National security is everybody’s responsibility, not just the government. The general public must take an active interest in national security matters subject to obvious restrictions. Given the importance of it, national security should not be avoided by the public, yet should let the learned authorities make the decisions. It is heartening to note government action towards establishing strong national intelligence organisations. This has always been a dire need of the nation. During the Norwegian brokered truce (as it was called), LTTE primarily targeted Sri Lankan intelligence wings. This is enough evidence that intelligence branch is the most important element of national security. Tentacles of the national intelligence wing must permeate into every area of threat. Privacy, human rights, etiquette, democratic rights, religious or social values, international pressure, etc. should not be allowed to interfere with national security, especially in intelligence gathering.
Elimination of national security threats in the most efficient way should be another priority. There is no point in identifying the enemy if we cannot destroy it in the least damaging manner.
The Structure that Suits Best
Care should be taken not to allow dysfunctional behaviour of its top brass by not vesting too much power at its helm. Teamwork must be emphasised and professionalism in the work of intelligence gathering should be maintained at all cost.
Apart from internal and external branches, there should be specific military, political, economic, government services, public interaction, technology, communication, offensive, ministerial, CID/CCD interaction, media monitoring, liaising with paramilitary groups and propaganda branches. Presently the services are fragmented. Based on limited available information, intelligence gathering organisations are varied and innumerable including DMI, NIB, MI, AI, NI, AFI, ISF, LRRP, CID, CCD and ISD. There is scope for streamlining.
Introduction of the
system of classifying information must be introduced here. Violation of classification restriction should be punished adequately so that there will be deterrence against violations. Treason laws need to be amended to better suit the proper functioning of the service. US
Although all branches of the service are important, economic terrorism is a less known branch.
Unfortunately the strongest political force in the Tamil Diaspora is anti-Sri Lankan. While most Tamils abroad have lost interest in
, most of those who have an interest support peaceful Tamil Elamist ideologies. Sri Lanka
Following the war, tens of thousands of Tamils living abroad have started to invest in the Colombo Stock Exchange which is very encouraging. There is nothing wrong in that. However, driven by racist political ideologies, some of them may opt to advance the separatist agenda through the ownership of Sri Lankan corporate entities. Although few hundreds in number, these companies make a sizable contribution to the economy and employ a very large number of people. By appointing their preferred directors into these companies, separatist and racist elements of the Tamil Diaspora can execute their Tamil Elamist agenda through them. Politicians and political parties are very vulnerable in
for influences from the business community. An updated database of share registers must be maintained and shareholders’ background should be updated at defence establishments. Any attempt to drive the Tamil Elamist agenda by peaceful means should be swiftly retaliated. Sri Lanka
Raj Rajaratnam’s transfer of US$3 million to a local politician to buy shares of a local bank is just the tip of the iceberg.
Another huge potential for economic terrorism exists in commercial establishments in the Greater Colombo area. Almost all the high value private commercial entities of sole traders and private companies are owned by a group of people belonging to a community that housed sympathisers of the LTTE and peaceful Tamil Elamists. Even a few individuals of this community, driven by perfectly peaceful Ghandian ways can cripple the entire commercial establishment of Great Colombo due to the fact that good men of this community always keep silent. Shut downs or hartals over racial political demands can cripple business activities which is directly against national security interests. Such action, very much within their control, sends the message that for the welfare of the people, the government must pander into racial aspirations, else there will be a total shut down in the nation’s capital. An ear must be kept on this entire establishment. People of other communities should be encouraged to establish business entities diversifying the commercial risk. Tax collection must be streamlined.
It is worthwhile to note that a former prominent politician from
who followed a strong anti-national agenda was ably supported by the Tamil business community in Colombo . Repetition of such national security threats should be avoided in the long run. Colombo
Keeping an eye on these activities, although not the subject of traditional intelligence gathering, is important in the Lankan context.
NGOs are a sizable section of the economy. They don’t necessarily support national interests. In fact, there were almost no NGO that supported national security policy during the war whereas anti-national NGOs were dime a dozen. All these must be monitored which includes, sources of funds, persons behind these NGOs, their political agendas, how they disburse funds, their political party connections and what activities they are into.
Foreign governments and entities use various shady entities to channel funds. Monitoring these channels is important to stay ahead of the game. Monitoring currency transfers is another area of focus.
Anti-national political parties have various foreign funding sources. For instance a presidential election candidate recently had over half a million dollars in his safe after spending the most of what he received from a foreign source. These should be monitored. When the leaders of a former Marxist party in opposition suddenly started to drive vehicles considered luxury by their fellow men, it warrants close scrutiny.
Friends in Unfriendly Conduct
When friends engage in unfriendly conduct, that is unfortunate. Yet it happens everywhere. We must keep a watchful eye on friendly nations’ activities in our territory. The proposed Indian consulate office in Hambantota has raised eyebrows. It is obvious this is an Indian attempt to keep a close watch over Chinese developments in the country. These watchers must be watched by us. Due to obvious commercial issues, Singaporean shipping agencies will not like another port in the region.
’s opposition to the proposed Singapore across Kra Canal that would save trillions of dollars to shipping companies if opened, is clear evidence of the extent of their concern for any competition developing in the region. Lanka must be wary of the implications of Singaporean concerns. Thailand
An unnamed Asian country financed the election campaign of a coalition recently which included the pro-LTTE TNA. It is not difficult to guess its name from what its de facto ruler uttered owing to lack of control of his words and brain due to old age. The pioneering member of the Thai delegation involved in the setting up of ASEAN mentioned a few years ago how the representative of a particular country objected to inviting
into the group. These moves will be collaborated by action within Lanka which must be monitored closely. Sri Lanka
Foreign policy differences exist between
and India . Nations dearest to Sri Lanka may not be such darlings for Sri Lanka . Easily it can spill into antagonism and subversion. When large development activities take place within a short space of time, no one can say for sure, all these are ideally pleasant to India . Due to regional strategic interests, India may have other plans for its little neighbour and paid agents may already be at work. Counter intelligence is another priority of our intelligence strategy. RAW – a secret service of India – nurtured and armed the LTTE to launch a war that took a heavy toll. It is a case of absence of counter intelligence. India
Illegal immigrants from
are a sure source of cheap intelligence to India . This menace must be eliminated. India
Defeated politicians discrediting the nation has a history old as the oldest profession. Few politicians have admitted to disrupting the GSP Plus facility and needlessly questioning the US GSP facility. Politicians tried to interfere with the payment process of the MiG jets purchase and loan facilities to Lanka. These anti-national acts should be within the radar of the intelligence agency.
Intelligence Gathering within State Services
State services may it be public hospitals, schools, corporations, departments, boards, councils or ministries come into contact with large amounts of data. Gathering, filtering and processing national security sensitive information should be done efficiently. It can shed light on various anti-national activities that are still at infant stage. Had there been proper intelligence gathering mechanisms in the 1970s, most terrorist leaders could have been eliminated well before open war began. Most of them had visited local hospitals with strange injuries caused by experimenting with bombs, guns and various weapons.
The 1962 coup and the 1971 JVP insurgency could be overcome thanks to ad hoc intelligence information. However, intelligence cannot be left to chance. It must be streamlined. Had there been a proper intelligence gathering system within state services, the 1962 coup would never have been attempted, and planned violence in 1971 would never have materialised.
A notorious self styled defence analyst used to publish popular fabricated defence news aimed at demoralising security forces. Although he twisted facts with his uneducated defence estimations and malice, he found a few information sources within the state. Keeping a watchful eye over activities of state employees who collaborate with traitors would not have gone waste.
A Police State?
Terrorists, Tamil Elamists and other anti-national elements know very well the importance of a developed intelligence service. They will try to disrupt it by various means. They will allege that
is moving towards a police state when they themselves show no regard for democracy! Hilariously they have given a decent funeral to democracy at least 10 times so far and there will be many more for them. If democracy actually is dead, how can it die again and again? Sri Lanka
, US and other model democracies police states to have very strong and wide spread global intelligence arms? Absolutely not and the same goes for UK . They hang, electrocute or lethally inject their traitors and there is absolutely no reason why Sri Lanka should not follow them. Sri Lanka
The perfect role model for
is itself! Ancient Lankan rulers defeated many attempts to destabilise the nation. However, they dismantled their armies after winning. This should not happen today. The danger is real and continuing. Sri Lanka
Instead of creating a police state, a strong intelligence network will create a disciplined state. Unless the nation is protected, there is no way it can guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens. With the rare ability to change the Constitution, the government must give adequate powers to its proposed intelligence service to anticipate and destroy any national security threat.