SRI LANKA BOMBINGS: the sensational political background that most reporters have missed

me1511172Who looked the other way in Sri Lanka, and why? The Easter Sunday attacks are emerging as an inside job with international backers, and a thinly veiled attempt to oust a Western-facing Prime Minister. Both the security forces and the President are objects of deep suspicion.


There is a rapidly developing outbreak of Truth in Sri Lanka that represents a refreshing change in atrocity coverage….and is in stark contrast to the lachrymose bollocks that typified its predecessor in New Zealand.

Blair-taught Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dutifully poured thick brown molasses over any clarity as to the perpetrators of the horror there, preferring her irritating Peacenik clichés in New Zealand’s hour of shock to any thought-through analysis of why on Earth its tiny Muslim population should have been targeted.

But the Sri Lankan authorities (or rather, various élites within it) have by contrast engaged in public breast-baring that is asking all kinds of awkward questions:

  1. Did President Maithripala Sirisena ignore warnings he was given? He claims he did not received the key memo.
  2. Did the intelligence services keep the memo away from him? Sirisena says they did….and now warns of changes to the heads of defence forces “within 24 hours”, saying he would take “stern action” against officials who “did not share the warning” with him.
  3. The Jihadist cell was not home grown: 58 of its members have been arrested – and turned out to be cosmopolitan, well-travelled and well-educated internationalists who obviously gained learnings and financial help from abroad.
  4. Why are we faced yet again with security forces claiming to have kept the cell “under close supervision”, but not felt anyone’s collar before the outrage?

We seem at first sight to be witnessing the emergence of Fundamentalist chic along the same lines as the Red Brigade of the 1960s. But half a century on, the obvious inroads into culture worldwide made by the Alt States render the parallel simplistic. My preferred parallel in this case would be the Manchester Arena attack of 2017, responsibility for which was claimed by Islamic State….but in which both US and UK security agencies were clearly implicated – given their use as agents of some of those involved.

Along the line in Sri Lanka, somebody looked the other way. But exactly who (and why) are questions that can’t even be addressed without looking at the recent past….which, so far, the MSM have failed to do.


President Sirisena himself is a controversial figure.

A central concern is the role of social media. I find myself concerned by the ban on discussion in such media following the slaughter: on the one hand, social media are often blamed for “fake news” that raises tensions; and on the other, their links to security agencies (especially of US or Chinese origin) are undeniable. The fact is, social media have played a varietal role in recent Sri Lankan political history.

Almost exactly six months ago, President Maithripala Sirisena unconstitutionally fired the country’s prime minister and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, an infamous former dictatorial ruler. As expected, Rajapaksa, took control of all the levers of power he understood: but he failed to ban social media….and thus, Facebook and Twitter became – almost overnight – the preferred home of dissidents. Under pressure from legal moves with popular support, Rajapaksa resigned two months later. Veteran Ranil Wickramasinghe was reappointed as the Prime Minister.

The episode reeked of being an attempted coup d’état, but its deconstruction received scant Western MSM attention. However, it is now highly pertinent to ask whether the Easter Sunday attacks (and the row over security failures) represent a geopolitically motivated attempt to discredit and oust Wickramasinghe. Equally, one must question the decision by security forces to block social networks Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber.

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s foreign policy as Prime Minister has always pushed for closer relations with the West, and the attraction of both Western and Indian investment. In domestic policy, he stresses the need for social harmony with minimal links between government and religion.

The Easter Sunday bombings were an attack on infidel religion and rich Westerners. And somebody at the Presidential Palace and/or the security services turned a blind eye. Some dots almost seem to be joining themselves up.

Gradually, all kinds of media sources are beginning to grasp what’s going on here. This is a fight between Islamist fanaticism and neocon geopolitics….and we need to know a lot more than we do.

I would wish a plague on both their houses. But that wouldn’t be helpful.

Stay tuned.

This week at The Slog: soft-pedalling on Islam