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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 09/16/2009

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0884/01 2591018
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161018Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0519
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3294

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000884

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA, CA AND SA/INS
INFO NEW DELHI FOR LEGAL ATTACHE'

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 09/16/2009

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on September 16, 2009. The
EAC discussed post's security posture in light of an
impending Congressionally mandated report regarding
allegations of war crimes during the waning months of the
Government of Sri Lanka's (GSL) military offensive against
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers.
The EAC discussed RSO's proposals for additional security
measures after the Department of State presents the report to
Congress on Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. End summary.

2. (SBU) On September 16, 2009, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an
EAC meeting. Present for the meeting were the Ambassador,
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, Regional Security Officer,
Regional Affairs Officer, Political Officer, Economic
Officer, Management Officer, Consular Officer, Public Affairs
Officer, USAID Acting Director, Defense Attache', Office of
Defense Cooperation Chief, Marine Security Guard Detachment
Commander, International Broadcasting Bureau Station Chief,
Community Liaison Officer, Department of Homeland Security
representative, and Medical Officer. The agenda items for
the meeting were:

A. The upcoming (September 21) State Department report to
Congress regarding alleged war crimes during the waning
months of the GSL's military offensive and defeat of the LTTE;

B. The possibility that the report will raise the USG's
profile and cause security concerns for U.S. Mission
employees and facilities; and

C. RSO's proposals to mitigate potential security problems.

3. (SBU) The EAC discussed the war crimes report and
concurred that, regardless of the contents, the GSL and a
large segment of society will disagree with the findings, and
especially if it levels war crimes allegations against the
GSL security forces and military commanders, which are
currently riding a wave of popularity following the
government's defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May, 2009. The RSO
opined, and the EAC concurred, that the report could foment
unrest and protests against the USG, raise the profile of
Mission employees, and thus affect Mission security
negatively. RSO reminded the EAC that protesters at the
British High Commission and the Canadian High Commission in
recent months had vandalized both diplomatic missions and
tried to breach the perimeters to gain entry to the
facilities' compounds. The RSO noted that the Sri Lanka
Police Service (SLPS) had failed to respond adequately to
protect the British and Canadian facilities from
demonstrators. The SLPS's standard operating procedure is to
prevent demonstrators from approaching within two blocks of
the U.S. Embassy. However, the RSO was concerned that the
atmosphere of friction between the USG and the GSL may
engender a change of plans whereby the SLPS would allow
demonstrators to gain proximity to U.S. facilities or would
not provide adequate security should demonstrators turn
violent.

4. (SBU) RSO proposed the following measures, with which the
EAC concurred:

A. RSO will put the SLPS on notice by sending a letter to the
Inspector General of Police (IGP), requesting the IGP to
assign additional police personnel to USG facilities
(Chancery, the American Center and the EMR) and to have
additional police on standby to react quickly to the
facilities.

B. From September 21 - 25, the RSO will assign extra guard
personnel to the above facilities for inner perimeter defense
and additional surveillance detection personnel for external
observation and advance warning of possible demonstrations.
Extra Marine Security Guards (MSGs) will be on station at the
Chancery, with the entire Detachment on standby for immediate
recall.

C. To ensure the Embassy's emergency notification system is
working efficiently, the EAC must ensure 100 percent
participation in the weekly radio check on Friday, September
25.

D. The EAC must ensure that RSO has all cellular phone
numbers (American employees, family members, locally-engaged
employees) in the Internet-based text messaging notification
system.

E. The RSO recommended that employees alter their "routine"
arrival times and should consider arriving much earlier or
later than usual to avoid traffic jams and to give RSO time
to assess the situation each day.

5. (SBU) Additionally, the EAC noted that while drafting the
war crimes report, its authors had relied in part on reports
from certain sectors regarding conditions in the war zone
during the last months of the conflict. The EAC concurred
that post should notify specific "at risk" entities of the
probability that the report will raise their profile and
affect the security posture of these organizations and their
personnel.

6. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security environment
prior to and after the release of the report. Post will
report further developments, if any, septel. Special Agent
Michael V. Perkins (Regional Security Officer) is the point
of contact for this action. S.A. Perkins 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.
BUTENIS

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