Friday, September 17, 2010

Karadiyanaru Police Station Blasted by Accident

14 police officer were killed and another 16 injured in a massive accidental explosion at the Karadiyanaru Police Station around 11.30am today. The blast claimed the lives of 6 civilians while 52 others were injured. The details of this explosion are revealing themselves only now.

Investigation units confirmed a short while ago that 700kg of Gelignite stored at the police station by the Chinese construction company CONVAC had detonated during loading killing the two Chinese workers first and then the others.

The majority of the other civilians killed and injured in the incident were visiting the police station and the adjacent Govijanaseva Depot. The blast left a hole in the ground measuring roughly fifteen feet by nine feet.

The police station is situated 500 meters from Karadiyanaru town on the Chenkaladi-Maha Oya road.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Remember Forever!

Dear readers,

It was on the night of the 19th and dawn on the 20th one year ago that Sri Lanka rid itself completely of the plague known as terrorism and became a country where there is freedom of movement for all. One right at a time!

Let us remember those that gave their lives to make this a reality and remember all the misguided LTTE youth with compassion.

Thank you,

DW Team

The Imaginarium of Dr. Channel 4

Channel 4 Television yesterday posted a story on its website titled "Sri Lanka Tamil Killings Ordered from the Top", another damning article against, firstly the Military (SLA) and secondly the Political Leadership. We wish to address the first accusation against the Military (SLA) in this article response. This is the first (and hopefully the last) reaction to Channel 4 by DefenceWire.

Before getting into the factual accuracy of these written and video reports, we would like to address the ethnicized language used in the written article beginning with its title "Tamil Killings". The ethnicized language is contained even in the video report which claims a "point blank executions of Tamils by uniformed Sri Lankan soldiers", which video is claimed to have been "authenticated by the UN".

It is disturbing to hear a news service make such unfounded claims based on an act carried out by 2-3 men in green uniform in an obscure video and blame it on the entire Sri Lankan Military. Channel 4 goes beyond all reasonable explanation to claim that the victims were Tamils. How did Channel 4 make this conclusion about the victims' ethnic identity by watching an obscure video clip is a complete mystery to us.

The choice of words in both the written and video reports is astounding and hints at a massacre of one ethnic group by another (Tamils massacred by Sinhalese) as in a genocide--an unmistakable parallel to the LTTE's own propaganda.

Channel 4 forgets that, of the total Tamil population in Sri Lanka, less than 330,000 were trapped in the No-Fire Zone area as hostages of the LTTE. These men, women and children were liberated in batches by the Army--the overwhelming majority of whom are still living.

The impact of this ethnicized rendering of the report has a definite impact on the subsequent reading of the statements made by the secretive "Commander and front line soldier". Their statements are as follows:

Soldier: "Yes, our commander ordered us to kill everyone. We killed everyone."

Commander: "Definitely, the order would have been to kill everybody and finish them off...I don't think we wanted to keep any hardcore elements, so they were done away with. It is clear that such orders were, in fact, received from the top."

Maybe it is us, here at DefenceWire but what is the connection between this statement and the angle of the story, beginning with the title "Tamil Killings"? To us the statements made by these two mysterious men could, if they were really from the Sri Lanka Army, indicate orders to eliminate members of the ruthless Tamil Terrorist group. Read the statements and you will realize that they say nothing about the killing of civilians here.

In the second clip, a man with a British accent voicing over a clip of the alleged 'front line soldier' says he killed civilians. Posed the question "what happened when the LTTE and its families surrendered with white flag" the man with the British accent now interpreting the ‘front line soldier’ says "first we arrest them, tortured them, and killed them". This is where the report loses all credibility.

Front line infantry troops only rescued the persons trapped within the NFZ. They were never given orders or had the time or skills to interrogate them. When the Army has been given orders to kill all terrorists and the terrorists have fought the Army with everything they had, including suicide bombers, would any LTTE leader in his/her right mind, fleeing from the battle to safeguard his/her life and the lives of his loved ones, openly claim to front line troops that they were from the LTTE?

The front line troops, even if a Tamil person claimed they were from the LTTE would not be able to identify them as LTTE. There was only one unit that can identify LTTE leaders and their families. That was Military Intelligence. Even then, not every officer or NCO in the MI would know all the leaders of the LTTE and their families.
Unless hoards of experienced MI officers and men come forward making this claim starting now, there is no way anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the last days of the war could trust the words of this alleged 'front line' soldier. The same applies to the ‘Commander’. Unless he was Chula Dias, Shavendra Silva, Prasanna Silva, Chagie Gallage or any of the Majors General or Brigadiers directly in-charge of troops in the front lines, there cannot be an iota of reliability in these claims.

A soldier is commanded by a junior officer. That officer could be a 2Lt or Lt or sometimes even a Captain or Major. To make the claim that there was an order given from the 'top', one must know what that top is in a battlefield scenario. The Secretary Defence, the Army Commander nor even a Division Commander would order a soldier directly. The so-called ‘Commander’ is relating second or third hand accounts of what could have been the orders. This is too presumptuous. This combined with the fact that only one 'front line soldier' has 'confessed' indicates nothing.

For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that a killing took place on the battle field as described by these two men. Does it indicate systematic, targeted and deliberate killing of LTTE surrendees and Tamil civilian throughout the battle field? That's negative. Thousands of LTTE cadres, both hard and soft core have been documented by the MI as surrendees and those documents are in the possession of humanitarian organizations. Some of these men, women and children have even been rehabilitated and handed over to their families.

We at DefenceWire would like to demand from Channel 4 the identity of the two men. The identity of these men and the video containing their full statements must be handed over to the government for investigations to be carried out on these massacres. This is because Channel 4's report suggests one incident of extra judicial killing; that which was alleged by the soldier. This soldier must be allowed to provide his evidence to the proper local authorities. Any attempt by Channel 4 to withhold that information would tantamount to conspiracy against the Sri Lankan people.

If by any chance members of the Armed Forces did make such statements to a foreign media they should be severely dealt with. The Army, just like any other profession or place of occupation is not always a just place. There are no workers' unions in the armed forces. All officers and men enlisting in them do so with the awareness that they must comply with the rules and regulations of the armed service but have the option of complaining TO YOUR SENIOR OFFICERS UPON COMPLETION OF TASK if the task was against the law (Comply and Complain). Go beyond those boundaries and they are errant on the side of military laws and regulations.

Perhaps the final twist in this Channel 4 story appears at the end of the video documentary. This indicates the hidden interest of Channel 4. The long sob story of decay and ruin of the ‘paradise island’ ends with the mentioning of war crimes charges being leveled against the Secretary Defence, a man who was instrumental in kicking Channel 4 out of Sri Lanka long before this alleged massacre.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Political Journalism

A particularly disturbing article has been published in an online news website claiming that a former Director Military Intelligence (DMI) is going to resign after being forced to testify against General Sarath Fonseka.

General Karunasekara, as a Brigadier and DMI worked very closely with General Fonseka during the humanitarian operation. He was part of a team of talented officers working under Fonseka who saw the war to its very end. This alone is not evidence to tie the loyalties of Karunasekara with Fonseka.

It is true that a few intelligence officers were questioned after the Fonseka Fiasco by the CID. The questioning was not heavy and the CID wanted to know it these officers had been instructed by Fonseka to conduct any activities against the state. General Karunasekara was not among those questioned.

The other blatant lie in this report is that intelligence officers under General Kapila Hendevitharana as DMI/DGMI, had taken bribes from the LTTE and that General Karunasekara (then Brigadier) had been appointed DMI by Fonseka to replace Hendevitharana and rid the forces of this corruption.

General Hendevitharana is an officer with an exemplary record of service for Military Intelligence. We do not wish to go into exact details of his work during the war but many would know from published reports the services we are referring to.

This is not the first and last time that Political Journalism has attempted to defame good officers. These sites once destroyed the illustrious career of General Fonseka. Let us hope they do not do any more damage to the Sri Lanka Army.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Call to Campaign

As you are probably aware, the United States of America recently halted training for all our elite troops, particularly the Special Forces, Commandos and the Special Task Force.

The decision to stop all training activities in USA for officers and men of the Special Forces came after a damning statement by the former Commander of the Army, Ret. General Sarath Fonseka. Fonseka directly implicated the Special Forces in an alleged massacre of top ranking Tamil Tigers during the final phase of the war.

Though the Sri Lankan elite troops have ample training, experience and skill, the halting of training and recognition as candidates by US military schools is still a blow to the pride of our military officers and men who fought to eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth and rewrote the manuals on Counter Terrorist (CT) and Counter Insurgency (CI) during the course of it.

Among those young officers scheduled to be trained in US military schools in 2010 included a number of LRRP officers.

Not to be outdone, the Commander-in-Chief, President Mahinda Rajapakse has obtained opportunities for training for our elite troops with the Russian Spetsnaz or Special Forces training schools during a recent visit to Moscow. Sri Lankan troops are also receiving training in China.

DefenceWire's humble appeal to our expatriate readers, particularly those residing in USA is to campaign diligently to reinstate these training opportunities for our elite troops. This is in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, December 2009. Page 17 of that report states:

The U.S. Congress should:
1. Authorize the U.S. military to resume training of Sri Lankan military officials to help ensure that human rights concerns are integrated into future operations and to help build critical relationships.

Human rights awareness could be built-in to any future trainings of our elite troops by the United States. The current political tussles in Colombo or any diplomatic misunderstandings between Colombo and Washington D.C. have nothing to do with these officers who must be judged on the basis of individual and collective merit in the true war on terror.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some exclusives on Fonseka Coup, HICORP etc.

First allegations of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2005

The first allegations that Fonseka was plotting against the political leadership of the country came in late 2005 when he was chosen and subsequently appointed Army Commander. These allegations were made by some top-ranking Army officers. We were privy to some of this information at that time.

While a good section of President Rajapakse's close aides took it seriously, Secretary Defence Gotabhaya Rajapakse vetoed the allegations and defended Fonseka. His argument was Fonseka was a necessary evil, an equal matching force to route the LTTE.

Second allegation of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2007-08

Allegations against Fonseka came up again from within the Army following 1) the acquisition of large amounts of armoured vehicles considered at that time to be ideal for crowd control in a military take-over. This was later disproved with the launching of the Mechanized Infantry Division combining the Air Mobile Brigade (termed jokingly at that time as පයිං යන Air Mobile due to the Army not having air capabilities to airlift these units to battle), units of the Armoured Corp and others.

2) Fonseka was again suspected of planning a coup when he brought his Sinha Regiment to guard vital installations in Colombo. The greatest fear of a coup arose when he attempted to change the security at the Presidential Palace. Subsequently the President's Corp was created to provide security to the President, his family and other dignitaries.

Third allegation of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2009

The third allegation of a coup arose when some members of the Special Forces and Military Intelligence who were reporting directly to Fonseka provided information to Fonseka above a particular Brigadier and the Secretary Defence on the demise of Prabhakaran and other top-ranking Tigers. This happened soon after Fonseka returned to the country during the final phase of the war.

Fonseka despised the use of the Special Forces by this particular Brigadier (now Major General) and above all, Secretary Defence (operating through the Brigadier). He got into loggerheads with both claiming as his point of argument the 26 Special Forces killed during the final phase of the battle could have been minimized if the operation was not rushed.

Fonseka under surveillance

Constant rantings by Fonseka, particularly before and after the Army Tattoo led to him being kept under surveillance. It was even accused that the then Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda had a team following Fonseka. It was during this period that Fonseka was approached by Mangala Samaraweera and Anura Kumara.

Fonseka did not always show respect for his peers in the Security Forces. His command of the Sri Lanka Army gave him enormous power which he did not hesitate to demonstrate even at Security Council meetings. He had the comparative advantage of being a ground commander and having access to an experienced and talented Army. He deeply despised anyone in the Army directly reporting to the political command.

Fonseka's ambition was to command a very large Army but the politicians did not trust his motives and, above all, his ego. Some might say that the politicians were proven right. Others say misplaced suspicions drove Fonseka to take revenge.


Upul Illangamge was first alerted to his name being part of an investigation on HICORP soon after Fonseka's political defection. He was contacted by investigators in Sri Lanka who had by that time arrested agents of HICORP in Sri Lanka. The documents the investigators uncovered contained Illangamge's name.

Whether Illangamge's name was used fraudulently and without his express approval or whether Illangame was left sore by Danuna Tillekeratne in a procurement deal is not clear. What is clear is that Illangamge's statement was not made under duress or for the promise of money. He was clearly angry with Danuna and Fonseka. If not, Illangamge would not take steps to file a complaint with the FBI on the HICORP deal.

Protests by Maha Sangha

Reports from within higher echelons of the Police and Politics indicate that the deep driver of the resentment by the Maha Sangha, particularly that of a chief prelate is the government dismissing some favors made by the said prelate directly to President Rajapakse. This particularly concerns a request that DIG Nimal Mediwaka of Kandy be appointed IGP. The government went on to appoint DIG Mahinda Balasooriya as IGP instead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fonseka Arrested

Gen Fonseka was arrested a short while ago by a contingent of Army officers on charges of conspiring to kill President Rajapakse.

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