Category Archives: american imperialism

Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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Facing Palihakkara: Foreign Judges on Homeland Soil?

Darshanie Ratnawallie in Daily Mirror, 13 June 2018, with the title reading “Diplomacy and Foreign Judges”

Could there be a keener pleasure than to sit around a fire and discuss diplomacy with a diplomat? Of course, there is no fire; just coffee, and that only in plastic cups, which nevertheless provides the fire, inside, instead of outside, but with the same cheering and relaxing power.

  
It’s after the coffee break at the ‘Education Institute’ and Ambassador Palihakkara has invited questions. “You said we cannot operate in isolation. But we have opposed the intervention of foreign judges in HR issues. As a diplomat how do you view this?” a student asks. Palihakkara makes it clear that he views it with disfavour, and concern and has no doubts that the same degree of disfavour would be forthcoming from every country, were such a thing suggested to them.    Continue reading

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Western Neo-Colonialism Today: An Incisive Note from Tony Donaldson

Context: When the Editor of Thuppahi circulates articles, he sometimes includes attachments or adds bibliographical references. Tony Donaldson read some of the references listed with the article on the last phase of Eelam War IV presented recently by Lalith Weeratunga. He then responded spontaneously and privately to two of my efforts from August 2015 and July 2016 in an email note sent today 12th June 2018. His thoughts are as incisive as thought-provoking. They are a boost to thought and debate. I place them in the inter-net world and challenge readers to respond. The two references are listed after his capsule-statement

 

Tony Donaldson’s Capsule Comment

Michael, …. Two great articles in “Ambassador Blake in Never-Never Land…” and the imperious interventions of David Miliband….  I am not surprised by any of this.  US diplomats should study anthropology for a few years. It might teach them to recognize neo-colonialism in their own value system.   Continue reading

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Honouring Sir Desmond de Silva, A British Legal Luminary whose Incisive Report serves Lanka

Rajiva Wijesinha, courtesy of The Island, 8 June 2018, where the title isSir Desmond de Silva passes away” … with highlights being the intervention of The Editor, Thuppahi

The death of Sir Desmond de Silva last week is a tragedy for Sri Lanka. But what is perhaps more tragic is that none of our decision makers can understand the blow we have suffered. Sir Desmond came into the picture very late in the day. The last government completely ignored both the commitments it had entered into freely, to deal with accountability issues, and also the mounting dangers of international criticism. It started indeed by immediately throwing away its best defence against such criticism, by dismissing Dayan Jayatilleka from the position of our Permanent Representative in Geneva.

Sir Desmond de Silva

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At the Heart of the Yahapaalanaya Alliance: Malinda’s Rapier

The burning political question of the day appears to be who and how many Parliamentarians received money from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) for their respective election campaigns. In a political season marked by scandalous memory-loss some have claimed that they didn’t always know who was depositing money in their accounts. Meanwhile the full list of beneficiaries is proving to be elusive; first it was said that PTL had funded the campaigns of 116 politicians, later the number was upped to 166 and now it stands at 186.  

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Lanka’s China Policy and the ‘Waves’ in the Indian Ocean

Palitha Kohona, in The Island, mid-May 2018, where the title reads  “China, India and the Indian Ocean:Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Challenges,”

bassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations; Former Foreign Secretary.

Sri Lanka’s foreign relations must reflect the country’s priorities. Sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka occupies an enviable strategic position. A blessing that, with careful and thoughtful handling and long term vision, can be leveraged to its advantage and, mismanaged, a curse that has and will attract the unwelcome attentions of global and regional powers seeking to strategically dominate the Indian Ocean. Throughout history, Sri Lanka has captivated the greedy interest of various powers, for strategic and trading reasons. At times, we elegantly parried and benefited from this attention. At other times we faultered. Responding to and judiciously managing these covetous advances and ensuring that the national interest is safeguarded, including its territorial integrity and sovereignty, will remain a priority. Having overcome a terrible terrorist challenge, nine years ago, we are again facing one of those seminal periods in its history. Continue reading

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Where USA sought to arm-wrestle Sri Lanka in March-April-May 2009

Michael Roberts

The ethnographic ‘nugget’ from Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama recorded by Professor Chandre Dharma-wardana in 2013 has set off a hornet’s nest.[1] In pursuing further inquiries, I have reached the tentative conclusion that Bogollagama has not presented a total fib.[2] He is probably referring to the entry of an US recce team rather than a commando force from America’s Pacific Air Command (PACOM in short) at some point during the last phase of the war – probably in February/March.. This would have been around the time the Western conglomerate in Sri Lanka known officially as the “Co-Chairs” had mooted the idea of “a sea-directed civilian rescue mission” in February.[3]

C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron prepare to land at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2018, during the 374th Airlift Wing Generation Exercise. The formation flight enabled the pilots to perform training necessary for them to remain current on their skillsets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres) — a snap which has nought to do with Sri Lanka but, like the second one below, serves to illustrate the power and reach of the US forces in general and those in the Pacific in particular

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