Gomin faults government for failing to expose UK double standards : Ex-UK Intelligence Chief heads probe on secret US prisoner transfers


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasri accuses the government of failing to exploit international developments in the human rights field to expose Western double standards and the on-going attempts to isolate Sri Lanka on the basis of the controversial ‘Darusman report’ and a video titled Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields produced by the pro-LTTE Channel Four.

Had there been a cohesive strategy on the part of the government, the country could have launched an effective counter-attack on those wanting to haul Sri Lankan political and military leaders before an international war crimes tribunal, Dayasri said.

Dayasri was speaking at a symposium on post-war challenges organised by the Federation of National Organisation at the BMICH on Thursday (Aug. 18).

Dayasiri said it was inexcusable that Sri Lankan High Commission in London had failed to pursue the on-going probe into Britain’s involvement in CIA prisoner transfers.

Among the invitees at the symposium and the launch of <www.outofwar.com> were Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, former Supreme Court judge Raja Wanasundera and Convenor of the Federation of National Organisations Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had, Dayasri pointed out, appointed ex-Intelligence Services Commissioner (ISC) Sir Peter Gibson to head a three-member team to investigate UK complicity in the abuse of detainees by US following the 9/11 attacks. "Isnit ridiculous that the man who supervised UK intelligence operations at the highest level during secret prisoner transfers has been assigned to investigate the same?" Dayasiri said likening Gibson’s appointment to directing Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendawithana, Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), to look into war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan military.

Dayasri pointed out that it had taken the British government a decade to appoint a public inquiry into CIA prisoner transfer practices as part of a probe into claims that terrorism suspects were tortured after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, but the UK was warning Sri Lanka of international action on the basis of the controversial ‘Darusman report’ and ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,’ unless genuine investigations were launched before Dec 31, 2011.

Dayasri said that UK NGO Reprieve had raised a number of concerns about Gibson’s suitability for the job in an 11-page letter to Gibson, copied to UK PM David Cameron.

That charity said that former foreign secretary, David Miliband, had revealed that Gibson secretly investigated allegations of misconduct at the previous government's request. His findings remain secret but the charity fears they might prejudice the current inquiry.

Reprieve has asked Gibson whether he considers his opinion – expressed in three consecutive reports between 2006 and 2008 – that security services personnel were "trustworthy, conscientious and dependable" reflects a bias.

Commenting on accountability issues raised by UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s three –member Panel comprising Marzuki Darusman, Yasmin Sooka and Steven Ratner, Dayasri said that those targeting Sri Lanka had conveniently forgotten that President Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had witnessed the execution of several captives including bin Laden by USN SEALS. Although some HR organisations raised the issue, the US didn’t even bother to respond, Dayasiri said, expressing concern the Sri Lankan government hadn’t exploited such situations to expose western prejudice.

He alleged that UNSG had picked former Indonesian Attorney General Darusman knowing his hostility against Sri Lanka. That was the criterion for Darusman’s selection as the head of the Panel, the lawyer said, recalling how the Indonesian had denounced a presidential commission inquiring into 16 incidents during eelam war IV. The UN Chief could have picked anyone else other than Darusman, one of the so-called international eminent persons named as observers with the power to oversee the presidential commission, he said.

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