Category Archives: law of armed conflict

The LLRC Sittings in Pictures

The recent presentation in Thuppahi of a specific proposal from the LLRC on national anthems as well as the issues raised by Thuppahi on the topic of DISAPPEARANCES prompt me to present a number of images from the sittings conducted by this peripatic body of personnel together with a brief officla report. the images have been helpfully provided by Kithsiri De Silva an old Aloysian class-mate who was an officer servicing the work of this august body.  I am also tacking on an official report on the LLRC plus one dissenting note about its lopsided composition from Harshadeva Amarathunga. Michael Roberts

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Ignorant Oversimplifications in the Theresa May-Obama Characterization of ISIS

Damian Whitworth, in The Times and The Australian, 17 January 2017, with the title in the latter being “The Man who knows Islamic State’s Mindset” … with highlighing being additions by the Editor, Thuppahi

British Prime Minister Theresa May once exposed what she believed to be the basic flaws at the murderous heart of Islamic State. “I will tell you the truth,” she told the Conservative Party conference in 2014, the year that the militant group gained worldwide notoriety. “They are not Islamic and they are not a state.”

aaisia-11-times Pic from Times

Her words echoed sentiments expressed by US President Barack Obama. Today, with Islamic State under pressure from Western-backed forces in Mosul, the debate about whether it has actually succeeded in establishing a caliphate continues. However, on the question of Islamic State’s ­Islamic credentials, May is plain wrong. Continue reading

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Sinhalaness in the Middle Period and in Wars Against Colonial Intrusions

Chris Speldewinde, in the The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. r19, No. 1, 2008, reviewing  Michael Roberts. Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period 1590s to 1815. Colombo 4, Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications. 2004. Pp.xx +274, bibliog., index. US$60.00 (He), ISBN 955-8095-31-1.

Having spent a considerable period during my undergraduate studies of anthropology concentrating on cultural aspects of Sri Lankan society, I was enthusiastic to have been given the opportunity to read and review this work by Michael Roberts. In this latest addition to his many volumes of work on his native Sri Lanka, Roberts, has provided a rich tapestry of the period pre-dating the formalisation of British colonial rule on the island of Sri Lanka. He examines the forms of reaction of a society affected by migrating Indians from the north and European colonial expansion, beginning with the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-sixteenth century and later, the Dutch and the British. This book provides a considerable amount of both historiographical and ethnographic material, from a wide range of sources to keep the reader engrossed in the development of distinct ethnic identities on this island nation. The use of verbal history passed on through poems and songs from the period is used extensively to substantiate Roberts’ theories of the development of a definitive Sinhalese ethnic identity.

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HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

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American Killing and Assassination Power

US intelligence and special forces … remain potent weapons that Trump intends to use to the maximum.One senior American officer said he had told the Trump team: “All we need is the presidential authority and the GPS co- ordinates and we can kill anyone in the world within 72 hours.”  = A striking facet within this article in The Times & The Australian … http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/new-sheriff-trump-plans-to-flatten-isis-and-flatter-putin-qf9fxjm90…. and thus a pointer towards the double standards pursued by the so-called “international community” Editor, Thuppahi

‘New sheriff’ Trump plans to flatten Isis and flatter Putin

Donald Trump is to reverse American policy towards Russia and in the Middle East by publicly embracing Vladimir Putin as a trusted ally and repairing US ties with autocratic Sunni Arab regimes alarmed by Barack Obama’s accommodation with Shi’ite Iran. Details of the incoming president’s controversial plans have been revealed to The Sunday Times by senior members of his foreign policy team, who promised a “night and day” difference with the policies of the outgoing administration. Trump would usher in a “new era of American leadership” and launch a series of “high-profile military actions” against Isis to telegraph to Islamic radicals that there was a “new sheriff in town” after what he described as eight years of weakness, vacillation and mixed signals, one adviser said.

Trump with key policy aide Michael FlynnGeorge Frey/Getty

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Accidental SAS Kills and the Remorse of Andrew Hastie

Ellen Whinnett, in The Weekend Advertiser, 10 December 2016, …see & listen to http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-features/in-depth/the-untold-story-of-andrew-hasties-tragic-sas-mission-in-afghanistan/news-story/4711aefcf3e78930daa27b9030d9617c

The then 30-year-old was a captain with the SAS and, as troop commander, had called the Apache helicopters to take out two Taliban members loitering with a pair of donkeys about 1200m away. The Australians had intercepted communications from the pair organising an attack on the Black Hawk helicopters due to pick up this group of seven Aussie soldiers, who were visiting a remote police post in Taliban territory.Across the valley, two other figures with donkeys were gathering firewood, but Hastie didn’t pay them much attention. They were clearly civilians, and were hundreds of metres away from both the police post and the Taliban pair.

ANDREW HASTIE: WHY I HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT TRAGIC SAS MISSION


Liberal MP and former SAS captain Andrew Hastie has spoken out about his experiences in Afghanistan

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Where Vengeance kills its Best Practice Ventures: The Story of Avant Garde

C. A. Chandraprema, whose two-part essay in The Island, is entitled “The Avant Guard Affair: SL’s foray into the maritime security industry” … Emphasis via highlighting is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi.

Though much has been said and written in the past two years about the opaque operations of Avant Guard Maritime Services, most people know little or nothing of what it was all about – a classic case of a controversy creating more confusion than enlightenment. In this article, The Island staffer C. A. Chandraprema traces how Sri Lanka got drawn into the murky world of maritime security and the roles which the Rajapaksa government and the private sector played in the operation.  If the world of maritime security was murky, the murkiest part of it was the floating armouries. In the second part of this essay The Island staffer C. A. Chandraprema examines the controversy surrounding the Galle floating armoury of Avant Guard Maritime Services.  

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In 2006 as the war intensified, the Defence Ministry set up Rakna Lanka Ltd, a fully government owned limited liability company to provide security services to important government installations and institutions such as the Mahaweli dams and the Petroleum Corporation etc. Made up entirely of ex-armed forces personnel this special security service was meant to eliminate the need to deploy army and police personnel to guard infrastructure and to release them for duties in the war zone. Rakna Lanka provided security services to 49 government institutions during and after the war. While Sri Lanka remained preoccupied with the war, a new development that took place in the Indian ocean region was the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia. Continue reading

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