17 November, 2018

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WikiLeaks – Gota to provide mercenaries to Afghan war

By Colombo Telegraph

“Assistant secretary Robert Blake raised the possibility of Sri Lanka contributing to US – led coalition operations in Afghanistan, noting that would be a significant step in support of improving military – to – military engagement.” a leaked US diplomatic cable reveals.

In an attempt to avoid the stigma associated with mercenaries

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recount details of a meeting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake had with Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 8th December 2009. They discussed the subjects such as accountability and reconciliation, security and reconstruction, ICRC and ex- combatants, military missions, LTTE links to Eritrea and potential Sri Lankan contributions to peace keeping operations and US – led coalition efforts.

“Rajapaksa replied that contributing forces for combat operations right now would be too politically sensitive during the current election season in Sri Lanka. He added that the GSL would have to consider seriously the implications for its Muslim minority as well as the danger of drawing the ire of groups like Al – Qaida and Lashkar –e –Taiba by becoming a force provider. He said possible alternative for Sri Lanka might be to provide training assistance to Afghan security forces under the auspices of a non – governmental organization or private company.” the cable reveals.

The cable further says “Blake warned that Lakshar – e – Taiba, which had used Nepal and Bangladesh as staging posts to attack India, could next turn to Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa related that GSL had arrested two men transiting Sri Lanka to Nepal based on information provided by India’s research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The GSL has since turned them over to RAW. Rajapaksa noted that the GSL has assigned separate officers to watch extremists. Blake suggested that the GSL exchange further information about LTTE networks with US counter – terrorism experts.”

Contributing forces for combat operations right now would be too politically sensitive during the current election season in Sri Lanka

“Private Military Companies (PMC) refer to their business generally as the private military industry, in an attempt to avoid the stigma often associated with mercenaries.” a military analyst told Colombo Telegraph.

The services and expertise offered by PMCs are typically similar to those of governmental military or police forces, most often on a smaller scale. While PMCs often provide services to train or supplement official armed forces in service of governments, they can also be employed by private companies to provide bodyguards for key staff or protection of company premises, especially in hostile territories. However, contractors who use offensive force in a war zone could be considered unlawful combatants in reference to a concept outlined in the Geneva Conventions and explicitly specified by the US Military Commissions Act.

Many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are not signatories to the 1989 United Nations Mercenary Convention banning the use of mercenaries.

Read the full cable below.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001159

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: DEFENSE SECRETARY DEFENDS SRI LANKAN POLICIES WITH
A/S BLAKE

COLOMBO 00001159  001.8 OF 003

Classified By: DCM VALERIE FOWLER.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY:  In a December 8 meeting with A/S Blake, Sri
Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa discussed
accountability and reconciliation; the State of Emergency;
disarmament of ex-combatants and paramilitary groups;
reconstruction in the North; rehabilitation of Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ex-combatants; LTTE child
soldiers; access to LTTE ex-combatants for the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); potential Sri Lankan
contributions to peacekeeping operations and to U.S.-led
coalition efforts, and Sri Lankan military expansion plans.
A/S Blake noted that ICRC access to LTTE ex-combatants and
GSL action to hold members of the military accountable for
any human rights abuses or possibly war crimes would be
important for the normalization of our military-to-military
relations.  END SUMMARY.

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

2. (C) A/S Blake emphasized American and international
expectations and concerns about accountability and
reconciliation, and urged the GSL to make every effort to
show it had investigated and when appropriate held
accountable members of the military alleged to have committed
human rights abuses or war crimes.  Rajapaksa asserted that
the military was taking action, and -- in response to A/S
Blake's request -- agreed to provide the United States with a
copy of the Ministry of Defense's input into the GSL response
to the European Union's Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP)-Plus report.  (NOTE: The Embassy subsequently received
a copy of the "Observations of the Government of Sri Lanka in
respect of the 'Report on the Findings of the Investigation
with Respect to the Effective Implementation of certain human
rights Conventions in Sri Lanka'."  The Observations were
essentially a narrative defense of the GSL position, appeared
to have little input from the Ministry of Defense, and
contained no statistics on military investigations of
potential criminal acts.  The Embassy has continued to try to
get the report on military investigations that the Defense
Secretary promised to A/S Blake, as well as to Ambassador
Butenis, but thus far has been unsuccessful.  END NOTE.)

SECURITY AND RECONSTRUCTION
----------------------------

3. (C) A/S Blake suggested that lifting the State of
Emergency would help demonstrate GSL progress addressing
long-term human rights concerns.  Speaking hours after
Parliament had extended the State of Emergency for another
month, Rajapaksa replied the provisions remained necessary,
primarily to keep in detention the 1,000 or so hard-core LTTE
cadres.  He said the GSL was trying to figure out a way ahead
to process the detainees within the judicial system, but if
the Emergency were lifted now, the GSL would have to release
them.  Rajapaksa emphasized that most of the other security
restrictions had already been eased or lifted, including
restrictions on air travel, transportation, and those related
to the fishing industry.

4. (C) In response to A/S Blake's suggestion that the GSL
disarm paramilitary groups in the North as it had done in the
East, Rajapaksa noted that the government had disarmed all
militant groups, including those in Vavuniya.  He said every
day the security forces are collecting arms and ammunition,
uncovering many hidden caches from information provided by
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and LTTE ex-combatants.
He dismissed recent media reports of a Tamil group
identifying itself as a Peoples' Liberation Army and calling

COLOMBO 00001159  002.6 OF 003

for an independent homeland for Tamils.  Rajapaksa said the
GSL has excellent security controls in the Eastern Province,
and had seen no indication of any such group.

5. (C) Rajapaksa said the GSL had encouraged the Tamil
diaspora to take a greater role in reconstruction.  He said
that there was a critical need for construction of housing
and hoped the diaspora would provide assistance as they had
done after the devastation caused by the 2004 tsunami in the
North, the South, and in the Eastern Province.  A/S Blake
mentioned his trip to the IDP camps and resettled areas in
the North.  He noted few patients in the hospital in the
camps.  He said the area around Madhu Church had not appeared
as damaged by the war as expected.  He said the resettled
IDPs had expressed the need for two types of assistance,
namely more computers and more bicycles, adding that the IDPs
had told him that the Sri Lankan Army had passed out a lot of
bicycles to them, but they would like more.  Rajapaksa
responded that the Army had carried out most of the clearing,
reconstruction and renovation around the Madhu Church.

ICRC AND EX-COMBATANTS
----------------------

6. (C) In response to A/S Blake's support for the ICRC's
mandate, Rajapaksa said the ICRC continued to visit LTTE
cadres in prisons and there was no problem with ICRC visiting
the LTTE ex-combatant camps.  Rajapaksa said he had no issue
with ICRC performing its monitoring mission.  He said it was
inappropriate, however, for the ICRC to interfere in the
rehabilitation programs that were the purview of
International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the GSL.
He blamed the ICRC for undermining international donor
support for IOM rehabilitation programs, and encouraged A/S
Blake to discuss the problem with IOM representatives.  Blake
clarified that the ICRC was not undermining such support.
Rather, by granting ICRC periodic access, the GSL could
improve prospects for international support. Rajapaksa
highlighted that the LTTE child soldiers' education program
at Hindu College in Ratmalana was going well.  He said that
during his recent visit to the facility, he had spoken to the
children and that most wanted to continue their studies and
rejoin their families.  Rajapaksa noted that there were two
or three cases of children with no families and that one
child thought his parents had gone to London, but no one had
been able to trace them.

MILITARY MISSIONS
-----------------

7. (C) Rajapaksa discussed his future plans for the Sri Lanka
military to participate in UN Peacekeeping missions.
Rajapaksa said he could make 10,000 peacekeepers available
"today" for deployment on UN missions.  Although Sri Lankan
Air Force (SLAF) aircraft were also available, deployments
were impractical given the unaffordable up-front costs the
GSL would incur just to deploy them.  Regarding participation
in maritime coalition operations to counter piracy and the
trafficking of persons and narcotics, Rajapaksa noted that
Sri Lanka would be very open to the idea.  Regarding reported
plans to expand the military, Rajapaksa said he had
instructed the military to develop a plan for expanding
maritime capabilities, with the primary intent of preventing
the LTTE from once again smuggling arms and ammunition into
Sri Lanka.  He said the Sri Lankan Navy would be critical to
stopping any LTTE smuggling operations, and would also play a
significant role in countering the LTTE's human trafficking
operations throughout the region to destinations such as
Australia and Canada.

COLOMBO 00001159  003.8 OF 003

AFGHANISTAN
-----------

8. (C) A/S Blake raised the possibility of Sri Lanka
contributing to U.S.-led coalition operations in Afghanistan,
noting that would be a significant step in support of
improving military-to-military engagement.  Rajapaksa replied
that contributing forces for combat operations right now
would be too politically sensitive during the current
election season in Sri Lanka.  He added that the GSL would
have to consider seriously the implications for its Muslim
minority as well as the danger of drawing the ire of groups
like Al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba by becoming a force
provider.  He said a possible alternative for Sri Lanka might
be to provide training assistance to Afghan security forces
under the auspices of a non-governmental organization or
private company.  He recalled a local precedent for this
approach, dating back to 1985-1986 when a South Africa-based
company had provided security assistance to Sri Lanka in the
early years of the war with the LTTE.  He said the company
had provided military and security experts from a host of
countries, including the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth
nations, and even some Russians.  For four or five years, the
company was based in Jaffna and had trained Sri Lankan pilots
and taught infantry tactics, including close quarters combat
skills.  He said that while the South African company had not
participated in combat operations, it had closely monitored
Sri Lankan military operations, assisting in de-briefing
patrols and conducting after action reviews.

LTTE LINKS TO ERITREA AND LET
-----------------------------

9. (C) Rajapaksa briefed that the GSL knew of five planes
that the LTTE had purchased in Eritrea, where they remained.
The LTTE had also established boat-building operations in
Eritrea, he added.  The Eritrean government has rebuffed GSL
attempts to open a diplomatic mission.  He claimed that LTTE
operatives also helped train Somali terrorists in Eritrea.
Rajapaksa outlined that the LTTE employed middlemen in India,
Philippines, Eritrea, Thailand and Malaysia, and used
Singapore as the financial hub.  The brokers usually married
a native, started a business, and bribed officials to
facilitate deals.  The shipments originated in North Korea,
and usually contained Chinese-origin goods.

10. (C) A/S Blake warned that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which
has used Nepal and Bangladesh as staging posts to attack
India, could next turn to Sri Lanka.  Rajapaksa related that
the GSL had arrested two men transiting Sri Lanka to Nepal
based on information provided by India's Research and
Analysis Wing (RAW).  The GSL has since turned them over to
RAW.  Rajapaksa noted that the GSL has assigned separate
officers to watch for extremists.  A/S Blake suggested that
the GSL exchange further information about LTTE networks with
U.S. counter-terrorism experts.
BUTENIS
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    look at the so called “patriot” ??

    • 0
      0

      Real hypocrisy of both sides- US and SL

      • 0
        0

        The Sri Lankan armed forces are probably the best forces in the world to fight terrorism. There is no evidence anywhere that Sinhalese soldiers were mercenaries in Afghanistan. Even if they were it could not be a crime because it is a trade like any other. The LTTE supporters are involved in scams which obviously are criminal offences. I know that the Defence Secretary respects the Muslims not to get involved in Afghanistan. If the soldiers want to enlist, then it is their own problem. Sarath Fonseka can apply for a post as an errand boy for the US high command.

      • 0
        0

        To kill 5000 LTTE cadres sacrifice 30,000 innocent civilians! I don’t call that best army in the world…I call them Mercenaries!! Gota is one that is why he got the job done that fast!!

      • 0
        0

        Is it wrong by doing others @ the pont of view of those who involved like LTTE followers who are trying to safeguard buchers by putting humanitarian slogans?.

    • 0
      0

      More a patriot than any other. Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be a real asset to the sub continent if and when there is to peace talks between the Afghani Taliban and the Government. The Sri Lankan Government and the Sinhalese have more respect in the sub continent than the Americans and the English do.

      • 0
        0

        Ya a big joke this article. Buggers lie Peter Cassie Chetty wud like it. US does not deal via War Criminals This is cheap article, and has no credibility.

      • 0
        0

        thambimuttu is a ltte supporter, war criminal from Ltte who killed innocents from bus bombs and etnic clensing

  • 0
    0

    “A/S Blake emphasized American and international
    expectations and concerns about accountability and
    reconciliation, and urged the GSL to make every effort to
    show it had investigated and when appropriate held
    accountable members of the military alleged to have committed
    human rights abuses or war crimes. Rajapaksa asserted that
    the military was taking action, and — in response to A/S
    Blake’s request — agreed to provide the United States with a
    copy of the Ministry of Defense’s input into the GSL response
    to the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences
    (GSP)-Plus report. (NOTE: The Embassy subsequently received
    a copy of the “Observations of the Government of Sri Lanka in
    respect of the ‘Report on the Findings of the Investigation
    with Respect to the Effective Implementation of certain human
    rights Conventions in Sri Lanka’.” The Observations were
    essentially a narrative defense of the GSL position, appeared
    to have little input from the Ministry of Defense, and
    contained no statistics on military investigations of
    potential criminal acts. The Embassy has continued to try to
    get the report on military investigations that the Defense
    Secretary promised to A/S Blake, as well as to Ambassador
    Butenis, but thus far has been unsuccessful”

    OMG!

    • 0
      0

      We have the best fighting force in the world. Let the Sri Lankan Government help in talk for peace and not be the “cat’s” paw of the western governments. I hope the Global Tamil Forum and the British Tamil Forum and all those engaged in seeing a war crimes tribunal set up will see that no matter what they say the truth will always prevail.

      • 0
        0

        Very true if Sri Lanka send his fighting men to Afghan and Iraqi Taliban and
        Al – Quiada pack up run with in twenty-four hours or will surrender without a shot been fired.

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde :)

  • 0
    0

    they must be asking EVERYONE

  • 0
    0

    Somebody have got their Thongs knotted up. This is rubbish because it is not a credible story. This will never happen. I will take a small bet with you for 10 pounds. Time limit 1 year.

    • 0
      0

      Thambi, Have you read the cable? why not credible?

      • 0
        0

        thambi is just being worried about is burus pain investment and whether it will vanished like the Peelam investment he made with not return…lol
        these gon tamils still think that west is with them…lol

  • 0
    0

    its a muddle for the brain of Thambimuththu & its sour grapes.
    As for BLAKE and the USA they are in a quandrary caught in a RAT trap with no way out. Looking to Sri Lanka for answers is their best options.
    However, Blake & USA have already got their foot in the mouth where Sri Lanka is concerned.

    Blake & USA must be regretting bitterly for their ill thought actions……………..

  • 0
    0

    Jaffna people taught good lesson this same Blake when he visited there recently. He earlier said through cable Minister Douglas supplied Tamil girls to Srilankan soldiers for sex purpose.

  • 0
    0

    Well well well I think good luck has fallen on our laps!!!! if we do some thing the US wants us which we certainly can,,, then I dont have to tell any sensible person whats going to happen next…

    I hope we take the US idea..

  • 0
    0

    Wiki leaks never mentioned anything about mercenaries. The headline is totally misleading. USA routinely procure services from private sector companies in USA to provide various services that military need assistance. The point here is how the secretary of defense, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse respond to the request came from Ambassador Blake. Rather than saying “Yes” he explained the situation in Sri Lanka, how it affects our Muslim community also without rejecting the ambassadors request he explained some of the alternative methods to help USA who helped us in many critical situations (Rajaratnam case, banning LTTE etc.). Secretary Rajapakse handled the situation as a good strategic thinker displaying his maturity and intelligent decision making process. Sri Lanka is so fortunate to have him to support the President. I am sure the people understand the value of this uncorrupted, brave smart man who loves his country and people without any ethnic biases.

  • 0
    0

    of course Sec. Defense is a great man. but PMC = mercenaries. Nandaguptha, please do some research.

  • 0
    0

    There is no wonder War Crminal Gottabaya will go to any extend to save his crimes. Luckily Gadaffi is on run. Gotabaya was in charge of massacre of 40,000 Tamils and we Tamil definetely believe that those war crimes will bring a life time jail very soon !
    Let’s not bother of our ethnicities and unite against War criminals of Sri Lanka!

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