Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: ‘Fonseka Would Be Able To Get The Status Of The Bushmaster Weapons From Washington’ – Blake To Gota

By Colombo Telegraph

“The Ambassador noted that Army Chief General Fonseka would be able to get the status of the Bushmasters during his visit to Washington later this month. The Ambassador also urged the GSL to receive at a high level a team from Raytheon coming the week of November 13 to discuss Raytheon’s offer of aerial radars on Beechcraft. Such radars would greatly increase GSL capacity to detect LTTE re-supply efforts several hundred miles offshore. Rajapakse said this was an important visit.”  the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “Confidential” and recounts a meeting the US Ambassador had with Secretary to the Ministry of Difence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The cable was written on November 10,2006 by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.

Blake wrote “Rajapakse explained that the LTTE is far stronger than is commonly believed. He cited a November 9 attack by 20 LTTE boats on a seven vessel GSL naval convoy south of Point Pedro off the east coast of Jaffna. The LTTE boats engaged in a pincer action during which they managed to separate two GSL vessels, which LTTE suicide boats then rammed and sank. Admiral Samarasinghe said 5 sailors had been killed, fifteen were missing and presumed dead, and four had been captured by the LTTE. He explained that the action came at a time when the Navy is already stretched thin because it is escorting humanitarian convoys from Colombo to help re-supply Jaffna”

“The Ambassador noted that in initial briefings he had received from the Sri Lankan military when he arrived in September, the GSL had believed they had inflicted heavy losses on the LTTE. How had the LTTE been able to reconstitute capabilities so fast? Rajapakse explained the LTTE had been able to re-supply the parts and other equipment lost, which was why they could now increase their operational tempo. He reiterated the urgent need for Bushmaster weapons so that the LTTE could not outgun the Sri Lankan navy. The Ambassador noted that Army Chief General Fonseka would be able to get the status of the Bushmasters during his visit to Washington later this month. The Ambassador also urged the GSL to receive at a high level a team from Raytheon coming the week of November 13 to discuss Raytheon’s offer of aerial radars on Beechcraft. Such radars would greatly increase GSL capacity to detect LTTE re-supply efforts several hundred miles offshore. Rajapakse said this was an important visit.” he further wrote.

Read the relevant part of the cable below;

VZCZCXRO5470
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #1889/01 3141502
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101502Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4696
INFO RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6507
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 4564
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3308
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0195
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 3397
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0954
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0287
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2478
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0069
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0150
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7047
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 4868
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0082
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1502
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0492
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001889 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR P AND SCA/INS, USPACOM FOR FPA 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2016
TAGS: PREL MOPS PTER CE
SUBJECT: DEFENSE SECRETARY EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT POSSIBLE
MAJOR LTTE ATTACK 

REF: A. COLOMBO 1828 

     ¶B. COLOMBO 1863
     ¶C. COLOMBO 1884 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).
LTTE Stronger Than Perceived
--------------------------- 

¶3.  (C) Rajapakse explained that the LTTE is far stronger
than is commonly believed.  He cited a November 9 attack by
20 LTTE boats on a seven vessel GSL naval convoy south of
Point Pedro off the east coast of Jaffna.  The LTTE boats
engaged in a pincer action during which they managed to
separate two GSL vessels, which LTTE suicide boats then
rammed and sank.  Admiral Samarasinghe said 5 sailors had
been killed, fifteen were missing and presumed dead, and four
had been captured by the LTTE. He explained that the action
came at a time when the Navy is already stretched thin
because it is escorting humanitarian convoys from Colombo to
help re-supply Jaffna (ref b).  The Ambassador noted that in
initial briefings he had received from the Sri Lankan
military when he arrived in September, the GSL had believed
they had inflicted heavy losses on the LTTE.  How had the
LTTE been able to reconstitute capabilities so fast?
Rajapakse explained the LTTE had been able to re-supply the
parts and other equipment lost, which was why they could now 

COLOMBO 00001889  002 OF 002 

increase their operational tempo.  He reiterated the urgent
need for Bushmaster weapons so that the LTTE could not outgun
the Sri Lankan navy.  The Ambassador noted that Army Chief
General Fonseka would be able to get the status of the
Bushmasters during his visit to Washington later this month.
The Ambassador also urged the GSL to receive at a high level
a team from Raytheon coming the week of November 13 to
discuss Raytheon's offer of aerial radars on Beechcraft.
Such radars would greatly increase GSL capacity to detect
LTTE re-supply efforts several hundred miles offshore.
Rajapakse said this was an important visit. 

LTTE Preparing Suicide Air Attack?
---------------------------------- 

¶4.  (C) Rajapakse also expressed great concern about a
training flight that an LTTE light aircraft had taken the
evening of November 6.  He said that while there had been
previous sightings of the plane flying, this was the first
time that military radar had detected and tracked the plane.
He speculated that the plane might be preparing to undertake
a suicide bombing of a target that could not be targeted by a
car or suicide bomber on the ground.  Rajapakse predicted
LTTE supremo Prabhakaran would need a military or other
victory to show his strength before his November 27 Heroes
Day speech.  He said the GSL was particularly concerned a
suicide plane might target the Ratmalana military airport
outside Colombo, the military side of the air base at
Colombo's international airport where the Air Force's Kfirs
are stationed, the base at Anuradhapura where a helicopter
squadron is stationed, or possibly the President's residence
in Colombo.  The Ambassador asked how long it would take to
scramble the Kfirs to intercept such a mission.  Rajapakse
thought at least 30 minutes, which would be too long to stop
an attack on Anuradhapura.  He also expressed concern that
the plane might fly at night since the LTTE knows the Kfirs
do not have night vision.  Asked about GSL plans to acquire
night capability, Rajapakse said the next generation of Kfirs
would likely have such capability and the Indians would
provide the requisite training.
BLAKE
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