Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: ‘There Are Certain Pro-LTTE Elements In International Orgs Holding High Ranking Posts’ – Keheliya On Navi

“Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella asserted that certain international organizations have been “infiltrated by the LTTE” and are helping to spread disinformation. In discussing the widely-publicized statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham (“Navi”) Pillay noting 2,800 civilian deaths and 7,000 injuries, the spokesman claimed: “There are certain pro-LTTE elements in international organizations holding high ranking posts. They are taking cover behind these organizations in order to support the LTTE.” (Note: Pillay, a South African national, happens to be an ethnic Tamil but to our knowledge, has never visited Sri Lanka.)” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The “Unclassified” cable on March 19, 2009 by the US Ambassador to Colombo,Robert O. Blake discusses the situation in the conflict zone.

Navi Pillay

Read the cable below for further details;

O 191143Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9616
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
AMEMBASSY DHAKA
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
AMEMBASSY OSLO
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMCONSUL CHENNAI
AMCONSUL MUMBAI
AMCONSUL TORONTO
USEU BRUSSELS
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
USMISSION GENEVA
HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
DIA WASHINGTON DC
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHDC
CDRUSARPAC FT SHAFTER HI//APCW/APOP//
CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J3/J332/J52//
UNCLAS COLOMBO 000310 

SENSITIVE 

STATE FOR SCA (BOUCHER, CAMP), SCA/INS AND PRM
STATE ALSO PASS USAID
AID/W FOR ANE/SCA, DCHA/FFP (DWORKEN, KSHEIN)
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA (MORRISP, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, RKERR)
ATHENS FOR PCARTER
BANGKOK FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA (WBERGER)
KATHMANDU FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA AND POL (SBERRY)
GENEVA FOR RMA (NKYLOH, NHILGERT, MPITOTTI)
USUN NEW YORK FOR ECOSOC (D MERCADO)
SECDEF FOR OSD - POLICY
PACOM ALSO FOR J-5 

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PREF PHUM PGOV PREL ASEC CE
SUBJECT: Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 35 

Ref:  A)  Colombo 307  B)  Colombo 304  C)  Colombo 299  D)  Colombo
294  E) Colombo 287  F) Colombo 282  G) Colombo 279  H) Colombo 277
I) Colombo 265  J) Colombo 258  K) Colombo 250 

¶1.  (SBU) Summary: The UN Resident Coordinator informed Ambassador
of reports of planes dropping bombs in the Government-designated
"safe zone" on March 18.  Multiple accounts substantiate reports of
civilian retaliation against the LTTE on March 18.  Larger numbers
of civilians are fleeing into Government-controlled territory.  OFDA
Regional Advisor interviewed local aid worker who escaped the
conflict area on March 18.  End Summary. 

Aircraft Bombs Safe Zone
------------------------ 

¶2.  (SBU) UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne informed Ambassador of
reports that the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed targets within the safe
zone late on March 18. Embassy is contacting other sources for
corroboration and further detail. (Note: it is likely the Air Force
was targeting the LTTE leadership.) 

Civilians Retaliate Against LTTE
-------------------------------- 

¶3.  (SBU) The nationalist daily newspaper "Island" reported that on
March 17 "angry civilians... set fire to an LTTE 'police' station at
Puthumathalan in the civilian safety zone after LTTE cadres shot
dead parents of a child whom they made an abortive bid to abduct.
They also shot dead the child before retreating among violent
protests."  Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, in a
press briefing on March 18, noted that this incident sparked wider
protests by IDPs, which included the burning of LTTE vehicles.
Embassy cannot substantiate all the details of these reports, but
they are consistent with earlier information regarding retaliation
against the LTTE by IDPs (Ref A). 

IDPs Fleeing Conflict Zone
-------------------------- 

¶4.  (SBU) News reports indicate as many as 2,000 civilians entered
Government-controlled territory on March 18, taking advantage of the
chaos to escape.   Among this total, 643 civilians fled the conflict
area in dinghies on March 18 and were reportedly rescued by the Sri
Lankan Navy.  Newspapers, as well as a military contact, attest the
Navy chased away LTTE boats which were attempting to halt the
civilians' escape.  Government owned "Daily News" reports the LTTE
may have fired on the flotilla of dinghies before the Navy drove
them off. 

¶5.  (SBU) OFDA Regional Adviser met on March 18 with a group of 15
internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Vavuniya who fled the "safe
zone", including a Sri Lankan employee of the International
Organization for Migration (IOM).  This contact reported that the
LTTE is now widely recruiting from among the trapped population,
forcing both young and old to fight, and is positioning its
artillery within civilian concentrations.  The IOM worker confirmed
the skirmish on March 17 following LTTE attempt to forcibly recruit
civilians who were offloading food supplies, leading to wider
retaliation by the IDPs.  The IOM worker and his family fled the 

conflict zone at 2:30a.m. on March 18 by crossing the lagoon on
foot. He reported that LTTE forces fired on his group of 15 people
in an attempt to stop their flight.  When they neared the Sri Lankan
military side, army soldiers provided cover fire for the civilians
to safely exit the lagoon.  They have since been transported to one
of the newly prepared IDP sites at Manik Farms, Vavuniya. 

Defense: "Pro-LTTE" Elements in International Organizations
--------------------------------------------- 

¶6.  (SBU) Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella asserted
that certain international organizations have been "infiltrated by
the LTTE" and are helping to spread disinformation.  In discussing
the widely-publicized statement of UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navanetham ("Navi") Pillay noting 2,800 civilian deaths and
7,000 injuries, the spokesman claimed: "There are certain pro-LTTE
elements in international organizations holding high ranking posts.
They are taking cover behind these organizations in order to support
the LTTE."  (Note: Pillay, a South African national, happens to be
an ethnic Tamil but to our knowledge, has never visited Sri Lanka.) 

Food, But Still No Meds
----------------------- 

¶7.  (U) Offloading of 500MT of food aid from the Vin-Tan cargo
vessel will finish by the end of today (March 19).  The vessel will
return to Trincomalee by March 20.  The World Food Program aims for
another food shipment during the week of March 23-27.  The ICRC
confirmed that the Government did not provide any medical supplies
for the evacuation ferry which departed for the safe zone the night
of March 18. 

¶8.  (U) Colombo 307 (Ref A) reports on the Ambassador's meeting with
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister in which the Ambassador raised the
range of U.S. concerns. 

BLAKE

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