- Final confirmation telephone call was made by High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in London Dr Chris Nonis to his superiors in Colombo advising that a fully fledged itinerary with high profile meetings are being organised that will go a long way in fixing President’s and Sri Lanka’s image overseas and in particular in the UK.
The only reservation he highlighted was that the FCO still hadn’t confirmed or given a firm answer for the appointments requested from the British Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. He also warned being a bank holiday weekend and the UK Parliament and House of Lords being on recess for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it will be difficult to organise credible Members of Parliament and Members of Lords for any photo opportunity. He further announced that even Liam Fox (Former British Secretary of State for Defence) and Lord Nasby (Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sri Lanka) couldn’t be organised due to both being out of London and one of them out of the country at the time of President’s arrival. At the time of the call only Niraj Dev (Conservative MEP with Sri Lanka decent) was the confirmed legislator in the list. Yet he recommended that President must attend the lunch with Queen
- External Affairs in Colombo got into gear and the Minister of External Affairs himself chaired a brief meeting in which it was decided that a team of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) will travel to London immediately to assess and prepare the ground for a successful Presidential trip without a debacle like the last time. Member of Parliament Sajin Vaz Gunawardena was nominated as the team leader at his own request
- Clearance for such a trip was approved by President’s private secretary, immediately
- Bandula Jasekara, Presidential Media Spokesperson called the High Commissioner late evening in London on his mobile, on the same day asking the obvious questions to ensure a repeat of the Oxford Union type of visit is avoided at all costs. This call was instigated by President himself recognising the fact that Dr Nonis not being a career diplomat. Mr Jayasekara was to regret later, that he didn’t judge correctly from the flimsy answers, that there remained a risk of a repeat
- High Commissioner set up a temporary task force with different levels of security clearance the following day morning, after the Defence Intelligence Chief General Kapila Hendavitharana called him from outside Colombo to ensure President’s itinerary is kept as a top secret. He also announces that a team of possibly 6 intelligence officers will be seeking entry clearance soon to arrive for ground assessment
- Presidential Intelligence Unit was asked to dispatch a team for ground assessment, however until arrival in London names of the operatives were kept away from all Embassy staff including, Dr Nonis
- 2 of the 6 members have a series of meetings with their Scotland Yard colleagues as part of the information sharing
- 23 May, Andrew Patrick – Director of Southeast Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) met with the leaders of the Tamil Diaspora in London to assure them that they (FCO) or the government or HM’s Office were not responsible for the invitation and puts the blame squarely on Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
- In the next couple of days a senior police team at the Great Scotland Yard invited a wider Tamil Diaspora team to the Head Quarters at the St. James’ Park to share with them part of President Rajapaksa’s itinerary and to enquire what the community’s reaction going to be. After 45 minutes into the conversation, one of the senior members indicates that the Manson House speech may be called off. However questions like which hotel will he be staying at, was politely ignored
- Scotland Yard warns the intelligence liaison at the Sri Lanka High Commission that there is a good chance that they may have to warn the Commonwealth Business Forum to cancel the morning session on the 6th June to avoid disruptions to HM Queen’s celebrations
- Over dinner at a London Restaurant the Sri Lankan intelligence officers decide that they will keep this information away from Presidential Task Force. The bill at the restaurant ran into hundreds of pounds with additional cost of London black cab that dropped the officers back at their hotel
- 25 May, Friday the FCO formally confirms to Dr Nonis that meetings with the British PM or the Foreign Secretary was not possible for President Rajapaksa, however they have pencilled in a brief low profile meeting without any photo opportunities between Prof G.L.Peiris and William Hague on 6 June, morning
- Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa received a call from the President himself to ensure that his security team does not include any military personnel like his failed trip in December 2010. Defence Secretary reacts angrily not taking kindly such interference and implied abuse on his establishment
- Tamil Diaspora gets into gear by texts and emails calling for mass rallies, demonstrations and campaign calling on their respective MPs to demand a withdrawal of invitation rendered to President Rajapaksa
- A bunch of affluent elders within the Tamil Diaspora start making a few calls to sources to establish who will be accompanying the President with a view to embarrass him with legal suite, like the previous time
- Calls intercepted from known members of the Diaspora to their known links in Sri Lanka gave enough warning to the intelligence division, the importance of keeping the list of names a closely guarded secret. Many versions to be created with names added at the last minute even without the knowledge of Presidential Secretariat or the External Affairs Ministry.
- Presidential Intelligence Unit leaks a list of 21 names of the accompanying party through a former member of President Rajapaksa’s cabinet to a Sinhala journalist in London
- Intercepted Tamil Diaspora emails and texts have been fed back to the HQ in Colombo from the intelligence operatives in London. One such text was “Rajapaksa is only leaving Colombo at 1pm (Sri Lanka time) on Monday, 4 June. Scotland Yard too have confirmed that he is NOT arriving tonight. Sunday night as originally thought”
- This text alerts the intelligence operatives that the Tamils are being fed with quality information. They immediately warn Colombo of a potential leak of departure time
- Scotland Yard makes a few frantic telephone calls to key individuals in the Diaspora this time, to alert that President’s travel plans have changed and that protesting at Heathrow terminal 4 on Sunday night was of no use. Tamils in thousands still turn up distrusting the Yard’s advise
- 6 operatives mingle in the crowds to assess the situation at the London Heathrow
- The UK Home Office alerts the Metropolitan Police – Serious Crime Branch of a letter received from a London Law Firm indicating impending legal action against two senior policemen accompanying President of Sri Lanka
- A confidential internal inquiry has been set up by General Kapila after the High Commission alerted to the fact that the same Diaspora organisation that filed action against General Chargi Gallege has filed action against two named senior police officers at DIG level who have arrived in London with the President on 4 June at the early hours
- President Rajapaksa reacted very angrily at his Hilton Suite shouting in Sinhala “who the devil is the traitor amongst us”....”after warning everyone personally to maintain confidentiality and after ensuring that no military personnel travelled with me, particularly to London, I get this, he screams”
- Aids advise both Deputy Inspector General of Police Dammika Thuduwewatte and M.A.C.U. Mannakara that they may have to depart to Rome at an earlier flight depending on when the case is heard. This on advice from enforcement agencies in London.
- Dr Nonis is summoned by the various Presidential Aids to enquire who at the High Commission had knowledge of these senior police officers presence. Dr Nonis smiles whilst he says that even he didn’t know. Senior Presidential Aid Bandula calls for a media blackout in Colombo without realising that UK’s Channel 4 has already leaked the legal story on their website which has gone on a worldwide spiral
- This phenomenal intelligence failure second time running will be a black mark on General Kapila’s outstanding performance otherwise to the Rajapaksa regime