Crunched In-Between the Sinha-Le Activists and the Self-Righteous International Cabal

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 9 February 2016, where the title is  “Near and Explosive Danger. The Sinha-Lē Campaign and Those Crusading Righteous” … and where the Footnotes could not be inserted for technical reasons … and where you will find the usual array of caustic comments**

I recently received (unsolicited) a series of images presenting striking scenes of the Sinha-Lē protests against the denigration of Sri Lanka and the threats (imagined and real) looming over the island from the pressures of the (so-called) “international community.” These demonstrations intertwine with the emergence of a front dedicated to “the defence of the motherland,” namely the mawbima suräkīmu organization, which has its very own web site where an evocative line from a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller is deployed to back this clarion call: “it does not matter as to what race, creed, color or religion you belong to — it is your bounden duty to protect our Motherland with all the sinews in your body.”

aa=Sinha-Le stickerThese lines of activity and the proliferation of Sinha-Lē stickers on tuk-tuks and sites in the urban arena signal the further eruption of Sinhalese chauvinist extremism associated with the Bodhu Bala Sena’s campaign against the Islamic people (e. g. at Alutgama in mid-2014).[1] Where such politically-loaded signals are pasted on the walls of houses where Muslims or other minorities reside (as in Nugegoda recently), the implications are explosive.

In a context where Tamil extremists at home and abroad have insisted that Sri Lanka has committed ‘genocide” against its people, this type of movement consolidates a political situation where Sinhalese and Tamil extremists at each pole of the divide feed off each other. Albeit in different ways, this circumstance today rekindles the picture of “near and explosive danger” arising from extremisms at the poles which Sinnappah Arasaratnam painted for us in the 1960s and 1970s.[2]

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that Arasaratnam’s warnings were justified. Given this reading, do we have the acumen NOW to address and nullify the Tamil and Sinhalese extremisms that are at loggerheads today? … with each polar force being complicated by the presence of extremist factions competing with each other and rendering compromise and appeasement doubly difficult.

Sinha-Lē and the Mawbima Patriots

Let me introduce today’s Sinhala extremists through a couple of pictures and selections from the clarion call of the Mawbima collective

14 12

Due to the extremely critical time fast approaching in our contemporary history, a website is being launched today to remind all communities to pressurize those scoundrels who have taken refuge in the portals of parliament not to carry on with games that are being played by some of them against our beloved Motherland, …. Already a steady scenario is developing where posters and car stickers bearing the words SINHALE have started to appear without any fear.

The traitors along with a number of pro-western media, enjoying the freedom of the wild ass, are hurriedly accusing the Sinhales of being racially motivated. …. These are the yakoes that call themselves Sinhalese. Unfortunately the Motherland is unaware of the mutations that have occurred recently but one cannot fool everybody all the time. Genuine patriots will be protected by the power of the Triple Gem as happened in 1971, 1989 and 2009.

…. It does not matter as to what race, creed, color or religion you belong to—it is your bounden duty to protect our Motherland with all the sinews in your body,”


The reference to 1971 and 1989 in the Mawbima Circular suggests a strong current of JVP ideology of the Pol Pot kind. There are other signs today, quite numerous signs both at home and among the diaspora, of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist thinking located at the polar extreme.[3] The public expressions of alarm are also threaded by allusions to the historical past that mark the extent to which the justificatory politics of the present rely on readings of the past – sometimes readings that transpose the present into the past in order to re-affirm present-day dispositions.

That stressed, a sweeping denunciation of all the motifs in this corpus of protest should be avoided. There are multi-faceted dimensions within the agitation of concerned Sinhala Lankan citizens — with some threads generating support among Sinhalese Lankans and other Lankans (including Thuppahi Lankans[4]) who are not necessarily chauvinist. I seek, here, to identify several facets within the protest that demand consideration and debate.

There are reasonable grounds for all concerned citizens to investigate the implications of the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement[5] identified by the acronym ISLFTA[6] together with the proposed relationships known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or CEPA (Kiringoda 2015). Likewise, the proposal to build a bridge between India and Sri Lanka has to be reviewed dispassionately in ways that strip thinking of the heightened fears of Sri Lankans enmeshed in hoary fears rooted in the past of the Rajarata civilization.[7]

Again, it would be naïve for readers to dismiss the dangers associated with the R2P ideology in the Western world and the manner in which liberal/radicals and HR advocates have become instruments of world power politics.[8] That USA and the West were displeased with the degree to which the Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime leaned on China and Pakistan for weapons and relied on China in the economic realm in the period 2007-09 is no secret.[9]

The degree to which this displeasure directed their response to the progress of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 is an issue that demands analysis from specialists in this arcane field.[10] Significantly, in his Address to the Press in Chennai on 24 October 2008 Robert Blake (Ambassador in Lanka) affirmed USA’s desire for the “fighting [to] stop] so that a political solution [could] be agreed on that satisfie[d] Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim aspirations” (Blake 2008). At that moment — in fact from circa April 2008 — some 320-330,000 citizens of Thamililam had been encouraged to retreat ahead of the back-peddling LTTE forces so that they were eventually corralled in declining space and served as a defensive formation and labour pool at the same time that such an operation served as a raison d’etre for the “spectre of an impending humanitarian catastrophe.”[11]

The LTTE’s international networks went into overdrive in presenting such a picture and were assisted by many other Tamil migrants agitated by the danger facing their relatives and friends (a danger that was largely of the LTTE’s making). USA and its allies, as well as the several human rights agencies, accepted the LTTE’s grand strategy hook, line and sinker. Their principal goal from late 2008 was directed towards persuading both parties to agree to a ceasefire so as to obviate civilian casualties. Simon Jenkins was one of the few reporter-observers from afar who twigged that a ceasefire would materially assist the party on a slippery slope of defeat (Jenkins 2011). Moreover, the Indian General Elections were due in May 2009 and the LTTE had this event in view as yet another potential lifeline.

USA was alive to the LTTE strategy: “the LTTE [has] refused to allow civilians to leave because the LTTE needs the civilians as human shields, as a pool for forced conscription, and as a means to try to persuade the international community to force a cease-fire upon the government, since that is the LTTE’s only hope (Blake, Secret Despatch 133 of 5 Feb. 2009). The several efforts from the Norwegians, USA and other international players in 2009 to persuade the Tigers to accept a ceasefire got nowhere. Blake’s despatches and a report from an UN special envoy named Samuel who visited Colombo in February 2009 indicated “resignation” and “helplessness” about this prospect within the Western cabal embroiled in the Lankan scenario.[12]

Although he discerned the LTTE’s strategy, the American ambassador proceeded to support it. That is, in effect, he became a Tiger instrument. At a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister on the 18th March 2009, Blake told him “that the deaths of thousands or even tens of thousands of civilians from [any attack on the safe zone by GSL forces to inflict a final defeat on the Tigers] would cause an international outcry, likely subject the GSL to war crime charges, and almost certainly undermine public support in the U.S. and other donor countries for future reconstruction efforts in the north” (emphasis added).[13]

So, here then we see an imperialist ‘satrap’ wielding his might in no uncertain terms in the face of a ‘pygmy’ Asian state. The little Asian state, however, stood its ground[14] and went on to eliminate the LTTE as a military entity through some remarkable military operations in April and May 2009.[15] (Roberts, “Winning the War,” 2014 & Holmes 2015).

In consequence, USA and its international cabal have sought to punish Sri Lanka. They have pursued Sri Lanka persistently since mid-2009 with weighted and partisan UN reports and severe UNHCR resolutions.[16] It is no secret that the UN Department of Political Affairs centred in Geneva is staffed by US Foreign Service personnel seconded to that organization and is therefore under American ‘ownership’.

This campaign has been backed up by powerful media chains such as the New York Times. A recent illustration in January 2016 is provided by an editorial in the NYT which praised the new Sirisena government[17] for some of its measures, including the correction of “the Rajapaksa government’s tilt towards China,” but then rapped the government on its knuckles for several shortcomings before delivering the punchline: Sri Lanka had to “move quickly to fulfill his government’s obligation to the United Nations and its moral duty to Sri Lankans” by instituting war crime trials against military personnel who went beyond the pale in 2009. In perfect timing, a couple of days later, Ambassador Samantha Power (US Permanent Representative to the UN) went public with a position statement that indicated that she was “irked by the lack of a probe” into disappearances in Sri Lanka – a statement that retailed a sob story of one (Tamil) mother she had met in the island during a recent visit (Ceylon Today, 30 January 2016). One could not ask for a better example of the background marriage between the US Department of State, the United Nations bureaucracy and American media moghuls.

POWER 11 POWER 33  Samantha Power among the people in Jaffna …

POWER 22… and among the local big-wigs POWER 44.. with Palihakkara, Governor, Northern Province

One step in this direction was the UNPoE Report – also called the Darusman Report – presented by three lawyers who masqueraded as “experts.”[18] Proceeding explicitly as prosecutors rather than assessors,[19] one of their findings claimed that “a number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths” (para 137 on page 41, emphasis added).

Remarkably – indeed astonishingly – this allegation is now presented consistently in media reportage and eminent chambers as a definitive fact. “Forty thousand civilians were killed during the last phase of the war” is their assertion (with the implication being that most of the deaths were due to GSL shellfire and weaponry).[20] The process through which this LIE has been accepted so widely in the West is an illustration of the sweeping power of the so called “international community” centred around USA and its adjunct media chains. It is not merely a “community.” It is a power cabal.

Significantly, this statistic and the line of condemnation is articulated vociferously by liberal/radical parties and agencies who are often critics of the governing regimes of USA and its allies on other issues – whether domestic or international. One example is the Australian Greens Party.

The unity of the liberal/radicals and the conservatives on the specific issue of Sri Lanka, I stress, stems from the widespread conviction that the SL Tamils had been victimized in that land from the 1950s, with the pogrom of July 1983 providing conclusive evidence in support of this verdict on their part.[21] The fact that the Sinhala-majority and Sri Lanka have contributed to this contemporary alliance by virtue of its past misdeeds does not mean that this contemporary alliance has its present facts right. My point is that some of these so-called facts are quite erroneous or exaggerated. Nay, more: I accuse some of the righteous activists of intellectual dishonesty.

One-eyed Perspectives & Intellectual Dishonesty. An Achilles Heel?

The consistency with which intellectuals and reporters in the West who stand forth as seekers after “truth” have refused to read or cite any of the studies (on internet as well as print) which undermine several of the claims presented in such reports as the UNPoE and the Channel 4 videos is truly astonishing. This must, now in 2016, be regarded as a deliberate strategy.

Studies with both data and arguments that challenge and even eviscerate some of the principal arguments pressed by the international cabal[22] are simply by-passed. They are blanked out of consideration. When powerful nations and agencies (like sections of the United Nations) in their pocket pursue such a Machiavellian policy, we can conclude that their contemporary political interests are the guiding motive.

When globe-trotting intellectuals (e. g. Kenan Malik from UK) glibly trot out these alleged “facts,” that is par for the course in dilettante presentations of self. When an Australian reporter with a prolonged experience in South Asia, namely Amanda Hodge, ignores the lessons of war enshrined in Australian Anzac history which demonstrate that even at Gallipoli the number of injured soldiers (WIA) among the Allied forces invariably outnumbered those killed (KIA) – at ratios varying from 2.18 to 2.23, one is left to wonder whether political interest and media pitch submerges intelligence (Roberts, “Drama,” 2015c).

However, when such august bodies as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch act like the proverbial three monkeys and bury the evidence provided by, say, by Dr. V. Shanmugarajah and the considerable body of data marshalled by IDAG, the Marga team and assorted researchers,[23] only one conclusion can be drawn: they have deemed Sri Lanka and the government of the Rajapaksas to be abhorrent “baddies”[24] and would only countenance data that enabled them to excoriate the regime and its agencies.

I take the Australian Greens Party[25] and an earnest body of civil activists in Sydney incorporated as the Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd as my prime example of this species of chicanery. The PIAC deployed a committee of five to compile a report entitled Island of Impunity? Investigation into International Crimes in the Final Stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War in early 2014. This instrument was the foundation for an address in the Senate by Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens Party, on 11th February 2014.

MILNE Senato rChristine Milne, Leader, Australian Greens

In her address Milne initially stated that “[d]uring the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, human rights abuses and violations of international law were widespread. It is alleged that in the final years of the conflict war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by both government forces and the LTTE….” She then went on to conclude that “overwhelmingly the evidence gathered suggests the vast majority of crimes were committed by the Sri Lankan security forces. This includes allegations of attacks in and around civilian areas; restriction of civilian movement; denial of humanitarian assistance; killing, conscripting and enlisting of children; rape and sexual violence; torture and cruel treatment and enforced disappearances.”

There is a mix of partial fact, distortion and outrageous concoction in this array of accusations, with some of the distortion arising from a blatant neglect of context. The civilians were restricted because they had been encouraged by the LTTE to retreat in 2008 till they were eventually penned within a Tiger corral as a defensive formation and strategic ploy in early 2009 (Roberts “Realities,” 2015. The SL armed services’ operations enabled some 295, 873 civilians and Tiger deserters to survive.[26] One of the serious errors within this set of assertions however is the allusion to the government’s “conscription” of children. The armed services of Sri Lanka were staffed throughout by volunteers[27] and one of the surprising aspects of the long conflict was the manner in which the governments in the period 2005-09 managed to mobilise so many[28] despite the mauling which the SL Army had received in Eelam War III (1995-2001).[29]

Again, the charge that there was “a denial of humanitarian assistance” is an astounding error. The Greens should trawl through the despatches of the US Embassy in 2009 made public by Wikilelaks. They will find that the “Coordinating Chairs” of Western ambassadors were often urging government officials to expand the aid being sent to the trapped civilians and haranguing the government about the specifics in the IDP detention centres that were being set up. GSL had established a Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance chaired by a Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, in October 2006. This body included leading ambassadors, the Chairman of the NGOs Committee, the Director, of the World Food Programme and a government official in charge of essential services among others. It met regularly in 2008 and 2009. These deliberations were geared towards streamlining the humanitarian relief operations in which international agencies (WFP, ICRC, IOM, et cetera) as well as local NGOs (for e.g. Sewalanka, Caritas, SEED, Sarvodaya) were active participants. Government officials were central to the operations. Indeed, well ahead in 2008 the Medical Superintendent in Kilinochchi and other Tamil officials in Tiger territory who were on GSL books[30] showed commendable foresight in stockpiling medical supplies for an anticipated emergency down the track (Shanmugarajah 2014 and Roberts, “Medical Administration,” 2014b).

When land convoys conveying supplies (e. g. basic foods and medicines) to the war theatre were not feasible after January 2009, the ICRC chartered commercial ships that were escorted to the coastal front by the SL Navy. There, on what was in fact a land-and-water war front, the ICRC ships also evacuated injured and old persons (selected by the LTTE): at least 13,794 men, women and children were evacuated in the period extending from early February to 9th May 2009 and transferred to Pulmoddai (where the Indian government had set up a field hospital) or Trincomalee.[31]

Milne’s stark errors on the charges of humanitarian aid and child conscription and are clues to the combination of error and prejudice in the thinking of some radicals and liberals who had decided that the Rajapaksa administration was an ogre (Roberts 2009). But note that the five-person team that forged Island of Impunity? included one Gordon Weiss, an Australian of Jewish lineage who had been Media Officer with the UN organization in Colombo in 2008/09 and had risen to media fame after he resigned (in anger) from his post and penned The Cage under the imprint of the prestigious Allen & Unwin publishing firm (see Padraig Colman 2013c). He would have been aware that GSL did not resort to child conscription and would have been cognizant of the humanitarian supply and medivac operations involving international and GSL cooperation.. So, how is it that the ICEP Report led Milne to indulge in such outrageous blunders?

WEISS -DNBy 2011 Weiss was on a high-flying media conveyer belt: appearing as a guest speaker at the Edinburgh Festival and consulted live on occasions by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His book The Cage was striking a chord in many hearts. He was also part of a loose network of Australian radicals and liberals in the Sydney/Canberra area who were vociferous in slamming the Sri Lanka for its evil ways and undemocratic practices. This network included Antony Lowenstein, Jake Lynch, Bruce Haigh and Trevor Grant. Grant was a former journalist in Melbourne who was an active participant in Tamil protest demonstrations at cricket matches that involved the Sri Lankan cricket team in the 2010s. He has recently (2014) brought out an illustrated vilification of the Sri Lankan government of that day entitled Sri Lanka’s Secrets. How the Rajapaksa Regime gets away with Murder.

GRANT--t-net 14-3-2013 tamil-protest-26-dec-2012-sebastian-costanzoTREVOR GRANT

Let me pinpoint one instance of the clever dissimulation by graphic picture that Grant indulges in. On page 95 readers are presented with a full-page image of a smoke blackened and devastated landscape which is entitled “A safe zone in Mullivaikal is reduced to a scene from Apocalypse Now.” The suggestion is that this was a common scenario in the anvil of war and that the Tamil people and fighters were subject to relentless bombardment. But how many readers will be aware that this image is taken from a SL Defence Ministry web site? This site retailed a series of images presenting the scenario circa 13-16th May 2009 – a point at which the remaining LTTE had heard that the Indian General Elections had produced a clear government majority, an event that meant that there would be no miraculous lifeline. The LTTE then proceeded to blow up its munitions and stock.[32] When the SL Army moved into this locality in the next few days, the grim smoke-blacked scenario was immediately snapped and presented to the world.[33] These snaps include some ‘feel good’ images of a soldier carrying a Tamil child to safety and a well-built Tamil man with white flag walking through the smoke with a (relieved?) smile on his face. Grant, however, is counting on his readership’s total ignorantce of such specific circumstances when he presents one scene from this particular locality at a particular moment. Such tweaking of ‘evaluations’, it seems, is permissible in propaganda warfare in a ‘good cause’. Cheating, in this view, does not trump a righteous campaign!

final assault- 11Final_Assault12

This Australian combination is just one illustration. It is probable that similar loose networks of liberals and radicals aligned with the cause of the Tamils on grounds they deem “righteous” exist in USA, Britain[34] and other European countries as well. The issue for students of protest activity is whether their campaigns are overzealous to the point of distortion and blindness.

My argument here is simple. The continuous work of this international juggernaut since 2009 has been one factor that has aroused the Sinhala extremists to a frenzy of the sort seen in the Sinha-Lē campaign. The eruption of Sinhala extremist agitation and violence within Sri Lanka during the last two/three years is major concern. Such a broad movement must invariably be due to a multiplicity of factors. I would argue that it is in certain ways a rejuvenation of the “1956 ideology” of Sinhala Buddhist revivalism as shaped subsequently by Jātika Chinthanaya and Mahinda Chinthanaya. The targeting of the local Muslim peoples from circa 2014 has been a surprising dimension which seems to have influenced the recent Sinha-Le campaign in powerful manner. The degree to which the American-inspired war crimes process has inspired this reaction is, therefore, a debatable issue; but there are several indications that it is a contributory factor.[35]

I have not studied the burgeoning literature on the Sinha-Le forces in the Sinhala and English languages in ways that enable me to disentangle the several factors, inclusive of class, caste and diasporic interests, that have moulded the movement.[36] It is a complex topic that demands a book-length study. I can only stress that this current of political activity is quite abhorrent and can seriously impair the country’s future by serving up fodder that supports the fears and claims of Tamils moderate as well as extreme. In other words, these hyper-patriot fools are responding to the international combine and Tamil extremists in just the manner desired by the Tamil lobby at home and abroad.


sanga soldier

A Catch 22 Situation for Sri Lanka

So, in this field, we enter a complex realm in any effort to dissect the issues facing Sri Lanka now. There are many Sri Lankans of liberal disposition who are fully alive to the machinations of the Western powers as well as those of the Tamil extremists, while detesting the ultra Sinhalayo-thinking that is embodied in such engines as the Mawbima Surakeemay Viyaapaaraya and displayed in the political demonstrations pictured in this item as well as other sites.[37]

They are squeezed in the uncomfortable middle.

The Buddha’s “Middle Path’ is of limited value here – the more so because there are so many militant Buddhists waving a Sinha-Lē symbol and a Lankan flag shorn of its symbolic encompassment of Muslim and Tamils as “we Lankans.” When a Muttiah Muralitharan, a Russel Arnold, an Angelo Mathews, a Tuan Dilshan, and a Mohamed Suraj Randiv cannot be embraced as Sri Lankan what hope have we people in the middle, … and what hope do we have as Lankans all.

The circumstances today seem bloody hopeless.

   ***  END   ***

** I have been materially assisted in writing this article by comments from Arun Dias Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka and by references sent by others in the island. Since this was drafted, Ram Manikkalingam has voiced the concerns presented at the end of my essay in brief terms: see  ….. and also note The Editorial in The Island, 9th February 2016 =


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Sharma, B. C. 2015 “Bridge over the Palk Strait,” Sunday Observer, 9 August 2015,

Sunday Times 2015 Marga/CHA confront the OISL Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Godfrey Gunatilleke in Q and A with Lasanda Kurukulasuriya,” 19 November 2015,

Thiagarajah, Jeevan 2015 Confronting the OCHR Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Memorandum from Jeevan Thiagarajah,” 19 November 2015,

Weiss, Gordon 2011 “Sri Lanka faces its ‘Srebrenica Moment’,” 23 April 2011,

Weiss, Gordon 2011 The Cage, Sydney: Picador.

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[1] See Ameer Ali 2014. Mohammed Shareef 2015 and Serasinghe 2016.

[2] Arasaratnam 1967 and 1979. The second of these articles was actually drafted by Arasa in 1974 for a collection that I was editing. It contributed to the pessimism that informed by article in Modern Asian Studies in 1978 as well as my work in Collective Identities (1979).

[3] Trawl through the web sites maintained in Groundviews and Colombo Telegraph in early 2016. Also see Serasinghe 2016 and Ramachandran 2016 and their bibliographical references.

[4] Thuppahi is best translated as “mongrel” or pariah.” All those of mixed parentage are – ideally anyway – thuppahi. However, patrilineal weightage seems to kick in here when it comes to official documents.

[5] Several sources can be located here But note the hot press item: “SL to sign ECTA with India by June this year” — 94462/ sri-lanka-to-sign-ecta-with-india-by-june-this-year.

[6] Note and

[7] Indian politicians and reporters seem to be enthusiastic supporters of this idea – see C. Raja Mohan 2015, Sharma 2015 and PTI 2015. The analyst N. Sathiya Moorthy, who has always been amiable towards Sri Lankan people and affairs, has evaluated it as a win-win project (2015). But it has drawn reservations from no less a person than Gunadasa Amarasekera –whose voice in recent decades is a touchstone for radical Sinhala Buddhist concerns. However, I also know of a Burgher intellectual who has expressed opposition to this idea in the public domain.

[8] See Peiris 2010, Roberts, “Lilliputs,” 2015 and Kunanayakam 2016.

[9] Indeed, the New York Times explicitly admitted this recently: “Mr. Sirisena … he has righted the Rajapaksa government’s tilt toward China, taking a balanced approach to Sri Lanka’s foreign relations that includes warmer relations with India and the United States” (NYT 2016).

[10] I am no specialist and have no familiarity with any serious reportage or research in this difficult terrain.

[11] See Roberts, Blackmail,” 2011; “Generating Calamity,” 2014 and “Hard Realties,” 2015 for elaboration of these arguments with support from maps and images. A pictorial history can be located in Roberts, Tamil Person and state. Pictorial, Colombo, Yapa Publications, 2014.

[12] See Salter 2015: 345 with quotation being Samuel’s words as quoted in Salter. Note: “Norwegian Minister for International Development Solheim spoke with LTTE Political Head B. Nadesan on April 1, but broke no new ground” (Blake, Despatch No. 393 of 3 April 2009).

[13] Blake to Washington, Despatch No. 308 of 19th March 2009 (also see Despatch No. 307 of same date).

[14] On several occasions the Minister of Defence, Gothabaya Rajapaksa, stonewalled and lied to Ambassador Blake: ‘The Defense Secretary assured the Ambassador that once the military surrounds the safe zone, the military will go into “passive mode”, withholding fire into the safe zone” (as reported by Blake in Despatch No. 186 of 20 Fe. 2009. Also see despatch No.283 of 12 March. We know now that GSL had every intention of completing their task.

[15] This has been my amateur reading (see Roberts, “Winning the War,” 2014) on the basis of prolonged studies guided by Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe’s reports and that of IDAG (2012). More recently General Holmes has stressed that the GSL forces faced “a unique situation” and noted that the survival of some 290,000 civilians and belligerents was “remarkable” (Holmes 2015).

[16] See Sunday Times 2015; Thiagarajah 2015 and Roberts, “Lilliputs,” 2015.

[17] One can surmise that USA contributed towards the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015 through judicious contributions to the social media campaign and financial backing for parties opposed to the ruling regime; but it is, of course, difficult to document such processes. In any event the Rajapaksa camp had alienated many segments of the SL populace and the Provincial Council elections for Uva a few months previously indicated that their support was waning.

[18] For a measured criticism of the slipshod methodology and other failings of the UNPoE Report, see Marga 2011. As Maxwell Paranagama points out the UNPoE simply bypassed the problem posed by the presence of “a strategic human buffer” in evaluating the issue of proportionality and responsibility on the part of the GSL forces (2015: 26) He also said that the UNPoE’s citational practices were slipshod (2015:28). Also see Roberts, “Sturdy Advocacy,” 2015.

[19] As the Paranagama Report points out, the UNPoE personnel understood that “its mandate preclude[d] fact finding and investigation” (2015: 12).

[20] One example is Amanda Hodge in The Australian, 20 August 2015, p. 8. For further illustrations, see Harshula and Roberts, “Drama in Four Acts,” 2015. For a note on Power’s remarks in January 2016 see

[21] See Roberts, “Agony,” (1994) and “Mentalities” (1994). Also see Kanapathypillai 1990.

[22] For instance, IDAG 2013; Noble 2013; Marga 2011 & 2014; Padraig Colman 2011 & 2013; and Mango 2014. One could also add a whole shaft of articles generated from my typewriter to this list.

[23] Shanmugarajah 2014; IDAG 2013; Roberts, “Medical Administration,” 2014; Mango 2014; and Roberts, “Blackmail,” 2012.

[24] In 2009 there were certainly several ‘crimes’ that the Rajapaksa administration could be birched for – not least the abductions and killings of both Sinhalese and Tamil journalists that was part of the dirty underground war occurring alongside the fighting on war fronts. The assassination of the Editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickramatunga, in broad daylight on the outskirts of Colombo in early January was one of the episodes that turned the Fourth Estate in the West into implacable enemies of the GSL then. See Kurukulasuriya 2013 and Roberts 2009.

[25] Lee Rhiannon and Sarah Hanson-Yong are among the Greens who have birched Sri Lanka at various points of time. Rhiannon and a NZ Greens MP (Jan Logie) were interrogated and turfed out of Sri Lanka in November 2013 when their fact-finding mission involved a meeting with Tamil politicians —

[26] Needless to say, some escapees died in the crossfire while some civilians were shot by Tiger diehards and there were a couple of suicide attacks seeking to deter the flight of the trapped people who had lost faith in the LTTE and/or their situation (trawl through the images and captions in Roberts, TPS. Pictorial, 2014).

[27] It is probable that there were “child soldiers” in the Karuna contingents that crossed over in 2004, but they would have aged by the time war resumed in 2006 and grapevine information indicates that most melted into the civilian arena. The Karuna personnel who became critical elements in the SL Army’s deep penetration units would have been experienced fighters.

[28] The SL Army recruited as many as 36,021 and 33,457 personnel in 2007 and 2008 respectively (De Silva-Ranasinghe, “Good Education,” 2009: 5). Also see Roberts, “Wining the War,” 2014.

[29] During Eelam War III in 1995-2001 the proportion of MIA to KIA within the SL Army casualties was a staggering 22.9 per cent – a stark contrast with the figure of 1.7 per cent for Eelam War IV. In addition, the desertion figures were high.

[30] I wonder how many vocal critics know that from 1990 to 2009 GSL paid all the officials in the standard departments of state within Thamililam. These personnel received their stipends from Colombo, but took orders from the LTTE in Kilinochchi.

[31] See Roberts, TPS. Pictorial, 2014, pp. 140-141 – images and captions. The evacuees were chosen by the LTTE and only some were injured or sick, the others being described as “caregivers.”

[32] A few Tigers are also said to have committed suicide in this period, while others are said to have embarked on a killing spree among the civilians (UTHR No 34 – where the figures of those killed must be read with caution as overestimates).

[33] See the 27 photographs under the heading “Army elites spearhead the final assault; Sri Lanka awaits total liberation from terror” at Note that the Indian reporters Kanchan Prasad and Murali Reddy visited this battlefield every day from the 14th to 18th May inclusive and one can get confirmation of these details from them. Also see the snaps taken by Kanchan in the whole area of the Last Redoubt:

[34] Geoffrey Robertson & Siobhan Macdonagh in UK and Francis Boyle in USA would be among the key figures on these ‘platforms’.

[35] Among the signs is the rising tide of literature and media-products that depict the soldiers and other fighting services as “patriots” and heroes. The recent demonstration against Price Zeid’s visit demonstrates the validity of this reasoning – see

[36] Just today 6th February 2016 I have been directed to these news items by two political science students in Sri Lanka viz.; ……; and

[37] See De Silva 2016; Serasinghe 2016 and Hilmy Ahamed 2016 for critical surveys of the ideology driving the Sinha-Le activists.


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