I explain here how I was blacklisted by the Americans, after highlighting the appalling behaviour of their Political Affairs Officer Paul Carter. The Foreign Ministry should have summoned the ambassador and got him expelled, which would have happened in any other country, but our ostrich approach to everything, burying one’s head in the sand and hoping troubles would go away, made us vulnerable to all attacks and, after the war, defence was not a priority.

The pictures are of the three Americans, Butenis and the good Anderson and the wicked Carter, and then of Kumar Rupesinghe and Harsha Navaratne who told me the story I publicized.

Blacklisted by the Americans

In the afternoon, after a TV interview, I went to a meeting Kumar Rupesinghe had summoned to see how civil society could contribute to dealing with the Darusman allegations, and there I was told by Harsha Navaratne about how the American Political Affairs Officer, Paul Carter, had tried to suborn the Defence Ministry spokesman, to give evidence against the government, in exchange for asylum in the States and support for a sick child he had. This struck me as outrageous, and I promptly wrote a piece about it that evening, which upset the Americans no end when it appeared that week in the papers.

We met on three days that week at the bank, morning and afternoon on two of them, to work on the report on the support provided to civilians, and we also had another meeting with the TNA in Parliament, while I also had another meeting on the Human Rights Action Plan which I was trying now to finalize. Then on the Saturday we had a meeting of the Trinity Board at which, though a majority was against extending the Principal, I suggested a compromise of giving him one more year, and then I went to the cottage for some intensive writing the next day.

The following morning I went on getting back to Colombo for a meeting that had been scheduled with Patricia Butenis, but found her furious and unwilling to go on with our reconciliation meetings. Jeff Anderson, who had helped to set up these meetings, was clearly upset, and though very proper informed me that there were some very strange people in the Embassy. The ICRC Representative told me later that Patricia had had tremendous disagreements with Paul Carter, and I suspect she felt he had overstepped the mark but I could understand why she had to cut me off after I had exposed him. But we did talk to each other cordially when we met, and she tried to reassure me, when Carter tried the same trick with Maithripala Sirisena, that he had been misunderstood.

That afternoon I saw Lalith to finalize my terms of reference, and received the formal letter the next day. I went to the cottage that night for the next day I had to go to the Ratnapura Provincial Council to see the Chief Minister and his staff about an MoU to get Volunteer English teachers for the province. I had entertained to lunch beforehand at the cottage Cyril and Heather Mundy who had run the programme earlier, and then on the way back to Colombo I saw the lovely house at Pokunuwita which Anjalan had built for them. Unfortunately, when the route of the Southern Highway was altered, after political interference, the house was destroyed, though they later built another which was also very elegant in the same area.