The Sunday Leader

A Top Sri Lankan Major General, The US And Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Colombo Telegraph last week unearthed another WikiLeaks cable.
According to the cable Major General Prasad Samarasinghe the former Military Spokesman and Director, Directorate of Media in the Army, has been passing highly sensitive information to the US Embassy in Colombo on a burning issue – Abductions.
Many of those abducted were believed to have been individuals who had fallen foul of the Rajapaksa trio. Mahinda, Basil and Gotabhaya. The President’s other brother Chamal seemingly does not figure. Not in this triumvirate.
The cable dated July 6, 2007 and written by then Charge d’Affaires James R. Moore to the US Embassy is classified as “SECRET” and discusses Sri Lanka’s problem of political abductions and abductions-for-ransom.

Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe - “a political insider” within the Rajapaksa administration

The cable very specifically mentions that Major General Prasad Samarasinghe must be protected describing him as “a political insider” within the Rajapaksa administration.  Why Samarasinghe chose to back his bosses and pass information to the Americans is what needs clarification.
Sources speaking on conditions of anonymity to The Sunday Leader but loyal to Prasad Samarasinghe told us the Major General has insisted to confidantes that he never once met James R. Moore. Nor, did he meet Robert R. Blake Jnr.  who was at the time Ambassador.  He has further flatly denied having supplied any information to the Americans. But the matter most certainly does not rest there. After all, James R. Moore could not have penned a cable and used the name of a top army officer merely to lend authenticity to what he was writing to his bosses in Washington D.C. Are we to believe that Robert R. Blake would fabricate or implicate the name of a top army officer in allowing him to be named as a source of “classified, secret” information?
The question then is this.  Did the US Embassy in Colombo hoping to use him as an informer, bribe Major General Prasad Samarasinghe with an offer of citizenship in America for him and his family?
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was recently quoted in a weekly English newspaper saying just that. He charged that the Americans made an abortive attempt to bribe Major General Prasad Samarasinghe to make allegations against Sri Lanka.  Accusing the US Embassy in Colombo of being involved in a sordid operation, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa  charged the diplomat, who had made the move after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 offered to accommodate Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe and his family in the US.
Interestingly, Rajapaksa made these allegations before the WikiLeaks cable was unearthed.
The newspaper report quoted the Defence Secretary as saying the ongoing efforts to bring to the fore a so-called affidavit should be examined in the context of an attempt to employ a serving officer against Sri Lanka. He was clearly responding to the fact that the Americans had placed on record that Samarasinghe as a serving army officer has provided valuable information to the US and contradicted the government’s official versions, on an issue that to date continues to haunt the credibility of the Rajapaksa regime.
The issue is this. On June 22, 2007 America’s then Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake, sent a cable to his political masters in the US.  The cable was classified as “confidential” and carried the reference number: 07COLOMBO899.
In this, Blake wrote a summary of events which had taken place in Sri Lanka the previous day. He wrote that on June 21, a special unit of the Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CID) arrested former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayake in connection with an ongoing probe into abductions, extortion and extra-judicial killings.  Among other crimes, Gajanayake is alleged to have arranged the abduction and killing of two Tamil Red Cross employees on June 1, 2007.
But here comes the coup de grâce.  Gajanayake’s arrest was mired in political controversy.  On June 18, 2007, the United National Party (UNP) filed a no-confidence motion with the Speaker of Parliament alleging that Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella deliberately misled Parliament when he said that Tamils evicted from Colombo had left voluntarily.  The truth was that the government in June that year evicted from lodges and hotels 376 ‘jobless’ Tamils from the north and the east on grounds of ‘national security’ and packed them in eight buses headed for the Vavuniya district in the north and Batticaloa district in the east. The move was condemned by the Opposition and civil society groups insisting it would lead to further polarisation between the different ethnic communities and heighten the sense of marginalisation and alienation of Tamil people of this country. This was later halted after a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court revoked the order following a petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives which argued the move was a violation of basic human rights.
The government counter-attacked by filing its own no-confidence motion with the Speaker on June 20 against UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne, in part for his explosive allegations.
On June 6 that year, during an emergency session of Parliament to discuss the Government’s forced transport of hundreds of Tamils from Colombo, Lakshman Seneviratne accused Nishantha Gajanayake of working on behalf of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and in concert with Deputy-Inspector General of Police Colombo, Rohan Abeywardene to orchestrate abductions.  Seneviratne stated that Gajanayake arranged abductions and extra-judicial killings using Karuna’s cadres on orders from Gotabhaya and with the assistance of police officers acting under Abeywardene’s instructions.  Although Seneviratne alleged he had evidence to verify his accusations, the link between Gotabhaya, Abeywardene and Gajanayake was never proved nor verified. The UNP which threatened to release information, it maintained it had gathered, that connected Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Gajanayake has not been released to date – nor made public.  Another red herring of the United National Party.
The upshot was this. The Americans in Colombo sent an explosive cable to the US government naming their source as Major General Prasad Samarasinghe in which cable James Moore opined that, “Despite the GSL’s efforts to tout arrests of alleged abductors, critics and some government insiders claim that there is little genuine connection between the abductions and those that the Government has arrested. Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect), a political insider within the Rajapaksa administration, told us that the arrest on June 26 of the five alleged abductors working with Gajanayake was political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration. Samarasinghe further alleged the GSL felt compelled to demonstrate concrete examples of progress on abductions to appease the international community.”
Major General Prasad Samarasinghe is currently the Chief Signal Officer (CSO) of the Army and Chief Controller, Centre for Research and Development at the Ministry of Defence. He has also been the Commander for three separate Brigades in Jaffna, Wanni and Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, 22 Division Headquarters, Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, Directorate of Operations, Army Headquarters, Assistant Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and the Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Signal Corps. He previously served as the military spokesman to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London on a diplomatic posting.

We give below the relevant part of the cable:

VZCZCXRO4601
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0959/01 1870735
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 060735Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6415
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0269
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7250
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5357
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3892
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1177
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3963
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1163
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3049
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7843
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5498
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0301
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2191
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON
DC PRIORITYR
HHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITYS E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000959
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS AND PM
MCC FOR D NASSIRY AND E BURKE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA:  GOVERNMENT TAKES STEPS TO
ADDRESS
ABDUCTIONS
REF: A. COLOMBO 899
¶B. COLOMBO 463
¶C. COLOMBO 844
¶D. COLOMBO 561
¶E. COLOMBO 861
¶F. COLOMBO 809

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, James R. Moore, for reasons 1.4(b,d).
¶1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) has recently made several announcements about its efforts to eliminate abductions in Sri Lanka.  On July 4 DefenceSpokesman Keheliya Rambukwella announced the arrest of 10 suspected abductors in the GSL’s efforts to eliminateabductions-for-ransom.  On June 21 the GSL arrested N.Gajanayake (ref A), a suspected abductions ring-leader, and on June 26, the police arrested five other alleged abductors thought to be working with Gajanayake, bringing the total number arrested to 16.  Critics of the administration allege there is little connection between those arrested and the rush of abductions-for-ransom, charging instead that theGSL is arresting scapegoats to appease the international community.  However, in addition to arrests, the GSL has established a “help centre” to assist family members who wish to file a “missing person” report.  Minister Rajitha Senaratne, one of a five-member team appointed to oversee the new centre said he is committed to providing a level of transparency to the GSL’s investigations while shielding civilians afraid to file claims against military or police forces.  The GSL on June 29 publicly released some of its findings after looking into a list of alleged disappearances provided by the Ambassador.  While the Embassy welcomes GSL’s efforts to investigate the whereabouts of those on theAmbassador’s list, we have informed the Government that itshould take credit for the list rather than making it appear as though it is acting on behalf of the Embassy.  END SUMMARY.

GOVERNMENT TOUTS ABDUCTIONS ARRESTS;CRITICS ALLEGE POLITICAL RETRIBUTION
————————————
¶2.  (SBU)  During his weekly press briefing on July 4,Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella stated: “One ex-AirForce officer (Gajanayake), a serving airman and four police officers have already been arrested and another 10 suspects comprising four Muslims and six Sinhalese have been arrested in connection with ransom cases.”  Rambukwella further alleged that police have identified the suspects involved in killing two Red Cross employees on June 1 (ref C), but that they had escaped into territory controlled by the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  He also stated the police were working with Interpol to arrest a suspected abductions ring-leader who fled to Italy.  Noting that those arrested comprised both Muslim and Sinhalese, Rambukwella dismissed critics’ allegations that abductions were targeting Muslims based on their ethnicity.  Rambukwella also dismissed allegations that United National Party (UNP) ParliamentarianLakshman Seneviratne made in Parliament on June 6 alleging Rambukwella’s security detail was involved in abducting a Muslim businessman (ref D).  Rambukwella stated therehave been no abductions in Colombo since June 18 and cited it as evidence that the GSL’s efforts to bring abductors to justice is working.
¶3.  (S)  Despite the GSL’s efforts to tout arrests of alleged abductors, critics and some government insiders claim there is little genuine connection between the abductions and those the Government has arrested.  Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect), a political insider

COLOMBO 00000959  002 OF 003  
within the Rajapaksa administration, told us the arrest on June 26 of the five alleged abductors working with Gajanayake was political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration.  Samarasinghe further alleged the GSL felt compelled to demonstrate concrete examples of progress on abductions to appease the international community.
MOORE

6 Comments for “A Top Sri Lankan Major General, The US And Gotabhaya Rajapaksa”

  1. Seran Senguttuvan

    If one feature by which this regime and its sycophants – within and outside its loop- are identified it will be in blatant lies and about-turns.

    Senguttuvan

  2. umba baba

    Brilliant, I see a defamation suite coming. And it will be big….

    “Are we to believe that Robert R. Blake would fabricate or implicate the name of a top army officer in allowing him to be named as a source of “classified, secret” information?”

    ummm… hello ever heard of Weapons of Mass Destruction…
    You gullible “Kalu Suddi” you are laughable.

    • Against Idiots

      Umba baba:
      When you are done with racist epithets, maybe you could take a primer in decency and THEN make web comments!

      Have YOU ever heard of the Nanthikadal battle where NO CIVILIANS were killed?

  3. Roshan

    So whatever that appears on these leaked cables should be treated as the gospel truth?? Who can tell that these cables are also not fabricated??

  4. sack

    i dont no….
    if he was a insider would he be named in a report…
    i mean in previous occasions (when the embassy surveyed about the most trusted police officers; which contained errors IMO), spies who were used by the embassy were only named using some code name.

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