The title for this item is inspired by that riveting film from 1998 entitled Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks in the lead role.
KEY QUOTATION: “It is said that the LTTE was agreeable to USA’s direct involvement, but they were not agreeable to locking the weapons. The USA had also started preparing for the Mullivaikal operation. Accordingly, PACOM’s Naval unit, Marine Expediency Brigade, will land at the Mullaithivu shores; and the Navy and the Air Force of PACOM will also join in this operation” … being just one stick of dynamite in “Mullivaikal Last Stages: Facts Unknown to the Tamil-Speaking World,” by Fr. Gaspar Raj, an essay in Tamil translated by one “ M N” for Nakeeran and then presented to the world by Sri Lanka Guardian on 23rd June 2010.
This essay was re-discovered by accident when I went through my computer files recently and becomes extremely important in the light of (A) the recent review article by Daya Gamage; (B) the startling facts and manoeuvres that are displayed in the raw within the US Embassy despatches of 2009 made available by Wikileaks; and (C) by the veteran journalist PK Balachandran’s information on Revd. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj’s role in 2009 and his endorsement of key facts in the Gaspar Raj essay…….inserted here at the end of the article by Gaspar Raj. Michael Roberts.
Fr. Gaspar Raj: “Mullivaikal Last Stages: Facts Unknown to the Tamil-Speaking World”
The Indian Foreign Secretary of that time, Sivshankar Menon, went to the USA during the first week of March 2009. It was an important and urgent meeting, through externally it was presented as a usual state visit. It was the time when the USA had taken a three-point policy decision to: • bring a ceasefire between the LTTE and GoSL; • transfer the hundreds and thousands of people caught up in the war zone to safety; • bring about talks between the two warring parties for a political solution.
Shivshankar Menon went to the USA at the time the USA had begun to move forward in implementing these three points. What is written here in Nakeeran are facts unknown to the Tamil-speaking world. It is said that on 5th March, in Washington, Sivshankar Menon was officially informed by the USA of its plans. However, India already knew of the moves the USA was taking. The USA’s Asia-Pacific military section, PACOM, had the major role in implementing this very first major military operation in South Asia by the USA. Since the major officials of PACOM had visited Colombo during the third week of February 2009 and debated extensively their plan with important military chiefs including Gothapaya, this plan was already known to India and China. Although, the Rajapakse brothers did not want to openly confront the USA, they did not like the USA’s military plan. They knew very well that: if USA puts its foot militarily in the island it will not be possible to extricate the island from their long term control. The Rajapakse brothers also knew that although the USA and the Western states will not insist on an independent Tamileelam they will attempt to give self-government based on the Oslo Declaration that permits the right to secession. Thus it is not surprising that the Rajapakse brothers planned to intensify the war even if it was with massive civilian cost in order to stop the USA’s plan from moving into implementation stage. China willingly came forward to give encouragement and support for that genocidal war in Mullivaikal. China also gave the assurance to protect the Rajapakse brothers from any problems they might face internationally for bringing the war to such a brutal end. It was also China that gave the green flag to use banned chemical weapons in the war.
Most of us know the superpower aspirations of the USA. Left wing intellectuals have indeed written a lot about this in Tamil. It is indeed true. It is the USA’s superpower military-economic policies that are the cause of poverty and misery of millions of people. It is not our job to defend the USA. At the same, the brutality and racism behind China’s dreams for superpower status are much worse. This, however, has not been debated much in the Tamil language writings. The reason for this is the left leaning of the majority of writers of the Tamil magazines. Indeed, the USA policy to interfere militarily was not due to its concerns for the Tamils. It is because the USA thought that China is bringing the island gradually into its control with the view toward hegemony over the Indian Ocean. The USA wanted to stop this and also thought that a USA military presence in the island would in general help to hold China back.
On 6 March 2006, US Foreign Secretary Richard Boucher said in Washington, “Our officials have been stationed there to observe what is happening in the war front and to identify what can be done by the USA. We will do whatever we can to help the suffering people”. Many countries including Sri Lanka, China and India read these diplomatic words of Boucher as early warning of the USA’s plan. At the same time as when the USA officials debated their plans with the Rajapakse brothers, the debate was also carried out with the LTTE through their international representatives. Accordingly, the LTTE must first announce that they will silence their weapons.
Following this there will be a USA-initiated end to the war by the Sri Lanka side. The civilians will be removed from Mullivaikal to safety by the USA forces with the involvement of the ICRC. All of the weapons of the LTTE will be locked up with the USA’s help. The talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE will resume. If the talks fail, the USA will hand over the locked up weapons back to the LTTE. These were the issues debated with the LTTE. It is said that the LTTE was agreeable to USA’s direct involvement, but they were not agreeable to locking the weapons.
Pic in original Guardian article with title: “U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit takes off from amphibious assault ship USS Bataan Nov. 6, 2009, in the Indian Ocean.”
The USA had also started preparing for the Mullivaikal operation. Accordingly, PACOM’s Naval unit, Marine Expediency Brigade, will land at the Mullaithivu shores; and the Navy and the Air Force of PACOM will also join in this operation. It is important to note that although USA had code named this operation, which would have been a turning point in the military history of South Asia and the Indian Ocean, as “Coalition of Humanitarian Task Force”, it is said that in all its internal military documentation this operation was termed an invasion. This plan has also been shared with NATO countries. Even France, which usually opposes USA’s military expansion, gave full support to this operation. During this period, UN secretary for humanitarian emergencies, John Holmes, made an urgent visit to Colombo. Commenting on the purpose of his visit he said, “I have come to make the arrangements for bringing an end to the war through humanitarian concerns.” It was said that this was part of USA’s military plan. In the meantime there have been differences of opinion within the Obama administration about this new USA military involvement in South Asia. Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton was given the task of resolving this. Indeed it is said that even she was not fully convinced of this plan. The Colombo embassy was asked to submit a report on the true situation in order to confirm the need for a military operation. The deputy head of the embassy, James Moore, thus made an urgent visit to Jaffna and met military officials, religious leaders and others and sent a detailed report. It is said that this report convinced the vacillating Clinton. It was at this time with China giving the green flag, Rajapakse brothers began the brutal last phase of the war. At the same time India also began an urgent attempt at ceasefire and I too acted as a postman in this Indian effort. Did India support America’s military plans?
PK Balachandran to Michael Roberts, email 22 October 2014
I have heard of Fr. Gaspar Raj. He is a pro-LTTE human rights worker who turns a blind eye to the atrocities of the LTTE. He was close to DMK’s MP and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi also.
Yes, the US was actively planning an operation of the kind described in the report. I have heard it said that it was the US plan which made Prabhakaran decide to move his men and the Tamil masses to the Mullaitivu coast. He was to be airlifted and his key men taken aboard US ships. But this plan did not work out apparently because of the following reasons: 1) It was said that Prabhakaran was using the American plan only to pressure the Lankan government to order a ceasefire. After a ceasefire he planned to regroup by infiltrating into the jungles of the Wanni from which he had been driven out by SL forces. SLG smelt the rat and did not agree to the ceasefire.
2) Prabhakaran did not agree to lock up his weapons and hand them over to the US. He needed the weapons to carry on the fight.
3) As far as I know, India did not want an end of the operations before the comprehensive defeat of the LTTE. But for domestic political reasons, India wanted the casualties to be kept low by minimizing the use of area weapons like artillery and aerial bombardment. It also wanted a short ceasefire to enable the Tamil Nadu elections due at that time to go in favor of the DMK-Congress alliance. 4) My guess is that the US plan was foiled by the strong resistance put up by the Rajapaksa brothers with firm but tacit support from India.
Colman, Padraig 2013 “Deadly Accountancy. Part II,” http://pcolman.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/deadly-accountancy-part-2/.
De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2010b “Information Warfare and the Endgame of the Civil War,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, May 2010 30/4: 35-37. http://www.asiapacificdefencereporter.com/articles/40/Sri-Lanka.
Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-american-agenda-for-sri-lankas-national-issues-1970s-2014/
Harshula 2011a “When allegations becomes evidence,” 6 June 2011, http://groundviews.org/ 2011/06/06/when-allegations-become-evidence/
Jeyaraj, DBS 2011 “KP” Speaks Out, Vavuniya: NERDO.
Marga 2014 Issues of Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/tdxwntf7wu5andq/The%20Last%20Stages%20of%20the%20war%20in%20Sri%20Lanka.pdf?n=66191473
Reddy, B. Muralidhar 2009c “End Game,” Frontline 26/10, 9-22May 2009
Reddy, B. Muralidhar 2009d “An Escape from Hellhole,” http://www.hindu.com/ 2009/04/25/stories/2009042558390100.html.
Reddy, Muralidhar 2009e “Final Assault. A first-hand account of the war and the civilians’ plight as Eelam War almost comes to a close,” Frontline, 26/11, May 23-June 5, 2009, http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=archive
Roberts, Michael 2014 “Ball-by-Ball through Wikileaks: US Embassy Despatches from Colombo, 2009: ONE,” 27 August 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/ball-by-ball-through-wikileaks-us-embassy-despatches-from-colombo-2009-one/#more-13481
 At present (in October 2014) I have only studied a small tithe but will be presenting more distillations shortly. The implications of the series are mind-boggling.
 When I met PK Balachandran in Colombo way back in the 1990s he was correspondent for the Hindustan Times, but he has since been snaffled by The New Indian Express. As a Tamil speaker and a long-time resident and worker in Sri Lanka his depth of knowledge is as deep as far-reaching.
 The general thrust of the Gaspar Raj tale is further supported by Muralidhar Reddy: “To best of my knowledge this is accurate. I gathered almost kind of information from Vijay K. Nambiar, Chief of Staff of UN Secretary General, who visited Colombo to oversee arrangements for the visit of Ban-ki-Moon in the last week of May 2009” (Reddy to Roberts, email 22 October 2014)