Parliament was told recently that the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Australian Federal Police were working with the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the investigations into the April 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.
Sri Lankan lawyers - deemed officers of Court - do not have access to police investigations, except when police file reports of investigations in Courts. The presence, participation or involvement of foreign police personnel in local investigations are illegal because under our law, the responsibility and accountability for all local investigations are vested in the OIC of the police station or unit, though there are exceptions not relevant to this discussion.
Investigations by foreign personnel who are not accountable and not subject to the jurisdiction of Sri Lankan Courts will taint the credibility of the CID investigations and affect the due process of rendering justice.
The draft Counter-Terrorism Act, which was to replace the controversial Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1979, ran into strong opposition, because inter alia the draft had a vague provision legalising foreign involvement and interventions in local criminal investigations. That provision in the draft law is obviously obnoxious. Foreign interests invariably conflict with local interests. These interests certainly do not coincide due to geo-political factors.
The presence, participation or involvement of foreign police personnel in local investigations are illegal because under our law, the responsibility and accountability for all local investigations are vested in the OIC of the police station or unit, though there are exceptions not relevant to this discussion
Foreign participation in Sri Lankan criminal investigations is entirely different to obtaining INTERPOL assistance to track suspects or receiving foreign intelligence, which are subject to local evaluations, credibly assessments and cross investigations. Evidentiary value in Courts of Law of such tainted investigations will adversely affect the credibility of the prosecution version. It will certainly be exploited by the defence.
We have heard claims that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world to defeat terrorism. Substantially true! It does not mean, however, that powerful countries do not know how to successfully end wars on terror! It is in their national interest, as producers of arms and ammunition to successfully continue the wars for as long as possible. Vietnam (18 years) and Afghanistan (20 years) are typical examples of the rich enriching themselves while the poor were blood wrenched and pauperised, the rich not forgetting thereafter to donate a little blood and their lending agencies not hesitating to help with loans, of course under wide publicity so that the atrocities are soon forgotten by the oppressed. The point is that the true interests of arms-producing countries are diametrically opposed to those of developing nations, struggling to stand on their own feet.
The Americans and Australians may have been asked to manage and direct the CID because the Sri Lankans have no credible answers to the question of who happens to be the ‘mahamolakaruwa’ of the Easter Sunday attacks! We really do not know.
The FBI may not investigate the globally publicised assertion of respected Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith in his speech on July 21, 2019 on the sombre occasion of the re-consecration of the Katuwapitiya St Sebastian’s Church that, “Easter Sunday mayhem was an international conspiracy and not merely the work of Islamic extremists”. The Archbishop also referred to a report that ISIS leader AL Baghdadi was in a military camp run by the “most powerful nation in the world” and that “We are worried that ISIS leaders are being used by this powerful nation to fulfil their vested interests”. What these ‘vested interests’ are, soon we will know. The FBI will not have any doubts at whom the finger is pointed at but will never find the Easter attacks’ mahamolakaruwas in the US or its virtual 51st State, Israel!
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem told Parliament the other day that the Israeli connection needs to be probed. Michael Bar-Zohar who had served in the Mossad, spent nine years besides Israel’s founder David Ben-Gurion and fought in four Israeli-Arab wars, in his book, ‘Mossad: the greatest missions of the Israeli Secret Service’ co-authored with Nissim Mishal, (21stJaico Impression 2019), leaves no room for readers not to believe that there is any major strategic security event occurring anywhere in the world without Mossad’s involvement!
Australia, the Indo-Pacific Quad partner of the United States, on the other hand, may find it uncomfortable to investigate possible radicalisation of suicide bomber Zahran Hashim from the New Zealand Christchurch mass shooting on March 15, 2019, a month and days before 21/4, killing 52 Muslims at Friday prayers in two mosques. It is well known that the Christchurch perpetrator happened to be a 28-year-old Australian! This mass shooting was debated in Sri Lanka’s Parliament as one of the immediate causes that may have advanced and triggered the Easter Sunday attacks.
It is also very unlikely that the FBI will evaluate the report of Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Select Committee or the more recent report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the Easter Sunday attacks both of which referred to the emergence of majoritarian extremism (both reports had chapters unacceptably titled ‘Buddhist extremism’) as also having contributed to the radicalisation of terrorist Zahran Hashim. It will, however, be worthwhile to look at the Norwegian role, following the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, in brainwashing selected groups of majoritarian innocent persons against the Muslims, the only Tamil speaking minority whom the LTTE perceived as obstructionists to Tamil Eelam.
Investigators may also look at the follow-up actions taken on the advance warnings given to the authorities by the Muslim community as early as, late 2014 of the radical inclinations of Zahran Hashim, long before the alleged RAW reports of April 4, 2019 and thereafter. Muslims also complained to the then IG Police and also the then Attorney-General through the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to take action on matters that were contributing to the perceived radicalisation. One of those who complained to the then IG Police is well known Muslim civil activist Azath Sally who is under arrest and completed three months detention June 16, 2021, under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions ) Act of 1979, though it is equally well known that he had nothing to do with the Easter Sunday attacks.
There are other aspects to the US FBI and its Quad partner Australia illegally investigating crimes in Sri Lanka. One is the United Nations -Human Rights Council (UN HRC) resolution of March 2021, which has authorised the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN HCHR) to set up a special mechanism to monitor not only the alleged war crimes during the last phase of the separatist war but also about ongoing violations of human rights, including forced cremations.
Dr Tush Wickramanayake, a National Health Service medical practitioner in the UK and daughter of Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka who was also one time elected President (1955) of the ‘Ceylon Students’ Association of UK’ in a recent interview with KamanthiWickramasinghe of the Daily Mirror, June 9, 2021 following Dr Wickramanayake’s fervent appeal to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to help Sri Lanka by providing an urgent supply of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca has said:
“The monumental mistake was appointing a Geologist to the COVID Task Force who promulgated mythological facts about the virus entering underground water system. This was utilised as a tool to encourage ethnic conflict by disallowing burials in Sri Lanka contrary to WHO guidance. In fact all twelve Fundamental Rights petitions against forced cremations were disallowed on the basis of the fabricated evidence of the Geologist…. Such heartbreaking human rights violations resulted in UNHRC resolution taking a firm stance on Sri Lanka”. The dismissal of the cremations petitions may also come under UNHCHR’s focus.
The other is Resolution 413 of May 18, 2021 pending in the US House of Representatives, analysed earlier in detail by the Sunday Times Political Editor. The proposed resolution recommends the United States to explore “investigations and prosecutions pursuant to the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights” and urges the US to work with the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council and the UNHRC to establish an international mechanism for accountability for grave crimes committed during the war in Sri Lanka.
It looks as if Sri Lanka had already facilitated the US FBI to set up a base in Sri Lanka to handle the coming issues of the UNHCHR even before Resolution 413 was adopted by the US House of Representatives! Probably the CIA with a history of toppling foreign governments, not in line with the US, may also path-find its way with great ease, if they are not here already.
The processes set against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC originally by the US and now by the UK are serious enough for any responsible government to understand. Lord Michael Naseby in his speech in the British House of Lords as recently as May 19, 2021, refuted allegations of genocide and figures of 40,000 deaths in Sri Lanka but put the maximum deaths at between 6,000 and 7,000. More importantly, he also said, “If the UK chooses to dictate, then let me be clear: there is a clear risk to our Indo-Pacific strategy on Sri Lanka.”
The Indo-Pacific strategy as I see it is the four US and Quad countries backed by the UK and NATO countries, preparing South Asia as the battleground for the next chapter in the unceasing wars already strategised by Western arms industries. The strategic conflicts, unfortunately, may commence soon enough, likely within the next few years and possibly last for the next three to four decades to ensure their factories unceasingly produce arms that kill.
They need only a pretext and they are creating it! Past pretexts include communism, Islam and now China! Let us not forget that not a decade had passed during the last 500 years without the Western countries fighting wars originally amongst themselves and now with others in the third world, one country or a few at a time. We cannot afford to ignore that the agendas of arms-producing countries are clearly and eternally opposed to countries like ours yearning for peace. The composition of the foreign investigators and their extra-territorial operations need to be watched.