Tesi Schaffer shoots the messenger who disclosed US flirtation with Tamil Tiger Ideology
Ambassador Teresita Schaffer, now retired from the U.S. Department of State who was previously accredited to Sri Lanka – 1993-1995 – is attacking the messenger who disclosed Washington’s machinations that sustained Tamil Tiger ideology which helped create a conducive global atmosphere for the operatives within the Tamil Diaspora to emerge – since the military defeat of the Tigers in 2009 – as an influential global diplomatic movement in his recently published book Tamil Tigers’ Debt To America: US Foreign-Policy Adventurism & Sri Lanka’s Dilemma.<
In an e-mail written by Ambassador Schaffer, copy of which is now in the possession of this writer, to a senior official of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, in response to the latter’s notification about a report in Asian Tribune introducing the book, disparaged author Daya Gamage declaring “during the dramatic days of 2009 he was NOT working for the US Government, and had no particular claim to insider knowledge”.
Ambassador Schaffer was obviously disturbed reading the Asian Tribune account ‘New book discloses U.S. machinations that globally- revived Tamil Tigers’
(http://www.asiantribune.com/node/89766) brought to her attention by the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry senior official to which she reacted belittling the credentials of the author – a standard way of killing the messenger –insinuating that the author should not be taken seriously suggesting that the theme of the book should be dismissed. She notified Ambassador Robert Blake, who was accredited to Sri Lanka during the final two years of the military battle against the Tamil Tigers, and to another former senior US Foreign Service officer Peter Burleigh who was ambassador to Sri Lanka in a previous time, that the author has no credentials to have any knowledge what went on within the portals of the US diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka.
With that, Tesi Schaffer is informing the American diplomatic community, past and present, that she is aware of Daya Gamage’s limitations to provide a narrative of ‘An Insider Account’ as both Schaffer and Gamage worked in the diplomatic mission during the same years.
The author of ‘Tamil Tigers’ Debt To America’ was the Political Specialist who worked closely with FSOs assigned to the Political Section – under the direct supervision of and coordination with the Chief of Mission – engaged in research, investigation, monitoring and analyses that went into classified diplomatic cables to Washington.
Here is the e-mail Ambassador Teresita Schaffer sent to the senior official of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry:
(BEGIN TEXT) New book discloses U.S. machinations that globally revived Tamil Tigers - An Asian Tribune Review
From: Teresita Schaffer
Cc: A. Peter Burleigh
I waited till this morning to read the article you sent a bit more carefully. A few important points:
--During my last few months in Sri Lanka, Daya Gamage applied for, and received, a Special Immigrant Visa - granted to certain locally engaged staff who have served with particular devotion for 20 years or more in a US mission overseas. I recall that he left Colombo and moved to the U.S. about the same time I did (1995).
--I heard from him a couple of times after he reached the US. He was living in Las Vegas.
--His profile on Linked In (web site that maintains profiles and is intended to provide a vehicle for job-search networking) shows him leaving his US Embassy job in 1995. It lists him as "US National" Correspondent for Asian Tribune from 2005 onward. Daya would have provided the info for this profile.
--What this means is that during the dramatic days of 2009 he was NOT working for the US Government, and had no particular claim to insider knowledge.
--Even before that, he had less insider info than this review would suggest. Normally trusted locally hired staff will be taken into confidence to a degree, but they are not privy to policy messages and instructions.
--Most importantly: This book was "published" by Amazon. Amazon's publishing operation is self-publishing. In otherwords, anyone with a word processor and a manuscript can publish anything there - there is no editorial process or judgment involved.
I am sharing this with Bob Blake, who is now a colleague of mine at McLarty Associates.
Feel free to use what I've told you.
Teresita Schaffer (END TEXT)
Had Ambassador Tesi Schaffer and/or any other current or former Foreign Service officer (FSOs) digested the theme of the book, it is not very difficult to comprehend that what’s vital was not Daya Gamage’s presence “During the dramatic days of 2009” OR whether he was working or not for the US Government during those “Dramatic Days” for him “to claim insider knowledge”.
The author of the book used his up-close and personal knowledge gained during the period (1980 through 1994) he was assigned as the Political Specialist to identify the trajectory of the American diplomats that steadily developed a perspective and mind-set that the Northern Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebellion was the result of Tamil grievances and that those grievances were legitimate to claim for a “Tamil Homeland’ in the Tamil-majority North-East region of Sri Lanka, and that to resolve the ‘National Issue’ it should be through a negotiated political settlement (with the Tamil Tigers which is designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department) rejecting a military solution AND LINK that developed mind-set to the events in the new millennium one of which was Washington’s ‘contemplation’ to prevent the LTTE from total annihilation and remove the leadership of the rebel movement to safety and Washington’s . The other being to avenge the failure to salvage the Tiger Leadership Washington created a conducive global atmosphere for the operatives within the Tamil Diaspora to globally-gain a powerful/influential position.
The author LINKED the mind-set and perspectives to understand and interpret the developments and events before and after the defeat of the Tigers in May 2009 to prepare the manuscript as ‘An Insider Account’.
How did the author claim his book is ‘An Insider Account’ contrary to what Ambassador states in her recent e-mail?
In Ambassador Teresita Schaffer’s assessment:
In a diplomatic cable—November 5, 1993—to the US Department of State recommending permanent resident status in the United States, American ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, while highlighting Gamage’s contribution, wrote, “Much of what Mr. Gamage discusses with his POL colleagues is sensitive in nature and goes into classified cables; Mr. Gamage understands this sensitivity and handles information and embassy interpretations with great discretion and loyalty.”
She went on to say the following:
“He keeps his antennae attuned to political trends that escape the American officers and takes the initiative to research them (drawing on well-placed contacts) and provide briefings and written memos describing and interpreting them. The U.S. Embassy is frequently the first in the city to learn of significant political developments and looked to by other diplomatic missions and local commentators for well-informed and balanced judgments on complex issues. Mr. Gamage has done much to enable the Embassy to achieve and maintain that analytical edge”.
This is what Tesi Schaffer state in her e-mail to the senior official of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Even before that, he had less insider info than this review would suggest. Normally trusted locally hired staff will be taken into confidence to a degree, but they are not privy to policy messages and instructions.”
Ambassador Schaffer is well aware that Daya Gamage couldn’t discharge the duties she ‘commends’ in her 1993 cable to Washington if he were not privy to “what Washington wanted and sought”. Despite Gamage had only near-mid-level security clearance, Mrs. Schaffer acknowledged in her 1993 cable that “Much of what Mr. Gamage discusses with his POL colleagues is sensitive in nature and goes into classified cables; Mr. Gamage understands this sensitivity and handles information and embassy interpretations with great discretion and loyalty.”
In preparing the manuscript, I did not breach that trust but – short of that - disclosed what many professionals who wrote books on this issue couldn’t understand and interpret the events just before and after the Tamil Tigers were militarily defeated in May 2009 as they had no ‘Insider Knowledge” of what was going in the minds of American Foreign Service officers and Washington’s machinations.
- Asian Tribune -