08/04/2013 4 Comments
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.
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
During the years of ‘peace’, from 2002 to 2005, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) completely overhauled its operational doctrine, weapons systems, training and combat effectiveness, and despite some bitter setbacks made a decisive contribution to the final defeat of the hitherto-invincible LTTE, who for over 30 years had fought to carve out a separate state in Sri Lanka. How did this happen?
23/12/2011 40 Comments
Amnesty International’s attacks on Sri Lanka’s poor war-time human rights record were rebutted with a kneejerk response from nationalistic Sinhalese politicians: “Amnesty is attacking Sri Lanka because it’s in the pay of the LTTE”. Most people (myself included) scoffed at such paranoid and ridiculous attacks on Amnesty. After all, this was Amnesty International, a neutral organisation dedicated to exposing wrongdoing across on the planet, not beholden to any government and funded solely by its member’s donations.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The paranoids have finally been proven correct. In a bizarre move, Amnesty proudly proclaimed receiving over $50,0000 from an LTTE front organisation, the Canadian Tamil Congress, which recently held fundraising ‘walk-a-thon’ in Toronto for Amnesty International.
23/11/2011 6 Comments