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‘Killing Fields’ weakens its case and invites an investigation into its own credibility and accountability to journalistic norms

The long afterlife of war in teardrop isle

by Shyam Tekwani

IT IS the first truth of war, however deplorable, that civilians die. The first casualty in war is the civilian. The real victims of war are the civilians. Particularly in civil wars, which are about national survival.

In a war zone, they are everywhere, fleeing on foot, on bicycles or handcarts or on somebody’s back, through drenching rain or blazing sun. Wandering around in circles, with no destination, to escape the hail of gunfire and rockets, all with just one question to ask: when would this madness end?

In the finale to the war in Sri Lanka, which the Tamil Tigers (in their global appeal for funds from their supporters) called the final war, trapped civilians pleaded for intervention to deliver them from the crossfire. Their pleas were as much in vain this time, as they had been successful on several earlier occasions, since as a human shield they were central to the survival of the Tigers leadership.

The unblemished record of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in reneging on negotiations and truces, only to fight even more fiercely, meant that calls for a ceasefire were yet another stratagem to regroup and rejuvenate. Colombo, sensing an impossible victory, was in no mood to risk being cheated of this opportunity as it was by New Delhi in 1987.

There was going to be no bail out this time. The retreating Tigers then resorted to a trick that had previously ensured their longevity – herding civilians as their insurance against certain annihilation. Left with no choice but to pursue the concept of total war with the same kind of ruthless determination that Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tiger chief, had demonstrated for 25 years, Colombo went for the kill. The Tigers had finally met their match.

The prevalent global disregard for international norms and laws following the September 2001 attacks on America provided the enabling environment to eliminate the Tigers. A secessionist group classified as the most sophisticated and deadliest terrorist organisation had been vanquished after a quarter century of bloodletting in a war alternately called ‘Forgotten War’, ‘War without Witness’, ‘Dirty War’, and ‘Unequal War’, as international sympathy and support see-sawed between the Tigers and Colombo. The military victory in the final war was total.

A euphoric Colombo awaited the deluge of congratulatory messages for having accomplished what even the authors of the global war on terror had not been able to achieve. And when the messages flooded in, Colombo found itself protecting the jugular. Mostly condemnatory, the chorus of messages chided the triumphant victor for unbecoming conduct on the battlefield and included accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. A bewildered Colombo’s immediate response (there were ‘zero civilian casualties’, it was a ‘humanitarian rescue operation’) aggravated the situation.

By denying outright all accusations, the ‘information war’ between the critics and Colombo heightened. During the two years of bitter recriminations and allegations that followed, Colombo further countered with accusations of hypocrisy and self-righteousness on the part of the West by citing its proclivity to pick on small hapless nations.

Dogged efforts by an assorted cast of actors to unearth evidence and implicate Colombo of war crimes steadily increased the pressure on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and peaked around the second anniversary of the military victory.

First, the United Nations released its controversial report of the secretary-general’s panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka citing evidence ‘sufficiently credible to warrant further investigations’ into the charges of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during the last phase of military operations. The report was followed by The Cage:

The fight for Sri Lanka & the last days of the Tamil Tigers, a book by Gordon Weiss, who was the spokesperson and communications adviser attached to the UN team in Colombo during the years that included the end of the war. Then came the sensational British television Channel 4’s documentary Killing Fields (not to be mistaken for the brilliant 1980s film on Pol Pot’s Cambodia). All three claimed to have ample evidence to charge the government of Sri Lanka for crimes against humanity.

Colombo’s angry reaction to the report and the documentary betrayed the need for a new set of advisers to the Rajapaksa government. It initially challenged the credibility of the video footage shot on mobile phones and the set of images that seemed to corroborate the accusations and dismissed them on the basis of being ‘biased’ adding that the ‘evidence’ was ‘obviously fake’, a ‘fabrication’ and that it was a ‘concerted effort by the western media to discredit Sri Lanka’.

The documentary, in its attempt to provide a stomach-turning narrative (in the filmmaker’s words, ‘this is the only way to make people to take this seriously’), is on shaky ground. The end result is as similar in tone and tenor as documentaries produced by the LTTE’s information warriors, the Truth Tigers, the camera teams that went into battle to record footage for propaganda and posterity. The Tigers would have been proud of this production. Clearly an effort to sensationalise and shock with carefully selected and edited footage, the documentary weakens its case and invites an investigation into its own credibility and accountability to journalistic norms. The volume of testimony it uses as evidence is not enormous and most of it is derived from leading questions. The slant is pronounced. Somewhere in the documentary, a human rights lawyer says, “The only exception (to attacking a hospital) will be if there was some evidence that the hospital was actually being used for military purposes” and the script glosses over the use by the Tigers of every such medical base.

WEISS, SPEAKING in the documentary as the then UN spokesperson, believes the UN crew was asked to leave the war zone by Colombo who could ‘no longer guarantee the safety of UN workers’ to ensure there were no international witnesses in the last stages of what was coming.

A more crucial reason to expel foreign observers and aid workers, one suspects, could have been the fear of the ‘CNN effect’ (which Prabhakaran chose to exploit with his human shield) that a ‘foreign’ casualty would have had on international public opinion. Additionally, in Colombo’s experience all foreigners (Indian and Western) tended to be Tiger sympathisers. Still fresh in memory must have been the role foreigners had played in prolonging this conflict – one of modern history’s longest civil conflicts – by their passive support of the LTTE’s support network in their countries. Apprehensive of its capacity to continue remaining undeterred by ‘imploring diplomats’ clamoring for yet another stalemate, Colombo’s imperative to bring the war to a hasty end set it on its wanton brutal path.

The documentary would have benefitted in its crusade and escaped being labelled another propaganda effort by merely following the norms of good journalism. This does not mean that it is entirely without value.

Even as a good example of poor journalism, it does raise important questions about the rules of war and accountability of governments, which it could have successfully done without the shrillness of a propagandist desperate to believe in his own merchandise.

When The Cage appeared a couple of months ago I approached it with caution because, like a like lot of other books on Sri Lanka, I did not wish to be disappointed by another fantastic or insipid account.

Additionally, I was wary of reading the work of yet another crusader setting out to salve his conscience at his own earlier impotence in office. The Cage is not the perfect book about the conflict, but it is the only decent one we have where the author makes an effort at tempering his grievance (anger is the author’s word of choice) with some academic rigour. Even to examine the book is to sink into a bog of footnotes – and incidentally this book contains long footnotes than any book on conflict I have read in recent years.

The notes section testifies to an attempt at understanding the global and local context for a Total War. To give us the full sense of our ignorance and bias of what is happening in Sri Lanka, Weiss tries to translate the most sensational event of the past two years in Sri Lanka – the military defeat of the LTTE – into humanitarian and war crimes terms. While Weiss is unremitting in cataloguing the savagery of both sides in the conflict, he leaves you with no doubt where his anger is directed. His primary targets are India; his former employer and the ‘Rajapaksa oligarchy’ upon which he unleashes his heaviest artillery.

Where the book undermines its purpose is its obvious attempt to work up a vile atmosphere of a government conspiracy to annihilate the Tamils and in some measure it is as successful in this as it is in sustaining the feeling of horror and rage.

Faults: Yes, several. In parts, Weiss’ studied conclusion (the war was justified but the large-scale deaths of civilians was disproportionate to victory and this calls for a credible judicial investigation into the excesses) is at variance with his narrative style and choice of words, which draw heavily on his moral repugnance of the Rajapaksa victory.

His careful effort to be objective falters occasionally in contradictory pronouncements. In his preface he says of the Tigers, “Their ingenuity became a pioneering model for other transnational terrorist organisations emerging in the 21st century”. His post-mortem ruefully notes, “Other insurgent groups present more potent challenges to the international order than the Tigers, who were only (my italics) ever a threat to Sri Lanka”. There are several similar contradictions.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the United States Department of Defense. courtesy: Tehelka

Shyam Tekwani is Associate Professor, Asia Pacific Centre for security studies, Honolulu

38 Comments

  1. Kumaran says:

    Aloha, Prof. Tekwani,

    A very good assessement, thank you.

    For other readers, prior to becoming an academic, Shyam Tekwani was a top notch photo-journalist who worked for magazines such as India Today. Along with Anita Pratap, he covered the fight between the LTTE and the IPKF in October 1987 reporting from the ground and literally dodging bullets. This is one man who knows what he is talking about- because he’s been in the thick of it! One of his photos from that time made it to the cover of Indian Today, capturing the full brutality of a war that has savaged the land of my birth.

    I see that you have moved on and are now in Honolulu.
    regards

    Kumaran, Singapore.

  2. sr says:

    So many people are spending their time arguing things that are the fallout of a very virulent case of internal colonialism(oppression of a section of people by another section) for more than 63 years and going on unabated. Actually at a heightened speed under an army of occupation.
    When the people outside the country and those in the South are conveniently arguing about the war crimes, the government and the army of occupation are sinhalacising and buddhistising the Northeast.
    Only states, rogues or not, have representation at intergovernmental bodies and the oppressed have no representation there. The socio-economic decay of the Northeast is fast approaching a critical level.

  3. Perrera says:

    A well written piece but one that does not adequately reflect on the developments post-war.

    Had the author been willing to look into the aftermath of the war his conclusion may have been different.

    A wholehearted effort to rebuild and rehabilitate would have supported the argument of the author. The lack of it undermines his case.

  4. sr says:

    http://www.minorityrights.org/10458/reports/no-war-no-peace-the-denial-of-minority-rights-and-justice-in-sri-lanka.html
    No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:
    With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent. Drawing on interviews with activists, religious and political leaders, and ordinary people living in these areas of the country, MRG found a picture very much at odds with the official image of peace and prosperity following the end of armed conflict. (it says how various Articles on political, economic, social rights in international human rights instruments have been violated)

  5. Chinese Charm says:

    Shyam The first casuality war is the Truth not the civillians. Your article is the best examble.

  6. Chinese Charm says:

    Lies about the Tamil Struggle for their protection, no matter billions of time told in billions ways, Tamils know the truth. The Tamils around the world and their sympathisers can not be made to believe the lies. Their belief on truth and reality and their stance will harden. recent local govt election results show this reality. We will wait and what happens in Tamil Nadu and in India. Pirapa had faith on Indian people and on the Truth. That is why he did not make any political moves detrimental to India.

  7. kc says:

    Mr Tekwani is the only journalist outside Sri Lanka who has defended the SL regime that is accused of worst war crimes in living memory by all major human rights bodies, the UN PoE and the major players of the international community. His comments are biased, and inflicts pain and sufferings to those thousands of civilians who immensely suffered by the onslaught by the SL regime.

    During the course of his writing he appears to make a big blunder. He states again and again that the LTTE is one of the most ruthless terrorist organisations. He goes on to state …….”Colombo went for the kill. The Tigers had finally met their match”…..in other words he admits the SL regime descended to the level of the LTTE – the most ruthless organisation – and committed crimes against humanity. He inadvertently or intentionally has let the cat out of the bag!

  8. Navab Nagmutheen says:

    http://www.apcss.org/college/faculty/tekwani/

    I wonder whose Journalism is at stake here

  9. kuamr says:

    shyam,

    no body bother about finishing LTTE. but how can you justify the killing of over 40, 000 civilian?
    if these civilian were singalease, will the government kill them as stated in UN report?
    how can you justify the falsifying information about the real civilian population in the affected area and restric the food and medicine?
    how can you justify the killing of presioner of war?
    to kill a group, government distroy entire populations property and infrastructure, how can you man justify it?
    LTTE is the symptom, not the root casue of the issue.
    governement beg the world to get support to eliminate the LTTE and promissed to provide the political solution to the ethinic problem. but the same govement now telling the world, this is a soverign country and do not involves in our internal affair. man, how can you explain it?
    how can you justify that whole tamil area is being systermaticaly collonised by the racist government currently.

    shyam, i feel sorry for your wisdom and knowldege on the sri lankan affair.

  10. Rationalman says:

    Tekwani (http://www.apcss.org/college/faculty/tekwani/) does not even attempt to disprove either the Expert Panel’s Report, Weiss or Channel . He glosses over the stories as “IT IS the first truth of war, however deplorable, that civilians die. The first casualty in war is the civilian. The real victims of war are the civilians. Particularly in civil wars, which are about national survival.”

    “Even to examine the book is to sink into a bog of footnotes – and incidentally this book contains long footnotes than any book on conflict I have read in recent years.”. Yes, Weiss was wrong to sink into a bog of footnotes instead of blowing hot air without any citation or proof like Tekwani!

    “Somewhere in the documentary, a human rights lawyer says, “The only exception (to attacking a hospital) will be if there was some evidence that the hospital was actually being used for military purposes” and the script glosses over the use by the Tigers of every such medical base.”. I would have loved to see Tekwani provide proof that any of these hospitals were used for military purposes.

    Tekwani sounds like another Rohan Gunaratne. A clever fellow who hitched his fortune on to the Sri Lankan Conflict as three of his seven cited publications have been about Sri Lanka and one about Terrorism and media in South East Asia.

    His latest work is about the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. One could predict the quality of his magnum opus by his knowledge of the subject (cited from his own short resume, (http://www.apcss.org/college/faculty/tekwani/),
    “His exclusive reportage on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka which he has covered exhaustively since its inception in 1983 has been published worldwide”!!!!

  11. Piranha says:

    Mr Tekwani,
    If you don’t want to believe the Channel 4 documentary or the UN report, just ask your government about the carnage inflicted on the civilians in the war. Your government colluded with the Rajapakse regime in persecuting the war ably assisted by Vijay Nambiar’s brother as military adviser to the Sri Lankan government and Vijay Nambiar blocking all attempts of the UN to reveal the truth about the casualties as the war was being waged.

    If there is so much doubt about the veracity of the UN report and the Channel 4 documentary why is the SL government so reluctant to agree to an international inquiry. The history of the Rajapakse regime is riddled with lies and deception with regard to investigations of abuse and murder as evidenced by the massacre of the aid workers in Mutur and the cold blooded murder of the 5 students in Trincomalee. The investigations if conducted properly would have shown the true hand of the Rajapakse regime in these atrocities. You are worried because you fear that India would also be found culpable in the mass murder of the tamils of Sri Lanka. That is why you are casting doubts on the reports.

  12. Ram says:

    Another apologist for the war crime

    These pests will never stop coming in the form from all over the world

  13. Vicram P says:

    professor,

    I am not a fan of LTTE but I am surprised that in your papers you stated ” Additionally, in Colombo’s experience all foreigners (Indian and Western) tended to be Tiger sympathisers.”\

    ANY IDEA ? or how come more people sympathize with LTTE other than the route they taken !!

    THE ANSWER IS SOMETHING WAS DEADLY WRONG WITH THE SINHALA GOVERNMENT AND ITS APPROACH

  14. Merlin Van Tweest says:

    An excellent indictment of the Channel 4 documentary that failed in its journalistic norms and provenance in producing a plethora of half truths as revenge for the unceremonious ‘turfing out’ of their star reporter and his entourage from Sri Lanka during the final Eleam war.

    Channel 4 is a small broadcaster in the United Kingdom and has fallen for the LTTE supporting Diaspora’s tricks hook, line and sinker. Unlike the BBC, Channel 4’s provenance is wanting. It is not surprising that the two big broadcasters in the United Kingdom the BBC and ITV have paid scant regard to this Channel 4 documentary. Instead Channel 4 to redeem its credibility has to hawk its documentary to Indian and Australian broadcasters who do not pursue broadcasting standards as stringent as the BBC and ITV in the United Kingdom.

    The author also dismembers Gordon Weiss’s objectivity in his book ‘The Cage’ and the contradictory statements he outputs as Weiss’s personal vendetta against the President of Sri Lanka. He also illustrates in clear uncertain terms the sterility of agreeing to a ceasefire with the LTTE as the past has proved that the LTTE and its leadership utilised any ceasefire to strengthen their forces to fight another day.

    Unfortunately for the LTTE and fortunately for the nation of Sri Lanka the LTTE had cried ‘wolf’ too often and were genuinely taken aback when political will of President Rajapaksa prevailed and the Sri Lankan Army under the correct leadership this time moved in for the kill and caused the utter vanquishing of the LTTE. Thus freeing the nation of Sri Lanka from one of the most ruthless terrorist organisation of the twenty first century and auguring in real peace in Sri Lanka after a thirty year impasse.

  15. skumar says:

    The author’s careful effort to hide his bias towards the Sri Lanka government falters when he calls the UN report “controversial”. Is it controversial just because the Sri Lanka government didn’t like it?

    Every body thought that the NGOs and the UN crew were asked to leave to make sure that there were no foreign witnesses to the brutal war. But, the Assistant Professor seems to know exactly what the SL government thought?

  16. Freevoice says:

    Truth in a nutshell

  17. Hela says:

    Kumar,

    1. Please substantiate 40,000. Do not parrot numbers plucked from thin air. Credibility of Shyam’s critique lies in there (C4, Weiss used numbers to sensationalise the conflict).

    2. Please count the Sinhalese civilians died during the Southern insurgency between 1987-89 and you will get the answer.

    3. Please check the estimates of UN agencies and other NGO and tell us whether anyone had an accurate estimate of civilian population in Wanni. Govt went by the estimates provided by the Wanni GA.

    4. Turn inwards man and ask LTTE rump as to why they used civilians and their property as cover for their “final war”.

    5. It is the racist Tamil political leadership that nurtured terrorism which ultimately destroyed Tamils themselves. They are the ones who provided cover for assasinations of Tamil politicians starting from Alfred Durraiappah, Tamil intellectuals starting from Rajini Thiranagam, and Tamil officials such as gramasevakas, school principals etc and justified those killings in the name of punishing the traitors. LTTE is their baby subsequently nurtured by Tamil diaspora.

    Shayam seems to grasp the above facts non emotionally.

  18. Nanthalal says:

    Here we go,

    Another Message with ” kill the Messenger” and not the message

    Neo- Journalism of his kind

    Gordon Weiss at least was in ground to see and write but this writer staying over 1000s of miles and can see what was going on ??? who does he try to fool.

    I remember about the CNN anchor Anderson cooper he try to show that he is the first one on the field but when Japan was hit with Earth quake, he was standing in Tokyo and reporting wth Sanjay Gupta, the same wat this author is tring to kill the messengers from Hawaii. WOW

  19. Shoot the messenger!

  20. “I would have loved to see Tekwani provide proof that any of these hospitals were used for military purposes. “

    You still haven’t read the Darusman Report, “Rational”man? The report says that the hospitals were used by the Tigers for military purposes. Can you find that part, or do you require me to cut and paste it for you?

  21. punchinilame says:

    If everything was undertaken to ensure PEACE in SLanka, why is the visit of
    Mr. Christof Heyns – the Un special rapporteur for extra-judicial killings be
    turned down by GOSL? Probably “zero” killings as the Ch. 4 Video displayed
    only of LTTE Actors!!

    The proof is that GOSL is inviting Ms. Jayalaitha instead, to counter the
    turned-down UN visit.

    A no-go zone is still maintained in the guise of mine-clearing, whilst it is
    thought that incineration of human bones is going on to prevent future
    evidence, by the MOD.

  22. Saman says:

    He(Piribha the murderer) has done more than enough damage to India killing her beloved son Rajive Ghandi.I am wondering where you are breathing from. How have you people forgot praba’s killings. that means you accept so called right violations if it suits your so called course???? How pathetic?? If Liette did not hurd civilians by force, there shouldn’t be much casualty. You people did not have any sympathy for your own people. You can wait. But don’t even think of doing same foolish thing againg. you are not doing anything good for your own race. Please think about it.come out from you Tamils inferiority complex.

  23. kumara ekanayake says:

    one word- well said

  24. cikka says:

    The truth always hurts an agenda that cannot proceed. Prof Tekwani’s assessment is even a bitter pill for the agenda of destablising the nation that has gone through such a calamity. If the Tigers did not meet their match their atrocities will be still on our door step. The major problem with the elemination of the LTTE is for the agenda of human trafficking and drug smuggling in teh guise of refugees. Now the LTTE posing a dilemma for the countries that gave them refuge like Canada,Australia and New Zealand. The New Zealand prime minister is on record calling the refugee boat people a bunch of criminals.

    So where is the truth? Dont try to eat your own words and Sri Lanka please.

  25. gamaya says:

    KC
    pls dont cry.SLG went for the kill and they did it .If needed we will do it again

  26. afool says:

    Do you know, why we Tamils will still fight for a separate Tamil Eelam state in one way or another? It is because the Sinhalies has no brain in their head to think and no heart in them to be human.

    NB:- Do not answer never!

  27. afool says:

    At-least one correct thing the author wrote at the end of the article is, he pointed-out that this article is from his own head only and do not reflects the views of the US department of defense. We also know well that no-one in the US defense department thinks shallow like this author.

  28. Uthungan says:

    It is not enough to accuse Channel4 of a plethora of half truths when the fact is that the incriminating clips shown on TV were obtained from those who had mobile phones to focus on the gory details,and that could not have been the LTTE cadres who were at the business end of the gun barrel, but the Lankan army itself.Considering the fact that the poorly paid Lankan army soldiers mainly consist of village yokels is is very likely that they were tempted to part their war trophies for lucre which exposed the whole truth to the world at large.

    Again the fact that the UN officials were compelled to leave on the grounds that it was not possible to assure safety cannot be glossed over and hidden under the carpet.

    But the LTTE which was a fascist terrorist outfit and that had to be eliminated cannot be disputed, and the irony of it is that task had been completed by a President who the LTTE helped to win the elections which he contested and which victory was due to the prohibition it enforced to prevent the Tamils from voting.

  29. Hela says:

    Please listen to what US defence attache to Colombo had to say (please refer to recently concluded defence conference in Colombo).

  30. MC Ramon says:

    Its interesting to see all the Eelamists (alarmists?) coming out to savage Shyam’s critique.

    They only want to hear a one sided argument and continue to portray themselves as victims, who were innocent of any criminality or responsibility in shaping the outcome of the civil war. They cannot handle the fact that their crude attempts at propaganda are noted by impartial observers liek Shyam.

    And believe me, the US Department of Defense has no sympathy towards the LTTE whatsover and it will continue to remain a proscribed terrorist organisation as long as it threatens India’s stability and unity by calling for secessionism.

  31. Steve says:

    David, you are right,

    Tekwani himself shooting the messenger,

  32. Rationalman says:

    No David, Navab doesn’t shoot an unarmed civilian! You must be confusing him with the “brave” members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

  33. Rationalman says:

    David, you say “You still haven’t read the Darusman Report, “Rational”man? The report says that the hospitals were used by the Tigers for military purposes. Can you find that part, or do you require me to cut and paste it for you?”

    Thank you fro your your response, and I had a feeling that you or one of your ilk would respond as you did

    As you know, usually I prefer people to cut and paste from reliable sources instead of pulling stuff out of their nether areas. But in this case, there is no need as I have the Expert Panel’s Report (or as you call it, the Darusman Report).

    Forgive me if I am wrong but since the publication of the report, you and people of your ilk have been going around and around desperately trying to discredit this report. I find it refreshing and encouraging that that now you are willing to cite the report to support your argument that the LTTE had used hospitals for military purposes. I will use a much broader standard, of not just LTTE’s use of hospitals, but the LTTE’s use of military equipment in the proximity of civilians.

    From my a quick review of notes, I can cite at least six references to LTTE’s actions. Section 86 (page 24), section 82, Page 24), sections 94, (page 26), Sections 104 (page 31), section 110, page 33 and Section 177C (page 50). I think there are 442 numbered sections in the report in addition to all the appendices and citations. .

    However, In Section 94, the panel stats that the LTTE also fired mobile artillery from the vicinity of the hospital but did not use the hospital for military purposes till it was evacuated”.

    And in section 104, the panel states that “While some wounded cadre were treated at treated at Putumattalam Hospital, they were few in number and kept in a separate ward”

    In section 110, the Panel states that Mullivaikkal Hopsital was the only remaining hospital in the conflict zone and there were no LTTE cadre in the hospital and nor did anyone bring any weapons inside. But the brave men of the Sri Lankan armed forces contined their heavy shelling of the hospital.

    So I think I have saved you the trouble of cutting and pasting. Cutting and pasting keeps us all honest. If have missed any sections about LTTE and hospitals, please do help us by doing your own cutting and pasting!

    Now that you accept certain sections of the Expert Panel’s Repot, does that mean you now are open to the possibility accept all the 442 sections or will continue to be intellectually dishonest by selectively picking only 10 or 15 even 25 sections of the report that suit your predetermined narrative?

    And to see you offering to cut and paste from the Darusman Report (as you call it) to support your case after condemning it all this while, reminds me of the following quotation from the Merchant of Venice– “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek.”

    David, from past history, I know that as this discussing gets longer and longer, you are doing to get frustrated and will start casting aspersions on my intellect and my comprehending ability, the need for my to keep away from Ceylon affairs and inane quips., which you probably imagine to be razer sharp wit. Comments like “it’s your lack of comprehension that is causing you problems”, “That too is a sign of a lower intellect”.,” It is good that the Tamils of SL are well rid of you; they deserve people of a better caliber in this difficult time”, etc etc etc…… You have started already by addressing me as (the highly original putdown)”, “Rational” man!

    But to be fair you have been complementary once or twice (more likely once). When you said “You sound like Gotabhaya, who said because Damilvany wasn’t raped, no other Tamils women were raped. Well done. Your rationality is astounding ”. To be compared to the 2nd most powerful man in Sri Lanka was very flattering and I thanked you then and thank you again!

    David, you have an unfortunate habit of repeating the same insults over and over again and they are not particularly very original either. So I suggest that you raise your game and start working on your insults, otherwise it just sounds bitter and angry. And as always my fullest and absolute forgiveness in advance.

  34. Rationalman says:

    Hela,
    Please listen to what the US State Department says about “what US defence attache to Colombo had to say (please refer to recently concluded defence conference in Colombo)”.

    http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/3673

    Please?

  35. Rationalman says:

    Hela,
    Here are the responses to your question

    1: I suggest that you read Part E (page 39 of the Expert Panel’s report).
    2: That is irrelevant to the subject under discussion.
    3. I suggest that you read the US Expert Panel’s Report Section 125 (page 37. The GAs of Mulliathivu and Killinochi indicated there were around 420,000 people. The UN’s intiial estimate was 250000 but subsequent estimates were higher. But the GOSL was insisting that the number of civilians were between 75000 and 100000.
    4: We will, if we can find the LTTE rump. But they are all dead! Except for KP. I wish Mahinda would ask him!
    5: Have you forgotten the 1956, 1958, 1977 and 1983 riots and a number of mini riots in between?

  36. afool says:

    ” But the LTTE which was a fascist terrorist outfit that had to be eliminated, cannot be disputed”? Why don’t you ask the SL government to remove the ban on the LTTE and allow them to participate in the democratic process in Srilanka, then you will see, who the Tamils would prefer than these Tamil book-pundits? Do you think these Tamil book-pundits will ever get the Tamils a respectable life in Srilanka? Leave alone, them assisting the fellow Tamils, can they protect their wives and daughters from the humiliation they suffer from these Sinhalese thugs?

  37. Tanya says:

    Agreed with Ratinalman.
    Just to add to point (4): Mahinda (and Hela) can ask Karuna & Pillaiyan too.

  38. Native Vedda says:

    Chinese Charm says

    “Pirapa had faith on Indian people and on the Truth. That is why he did not make any political moves detrimental to India”.

    Do you want me to believe what you said above?

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