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Sri Lanka ‘Killing Fields’: Will there be progress and what does that mean?

‘Killing fields’ can be a phrase used to describe a most mundane fact known to humanity, or it could be a most provocative phrase to an ethnic majority or minority group. When viewed from the standpoint of a human being, one need not try hard to realize that the moment one factors in the number […]

Thoughts on a documentary: We are complicit in Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

It was the most gruesome of visual feasts and it when it ended, the most disorienting sense followed. One is struck, not by the extremity of human suffering; but by stillness, by the insouciance of the pools of blood. They appear on screen as almost as if they are the everyday aftermath of one of […]

Exclusive interview with Callum McCrae, Director of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ produced by Channel 4

Groundviews caught up with Callum McCrae, Director of the highly controversial and very disturbing film by Channel 4, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, in New York, a day before the film was due to be screened for senior diplomats, UN staff and others at the Church Centre, in front of the UN Headquarters. Callum was joined […]

Exclusive: Syllabi and timetables from compulsory University ‘leadership’ training course

Image from Virakesari Online. [Editors note, 26 January 2014: Since the time this article was first published, the service used to host the embedded PDFs requires registration and a fee to download the documents locally. All of the PDFs embedded below are now hosted on box.net and can be downloaded for free using this link.] Great […]

Giving the middle finger: Sri Lanka’s conflicting responses to war crimes allegations

Mr. A Nawan, Deputy Solicitor General of Sri Lanka This symbolic screen grab is from a short video on Channel 4’s website, on the occasion of screening in Geneva a one-hour documentary into the denouement of the war in Sri Lanka. As Channel 4’s website notes, “Disturbing footage in the film includes the apparent extra-judicial […]

Mojo for mayhem or source of serendipity? Sri Lankan Army’s model to defeat terrorism

Since May 2009, we have been told by government that the Sri Lanka army defeated the LTTE using a combination of new tactics and strategies, undergirded by an unswerving political will helped by weapons supplies, credit lines and diplomatic support from the likes of China, Iran and Pakistan. There are many versions to the story, […]

Placing ‘Defeating Terrorism: Sri Lankan Experience Seminar’ in a critical light

Admirably, the Government was kind and open enough to provide a live web feed of the proceedings of the three day Defeating Terrorism: Sri Lankan Experience seminar, held in Colombo. This allowed for non-invitees and non-participants like us to monitor the saccharine presentations via the web, flagging inconsistencies as well as inconvenient truths that were […]

US Defence Attache’s observations on the end of war in Sri Lanka (Updated with US State Department response)

The on-going ‘Defeating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience‘ seminar is providing much food for thought. The Global Context of Counterterrorism: Strategy, Ethics, and Sustainability in Sri Lanka’s COIN Experience by Dr. David Kilcullen published on this site is based on a speech delivered at this seminar. The proceedings are webcast live (though our experience is […]

The Global Context of Counterterrorism: Strategy, Ethics, and Sustainability in Sri Lanka’s COIN Experience

[Editors note: We were forwarded Dr. Kilcullen’s speech by someone present at the on-going “Defeating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience” seminar in Colombo. The person who sent us the email noted that “Australian counter-terrorism expert David Kilcullen speech today at def seminar. It was the best for the day where he insinuated that by giving […]

Is the war crimes video confirmed by UN as authentic “unrepresentative and irrelevant”?

The Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, presented at the 17th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva today found, after digital forensic investigations, new footage from the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war as authentic and proving that war crimes took place […]

A robust debate on No Fire Zones (NFZs) and International Humanitarian Law: Artful dodging of war crimes in Sri Lanka?

Original image courtesy PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images A central challenge of curating content on Groundviews is that some of the most interesting discussions which occur on comment threads get obscured over time, and are less visible than the primary material published here. A case in point is the recent thrust and parry of wit over the […]

A review of ‘The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lankan & The Last Days of the Tamil Tigers’

I was elated to take delivery of my copy of The Cage by Gordon Weiss yesterday. Having pre-ordered it off Amazon UK, I fully expected it to be held up by Customs officials in Sri Lanka, given the incendiary issues the book is anchored to and its author, an erstwhile employee of the United Nations […]

V-Day 2nd Anniversary: Peace Under Pressure

Original image by J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times Every mayoralty in Paris has tablets on which are inscribed the names of those from that locality who died in the many wars which France fought. Many are the works of art in the glorious buildings in Paris, which depict these battles, from Jeanne […]

Reconciliation without Truth in Sri Lanka?

South Africa had a Truth and Reconciliation commission presided over by Desmond Tutu. Human Rights activists who looked forward to Reconciliation and peace at the end of the civil war in 2009, expected the LLRC (The Lessons learnt and reconciliation commission) to play the same role. But it did not due to various reasons. The […]

From draft to official text: Wikileaks reveals the US response to the end of war in Sri Lanka

The Norwegian newspaper Afterposten published on 7th May a cable from the Wikileaks tranche of US diplomatic cables (confidential briefings) dealing the US government’s response to the end of war in Sri Lanka. Wikileaks on Sri Lanka: A breakdown and implications was an in-depth account we exclusively published last year exploring the fallout of the so-called […]