Category Archives: american imperialism

Douma: Terror from Many Sides and Confusing Tales. Hypoxia not Gas?

Robert Fisk, in The Independent, 15 April 2018with this titleThe search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack”

This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.

an image from another source -viz. The Guardian

War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

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April 19, 2018 · 2:03 pm

The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design

Michael Roberts

In Despatch COL/2/08 of12 March 2009 Lt. Col Anton Gash has this summary appraisal for his superiors: The LTTE has been forcing the civilian population to move in accordance with their tactical requirements. The NFZ is rigorously policed and patrolled by LTTE cadres, who control access to food and medical facilities, ensuring that their own needs are met before any capacity is allowed for civilians.”

This is a critical observation pointing in the right direction. Nevertheless, it falls short of the mark. The mass of Tamil civilians was not merely a tactical element. They were a central pillar in the LTTE’s grand strategy. For one, they constituted a defensive formation: just so many sandbags restraining the full deployment of the government forces’ military weaponry. While the standard description of the civilians as “hostages” in HR and Western circles does point in this direction, the terminology is “weak” and does not fully capture the overarching strategic purpose of the corralled civilian mass. In addition to serving as a restrictive ‘bund’, the civilian mass provided an active incentive for Western intervention in favour of a ceasefire and some sort of “political solution.

 a tent citty in the Tigers’ last redoubt –-Pic from UNPoE circa February 2009

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Our Government Changes Course at Geneva: Dayan’s Incisive Summary

Dayan Jayatilleka,in Island, 30 March 2018, with title as Geneva: A shift in the government’s discourse”

The UNHRC session this month in Geneva succeeded in punching through to the news pages, despite the overwhelming dominance of stories about the no-confidence motion. However, there was no acknowledgement of the two most important aspects.

The first was from the government delegation or more correctly the discourse of the government team. Foreign Minister Marapana whose views are known to be a huge improvement on those of Minister Mangala Samaraweera, was accompanied by two nominees of the President, namely Dr Sarah Amunugama and Faiszer Mustapha. All in all, it was a decent team, lacking only State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vasantha Senanayake.

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Michael Roberts in Conversation in London, 8 March 2018


Distinguished academic Dr Michael Roberts was in England recently and talked about his experiences and work including his online life as creator of the Thuppahi Blog ( …. This Q and A takes 60 minutes.

Pic by Eranga Jayawardena

Michael Roberts is a historian by training and has taught at the Department of History at Peradeniya University (1961-76) and the Department of Anthropology at Adelaide University (1977-2003). His major works are in agrarian history, social mobility, nationalism and ethnic conflict. Based on his interest in the Tamil liberation struggle and the sacrificial devotion mustered by the LTTE, he has written extensively on suicide missions. Michael Roberts has also edited several volumes on Sri Lanka entitled Collective Identities. In 2004, he retired as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Adelaide University, but continues to write articles.

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White ‘Jihadist’ terrorises White House!

So says CLEMENT in The Australian

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1983 and 2018: Kunanayakam’s Warnings suggest US-UNHCR-Yahapālana Machinations

Tamara Kunanayakam, in The Island, 15 March 2018, where the title reads thus: “Former PR in Geneva warns Lanka at the mercy of UN-US project” …. with the highlighting here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Given that we find ourselves today standing at a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, I would like to begin and end by addressing an appeal to the Sri Lankan people – irrespective of the community they belong to – not to be swayed by events imposed upon them by others, but to keep their focus on the issues that concern them directly – the real issues, the issues that affect their daily lives, their working and living conditions, the issues that determined their vote and political choice at the recent Local Government elections.


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Colonialism within Todays’ Humanitarian Agency Work

Janaka Jayawickrama, courtesy of Al-Jazeera, 24 February 2018, where the title runs “Humanitarian aid system is a continuation of the colonial project …. Note that emphasis via highlighting has been added and minor editorial changes have been made by the Editor, Thuppahi

Haitians wait to get food coupons in downtown Port-au-Prince following the 2010 earthquake that wrecked much of Haiti’s capital and killed as many as 200,000 people [Eliana Aponte/Reuters]

The global humanitarian community is again in confusion. The Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal has made headlines. Policymakers and humanitarian leaders everywhere talk about the need for change. Over the last 30 years or so, there have been many scandals, and much demand for reform. However, business just continues as usual. According to Reuters, during the last year the Save the Children Fund claimed they fired 16 staff members over reports of sexual harassment and Oxfam reported it dismissed 22 of its staff. There are similar reports by various humanitarian agencies. What is terrifying is that the same person who quit his role with Oxfam 2011 after being accused of using sex workers while working in Haiti, was engaging in similar acts in 2006 during his time working for the charity in Chad. Oxfam knew about this but went ahead and sent this person to work in Haiti anyway.

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