Feature Article

Intelligence Chief Zacky in Jaffna to step up campaign

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 12:40 GMT]
Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) Brigadier Rizvy Zacky, a hardliner, has been recently posted as Brigadier General Staff Officer (GSO, Intelligence) at the Sri Lanka Army Head Quarters (SF HQ) Jaffna in a major reshuffle of the SLA and Intelligence apparatus. Execution-style killings of five students in Trincomalee and three women members of a family in Jaffna mark a stark change of pattern in the escalation of intensified serial killings of non-combatant civilians in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) controlled areas in the NorthEast. The pattern of violence also marks the return of hardliners who seems to prefer terror to subdue a population.

Sarath Fonseka
Sarath Fonseka
In December 2005, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the new commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) appointed by the SL President Rajapakse, launched a major reshuffle of the top brass of the Sri Lanka Army and the Military Intelligence.

Major General G.A. Chandrasiri from Armoured Corps was posted as the Jaffna Commander to Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna (SF HQ (J)) replacing the previous Jaffna Commander of the SLA, Major General Sunil Tennekoon.

Gothabaya Rajapakse
Gothabaya Rajapakse
Rajapakse's brother, Gothabaya Rajapakse, a former Lieutenant Colonel, who was brought back from his retirement in California, USA, and who served as a security consultant to Rajapakse while he was premier, was made Defence Secretary in Sri Lanka.

Gothabaya (then Major) Rajapakse took part in the SLA operation, Trividapalaya, with Lt. Gen. Fonseka (then Lt. Colonel), to rescue the soldiers from the Jaffna Fort that was under siege by the Tigers in 1990.

Soon after his new assignment Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse requested assistance from the Ambassadors of USA, Pakistan, India and China to fight the Liberation Tigers.

Former DIG Kotakadeniya
Former Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, H.N.G.B. Kotakadeniya (Photo: Sunday Leader)
Kotakadeniya at a WAPs extremist conference
A retired Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (Senior DIG), H.M.G.B Kotakadeniya, a hardliner and a politician from the extremist Buddhist Monks party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), was appointed as the Defence Ministry Advisor. The execution style killing of five Tamil students, all under 20 years of age, at Dock Yard Road in Trincomalee town, was allegedly carried out by "a team of Police Special Task Force (STF) commandos," said the Situation Report column of Sunday Times in its 8th January Sunday edition.

The paper further said the deployment of the STF was ordered by "a retired police official who has now been named as an advisor in the Defence Ministry." The advisor referred by the paper was Kotakadeniya.

The posting of Rizvy Zacky to Jaffna, which is Fonseka's previous terrain, is said to signal one of the top priorities of the new SLA Commander Fonseka: the active integration of Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) with the counter-insurgency efforts in Jaffna peninsula. Zacky who has earlier been Brigadier of the Batticaloa District, and later in charge of the psychological operations of the Sri Lanka Army, served as Sri Lanka's Defence Attaché in Pakistan, prior to his appointment as the Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) in August 2004.

Ex-militant sources in Batticaloa describe Brig. Zacky as more hardliner in his dealings with the paramilitary cadres compared to the slain intelligence officers, Major T.N. Muthaliff, assassinated in May 2005, and Lt. Col. Meedin, assassinated in October 2005, both senior officers attached to the Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) in Colombo.

Major T.N. Muthaliff
The slaying of the Intelligence officers was attributed to the LTTE by the Sri Lankan Military. However, investigations into the killings revealed complicity of underworld Sinhala elements in the killings.

Following the assassinations of the Intelligence officials, who were fluent in Tamil and had a reputation among the paramilitary circles for their sophisticated approach to intelligence operations, a degree of distrust also developed among the paramilitary operatives in Colombo. Some have left the country, informed ex-militant sources say.

Zacky, when he served in Batticaloa, was cautious in placing his trust on paramilitary cadres following his previous experience with ex-Tamil militants who were later identified as LTTE moles.

"Zacky would not tolerate even a small doubt on an agent or someone who serves under him," an ex-militant source said on condition of anonymity.

A hardline PSYOPS approach, dominated by an agenda of terrorizing non-combatants, as evidenced in Jaffna, Trincomalee and elsewhere in serial, spree and group killings, now appears to be the strategy behing SLA's covert war against the Tigers.

The recent unbalanced statements made by the US Ambassador Mr. Jeffrey Lunstead and the visiting US Undersecretary of Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, have failed to reflect the scale of the negative impact of the killings, taking place in areas controlled by the SLA, on the peace process.

TOP-LEVEL DELEGATES of the US Embassy meet SL army in Palaly
Defence Attaché at the US Embassy in Colombo, Lt. Col. James E Oxley, visited Jaffna
In the meantime, Defence Attaché at the US Embassy in Colombo, Lt. Col. James E Oxley and an assisting official have visited the SLA SF HQ in Jaffna following the reshuffle, according to the Sri Lanka Army website.

"US officials are aware of the background of the key military commanders in the Sri Lankan Government. But as a legitimate State, Sri Lanka Government has distinct advantages," says Selvam Adaikalanathan, the TNA MP who paid a visit to US a year ago.

"The 'white van abductions' and disappearances in Jaffna, create fear in the minds of Jaffna population, reminding the 'white van' abduction stories from Batticaloa and Colombo, of the past," says S. Gajendran, the Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna.

The reshuffle completed by Fonseka confirms his belief in techniques to create a fear-psychosis in the minds of the Tamils to crush their political uprising.

Analysts view that the appointment of Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake was a clear message to the Tamils as well as to the international community of the hardline approach chosen by Rajapakse.

Mr. Wickremanayake, a well-known Sinhala hardliner, who has spoken against the peace process with the LTTE, Norwegian facilitation, and the existing ceasefire agreement, had earlier introduced the anti-conversion bill in June 2004.

The "inner circle" of the personalities associated with the former Presidents in Sri Lanka often dictated the direction of the Presidents in their approach to fight the Tigers.

Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Former President of Sri Lanka, chose her uncle Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte as Deputy Defence Minister.

Fonseka was the commanding officer in Jaffna. And Jaffna has earlier witnessed Chemmani graves and mass disappearances.

Northeast witnessed a record high human rights abuses during the war waged under the leadership of the former president Kumaratunga.

Gen. Tissa Weeratunga
Gen. Tissa Weeratunga, popularly known as "Bull" Weeratunga, was appointed the overall commander of the Sri Lankan Forces in the Northern Province, by the then Sri Lankan President J.R. Jeyawardene on 14 July 1989 with a mission to "eliminate" the "menace of terrorism" within 6 months, before December 31, 1979.

Jeyawardene, after appointing his nephew "Bull" Weeratunga to contain uprising in Jaffna, enacted the Prevention of Terrorism (PTA), which was modelled after the notorious Terrorism Act of South Africa. Jeyawardene termed his act to echo the British PTA of 1974, which was revised a year before in Britain, although the Sri Lankan PTA was modeled after Apartheid Era South African law, the Terrorism Act of 1967.

Jaffna District was placed under Emergency Regulations (ER), which gave the armed forces the power to shoot and kill any suspected persons and to dispose dead bodies without an inquest.

It was the beginning of arrests, detention of Tamil youths in Jaffna, an act that forced Tamil youths either into the militancy or exile, both of which were later described as having instrumental in fueling and sustaining the Tamil struggle.


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