23 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: Installing Criminal Devananda As The Head Of A ‘Quisling’ Tamil Regime

“The leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EDPD), Douglas Devananda, has a long history of enmity with the recently defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He has been a favorite of successive Sri Lankan governments in Colombo. But Devananda has a violent and even criminal history, and shows few signs of reforming. While close ties continue between the top levels of the GSL and Devananda, we may be seeing an adjustment to that relationship as “Colonel Karuna” continues to strengthen his position with President Rajapaksa and his powerful brother, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, possibly at Devananda’s expense. The GSL may attempt to install Devananda as the leader of a new provincial government in the North through early elections there, or as the head of an interim administration.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Douglas and Rajapaksa

The US Embassy wrote; “This would help the government to maintain its iron grip on Jaffna and the North, but also might tend to pin down Devananda and his paramilitary forces, leaving Karuna a freer hand in the rest of Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksas may be trying to clear the way for Karuna and his paramilitary cadres to become the undisputed nationalforce for unofficial internal control of the Tamil population. However, Devananda still enjoys a privileged position within the GSL, as evidenced by a meeting the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S. insisted on arranging with Representative Heath Shuler during the latter’s recent visit to Sri Lanka. Absent any indication that Devananda has sworn off his violent tactics, Embassy has privately pushed the Sri Lankan government not to install a Devananda-led regime in the north. In light of Devananda’s lack of legitimate popular support, we remain concerned that local or provincial-level elections held hastily in the North could be manipulated to put Devananda and the EPDP into power at the expense of legitimate Tamil representatives, thereby undermining the post-conflict reconciliation process.”

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The classified  “CONFIDENTIAL” cable was written on June 19, 2009 and signed by Charge D’Affaires James R. Moore.

Moore wrote; “Further, placing Devananda in power in the North might serve to preoccupy him with events and operations there, clearing the way for Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, a/k/a ‘Colonel Karuna Amman’ to further solidify his position country-wide. The Ministry of Defense, especially the President’s powerful brother, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, appears to strongly prefer former TMVP leader Karuna – now a member of the President’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – as his go-to man for both Tamil politics and ‘unofficial’ security operations. Embassy contacts report the Rajapaksa brothers have recently shown a clear preference for Karuna over Devananda. The President recently elevated Karuna to Minister for National Integration. However, Karuna has yet to develop popular backing in the North, since he is an Easterner, whose Tamil dialect and traditions are distinctly different from the Tamils of Jaffna and the Vanni.”

Placing a comment Moore wrote; “It is still unclear what the field of competing parties will be during the next cycle of local and provincial elections in the North – and which candidates will dare stand against the EPDP. The UNP complained on June 15th of “armed groups” threatening its candidates in an attempt to prevent them from contesting the Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Urban Council elections in August. It comes as no surprise, however, that the end of regular combat between GSL forces and the LTTE would lead to a turf battle between the GSL’s disparate ethnic Tamil allies. Post has been extremely candid in private discussions with the GSL leadership concerning our reservations about a significant role for Devananda in a new administration for the North. In our assessment, it is unlikely he has much legitimate popular support. We have brushed aside past suggestions that we fund the organizations he sponsors. We have told senior interlocutors (including Devananda himself) that the violence of its armed wing’s tactics and the continuing criminal activities of EPDP cadres in Jaffna and Colombo would pose serious obstacles to U.S. cooperation with a provincial government led by him, or working in conjunction with an EPDP-led northern administration on reconstruction efforts. There are some recent signs that the GSL leadership, concerned about losing international assistance for the north, may be having second thoughts about installing Devananda as the head of a “quisling” Tamil regime.”

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO2781
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0624/01 1700419
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 190419Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0128
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1745
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 8757
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 6995
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5040
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3129
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4999
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1278
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 4105
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 9372
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 6677
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 1204
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3602
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000624 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2024
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PTER PINR EAID CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: DOUGLAS DEVANANDA - GOVERNMENT'S MAN
FOR THE NORTH? 

REF: 2007 COLOMBO 728 

Classified By: Acting DCM Michael DeTar, for reasons 1.4 (b and d) 

¶1. (S) SUMMARY:  The leader of the Eelam People's Democratic
Party (EDPD), Douglas Devananda, has a long history of enmity
with the recently defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
He has  been a favorite of successive Sri Lankan governments
in Colombo.  But Devananda has a violent and even criminal
history, and shows few signs of reforming.  While close ties
continue between the top levels of the GSL and Devananda, we
may be seeing an adjustment to that relationship as "Colonel
Karuna" continues to strengthen his position with President
Rajapaksa and his powerful brother, Defense Secretary
Gothabaya Rajapaksa, possibly at Devananda's expense.  The
GSL may attempt to install Devananda as the leader of a new
provincial government in the North through early elections
there, or as the head of an interim administration.  This
would help the government to maintain its iron grip on Jaffna
and the North, but also might tend to pin down Devananda and
his paramilitary forces, leaving Karuna a freer hand in the
rest of Sri Lanka.  The Rajapaksas may be trying to clear the
way for Karuna and his paramilitary cadres to become the
undisputed nationalforce for unofficial internal control of
the Tamil population.  However, Devananda still enjoys a
privileged position within the GSL, as evidenced by a meeting
the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S. insisted on arranging
with Representative Heath Shuler during the latter's recent
visit to Sri Lanka.  Absent any indication that Devananda has
sworn off his violent tactics, Embassy has privately pushed
the Sri Lankan government not to install a Devananda-led
regime in the north.  In light of Devananda's lack of
legitimate popular support, we remain concerned that local or
provincial-level elections held hastily in the North could be
manipulated to put Devananda and the EPDP into power at the
expense of legitimate Tamil representatives, thereby
undermining the post-conflict reconciliation process.  End
Summary. 

TURNING POINT FOR GSL TAMIL ALLIES 

¶2.  (S) With the military campaign against the LTTE now over,
senior leaders within the GSL are turning their attention to
the post-conflict political landscape.  The GSL is - as it
was in the East - anxious to confer a veneer of democratic
legitimacy on its administration of the Northern Province by
holding early elections there.  While it plans to begin with
elections to municipal councils in Vavuniya and Jaffna, it
may soon move to hold an election for the Provincial Council
as well - long before it completes the return of the
war-displaced to their areas of origin.  The GSL recognizes
the need for Tamil leadership in the nearly 100%
Tamil-inhabited north - but it will want to retain a high
degree of control over any provincial government or interim
administration it installs there.  Post has previously
reported (ref A) that the GSL is likely to place Douglas
Devananda in some position of power in the North in order to
accomplish this.  Since Devananda has long been a rival to
the LTTE, this could possibly help to further reduce the LTTE
prospects for a resurgence in Jaffna and the Vanni.  It would
also give the GSL a loyal partner in controlling the economy
and civil society there, through the EPDP's well-established
paramilitary methods, including abductions, extrajudicial
killings, and widespread extortion and protection rackets. 

¶3.  (S) Further, placing Devananda in power in the North
might serve to preoccupy him with events and operations
there, clearing the way for Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan,
a/k/a "Colonel Karuna Amman" to further solidify his position
country-wide.  The Ministry of Defense, especially the
President's powerful brother, Defense Secretary Gothabaya
Rajapaksa, appears to strongly prefer former TMVP leader
Karuna  - now a member of the President's Sri Lanka Freedom
Party (SLFP) - as his go-to man for both Tamil politics and 

COLOMBO 00000624  002 OF 003 

"unofficial" security operations.  Embassy contacts report
the Rajapaksa brothers have recently shown a clear preference
for Karuna over Devananda.  The President recently elevated
Karuna to Minister for National Integration.  However, Karuna
has yet to develop popular backing in the North, since he is
an Easterner, whose Tamil dialect and traditions are
distinctly different from the Tamils of Jaffna and the Vanni. 

DEVANANDA NOT LIKELY TO FADE AWAY 

¶4.  (C) Still, Devananda is not lacking in well-placed
friends, and retains a fair amount of clout within the
government.  The EPDP's base in Colombo's many ethnic Tamil
neighborhoods remains strong, and Devananda is unlikely to
cede quietly the extortion revenue or the political influence
he has developed in the capital.  The recent visit of U.S.
Congressman Heath Shuler to Sri Lanka provided an example.
While visiting the large IDP camps in Vavuniya, Sri Lankan
Ambassador to the U.S. Wickramasuriya pressed hard for a
meeting with Devananda.  Embassy had advised Representative
Shuler to avoid such a meeting, but Wickramasuriya insisted
it was important to meet with Devananda, given his position
as Minister of Social Services - and his future role in any
reconciliation process as one of the very few ethnic Tamil
members of the Government.  Wickramasuriya told the
Congressman and his staff that he had personally arranged the
meeting, and that to cancel it would be an embarrassment.
The Congressman finally agreed to meet Devananda, on
condition that it be brief, with no photographers present.
Devananda spoke largely of the need to implement the 13th
Amendment, which would devolve more power to the provincial
level - an advantage for Devananda should he eventually
become the leader of the North.  A meeting for the
Congressman with Karuna was originally scheduled for later
that same day, but was dropped upon request from the
Congressman - without any similar protest by Wickramasuriya. 

DUBIOUS ELECTORAL SUPPORT 

¶5.  (C) Devananda has a long history of involvement in Tamil
politics, and in making deals with successive Sri Lankan
governments.  A rival of the LTTE since the 1980s, he first
struck a bargain with President Ranasinghe Premadasa, and was
elected as an MP in 1994.  Working with the Sri Lankan Navy,
his EPDP forces have long dominated several islands near
Jaffna (Kayts, Delft, Punguduthivu), reportedly engaging in
large-scale vote-tampering to win elections there.  In 1998,
the EPDP contested Local Authority elections in Jaffna and
the neighboring islands, winning a suspiciously large
majority of votes.  In 1999, Devananda courted Chandrika
Kumaratunga. During the Presidential election, he was able to
bring in over 50,000 votes for her in Jaffna under
questionable circumstances. (Note: in other regions, the
entire Tamil community voted solidly for Kumaratunga's
opponent.)  During the 2000 Parliamentary elections there
were widespread charges of election tampering.  The EPDP
reportedly obtained votes through cash bribes and offers of
employment. 

¶6.  (S) COMMENT:  It is still unclear what the field of
competing parties will be during the next cycle of local and
provincial elections in the North - and which candidates will
dare stand against the EPDP.  The UNP complained on June 15th
of "armed groups" threatening its candidates in an attempt to
prevent them from contesting the Jaffna Municipal Council and
Vavuniya Urban Council elections in August.  It comes as no
surprise, however, that the end of regular combat between GSL
forces and the LTTE would lead to a turf battle between the
GSL's disparate ethnic Tamil allies.  Post has been extremely
candid in private discussions with the GSL leadership
concerning our reservations about a significant role for
Devananda in a new administration for the North.  In our
assessment, it is unlikely he has much legitimate popular
support.  We have brushed aside past suggestions that we fund 

COLOMBO 00000624  003 OF 003 

the organizations he sponsors.  We have told senior
interlocutors (including Devananda himself) that the violence
of its armed wing's tactics and the continuing criminal
activities of EPDP cadres in Jaffna and Colombo would pose
serious obstacles to U.S. cooperation with a provincial
government led by him, or working in conjunction with an
EPDP-led northern administration on reconstruction efforts.
There are some recent signs that the GSL leadership,
concerned about losing international assistance for the
north, may be having second thoughts about installing
Devananda as the head of a "quisling" Tamil regime.
MOORE
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    But Devananda arrested the CIA couples. Why dont you tell the same of a CIA involvement in TAMIL politics?

    • 0
      0

      Really? Then, why did he let them go? An Indian Police Chief threatened him and Brave Doug ordered his brigade (!) to release them. Clucklas (chicken) Devananda…!!

  • 0
    0

    He is no quisling! As the picture indicates, he is Sri Lanka’s entry for the best beach bodies competition for Sports Illustrated!

  • 0
    0

    Avery where CRIMINALS get together to do their durty works.

    so in Sri lanka also there is no any differance.

  • 0
    0

    Question is why is this war criminal Douglas Devananda not being tried for murder in India|s Tamil Nadu state and why is the GOI not seeking his extradition.

    India continues to play its double game – massaging Rajapassa and and his cronies, supporting Rajaapassa at the Commonwealth circus – rather than holding the barbaric regime accountable – because scared of China.

    Rajapassa has played his China card very skillfully and got the cowardly and unprincipled Manmohan Singh regime by its aging Balls!

  • 0
    0

    Devanada has been loyal supporter of the Governments in power and used to preventing the penetration of the islands by the LTTE, using similar tactics. However, he is the wrong choice to get the votes of the floating voter population in all areas other than the islands. KP & Daya Master might attract more votes than him.

    The best choice would have been to get a former GA / District Secretary who has rendered good service to contest the elections and appoint the most suitable person as the Chief Minister, if the Governing party succeeds in winning this Provincial Council election.

  • 0
    0

    Better him than LTTE coolies from the TNA.

    • 0
      0

      What? joking!

      This is a person who runs brothels in Jaffna for his masters.

  • 0
    0

    Devananda’s support among the tamils is , if any, miniscule and that is also gained by threats of violence. This murderous thug should not be allowed to have any say in the political affairs of the tamils but there is a possibility that the Rajapaksa regime will give him a place by manipulating the NPC elections. Devananda, like VP, was and is a curse on the tamils of Sri lanka and it is a terrible shame that he is still alive today. The violent thug is selling out the tamil race to the Sinhalese extremists. The sooner he is eliminated the better for the tamils.

  • 0
    0

    Lord Muruga is wondering why these two notorious characters have approached him. One has already visited Lord Thiruppathy twice and the Lord just smiled. But Lord Muruga is considering whether to send his spear (Vel) to monitor their activities upon realizing his devotees may be targetted. Apparently, Lord Muruga is not happy that these two rascals did not had the courtesy to bring mangoes.

  • 0
    0

    Americans are trying to destabilize countries the can not exploit through elected government. It is well proven in the history. Whole world know it. If any matter USA has concern about local politics their is hidden cause mar their chance of exploitation. The Americans role is similar to corrupted policeman in world theater.The reason they sympathies on Sri Lankan Tamils is that they want to see separated state in Sri Lanka and hence greater division in the region. Then they can exploit nations. It is not secret for whole world except these ignorant Tamil parties in India and Sri Lanka. As long as they see support from these western imperialists , Tamils think they are ok to insult other races they living with. This stupidity will never end unless they should be ignored or out numbered by other peaceful races in the region.

  • 0
    0

    Douglas has been the only Tamil leader serving the needs of the ordinary Tamil people for a long time now without much fanfare. He was with the Tamil people during their darkest days while other militants ran away and the mainstream leaders kept silent to avoid getting killed by the LTTE. The TNA even endorsed the Tigers as the sole representatives of the Tamils. People whom he had served during the turbulent period will attest to his hard work, dedication and courage.

    He is totally different from the typical Tamil politician. He is more like Sinhalese politicians in that he is very close to the people and has developed enduring ties with not only his supporters but with all downtrodden Tamils. That is why Prabakaran couldn’t kill Douglas though he tried very hard numerous times. There are thousands of people who are very loyal to Douglas and will give their lives to protect him.

    And he is the only Tamil leader who has taken a deliberate decision not to fool the Tamil people by promising something that can never be achieved in order to win their votes. Instead he has chosen to work on practical issues to improve their day to day lives and find a solution to the ethnic problem in a pluralist Sri Lanka. That is why he gave up Eelam politics and joined mainstream politics. He has been urging the Tamil people to give up the confrontational politics that proved to be suicidal and instead embrace conciliatory politics. He believes the Tamils should work together with the Sinhalese and Muslims to find a solution to their problems. Therefore he had the courage of his conviction to join the SL governments under Premadasa, Chandrika, and now under MR in spite of the death threats from the LTTE and the slur of being a “traitor” cast by misguided Tamil nationalists. Naturally Douglas is the only Tamil leader who is trusted without any reservations by the Sinhalese people of all levels.

    It is due to this grassroots background and his popularity among the less-privileged Tamils, and the high regard the Sinhalese have for him that the Tamils who like to imagine themselves as upper class elites hate him. They don’t want to see a shift in the power structure they are accustomed to.

    So interestingly, the Yankees who had shamelessly tried to halt the war at the last moment in order to save the terrorist mass murderer Prabakaran were later concerned about the possible of rise of Douglas, a leader who had given up militancy and joined the political mainstream and had acquired a democratic record of over 20 years.

    One can understand why the Yankees who don’t like radical grassroots politics would write the above dispatch. The question is, what is the motive of CT in republishing this misleading assessment of Douglas at a time when the talk of the town is the forthcoming polls for the NPC?

    • 0
      0

      Vanadeva,
      let him face free and fair election. let the people decide. I dont think he will win any fair election….Tamils never vote slaves of sinhala budshits….

      • 0
        0

        J.Muthu

        Being slaves Tamils in Vanni region were denied their democratic rights and by default they elected MR and got hammered by him.

        MR paid VP and then hanged him by his balls.

        Haven’t the Tamils always enjoyed sado masochism, oh just like their Sinhala/Buddhist brethren?

        Please come clean.

  • 0
    0

    India put the Italian ambassador on a no fly list preventing him leaving the country until the navy officers were returned to stand trial. Why does’nt it put the SL ambassador on house arrest until this accused murderer appears in the Indian court.

    • 0
      0

      He used the gun which was given to him by Indian government.DMK Hooligans in Tamil nadu let the killers of Padmanabha and others go free. So, the Tamil Nadu state government cannot be selective in the case of DD!

      Can anyone who is barking against DD ask to arrest those killers? They never do so.

      DD is a suvivor of 12 murder attacks by LTTE. He serves the poors and not the rich who support LTTE even today!

  • 0
    0

    This reference to WikiLeaks: It is a cable of of June 2009 almost 4 years ago. Is that really relevant or being added for local colour?

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