Last Updated : 02-09-2014 16:59

 
 

SLMM tipped-off LTTE

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A move by Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) made a gunrunning vessel belonging to the  Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), escape from Sri Lanka Navy, whistle-blower website- Wikileaks reveals.

The highly confidential cable sent by Colombo US Embassy to Washington, dated October 23, 2003 was classified by Colombo’s Charge´ d´Affaires James F. Entwistle.

Entwistle reports that this series of events led to then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga requesting the Norwegian government to remove the then incumbent SLMM chief Tryggve Teleffsen.

SLMM deliberately tipped off the Tigers-CBK

“In her letter (to Norway), the President also specifically complained that the SLMM had recently acted to prevent the navy from intercepting a reported Tiger arms re-supply ship operating off the northeast coast. The president directly accused the SLMM of either deliberately trying to tip off the Tigers via a phone call so that their boat could escape, or acting in a highly negligent manner. Mission was told by the Defense Minister that the SLMM´s actions in this matter were inadvertent.”

The Cable also reveals that the SLMM chief (reportedly an experienced Norwegian serviceman who retired as General) had admitted to then US Ambassador that the SLMM in fact caused the events that allowed the LTTE to evade apprehension by Sri Lanka Navy.

“(Recently, US) Ambassador briefly spoke to Tellefsen about the October 16 incident off the northeast coast. (The conversation took place before the demand for his ouster). Confirming what we were told by the Defense Minister, Tellefsen admitted that his office had made a mistake by contacting the Tigers and asking them about the report that one of their ships was operating off the northeast coast.”

However Tellefsen had defended his subordinate’s action adding that, “there was no intention to tip off the Tigers”.

Matter had been badly handled

“That said, Tellefsen said the matter had been badly handled and that the SLMM duty officer had failed to brief him on the matter in time.”
Teleffsen, a retired Norwegian Major General, took over as chief monitor in March 2003, replacing Trond Furuhovde, another former Norwegian military official.

This 2003 incident led President Kumaratunga to request that Norway remove the errant SLMM chief. US Embassy said that in making her demand, the president was cited as having "serious doubts" about Teleffsen´s and his organization’s impartiality and objectivity.

“The president went on to assert that the continuation of the ceasefire "within acceptable levels of national security requires effective, objective and impartial monitoring of the truce," but that Teleffsen´s conduct, when compared to his predecessor, had been "quite unsatisfactory."

UNP shying away from CBKs move

“The Sri Lankan government is balking at supporting the president’s demand. Locked in a tense cohabitation situation with the president and her party, unnamed members of the United National Party (UNP) governing coalition have been quoted in the press as warning the president that her efforts to remove Tellefsen are putting the peace process at risk.”

Entwistle added that the US Embassy was “not sure how far President Kumaratunga wants to push this matter,” adding that she “has a propensity for making huge issues of matters and then dropping them,”
“Given her track record, it is very possible that she is simply trying to score points with her political base,”

Full Text Of The Cable


10/23/2003

14:07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001845

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS, EUR/NB; NSC FOR E. MILLARD
PLEASE ALSO PASS TOPEC E.O. 12958:
DECL: 10-24-13

TAGS: PGOV, PTER, MOPS, PHSA, CE, NO, LTTE - Peace Process
SUBJECT: President demands removal of chief monitor,
but it is not clear how far she wants to push matter

Refs:
- (A) SA/INS -Colombo telecon 10/23/03

- (B) FBIS Reston Va DTG 231407Z Oct 03

- (C) Colombo 1826, and previous

(U) Classified by Charge´ d´Affaires James F. Entwistle. Reasons 1.5 (b,d).

1. (C)

SUMMARY: President Kumaratunga has requested that Norway
remove the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) chief. In
making this demand, the president complained that the SLMM had
lost "objectivity." While the GoN reviews next steps, the SLMM
is continuing its operations. The GSL is balking at removing
the SLMM chief and we are not sure how far Kumaratunga wants
to push the matter. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU)

PRESIDENT LASHES OUT: President Kumaratunga has requested that
Norway remove Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) chief
Tryggve Teleffsen. The president made this demand in a letter
that was sent to the Norwegian government. The full text of
the letter was not made public, but some of its contents have
been leaked to the press. In making her demand, the president
was cited as having "serious doubts" about Teleffsen´s and his
organization´s impartiality and objectivity. The president
went on to assert that the continuation of the ceasefire
"within acceptable levels of national security requires
effective, objective and impartial monitoring of the truce,"
but that Teleffsen´s conduct, when compared to his
predecessor, had been "quite unsatisfactory." Teleffsen, a
retired Norwegian major general, took over as chief monitor in
March, replacing Trond Furuhovde, another former Norwegian
military official.

3. (C)

In her letter, the president also specifically complained that
the SLMM had recently acted to prevent the navy from
intercepting a reported Tiger arms resupply ship operating off
the northeast coast (see Ref C). The president directly
accused the SLMM of either deliberately trying to tip off the
Tigers via a phone call so that their boat could escape, or
acting in a highly negligent manner. Per Ref C, Mission was
told by the Defense Minister that the SLMM´s actions in this
matter were inadvertent (see more below).

4. (C)

GSL/NORWEGIAN RESPONSE: The Sri Lankan government is balking
at supporting the president´s demand. Locked in a tense
cohabitation situation with the president and her party,
unnamed members of the United National Party (UNP) governing
coalition have been quoted in the press as warning the
president that her efforts to remove Tellefsen are putting the
peace process at risk.

5. (C)

Mission´s understanding is that the Norwegian government is
reviewing next steps, and has not yet responded to the
president´s letter. Charge´ called Norwegian Ambassador Hans
Brattskar early October 24. Brattskar would not comment on
the phone, but invited Charge over to discuss the matter later
in the day. Timo Ekdahl, the SLMM´s acting spokesperson and
chief of operations, told polchief that the SLMM was waiting
for the Norwegian government to decide what to do in response
to the president´s demand. As far as the SLMM was concerned,
he added, it was "business as usual," however, with no changes
in personnel for the group or adjustment in its operations at
this time.

6. (C)

CONVERSATION WITH TELLEFSEN: At a recent function, the
Ambassador briefly spoke to Tellefsen about the October 16
incident off the northeast coast. (The conversation took
place before the demand for his ouster). Confirming what we
were told by the Defense Minister (see Ref C), Tellefsen
admitted that his office had made a mistake by contacting the
Tigers and asking them about the report that one of their
ships was operating off the northeast coast. There was no
intention to tip off the Tigers, he underscored. That said,
Tellefsen said the matter had been badly handled and that the
SLMM duty officer had failed to brief him on the matter in
time.

7. (C)

COMMENT: We are not sure how far President Kumaratunga wants
to push this matter. She has a propensity for making huge
issues of matters and then dropping them. Given her track
record, it is very possible that she is simply trying to score
points with her political base, which is significantly more
skeptical toward the peace process than the general public
(and happens to be gathering today in Colombo for a big
rally). If the president presses this matter, it will become
a real cohabitation donnybrook, however, with the president
pitted against the prime minister over which of them has power
over foreign policy. The president legally does, but the prime
minister has effective day-to-day control and would be loath
to give into her on this issue. At the same time, disruptions
in the SLMM´s operations would be highly problematic for the
ceasefire and the larger peace process, especially in light of
the likely delivery of the LTTE counterproposals in a week or
so. There is no doubt that it would be best for all concerned
if the president backs down and soon. END COMMENT.

8. (U) Minimize considered.

ENTWISTLE (Asiantribune.com)


 
 

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Comments 

 
-12+98 # mike 2011-01-09 13:24
OMG! What is this?? Very serious crime committed against the nation! These weapons would have killed innocent people. Can we have the culprits brought to book? Can the government be more strict on NGOS. We were blessed to have a strong leadership to win the war despite the west supporting the terrorist.
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-3+17 # kumar 2011-01-09 17:30
Just do it, GOSL. CUT TIES WITH THIS COUNTRY. Should have been done years ago.
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-1+24 # Keith 2011-01-09 19:25
At now can people see what REALLY happened during the so called cease fire and peace process....
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-0+0 # Pedro 2011-01-10 18:24
SLMM = NGO?
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-8+84 # Lucky 2011-01-09 13:25
Thanks Norway. You will pay for these attrocities in a few years time. Karma is coming after you.
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-26+5 # Lanka Patriot 2011-01-09 16:00
There is nothing called Karama. Once again looking for a invisible hand for help.
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-5+99 # Nihal de silva 2011-01-09 13:32
Given the opposiotion this present government faced in defeating the LTTE, When all big powers were against them, The current government deserve more credit than what we have already given them. What a achievement given the Big Powere opposition who were traitors to the nation just under our noses, betraying the trust the nation had given them to bring peace..Thank God it is finaly over. Never should the nation allow such things to happen again.
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-1+26 # mike 2011-01-09 17:32
well said nihal! if 10% of our people think like you thats enough for country to stand up!
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-1+9 # punchi 2011-01-10 09:58
Cheers to you !!!!
Thats y we were the "small miracle of asia" thanks to our forces (these simple words are not enough) and the media for keeping us well informed of the war at that time.
Now we can be the wonder of asia in no time!!!
Hurray for Sri Lanka!!!!!!!!!! !!!
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-11+49 # Pandula 2011-01-09 13:55
we earger to know how MR act during the war to manage the western pressure or who has really done it or it is a just honner for late Mr. Kadiragamer. Daily mirror tx for reporting.
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-6+3 # banana republic 2011-01-10 11:17
MR became a patriot only during the last stages of the war...before that he was sending his ministers around the world to meetings with the terrorists. Now he claims full credit..admittedly he deserves some credit for not stopping the war as dictated to by the west..but had it not been for SF no victory would have been possible.
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-8+82 # akinahd 2011-01-09 14:32
this is what most sri lankans still do not understand. we won a war against LTTE, at a time when 95% of the international community is in the opposite side !
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-82+21 # cracko 2011-01-09 15:31
Sri Lankans must also try to understand why 95% of the International community is on the opposite side!
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-3+20 # kocoo! 2011-01-09 16:15
who cares?..sri lankan won!! terrorist on the run 4 ever!
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-1+9 # Ralahamy 2011-01-09 19:40
It does not matter whether 95 or 100% ,SL should do what is best for it's people! This is exactly what happened. .That is why Milband and cuchner was turnd away! EVERY SRILANKAN IS HAPPY NOW111111
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-2+21 # siri 2011-01-09 19:47
Cracko, the answer is simple. The Int. nat. community has been heavily misleaded by the LTTE and helpers.
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-2+14 # SL 2011-01-09 19:48
Because these opposing IC, want to drag to conflict in order to have political influence on us.
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-2+16 # KHKaru 2011-01-09 22:00
Because that 95% of the international community was stupid enough to assume that the LTTE would be stupid enough on their part, to be subservient to them once they achieved their eelam !
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-0+4 # kumar 2011-01-10 00:05
Why are they on the opposite side? Explain that. They fully endorse and approve Afghanistan, Iraq etc. 9/11 has madse the US a virtual battle zone. Tell me, "Cracko" why is the "international community" on the opposite side.
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-0+5 # Viraj 2011-01-10 09:02
Cracko: The question is how did you measure 95%. Didn't China, Pakisthan, Iran and the entire Arabic world supported us. Didn't all the Afro Asian leaders voted with us in the UN HR council? So do you think US and western Europe amounts to 95%. Really carried away by western media.
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-10+58 # Oyage Sudu Kella 2011-01-09 15:01
Why should we have their embassy here in SL with all their dirty work ?
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-3+5 # SL 2011-01-09 19:50
That is call diplomacy dear..........
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-9+2 # oyage podi guru 2011-01-09 16:05
An American traitor, it would seem, is responsible for the release of all of these documents; but it would also seem that America is not the big culprit, as some allege.
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-0+12 # BILL 2011-01-09 16:29
NORWAY MUST BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE THOUSANDA OF INNOCENTS KILLED BY LTTE USING THOSE WEAPONS. SHAME NORWAY SUPPORTERS OF BLOOD THIRSTY KILLERS
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-0+2 # Ranil 2011-01-10 11:27
No, the LTTE is responsible for that, since they did the killing. And they got the sort of justice they deserved.
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-0+8 # ashok 2011-01-09 16:47
cat out of the bag!! hahaha,but thanks mahinda uncle you defeated them all,hahahahaha
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-1+12 # facereality 2011-01-09 16:55
The west doesnt want Peace in this region.Thats why its 95%
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-3+10 # reality 2011-01-09 17:01
the west doesnt want peace here.thats why its 95%
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-1+1 # hilde 2011-01-09 17:03
fyi
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-1+9 # lalith Wije 2011-01-09 18:31
Please ask the UN commission to investigate this. The Govt must also ask Norway to comment. Lalith Wije
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-3+7 # Waj 2011-01-09 19:12
It's sad that Norway - who has done lot to world peace, is involved in this. They will not have any credibilty on this and now it's not a rumor, it's a fact.
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-9+2 # demala kella 2011-01-09 19:23
ane why are you scolding the handsome norway boys ah? you won the war already no? we must all make love and forget these things
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-3+11 # vicks 2011-01-10 00:47
I said earlier that both Norway and the then S/L Government must be taken to taks by International Courts for crimes against humanity by helping a terror outfit to comit crimes.
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-1+10 # Steve 2011-01-10 01:51
Sad to say, most of the Sri Lankans have very short memory also they do criticize for everything.
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