Cablegate: Sri Lanka: 2005 Country Report On Terrorism

Published: Thu 15 Dec 2005 07:53 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 193439
1. (U) The Sri Lankan government strongly supports the Global
War on Terror and continues to demonstrate an unwavering
commitment to combating terrorism. Sri Lanka has acceded to
all international conventions that deal with combating
terrorism, with the exception of the 1980 Nuclear Materials
Convention and the 1988 Convention on Safety of Off-Shore
Platforms. The Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist
Financing, Act 25 of 2005 was passed by Parliament in August
2005. This law gives effect to the U.N. International
Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Sri Lanka is a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for
Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
working group on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime
formed in July 2004. In her address before the U.N. General
Assembly on September 17, former President Chandrika
Kumaratunga urged greater progress in addressing the
socio-economic and cultural roots of terrorism. The Sri
Lankan government has cooperated with U.S. efforts to track
terrorist financing, although no assets have been identified
in Sri Lanka to date. The U.S. has worked with the
government of Sri Lanka to provide training for relevant
government agencies and the banking sector. The Sri Lankan
government did not extradite nor request the extradition of
suspected terrorists during the year. Sri Lankan police
provided both investigative and protective assistance in
response to Embassy requests. There have been no cases of
international terrorism in Sri Lanka during the year, and no
U.S. citizens have been killed or injured in acts of
terrorism in Sri Lanka during the reporting period. A
cease-fire agreed to in February 2002 between the Sri Lankan
government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a
Foreign Terrorist Organization, continued to hold despite
numerous violations, including the August 12 assassination of
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar outside his Colombo
residence by a suspected LTTE sniper team. The Sri Lankan
Army remains deployed across the country for counter
insurgency purposes. The paramilitary Special Task Force
police (STF) are deployed in the east and at strategic
locations in the west.
2. (U) Numerous violations of the cease-fire agreement were
committed, primarily by the LTTE, during the year. The LTTE
conducted a campaign of targeted assassinations against
political opponents, members of a dissident LTTE faction
(known as the Karuna faction), and suspected Sri Lankan Army
informants, killing at least 48 individuals during the year,
as well as 49 members of the Sri Lankan security forces. The
dissident Karuna faction has conducted a campaign of targeted
assassinations against the LTTE and pro-LTTE civilians in the
east. An estimated 27 LTTE members were killed during the
year. With civilian casualties, nearly 200 deaths attributed
to cease-fire violations occurred during the year.
3. (U) Sri Lanka has designated as terrorist organizations
those groups listed under UN Security Council Resolutions
1267 and 1333 and has prohibited transactions with them. The
government of Sri Lanka does not allow territory under its
control to harbor international terrorists. However, the
LTTE controls approximately 20% of the island and may engage
in such activities.
4. (U) The police and the Directorate of Internal
Intelligence have the authority to investigate terrorism, and
the Attorney General has authority to prosecute terrorism
cases. There were no convictions and no new cases filed
against suspected terrorists during the year, although 34
cases filed during previous years remained pending at year's
end. The government enacted the Emergency Regulations
following the August 12 murder of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
Kadirgamar. These regulations give the power of arrest to
members of the Armed Forces who are required to turn suspects
over to the police within 24 hours. Individuals arrested
under the Emergency Regulations may be detained for up to one
year. 148 persons, most of whom have already been released,
were detained under these regulations during the year.
Provisions permitting longer periods of detention (up to 18
months) under special anti-terrorist legislation have not
been invoked since the signing of the cease-fire agreement.
5. (SBU) In 1983 the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
began an armed insurgency against the Government of Sri
Lanka, combining guerrilla tactics, political assassinations,
suicide bombings, child recruitment and conventional warfare.
An estimated 65,000 Sri Lankans have died in the insurgency
since 1983. In May 1991, former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi
was killed in India by an LTTE female suicide bomber. In
1997 the U.S. Government designated the LTTE a Foreign
Terrorist Organization. The LTTE signed a Cease-fire
Agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka in February 2002.
The cease-fire continues to hold, despite persistent
6. (SBU) Highly self-sufficient, the LTTE finances its
struggle by (sometimes involuntary) contributions from the
Tamil diaspora around the world, including North America,
Europe and Australia, by imposing local "taxes" and operating
businesses in the areas of Sri Lanka under its control. The
local press has reported efforts in the UK and Australia to
scrutinize fundraising by LTTE-affiliated groups. Following
the August 12 assassination of Foreign Minister Kadirgamar,
the E.U. imposed a travel ban on the LTTE. LTTE military
training is self-taught, and weapons are either purchased on
the international black market or captured from the Sri
Lankan Army. There is no indication that the LTTE is trying
to acquire WMDs. Many LTTE innovations such as explosive
belts, vests and bras, the use of female suicide bombers and
waterborne suicide attacks against ships have been used by
other terror groups. The LTTE has not targeted U.S. citizens
or assets, limiting attacks to Sri Lankan security forces,
political figures, Sri Lankan civilians and Sri Lankan
businesses. However, in November 2005 suspected LTTE
militants threw a grenade at a truck donated by the U.S. to a
humanitarian demining program. At the time, the truck was
occupied by Sri Lankan soldiers, one of whom was killed in
the attack.
7. (SBU) The Sri Lankan government has cooperated with U.S.
efforts to track terrorist financing. The U.S. has worked
with the government of Sri Lanka to provide training for
relevant government agencies and the banking sector. The Sri
Lankan police provided both investigative and protective
assistance in response to Embassy requests. The Government
of Sri Lanka is cooperating with the United States to
implement both the Container Security Initiative and the
Department of Energy's second line of defense "Megaports"
programs at Colombo port. These programs target containers
bound for the United States to increase confidence in the
safety of these containers and ensure that no illicit nuclear
material is shipped via the port. This cooperation would be
strengthened by a serious U.S. government investigation of
possible LTTE fundraising in the United States.
8. (U) Evan Owen
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