08/04/2013 4 Comments
02/03/2013 2 Comments
The UK has a Jihadi tourism problem. Since 2001 young Jihadis holding British passports have been quietly slipping out of the country to spend their gap years gaining valuable combat experience in hot and dusty places around the world. If they aren’t killed in action, they return home (as UK passport holders they can’t be denied re-entry to Britain) helping to spread the Jihadi gospel in cold, wet Britain and plan acts of ‘home-grown’ terrorism. Since they’re UK passport holders, they can’t just be executed abroad or quietly kidnapped and imprisoned by US forces. What to do?
The solution was simple, elegant, legal and lethal.
26/02/2013 5 Comments
In late 2012, workers digging foundations for a new wing in Matale Hospital unearthed partial skeletons of more than 150 people. Of the various theories that sought to explain how this mass grave came to be, the one that most people instinctively thought might be true was that this was the final resting place of victims of death squads from 2nd JVP insurgency, which from 1987 to 1989 almost brought the Sri Lankan State to total collapse. The counter-insurgency (COIN) campaign, which in turn destroyed the JVP had few equals (except perhaps the 1990s Algerian counter-insurgency campaign and the India’s anti-‘Khalistan’ counter-insurgency in the Punjab) for its ruthlessness.
Unlike today’s COIN warriors who use seemingly benign terms like “Fight, Secure, Build”, Sri Lanka’s COIN warriors used the more honest, “Search, Interrogate and Destroy” to characterise their brutal, blood-stained and ultimately successful campaign to crush the JVP.
14/02/2013 3 Comments
“Boy, to put Neu! into words – the drummer was playing in a way that when you listened to it, allowed your thoughts to flow; allowed emotions to come from within and occupy the active parts of the mind, I thought. It allowed beauty to get there. The guy had somehow found a way to free himself from the tyranny of stupid of blues, rock – of all conventions that I’d ever heard. Some sort of a pastoral psychedelicism.”
Is there any higher praise than Iggy Pop, describing Neu!’s achievements and influence while opening a coconut with an electric drill?
28/11/2012 11 Comments
The civilians killed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s bloody, brutal and comprehensive victory over the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) can’t find peace, even in death. The exact number of civilian deaths ranges from 1,000+ (Government of Sri Lanka – GoSL) to 7000+ (UN) to 20,000 (The Times) to 40,000 (various international human rights organisations) to a ludicrous 150,000+ (LTTE supporters).
‘Choose the number that best suits your argument’ is how Sri Lanka’s Civilian Deaths Bingo is being played. The latest UN report has increased the Casualty Bingo number yet again, this time to 40,000. But there’s an unexamined aspect of the last battle – what is an acceptable level of casualties in a hostage rescue operation?
19/08/2012 Leave a comment