The end of war in Sri Lanka, captured for posterity by Google Earth

When in early 2009, UNOSAT released satellite imagery of what later turned out to be the final weeks of Sri Lanka’s 27-year old war with the LTTE, the images were met with vehement Government condemnation, and counter-analysis by the Ministry of Defence. During this heady, hellish time, the subject of The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lankan & The Last Days of the Tamil Tigers by former UN spokesman Gordon Weiss and the recently released Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War by the former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison, while the President assured Sri Lankans and the world that heavy weapons weren’t being used, the satellite images from UNOSAT added to the confusion, showing clear and widespread indications of heavy shelling. The question then became when the shelling occurred. From the report by the UN Panel of Experts, appointed by the UN Secretary General to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, the trading of allegations and counter-allegations over the use of heavy weapons and the deliberate targeting of civilians continues apace. It is a heated, deadly serious debate.

When, for obvious reasons, during the UN HRC sessions in March this year, a web news report titled Is Google Earth Hiding Sri Lanka’s Ghosts? was published, the attention of Groundviews was directed towards the existence, on Google Maps and Google Earth (which largely share common geo-spatial tiles and database), of imagery focussing on the North East of Sri Lanka, taken from the first quarter of 2009. The original story was largely conspiratorial – alleging that Google was somehow, through careful blurring of ground truths in their geo-spatial database, aiding the Sri Lankan government escape war crimes charges. The real story was thus missed – the existence of this imagery, which no one in Sri Lanka including the government and no international human rights organisation we know of, have studied or flagged in detail.

This is a first and non-exhaustive crack at exploring this vast imagery. We sincerely hope it contributes to a larger, crowdsourced investigation into what this imagery can reveal about those final brutal weeks of war. Groundviews is guided by two key reports, both published by UNOSAT.

  1. Satellite Atlas: Civilian Safety Zone (CSZ) Mulattivu District, Sri Lanka, released 23 March 2009
  2. Updated Analysis Report (19 April 2009) Satellite-Detected Damages and IDP Shelter Movement in CSZ, Mullativu District, Sri Lanka (the original location on UNOSAT servers doesn’t seem to work anymore, so this is a copy of the PDF we’ve uploaded anew)

Usually, satellite imagery is inaccessible for crowdsourced analysis because of one key factor – money. A single tile (say a frame of 1km by 1km) can cost thousands of dollars to acquire, making satellite image acquisition theoretically a commercial possibility, but in fact, impossible for any Human Rights organisation in Sri Lanka to even imagine undertaking. At scale and over time, this is not something even the largest International Human Rights organisations can afford.

Google Maps / Google Earth offer, for our purposes, two advantages over the acquisition of commercial satellite imagery, the cost saving aside. One, the availability of good enough satellite imagery to work with. The other, historical imagery, from 2009, to compare and contrast specific geographical areas and any visible changes. There is historical imagery from as far back as 2005 and up to the end of 2011, but for the purposes of this study, imagery dated 3/16/2009, 5/24/2009, 6/15/2009 and 9/8/2009, which show the most amount of detail on shelling and the locations of the so-called Civilian Safety Zones (CSZ), have been used extensively. A final advantage of crowdsourcing this kind of work is that it is, in a sense, open data. Anyone, from anywhere, for free, can confirm or contest a sighting of something interesting, and flag other points of interest.

What Google Maps and Earth does NOT enable one to do, given (1) the quality of some of the historical imagery (which sometimes features extensive cloud cover of vast regions) and (2) the large gaps between the available historical imagery (mid March, late May, after the official end of the war and killing of the LTTE’s leader, then mid-June and early August) is any robust analysis on when shelling in a specific region took place, and importantly, by whom. Resolution matters, and allows for certain kinds of analysis and spotting. While it is possible, for example, to discern the effects of shelling,


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at almost the same zoom level (the maximum possible without serious pixellation / image corruption), it is virtually impossible to discern with any accuracy what individuals or groups of IDPs were doing on the beachfront of CSZ on 3/16/2009.


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Ultimately, what Google Maps / Earth have recorded, and quite clearly, is the sheer scale and extent of the destruction and human displacement in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the war, between March and May 2009. Plotted on a map, seeing this is fundamentally different to reading about the same information in a static report. In all the examples below, we have extrapolated from the UNOSAT report lat/long coordinates you can copy and paste into Google Earth to quickly zoom into an area, and then use the time slider to go back to available imagery from previous years around that area.

For general orientation, the sliver of land sandwiched by lagoon and sea highlighted in grey below, between Puttumattalan in the North and Mullaitivu in the South, is the area of study.


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One of the first things you notice as you switch between available historical imagery over a specific area is the scale of human displacement. For example, see 9 20’12.29” N 80 44’58.23” E from 3/16/2009


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The same area, just days after the official end of war, is a barren wasteland.


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Referring to 9 19’00.49″ N 80 47’05.62″ E, the UNOSAT reports highlights hundreds of people lining up on the beach adjacent to the CSZ on 19 April 2009.

By 24th May, there is virtually no sight of any human habitation in the same area,


Click here for higher resolution image.

The following images witness the speed with which the environment, man-made as well as natural, was destroyed in the final months of war. The following image from 9 19’00.49″ N 80 47’05.62″ E was taken on 3/16/2009.


Click here for high resolution image.

Just over a month after, the UNOSAT report has this image of the area,


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Affirming the point made earlier about the unpredictability of Google Earth imagery is the data for this location from 5/24/2009. Clouds cover nearly the entire area, but shelling unseen in March is now visible in the lower left quadrant.


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Around a month after the war ended though, the this area looks unrecognisable even from as recently as March. There appear to be long, large bunds constructed and the entire area looks far less fecund. Evidence of shelling abounds.


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Possibly the most revealing example of the devastation of the environment (with obvious consequences to those inhabiting the area) comes from 9 21’51.06” N 80 43’17.65” E, which is flagged in the UNOSAT report for the destructions of buildings. In this image from mid-March, you see an area with a lot of tree cover.


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This is the same area, in June ’09.


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Most likely on account of sustained MBRL fire, the devastation of the natural environment is stark, leave aside the damage to infrastructure, and whatever happened in those months to those resident in this area.

9 21’09.43” N 80 43’26.50” E in the UNOSAT report looks at how access to the CSZ, by April 2009, was basically completely cut off. Reports earlier that year had put the number around 350,000. This number is itself contested, but there is no doubt when looking at the satellite imagery that tens, if not hundreds of thousands of children, women and men were completely cut off, with UNOSAT noting that the bridge connecting the land they were in to the mainland demolished by a trench barrier. The evolution of this siege in captured in the imagery.

In March 2009, even with the cloud cover, you can see the area around the CSZ wasn’t heavily fortified. There is a little evidence of shelling, and some scattered settlements. Mark, in the larger image, the placement of the yellow line – it is important.


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The same area, zoomed out, in late May, looks remarkably different. The yellow line in the image measures around 17m (using an in-built measurement tool in Google Earth), which is the width of what appears to be a mound or trench that bifurcates the land area. The same yellow line is superimposed in the image above. Comparing the two images, you can see that in March, there was no military construction at all in this area.


Click here for larger image.

What the images above don’t give a sense of is the displaced population this military firewall of sorts contained. This is clear in the following image, which really has to be seen live on Google Earth. Basically, every single white dot in the area just East of the military infrastructure is an IDP shelter. A shelter for an entire family, often more. Even as early as March 2009, the IDP density in this area is mind-boggling.


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9 19’59.05” N 80 44’10.68” E is flagged in the UNOSAT report as an area that experience intense shelling, and also features IDP family-dug trenches and shelter footprints left after relocation. The clearest imagery from Google Earth showing the devastation in this area comes from 6/15/2009.


Click here for larger image.

The same area when seen in March is much less scarred, and far more green. Using an image difference analysis programme called Kaleidoscope for the Mac, we created the following video (best watched full-screen in HD) to highlight the devastation, including the telltale signs of shelling.

Image Difference Analysis of war scarred terrain in Sri Lanka from Centre for Policy Alternatives on Vimeo.

Using Kaleidoscope again, the final example juxtaposes the CSZ’s human habitation / IDP concentration between March and late May 2009. The stark difference requires no explanation (and like previous video, best watched in full-screen and HD).

CSZ – Between March and May 2009 from Centre for Policy Alternatives on Vimeo.

The two images that fed into this video can be downloaded in high resolution from here (March ’09) and here (May ’09).

Though you’ll need a modern browser and the Google earth plugin to see it inline, We’ve embedded below Google Earth imagery from March 2009, Nandikadal. You can download the KMZ file here, but it’s a cinch to select the back-dated imagery in the programme, and explore on your own. A large screen, good broadband and high resolution help immensely, but the programme works fine on any recent laptop. As flagged in UNOSAT’s Satellite Atlas: Civilian Safety Zone (CSZ) Mulattivu District, Sri Lanka, released 23 March 2009, the Google Earth KMZ below matches the geographical area included in the report.

Please explore the imagery on your desktop, use a programme like Kaleidoscope to analyse an area over time and report back what you see, feel and find.

  • jegan

    as a tamil I am proud of those photos.

  • Orion

    Thank you Groundviews to bring all the related google maps together and make it available for those who have access to internet. All of these and more maps were and are available to the public and as you said details are available if they were willing to pay for them. I have no doubt those who are pursuing the legal and political paths to bring those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity have the details.

    There is no doubt that UN has it too and other countries like India, USA, UK, China may also have Realtime videos of the last month of the war. I hope those who have not committed war crimes will support an Independent UN Investigation on the ground to identify the guilty and prosecute them. Hiding behind the concept of Sovereignty and conducting biased formality to justify the war and the crimes that occurred will only lead to prolonging the conflict and suffering.

    The late Shri Rajagopalachchari, the First Governor General of India has stated: ‘Most private wrongs are done within family walls, and most public wrongs within the borders of States. If world opinion is to consider state frontiers sacrosanct then there will be no chance for world progress as a whole; tyranny would have received a world charter.’

    Sovereignty should not be used to protect criminals within the State. The least the GSL should do is to put the question of granting permission for the UN to conduct an Independent Investigation to determine whether there was war crimes committed during the last six months of the war and who were responsible for them. The UN, USA and India should press on such an investigation if justice, a solution to the conflict and reconciliation to begin. Otherwise it will be conflict ad infinitum.

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    What an incredible discovery – Thank you for your meticulous and detailed analysis which one day (we hope) will be used as indisputable evidence unless it is erased from Google Earth???

    It’s because of people like you that the world is still a decent place.

    May your tribe increase and prosper!

  • walter

    I wish that somebody could afford to televise these pictures to the whole world, so that citizens of all Countries will encourage their Governments to ‘compel’ Sri Lanka to do justice to the dead and those alive.
    All mass graves must be identified and the dead be given a decent acceptable burial.
    Any Country that boast’s of civilization and culture should consider this as a foregone prerogative for true reconciliation and peace.

  • Ananthan

    Thank you for the great analysis. As we know this is known to all the major powers of the world, including USA. All these countries were very happy to pay the ultimate price of killing more than 140,000 people (according to unofficial counts) to ‘finish-off’ the LTTE. Even today, these countries are not ready to help the remaining Tamils. Could some powerful people in the world could take these pictures and fight for the justice, freedom and independent for Tamil people? Ordinary Tamil cannot buy these pictures and analyse it to show the horrific humanitarian crisis happened as the World watched (through satelites and internet). I hope these kinds of analysis will give hope to people who still living under military oppression in North & East of the Sri Lanka.

  • vc

    I wonder if you have seen this report as well: http://shr.aaas.org/geotech/srilanka/srilanka.shtml

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Yes we have. For the purposes of the article, stuck to the UNOSAT reports, but the idea was also to open up Google’s sat imagery to a wider public to play around with. There is no one stopping, for example, someone from using the AAAS report as an anchor in their own explorations of available data on Google Earth. In fact, this is very much the hope.

  • Anpu

    THANK YOU GV and GE

  • Orion

    I wonder whether an independent organization in Sri Lanka, such as Groundviews, form a Commission composed of Eminent Persons to hold sittings in the North, record the stories of those who displaced from May 2008 to May 2009, link their stories to detailed google maps and produce a report. It will have more credibility than the LLRC report. It will also be a healing exercise for the relative of victims to identify the place where their loved ones, relatives and friends died or the bodies left behind. It will be a memorial in print for those who were killed.

    Such an independent Commission will be a true test of democracy if the GSL permit it and not hinder such a commission by other means. I wonder whether the UNHRC members and Amb Blake who are now in Sri Lanka will help to get the GSL to allow such a commission to find the facts.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Dear Orion,

      The visualisation aspects you propose, linked to storytelling, is a powerful idea, and possibly cathartic. There are obvious concerns linked to the security of narrators, the political implications of what they recount, and the general climate for this sort of initiative. Perhaps in the fullness of time. On the other hand, even with the LLRC’s own accounting, and public hearing, there was a lost opportunity to use ICTs better. This has been detailed on Groundviews: Who really supports reconciliation in post-war Sri Lanka?

  • Nithyananthan

    Unlike the king, son of a man, of the temporal world, God – the Almighty never fails. He is a little slow but always is sure.
    Do we want to be restlessly haunted and condemned by our consciousness and by the future historians for having consciously failed our Mother Land in her hour of need? If we find the right answer, we would be on the threshold of a golden opportunity – seen never before in our recent past. Guilt never sleeps because the Truth never allows it to rest. How wonderful you are GV! Yet you deserve simple but many sincere ‘Thanks’ from Nithy!

  • SINGING FISH

    Excellent,we thank you for revealing the truth.Continue your audacious work without fear.

  • Sabes Sugunasabesan

    Excellent piece of journalism Groundviews!

  • http://- Sam Thambipillai

    “The law is meant for law breakers and not for those who comply”.

    The head of the UNHRC, Navi Pillay is visiting Sri Lanka(SL) at a time our world is in dire need of justice. Justified responses by the UN to injustices, exceeding tolerable limits, have become necessary in SL and Syria. appropriately, the UN General Assembly will debate on the Rule of Law(RoL) this month.

    A report by the UN Secretary General, in preparation for this event, calls for; Respect for the RoL at national and international levels; Delivering just outcomes in the daily life od individuals; and Accountability for laws consistent with internatilonal human rights norms.

    The purpose of RoL is to ensure that justice permeates society at every level. For too long SL has sought protection under the principle of “state sovereignty” and has gotten away with war crimes, Tamil genocide and land grab.

    Adherence to international minimum standards of substantive justice as well as procedural jusstice will now become obligatory for SL.

    Above all, RoL will translate into the ability to have recourse to international adjudicative mechanisms, to settle disputes peacefully.

    And, the unresolved national problem of Tamil Eelam would be settled peacefully, using UN mechanisms.

  • http://www.cyberstudio.biz Tilan Wickramasinghe

    Please excuse my ignorance if any.would be grateful if you clarify whether there were government sponsored evacuations and migration to safe places by civilians prior to the date of the second google satellite photo shoot. Do we have further evidence to establish that the cleared grounds were all due to shelling and not anything else?

    I am a Sri Lankan to the bone and Sinhalese through inheritance. I vehemently look down on any citizen of SL who advocates false nationalism. However, When we criticize the security forces we need to be more than sure about the authenticity of the facts we table . I am shocked to note how the Tamil diaspora has all of a sudden got them selves activated in support of their fallen northern hero’s,this same community did not have the same vigor in their communications when the actual annihilation which they claim did happen.

    Right now I might sound as a member of the presidential defense force,safe guarding the interest of his brother. which I am definitely not. But, I certainly value the efforts put down by the security forces in freeing this beautiful island from the creators of terror. The reasons for the creation of the mentioned terror will never be answered by destroying such through nothing but counter terror.The process for reconciliation is long. I don’t see any actual positive effort by the rulers in this direction, Once again excuse my ignorance if any.

    However its important that the past is forgotten and new future is sought,a positive mindset is not going to harm any.

    Sadly this is not evident in the the golden postwar era.

    Its about time we discuss such and not harp on the mess our ancestors created,racism is what they thrived on,Nationalism was the cover. Do we join those shortsighted sorry neanderthals and their living disciples, or do we collectively strategise a system to chase them away from the shores of Sri Lanka

    Its definitely a thought for us to ponder.

    Esto perpetua.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Great question, no easy answer. Here’s a quick take.

      Both GoSL (and its proxies / supporters) and the erstwhile LTTE’s proxies and supporters want to say the other party shelled civilians and no one wants to take the blame for actually targeting civilians. This is a heated and exhausting debate. Theoretically, it can be addressed via acquisition of satellite imagery based on locales, taken off for example Google Earth’s historical sat imagery that show signs of shelling, over two points in time, to ascertain exact date of shelling and then with human and computer aided image analysis, work out trajectories and vectors. This when transposed with confirmed ground positions of SLA and LTTE, can then flag responsible parties – i.e. if the vector for shelling on a particular day seemed to originate from territory that was confirmed to be held by advancing SLA, then the question gets turned not into whether they fired or not, but whether the firing took into account collateral damage in targeting military objectives in what could have been heavily civilian population areas (the UN PoE report in particular notes that the LTTE used human shields – basically, IDPs as fodder to increase casualties).

      So to come back to original question, the CSZs were moved, several times in fact, unilaterally by the government. Exactly how many times escapes us now, but this should not be hard to find. E.g. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29157231/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/t/war-torn-sri-lanka-establishes-new-safe-zone/#.UFHr_kK8LVs. Read also this AAAS report (http://shr.aaas.org/geotech/srilanka/srilanka.shtml) which notes,

      Between May 6 and May 10, 2009, thousands of IDP structures were removed from the CSZ. Areas outlined in red saw an almost complete removal of such structures, while areas in green exhibited relatively small increases in IDP structures. What caused the IDP structures to be removed between May 6 and May 10 is uncertain based solely on the imagery. It is notable how complete the removal of IDP structures appears, in that while some debris and evidence of the structures remains, overall the area appears to have been swept relatively clean (Figure Three). This is less indicative of the entire area being razed by shelling, though it could correspond with an emigration from those specific areas by the IDPs due to some outside driver.

      Not sure what you mean by second photo shoot – assume you meant May ’09 shots, with the first as March ’09. Simple answer is yes, the CSZs were moved, and the tens if not hundreds of thousands in the CSZs, moved too. What caused them to move is not entirely clear, and is clearly not monocausal either.

      The final point is an irony, evident in ’09 to those of us following the violence, and again when looking at this imagery. We fail to see what was “safe” in the Civilian Safe Zones. We have no control over how these images are used, by whom and for what purpose, but clearly, what anyone can take from this is that for so many of our Tamil citizens stuck in Nandikadal during March to May 2009, life was a living hell.

      And that’s putting it mildly.

  • Off the Cuff

    GroundViews,

    Imaginative use of available resources.
    Good work.

    Fixing responsibility, using war damage outside the CSZ, will be a difficult task.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Absolutely! Guess our point is though, if there’s the will, it’s also far from impossible.

      • Off the Cuff

        GroundViews,

        True, difficult but not impossible as long as absolute and clinical impartiality is maintained, as you have done.

        The moment any undercurrent of bias is detected that exercise will turn from the difficult to the impossible.

  • Sathasivam Sivaraja

    Groundviews

    Thank you for this brilliant piece !!

    Many of my beloved perished there…

    It warms my heart that someone in heartless Sri Lanka still cares for their lost souls and maybe one day they will find some peace, a little piece of heaven …

  • genga

    Maily the USA and the INDIANS have the full immage of what happened during and at the endo of the war. UN also have those images and failed to stop the killings of innocent TAMILS. They wanted to eliminate the LTTE during that they allowed and witnessed the mascare of innocent civilians. There are enough evidence of war crimes and because we are a small community no one bothers as we do not have storong support. May be if there was oil in North then the USA and the UN would have intervened, or otherwise we have to be part of ISRAIL then there would have been intervention. The oroney is still after having all the evidence they are playing games and letting those criminals to live hapily.

  • Wasantha Basnayake

    This hard evidence on war crimes must be put before the ordinary srilankans By the opposition when they have their election campaigns. The sinhalese should be told what the rajapsksa regime did to the thousands of innocent Tamils in their name. I think the international human rights community would like to see the response from the ordinary Sinhala people to these allegations of war crimes. The perception amongst the international human rights campaigners is that Sinhala ordinary people knew what exactly went on out there and were more than happy to condone it. This has to be tested without delay. If that is the case, it proves that there is irreconcilable communal tensions between the two communities and international community must help the Tamils to form Eelam as soon as possible. If the Sinhala people did not have anything to do with these crimes, question must be put to them very clearly by the international community to them to arrest their leaders/security forces personnel who were responsible for the crimes and deal with them whether in international or local courts (after having introduced proper laws ). For this purpose, if it looks like the Sinhalese need help, the IC must quickly provide such help.

    • Wallflower

      Sadly those who matter on both sides of the divide are still playing politics since their very survival depends on it, and not prepared to start anew on a clean slate.

  • http://srilankanquest.wordpress.com Celerati Editorial

    I appreciate the endeavour to track down thoroughly the responsibility. LTTE and GoSL are accomplices in the heinous massacre. But here we have the point: an enormous number of civilians has been attacked and killed. Why? Was it necessary to eliminate the LTTE leadership, trapped on a strip of land? The LTTE certainly held civilians as hostages; but the GoSL shelled CSZ. The question is: will the GoSL investigate its own crimes, even when the chain of command goes straight to the top? Or will this administration appoint ANOTHER commission? The LLRC was designed to be powerless and inoffensive. Yet they have been able to avoid implementation. Only after the UN, under the false pressure of India, solicited, Colombo agreed to start to implement its own mild recommendations. Is this the way for justice and accountability? “Vae Victis”, woe to the conquered ones. The Romans thought that history is written by the winners, conditions after the conflict are always dire for those who lost the war. I wonder if the war was lost by the Tamils alone, or altogether by those who believe in the principle of humanity and civilization.

    • Off the Cuff

      Celerati Editorial ,

      “LTTE and GoSL are accomplices in the heinous massacre”

      You missed out on another few major actors who are responsible.

      Firstly, the Terrorist Flag waving Tamil Diaspora, who bankrolled that crime, ignored the predicament of the Civilians that suffered under the jackboot of the LTTE for several decades and finally forced them to become sand bags in a futile attempt to save the Terror Leadership.

      Secondly the so called NGO’s who provided the LTTE heavy earth movers to build massive earthen berms to delay the inevitable, with the consequent loss of more civilian lives.

      Thirdly, the Govts, NGO’s and others who gave the LTTE Hope of a last minute reprieve that made the LTTE Leadership, to prolong the war to it’s bitter end.

      Fourthly the governments which sponsored, trained and armed terrorists, gave them safe haven to carry out subversion and acts of terror against a civilian population.

      Fifthly those governments and leaders that sell their soul for a few votes and electoral contributions.

      Sixthly, those governments who even today, provide safe haven to War Criminals such as Adelle Balasingham the Founder Leader of the Baby Brigade of the LTTE, while paying Lip service to war crime prosecutions.

      • Wallflower

        None of this carnage would have taken place if the LTTE did not have a steady supply of weapons. Who was the chief weapons procurer for the LTTE? Which Govt: has provided safe haven for him?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Wallflower,

        Are you referring to KP of the LTTE?

        You say “None of this carnage would have taken place if the LTTE did not have a steady supply of weapons“

        True but with what did he buy that steady supply of arms?
        With palm fronds?

        You see Wallflower the carnage was BOUGHT by the Terror Flag waving Tamil Diaspora who did not give a tuppence for the many reports of Children of the Vanni being forced in to a war that they did not have an inkling of knowledge about.

        They did not care when the University Teachers for Human Rights, Jaffna (UTHR(J) flagged decades ago, that even 9 year old Tamil Children of the Vanni were being FORCED in to fighting a Man’s War that the Men, Women and their Children of the Terrorist Flag Waving kind of Tamils deserted, when they went in search of Money to the West, using the War as a excuse.

        The UTHR(J) found fault with those who Bank Rolled the war and your sorry excuse for not Prosecuting the Main Architect of Child Abuse who graduated, unsuspecting Brain Washed Tamil children, by awarding them a Cyanide Capsule (Pictures of Adelle doing so were available for Decades in the Public Domain) is to mention KP? I have heard that KP is involved in uplifting the Vanni Tamil war victims in the North and East. KP is in custody, is Adele or the Fund Raisers in custody? I am not privy to what intelligence that KP has used to bargain in return for his apparent reprieve from prosecution but it would have been of considerable value to the SL Govt. Are you aware that Plea Bargaining is used in the democratic West that are held up as shining examples of Democracy?

        Think Wallflower Think. How long would have this war lasted, without the Money that kept pouring in, from the Terror Flag Waving Tamil Diaspora?

        Que Sera Sera Wallflower, Whatever Will Be, Will Be

  • Patrio

    Congratulations “Ground Views” One of finest unbiased articles produced
    by real professionals. The truth however bitter must someday be heard by the all the people of our land irespective of race or creed. The guilty should be punished for crimes against humanity that both sides may have commited.The innocent victims but never be forgotten. And present leaders acknowledge their role as supporters or violaters of human rights in this country.Justice must served.

  • walter

    Wasantha Basnayake

    I am a minority in this Country by Religion and Language.

    My family and I have suffered bitterly even a death occurred in my family in the 1958 riots because my brother did not know to recite the Gahatha.
    I am inspired and enlightened by your statement that the majority of this Country the Sinhala Buddhist ( some minorities too) must be woken up, to accept universal fraternity and equality.
    I applaud and respect your standpoint, how I wish all Sri Lankans think alike.

    CELERATI EDITORIAL

    You have raised a very pertinent question.
    WAS IT NECESSARY TO ELIMINATE THE LTTE?

    I am enlightened by your question, now that you have raised it I believe I have been stirred to find some answers.

    I think the Forces under the Command of Sarath Fonseka and Gotabaya Rajapakse felt personally and individually and for vindictive reasons, wanted to anhilate the L T T E at whatever cost.
    They buried the Rules of war and combat, to not only satisfy their ego but also knew that they would be protected at all and any costs.
    This is why an international inquiry is necessary, to vindicate the Rank and File of the Forces.

    I believe that they also wanted to send a significant signal to the Minorities, specially the Tamils that ‘no nonsense’ will be tolerated, in their quest for ‘Human Rights’ or anything for that matter.
    The statements made by Sarath Fonseka and Gota after the war is leading towards this arrogant thought “that nobody can even breathe without our consent.
    Today Sarath Fonseka has changed, because he was imprisoned, he is now visiting all the Temples, Churches, Kovils and mosques to gain power because he wants to revenge the wrong done to him.
    Gota on the hand is ‘cock sure’ that his bro. will go on forever with his 18th.Amendment.
    He has now forsaken his American Citizenship.

    By the way, J R Jayawardena and Ranasinghe Premadasa also had this thought that the Tamils must be taught a lesson and kept in their place, that is why Emergency was not enforced for a week in 1983. Indira Ghandhi’s threat was also another reason to declare emergency.

    • Burning_Issue

      Dear Walter,

      “I think the Forces under the Command of Sarath Fonseka and Gotabaya Rajapakse felt personally and individually and for vindictive reasons, wanted to anhilate the L T T E at whatever cost.
      They buried the Rules of war and combat, to not only satisfy their ego but also knew that they would be protected at all and any costs.
      This is why an international inquiry is necessary, to vindicate the Rank and File of the Forces.”

      I concur with your above statements; egos of such men played havoc including the so called the invincible LTTE leader. His ego ultimately cost the Tamils much more than they bargained for!

      I feel one other poignant reason as to why there should be an international probe that is to establish the Truth. The Truth is very important for many people including many SAL soldiers who fought honest battles! The truth is so important for people to have a sense of closure and grieve.

      I am not sure whether you are familiar with the Hillsborough Football disaster that took place in the year 1989 during the FA Cup semi final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest where 96 Liverpool supporters died. It was concluded that Drunken Liverpool Fan caused the tragedy and it was said that they even attacked and prevented the police and the emergency services from attending the injured. But the families and Liverpool Football Club never accepted the conclusions. It took them 23 years of relentless campaigning ultimately brought about the truth that there was a coverup from the West Yorkshire Police; they even wilfully amended the 116 statements removing damaging aspects.

      There have been understandable anger and many prominent people reacted:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19569749

      Former Labour sports minister Richard Caborn, and former MP for Sheffield Central, said: “I hope that now the truth is out, that will help people to grieve knowing exactly what happened. It is really sad it has taken so long to get this information into the public domain.”

      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam: “This is full vindication for the families of the 96 people who died at Hillsborough. On every single count they’ve been proved right. The response to the disaster, the way it was looked into afterwards and the way in which the inquiries were held were not right. And, crucially, the reputations of their loved ones who died were systemically being defamed and trashed by people who were trying to cover up what really happened. Now it is time for the wheels of justice to start moving, because the truth has been withheld from families and victims for too long.”

      Former Liverpool footballer Michael Owen tweets: “Finally and 23 years too late, the truth about Hillsborough finally came out today. Now is the time for Justice. #JFT96″

      Knowing exactly what went on at the final stages of the war is very important; the truth is important for people to come to terms with their losses.

      • Naman

        I do hope unlike the Liverpool incident where it took 23years to get at the truth, the Tamils in Sri Lanka wants the Truth about the mass killing committed by GoSL ESP. Rajapaksa family at the earliest.
        The Indians & The Chinese would not like the truth as they actively contributed to it.

  • justitia

    Dear Walter,
    You have stated the whole truth concisely.
    The order given to eliminate LTTE surrendees was inhuman and against all norms of war.
    Sarath Fonseka suffered because he divulged it to the media.

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    Off the Cuff you so conveniently forgot a few more factors that are critically important in this equation that I might list and I am afraid you need to be reminded of: Good thing i have set the record straight, read it if you care to…..

    FACTORS ‘OFF THE CUFF’ FORGOT:

    1. COLONISATION AND LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY WHERE TAMIL TERRITORIES WERE ANNEXED TO THE REST OF THE ISLAND – SEE MY MENTOR JOE LADISLAUS’S AND NIRANJAN’S THESIS BELOW

    2. THE SOULBURY CONSTITUTION AND THE IMPERFECT DECOLONIZATION PROCESS AND THE HUGE MISTAKE BY TAMILS NOT TO EMULATE PAKISTAN’S SEPARATION FROM INDIA: THE SOULBURY CONSTITUTION THAT TAMILS SIGNED UPTO TRUSTING THE SINHALESE WHO HELD A MAJORITY BY VIRTUE OF THE WHOLE ISLAND BECOMING A UNITARY STATE, WAS A HUGE MISTAKE; “BEFORE THE INK COULD DRY ON IT THE SINHALESE STARTED TO BETRAY THE TAMILS. SEE BELOW.
    3. SUCCESSIVE OPPRESSIVE SINHALA BUDDHIST MAJORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS’ STRANGULATION OF TAMILS THROUGH LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS AND POLICIES WHICH WERE DISCRIMINATING LEAVING THEM MARGINALISED.
    4. VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY PERPETRATED AGAINST TAMILS SPONSORED BY GOVERNMENTS.
    5. SINHALA POLITICIANS WHO PLAYED THE RACIST CARD WHICH LED TO PROKEN PACTS AND EXTREMISM
    6. SINHALA BUDDHIST CHAUVINISM AND EXTREMISM THAT LED TO STRONG TAMIL NATIONALISM – EVEN THE EDUCATED SINHALESE COULD NOT BEAR TO SHARE THE ISLAND AND TO ACCEPT THIS TRUTH
    7. SRI LANKAN ARMY OCCUPATION OF TAMIL AREAS FROM AS FAR BACK 1958 – 10TH OF JUNE
    8. ILLEGAL REPEAL OF SECTION 29 OF SOULBURY CONSTITUTION OUTSIDE OF PARLIAMENT: “THE FINAL BREAK OF THE COVENANT” BETWEEN THE SINHALA AND TAMIL NATION AND THE ADVENT OF 1972 AND 1978 ILLEGAL CONSTITUTIONS, (Read BREAK OF COVENANT BY NIRANJAN BELOW)
    9. 6TH AMENDMENT AND LOSS OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PEACEFUL AND HONEST DEBATE ON TAMIL’S RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION AND SEPARATION
    10. FORCED SINHALA COLONIZATION OF TAMIL AREAS TO BLUR THE DEMOGRAPHY:
    11. ENVY, BECAUSE TAMILS WERE DOING WELL, HOLDING PROFESSIONS AND JOBS IN THE CIVIL AND FOREIGN SERVICES THROUGH SHEER HARD WORK AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
    12. INEVITABLE NEED FOR SELF PRESERVATION OF THE TAMIL NATIONAL IDENTITY AND RACE AND THE NEED TO EXPEL AN INTIMIDATING SINHALA ARMY FROM TAMIL AREAS THROUGH ARMED REBELLION TO COUNTER ATROCITIES AGAINST TAMILS AND TO FULL FILL TAMIL ASPIRATION TO RESTORE SOVEREIGNTY AND RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION
    SEE NOTES BELOW CONTAINING HISTORICAL PROOF:
    FOREIGN COLONISATION AND LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY: I quote from my good friend and mentor Joe Ladislaus’s research:

    The Tamil territories were annexed to the rest of the island in 1833 by the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission.
    http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-13139.html
    When the Portuguese landed on the island in 1505 there was not one but three kingdoms, namely the Tamil Jaffna Kingdom, the Sinhala Kotte Kingdom and the Sinhala Kandyan Kingdom.
    They captured the Tamil Kingdom in 1621; nearly 116 years since capturing the Sinhala kingdoms. The Tamil King Sangili was taken to Goa and hanged.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffna_kingdom).

    The majority Sinhalese dismiss this historical fact as medieval nonsense. A counter challenge to this fact can be viewed at the link below: (http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/05/reply-archaeology-sparks-new-conflict.html

    “… statements that the country had been united for 2,500 years flies in the face of history. There was for some centuries an independent Tamil kingdom and the chronicles report frequent wars between Sinhalese and Tamil kings. Separate Singhalese and Tamil communities existed on the island from the pre-colonial era until the administrative unification of the island by the British in 1833.” (Supplement to Professor Virginia Leary Report on a Mission to Sri Lanka 1981-83 published by the ICJ)

    This unification was carried out by the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission in 1833.
    Also read: The broken Covenant by Niranjan:
    http://www.sangam.org/FACTBOOK/broken.htm
    “The fact that two nations existed before Queen Victoria, in 1830, established her rule on the whole island of Ceylon is documented by the following authors; Fernao de Queyroz, (1692); Paviljeon, (1695); Donald Ferguson; Van Goens, (1675); Van Imhoff, (1740); Anthony Mooyart, (1766); Hugh Cleghorn, (1799); Robert Brownrigg, (1813); Emerson Tennent, (1859).”
    THE SOULBURY CONSTITUTION AND THE IMPERFECT DECOLONIZATION PROCESS AND THE HUGE MISTAKE BY TAMILS NOT TO EMULATE PAKISTAN’S SEPARATION FROM INDIA: The Soulbury Constitution that the Tamils signed up to trusting the Sinhalese who held a majority by virtue of the whole island becoming a unitary state, was huge mistake; before the ink could dry on it the Sinhalese started betraying the Tamils.

    Please Read Karen Parker’s understanding self determination.
    http://www.guidetoaction.org/parker/selfdet.html
    The situation in Sri Lanka, for many years now engulfed by armed conflict between the Sinhala-controlled government and the Tamil people, must be understood in terms of an “imperfect” de-colonization process by the British. Once again, two distinct countries – in this case the Tamil nation and the Sinhala nation — were amalgamated under “unitary” rule by the colonizers.
    In the de-colonization process in Sri-Lanka, there was an attempt between the Tamil and Sinhala leadership to try out a post-colonial unitary state despite the historic situation of the two countries. In the first two constitutions, there was an agreement between the majority Sinhalese people and the numerically fewer Tamil people for a government structure that would guarantee that the Tamil people would not become fatally submerged under the Sinhala. So there was an attempt to avoid submersion in the language of the Constitution of 1947. Before the ink was dry, the Sinhala leadership began to violate the terms.
    ILLEGAL REPEAL OF SECTION 29 OF SOULBURY CONSTITUTION: “THE FINAL BREAK OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN THE SINHALA AND TAMIL NATION AND THE ADVENT OF 1972 AND 1978 ILLEGAL CONSTITUTIONS, (Read BREAK OF COVENANT BY NIRANJAN BELOW)
    Section 29:
    (b) make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions are not made liable; or
    (c) confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which is not conferred on persons of other communities or religions; or
    “The Tamils never agreed to either of the two constitutions. In fact, the Tamil people asserted their right to self-determination in the 1977 elections.
    By not including Section 29 in the 1972 and the 1978 constitutions, the majority government, which was the Sinhala Nation, broke the sacred covenant between the two nations and returned the Tamils of Ceylon to their previous status as colonial people and subjects of the Queen. If Great Britain is unwilling or unable to accept this status of the Tamil people as its subjects, then the Tamil people become sovereign by virtue of their pre-colonial status as the people of the Tamil Kingdom.”
    – Niranjan

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah,

      You have not refuted a single thing that I have written.
      Shows that you agree with them.

      I have discussed this so called Tamil Kingdom in copious comments I have posted here on GV for several years. It is unfortunate that you could not be a party to those discussions.

      The Tamil Kingdom never extended Southwards beyond Elephant Pass, as the following Dutch record shows.

      Extract
      During the 17th century the Company was engaged in a war of attrition with the king of Kandy, who had close ties with Ceylon’s Buddhist population. There was a narrow tongue of land at Elephant Pass a fort was built to guard the border with the king’s territory. Elephants captured on Ceylon were herded past here to Jaffna to be sold in India, hence the name Elephant Pass. These are Dutch Records not from Mahawanse the Sinhalese historical chronicle.
      End Extract

      http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/detail.aspx?page=dpost&lang=en&id=682#tab2

      The problem is Tamil Nationalism (actually Jaffna Elitist Nationalism) engaged in a Land Grab that usurped 39% of Lanka’s PUBLICLY owned Land, 49% of Lanka’s inland Water resources and 60% of her coast line for the exclusive benefit of a SMALL section of Tamils (Not Even All the Tamils of Lanka) who were greedy for power.

      These hypothetical boundaries cannot be justified as there was no Tamil Kingdom in the East (confirmed by the Dutch), which is also being claimed as an exclusive Tamil Homeland (Please read Dr Pradeep Jeganathan’s works, he is an ethnic Tamil and he proves that their was no Tamil Kingdom in the East)

      This claimed hypothetical homeland EXCLUDES a million Tamils who are settled in the Sinhalese Kandyan Kingdom’s Heartland, the land of which was robbed by the British from the Sinhalese. Please read up on Lanka’s Land laws which made the British Crown the biggest Land owner of Lanka, so much so that even today 83% of Lanka’s Land is Public Property. Public Property means the PUBLIC (irrespective of Ethnicity or Cast or Religion) owns an equal share. This means ALL citizens of Lanka OWNS an equal share. In other words the per capita ownership is identical for ANY citizen of Lanka.

      The exclusive use of the 60% coastline entails usurping a 200 mile economic zone extending from that coast line as well. It means you are laying an EXCLUSIVE claim to ALL discovered and yet to be discovered PUBLIC resources of Lanka. Within the area claimed.

      The inability of Tamil Elitist leaders to share and share equally is the primary cause of ethnic strife.

      I would suggest that you research what I have written on GV on this subject and then debate the issue.

      BTW Usha I am a supporter of FULL devolution of power to the ethnic minorities including Police and Land powers but only on a complete equality basis. This means You cannot claim any more than what a Muslim gets or any more than a Sinhalese or any more than a Malay / Burgher / Kaffir / Veddha gets. The per capita claim for EACH individual citizen of Lanka should be identical irrespective of Ethnicity / Cast / Religion etc.

  • http://srilankanquest.wordpress.com Celerati Editorial

    Dear Off the Cuff,
    Walter,
    Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    you’re right, many more actors are involved in the responsibilities. In particular other governments. The usual suspect, China, and the West, completely absent on the subject. But the most important is India. You couldn’t really do anything in Sri Lanka without New Delhi’s consent. Not militarily, because it’s only when Indian navy finally cut off the Sea Tigers, that the LTTE was definitively surrounded. But most of all politically: only with green light from the Indian goverment, Rajapaksa could procede with the operations.

    The elimination of the LTTE is part of the logic in a war. But the brutal massacre of hundred of thousands is not. The message is clear: this was a military conquest, a physical annexation. Colombo needed to reaffirm ownership on the soil (see the recent land grabbing in Jaffna, Mannar…),because historically it never really ruled on the Northern and Eastern part of the island. Second, Colombo had to put the Tamils in place: any future claim will be threatened by the memory of the Mullivakail shores. It’s scary that a minister of the goverment mentioned this straight, Mr.Champika Ranawaka.

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    Off the Cuff
    I beg to disagree with all of your assertions not this alone but all your earlier comments. I didn’t miss a thing for not having read all previous comments debunking the Tamil Kingdom, sadly most of you don’t want to accept the truth. By the way the Kandyan Kingdom was ruled by Tamils and they were Hindus although I have nothing against Buddhism: see Tamil Rulers of the Kandyan Kingdom by G. Amirthalingam “The Kandyan kingdom… was ruled by a line of Tamil Kings, who came from South India, for nearly eight decades…… Kandy was never conquered, but surrendered to the British by a convention signed on the 2nd of March 1815. Out of 11 Chieftains, who were witness to the Convention, many of them signed the Treaty in Tamil.” http://www.sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/03-05_Tamil_Rulers.php?uid=1560
    Were there no elephants in India for elephants to be taken to India and through the longer route when Mannar would be the closest!
    (I heard all the prime properties (lands included) are being acquired by the Rajapakse clan? Soon there won’t be any left for you citizens?)

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah ,

      You say “I beg to disagree with all of your assertions not this alone but all your earlier comments. I didn’t miss a thing for not having read all previous comments debunking the Tamil Kingdom, sadly most of you don’t want to accept the truth”

      What is the TRUTH?
      Is it what can be supported with Facts or wild rantings devoid of Facts?

      You may disagree that is your right.
      But hallucinations are no replacement for facts.

      If you did not miss a thing why did you not refute what I wrote when I wrote it. Why wait till now to resurrect an old argument that the proponents of the Mythical Tamil Homeland clearly lost? Do you have any new arguments?

      The East was never under any Tamil Kingdom.

      You say “By the way the Kandyan Kingdom was ruled by Tamils and they were Hindus although I have nothing against Buddhism: see Tamil Rulers of the Kandyan Kingdom by G. Amirthalingam “The Kandyan kingdom… was ruled by a line of Tamil Kings, who came from South India, for nearly eight decades…… “

      What are you trying to imply? Are you trying to say that since the Kandyan Sinhalese INVITED the Indians to be their Kings that the Kandyan Kingdom was also a Tamil Kingdom? Is this the only type of intellectual argument that you can offer? If so it is very juvenile madam.

      The Sinhalese are from India. The Sinhalese and Tamils share a common gene pool of 55%. Hence you may be more Sinhalese than Tamil and vice versa. The Sinhalese and Veddhas have a common gene pool of 5% and the Veddhas are Indigenous to Lanka.

      You say “Kandy was never conquered, but surrendered to the British by a convention signed on the 2nd of March 1815. Out of 11 Chieftains, who were witness to the Convention, many of them signed the Treaty in Tamil.” http://www.sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/03-05_Tamil_Rulers.php?uid=1560

      Madam please try to make rational arguments.
      Just because I write and sign my name in English, which I do, it will not make me an Englishman.

      You say “Were there no elephants in India for elephants to be taken to India and through the longer route when Mannar would be the closest! “

      Apparently your knowledge of Lanka’s history is limited to what you get from that filter called Sangam.org. Please do not reproduce what you learn from separatist websites without reading and learning history from more reliable sources.

      You should direct your silly question to the Dutch govt. as what I extracted about Elephant Pass and the fort that the Dutch built to guard their border with the Kandyan Kingdom is from Dutch Govt Records

  • Vichara

    Hail the discovery of Google images after the passage of over 3 years. Please read the following note before rushing into conclusions.
    In May 2009 the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International commissioned the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to carry out an evaluation of Satellite Imagery to identify indications of mainly shelling and grave sites. AAAS analyzed information from six high resolution satellites from September 2005 to 24 May 2009 and also photographs taken during a helicopter over flight of the CSZ by Ban Ki-moon on May 22. 2009.(please note that the reading is from six image sources covering the period from 2005 to the end of the war)

    Although in the Executive Summary of the report of the AAAS it is mentioned that they found evidence of “bomb shell craters” in the main report they say that they did not identify ‘artillery sites”.

    It is obvious why the AI and HRW have not given publicity to this authoritative report is that it is not advantageous to them. AAAS identified only 1346 graves and no artillery sites which is totally inadequate to justify the unfounded statements of ‘constant artillery barrages and 40,000 civilian deaths’

    The report has been taken of the AAAS website, but can be accessed on the following site.

    http://shr.aaas.org/geotech/srilanka/srilanka.shtml

    A few relevant extracts from the Report is produced below.

    1.What caused the IDP structures to be removed between May 6 and May 10 is uncertain based solely on the imagery. It is notable how complete the removal of IDP structures appears, in that while some debris and evidence of the structures remains, overall the area appears to have been swept relatively clean (Figure Three). This is less indicative of the entire area being razed by shelling, though it could correspond with an emigration from those specific areas by the IDPs due to some outside driver.

    2. Crater analysis from satellite imagery is problematic, and site visits are needed to confirm presence and origin of the identified possible craters. Anthropogenic features and natural phenomena can often resemble craters. For example, the removal of tree stumps can produce a crater-like hole, pooling water in the right conditions can mimic a crater when viewed by satellite, and imprints left by shelters on sand can also appear to be craters. People seeking shelter or water can likewise dig holes, which can resemble craters, as can constructed fighting positions. Throughout this region of Sri Lanka are innumerable ground features which might be watering holes for livestock, and which are also often similar in appearance to craters.

    3. . These roofless buildings were initially interpreted as possible evidence of shelling or burning. However, on-the-ground photos taken immediately after the conflict instead indicate widespread removal of rooftops, which were composed of sheet metal, for use in constructing shelters throughout the area.

    4. In all three gravesites reviewed, a total of 1,346 likely graves are estimated to be in the imagery by May 24, 2009. The majority of the graves were present by May 6, with little change after that except in the southernmost graveyard. The southernmost site grew an estimated 28% between May 6 and May 10, and grew another 20% between May 10 and May 24.

    5. AAAS reviewed the entirety of the CSZ and a swath of surrounding territory for possible indications of artillery and mortar positions. This analysis extended northwest, west, and southwest from the CSZ for approximately nine kilometers, excluding ocean and lagoon areas.

    6. Numerous features outside of the CSZ were identified that bear resemblance to mortar positions …….

    None of the sites reviewed showed indications they were occupied by heavy artillery pieces, which are generally readily identifiable in such imagery unless camouflaged.

  • ahimsam

    Didnt you see when barbarian LTTE blockade the innocent people were shooting when they attempting to moving out out the LTTE human shield. It is shame to you. Do not try to mislead the diaspora. It is you people have to bare the responsibility of killing innocent people from first to last.

    • Anpu

      We need an independant inquiry to establish the truth.

  • Saraswathi

    It is important to keep exposing the reckless massacre of Tamil civilians by the state armed forces in Sri Lanka until the leaders and institutions responsible for it are brought to justice. It wasn’t an honorable military victory. It was the most cowardice way to eliminate a strong and resourceful adversary by carpet shelling of the whole population. International groups deceptively failed the Tamil people seeking freedom from State tyranny.

    UNOSAT team that was documenting and publicizing the civilian concentration in Mullivaikal during the March-April, 2009 was directly pressured by Sri Lankan government to retract the satellite images, and it obligingly did so. However, the retracted images were recovered by the ever alert Tamil diaspora. Thanks to the diaspora and not to UN institutions. UN also maintained a body count of Tamils dead but refused to acknowledge the death toll until Matthew Lee of InnerCity Press exposed it.

    Following the UNOSAT incident TAG (TamilsAgainstGenocide) of US decided to buy high resolution satellite images, and it exposed the systematic shelling of hospitals at Dublin People’s Tribunal (Jan-2010). Please see the link for detailed images and report:

    http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=31007

    Tribunal Report:
    http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=31009

    Differential satellite images of the following dates were used to provide undeniable evidence of hospital shelling by the SL armed forces. It is a war-crime remaining unaddressed by the “international” organizations so far.
    Differential #1: 10/31/2008 – 01/21/2009
    Differential #2: 01/21/2009 – 02/05/2009
    Differential #3: 02/05/2009 – 03/06/2009
    Differential #4: 03/06/2009 – 03/16/2009
    Differential #5: 03/16/2009 – 05/10/2009

    Tamils, and enlightened Sinhalese should tackle the cancerous ethnic conflict by bringing justice to all. Remember 1958 pogrom, 1983 black July massacre, 1987 IPKF massacres, and 2009 genocide. Where do we go from here?

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    OfftheCuff
    Who are you? I am beginning to like you; after all we share a lot of the same genes – South or North Indian genes may i ask and what’s your take on the Sinhalese being Aryans?

    Opposites connect they say. that’s why it’s obvious our views are poles apart.

    You keep on replying and I have to put everything a sunder and respond.

    First let me make it clear that I did not refute your list of other people who contributed, except to write my own factors that led to Tamil separatism that the Rajapakse regime decided to crush with brute force and illegal weaponry, breaking every rule in the book of international law, knowingly targeting and indiscriminately shelling hospitals and safe zones showing no mercy – that’s an easy way of winning a war, nothing to be proud of for a government (a state actor) that had a duty to protect civilians. What if the LTTE directed its fire power at the Sinhalese villages. Rakapakse has LTTE to thank for his Presidency, don’t forget. This is the President who stood alone in front of the UN fighting for justice for JVP insurgents who were brutally liquidated. What hypocrisy! Good you’ll have him and his progeny for the rest of thy kingdom come.

    Also your list was silly – you seem to have some sadistic pleasure in maligning Adel. For me she is a great woman, a foreigner who believed
    in the legitimacy of our freedom struggle.

    The elephant story is a bit laughable – like taking coal to Newcastle using a difficult terrain, through thick jungles in the 17th century?? Seems a bit far fetched. I suppose the elephants used the trunk to uproot and clear thick vegetation to get through to go, as you say, all the way through Elephant Pass to Jaffna and from there to India?????

    I didn’t say the Kandyan Kingdom was Tamil, but on another note it is a bit odd for the Kandyan Sinhalese to get down Tamil Kings, don’t you think, and why was that so? Enlighten me, enlighten me please OH please, though art the authority on history, the harbinger of truth, unfiltered and unadulterated.

    Sinhalese or Tamil I am for humanity – in the spiritual sense we are all one, BUT I shall defend the Tamil right to self determination until my last breath.

    I rest my case.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah,

      You say “I rest my case”

      You have rhetoric madam but no case.

      You say “Who are you?”

      Hmm now that you ask, let me explain a little. Aacharya is a relation, Tamil Chanakyan is a close relation and Manimaaran is a closer relation, got it?

      “ I am beginning to like you; after all we share a lot of the same genes – South or North Indian genes may i ask and what’s your take on the Sinhalese being Aryans? “

      Try thinking outside Sangam.org. The Internet also provides a wealth of information for someone who has the intelligence to use it, that is.

      You say “First let me make it clear that I did not refute your list of other people who contributed, ….. “

      Of course you did not refute as you could not.

      “ ….Tamil separatism that the Rajapakse regime decided to crush with brute force and illegal weaponry, breaking every rule in the book of international law, knowingly targeting and indiscriminately shelling hospitals and safe zones showing no mercy – that’s an easy way of winning a war, nothing to be proud of for a government (a state actor) that had a duty to protect civilians”

      What the Rajapaksa’s decide to crush, was Tamil Terrorism, that decades of Peace Talks and multiple International efforts failed to resolve, due mainly to the Terror Flag Waving Tamil Diaspora Bank rolling that Terror. Are you part of that diaspora?

      The decision was forced on the SL Govt as it had a duty to protect civilians, as you yourself observed. The Civilians that needed the protection exceeded 20 million a part of which was held hostage by a Terrorist Thug and his gang of thugs and of course the Terror Flag waving Tamil Diaspora who paid the bill. The other part was at the receiving end of the Terrorist Thugs indiscriminate terrorism. Bombs in Public Transport, Land mine attacks on School Buses, Ambulances, Public transport and then machine gunning the survivors and finally cutting off and depriving Water to farmers and civilians that laid 30,000 or so acres of agricultural produce to waste and a population deprived of even drinking water, by closing the sluices at Mavil Aru which was under the control of that Terrorist Thug.

      That Terrorist Thug and the Flag wavers who bankrolled him, miscalculated and now you are licking your wounds and shedding crocodile tears for the Vanni Tamil people that the Thug and his Diaspora supporters used as Sand Bags.

      You say “What if the LTTE directed its fire power at the Sinhalese villages.”

      Oh they did. But their mistake was doing it once too often.

      “Rakapakse has LTTE to thank for his Presidency, don’t forget.”

      Hmm wise words … and the LTTE and the Flag Waving Tamil Diaspora has Rajapakse to thank for Nanthkadal. Wise choice.

      “This is the President who stood alone in front of the UN fighting for justice for JVP insurgents who were brutally liquidated. What hypocrisy! Good you’ll have him and his progeny for the rest of thy kingdom come”

      And what was he supposed to do when over 20 million of his people were being indiscriminately targeted by a Terrorist thug supported by similar heartless thugs from abroad who were using Tamil civilians from the Vanni as Sand Bags? Roll over and hope the innards wont be blown to bits and splattered, like Rajiv Gandhi’s and Premadasa’s?

      Even Churchill had to go, when his usefulness to the public was no more. Rajapakse’s usefulness to the Sri Lankan Public is prolonged by the Terror Flag wavers.

      You say “Also your list was silly”

      If it is silly refute them with facts, not by silly statements.

      You say “ – you seem to have some sadistic pleasure in maligning Adel. For me she is a great woman, a foreigner who believed in the legitimacy of our freedom struggle.”

      Yes the GV readership can see that to you, Prabhakaran’s accomplice, who kept an under aged Tamil girl kidnapped from Lanka, under her roof and allowed her to be seduced by that Terrorist Thug and who created a Baby Brigade out of Tamil Children is a Great Woman. Since YOUR children were safe and having an Education with pen in hand while those under Adele had a Cyanide Capsule and a Gun in their hands and DEPRIVED of an Education.

      What you don’t see is that, this singular defence of Adele, who is a War Criminal by any standard, makes your call for investigation of war crimes, an EMPTY one, driven not by the need to seek Justice but by your desire for Revenge.

      You say “The elephant story is a bit laughable – like taking coal to Newcastle using a difficult terrain, through thick jungles in the 17th century?? Seems a bit far fetched. I suppose the elephants used the trunk to uproot and clear thick vegetation to get through to go, as you say, all the way through Elephant Pass to Jaffna and from there to India????? “

      Why are you intent on making a foolish spectacle of yourself?
      Please read some good books on Lankan History before you display your absolute ignorance of it on a public forum. If you don’t have access to a good library use the Internet, you obviously have access to that.

      If you have any questions about the Dutch Fort at Elephant Pass that was at the extreme North East Boundary of the Kandyan Kingdom and the Extreme South of the former Tamil Kingdom and Peninsular Jaffna, you should question the authenticity of that record from the Dutch Govt. I only referenced it.

      You say “I didn’t say the Kandyan Kingdom was Tamil, …”

      Then what did you impute?

      You say “ …… but on another note it is a bit odd for the Kandyan Sinhalese to get down Tamil Kings, don’t you think, and why was that so?”

      To a Racist mind it may look odd, but to the Sinhalese of that day, it was not odd, as they were not Racists.

      You plead “Enlighten me, enlighten me please OH please, though art the authority on history, the harbinger of truth, unfiltered and unadulterated.”

      Basing my assessment on what you write and your signal inability to defend what you write factually, I don’t believe even God himself can do that.

      I only QUOTE the authority, I have made no other claim. But then you are so inept, that instead of logical argument, you descend to irrational rantings.

      You say “Sinhalese or Tamil I am for humanity – in the spiritual sense we are all one, BUT I shall defend the Tamil right to self determination until my last breath”

      Well tongue in cheek pronouncements serve no purpose.
      If you are for Humanity, you would not have sacrificed the Multitude of Tamil Children, that you obviously was prepared to sacrifice (as long as they were not your own), as seen by your blind defence and glorification of that Pied Piper, who led Tamil Female Children of the Vanni, to their Death and Destruction.

  • Orion

    Interesting and painful discussions on history, massacre at Mullivaikal and the Truth.

    Truth is an event of high probability. Truth = Observation – Error. That is, error in observation.

    Seeking the truth is expensive and time consuming. Groundviews has put what is available for a reasonable cost for its readers to seek further and delve deeper to increase observations from the satellite pictures, from the ground and analysis by specialists in the field.

    There was a YouTube video of uniformed persons with gloves and forceps taking samples with forceps from the head wound of a body that looked like and said to be that of Pirapakaran. It will be helpful if the analysis of that DNA sample of that brain and that of any DNA taken from Pirabakaran’s father and or mother who were in the custody of the Armed Forces. May be groundviews can obtain that report and publish it.

    I would like to see discussion on the satellite images and what they show and what reliable and valid information we can get from them or from details of such maps.

    I have traveled in the area the Maps show after the tsunami and in 2011 and 2012. Video clips of the war in real time was published in many media available to the public. It will be beneficial for clips of such video to be published in Groundviews. I am told that no such pictures were available after May 13. Also that Satellite pictures were not clear from May 17 to May 20 because of Cloud cover. To see images on the ground below the cloud may need new technology that may not be available in the public domain. But I am sure it may be available to bonafide researchers on the subject or to a UN Investigation Panel. It takes a long time to seek Truth and Justice but they will triumph in the end.

  • Patriot

    Many times since 2009 I have visited the google maps view of Mullaithivu, and just as GV points out, it tells the story of human suffering that unfolded. I don’t think many people realize how large a population was subjected to this nightmare. To give it some perspective, 300,000 is roughly the same size as the population of the Maldives and of Iceland. There are about 50 recognized sovereign countries that have a smaller population than 300K.

    I think the litmus test to know whether the Tamil people have realized the right to self determination (regardless of whether it is through the existing SL state or through an independent sovereign state of their own) is if they are able to publicly mourn the loss of their loved ones who died in May 2009. The day they are able to build a monument in PTK and Mullativu to remember those who died, is the day we know that they are free. Till then the Tamil struggle goes on..

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    OfftheCuff, You and logic have parted ways, so I shall part company with these words:
    “The God that gave us life, gave us Liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but it cannot dis-join them.” Thomas Jefferson – Founding Father of American Independence.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah,

      The difference from your all capitalised (shouting) post to the current one of meek withdrawal is noted.

      Apparently you did not bargain for Logic and History when you started this exchange. That you had no defence other than illogical statements about Elephants, when faced with Dutch Govt records, shows very clearly, who has parted ways with logic.

      Thank you Usha, for giving me the opportunity, to place factual evidence before GV, as my target audience was the Readers, whom people like you try to misinform.

  • Keynes!

    Pukka work GV.

  • megafunnyman

    Very interesting article and I applaud the efforts of Groundviews (and the AAAS) to sustain a dialog on the events that took place in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. In light of the information provided here I can conclude the following:

    1. Tremendous suffering was endured by the civilians caught in this conflict. There is no easy way to begin to understand the hopelessness of people that were trapped between the Sri Lanka army and the retreating Tamil Tiger rebels.

    2. The graves observed in these images are likely to be a mixture of combatants and civilians. The combatants (from both sides) were embedded amongst the civilians, and in cases civilians were converted into combatants under force. It would be considerably difficult to know exactly who amongst the dead was a combatant and who was a civilian.

    3. The change to the landscape and the flora is testimony to the ferocity of the war and events that took place. As one commenter concludes it would be interesting to see images of how the area looked before the habitation of civilian refugees.

    4. SL government forces and Tiger rebels were guilty of attacking civilian targets as per identification for artillery locals, but it is not to be mistaken against actions that placed combatants amongst civilian targets and on occasion attacked civilians themselves. Under these circumstances it is a miracle that any civilians survived at all, and that this conflict didnt get prolonged further. Very often as in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict an organized army has little options to root out rebel forces embedded amongst civilian populations. Under these conditions both sides are very much in the wrong for putting civilians in harms way.

    4. A considerable loss of life has been laid at the feet of nationalism, whether it be for Sri Lanka or for the now non existent Tamil Elam. At the end of the day, so many years of conflict, blood shed and loss of life has yielded not one ounce of harmony for sinhalese, tamil, moor nor burgher. It is with great hope that the future will yield greater understanding as to the means of co-habitation and less about nationalism. Living together is a far better option to dying while fighting each other.

  • Real_peace

    Dear Groundviews/Readers,

    Couple of questions:
    1. What books can you recommend for a reasonably unbiased view of what happened in Sri Lanka?

    2. What independent DOCUMENTARIES on the Sri Lankan civil war can you recommend for humanity to learn?
    couple that was suggested are:
    – the Award winning Channel4 documentaries(2). Sri Lanka Killing fields.
    – Award winning film: “Silenced Voices”
    http://www.moviesthatmatter.nl/english_index/festival/programma_en/film_en/1206

    Thank you for your input.

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