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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting October 16

VZCZCXYZ0013
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0956/01 2921106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191106Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0628
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3368

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000956

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

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

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

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on October 16, 2009. The EAC
discussed post's security posture in light of the anticipated
release of the Department of State's Congressionally-mandated
report regarding incidents involving possible violations of
international humanitarian law that may have occurred during
the conflict of the GoSL and the LTTE. (See "Report to
Congress on Incidents during the Recent Conflict in Sri
Lanka.") The EAC discussed the implications for AMCITs
working, living and vacationing in Sri Lanka during period
following release of the report, including any possible
threat to them. EAC concurred on the idea that the
possibility of protest and demonstrations near USG facilities
is the biggest threat and may possibly occur in the early
days following the release.

RSO will dispatch letters requesting additional support of
Sri Lankan Police Service (SLPS)personnel on the day of the
report's release; RSO has requested additional SLPS personnel
be available to quell the protest if demonstrations do indeed
form. The letters to the SLPS Headquarters notes the
report's release date in Washington as October 21. The EAC
directed a warden message to be released on Wednesday,
October 21, informing the AMCIT community of the expected
report's release and the need to maintain a low profile and
avoid all large gatherings of people.

Secondly, the EAC discussed the security plans and posture
for upcoming celebration to commemorate the 224th U.S. Marine
Corps Birthday, as well as any threats, if any, to the event
on November 7. The EAC concurred that there was no
information to indicate a threat to the event, and agreed the
plan outlined by the RSO was commensurate with the security
environment. End summary.

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

A. Security threats and posture and possible demonstrations
in light of the Congressionally-mandated report regarding
incidents involving possible violations of international
humanitarian law that may have occurred during the conflict
between the GoSL and the LTTE.

B. Security for the Marine Corps Birthday celebration,
scheduled for 1930 hrs. local on November 7, 2009 at the
Hilton Hotel, 2 Sri Chittlampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha,
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.

3. (SBU) In light of the report's anticipated release to
Congress on Wednesday October 21., the EAC discussed the
potential security impact on AMCITs in Sri Lanka, and the
mission and its personnel more specifically. No specific
threat of demonstrations has come forward at this time, but
the EAC concurred that it is highly likely that
demonstrations protesting this report will be conducted,
possibly with the support of the GoSL. These protests will
most likely be peaceful and directed specifically at or near
USG facilities and not aimed at mission personnel or their
residences. However, due to the possibility of violence and
the gatherings of large groups of people, the EAC advised
that AMCITs keep a low profile and to avoid all large
gatherings of people throughout the country. On the day of
the report's release in Sri Lanka and the days following, the
EAC concurred that embassy employees should consider holding
internal meetings only and limiting their travel during
business hours outside the embassy. RSO has requested
additional support from the SLPS in the event that
spontaneous demonstrations or planned demonstrations are held
at or around USG facilities. Additional LGF members and SD
members will be responded to all USG facilities as well, and
the MSG Detachment will be on call at the embassy on the days
immediately following the release of the report.

4. (SBU) The RSO briefed the EAC on the security plan for the
MSG Birthday Celebration, noting that the venue, time, and
date of this year's event are different from last year. The
MSG Detachment, which is planning the event, expects
approximately 200 guests and will provide a guest list to the
RSO prior to the event. The hotel is located within a high
security zone of Colombo, in which all vehicles and
passengers are subject to screening by GSL security forces.
Moreover, the Sri Lanka Police service (SLPS) and other
security forces have numerous officers on duty 24/7 in the
high security zones to quell demonstrations or disturbances.
The hotel is set back from the main road approximately 25
meters and has an underground parking facility. The
Ministerial Security Division (MSD) of the SLPS, from which
the RSO enlisted Ball support, will screen all vehicles
parking underground for explosive devices. The hotel will
designate a parking area specifically for Ball guests. The
hotel's unarmed security force will augment the 10-12
uniformed Local Guard Force (LGF) personnel assigned to work
the event. LGF personnel will control access to the event,
using metal detectors to screen guests (except for VIPs).
LGF personnel will check the guest list to ensure that no
unwanted persons "crash" the event. One embassy mobile
patrol vehicle will be on standby at the hotel. Three to
five MSD personnel, in plainclothes, will be on the roadside
and at curbside of the hotel to assist LGF personnel. MSD
personnel will screen the venue for explosive devices two
hours prior to the event, after which LGF personnel will
stand post and control the area. The LGF will not allow
armed bodyguards or protective details to enter the venue
without specific RSO approval. RSO will provide
identification media (pins) for all non-Embassy security and
hotel wait staff prior to the event.

5. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security environment
and plans to safeguard these events. Post will report
further developments, if any, per septel. POC for this
message is A/RSO Aaron LaFortune, 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.
BUTENIS

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