19 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: US the worst violators of human rights – Malinda says

By Colombo Telegraph

Malinda

“Ambassador and DCM were unsuccessful in hand-delivering the report to Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other GSL officials, per reftel instructions. Despite many repeated calls to the MFA, no official was found available to accept the report. EU Commissioner Bernard Savage told Ambassador that he received the same treatment when he tried to deliver the GSP- Plus report to the GSL on October 19.” the US Ambassador wrote to Washington.

A leaked US diplomatic cable details the situation just after the release of the S/WCI report to Congress on incidents.  The Colombo Telegraph found the cable from WikiLeaks database. The cable written on 26th October 2009, classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by the US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis.
The ambassador Butenis wrote “ Weekend newspapers saw more in-depth coverage and analysis. Department Spokesman Ian Kelly’s comments during the October 22 press briefing were carried widely. Analytical pieces were very critical. Emblematic of the articles, the well-known and widely-published freelance opinion columnist Malinda Seneviratne criticized both the basis of the document and the sources that the State Department used in preparing the report, noting ‘ the country with the worst human rights record over the past 100 years and especially during its post-9/11 adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq’ was now asking the GSL to investigate claims of atrocities”
“Despite some negative op-ed press, the Sri Lanka response to the report has been relatively subdued. Thus far, there have been no demonstrations against the embassy nor other mass expressions of protest.” Butenis wrote.

“We are guardedly encouraged by Human Rights Minister Samarasinghe’s announcement that an ‘independent’ commission would be formed to look in to the substance of the report. Sri Lanka has a long history of supposedly independent commissions that ultimately proved ineffective. Thus, we will look for every opportunity to hold them to their word,” the ambassador further wrote.

Read Manlinda Seneviratne’s critical writings on the West here; www.malindawords.blogspot.com

Read the full cable for further details.

Malinda on WikiLeaks.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7nkiwCQ8Kg&feature=player_embedded#!]

Read the full cable for further details.

VZCZCXRO9983
OO RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0988/01 2991137
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261137Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0683
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1989
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9025
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7263
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5183
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3410
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5138
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0012
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0673
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4249
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9585
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6882
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1344
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3796
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000988

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: GSL RESPONSE TO REPORT MEASURED -- THUS FAR

REF: SECSTATE 109032

Classified By: Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D).

1. (C) SUMMARY: The response of the Sri Lankan government
(GSL) to release of the S/WCI report to Congress on incidents
during the recent conflict thus far has been measured.  Human
Rights Minister Samarasinghe told Ambassador an "independent"
committee of eminent persons would be announced next week to
look into the substance of the report.  Op-eds over the
weekend were very critical of the report, calling into
question both the U.S. right to issue such a document and its
motivation.  END SUMMARY.

MINISTER CALLS AMBASSADOR
-------------------------

2. (C) Ambassador and DCM were unsuccessful in
hand-delivering the report to MFA or other GSL officials, per
reftel instructions.  Despite many repeated calls to the MFA,
no official was found available to accept the report.  (NOTE:
EU Commissioner Bernard Savage told Ambassador that he
received the same treatment when he tried to deliver the
GSP-Plus report to the GSL on October 19.  END NOTE.)
Nevertheless, early on October 26, Minister of Disaster
Relief and Human Rights Samarasinghe called Ambassador to
inform her of a meeting he had just had with President
Rajapaksa, at which the latter had ordered formation of a
group of "eminent persons" to review the report and decide on
the GSL response.  In remarks to the press later in the day,
Samarasinghe said the group would be an "independent
committee" and that its members would be announced next week.

PRESS ON REPORT MORE PREDICTABLE
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) Initial news stories of the report's release to
Congress focused on the SL Foreign Ministry's and U.S.
Embassy press statements.  Weekend newspapers saw more
in-depth coverage and analysis.  Department Spokesman Ian
Kelly's comments during the October 22 press briefing were
carried widely.  Analytical pieces were very critical.
Emblematic of the articles, the well-known and
widely-published freelance opinion columnist Malinda
Seneviratne criticized both the basis of the document and the
sources that the State Department used in preparing the
report, noting "the country with the worst human rights
record over the past 100 years and especially during its
post-9/11 adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq" was now asking
the GSL to investigate claims of atrocities.

4. (C) The GSL was relatively tight-lipped in public about
the report apart from the October 22 Ministry of Foreign
Affairs press release.  But Lucien Rajakarunanayake, head of
the president's media unit, wrote a biting piece in the
October 24 edition of the "Daily News".  Rajakarunanayake
claimed the report was biased and motivated by pro-LTTE
groups in the United States.  He wrote, "With Raj Rajaratnam
already exposed, and the connections he had with the "Tamils
for Clinton" and later with the "Tamils for Obama" now well
known, there can (sic) be the least doubt the U.S. State
Department is today leaning more in favor of the pro-LTTE
Tamil groups in New York and Washington, who are no doubt
good donors for campaigns and also possibly good foot
soldiers for political work too."  He ended by calling on
other countries, especially of the third world, to establish
their own tribunals for crimes against humanity, especially
where the U.S. had a hand.

5. (C) COMMENT: Despite some negative op-ed press, the Sri
Lankan response to the report has been relatively subdued.
Thus far, there have been no demonstrations against the

COLOMBO 00000988  002 OF 002

embassy nor other mass expressions of protest.  Ambassador
also heard very little about the report during her visit over
the weekend to the provincial town of Kandy, location of Sri
Lanka's major Buddhist shrines.  We are guardedly encouraged
by Human Rights Minister Samarasinghe's announcement that an
"independent" commission would be formed to look into the
substance of the report.  Sri Lanka has a long history of
supposedly independent commissions that ultimately proved
ineffective.  Thus, we will look for every opportunity to
hold them to their word.
BUTENIS
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