Search

 

Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 05/21/2008

VZCZCXYZ0017
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0489/01 1421122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211122Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8149

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000489

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA AND SA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 05/21/2008

REF: A. COLOMBO 475
B. RSO DS SPOT REPORT DATED 05/16/2008

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on May 21, 2008. The EAC
discussed post's security posture in light of the most recent
bombing incident in Colombo (refs A and B). The EAC
recommended that Embassy personnel use routes that minimize
exposure to likely LTTE targets and that personnel traveling
to Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) facilities for business
purposes use armored vehicles (AVs) whenever possible. The
EAC recommended that agencies that do not currently provide
AVs and that do not use post's motorpool should make every
effort to provide AVs for their personnel. The EAC also
considered the security situation in the East, following the
recent Provincial Council elections. End summary.

2. (SBU) On Friday, May 16, 2008, a vehicle-borne improvised
explosive device, triggered by a suicide bomber, targeted a
bus carrying police officers (refs A and B). The attack
occurred on Lotus Road, in the Fort district of Colombo, near
the Hilton Hotel. A Presidential Management Fellow
(hereafter referred to as an intern), on temporary assignment
with post's Political Section, passed through the area
moments before the attack occurred. The intern heard the
blast, saw debris falling down onto the street and observed
victims fleeing the scene. She was the first person to
report the incident to the Embassy. Fortunately, neither she
nor any other American citizens sustained injuries. The
method of attack, by a suicide bomber aboard an
explosive-laden motorcycle, bore the mark of the LTTE. The
blast killed 11 people and injured close to 90 others.

3. (SBU) On May 21, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an EAC
meeting. (Note: The EAC met after the long Vasak holiday
weekend following the Friday blast.) Present for the meeting
were the Ambassador, DCM, RSO, MED, MGT, IBB, RAO, POL, CON,
PD, ECON, USAID, CSI, and MSG. The agenda items for the
meeting were:

--Measures to take to enhance post's security posture in
light of the most recent attack; and

--The security situation in the Eastern Province after
elections for the new Provincial Council and the selection of
TMVP leader "Pillaiyan" as Chief Minister for the Eastern
Province.

4. (SBU) RSO observed that the main threat to USG personnel
remains being in proximity to an LTTE attack on a principal
target (high-profile GSL personnel or facility) - that is,
the threat remains "being in the wrong place at the wrong
time." The May 16 incident highlighted that threat. The EAC
reviewed available information and agreed that, while there
have been some incidents in the Fort district, attacks have
also occurred in several other areas of greater Colombo.
Therefore, it is difficult to determine if any one area is
more dangerous than another location. However, the EAC
observed that the Fort contains a number of GSL facilities
which are potential LTTE targets. Accordingly, the EAC
recommended the following measures:

--Whenever possible, Mission personnel should opt for routes
that will minimize the likelihood of being in proximity to a
GSL facility or similar potential LTTE target.

--Post will maximize the use of armored vehicles (AVs) during
working hours, particularly when personnel attend meetings at
GSL facilities.

--The EAC noted that some agencies provide AVs, while other
agencies do not. The EAC concurred that the random nature of
the attacks in Colombo presents a strong argument for the use
of AVs, and recommended that all agencies make every effort
to provide AVs for their employees' use for business purposes.

5. (SBU) The EAC asked the RSO to do further research
regarding the timing and location of attacks over the last
two years. This information will assist the EAC in
determining if post should limit travel to any particular
area of the city or increase AV use during non-business hours
(such as for trips to and from the airport). The EAC will
meet and consider further recommendations upon review of the
RSO's report.

6. (SBU) The EAC then took up the issue of the security
situation in the Eastern Province following the recent
Provincial Council elections and the naming of Sivanesathurai
Chandrakanthan ("Pillaiyan") as Chief Minister on May 16.
There had been suggestions that communal violence would erupt
between the Tamil and Muslim populations in the East if
Pillaiyan obtained the Chief Minister position. However, to
date, there have been no major outbreaks of violence.
Therefore, the EAC did not recommend any revisions to Post's
restricted travel policy. The RSO, DAO and POL will continue
to monitor the security situation in the East and will
closely review requests to travel there. The EAC recommended
that agencies not currently using AVs for travel to the East
should consider revising their policies and use LAVs whenever
possible.

7. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security environment
and will report further developments by septel. POC for this
message is RSO Michael V. Perkins, who may be contacted at
94.11.249.8885, 94.11.249.8888 (MSG Post 1 after regular
business hours), or via the classified and unclassified email
systems.
BLAKE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: