US in Sri Lanka since 2015 – turning Sri Lanka into a Neo-Colonial Military Base
Ever since a regime change was choreographed in 2015 January, the US has been using its lackeys in government to exert tremendous influence in 3 areas – Sri Lanka‘s economy, Sri Lanka‘s Parliament and Sri Lanka‘s armed forces. Based on media articles, press releases and whatever other information has been made available to the public, an overview of the extent to which Sri Lanka’s sovereignty has been compromised can be deduced. Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and Sri Lanka must uphold that sovereign status. Any new government must understand the fundamentals of what it means to be sovereign and ensure national policy is drafted to ensure that and for any gain that sovereignty is not compromised.
1950s – United States Information Service (USIS) set up cultural centers in Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna (objective to instill “American values” among Sri Lankans – 5 live concerts also held
1951 – US-Ceylon agreement for Voice of America station to broadcast to all of Asia
1952 – US- Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission founded – scholarships awarded for postgraduate studies to US
1956 – US objects to Rubber-Rice pact with China (which JRJ opposed too) & cuts off aid as punishment. US forced France, Italy & Japan to withhold supply of Sulphur fungicide needed for rubber plantations.
1950s – when Sri Lanka sought Rs.50 aid US refused
1977 – President Jayawardene permitted US naval ships to enter Trincomalee and wanted to give the Trincomalee oil tanks to America. Voice of America started to broadcast from Iranawila.
2004 – US tried to persuade Sri Lanka to sign US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act of 1998 (claiming to reduce debt by allowing a committee of representatives from US & INGOs to manage forest – if signed US would control our forest assets, have exclusive access to our medicinal plants) heavy protests stopped signing of agreement.
US support to Tamil separatism
US envoy James Spain told Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister not to refuse India’s Indo-Lanka Agreement (Izeth Hussein)
“We were hounded & intimidated by the US to stop the war against the LTTE” (envoy N. Godage)
US used satellites to spy on Sri Lanka during final conflict to incriminate them for war crimes
US allegedly tried to rescue trapped Prabakaran using US ship in May 2009.
US did not expect LTTE to be annihilated. US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations sent 2 Senators to Sri Lanka in Nov 2009 – they reported – Rajapakse was a threat to US as he was drifting towards China. US was advised to adopt a ‘less confrontational approach’.
ANTI-US sentiments has a background
USA has supported dictators like Pinochet, Marcos, Suharto, Somoza, Pol pot.
Both Saddam Hussein & Osama Bin Laden were former CIA agents
US has been involved directly/indirectly covertly/overtly in coups, invasions, regime change, election interferences etc.
US was the only country to drop the atomic bomb twice (on Japan) and used chemical agent Orange in Vietnam which continues to disable Vietnam children. 5
US is part of the secretive intelligence alliance called – “FIVE EYES” (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US) Singapore also partners with them.
The 5 Eyes became 9 Eyes with Denmark, France, Holland, Norway joining. Then 14 Eyes with Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain & Sweden joining.
US & Asia / China’s Maritime Silk Route
US interests were on the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, South East Asia (5 out of 7 US security alliances are with Asia-Pacific countries / defense pacts with 69 countries which account for 75% of world economy)
With China’s focus on Indian Ocean, the strategic location of Sri Lanka came into play as Sri Lanka had the ability to control or impede free flow of resources to & from China. Half the world’s container traffic passes Sri Lanka. US needed a weak Sri Lanka to dominate & force its presence.
US & Yahapalana (themes used: US committed to peace, reconciliation, accountability)
Immediately after overthrowing Rajapakse govt US indicated its role in regime change.
John Kerry Secretary of State arrived in May 2015 “Your country sits at the crossroads of Africa, South Asia, and East Asia. The Indian Ocean is the world’s most important commercial highway. And with its strategic location near deep-water ports in India and Myanmar, Sri Lanka could serve as the fulcrum of a modern and dynamic Indo-Pacific region….. The US could play a leadership role in making this happen”.
Regime Change in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Burma cost $585 from US Complex Crisis Fund (CCF) of which USAID gave $3.4m to Yahapalana’s 100 day program.
Yahapalana visits to US
Jun2016 – PM Ranil paid a quiet visit to New York – reason given to the Sri Lanka public was that Wickremesinghe was visiting New York for medical purposes – he went to meet two officials from the White House. PM Ranil also addressed the United Nations Ocean Conference & you cannot address a conference without it being planned ahead.
Sept 2016 – Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Washington to sign agreement with J. Roskam, Chairman House Democracy Partnership, of House of Representatives.
Sept2018 – Sagala Ratnayake Minister of Youth Affairs and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister visited USA & met Thornberry, also Ted Yoho, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, as well as senior officials of the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Visits of US officials to Sri Lanka
- 2014 – Stephen J. Rapp , the US Ambassador on War Crimes – Rapp heads the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department.
- July, August, December 2015 – Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs
- July 2015 -Tom Malinowsky US Assistant Secretary for Democracy & Human Rights
- November 2015- Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN
- December 2015 -Thomas Shannon Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
- Jul2016 – Nisha Biswal, Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, had visited Sri Lanka six times by July 2016
- Feb2017 – US House of Representative delegation (3days) part of House Democracy Partnership (HDP) program in which 20member US House of Representatives work directly with partner countries. 8-member delegation from Democrats & Republicans. US signed a Collaboration Agreement with Sri Lanka’s Parliament on 14 September 2016 in Washington.
- March2017 – US Congress delegation visits Hambantota Port & Yala National Sanctuary. US Sri Lanka sign 2 programs –
- Aug2017 – Alice Wells US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs meets government officials, business leaders and civil society representatives. She joins candlelight vigil at Vihara Maha Devi Park, to mark the UN Day of the victims of Enforced Disappearances accompanied by US Ambassador in Colombo Atul Keshap & joined by the top representatives of the Tamil National Alliance
- Sept2017 – Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Mark Linscott to ask SL Govt to implement policies that will increase trade and improve the business climate he wanted 1 year resident visa for foreigners changed to 3 years.
- Sept2017 – Alice Wells Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, told a Congressional Sub Committee, the US was seriously concerned over “unsustainable debt burden on Sri Lanka due to non-concessional loans from China” US was the largest grant provider of assistance channeled primarily to NGOs working to the US agenda
- 2017 – Rear Admiral Donald D. Gabrielson, of the US Navy, declared at the Galle Dialogues that every country should be cautious when working with China for want of transparency in certain engagements.
- 2017 – 5 member USAID team led by Davnie Eston arrived to map out how USAID could collaborate on ventures of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce including working with private sector.
- Feb2019 – Thomas J. Vajda US Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State dealing with South and Central Asia
- May 2019 – former envoy Robert Blake visits Sri Lanka
- June 2019 – US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo but last minute visit was cancelled due to public uproar over US controversial pacts
- October 2019 – US State Dept holds ‘Human Rights in South Asia” hearing on Burma and Congressman Brad Sherman announced they would focus on human rights situation in Sri Lanka too.
US funding projects to realign their agenda in Sri Lanka
- $135m for Youth Empowerment grants covering over 100 programs since 2010 (leadership training / advancing ‘rights of marginalized communities’
- US Senate Committee sought $43m ($35m economic support fund / $6.8m non-proliferation and anti-terrorism & $500,000 in foreign military financing and $500,000 for training military personnel
- US plan was to work with YOUTH, use civil society groups (indirectly to create subversive groups)
- $1m for 2 projects – strengthen media / reconciliation identifying youth & women
- 2016 -$13.7m by USAID to 8 civil society organization to ‘strengthen accountability & good governance) (SDGAP) administered by private US company – Development Alternative Inc (DAI) – a CIA front’ Office of Transition Initiatives(OTI). DAI is set up to destabilize governments. SDGAP project is not subject to Sri Lankan law but to the laws and regulations of the US. SDGAP does not come under the purview of Sri Lanka’s Auditor General. DAI also plans to ‘engage’ with the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (Public Service) Note: SDGAP also implemented in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia and Mongolia. USAID STAIR program in AG’s dept (project claiming to reform public financial management)
- 2016 – US plan to provide aid to Jayawardenapura University to document historical buildings in Galle Fort. Cheryl Edison arrived in 2017 & was holding free classes for representatives from ICTA – SLASSCOM and held seminars for University students from Jayawardenapura & University of Jaffna.
- 2017 – Youth Climate Summit funded by US embassy
- Feb2017 – Mojo, an American band arrive on a U.S. Embassy sponsored visit – public performances in Jaffna and Colombo; workshops for music students; and master classes for Sri Lankan musicians.
- 2.3m aid offered for flood victims – disaster experts from USAIDOFDA and Civil Military Support Element attached to US embassy also involved.
- Sri Lanka to receive only US$ 3.38 million for its USAID programmes in 2018, a drop of 92% percent from 2016
- March2017 – 2 programs signed “Strengthened Partnership for Democratic Reform & Social Integration” & “Increased & Equitable Growth and Public Financial Management”
- 23 Aug2019 – The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade together with the USAID-SAIL project hosted a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on Global Trade for businessman in Kandy District at Hotel Suisse, Kandy.
Other notable CIA fronts include
International Republican Institute (IRI),
National Endowment for Democracy (NED),
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI),
These organizations transfer US funds to opposition parties and other pro-American groups in countries of strategic interest, using the pretext of ‘promoting democracy’.
The OTI’s charter is to finance civil society groups (NGOs) for use in their subversive activities including regime change in strategically important nations with governments unwilling to succumb to US dictates.
US & USAID INTERFERENCE in Sri Lanka (YOUTH – WOMEN TARGETS)
5-member USAID team led by Davnie Eston arrived in 2017 and mapped out ways and means in which USAID could collaborate on ventures of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “We are empowered to work with the private sector” said USAID.
USAID was asked to improve the soft skills of Lanka Sathosa personnel
Sept2017 – U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program and the World Customs Organization (WCO) trained 34 Customs Officials from Sri Lanka in strategic trade controls
October2017 – USAID & business leaders and Sri Lankan Government launched the $12m ‘You Lead’. a new employability and skills development project to create a more market-oriented, skilled and flexible youth workforce (ages 16 to 35). You Lead’s regional focus is on the provinces with the highest youth unemployment, Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern and Northern Provinces.
USAID “YouLead” program and Microsoft Sri Lanka signed a partnership to launch the new $12m “YouthWorks” information technology portal at the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training in Colombo).
YouLead is implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and administered by the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).
YouLead will work with Microsoft, the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training, and the private sector to develop and upload content for the YouthWorks portal in Sinhala, Tamil and English. The portal is currently being used in 18 countries
Mar2018 – U.S. Embassy launched American Innovation Hub (iHub) in partnership with the Matara District Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The iHub is located in the Matara Chamber of Commerce building. The iHub offers thematic programs, all free of charge, and a selection of U.S. books and DVDs. It is intended to promote English language learning, encourage study in the United States, and introduce the local community to American culture and values. (American English – American VALUES!)
The U.S. Embassy also has American Spaces in Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna. These locations offer books, DVDs, English language programs, entrepreneurship programs, U.S. speakers, and more.
2017 USAID funded a project for more female representation in local government bodies.
Harvard Centre for International Development (HCID) helping Sri Lanka to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) promoting emerging exports, targeting new non-existent industries, identifying and engaging with potential new investors, fixing the investment climate for new emerging industries and figuring out how to create new tourist destinations.
BOI staff receiving training programmes conducted by Harvard University’s Centre for International Development, McKinsey Consulting and the World Bank Group.
USAID funding project in Election Commission with Vasu Mohan being a paid member
US EMBASSY INTERFERING IN SRI LANKA’S ELECTIONS
US intervened in Presidential Elections in Jan2010 and Jan2015
Former US Envoy Michelle Sisson openly talking politics at embassy functions – she had insisted that the candidate to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa should not be a UNP candidate but a common candidate
US Senate Dept finance report (2016) – US invested $585m in 2015 for regime change in Myanmar, Sri Lanka & Nigeria under ‘Democracy, Human Rights & Governance’. US focus was to partner with civil society, citizen’s movements, faith leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators.
USAID had given $3.4m to Yahapalana’s 100-day program from the US Complex Crisis Fund (Hassina Leelaratne – America’s Freedom of Information Act)
US INTERFERING IN SRI LANKA’S CONSTITUTION
MP Keheliya Rambukwella said ‘there is no point in debating the interim report of the Constitutional Assembly Steering Committee as the final draft of the new constitution has already been prepared by the US and given to the government. A group of Sri Lankan MPs including me visited the US recently. We were attending a Congress meeting on Sri Lankan affairs. David Price, a US Congressman, told us that the “US had prepared the final draft of the new constitution and sent it to the Sri Lankan government” Price said almost everybody had accepted the draft except a bunch led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.
US interfering in Sri Lanka’s Parliament
1. House Democracy Partnership (a bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives) of the US House of Representatives launched a Collaboration Agreement with the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya signed for Sri Lanka. The purpose was to strengthen partnership between the two legislatures – exchange of information on the legislative systems of each country, sharing knowledge, and offering consultations on effective legislative management; and cooperating and assisting each other through training programs for the members and staff of the legislatures. The program is operating in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Timo-Leste and Ukraine.
2. US-Sri Lanka Open Government Partnership (Oct2015)
Sri Lanka is the only South Asian participating country in the OGP.
To be eligible for OGP governments must demonstrate commitment to open government principles in – Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Income and Asset Disclosures, and Citizen Engagement.
Sri Lanka is supposed to have scored 14 of a total of 16 points.
The NGOs involved in the OGP in Sri Lanka – Center for Policy Alternatives, (CPA) International center for Ethnic studies (ICES), Sarvodaya, Transparency International, Management Development Centre and Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA).
3.‘Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project’ (SDGAP) a $13.7m project for the reform of Sri Lanka’s public sector. US has selected Development Alternatives, Inc (DAI) of Maryland, to implement the project.
DAI would work closely with Sri Lanka’s Parliament, Independent Commissions and related ministries.
USAID allocated $3 million for project in September 2016 and the program was launched in November 2016.
SDGAP was subject to the laws and regulations of the United States, with oversight from USAID’s Office of Inspector General.
SDGAP claims to help GOSL increase transparency, accountability, good governance, strengthen systems and processes for public accountability & policy development.
June2019 – Prasad Kariyawasam was appointed by Parliament as an International Affairs advisor to the Speaker – first time a Speaker has had such an advisor and such a position did not exist in the list of officials in Parliament while being paid by a foreign country. Speaker Karu admitted that Kariyawasam was paid by DAI – Development Alternatives Institute (a CIA front) & implementing agency for USAID. DAI is paying the salaries of Prasad Kariyawasam and G. Hettiarachchi former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration.
DAI had given Rs.2000m for Parliamentary Diplomacy program which funds MPs for ‘study tours’ overseas.
Due to objections in July 2019 Speaker Karu informed that Prasad Kariyawasam’s salary would be paid by Parliament funds reconfirming he was paid by foreign funding.
PrasadK had also arranged to have ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries to meet Speaker Karu though this task has to be done by Foreign Ministry or Foreign Secretary. The IGP and Intelligence chief was also summoned by the Speaker, another first. How can PrasadK run a parallel operation which should be done by the Foreign Ministry?
4. US / Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue – strengthen and enhance bilateral relations in the widest sense.
US INTERFERING IN PUBLIC SECTOR – National Labor Advisory Committee (NLAC)
July2017 – Govt informs decision to appoint World Group on Labor Law Reforms proposed by Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade in collaboration with USAID. Trade Unions objected claiming the Ministry nor USAID had any right to intervene in reforming labor laws in Sri Lanka.
US INTERFERENCE IN SRI LANKA’S LAW & ORDER
US State Department Special Project made provision for a Resident Legal Advisor in Colombo to provide anti-corruption and asset recovery training and also support the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC)
(The Global Forum on Asset Recovery: Assistance for Combating Corruption in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine)
US PEACE CORPS IN SRI LANKA
Feb2018 Yahapalana signed an agreement with the US to re-establish a US Peace Corps programme in Sri Lanka. first 25 American Peace Corps Volunteers to arrive in late 2019 and undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years. Peace Corp volunteers will focus on supporting the Education Ministry, schools, and community groups in coordination with the Sri Lankan English Teachers’ Association. They will be given diplomatic privileges The Diplomatic Privileges Act provisions have been invoked to accord equitable treatment to the Volunteers and persons performing functions under contract with the Peace Corps and their dependents. Government will provide to the Peace Corps the same exemptions with respect to taxes on payments that they receive to defray their living costs, on income derived from their officials duties, and on income from other sources outside Sri Lanka; customs duties or other charges on their personal property introduced into Sri Lanka for their own use; and all other taxes or other charges (including immigration/visa fees), except licence fees as provided to members of the administrative and technical staff of the Embassy of the United States in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
GOSL will exempt all taxes (including value-added taxes) customs duties, and other charges all equipment, supplies, and other goods and services introduced into or acquired in Sri Lanka by the US Government or any contractor financed by it, for use to enable the US Government to discharge its responsibilities under this agreement.
GOSL will exempt such persons, members of their families forming part of their households who are not citizens or permanent residents of Sri Lanka from all taxes or income derived from their Peace Corps work or other sources outside Sri Lanka, from all customs duties and other charges on their personal property introduced into Sri Lanka for their own use, and from all other taxes or other charges (including immigration/visa fees) except license fees.
Why is America arriving to teach English to remote Sri Lanka so close to elections?
US Peace Corps was in Sri Lanka from 1962-64 / 1967-70 / 1983-1998
PM Sirimavo Bandaranaiake kicked them out after she became PM in 1970. They came back with every UNP govt.
US Peace Corps evolved from a CIA Front known as International Voluntary Services Inc. (IVS), during war against Vietnam. The US Peace Corps has been expelled from a number of countries for spying for the CIA and covert activities, meddling in local politics, and running drugs.
In September 2017, Cambodia’s Prime Minister demanded the withdrawal of the US Peace Corps for conspiring with the opposition leader Kem Sokha to overthrow his government.
In 1965, Indonesia ordered US Peace Corps out after 16 months.
In 1966, Guinea asked PCs to leave.
In 1967, Mauritania asked PCs to leave.
Pakistan and India also refused to renew approval of PC projects in their countries in the early 1970s.
Burkina Faso Peace Corps programme was closed in 2017
US INTERFERENCE IN SRI LANKA’S MILITARY
US-Sri Lanka Military Collaborations
2002 – US Pacific Command team invited to report on the Sri Lanka armed forces
2012 US officials in Colombo meet business executives representing companies importing/exporting to/from US. The US embassy wanted regular feedback about security related matters in SL. The meeting was sponsored by the Overseas Security Advisory Council of the US State Department which looked after US business interest.
2015 – Sri Lanka Marine Corps set up
2016 – Head of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. even attended the Sri Lanka Navy’s Galle Dialogue 2016.
US 7th fleet in Trincomalee – held joint public concerts at the Galle Fort, Tangalle City Centre, Hambantota Beach Park, Bata Atha Agro Park, Matara Beach Park and several schools. Pacific Partnership team attended a pinkama at Ambalantota Sunadararamaya.
Mar2016 – USS Blue Ridge (first US ship to arrive) arrived with over 900 sailors (many felt Sri Lanka was being turned into another Philippines by US)
Jul2016- USS New Orleans visited
Aug2016 – 1st US-SL operational level bilateral defense dialogue
Aug2016 -US war ship USS Frank Cable, a submarine tender vessel
Aug2016 – US Pacific commands Operation Pacific Angels stayed a week in Jaffna providing medical care to 4000 people and renovating 6 schools.
Nov2016 – Theatre Security Cooperation (TSC) project with Sri Lankan Navy’s newly formed marine force & US 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Dec2016 – US navy Poseidon aircraft, an advanced US maritime patrol aircraft, left Mattala
Jan2017 – US guided missile destroyer USS Hopper arrived on a goodwill visit
March2017 – USS ‘Comstock’ arrived for a four-day training workshop at Colombo harbor. ‘USS Comstock’ is part of the 7th fleet. This is the third such military-to-military exchange between U.S. Sailors and Marines and their Sri Lankan counterparts in the past 12 months, the authorities observed, ‘and this will form the basis of further cooperation between our militaries.’
Mar2017 - USNS ‘Fall River’ a transport ship of U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived in Port of Hambantota to engage in the first Pacific Partnership goodwill mission. Chief of US Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral Gabrielson said Sri Lanka was selected as the first of four nations for the 2017 Pacific Partnership programme because Sri Lanka government had made the request. The Pacific Partnership medical teams will join Sri Lankan doctors and nurses for training at the General Hospital and Nurses Training School in Hambantota, the Tissamaharama Base Hospital and other local clinics and hospitals. Free public medical and dental clinics in select cities. Some 325 US marines were in Sri Lanka.
May2017 – Officers of the US 7th Fleet and Sri Lanka Navy met for 2nd time at the Naval Headquarters – US wants to establish base in Trinco for its 7th fleet (Island newspaper Sept2015)
Jun2017 – 33 US army cadets from US Army Reserve Officers Training Corps arrive on familiarization tour visiting SL Military Academy, SF HQ, SL Light Infantry HQ, Regimental HQ of SL Engineers, Army School of Artillery at Minneriya
2017 -Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL) briefed a delegation from the Young Alakai Warriors of the U.S. Army Pacific on Security Challenges of Sri Lanka in the Next Decade”
Oct2017 Sri Lanka included to Cooperation Afloat Readiness & Training (CARAT) exercise in Trinco by US Navy & Marines.
Oct2017 – A Group of US ships visit – warship USS Nimitz, cruiser USS Princeton, destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup, USS Pinckney, USS Kidd. USS Nimitz is one of the world’s largest war ships – 23 stories high and 333meters long and accommodating 5000 US Marines. It was parked 150 nautical miles off Colombo.
Oct2017 – 3rd Annual Colombo Air Symposium United States Air Force Major General James Eifet called for increased partnership and information sharing among nations in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of a nuclear threat from North Korea. Eifet castigated China over its claims in the South China Sea
Galle Dialogue 2017 – Admiral Scott Swift, Pacific Fleet Commander expressed desire to expand military relations.
Galle Dialogue 2017 Rear Admiral Donald D. Gabrielson, of the US Navy, declared that every country should be cautious when working with China for want of transparency in certain engagements.
April2018 – A 17-member delegation of the United States Land Forces in the Pacific Command arrived in Sri Lanka for participation in ‘Land Forces Pacific Programme’ sessions.
25April2018 – The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS “Mercy” arrived in Trincomalee to conduct the 2018 Pacific Partnership mission.” Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Personnel from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, and Japan took part. USNS Mercy” contains 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a 1,000 bed hospital facility, digital radiological services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT-scan and two oxygen producing plants. The ship is equipped with a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters. The team successfully completed a cholecystectomy, or gall bladder removal, on a Sri Lankan citizen using a Da Vinci XI Robot Surgical System. This was the first time I have ever operated aboard a ship,” said Dr. Vyramuthu Varanitharan, a general surgeon at the Muttur Base Hospital. They also treated over 5,500 patients conducting medical clinics at various locations in and around Trincomalee in addition to over 500 veterinary surgeries and vaccinations. “From medical clinics to free public concerts, our sailors will bring the best of America to local communities,”
During the ship’s stay, USN doctors along with Lankan doctors performed 24 varying surgeries onboard, out of which the robotic surgery performed onboard was the 1st in the world.
Jun2018 – Sri Lanka participated for the 1st time in biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise 2018 held in Hawaii and Southern California in June 2018.,
Jun2018 Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake attended the US Army’s ‘LANPAC Symposium and Exposition’, organized by the Institute of Land Warfare in Honolulu, Hawaii. The theme was ‘The Future of Land Force Integration; Multilateral Approaches across the Indo-Pacific’. Army Commander called on US Army Commanding General, Pacific Command, General Robert B. Brown and discussed matters relating to continuing defence cooperation. Senanayake was also among the invitees to a special banquet, hosted by General Brown. Lieutenant General Senanayake’s retinue to Hawaii included Military Assistant to the Army Commander Colonel K.A.A. Udaya Kumara and Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Warrant Officer I.W.M.S.P. Wijesinghe, perhaps for the first time in the Army history in a Commander’s entourage”.
US Air Force Airmen from across the Indo-Pacific met with their Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) counterparts at the SLAF Headquarters in Colombo. According to Maj. Gen. Eifert the engagement was very successful.
June2018 – Dr. Geoffrey F. Gresh, Department Head of International Security Studies – National Defense University in Washington, D.C and Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), paid a courtesy call on Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne. He was accompanied by LTC Douglas Hess, Defense attache, US Embassy.
Aug2018 Amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23), and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived at Trincomalee Port
Apri2019 – last joint US-SL naval exercise “Cooperation afloat readiness and training exercise CARAT) saw participation of 2 US shops (USS Spruance & USS Millinocket) & SLNS Sayurala & SLNS Samudra participated.
US embassy also wanted to have display of US Air Force aircraft in Colombo with an air parade over Galle Face Green but was disproved by the Foreign Ministry
US-India partnership to curtail China. US has even created a new region – ‘Indo-Asia-Pacific Region’, which includes the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Jun2016 Joint trilateral military exercise US-India-Japan
2016 US-India signed agreement allowing use of each other’s land, air, naval bases for repair & resupply.
2016 US-India military exercises near Indo-Sino border
US National Defense Authorization Act 2017 recognizes India as a major US defense partner
Joint Naval Exercises
May 2018, delegation from the House Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress visited. The House Armed Services Committee, a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives, is a powerful Committee, responsible for the supervision of armed forces and the Department of Defense. The delegation was led by its Chairman Mac Thornberry and US embassy arranged for them to meet civil society organizations and TNA privately.
June/Aug2018 – The world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise (Rim of the Pacific – RIMPAC) took place in the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California
Jul2018 – visit of US Army’s Pacific Region Head Gen. Robert B. Brown
Jul2018 The Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercise inaugurated at the Special Boat Squadron Training School (SBSTS) in Trincomalee.
Jul2018 – third KDU-CNA Track 1.5 Dialogue on Naval at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU). Discussing collaborative initiative between KDU and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), USA, facilitating interaction between the navies of Sri Lanka and the United States, along with the participation of relevant academics.
Aug2018 – United States to provide nearly $300 million in security assistance to improve security relationships across the Indo-Pacific region, including Sri Lanka announced Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo at the ASEAN Regional Forum
Bay of Bengal Initiative launched – United States to ‘work with other partners in the Bay of Bengal, including Bangladesh
Aug2018 U.S. Department of State announced approximately $39 million in Foreign Military Financing for Sri Lanka, pending Congressional approval
Aug2018 – The U.S. Coast Guard handed over a high endurance cutter, formerly the USCGC Sherman, to the Sri Lankan Navy
Aug2018 a joint humanitarian assistance mission called Pacific Angel, sponsored by US Pacific Command (USPACOM) at the Alagalla School in Vavuniya to provide humanitarian civic assistance and carry out civil-military operations in the Pacific region,
Air Logistics Hub concept using Sri Lanka’s strategic location to ensure the quick availability of relief supplies, equipment and other material when needed by the US and partner militaries and humanitarian organizations.
US INTERFERING IN SRI LANKA’S ECONOMY
US-Sri Lanka & Economy
25% of our exports go to US and 70% of that is garments.
Jan2016 – 3 year plan revealed at Sri Lanka Economic Forum by team led by Harvard University academic Ricardo Haussmann funded by Open Society Foundation head George Soros. (locals highlighted its dangers)
June2018 – US Dept of Agriculture with GOSL launched Market-Oriented Dairy Project to strengthen and grow SL’s dairy sector. The 4.5-year, US$14.1 million initiative is implemented by US-based International Executive Service Corps.
STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT (SOFA)
1995 US-SL sign agreement regarding status of US military personnel & civilian employees of the Department of Defense. SOFA seeks to update 1995 agreement to include Annex B.
Jul2019 PM Ranil announced in Parliament that Govt was negotiating a fresh military deal with US replacing 1995 SOFA giving US military easier access to Sri Lanka.
US embassy Colombo sent new draft SOFA – a 5page document dated 28 Aug 2018 to Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam who initiated discussions with support of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. Discussions was between only US embassy & Foreign Ministry and excluded Ministry of Defense. The US draft claimed that the acceptance of the US draft by the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs constituted ‘acceptance’ of the GOSL as disclosed to a select local media by the US embassy Public Affairs Office.
President Sirisena responded by recalling Prasad Kariyawasam who returned on 31 Oct 2018 and SOFA was put on hold though negotiations continued.
May2019 – SOFA was listed for discussions at the SL-US Partnership Dialogue in Washington at which new Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana & US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed. Marapana sought to change 2 clauses – diplomatic immunity for US troops in Sri Lanka & subjecting all actions to US laws.
Jun2019 – President Sirisena declared he was against proposed SOFA & would not accept military agreements with US including SOFA. President Sirisena phoned Marapana in Washington & asked not to sign SOFA without his approval.
SOFA puts Sri Lanka’s independence, territorial integrity & freedom of action at stake. Treaty once signed is binding. The Agreement provides diplomatic immunity for US troops & contractors and employees of US armed forces.
DANGERS OF SIGNING SOFA for SRI LANKA
(Sri Lanka Abdicating its Sovereignty & US legally invading Sri Lanka)
- Sri Lanka transformed into a US military facility – Signing SOFA means US does not require setting up a military base in Trincomalee because US has been given access to entire island. US will be using Sri Lanka’s territory as a permanent transit point for military activities.
- A virtual ‘separate state’ as US troops/officials/staff will run a defacto rule with US laws not abiding by Sri Lanka laws. Sri Lankan Govt, Parliament, Judiciary, Armed Forces, Police will have no control over US troops/contractors/employees in Sri Lanka
- American men/women and anyone working for America (individua