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egg 1It was vastly entertaining, while away, to read Sarath Fonseka’s latest interpretation of history. He typically weighed in when Jagath Jayasuriya was attacked in Brazil, to claim that he had been trying to investigate Jayasuriya for war crimes when he was removed from the post of army commander.

This was not a reason he gave when he resigned from the post of Chief of Defence Staff. Amongst the reasons he cited there were two that related to the role of tough guy that he had relished before becoming the tool of countries that resented our victory over the LTTE. Thus in his letter he noted the refusal of the President to expand the army as he had recommended.

I had found this an embarrassment when I headed the Peace Secretariat. The Economist’s correspondent in Delhi – an intelligent young man who provided me with material that helped me, together with the then head of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, to rein in its more aggressively anti-Sri Lankan personnel – asked why government wanted to expand the army after we had won the war. I told him this was not the government’s intention, but he then cited Sarath Fonseka and I had to say that the army commander was entitled to his views, but the government thought this unnecessary.

Sarath drew attention to this disagreement when he resigned, and also to the government’s decision to resettle the displaced before he thought this should be done. This was also embarrassing, given that I had been the focal point for questions about this, and had indeed written to Basil Rajapaksa to tell him that we were taking too long. Basil called me up and gave me an earful, evidently under the impression that I was doing this at the behest of the Americans (unbeknown to me, the head of American Aid, Rebecca Cohn, knowing that I was writing, had written herself, though she told me that she had not wanted to do this but been compelled by her boss – I think it was the then Deputy, since the more nuanced Bob Blake had been transferred by then). Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2018
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