The Norwegian newspaper Afterposten published on 7th May a cable from the Wikileaks tranche of US diplomatic cables (confidential briefings) dealing the US government’s response to the end of war in Sri Lanka. Wikileaks on Sri Lanka: A breakdown and implications was an in-depth account we exclusively published last year exploring the fallout of the so-called ‘Cablegate’ on issues related to Sri Lanka, read to date by well over 20,000. As a BBC news report flagging this latest cable on Sri Lanka notes,

“The Sri Lankan government rejected a surrender offer by Tamil Tiger rebels at the end of the war, reports released through the Wikileaks website say. They say that Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa dismissed US pressure to allow a mediated surrender with the words “we’re beyond that now”. The leaked US cables suggest requests for the International Red Cross to go into the war zone were refused. Sri Lanka’s government has repeatedly denied all these accusations.”

In light of the recently released report by the UN Panel appointed by the Secretary General to look into issues of accountability in Sri Lanka, this is old hat. What this cable does offer is a glimpse into the drafting process of official statements in general and in this case, a statement by the US State Department dealing with one of the most important events on Sri Lanka in 2009. It also reveals how the edits can reflect US concerns over the end of the war.

The draft text of the statement, taken off the cable (Situation Report 74) published on Afterposten’s website is as follows,

The United States welcomes the fact that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE an organization that has terrorized the people of Sri Lanka for decades, no longer control any territory within Sri Lanka. This 26-year-old conflict has cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, and has brutally divided the nation. We especially recognize the tremendous loss of life and hardship endured by civilians in northern Sri Lanka during the past weeks and months.

To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka must immediately begin to heal the wounds of the conflict and work toward building a democratic, prosperous, tolerant and united Sri Lanka. A lasting peace in Sri Lanka depends on Sinhalese, Tamils and all other Sri Lankans working together to achieve new power sharing arrangements that safeguard and promote the rights of all Sir Lankans.

The United States remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) uprooted by the recent fighting. We call on the Government to open additional sites for IDPs to ease overcrowding in the existing facilities. We welcome and urge the Government of Sri Lanka to abide by its commitment to return the majority of IDPs to their homes by the end of this year. We also urge the Government to work hand in hand with the UN, ICRC, and non-government organizations to ensure all IDPs are accorded rights and care meeting the highest international standards.

The final text as published on the US State Department website on 19 May was as follows,

The United States welcomes the cessation of fighting in Sri Lanka and the apparent conclusion to its long-running conflict. This 26-year-old conflict has cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, left thousands maimed or wounded, and has brutally divided the nation.

The United States remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by the recent fighting. We especially recognize the tremendous loss of life and hardship endured by civilians in northern Sri Lanka during the past weeks and months, and are relieved that this loss of life has ended. We urge the Government to allow humanitarian access to the camps and to work hand in hand with the UN, ICRC, and non-government organizations to ensure all IDPs are accorded rights and care meeting the highest international standards. We are prepared to work with the Government to provide for the basic needs of all of its citizens, and abide by its commitment to return the majority of IDPs to their homes by the end of this year.

To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka needs to begin to heal the wounds of the conflict and work toward building a democratic, prosperous, tolerant and united Sri Lanka and work toward justice and reconciliation for both sides. A lasting peace in Sri Lanka depends on Sinhalese, Tamils and all other Sri Lankans working together to achieve new power sharing arrangements that safeguard and promote the rights of all Sri Lankans.

Aside from the obvious edit to move the second paragraph in the draft text to the end of the final version, there are some interesting shifts in language and emphasis. A Wordle visualisation highlights some of these.


Visualisation of top 50 words in the draft statement.


Visualisation of top 50 words in the final statement.

Evident in the final version is a greater emphasis on the words ‘thousands’ and ‘conflict’. Each word occurs three times in the final statement, as opposed to two in the draft. The final statement notes, “This 26-year-old conflict has cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, left thousands maimed or wounded, and has brutally divided the nation.” Emphasis ours. The draft version does not flag those maimed or wounded. This can reflect US concerns over its own intelligence networks reporting on serious issues that the UN has now made public.

A more telling change is how the statement starts off. In the draft version, there is a strong emphasis on the LTTE and its terrorisation of civilians. It notes, “The United States welcomes the fact that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE an organization that has terrorized the people of Sri Lanka for decades, no longer control any territory within Sri Lanka”. In the final version however, the emphasis of this sentence is completely changed. It reads “The United States welcomes the cessation of fighting in Sri Lanka and the apparent conclusion to its long-running conflict”. No mention of the LTTE at all, and the inclusion of the word ‘apparent’ which prefaces ‘conclusion’ and again resonates with concerns the US may even at this time have had over the conduct of the government during the final stages of war.

The final statement also takes a markedly different tone to that in the draft. The draft notes that “To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka must immediately begin to heal the wounds of the conflict…”. The final statement revises this to “To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka needs to begin to heal the wounds of the conflict…” The word ‘immediately’ is erased. As noted on this website,

“We also use ‘must’ to express a strong obligation. When we use ‘must’ this usually means that some personal circumstance makes the obligation necessary (and the speaker almost certainly agrees with the obligation.)”

To avoid sounding too sanctimonious, the US eschews the use of ‘must’ and instead posits ‘needs’ which is, not just a simple grammatical shift. As this website notes, the use of “must” is when one imposes requirements and the use of “needs to” refers to the basic necessities of humans and also echoes, from a psychological angle, the “higher” needs of humans in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The obvious spelling error in this paragraph (Sir, meant to be Sri) is also corrected in the final version, underscoring just how meticulously every word and sentence is crafted for statements such as these. For example, in the final statement, the State Department makes it explicitly clear that the US is “…prepared to work with the Government to provide for the basic needs of all of its citizens…”. There is no record of this willingness in the draft.

Finally, the official statement contains eight sentences, whereas the draft has nine. Whereas the draft version calls on the government to “to open additional sites for IDPs to ease overcrowding in the existing facilities”, for whatever reason, the statement officially released from the US State Department has no mention of this.

A side by side comparison follows, with colour coding to help understand the major edits to the text.

  • Within minutes of this article being published, Wikileaks flagged it on its Twitter account – https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/68287680055754753

    Our servers are trying to cope with the resulting traffic spike. Thanks for your patience.

  • David

    Tamils,

    At least please understand now that these EU countries and US is not standing for your rights. They are standing for their interest. If MR opened business partnership for US more than China then US will be praising LTTEs defeat and will be no war crime charges for GOSL. These EU/US is trying to get what the want (not Tamils rights) on top of Tamils so Sinhala people will get angry at Tamils again not at these white people. Are we this blind to trust western countries.

  • ram kapoor

    didnt basil reject the icrc access request because they had failed for three consecutive days to evacuate wounded? given that at the time there were infact numerous civilians being wounded; if the need for their evacuation wasnt being met by the icrc but instead were being evacuated barely sufficiently by the army, it would be understandable that basil would be apprehensive.

    for example if it was felt that the icrc was being more hinderance then help and that was a genuine concern for basil, maybe his call for rejecting their entry is somewhat understandable? if those alledgedly willing to help, are not doing so, just get the job done yourself if you can appears to have been the mantra of that moment.

    i’m maybe playing devil’s advocate here, but we cant assume every single thing to come out of the rajapakse’s to be somehow twisted, evil and against the tamil community.

  • ram kapoor

    also, lets not forget the wounds that SL suffered at the hands of the ltte. if a somehow alternate scenario had arisen, the ltte would not have never let anyone from GOSL or SLA to live. infact they killed off all their rivals. either way, the tamils are better off with the ltte leadership gone.

    • Shiva

      The International Community has failed on Tamils. [Edited out.]

      When the Sri Lankan regime was committing crimes against humanity, Gotabhaya and Bail were refusing to listen to them, if George Bush was in office, Bush would ordered military action similar to taht was taken against Serbia. [Edited out.]

      Ban Ki-moon to failed to take a firm stand against State Terrorism when there were no transparency, NGOs, Human Rights Groups, Media, Journalists and diplomats were refused by the [Edited out] Rajapakse regime, the civilized world was bankrupt of taking a firm action [Edited out.]
      Shame on these so called Inetrnational community even after two years endign the War. [Edited out.]

      [Edited out] Current Congress Indian government leaders have failed the freedom struggle that was led by the Mohandas Gandhi and even Sri Lankan Tamils have participated against the British.

      [Edited out]

      • Burning_Issue

        I am not in anyway justifying the killings especially the summary executions. That aside, do you acknowledge that, LTTE could have prevented thousands of deaths by agreeing surrender much earlier? This is eaxtly what Eric Soltham was saying. As a Tamil, I take the view that; the priority of the LTTE was to safeguard them rather than the lives of the poor civilians. In fact no one cared; their lives were too cheap!

  • What’s been remarkable about these leaked US cables is that the world really is more or less as we see it. I was hoping for evidence of shadowy cabals and alien lizard overlords but no such luck. 🙂 This cable, in particular proves it.

    Perhaps the US really was concerned about civilian casualties. But they also knew that MR & Co would not stop until the LTTE’s military capability and leadership had been atomised.

    Sri Lanka would not accept an LTTE surrender/peace talks at the last minute. ‘Been there, done that and got the t-shirts’.
    In this, they had the tacit and overt backing of the overwhelming majority of the SL people. Everyone knew this. Maybe even VP & his cohorts knew this. So, to pretend otherwise is just a wish-fulfilling fantasy.

    Perhaps MR didn’t take this paragraph seriously enough at the time or even now. “To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka must immediately begin to heal the wounds of the conflict and work toward building a democratic, prosperous, tolerant and united Sri Lanka.”

    Whoever drafted this appears to have done so with a realistic reading of the post-war scenario and as a means of pressurising the GoSL to act properly. i.e. no post-war blank cheques.

    I await signs of an intelligent response from the GoSL to the current UN mess.

  • the way of the Dodo

    This is what the BBC actually says:

    “ICRC head of delegation Paul Castella is quoted in the document as saying that Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa initially agreed to the arrangement, but first wanted the names of the rebel leaders who were prepared to surrender.

    But the documents say that “despite helpful efforts from Norway” the rebels failed to provide such a list.”

    From that i don’t see the government rejecting the offer to surrender.

    “The documents say the government rejected repeated US requests to allow the ICRC into the conflict zone to help many dead and wounded civilians there.

    According to the US cables, presidential adviser Basil Rajapaksa “energetically refused” to give the ICRC permission, accusing it of failing on “three consecutive days to evacuate the wounded, even though the Additional Government Agent had said it was safe to do so”.”

    I think energetically refusing needs to be put in context considering the ICRC may not have been too energetic in the first place

    • TT

      There were reasons for ICRC to DELIBERATELY delay this.

      1. By delaying they thought the 3 day ceasefire would be extended!

      They tried these tricks in previous instances and they worked.

      It backfired in 2009! Thank god sanity prevailed in GOSL. Ultimately they lost even the 3 days allocated.

      ICRC negligence may have resulted in many deaths. Had the ICRC not played politics and made good use of the breather, thousands would have been saved.

      2. Most of the wounded were LTTE cadres as confrontation between SLA and LTTE was FEROCIOUS at this time. Had ICRC brought them to government controlled areas,

      2.1 that would have depleted LTTE’s fighting cadre

      2.2 they would have ended up in military detention during their medication and AFTER.

      So the LTTE would have warned the ICRC against this move.

      There is another allegation against ICRC.

      It put up its receiving centres close to LTTE facilities. Obviously LTTE forced them to have these close to their hideouts hoping that it would save them from SLA attacks. Bad luck again. According to ICRC, SLA shelled these. A legitimate target as LTTE misused ICRC facilities as hiding places.

      SL should not have allowed ICRC in the first place.

      There was another BS request to have a UN office which was flatly rejected by GOSL. Had they allowed such a BS field office, things would have been much worse. All the LTTE cowards would have crept into it inviting attacks from us. UN offices have real immunity in war. Even if the enemy uses it, you cannot attack them.

      This should teach SL how to fight wars in future. No UN field offices, no ICRC, no Rome Statute, no signing the cluster bomb convention, no BS.

  • sr

    We’ve had a series of pogroms.
    We’ve had reports of recommendations from UN Human Rights Committee, International Commission of Jurists, International Bar Association,etc for 4/5 decades.
    What else are we waiting to do now to the Tamils?

  • TT

    This is the most hilarious bit.

    “A lasting peace in Sri Lanka depends on Sinhalese, Tamils and all other Sri Lankans working together to achieve new power sharing arrangements that safeguard and promote the rights of all Sri Lankans.”

    Why don’t they share power with their minorities first?

    This race/ethnicity based power sharing is not the remedy but the start of another large racist movement. Power should be shared not among people of different races/ethnicities but with multi ethnic teams made up of multi ethnic political parties.

    e.g. The Cabinet is sufficiently multi ethnic.

    That is what happens in the US!

    SL children should have the same thing US gives to its children. US can’t say to SL give SL children dog milk while US gives its kids cow milk.

    If for some unfortunate reason there is meaningful power sharing with Tamils as Tamils (and not as Tamils, etc. participating in multiethnic teams for all parts of the country), that means the creation of a Tamil Nadu in SL. Nothing can be worse than this. In that case it pays to restart a war to reverse this racist enclavism.

  • sl

    Regarding our elders Elders-don’t have what so ever understanding about sl situation .they should have endorsed it after their own analysis of events. Just reading it and endorsing doesn’t give any credibility to a report despite how eminent the elders are.

    sat images-none of the images so far released point out war crimes. The artillery craters shown are not images taken in no fire zone. It is surprising why those sats couldn’t observe the corpses of 146000.

    See the following link and read the latter part of the article
    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=23196

  • sl

    from the start us and british nutured LTTE terrorists.

    http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2005/08/sri-lanka-mossad-cia-drugs-and-arms.html

  • ram kapoor

    thanks dodo, thats what i meant to get across!

  • the way of the Dodo

    dear groundviews,

    don’t you think it’s little unfair the way you’ve quoted that BBC article. considering even according to the BBC itself, gota considered the proposal for mediated surrender.

    • Not at all, considering that earlier the ICRC itself said it had received word from the Norwegians that the two leaders were looking to give themselves up. As noted here by the Sunday Leader,

      “The ICRC was approached on this matter by the representatives of the LTTE as well as the Norwegian authorities,” spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne was quoted saying at the time of the incident. “The information was referred to the Sri Lankan authorities. We have no idea what happened [then]. We lost contact with everyone in the last conflict.”

      News reports suggest the government knew the names. As the article above goes on to note,

      “In one interview with ‘SiberNews’ Mr. Kohona said that his response had been that “there was only one way to surrender that is recognised by military practice”. He said they should obtain a white flag and give themselves up. “I kept saying this for three days,” he added.”

      So Kohona knew, the ICRC knew, the Norwegians knew but Gotabaya didn’t.

      Who knows?!

      • the way of the Dodo

        no that’s extrapolation on your part. BBC article explicitly says that according to the leaks at one point gotabaya considered accepting surrender and it was the LTTE who failed to provide the list.

        anyways, it’s not a big deal. if you feel that your representation is ok, that’s alright

        • It isn’t ‘our representation’ – get your English comprehension and expression straight. We have no clue what happened. It’s a quote with the link present to a BBC article on a leaked cable in turn based on conflicting stories dealing with contested terrain. Go figure.

      • the way of the Dodo

        no need to get into ad homs here.

        but it’s pretty clear to me from that BBC report that there was more to the story. i thought it was unfair to simply post the bits that make the government look bad while leaving out parts that give a slightly different impression.

        • Oh dear, comprehension more a problem than we initially suspected. One risks disappointment to hope that a closer reading again may help.

          “It isn’t ‘our representation’ – get your English comprehension and expression straight. We have no clue what happened. It’s a quote with the link present to a BBC article on a leaked cable in turn based on conflicting stories dealing with contested terrain. Go figure.”

  • MV

    the way of the Dodo,

    “i thought it was unfair to simply post the bits that make the government look bad ”

    Gothabaya went on Al-Jazeera and in his ever threatening tone claimed that hospitals are legitimate targets.

    There are photographic evidence as well as witness accounts, in a display of civilization, that show that those who surrendered were tortured before being executed – do you think all this happened without the prior knowledge of Gothabaya? What a joke!

    Perhaps they may have thought they can effectively carry a war without witness by shunning all independent observers but the truth of ethnic cleansing won’t be buried forever. Next to Hitler and few others, I do not know many governments that kill their own like this and plunder their resources after forcing them out of their lands, under the guise of ‘development’ – which is what is happening now in N-E.

  • sabbe laban

    Yes, “go figure”, Groundviews! Why didn’t the LTTE provide such a list? Was it afraid of losing its face after asking the lesser mortals to go commit suicide for the cause? Or was there a confusion amongst themselves as to ‘who’s first’?

    This “Sarasi”, the Red Cross spokesperson herself knows how difficult it is to escape death from the brutality of the “final stages” of an armed insurrection, having done so herself in 88′-89′ period!

  • TT

    This is the EU response.

    So that’s it. No need to waste time on this.

    ‘EU parliament leaves justice to the indicted’

    [TamilNet, Thursday, 12 May 2011, 19:44 GMT]

    “The EP urges the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations suggested by the UN panel of experts and conduct a genuine investigation,” said the European Parliament press release Thursday, leaving the delivery of justice with the genocidal state of Sri Lanka indicted for war crimes by the UN panel report. Eezham Tamils also noted with a feeling of insult added to injury, the statement of the EU parliament that said that the war “ended with the surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)”, where as to their knowledge the war ended with massacre and genocide abetted by many establishments including some of the member states of the EU tagged behind the USA.

  • Shiva

    The world is not civilized yet in the 21st Century with all the high tech and advanced instrucments to have first hand information.

    The Sinhala Apartheid majority community massacred Tamil minority.

    When the rajapakse regime refused access to huamn Rights groups, NGOs, diplomats, media, Journalists and other humanitarian groups, the international community must act firmly and decisively.

    This is real horror experience!!!!

  • Shiva

    Accountability is must in order to prevent future crimes against humanity!!!

    • wijayapala

      Shiva, kindly tell us what “accountability” was in place to stop the LTTE from using Tamil children as cannon fodder for the last 20 years.

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Wijayapala,

        “Shiva, kindly tell us what “accountability” was in place to stop the LTTE from using Tamil children as cannon fodder for the last 20 years.”

        No accountability at all; this was why they were regarded as Terrorists! Surely, you cannot put the GOSL in the same bracket! The GOSL is an elected body with international accountability; this is the point.

    • TT

      IF crimes against humanity will ever happen in SL. Otherwise there is no need.

      Most SLs don’t believe there ever happened crimes against humanity in SL and there ever will.

      Just because a few in the Diaspora think so shouldn’t change anything.

      All those who awoke from their slumber with the panel report can go back to sleep again.

      EU leant its lesson by cutting GSP+ to SL. It backfired.

      Did SL garment industry collapse as many in the Tamil Diaspora predicted? No. They found cheaper labour to match the increase in tariffs. According to some sources, cheaper labour was sourced from the north and east too. Not sure if its true. But it is a fact that out of 89,000 war widows in north and east, a considerable number has joined garment factories. They are low skilled and may cost less as any unskilled labour. Still better than most competitors of SL. Making use of SL’s loss of GSP+, countries with worse HR records prospered.

      • wijayapala

        According to some sources, cheaper labour was sourced from the north and east too. Not sure if its true.

        TT, are you sure if anything you post here is true?

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue

    No accountability at all; this was why they were regarded as Terrorists!

    They weren’t “terrorists” during the peace process. As Kalana Senaratne pointed out, “accountability” was flushed down the toilet during the CFA period by the same people who are blathering about it today:

    http://groundviews.org/2011/04/24/unsg-panel-report-on-sri-lanka-revisiting-%E2%80%98accountability%E2%80%99/

    “‘Accountability’, yes: but when and why? When ‘peace-talks’ took place, wasn’t ‘accountability’ necessary? Were we not asked to forget ‘accountability’ in the name of peace? Had there been a serious ‘accountability’ process which prosecuted those alleged to have committed serious crimes, would the LTTE’s top leaders been able to discuss ‘peace’, unless negotiations were to be held inside prison? Wasn’t that why peace-facilitators ignored the importance of ‘accountability’?”

    • Burning_Issue

      Wijayapala,

      “They weren’t “terrorists” during the peace process. As Kalana Senaratne pointed out, “accountability” was flushed down the toilet during the CFA period by the same people who are blathering about it today:”

      To be honest with you; I would have loved to have seen Prbhakaran is held accountable for all what he had done! Particularly, he should explain the Suicide Bombings!

      It is a universal concept that when two protagonists engage in a peace process, Accountability is a big casualty. If we go by the Irish Peace process, the British Government had to cave in, in all fronts to accommodate the Good Friday Agreement. The Republicans had to compromise on their side too. However, in the absence of an agreement, any war related activities are subject to accountability! Kalana Senaratne conveniently cherry picks from universal principles; I have read some of his writings. Why then bother to have any International Conventions; we can do away with them all together!
      Pre CFA:

      • there were no shelling knowingly targeted at where the civilians were congregated.
      • White flagged surrenders were executed that was organised by the international actors.
      • 300,000 IDPs, NGOs & GOSL what happened
      • Channel 4 documentary of summary executions

      The list goes on; is this situation comparable to pre CFA? There are claims that up to 40,000 people were perished; don’t you want to know who and how they perished!

      “ “‘Accountability’, yes: but when and why? When ‘peace-talks’ took place, wasn’t ‘accountability’ necessary? Were we not asked to forget ‘accountability’ in the name of peace? Had there been a serious ‘accountability’ process which prosecuted those alleged to have committed serious crimes, would the LTTE’s top leaders been able to discuss ‘peace’, unless negotiations were to be held inside prison? Wasn’t that why peace-facilitators ignored the importance of ‘accountability’?””

      The GOSL could have captured many top LTTE leaders; they would be standing Accountable for their actions today; why weren’t they captured?

      Please tell me what is peace? Two years have elapsed since the end of the war, do you see peace in the North & East? Why the young women are in constant fear of being raped? Why are people still being disappeared? Why have they established Army Camps in the civilian areas? Why is the military still carrying out civil matters?
      International Accountability is the only thing that the Tamils can hope for as they cannot trust their own government! I am pretty sure that if you were in their predicament, you would feel exactly the same!

  • Krish

    Wijayapala,

    Please continue your discussion with Burning_Issue and in the meanwhile, few thoughts relating to your debate.

    My response to you regarding LTTE (whether they were terrorists or not during CFA), the answer is that they were terrorists during CFA. Countries like India had rightly banned them and were furious with Ranil for allowing LTTE to way too far with a CFA that the Norwegians started. And ofcourse, LTTE violated CFA in every possible way. But, I guess where Burning_Issue is coming from is a larger point, which is, how should an elected Government in SL treat it’s minorities particularly the ones who have lost so much in the war. He/she is from North or East who considers himself/herself a Srilankan, unlike those diaspora kinds who keep the fire burning. As a Tamil or a minority, he is basically expecting his elected leaders to be accountable to a degree, whether it is war or post-war rehabilitation. But given that Sarath Fonseka is in jail or Prageeth Eknalikoda is still missing, while Karuna and KP are just held accountable for nothing, there isn’t much to expect from the present Government.

    Burning_Issue,

    In one other threads, you mentioned that “Federal Party” doesn’t have an exact translation in Tamil (or something similar to that). Are you sure?

    • wijayapala

      Hi Krish,

      JJ’s victory in Tamil Nadu seems to have escaped most everyone’s attention, except for Tamilnet which apparently forgot her strong anti-LTTE position in the 1990s. Even though the average Indian Tamil appears to have more pressing concerns than what is going on in Sri Lanka, it is interesting that JJ is still focusing on Sri Lanka. My guess is that she’ll use the issue to bash Congress with. What do you think are the chances of Congress dumping the DMK in favor of JJ?

      But, I guess where Burning_Issue is coming from is a larger point, which is, how should an elected Government in SL treat it’s minorities particularly the ones who have lost so much in the war.

      A number of others here, including even OTC have commented how much they respect BI, and for my part I was not referring to him when talking about “blathering” people.

      The current discussion on “accountability” has little if anything to do with how SL treats its minorities or the N-E Tamils in particular. It is primarily concerned with alleged war crimes, which likewise have little if anything to do with the actual victims of the war. As I told georgebushthepig, the war crimes hype is all about proving that SL did not “win” the war. That is why the Tamil diaspora and the NGOs are pursuing it, and why the Sinhalese utterly reject it.

      But given that Sarath Fonseka is in jail or Prageeth Eknalikoda is still missing, while Karuna and KP are just held accountable for nothing, there isn’t much to expect from the present Government.

      Fonseka is better off in jail. As for Eknaligoda, read the following:

      http://www.island.lk/2010/05/07/features8.html
      http://www.island.lk/2010/05/08/features2.html

    • Burning_Issue

      Krish,

      I am not a Tamil Scholar; as far as I know that there is no equivalent word/phrase in Tamil for Federalism. I may be totally wrong; we need someone on these forums who is an authority on this.

      The word “Federalism” was first used in 1707 to term union of states. The USA used it first, I think, around 1776. In Tamil term, Chakarawarthi (Indo-Aryan), Emperor in English was common and never a union of states.

      To back my claim that the Federal Party was meant to be just that; the term separatism had never been adopted by the Tamil polity until the 1977 Vddukoddai Resolution. Even after the 1977 general elections, the TULF fought on the separate state manifesto; Amithalingham took up the post of Opposition Leader and opened to negotiations. This was why Prabhakaran killed them off. Therefore, I can categorically state that, the Tamil polity never had a separate state in their psychics

  • Bundoora

    This is what Marie colvin had to say about the white flag saga

    May24,2009 ,http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6350563.ece

    “Through highly placed British and American officials I had established contact with the UN special envoy in Colombo, Vijay Nambiar, chief of staff to Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general. I had passed on the Tigers’ conditions for surrender, which he had said he would relay to the Sri Lankan government.
    The conflict seemed set for a peaceful outcome. Puleedevan, a jolly, bespectacled figure, found time to text me a smiling photo of himself in a bunker.
    Once more, the UN 24-hour control centre in New York patched me through to Nambiar in Colombo, where it was 5.30am on Monday. I woke him up.
    I told him the Tigers had laid down their arms. He said he had been assured by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, that Nadesan and Puleedevan would be safe in surrendering. All they had to do was “hoist a white flag high”, he said.
    I asked Nambiar if he should not go north to witness the surrender. He said no, that would that would not be necessary: the president’s assurances were enough.
    I was woken at 5am by a phone call from another Tigers contact in southeast Asia. He had been unable to get through to Nadesan. “I think it’s all over,” he said. “I think they’re all dead.”
    I discovered that on Sunday night Nadesan had also called Rohan Chandra Nehru, a Tamil MP in the Sri Lankan parliament, who immediately contacted Rajapaksa.
    The MP recounted the events of the next hours: “The president himself told me he would give full security to Nadesan and his family. Nadesan said he had 300 people with him, some injured.
    “I said to the president, ‘I will go and take their surrender.’
    “Rajapaksa said, ‘No, our army is very generous and very disciplined. There is no need for you to go to a warzone. You don’t need to put your life at risk’.”
    Chandra Nehru said Basil, the president’s brother, called him. “He said, ‘They will be safe. They have to hoist a white flag.’ And he gave me the route they should follow.” “

    • Padda

      Evidence is so damning we better believe this.