Defence Secy. responds to C4 allegations Defence Secy. responds to C4 allegations
Posted on March 17th, 2012

By Shamindra Ferdinando-The Island

March 16, 2012, 9:37 pm


Having failed to throw a fresh lifeline to the LTTE, an irate former British Foreign Secretary David Wright Miliband called President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior Sri Lankan political and military figures liars. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Killing Fields II: War Crimes UnpunishedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ telecast on Wednesday in support of the US-led bid to move a resolution at the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) targeting GoSL, quoted Miliband as having made the remark during a discussion with US Diplomats in Colombo. MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s remark wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have been in the public domain if not for the whistle-blowing website Wiki Leaks, which had now exposed hundreds of thousands of classified US military and diplomatic cables.

Miliband made his bid in the third week of April 2009.

OfƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  course it wasnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t the first time that Wiki Leaks had exposed US diplomatic cables, which dealt with Miliband. But nothing could have been as shocking as the revelation that Miliband had to spend 60 per cent of his time on the Sri Lankan issue due to the last UK parliamentary election being on the horizon. Citing Miliband, a classified cable originating from the US mission in London exposed how British played politics with the Sri Lanka issue.

In ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Killing FieldsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ produced by ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Channel 4 NewsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and telecast by ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Channel 4ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ last June, the main character was Vany Kumar, who had stayed with the LTTE during the final phase of the ground battle on the Vanni east front. In the part II of the propaganda series, Miliband had succeeded Vany Kumar as the main character.

With his latest performance, Miliband, who had made an abortive bid in September 2010 to secure the leadership of the Labour party is expected to enhance his standing among not only the 300,000 Tamil Diaspora living in the UK but in entire Europe and America as well. The bottom line is that the ongoing LTTE project could help his political career.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

In his concluding remarks, Miliband pushed the UNHRC and UN to order an independent international investigation into accountability issues in Sri Lanka.

The documentary accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka, Major General Shavendra Silva and Major General Prasanna Silva of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The C4 ignored the fact that the TNA, which once called the LTTE sole representative of the Tamil speaking people, joined the UNP and JVP to field Gen. Fonseka against President Rajapaksa at the last presidential polls.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that those pursuing Sri Lanka on the human rights front were making an attempt to humiliate the country at the current sessions of the UNHRC. In an interview with The Island, the Defence Secretary discussed a gamut of issues, including the circumstances leading to the setting up of no fire zones on the Vanni east front in a bid to save civilian lives.

The Island: The second UK documentary made four specific allegations against the GoSL on the basis of what it called new evidence. The GoSL was accused of deliberately targeting the civilian population taking refuge in three separate no fire zones, denying them food and medicine, carrying out a full scale attack on NFZ in the guise of conducting hostage rescue operation and lastly executing those surrendering LTTE personnel and civilians. Could you explain the circumstances leading to the establishment of NFZs after the liberation of Kilinochchi in the first week of January 2009? ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Defence Secretary: Having liberated Kilinochchi in the first week of January 2009, President Rajapaksa offered an opportunity for the LTTE to surrender. With the success at Kilinochchi, the military had the full control of the area west of A9, thereby the overland main supply route to Jaffna came under our control. Mullaitivu, too, was in our hands. The LTTE forced civilians to vacate their homes and move towards the northern Mullaitivu coast. We never established NFZs to accommodate civilians. Instead NFZ were declared to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ areas, where civilians moved to under duress. None of those human rights champions urged the LTTE to give up ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”human shields,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and accept defeat. Instead they gave the LTTE hope that a fresh lifeline could be arranged if it managed to hold on to their positions at any cost. A section of the media in Dec 2008/ early Jan. 2009 speculated that the LTTE retained powerful striking capability and access to Mullaitivu seas to bring in fresh supplies of arms, ammunition and equipment. The media suggested that the LTTE had in its reserve, the best fighting units under experienced commanders and the SLA was no match for them. The LTTE felt civilians could provide them the required cover until foreign elements intervened on its behalf.

The C4 alleged that both Defence Secretary (C4 twice referred to him as the Defence Minister) and Gen. Sarath Fonseka knew of artillery fire being directed at civilians and they had the power to control military action.

The Island: The C4 alleged that you denied food and medicine to civilians trapped on the rapidly shrinking Vanni east front. The C4 claimed of having fresh evidence to prove how the Rajapaksa regime disallowed supplies to civilians in areas under LTTE control. The C4 also alleged that the incumbent President downplayed the number of civilians to cut down on supplies. Are you in a position to prove otherwise?

Defence Secretary: The documentary showed an undamaged trailer truck painted WFP on the background, at the scene of an alleged artillery attack. Since the army lost a stretch of road along the A9 north of Omanthai in June 1990, successive governments moved essential items, including medicine to Jaffna in ships. At an earlier phase of the conflict, the LTTE blew up a ship carrying medicine under ICRC flag to Kankesanthurai. Despite severe difficulties, Sri Lanka provided food and medicine to those living in LTTE-held areas. The global community cannot deny us that credit. Throughout the eelam war IV, we moved supplies to all areas, with the assistance of the international community. If we had decided to deny food to civilians, that WFP vehicle wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have been there. The C4 can easily contact the WFP in Colombo or its headquarters overseas to get a firsthand account of the situation. The WFP received substantial assistance through embassies in Colombo to rush food convoys to Vanni east. The WFP played a critical role in moving supplies in spite of great difficulties. Once ground fighting made it impossible for food convoys to move overland, we launched a two-pronged relief operation to send food ships and evacuate those wounded civilians from Puthumathalan to Pulmoddai. Overland food convoys were terminated on Jan. 23, 2009. The C4 can get in touch with the ICRC and also the government of India regarding how India helped those being brought to Pulmoddai by the ICRC. A fully fledged Indian medical mission operated at Pulmoddai before being moved to Menik farm to provide relief to thousands of internally displaced persons. Although we believed even wounded LTTE cadres took advantage of this arrangement, we allowed all those wounded people to receive medical care.

In fact we involved the Colombo-based diplomatic community in the relief efforts. The UN, US and several missions knew exactly what was going on in the Vanni.

The Island: Did the military adopt a special strategy to help those fleeing LTTE-held area?

Defence Secretary: The navy rescued hundreds of men, women and children fleeing Mullaitivu in boats. Naval units operated in shallow waters in spite of severe threat posed by suicide cadres. The LTTE went to the extent of sending suicide cadres along with those trying to reach government lines. One suicide blast killed a large number of civilians and security forces personnel, including servicewomen. Colombo-based embassies are fully aware of those incidents. During the rescue operation, we invited diplomatic missions to observe UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) footage. We didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t try to hide anything.

The Island: The C4ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s third allegation referred to a massive attack on NFZ on the pretext of carrying out a hostage-rescue operation. The C4 accused the army of heavy use of artillery during the assault regardless of civilian casualties. Did the army depend on heavy artillery support as well as air strikes during close quarter combat?

Defence Secretary: We lost some 6,000 officers and men during three-year-old final campaign. About 30,000 personnel received injuries. We could have avoided loss of many lives had we sustained heavy firepower throughout the campaign. DonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t forget about 12,000 ended up in detention camps at the conclusion of the conflict, though vast majority of them were free today. We believe those released after rehabilitation can tell the truth. The International Migration Organization is working with them. Apart from LTTE cadres, about 300,000 civilians (including children) are free today. A recently conducted census and an ongoing national census, once completed will help clear many misconceptions.

Commenting on allegations relating to battlefield executions during the final phase of the conflict, Defence Secretary pointed out that many claimed the government was planning to hold both civilians and LTTE fighting cadre in custody for several years before release. Defence Secretary: “We rescued about 12,000 LTTE cadres. Today, the vast majority of them are free. Internally displaced families, too, are free. But the army is inquiring into allegations and will not hesitate to take action if necessary.”

The Island: The C4 repeatedly alleged that in line with the command and control structure, the President and the Defence Secretary are implicated in deliberate attacks on civilians. Did allegations suggest complicity on the part of the military command?

Defence Secretary: An obvious attempt is being made to show that the military chain of command here is different from other countries. This notion is wrong.

Defence Secretary said that in early 2007, the UN secretly negotiated for the release of two of its Tamil employees detained by the LTTE for helping Tamil speaking people to escape from the LTTE held area. Having failed to reach an agreement with the LTTE regarding the workers, the UN was forced to admit in New York the abduction of workers and subsequent talks to secure their release. “This incident took place even before the liberation of the Eastern Province in mid 2007. The Vanni campaign was in its infancy. The C4 can verify this information with the UN mission in Colombo. It can easily establish contact with those detained workers. During latter stages of the battle, the LTTE prevented an attempt by the UN to evacuate families of those local UN employees from the war zone to the government held area. This, too, can be easily verified with the UN here. The most important issue here is that even before the Vanni offensive really got underway, civilians wanted to flee the LTTE-held area.”

Commenting on the alleged execution of captured men and those who surrendered, the Defence Secretary said that the C4 had now disputed the longstanding LTTE claim that its leader would never surrender or allow himself to be taken alive. The international media coverage of the circumstances leading to the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan revealed how media could give different versions within a day or two. It is no secret none other than United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi PIllay sought an explanation regarding the circumstances in which bin Laden was shot.

The Defence Secretary said the LTTE couldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t be revived through a media blitz as long as Sri Lankans remembered how the LTTE butchered men, women and children in their quest for a separate state. Whatever the critics said the ordinary people irrespective of political differences welcome restoration of peace. Could anyone dispute that the government had saved Tamil speaking people from being used as cannon fodder since May 2009? he asked.

Rajapaksa said that last yearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s massacre in Norway showed how one madman could influence another. The Norwegian assassin is on record as having said that he killed almost 80 persons, mostly children to emphasize the need to get rid of Muslims from Europe on the lines an LTTE operation in 1990 chased Muslims out of the Northern Province.

The C 4 alleged that many countries, including India wanted the GoSL to finish off the LTTE and turned a blind eye to what was going on during early 2009. The documentary blamed the global community for failing to save the Tamil community, though Wiki Leaks painted a different picture. According to US diplomatic cables, the West had made frantic efforts to arrange a ceasefire as the LTTE retreated rapidly across the Vanni east front. But US cables should be considered in the backdrop of former US Defence AttachƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚©, Lt. Col. Lawrence SmithƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s assertion that there had never been an organized attempt to pave the way for the LTTE to surrender.

The Defence Secretary said that those wanting to haul Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations should open their eyes and see what was going on in other parts of the world since 9/11.

20 Responses to “Defence Secy. responds to C4 allegations Defence Secy. responds to C4 allegations”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “Commenting on the alleged execution of captured men and those who surrendered, the Defence Secretary said that the C4 had now disputed the longstanding LTTE claim that its leader would never surrender or allow himself to be taken alive.”

    This is exactly what a Lankaweb article yesterday argued.

    LTTE long claimed their leader and his family would NEVER SURRENDER!

    Why dispute it now?

  2. dhane Says:

    The idea to give Cyanide Capsules to LTTE members to kill themself without surrender. Hence why C4 & others worry about VP or his family. They had followed Nizi Mr & Mrs Gobeles.

  3. Sarath W Says:

    I am a staunch supporter of the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa for liberating the country from the LTTE. The thing I cannot understand is why the government has so far failed to take action against the BBC channel 4? It is not good enough to say the video “killing fields” is a fake.If it can be proved that it is a fake, then legal action must be taken against channel 4 or like the Americans did when they killed unarmed Osama Bin Laden, the government must come out and say we too have the right to kill terrorist who have waged a war against an elected government. After all the government gave them several opportunities to surrender.

  4. lingamAndy Says:

    Sarath W
    After all the government gave them several opportunities to surrender- not aggred, if is true where white fkag surrenred people ( eg: EROS Balakumar & his son)

    the government must come out and say we too have the right to kill terrorist – Aggred but no Govt in the world killed own civilian in NFZ by heavy weppan( multi barral)

    So Our Govt have blood in its hand !!! We people need to pay for this KARMA !

  5. Lorenzo Says:


    It is TAMIL PEOPLE’S karma.

  6. Naram Says:

    Whatever Channel 4 says is not worth responding to as bias in their apprach and their ignorance is all to apparent . GOingto courtscan only drain Sri Lanka’s finances.

    It is likely that the leadership of Prabhakaran were divided on his insistence to fight to the last. In all likelihood VP ordered to bomb the procession to the mosque in Akuressa, [9 March 209] which eventually killed more than twenty and maimed many others, or the eventually less destructive bombing of Colombo. Knowing the certainty of defeat a disgruntled LTTE character may have murdered the whole family and committed suicide in the Nanthikadal lagoon. Despite what is widely believed even the rich western governments surreptitiously kill people in their homes. In 1989 one lawyer, Patrick Finucane who appeared for IRA men was gunned down at his home in front of the family. I saw in the BBC website that the government owned up to the killing in late 2011.

    It is anybody’s guess how long it would take for TNA to own up to their part in the ethnic cleansings, massacres, planned murders, their parters latterly the armed wing LTTE committed in the past 60 years.

  7. vyasan Says:

    I agree with what the DS has said. I spoke to many people who had been trapped by the LTTE during the final stage of the Humanitarian operation (I don’t want to term as a war) by the GOSL, and the people, some of them are my close relatives, put the blame on the LTTE for the killings of innocent people as they have held them as human shield. Many of them, in fact my sisters called the LTTE as “barbarians and traitors of Tamils” and the Sri Lankan army men as “angels”. My sisters, brothers and children now live in Jaffna in their own houses. They received extensive government aid to re-establish their lives in Jaffna within one year after the operation ended in May 2009. If needed, I can have them testify before any independent panel of inquiry.

  8. lingamAndy Says:

    It is TAMIL PEOPLE’S karma.- Agreed
    FYI, Load Bhuddha said , Life is a circle ! We need to pay for all are Karma in this life or our (Son & daughter)next life!

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sarath W,

    According to British Law, Ch.4 can be taken to Courts only by a UK based citizen or organization, not by GoSL


    If Parliament got together and passes law in Lanka to prohibit ethnic based political parties, no claims to Separatism would be made. Ethnic based political parties together with illegal migration from Tamil Nadu and some other places to a lesser extent makes a lethal combination. If there was no call for Separatism there would have been no Terrorism. If there was no Terrorism, there would be no reason for War.

    All Lankan leaders of all ethnicities and religions from the time of Independence, have to take the blame for that.

    As things are, Lanka has become the stomping ground for some Tamil politicians of Lanka & Tamil Nadu, plus east/west divide over ports and other resources in Lanka.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    P.S.: Lanka should allow political parties only with a National/Environmental/Democratic base. That way we can avoid most of the problems.

  11. Andare Says:

    I have sent this information many times on web sites. Here it is once again. All the GoSL has to do is to take this video and send it to all the foreign Governments or better still show this at the U.N. sessions to absolve Sri Lanka of the CH4 fabricated videos. The GoSL inaction so far on this matter has created a lot of opportunity for those wish to destroy the country to bring allegations against the GoSL. Even at this late stage GoSL must act.

    Please see the original of the video which shows Sinhala soldiers being shot by LTTE. In this you can hear the voices of the LTTE cadre speaking in Tamil. This same video was later dubbed to appear as if Sinhala soldiers are killing Tamils. The dubbed video was the main video which was used by CH4. This is the best proof that the CH4 video is a fake. The original truthful video was in Facebook and just before LTTE removed it someone managed to rescue and put it on a private web site where it is safe.

  12. lingamAndy Says:

    In this you can hear the voices of the LTTE cadre speaking in Tamil.- NO Tamil voices not not real Tamilan voice ( eg: Mathavanai kontuva – should be – maTTAvanaiK konDUva)

    video and send it to all the foreign Governments – NO it will back fair !

  13. Andare Says:

    Andylingam, Tamil has several dialects. The Jaffna dialect is very different from Indian dialect and different from east coast dialect. So which dialect are you referring to? The very difference in the dialect shows it is genuine. In any case it can be proven just as the false video was dubbed, that this true video is not dubbed. It is up to the experts to analyze and tell the public of the veracity of the original video.

  14. Andare Says:

    Andylingam, Tamil has several dialects. The Jaffna dialect is very different from Indian dialect and different from east coast dialect. So which dialect are you referring to? The very difference in the dialect shows it is genuine. In any case it can be proven just as the false video was dubbed, that this true video is not dubbed. It is up to the experts to analyze and tell the public of the veracity of the original video.

  15. Gunawardena Says:

    lingamAndy, You are insinuating that a non-Tamil is speaking in the background. We can clearly hear two sounds that only Indians and Tamils can make: murdhaja La and Da — retroflex sounds that require the tip of the tongue to touch the palate. No Sinhalese can imitate them. If it was indeed dubbed by a Singhalese, then he must be highly trained in Tamil to the point that speech is completely imitated. In that case, he cannot make a rudimentary error in the language. The word konDuvaa is correctly said and the word preceding it is definitely not ‘Mathavanai’ as you say.
    Please verify it again.

  16. lingamAndy Says:

    Tamil has several dialects- Ageed but dialect in these vedio are not maching andy one of them ( Jafna, Vanni, Baticalo, Estate Tamil , Not even Muslim …. )
    sory to say this is dialect is some ones second language eg: if We Tamil speck sinhala you can identify We are Tamil( not sinhalese) even though If We born in South ).
    also back ground senaries is not supporting you argument ……

  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    I do not mean to offend any past or present leaders, political or religious, in Sri Lanka. Pres. Rajapakse has faced monumental difficulties and we are truly grateful to the President for seeing the country through perhaps the most difficult times ever known in the history of Sri Lanka. What we want now are leaders from every quarter to get together to keep the country intact and progressive. A National Government with a Senate is far better than political infighting which drains the energy of the country in the most useless way.

  18. Andare Says:

    Andylingam, it could be ‘kallathoni’ dialect.

  19. lingamAndy Says:

    it could be ‘kallathoni’ dialect.- No, belive me Sinhala person speck demila

    Fran Diaz
    A National Government with a Senate – Aggred (home made solution)

  20. Andare Says:

    Andylingam, As I said earlier, the real true video is not dubbed. It is up to the experts to analyze and tell the public of the veracity of the original video, which video is the original and which is fake. Technology today is advanced enough to prove to the audience which one the true video is. Tamil accent is immaterial. Also the observant person can see that there is other evidence in the pictures to prove that the Tigers killed Sri Lanka Army soldiers.

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