19 August, 2019

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Responding To Rajan Hoole: Assessing Casualties In Eelam War IV & Examining The Reviews

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

I chose to respond to Rajan Hoole’s Comment directly and privately on the 18th October… at about the same time that I addressed ALAN KEENAN of ICG privately re his Twitter comments. 

The issues are complex and cannot be efficiently tackled within the confines of a COMMENTS BOX with word limits because one needs supporting citations, maps and pictorial insights. In fact, it is difficult to investigate this topic without a lengthy report that is perhaps one/third the size of the UNPoE Report. 

While paying respect to the dead may be important, respect for the evidence and for discerning methods of evaluation are the overriding requirements. So is honesty of purpose: Keenan did not want me to present his answer in the public realm, but both that request and his response are patently an attempt to deflect the lines of analysis I am pressing. 

I have no knowledge whatsoever about the International Crisis Group’s source of funding. But their initial alteration of a key phrase in the UNPoE’s Report was just one gunshot in a volley of fire from a cohort of Western institutions and media giants. The prima facie indication is that of an alliance of minds and a grand strategy (in effect if not that of design)

The thrust of my summarizing article REVEALED that all these organisations, led by USA and its Secy-of-State’s Department, bought into the LTTE’s grand strategy in 2009 and sought to save the main core of the Tiger leadership [ditching the talaivar, but not making that public]. Given such a background, HOW can compromised segments of this Western conglomerate –including ICG, AI and various UN agencies implicated in that effort – be entrusted with an investigation in Sri Lanka!! 

My question is rhetorical. There is a Mafia out there in the Western world. To prove me wrong they have to address the literature I have produced (including the summary that the C’bo Telegraph has kindly carried) … as well as the evidence associated with the Marga team’s representations in Geneva and Washington.

Rajan is a friend with an honesty of purpose. I would gladly have him in some commission of inquiry. But he must have personnel alongside him with military and technological experience. Your Note, RAJAN, does not indicate to me that you grasped the significance of the arguments based on relationship between WOUNDED and DEAD in any battleground situation. This is central. If there were 40,000 dead where were the 80,000 wounded.

In brief, Rajna, it seems that you  have not transcended the bourgeois- cum-office desk reasoning that continues to bedevil engagements with this complex topic. Honesty of purpose and compassion are not adequate modalities given such a serious deficiency.  

To you, I say, “Do send me Chapter 8 of PALMYRAH FALLEN so that I can study it …. And also place it in Thuppahi… and/or send a summary to this erstwhile web site, viz. Colombo Telegraph. Indicate in what PRECISE ways it undermines my summary presentation. But perhaps you should consider going through the PARANAGAMA COMMISSION and its subsidiary appendices — with Holmes, De Silva, Crane etc involved – before you do so.”

To this add all the Reports of Lt Col Gash –  now conveniently available in ‘clumps’ in my web site; my essay “INTERPRETING THE GASH FILES: REFLECTIONS will lead one to the lot. 

A final note: when I drafted the article you have challenged I myself failed to look at the Paranagama Report again and to go through NUMBERS GAME again. I will have to do this over time. In brief, I will be continually tackling this topic …because I learn something new when I do so. So, too, incidentally, when I began addressing the ”sacrificial devotion” of the Tamil Tigers  in 2003/04: I  kept churning out essays till 2012/13 because there were some new dimensions revealed as one explored deeper and engaged with scholars (Sivathamby, Hellmann-Rajanayagam, Schalk, Natali, Harman, etc) researching the field.

NOTE SENT to RAJAN, 18 October 2018

DEAR RAJAN

Thank you for your civil and restrained note in Colombo Telegraph.

My review essay was based in part on distillations from previous essays – some of which I had to re-read (and there are other essays I had no time to read). Though’ I cited NUMBERS’GAME, I only went to one segment of that huge essay.

The problem of hugeness bedevils’ your two UTHR reports.  And Yes I confess to having missed PALMYRAH FALLEN.

Another reason for skipping your UTHR work was that your warm heart led you to sympathise with the fate of young Tiger recruits –deemed “conscripts” and with civilians caught up as conscripted workers fo r the LTTE armed efforts. A young Tiger of 13 years with a gun and some training is a “belligerent” in war reviews { and many US army personnel in the World wars were conscripts by  the way] …Likewise civilian cooks and fetchers and carriers were “belligerents” because an Army cannot survive without such support.

Another reason I did not re-visit your work was because I considered Narendran Rajasingham’s estimate the best of the lot in comparison with Sarvananthan, Nadesan, UTHR and Citizen Silva [when I set out post 2011 to check Rohan Gunaratna’s absurdly low estimate]

TWO SIDE POINTS

A = The Marga team included DAVID BLACKER and PADRAIG MICHAEL O’LEARY. Blacker’s mother is Tamil and more to the point he is the only local investigator who has infantry experience.

B =Thangavelu’s estimate lists 113 Tigers executed and I have cited that item + White lies + Weiss on the Killing of some Tiger personnel, IN MY essay to OISL (reprintd in Thupppahi with another using Pics)   …. BUT I am not sure that these sources  can support the statement that “large numbers of cadres and civilians disappeared after surrender to the Army.”

May I request a fresh article from your pen distilling the evidence you have in the works cited –set against my work and others. Place it in any venue you wish but do have the temerity to offer it to me as well for Thuppahi.

I am including several persons in this MEMO who are au fait with the issues. I do not think they will threaten you ….

I LOOK FORWARD TO AN  ARTICLE WHERE YOU SUMMARIZE Palmyrah FALLEN IN WAYS pertinent to the thrusts in my article.

MICHAEL

Dear Rajan 

I forgot something vital. 

C = Is your estimate of 100.000 dead all told for the period 2006-09 or just the last phase in 2009? And to what extent is it dependent on Parthipan’s estimate of total population in February –a dicey one?

D =  Morevitally, do you address the MAIN PROBLEM with all the estimates: where were the 200,000 WOUNDED?

Michael

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009b “The Battle for the Vanni Pocket,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, March 2009, Vol. 35/2, pp. 17-19. … and http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/aulimp/citations/gsa/ 2009157395/156554.html

Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-american-agenda-for-sri-lankas-national-issues-1970s-2014/

Hull, C. Bryson 2009 “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009, http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSCOL450259

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009a “Sri Lankan War in Endgame, 100,000 escape rebel zone,” 23 April 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-srilanka-war-idUSTRE53J0IZ20090422

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009b “Sri Lanka’s long war in bloody final climax,” 17 May 2009, http://mg.co.za/article/2009-05-17-sri-lankas-long-war-in-bloody-final-climax

IDAG [i.e. Citizen Silva] 2013 “The Numbers Game: Politics of Retributive Justice,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice OR  http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/shrilanka/document/TheNG.pdf

Jeyaraj D. B. S. 2011 “KP” Speaks Out,” Vavuniya: NERDO, Mum Pvt. Ltsd

Mango 2014 “Sri Lanka’s War In Its Last Phase: Where WIA Figures Defeat The Gross KIA Estimates,” 14 February 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lankas-war-in-its-last-phase-where-wia-figures-defeat-the-gross-kia-estimates/

Marga  2011 Preliminary Summary re the Marga Seminar on the UNPoE Report” drafted by Godfrey Gunatilleka,http://www.margasrilanka.org/Darusman-Seminar%20Report.pdf

Marga 2011 An Analysis and Evaluation of The Report of the Advisory Panel to the UNSG nn the Final Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/0eybj1ynej6spaa/The%20Darusman%20Report-%20Final%20doc-2.doc

Marga 2011 Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lankahttp://www.margasrilanka.org/Truth-Accountability.pdf.

Roberts, Michael 2013 “Introducing “Numbers Game” – A Detailed Study of the Last Stages of Eelam War IV,” 30 April 2013, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/introducing-numbers-game-a-detailed-study-of-the-last-stages-of-eelam-war-iv/

Roberts, Michael 2014 Tamil Person and State. Essaysl, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2014 Tamil Person and State. Pictorial, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2014 “Generating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels,” 10 April 2014, http://groundviews.org/2014/04/10/generating-calamity-2008-2014-an-overview-of-tamil-nationalist-operations-and-their-marvels/

Roberts, Michael 2015 “Lilliputs in a World of Giants: Marga and CHA bat for Lanka in the Propaganda War, 2009-14,” 18 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/lilliputs-in-a-world-of-giants-marga-and-cha-bat-for-lanka-in-the-propaganda-war-2009-14/#more-18467

Roberts: Michael 2015  “Sturdy Advocacy: Marga’s Questioning of the UNPoE’s Assassination Job,” 25 November 2009, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=18544&action=edit&postpost=v2

Roberts, Michael 2018 “The Gash Files III: Trapped Tamils out by Sea,” 20 April 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/the-gash-files-iii-trapped-tamils-out-by-sea-in-2009/

Sunday Times 2015 “Marga/CHA confront the OISL Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Godfrey Gunatilleke in Q and A with Lasanda Kurukulasuriya,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-confront-the-oisl-investigation-in-geneva-september-2014-godfrey-gunatilleke-in-q-and-a-with-lasanda-kurukulasuriya/#more-18492

Thiagarajah, Jeevan 2015 “Confronting the OCHR Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Memorandum from Jeevan Thiagarajah,” 19 November 2015,

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/confronting-the-ochr-investigation-in-geneva-september-2014-memorandum-from-jeevan-thiagarajah/#more-18481 

Thiagarajah:, Jeevan 2015 Marga/CHA in Advocacy with BRIC Nations at Geneva, September 2014,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-in-advocacy-with-bric-nations-at-geneva-september-2014/#more-18498

“Marga & CHA Press Their Views in the Washington Den,” via Jeevan Thiagarajah: “Memo on Visit to Washington, 16-23rd October 2014: Resetting the Discourse on Post-War Issues of Accountability,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=18505&action=edit&postpost=v2

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Latest comments

  • 0
    4

    Good to see such seriousness of purpose and objectivity on the part of these scholars.
    .
    It is very necessary that such discourse be maintained in the public domain, and that it is made accessible to us all as the lights go out in Sri Ĺanka.

    • 4
      0

      I guess I’m right about the lights going out in Sri Lanka, but the chorus of comments from the North make it quite clear that I know little of the facts pertaining to what’s happening.
      .
      Of one thing I’m certain. The Rakapaksas will not atone for their harsh measures in the past.

  • 12
    0

    Here is the answer to your idiotic question, “If there were 40,000 dead, where are the 80,000 wounded”. In any war wounded are of three categories – walking wounded, moderately wounded and severely wounded. After the end of the war, government never provided transport for the people to cross over to the designated fenced area. People had to walk and only those who were walking wounded and those who were moderately wounded who had relatives to carry them crossed over. To say that no wounded person crossed over is a blatant lie. It is well documented that government did not send adequate medical supplies to the people held up in the war zone. All those moderately wounded who were left behind and those with severe injuries especially those with burns due to use of chemical weapons and those with shattered parts of body due to use of cluster bombs were shot and killed and their bodies were incinerated, and ashes dissolved in sulphuric acid drums both imported from China. This is why there were not many wounded. Stop coming out with your crap due to your racist bias against Tamils. This is the reason why no person was allowed to visit war zone during or after the war. If an international inquiry is held where the panel could visit the area and take samples of soil as well as get evidence with witness protection in place truth will come to light. If you are honest, demand the government to accede to it.

    • 2
      1

      Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

      I pose the following questions to you for an answer. The supposed war between the LTTE and the MR govt Forces, was waged between Jan 2008 to May 2009.

      1. Did the Forces fight and the LTTE to get the land area held by the LTTE, which was heavily ladened with land mines or did the LTTE withdraw burying all their arsenol?
      2. Did the Forces fire a single shot to capture Kilinochchi when they entered Kilinochchi as all had left to Puthukudiirippu?
      3. After VP with the LTTE cadre of around a 45000 abandoned their stronghold Kilinochchi with the Tamil Civilian population of around 300,000, did not the entire Tamil Civilian population wade the Nandikadal Lagoon to the Forces control side, inspite of propaganda that the LTTE was killing any who tried to escape?
      4. I am sure that you would have seen video clips of young, old, men, women and children with their little belongings, in rubber dinghies and in inflated vehicle tubes, disembarking on the Forces side. My question is, who provided the Tamil civilians with such a large number of dinghies and tubes for them to escape? It has to be the Forces or the LTTE as there was no one else, not even the UN?
      5. Do you subscribe to the belief that MR had deals with VP till the end, where he was duped and sacrificed in the end with his cadre of around a 45000, by KP to take over the North under the auspices of MR, that backfired by the entry of Vignasewaran.

      • 2
        0

        Yes what is described as last stages of war was between Jan 2008 and May 2009 and not confined to final assault which resulted in severe casualties.
        Answer to 1 & 2 – Despite several bigoted Tamil pundits claiming that LTTE will never surrender Vanni and will fight to the end, LTTE in a cowardly fashion retracted from Killinochchi without a fight or as you say without a single shot fired. Propaganda machine of LTTE was active in defending this decision of even forcing inhabitants of Killinochci to relocate to Mullaitivu with them. They even said that 15 nations are waiting to recognise Eelam and 10 planes are ready in Eritrea airport to take off and bomb Colombo, believed by some educated Tamils.
        Answer to 3 & 4 – Initially LTTE fired onto those trying to escape may be killing a few in order to have a human shield for their fighters to hide, but subsequently due to immense pressure from the people allowed them to cross over to side of the government even providing their dinghies and other floats. Therefore majority of people killed during this cross over were by security forces and not by LTTE.
        Answer to 5 – I am told that there was a deal between MR and VP about surrender to western nations and not to India, but when they surrendered they were executed including higher ups in LTTE echelon as well as entire VP family thus betraying trust. After death of VP, KP tried to take control of LTTE financial assets and failed with death threats made on him. KP without disclosing this made a deal with MR saying that he will bring all LTTE assets to Sri Lanka (obviously major part of it as bribe to MR/Basil etc). The arrest drama staged in Kuala Lumpur was a fake and was pre-planned. Unfortunately till now KP has not been able to lay his hand in any of the LTTE assets abroad.

        • 1
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          You are vague in most of your answers. Last stages of the war is not from Jan 2008 to May 2009. The 15 months from Jan 2008 to May 2009 was the war, after the LTTE closed the Mawilaru anicut to draw the Govt Forces to an open confrontation. It is funny, after both VP and MR declared an open war, there was no fighting between them but what the LTTE had done was to bury all their artillery and retreating to Kilinochchi by August 2008. Then due to the incessant Monsoon in 2008, they were unable to get to Puthukudiirippu till the Monsoon ended in December 2008. However in Jan 2009 all had vacated Kilinochchi and the Forces enter Kilinochchi on the 9th of Jan 2009 after Lasantha was killed on the 8th Jan 2009. Have you tried to understand why VP buried all their weaponry, which was displayed at the 1st Deyatakirula Exhibition at the BMICH. Surely if VP closed the Mawilaru anicut to draw the Forces to an open confrontation, why should VP bury even a single weapon? Do you agree that if the Forces did not fire a single shot to capture Kilinochchi that they fought to capture the rest of land area that was mined heavily in the LTTE control? In other words there was no fighting, so zero casualty, although both VP and MR hyped a propaganda war to appease the South to boost MR’s image? The only fighting was, when VP was isolated with his cadre on the beach front, the Forces massacred the lot when they came to surrender. That is all. You vaguely admit that the LTTE provided the rubber dinghies and tubes to the Tamil civilians. Does it make sense that, first the LTTE threaten to kill and then allow all Tamil civilians escape? Do you know the ships that arrived to ferry VP away made VP to abandon Kilinochchi and get to the beachfront.

    • 1
      4

      Dr. G.S. Prof Roberts is not a Racist. He is a historian. To determine the civilian war dead and wounded will require specialists in this field. Not people with infantry experience only or arm chair analysts. The ICRC ferried many injured outside the war zones to makeshift hospitals. Sadly ICRC did not keep a record of who were ferried and where they were dropped. One of my nephew spent two years trying to locate his father who was loaded in the icrc boat. He finally found the death certificate in Anuradhapura courts. Cause of death was not given.

      A record is now being compiled from available film clips, government records and interviews of surviving relatives and verifying process. As you suggested, access to the areas for independent investigators to examine areas of concern that are now not accessible to anyone other than the armed forces will be a step in the right direction for anyone to search for the truth of the war dead. Sooner a SL government set up the court as recommended by the UNHRC resolution sooner we will know the truth. But as we know will not happen in the near future.

      • 2
        1

        NV history is not scientific and has certain bias when being compiled. Sri Lanka history starts only with arrival of Vijaya. Does this mean that there was no history prior to that, especially when new evidences are emerging to the contrary. Similarly in Malaysia history is taught only from the time king Parameshwara was converted to Islam, completely blacking out the ancient Pallava rule over those lands. Even in India glory of South Indian rulers are hidden to north Indian students. So we cannot expect anything from a historian who has vested interest in covering up truth. If you class me as either with infantry experience or an arm chair specialist, you are sadly mistaken. I served as medico-legal officer in the war zone and a medical witness to crimes committed by armed forces against Tamils. This is at a time when you lived safely abroad and never experienced the agony undergone by Tamils. In fact after the Jaffna fort attack resulting in several casualties among armed forces and police, I was requested by armed forces to visit the camp and classify wounded people, in order to prioritise for flying them to Colombo for treatment as the government did not have adequate space to carry all of them. I am expressing the view with experience and not a as an amateur. What sort of specialists do you require to determine the war dead or wounded above the level of a medico-legal officer. I wish to bring to your notice that certificates issued by me to those Tamils deliberately wounded by armed forces were accepted by foreign countries for granting asylum. I am proud to say that I served Tamils without any fear of either armed forces or LTTE.

        • 1
          0

          Further to that in a recent article Michael Roberts made an unwarranted allegation that Tamils are dishonestly claiming eastern province. Is this not racism when new evidence has emerged of the presence of Tamils in eastern province for 2000 years when there is no evidence of presence of Sinhalese of that antiquity there.

        • 0
          0

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

          Are you sure you are responding to me?

      • 3
        0

        nagalingam

        “Prof Roberts is not a Racist. He is a historian”

        Dr. Michael Roberts was not a historian but an anthropologist. He has written several ‘His Stories’ that cannot be considered history. He may not be a racist but he is fully biased towards the Sinhala regime and of course you know why.

      • 0
        0

        nagalingam ethirveerasingam

        “Dr. G.S. Prof Roberts is not a Racist. He is a historian.”

        Alright if he is not a racist is he going ga ga?
        All his recent typings deliberately portray Tamils as liars, and LTTE supporters and claim to have found no/zero causality, one sided, biased, mostly recycled, and rely on Lord Naseby.

        I am not aware whether he had a conscious decision to visit those areas and interview kith and kin of the victims.

        The important issue is if he spends half of his time actually looking for truth it would have made his life much much easier and fruitful.
        I do not know why these retired academics take the very cheap option.

      • 0
        0

        Individual cases like this should be given top priority, but you must first file a complaint specifying the charge, which in your brother’s case will be murder. ( I guess your nephew’s father is your brother or brother-in-law) No point writing about it on the internet, or running to the UN without first filing a case here, where the supposed crime happened. If our authorities do not take action, then you have a stronger case at the UN/UNHCR. You do not need access to any areas to file the charges. If your case is strong enough areas will be opened up if necessarily. So why wait? File the case as soon as possible, otherwise the whole thing sounds like another made up Tamil story.
         
        You have to get your story straight though – The ICRC went into the war-zone to bring the injured/weak to safety. They did not stay OUTSIDE the war-zone and pick up people as you imply. Putumatalan makeshift hospital in the middle of the war-zone, was one place they went to get the injured and they did not drop off the people in make-shift hospitals, but at agreed government hospitals (Anuradhapura, Trincomalee and also Vavuniya and maybe a couple of more hospitals). FYI the ICRC does not keep records of names – so its not “sadly” its their policy. When the numbers of the wounded increased the ICRC supplied even with a few medical staff to Anuradhapura. If your brother died in Anuradhapura hospital, just get the full and precise information and take legal action. Although I really cannot understand how dying in a hospital can be a war crime to be tried in international courts. The charge you could hope for would be at most malpractice or negligence.

    • 0
      0

      You are one sick man. Do you have proof of “All those moderately wounded who were left behind and those with severe injuries especially those with burns due to use of chemical weapons and those with shattered parts of body due to use of cluster bombs were shot and killed and their bodies were incinerated, and ashes dissolved in sulphuric acid drums both imported from China. This is why there were not many wounded.” You are also very dumb. You openly admit that there were not many wounded. LMAO
       
      If you have a case against our , then for God’s sake file the case, without sitting and fabricating these most grotesque stories. You cannot file a case for numbers taken out of thin air. The case has to be about actual humans killed, not numbers. Try to get it into your head. Therefore you have to have a full and complere list of the 40,000-300,000 “genocided” Tamils, with their names and NIC numbers and how and when they were socalled “genocided” and then file the case. Since you obviously do not have it, and you know that you cannot ever get it, because these numbers are just taken out of thin air you are just fabricating stories. We are NEVER EVER going to let anyone come here to investigate anything, since they do not even know what they are going to investigate without that list, now do they? If our armed forces used the type of weapons you describe on the 300,000 trapped Tamil civilians in that ever decreasing few square kilometers, then not a single Tamil would have survived. Now, do you understand the stupidity of what you are saying?

  • 8
    1

    Further to that, the figure of 135,000 touted as the total loss of lives in the war is not confined to last stages only but from onset of the assault from 2008, where after fall of Killinochchi, LTTE forced people to be holed up around Mullaitivu till the end of the war in May 2009. At the beginning of the final assault, census done by officers gave the number of people encircled as around 500, 000. But after the end of the war of these only 365,000 crossed over, which is the reason why the figure of 135,000 dead was calculated. When it is simple for even a five year old to get it correct, I do not know why adult idiots cannot figure it out. Despite the number of people being around 500, 000, government put the figure at 150,000 and sent food and medicine in a depleted amount to deny people food and medicine, which itself is a war crime. Stop blaming UTHR or anyone who have correctly stated that LTTE forcibly conscripted people. At one point even with continuous and strenuous attempts by LTTE to convince people of final victory with friendly nations abroad, Tamils refused to buy into it and stopped joining LTTE. This is the reason why LTTE used force, and anyone will agree that when a movement forcibly conscripts, it is a sign on impending downfall. People like you with bigoted mind will never change in ascertaining the truth. Death toll is not only due to direct injury but also due to lack of medical facilities. When doctors who worked with war wounded spoke out the truth they were promptly arrested and threatened to retract their statement and released on condition that they will not speak to anyone about it. If the government was honest why should they do it or prevent UN team to visit and record evidence. This is the sad state of affairs when charlatan like the above author is trying to sweep under the carpet.

  • 7
    1

    I have previously exposed this Roberts. During the early phase of the war, when he tried to peddle the GoSL’s figure of 65-70,000 civilians caught up in the Vanni, when the NGO’s, TNA as well as Anandasangaree came up with the correct figure of 350–400,000. Roberts castigated the NGO’s viciously and then lost all credibility when the Menik farm camps alone overflowed with nearly 300,000 people. But rather than apologize and concede his error, he continues to take issue with NGOs.

    Tamils don’t need to accept anyone’s numbers at face value. What they ought to argue is that given the utter lack of credibility of the GoSL when it came to civilian numbers, and given the long history of mass atrocities by the armed forces, any number ( yes even a number like 140,000 could be true, though I personally think it is in the 25–40, 000 range) for civilian casualties is legitimate until an impartial international investigation brings out the truth. Of course if such an investigation shows the the dead amounted to 20,000, not 40, 000, we will accept it, but we don’t even need to read whatever arguments some donkey professor who had made a fool of himself in the past, comes up with.

  • 6
    1

    Dr.Roberts has become very active,after quite a while! He is hoping that MaRa and the clan will be back on the saddle for him to reap the whirlwind.But I am sure Gota would not be able to get a hang of what he writes.

    • 3
      2

      It appears that Dr. Michael Roberts is competing with Prof. Laksiri Fernando to get the post of High Commissioner to Australia by stooping to low levels of journalism.

  • 5
    1

    Roberts, most of us in this forum understand your hidden purpose of so called research and these articles which you keep dishing out. The fact of the matter is you personally did not experience the horror ,the pain and the sufferings.And if your purpose is purely of fact finding, I assure you that you have failed miserably in doing so. Also there is a pattern in your writings which is hard to come in fact finding reports. At the time of the war people were denied of basic rights/care, The purpose of the war by all involved parties were to cause maximum suffering to innocent people. And you by way of presenting your spin (trying to fish in troubled water is not even close) is not only undermining but cruel. The govt claimed zero casualty and the victims are reportedly claiming in exaggerated numbers.But for a fact we all are aware that a lot of family members are still in search of their missing ones.The main reason behind this tragedy is govt conducting a war without any EVIDENCE or witnesses.So please consider not causing more harm and pain to those poor soles.If you really want to do some journalistic justice try helping finding some answers for the missing ones . Otherwise SHUT THE —- UP.

  • 3
    0

    The number of families in the N & E with widows as heads itself should be a fair basis for counting the war victims.
    The number will be much more than what the number of widows would suggest, as there were women fighters as well in the LTTE and children too.
    Many of the wounded and families of victims had for long avoided identification for fear of persecution.
    No inquiry including the Paranagama Commission’s was truly accessible to most victims, who felt intimidated.
    *
    Let us forget about the neutrality of the West.
    Was there no case for a truly impartial local inquiry, which would have preempted Western meddling?

    • 4
      0

      SJ

      “The number of families in the N & E with widows as heads itself should be a fair basis for counting the war victims.”

      According to Ministers in 2011 the number stood at 95,000.
      The problem encountered by Tamil victim was the armed forces prevented people reporting to independent researchers, party volunteers, ………… .
      I am told even now Army prevents a comprehensive survey of the death.

      On this issue you have an open season for bashing FP, TNA, TULF, TELO, PLOT, ……………….. Trinco Sam, Sumanthiran, ………………………………… Carry on bashing.

  • 2
    7

    Gentlemen,

    May I ask why we Sinhalese are even wasting our time answering questions posed by the losing side?

    I mean when you walk on the road, if someone tried to knock on you and you beat this fella to the ground, do you remain there answer all the questions as to why you hit him and all that? No.`

    • 1
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      That can only happen in a lawless state like in Sri Lanka. Ask your racist Sinhala friends in UK whether they can lay their hand on a Tamil even under any provocation without ending behind bars. This is why they are like dogs with their tails tucked between their legs watching a banned organisation like LTTE waving their flags and even chasing all Sinhala war criminals out of UK.

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        I don’t know about the UK, but in Canada, Tamils are primarily restricted to their Scarborough ghettos. In our area, I have never crosses paths with a Tamil.

        In any case, one needs to respect the law of the land. In the example you have given above, it looks like the Sinhalese are respecting UK laws where as the Tamils (not surprisingly) are breaking the Law.

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    Michael,
    It is with much reluctance that I am making this comment. As a humanities person you know that trying to capture highly disordered scenarios as warfare in theories is a perilous task. All the most ingenious theories must finally bow down before hard facts. The UTHR(J) in its Special Reports 32 and 34 tried to grapple with the hard facts concerning the dead:
    http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm
    http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/Special%20rep34/Uthr-sp.rp34.htm
    The second, published in December 2009 came up with a figure of 40,000 dead and missing based on a figure of 330,000 people initially caught up in the contracting war zone. We had much more detailed information when Palmyra Fallen was written; such as figures of survivors, including the injured finally brought to refugee camps, their districts of origin, those who escaped to government-controlled areas before the Tigers imposed a ban, natural increase of the population and much more. The figure of those caught up in the contracting war zone was revised to 386.135
    Palmyra Fallen was reviewed, well-advertised including in Colombo Telegraph, and sold in Colombo bookshops. If you believe it was written out of honest intention, you should not speculate about it without reading it.
    You have been rushing in to castigate persons who have given estimates of about 40,000 dead and missing, where other critics have fallen silent. While you and your MARGA friends have rebuked Tamil officials who did an honest job under fire for ‘overcooking’ figures, you have not found fault with Sinhalese high ups who brow beat the UN into accepting a low figure of 230,000 people on the run. Unbecoming for a scholar, you have joined the resistance to any systematic accounting of the dead, thereby impeding an outlet for grief. That is where more destructive agents have stepped in.

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      Rajan Hoole

      He is comfortable with covering up truth.
      Digging out truth is messy.
      Why would anyone who had comfortably settled down in down under would dirty his hands, pants and knees?

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    The relationship between WOUNDED and DEAD in any battleground situation may be 1 is to 2 or whatever ratio. But if all civilians are corralled into a confined space and mowed down by artillery fire, shells and bombs, then that relationship does not hold true. Massacres and genocides have dramatically different outcomes from ‘battleground situations’.

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    Rajan Hoole.

    You were involved in chronicling the events that unfolded in the 80s .You did not run away overseas but remained behind and through your sources in all parts of the country you compiled all your FACTS AND FIGURES. The Miller Mathematical Gold Medal came your way several decades ago.
    Dr.Roberts who was an Academic at Peradeniya and known to be a Scholar,all of a sudden, only after the end of the war in mid 2009 began contesting several accounts given by others like Gordon Weiss on the numbers involved. MaRa told the world that he fought the war with ZERO civilian casualty!
    For the Rajapakse clan,Dr.Roberts is their Man WHO KNEW INFINITY not Ramanujam!

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      Dr. Michael Roberts is just another Rajapakshe stooge who will write anything and everything on this subject in favor of the Rajapakshes. He is well benefitted for this kind of service.

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    Dear Roberts We the public appreciate all your efforts as much we apprecaite others efforts too be it different. That is what democracy is all about and we are not going to be selective how we treat one’s work from the others as long as the intentions are honourable we will comment/ask questions objectively with respect. We are where we are because we failed to ask question along the way/spot check on all issues related to human rights/trouble shoot/risk analyse out of fear or we supported the existing narratives./mindsets ourself in denial of what has taken place?? We all lost our own children in the process as a Nation. How we grieved for each others children is a different matter however caries a lot of info on mindless state of affairs that exist in our Nation.

    It is healthy we SL can be diverse in how we look at the same problem from different angles/exercising each and everyone’s right to analysis/conclude and most importantly to share and we apprecaite that immnesley. This is hugely painful exercise for all SL’s. The real question for me here is how does this matter if 1 or 500000 fellow men perished. What really matters is what we all learned from this event………..currently I feel is Zero.

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    Dear All, I look further…..say we had 100000 perished for the discussion purposes…..then the GOSL and LTTE was convicted by a Foreign panel as committed war crimes and we per se found the individual responsible for the said crime too.

    (A) Can anyone tell what is next in store for SL….

    (1) Criminals put behind the bar
    (2) Victims compensated from all site?? Where would the SL government and the LTTE will find money to compensate??
    (3) North and East merged under the Indian agreement and further powers given to PC…deliver the devolutionary package as per the constitutional assembly?
    (4) Armed forces removed from the North and returned to South? Entire land returned to NPC or to the displaced???
    (5) India happy – assuming they are not called to the docs to answer questions
    (6) China Happy – assuming they are not called to the docs to answer question.
    (7) The UN Security Nations and the Geopolitical forces happy – assuming they are not called to answer question.
    (8) We all live happily ever after correct?
    (9) We expect this is acceptable to all the people be it Tamil or Sihalese speaking throughout the nation correct? Do we ever think that others may have understood this more than the devolution supporters themselves as to if this is good or bad for the nation on a long run?
    (10) No further population growth we anticipate as the land mass is limited?
    (11) Can Upcountry Tamils and the Sinhalese migrate to the North and East as required in bigger numbers (not on a forced settlement basis) but as population grow in the country requires distribution (natural) correct without any local animosities??? I am not sure if people have an understanding/enough expereince of the PC’s land powers when they are given? This will lead to the same conflicts too? Is it not like jumping from the frying pan into the fire with regard to racial issues through divisional solution in a small island?

    continued

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    continued
    (B) I see the following insted
    (1) This set the president for every single citizen of SL to seek justice aganist each other and the respective armed groups too …..remember we all lost some one to violence/cold blooded killings the law enforement never had a chance of catching up since the killing rate was so high is beyond the system capacity……I can speak for Jaffna alone for since 1970’s all those people killed by the armed youth – civilians, armed forces, police, teachers, civil servants, politicians, youth killed each other. Down south I would not know where to begin too……
    (2) Then the NPC will be a sitting target with PLOTE/TELO/EPRLF…….ETC so would the JVP down south too.
    (3) News media outlet such as Suthanthiran for writing all that vile stuff…….some of it even bodered public speeches by others open invitation to kill people too……….then the southern equivalents even worse?
    (3) All others missing need to be accounted??
    (4) The politicians themselves including those sit in the parliament today – where were they when all the killing went on……did they condone the killings or kept quiet?? did they attend all the citizens of the North/South funerals showing solidarity to allow all citizens to choose whom they wanted?? Democracy/Freedom of expression/Choosing your destiny etc they all share so much with the civilised world? Do the world really knows what happened in Jaffna for example??
    (5) Then further investigations into citizen ship act/1958/1977/1983 and the respective parlimetarians responses ..were they correct?? or they themselves created/contributed to the scenarios that let to the loss of life to date??? Cast system and the institutionalised abuse worse than the citizens act and the Sinhala only act??

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    Continued
    I just listed some of my thoughts sincerely (not for point scoring purposes please) and happy to expand but the point is this war crime investigation does not have any benefit nor is risk free is how I see them. The entire process has no end………is a locking mechanism with a downhill slide only………please. Local nor an International panel is not the answer. If you ever interested in Justice consider following the South Africa model on Truth and Reconcilation all the Politicians from all the parties including the ITAK to TNA and all southern sister versions to date, all the armed groups North to South, GOSL and the Defence Ministry, India , Tamil Nadu and all other Nations helped the war efforts to appear in a truth & reconciliation tribunal to explain their part and acknowledge all crimes will really set us free. It will not only set us free but also the entire world too. Build One Memorial for all those perished and pay tribute by changing our ways. We have the capacity to humble each others in positive ways too. We can make this paradigm shift right now as nothing is holding us back. We need to let go of the past and make Mother Lanka proud please.
    I give you the following as an example as to how we can deliver justice to each other
    when we are honest to ourselves……my Father did his part as follows requires similar work by us all but not retribution is the point here please
    My Father worked on a thesis after loosing the election in Vaddukottai in 1977, very appropriately @ Madras University where he completed his further education in 1943. The title of his research work ‘Sri Lanka and Asian Economic Cooperation – A conceptual and Institutional Framework for Accelerated Development’

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    Continued
    He was assassinated in 1981 during the first development council election campaign in Jaffna….a Son of Jaffna exercising his right to make his case to his people as to what he believe is the best way forward for them all in a most democratic manner known to human kind. Never undermining his opposition but making his case based on his track record only knowing very well the harm to come his way as this was not the first time gun was pointed at him. When you know the harm to come your children way if you do not act on your convections then all else is superseded correct? There is no case pending nor we found and punished the killers for a reason……….is called empathy and Nation Building. My Father worn that sue-side west of an entirely different kind well before Child Malati did and sustained his work on customising the system to deliver justice requires followers for further modifications and improvements. Any Volunteers please.

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    Continued
    War Crime investigation does not take into account of the following too (some of the writing got missed out earlier as exceeded CT rules in number of words)

    – Sri Lankan armed forces story for the past 40 years. Their pain/loss/Journey specially since 1970 is never discussed at National level nor at International level. Their family stories are never written up and presented to the world, no one felt for their families except those villages they came from. No National mourning as a united Nation??? Yet we all enjoyed their protection be it with complaints?? How come the International communities did not insist on discussing the impact to the armed forces without generalising them as abusers??? How about the armed forces of the countries we all live overseas……….do we apply the same understanding to our Mother country and the fellow children who serve in the military?? Please take ownership of these children and invite them to our homes too………this will change the paradigm and deliver justices as never before instantly.

    -How many publications NPC made regard to the ground realities for the past 5 years – crime/drugs/rape/abuse but always about National question?? Not bringing out the ground reality by the respective departments to the Nation is optional?? Just blame the army and the police…..then the thuggery and the crimes by the local gangsters can not be controlled by us the general public??

    -Untold misery and the refugees from all segments of the society live around the world today without knowing what tomorrow hold for them??.Why are we refugees around the world be it political or economical when we have the most beautiful land on the planet everyone else came to make a living from historically?

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    -Our Nations Mothers/Sisters who have to support the families through working as maids/servants around the world specially in the Middle East because the country was at war since 1970 down South and up North?
    -How about UN using our children in their forces but being selective to say war criminal not welcome etc in public?? This kind of public naming and shaming further undermines the national unity?? why can not this be done behind the doors??? Who are they trying to please and aggravate??
    -The amount of infrastructure work done by the armed forces/de-mining should receive respect nationally and internationally???
    -We are not working towards another Palestinian scenario with boarders/fences and to fight for the rest of our life or in our case until the last man stand for what????
    – Please get a full picture of what is happening around you in the Indian ocean. No one is going take care of us just as the case during colonial time/world war 1&2/Cold War and now the new West/India/China dimensions. Remember all are mere resource management events only be it human resources/materials or looking for consumers for the products such as arms and other unustsinable products??
    -I can go on forever but the message is this.. War Crime Tribunal will further cover up all what we need to know as to why we lost our Sinhala and Tamil children for the past 70 years? The record this will leave referenced by our children for all the wrong reasons?? Consequence I do not need state here…..as we already lived through this misery many times over with all the misconstrued info presented to us by our own history too

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    I do not need proof of the misinformation management any more than this as an example. Please read the wikipedia records that we all refernce in our daily life’s everyday. Read Mr Thiagarajah, Mr Amirthalingham and Mr Selvanayagam and work this out for yourself please

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._Thiagarajah

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._Amirthalingam

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._J._V._Chelvanayakam

    The point I am making is……if this is how we present historical facts then pay attention/re evaluate all our reference points/bench marking we need for further analysis with due care. This is one of the reasons we need more people to share their thoughts and analysis based on references but also through personal experiences too. Some of the references we make may not be all that factual too or rather presented in a way it suit the writer without any compliances to formats/norms etc.

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      Dear Mr. Thiagarajah Venugopal,
      Thank you for very insightful posts. It is sad that some of us have had to pay so dearly for somebody else’s sick ideologies. The events during the run-up to the 1981 Jaffna DDC elections where your father was assassinated, is a subject that has not received much attention. I think Jaffna DDC elections of 1981 was a (or rather was the) turning point in the ethnic conflict. I had written a long comment about the DDC elections and the issues you mention, but I do not think this is a suitable place to have a constructive discussion, as the level of commentators here do not allow for it – someone will jump in and make dumb irrelevant comments loaded with personal attacks and divert the whole discussion. I am posting this short comment now before comments close in 2 days, just to show appreciation for your way of thought. My long comment will have to wait for another time and another place.

      I only hope the Tamils who post these outrageous comments like the ones we see in this very article will take time to read and understand your message. But I am afraid you are speaking to deaf ears, as all this noise about war crimes, genocide etc has nothing to do with seeking justice – its solely about demonizing theSinhalese. The actual victims have been deprived of justice, because finding out what really happened and punishing the perpetrators has been hijacked by fanatical Tamil separatists. The most horrendous fabricated crimes Sankaralingam writes so explicitly about shows how sick he and his ideology is. In a decent world where good journalistic ethics prevail over profit, these grotesque unsubstantiated comments would never see daylight, but would just rot inside the sick heads of their makers.

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