By Colombo Telegraph –
“Rajapaksa is the first Sri Lankan official who has been forthcoming when discussing Sri Lankan Army shelling of the safe zone. However, we were disappointed to hear him claim that medical supplies were reaching the wounded in the safe zone when it is clear from Embassy Colombo reporting that there have not been shipments since February 20. His comments on visas for ICRC staff were unhelpful, but unsurprising given the Sri Lankan government,s attitude towards international aid workers” US State Department wrote to US Embassy Colombo.
A classified diplomatic cable which details a meeting the US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Boucher has had with Sri Lankan Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa on March 18, 2009. The Colombo Telegraph found the related US diplomatic cable from the Secretary of State section of the WikiLeaks database. The cable was classified as “Confidential” signed by Hillary Clinton on March 19, 2009.
Under the subheading “Sri Lankan Army Shelling” the US State Department wrote “Boucher inquired about Sri Lankan Army shelling into the safe zone. Rajapaksa admitted that there may be some shelling of the safe zone, but that top military leadership had instructed field commanders not to target the safe zone or respond to fire from the safe zone. He noted that the Sri Lankan Army has taken many casualties, including 200 injured and 70 killed on March 17. Boucher emphasized that the Sri Lankan President had told Secretary Clinton that there was no shelling in the safe zone and there should be no shelling. He requested that Rajapaksa ensure that the Army Commanders orders are respected by the field officers.”
“Turning to the ongoing civil war, Boucher thanked Rajapaksa for working closely with US Ambassador Blake in Colombo and asked Rajapaksa about the Sri Lankan government,s plans for the last days of the war, indicating that any kind of major military sweep through remaining Tamil Tiger territory would &be a major international problem.8 Rajapaksa indicated that the government is not planning for this kind of intervention, but has been working with Catholic bishops in the conflict area to find a land route by which civilians can leave.” the US State Department further wrote.
Boucher and Basil also discussed the issues re economy, medical shipments to safe zone GOSL refusal of visas for ICRC Staff, accepting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights request for a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka. Read the cable below for further details;
P 192145Z MAR 09 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 026714 E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019 TAGS: PHUM KDEM PREL CE SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER SPEAKS WITH BASIL RAJAPAKSA Classified By: Richard Boucher for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) ¶1. (C) Summary: On March 18, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Boucher met with Sri Lankan Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa regarding the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. He pressed Rajapaksa to halt the continuing Sri Lankan Army shelling of the safe zone and emphasized the need to allow medical supplies to reach the wounded. A/S Boucher asked Rajapaksa to inquire into Sri Lankan visas which have been denied to workers from the International Committee for the Red Cross and urged him to permit a UN High Commission for Human Rights fact- finding mission to visit Sri Lanka. Boucher emphasized that the US government has continued to work quietly with the Sri Lankan government, but our concerns are rising and we may need to make them more public. End Summary. Economy -------- ¶2. C) Boucher and Basil Rajapaksa began their meeting by discussing the state of the Sri Lankan economy. (Note: Rajapaksa has come to Washington for talks with the International Monetary Fund.) Rajapaksa noted that part of Sri Lanka,s economic problems were caused by global financial turmoil and the high price of oil imports, and that the IMF program would would help address Sri Lanka,s dwindling foreign exchange reserves. He indicated that there was a 12 percent growth in agriculture and a 28 percent growth in fisheries exports in the previous year. Boucher indicated that standard terms and conditions would apply to any assistance. The End of the Conflict ----------------------- ¶3. (C) Turning to the ongoing civil war, Boucher thanked Rajapaksa for working closely with US Ambassador Blake in Colombo and asked Rajapaksa about the Sri Lankan government,s plans for the last days of the war, indicating that any kind of major military sweep through remaining Tamil Tiger territory would &be a major international problem.8 Rajapaksa indicated that the government is not planning for this kind of intervention, but has been working with Catholic bishops in the conflict area to find a land route by which civilians can leave. He suggested that there might be a possibility for civilians to leave to the north of the safe zone from the Chalai side. ¶4. (C) Rajapaksa indicated that the government was doing its best to persuade the Tigers lay down arms and that they have told the Tigers the government will give them amnesty and allow them to surrender to the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said the Sri Lankan government is open to other suggestions on how to address the situation, and that the government is talking with a Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian from the Mullaitivu region to find ways to persuade the Tigers. Boucher noted that Tamil political inclusion is important and will become more important as the war finishes. Sri Lankan Army Shelling ------------------------ ¶5. (C) Boucher inquired about Sri Lankan Army shelling into the safe zone. Rajapaksa admitted that there may be some shelling of the safe zone, but that top military leadership had instructed field commanders not to target the safe zone or respond to fire from the safe zone. He noted that the Sri Lankan Army has taken many casualties, including 200 injured and 70 killed on March 17. Boucher emphasized that the Sri Lankan President had told Secretary Clinton that there was no shelling in the safe zone and there should be no shelling. He requested that Rajapaksa ensure that the Army Commanders orders are respected by the field officers. Medical Shipments ----------------- ¶6. (C) Rajapaksa denied that medicine has not reached the safe zone several weeks. He told Boucher that the required medicines (including anesthetics) were reaching the conflict area regularly, but that the government was only sending a few days worth at a time so that the medicine did not go to waste or spoil. Boucher noted that we have reports to the contrary and requested that Rajapaksa check again on medical shipments. (Note: Embassy Colombo,s e-mail regarding no medicine shipments on the March 18 ICRC ship was not received until after the meeting with Rajapaksa.) Visas for ICRC Staff -------------------- ¶7. (C) Rajapaksa told Boucher that visas for Red Cross staff had been refused because they were not justified. He said that the burden is on the Red Cross to prove the need for those visas and to prove that local staff cannot be recruited for the same purposes. He indicated that their presence was no longer needed in the Eastern Province, Jaffna, or Omanthai because there are no longer any security checkpoints between Government and Tamil Tiger-controlled areas. When Boucher pushed Rajapaksa, offering that some of the staff were replacements for those in the conflict zone, Rajapaksa replied that the decision rests with the line ministry responsible for activities. UNHCHR Fact Finding Mission --------------------------- ¶8. (C) Finally, Boucher requested that Rajapaksa accept the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights request for a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka. He said that the Sri Lankan government should facilitate the visit and that it would be an important signal to the international community. Boucher pointed out that the Sri Lankan government was democratically elected and will be measured by those standards. He noted that the US government first raises issues of concern with the Sri Lankan government bilaterally, but that as concerns rise and the American public (including the US Congress) become more and more interested, it may be difficult for us to remain publicly silent. He indicated that there would probably be another UN Security Council discussion on the issue. Comment ------- ¶9. (C) Rajapaksa is the first Sri Lankan official who has been forthcoming when discussing Sri Lankan Army shelling of the safe zone. However, we were disappointed to hear him claim that medical supplies were reaching the wounded in the safe zone when it is clear from Embassy Colombo reporting that there have not been shipments since February 20. His comments on visas for ICRC staff were unhelpful, but unsurprising given the Sri Lankan government,s attitude towards international aid workers. End Comment. CLINTON
Lasantha Pethiyagoda / August 30, 2012
The scale on which American administrators and media lie about the massive atrocities committed in Iraq and Afghanistan is unprecedented.
When two million innocent Iraqis had lost their lives from March 2003 from an illegal, unwarranted and unjustifiable invasion and occupation of Iraq,the “official” body counts were ranging in the “twenty to forty thousand range” for casualties.
A very laughable figure if not for the deadly consequences of this genocide of an entire nation for absolutely no fault of their citizens or their leader Saddam Hussein.
To this day, the perpetrators roam free and no charges of crimes against humanity, naked aggression have been laid. Standards adopted at Nuremburg have never been used.
Yet these same people have the audacity to pretend indignance when a poor country attempts to bring peace via military means,albeit rather crudely at times.
Lanka Muslim, UK / August 30, 2012
They killed; it is their barbarism. When we kill, is it Ahimsa?
Jegath / August 30, 2012
It rained on sheep cried the wolf!Your crocodile tears are too obvious.
Why not bring a resolution in UN about this incident?Too scared about sanctions eh?
When the poor tamils attempted to bring peace via military means SL had the nerve to call it “terrorism” and use it to kill innocents.
By doing so SL carried out the biggest diplomatic scam in history, now that the world has realised it, but you have the audacity to support SL and pretend it never happened..
Donald Gnanakone / August 30, 2012
The purpose of the CFA was to end the war permanently, and not just for 3 years from 2002.
However, President Chandrika conspired with that Tamil B Kadirgamar to sabotage the peace ably supported by Rajapakse, and JVP, thus dissolving Parliament in February 2004 and calling fror elections in April 2004.
With the racist elements of the JVP-JHU, SLFP was able to form the government and Rajapakse was appointed PM and the Hambantota Horas began their regime with a team of Kleptocrats robbing the nation. What Nation? It is the people they are robbing from. Whether it is Tsunami survivors or the 310,000 Tamils who were incarcerated under cruel and inhuman conditions. Then the Bas …….. have the nerve and temerity to call it humanitarian operations Some bloody Ba…….
The 80,000 Widows have not been left in peace either and their daughters and other relatives some as young as 13-14 as we see what their own families do to their relatives in the South. Rape and molestations are very very common in the North and now spreading to the East as well.
While some Sinhala racist-chauvinist wants proof of rape, multiple rape and all the molestation that goes on by the 18-25 year old Sinhala soldiers (Yes Buddhist) who behave like drunken wild animals. They are a disgrace to humanity.
@Mango – Read the current Tamil Net feature.
Proof will come via Bad Karma, when Rivers and Tanks run dry, stolen animals are slaughtered, Kidney disease and blindness becomes rampant in the NCP due to chemicals and water pollution/poisoning, Rains failing and power cut and Tsunami like events.
Do not underestimate the wrath of God, or Buddha as eventually the GODS will hear the cry of the Tamils who are suffering 3 years and more after the war, and defying death at sea by running away from Rajapakses to Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and even India.. They spend all their life savings and more by borrowing or promises…
There has to be a reason, and another victim of God’s wrath, Liar Rambukwella who fell from the Hotel balcony and broke both his legs in Australia (lol) after being drunk, claims that GOSL wants the Tamils back since they are their brothers and sisters but put them in jail because they illegally escaped from Sri Lanka???
Bloody Freaking Rubbish and Bull Sh…..
Panda / August 30, 2012
Even if all you say is true, does that mean the Rajapaksa’s are angels, and that Wikileaks is wrong?
Don’t take the focus from what our government does, by pointing fingers at others.
This is not about the US, this is about our dishonest, political leaders, who run this country.
The Rajapaksa supporters seem to think that every one else is wrong, and has a habit of attacking the messenger.
Silva / September 1, 2012
Pethiyagoda, First discern the 2 by 4 rafter in your eyes before you trace the coconut husk in another’s eye! It is true US has committed these crimes. But our problem is not that. Of course it is good if we can discuss and prevent that. But how can you do that when your government is also doing the same thing US does? And how the fucking hell do you say your poor country’s military is trying to bring peace albeit rather crudely at times?! This is a wonderful and novel way of bringing peace! Military cannot bring in peace, it is civil administration that can do it. Military can only bring in war and oppression!
Renuka Siriwardena/ Kolonnawa / August 30, 2012
OMG!!! This Basil is a traitor!!!!!! LOL ;) :) :) :)
Sun / August 30, 2012
Situation is like
what GOSL ´s right hand doing is not known to what left hand is doing. That is the sad truth of the present day politics under MR. …
gamini / August 30, 2012
One need not read the article. The photograph says it all, of the Characters, worth more than a million words.
punchinilame / August 30, 2012
The Govt. took advantage of Sept.11th( USA) attacks to join the
version of Terrorism as opposed to Insurgents the most when it
came to people fighting for separatism. In the name of eliminating
Terrorism the State did the utmost to its Cizizens, which has
no comparison to wht the USA did in Iraq after due notice.
Mahathanmuththa / August 30, 2012
The reason for Basil speaking the truth in this particular case is obvious. He being a US resident is answerable to US courts,
whereas Mahinda has not yet applied for US residency and will never try in future, now that he has to answer war crimes charges to the International Community.
When he is forced out from Sri Lanka, he thinks that China and/or Russia will give him shelter. But he is only dreaming since his being supported by these countris only when he in in control.
They will never take the risk of sheltering a wanted criminal, unlike
Saudi Arabia who gave protection to Idi Amin ( the reason being that
USA will not like to offend Saudi Arabia).
Ulysses Grant / August 30, 2012
The US is the biggest hypocrite in the world. It wanted the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to hold fire while terrorists were attacking their forces from the safe zone, while they have never done the same in every war they have been involved in. US forces attack, kill and maime anybody in their sights to accomplish their goals (including the use of chemical weapons in places like Vietnam), but have a completely different standard for other countries. However, even the US knew what kind of terrorists the Tigers were and did not intervene in the final stages. Killers should be dealt with guns, not crocodile tears by hypocrites.
Donald Gnanakone / August 30, 2012
All of you all (almost) forget the issue here.
It is not really about killing the LTTE with chemical weapons and the other illegal weapons.
WAR CRIMES IS ABOUT THE SINHALA BUDDHIST KILLING 100,000 TAMIL HINDUS AND CHRISTIANS..
THAT IS THE DAMN ISSUE.
What America does in Iraq or Afghanistan is not the issue.
This issue needs to be addressed.
It will not go away by building roads between the military camps, ports and airports, or railways and widening the A9 after 30 years, and building 1,000 new Buddhist temples and housing for the 100,000 armed forces in the North, making it 1 soldier for every 5 Tamil adults…
It is the diaspora money which has created 22% growth in the North. Rajapakses are trying to steal that as well as the foreign aid and NGO project funds via the President’s Task Force operated by Basil Rajapaksa, Namal and Douglas..
They all will be chased out of the North soon and that is why MR is not having even the Provincial Council Elections….BAYAGULLAHS AND HORAS.
Celerati Editorial / August 31, 2012
When the uprising started in Lybia,the main reason to oppose Gaddafy,officially,was that a regime firing against its own citizens doesn’t deserve to stay in power. Exactly the same rational has been used with Syria.
It is clear by far that the Sri Lankan government targeted the Tamils with heavy shelling. Why didn’t the same people move the same accusations against Colombo? It’s not about jailing Rajapaksa, it’s not about the LTTE or Tamil Eelam. It’s not even about the Tamils! It’s about common sense and TRUE humanitarian principles.
American Lanka Lover / August 31, 2012
I opposed Bush’s Iraqi debacle but the numbers killed are nowhere near those quote by the America hater above. And Saddam was no innocent, although I opposed his ouster as he was a very useful bulwark containing Iran.
While I am disgusted by US’ non assistance to GOSL vs the LTTE and hypocrisy in the UNHCR resolution, UG also makes wildly exaggerated claims (we never used chemicals as WEAPONS in Vietnam, we used defoliants like Agent Orange which had devastating health consequences). And the subject at hand is Sri Lanka not the US so I think most will be bored with the tangents of Anti Americanism. And while the US history on Sri Lanka is disgraceful, India’s culpability is much worse as the RAW was the wet nurse of LTTE during its formative years, and Tamil Nadu to this day acts as the breeding and training ground just as surely as Al Qaeda used Afghanistan up until 2001.
Gota knew that while the US was not assisting GOSL, at the same time he did not want to alienate Washington and had to minimize casualties during the Vanni operation. Intentional shelling of the so called no fire zones made no sense as a strategy and would have served no purpose other than inflaming World opinion against GOSL. And Gota is too smart to have done such a thing. Counterintuitive as it may be to those who want to accuse GOSL of “genocide”, there simply are no facts to support that allegation.
Donald J Gnanakone / September 1, 2012
Bloody Nonsense lanka lover..
There are plenty of evidence and killing 100,000 Tamil civilians are serious war crimes.
Chemical weapons, cluster and phosphorous usage are war crimes.
That is why SL is definitely fighting so desperately against any investigations by the IC. Look where Gota is going for a visit now?
Sudan? The US citizen must be freaking desperate?
Next trip is to Zimbabwe or Syria, while the brother is in Iran.
Who is going to North Korea?
The effects of War Crimes are serious on Sri Lanka’s economy and the people suffer. Poor Rajapakses were unable to visit London for the Olympics? Even Hilton Hotel’s Chairman who is married to Nirupama Rajapakse… lol.
American Lanka Lover / September 2, 2012
It IS sad that GOSL must turn to rogue states for support because it is shunned by the US, EU etc. This is because of the effectiveness of the disinformation campaign of yourself and your fellow propaganda cadres. Pottu must be quite proud.
Mango / September 3, 2012
“Bloody Nonsense” is exactly the right word for your collection of fantasises.
Where’s the evidence of “100,000 Tamil civilians”, all being killed by SL Armed Forces? Why only “100,000 Tamil civilians”? Other Eelamists claim that “40,000” Tamil civilians died. Can’t you all get together and agree a common figure?
Where’s the evidence of SLA using “chemical weapons”?
Where’s the evidence of SLA using “cluster bombs”? Even if cluster bombs were used, it’s still not a war crime because SL isn’t a contracting party to the cluster bomb ban.
Why is it a war crime to use “phosphorous”? You should be more accurate and say “white phosphorous”.