By Michael Roberts –
Taylor Dibbert is an example of one stream in American academia: armed with a liberal arts degree, peace corps experience and links with the Pacific Forum, HR agencies and such personnel as Frances Harrison, he has now taken on Michael the Lord Naseby via an article in the Daily Financial Times of 21 February 2019 entitled “On Lord Naseby’s Sri Lanka whitewash.”
His essay is a shining example of intellectual arrogance and contention by ASSERTION. His assertions on the details of Eelam War IV in its last phase are typical of many writings from an educated bourgeoisie lacking experience in battle theatres. This major deficiency applies to many Sri Lankans as well as Yasmin Sooka, Marzuki Darusman, Ban-Ki-moon, Alan Keenan and Charu Lata Hogg.
That shortcoming applies to Lord Naseby as well as this writer. It is a shortcoming that has been partially – I stress partially – reduced in Naseby’s case by attending to the voices of such personnel as Lt. Col. Gash (Defence Attache at the UK embassy in Colombo in 2008/09). In my case it has taken many years of pouring over the literature, maps and photographs relating to this war between the years 2011 and 2018 for a partial reduction of my incompetence.
Dibbert’s nitwit assessments of the specifics associated with Eelam War IV are rendered feasible by the practices of print-media and many web sites: they refuse to use bibliographies and footnotes. The lack of bibliographies hides the limited degree of study behind his assertions. So does the absence of footnotes. Such shortcomings also obscure the ignorance of Chief Editors: after all, few of them know much about battlefields either. There was considerable difference in the battle theatre in the Mannar District in comparison with those in the Mullaitivu-Oddusuddan area. My vivid secondary recollections of the Allied troops battling in Sicily and the Italian Pennines during World War II told me that conditions there were quite different again from the two scenarios referred to above.
When Naseby faces Dibbert foursquare, he does so by questioning Dibbert’s facts on the death-toll, by presenting solid data in this regard and pinpointing an attendant set of figures that Dibbert did not bring to the attention of his readers: namely, that some 290,000 personnel within the “Vanni Pocket” in 2009 survived with roughly 11,000 of this number deemed Tigers.…. surely an omission on Dibbert’s account that suggests deceit.
But Naseby is not short of ignorance either (so too most accounts of the war). He does not raise a cardinal issue: if 40,000 Tigers and civilians died, where were the 80,000 or so wounded?
It is the eternal credit of a Sri Lankan identified as “Mango” that the vital import of figures linking the WIA (wounded in action) to those who died in action (KIA) that I was led to this dimension of appraisal. The basic point is this: the WIA always outnumber the KIA. In the Korean War the ratio for USA was over three: 103,284 WIA against 33,651. But the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16 serves as a superior example because of its restricted and well-defined land area: the ratio for Australian wounded to dead in the Gallipoli Peninsula was 2.23.
Fortunately, the UN personnel in Colombo in 2009 computed figures for the wounded in hospitals and detention centres. They “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” (UNPoE 2011: paragraph 134). Though this data was in front of them, the Darusman Panel did not comprehend its significance. Stark ignorance surely. Or, is it a question of well-educated lay personnel venturing into a technical field without any awareness of its basic yardsticks?
Taylor Dibbert, too, is a layman in this terrain. But his sensationalist headline-seeking venture also rests on DECEIT.
Let me dissect the organisation of his claims to justify this suggestion. Take his contentions in their sequence:
A = “The tragic way the war ended – with the massive slaughter of Tamil civilians –
meant that accountability for wartime atrocities was urgently needed.”
B = “A credible UN investigation concluded that up to 40,000 people may have died during that time.”
C = “But the reality is that many people believe that that figure could be much higher”.
Unlike many Western media personnel (for example Kerry O’Brien of ABC), Dibbert presents the Darusman Panel claim as a possibility (an allegation). But that measure of truthfulness is then drowned out by the combination of A and C. There was “slaughter” and even more than 40,000 could have died.
There is no allusion to the fact that many LTTE fighters were not in uniform during the last months of the war. There is stark silence about the clever LTTE strategy of deploying the Tamil civilian mass as a protective barrier and a raison d’etre for Western intervention. Since he does not serve up a bibliography and his eye-catching articles are presented in circuits that do not permit footnote-referencing, readers are therefore left susceptible to his duplicity.
thondamany / March 1, 2019
Looking to share a piece of the pie. Any carcass is good enough.
Rookie Taylor cuts his cloth sans measurements.
Attempt to fast track for bonanzas recognition while barking up the wrong tree.
Don Stanley / March 1, 2019
It seems that TD is part of the US Fake Human rights and SL NGO industry to keep the:”|beggars wound” of ethnic conflict festering in Sri Lanka and distract everyone from the looting of the country which is in Washington Consensus and IMF-ADB-Debt trap. Why is US citizen Gota Rajapaksa who had command responsibility free as a bird!
TB;s article is part of the Politics of Distraction, Divide and Rule.
The Endgame of the US sponsored Fake Human Rights for Tamils in Sri Lanka is US military bases in Lanka especially now the ICJ has ruled that the Chagos Islands where Diego Garcia US military base in the Indian Ocean is must be returned to Mauritius by Britain and Diego Garica base is in question and US wants a military logistics Hub in Lanka
Native Vedda / March 2, 2019
Do you really care about Chagos Islanders?
You better start worrying about the victims of wars, riots, police brutality, poverty ion this island. Once they have been taken care of , then go around the globe and help other people. Charity begins at home not in Chagos island.
The military logistic agreement was first signed by MR in return for America’s support for the war and diplomatically cleaning up the fall out of the war.
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / March 2, 2019
Michael Roberts, if there is anyone with many faces of ignorance and deceit, then it is you. You have been all along distorting truth and suppressing facts in order to justify your anti Tamil racism. I am a medical witness to the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka security forces on non-combatant Tamils. This is why Sinhalese do not want any inquiry. Divine justice will soon descend on Sri Lanka and at that time if you are alive you will look a fool.
Venus / March 2, 2019
Why not Sri Lankan government make a short film on the inhuman, barbaric acts the LTTE played in Sri Lanka killing innocent people, politicians including threatening the rest of the country with human bombs within high rising buildings and places where people congregate, killing so many innocent people. They did every thing accordingly with the hope that the land will be saved for their KINGDOM in their dreams, but what’s happening is clear to the naked eye, all those nations who shed crocodile tears are acquiring the land day by day threatening the butterflies. We can see what is GOD’s plans are. all these wrong doers will end up in HELL.
JD / March 1, 2019
I feel the same thing that Thondamanny thinks about Michael Roberts. On the other hand, it is like the christian church which uses every available thing on earth to spread the god’s message. That is “Obey the god and do not rebel against him”. Many journalists and tourists are people working for the Deep state of the US.
Native Vedda / March 1, 2019
What’s the matter with you smart patriots.
Why don’t you take a trip to Vanni where the victims still live and eke out a living.
When you go take your former colonial master Lord Naseby and Dr. Michael Roberts and see for yourself.
I suppose we cannot avoid clever dicks in this island.
George Malli / March 2, 2019
Clever dicks, (embarassingly short ones) are dime a dozen on the Colombo Kurunegal Road. Kick any Rubber tree or a bush, they strt running with their mobiles with faulty sntennas and laptops funded by the US/Canadian embassies!
JD / March 2, 2019
Tamils wanted their country but they did not want to die. That is why Sinhala Army even with those born as Tamils are war heroes.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / March 7, 2019
We Tamils of Sri Lanka had to face the death squads/our children turned mercenaries by foreign countries (foreign state sponsored terrorism) since 1970 a TULF folly. TULF having received mandate under thuggery/killings/eliminating all their opposition up North watched over by GOSL, GOI and the World at large since 1970?? Then the southern thugs during riots complemented this TULF folly for confrontaion in 19771983……….then all foreign folly was disclosed as they let things go on for 30 years and then settled matters working together in 2009 after getting what they all wanted a divided and weakened Nation for exploitation?.
Now the same TNA(TULF/PLOTE/TELO etc) in different disguise with same GOSL discussing the same things after (UN and the same foreign groupings who help the GOSL with 2009 completion of the war)????
The question for all of us is this war crime investigation on behalf of who by whom is what we need to understand is it not?? does not matter how many since 1970 but what matters is the clarity??
Punishing someone on war crime will be the biggest smoke screen yet for the people of SL as we do not seem to get it is a fact????? of what did really take place in SL to date.
So I am sorry for your generalisation.
K.Pillai / March 1, 2019
Between Michael Roberts and Taylor Dibbert, who understands the grievances that started the war, better?
Spring Koha / March 2, 2019
Aye, there’s the rub. Dibbert, Roberts, Naseby, uncle Tom Cobleigh, and all are busy stoking the remnants of the last ‘finale’.
Meanwhile, the cursed country is sleep walking towards the next conflagration and nobody seems to give a rats-arse.
The Great Liberator and his comeback milieu are busy preparing for the next phase. Their promise to the chosen people will be a Sinhala heaven. Who will need nirvana then?
Agnos / March 2, 2019
How many times have you repeated your nonsense, Roberts? What happened in the Vanni was 20 times worse than the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Korean War and the Gallipoli are not its analogs. Maybe somebody needs to euthanize you–to be free from your internal torment and guilt for having come out of the woodwork to support the Rajapaksas and their lies.
chiv / March 2, 2019
Michael Roberts not worth reading other than a comment. You and Rajeewa are of same ilk. Love to fish in troubled waters. Worse, trying to earn some money/fame in others suffering. First you wrote on reserved position in cricket team and not many buyers for that shit, and then you came up with this. What is next ?????? SAD. These ones are the faces of Lankan so called independent media.
Estate Labourer / March 2, 2019
There are more than 80,000 Tamil war widows in the Northern and Eastern provinces. I suggest that the author of this piece go to these areas and conduct a sample survey in the North and another in the East and interview some of these widows. Then he will be able to fill in the gaps in his knowledge before slandering others.
Edward Upali / March 3, 2019
Well said Prof Roberts.
Emil van der Poorten / March 3, 2019
After Mr. Cohen’s testimony about his old boss, Trump, I was hoping for some kind of miracle and, at least, a mea culpa from a man who has unsullied credentials as a Rajapaksa stooge.
Unfortunately, that miracle will have to await another dawn from the kind of “political commentator” who praises – believe it or not – that freeloader Naseby! What next, Roberts, a paean of praise for the piece of you-know-what from Northern Ireland who bears not only his father’s name, but the same capacity for venality, Ian Paisley? After all, like your buddy Naseby, the Rajpaksas provided him with a couple of VIP holidays in Sri Lanka at our expense, did they not? When are you going back in the business of helping your friends dispense free Sri Lankan holidays to their white buddies again?
Anpu / March 3, 2019
What happened to the people in the photos next to your article in https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php ?
You are the ignorant his story teller.
Bodin / March 3, 2019
Thank you Professor Roberts. The LTTE supporters abnd the Tamil diaspora already had people like Yasmin Sooka working for them (e.g., she was listed in the Campaign for Justice in Sri Lanka website together with Mr. Basil Fernando of Hong Kong “Hunan Rights Commission” even BEFORE she was appointed to the Darusman commission. She was allegedly a paid agent of the LTTE activism by then.Basil Fdo and his Tamil Catholic Church farthers were also working hard to get “vengence”, tooth for a tooth etc. What about the Muslims killed by the LTTE? Why is no one raising the matter.?
Many of those assassins d now live in the West. The western powers refuse to reveal details about these bogus refugees and yet expect SL to prosecute the assassins.
Emil van der Poorten / March 3, 2019
Ignoring facts and concocting stories doesn’t cut it in the face of the truth.
NO reputed commentator on “the war” has denied the fact that the Tigers were killers without compassion and guilty of all kinds of human rights violations. What you are trotting out is the tired arguments that “our” people were perfect and did no wrong during that conflict. Smokescreens can only last so long and will blow away and people like you and Michael Roberts will keep waiting for the next one to curry favour with the likes of the Rajapaksas when they begin dishing out goodies again.
And don’t give us “allegedly” when you trot out blatant, totally unsubstantiated lies about Sooka and the like. It is lying cowards like you, stoking the fires of a new racism that have to hide under pseudonyms. I’d say, “shame on you” but that would be a total waste of time on someone without a vestige of that commodity.
Hela / March 4, 2019
On the basis of UN compiled casualty figures on the ground during Eelam war in early 2009 was 2.39 wounded to 1 killed. If we apply it to 40,000 which Darusman picked from a fiction book, the wounded during the last stages would have been 95,600, or if we use 70,000 dead number used in Petrie report, the wounded would have been 167,300 or if we use Rayappu Joseph’s figure of 147,000 dead, the wounded would have been a massive 351,330!! Readers can do the math and realise the lie that was the basis of UNHRC resolution that Mangala Samaraweera and Ranil/CBK/TNA yahapalanaya co-sponsored in Geneva (for which Mangala received kudos from Samantha Power recently)………
Chula Rajapakse / March 7, 2019
An established fact is that 290,000 Tamils were saved by the army.
An established fact is that the UK embassy ( as revealed by Lord Naseby)and US embassy ( as revealed by sickie leaks)security dispatched confirmed SL forces exercised caution to limit civilian casualties which both assessed at arround seven thousand , tallying with findings of Post war census carried out by Tamil teaches,
Established fact is that if 40,000 civilians were killed in the operation there should be 120,000. But the injured number is more of order of ten to twenty thousand consistent with casualties of 7000.
Hence the lie is exposed , beyond any reasonable doubt.
But that will not stop Tiger Diaspora excelling in distortion, extortion and drug peddling from continuing to ply their trade
Vis8 / March 8, 2019
Thank you Michael Roberts, on behalf of peace-loving, non-terrorist Tamils and also Sinhalese! Guilt ridden diaspora who conveniently fled the war they themselves created, to the greener pastures of the West look for anything to discredit the victory over insane terrorism by the SL armed forces. The original file of the channel 4 video, has been found and now available over the web: All the dialog is in Tamil: it is a video of surrendered SL Army soldiers who have been stripped naked and shot in the back. The tamil terrorists have donned the uniforms of the disrobed soldiers and conveniently filmed a video, pretending to be Army soldiers killing these terrorists. Channel 4 and callum macrae has been silent ever since.
THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT….. THE INNOCENT PEACE LOVING TAMILS IN THE NORTH LOVE THE ARMY…..
Now waiting for the terror-supporters’ desperate comments… he he… they are $h__ing in their pants nowadays…………..