25 May, 2019

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Eelam War IV & Aftermath: Western Complicity, Deceit & Revenge

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

This is a provocative piece on the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 and on its aftermath of Reports and You Tube cut-and-thrust. It makes specific claims in assertive style. These assertions are founded on lengthier articles with their supporting evidence. So, it is by assertion that I proceed.

 The essay is not a survey of the factors that enabled Sri Lanka to defeat the LTTE. The focus is on the pursuits of the US Secretary of State’s Department through its point man, US Ambassador Blake, and its ‘auxiliaries’ in the UN and European Union.[1]In a bold conjecture I am also guided by the feeling that the Pentagon and the Secretary-of-State’s Department were not always working in step with each other during Eelam War IV.[2]

Let me start with GIANT QUESTION-BEARING ASSERTIONS: how many persons with some clout in the corridors of the Western governments, the UN and the leading world newspaper chains were aware then in 2009(as well as now in 2018)

1. That, as Lt Col. Gash noted then in late January 2009, it was “not possible to distinguish civilians from LTTE cadres, as few cadres are now in military uniform.[3]

2. That by mid-2008 the LTTE had devised a grand strategy directed towards creating a picture of “an impending humanitarian catastrophe” with the objective of stimulating forceful Western intervention to save their project in circumstances where they were outgunned and outnumbered[4]– with …….

3. the mass of civilians serving as ‘tinder’ for this picture, while also amounting to just so many ‘sandbags’ in the Tiger defensive formation.[5]

4. ,,,….. and that KP Pathmanathan[6]was re-installed as the head of the LTTE’s international operations on 31 December 2008 with the prime objective of instigating Western intervention directed towards spiriting the Tiger leaders lock, stock and barrel to a favourable country[7]… and that ….

5. … KP convened a secret meeting at Kuala Lumpur in mid-February[8]which brought together the Norwegian ambassador in Lanka, two Norwegian diplomats from back home and two senior LTTE activists from the international arena[9]in a conspiracy involving USA – a conspiracy directed towards forceful intervention in the war …..

6. … with an American Pacific Air Command recce team sent to the island at the same timetasked with working out a plan of action for this line of intervention (which scheme was forcefully scotched by backroom Indian veto).[10]

7. This line of intervention in step with the LTTE’s strategy had been ratcheted up by the US Ambassador Blake from late 2008 under the influence of a new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so that ….

8. … Blake consistently pressed both warring parties to establish a ceasefire, while being resigned to the fact that the LTTE would not heed any such demand –in effect rendering the diplomatic pressure one-sided and one way……[11]

9. … and that this high-handed intervention was taken to the extreme point in mid-March 2009 when Blaketold the Sri Lankan Minister of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, to cease military advances: via the remark “sending the army in would be disastrous for Sri Lanka,”[12]while ….

10. …. rubbing the message in bytelling Foreign Minister Bogollagama on the 18thMarch that“Sri Lanka would likely meet war crime charges”if they continued their military advance –a threat that was in tune with the warning issued by Navy Pillai, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, five days previously[13]— an indication to us today that USA and key UN agencies were operating arm-in-arm.

To this striking list of occluded or dimly-known facts, we should add the widely-canvassed set of exaggerations and lies peddled in the Western media as well as the government corridors of the Western world and the rooms of the UN. For instance, claims

11. That the events occurring on the war front were terra incognitasince it was “a war without witnesses”[14]– even though 131 local and foreign journalists were ferried to the front(usually on a day-visits) between the 1stJanuary and 15thMay 2009.[15]

12. That the GoSL was indulging in merciless artillery bombardment.

13. That this shelling and the military advances were exacting a horrific civilian death toll – with figures sent by satellite phone by Tamil NGO officials and/or Tamil medicos working under the LTTE being served up and circulated as ‘conclusive proof’ of such outcomes.[16]

Ravi Nessman interviewing Udawatte, a senior SL Army officer at the rear front circa 26 January 2009 …and in a plane heading for the war zone -Pics by Kanchan Prasad

It was because this picture was so widely entrenched and because further calamity was deemed to be around the corner that the Foreign Ministers of Britain and France rushed to Sri Lanka in late-April 2009 and ordered the President to cease military activity. Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, did not kow-tow to this gunboat diplomacy and squashed the effort.[17] 

Its fiasco notwithstanding, the Miliband/Kouchner effort is significant in revealing the position taken by the West tout courtMost arms of the UN (but not the Security Council) were an integral part of this Western course of action.Various UN officials visited Sri Lanka at different moments in 2009 as elements in this line of intervention: Tamaret Samuel in February 2009; John Holmes on 26thMarch 2009 and Vijay Nambiar on 15thApril 2009.

Then, as the LTTE was finally crushed, no less than the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon rushed to the island in mid-May 2009. He visited the UN supervised IDP camps on the 22nd May 2009 and then flew in a helicopter over the coastal stretch in the Vanni Pocket where the final denouement had taken place. He summed up his reading from the air thus: “seeing complete devastation and no movement of human beings” – a viewpoint that grabbed world news headlines.[18]

The ignorance inscribed within this simpleton reading is underlined when set in contrast with an assessment provided in 2015 after a careful review by the retired SAS officer, Major General JT Holmes: “the SLA did not rush in, but instead took its time to plan and adapt its tactics to take account of the civilian presence.  It was, in the view of the author, an entirely unique situation and the fact that 290,000 people escaped alive is in itself remarkable.”[19]There were many striking photographs of people steaming from the fighting zone in late April and mid-May in both local newspapers and international web-sites which Ban Ki-Moon could not have missed.Moreover, when he arrived in Colombo the UN personnel there would have told him there were some 290,00 Tamils inclusive of Tiger POW’s in the camps under international and military supervision. So, the headline news-nugget he presented was quite misleading.

Ban Ki-Moon’s readings display one of the major problems bedevilling the assessments of the war’s toll: namely, the gross incompetence of powerful players arising from their limited experience of war theatres and infantry battles.If Ban Ki-Moon had taken note of the aerial pictures of that very same war zone BEFORE the final battles occurred therein,[20] he would have seen that it had been immensely crowded and was in fact a tent city in many parts, with the existing houses being only in certain localities and that too in a pattern that was not wall-to-wall. We are fortunate that a cameraman stringer was in the same helicopter as Ban Ki-Moon, so we do have a set of pictureswith which to assess the same scenes[21]– and to note the several undamaged red roof-tops[22]as part of this process … and thus proceed to qualify Ban-Ki Moon’s misleading summary.

Scene on 1st of May 2009| Pic from TamilNet

Moon’s venture into the island heralded the line of punishing action that the Western world and its UN handmaidens took over the next months and years.Sri Lanka was literally hauled over the coals by UNHRC or UN resolutions from 2009 to 2012.

Perhaps the most significant project on these lines was the UN Panel of Experts appointed in June 2010 with Marzuki Darusman as Chairman and Yasmin Sookaand Steven Ratner as members. Its investigations and its report from afarwithout visits to the island were characterised by glaring deficiencies in its range of sources. A competent team from the Marga Institute in Colombo evaluated its methodology as slipshod. For instance, the UNPoE Report paid no heed to “the restricted battle space” involving LTTE fighters (many without uniforms) amidst a mass of civilians in most localities within the coastal strip which was the focus of battle from mid-April-mid May. To present just one illustration from this Marga analysis:

“The report focuses only on civilian casualties and gives no information of Tiger units coming under fire in close proximity to the civilians, something which many eyewitnesses have admitted to seeing themselves. Leaving this out of the Panel‟s narrative suggests that there was very little or no military activity in the areas around the civilians, and that therefore there was no reason for any shelling by the SL Army.”

However, UNPoE’s findings dominated the world’s media waves. Its most significant finding was that (A) “A number of credible sourceshave estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths. …. [and]  multiple sources of information indicate that a range of up to 40,000 civilian deaths cannot be ruled out at this stage;” leading to the statement that (B) these “credible allegations, … if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law was committed by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity” (emphasis added).

But what happened from then on.

As a Sri Lankan observer with the nom de plume Harshula has documented, a troupe of respectable HR organisations and media outfitsconverted “credible allegations” into “credible evidence” in wielding and disseminating this quotation worldwide.

Amnesty International and International Crisis Group abroad as well as  Groundviewsin Sri Lanka were among those who perpetuated this deceit. Only Groundviews altered the reference when Harshula assiduously pinpointed the error. Thus armed, such media personalities as Kerry O’Brien, Amanda Hodge and Gordon Weiss in Australia and Jon Snow of Channel Four in Britain disseminated this distorted quotation[23]during a visceral campaign against their figure of hate:[24]viz., the Government of Sri Lanka and its head, Mahinda Rajapaksa. One British MP, Lee Scott, even went so far as to assert that “40,000 had been “slaughtered.”

The kind of duplicity, amplification and specious thinking that resulted in such definitive exaggerationsshould not be allowed to occlude the gross reasoning behind the figures peddled by the UNPoE chaired by Darusman. From the very beginning in 2009 it was patently clear that few people had any idea of the number of people (whether civilians, conscripted civilians or fighters) assembled within the “Vanni Pocket” in, say, January-February 2009. The figures presented by the GoSL were gross underestimates; but so too were those noted by Ambassador Blake in some of his despatches: for instance, that of 19thMarch referred to the “US and some others being engaged in intensive efforts to protect the estimated 120-150,000 civilians … from shelling” (Wikileaks).

Our calculations of the total civilian-cum-fighter population circa February 2009 must move into the 300,000 range, while yet making adjustments over time to take account of the numbers escaping by sea[25]or foot or being evacuated by agreements on both sides via ICRC ships under SL Navy escort.[26]

Over the course of February 2009 a Government Agent in that Vanni Pocket, one Parthipan, had essayed a census based on statistics from household and tent sites collected by his underling grama sevakasand produced the figure of 336,00 as the total number of residents in what was remnant Thamililam– a gross figure[27]that is suspect because it is not a head count and because 31,694 Tamil civilians escaped by foot or by sea, or been formally evacuated, during the month of February.

It appears that the UN Panel arrived at the guesswork figure of 40,000 dead by subtracting the rough figures for the number of survivors (both those deemed LTTE and those deemed IDP) in the camps under government control in May-June 2009 from this crude Parthipan estimate. So, at best, it was an approximate calculation.

Parthipan’s estimate of 336,000 for the total population was also overshadowed by the figure of 436,000 which Bishop Rayappu plucked from thin air – a figure which encouraged some writers (e. g. Frances Harrison) to suggest that the death toll could even be 146,000 (436,000 less 290,000 survivors).[28]Thus, with the alternatives of 146,000 or 70,000 or 40,000 civilian deaths being touted by various international agencies, some observers from afar may have considered the lower figure to be a reasonable option.

A graph of the various estimates prepared by Mamgo 2014

For anyone to weight this kind of estimate as “credible” is amazing. It indicates that the members of the United Nations Panel had infantile understandings of battlefield conditions.[29]They were oblivious to one of the cardinal statistical ‘rules’ relating to casualty figures: namely, that the wounded or “Wounded in Action” (WIA) always outnumber the dead or “Killed in Action” (WIA),  One medical report that reviewed the casualty ratios in wars from 1940 to 1988 reached this verdict: the “number of people wounded is at least twice the number killed and maybe 13 times as high.”[30]During the Korean War the ratio for US soldiers was over three: 103,284 WIA against 33,651 KIA.

Versed as they should have been in the travails faced by the Australian and Allied troops during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915-16, one would have thought that such Australian media men as O’Brien and Weiss would have brought some of this experiential sense into their evaluation of the UNPoE’s statements. Within the restricted physical arena[31]of Gallipoli in 1915 the casualties on all sides were heavy. In this context, 8,709 Australians were killed (KIA) and 19,441 were wounded: thus, the ratio of WIA to KIA was 2.23.[32]

The UN Panel and its other experts as well as numerous commentators with university degrees in their belt do not seem to have asked a simple question: if 40,000 Tamils had died, where were the 80,000 wounded?As it happens, in May-June 2009–the UN personnel in Colombo had computed figures for the wounded in hospitals and detention centres. This computation is referred to in passing by the UNPoE: The United Nations Country Team is one source of information; in a document that was never released publicly, it estimated a total figure of 7,721 killed and 18,479 injured from August 2008 up to 13 May 2009, after which it became too difficult to count” [paragraph 134, UNPoE]. The UN experts simply bypassed the implication of this data – a mark, perhaps, of their office room blindness compounded by imbecility.

Thus, we see that a wide range of commentators and political figures in both the West as well as Sri Lanka failed to transcend their office-room deficiencies in the ways in which they sought numerical counts for the death toll. In surmise, it seems to me that

* some were also directed by their sympathy for the SL Tamils because they believed that the Tamil people had been denied “identity, belonging and dignity” in the course of Sri Lankan politics[33]from 1956-to-2009 and subject to terrible onslaughts during the pogrom of July 1983; and

* some were animated by moral righteousness taken to blinding degrees and

* some may have been directed by a visceral dislike for Mahinda Rajapaksa and his regime because of its various excesses; andsome powerful figures in the corridors of Western states were determined to pursue their political goals in the Indian Ocean and desired to wreak vengeance on little Lanka for defying its dictates in the period 2006-09.[34]When no less a person that the US Ambassador to the UNHRC, Eileen Donahoe, spat out“we will get you” to her SL counterpart Tamara Kunanayakam within the stately corridors of the UNHRC in Geneva,[35]we know that the primeval desire for revenge had been provoked within powerful entities.

It is as ironic as tragic that such big-power strategies are supported by personnel attached to strands of secular fundamentalism in ways that persuade them to support interventions in favour of fascist dictatorships (the LTTE in this instance) and sunder friendships in visceral anger. As illustration, take Radhika Coomaraswamy’s reaction when I criticised Gordon Weiss and other people of righteousness: “Michael, I think you have lost it. Please don’t send me any more of these really offensive articles- people have suffered so much and you are still on with your bogey of imperialism. I have been to so many conflict areas and voices like yours are just so crass and insensitive. Maybe you should meet one victim from any war before you speak. Please don’t e-mail me again. RC.”[36]

Individuals with capacious hearts who lament victimization and death to the degree that they cannot decipher crunch situations of the sort faced in Sri Lanka in 2008-09 and proceed to favour political settlements with the Hitlers of this world are truly a godsend for the Hitlers of this world. This is doubly so when they have positions[37]and friends in the corridors of the UN as Radhika Coomaraswamy did. Our old friendship is well and truly sundered.


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***   ***

END NOTES

[1]Ishanka Jayathilaka has pinpointed this aspect of US policy in Sri Lanka as unusual and added that in 2015 the ambassador in Colombo, Atul Keshap, too had a key role in preparing the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC in 2015 (email, !4 October 2018).

[2]I am hardly an expert in this murky field and would be happy to entertain articles from those who have such expertise. However, I note one illustration of this differentiation: when Col Lawrence Smith (Military Attache at the US Colombo embassy from 2008) broke ranks – so to speak –and spoke out at a Defence Seminar in Galle in 2011: see ………………………. www.sundaytimes.lk/110605/Columns/cafe.htmland Kurukulasuriya 2018.

[3]Roberts, “Interpreting … Gash IV” 2018 (quoting a secret document only recently aired).  Also see https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/ltte-war-video-recovered-by-the-governrment-revealing-episodes/… and the SL Army photographs of dead bodies arranged on the ground after battles as the corpses were assembled for mass burials,

[4]See Roberts, “Generating Calamity …,” 2014. Note a subsequent discovery that sustains his assessment; “Without the presence of the IDPs the LTTE would be subjected to unrestricted air and artillery strikes, so have no incentive to release them” -Gash in his secret despatch of 28thJan 2009 (see Roberts, “Interpreting … Gash IV” 2018).

[5]Also see Roberts, “BBC Blind …,” 2013.

[6]KP aka Selvarasa Kumaranwas from VVT like Pirapaharan and was the latter’s best man at his wedding in India in 1984. He was placed in charge of the LTTE’s international operations at anearly stage and was based in Thailand. He proved to be a mastermind in this work and it is arguable that his displacement and the appointment of Castro and others to this role contributed to the decline of the LTTE in the first decade of the 21stcentury.

[7]See Jeyaraj, “KP” speaks out: An Interview with former Tiger Chief, 2011, pp.23-25. The countries in the Tiger scheme were Eritrea, South Africa and East Timor (p. 34).

[8]See Salter 2015, pp. 348-49 & 355-56. Salter does not give the precise date of this meeting in Kuala Lumpur or even the date or source of Blake’s subsequent note on pp. 355-56. We can surmise that these omissions are deliberate.

[9]Namely, V. Rudrakumaeran from USA and Jay Maheswaran in Australia.

[10]See Roberts, “Where USA …,,,,” 2018.

[11]Roberts “Ambassador Blake in Never-Never Land …,” 2015 and Roberts, “Ball-by-Ball through Wikileaks,” 2014.

[12]This was conveyed to Washington in Despatch No. 283 of 12 March 2009. while a little later another despatch on the 18thMarch 2009 Blake indicated that he had cautioned Foreign Minister Bogollagama by noting that “Sri Lanka would likely meet war crime charges” if they continued their military advance. Note that, on this occasion on 12thMarch, Gotabhaya played poker: he said that the SL Army “would take a passive stance.”

[13]Salter 2015: 352.

[14] Even now in September 2018 a senior Sri Lankan reporter told me (telephone chat) that it was “a war without witnesses,” This was the catch-phrase constantly repeated by Ravi Nessman of Associated Press from the moment that he spoke to America on The Tavis Smiley showon the 18thFebruary 2009. However, he had been snapped on a SLAF plane en route to the front on the 24th January and then pictured as he interviewed Colonel Udawatte at the rear arena of the war front (photos by Kanchan Prasad from India)..

[15]This is a list I extracted from an SL Army officer who was at a talk on the IDP Camps which I presented at ICES in 2011. It is reproduced in Roberts, TPS. Pictorial,2014, pp. 252-63. I note here for the benefit of lay readers that it is rare for reporters to gain access to the interface of fighting in any war situation where battle lines are sharply drawn in rural terrain. Where reporters have been caught in cross-fire, it has usually been in locations where the fighting is in mosaic patches and in confused and swirling urban landscapes.

[16]As an Indian journalist in Colombo noted sarcastically: “none of these westerners raised any inquiries as to how the various Tamil informants in LTTE terrain had access to satellite phones.” As further indictment of Nessman and Weiss I note here that (A) Weiss was reprimanded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for using the term “bloodbath” in an aired interview for Associated Press in early April 2009 and that (B) on the 13thMay 2009 Nessman regurgitated the claims of severe shelling and many deaths presented by human rights agencies in UK who were repeating claims on TamilNet.

[17]Roberts, “David Miliband’s Imperious Intervention in Lanka left in Tatters,” 2016.

[18]See Roberts, “Reading ‘devastation’: Botham, CMJ and Ban Ki-Moon,” 2014. There were no human beings THEN on 22/23 May because the civilians had fled or been rescued and taken to IDP camps, while most Tiger personnel had been killed or captured. Note, too, that this coastal area was wind-swept and the abandoned tents and gear would be subject to the force of such elements. See the selection of snaps in Times 2009.

[19]Annex I – Military Expert Opinion by Major General (Retd) John Holmes, in Paranagama Commission Report, 2015. pp. 243-44.

[20]That is why some of the pictorial evidence of the civilian settlements in the “Last Redoubt” on the coast in the period February to early May 2009 which are available in TamilNetand a range of sources are so valuable. For a selection, see Roberts,TPS. Pictorial, 2014

[21]See “Times Aerial Images,” http://www.flickr.com/ photos/thuppahi/sets/72157626922360092/and for commentary on some snaps, see Roberts, TPS. Essays, 2014, Figs. 11-16. Also see Prasad “Two Indian Reporters …,” 2014.

[22]All the houses in this part of the coast would have been new dwellings built after the arena was flattened by the tsunami of 26thDecember 2004.

[23]See Harshula 2011.

[24]The horrendous assassination of the respected Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga, on 8thJanuary 2009 – clearly, at face value, by elements in the Sri Lankan defence establishment — had raised the bar of hostility in media circles in Sri Lanka and the West; while alienating liberal thinkers in both domains.

[25]At least 3389 escaped by sea according to the reports provided by Lt. Col. Gash (see Roberts, “Gash Files III,” 2018).

[26]Citizen Silva somehow tracked ICRC summaries and recorded 31 voyages between 9thFebruary and 9thMay. carrying 13,794 persons. Figures from 23 of these trips show a total of 10,103 with the following breakdown: 1789 injured/sick males; 3537 injured/sick females; and 3,471 children -the rest being defined as “caretakers.” – See Roberts, TPS. Pictorial, 2014, Fig. 95 on page 140.

[27]See details from Citizen Silva, “Number’s Game” reiterated in Roberts, “Revisiting Critical Issues,” 2017 as well as Frances Harrison, 2012: 337.

[28]Harrison 2012: 238.

[29]The British Major Genl Holmes said as much – see Quotations and summary in Kurukulasuriya 2018. This is one illustration: “The figure of 40,000 civilians killed which has been repeatedly published is, in my view, extremely difficult to sustain on the evidence which I have seen.”

[30]See Coupland & Meddings 1999 and Mango 2014.

[31]The confined physical extent of the area to which the LTTE and its remaining ‘sandbags’ of civilian people had been reduced by April 2009 was not dissimilar to that of the Gallipoli Peninsula, though the latter was hilly and criss-crossed with gullies.

[32]Roberts, “Drama in Four Acts,” 2015.

[33]Note Hattotuwa, ‘Identity,” 2018.

[34]In my surmise the key drivers behind USA’s targeting of Sri Lanka appear to have been Hillary Clinton (Secy-of-State), Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Richard Armitage. It is Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who mentioned Rice and Power when I suggested that it was Clinton who initiated a sharper line towards Sri Lanka from late 2008  (see  “Gotabaya clarifies,” 2016 ). From her researches Ishanka Jayatilleka is convinced (personal communication) that Richard Armitage engineered a shift towards a hard line against Sri Lanka from circa 2006 – arising in part from a close allegiance with Norwegian circles.

[35]Kunanayakam 2016.

[36]This email note was dated 23 June 2011. I complied readily.

[37]Radhika Coomaraswamy was a Co-Director of the ICES in Colombo with Neelan Tiruchelvam and also became the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commissionin 2003. She also has worked as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003). In 2014, she was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as lead author on a Global Study on the implementation of UNSC resolution 1325, on women, peace and security

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  • 5
    3

    CT
    Here we go again.

  • 3
    5

    Over a hundred thousand Tamils were assembled outside the UK parliament for six weeks that the UK government had to put out the drama of their foreign minister as a duty to their taxpayers. This was largely a drama as the western world had supported the war on terror after 9/11 and curtailed fund raising projects even before.

    Though with initial success, the LTTE counter strike was ultimately thawed by the army, which happed as a result of Mahinda’s three day ceasefire. Ban Ki Moon was invited and 13 plus was promised with or without foreign intervention.

    • 12
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      soma,

      War crime denier and public racist Dayan got an ambassadorial post for his service to political crooks and war criminals, protecting their a***s.

      Can you find this prolific recycler of old typings a job say Ambassador to Gabon?

    • 4
      4

      Excellent Analysis from Prof. Roberts – 40,000 dead but none retired hurt. The UK’s dumb wit foreign minister Dravid Millipede tried to pressure the SL govt to a ceasefire because the Tamil Terrorists were losing the war they started and the Labour Party needed the votes of Tamil Terrorist supporters in the UK. Not that UK liked and loved Tamils; who were milking the UK welfare system, drug peddling, running extortion rackets … Thank you Mahinda for putting down the mad, racist, murderous thugs and, restoring peace.

      • 5
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        Michael Roberts

        Finally you have your own b***s carrier.
        Lal loo seems willing to volunteer …….

  • 2
    1

    Getting shallower and shallower.

  • 16
    3

    Dear Michael,
    Repetitious writing of this kind could, sadly, become an obsession disrespectful to the dead on both sides, and particularly the civilians and LTTE conscripts who never wanted to be involved. War is terrible business and those who start an unwanted war are the most to blame. In this instance it was the LTTE that also killed escaping civilians. The Army launched a conventional advance. Its performance would have been less open to censure, had not large numbers of cadres and civilians disappeared after surrender to the Army.
    This time you have not mentioned the UTHR(J) Report among your references. I thought the Marga Seminar you mentioned, where the initiative was taken mainly by Sinhalese civil society activists, was called to counter the Report of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Panel that has been very unfairly ridiculed in this country as the Darusman Report. You have missed out another reference, perhaps in all your searches you never heard of it – namely Chapter 8 of my book Palmyra Fallen. It discusses the Marga Report – The Numbers Game. It estimates from the most credible statistics of the Vanni population available, before and after the final stretch of war in 2009, that the missing population, including civilians, LTTE cadres and conscripts, is about 100,000. Let us not play games with the dead, whether in partisan clashes at Geneva; through the officially acclaimed national heroes’ rhetoric in this country; or use the dead for political mileage to lionise the LTTE with its deplorable record. It has the effect of placing reconciliation beyond reach.

    • 6
      8

      When games are played on the dead in the halls of Geneva, Washington and Oslo, hasnt Sri Lanka and its people been a victim? So should not we analyse this and understand the scenario well? When western countries backed by Oslo and LTTE sections are hell bent on constructing a narrative that is both incorrect and unreasonable, should not civil society in SL act against it? Where was this plea not to play with the lives of dead when Geneva and Oslo were doing exactly that?

      Another thing, many people trust the information given by the records kept by Rajan Hoole. I also did once. But I recently got access to an interview given by LTTE’s Raheem where he flatly rejected some of the things your report had mentioned about his relationship with Jayantha Kotelawa of SLA. The bottom line is sources of your reports are questionable and hence cannot be trusted.

  • 6
    1

    Robert’s latest return to one of his pet subjects – Eelam War IV’s final stages – can usefully be examined in conjunction with Michael Cook’s recent Groundviews essay ‘War Crimes in Sri Lanka: Stain or Slander’. Having read both, I’d suggest that the latter is by some distance the more illuminating on the subject. https://groundviews.org/2018/09/16/war-crimes-in-sri-lanka-stain-or-slander/

    • 2
      8

      Arent you the one who was talking about Organised end to war by solheim? well former indian foreign minister removed your and your buddies fig leaves and exposed you right?

  • 9
    3

    Michael Roberts is recycling this ‘Western Complicity’ stuff. As an ‘academic’ Nigel was boring but after retirement he is terribly terribly boring. Some where down the article he reproduces a reply from Radhika Coomaraswamy to his bombardments with his articles. She says “Get lost” in polite words. Michael has converted this into a badge of honour!
    .
    Michael ~ “Let me start with GIANT QUESTION-BEARING ASSERTIONS: how many persons with some clout in the corridors of the Western governments, the UN and the leading world newspaper chains were aware then in 2009(as well as now in 2018)”.
    This is the good old “The person who casts the first stone……’ stuff Michael. He then bullets ten whatever. The expected answers are “Western Complicity” ten times over.
    .
    It will be worthwhile if Michael researches into why the Eelam War came about. Of course an unbiased outlook is a prerequisite here.
    .
    By the way Michael: Are eyeing the achievements of Dayan J?

    • 9
      1

      K.Pillai

      “It will be worthwhile if Michael researches into why the Eelam War came about. “

      By now you would have found the answers:

      Vellala Conspiracy.
      Violent youth reaction to Vellala caste discrimination, cruelty, …. against their own depressed castes.
      Tamil Nadu conspiracy, which found Sri Lanka is the only place to create their dream Tamil Country.
      Greedy Tamils trying to preserve their old privileges that they enjoyed under Colonial rule.
      It was also a Christian conspiracy hatched by SJV Chelvanayagam.
      …..
      …..
      …..

    • 2
      4

      “It will be worthwhile if Michael researches into why the Eelam War came about “
      Ealam War is the military outcome of the Vadukkodai resolution beginning of whch is 50-50 demand. Tamils opted for terrorism as a short cut which led to Nandikadal.

      Soma

      • 4
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        somass

        “Ealam War is the military outcome of the Vadukkodai resolution beginning of whch is 50-50 demand.”

        Vaddukoddai Resolution was passed on 14 May 1976 and dead on arrival on 14 May 1976.
        LTTE’s violent activities started well before 14 May 1976.

        Please try and work it out for yourself.
        Get ready, you will have to soon relocate to your cherished Sinhala/Buddhist mutant homeland. You don’t mind putting up with your fellow racists Dayan and Wimal.

        • 1
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          NV
          It is the Vaduckodai resolution that gave full succour to LTTE which otherwise would have been a bunch of podians lighting fire crackers. It enabled LTTE to rally support of all Tamils to launch a war of that magnitude for 30 long years.
          You always say it’s dead on arrival. No it is live and kicking.

          Soma

          • 4
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            somass

            Please stop being silly.
            Please stop writing your perceptions as history to please yourself and your fellow mutant homelanders.

            “It is the Vaduckodai resolution that gave full succour to LTTE which otherwise would have been a bunch of podians lighting fire crackers. “

            The Vattukottai stuff was dead on arrival.
            Between 1974 and 1983 LTTE was in tatters.
            LTTE membership was anything under 50. Even then there was a split between VP faction and the rest.
            Many things happened in between.

            The country experienced stagflation since 1970 partly caused by weeping widow’s economic destruction and partly by OPEC oil policies, followed by rampant unemployment in North East coupled with lack of development, lack of entertainment for youth (import of Tamil Films and magazines were banned). The 1970 standardization for Uni entrance was still reverberating and weeping widow’s Sinhala/Buddhist arrogance prevented her from settling this unnecessary destructive unreasonable issue, …. discriminated unemployed youth with no prospect of entering university, nor any hope of getting employment, nor freedom to choose any vocational training, nor favourable conditions to start self employment, ,…… boiling, unrest due to all these reasons,

            Arrogance of Sinhala/Buddhist polity

            An International Tamil Conference in January 1974 was under attack by the Police resulting in 12 death, for no reason.
            A nationwide state sponsored riots in 1977. No one was found responsible.
            The Jaffna Library was burnt down in 1981.
            Another state sponsored nationwide riot in 1983.
            Welikada Prison massacre, some 70 innocent detainees were massacred.

            Continued

          • 4
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            somass

            In the mean time police and armed forces were hunting down innocent people, mainly the Tamil youth, throughout North East. ….. basically the police and the armed forces acted as the recruiting sergeant for militants. The frustration, anger, humiliation, pain, poverty, anxiety, ……. … among the Tamil youth reverberated in the South as well.

            When successive governments undermined the moderate leadership,. the Tamil youth unleashed monsters. That is what this government too is doing to the present leadership.

            By the time Vattukottai resolution was passed it was too little, too late for the youth who were at the receiving end and wanted to stop the Sinhala/Buddhist tide and reverse it.

            Well in the early 1980s LTTE was almost dormant until the Hindian decided to reverse JR’s pro Yankee Dick policies, including joining Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) or Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), allowing American Companies to contract leasing of 99 Oil tanks, Rest and Recreation facilities for US forces throughout the island (meaning brothels), relay station for Voice of America, …… The Hindian found the dormant LTTE useful.

            So your thambi VP the psychopath sacrificed his fellow Tamils to stop this island being used by Americans and Hindians as brothel.

            Tell us how much did you personally benefit from all the riots against Tamils and Muslims say since 1956.

      • 1
        1

        soma has come to the conclusion that the “Ealam War is the military outcome of the Vadukkodai resolution beginning of which is 50-50 demand……”.
        Vaddukoddai Resolution was adopted on 14 May 1976.
        soma is under the impression that the Tamil United Liberation Front woke up that morning, went to the meeting and passed the resolution, then waited 33 years to the day at Nanthikadal.
        No soma, a researcher will go earlier and try to find out as to why the resolution was passed. Was it a democratic action? Was it illegal at that time?
        .
        soma: The 50-50 demand was a call in 1933 by a newcomer to politics GG Ponnambalam. Not many took it seriously.
        In any case soma, did this give rise to the Sinhala/Tamil-divide of 1948 and the “Sinhala Only” of the early fifties?
        Doing the rounds these days is a partition of the India/Pakistan-type. Michael talks this. Is this a solution?

  • 9
    1

    Dear Author, and all participants,
    Is it humane to talk about the escapes as too many and the dead are too little? How inhuman is to show no sympathy towards the dead and the victims? Is it because the victims and the dead are Tamils? No not only Tamils but all are Sri Lankan citizens! I wonder why Sri Lanka is losing the golden opportunity offered by the UN and the rest of the world for an unbiased inquiry? With all the evidence available as said here what is the purpose is letting the Country go down again and again? Finish the impartial inquiry and begin restoring your integrity for a good future.

    • 10
      1

      Michael Roberts MR
      Malcolm Ranjith MR
      Mahinda Rajafucksa MR
      Dicks Joy
      Disce Ammata Discede
      What about the 40000 civilian casualties.

    • 10
      1

      Richard

      Sri Lankans (whatever that maybe) are well known for turning opportunities into self destructions, evidenced by over 70 years of post independence history.

    • 1
      7

      Excellent Analysis from Prof. Roberts – 40,000 dead but none retired hurt. The UK’s dumb wit foreign minister Dravid Millipede tried to pressure the SL govt to a ceasefire because the Tamil Terrorists were losing the war they started and the Labour Party needed the votes of Tamil Terrorist supporters in the UK. Not that UK liked and loved Tamils; who were milking the UK welfare system, drug peddling, running extortion rackets … Thank you Mahinda for putting down the mad, racist, murderous thugs and, restoring peace.

  • 4
    3

    Goebbels rides again!

  • 4
    1

    Lal, If anyone can believe in “ZERO casualty at the end of a war , where the conflicts lasted for about 30 years, should not have issues in believing less bodily harmed casualties among 40, 000 deaths. After all the government it self claimed and reported so to the world. Remember how the soldiers were carrying water/food and a pocket book on code of conduct during war and at the same time lifting the injured or dead. Having only two able arms where could have been their assault rifles?????. The world is curious to know the answers.May be Robert or you can solve this puzzle.

  • 5
    1

    No wonder this guy did not become a full professor at Adelaide.

  • 2
    1

    If there was transparency or first hand media reporting or daily reporting of government with reliable facts or Lankan government having some credibility in international arena or neutral sources collecting and reporting information or allowing basic services like Red Cross and similar organizations during the war or the government not claiming ZERO casualty or allowing emergency services /international aid soon after war (there was plenty post Tsunami. why not after war)…. etc ……etc, would have avoided this lengthy researches from Robert and like minded people. Now if you look at ICC charges against Sanath the two clauses mentioned are the same applicable to Lankan governments. Now, of course Lankans as usual will blame the accuser and not the accused. That is Lankan mentality but we know ICC has investigated every case involving the rest and Lanka is not an exception. This is like UN if you dont agree you will have to get out of ICC. No one should be a member and cont with their crap.

  • 1
    1

    Michael Roberts: YOU read my comment I suppose. Are you a writing a book too. There are books about TErrorist or REbellelious buddhist bhikkus in Asia.

  • 2
    1

    It appears that Dr.Michael Roberts and Gotabaya were operating arm-in-arm at this end as per para 10 point [13]

  • 2
    1

    Courage and Charisma: “Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, did not kow-tow to this gunboat diplomacy and squashed the effort.” After reading this wonderful article, I feel that even 11 billion would not be enough to cover his services.

    .

    No doubt the country owes a lot to MR for his courageous stand. So many lives were saved and so much money has been saved because of it.

    .

    Just imagine what would have happened if the clown combo Ranil/Sirisena was in charge at that time. They would be competing with each other to please the Suddas and making backward somersaults to please them.

  • 1
    0

    If reports are not factual and authentic of what value are they?The LTTE started this war in 1975 with the killing of Alfred Duraiappa the Mayor at the time I was in the intelligence unit in Jaffna Prior to this and The Senior Suptd Mr Mithra Ariya singhe and I warned him of the threat but he opted to take the risk by saying he has his own security We adviced him to move out with his family but never thought of the seriousness of the information we gave him and not even the government at the time took cognizance of this The LTTE is responsible for the debacle along with the PLOTE EPRLFThe LTTE demolished their leaders in the most inhuman ways Tamils in this country enjoyed many priviledges in that they could perform business live with their families in ant part of the country whilst they held top government posts in the Judiciary ,Police and othe administrative institutions like
    Permanant secretaries positions What became of the slaughter of 650 Policeman who surrendered to the LTTE on instructions of The HE at the time and THE IGP ? What became of the suspects in this case appointed as a Minister and those who collected funds KP ? both governments are to blame for not taking appropriate action The Police families still suffer in silence A group of senior police officers tried our best with Rtd Senior DIG Mr Selvaratnam to get the police Dept and The Previous government to provide some solace to them but nothing materialized The secty of tis group is Rtd SSP Mr Tassy Seneviratne He has all the facts Nihal De Alwis

  • 1
    0

    Dear All
    Mr Roberts has not justified any killing by anyone but the article was all about making the case for and against what has been presented at the UN and the subsequent resolutions.
    As some of the good comments above cause we can always improve any argument/information sharing/analysis by being critical and reevaluating all the events with good non derogative comments/contribution always by the commenters and am sure Mr Roberts will take note and revise his articles accordingly. This is what investigative journalism is all about that you will share angles/scenarios/information that may have been missed out earlier? Everyone has a right to make their case and we should encourage in our democracy? This is what has gone missing in our discussions on all other past events we make reference all the time too because none of them revised/revisited/re analysed for what they were but we traded them as facts and responded accordingly. Thos is not to say I agree with Mr Roberts.
    We seem to forget the investigation scope by the UN is aimed at both parties brought to account and now the leadership of LTTE no more means no one to represent the other side and tell the real story?? Then how about the other armed groups and international players in the the equation be tried too based on the investigations if the outcome is fixed by the same geo powers/entities already? This is the best way to burry the truth for all involved as suppose to disclose/unearth what took place and who did what locally and internationally??
    How this number game by all parties could benefit any of the victims who perished in the war zone and the dead and injured solider’s too?

  • 1
    0

    Enough of dirty laundry washing in public/international areana as this ‘war crime investigations’ has lost all context of rights and wrongs a very long time ago period…. specially based on the credibility of the UN itself in the recent decades starting with Gulf war 1 to date?? this is just a well established resource management event by the powerhouses?? we should know by now with ports and the airport discussions by the outsiders based on what their help was for the war efforts was all about too and nothing about what is good for SL’s then and today? and we want the same to conduct/facilitate/dilly dally with our dead in the name of investigations too and this suppose to bring justice for whom exactly please??? I think we have lost our minds here such is the horrors of war. This is happening to many countries as we speak of war crimes in SL should make us rethink of path away from divisonal solutions and constitutional assemblies?
    Our money and time will be well spent if – We should leave this justice part to conflict management/damage limitation experts to come up with solutions/focus groups to generate adverts aimed at social media and on National TV to promote ‘One Lanka’ will bring justice to all families of the perished since the misery started from inception/Independence.
    The wordings such as Terrorists/Rapist army/Sinhala Buddhist does not go any where towards showing the understanding of our journey that has been narrated and used by us all to further deliver injustice is what I see. Retribution yes but see no reconciliation specially after taking away the rights of us all at gun point applies to all the revolutions we have seen from North to South along with divisive political solutions offered by the politicians we elected too ever since Independence??.When we are all victims then how we deliver justice to each and every Sri Lanka via this investigation please??

  • 1
    0

    South Africa has done this very differently and are we really following the same model with Truth and Reconciliation? have we done a risk & benefit analysis as to the outcome on such investigations? what are we seeking? who are the beneficiaries ? this is suppose to help bring together the families village after village..from north to south and east to west together? We should work on the basis the entire Sri Lankan families have lost someone in the war and the outcome and the subsequent ‘whatever’ will affect ‘all’ irrespective of the specific case being made by the UN who vacated the same space for the final phase of the war while nobody responded to our previous President MR request for peace and laying down the Armes before the final push?? Do we real understand the dynamics of what took place and why this further graving the future of our Nation??????? I am certain we are not fully understanding the ramifications of the outcome of the said investigations be it by the local panel or the international panel?? That will be sad day for SL when we come up with people to punish as suppose to a Truth and Reconciliation SA style…….please someone make a case for this as we are ready lost in this game indeed.

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