The HR Lobby in UK: Deskbound and Devious

Michael Roberts

The human rights lobby in UK (hereafter HR) has the International Crisis Group, Chatham House and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice serving among the spearheads of the campaign for a political transformation of Sri Lanka – a campaign that is in line with USA’s interests and is linked to the interventions of the United Nations HR industry involving Navy Pillai, Prince Zeid Raad Zeid Al-Hassan, the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and its cohort of officials (usually American or British personnel).

Navy Pillai Sooka Donahoegowing GowingAlan-Keenan 1

This conglomerate spoke out strongly during the lead-up to the Sri Lankan presidential elections,  with Alan Keenan and Richard Gowing (SLC) among those joining the BBC, the Economist, the NY Times, Amanda Hodge in Australia[1] and the American Taylor Dibbert via the Lowy Institute in Australia[2] in pressing the cause of Sajith Premadasa and the UNP, while raising the spectre of a dictatorship as the prospect if Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected. 

These skeins of propaganda war have been regurgitated after the Sri Lankan voters opted for Rajapaksa – with the overwhelming vote in favour of Premadasa in the Tamil-majority districts serving as the ground for an emphasis on these fears. The gonibilla of Sinhala Buddhist authoritarianism is depicted – whether bluntly or subtly – in these representations.

Sinhala chauvinism certainly dwells in depth within Sri Lanka. It is a major danger. So, too, is Tamil chauvinism centred in the north, but also dwelling powerfully within the bourgeoisie and certain well-placed lineages in Colombo. Again, strands of Islamic extremism of the Wahhabi kind have developed from the 1990s and complicated the island politics still further. These extremisms feed off each other ….. and grow. The vibrancy of social media sharpens the conflict. All these forces make appeasement difficult.

Human rights fervour has provided yet another dose of nitric acid to this incendiary situation. Desk-bound HR advocates with no experience of battle theatres and limited acumen pressed verdicts on the last stages of Eelam War IV as a major line of argument in the recent lead-up to the presidential election by speaking of “slaughter,” “genocide,” and brutalities pursued by the GoSL forces.[3] When they continued to flag this summary one-sided picture around the head of the new President (who was Defence Minister then in 2008/09) during the weeks following the election, they paraded several sweeping conclusions that cannot be sustained.

But this charade is sustained because they occupy seats in the world’s commanding media chains and can afford to by-pass dissenting voices from little people in Sri Lanka and outlying locations (for example Adelaide). Indeed, their essays are characterised by consistently shutting out challenging narratives (analyses) and by consistently avoiding the use of bibliographies – because that instrument, the BIBLIOGRAPHY at the end of any document or essay, is proof of either inadequate depth or solid depth.

None of these persistent loudmouths seem to have studied the thorough military report presented by Major General John Holmes for the Paranagama Commission on 28th March 2015 or the amazing study by IDAG[4] presented in 2013 or the collection of despatches from the British Military Attache in Colombo, Lt Col Gash, that reached the public domain in redacted form eventually in 2017/18 due to the intervention of Lord Naseby. Nor have they read the analyses or reportage of other lights such as Sergei de Silva Ranasinghe,[5] Muralidhar Reddy, Bryson Hull, and a bloke named Roberts.[6]

Most of these authors have relied largely on the Report of the United Nations Panel of Experts appointed by Navy Pillai and chaired by Marzuki Darusman, a body that did not visit Colombo let alone the war zone. Moreover, the personnel serving this panel were as desk-bound and ill-equipped for the tasks[7] they faced as Keenan, Gowing, Hogg and company. The UNPoE simply had no clue that in all major wars the number of injured soldiers outnumber the number who die in combat – sometimes by a ratio as high as 13 wounded to one dead[8] – though generally ranging between 3:1 and 5:1 (see some examples below). Though the Marga review of this report concluded firmly that their work was shoddy (see below) and though the issue of WIA:KIA has been stressed consistently in several reviews (including my work), this serious deficiency has been glossed over and by-passed by Keenan and company.

This degree of blindness suggests that intellectual dishonesty is at play, not merely desk-bound absurdity. But the main driving force behind this gross failure, I suggest, is power – POWER rendered in capital letters. Ruling the world’s media waves, these lobbies can afford to thump a set of contentions and by-pass inconvenient articles. Their media power, of course, is working in support of the powers-that-be within the world stage, with USA and UK at the masthead.

A Previous Episode

This cluster of issues cropped up again in mid-2018 and I presented a summary review of my findings on the concluding stages of Eelam War IV in Colombo Telegraph on the 16th October 2018. This article drew 33 comments in that web engine – mostly adverse. Among these was one from Rajan Hoole a friend whose honesty of purpose no one can question;[9] but whose reasoning and analysis on the issues surrounding the death-toll count I regard as seriously flawed. Since his comment was in the public realm I fashioned a challenging answer that was kindly placed in Colombo Telegraph by its Editor[10] on the 30th October 2018. [11]

Alan Keenan’s Twitter Tweet

Alan Keenan also entered the fray in 2018. His intervention was within a powerful public domain, a tweet in Twitter on October 16th 2018 which ran thus: “What I’ve never understood is why Michael Roberts, a well-respected & careful scholar, doesn’t push hard for a proper, independent investigation into end-of-war casualties. What’s to fear from open inquiry – which the #SriLanka govt has never allowed?” Alan Keenan‏ @akeenan23

I had met Keenan originally around the year 2000 at Jehan Perera’s[12] flat in Colombo. We had a dinner or two amiably in subsequent years in Colombo. I considered him a friend, but we have not met for over a decade. When his tweet appeared on the 16th October 2018, I did not address him on Twitter because I dislike that media. I must have written to Keenan by email. He sent me a long memo which runs to 1079 words. The memo ends thus: “Please do not quote me or end publicly.”

I abided by that request. THEN.

But in the cold light of the present situation, the interests of Sri Lanka must override other considerations. Moreover, on re-reading his email letter, I consider his approach to be insincere … and compounded by his Twitter note in the public domain. In fact, it seems to me that his private email note seeks to protect his public condemnation within Twitter.

Amiable friendship is now ended. I move to word-war by presenting his Private Letter separately in full and questioning its perspectives sharply in this presentation here. The Keenan Memorandum is also of special value in providing some indication of the lines of thought guiding the international HR lobby during the last stages of Eelam War IV as well as subsequent investigations.

Challenging Alan Keenan’s Reasoning

To commence with a minor issue. Keenan claims pressure of work as a reason to avoid public engagement with my essay. He is, nevertheless, a member of an organisation with an office and perhaps some access to aides. I do not have an office or any assistants. I work from home.

More to the point, in serving as the Director of the London office of the International Crisis Group, Keenan would be directed by its financial backers and objectives. Critics have savaged its “Responsibility-to-Protect” platform as an interventionist programme in support of USA’s role as world policeman couched in libertarian window-dressing.[13] In November 2019, moreover, we have witnessed how the ICG and allied INGOs came out strongly in support of the UNP candidate at the presidential election and indulged in the demonization of the Rajapaksa party.

It is in the light of this background that I address Alan’s main pitch: why does Michael Roberts oppose an “independent investigation into end-of-war casualties. What’s to fear from open inquiry” (his Twitter comment reiterated in his private letter).

The answer is quite straightforward and has been emblazoned in the skies for quite some time in my articles as well as work by other researchers on Eelam War IV. The investigation by the UNPoE (also known as the “Darusman Report” after its chairman) was bedevilled by “egregious reasoning” and shoddy methodology[14] – a conclusion presented by a Marga team that included a British journalist Michael O’Leary[15] and an ex-infantryman, David Blacker.[16]

Blacker O’Leary Hull

 In his own essay on the topic, Blacker runs a coach and horses through the UNPoE: “At no point does the Darusman Report reveal what evidence it examined,which portions were deemed credible, and which portions were rejected. Nor does it explain how an allegation was deemed credible, and whether this credibility was based on actual evidence, eyewitness testimony, or both. In spite of this, legal minds contend that credible evidence is necessary for an allegation to be termed credible, though it is unclear as to how the Darusman panel adjudged credibility.” [17]

Let me underline this verdict further. What we see in several of the international reviews is the work of desk-bound boffins who have no experience of battle-theatres and who pay no heed to this deficiency – so that they affirm infantile conclusions.

Keenan’s ‘private letter’ is honeycombed with this childish character. His suggestion that the medical facilities and staffing within the embattled “Vanni Pocket” held by the LTTE were inadequate and conducive to a greater death toll indicates that (a) he has not studied the report penned in January 2014  by Dr. Veerakathipillai Shanmugarajah, the Medical Superintendent of that arena, on both the pre-planning preparations and wartime work that went on;[18] that (b) he has not studied the Tamilnet pictorial depictions of some of the medical tasks in progress;[19] and that (c) he is not aware that the trained doctors were assisted by a number of experienced medical aides (usually women) who were able to perform amputations and whose capacities impressed Dr Susiri Weerasinghe when he was assisting amputees at the rehab-camps for LTTE prisoners after the war ended.

84a- 28_01_09_vanni_7  Medics  treating injured in Tiger territory

K 120c -Picture 038 A bunker ward in captured LTTE space within their last redoubt–Pix by Kanchan Prasad on-13h May 2009

I repeat one set of Weerasinghe’s observations relating to medical rehab-work conducted by a team from the Colombo Friend-in-Need Society at the Pompamadu Camp for female LTTE detainees on 30th November 2009:

“I was requested to examine non amputee patients too. This [photograph] shows two of us with two former female LTTE doctors who gladly helped me examine about 30 patients with wounds and fractures which had all been treated but needed review. The selection of these patients was by the two ‘LTTE doctors.’ Knowing English, they translated and also showed a good grasp of surgery. They said they had done tens of amputations by themselves and their competence gave credence to the claim. They had been at it for over a decade.”[20]

We can now turn to the crux of the debate against the background set out above – to indicate how incompetent, if not idiotic, some assessments in high places have been.

Situation Map on 6 March 2009

  Note the number of trapped Tamils (including some Tiger belligerents) who managed to escape on foot or by boat …(while this count may include those shipped away by the IRC via the cooperation of both sides, though i am not certain about this point)

Ratio of Wounded-to-Dead in Battle Theatres

During the Korean War the American ratio of wounded to dead was over around 3.5: amounting to 92,134 WIA as opposed to 36,516 KIA.[21]  In the Vietnam War it was about 3.6 — the figures being 58,209 KIA as opposed to 153,303 WIA.[22] A higher ratio of wounded to dead was recorded in the restricted space of the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915: it was 1.8 on the Turkish side and 2.18 for the Allied forces including the Australians.[23]

That is why I have deployed a rough estimate of 2:1 in raising the question: “if we take the UNPoE figure of 40,000 dead, where were the 80,000 wounded.[24] This is a rough yardstick that leans towards a modest figure in answer. It is a compelling contention despite its approximations.

Set against this critical debating background, one must surely reflect on the ratios of wounded-to-dead implied in the death counts peddled by interested pro-Tamil advocates. The summary comparisons are distilled in a diagram table compiled by Mango.[25]

KIA-to-WIA-Ratio-Chart

This graph captures the imaginative rantings of several highly educated and competent individuals in one stroke. Without prior connivance, the imaginative magnifications on some occasions by Frances Harrison and Gordon Weiss (inspired by grandiose guesswork figures retailed by Bishop Rayappu in Lanka) may have provided credibility to the lower estimate served up by the UN Panel of Experts (the Darusman Panel) – despite its absurdity in the light of the figures for dead and wounded Tamil personnel for the period August 2008 to 13th May 2009 that had been computed by the UN offices in Colombo: namely, 7,721 killed and18,479 wounded.[26]

The failure revealed on this issue highlights the desk-bound bourgeois mind-set of the UN panellists. It marks gross ineptitude. We can, now, add Alan Keenan to this grouping and perhaps John Macdonald,[27] Richard Gowing, Fred Carver, Antony Lowenstein, Lata Hogg and the others on the Council of the SL Campaign for Peace & Justice[28] which has also pressed the cause of the Sri Lanka Tamils in vociferous intonation.

Sitting in their ivory tower settees in London, these august personnel have continued to ignore the findings of the two British military officers who reported on the war: Maj-General John Holmes in March 2015 and Lt Col Gash from Colombo at the height of the war[29] – with the latter being released to the public in high profile circumstances in London in  2017/18.

This failure is just one instance of a consistent cluster of failures going back to the year 2009. The reviews by Keenan and others also display their failure to take account of the relatively incisive reports from the war front presented in 2008/09 by Bryson Hull and his Reuters staff based in Colombo,[30] Muralidhar Reddy of The Hindu, PK Balachandran of the Indian Express, and Kanchan Prasad of Prasar Bharathi, all located based in Colombo.

Let me now introduce one of the Reuters’ accounts which I had not taken note of earlier,[31] one sent from the war front on 23rd February 2009. This report from the rear-frontline presented by the American journalist, Bryson Hull, confirms what any intelligent commentator on the war would have comprehended: the presence of a mass of civilians enforced  restraints on the use of artillery and aerial bombardment by the GoSL forces – caution because they believed this would induce forceful foreign intervention.

Hull also refers to the tales conveyed by (Tamil) “witnesses who have escaped” — tales indicating that the LTTE forced civilians to stay as conscripts or human shields, shooting those who tried to escape and firing artillery from areas thick with people.[32] This strand in LTTE strategy was also comprehended by Narendran Rajasingham[33] and underlined in one of his email communications to me in 2012: the people were retained as a protective shield during the LTTE retreat and “exposed to death as a major part of their war strategy.”  Narendran’s approach was more grounded than those of the other two moderate Tamils whom I initially approached in order to revise Rohan Gunaratna’s absurdly low estimate of civilian deaths in a presentation voiced at the British Council in November 2011.[34]

In a contention which we must take seriously, Narendran argued that within the terrain controlled by the LTTE it was impossible to separate who was civilian and who was a Tiger.[35] He concluded that 15,000 Tigers and civilians died in the five months of 2009.[36] Directed by harrowing personal experiences, Narendran was alive to the manner in which bodies decompose. We, too, must recognise that the deaths of some civilians who perished in the jungle from crossfire or snake bite, and those who drowned in the Nandhikadal Lagoon as they fled in April-May, may never have been recorded. A few of these remains may well have been consumed by jackals, monitor lizards and termites. This possibility could be extended to the deaths of Tiger belligerents as well.

In brief, all estimates must be regarded as guesswork. Narendran’s figure can be placed alongside two other guesstimates: (A) in May 2009 the UN personnel in Colombo used their networks to compile statistics on the number of injured Tamils in hospitals and detention centres. Their definitive figure for injured was 18,749, while the tentative statistic for dead up to the 13th May was 7721; (B) during the Census of 2011 the Government of Sri Lanka devoted special attention to this task via their Tamil enumerators and came up with a figure of 7,432 civilian dead.[37]

A Review

The international commentary on the death toll and pertinent events during the last stages of Eelam War IV has been riddled with desk-bound ineptitude. This deficiency seems to have been prompted by political projects of power with the moral cloak of human rights as its battering ram.

The manifold sins of omission and commission of UN and Western powers were compounded when the UNHCR Office in Geneva set up the “OHCHR Investigation of Sri Lanka” in March 2014.[38] Its vanguard was a unit known as the “Office Investigating Sri Lanka” (OISL) headed by Sandra Beidas. In calling for submissions the OISL revealed its infinite idiocy by prohibiting the use of photographs, videos, et cetera in these submissions.

However, during the events preceding this investigation Eileen Donahoe, the US ambassador to the UNHCR, was fervent to the point of indiscretion: “we will get you” she spat over the phone at the Sri Lankan ambassador at the UNHCR, Tamara Kunanayakam, in September 2011 when the 18th Sessions of the UNHCR were in progress.[39] So, moral fervour can be vicious – the more so when it is an instrument of great power interests.

+++++++

The International Crisis Group (ICG) Sri Lanka desk representative, Alan Keenan met with families of the disappeared in Mullaitivu today.

smartcapture …. The International Crisis Group (ICG) Sri Lanka desk representative, Alan Keenan met with families of the disappeared in Mullaitivu today = https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/icg-meets-families-disappeared-mullaitivu

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Al-Jazeera 2009 “SL army closes in on Tamil Tigers,” 1 February 2009, …………………..  … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZc_Am5HUSs

Aneez, Shihar 2009 “‘Die with us’ rebels tell Sri Lanka’s refugees,” 25 February 2009,

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-srilanka-war-refugees/die-with-us-rebels-tell-sri-lankas-refugees-idUSTRE51O8DM20090226?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

[Anzacs] 2015 “The Ode and the Last Post. Remembering the Anzacs,” 20 April 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/the-ode-and-the-last-post-remembering-the-anzacs/

Balachandran PK 2015 “PK Balachandran on Overt and Covert Faces in Indian and American Policies Towards the Sri Lankan War,” 16 September 2015,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pk-balachandran-on-overt-and-covert-faces-in-indian-and-american-policies-towards-the-sri-lankan-war-2008-09/

Blacker, David 2011 “Why does the Darusman Panel ignore Evidence of War crimes?” 16 June 2011, https://blacklightarrow.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/why-does-the-darusman-panel-ignore-evidence-of-war-crimes/

Coupland, RM & DR Meddings 1999 “Mortality associated with use of weapons in armed conflicts, wartime atrocities, and civilian mass shootings: literature review,” British Medical Journal,  1999, 319 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7207.407

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009b “The Battle for the Vanni Pocket,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, March 2009, Vol. 35/2, pp. 17-19. … and http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/aulimp/citations/gsa/ 2009157395/156554.html

Dibbert, Taylor 2019 “Rajapaksas own Sri Lanka now,” 19 November 2015, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/19/election-sirisena-tamil-rajapaksas-own-sri-lanka-now/

 Economist 2019 “The Rajapaksas are back in power in Sri Lanka,” 19 November 2019, https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/11/17/the-rajapaksas-are-back-in-power-in-sri-lanka

Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-american-agenda-for-sri-lankas-national-issues-1970s-2014/

GoSL 2912 “Government Census on War Deaths,”  in 2009: Two Reports,” 26 February 2012, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/government-census-on-war-deaths-in-2009-two-reports/?fbclid=IwAR0LGgGUMApvzurWJEGpITjrg1JItU_UVWyG3vlxwwI_SbJGchtwytjKeU0

Holmes, Major General John  2015 “Expert Military Report [submitted to the Paranagama Commission],” 28 March 2015, available also at https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/maj-genl-holmes-deciphers-the-eelam-wars/ …. For the original version, see Appendix within https://parliament.lk/uploads/documents/paperspresented/report-of-paranagama.pdf

[Hull, Bryson] 2009 “Insights for Today: A Reuter’s Report from the Eelam war Front in Late February 2009,” 23 February 2009  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/insights-for-today-a-reuters-report-from-the-eelam-war-front-in-late-february-2009/

Hull, C. Bryson 2009 “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009, http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSCOL450259

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009 “Sri Lankan War in Endgame, 100,000 escape rebel zone,” 23 April 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-srilanka-war-idUSTRE53J0IZ20090422

Hull, C. Bryson & Ranga Sirilal 2009 “Sri Lanka’s long war in bloody final climax,” 17 May 2009, http://mg.co.za/article/2009-05-17-sri-lankas-long-war-in-bloody-final-climax

IDAG [i.e. Citizen Silva] 2013 “The Numbers Game: Politics of Retributive Justice,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009d “Wretched of the Earth break Free of Bondage,” Daily Mirror, 25 April 2009, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/380.  

Jeyaraj D. B. S. 2011 “KP” Speaks Out,” Vavuniya: NERDO, Mum Pvt. Ltsd

Keenan, Alan 2019a Alan Keenan of the ICG comments on the Presidential Election Results in Sri Lanka,” 19 November 2019,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/11/19/alan-keenan-of-the-icg-comments-on-the-presidential-election-results-in-sri-lanka/#more-38905

Keenan, Alan 2019b “Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Brings Back a Polarising Wartime Figure,” ?? November 2019,  http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/11/sri-lankas-presidential-election-brings-back-polarising-wartime-figure/

Kunanayakam, Tamara 2013 “Geneva: “Responsibility To Protect” Vs Sovereignty Of The people!” 17 April 2013, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/geneva-responsibility-to-protect-vs-sovereignty-of-the-people/

Kunanayakam, Tamara 2015 “US Seeks to Eventually Partition Sri Lanka. Humanitarian R2P Intervention Contemplated” — Interview with Tamara Kunanayakam,” at Global research news, https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-seeks-to-eventually-partition-sri-lanka-humanitarian-r2p-intervention-contemplated/5439257

Kunanayagam, Tamara 2019  “We will get You ….” American Threat at the UNHRC in Geneva in September 2011,” 27 September 2019,    https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/we-will-get-you-american-threat-at-the-unhcr-in-geneva-in-september-2019

 Mango 2014 “Sri Lanka’s War In Its Last Phase: Where WIA Figures Defeat The Gross KIA Estimates,” 14 February 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lankas-war-in-its-last-phase-where-wia-figures-defeat-the-gross-kia-estimates/

Marga 2011 An Analysis and Evaluation of The Report of the Advisory Panel to the UNSG nn the Final Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/0eybj1ynej6spaa/The%20Darusman%20Report-%20Final%20doc-2.doc

Marga 2011 Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lankahttp://www.margasrilanka.org/Truth-Accountability.pdf.

Narendran, Rajasingham 2014 Harsh Ground Realities in War: Decomposing Bodies and Missing Persons and Soldiers,” 28 January 2014,https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/11702/

Noble, Kath 2013 “Numbers Game reviewed by Kath Noble: The Full Monty,” 14 July 2013, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/numbers-game-reviewed-by-kath-noble-the-full-monty/

Peiris, Gerald H. 2002. “Secessionist War and Terrorism in Sri Lanka: Transnational Impulses,” in K. P. S. Gill & Ajai Sahni (eds.) The Global Threat of Terror. Ideological, Material & Political Linkages, Delhi: Roli Books, Bulwark Books & Institute for Conflict Management, pp. 85-12.

Peiris, Gerald H. 2010 “The Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect: Impulses, Implications and Impact,” 30 June 2010, http://www.slguardian.org/2010/06/the-doctrine-of-responsibility-to-protect-impulses-implications-and-impact/  AND https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/from%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)+OR+to%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)/1510fc7141751033?projector=1

Rajasingham see “Narendran”

Reddy, Muralidhar 2009 “Final Assault. A first-hand account of the war and the civilians’ plight as Eelam War almost comes to a close,” Frontline, 26/11, May 23-June 5, 2009, http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=archive.

Roberts, Michael 2011 “The civilian death toll in early 2009: A flawed estimate from Gunaratna,” 23 November 2011, ……………….. http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=39653

Roberts, Michael 2013 “Introducing “Numbers Game” – A Detailed Study of the Last Stages of Eelam War IV,” 30 April 2013, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/introducing-numbers-game-a-detailed-study-of-the-last-stages-of-eelam-war-iv/

Roberts, Michael 2014 Tamil Person and State. Essays, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2014 Tamil Person and State. Pictorial, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2014 “Generating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels,” 10 April 2014, http://groundviews.org/2014/04/10/generating-calamity-2008-2014-an-overview-of-tamil-nationalist-operations-and-their-marvels/

Roberts, Michael 2018 “Reflections: Interpreting the Gash files IV,”  29 April 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/reflections-interpreting-the-gash-files-iv/#more-30031

Roberts, Michael 2018 “The Gash Files I: About Lt. Col. Anton Gash,” 10 March 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/the-gash-files-i-about-lt-col-anton-gash/

Roberts, Michael 2018  “The Gash Files IV: The War on Land in the Final Five Months,” 4 April 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/the-gash-files-iv-the-war-on-land-in-the-final-five-months/#more-29891

Roberts, Michael 2018 The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design,” 4 April 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/the-gash-files-ii-lttes-strategic-design/

Roberts, Michael 2018 “The Gash Files III: Trapped Tamils out by Sea,” 20 April 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/the-gash-files-iii-trapped-tamils-out-by-sea-in-2009/

Roberts, Michael 2018 “Responding to Rajan Hoole: Assessing Casualties in Eelam War IV & Examining the Reviews,” 30 October 2018, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/responding-to-rajan-hoole-assessing-casualties-in-eelam-war-iv-examining-the-reviews/

Roberts, Michael 2018 “A Response to Rajan Hoole re Reviews of Eelam War IV and Western Deceit,” 28 October 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/a-response-to-rajan-hoole-re-reviews-of-eelam-war-iv-and-western-deceit/

Roberts, Michael 2019 “Arrogance, Ignorance, Deceit: The Many Faces of Taylor Dibbert,” 1 March 2019,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/03/01/arrogance-ignorance-deceit-the-many-faces-of-taylor-dibbert/#more-34265

Roberts, Michael 2019 “Beyond Sam Power. Dibbert’s solution from hell for Sri Lanka,” 21 March 2019, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/03/21/beyond-sam-power-dibberts-solution-from-hell-for-sri-lanka/

Roberts, Michael 2019 “Insights for Today: a Reuters Report from the Eelam Warfront in February 2009,” 29 November 2019,  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/insights-for-today-a-reuters-report-from-the-eelam-war-front-in-late-february-2009/

Shanmugarajah, V. 2014 “Dr. Veerakathipillai Shanmugarajah’s Affidavit Description of Conditions in the Vanni Pocket in Refutation of Channel Four,” sworn before a JP in Colombo on 10 May 2012 and reproduced in Corrupted Journalism, 2013 and also on 5 January 2014 within https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/dr-veerakanthipillai-shanmugarajahs-affidavit-description-of-conditions-in-the-vanni-pocket-in-refutation-of-channel-four/

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, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-confront-the-oisl-investigation-in-geneva-september-2014-godfrey-gunatilleke-in-q-and-a-with-lasanda-kurukulasuriya/#more-18492

Thiagarajah:, Jeevan 2015 Marga/CHA in Advocacy with BRIC Nations at Geneva, September 2014,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-in-advocacy-with-bric-nations-at-geneva-september-2014/#more-18498

UN PoE 2011 Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts report on Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011….http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/ POE_Report_Full.pdf.

UTHR 2009 A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Meaning, Special Report No. 32. http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm

UTHR 2009 Let Them Speak: Truth about Sri Lanka’s Victims of War. Special Report No. 34, http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/Special%20rep34/Uthr-sp.rp34.htm.

Video Image [GSL] 2014 “A balanced insight into the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict – “Common Differences” (HD),” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L8QfZw0XUo

 END NOTES

[1] For Amanda Hodge’s piece in the Australian, entitled “Sri Lanka election dilemma: democracy or the dread of dynasty,” see https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/sri-lanka-election-dilemma-democracy-or-the-dread-of-dynasty/news-story/0b0db93352471a049cfa1d635ef0890e

[2] See https://www.lowyinstitute.org/ and Dibbert 2019. Note Dibbert’s profile with this description: “Taylor Dibbert is a freelance writer and an Adjunct Fellow at Pacific Forum. His writing has appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street JournalThe Washington TimesThe Boston HeraldForbesForeign AffairsForeign Policy and HuffPost” – https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/contributors/articles/taylor-dibbert. For my slashing criticisms of Dibbert’s readings, see Roberts, “Beyond Sam Power. Dibbert’s solution from hell for Sri Lanka,” 27 March 2019 and “Arrogance, Ignorance, Deceit,” 1 March 2019.

[3] Nor was there even a passing allusion to the loon history y of atrocities inflicted on the people living in the Colombo metropolitan arena and in the frontier borderlands by the LTTE from the late 1980s to 2008 or so; or, for that matter, the executions carried out within Thamililam if anyone was deemed a threat.

[4] This author is a Sinhalese wholly educated in UK who works in the communication field and would have his professional career jeopardised if his identity is revealed. I have also given him the pseudonym “Citizen Silva” to indicate his ethnicity. His study is huge — hence readers may wish to consult Kath Noble’s summary (2013). I had a long chat with Citizen Silva in London a few years back and have no hesitation in affirming his honesty of purpose. Indeed, his capacities are spoken for in his study.

[5] De Silva-Ranasinghe is an Australian citizen located in Perth and one must marvel at some of the battle theatre detail he marshalled while the war was ongoing. His subsequent reviews are excellent. I have yet to see evidence that the ICG, personnel in the Lowy Institute, Gordon Weiss and his mates and other moral crusaders have consulted his works in any way.

[6] Vide the Bibliography for some of the work by these authors. Note Roberts’ recent criticism of one illustration by Hull in contending that the armoured power of the SL Army was of limited value in the conditions of the northern Vanni and Bryson Hull’s clarification of this illustration while accepting the thrust of this comment – see Roberts “Insights for Today: a Reuters Report from the Eelam Warfront in February 2009,” 29 November 2019,

[7] The proof is in the ‘puddings’ they have produced.

[8] Finding in a study by Coupland & Meddings in 1999.

[9] Rajan Hoole was (and remains) among the tiny cluster of courageous Tamil university teachers in the Jaffna Peninsula who questioned some of the actions of the LTTE — with one of them Rajini Thiranagama nee Ratnasingham paying with her life (an assassination). Their UTHR reports are an important historical resource. Rajan Hoole was in hiding in Colombo during most of the war years and I consulted him in the period 2001-02 via secret meetings. There is no doubting his honesty of purpose. It is his modality of appraisal that I challenge. This aspect is addressed elsewhere – see Roberts 2018.

[10] Uvindu Kurukulasuriya was among the pallbearers at Lasantha Wickramatunga’s funeral and fled to UK to survive the white-van homicide threat. We have chatted on the odd occasion on Skype and he has usually presented my essays (unlike Groundviews in recent years).

[11] See Roberts, “A Response to Rajan Hoole …,” 2018. It had 33 comments when I looked at it some time back, but there are 38 now.

[12] Jehan Perera has been the head of the National Peace Council in Sri Lanka for a long time. We remain in touch. As far as I am aware, he has not made the kind of claims that Keenan and Co. have peddled recently.

[13] For an incisive and clinching critique, see Gerald Peiris 2010. Also see the criticisms in Kunananaykam 2013 and 2015 — writing without an awareness of Peiris’s treatise.

[14] See Marga 2014: 116. The word “egregious” seems to be deployed here in the sense of “gross” and “blatant.”

[15] Michael O’Leary is a venerable British journalist who is married to a Sri Lankan lady named Tiny and has been living in the hills of Bandarawela for quite a while before shifting recently to Battaramulla. For his web writings ,please visit https://pcolman.wordpress.com/about/

[16] David Blacker, a Peterite, served in the SL Army in the 1990s and was invalided out. As vitally, he is of Burgher-Tamil lineage (his mother being Parameswara).

[17] See Blacker 2011.

[18] See Shanmugarajah 2014.

[19] Several of the photographs in Tamilnet are reproduced in Roberts, TPS. Pictorial, 2014. It seems that the ICG, SLC-PJ and other international head-hunters have taken a decision to ignore literature on the war that undermines their positions.

[20] Email Memo from Weerasekera to Roberts, 17 November 2012 in Roberts, “Dr Susiri Weerasekera,” 2019. Susiri, alas, is now non compos mentis.  Note that the “doctors” he referred to were not formally accredited as such but had become de facto doctors in the LTTE set up. There were more than the two he met.

[21] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war. In fact, the figure for “combat deaths” is less — being 33,686, with the category of “other deaths” amounting to 2830 providing the addition. This category would cover such events as traffic accidents, suicides and homicide. Again, there is the category MIA or “Missing in Action.” Most MIA would be personnel whose bodies were not recovered or whose death was not witnessed positively. Logically, they can be presumed dead or KIA — though one could allow for a handful who deserted and adopted a new identity successfully

[22] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war. The statistics provided by the National Archives of the US government differ in detail from those in Wikipedia; but these differences do not impinge on the ratio of wounded to dead in significant manner – see https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics

[23] See http://en.wikpedia.org/wiki/gallipola_campaign; and http://www.abc.net.au/interactives/mr-veli/. For a table differentiating the casualties on the side of the Allies according to country of origin, see [Anzacs] 2015.

[24] I could have easily requested evidence for 120,000 wounded.

[25] See Mango “Sri Lanka’s War In Its Last Phase: Where WIA Figures Defeat The Gross KIA Estimates,” 2014. This author is a Sinhalese educated in Europe and living in London. His employment as a professional would be jeopardised if his name is revealed.

[26] See UNPoE 2012: para 134.

[27] John Macdonald is (presently in early December) the Shadow Foreign Minister in the Labour Party of Britain and recently accused Sri Lanka of “genocide” during Eelam War IV.

[28] The following persons of Sri Lankan nationality are also on the Council of the SLC-PJ: Farah Mihlar, Basil Fernando, J. S. Tissanaiyagam, Nirmanusan Balasundaram and Natalie Samarasinghe. See https://www.srilankacampaign.org/about-us/organizational-structure/. For illustrations of previous interventions on Sri Lankan issues in November 2012, see ……………………………………………… https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lanka-campaign-urges-tourists-to-think-again-money-goes-to-pockets-of-criminals/

[29] See Holmes 2015 and the four summary reviews of the Col Gash reports by Roberts in 2018.

[30] For examples see Hull, “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009, http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSCOL450259.

[31] Though I had read and deployed several of the Reuters’ reports in my studies of the war, this was one I had missed out on though it was in my file collection. It was pre chance that came across if last week. See its reproduction in Thuppahi – 2009 “Insights for Today: A Reuter’s Report from the Eelam War Front in Late February 2009,” 23 February 2009 — …………………………… ………………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/insights-for-today-a-reuters-report-from-the-eelam-war-front-in-late-february-2009/

[32] This motif crops up often in the two reports submitted by the indefatigable UTHR collective marshalled by Rajan Hoole.

[33] Alas, Narendran passed away about two years ago. He was a graduate of the Peradeniya Agriculture Faculty who worked as a consultant for international organisations for many years. He lived at Park Road in Colombo and I had the good fortune to chat with him over a meal (maybe around 2014). His essay (2014) on Harsh Ground Realities in War: Decomposing Bodies and Missing Persons and Soldiers,” should be mandatory reading for all students of war. Not many investigators undergo the ordeal of disposing of their parental remains –as he did in 1987 after the IPKF invasion of the Jaffna Peninsula.

[34] I was at the British Council in Colombo in November 2011 when Gunaratna gave a talk on the war and asserted that 1400 civilians had perished, 1200 by government crossfire and 200 by LTTE gunfire  I wrote immediately to three moderate Tamils who were not in the pocket of the LTTE during the previous decades: viz, Noel Nadesan in Melbourne, M. Sarvananthan in Point Pedro and Narendran in Colombo. I concluded that Narendran’s reasoning and estimate was the best of the three when I used all to challenge Gunaratna – see Roberts, “The Tamil Death Toll …,” 2011.

[35] This was a brief blog comment within the lively debate in transcurrents surrounding my questioning of Rohan Gunaratna’s low estimate. I subsequently placed this note as a brief article in Thuppahi with illustrations and footnotes added. See Narendran 2014. Note that the transcurrents item is no longer extant but my essay is in The Island.

[36] See Narendran 2014 and Roberts 2011.

[37] See GoSL 2012 ……. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/government-census-on-war-deaths-in-2009-two-reports/?fbclid=IwAR0LGgGUMApvzurWJEGpITjrg1JItU_UVWyG3vlxwwI_SbJGchtwytjKeU0

[38] See https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx

[39] See Kunanayakam in  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/we-will-get-you-american-threat-at-the-unhcr-in-geneva-in-september-2011/. An incidental thought: the world has come a long way since the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. The principal antagonists at this moment were two women.

6 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, australian media, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, disparagement, doctoring evidence, foreign policy, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, military strategy, Paranagama Report, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

6 responses to “The HR Lobby in UK: Deskbound and Devious

  1. Dalit

    Thanks for the comprehensive study. The whole episode is Indian made from the start. Most of these Westerners either get financial benefits or other from India, Non Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin. And those who have some connections to India or Indians or brainwashed by Indians. For example Yasmin Sooka and Navanathum Pillayan are Indian Colonial Parasites from South Africa. Banki Moon’s son in law is an Indian. Amnasty International head is an Indian; Naidu. Meenakshika Gunguly of Human Rights Watch is an Indian.

  2. Impressive post. There appears to be an unstoppable globalist movement which is bent on destroying national sovereignty and sovereign nations by all means possible. International bankers are the only credible backers of such a far-reaching scheme.

  3. Thank you Robert! Please send it to the proper SL authorities as well.

  4. Pingback: The HR Lobby in UK: Deskbound and Devious – NewsHub Sri Lanka

  5. Theinkbrain
    December 11, 2019 at 7:14 pm Edit
    Keenan’s earnestly expressed folderol is indicative western liberal psychosis which expresses itself in collecting as many vipers as possible into its bosom. It ignores the fact that the poison of civil war and or other forms of social disruption must be quelled, if social order is to be maintained, and civilization itself is to survive.

    Europe has been overrun with the human garbage from the dumps of Africa, the Middle East and other Islamic Nations. The EU seems hell-bent on using the scourge of Mohammedanism to shred the constitutional freedoms of Europeans. Both Church and State fiddle while Christians in the Middle East and Africa lose their freedom, their property and their lives at the hands of Koran-thumping psychopaths.

    Eventually the Western social safety net will give way under the weight of millions of fast-breeding, primitive, illiterate Mohammedans who will never integrate or become productive members of society because their blind fascistic ideology instills in them a hatred of the very West which feeds their parasitism.

    Keenan’s kind of liberalism is very effective in tearing down freedoms and protections of the kind enshrined in the US Constitution. It makes sense to him to allow terrorists to slip through the net by hiding under the skirts of a civilian population and so live to engage in future disruption and mayhem.

    In Europe the same reasoning is being trotted out when it comes to Mohammedan terrorists, who by diktat will no longer be referred as adamant practitioners of their fascist koranic ideology but as mentally ill.

    What does all this have to do with SL? Well, just about everything. Muslim minority populations living in un-integrated enclaves are dry tinder waiting to burst into anarchical flames with at the first strategically placed match by the first cry of ‘allahuakbar’ by any mad mullah.

    Wait for it. The next iteration of Kuveni’s curse is coming in the form of a Sinhalese/Muslim clash. SL might do well to suck it up and belly up to its Chinese master, because when the feces hits the fan, the volatile mix of liberal, western rhetoric and primitive koranic ideology will descend in a spray of malodorous, brown mist.

    Admittedly it will be a path that will have to be traversed on pointy toes so as not to ‘offend’ militant Buddhists or fundamentalist Mohammedans. But the Keenans of the world will find a way to do it by engaging the slippery, pseudo-moralistic rhetoric of saving civilian lives.

    R

  6. Pingback: The White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales – e-Con e-News

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