The Evidence: How lies – Fake Videos – PR stunts – Child Actors justify military interventions of sovereign nations

April 22nd, 2018

Countries have fallen. People have lost lives & homes. Countries are destabilized, split to pieces, locals are armed, locals are roped in as poodles, regime change & system change are all part of a neo-colonial liberal agenda that seeks to destroy the sovereign state system & bring corporate rule to the hands of a miniscule. This agenda has been rolled out a well-planned, well-coordinated, well-funded set of initiatives of which manufactured stories, news, fake videos, false eye witnesses, staged scenes, bogus NGOs, bought over locals and now even child actors are playing a role. In bringing out some of the lies that went to destroy nations, the people of Sri Lanka should now not be naïve to think that there is a bigger picture to the existence of the LTTE, those that funded & supported them & every post-war action taking place against everyone that contributed to the defeat of LTTE terrorism.

Gulf War – Iraq

This is Gen. Colin Powell. In 2003 he was the US Secretary of State. In February 2003, he lied to the UN holding up ‘evidence’ of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. There was no such WMDs but Iraq was invaded.

He is alleged to have made 254 false statements in the run up to the Iraq War

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ughtKRK78-g – Sec of State Powell lies about WMDs at the UN

Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense also caught lying about Iraq’s WMD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPJCPcYCupY

This is Charles Jaco – CNN reporter covering the 1990 Persian Gulf War. He was made famous for no reason. Leaked footage shows the entire clip was done inside CNN studio and they even went to the extent of putting gas masks amid false sirens! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTWY14eyMFg

Nayirah

This is Nayirah. Her ‘performance’ was part of a $12m package to a US PR firm that coached her to cry before US Congress & manufacture a story about Iraqi troops killing babies in incubators which was quoted even by US President Bush to justify bombing of Iraq. Viewing her act will shock any as to how 15 year olds can be trained to cry & tell false stories. She was the daughter of the Kuwait ambassador to US & Canada & a member of the Kuwait Royal Family. There were no such incubator baby killings but Iraq was invaded!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_JfqkEXdAg&t=22s

Listen to the speeches of both PMs – both are identical & helped pave way to invade Iraq! Who wrote the script?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYfDTsjwE58

Lies that Destroyed Yugoslavia, Serbia & created Kosovo

Media & Western government spread fabricated concentration camps,” rape camps,” and similar Nazi- and Auschwitz-like analogies

This is Fikret Alic, a Bosnian Muslim. He was used as a symbol by West against Serbia in 1992. He is shown as an emaciated man standing behind a barbed wire fence but he was not in any concentration camp as alleged.  It was from a videoclip by a British TV team to which C4 also participated. His physique was a result of a birth defect!

The picture that fooled the world – https://fbreporter.org/2015/07/12/the-picture-that-fooled-the-world/

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/LIE/BOSNIA_PHOTO/bosnia.html

Serbian Concentration Camp fabrication – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xss0Ep1MJM (remember the concentration camp/internment camp stories that were making the rounds against Sri Lanka)

The Pulitzer Prize for international reporting on Yugoslavia was given to John F. Burns of the New York Times in 1993 for his articles on the destruction of Sarajevo and the barbarous killings” in Bosnia. The prize was based heavily on his interview with alleged Serb killer-rapist Borislav Herak. However, Herak later confessed that he was tortured to admit to rape by his Bosnian Muslim captors.

The Markale Market massacre on August 27, 1993 received the same attention the International Community gave Sri Lanka to LTTE crimes – ignored & turning a blind eye. But when Bosnian Muslims claimed 200,000” dead without even providing evidence it became worldwide news just like the inflated figures falling from the sky regarding the ‘dead/missing’ in Sri Lanka – no names, no dead bodies not even skeletons! In Kosovo too the inflated figures of 200,000 eventually had to come down to a realistic 2000 & those exaggerating were never punished. The same scenario prevails in Sri Lanka! KLA are equivalent to LTTE & post-Kosovo KLA are ruling while LTTE’s TNA are now at the helm in Sri Lanka!

The West’s interference & interventions in the Middle East & parts of Africa have been based on lies. Lies manufactured and presented through PR firms, lobbied by others & spread by media. How authentic are these military interventions then? Not one military intervention or R2P has been genuine. From the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the creation of mini-states, the lies that led to the independence of Kosovo, then to the liberation of Libya killing its leader and from 2011 it has been Syria.

Lies that led to the bogus ‘Liberation’ of Libya

Gaddafi was projected as a ‘dictator’. Media relayed him as a killer of his own people. Libyan govt was accused of mass human rights violations. The ‘rebels’ the Libyan govt were fighting were armed, trained & financed by Western governments. The West wanted Gaddafi not to step down but – they wanted him dead. He was eventually mercilessly killed while the West watched and applauded. Today Libyans have not been liberated. They have found out their ‘dictator’ was an angel compared to the failed state that exists after Western regime change. Then the West moved on to their next target Syria

https://www.mondialisation.ca/libya-war-was-based-on-lies-bogus-intelligence-nato-supported-and-armed-the-rebels-british-parliamentary-report/5547356

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/22/libya-and-the-myth-of-humanitarian-intervention/

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-historical-narrative-that-lies-beneath-the-gaddafi-rebellion-2230654.html

 

Danny Abdul Dayem

 

This is a screen shot of Danny Abdul Dayem another fake news manufactured in 2011 to facilitate the invasion of Syria. Danny turned out to be a British citizen & one of the rainbow boys paid to kick start the Syrian colour ‘revolution’. His ‘reports’ were used to build anti-Assad sentiment by BBC, CNN & Al Jazeera. He was dubbed the voice of Homs”. Living in London he was portrayed as a ‘eyewitness’ in Homs & shot by Syrian troops.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-DCZxsrt9I

EXPOSED: Danny Abdul-Dayem & CNN Lying…Again – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4YfKIPDS8E

https://www.sott.net/article/242491-Truth-about-Western-medias-favourite-Syrian-activist-Danny-Dayem

OMRAN

Everyone will remember this photo. He is OMRAN who was rescued after an airstrike by White Helmets in Syria/Aleppo. The child’s image was used by western media to show brutality of the Syrian Govt. His father alleged his son was used as propaganda with everyone photographing him without attending to his injuries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh5BTFvCUz8

Omran Daqneesh’s Father Exposes mainstream media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rE0emXxJTo

Is video of Syrian ‘hero boy’ authentic?

This was what was shown to the world

That it was a film was never told!

Is video of Syrian ‘hero boy’ authentic? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjb4XgjuP4A

Millions became captivated by this video of a Syrian boy rescuing a little girl amidst gunfire. The reality was that it was a film by a Norwegian team & the location was Malta not Syria & the boy was not Syrian but a child actor, so was the little girl.

Image of a Young boy sleeping with his dead parents” was circulated on facebook & twitter in 2014.

The staff of the UN had even circulated it.

We were all shown the first photo & not the 2nd

The reality was that it was part of an art project by photographer Abdul Aziz al Otaibi & shot in Saudi Arabia & not in Syria.

Who are the WHITE HELMETS?

Also known as the Syrian Civil Defense claims to be ‘impartial’ ‘non government’ however White Helmets was created in 2013 not by Syrians but James Le Mesurier a former British army officer & working as a UN staff member. The WH were operating solely in terrorist held areas – that explains their close relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra & thus the defacto ‘eyewitnesses’ (ring a bell regarding the INGOs/NGOs working in LTTE held areas and the ‘eyewitnesses who are LTTE cadres or supporters!) For those that fund both – they are not terrorists but rebels, freedom fighters & civil defense!

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters denounced the White Helmets civil defense group” in Syria as a fake organization” that spreads propaganda for jihadists and terrorists.” White Helmets sounds so much like the LTTE fronts operating from overseas!

The WH claim to be unarmed – but this photo shows otherwise

    white helmets very much armed!

US State Dept admitted providing $23m assistance through USAID to the WH but its website claims it accepts no ‘money from governments’. Total funding from other governments come to $100m with $65m from UK officially being declared (Vanessa Beeley)

The White Helmets even won an Oscar (we recall how LTTE funded C4 Killing Fields was similarly nominated)

Eva Bartlett says there are no international organization on the ground in Aleppo Syria. West relies on White Helmets & Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – one man report from UK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6utDs1b_TU (this is a must listen as what Eva says has similarities with Sri Lanka’s scenario)

Vanessa Beeley also exposes the White Helmet as participating against Syrian civilians and on the side of the terrorists! If they are virtually terrorists & they die why does the world mourn them simply because they are projected as ‘rescue workers” did we not experience same scenario in Sri Lanka with those supporting the LTTE claiming to be ‘civilian’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvwvw9z5j3g – the Lies behind the White Helmets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQL3rX6xWRg

The White Helmets not only feel at home on territories controlled by Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL], but also openly express positive attitudes towards them, providing them with information and even financial assistance,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said

She noted that there is documentary evidence” showing that White Helmets members were in fact part of certain operations by the terrorists. Zakharova said there are videos showing Syrian troops being tortured and executed in the presence of White Helmets.

Doctors have condemned the techniques used by White Helmets

White Helmets Video: Swedish Doctors for Human Rights Denounce Medical Malpractice and ‘Misuse’ of Children for Propaganda Aims

http://theindicter.com/white-helmets-video-swedish-doctors-for-human-rights-denounce-medical-malpractice-and-misuse-of-children-for-propaganda-aims/

This was a hoax shot made to fool the world

Remember this scene? It was posted as a rescue which was untrue but then it turned out it was just a staged scene & White Helmets posted an apology & removed the clip.

White Helmets apologize – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38066791

And not surprisingly people are now questioning the authenticites of White Helmet videos just as people are now question the C4 & Callum McCrae’s videos against Sri Lanka.

However given the patronage of powerful governments in the West behind the White Helmets, is it a surprise they won an Oscar in 2017! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytpt4sgoxYI

White Helmets were even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017!

Andrew Korybko’s book, Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change (available for free shows how NGOs are used as fronts to promote Governmental ‘humanitarian’ missions. The UNHRC is being used for this exercise against Sri Lanka in lieu of Western ‘humanitarian’ intervention given the sensitivity to India’s role in the continent.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/03/01/who-are-the-white-helmets-do-we-really-know-what-they-are-doing-in-syria/

The “ACTOR” even thanked White Helmets for “RESCUING” him!

AYA being used over & over again by White Helmets

 

It was the White Helmets that accused the Syrian Government of chemical gas attack on Syrian civilians. On April 7th, in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, an area just east of Damascus, an alleged chemical gas attack occurred, killing over 40 people. Pearson Sharp, a reporter for One America News Network visited Douma and found that all the locals say that the so-called April 7 Douma chemical attack had been fabricated by militants and story spread by white helmets.

11 year old Hassan Diab

 

Russian foreign ministry says Hassan should tell all to the UNSC of the lies spread by White Helmets –

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201804191063733196-boy-douma-attack-unsc/

No Sri Lanka can ignore these ground realities and compare similarities with scenarios in Sri Lanka. After so doing, the next question is are you going to be part of these regime change destabilizing agenda or will you attempt to safeguard the nation, its people & its national assets?

When reading the expose’s we are happy that Syria has a friend in the Russians who are countering all the lies. We are also happy that journalists like Eva Bartlett & Vanessa Beeley are boldly challenging the corporate media lies & the journalists propagating these lies. In the English local media in Sri Lanka, we have only a handful of such personalities and Shamindra Ferdinando is one that immediately comes to mind. If only Sri Lanka too had a mechanism to put out the truth on the LTTE, the LTTE fronts, LTTE diaspora, the foreign governments, UN officials, NGOs/INGOs on their payroll just as the lies on Syria is helping us to understand the bigger picture – Sri Lanka’s post-LTTE defeat narrative would have been written differently.

Shenali D Waduge

 

My comments on Jack MacLaren’s request to remove Tamil Tigers from the Canadian Government’s list of Terrorist organizations

April 22nd, 2018

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1 Canada

21 April 2018

Jack MacLaren, Independent (Trillium Party) MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills,

Ontario

Cc. Premier Kathleen Wynne, MPP

Dear Jack MacLaren:

‘Sweet Mother of Jesus!’  What’s all this that I read in the Toronto Sun of April 12, 2018,  bylined Bonokoski which says Removing Tamil Tigers off terrorist list naive, foolish thinking.”  Did you really stand up in Queen’s Park Chambers and suggest that?.  Phew! Man, did you really! What the heck did you add in to your coffee that morning, or smoked before you went to bed the night before.  I am intrigued.

For God’s sake, give me a break, Jack.  What’s wrong with you.  It is not

Naive, foolish thinking”, It is stupid and idiotic thinking..”

Why all this stupidity Jack, what was the incentive, to come up with this stupidity. Did the friends of Tamil Tiger terrorists promise you a  year’s supply of spicy lentil Masala Wade for your breakfast for 365 days?  Or was it that they promised to fund your election campaign under the banner of the Trillium Party now that you were kicked out from the Conservative Party Caucus on May 2017. Spit out the truth, Jack.

I say to you that you will never  ever learn from your past Tamil Tiger supporting follys,  hiccups and faux pas when these Greater Toronto Area  separatist-Tamil friends of yours made you into a laughable finger-puppet that could be manipulated and squeezed into Ha-ha-hi-hi ridiculous shapes to be laughed at..  They know when they meet a foolish vote-greedy Canadian politician made out of putty.

And by now you should know unless you are dumb, that the Tamil bloc votes come with a price. – We will give you our bloc-vote only if you help us resurrect the Tamil Tiger terrorism and reclaim our past grandeur in the ‘World of Terrorism’ as the most ruthless terrorist group in the world, and help us to claim a mono-ethnic, racist, separatist-Tamil State, Eelam” in the North and East of Sri Lanka

containing 33% of the prime real estate bordered by 60% of the coast line.  And this too for 10% of the Tamil population, as thousands and thousands of Tamils flew out of their crow’s nests no sooner the floodgates were opened around the world for the Tamil refugees in search of a country in the West whose roads were paved with gold.  They had little interest to go East..  And  they chose Canada as one of them.  And so they came in plane loads, with passports when they got on the planes and no passports when they landed.  The passports had vanished in an ABRACADABRA swish of an ‘I am a refugee wand.’

Jack, I will bet my last dollar, that 90% of your separatist-Tamil friends wouldn’t have had a snowball chance in hell if they had tried to immigrate to Canada through the legitimate strict point system.  And that is the rub!.

These separatist-Tamils are smart, and they got you well entrenched in their green $20 bills stuffed pocket so that you could feel the bills and smell them.  They will pick by instinct and from the hungry looks of Canadian politicians who will come grovelling at their feet begging for their votes,  Hey! Jack, you happen to be one of them. A good pick of the draw as they know that you are a good candidate to take you down their garden path with a. maze of lies and untruths.

Do you remember Jack, you and a few other Conservative colleagues at Queen’s Park looked lobster red-faced bloody fools in December 2015, when you were taken without skates and skis, down the ice-slippery, sloping garden path by the separatist-Tamils.   Do you?

It was Stewart Bell who reported on 2nd December, 2015, in the National Post with a head line, Ontario Conservatives ‘unaware’ their Queen’s Park guest was being deported for terrorism,.”  And your guest was Eelaventham, a Tamil.  What a hoot!  Jack, you will never learn, will you.  What’s wrong with you?

Jack, you know sweet nothing about the Tamil Tiger terrorists that you are batting for to sanitize and white-wash them to claim that they are no longer a bunch of suicide bombing, ethnic cleansing terrorists, and that they are good guys, as good as innocent-faced choir boys and should be taken off Canada’s official Terrorist list.  Hmmm….interesting Fairy tale.!

Wow..wow! Jack, just hold your horses right there. Don’t tell me that you had met some hard-core Tamil Tigers walking the streets of the Greater Toronto Area and got them into washing machines and tumble-washed them with Tide soap and got their white Tiger stripes off their bodies and presented them  to Canada as good, clean White Snow Tigers, who wouldn’t harm anyone, not even a fly on the wall, Did you?  I thought it won’t be that easy to get the Tamil Tiger terrorists stripes off as Tamil Tigers will always be  blood thirsty Tamil Tigers, whether you use Tide, or Purex or Sunlight soaps to wash them even with a drop or two of Bleach.

  • These are the Tamil Tiger terrorists who not only assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India using a suicide bomber on Tuesday, 21 May,1991, and also killed President Premadasa of Sri Lanka using a suicide bomber on 1 May, 1993.  They also killed several politicians who did not toe their Eelam-separatist lines.  Did you know this Jack? Or are all these news to you.  Here are some names of the Sri Lankan politicians that the Tamil Tigers assassinated.  The catalogue is long but I  will give you a taste of what they did and could do.

27.07.1975      Alfred Duraiappah (Tamil) – Mayor of Jaffna

25.05.1981      A. Thiagarajah (Tamil) – MP for Vadukkodai

29.04.1983      S.J.Muttiah (Tamil) – UNP candidate for Chavakachcheri

29.04.1983      S.J.Rajarathnam (Tamil) -UNP Organizer, Valvettithurai

29.04.1983      K.B.Rathnasingham (Tamil) -UNP Organizer Point Pedro

12.08.1983      A.R.Rajasooriyar (Tamil) – UNP Organizer, Jaffna

18.09.1984      S. Gopalapillai (Tamil) – UNP Organizer Ampara

03.09.1985      V.Dharmalingam (Tamil) – MP for Manipay

03.09.1985       K.Alalasundaram (Tamil) – MP for Kopai

06.05.1986       Sri Sabaratnam (Tamil) – TELO Leader

08.03.1988       S. Vijayanandan (Tamil) – District Secretary of Ceylon

Communist Party

20.03.1988       V. Master (Tamil) – TULF Organizer for Kalmunai

07.03.1989       S. Sabarathnamoorthy (Tamil) – TULF Ex-DDC Chairman

13.07.1989       A. Amirthalingam (Tamil) – TULF Leader

13.07.1989       V. Yogeswaran (Tamil) -Ex-TULF MP for Jaffna

07.05.1990       Sam Tambimuttu (Tamil -EPRLF MP for Batticaloa

19.06.1990       K. Padmanabha (Tamil)) – EPRLF Leader

19.06.1990       W.K. Yogasangarie (Tamil) – EPRLF MP for Jaffna

19.06.1990       P .Krubakaran (Tamil) – Ex-Finance Minister for NEPC

28.06.1990       T. Ganeshalingam (Tamil) – Provincial Minister for North

and East.

Well, Jack, these were the killings of politicians by your friends, the Tamil Tiger terrorists, from July 1975 until the end of 1990. And there were many more assassinations of politicians by the end of  the Eelam War on 19 May, 2009, like Lakshman Kadirgamar (Tamil), the Foreign Minister.killed by a Tamil Tiger sniper bullet on 12 August, 2005.

So you have sold your soul to help these assassins. Does your conscience prick you a bit now, having heard all this.

Jack, but here’s what bothers me with your stupidity trying to give a clean slate for these assassins, the Tamil Tiger terrorists, when Canada put Momin Kawaja (born in April 1979)  behind bars for the rest of his life having found him guilty on his involvement in a plot to plant fertiliser bombs in the UK.  I believe that no bombs were made nor anyone killed from his involvement. He was found guilty under the Anti-Terrorism Act.  Can you reconcile with what you are trying to do for the Tamil Tigers with what we have done to Momin Kawaja.  Have you got an intelligent explanation to defend your act in the Queen’s Park Chambers.  If you do I’d like to hear of it.  Your foolishness amazes me!

Did you Jack, give a serious thought as to what you were planning to do to help the Tamil Tiger terrorists, before sanitizing and painting the Tamil Tiger terrorists lily-white to seek from the Canadian government a reprieve for their unholy killings and ethnic cleansing sins, and  have them erased from the official Canadian Government listing of terrorists organizations?  Or did you think that you had the divine right to act God and sweep all the Tamil Tiger heinous acts under the carpet so that no one would ever know?

Did you,Jack?  Heinous brutal acts like. how they plucked infants from Sinhalese Mothers breasts and cracked their skulls by bashing them on boulders of charnockite granite rocks; Like how they stopped a bus carrying novice Buddhist monks on June 2, 1987 and massacred and brutally mutilated 33 of them and their mentor, Chief priest Ven. Hegoda Indrasara at Aranthalawa in Ampara; Like on Friday, 3 August 1990, how the Tamil Tigers opened fire  with Kalashnikovs and killed 103 Muslims and injured 70 others while they were at prayer at the Meera Jumma Mosque in Kathankudy.  And later on 28 October 1990, the Tamil Tigers kicked out 90,000 Muslims from Jaffna giving them 24 hours to move out leaving behind gold and other valuables at the nearest mosque;

and how these cowards shot and killed 700 policemen on June 11, 1990, who had surrendered being blindfolded and their hands tied at their backs and  asked to kneel down, then shot them point blank through their skulls.  The policemen surrendered with the promise that they will be sent south unharmed.  Bloody cunning  liars, weren’t they Jack!  And they happen to be your buddies for whom you acted as their saviour standing at attention at the Queen’s Park chambers like a  preacher wearing a white-collar starched towards heaven. .Hallelujah! What glory to you, Jack.

Well, Jack, what have you got to say now.  And you have the audacity and temerity to ask the Canadian Government to remove these sordid murderers from the official list of terrorists.  Jack, I hope you won’t have nightmares tonight due to your ridiculous, crass stupidity.

To conclude this Lesson on Tamil Tiger Terrorists 101 so that you can make some educated decisions before you want to sanitize and whitewash them lily-white again,  it is incumbent upon you to explain to your constituents of your rural riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills who voted you into represent them at Queen’s Park, why the heck you are interested in Tamil Tigers who fought a terrorist war with the Sri Lankan Government almost 8,524 miles away.  Why this Tamil Tiger issue has taken precedent from what is expected of you like winning Ontario Trade for your riding, like the right to work in Quebec for your constituents, and fighting for a fair share of the transit pie at Queen’s Park, the safety, security, good education and jobs.  Well, why?

Call a Town Hall meeting Jack, and get on with it,  And if you want to have a public debate with me on the issue to consolidate your position on the Tamil Tiger file which has absolutely nothing to do with your  Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding, and why you did what you did speaking for the Tamil Tiger serial-killer terrorists. Trust me  I am game for it,,  Do it.  Let’s do it, Jack..

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)

(an I will stand on guard for thee’ Sinhalese Sri Lankan-Canadian

to boot, and an Ottawan since 1970)

WAR CRIMES’ AND EELAM WAR IV (Part 1)

April 22nd, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The   war crimes” charge against the Sri Lanka army is that the army killed hundreds and hundreds of   innocent” Tamil civilians instead of killing off the LTTE. This ‘war crimes’ charge is part of a calculated strategy carried out by the western countries that support Tamil Eelam. A bogus ‘body count’ was created at the end of Eelam War IV. The first estimate was 20,000 civilians killed.

The Paranagama Commission reported    that   ‘privately UN staff were puzzled by the new death toll, then alleged to be 20,000 and wondered how it had been calculated. UN staff were reported as saying someone has made an imaginative leap and that is at odds with what we have been saying before”. One official said. It is a very dangerous thing to start making extrapolations.”’

Upul Wijewardena had been told by a relative, who was a diplomat that a newspaper reporter from Times (UK) had flown over Nandikadal area in a helicopter soon after Eelam War IV ended. She had told Wijewardena’s relative that she had seen bodies and thought it may be around 20,000. When asked why other UN officials who were on the same helicopter denied seeing that many bodies, she had no explanation. (Island 21.11.17 p 8).     This shows that the figure of 20,000 had been decided by then.

Then the figure started to rise. ‘Amnesty International’s conclusions, derived independently from eyewitness testimony and information from aid workers, are that at least 10,000 civilians were killed.’ Gordon Weiss, UN spokesman in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the war, said on Australian television, that ‘I believe that between 10,000 and 40,000 is a reasonable estimate. I think most likely it’s somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000’.

This was not considered sensational enough and it was soon displaced by a far   more impressive total. The Darusman report ( 2011) said  that there is no authoritative figure for civilian deaths in the Vanni in the final phase of the war but a number of credible sources have estimated, that due to wide spread shelling by the Sri Lanka  army, There could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths.  This figure of 40,000 deaths ‘ was eagerly picked up by the Tamil Separatist Movement, for whom it was intended and broadcast around the world,  as an accusation against the Sri Lanka army.

The arbitrary figure of 40,000 sudden deaths has been treated with great suspicion in Sri Lanka.  ‘Where are the bodies? ‘asked one of Sri Lanka‘s leading criminal lawyers. ‘Such a large number of bodies cannot be hidden easily’. No evidence has been presented justify this astronomically high death toll, said Chandraprema. The ‘credible sources’ used by the Darusman Report are not named. These figures are not corroborated anywhere, not by the any of the missions in Colombo who were noting down deaths. ‘40,000 civilian deaths’ has been calculated by simply subtracting the number of  registered IDPs (290,000) from the Darusman estimate of the number of civilians caught up in the final months of the war (330,000), said the Paranagama Report.

Critics pointed out   that this highly questionable estimate has not taken in to account the wounded and their next of kin evacuated by the ICRC or those who escaped from the LTTE into the jungles and across waterways. None of them would appear among those registered at the end of the war. The estimate could also include LTTE fighters not in uniform and civilians who   had been helping the LTTE.

Nice and Dixon criticized the Darusman Report for not discussing the estimates that were less than 40,000. A UN report should set out the various competing accounts, they said.  They point out that the UN Country Team figure of 7,721 for 13 May 2009 is mentioned in the Darusman Report with no explanation for the considerable leap of 30,000 additional people killed by 18 May 2009. There is no clear breakdown given in the Report of where and how these alleged deaths occurred. Whether they were actually civilian deaths and who was responsible for each of these deaths, concluded Nice and Dixon.

Several other estimates are available for the final phase of Eelam War IV. Many of these estimates are from agencies   that were present in Sri Lanka at the time. These estimates   confirm that the correct tally of deaths is around 7,000 not 40,000

Here are these estimates.

  • An unpublished report from the UN Country Team (received by Lord Naseby) stated that from August 2008 up to May 2009, the number of civilians killed was 7,721. The war ended six days later, so it cannot possibly have gone up to 40,000.
  • A N. working document, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, says 6,432 civilians have been killed and 13,946 wounded in fighting since the end of January, 2009. Reuters reported this some three weeks before the war ended.
  • ‘British Defence Attaché in Colombo Lt. Col Anton Gash said in his report that the civilians killed from Feb 1 – 26 April 2009 is 6432. The figure could be higher with the civilian deaths occurring within next 3 weeks.
  • US Ambassador Blake stated on 7 April 2009 that there were deaths of 4,164 from January to 6 April.
  • US Department of State in its unclassified Report to Congress on Incidents during the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka, 2009 said ‘The State Department has not received casualty estimates covering the entire reporting period from January to May However, one organization, which did not differentiate between civilians and LTTE cadres, recorded 6,710 people killed and 15,102 people injured between January 20 to April 20. These numbers were presented with a caveat, supported by other sources, that the numbers actually killed and injured are probably higher.’
  • International Crisis Group said ‘UN agencies, working closely with officials and aid workers located in the conflict zone, documented nearly 7,000 civilians killed from January to April 2009. Those who compiled these internal numbers deemed them reliable to the extent they reflected actual conflict deaths but said that the  calculations were still in progress and
  • Major General Holmes in his expert military report of March 2015 thought the figure would be between 7,000 to 8,000.
  • Department of Census and Statistics had calculated that all civilian deaths, those killed by LTTE and those killed by army, plus LTTE dressed in civilian clothing totaled 7,934.

Therefore we now have a clear estimate of around 7000 deaths at the end of Eelam War IV. The ‘40,000 deaths’ accusation can be discarded.

Analysts have provided further clarification about some of these calculations. The UN report should be 98% accurate, said Lt. Colonel (Retd) Athula Lankadeva. The UN “Crisis Operation Group” which was formed to collect reliable information regarding civilian casualties took figures from Regional Directors of Health Services majority who were Tamil persons as the base line, Sri Lankan staff of UN who were deployed in Wanni again majority who were Tamil persons and NGOs deployed inside Vanni, the ICRC, religious authorities and other sources to cross check and verify the baseline.

Lankadeva also said that there was another report titled “Fatalities in terrorist violence in Sri Lanka 2002- 2015” from South-Asia-Terrorism-Portal which said 3,139 LTTE cadres were killed in 2009. However, only 1,346 individual graves were identified by satellite imagery. Therefore, 1,793 (3,139 – 1,346) LTTE cadre who got killed may have posed as civilians. When an Army is fighting a war operating within civilian population,  an average of 1,371 civilians ( as indicated in the Darusman Report )  killed in cross fire during the period of 4 ½ months is not a war crime,  he added

Shamindra Ferdinando also commented on the UN report. There cannot be a better ‘source’ than the UN report that dealt with fighting on multiple fronts in the Vanni region, both west and east of the Kandy-Jaffna road from August 2008 to May 13, 2009, he said. The project was supervised by the head of the UN mission in Sri Lanka, Neil Bhune   and approved by the UN mission in Colombo. The UN had accurately covered the ground situation for almost 10 months (Aug 2008 to May 2009). Also, unlike the Darusman report, the UN report defined the period of the ‘final phase’.

The UN report was based on information provided by local staff of the UN and other NGOs in the LTTE-held area, the ICRC, religious authorities, and other sources. As the UN mission in Colombo can still get in touch with those who had contributed to the report, the UN investigators have an opportunity to verify facts, said Shamindra. Darusman Panel and the OISL team had opportunities to examine the UN dossier. There is no reason for any party to object to its release now.

Major General Homes told the Paranagama Commission that according to the   imagery analysis given in the Darusman Report, there are 1,332 obvious graves. These might be LTTE gravesites, but let us assume that they are IDP ones and that there are 4 bodies to each grave. That gives a total of 5,328 bodies. There would, of course, be unmarked graves invisible to imagery and a large number of bodies were never recovered because they died by drowning, were buried in LTTE bunkers and fortifications, or just decomposed quickly in the monsoon climate. However, in most wars the number of missing presumed dead is lower than the number of bodies recovered. The figure of 40,000 civilians killed, which has been repeatedly published is, in my view, extremely difficult to sustain on the evidence which I have seen, continued Holmes.

A cable from US Ambassador Blake to the State Department on 7 April 2009 states that the UN estimate of deaths for the period 20 January to 6 April was 4,164 with a further 10,002 wounded. The cable also states that the estimated daily kill rate was 33 a day in January and 63 a day in February and March. To reach 40,000 deaths would require a kill ratio of 287 per day over 139 days from 1 January to 19 May, concluded Holmes.

The Paranagama Report paid special attention to ’40,000 dead’ accusation. One of the most explosive findings of the Darusman Report is the allegation of civilian deaths in ‘a range of up to 40,000’, said the Paranagama Report. This Commission finds that there was no reliable body of information which says that 40,000 civilians were killed in the final phase of the war. This figure has now become the ‘North Star’ of calculations. It has been accepted as fact. The figure of 40,000 dead has even been mentioned in the British Houses of Parliament. The Tamil Seperatist movement has seized upon this figure and has even sought to increase it  Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice said in December 2017 that the figure was 40,000- 70,000.

The   Paranagama Commission listed several factors that have to be taken into account in any calculation as to whether deaths were those of civilians or combatants.  LTTE concealed their uniforms beneath sarongs.  LTTE also removed the uniform from a dead LTTE cadre and put civilian clothes on the body, to create the impression that it was a civilian. LTTE cadres wearing suicide vests detonated themselves, killing themselves and civilians. LTTE used a vast number of the civilian hostages as human shields, made them dig trenches and prepare other defences, also forced some into the front line carrying guns. This blurred the distinction between combatants and civilians’. It is almost impossible in these circumstances to work out, how many civilians were killed by the army.

However, local critics, were not interested in decisively squashing the ‘40,000 dead’ statement. They were happy to keep the figure going, by engaging in knee jerk reactions. The person who took action to crush the statement was not a Sri Lankan, it was a Britisher, Lord Naseby.

Sir Michael Morris, now Lord Naseby, former Royal Air Force pilot, has long been an ally to Sri Lanka in the West. A member of the British House of Lords, he founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka in 1975 and was its elected president. He has visited Sri Lanka many times, the last was in February 2017. In 2005 he was awarded the Sri Lanka Ratna, the highest national honour bestowed upon foreigners for exceptional and outstanding service to the nation.

For years Lord Naseby has defended the reputation of Sri Lanka, regarding conduct during the Eelam war, in UK and before the international forum. Naseby   decided that the figure of 40,000 civilian deaths given in the Darusman report was nonsense. In 2014, using the Freedom of Information Act  , Naseby requested the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to release the dispatches sent between 1 January to 19 May 2009, sent from Colombo, by British Defence attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gash. This attempt to get official data was blocked at every turn. His request was refused twice. Appeals to higher authorities at the Foreign Office were also rejected.

He then appealed to the Information Commissioner who, having understood Lord Naseby’s purpose, ordered release of the pertinent documents. Naseby then he received 26 pages of redacted documents, none which covered the crucial last six weeks of war.  A further appeal to the Information Commissioner brought in 12 more dispatches, yielding a total of 39 highly edited (redacted) dispatches.

Lord Naseby referred to these documents when on Oct 12, 2017 he addressed the House of Lords at the Parliamentary debate on Sri Lanka’s progress towards reconciliation . He stated that British Defence Attaché in Colombo Lt. Col Anton Gash had said in his dispatches  that the total number of civilian deaths was around 7,000. At least a quarter of that figure were probably ‘Tigers’ who had shed their uniforms. Gash also said that that the Government of Sri Lanka never targeted civilians. Gash was knowledgeable, independent and would be accurate in his dispatches about the war. This information was never changed. If a mistake had been made, it would, surely, have been corrected, said Naseby.

Lord Naseby continued, I have discovered an unpublished report from the United Nations Country Team, which stated that from August 2008 up to May 2009, the number of civilians killed was 7,721. The war ended six days later, so it cannot possibly have got up to 40,000. Then I looked at what Gordon Weiss, the former UN spokesman said. He produced an estimate in 2009 of 7,000 civilian deaths. US Ambassador Blake stated on 7 April that there were deaths of 4,164 from January to 6 April. Major General Holmes in his expert military report of March 2015 concurs with 7,000 to 8,000. The Sri Lankan Government’s census department issued an in-depth census leading to the conclusion that 7,000 to 8,000 were missing. Lord Naseby says he also consulted some ‘mostly left-leaning’ university academics. Their figure too was very similar. All the people I have cited stated that there was no policy to kill civilians – in fact the opposite, added Naseby.

Lord Naseby then said, “I hope and pray that as a result of this debate, the UK will recognize the truth that no one in the Sri Lankan government ever wanted to kill Tamil civilians. Furthermore, the UK must now get the UN and the UNHCR in Geneva to accept a civilian casualty level of 7,000 to 8,000, not 40,000. The west and in particular the US and UK must remove the threat of war crimes and foreign judges that hang over Sri Lanka. UK must recognize that this was a war against terrorism. We in the UK should reflect on the sacrifices of thousands of young Sri Lankan soldiers who died to create peace in that country.”

President Sirisena wrote Lord Naseby a letter of appreciation, which took 19 days to reach Naseby. The letter was also tabled in Parliament. Beyond that Sirisena took no interest in the matter.  Parliament was also not interested. Naseby’s observations were  not discussed at the cabinet meeting.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when asked by Island,  dismissed  the Naseby assertions. Engaging in debates over the number of civilian dead is a meaningless exercise, said the Ministry,  except for a feel good factor for the individuals concerned.  Those engaged in this “meaningless exercise”  did not do so to feel good,  replied critics. They did it because they were concerned about the  spuriously concocted numbers,

Island spoke to several persons to obtain their views on the Naseby claim. International Committee of the Red Cross , Sri Lanka office said that they would not inquire into Lord Naseby’s claims.’ We are a humanitarian organization not an investigative agency’,. British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris said that we must not get distracted by numbers, because figures can get in the way of the truth. Erik Solheim refused to comment. Mark Salter said the  evidence on which Naseby bases his allegations must become publicly available first before any comments could be made. Channel 4 News presenter, Jon Snow, who had repeatedly accused Sri Lanka of massacring 40,000 civilians during the Vanni offensive did not respond, though the Channel acknowledged receiving  Island request.

Global Tamil Forum spokesperson, Suren Surendiran, dismissed Lord Naseby’s statements. Naseby is just one of 800 Lords in the House of Lords, he said. Further, Lord Naseby does not represent the Foreign and Commonwealth  Office or the British Government’s policy on Sri Lanka. Britain was one of the main sponsors of the Geneva Resolutions and Britain still insists that the resolutions must be fully implemented, said Surendiran.

Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has strongly condemned Lord Naseby for throwing his weight behind Sri Lanka. The NGO said that Naseby did not send them the full dispatches, as  requested so they cannot comment on them. But the death figures given by Gash are not new, they are the same UN figures mentioned in the Darusman Report. But Darusman Panel, with  the benefit of hindsight, witness testimony, and access to a far broader range of information  give the better   figure of 40,000. An internal UN report of  2012  said 70,000 people are missing.  Therefore the  dead  count will probably lie between 40,000 and 70,000.   The full statement  of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice is given  at the end of this essay as an Appendix.

Lord Naseby however continued his efforts. He met President Sirisena, in April 2018 when President Sirisena was in London to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  It is clear that this visit took place at Naseby’s request not Sirisena’s . Lord Naseby assured the President of his continued support to Sri Lanka. Lord Naseby has told President Sirisena said that Sri Lanka’s post-war reconciliation process was much better than those of other countries.  UN and the European countries had not been properly briefed about the war in Sri Lanka.  President Sirisena does not seem to have said anything in return.

Since Britain was not taking any action on his declaration, Naseby went directly to the UN. Lord Naseby forwarded a full set of papers consisting of the Hansard transcript of the debate he initiated in the House of Lords , all copies of the heavily redacted pages of British Defense Attaché Lt. Col Gash’s dispatches, his interpretation of the un-redacted parts and the substantial corroborative evidence from many other sources,  to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the Human Rights team at the UNHRC in Geneva,  including High Commissioner, Prince Zeid Ra’ad AI Hussein and the nine UN Special Procedures mandate holders along with a personal letter stating his intention of further pursuing the matter.Lord Naseby’s office had sent a copy of his statement to the Island newspaper as well. I have  included this as an appendix to this essay.

The Yahapalana government of Sri Lanka has not wanted to   pursue the matter at the UN. Yahapalana government did not refer to Lord Naseby’s disclosure at the Universal Periodic review at the HRC in December 2017   or at the 37th Geneva sessions of 2018. However, Sarath Weerasekera observed that the UN and UNHRC hadn’t so far disputed Lord Naseby’s assertion.

In the wake of Lord Naseby’s representations to the UN, Sri Lanka should have immediately called for a thorough reappraisal of  the Geneva Resolution 30/1, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, commented Shamindra Ferdinando.. UN must now take into consideration (1) Gash reports that dealt with the January-May 2009 situation in the Vanni region (2) Amnesty International report titled ‘When will they get justice? (Sept 2011), Evaluation of Norwegian peace efforts (Sept 2011), (3) minutes of the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) comprising government officials as well as top level diplomats.  (4) But the most important report that should be compared with the Darusman Report is the confidential UN document on the Vanni war prepared during Aug 2008 to May 13, 2009.

UN should now call for a thorough review of all available information gathered since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, In addition to the reports and documents mentioned above, the UN can also examine the entire set of US diplomatic cables leaked by Wiki leaks that had dealt with the Vanni situation and if necessary compare it with Gash missives, concluded Shamindra. ( continued)

APPENDIX 1.

Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has strongly condemned Lord Naseby for throwing his weight behind Sri Lanka. The following is the full text of the statement issued by Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice:

UK Government, and other members of the international community, should abandon their long-standing and hard-fought push for accountability in Sri Lanka.  Over half a decade of work for the creation of a mechanism that would bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes and mass atrocities had, the member suggested, been based on a misapprehension.; the Peer also claimed to have unearthed ground-breaking new information, from a reliable source, that ought to demolish the very foundations of the call for justice – specifically, figures from a UK military official placing the total number of estimated civilian casualties during the final stages of the war at a mere fraction of the most widely accepted range of 40,000-70,000, as well as statements suggesting that members of the Sri Lankan armed forces be exonerated of criminal wrong-doing.

statement issued by Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice: Unfortunately, an email invitation to Lord Naseby to share the full dispatches with us was not taken up, so we are left only with those quotes from the dispatches selected by him during his speech[1]. We address them in turn below.

Most significantly, the Defence Attaché is quoted by Lord Naseby as stating, on 26th April 2009, that the total number of civilians killed between 1st February and 26th April stood at 6,432. The Defence Attache’s figure is presented by Naseby as new and distinct from other estimates of civilian casualties to date. However, it is not.  In fact, as evidenced by this Guardian report from 2009, it is merely a snapshot of figures compiled over a much broader time-frame by the UN Country Team in Sri Lanka, which placed the total number of civilians killed between August 2008 and 13th May 2009 at 7,721. This estimate has been in the public domain at least since 2011, when it was cited by a Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General to look into the final stages of war.

The Panel of Experts, with both the benefit of hindsight, and access to a far broader range of information and witness testimony not available to the UN Country Team during the final stages of the war, went on to state that “multiple sources of information indicate that a range of up to 40,000 civilian deaths cannot be ruled out at this stage”. A further internal UN report in 2012 highlighted credible information “indicating that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for”.These later UN estimates, which together indicate that that the range of civilian deaths probably lies somewhere in the range of 40,000-70,000, remain the most credible to date we lack the totality of the dispatches needed to properly contextualise and evaluate the statements,

For example, on cluster bombs, the October 2015 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (‘OISL’) cited multiple witnesses, including medical professionals, as testifying to their use, and on that basis stated that “further investigation needs to be carried out.” That call gained renewed intensity in 2016 after images of cluster munitions unearthed in the so-called ‘No Fire Zones’ were leaked by a former employee of the Halo Trust, a de-mining organization.

Similarly, on internally displaced persons, the contrary evidence presented by subsequent UN investigations with regards to their mistreatment, and indeed targeting, is overwhelming. To take but one of many examples, the OISL report describes the repeated shelling between 21-22 April 2009 of a church compound and medical facility packed with over 1,000 sheltering IDPs. A humanitarian worker described the aftermath of the attacks: “it was a terrible sight: There were body parts blown everywhere. I even saw hands hanging on the trees. I saw human body parts all over the vehicles.” The report goes on to describe in detail the government’s systematic denial of life-saving food and medical supplies from those fleeing the conflict zone, in clear breach of international humanitarian law.

APPENDIX 2.

The following is the full text of Lord Naseby’s statement received by The Island:”The resolution 30/1 entitled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ emphasized the need for truth-seeking, among others, as an important element in the overall quest to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The UK government was one of the initiators and a co-sponsor of the resolution. The despatches by Col Anton Gash, the former defence attaché of the British High Commission, constitutes an important element in the process of truth-seeking and should be of interest to all those who genuinely seek a clear picture of what happened during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. It is therefore disappointing that the British High Commission fails to acknowledge the importance of the despatches of its own former defence attaché and the insight that is provided by his communications with the British Government.  .

“While not expressly stated so in the resolution, those who have closely followed events in Sri Lanka after the end of the conflict would agree that the basis for the successive resolutions on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council stemmed from the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity (and in some quarters ‘genocide’) said to have been committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE. Especially, the Report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, commonly known as the ‘Darusman Report’, alleged that ‘a number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths’ (para 137), mostly as a result of indiscriminate shelling by the Sri Lankan military. Therefore, the number of civilians killed forms a very important element in truth-seeking especially when the difference is over 30,000. .

“While Lord Naseby does not take issue with those advocating reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka including the need to investigate any allegations of human rights violations, Lord Naseby does take issue with those in authority be they the UK government or any other Government as well as the UN and particularly the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council in Geneva if they appear to be ignoring the above context behind the resolution as well as circumvent the significance of the insight provided by Col. Anton Gash which corroborate a large number of other sources that confirm a casualty figure of around 7,000-8,000 (of which about 20% were LTTE cadres who are said to have thrown away their uniforms resulting in Tamil civilian casualties of about 6,500).

“Lord Naseby is concerned that the principles of natural justice are possibly being disregarded as the Gash Despatches reveal that British authorities knew that the estimates propagated by the Darusman Report were based on flawed information. The FCO had this information at their disposal to disprove some of the Darusman Report’s contentions, especially to counter that the estimated casualty figures could not have been as high as 40,000. Almost every western media report to this day, continues to quote this high estimate of 40,000 for war casualties, without questioning its reliability, whilst failing to mention the numerous other independent assessments, from sources who were present on the ground in Sri Lanka during 2009, that consistently point to an estimated death toll in the region of 7,000 – 8,000. In its search for the truth, it would seem morally improper that UK should have allowed the Darusman Report to have been used without contention and facilitated subsequent resolutions on Sri Lanka to have been formulated using estimates that starkly contradicted Britain’s own evidence.

After not disclosing its own military attaché’s evidence to the Human Rights Commission, the FCO then took the unhelpful step of attempting to suppress this information when Lord Naseby sought a Freedom of Information request. Britain’s motives in playing a prominent role in seeking and encouraging UNHRC Resolutions on Sri Lanka since 2009 that sought to establish the truth regarding allegations of Human Rights violations, whilst at the same time effectively prohibiting its own relevant information from being considered by the Human Rights Commission, may need to be called into question. Lord Naseby fought for the full disclosure of the Gash Despatches, yet this was not finally granted as the Information Commission Tribunal sided with the FCO, which insisted on heavy redactions being maintained. Nevertheless the redacted Gash Despatches do provide an invaluable insight. .

“Lord Naseby acknowledges that the death of any civilians is deeply regrettable however, it is noted that this was an armed conflict between a democratically elected government and a terrorist outfit, the Tamil Tigers, who were proscribed by leading nations including most of those supporting the resolution. It is inevitable that armed conflicts create casualties, made worse in this case by 300,000 Tamil civilians being herded into a war zone against their will by the Tamil Tigers. In effect, this was a mass hostage situation and the Sri Lankan armed forces took action to release the Tamil civilians. Despite this evidence, the casualties remained remarkably low. Moreover, there is nothing from the UK’s own defence specialist, who was allowed access to the theatres of the conflict in 2009, which indicates that Sri Lanka’s security forces were directed by their government to break the principles of conducting operations in a way that was beyond the bounds of military necessity, nor that Sri Lanka’s armed forces did not take due diligence to avoid civilian casualties by conducting their operations with regard for distinction and proportionality. The British government should acknowledge the evidence of their own military attaché whilst continuing to wholeheartedly support the UN Resolution in collaboration with Sri Lanka to secure a long term sustainable peace for all communities on the island. .

“Therefore, Lord Naseby wishes to reiterate that the context is vital to any possible war crime prosecution that may arise and 40,000 or more civilian deaths could be tantamount to genocide and/or crimes against humanity if proven that it was part of government policy to do so. However, a casualty figure of 6,500 is a totally different scale beyond the scope of such atrocities, while acknowledging that there may have been certain individual incidents that may perhaps constitute to be a violation of the Geneva Conventions. .

“It should be noted that at no stage has Lord Naseby attempted to claim that the Gash Despatches show that the civilian casualties were “trivial” or that these matters should not be investigated. On the contrary, in common with most observers and other nations who supported the resolution, Lord Naseby urges Sri Lanka’s authorities to honour their commitments to the UN Human Rights Council by conducting credible investigations and where there are incidents that their security forces may have committed alleged violations, then the appropriate due processes of justice should follow. .

“It is against this background that Lord Naseby last week forwarded a full set of papers consisting of: the Hansard transcript of the debate he initiated in the House of Lords on October 12th, the entire copies of the heavily redacted pages of Col Gash’s despatches, in itself only available after nearly 3 years of persistent challenging of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, his interpretation of the un-redacted parts and the substantial corroborative evidence from many other sources. These were all sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres; the Human Rights team at the UNHRC in Geneva, namely the High Commissioner, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the nine UN Special Procedures mandate holders, each of whom have visited Sri Lanka in their official capacity. They all received a personal letter from Lord Naseby outlining the key issue of the hugely misleading figure in the Darusman Report of 40,000 Tamil civilians killed whereas the truth is about 6,500 and seeking their support for a correction. .

“Lord Naseby makes it quite clear that he shall pursue every organisation and the persons involved to ensure that the Darusman Report figure on civilian casualties is publicly amended to reflect that the truth about an estimated 6,500 Tamil civilians who died at the end of the Sri Lanka conflict. Truth must and will win out however inconvenient that may be to the authorities.

SLPP should become Sri Lanka’s leading political party.

April 22nd, 2018

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA. 

Despite dismissal by some silly quisling politicians as a never winning and politically suicide effort the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) the nascent political party of Sri Lanka made a tremendous and historical victory in the February 10th local government elections beating all traditional political parties and becoming first in the majority of local government Institutions in the country.  Its victory was a surprise to many partisan political commentators to warn the neo-liberal reactionary UNP to take even undemocratic actions to suppress the forward march of the SLPP.  The Pohottuwa has been the choice of over 45% of the voters and another significant percentage who voted for groups aligned to SLPP in Maharaggama, Beruwela, Bandarawela etc.  Critics have pointed out that the political charisma of the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was the sole ingredient for the SLPP’s success, although it was one major factor and other reasons included the growing hatred towards the inept government which burden them unceasingly. 

In the forthcoming weeks and months there could be various forms of discriminations and ill treatments to identified and leading SLPP supporters and hence the SLPP without remaining complacent with its success and popularity now itself launch a massive programme to protect its supporters, expand its voter base, establish party offices in every village and the towns, enlist new memberships on a modern highly targeted formula (for instance enlist at least one member from each family), and consolidate support for it from the Sath Maha Balawegavaya, comprising the old Pancha Maha Balawegayaga and the War Heroes and Students.

In this connection it is necessary to hold a party convention as early as possible with the participation of all Joint Opposition members, newly elected members of local government institutions, representatives of the Sath Maha Balawegavaya, academics, professionals, representatives from patriotic organizations, minority community organizations, women’s organizations, youth organizations, progressives, interested general public and overseas resident Sri Lankan organizations to adopt a series of resolutions, elect central, regional and district office bearers with the intention of electing office bearers of overseas resident Sri Lankans as well, and appoint committees to draw up a constitution, and a policy framework to rescue the country from the present calamity. 

We should not expect that the treacherous enemy forces and the gruesome foreign forces who puppeteers the perfidious reactionary politicians and NGO vultures of Sri Lanka will remain silent allowing the SLPP political group to take firm roots in the country. This was evident from the recent Kandy clashes in which the communalist government of Sirisena made all efforts although it was unsuccessful to blame the SLPP for the violence and attempts were even made to indict JO MPs Dilum Amunugama and Lohan Ratwatte as responsible for the riots.

The latest move to create dissent and divisions in the SLPP is the emergence of the gang of 16 that had been unleashed by Aappa Sirisea on the behest of his foreign puppeteers.  The real objective of the gang of 16 was clearly outlined by the political chameleon Dilan Perera who hitherto acted as the media spokesman of Sirisena’s SLFP rump.  Addressing the media on 18th April he has said that the gang of 16 left the government in order to strengthen the SLFP under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and their objective is to get the SLFPers in the joint opposition back to Sirisena’s SLFP.

It is also suspected that the move of the Gang of 16” was under the blessings of the UNP as well.  The political editor of Sunday Times (22nd April 2018) reveals that a lesser known fact among most politically literate Sri Lankans was a directive Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued to all parliamentarians of his United National Front (UNF) ahead of the National New Year. It said that he told them to refrain from criticising the Gang of 16 MPs who had voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against him.. This further confirms that the Gang of 16 is on a clandestine mission to somehow destroy the SLPP and they should not be trusted and they should not be taken into the SLPP fold under any circumstances.

Therefore the SLPP should act cautiously and without further delay, and perhaps immediately after holding the May Day rally in Galle on the 7th it should hold the party convention and also start the proposed series of public rallies to be held in major towns which was stalled due to the No Confidence Motion against Ranil Wickremasinghe.

It is suggested that at this party convention or a week of party seminars (as it was done by leftist parties in the past in the form of a mega get together.  I remember that the SLFP too had such events in Ampara and Kurunegala) should be held in which prominent personalities, politicians, academics industrialists and professionals should address the participants on various topics particularly highlighting the political and economic disasters that have been caused to the country, on the follies of the despicable Sirisena-Ranil government, and on the people’s responsibility to rescue the country from the present quagmire.

The party convention should elect the following committees to represent each and every segment of the society:

Committees to represent the Maha Sangha, Farmers (separately for Paddy farmers, vegetable and fruit farmers, and farmers of other crops including export crops), Fisher folk (marine and inland), animal husbandry, milk producers, Doctors, indigenous medical practitioners, Nurses, Health workers, Teachers, University teachers, IT teachers, Women’s, students (University and others), Pensioners associations, Disabled and retired war heroes associations (if it is legally permitted), Legal fraternity, Minority community Units such as Tamil, Muslim, Christian, Indian Origin Tamils, Aadi Vaasi Society, Trade Unions combined and separately for public sector, private sector, media personnel, private and state bank employees, film industry, apparel industry, garment industry, gem and jewellery industry,  various other industries, sand mining, quarry operators, shop employees, restaurant employees, transport sector (separately for private and SLTB). Railways. Three wheel drivers, school transport, skilled workers (masons, plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc), LG institution workers, daily wage earners, unskilled workers, payment hawkers,  etc.

Professionals and erudite personalities should be inducted into these committees as much as possible to guide them in the proper perspective and political objectives..

In addition to this on a cooperative basis the party organizations should establish restaurants, rice mills, food processing units, bus services, lending institutions and village based industries suitable for the respective areas.

Foreign branches should be established in all European countries, in the United States. Canada, Japan, Middle East countries, Australia, South Africa, India and Asian countries including Malaysia and Singapore.  These associations should be geared to counter tiger terrorists’ malicious propaganda and misinformation activities against Sri Lanka, provide accurate information about the country and its people and to promote tourism and investments.  The party should keep these associations periodically informed about the economic and development activities of the country and there should be a separate party office in Colombo coordinating these activities.

The SLPP should also adopt Non Aligned Policy as its foreign policy which brought much fame to Sri Lanka during Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s time and even J.RJatawardene did not dare to challenge or change it.

It is also suggested that maximum efforts should be made to obtain the services of the following for the promotion and policy formulations of the SLPP.

Ven.Muruttuwe Ananda Thero, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero, other ven. Theros on the recommendation of the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe, veteran journalist C.A.Chandraprema, Dr Dayan Jayatilleke, Malinda Seneviratne, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Dr Seetha Arambepola, Rev. Fr. Wimal Tirimanne, Ms. Tamara Kunanayagam, Mr. Arun Thambimuttu, at least two Jaffna youth who oppose Vellala caste structure,  Karuna Amman, Lawyer Rushdi Habib, Ali Sabri PC, Mr. Omar Kamil,  Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, Mr.Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Manohara De Silva PC, Mrs. Anuradha Yahampath, Mr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa, Dr. Ranjith Bandara, Admiral Wasanthha Karannagoda Ms. Kamalika Peiris, Mr. Wasantha Keerthiratne Mr. Ranjith Vithanage etc.   This is only a few names I can remember and the readers of this article  may submit the names of other suitable patriotic personalities.

The party should start a daily and weekend newspaper and a website in all the three languages as early as possible and on priority basis and steps should also be taken to establish a Radio station and a TV Channel at the earliest.

After forming the suitable committees they should go into full action in their respective areas and gather information and data on the resources available, shortcomings been faced and reforms required in their respective fields and these findings should be submitted for information and further action by the tri-monthly party conventions without waiting for a whole year for the traditional annual party convention.  It is only in this manner the new party, the SLPP, could become a true people’s party living in the minds of the people and dedicated to the service of the down trodden society in this country. (end)

EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY MUST REMAIN AND BE FURTHER STRENGTHENED – JVP A PROXY OF UNP AND LTTE

April 22nd, 2018

By M D P DISSANAYAKE

Having a President like Maithreepala Sirisena cannot be a sound argument to do away with the Presidency.   That selection  was a cardinal mistake.

Sobhitha talked about the Constitution, like a Tyre with 17 patches.  Now he is no more.  Now we have the same Tyre with 19 patches. JVP want to add another.  This motion by JVP is  a virtual contractual arrangement with the group of UNP, SLMC, JVP, TNA  and all anti Sri Lankan forces to abolish Presidency.  The Executive Presidency should not be abolished as a punishment to President Maithreepala Sirisena.  Restricting the EP for two years was a mistake,  the amendment must be revoked.  Candidates such as Maithreepala struggling to manage even his first year in his office.  Maithreepala will never come to power again as President with a public mandate.

JVP is a spend force.  They are trying as many political gimmicks as possible to rebuild a political image to enhance their vote base.  JVP is hands in glove with corrupt.  Former Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse confimed that he has positive evidence of JVP accepting cash from the UNP just before last general election.   During past couple of years, JVP was part and parcel of the corrupt, inefficient Ranil – Maithree government.  Now realizing the tide is turning away from government, to grab anti-government votes, Anura Kumara and his gang are working on several fronts to improve their image.   In any 2019/20 elections, JVP will be wiped out of the political map.  They killed Kotikawatte Saddhatissa Thera, destroyed Buddhist temples, killed hundreds of youth. JVP is the substitute for TNA in the South. In the coming Wesak JVP celebrate May day in Jaffna, by courtesy of their proxies, TNA. JVP score card in Presidential Elections were: In 1982  Rohana Wijeweera 273,000 votes ( or 4.19%) and in 1999 Nandana Gunatilleke 344,000 votes ( or 4.08%).   In Parliamentary Elections  2010 441,000 votes ( or 5.49%), in 2015  543,000 votes ( or 4.87%) and in 2018 Local Elections 695,000 ( 6.26%). Erosion of vote base of JVP was  very similar to the down fall of LSSP in elections in 1947, 1952, 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970 and 1977 managing 10%, 13%, 11%, 11%, 8%, 8%, 9% and 3.61% winning no seats in 1977.  If Preferential System did not operate in 2015, JVP could have won between 0 and 1 seat.

If JVP had any sensible leader in the party, it was none other than Mr Wimal Weerawansa, who is now a highly recognized political national leader of Sri Lanka, with the likes of Mahinda Rajapakse, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Gotabaya Rajapakse, Nalaka Godahewa, Basil Rajapakse. DIG Anura Senanayake, Former Air Marshall Chief Harry Gunatilleke, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda etc.  Wimal’s contribution in the past for the national agenda cannot be underestimated, he in most instances single handedly made robust and concise analysis of the proposed constitution highlighting its dangers to the Nation,  well ahead of many other political leaders.   His predictions, one by one, have come true.  Wimal in fact set the national agenda for the Joint Opposition, in spite of  threats for him and his family.  Wimal richly deserves   a long  and successful political journey. 

At a time President Mahinda Rajapakse had built a strong and effective Leadership Team for the future of Sri Lanka , it was sad a total stranger and  a Pawn like Prez Maithreepala was elevated to the rank of Presidency.

Everyone, including Rosy Senanayake, talk about making Sri Lanka a country like Singapore.  It is now time to stop soft peddling.  You are invited to travel on the streets of Serangoon Road on any evening, specially on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Tamils worship at the nearby Kovil and eat their food on Banana Leaves and peacefully leave. They do not spit on the roads. They do not litter streets.  They behave like dogs with their tales between the legs.  If they ask Little India to be made a separate Eelam, what will happen to the Tamils in Singapore?  Will they simply disappear to the thin air next morning!!!

Sinhalese must be settled in North and East in the same ratio of Sinhala-Tamil-Muslims in South and West.   Buddhist temples and monasteries must be built in the same ratio to Churches, Kovils and Mosques in South and West.  All Tamil and Muslim public schools must be merged with the General Public Schools.

The tasks ahead for Sri Lanka are enormous.  Instead of abolishing Presidency, it must be further strengthened.  Future President must have absolute power to revoke any legislation, if in his opinion, counter productive to public interest.   For example he should have powers to rescind 13 and 19 Amendments, without being challenged in any Court of Law.  Some may call it Dictatorship.  So be it!  But as an appetiser, lets call it GUIDED DEMOCRACY like in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Former Prime Minister Mr S W R D Bandaranaike, had State of Emergency for long periods, to combat trade union strikes organised by the his political enemies and Unions of Dr N M Perera and Mr Bala Thampoe.  When asked by foreign journalists as to why he derail democracy in Sri Lanka by using State of Emergency, the Hon. P M said:  We in Sri Lanka, if you have a continuous severe head ache, we use HISA KUDICHCHIYA ( an Ayurvedic traditional herbal paste placed on the head of the patient), and that stop the head ache.  So what is wrong with it” he asked?

Evidence regarding glyphosate use and the incidence of kidney diseases

April 22nd, 2018


It is progress that scientists, including two eminent physicians, have taken up, again, the case against glyphosate. Bhikkhusangha taken in general, and Bhikkhu Ratana in particular, do not have the tool kit which qualifies them to make decisions in these matters. Earlier, certain other scientists had taken up the case for glyphosate. Somethings belong mostly in religion and others mostly in natural philosophy, the circles intersecting each other only in the higher regions. The present case for and against glyphosate, the way I recall it, rests on epidemiological studies. Glyphosate has been used widely as a weedkiller for some time in tea plantations. Why has there been no evidence of the incidence of kidney diseases among the populations in tea plantations? Does not manufactured tea carry residue of the herbicide? India grows tea on a scale far larger than we and do they not use glyphosate? If they do, what is the incidence of kidney disease there? As Mahaveli flows from the hills, first west and then north east and as the incidence of kidney diseases is most prevalent in the lower reaches of the river basin (in Area H in the Mahaveli project), why do not those waters carrying the toxic material from the plantations cause the sickness all the way down, including lands above Bowatenne? Do cultivators in Area C watered by Maduru Oya and in the Gal Oya valley use glyphosate with any intensity to kill weeds and why is there no hue and cry about kidney diseases there? Both NWP and Hambantota are major rice growing areas and if the cultivators there use glyphosate to kill weeds and one does not hear panic from there, how does one explain the difference? What are the differences in incidence? And if the incidence of the disease is location specific, is that not, prima facie, evidence that there is something separate from and perhaps in addition to glyphosate that may be responsible for the affliction? Should not the regression equation now have another variable and with different results?

In addition to the epidemiological studies, have there been studies by bio-chemists on the reaction of glyphosate with body chemicals to understand how chemicals in glyphosate react with other chemicals in the body? Is there a minimum amount of glyphosate that the body can absorb without causing irreparable damage to kidneys? Or is glyphosate in the minutest quantities toxic to humans?Is there any evidence that other creatures, both large and small, that share this environment are similarly ill-affected?

As you must have guessed easily, I am no scientist. Economies exist for human welfare and not the other way round. If any activity to promote the economy is as dangerous to human life as some scientists, including physicians allege, it is wise to act on the ‘precautionary principle’and avoid the use of glyphosate, while some others work in the lab and in hospitals to find for us the evidence beyond a high correlation coefficient, which, after all, provides only of evidence of association of two sets of data and not causation, which latter is what we are after, especially so when the data for the study of correlation may may be wonky. My uninformed guess is that these other studies are not beyond the financial capacity of plantations to bear nor beyond the mental equipment with our scientists to undertake. (Incidentally, there is no such word as ‘weedicide’ in the dictionary, but there are both ‘weedkiller’ and ‘herbicide’.)

 

Usvatte-aratchi

Fuel pricing formula, an IMF condition – JO

April 22nd, 2018

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

‘Petroleum prices to be increased on May Day’

Joint Opposition (JO) spokesman Bandula Gunawardena, MP, yesterday alleged that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government was about to introduce a fuel pricing formula at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Addressing the media at Vajirasharma temple, Punchi Borella, Gunawardena accused the government of having given in to IMF dictates. The JO strongly opposed the pricing formula, as the people were struggling to make ends meet, Gunawardena said.

Predicting that the pricing formula would be introduced on May Day, Gunawardena said that JO May Day rally would focus on the ill-effects of the IMF-government agreement.

Responding to a query by The Island, Gunawardena, however, admitted that a fuel pricing formula was necessary. Sri Lanka couldn’t do without a pricing formula for major imports such as fuel, he said.

Asked why the Rajapaksa government in which he was trade minister had disregarded a Supreme Court directive in the late Nov 2008 that a pricing formula be introduced to regulate fuel prices, Gunawardena said the judiciary couldn’t interfere with powers and functions of Parliament.

The then Speaker had explained the parliament’s position vis a vis Supreme Court instructions issued to the then Secretary to the Treasury, Gunawardena said. The Island asked Gunawardena whether he believed Sri Lanka needed a pricing formula. Gunwardena said that such a formula was a must. Asked to explain why the previous government had failed to do so, Gunawardena claimed that the UNP had ridiculed his attempt to introduce a gas pricing formula and, therefore, therfore, it had decided against introducing a fuel pricing formula.

A three-bench panel chaired by the Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva also asked the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa to replace minister in charge of petroleum resources, AHM Fowzie.

Gunawardena said that Supreme Court gave orders after considering two petitions seeking annulment of hedging agreements signed by de Mel with two private banks for purchasing fuel.

Gunawardena said that Kiniyawala Palitha Thero, Ravi Karunanayake MP and Ravi Jayawardene had filed one petition and the other was filed by the chairman of Laugfs gas company WKH Wegapitiya.

Commenting on former Finance Minister Karunanayake’s criticism of the controversial IMF-government agreement, Gunawardena pointed out that Karunanayake endorsed that deal on behalf of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

The JO spokesman said that an IMF delegation was in Colombo to examine the status of the implementation of its agreement with Sri Lanka.

The government was under tremendous IMF pressure to increase its revenue regardless of the extreme difficulties experienced by the vast majority of people, the MP said. Basically, the government had agreed to increase revenue, reduce public sector expenditure, reduce budget deficit, adopt a free-floating exchange rate and restructure loss making state enterprises.

The JO called the media briefing in the wake of the IMF declaring it had reached an understanding with Sri Lanka regarding long-delayed fuel pricing formula,.

Responding to another query, Gunawardena admitted that the previous government, too, had agreed to IMF conditions though subsequently side-stepped them.

Gunawardena alleged that the current dispensation had ruined the economy and caused irreparable damage to it over the past three years.

Exposing fake witnesses in Iraq & Sri Lanka: Nayirah & Vany Kumar

April 21st, 2018

The intervention in Syria has become an eye opener as a string of lies, fake videos, images, recruitment of child artists & PR firms have exposed the lies that have gone into justifying military intervention by the West & UN action thereafter. A girl crying before Congress claiming she witnesses Iraqi soldiers remove babies from incubators justified the invasion of Iraq. Channel 4’s star witness was Vany Kumar who had arrived from London to the Vanni and her accounts of blood being mixed with water & given to dying Tamil civilians together with a series of documentaries titled Killing Fields” led to successive UNHRC Resolutions against Sri Lanka. We will now examine these two accounts to showcase how & what has gone into fooling all of us.

This is Nayirah. It was not her real name. Her real name was hidden to protect her from the ‘Iraqis’.

In 1990, she was a 15 year old girl who was one of the many who testified before US Congress. She described with tears how Iraqi soldiers removed babies from the incubators & killed them at the Al-Addan hospital. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where … babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” Her witness accounts were so vivid it moved those present to tears. Her incubator story was repeated no less than 7 times by the US President George Bush Senior himself. Her story may not have been the only justification to invade Iraq but it definitely steered US sentiments to facilitate it. Even Amnesty International quoted her testimony claiming 312 dead babies and later was forced to retract it. However, there were no other witnesses to support her story, not even the doctors who were present on that day at the hospital.

What the world did not know was that Nayirah was not her real name.

She was Nijirah Al-Sabah, the daughter of Saud Bin Nasir Al-Sabah, the Kuwait ambassador to the US & Canada & a member of the Kuwait Royal Family & she had been trained to cry & give falsified evidence by US PR firm Hill & Knowlton. The firm distributed her testimony. The politicians used the story to manipulate the public and the mainstream media helped spread & reinforce the lie. The killing babies story worked in World War 1 when the British accused Germans. H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah

When ‘Nayirah’s father was questioned. This was his reply “If I wanted to lie, or if we wanted to lie, if we wanted to exaggerate, I wouldn’t use my daughter to do so. I could easily buy other people to do it.— Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United States and Canada. He was also related to the Kuwait Royal family. ‘Nayirah’ & family were living in the US.

On 2nd August 1990 – Iraqi troops under orders of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

When Saddam was a ‘friend’ of the US between 1980-1988 and helped kill about 150,000 Iranians the US, the world, the UN or media were not concerned about human rights. Now that Saddam was no longer an ally of the US & he had done the unpardonable act of invading a country that had oil, the US decided to take action.

According to US Congressman Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana, the Kuwait government had hired 20 PR, law & lobby firms to mobilize US opinion & force against Saddam & Iraq. Some of these included Rendon Group, Neill & Co(to ($50,000 p.m. to lobby Congress) Hill & Knowlton who claimed to be representing Citizens for a Free Kuwait” a front created to hide the real role of the Kuwait Government which had paid $11.9m through the front.

The head of Hill & Knowlton (Craig Fuller) was Chief of Staff when George Bush was Vice President. The devices & techniques used (press conferences showing torture, ‘Free Kuwait” t-shirts, bumper stickers at college campuses, releasing ‘hostage’ letters, radio shows, publication of books Rape of Kuwait” ) by Hill & Knowlton in the 1990s to steer US public sentiment should make everyone wonder at the methodologies now being used. Wirthlin Group, a unit within the Hill & Knowlton carried out daily opinion polls to test the pulse of the people. Wirthlin’s job was to project Saddam as a madman, committing atrocities even against his own people and the US needed to stop him. On September 23, 1990, Hill & Knowlton used its links to evangelical mega-churches to organize a National Day of Prayer for the Kuwaiti people. H&K launched a yellow ribbon campaign to support US invasion. That Iraq was about to strike Saudi Arabia was another PR lie. However, the world may have been fooled but one man wasn’t – John MacArthur, author of ‘The Second Front’ depicting the manipulation of news media during the Gulf War began to doubt the incubator story and soon the whole world came to know it was a paid lie. How happy is Nayirah at what her sobs have done to a country 28 years later?

Here are some videos to understand those that aided, abetted & paid to lie to invade Iraq

Persian Gulf War: Kuwait Incubator Baby Hoax with Tom Lantos and Nayirah – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi6J-pYWqc4

60 Minutes ‘Nayirah’ Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_JfqkEXdAg

To sell a war – Gulf War propaganda – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaR1YBR5g6U&t=63s

This is Vany Kumar

She was presented by UK Channel 4 documentary Killing Fields” as a Star Witness. She has 4 names – Dr. Tamilvani, Damilvany Kumar, Damilvany  Gnanakumar & Vany Kumar. C4 screened her 10 times. She was described as a young English Tamil woman who had left London to spend 6 months with relatives in Sri Lanka”…”founder herself caught up with tens of thousands of displaced Tamil civilians on the exodus eastwards”. The UK Guardian reported that she came to Sri Lanka on 28 February 2009 for the 1st time since moving to UK in 1994 & headed for the Vanni. C4 also says she had not disclosed her whereabouts even to close relatives & it is odd that the first call she made from Sri Lanka was to British media & not to her family.

Like Nayirah who had witnessed Iraqi soldiers putting babies out of incubators, Vany Kumar claims to have watched a 6 year old boy have his leg amputated without anesthetics, then she contradicted herself by claiming blood with mixed with water. She also claimed she saw hospital staff filter blood coming out of patients through a cloth before feeding it back into their veins. You don’t have to be a doctor know that blood cannot be mixed with water & given to patients! Her lies were exposed by Dr. Shanmugarajah (whom she was assisting) in his affidavit we did not conduct any sort of surgery without giving anesthesia”.

She turned out to be a member of the LTTE front the Tamil Youth Organization that was declared a LTTE front by the GOSL in 2014. She is alleged to have arrived in Sri Lanka & made contact with LTTE’s Castro & had undergone military training under Durga, female LTTE leader of Sodiya regiment. She had functioned as translator for LTTE propaganda/media. She denies LTTE abused children then why should UNSG & foreign envoys appeal to the LTTE to release civilians & not use them as hostages, human shields & conscript them as combatants? She says LTTE don’t want to kill their own people, they were fighting for them, they worked so hard to save their people”.. and she even declares the people chose to stay”

The UK Guardian declares she provided running commentary to the outside world from behind the lines”. On 30 May 2009 days after the military defeat of the LTTE the Guardian published an article titled Call to free British medic held in Sri Lanka war zone”. Now Vany Kumar had become a British woman” interned in one of the islands’ detention camps” – if so how did she make contact with others? Then began a global campaign to project her as helping the wounded in a hospital & the British Foreign Office demanded her release. From there onwards  from 8000 dead, jumped to double figures 16,000, 40,000 & 150,000 & now 200,000!

How can a member of the proscribed LTTE become a witness” under UNRC witness protection act” & given 20 years. Amnesty International & many other human rights organizations including the UN quoted her extensively too! Lord Naseby says C4 witnesses are paid members of LTTE http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=25901&mode=beauti

Vany Kumar, 25… in a telephone interview with the Guardian, she describes life on the front line. (how did Vany Kumar have access to dial UK from the Vanni?)

  • The most terrible thing that I have seen was when a mother had a bullet go through her breast and she was dead and the baby was still on the other side of the breast and the baby was drinking her milk, and that really affected me. I was at that place where it happened. (given Vany’s association with LTTE does this single statement depict the travesty of justice and how media has contributed to blurring civilians from LTTE)
  • [The shelling] is definitely coming from the government side, that can be sure, because it is only a small area on the LTTE side and from the sound and from the distance I can surely say it is from the government side.” (a giveaway – an LTTE ‘civilian’ pinning the blame on the GOSL)
  • I just want my sister back with me as soon as possible. My mum is crying and we need her back. We didn’t have anything to do with the war.” (why didn’t she tell her family she was coming to Vanni)
  • Both parties have got to have a ceasefire. I think the international [community] has to either come into the country or get both parties to stop the fighting and start thinking about the civilians living here. Every single person living here asks why the international [community] is not doing anything.”(did she not say in the C4 interview that civilians were staying with the LTTE voluntarily and that the LTTE was not keeping them by force?)

On 1st June 2009, Murali Reddy an embedded Indian journalist wrote to The Hindu ‘Mystery shrouds presence of British woman in tiger territory’. Reddy refers to Vany Kumar as Damilvany Gnanakumar and asks a very simple question. How did she land in the island nation and how did she stay on in the tiger-controlled territory for nearly 15months?

Nayirah was no victim, she was coached. Vany Kumar was no civilian but a member of a LTTE front.

$12million was paid to Hill & Knowlton PR firm to mastermind & set the stage for the the Gulf War. Nayirah was virtually a hired actress coached to cry & fool the US public & prompt action against a country. How much was C4 paid to make Killing Fields, to lobby & influence foreign governments, foreign MPs & officials of the UN to take action against Sri Lanka? We recall how when the C4 documentary was screen in various parliaments around the world, the MPs were moved to tears just the way Nayirah was coached to cry & lie.

The extent of the lies can be now seen in returning to the news that was relayed

Damilvany Gnanakumar witness of Sri Lanka war – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOqLmYxIDlg

Sri Lankan civil war: Damilvany’s story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7FSdpWjDkw

Eyewitness Sri Lanka: ‘This is too much to take. Why is the world not helping?’ –

LTTE member Vany Kumar : How many LTTE Terrorists have become witnesses” – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/may/12/sri-lanka-eyewitness-civil-war

http://www.sinhalanet.net/ltte-member-vany-kumar-how-many-ltte-terrorists-have-become-witnesses

Lies Agreed Upon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5O1JAfRXew (refuting the C4 videos)

Shenali D Waduge

Destabalizing Sri Lanka – Was 19a part of the regime change plot in Sri Lanka?

April 21st, 2018

That regime change took place aligning a bevy of political parties, personages, over 50 civil society groups in an effortless coup against the previous government was evidenced in January 2015 and the string of actions & decisions taken thereafter put into context has spelt doom & destabilization for Sri Lanka. How many people have now realized whether the gameplan was to put their man in power tweaking the puppet President’s powers by introducing the 19th amendment booby trap?

The 19a Bill was passed in Parliament on 28th April 2015 with a 2/3 majority after 174 amendments. 212 voted in favor, 1 abstained, 10 were absent and 1 voted against. We mention with admiration the sole person who voted against it – Admiral Sarath Weerasekera. With so many amendments we would like to know whether the 19a Bill passed was the same as what was debated in Parliament on 16th March 2015 or was it a different version? Who will answer?

The only thing against the 18th amendment giving three or more term limits to the Presidency was the fact the former President could have nullified the 13a or diluted its powers before doing further amendments. What voters need to realize is that while a President had the right to contest for 2 or more terms, the voters had every right to reject him and this is exactly what happened to the former President seeking a third term in office. Therefore, there was nothing detrimental for the state or voters in the 18thamendment. (Clause 4 of the 19th Amendment, Article 31(2) of the Constitution)

However, 19a was assured to answer all problems. Needless to say it has created more problems than even the politicians can handle and the President who has warmed his presidential seat is beginning to find that he has been taken for a right royal ride and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it constitutionally.

We have a President who only in his third year has realized that six years Presidential term was cut down to 5 through the 19a (Clause 3 of the 19th Amendment, Article 30(2) of the Constitution)! Obviously a clue that he was brought in clueless about what his job role was. It was only in his third year did the same President realize he could not remove the Prime Minister because of 19a. There are more surprises for the President – he cannot even change the Prime Minister, a possibility that a President had without even having to notify parliament, the public or even the Prime Minister for that matter. Clause 9 of the 19th Amendment, Article 46(2) of the Constitution prevents the President removing the PM at his discretion – why was this clause inserted? for whose benefit?

It is a known secret that the PM is a poodle of the West. Until 1993 he was virtually a nobody, then Premadasa was assassinated & he became the PM. It is also curious that LTTE attacked and killed virtually all of UNP’s best of leaders including military heads who had aligned to UNP & were tipped to be presidential candidates. Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali, Gen. Algama, Gen Janaka Perera. Thus, the present PM has remained head of the UNP since 1994 with no alternative leader insight.

In the event the post of President falls vacant before the term of office ends as per 19a any parliamentarian with the most support can become President and with the manner the PM managed to buy over PMs, the previous obstacle before the 19a has also been removed!

The President should by now have realized that he cannot even dissolve Parliament because of 19a. Not only that he cannot even remove the PM at his discretion (Clause 9 of the 19th Amendment, Article 46(2) of the Constitution)

So you have to wonder were all these insertions in the 19a pre-planned to ensure their man the present PM could not be removed while also clipping the President’s powers? Something everyone needs to now seriously think about.

Another puzzling question is why would 19a drafters wish to include clause (19) after repealing Article 85(2) that removes President’s power to put to a referendum any Bill (not a constitutional amendment) which is rejected by Parliament.

The Supreme Court opined that Clause 11 and 26 required referendum plus 2/3 majority for below items.

Quite a few confusing clauses prevail

Article 42(3) proposed PM to be head of Cabinet

Article 43(1) proposed PM to determine number of Ministers & Ministries & assignment of its subject & functions

Article 43(3) proposed PM to change assignment of subjects & recommend to the President changes in composition of the Cabinet

Article 44(2) proposed the PM to determine subjects & functions of non-cabinet Ministers

Article 44(3) proposed the PM to change subjects assigned to non-cabinet Ministers

Article 44(5) proposed that any cabinet minister at the request of the PM could by gazette delegate power, functions to any minister by cabinet minister.

However, Clause 9 of the 19th Amendment, Article 43(2), 44(1), 45(1) and 46(3)(a) of the Constitution demands the President to act on advice of the PM when appointing or removing cabinet, non-cabinet or even deputy ministers.

Yet, Clause 9 of the 19th Amendment, Article 43(1), 44(2) of the Constitution says the President can consult the PM ONLY IF S/HE considers it NECESSARY to determine number of cabinet ministers/non-cabinet ministers & subjects assigned to them. Note number of Deputy Ministers, their functions are not included.

So one may ask, exactly what powers the President is left with! All he was left with was some bizarre foreign PR slogans – ensure constitution was respected, promote national reconciliation & integration, ensure functioning of the constitutional council, advice the election commission – and the hilarious part is that none of these entities are even bound to listen to him after appointment Clause 5 of the 19th Amendment, Article 33(1) of the Constitution

 

Clause 26 proposed through Article 104B (5)(c)

Gave powers to the Election Commission to appoint a competent authority to take over State or Private broadcaster/telecaster which violated regulations issued by the Election Commission. All political broadcasts were to come under them.

Now connect this to the manner the present election commissioner has been functioning where he failed to even release the total election results officially and has been openly functioning with bias as seen by the statements he is making against the majority populace.

Let’s all recall that the present government came into power claiming that they would save the nation from the corrupt former government.

We would like to pose an open question to the 50 civil society organizations who went out of their way to campaign 24×7 to bring yahapalana government to power, why they are so silent now? They decried about lack of good governance of the previous government but are deaf, blind & dumb to the illegalities & irregularities being committed by the very people they brought to power. How can any citizen rely on these 50 civil society organizations?

The voters were promised yahapalana or good governance & citizens were painted a picture of a dreamland dawning for Sri Lanka with a coalition of non-corrupt rulers taking over. However, that the people were being fooled by fancy slogans & well-oiled statements was seen by the manner that the Presidential election that elected a President resulted in the appointment of a PM (sans a General Election) without removing the sitting PM and the establishment of a fake government that came to be called a ‘national unity government’. In so creating this bogus ‘national government’ it justified the denial of Opposition to the SLFP & paved way to appoint a 16 member TNA which has LTTE links to be appointed as the country’s Opposition & the TNA head as the Opposition Leader who is using his position to speak on behalf of the LTTE cadres & Tamils for political reasons only.

The drafters of the 19a were so cunning and their intentions to maintain a jumbo government at the cost of the citizens did not matter which is why they put wool over the citizens by promising a 30-member government but included the national unity clause into the 19a to use as a carrot & bribe to dish out appointments to selfish MPs & shut them up from joining the opposition. Thus the national unity government by virtue of the 19a allowed 45 Cabinet Ministers and 55 Non-Cabinet & Deputy Ministers. It would be good for someone to check if they have violated these figures in lavishly giving away portfolios for any Member pretending to jump ship!

The obvious task of this fake national government is to be used to pass Bills & a new constitution that the people of Sri Lanka have not asked for, want or need but aligns to the bigger agendas of those drawing the strings of the traitors put into power and the treacheries that are now taking place.

With all its alleged ‘corruptions’ against the previous government, Sri Lanka was 79th in the Global Corruption Index in 2014 by 2018 Sri Lanka has been placed 91! The Sri Lankan rupee against the dollar was Rs.133 in 2014 it is now Rs.156. Forbes Magazine declared Sri Lanka as one of the 10 coolest places to visit in 2014. Those screaming murders & disappearances against the previous government are silent on the shocking crime statistics of late – in just 4 months there have been 17 murders while kidnappings, daylight gun violence, robberies have increased as well.

All these added up and every action that has taken since 2015 have destabilized Sri Lanka and caused not only tensions among communities but have made the entire country vulnerable and economically volatile to end up with not even a begging bowl to now beg with.

 

 

 

Shenali D Waduge

Death of Mr. D. Ananda de Silva – indefatigable Buddhist worker

April 21st, 2018

Senaka Weeraratna Hony. Secretary German Dharmaduta Society

It is with great sadness that I am conveying to you the heartbreaking news of the death of our close friend and dedicated Buddhist worker, Mr. D. Ananda de Silva, Assistant Secretary, German Dharmaduta Society. I have been informed by his son Renuka that his father died early morning today (at 4.30 a.m.) from Liver failure. He was ailing for some time and during the last few months he spent time in Hospital. He was 79 years old.

He is survived by three children, two sons Priyanka and Renuka and daughter, Sangeethika. His wife Mrs. Dharshani Fernando passed away in early February 2018.

On behalf of the German Dharmaduta Society I have taken the liberty of sending out to members of his family, our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy. Ananda will be deeply missed. This is truly a great loss to the German Dharmaduta Society and to the entire Buddhist community.

Since year 1963 Ananda de Silva has been closely associated with the German Dharmaduta Society. He came into contact with Asoka Weeraratna, when he responded to an advertisement in 1963 calling for volunteers to obtain training in meditation with a view to joining the Sangha. He spent time at Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya at the time of its founding in 1967, as a disciple of Ven. Matara Sri Nanarama Maha Thero.

He also visited Germany and resided at the Berlin Vihara (Das Buddhistische Haus) for a couple of years in the early 1980s, assisting the Resident monks and the management of the Berlin Temple. He was closely associated with Asoka Weeraratna ( later Ven. Mitirigala Dhammanissanti Thero) in several of his projects including the public campaign calling on the Govt. of Sri Lanka under President R. Premadasa to withdraw state patronage to the Inland Fisheries scheme. It resulted finally in President Premadasa discontinuing state sponsorship of Inland Fisheries in 1990 and thereby preventing Buddhists from embracing wrong livelihoods.

Ananda de Silva became an Instructor in Meditation. He also served the German Dharmaduta Society  in the capacity of Assistant Secretary for about 15 years until the time of his passing.

He was a good public speaker and a talented writer in Sinhala. In these respects he was a great asset to the work of the GDS. He inherited literary skills from his father who was committed to reading and writing. He has several brothers some of whom are in the field of Education. One brother is the Principal of Dewapathiraja College, Ambalangoda.

The funeral will take place on Monday April 23, 2018 at Pokunuwita, Henagama. The remains of the late Ananda de Silva will be kept for viewing until 3.00 p.m. on April 23, at his residence at 237 / 4, Henegama, Pokunuwita (Panadura / Horana main Road).

Tel. contact no. 0777 298 458 (Renuka de Silva).

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Senaka Weeraratna

Hony. Secretary

German Dharmaduta Society

April 21, 2018

E. W. Perera 

April 21st, 2018

Edward Walter Perera (11 December 1875 – 15 February 1953) was a Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) barrister, politician and freedom fighter. He was known as the ‘Lion of Kotte‘ and was a prominent figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement and a senator.

Early life and education

Born on 11 December 1875 at Unawatuna, Galle to Edward Francis Perera, Proctor of Colombo. Raised as a devoted Christian, Perera was educated at Royal College, Colombo and was the first editor of the Royal College Magazine, he served as a sub-editor of the newspaper, Examiner until he was called to the Bar in May 1900. Having gone to England for further studies, he became a Barrister in 1909. Perera was a member of the first Reform Deputation in 1910.

 E. W. Perera Senator of Ceylon

Personal details

Born

11 December 1875

Died

15 February 1953

Nationality

Ceylonese (Sri Lankan)

Alma mater

Royal College Colombo

Occupation

Politics

Profession

Barrister

A memorandum was drafted at a secret meeting held at the residence of E. W. Perera, initiated by Sir James Peiris and presided over by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, before presenting it to his majesties government, the support of the British members of parliament and the press in England had to be obtained. Sea voyage was dangerous due to the presence of German submarines, which attacked ships and destroyed them. Abandoning a promising career at the Bar, E. W. Perera undertook the task of going over to England by obtaining permission saying he was going to do some research in the British museum. To his advantage, the British treated him as a scholarly Christian Barrister rather than a national patriot, he was accompanied by George E. de Silva. In England, he was joined by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and later by Sir D.B Jayatilaka and they presented the memorandum to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pleading for the repeal of martial law and describing the atrocities committed by the Police led by Dowbiggin.[1] The mission was a success, the British government ordered the release of the leaders who were in detention. Several high officials were transferred. A new Governor, Sir John Anderson was sent to replace Sir Robert Chalmers with instructions to inquire and report to His Majesty’s Government. E. W. Perera’s effort was greatly appreciated and he was thereafter referred to as the Lion of Kotte.
During
World War I, in 1915 commercial-ethnic rivalry erupted into a riot in Colombo against the Muslims, with Christians participating as much as Buddhists. Fearing an uprising the inexperienced British colonial Governor of Ceylon Sir Robert Chalmers declared Martial Law on 2 June 1915 and on the advice of Inspector General of Police Herbert Dowbiggin began a brutal suppression of the Sinhala community by giving orders to the Police and the Army to shoot any one who they deemed a rioter without a trial, it is said the numbers of Sinhalese killed this way were thousands.[citation needed] Many local leaders, that included D. S. Senanayake, D. R. Wijewardena, Arthur V. Dias, Dr. Cassius Pereira, Dr. W. A. de Silva, F.R. Dias Bandaranaike, H. M. Amarasuriya, A.H. Molamure where imprisoned and Captain D.E.Henry Pedris, a militia commander, was shot for mutiny.Role in the independence movement

It was also E. W. Perera who with the help of D. R. Wijewardena, the press baron (grandfarther of the current Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickramasinghe) traced the location of the banner of last King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe, the last king of the Kingdom of Kandy to the Royal Hospital Chelsea where it was kept since the surrender of the Kingdom to the British in 1815. The recovered banner became a focal point in the independence movement and it became the flag of the Dominion of Ceylon upon its independence in 1948.[2]

Political career

He was a member of the Legislative Council – first as member from Western Province BH Division (1920) and then representing the Kalutara District (1924), as President of the Ceylon National Congress, he led its delegation before the Donoughmore Commission in 1926/27. Sincere to his convictions, he opposed the granting of universal adult suffrage and broke with his colleagues in the Congress, he agitated for full freedom and formed the All-Ceylon Liberal Association with Sir James Peiris. However, he was elected Member of the State Council for the Horana seat (1931) by a majority of 12,432 votes, he was a scholar and wrote several books. He died on 15 February 1953 at the age of 79.

See also

External links

References

Bill Gates commends Sri Lankan healthcare system

April 21st, 2018

Sunil Jayasiri from London Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have built very high quality primary healthcare systems, staffed primarily by women healthcare workers, co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates said.

He expressed these views while speaking at the joint forum of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting held in Westminster on Tuesday.

He praised the Singaporean education system as well. Nobody else is better in the world at education than Singapore,” he said.

Mr. Gates said the Commonwealth has to learn from itself in solving its own problems, stating examples of what Nigeria learnt from India in the eradication of polio.

If you want to do something better, find out who is already doing better than anyone else in the world, and adopt what they are doing, to your own challenges. The Commonwealth is ideal for this and you have positive outliers in almost every area of expertise, and you meet regularly to learn from one another.

Polio eradication is a great example of this. For different reasons, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, are three of the places it has been most difficult to wipe out this disease. But India was declared Polio-free in 2014.

The lessons learnt from there have helped Nigeria get to zero cases in 2017. And now Pakistan, which still has few cases, very few, is taking those experiences, particularly at the challenges of dealing with insecurity, and they have their cases down to the lowest areas ever.

So, this success really goes back to the substantial commitments made in part at the Commonwealth meetings. Collectively, Commonwealth nations are experts in far more than just polio eradication,” Mr. Gates said. ()


1915 Sinhalese-Muslim riots

April 21st, 2018

The 1915 Sinhalese-Muslim riots (also known as the anti-Muslim riots of 1913[1][2][3] or the 1915 Buddhist Mohammedan riots or the 1915 Ceylonese riots) was a widespread and prolonged ethnic riot in the island of Ceylon between Sinhalese Buddhists and the Ceylon Moors and the brutal suppression of it by the British colonial authorities.[4]

1915 Sinhalese-Muslim riots
Sri Lanka relief location map.jpg

Ceylon
Date 28 May – 8 August 1915
Location Western Provinceand SabaragamuwaBritish Ceylon
Caused by Attempt to prevent an attack on a Buddhist procession by Indian Moors
Methods Widespread looting, assault, arson and murder
Lead figures
Arrests/Injuries/Deaths
Arrests: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Deaths: 116 (63 killed by the police/military)

The riots started in Kandy in the night of 28 May 1915 and spread to neighbouring villages on 30 May and to Colombo on 31 May and other towns there after. It was suppressed by 9 June with final incidents taking place on 11 May in Chilaw. Taking place at a time World War I was raging in Europe, the British feared the riots as a possible native upraising, martial law was first declared in the Western and Sabaragamuwa Provinces on 2 June, extended to other provinces in the following days, and terminated on 30 August, during which many summary executions and other atrocities where carried out by the colonial forces in attempts to subdue the riots.[4][5]

Contents

  • Background
  • Events
  • Casualties and damage
  • Aftermath
  • Legacy
  • See also
  • References
  • Background

    By the turn of the 20th century, Ceylon was a British colony. Since its last native kingdom, the Kingdom of Kandy was annexed to the British Empire, the island saw little conflict as in the past century only two anti British uprisings (the Uva Rebellion and the Matale Rebellion) took place. Due to the relative peaceful nature of the colony, the last regular British Army regiment was withdrawn from the island in 1881. Since then the Ceylon Police Force maintained law and order in the island. British military presence in the island was limited to a regular British Indian Army infantry regiment which would be circulated to Ceylon to supplement the garrison units that was made up of a company from the Royal Garrison Artillery, the Royal Engineers and other support units of the British Army. In addition the Ceylon Volunteers functioned as a volunteer reserve.[6]

    The native population of the island at this time was predominately Buddhist mostly from the ethnic group Sinhalese. There existed a Muslimminority known as the Moors. The Moor community consisted of two segments, the Ceylon Moors who originated from the Arab traders who settled in the Island about five or six centuries before and the Indian Moors who were at the time natives and residents of South India, who had come to Ceylon for trade. By 1915, the Ceylon Moors who had controlled trade in most parts of the island had been ousted by the Indian Moors. The 1911 Census indicates that Ceylon Moors numbered 232,927 and Indian Moors 33,527. Establishing them selfs rice importation, sale and distribution Indian Moors gained much wealth and established themselves across the country.[7]

    In Gampola, a dispute arose between the Indian Moors and the Buddhist Temple authorities of Wallahagoda Dewala. The Indian Moors objected to the Buddhist Perahera (religious pageant) procession traveling past their Mosque with music. The Buddhist authorities agreed to alter the time and day of the procession to avoid disruption to their worship, yet refused to conduct the procession without ceasing the music citing that it was a practice carried-out from time immemorial, safeguarded by the terms of the Kandyan Convention. The Trustees of the Mosque refused to allow the Perahara procession to pass with music when though an other and older Mosques along the same route belonging to Ceylon Moors never objected. Due to this the procession was not held. In 1913, the Temple authorities filed action in the District Court of Kandy against the Crown for a declaration of this right. The judgment was given in favor of the Temple, however on appeal the Supreme Court, it dismissed the action, on the grounds that local legislation had modified religious privileges guaranteed to the Kandyan Sinhalese by the British under the Kandyan Convention. An appeal to the Privy Council was filed against the decision of the Supreme Court by the bench of Justices Walter Shaw and Thomas De Sampayo.[7]

    Events

    Rioting

    The Supreme Court judgment encourage the Indian Moors to prevent Buddhist Perahera processions from passing their Mosque in Kandy. On the night of May 28, 1915, a Buddhist Perahera procession with music a police permit authorizing it was proceeding along Castle Hill Street, Kandy when it was opposed by Indian Moors who objected to the Perahera Procession passing their Mosque. At this point Police Inspector F. T. Coore, intervened and directed the procession to turn back. The procession turned back which was followed by hooting and derision of the Indian Moors which provoked the Sinhalese to return and a fight ensued about midnight. The crowd entered the Mosque and did some damage. Several Sinhalese and Moors were injured as well as the Police Inspector Coore and many arrested.[7]

    On May 29 the first cases of violence was reported with Sinhalese attacking the Moorish bazaars. The first bloodshed of the riots was reported when an Indian Moors shot dead a Sinhalese boy in Colombo Street, Kandy and the murderer was not arrested. This aggravated the situation and rioting escalated. Shops in the bazaars were damaged, Sinhalese bazaars were attacked by Moors, Moorish buildings in Katugastota and Mahaiyawa were damaged. In Kandy the police took steps to control the rioting and police reinforcements where brought in from Colombo. Soon Sir Robert Chalmers, the British Governor of CeylonHerbert Dowbiggin, the Inspector General of Police and Brigadier General H. H. L. MalcolmOfficer Commanding the Troops in Ceylon; proceed to Kandy with a military contingent from the 28th Punjabis to take control of the situation.[7][8][9]

    As the situation escalated due to the initial inaction of the police, and rioting spread to Colombo by the June 31, the Governor dispatched Brigadier Malcolm back to Colombo to take control of the situation. The 28th Punjabis of the British Indian Army under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A G de V Chichester, was the only regular regiment stationed in Ceylon at the time and was called out in force along with European and Ceylonese sections of the Colombo Town Guard, and the Ceylon Volunteers to suppress the rioting.[7][10]

    During the next nine days or so the clashes and assaults spread through the Central, North Western, Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces; and at one point, on the 2nd June, were reported to be occurring simultaneously at 116 centres.[11] Large crowds were involved in the attacks on the Moors; mobs of over a thousand were reported at MataleWattegamaKadugannawaGampola, Rambukkana, Panadura, Godapitiya and Akuressa. Areas where large populations of Moors saw fighting with Moors attacking Sinhalese and elsewhere Sinhalese mobs attacked Moors with Tamils joining in.[9][11] The police and military came down hard on the riots with many Sinhalese shot and arrested. As they cleared towns of riots, the riots spread to villages where the Punjabis who were also Muslims came down hard on the villages.[7]

    Martial law

    Fearing that the riots would turn out of control, Sir Robert Chalmers still in Kandy declared martial law on June 2, 1915, in several provinces and down with a heavy hand on the Sinhalese community. There was a belief in higher echelons of the administration that the riots were per-planned and seditious, some believed that there was a German link and the riots was the start of an upraising against British rule. Auxiliaries units on the lines of the Colombo Town Guard was formed in the local towns with European volunteers recruited from planters and mercantile executives. Special constables were appointed from among the European planters in remote areas. Officer Commanding the Troops, Brigadier Malcolm ordered the police and the military to shoot any one who they deemed a rioter without a trial. It was reported that Brigadier Malcolm had ordered his troops to “not to waste ammunition, but to shoot through the heart any Sinhalese that may be found on the streets,” and IGP Dowbiggin had given instructions to their armed constables to “shoot down, without a challenge , certain people whose identity was to be gathered from description, if they were found in the streets after hours”. Hundreds of Sinhalese peasants were shot down throughout the country. Persons who couldn’t answer a challenge due to language differences of the Europeans and Punjabis were shot. In villages males slept in the verandas of their huts, villages who slept as such were shot on the account that martial law dictated that all sleep indoors.[7]

    Prosecution

    Police and Punjabi soldiers set about searching villages for looted items, with the later in turn looting the villages and harassing women. Summary police courts were conducted on case of looting at police stations by passing legal procedure. Thousands were arrested in some cases whole villages, its men, women and boys, on charges of looting and being in possession of stolen property, and no bail allowed. These were immediately tried and in certain instances sentenced to lashing and/or imprisonment.[7]

    J. G. Eraser, Government Agent, Western Province, was appointed Commissioner by the Government to inquire into the riots. At the same time Special Commissioners (Military Commissioners) with extraordinary punitive powers were appointed by Brigadier Malcolm. These Special Commissioners were mostly Government Agents or Military Officers who had powers to threaten penalties to gain information about the riots. They gained valuation of damage and looted items by the Moors themselves and demanded compensation from the local Sinhalese, failure of payment to the Riot Fund resulted in arrest and subjected to court martials. Those who paid were pardoned. R. W. Byrde, Mayor of Colombo and Special Commissioner proposed a levy on Sinhalese in the wards of Colombo to pay in proportion to their wealth as compensation to the Moormen.[7]

    In the early stages of the rioting prominent Sinhalese were arrested on accusations on inciting the riots while as others volunteered to disperse the crowds peacefully. F. B. Walgampahe, Basnayaka Nilame (the Lay Chief) of the Ancient Temple of Gadaladeniya, Gampolawas taken in to custody by Punjabi soldiers and was found dead on arrival in Kandy.

    The colonial authorities had the house of many prominent Sinhalese searched and many were arrested on charges of treason within days of the riots. These included F R SenanayakeD.S. Senanayake (later the first prime minister of Ceylon), D B JayatilakaW A de SilvaF R Dias Bandaranaike, E T de Silva, Dr Casius Ferreira, C Batuvantudawe, D P A Wijewardene, John de Silva, W H W Perera, Martinus Perera, John M Senivaratne, Arthur V. Dias, H Amarasurya, D E Weerasuriya, Reverent G D Lanerolle, E A P Wijeyeratne, Harry Mel, A H E Molamure, A E Goonesinha, Battaramulla Unanse — a monk, Edmund and Dr C A Hewavitharatne, the brothers of Anagarika Dharmapala, who was also interned in Calcutta, where he had been during the unrest. After the arrests, riot compensation was exacted under threat of force. The colonial authorities suspected the temperance movement led by educated middle class Ceylonese to be supporting the Germans in World War I that was raging at the time.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

    Field general court martials were established and handed out summary judgments under martial law on arrested Sinhalese civilians and some military personal. Several where executed swiftly before appeals could be made, this included Captain Henry Pedris who was found guilty of treason and executed by firing squad. Others such as Edmund Hewavitarne were imprisoned and died in prison. Many respected Sinhalese were removed from appointments of state such as Hulugalle Adigar who was stripped of his title of Adigar on the account he was not present in his home area during the riots.[18][19]

    Casualties and damage

    According to some official estimates, which must be taken as approximate, there were 25 murdered, 189 wounded, 4 incidents of rape associated with the riots. 4075 houses and boutiques looted, 250 houses and boutiques burned down, 17 mosques burnt and 86 mosques otherwise damaged.[8][11] Other official figures place total of 116 people were killed, 63 by military and Police forces.[20]

    Aftermath

    The heavy handed actions of colonial authorities to suppress the riots and the punishments handed down by it were heavily criticized by those such as Tamil politician Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, who gained much national popularity as a result.[21][22][23] A secret memorandum initiated and drafted by Sir James Peiris to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pleading for the repeal of martial law and describing atrocities claimed to have been committed by the authorities was carried in the soles of the shoes braving mine and submarine-infested seas (as well as the Police) by E. W. Perera, a lawyer from Kotte.[24][25]

    The colonial administration established a Police Inquiry Commission to inquire into the riots in late 1915 made up five members with Chief Justis Sir Alexander Wood Renton as Chairman and it contained one Sinhalese member Sir Solomon Obeyesekere. The findings were published in 1916.

    In September 1915, Brigadier Malcolm was transferred to the western front as a Brigade Commander in the British Expeditionary Forcewhere he served unit December 1915. The 28th Punjabis regiment was transferred to the Middle Eastern theatre by January 1916 where it was to take part in the mesopotamian campaign suffering a total of 1423 casualties by the end of the war.

    Governor Chalmers was removed from the post in December 1915 and made Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Wimborne. The British Home Government did not appoint a Royal Commission of Inquiry as requested for by the Ceylonese.

    Sir John Anderson who succeeded Chalmers as Governor appointed a Commission on October 26, 1916, to inquire into and report upon the circumstances connected with the shooting of L Romanis Perera, Telenis Appu, Podi Sinno, James Bass, Juvanis Fernando, W G Serahamy, Pugoda Peter, Uduwa Arachchi and Juwanis Appu. The Commissioners were Chief Justis Sir Alexander Wood Renton and G. S. Schnieder. The Commission found that, “In each of the cases that have been under investigation the act of shooting cannot be justified on the ground of existence of Martial Law; in short, it had no legal justification.’ But, they said, they were bona fide for the maintenance of good order and government and for the public safety of the Colony, and, that action was protected by the Ceylon Indemnity order in Council, 1915.”[4]

    Legacy

    After 1915 a number of Sinhalese leaders gradually emerged from the educated middle class, who were to leave an indelible mark on the political life of the country. It marked the beginning of the independence movement with the educated middle class demanding more legislative power that lead to the Donoughmore Commission and the Soulbury Commission which lead to Ceylon gaining independence in 1948.

    The events of 1915 would ultimately be what would be called the unfolding of explicit manifestation of ethnic tensions in the country which was to increase in number and intensity once the country attained independence.[9] Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism took hold, in the beginning led by reformers in the name of religion.[17] The event also led to a major distrust between the Tamil and the Moor community[21]who shared a common native language and strong cultural traditions. Also Muslims would side up with the Sinhalese against the indigenous Tamils to protect their political turf and business interests in the later ethnic conflict that would take place between the two communities after the country’s independence.[17]

     See also

    References

    1. ^ Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja (1992). Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri LankaUniversity of Chicago Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-226-78950-0.
    2. ^ Gunasinghe, Newton (2004). “4: The Open Economy and Its Impact on Ethnic Relations in Sri Lanka”. In Winslow, Deborah; Woost, Michael D. Economy, Culture, and Civil War in Sri LankaIndiana University Press. p. 99. ISBN 0-253-34420-4.
    3. ^ Pieris, Anoma (2012). Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka: The Trouser Under the ClothRoutledge. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-415-63002-3.
    4. a b c Ceylon Police and Sinhala-Muslim Riots
    5. ^ The Independence Movement – its early phases
    6. ^ For the love of one’s country
    7. a b c d e f g h i Memorandum upon recent disturbances in Ceylon
    8. a b [1]
    9. a b c Jstor.org
    10. ^ SOCIAL AND PERSONAL
    11. a b c [2]
    12. ^ Kearney, R.N.: The 1915 riots in Ceylon – a symposium; Introduction. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb.1970, vol.29, no.2, pp.219-222.
    13. ^ Jayewardena, K.: Economic and Political Factors in the 1915 riots. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb.1970, vol.29, no.2, pp.223-233.
    14. ^ Blackton, C.S.: The action phase of the 1915 riots. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb.1970, vol.29, no.2, pp.235-254.
    15. ^ Rutnam, J.T.: The Rev.A.G.Fraser and the riots of 1915. Ceylon Journal of Historical and Social Studies, July–December 1971, vol.1, no.2 (new series), pp.151-196.
    16. ^ Vythilingam, M.: The Life of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, vol.2 (1910-1930), 1977, chapters 10 (Riots-1915, pp.229-250), 11 (Riots-Speeches, pp.251-320) and 12 (Ramanathan’s Mission to England – His Return, pp.321-330).
    17. a b c [3]
    18. ^ THE RECENT CEYLON DISTURBANCES.
    19. ^ A vignette of British Justice in Colonial Ceylon The Island (Sri Lanka) Retrieved 23 December 2014
    20. ^ Army General Service Corps Association holds AGM
    21. a b [4]
    22. ^ “GRAND OLD MAN” OF CEYLON.
    23. ^ The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy
    24. ^ Sir James Peiris (Public Life), by L.J.M. Cooray (Ourcivilisation Web), Retrieved on 28 November 2014
    25. ^ Features

Ban on pandals on Vesak, Poson Poya days to remain: Minister

April 21st, 2018

Kalathma Jayawardhane Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Buddhasasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said yesterday the ban of pandals on Vesak and Poson Poya Days would not be changed and stressed the need to focus on the spiritual aspect of religion rather than on mundane activities.

He told Daily Mirror that this prohibition on pandals would only apply to May 29, the Vesak Poya Day and June 27 the Poson Poya Day and that pandals could be put up on the other days.

The minister had imposed this restriction last month but the Government Information Department said the government had not taken a policy decision to ban dansals and pandals on Vesak and on Poson Poya Days.

He said the ministry had requested the people to refrain from putting up pandals only on Vesak and Poson Poya Days following a request made to him by the Mahanayake Theras.

This decision was made to safeguard Buddhist principles and encourage Buddhists to engage in spiritual activities during Vesak and Poson,” the minister said.

He said all concerned including the Police had been informed to impose this restriction on pandals on the specified days while dansals can be held on these days.

The ministry will soon make a proposal to the Cabinet to prohibit pandals on Vesak and Poson Poya Days applicable to every year. A national policy will be implemented in this regard,” he said.

CHOGM asks Lanka to lead mangrove conservation in the Commonwealth

April 21st, 2018

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

London, April 20 (newsin.asia): The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held here has asked Sri Lanka to give leadership to mangrove conservation in the Commonwealth.

Sri Lanka has been having a successful mangrove conservation program since 2015 thanks to President Maithripala Sirisena.

This was stated during the 25th inaugural ceremony of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held on April 19.‎

Syria: Latest case of using a “false flag” or “fake news” to unleash war

April 21st, 2018

By  Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

The airstrikes carried out by the US, UK and France on alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 14, are yet another instance of how the US (and its allies) use false flags” or fake news” to unleash military action to serve their geo-strategic interests, writes P.K.Bala.chandran in DailyFT.

The US has been saying that Syrian President Bashar al- Assad is an animal” who kills and maims his own people using chemical weapons like nerve gas. But the real reason for hating Assad is not that he has been using nerve gas against his own people,  but that he has chosen to act independently, often joining forces with the enemies of the US in the region, including  Iran and Russia.

US-Syria relations worsened from 2003 onwards. Issues of U.S. concern included the Syrian Government’s failure to prevent Syria from becoming a major transit point for foreign fighters entering Iraq; its refusal to deport from Syria former Saddam Hussein regime elements supporting the insurgency in Iraq; its interference in Lebanese affairs, its protection of the leadership of Palestinian rejectionist groups in Damascus; its human rights record, and its alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”

Syria: Latest case of using a “false flag” or “fake news” to unleash  war

The 2011 Arab Spring” mass movement affected the regime in Syria too. Assad, like other rulers in the region, saw it as a Western-inspired conspiracy. As contradictions with the West sharpened, Russia under Putin, wanting to be a factor in Middle Eastern politics again, jumped into the fray and offered Assad a helping hand.

Western governments used their national media to the hilt to portray Assad as a ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator who relished watching TV images of kids being killed by poison gas.

Covering Up Evidence   

However, for all its efforts to show that Assad is using chemical weapons, Washington has produced no evidence to show that chemical weapons have been used.

In fact, according to the Russians, the US used the April 14 air strikes to destroy evidence which might show that America’s charge about the use of chemical weapons is false. The attacks took place just before a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was to visit Douma, the site which was allegedly subjected to chemical attacks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told BBC that the allegations of chemical weapons use were only based on media reports and social media” and that the incident of chemical weapons use in Douma was staged”.

Robert Fisk of The Independent went to Douma where he was told by a local doctor that people died not because of gas but due to lack of oxygen in their bunkers. During bombings, gusts of wind threw mounds of dust into bunkers which chocked those who were taking shelter there.

There are many people I talked to amid the ruins of the town who said they had never believed in gas stories, which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups,” Fisk wrote.

Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, told BBC Radio Scotland that in all probabilitythe alleged chemical attack never happened and that the video and image evidence used as proof by the US and its allies was falsified

Past Use of Fake News

Writing in Russia Today Irish journalist Danielle Ryan says that ‘false flag’ or fake news” has been used many times before by the US to start military operations.

In October 1990, the testimony a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, Nayirah, before the US Congress, was used to sell the first Gulf War to the American people.  An emotional Nayirah told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the floor to die.

But what the American public did not know was that Nayirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and she had been coached by the American PR firm Hill and Knowlton.

Operation Northwoods

Ryan recalls that in the 1960s, American military leaders devised plans to bomb US cities and blame Cuban leader Fidel Castro for them, in order to manufacture public and international support for a war against Cuba.

The plan was codenamed Operation Northwoods. The American military suggested sinking boatloads of Cuban refugees, hijacking planes and bombing Miami. The goal was to convince Americans that Castro had unleashed a reign of terror upon them.”

The top brass were even willing to cause US military casualties by blowing up an American boat in Guantanamo Bay and blaming Cuba. Why? Because, as they put it: casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation and help manufacture support for war,” Ryan writes.

The plans were quashed by President Kennedy, who was assassinated one year later, leading some to speculate on a link between those events, the writer speculates.’

Gulf of Tonkin

On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the USS ‘Maddox’ while it was on routine patrol” in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Two days later, the US Navy reported a second unprovoked attack on the ‘Maddox’ and the USS ‘Turner Joy’.

Ryan says that the second attack was fake”. But it led to the unleashing of a war in Vietnam which proved to be the most disastrous in American history.

WMD with Saddam Hussein

George Bush went to war against Saddam Hussein of Iraq for allegedly possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

But John Nixon, the CIA agent who interrogated Saddam in 2003, came to the conclusion that there weren’t any such weapons.

But America wanted to overthrow Saddam anyhow, and cooked up the story of the WMD without intelligence confirmation, Nixon told The Independent. 

Fake Soviet aircraft

Ryan refers to a recently declassified three-page memo written by members of the National Security Council suggesting that the US government should acquire Soviet aircraft which would be used to stage attacks and provide the pretext for war.

Such aircraft, the memo said, could be used in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for US intervention.”

Objectives Not Attained

By all independent accounts, last Saturday’s airstrikes against Syria have failed to deliver the goods. It is not clear as to what they destroyed. Russian reports have been contradictory. One report said that chemical warfare facilities were evacuated to safer places elsewhere days ahead of the raid. But the official Russian and Syrian stand is that there were no chemical facilities in the first place.

At any rate, the attacks have made no difference to the ground situation in Syria. They have, on the other hand, provoked the allies of the US in Europe to call for a political solution eschewing war.

Europe is concerned that more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed, over a million injured, and over 12 million ( half the country’s prewar population)  have been displaced because  of the eight year war.

US policy on Syria is confused. President Donald Trump, for all his bluff and bluster, is in two minds about keeping US troops in Syria. On the one hand, Washington is fighting some of the Islamist terror groups ranged against the Syrian government headed by Assad. But on the other hand, it is also hell bent on overthrowing Assad and is using some Islamic groups for this purpose.

However, for all its efforts, the US has been unable to make a material change in the situation in Syria. Assad is well entrenched and is pushing back the Islamist rebels. And his ally, Russia, continues to have a firm footing in the country. American pressure has only been driving Syria into the arms of Russia.

(The featured image at the top shows Syrian missiles to intercept US air raiders)  

The Keith Noyahr case: Gota as Fonny’s nanny

April 21st, 2018

C.A.Chandraprema Courtesy The Island

  • Major Ajith Prasanna takes a closer look at what Keith Noyahr wrote
  • Sunday Leader throwing red herrings across the trail
  • The mistake that Gota made


Amidst the political confusion that engulfed the country after the recent local government elections and just before the New Year holidays, the former Director of Military Intelligence Major General Amal Karunasekera was arrested in relation to the abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr, the Defence Correspondent of the now defunct newspaper The Nation, back in 2008. After this arrest, the state owned Sunday Observer explained how Maj. Gen. Karunasekera came to be implicated in this case as follows – when Keith Noyahr was abducted on May 22, 2008 his colleagues in The Nation had contacted President Mahinda Rajapksa and the then Defence Secretary and informed them of the abduction. Thereupon President Mahinda Rajapaksa had called Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who in turn had called Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendavitharana the Chief of National Intelligence who in turn had contacted the Director of Military Intelligence Maj General Amal Karunasekera and he in turn had contacted Major Bulathwatte and this had resulted in the release of Noyahr.

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The Sunday Observer further stated that mobile phone signals had indicated that both Major Bulathwatte and Keith Noyahr had been in a safehouse run by Major Bulathwatte in Dompe. Earlier, an article that appeared in The Sunday Leader April 9, 2017 titled ‘The Keith Noyahr Saga: A Synopsis’ had revealed that detectives have also recovered the white van used for the abduction. It was said to be owned by a Dompe resident and leased to Bulathwatte. It had also been found that the safehouse in Dompe where Noyahr had been allegedly held, had also been taken on lease by Major Bulathwatte. According to this Sunday Leader article, Noyahr’s abduction took place because he wrote an article about the LTTE bomb that was set off near the Colombo Hilton Hotel on Sir Chittampalan Gardiner Mawatha on Friday May 16, 2008 which was described as ‘a scathing indictment’ of those officials in charge of the security and intelligence apparatus in charge of guarding Colombo.

This refers to an article titled “Ramming into the Colombo HSZ” datelined 18 May 2008 which can be accessed on the following link – http://www.nation.lk/2008/05/18/militarym.htm. Even though the Sunday Leader tries to portray this article as the immediate cause for the abduction and torture of Noyahr, readers who access the original article on the above link will see that this article was merely a description of the LTTE attack and its ramifications and it was not by any means a ‘scathing’ attack on anybody. In fact, the Sunday Leader had after describing it as ‘a scathing article’ against the government had in the same breath said incongruously that “The article was relatively mild, suggesting only that the authorities remedy their ‘failure to anticipate’…” How can any newspaper article be a scathing criticism and relatively mild at the same time? This article was no different to hundreds of articles appearing on a daily basis in newspapers and if journalists were going to be abducted and tortured for writing articles like that, then every journalist in this country should have been abducted and assaulted by the Army during that time.

The mere fact that the Sunday Leader has gone out of its way to say that it was this nondescript article of 18 May 2008 that led to the abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr and not the blistering attack the latter had launched a week earlier on 11 May 2008 on the then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka clearly shows that there is a deliberate attempt to deflect attention from Fonseka. If a ‘reasonable person’ reads the two articles mentioned above, there is little doubt that he would conclude that the article on Fonseka was far more more likely to provoke an attack than the article on the bomb blast in Colombo. A newspaper cannot pretend to be oblivious to the difference between the two articles and if they do, then that is for a dishonest purpose.

Back in February 26, 2017, the Sunday Leader in an article titled “Startling Details Emerge In Keith Noyahr Abduction Probe” had stated that “Although certain groups were pointing fingers at the then Army Commander, Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka for masterminding the abduction because of Noyahr’s article on May 11, 2008 in the weekly, The Nation newspaper titled ‘An Army is not its Commander’s private fiefdom’ which heavily criticized the then Army Commander, Fonseka was not involved in the abduction.” However the Sunday Leader has not explained how they arrived at the conclusion that Noyahr was attacked for the article of 18 May 2008 and not for the earlier one published on 11 May 2008. The two Sunday Leader articles quoted here published on February 26, 2017 and April 9, 2017 had a further series of allegations to link Gota to the Noyahr case. One such allegation was the claim that when The Nation Editor Lalith Alahakoon called Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse on 22 May 2008, to appeal for Noyahr’s release, Rajapakse had berated Alahakoon and laughed off the abduction as most likely a domestic dispute between Noyahr and his wife!

It has to be said that this writer is not surpised at all if Gota had in fact laughed it off at first. That was in May 2008 before any of the series of attacks on journalists had taken place and this coming unexpectedly from the blues would naturally have been dismissed out of hand as something that cannot happen. Furthermore a journalist like Noyahr was not known for writing anything controversial. In fact, even this writer did not know why anyone would want to go to the length of abducting and assaulting Noyahr. For the past ten years, this writer had only a vague impression that Noyahr had written something that was critical of Sarath Fonseka and that had led to the attack. It was not until Major Ajith Prasanna emailed the article that Noyahr had written on 11 May 2008 that this writer actually read it. If such was the situation among journalists, one can be certain that very few members of the general public would have been able to hazard a guess as to why Noyahr was attacked. If Gota thought it was a joke when he first heard about the abduction, that can be excused because it is unlikely that he too would have read what Noyahr had written on 11 May 2008. Some journalists are known for writing scathing attacks on those wielding power, and Noyahr was most certainly not one of them – at least not until he wrote that article on Fonseka.

Another allegation made by the Sunday leader is that later, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had threatened two journalists from the government controlled Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) for taking part at a protest at Kollupitiya demanding that the government should bring the perpetrators of the attack on Noyahr to book. Rajapaksa is supposed to have harangued Poddala Jayantha and Sanath Balasooriya for two-and-a-half hours, saying among other things that there were large numbers of military personnel who ‘revered Fonseka like a God’ and that he could not control these people and that they may finish you off’. Funnily enough, even as the Sunday Leader strives to foist the blame for the abduction of Noyahr on Gota, the discussion seems to keep circling back to Fonseka even in the Sunday Leader’s own revelations! Gota is supposed to have berated these journalists for having criticized Fonseka with Lakshman Hulugalle telling Sanath Balasuriya that he had video tapes of a speech by Balasuriya in which he criticized Fonseka. The Sunday Leader claimed that all this ‘shows that Rajapaksa was behind this abduction’. So the argument is that Gota had got Noyahr abducted and thrashed for having criticized Fonseka! It is an undeniable fact that between May 2008 and May 2009, Gota’s only interest was in getting the war over with, and he did not want anything affecting the morale of the Army at a time when it was making headway against the terrorists. Even when Lasantha Wickrematunga was killed in January 2009 and everyone was blaming Fonseka, Gota went on TV a few days later and said that the Indian National Security Advisor M.K.Narayananan had told him that Fonseka was the best army commander in the world.

There is no question about the fact that due to to his desire to finish the war and to prevent the army from being demoralized due to Fonseka getting mired in unwanted controversies, Gota did go out on a limb in publicly defending Fonseka instead of condemning him as a madman who was misusing his powers to exact revenge on mediamen for real and imagined slights. However, Gota’s public defence of his army commander at a time when the war was at its height, does not mean that he was responsible for carrying out those attacks. His effort was to avoid unwanted controversies, not to create them. Everytime Fonny’s name was soiled, Gota had to play nanny to prevent demoralization in the army and to keep the war on track. The day after Lasantha Wickrematunga killed, on 9 January 2009, the then opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe kept saying repeatedly that this killing was carried out by an element within the armed forces that the government had no control over and that it was not only the opposition that was in danger but the government as well.

Even when Keith Noyahr was abducted in 2008 and that was followed by attacks on Namal Perera, Mahendra Ratnaweera and Upali Tennakoon, that was the same stance taken by the then Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera. The UNP knew that no government or politician would carry out attacks on journalists in that manner and that such actions could only be carried out by a non-political person wielding unbridled power.

When the Sunday Leader contacted Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and asked him about the allegations levelled against him over killings and abductions of journalists, he had stressed that he had never had any dealings or falling out with any journalist and that it was former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had serious disputes with media personnel. Fonseka had also said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa directly supervised all security and intelligence operations in and around Colombo through a separate chain of command packed with loyalists, bypassing the normal organizational structures of the three armed forces and the police and that it was through this group that the Rajapaksas carried out high profile assaults, abductions and murders of media personalities and others. Thus the Sunday Leader is literally falling over itself to accept what Fonseka says and to lay the blame for the Noyahr incident on Gota. Yet the very arguments the Sunday Leader puts forward points yet again at Fonseka.

Would anyone in his right mind believe, knowing who Fonseka is, that he would have had no issue with the person who wrote that article in The Nation titled “An army is not its commander’s private fiefdom” on 11 May 2008? Note that what is criticized in this artcle are the actions of the army commander, not those of the defence ministry.

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(What follows is an abridged version of the ‘Military Matters’ column in The Nation that was published on 11 May 2008. Noyahr was abducted and assaulted on 22 May 2008. Attorney at Law Major Ajith Prasanna drew the attention of the media to this article at a press conference held before the New Year. His argument was that this artcle constitutes a motivation for the attack on Noyahr and the police should be pursuing this line of inquiry as well.)

An army is not its commander’s private fiefdom

The promotion criteria adopted by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka… have caused rumblings within the Sri Lanka Army… there are 27 Colonels eligible to be promoted Brigadiers, who have now been sidelined….However, this recommendation by Army HQ is yet to be approved by the Defence Ministry. Several Senior Army Officers had made representations to political authorities, stating that they should not be subjected to injustice. Even in effecting transfers, there is the possibility of affording key operational experience to favourites. Take the case of Col. Janaka Walgama who, has been at Staff College, Training or at Army HQ, almost all his military life, was posted to a key operational area, Trincomalee, bypassing several others. The new system has paved the way for military authorities to promote several junior officers to key positions such as Brigade Commanders and even General Officers Commanding several Divisions.

Brig. Samantha Sooriyabandara of the Commando Regiment, was put in charge of the main 53 strike Division in Jaffna. Brig. Sooriyabandara, who commanded the troops in Muhamalai, where a major debacle took place last month, has now been posted as the defence attaché to the Sri Lankan mission in Washington D.C…Not only did he lack the required experience to be given the 53 Div Commander slot, he has not held a single important Staff Officer job at Army HQ or even at Divisional HQ, to be posted as Defence Attaché to Washington D.C. Does he have the competence to handle the Navy, Air Force and Army on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government and, has he ever handled correspondence, so vital for this post? He was earlier in charge of the personal security of the Army Chief.

Maj. Gen. Dhammika Liyanage, another officer, who was in charge of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s personal security, with no battlefield experience as a Brigade Commander in the northern area, has replaced Maj. Gen. Parakrama Pannipitiya in the east as SF Commander. After a five-year period in Colombo, attached to different places, Maj. Gen. Liyanage was posted to the east replacing Maj. Gen. Pannipitiya. Army HQ had overlooked very senior officers when making this appointment, as Maj. Gen. Liyanage was 30th in the list.

The Deputy Chief of Staff position was filled by Army HQ, with the appointment of Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri. However, this appointment was later withheld. According to the order of precedence, it should have been Maj. Gen. Sumith Balasuriya who should have been appointed as the Deputy Chief of Staff.

Maj. Gen. Pannipitiya, who was relieved of the eastern command and later asked to vacate his official quarters at Summit Flats, challenged the decision of the military authorities, stating that his fundamental rights had been violated. Lawyers argued in court that, after doing what had to be done in the east, Pannipitiya was unceremoniously removed and his security withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Army HQ had also recommended that the Vishista Seva Vibushanaya (VSV) should only be conferred on service commanders and former service commanders who had not already been conferred with VSV. It is learnt that the Defence Ministry did not comply with the recommendation made by Army HQ that, only the serving service commanders and former service commanders be conferred with this highly respected decoration. The Ministry accepted the recommendations of both the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke for the award to be given to 17 serving Naval officers, including the commander, and seven serving Air Force officers, including the commander, respectively. This award should not be an elitist one for only the service chiefs, as few make it to the number one position in the services. Lt. Gen. Fonseka was the only one from the Army to receive the award while in uniform. The awarding of VSV to several serving Officers of the Navy and Air Force including the two service chiefs and only the Army Commander (while in service) might send out wrong signals. In this current phase of the war, while two dozen serving Officers from the Navy and Air Force have performed distinguished service, there are no distinguished Army personnel deserving the award, except the one who nominated himself.

The question on the lips of many is why was Fonseka not nominated by, five previous Army commanders, for the Uttama Seva Padakkama(USP)? General Shantha Kottegoda, General Lionel Balagalla, General Sri Lal Weerasuriya, General Rohan Daluwatte, General Gerry De Silva and General Cecil Waidyaratne had their reasons for overlooking Fonseka. Six months back Gen. Fonseka was awarded USP setting the stage for a VSV. If an officer has been charged for scandalous conduct and found guilty, one loses his unblemished record. Having deprived several Senior Regimented Officers from receiving this award, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Fonseka, at a recent meeting at Army HQ for Principal Staff Officers and Directors in an around Colombo, said, “If one aspires to ascend to the highest echelons in the Sri Lankan Army, he should perform and prove himself”.

At the conference, Gen. Fonseka said, “Simply carrying flower baskets to pay homage to gods, won’t help”. In the same breath, he said that certain Senior Officers were behaving in a manner not in keeping with their positions. He was referring to a General clad in sarong and dancing alongside a local politico, at an informal party. Gen. Fonseka said that by their actions, they have been reduced to the status of jokers. Insiders are of the view that, he had, by innuendo, directed those attacks at his No. 2, the Commandant of the Volunteer Force, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Fernando and Maj. Gen. Pannipitiya. with whom he has a running legal battle.

Gen.Fonseka, no doubt, has been an excellent Army Officer, and needs to be saluted for his achievements, but there are many Officers who opine that he was no gentleman. Considering the manner in which he handled men and matters, promotions and awards. Many left the service saddened and are willing to come forward and testify, many more are digging their heels on how they were shabbily treated after much sacrifice.

For the entire article please visit: http://www.nation.lk/2008/05/11/militarym.htm

An appeal to the Tamil Intelligentsia to question why the Tamil politicians want separation from Sinhala.

April 20th, 2018

By Charles.S.Perera

We are all human beings first before we started calling ourselves Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim or what not. Therefore we have to first treat all human beings equal,  even those within our own  Community not down grading another for what he had been called upon to do. This is  how we have to see the larger human species, when we have passed our primitive stage of growth and become intelligent men and women.

There is surely at least a very small group of  Tamil Intelligentsia who can understand  their role in life and see things as they really are. The Tamils  cannot  hold Sampanthan and his TNA Cronies, C.V.Wigneswaran or Mano Ganeshan  as the sacrosanct Tamil leaders who are carrying out a meaningful reform to give the Tamil people a hopeful, prosperous, and a happy future, living on their own separated from the influence of Sinhala Community. This applies also to the Muslim Community but it needs a different  argument.

Sri Lanka had been in the past influenced by India in different ways. The King Asoka’s influence  was the most rich, positive, and rejuvenating period of the Sri Lankan history.. Because it was not  military, destructive, forceful entrance into the Sinhala Nation. But the influence  of King Asoka transformed Sri Lanka in all aspects of its life. It helped Sri Lanka absorb itself into a great culture, and change into a unique country with Theravada Buddhist teachings its treasured identity.

The later Indian  influences were forced, destructive, Dravidian  intrusions, by marauders, plunderers , treasure hunters and invaders. They left Sri Lanka with immense lot of problems that ate in to its  religious, social, and political fabric like an ever growing cancer spreading in to an entire physical body. They destroyed from the beginning the great cultural religious fabric affecting its peace and prosperity.

But the influence of the great Buddhist culture withstood the Sinhala people from not getting entirely lost within these later savage Indian incursions, and adopted and accepted the nefarious Dravidian influences allowing it to accommodate itself without greater damage  from the undesirable intruders.

The intrusion of   others with good or bad intention into its own culture in a country can have bad and good influences. Sri Lanka was able to accept the good and even introduced religious philosophies of the Dravidian settlers , and made  it part of their Sinhala Buddhist culture.

But the worst of what  came with the Dravidians or the Tamil  and damaged greatly its general peaceful existence was its Hindu culture with its destructive caste system. The Tamils even extended their inborn cultural caste bias to the Sinhala population  who accepted them generously.

The Tamil settlers remained  aloof without wanting to be stained by the  Sinhala people and their culture. That is their ingrained  religious cultural need  to be separated , and isolated from the Sinhala and the influence of their religion and culture.

This seeking separatist political  existence is the result of their inborn  caste mentality. The Tamils  cannot even mix  as equals with every one within their own Community, treating them  differently according to what caste each group of them belongs. So how can we expect the Tamils  who do not treat their own people equally  to accept  to be one with the  rest of the Communities in Sri Lanka.

It is this rusty old retarded caste mentality that forced  GG Ponnambalam to asking for fifty fifty, or Chelvanayagama a  Christian Tamil coming from Malayasia  ask for a Federal Constitution, Prabhakaran  wanted to divide Sri Lanka to have a separate Eelam, and now a withered old Tamil from south trying to make his place amoung the Tamils in the north blame Sinhala for genocide and demanding  separation from the Sinhala.

Wigneswaran’s hypocrise lies in the fact that he had allowed his two sons to marry Sinhala Women. How can he explain that to the Tamils in the north ?

What really is the problem the Tamils have with the Sinhala amoung whom the Tamils had decided to settle down ?  They were never invited by the Sinhala, they  forced themselves in.

They had settled down in this country long ago, and  generations of Tamils have lived with generations of Sinhala. So what is the problem now for the Tamils to seek separation from the Sinhala ?  Why do the Tamils want to be different ?

Haven’t the Sinhala accepted them,  live with  them side by side,  and even given away their daughters in marriage to Tamils and taken their daughters in marriage to Sinhala homes ?

So why now this demand for a separate Eelam,  a separate Province for Tamils ?

The terrorist Prabhakaran created greater terror in the North and East. The terrorists  kidnapped the Tamil Children to make them their soldiers and  suicide bombs. The terrorists took away 300 or more  thousands of innocent Tamils and drove them from place to place like cattle keeping them as a human shield to save themselves.

And yet the Tamil mentality is so sick they still want memorials for terrorists and some even imitate them threatening a possible resurgence of terrorism. But have the Sinhala people with whom the Tamils lived in harmony for generations been like the terrorists ?

Is it not time for the Tamil Intelligentsia to ask  whether there is something wrong with the Sinhala,  or whether there is some thing wrong with the Tamils ?

The  Tamils are a  mentally retarded people preoccupied mostly with their toilet problem. That is the problem with India too . India still wants low caste Tamils to occupy their toilets even if they have solved it to a great extent  by making any open space any where their toilet. They still mentally yearn for the low caste untouchable to clean the places where they put their dirt.

The Tamils continue to  imbibed their ancient Indian  caste mentality. Indians like to be called a developed  Nation, they have educated the low caste Dalits. They have begun  constructing toilets, but yet they kill Dalits  for nothing . It was recently reported that a Dalit High Court Judge was made to resign because the other judges did not want a Dalit amoung them.

It is this same toilet problem that make Wigneswaran, Sampanthan, Sumandiran, Sivajilingam  and the whole host of  the Tamil political bigwigs desperately call for separation, a federal Constitution, and remove giving Buddhism a constitutional protection, demand a separate province for the Tamils, and eventually a Eelam state of their own to have their toilets washed by low caste Tamils, have their low caste Tamils attend to menial work that they do not want to do.

The low caste Tamils in the North and East should beware that,  if ever there were to be a Tamil Eelam State, there would be utter suffering for those of the lower castes. Stay on with the  Sinhala,  and then it will not matter whether you are high caste or low caste.

I appeal to the ordinary Tamil people and the Tamil intelligentsia , to think now  and chase away Sampanthans, Sumanthiorans, Wigneswarans, Sivajilingams et al coming to your homes asking for your vote,  because for them if you are not of their caste then for them  you have no human value, fo ryou are a low caste destined  to live the life  your ancient fore fathers lived. For the Tamil politicians your value is restricted only to your VOTE to be elected as a Councillor or a Parliamentarian and thereafter  Lord over you.

Can we eradicate hunger by mangrove conservation ?

April 20th, 2018

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Priorities are mixed up by Sri Lankan Delegation to Commonwealth Business forum in London

Sri Lanka to give leadership for mangrove conservation in Commonwealth countries”

FT / Friday, 20 April 2018 00:00

London: Sri Lanka has been named as the country to give leadership for the conservation of mangroves in Commonwealth countries during the 25th inaugural ceremony of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held yesterday .
At yesterday’s meeting, an active committee has been established under the leadership of Sri Lanka to share the knowledge and the procedure on mangrove conservation with other Commonwealth states.

I represented Sri Lankan Private sector to promote blue economy among common wealth countries with a view of developing Ocean related activities like Fishery .Aquaculture/Boat building, Marina development .Sri Lanka can enormously benefit by harnessing this area to develop economy We can generate income for poor fisher folks and to earn foreign money by exporting fish and also provide employment.

I regret to say the Department of Industry Commerce who organized the delegation have miserably failed .Instead of sending more representatives from such industries and entrepreneurs’, band wagon of Gem Traders, Batik Makers .Curry powder sellers etc. were given prominence.

Our mission to get commonwealth interested in blue economy was in the back seat.

There were no B2B meetings organized by the High Commission or Ministry for more important sectors .On the last day there was a breakfast meeting where Cameroon and Sri Lanka made presentations .Cameroon Embassy handed over a pack of documents with a memory stick to all participants, but our Embassy was not capable of even have such dossier .When I asked one of the Ministry Officer, whether I can find a way to hand over the brochures I carried, they were nor interested.

(I raise my hat only to the two Sri Lankans who made a presentation on Software sales  and port development .)

I spent my own money to travel and I was really disgusted to see the government officers on a jolly ride to London with no keen interest to promote our country and the more important industries

Gen traders and garment sellers were in the forefront

We need to learn from Africans?

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

විශ්වාසභංගයේදී මොකද වුණේ‍? එතැනින් පසු රට කොතැනටද?

April 20th, 2018

සාකච්ඡා කළේ, ප්‍රසන්න සංජීව තෙන්නකෝන් උපුටාගැණීම ලංකාදීප

විශ්වාසභංගයේදී මොකද වුණේ‍? එතැනින් පසු රට කොතැනටද? මේ ඒ ගැන විමසමින් එක්සත් ජනතා නිදහස් සන්ධානයේ කොළඹ දිස්ත්‍රික් පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී ජාතික නිදහස් පෙරමුණේ නායක විමල් වීරවංශ මහතා සමග කළ සාකච්ඡාවකි.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – මොන තර්ක විතර්ක දැම්මත් විශ්වාසභංගයෙන් අවසානයේදී සිද්ධ වුණේ‍ අගමැති රනිල් ශක්තිමත් කිරීමක්?

• පිළිතුර – අගමැති රනිල් ශක්තිමත් වෙලා නම් එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂයේ සියලු නාහෙන් ඇඬිලි දැන් නතර වෙලා තියෙන්න ඕන. විශ්වාසභංගයේදී අගමැති රනිල්ට පක්ෂව ඡන්දය දීපු එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂයේම සමහර මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් දැන් ආපහු කියන්න පටන් අරන් තියෙනවා අපි ගේනවා දැන් විශ්වාසභංගයක් කියලා. ඔවුන්ට පෙනිලා තියෙනවා ඔවුන් බලාපොරොත්තු වෙන ප්‍රතිසංවිධාන යූඑන්පීය ඇතුලේ වෙන්නේ නැහැ කියලා. ඒ නිසා අගමැතිවරයා ශක්තිමත්වීමක් මේකෙන් වෙලා නෑ. හිටියට වඩා ඔහු දුර්වලවීමක් වෙලා තියෙන්නේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – එහෙම කියන්න බැහැ. විශ්වාසභංගය එනකොට අගමැතිවරයාට පක්ෂ නායකත්වයෙන් ඉවත් වෙන්න කියලා පක්ෂ අභ්‍යන්තරයෙන්ම විශාල කැරැල්ලක් නිර්මාණය වෙලා තිබුණේ. නමුත් දැන් පක්ෂය ඒකමතිකව තීරණය කරලා තියෙනවා ‘පක්ෂයේ නායකයා රනිල්’ විය යුතුයි කියලා.

• පිළිතුර – ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණයට අදාළව යූඑන්පී මන්ත්‍රී කණ්ඩායම කැඳවලා අරලියගහ මන්දිරයේ දී සාකච්ඡාවක් තිබ්බා. ඒ විශ්වාසභංගයෙන් පස්සේ අපට තියෙන තොරතුරුවලට අනුව සියයට 90කට වඩා මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් ඉල්ලා සිටියා ඔහු අගමැතිකමේ ඉන්නත් පක්ෂ නායකත්වය වෙන කෙනෙකුට දෙන්නත් කියලා. පක්ෂ නායකත්වය වෙන කෙනෙකුට දීම ගැන අවසන් තීරණයක් අරගෙන නෑ. නැවත ඔවුන් අප්‍රේල් 30 හමුවෙන්න තීරණය කරලා තියෙනවා. ඒ තීරණාත්මක හමුවේ දී තමයි යූඑන්පීයේ පිපිරීම කොයි විදියට ද වෙන්නේ කියලා තීරණය කෙරෙන්නේ. යම් හෙයකින් අගමැතිවරයා පක්ෂ නායකත්වය වෙන කෙනෙකුට දෙන්න තීරණය කළොත් අර්බුදය තාවකාලිකව සමථයකට පත් වෙයි. එහෙම නැතිව තමන්ට එරෙහිව එන කැරලිකාර මන්ත්‍රීවරුන්ට ඇමැතිකම් නියෝජ්‍ය ඇමැතිකම් දීමෙන් පමණක් මේක විසඳාගන්න පුළුවන් වෙයි කියලා අපි නම් විශ්‍වාස කරන්නේ නෑ. අනික් අතට අගමැතිවරයා දිනුවට ඔහුත් ඇතුළත් වුණු ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්‍ඩුවේ මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් 16ක් අද විපක්ෂයට එන්න ලෑස්ති වෙලා ඉන්නවා. එතකොට කොහොමද ඒක දිනුමක් වෙන්නේ? අගමැතිවරයාගේ ආණ්ඩුවේ ඔවුන් හිටියේ. හැබැයි විශ්‍වාසභංගයෙන් පසුව ඔහුගේ ආණ්ඩුවේ දහසය දෙනෙක් විපක්ෂයට එන්න බලාපොරොත්තුවෙන් ඉන්නවා. එතකොට තව හය හත් දෙනෙක් ඕකට එකතු වුණොත් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ තුනෙන් දෙකක බලය මේ ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්‍ඩුවට නැති වෙනවා. දැන් ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිහස් පක්ෂයේ මධ්‍යම කාරක සභාව අඟහරුවාදා තීරණය කරලා තියෙන්නේ කෙළින්ම නිල වශයෙන්ම ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉවත් වෙන්න. බදාදා ඔවුන් කැබිනට් එක වර්ජනය කළා. යම් හෙයකින් ඔවුන් තීරණයක් ගත්තොත් මේ ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉවත් වෙන්න එතකොට අගමැතිවරයා ලබලා තියෙන්නේ ජයග්‍රහණයක් ද?. ඔහු හිටපු තත්ත්වයෙන් පහළට ගමන් කරලා තියෙන්නේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – මගේ ප්‍රශ්නය වෙන්නේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුව තුළ ඔහු ලැබුවේ ජයක් නොවන්නේ කොහොමද කියලයි?

• පිළිතුර – ජය පරාජය හොඳට පේන්නේ රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ පැරදිලා අපි දිනුවානම් තමයි. අපි පරාදයි කියලා පෙනුණට ඔය ඔබ කියන පරාජය ඇතුළෙත් හානිය වෙලා තියෙන්නේ ආණ්ඩුවට. අපිට හානියක් වෙලා නෑ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂයේ මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් 41ක් ඉන්නවා. ඒකෙන් 16ක් විතරක් ගැනීම ජයග්‍රහණයක් හැටියට ඔබ විග්‍රහ කරන්නේ කොහොමද?

• පිළිතුර – 41න් 16ක්වත් ගන්න පුළුවන් තත්ත්වයක් කලින් තිබුණාද? 16ක් නොවෙයි නිකම් 4ක් 5ක්වත්. කිසි ප්‍රශ්‍්නයක් නැතිව 16ක් අපේ පැත්තට ආවේ මේ විශ්වාසභංගය හින්දනේ. ඒ 16 බලනවනේ තවත් මේක ශක්තිමත් කරගන්න. ඔවුන් විපක්ෂයට එන්න තීරණය කරන දවසට ඔවුන් එන්නේ තවත් අය එකතු කරගෙන. ඒක බලාගන්න පුළුවන් වෙයි අනාගතයේ දී. ඒ සියලු පිපුරුම් ඇති වුණේ මේ විශ්‍වාසභංගයෙන් පස්සේ. දේශපාලනය කියන්නේ සාමාන්‍ය පරිදි ඔහේ ගලාගෙන යන්න ඉඩ දීලා බලාගෙන ඉඳීම නම් අපි මේ කරලා තියෙන්නේ වැරැද්දක්. නමුත් දේශපාලනය කියන්නේ සුදුසු මොහොත බලලා සුදුසු ප්‍රහාරය එල්ල කිරීමයි. අපි කළේ‍ ඒක තමයි. ඒකේ ප්‍රතිඵල තියෙනවා. 54ක්ව හිටපු ඒකාබද්ධයට තව අලුතෙන් 16ක් එකතු වීමට නියමිතයි. 16ට වඩා ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්ඩුවේ තුනෙන් දෙකක බලය අහිමිවීමට නියමිතව තියෙනවා. ජවිපෙ පය පැත්තකට තිබ්බත් තුනෙන් දෙකේ බලය පාවිච්චි කරගෙන ව්‍යවස්ථා සංශෝධනය කරගෙන බටහිර න්‍යාය පත්‍රය දිගෙලි කරන්න ගිය ගමන එක්තරා ආකාරයකට අඩාළවීමක් වෙලා තියෙනවා. ජනාධිපතිවරයයි අගමැතිවරයයි අතර තියෙන සීතල යුද්ධය උණුසුම් තත්ත්වයට පත් වෙලා තියෙනවා. ඒ වගේම ජනාධිපතිවරයාට තමන්ගේ හා තමා සමග සිටින පිරිසගේ අනාගත ඉරණම ගැන කල්පනා කරන්න බල කෙරිලා තියෙනවා. පෙබවරවාරි 10 මහජනතාව ඡන්දයෙන් දීපු ප්‍රතිඵලය පාර්ලිමේන්තුව ඇතුළේ‍ මේ රසායනික පරිවර්තනය වෙන්න නම් මේ පියවර අපි ගත යුතුව තිබුණා. අපි ඒක කළා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඔබ හිතන විදියට මේ විශ්වාසභංගය ඔබලා පැරදුණේ ඇයි?

• පිළිතුර – මම නැවතත් කියනවා අපි පරාද නැහැ. භූමිකම්පාවක් මේ වුණේ‍. ඒක රිච්ටර් මාපක 8.5ක නොවෙන්න පුළුවන්. 6.5ක වෙන්න පුළුවන්. 6.5ක භූමි කම්පාවකින් 8.5ක භූමි කම්පාවක ප්‍රතික්‍රියාව ඇති වෙන්නේ නැහැ. හැබැයි 6.5කටත් කම්පනයක් තියෙනවා. පසු පිපිරීම් තියෙනවා. 8.5ක කම්පනය වඩාත් බිහිසුණුයි. පසු පිපිරීම් තියෙනවා. ඒ නිසා කෙනෙකුට කියන්න බෑ මේක 8.5කට නොවීම නිසා මේක 6.5කට වීම නිසා මේක භූමිකම්පාවක් නොවේ කියලා. මේක භූමි කම්පාවක්.

ප්‍රශ්නය – මගේ ප්‍රශ්නය ඒ ගැන නොවෙයි. අවසන් ප්‍රතිඵලය ගැනයි?

පිළිතුර – මෙවැනි පියවරක් ගන්නකොට ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්ෂයේ පක්ෂ නායකයන් මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමාගේ නායකත්වයෙන් අපි රැස්වෙලා සාකච්ඡා කරනකොට අපි බලනවනේ ප්‍රතිඵලය ‘ඒ’ නම් මොකද්ද තත්ත්වය. ප්‍රතිඵලය ‘බී’ නම් මොකද්ද තත්ත්වය. ඔහු පරාජය වුණොත් ඊළඟට යන තත්ත්වය මොකද්ද? ඒකට මුහුණ දෙන්න අපි ලෑස්තිද? ඔහු දිනුවොත් ඒකට මුහුණ දෙන්න අපි ලෑස්තිද? එතකොට මොකද්ද අපිට තියෙන තත්ත්වය. එහෙම සලකා බලමින්නේ අපි තීන්දු තීරණ ගන්නේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – එහෙම සලකා බැලීමක් තිබුණා ද?

• පිළිතුර – නැතිව. සමහර පඬියෝ හිතාගෙන ඉන්නවා එහෙම නැහැයි කියලා. ඔය සමහර ආචාර්ය පඬියෝ ඉන්නවා මෙතෙක් කල් අපි ගත්ත තීරණ වැරැදියි. 2010 පෙබරවාරි 18 නුගේගොඩන් පටන් ගත්ත සටනක් වැරැදියි. එහෙම බැලුවොත්. ඇයි අපි ඒ පඬියන්ගෙන් අහලා නෑනේ. පඬියගෙන් උපදෙස් අරන් නෑ.

මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ ජනාධිපතිතුමාටත් වඩා එතුමාවත් වාටියට තල්ලු කරමින් තීන්දු තීරණ ගැනීමේ සම්පූර්ණ බලය තමන් අතට ගනිමින් ඒ විදේශ ඔත්තු සේවා න්‍යාය පත්‍රයට අනුව මේ බලවේගය අයාලේ රැගෙන යන්න ජයග්‍රාහී සටනකට නොවෙයි පරාජයේ සටනකට රැගෙන යන්න ඇතැමුන් උත්සාහ කරනවා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඔබ කාටද ඔහොම චෝදනා කරන්නේ?

• පිළිතුර – පඬියට හා පඬියන්ට. සමහර පඬියෝ ඔය මතය හදන්න හදනවා. සමහරුන්ගේ පටු විග්‍රහයක් තියෙනවා ‘රනිල් දිගටම ඉන්න ඕනෑ’ කියලා. එතකොට මේක තවත් කුණු වෙනවා. ආණ්ඩුව විතරක් නොවෙයිනේ කුණු වෙන්නේ. රටත් එක්කමනේ කුණු වෙන්නේ. රටත් එක්කම කුණු වුණාට ඒ අයට ප්‍රශ්නයක් නෑ. රටත් එක්කම කුණු වුණාට පස්සේ මේ රට කවුරු බාර ගත්තත් ඒක පරණ තත්ත්වයට ගේන එක ලේසි නෑ. එතකොට රනිල් අතේ තමයි බටහිර න්‍යාය පත්‍රය තියෙන්නේ. රනිල් අතේ තමයි ඉන්දියානු න්‍යාය පත්‍රය තියෙන්නේ. රනිල් තමයි නරුම හා මුග්ධ මානසිකත්වයෙන් යුතුව ඒ න්‍යාය පත්‍ර දිගේලි කරන්න සුදුසු මිනිහා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – එතකොට ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රී ගැන ප්‍රශ්නයක් නෑ?

• පිළිතුර – සිරිසේන ජනාධිපතිවරයා කියන්නේ උන්නැහැගේ මන්දිරයේ එක්තරා ආකාරයකට දේශපාලන හුදකලා භාවයට පත් වූ සාධකයක්. ඔහුටත් විධායක ජනාධිපති හැටියට කළ හැකි බලපෑමක් තියෙනවා. නමුත් ඔහු අතේ නොවෙයි ආණ්‍ඩු පාලනය තියෙන්නේ. ආණ්ඩු පාලනය තියෙන්නේ අගමැතිවරයා අතේ. ඒ නිසා ඒ ආණ්ඩු පාලනයේ මුදුනටනේ ප්‍රහාරය එල්ල කරන්න ඕනෑ. ආණ්ඩු පාලනයේ මුදුන ජනාධිපතිනම් එතැනට. මුදුන අගමැතිනම් එතැනට. මෙතැන මුදුන අගමැති. ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ කොහොම තිබුණත්. ඒ මුදුනට ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කරන්න ඕනෑ. එහෙම ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කරලා ඒ ආණ්ඩුව දුර්වල කරන්න ඕනෑ. ඊනියා ජාතික ආණ්‍ඩුව වට්ටන්න ඕනෑ. ඒකට අපි ප්‍රහාරාත්මක වෙන්න ඕනෑ. අගමැතිවරයා දිගටම තියාගෙන දේශපාලනය කරන්න ඕනෑ කියලා කියනවා නම් ඒක අමු තක්කඩිකමක්.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – විශ්‍වාසභංගය පරාද වුණේ ඔය ඔබ කියන වර්ගයේ තක්කඩියන් පොහොට්ටුවේ හිටපු නිසාද?

• පිළිතුර – ඒකට ප්‍රධාන වශයෙන්ම බලපෑවේ ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ වැනෙන සුළු දියාරු ප්‍රතිපත්තිය කියලයි අපි නම් හිතන්නේ. විශ්වාසභංගයට කලින් දවසෙත් යූඑන්පී එකේ 26 දෙනෙකුට වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක් ස්ථාන තුනක රැඳිලා හිටියා ජනාධිපතිවරයාගෙන් තමන්ගේ කණ්ඩායමට නිසි විධානයක් ලැබෙන තුරු. විශේෂයෙන්ම ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂයේ 41 දෙනාට. ඒ නිසා එතැන මත දෙකක් මතු වුණා. අවසානයේ දී ජනාධිපතිවරයා ඔහු විසින් දිය යුතුව තිබූ විධානය මග ඇරියා. ඒක ඇතුළේ යූඑන්පී කණ්ඩායම් එක්ක සාකච්ඡා කරමින් හිටපු ශ්‍රී ලංකා එකේ ජ්‍යෙෂ්‍ඨ නායකයන්ට වුණා ගිහින් කියන්න ‘අපේ පැත්තේ අවුලක්. ඔයගොල්ලෝ කැමති තීරණයක් ගන්න’ කියලා. ඒ නිසා තමයි උග්‍ර රනිල් විරෝධයක හිටපු යූඑන්පීයේ මන්ත්‍රීවරුන්ටත් විශ්වාසභංගයට විරුද්ධව ඡන්දය දෙන්න වුණේ. එතැන ඇත්තටම ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ වැනෙන සුලු දියාරු හැසිරීම අගමැතිවරයාගේ දේශපාලන ප්‍රාණය ආරක්ෂා කිරීම සඳහා සෘජු ලෙස ඉවහල් වුණා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – විශ්වාසභංගයේදී මොණර කොළ හුවමාරුවීම් ගැන කතා වුණා. රහස් ගිවිසුම් ගැන කිව්වා. මේවා සුපුරුදු චෝදනා?

• පිළිතුර – මොණර කොළ කතාව මම විතරක් නොවෙයි කියන්නේ. දයාසිරි ජයසේකර මම දැක්කා කියලා තියෙනවා ‘කෝටියක මුදලක් ගත්ත මන්ත්‍රීවරයෙක් ඔහු සමග කිව්වා කියලා ණය තුරුස්ටික ඔක්කොම ඒකෙන් බේරාගත්තා’ කියලා කිව්වා කියලා. තව ඕන තරම් කියන්න පුළුවන්. නමුත් නම්ගම් කියන එක සදාචාරාත්මක නැහැ. දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධානයේ ඡන්ද ටිකත් අර කොන්දේසි 10ට විතරක් එකඟවෙලා දුන්නා නොවෙයි. ඒ එක ඡන්දයකට අදාළ මිලක් තිබුණා. ඒ මිල ලැබුණා. ඔවුන්ට අයවැයේදීත් මිලක් ගෙවලා තිබුණා. ඔවුන්ම පසුව ඒක ප්‍රසිද්ධියේ කිව්වා. ඊට වඩා වැඩි මිලක් මේකේදී හමු වුණා. මං හිතන්නේ බැඳුම්කර හොරකමෙන් උපයපු අයථා ධනයෙන් සැලකිය යුතු පංගුවක් ඔය සති දෙකේ වියදම් වුණා. පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට නොපැමිණ සිටීමටත් ගෙව්වා. නෑවිත් ඉන්නත් ගෙව්වා. හැබැයි ඔය මොණර කොළ සෙල්ලම් තිබුණත් සිරිසේන ජනාධිපතිවරයා තමන්ගේ කණ්ඩායම එක මතයකට ගන්න සමත් වුණා නම් ප්‍රතිඵලය ඊට වඩා වෙනස්.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්ෂයේ මන්ත්‍රී එස්.එම්. චන්ද්‍රසේන කියලා තිබුණා. ‘අපේ කට්ටිය කළේ මාධ්‍ය සංදර්ශන. තිබුණ සියලුම තුරුම්පු කලින් කිව්වා. එතකොට යූඑන්පීයට ඒකට සූදානම් වෙන්න පුළුවන්කම ලැබුණා’ කියලා.

• පිළිතුර – ඒ කවුරුහරි උගන්වපු එකක්නේ කියන්නේ. චන්ද්‍රසේන මන්ත්‍රීතුමාට ස්වයංව පහළ වෙච්ච අදහසක් නොවෙයි. එයාගේ කවුරුහරි ගෝඩ් ෆාදර් කෙනෙක් උගන්වපු කතාවක් ඔය කියන්නේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – නමුත් ඔහු කියන කතාවේ ඇත්තක් තියෙනවා. සංඛ්‍යා ලේඛන එළිපිටම කිව්වා.

• පිළිතුර – මෙහෙමයි. කවුරුවත් මේකේ මාධ්‍ය සංදර්ශන තියන්න ගියේ නැහැනේ. එහෙන් එන්නෙ කවුද කියලා නම් ගම් කියන්න ගියෙත් නෑනේ. එතකොට විශ්වාසය ඇති කරන්න යමෙක් යම් යම් සංඛ්‍යා ලේඛන කියන්න ඇති. 225 දෙනා අතරේ බලපෑම් සහගත මනසක් හදන්න එහෙම කියන්න වෙනවා. එහෙම වුණාම තමයි මැද ඉන්න ​ෙකනත් අපේ පැත්තට එන්න තීරණයක් ගන්න ​ෙපළඹෙන්නේ. ඒ සඳහා කරපු ප්‍රකාශ මේක අසාර්ථක වෙන්න හේතු වුණේ නැහැ. ඒ වගේ ප්‍රකාශයකින් වෙන්නේ විශ්‍වාසය වැඩි වීමක්. ඔය චන්ද්‍රසේන මන්ත්‍රීතුමාගේ පිටිපස්සේ ඉන්න කෙනෙක් උගන්වන දෙයක් තමයි ඔහු ඔය කියන්නේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – කවුද ඔය ඔබ කියන ගෝඩ් ෆාදර්?

• පිළිතුර – බලාගත්තැකි ඉදිරියේදී.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඒකාබද්ධය ඇතුළෙත් දේශ​ෙද්‍රා්හියෝ. බටහිර හා ඉන්දියන් පිල්ලි ඉන්නවා කියලා ඔබම කියලා තිබුණා.

• පිළිතුර – මේ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා වටා ගොඩනැගෙන මේ මහා සජිවී බලවේගය බෙදන්න, විවිධ ප්‍රශ්න හදන්න. ඒක ඇතුළේ අසතුටට හා අතෘප්තියට පත් බලවේගයක් නිර්මාණය කරන්න විදෙස් ඔත්තු සේවාවන්වලට ඕනෑ. මේ බලවේගයත් ඒ ඔත්තු සේවාවන්හි න්‍යාය පත්‍රයට අනුව හසුරුවා ගන්න පුළුවන් නම් ඒ විදේශ ඔත්තු සේවා ඒක කරනවා. මේකට නිදහස් ස්වාධීනව ගලා යන්න දෙන්නේ නැහැ. අද ඒ විදේශ ඔත්තු සේවාවන්ට වුවමනාව නියෝජනය කරන ක්‍රියාකාරීත්වයක් ඇතැම් පුද්ගලයන්ගෙන් අපට පෙනෙන්න තියෙනවා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – කෙළින්ම කියන්න? ඒ අය කවුද?

• පිළිතුර – ඒ අය කවුද කියලා අනාගතයේ දී මීට වඩා විවෘතව කතා කරන්න අපි සූදානම්. ඒ අය බලන්නේ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා සභාපතිවරු පත් කරනකොට වෙනත් අනෙකුත් පක්ෂ සමග වැඩ කරනකොට විශේෂයෙන්ම මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමාගේ කැමැත්තටත් වඩා ඒ ඒ බලවේග තමන්ගේ අණසකට ගන්න බලාගෙන ඉන්නේ ඒ ඔත්තු සේවාවන්ගේ සහායකයන්ගේ යටතට. මේ බලවේගය පත් කිරීමේ උත්සාහයක් තියෙනවා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඔබ වගකීමෙන් ද කියන්නේ?

• පිළිතුර – පැහැදිළිවම! අපි ඒ ගැන හොඳ අවබෝධයකින් වගේම අවදියෙන් ඉන්නේ. ඒ අයට ඕනෑ අපිවත් මේකෙන් එළියට ඇඳලා දාන්න. අපිව එළියට ඇඳලා දැමීම සඳහා වූ පියවර ඔවුන් ගත්තා පහුගිය දවස්වල. ඒක අපි හොඳට දැනුම්වත්ව අවබෝධ කරගෙන අපි මේ ඉන්නේ. අපි මේ ඉන්නේ එළියට යන්න බයේ නොවෙයි. ඒ ඔත්තු සේවාවන්ට අවශ්‍ය විදියට මේ බලවේගය කඩන්න ඉඩ දිය යුතු නැති නිසා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඇතුළෙන් මේ ප්‍රහාරය එල්ල වෙන්නේ ඔබට විතරද? තවත් අයටත් එල්ල වෙනවද?

• පිළිතුර – මම හිතන්නේ මම ඉන්න මතයේ තවත් අය ඉන්නවා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – මහින්ද සුළඟ බලවේගය දැන් බැසිල්ගේ කල්ලිය හා ගෝඨාගේ කල්ලිය කියලා දෙකට බෙදිලා කියලත් කියනවා?

• පිළිතුර – නෑ මේකේ කල්ලි නෑ. කල්ලි හදන්න සමහරු හදනවා. හැබැයි මේකේ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ ජනාධිපතිතුමා මූලික කරගත් බලවේගයක් මෙතැන තියෙන්නේ. එහෙම නැතිව අර කල්ලි මේ කල්ලි කියලා දෙකක් මෙතැන නෑ. හැබැයි එහෙම කල්ලියක් හදන්න සමහරු උත්සහා කරනවා. මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ ජනාධිපතිතුමාටත් වඩා එතුමාවත් වාටියට තල්ලු කරමින් තීන්දු තීරණ ගැනීමේ සම්පූර්ණ බලය තමන් අතට ගනිමින් ඒ විදේශ ඔත්තු සේවා න්‍යාය පත්‍රයට අනුව මේ බලවේගය අයාලේ රැගෙන යන්න ජයග්‍රාහී සටනකට නොවෙයි පරාජයේ සටනකට රැගෙන යන්න ඇතැමුන් උත්සාහ කරනවා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඒ ඔත්තු සේවා නියෝජිතයන් කවුද කියලා ඇයි කෙළින්ම කියන්න බැරි?

• පිළිතුර – ඒ කවුද කියලා අපි අනාගතයේ දී කියන්නම්.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ගෝඨාභයගේ තදියම් කල්ලිය තමයි මේ විශ්වාසභංගය ගෙනල්ලා අසාර්ථක සටනක් කළේ කියලත් කියනවා.

• පිළිතුර – ගෝඨාභය කියන්නේ මේ මොහොතේ මේ රටේ දේශපාලනයේ නිරත වෙන කෙනෙක් නොවෙයි. එතුමා මේ වෙලාවේ ඉන්නෙත් චීනයේ. එතුමා කවදාවත් දේශපාලන තීරණවලට බලපෑම් කරලා නැහැ. ඒ නිසා ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ ජනාධිපතිවරණයට එයි කියන බයට ගෝඨාභයගේ ප්‍රතිරූපයට ගහන්න තියෙන මෝඩ තෘෂ්ණාව ඉටු කරගන්න තමයි මේකට ගෝඨාභය කෙනෙක් පටලවා ගෙන තියෙන්නේ. මේ විශ්වාසභංග යෝජනාවට එතුමගේ කිසිම සම්බන්ධයක් නෑ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – එහෙම නම් කොහොමද මේ විශ්‍වාසභංගය එකපාරටම ආවේ.

• පිළිතුර – මේ විශ්‍වාසභංග යෝජනාව දාන්න තීරණය කළේ‍ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා. බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ ඇතුළු අනෙක් පක්ෂ නායකයෝ ඔක්කොම ඉන්න පක්ෂ නායක රැස්වීමේ දී. ඔය තීරණය ගත්තු පළමු රැස්වීමට මම ගිහිල්ලා හිටියෙත් නෑ. මම වෙන කටයුත්තක හිටියේ.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – මෙතැනින් එහාට මොකක් වෙයිද?

• පිළිතුර – මේ ති​ෙයන්නේ පූර්ව ප්‍රසව අවදියක්. 2019 ජනාධිපතිවරණයේදී ප්‍රසූත කිරීමට නියමිත පාලන තන්ත්‍රයක් තියෙනවා. ඊට පෙර එන විළිරුදාව තමයි මේ රට දැන් අත්විඳිමින් ඉන්නේ. අද රට යන තැන. හැම පැත්තෙන්ම පහළට වැටීමක් මිසක් ඉහළට යාමක් නෑ. ජීවන බර හැර වෙනත් කිසිවක් ඉහළ යන්නේ නෑ. රටේ පාලනයක් නෑ. අම්මා – අප්පා නැති දරුවකු බවට රට පත් වෙලා.

• ප්‍රශ්නය – ඒකාබද්ධය මොකද්ද මේ පසුබිම තුළ කරන්න තීරණය කරලා තියෙන්නේ?

• පිළිතුර – මේ තත්ත්වයෙන් ගොඩ එන්න වඩාත් වැදගත් වෙනවා කිසිදු බෙදුම්වාදී හා වෙනත් න්‍යාය පත්‍රයකට යමක් නොවුණු පාලන තන්ත්‍රයක් බිහි කර ගැනීම. ඉතා හොඳ අන්තර් කාලීන පාලනයක් ඊළඟ ජනාධිපතිවරණයට හෝ මහ මැතිවරණයට කලින් බිහි කර ගත යුතුයි. රටේ දැවෙන ප්‍රශ්‍්න වලට වෙනත් උත්තරයක් නෑ.

සාකච්ඡා කළේ,
ප්‍රසන්න සංජීව තෙන්නකෝන්

Era of warped logic

April 20th, 2018

By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana Courtesy The Island

Warped logic seems to be the order of the day; be it local, to justify errant politicians; or international, to teach lessons to ‘non-compliant’ states, where the dictum seems to be ‘Punish first and then investigate’. Lynn Ockersz, in his well-reasoned ‘World Scan’ calls it ‘World Disorder’ (The Island, 19 April) and analyses the international scene but there is hardly any doubt that events in Sri Lanka, too, were manoeuvred internationally. Going through the interesting correspondence following the unsuccessful no-confidence motion on our dearly-loved Prime Minister, it is pretty obvious that those who still support him and Yahapalanaya, strive hard to establish a new logic: in spite of the undeniable attempted cover-up of the bond-scam, as I pointed out in my piece ‘Ranil’s Watergate?’ (The Island, 2 April), he is better than the one who may replace him. Why? Because that person is alleged, not proved, to be more corrupt. Is this simply a compromise? No, to my mind it is warped logic.

Bond Scams

Having had the opportunity to discuss with some ‘legal-eagles’, I can add a few more points to highlight that the Prime Minister’s responsibility goes far beyond a ‘cover-up’. When the bond-scams took place, the Central Bank was under his purview and, therefore, he should take responsibility; which is the democratic norm. His supporters will claim that the Presidential Commission did not find him guilty which raises an issue of greater concern. Till his appearance, the manner in which the assigned State Counsel conducted proceedings was exemplary. When the PM appeared, the Attorney General springs up on the excuse that it is only the AG that can question the PM and proceeds to question him, not cross-examine, based on a list of questions provided in advance! When I put this question, my ‘legal-eagle’ laughed aloud and asked me ‘Has a PM being questioned ever, before a commission or courts either as a suspect or a witness?’ Looks as if the AG’s was a lame excuse, nay, more of warped logic! Whither Justicia!

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Syria

No-confidence motion

The TNA, which leads the opposition officially, can proudly claim that it saved the PM from his own party and government. As far as I can gather, the TNA had decided to abstain but changed its mind, at the last moment, to please our international benefactors who are of the firm view that Ranil is our best leader. After all, weaklings like our country should have leaders that please them, not ones who look after its’ citizenry. Well, these are the little details of ‘World Disorder’! When TNA changed mind, President Sirisena changed his mind too but his followers understood his directions in different ways! Those in the UNP, burning with the desire of ousting Ranil withdrew to their shells, waiting for another day!

The reason given for celebrating Ranil’s victory is that had he lost, Mahinda will stage a comeback. If that is what the voters want, is that not democracy? Or, is democracy having elections till you get the result the ‘international community’ wants, like what happened in Egypt? Mahinda paid for his political misdeeds by his humiliating defeat. The alleged corruption against him remains unproved. If the Yahapalanaya could not prove it for three years, who is at fault?

Salisbury poisoning incident and Russia

As indicated in my article ‘Russia may have done it but…’ (The Island, 27 March), Russia was punished for an incident where an ex-double agent and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent on 4th March. Facts were beyond doubt, the acting HC for UK in Sri Lanka took the unusual step of writing a piece to warn us that it could happen anywhere (The Island, 24 March). The turn of events since, has been very perplexing. British Foreign Secretary claimed during an interview on German television that the head of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down has assured him that the identified the nerve agent, Novichok, definitely came from Russia. But, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of DSTL denied this and said that the source was not identified.

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in the UK on 19 March to confirm the results but their report is contested by the Russians, who claim that Skripals were poisoned by BZ substance, which Russia has never produced but USA and UK have done. OPCW claims that it was a contaminant and the substance that was found on Skripal’s door-handle was pure Novichok. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has countered, that it would be impossible to identify pure Novichok on a door-handle as it degrades fast. They should know! None of these was reported by BBC though international media like Reuters did, which raises the issue of not giving two sides of a story.

One morning, it was announced that Skripals were desperately ill and, even if they did recover, they will have permanent neurological damage but the same evening the daughter woke up, to be discharged two days later! Interestingly, this story went into oblivion, when Trump decided to bomb Damascus though some commentators contend that this contributed to the Damascus bombing, at least Theresa May’s decision to support.

Douma chemical gas incident

President Obama, in his wisdom, introduced his ‘red-line’ for the Syrian war, when in August 2012, he gave the understanding that he would intervene if there occurred chemical attacks. A few months later, it did happen and, as expected, Assad regime was blamed. However, Obama opted not to intervene, the excuse being that he would not be able to get congressional support. May be there is an alternate explanation, that it was a staged attack by the armed opposition to get USA involved.

Earlier this month, as Douma was being taken over by the government forces, another chemical attack occurred. What purpose this serves the Assad government, is anybody’s guess. Even before OPCW could visit Douma to establish facts, Trump decided to bomb some sites in Baghdad, with the support of President Macron of France and Prime Minister Theresa May of UK. Warning Russians when and where the attack would occur; an attack that did not result in any casualties, seems more like a gesture, which Trump excels in.

The most interesting article on this was by Robert Fisk, an award-winning journalist who specialises in Middle Eastern affairs and is based in Beirut. His article, in the British newspaper ‘Independent’, titled “The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack” (https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html) is fascinating reading. He starts the piece by stating:

“This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.” But, then he adds:

“War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm. ”

He continues by saying that this doctor may be an Assad supporter but, interestingly, he could not find any witnesses for a gas attack nor anyone who was concerned about it, unlike the international community. He poses the question: “How could it be that Douma refugees who had reached camps in Turkey were already describing a gas attack which no-one in Douma today seemed to recall?”

What I found most interesting was his reference to White Helmets, medical first responders whose efforts are always witnessed by TV crews, so much so that they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize:

“The White Helmets – the medical first responders already legendary in the West but with some interesting corners to their own story – played a familiar role during the battles. They are partly funded by the Foreign Office and most of the local offices were staffed by Douma men. I found their wrecked offices not far from Dr Rahaibani’s clinic. A gas mask had been left outside a food container with one eye-piece pierced and a pile of dirty military camouflage uniforms lay inside one room. Planted, I asked myself? I doubt it. The place was heaped with capsules, broken medical equipment and files, bedding and mattresses.” “Of course, we must hear their side of the story, but it will not happen here: a woman told us that every member of the White Helmets in Douma abandoned their main headquarters and chose to take the government-organised and Russian-protected buses to the rebel province of Idlib with the armed groups when the final truce was agreed.”

Sounds familiar?

In an era of social media where everyone is trying to be a journalist, often peddling falsehoods than the truth, it is reassuring that there still are journalists of the calibre of Fisk, going in search of truth, risking life and limb. Will ‘warped logic’ win, still?

RT visits hospital seen in Douma ‘chemical attack’ video, talks to boy from footage (VIDEO)

April 20th, 2018

Courtesy RT

RT Arabic has traveled to the Douma hospital shown in footage of the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The crew talked to a boy featured in the video, who recounted the events.

Hassan Diab, 11, appears to be the trembling boy seen in the video of the aftermath of the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. The footage was circulated by mainstream media after being posted by the so-called Douma Revolution group on Facebook.

RT visits hospital seen in Douma ‘chemical attack’ video, talks to boy from footage (VIDEO)

The organization was one of those, along with the controversial White Helmets, which claimed that the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical attack in the city on April 7. An RT Arabic crew visited the hospital seen in the alleged chemical attack video. In a bid to shed light on the story, the crew also caught up with the youngster, who was portrayed as a ‘victim’ in the footage.

He says he was with his mother when they were urged to rush to the hospital. We were outside, and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me,” the boy recalled.

The doctors started filming us here [in the hospital], they were pouring water and taking videos,” he added. Hassan’s father later hurried to the hospital. I was very surprised, and asked what had happened, why my son’s eyes were red. I found out that it was water, but it was cold, he could have got sick, he was undressed,” the man recalled.

Russian broadcaster VGTRK was the first to find the boy and his father and break the story. Now, Moscow is planning to show the video about Hassan at the next meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

Despite the doubts, unconfirmed social media posts and claims by the White Helmets were enough for the American-British-French coalition to strike Syria on April 14 over the alleged attack. The US-led force was so sure of its ‘sources’ that it went on with the strikes even though the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had not even started working on the ground to establish the truth.

 

https://www.rt.com/news/424694-douma-boy-video-attack/

Sri Lanka makes it obligatory for tuk tuk’s to be metered

April 20th, 2018

Courtesy newsin.asia

Colombo, April 20 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Transport Ministry, on Friday said it had been made obligatory for all three wheel services in the island country to fix a meter and issue a receipt at the end of the trip.

The new rule had been announced on April 1, but a two week grace period had been issued following a request made by the Taxi Driver’s Association.
A Transport Ministry official told newsin.asia that passengers could now request for a receipt at the end of their trip and those who faced any problems could lodge a complaint at the nearest police station.
Sri Lanka’s three wheels, more popularly known as tuk tuk’s, is a popular mode of public transport among the locals and tourists.
The Ministry official said the police had been vested with powers to arrest any three wheel driver who will not adhere to the new rule and fail to fix a meter.
This new law has been made compulsory to regularize the public transport system as we have found that many three wheelers are yet not metered which leads to passengers complaining that they often get cheated,” the official said.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga welcomed the move saying this would ensure a hassle free travel for the tourists.
Currently, there are around 750,000 operating three-wheelers as taxis in Sri Lanka.

THE “DARUSMAN REPORT” Part 5

April 19th, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

 This essay in the Darusman report series  features the   Report by Major General  John Holmes prepared at the request of the Paranagama Commsiion. It is taken from the Parangama Commjission Report.

ANNEX 1 – MILITARY EXPERT OPINION BY MAJOR GENERAL JOHN HOLMES DSO OBE MC

EXPERT MILITARY REPORT

By

Major General John Holmes DSO OBE MC

Major General (Retired) John Holmes DSO OBE MC

General Holmes’ military career began at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1968. He was commissioned into the Scots Guards, before joining 22 Special Air Service Regiment in 1974. His career thereafter was essentially with UK Special Forces until retirement in 2002.

He first saw action in Northern Ireland during 1971 during a tour with the Scots Guards. In this deployment he won a Military Cross for confronting a crowd of some 350 rioters with just 3 soldiers behind him. During his first tour as a Troop Commander of 22 SAS he completed two operational tours in Dhofar (Oman’s Southern Province), fighting a Communist insurgency. In 1978 he also commanded the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Military Response Team (CTMRT) and helped evolve the tactics and equipment that have subsequently been used world-wide in hostage rescue operations. After an operational jungle deployment, a close protection task in two Central American countries and a further two tours in Northern Ireland, he attended Staff College in 1982.

After Staff College he was given command of a SAS Squadron and for 6 months of his two year posting again commanded the CTMRT. In late 1989 he took over command of 22 SAS Regiment, which was deployed in 1991 in Western Iraq during Gulf War One. He was awarded an OBE for this deployment. Additionally, as commanding officer, he was charged with oversight and command of CTMRT and deployed on numerous domestic and overseas exercises. He returned as Director UK Special Forces in 1999 and deployed to command Operation Barras in Sierre Leone in 2000. This was a highly complex and challenging hostage rescue operation in the Sierre Leone jungle. Its ultimate success acted as part catalyst to the successful conclusion of the Sierre Leone conflict. He was awarded his DSO for this operation.

His various staff appointments included a posting in Washington DC as the Special Operations Liaison Officer and three years at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium, where he was SACEUR’s NATO Command Group Secretary. During this latter appointment he was involved in planning for operations in Kosovo.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………… 1

Summary………………………………………………………………………………………. 1

Accusations…………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Aim……………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

GoSL POLICY…………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

Background…………………………………………………………………………………… 3

Policy…………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

Training………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

LTTE POLICY…………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

Background…………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Policy…………………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Training………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

THE FINAL PHASE- THE EASTERN WANNI………………………………………………. 8

9 January 2009………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Dilemma………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Challenges Posed……………………………………………………………………………. 9

Ground and Weather…………………………………………………………………….. 11

SLA Military Capability………………………………………………………………….. 12

LTTE Military Capability…………………………………………………………………. 30

NFZs…………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

SLA ROE………………………………………………………………………………………. 18

Proportionality…………………………………………………………………………….. 21

CRATER ANALYSIS…………………………………………………………………………… 22

IMAGERY ANALYSIS…………………………………………………………………………. 24

Report No. 1………………………………………………………………………………… 24

Report No.2………………………………………………………………………………… 48

Imagery Summary………………………………………………………………………… 26

CONCLUSIONS………………………………………………………………………………… 27

INTRODUCTION

Summary

  1. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) were founded in 1976 and carried out their first major attack on 24 July 1983. From the outset, the LTTE’s military commander was Velupillai Prabhakaran. By 2002 the LTTE controlled large tracts of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka and were supported by a rich and influential diaspora. They had also fashioned a well trained and equipped military force comprising land, sea and air components. The movement was ruthless in its control of Tamil areas including the violent suppression of Tamil opposition groups and forced recruitment of child soldiers, both boys and girls. Velupillai Prabhakaran demanded absolute loyalty and sacrifice and cultivated a cult- like following”. 910 An undated LTTE oath of loyalty even mentioned Velupillai Prabhakaran by name:

I hereby affirm sincerely to toil to redeem our motherland, Tamil Ealam, from the oppressors of atrocities and to establish the lost sovereignty and uphold the dignity of our race, under the leadership of our national leader Hon V Prabhakaran and dedicate myself to the liberation of the nation and fight against all suppression”.

911

  1. For the first 23 years of the conflict the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) remained open to a political solution with the LTTE and tried to engage them in peace talks. GoSL even accepted an Indian Peace Keeping Force for two years in 1987. In 2002 a peace process was facilitated by Norway and a ceasefire agreement signed and a Monitoring Mission established (SLMM). Between Feb 2002 and May 2007, the SLMM ruled that the LTTE violated the ceasefire 3,830 times as opposed to 351 violations by GoSL912. Hostilities resumed in July 2006 with a successful GoSL campaign securing the Eastern Province by July 2007. In March of that year GoSL had also launched an offensive in the north where the LTTE controlled some 6,792 sq kms of territory (‘The Wanni’). By Nov 2008 the Western Wanni was secured and operations were underway to take the LTTE administrative capital of Kilinochchi, which was secured on 2 Jan Until January 2009 there were no significant complaints against the conduct of the Sri Lankan Armed   Forces

. In fact quite the reverse is true: a cable from the US Embassy in Colombo to the US State Department states:

The Government has gained considerable credit until this point for conducting a disciplined military campaign over the past two years that minimized civilian casualties”913.

910 Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka [hereinafter ‘Darusman Report’] (31 March 2011) < http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf >. para 31.  911  Translated copy of an LTTE oath, undated, as found in document recovered by   SLA.

912 Ministry of Defence (MOD), Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, July 2006- May 2009 (July 2011), para  125.

913 US Ambassador Robert Blake, ‘Sri Lanka: Declared Safe Zone Inoperative; ICRC Contemplates Full Withdrawal’, Embassy Colombo, WikiLeaks, 27 January 2009, released 30 August 2011, para. 7. < http://www.cabledrum.net/cables/09COLOMBO95  >.

Accusations

  1. There are numerous critical reports that have alleged that the Sri Lankan Army (hereinafter, SLA) disregarded the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law during the final five months of the campaign in the Wanni. I have read a number of these reports including the following:
    • The Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka dated  31

March 2011 (The Darusman Report)914.

  • The report of the Secretary-General’s Internal Review Panel on UN Action in Sri

Lanka dated November 2012 (The Petrie  Report).915

  • The University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) Special Report No 32 dated 10.06.09.916 – in essence, a Tamil report, critical of both GoSL and the
  • US Embassy Cables-‘Wikileaks’
  • Human Rights Watch-War on the Displaced February, 917
  1. The above reports contain a number of allegations, a major one of which is that the scale of the loss of civilian life in the final five months of the war was contrary to the principles of distinction, military necessity and proportionality as defined by the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law. They refer in particular to the continuous shelling of civilians in no fire zones (NFZs) and directed artillery fire at hospitals, both temporary and

Aim

  1. The aim of this document is to report on the actions of the SLA against the LTTE during the final five months of the war to help determine whether the SLA’s operations, particularly regarding the use of artillery, constituted a deliberate disregard of the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law. In addition, this report addresses whether the military operations of SLA were proportionate in accordance with the laws of armed

914Darusman Report, (31 March  2011)

915 Report of the Secretary-General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka, (November 2012) <  http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/The_Internal_Review_Panel_report_on_Sri_Lanka.pdf  >. 916 University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), ‘A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding, Special Report No. 32’   (10 June 2009), < http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm  >.

917  Human Rights Watch, War on the Displaced, 19 February  2009

<http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/srilanka0209webwcover_0.pdf   >.

GoSL POLICY

Background

  1. Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected President of Sri Lanka in November 2005: his manifesto included a pledge to review the 2002 cease-fire agreement with the LTTE. He was also committed to an increase in resources for the SLA and was well aware that the LTTE had used the ceasefire to rearm. By July 2006 hostilities had resumed. The failure of successive peace initiatives over the years cannot have encouraged continued political dialogue and the US ‘War On Terror’ together with the proscription of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation by the US in 1997, the UK in 2001 and the EU in 2006, would also have added weight to consideration of a possible military solution.918 It was also felt that the intervention of India in June 1997 halted an ongoing and successful SLA operation that would probably have destroyed the LTTE a set of events that was not forgotten in 2009. 919 Additionally GoSL were aware that the LTTE were using the protracted ceasefire to rearm. 920

Policy

  1. The then President appointed himself to be Minister of Defence and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as Secretary of Defence and Lieutenant General Fonseka as Army Commander. The President also obtained parliamentary approval for major increases in the defence budget which grew to $1.6b in 2009. 921 This allowed General Fonseka to revitalise the SLA by increasing both its remuneration and its manpower to 300,000 troops over 3 years922, which created 5 new divisions923 and facilitated an operational rotation of units   at the front, whilst securing rear areas. The Sri Lankan Air Force ( hereinafter, SLAF) was also re-equipped and, importantly, as the ‘Sea Tigers’ controlled a sizeable length of the Eastern coastline, the Sri Lankan Navy ( hereinafter, SLN) developed a blue water capability.

Training

  1. Historically, the SLA had been a relatively inflexible and ponderous organisation with little manoeuvre capability. This effectively gave the LTTE, who were capable of rapid deployment, the initiative and also allowed them to build effective terrorism and conventional military capabilities in parallel. 924 One of the most striking military  reforms

918 Manjula Fernando, ‘EU classification of LTTE as a terrorist group stands’, Sunday Observer (16 November 2012)  <  http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/11/16/fea06.asp >.

919  K.M. de Silva, Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE (Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2012), p.    2.

920  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  88.

921 Anjali Sharma, ‘Post-War Sri Lanka: A Resurgent Nation’, Observer Research Foundation (12 July 2010) < http://orfonline.org/cms/sites/orfonline/modules/analysis/AnalysisDetail.html?cmaid=19481&mmacmaid=19470  >. 922 Ahmed S. Hashim, When Counterinsurgency Wins: Sri Lanka’s Defeat of the Tamil Tigers (New Delhi:  Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd., 2014),   p.188

923 Ibid

924 Ibid. at pp. 31-32

was a new emphasis on small unit operations – hitherto the SLA had always operated, as   if in a conventional operational setting, at company and platoon level. This made them vulnerable to LTTE ambushes, artillery and mines. This new emphasis on small unit operations kept casualties lower and proved more effective in terms of both reconnaissance and subsequent strike action. It also better prepared the SLA for operations in a variety of environments from primary jungle to thick bush, paddy fields and plantations. The new tactics encompassed the creation and expansion of specialised units such as Special Forces and the Rapid Action Battle Squad and the Special Boat Squadron in the Navy. 925 Infantry Battalions also gave selected individuals specialist training and formed them into 4 or 8 man teams, called Special Infantry Operational Teams.

  1. The former Commander of the SLA, General Cyril Ranatunga, who oversaw the successful 1997 operations against the LTTE, established the Directorate of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in January 1997 926. His memoires, written in 2009, were critical of government policy and are worth quoting as he not only perceived the lack of a policy, but also clearly understood the many lines of operation that a successful strategy would require:

There appeared to be a total lack of continuity in the conduct of operations against the armed Tamil terrorists. This is the result of having no policy on how to eradicate terrorism. This type of ethnic- based armed conflict, once ignited due to many reasons, is difficult to eradicate without a firm policy derived from strength and practice ability”. 927

  1. One of his requirements was for all ranks to understand and implement Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He understood the importance of seeking not to alienate the Tamil civilian population and sought to improve on ‘hearts and minds’ training. According to the SLA’s own statistics some 140,971 soldiers of all ranks were trained or refreshed on various courses between 1997 and 2008. Similar directorates for the Navy and Air Force were established in 2002.According to evidence given before the LLRC Commission in August 2010, human rights cells had been set up at every HQ down to field level:

The Security Council had decided to pursue a strategy aimed at avoiding civilian casualties in the conduct of military operations. Accordingly, all operational orders to the Army, Navy and Air Force had clearly directed that every possible step be taken to avoid civilian casualties”928.

925  Fish, Sri Lanka learns to counter Sea Tigers’ swarm  tactics

926  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  248.

927 General Cyril Ranatunga, Adventurous Journey: From Peace to war, Insurgency to Terrorism (Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2009), p.92

928 Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (Hereinafter ‘LLRC’) (November 2011) < http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201112/FINAL%20LLRC%20REPORT.pdf >. para 4.36

LTTE POLICY

Background

  1. The LTTE had an organised command structure that was divided into 7 geographical divisions or wings, each under the command of a district commander who was responsible to Velupillai Prabhakaran. Additionally, there were 10 specialist wings; intelligence, procurement, finance, military, political, communications, research, black tigers, sea tiger and air tiger, all of which reported to directly to Prabhakaran. 929 At the beginning of 2008 it was estimated that the military wing had approximately 20 to 30,000 fighters or cadres supported by an auxiliary force that had been given basic military The LTTE were able to access military equipment, finance and political support through the extensive Tamil diaspora, some of whom were supporters of the LTTE; throughout the 2002/06 ceasefire the LTTE were able to upgrade their weapon systems and to stockpile weapons, ammunition and equipment not only on shore but also in floating armouries in international waters. The Air Tigers had approximately 25 trained pilots and 6 Czech-built Zlin Z-143 single engine four seat aircraft that were modified to carry up to four bombs per mission.930 Their last attempted strike was on 20 February 2009 when 2 aircraft attempted a ‘9/11’ type attack on Colombo – they were destroyed before they reached their targets.
  2. The Sea Tigers were demonstrably more successful than their air compatriots. At their height they numbered some 6,000 fighters divided into numerous teams based in units along the North East coast. They adapted or manufactured many of their own craft, including semi-submersibles, and were developing mini submarines. Importantly, they co- operated closely with the Military Wing and were carefully integrated into most operations.931 But by the end of 2008 the SLA had captured 20 Sea Tiger bases and their contribution in the last months of the war was minimal. The ‘Black Tigers’ comprised elite fighters especially trained for suicide missions under the direct command of Velupillai Prabhakaran. Following the example of the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut by Islamic Jihad in 1984932, the LTTE were the first terrorist organisation to perfect and develop the use the suicide concept since World War They established this tactic as an integral part of their fighting strategy and transferred their expertise to other terrorist organisations.

Policy

  1. The LTTE used the period of the 2002-6 ceasefire to rearm and to prepare for what they referred to as the final war”933. They also endeavoured to consolidate their political and administrative organisation in the territories that they held and attempted to extend their

929 International Crimes Evidence Project Report (ICEP), ‘Island of Impunity? Investigation into international crimes in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war’ [Hereinafter ‘Island of Impunity’] (February 2014), paras.

16.113 onwards

930 Ibid, para. 16.128.

931 Ibid, para. 16.134.

932 ‘On This Day (1950-2005) 20 September 1984’, BBC website. < http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/20/newsid_2525000/2525197.stm 933  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  121.

influence in other parts of the country where, under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, they were allowed to set up political offices.  934

It operated and sought to project itself as a de facto state. To this end the LTTE developed a well-structured international strategy and, in the territory it controlled, established its own police, jails, courts, immigration department, banks and some social services”935.

  1. However, there were setbacks. In 2004, the second in command of the LTTE, Vinayagamoorvthi Muralitharan, (aka. Colonel Karuna), defected together with his 6,000 fighters. He not only provided significant intelligence that assisted later operations, but his defection also led to a substantial reduction in LTTE recruitment in the Eastern Province936. It was also clear that the events of 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror would have a knock-on effect on the international community’s perception of the LTTE. With the help of the Indian Navy, the Sri Lankan Navy began to reduce the LTTE’s maritime capability and seize its floating armouries – according to Jane’s Review, 11 LTTE floating armouries were destroyed in 2006 and a further 3 in 2007.937 These logistic issues manifested themselves in the last months of the war when the LTTE allegedly ran short of artillery ammunition. 938 It also put added significance on the LTTE’s ability to manufacture their own war
  2. Whilst the LTTE acknowledged and prepared for a further conflict, it was, perhaps, not initially apparent to them, despite the very obvious improvements to SLA capabilities, that this would be fought at a sustained tempo which their logistics structure would be incapable of supporting and for which their manpower reserves would be inadequate. The loss of the Eastern Province in July 2007 meant that defeat was possible; the loss of their administrative capital, Kilinochchi, on 2 January 2009 meant that, unless they could secure a ceasefire, military defeat, in detail, was inevitable: the only strategy available to the LTTE after Kilinochchi fell was to secure a ceasefire and to bend all their resources to achieving that goal. This was a strategy acknowledged by US Ambassador Blake in his cable to the State Department of 5 February 2009,

The LTTE had refused to allow civilians to leave because the LTTE needs the civilians as human shields as a pool for forced conscription, and as a means to try and persuade the international community to force a cease- fire upon the government, since that is the LTTE’s only  hope.”939

Training

934 Ibid para. 120.

935 Darusman Report, para 33.

936 Malik Jalal, ‘Think Like a Guerrilla, Counterinsurgency Lessons from Sri Lanka’, Harvard Kennedy School Review (2011), p. 6

937 Jane’s Intelligence Review

938  ICEP, Island of Impunity, para 16.126.

939  US Ambassador Robert Blake, ‘Co-chair Meeting with UN Special Envoy to Sri Lanka’,    Embassy Colombo,

WikiLeaks, 5 February 2009, para  4.

  1. The training given to front line LTTE fighters fell broadly into three categories. Basic training, which lasted approximately 4 months940 and took place in LTTE bases which were established in almost every village941: special operations training, which included special reconnaissance, sniping, mine laying, artillery942 : and last, but by no means least, refresher training943 for all of the above. The LTTE,

invested heavily in training and discipline, command and control, communications, ideological indoctrination and psychological warfare instruction. 944

The preamble to a LTTE training document seized in 2009 describes the movement’s aims

and concludes by stating,

In such a situation military training must be provided that gives efficiency and confidence in order to drive away the enemy with vigour to reclaim our territories and it is our political aim to build up a militarized people power with clear political vision. Accordingly we have established our hierarchy and militarized our activities”945.

  1. The inference of the above statement was that the LTTE would militarize the Tamil civilian population in the areas that they

Civilians were also enlisted by the LTTE into their war effort in other ways, using them, for example, to dig trenches and build fortifications, often exposing them to additional harm”946.

 They also pursued exclusionary policies in the areas they controlled. The worst example was the expulsion of some 75,000 Muslim residents from the Jaffna peninsula in October 1990.947 Overall, the civilian population were there to be used for whatever purpose the LTTE saw fit. Tamil opposition groups were ruthlessly stamped out and internal dissent was not tolerated – the LTTE saw itself as the sole representative of the Tamil people and its elusive leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, demanded absolute loyalty and sacrifice and cultivated a cult-like following”948

940‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)’, Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism    (6 Jun 2012), p. 11.

941  Paul Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers (South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2012), p.   94.

942  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para.  49.

943 Ibid, para. 51

944  ICEP, Island of Impunity, para 16.120.

945Translated Copy of LTTE training document handed to author by SLA,   undated.

946 Darusman Report, para 68.

947  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  35.

948 Darusman Report, para 31.

THE FINAL PHASE- THE EASTERN WANNI

9 January 2009

  1. The SLA had, by 9 January 2009, secured the western part of the Northern Province, opened up the A9 road through to Jaffna (for the first time in 23 years) and occupied Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of the On 2 January the President called upon the LTTE to lay down its arms and surrender.949 The SLA had effectively reached a tipping point whereby the LTTE were now trapped in an area of some 1,800 sq kms (see map at Annex B) and was surrounded on three sides. It would also have been obvious to the SLA command chain through aerial reconnaissance, UAV footage and Humint,950 that there were large numbers of civilians trapped in the same area. This would clearly present tactical challenges if the fighting was to continue and was probably a factor in offering terms. The LTTE did not surrender. Indeed the retention of a civilian population in their zone of influence was a vital element of their strategy as it,

Lent legitimacy to their claim for a separate homeland and provided a buffer against the SLA offensive.951

Over the next five months the number of civilians trapped in the remaining LTTE controlled area became a subject of intense debate between GoSL, the UN and associated NGOs. The Darusman Report states that around 330,000 civilians were trapped into an ever decreasing area, fleeing the shelling but kept hostage by the LTTE.952 In factual terms, 290,000 IDPs were processed at the end of the war and the University Teachers Report in its introduction states that Militarily stymied, it (LTTE) took physical hostage of 300,000 people in its final stages”. Whilst the true number will never be known, it can be reasonably assumed that a minimum of 290,000 civilians were concentrated into the shrinking LTTE perimeter during the final months. But it should not be forgotten that for many of the civilians this was their home and that they feared what would happen to them if they crossed over – some also had experienced the SLA occupation of Jaffna and had moved with the LTTE since 1995.953 Many also had relatives serving with the LTTE either voluntarily or as a result of forced recruitment.

Dilemma

  1. Given that the LTTE had no intention of surrendering, GoSL had an unpalatable dilemma. It could either accept a ceasefire, which the international community and UN were starting to promote, or continue with the offensive whilst trying to mitigate the threat to civilians. GoSL had no intention of accepting a ceasefire, as experience had shown that the LTTE merely used ceasefires to regroup  and rearm. This  occurred in  1997 during     the  Indian

949  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  173

950 Human intelligence sources 951 Darusman Report, para. 70 952 Darusman Report, p. ii.

953 Darusman Report, para. 71.

brokered ceasefire and again during the 2002/06 ceasefire. There would also have been concern that the LTTE leaders would escape and be able to start a guerrilla campaign. A UN concern voiced by Sir John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs 2007 -2010, was that the LTTE might use the trapped civilians to stage a mass suicide,

My worst fears of a concluding dreadful act of a Masada-style mass suicide were not realised”.954

In my military opinion, factoring in this experienced diplomat’s view, which appears to corroborate some of the GoSL’s own views on the ruthlessness of the LTTE, this presented as a wholly unique and unusual hostage taking situation. Indeed, ISIL, in Syria, has adopted some of these strategies, forcing the allied coalition in Iraq to make hard choices in the overall protection of the civilian population and the stability of the region. However, I must stress that final phase of the Sri Lankan situation, in 2009, appeared, at the time, to be a unique event, pitting the GoSL against a well trained and suicidal fighting force who were prepared to kill their own civilians. In fact, I do not believe that the strategic difficulties of resolving the last phase of the war have been fully appreciated by military strategists until relatively recently.

SLA tactics would have to take into account their likely casualties when they pressed their case against a fanatical enemy determined to fight to the last. If the strategic aim was to destroy the LTTE and its leadership once and for all, thus saving lives in the long term, then the dilemma was how to accomplish this whilst saving as many of the civilians trapped in the Wanni as practically possible. Tactical options open to the SLA are discussed in more detail at paragraph 20 below.

Challenges Posed

  1. From the start of the Eastern offensive in August 2006, GoSL had referred to their operations as being ‘Humanitarian’, which perhaps reflected the emphasis placed by SLA on civilian protection, rather than any form of punitive aspect directed against civilians: but nothing can have prepared them for the challenge they now faced. In an area approximately the size of Greater London within the M25, with no dominating ground and during the inclement weather of the north east monsoon, they had to kill or capture up to 5,000 thousand well-armed, fanatical LTTE fighters (many of whom had been issued with cyanide pills) in prepared positions, operating amongst and around over 290,000 civilians, who were themselves short of food and medical supplies. Additionally, large numbers of LTTE fought in civilian clothes in order to confuse the drones and exploit the civilians as a human buffer”.955 Indeed, the Darusman Report makes it clear that in the last phase stage of the conflict LTTE cadre were not always in uniform…”.956   The author can think of no

954 Sir John Holmes, The Politics of Humanity: The Reality of Relief Aid (London: Head of Zeus, 2013), p.112; Sir John Holmes was UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs 2007   -2010

955  Frances Harrison, Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden    War’ (London: Portobello Books,

2012), p. 245.

military precedent that the SLA could have turned to for guidance. This would have been  a challenge for the most professional and best informed and equipped armies in the  world.

  1. All the available evidence shows that the LTTE were using civilians as human buffers/shields to obtain a military advantage. 957The SLA would have been justified in using appropriate firepower to attain their military objectives. To do otherwise would be tactically
  2. In military terms the tactical options were stark. Field Commanders would have been well aware of past SLA casualty numbers and it is generally acknowledged that soldiers become less prepared to put their lives on the line towards the end of a campaign that is obviously moving towards a successful conclusion. As it was, and according to official GoSL figures, a total of 2,126 members of the Sri Lankan Security Forces were killed and 10,679 wounded from 1 January to 19 May 2009. Conversely, higher command would have been eager to get the job completed whilst the SLA had both the initiative and the momentum to achieve the strategic goal The one inescapable military certainty was that the LTTE could only be defeated `in detail’ through a protracted infantry and Special Forces operation. More sophisticated armed forces could have considered an amphibious option behind LTTE lines, which might have achieved surprise and shortened the conflict. In my military opinion, the SLA did not have a sufficient amphibious capability. Similarly, the Sri Lankan Air Force did not possess the rotary assets to complete an airmobile assault. More imaginative use of armour might also have been considered, but the terrain, weather (see below) and soft soil limited its deployment as did the availability to the LTTE of anti- tank missiles and mines. A well targeted Special Forces operation with the aim of killing Prabhakaran and his immediate commanders could have been countenanced with precise intelligence and precision guided weapons (PGMs). But SLAF did not have the exact location of Prabhakaran and, as the perimeter shrunk, the collateral danger to civilians increased. The latter also negated the use of overwhelming and sustained firepower. The only realistic option was a step by step ‘boots on the ground’ advance. Photographs taken by the author in December 2014 at Annex C show the few remaining houses in the combat area that still show battle damage – although of little evidential significance, the battle damage has all been caused by small arms fire. The tactical balance to be struck was to ensure the assaulting troops were given the necessary fire support whilst minimising SLA casualties and collateral  damage and civilian
  3. The mitigation measures adopted to protect civilians included the attempted designation by GoSL of NFZs,958 humanitarian corridors, leaflet drops (examples are shown at Annex D), the use of loud speakers to encourage civilians to cross the lines, UN organised humanitarian aid convoys, the facilitation of ICRC brokered evacuations from the beach, and the preparation of camps and medical facilities to receive significant numbers of IDPs. On 6 April 2009, as detailed in paragraph 174 of the Darusman Report, the Commander of the SLA, Lieutenant General    Fonseka, was quoted in Sri Lanka’s Observer newspaper as

957 Darusman Report. Para98. p28

958  The LTTE did not agree the terms of any NFZ in the final  phase.

saying that the SLA was involved in the world’s largest hostage rescue” operation.959 On 12 April, coinciding with the Sinhala and Tamil New Year the Sri Lankan President announced a 48 hour period of military restraint to allow civilians to escape and for the LTTE to surrender (see Annex E). On 27 April 2009 a joint Indian-Sri Lankan statement was released which stated,…the Sri Lankan security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties.960 In fact, and according to a Government source the use of artillery and 122mm mortars had been stopped with the declaration of the first NFZ on 19 January 2009. However, and according to the same source, the use of 81 and 82mm mortars was possible with Brigade or Divisional agreement. There is therefore a degree of ambiguity in the Presidential statement for the definition of a heavy calibre gun – see para 24.  961

  1. The most effective measure to reduce civilian casualties would be the degree of detailed planning and rehearsal that would govern the assault during the last few months. Equally important would be the tempo of operations, as surprise was going to be difficult to achieve and too much haste, given the LTTE tactics, would inevitably result in more civilian casualties. Step by step Special Forces led, infantry operations gradually became the norm and this was reflected in Lieutenant General Fonseka’s comment (Paragraph 22 above) on 6 April 2009. For the final assault across the Nandhikkadal Lagoon into what were NFZs 4 and 5, a model was created which accurately reflected LTTE positions as pin pointed by UAV
  2. It is perhaps useful at this stage to understand some military terminology. A direct fire weapon is in simple terms one that is aimed and fired at a visible target. An indirect fire weapon is one where the firer cannot actually see the target and is normally working off co-ordinates provided by an observer closer to the front – mortars and artillery are indirect fire weapons. Obviously the danger of collateral damage is greater with an indirect fire weapon. It should be born in mind that during combat it is unusual to be able to destroy an indirect fire weapon with direct fire except by the use of air delivered laser guided bombs or rockets. However, to have such a capability immediately available would have required a `cab rank’ of airborne, armed aircraft available for immediate tasking by ground troops: the Sri Lankan Air Force did not have that capability. The dilemma for the SLA was how to respond when their ground forces were subjected to LTTE indirect fire: did they respond in kind and would any response have been proportionate. This is discussed further at paragraph 28. Artillery is generally acknowledged to fall into three categories:
    • Light artillery are guns up to and including 105mm
    • Medium artillery are guns of more than 105mm and less than
    • Heavy artillery are guns of 155mm and larger (not possessed by SLA).

Ground and Weather

959 Darusman Report, para. 174

960  Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers, p.  144

961 Heavy Artillery are guns of 155m and the SLA neither used, nor were in possession of heavy artillery during the conflict.

  1. The terrain in the Eastern Wanni varies from primary jungle in the south to paddy fields and Palmyra plantations around Kilinochchi and dry scrub towards the coast. The whole area was waterlogged in January 2009, as indeed it was when the author visited in December 2014. There are two significant natural water obstacles parallel with the coast; the Jaffna Lagoon to the north and the Nandhikkadal Lagoon to the south. The latter would play a significant role in preventing civilians from escaping west to safety. The appalling conditions were worsened when the LTTE destroyed the walls of the Kalmadukulam tank, which flooded some fifteen square kilometres. They attempted to do the same to the Iranamadu tank, the largest reservoir in the north (approximately 6 to 8 times the size of the Kalmadukulam tank), but the LTTE fighters sent to complete the mission disobeyed orders and surrendered to the SLA instead.962 It is of note that if they had completed their mission successfully, the effects were potentially catastrophic for both trapped civilians and the advancing SLA. The area was bounded by two un-metalled roads, the A9 running north to Jaffna and the A34 running from Mullaittivu on the coast west to its junction with the A9. The soil type varies from ‘paddy’ earth around Kilinochchi to lighter sandy soil and then sand along the beach and
  2. The north east monsoon lasts from December to March and on poor days brings a low cloud base and torrential rain, which would have had a significant effect on airborne surveillance, whether from satellites, fixed wing aircraft or UAVs. The US State Department Report to Congress on Incidents During the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka, 2009, states, when referring to satellite imagery, on page 10 states that, sandy soil conditions in the NFZ and the emerging monsoon season resulting in increased cloud cover further complicated efforts to monitor the conflict with commercial and USG sources.”963 I have adopted this observation to conclude that the prevailing weather conditions made contemporaneous and accurate satellite imagery

SLA Military Capability

  1. The strategic and political direction of the war against the LTTE was provided by the National Security Council (NSC), which was charged with the maintenance of national security, with authority to direct security operations and matters incidental to it.964 The NSC’s directives would then be passed through the Joint Operations Headquarters, run by the Chief of Defence Staff, to the individual service commanders. In the case of the SLA, command then passed from the Army Commander to regional headquarters known as Security Forces Headquarters (SFHQ), and from there to Divisional and Task Force Headquarters for implementation.965 For operations in the Eastern Wanni, one SFHQ was involved, SFHQ-Wanni based at Vavuniya.966 Operations in the Wanni were conducted   by five divisions, although one of these (58 Division) was also designated a Task Force, and 4 Task A Division was sub-divided into three Brigades of three infantry

962  Paul Moorcroft, Ibid, p. 134.

963 U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on Incidents During the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka (2009), < http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/131025.pdf >.   p. 10

964  ICEP, Island of Impunity,  para 16.7.

965 Ibid, para 16.27.

966 Ibid, para 16.34

Battalions each. A Brigade consisted of between 2,500 and 3,000 personnel. A Task Force consisted of only two Brigades of three Battalions each. There were also specialist Brigades such as Special Forces, Commando, Air Mobile and an Artillery Brigade.967 Overall, it is reasonable to assume that there were approximately 80,000 troops available for operations in the Wanni (East and West). Whilst this might, on the face of it, sound excessive, it merely reflects the reality of conducting operations in challenging circumstances with high casualty rates, inclement weather and a fanatical enemy. There was also the need to rotate units through the front line, whilst also securing rear areas. The available SLA deployment area declined in parallel with the shrinking perimeter.

  1. In terms of artillery support open sources indicate that the SLA had access to (45):
    • Mortars – 81mm, 82mm,107mm,
    • Artillery – 85mm, 122mm, 130mm,
    • MBRLs – 122mm

The artillery, MBRLs and the 107mm and 122mm mortars would probably have been part of the Artillery Brigade and detached to support Divisions and Task Forces. The 81mm and 82mm mortars are more likely to have been integral to infantry Battalions. It is of note that the SLA did not possess heavy artillery (guns of 155mm calibre and  above).

  1. According to the SLA the only fuzes available for both artillery and mortars were ‘impact fuzes’ – they exploded on hitting the ground. Although there have been some references to MBRL air burst fuzes being used by the SLA, 968 these cannot be substantiated. Indeed, given the protection afforded by the tree canopy in many areas, a purchase of air burst munitions would not have made a lot of sense. Artillery and mortar fire support is most effective if it is properly controlled and directed. To this end the SLA would have deployed Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) and relied on their UAV coverage for target identification. They also had 4 Chinese locating radars, which, by numerous accounts were highly effective.969. Locating counter battery radars have been developed principally for counter-battery fire – they enable a commander to locate enemy guns that have been shelling his own troops and provide the coordinates to allow his own artillery to shell the enemy guns. However, this tactic is only effective if the enemy guns stay in position long enough to become targets themselves. If so called ‘shoot and scoot’ tactics were used by the LTTE then the effectiveness of the counter battery radar would be somewhat curtailed. An eye witness account of such tactics being used by the LTTE is recounted by a retired UN Bangladeshi Colonel on page 109 (Chapter 5, The Convoy) of Gordon Weiss’s book, The Cage”.970

967 Ibid, para 16.46

968  Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers, p.  135

969 Ibid, p. 130.

970 Gordon Weiss, The Cage, p,109. Weiss describes the account of the UN convoy member who was apparently a former artillery officer. There were artillery exchanges between the army and the Tigers,who had stationed mobile artillery batteries in and around PTK.Harun could see the barrel flashes from Tiger heavy artillery piece just 300 metres from the hospital, quite apart from hearing its thumping reports.As the Tiger artillery sent outgoing rounds against the army’s advance and then shifted position,he could count off the seconds until an incoming barrage responded in an effort to destroy the  guns.”

  1. In the ‘US Department of State – Report to Congress on Incidents During the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka, 2009’, I noted that there appeared to be an acceptance of the LTTE deliberately placing their artillery guns close to civilians in order to cause casualties upon the Tamil civilian population .971
  2. There are reports of SLA using Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers (hereinafter MBRLs) during the final months of the war. It has not been possible to substantiate these claims. It is of note, however, that the killing power of a MBRL is significant and that at their most effective, the SLA variant could fire 40 rockets in 18 to 22 seconds. These are described as ‘area weapons’ which unleash, fierce firepower. This would kill or seriously injure any unprotected person in an area approximately 600 x Given the political circumstances prevailing at the time, if such destructive force had been deployed, this would have caused a major outcry to halt the fighting. There is no evidence from what I have examined of the destruction that would have been caused, particularly with regard to buildings such as hospitals, if such firepower had been unleashed . Moreover, unnecessary casualties would have been counterproductive to the overall SLA military strategy: any military commander would have been cognisant of this obvious political factor.
  3. For close air support the Sri Lankan Air Force had Kfir C-2, Kfir C-7 and MiG-27M Flogger J2 fixed wing aircraft.972 They also had MI 24 attack and MI 17 transport helicopters. The author could not determine whether Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) were available to the Air
  4. The Sri Lankan Navy possessed some 50 combat and support ships and in excess of 100 inshore patrol craft.973 They were supported by the Sri Lankan Special Boat Service (SBS) which by 2009 numbered some 600 personnel.974 The SBS’s role was to penetrate LTTE territory to provide reconnaissance, surveillance and direct action operations. According  to official accounts975 the Sri Lankan Navy established secure sea corridors for civilians escaping from LTTE held areas, although in practical terms they were probably not that successful because escaping civilians would have neither the navigational aids nor the knowledge to conform to them. There are, however, many reports 976of the Navy helping escaping civilians, whether by taking them on board or by offering medical

LTTE Military Capability

  1. The LTTE use of civilians has already been referred to elsewhere in this Report, but it is worth emphasising once again as, during the final months of the conflict, it reached new

971 January 27 – The New York Times reported that a hospital came under shelling. The article quoted one witness saying, Our team on the ground was certain the shell came from the Sri Lanka military, but apparently response to   an LTTE shell. All around them was the carnage from casualties from people who may have thought they would be safer being near the UN.” Another witness said, The team on the ground had suspected that the rebels were firing at government forces from close to where civilians were taking  shelter.”

972 ICEP, Island of Impunity, para 16.74. 973 ICEP, Island of Impunity, para. 16.89 974 Ibid.

975  MOD, Humanitarian Factual Analysis Sri Lanka, para  229.

976 Ibid, para. 234-235

levels of intensity. The two quotes below come from the University Teachers Report mentioned at Paragraph 3 above.

The upshot was the LTTE whose astounding military success was founded on despoiling the social fabric of the Tamils and making everything, from child bearing to education, creatures of its military  needs.”

Even as the LTTE leaders were discussing surrender terms, they were sending out

very young suicide cadres to ‘martyrdom’ to slow down the army advance”.  977

Although  reduced  to  some  5,000 hard-core fighters978        the  LTTE  were reinforced by conscripted civilians of all ages – as the UN  recognised;

The LTTE relied on forced recruitment in an attempt to maintain its forces. While previously the LTTE took one child per family for its forces, as the war progressed, the policy intensified and was enforced with brutality, often recruiting several children from the same family, including boys and girls as young as 14. Civilians were also enlisted by the LTTE into their war effort in other ways, using them, for example, to dig trenches and build fortifications, often exposing them to additional harm.979

  1. The LTTE were also masters of defensive earthworks called bunds (example at Annex F), and they had the time and the conscripted labour to build them. One such bund in the western Wanni was over 30 kms long and the SLA lost 153 soldiers in breaching just one section of it.980 The use of defensive bunkers and bunds lasted until the final days of the conflict:

Increasingly, LTTE forces, mounting their last defence, moved onto the coastal strip in the second NFZ, particularly in the Mullivaikkal area, where the LTTE leadership had a complex network of bunkers and fortifications and where it ultimately made its final stand”.981

  1. In terms of artillery the LTTE were reasonably well off, although their supply chains had been disrupted, especially after the loss of their floating armouries. One source reports that,

these vessels were carrying over 80,000 artillery rounds, over 100,000 mortar rounds, a bullet- proof jeep, three aircraft in dismantled form, torpedoes and surface to air missiles.982

977 University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), ‘A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding, Special Report No. 32’ (10 June 2009), < http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm >.   p.  2.

978 Darusman Report, para. 66.

979 Ibid, para 68.

980  Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers, p.  131

981 Darusman Report, para. 97

982 Ahmed S. Hashim, When Counterinsurgency Wins: Sri Lanka’s Defeat of the Tamil Tigers (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd., 2014),  p.  94

 

 

 

According to daily Government press releases during the final five months of the conflict, the following LTTE artillery pieces and mortars were recovered, although it is not possible from the information available to determine the last time they had been  used983:

  • 29 Jan – 1 x 152mm artillery
  • 31 Jan – 3 x 120mm mortars, 3 x 81mm mortars, 1 x 60mm
  • 16 Feb – 2 x 130mm artillery
  • 24 Feb – 14 x 60mm mortars, 43 x 60mm mortar barrels, 25 x 2 inch mortar barrels, 3 x 120mm mortar
  • 3 Mar – 1 x 130mm artillery piece, 1 x 122mm gun
  • 6 Mar – 6 x 60mm
  • 16 Mar – 5 x improvised
  • 28 Mar – 2 x 60mm
  • 31 Mar – 1 x 130mm artillery
  • 13 May – 2 x 60mm
  • 15 May – 22 x 60mm mortars, 1 x 81mm mortar
  • 16 May – 1 x 152mm artillery piece, 3 x 60mm mortars, 1 x 81mm mortar

By way of limited corroboration, there is a report 984 that in one of the last battles (at Iranapalai) on 4/5 April the LTTE lost three 130mm guns. There is no doubt that the  LTTE had access to artillery and mortars until the  end,

Towards  the  end  of  the  war  the  numbers  of  shells,  but  not  the       accuracy

declined”.985

  1. A list of all recovered LTTE weapons during the war and some photographs are attached at Annexes G and H. The list is extensive and includes wire guided anti-tank missiles, surface to air missiles and homemade MBRLs. There were two capability gaps in the LTTE inventory: first, the Air Tigers were never really effective and did not contribute at all during the final months: second, the LTTE had limited surveillance capacity, fire control measures or equipment. This would not have made a difference during the pitched battles when SLA were assaulting the bunds, but would have made a significant difference when LTTE were using indirect fire. One former LTTE intelligence major interviewed by the author986 stated that when the LTTE pulled back from a location they would record its position and then shell it from their new position on the basis that the SLA would have subsequently occupied it. Unobserved fire such as this could obviously catch civilians and SLA troops
  2. The LTTE were technically innovative and made their own weapons including the 6 barrel MBRLs, two of which were recovered on 3 March and 13 May 2009 respectively (see Annex H). They also manufactured improvised rocket launchers, artillery pieces and giant mortars (see Annex H). It is believed the giant mortar rounds were still in development and

983  Extracted from GoSL press releases between January – May   2009

984  Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers,  p.137

985 Ibid, p. 130.

986  Interview Author and (Maj) Subramaniyam Sathyamoorthi Ex LTTE, 19 December   2014..

according to Government sources, the round itself had an improvised phosphorous war head. An observation on improvised weapons and ammunition is that their range and accuracy would be inconsistent. For instance, the improvised 6 barrel MBRL (Annex H) appears to lack a solid platform and so would have been extremely unstable when fired – this would have resulted in loss of range, inaccuracy and a much greater spread of rounds, which inevitably would have added to the civilian casualty count. Perhaps the most effective homemade weapons” in the LTTE armoury were the suicide bombers, who were used to the very end. Annex I, which is an extract from a government list of suicide attacks, details the attacks and casualties during the last five months of the war. Serial 114, which is attached to this report, deals with the numerous suicide attacks, and is noteworthy for its callousness as it took place at an IDP reception centre and appeared to be an illustration of a willingness of the LTTE to use suicide attacks to kill their own civilian population who were trying to escape,

Although the LTTE’s supply chains had been disrupted, especially after the loss  of its floating warehouses, it still had access to some stockpiles of weapons, including some artillery and a few MBRLs. It used them to offer stiff resistance from behind its fortifications and earth bunds and also launched waves of suicide attacks”.987

NFZs

  1. There were 5 NFZs. The idea for such zones would appear to have come from the SLA and instructions are set out in letters (copies at Annex J) as follows:
    • NFZ 1 letter dated 19 Jan
    • NFZ 2 letter dated 19 Jan
    • NFZ 3 letter dated 19 Jan
    • NFZ 4 dated 11 Feb
    • NFZ 5 dated 9 May

The first two letters come from Army HQ and are signed by Brigadier K A D Karunasekera and addressed to the Head of Delegation, ICRC. The third letter comes from the Military Intelligence Directorate and appears to have a military distribution with the ICRC being informed by SFHQ Wanni. Trapped civilians were informed of the NFZs by leaflet drops (an example from the last days of the conflict is at Annex J), loud-speakers and  wireless.

  1. According to the Rules of Armed Conflict988, a NFZ only becomes effective if all warring parties agree its details. The LTTE did not endorse any of the NFZs and from the moment they were created they fired artillery and mortars at the SLA from inside the NFZs, sometimes from close to hospitals,

The LTTE also fired mobile artillery from the vicinity of the hospital, but did    not

use the hospital for military purposes until after it was  evacuated.”.989

987 Darusman Report, para. 69

988  Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, ICRC, 12    August 1949.

989 Darusman Report, para. 94

The LTTE is now widely recruiting from among the trapped population, forcing

both young and old to fight, and is positioning its artillery  within

civilian concentrations”.990

Photographs purporting to be LTTE positions amongst the civilian population in the Eastern Wanni are at Annex K. They were allegedly taken by Reddy, one of two Indian journalists embedded with the SLA. It is also well documented that in the closing months, LTTE fighters wore civilian clothes as noted in the Darusman Report, LTTE cadres were not always in uniform at this stage.991 Furthermore, the trapped civilians were either voluntarily helping or being forced to build military fortifications; this is on top of forced conscription, which intensified as the war progressed.

  1. The logic behind the delineation of the NFZs has in some accounts raised questions, but in the author’s view, the NFZs followed the movement of the civilian population, which essentially followed the loss of territory by the LTTE. Given the LTTE’s overall use of trapped civilians, it follows that they were forced to retreat in tandem with the LTTE and beginning in February, the LTTE commenced a policy of shooting civilians who attempted to escape, and, to this end, cadre took up positions where they could spot civilians who might try to break out.992
  2. Whilst in the perception of the International Community the NFZs were inviolate, they did not legally exist, as the LTTE had not agreed to them. Additionally, the LTTE fought from within the NFZs, often in civilian clothes, whilst also using the IDPs as a buffer from the SLA and also as a source of labour and fighters. All armies will retain their inherent right to self-defence when threatened and, given the presence of so many civilians, any such response in these circumstances should be judged by the principles of distinction, legitimate targeting, military necessity and proportionality as defined in international law. Faced with these circumstances, a western Army would control their response through the use of well circulated and easily interpretable Rules of Engagement (ROE). Additionally, the command chain would ensure that all troops were aware of civilian concentrations, hospitals, UN/NGO facilities, humanitarian convoys etc. within their area of operations. The SLA would appear to have complied with this passage of information requirement and the author was given photocopies of 6 x signals issued by SFHQ(W) during January and early February 2009. These are at Annex

SLA: Rules of Engagement (ROE)

  1. In essence, ROE set out the operational parameters for military action – as such, they can provide both authorisation, for, or limitations on the use of force. Historically, ROE have provided a measure of protection for civilians caught up in an armed conflict. In their most basic form they inform an individual soldier of the circumstances in which he might use

990 US Ambassador Robert Blake, ‘Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 35’, Embassy Colombo, WikiLeaks, 19 March 2009, para. 5.< http://www.cabledrum.net/cables/09COLOMBO310    >.

991 Darusman Report, para. 97.

992 Ibid, para. 99.

force. During recent years, particularly in sophisticated armed forces, ROE have assumed  a growing importance as the ability to conduct precision, long range strikes, either by manned aircraft or UAVs, has increased. The key to understanding ROE is that they seek to limit collateral damage (proportionality) through precision (distinction) whilst allowing operations to progress (legitimate targeting and military necessity). ROE do NOT and are unlikely ever to prevent collateral damage and civilian deaths, even with the most well equipped and trained armies. A UK definition of ROE, from the Staff Officer’s Handbook 14, is at Annex M. Note the penultimate sentence, The UK’s inherent right to self defence however, will always apply. Similar wording is used in almost all international ROE seen by the author.

  1. I have seen documents that equate with ROE applying to the early weeks of 2009. I have not made available to me any ROE’s thereafter. On the face of it this might appear to be a serious omission and a possible factor behind some of the alleged violations of the Laws of Armed Conflict. But SLA’s operational capabilities have to be kept in perspective. From 2006 the SLA became an increasingly effective army as it expanded together with the addition of new weapons, tactics and increased remuneration. These factors combined to increase morale, which in turn resulted in a successful series of operations. However, the SLA was still a developing force with a minimum education requirement for recruitment purposes of Sri Lankan Grade 8, which requires reading and writing skills. Post war the standard was raised to Grade 10. Even in modern western armies the interpretation of written ROE can prove challenging. A Human Rights Watch Report entitled ‘Off Target, The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq’ dated 2003 stated on page 102 that While US rules of engagement on paper met international humanitarian law standards, in practice, soldiers and marines reported conflicting interpretations of what they meant and how to apply them in practice….” Doctrinally, the SLA 2006 reforms had introduced a form of ‘auftragstakik’ or mission command, which encourages initiative at lower rank levels. It is the opposite of ‘befehlstakik’, which is a process requiring detailed orders down to the lowest levels. To that end, the SLA had discovered a winning formula that was ideally suited to the final challenges of the
  2. The operations during this phase of the war involved small unit actions, set piece conventional engagements and ‘hostage rescue’ operations in different environments. Subjectively, the SLA, at its operational best, most probably operated at a sophistication level of 6 out of 10. Issuing ROE for the final four months of the war would have been confusing and impractical. Instead, the SLA relied upon the over-arching political direction to avoid excessive human casualties, as this would have had the likelihood of ensuring international intervention, on the basis of a humanitarian disaster, thereby frustrating a key military objective, namely to kill or capture the LTTE leadership. Common sense dictates that this is likely to have been passed down the command chain. If this had been otherwise, in my opinion, it astonishing that 290,000 Tamil civilians survived to be rescued by the SLA. It is also of note that that there are too many well recorded instances of soldiers helping Tamil civilians to escape to believe that the ‘no civilian casualty’ policy was not understood by all ranks. Gordon Weiss makes the point on page 216 of his book, ‘The Cage’,

It remains a credit to many of the front-line SLA soldiers that, despite odd cruel exceptions, they so often seem to have made the effort to draw civilians out from the morass of fighting ahead of them in an attempt to save lives”.993

If there had been a blanket policy of elimination of LTTE cadres, then the capture and rehabilitation of approximately 12,000 cadres who emerged from the final phase,994 supports the contention that there was neither a systematic policy to kill surrendering LTTE, nor civilians. 995 If I compare this approach to internal conflicts of which I have personal experience, such as in Sierra Leone, where widespread and systematic atrocity crimes took place, this supports my opinion that this was not an army that was seeking to indiscriminately exterminate their enemy or civilians. Of course, this does not exclude individual instances where war crimes may have  occurred.

In my opinion it might also be argued that some of the deliberate operations completed by the SLA had as an additional aim, the rescue of civilian hostages. In a US Embassy cable to the State Department on 20 April 2009, US Ambassador Blake reports a successful SLA operation near and in Putumattalan that enabled 35,000 civilians to escape the combat zone with a further 1,500 escaping by sea.

  1. The Sri Lankan Air Force operated at a more sophisticated level, which, given the technical requirements of their service, is not surprising. Additionally, the Air Force had the necessary surveillance (satellite imagery and UAV coverage) and delivery vehicles to operate more sophisticated targeting and battle damage assessments. Until the final five months, the Air Force targeting procedures appear to have been relatively rigorous with targeting collateral collected from numerous sources; informants, ground surveillance, UAV and air sorties. As a general rule, as recorded in an official publication, all Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI) sorties occurred within a 3 to 5 km belt of the LTTE’s defence lines, thus enhancing civilian safety. The same publication admits that this was not possible in the final months of the war and that BAI sorties ceased. But a cable from the US Embassy to the State Department on 27 April 2009 states quite clearly,

The Sri Lankan Air Force says it continues to attack targets only in the area south of the CSZ and north of Mullaitivu. Targets include LTTE fighting positions in the area south of the safe zone.”

Further down the same paragraph the cable continues,

An Air Force source reports there is no use of attack helicopters since the capture of Puttukudiyuruppu (PTK) East because they are too vulnerable to LTTE small

993  Gordon Weiss, The Cage, p. 216

994  Camelia Nathaniel, ‘11,770 Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE Cadres of Both Genders Are Being Re-integrated    into

Society’, Dbsjeyaraj Website, 24 January 2013. <http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/15251   >.

995 http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/15251, As an aside, this article by a respected Tamil journalists, suggests that following a rehabilitation programme former cadres have been trained with vocational skills and reintegrated back  into society.

arms. According to this source, the SLAF Commander categorically refuses to carry out strikes within the no fire zones”despite Army pressure to do  so”.

Proportionality

  1. In everything the author has had access to and reviewed there is no indication that SLA deliberately or disproportionally targeted the civilian population in the course of their operations. In fact, the available evidence suggests the reverse. The use of civilians as human buffers by the LTTE in whatever circumstances would have resulted in civilian deaths.
  2. In the author’s experience in situations of this kind the intelligence picture is never a hundred per cent. Who was or was not a genuine civilian could not have been known. In such circumstances a commander acting reasonably and in accordance with the law would take what steps he could, whilst minimising civilian casualties, to achieve his military objective. These principles would have applied during the final months of the war and thus the loss of civilian life, to the extent that it can be determined, is capable of being interpreted as collateral damage that, however regrettable, is permitted by the laws of armed These conclusions are further borne out by the sections that follow on crater and imagery analysis.

CRATER ANALYSIS

  1. The interpretation of satellite imagery played a role in the Darusman assertion in paragraph 251 that the SLA were guilty of the widespread shelling of a large IDP population” 996 throughout the final months of the conflict and A cable from the US Embassy in Sri Lanka back to the State Department on 3 April 2009 states:

Ambassador recommended to UN Resident Representative Neil Buhne that he considers sharing the UN imagery with the GoSL because it demonstrates that there is proof of shelling and could discourage future shelling if the government knows there is a mechanism for tracking it”.997

  1. If the aim is to attribute shelling to a particular participant, then it is pivotal to the argument to prove that a specific crater was caused by a shell from a particular type of weapon which was fired on a particular bearing. The British Army Pamphlet that covers crater analysis is titled Artillery Training in Battle, Pamphlet No 12, Part 3. The introduction section of the pamphlet, under the heading ‘Criteria’, states that The crater(s) selected for examination should be fresh. Distinctive features tend to erode over time and may disappear altogether in poor weather.” It goes on to state that It may not be possible to examine craters when the ground is unsuitable. The ground may be too rocky and hard in which case little impression is made. Conversely, the ground may be too soft and wet in which case the crater may fill with water”.998 Lastly, the introduction states that craters must be approached carefully as foot/tyre marks may destroy valuable details indicated by the spoil, splinter pattern and fragments. In the case of the Wanni, the presence of so many civilians in the area and the desire to recover the dead and wounded would probably have destroyed much of this kind of evidence quite early on. The pamphlet also notes that The craters made by bombs delivered by aircraft are not particularly distinctive”.999
  2. Apart from immediate on the ground inspection, the same principals can be applied to the analysis of imagery of shell craters. Most craters make a clearly defined pattern on the ground and differ according to the type of projectile fired and the type of fuze Without going into unnecessary detail, the explosion of a shell causes an inner crater, its momentum carries the effect forward and the splinter pattern is thrown to the sides in the form of an arrow that points back towards the gun that fired the shell. A mortar crater has different characteristics, but it is still possible to determine the angle of impact and the line of fire.
  3. There are three significant factors that impact the interpretation of the available imagery from the Eastern Wanni:

996 Darusman Report, para. 251.

997 US Ambassador Robert Blake, ‘Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 46 ‘, Embassy Colombo, WikiLeaks, 3 April 2009, para.  2<  http://www.cabledrum.net/cables/09COLOMBO393 >.

998  British Army Pamphlet that covers crater analysis is titled    Artillery Training in Battle, Pamphlet No 12, Part 3.

The introduction section of the pamphlet, under the heading  ‘Criteria’

999  British Army Pamphlet that covers crater analysis is titled    Artillery Training in Battle, Pamphlet No 12, Part 3.

The introduction section of the pamphlet, under the heading  ‘Criteria’

  • The weather; ‘…emerging monsoon season resulting in increased cloud cover…”1000
  • The soil, light to
  • The number of civilians in the

1000  Moorcroft, Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers, p.  134.

IMAGERY ANALYSIS

  1. Two reports have been prepared by McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS), a specialist imagery company based in London. The reports are attached respectively at Annexes N and O. Rather than repeat the full content of each report, this document only sets out the aim and main

Report No. 1

  1. MIS was tasked to look at a frequently quoted imagery study (believed to be dated 8 Oct 2009) by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The study was commissioned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and its overall aim was to study conditions in NFZ 3 during the period 6 to 10 May 2009. MIS concluded that:
    • There are a number of craters above 3m in diameter, which may indicate that large calibre artillery systems or air delivered munitions might have been used in those cases.
    • However there are a number of key variables which all effect the nature of a
    • Confidence in identifying which weapon system was used, and when, is
    • Identifying the direction of the shot from the available imagery is not possible with a high degree of confidence. This is possibly the most important issue in ascribing culpability and underlines the difficulty in any investigative

Report No 2

  1. The aim of this more comprehensive report was to:
    • Determine whether any of the craters in the NFZs predate 2 January
    • Search for LTTE weapons in the
    • Estimate the number of graves in each
    • Estimate the maximum number of temporary shelters in each
    • Check for the projection of ejecta for all identified craters in
    • In addition to available imagery, incorporate, as appropriate, handheld photography taken from helicopter overflights of the NFZs on 29 May
    • Study the specific accusations of the use of artillery as recorded in the Darusman Report.
    • Define the weather in the NFZs in the period 2 January to 19
  2. Paragraph 81 of the Darusman Report states that during the period 19 -20 January 2009 shells hit Vallipunam Hospital in NFZ 1. Imagery dated 21 January 2009 indicates that it was likely that the hospital had not received indirect fire on those dates”.
  3. Paragraphs 83 and 84 of the Darusman Report state that artillery fire fell on a food distribution centre on 23 and 24 January and also hit the Udayaarkaddu Hospital on 24 January. Imagery for these dates was not available; however imagery dated 16 March 2009 does substantiate indirect fire being used in the area and two of the hospital buildings appear to have significant damage”.
  4. Paragraph 91 of the Darusman Report states that the hospital at Puthukkudiyiruppu was hit every day between 29 January and 4 February 2009 by Multi Barrelled Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) and other artillery taking at least nine direct hits. Imagery dated 5 February 2009 indicates that the hospital had suffered two possible areas of damage during the time frame, but not nine direct hits. However, imagery dated 16 March 2009 shows that the hospital and its associated buildings had suffered from a great deal of damage”. The author also notes that even one salvo from a MBRL would have devastated the entire area (see paragraph 31).
  5. Paragraph 94 of the Darusman Report states that on 6 February 2009 the Ponnambalam Hospital was shelled causing part of it to collapse and that it was shelled again on the 9 February 2009. Only imagery dated 5 February was available for this site and this shows the hospital to be in relatively good condition. Subsequent imagery does illustrate that the hospital did suffer over time from indirect fire and several buildings were destroyed and probable craters can be observed around the hospital compound”. Three images relating to the Ponnambalam Hospital at page 189 of the Darusman Report are also possibly erroneous. Two of these images refer to specific buildings being destroyed between 21 January and 5 February 2009, yet on the available imagery dated 5 February 2009, both buildings are still standing. The third image again relates to a specific building being destroyed in the same time frame. The building is still standing in imagery dated 16 March 2009.
  6. Paragraph 111 of the Darusman Report states that on 11 and 12 May 2009 the temporary hospital at Vellamullivaikkal was also hit by shells killing a number of people. Imagery dated 10 May 2009 revealed that the hospital had already received damage from probable indirect fire. However, imagery dated 24 May 2009 detected no additional
  7. Paragraph 104 of the Darusman Report states that on the 9 February 2009 shells fell on Putumattalan Hospital killing at least 16 patients. Imagery dated 9 February 2009 was not available but subsequent imagery throughout May 2009 does show several probable indirect fire strikes and damage to hospital buildings”.
  8. Paragraph 120 of the Darusman Report states that on 16 May the LTTE destroyed a lot of its equipment in a large explosion in an area of NFZ 3. A change detection study using imagery dated 16 March and 24 May 2009 showed no evidence of large-scale destruction (craters or debris) was noted throughout the NFZ”.
  9. Analysis of imagery dated 31 October 2008 indicated that NFZ 1 had received indirect fire, but the type and exact date could not be Imagery dated 10 May 2009 concludes that the number of graves identified in the NFZs totals 1,332. Imagery dated 21 January 2009 identifies 4,174 temporary shelters within NFZ 1. Imagery dated 10 May 2009 reveals approximately 5,200 temporary shelters in NFZ 2 and 6,900 in NFZ 3. The report notes that in the case of NFZs 2 and 3, the shelters were densely packed and were within blocks defined by track networks. All craters identified from available imagery and photographs were checked for the projection of ejecta that would indicate the direction from which  the round was fired. The report concludes that for a variety of reasons the analyst had low confidence in determining potential azimuths1001  from imagery analysis  alone”.

Imagery Summary

  1. To the author’s knowledge only ‘imagery snap shots’ (including this report’s two analyses) from the last four months of the war have been analysed in an attempt to determine the scale of shelling in the NFZs and attribute blame. It is possible that a more comprehensive daily overview from December 2008 onwards might yield more information, although the limitations as set out by the US State Department Report of 2009, would still apply
  2. Indeed, if the US had access to satellite imagery that was more detailed and comprehensive, no doubt, it would have been disclosed by
  3. There would appear to be sufficient evidence to challenge a number of the allegations in the Darusman Report, particularly from a timing view It is also noted that the specific allegation of the use of MBRLs would appear to have no basis in fact, as the level of destruction wrought by such weapons is significant and would almost certainly be identified from imagery. The number of temporary shelters and their lay out that were still standing on 10 May is also significant in that it refutes any suggestion of the deliberate targeting of civilians by SLA artillery, from indiscriminate use of such weapons which had the potential to devastate these areas in a very short space of time.

1001 direction of fire

CONCLUSIONS

  1. There was no military or political advantage to GoSL in killing civilians or shelling hospitals indiscriminately, indeed the reverse is the case. High civilian casualties would have made an international/Indian push for halting the final phase, more
  2. My task has not been to examine individual instances of war crimes, but rather to focus on the military responses to what was clearly a hostage situation and whether the responses of the SLA in broad terms were proportionate responses to the challenges they faced. It is of course entirely possible that there were incidents on both sides that may have amounted to breaches of the rules of
  3. However, from the LTTE’s perspective, the killing of civilians was an acknowledged part of their strategy. The status in law of some of these civilians is also arguable, as their voluntary assistance, particularly in a combat function, would forfeit their civilian protected However, I have made the assumption that the bulk were entitled to treated as civilians who were forcibly prevented from leaving the conflict zone by LTTE as an adjunct to their strategy of compelling the international community and the UN into forcing a ceasefire on GoSL. By the Oxford Dictionary definition these people could be considered as hostages – A person seized or held as security for the fulfilment of a condition”.1002 This is spelt out with more clarity in Article 1 of the UN International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages (1 Dec 1979), which states,

Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organisation, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking hostages.”1003

  1. There is evidence from plausible witnesses and imagery that both mortars and artillery were fired into and out of areas where civilians were present and being held there by the LTTE and that this fire also hit buildings acknowledged to be hospitals. It is, in any sense, wrong to label the areas as NFZs, as by law these did NOT exist. The areas under discussion were so small that an artillery or a mortar round would probably have been bound to injure or kill someone. This civilian melting pot also contained LTTE fighters in civilian clothes, civilians who were actively assisting the LTTE, as well as LTTE artillery and
  2. The clinching argument as to where responsibility lies for the shelling is in the direction from which the shells were This can only be retrospectively determined from analysis of the shell craters either on the ground as soon as possible after the event or from available imagery or, to a lesser extent, from credible witnesses at the receiving end. To suggest, as one report does1004, that because the barrels of SLA artillery tracked the declaration of  the

1002  Available at < http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hostage   >.

1003  Article 1 of the UN International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, 1 December   1979.

1004 Darusman Report, para. 101.

‘NFZs’ is an indication that they fired into those NFZs is inaccurate and speculative, devoid of any forensic relevance. It is normal artillery practice for guns to be laid in the direction of the threat, but that does not mean they actually fired. Given that the analysis of the shell craters is inconclusive, the only source of reliable information are eye-witness accounts, where the direction of shot is best determined either visually by observing a gun flash or audibly by hearing the discharge of a gun or mortar. The flat nature of the ground in the Eastern Wanni makes observation difficult, but a witness might hear a distant bang from a particular angle and after a small pause observe the explosion of a shell close by; he can then with some assurance, but not with total certainty, say that the round came from a particular direction. This method, though, is to an extent dependent on a practised ear and the absence of surrounding noise and other distractions. Most accounts that describe events within the NFZs over those last few months tell of chaos, confusion, emotion and terror – these background conditions are less than ideal when endeavouring to determine the direction of incoming indirect fire. The author therefore believes that it is not possible at this point in time, on the evidence available, to accurately state which side’s artillery and mortars caused identified shell craters and civilian  casualties.

  1. As cases from the ICTY have demonstrated this exercise can be attempted, but it is a very costly exercise and after such a period of time that has elapsed, whether accurate results can be established is far from certain. A number of military lawyers have been highly critical of the ICTY’s attempts to investigate and prosecute cases involving shelling incidents and indeed, the most significant case that deals with this issue has been overturned on appeal and the defendant acquitted on the facts of this case. The military criticism, however, is not so as to shield those who may be guilty of war crimes, but simply because the technical expertise required to establish the necessary facts to the required standard is often absent. In addition, with the absence of contemporaneous forensic evidence, any investigating authority would require a huge amount of documentation from army records, such as war diaries, to try and piece together from which side a shell was being fired on a particular day. If the LTTE had not resorted to deliberately attracting fire into hospitals by positioning their guns in close proximity, or killing their own civilians, this task may have been easier. However, faced with this fact, as accepted by most NGOS, being able to establish which side fired from where, five years after the event, is going to be a difficult
  2. My conclusion in this Report is that both sides fired into the so called ‘NFZs’, but it is GoSL that is being held to account, which brings us back to the tenet of proportionality, distinction, legitimate targeting and military necessity as applied to fire in support of deliberate operations, tactical encounters and counter battery
  3. Let us start with deliberate operations. The military aim was to defeat LTTE and, in the absence of their surrender, this meant killing or capturing their cadres/leaders and seizing their strongholds, even when they were located in areas populated by civilians. GoSL had to factor in the ‘Masada’ possibility as the LTTE became increasingly desperate. Evidence of their willingness to sacrifice their own civilians has, post the last phase, been acknowledged by many.1005     Given  the  reported  strength  of  their  fortifications  and an

1005  US State Department Report, 2009.  p24.

understandable requirement to limit the SLA’s own casualties, the use of targeted airpower and artillery, if used, would seem to be justified and proportionate, provided every effort had been made to get the civilians to move prior to the assault. It should also be noted that LTTE, on the evidence seen, appear to have responded to these deliberate assaults using  all the weapons at their disposal, with some of their rounds inevitably landing in civilian areas to the rear of the assaulting troops. It is clear in my opinion, that looking at the military strategies that the LTTE adopted, that the leadership were desperate to protect Velupillai Prabhakaran and seek to ensure his escape whatever the cost to their own civilian population.

  1. Given that on the SLA side, this was principally an infantry and Special Forces operation there would have been continual tactical engagements, some of which would have been over relatively quickly, while others would have involved a prolonged, but local, fire fight during which the SLA troops involved would have requested fire support from their Battalion’s integral 81 and 82mm mortars – the necessary coordinates for which would be passed by radio either by a qualified Mortar Fire Controller (MFC) or by a trained senior rank. The fire would then have been adjusted as required to achieve the intended outcome. There is nothing that the author has either read or been told that states that local fire support of this kind was unavailable and going back to the premise of self-defence, nor should it have been. Again, it is inevitable that stray rounds from both sides would have caused civilian
  2. Counter Battery fire is described at Para 29. The SLA had used it effectively in previous operations. It is important to underline that there had not been allegations of indiscriminate shelling and war crimes in the previous military artillery operations that equate to the criticisms made in the last phase of the 2009 operation. In my opinion this is indicative of a command ‘culture’ that did not appear to espouse indiscriminate shelling. The key question, however, is whether and how counter battery fire was used in the Eastern Wanni, as conditions there were quite unlike those of previous operations. Imagery most certainly supports the contention that the necessary artillery assets for counter-battery fire were available as were the necessary locating radars. In a perfect world the radar would identify a target, a UAV would confirm that it was still there (distinction, legitimate targeting and military necessity conditions fulfilled) and fire would be returned. This sequence would take a few minutes and the offending gun could probably have been moved – LTTE were using ‘shoot and scoot’ tactics with fighters dressed in civilian clothes. The process could be speeded up by just relying on the locating radar and not using an UAV, but this would only have satisfied the military necessity requirement and then only in terms of self- defence. In these circumstances, the LTTE must also share a large proportion of the blame because they were operating out of uniform amongst
  3. The precise number of civilian deaths and their exact status at their time of death may never be known. The accusations against GoSL imply either a deliberate policy to target civilians or disinterest in the scale of civilian casualties in achieving their strategic objective. All the available evidence discounts any form of deliberate policy or systematically reckless or disproportionate conduct, despite the civilian casualties, to the extent that it is even possible to determine what proportion of those killed were
  4. It is undeniable, though, that had LTTE not driven civilians before them and executed them when they attempted to escape, then civilian casualties would have been significantly lower. A figure of up to 40,000 civilian deaths is much quoted and has been simply arrived at by subtracting the number of IDPs processed (290,000) from the Darusman estimate of the number of civilians caught up in the final months of the war (330,000). The author believes that, in principle, there is every reason to challenge this estimate of the numbers killed: for instance, in the imagery analysis there are 1,332 obvious graves (para 63 above). These might be LTTE gravesites, but let us assume that they are IDP ones and that there are 4 bodies to each grave; then that gives a total of 5,328 bodies. There would, of course, be unmarked graves invisible to imagery and a large number of bodies were never recovered because they died by drowning, were buried in LTTE bunkers and fortifications or just decomposed quickly in the monsoon climate. However, in most wars the number of missing presumed dead is lower than the number of bodies recovered. A cable from US Ambassador Blake to the State Department on 7 April 2009 states that the UN estimate of deaths for the period 20 January to 6 April was 4,164 with a further 10,002 wounded. The cable also states that the estimated daily kill rate was 33 a day in January and 63 a day in February and March. 1006 To reach 40,000 deaths would require a kill ratio of 287 per day over 139 days (1 January to 19 May) and to reach 26,000 deaths would require a rate of 187 per day. Comparisons are of course invidious, but the accepted figure for German civilian deaths after the 1945 Dresden raid(s) is 25,000; and 24,000 Polish and German soldiers died during the 63 days intense fighting of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. The figure of 40,000 civilians killed which has been repeatedly published is, in my view, extremely difficult to sustain on the evidence which I have
  5. The Wanni operation was not of the `classic’ hostage rescue variety if only because of the number of hostages involved and the ebb and flow of battle. However, there were similarities; the SLA did not rush in, but instead took its time to plan and adapt its tactics to take account of the civilian presence. It was, in the view of the author, an entirely unique situation and the fact that 290,000 people escaped alive is in itself
  6. Indeed, given the allegations of the use of MBRLs and use of heavy weaponry against the civilian population, had the SLA embarked on an indiscriminate campaign of bombardment, the trite but obvious point that any military expert is forced to conclude, is that 2/3 days of shelling would have decimated all those in that final confined area. I reiterate, in my experience of hostage rescue, the fact that so many escaped, is
  7. This suggests to the author that it is extremely difficult to sustain an accusation of the deliberate killing of civilians by the SLA by shelling, which had the artillery potential over a very short period of time to devastate the temporary civilian encampments, particularly in NFZs 2 and
  8. Mistakes that resulted in unnecessary civilian deaths were most definitely made by the SLA, but  all  armies  in all  conflicts  make such mistakes.  There may even  have     been

1006 US Ambassador Robert Blake, ‘Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 48’, Embassy Colombo, WikiLeaks, 7 April 2009 released 26 August 2011. < http://www.cabledrum.net/cables/09COLOMBO402   >.

mistakes that were reckless and greater analysis of particular incidents, such as some of the IDF hospital strikes may demonstrate this. Again, this will depend on whether this was SLA return fire on the LTTE, who had deliberately used ‘shoot and scoot’ tactics, to endanger the hospitals and patients.

  1. However, overall and for the reasons considered above, on the available evidence it is my opinion, that the SLA’s operations in broad terms, were proportionate in the Whilst the SLA was a relatively unsophisticated army, they had evolved into a battle and ultimately war winning machine that made up for its lack of sophistication by the application of three of the most important principles of war: selection and maintenance of the aim; offensive action and concentration of force. In my military opinion, faced with a determined enemy that were deploying the most ruthless of tactics and which involved endangering the Tamil civilian population, SLA had limited options with regard to the battle strategy they could deploy. This would have posed a dilemma for the very best trained and equipped armies in the world. The SLA had either to continue taking casualties and allow the LTTE to continue preying upon its own civilians, or take the battle to the LTTE, albeit with an increase in civilian casualties. The tactical options were stark, but in my military opinion, justifiable and proportionate given the unique situation SLA faced in the last phase. Therefore, on the evidence available to me, taking into account my own combat experience, I do not find, in broad terms that the military and artillery campaigns were conducted indiscriminately, but were proportionate to the military objectives sought.

London Date

ANNEXES:

A: Bibliography.

B: Map of the Wanni.

C: Photographs of Battle Damage. D: Examples of Leaflet Drops.

E: Presidential Pause Statement. F: Example of a Bund.

G: List of LTTE Weapons Recovered. H: Photographs of LTTE weapons.

I: Log of Suicide Attacks.

  1. NFZ Letters.

K: Photographs of LTTE Positions. L: SF HQ (W) 6 x Signals.

M: ROE Definition.

N: McKenzie Intelligence Services Report No 1. O: McKenzie Intelligence Services Report No 2.

In defence of MR – Supposed ‘Horrors’ revisited

April 19th, 2018

R Chandrasoma

The supposed misdeeds and the flagrant violation of the norms of democracy perpetrated by MR and his aids and accomplices are now part of a political legend entrenched this country. Not only was the populace robbed and cheated – they were in danger of being bumped off by hired agents of a merciless dictator. Meanwhile the latter and his ‘gang of thieves’ ruined the economy, unleashed the dogs of racial intolerance and incurred the total contempt of the rulers and leaders of the World to such a degree that the crowning ignominy of the Electric Chair for the ruler of our country was only very narrowly averted  – thanks to the goodwill and international recognition of the New Saviours of Sri Lanka who gloriously vanquished the Tyrant.

Is this story true? Among the ‘story tellers’ regularly featured in your Journal is Mr Kumar David – the anointed Dravidic Hero who famously said that the Tamils will be safe in Sri Lanka so long as the Heroic Armies of Pirapaharan have the Sinhala Forces pinned down and their political masters at their wit’s end on how to save their land –and their skins. He also announced with great pride that Tamil Brain-Power will be more than equal to the task of routing the seemingly preponderant Sinhala Armies. That such a champion of Tamil Racism should re-write history is not surprising – what is incredulous is the venom and the distorted history that you as the Editor of a leading Journal display in your Editorial Column – a demonizing of MR and a recasting of recent history that is astonishing in its perversity. Suffice it to say that MR’s victory over the forces of separatism marks a turning point in our long and tortured history. He was triumphant while the mean-spirited men who succeeded him grovelled before the haters of our sovereignty He will be remembered as the true saviour long after the petty political actors of today are buried in history,

Tales Of Soldiers

April 19th, 2018

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge 

Jose Naroskey once said In war, there are no unwounded soldiers” Undeniably war has a profound effect on soldiers. It has a catastrophic effect on their health and wellbeing. I have met a number of soldiers around the globe who belonged to different Armies and various military organizations. Many of them are still affected by the reminiscences of the war. I recall some lines of Nancy L. Meek’s poem ‘The Sacrifice. In this poem she describes the state of mind of a soldier on returning from a war. This is what Nancy L. Meek writes…

Will he ever find peace here on this earth?, Before death’s fingers encircle his throat, Or will peace remain just beyond his girth, Abandoning him eternally to a land remote” (The Sacrifice- Nancy L. Meek)

Victor the Red Army Soldier

Victor was my medical faculty hostel roommate and he was drafted while studying in the Vinnitsa National Medical University Ukraine. He had served twoyears in Afghanistan to fulfill his international service. Before going to Afghanistan he was a naive anda bright student.  He returned from Afghanistan as a changed man with emotional scars.

In 1979 Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev decided to send troops to Afghanistan. Although it was a proxy war Afghan rebels were deadly. They constantly attacked the Soviet defense positions. First the regular army went to fight the rebels. Later young people like Victor were drafted to support the regular troops. Eventually this conflict came to be known as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam War”.The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted for nearly nine bloody years.

Many young boys who went to Afghanistan had a dream. This dream was to buy a Japanese TV or a SONY or JVC video deck which were luxury items under the Soviet Socialist regime. Some boys lost their arms and legs but still managed to bring those luxury items home. When Victor returned after fulfilling his military duties he brought a Sharp audio cassette player. But soon he lost the interest and gave it to his cousin.

As his relatives and friends noticed, after Victor returned from Afghanistan he had changed remarkably. He had met fierce battle in Kandahar with the Mujahedin rebels and sustained an injury to his right shoulder. Also he sustained a concussion. Victor could not concentrate on his studies and started failing exams.

As a young student I adored rock and heavy metal music. When I played ACDC (For those about to Rock) ,White Snake (Silver Nights ) , Deep Purple (Highway Star) , Metallica(The Unforgiven)OzzyOsbourne(Crazy Train)  Victor became jumpy. He frequently asked me to turn off the music. Then I knew he couldn’t bear loud noises. He had a bad temper. He often became conflictive. Some nights Victor could not sleep and he had nightmares. During the exam period this became a problem to both of us. He knew that he was troubling his roommate and at supper,  he used to consume large volumes of Vodka and then go to sleep. So his health was falling apart.

Victor never liked to talk about his Afghan experiences.One day an unexpected thingoccurred. It was a winter night and we were having dinner.  I offered   him a cup of Ceylon tea.

This is nice tea” Victor said.” It is  ideal to make Chefeer ”

What is Chefeer ?I asked

That is a drink soldiers make in the army. In Afghanistan we used to drink Chefeer frequently.

Victor said that sometimes the Russian soldiers used to indulge in highly concentrated Georgian tea which was called Chefeer . This highly concentrated tannin drink gave them some sort of kick to wash away their isolation in the Afghan mountains.

It was too tough ”he said suddenly. He dropped his fork and looked in to my eyes.

”We were fighting Dushmans (the Afghan Rebels) in the mountains. They were supported by the US and Pakistan. Some carried M16 machine guns. They killed a lot of Soviets. I saw how our boys died in the Afghan mountains. Every week they were sending bodies from Kabul to Moscow, Leningrad or Kiev.

But now the President Gorbachev says it was a mistake to send Soviet troops to Afghanistan” I interrupted

Suddenly Victor became annoyed.

Hell with Gorbachev, they should have thought it before sending us to that godforsaken country, do you know that we lost over 25,000 boys? For what? Who is responsible for those poor souls? You tell me”

Victor became more and more emotional so I had to divert the conversation. I lived nearly one year with Victor in our hostel room. He disturbed me hugely but in the same time taught me many lessons of the war. His Afghan combat experiences later inspired me to write the novel – IvangeLokaya (Ivan’s World) that was published by the Wijesuriya Publishers. In 2005 I saw Fyodor Bondarchuk ‘smovie 9th Company – the movie about  the Soviet War in Afghanistan.  According to some film critics 9th  Companywas equivalent to Oliver Stone’s famous movie Platoon. After watching the 9th Company   I realized the hardships experienced by young soldiers like Victor in the Afghan mountains.

The Ukrainian Partisan

Once our University organized a Victory Day celebration over the NAZI Germany and invited several soldiers who fought against the Hitlerite forces. I specifically remember the story of Mr. Ivan Guminuk who fought the Third Reich soldiers in the German occupied Ukraine. This is what he said to us.

I was born near Kiev and when the Germans invaded our motherland violating the Brest-Litovsk pact I was a 16 year old lad. By that time I was working in a factory as a manual labourerand attended the night school. I was eager to learn German and I could speak the German language fairly well.

When the Fascists soldiers invaded Ukraine they killed many people. Jews were deported or hanged publicly. I witnessed many public executions. There are many mass unmarked graves near Kiev ,the city of Vinnitsa , Uzhgorodand Lvove. They deported young men and women to work as slaves in Germany. The food was rationed and the native population suffered immensely. Only the NAZI sympathizers and collaborators got constant food supplies. People like us partially starved. There was no meat, butter or milk. People used to eat unpalatable Garrokh(Dhal)

The NAZI s had an efficient administrative system and they knew each and every person living in the occupied territory. During the occupation I was living in the Vinnitsa region. I was an underagebut I was photographed and given papers. Every month we had to report to the regional headquarters in Vinnitsa town. There were rumors that once we turn 17 we would be taken to the German city of Ruhr to work in the coal mines. It was terrifying news for my family. I decided to go underground. I joined a secret partisan group that operated in Ukraine. We had a very small amount of arms, mostly old rifles. We Partisans used to hide in the woods and attack the German supply lines. Sometimes we used to destroy railway tracks byplacing explosives. To uplift the morale of the people we used to display posters in public places.

It was a deadly game. If you are caught with a pistol or a rifle or explosives in your hands you are either shot on the spot or hanged by piano wires in public. Even to have anti-NAZI posters or documents in your possession was an offence punishable  by death. We used to carry bees honey to stick the posters on the walls. Often we did it by dawn aiming public gathering places like markets and churches. Some of our brave comrades fell in to the noxious German hands while operating underground. All were executed.

While operating underground one of our comrades brought us an important massage. The Germans were constructing a massive building complex in the forest of Vinnitsa region. The informer told us foreign workers from Norway were brought to work in this complex. At the end of the war we came to know that these Norwegian workers who were enslaved to build it were shot in cold blood by the NAZI soldiers and buried in a mass grave. Later the Red Army excavated this mass grave and found decomposed bodies.

When we first heard about this construction site we thought that the Germans were building a military base to expand their military muscle. But our reconnaissance patrols told us a different story. It was a heavily guarded complex and day and night people worked. Hundreds of truck loads went to the woods taking building material.  Despite the heavy security some of our partisans infiltrated the complex. Then we knew that Hitler was building a headquarters for him in the forests of the Vinnitsa region. Even Hitler and Herman Goring had visited this complex and spent some time in this secret underground bunker complex.

Hitler had a plan to rule the entire Europe.  He needed a focal point to establish his future headquarters and he had selected Vinnitsa Ukraine as the center. Hitler was fascinated by being in Vinnitsa, he liked the weather and the vegetation. Some say that it reminded him his native Bavaria.

When the Ukrainian Partisans got the news that Hitler was in Vinnitsa   a message was sent to Moscow immediately. This secret massage went up to General GeorgyZhukov and then passed to Stalin.  Moscow replied uspromptly, do not attack the supply lines orcontinue any sabotage. They asked us to stop  all the hostilities and observe the movements carefully.

Perhaps the Red Army wanted to capture Hitler alive but he never returned to Vinnitsa and after the Standard debacle the German high command lostinterest in this underground center which was called Werewolf”.  They knew that they were losing the war and abandoned the plan to rule Europe. When they retreated from Ukraine they demolished the underground complex. I was overjoyed and even cried when Ukraine was liberated but when they left they had killed and tortured our population. We still live with those horrors but personally I have no repulsive feelings towards the German people. It was not the German people who committed atrocities in Ukraine. Those were NAZI s and they consisted of Germans, Rumanians, some Italians and even Ukrainian Stephan Bandera fractions.

MrGuminuk’s narration captured the audience and after this narration a group of University students visited this historical site. Today Hitler’s bunker complex or the Nazi ‘Werewolf’ is a tourist destination.  But there are no buildings on the surface except some huge concrete blocks.  Some military historians say that  Hitler probably had spent about 2 to 3 months  in the Werewolf Bunker outside of Vinnitsa. Supposedly, the bunker was 7 stories deep and a couple football fields in size. Hitler ordered to blow up the Werewolf when he was convinced that the defeat was inevitable.  Explosives were set and the Werewolf was blasted from inside and subsequentlybombed from the air. It has not been excavated to this day because the archeologists believe that there are still explosives inside. It has been said that when the bunker was blown up, the impact was felt by the every living creature in the city of Vinnitsa.

When we visited this site I was thinking how Hitler’s megalomania cost millions of lives. How many lives had been perished for an ideology? A few hundred meters away from the Werewolf there is a massgrave with a statue of three crying men. This is the place where the 14,000 Norwegian labourers  wereburied.

Mr. Arthur the British Soldier

I met Arthur in Walthamstow Central London somewhere in 1987. He had been a solder in the British Army and served in domestic reserves. I could not take part in the D Day but we had fearsome air war in Britain said old Arthur.

The Luftwaffe bombing ofEngland  was dreadful. After the air raids we found many people dead in the rubble. Mostly the victims were civilians. Although England was never successfully invaded perhaps due to its geography Hitler constantly bombed major English cites to lower our morale. General population suffered hugely. Everything was rationed, butter, cheese, petrol, you name it, practically everything, so the black market thrived.

After the war Arthur re-entered the civil society and worked as a factory worker until his retirement. Arthur’s wife died several years ago and his son moved to Leeds. So he lives alone. To minimize his isolation and wistfulness he raises a bulldog. He treats the dog like a family member often talking and cuddling him. Although it had been many decades after the WW2 Arthur still recalls the devastation that was caused by the air war in England.

Mr LXX the Sri Lankan WW2 Veteran

I met Mr LXX at the ex-servicemen’s ward at the Military Hospital Colombo while he was under the care of Col Dr. (Mrs.) N.K Ariyarathne – Consultant Physician. He had Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus.  Dr. N.K Ariyarathnereferred Mr. LXX to me following insomnia. But after a brief intervention he was able to sleep well anddischarged  within a few weeks.

Mr LXX told me his life story as a soldier under the British Empire. He joined the military during the World War 2 as a private and had a brief physical training in Sri Lanka. They haven’t had extensive weapon training. The British Army recruited the local youth to the Army not to fight the Axis Forces but to do clerical and manual work. It was a new experience for the unemployed Sri Lankan youth and they had the opportunity to see the world at the government expense. Many Sri Lankan troops were stationed in Egypt and Italy. They helped supply arms, ammunition and food to the warfront. A small fraction of Sri Lankan soldiers engaged the enemy in Burma and Malaya. According to the reports they fought bravely and earned  respect among the British officers.

Mr. LXX had served in Bombay and in Cairo as a soldier helping the Allied GiganticMilitary Machine. May be he was as an insignificant bolt in this giant war machine. There were many of them but their efforts helped the warfront. Today we are respected by the British Government expressed Mr. LXX. They value our service and still pay us a pension. Our numbers are decreasing annually. But we are proud to pay ourhonor to the fallen comrades on the Memorial Day

After our first meeting I met Mr. LXX at the OPD several times and each time I was happy to help him.   After 2006 I had no contacts with him. A few years ago I met one of our junior doctors who worked at the ex-servicemen’s ward and she told me that Mr. LXX passed away peacefully under her care.

Lt BX47

Lt BX47 served in the Sri Lankan Army and met with a traumatic battle events in Paranthan Jaffna in 1999. He witnessed the deaths of seven of his soldiers. He explained his horrendous experience thus.

It was like thunder when the mortars fell on us. Seven of our soldiers were near a Kovil and I was several meters away from them. I heard the zooooo….. noise and then I knew it was an incoming mortar and I lay on the ground.   The other soldiers had no time to go down and I saw how their bodies smashed in to thin air. I was near a concrete well and undoubtedly it saved my life. Although I was physically unharmed I was in a shock. Blood came through my nostrils and I don’t know how I bled. My men were dead and scattered on the ground.Their bodies had been mutilated due to the explosion.  Onesoldier was gasping and he asked for water. But he could not hold his breath for longer. He died after several minutes.

The entire area wascovered with black smoke and dust, I could not see more than five meters a head. I started crawling. While I was crawling the enemy fired a number of mortars to our direction. While I was crawling I found a group of soldiers and then I lost my memory. I don’t know how I came to the hospital.”

After this terrible incident Lt   BX47 had nightmares, intrusions and severe startling reaction. He avoided any reminders of the trauma.

After he became a psychological casualty Lt BX47 had to face many psychosocial problems. His Unit refused to recognize him as a battle casualty since he had no physical wounds. Some officers accused him of being a malingerer. Only a very few understood the suffering that he underwent. He had severe survival guilt and he accused himself for leaving his men in Paranthan Jaffna. He personally felt responsible for their deaths.

He had no aim in life. Although he was newly married he was not interested inhis  marital life. He could not concentrate on his work and study for the promotional exams. His memory was fading. On numerous occasions he lost his temper and acted with extreme hostility. The traumatic memories of Paranthanwas imprinted on his mind and made him dysfunctional. On one occasion he planned to end his life. Fortunately his life was saved by a miracle power. After this attempted suicide he was referred to the Combat Trauma treatment Center at the Military Hospital Colombo. He was diagnosed with PTSD by Dr. Neil Fernando- Consultant Psychiatrist of the Sri Lanka Army.

Lt BX47 gave his consent to undergo treatment and he was treated with medication and psychotherapy. His traumatic intrusions were desensitized by EMDR and Cognitive mode of therapies helped him to regain insight. Medication helped him to fight the altered brain chemistry that was caused by combat related psychological trauma. Gradually he realized that he was not responsible for the deaths of his soldiers. He was able to come to terms with the prolonged survival guilt.   Psychosocial rehabilitation helped him to rebuild his social and professional life. Today LtBX47 is a father of two children and got his due promotions and is leading a productive life.

Lance Corporal HJXX– The Vietnam Veteran

In 2006 I was undergoing psychotherapy training at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia under the renowned Clinical Psychologist Dr. Susan Rogers.  There I met a number of Vietnam veterans and I specifically remember Lance Corporal HJXX who told me an unforgettable story of the war. His story still echoes in my mind and I still recall his words.

He went to Vietnam when he was just 18 and suddenly found himself in an unfamiliar country with numerous hostilities.  Life in Vietnam was uncertain saidLance Corporal HJXX .

We were surrounded by booby traps and hostile North Vietnamese Forces. When we went to Vietnam to fight Communism we considered Vietnamese as sub humans. We were proud US marines. We called them Gooks.

I worked as a Radio Operator and called Napalm attacks by air. I had destroyed many Vietnam villages by requesting air attacks. Today I am in my old age. When I see my grandchildren I remember what had occurred in Vietnam.  I feel that I had helped to destroy men women and children in those Vietnamese villages. Most certainly I had killed little children like my grandkids by requesting air attacks.     Today I am repenting  those actions. Now I know the value of life. Life is something sacred and has to be treated with respect.”

The Gulf War Veteran

I met the Gulf War Veteran RGXX at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia. RGXX belongs to the new generation of combatants. He had served in the 2nd Gulf War(The military campaign which began with the invasion of Iraq by forces led by the United States). He was stationed in Mosul Iraq. While serving in Mosul he was exposed to traumatic combat events and became a psychological casualty of the Gulf War.

A considerable number of veterans like RGXX came home with horrendous memories of the war. Many veterans have been diagnosed with GWS (Gulf War Syndrome) which is characterized by chronicfatigue, headache muscle pain, neurologic signs     memory loss, sleep disturbances gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiovascular symptoms.

After  long term therapy and rehabilitation he is recovering. He wishes to go to NY and start a new life.

The Ex-Soldier and the Healer

Terry is a special person who had served in Vietnam as a combatant and now completely dedicates his life to treat combatants with war trauma as a mental health clinician.  Terry was introduced to me by Dr.Mahasen De Silva -US Board Certified Psychiatrist of the Colmary O’Neal Veteran Administration Topeka Kansas. (As far as I know Dr. Mahasen De Silva is the only Sri Lankan who is treating the Vietnam veterans in a VA Hospital)

Terry is a very constructive person and I have learnt many positive things from him. He went to Vietnam when he was just eighteen and saw the naked reality of the war. After serving his term we returned to the United States with numerous life experiences. A large percentage of ex combatants who returned from Vietnam had readjustment problems. The American society was very critical and judgmental towards them. Many ex-servicemen began to drink and abused drugs to break the isolation.

When other veterans were fighting a new war after coming home Terry took a different path. He began to study and analyze the war trauma. There were many psychosocial challenges in front of him.  Terry took these psycho social issues as life challengers and faced them positively.  He studied combat psychology and joined the VA. Since he was a soldier Terry understands the problems of the war veterans very well and he is very empathetic to the combatants who are struck by the war. Today he is rendering a comparable service to the war torn soldiers at the Colmary O’Neal Veteran Administration Topeka Kansas.

Roland Glenn the Soldier Who Fought in Okinawa 

In 2010 my friend Roland Glenn of Kittery USA requested me to write a review to his autobiographical war memoirs Hawk Dove World Okinawa Korea”As an Infantry Combat Company Commander, he saw significant action during the battle of Okinawa.

I was in charge of leading about 200 soldiers, an enormous amount of responsibility for someone 20 years old says Glenn.  The killing of fellow human beings in the name of democracy remains my most vivid memory. I was brainwashed to think of the Japanese as sub-human monkey runts. I totally believed in the mission to obliterate the Japs. I was trained to kill and that is exactly what I did on Okinawa but there is nothing in our training that really prepares us for the taking of another human life. I have written my book about my own recovery from the traumas of combat.” 

His book is a first-person account of the horrific hand-to-hand fighting at Okinawa, where 12,500 Americans died. Glenn was a brave soldier and was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Glenn’s book The Hawk and the Dove” is the first hand account of a WWII combatant who fought in Okinawa and Korea. The author vividly describes his transformation from an innocent Pennsylvanian young lad to afully-fledged combatant. During the War the author undergoes profound traumatic battle events and comes home as a hero but with the displeasing memories of the war. After coming home his second battle begins and he fights the next enemy – combat related PTSD which he overcomes with his will and determination and innate love for the humanity.

One marvelous thing about this book is throughout the book the author has not lost the human touch and his feelings for the fellow soldiers and for the enemy. Even after 50 years of the War, he still recalls the upsetting event in which he was compelled to put a bullet through the head of an enemy (Japanese) soldier. The Hawk and the Dove is one of the best books on war experience that I have read after Erich Maria Remarque‘s All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Today he lives in a small American town enjoying his retirement. He expresses his views on war in these words.

 I do not think that wars solve problems. I strongly believe that more serious diplomatic efforts should be undertaken to resolve international problems. One of my major concerns right now is all the veterans returning with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This has got to be one of the biggest stories to come out of the Middle East wars. These veterans will require medical and psychological care for the remainder of their lives.” I’m hoping that youth who are considering careers in the military will have the opportunity to read my book. I’m not advocating that young people not have careers in the military, but am suggesting to our youth that there are many more options to serve our country and our communities than going to war.” 

The Former Child Soldier

In 2009 I went to buy some refreshments at a convenience store at DonMills and Shepherd in North York. At the counter there was a young Sri Lankan Tamil guy and he easily recognized me as a Sinhaleses. It was a few months after Prabhakaran’s death and some of the Tamil Diaspora living in Canada were extremely hostile to the Sinhala people.  When he saw me his faced changed. I could read his eyes. It said I wish I could have you for my lunch you Sihalese …” But he suppressed his hostile feelings and served me as a usual customer.

After this incident I had to go to this convenience store several times and every time he was unfriendly. One day I met him face to face at the store and I greeted him by saying Wannakam” He was stunned but returned my greeting. After this incident his attitude towards me was better. Once on my regular visit to the store I wanted to verify a dental product and I spoke to him in broken Tamil (Dr. Ram Manoharwho worked with me at the NegomboHospital taughtme Tamil words and some phrases. Later Ram became the JMO Jaffna Hospital and is now living in the UK) He explained about the product to me in a very friendly manner. Later he asked me who I was etc and we became acquainted with each other.

Within several months we became friends and once he told me his life story. To conceal his identity I would call him Sathi. Sathi was from Prabhakaran’s villageValvettithuraiand he knew Prhabahakaran and his family. Sathi decided to join the LTTE when he was very young. As a child soldier Sathiparticipated in several attacks that were launched against the Sri Lanka Army. But he did not preciselymention these attacks.

After serving in the LTTE for some years, he came to Colombo and accidentally met a relative. This relative had offered him the option of going abroad. First they thought of going to Norway or Australia. Sathi’s relative had a friend in Canada. So they decided go to Canada. Sathi and his relative entered Canada as refugees. Today he is a Canadian Citizen and working in a convenience store.

One day Sathi called me in distres. His father who is living in Valvettithuraihad suffered a heart attack. He was helpless and did not know what to do. Knowing my medical background Sathi asked me  advice. I immediately sent an email to  ProfDayaSomasundaram  of the Adelaide University Australia and asked for help. Prof Somasundaramcontacted the Cardiologist at the Jaffna Hospital (who was one of his students) and did the needful to Sathi’s father. After a few weeks of treatment Sathy’s father had a complete recovery.

Sahthi thanked me a lot. He never expected such help from a Sinhalese guy when he was in dire straits. I think this event changed his understanding of Sinhala people dramatically. Later Sathi told me that when he was living in Jaffnathey were constantly told that Sinhala people are ruthless and they are the enemies of the Tamil people. He further said that this personal incident helped him to change the myths about Sinhala people.

This is a personal incident that occurred between two people who have come from the same country but with different views and rivalry. Positive communication helped both parties to eliminate the myths about each other. This small example allowed me to think in big. If Sinhala and Tamil people come to a common ground puttingaside petty differences, past antagonisms and work together for peace Sri Lanka would be a paradise once again.

Conclusion

During these years I have met a number of soldiers who participated in different wars. These combatants came from different countries, different societies and different cultures. They had seen death and destruction in these conflicts. They had witnessed the human suffering. Although they belonged to different ethnic groups, spoke different languages their emotional pain is very similar. There is an university in their emotional anguish. Human pain has no ethnic differences.

I recollect some words of General Omar Bradley who once said Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living.” I think Bradley was correct.

CASTE CONSCIOUS SHINING INDIA

April 19th, 2018

ALI SUKHANVER

This spring proved the beginning of a new tale of distress and grief for the low-caste Hindus of India. According to the details narrated by the Washington Post, Caste prejudice is endemic in Hindu-majority India, even though the constitution outlaws the practice and has made it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison. The law also states that anyone accused of a caste-related crime could face immediate arrest. However, last month the Supreme Court ruled that in order to prevent misuse of the law, government officers accused of flouting it can be arrested only after their supervisors sign off on an inquiry.” This ruling of the Supreme Court of India triggered off an air of insecurity and anxiety among the low-caste Hindus particularly among the Dalits. They announced a nationwide strike in protest on 2nd April. Particularly in Ahmadabad thousands of Dalits thronged the roads with bows and arrows and started raising slogans against the Supreme Court of India and the Modi government. The protest spread like wild fire in several parts of north and central India too. The protesters were of the opinion that the orders from the Supreme Court would simply ‘dilute legal safeguards put in place for their marginalized community’.

Earlier in 2017, a judge of the High-Court Mr. C.S. Karnan had also brought his protest on record regarding the atrocities against the low-caste Hindus in India by writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in which he had urged an action against 20 judges and three senior law officials who were involved in different types of corruption and racial injustice. His writing a letter to the Prime Minister was dealt as contempt of court and consequently he had to face a six-month imprisonment ‘awarded’ to him by the Supreme Court of India. In this way, Mr. C.S. Karnan became the first Indian High Court judge who was sent to prison for contempt of court. Writing letters to the high-command regarding corruption and biasness of his fellow judges had been a salient rather regular feature of Justice C. S. Karnan personality; in November 2011, Karnan wrote to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes alleging caste-based harassment from other judges of the Madras High Court. Addressing a press conference organized in his chamber, he said that he had faced such “humiliation and embarrassment since April 2009” and that it still continued. He spoke of a specific incident when a judge “touched him with his foot”. Unfortunately instead of listening to complaints of Justice Karnan, a Dalit by caste, a seven-judge Supreme Court bench ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Justice Karnan by a panel of government doctors to ascertain if he was mentally ill and directed the West Bengal police to assist the medical team in this matter. India’s Chief Justice JS Khehar was also among the members of the bench. In response to the orders of his psychiatric evaluation, Justice Karnan ‘back-fired’ by issuing orders of psychiatric examination of the seven Supreme Court judges who had passed the orders against him. He directed the police chief of New Delhi to offer assistance in this regard. This ‘judicial-game’ came to an end when Justice Karnan was released from Presidency Jail in Kolkata after serving a six-month sentence on 21st December 2017. It certainly conveys a very bad national impression when the honourable members of judiciary in a country are in a state of war with each other. The situation must not reach such a stage anywhere as judiciary is the last ray of hope even for a man in the street. When a common man sees the judges quarreling with each other, he loses all hopes regarding his own safety and security. So such situation must always be avoided if possible but the question arises here; what were the actual factors which compelled Justice Karnan to raise hue and cry against his fellow judges?

Analysts say that whatever Justice Karnan did was nothing but a reaction to the atrocities against the low-caste Hindus in India as he himself belongs to the Dalit community. In the Indian media, Justice Karnan is known as ‘a rebel without a pause’. During his seven-year tenure as a high court judge in Chennai from 2009, he accused at least two chief justices of discriminating against him because of his caste. He also accused a fellow judge of raping an intern but this allegation of him is yet to be proven. According to the BBC News, Justice Karnan was generally in a habit of antagonizing his colleagues, so much so that at the end of 2014 several of his fellow judges petitioned the chief justice of India, demanding his transfer because they couldn’t work with him. When the Supreme Court did transfer him to Kolkata, he passed an order staying his own transfer. Whatever Justice Karnan had been doing throughout his career as a judge, seems his reaction against the horrible caste system of India. The strongest proof in this regard is that he had issued a suo-motu judicial order against Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and six other Supreme Court judges on April 13 2017 and had asked them to appear before him at his residence by 11.30 in the morning on April 28 for violation of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act by them. The game is still on; let us wait what happens next.

Skripals poisoning ‘highly likely’ staged by British intelligence – Russian Foreign Ministry

April 19th, 2018
The UK’s behavior after the Skripal incident suggests that the attack was organized by the British spy agencies or was at least beneficial for them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.
Skripals poisoning ‘highly likely’ staged by British intelligence – Russian Foreign Ministry

It was highly likely that the false-flag incident with the poisoning of the Russian citizens in Salisbury was beneficial for, or perhaps organized by, the British intelligence services in order to mar Russia and its political leadership,” Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, markedly using the same phrase regarding probability as London officials and their allies.

Such a false-flag operation would perfectly fit into the general Russophobe course of the [UK] Conservative government to demonize our country,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the UK has frequently committed such acts in the past.”

The National Defense Strategy of the UK and the banquet speech of PM Theresa May at the end of last year,” also contribute to such version of events, according to Zakharova. The document and May’s speech have clearly envisioned countering Russia” as one of the main priorities for the UK.

London’s actions in the aftermath of the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in the town of Sailsbury have raised many questions in Moscow. Russia says the UK did everything possible to disrupt the investigation and conceal facts, while squarely pinning the blame on Moscow. Russia has vehemently denied the allegations and repeatedly urged the UK to show some proof, or at least make information on the incident publicly available.

The firm refusal to cooperate with Russia on the Salisbury poisoning investigation, London’s violations of the consular convention, reluctance to cooperate with the OPCW and concealment of the basic data to conduct a transparent investigation are the shining proofs of that,” Zakharova concluded.

Staged suffering? Interview with boy in Douma video raises more doubts over ‘chem attack’

April 19th, 2018
The boy portrayed as a ‘victim’ in a video of the alleged chemical attack in Douma has told a Russian TV crew that he was asked to go to hospital, where people grabbed” him and started pouring water” over his head.
Full Report
https://www.rt.com/news/424563-douma-boy-chemical-video/

Panic, fear, screaming adults and frightened children featured in the purported footage of the aftermath following the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. The video has been circulated by mainstream media since April 7 after being posted by the so-called Douma Revolution group.

The group is one of the organizations, along with the notorious rebel-linked White Helmets, that has claimed government troops were the culprits behind the reported chemical attack.

One of the main ‘characters’ in the footage is a soaked boy, who is seen being sprayed with water by people who claim to be ‘rescue workers.’ It’s not clear whether they are doctors from the hospital, human rights activists, or White Helmets members. The latter usually make such videos and send them to news agencies, including Reuters.

Russian broadcaster VGTRK said it found the boy in the video, who appeared to be 11-year-old Hassan Diab. His story differed from the one presented by the activists and later propagated by the mainstream media. He was in the basement with his mother, who said they ran out of food, when they heard some noise outside.

READ MORE: Douma ‘gas attack’ aftermath footage shows opposition groups moving victims’ bodies (GRAPHIC VIDEOS)

Somebody was shouting that we had to go to the hospital, so we went there. When I came in, some people grabbed me and started pouring water over my head,” he told Evgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent from Russian broadcaster VGTRK. Hassan confirmed that he was the boy in the video, and was very scared when the whole situation unfolded. He is now fine and shows no symptoms of having experienced a chemical attack two weeks ago.

He was eventually found by his father, who said he didn’t hear about any chemical attack that day. I went to the hospital, walked upstairs, and found my wife and children. I asked them what had happened, and they said people outside were shouting about some smell, and told them to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they gave dates and cookies to the kids,” he said.

One of the medical workers, who was reportedly on shift at the time, said he was surprised by the sudden influx. Some people came here and washed people. They said: ‘Chemical attack. Chemical attack.’ We didn’t see any chemical attack symptoms,” he added. He did, however, say that there were many people with respiratory problems as a result of dust from recent bombings in the city.

Social media posts and the White Helmets’ report were enough for the US, UK and France to launch a series of strikes on Syria on April 14. The announcement of the strikes came hours before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team was scheduled to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there.

READ MORE: Moscow has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chem attack in Syria’s Douma was staged – Russia’s envoy to OPCW

The boy agreed to play this role for food. Then the video was circulated across the globe and became the ‘evidence’ which served as an excuse for the US, the UK and French airstrikes [against Syria],” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

Moscow is planning to show the video about Hassan at the next meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia told Rossiya 1 on Thursday.

Editorial note: The headline and introduction to this story have been changed to better reflect the statements of the boy interviewed by the Russian TV crew.

THE “DARUSMAN REPORT” Part 4

April 18th, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

This essay in the Darusman report series  features the  review of the Darusamn Report by Geoffrey Nice QC & Rodney Dixon QC   at the request of the Paranagama Commission. It is taken from the Parangama Commjission report.

March 24, 2015, 12:00 pm

Review of “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC & Rodney Dixon QC

Review of “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka”

 Introduction

1. This is a Review of the Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka (“the Report”)

2. The Panel of Experts was appointed primarily to advise the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of appropriate accountability measures in the wake of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka that ended in May 2009 having regard to the alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that occurred during the final stages of the conflict.

3. The Panel found that there are “credible allegations, Rif proven” which indicate that both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE committed violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. In relation to the Government, the Panel found “credible allegations” of shelling in the Vanni (in northern Sri Lanka) during the final stages of the war between September 2008 and May 2009 which it is alleged caused civilian deaths, in particular in three No Fire Zones (“NFZs”) which had been declared as safe havens by the Government and on certain hospitals in these zones and on the front lines.

4. The figure for civilian deaths that the Panel relies on is “a range of up to 40,000” which it stated “cannot be ruled out”, but which requires further investigation.

5. Sources for this ‘up to 40,000’ figure are not identified in the Report. The figure is widely disputed. There is no clear breakdown given in the Report of where and how these alleged deaths occurred and of how it might be verified that they were civilian deaths in each particular case or of who was responsible for each of these deaths. This shortcoming must be taken into account when the Panel’s findings and the use to which they can legitimately be put are considered.

6. Set against these findings in respect of the Government, the Panel concluded in relation to the LTTE that there are “credible allegations” that approximately 300,000 – 330,000 civilians were kept hostage by the LTTE in the Vanni and prevented from leaving the area. They were used as human shields by the LTTE and as a “strategic human buffer” to the advancing Sri Lanka Army. The Report states that these civilians were forced to join the ranks of the LTTE, to dig trenches and prepare other defences, “thereby contributing to blurring the distinction between combatants and civilians”. Civilians were also shot by the LTTE, and the Report notes that the LTTE fired artillery “in proximity” to large groups of civilians and fired from civilian “installations” including hospitals. The Report concludes that “many civilians were sacrificed on the altar of the LTTE case and its efforts to preserve its senior leadership”.

7. The Report fails, however, to offer any figures for the number of civilians allegedly killed or injured by the LTTE and provides no analysis of any kind of the precise circumstances in which these deaths and incidents allegedly occurred.

8. The Report also details alleged violations by both sides that occurred outside the conflict zone and after the conflict had ended. They include alleged offences committed by Government forces during the screening and detention of those who left the conflict zone and, as against the LTTE, alleged attacks on civilians by the LTTE outside ‘the conflict zone.

9. In light of these findings, the Panel goes on to conclude that the Government’s efforts at the time of the Report to address accountability fell short of international standards in which the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparations should be central. The Panel makes certain recommendations for the investigation of alleged crimes and the adoption of measures to advance accountability in the short and longer term.

10. These recommendations are rooted in the Panel’s findings in respect of the nature and scope of the alleged violations that are set out in the Report. Indeed, the Panel acknowledged that accountability standards “cannot be examined in a vacuum”, and that its advice to the Secretary-General on appropriate accountability mechanisms had to be based on “the nature and scope of the alleged violations”. The Panel said that it was thus required “to gather information from a variety of sources in order to characterize the extent of the allegations” and “appraise them legally”

11. That foundation and sources for the Panel’s advice and recommendations – the alleged violations themselves – must be closely evaluated.

12. Accordingly, this Review assesses the nature, the value, and -to the extent possible – the veracity of the findings in the Report, and the sources of these findings, which are central to the Panel’s advice and recommendations. It does so by measuring the workings and findings of the Panel against well-established legal standards for the proper and fair assessment of evidence and information when it is used for assigning responsibility for crimes.

13. It can be borne in mind that the Panel, in a public document, purported to make such assessments of evidence and other information where it has indicated that the parties to the conflict, in particular the Government, have allegedly perpetrated widespread and very serious crimes.

14. This Review, however, will not mirror the approach of the Panel and will reach no conclusions on whether crimes of particular types were in fact committed by one party or the other. Nor will it venture into the area of policy by recommendations of what the Government should, or should not, do. Leaders in the Government will have well-formed opinions and / or beliefs as to whether offences were, or were not, committed by the parties in the ways alleged (without necessarily being dependent on evidence that may be available to third parties to establish such crimes) and have been and are reacting by political and other measures to the views they have formed.

Appraisal of the Panel’s workings and findings in respect of the alleged violations

15. On review, the Panel’s findings in respect of the alleged criminal violations fall well short of the legal standards usually associated with a rigorous and impartial inquiry into evidence in order to make such findings. The evidence and information on which the Report’s findings are based are virtually all un-sourced, whether in the main body of the Report or in the footnotes and annexes. There are many examples of this deficiency, illustrations of which are set out below.

16. This is not to say that these sources do not exist, but to highlight that very few have been identified in the Report. The Report only refers in the most general terms to the categories of information that were relied on.7 The reader of the Report cannot, thus, gauge the extremely serious allegations against sources and evidence that may exist in order to assess the strength of the allegations. Further, as the full body of evidence that was taken into account is unknown, it is alike impossible to know what has been taken into account and whether any particular piece of evidence which may he important to counter an allegation has been overlooked.

17. This makes the task of conducting any further investigation – as recommended by the Report – much more difficult. Without a ‘starting point’ of existing evidence where should the new investigator begin a search? To which witness or evidence should s/he turn?

18. Moreover, there is no analysis of any identifiable and verifiable evidence that may be relied on (mostly un-sourced as it is), by reference to the relevant legal elements of the offences, all of which would require proof of mental states in those committing or directing the allegedly criminal acts. The repeated assertion that civilians were shelled by the Sri Lanka Army in various locations and were unlawfully killed as a matter of international law is not deconstructed in order to allow the reader to forma reasoned opinion on whether the factual or mental state requirements of the alleged brimes may be the subject of available evidence. In particular, there is no analysis offered in the Report of (i) the evidence of the circumstances of each of these alleged attacks, (ii) the presence of any legitimate military targets and objects, (iii) how it can be determined on the evidence from where the attacks emanated, and (iv) whether any of those attacked were civilians, and if so in what proportion.

19. Analysis of the complex and intricate legal requirements for an unlawful attack under international humanitarian law and customary international law to the facts in each particular case is completely lacking in the Report. This deficiency is compounded by the lack of identifiable sources of evidence to substantiate factually the allegations that are made.

20. When allegations in the Report against both sides are viewed together, it is not clear on what basis the Panel makes conclusions about the responsibility of the Government for all, or any particular portion, of the civilian deaths that occurred, and is able to determine that any such responsibility is criminal as a matter of international law. The Panel acknowledges that the civilians in the Vanni were hostages of the LTTE, were used by them as human shield and as combatants to fight the Sri Lanka Army and were also targeted by the LTTE including in the very areas and hospitals that the Government is accused of shelling. In these circumstances how is the Panel able to find that the Government was nevertheless responsible for killing these same civilians unlawfully or to make any necessary distinctions between who could have been criminally responsible in accordance with the standards under international law that render military attacks unlawful. The Panel’s approach also assumes that the persons killed, whatever the number, were in fact civilians as opposed to persons who had taken up arms voluntarily or under compulsion on the side of the LTTE.

21. These are necessarily complex questions which the Panel does not address in its Report. The Panel has instead taken a ‘broad brush’ approach and ascribed responsibility in a general way to both sides in order to get on to its primary task of considering appropriate accountability mechanisms. Yet any discussion about these mechanisms can be of little relevance or use without an accurate account of the conflict and of the alleged violations that were committed in it.

22. This is unfortunate as it does not advance the inquiry to find the truth save by a generalised recommendation that these matters need to be investigated further. The Report does not confine itself to saying, as it should given its approach to the evidence, that there are many disputed allegations which require further investigation. On the contrary, it positively claims that the allegations are credible and reliable. It elevates them to trustworthy allegations that should be accepted and that now need to be refuted.

23. Indeed, as a result of publication of the Report there have been many subsequent statements, reports and recommendations which have regarded the Report’s findings as conclusive.8 The Sooka Report, for example, stated that,

“There is plenty of evidence available from other reliable sources to corroborate the allegations made in this report. Since 2009, there were a number of reports, including that of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts published in March 2011, documenting violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law”.

24. Herein lies the danger – whether intended or not – of the claims that are made in the Report about the criminal responsibility of the Government and its forces. Without a robust and disciplined investigation with legal analysis of the evidence, properly sourced and carefully scrutinised, tested and weighed according to the highest legal standards, it can be very risky to publish findings of the sort set out in this Report, even if the Report states formally that any allegations made are not proven.

25. Panels of experts established by the UN should be ‘on guard’ against the risk that unsourced assertions or allegations appearing in a sequence of reports allow the development of ‘false collateral’ of one report by another, that may have been constructed on the same un-sourced allegations. Narratives develop in opinion-formers and decision-makers, none of whom may have the time to read, let alone rigorously to analyse, reports that, like the instant Report, are often hundreds of pages long.

26. Such reports can be relied on within the international community to draw conclusions which are in fact unproven but which are repeated and reproduced over time. The reports become the accepted narrative of a conflict and of those responsible for criminal behaviour without independent investigation and verification of the ‘facts’, let alone any judicial findings following a proper legal inquiry. A cornucopia made of insubstantial elements is itself insubstantial.

27. International courts and tribunals have not placed reliance on reports of this nature as being probative evidence to prove allegations in trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.” As set out in the jurisprudence of these courts, the present Report would be of virtually no value to a court seeking to establish the truth, and it should not be given any more weight outside of the courtroom.

Approach of the Panel to verifying allegations of violations

28. The shortcomings of the Report may be explained by the fact that, as it acknowledged, the Panel did not conduct fact-finding” or reach “factual conclusions regarding disputed facts”, and nor did it “carry out a formal investigation that draws conclusions regarding legal liability or the culpability of States, non-state actors, or individuals”. 12 The Report goes so far as to state that “the Panel’s mandate precludes fact-finding or investigation”.

29. Yet, in order to advise the Secretary-General on accountability measures the Panel recognised that it had to make certain determinations about the violations for which such measures should be tailored. The Panel’s mandate would come to nothing in the absence of the Panel finding clearly identified violations of a widespread and systematic character.

30. In consequence, perhaps, the Panel adopted a ‘halfway house’ solution. It did not conduct a full fact-finding investigation as the police would do in any national jurisdiction, but consulted various individuals and organisations and examined available `information’. This approach, in the Panel’s view, permitted it to make factual findings on- the basis of its work but without the detailed inquiries that characterise a full investigation.

31. This methodology arguably produced the worst of both worlds – no conclusions based on any detailed investigation according to recognised legal standards in a Report emboldened to reach clear findings which point the finger at those allegedly responsible.

32. The Panel described its work in the following terms:

• The Panel’s programme of work was organized in two phases. In the first phase, the Panel gathered a variety of information regarding the armed conflict in Sri Lanka from individuals and institutions with expertise or experience related to its mandate. Some of this information came in written form, consisting of both public documents – e.g. governmental, United Nations or reports of nongovernmental organizations (NG0s) – and material conveyed confidentially to the Panel. Other information was gathered through numerous meetings of the Panel of its secretariat. The Panel met with officials of the United Nations and international organizations as well as representatives of Governments and NG0s and individuals directly affected by the events of the final stages of the war. In the second phase of its work, the Panel drafted this report. The report was written in a manner that makes it suitable for publication.

• The Panel’s assessment is based on a careful examination and weighing of the allegations of fact that have been made regarding the final stages of the war. The Panel’s examination included both written sources of information as well as interviews with various individuals. The written sources included reports, documents and other written accounts by the various agencies, departments, funds, offices and programmes of the United Nations, other inter-governmental organizations, NG0s and individuals, such as journalist and experts on Sri Lanka. It included satellite imagery, photographs and video materials of the final phase of the war. It also included submissions received by the Panel during the course of its work in response to its notifications posted on the United Nations website. While these could not be individually verified, at times they served to corroborate other sources. Some relevant media sources, referring, for example, to statements of the Government of Sri Lanka or other public statements, are cited in this chapter, but serve only to corroborate the information gathered by the Panel. A number of NGO reports exist on events in the Lanni. While the Panel reviewed some of these reports, it did not rely on them to compile these allegations, but rather carried out its own assessment of the nature and scope of allegations.

• The Panel consulted a number of individuals with expertise or experience related to the armed conflict, including officials of international organizations, NG0s, journalists, diplomats, academics, and other individuals, some of whom were in Sri Lanka or in the Vanni during the relevant period.

33. It is evident from these general statements that the Panel consulted several sources, but the raw evidence from these sources is not made available in the Report. In particular, the statements and other evidence (for example documents, videos etc if any were produced by witnesses) of those who were interviewed and consulted were not submitted with the Report. Indeed, witness statements — assuming there were any — are not even quoted anonymously as can readily happen and as does happen in other authoritative reports of crimes committed in conflicts.

34. The Panel stressed that the only allegations included in the Report as credible are those “based on primary sources that the Panel deemed relevant and trustworthy”. 19 However, it is impossible to discern from the Report which primary sources were decisive for its findings, and there is no record of the discussions and assessments carried out by the Panel having considered these and other sources.

35. The Panel was clearly alive to this problem. The generalised caution adopted by the Panel was expressed as follows:

To determine whether an allegation is credible, the Panel considered the totality of the information in its possession, with careful regard to the relevance, weight and reliability of each of the sources as well as its relationship to the body of information, as a whole. Allegations are only included as credible when based on primary sources that the Panel deemed relevant and trustworthy. These primary sources were corroborated by other kinds of information, both direct and indirect. The allegations laid out below are based on credible and consistent sources of information. In fact, many of the allegations would appear to meet a higher standard of proof.

36. The Panel indicated that it did not rely on NGO reports and notifications posted on its website. However, without knowing from the Report which were the primary sources, and without being able to review this material and contrast it with the material that was relied on for purely corroborative purposes, it is of little, or no, use only to know the approach taken by the Panel to its work in such broad and undefined terms. The Panel has opened itself to being criticised for paying lip service to the caution it rightly identified.

37. The Report might have achieved greater credibility for its assessment of the unidentified evidence on which it has relied if it candidly acknowledged that it failed to reveal – or even intentionally obscured for some reason – its process of ratiocination.

Standard of proof adopted

38. This central weakness in the Report is exacerbated by the standard of proof that it professed to adopt. A non-legal analysis – as by a journalist or academic, a ‘tinker, tailor soldier or spy’ or anyone else – can use any standard s/he likes: ‘A felt sure’, ‘A felt reasonably confident’, ‘A was absolutely convinced’, ‘A had my suspicions’ etc. In a document dealing with alleged criminality on a major scale – that names those who may be responsible and who merit further judicial and other process – it might be thought better to turn to, and carefully to apply, the standards of proof recognised by international criminal courts. This is something the Report failed properly and consistently to do.

39. The Panel pointed out that it sought “to assess whether the allegations that are in the public domain are sufficiently credible to warrant further investigations”. To this end the Panel stated that it employed the ‘reasonable basis to believe’ standard of proof “to characterize the extent of the allegations, assess which of the allegations are credible based on the information at hand, and appraise them legally”. 22 The Panel said that it “determined an allegation to be credible if there was a reasonable basis to believe that the underlying act or event occurred.

40. The Panel stated that it settled on this standard because it “gives rise to a responsibility under domestic and international law for the State or other actors to respond. No authority or further explanation is given for this proposition; the authors of this Review are unable to fill in this glaring citation gap from their own knowledge.

41. The Panel also offered no definition of the ‘reasonable basis to believe’ standard it said it was applying and it is, thus, not possible to be certain whether they had in mind the `reasonable basis to believe’ test in international law for which authoritative definition does exist.

42. It should be noted that international courts and tribunals have confirmed that the `reasonable basis to believe’ standard — if that is what the Panel had in mind — is the lowest evidentiary standard of proof.. The standard does, nevertheless, require that there exists a proper foundation of identifiable evidence on which to forma reasonable belief that crimes have been committed. It allows for, and expects, an ability on the part of anyone applying the standard to be able to articulate why the standard has been met. That ability is not revealed by this Panel where it asks its readers to take its analysis of evidence — and its partition of primary from secondary corroborative evidence — entirely on trust.

43. The highest standard of proof is that of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ which is required to convict an accused of a crime.26Below the standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is a standard of ‘substantial grounds to believe’. At the ICC, this standard is considered during the confirmation of charges process and requires that the Prosecution provide the Chamber with sufficient evidence to establish that “substantial grounds [exist] to believe that the person committed each of the crimes charged.”

44. The ‘reasonable basis to believe’ standard is used at the ICC to determine whether an investigation should be launched and if any persons should be charged as a result of this investigation. Although this standard does not require that the available evidence lead only to one conclusion, 28 it does demand that there is sufficient reliable and verifiable evidence available to establish “the criminal responsibility of an individual” which can result in charges being brought and the person losing her / his liberty through arrest and detention pending trial.

45. The ICC has held that “the Chamber must be satisfied that there exists a sensible or reasonable justification” for the allegations after “evaluating the available information provided by the Prosecutor.” 30 The ICC has emphasised that the ‘reasonable basis to believe’ standard must be viewed in light of its purpose and the context in which it operates — “to prevent the Court from proceeding with unwarranted, frivolous, or politically motivated investigations that could have a negative effect on its credibility.”

46. The European Court of Human Rights has defined this standard (which it termed to be one of “reasonable suspicion”) to require “the existence of facts or information which would satisfy an objective observer that the person concerned may have committed the offence.”

47. The Panel seems to have used the standard that is recognised under international law to be at the very lowest end of the calibration of proof of allegations, but which nevertheless requires clear and demonstrable evidence (which is open to examination) to support the allegations relied on. It is hard to understand why the Panel — that had legal expertise available to it — should have failed to articulate openly and precisely which recognised standard it was applying, and how. The fact that it did not do so makes it easier to look with skepticism at its work and to fear that it may be characterised by amateurism and enthusiasm. The advantage of applying known legal tests strictly to work that requires legal analysis is that anyone reviewing the product of that work will have more, not less, confidence in its reliability and trustworthiness. The reverse, as in this case, has also to be true.

48. The Panel’s findings could have very serious consequences for Sri Lanka and its leaders but are based on the very lowest threshold of proof while using the language and discourse of international courts to introduce these findings without adopting — or seeming to pay any regard to — the practices of these courts that would reveal and explain the evidence on which the Panel has proceeded to its conclusions. The neutral observer might find it hard to overlook the fact that this has all been done in a time when — right or wrong — there has been substantial publicity adverse to the Sri Lankan Government. It would be naive not to recognise that in such times it is easier to advance conclusions in line with publicity without proper evidential support but in the hope, and with the reasonable expectation, of a busy world accepting what is asserted.

49. The Panel does acknowledge that its findings require further investigation but it has not set out what human or documentary sources should form the subject of such an investigation. Moreover, the concession that further investigation is required is overshadowed by the Panel asserting that it has conducted its own inquiries, applied a legal standard of proof, and found the allegations to be credible. It is these claims which have allowed the Report to become much more than a record of allegations and counter allegations that require diligent investigation before any conclusions are reached. The Panel has gone substantially further in concluding that its findings are reliable and trustworthy, and accordingly that the case put forward by the Government should be rejected.

 Primary source materials not identified

50. As noted above, although the Panel was at pains to stress that it only relied on primary sources to find that the allegations were trustworthy, the reader is left in the dark as to which were the primary sources.

51. It could be that confidentiality required that certain of these sources remained undisclosed. The Panel noted that,

In some instances, the Panel received written and oral material on the condition of an assurance of absolute confidentiality in the subsequent use of the information. The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) confirmed through formal legal advice that the provisions set out in the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on “Information sensitivity, classification and handling’ (ST/SGB/2007/6) could be applied to its records. This Bulletin provides for classification of a document as “strictly confidential” with correspondingly strict limits on any access fora period of 20 years, following which a declassification review may be undertaken that weighs the equities involved in retention or release. Moreover, OLA confirmed that, where necessary and appropriate for the Panel’s work, the Panel could give an undertaking of absolute confidentiality in the subsequent use. As a result, nearly all of the Panel’s substantive records will be classified as “strictly confidential” with, in some cases, additional protections regarding future use.

52. These key sources therefore remain completely anonymous, which further weakens the weight that can be given this evidence and the findings based upon it. The Panel did not indicate whether consideration had been given to making anonymised, redacted or summarised versions of this evidence available for evaluation when considering the Report’s findings and recommendations. The reader has no idea about the quantity and scope of this evidence even in the most general of terms.

53. There are very many instances in the Report in which strong allegations and statements are made with no sources to substantiate the findings put forward, for example:

• First NFZ: paras 80-89 of the Report allege that the Government unlawfully shelled civilians; however, not a single source for this accusation is identified, except a footnote referring to a Government denials of the shelling. It appears that UN staff were present but there is no evidence provided from these persons whose need for absolute anonymity would be hard to justify if relied on. The Report acknowledges that the LTTE were firing “from approximately 500 metres away” from the UN hub in the NFZ and “from further back in the NFZ”.35 No evidence is provided about these positions and what actions the LTTE were taking. As set out below, this is a repetitive shortcoming of the Report – it lacks analysis of the nature of the attacks and detailed consideration of their lawfulness as a matter of international law, particularly in respect of military necessity and proportionality.

• The Report claims that UN convoys into the Lanni were allegedly being used by the parties in the conflict, yet there is no evidence of the way in which this occurred, nor any analysis of the consequences for legitimate military action.

• Alleged shelling of the PTK hospital – paras. 90-96 of the Report: there are some sources provided – including from the ICRC – about this alleged attack which confirm that incidents of shelling and killings occurred, but no evidence is provided about those who may have been responsible.37 This occurs in other parts of the Report as well – certain sources report on the occurrence of an incident but without providing evidence of those who may have been responsible. It may be that these sources are in possession of such evidence, but without them being identified and made available it is impossible to assess their veracity. The overall value of the Report is undoubtedly diminished as a result.

• In this part the Report does note that the PTK hospital “was a strategic stronghold in the LTTE’s fight against the SLA” and that the LTTE thus had a “sizeable presence” in the PTK. 38 The Report acknowledges that the LTTE were firing artillery from the vicinity of the hospital.39 Once again, the significance of this evidence (which is not made available in any form) is unexplored. It is essential when considering the alleged attacks to take full account of these factors both to determine the source of the attacks and (depending in part on the answer to this question) the legality and proportionality of the return military action.

• Some journalistic accounts are footnoted as sources. However it is unclear whether these are cited merely for corroborative purposes, or whether they are regarded in any way and if so when, as primary sources. If they ever have been, questions over the reliability of such materials might arise; notoriously one particular series of news programmes (Channel 4) has drawn substantial, sustained and evidence-based criticism of unreliability from the Sri Lankan Government.

• Given that the UN had withdrawn from the Vanni by September 2008, as the Reports notes, there were virtually no international observers able to report on what was happening in the Vanni .40 The Report states that journalists working with the SLA or LTTE continued to report from the area as did other organisations, including Tamil Net, a pro-LTTE website.41 It is unclear from the Report the extent to which the information from these bodies has been relied on by the Panel and taken in account when shaping the Report.

• Second NFZ: paras 109-114 of the Report include allegations about the SLA inflicting civilian casualties “at the same time” as breaking through the LTTE defences.42 UNICEF and ICRC reports are referenced, but it is riot clear that these reports contain any concrete evidence about the lawfulness of the alleged attacks and who was responsible for the particular deaths reported on. It is also not clear whether these are the primary sources relied by the Panel or whether there are witness statements or other confidential reports that constitute the underlying principal evidence.

• Other hospitals: the Report refers to attacks on other hospitals by the SLA, such as the Putimattalan hospital where only a single source is footnoted 43 , an ICRC news release, which does not appear to assist with identifying the alleged perpetrator/s on the basis of any clear evidence. This news release could of course be a piece of evidence to consider in any investigation, ‘but the question is left open when these allegations are reviewed about whether there is any primary evidence in existence on which the Panel based its conclusions. The extent to which the LTTE targeted the population and prevented injured persons from leaving the area, including via ICRC ships”, is not taken into account at all in the Panel’s assessment of who may have been responsible for alleged attacks on civilians in hospitals.

• The same lack of sourcing is evident in the findings of the Panel in respect of the alleged violations that occurred after the end of hostilities. No source is provided for the wide-ranging allegations that are made about Government clandestine operations’ against the LTTE . Similarly, the allegations about there being a policy to target, torture and execute LTTE and other persons after the conflict are made as statements of fact without a body of clearly identifiable primary evidence, including witness statements, to back them up.

54. The lack of proper sourcing is a matter of particular concern when considering the Report’s overall findings about the alleged shelling into the NFZs (which as noted above forms a major part of the Panel’s discussion of the alleged violations). The Panel acknowledged that the LTTE did not accept the NFZs as “binding”. 48 According to the Report, the LTTE were present in the NFZs, firing from them and in them, and keeping the civilian population hostage:

Retaining the civilian population in the area that it controlled was crucial to the LTTE strategy. The presence of civilians both lent legitimacy to the LTTE’s claim for a separate homeland and provided a buffer against the SLA offensive. To this end, the LTTE forcibly prevented those living in the Vanni from leaving. Even when civilian casualties rose significantly, the LTTE refused to let people leave, hoping that the worsening situation would provide an international intervention and a halt to the fight. It used new and badly trained recruits as well as civilians essentially as “cannon fodder” in an attempt to protect its leadership until the final moments.

55. The Report records that as the LTTE suffered military setbacks in the final phases of the war, the NFZs were used as places to retreat with the civilian population being used by the LTTE to bolster their military campaign.50 The extent to which the use of the civilian population — whether acting voluntarily or forced into action and whether this was known or not by the Government forces — should be taken into account when determining the lawfulness of any Government military action against the LTTE is not addressed at all in the Report. It could well be a critical issue. The truth may be — and it may be an underlying truth of greater significance than the Panel might like to be understood and known — is that the evidence of what occurred in these final phases in and around the NFZs is simply not available for analysis by the Panel and this has severely limited the Panel’s ability to comment on these crucial questions. 51 Its failure properly and fully to acknowledge this limitation on its ability to do its work and to address a highly significant legal issue smacks of the same possible amateurism and enthusiasm referred to above. The issue would certainly be central to any full and robust legal inquiry into the alleged incidents, something the Panel has simply not undertaken.

56. The civilians as LTTE fighters issue (above) is exacerbated as a problem for the Panel’s conclusions by the Panel’s failure to clarify the extent to which the civilian population – which was estimated to be about 300,000 – 330,000 persons – was itself targeted and killed by the LTTE. This may be an absolutely critical question given that the Report appears to allege that these same persons were unlawfully targeted by the Government. Once again, the lack of identified primary sources and analysis of these sources means that these vital questions are not addressed and the Report’s credibility and integrity are much diminished as a result.

 Alleged civilian deaths

57. This very same problem arises in the Panel’s findings about the number of civilian deaths. The Panel notes that “a number of credible sources” have estimated there to have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths. 53 None of these sources is named in the Report, yet the figure is used in the Report and has been relied on repeatedly after publication of the Report as the correct figure with which to accuse the Government.

58. It is well-known that there are other sources which estimate the figure to be much lower, but these are not mentioned in the Report. At the very least it would be expected that a UN report of this type should set out the various competing accounts. The Panel does acknowledge that only a proper investigation can lead to the identification of an accurate figure, but it has not provided the full range of views from which to begin this important task.

59. The UN Country Team figure of 7,721 (up until 13 May 2009) is mentioned in the Report but then disputed by the Panel without it explaining how it is that over 30,000 people could have been killed in the final days of the war up until 18 May 2009 if the figure of 40,000 is ever to be correct and accurate. 56 The Report provides no concrete evidence to support the considerable leap from the UN Country Team’s figure of less than 10,000 to the substantial number of 40,000 adopted by the Report.

60. As noted above, the use of this figure by the Panel, over that of the UN Country Team, has been a central pillar in the argument of those who have accused the Government of being responsible for unlawfully killing civilians. The Report’s reliance on such a high fatality figure has naturally drawn attention, condemnation, and the leveling of strong accusations. Hence, the need for scrupulous accuracy — which is lacking in the Report —before circulating any figures which can then be taken as credible when they are entirely unsubstantiated. Otherwise, the very real danger exists that those with genuine concerns about the truth of what happened can be misled and have their views fuelled and provoked by accounts that lack any truth and substance.

61. The Panel also refers to the numbers of persons who were able to leave the Vanni at different times (which it claims total approximately 290,000), but again without any reliable source materials. 57 It is thus hard to see how any of these figures can be relied on to try to support the very high fatality figures that are alleged.

62. An obvious gap in the Report’s discussion of the number of deaths is how it can be said that these are all civilian deaths (whatever the number) or what portion of those who died were civilians entitled to the full protections of international humanitarian law. There is no analysis of this vital issue which would plainly have, to be at the centre of any assiduous investigation.

Lack of analysis of the alleged attacks under international law

63. The Report provides an overview of the law applicable to military attacks. 58 Yet it does not apply these intricate legal standards in any detail to the available evidence in reaching its conclusions about the unlawfulness of each particular alleged attack. The assertion is simply made repeatedly in the Report that the Government forces indiscriminately killed civilians, for example:

• Para. 100: “the SLA continuously shelled within the area that became the second NFZ from all directions. It is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 330,000 civilians in that small area”. No source is provided for these figures other than a footnote that UN documents “generally reference this number”.

• Para. 105: “While individual incidents of shelling and shooting took place on a daily basis, destroying the lives of many individuals and families, the SLA also shelled large gatherings of civilians capable of being identified by UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]. On 25 March, an MBRL attack on Ambalavanpokkanai killed around 140 people, including many children”. No sources are given for these claims and no evidence-based analysis is provided of the circumstances of the alleged incident.

• Para. 117: “The shelling within the third [and final] NFZ [declared on or about 8 May 2009] was such that it was impossible for the ICRC to conduct any more maritime rescues. As the SLA neared the hiding places of the senior LTTE leadership, its offensive assumed a new level of intensity, in spite of the thousands of civilians who remained trapped in the area”. No study is made of the nature of the military actions involved, and no account is properly taken of the fact that, as noted by the Panel in the very next sentence, the LTTE leadership were sending many persons in to die in their defence, “including through suicide missions”.

• Annex 3: the Panel attaches some examples of satellite imagery (of damage to certain sites) and diagrams of SLA artillery positions apparently derived from satellite images which purport to show the direction in which SLA artillery batteries were pointed at the NFZs over time. No expert report or evidence is provided with this material to explain its probative value and relevance to establishing whether any of the alleged attacks were unlawful. The Panel concedes that the images do not assist in showing which artillery hit any of the hospitals. The materials are discussed briefly in the Report in order to accuse the SLA of adjusting their artillery to target the NFZs. no consideration is given to any evidence about whether these positions were used, and if so in what specific circumstances, to attack NFZs. The Report notes that the LTTE also had heavy weapons (although fewer and in less space from which to fire them). 62 No attempt is made in the Report to assess the extent of the LTTE’s targeting of the NFZs and other areas with its heavy weapons and, most importantly, to juxtapose such evidence with any evidence of SLA artillery fire. The diagrams do not show or confirm any artillery fire.

• Para. 195: The Report asserts that “the Government of Sri Lanka did not respect the fundamental principle distinction [between combatants and civilians]”. Yet it offers no examination of the particular circumstances in which this is said to have occurred with the requisite intention to render the Government forces’ conduct unlawful as a matter of international law, or of the very real difficulties of making the distinction [between combatants and civilians] given the ways in which the LTTE was using the population in their final stand, and the fact that, as the Report notes, uniforms were not always worn by the LTTE, its supporters and those who fought for them. 63 The Report accepted that the line between combatants and civilians was “blurred”, but fails to apply this factual reality to any of the attacks under consideration.

64. This overly simplistic approach to characterising the alleged attacks represents a major flaw, as the Report simply does not grapple with the difficulties and intricacies of establishing whether any particular attack was justified militarily on all of the available evidence.

65. It is well-established under international law that military objects may be targeted and that an attack which causes loss of civilian life may be justified if it is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.64 The range of factors to be taken into account when applying these legal standards to the evidence in question is sizeable and their application demands a meticulous study of all available evidence.

66. As the ICRC has noted:

“Several States have indicated that in their target selection they will consider the military advantage to be anticipated from an attack as a whole and not from parts thereof The military manuals of Australia, Ecuador and the United States consider that the anticipated military advantage can include increased security for the attacking forces or friendly forces.

Many military manuals state that the presence of civilians within or near military objectives does not render such objectives immune from attack. This is the case, for example, of civilians working in a munitions factory. This practice indicates that such persons share the risk of attacks on that military objective but are not themselves combatants. This view is supported by official statements and reported practice. Such attacks are still subject to the principle of proportionality … and the requirement to take precautions in attack … The prohibition on using human shields is also relevant to this issue”.

“State practice often cites establishments, buildings and positions where enemy combatants, their material and armaments are located and military means of transportation and communication as examples of military objectives. As far as dual-use facilities are concerned, such as civilian means of transportation and communication which can be used for military purposes, practice considers that the classification of these objects depends, in the final analysis, on the application of the definition of a military objective. Economic targets that effectively support military operations are also cited as an example of military objectives, provided their attack offers a definite military advantage. In addition, numerous military manuals and official statements consider that an area of land can constitute a military objective if it fulfils the conditions contained in the definition.”

67. The ICRC has also clarified that in relation to the principle of proportionality and assessing the potential military advantage of any attack:

“Several States have stated that the expression ‘military advantage’ refers to the advantage anticipated from the military attack considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of that attack. The relevant provision in the Statute of the International Criminal Court refers to the civilian injuries, loss of life or damage being excessive ‘in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated’ … The ICRC stated at the Rome Conference on the Statute of the International Criminal Court that the addition of the word ‘overall’ to the definition of the crime could not be interpreted as changing existing law. Australia, Canada and New Zealand have stated that the term ‘military advantage’ includes the security of the attacking forces.”

“Upon ratification of Additional Protocol I, Australia and New Zealand stated that they interpreted the term ‘concrete and direct military advantage anticipated’ as meaning that there is a bona fide expectation that the attack would make a relevant and proportional contribution to the objective of the military attack involved. According to the Commentary on the Additional Protocols, the expression ‘concrete and direct’ military advantage was used in order to indicate that the advantage must be ‘substantial and relatively close, and that advantages which are hardly perceptible and those which would only appear in the long term should be disregarded’”

68. It should also be taken into account that the ICTY Appeals Chamber has emphasised that the assessment of what constitutes an unlawful attack is a complex one that requires several factors to be taken into consideration. 68 The Appeals Chamber specifically rejected the Trial Chamber’s standard for determining whether an attack was lawfully carried out against a military target — “that all impact sites within 200 metres of a target deemed legitimate could have been justified as part of an attack offering military advantage.”

69. Instead, the Appeals Chamber found that such a determination requires a much deeper and more detailed analysis of the facts and evidence. The Appeals Chamber noted that the Trial Chamber’s standard failed to “explain the specific-basis on which it arrived at a 200 metre margin of error as a reasonable interpretation of evidence on the record” and provided “no indication that any evidence” supported this standard. The Appeals Chamber found that “detailed evidence” of such factors as “muzzle velocity, wind speed, air temperature and density” must be provided to ascertain the range of error compared to the location of impact. In addition, the Appeals Chamber found that a rigid standard based on the impact site cannot be applied uniformly especially considering that the factors listed above “such as wind speed would affect range of error” and also that “increased distance from a target would increase range of error” as wel1. The Appeals Chamber found that “detailed evidence” must be provided fully to evaluate these “crucial findings and calculations” before making a conclusion on the lawfulness of the attack.

70. In addition, the Appeals Chamber found that evidence must be examined to determine whether there was “any indication that targets of opportunity existed” and whether the specific impact sites of the attack were “reasonably attributed to lawful attacks on opportunistic targets.” The Appeals Chamber found that any evidence supporting a conclusion that the alleged perpetrators “could identify tactical targets of opportunity, such as police and military vehicles” must be addressed and “discount[ed], If there is evidence supporting such a conclusion, the evaluation of the evidence must examine “how, in these circumstances, it could exclude the possibility that … [the perpetrator’s] … attacks were aimed at mobile targets of opportunity.”

71. The Appeals Chamber thus rejected the notion of “Impact Analysis” being critical in determining whether an attack was unlawful.

72. The Darusman Report, however, that was published without the advantage of the law as more recently articulated at the ICTY, appears to consider only the impact of the shelling, and does not identify, let alone consider in any detail, any of the various factors and issues set out above when addressing the particular attacks under consideration, or the final stages of the conflict as a whole. On the contrary, the Panel made sweeping and unsubstantiated conclusions based on its finding of “credible allegations” that “attacks on the NFZs were broadly disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated from such attacks.” This completely pre-judges the issue without any authentic and careful examination of all of the factors relevant to determining the lawfulness of military action.

 Accountability mechanisms

73. The Report provides a very thorough overview of the different accountability mechanisms which could be adopted . This part of the Report appears to be the primary purpose of the Report. However, as the Report itself recognises, the various potential avenues of accountability must by definition be shaped by the nature and extent of the alleged violations that were committed. It is here that the Report falls short in its assessment of the alleged violations which should be the subject of any accountability process.

74. This Review has thus focused on the Report’s analysis, or rather its lack of rigorous analysis, of the underlying alleged violations by the parties to the conflict. The Report claims that the Government of Sri Lanka has failed to pursue effective accountability measures, but this is to put the ‘cart before the horse’ as any assessment of the Government’s post-conflict inquiries and initiatives depends entirely on the what the available evidence shows about the nature and extent of any transgressions.

75. It is thus imperative that the proper precursor to any evaluation of the Government’s accountability measures is a good faith and impartial examination of the available evidence of what actually occurred in the final stages of the war taking into account the developing and often complex legal standards applicable to armed attacks in times of armed conflict under international law.

76. There are at least four key issues that must -be addressed on the available evidence, properly sourced and verified, in order that any appropriate accountability measures can be devised:

• The nature and extent of the LTTE’s use of the population in the Vanni as part of their military campaign in the final phases of the war;

• The specific circumstances of the particular alleged attacks in the Vanni, analysed in light of the applicable legal requirements under international law including of distinction, necessity and proportionality to cover and compare both the actions of the Government and the LTTE (who the Report acknowledges were firing from and within the NFZs);

• The manner in which persons were treated after the conflict in order to ensure that hostilities were at an end and to guarantee the human rights of those on both sides under national and international law; and,

• The accurate numbers of deaths during the final period of the conflict (to the best extent possible), and the degree to which these were properly to be counted as civilian in all of the circumstances of the conflict. This figure must, of course, include the numbers killed by the LTTE as a result of their actions during and after the conflict.

77. The current work of the national authorities in Sri Lanka to investigate and prosecute any perpetrators, including prosecutions that have taken place, should also not be overlooked, based as they are on the available evidence.

 Concluding remarks

78. A report of this kind, emanating from experts in the area, could have carried significant weight. The proper conclusion, on analysis, may be that this Report chaired by Mr Darusman missed a great opportunity and has failed to do what it should, and could, have done in the interests of all the citizens of Sri Lanka.

79. This Review has highlighted the shortcomings of the Panel’s work when measured against well-established legal standards for the assessment of evidence. The absence of identified and verified primary sources of evidence and information, susceptible to rigorous analysis, is a clear and substantial gap in, and weakness of, the Panel’s workings. It dilutes / undermines / invalidates the Panel’s conclusions and recommendations.

80. The Panel has, it is true, candidly indicated that further investigation would be required but the Panel has hampered – or perhaps rendered impossible – such an investigation by its Report’s own – but unexplained – failure to reveal any of its primary sources, to the extent they exist in any useable form.

81. The work of the Panel has in many ways fallen between two stools. On the first stool the Panel accepted that it was not capable of conducting a full investigation. Despite that, and on its second stool, the Panel went on to make certain inquiries and to gather some evidence from sources (mostly unidentified) in order to make pronouncements of responsibility, however subtly expressed.

82. In a long (241 page) document such inconsistency might go undetected. This is why the Government’s concern fora detailed analysis of the Panel’s work was justified. It is also justification for how the Panel’s work may now be exposed as having fallen between the two stools on which the Panel sought to stand.

83. Before starting its work the Panel should have sought a mandate to conduct a proper investigation in accordance with international legal standards, making plain that without such a mandate all it would be able to do was no more than to assemble allegations and counter allegations from all sides but without making any findings. It should have explained that without such a mandate it would inevitably be recommending further investigation in due course, investigation that would have to start from scratch, as is now the position. Instead, the Panel sought to reach conclusions and to make recommendations without showing any proper reservation about, or even understanding of, its willingly-accepted and very limited abilities.

84. Any future investigation – and any findings and recommendations by the UN or other bodies – will only be given any weight if it / they address this fundamental weakness and seek to contribute meaningfully to establishing an evidence-based, reliable record and only thereafter to identify appropriate accountability measures. 79

85. Accepting – without more – the present findings of the Panel as reliable and as having been established (even though the Panel has stated that they are not proved) would be to subjugate cool reason and intelligence to what may be seen as an outcome popular for those with limited understanding of the complex realities of the sort of armed conflict that was s undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka. The authors of this Review repeat that they have formed no conclusions, one way or another, about any of the issues central to the Darusman Report. Through this Review they note the incompleteness of the Report that, unhappily, purports to be what it cannot be.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

Rodney Dixon QC

24 July 2014

London


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