Category Archives: authoritarian regimes

Reviewing the Statistical Computations on Civilian Deaths in the Last Phase of Eelam War IV

Lt. Colonel (Retd) Athula Lankadeva, in Sunday Island, 12 November 2017, where the title is “A Critical Analysis of UN Panel of Expert Report which says SLAReviwe killed 40,000 Civilians During the Last Stage of War” … highlighted emphasis has been inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Sunday Times of 29 Oct carried an article referring to Lord Naseby on demanding to remove the war crime tag from Sri Lanka. Lord Naseby researched classified documents to find that UN has fudged the casualty figure of 40000 civilians killed during the last phase of war in Sri Lanka whereas it was a guess by the UN Panel of Experts (POE) better known as Darusman Commission. According to the classified documents filed by then British Defence Attaché in Colombo Lt. Col Anton Gash, the civilian killed from Feb 1 – 26 April 2009 is 6432.  The figure could be higher with the civilian deaths occurred within next 3 weeks. However, the total civilian deaths included civilians killed due to collateral damage during combat operations by the Armed Forces against LTTE, civilians killed intentionally by the LTTE by design and deaths of LTTE combatants dressed in civilian clothes.

In this photograph released by the pro-LTTE website TamilNet.com on May 2 are what they say show some of the 64 people killed and 87 wounded by shelling at a makeshift field hospital in Mullivaikal…In this photograph released by the pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) website TamilNet.com, obtained by Mercy Mission, on May 2, are what they say show some of the 64 people killed and 87 wounded by shelling on May 2, 2009 at a makeshift field hospital in Mullivaikal, in the south of the last scrap of land held by the guerrillas. The military denied the report saying the LTTE may have set off explosions near the hospital. Sri Lanka has disregarded heavy Western pressure to call a truce to protect tens of thousands of civilians trapped by the LTTE in the war zone, a 5-square km (2-sq mile) strip of coast. It is difficult to get a clear picture from the war zone, which is generally off-limits to outsiders. REUTERS/www.Tamilnet.com/Handout

Island 29 April 2009

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Revisiting Critical Issues in Eelam War IV: Summarizing Citizen Silva’s The NUMBERS GAME

Michael Roberts: “Introducing ‘Numbers Game’ – A Detailed Study of the Last Stages of Eelam War IV,” …….. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/introducing-numbers-game-a-detailed-study-of-the-last-stages-of-eelam-war-iv/…. on 1 May 2013 where 46 comments can be found …. while the version here has some highlighting that is not contained in the Col-Tel version

Citizen Silva’s THE NUMBERS GAME can be found at…. http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice  OR http://www.margasrilanka.org/ [right panel at top—then click]

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Aussies celebrate a Victorious Cavalry Charge: The Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917

Peter Craven, in The Australian, 31 October 2017, where the title is “The Light Horse at Beersheba was poetry in motion”

The Light Horse and the Battle of Beersheba. It’s a strange story, though an old one, of how we turn the slaughter of war into the stuff of legend. But there’s a truth, as well as a myth, in the idea that this country came of age with Gallipoli; and that World War I’s official historian, CEW Bean, was on to something, not just propaganda and making the best of a bad lot, when he said the courage of the Anzacs was a defining moment.

George Lambert’s painting  The Charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba is an old-style celebration of an old-style battle, and looks to the memory of a chivalry that was being lost.
George Lambert’s painting The Charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba is an old-style celebration of an old-style battle, and looks to the memory of a chivalry that was being lost.

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The LTTE Debacle at Aanandapuram, April 2009

Michael Roberts

 When I interviewed General Shavendra Silva on 19th August 2017,[1] he identified three temporal turning points during the last year of the war (mid-2008 to May 2009). These were

  1. The SL Army’s capture of Pooneryn on 15th November 2008 which finalized the control of the western coastline (Hull 2015)
  2. The SLA’s capture of Paranthan on 31st December 2008.
  3. The SLA’s encirclement and decimation of a body of elite LTTE forces at Aanandapuram in the period 31st March- to 5th April 2009 as the Tigers were assembling for counter-attack.
  4.  Some footsoldiers at the heart of the battle and General Silva Continue reading

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When Terrorism assailed Cricket at Lahore, 3 March 2009: A Cumulus Cloud of Questions

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, where the title is different

A distant image of some assailants  

99793-H-Sun cover large

  a dead body is removed subsequently –Pic from AFP

A few years back I studied the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team when they were on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore during the course of their Test Match vs Pakistan in 2009. This analysis is available as “Cricket under Siege:  The Lahore Attack, 3 March 2009,” in my book Incursions & Excursions in and around Sri Lanka Cricket (Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2011).. I did not interview Brendon Kuruppu, the SL Team Manager, till after that work was presented. Since he presented a lucid account of his experiences, that essay lacks some of his insights. Continue reading

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Sinhala Extremists: No Middle Path Ever! Thus sponsoring Tamil Extremism

Dayan Jayatilleka, courtesy of The Island, 25 October 2017 where the title is “The Sinhala far right’s political final solution”

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young, died violently or were maimed, and tens of thousands disappeared, and unknown numbers were tortured, in the less than four decades between April 1971 and May 2009 on this small island. Something must have been wrong; something must have gone wrong, somewhere, for all this horror to result among so much natural beauty and tranquility. We are all implicated in different ways and in different degrees. The least we can do is accept that there were huge mistakes and seek to rectify them through reform. For this, we must turn the searchlight inwards and not content ourselves with pointing the finger outwards.

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Reporting War. Outrageous Obfuscations during the Last Phase of Eelam War IV

Michael Roberts

The demand for news and the monies generated in mass media mean that journalists attempt to cover modern wars at close quarters. Access to war fronts is dictated by many factors, including location and access as well as the nature of the war terrain. Access to locations where the battle-lines are fluid and changing may be easier than those with definitive war-fronts, though such conditions can turn out to be more fatal – as Western reporters in Libya and Marie Colvin discovered in Syria in 2011/12.

Adie  Colvin Nesmann Birtley

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