Sri Lanka Express

Mangala’s 30th Anniversary Bash
& the Price of Power

By Hassina Leelarathna

​Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power in her keynote address at Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s “30th Anniversary in Politics” said she set aside her busy schedule to travel to Sri Lanka because “if there is one person who could get me to travel over 8,000 miles at the moment, it is Mangala.” 

Left: Minister Samaraweera with former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.  Photo from Facebook 

What might have led to such an extraordinary friendship between “Khema’s Kolla” who started his career in the socialist cabinet of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the powerful world figure who is best remembered for her role in the decimation of several nations? 

A Wikileaks cache of reports by the US ambassador in Colombo suggest Mr. Samaraweera weaseled his way by presenting unsubstantiated information such as:

· The SL military had "special cells" using illegal methods to root out LTTE cadres and sympathizers
· Defense Sec. Gothabaya Rajapaksa was behind death threats he (Samaraweera) was receiving
· President Rajapaksa's "entourage of "extremists" did not want democracy and were intent on installing a "Sinhalese Buddhist supremacist, authoritarian regime."
· GOSL was timing attacks on media to coincide with major military victories like the capture of Killinochchi and Elephant Pass.
The ambassador's postings also reveal how Mr. Samaraweera:
· Spread fake news that he planned to carry "a dossier detailing the crimes of the Defense Sec. and the Army Commander" to Hillary Clinton when, by his own admission, he had no such evidence.
· Supported the call for an expanded OHCHR  (or UN monitoring mission) presence in SL to address "human rights" issues.
· Planned to seek asylum abroad due to "death threats."