19 September, 2018

Blog

WikiLeaks: Americans didn’t believe Mangala’s version of Fonseka

By Colombo Telegraph –

“We assume that at least some of Samaraweera’s claims about Fonseka’s ‘liberalism’ are exaggerated and meant to impress us.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” recounts details of a meeting Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis has had with General Sarath Fonseka’s chief campaign strategist Mangala Samaraweera on January 6, 2010.

With his intimate knowledge of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thinking and methods, Samaraweera is as much of a danger to them in the presidential campaign as ‘traitor’ General Fonseka.

Ambassador Butenis wrote “Mangala Samaraweera’s defection to the opposition is old news, but it is only now that it is probably causing the greatest heartburn for the Rajapaksas. With his intimate knowledge of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thinking and methods, Samaraweera is as much of a danger to them in the presidential campaign as ‘traitor’ General Fonseka. The key to this appears to be Rajapaksa’s rigidly and fear of alienating his base. While known as masterful campaigner and the king of divide and conquer, Rajapaksa has offered no new significant initiatives during the campaign and has done little to reach out to Tamils other than to kiss their babies. Fonseka, on the other hand – presumably under the guidance of Samaraweera and Ranil Wickramasinghe – has re-invented himself, dramatically reached out to the minorities, and promised great reforms for Sri Lanka.”

“We assume that at least some of Samaraweera’s claims about Fonseka’s ‘liberalism’ are exaggerated and meant to impress us. Nevertheless, the general and his agents are making promises that it would be hard for them to walk back. The 10-point program signed with TNA leader Sampanthan would radically alter the government’s relationship with Tamils and would represent a major step toward national reconciliation. Similarly, their telling us about their plans for a truth and reconciliation commission – though not announced publicly – puts them on the hook with the international community. The next few weeks will tell whether this strategy is a winner, but in the mean time it has breathed new life into Sri Lankan politics and brought issues to the fore that had been all but buried.” the ambassador further wrote.

Read the cable below for further details.

Related news to this cable;  WikiLeaks: Mahinda Rajapaksa is “not so bad” – Mangala to US

VZCZCXRO3099
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #0008/01 0061154
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061154Z JAN 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1075
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2233
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9255
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7510
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5350
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3666
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5275
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0136
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0808
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4397
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9817
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 7106
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0131
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3973
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000008

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST SAYS FONSEKA WANTS TRUTH AND
RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

COLOMBO 00000008  001.8 OF 003

Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting with Ambassador, chief
opposition campaign strategist and one-time Rajapaksa
confidante Mangala Samaraweera said he was "pleasantly
surprised" that General Fonseka believed accountability was
important for Sri Lanka, that he agreed with Samaraweera that
the country needed a truth and reconciliation process, and
that he had ordered the campaign to start working out the
logistics of a truth and reconciliation commission.
Samaraweera was "increasingly optimistic" about the Fonseka
campaign, noting opposition polls showing the general's
numbers increasing from 43 percent just after nomination in
mid-December to 52 percent now.  But Samaraweera was worried
about rising violence of pro-government thugs and suggested
the president was not above ordering Fonseka's assassination
or even wounding himself to gain public sympathy.  If Fonseka
won, the general had made clear he wanted to remain chairman
of the security council and wanted to oversee the
re-organization of the armed forces.  Samaraweera was not
concerned about the general reneging on his promises about
abolition of the executive presidency and establishing a
military dictatorship.  Indeed, Samaraweera argued it was the
Fonseka campaign that had brought questions of democracy and
minority rights to the center of the presidential race,
supplanting the war triumphalism and budding "national
socialism" of the Rajapaksas.  END SUMMARY.

RAJAPAKSA'S BRAIN ABANDONS HIM
------------------------------

2. (C) If General Fonseka was the heart of the Sri Lankan war
effort that "betrayed" the president, Mangala Samaraweera was
the Rajapaksa campaign brain that also deserted him.  Having
a long history with the president's SLFP, Samaraweera was a
close confidante of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the
architect of Rajapaksa's successful 2005 presidential
campaign, and the GSL foreign minister during the first year
and a half of the Rajapaksa government.  He lost his position
as FM to Bogollagama when the latter crossed over from the
UNP, and Samaraweera soon broke with the Rajapaksas to form
his own party, the SLFP (Mahajana Wing).  Samaraweera is now
the strategic architect of the campaign of joint opposition
candidate Fonseka.

CAMPAIGN VIOLENCE, FONSEKA SECURITY BIGGEST WORRIES
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (C) Samaraweera said he was "increasingly optimistic"
about the Fonseka campaign, noting opposition polls showing
the general's numbers increasing from 43 percent just after
nomination in mid-December to 52 percent now.  He claimed
that polls by GSL domestic intelligence were similarly
showing a 51-Fonseka/49 Rajapaksa breakdown.  This was most
surprising in the north and east, where the opposition had
not expected to do so well.  At the same time, however,
Samaraweera said he was worried about campaign violence and
intimidation -- that is, attacks by pro-government thugs on
opposition rallies and offices -- which were quickly
escalating, including in his home district of Mahara in the
south.  He expected the situation to get worse as election
day approached, though he thought the violence was
back-firing on the Rajapaksas by turning people against them.

4. (C) He also expressed concern about Fonseka's personal
safety, noting that he knew Mahinda Rajapaksa intimately and
would not put it past him to facilitate an assassination
attempt on Fonseka if the campaign increasingly went in the
general's favor.  Given Rajapaksa's penchant for high drama

COLOMBO 00000008  002.4 OF 003

and theatrics, he also thought the president was not above
shooting himself then publishing photos of his wounds and
blood to gain sympathy as a victim of alleged opposition
violence.  If these or other such scenarios led the
opposition to believe the election was stolen, Samaraweera
said they would object strongly and the JVP would likely take
to the streets.  But he did not believe this reaction would
push Sri Lanka to its own Orange Revolution, as in Ukraine.
Sri Lankans were "too laid-back," and the Buddhist belief in
karma would make them accept even a stolen election as what
was "meant to be."

IF FONSEKA WON
--------------

5. (C) Samaraweera said that in the event of a Fonseka
victory, the general would not be content to assume a
figure-head role after the abolition of the executive
presidency in line with opposition campaign promises.  He had
made clear that he wanted to remain chairman of the security
council and wanted to oversee the re-organization of the
armed forces.  Samaraweera said he was not concerned,
however, about the general reneging on his promises about
abolition of the executive presidency and establishing a
military dictatorship once in office.  The UNP and JVP
already had been working hard against the Rajapaksa
dictatorship, and the whole thrust of the Fonseka campaign
was against the "national socialism" that raised its ugly
head at the end of the war.  Samaraweera claimed that Fonseka
was chosen by the opposition as one of the original war icons
purposefully to arrest this development and, indeed, the
campaign had brought questions of democracy and minority
rights to the center of the presidential race, supplanting
the war triumphalism the Rajapaksas preferred.

RECONCILIATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY
---------------------------------

6. (C) Samaraweera had no faith in the Rajapaksas to address
meaningfully the questions of national reconciliation and
accountability, despite their great importance for the health
and future of Sri Lanka.  Mahinda Rajapaksa was "not so bad,"
but his family (that is, brothers Gotabhaya and Basil) had
made him a prisoner of the worst racist and chauvinist
elements in society.  Mahinda himself also was firmly opposed
to any devolution of power and had argued in closed
government meetings that he wanted Sri Lanka to be a
"unitary" not just a "united" country.

7. (C) Fonseka, on the other hand, had made reconciliation
and accountability centerpieces of his campaign.  Samaraweera
noted the 10-point plan the general had just signed with the
TNA leader Sampanthan on political rights and economic
re-development of the war-affected areas.  He also said
Fonseka had been "surprising me with his liberalism" and
noted that the general himself had come up with the idea of
ensuring freedom of religious belief under a new regime.  On
the very sensitive issue of accountability, Samaraweera again
said he was "pleasantly surprised" that Fonseka believed
accountability was important for Sri Lanka, agreed with
Samaraweera that the country needed a truth and
reconciliation process, like the South Africans, and had
ordered the campaign to start working out the logistics of a
truth and reconciliation commission.  Samaraweera thought
that if Fonseka won, the Rajapaksas would be marginalized in
the SLFP and the SLFP mainstream would want to work with the
new government on reconciliation and accountability.

COMMENT
-------

COLOMBO 00000008  003.4 OF 003

8. (C) Mangala Samaraweera's defection to the opposition is
old news, but it is only now that it is probably causing the
greatest heartburn for the Rajapaksas.  With his intimate
knowledge of Mahinda Rajapaksa's thinking and methods,
Samaraweera is as much of a danger to them in the
presidential campaign as "traitor" General Fonseka.  The key
to this appears to be Rajapaksa's rigidity and fear of
alienating his base.  While known as a masterful campaigner
and the king of divide and conquer, Rajapaksa has offered no
new significant initiatives during the campaign and has done
little to reach out to Tamils other than to kiss their
babies.  Fonseka, on the other hand -- presumably under the
guidance of Samaraweera and Ranil Wickramasinghe -- has
re-invented himself, dramatically reached out to the
minorities, and promised great reforms for Sri Lanka.

9. (C) We assume that at least some of Samaraweera's claims
about Fonseka's "liberalism" are exaggerated and meant to
impress us.  Nevertheless, the general and his agents are
making promises that it would be hard for them to walk back.
The 10-point program signed with TNA leader Sampanthan would
radically alter the government's relationship with Tamils and
would represent a major step toward national reconciliation.
Similarly, their telling us about their plans for a truth and
reconciliation commission -- though not announced publicly --
puts them on the hook with the international community.  The
next few weeks will tell whether this strategy is a winner,
but in the meantime it has breathed new life into Sri Lankan
politics and brought issues to the fore that had been all but
buried.
BUTENIS
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Ranil: I hope my good “buddy” will appoint me as Prime Minister-in Waiting; Mangala, I realize my mistake, it is high time to cross-over with Ranil-GAY, while the going is good. To hell with the people who voted for us!!!!

  • 0
    0

    Mangala know that sooner or later Mahinda will need a ‘manager’ like him. So Managala does not attack or seek the destruction of Mahinda . But he is totally revengeful of Basil and Gota who robed his political path.
    He within him honestly did not believe in Fonseka knowing well Fonsekas’s hard line on the Tamils.

    I would imagine Mangala will rejoin Mahinda if , and only if Mahinda makes a friendly gesture. At that point he would single handedly make efforts to destroy the remains of the UNP. I think Mahinda should bring Mangala back to damage control his sinking ship. Then there will be greater questions of the liberalism that Mangala talks of.

    • 0
      0

      no can believe him can you?we know wht he did when he was with CBK!

  • 0
    0

    must congratulate the editors for the photo selection. wow

  • 0
    0

    All this shows is Butenis’ preferences which, sadly, seep into her readings and assessment, esp the inflated worth of Mangala Samaraweera. It also shows that Butenis is not a diplomat but a meddler.

  • 0
    0

    Who is the boss and who is the slave in this picture? Depends on what you think MR’s finger is doing at the corner of Mangala’s eye. LOL

  • 0
    0

    10 points with TNA. who is TNA ? political part of LTTE. Fonseka got huge money of dollers for this contract use for the election. that what he has no war crime from LTTE.

  • 0
    0

    Butenis got herself humiliated with stupid statements she made with regard to Sri LAnka, as revealed by previous Wikileaks docs. But in this one, she got it fairly right. Who believes what Mangala says, she confirmed it on international stage as well.

  • 0
    0

    SF a diehard rascist connected to sihala urumaya and a oppourtunist but not a politician in the calibre of mangala.
    Mangala the maverick he is open gay . but not a political gay( in sinhalese language) like ranil.
    Mangala rendered a yeoman public service, a great public servant. Unfortunately political powerstruggle and pride cost him a great oppourtunity with the UPFA.and GOSL.
    His alliance with the traitors of the nation jeopardised politically. I am positive president will forgive him and reinstate him. He is better than the silvas and ratwattes.

    .

  • 0
    0

    well at least they were not dumb as originally thought!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.