29 November, 2022

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WikiLeaks: Mahinda Rajapaksa Is A “christian” – Says Archbishop

A leaked US Embassy cable reveals how Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith lobbied the US government against international pressure on accountability for war crimes.

The Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith told the US ambassador that “pushing the government of Sri Lanka too hard on the war crimes accountability issue now could destabilize Sri Lankan democracy  and could suffer revolution from the right or a coup by the military” a leaked US Embassy cable revealed.

The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by ambassador Patricia A. Butenis.

The cable said, the Archbishop Ranjith, despite his problems with the ‘Buddhist right’ has a good relationship with the President, whose wife is Catholic. It is certainly true that the President is under great pressure from the ‘Sinhalese Buddhist right’. It is also arguable that the international community’s pushing too hard on accountability could backfire.

Mahinda Rajapaksa a good man

Despite his problems with the Buddhist right , has a good relationship with the President, whose wife is Catholic

In the cable, written in 2ndOctober 2009 recounts details of the meeting. Under the sub-heading “RAJAPAKSA AND ACCOUNTABILITY” embassy wrote that “the archbishop said he believed President Rajapaksa personally was a good man and in the constellation of Sri Lankan politics was a relative moderate. He reminded us that Rajapaksa used to attend human rights meetings in Europe as an opposition MP. Rajapaksa and his brothers were under great pressure from the Sinhalese Buddhist right, and any show of what would be perceived as weakness before the international community could result in their losing ground to much more extreme elements. Indeed, he argued that if something happened to the President there would be ‘chaos’ in Sri Lanka.”

Something happened to the President there would be “chaos”

The cable further says “ This led the archbishop addressing directly the question of war crime accountability. He said “my suggestion is, in order to strengthen democracy in Sri Lanka, don’t push accountability now” he reasoned that weakening the Rajapaksa could be backfire. Moreover, if Sri Lanka were denied GSP – Plus or the US were to enact strong economic sanctions, leading to a sharp downturn in the economy, Sri Lanka – where democracy was not strong now – could suffer  revolution from the right or a coup by the military, which currently had a very strong position in society”. Ambassador counted that this was a very interesting perspective, but if the Rajapaksas were in fact moderates, they need to show it in at least a few ways.

Forces lurking beneath him

The archbishop said this was the challenge that he had been working on – how to get the President not to worry only about the “ forces lurking beneath him” and act as a moderate. He told the President it was important to work with Tamil leaders on reconciliation and to invite the diaspora to help re-build the economy. “ The Rajapaksas will come and go,” the archbishop opined, “ but the Tamils will always be here.”

we reproduced the full cable here.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO

000929

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE

SUBJECT: ARCHBISHOP SUGGESTS PUSHING ACCOUNTABILITY COULD

DESTABILIZE SRI LANKAN DEMOCRACY

COLOMBO 00000929  001.2 OF 002

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Roman Catholic Archbishop Ranjith told ambassador that pushing the GSL too hard on the war crimes accountability issue now could destabilize Sri Lankan democracy and would set back the cause of human rights.  He reasoned that weakening the Rajapaksas — who despite their public image were relative moderates in the Sri Lankan polity — could backfire.  Moreover, if Sri Lanka were denied GSP-plus or the U.S. were to enact strong economic sanctions, leading to a sharp downturn in the economy, Sri Lanka could suffer revolution from the right or a coup by the military,which now had a very strong position in society.  Ambassador countered that this was an interesting perspective, but if the Rajapaksas were in fact moderates, they needed to show it.  END SUMMARY.

POLITICAL ROLE OF THE CHURCH

—————————-

¶2. (C) In a September 30 introductory meeting with Ambassador and PolChief, Roman Catholic Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith recounted the recent political evolution of Sri Lanka, of which he has been both an astute observer and important participant, and described the role of the Church in society. He noted that while he himself was a Singhalese, he was very sympathetic to the plight of Tamils, who had suffered greatly from pogroms and discrimination by the majority and from the disastrous results of LTTE separatist ideology.  He explained that the Church had played a key role in brokering talks between the GSL and the LTTE over the years, including the 2002 cease-fire agreement.  After the war, the church was advocating publicly for the release of IDPs and other controversial positions.  This had led to criticism from the Buddhist right and even death threats against the archbishop himself.  This was the opposite of the leading role in reconciliation the archbishop believed Buddhists should have been playing years ago.

 RAJAPAKSA AND ACCOUNTABILITY

—————————-

¶3. (C) Despite this criticism, the archbishop said he believed President Rajapaksa personally was a good man and in the constellation of Sri Lankan politics was a relative moderate (he reminded us that Rajapaksa used to attend human rights meetings in Europe as an opposition MP).  Rajapaksa and his brothers were under great pressure from the Singhalese Buddhist right, and any show of what would be perceived as weakness before the international community could result in their losing ground to much more extreme elements.  Indeed, he argued that if something happened to the president there would be “chaos” in Sri Lanka.

¶4. (C) This led to the archbishop addressing directly the question of war crimes accountability.  He said “my suggestion is, in order to strengthen democracy in Sri Lanka, don’t push accountability now.”  He reasoned that weakening the Rajapaksas could backfire.  Moreover, if Sri Lanka were denied GSP-plus or the U.S. were to enact strong economic sanctions, leading to a sharp downturn in the economy, Sri Lanka — where democracy was not strong now — could suffer revolution from the right or a coup by the military, which currently had a very strong position in society.  The archbishop said this was why he had recently come out publicly in favor of extending GSP-plus to Sri Lanka, despite the GSL’s many human rights problems.  Ambassador countered that this was a very interesting perspective, but if the Rajapaksas were in fact moderates, they needed to show it in at least a few ways.  The archbishop said this was the

COLOMBO 00000929  002.2 OF 002

challenge that he had been working on — how to get the president not to worry only about the “forces lurking beneath him” and to act as a moderate.  He told the president it was important to work with Tamil leaders on reconciliation and to invite the diaspora to help re-build the economy.  “The Rajapaksas will come and go,” the archbishop opined, “but the Tamils will always be here.”

COMMENT

——-

¶5. (C) Archbishop Ranjith purportedly is respected by the pope and served as papal nuncio in Indonesia.  He also commands considerable authority in Sri Lanka — despite his problems with the Buddhist right — and has a good relationship with the president (whose wife is Catholic).  It is certainly true that the president is under great pressure from the Singhalese Buddhist right.  It is also arguable that the international community’s pushing too hard on accountability could backfire.

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  • 0
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    Interesting indeed!! Hippocratic Bishop.

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      Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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        it was always known that Shiranthi was arm-twisting Mahinda to favour Catholics and Christians of other denominations in the appointment to top posts….banking, justice system, corporations etc

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      Wow… unbelievable…. While the Right wing Buddhists with the blessings from Mr. Rajapaksa and his brothers burning the churches and attacking Christians and still refusing to give permision for the displaced Tamils to return to their homeland while settling the so called Right wing Buddhists in Tamil areas, Hon. Archmisthop has been lobbying for the culprits……. Two and a half years after the war why there are displaced Tamils living in the dentention camps?? Why the Governent is not allowing an independent inquiry to investigate the war crimes? Why the Sinhalese are allowed to fish in Mullaithivu while the Tamils are not allowed to do so… Why this Govt is trying to reduce the member of parliments from Tamil areas? Why this Govt is trying to settle more and more Sinhalese in the Tamil areas while the Tamils who lived in that areas are still suffering in make shift camps.? Who is going to take over the lands of those 40000 Tamils who were systemetically massacred by this Govt in 2009??? Where is justice ? When India is watching their big brothers so closely, how could be a Coup possible? Let God give some wisdom to the Archbishop and if he is trying to help the murderers to escape from the punishments then He will have his turn in front of our God one day. Eben ( I am a Tamil and I am not against the Sinhalese People as there are so many wonderful Buddhists and Christians in Sinhalese community who helped the Tamils throughout history of Sri-Lanka’s history of civil wars and racial riots. Because of the Good Sinhalese People, there are Tamils still surviving in Sri Lanka.)

      • 0
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        Arch bishop Malcom Ranjith is a Budhist
        sundar

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        The numbers living in the camps are decreasing significantly. More than two third of the people have been left from the camps. Soon there will be no camps at all. Government is not reducing the seats on northern areas. It is consequent response to the low population in those areas. There are so many instances that it happens in the south as well. So do not try differentiate it as a ethnic issue. If the Tamils can live across the country give me a good reason why Sinhales cant live in those areas.

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          If you feel every thing is right in srilanka.. why don’t you allow an independent investigation.. you cowards..

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        Are you mad or you dont have your facts, out of the total tamil population in Sri Lanka is it not a fact that more than 70%live in the south or central province.Is it not a fact that the major part of the Pettah business is owned by tamil people is it not a fact that 80% of the estate labour force are tamil people and are they all not living peacefully?May I suggest that instead of barking up the wrong tree go get all your expats to invest in projects in the north and east to get jobs for these people and improve their std of living.

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          @ Jay Weerasinghe it is not the number of Tamils scattered that is in question that you try to justify that Tamils are living peacefully amongst the rest.. It is whether they are allowed to live PEACEFULLY is the Question? When Tamils have requested to live peacefully in the areas they inhabited and lived peacefully in the rest of the country with recognition as equals, the answer the Sinhalese provided was for them to be second class citizens being subservient to the majority Sinhalese. When they had no option left and took to armed struggle, then they are displaced from their habitat and today they languish in makeshift camps with their worldly belongings in tiny cardborad boxes, while the Sinhalese enjoying the comforts of their homes? Do you call this civilised living, of this mixed Sinhalese race who profess to be the majority?

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        Prince your sentiments are shared by us all, as we see no difference in humans to whatever ethnicity one belongs to. The problem that is common to us all is the scum in society on all sides who are making life misserable to the entire society except these who commit, lead and enjoy their newly found staus. The irony is that when the religious Leaders are expected to stay neutral and advice strongly, it appears they too are in cahoot with the corrupt trying to save them. I believe all Religions should, once and for all purge this type of character from office they hold.

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      I am no respector of Humans or Positions they hold, unless they earn the Respect, where I shall pay such respect with due care if they do. Therefore this man Ranjith Malcolm or the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chaps are no different to the Humbugs like MR. Was it not Asgiriya and Malwatte Chaps who conferred the Title ‘Janaranjana’ on this Humbug of a Tsunami Fund Embezzler and War Criminal, MR? Now this Malcolm Ranjith chap states MR is a nice decent Christian and should be spared of any charges on War Crimes as that Humbug former CJ Sarth N Silva who prevented the Police CID from probing the Tsunami Hambanthota Scandal. Are these the custodians of man’s Faith, conniving with corrupt Poltical Leaders for their gain? It is indeed repulsive and a damn shame for entire Humanity, to have Religious Leaders as these. The Malwatte chap realised the bitter truth, who MR is after trying to summon a Buddhist Sangayanawa to resolve issues, when he was threatened with death if he stepped out. Thereafter this Malwatte Chap has been avoiding giving an audience to MR.

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    archbishop never said MR is a christian.

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      how do u know/

  • 0
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    It is interesting but it never says in the doc about Mahinda Rajapaksa is a Christian

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      Yes you are correct, the doc never says he is a Christian, but it says he a christian.

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        “but it says he a christian.”
        – WHERE?????? Shame on you!

        Shame on you too Colombo Telegraph!
        Such lies in the headline – cheap tricks.
        Thank God nobody in the western countries believe the Press nowadays – only in the Third World where Press & Media tricks are relatively unknown and about who pays for these media (Press TV etc) to function.
        I know you will not publish this LOL!!

  • 0
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    real HIPO

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      Re establishment & expansion of the Holy Roman empire through her Clergy at its best now.
      Then, there is S.J.Emmanuel, the former Jaffna seminary Boss, equating ltte suicide cardres equivalent to Catholic Martyers & state, Tamil Heritage takes preceedence over Catholic teaching. Yet this RAT of Joseph Ratzinger holds onto his robes & is at the helm of the GTF aiming to divide Sri Lanka.
      Is the Vatican concerned ? The answer is NO… Why ? They want & support their RATS to establish power whereever possible in the World.
      The ultimate beneficiary the VATICAN & Roman Catholism.
      Then Iddamalgoda was stirring some cow-dung the otherday demanding GOSL account for missing Priests in the North. he should have know well that those who tuned their backs to their Master’s Teaching & followed Velu, appointments were made for them to meet their Creator.
      In the past we observed the Northern Tamil Clergy promoting Velu to get a foothole among the 50m Tamil Naduians.
      Mahinda is a moderate?? Tes, going by what the Catholic Clergy is up to, YES, HE IS TRULY A MODERATE IN COMPARISON.

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    Father’s double stand OMG!!

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      Good Lord this Cardinal should just mind his damn business and do God’s work not politics.What does it matter to him if we get GSP plus or minus.Jesus came to save souls and wanted every Christian to spread the Gospel and here he is suposedly the head of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka getting involved in politics.And how he goes on to state that the first lady is a Catholic.So what??She is seen most f the time worshiping at Temples.Malcolm Ranjith you are a hypocrite ,I do not know what you will tell Jesus when you reach the otherside.Please go away.I have lost all love for the catholi church after you became cardinal.I am baptised a catholic and have genarations of catholics .You are just a disgrace to the Catholic church.Dont you have the guts to ask the President what the truth is ,what happened in the last days of the war.Or you know jolly well what happened and you are covering up a crime. I am sure you will be welcomed into the kingdom of God!!!!!

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    From a Christian point of view, you can call a good man as a christian (not Christian, with a capital “C”!).

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    The man who tries to cover up war crimes also a war criminal. I cant believe how this religious leaders play politics

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    Colombo Telegraph did say that Mahinda is a “Christian”-within inverted commas, meaning he may have Christian qualities. He cannot be a Christian because he is a devout Buddhist, sometimes becoming a Hindu amongst the Tamils but some Christian qualities could have rubbed on from his Christian wife. Mahinda may be a good boy but badly brought up within his environment, like Hitler was.

    But let us examine the head of this maverick archbishop. He must know that he commands immense respect for shouldering the responsibility as a regional head of the Catholics in Sri Lanka and beyond. If something drastically goes wrong such as a priest under his jurisdiction murdering somebody he cannot say let us not push for accountability because there could be chaos amongst the flock. Indeed we have experienced this kind of lapsed responsibility before in the case of paedophile priests in the church.

    Cardinal has shot some lose cannon balls about in the past. Either this archbishop does not know his onions or he was under another threat to say something to get Mahinda off the hook or else- the white vans with no identifications

    Mahatma Ghandi said that if Christians behave like one the whole world will become Christians-Powerful statement from a Hindu. No wonder that 97% of youngsters become lapsed Catholics when they become adults because of the kind of leadership they have from the cradle.

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      all I could say is that Malcolm Ranjith is not a Christian or Catholic.
      When Sarath Fonseka appealed to him to speak up he did not have word.
      he supports MR because MR supported his candidacy at Vatican
      and Shirani Rajapakse did not leave the Catholic church

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      Mahatma Gandhi did not say it in admiration – he described how he was many times under pressure from the Christian community to convert. He said it tongue in cheek (he was afterall a lawyer) to show the ruthlessness of the church. He even had people trying to break up the ‘prayer bead mala’ on his neck that identified him as a Hindu.
      Youth dont leave the church because of the leadership failure. In Europe they do because sick of paying for the churches to indulge in divisive policies in the Third world countries. It breeds wars, and we the citizens of Europe have to see taxes paying for the refugees brought by ‘agents’ eating up our social system.
      In Europe we have to pay a 8-10% of our salary to the church – its even called the Church Tax. We dont want to pay salaries to Priests to ‘convert’ innocent villagers living their peacefuö life. This is what ‘normal’ Europeans understand as ‘freedoms’ – sad that SL Christians are so militant and such traitors.
      Here even when we do yoga and follow Hinduism we dont work against our own country.

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    If war criminal charges come must start from 1983 war crimes by Lttel also after that u can trial rajapaksha

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    Lord forgive them, they do not know what they do…

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    So it looks like even Archbishop Ranjith does not want US or UN take any action to probe the alleged war crimes or violations of international laws, because Rajapakse brothers may lose power and the extreme right or ‘left’ steps in. The whole system including the religious establishments are all out to keep the brothers in power and their victims suffer under the mono-ethnic army and police. This is called institutionalised racism which gives no room for justice or let the oppressed get out of the clutches.

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    I agree with all those who have stated that His Emminence, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, should distance himself from political involvement. I have personally written to His Emminence requesting that the Catholic Church in general, and His Emminence in particular should distance himself from this dictatorial regime.
    I make an open appeal to His Emminence on this forum to please bow to the sentiments of the majority and refrain from political involvement. After all, the Catholic Church has enough problems to sort out.
    May God bless you all

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    God Has to be Totally different from Human. Human have obey and pray God. THAT God’s value want unlimit than others. here all are taking human also God know. Thats why all problems in the world.

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    A Devil in Human form

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    Jesus Christ too was subject to criticism by the jews. Its not supprising that H.Lordship Malcolm Ranjith is been taken to task when he talks “What is Right”. H.E. Rajapakse saved number of Tamils from the “Carnage” of the LTTE. He is today developing the North and East and people are living in PEACE. The Tamil Diaspora wants the men who are doing good to be Tried ………… the same thing happened to Jesus Christ. Yes Civilians died during the final days of the War. Prabakaren killed innocent civilians /Buddhist Clergy/Muslims inside the Mosques…… Do you remember ? Where was the War crimes allegations then???? … Come to your senses from the intoxication of an Eelam dream, which has been defeated fairly and squarly. Sri Lanka belongs to all Religions and all nationalities. There is no Tamil Homeland or Sinhala homeland … Its all Sri Lankan Homeland.

    • 0
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      Rajapakse is developing North and East? Really?

      He is building Airport, Seaport, Stadium etc.. with his name, at Hambatota in the South.
      While militartising the North in large numbers, settling military families as well as civilians from the south
      at state expence, to change the demogrphy and reduce Tamil seats in Parliament.

      This Malcom is not fit to be a Cardinal and is an insult to his office.
      Even Jesus Christ chose the 12 including Judas who betrayed Jesus.
      Likewise Malcom is a blacksheep among catholics.

  • 0
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    This raja hora is pretend to bea Buddhist because of political advantage,this hora must be half Muslim and hald christian.

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    Rajapakse can be charming, the most sucessful criminals, thieves, fascists & bigots are charming.

    Flerting with Christianity or Buddism, Rajaphse ancestory was Don Davith Henrik Apuhamy

    This/now Rajapakse’s religion is power, with a dash of womanising, racism & corruption.

    This ‘Forces lurking beneath him’ is the excuse as those forces are the many discriminated minorities of some sort having only that avenue to outshine the (disgusting) norm. These forces are the escape-doat deparment, department of dirt-works, like the householder using and blaming the servants. You see this is the disgusting BS.

    It is literally chaos for most people whith this Pake & Co.

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    Rajapakse can be charming, the most sucessful criminals, thieves, fascists & bigots are charming.

    Flerting with Christianity or Buddism, Rajaphse ancestory was Don Davith Henrik Apuhamy

    This/now Rajapakse’s religion is power, with a dash of womanising, racism & corruption.

    This ‘Forces lurking beneath him’ is the excuse as those forces are the many discriminated minorities of some sort having only that avenue to outshine the (disgusting) norm. These forces are the escape-goat deparment, department of dirt-works, like the householder using and blaming the servants. You see this is the disgusting BS.

    It is literally chaos for most people whith this Pakse & Co.

  • 0
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    I should say that Archbishop should avoid politics. Because I can remember in 1956 when Sir John was adamantly against clergy coming to politics we were the people behind the Buddhist priest supporting them to do the politics. At last what a mess they created for the country.

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    the problem with humanity is tht it doesn’t hold itself in high esteem…it looks up to representatives of religion many of whom r hiding private agendas to further themselves…..the wrld needs humanitarianism only….with population control…..to feed them adequately……..really

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