11 December, 2019

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The War In Sri Lanka: AP Bureau Chief’s Slanted Story For USA

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Ravi Nessman at Sea on Tavis Smiley Show, 18 February 2009: how not to report on war

Ravi Nessman was Associated Press Bureau Chief in 2008/09 based in either Delhi or Colombo. He was carried to the war front on day visits in October 2008[1] and late January 2009. He was certainly located in Colombo when asked by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to speak to America on the show that is simply titled Tavis Smiley. This show usually features “a unique mix of news and pop culture to create a thought-provoking and entertaining program. A hybrid of news, issues and entertainment, it features interviews with artists, activists, news makers, politicians and everyday people.”

On the 18th February 2009 in “episode 18 of Season 6, Smiley interviewed Dr Palitha Kohona and then Ravi Nessman . For a live hearing of the latter session with Nessman, see;

 

Critical Comments are inserted at the end of this word-for-word record of the interview.

“Interview with Associated Press Writer Ravi Nessman on the Tavis Smiley Show,” 18 February 2009

Smiley Q: The government there has been accused of targeting civilians the UN..  in fact has …. Has….something to say about the strategy of the government  in Sri Lanka Um.. what.. what’s your sense as a journalist of how that part of the story is being covered with regard to accusations against the government?

Nessman A:  This is a very difficult story to cover as a journalist. The worst one is a black hole(unclear)  we are barred from going in …  most aid workers are barred from going in, so all of these accusations are fly back and forth a lot of it is ..is based on.. on  scattered reports that we are getting,  the very few reports we are able to get and from what we are able to get from  ..um ..Doctors up there who are the very few people there with telephones that that ‘s the work from some of the witnesses who fled,  from civilians who left,  is that the government appears to be shelling in this very small area with tens of thousands of civilians and that seems to be causing a lot of civilian casualties. On the other hand the Tamil Tigers have been accused by some of the civilians who fled,  of shooting at the fleeing civilians. The government says that ..um.. they are being used as human shields to.. to. .. prevent the government offensive from taking that last bit of land. Both sides deny all the accusations against them but what seems clear from the reports is that civilians are being killed, and they are being killed by both sides.

Nessman interviwing officer Udawatta -Pic bt Prasad, c 27 January 2009

Nessman interviwing officer Udawatta -Pic bt Prasad, c 27 January 2009

Smiley Q:  So given that again that the Tamil people are…. at least those who are fighting, are boxed in now to this area in the north east part of the country.. … you have any sense of how much  longer it will be before at least the official, if I can use that word the civil war that is under way … how long before this part of this story  is over?

Nessman A:  We can’t get up there and the information is so scattered that we are getting are ,….um…. you know,  we hear reports of battles that are rumoured that may or may not even be happening , massive casualties on one side, massive casualties on the other…. I can’t tell you if the….if the  Tamil Tigers even retain a conventional fighting component right now  … or are still maintain a massive army  up there. We have absolutely no idea. Um ..the President himself said on February fourth we are just days away, the government was just days away from victory over the Tamil Tigers. But this is more than two later and there’s still fighting going on. So it’s … it’s very difficult to know what’s exactly going on in the North, how long it’s going to go on for, what kind of fighting is.. is  actually happening,  what the capabilities are of both sides.

COMMENTS in point-form:

1. It would be simplistic for us laymen to think that “embedded” western reporters in Western wars get to see the knitty-gritty of action. USA is notoriously cautious about their accreditation. Much war correspondent reportage tends to be technical and about hardware as Kate Adie tells us.[2] A great deal depends on the cartographic context and the character of the battle theatres. Where there are no static lines and the battlefield area is a mosaic, or where a war engulfs a large city where journalists reside, there then they get to film live action. It is in such theatres that reporters die.

2. Nessman’s interview is a striking revelation. It combines profound ignorance with prejudice, slant and lie.

3. For someone located in Colombo in late February 2009 to say that he did not know whether the LTTE retained a “conventional fighting force” reveals a degree of astounding blindness. While some scepticism towards GSL announcements is (was) understandable the video footage on TV screens with their Sinhala commentary, as well as tales from Tamil civilians who had escaped from their corralled situation, would have indicated that the Tigers retained their mortars and artillery and that such gun barrage exchanges were continuing (these lasted till mid-May in fact).

4. It appears that Nessman, fellow Western journalists and even UN circles were like the proverbial three blind monkeys in excluding the reports that were being produced by Indian journalists such as Muralidhar Reddy. Reddy has indicated that “the international wire agency contingents had a closed mind to reports in The Hindu group of publications” and, looking back today, retains the “impression [that] the reports from the western agencies barring the BBC Sinhala were very poor.… they had no extra information from either side. Most stories were alarmist [about] `civilians caught in conflict’ (email note, 21 January 2014).

5. So, who did Nessman and his kind rely on? They absorbed, as he himself tells us, the telephone messages from the Tamil medical doctors caught up in the war zone[3] and who were, as we know, courageously and assiduously helping those wounded and dying.[4] But these doctors were under LTTE orders and, as Dr. Shanmugarajah has recently clarified, they were exaggerating or fabricating tales of enormous death and horror.[5] In line with the LTTE strategy of inciting international intervention particular emphasis was placed on the allegedly deliberate targeting of hospitals [whereas Shanmugarajah’s summary shows now that the damage to the makeshift hospitals was limited and probably collateral].

6. Nessman tells the Americans that “the war zone is a black hole” and then again that “we cannot get up there;” so [all we have is] “rumours” – which, he added, indicated “massive casualties.” In brief, both then and afterwards, Nessman was party to the widespread claim that this was a “war without witnesses.” Here, then prejudiced blinkers appear to be compounded by duplicity and dishonesty. But we know that he had been taken to the front earlier on two occasions. Fortunately Kanchan Prasad has snapped him on plane enroute circa 27 January 2009 and at the rear battlefront interviewing officer Ranjan Udawatta with a cameraman in tow. Thus, we are entitled to ask: “what did he discover then?” Maybe not much. But what did Associated Press and other reporters do with their lines of contact with SL Army officials and with fellow reporters such as Prasad and Reddy. The conjecture that flows from this set of circumstances suggests that a coterie of Western reporters in Colombo and some UN officials (including perhaps Gordon Weiss) had shut themselves off in some attic and were only on the look-out for news that would support a “ceasefire” and “humanitarian pause.” They were remarkably BLIND to the fact that their humanitarian morality was plasticine in a grand LTTE strategy. As Simon Jenkins in England – going against the grain of liberal agitation over there — told his readers: “in Sri Lanka a rudimentary study of the past three months of fighting would have told Miliband that a ceasefire would be pro-Tamil, not just “pro-humanitarian.”[6]

7. As part of this partisan position, this coterie in Colombo not only swallowed the tales of “massive casualties” and “attacks on hospitals,” but gave oxygen to rumours and tales of cluster bombs and chemical weapons being deployed by the government forces. An Associated Press report referred to the evidence presented by one Alan Poston from the UN Development Action Group’s mine clearance programme which alluded to scrap metal explosions injuring some children, an incident which suggested “unexploded sub-munitions.” Who signed this press note: none other than Ravi Nessman! Not surprisingly, he has an occasional small actor’s role in the Groundviews article that took up TamilNet suggestions and tried to demonstrate the use of cluster bombs – even though the authors simply did not have the technical expertise to distinguish different types of ordinance and munitions.[7]

8. Nessman seems to have moved on to become AP Bureau Chief in Jerusalem. He is presently a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He is, clearly, well connected and carries clout. Be forewarned .


[1] For his news report then, see Ravi Nessman, “Sri Lanka’s civil war rages in the shadows,” 4 October 2008, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-10-04-949219519_x.htm.

[2] Kate Adie, “Kate Adie of BBC: reporting on war and women at war,” 2 January 2014, [originally 2006] http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/kate-adie-of-bbc-reporting-on-war-women-at-war/

[3] There five Ministry of Health doctors as well as about ten LTTE recruits. The latter in particular were probably hard-line Tiger enthusiasts.

[4] Michael Roberts, “Dedicated Medical Work Amidst the Heat of War, Death and Propaganda: In the Vanni Pocket,” 8 January 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/dedicated-medical-work-amidst-the-heat-of-war-death-and-propaganda-in-the-vanni-pocket-2009/#more-11562

[5] V. Shanmugarajah, Dr. Veerakanthipillai Shanmugarajah’s Affidavit Description of Conditions in the Vanni Pocket in Refutation of Channel Four,” 5 January 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/dr-veerakanthipillai-shanmugarajahs-affidavit-description-of-conditions-in-the-vanni-pocket-in-refutation-of-channel-four/

[6] Simon Jenkins, “Simon Jenkins pulverized Miliband’s assinine foreign interventions in 2009,” 2011, http://www.aspensrental.com/simon-jenkins-pulverized-milibands-assinine-foreign-interventions-in-2009/

[7] See Citizen Silva, “The Use of Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka: Fact or Fiction,”http://www.scribd.com/doc/92760423/The-Use-of-Cluster-Bombs-in-Sri-Lanka-Fact-or-Fiction. Also see Gerald Peiris, “Striving for Evidence of War Crimes: “Cluster Bombs” and Other Dud Weaponry,” 30 Jan 2014,http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/striving-for-evidence-of-war-crimes-cluster-bombs-and-other-dud-weaponry/#more-11755.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    6

    sad to see what has become of some of Sri Lanka’s great ‘academic’ minds . . .

    • 6
      2

      ”’Nessman seems to have moved on to become AP Bureau Chief in Jerusalem. He is presently a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He is, clearly, well connected and carries clout.”’

      AND Roberts? Nice man, but he has moved on to become an ailing and superfluous academic who best days are behind him.

      So, who should we be watching out for?

      • 3
        10

        From what I know of the man he is disgustingly healthy. The worst ailments he suffers from are Tennis related muscle and ligament issues.Also he loves to swim and often frequents a certain nudist beach in Adelaide.The heritage of his robust Negro genes I believe.

        On a serious note, what Nessman should have said after he said we don’t know what’s going on there..it’s um..a black hole” is “Umm… not exactly…scratch that umm…not a black hole, I have been there..umm on a limited tour, but while there I met these Indian wallahs this bloke and um…girl…umm..Kanchan and Murali…umm I believe they have sort of permanent accreditation umm.. sort of embedded status….lucky buggers. And they are reporting for The Hindu. I have their mobile number somewhere…I must call them. Also I interviewed that Army person when I was on my tour to the Frontlines. Pretty tame stuff…but still not exactly a black hole…forget I said that. Slip ummm…”

        • 8
          2

          Darshanie Ratnawalli

          “.Also he loves to swim and often frequents a certain nudist beach in Adelaide. The heritage of his robust Negro genes I believe.”

          Would now recant your above racist comment.

          Remember you are not living in 18 or 19 century, Europe or Americas.

          When did you last see a naked black man or a women in real life?

          If your comment was made in a lighter note, its not funny. This is not his-story writing in a historical contexts.

          • 1
            3

            Mr N Vedda

            “Would now recant your above racist comment. Remember you are not living in 18 or 19 century, Europe or Americas”

            You want to deport Singhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers from Sri Lanka and you call Darshanie a racist?

            • 3
              0

              If you cannot understand as to in what context Native asked all invaders to vacate, something is not right upstairs!

            • 3
              1

              EDL Robinson

              “You want to deport Singhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers from Sri Lanka and you call Darshanie a racist?”

              Recovering one’s property from thieves and squatters doesn’t amount to racism.

              Deporting people back to their ancestral homeland happens all the time.

              You shouldn’t see it as a problem, in fact you are the problem and I want to get rid of all of you peacefully of course.

              • 0
                3

                Mr N Vedda
                “ I want to get rid of all of you peacefully of course”

                So when you have managed to send Tamils to South India, Burghers to Holland / Portugal or Australia, Muslims to the Middle East ( all peacefully of course ) and MR sails to East India (or China) with the Singhalese, what will you do with your country?

                Will you close all industries, tourist hotels, plantations etc and start hunting monkeys and worship trees?

                Hope you are not planning to import labour from neighbouring countries….

                • 4
                  1

                  EDL Robinson

                  “Hope you are not planning to import labour from neighbouring countries….”

                  No we wouldn’t need any of you in this island nor would we need any imported labour. Whatever the nature produces would be more than sufficient for our consumption. Greed driven unlimited consumption requires unlimited production of course endowed with finite resources. Need not to keep up with Johnsons, compete in a rat race in an elbowing society.

                  Less consumption guarantees less environmental degradation and healthy living. How much consumption is enough for you?

                  Basically renunciation is good for your soul and environment.

                  Sinhalese have a choice either they can go to East or South India.

                  “Will you close all industries, tourist hotels, plantations etc and start hunting monkeys and worship trees?”

                  Worshiping trees is gaining popularity in highly industrialised societies. They are learning from our people. I don’t blame them. Why should we hunt monkeys?

                  • 0
                    3

                    Mr N Vedda

                    “Need not to keep up with Johnsons, compete in a rat race in an elbowing society…..”

                    Does it mean you’ll give up broadband and stop writing to the Colombo Telegraph?

                    • 3
                      1

                      EDL Robinson

                      “Does it mean you’ll give up broadband and stop writing to the Colombo Telegraph?”

                      Yes once you have left my ancestral land.

                      Please note there were other forms of communication available to human kind in the past such as

                      Persian couriers

                      Domesticated pigeons

                      Talking Drums

                      Smoke signal

                      Marathon runners

                      I guarantee you we will not suffer from lack of mode of communication.

                • 0
                  0

                  “Burghers to Holland”

                  Holland was only a province not a nation.
                  Kangaroo get your history right first before bumming please.
                  Carlo 1(Spanish) Roman Emperor born at Gent had a Dutch mistress (Carlos wife Isabella of Portugal ably governed Spain as Queen, Carlos aunt was Catherine who married Henry V111 first) and her daughter became governor of the Netherlands. The Dutch became seafarers and entered Ceylon and India via the east when the 5 Spanish ships sent by Carlos to circumnavigate the world and find Philippines, leaving the Dutch to take Indonesia for (nutmeg the spice of aristocrats) Go read before you take sides for its sake because neither of you are Socrates.

                  At the Universities of the low countries (Netherlands and Flanders)they are already laughing at you Dutch Burghers due to Roberts indulgence there and his blog “Thuppai karrupa”.
                  The Surinamese of Indian decent were given citizenship because they did not go as stowaways and still retain their faith Hinduism Plus of course they are fluent in spoken and written dutch.

            • 0
              0

              She is a paid fascist like Franco not a racist.
              Anyway history without Structures or Artworks gets 0% so she and you can write cock and bull for all

            • 0
              0

              ¬and you call Darshanie a racist??

              EDL Rob,

              Not really but a porriki sai baba,

              Hillary is educated and that simplicity shows.

              “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” – Hillary Clinton

          • 1
            2

            Oh I say, Native Vedda, asking the fragrant Dharshanie ”’When did you last see a naked black man or a women in real life?”’ is most ungallant. Whatever happened to the Noble Savage?

            • 2
              1

              Spring Koha

              “is most ungallant”

              I know what you mean, however my gallantry would have made it too crowded.

              • 1
                1

                Native Vedda…O you are cheeky! but, I believe, a Noble Savage. Go in peace.

                • 3
                  1

                  Spring Koha

                  Thanks, trying my best to stay true to myself, without being corrupted by modernism.

          • 0
            2

            There is nothing inherently racist in the term negro, no more than the term Veddah or Sinhala is racist. Grow up and stop playing games. The racism is in your own interpretation of the word. Rap artists often use a really offensive word called n!88a but they excuse themselves somehow. You cant be real native Ceylonese. Seems as if you are another bootlicker of the Westerner.

            • 5
              1

              Irrathinavalli Rambuka

              Veddah and Sinhala are groups of people with common identities.

              Nigger is not.

              Please do some research on origin, purpose, usage, of the word Nigger or Negro.

              If you have inadvertently made this comment, accept it as a mistake and say sorry to Michael and rest of the readers. Your justification is wrong.

              • 0
                3

                Negro is a person belonging to Negroid race – it is not a racist word. Remember we have all come out of Africa 42,000 yrs ago, if all should be sent back it is to Africa and luckily not to India

                • 0
                  0

                  Fortunately India wont accept you because you say you are of bestiality breed.

            • 0
              0

              Chinaman is racist term only Sinhalese say it isn’t perhaps because
              Sinhalese are of bestiality breed.

        • 2
          0

          I thought you were a historian, what are you doing in the front lines ?

          • 0
            0

            The best historians like to get a ringside seat watching history in the making. Don’t forget, Senor, good reporting provides the first draft of history.

            • 0
              0

              History without Art works or Structures gets 0%.
              Lanka is yet to produce a Booker prize winner.

          • 2
            0

            [Edited out] This guy was once an ‘academic’ but now a fraud.

            • 2
              0

              He is shameless he is calling himself “Thuppai karrupa” looking for sympathy votes on the net and he reconfirms it by saying the blacks called themselves niggers on his stupid blog.

        • 2
          0

          umm.. umm.. umm.. umm.. umm..

          Is she describing a porn movie???

        • 3
          0

          There she goes again!There is no end to Ms.Ratnawalli’s areas of expertise.Historian,ethnographer,linguist,ethno-linguist,phylologist,geneticist,skilled Goebellsian,mistress of crude invective,and, I am told, an amateur pornographer and now an expert on the private life of Michael Roberts too.
          More power to you,dear lady

        • 1
          0

          Valli is licking the Bestiality Breed who calls himself “Thuppai karuppa”
          because he is part of Rajapassa crony gang of historians promoting his group as International Experts eg a woman with an Ethopian middle name who did not know a nappy until she was 2 once again.

          By the end of this year IndoDutch Royalty will drivel them into their karrupa barracks. Go try TN or North India it has no effect on royalty.

        • 1
          0

          Darshanie Ratnawalli,

          Tell them which of these hybrid DNA belongs to Sinhala Buddhist of Bestiality Breed. Most have forked teeth like them.

          Check this out DNA master. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEMIh1i2ia0 February 2014 Breaking News Labs Mixing Human DNA with Animal DNA 4 of 5

    • 8
      6

      Michael Roberts is stating the truth and truth hurts. And what is the truth? After helping SLG to bring the LTTE to its knees, at the last minute US wanted to rescue the Tiger leadership. The attempt to halt the fighting by imposing a curfew would have amounted to a pro-Tamil move. But in my view the motive was to have leverage over future developments in Sri Lanka. But MR didn’t waver and completed the job, and in this he had the full backing of India. Now US wants to take revenge against the tiny Sri Lanka for successfully defying its “command” and creating a bad precedent in the new unipolar world order it is struggling to establish. And its need to control Sri Lanka’s foreign relations is even greater with Sri Lanka moving closer to China. (But for this India and the US have to blame themselves.) The war crimes drama being mounted at Geneva is a patent manifestation of this unconscionable conduct by US, the international bully.

      • 6
        3

        Correction:

        The attempt to halt the fighting by imposing a ceasefire

      • 6
        4

        Outrider, I could not have explained it any better. Well said!

        Also read “Anti-Lanka resolutions and the US game plan” – Sunday Times.

      • 5
        1

        We do not know who is telling the Truth, weather the channel 4 documentary about Gota’s Killing Fields in Sri Lanka or this article by Michael Roberts.

        What happened in the war zone should be investigated by an unbiased independent International body appointed by the UN. Only then we will know who is telling the truth.

        Michael Roberts writing such articles now will not serve any purpose, he should have brought up this when the channel 4 documentary was released. This looks like a fabricated story, how much did the regime pay these people to concoct this also needs to be investigated.

        • 0
          0

          Musharraf who lived at London costing the tax payer £1 million per month security alone did tell the truth so don’t worry about Channel 4.

    • 6
      0

      Michael Roberts is simply singing/dancing for his supper.

      Gota’s Killing Fields: the war without witness has suddenly found an old and insane ex- academic domiciled in Australia suddenly turning out to be a witness. He was in deep slumber all these days when channel 4 produced and aired 3 documentaries. After around 5 years, suddenly a witness has appeared.

      Shame on you Michael Roberts for dumping your ‘academic’ credentials in the cesspit. Your credibility is simply flushed in the loo just for a few dollars?

  • 8
    10

    Thank you Prof Roberts. Once again you have exposed the myth that govt forces deliberately targetted civilians. Civilians, held captive by LTTE terrorists, indeed have been shot by LTTE terrorists who foolishly believed the Western nations would liberate them.The terrorists and their dumb cheer squads have to take the blame for deaths of civilians (if any).Besides the LTTE were the sole representatives of the Tamil people, approved as such by TNA and loud mouthed diaspora.

  • 5
    7

    Michael Robert
    Neesman answered the questions professionally based on information that was fed to him.
    Black hole is the correct description, have you not seen the pictures of the war zone ?
    they look liked bombed out black holes from hell.
    Hope you can do better next time in editing few seconds of the interview

    • 0
      1

      Another Indian, Rajash. Go and clean your own mess before coming preaching to Ceylon. Your mess stinks.

  • 2
    4

    Who is that Tamil looking black army guy?

    He might be LTTE.

    • 5
      3

      No Fat “Mama” Fuk U Shima,

      It is Sanath Jayasuriya. Are you blind. I have seen your pictures and Idi Amin Looks a lot better than you.

      • 4
        1

        [Edited out]

      • 0
        0

        Kali, anybody looks better than your fair and lovely Hindians. Even Idi Amin. At least he didn’t drink cows urine. Now vanish. Your boyfriends are waiting to dance to some Hindi tunes with you!

  • 5
    6

    The antics of another “unbiased western journalist” hailing from the same sleaze bag club as McRae, Harrison, Colvin etc LOL

  • 6
    7

    This sycophantic jackass, parading as an academic has the audacity to accuse someone else of what he consistently does: “combines profound ignorance with prejudice, slant and lie.”
    There is bound to be a place in the other world for Roberts, Rajpal Abeynayake, Shamindra Ferdinando, Rajiva Wijesinha et al (and I am not talking abut heaven either!)

  • 11
    6

    Would the following headline also be appropriate ???

    The War In Sri Lanka: Michael Roberts Slanted Story For Sri Lanka

  • 7
    6

    If someone put a dollar each minute a Tamil hoax waste someones time there will be enough to solve world hunger.

    • 1
      2

      soo true..

  • 9
    2

    It is clear that both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have committed serious wartime crimes which has to be investigated independently. So why not have an independent fair inquiry with the help of a neutral international body. Presently all the senior LTTE leaders are with the Government, in addition Government has the record of the LTTE soldiers as they have been rehabilitated by the Government. If an impartial international inquiry is held all the complaints can be investigated and the truth will come out.

    • 3
      3

      How can an impartial inquiry be held when the West has already convicted GoSL of war crimes?
      No Sri Lankan in their right mind would agree to do that. This is a Trojan horse.
      The West has already fabricated the evidence(if not, show the proof). Now, they want a mechanism to get in to the country to stick it to the government.
      Nice try.

      • 2
        0

        First the UN needed assess whether there is a case for Sri Lanka to answer, this does not mean conviction! How else you suggest the ic should move on this?

      • 2
        1

        Rajiv, you have answered your question yourself. Only reason why the international community is asking for an inquiry is because we have not conducted an impartial inquiry. The west was ready even to accept the partially impartial inquiry of the LLRC and would have been satisfied if the recommendations were followed. It did not happen, so we missed a chance and we have to face the tune. If the West has fabricated the evidence it should be easy to prove the fabrication, why are we not doing it. Don’t you understand the issue of impartial inquiry is pushed only because minorities do not have equal rights and are not treated with dignity in Sri Lanka. When I say minorities I also include religious minorities. If President can amend the constitution without much challenge he also should be able to provide satisfaction to the minority demands. If we do that then unitedly we can fight all foreign challenges. Until this is not done one can be sure we are in trouble. All chest beating by the Government will not have any impact as we have seen even with all mighty Russian support Ukraine regime could not stand to the demands of the opposition. Similarly with all the support from China and Russia, Assad regime could not stand to the pressure of the West. Who are we compared to Syria or Ukraine?

  • 8
    6

    Dr. Michael Roberts,

    Let’s wait for an international investigation on war crimes in Sri Lanka to find out whether there is any truth in your spin.

    Hard evidence is out there waiting for international investigators to decide whether you are concocting another biased story absolving the regime of war crimes.

    • 5
      5

      Thiru,

      5 years later, we are still waiting for that hard evidence. Do you really think it would have taken the West 5 years to kick the GoSL is they had hard evidence?
      All they want is regime change to control the Chinese influence. None of this would have happened if the West had backed the right horse. They didnt. Now, they are trying it a different way

      • 4
        2

        None of this would happened, if Sri Lanka, led by Dayan had not blocked the investigation in 2009/10 promptly after the war. Right?

      • 4
        1

        Rajiv Sinkalam,

        It took 7 years to kick Milosevic out despite the support of the Super Power Russia which was almost next door.
        What hard evidence are you waiting for ( Is Pornographic evidence ) you Idiot. The evidence is there but the World is waiting to present the case and the time has finally arrived. MR has managed to bribe every one especiallay the Corrupt Indians who have up to now shielded him from being taken to the Hague.

        What Chinese influence are you talking about. Man India has Total Jurisdiction over Sri Lanka and China has no bloody political Influence over Sinhala Lanka. You are in the Grip of Indian Influence not the west.

    • 0
      2

      PWAAARK! INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION! PWAAARK!

  • 8
    6

    What is the purpose of Michael Roberts coming with this piece now.
    Who is his target audience. Is he trying to catch someone’s eye.

    “Nessman seems to have moved on to become AP Bureau Chief in Jerusalem… He is presently a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He is, clearly, well connected and carries clout. Be forewarned..”
    Nessman, Neiman Fellow and well connected?? Is the idea to suggest the entire affair is a Jewish plot. Is Roberts unaware the Rajapakses
    are trying their best to get to the good side of Tel Aviv – a project they have contracted to Subramaniam Swamy? The huge money spent on Swamy apparently is not entirely wasted, if you know what I mean.
    Who is Roberts trying to “forewarn”?

    Kettikaran

    • 0
      1

      exactly . . . the anti-semitism runs deep in #8.

    • 0
      1

      “What is the purpose of Michael Roberts coming with this piece now. Who is his target audience”

      Could they perhaps be the people who know the names and addresses of all the 146,679 missing, but are unaware that February 2009 follows January 2009?

    • 3
      1

      Kettikaran

      “Who is his target audience. Is he trying to catch someone’s eye.”

      This is too bad.

      You are trying to set Dayan against Michael.

    • 4
      1

      In fact, Dr. Roberts has his facts wrong on this small point – as well as the larger points. Ravi Nessman is currently a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, but he was the AP Jerusalem Bureau chief BEFORE coming to Sri Lanka, after which he went to Delhi, then to Harvard. Yes, he’s Jewish and American, but what of it? What exactly is Dr. Roberts getting at with his paranoid intimations?

      As someone who knew Ravi when he was working in Sri Lanka, I know that he was an unusually professional and courageous journalist, willing to challenge Gotabaya to his face on disappearances and the other illegal and cruel aspects of the government’s counter-insurgency policies.

      As for the larger point, by his repeated and ill-founded arguments downplaying the responsibility of government forces for the horrors of the war and numerous war crimes, Dr. Roberts has become a joke.

      First, the fact that Nessman and other foreign journalists were in a few cases taken for very controlled trips to the back part of the “front lines” does not mean that the government did not control very tightly the flow of information from and about the war – and that too little about what was going on and how people were dying was allowed to come out. Everyone working on these issues in Sri Lanka at the time knows the government did everything it could to restrict the number of impartial witnesses to the war. Yes, it was always an exaggeration to say it was a war without witnesses – some journalists occasionally got a small glimpse of things and of course the soldiers with the mobile phone cameras and the 330,000-360,000 or so civilians trapped by the Tigers and the GoSL were the best witnesses of all. To rely on Muraldhar Reddy’s stories as evidence of government openness reveals Dr. Robert’s bias: if there was any Indian paper the Sri Lankan government could rely on for sympathetic coverage, it was the Hindu. Its former and current co-owner N. Ram is known to be very close to and sympathetic to the Rajapaksas and its coverage – while sometimes quite good – cannot simply be relied on as impeccably objective.

      Second, if the SL government wants to show the world just how the war was fought, why don’t they release the complete and unedited footage from their unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) that were hovering over the battlefiled most if not all the time those final months of fighting?

      Third, Dr. Roberts is either naive or cynical or has simply fallen into the abyss of politically-motivated rage to rely on Dr. Shanmugarajah’s affidavit as if it trumps the testimony of the other Tamil govt doctors – both during and after the war – and other Tamil govt servants, a number of whom have received political asylum because of the threats they faced in Sri Lanka. Surely Dr. Roberts isn’t so naive that he’s unaware of the pressures that these brave doctors faced and continue to face from the thugs that run the Sri Lankan state. To take Dr. Shanmugarajah’s affidavit at face value is to betray the decline in Dr. Roberts’ investigative and critical faculties. He should talk to people who know the doctors personally and know the threats they’ve faced from the government.

      In the end, it’s true that there are competing versions of what exactly happened, how many were killed, by which side and with which weapons – but one must be blinkered by either a lack of humanity or a lack of fairness or some other ailment in order to deny that there is enough credible evidence to warrant an independent investigation (and unfortunately, because of Sri Lanka’s institutionalised impunity and the fact that responsibility for war crimes likely goes all the way to the top, this means an international investigation).

      What a shame that Sri Lanka and the world has lost a once reliable and impressive scholar to ideological blindness.

      • 3
        1

        Thank you for a well crafted reply.

      • 0
        5

        In an ideal world Nessman would have hit pause before making that extraordinary admission of journalistic incompetence(…um we don’t even know if umm..the LTTE still retains a conventional fighting force) and called up Murali and Kanchan. The conversation would have gone something like this;

        Ravi- umm..So this umm.. what’s its name, LTTE..umm does it still um..retain a umm a conventional fighting force?

        Murali- (Two minutes of dead silence as Murali tries to swallow his incredulity) umm..Ravi, does umm.. a bear shit in the woods?

        Kanchan- Giggles uncontrollably

        • 4
          0

          This sounds like a porn movie,

          umm.. umm.. umm.. umm.. umm..

          I hope you are only an erotic journalist and not an actress.

        • 5
          0

          when you can’t reply make erotic noises, is this what your mentor told you?

          I am sure he appreciates you defending him, let him know if you need more academic references, I am sure he will give you a doubly god one

          • 1
            0

            Oh, our Dharshanie (guiding motto: when in doubt ummm and err)will love a good one. Twice!

            • 5
              0

              Silva & Spring Koha

              Please bear with me.

              “umm.. umm.. umm.. umm.. umm..”

              Does this sound like faking orgasm?

        • 0
          0

          The LTTE did not have any tanks (other than some captured or improvised trucks), anti-aircraft guns, etc. Their Logistics and Medical divisions were primitive. Their air wing was a joke. Having some artillery and mortars made them appear to be a conventional force, but they were never in fact one. Their strength was always their stealth and surprise in their guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings, which acted as a force multiplier of sorts.

          So there was no problem with Ravi Nessman’s reporting. The problem is with a senile academic with an agenda, and one of his admirers who marvels that at his age he still shows no sign of flaccidity and visits nudist beaches.

  • 6
    4

    War reporting is not based on truth and accuracy but on propaganda from both parties to the conflict. This is further compounded by vested interest groups that purport to helping the aggrieved in their misery.

    The perpetrators of massive crimes against humanity in theatres such as Iraq, having a long history of genocide cannot pretend to have acquired a compassion towards the plight of a “lesser’ people of a third world country, who are always treated with much contempt.

    • 3
      2

      Lasantha Pethiyagoda:
      Is there truly no limit to your pompous b.s?

      • 1
        0

        You should try being nice for a change…

  • 6
    5

    Soldiers with cell phones recorded snapshots and videos of what happened,and sold them to the highest bidders.
    General Sarath Fonseka was informed by two reporters – unnamed – about white flag surrendees having been shot dead.
    Doctors in “no fire zone” hospitals said what they saw – but had to later recant,to survive.
    60,000 deserters know what they saw,but cannot be interviwed.
    Multiple rocket launchers killed hundreds.
    The air force boasted of 25,000 ‘bombing missions’.

    • 1
      0

      Horrific damning pictures and videos of the carnage from deserters and serving soldiers (even some officers!) were available (for e.g. in St Johns Market, Negombo,) from early 2009. So, no excuse for the hacks and historians to plead lack of copy.

      • 2
        1

        Spring Koha

        Do you think C4 has more pictures than they have already released?

        John Snow implied in his interview with Radio Times some weeks ago that he has seen more horrific clips than CH4 was able to show.

        • 0
          0

          Dear long-suffering Native Vedda, I do not THINK C4 has more pictures; I KNOW that they really DO have more pictures.

          • 0
            0

            Spring Koha

            Thanks

  • 5
    2

    An entire war crimes case against the SL military and the Rajapaksas can be built upon the evidence collected by the SL military men themselves that are in the public domain and also that were given to the Darusman commission. Add the eyewitnesses that have managed to escape to the west and those living in Sri Lanka and we have a very strong case to hang Mahinda, Gota and some military commanders.

    This pathetic Rajapaksa worshipper Roberts’ desperate attempt to cover up an atrocities by burying them in some holes he has picked in the reporter’s interview will fail to impress any one apart from those who are trying to save Rajapaksa. What some so called intellectuals will do to suck up to dictators, eh?

  • 4
    2

    Soldiers with cell phones recorded snapshots and videos of what happened,and sold them to the highest bidders.
    General Sarath Fonseka was informed by two reporters – unnamed – about white flag surrendees having been shot dead.
    Doctors in “no fire zone” hospitals said what they saw – but had to later recant,to survive.
    60,000 deserters know what they saw,but cannot be interviwed.
    Multiple rocket launchers killed hundreds.
    The air force boasted of 25,000 ‘bombing missions’.
    Hundreds of LTTE cadres taken away in buses by the army at the end of the war,witnessed by many civilians are now ‘missing’
    Cluster bombs were reported by civilians to Tamilnet which carried photos of unexploded bombs.
    What is Roberts’ problem about this 18 February 2009 report now?

  • 5
    4

    Michael,

    Your concern will be easily solved by allowing a credible investigation, which even Dayan supports now. How come you are so thick to understand that?

    • 1
      3

      there can never be credible investigations – there can be only biased ones- either biased towards SL Gov or biased towards racist Tamil diaspora. So don’t talk nonsense! I would say lesser of the two evils is SL gov and not the diaspora that has helped to kill 100,000 of sri lankans for over 3 decades

      • 4
        3

        “biased towards racist Tamil diaspora”

        its clear which way you are biased LOL

        Kind regards,
        OTC

      • 1
        1

        Running scared, eh? Backboneless to defend your own actions – that is what all this screaming is about!

  • 4
    1

    The war was coming to an end and why would SL forces deliberately attack civilians? They would have gained nothing by doing so.

    It was not like Faluja.

    • 3
      2

      No, they did it out of vindictiveness, a well documented phenomena in many previous wars, read up on it from the world war II

    • 4
      0

      junta

      “The war was coming to an end and why would SL forces deliberately attack civilians?”

      By deliberately attacking civilians the war was brought to an end with the blessings of Hindia and 30 other countries including UK,US, Middle Kingdom and Russsia.

      “They would have gained nothing by doing so.”

      They have killed many innocent people, a warning to the Tamils, not to indulge or aspire for another round of armed struggle, aimed at achieving maximum damage to their pride, property, dignity and life.

      It is similar to what Hindia did to Bindrenwalla and his terrorist mates inside Golden Temple.

      Nothing new. Don’t shed tears for the thousands of innocent who died since 5th April 1971.

  • 4
    3

    This so callled Professor has become the laughing stock of Anthropology departments trying to write sensational stuff instead of scholarly work, trying to fish in troubled waters just to pass off as a scholar.

    He can be placed in the list of so called academics like Rajiva, Dayan and other K… Balla’s working for the Sri Lankan Paksa’s hoping for a big fish in his retirement days… Unfortunately he might find that his mixed pedigree might be in the way of the ultimate Buddhist noble prize he is craving for!

  • 5
    7

    Thank you Dr. Michael Roberts. Well argued and clearly presented with great precision!

    I remember the time when Ravi Nessman and UN tried to pin the charge of using cluster bombs on GOSL on GV. The most grotesque part of the whole drama was how Sanjana Haththotuwa was beaming with glee!

    GV never ran the article where MOD explained their side of the story. People who are interested in seeking TRUTH must look at ALL evidence no right? Not quite with curators of citizens’ journalism websites (whatever that means) in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      3

      Sudhu Malli!

      Thanks you Malli for trying to whitewash the blood flowing from the hands of the Pakshe’s….

      Jesus will be happy that you are saving the Pakshe’s although the Pakshe’s have started hammeering your churches too….

      May he continue with more Hikaduwa’s….with the blessing of Jesus…Reberts…

  • 2
    4

    Michael Roberts is another Tamilian with a funny name!

    Tamils are so doomed!

    • 1
      0

      Fat FuK (Pardon for shortening the long name!

      Have you washed your face or drank some coffee lately! Why not say what you have to your new friend the US rep, Ms. Biswas!?

  • 8
    2

    Dr.Roberts:

    What you have provided is just pure speculation and not hard evidence. The hard evidence has already been provided by the Solidiers who were in the front line and carried out the orders.

    Nessman”s stament that this is a War witout evidence is Utterly Wrong. The only evidence that matters ( and not the heresay evidence of Nessman) is the one on the Ground. The Soldiers who provided the evidence are currently under the protection of the Western Inteligence and all there evidence has been verified by experts of the ICC and the British Courts and have proved to be authentic. MR is no fool and he knows what he is up against and that is why he has been using delaying tacticts but his time is up.

  • 1
    1

    Does not this so called academic know that Dr Shunmugarajah recanted under duress. It was a “war without witnesses”.
    The question that should be asked is why weren’t the media allowed into the war zone, we would have at least known
    what happened in the final days of the. Let us wait for the imminent international investigation.

    • 4
      2

      Leon,

      Finally it has dawned on you lot that we are going to have an international inquiry whether MR agrees or not. MR can run but he cannot hide. Prepare your defence papers.

      • 3
        1

        kalistani

        “Finally it has dawned on you lot that we are going to have an international inquiry whether MR agrees or not. “

        Don’t you know what the outcome will be?

        A clean slate for the armed forces and a pat on MR’s back. A subtle rap around your knuckle.

        Remember armed forces fought with UN Charter on one hand and another UN charter on the other.

        Read from Cameron’s statement during his visit to the North and compare it with what he said in London afterwards.

        How long you have determined to remain stupid Kaliban? Grow up.

        It is not only MR buying time the IC too busy facilitating him. Grow up.

        For years you trusted your National leader for your people’s emancipation and ended up being subjugated by him. Grow up.

        • 1
          0

          Foreign You Idiot:

          It took 7 long years to bring Milosevic to the HAGUE despite a Super Power backing him. I know it is hard for you lot to even contemplate your king being Dethroned but the choice is not in the hands of 20 million Racist Army.

          • 2
            1

            kaliban

            “It took 7 long years to bring Milosevic to the HAGUE despite a Super Power backing him.”

            In MR’s case does Hindia really want to see him hanged?

            You have been awaiting for a Tamil Eelam to dawn for 30 years. Why not another 7 or 30 years to hang Gota?

            • 2
              0

              Foreign:

              You are an Ostrich. Man Eelam has arrived and listen to BJP and the Iron Lady who have openly declared that Eelam is not only a possibility but Essential. Man you are in the Grip of External Control and you can do bugger all. Keep barking like a Mad Dog as that is all you can do. We are confident of victory. Why don’t you quickly take MR to Wilpathu Jungle and find a Bunker to hide like the Butcher of Baghdad.

              • 0
                0

                “”BJP and the Iron Lady””

                Amma and NaMo is subset no?

                Trimurti is always Charming and Safe but 2 is company only not March:

                Try 40+ 42 state above? ;) Ajanta, Ellora Elephant is the 3 in 1 no subset.

                kaliban

  • 3
    0

    “They have killed many innocent people, a warning to the Tamils,.'”

    This does not sound right.

    No credible evidence of such attacks, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that LTTE used civilians as a shield. That’s what they always did – killing civilians to achieve political objectives.

    “not to indulge or aspire for another round of armed struggle, aimed at achieving maximum damage to their pride, property, dignity and life”

    This does not sound all that right either.

    There is no evidence to sugest there was much of pride or dignity of life under LTTE in the North. There is plenty of evidence to suggest those who sought pride and dignity of life just moved to the South of the country to live among Sinhala or left the country.

  • 0
    1

    There are times when even professors turn jokers.
    Michael Roberts has been blinded by dollar notes.
    I agree with every word of what James Chance has
    said.

    Things do not work always to suit the agendas of
    fools under the cloak of learned men like Roberts.
    God save him.

    • 2
      1

      Kota Pora

      Have you come to the conclusion that Irathina Valli too is a fool?

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