24 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: “We All Want An End To LTTE Terror, But Not In A Way That Kills Thousands Of Civilians”- Blake

Robert Blake

By Colombo Telegraph

“Ambassador subsequently spoke to the President’s brother and senior advisor, Basil Rajapaksa and sought to convince him of the need for time to persuade the LTTE to surrender peacefully. Rajapaksa responded that so far the UN had not broached the idea of a Special Envoy. Further, he asked how we could know that the LTTE wouldn’t take the envoy hostage? Or that Prabhakaran would agree to meet? He said the GSL would need firm commitments on these issues before agreeing to a Special Envoy. Ambassador responded that those conditions were all manageable, but that the main thing was that the GSL agree to give time for diplomacy to work. He emphasized that we all want an end to LTTE terror, but not in a way that kills thousands of civilians and gives the LTTE a new cause on which to re-mobilize opinion behind it. Rajapaksa agreed and said he would talk to the President.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

“Ambassador pointed out that it was common knowledge the Tamil Tigers won’t let the civilians go. A better alternative, he said, would be for the GSL to allow a UN envoy to go in to the safe zone during the pause to talk directly to LTTE supremo Prabhakaran about terms for letting the civilians go and surrender of those LTTE cadres still in the safe zone.” the US Embassy further wrote.

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked “UNCLASIFIED” US diplomatic cable from WikiLeak database. The Cable is written by the Ambassador Robert O. Blake on April 13, 2009,

Ambassador Blake wrote “The government of Sri Lanka announced a 48-hour period of restraint, during which the armed forces would confine themselves to defensive operations. International observers noted that shelling of the “safe zone” had diminished on April 11 and 12, and that no firing was now being reported from the area. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the government’s move, noting it was less than the pause of several days he had called for. He reiterated his appeal to the LTTE to allow civilians freedom of movement and to the government to adhere to its commitments not to use heavy weapons. Previously, Ambassador had undertaken numerous contacts with the Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary and Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to urge them to declare a longer humanitarian pause and consider the idea of a UN Special Envoy to negotiate the release of the civilians trapped in the “safe zone.” The ICRC plans to evacuate approximately 600 wounded civilians from the safe zone on April 13 and 14. Basil Rajapaksa said that the hold-fire period could be extended, particularly if the LTTE begins to release civilians. According to the UN and GSL sources, the earliest a ship can depart for the safe zone with badly needed food and medical supplies is April 16.”

Under the subheading “FOREIGN SECRETARY CONTINUES TO QUESTION SHELLING” Blake wrote “Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona reported to Ambassador on April 13 that during his recent visit to Washington he was shown three satellite photos of the no fire zone, indicating houses with roofs blown off and water-filled circular craters. Kohona questioned whether the houses could have been damaged during the 1996 military campaign when the Mullaitivu camp was attacked by the LTTE. He said he had received assurances that no artillery had been directed to the no-fire zone. Ambassador noted that credible medical sources reported large numbers of wounded with shrapnel injuries sustained around April 8-9. Ambassador told Kohona that had these been caused by the LTTE, there would likely have been an insurrection in the no-fire zone, given our knowledge of existing tensions stemming form from the LTTE shootings of IDPs trying to escape.”

We below give the relevant part of the cable;

O 131045Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9785
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 000413 

SENSITIVE 

STATE FOR SCA (BOUCHER), 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: PREF MOPS PHUM PGOV PREL ASEC CE
SUBJECT: Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 51 

Ref:  A) Colombo 412  B) Colombo 410  C) Colombo 402  D) Colombo 401
 E) Colombo 400  F) Colombo 396  G) Colombo 393  H) Colombo 384  I)
Colombo 374  J) Colombo 368  K) Colombo 361  L) Colombo 360  M)
Colombo 321 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY:  The government of Sri Lanka announced a 48-hour
period of restraint, during which the armed forces would confine
themselves to defensive operations.   International observers noted
that shelling of the "safe zone" had diminished on April 11 and 12,
and that no firing was now being reported from the area.  UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the government's move, noting
it was less than the pause of several days he had called for.  He
reiterated his appeal to the LTTE to allow civilians freedom of
movement and to the government to adhere to its commitments not to
use heavy weapons.  Previously, Ambassador had undertaken numerous
contacts with the Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary and Senior
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to urge them to declare a
longer humanitarian pause and consider the idea of a UN Special
Envoy to negotiate the release of the civilians trapped in the "safe
zone."  The ICRC plans to evacuate approximately 600 wounded
civilians from the safe zone on April 13 and 14.  Basil Rajapaksa
said that the hold-fire period could be extended, particularly if
the LTTE begins to release civilians.  According to the UN and GSL
sources, the earliest a ship can depart for the safe zone with badly
needed food and medical supplies is April 16.  End summary. 

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES 48 HOUR PERIOD OF RESTRAINT
--------------------------------------------- --- 

2.  (U) On April 12, President Rajapaksa announced a 48-hour period
of restraint in which the Sri Lankan armed forces would confine
themselves to defensive operations: "The President is deeply
conscious of the need to give the civilian population entrapped as
hostages by the ruthless actions of the LTTE the opportunity...  to
have uninhibited freedom of movement from the No Fire Zone to the
cleared areas.  With this objective in view, His Excellency has
directed the Armed Forces of the State to restrict their operations
during the New Year to those of a defensive nature...  It is timely
for the LTTE to acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its
weapons and surrender.  The LTTE must also renounce terrorism and
violence permanently."
3.  (U) In a statement issued on April 12 in New York, United
Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the Sri Lanka
government's decision, noting, "This is less than the full
humanitarian pause of several days I had pressed for but is
nevertheless a useful first step and an opportunity to move towards
the peaceful and orderly end to the fighting now so badly needed...
The United Nations will, therefore, do whatever it can to support
this humanitarian pause and help end the grave predicament of
civilians in the conflict zone, including through the provision of
more aid to those still trapped in the zone."  The Secretary General
said that during the period of the pause civilians wishing to leave
the conflict zone should be allowed to do so and should then be
treated fully in accordance with international standards and
principles: "In particular, the LTTE must allow civilians to choose
whether they stay or leave. This is a terrible conflict that must be
ended as soon as possible. In the meantime, with tens of thousands
of lives at risk on the beaches of northern Sri Lanka, I call on the
government forces to adhere scrupulously to the commitments of the 

government about non-use of heavy weapons.  I also count on key
members of the international community to support this pause and to
continue to do all they can to avert further death and suffering in
Sri Lanka."
4.  (SBU) Head of the ICRC Colombo office Paul Castella told
Ambassador on April 13 that ICRC staff in the safe zone reported
that no firing of any kind had taken place since the
government-announced pause began at midnight.  Previously, on April
12, firing had diminished in intensity, without artillery, but
mortars and automatic weapons were used.  ICRC sources reported 62
wounded, of whom 16 were children.  Three of the wounded later died
in the hospital.  Not including those wounded on April 12, 533
wounded were waiting to be evacuated.  The ICRC plans to get half of
these out on April 13 and the other half on April 14.  The improved
weather situation should help.  The ICRC told us that the Ministry
of Health had approved an ICRC medical shipment to go with the
vessel for the wounded but that the military had yet to clear the
delivery. 

FOOD SHIP ON APRIL 16?
--------------------- 

5.  (SBU) UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne told Ambassador on
April 13 that according to Basil Rajapaksa, the earliest a ship
could sail with WFP food supplies would be April 16.  This would be
after the government-declared pause expires.  Significantly, Buhne
reported that Rajapaksa said it could be extended "if the LTTE
behaves."  Basil also confirmed that badly needed medicine would be
on board.  Buhne also said that UN staff in the safe zone report it
had become much quieter in the safe zone.  A few RPG rounds may have
caused a few casualties, but nothing on the scale of the previous
several days.  Finally, he noted that it appeared the LTTE was
trying to move civilians into the southern part of the safe zone in
anticipation of GSL military operations in the northern part.
25-30,000 civilians are reluctant to move from their current
locations, he said. If the LTTE permits them to stay, it is possible
they might be able to escape to government-controlled territory. 

FOREIGN SECRETARY CONTINUES TO QUESTION SHELLING
--------------------------------------------- --- 

6. (SBU) Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona reported to Ambassador on
April 13 that during his recent visit to Washington he was shown
three satellite photos of the no fire zone, indicating houses with
roofs blown off and water-filled circular craters.  Kohona
questioned whether the houses could have been damaged during the
1996 military campaign when the Mullaitivu camp was attacked by the
LTTE.  He said he had received assurances that no artillery had been
directed to the no-fire zone.  Ambassador noted that credible
medical sources reported large numbers of wounded with shrapnel
injuries sustained around April 8-9.  Ambassador told Kohona that
had these been caused by the LTTE, there would likely have been an
insurrection in the no-fire zone, given our knowledge of existing
tensions stemming form from the LTTE shootings of IDPs trying to
escape.
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    How puzzling! This is exactly how you are trying to wipe out what is purported to be your terrorists in the Arab world. In your own case the numbers are running into Millions :( ?????????

  • 0
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    Sri Lankan “lin madiya’s” think US wanted to save LTTE, utter rubbish.

    • 0
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      US licking “Gon Thadiyas” think that US has not killed thousands civilians in wars that they have contributed.

    • 0
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      This not what he is saying now.They were trying to save the LTTE. Only they were not saying it yet in mid april,by first week of may they were prepared to send ships from the pacific fleet only to rescue the LTTE leaders with their families,not the civilians. Who’s the lin madiya now? you can see for your self.

  • 0
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    OMG!! :) :) :) “Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona reported to Ambassador on April 13 that during his recent visit to Washington he was shown three satellite photos of the no fire zone, indicating houses with roofs blown off and water-filled circular craters. Kohona questioned whether the houses could have been damaged during the 1996 military campaign when the Mullaitivu camp was attacked by the LTTE” Poor Kohana man. LOL

    • 0
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      yeah, for this ass’ol Bob when Kohona speaks to him it is reporting and Bhune talks its informing.who the F…is he for Kohona to report to him.Yes,Sattelite photos can show houses with roofs blown off and craters made by shells but they cant tell you who dunnit or when.

  • 0
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    Bob,
    Have you heard of a country going be the name of Iraq?I am not going to embarrass you by displaying old skeletons in the cupboard,namely,Vietnam,Nahgasaki,Hiroshima.

  • 0
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    Why dont you ask the UN, ICRC and the WFP how many civilians were killed without doing the blame game. You are trying to whip the poor boy (Sri Lanka) so that end justifies means.following the KArl Marx philosophy so that Sri Lanka would Kow tow and follow America.Blake you are a fraud and trying to perpetuate colonialist policies which long dead and would be buried soon. Why not go an preach to Israel, who will see to it that your seat becomes vacant and pushed to some unrecognised think tank within the portals of state Dept.

    • 0
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      WFP,ICRC,UNDP,OCHA,they all have their figures but they were not sufficent to make a case against Sri Lanka.That’s why Gordon Weiss, the blue eyed boy,the Great author of “The Cage”fame, gets his opportunity of a life time to make a name for himself decides to become a hero for the downtrodden folks and declare that 40000 civilians ARE DEAD and become a hero of the International community overnight.The UN quietly disassociated with this claim but it was done so quietly no one heard it.

  • 0
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    Blake, What you mean “We all ” ….Really..All community want to End LTTE, Only USA don’t want to end LTTE by heart.

    Did you end terrorism in Iraq ..???/
    Did you end terrorism in Afghanistan ….?
    Did you end terrorism in Palatine….?
    Did you end terrorism in Libya….??/
    Did you take an action to stop killing civilian in Sri Lanka last 30 years ?????…..by LTTE….

    How many thousand you have killed on same concept… ???
    don’t be a joke …

  • 0
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    When US Collision kills innocents civilian as they want in recent wars like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, no one in this world to talk about, is this their real humanitarianism?

  • 0
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    “He emphasized that we all want an end to LTTE terror, but not in a way that kills thousands of civilians and gives the LTTE a new cause on which to re-mobilize opinion behind it.”…prophetic…the White Man can still think years ahead of the native..and see whats now going on..the native must accept..he is and remains a native…

    • 0
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      It is not prophetic my dear, It is called planning ahead.Even at that moment he was planing how best to manipulate in order to continue the carnage.

  • 0
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    What a shitty idiot!! He is trying to say that US is not killing to end Terrorism. Hey man what is happening in Iraq, Afganistan what the f… you are doing in to the people in Libiya and Pakistan. Idiot !!

  • 0
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    “It is timely for the LTTE to acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its weapons and surrender.The LTTE must also renounce terrorism and violence permanently.”

    Even though blake writes this to the state department he never initimate this to the tigers. Had the tigers got this message in no uncertain terms the out come would have been much different.
    He does’nt now talk about the two days of cease fire, Ban ki Moon asking for a longer period and Basil indicating that governments willlingness to extend but what was achieved by this cease fire? Nothing,not even the wounded were moved to safty.

  • 0
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