Intelligence Network Failures in Sri Lanka

Siri Hewawitharana, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, with this titleSL Death Cult and Political Corruption that created this monster”

I present a few details re the SL state security apparatus during the war period some details about the major work that started after the war with the goal of creating better defenses for the SL state

There were many engineering talents helping SL military with signal, satellite and other cyber warfare work during Eelam War IV. Gotabaya was instrumental in installing a single command structure for all 3 services and the police. In fact, he also asked me to help with the Army Research and Development group by servicing a suitable command structure and product development.

… a caricature that is not Hewa’s but one introduced by The Editor, Thuppahi to attract attention to this article. See note at end

The first meeting was organized by Kapila Hendawitharana with about 12-15 senior generals and other staffs including a Melbourne educated IT director with a  Phd. We faced many legal constraints due to the manner in which the Army was funded and also because of the Army Act. The fact was that we needed to get smart people into the organization where the goal was the development of a high level security group that could function parallel to defense but attached to the army. Towards this end I clarified the US defense structure and how they interacted – with special attention to their cyber command structure and line of authority. On top of that I also provided US security NIST Cyber Security document standards that should be followed within the armed forces and also within key govt. departments in order to avoid fraud and also unauthorized access.

Gotabaya asked me to design the cyber command structure and create a special room for that purpose.  I was given access to Panagoda camp which I found not suitable. After that Gotabaya told me to find a suitable place and also design the room and its facilities.

All these facilities and plans were done under Gotabaya’s watch  including the scheme for an upmarket surveillance network — supposed to start with Colombo serving as a major  set of arteries so that in case of emergencies we could gather real time data via those cameras. Unfortunately, oncethec UNP govt. came to power in 2015, all these schemes were stopped and the finances were taken away.

The intelligence network that had been built down to village level during the war was disbanded and the head of intelligence, Kapila was pushed out. So the island was left at the mercy of Wahhabi’s, with their lavish trove of money left free to win favours –oftentimes, perhaps, by effectively bribing Muslim ministers and the  UNP hierarchy. If there is a commission set up to probe the recent heinous terrorist attacks, it should investigate how the Wahhabis got a foothold in SL and who their paymasters are. These traitors should be put under lock and key and also have their properties confiscated.

There is a clear link between the massive supply of drugs that are coming into SL and the foreign Islam terror groups. Again, SL should ban all Madrassas since this is how Wahhabis are getting a foothold in countries that create terror. Wahhabis are a death cult and have nothing to do with the Islam.

Finally, Ranil as a PM should take responsibility for these failures since he started to dismantle the Intelligence command set up during the war and also encouraged Wahhabism in SL because of the search for votes and funds for his party.

We need to redefine all 3 forces under a new Defense Act that can be used any time without a State of Emergency so that police can request help from the Defense Forces services when urgently required. Given modern terror tactics, the SL state cannot rely on the old fashioned British legal framework. Such a system cannot serve SL defense needs. Also we need to stop giving visas to foreign Islam workers and preachers.

Finally let me stress that during the Eelam War, the ground level intelligence gathering and LRRP operators mostly came from individuals from the local Muslim community. The country owes so much to this group and we can only hope that the local Muslim communities gather and help the country prosper under one nation.

We need to create smart communities that help our defense forces and the govt. with smart people and hope govt. and the president have a plan to attract all SL patriots that are in the global arena with so much expertise to come back to SL without the burden of red tape so that they serve our peoples.

Siri Hewawitharana, Executive Director, Sydney, Australia.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I sometimes introduce striking photograph or caricature into an article drawn from elsewhere — in order to attract attention to the piece. This caricature is a “stirrer”. I am not guided by the ideas propagated by whoever fashioned this cartoon.  While Wahhabism is associated with the 18th century Islamic intellectual Muḥammad Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1702/3–1791/2), its force since the mid 20th century is usually attributed to the Egyptian ideologue Said Qutb and Al Zawahiri of Al-Qaida fame. So, to my mind, the three caricatures highlight three monstrous forces within the Middle East –and thus the World. It does not signify anything more … But, clearly, readers will impute their own readings. THE CARTOON is not the debating point here.

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