Category Archives: prabhakaran

The Early Phase of Sinhala-Tamil Rivalry in Ceylon, 1931-70s

Michael Roberts[1]

The factors promoting political agitation among the Sri Lankan Tamils since the 1920s, particularly the developments after Sri Lanka secured independence in 1948, have inspired a large literature.[2] Three turning points in the temporal progression of this agitation have often been marked: one in 1956 when an electoral transformation helped enshrine Sinhala as the language of administration and placed the majority Sinhalese peoples in a dominant position in the political dispensation; secondly, in the early 1970s when militant Tamils placed secession at the forefront of their demands; and, thirdly, in July 1983 when an anti-Tamil pogrom in the Sinhalese-majority regions that involved state functionaries as well as people from many walks of life alienated the mass of Tamils and sparked an expansion in the militant separatist struggle.[3]

  Bandaranaiake in rhetorical mode

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Revelations in Britain: Lord Naseby undermines the received ‘Wisdom’ on Civilian Deaths

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 12 November 2017 ... where the title is different and where verbal disparagement of the author and lively comments are likely to eventuate

Michael the Lord Naseby has set a cat among the British and international pigeons by extricating the reports of Lt. Col. Anton Gash (Defence Attache at the UK High Commission in Colombo in 2009) and presenting a summary review to the House of Lords. By immediately deploying Mandy Clark to interview Lord Naseby, Padma Rao Sundarji, the Foreign Editor of India’s first global channel, WION, drew upon his views and findings for the benefit of the world. This is something of a media coup.

Padma Rao Sundarji

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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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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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Catalan’s Pitch for Independence … with Reminders From Elsewhere

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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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Reporters struggling with Eelam War IV: Some Recollections and Reports

 Michael Roberts

In addressing the serious issues raised by some of the Western media reportage of the events unfolding during the last phase of Eelam War IV and several seemingly deliberate obfuscations, I recently sent a short set of questions to some Indian journalists who were in Sri Lanka then and also to a few Sri Lankan reporters/cameramen who had been taken to the war front – guided here by an official list available. I have only received responses from a few, but it is enough to set the reflections rolling.

  Journalists in plane en route to war front, circa 27 January —Pic by Kanchan Prasad

These responses throw light on the difficulties faced by journalists in reporting the war and I see them as important appendages to an analytical review that I have already penned in draft form (in progress). Those studying Eelam War IV should pay heed to these recollections, while also visiting the Al Jazeera You-Tube presentations provided by Tony Birtley & David Chater and marveling at the capacities revealed by Sergei de Silva Ranasinghe in deciphering the ups-and-downs of the SL Army progress from distant shores far better than Birtley or those in Colombo who visited the front on conducted tours on some occasions. Continue reading

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