Posts Categorized: Military

Four Years On, Genocide Continues Off the Battlefield

On the anniversary of the 26-year civil war, the Sri Lankan state celebrates its 2009 victory while Tamils mark the bloody nadir of the campaign to systematically dismantle the Tamil nation – one which continues today. In May 2009 as the armed conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of… Read more »

Genocide in Guatemala

In further contrast to its neighbors, Guatemalan society was (and remains) profoundly racist, fearful of the indigenous majority that it has continually dehumanized. That racism let the elite-military alliance use anticommunist counterinsurgency principles to justify the extermination of Mayan peoples and communities.

“Why do you ask why Indians were killed?’’ a member of the oligarchy once asked me. “A better question is why didn’t we kill more Indians?”

Close to Home, but Not Close Enough

However, as many as 5,000 families are about to begin a legal battle for their land rights, said S. Sugirthan, chairman of the Valli North Pradeshiya Sabha — the local body — in Kankesanthurai, Jaffna…

According to official sources, as many as 83, 618 persons from 23,351 families in Jaffna were displaced in 1990. Most of them are in IDP camps, while a few stay with host families. A few others have migrated abroad and some are in Rameswaram.

Military has Displaced Northern People

In Jaffna District in a place called Valikamam North, more than 10,000 acres of land which belong to people are now controlled by the Army. They are not allowing the people to go back to their land. Now the Government is trying to acquire the land for the purpose of putting up new military camps. These are fertile lands. People who own these lands want their land back. This is only one example. Likewise, there are several hundreds and thousands of people in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar whose land has been forcibly occupied by the military. We feel that the military is going to permanently keep these lands for themselves…

In Sri Lanka there are 200,000 Army personnel and 150,000 are stationed in the Northern Province. That is unnecessary.

Field Report: Jaffna and Killinochchi Districts

This visit demonstrated yet again the persistence of land problems, recently compounded by policy directives that may lead to the dispossession of land of thousands. CPA calls upon the Government to take urgent steps to address this situation and to institute processes that are transparent, participatory and just. CPA also calls upon Government and military officials to adhere to promises and pledges made including the release of private lands and to ensure people’s fundamental freedoms are respected.

In the North, the Govt. is Setting a Vicious Cycle in Motion Again

The most likely rationale for the government’s takeover of the land in the North and East is to ensure national security. But there is a lack of clarity with regard to the need for such a large extent of land at such great cost to the affected population. The government’s actions create the very problem it is meant to address.

Militarization as a Way of Life

It is TSA’s contention that the recent problems in Kanthi Kiramam are directly related to the fact that community members raised concerns about the building of the checkpoint. …

Whether these recent developments portend a new era of mystery men – a return of the Grease Yaka – remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it looks like these acts of violence are now being used to justify the checkpoint, as the military now seems to be citing security concerns as justification for continued state surveillance.

COIN & Sri Lanka

While state police forces and right-wing media in India, the local partner in the genocide, keep hailing the ‘Sri Lanka solution’ as appropriate to deal with the Maoist insurgency, influential military thinkers in the US appear to be doing a professional, scientific study of the Sri Lankan model and its applicability to other contexts….

He argues that Sri Lanka’s victory “has led some people in the counterinsurgency community to question the basic precepts of classical counterinsurgency as understood in the West which advocates protecting the population and focusing on political primacy as a means to win over the population and isolate the insurgent and forge a lasting peace.”

Further, “Sri Lanka in this case shows a different path, somewhat in contradiction to these prescriptions and produced both quick and decisive results. Firstly, counterinsurgency is at its heart – a counter adaptation level – a struggle to develop and apply new techniques in a fast moving high threat environment against an enemy that’s continually updating and developing. Counterinsurgency isn’t defined by a single, specific set of techniques rather a combination of techniques used for a particular insurgency under particular circumstances. Sri Lanka’s approach embodied that principle.”

Most ironically, in his book ‘Counterinsurgency’ published in 2010, Dr. Kilcullen had advocated that “Scrupulously moral conduct, alongside political legitimacy and respect for the rule of law, are thus operational imperatives: they enable victory, and in their absence no amount of killing—not even genocidal brutality, as in the case of Nazi antipartisan warfare, described below—can avert defeat.”…

But yet, when influential COIN and military experts in the establishments like Kilcullen and Hashim praise the successes of Sri Lanka’s war on the Tamil people, overlooking the genocide and the concomitant political fallout in Tamil Nadu and the diaspora, and while the various HR reports produced by those NGOs and State Departments in the same establishments only engage in counting the trees without addressing the question of genocide, nationhood, and sovereignty of the Eezham Tamil nation, it is hard not to think that they are two sides of the same coin.

Land Grabs In The North And East

Recent weeks have seen a steep rise in the number of land grabs in the North and East…

These land grabs by the military, together with activities relating to colonization of the North and East are part of the attacks on the democratic rights of the Tamil People in the North and East. These attacks are clearly carried out with the active support, sanction and collusion of the Sri Lankan government. They are part of the many vain and counterproductive attempts to suppress and persecute Tamils for their political aspirations. The Tamil National Alliance has called on the Sri Lankan government to immediately cease these acts of violence directed against the Tamil People. In order to prevent a non-recurrence of the past, Sri Lanka must expeditiously commence a meaningful and genuine process of reconciliation.

What Is the Narrative?

A fundamental question is: Why do terrorists attack the U.S.? The Narrative implies, rather overtly, that terrorists attack America because Allah told them to. (If this reminds you of Flip Wilson’s “The Devil Made Me Do It” you’re on target.) …

As far back as 2005, Scott Horton, writing on Antiwar.com, noted, “for his book [Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism], Pape started with the bombings themselves – every documented case between 1980 and 2004 – and noticed some suggestive common threads. Foreign occupation, it seems – not religion – is the core motivating factor behind suicide terrorism. From Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank to Sikhs in India, from the jihadists of 9/11 to the secular Marxist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka – for all of these, it is ‘a nationalistic response.’”

Leahy Amendment Stronger on Paper Than in Practice in Pakistan

The law is sound in theory, but in practice the real impact on curbing human rights abuses is often tempered by the desire of the United States to advance its own security interests, even if at times it requires overlooking questionable human rights records.

The War May Be Over But The Idea Lives On

Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”

OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.

But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.

Gunmen Attack Tamil Newspaper in Northern Sri Lanka

The newspaper owner, who is also an opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator, said it was the second strike on the publication this month and added the assailants had to be from “either the government or para-militaries.

“Who else can carry firearms freely in Jaffna?” he asked.

Sri Lanka lifted emergency rule in 2011 after the military crushed Tamil separatists two years earlier following a decades-long ethnic civil war in the island nation of 20 million people.

But troops are still deployed in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo, and other parts of the country to support the police…

Uthayan’s owner said five of his employees had died in attacks on the paper in the last eight years.

The Empty Findings of Sri Lanka’s Military Court of Inquiry

by Yasmin Sooka, ‘GroundViews.org,’ Colombo, April 11, 2013 Image courtesy RNW   Colombo’s contempt for the international community seems to be increasing. The recent media release on the findings of the Military Court of Inquiry stretch credibility. While I have not had access to the full report and to the evidence presented to the Military Court… Read more »

‘Haunted by Her Yesterdays’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nSSv9Kk3tkI Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent agony, trapped screams and repressed mourning. A story of women forced to deny their identity – who are trapped in between a government which sees them as “Tigers,” and a society whose norms they are no longer deemed worthy of. These women fought… Read more »

Militarization & Reconciliation

Is it possible to secure the dignity, rights and well-being of a conflict-affected population by incorporating them into a military juggernaut that has quickly grown to dominate all spheres of life?

Mullikulam: Restrictions Continue

The people also told us about how approximately 25 Navy families now live in their lands and that 33 houses have been repaired and occupied by the SLN, with more than 20 female Navy personnel having taken up residence within the former hospital building. Furthermore, of the two school buildings, only one has still been released for the 35 students from Mullikulam to study in. The remaining building is still being utilized to conduct Civil Engineering classes for the SLN.

The Truth Unravelling

The Rajapaksa government enjoys the support of the Sinhalese population when it comes to withstanding war-related international pressure. But when Gossip9 posted the photo feature of Balachandran’s death, around 30 percent of the comments were against the cold-blooded killing of the young boy. Usually, comments on war-related stories are anti-LTTE and full of praise for military action. The innocence of the young boy seems to have made the difference.

The Final Atrocity

It appears the Sri Lankan government did not want to take senior leaders of the Tamil Tigers prisoner, especially those who were well connected and spoke English. Their detention and any legal proceedings would be subject to international scrutiny for a long time to come. This was a risk as they were witness to multiple war crimes – the deliberate bombing of hospitals, food queues and civilian safe zones by government forces. And there was the chance that alive these men could lead Sri Lankan Tamils in another chapter of their struggle. The victors wanted a definitive end to the conflict. But in their haste they violated one of the most basic norms of war. Without respect for the white flag there’s no way to protect civilians and those who decide to stop fighting.