By Lalin Fernando
“She goes on ‘Tens of thousands of war victims of the Tamil separatist conflict would not accept reconciliation unless war criminals are brought to justice’. How did she find that out? Through the TNA that was the mouthpiece of the LTTE and the ‘Diaspora’ refugees? Do these figures include the 290,000 Tamils, who were held as hostages and used as human shields and were rescued by the Army? They were rescued from death. The conflict in SL was a terrorist and not ‘Tamil separatist’ one. The number of war victims’ she quotes appears to be inspired by what the ‘GC’ caused in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria than anywhere else. It still continues”.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) had her time like the two other Presidents before her and a Prime Minister to resolve what appeared to be the intractable problem of the LTTE. She and they didn’t. There was unrelenting bloody and to use her worn out cliché ’horrendous conflict’ for 26 years. MR did and brought peace to the entire country. He ignored her. Is what she says and does going to help SL or herself?
As the head of National Unity and Reconciliation, CBK, according to Al Jazeera and The Island among SL media states that her office ‘after decades of war’, was ‘building bridges between the Sinhalese and Tamils to ensure ethnic peace. Reconciliation and accountability will have to go hand in hand’.
She has told The Island newspaper that with respect to ‘alleged war crimes’… ‘Only respected SL judges and lawyers …with an open mind… would examine actions of those in the main stream line of command and not the soldiers who were only carrying out orders… SL would engage the Global Community (GC) with an open mind unlike Mahinda Rajapaksa’s confrontational and arrogant approach’. She failed to say Mahinda, fortunately for SL was also obdurate and unyielding. He did not allow the GC (IC) to mess about when victory over the terrorists and the elusive end of hostilities and peace were in his grasp.
The IC is responsible for the tragedy that is the Middle East today. In Iraq alone after a criminal war waged by the GC/IC, the estimates of the dead are today nearer 2 million not one. Islamic State (IS) has become more than a threat; even a challenge to the western IC .The West has a death list for 7 countries starting from Iraq and Iran to Libya through Lebanon to Syria. All are in oil rich lands. None are in Africa that has no oil. There is no talk of ‘reconciliation’ or international law applied to them. Bombings and drone attacks killing some terrorists and many civilians is the order of the day-from the chain (CBK’s’ line) of command. To some in SL the GC/IC is a saviour-of what only heaven knows.
One senses immediately that more than reconciliation which also means to pacify, CBK is motivated by envy and not ‘accountability’. SL was pacified for all time in 2009 and needs no more reconciliation.
CBK is also quoted by Al Jazeera (Dec. 1, 2015) as saying that she ‘personally believed involving independent foreign judges was preferable’. This contradicts her other statement quoted in the local press. It is her normal off the cuff and blundering devious style.
CBK went on ‘though the war ended in 2009, we have not won the peace yet…. ‘. She attempts pathetically to hide the fact it was not simply that the ‘war ended’ but that the LTTE was wiped out. There is peace. MR won it. All SL, less CBK and her new green eyed friends, know that peace followed 26 years of terrorist mayhem. The peace needs consolidation. That takes time. There was nothing more to win.
She goes on ‘Tens of thousands of war victims of the Tamil separatist conflict would not accept reconciliation unless war criminals are brought to justice’. How did she find that out? Through the TNA that was the mouthpiece of the LTTE and the ‘Diaspora’ refugees? Do these figures include the 290,000 Tamils, who were held as hostages and used as human shields and were rescued by the Army? They were rescued from death. The conflict in SL was a terrorist and not ‘Tamil separatist’ one. The number of war victims’ she quotes appears to be inspired by what the ‘GC’ caused in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria than anywhere else. It still continues.
Who are these ‘war criminals’? Were they not the LTTE as the laws of SL would indicate? Or are these simply her pet hates in the ‘line of command’? Has she read or even glanced at the Paranagama report? Men of international eminence, Sir Desmond de Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Prof David Crane (USA) and Major General John Holmes MC, DSO, OBE and former Commander SAS rubbish the Darusman report that is the base for the allegations CBK glibly trots out to please the GC. They do not rant and rave.
How many of those ‘tens of thousands’ victims died during her reign in the ‘line of command’ as well as those before her?
She went on, ‘The UN (and she too presumably) wants accountability. .. Court will not be chasing after every soldier but the main line of command…’ She adds almost as a sop to the general public that, ‘Surviving Tamil rebel leaders would be hauled up to answer horrendous crimes by the rebels’. Does she have a clue as to who and where these ‘surviving Tamil rebel leaders’ are? Does she not mean the terrorist LTTE and not ‘Tamil rebel’ leaders? There are and will be Tamil as well as other communities who have rebel leaders. Some are in Parliament. Why should they be ‘hauled up’? Rebels are not necessarily terrorists who have to give ‘answers’. Is CBK’s problem that she is unable to call a terrorist a terrorist, like the LTTE? What makes her demur after being C in C of the SL troops for nearly 10 years? Were her troops fighting ‘rebel leaders’ or terrorists? The TNA that is clamouring like her for ‘reconciliation’ and ‘justice’ were the LTTE’s supporters and mouth pieces. Their leaders were all Lord Haw Haws. Will all the TNA be ‘hauled up’ for being associated with the terrorists or is it to be their ‘line of command only’? Did she forget?
It is clear that the emphasis is on the so called ‘main stream line of command, ergo Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), described as ‘confrontational’ and ‘arrogant’. Being so is surely not a crime. He gave peace to SL. It is certainly not the peace of the grave yard SL had before. How many of the ‘tens of thousands’ were killed by the LTTE during the diverse phony peace attempts that were totally rejected by VP? How many more would have died annually if CBK’s offer of sharing national sovereignty for 10 years had been accepted by the terrorist leader? Who was responsible in the line of command to defeat the LTTE and stop the ‘tens of thousands’ being killed? SL knows but did not call them names.
CBK speaks of the war ‘ending’ but avoids saying that the LTTE was actually whipped. The others were content to believe the LTTE could not be defeated far less whipped. They were willing to live with that forever. Especially, the beholders of the CFA. CBK at least tried.
CBK, as a former C in C, has to be aware every citizen, soldier or not, is responsible for his own actions. This includes the C in C. There is no escape for troops who indulge in unlawful acts by quoting superior orders even if they are from the C in C. This is laid down in all 3 Services Acts. Since VP is dead who in the LTTE will be tried for crimes like the shooting in the head of prisoners at Pooneryn (800) and Mullativu (1,000) and countless massacres of civilians in numerous villages like Arantalawa and the hundreds killed in suicide bombings and bombing of the Central bank, hotels, railway stations, airports in Chennai and SL, buses, trains and planes? So CBK’s interpretations will let the LTTE cadres off the hook as their ‘line of command ‘criminals are dead. Is this possibly a canny ploy to convict Karuna and Pillayan or even Douglas whose support for the state was inestimable or KP, who bared all?
CBK will remember the most ’horrendous’ rape and murder of Krishanthi Kumaraswamy and murder of her mother at a check point in Jaffna and several other similar cases when she was C in C. Who was tried and who was sentenced to death? Certainly and rightly not the ‘main stream line of command’. During the JVP reign of terror (60,000 killed during the UNP regime in 1989/90) didn’t selected MPs usurp the ‘line of command’ and give the military lists of ‘tens of thousands’ to be ‘destroyed’. It was open season for killing Sinhalese. Was an amnesty declared or should SL hide this?
So why does MR, the C in C in 2009, have to answer for whatever misdeeds that happened during the conflict, unless he gave illegal orders? Curiously, it appears that ‘crimes’ to be investigated are limited to the periods that MR was C in C and not any other time. The 1983 riots led to the conflict. As a consequence the LTTE were spawned. CBK’s efforts at ‘justice’ failed when she took over.
Adele, the LTTE women’s suicide cadre leader lives openly in UK. Can CBK/MS/RW tell Cameron to stuff the UK Sterling pounds 6.6 million he offered for military ‘development’ (spying?) and instead hand over Adele B? Where is Pottu Amman? Who cares? Thus, there will be no LTTE members charged for serious crimes as CBK knows. Yet she makes out that it is a probability. Instead SL troops that finished off the LTTE are in the ‘line’ of ‘GC ‘fire.
What a trial will it be? The merciless, barbaric LTTE terrorist cadres, cunningly referred to as Tamil rebels will not be charged with waging war and actually murdering ‘tens of thousands’ of civilians as their ‘line of command’ is dead. Instead, perversely the ‘line of command’ who delivered peace are to be ‘hauled‘ up as GC designated ‘hybrid’ judged ‘war criminals’. Are they to be punished by the GC and their own government because they defeated the abominations that were supposed to be undefeatable–for 100 years? Has SL forgotten these doomsayers? Will it forgive them?
Who on the advice of the Security Forces (SF) Commander ordered the withdrawal of forces (14,000?) from Jaffna? If that had happened there would have been no SL today. Who appealed shamelessly to India, SL’s only foreign enemy during the conflict, to help evacuate the troops from Jaffna? India fortunately rebuffed SL. SL troops stood firm and with Pakistan’s priceless gift of MBRLs (Multi Barrel Rocket launchers) ensured SL survived. Indeed, it was like at Waterloo, a close run thing. But now forgotten for expedience.
Who was responsible for the fall of Elephant Pass where an entire SL division was defeated, suffering enormous casualties? This was worse than Pooneryn and Mullativu that also have no fathers. Did not Maj Gen Hettiarachchi, founder commander of the Special Forces warn of the impending disaster? Why was the warning ignored? Who in the line of command was responsible? Has SL ‘reconciled’ herself to the deaths of hundreds of its soldiers who perished at above and other places while paying obeisance to the GC/IC to look after terrorists and their followers’ interests?
CBK and those who are hell bent on exacting revenge should also give a thought to what General Pervez Musharaf, former President of Pakistan, has written in his Memoir- Line of Fire- on page 293. It refers to the nuclear proliferation activities of metallurgist AQ Khan, (AQ) According to Musharaf ’there were money seeking free lancers … mostly from Europe, manufacturing, procuring , and distributing to countries like Iran and Libya materials and components related to centrifugal technology…. these people included nationals of Switzerland, Holland, Britain and Sri Lanka…. The net work in Dubai included several Indians who have since vanished’. Who were these from SL? Potential nuclear bomb merchants carrying suitcases in Colombo would pose enormous hazards to ‘reconciliation’ and ‘justice’ unless they are exposed, whatever their ethnicity.
CBK should be wary that instead of ‘reconciliation’ she does not stir a hornet’s nest. She should not be advised by the LTTE’s proxy the TNA or the GC, but by the likes of Mr. V Anandasangaree, the leader of the TULF, who stood fearlessly and firmly for a united SL. Let anyone from SL vie for the Nobel Peace Prize that RW’s father perversely wanted to nominate JRJ for; after the Indians had invaded SL! But let it not be at SL’s cost. Let SL have uninterrupted the peace it won at tremendous cost, sacrificing her best sons and daughters in 2009. Where were you when Nandikadal fell?