You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘terrorism’ tag.

One of the most significant omissions on the part of those bearing witness against the Sri Lankan government is detail about the manner in which the LTTE used the No Fire Zones. Though both the Darusman Report and the book by Gordon Weiss mention that the LTTE used military equipment ‘in the proximity of civilians’, they treat this as a distinct issue from the allegations they make against the Sri Lankan government. Given that returning hostile fire is not a war crime, they should have discussed the actual actions taken by the government in the context of proportionality, but this is avoided. The impression they seek to create is that the government attacked hospitals and civilians systematically, whereas the evidence, when it can be quantified – as with actual hits on hospitals, including within hospital premises – suggests that such incidents were extremely rare. Given the systematic manner in which the LTTE used civilians and places of civilian gathering, including hospitals, the record shows remarkable care on the part of the government.

Damilvany of course never mentions the systematic use the LTTE made of hospitals and such areas. The Sri Lankan government did try at one time to draw attention to what was going on, but it received no support whatsoever. The answer the ICRC sent in response, one letter to four urgent appeals, suggests how the international community as it is termed continued formulaic in its responses –

‘Re: Complaints about LTTE firing from the no fire zone

In reference to your different letters on the above mentioned matter (dated 16.02,. 17.02, 18.02 and 19.02 2009) the International Committee of the Red Cross wishes to inform you of the following.

The ICRC is aware the Sri Lankan authorities have announced the demarcation of a new “safe zone” along the Mullaitivu lagoon, and welcomes this development as it may help to find practical humanitarian solutions that may enhance the protection of civilians and those no longer directly taking part in the hostilities in the Wanni.

However, the ICRC would like to point out that not having been agreed upon by both parties to the conflict with the aim to shelter the wounded, sick and civilians from the effects of hostilities or with the aim to demilitarize it, the zone as such is not specifically protected under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This being said, the civilians and those no longer taking a direct part in the hostilities who have taken in the ‘no fire zone’ remain of course protected persons under IHL.

The ICRC has in the past not missed any opportunity, and will continue to do so, to remind both parties to the conflict to respect in all circumstances their obligations under IHL, in particular the principles of precautions, distinction and proportionality, in order to spare all protected persons from the effects of hostilities.

We stay at your disposal, should you have any query on the above.’

ICRC Letter 20 Feb 2009

ICRC Letter 20 Feb 2009 to SF Commander - Security Forces Headquaters (Wanni) Vavuniya

That last line seems typical of the ICRC, and one wonders whether it was as helpful to the LTTE. Of course one has to recognize that the ICRC worked on the basis of confidentiality, and they could not be expected to make public what advice they gave to the LTTE. Still, one can understand, particularly in the context of the deceit practiced by Jacques de Maio, who headed the Sri Lanka desk in Geneva, the anger of the Sri Lankan government at what seemed deliberately aggressive critical statements of the ICRC during the first couple of months of 2009, with specifics that seemed designed to present the Sri Lankan government in the worst possible light, with no matching criticism of the LTTE. The fact that the LTTE was deploying its weapons in close proximity to hospitals was never mentioned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Anders Behring Breivik

When I wrote last week about the two terrorist attacks that had taken place in Norway, I was also making the point that these were not especially significant in terms of the Norwegian relationship with Sri Lanka. I was indeed worried that some Sri Lankans might see this as an opportunity to vent their resentment at Norway for the encouragement it was thought to have extended to terrorists, and I wanted to make it clear that I felt this would be inappropriate. In fact, though there have been one or two regrettable pronouncements, by and large the reaction has been suitably sympathetic.

Obviously there was some sort of link, in that Sri Lanka had suffered appallingly for terrorism for a long time, and Norway had been involved in trying to help us to overcome this, though as I have noted, their involvement was not always of the wisest. That however was in line with the attitude of some Sri Lankans too, so we should not blame them. On the other hand, a few recent pronouncements, after the LTTE was destroyed in Sri Lanka, seemed unnecessarily provocative, and I believe Erik Solheim in particular spoke out of turn some months back. However he too has been more sensible recently, while the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has by and large behaved circumspectly, in a manner I had thought indicated its comparative professionalism, as opposed to the ambitious Mr Solheim.

Utøya Island - Norway

So, despite the occasional continuing dissonant voice from Norway, balanced by the recent arrest of one of the more extreme characters trying to revive the LTTE, I thought it necessary to preserve a distinction between our own victimization by terrorists and what Norway suffered last week. But I was shocked out of this position when I saw an aerial view of Utøya Island, where the main tragedy happened. It is shaped exactly like Sri Lanka, even down to a small peninsula at the top and an indentation on the East Coast which looks like Trincomalee Harbour.

And then I read, in the article to which the picture was attached, the last quotation, of a Norwegian girl who said, ‘It is unbelievable that a Norwegian guy could do this to his own country.’ That phrase struck me then as symptomatic of a whole mindset about terrorism, which needs to be adjusted, if we are to get rid of terrorism worldwide, or at least reduce its impact.

First is the assumption that terrorists are alien, not like us, and they harm others, not people like themselves. This is obviously a part of the truth, because terrorism thrives on othering, on hardening distinctions between those who act and those against whom they act. This has been encouraged by the dichotomizing the West engages in as a matter of course, in terms of its own dialectics, and I suspect we would all be much better off if we had a more oriental view of our relations, in which we thought in circles rather than straight lines, in terms of overlapping inclusivities rather than oppositional compartments. Read the rest of this entry »

See No Good, Hear No Good, Speak No Good


THE DARUSMAN PANEL

 

A review of the evidence

in the context of past realities and future plans

 

This collection of essays has been prepared to shed light on the Report of the Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

It is divided into several sections. The first looks into the manner in which the Panel was set up and what it says. The critique both of purported facts and modalities adopted is followed by analysis of some of the personalities involved in what seems a well targeted plan. This is followed by letters that respond to questions as well as particular allegations.

 

The Report

 

1.   Assessing the Secretary General’s Panel

2.   Shoddy and Suspicious Details in the  Report

3.   The complicity of the international community in causing and exaggerating death

4.   The UN network of informers

5.   The brutal misuse of hospitals by the LTTE and the Darusman Panel

6.   Bad Faith

7.   Impunity for false allegations – Rape, Hillary Clinton and Gethin Chamberlain

8.   Using food as a weapon – the Tigers and the Darusman Panel

9.   The Panel’s two showpieces

10. Perverting conditions at Menik Farm

11. Continuing Victimization through Self-Righteousness

12. The tentative world of the Darusman Panelists

The Reporters and Other Actors

13. The many personalities of Kiki Darusman

14. Mr Sambandan’s Triumphalism

15. Bradman and his boys and UN funds

16. American Ambassador Patricia Butenis may have deliberately omitted forces dedicated to reconciliation from the consultation she organized

17. The involvement of UN officials in the programmes of either Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu or Patricia Butenis

18. Promoting Treachery – a new dimension to political affairs

Related Aspects

19.  Response to allegations made by Dr Saravanamuttu

20. Letter to the Editor, The Island

21.  Responses to Lakbima News

22. Responses sent to IRIN, the news agency of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance

23.  Asian Tribune: Q & A with Prof Rajiwa Wijesinhe

24.  Letter to the UN Secretary General

Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: