Monday, December 14, 2009

An attempt at hara-kiri - Island Editorial

There is a high octane performance on the part of government propagandists and their Opposition counterparts engaged in a ruthless mud-slinging contest.

The government used to boast that it had ensured there were no irregularities in military purchases unlike in the past. But, now, we are being told that while Fonseka was the army commander, his son-in-law was involved in some questionable business deals with the army.

In the aftermath of Prabhakaran’s death, Fonseka pooh-poohed allegations of war crimes against the army. When asked, at the inaugural press conference after entering politics, to comment on moves being made in some quarters to press war crime charges against the Sri Lankan military, Fonseka said those who wanted to do so had to make specific charges with times, dates, locations etc mentioned––the implication being that the allegations levelled against Sri Lanka were baseless. He has also claimed on more than one occasion that he personally handled the successful ground operations which decapitated the LTTE.

Now, we have Fonseka saying he has information that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa ordered a ground commander to kill the LTTE leaders who tried to surrender. (The Sunday Leader of Dec. 13, 2009)

As much as the government's allegations against Fonseka and his son-in-law are tantamount to a self-indictment, Fonseka's charge against Gotabhaya has seriously affected his own credibility in that he contradicts his much advertised claim that he alone commanded the victorious army. If Fonseka says that his ground commanders who steered the army to victory took orders from someone else, how could he justify his attempt to promote himself in politics as the man who won the war and seek the executive presidency in return, as it were?

Both the government and Fonseka, blinded by rage, venom and thirst for power, are sadly serving the purpose of sinister anti-Sri Lankan forces which craftily managed to cause a split in the anti-terrorism camp by pitting Fonseka against Rajapaksa. The wise old folk in this country may call this method 'using a pig's back to chop its own meat'. Fonseka said a few weeks ago, while he was still Chief of Defence Staff, that he had resisted during a tour of the US a move by the US Homeland Security Department to elicit information about Gotabhaya as regards what had happened during the final stages of war. Today, he is levelling a serious allegation against Defence Secretary Rajapaksa and Maj. Gen. Shavindra Silva, an efficient ground commander who became famous for his 170-kilometre-long 'March to the Sea' from Mannar to the eastern coast via Pooneryn. Ironically, Shavindra was handpicked by Fonseka himself for that task over and above others.

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