By Michael Roberts –
Presented here is an “Introduction” and pointer to a significant visual and textual study entitled “Numbers Game: The Politics of Retributive Justice,” which scrutinizes both the data and other studies of what happened during the last five months of Eelam War IV. This was the period when a large body of people, almost exclusively Tamil in lineage, was corralled into an increasingly shrinking area by virtue of a strategic/tactical decision by the LTTE leadership. The Tamil Tigers who were now facing imminent defeat, were hoping to use the human mass to engineer a humanitarian catastrophe, thus forcing the international community to act by halting the conflict. This comprehensive survey has been assembled by a collective, the “Independent Diaspora Analysis Group.” The key hand is a person who wishes to remain anonymous and can be called “Citizen Silva.” Born to Sinhalese parents, raised and educated in the West, he has spent the entirety of his life outside the island. This foreign setting has enabled him to build close personal links with the island’s other ethnic diaspora groups, thus shielding him from the communalistic shadows that overwhelm many of his compatriots back home. As the analysis of the satellite imagery reveals, his engineering background allows him to bring to the examination a range of technical skills not usually associated with the average empirical scientist.
This study easily shades the report of the “UN Panel of Experts” appointed by Ban Ki-Moon (sometimes called the “Darusman Panel”). Comprised as it was of three lawyers, that particular team was suspect from the very outset because it did not contain any individuals with military or social science expertise; nor did it have any personnel with solid background knowledge of Sri Lanka and the terrain of the northern Vanni.
Ultimately, however, any report of this sort of issue must be assessed on its performance, namely, the outcome. The report provided by the UN Panel of Experts is so shoddy that it would not secure a pass grade as a M.A. thesis. A review of this report by a team assigned to this task by the think tank, Marga, in Colombo highlighted numerous shortcomings and a seriously flawed methodology. This team was guided by Godfrey Gunatilleke and included a former infantryman, David Blacker.
The unfortunate fact remains that this scathing commentary on the Darusman Panel’s work is little known in the West. The propaganda struggle around Sri Lanka from 2009 to the present moment is a wholly unequal contest. The LTTE network of the past in Western countries has been bolstered by new generations as well as older Tamils whose communitarian sentiments have been (a) aroused by the humiliation associated with the LTTE’s defeat and (b) the emotional reception of tales and rumours, inclusive of fabrications and exaggerations, about the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GSL) alleged atrocities buzzing around their circuits. They were joined in this process by human-rights lobbies as well as powerful media engines such as Channel Four, ABC and several news chains.
Pitted against such a combination, the GSL has simply been a minnow battling against a giant squid with many tentacles. Some of its efforts were piss-weak. But even some of GSL’s more competent media counter-attacks have had limited mileage. They have not been read or seen – and are simply dismissed by the world’s media chains. Such an outcome is partly of its own making. Compelling evidence indicates that the activities of some GSL agencies in the dirty war with the LTTE from 2006 onwards involved the intimidation, assault, abduction and/or killing of some local journalists. The assassination of a leading editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, in January 2009 was the most outstanding instance of this a type of activity. Such an unpalatable record meant that the Fourth Estate in the West was alienated. From that point onwards, therefore, there has been a tendency in many media circles to simply reject statements from GSL spokespersons. Among some Western media personnel this has become entrenched as a dogmatic stance that refuses to address and evaluate the complexities of Eelam War IV in measured ways – especially where such evaluations call for a considerable allocation of time within their busy day-to-day pressures.
These circumstances, therefore, provide partial explanations of the failure of the Marga Review to make much headway or even come within the radar of media outlets which have focused on Sri Lanka’s war in its last phase. To this day, such individuals as Frances Harrison, Gordon Weiss and Niromi de Soyza are invited to speak at length to TV audiences; while poorly-equipped SL ambassadors are given a few seconds. Meanwhile competent commentators within reach of such TV chains in, say, Australia, languish unknown and unsung.
Whether the NUMBERS GAME suffers the same fate is an issue for the future. It is an intricate and exhaustive document of great import. With reference to the central question of the “civilian” death toll in the last five months of the war it supersedes, in my estimate, the separate work of three Tamil moderates, viz., Sarvananthan, Nadesan and Narendran, whose calculations were assembled by me in late 2011 as a corrective aimed at Rohan Gunaratna’s ridiculous argument that only 1,400 civilians had died.
These three sets of calculation came up with figures that suggested a death toll of somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 Tamil dead, a total embracing both Tiger personnel and civilians (in circumstances where these students of the war – unlike some other “experts” – understood that it was often difficult to differentiate between a Tiger cadre and a civilian).
The Numbers Game raises the bar somewhat, but does so in ways that supports facets of the readings provided by Sarvananthan et al. Thus, it supports Nadesan’s simple point: one must allow for natural deaths in any large body of people and in this instance it anticipates increased rates because of the restricted medical facilities available to the people. Thus, in guestimate 1,000 natural deaths are posited for this period on the foundations provided by the standard death rate in Sri Lanka. In an intelligent act of fine-tuning it also takes into account the testimonies that indicate that quite a number of people drowned in Nandikadal Lagoon when they fled from the Second NFZ
the “Last Redoubt” as I prefer to term it – on 19-23 April and subsequently. In surmising that some 2,000-3,000 died while trying to flee the conflict zone, its calculations encompass those who drowned as well as those shot and shelled, primarily by LTTE fire.
Such details indicate that the topic calls for: wide-ranging empirical detail that includes a careful study of data in Tamil web-circuits, government reportage, satellite imagery the reports of the UTHR collective as well as the output from reporters who were at the rear of the frontline on occasions. Pictorial evidence has been central to this work; and for that reason this introduction will be supplemented by some illustrative work of my own as a subsequent elaboration that complements Numbers Game.
SO, besides my PREAMBLE above there are two other segments in this INTRODUCTION:
II: how to locate Numbers Game on the internet;
III: The “conclusion” in Numbers Game presented here as a means of whetting your appetite for the whole meal rather than a substitute there for.
This introductory memorandum will be followed by a pictorial series illustrating the war situation from late 2008 to May 2009 and the difficulties that the Tamil people trapped in the war zone faced. Several of these images had been collected by me for a book entitled Tamil Person and State which is being processed by a publisher. That stock has now been supplemented by other photographs collected by Citizen Silva.
II. HOW TO ACCESS “NUMBERS GAME” on INTERNET
This comprehensive study of the last phase of Eelam War IV in the north east corner of Sri Lanka from January to mid-May 2009 is now posted in the MARGA Institute web site: see http://www.margasrilanka.org/………. SEE RIGHT PANEL TOP… THEN CLICK.
If there are technical hitches in using the MARGA site please go to the following scribd links:
Full Report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice
Images only: http://www.scribd.com/doc/135427212/The-Numbers-Game-Figures
The study is long and any review will be no mean enterprise. Note that THE NUMBERS GAME is cast in several web-references so that those who can cope with it on computer screen rather than hard manuscript can have the TEXT and relevant NOTES-with-citations and/or APPENDICES alongside each other in separate windows.
In order to whet your appetite “Conclusion” is presented here as a separate file document. It is not a substitute for the whole meal. The test is in the detail.
III. CONCLUSION of NUMBERS GAME
Nothing in this survey denies the probability and the evidence that some extra-judicial killings of high-ranking LTTE officers occurred during the last days of the war. These actions need to be impartially investigated by an independent body, and where possible criminal indictments pursued against the perpetrators. The current study however has concentrated on the following:
- The accusations of substantial fatalities caused by the shelling and other military actions of the Sri Lankan Security Forces;
- The sustained and ongoing international campaign on this front via an emphasis on “tens of thousands” killed;
- The links that exist between current political activities on the island with the war crimes initiative, and debating the actual merits of an investigation based on the specifics of the actions and events that occurred in 2009 – within a context permeated by the current drive by critics of the administration to use the war crimes issue to steer political developments within the island.
The literature is considerable and this survey is therefore of a complex and intricate character. It is not easy to distil such complexity. However, in an effort to cover the most salient points in the study for the benefit of reader, a numbered, point-form distillation has been composed. These are abbreviated notations and require amplification through reference to the relevant sections in the document. The summary distillation is not comprehensive and it is possible for assiduous readers to extract other meaningful contentions from within this document – indeed we encourage readers to extract their own conclusions based on the evidence presented; and to present corrections, challenges and embellishments.
- The LTTE leadership remained obdurate and, as most knowledgeable observers would have forecast, spurned (a) The Governments demands of an unconditional surrender on four separate occasions from October 11, 2008, January 2, February 3, till as late as April 5, 2009, as well as (b) subsequent mediations by the Norwegians that were premised on the laying down of arms (May 15, 2009). The Sri Lankan Government also declared two limited ceasefires in 2009 in the hope that the LTTE might release most of the civilians in its human shield – these attempts were also spurned.
- Encouraged in part by their ‘alliance’ with the objectives of Human Rights agencies abroad and the power of their migrant agitation-propaganda arms, the LTTE policy was geared towards sustained resistance and the use of their own civilian population as a bargaining tool that would draw Western interventions and provide them with an escape–hatch.
- The civilian mass was not only a hostage-shield, but a looming IMAGE of humanitarian disaster.
- Thus as early as December 2008, as noted by the veteran journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, the LTTE deliberately forced a body of some 10,000 – 20,000 civilians into the coastal stretch extending between Ambalavanpokkanai in the north to Vattavaakallu in the South in order to block the north-south advance of the 55th Brigade and 59th Brigade. (see page 10 for more details)
- Following the continuing west–east advance of the SL Army and the loss of Kilinochchi by early January, the civilian shield was corralled into decreasing land space. Indeed, by the end of February 2009 virtually the whole body of some 298,000 people were encamped on what became known as the “second No–Fire–Zone”, some 14 square kilometres of space on the coast between Nanthikadal lagoon and the sea
- The concept of a No–Fire–Zone was an unworkable one. Since it was a unilateral declaration from the Sri Lankan Government it also had no legal status in terms of the conventions governing war. The enforceability of “no–fire” was also contravened regularly by the LTTE’s deliberate and regular policy of situating their mortar or artillery firepower within such precincts and / or close to civilian encampments.
- Indeed, the LTTE chose to base its operations within or alongside civilian areas because of the likelihood of harm to civilians. Thus, as Jacques de Maio of ICRC noted in a little–known cable, the LTTE manipulated its civilian peoples as “a protective asset”. (see page 6 for more details)
- As indicated by testimonies collected by the UTHR(J) and other evidence, the LTTE went beyond the use of civilians as cover to the actual shelling of their own people on some occasions in order to cry “humanitarian disaster” – thereby inviting foreign intervention. (see pages 34, 35, 73 for more details)
- There is little doubt that the advance of the various Sri Lankan Army regiments was restrained by these tactics. The overwhelming firepower and manpower resources of the Sri Lankan Army were such that a victory would have been achieved in a couple of months in 2009 if the LTTE had not utilized their people as a human deterrent.
- High resolution satellite imagery reveals that shells fired by the Sri Lankan Army, whether artillery, rocket or mortar during the months of February to May, mostly avoided the crowded concentrations of civilians in the second and third No–Fire–Zone, and that towards the final weeks there was hardly any artillery use (as distinct from mortars).
- Aerial photographs taken by international camera crews support the conclusions reached from studying the satellite images; that the second and third No-Fire-Zones do not display the visual markers of having been indiscriminately bombarded with heavy artillery or rockets from MBRL’s.
- The ‘tent city’ visible in the second and third No-Fire-Zones is a vast camp area. Despite all the reports of wanton bombing and shelling, the sea of tents and huts still standing stretch for several hundreds of meters, as far as the eye can see. They are so densely packed together that if these areas were indeed attacked with artillery and rockets, the resulting fires would have destroyed vast swathes of the tent city. Although there a few stray blackened patches visible here and there from possible mortar strikes, these are few and far between as clearly indicated in the satellite imagery. There is next to no visible evidence to show the vast swathes of devastation which have been talked of in the Panel report or the other documents produced by other international bodies.
- Nevertheless, that civilian deaths and injuries from Government Forces firing did occur is indubitable, but one has to be cautious in concluding intentionality from such a result without having studied each incident in detail and taken into account issues like: (a) the conditions ruling at the time of the attacks; (b) whether the commander ordering the attack believed his actions would cause clearly excessive levels of civilian harm in relation to the anticipated military advantage gained; (c) the reasons behind the choice of weapon used in a vast majority of the attacks – mortar as against artillery, rockets and airstrikes; (d) considered the military advantage gained as being part of the overall military objective of which the attack was a part.
- Any such conclusions are further complicated by the fact that the LTTE killed civilians on several occasions when they sought flight.
- Again, computing statistics on fatalities caused by Sri Lankan Army action is complicated by the fact that many LTTE fighters did not wear fatigues and thus deliberately contravened the protocols of war that enjoined the principal of distinction. This in turn makes the identification of a civilian corpse into a questionable issue in a significant number of instances.
- Though those levelling allegations at the Sri Lankan Government sometimes refer to the confusion between LTTE personnel and civilians, they consistently gloss over the implications of this blurred zone when they compile their statistical count of “civilian deaths” in ways that imply that the vast majority was due to Sri Lankan military action.
- The claim that “tens of thousands” were killed arose from one source – the UTHR(J) report No. 34 presented on 13 December 2009; but those who have seized on this claim have simply bypassed two significant caveats which the UTHR(J) attached to this contention. (see page 19 for more details)
- The UTHR computation in its turn is centrally influenced by AGA Parthipan’s flawed computation that 330,000 people were present in the Vanni Pocket on 28 February 2009.
- AGA Parthipan’s data was derived from gross figures provided by pro–Tiger grama sevakas over the course of the month – figures that seem to be based on household and tent sites; and a statistic which is rendered problematic by the fact that more than 31,000 people escaped from the LTTE’s clutches in the course of February as the count was being compiled. So the total remaining in the Second NFZ on 28 February could be even, say, 298,000.
- AGA Parthipan’s subsequent statistics for the end of March and April reveal the implausibility of his February estimate.
- While the serial TamilNet figures of dead and injured must be viewed with suspicion, it is significant that for the period 1 January to mid–May the number of fatalities add up to 13,800. This sum must be treated as an outer limit and qualified further by attention to the fusion of civilian / LTTE cadres.
- Located against this complicated background, the computations of fatalities by the UTHR(J) as well as the UN Panel of Experts, COG, ICG, Gordon Weiss and Frances Harrison are seriously flawed and undermined by slipshod methodology in varying degrees of poverty.
- With the ICG and Frances Harrison one witnesses a move into the realms of statistical fantasy in ways that raise questions about their integrity / morality.
- It would seem that such spokespersons are motivated by moral rage and retributive justice. They seek regime change in Sri Lanka – a form of 21st century evangelism that is imperialist in character and effect.
- With Bishop Joseph Rayappu on the other hand one has a case of clerical extremism that matches that of extremist bhikkhus on the Sinhala Right. His figure of 429,056 people in the Vanni for October 2008 has been influential in leading to the figure of 147,676 people unaccounted for in some tales, including that of the Journalists for Democracy and Channel 4. (see page 63 – 64 for more details)
- This statistical figure is simply absurd: when placed beside AGA Parthipan’s overcooked figure of 330,000 at the end of February 2009 it means that some 63,000 people died or disappeared in the course of five months October, November, December, January and February – defying all the information one has, including those from TamilNet, on casualties in that period.
- In all these instances, whether the voices of Tamil extremists in Lanka, Tamil and Tiger migrants or other Lankan intellectuals forced to flee abroad, one sees the work of vengeance politics fuelled by emotion.
- All wars result in soldiers missing in action (MIA) and often embrace a number of civilians. In this war the numbers of those unaccounted for would be particularly significant because of (a) the LTTE’s mostly unrecorded ‘blitz’ conscription of combatants and auxiliaries during the last five months; (b) the unknown number of Tigers and civilians who slipped through the Navy cordon in 2009 and reached India; (c) those who drowned when fleeing across Nanthikadal lagoon; (d) those corpses – from whatever cause – buried without a record being kept (then or subsequently in testimony); (e) those corpses in the jungle that simply decomposed or became food for monitor lizards, jackals and termites; and finally (f) the considerable number of Tigers and civilians who survived but slipped out of the detention centre’s before being formally registered.
- The computations here indicate that the number of those who escaped from the conflict zone or detention centres would have ranged between 3,000 and 6,000.
- One must also allow for death by natural causes (old age, disease, heart attacks, snake bite, etc). Taking Sri Lankan averages and allowing for a higher rate because of the abnormal conditions suffered by the populace, this figure would be at least 1,000 over five months.
- The computations here suggest that at least 10,000 LTTE combatants and auxiliaries were killed in this period.
- The computations also suggest that a range up to 15,000 truly civilian people were potentially killed in the conflict zone during the last five months, with an additional 2,000–3,000 having died by either being shot, shelled or having drowned whilst trying to flee the battle zone.
- The respective proportion of civilians killed by the LTTE and the government forces is difficult to work out. Though it is probable that more were hit by government fire than by the LTTE, the latter’s ‘work’ in this sphere was not small.
- In such a set of circumstances there is no way that one can refer to “tens of thousands” of civilian deaths.
- In any event the LTTE was responsible for creating the parameters of the CRUCIBLE in the conflict zone known as the Vanni Pocket in an attempt to generate international intervention and to prolong the war till the Indian General Elections hopefully swayed the wider context in their favour.
- That the figure of 40,000 has been firmly established in media circles and that Gordon Weiss himself has abandoned his initial range of “15,000 to 40,000” to assert such a singular statistic in definitive terms reveals (a) the power of a single number (b) that is repeated and repeated incessantly; (c) and pressed by powerful media and propaganda machinery of a worldwide character; and (d) lapped up by an emotional audience of Tamils who have been through a turbulent period of politics from the 1970s; while being (e) disseminated by 21st century evangelists blinded by ideological commitment; and (f) stoked by major government agencies in powerful counties who see Sri Lanka as an instrument in a ball game that has China in its frame.
- To all such players empirical validity does not seem to matter. What works for their cause is what must be pressed… and repeated incessantly. Empirical groundings, careful evaluations and honesty are pushed to the backstage.
What these points clearly demonstrate is that these controversial figures, whether in the ICG report or the UN Panel report, were introduced not as irrefutable facts, but a “means” – circumstantial evidence – to act as a “smoking gun” to lay the foundation for greater external introspection – an international investigation.
This “strategy” is best elucidated by one of the Marga Institute Panellists’ (David Blacker) who studied the UN Panel report in detail. He observed that:
“Now, one would expect lawyers of the capacity of Darusman to be capable of interpreting the evidence, the law, and the legal precedents in order to make an accurate assessment in the report. And that expectation would be a fair one if we looked at the panel report as an actual indictment or charge sheet of some kind; it is neither. The closest analogy in legal terms, is that of a police detective applying for a search warrant. Unlike in a court of law, he doesn’t need to present actual evidence; all he need do is show sufficient suspicion of guilt in order to obtain the necessary permission to violate privacy and investigate more closely. That is exactly what the Darusman report is trying to do. Set up by Ban Ki-Moon after initial attempts at an investigation failed, its sole purpose is to create sufficient suspicion that the GoSL is guilty of war crimes. It is the GoSL that is resisting calls for an investigation, and it is this resistance that must be overcome. The Tigers and their war crimes are irrelevant.
At the moment, the Tiger remnants in the Diaspora, certain UN departments, and the Human Rights advocacy groups want the same thing – investigations. To therefore acknowledge that the only actual available evidence shows war crimes to have been committed by the Tigers would be counter-productive.
The Darusman report isn’t about getting at the truth; it’s about overcoming GoSL resistance to a UN investigation. The only way to do that is to show the GoSL to be guilty. For that, the truth must be ignored for what is convenient, and the Darusman report does just that.
Regardless of evidence, it makes the GoSL look guilty.”
 Godfrey Gunatilleke worked or the Ministry of Planning in the 1950s and 1960s and was associated with the civil society initiative which produced the journal Community in the 1960s; and thereafter initiated the founding of the Marga Research Institute. In retirement now he is still intellectually engaged albeit unable to devote only a limited span of time for such endeavor because of carer- duties.
 Contrary to the claim that this was “a war without witnesses,” several foreign journalists, both Western and Asian were taken to the battlefield rear by the SL Army on several occasions in 2009; for instance on 4 January, 24 Janaury27 Jan, 26 March19 April 24 april2 May16 May. Among the reporters on some of these occasions were Roland Buerk (BBC)., Alex Crawford (sky news), Ravi N, Bryson Hull (Reuters) Ravi Nessman (AFP), Stewart Bell (National Post), Victor Randel (SMH). The list takes up seven pages.
 One was for three days from February 1 to 3, the other was for two days on April 13 and 14. The purpose was to facilitate civilians moving out from the war zone. But the LTTE imposed further restrictions and the number of civilians coming out dropped during ceasefire days. The LTTE also exploited the ceasefire in February to mount a very effective counter strike on February 4 that led to the death of several hundred Sri Lankan Army troops and the loss of some territory. The April ceasefire was used to construct several new “trench cum bund” defences.
 The Marga Institute is an independent non-profit centre for Development Studies established in 1972 under the Companies Act of Sri Lanka – the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. From its inception it has conducted a sustained and wide-ranging programme of multi-disciplinary research on issues and problems of development. It has drawn on the three main disciplines in social science, Economics, Sociology and Political science, and has developed a framework of analysis incorporating all the important criteria of human development.; See:LINK; See: LINK; See: LINK
Ben Hurling / May 1, 2013
Sri Lanka needs to kick Rajapassa clan out. They have no credibility anywhere. Rajapassa’s star is sinking even among Sri Lankans who backed the military effort agianst LTTE to the hilt.
All agree bad things happen during a war. Ealam war IV was no exception.
Zero Casualty theory is comical. Discard it. We know extra judicial killings took place, scores were settled with the LTTE top leadership and innocent civilians paid a terrible price. At the end of the war.
A future Sri Lankan government must look into these things seriously. And sincerely. For our own sake.
Those who broke the law while being in uniform should be punished. By Sri Lankans. In Sri Lanka. For Sri Lanka.
There is no reason to dodge this issue. We don’t need to apologise to anyone. About why we had to kick VP’s behind so firmly.
Avoiding the problem is a dream come true for LTTE die-ass-pora. Who have gone to town with rubbish like Concentration Camps, Genocide, 100 000 civilians killed etc.
Silence Ealam propagandists by implementing rule of law in Sri Lanka. We must clear our country’s name.
Piranha / May 2, 2013
Are you kidding? The Rajapaksa brothers and the regimental commanders were the biggest war criminals. Do you seriously think they will stand trial and be punished. All this talk of Sri Lankans investigating and punishing the war criminals is just talk only. It will never happen and that’s why the diaspora and outside clamour for independent international investigation.
Ben Hurling / May 2, 2013
Congratulations! You seem to have solid faith in the so called IC. I believe in Sri Lanka and her people to take care of our country.
How many regimental commanders have faced trial so far in Israel, USA or UK? Is it because they have never committed any war crimes? How many have faced independent international investigations?
Instead, George W Bush just built a Presidnetial library. Blair is globetrotting. And Netanyahu will retire in peace eventually.
You still think IC is in it for protection of HR in Sri Lanka? Are you kidding me? You heard about the Great Game in the Indian Ocean by any chance?
Now, Sri Lanka is not Israel. We do not have a powerful God Father such as USA to cover our back. We are vulnearable.
LTTE Die-Ass-Pora turned bogus “zealous HR defenders” overnight has understood this well. Hell with justice. LTTE Die-Ass-Pora is not interested in HR at all. They are hoping IC will get into Sri Lanka. They will end up with a South Sudan, East Timor, Kosova like situation. A gift from God. A roadmap to Tamil only, racially segregated Ealam. In multi-ethnic Sri Lanka.
Therefore we must kick Rajapassa out. Blinded by greed for power Rajapassa is playing into the hands of LTTE die-ass-pora. By destroying all our institutions.
This is why we must establish rule of law and good governance in Sri Lanka. Effectivly removing excuses international hypocrites will use to gain a new foothold in Sri Lanka.
TRUTH / May 1, 2013
Thank you Michael, I feel this is the first estimate of the number of deaths during the final phase of the war made by a comparatively unbiased team. I hope it will be used effectively by the Government of Sri Lanka. You are correct in your assessment that the Government of Sri Lanka has antagonised the international media. Don’t expect much international media coverage for your assessment.
Joseph Nava / May 1, 2013
Thanks for this article ..though it is very unlikely for the CT
JULAMPITIYE AMARE. / May 1, 2013
We can close the chapter very easyly,
just declering THAT,
there was no war in 2009. in north and east of sri lanka.
ONLY MORE THAN 100000 INNOCENT TAMIL CIVILIANS JUST COMMITED SUICIDE,
shooting, shelling, bommbing and jumping into lagoons with their children,
BECAUSE OF LOVE FOR THE SAVIER MAHINDA PERCY RAJAPASSA, HIS LOOTING FAMILY CLAN AND KILLER VELUPILLAI PIRAPAHARAN.
and we should not evan think or mention of all those so called PSD white van gons, thugs on SLSF moter bikes, and kudu MPS.
ferther more David Blacker can say again and again
“The Darusman report isn’t about getting at the truth; Regardless of evidence, it makes the GoSL look guilty.”
MAY ALL LIVING BEINGS BE ENLIGHTEN. [ including you all]
THAT IS MY ONLY WISH.
Coconut Donkey / May 2, 2013
According to this ’empirical study’ about 15,000 civilians died. Since the focus is on ‘numbers’, a gentle reminder that we are talking about children, women and men who loved as much as we do and hurt as much as we do that had to suffer and die under the most inhumane circumstances and conditions.
Did they HAVE to die for the LTTE and it’s purpose to be defeated?
No they didn’t. There were other sinister forces, nationally and internationally at work that may never come to light. It is plausible that had the army taken a little more time before they moved in for the final ‘kill’, thousands more could be alive. But they too only follow orders. So we come to the people who make and influence the orders, they aren’t necessary the same as those that give orders in the front-lines of the battlefield. It ought to be unconscionable that the looming election at the time of our closest neighbor of which the outcome was ‘uncertainty’ is sufficient grounds (among others) to expedite a military operation that cost several thousand civilian lives.
Not hopeful that those who deserve to be held accountable will be as we humanly deem fit. Only solace, as selfish as it maybe, each and every one of us will be held accountable for what we have done, good luck with telling yourself “I had no other choice” and that “I did it for my country” when your time has come.
Siva Sankaran Sarma / May 2, 2013
Thousands more would definitely be alive if the LTTE, egged on and enabled by the human rights loving diaspora, hadn’t taken hundreds of thousands of people hostage.
Ajith / May 2, 2013
Forget about the final stage of the war between LTTE and Sinhala army.
Did Dr. Roberts had any reliable study to estimate the number of JVP insurgents and Sinhala Civilians including school children Killed by the Sri Lankan military during 1989-1990 insurgency period ( I don’t want to call it as a terrorist war) because it is a war between two sinhala groups)?
Did Dr. Roberts had any reliable study to investigate number of insurgents killed by Sri Lankan army in 1971 JVP insurgency?
Dr. Roberts, your government maintained that there were only 70,000 civilians in the Wanni war region until over 300,000 came out. Initial estimates from Government agents told around 400,000 people. Which figure you believe?
Dr. Roberts, Can you given estimate of number of injured people who crossed over between January 2009 to May 2009?
justice / May 2, 2013
The army has held an inquiry and says that not a single civilian was killed by army action.
The Zero Casualty claim made soon after the war ended has been confirmed.
Does Roberts too confirm this?
Former infantryman & deserter – David Blacker was ‘defence analyst’ at the Darusman Report review at Marga Institute.This analysis is held to be more credible than the UN Panel report as the latter is claimed by Roberts o be “so shoddy”.
A Defence Analyst is usually a soldier of General rank who has seen combat and has degrees from Defence Colleges – not an infantryman.
What are Roberts’ credentials to be a “defence analyst”?
The fact that the Mullivaikkal site is banned for visiters confirms deaths in the No Fire zones – thousands of skeletons lie there.
David Blacker / May 2, 2013
I am not a deserter. Please stop this pathetic attempt at slander. It only shows you to be ignorant and uninformed. I have also never claimed to be a defense analyst. Nevertheless, an analyst requires no such military rank. It just requires an analytical mind; something you clearly lack.
Every time you attack the person rather than the argument, you prove that you have nothing to argue with, and like a cowardly dog on a dark night, can only hide and bark.
manisekaran / May 2, 2013
So tell us whats your lion share in genocide?
Ben Hurling / May 2, 2013
Did you skip your last psycho-therapy session as well?
Consequences are are begining to show. Take mental care more seriously. Specially if you got fake genocide nightmares etc.
manisekaran / May 2, 2013
please why dont you suggest the same course to your Sinhalese brethren who are having nightmares wetting the underwear? Reason : please read many articles published in CT from global community
David Blacker / May 3, 2013
Can you type in English please.
manisekaran / May 3, 2013
David Blacker / May 4, 2013
Yes. A lion’s share is the portion due someone by right of his position of leadership, authority, or strength. Given that, I cannot understand how that is relevant to an act of genocide. If you have a question, why don’t you simply ask it instead of mixing your metaphors.
JULAMPITIYE AMARYA / May 2, 2013
It is very honour to us that you are not Deseter.
And that so called
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence GOTHA BAYA also not a deserter.
what coincidence ????.
All of you are Patriots to MOTHER SRI LANKA.
But I concider as JUST OPPERTUNITIS.
as you say;
“I have also never claimed to be a defense analyst. Nevertheless, an analyst requires no such military rank. It just requires an analytical mind;
So NOW YOU CAN CLAIM your self a defence analyst.
Michael Roberts as defence Numbers Game analyst.
I canot, because I was Not a Homeguard, not a police man, not an infantryman, not a NGO emploee, neither a killer LTTEer.
not even a digree holder.
But we were/are living there in north east.
so we have seen, we can see, what was/is happening.
No need to beat around the bushes.
so YOU,MR DAVID BLAKER, MICHEL ROBERTS, K A S Sumane,Siva Sankaran Sarma ,likewise I see many alike making and singing so many,so called BAILAAS.
WHY, WHY YOU ALL WANTS TO DENY THE TRUTH.
David Blacker / May 2, 2013
Do you have a question to ask?
justice / May 2, 2013
Wikipedia says that in early 1990s you joined SL Sinha Regiment,fought at Elephant Pass in 2001 and left after being wounded, to Europe.
No discharge from the army is mentioned.
The Report by the Marga Institute on the Darusman Panel report, names you as Defence Analyst – available on the web.
To analyse a war/battle one needs scientific knowledge about armaments – warplanes,warships,land vehicles war tactics,missiles,trajectories
explosive power of shells/bombs etc.
These are taught at Defence Colleges to those who posess basic science knowledge.
David Blacker / May 2, 2013
Firstly, Wiki can say what it likes. Secondly, you have idiotically assumed that people have to use the same limited vocabulary as you do before you will accept reality. Thirdly, whatever Marga claims is up to them and you should therefore pose questions on terminology to them, not me.
I do indeed possess the necessary knowledge on the weapons systems you mention, but that is not what makes one a defense analyst, nor are they taught at Defence Colleges alone. Many historians and analysts have never served in the military at all.
As I said, analysis doesn’t seem to be your forte so best stick to what is — basically throwing immature insults at those you can’t understand. How is it that you have nothing to say on the above article (probably you didn’t understand anything of it) but only things to say about those mentioned in it?
justice / May 3, 2013
So why dont you protest to 1)Wikipedia and 2)Marga Institute?
Both have necessarily obtained information 1)from you,and 2)your consent respectively.
Anyone can obtain theoretical knowledge. Only practitioners of the Art of War who are qualified in required fields can correctly analyse wars & battles.
David Blacker / May 3, 2013
“So why dont you protest to 1)Wikipedia and 2)Marga Institute?”
You’re the person who takes issue with what’s been said there, so why should I protest on your behalf?
“Both have necessarily obtained information 1)from you,and 2)your consent respectively.”
What leads you to this assumption?
“Anyone can obtain theoretical knowledge. Only practitioners of the Art of War who are qualified in required fields can correctly analyse wars & battles.”
All analysis is theory. For example, you seem to think you’re qualified to analyse my role as an analyst. Clearly then you must have practical experience in analysing defense analysis.
I also note that you fail to explain why you have nothing to say about the article. Do you agree with it; do you disagree; or do you simply not understand it? Surely the article must hold far more interest to an expert on analysis such as yourself, rather than my life history.
manisekaran / May 4, 2013
Merriam webster does not interpret that what you expressed the meaning for the metaphor http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lion's%20share.
Secondly I used that metaphor for the simple sarcasm that your flag bears a lion symbol and the lion in you did on unarmed.
David Blacker / May 5, 2013
It is strange that you look in a dictionary instead of an encyclopedia for the meaning of a metaphor or idiom. This is what Wiki says: “The lion’s share is an idiomatic expression which develops from a number of fables ascribed to Aesop and is now used as their generic title, although they exist in several different versions. Other fables featuring the same basic situation of an animal dividing up a prey in such a way that it gains the greater part, or even all, exist in the East.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion's_share
“and the lion in you did on unarmed.”
What does that even mean? Do you understand it yourself? Why don’t you simply ask a question (if you have one) instead of going round in circles about lions?
gamini / May 2, 2013
Can someone please explain the following
Why did the LTTE close the Mawilaru anicut after helping MR become the President and also sabotaging the Peace talks? Did the LTTE seriously believe that the MR govt will just keep quiet or was it not to draw the Forces to a Staged War? Further why did the US and India meakly give in without protest when all NGOs, INGOs and the UN was asked to leave the North? Was it because MR was so powerful or it was a plan of the US and India? Leave alone others even VP did not protest but allowed all to vacate the North, to fight this War without witnesses? The funny thing is when the LTTE was finally surrounded in their last stronghold in Kilinochchi and the impending annihilation was drummed to the whole world to hear, there was no protest or murmer from any in Tamil Nadu either? The news of the War was disseminated through the Govt mouth piece MCNS as to how the whole of Wanni has been captured in no time barring the stronghold Killinochchi by August 2008, the land mines laid by the LTTE, causing no problem to the Forces. Not only MCNS aired their news on the War, but even announced the voices of all the LTTE Masters some of whom are now ready to contest the North under MR’s UPFA. What happened to the boast of the LTTE threatening that if the Forces entered Kilinochchi, that the A9 road will be a river of blood. Was it a threat or just to hype the masses and rouse patriotism among the Moda Sinhalese, to find the LTTE had vacated Kilinochchi without even a fight when the Forces finally entered Kilinochchi after a fierce Monsoon in January 2009? If there was no fight in their stronghold Kilinochchi for the Forces to capture are we to believe that there was heavy confrontation elsewhere? Besides the countless number of land mines laid to protect the LTTE stronghold has certainly proved no barrier to the Forces, or is it the LTTE had buried the land mines elsewhere in the jungles accidently? Although it was hyped, the LTTE was holding the Tamil civilians as a human shield and any who attempted to leave were killed, all the civilians numbering over three hundred thousand come under govt control barring the cadre of around forty thousand who opt to remain with VP, where VP was sold as dead in a span cloth earlier. Soon after the massacre of these surrenderees who had no place to hide on a beach front, in preference to their bunkers at Kilinochchi and had no access to their buried heavy artillery, would have been sitting ducks, there appear how KP was abducted by our Intelligent sleuths from a hotel room in Malaysia, unknown by the Hotel Mangement and whiscked away through their Immigration, violating all extradition treaties, via Bangkok to Sri Lanka only to be felicitated by MR with the best of comforts and protection offered to KP. This KP in waiting to occupy the CM post in the North will be the next drama the contry will witness. What can not one sell to this Nation from Jathaka Stories to modern miracles of recovery as Duminda Silva from brain surgery to be robust as never before and LTTE killers to have Passports in other’s names to emigrate, leave alone action not even an inquiry having been conducted.
JULAMPITIYE AMARYA / May 2, 2013
GAMINI OR WHO EVER YOU ARE.
WITH V P.And KARUNA, PILLEYAN, K P and OTHERS WHO PLATED BOMBS, KILLED OPONENTS and other rivals.
ALL SECRETS HIDDEN AND WITHNESSes DESTROYED.
NOW MONEY AND POWER TALKS BY HANd IN HAND.
Candidly / May 2, 2013
Thank you Prof. Michael Roberts and Colombo Telegraph for drawing attention to this important study. It will take some time to study and analyse but its methodology seems thorough and cogently argued. It is clearly far, far in advance of the crude and anonymous “credible estimates” and “credible sources” alluded to in the Darusman and Petrie reports.
Many people must have been surprised by the authors of those two UN reports failing to give citations for the huge casualty figures that they proposed. But people are entitled to ask why Darusman and Petrie were so shy about their sources, particularly in the absence of any other physical or verbal evidence to back up claims of tens of thousands of civilian casualties? It’s also likely that the absence of credible evidence for the civilian casualty claims is one of the reasons why none of the UN’s important bodies took up either of the reports and why Sri Lankan troops have continued to be employed in peace-keeping roles by the UN despite the alleged “credible” nature of the accusations against them.
Now the ball seems to be decisively in the court of Marzuki Darusman and Charles Petrie in whose names the two reports from the UN were issued: either they make public the evidence they have (if they have any) or they will go down in history as incompetent “experts” who produced flawed reports repeating unsustainable accusations of huge numbers of avoidable civilian caualties against the Sri Lankan armed forces.
goergethebushpig / May 2, 2013
Dear Mr. Roberts,
Great, now we have a “scientifically” established number of 15 000 civilians killed with probably “more hit by government fire than by the LTTE”. In your opinion does this number justify an independent investigation to determine the specifics and who indeed was responsible for the killing, or are you and “Citizen Silva” advocating that we should accept 15 000 as collateral damage?
Agnos / May 3, 2013
I don’t have time to go through the report closely, so I will just add some quick points.
As others have indicated, even if the 40,000 number is reduced to 15–20,000, that is still a massive toll– only war crimes can result in such numbers–, and only an international investigation will be credible.
There are certain reasons why reports like these will not gain any traction.
The GoSL’s credibility with the international media did not purely come from the murders and disappearances of journalists; the regime was caught in many blatant lies. One such egregious case was the claim by the GoSL that there were only about 70,000 people trapped in the Vanni. That was spectacularly shown to be an utter lie when the number of people who reached Menik farm alone numbered 300,000 or more.
And on that issue, Mr. Roberts himself lost his credibility by taking the GoSL side. I quote from his article titled ‘Dilemmas at War’s end: Thoughts on hard Realities’ in February 2009.
“Statistics, ah!! As the LTTE retreated and the remnant ‘civilian’ population of SL Tamils was increasingly in danger of being engulfed by troop fire-fights and artillery projectiles, aid agencies in Sri Lanka have trotted out figures to underline the potential disaster awaiting the Tamil people. During January 2009 figures of 250,000 trapped were quoted by both Lankans and foreigners situated in Colombo; while sometimes the figure rose to 400,000. These statistics have been duly parroted in global media circuits. They are still in the air (7 February 2009)!!
Impelled by genuine humanitarian concerns, those in Colombo who underlined these figures probably felt that their goals would be enhanced if the numbers were larger: soÂ in their reasoning presumably 250,000 could engender a better outcome than say, a figure of 130,000. But questions arise: don’t their emotional ethical concerns also warrant more careful considerations of veracity and fact? … and a closer examination of the category ‘civilian’? And thus the addition of significant caveats in the information conveyed to those outside the Sri Lankan realm? Emotional agitation does not excuse political naivety among those moderate and/or non-partisan.”
His previous record of fairly even-handed academic objectivity was thrown to the winds. The claim that he is neither Tamil nor Sinhalese, and therefore he is impartial, does not hold water. His ancestry is a mixture of West Indian ( Barbadian), Sinhalese and Burgher, and he was born and raised in the South; therefore his sudden urge to defend the GoSL without regard to facts is in a way understandable, but with that he lost his credibility.
However much he may now strain to get these reports out and lament that Marga is not being taken seriously by the global media, that stigma will follow him, and he will be dismissed.
He is someone who usually gets on his high horse about his “principle” of not responding to anonymous writers–even though he in fact responds to such anonymous writers–but only if they take his side, and he sees no problem now in using an anonymous “engineer” for his analysis.
I don’t know whether Narendran and Nadesan accepted the 70,000 quoted by the GoSL at that time, but I know Sarvananthan did–very publicly, and he supported Sarath Fonseka openly. Roberts’ continued reliance on Sarvananthan’s words could simply be a case of birds of the same dishonest feather flocking together. Hardly a recipe for regaining credibility.
Candidly / May 4, 2013
My dear Agnos, I suggest you make the effort to read, study and digest the original report which is available from here:
Frankly the alleged credibility or otherwise of Prof Roberts and the Sri Lankan government are irrelevent as neither of them are the author of the report. In any case, it’s best to deal with the facts and arguments in themselves, rather than the person putting them forward, imo.
padraigcolman / May 10, 2013
padraigcolman / May 10, 2013
Wittgenstein: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
padraigcolman / May 11, 2013
Agnes, dear girl, may I ask you two simple questions? Have you yet read the IDAG-S paper? You are such a busy girl that you have not had time to read it. You have had the time to weigh in with many lengthy comments after admitting that you had not read it. This discussion should be about the IDAG-S paper.
A necessary pre-condition of participating in such a discussion should surely be reading the paper.
Your personal opinion of Michael Roberts and David Blacker is of no relevance or interest.
The Cambridge philosopher Jamie Whyte had this to say about the right to an opinion:
“You are entitled to an opinion in the epistemic sense only when you have good reason for holding it: evidence, sound arguments and so on. Far from being universal, this epistemic entitlement is one you earn. It is like being entitled to boast, which depends on having something worth boasting about.”
An old adage puts it succinctly: “opinions are like arseholes. Everybody has one and most of them stink”.
You might find this educational:
padraigcolman / May 11, 2013
I reduced it to one simple question because Agnes is so pressed for time.
David Blacker / May 3, 2013
” only war crimes can result in such numbers”
Agnos / May 4, 2013
20,000 dead out of a total of 350–400,000 in the Vanni means 5-6% of the population of the region. And that, to defeat a militant movement that was already disintegrating with the Karuna split, tsunami, etc.
If you look at a big city like Colombo, with its roughly 6 million population, a toll of 5-6% would be 300-360,000 deaths.
For anyone with a sense of proportion, no matter what the cause of it, a country that inflicts such level of death on a section of its citizenry has committed a massive crime; it means that any strategy that goes ahead with the full knowledge of such results is fundamentally a crime– and in a war situation, it is a grave war crime.
David Blacker / May 5, 2013
Not if you consider the fact that one side forcibly held the civilian population within the combat zone, conscripted children for combat, and used the general population as slave labour on the frontlines, and therefore increased the naturally expected death toll.
In addition, simply extrapolating the percentage of casualties from a smaller population to a larger population to lend weight to the figure is deceitful. I three civilians were in a room and one was killed (33% percent of the population) would you say that proved a war crime?
Agnos / May 6, 2013
Conditions for such an outcome were created by the SLA’s strategy of boxing the LTTE in along with civilians.
Even Dayan Jayatilleka indirectly buttresses the case for war crimes charges by arguing elsewhere that, had the SLA’s deep penetration units allowed to continue unimpeded under Wickremasinghe, there would have been no need for such a war later on.
In other words, people who support the SLA/Rajapaksa regime create a smokescreen that it was the only strategy that would have worked to justify mass killings. They seek to pass the burden of the incompetence of successive SL regimes and the SLA–and perhaps their own– to the civilians who were murdered.
The people, based on past experiences with the SLA, felt early on that it was better to run into the LTTE-held areas rather than move into the GoSL held areas.
It was SLA’s atrocities and crimes during past operations –such as Operation Liberation and the one that caused the Jaffna exodus later–that had taught them to be wary of listening to SLA’s instructions.
The GoSL/SLA’s record of committing atrocities and war crimes, its mass graves, its utter lack of credibility, etc. are central to the issue of whether the LTTE in fact held the civilians as hostages, and if so, how it came to be.
I was able to survive Operation Liberation by running away from SLA–i.e., by deliberately disregarding SLA’s calls to gather at temples– while many others who took the Army’s words at face value were forced en masse to walk up to 8 miles by the SLA as human shield against land mines, taken to Boosa and held under draconian, subhuman conditions for a few weeks before being released.
So the lack of credibility of the SLA/GoSL and their sordid past are fundamental to the issue of investigating war crimes by all sides. The guy who uses the handle ‘Candidly’ above, needs to understand that as well. While the LTTE certainly contributed to the heavy death toll, the extent to which they did so and what the GoSL did, can only be ascertained by an independent international war crimes investigation.
The murders of 5–6% of the population of a region is certainly of “genocidal proportions.”
How much credibility would an ex foot-soldier of the SLA have in these matters?
That is why I normally don’t waste my time responding to you.
I wanted to add my comments for the benefit of readers, but won’t waste any more time.
David Blacker / May 6, 2013
“Conditions for such an outcome were created by the SLA’s strategy of boxing the LTTE in along with civilians.”
Firstly, there was no such strategy, and if you believe there was, do point to the evidence of such. The SL military used the same strategy it had used in the East as well as the western Wanni — ie sweeping the Tigers out of the land, securing it, and garrisoning it. In the East, the Tigers ran, abandoning terrain and conserving personnel; and the SL military called on the civilian population to move into GoSL controlled territory. Because the Tigers were trading terrain for personnel, they abandoned the eastern population in their hasty retreat. In the northwest, the Tigers fought but steadily retreated. It was in fact the SL military strategy of sweep that allowed the Tigers to forcibly evacuate the civilian populace in their retreat east. If the military had in fact boxed in the Tigers as you claim, they would have been forced to abandon the civilians rather than risk being cut off. To pre-empt your next argument that the sweep strategy was the cause of the casualties, allowing room for the enemy to commit a war crime cannot be seen as the cause of the crime. The choice was the Tigers’. At every opportunity, the civilians were urged to move over to the GoSL side, while the Tigers actively prevented this. The boxing in of the civilians with the Tigers in the Mullaitivu area was the inevitable result of the Tigers dragging the civilians along with them, rather than the fictitious claim that the SL military drove the civilians back.
Secondly, even if your claim were true, the Geneva Conventions insist that a military force in proximity to a civilian group must remove itself from the vicinity of the civilians, or move the latter away from the military force. With the GoSL setting up NFZs and urging the civilians to come over, their was no excuse for the Tigers to disobey the Geneva Conventions. The added evidence of the Tigers firing upon escaping civilians, preventing the SL military from rescuing them, using the NFZs to fire upon the SLA, and even sending suicide bombers amongst the civilians to kill and maim them points to the deliberate intent to keep the civilians in the maximum danger, use them as a pool of slave labour and forced conscription, and finally as a human shield.
“Even Dayan Jayatilleka indirectly buttresses the case for war crimes charges by arguing elsewhere that, had the SLA’s deep penetration units allowed to continue unimpeded under Wickremasinghe, there would have been no need for such a war later on.”
Certainly, and if Neville Chamberlain had done a better job at figuring out what Adolf Hitler was planning, there might not have been a Holocaust; but that doesn’t make Britain culpable in the genocide of the Jews. Certainly, if the LRRPs had been allowed to decimate the Tiger leadership, the war might have been finished right there, but pressure from the Tigers was brought to bear on RW to curtail the LRRP missions which were in fact violations of the CFA. How does this absolve the Tigers of using the Tamils as human shields, though? It was the Tiger decision to move from their failing campaign of assassination and terrorism to one of open war at Mavil Aru. That is far more pertinent than suggesting that the GoSL’s failure to kill VP was the cause of the war!
“In other words, people who support the SLA/Rajapaksa regime create a smokescreen that it was the only strategy that would have worked to justify mass killings.”
There were no mass killings, IMO, and it is this disagreement between you and me that is being discussed. You are using an assumption to explain a motive. The question is in fact whether military action against the Tigers was justified or not. Given the rampant violations of the CFA by the Tigers, the constant aggression, the assassination and terror, and finally the occupation of Mavil Aru, I believe it was justified. The Tigers had refused RW’s offers, and were increasing their acts of terror. When the Tigers instigated RW’s defeat in the next elections, their motives were clear.
“They seek to pass the burden of the incompetence of successive SL regimes and the SLA–and perhaps their own– to the civilians who were murdered.”
Firstly, how exactly does one pass a burden of military incompetence on to civilians? Secondly, I have yet to see DJ claim that the reason for going to war was the GoSL’s or the SL military’s incompetence. If you’re going to persist with that rationale, I urge you to link to an article so that we can examine the context of what you claim DJ is saying.
“The people, based on past experiences with the SLA, felt early on that it was better to run into the LTTE-held areas rather than move into the GoSL held areas.”
This is contradicted by the experience in the East, where the civilian population moved into the GoSL areas and there were negligible civilian deaths as a result. The difference was that in the East, the Tigers didn’t attempt to remove the civilian population with them as they ran.
“It was SLA’s atrocities and crimes during past operations –such as Operation Liberation and the one that caused the Jaffna exodus later–that had taught them to be wary of listening to SLA’s instructions.”
Again, this is contradicted by the behaviour of the civilians in the East who have had heir own share of atrocities by the military such as the Kokkadicholai massacre. The difference was in the Wanni the civilians were forced to accompany the Tigers, while in the East they were not.
“I was able to survive Operation Liberation by running away from SLA”
You should not allow you personal experiences from a different period to colour your analysis of the war two decades later. The fact that the Tamil population on the Jaffna peninsula (many of whom had relatives amongst, and were in communication with, the Tamils in the Wanni) had lived under the GoSL’s control for years, and resisted Tiger attempts at creating an intifada-type uprising during the CFA suggests that the civilian population’s view of the SL military had changed. The fact that the Tigers had to force a boycott on the NE Tamils to prevent them voting for RW also suggests that the civilians would rather live in peace under the GoSL than at war amongst the Tigers.
“So the lack of credibility of the SLA/GoSL and their sordid past are fundamental to the issue of investigating war crimes by all sides.”
I would suggest that the lack of evidence of large scale war crimes by the SL military is in fact what is fundamental to the issue of investigations.
“While the LTTE certainly contributed to the heavy death toll, the extent to which they did so and what the GoSL did, can only be ascertained by an independent international war crimes investigation.”
So you accept that it is possible that an investigation might reveal that the Tigers were in fact the bigger contributor to the civilian death toll?
“The murders of 5–6% of the population of a region is certainly of “genocidal proportions.””
But there is no evidence of any such murder. How can you ascertain a verdict of murder without an investigation? As I asked you before, if one man in a room of three (33%) were killed in the course of military action, would you deem that to be a war crime? You are under the mistaken notion that mere numbers are sufficient to indicate guilt. Clearly, your avoidance of this point suggests it is not true.
“How much credibility would an ex foot-soldier of the SLA have in these matters?”
The fact that you are forced into an ad hominem attack to stay afloat suggests that my argument holds more credibility than yours. Don’t concern yourself about who is bringing the argument; after all, what credibility has an anonymous “Agnos” on the internet?
“That is why I normally don’t waste my time responding to you.
I wanted to add my comments for the benefit of readers, but won’t waste any more time.”
I’m sure the readers would also have noted your penchant to “not waste any more time” once your arguments have been rubbished.
Mango / May 6, 2013
Excellent demolition of Agnos’s tired lies and half truths. It’s also interesting that it’s taken a ‘civilian’ (Citizen Silva) to comprehensively demolish the absurdly inflated casualty figures touted by hysterical Western reporters and their fellow travellers. Is there no-one in the SL military structure capable of doing the same?
Agnos / May 7, 2013
Thank you Mango for coming out of the woodwork to support a fellow supporter of state terrorism. When mendacious people supporting such a depraved, despotic and thuggish regime complain about ‘tired lies and half truths’ coming from others, it is a badge of honor.
It is good that you find it ‘tired.’ After all, the war criminals’ intent was to win the war by all manner of atrocities and crimes, then deny, deny, deny and hope that, with the passage of time, everyone will forget those crimes. So when it gets tiring to you, it means I am keeping my word to hound war criminals and their acolytes–including the likes of Michael Roberts and M. Sarvananthan, for years to come.
“…if one man in a room of three (33%) were killed in the course of military action, would you deem that to be a war crime?”
I didn’t respond to this since it is a moronic question. I clearly referred to the population of the “region” or a “big city.” One doesn’t expect supporters of terrorist regimes to comprehend that point. And true to form, they fail to comprehend my point that DJ’s argument buttresses the case that the MR regime could still have used the LRRP without resorting to aerial bombings, artillery and multi-barrel rocket attacks highly populated areas.
Mavil Aru needed a limited response in the East, but not an all out war in the Vanni without regard to the cost of civilian lives.
And my saying I don’t want to waste time is a way for me to discipline myself and limit my posts in a thread to 2 or 3 at most. Don’t flatter yourself about any ‘rubbishing.’ You are too tainted, dimwitted and incapable of doing that.
Sri Lanka’s problems are by no means over. Sit back and enjoy as your country descends into anarchy, aided by Gotabhaya and your necrophiliac buddies in the SL Army.
David Blacker / May 7, 2013
“When mendacious people supporting such a depraved, despotic and thuggish regime complain about ‘tired lies and half truths’ coming from others, it is a badge of honor.”
It is better to make an honour of a turd than admit you’re full of shit, yes.
“It is good that you find it ‘tired.’ After all, the war criminals’ intent was to win the war by all manner of atrocities and crimes, then deny, deny, deny and hope that, with the passage of time, everyone will forget those crimes.”
You mean it is the Tiger war criminals intent that after losing a war in which they committed ethnic cleansing, used child conscription, slave labour, and human shields, to point fingers at the otherside? I think you mistake ‘tired’ for ‘tiresome’ :D
“So when it gets tiring to you, it means I am keeping my word to hound war criminals and their acolytes–including the likes of Michael Roberts and M. Sarvananthan, for years to come.”
When someone says that your tactics are lame, it doesn’t mean that they are crippling :D No wonder you think it is an honour to be called useless. And really — this is hounding? :D I’ve seen a fly hound an elephant with more effect.
“I didn’t respond to this since it is a moronic question. I clearly referred to the population of the “region” or a “big city.””
It is moronic to you because you finally see your argument from the other side. You took the percentage of casualties from one group, extrapolated it to a bigger group, and hoped that by quoting an impressive number you could show that large numbers equal war crimes (after all, genocides must be numbered in millions, rather than the disappointingly small thousands you Tamils are stuck with). Your logic was that the percentage of casualties was what determined the cause. So I turned that on its head and pointed out to you that according to your logic, an even higher percentage of 33% casualties of a smaller group must indicate the same motive. Suddenly, lo and behold you find it moronic! I suggest you take some time to think through these so-called theories of yours before committing them to posterity.
“One doesn’t expect supporters of terrorist regimes to comprehend that point.”
You mean one must be an apologist for a terrorist group to comprehend it?
“And true to form, they fail to comprehend my point that DJ’s argument buttresses the case that the MR regime could still have used the LRRP without resorting to aerial bombings, artillery and multi-barrel rocket attacks highly populated areas.”
And true to form you are unable to find a link to the article in which DJ makes this claim. Surprise surprise. Once the Tigers were in the Cage west of Mullaitivu, it was no longer to use LRRPs in an area that constricted. Perhaps the word “deep” in Deep Penetration Unit slipped by you.
“Mavil Aru needed a limited response in the East, but not an all out war in the Vanni without regard to the cost of civilian lives.”
Most wars are sparked by what looks in hindsight like a minor incident, and if one is immature enough to look at the incident in isolation, it will not be surprising that one would come to such a childish conclusion; however in a scenario where a terror group had rampantly defied a ceasefire agreement to rain death and terror across the country while agitating for open war over several years, it is quite understandable that its enemy decided to simply get rid of them. You can weep for your fat mass murderers all you like, and try to find someone to blame for the atrocities they visited on their own people, but you know as do we all, that the Tigers brought all this on the Tamils, and no amount of your whitewashing them is going to change it.
“And my saying I don’t want to waste time is a way for me to discipline myself and limit my posts in a thread to 2 or 3 at most. “
Discipline would be far better served if you could actually educate yourself on the facts rather than making them up, and then discipline yourself to be true to the facts.
“Don’t flatter yourself about any ‘rubbishing.’ You are too tainted, dimwitted and incapable of doing that.”
As I said before, personal attacks can’t replace an argument.Your theories were rubbished long ago on Groundviews, so I’m surprised you’re dusting off those tattered old fig leaves.
“Sri Lanka’s problems are by no means over. Sit back and enjoy as your country descends into anarchy, aided by Gotabhaya and your necrophiliac buddies in the SL Army.”
Well I can assure you that you are strengthening their position with your inane strategy. Don’t take my word for it; just ask Kath Noble.
Mango / May 7, 2013
Skip the polemics Agnos – no-one’s impressed. I have no hesitation in calling out this regime’s lies and half truths and outright misdeeds. Blacker’s demolished your repeated lies, dissembling and half truths and shown them for what they are; here on CT and elsewhere (e.g. Groundviews). No wonder you’re annoyed!
You can hound people for as long as you like, but the result will be the same. A big fat zero. And best of all, you’re now engaged in counter-factual history of ‘MR should’ve done this,’ ‘SLA could’ve done that’ etc. Hilarious.
What has been rubbished by this report is the entire “40,000 to 140,000 dead civilians” claim around which entire careers have been built :) If you’re so clever and certain of your facts, why not explain the discrepancy in civilian casualties in the Eastern campaign and the Northern Campaign?
Mango / May 9, 2013
@Agnos, good news! According to Tamilnut, those fearsome vikings in Denmark (four major Danish political parties) have called for “independent international investigation on Sri Lanka”.
Fearsome Danes wearing chunky knit wooly jumpers will invade Sri Lanka, assisted by Danish Eezham activists, hiding behind White Danish activists. To Eelam or Not to Eelam? That’s the question. I bet Gota’s already written his surrender statement.
padraigcolman / May 10, 2013
I see we are getting the usual elegant level of debate here on Colombo Telegraph. Have any of those people engaging in overblown rhetoric and personal abuse actually read the report?
One thing that it says is: “Nothing in this survey denies the probability and the evidence that some extra-judicial killings of high-ranking LTTE officers occurred during the last days of the war. These actions need to be impartially investigated by an independent body, and where possible criminal indictments pursued against the perpetrators.”
Did anybody notice that before falling into the usual knee-jerk reactions? I have done a lengthy analysis of the IDAG-S paper here:
Civil debate of and correction of what I have written would be welcome.