance to IS (Islamic State), a transnational militant Islamist terrorist group which was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999 and gained global prominence in 2014 when it captured a large amount of Iraqi territory. In the same year they changed their name from The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, i.e., Syria (ISIS)—also known as The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)to — just The Islamic State (IS), and announced the formation of a Caliphate with al-Zarqawi as the Caliph. [Note 2]

In their statement the IS declared that it was “incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to [the Caliph al-Zarqawi] and support him” and that it would be sinful if Muslims did not try to establish the Islamic State whereever they were in the world. [Note 3]

Zahran goes on to say that Christian churches are targeted to avenge the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand on March 15, 2019, in which about 50 people died and about as many were injured.

How would die-hard adherents of this conspiracy theory respond to this? That the video was doctored—it looks very genuine to me —or that Zahran was lying as to the true intent of their imminent attacks?

2. Why would an extremist Islamic outfit like Zahran’s group commit suicide and sacrifice their lives to bring to power a set of avowedly Sinhala Buddhist politicians, under whose watch several incidents hurtful to Muslims of this country took place, including that in Dharga town, Aluthgama and who were regarded by many as being too soft on the perceived antagonists of the Muslims?

Zahran and his group’s antipathy to Buddhism was evident in their vandalism of Buddhist statues in Mawanella, shortly after which incident Zahran went into hiding. Before that they had also persecuted Sufis, whom Muslims of Zahran’s ilk consider heretics. 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.

Zahran followed the religious ideology of IS, a strict form of Sunni Islam, which promotes religious violence. For years in his preachings Zahran taught that all non-Muslims should be killed. “An Indian intelligence source said that an ISIS suspect, who claimed to have radicalized the preacher himself, provided material during interrogations that formed the basis of the warnings [given by India’s intelligence service to Sri Lankan authorities].” [Note 4]

3. If Zahran and his fellows committed this atrocity to help the Rajapaksas, what was the consideration? Money? But of what use is money for a bunch of lunatics going to commit suicide? Indeed, it was reported that, as they were leaving to launch the attacks, they had thrown away Rs. 5,000 notes in a street for others to collect, saying that they were going to the presence of Allah.

Furthermore, in the video Zahran takes pride in saying that the explosives they were going to use in the attacks were made by themselves with their own money. No haram (unlawful) money was used for this.

4. Similar suicide bomb attacks by Islamic jihadis had occurred elsewhere in the world prior to the Easter bombings, including attacks against Christian churches, so this was nothing new. For example,

* On 22 September 2013, a twin suicide bombing took place at All Saints’ Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, in which 127 people were killed and more than 250 injured. (Source: Wikipedia.)

* On Palm Sunday in 2017 suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 44 people. The IS claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Source: AP.)

* In May 2018 a family of six, including a nine-year-old girl, blew themselves up in three churches in Indonesia, which killed at least 13 people. The Islamic State group claimed the attacks. (Source: BBC.)

In 2021 two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar, wounding at least 20 people on Palm Sunday, the first day of the Easter Holy Week. (Source: Aljazeera.)

In addition to suicide bombings there have been countless other attacks against Christian churches in the world and no doubt such attacks will continue to occur in the future. To my knowledge, in none of these attacks has there been a suggestion of complicity by a political party with a view to gaining electoral advantage. Only in Sri Lanka, which boasts a high literacy rate!

5. The basic premise that gave birth to this conspiracy theory is that it helped Gotabaya Rajapaksa to win the Presidential election in 2019. But countless examples could be cited from history where X benefited from event Y but X had nothing to do with Y. For example, a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings that battered Israel helped Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel narrowly win the general election in May 1996, having trailed Shimon Peres, his rival, in opinion polls before those terror attacks. [Note 5]

6. Gotabaya’s party, the Pohottuwa, was already on a winning streak as evidenced by their excellent performance in the February 2018 local government elections, so they needed no such help as Zahran and company might have given. Does the smartest student in the class need to cheat at exams to pass?

7. There were cordial relations between the local Roman Catholic Church, the principal victim of the bomb attacks, and the Rajapaksas prior to those bombings. The readers will recall the support that Cardinal Ranjith gave to the Rajapaksa regime when international calls for investigation of war crimes allegedly committed during the war with the LTTE were at their peak. If my memory serves me right, during the war the Catholic church even proposed setting up a fund to held the disabled Government soldiers.

In a statement issued after the Channel 4 film, GR recounts the assistance he has rendered the Roman Catholic community in various ways. [Note 6]

In his article “Not a Cardinal Sin” in the Colombo Telegraph of 2 July, 2020, Primus Salgado writes, “The Easter Sunday carnage by Zaharan only cemented a Catholic voter base which was [already] tilting towards Gotabaya Rajapaksa” and describes in some detail the help the Cardinal and the Catholic Church received from the Rajapaksas before the Easter Sunday bombings.

8. A number of investigations has been carried out by the Government into the Easter Sunday attacks, including a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, the report of which was submitted to Parliament. In these investigations international agencies such as the FBI and INTERPOL assisted but none of these investigations nor these agencies reached any conclusion that would support this conspiracy theory.

The above objections considered even singly should give pause for thought to an open-minded subscriber to this conspiracy theory. The cumulative effect of all these objections is certainly fatal to this theory and only extraordinarily compelling evidence in support of it can serve to overide them. Do we have that?

Assad Maulana’s testimony in the Channel 4 film, if true, does provide compelling corroborative evidence in favour of this theory. This film is not available for viewers outside the U.K. and Ireland and my comments below are based on the Channel 4 trailer on YouTube and media reports on the film.

The Channel 4 film trailer raises three questions, reproduced below verbatim: [Note 7]

a) Did a senior military intelligence official covertly meet Islamic extremists before they committed the biggest terrorist attack in Sri Lanka’s history?

b) Did the military intelligence mislead the police in their attempts to apprehend the terrorist group?

c) Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government sabotage investigations into the bombings?

In the video Maulana says that in 2018 he arranged a meeting between the NTJ terrorist cell that carried out the bombings and Suresh Sallay, a former head of military intelligence in Sri Lanka at the time and appointed Director General of the State Intelligence Service of Sri Lanka by GR after his election as President. Six people had come in a white van and Maulana had introduced Sallay to them. He had been asked 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.”

I see at least three problems with this statement. First, having asked Maulana to wait outside, was Sallay so stupid as to take Maulana into his confidence with the regard to the most confidential aspect of the meeting, viz., that the Rajapaksas wanted to create an “unsafe situation”? Second, given their strong performance in the local government election in 2018, would the Rajapaksas have thought in the same year that that was the “only way” for Gota to become President? Third, according to the statements issued by Sallay and the Ministry of Defence in response to the Channel 4 film, he was in Malaysia at the time of the supposed meeting. According to the Ministry of Defence statement

Major General Suresh Sallay served at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Malaysia as Minister-Counsellor from December 2016 until December 2018. He left for India on 3rd January 2019 and returned to Sri Lanka on 30th November 2019 after completing the National Defence College Course in Delhi.This officer was never in Sri Lanka during the period mentioned in the Channel 4 video documentary. Furthermore, during the said period (December 2016 to November 2019), this officer was not employed in the Intelligence and Security Apparatus of the country, nor did he hold any official responsibilities in those fields. [Note 8]

If the above statements check out, then Maulana’s testimony will stand exposed as a blatant lie. Incidentally, Maulana’s testimony blows out of water the view that the suicide bombers were “misled” into committing this atrocity, for we are now told that they were plainly told the object of the attacks. This view was advanced in answer to the difficulty involved in an extremist Islamic group blowing themselves up to help a Sinhala Buddhist politician to come to power.

Responding to the Channel 4 film, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) said in Parliament that his onetime secretary Asad Maulana was a con man who betrayed others for his survival and had sought political asylum abroad by producing false accusations. I have to agree.

Maulana claimed that his “knowledge” of the Rajapaksas’ “secret” made life in Sri Lanka dangerous and sought asylum abroad on that basis but he publicly revealed his “secret knowledge” through Channel 4 only about four years later (in spite of a number of local investigations into the Easter bombing, including a Presidential Commission of Inquiry). Does that make sense?

I think Maulana concocted this story to buttress his bogus asylum claim and by appearing on the Channel 4 film he has ensured that he cannot return to Sri Lanka. Now his being granted asylum in some western country is almost guaranteed and that is exactly what he wanted. As for Channel 4, I can only say that they have swallowed Maulana’s lies hook, line and sinker.

Fabricating lies to support fake asylum claims is common. One is reminded of the high-profile case of Gania Banister Francis, a Sri Lankan Tamil working as a visa officer at the Swiss Embassy, who soon after GR was elected as President two years ago claimed that the state security services had abducted her in a ‘white van’ and forced her to reveal sensitive visa information on political asylum cases. Her statements did not check out and this year she pleaded guilty in court to the charge of making a false claim.

Before closing the article, it is pertinent to ask why so many people are attracted to this conspiracy theory. I think, as with other false conspiracy theories, the main reasons are ignorance and bias. Most people, including the conventionally “educated,” lack the breadth of knowledge and the intellectual ability necessary to properly analyse and evaluate this and many other issues. In this case, some knowledge of the Koran, the hadiths and ISIS ideology, to which the suicide bombers subscribed and which gives an insight into the mindset of the suicide bombers; and similar attacks in the past elsewhere, is a prerequisite. In addition, complete objectivity is required.

It is safe to say that nearly all those who subscribed to this theory did so because of anti-Rajapaksa bias and not because they thought they saw any compelling evidence for it. Then confirmation bias comes into play, that is, the tendency to seek out and prefer information that supports one’s preexisting beliefs while ignoring any information that contradicts those beliefs.

There have been calls for an investigation into the new “revelation” by Maulana on Channel 4 and I, too, am all for it. But I suspect that, regardless of the number of investigations, sadly there will always be obstinate adherents of this conspiracy theory, just as in spite of overwhelming evidence there are those who deny the Holocaust (an antisemitic conspiracy theory), believe that the Apollo 11 lunar landing was staged in a studio in the U.S., etc. By the way, there are even those who still believe the earth is flat!

Notes

  1. Zahran’s final video statement regarding the Easter bombing.
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica article “Caliphate”
  3. “ISIS announces formation of Caliphate, rebrands as ‘Islamic State’”
  4. CNN report “Sri Lanka bombers’ mentor is dead, but his memory still stokes fear”
  5. “The Times of Israel” report
  6. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s full statement in response to the Channel 4 film.
  7. Channel 4 trailer
  8. Ministry of Defence statement
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Latest comments

  • 17
    0

    what a stupid article!

    • 2
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      Thanks. What a good start to the comments section!

    • 15
      1

      Yes, I fully agree that it is a stupid atricle although he has the right to express his views which is similar to the views of Rajapaksas. He has more trust on Saharan, Pilliyan, Gota than the CID investigators Shani etc.

  • 1
    20

    In my article I had given links to other websites in all the eight Notes at the end of the article but in the published article the Notes appear sans the links. Perhaps it is editorial policy to remove links to other websites in CT articles?

    The Notes do not make sense without the links and I take this opportunity to give below the most important of them all, viz., the link to the video featuring Zahran’s farewell statement prior to the Easter bombing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex9c_DXKQUg&t=158s

    • 16
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      “The notes do not make sense without the links ” does it really matter??? No quotes from Bible or old / new / own testaments????

      • 17
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        Compiling one’s stupid as well racist comments into an article. Haven’t we heard enough ?? Laughable referral source ( Gotha, Defence Ministry ) , own interpretation. and finally the disclaimer , ‘ I,m racist but not a Rajapaksa stooge”. “One that gained the most traction ?? ” Not true. I guess because of Rajapaksa conspiracy, 6. 9 million retards (including this A.Hole) voted for Gotha and Mahinda ????? The rest are silly Lankan BS / stereo typed excuses. Tell us something we haven’t heard .

    • 1
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      LJ
      You should know that CT discourages links and unless you are specific about the context of the link (like some text taken out) there is no case for its presence.
      The practice makes sense, provided it is consistent.

    • 2
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      LJ
      Let us have an open mind in the matter as we are dealing with evidence from people whose credibility is suspect. (I include responses to the documentary as well.)
      Channel 4 has not done a thorough investigation of the crime. Perhaps that was not its purpose and it had its own agenda. But it offers evidence that cannot be lightly dismissed simply based on the questionable character of a witness.
      One cannot lightly dismiss the serious charges.
      Can we believe that IS has been truthful in its claims?
      An avoidable tragedy had happened. We still do not know why it was not avoided.
      we cannot let the Channel 4 narrative divert attention from that aspect.
      *
      We live in a climate in which very few are interested in the truth. People have made up their minds and what we hear are declarations of acceptance or rejection of evidence, based on prejudice.
      No difference in opinion is tolerated and anything that does not fit into a particular frame is rejected as suspect and attributed motives.
      That is as sad as the tragedy itself.

      • 18
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        Just let us know, how many more years will it take to unravel truth ??? Or is it after another 10 years we still will be hearing the same singsong like in Lasantha or Thaj case , where the desperate family had to seek justice outside of Lanka. In Rajan P article he says we know how Shafter died and who killed . . ………. It’s not making up minds , the conclusion is based on real facts. You are living in a bankrupt country where convicted murders are pardoned and scot free, and yet talking about prejudice, motives, tolerance, open mind ??? Tell us something we haven’t heard???

        • 18
          2

          In Lasantha and Thaj case then Lankan government connived with judiciary, AG , low and order in hiding evidence , forged reports including cause of death , threatened witness , some dissapeared, produced fake witnesses/ evidence. . . . And you want us to believe that they are going to get justice to those victims and family. Are you for real ????

          • 2
            15

            “In Lasantha and Thaj case then Lankan government connived with judiciary, AG , low and order in hiding evidence”
            Where did the judiciary enter in either case?
            Did it even go past the police.

        • 2
          14

          Because the truth will take time to be revealed, are we to consume half truths instead?
          By no obvious arithmetic will two half truths make a whole truth.

      • 1
        14

        SJ:
        “We live in a climate in which very few are interested in the truth. People have made up their minds and what we hear are declarations of acceptance or rejection of evidence, based on prejudice.
        No difference in opinion is tolerated and anything that does not fit into a particular frame is rejected as suspect and attributed motives.”

        Very true. Judging by the comments in this section and my general experience, I suspect that even if Zahran were supernaturally resurrected and brought back to earth–which may involve putting his shattered body parts together–and he denied this conspiracy theory, many adherents would still prefer to believe that he was lying. Sadly, that is human nature.

  • 0
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    The President said that crucial information about any potential danger in the country was not passed to him.

    This shows that danger was known by the concerned but not passed to him nad some minister said by themself that the knew. So many event when Zahran had taken place and no one knows.Hw is that.

  • 18
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    The writer conveniently omits the events that occurred in the aftermath of the bombings, as they contradict his version of what must have happened. The “Conspiracy” theory is when he deliberately omits to mention gotta’s assertion just four days after the bombings, that he would secure the country if elected; the erasing of evidence that the CID should have had access to, such as the phone records and laptop data that were conveniently “accidently” erased from top policemen’s phones and computers; the immediate transfer to distant places, of twenty CID officers who were diligently investigating the massacre; the arrest and remanding on false pretexts, the most doiligent and conscientious officer investigating the crime; the lack of motivation to follow up with even the commission reports that had only part of the evidence to form conclusions; the promotion of senior intelligence officers and police who were directly involved in erasing evidence and eliminating witnesses, disappearing key witnesses so they cannot be interviewed by police; the bringing up of various “masterminds” who had nothing to do with the event; the clearly guilty reactions to the Ch 4 video from key stakeholders; the fact that many such crimes have been submerged in reams of paper and years of dilution to fade in people’s memories; the fact that these crimes against humanity are hushed up with conniving political partners on both sides of the farcical parliament, to name just a few. All the unsolved political crimes have so much in common in Sri Lanka. How can this writer blatantly ignore facts?

    • 1
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      LP: “The writer conveniently omits the events that occurred in the aftermath of the bombings, as they contradict his version of what must have happened.”

      I am calling your bluff. Are you so sure about the correctness of your accusations that you are willing, if given an opportunity, even to hold a press conference and make these accusations boldly in public naming the specific persons involved in your accusations with the knowledge that you are exposing yourself to a possible civil/criminal action for defamation (assume you will not be personally in danger.) Do you think you will be able to defend your accusations in a court of law successfully with the necessary evidence? Please answer honestly.

      Neither you nor I nor the public in general know enough to be sure about the veracity of your accusations. Even if the basic facts relating to your accusations are correct, they may have other explanations. There is also the issue of the failure to prevent the Easter incident despite receiving prior intelligence warnings from India and these “cover ups,” if such exist, may relate to that, not necessarily the “mastermind” issue.

      • 1
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        Continued from last post.

        I followed a simple, common sense approach in arriving at my view on this issue. Within seconds of hearing about the Easter bombings, I thought it must be the work of local Islamic jihadis even before the identity of the bombers became known because of my knowledge of similar attacks elsewhere in the world, the Koran, the hadiths and extremist Islamic ideology. I turned out to be right.

        LP:
        “The ‘Conspiracy’ theory is when he deliberately omits to mention gotta’s [sic] assertion just four days after the bombings, that he would secure the country if elected.”

        Is this an argument? Why do I suspect that even if an earthquake had taken place in Sri Lanka but the Government had failed miserably to handle its aftermath and Gota had then put himself forward as a Presidential candidate and promised a more caring government if elected to power, there would have been some like you who saw a conspiracy even behind that? Am I exaggerating? When the tsunami struck in 2004, some people did just that, accusing the U.S. of triggering the earthquake.

        • 1
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          Perhaps a better example would be some thing like a deadly infectious disease breaking out in Sri Lanka just before the Presidential election and Gota then putting himself forward as a candidate and promising a better infectious disease prevention control system if elected to power and then people like you seeing Gota’s hand behind the outbreak of the disease.

          • 1
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            Anyway, wasn’t it natural for Gota to capitalize on the bombings as a “security President” after such an event? What did you expect him to do, keep silent on this issue fearing people like you might accuse him being behind the attacks?

            Soon after the financial crisis hit the country, the opposition parties, the JVP in particular, tried to capitalize on it politically soon afterwards. By your logic, that crisis was engineered by the opposition parties, the JVP in particular.

        • 6
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          According to this hypocrite “Of all the conspiracy theories one that gained the most traction was Rajapaksas were the masterminds hence 6.9 million SB racist including me, decided to re-elect them, so that, they can continue committing more crimes and lead country to bankruptcy.” If true , why would they stand in front of the bombed church and promise a secure nation ???. Remember the Monk’s yearning for ” a Hitler to save our bankrupt nation from Muslim / Foreign terrorist”. Do we believe the Monk or LJ ????. Leave Tsunami and Earthquake, I will try explaining this, in his (LJ) own style. Say for example , I believe ” LJ is not just a racist but a white collar criminal, will he ever come to me asking for my vote”???

        • 7
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          This one is the best where LJ, being too enthusiastic is on a slippery slope. He types ” I followed a simple , common sense approach ( read racist approach) in arriving at my view on this issues within seconds ???? ( LOL) of hearing about the Easter bombings. That fast , no kidding. Tall claim even for a self claim terrorism expert RG. Even for real experts, it took some time to recover from the confusion, disbelief and tragedy, Unless, LJ is an insider who did not attend church that day ???. ” I thought it must be the work of local Islamic jihadis EVEN BEFORE the identity of the bombers became known because of my knowledge of similar attacks elsewhere , NEVER in Lanka, the Koran ( not the Bible ) the Hadith, extremist ideology. There you go. This statement of his, only goes to show that he is a biased racist, who had made up his mind, “whom to blame”. Were you part of the plot to know within seconds. Am I exaggerating ???

    • 16
      1

      Lasantha Pethiyagoda – its common knowledge not just in Sri Lanka, but all over the world (some foreign tourists died in that attack, some prominent businesspeople) – who is behind the Easter Sunday attack.

      Its funny that Gota , who is literally in hiding and keeping a low profile since running away from his presidency, during aragalaya, was compelled by the C4 documentary to rush in and put out a half baked statement defending his pal Sally. why?
      C4 Documentary also alleges that Gota was behind the killing of Lasantha. However in his half baked statement Gota did not say a word about that allegation. why?

  • 16
    1

    Leonard Jayawardena
    “By the way, there are even those who still believe the earth is flat!”
    =====
    The 6.9 including you will believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Ranil Rajapaksas

    • 3
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      R
      People believe what they like to believe.
      That the earth is flat was ‘obvious’ to all people at one time. The ones who questioned it had a rough time.

      • 1
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        Very correct.

      • 12
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        SJ – people now believe earth is not flat.
        but some are still believe its flat they are brain washed.- like the author and the 6.9 still brain washed by the Ranil Rajapaksas

        • 1
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          The point is that at one time they were almost unanimous.
          Nobody brainwashed anyone. They believed what to them seemed ‘obvious’.
          *
          You may be surprised to know that there are still believers in the Flat Earth theory– like believers in the Prabakaran is alive theory.

          • 7
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            ..or believers that Rajapaksas are saints

          • 2
            0

            “You may be surprised to know that there are still believers in the flat Earth theory”.
            As long people like you (seems plenty) are around nothing surprises us. Tell us more .

        • 8
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          Rajash , the mechanical thinking professor knows earth is not flat , but goes around telling people it’s flat. Whereas this racist tried fooling people with his previous artcles and comments. His rebuttals are so so childish and embarrassing no one bought it.. See the response to LP. When he is throughly exposed he challeges with debating in public forum, meeting press and legal defamation, ( another Trumpian BS ) , that too in sorry Lanka where there is no law and order. Instad why don’t you hand over the case to international experts and just shut up ? His deadly infectious disease example is the ultimate comedy.

          • 1
            7

            Oh dear
            The OBVIOUS man in action again!
            You do not need help to be pathetic. You simply are!

            • 2
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              Thank you, for being so kind. My sincere apologies to Douglas and few others, for being harsh (never personal). I have my own reasons, to confront HYPOCRITES in such manner.

    • 8
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      Rajash and Raj-UK, this guy wants us to believe in Pillayan but not Maulana, ISIS but not C 4, Rajapaksas / Sally not the CID who have evidence connecting Gotha to crime. Lets take the primary evidence , Maulana. He says Maulana was just one time sec to Pillayan and he concocted a story to get refugee status. It’s a lie. 1) Douglas, Karuna and Pillayan knew Maulana’s father who was a personal body guard of EPRLF leader Pathmanabha, and both were killed in LTTE raid. Maulana is well educated (may be more than L.J) and fluent in all 3 languages. As a undergrad in Pera he approached Douglas for help. From then he has been the Man Friday of Pillayan. He is a central committee member of TMVP as well coordinating sec and spokes person. Obviously only he could have arranged a meeting with Zaharan, on the behest of Pillayan. He has all the reason to leave country. With the position and influence he held there is no reason for him to flee to get refugee status. If not he will not be alive to tell the story. For infor see DBS article on DM.

  • 15
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    Leonard Jayawardena
    I suppose I belong to the category of ‘…. conventionally “educated,” lack the breadth of knowledge and the intellectual ability necessary to properly analyse and evaluate…”

    So, lets say, as you imply, the bombing was carried out by a group of dumb fanatics who were in a hurry to get to paradise, so much so, that they didn’t even leave behind a ‘golaya’ to ensure their objective, a SL caliphate, for which they sacrificed their lives, is achieved. In fact, the only beneficiary was GR, & as the expression goes, a ‘god send’ for him, albeit, at the expense of god’s own flock. God certainly moves in mysterious ways, that is, if god does exist (pardon the pun). Then, there are allegations of unsolved murders as well. OK, C4 swallowed the bait & so did countries which give asylum to con artists but why didn’t GR respond when C4 gave him the opportunity to say his side of the story or, for the record, deny the allegations? All GR did was to deny to the local media & his believers did the rest by discrediting C4. Wouldn’t any innocent person vigorously defend unsubstantiated allegations by taking C4 to court? GR should preserve his good name to the world as a President with an unblemished record by challenging C4. Maybe he doesn’t want blood money from C4 but why not insist on an impartial enquiry to convince sceptics like me?

    • 0
      13

      Raj:
      “So, lets say, as you imply, the bombing was carried out by a group of dumb fanatics who were in a hurry to get to paradise, so much so, that they didn’t even leave behind a ‘golaya’ to ensure their objective, a SL caliphate, for which they sacrificed their lives, is achieved.”

      Zahran and his fellows had pledged allegiance to the IS and subscribed to their ideology. The IS announced a Caliphate with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the Caliph. As mentioned in the article, the IS declared that it would be sinful for Muslims all over the world not to try and establish the Islamic State. In his farewell video Zahran says that following the attacks crowds of people will be pledging allegiance to IS, which, as we know now, never happened. Zahran apparently thought that these new converts would become local warriors for the Islamic State. We should also not forget that there were possibly other members of Zahran’s group who did not perish in the bombings, whom he thought would carry on his “good work” after they had passed to Allah’s Paradise.

    • 3
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      R-UK
      That GR was a beneficiary is correct, but will that be adequate to implicate him?
      It is something to consider seriously in solving the mystery but not to draw conclusions on its basis alone. We need more evidence.
      The story has many key aspects that have failed to be considered.

      • 11
        0

        Leonard Jayawardena, SJ

        In my simple mind, I just looked at who benefitted & I can’t understand a dumb bunch of fanatics, capable of meticulously planing simultaneous bombings, would assume their terror campaign would inspire a mass Muslim caliphate uprising after their deaths. Anyway, my point was about the unsolved murders in which C4 alleges GR had a hand in. Most of all, I can’t understand why GR did not respond to C4 when given the opportunity, unlike Sally. All GR did was to deny to the local media & probably left it to those with the ”intellectual ability necessary to properly analyse and evaluate” to exonerate him’. As ex President of SL, shouldn’t he vigorously defend all allegations to save his good name internationally?

        • 2
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          R-UK
          I am sure that any decent judge in your country of residence will not find anyone guilty based on this evidence.
          There are key aspects not even touched by Channel 4 which if probed deeply could implicate people whom many here will not dare name.

          • 0
            5

            Is not there something in law about proving beyond reasonable doubt?
            There is also what is called balance of probabilities I guess.
            Did Channel 4 specifcally point its finger at anyone?
            It has offered seemingly persuasive circumstantial evidence. (Seemingly, because of the questionable character of the key witness.)
            What you or I may like to believe needs to be presented convincingly, The narrative we have is close to pointing to a likely offender. No more.
            Are you convinced that we have got past it?
            There are two key aspects that Ch 4 avoided touching for some reason. The role of IS (Could expose thus far unknown parties);
            The seemingly wilful avoidance of preventive action. (More than half the blood of 21.4.2019 would stain those hands,)

            • 4
              0

              SJ

              C4, as with investigative journalism, reported on a whistleblower because it is of public interest. As a balanced report, the opportunity was given to those alleged to say their side of the story so that the viewers can make up their own mind. SL Govt. responded by promising an enquiry & it is up to the Govt. to charge those responsible according to crimes committed if there is sufficient evidence to do so. Whether or not the govt. decides to charge GR & others, shouldn’t those accused publicly of a heinous crimes defend their honour if innocent? Sally, at least responded to C4 but why not GR? As you say, the plot may run deeper, hence the govt. soft peddling the issue.
              C4 Despatches aired another documentary about actor & comedian Russel Brand abusing women & an investigation has already been launched to verify the facts but Russel Brand has been publicly defending himself even before the documentary was aired.

          • 2
            0

            Raj UK, in Silly Lanka is there decent judges, will not find anyone / minorities, guilty based on evidence???
            I hear Tamils in Lanka have spent years without any inquiry ( leave alone evidence) Is not there some thing in Law proving beyond reasonable doubt./ balance of probabilities ??? Sorry to bother because I ‘m disoriented and confused rightnow not knowing where I’m ??? Please help me. Will you ???

      • 6
        1

        “We need more evidence.”
        For What? Do you need more evidence than Bankgruptcy? Why Gota has to run away from the country to resign the post?

        • 2
          7

          What will this prove, may I know?
          Your logic has ceased to fox me as I a,m now used to it.

  • 2
    8

    I reject wrong accusations even to my worst enemy. Prabakaran did kill innocent civilians. But if someone were to accuse him of encouraging his fighters for rape of Sinhala women I would defend him with all my might.
    .
    Rajapaksas benefited out of the event cannot be construed as they were the perpetrators.
    .
    Muslims are happy to see any reduction of the element of ‘Islamic’ factor by any means. Their politicians are the most vocal of this conspiracy theory.
    .
    Chatholic hierarchy is shy to call spade a spade, I mean Islamic is Islamic. But I believe in their hearts they know it is all Islamic.
    Writing under a pseudonym I have no issue of calling spade a spade. If not I too would fight shy of that. Looks uncivilized, isn’t it?
    Let me put it bluntly:
    Channel 4 video is an attempt to replace Allah with Gotabaya..
    .
    A very weak one at that.
    .
    Such a feeble prosecution would make a judge dismiss the case with costs.
    .
    Beginning with Gotabaya who struck a goldmine EVERYONE , yes E V E R Y O N E, is making political capital out of the the suffering of the innocent Christians who lost their lives and limbs and their friends and families . This is the greatest injustice done on them.

    Soma

    .

    • 1
      8

      Did anyone accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa of causing Tsunami though he filfered charity funds to his heart’s content?

      Soma

      • 9
        1

        Wow, Soma is this the best you could come up with ?? No no one accused MR for causing Tsunami, but how Lanka special “Low and Odor”, connived , so that he can use the diverted fund to get elected.

      • 6
        0

        Soma

        “Did anyone accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa of causing Tsunami though he filfered charity funds to his heart’s content?”

        Aren’t you being very silly here?
        Tsunami was and is natural disaster.
        Bombing of Churches and hotels are not natural disasters but sick man’s outburst, man made disaster.

        There are other incidents in which hundred of thousands killed, maimed, displaced, …. Would you care to look into them too?

        There is room for improvement in your thoughts and acts.

        • 5
          0

          Soman types “Allah replaced by Gotha”. Rajapaksas know well that 6. 9 million Stupid Lankans cannot think any further, than Religion / Race. Hence came up with a simple plan to get re-elected. A modified age old trick of SB crooks. No one asked 1) There was no such act ever by a Muslim outfit 2) First one in a decade after end of war 3) Why churches ??? 4) Why now ???? 5) There were no signs , reasons, threats or warnings , whatsoever prior to Easter. 6) other than NTG, people who are familiar with Zaharan are Rajapaksas , Pillayan and Lankan security establishment.

    • 7
      0

      soma

      Good to hear from you.
      Hope you are okay.
      You are always welcome, if this forum is crowded I am willing to offer my place for you.

      “Channel 4 video is an attempt to replace Allah with Gotabaya..”

      Instead of Allah why not Hindu/Buddhist Karma?

      “Prabakaran did kill innocent civilians. But if someone were to accuse him of encouraging his fighters for rape of Sinhala women I would defend him with all my might.”

      Are you saying though VP was a psychopath he was not a psychopath who enjoyed watching/listening/tolerating women being raped by his men?

      “Such a feeble prosecution would make a judge dismiss the case with costs.”

      You mean the Sri Lankan judges? Of course they would, wouldn’t they? If not a presidential pardon?

      “This is the greatest injustice done on them.”

      Would you recommend an independent international investigation?
      There are other injustices being kept heaping on people from 1948 on wards. Wouldn’t you call them injustice?
      Don’t you want to know/find out who did what, when and where… ?

      Be a man, be brave, ….

    • 6
      0

      S
      “replace Allah with Gotabaya”
      I do not see where Allah gets involved.

      • 1
        5

        SJ
        HE is the mastermind behind Zaharan.
        You can’t see, touch or smell HIM. That is HIS main tactic since creation.

        Soma

    • 6
      0

      Soma,
      “But if someone were to accuse him of encouraging his fighters for rape of Sinhala women I would defend him with all my might.”
      You don’t believe in gilding the lily?

      • 0
        5

        OC
        Thambi is your lily.

        Soma

        • 5
          0

          soma

          “Thambi is your lily.”

          What is your point if there is one?

  • 0
    7

    LJ,

    Think there was a promise of Islamic Republic?

    • 1
      8

      Zahran and his group were working to extend the Caliphate announced by the IS to Sri Lanka. I have referred to this in the article.

      • 7
        0

        LJ -Zahran and his group were working to extend the Caliphate announced by the IS to Sri Lanka. I have referred to this in the article.
        —-
        So Zaharan thought – by blowing himself Up to kill some Catholics and some tourists , Sri Lankans will flock Kataankudi and usher in Caliphate or did Gota convinced him there are 72 virgins waiting for him
        ======

      • 8
        0

        Leonard Jayawardena

        “Zahran and his group were working to extend the Caliphate announced by the IS to Sri Lanka. I have referred to this in the article.”

        You are aware VP was working to build his Tamil Caliphate (he had already declared himself being the Tamil Eelam Calipha. It didn’t stop him from working for others, Hindia, Premadasa, Sri Lankan armed forces, the West, Rajapaksas, …. except for the people of this island (including Tamil/Sinhala speaking people.).

      • 4
        3

        LJ
        Many fanatics shoot their mouth based on pure imagination.
        IS could not stretch its state beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq.
        Following defeat it shifted to Africa.
        At the time of the bombing, IS was on the run. It may have like a few easy targets to keep the money flow going.
        Do not take all what IS and followers say literally.
        But its possible role in instigating the bombing needed investigation and Ch 4 had skipped it.

        • 1
          4

          SJ:
          “Do not take all what IS and followers say literally.”

          What do you mean and how does it relate to the contents of my article?

          All I have said is this. After IS proclaimed a worldwide Caliphate, they demanded the allegiance of Muslims everywhere to it. They declared that it would be sinful if Muslims where ever they lived did not try to establish it. That is what Zahran and his group did. In his farewell video he states that following their attacks large numbers of Muslims in Sri Lanka will be pledging allegiance to IS. We,. of course, know that their delusion did not materialize.

          In the video we have the identity of the suicide bomb attacks, their statement as to the purposes of the attacks (to establish the Islamic State and to avenge the massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand) and their declaration that they did not receive any help from non-believers. Why then do so many want to see another “mastermind” behind the attacks?

          • 6
            0

            LJ
            Thanks.
            IS is not just a military-political outfit. It is also a business concern (like the LTTE among the diaspora).
            They will claim credit for any ‘success story’ that will keep the dollars rolling in.
            I do not deny the possibility of IS having had a role. But their claims alone need not be sufficient.
            Prompt exclusion of IS is about as subjectively motivated as prompt inclusion.
            All we know for sure is that there was link between Zahran & IS. I will not dismiss it but I will not treat it as solid evidence of a role either.

            • 0
              4

              SJ

              I am surprised you still don’t get it. I have never said that IS had a (direct) “role” in the bombings. They did claim responsibility for the attack afterwards but that may or may not be true and nor is it important. What is important is that Zahran was doing this in obedience to the rulings and commands of that organization, by which he was inspired and to which he had also pledged allegiance. I have made this abundantly clear in my article and the comments.

              In my earlier comment on this thread I said, ” Why then do so many want to see another ‘mastermind’ behind the attacks?” By “mastermind” I had in mind a mastermind such as contemplated in the conspiracy theory discussed in the article. It would have been better if I had written, “Why then do so many want to see a conspiracy behind the attacks?”

              If there WAS a mastermind, then he must have belonged to the same organization. Some have pointed to one Naufer Maulavi as the mastermind behind the attacks and his name was mentioned in the Parliamentary debate today on the Easter Sunday bombings.

              • 0
                0

                LJ,

                These Jihadists were not going to do anything in Sri Lanka actually, till SOMEOne spelled out a nice plan for them. Still they were not going to do it till the promise of the Caliphate was given. It’s doing quite well, isn’t it.

        • 5
          0

          SJ, I agree with you on that. I doubt IS had any direct role in Easter Killing. Lately they have claimed many such isolated acts committed by groups / individuals, who were turned on by their digital / social media propaganda. Not fact, just an opinion.

          • 0
            0

            Aanduwa provided some kind of external Tele-communication link to the people it was hiding in the Sainthamaruthu Home, that night. (That time when Aanduwa claimed that ISIL had accepted the responsibility for the bombing, there was some report from ISIL, but unlike they always directly accepting the full responsibility, in that, they did not mention the event but mentioned that their work was being followed by other activists the world over.) The connection was established through some channels in the Indonesia- Thailand region. Eventually, the media reported, the CIA followed these communications to locate Ayman al-Zawahiri’s hideout. Being informed by India in advance, a CIA ship was staying in Hangbangtota with 400 navy soldiers, to facilitate the remote surveillance. There was a desperate need for Appe Aanduwa to have ISIL persuaded to adopt the bastard child NTJ, after the job was well done. But they did not offer their rubber stamp for the adoption certificate. NTJ was a slavery institution of Appe Aanduwa. That fact alone is enough for ISIL to reject NTJ. So failing to put NTJ in the Kangaroo pouch of ISIL, Aanduwa was forced to bomb Sainthamaruthu home and clean all its fingerprints on the NTJ. Hakeem said the Pulastini’s ID the CID brought from Sainthamaruthu home to the investigation commission was a printing machine fresh, no evidence of being out of the bombed and burning house.

          • 0
            0

            Hezbollah’s’ role on Easter Sunday was very crucial, it seems, Sumanthiran who did not attend Sunday mass, took risk of his life and went to meet Hezbollah, probably with a message from the Evil Emperor. Old Rowdy King said that he warned Sumanthiran of progressing bomb plots on churches, media reported. Sumanthiran denied that anybody warned of 4/21 in advance. Aanduwa and other agents in Langkang have had some kind of touch with ISIL. Avant Garde was selling arms in the Middle East for ISIL operatives & International Smugglers. Egypt and SA caught this operation. Rogan Gunaratne misinterprets or ill-interprets all world events to pull wool over the world’s eye and protect Aanduwa from these sticky deals. I do not know if the ship used in arms smuggling was the one donated India or America. (Remember Royals borrowed a car from ICRC to murder Tajudeen). Probably, Old Rowdy Royals’ blood monies are invested wherever Osama Bin- Laden invested. The fund roller, Hezbollah who flexed OIC’s muscle to bring sanction on Langkang to block the 4/21 investigation, or those Jihadists who went to Syria and Iran, might be the intermediaries for this connection. Still Aanduwa draws a lot of energy from ISIL like anti- democratic, anti- freedom, anti-humanitarian religious organizations to oppose the world’s call on it to fix its internal economic, law & order & human rights violations- discrepancies.

      • 2
        8

        Leonard J
        There is no better example to demonstrate how political bias can obliterate the mind. How so called educated people
        allow themselves to be carried away by such implausible concoctions.
        This theory that Rajapaksa could negotiate with Allah to get Zaharan to commit suicide with the whole family deserves a Nobel.

        Soma

        • 5
          1

          Soman , I remember you typing this BS before disappearing from CT. Try coming up with some thing new. Trust me you can do it.

      • 0
        0

        Other than the Lama Mubarak and Tamils’ Blood bathing Hizballah, nobody has so far shown interest in Mahavamsa Calafate. Lama Mubarak said (probably to tease RavanaLE Rear Admirable and Lemon Puff, because Mubarak is only a joker. I do not think BJP should pay any attention to this, because the whole Langkang consider Ramayana as 100% true, and Evil Emperor wants to drop out his Great, Great grandma from history books, and take Ravana as the Great, Great Grandpa.) that Ravana was an Arabian Muslim. When Allah Stepped on Sri Pada, a puddle was created there. Hinduism says, as soon Brahman rescued himself from emptiness (Zero) he created Brahma and ordered to create Maya (the consort of Brahman, the universe)- Christians say some time after the death of the first mother Lucy and before Homo sapiens started to dress with cotton and silk, one day god ordered them stay out of eating apples and redeemed them from all their past sins. But they continue to eat apples saying it is a healthy fruit, so they need to be redeemed by the IMF, while redeeming bankrupted Sinhala Buddhist Langkang. Allah had fallen asleep until 1500 years ago and then told Mubarak to go to Langkang and convert Ravana as a Muslim. Thank God when Buddha was landing in Langkang, Ravana was killed by Ram, so Buddhists won the land and occupying.

    • 5
      0

      ramona grandma therese fernando

      “Think there was a promise of Islamic Republic?”

      You are wrong we indeed have a Islamic Republic of Kattankudy.

      • 0
        5

        NV…what about for protection and expansion.

      • 0
        6

        NV
        How old are you? If passed 65 , convert yourself to Islam , kill a couple of unbelievers and you are set for eternity. You won’t believe the rewards awaiting you!
        Good luck

        Soma

        • 3
          0

          soma

          “…. convert yourself to Islam , kill a couple of unbelievers and you are set for eternity.”

          Why convert to Islam rather convert to Sinhala/Buddhism and join the armed forces you will not only be free of any criminal charges but you will also attain eternity (if what you are saying true).

          While you are on the subject of eternity tell me if you have had the chance to watch Nathasha Edirisooriya’s send up of virgins? If you are a normal person you would love it.

    • 5
      0

      No promise, but there was hope given.
      Many did believe and took the road to Damascus.

  • 1
    0

    Author discrediting Ganier as Tamil LTTE and Moulana as Muslim terrorist, but crediting Pillaiyan as honest politicians. Ganier was coerced to confess, and she is stopped from migrating Swiss, which she has an offer and almost all Lankans will treat it as million-dollar lotto. The author claimed he did not know what was in “Dispatches’ ‘, (but it was a good chance he might have received a copy of the tape Channel 4 sent to Aanduwa to comment, before broadcasting. Further if he has read CT’s essays and comments on 4/21, it is evident that he has watched full tape) but pretends to be fully knowledgeable about Appe Aanduwa past investigation on the case. (That part of the statement alone is enough what a bloody lie the whole article is.) Purposefully author left out New Zealand Prime Minister’s, many repeated rebuttals about the “mosque massacre connection.” Author did not mention New Zealand security agents’ investigation, and it was the only country out of the 6 countries that investigated the incident that gave a public report on that. After the investigation was completed, Prime Minister Jacinta quoted that and once more denied any connections with the mosque massacre. Author’s claim on FBI & Scotland Yard reports is another bloody lie because they never released anything from their investigation. America, after the FBI completed the investigation had applied to extradition of two left over NTJ members.

  • 0
    0

    Though there is a extradition pact, Aanduwa made sure they are not leaving the country. He touched only government supported points but stayed out of answering a thousand questions raised on Aanduwa explanations. Anything Aanduwa said about Pulastini is a lie. Her stupid mother said that she complained to the Muslim religious parties who arranged her forceful conversion and marriage that if the Pulastini’s accusation of her husband was involved in plotting a Jihadism was true? NJT never had any true connection with ISIS. About 30-50 Muslim boys and girls went to Syria for the purpose of Jihadism. I just view it as simple just like many Langkang youths are doing drug peddling and smuggling to lead a life. But the interesting part is Aanduwa did not do anything about the youths who went to Iran and Syria. Aanduwa is still in a cozy relationship with those countries.
    The only question needing Aanduwa’s answer at the IC stage is how their sting operation persuaded Saharan to kill himself. I agree with Leonard that the fact they received money from CID and Army is not enough to make them die for Hitler.
    I leave it there, though there are 1000s of them to remind him back. Leonard is much more aware of it than me, but he left them out because they all disprove how impossible all Leonard’s sayings are.

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