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The West, Foreign-Funded Ngos And JVP-FSP Had A Hand In His Ouster, Says Gotabaya Rajapaksa

(MENAFN- NewsIn) By P.K.Balachandran.

Colombo, March 8: The principal villains in former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s book entitled: The Conspiracy to oust me from the Presidency releases on Thursday, are the Western powers, foreign-funded NGOs, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Frontline Socialist Party (Peratugami).

Gotabaya also accuses the head of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, of unfairly suspecting his involvement in the April 21, 2019 suicide bombings, saying that he had used it to win the Presidential election.

The former President points out that US investigative agencies were involved in the Easter Sunday bombings probe and cites their expressions of satisfaction on the government’s probe into the blasts.

He says that he was wrongly accused of having an anti-Muslim bias when he banned the burial of Muslims who died of COVID and ordered their cremation. He says he did so solely on the advice of experts.

Gotabaya concedes that he was seen as being anti-Tamil and anti-Muslims because of his own statement at his inauguration that he was elected by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. The accusation stemmed also because he had defeated the Tamil separatists and patronised the Bodu Bala Sena and its chief Gnanasara Thero. Therefore, at the Galle Face agitation venue“Gota Go Gama” there was a strong presence of Tamils and Muslims but fewer Sinhala-Buddhists, he says. It is his contention that he was not wrong to give primacy to the Sinhala –Buddhists as the minorities were being unduly favoured by successive governments.

Contradiction with Ruling Party

Gotabaya also points to the absence of support from the dominant political party in parliament, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), for his inability to function to his satisfaction.

He attributed the disconnect with the SLPP MPs and other party functionaries to his inability to meet their political needs due to his apolitical background and also his bid to promote apolitical experts in place of politicians to depoliticise the administration. Also with such a large majority in parliament, it was not possible to meet every MP’s aspirations.

Weak Security Structure

Gotabaya attributes the massive street violence, which ultimately forced him to flee the country and resign, partly to an unprepared and weak security apparatus whose top functionaries were scared of Western sanctions, and partly to a lack of an understanding between the Commander of the Army Gen Silva and the Defence Secretary Gen Gunaratne, due to the absence of a clearly defined hierarchy.

The cavalier approach of Maitripala Sirisena’s“Yahapalanaya” government to matters of security had weakened the country’s security apparatus to the point where no steps were taken to follow up on available intelligence on the nefarious plans of Islamic radicals.

India Lauded

But one foreign power which comes in praise in Gotabaya’s book is India. Gotabaya thanks India profusely for its timely economic aid which saved Sri Lanka when an unprecedented shortage of essential goods occurred due to a severe foreign exchange shortage.

He says:“In February 2022, the former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa had negotiated a loan of USD 500 million from India for imports of fuel. In March 2022, he had negotiated another USD 1000 million from India for essential imports. Earlier, in January 2022, Central Bank Govenor Cabraal had negotiated another USD 400 million SWAP with the Reserve Bank of India.”

“From January to March 2022 and beyond, India deferred payments due from Sri Lanka to the tune of USD 2100 million. It was this financial pipeline worth about USD 4000 million kept open by India that enabled Sri Lanka to keep importing fuel and other essential items even after I resigned and well into the tenure of my successor.
I have to express my heartfelt gratitude to India for this unstinting help at a moment of crisis which is what enabled the Sri Lankan economy to stabilise by the end of 2022.”

Foreign Hand

On the foreign hand allegedly behind his ouster, Gotabaya says in a chapter entitled: Destabilisation by Fifth Columnists:“ It would be extremely naïve for anyone to claim that there was no foreign hand in the moves made to oust me from power.”

“My very assumption of power was met with prejudice and resentment by interested parties overseas. This was a carry forward from the days of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government which was toppled in January 2015 through the intervention of foreign parties. We began to feel the heavy hand of foreign intervention in the politics of the country particularly from the time we won the war
against the LTTE in 2009. We managed to fight that war to a finish despite attempts made by certain foreign powers to prevent the total defeat of the LTTE.”

“The increasing number of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka after 2006 brought an element of geopolitical rivalry into this intervention.”

Foreign Powers’ Domestic Compulsions

Alluding to domestic political compulsions driving the Western powers to do what they did, the former President says:“In Britain and Canada in particular, the Sri Lankan Tamil migrant vote could at times be decisive in elections and political parties assiduously cultivate the Tamil Diaspora.”

“Certain other developed countries which may not have such pressing domestic compulsions – at least not to the same degree – also tend to get involved in Sri Lankan affairs due to considerations of bloc solidarity or shared ideology or due to the need to uphold their geo-political interests.”

The economic successes notched up by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government also aroused envy, Gotabaya contends.

“We presided over a nine-year economic boom which saw the per capita GDP increasing from USD 1240 in 2005 to USD 3819 in2014. Certain external powers resented both the independence and the success of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government.”

Foreign-backed NGOs

Taking advantage of the separatist war, European countries sent non-government organizations funded by them to“promote the international liberal agenda, Gotabaya says.

“By the time the war ended, even trade unions that had started off as Marxist or Leftist had been turned into promoters of the international liberal agenda. This demonstrates the power of these foreign powers have over Sri Lankan society. There is virtually no one that they cannot buy over.”

“These foreign powers maintain a permanent cadre of activists to promote their agenda in this country and can at short notice deploy dozens of commentators, speakers, writers to create public opinion in Sri Lanka.”

“It’s a known fact that it is very easy for the foreign powers to buy influence in this country. Money is just one way of buying influence. Granting a permanent visa, giving a scholarship to the offspring of important persons,“research” grants or even a simple foreign trip will often be enough to induce certain people to act against national interests of their country.”

“The past decade shows that no population in any nation or culture has proved immune to such blandishments”.

“This is much cheaper than an outright invasion and an added bonus is that the outside party bears no responsibility for what happens as a result of their actions,” Gotabaya contends.

In addition to the NGOs, he says:“There were the usual opposition types associated with various political parties, the JVP, FSP (Peratugami Party), SJB and the UNP. According to one prominent UNP functionary, the UNP alone had 17 tents at Galle Face. Virtually all those who at the Galle Face Aragalaya (the Struggle) were those who would oppose me anyway.”

Ideological Factor

The ousted President stresses the play of the ideological factor in foreign meddling.

“We see the so called liberals waging an uncompromising and unprincipled war to maintain their hegemony over the world. Filled with notions of their own moral superiority liberals will resort to anything to have their way. There was this element as well in the street actions taken to oust me from the presidency. Thus we had a toxic mix of foreign money, geopolitical interests and notions of ideological superiority all coming together at a strategically appropriate time to achieve the objectives of certain parties in Sri Lanka.”

Prejudged

Gotabaya says that his government formed in November 2019, was“unfairly prejudged from the beginning by certain external parties.”

On November 27, 2019, the then leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, writing to the Tamil Guardian, drew attention to a pledge in the Labour Party manifesto to“work through the UN and the Commonwealth to insist on the protection of human rights in Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil and Muslim populations.”

Corbyn went on to tell the Tamil diaspora:“It is deeply troubling that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made an ominous pledge to rescind the Sri Lankan government’s 2015 agreement with the UN to investigate alleged war crimes by both the government forces and Tamil rebels …… I know you won’t give up until justice is done and I won’t either. And as I have long said, the right of Tamils to determine their own future is central to this.”

Build Up

Gotabaya then goes on to recall that in less than two weeks after he assumed office, the international media carried a story about a Sri Lanka female staff of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo having been abducted by unidentified persons to extract some information from her. The Sri Lankan press carried the story subsequently.

The Swiss embassy wanted her to be flown out of Sri Lanka in an air ambulance. But a thorough investigation by the Sri Lankan police revealed that the abduction claim was a“complete fabrication.” In July 2023 the staffer pleaded guilty at the Colombo High Court which gave her two years’ of Rigorous Imprisonment and an order to compensate the State with LKR 2 million.

In December 2019, the Swiss Federal Court ruled that the LTTE was not a criminal organization and set free 12 Sri Lankan Tamils who had broken the Swiss Penal Code by collecting money for the LTTE from 1999 to 2009.

On January 26, 2020, less than eight weeks after he assumed office, the Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying that the“New President seems intent not only to wipe away the Rajapaksas’ past abuses but clear the path for future ones.”

In February 2020, the US State Department imposed a travel ban on the then Commander of the Sri Lankan army Gen Silva and his immediate family alleging that he was involved“through command responsibility” in gross violations of human rights during the separatist war.

Gotabaya attributes the long school teachers’ strike during the pandemic and the detention of a Russian commercial aircraft in the Katunayaka airport to conspiracies by interested parties to cripple the educational system and to drive a wedge between Sri Lanka and friendly Russia. In the case of the Russian aircraft, a court employee and a lawyer had gone out of the way to stop the stop arrest the aircraft.

These incidents could not be“coincidental,” the former President says.

The economic crisis that followed the pandemic was not due to his actions, which were well-intentioned like the changes in the tax structure and the ban on chemical fertilizers, but due to mismanagement during the 2015-2019 Yahapalanaya government, Gotabaya says.

Aragalaya

About the street protests over the shortage of food, fuel and other necessities, called Arahalaya, Gotabaya says that he allowed the them in front of the Presidential Secretariat without any hindrance. Tents, mobile toilets and an“inexhaustible supply of food and drink began to arrive at the site to encourage the protesters,” he recalls hinting that the struggle was well planned and funded.

On April 9, 2022, the security personnel warned him that the“Aragalaya” (The Struggle) activists were going to attack the Presidential palace.“The moment this happened, two European Ambassadors called me in a state of agitation wanting to know whether I was going to drive the protesters out of Galle Face. They were keen to ensure that the protesters were allowed to remain at Galle Face,” Gotabaya recalls.

On April 19, 2022, police shooting at a mob in Rambukkana to quell a mob which was attacking a fuel bowser, had resulted one death.

“The Ambassador of the United State to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, called for a full and transparent investigation into the Rambukkana incident and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka Hanaa-Singer Hamdy expressed deep concern over the casualties reported during the protests in Rambukkana.”

By this time, there was an actual physical mob on the streets and a virtual mob in the social media as well. The mob went berserk burning and damaging buses and 70 houses of SLPP supporters, invaded the Presidential palace and burnt the Prime Minister Ranil Wckremesinghe’s private residence.

“This is a different kind of terrorism, which, while claiming to be bloodless, is in fact more effective than the old style terrorism,” Goyabaya says.

He goes on to call for a new legal and regulatory framework for breakdowns of law and order and national security. These have to change from time to time to enable the armed forces and police to handle a situation effectively, he suggest

And“as in the past, strict protocols must be enforced to regulate, monitor and limit the interactions of senior officers of the armed services, police and intelligence services have with the staff of foreign embassies. Visits by foreign Ambassadors to military installations should also be stopped,” he urges.

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