15 July, 2024


Met Police Open War Crimes Investigation Into British Mercenaries In Sri Lanka

Police in London have opened an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka during the 1980s, it has emerged today.

The Foreign Office has told the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries that the Metropolitan Police had: “received a referral concerning war crimes alleged to have been committed by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka during the 1980s.”

They added: “Following receipt of the referral, the War Crimes Team began a scoping exercise into the matter, in accordance with the Crown Prosecution Service’s published guidelines for referrals of war crimes and crimes against humanity. At this stage of the investigation, the Metropolitan Police are not able to provide further comment on the details of the referral, as the scoping exercise is ongoing.”

The Metropolitan Police has separately confirmed the statement is accurate.

The probe follows the publication earlier this year of a book by Declassified UK journalist Phil Miller about British military veterans from a company called Keenie Meenie Services (KMS).

Miller exposed how KMS members were involved in war crimes against Tamil civilians at the start of Sri Lanka’s civil war in the mid-1980s – and escaped accountability.

KMS became involved in the conflict after a special adviser to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher suggested that UK support for Sri Lanka’s security forces “might be privatised”.

The company trained a new Sri Lankan police unit, called the Special Task Force (STF), which became notorious for carrying out atrocities, including a 1987 massacre at a prawn farm in Kokkadicholai, eastern Sri Lanka, in which 85 people were killed.

KMS also hired British pilots who flew helicopter gunships on combat missions, including an alleged raid on the village of Piramanthanaru, northern Sri Lanka, in which 16 people died in 1985.

The Tamil Information Centre, a community organisation in London, raised Miller’s findings with the UN Working Group on Mercenaries, which monitors private military companies.

The UN body subsequently submitted concerns about KMS to Britain’s Foreign Office, asking what criminal measures the UK government had taken to “combat impunity”. Five UN rapporteurs, including experts on torture and disappearances, supported the submission.

Dr Rachel Seoighe, a criminologist who alerted the UN on behalf of the Tamil Information Centre, said:

“It is welcome that the Metropolitan Police have finally begun to investigate what KMS did in Sri Lanka, after allowing British mercenaries to operate with impunity for so long. The UN was right to raise concerns about the lack of action by the British authorities. Tamil survivors have waited decades to see those responsible for the massacres of loved ones held accountable.”

The UN has also written to David Walker, currently a director of Saladin, a private security firm which has described KMS as its predecessor. Walker, a 78-year-old British special forces veteran, ran KMS in the 1980s while serving as a Conservative councillor in Surrey.

In their letter to Walker, the UN set out human rights concerns about his former company, noting that “a KMS employee regularly co-piloted an armed helicopter, including during operations in which civilians were allegedly killed.”

The UN added: “In one such incident brought to our attention, on 7 June 1986, a KMS employee co-piloted a helicopter from which it is alleged that the door gunner shot at a bus suspected to carry LTTE [Tamil Tiger] combatants as well as civilians. The door gunner allegedly continued to fire as men, women and children fled from the bus.”

The UN also expressed concern at how Walker’s company had taken on roles within Sri Lanka’s military that “increasingly appear to have gone beyond strengthening operational capability to encompass senior policy-making and advice, with indications that KMS personnel may have had some level of command responsibility at specific times.”

Demanding answers from Walker, the UN noted: “There is no information available on steps taken by KMS with respect to holding those responsible for the above allegations to account or to provide remedies to victims.”

Walker did not respond to the UN within the agency’s 60-day deadline. He had previously refused to co-operate with a US Congressional investigation into allegations KMS bombed a hospital in Nicaragua during the Contra war in 1985. Nicaragua’s then ambassador to the UN described the blast as terrorism.

KMS reduced its activities in the late-1980s following controversy around its work in Sri Lanka and Nicaragua, although it is not known exactly when KMS stopped trading because its accounts were registered offshore in tax havens.

As KMS wound down, Walker extended his control over another security company, Saladin Security, which used the old KMS office in London until as recently as 2018. The UN noted close links between the two firms, “including at the highest managerial level”.

Walker was challenged by the UN on whether his current company Saladin had learnt from his previous experience with KMS, expressing “concern about the lack of adequate due diligence measures to ensure non-repetition of human rights abuses in current operations.”

The UN added: “This is of utmost importance given that Saladin Security is operating in areas affected by armed conflict in which there are heightened risks of gross human rights abuses.” Current Saladincontracts include providing security for the oil industry at a site in Lokichar, northern Kenya. (By Dr Rachel Seoighe)

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Latest comments

  • 24

    Ginger Ress and Tom Hegan of Keenie Meenie Services were the mercenaries who helped set up the deadly STF in Sri Lanka in mid 80s at the request of JR. Since its launch the STF has murdered hundreds of innocent civilians, and has white-vanned and disappeared many more. The victims are from all ethnicities and regions of the country. It is well known that it’s GOTA who got the most mileage out of this uniformed gang of deadly killers. While investigating the KMS, our own STF too should be held accountable and punished for its crimes.

    • 9

      Not only KMS but the British government is also responsible for the plight of the Tamils from the time “Ceylon” got its so-called independence.

    • 8

      With a war criminal as President, whom can we punish for crimes.

  • 12

    Sinhalese won.
    Tamils lost.

    Too little too late.

    This investigation must have happened at that time to stop any war crimes.

    • 11

      Hmmmmmmm, whom do you call Sinhala? Is it based on the language one communicate with or ethnicity? The country had many kings who were ethnic Tamils. Then again Tamil is only a language. Even SWRD was of ‘Tamil’ lineage. As for Sinhala, if you are referring to the migrants from West Bengal, there were inhabitants in Lanka when they landed. They simply did not disappear. All SriLankans should be taught the history of the people who live on the land. All Sinhalese are not of West Bengalian heritage. Mahavamsa only documents one part. Dipavamsa is better. The Yakshas’, Rakshas’, Nagas’, and Devas’ history is not documented. Mercenaries are used in many places in the world and have been since the dawn of civilization. The LTTE diaspora is still trying to sling mud on all of us. People have no stomach for LTTE anymore………..GOOD It is very difficult to separate Tamils from Sinhalese. The spoken language is not the way to do it. Just because one speak English does not make him an Englishman!

      • 4

        As per all modern day DNA studies most of the modern day Sinhalese speakers or people who now call them selves Sinhalese are predominantly of Indian Tamil descent. The so called Bengali component is only 25% m, whereas the Tamil component to the Sinhalese DNA is 70% . As the so called local Naga and Yakka were Tamil or semi Tamil Elu speaking Dravidians and other than the original initial male only migration from the Bengal region , all other migration to the island from ancient , medieval to modern times, has been from the, then Tamil country in South India . Most of these migrants and invaders gradually arrived and got assimilated into the Sinhalese identity, as most of them settled down south and not in the Tamil parts of the island.

        • 2

          So why are the Tamil and Sinhala ‘speakers’ fighting?

      • 1

        History with Yakshas, Rakshas, Nagas, and Devas. Rawana from Sri Lanka and he kept Sita for a very very long time under his capture. For what purpose Rawana kept Sita? to play “ata bola”? Do only Sita and Ravana know what game they played? Maybe Sita pregnant to Rawana and after that Rama brought Sita with the help of Hanuma, this can be possible. No person keeping female for nothing.

      • 2


        “The LTTE diaspora is still trying to sling mud on all of us. “

        How and why?
        Can you define LTTE diaspora and please give us some clues to as how best to identify them?

        Is “LTTE diaspora” synonym for EELAM as Manisha suggested/protested foolishly some months ago?

        “Just because one speak English does not make him an Englishman!”

        Please let us know how best to describe/call/identify
        Sinhala speaking people,
        Tamils speaking people,
        Sinhala speaking Buddhists,
        Sinhala speaking Christians,
        Sinhala speaking Muslims,
        Sinhala speaking Hindus,
        Tamil speaking Hindus,
        Tamil speaking Muslims,
        Tamil speaking christians,
        Malay speaking Muslims,
        Portuguese Creole speaking Christians,
        Portuguese Creole speaking Kaffirs

        Sinhala speaking Veddahs,
        Tamil speaking veddahs,
        ………… speaking Veddahs,

        Please feel free to ignore my comments if you haven’t got any answers.

  • 13

    Is the shit beginning to hit the fan?

  • 14

    The Tamil diaspora has spent millions of dollars all over the world trying to assuage their humiliation. Without out understanding that western governments don’t give a shit. Americans are responsible for millions of deaths in Guatemala, el Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and Argentina. While they , the British and French are continuing war crimes in the middle east and Africa. Not to mention sanctioning Israeli persecution of Palestinians. They will never persecute a democratically elected government. Tamils grow up and move along. Let’s not forget that Tamils invented suicide bombings. Which has led to millions of casualties worldwide. Tamils are only people to use women to kill. Sheez.

    • 9


      “Without out understanding that western governments don’t give a shit. “

      Nobody gives a s**t about this little islanders anyway.
      Everyone who is interested in this island does so for just one purpose “groping” not because the quality but because of easy access.

      When looting Brothers are begging for loans, grants, immunity …. selling family silver, even Modi is dangling some dollars, …………….. you are proud of your women folks are being abused in Medieval Middle East Kingdoms, ……………. if you have still some pride left in you (b***s intact) send your single handed (15,000) generals to middle east and teach them who this islanders are, …. By the way UAE under the leadership of a female scientist has already sent a mission to mass while your dumbasses are still gloating about the war.

      “Americans are responsible for millions of deaths in Guatemala, el Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and Argentina. ……………………………………… persecution of Palestinians. “

      It’s been 11 years since your state, politicians, armed forces, functionaries, Weerawansa, …. have established this island as being another powerful superpower why don’t you send in Shavendra, Kamal, ……… 15,000 generals to teach USA, France, UK, …. a lesson in war crime and drag them to Hague?

      “Tamils are only people to use women to kill. Sheez.”

    • 4

      Yes live in the UK , enjoy the good life and the equal opportunities that it offers to recent immigrants like you , however encourage and preach genocide , discrimination and marginalization of the Tamils back home and most probably like most Sinhalese diaspora , collect funds and give support to this too. Bloody hypocrites, run away like rats deserting the sinking ship , for the good life in west and sit there want mayhem and racism back home. Why don’t you return to your genocidal hell hole instead of sitting and enjoying the good life in the UK. Unlike the Tamils who were forced to leave , due to state sponsored Sinhalese racism , Sinhalese like you deserted the island for good life there and now have become arm chair pseudo patriots and racists.

  • 15

    So now little by little the skeletons will come out of the cupboard.
    The racist Yakkos are still boasting about their sordid win over the discriminated Tamils but they had to become Victor’s by adhering to banned unconventional weapons and methodology.
    JRJ the only child Ravi who is the father to 3 boys from a Tamil mother was the mastermind behind the formation of the STF killing machine.
    11 long years have gone by since the culmination of the unnecessary war but the government s of the day have not taken any steps to get rid of this cancer.
    Of the 11 years the rajapuka s have been in power for 7 years.
    Even the good governance government who promised to find a solution tried to do so but when the klu Klux clan mainly rajapuka loyalists were there in a big way to put many many a spoke in to the wheels of reconciliation.
    The UN along with the rest of the powerful peace loving world must have the strength in their balls to begin the war crimes perpetrated by both sides to this uncouth battle.
    The LTTE too if found guilty have also got to walk the plank.
    No mercy should be given to all those guilty of this heinous crime which has affected mainly the poorer section s of the poverty stricken nation.

    • 4

      disgusting pig RJ go choke on some dog vomit. No one will care that about your demise

      • 8

        Sooka, GTF, diaspora getting exited again….thinking this time we will succeed. Seventy years of losing and they still don’t get it….

        • 9


          “Seventy years of losing and they still don’t get it….”

          I know, isn’t it why Gota and his b***s carriers are still gloating about winning the election by 2/3 while conveniently forgetting 9,410,195 electors chose to ignore the single handed self proclaimed strongman the Sinhala/Buddhist (whatever that maybe) Assgiria’s Hitler, …… ?

          • 4

            You ain’t seen nothing yet Veddah.

        • 2

          You call Sinhalese state sponsored genocide , racism , ethnic cleansing and war crimes on the island’s Tamils as loosing and gloating about this. Proves what sort of low life you really are. Creatures like you deserve this war criminal dictator

      • 4

        a14455 =
        Why for penning the truth.?
        If you can understand

      • 6


        “disgusting pig RJ go choke on some dog vomit. “

        Is there any leftover after being used by you and your family?

  • 11

    Of course,
    It’s in everybody’s interest to get rid of Tamil Terrorist Barbarians.

    • 12

      S. C. Pasqual

      “It’s in everybody’s interest to get rid of Tamil Terrorist Barbarians.”

      Well in whose interest did people elect Chief in State Terror (joint head of dead squad) as the President and give permission to all his siblings and nephews to loot, and loot, and loot this country?

      Isn’t it why 9,410,195 electors did not vote for his party?

      By the way do you regret getting rid of JVP between 1987 and 1991 and consider them as being cultured, (enlightened, humane, sophisticated, genteel, polished, polite, refined, urbane, well-bred, ….) because they were your terrorists?

      “One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”
      ― John Lennon

  • 4

    Dear Folks

    My entire arguments all along have been about Regional/Geo political(International) nature in which we have been managed for a very long time.

    The emphasis on solving problems internally and peacefully amongst oureselfs as part of developing our Nation overcoming hiccups was critical for any intelligent Nation wanting to survive the brutal world out there?? we failed in that due to carless neighbours too.

    This has been the whole mark world over in the so called 3rd world countries how they have been “put on developing mode” for the past 70 years too following World war 2. The reasons other Asian nations have done well is not because they did not have problems but had issues million times bigger have solved it differently…the North and South militancy are all part of the same management to destabilising and weakening the GOSL so the Geo Political masters to move into the space robbing the sovereignty of SL….WE ALL FIGHT AND DIE FOR THE WRONG CAUSES is our fault and not someone else’s is the lesson learned.

    This is one info you get to see and million more you do not know…so make the best of the elected now to change the landscape politically and economically to lay a great foundation of security/stability without any infighting will be Mr Thiagarajah’s advice.

  • 6

    a14455 –
    Why on earth why.?
    For exposing the truth.?
    If you were able to read and understand the Queen’s lingo better known to the world as ENGLISH, you would have seen where I did not even spare the Tamil Tigers for their unsavoury antics.
    I call a spade a spade and am not in fear of anyone’s daughter or son.?
    Do not yet your amude soiled is all I can say.
    Temper, temper and temper.

    • 3

      ‘you would have seen where I did not even spare the Tamil Tigers for their unsavoury antics.’

      Would you like me to search for the post where you claimed to have fought with the LTTE before retiring to Australia? ‘Tamil Eelam Patriot’ had some revealing comments about you too.

      • 5

        Stanley – the obnoxious who has a fascination for me. –
        Yes, I stated that.
        At all times in my life even now I stand for what I believe is right, never afraid of any living soul including your sad sordid self.

    • 1

      you should put your queens lingam where the sun dont see. It is pretty clear who your aim is dickhead. you blaming the LTTE . you didnt they father you ?

  • 2

    O the irony!

  • 1

    Until there are open investigations, accountability, and closure, Sri Lanka will forever be haunted by this, and we will always have unanswered questions, especially if our government does not stop blocking these investigations. Only those who have something to hide or fear will evade, block, and keep blaming others, for the terrible events that occurred at that time. If we do not want to be investigated by human rights organizations, we should simply stop asking the world for handouts and aid.

  • 2

    Clearly, countries identified as western, wants it both ways. Support terrorism, when it comes to arms export and oppose terrorism when providing “intelligence” to combat terrorism. Similarly it is not a surprise of mercenaries were sent to get out of a problem and shout about human rights violations in order to get support from certain sections of the population, including new immigrants to their country. The acid test in this matter is whether there would be a conviction for the stated offences without any success in appeal.

  • 1

    You may find this interesting and very related to this article by CT


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