Even as the Yahapalan government goes through their last gasps, it merits reflecting on the “ complex web of deceit and deception “ that they spun on Sri Lankans to grab power and stay in power,in a hope to prevent Sri Lanka’s history being so slurred , ever again.
In January 2015, unseating a regime that had ended a thirty year old terrorist war dubbed an “ unwinnable war”, and maintaining the peace for five years thereafter without even the slightest whiff of terror , while at the same time ushering in unprecedented development, would to say the least be a daunting challenge.
This development had seen Colombo seeing a visionary transformation from a city wanting even in garbage disposal to one so beautiful that enabled Sri Lanka to be named the year’s top tourist destination twice by Lonely planet and once by CNN, that had seen a pot hole driven road network to being transformed to one good as any, any where in the world , & had seen after decades of vacillation opening of equally world class motor ways, & had seen the building up of ports and airports that within a few years is seeing the most powerful nations competing with each other to gain influence over, & had seen the building of a port city in Colombo to be an international financial centre equal to Singapore & had seen the building of a new eastern terminal in the Colombo harbour equipped to service modern mega ships that dock and tranship most goods to the eastern coast of India thanks to the shallow palk strait, & had seen the compete electrification of the entire country an achievement not even remotely achieved by their mighty South Asian neighbours, & had seen growth rates of over 7% on the trot for several years second only to China, & that had seen the per capita of it’s citizens income double ad even treble to the extent that it was elevated from a “Low Income Nation” to a “ Middle Income Nation” .
To meet this daunting challenge , it would appear that the budding “ Yahapalanites” had taken a leaf from the Tiger book of “ web of deceit and deception” that enabled them for decades, to garner western support for their terrorist war claiming it to be a freedom struggle.
The strategy for the Jan. 2015 election, therefore was to neutralize the war achievements through claiming that these were achieved through violation of human rights and the development was achieved through bribery and corruption in the form of unacceptably high commissions for politicians in power. Though these allegation had virtually no evidence in support, following the doctrine of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, that any lie would eventually be believed if repeated frequently enough, they kept bombarding these unmitigated lies to the electorate through media, especially social media, that eventually saw them achieve their election victory in 2015.
They are repeating the ploy in Nov 2019, but the electorate and their opposition are probably wiser now
In 2015 ,they also cleverly exploited the presence of many members of the Rajapaksha family in positions of power, presenting it as “family rule ” cleverly ignoring that all of these Rajapakshas were in these positions because they were mandated by the people with huge majorities .
Once in power Yahapalanites continued their denigration of the war victory culminating in arguably the most treasonous and despicable act in Sri Lanka’s proud history of over 2500 years. This they did when they joined the US in sponsoring a resolution at the UNHCR accepting that the allegations of “human rights violations during the war victory were credible” , and asking for an investigation into these allegations , to be conducted with the participation of foreign judges. Such offering of the Ranaviru for slaughter for the crime of rescuing their nation from terror, mprobably has no equal in the entire history of the human race. This is in stark contrast to UK Premier Theresa May defiantly announcing that she would never subject her soldiers for any kind of inquiry into their actions in Iraq and a similar pronouncement by the US President.
This sin of the Yahapalana has been compounded for the past five years through by passing many opportunities to extricate it self from this crime for eg by , tabling the Paranagama commission report that clearly established that there were no war crimes committed by the security forces, or by tabling the more recent revelations of Lord Naseby in the British House of Lords through the information he gathered including communications from the British High Commission in Colombo that revealed the civilian casualty rate was of the order of five thousand & not the forty thousand quoted in the UNHCR resolution, or by simply withdrawing it’s sponsorship of this resolution , which would then lapse as the other sponsor, the US, is no longer a member of the UNHCR , which they left two years ago denigrating it as a “cesspit of political intrigue”, a reality that had struck home to many like me well before it did to the US President.
One would fervently hope that the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksha would correct these wrongs at the earliest opportunity.
The harassing and imprisonment of Ranaviru on flimsy grounds, dismantling the intelligence and internal security apparatus that the Mahinda Rajapaksha administration was not merely an act of omission. This was also an act of commission as Yahapalana sees this as a threat to their agenda which was destabilisation of internal security that would pave the way for US boots to hit ground in Sri Lanka as provided for in the ACSA agreement. The Easter Bombings were equally both a result of omission as well as commission, as it was being engineered by some in Yahapalana to create a Sinhalese backlash that would have provided the conditions for actioning the ACSA as above. The PM’s first call after the explosions that, “ there were international forces involved and we may need foreign assistance to cope” also lends support this belief. Thankfully, the prompt and mindful response of the clergy of all denominations enabled this part of the web of deception to be foiled. Equally, the agitation there from has at least seen the deferring of the other two agreements with the US, the SOFA and MCC, being deferred at least till after the election. It has seen the failure of the strategy of “sign before election and debate after election” , stratergy. However, even to attempt so is a contemptuous insult to the intelligence of the Sri Lankan people .
On another aspect, the PM has also attempted to absolve himself of responsibility for the easter bombing because he was not an invitee to the national security meetings. This happened since the SLFP pulled out of the Yahapalana in October 2018 and the spat between himself and the President. If he the PM was responsible, he would have at least raised this in cabinet or parliament or if he had any shame would have resigned his post and gone for a general election as the President and opposition wanted, when it became clear that his minority government was compromising it’s responsibility to the country. That he had no shame, was evident to any body who saw him being mercilessly admonished by the President in full view of the nation on TV, at their first meeting after his reappointment .
Having come on a “ holier than thou -Yahapalana”, canard , the deception by violating the constitution started from the their very first act after installing the Yahapalana President . This was when a new Prime Minister was appointed, while the previous prime minister with Parliamentary Majority was still in office . However , this was just a taste of much worse to follow which happened in February and March in the form of the two “ Bond Scams”. Perhaps, the crowning ignominity of the Yahapalana actions in this saga was the attempt on the part of it’s Prime Minister to shamelessly attempt to reinstall the disgraced governor of the central bank to the same post once again , stopped only by the firmness of the President. Even to this day he continues to abscond, though clearly a close associate of the PM. How much more “Ayahapalana” one can be, or deceitful one can be, is beyond any ones imaginations.
Having won the 2015 election on the strength of allegations of a fortune of 18 billion dollars being embezzled by the former President and his family and of their ownership Lamborghini cars and helicopters , Yahapalana has failed to establish a penny of this despite the use of all of the state resources for four and a half years. Despite the establishment a FCID to effect a highly politicised investigation against the Rajapaksha family, as confirmed by several of their senior legal and administrative employees, not one case has even gone to court.
Having condemned the Colombo port city project and stalled its construction for two years they are now back building on the same model at an enhanced cost and two years behind schedule . Having condemned the Hambantota harbour the first act of Yahapalana in January 2015 was to stop the first revenue earning activity of the harbour, the bunkering(refuelling of ships) activity that started in June 2014 .The implication is that ships who form Europe would carry enough fuel to go to Singapore, could carry considerably less fuel and more cargo, win , win for both SL and Ships with Singapore being the looser. One would be excused for wondering whether this may be the reason for the bunkering still not being restarted and whether the secrecy behind the clause in the trade deal with Singapore is related.
In January 2015 there were three daily flights to Mattala. The first action of Yahapalana was to stop all flights, store paddy in the hangers despite damaging the sophisticated equipment and denigrating it to be a loss making airport. With such management ,what else could one expect. With the longest runway in SL Mattala is the only airport capable of landing A 380 double decker planes , in South Asia. With at least four of them flying over Mattala every night on their way from Australia and NZ to the Middle East, and vice versa, and paying $2000 per trip , for emergency landing rights, Mattala is earning it’s keep by simply being there . With visionary and energetic leadership the potential for securing a passenger drop off from at least one of those flights exists. This could be a boon to get the airport cracking , and for increasing tourism targeting south SL from down under, a difficult place to get to SL from. It would also be a boon to returning home Sri Lankans.
Instead of developing these new constructions to make them more revenue earning, Yahapalana once again deployed their strategy deceit claiming a “debt trap” to discredit their predecessors for political gain. Had the previous regime been in place, in the same capable and visionary hands these constructions would by now be paying for themselves. We never heard the terms “ debt traps” during the previous regime. “ Debt Trap” , a US coined term is music to US ears giving a handle to displace China from SL to serve US interest and another handle for Yahapalana to deceive SL.
Even in their dying moments the deceit in relation to Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksha’s eligibility to contest is truly mindboggling and shameful. First the claim was he will not be able to renounce his citizenship as there are legal case in US, then it was that it would be months before he is cleared even if application for renunciation is submitted. Even when the certificate of loss of US citizenship was displayed on TV, the same claim continues to be made even till the very end . They appear to have gone to the extent of even attempting to confuse the voter by fielding another candidate Namal Rajapakse whose name would be next to Gotabaya Rajapakse .
“ Despicable complex web of deceit and deception” was a description used on LTTE misinformation campaign of ten to twenty years ago, which I followed on international media for years and countered regularly. I thought it would be an act never to be beaten From what I have seen in the last five years from Yahapalana, it would appear to me now that , I was wrong then.
Dr.Chula Rajapakse MNZM
Wellington New Zealand