Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: From denial to discovery

Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago. In a story published by AP a few hours ago, he notes,

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.

The email was written by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program’s mine action group in Sri Lanka.

“After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka” the email said.

Emphasis ours. The incident noted in Ravi’s copy was actually reported in the Tamil media on 6th March 2012.

The story on Sudar Oli, published on Page 7 notes,

An explosion in Killinochchi kills a boy: His sister sustains serious injuries

From Vishamadhu, Killinochchi, comes the report of a death of a boy, who had tried to examine a metallic object. The details of this incident are as follows.

Yesterday (5. March 2012) at around 11.30am, V. Villuwan (14) a small boy and his sister, V. Kovila (22) were collecting metal when they tried to remove the copper off a metallic object. At this moment, there was an explosion with a huge sound.

Seriously injured from the explosion, both children were admitted to the Dharmapuram Hospital. Afterwards, they were transferred to the Jaffna Hospital’s emergency ward, at which time the boy succumbed to his injuries.

It’s very important to track the Sri Lankan government’s denials over the use of cluster munitions. Last updated on 19 August 2011, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor notes,

Sri Lanka has said that it does not possess cluster munitions. The Sri Lankan government’s Media Center for National Security issued the following statement on its website in February 2009: “The Government wishes to clarify that the Sri Lanka army do not use these cluster bombs nor do they have facilities to use them.” The Ministry of Defence website posted a statement saying Sri Lanka never fired cluster munitions and never brought them into the country. In February 2009, a military spokesperson was quoted stating, “We don’t have the facility to fire cluster munitions. We don’t have these weapons.”

Emphasis ours. On Page 47 of the UN Panel of Experts report, allegations of cluster munitions use are noted along with denials from the Sri Lankan government,

1. Allegations of the use of cluster munitions or white phosphorus
169. There are allegations that the SLA used cluster bomb munitions or white phosphorus or other chemical substances against civilians, particularly around PTK and in the second NFZ. Accounts refer to large explosions, followed by numerous smaller explosions consistent with the sound of a cluster bomb. Some wounds in the various hospitals are alleged to have been caused by cluster munitions or white phosphorus. The Government of Sri Lanka denies the use of these weapons and, instead, accuses the LTTE of using white phosphorus.

One of the most categorical denials came from Palitha Kohona, an Australian national who at the time was Secretary of Foreign Affairs and is currently Sri Lanka’s top ranking diplomat to the UN in New York.

In the interview with CNN, Kohona explicitly notes to a question by the anchor, Monita Rajpal, whether the Sri Lankan Army is using cluster bombs,

“I can say categorically that the Army does not use cluster bombs, it does not posses cluster bombs and it does not procure cluster bombs. I say this with authority, because I have… since… hearing the story, I have verified the facts with the procurement committee.”

There have been a number of reports in web media in particular on the use of cluster bombs. Coincidentally, in a report published on 21 March 2012 on Tamilnet.com, which is blocked in Sri Lanka, it is reported that “a container allegedly deployed by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) to carry cluster bomblets has been recovered recently by the de-miners of the humanitarian de-mining agency Halo Trust near a house at Thiruvaiuyaa’ru, 3 km east of Ki’linochchi town”. A PDF copy of the story, which also contains an image of the cluster bomb container, can be seen here. In January 2009, the same website carried images of cluster bombs allegedly dropped by the Sri Lankan Airforce in Mullaitivu. A PDF copy of the story, along with images, can be seen here.

There have also been other media reporting alleging the use of cluster bombs in Sri Lanka. Though is hard to verify the accuracy of a report that appears on Sri Lanka Truth conceding the use of cluster bombs in Sri Lanka sourced from Russia, the UN’s most recent confirmation over the use of cluster bombs also means that the report cannot be dismissed easily.

On 22 April 2009, the Guardian ran a story on the use of cluster bombs in Sri Lanka, which noted that,

Cluster bombs and artillery shelling have killed many civilians at a makeshift hospital within the last strip of Sri Lanka’s coastline still controlled by the Tamil Tigers, a doctor said today. Thangamutha Sathiyamorthy is a doctor working at the hospital in Puttumatalan.

Sathiyamorthy claimed that there had been a number of cluster bomb attacks, one of which killed a doctor, Dr Sivamanokaran, in the temporary hospital at Valayadmadam.

“The hospital yesterday was functioning and the doctor visited that area and there was a blast that is a cluster bomb and so he died in the hospital area,” he said.

In another news report published on IBM Live much earlier, on 4 February 2009, it was reported that,

Cluster bombs have been used in the war in Sri lanka for the first time since the collapse of a Norway-brokered ceasefire in 2007. The bombs were used near a civil hospital in Puthukudiyiruppu. It is not clear if they were used by the Lankan military or the tigers.

The organisation’s spokesperson, Sarasi Wijeratne couldn’t say who fired the shells. But Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, the top Government health official in the area, said the attacks appeared to have come from the army.

Earlier we spoke to Gorden Weiss, the UN Spokesperson in Colombo who said that cluster bombs have been thrown in the vicinity of the hospital.

Revealingly, the three government doctors who claimed high civilian casualties and the use of cluster bombs by the Sri Lankan Army were rounded up and under duress, forced to retract their submissions. Though widely suspected, it was only after the Wikileaks cables were published that exactly why they contradicted their earlier submissions was confirmed.

Other prominent government spokesmen were more outright in their dismissal of concerns by the international community over the use of cluster bombs. Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in February 2009, called those in Amnesty International “lunatics” and their concern over the use of cluster bombs by the Sri Lankan army “rank idiocy”.

Did the Sri Lankan Army use cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs against civilians?, published in September 2010 on Groundviews, translated a lead story published in the Sudar Oli newspaper based on the testimony of one N. Sundermurthi to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). As we noted at the time, not a single English or Sinhala mainstream print or broadcast media carried this story. Sundermurthi’s testimony notes,

In the final stages of the war, thinking they were attacking the LTTE around Puthumathalan, the Army used cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs against innocent civilians. There were many casualties on account of this. Around 400 to 600 died daily, and around 1,000 were injured.

The LTTE even attacked airplanes that were sent to attack the safe zones. When they counter-attacked, the Army used banned phosphorus and cluster bombs against the LTTE. There were many casualties on account of this. Around 400 – 600 died daily, and around 1,000 were injured. It was a grim situation. After this, amidst incredible hardship, we arrived in areas controlled by the Army.

There are, at the time of writing, 112 comments to this story, and most of the commentators vehemently deny the use of cluster bombs, noting that there is no way Sundermurthi could have known what kind of munitions were used and fired. At the time, Sri Lanka’s top ranking diplomat at permanent mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva, and currently Ambassador to France, with accreditation to Spain and Portugal, and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka first roundly dismissed the report, and then said that the story was Sri Lanka’s equivalent of WMD’s (in Iraq). Another commentator, David Blacker, noted,

The witness’ testimony is quite useless on the point of whether or not cluster bombs and phosphorous was used by the SLAF. The witness merely states as fact that these weapons were used. There is no description of the weapons in action, the detonations or impact, nor of any residue, damage or injury caused. None whatsoever. The witness could just as easily have said that the SLAF used tactical nuclear weapons.

As an aside, artillery units use white phosphorous (WP) shells as marker rounds for forward observers, and often the explosions and residue from these rounds are mistaken for offensive weapons.

Overall… the witness’ statement seems a bit contrived, as if he has been fed a few keywords (DPU, cluster bombs, phosphorous, etc) and is trying to work them into his story. The skeletons he describe probably were from a cemetery having been shelled or bombed. In general, civilian statements on artillery exchanges are often sketchy, with witnesses unable to accurately discern direction, especially at close range.

Given all of this, is it really surprising that no other newspapers bothered with this?

This analysis was backed up by Dr. Jayatilleka. Blacker went on to accuse Groundviews of being a “tabloid” and “sensationalist publication” for republishing in English Sundermurthi’s testimony to the LLRC.

It remains to be seen how the Government will answer the UN’s confirmation, based on its significant technical expertise of dealing with UXOs, that there are in fact unexploded cluster munitions still in and around the Puthukudiyiruppu area. Perhaps because it trusted government reports, that the UN itself was wholly unprepared to deal with unexploded cluster munitions is evident in the leaked UN email. As AP’s Nessman notes,

Poston’s email, dated Tuesday, said mine clearers in Sri Lanka had not been prepared to deal with the bomblets, and are now relying on the experience of deminers who had worked in Lebanon, where Israel used cluster munitions in its 2006 war.

One deminer with experience in Lebanon was asked to clear the area and train other teams in how to handle the bomblets, according to the email. The local mine clearing office is adopting the Lebanon standards, and UNICEF was informed of the need to educate the local population about the dangers of the unexploded munitions, it said.

What new levels of spin, deception, counter-claims, propaganda and hate speech through spokesmen, Ambassadors, advisors and other assorted apologists will the government employ to counter this damning new evidence of what can constitute war crimes by the armed forces? If vehement denials of cluster bomb use by the government turn out to be false, what command chain responsibility implications will it have?

  • Navin

    How is it that UN finding cluster bombs automatically make the GOSL the guilty party? Isn’t it quite possible that these bombs were used by LTTE? I’m pretty sure that some people knew sooner or later that they were going to find parts of cluster bombs and traces of white phosphorous and that they also knew where to look for those for they were the ones who bought and shipped them here in the first place. Now these guys are pretending to be human rights advocates!

    • Bo Peep

      It is equally possible that the LTTE used them.

      However now that it seems likely that they were/are around and they may have been used it is good to ask how they came to be there, when they came to be there and if they were in fact used.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @Bo Peep

        If the LTTE used custard buns, oops I meant to say cluster bombs, pray tell us how they dropped them on the armed forces or civilians? Did they use space ships? Did the LTTE have MIGs and Kaffirs? Everytime that evidence like this is unearthed, the Rajapaksa government and it’s sycophants get egg on their faces.

        After four years of hearings at the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in the Hague, the former warlord Charles Taylor was convicted on 11 charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations.

        Lets hope that the historic judgement against Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, now facing a lengthy term in a British prison, will set a precedent that heads of state, dictators and wannabe dictators can no longer consider themselves immune to international justice.

        Land mark rulings against monsters like this give oppressed people all around the world some hope.

        http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/former-liberian-president-found-guilty-of-abetting-sierra-leone-war-crimes/

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Cluster munitions can be fired from artillery pieces as well as airdropped, Dunce. For God’s sake, readup on this before opening your big mouth.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        A UN spokesman has gone on record inferring that the Tigers used cluster munitions and that the SL Army might have used some of these that they captured from the Tigers: http://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-groundviews-use-of-cluster-bombs/

  • Asitha Punchihewa

    Good developing story. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Sri Lankan army used nuclear weapons against the LTTE and the civilians. I referred the Tamilnet PDF files that groundviews has provided and is there sufficient proof to confirm that those photos were taken in Sri Lanka? Amidst all de-mining units carrying out their valiant efforts, how can cluster bombs be still present three years after the war has ended? The two lives of the Sri Lankan children were taken away due to the ignorant practice of mine action teams operating in Sri Lanka. Its a crime. Taking every aspect into consideration, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a news that an insignificant UN official has discovered a nuclear bomb in Sri Lanka’s North. Thumbs up for groundwiews for providing ground for dialogue and analysis.

  • MV

    This will turn out just like the execution footage.
    GoSL once claimed that the execution footage was fake then went on to say the perpetrators were in fact LTTE. Once again, they denied that such banned weapons were used but now will go on to shift the blame.
    Of course, the government appointed panel has already cleared GoSL’s name and blamed the ltte for most of it.

    • Jackson

      umm yeah just like the execution videos this too will prove it has nothing to do with the Sri Lankan army. Keep in mind none of the allegations thus far has been proven nor verified through verifiable sources. All are the being thrown at by “mysterious” sources! Then grotesquely misused by those that have an agenda against the Sri Lankan state.

  • jansee

    Navin/Asitha:

    Yes, yes. It is perfectly alright to blame the LTTE, but despite all the denials and protestations, the noose will tighten around the SL regime. Talking about nuclear bomb is another matter altogether. March towards Eelam. Dream on, I hear you say. Oh yes, the time to dream on has arrived.

  • anbu

    why is there a such a big gap between Tamil, Sinhala and English news reporting in Sri Lnaka. It is like living in two separste countries. remember during the jaffna Library burning none of the Sinhala or English papers covered it in the the front page and hardly any mention in the rest of the pages aswell.

  • Armchair Expert

    None of the other reports actually corroborate any of this. The ‘Lanka Truth’ article has pictures of an OFAB and starts going on about OFAB/ODAB which are fragmentation and fuel/air weapons; not cluster bombs. The ‘mystery bomb’ in the Tamilnut article also seems to be something from the same family; it certainly looks nothing like an RBK.

    So the question is if cluster bombs really were used, why are all of these outlets desperately trying to pass these off as cluster munitions, instead of getting some real evidence?

    • Nithyananthan

      This expert is trying to export the same old failed stinking stuff to the local and the international market. It reminds me of the fate of the old stuff ‘Zero Casualty’ that turned-out to be 8,000 lambs. Business is as usual – ‘Valiant denial ends in shameless Acceptance’ Thanks, Nithy!

      • Armchair Expert

        Poor Nithy, can you actually rebut anything I’ve said or are you just babbling aimlessly as usual? The pictures are there for all to see, surely even you can manage a simple Google image search and a quick game of spot the difference?

      • yapa

        Dear Nithy;

        This time a demand, not the the same old failed stinking stuff to the local and the international market, you referred.

        “In the wake of the senior UN official in charge of mine clearing operations carried out by NGOs alleging that unexploded cluster munitions had been found in the Vanni east recently, the GoSL has challenged the agency to furnish evidence to support the latest allegation directed at Sri Lanka.”

        ” “We sought evidence and whatever information the UNDP can provide us in carrying out an inquiry,” the army chief said. The former Vanni Commander emphasized the GoSL forces had never used cluster ammunition during any stage of the offensive or acquired any during the entire conflict.”

        http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=50717#

        I think there are people even among Tamil community, who prefer, if the cluster bombs were used by the SL forces in the battle, the way to the human shields were available to generate some evidence to use against the country. Problem with most propagandists and punitive action seekers against the country is their lack of evidence, that is why they are chasing so hard even after after a slightest indication of such things. Present endeavour also shows some consistency with the past endavours such as Darusman Report, Channel 4 films, UNHRC and Navaneetham Pilay’s overly action and Geneva drama as well.

        Journalists and media institutions also should turn back and see whether they too are instrumental knowingly or unknowingly in this continuing evil project.

        Thanks!

  • http://rakasuniverse.info/ Rakhitha

    Small question
    If one of the tamilnet pdfs given has a photo of an “Photographs of unexplored and unopened bombs” then why didn’t they use some bomb expert (or a forced recruited civilian) to open it up and take pictures of whats inside? That would have created concrete evidence against GOSL.

    Why didn’t they?

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    After this revelation by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program’s mine action group in Sri Lanka, looks like government apologists like Dr. Dayarn Jayatilleka and David Blacker have got egg on their faces. When will these people ever learn that the truth cannot be hidden forever?

    • yapa

      You are aspiring, dear PresiDunce Bean.

      Thanks!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Well, Dunce, let’s not count our eggs before they are hatched, never mind on anyone’s face. So far we have not seen any of the photos Mr Poston says he has examined. The pictures GV has linked to via Tamilnet are not cluster munitions. Armchair Expert has already pointed this out, and it was pointed out at the time those pix were first published. Doesn’t look like anyone cares about inconvenient details — a bomb is a bomb is a bomb right? :D

        Let’s look at this “war crime” objectively.

        1. There is no evidence whatsoever that the SL military used cluster munitions. The GoSL has consistently denied it (why deny something that is quite legal; except because the claim is inaccurate?); there is not a single photo or frame of video that shows this weapon in the possession of the SL military or in use on the battlefield (with all the pix and footage of alleged atrocities why is there nothing on this perfectly legal weapon?); there is no credible eyewitness accounts of the weapon being used (claims of hearing a single large detonation followed by a string of smaller detonations consistent with the initial explosion of the bomb/shell and the subsequent mini-explosions of the bomblets can just as easily apply to a conventional iron bomb that sets off a string of secondary explosions of ammunition, explosives, etc that were in fact the target); and there is no evidence trail of any nation or arms supplier having supplied these weapons to the GoSL.

        2. The use of cluster munitions is as legal/illegal as the use of landmines or nuclear weapons. Some nations have signed up to a moratorium on their use, and some have not; just as some nations have accepted the Rome Statutes, and some have not. So morality aside (I will come to that in my next point), there is no reason why the SL military could not use cluster munitions in combat. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Geneva Conventions only restrict the use of the weapon in proximity to civilians as they do on many other long-range or air-deployed systems.

        3. Just how bad are cluster munitions? In the currency of the debate on the war in SL, the weapon has come to take on the characteristics of gas chambers in WW2 and napalm in Vietnam. People like Tim have given the impression that this is some horrific weapon designed to kill civilians by the town-load, and that their very use puts a force beyond the pale. The fact is that far more civilians are killed in war by regular acceptable weapons such as iron bombs, conventional artillery, and the good old but humble 7.62-mm bullet. The problem with cluster munitions is that, like anti-personnel landmines, they have a residual effect — ie they kill people after the war is over because they remain behind. That is because, like the landmine, cluster munitions can be used (though not invariably) as an area-denial weapon. So the fact is then, that only SOME sorts of cluster munitions are designed to have a residual effect; unlike regular bombs and shells that by chance don’t explode and kill people decades after the war. The problem is that the small cluster bomblets are harder to find and clear (like anti-personnel mines). GV points out (quite correctly) that a child was killed and another injured by what might be a cluster bomblet, proving how evil they are. But children even in the south have been killed by attempting to play with hand grenades they found in the garbage. This doesn’t make hand grenades particularly evil, given that, like guns, shells, and atom bombs, they were designed to kill people.

        So in conclusion, I’d like to suggest that we are once more getting derailed into discussing a topic because it has been set up as a moral flag rather than because it has any real meaning in the debate of the war.

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @David Blacker

      The Puthukudiyiruppu area was under LTTE control almost until the end of the war. Now you want us to believe that the LTTE fired cluster munitions straight up in the air, using artillery pieces so that the bomblets would fall amongst the Tamil civilians, killing them. And one fine day three years later, the unexploded cluster sub-munitions would be discovered by UN de-miners who would put the blame on the Silly Lanka government and it’s armed forces. Another international conspiracy hatched between the evil LTTE and the evil international community to tarnish the image of the government and it’s armed forces right?

      Dear Blacker, most of us have heard the story of the boy who shouted, “International conspiracy Wolf! International conspiracy Wolf!”

      We have heard tall stories of how there were only 15 thousand or so Tamils in LTTE held areas according to government reports during the war, which in the end turned out to be 3,00,000 plus civilians.

      We have heard tall stories of “zero casualties” which finally changed to around 8000 plus Tamil civilians killed.

      We have heard tall stories about how the armed forces went to war with a gun in one hand and the human rights charter in the other hand. After the war we realised that some of these soldiers had also had camera phones in their pockets which were put to good use in recording their humanitarianism towards the Tamil civilians and surrendered LTTE carders. Most of these pictures and video footage finally appeared in the Channel 4 video “The Killing Fields of Silly Lanka.”

      The day of sycophants are numbered Blacker. We all know what happened to Dr.Dayarn after the Geneva fiasco. The chickens are coming home to roost. Take care. ;)

      • Off the Cuff

        Hmm they recorded on video their own crimes and gave the evidence to channel four to be used against themselves ….. good reasoning Dunce …. very good reasoning.

        BTW how come we could not see any LTTE injured or dead within the precincts of the ONLY hospital available to the LTTE in the war zone? All we saw were civilians! ( CH4 )

        oops looks like the propaganda machine made a slip while reporting the unbiased truth.

        Dr Noel Nadesan, the editor of 14 years standing of the ONLY Tamil newspaper in Australia notes that SLA soldiers never go out on operations in rubber slippers unlike the LTTE. He noted a person in rubber slippers in the CH4, where a youth is held and threatened with a knife (who was later shown dead) by a gang wearing SLA like uniforms.

        …… another slip?

        Or is Dr Nadeson, who is an ethnic Tamil, a SLG appologist?

        How come that munitions capable of incinerating live trees could not incinerate polythene tents? (Times of London)

        How come LTTE grave yards did not suffer any damage and the LTTE had all the time to bury it’s dead neatly in rows when the civilians could not do so and had to wait for a lull in bombing in order to bury their dead and that too in a haphazard manner within shallow graves in the NFZ? (Times of London)

        Tall stories indeed.

        I found David’s argument solid and rational.
        25 hours have elapsed.
        No one has yet been able to refute his arguments with sound reasoning.

        Is their no one capable of doing that amongst the many?

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “The Puthukudiyiruppu area was under LTTE control almost until the end of the war. Now you want us to believe that the LTTE fired cluster munitions straight up in the air, using artillery pieces so that the bomblets would fall amongst the Tamil civilians, killing them.”

        Dear Dunce, I have said no such thing. You must address your question to jim McDonald of UNDP, since it is he who has claimed the Tigers used cluster munitions, not I. Please stop making a further fool of yourself than you already have. It is not white vans you need to fear in using your real name, but the derisive laughter of people who think you are a dunce.

        Your knowledge of artillery tactics are only equalled by your knowledge of SL itself. It is not necessary to fire a weapon into the air for its projectiles to be discovered in the vicinity. Nor does the proximity of Tamil civilians preclude the fact that the Tigers would endanger them or willingly attempt to harm them as they have done umpteen times before. Finally, there is no indication that the cluster munitions (if indeed they even exist) are expended rounds or unused rounds.

        “And one fine day three years later, the unexploded cluster sub-munitions would be discovered by UN de-miners who would put the blame on the Silly Lanka government and it’s armed forces. Another international conspiracy hatched between the evil LTTE and the evil international community to tarnish the image of the government and it’s armed forces right?”

        Today’s Sunday Leader says that when it contacted UNDP HQ in NY, they were told that the UNDP has had no official report of such a discovery of cluster munitions from their Colombo office, and the only thing they have heard about is the AP report. When the newspaper contacted Mr Poston (who it is alleged made the discovery), he refused to confirm that he had made such a claim and suggested the questions be put to the UNDP office in Colombo. The head of the latter was apparently “unavailable” for comment. Does this sound like the strong evidence you are saying it is?

        “Dear Blacker, most of us have heard the story of the boy who shouted, “International conspiracy Wolf! International conspiracy Wolf!””

        Well, most of US have heard a boy shouting “War crime! War crime!” since 2009. No one really takes him seriously anymore.

        “We have heard tall stories of how there were only 15 thousand or so Tamils in LTTE held areas according to government reports during the war, which in the end turned out to be 3,00,000 plus civilians.”

        But what has that (even if it were true, which it is not) got to do with the use of cluster munitions? I have already explained to you in point form why this is so meaningless, but you have chosen to avoid responding :D

        “We have heard tall stories of “zero casualties” which finally changed to around 8000 plus Tamil civilians killed.”

        Lol, again, is your logic that if someone has lied once, they must be assumed to be lying now?

        “We have heard tall stories about how the armed forces went to war with a gun in one hand and the human rights charter in the other hand.”

        Again, what has this got to do with the perfectly legal use of cluster munitions, and the GoSL’s denial of it?

        “After the war we realised that some of these soldiers had also had camera phones in their pockets which were put to good use in recording their humanitarianism towards the Tamil civilians and surrendered LTTE carders. Most of these pictures and video footage finally appeared in the Channel 4 video “The Killing Fields of Silly Lanka.””

        Really? Can you point to any such footage of the abuse of civilians? As usual your ignorance of even the basics of your so-called “argument” is ludicrous. Are we to take it that your only response to any of my questions is to rant about random unrelated actions that you THINK the GoSL has done?

        “The day of sycophants are numbered Blacker. We all know what happened to Dr.Dayarn after the Geneva fiasco. The chickens are coming home to roost. Take care.”

        Oh dear, have you now fallen back on impotent threats? When one has nothing to lose, one has nothing to fear. Some of us have the courage of our convictions and are willing to stand up for what we believe in and not talk nonsense while hiding behind a silly pseudonym :D

  • justitia

    Use of cluster bombs by SL Airforce,with images of same, were reported on 18/01/09,03/01/09 & on 04/12/08.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=28053

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Those are NOT cluster munitions, Justita; DO read the comments above by Armchair Expert and myself.

  • http://gmail.com Kingsley

    In the video included in this post, Palitha said that there cannot be 250,000 civilians in the so called “No Fire Zone”.
    Now the world knows that 300,000 civilians escaped the NFZ and were kept in barbed wire camps.
    It will be the same story for his claim about cluster bombs.

    • sach

      @kingsley

      if 300000 people escaped how could it be a genocide?

  • yapa

    Grondvies;

    Is there any other corroborative news currently?

    Thanks!

  • Ajith Perera

    A wonderful story with all added flavour. I agree with most views and comments. The truth cannot be hidden for long. Highlighting revelation made in the Tamil net has provided a greater insight and a hidden diamention of the issue. But it is extreamly surprising as to why the war took so long to reach Killinochchi when our Air Force had been using the LTTE air strip in Killinochchi even before it was captured. If not how can they find containers used to carry cluster bombs in Killinochchi. It is none but the LTTE who used that Air strip. We should thank the Tamil net for giving us the true picture. Yes the truth cannot be hidden.

  • Piranha

    The UN is in for another bout of battering by the regime and its apologists.

    It was heartening to hear the concern of Palitha Kohona for the safety of the foreign journalists if they had been allowed to go to the war zone in the interview on CNN. Sad that he didn’t show that much concern for the hundreds of thousands of innocent tamil civilians being bombarded, burned, starved and mutilated after being herded by his government into a confined area.

    Palitha Kohona should also be brought before the international criminal court together with his masters. Dayan Jayatilleke and Rajiva Wijesinghe are the other educated apologists who covered up the regime’s atrocities against their fellow countrymen during the war. They are masquarading as democrats and liberals but their actions and words tell us who they really are – accessories to mass murder. These people are as guilty as their masters.

    • Jackson

      Piranha, shouldn’t Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Blair, etc. be brought before ICC before harping on about a war in Sri Lanka? Fat chance of that ever happening yea?

    • Happy Heathen

      Piranha
      April 29, 2012 • 12:04 am

      One wonders how to counter such ignorance!
      (of course unless you have proof of moral superiority of white people over all other coloured fellas)

      “They are masquarading as democrats and liberals but their actions and words tell us who they really are – accessories to mass murder. These people are as guilty as their masters.”

      FYI Henry Kissinger was awarded Nobel Peace Price in 1973 for slaughtering 3,000,000 (yes 3 million) hapless yellow Vietnamese.
      (“The Trial of Henry Kissinger” Christopher Hitchens 2002)

      While Rajapakse & Co. couldn’t hold a candle to what Kissinger “achieved” in Vietnam, Charles Taylor should be immediately released and should be awarded some sort of a consolation price.

  • Luke 61

    El presidunce bean, of course the LTTE did not have MIGs and Kaffirs to drop cluster bombs. It was the SLAF as reported by the 100% accurate tamilnet .
    BTW I think it was a bit below the belt for us to use 3 highly trained airmen: one to fly, one to navigate and one to throw the cluster bomb…

    Tamilnet January 2009:
    “A Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) MIG fighter jet was shot in the skies over Vanni on Wednesday, according to initial reports from journalists outside Sri Lanka, who cited a highly placed source in Vanni Sri Lankan Forces Headquarters (Vanni SF-HQ). The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) officials were not available to comment on the reports.

    There were 3 airmen inside the aircraft, according to the reports from the Sri Lankan side.

    The Russian built bomber with a “crocodile nose,” containing laser rangefinder, is capable of carrying large variety of bombs, unguided rockets, and missiles.

    The fighter jet has been used to carry cluster bombs against LTTE and civilian targets in Vanni.”

  • Luke 61

    “UN finds of cluster munitions in Sri Lanka,” – a canard

    Asian Tribune concludes that the sensationalized news report “UN finds cluster munitions in Sri Lanka,” is a canard and nothing else. I personally took the trouble to contact all those involved in that news report and to go into the bottom of it – I spoke to Ravi Nessman, AP Bureau Chief For South Asia based in New Delhi, who filed the News item.

    http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2012/04/28/%E2%80%9Cun-finds-cluster-munitions-sri-lanka%E2%80%9D-canard

  • Candidly

    It’s disturbing, but some might say not surprising, that Groundviews has chosen to print this article with a headline (“Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: from denial to discovery”) implying that the allegation from Associated Press is a proven fact rather than what it is, merely a claim that requires investigating. The first sentence of the article also assumes that the claim is true: “Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago.” And note the remarkable claim that the allegation is “the most important story” to emerge about the war since it ended.

    There’s an old saying in the UK “don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched”. In the case of journalists it means “don’t publish a story merely on the basis that you wish it were true.”

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      It’s equally remarkable, but some might say not surprising, that there are still those who believe that the truth of the matter can be ascertained by taking seriously govt denials, or indeed, pro-LTTE voices. Ravi’s not the only one to see the leaked UNDP email, and there’s much unpublished in his report. Let’s see how this plays out, given that the UNDP in Sri Lanka today is out of fear or seeking favour, utterly risk averse and completely pro-government, which means that Poston will likely be, much like the out-spoken Weiss back in the day, hung out to dry.

      Cracks in official narratives and denials are only just beginning to emerge. We’re patient, and will keep recording for posterity.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        It is not the government denials that we are looking to to ascertain the truth, but to evidence. Where is it? To say that Weiss was hung out to dry is a gross exaggeration, especially in light that in his independent book, The Cage, he steps back from his 40k claim for which he perhaps owes most of his fame.

        Even if the use of cluster munitions is proven, to say that this is the biggest story since the end of the war” is absurd. Cluster munitions are perfectly legal to use.

        • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

          Indeed, as Israel would also strongly agree!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        And the United States.

      • Off the Cuff

        Candidly makes the point that the phrase “From denial to discovery” in the Title, to say the least, is unfair and unjustified given the material presented to the reader.

        The denial is from GOSL.
        The word discovery is hence designed to imply that GOSL was lying.

        The material presented by the writer does not provide any evidence as to who owned these munitions. Was it GOSL or the LTTE? This all important question remains unanswered. Yet the author decides to imply that ownership rests solely with GOSL. Why?

        Why was evidence not presented?

        The author claims that there is more in the report that remained unpublished. But surely, if ownership was attributed to GOSL and was published, does not journalistic ethics and a sense of fair play require that the evidence supporting that statement should also have been published?

        David Blacker was named in this article but yet his comments at http://groundviews.org/2012/04/26/cluster-bombs-in-sri-lanka-from-denial-to-discovery/#comment-43693 is not commented on by the author.

        David asks for evidence in his subsequent post here http://groundviews.org/2012/04/26/cluster-bombs-in-sri-lanka-from-denial-to-discovery/#comment-43747

        Instead of providing that evidence the author at GV sidesteps the issue by writing about Israel.

        The reader seeking the truth, is interested in Evidence, not in Israel or Govt denials or the fears of the UNDP that prompts the UNDP to tow the GOSL line (I think that making an assertion that the UNDP fears GOSL is hilarious and borders on lunacy).

        Maybe GOSL used cluster bombs. Maybe LTTE used them. But let’s not sink to the depths of depravity that the CH4 and the Times of London sank to. Let’s be Fair and Just by making statements that can be supported by Factual Evidence.

    • Navin

      Seeking the truth is fine. However are the electronic media interested in seeking the truth always or the whole of it? For instance, a possible find of cluster ammunition is hot news. However, if the story turns out to be a false alarm, will they be also equally interested in publishing that as well? — I don’t think so. It seems news items that speak negatively of Sri Lanka and Sinhalese are hot and true regardless of whether there is any evidence to back them up while anything to the contrary must be false and mere government propaganda.

      Take the case of Dambulla. One article read “‘Sinhala Buddhism’ is worlds apart from the tolerant non-violent Buddhism of the Gautama Buddha”. This appeared on a website where the editor claims he speaks truth to power. Now is this the truth? Those who have associated with Sinhalese/Buddhists will know to take such utter nonsense with a grain of salt but what about those who have not? Now who is to be held accountable for this sort of slander? This seems to be happening time and again and victims are always the main stream Sinhala Buddhist population who not any different from any other ethnicity in Sri Lanka.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @Navin
        The Mahavamsa is the main motivating force behind Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism. A Sinhalese politician speaking in public is likely to mention incidents from the Mahavamsa as evidence of the long and distinguished history the Sinhalese have in Sri Lanka. Buddhist religious leaders also use the Mahavamsa stories as evidence that the whole island should be ruled by Sinhalese Buddhists.

        Most educated Buddhists in Sri Lanka know the difference between the tolerant non-violent Buddhism of the Gautama Buddha and that of “Sinhala Buddhism.” A prime example of what “Sinhala Buddhism” stands for was seen when Sinhala mobs and Buddhist monks attacked the Dambulla mosque.

        If you read the link given below, you will find that Muslim mosques are not the only places of worship targeted by Sinhala mobs and Buddhist monks in the past.

        http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/militant-sinhalese-buddhist-nationalism-context-of-the-religious-freedom/

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

    The cluster bomb scare was originally planted in Tamilnut in 2009 and neatly debunked here:
    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2009/1/38096_space.html

    GoSL knew that cluster bombs leave unmistakeable, tell-tale evidence due to their relatively high failure rate (i.e. failure to explode) and would remain in place, long after the war ended. If their vehement denials of their use was just simple lies, they would be found out sooner or later. I’m crediting GoSL with a degree of intelligence … :) It now appears that the UN guy Allan Poston has taken a vow of silence regarding the entire affair.

    Sri Lanka’s de-mining effort (the overwhelming majority of landmines in the North & East being laid by the LTTE), and the resulting low casualties has been a real success story, and much better than anything experienced by other countries in similar situations, e.g. Cambodia.

    “In 2010, 38 people, including 18 children, were injured in mine-related incidents and seven died, including four boys, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Though grim, these figures are low compared with other Asian countries in similar straits.

    Sri Lanka had nearly three casualties per month over the 12 months from the end of the armed conflict. Afghanistan recorded 172 casualties per month in 2001 and in Cambodia for many years the rate remained at 65 casualties or more per month,” Sebastian Kasack, a mine action specialist with UNICEF, told IRIN.

    The UN mine action people in Sri Lanka say: “It is a very effective demining programme that is in place,”…. Before returns take place, the areas are surveyed and demined. No returns will take place unless the demining units have given the all-clear.”

    http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=90899

    White Phosphorus (WP) shells are mainly (but not exclusively) used as marker, illumination or obscuration rounds and are fully ‘legal’. Their occasional use doesn’t necessarily imply they were used as part of an artillery barrage on identified targets. Perhaps David Blacker can confirm how WP shells were used by SLA artillery? The real experts in using cluster bombs and WP are the Israelis and the Americans. GoSL should ask for technical assistance from the US State Department to help identify these mysterious fragments.
    (apologies for double posting..)

    • Armchair Expert

      Ravi Nessman consulted some technical experts for his follow up story about the cluster bomblet which drilled itself into some man’s leg (…)

      “Technical experts shown the photo said they were unable to tell whether or not it was a bomblet.”

      Oh dear.

      But apparently his star witness, an anonymous ‘medical worker’ did have the expertise to identify it along with evidence of white phosphorous usage…

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      As far as I know, the primary use for WP in the SLA was as marker rounds.

  • Jansee

    David Blacker:

    When a regime vehemently claims of zero casualties, claiming to have fought with a gun in one hand and the human rights “slate” on the other, and finally admits that probably 8,000 may have been maimed, claims that it has very reliable information of only 70,000 idps left in the war zone but eventually close to 300,000 came out then whatever little credibility it had is gone. It so appears that anything the SL regime claims or talks about or literally opens its mouth, the scrutiny of that credibility has to start from zero.

    Perhaps, it may be or may not be cluster bombs, but your defense of an utterly discredited regime paints you with the same brush as the regime itself. You come by as a person with rational arguments and sometimes I do admire that but for a regime that stands utterly discredited, I would prefer to start with the notion that the cluster bomb theory is true, facts aside.

    • Off the Cuff

      Nice logic Jansee but the fact of the matter is, not even an incorrigible liar can be convicted without proof. Of course the LTTE and it’s minions did not require any proof to carry out their sentencing!

      Proof of ownership is what David has been asking.
      Proof of ownership is what neither the author nor anyone else has failed to provide.

      The burden of proof lies with the accusers.

      Request for such proof has been indirectly made by Navin on the 27th and a bit more specifically by Bo peep the same day. Asitha Punchihewa’s sarcasm has also escaped the attention of the writer.

      Candidly questions the writer directly on slanted reporting on he 30th of April.

      David asks for proof on 30th and the writer sidesteps by ignoring that request and writing about Israel instead. I too requested for proof of ownership directly from the writer on 30th April and all of us are yet waiting for that elusive proof.

      The silence is deafening.

      The writer also claimed that the UNDP is scared of GOSL which I think is the height of idiocy.

      Though you , Dunce, MV etc are happy about the article as it feeds your own dreams, the unfortunate fact is that the TRUTH has become the first casualty within this article.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @Off the Cuff

        Actually the first casualty in the final days of the war was the thousands of unarmed “zero casualty” Tamil civilians. The second casualty was the truth. But the truth, (though most people don’t know it) is very resilient and does not remain a casualty for long.(the conviction of Charles Taylor is one good example).
        http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2012/04/verdict-charles-taylors-trial

        It always bounces back with a vengeance. The lies, damned lies, Central Bank statistics and sycophant rhetoric that we see here and elsewhere will ultimately be shown the middle finger by the truth. Because like the Buddha said, “Neither the sun nor the moon nor the truth can be kept hidden for long.”

        In the mean time you people can refresh your memories with the links of the videos given below.

        http://youtu.be/Rz_eCLcp1Mc
        http://youtu.be/ky1IKCT6HrE
        http://youtu.be/766e81JFSsU

        There is enough credible evidence to launch an “independent” investigation into war crimes, use of cluster bombs etc. Whenever such allegations crop up, all the SL government does is to deny, deny, deny until they are blue in the face. If the SL government does not have blood on it’s hands, why is it reluctant to launch an “independent” investigation? ;)

      • yapa

        Dear PresiDunce Bean;

        I level an allegation without substantial evidence that PresiDunce Bean killed a man. Is it a case for an independent investigation by police?

        BTW, dear PresiDunce Bean, several of my posts are anxiously awaiting your responses. I am hopeful that you would be kind enough to do the justice to them.

        Thanks!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “There is enough credible evidence to launch an “independent” investigation into war crimes, use of cluster bombs etc.”

        If what you say is true, Duncey, why won’t the UN launch such an investigation? What are they waiting for?

      • Off the Cuff

        P Dunce and others who may contribute to Dunce’s views

        Sure Dunce, you did claim about credible evidence in your post of April 29, 2012 • 10:09 am addressed to David Blacker. My response to you on April 29, 2012 • 10:45 pm still remains unanswered.

        You said “Actually the first casualty in the final days of the war was the thousands of unarmed “zero casualty” Tamil civilians.”

        Wrong again, the first casualty was the Truth.

        According to CH4 there were no armed Tamils in PK. All were Civilians. Evidence is the absence of any LTTE cadres (dead, wounded or alive) within the precincts of the ONLY Hospital available to the Terrorists. All who died and got wounded were Civilians as per CH4.

        However the truth is that the armed terrorists were in civilian clothing and the real civilians were herded in front of the “armed civilians” (hic) by the armed civilian terrorists to take the bullets intended for the terrorists.

        Probably you and the thousands of other Tamils living safely with their spouses and siblings overseas, protested such callous acts by the LTTE. Probably you burned the LTTE Flags in indignant protests. Probably you did not join the hundred thousands who were waving LTTE flags and staging Death Fasts while eating Fast Food on the sly. Probably you have never contributed towards the LTTE WAR coffers. Probably you are genuinely concerned about the plight of these Tamil civilians who were suffering in the North. Probably your heart bleeds for the Northern Tamils.

        Yet, while you and the many others were living safely, far from the clutches of the LTTE, Children as young as 8 years were forced to sacrifice their lives to fight a Man’s War. A war effort that was sustained by lunatics overseas that had no qualms in enriching the Terrorist War coffers. The cowards who fled the North and East instead of staying back and fighting for their dream Eelam and made the Wanni children pay for their cowardice. I am not saying that you are one such coward but it is a fact that there were many such cowards who were wiling to sacrifice the Tamil Children to fight a Man’s War because those children were not their own.

        You say “There is enough credible evidence to launch an “independent” investigation into war crimes, use of cluster bombs etc”

        Where is that credible evidence? In the CH4 propaganda? Or with Bruce Feign? Or is it with SL’s Former Attorney General Shiva Pasupati who is now a legal eagle for the LTTE? Or is it with Gordon W? Or with Alston and his dubious experts?

        Let’s have a closer look at Alston’s so called experts

        Dr. Daniel Spitz
        Forensic Pathologist and medical doctor, Daniel Spitz is the current Medical Examiner for Macomb County, Michigan.

        In the Rob Simpson Case – Daniel Spitz Integrity is Questioned and he starts stuttering under cross examination when questioned as to why he could not find the entry wound or the Bullet that killed a Banker, shot on the back of the head, “Execution Style” and had concluded that the Death was a Suicide.

        And this is Alston’s so called expert who testifies about the CH4

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpL56wS_qZo
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Oy76_nICc&NR=1

        Grant Fredericks
        Mr. Fredericks, who has testified as an ‘expert witness’ in numerous cases was in the spotlight in Canada when he appeared as a witness for four policemen who tried to cover up their involvement in the death of an immigrant at the Vancouver airport in October 2007. The Mounties maintained they used a Taser gun on Robert Dziekanski because he was violent and refused to cooperate. However, a bystander’s video contradicted that version.

        At a public inquiry held in 2009 into the killing, which drew public furor and demands for the police to stop using Tasers, Fredericks, in support of the cops, said his analysis of the video showed Dziekanski moving toward the officers shortly before he was jolted.

        First, Fredericks was caught in a lie about his contacts with the manufacturers of the guns, Taser International. Don Rosenbloom, a lawyer retained by the Polish government to represent Dziekanski’s interests, pointedly questioned Frederick about his organization’s (LEVA) affiliation with Taser. Frederick denied that there was any connection. “Let me suggest to you, sir, that one of the major sponsors of that laboratory and that program under LEVA is Taser International. Do you agree?” asked Rosenbloom. “No, I don’t think Taser even knows it exists and I’ve never had any involvement with Taser International,” Fredericks replied.

        But as Rosenbloom pressed on, Fredericks’ answers changed.

        “I believe I saw Taser as one of the vendors at our conference last year,” Fredericks eventually admitted. Taser was and still remains one of LEVA’s corporate sponsors.

        Fredericks’ credibility and professional expertise got a further hammering when he was questioned about his forensic analysis of the video.

        Fredericks supported the RCMP police officers’ defense that Mr. Dziekanski stepped toward them while clenching the stapler in his fist. He even testified that from his repetitive viewing of a three-second segment of a stabilized version of the Pritchard video, he identified Mr. Dziekanski take three distinct steps forward (right, left, right), based on his analysis of shoulder movements, although he could not say how far – whether an inch or a foot . He acknowledged that he could not see Mr. Dziekanski’s legs or feet, and had no special expertise in biomechanics or the study of human motion.

        Mark Hird-Rutter, a certified photogrammetrist who was called by the Braidwood Commission that inquired into the Robert Dziekanski killing to analyze the methodologies used by Fredericks, described the methodology as ‘flawed.’

        Hird-Rutter said:
        The methodologies that were used in Mr. Fredericks’s report do not follow the rigours of the Science of Photogrammetry and it would be wrong to use them to determine the movement of Mr. Dziekanski either forwards or backwards.

        Another expert Duane McInnis called by the Commission also criticized Fredericks’s analysis and methodology. McInnis, a mechanical engineer and founder and senior engineer in MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists, Canada’s largest forensic engineering and scientific firm concluded that Mr. Fredericks’ opinion (that Mr. Dziekanski moved toward the officers) is not technically supportable because of measurement errors.

        The Commissioner’s final opinion on Grant Fredericks:
        His verification methodology was flawed — while I accept that his measurement of the fixed object (the counter) showed a decrease in size as the camera zoomed out, he could make no comparable measurement of the movable object (Mr. Dziekanski’s jacket), because he was not able to measure the entire length of the jacket, as it extended below the level of the counter. I accept the opinions of Mr. Hird-Rutter and Mr. McInnis on this issue.

        He has no special expertise in determining steps from shoulder movements — without the verification referred to above,Mr. Fredericks’ opinion of three distinct steps forward is based entirely on his repetitive viewing of the three-second segment of the Pritchard video and his interpretation of Mr. Dziekanski’s changing shoulder movements. I am not persuaded that his expertise as a forensic video analyst extends to this type of human body movement. In the absence of such expertise, his opinion deserves no greater weight than the opinion of any other careful observer. I have watched this segment of the Pritchard video many dozens of times, and I have been unable to detect the three methodical step movements Mr. Fredericks described. Even if I am wrong and Mr. Dziekanski did take three distinct steps forward, Mr. Fredericks’ opinion is of questionable significance, since he repeatedly refused to estimate distance, even a distance as small as one inch.

        When the Experts’ integrity is in question what they say become worthless.

        When you view these together with the observations of Dr Noel Nadesan and the conspicuous absence of Injured or Dead LTTE from the ONLY hospital available to the LTTE in the War zone, the charge of Gross Fabrication is standing a mile above Ch4.

        Your credible evidence just flew out the window.

        You say If the SL government does not have blood on it’s hands, why is it reluctant to launch an “independent” investigation?

        You are misinformed. I will advise you to visit the UN web and watch and listen to the proceedings of the UNHCR in 2009. Sri Lanka offered to be investigated (it is on video record in the UN archives), but not SINGLED OUT.

        How would you ensure impartiality?
        Is there such an investigative regime in existence?
        An axiom of law is that everybody is equal before it.
        In this case every country should be equal before the law.
        Your brilliance would help in formulating such a regime. Why don’t you tell us how?

        Correct me if I am wrong, No country that came out victorious in a war has been investigated. If the world wants to start it now, they will have to do so simultaneously or in the chronological order of such wars where war crimes have been committed.

        Now let’s get back to the topic in hand.

        Where is the evidence of ownership?
        The writer of this article failed to provide them
        Can you help him/her?

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @yapa

        But my dear yapa, there IS substantial evidence to justify an independent investigation into what happened during the last days of the war. Oops what I meant to say was, last days of the ‘humanitarian operation.’
        http://youtu.be/Rz_eCLcp1Mc
        http://youtu.be/ky1IKCT6HrE
        http://youtu.be/766e81JFSsU

        please watch the above links. One example is that of video evidence of Colonel Ramesh alive under army custody wearing a sarong and a shirt, and then a few days later he ends up dead, dressed in an LTTE uniform. ;)

      • jansee

        Off the Cuff:

        It took me quite some time to contain myself from your hilarious posture. My my, look who is talking about the “burden of proof”. Whatever happened to the answers on the questions I posed.

        Who has been talking about zero civilian casualties and finally admitted of at least 8,000?
        Who talked of 70,000 idps in the war zone but actually close to 300,000 came out??

        I didn’t cook up any of these figures. It was the SL regime that first denied and then later admitted, of course, when the evidence stared straight into their face.

        You may continue to defend this insidious regime, and may be you are one them, but after three years there is hardly anywhere that this regime can hide anymore.

      • yapa

        Dear jansee;

        “Who has been talking about zero civilian casualties and finally admitted of at least 8,000?”

        I think zero casualty stance is still there.

        What it said was GOSL forces made careful plans not to harm civilians. It aimed at zero casualties of civilians during the battle. In other words what it said was forces did not target any civilian purposefully.

        Do you think this stance of the GOSL was unacceptable?

        It never claimed there were no civilian casualties, but claimed no intentional civilian casualties done by the GOSL forces.

        Do you have any counter claim against this? (rather than bashing at your own interpretations?)

        Honesty is one of the best policies, if it is not the best.

        Thanks!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “But my dear yapa, there IS substantial evidence to justify an independent investigation into what happened during the last days of the war.”

        But my dear Duncey, why doesn’t the UN agree with you and launch such an investigation? :D

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Jansee,

        “It took me quite some time to contain myself from your hilarious posture. My my, look who is talking about the “burden of proof””

        Are you sure that you have contained yourself?

        The mirth has kept you from writing for 4 days …… Hilarious?

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      *Jansee, you’re free to start with any assumption that pleases you. However, if you wish to be credible, you need to start with a theory that has even the tiniest shred of evidence. However many lies the GoSL may stand accused of making, it makes not an iota of difference to the facts. If you discover nine people in a room of ten have cancer, the chances of the tenth person having cancer is still 50/50.

      Even then, the question remains: so what? Cluster munitions are not illegal, so why deny having them?

      • jansee

        David Blacker:

        “Even then, the question remains: so what? Cluster munitions are not illegal, so why deny having them?”

        If what the SL regime admitted subsequently that about 8,000 died during the final war, why go on lying for three years with the “zero” casualties claim?

        Oh, we know what we are talking about, there are only 70,000 left in the war zone? By some twist of magic close to 300,000 suddenly appeared from nowhere.

        If you still cling on to your hollow argument of “Cluster munitions are not illegal, so why deny having them”, then by default have to include as one of those “smart” lies of a regime still thinking that it can go on fooling people. Is there any credibility left at all in this regime?

        Why not I pose a dare? Tell the President to publicly announce that S M Krishna lied about the 13th Amendment plus? Let the President publicly announce that Sushma too lied about the 13th Amendment plus rather than hiding behind the “Island”. After all both Krishna and Sushma made public statements on this subject, didn’t they.

        As I mentioned, lies after lies only gives the notion of even believing truth as lies.

        How long can this charade go on, really??

      • jansee

        Off the Cuff:

        “Correct me if I am wrong, No country that came out victorious in a war has been investigated. If the world wants to start it now, they will have to do so simultaneously or in the chronological order of such wars where war crimes have been committed.”

        You should have qualified your statement by saying that these are powerful countries, large or small (like Israel). Too bad, SL is a small country with no such power base and has to pay the price. May be the regime didn’t listen to some sound advice and stopped pretending that it is a powerful nation. Does that really satisfy you?

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “If what the SL regime admitted subsequently that about 8,000 died during the final war, why go on lying for three years with the “zero” casualties claim?”

        Well, civilian casualties can be illegal if proven to be intentional. Isn’t that obvious? It was a stupid denial, but at least an understandable one. There’s no reason to deny having cluster munitions.

        “Oh, we know what we are talking about, there are only 70,000 left in the war zone? By some twist of magic close to 300,000 suddenly appeared from nowhere.”

        At the Marga Institute seminar on the Darusman Report, a retired Vavuniya GA pointed out that the estimate was based on headcounts during the Tiger occupation of the area and were heavily suspected of being false (he claimed many such headcounts were falsified by the Tigers). We cannot discount the GoSL simply getting the numbers wrong. Jeevan Thiyagaraja also related how once the numbers became known, Health Ministry officials and others did everything possible to accommodate, feed, and care for the IDPs.

        “If you still cling on to your hollow argument of “Cluster munitions are not illegal, so why deny having them”, then by default have to include as one of those “smart” lies of a regime still thinking that it can go on fooling people.”

        That isn’t the primary argument; which is that there is no evidence of any cluster munitions. The only photographs available (published by Tamilnet and republished here by GV) are clearly fake — they are not of cluster munitions. The point that there is no need to lie because the weapon is legal is in response to the absurd argument that the GoSL is lying (under the assumption that the weapon exists in spite of the lack of evidence).

        “Is there any credibility left at all in this regime?”

        I think the real question is there any credibility in the charges. You (and people like you) gleefully point to the denial of civilian casualties as if somehow GoSL culpability in these deaths have been proven and thereby a confession has been elicited. This is utter rubbish. The GoSL has only acknowledged that a certain number of civilians died; not any admission of responsibility.

        “Why not I pose a dare? Tell the President to publicly announce that S M Krishna lied about the 13th Amendment plus? Let the President publicly announce that Sushma too lied about the 13th Amendment plus rather than hiding behind the “Island”. After all both Krishna and Sushma made public statements on this subject, didn’t they.”

        You’re now attempting to claim that apples are orange in colour by pointing to some oranges. We are discussing cluster munitions, not political wrangling.

        “As I mentioned, lies after lies only gives the notion of even believing truth as lies.”

        That is why it is necessary to be objective and to constantly look for new perspectives.

        “How long can this charade go on, really??”

        Good question. Feel free to end it anytime you like.

      • Off the Cuff

        Jansee,

        Thank you for acknowledging reading my post at http://groundviews.org/2012/04/26/cluster-bombs-in-sri-lanka-from-denial-to-discovery/#comment-43858 addressed to Dunce and like minded writers.

        That post was in response to the assertion that “Credible Evidence” of war crimes existed.

        The first such purported credible evidence was the first cooked up CH4 film.
        It was supported by an UN employee called Alston.

        Alston used so called expert witnesses to give weight to the cooked up charges.

        I have provided in the post linked to above, irrefutable evidence that completely discredits these so called experts. These men have been found to have been lying about their so called expertise and have been discredited in US and Canadian courts.

        UN’s “special agent” Alston’s selection of these Liars to prop up false charges points to his complicity in the “War Crimes” project of the section of the Tamil Diaspora that is hell bent in framing Lanka. He wont be the last person that will be corrupted by money and misuse their position. We here of election contributions to the campaigns of political big wigs.
        The material I have provided (from the US and Canadian Courts) is sufficient to discredit the First execution Video. And if we apply your type of Logic it discredits all current and future attempts by CH4 and UN employees like Alston and anyone who supported Alston.

        But then I am not you and I will look at any future material presented with an open mind and will treat it on merit.

        Your own vision is underlined by the following comment you made in response to mine.

        Me : Correct me if I am wrong, No country that came out victorious in a war has been investigated. If the world wants to start it now, they will have to do so simultaneously or in the chronological order of such wars where war crimes have been committed

        You : You should have qualified your statement by saying that these are powerful countries, large or small (like Israel). Too bad, SL is a small country with no such power base and has to pay the price.

        It shows that you are not interested in Justice and the Truth.
        You believe in Might is Right and to hell with the Truth.

  • wijayapala

    Dear PresiDunce Bean

    Now you want us to believe that the LTTE fired cluster munitions straight up in the air, using artillery pieces so that the bomblets would fall amongst the Tamil civilians, killing them.

    Do you believe that LTTE never killed any Tamil civilians?

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @wijayapala

      Yes, the LTTE did kill Sinhala civilians and some Tamil and Muslim civilians as well.

      Do you believe that the Sinhala armed forces did not kill any Tamil civilians? :)
      Do you believe that the Sinhala armed forces did not rape Tamil women? :)
      Do you believe that the Sinhala armed forces did not kill LTTE carders who surrendered? :)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz_eCLcp1Mc

  • Candidly

    If readers click on the link at the beginning of the article to the report from the American Broudcasting Association (ABC)quoting Ravi Nessman of Associated Press (AP) you will find that the second page of the report has disappeared, including the following sentences that seem to have been redacted:

    “The war pitted ethnic Tamil rebels fighting for an independent state in northern Sri Lanka against a government dominated by the Sinhalese majority, which has marginalized minority Tamils for decades.”

    Could it be that this story has now been modified by ABC or AP because those sentences by Ravi Nessman could be construed as an attempt to use the good name of these media organisations to whitewash the LTTE as merely a “rebel” group responding to what Nessman calls being “marginalized”.

    Readers should also note that Nessman’s story makes no mention of the fact that the LTTE was an infamous terrorist organisation, designated as such by the UN, the USA, the EU India, Sri Lanka and many other governments.

  • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

    UN documents use of cluster munitions in Vanni War
    [TamilNet, Thursday, 23 August 2012, 23:51 GMT]
    The United Nations Mine Action Team, which coordinates the UN agencies engaged in humanitarian de-mining throughout the world, has documented the use of cluster munitions in the Vanni war, informed sources in Mullaiththeevu told TamilNet.

    The SL Government Agent of Mullaiththeevu district was provided with a copy of evidence, the sources further said.

    In the meantime, a Sri Lankan military officer, who was in charge of coordinating de-mining activities in Vanni, has resigned from his post.

    The resignation comes after the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary and presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had warned the SL military.

    Gotabhaya Rajapaksa maintains that the SL military operated demining teams have failed in their work of destroying all the traces on the use of cluster munitions in PTK.