14 November, 2018

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WikiLeaks: US Commended Gota For Conducting A Successful Battle With Low Civilian Causalities

“Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa offered his interpretation of the government security forces’ January victory in Vakarai to Ambassador and DATT on February 5 and explained the government’s current military strategy. Gothabaya noted that the security forces encountered predominantly younger, less committed Tiger cadres in Vakarai. The GSL’s redevelopment efforts in the east, he theorized, would head off any re-infiltration by the Tigers and allow the security forces to “devote their full forces” elsewhere. In particular, the military would seek to neutralize the LTTE’s navy, the “Sea Tigers.” Gothabaya was silent on whether the Army would attempt a major offensive in the North.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Robert Blake

Robert Blake

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The classified diplomatic cable details a meeting the US ambassador had with Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The “Confidential” is cable signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake on February 05, 2007.

The ambassador wrote; “Ambassador, DATT and PolMilOff met Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) Defense Secretary (and brother to the President) Gothabaya Rajapaksa on February 5. Rajapaksa offered his interpretation of the government security forces’ January victory in Vakarai and explained the GSL’s current military strategy. Ambassador commended the Secretary for conducting a successful battle with such low civilian causalities, after the initial shelling incident. Gotabaya claimed that no civilians had been killed and only 40 soldiers had been killed in action in the two and a half month fight for Vakarai. He emphasized that the military had been able to minimize civilian and troop causalities by surrounding Vakarai with small Special Forces teams rather than large battalions and moving without a “logistical tail” open to Tiger (LTTE) ambush.”

“According to the Defense Secretary, the security forces encountered predominantly younger Tiger cadres in Vakarai, at least 40 percent under the age of 18, and noticeably less well-trained. These cadres also appeared to be less committed to fighting for the LTTE, he said, indicating why they were willing to flee in the end. Many more of these cadres underwent forced recruitment than in previous years, claimed Gothabaya: “We can see that the lower-ranked cadres have not come out willingly. They have little motivation to fight. They aren’t committed, and in fact try to escape. We have intelligence that elsewhere in Batticaloa district LTTE cadres are waiting for a battle in which they can surrender.” The security forces captured a number of Tiger cadres in Vakarai. On the other hand, very few made use of the cyanide capsule all wear around their necks for that eventuality, according to the Secretary.” he further wrote.

Placing a comment Blake wrote; “Gothabaya assured us that the President remains committed to the peace process “without delay, and without respect to the military.” We understand that the security forces will try to consolidate the GSL’s hold on the east, and that the military will also pursue Sea Tiger and artillery targets in the east and in the Tiger’s northern Vanni stronghold. Gothabaya was silent on whether the Army would attempt a full-scale invasion of the north, as earlier GSL statements had suggested. The Defense Secretary appears to have realized, however, that winning Tamil hearts and minds will be crucial to the GSL’s consolidation of its new hold on the east.”

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO7914
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0214/01 0361312
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 051312Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5314
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0174
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 9859
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 6803
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 4871
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3501
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0579
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3593
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2670
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7372
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5103
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1770
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 02 COLOMBO 000214 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY, E BURKE 
AND F REID 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: DEFENSE SECRETARY RECKONS TIGER GROUND 
FORCES WEAKENED, BUT SEA TIGERS STILL FIERCE 

REF: A. COLOMBO 189 
     ¶B. COLOMBO 158 

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

¶1.  (C) Summary:  Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa 
offered his interpretation of the government security forces' 
January victory in Vakarai to Ambassador and DATT on February 
5 and explained the government's current military strategy. 
Gothabaya noted that the security forces encountered 
predominantly younger, less committed Tiger cadres in 
Vakarai.  The GSL's redevelopment efforts in the east, he 
theorized, would head off any re-infiltration by the Tigers 
and allow the security forces to "devote their full forces" 
elsewhere.  In particular, the military would seek to 
neutralize the LTTE's navy, the "Sea Tigers."  Gothabaya was 
silent on whether the Army would attempt a major offensive in 
the North.  End summary. 

Cadres Forego Cyanide 
-------------------- 

¶2.  (C) Ambassador, DATT and PolMilOff met Government of Sri 
Lanka (GSL) Defense Secretary (and brother to the President) 
Gothabaya Rajapaksa on February 5.  Rajapaksa offered his 
interpretation of the government security forces' January 
victory in Vakarai and explained the GSL's current military 
strategy.   Ambassador commended the Secretary for conducting 
a successful battle with such low civilian causalities, after 
the initial shelling incident.  Gotabaya claimed that no 
civilians had been killed and only 40 soldiers had been 
killed in action in the two and a half month fight for 
Vakarai.  He emphasized that the military had been able to 
minimize civilian and troop causalities by surrounding 
Vakarai with small Special Forces teams rather than large 
battalions and moving without a "logistical tail" open to 
Tiger (LTTE) ambush. 

¶3.  (C) According to the Defense Secretary, the security 
forces encountered predominantly younger Tiger cadres in 
Vakarai, at least 40 percent under the age of 18, and 
noticeably less well-trained.  These cadres also appeared to 
be less committed to fighting for the LTTE, he said, 
indicating why they were willing to flee in the end.  Many 
more of these cadres underwent forced recruitment than in 
previous years, claimed Gothabaya: "We can see that the 
lower-ranked cadres have not come out willingly.   They have 
little motivation to fight.  They aren't committed, and in 
fact try to escape.  We have intelligence that elsewhere in 
Batticaloa district LTTE cadres are waiting for a battle in 
which they can surrender."  The security forces captured a 
number of Tiger cadres in Vakarai.  On the other hand, very 
few made use of the cyanide capsule all wear around their 
necks for that eventuality, according to the Secretary. 

Resettlement and Development 
---------------------------- 

¶4.  (C) As the conflict has dragged on, noted the Defense 
Secretary, "families have not been willing to contribute 

SIPDIS 
their children.  Their motivating factor was an independent 
state.  They thought they didn't get enough from Sinhalese 
governments.  Now we are making an effort to provide basic 
requirements -- electricity, education, roads, houses -- and 
the people see the difference."  Ambassador revised reports 
that the GSL planned to resettle retired Sinhalese military 
officers in Tamil areas.  Gothabaya denied this and other 
speculation by the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and 
others that the GSL is pursuing a "Sinhalization" program in 
the east, adding that the Sinhalese population in Trincomalee 
district has decreased from 31 percent to 21 percent since 
¶1981.  Presidential Advisor (and brother) Basil Rajapaska was 

COLOMBO 00000214  002 OF 002 

overseeing the Resettlement Ministry's early work to resettle 
Tamil civilians in Vakarai, Gothabaya said, where the GSL 
hoped to provide electricity within ten days. 

¶5.  (C) Gothabaya said the GSL would use "minimum police 
force" to maintain GSL control of Vakarai and other 
"liberated" areas in the east, such as Sampur, "so we can 
concentrate our full forces on other things."  He affirmed 
that the GSL would implement development projects soon to 
minimize the threat of re-infiltration by the LTTE.  "There 
must be a reaction from normal civilians to reject the LTTE," 
he said, adding that the International Labor Organization 
(ILO) is considering a livelihoods project in Vakarai, while 
the French government may be willing to rebuild the A15 
highway. 

Sea Tigers Strong 
----------------- 

¶6.  (C) While the LTTE's ground forces are clearly weaker 
following the security forces' victories in the east, 
Gothabaya said, the LTTE's navy, the "Sea Tigers," remain 
strong.  The Sea Tiger attack on a GSL food convoy at Point 
Pedro, Jaffna in January emboldened the LTTE by their sinking 
of two dvora "fast boats" and made the Sri Lankan Navy timid, 
he thought.  "The Navy is no longer as aggressive.  It wants 
to protect its assets, so the Sea Tigers have more leeway. 
We must neutralize the Sea Tigers.  We must give the Navy 
some help by finding and destroying more Sea Tiger bases and 
assets."   In the Defense Secretary's view, the January 27 
Sea Tiger attack attempt on Colombo's port targeted a naval 
ship donated by India, rather than commercial vessels. 
Nevertheless, the LTTE would continue to seek soft targets in 
Colombo and the south as "part of their demoralization plan." 

Overall Strategy 
---------------- 

¶7.  (C) Comment:  Gothabaya assured us that the President 
remains committed to the peace process "without delay, and 
without respect to the military."  We understand that the 
security forces will try to consolidate the GSL's hold on the 
east, and that the military will also pursue Sea Tiger and 
artillery targets in the east and in the Tiger's northern 
Vanni stronghold.  Gothabaya was silent on whether the Army 
would attempt a full-scale invasion of the north, as earlier 
GSL statements had suggested.  The Defense Secretary appears 
to have realized, however, that winning Tamil hearts and 
minds will be crucial to the GSL's consolidation of its new 
hold on the east. 
BLAKE
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Latest comments

  • 1
    3

    Commendations coming from the very God Fathers distorting ground reality, to mislead the whole world, after supporting their brief carriers, to commit their favourite past time of reducing Human Population through Wars, to sell their arms to prosper their War Industry and their hegemony to continue.

  • 0
    3

    The US has a American citizen in charge of all armed services personnel in SL. Why would they want to change that situation? All the international posturing is for show, the current situation works best for them.

  • 3
    3

    It is news that MR has received the ‘Star of Palestine’ award. MR was a crusader for Palestine then like how MR was representing the Mother’s Front fighting for Human Rights of the oppressed. The UNP govts in the past could not allow Israel to open Diplomatic Offices here as MR opposed violently. After MR became President, MR signed bilateral Agreements with Israel a country they loathed. The following week after signing Bilateral Agreements with Israel, it was ironic to see the Palestine President paying a visit here as a Guest of MR. This would have not been possible if not for the Americans arranging the visit of the Palestinian President, just to diffuse any tension that would have resulted from the Bilateral Agreements and also to mislead the masses that MR is still with the Palestine cause. Then again the President of Palestine agreeing to visit Sri Lanka after we signed Bilateral Agreements with Israel, a country they are at war with, shows how much influence the Americans wield over countries that are supposed to be inimical to them and their allies. For the skulduggery and deceit the Americans have been indulging in, today Nature is richly paying them, where temperatures have dropped below -30* C and life is hell for the country. This is nothing but retribution.

    • 0
      4

      with the “Star of Palestine” award MARA will go to Israel(enemy of Palestine) who trained brave LTTE.

      • 5
        0

        Brave LTTE? Yeah I liked the bravery they diplayed on their numerous marathons and tactical withdrawals. They showed bravery with distinction during the last few months when they were hiding behind old women and children, knees shivering in fear of our soldiers. Such brave, much valour, wow!

  • 1
    5

    <>

    Keep in mind that US has not Commended Gota For Conducting A Successful Battle With Low Civilian Causalities not during 2009. US is very serious about last stage of war.

  • 2
    2

    See, just like Ratheeka no? Then congratulations, now war crimes. Theese UN and USA are the same, the same, the same., I hope that the Rajapissas give both of them a very had kick or two.

  • 3
    0

    Most of the LTTE and UNP morons will keep silence on this news because they think USA is their GOD!

    USA invades countries to get oil. But our LTTE goons also expect USA to invade Sri Lanka and give their Eelam. But what the hell these Tamil LTTE morons give in return? I hope few sacks of Panang Kottai and Puliyang Kottai!

    USA backed the LTTE through Catholic church but USA now knows they are useless and beggers for dollars. Now USA tries to “sweet” the Rajapakse government.

    • 0
      1

      Gotabaya recently said US supplied military intelligence for SL Airforce to bomb LTTE arms shipments in the international waters. US also said she imprisoned 34 LTTE supporters who collected money and tried to buy sophisticated weapons including anti-aircraft. US also preach freedom fighters not to use violence in their struggle. Sri Lanka does not want to keep the promises made to India, US and other countries that it would resolve the ethnic problem once they help to crush LTTE. Crushing LTTE is different from killing, abductions, torture, rape of civilians and other violations of human rights. US want the allegations investigated by Sri Lanka so that next time around there will be no arms conflict.

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