Channel 4’s ‘Killing Fields': Journalism, Advocacy or Propaganda?

Image from Channel 4

Introduction

The UK based Channel 4 documentary, “Killing Fields”, possesses an interesting characteristic. It has the power of accentuating the prejudices and biases of viewers. The reaction found on a variety of forums is arguably more illuminating than the documentary itself.

Those who feel the Sri Lankan government has done no wrong, are further convinced that there is an international conspiracy and the entire documentary is fake. There are those who are convinced that the Sri Lankan armed forces are evil. There are also those that believe the documentary is evidence of the need for a separate Tamil nation and are busy distributing DVDs to Western politicians. The remainder are horrified by the footage and can not watch the entire documentary.

With the broadcast of the “Lies Agreed Upon” [1]  documentary by the Sri Lankan television station Ada Derana [2] , we now have two very one-sided documentaries. Only together can any semblance of balance be achieved.

Callum Macrae, producer and director of the Channel 4 documentary, defiantly asserted, “… this film was accurate, this film was carefully researched, this film did not take sides in that war, we were as critical of the LTTE as the Sri Lankan government.” [3]  The question remains, is the Channel 4 documentary a work of journalism, advocacy or propaganda?

The promotion, introduction and narration of the Chanel 4 documentary contain a number of factual errors and omissions [4] . Let us examine the factual errors relating to displaced civilians propagated by the narration by Jon Snow.

Displaced Civilians

Jon Snow blames the government entirely for the displacement of civilians:

“These were civilians driven from their homes by government forces who appeared to see all Tamil civilians as virtually indistinguishable from the fighters of the Tamil Tigers.”

On January 28, 2009, Human Rights Watch reported:

“The LTTE has long prevented civilians under its control from fleeing to government-held areas. As the LTTE has retreated into its stronghold in the northern Vanni area since the start of a Sri Lankan army offensive in October 2008, the rebel group has forced civilians deeper into territory they control. An estimated 300 local staff members of the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations are trapped in the Vanni because the LTTE refuses to allow them to leave for safe areas. Altogether, an estimated 250,000 civilians are now trapped in the small part of Mullaittivu district that remains under LTTE control.”  [5]

Human Rights Watch states “the rebel group has forced civilians deeper into territory they control”. This directly contradicts the claim by Channel 4 that “[t]hese were civilians driven from their homes by government forces…”.

If you pay close attention to Jon Snow’s narration you will notice that figures relating to the number of displaced civilians is consistently inaccurate.

January 2009

Jon Snow claims:

“By the end of January 2009, the remaining Tamil Tigers and as many as 400,000 civilians were now trapped by Sri Lankan government forces.”

However, many sources contradict this claim.

BBC:

“Monday, 26 January 2009

The military says it is now advancing into the 300 sq km (115 sq mile) triangle of land in which the Tamil Tigers are still operating. There are thought to be about 250,000 civilians in the area in which the rebels are still operating.” [6]

Human Rights Watch:

“January 28, 2009

Altogether, an estimated 250,000 civilians are now trapped in the small part of Mullaittivu district that remains under LTTE control.”  [7]

Washington Post:

“Thursday, January 29, 2009

The United Nations and the ICRC said 250,000 civilians have fled to dense jungle terrain where fighting is raging in the 115 square miles still controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers.” [8]

The UN Advisory Panel report also contradicts the claim by Channel 4:

“125. At the outset of the final phase, on 13 January 2009, the Government website reported that, according to independent verifications, the number of civilians in the Vanni was between 150,000 and 250,000. The United Nations estimate at the time was 250,000 (although its subsequent estimates were higher).”  [9]

The higher subsequent estimate is captured in footnote 54:

“100. From as early as 6 February 2009, the SLA continuously shelled within the area that became the second NFZ, from all directions, including land, air and sea. It is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 330,000 civilians in that small area.54

Footnotes
54 United Nations Documents generally reference a number of 300,000 whereas the Additional Government Agent estimated that there were 330,000 civilians left in the area.”  [10]

At the end of January the United Nations estimated 250,000 civilians and then later revised it to 300,000.

February 2009

Jon Snow claims:

“By the 12th of February, the old No-Fire-Zone had been virtually abandoned and the government announced a new one about 7 miles long on a narrow sand-spit. As many as 400,000 people flooded there and found themselves trapped …”

AFP:

“Feb 1, 2009

The United Nations says up to 250,000 non-combatants are trapped in the area. The Sri Lankan government says the figure is closer to 120,000.”  [11]

BBC:

“Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

The army offensive has pushed the rebels into a 300 sq km (110 sq mile) corner of jungle in the north-east of the island, which aid agencies say also holds 250,000 civilians.

The government says the number of civilians is closer to 120,000 and that the army has a policy of not firing at civilians.”  [12]

Al Jazeera:

“Sunday, February 08, 2009

Since January 1, around 17,900 have fled the fighting. Aid agencies said around 250,000 were inside the conflict zone before the exodus began, while the government disputed the figures claiming there were only 120,000.”  [13]

April 2009

Jon Snow claims:

“At the end of April the government claimed that there were just 10,000 civilians left trapped in the area. In fact there were over 200,000.”

The UN Advisory Panel report states:

At the end of April, United Nations estimates were that 127,177 civilians still remained trapped, whereas the Government said there were only 10,000 persons left at the time.  [14]

The New York Times published:

“April 24, 2009

More than 100,000 civilians fled from the combat zone earlier this week but the United Nations estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 civilians remain trapped on the sandy spit of land. Sri Lanka’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that 15,000 to 20,000 civilians were caught in the conflict zone.”  [15]

May 2009

Jon Snow claims:

“By now most of the No-Fire-Zone was overrun by the government and on the 8th of May they announced a new one, around 1 square mile in size. 130,000 people were trapped in this area”

The Age contradicts Channel 4:

“May 2, 2009

The UN estimates that up to 50,000 civilians are trapped in a narrow strip of coast where the Tamil Tigers are putting up a last stand. Government forces have said only about 20,000 people were still left in the area.” [16]

ABC (Australia):

“Posted May 09, 2009 13:41:00


The guerrillas have been confined to a five-square-kilometre area in the district of Mullaittivu and only three square kilometres of that would be the new “safe zone,” Brigadier Nanayakkara said.

The military estimates that up to 20,000 civilians are trapped in the small area where the Tigers are resisting a military advance.

The United Nations has said nearly 50,000 civilians could be trapped by the fighting.”  [17]

A foreign journalist in the war zone reported:

“May 21, 2009 10:42 IST


From April 20 to 23, over 125,000 civilians fled from the Tigers’s clutches and went over to the government side.

This was the defining moment when Sri Lankan Tamils emerged from the war zone. The LTTE and thousands of people were shrunk into a 12 square km area. The entrapment was real, but they didn’t surrender.
Outside the war zone the government declared 20,000 people were with the LTTE. UN agencies estimated the figure at 50,000, but there were actually 70,000 people with the Tigers.

The LTTE understood that the end had come, the game was over. Probably, Prabhakaran and a few of his men were in the last 500 square metre area. On May 15, 16 and 17, the last bunch of 70,000 people came out.” [18]

Why Inflate the Number of Displaced Civilians?

Gordon Weiss conveys the implications of inflating the number of displaced civilians:

“I think the only explanation is that it was deliberately misleading and I think that the reason for that is because they didn’t want to account for the number of people killed inside the siege zone.”

Channel 4, quite rightly, accuses the Sri Lankan government of underestimating the number of displaced civilians. Ironically, Channel 4 then deliberately inflates the number of displaced civilians, presumably to imply a larger civilian death toll. The Channel 4 documentary has lingered dangerously into the territory of propaganda.

Conclusion

Is it possible for an objective person to still think the Channel 4 documentary is a credible work of journalism? The producer/director believes that by criticising the LTTE he has provided balance. He completely misses the point that balance is achieved by conveying different points of view. It is clear that the Channel 4 documentary does not adhere to the principles of news and current affairs.

Maybe it was intended as a work of advocacy? Whatever the intention, the Channel 4 documentary is a combination of journalism, advocacy and propaganda. Those that are intent on burying their head in the sand and claiming it to be fake need to recognise that it does raise some valid questions that Sri Lanka needs to answer.

If you seek truth and justice, it is disingenuous not to acknowledge the factual errors littered throughout the Channel 4 documentary. Some media and advocacy groups have promoted the documentary quite passionately. It may be time for these groups to decide whether they believe that ’the ends justify the means’. These groups should also consider whether the short term gains by promoting this documentary will be negated in the long term. Have they not learnt anything from the controversial Nayirah testimony? [19]

Sri Lankans should watch the documentary, but beware of the factual inaccuracies in the narration. For those of us who are far removed from war, it unflinchingly conveys the horror of war. It should be a reminder to us all, particularly those barracking from a distance, why we should not walk down that path ever again. If you disagree, you should consider whether you are willing to take the first step, instead of asking others.

Endnotes

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5O1JAfRXew

[2] http://www.adaderana.lk/

[3] http://groundviews.org/2011/06/21/exclusive-interview-with-callum-mccrae-director-of-sri-lankas-killing-fields-produced-by-channel-4/

[4] http://jayasolutions.com/slreport/sl-channel-4-journalism-advocacy-propaganda.html

[5] http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/28/sri-lanka-urgent-action-needed-prevent-civilian-deaths

[6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7850603.stm

[7] http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/28/sri-lanka-urgent-action-needed-prevent-civilian-deaths

[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012802009.html

[9] http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf

[10] http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf

[11] http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iOMzJjueDNhgLg-wyIlxUDU45juQ

[12] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7865190.stm

[13] http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/02/200928111020168135.html

[14] http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf

[15] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/25/world/asia/25lanka.html?ref=global-home

[16] http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-world/64-civilians-killed-in-sri-lanka-hospital-attack-20090502-aqwz.html

[17] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-05-09/govt-troops-shrink-sri-lankan-safe-zone/1677642

[18] http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/may/20/slide-show-1-how-war-against-ltte-was-won.htm

[19] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_(testimony)

  • PeaceHope

    Good article. Without blaming any part, the facts and figures are well proved. I guess every Sri Lankan who want a peaceful country will appreciate your effort.

    This is not the time to blame each other or find faults of what happened. But it is the time to take appropriate actions to prevent any future violence. For that necessary work has to be done, both by Sinhalese and Tamils. Achieving a peaceful country is the responsibility of every community living here.

  • Ravana

    Whilst looking promising at first, the article fails in its original objective:
    “With the broadcast of the “Lies Agreed Upon”?[1]? documentary by the Sri Lankan television station Ada Derana?[2]?, we now have two very one-sided documentaries. Only together can any semblance of balance be achieved.”

    The author fails to point out other numerous inaccuracies in the Channel 4 video and completely ignores the GoSL propaganda video and its blatant misogynistic tone conveyed by none other than a female who looks Sri Lankan but has a somewhat non-descript English accent. So here’s an attempt to do it succinctly as possible.

    Here is my take after having read Gordon Weiss’ “The Cage” and viewed both Ch-4 videos and the “Lies Agreed Upon” (I was not quite sure whether the title referred to lies that GoSL decided its agents would agree to or something else!):

    Essentially, Gordon Weiss and Channel 4 were spinning yarns (either deliberately or fed to them by interested parties) regarding the state of the War until early May 2009. The Ada Derana video quite successfully refutes the claims made about shelling in the first NFZ; the claims by the “Fernando” of the second Ch-4 video are patent hyperbole and really undermines other relevant claims Ch-4 may have had about Shavendra Silva. However, in comparison to Weiss, Ch-4 come across as mere Village gossips aiming to create sensation having malice in their heart.

    Gordon Weiss also undermines his own credibility in a number places in his book. The more prominent ones being the claim of a policy of Dharmapala inspired racism/chauvinism in the school curriculum which he then attempts to link with the JVP and his attempt at linking Sarath Fonseka with 87-89 atrocities which flies in the face of facts (presumably in an effort establish his credentials as a war criminal prior to 2009- if SF cannot be considered a War Criminal then their arguments fall flat). Weiss’ attempt is much more focussed at appearing neutral while aiming not only to attack GoSL but also the chief architect of the War and the principle political party which has consistently remained anti foreign intervention whilst seeking social justice for all (irrespective of ethnicity). One has to consider the agenda of Gordon Weiss in this context. He is not just attempting seek truth behind the any War atrocities, but is attempting to lay the ground for a game which is broader and involves an attempt to neutralise parties which could pose a significant challenge to achieving a more covert objective. I leave other readers to work out what this objective might be. (here are some helpful hints: US making the- hardly veiled- threat that GoSL had better come up with some action about these claims by 31 December 2011; Dayan Jayatilleke’s various rants at once encouraging and inciting whilst also warning against the village thug mentality)

    Whilst Gordon Weiss and Ch-4 have undermined their own credibility by overzealous (due to malice in the case of Ch4 and ulterior motives in the case of Weiss) exaggeration of the truth tainted heavily with downright lies, what they have consistently insisted on with a string of credible supporting evidence is,
    1) Execution of captured top rung LTTE members, 2) Shelling of the NFZ at some point during the last 10 days of the War.

    Whilst the evidence of the latter claim is scanty, a number of independent sources have claimed a command to shell by none other than the President Rajapakse himself (The Hindu, a Cabinet minister). There is much stronger circumstantial evidence for the first claim of executions from numerous sources publicly acknowledged or implied (Palitha Kohona, M K Bhadrakumar, Marie Colvin- indirectly Vijay Nambiar, GL Peiris- why talk about the last 10 days fame, Rajiva Wijesinghe- up to May there were no crimes fame, and none other than Shavendra Silva- I am a movie star fame, oh and don’t forget GR- “that’s a treason.. we’ll hang him fame).

    It is also interesting that so-called defenders of the regime/the war (Dayan Jayatileke, David Blacker) have stayed discretely clear of May 2009. Interestingly, “Lies agreed upon” is deafening in its silence about May 2009.

    It seems to me as a reader and viewer, if there were any war crimes prior to May 2009, then they were sporadic and not systematic. But, in May 2009 War crimes most probably occurred with knowledge of Indians and orders from the highest level of GoSL. Ironically, the man whom the GoSL is attempting to incarcerate for the “White Flag case” was out of the country in this precise period. He was sent to China (presumably he agreed to go because he did not expect the war to end precipitously) by none other than GR himself.

    If there is evidence of War Crimes then this evidence is with Shavendra Silva and perhaps members of the Sri Lankan Cabinet. We are also aware of other unspeakable crimes against humanity in the period 87-89 which never saw the light of day under a different regime. Once again that regime remains accused of command responsibility for those crimes. The GoSL track record is such that no sane legal body can have confidence in the independence of its judiciary when the interests of those in power are concerned. On this occasion the two accused are the most powerful men in the country. There is no reason for any free thinking person to expect justice for these claims let alone those who have died just because they were Tamil (e.g. Trincomalee 5; For those who might justify this saying they were not at risk any more than the Sinhala youth were in 87-89, let me point out that the Sinhala Youth died because they were members of a political party; Tamil youth died simply because they were a gathering of Tamils).

    Now let us speculate on what the idiots in Sri Lanka should have done after the War:

    1) A heart felt executive apology to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka for having left them in the clutches of conflict for 30 years or more.
    2) Immediate enactment of anti-racial vilification and anti-discrimination laws
    3) Simultaneous arrangement for a time-line to abolish the executive powers of the president (in recognition that such powers have been consistently abused) and strengthening of application of the 17th amendment.
    4) A credible time-line to devolve powers to the provinces either via the 13 amendment, or via the proposals under CBK
    5) A country wide education programme to instil in people the need for tolerance of diversity whilst making clear the inaccuracies of history which led to conflict

    (being some of the steps which could have been taken)

    These were never going to happen because those in control of power wanted to consolidate it further and did not want anti-corruption mechanisms which would get in the way. Furthermore, they would certainly not have wanted matters left open for judicial action against them for any War crimes committed.

    Thus the opportunity to welcome Tamils as partners of a new Sri Lanka was never going to manifest. The reasons why this would have been the smart thing to do, does not appear immediately evident those with feigned lack of intelligence (yes, those who keep asking Tamils to educate them about what their grievances are, when a string of very capable Tamil, Burgher and Sinhala scholars have outlined these for a number of decades) or clear lack of compassion (cannot see how people are most enraged when those they love have abused and molested them). Perhaps the following article might wake up those who have not considered why it would have been smart (as a minimum) to ask the Tamils for forgiveness straight after the war:

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=34486

    (may be your belly will understand better than your mind or heart).

    But wait there’s more. Remember Gordon Weiss and others (whom I won’t mention ;) ) ?

    Well, we’ll just have to wait till 31 December won’t we? In the meantime just think about real power in the World and why they would much rather have compliant despots (who have much to lose) in power in many small countries. Just reflect on what has happened to some “oil-rich” countries in the World and pray that this won’t happen any time soon in Sri Lanka. Just consider the >90% popularity leaders like Hussain, Gaddafi and Mubarak (the former two stopped being compliant). Think about East Timor, Eritrea, Kosovo, South Sudan… and why the Arabs or Chinese never intervened….. think about lost opportunities.

    And remember, there never was such a thing as a small independent nation. Not one that lasted. If any one suggests Cuba, then know that Cuba survives because she stopped being a threat to “you know who”.

    So, when you think about thumbing your nose at the only great power in the World, remember, that she asks permission to play in your air space because she likes being seductive not because she needs it.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Sent by Dr. Jayatilleka via email:

      Hey Ravana, what do you mean Dayan Jayatilleka has been silent on May 2009? I had urged for years, months and weeks before May, that the job of destroying the LTTE enemy be completed. ‘ Hands Up or Feet First’ was the caption of one of those articles. I think May 2009 was a great month in the annals of the island’s history. It was a fine military victory which must be applauded and commemorated, and it was followed in the same month by our diplomatic victory at the UNHRC in Geneva. I do not condone any excesses that may have taken place, but these were individual aberrations.

      • Niel

        Re – Dr. Jayatilleka comment “It was a fine military victory which must be applauded and commemorated, and it was followed in the same month by our diplomatic victory at the UNHRC in Geneva.. ”

        In accordance to the GOSL humanitarian operation and factual Analysis Report http://www.defence.lk/news/20110801_Conf.pdf

        1)SLA personal in during the war – app 261,000 (203,000 regular personal, 40,000 reserve personal, 18,000 national guards) 175,000 got HR Training ( FA report)

        LTTE – app 25,000 (FA report) (15,000 full time carders + 10,000 (home guards)

        Do you think a war which used 261,000 person’s to fight a group of 25,000 persons (and surprise surprise – then winning) is something worth being applauded and commemorated?

        ———————————————————————–

        “our diplomatic victory at the UNHRC in Geneva”

        I would advise DJ to visit the North of Sri Lanka and see the devastation the so called “diplomatic victory” has caused to the local population in that area. There are people who have their skin burnt off by chemical shells used by the SLA during the war. Majority of the Mullaithivu civilian population has lost at least one family member in the war.

        I know they were Tamil Civilians, what is the use of one being “the permanent mission of Sri Lanka” when one because of their questionable ethics, morality and narrow minded intellect fails to take measure which could have prevented the devastation of a section of his “own” Sri Lankan population?

      • kadphises

        Ahh.. Now we get it!

        Dayan Jayatilleke gave the order “Hands up OR feet first”

        But Shavendra Silva misheard it as “Hands up AND feet first”

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Sent via email by Dr. Jayatilleka:

      Ravana, I am proud of May 2009, as are over 90 percent of my fellow Sri Lankan citizens. If you think I have been silent on it you obviously have not been a GV reader!

      • Ravana

        DJ,
        I am proud of what you did at the end of May in Geneva as well. The level indignity and emotion expressed by the “Western Block” was incomprehensible in context of the aftermath of war. It was like they were acting in some sort of alarm. I am still trying to work out why little Sri Lanka was so important (clearly it isn’t unless China tries to unnecessarily increase its presence). However, if these nations were privy to certain crimes committed right at the end, then their actions are understandable. They were the actions of irritated and rebuffed superiors. If they were aware of crimes much earlier, I doubt if they would have been so flustered.

        I would really like for you to stop obfuscating and answer my questions. Do you think it likely that the Rajapaksa brothers committed crimes in mid-May 2009? Do you have knowledge beyond speculation? (I probably should not expect you to answer that as you are a diplomat). From my perspective there is no doubt that neither Sarath Fonseka nor the SLA members are responsible for any war crimes up to May. I think that there is significant circumstantial evidence based on claims that the Rajapakse brothers committed crimes. If so, as the evidence is not beyond a reasonable doubt I am not prepared to unfairly accuse them. But I think I can fairly ask and claim there is sufficient cause for an investigation and prosecution if necessary.

        Now let us look at some more evidence which was once secret but now public. These are the secret posts by Ms Patricia Butenis around the time of the 2010 Presidential elections. I am sure you would have seen them, but here are the links at wikileaks for those interested:

        15 Jan- http://www.wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10COLOMBO32.html (The Ambassador is very aware of the accusations of War Crimes and concerned about the need for credible investigations and bringing perpetrators to justice)

        22 Jan- http://www.wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10COLOMBO50.html (Ambassador’s assessment of the manner in which the Human and Political Rights in the country would be dealt with if either candidate came to power- very interesting to see her very calm views of Fonseka compared to your somewhat histrionic view at the time)

        2 Feb- http://www.wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10COLOMBO85.html (comments about Defence Secretary- very incisive observations; even more interesting given that only about a day later he reassures a British Journalist that there is no need to arrest Fonseka- heh heh heh)

        OK, these are secret documents which would not have seen the light of day except for the Asange intervention. Nevertheless, don’t you think that Ambassador Butenis is a simply superb Diplomat? Even when she writes a secret document she behaves impeccably. Such grace is seen in many of the top notch Americans, a characteristic (I guess) which goes hand in hand with those conducting the affairs of an Empire. Interesting thing though is Ms Butenis being part of the diplomatic arm of the US foreign service, sticks largely to matters already public, even in a secret document in which she expresses her own opinion about these. It is very clear that she is concerned about War Crimes and actually names the Rajapkasa brothers and Fonseka as being potentially complicit. It would be interesting to see her spin on it now!

        On the other hand we have no access to the top secret documents either processed by Ms Butenis, or more likely by a less public member of the US foreign service who would traditionally be a journalist or a business person and these days perhaps an NGO staffer ;) .

        Well, talking about the top secret arm of the American Foreign Service, let us roll back time to the Embassy posts from 1987-90 era. Well, what do you know. The Ambassador is deafeningly silent on the small matter of deaths of 60 000 youth in the hands of the SL security forces! When Ambassador Butenis is not shy about stating her concern about suspected War Crimes in a secret document in 2010, why did her counterpart back then have complete amnesia? We must not forget that the diplomats were not under house arrest without TV or telephone access. After all, didn’t the endearing President Premadasa send one packing as Persona Non Grata fro precisely mentioning unmentionables?

        I would have to be a complete donkey, if I was to believe that it just slipped the attention of the US foreign service. What? Ignore the JVP, a radical marxist organisation which had tens of thousands of youth attending their political camps (these youth never came near any weapons and were not trained in weapons handling. Their crime was to attend political camps). I can’t help thinking that there was a flurry of activity from the US foreign service regarding this JVP and it would not surprise me at all if covert action was not carried out with significant blessing and oversight of the secret arm of the “Diplomatic Corps”. Sometimes what the Americans don’t say tells us more than what they do say. I must thank Julian Asange for giving us this important insight.
        As an aside I might say that the US Embassy carries what is virtually a footnote later relegating the JVP basically as a terrorist group (well, as an independent observer who never supported JVP I can make up my own mind that whilst having some responsibility for permitting thugs to get amongst them, JVP had no terror policy in the same way as the LTTE).
        We also have to wonder about American policy on recruitment of local agents.

        Jeffrey Deaver in the latest James Bond novel (Carte Blanche) gives us a quote from the WWII British Minister for Economic Warfare, Hugh Dalton. This should give us a glimpse at the mindset of those who run empires:

        “What is needed is a new generation to co-ordinate, inspire, control, and assist the nationals of oppressed countries… We need absolute secrecy, a certain fanatical enthusiasm, willingness to work with people of different nationalities and complete political reliability. The organisation should, in my view, be entirely independent of the War Office machinery.”

        Perhaps sources such as Julian Asange could in future, inform us further about how the secret arm of the empire reached out across the oceans to turn young men and women who were politically reliable, who they were and their handlers were and what their intentions with regard to a small nation is today. Incidentally, Wikileaks is taking some credit for the “revolutions” in Tunisia and Egypt (why the latter was not protected by the US now becomes clearer- for Mubarak posed no nuisance or threat to the US interests; people power and the views of its own Embassy hamstrung the secret arm of the foreign service. Perhaps a lesson in keeping the Ambassadors out of the loop :) ).

        If any real Sri Lankan patriots who have been posting that they have information regarding war crimes in Sri Lanka, truly have possession of such evidence (e.g. videos) then the safest organisation to release this data to would be Wikileaks. As I understand from Wikileaks site, the uploads and even contact with them is done entirely anonymously.

        Truth will bring us peace and set us free!

    • Harshula

      Ravana, You may wish to flick through the longer report (http://jayasolutions.com/slreport/sl-channel-4-journalism-advocacy-propaganda.html), it already covers a broader range of issues and will be more complete in the future.

      • Ravana

        Thanks for the link Harshula. I will visit.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Ravana,

      I have responded to an observation of yours. Please read the following link
      http://groundviews.org/2011/09/13/channel-4s-killing-fields-journalism-advocacy-or-propaganda/#comment-36762

  • Ward

    Thak you for saying: ”It should be a reminder to us all, particularly those barracking from a distance, why we should not walk down that path ever again.”

    But what the Rajapakses have been saying and doing in the last five years does not convey your good wish in the least – the following atrocities have been exacerbating, not ebbing:

    http://groundviews.org/2010/09/23/submissions-before-lessons-learnt-reconciliation-committee-llrc-by-chandra-jayaratne/
    Submission before Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) by Chandra Jayaratne, 23 September 2010:
    ”…. IDP’s being denied access to their former places of residence
    Challenging the right to title of the properties traditionally owned and /or occupied persons living in conflict affected areas
    Large tracts of previously occupied lands being demarcated as high security zones
    Unjustified land acquisitions on security considerations but allocated for non security related purposes
    The publicly announced resettlement benefits to internally displaced persons not being distributed equitably and in line with the announced scheme
    Lack of basic amenities like water, sanitation, power and proper housing for the newly resettled families
    Resource allocation not determined on community priorities and allocated without consultation and outside the need base and at times missing the most vulnerable and in need, possibly due to identity based biases
    Some areas like Jaffna receiving more than necessary resource allocations and peripheral areas lacking in even basic allocations
    Preventing willing and capable NGO’s/INGO’s, international community and Diaspora from helping people in need at their most vulnerable moment of need
    Building of new permanent military cantonments with residential facilities for military personnel and their families
    Plans to settle majority community families in order to change the traditional area demography otherwise than by natural development oriented migration
    Arbitrary arrests and detention in the post war period as well
    Continuing active engagement of unauthorized armed groups
    Continuing disappearances of civilians
    List of persons in custody, camps and detention centres not being made public
    Failure to assist families in tracing missing persons
    Negative impact on civilians during the conflict due military excesses
    Unease of single women headed families fearing for their safety in the presence of large number of armed personnel of the forces
    Removal of burial sites of persons affected by the conflict
    Some important cultural, religious and remembrance sites being damaged and destroyed
    Disrespect shown by visitors to holy sites and sites held in high esteem by resident communities
    Free availability of liquor, cigarettes and narcotics
    Emerging consumerism promoted by business houses who fail to participate in adding value to the civilian communities
    Savings of the region being channelled to other areas whilst unmet needs of area community remain
    Decision making in the hands of the military or officials from the Central Government. .…’’
    (Jayaratne is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and a former President of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce)

  • Niel

    This is quite an interesting piece. Just a few points the author seem to have missed. My comments are included below

    ———————————————————————–

    1 ) Displaced Civilians

    Jon Snow blames the government entirely for the displacement of civilians:

    “These were civilians driven from their homes by government forces who appeared to see all Tamil civilians as virtually indistinguishable from the fighters of the Tamil Tigers.”
    On January 28, 2009, Human Rights Watch reported:

    “The LTTE has long prevented civilians under its control from fleeing to government-held areas. As the LTTE has retreated into its stronghold in the northern Vanni area since the start of a Sri Lankan army offensive in October 2008, the rebel group has forced civilians deeper into territory they control. An estimated 300 local staff members of the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations are trapped in the Vanni because the LTTE refuses to allow them to leave for safe areas. Altogether, an estimated 250,000 civilians are now trapped in the small part of Mullaittivu district that remains under LTTE control.” ?[5]

    ———————————————>

    Jon Snow does not “blaming” anyone – he is stating facts.

    1) If one was to study the displacement of people during the latter 4 years of the Sri Lankan civil war, it would be possible to see that all cases of displacement during this era was caused by the SL government forces.

    If the author can provide an example of even one instance where mass displacement of Tamils in the North was caused by non-governmental forces in the last 4 years of the war (also known as the Eelam war 4) please do provide it.

    2)It is true that the LTTE in the latter stages of the war prevented civilians from fleeing from its territories. But please look at the date on the HR REPORT – It is dated January 28 2009, just 3 months 20 days before the end of the war. Also it states that “it’s since October 2008 that the LTTE started forcing civilians deeper within its territories”.

    Its not logical to use a report which deals with the last 7 months of the civil war to eliminate the fact that the Sri Lankan government has been the principle cause of displacement for the northern Tamil population in the last 4 years of the civil war.

    I would also like to add in the last 28 years of the Sri Lanka civil war 95% of cases of displacement of Tamil civilians within the territories of former Ceylon was caused by the Sri Lanka government forces.

    ( PN – I am not mentioning the Muslims who were displaced by the LTTE from its territories as its not contusive to this debate)

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    January 2009
    Jon Snow claims:
    “By the end of January 2009, the remaining Tamil Tigers and as many as 400,000 civilians were now trapped by Sri Lankan government forces.”
    However, many sources contradict this claim.
    BBC:
    “Monday, 26 January 2009
    The military says it is now advancing into the 300 sq km (115 sq mile) triangle of land in which the Tamil Tigers are still operating. There are thought to be about 250,000 civilians in the area in which the rebels are still operating.”?[6

    ———————————————->

    1) The numbers of civilians Chanel 4 stated as being trapped in the later part of the conflict were based on a totaling of the Government Agent of mullaitivus and killinochchis 2008 estimate.

    This estimate was made by the Government Agent not based on ulterior motive, but rather in the course of carrying out their normal duties as government agents. In 2008 the GA estimated there were around 440,000 civilians present in both these areas combined.

    2)One needs to remember that the last war was conducted by the SL Government and its forces without any witnesses. International agencies, Nongovernmental organizations, the media both local and foreign were BANNED.

    Thus the estimate given by the BBC, Asian tribute, HRW and especially the SL Government etc cannot be held as conclusive as the former news agencies had no reliable source for their information other than SLG and the latter has now been accused of war crimes making what its statements unreliable too.

    The Government said there was only about 150,000 – 250,000 civilians left in the area, which was then used as “ source” by the BBC, Washington post, UN (“Government website reported that, according to independent verifications, the number of civilians in the Vanni was between 150,000 and 250,000”) etc.

    But when in the end 290,000 civilians ended up in camps the UN revised the amount to 330,000 based on the “Additional Government Agent” account. This is how the UN came up with the calculation that 40,000 civilians had been killed or missing.

    But please note that the “Government agents” of these areas in 2008 had estimated that around 440,000 civilians were present in both areas.

    Local NGO statistics of food provided for the target population of Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu on otober 2008 puts the population figures to 420,000 +

    http://nesohr.org/files/Food_for_the_Vanni_people.pdf

    Why would the Government have sent food for 420,000 people in October 2008 if it knew there were only 250,000 people as it claimed in its defence.lk website? I guess it is a point to ponder on.

    • Harshula

      Niel, my response is below your second posting.

  • Niel

    This is quite an interesting piece. Just a few points the author seem to have missed. My comments are included below

    ———————————————————————–

    1 ) Displaced Civilians

    Jon Snow blames the government entirely for the displacement of civilians:

    “These were civilians driven from their homes by government forces who appeared to see all Tamil civilians as virtually indistinguishable from the fighters of the Tamil Tigers.”
    On January 28, 2009, Human Rights Watch reported:

    “The LTTE has long prevented civilians under its control from fleeing to government-held areas. As the LTTE has retreated into its stronghold in the northern Vanni area since the start of a Sri Lankan army offensive in October 2008, the rebel group has forced civilians deeper into territory they control. An estimated 300 local staff members of the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations are trapped in the Vanni because the LTTE refuses to allow them to leave for safe areas. Altogether, an estimated 250,000 civilians are now trapped in the small part of Mullaittivu district that remains under LTTE control.” ?[5]

    ———————————————>

    Jon Snow does not “blame” anyone – he is stating facts.

    1) If one was to study the displacement of people during the latter 4 years of the Sri Lankan civil war, it would be possible to see that all cases of displacement during this era was caused by the SL Government forces.

    If the author can provide an example of even one instance where mass displacement of Tamils in the North was caused by non-governmental forces in the last 4 years of the war (also known as the Eelam war 4) please do provide it.

    2)It is true that the LTTE in the latter stages of the war prevented civilians from fleeing from its territories. But please look at the date on the HR REPORT – It is dated January 28 2009, just 3 months 20 days before the end of the war. Also it states that “it’s since October 2008 that the LTTE started forcing civilians deeper within its territories”.

    Its not logical to use a report which deals with the last 7 months of the Civil war to eliminate the fact that the Sri Lankan Government has been the principle cause of displacement for the northern Tamil population in the last 4 years of the civil war.

    I would also like to add in the last 28 years of the Sri Lanka Civil war 95% of cases of displacement of Tamil civilians within the territories of former Ceylon was caused by the Sri Lanka Government and its forces.

    ( PN – I am not mentioning the Muslims who were displaced by the LTTE from its territories or the IPKF caused displacments as its not contusive to this debate)

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    January 2009
    Jon Snow claims:
    “By the end of January 2009, the remaining Tamil Tigers and as many as 400,000 civilians were now trapped by Sri Lankan government forces.”
    However, many sources contradict this claim.
    BBC:
    “Monday, 26 January 2009
    The military says it is now advancing into the 300 sq km (115 sq mile) triangle of land in which the Tamil Tigers are still operating. There are thought to be about 250,000 civilians in the area in which the rebels are still operating.”?[6

    ———————————————->

    1) The numbers of civilians Chanel 4 stated as being trapped in the later part of the conflict were based on a totaling of the Government Agent of mullaitivus and killinochchis 2008 estimate.

    This estimate was made by the Government Agent not based on ulterior motive, but rather in the course of carrying out their normal duties as government agents. In 2008 the GA estimated there were around 440,000 civilians present in both these areas combined.

    2)One needs to remember that the last war was conducted by the SL Government and its forces without any witnesses. International agencies, Nongovernmental organizations, the media both local and foreign were BANNED.

    Thus the estimate given by the BBC, Asian tribute, HRW and especially the SL Government etc cannot be held as conclusive as the former news agencies had no reliable source for their information other than SLG and the latter has now been accused of war crimes making what its statements unreliable too.

    The Government said there was only about 150,000 – 250,000 civilians left in the area, which was then used as “ source” by the BBC, Washington post, UN (“Government website reported that, according to independent verifications, the number of civilians in the Vanni was between 150,000 and 250,000”) etc.

    But when in the end 290,000 civilians ended up in camps the UN revised the amount to 330,000 based on the “Additional Government Agent” account. This is how the UN came up with the calculation that 40,000 civilians had been killed or were missing.

    But please note that the “Government agents” of these areas in 2008 had estimated that around 440,000 civilians were present in both areas.

    Local NGO statistics of food provided for the target population of Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu on October 2008 puts the population figures to 420,000 +

    http://nesohr.org/files/Food_for_the_Vanni_people.pdf

    Why would the Government have sent food for 420,000 persons in October 2008 if it knew there were only 250,000 people in these territories as it claimed in its defence.lk website?

    I guess that is a point to ponder on!!

    • Harshula

      Niel,

      * re: responsibility for displacing civilians

      Thanks for pointing that out. I should have included Jon Snow’s preceding sentence, “In January, 2009, the Tiger’s stronghold of Kilinochchi fell”. I will update the longer report accordingly. He is explicitly referring to the final five months of the war. Since the LTTE were holding the civilians captive, they were also responsible for their displacement.

      * re: January 2009

      I appreciate you are explaining why you think Channel 4 used the 400,000 figure. But they are not referring to October 2008. They are referring to the end of January 2009, well after Kilinochchi had already fallen. A figure around 300,000 appears to be more accurate. See the quote from the Darusman Report.

      * re: “International agencies, Nongovernmental organizations, the media both local and foreign were BANNED.”

      That’s what I assumed till I looked into it a bit more, see the Section on “International Witnesses” (http://jayasolutions.com/slreport/sl-channel-4-journalism-advocacy-propaganda.html)

      • Niel

        Correction –

        “By holding already displaced civilians captive LTTE in the last 5 months of the war the cannot be held responsible for their displacement as they were already displaced to begin with.

        Also they could not go to their homes and most of them were raised to the ground by the SLA when they occupied the territories via fighting”

        SHOULD BE –

        ” By holding already displaced civilians captive during the last 5 months of the war, the LTTE cannot be held responsible for their displacement as well. This is because the civilians in question were already displaced to begin with.

        Also the civilians were not in a position to go back to their homes as most of the houses in these areas were raised to the ground by the SLA when they occupied these territories (via fighting).

      • Niel

        Harshula, Thank you for your comments. My comments are found below

        ————————————————————————–

        * re: responsibility for displacing civilians

        Thanks for pointing that out. I should have included Jon Snow’s preceding sentence, “In January, 2009, the Tiger’s stronghold of Kilinochchi fell”. I will update the longer report accordingly. He is explicitly referring to the final five months of the war. Since the LTTE were holding the civilians captive, they were also responsible for their displacement.

        ——————————————————- >

        Causing “displacement” and “holding persons captive” are 2 different things. When you displace a person you are making them leave their homes and run.

        When you hold a person captive it means you are not allowing the person to leave.

        They are two vastly different things.

        The LTTE did hold civilians as Captive in the last couple of months of the war. But these civilians were people who were already displaced because of the SLA offensive. These civilians could not have gone to their homes as their homes had been raised to the ground by the fighting.

        ————————————————————————–

        * re: January 2009

        I appreciate you are explaining why you think Channel 4 used the 400,000 figure. But they are not referring to October 2008. They are referring to the end of January 2009, well after Kilinochchi had already fallen. A figure around 300,000 appears to be more accurate. See the quote from the Darusman Report.

        ———————————————– >

        The 421,532 population numbers I provided you with was for October/ November 2008. January is just 1 or 1 ½ months away and at that time I do not think no anyone exactly knew how much of the population alive and kicking in the LTTE control area at that time.

        You should also note that with the fall of Kilinochchi the LTTE lost territory in a drastic manner and by March 2009 was confined to its small territory in the mullaithivu district .

        By 20 March 2009 there are reports of the number of civilians moving into government control has increasing drastically . This means from November 2008 – March 2009 many civilians were not getting out of the war areas.

        From the last post I made we have established that in October/ November 2008 the number of persons food was sent to in the Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu district was 421,532.

        The GA’s of these areas during this period put the numbers down to around 440,000 which shows the numbers were not vastly exaggerated.
        From November 2008 – May 2009 – civilians were locked in a territory with the only way out being

        1) To be killed

        2) To surrender to the SLA by moving into army controlled areas

        This is the reason the SLA was able to put all civilians of these distracts into Internment camps to weed out the LTTE carders etc before the released them. Everyone who survived was put into these internment camps in army controlled areas.

        When the war finished UN stated there were only 290,000 people in the camps.

        The question you need to ask yourself is – what happened to the other 130,000 – 150,000 when they had no other escape route?

        I understand you would like to know the exact population of Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu in January 2009 to establish Jon Snow was stating incorrect facts, but just 1 ½ months before a valid governmental document had put the numbers down to 420,000 – 440,000.

        So I don’t think your stamen of the population just being 300,000 is very valid.

        Also please provide me with the Ban Ki moon reports reference as I don’t know where exactly the reference you quote is.

        ————————————————————————–

        * re: “International agencies, Nongovernmental organizations, the media both local and foreign were BANNED.”

        That’s what I assumed till I looked into it a bit more, see the Section on “International Witnesses” (http://jayasolutions.com/slreport/sl-channel-4-journalism-advocacy-propaganda.html)

        ——————————————————— >

        I would not call Gordon Weiss and Callum Macrae as international witnesses.

        A witness is someone who is in the ground watching what is happening first hand without outside interferences. GW was in the UN office in Colombo while CM was in the UK. They were not international witnesses.

        The same goes to the Reddy guy. If I am not mistaken he was taken by the SLA to show areas they had captured, which would eliminate the ability of him being an “impartial international witness”.

        • Harshula

          Niel,

          1. re: “Causing “displacement” and “holding persons captive” are 2 different things.“

          I am sure you understand that if “holding persons captive” happens first and “displacement” second, then it is those holding persons captive that caused the displacement. As Jon Snow’s narration clearly states he is referring to January, 2009.

          2. re: “The 421,532 population numbers I provided you with was for October/ November 2008. January is just 1 or 1 ½ months away and at that time I do not think no anyone exactly knew how much of the population alive and kicking in the LTTE control area at that time.”

          Firstly, I am trying to collate as much information as possible, so please provide references to any numbers you quote. e.g. Where did you get 421,532 from?

          Secondly, Jon Snow refers to the end of January, so your calculations are incorrect.

          Thirdly, ICG & UN claim that the SL govt AGA estimated 330,000 people, the SL govt claims the SL govt AGA estimated 305,000 and the UN estimated 300,000 people. It is interesting that you strongly believe the AGA’s figures for the end of 2008, but strongly disbelieve the AGA’s figures at the end of January.

          3. re: “Also please provide me with the Ban Ki moon reports reference as I don’t know where exactly the reference you quote is.”

          Have a look at the endnotes in the article.

          4. re: “I would not call Gordon Weiss and Callum Macrae as international witnesses.”

          Neither would I. Not exactly sure how you misunderstood the HRW quote:

          “The government-ordered September 2008 withdrawal of all UN and nongovernmental humanitarian organizations (with the exception of the ICRC and Caritas) from the Vanni …”

      • Niel

        Dear Harshula

        ————————————–
        re: “Causing “displacement” and “holding persons captive” are 2 different things.

        “I am sure you understand that if “holding persons captive” happens first and “displacement” second, then it is those holding persons captive that caused the displacement.

        ———————————->

        1) I think it is a well-known fact that the SLA indiscriminately bombed and shelled areas it wanted to capture resulting in people having no other means of survival than to run from their homes.

        This is the reason why it was only after March 2009 that the SLA had an influx of IDP’s coming into the army controlled territories (as they were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea to put it literally) and people had no place more to run to
        (http://ochaonline.un.org/humanitarianappeal/webpage.asp?Page=1743 – this document states from November to February there were only 4400 people who got into gov controlled areas ).

        This is also the reason so many people died.

        2)As for the LTTE holding the civilians captive ( as I have again previously commented) – this only happened in the last few months of the war ( But please look at the date on the HR REPORT – It is dated January 28 2009, just 3 months 20 days before the end of the war. Also it states that “it’s since October 2008 that the LTTE started forcing civilians deeper within its territories”.)

        So the displacement happened first and the holding of the person’s captive happened second.

        The same happened in 1995 when the SLA captured Jaffna. SLA bombed and shelled the areas resulting in the civilians fearing their lives leave their homes and moving into the Vanni and northern regions of the peninsula (“displacement”) .

        The resulted in the SLA capturing the ghost city of Jaffna in 1995 with no people. ( http://articles.cnn.com/1995-11-02/world/9511_11-01_am_1_israeli-soldiers-israeli-post-radical-palestinian-groups?_s=PM:WORLD)
        ————————————————————————————————————————————————

        “As Jon Snow’s narration clearly states he is referring to January, 2009.
        re: “The 421,532 population numbers I provided you with was for October/ November 2008. January is just 1 or 1 ½ months away and at that time I do not think no anyone exactly knew how much of the population alive and kicking in the LTTE control area at that time.
        ”Firstly, I am trying to collate as much information as possible, so please provide references to any numbers you quote. e.g. Where did you get 421,532 from?Secondly, Jon Snow refers to the end of January, so your calculations are incorrect.

        —————————————————–>

        My calculations are CORRECT.

        You should learn to read what I write properly as I don’t like wasting my time repeating myself. Not all of us are uneducated or unemployed to waste time.

        As for the sources – I gave them to you previously.

        1) 421,532 – http://nesohr.org/files/Food_for_the_Vanni_people.pdf

        2) Please view this UN documents – where they estimated an 433,000 conflict affected persons in the vanni region in 2009 Feb.
        The estimated there were 230,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. Please note Kilinochchi and Maullaithivu had people living there before IDPs running from other parts of the Vaanni, Jaffna areas ended up there. So the local population were most likely not included in this 230,000 calculation.
        http://ochaonline.un.org/humanitarianappeal/webpage.asp?Page=1743

        3) Also if you go to Maullaithivu and Kilinochchi and ask the GA to provide you with the 2008 estimate population documents you would see the estimated around 440,000 people. (This is the source channel 4 used)

        ————————————————————————————————————————————————

        RE – Thirdly, ICG & UN claim that the SL govt AGA estimated 330,000 people, the SL govt claims the SL govt AGA estimated 305,000 and the UN estimated 300,000 people.

        It is interesting that you strongly believe the AGA’s figures for the end of 2008, but strongly disbelieve the AGA’s figures at the end of January.3.

        —————————————–>

        Sorry BUT where exactly have I said that in my previous 2 posts that “I STRONGLY BELIEVE” what the AGA said ( of 305,000 people being in vanni areas) in 2008 is correct?

        The exact copy of my previous statement on this topic is as follows –

        ———————-
        ““THE GOVERNMENT SAID THERE WAS ONLY ABOUT 150,000 – 250,000 CIVILIANS LEFT IN THE AREA, WHICH WAS THEN USED AS “ SOURCE” BY THE BBC, WASHINGTON POST, UN (“GOVERNMENT WEBSITE REPORTED THAT, ACCORDING TO INDEPENDENT VERIFICATIONS, THE NUMBER OF CIVILIANS IN THE VANNI WAS BETWEEN 150,000 AND 250,000”) ETC.

        BUT WHEN IN THE END 290,000 CIVILIANS ENDED UP IN CAMPS THE UN REVISED THE AMOUNT TO 330,000 BASED ON THE “ADDITIONAL GOVERNMENT AGENT” ACCOUNT. THIS IS HOW THE UN CAME UP WITH THE CALCULATION THAT 40,000 CIVILIANS HAD BEEN KILLED OR WERE MISSING.

        BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT THE “GOVERNMENT AGENTS” OF THESE AREAS IN 2008 HAD ESTIMATED THAT AROUND 440,000 CIVILIANS WERE PRESENT IN BOTH AREAS.

        LOCAL NGO STATISTICS OF FOOD PROVIDED FOR THE TARGET POPULATION OF KILINOCHCHI AND MULLAITHIVU ON OCTOBER 2008 PUTS THE POPULATION FIGURES TO 420,000 +
        http://nesohr.org/files/Food_for_the_Vanni_people.pdf

        WHY WOULD THE GOVERNMENT HAVE SENT FOOD FOR 420,000 PERSONS IN OCTOBER 2008 IF IT KNEW THERE WERE ONLY 250,000 PEOPLE IN THESE TERRITORIES AS IT CLAIMED IN ITS DEFENCE.LK WEBSite?”

        ————–>

        As you can see I have given an argument as to how the UN got its numbers.

        Also I HOPE YOU ARE AWARE THAT an AGA is an “Assistant Government Agent”, while a GA is the “Government Agent”.

        The AGA works under the GA.

        The Mullaithivu district presently has 5 AGA’s (each of whom manages a specific area of Mullaithivu) working under the GA who is in controls all of them.

        If the GA tells a number as to the whole population of the district and the AGA tells you another, who is more likely to be correct?

        ————————————————————————————————————————————————

        re: “Also please provide me with the Ban Ki moon reports reference as I don’t know where exactly the reference you quote is.”

        Have a look at the endnotes in the article.4.

        ——————————- >
        I have looked at the end note to the article and it takes me to the chanel 4 website which says nothing about the answer to my question.

        In case you dodnt remember – you statement in your September 13 post was

        “appreciate you are explaining why you think Channel 4 used the 400,000 figure. But they are not referring to October 2008. They are referring to the end of January 2009, well after Kilinochchi had already fallen. A figure around 300,000 appears to be more accurate. See the quote from the Darusman Report.”

        —————————————–>

        o Please do provide me with the exact para/ page refering to the 300,000 people from the Ban Ki Moon report please?

        ————————————————————————————————————————————————

        re: “I would not call Gordon Weiss and Callum Macrae as international witnesses.

        ”Neither would I. Not exactly sure how you misunderstood the HRW quote:
        “The government-ordered September 2008 withdrawal of all UN and nongovernmental humanitarian organizations (with the exception of the ICRC and Caritas) from the Vanni …”

        ————————————->

        Its good both of us agree there were no international witnesses.

        I thought you were confused about what an international witness was and thought GW and CM were international witnesses.

  • z

    Such a wonderful article, by trying to critcize the channel4 documentary, the article has pulled all the facts out of the den and shown to the world. If someone really reads the whole references, he/she should be able to come to a conclusion whether the “killing fields” is a total fake or a compilation of facts with omissions.

  • yapa

    We must question the role played by Navanethem Pillay in pushing Sri Lanka government for international investigations as well. As a commission that is supposed to be unbiased, is it morally and ethically correct Navi Pillay to head the UN- HRC in a discussion related to GOSL and Tamil Tigers? I think Being a TAMIL woman, who naturally biased towards her race/ethnic relations, I think she is violating the “PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE”, which is a pre-requisite of any decision making procedure. How can such a person head HRC, when he naturally has vested interest towards one of the party? She should have kept away her influence and and heading the HRC at this special juncture, not to influence justice.

    UN process about Sri Lanka is full of such processes. What will happen when the judge is corrupted?

    UN process about SL is fundamentally flawed.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction…

    “UN process about Sri Lanka is full of such processes.”

    should be corrected as,

    UN process about Sri Lanka is full of such [flaws].

    Thanks!

  • civilian

    Check the last paragraph…

    WIKI – 2009-02-18 at 12:21

    Civilian Casualties Continue
    —————————-

    ¶5. (SBU) UN sources reported shelling in the new safe zone on
    February 18 with “large numbers of casualties.” The Sri Lankan Army
    (SLA) denies they delivered the fire. The UN noted it could not be
    ruled out that the LTTE shelled civilian areas to assign blame to
    the SLA.

    ¶6. (U) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader R.
    Sampanthan delivered a statement to the press at the Sri Lankan
    parliamentary complex assailing the “slaughter of Tamil civilians
    through indiscriminate artillery barrage and bombings.” He further
    claimed that 2000 Tamil civilians have been killed and 4500 injured
    since mid-December.

    ¶7. (SBU) Tamil sources from within the LTTE-controlled area claim
    156 civilians killed and 149 injured on February 17-18 in PTK area.
    (Note: Such reports from Tamil sources cannot be confirmed and are
    frequently exaggerated.)

    BLAKE

    • Niel

      BLAKE

      I do not know where you get the idea that the causality figures from inside the conflict zone were exaggerated. There are 130,000 – 150,000 people missing from October 2008 – May 2009 in the Vanni districts.

      Where do you think all these people went?

      If any of you could provide me with a logical argument with reliable sources as to where these people went it would be very much appreciated.

      • Niel

        As wikileaks states – it is possible that during dense fighting (as it was in February 2009), the death amounts could have been exaggerated by Tamil sources in the hope of bringing about a cease fire.

        But the food allocations by the Government to the Kilinochi and Mullaithivu district before the last war – I don’t think the government is stupid enough to allow food for a 420,000 numbered population if it seriously estimated the population of Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu to be 150.000 – 250,000 right?

  • Kannan

    The Sinhalese majority in the south will never accept the truth regarding violence against the minority. This is not new to the Tamils. There have been organized violence against Tamils starting in 1956. It is telling that even after 30 years of conflict many in Sri Lanka who consider themselves guardians of Buddhist values are unwilling to accommodate the minority. Beyond channel 4, there is ample reporting and evidence that indicates human rights abuses by the state against Tamil civilians. Below is a link to a NDTV report.

    http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/documentary-24×7/sri-lanka-white-lies-and-brute-force/210479

    • The Analyst

      Kannan

      “The Sinhalese majority in the south will never accept the truth regarding violence against the minority” hmmm……at least a sizable portion of Sinhales accept the truth regarding violence against minorities and as a percentage they are much higher than portion of Tamils who accepted the violence carried out by LTTE against Sinhalese. I daresay had the LTTE gained upper hand in this conflict they will never spare even those liberal Sinhalese who spoke on behalf of the Tamil people.

    • Harshula

      Thanks for bringing the NDTV documentary to my attention. I will add it to my queue for analysis. In the first couple of minutes it makes quite a significant factual error:

      “Towards the end of the war, the UN says, around three and a half lakh Tamils were trapped in a narrow sliver of land, designated as safe zone by the Sri Lankan army, and over 40,000 were wiped out as the war reached its climax.”

      It appears NDTV has misunderstood “as many as” to mean “over”.

      On the NDTV website, I noted they also produced another documentary: “Truth vs Hype: The propaganda wars in Sri Lanka” (http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/truth-vs-hype/truth-vs-hype-the-propaganda-wars-in-sri-lanka/210461). I suspect the latter was produced to balance the former.

    • yapa

      Dear Kannan;

      This is not a simple case like Sinhalese majority in the south not accepting the truth regarding violence against the minority or Tamil minorities claim for disproportionate share of the resources of the country as majority Sinhalese believe. Allegation are their against both parties, though you try to paint one party in black and the other party in pure white. Majority Sinhalese will never be ready to accept what you suggest, that is, to accept their wrongs and at the same time the sainthood of minority Tamils as you try to say and try to appeal to the international community. There is a another risk the majority see in this endeavour through their recent experience. The response to such one ended feeding from the international community against the Sinhala majority is pressure for an “international investigation” against the GOSL. The question the majority Sinhalese ask is the impartiality and credibility of the “judges” the minority is complaining against the majority. They suspect whether the judge will give evidence for the complainant. That suspicion is not without reasons, one cannot reject it off hand. It is true that what the minority is conversing for and the international community is pressing for are just and fair enough concepts like, human right issues, impartial investigations for crimes against etc. etc., conceptually the seem to be perfect. But the doubt is whether such perfect concepts would be transformed to practice with the same quality. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) was a more fair and justifiable concept put forward by international community and approved by the UN against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Protecting civilians is the good concept put forward by NATO and approved by the UN in the case of Libya and Gaddafi. The whole world know what had happened. The good concepts had become stepping stones to achieve some other motives in practice.

      The problem for the majority is not about accepting the concepts sounds good of your side as you say, they want to consider the sounds good concepts of the side as well and they are afraid of the practical transformation/consequences of the sounds good concepts of the minorities. Not that Sinhalese majority in the south are inhumane as you say not to accept the truth.

      We do not hesitate to become subjects before a uncorrupted judge for a fair complaint against us for any investigation. But if we reasonably see a civil complaint is made to make us criminals before a corrupted judge we are not fools not to object to it.

      Thanks!

      • yapa

        Correction……

        “It is true that what the minority is conversing for and the international community is pressing for are just and fair enough concepts like,”

        Should be changed as,

        It is true that what the minority is [canvassing] for and the international community is pressing for are just and fair enough concepts like,

        Thanks!

  • Jame Chance

    Harshula: This is a nice attempt to examine the C-4 documentary objectively. I’ll look forward to reading your longer version that also contains a critique of what strikes me as a much more blatantly propagandistic and distorting film, “Lies Agreed Upon”.

    For now, just a few points:

    1. You are right that C4 is wrong to imply that only the government is to blame for the displacement of the Vanni population. The LTTE definitely contributed to this, esp. as the months went on and the situation grew more desperate and more people wanted to flee to government territory, despite the various risks involved

    2. I think a fuller analysis of the C4 video would find other ways in which the C4 narrative is weighted in ways that let the LTTE off the hook a bit too much – even though they are criticised severely. (The only good point in the Lies Agreed Upon is the critique of the C4 opening scene and the failure of C4 to discuss how the protest against the UN leaving Kilinochchi was in part organised by the LTTE.)

    3. Nonetheless, when it comes to your critique of C4’s numbers, I think you make two fundamental errors. First, C4 says “as many as” 400,000. That gives them some cover from your critique: they are not saying there were definitely 400,000. Second, and more important, the competing numbers you list from various sources are all (except for the UN report) contemporaneous – i.e. from 2009, when the real numbers of civilians trapped by the GoSL and the LTTE were not known publicly (in large party because of strong pressure by the GOSL to keep the figures low so as to minimize the problem). We now know for certain that the numbers cited in 2008 and 2009 by the GoSL, ICRC, UN, INGOs and news agencies were all much too low – even if no civilians were killed, many more came into GoSL camps than predicted by any of those figures. So what’s the point of using those numbers to prove C4 wrong? The three sets of numbers that could be cited with some reason are a) the 330,000 that the UN cites, which is from the AGA based on direct counting of the population in February – at which time some 30-35,000 civilians had already made it to IDP camps; and b) the combined figures from the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu GAs from late Sept/early Oct 2008, which said there were some 430,000 civilians displaced from across the Vanni trapped in their districts. This is the figure cited by the Mannor Bishop in his LLRC testimony. This latter figure may well be a bit high – but it is a credible figure from credible sources and it lends some credibility to C4’s claim that “as many as 400,000″ civilians were trapped at the end of January (at which point some had come out to the camps, but not that many – perhaps 10-20,000 – I don’t have the UNHCR figures handy but they aren’t hard to find); c) finally, there is the figure of 360,000 civilians used by (then Mullaitivu GA) Imelda Sukumar in her November 2010 testimony to the LLRC. It’s not clear what date this number applies to, but it would be consistent with the AGA’s figure of 330,000 in February. If true, it would mean C4’s “as many as 400,000″ was a slight exaggeration, but not radically so. On the claim of 130,000 still trapped on 8 May 2009, that may well be an exaggeration, but can we be sure? The numbers you use are either the discredited UN numbers of 50,000 (discredited because more than that actually emerged in the following 10 days) or the figure from a journalist that 70,000 later emerged. But what is many many more were killed in that final week of hell? My hunch is that 60,000 killed in the last 10 days is much too high – but can anyone say with certainty that it isn’t true?

    Now to read your critique of “Lies Agreed Upon”.

    • Harshula

      Jame Chance,

      1. re: “First, C4 says “as many as” 400,000. That gives them some cover from your critique: they are not saying there were definitely 400,000.”

      That is the difference between accurate journalism and propaganda. ICG & UN claim that the SL govt AGA estimated 330,000 people, the SL govt claims the SL govt AGA estimated 305,000 and the UN estimated 300,000 people.

      The question is, how would a credible journalist present the aforementioned information? An accurate statement would have been ‘as many as 330,000′. Note, Channel 4 attributes the 400,000 figure for the “end of January 2009” and “By the 12th of February”.

      2. re: “So what’s the point of using those numbers to prove C4 wrong?”

      It is to document what was believed by different entities at the time. And in particular, to show that statements by Channel 4 like, “At the end of April the government claimed that there were just 10,000 civilians left trapped in the area. In fact there were over 200,000.”, are absurd. Particularly when taking into account the Darusman report that states, “At the end of April, United Nations estimates were that 127,177 civilians still remained trapped, whereas the Government said there were only 10,000 persons left at the time.”

      3. re: “at which time some 30-35,000 civilians had already made it to IDP camps”

      I am collating all the information at the moment. Do you have a reference to a primary source for the above figure?

      4. re: “The three sets of numbers that could be cited with some reason are a) the 330,000 that the UN cites, which is from the AGA based on direct counting of the population in February – at which time some 30-35,000 civilians had already made it to IDP camps; and b) the combined figures from the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu GAs from late Sept/early Oct 2008, which said there were some 430,000 civilians displaced from across the Vanni trapped in their districts. This is the figure cited by the Mannor Bishop in his LLRC testimony. This latter figure may well be a bit high – but it is a credible figure from credible sources and it lends some credibility to C4?s claim that “as many as 400,000? civilians were trapped at the end of January (at which point some had come out to the camps, but not that many – perhaps 10-20,000 – I don’t have the UNHCR figures handy but they aren’t hard to find); c) finally, there is the figure of 360,000 civilians used by (then Mullaitivu GA) Imelda Sukumar in her November 2010 testimony to the LLRC. It’s not clear what date this number applies to, but it would be consistent with the AGA’s figure of 330,000 in February. If true, it would mean C4?s “as many as 400,000? was a slight exaggeration, but not radically so”

      You would have noted that Channel 4 quotes ‘as many as 400,000′ for both “end of January 2009” and “By the 12th of February”. Clearly it conflicts with the 300,000 and 330,000 figure the UN cites. If Channel 4 had said ‘as many as 350,000′, that would have been within acceptable bounds (~6%). However, 400,000 is an unsupportable and excessive exaggeration (~20%).

      5. re: On the claim of 130,000 still trapped on 8 May 2009, that may well be an exaggeration, but can we be sure? The numbers you use are either the discredited UN numbers of 50,000 (discredited because more than that actually emerged in the following 10 days) or the figure from a journalist that 70,000 later emerged.”

      Firstly, the UN claims an estimated 127,177 were trapped at the end of April while Channel 4 claims over 200,000. Channel 4 then claims 130,000 were trapped on the 8th of May. This means Channel 4 believes the trapped population dropped by more than 70,000 in the same period but estimates a number at the end of the period which is higher than the UN estimate at the start of the period.

      6. re: “My hunch is that 60,000 killed in the last 10 days is much too high – but can anyone say with certainty that it isn’t true?”

      Asking the Sri Lankan government to disprove a claim appears to contravene the basic principles of the Western judicial system. The onus should be on Channel 4 to provide some evidence to support their claims.

      7. re: “Now to read your critique of “Lies Agreed Upon”.”

      Look under the section “Civilian Death Toll”, there is one discrepancy I noted. It is in my queue, along with Headlines Today and NDTV, but the death toll is what I’m looking at now.

      Thanks. Your comments have provided a few more aspects I should look into and explain more thoroughly.

  • georgethebushpig

    Dear Dr. Jayatilleke,

    I guess you’re too busy at present defending Sri Lanka in Geneva from the international grease yakas, to find the time to respond to the questions regarding Geneva 2009 and our current international predicament:
    http://groundviews.org/2011/09/02/should-sri-lanka%e2%80%99s-youth-get-ready-to-confront-armed-intervention-two-years-after-the-war/#comment-36283

    No hurry… whenever time permits…. this is going to be a long drawn out affair anyway.

    • Nithyananthan

      Dear Mr. Yapa, Greetings to you!

      Please don’t look through tinted glass but through plain glass to enjoy realism. Jaundiced eye always creates illusions!
      This is the second time you posted. I ignored your first one on this issue. Are you trying to induct and propagate our pattern of stinking political culture – that’s already torn the harmonious social fabric in the island; and promote even in the international institutions and world- bodies like UN, IMF and EU etc? If you are so upset because of her name – then you would have committed self-immolation if she had ever innocently / lip of her lips said so? She never claimed or has not gone on record claiming that she’s a ‘Tamil’. She is a South African- that’s it. South Africa makes her feeling as African – not as an ‘immigrant Tamil’.

      Mr. Yapa, you have proved and cleverly demonstrated how truthful and realistic is your honest belief – that is ‘…though Singhalese as individuals are good for nothing culprits in general. In contrast, the Tamils as individuals are more of gentlemen…” I didn’t want to get into this issue – yet this is how I feel it. Let’s not pollute the Breeze. Let it be fresh & gentle! Thanks, Nithy!

      • yapa

        Dear Nithya;

        Thanks, Nithya for your response, how ever, I would have been much happier if you addressed the issue i raised rather than shooting the messenger. I think no any decision maker has a right to stick to the position in decision making process, if one party has grounds to reasonably suspect the decision maker has any relationship that might influence the balance of decision making process, he/she does not have a legal/moral right to be involved in that process. In legal Literature this is known as “Being the judge of your own case”. You cannot be the judge of your own case, that is the second Principle of Principles of Natural Justice.

        Do you say just because now she is a South African and she is having a South African feeling she doesn’t have even an element of Tamil feeling? How are you sure about it and how an judicial process/administrative process be certain about it before she heads the UN HRC council? Don’t you think it is more ethical to hand over the position for the moment for a person with more transparency? We really know that the feeling of Tamil Nadu Tamils have not become fully Indian because they are Indians. They have the Tamil feeling more than their Indian feeling and they want to support and kill themselves for their Tamil brethren. Do you Think South African Tamils are totally devoid of feelings of the Tamils of the other countries? I am not convinced.

        As the ongoing international process is against and violating one of the Principles of Natural Justice, it also can be shown that it has violated the other Principle as well. The other principle of Natural Justice is “Listen to both parties”. The UN process against Sri Lanka has violated this principle as well. The initial action against in the process was the Report of the Advisory Panel of the Secretary General of the UN. The panel did not seek evidence from the side of the GOSL for preparing their report. There were enough credible allegations that the panel was relied on pro-Tamil/LTTE websites for information. There was no denial from them for these allegations.

        In this view I think the UN process/International action on GOSL has violated both the Principle of Natural Justice. This is a fundamental and essential judicial pre-requisite of the western justice seeking process. Western judicial tradition accepts that no justice can be sought without following the Principles of Natural justice. No judicial or administrative decision is valid unless the process followed the these fundamental principles. Therefore, I filmy argue and believe the international/UN action on Sri Lanka is fundamentally flawed and has no any legal or ethical validity.

        Do you have any factual evidence against this dear Nithya? (I am just a messenger.)

        Thanks!

      • Ravana

        Dear Nithyananthan,
        I hope you realise why no one else has responded. But given that the reward has been given I might as well say that Ms. Navanatham Pillai is a highly respected South African legal luminary and certainly not considered “Tamil” by any other than some people of dubious character who have been using the “Tamil” label since her appointment.

      • http://Asyouyourselfproclaimedthatyouareunabletograspwhat“ordinarylankan”says,itcouldbreakdownintothesecondofthosereasonsalone; yapa

        Dear Ravana;

        I would like if Ravana too would answer my questions with facts, without bastardizing me. One of the spectacular feature I have seen in Ravana’s writing is he seems to prefer authoritative and authoritative opinions and rhetoric rather than facts and evidence. He also lacks consistency in his writing. I tried to engage with him several times, but he preferred not to take that opportunity. I would like to engage in a discussion at least on this issue. Why your hesitation to test the strength of your ideas Ravana? Please Ravana.

        Thanks!

      • Nithyananthan

        Dear Mr. Yapa, Greetings to you!

        A self-satisfied messenger was carrying, in complaisance, a poisonous harmful message. His intent may innocent yet it is marked by willful inclination to something suspicious. My post was not at all intended to target the messenger still if he has felt that he was hurt – it’s collateral.

        As regard to Mr. Yapa’s restlessness about Ms Navaneitham Pillai’s office let me say firmly and emphatically that she is and shall always be ‘impartial & honest’ and knows her responsibilities of what she is doing.

        A well established and known fact is that even for the third level diplomatic appointments the credentials are well scrutinized by the host country. Our veteran career diplomats Shirley Amarasinghe and still illustrious Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala have undergone such measures through out their long tenure. Such stringent measures of screening the candidates for executive international-service are still in place in the global institutions. Recent withdrawals of our diplomats are worthy of mention to say such measures still alive and active. Currently Ms. Navi’Pillai holds such a high UN office – a position equivalent to Dr. Jayatha Dhanapala once held. Can anyone just think even for a moment that Ms. Navi’Pillai would have slipped through the scrutiny net or used the back-door? She too had faced such measures as Dr JD & Dr DJ did. Gramsci’s disciple DJ had known very well that she bears a Tamil Name. He was still in Geneva patting his back representing Sri Lanka when Ms. Navi’Pillai took office as Commissioner of UNHRC. He could have easily, officially and diplomatically protested and lodged an entry of displeasure.

        Okay Mr. Yapa, let’s imagine that if Dr Jayantha Dhanapala had happened to hold that position today how you would have reacted and how he would have handled the criticality and embarrassment. My humble answer is that you would be different – would not have raised any issue; secondly Dr JD would be meticulously impartial and have immaculately discharged his responsibilities – Since he is a Sri Lankan of high caliber he would also have resigned from the position if anything had wrong (Such as interference) beyond his purview. In Ms. Navi’Pillai’s case, she does have to endure such emotional sentiments for she is not a Sri Lankan.

        So Mr. Yapa, still it’s not late. Our country has seasoned and gained vast experience executing different kinds and forms of protests and petitions. Please go ahead … please!

        All that you have said, I believe, is in Good Faith. At a glance, it sounds pitiable, reasonable and noble gesture of anxiety. Let me ask you, taking all those Commissions of Inquiry instituted all these years in our land in mind – and the current LLRC in particular, my dear, does your noble gesture of anxiety apply or can we apply to our tiny country as well? Thanks, Nithy!

      • Nithyananthan

        Dear Mr. Ravana, Greetings to you!

        You have grasped the underlying message in my post as to how I feel about it and what I am looking forward. Thank very for your reward. I enjoy reading your treatises. Intellectualists are mainly driven by their thirst for knowledge and guided by their ability and power of comprehension rather than pleasure, emotion and experience. I am not looking for accolade or applaud. I read all but write seldom and never respond to all. I always evaluate ‘Usefulness & Deservedness’ of response to the subject of discussion. Thanks, Nithy!

    • yapa

      Dear Nithy;

      “As regard to Mr. Yapa’s restlessness about Ms Navaneitham Pillai’s office let me say firmly and emphatically that she is and shall always be ‘impartial & honest’ and knows her responsibilities of what she is doing.”

      But dear Nithy,her recent practice does not reiterate your kind view towards her.

      She has acted as a party to the question arguing and pressing minister Mahinda Samarasinhe with her forceful suggestions to implement her wishes in Sri Lanka. She should have taken the a neutral stance. How did she come to those forceful conclusions, even before the issue was discussed in the UN HRC. She must take decisions based on the facts forwarded before her on on hear say. It seems she has acted on hear say.

      http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/13522-heated-exchange-at-the-human-rights-session.html

      Do you think her behaviour with regard to Sri Lanka is impartial? Her ethnic blood must have boiled for the first time in this instant if it had not happened earlier as you said. I think she has not attained Arhath-hood never to stir her emotions. I think she has not encompass the human nature of become biased to “self” and to things related to self, just as you and me.

      However,I like your mild ideas, thanks Nithy.

      • yapa

        Dear Nithy;

        “We were able to convince the delegates that we would take legal and administrative action if there were attempts to discuss the ‘Darusman report’ at the UNHRC session. We pointed out that no one had the authority to refer this report which was a personal one for debate or discussion without the approval of the UN which they accepted,” Minister De Silva said.

        http://print.dailymirror.lk/news/news/56517.html

        If this is the case, hadn’t Navanethem Pillay acted beyond her authority and morality?

        Doesn’t this show she was biased as I said, in this particular case? Isn’t it not possible that it was her Tamil origin is the main cause of this bias? Why she wanted to dictate terms, warn and advice Sri Lanka even before the report came under her purview?

        Can anybody issue her with a certification as Nithy, did to her.

        “As regard to Mr. Yapa’s restlessness about Ms Navaneitham Pillai’s office let me say firmly and emphatically that she is and shall always be ‘impartial & honest’ and knows her responsibilities of what she is doing.”

        Thanks!

      • Nithyananthan

        My dear Mr. Yapa, Welcome again!

        Thanks for the extract. I also read it but didn’t take it seriously yet noted your input with due attention – not concerned since there’s nothing to worry about. At my first glance, the item simply struck me as information for public consumption given by our minister with elated excitement prompted by the perceived success in convincing the delegates. An elected politician, from a country that espouses the culture of impunity, is challenging the performance of a selected / chosen incumbent of a high office. As mentioned before, it’s the right step in right direction. I have no further comment, in this regard, until seeing new development.

        As regard to your opinionated comment, let me politely say that I have neither read nor am knowledgeable of the ‘Job Description’ for such a high level international bureau; that runs perhaps in tens of pages to narrate the main functions, responsibilities, duties and the areas of purview; in order to determine the chances of Ms Navi’Pillai being bearing a Tamil Name committing, with or without being carried away by external influences, offences or violation as you have outlined. Within my grasp of a little knowledge in organizational engineering at industrial, managerial and corporate executive levels, I find it’s beyond my reach – I am unable to understand the scope of the internal policies, procedures and decision making procedures and instructions / guidelines lay-down for a Commissioner of a Noble Vision & Mission at global stature.

        Mr. Yapa, I honestly believe and am very sure of that not only Ms Navi’Pillai – but also anyone who comes to occupy such seat including Dr JD – not DJ is fully aware of the nobility, gracefulness and the resulting consequences of defiling such eminence of the office – will never get herself glued to the office until being kicked-out if she feels that she has committed something wrong or violated office ethics or breached the entrusted loyalty and trust.

        ‘Guilt never sleeps because Innocence never allows!’

        That’s why the man made legal system based on the Moral Law too tolerates guilty slipping through the net but never permits an innocent is punished. Retired Chief Justice Sarath Silva always speaks on this issue in BTV programme. Let’s hope for the best. Thanks, Nithy!

      • yapa

        Dear Nithy;

        When I started my career, I was of the view that the high ranking officers of organizations were fully knowledgeable people with a high moral ground, and I had a high regard to them. However, after working some time with them I was totally disappointed. I found most of them do not have the requisite knowledge, skills or attitudes to work in those positions, but takeover any high position for their own glory. The main qualification they like to improve is the political alliance saying yes sir! yes sir!!

        When looking from the outside appearance, from their clean suits and tie-coats, looking the way they walk and talk they seem to be highly knowledgeable thorough gentlemen/ladies. This is true for over 95% of the high ranking people of this country and some officers of the other counties as well. What you see from outside and expect from them are not there, when you closely examine them. Our beliefs we make in good faith on others, do not guarantee their behaviour according to your beliefs. You will soon be disappointed.

        Why Nithy you under estimate yourself? In this country only the brightest people become engineers. If others can perform the duties you say you are unable to understand, I don’t think anybody else can do them. You ask those high rankers you adore high to perform the duties you are doing. You think they will perform as you do?

        Most people shine because of their posts they hold, only a post shine because of the people they hold. Irrespective of the high position, some people can make the seat smelling bad. Despite all your hopes about the nobility of the high positions, I think Navanethem Pillay is doing it. Action makes people noble or low, not their glory of the positions. You know, even the last Secretary General of UN was accused of corruption.

        Don’t over-estimate others so much and also don’t underestimate yourself.

        Thanks!

      • yapa

        Correction…….

        “Most people …………….. only a post shine because of the people they hold.”

        should change as,

        “Most people …………….. only a [few] post[s] shine because of the people hold [them].”

        Thank!

      • Nithyananthan

        My dear Mr. Yapa, Welcome again!

        I accept the scenario that you have narrated from your stand point of view – nowadays we are so retarded and crippled to compromise with the reality on the ground – in the city or in the countryside – that determines everyone’s day-to-day life – even deciding factor as to what to eat & what not and so on. Yet, here my dilemma is as to where I should place the benefit of my doubt.
        @ “Most people…only a[few] post[s] shine because of the people hold [hold]”
        This brings to my mind of a popular song/saying in Tamil – i.e. the imperiled serpent sitting coiled around Lord Siva’s neck and asking the vulture circling above the head ‘hi’ my friend, I am keeping fine – how about you?’
        Mr. Yapa, I take a break. Let’s meet again on a good subject, Bye for now! I owe much to GV for her calibrated tolerance and devotion to moderation. Thanks, Nithy!

  • http://pcolman.wordpress.com/ Padraig Colman

    I am not in a position to know what facts are facts and what lies are lies. However , I have looked at the Channel 4 programme from the angle of linguistic analysis, critical thinking, semiotics, logic. Please see:

    http://pcolman.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/channel-4-news-and-sri-lankan-war-crimes/

    • Harshula

      Padraig Colman, Thanks. That was an interesting read.

  • http://pcolman.wordpress.com/ Padraig Colman

    “As I understand from WikiLeaks site, the uploads and even contact with them is done entirely anonymously.”

    WikiLeaks no longer seems to guarantee anonymity.

    • Ravana

      Wikileaks site does not retract the assurances it has always made about protecting sources:

      http://www.wikileaks.org/About.html

      The above page outlines not only how they ensure anonymity but also how they verify authenticity through third parties. Annonimity is ensured through military grade encryption and an arms length relationship between its data servers and web-servers. Even inquiries are treated anonymously. We must keep in mind that they are a highly skilled group of hackers working in conjunction with committed journalists and perhaps other professionals. The site also gives reasonably detailed instructions about how those submitting should protect their identities. The beauty of the Wikileaks innovation is that they do not want to know the identity of their sources.

      If you are referring to the exposure of Bradley Manning, that occurred not through Wikileaks but through his communications with third party hackers who have themselves been exposed. It is unlikely that US law enforcement could make a link that demonstrates any link between Wikileaks and Bradley, using discovery. Unless the US regime subverts the judiciary to the extent it is subverted say in Sri Lanka (or even the UK) it is unlikely that Wikileaks has left a trail to bring “Spying” charges on either Asange or Manning. That is why (almost certainly), sex-offences charges have been manufactured against Asange. Anyone who followed the Anwar Ibrahim case of Malaysia or the Sarath Fonseka case of Sri Lanka can see how those who are a political/legal threat to those in power are persecuted (it is funny how those in power seem to believe that intelligent and educated people would be taken in by such obviously trumped up accusations- fortunately for them, the vast majority of people even if they have sufficient intelligence, have not been sufficiently educated).
      Asange was interviewed by PBS of the US and he made a video recording of that interview. When they edited their programme implicating a connection between him and Manning without the explanatory context he gave denying this, he published this video. Now we can truly compare how an edited video presented by the media compares to true state of affairs. If a so-called independent source such as the PBS can bow to the US Government then it is no surprise how the New York Times and UK Guardian have capitulated to the “man”. Asange also outlines how large the economy of the US security industry is and the influence it has as a lobby group. It is truly frightening.

      Given this I now change my original attitude in supporting in principle, Sarath Fonseka’s original plans to expand the Sri Lankan Military. My support for this was based on the perception of significant threat from India which could strong arm Sri Lanka. I saw a large military presence as a deterrent whilst Sri Lanka maintained friendly relations with India, China and the US. However, it appears that security apparatus is inherently corrupt. It is best to dismantle all security organisations in the World to a manageable level.

      Here is the video of the Baha Mousa killing by UK soldiers which was entirely denied at the time (yet another example of impunity).

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/video/2011/jun/02/baha-mousa-inquiry-tactical-questioning-video?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3486

      So, IMHO, Wikileaks provides the best hope for ordinary and powerless people to gain some control over their overlords. In its absence the only weapon these people have is subtle (and not so subtle) means of sabotage.

  • http://Asyouyourselfproclaimedthatyouareunabletograspwhat“ordinarylankan”says,itcouldbreakdownintothesecondofthosereasonsalone; yapa

    Can anybody express his/her views about Navanethem Pillay’s impartiality/partiality in pushing Sri Lanka for a probe, heading the HRC while being a member of the TAMIL community? I think they are pushing for an “impartial international investigation”. What is the determinant of impartiality (especially in this case)?

    Thanks!

  • Candidly

    A good analysis, I thought, and more needs to be done with this sort of detailed analytical approach to stories like Channel 4’s and Gordon Weiss’s which rely 90% on emotional impact to make their points, such as they are.

    Weiss’s approach in “The Cage” is to subject only the Sri Lankan government and Sinhala nationalism to detailed scrutiny while leaving the other participants completely unexamined. Both Callum Macrae and Gordon Weiss are like jounalists at a rail disaster who, looking for a good story with a different angle, walk up and down looking for faults and errors committed by the rescue teams, while doing nothing themselves to help the injured and dying & being totally uninterested in the causes of the catastophe.

    For example, in The Cage, Weiss has two chapters and many other sections purporting to examine some of the roots of Sinhala & Sri Lankan nationalism, but he has hardly a word dealing with the political thinking of the Tamil Tigers themselves, or of Britain, India or the USA in the region over the decades. In fact the whole nature of Britain’s ‘divide and rule’ strategy of favouring a minority over the majority in the region is dismissed in a single paragraph where he says that the Sri Lankan Tamils “simply exploited one of the limited advantages they held.” (p. 21). That advantage, he explains, was the education they received mainly due to missionary schools. He appears to think that these Christian schools that were educating a minority in the West’s principal religion and its associated ways of thinking had nothing to do with the presence of the British and, before them, the Dutch and Portugese on the island. And the fact that similar patterns of education favouring minorities occured all over the British empire simply passes him by.

    Similarly, and most tellingly, Weiss makes no effort whatsoever to examine Tamil Tiger ideology and to relate it in any way to Sri Lankan Tamil history, religion, philosophy. For it is surely an important issue to examine how it happened that a relatively educated and cultured community, such as the northern Sri Lankan Tamils appeared to be, became dominated by a political movement led by thugs, gangsters and murderers.

    There might well be reasons, other than laziness, why Gordon Weiss is nervous about examining these matters. Early in the book he claims to be in favour of the unitary status of Sri Lanka, and he voices many descriptions (but no analysis) of the Tigers’ callous brutality, especially towards Tamils who did not agree with them. But then one wonders whether something slips out at the beginning of the second paragraph on page 228.

    After 3 paragraphs summing up the defeat of the Tigers and President Rajapaksa’s discussions with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon Weiss then describes the defeat of the Tamil Tigers as “the extinction of Tamil hopes for political and social equality” (p. 228). Now it is surely an extraordinary thing for someone who claims to oppose terrorism to equate the defeat of the Tamil Tigers with “the extinction of Tamil hopes for political and social equality”, as if he believes that only the Tamil Tigers could lead the Tamils to equal rights and that they were the Tamils’ last defence against injustice. To the contrary, all the evidence points to the argument that it was the extermination by the Tigers of all other Tamil political movements in the areas they controlled and their callous disregard for the lives of the people they claimed to be representing that ensured that they would, themselves, be ultimately destroyed. Because if they had not been destroyed there would have been no limit to what they might do, and they would have been an inspiration to insurrectionary groups all over the world to do likewise.

    Gordon Weiss, like Callum Macrae and Jon Snow of Channel 4, has some explaining to do, it seems.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Candidly,

      Excellent

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Ravana,

    You have written a thought provoking comment to an equally thought provoking Article by Harshula. There are two other facts that can be observed in the CH4.

    1. There was only one Hospital in the war zone under direct control of the LTTE. Yet there were no LTTE casualties or Dead within that Hospital. Was the LTTE cassualties and dead posing as civilians? Not a difficult question to answer.

    2. The other is an observation made by Dr Noel Nadesan. He has observed a person dressed in SLA uniform wearing Slippers at the scene where a young man is shown alive and then with his throat slashed. He observes that SLA soldiers do not go on operations wearing slippers.

    You wrote “….yes, those who keep asking Tamils to educate them about what their grievances are, when a string of very capable Tamil, Burgher and Sinhala scholars have outlined these for a number of decades”

    It is true that the Tamil minority have grievances. It is equally true that the Sinhalese majority have grievances. Both have common grievances such as poverty and Land ownership. The large majority of both communities are farmers and without land they cannot cultivate and hence cannot earn a living.

    One of the main issues is that of land.

    Govt Revenue is derived from direct and indirect taxation. Hence even the poorest of the poor contributes towards Public funds. The burden of Public Debt is carried equally by all. Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, has an equal stake to enjoy the fruits of development that is funded by Public Funds.

    Over 80% of Land in Lanka is Public Property. Hence any development carried out using public resources has no Ethnic Owner. Its owned by all and it’s fruits should be enjoyed by all.

    Ethnic claims can be put forward but then the National Ethnic proportions would come in to play as the funding or debts are proportional to the National Ethnic proportions. If no Ethnic territorial claims are made then the National Ethnic proportions need not be considered and the needy irrespective of ethnicity could be given precedence.

    Yet the reality is that there is an Ethnic Territorial claim. These claims are based on questionable premises. They are not based on the principle of equality. The claims are vague. Hence in order to find an equitable middle ground, the claimants must very clearly put forward their claims.

    Has this been done?
    Is there a common agreement within each community regarding claims?
    Are claims of one Ethnicity encroaching on the other?

    If such clear and precise claims have not been put forward, I believe that asking the community making a claim to define them clearly is a pertinent question. Undefined goal posts can keep moving.

    • Ravana

      Dear OTC,
      The observation about slippers is a very clever one. Perhaps HRW should be asked to investigate that.

      I reject any territorial claims by either the minorities or the majority (what ever that might be).

      However, just a few of the genuine grievances I can consider are,

      expropriation of their identity (with the land- meaning the whole island) by a group speaking the majority language by simultaneously labelling them foreign.

      Repeated public racial vilification with associated violence (including torture, murder an rape)

      Probable privately conducted vilification programmes

      Politicians of the majority community utilising racist sentiments to the detriment of minorities.

      So called Sinhala academia parroting baseless and ridiculous fantasies as history:
      http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/09/multilingualism-multiculturalism-and.html

      Inaction on the implementation of specific language provisions of the constitution

      Rolling back progress that has been made (e.g. singing the National Anthem in Sinhala in the Jaffna Peninsula- rather banning of the Tamil version)

      Lack of credible protections for the minorities (I mean any minority including transvestites, but particularly relevant to Tamils as they are targets) in the statutes.

      The list could probably go on. There is no evidence of any of these real issues being redressed. I have seen the “Raja Puthraya” even threatening to take away funds allocated for housing because the Tamils dared to vote for a party other than the Government.

      These ‘chickens” will come home to roost.

  • Param Thangarajah

    It appears that all these writings are by people who have never visited the Vanni before 2009 or after May 2009. The best analysis one could make is to visit the North East areas now, interview people and get facts of what happened before and after the war. This would give a proper perspective of the events.

    I think, to castigate the LTTE as the most ruthless terrorists may not be quite correct. They were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, because of the policies of successive Sri Lankan governments in discriminating minorities in employment, education language and religion. They found that peaceful negotiations never brought any results.

    Even now after all what had happened, the present government has not done anything to solve the discriminative policies.

    Param

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Param Thangarajah,

      In your view Who are the World’s ruthless terrorists if it’s not the LTTE?

      You wrote “I think, to castigate the LTTE as the most ruthless terrorists may not be quite correct. They were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, because of the policies of successive Sri Lankan governments in discriminating minorities in employment, education language and religion. They found that peaceful negotiations never brought any results.”

      When you stand on the victim’s platform do not forget the oppression that the Tamil intelligentsia perpetrated on the Tamil and Sinhala peasantry before and just after Independence.

      You talk of employment when the largest Govt Departments were dominated by Tamils Pre and Post independence. Post and Telecom, Customs, Inland Revenue, Immigration, Govt Electrical Undertakings, Courts etc are prime examples.

      Education was a closed door to most Sinhalese as they were primarily Buddhists.

      Language of administration was English and not even one percent of the population knew that. There were many Sinhala and Tamil peasants who were incarcerated without ever knowing what they were being punished for. Most court interpreters were Tamil.

      Yes SWRD perpetrated a grave injustice on the Tamils by replacing English with Sinhala when both Tamil and Sinhala should have been used. Today Tamil is a National Language and only in Singapore does Tamil have such a status.

      Religion?
      What are the disabilities that the Govt has placed on the Practice of Religion? The ONLY disability that was perpetrated on Tamils were done by Tamils themselves.

      Mr C Suntharalingam prevented Low cast Tamils from entering Hindu Temples to worship. He was finally fined by Court which was upheld by the Privy Council in UK.

      The appellant (C Suntharalingam MP), a Hindu by religion, on 1st July 1968 prevented one M. S., also a Hindu by religion but socially of a lower caste, from entering the inner courtyard of the Maviddapuram Temple for the purpose of worshipping. He acted with the authority of the High Priest of the Temple, and his reason for doing so was that M. S. belonged to the Palla caste, people of which caste, according to the religious usage and custom, did not enter the inner courtyard and worshipped only from outside.

      The appellant’s argument was that admission of persons of the depressed classes, of the Palla caste in particular, would result in a defilement which would make performance of the poojahs impossible.

      Tesawalamai, section 4 of which is in the following terms:

      ” 4. All questions that relate to those rights and privileges which subsist in the said province between the higher castes, particularly the Vellales, on the one hand, and the lower castes, particularly the-Covias, Nalluas, and Palluas, on the other, shall be decided according, to the said customs and the ancient usages of the province. ”

      If you are interested in refreshing your memory please read about the Maviddapuram Temple entry case.

    • wijayapala

      Dear Param,

      I think, to castigate the LTTE as the most ruthless terrorists may not be quite correct.

      I am so glad that someone here is finally standing up for Iyakkam. Ever since pictures of dead Prabakaran wearing a diaper showed up on the internet, the LTTE supporters have been rather quiet barring a flag-waving demonstration or two. It seems as if everyone has forgotten the contributions made to Tamil society: child soldiers, suicide bombing, killings of Tamils by Tamils etc.

      I entirely agree that more people should visit the blasted ruin of the Wanni to see the end result of viduthalai por. You can talk to the thousands of parents weeping that the LTTE is no longer there to seize their children to use as cannon fodder. They had been so delighted to donate the children so that children of upper-caste Jaffna-origin supporters living abroad could be free to get an education and stay out of the fighting. And who can forget the Tamileelam kavalthurai- the brave souls who killed and tortured other Tamils instead of fighting SInhala army.

      The Wanni Tamils are wishing for somebody like Param to return and tell them to get themselves killed fighting Sinhala domination while Param hides in London or Toronto. We are eagerly awaiting Param’s leadership.

    • Sarath Fernando

      Dear Param Thangarjah,

      You are absolutely correct – what prompted the rebellion of the youth was the unrelenting, if not accelerating marginalization of the Tamils purely for the leverage it provided with Sinhala vote, coupled with the fact that even mature Tamil politicians were emasculated with Ministerial crumbs. Dismissing it as terrorism is indeed just a span-cloth of an excuse for both the State and the internationals to cover their own shame of inexcusable, if not inhumane, actions.

      Nevertheless, in my opinion, the Tamils and LTTE need to share blame on two significant fronts.

      First, Tamils were high-handed enough to believe that they could handle all by themselves the ever growing national undemocratic inequality issue without any need to appeal to the segment of Sinhala liberals, intellectuals and the fair minded. The Tamils should have cultivated mutual trust with that segment of the Majority of the society and help grow that — and trust me that segment was not, and is not, insignificant (yes, don’t believe Dayan – I doubt that is likely, anyway).

      Instead, the Tamils shunned the fair-minded Sinhalese, antagonizing them rather than befriending them, in their pursuit of equality. It was not the Tamils’ sole responsibility to civilize or democratize the bungling nation. Imagine what would have happened to America if the Blacks decided to fight against the Whites by themselves for emancipation. It is indeed the liberated Whites, White youth in particular, who took up the challenge and cultivated majority support that snowballed to make what USA is today.

      The second misguided objective was the call for separation as a solution to the inequality issue. Tell me – if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies, and the minorities were intentionally discriminated by State policy, should that minority not have recourse to find a solution to the inequality problem?

      The Tamils gambled. Either the Tamils felt calling for separation was the easier way out, or they greedily opted to capitalize on the incivility/stupidity of the State so as to carve out a “kingdom” of their own – an egoistic attempt that brought the wrath of even the moderate Sinhalese, rather than a practical necessity to solve the crisis at hand.

      I guess it is still not too late to strengthen mutual trust with the fair minded segment of the Sinhalese, intellectuals in particular, and join hands to bring back truthful democracy to this once proud nation.

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Sarath Fernando,

        I completely concur with everything what you said to Param Y. Yes the Tamils made calculated mistakes; we really should have worked with likeminded Sinhalese; we would have got nowhere but at least we would not carry the terrorist baggage! One possibility might have been, if separation was not demanded, the politics would have been different, but the Sinhala politicians would have found a way to manipulate the ethnic divide nonetheless. .

        That said, what are the options for the Tamils now? They have voted for the TNA in draws; the TNA has publically denounced violence and separatism. What else the Tamils or TNA can do to convince the Sinhala public that they are not for separation but want to live with dignity? It looks as if the TNA is not trusted and the Tamils yet again made a wrong calculation. If not TNA, what other options that the Tamils Had? Douglas D is part of the Government and voting for him means voting for no change. What else the Tamils can do other than backing a party that purports to stand for their due rights?

        What are the options for the Sinhala? What can they do that will convince the Tamils to turn away from the TNA? Can the TNA be accommodated in the main fold; if so, how?

      • Ravana

        Dear Burning_Issue,
        Very pertinent questions by you. I think I have said previously, that minorities should (in general anywhere in the World) always vote for secular parties which meets their needs the most but must never, ever vote for racist/sectarian parties. I Sri Lanka, there are 3 parties which could fall into that category which are in Parliament: UNP, JVP and DNA. They may also have their own faults but they do provide a viable political spectrum for the minorities. But it is important that minority representatives become members of these parties in larger numbers.

        WRT sinhalas, I found their intrinsic xenophobia specifically wrt to Tamils (an irony, as the “Tamils” are a figment of imagination of both the Sinhalas and the previous British masters. Those who were identified such took it up without considering the importance of rallying for their identity being an inalienable part of the fabric of Sri Lanka; it was a huge mistake to invent an Eelam to justify their otherwise just grievance- that of being dispossessed of their right to EQUAL ownership of the motherland) quite shameful in the 1960’s. Alas, I now realise that what I saw and experienced in the 1960’s was merely benign when one considers how the Sinhala Xenophobia has grown in the past 4 decades.

        I once dreamt of Sinhalas and Tamils truly living as brothers and sisters. I don’t know if the sinhala racist fascists will ever let minorities live in peace with them even though the same “minorities” are actual genetic kin. I don’t even know that it is so important any more either. The Sri Lanka you have known and remember may not last long in any case. There are other beautiful places to visit brother. When you come home from such visits you would hopefully have loved ones who will always give you comfort. (please don’t equate “home'” with Sri Lanka).

        There is one more thing that minorities or any other persecuted groups can do in any nation or the World. That is “sabotage”. I don’t mean vandalism and destructiveness. But a compassionate type of sabotage aimed at bringing down or disrupting the status quo of persecutors by making their power bases unstable. This can be done by individuals or groups and in a multitude of peaceful ways. And it should always to be to the benefit of the powerless. It can be done frequently in small measure and occasionally in large measure.
        Maybe the catch-cry of such a grass roots movement could be “Giving it to the Man!”
        ;)

      • http://Asyouyourselfproclaimedthatyouareunabletograspwhat“ordinarylankan”says,itcouldbreakdownintothesecondofthosereasonsalone; yapa

        “There is one more thing that minorities or any other persecuted groups can do in any nation or the World. That is “sabotage”. I don’t mean vandalism and destructiveness. But a compassionate type of sabotage aimed at bringing down or disrupting the status quo of persecutors by making their power bases unstable. This can be done by individuals or groups and in a multitude of peaceful ways. And it should always to be to the benefit of the powerless. It can be done frequently in small measure and occasionally in large measure.”

        Like blowing up transformers?

        Thanks!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Burning Issue, Ravana, Yapa and Sarath F

        They could give up the pernicious “Traditional Tamil Homeland” claim and learn to share Public resources on equal terms.

      • yapa

        Dear Off the Cuff;

        sharing Public resources on equal terms, they say is not reasonable.
        Their reasonable demand of 1/3rd of the total land and 2/3rd of the sea belt by about 10% of the population and agitation supported by some “think tanks” who draw “strategic plans” and actions such as “sabotage” to achieve that “reasonable end” is the most important and pressing issue.

        There is no broom at my hand’s length, teach these mighty hollow heads to understand simple things, rather than keep on talking on mighty big concepts which they don’t understand. They want to show off, showing that they know to talk about big things. Emperor’s Clothe Syndrome?

        Thanks!

      • yapa

        Dear Off the Cuff;

        Self-appointed think tanks who draw action plans and offering free advice to “sabotage” to achieve the “reasonable goals”. Old tactics copied from outdated books, posing as own.

        Thanks!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Yapa,

        It is far more pernicious than that.
        Over 80% of Lanka’s landmass is PUBLICLY owned.
        Hence ALL of Lanka’s Citizenry, irrespective of Ethnicity, are equal owners of that land.

        The demand is for over HALF of Public Property for the exclusive use of a population of less than 10%.

        13A has made it into Law and foisted it down on an unsuspecting population. That is a major reason why 13A has become unimplementable. It is inherently Unjust.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear All,

        Here are some facts about Sri Lanka’s Land

        1. Landmass including bodies of inland water = 65,525 sq Km
        2. Population Density 322 persons per Square Kilometre (in 2008)
        3. The Wastelands Ordinance (1840) vested all forests, waste, unoccupied, uncultivated or Chena land in the British Crown
        4. Forest cover in 1881 was about 84% of land area. Hence forests PLUS ALL the other lands mentioned in 3 above became PUBLIC property. The PUBLIC thus holds over 84% of Lanka’s Land.
        5. Large tracts of forest remained in the North, East, and South-East.
        6. Only the extreme South and South-West were cultivated, paddy fields and coconut plantations being common (Holdsworth, 1872).
        Source http://www.apfnet.cn/uploads/capacity_building/Training/2010/0705/Country_Report_final.pdf

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Ravana,

        Ideally, all should cast their votes such that they count for something preferably for progression. The 1948 constitution was designed with this in mind and it would have maginalised all fringe parties if it had been fostered and nurtured. We cannot pretend that there is no ethnic divide in Sri Lanka; all Sinhala Politicians both past and present have been using the ethnicity for political expediency including those parties that you mentioned as Secular Parties. We must accept that, there is conducive climate exist in Sri Lanka for ethnic based politics to thrive. Ethnic politics have been institutionalised in Sri Lanka; it is evident in all aspects of the spectrum. We cannot just say or expect that all minorities should forget about their concerns, insecurity and fear, and just vote for “alien” political parties. I used the word “alien” because, I try to see form their perspectives.

        I think that even in developed democracies there are rooms for fringe parties that stand for local issues; there is nothing wrong in such situations. We cannot and should not blanketly label such parties as racists. They constitute as racists if they deny equality to others; purport to treat others differently. I do not think the TNA, the present one, stand for that. Clearly, the Tamils require a voice; the Sinhalese are not ready to take up that role yet. There are no strategies for dealing with ethnic integration; all one sees is the majority aggression. Those Secular parties that you mentioned do not have any idea as to how to go about it. Any noises pertinent to justice for the minorities are regarded as vote losers from the mainstream perspective thus institutional bigotry is accepted. Under these conditions, we cannot conceivably expect the minorities to vote intelligently.

        I think that, there is a role for the TNA to play in fostering a national integration. The Tamils must find a way to move on from the travesty that they encountered; there must be a collective acceptance as to a way forward; I believe that will be the agreement that TNA is endeavouring to have with GOSL. Once there is an agreement between these two entities, it will be deemed as a drawing a line under it as it were as far as the Tamils are concerned. I believe this will liberate the Tamils from the ethnic political shackles.

      • Sarath Fernando

        This is in reference to Off the C’s comments: “They could give up the pernicious Traditional Tamil Homeland claim and learn to share Public resources on equal terms” and the follow-up substantiation “The demand is for over HALF of Public Property for the exclusive use of a population of less than 10%”

        You possibly missed it – but indeed my point was that the claim for Homeland was indeed one of the two major mistakes by the Tamils, and Burning Issue fully concurred with that – perhaps a re-read may help.

        However, as for your point on the demand of disproportionate land, your argument would imply that had the 10% asked for a separation of 10% or less of Sri Lanka, that would have been O.K, and legitimate, and would have got that handed over to the Tamils on a silver platter with the blessings of the majority. That is poppycock – the call for the separation (“pernicious Tamil Homeland”) was wrong at a fundamental level, no matter the size. If not, then those loud screams for the protection of “Sovereignty” must be all bogus – correct?

        As for the brilliant suggestion “learn to share Public resources on equal terms,” it may be good to remember that the whole separation claim resulted from the fact that the State started using Tamil private properties as Public Resources — any thug could lay claim for any Tamil property at will, with full State support. Enough evidence from 1956 through 1983.

        So, instructing the minority community to “Learn to Share Public Resources equitably” is just hog-wash. What the minorities and the civilized Internationals are asking is that the country revert to its democratic ways and learn to help include the Minority in decision making in use of Public Resources.

        On the contrary, in the post-LTTE period, use of Public Resources is not only completely out of the Tamils hands, but is rapidly getting out of the hands of UNP, and even the hands of the main-steam UPFA and converging rather surreptitiously into the hands of the royalty and the cronies.

        Have you ever wondered why our rulers, who have such great confidence in their own leadership for the betterment of the country with enormous support from China, still continue to seek and retain citizenship, residency and personal properties in the Western countries that they seemingly abhor? Why not, instead, relinquish their Western citizenship rights and bring their riches (however earned) back to Sri Lanka? Let’s start with the simple questions.

        On the other hand, you are certainly welcome to keep your head deeply buried in blissful ignorance.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sarath Fernando,

        Homeland Claim and Separation are two different things.
        Probably you think that they are synonymous but they are not.
        Explains the confusion seen within the following statement of yours.

        “You possibly missed it – but indeed my point was that the claim for Homeland was indeed one of the two major mistakes by the Tamils, and Burning Issue fully concurred with that – perhaps a re-read may help.”

        You see Sarath, even if one reads till Dooms Day no one can find any reference to the “Traditional Tamil Homeland” claim in your post of September 19, 2011 • 5:28 am simply because you have not mentioned it. This also explains your inability to produce a verbatim extract from your original post in your rebuttal.

        I have known Burning Issue since 2009 and he does not agree with equality when it comes to sharing Land in the North and East. To him allocation of land in any govt funded development project, not withstanding the fact that such projects utilise Pubic Land, in the North and East, based on the National Ethnic Ratio, is colonisation of Traditional Tamil areas by the majority. He wants the majority to foot the bill but excluded from enjoying the fruits.

        That your logic is skewed is visible from the following statement “However, as for your point on the demand of disproportionate land, your argument would imply that had the 10% asked for a separation of 10% or less of Sri Lanka, that would have been O.K, and legitimate, “

        As I stated before you are confused and hence your argument is misplaced and inference is untenable.

        The Homeland Claim is for an exclusive use of over 50% of PUBLIC LAND for the Northern Tamils (less than 10% of population) within the Sri Lankan State. While separation is the establishment of an Independent State. I hope the distinction is clear to you now.

        You see Sarath my post is not about separation but about what the Tamils can do to bring about reconciliation as expressly asked by Burning Issue (quote….” what are the options for the Tamils now?” ….. Unquote) in his concuring post with you.

        You see Sarath, you have gone off the rails.

        To answer your separation question …had the Northern Tamils made a claim based on the per capita share of land then it would have been a fairer and a less pernicious claim than the Land Grab claim that they actually made.

        The sense of fairness, that the Tamil politicians in power had at that point of time, is exemplified by the following

        Jane Russell in her detailed study states that (p. 16) “Ponnambalam Ramnathan and most of the ‘conservatives’ believed and argued that the giving of the vote to the non-vellala castes and to women was not only a grave mistake, leading to ‘mob rule’, but Ramanathan explicitly suggested that it was anathema to the Hindu way of life”. The political leadership of the Ceylon Tamils was left dumbfounded … by the complete boulversement of the policies they had pursued for the last decade(p. 18) ….wiki

        When they could not be fair to their own Kith and Kin, what fairness could be expected from them for others?

        You wrote “As for the brilliant suggestion “learn to share Public resources on equal terms,”

        Perhaps usurping disproportionate resources by one community would be a more Brilliant suggestion conducive to reconciliation, is it Sarath? Your sarcasm is ill placed Sarath, unless you have a better method of sharing PUBLIC Resources.

        You write “it may be good to remember that the whole separation claim resulted from the fact that the State started using Tamil private properties as Public Resources — any thug could lay claim for any Tamil property at will, with full State support. Enough evidence from 1956 through 1983.”

        Fact?
        Rhetoric is no proof Sarath.
        Please produce references when you make loose claims such as “any thug” …..blah blah blah.

        50/50 demand was made even before independence.

        Instead of blah blah blah try refuting my arguments with facts.

        BTW you should direct the rest of your irrelevant questions and rhetoric to those responsible, as non of that concerns me.

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Sarath Fernando,

        I would advise you to stay clear of OTC, otherwise you will end up wondering why an earth I got myself into debating with this person! I have already told him that I will never write to him as I find him rather patronising and boring. I have better things to do than debating with a chauvinist like him. However, I must make my point clear about the below:

        “I have known Burning Issue since 2009 and he does not agree with equality when it comes to sharing Land in the North and East. To him allocation of land in any govt funded development project, not withstanding the fact that such projects utilise Pubic Land, in the North and East, based on the National Ethnic Ratio, is colonisation of Traditional Tamil areas by the majority. He wants the majority to foot the bill but excluded from enjoying the fruits.”

        Please read this very clearly “….utilise Pubic Land, in the North and East, based on the National Ethnic Ratio, is colonisation of Traditional Tamil areas by the majority.”. I have never used the phrase “Traditional Tamil area” in this context. If OTC wants to promote his bigoted ideas veiled in the innocuous terms such equality, he can justify them by using other means but certainly cannot misquote me. I challenged this artificial manipulation of the ethnic distribution saying that it is intended to render the Tamils as a minority group throughout the Island. OTC hides behind the term equality and intentionally obscures his real bigoted intent. I have always said that, like the Tamils and Muslims, the Sinhalese should also move into the North & East by their free will. I said that the GOSL must create conditions for peoples to move as they please.

        The Tamils have already been subjugated and why OTC wants to add insult to injury by decimating their already ineffective political representation?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Burning Issue,

        I do not need to address you by proxy and hence this is a direct reply to you.

        From 2009 you tried to demonize the primacy given to Buddhism by section 9 of the SL Constitution. You stated emphatically that the Supreme Court issued an order based on section 9 to prevent the demolition/removal of that statue. You maintained this position even after case reports were placed as evidence before you that clearly showed that the petitioner used section 12, (the fundamental right to equality) and not Section 9 (primacy to Buddhism) to prevent the removal of the Buddha statue as there were altogether 17 illegal religious edifices in Trinco of which 7 were Hindu, 6 Christian and 4 Buddhist. All 17 were illegal and should have been removed SIMULTANEOUSLY but only ONE was singled out for removal. When you could not find a single authoritative reference to support your claim, you stated that Section 9 was invoked implicitly in the Supreme Court by the CJ !!!

        The agitation against the statue was LTTE led. Which shows the confrontational environment that existed at that time. The statue in question replaced a smaller statue that existed in the taxi stand earlier. The replacement had been done overnight and most possibly it could have been intended as a confrontation. Whatever the circumstances that surrounded the placement of the statue, propagating a brazen Lie about Section 9 of the Constitution cannot be Justified.

        Subversion of the Truth cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

        Initially I requested you to desist from misleading the GV Readership by falsely claiming that section 9 was used when what was used was the Fundamental Right to Equal Treatment (Section 12). Yet you took every opportunity to “Stir the Ethnic Pot” by propagating your false claim. Such claims by a supposedly “Balanced” individual adds Fuel to the Fire and contributes to Polarising communities further.

        Since you persisted in your vile propaganda I openly called you a Liar. You confirmed that you were a Liar by claiming that the Former CJ Sarath N Silva was now a Buddhist Monk !!! Those of us who live in Sri Lanka, know for a fact that the former CJ is still a Layman. Since you are giving advise to Sarath Fernando you can ask him if the Former CJ is indeed a Buddhist Monk!!

        If you can prove to the GV Readership that Former CJ Sarath N Silva is indeed a Buddhist Monk I will have no hesitation in apologising to you publicly in this forum.

        I have proved earlier that over 80% of Sri Lanka’s Land is owned by the PUBLIC and is hence, common property of ALL (irrespective of Ethnicity). http://groundviews.org/2011/09/13/channel-4s-killing-fields-journalism-advocacy-or-propaganda/#comment-36919 is one such post.

        Over half of this Land is in the North and East.

        You state “I challenged this artificial manipulation of the ethnic distribution saying that it is intended to render the Tamils as a minority group throughout the Island”

        In other words you are espousing Tamil Enclaves.
        Are you aware that Singapore prevents formation of Ethnic Enclaves by Law? There are Tamils in Singapore too. It is also the Only country other than Lanka where Tamil Language has a National Status. Singapore also had Ethnic Riots. Today it enjoys ethnic harmony.

        You also state that “I have always said that, like the Tamils and Muslims, the Sinhalese should also move into the North & East by their free will”

        Does this mean that if a development work is undertaken by the Govt in the North using PUBLIC money on PUBLIC land, that ONLY the NORTHERN Tamils should reap the benefits and the rest of the Population should only PAY for that development?

        The National Ethnic Ratio represents the proportion of FUNDING that each community contributes to any Publicly funded project. The location is immaterial.

        If the Tamils get together and Fund a development on their own, using Private land then Tamil exclusivity is justified.

        How do you propose to keep the Non Northern Citizens out?
        By excluding them from consideration?
        Are they good only to foot the Bill?
        There will be many Non Northerners who will move in by their own free will if places are offered to them. How would you propose to Suppress this free will?
        By not offering places?

        The answers would be interesting in view of your caveat “the Sinhalese should also move into the North & East by their free will” ?

        I am not writing about any “exact phrases” that you have used but about the general views you have conveyed during the course of debate. After you answer the above, we will know whether I have misrepresented you or not.

        If I have misunderstood you, and thereby misrepresented you, I have no problem in apologising to you.

        Probably you are unaware that the National Ethnic ratio is already recognised by 13A although it is cunningly subverted elsewhere.

        You wrote “The Tamils have already been subjugated and why OTC wants to add insult to injury by decimating their already ineffective political representation?”

        Tamils Subjugated? How? The Terrorists were subjugated not the Tamils.
        I and many others do not consider Tamils as subjugated.
        They have the same rights as I have.
        Can you show me any law in Lanka that does not recognise equality?

        The ineffective political representation as you call it should be addressed by other means. Usurping disproportionate resources is not the answer.

        The Muslims are a smaller minority than the Tamils are they also clamouring stating that they have ineffective political representation?

        The problem is that some Tamils are not satisfied with being equal.

        I do not debate by appealing to emotion.
        I try to place facts before the GV Readership and build my arguments using them.

      • Sarath Fernando

        Dear, Off the Cuff,

        Your attempt is just another case of the regular splitting hairs for the sake of argument that has become the trade mark of a regime and its revering acolytes. Homeland claim was the singular fundamental basis for the demand for separation. My assertion was that the land mass is not going to be, and should not be divided for the exclusive use of any ethnicity based on their share in the population – Period. Hence, my inference of the poppycock nature of your argument

        I can only sincerely hope you did not interpret the 50/50 demand of pre-independence as a claim on landmass – if you did, you do need to get some help.

        As for my statement that “thugs could lay claim of Tamil property at will,” for proof perhaps you could try to find out why in July/August of 1983 many European Governments, Canada and Oceania suddenly opened up and entertained “refugee” applications for Sri Lankan born Tamils specifically – and in fact made arrangements for the Embassies in Colombo to Express process them. Is that not proof enough for you?

        Perhaps another try on that. I was witness to my parents protecting five Tamil Families, some of whose kids were my close friends at school. All five families shared our house for well over two weeks as all their property had been looted and houses burnt or damaged and their was threat on not only their persons, but also on us for providing safeguard. Every one of the five families left the country in a matter of months, if that. Do you truly think I would need further proof?

        If this is all “news” to you perhaps you should try to expand your social circle – and am sure you will find many, many, many Sinhala families who will give you firsthand proof that you so badly need. It is truly a shame you have not heard of these from anyone in whom you have adequate, if not complete, trust. Perhaps an effort in that direction will be an eye-opener – unless the head is far too deeply buried, of course.

        As for my question that you hastily dismissed as “irrelevant”, let me repeat it for your convenience: “Have you ever wondered why our rulers, who have such great confidence in their own leadership for the betterment of the country with enormous support from China, still continue to seek and retain citizenship, residency and personal properties in the Western countries that they seemingly abhor?”

        Please re-read it – I am not asking whether you know why those rulers are doing what they are doing. My question is “have you wondered why our rulers are doing what they are doing” – building up assets and citizenship rights in countries that they proclaim to detest.

        Why would that be relevant to you? First, given that you have such great concern and insight as to how Public resources should be shared – I think it will serve well to find out if riches built-up from domestic resources are getting spirited away, out of the hands of the country’s citizenry. Second, it will enable you to also assess the true confidence the rulers have on their own leadership and help shake any potential myopic misplaced confidence you may have on the leadership. You still think that is irrelevant to you?

        On the other hand, yes certainly you have complete freedom to keep your head buried as deep as you like.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sarath Fernando,

        Strange to see an intellectual who is unable to see the difference between an Exclusive Homeland within a Unitary State and an Independent State created from that Unitary State.

        In the first case, all development within the Exclusive Homeland is paid for by ALL citizens residing within and without such Homeland but the benefits accrue ONLY to those who reside within that Exclusive Homeland.

        If 90% of the population is excluded from enjoying the benefits of development, why should that 90% pay for such development?

        In the second case development within that separated state will be paid for ONLY by those who reside within that state and not by those who reside without such state.

        This is how it should be.
        But the problem arises in creating that state from the Resources of the Unitary State.
        How should those resources be divided when over 80% of those resources are common property and has no Ethnic Owner?

        Since you seem to be having a better idea than per capita sharing why don’t you share your wisdom with the GV Readership and Educate us?

        This time please don’t fall back on your lame excuse of “hair splitting”. Also please remember that Readers cannot read your mind but only the words that you write. If you have not written about the Homeland claim you have not written about it …Period. If you have done so, please refute it by quoting the relevant passage from your post.

        I have kept this response short and limited to the basic issues that I raised in the following posts of mine to prevent you (or anyone else) from straying far afield and clouding the real issues.

        I hope that you would condescend to give direct answers without obfuscating it with extraneous issues. After you answer the above, we will proceed further.

        http://groundviews.org/2011/09/13/channel-4s-killing-fields-journalism-advocacy-or-propaganda/#comment-36902

        http://groundviews.org/2011/09/13/channel-4s-killing-fields-journalism-advocacy-or-propaganda/#comment-36914

        http://groundviews.org/2011/09/13/channel-4s-killing-fields-journalism-advocacy-or-propaganda/#comment-36919

      • Sarath Fernando

        Dear Off the Cuff,

        O.K. Let me try to be as explicit as I possibly can, even if it takes a lot longer than I would truly like.

        From your posting:
        (a) How should those resources be divided when over 80% of those resources are common property and has no Ethnic Owner? Since you seem to be having a better idea than per capita sharing why don’t you share your wisdom with the GV Readership and Educate us?

        (b) If you have not written about the Homeland claim you have not written about it …Period. If you have done so, please refute it by quoting the relevant passage from your post.

        You need answers to these two questions – right? Did I miss any? – let me know, if I did.

        Here is the statement, verbatim, from my original posting: “The second misguided objective was the call for separation as a solution to the inequality issue. Tell me – if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies, and the minorities were intentionally discriminated by State policy, should that minority not have recourse to find a solution to the inequality problem?”

        My point is that the call for separation was fundamentally flawed. The flaw was not in negotiating what share each of the two (or perhaps more than two) ethnicities should carve out. The flaw was in the concept itself – the concept that there is somehow a need to carve out or separate.

        Hence I asked you to re-read, but obviously that did not help. So let me parse it out to see if that helps you figure out the mystery.

        “The second misguided objective was the call for separation” – note that it is just “separation” – whether “separation as a country” or “separation as a distinct Tamil Homeland from non-Tamil Homeland” makes no difference to me since my point is that the argument “there is a need for geographic isolation/partitioning/separation” is itself fundamentally flawed. (And, I stressed that it indeed was a blunder made by the Tamils)

        To help clarify, reinforce and substantiate my point of view, I went on to add “if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies, and the minorities were intentionally discriminated by State policy, should that minority not have recourse to find a solution to the inequality problem?” I thought that would make it rather clear – but, seemingly, not to every one.

        Now, given that, in my view that I expressed unambiguously, I am ruling out as unnecessary the basic concept of the need for “geographic partitioning,” do you still feel that I am somehow bound to answer your question ” How should those resources be divided when over 80% of those resources are common property and has no Ethnic Owner?” – Now, we are talking “irrelevant” questions – right?

        In summary, you think it is necessary to share out land mass by ethnicity – hence you want to know what the fair share is, and your grouse is that Tamils asked too much. My view is there is no need to share out land mass – hence I don’t have a need to worry about what share is fair and what share is not – Need I make it any clearer than that?

        Have I now met your request to “condescend to give direct answers without obfuscating it with extraneous issues?” Let me know otherwise — I will be honored to be of further service.

        Now, turning the tables somewhat, your questions would imply that you have taken it for granted such need for partitioning is a forgone conclusion – and your only concern is what share each should get. So, let me first ask you one more time “Tell me — if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies, and the minorities were intentionally discriminated by State policy, should that minority not have recourse to find a solution to the inequality problem?”

        What share of what geography would you then recommend? Are you still thinking per capita land share? – or do you feel the minorities should then have no recourse?

        May I request from you a short list of countries that, to your knowledge, have done it as you suggest – proportionately carved out land masses on the basis of ethnic composition, per capita basis or otherwise!

        Frankly, I think, your overly simplistic need to look for arithmetic solutions has led to a rather acute case of tunnel vision – a little relaxing of the blinders may help.

        I might also add that, even the arithmetic that you suggest is quite myopic and erroneous if not grossly lopsided and I will be only happy to elaborate on that.

        However, let me respectfully abstain from doing so lest I may be again accused of “obfuscating with extraneous issues.” and let you decide if you still want to pursue your brilliant “per capita share of landmass” initiative or want to respond to the other questions that you decided to defer, on account your burning questions that I hope I addressed here to your satisfaction.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sarath Fernando,

        What follows is my statement that you are responding to (ref my post of September 21, 2011 • 2:19 am). Please don’t lose sight of that in your replies.

        “They could give up the pernicious “Traditional Tamil Homeland” claim and learn to share Public resources on equal terms.”

        The following are embodied in the above

        1. That there is a claim for a “Traditional Tamil Homeland”
        2. That they could give up that pernicious claim.
        3. That such claim entails a Disproportionate claim to all PUBLIC Resources (this is not necessarily limited to Land)

        Unfortunately Sarath you have failed to recognise any of them in your Knee Jerk reaction postings and even your laboured attempt at being Rational has failed dismally. I hope I have sufficiently simplified my statement to help you to comprehend it without further confusion.

        My post was a response to Burning Issue’s Question “…..what are the options for the Tamils now?“

        I have been writing against this pernicious claim that exists even today. Please keep in mind I do not advocate it (against and advocate are not synonyms). It has remained a contentious issue over the years and has prevented reconciliation.

        Now let’s look at your arguments

        You wrote “Here is the statement, verbatim, from my original posting: “The second misguided objective was the call for separation as a solution to the inequality issue. Tell me – if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies, and the minorities were intentionally discriminated by State policy, should that minority not have recourse to find a solution to the inequality problem?”
        My point is that the call for separation was fundamentally flawed. The flaw was not in negotiating what share each of the two (or perhaps more than two) ethnicities should carve out. The flaw was in the concept itself – the concept that there is somehow a need to carve out or separate.”

        You have made a grave error in the above. Do you seriously believe that the following premise of yours to be true?
        “……if a minority population is spread evenly across the whole country, instead of being concentrated in specific geographies,…”

        Open your eyes Sarath (take off those blinkers), which minority is spread evenly across the whole country? In fact is there a SINGLE ethnicity that has an even spread across the whole country? I cannot see even one. How many can you see? In fact the diametrically opposing claim that the Tamil Minority has Traditionally been concentrated in the North and East is the basis of their Homeland Claim. Please don’t fall back on your Hair Splitting Defence again.

        If your Premise is wrong to begin with, what can anyone make out of the Inference?
        Garbage in Garbage out?

        I believe that the Traditional Tamil Homeland claim came first and the call for separation came later. I agree with you that the call for separation was flawed but the reasons you bring forth are flawed too.

        You further state “The flaw was not in negotiating what share each of the two (or perhaps more than two) ethnicities should carve out”

        Now by which logic did you arrive here? You seem to be eternally confused due to your inability to shed your tunnel vision.

        Let me remind you again that the Call for Separation and the Traditional Tamil Homeland Claim are not synonymous. Meaning that they do not mean the same thing.

        I have again curtailed my response to help prevent clouding of main issues.

  • Candidly

    Param Thangarajah wrote:
    “They [the LTTE] were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, because of the policies of successive Sri Lankan governments in discriminating minorities in employment, education language and religion. They found that peaceful negotiations never brought any results.”

    Many minorities have tried to use “guerrilla warfare” as a way to deal with discrimination in employment, education and religion and found it fails totally as a method, e.g. blacks in the USA in the 1950s, Catholics in Northern Ireland in the recent past, the people of Aceh in Indonesia, Sikhs in India, etc. The tragedy of the Tamils of Northern Sri Lanka is that guerrilla warfare led to terrorism against civilians. Then terrorism led to the elimination of all Tamils disagreeing with that approach. That in turn led to the cult of the super-human single leader. That personality cult led to the belief that anything was permissable in pursuit of the ultimate objective (Tamil Eelam). That rejection of all morality led to the suicide cult and the belief that Tamils should be prepared to endure vast casualties as a means to progress towards the ultimate goal. So extreme did this fanaticism become that in the end the LTTE were prepared not only to use Tamil non-combatants as human shields but were prepared to force and even kill those Tamils who wanted to escape. I cannot think of any other political movement that had has used their own people in such a ruthless and heartless way. Even the fanatical German Nazis & Japanese military class in World War 2 did not use their own people in this way.

    For that reason in many ways this policy of the LTTE towards their own people marks an unprecedented low in moral depravity to which few other political and social movements in history have descended. Sadly, many of the older generation of northern Tamils are still in complete denial about what happened in front of their own eyes. However I’m pretty sure that the younger generation of Tamils are becoming increasingly aware of what their own parents allowed to happen and in some cases colluded with.

    The tensions within the Tamil community in northern Sri Lanka and in the West, where they have much easier access to information, must be enormous and we should be doing all we can to alleviate those tensions – not by denying them, but with compasion and kindness. But that also means we must be honest about certain things, and to describe terrorism against civilians as “guerrilla warfare” is, frankly, to deny the truth in the face of huge evidence.

    The ruthless terrorist tactics of the LTTE did bring results, of course, they brought unmitigated and total catastrophe for the Tamils of the north. Hardly a result to repeat or recommend, is it?

  • sambar

    Whether 20,000 or 40,000 or 80,000 or 160,000 Tamil civilians were killed is not the point; nor how many thousands are still displaced etc.
    The point is that very large numbers of Tamil civilians were mercilessly massacred by the SL forces on orders of the GOSL when it was quite unnecessary. (The LTTE was cornered and had nowhere to go and all the GOSL had to do was to wait.)
    There is also no reasonable explanation for the continued suffering of the war displaced Tamil civilians (such as why they are not allowed to go back to their homes, etc.)

    The post-war toture and killing of LTTE suspects is also a war crime; how many is not the point.

    • yapa

      Dear sambar;

      These questions have been discussed and answered over and over again in this blog by various people. Why don’t you go through the archives? I think a new discussion on this again is unnecessary.

      Thanks!

      • sambar

        Dear Yapa,

        You are right, but my repetition was due to the fact that Harshula’s article is also going over old well trodden ground and some people (as evident from their comments) are still missing the point.

        I have replied to you at http://groundviews.org/2011/09/05/why-the-diaspora-must-return-to-sri-lanka/#comment-36927
        … was busy.

      • sambar

        Dear Offthe Cuff,

        You wrote: “Whether unsuspecting children, Pregnant women, Women, sole bread winners, Fathers, Mothers of each and every ethnicity including (Tamil civilians) were blasted to kingdom come, maimed and blinded was not the point.”

        I hope you wrote this for purely rhetorical reasons and do not really mean it!!
        That these evil things happened is exactly the point.

        I see you still believe the nonsense about the west trying to save the LTTE. That propaganda was to try to keep the TN Tamils quiet just in case they reacted.
        In actual fact the west and India was the reason why the LTTE was finally defeated; if not for their full support hands-on the LTTE would never have been defeated by the GOSL forces!

        Do you remember when the LTTE attacked the Anuradhapura base that at least two Indians were injured. The GOSL and India said that they were radar techicians! Do you really think that Indian radar technicians were needed? No, they were military advisors. In fact in that time Lanka was virtually crawling with outside military advisors to make sure that the GOSL forces didn’t stuff it up!
        Which navy do you think helped blockade the east coast and gave the whereabouts of the LTTE ware-house ships?
        How do you think LTTE positions were located from above? Certainly not GOSL technology!

        I would say for all their crocodile tears India and the west is as much to blame for the massacre of the Tamil civilians!

        Dr Noel Nadesan seems quite ignorant.
        India never massacred the Punjabis, etc.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You wrote “I hope you wrote this for purely rhetorical reasons and do not really mean it!! That these evil things happened is exactly the point. ”

        The point is you conveniently omitted the LTTE atrocities that I mentioned and was focussing your tunnel vision on the SLA.

        I meant what I said. Any reason why I shouldn’t have?

        Of course the SL govt had help in intelligence gathering.
        The LTTE had help from foreign govts and International media to help raise funds (remember the high profile visitors in Canada and the UK to LTTE fund raising projects? The BBC documentaries etc). Even material help from INGOs. Where do you think all the heavy earth movers came from?

        You wrote “I see you still believe the nonsense about the west trying to save the LTTE. That propaganda was to try to keep the TN Tamils quiet just in case they reacted”

        So Millibank and Kutchner came here to keep TN quiet?

        Ha ha that’s a good one.

        You wrote “In fact in that time Lanka was virtually crawling with outside military advisors to make sure that the GOSL forces didn’t stuff it up!”

        You should join Janes’ with your prowess at intelligence gathering. BTW, they did stuff it up…. ha ha ….you know where.

        You wrote “Dr Noel Nadesan seems quite ignorant. India never massacred the Punjabis, etc.”

        1991: The Indian army attacked Sikh strongholds in Punjab killing more than 3,300 civilians

        Well Sambar, that proves who the real ignoramus is, doesn’t it? ….. ha ha.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Sambar,

      Whether unsuspecting children, Pregnant women, Women, sole bread winners, Fathers, Mothers of each and every ethnicity including (Tamil civilians) were blasted to kingdom come, maimed and blinded was not the point. That unprecedented pressure was put on the SL government by western govts who bent over backwards to please the Tamil vote bank to save the cornered LTTE was not the point. That Vaiko and company was whipping up emotions in Tamil Nadu amongst 90 million Tamils during election time with several self immolations is not the point. That a shameless Tamil Diaspora was cheering on the LTTE to fight using children of peasant Tamils while keeping their own in safety was not the point, that the flag wavers were giving the LTTE hope till the last minute was not the point, that death fasts with fast food in London was not the point. that those who are free with rhetoric today were bankrolling the LTTE was not the point, That over 300,000 Tamil civilians were saved from the clutches of a terror gang who were shooting them at will was not the point. That two unilateral suspension of hostilities were declared and observed to allow the civilians to move to safety was not the point but that the govt did not wait for the Western pressure to bear fruit was the point.

      Here is a balanced Tamil opinion

      The agents of LTTE in the Tamil diaspora also shed a lot of crocodile tears about the 300,000 IDPs. They described the IDP camps as concentration camps. Knowing the general conditions under which Sri Lankans live I can assure you that the conditions of the Tamils, particularly in the  in the IDP camps, were far superior to the slums of Colombo or even the conditions of the Sinhala villagers and hill country Tamils in remote areas.

      Even the Tamil MPs of Tamil Nadu and Indian journalists who visited the camps were convinced that the Sri Lankan authorities had done a very good job under trying conditions. Besides a comparison with the manner in which the government treated the Sinhala JVP rebels who took up arms in 1971 will reveal that the LTTErs received far better treatment than the JVPers. Most of them were incarcerated for more than four years.

      In calling for justice it is fair and just to hold the leaders in the Tamil expatriate groups who financed, lobbied, and gave moral and material support to the LTTE to prolong their futile war. They too are liable for aiding and abetting a banned terrorist group. Justice demands that these leaders, posing as human rights activists in Western bases, too should be tried  for the crimes committed by the LTTE against their own people.

      On balance, it must be conceded that the elimination of the ruthless LTTE outfit was commendable. What Prabhakaran did to Sri Lanka was 100 time worse that Al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden did to America. Like America any democratic country had the right to eliminate threats to its sovereignty, peace and stability, transgressing, if necessary, international humanitarian law and international law.
       
      India did it in Punjab and continues to do so in Kashmir. Russians did it in Chechnya. NATO allies are doing the same thing in Libya. America has done it in their war against Al Quaeda since 9/11.

      However, I wish to emphasize that at this stage the government has to accept responsibility for their share of the civilian casualties and apologise for that and compensate the next of kin.

      That was from Dr Noel Nadeson, Editor, UTHAYAM and I hope that the govt follows his advise.

    • wijayapala

      Dear sambar

      The LTTE was cornered and had nowhere to go and all the GOSL had to do was to wait.

      Wait for what?

      Still, there is a big difference between attacking Sikh militant STRONGHOLDS and attacking civilians directly as did the GOSL forces!

      We are still waiting for your evidence that SLA directly targeted civilians.

      • sambar

        Dear Wijayapala,

        “Wait for what?”

        Ever heard of a thing caled a siege? The LTTE had nowhere to go (because they were surrounded on all sides, not to mention the detailed satellite information available as to their every movement) so they would have eventually either given up or tried to break through: either way the civilian casualties would have been minimised.

        Direct unambiguously certain evidence that the GOSL targetted Tamil civilians is of course impossible to provide – so I am not surprised that you keep playing this card!
        The evidence is circumstantial and reasonable though if you look at what happened and are prepared to think about it.

      • sambar

        Anyway, that the GOSL neglected to ensure the safety of Tamil civilians is obvious.
        That the GOSL lied about not having spilled a drop of civilian blood is also on record!

  • sambar

    Dear OfftheCuff,

    “1991: The Indian army attacked Sikh strongholds in Punjab killing more than 3,300 civilians ”

    1) I very much doubt if this is correct; even though it can be found on the internet, remember that not everything is true.
    But see for example a more reliable site:
    http://www.sikhtimes.com/sikhism_timeline.html
    There is no mention of this 3,300 thing here!
    (But in 1991 Sikh militanst did kill lots of non-Sikhs.)

    2) Still, there is a big difference between attacking Sikh militant STRONGHOLDS and attacking civilians directly as did the GOSL forces!

    Milliband and Kouchner didn’t come over to save the LTTE, they came to see if it was possible, that is the GOSL was willing, to avoid the massacre of the Tamil civilians (hence also keep TN quiet ).
    The GOSL said no, and that if they slowed down there could be an army revolt etc. etc.
    So because getting rid of the LTTE was paramount to the west (Kouchner and Miliband) and India, they did not do anything further to make sure the Tamil civilians would be safe.
    They too agreed that if the price of getting rid of the LTTE was the massacre of the Tamil civilians (as demanded by the GOSL), so be it!

    The reason why the GOSL didn’t stuff-up was exactly because of all the outside advisors.
    Even though the GOSL had the numbers, in terms of military strategy and ability they were no match for the LTTE. That’s why so many outsiders were needed to help the GOSL in so many ways – on their own the GOSL could never have matched the LTTE.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Sambar,

      Have you heard of Operation Blue Star?
      This is the attack on the Golden Temple by the Indian Army in 1984.
      Official reports put the number of deaths among the Indian army at 83 and the number of civilian deaths at 492, though some independent estimates run as high as 1500.

      Before the attack a media blackout was imposed in Punjab. The Times reporter Michael Hamlyn reported that journalists were picked up from their hotels at 5 a.m. in a military bus, taken to the adjoining border of the state of Haryana and “were abandoned there”. The main towns in Punjab were put under curfew, transportation was banned, news blackout was imposed and Punjab was “cut off from the outside world”. A group of journalists who later tried to drive into Punjab were stopped at the road block at Punjab border and were threatened to be shot if they proceeded. The Indian nationals who worked with the foreign media were also banned. The press criticized these actions by Government as an “obvious attempt to attack the temple without the eyes of foreign press on them”. (Wiki)

      Eyewitnesses place the number of casualties at more than 1500. They also describe the “indiscriminate” murder of the Sikh civilians by Indian troops in the bazaars around the temple complex. “The Amritsar deputy police superintendent, who helped remove bodies from the temple grounds, said at least 13 of the victims were shot with their hands bound.’It was a virtual massacre,’ said the Jullundar doctor.

      ‘A large number of women, children and pilgrims were gunned down.'” Associated Press 6/14/84. No outside agency has been allowed to enter the area and verify the body count, the extent of the damage or the living conditions of Sikh survivors. All human rights have been suspended. The government has reported 800 dead while outside sources estimate that over 1500 died in Amritsar alone. Another 2000 are reported to have died in Patiala, 1000 in Mukhtsar, with a total fatality estimate now at more than 10,000 Sikhs throughout Punjab. The numbers of dead and their identities are not being provided to families, agencies of Sikhs nor to any independent agencies. (Sikhnet)

      You wrote “Still, there is a big difference between attacking Sikh militant STRONGHOLDS and attacking civilians directly as did the GOSL forces!”

      Kilinochchi and Mulativu were not LTTE strongholds?

      You wrote “Milliband and Kouchner didn’t come over to save the LTTE, they came to see if it was possible, that is the GOSL was willing, to avoid the massacre of the Tamil civilians (hence also keep TN quiet ).”

      Did they tell you that?

      You wrote “The GOSL said no”

      Oh and it was the LTTE which declared two separate cessation of hostilities to allow the civilians to leave? …. What magnanimity!!!!

      You wrote “The reason why the GOSL didn’t stuff-up was exactly because of all the outside advisors. Even though the GOSL had the numbers, in terms of military strategy and ability they were no match for the LTTE“

      Sure that’s why a Parippu drop was needed to save Prabha and his gang of terrorists from the Vadamarachchi op.

      • sambar

        Dear OfftheCuff,

        No on is disputing that lots of Sikhs were killed in putting down the militant Khalistani independence movement.

        But for example, did the Indian army use chemical and thermobaric weapons on the Sikhs? No, of course not!
        Did the GOSL forces use such weapons against the LTTE and furthermore that without any concern for the Tamil civilians who were caught up? Yes!!

        In my opinion Operation Blue Star was a mistake and an extended siege would have been better, and then Indhira Gandhi would have not been assasinated.

        Of course during the operations the Indian army did not let anyone through, but they did soon afterwards – and everyone saw what had happened.
        But the GOSL did not let anyone in even afterwards because of all the bodies and evidence they were clearing – it was not mines that they were clearing!

      • sambar

        continued …

        The LTTE vacated Killinochi, and a siege of the Mullaitivu region where the LTTE was trapped would have been enough.

        OfftheCuff, about what Milliband and Koucner were up to, you need to exapnd ypur knowledge base to appreciate what I said.
        As it is, since you are still fixated with the narrow idea that ‘the war was only a local matter between the GOSL and the LTTE which the GOSL won and thereby freed Sri Lanka’, it is not surprising that you cannot see the points I am making.

        The “parippu drop” was in the early days.
        The balance changed considerably later on. And in fact when the LTTE surrounded Jaffna and was about to take it in 2000/2001 it was India who stopped the LTTE (with threats and promises) and saved the GOSL forces from a sure anihilation – some people still say that that was one of the LTTE’s major mistakes, and that rather than go for peace talks at that stage, they should have capitalised on their miltary strength …

      • yapa

        Dear sambar;

        “But for example, did the Indian army use chemical and thermobaric weapons on the Sikhs? No, of course not!
        Did the GOSL forces use such weapons against the LTTE and furthermore that without any concern for the Tamil civilians who were caught up? Yes!!”

        I put to you dear sambar, as usual you are lying.

        Thanks!

      • sambar

        Dear OfftheCuff,

        Instead of accusing me of lying because you don’t like what I said, why don’t you make careful inquiries for yourself?
        Also note that such a reason for accusing someone of lying can be applied symetrically!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You are so confused that you don’t even know whose post you are responding to.

        By the way you should provide authoritative evidence without shooting like a lose Cannon.

        Posing your own question and answering it yourself is not proof.

        You see Sambar throwing accusations without reliable evidence is called bluffing and Wijayapala puts that very nicely.

        You wrote, “……. about what Milliband and Koucner were up to, you need to exapnd ypur knowledge base to appreciate what I said.”

        Well Sambar why don’t you educate us by disseminating your expanded knowledge to enable us to appreciate your wisdom?

      • sambar

        Dear OfftheCuff,

        You are right, I got a bit confused with whom I was replying to, but not about the content.

        Dear Yapa,

        The earlier post ‘Instead of accusing me of lying because you don’t like what I said, why don’t you make careful inquiries for yourself?
        Also note that such a reason for accusing someone of lying can be applied symetrically!’, was meant a reply to you.

        Sorry about the confusion of names.

      • yapa

        Dear sambar;

        You know the principle, those who assert must prove. It is your responsibility, dear sambar.

        Thanks!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You wrote “But for example, did the Indian army use chemical and thermobaric weapons on the Sikhs? No, of course not!

        Did the GOSL forces use such weapons against the LTTE and furthermore that without any concern for the Tamil civilians who were caught up? Yes!!”

        That is what you wrote and I responded as follows.
        By the way you should provide authoritative evidence without shooting like a lose Cannon. Posing your own question and answering it yourself is not proof.

        I observe that Yapa too has questioned your Bona Fide based on your writing and the absence of reliable supporting evidence.

        Wijayapala too has called your Bluff and asked for reliable evidence.

        Yet you have been unable to deliver. Why?

  • http://www.politicsmatters.org Politics Matters

    On the subject of advocacy journalism, Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, recently said: “Advocacy journalism can be a very valuable thing: people with a cause, people who want to change the world, people who want to take the country in a different direction. And there is more of that. There are more organizations that are doing long-term investigative reporting and generally they do buy into advocacy journalism. There are others that are forming that are taking the traditional tact of pursuing the truth wherever it leads, without a preordained direction, and we tend to trust those, I think, a little bit more because they have a track record—the good ones—of being balanced.” (Gibson appeared on the Charlottesville, VA, politics interview program Politics Matters with host and producer Jan Madeleine Paynter discussing journalism http://bit.ly/pm-gibson)

  • wijayapala

    Dear sambar,

    Ever heard of a thing caled a siege?

    How long would such a siege last before other countries intervene to stop the resulting “humanitarian crisis,” thus saving the LTTE?

    Direct unambiguously certain evidence that the GOSL targetted Tamil civilians is of course impossible to provide – so I am not surprised that you keep playing this card!

    I am surprised though that you keep playing your bluff without evidence.

    The evidence is circumstantial and reasonable though if you look at what happened and are prepared to think about it.

    I thought about it and have a question- why weren’t there more civilian casualties if they were being intentionally targeted?

    • sambar

      Dear Wijayapala,

      The IC powers had already made up their minds with certainty that the LTTE had to be gone (for the sake of the ‘greater global agenda’), so there was absolutely no chance of the LTTE being saved by outside powers.
      In fact since around 2007 the writing was clearly on the wall (or perhaps beach) for the LTTE, but they appear to have hoped beyond hope or were tricked in sectret talks which they mistakenly trusted – it is possible that if the LTTE had totally transformed and were prepared to be managed and run by India, then they would have survived in some form but they were not happy with that sort of arrangement.
      So a siege woulod have worked.

      Ok, let us leave aside whether or not the GOSL forces deliberately targetted Tamil civilians in those last days in 2009.
      However there is surely little doubt as to the GOSL’s negligence and indifference as to the safety of the Tamil civilians – the safe zones were of course part of the GOSL trickery to occupy areas vacated by the LTTE (while giving the impression that they were concerned for the civilians), so that does not count.

      “why weren’t there more civilian casualties if they were being intentionally targeted?”

      So the conservative estimate of 40,000+ is not enough??
      When I said ‘think about it’ I didn’t mean it in any metaphorical or other sense!

      • yapa

        Dear sambar;

        The inflated figure 40,000+ itself acted counter productively against the Diaspora project. In devising a high figure of casualty, they must have thought that it would give a mighty blow to the GOSL. The whole project of revenging the defeat of LTTE was fabricated around the center of that figure.However, when the questioning of the figure began, there was no way to defend it. No one was able to show how they arrived at the figure. That is how the 5th Eelam war launched in connivance with the ignorant/prejudiced elements of international community and the INGOO and ambitious media institutions started deteriorating. When the core was not strong enough, nothing can stand upright.

        It is very easy to convince anybody that the figure is not realistic.

        If there were 350,000 people including the LTTE carders trapped in that area, we can safely estimate that there cannot be more than 340,000 civilians were there. If we take that figure as 340,000 and 40,000 to be killed from that amount, 40,000/340,000x 100 civilians should have been killed out of each 100 civilians. That is the percentage of civilian killing should be around 12%. In other words, almost 1/8th of the total civilian population trapped in that area must have been killed.

        Do you really mean to say every one person out of every eight civilians were killed by the GOSL forces?

        True, bigger lies make bigger impacts. However, one cannot pre-decide the direction of the impact. Tamil diaspora did not know this principle. Their big lie back fired.

        You cannot defend lies forever.

        Thanks!

        Thanks!

      • wijayapala

        Dear sambar,

        The IC powers had already made up their minds with certainty that the LTTE had to be gone (for the sake of the ‘greater global agenda’), so there was absolutely no chance of the LTTE being saved by outside powers.

        Can you prove this?

        However there is surely little doubt as to the GOSL’s negligence and indifference as to the safety of the Tamil civilians

        That is a stronger and much more defensible argument, but does negligence constitute a war crime?

        “why weren’t there more civilian casualties if they were being intentionally targeted?”
        So the conservative estimate of 40,000+ is not enough??

        If the SLA was deliberately trying to kill civilians, then how could there have been ANY survivors? Are you prepared to think about that?

        Also, the 40,000 estimate is not “conservative” but rather is the high estimate that even Gordon Weiss backed away from. Could you kindly show us a higher estimate from a non-Eelamoid source?

      • sambar

        Dear Wijayapala,

        W: “If the SLA was deliberately trying to kill civilians, then how could there have been ANY survivors?”

        This is a silly point and a fallacious argument.

        Ok then, you tell me: If the Sinhala-Buddhist extremists maniacs were deliberately killing Tamils in the 1983 riots, how then are there so many Tamil survivors left?

        I maintain that 40,000+ is a conservative estimate; some say around 100,000+ (but you would dismiss them as Eelamoids I suppose).

        Gordon Weiss seems to have own agenda, and in that justice and discovery of the truth is a incidental consideration – not too different from the UN and the west!

      • yapa

        Dear sambar;

        “Ok then, you tell me: If the Sinhala-Buddhist extremists maniacs were deliberately killing Tamils in the 1983 riots, how then are there so many Tamil survivors left?”

        You are right! Even when the most barbaric Tamil Extremist maniacs tried to kill all the Sinhalese people including women and infants in the border villages in the dark nights, a few could save their lives running into the jungles.

        When one finger is pointed to others, four are pointed towards self.

        (Any mistake from my part, not to answer my posts?)

        Thanks!

      • sambar

        Dear Yapa,

        I did reply to what you wrote but addressed it to OfftheCuff by mistake; so see above for my reply to your earlier post.

        Also did you reply to the posts about the history stuff – if so let me know with the URL.

        Even if it was a centipede pointing with one leg and the other 99 pointed back, what matters is which pointing is true!

        Also even if they are all true, it still stands that the one is correct – that the ones pointing back might also be true does not make the one pointing foward automatically false!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You wrote “Gordon Weiss seems to have own agenda, and in that justice and discovery of the truth is a incidental consideration”

        Do you mean that Gordon Weiss was cashing in on the sentiments of the Tamil Diaspora and was minting money at their expense by selling a book written to please what the Flag wavers wanted to hear?

        But this was the man featured in CH4 ……!!!

        Gordon was bright though, he knew he could sell at least a half million copies to a gullible market.

        He must be laughing all the way to the bank at your expense.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You wrote “the safe zones were of course part of the GOSL trickery to occupy areas vacated by the LTTE (while giving the impression that they were concerned for the civilians), so that does not count. ”

        The LTTE must have been led by a pack of fools if they could by tricked that easily.

        The Safe Zones were meant to be Safe Zones for the Tamil Civilians not for LTTE Artillery and Terrorists. By locating LTTE’s Heavy Armour within the safe zones the LTTE turned the safe zones to a war zone INTENTIONALLY.

        Strange that you forgot the two Cessations of Hostility the govt declared to allow the civilians to move to safety.

      • yapa

        Dear Sambar;

        Tell me then, how do you point your fingers to indicate “sambar is wrong”?

        Thanks!

  • yapa

    Great Britain is deporting Tamil refugees to “Killing Fields”.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/13843-asylum-seekers-from-uk-arrive-in-sl.html

    Thanks!

    • yapa

      From the above news,

      “International Human Rights groups, especially Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised Britain for deporting the asylum seekers who are mainly Tamils saying that they may not be safe on their return.

      British authorities have stated that it only undertakes returns to Sri Lanka when it is satisfied that the individual has no protection needs.”

      Oh!, In that case there are bogus(rogue)Tamil refugees as well in western counties, not only innocent refugees who got life threats from the Sinhala governments??? I think this must be news for Channel-4 and other LTTE sympathizers.

      Tamil posters, is this news for you as well?

      Thanks!

      • yapa

        I think Britain will soon deport Channel 4 team also to “Sri Lanka, killing fields”.

        Britain seems to have invented a lie detector device.

        Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Dear sambar

    As you failed to provide evidence about the “IC powers'” intentions, you appear to concede that a siege as you defined it might have preserved the LTTE.

    If the Sinhala-Buddhist extremists maniacs were deliberately killing Tamils in the 1983 riots, how then are there so many Tamil survivors left?

    1) The Jathika Thugs of 1983 did not have weapons more sophisticated than blunt and edged weapons.

    2) The Tamils in 1983 were not trapped in a tiny sliver of exposed land. Instead they were dispersed in Sinhala communities where it was difficult to distinguish them from non-Tamils.

    3) Also, there were Sinhalese who protected Tamils in 1983, a fact that the Eelamoids try their best to overlook.

    4) Finally, the LTTE was not in Colombo gunning down Tamils and then blaming it on the SLA.

    did the Indian army use chemical and thermobaric weapons on the Sikhs? No, of course not!
    Did the GOSL forces use such weapons against the LTTE and furthermore that without any concern for the Tamil civilians who were caught up? Yes!!

    What is your evidence that the SLA had these weapons?

    I maintain that 40,000+ is a conservative estimate; some say around 100,000+ (but you would dismiss them as Eelamoids I suppose).

    Did any of those “some” you are referring to care to inform the public in late 2008/early 2009 that the LTTE was losing the war and that a humanitarian crisis was developing? If they were ignorant of that quite obvious reality, then I can hardly see how they would know that the SLA killed 100,000 people.

  • sambar

    Dear wijayapala,

    A very strong piece of evidence about the intentions of the IC powers toward the LTTE is that the LTTE was financially stiffled and militarily defeated!

    I think I see where you are getting confused:
    That Tamil civilians were killed and injured by the GOSL forces was either due to deliberate targeting or callous negligence.
    That Tamil civilians survived and were not injured was because they were not targetted or they escaped.
    The above are not incompatible.
    I never said that the GOSL forces wanted every single Tamil civilian dead – like the 1983 riots it was about ‘teaching the Tamils a lesson’.
    Does that help?

    If investigators are allowed to check, even now after all the clearing, they will find at least some remnant effects of those weapons.
    Why don’t you call for such an investigation?
    What is your evidence that no such weapons were used?

    As I said before the LTTE either hoped beyond hope, or were tricked in secret talks that assured them of their survival. That is why their impending defeat was never given the serious consideration it deserved.
    But once that was clear, it was the IC powers who chose to ignore not only the impending humanitarian crisis but also failed to ensure the proper management of it. Instead they were happy to watch its development and allow the GOSL to do as they wished.

    Certainly the LTTE can be blamed for not being politcally sharper and reading the real intentions of the IC powers.
    But it is the GOSL and IC powers who are to blame for the subsequent humanitarian disaster.

    • wijayapala

      dear sambar

      A very strong piece of evidence about the intentions of the IC powers toward the LTTE is that the LTTE was financially stiffled and militarily defeated!

      How was the LTTE financially stifled? And which IC power militarily defeated LTTE?

      I never said that the GOSL forces wanted every single Tamil civilian dead

      Why not kill all the Tamils?

      What is your evidence that no such weapons were used?

      The fact that you cannot prove that they were used. In the non-Eelam world, we are innocent until proven guilty.

      • sambar

        Dear wijayapala,

        “How was the LTTE financially stifled? And which IC power militarily defeated LTTE?”

        If you realy want to know you could still find out for yourself. But if you prefer you may of course hold on to the belief that the GOSL not only did it all but were powerful enough to twist the arms of the IC players to do their bidding!

        “Why not kill all the Tamils?”

        See what is happening in Zimbabwe after nationalisation. I guess the Sinhala-Buddhists were not that stupid :)

        “The fact that you cannot prove that they were used. In the non-Eelam world, we are innocent until proven guilty.”

        Investigate for yourself – I don’t think I can prove much in these short exchanges.
        However, by the same rule you will have to accept that I am telling you the truth unless you can prove otherwise – i.e. innocent until proven guilty!

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