Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks:President Has More Respect For Gota Than For Basil

By Colombo Telegraph –

“Although he trusts them both, our contacts say the President has more respect for Gothabaya than for Basil.” US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

President "would not change even a roadside checkpoint" without first consulting Gothabaya

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” details the Presidend Rajapaksa’s decision making process. The cable was written on May 15, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.

Under the subheading ambassador Blake wrote “President Rajapaksa relies on his brothers, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa, for advice on security matters and political affairs respectively. Although he trusts them both, our contacts say the President has more respect for Gothabaya than for Basil. An embassy contact told Pol Off that the President is insecure in his job because he knows that Sri Lanka, as a “semi-feudal” society, still has great respect for aristocracy. He fears that because he is not from an elite family, but rather from a village in the deep south, support for him within the SLFP is a thin veneer that will last only as long as he is in power. This perception of disloyalty within the SLFP has caused him to rely even more heavily on his brothers for support and advice. Many Embassy contacts from both the ruling and opposition parties have expressed frustration with the level of influence Basil and Gothabaya have on policy.”

“According to Embassy contacts, the President, who holds the portfolio of Defense Minister, makes all defense and security decisions in consultation with Gothabaya. One Embassy contact told Pol FSN that the President “would not change even a roadside checkpoint” without first consulting Gothabaya. Gothabaya has nearly full autonomy on military decisions. He and Army Commander Fonseka have a close relationship and work well together; Fonseka was one of Gothabaya’s commanding officers when he was in the Army. The other military commanders follow Gothabaya’s instructions faithfully for fear of being replaced. Key presidential decisions that reflect Gothabaya’s influence include appointing Sarath Fonseka as Army Commander, closing the A-9 highway to Jaffna, and appointing Victor Perera as the Inspector General of Police.” the ambassador further wrote.

Related news;

WikiLeaks: Rajapaksa Trio Powerful, But Increasingly Isolated

WikiLeaks: Discord between the brothers -half to Basil, half to Gota

WikiLeaks: Basil is corrupt, limited educated and expelled from school

Below we give the relevant part of the cable;

VZCZCXRO5144
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0698/01 1350532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 150532Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6029
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0380
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0087
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7068
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5157
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3729
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0943
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3800
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2880
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7654
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5335
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2019
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 COLOMBO 000698

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
MCC FOR D NASSIRY AND E BURKE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CESUBJECT: PRESIDENT RELIES ON BROTHERS FOR POLICY ADVICE AND
POLITICAL COVER
Brothers Offer Advice on Security and Politics
--------------------------------------------- --

2.  (C)  President Rajapaksa relies on his brothers, Defense
Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Senior Advisor to the

SIPDIS
President Basil Rajapaksa, for advice on security matters and
political affairs respectively.  Although he trusts them
both, our contacts say the President has more respect for
Gothabaya than for Basil.  An embassy contact told Pol Off
that the President is insecure in his job because he knows
that Sri Lanka, as a "semi-feudal" society, still has great
respect for aristocracy.  He fears that because he is not
from an elite family, but rather from a village in the deep
south, support for him within the SLFP is a thin veneer that
will last only as long as he is in power.  This perception of
disloyalty within the SLFP has caused him to rely even more
heavily on his brothers for support and advice.  Many Embassy
contacts from both the ruling and opposition parties have
expressed frustration with the level of influence Basil and
Gothabaya have on policy.
4.  (C)  According to Embassy contacts, the President, who
holds the portfolio of Defense Minister, makes all defense
and security decisions in consultation with Gothabaya.  One
Embassy contact told Pol FSN that the President "would not
change even a roadside checkpoint" without first consulting
Gothabaya.  Gothabaya has nearly full autonomy on military

COLOMBO 00000698  002 OF 004

decisions.  He and Army Commander Fonseka have a close
relationship and work well together; Fonseka was one of
Gothabaya's commanding officers when he was in the Army.  The
other military commanders follow Gothabaya's instructions
faithfully for fear of being replaced.  Key presidential
decisions that reflect Gothabaya's influence include
appointing Sarath Fonseka as Army Commander, closing the A-9
highway to Jaffna, and appointing Victor Perera as the
Inspector General of Police.

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