Colombo Telegraph

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


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]


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.


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?



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

Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014,

Hull, C. Bryson 2009 “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009,

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009a “Sri Lankan War in Endgame, 100,000 escape rebel zone,” 23 April 2009,

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009b “Sri Lanka’s long war in bloody final climax,” 17 May 2009,

IDAG [i.e. Citizen Silva] 2013 “The Numbers Game: Politics of Retributive Justice,” OR

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,

Marga  2011 Preliminary Summary re the Marga Seminar on the UNPoE Report” drafted by Godfrey Gunatilleka,

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,

Marga 2011 Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka

Roberts, Michael 2013 “Introducing “Numbers Game” – A Detailed Study of the Last Stages of Eelam War IV,” 30 April 2013,

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,

Roberts, Michael 2015 “Lilliputs in a World of Giants: Marga and CHA bat for Lanka in the Propaganda War, 2009-14,” 18 November 2015,

Roberts: Michael 2015  “Sturdy Advocacy: Marga’s Questioning of the UNPoE’s Assassination Job,” 25 November 2009,

Roberts, Michael 2018 “The Gash Files III: Trapped Tamils out by Sea,” 20 April 2018,

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,

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

Thiagarajah:, Jeevan 2015 Marga/CHA in Advocacy with BRIC Nations at Geneva, September 2014,” 19 November 2015,

“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,

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