Daya Gamage worked at the American Embassy in Colombo, as the Sole Foreign Service National and as a Political Specialist with Dr Robert Boggs, who in recent times served as Professor of South Asian Studies at the Near East South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies at US National Defence University, from 1989 to 1993. Dr Boggs was the Foreign Service Political Counsellor, while Daya Gamage was the Foreign Service National Political Specialist. Both of them were the Colombo Diplomatic Mission’s key persons who closely monitored the Southern (JVP-88-89) insurrection and the North’s LTTE separatist-terrorist movement for the U.S. State Department. Daya Gamage retired in 1994 and has been living in Las Vegas since retirement. Sharing his knowledge, understanding and his intimate professional association with the US Department of State he has come out in the form of a book ‘Tamil Tigers’ Debt to America. He assures that facts found in his book cannot be found anywhere else! Daya Gamage authorised the writer to ” to quote anything from his book”, so that the readers will get a clear picture of America’s foreign policy, Sri Lanka’s national issues and the LTTE struggle in depth. His book is available at Amazon.
Continuation Series …….
All policy statements by the US State Department, Congressmen, and Policy Research Papers produced by USG agencies and congressional offices like the CRS viewed the Sri Lankan issue as a domestic ethnic problem. They believed it could be settled with the LTTE, despite its US designation. The argument propounded as to why the United States was forcing Sri Lanka to negotiate with the Tamil Tigers when the United States itself had declared its opposition to negating with terrorist organisations. The United States goes by the law it uses to designate the LTTE as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organisation).
Daya Gamage refreshes the memory of the readers of his book, particularly to Section 3 of the Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the INA, as follows:
” The Organisation’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of US nationals or the National Security ( national defence, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.” The LTTE was neither a threat to US citizens nor its national security interests or its global economic interests. At the outset, when referring to the CRS, it was mentioned that the members of the US Congress strongly believed that the CRS maintained an outstanding reputation for objectivity and non-partisan position. They further note that CRS experts are vigilant in evaluating issues without bias and that a multi-layered review process also helps ensure that CRS documents present issues and analysis in a manner that is fair and reliable.
Why Sri Lanka Government allowed diabolical falsehood.
The GSL ( Government of Sri Lanka) failed to monitor these Congressional Research Documents to counter-argue and adjust its policy approaches. The result was the emergence of a set of policy planks that have largely helped the operatives within the Tamil Diaspora. They were effectively assisting the Tamil Tiger movement to globally delegitimise the nation. One needs to investigate and analyse as to why the Government of Sri Lanka allowed these misinterpretations, misinformation, and diabolical falsehood to go unchallenged and allow them to creep into US Government – policy papers and decisions. CRS documents made a shocking statement that ” Sinhalese Marxist JVP waged a terrorist campaign against the Tamils in the Central and Southern regions.”
In a previous episode on ” The American Agenda: Through FSO Eyes“, Daya Gamage declared that the JVP insurrection between 1998 & 1999 was a youth uprising against the Sri Lanka Government. The CRS report further informed the US Congress that ” full – scale civil war had returned to the Island by March 2007.” It should be stated that since the Black July of 1983, in which Sinhalese armed mobs created havoc against the Tamils in many parts of the Island, killing hundreds of the minority community, destroying millions worth of their property, that followed the LTTE killing of thirteen Sri Lankan government soldiers in the predominantly Tamil Northern City of Jaffna; there were no such disgraceful incidents thereafter.
It is this mind-set that was well settled in the US policymakers and those who influenced (CRS) policymakers led to suspend even the modest military aid provided to combat LTTE terrorism. Under the new Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime, the United States was strategising to have ” greater security operation” with Sri Lanka as announced by Dr Samantha Power during her November 2015 visit to Sri Lanka and Thomas Shannon, Deputy Secretary (Political) of State, who met Sri Lankan officials in Colombo in December that year. The $100 million Millennium Challenge Corporation grant, withheld during the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration was restored. With the United States, friendly government in place since January 2015, and with the defeat of nationalist Mahinda Rajapaksa, the United States restored it in December 2015.
The January 22, 2008 – CRS research analyses
”The United States assistance to Sri Lanka, already modest in scale, has been conditioned in response to reports of escalating human rights abuses. An amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act. 2008 (P.L. 110-161) halted Foreign Military Financing funding, the issuance of defence export licences, and the current licences, and the transfer of military equipment or technology to Sri Lanka unless the Secretary of State certified to Congress that the Colombo Government had undertaken a series of actions related to human rights protection. The provision does not apply to assistance for maritime and air surveillance and communications, which has continued.
J. R. Jayawardena who headed the UNP Administration
The pro-western UNP Administration never faced the economic embargo and suspension of military assistance during the massacre of Sinhalese youths during the Marxist-Nationalist JVP insurrection between 1988 and 1990. It was reported that 60,000 Sinhalese were killed, most of them youths being tortured and executed. In contrast, the United States’ blockade independent American arms manufacturers settling Sri Lanka-requested most-needed combat military hardware at a time the pro-United States/West Conservative Regime of President Jayawardena (1977-1988) intensified its serious military offensive against the Tamil Tigers (these facts will be in detail in future episodes).
Resumption of the terrorist war.
The resumption of military hostilities between the Mahinda Rajapaksa Administration and the Tamil Tigers in July 2006, after the prolonged provocation by the latter, has been described by the CRS Research Report as the ” resumption of the civil war.” During a visit to Colombo by Richard Boucher, the lead U.S. Diplomat for the region and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia outlined the key U.S. concerns about ” the way things have been heading” in Sri Lanka. The first among those was the negative impact that armed ethnic conflict had on the people, both directly through terrorism and human rights abuses, and indirectly by harming the country’s economy. In the area of human rights, Secretary Boucher placed special emphasis on the increased incidence of abductions and unlawful killings, as well as on widespread reports of government attempts to intimidate the press. He acknowledged that the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had voiced a commitment to uphold human rights, but said: ” a lot more needs to be done” both in dealing with the behaviour of the Government Security Forces and in controlling ” paramilitaries” (often a for euphemism for the Karuna faction, which broke away from the LTTE in 2004).
The American Embassy in Colombo reported: ” He conveyed to Sri Lankan political leaders of all stripes the U.S. position that consensus through All Parties Representative Committee, a consensus that identified for the Tamil community and their role in the Island, their place, their control over various levels of government and their own lives, represented the best basis for future progress towards conflict resolution.”
In August 2007, testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a State Department official offered that Sri Lanka’s long-standing ethnic conflict, the fragile peace process, and deteriorating human rights conditions continue to cause concern for the United States and the International Community…. ”Our top policy priorities for Sri Lanka remain. Restoration of good governance and respect for human rights leading to an eventual negotiated settlement. We believed that finalising a credible devolution of power proposal, together with ending human rights violations improving government accountability, are essential steps towards a lasting peace.” He went on to review how the United States could support peace efforts, including through the four-member Tokyo Conference mechanism, through USSID projects to promote inter-ethnic dialogue, and by helping to fund the humanitarian relief programmes overseen by Save the Children, the U.N Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The US Supplied boots, helmets, radios, flack vests and Night Vision Goggles
According to the U.S. State Department, the United States and Sri Lanka had maintained friendly military-to-military and defence relations. Senior Sri Lankan military officers continued to strongly support U.S. strategic goals and programmes, and Sri Lanka continued to grant blanket overflight and landing clearance to U.S. military aircraft and routinely granted access to ports by US vessels. Modestly funded U.S. military training and defence assistance programmes have, in recent years, assisted in professionalising the Sri Lankan military and provided the country with basic infantry supplies such as boots, helmets, radios, flack vests and night vision goggles along with maritime surveillance and interdiction equipment for the navy and communications and mobility equipment to improve the army’s humanitarian and U.N. peacekeeping missions. The Bush administration insisted that U.S. military assistance to Sri Lanka did not support Colombo’s efforts to expand the country’s ethnic conflict, but rather was focused on bolstering the country’s ability to defend itself against terrorism.
Picture credit: Google Photos and Daya Gamage: In the picture are Global Tamil Forum’s meeting with Robert Black in 2010. The delegation headed by Rev.Fr. S.J.Emmanuel (Germany), Dr Elias Jeyarajaha (US) Mrs.Grace Willims (US) and UK’s Suren Sureendiran
Courtesy: Daya Gamage – “Tamil Tigers’ Debt to America”
To be continued