17 November, 2018

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WikiLeaks: Mahinda Rajapaksa Is “Not So Bad” – Mangala To US

By Colombo Telegraph –

“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 Gorabhaya and Basil) had made him a prisoner of the worst racist and chauvinist elements in society.” the US Embassy Colombo Informed Washington.

Mangala - 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.’

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.

Ambassador Butenis wrote “ 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 it 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.”

“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 favour. Given Rajapaksa’s penchant for high drama 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 as stolen,  Samaraweera said they would strongly object and the JVP would likely take to the streets. But he did not believe this reaction push Sri Lanka to its own Orange Revolution, as 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.’” the ambassador further wrote.

Below we give a part of the confidential cable;

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.
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    ” 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.’”

    Mangala belongs to the generation of Protestant Buddhists. He wishes that Buddhism helped the Sinhalas like Calvinism helped the West. This is a misunderstanding of both Sinhala Buddhism as well as protestantism.

  • 0
    0

    Mongala ia an uneducated, unclutured person…he is responsible for SFs fate.

  • 0
    0

    Mangala another oppourtunist like the rest of the greedy politicians. Artichect of unprincipled opposition alliance to defeat President Rajapaksha cos he lost the trust of Our great patriotic president Rajapaksha. Mangala a traitor who betrayed srilanka to join hands with Pro tamil terrorist diaspora along with ranil ,JJ and wickremabahu on srilanka bashing on foreign media network. before the demise of brutal terrorists tamil tigers from the soil of srilanka.
    SF election campaigns got financial backing from tiran alles / Pro LTTE diaspora to avenge the defeat of tamil tiger ealam terrorists to creat chaos and internal rifts among srilankans and mangala knows President Rajapaksha” the great president” better than alchoholic Chandrika or SF.
    God saved srilanka from such a disaster .

  • 0
    0

    Very soon he will change his shirt colour.

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