Stephen Long is clearly an adventurous American who has travelled widely and ventured into the paths of Buddhist meditation as a central facet within this journey – so much so that he adopted a brahmacharya philosophy of life leading to his ordination in Los Angeles. He does not seem to be a mere dabbler in the Buddhist dispensation: he has published a book entitled Karmic Ties: A Novel of Modern Asia (1999). He also got to know Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In my conjecture this could have been in Los Angeles; but he also refers to a meeting with Gotabaya when the latter was effectively overseeing Defence (with his brother President Mahinda as formal Minister).
His recent article “Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics” betrays a distinct bias: it overblows the weight of Gotabaya’s hand in Sri Lanka’s victory in Eelam War IV just a tad. However, when Long asserts that Gotabaya Rajapaksa “literally had the country ‘wired’ for real-time information-collecting and feedback to authorities,” he pinpoints a vital pillar in the war campaign. As we know from a wide variety of sources and as Long claims, this security pillar was systematically dismantled by the Yahapālana government, thereby opening the door for the Zahran Hashim network to implement its carnage on Easter Sunday despite intel-reports from abroad with concrete data on their intent (see below). Continue reading
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Political Editor, Sunday Times, 19 May 2019, where the title runs “Sri Lanka caught in the big power conflicts”
When elephants fight, an African proverb says, it is the ants that get crushed. In essence that encapsulates how the small and weak become dangerously vulnerable when big powers fight for dominance and even hegemony. That is Sri Lanka now.
President Maithripala Sirisena returned from China on Thursday after adding another explosive chapter to this big nation power play. His Media Office head-lined a statement saying, “three significant agreements with China on national security and development were signed.” However, there was no mention of what these agreements were or the different titles.
Bilateral talks on security between China and Sri Lanka under way Continue reading
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General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is “Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”
While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.
1 What went wrong?
At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading
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Asiri Fernando, in Sunday Times, 12 May 2019, “Easter Sunday bombers used high-tech communication: Army Chief”
The terrorists who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings used a Swiss developed, highly encrypted mobile communication App named “Threema”, Army Chief Lt. General Mahesh Senanaayake told the Sunday Times. The mobile phone App boasts ‘best in the class’ end-to-end encryption and allows a user to generate a random Threema ID, thereby giving anonymity to the user, the product website claimed. The level of encryption used by the said App makes intercepting or decrypting such communications very difficult for Sri Lankan authorities with available technologies.
Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes