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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1833

Lalin’s Column: After Nandikadal; Is it LTTE Kaput or are SL Forces betrayed?

By Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando

How is it that the SL Army that liberated the country from the fascist, terrorist LTTE after nearly 30 years of conflict during which about 100,000 died, is facing war crimes charges but not the defeated terrorist LTTE? The terrorists also killed an ex Indian Prime Minister, 27 SL transit passengers at Meenabakham airport, Chennai, India (1984) and a Japanese nun in Jaffna. Yet SL co sponsored a resolution in 2015 with the West to charge the Army with war crimes including attempted genocide. Which country in the world has done this before? The West that conspired to prevent ‘The total destruction of the Tamil Tigers’, (Morecraft) has with insidious local support, set into motion Operation ’Destroy SL’s Army’.

The conspiracy against the Army was hatched by the West many years ago when SL for its survival went out of the West’s orbit to be supported especially by China and Pakistan. War crimes trials, pulling out troops from Jaffna, retiring the most successful Army officers and drastically downsizing the Army were all recommended by hired Western military experts before 2005.It was to humiliate and neutralize the Army as a measure to appease the terrorists while seeking a completely elusive peace. It was meant to wrench SL from being traditionally non aligned to supplicant of the West (with an Indian shawl). After the scourge of the terrorists was destroyed and absolute and true peace, comfort, contentment and security had prevailed for the first time since 1979, why is this happening?

“There is an industry of vexatious allegations against...Forces during … war. We will investigate but will stop abuse of the system. There are 1, 500 allegations. ………….. these (allegations) appear to be above the law… Two law firms are taking advantage of UK’s legislative approach to besmirch the reputation of...Army…. Bring injustice to end … Allegations can be taken to ICC only if there is systemic abuse” (Theresa May PM of Britain after Brexit)

Today the Army is being hunted by SL’s new found allies the so called ‘international community’ meaning Britain with the USA and some European baggage, out of 195 nation states. They, until the end less USA, did not help. At the end the whole lot did tried to sabotage SL from achieving a complete victory by planning an abortive rescue mission. Had these ‘allies’ been on SL’s side then, it is SL that may have been destroyed eventually. The ‘West’ then came upon another ploy. It was to charge SL with war crimes and get ‘hybrid ‘judges (non SL mainly palefaces) to adjudicate. Ironically though responsible for the worst war time outrages since WW2 will never be hauled up before such courts.

These ‘allies’ are former Imperialists who grew rich on the abomination that was slavery. They colonized and robbed non Europeans for 500 years, waged two World Wars killing over 60 million, used atomic bombs, killed 2 million in Vietnam and Laos and another million in Iraq and Afghanistan. They now fervently preach morality which brings rich rewards and business for them. They include manufacturers of military hard ware (used to be the manufacture of cluster bombs too) and brief less lawyers seeking lucrative appointments in international courts. It all helps to sustain them as the world’s bullies.

In war, there are objectives for each phase. It could be to advance on a broad front (Bradley 12 (US) Army Group with Patton etc, Russians under Zhukov, Konev, Chuikov) or narrow front (Montgomery- 21 (Brit) Army Group, and Chuikov in the race for Berlin) in WW2. Opposition can be by passed to strike deep and fast taking risks leaving flanks open (Guderian, Rommel, Patton) or engage all enemy defended localities, secure flanks and proceed albeit more cautiously and slowly. The withdrawal (‘retreat’ or as the Russians say ‘mobile defence’ while the Americans in Korea called it ‘bugging out’.) could be by day (ill advised as at the Elephant Pass debacle) or night. In the defence it could be to hold (invariably a dominating or strategic feature) or deny ground. In the attack, it is either to capture or destroy. At Nandikadal the choice was destroy. It was the correct decision. It was perfectly legitimate. The force used was to be proportionate.

The Army had fought for nearly 30 years to defeat the Northern terrorists. Bitter fighting in the last two years led to nearly 6,000 troop deaths (KIA) and 29,000 WIA. The about 20,000 to 30,000 terrorists of whom 60% were children, 6,000 among them girls, chose Putumattalan to Mullivaikkal, an open unpopulated scrub land to the East of the Nandikadal lagoon in Mullativu as their main defensive position. The sea was to its rear. They had 10 foot earth bunds together with land mines covering all approaches. They launched desperate and formidable including suicide counter attacks from strong covering positions in Putthukudiyiruppu to the West of the lagoon as the Army closed in. Once those defences were driven in from all sides, Mullivaikkal was naked except for the 300,000 Tamil hostages taken voluntarily, by force, inducement or deceit to act as a human shield. The hostages had to be rescued before the terrorists could be finally destroyed.

In conventional warfare the battle field is clear of non combatants. No claims of collateral damage occur or can be made as in villages, towns and cities where people are resident by choice. These hostages were camp followers, forced labour and militia used to fortify the defence by digging trenches, bunkers and building formidable earth bunds behind the water obstacle. They had their artillery and even homemade MBRLs that caused more casualties to them than to their targets. The Sea Tigers patrolled the lagoon murderously. This was conventional warfare decided on by the terrorists that had disdained their acclaimed forte as guerillas in the neutral jungle. So who were the non combatants at Nandikadal who were supposedly killed in an attempt at genocide?

Late Mrs. Subramanium Sivakarani alias Tamilini, a surrendered former LTTE women fighter in her book published in 2016 titled ‘Oro Kooralin Nizhalil’ (The Shadow of the Sharp Sword) states Tamil hostages attempting to escape were ordered to be shot in their knees by the terrorist leader Prabakaran (VP) himself. Her revelations pinned down, shocked and exposed the terrorists’ foreign and local collaborators who had looked to VP as a saviour. There could be no denial. They therefore disowned her. The absolute silence of the West, UNSG, TNA and GTF and ruling elements in SL, was piercing. How many hostages were shot were killed or left to die is not certain but there is no doubt the terrorists were best positioned and motivated to inflict the maximum casualties. The parallel would be the Nazis in Berlin in WW2 who killed thousands of Germans as the Russians closed in. Were Moon’s 2016 hysterics in SL an attempt to snow over or by pass this damning evidence? Significantly he did not even refer to it.

If ISIL, al Qaida or Taliban had decided to follow the LTTE example at Velamullivaikal in staking out open land to fight the Western Coalition, those wars would have been be over in a short time. That they did not and continue to fight as guerillas, insurgents and terrorists hiding among people in villages, towns and cities show the fatal mistake the LTTE, fortunately for SL, made. Instead, Gotterdammerung -catastrophic collapse of the LTTE followed as it did for the Nazi’s in WW2. There were no suicides among the terrorist leaders as in Berlin where another fascist megalomaniac in a bunker under the bombed out Chancellery also rode to hell.

“Find killers of our soldiers and civilians” (father of soldier son killed)

There are some striking coincidences and differences of the LTTE with the Nazis and Hitler. An authority on counter terrorism Walter Laqueur has said of the LTTE “in respect of ruthlessness and fanaticism... could find only one parallel; the fascist movements of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s”-that murdered its way to power in Germany and Italy. Prabakaran was called the “Pol Pot of Asia” (John Burns).

Hitler knowing the end was coming, ordered the wholesale destruction of German industry but his Minister of Armaments and Industry Albert Speer deliberately refused to obey. The terrorists however blew up and set fire to their only wealth -guns, vehicles, machinery and munitions. The resultant inferno was blamed on the Army. Hitler too refused to surrender but he did not try to escape like VP. He had been a decorated WW1 German corporal. VP had been an elusive smuggler. The Nazi SS divisions shot hundreds of Germans attempting to flee Berlin as the Russians entered the city. At the end, the SS, Hitler Youth fanatics and Volkssturm (old men and women mainly in Nazi militia) occupied a very small patch of land (9 miles long by 1-3 miles East to West) behind the river Spree with its high concrete embankments and formidable tank and artillery defences. The LTTE’s last stand was in a patch of land 800 m X 800 m behind the Nandikadal lagoon. Both megalomaniacs’ bodies were cremated but it was not by choice in the case of VP. Both SL at night and Russia) made use of search lights in the final battles. The Russians had 140 units stationed 200 yards apart producing 100 billion candlepower –it blinded both sides. Unlike VP who was expecting to be rescued by the West, Hitler was hoping to get to his Alpine Redoubt in Salzburg where he fancied he could hold out against the Allies indefinitely.

Meanwhile Churchill tried to double cross Stalin on the agreement to allow the Russians to take Berlin. Perfidious Albion was stymied by Eisenhower in WW2 and Rajapakse in Eelam IV.

When France was liberated in 1944, 20,000 collaborators were killed. In SL except for one, (who ironically a LTTE suicide bomber killed), the collaborators survived.

That the SL Forces took time to overcome the LTTE defences in Mullivaikkal was not because they could not have finished off the LTTE in 48 hours after they surrounded the LTTE. It was because the LTTE held 300,000 Tamil civilians hostage using them as a human shield. ISIL and Al Qaida have still not reached that point in depravity.

They probably know what happened to the LTTE in May 2009. It shook the world. The Nazis as sworn defenders of the Germans never even contemplated such treachery. The now smoothly purring LTTE mouth pieces TNA and many of the one million Tamils in Western countries and Tamilnadu did not lift a finger to object to the imminent destruction of the Tamil hostages. It mattered not for them as long as the LTTE survived. Anandasangaree and Devananda did and were targeted by the LTTE. They are now left out of ‘reconciliation’ maneuvers for their pains and for their dauntless loyalty to SL. Once the hostages were rescued, the propaganda war resumed. The Eelam lobby wailed about genocide meaning the deaths of the Tamils used as a human shield by the LTTE. It was funded by unlimited Tamil blood money to win back what was lost in battle at tremendous cost in lives to the Tamils. The West joined in the deceit. Anandasangaree and Devananda did protest about the human shield tactics and were targeted by the LTTE. They are now left out of ‘reconciliation’ maneuvers for their pains and for their dauntless loyalty to SL.

Until the hostages were rescued, the SL Forces were hamstrung. They could not use their fire power that included MBRLs and aircraft to the full. That caused the delay. They did not have heavy artillery (175mm guns and above) or cluster munitions. as has been spuriously alleged. Ironically it was the US Military study team that recommended it to SL in good faith. They wanted SL to win.

Once the hostages were rescued there was nothing legally or morally as far as waging wars go, to restrain the Forces. The land the terrorists were occupying was SL sovereign land. The proscribed, fully armed terrorists were a military target by law, custom and tradition. Their destruction was justifiable. The force used was proportionate and legitimate. War crimes took place not at Nandikadal but at every step the LTTE took and by the West in countless invasions.

Gen Montgomery before the Alamein battle that stopped Rommel for good in North Africa wanted ‘everyone’ in his Eighth Army to kill the enemy. He even told the padres before the Alamein battle to do so too, and to resounding cheers, to make it two kills on Sundays! .In the North some clergy worshipped VP.VP reciprocated and committed war crimes including attempted genocide.

Undeterred by its atrocious conduct especially in Iraq and Afghanistan and driven into a frenetic moral frenzy by LTTE supporters with votes in the bag, western media and leading Western politicians and their collaborators made out that SL had attempted genocide towards the end of the war. The rescue of 295,000 hostages not withstanding! Neither was the fact that 12,000 former terrorist cadres, who were captured or had surrendered, were rehabilitated.

In contrast the USA has Abu Graib and Guantanamo to showcase its best practices in dealing with Asian prisoners of war developed in to its present form from Vietnam in the 1970s. SL was complicit in this by allowing ‘rendition flights’ to use Colombo airport during the ‘Spring’ of 2001-5.

LTTE terrorists dressed in civilian attire qualified traditionally to be shot as spies but were not. Nor were the captured terrorists tried by SL for war crimes. In retrospect this appeared to give a warped West controlled UN an opening - to try the SL Forces instead- for defeating the fascist LTTE!

In WW2 in the Ardennes Battle of the Bulge (1944) the Nazis had shot 86 American captives and Belgian civilians at Malmedy. Captured German troops in American uniforms were shot or ‘died suddenly’. The terrorists shot many hundreds of captives at Pooneryn, Mullativu and Elephant Pass and hundreds of fleeing Tamil hostages at Mullaivaikal.

The Army did not reciprocate. There will be NO charges against the LTTE while all possible charges will be made against the Army by a SL co sponsored resolution in Geneva. Words are hard to find to describe this betrayal. Maybe what someone said at the ‘Geneva and you’ presentation at the SLFI on 29 Sep 16 with shocking imagery would convey the moral indignation of very many voiceless people.

Surrender offers by the LTTE

It was a PM of SL quoting inappropriate laws who wanted Indian fishermen poaching in SL’s territorial waters shot.This was long after the conflict ended when there were no terrorists concealed among fishermen. Why then is the West that he supports, thrashing SL about allegations of shooting terrorists who had perfected suicide bombings that killed thousands including rescued Tamil hostages that apparently wanted to surrender?

The terrorists were under an oath not to surrender as broadcast worldwide. They, including Mrs. Balasingham now in UK, all carried cyanide capsules to bite in case of capture. Which soldier would expect a surrender offer by any of them as genuine? They had not surrendered before. They had never respected the norms, practices, traditions or customs and laws of war especially in conventional war. They could not expect any mercy. They had killed or tortured and bled to death troops and policemen (600 in the East alone in one day in 1990) by the thousands. The 600 Sinhala and Muslim policemen, (the Tamil policemen were released) butchered by specialist killer groups of the LTTE like the Einssatzgruppen and the Sonder Commando of the Nazis, were asked to surrender after being given a guarantee of safe passage. The then groveling government was also complicit in this massacre as it ordered the police not to fight back but surrender. To date the fate of the policemen has been ignored. Is it because it will shed light on one the worst atrocities that ever happened in battle anywhere in the world and expose who was responsible? Only in numbers was it different from what happened at Babi Yar in the Ukraine (Sep 1941) when 33,771 Jews were asked to lie down at the bottom of a ravine, shot with automatic rifles and covered lightly with soil, before another lot were shot with machine guns – all in 36 hours. It is a mockery of justice, “transitional” or “hybrid”, not to try all those responsible for this slaughter, this real attempted genocide. Are SL and its Army if not the Police then not the real target for the West wearing moral or bloody terrorist camouflage?

The SAS in the 1980 Princes Gate Iranian Embassy siege killed all but one the 6 terrorists and rescued all but one hostage of 26. The SAS operation took just 11 minutes. Orders had been given to take no prisoners. “There can have been little opportunity to ask a clearly identified terrorist whether or not he was armed or was really surrendering” (Secret Armies -James Adam). This British exemption apparently did not apply to the SL Army during the closing stages of a 30 year war in tropical jungles where the enemy is well concealed but only a few steps away. The SL army captured 12,000 terrorists and rescued 295,000 human shield hostages.

Apparently surrender offers were made on the telephone from all over the world to non military people, were accepted and broken. In the battlefield surrender has to be negotiated and accepted by the field commanders and no one else. Nowhere in the world are ridiculous pleas for surrender by brazenly self appointed journalist negotiators (Ms Colville (UK), TNA MPs etc and shifty back packers given serious thought except in the UN and co sponsor SL
Beguiling troops with white flags was just another treacherous ruse. Would they be a screen for a raiding party or worse? The Army, fully aware of how deceitful the terrorists were during the 26 years of the conflict, was wary. Four cease fires were broken by the terrorists without warning by launching massive and devastating attacks on Army camps, killing thousands. Suicide bombers intermingling with rescued hostages blew themselves up killing over 30 during the hostage rescue itself. Which soldier in any army would accept an offer of surrender from such terrorists especially if he has seen the terrorist shooting his comrades minutes before? This was a 26 year war. A lot of lessons were learned. What man would trust the terrorists knowing their own assurances to surrendering troops were always dishonored. If in the circumstances any terrorist(s) were actually unarmed, aberrations could have been made in what had to be split second decisions in battle. Let SL judges decide what was legitimate or not on the banks of the Nandikadal. ‘Hybrids’ or even hermaphrodites, retired, recycled, reborn or jobless nondescript international lawyers must not be allowed in SL to judge SL’s soldiers.

At Nandikadal the Forces had undone what the 1983 ‘Sonder Commando’ of the Dharmista Government started with petrol cans, knives and swords towards finding their ‘final solution’. They should be the first accused for starting the war according to the Nuremburg findings.

No Fire Zones

SL offers of No Fire Zones (NFZ) for the hostages were rejected by the LTTE. Thus there were no NFZs legally as one party had not agreed to it. The LTTE instead actually occupied the NFZs and cynically intermingled with the 300,000 hostages. They expected to get a respite from the Army’s fire and assault. They did, until the hostages were rescued.

In effect the LTTE’s denial of the NFZs meant the whole conflict area was a Free Fire Zone (FFZ). The Forces however did at no time treat any part of the LTTE occupied areas as a FFZ until the hostages had escaped. Fire was selective and minimized at considerable cost in lives to the troops. The LTTE did not have such compunctions and fired their artillery from civilian inhabited areas and where hospitals were located.What is not verified is how many hostages were actually killed by the LTTE.

But the same politicians that backed Premadasa who treacherously supplied weapons and ammo to the LTTE, shamelessly denigrated the troops and their commanders (2008) and genuflected to the terrorists for endless years now protest from roof tops that they will never ‘betray’ the fighting forces of whom 23,000 were KIA in 26 years. Who on earth wishes to believe them?

Is the army that liberated SL to be sacrificed, now that danger is over? If so by whom? What is the real target?

“Be absolutely proud of the fact that in our Armed Forces we have men and women who are willing to put themselves on the line for our safety and to do things that that most of us would not contemplate being willing to do in terms of our own safety” … who ‘conducted an unpopular war, poorly resourced, poorly planned and when they return.. They are pursued for decades afterwards by spurious allegations (Johnny Mercer MP, retired British Army Officer)

- Asian Tribune -
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Lalin’s Column: After Nandikadal; Is it LTTE Kaput or are SL Forces betrayed?
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