In response to SOFA agreements and military bases

4 July 2019 - 260   - 0

I was in my favourite, Sri Lanka, for the past three weeks. My memories rewind to some three decades ago when I was here on a special assignment for an international agency.

By Roger Philipps

I was in my favourite, Sri Lanka, for the past three weeks. My memories rewind to some three decades ago when I was here on a special assignment for an international agency.

The beautiful sandy beaches smile. The soft chill winds that blow over the green tea gardens caress you with love. The roads have become wider and what was once barren land has been replaced by multi storeyed structures.

It is only the vicious vile in man that keeps wearing out this fascinating fabric. There was a 26-year-old insurgency by Tamil militants. They were eliminated from the battleground. Peace and calm arrived. Moving behind these was development and harmony.

All this was torn again by a handful of Muslim extremists who were inculcated with IS ideology that has become the scourge of the world. With just a couple of weeks, Sri Lanka has begun to limp again. How long more it will take to walk, walk fast and in confidence, perhaps, no one is able to say.

It is in this midst I was compelled to write a few lines to your newspaper, the Sunday Times. I have been a keen observer and student of Sri Lankan affairs and still speak about in London. Your newspaper not only gives me as accurate as possible a picture of what is going on in your country. Even more, you have had the courage, the conviction and a commitment to your country’s national interest, in this journey, you have ignored friends and foes in equal measure, reporting the truth. This allows your discerning public to form their own opinions.

I was deeply saddened how a London based website - The Colombo Telegraph has sunk to such low depths. Your newspaper broke the story about the ACSA and later revealed the contents of the Status of Forces Agreement last Sunday.

What this erratic website did was to lift your story and give their own mischievous interpretation - that Sri Lanka was becoming a defence colony of the Americans. Naturally, the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Allaina B. Teplitz tweeted that that US has no plans to have bases in Sri Lanka and would not violate Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

What did the Colombo Telegraph, now maters at yellow journalism, gossip and propaganda for those who pay them, do? They published another story. They said the US Ambassador was responding to the Sunday Times account and named the author. Surely, the Ambassador’s tweet had no reference at all to your newspaper.

That this website is run by a highly controversial businessman cum “journalist” is no secret. The more you pay, the more he will take your side. There are odd ball figures like a Dr Hoot, and a few NGOs who are funding the shadowy website.Their reputation in Colombo is well known.

All I can say is this, time is running short for them. I know that British intelligence is now doing a study of their activities, using British soil to malign others. They have found out that the servers are located outside UK and they operate from London. The intelligence study is a prelude to new laws that the British government will introduce to rope in this asylum seeker and others who are making a living with fake news, disinformation and even blackmail.

Recently they said the President of Sri Lanka has asked the Attorney General to go slow with regard to cases on Easter Sunday attackers. Only yesterday, the Police arrested Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundera who served then.

Hiding behind the façade of a website, they will get their just deserts sooner or later.




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