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Spinning conspiracy theories or launching political manifestos when DISASTER management is the need of the hour

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By Chandre Dharmawardana

There is always a certain amount of truth in all conspiracy theories, putting the blame on the CIA, RAW, the Tiger Diaspora, ISIS, Chinese-Debt Trap, NGOs, etc. But it is NEVER the whole truth. Even looking for the truth becomes secondary when mitigating disaster should become the priority.

The suggestion that the upheaval in Sri Lanka is a part of the rise of drone warfare is just another twist in the current slew of conspiracy theories. The US military machine gaining more and more control of the Electro-Magnetic spectrum is part of the cyber-warfare that started some decades ago. Military satellites that fly over every country, deployed by the US, provide the infrastructure for military deployment of weapons, be they drones or intercontinental missiles.

Military observers expected greater use of drone warfare in Ukraine, but saw very little. Even in Afghanistan where the terrain is difficult, although strategists talked of a drone war to heavily tilt the war to the US, it did not happen.

Similarly, in the battle against ISIS, while some drone hits were used to “remove” a few ISIS leaders, Osama, etc., extensive application of drones did not materialise. Drones have failed to significantly penetrate North Korea. The whole point is, shielding from electromagnetic radiation can be done by simply covering yourself with metal foil (c.f., “Faraday cage”, a technology going back to Michael Faraday of the 19th century).

The US was booted out by Cuban rebels, the Viet Cong, in Iran, and by the primitive Taliban.  The US proxy wars in many other places (e. g., Somalia) have stalled in spite of vastly superior technology.

So, most conspiracy theories,are strongly hyped up tabloid stuff without backup evidence from any of the conflict zones or military fronts.

In Sri Lanka, the social unrest started with farmers protesting when they foresaw failed harvests when the government told them to go organic and use traditional methods that avoid agro-chemical inputs. The upper-class proponents of organic farming who had fondly grown tomatoes in their hobby backyards did not know that every kilo of chemical fertiliser has to be replaced by huge amounts (metric tonnes) of organic manure to get viable harvests.

That Sri Lanka is an agrarian society is its strength and its weakness. Successive rulers (except perhaps the Senanayakes) had merely paid lip service to this but gone on to undermine the farmers. The left movements with their accent on urban trade unions and “industrialisation” have been largely detrimental to farmers. Organisations, like MONLAR, support the fertiliser fiasco and idolize Luddites.

The nationalists (be they Sinhala or Tamil) have also been detrimental to farmers in directing them to medieval agricultural practices, claiming that the moderns have allegedly “poisoned mother earth with agrochemicals”. It was Gunadasa Amarasekera who wrote a forward to Channa Jayasumana’s slanderous book named “Wakugadu Hatana”.

So, the “Jathika” movements and their politicians blindly misled the farmers. The consequent protest by farmers was genuine and not spawned by the “CIA” or other agents. The protest by farmers was strengthened by the revolt of the middle-class urban dwellers who couldn’t even cook their meals as the supply of cooking gas dwindled out, or exploded in monkeyed gas cylinders. The usually dormant middle class also came out to protest.

The protest was hijacked and coordinated into a concerted event, using whatsApp and Facebook messages. The slogan “Gota Go Home” was coordinated to appear in all agitations, including in Western Capitals. It is easy to ascertain that the protests in Western capitals were partly coordinated by JVP-linked groups.

While the JVP is ostensibly a leftist Marxist party, it is also alleged to be funded by US-linked political interests; the JVP was a significant component of the US-backed Yahapalanaya government. So, identifying the JVP and some other leftist fronts as mere Western instruments is a common type of conspiracy theory. More realistically, the JVP is an opportunistic political organisation taking funds from anyone without much public backing, but well organised for agitation and propaganda.

The theories on class war and historical materialism have now proved false by post-World-War-I and WWII histories. But they still provide simplified political messages that resonate with some youth groups and an older generation of Marxists still driven by 1950s nostalgia.

The protesters in ‘GotaGoGama’ at Galle Face are supported by meal packets provided by a number of private companies. It has become a surreal “big-match-style” carnival for the middle-class and elite Colombo youth who can pride themselves of being “militant”.

However, all this is now irrelevant. The task of destroying Sri Lanka was during 2012-2022, mostly due to mismanagement by uneducated politicians rather than due to foreign machinations (that were certainly there) or due to corruption (which was certainly there).

From 2009-2011, the Sri Lankan economy grew very fast due to the money poured into infrastructure development (roads, fly-overs, bridges, railways, electric grids, resource structures), and in rehabilitating and de-mining the North and East. But this construction was largely supported by borrowed money. From 2012 onwards the economy dipped downwards. So, most of the forex earnings went to pay loans, buy fuel (energy) and food.

Even in 2009 (and also before and after) I have written many articles and given many seminars, etc., in Sri Lanka emphasising that the money spent for food and fuel can be readily saved by simple locally available technological steps that involve the agricultural sector and the energy sector. [https://dh-web.org/place.names/posts/dev-tech-2009.ppt]

However, politicians preferred turn-key vanity projects that guaranteed earning opportunities for themselves without realising that they are forfeiting the whole country.

Now that the ship has sunk, the politicians have gone to the IMF, the international Shylock. A mere pittance of a loan will come, after agreeing to put “matters right” by “cost cutting”. However, on listening to the speeches by various economists (e.g., Dr. Harsha de Silva of the Opposition) or political leaders (e.g., Anura Kumara Dissanayake) we see that the political leaders do not understand that there is a catastrophe. They are talking of long-term projects like “rapid industrialization”, “cutting corruption”, “jailing the culprits”, etc., that we have heard from them in previous times.

But what about impending riots when famine strikes, garbage accumulates, water pumps stop, hospitals close, etc.,? Where are their disaster plans?

If you are bankrupt, you cannot get loans any more. Mere charity will leave you as a perpetual pauper. So, is Sri Lanka to identify its sellable assets and sell them to international buyers who have the Forex to manage them? The Tea plantations and other agricultural assets, the loss-making SriLankan Airlines and the Ceylon Electricity Board, etc., are they all under the gun? Is this the inevitable fate of small nations that fail to retain self-sufficiency in food and energy supplies? This is made more painful because Sri Lanka was one clear case where such self-sufficiency was possible

Even the UK has sold some of its priced industries, and allowed London to be the centre of questionable money laundering to avert economic collapse that loomed ahead. In Sri Lanka, the collapse has come. Is “the family jewellery” on the auction block?

The politicians planning an interim government or wanting to go it alone have to reveal their plans for facing disaster.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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