24 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: There Is Little To Suggest Sri Lanka’s Muslim Population Harbors Extremists – US

By Colombo Telegraph

“In Sri Lanka there is no intelligence to indicate that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are interested in conducting attacks against western targets inside or outside of Sri Lanka and there is little to suggest that Sri Lanka’s Muslim population harbors extremist elements. However, the LTTE’s regional illicit weapons transportation network and terrorism financing efforts remain a significant concern.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Robert O. Blake

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable discusses Building a South Asia counter-terrorism strategy. The cable is classified as “Secret” and written on September 17, 2007. The cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.

The ambassador wrote;Chiefs of Mission and other Embassy representatives from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan met under the auspices of the Regional Security Initiative (RSI) in Colombo on September 7 to discuss regional counterterrorism strategy with the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Dell Dailey, and interagency participants. The meeting sought to promote a coordinated regional counterterrorism strategy that would maximize the efforts of all USG agencies and forge partnerships with South Asian nations to enhance and institutionalize counterterrorism-related cooperation within the region. In line with the objectives of the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, meeting participants provided a shared goal to deny terrorists physical and ideological safe haven by increasing operational capacities of host nations and assisting them in employing a range of soft methods to counter terrorist ideology. Chiefs of Mission and their representatives reached agreement that their top strategic objectives were: interdicting regional terrorist travel; using all elements of power, including development assistance, to combat violent extremism; and continuing efforts to staunch Lashkar-e Tayyiba action in the sub-continent. To accomplish this, our six priorities are: (a) urgently addressing the visa Security Advisory System that has the unintended effect of undermining outreach and consensus-building efforts; (b) utilizing new media, including internet, television and SMS, to disseminate counterterrorism and anti-extremism messages to host nation citizens; (c) funding an interagency Border Control Assessment Initiative similar to that done in Southeast Asia to address interdiction efforts between Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka; (d) instituting regional International Visitor (IV) programs and counterterrorism fellowship programs and strengthening follow-up with counterterrorism program alumni; (e) examining new ways to utilize NDAA section 1206 funds for non-lethal, “soft” counterterrorism efforts; and (f) evaluating the benefits of establishing a Regional Legal Advisor position. The next South Asian RSI, to be held in India in approximately six months, will measure progress and ensure continued focus on a common regional counterterrorism vision.”

proposing a two-pronged approach to provide guidelines for new and existing programs that seek to counter the regional terror threat, the ambassador wrote; “Creating regional efforts among host nations to address the need to deny both physical safe haven and counter extremist ideology will yield the greatest benefits but also represents the greatest challenges. Long-standing regional disputes between India and Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and India and Sri Lanka make creating regional counterterrorism efforts daunting. There is little history of cooperation upon which to build regional counterterrorism efforts. We will use quiet diplomacy and behind-the scenes capacity building to encourage regional counterterrorism cooperation and support confidence building measures. Participation by counterterrorism practitioners in regional programs will help develop these links; including participants from Southeast Asia (or conducting training there) will facilitate information exchange and ease intra-regional conflicts.”

“Maritime Interdiction Capacity Building. The regional waters between Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are poorly patrolled and provide safe haven to terrorists wishing to transport arms or recruits within the region and beyond. Through National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) section 1206 funds and other USG-funded programs, including 1207, FMF and NADR, we will help host nations build greater regional maritime interdiction capacity. We will encourage the governments of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to work together by providing interoperable maritime interdiction equipment. S/CT agreed to add the issue to the agenda of the November U.S.-India counterterrorism joint working group.” Blake further wrote.

Ambassador Blake wrote; “Vital exchanges and training could be made far more effective, however, if the Security Advisory System were modified to make it easier for program participants to obtain a visa. Currently, participants often wait for months while Security Advisor Opinions (SAOs) are pending, sometimes leading to the de facto cancellation of the plans when participants are not able to travel to previously scheduled events like military training or seminars. By streamlining or expediting the process embassies would be able to more effectively use the IV and counterterrorism fellowship programs. Long delays in visa issuance, even for prominent individuals and Embassy contacts, undermines our other outreach efforts and creates the sense that the U.S. is targeting Muslims.”

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #1284/01 2601113
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 171113Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6821
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0411
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7398
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5521
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1370
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T COLOMBO 001284 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT
USAID FOR MARK WARD 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2017
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: BUILDING A SOUTH ASIA COUNTERTERRORISM STRATEGY 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O Blake, for reasons 1.4(b,d). 

¶1.  (S)  SUMMARY:  Chiefs of Mission and other Embassy
representatives from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and
Pakistan met under the auspices of the Regional Security
Initiative (RSI) in Colombo on September 7 to discuss
regional counterterrorism strategy with the Coordinator for
Counterterrorism, Ambassador Dell Dailey, and interagency
participants.  The meeting sought to promote a coordinated
regional counterterrorism strategy that would maximize the
efforts of all USG agencies and forge partnerships with South
Asian nations to enhance and institutionalize
counterterrorism-related cooperation within the region.  In
line with the objectives of the U.S. National Strategy for
Combating Terrorism, meeting participants provided a shared
goal to deny terrorists physical and ideological safe haven
by increasing operational capacities of host nations and
assisting them in employing a range of soft methods to
counter terrorist ideology.  Chiefs of Mission and their
representatives reached agreement that their top strategic
objectives were:  interdicting regional terrorist travel;
using all elements of power, including development
assistance, to combat violent extremism; and continuing
efforts to staunch Lashkar-e Tayyiba action in the
sub-continent.  To accomplish this, our six priorities are:
(a) urgently addressing the visa Security Advisory System
that has the unintended effect of undermining outreach and
consensus-building efforts; (b) utilizing new media,
including internet, television and SMS, to disseminate
counterterrorism and anti-extremism messages to host nation
citizens; (c) funding an interagency Border Control
Assessment Initiative similar to that done in Southeast Asia
to address interdiction efforts between Bangladesh, India and
Sri Lanka; (d) instituting regional International Visitor
(IV) programs and counterterrorism fellowship programs and
strengthening follow-up with counterterrorism program alumni;
(e) examining new ways to utilize NDAA section 1206 funds for
non-lethal, "soft" counterterrorism efforts; and (f)
evaluating the benefits of establishing a Regional Legal
Advisor position.  The next South Asian RSI, to be held in
India in approximately six months, will measure progress and
ensure continued focus on a common regional counterterrorism
vision.  End summary. 

--------------------------------------
SOUTH ASIA TERRORIST THREAT ASSESSMENT
-------------------------------------- 

¶2.  (S/NF)  The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
briefed participants that Al-Qa'ida and Pakistani militant
groups, including Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT), Jaish-e-Mohammed
(JEM), Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), al-Badr Mujahedin (ABM),
Hizbul-Mujahedin (HM) and Harakat ul-Jihadi-Islami (HUJI)
currently are the most significant terrorist threats in South
Asia to U.S. interests.  These groups have planned or
conducted attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.  They
are cultivating an infrastructure to move operatives and
weapons and are using relationships with other sympathetic
groups to tap into local and international resources and
recruits.  In May 2007, LT, ABM and HM leaders met to discuss
closer cooperation at the operational level.  Partnerships
among Pakistani militant groups are likely to yield
additional recruits and logistical support for al-Qa'ida.
Since at least 2002, al-Qa'ida has limited the exposure of it
operatives in Pakistan by providing training, ideas and
funding to local extremists.  However, Pakistani militant
groups aligned with al-Qa'ida have carried out at least 13
major attacks in South Asia since 2005, particularly in India. 

¶3.  (S)  Pakistani militant groups are also taking advantage
of Bangladesh's porous border and political turmoil to train
and prepare for high-profile attacks elsewhere in the region.
 Pakistani groups are using Bangladesh as a base for attacks
against India, a source for developing new recruits, and as a
transit point to move weapons and ammunition into India.  In
Nepal, Maoists militants have entered an agreement to form a
coalition government, but there is concern that a split
within the Maoists could return the country to violence.
These is also some concern that LT is working within Nepal to
further terrorist objectives.  In Sri Lanka there is no
intelligence to indicate that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) are interested in conducting attacks against
western targets inside or outside of Sri Lanka and there is
little to suggest that Sri Lanka's Muslim population harbors
extremist elements.  However, the LTTE's regional illicit
weapons transportation network and terrorism financing
efforts remain a significant concern. 

------------------------------------------
REGIONAL STRATEGY TO COUNTER TERROR THREAT
------------------------------------------ 

¶4.  (S)  We propose a two-pronged approach to provide
guidelines for new and existing programs that seek to counter
the regional terror threat: 

¶A. Deny physical safe haven to the region's terrorists and
their support networks. 

¶B. Support development of an environment that is not
conducive to violent extremist ideology. 

¶5.  (S)  Creating regional efforts among host nations to
address the need to deny both physical safe haven and counter
extremist ideology will yield the greatest benefits but also
represents the greatest challenges.  Long-standing regional
disputes between India and Pakistan, India and Bangladesh,
and India and Sri Lanka make creating regional
counterterrorism efforts daunting.  There is little history
of cooperation upon which to build regional counterterrorism
efforts.  We will use quiet diplomacy and behind-the scenes
capacity building to encourage regional counterterrorism
cooperation and support confidence building measures.
Participation by counterterrorism practitioners in regional
programs will help develop these links; including
participants from Southeast Asia (or conducting training
there) will facilitate information exchange and ease
intra-regional conflicts. 

¶6.  (S)  We will continue to provide a wide range of
assistance and delivery platforms to assist host nations to
develop capacities to combat the physical and the ideological
terrorist threat.  Though each country in the region shares
this threat, each places a different priority on it and each
possesses different capacities, needs, strengths and
weaknesses that require thoughtful consideration.
Counterterrorism assistance will require unique, customized
programs developed in coordination with host country
military, law enforcement, and other civilian agencies and
delivered in a way that complements existing infrastructure. 

-----------------------------------------
DENYING PHYSICAL SAFE HAVEN TO TERRORISTS
----------------------------------------- 

¶7.  (S)  A key objective of regional counterterrorism
programs should be to deny terrorists the ability to conduct
military training, plan operations, and transit within South
Asia.  Improving land and maritime border control and port
security, a top USG priority in the region, will require both
bilateral and regional approaches, in addition to individual
efforts of host nations.  Interagency donor assistance and
appropriate military assets could facilitate host nation
controls over areas where terrorists now have almost
unfettered access: 

¶A.  Border Control Assessment Initiative.  Because the region
is home to some of the most porous borders and the most
dangerous terrorists, helping host nations create an
effective border control mechanism is vitally important.  As
a first step, we request an interagency Border Control
Assessment Initiative and an attempt to revive the TIP/PISCES
program for Bangladesh. 

¶B.  Maritime Interdiction Capacity Building.  The regional
waters between Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are poorly
patrolled and provide safe haven to terrorists wishing to
transport arms or recruits within the region and beyond.
Through National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) section
1206 funds and other USG-funded programs, including 1207, FMF
and NADR, we will help host nations build greater regional
maritime interdiction capacity.  We will encourage the
governments of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to work
together by providing interoperable maritime interdiction
equipment.  S/CT agreed to add the issue to the agenda of the
November U.S.-India counterterrorism joint working group. 

¶C.  Curbing Funding.  The participants recognized the
importance of the USG's ongoing efforts to work with Gulf
states to curb the flow of funds to terrorist groups,
particularly those in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
Additionally, partiicpants discussed ways to increase
cooperation with host nations to track terrorists' financing
schemes, including through the use of informal money transfer
systems ("hawala" or "hundi") and remittances. 

¶D.  Services Catalog.  Chiefs of Mission requested S/CT
develop a catalog of available USG counterterrorism programs
and expressed support for the development of more regional
training opportunities. 

¶8.  (S)  We encourage building host nation law enforcement
capacity that supports the rule of law and promotes good
governance and regional stability.  Assistance should focus
on host nation development of the judicial and prosecutorial
infrastructure needed to combat terrorism within the host
nation and to cooperate on counterterrorism with neighboring
countries.  These "value neutral" areas are also good intel
areas for regional (vice bilateral) training.  As Ambassador
Dailey stated in the conference: "Effective counterterrorism
legislation breaks the back of terrorists." 

¶A.  Customs and Legal Cooperation.  We should encourage host
nations to develop legal conventions that give immigration
and customs officials the authority to halt suspected
transiting terrorists, cash couriers, and other members of
their support network.  We should encourage bilateral and
multilateral tools such as extradition treaties and mutual
legal assistance treaties (MLATs), where practical.  S/CT
agreed to publicize a comprehensive matrix of the
counterterrorism laws and treaties of each South Asian
country, which United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) is preparing with S/CT funding. 

¶B.  Counter-Corruption and a Regional Legal Advisor.  We will
also continue our efforts to support the Government of
Bangladesh's renewed focus on curbing corruption and
encourage other countries to implement more transparent and
efficient legal mechanisms for dealing with terrorism, and
recognize the contributions of the Resident Legal Advisors in
Bangladesh and Nepal.  We will explore the possibility of
establishing a Regional Resident Legal Advisor to assist
other South Asian states in developing the necessary legal
structure to combat terrorism. 

------------------------------------------
DENYING TERRORISTS IDEOLOGICAL SAFE HAVENS
------------------------------------------ 

¶9.  (S)  The objective of denying terrorists the ability to
spread their extreme ideology is as important as denying
terrorists physical safe haven.  We should facilitate
regional cooperation to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism
and eliminate environments conducive to hatred and violence.
In addition to regional efforts, we should work with the host
nations to help them craft messages that will convince
moderate members of their society that extremism is
unproductive.  Because the United States is often viewed
negatively in the region, in addition to working to change
the perception of the United States, we also need to work
subtly to develop a counterterrorism and anti-extremism
message that does not focus on the host nation's relationship
with the U.S. 

¶A.  Exchange Programs.  Participants recommended expansion of
the IV program to include regional IV and counterterrorism
fellowship initiatives, specifically those that focus on
counterterrorism efforts.  The Department of Defense
representatives agreed to develop an alumni database to
assist with follow-up and other public diplomacy efforts,
which the Chiefs of Mission said would be useful. 

¶B.  Vital exchanges and training could be made far more
effective, however, if the Security Advisory System were
modified to make it easier for program participants to obtain
a visa.  Currently, participants often wait for months while
Security Advisor Opinions (SAOs) are pending, sometimes
leading to the de facto cancellation of the plans when
participants are not able to travel to previously scheduled
events like military training or seminars.  By streamlining
or expediting the process embassies would be able to more
effectively use the IV and counterterrorism fellowship
programs.  Long delays in visa issuance, even for prominent
individuals and Embassy contacts, undermines our other
outreach efforts and creates the sense that the U.S. is
targeting Muslims. 

¶C.  Media Messages.  We will seek to expand the ways in which
we distribute our counterterrorism messages, with particular
focus on the internet, television and SMS (short messaging
system) technologies.  We will work with host nation media
outlets to find creative means to distribute overt and subtle
messages attacking extremism. 

¶D.  MISTs.  Participants discussed possible benefits of
Military Information Support Teams (MIST) and S/CT, in
conjunction with SOCOM, agreed to provide Country Teams with
additional information. 

¶10.  (S)  Ambassador Dailey noted that NDAA 1206 funds are
used to provide traditional military hardware.  He encouraged
Country Teams to also develop 1206 proposals for non-lethal
or "soft" objectives designed to influence the hearts and
minds of South Asians away from extremism. 

------------
PARTICIPANTS
------------ 

¶11.  (S)  The following individuals participated in the
September 7 Regional Security Initiative conference in
Colombo: 

-- Colombo:  Ambassador Blake, DCM Moore, Regional Affairs
Chief Speicher
-- Kathmandu:  Ambassador Powell
-- Dhaka:  Charge Pasi, Political Officer Daniel Biers
-- New Delhi:  DCM White, Regional Affairs Chief Leslie
Davidson, S/CT Regional Coordinator Robin McClellan, Deputy
Political Counselor Atul Keshap
-- Islamabad:  DCM Bodde
-- S/CT:  Ambassador Dailey, Deputy Assistant Secretary
Palmer, Regional Advisor Scott Allen
-- DOJ:  Regional Legal Attache Kathy Stearman
-- SCA/PB:  Karen Aguilar
-- DS:  Director of Diplomatic Security International
Programs Charlene Lamb, Director of Anti-Terror Assistance
Program Steven Brunette
-- USAID:  Deputy Assistant Administrator Mark Ward
-- NCTC:  Chief of the Implementation Assurance Group,
National Counterterrorism Center Mark Coomer
-- RAO:  Frank Glodek
-- DHS:  Director for Counterterrorism Plans, Directorate of
Policy Mark Randol
-- OPDAT/DOJ:  Senior Attorney for Counterterrorism Programs
Barbara Berman
-- SOLIC/DOD:  Principal Director Alisa Stack-O'Connor
-- PACOM:  Col. Louis Caporicci, Lt. Col. James Robinson
BLAKE

Related stories;

WikiLeaks: Muslim Militancy In Sri Lanka – Four Groups Based In Colombo – Former US Intelligence Officer

WikiLeaks: Political Islam In Sri Lanka And The Maldives

WikiLeaks: A Growing Wahhabi Presence In Eastern Province – Muslim Leaders

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    There Is Little To Suggest Sri Lanka’s Muslim Population Harbors Extremists – US

    SO WE HAVE THE TRUTH AT LAST.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I HOPE THIS WILL OPEN THE EYES OF EVERYONE.

    SINCE THE WORD SALAFISM IS BANDIED ABOUT ,I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE
    CORRECT DEFINITION;

    What or who is Salaf?

    The manhaj (methodology) of the Salaf is to adhere to the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah as understood by the Salaf as-Saalih.

    The word Salaf is a shortened version of the word ‘Salaf as-Saalih’, which means the ‘Righteous Predecessors’.

    It refers specifically to the first three generations of Islaam in which the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) described as being the best generations of Muslims. The first, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Sahaabah (companions). The second, the Taabi’een (the followers of the companions). The third, the Tabaa’at-Taabi’een (the followers of the followers of the companions).

    Generally, this term refers to all those pious predecessors who followed the way of the Salaf and who have preceded us in time. This is the true manhaj( METHODOLOGY) of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa’ah.

  • 0
    0

    US should not under estimate Tamil Diaspora. Last 4 years their propaganda is based on what LTTE filmed and presented as GOSL: did it. Also Diaspora is can attack an office or any US interest within Sri Lanka to pass the blame on to GOSL or Sri Lankan people. Diaspora propaganda is dirty and those marks will remain in Sri Lankan’s mind.
    Beware of Diaspora because they are not law abide people, but they are group of people mentally sick.

  • 0
    0

    This is not a surprise. Sri Lankan Muslims are unique, they have lived in this country for generations, have blended beautifully with other religions, contributed to the progress of the the country, and part of the Sri Lankan culture. Only fools who have not lived in Sri Lanka and ignorant of these facts, will try to convince other Sri Lankans otherwise. The bigger fools will believe the stupid propaganda and turn on their own countrymen.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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