Lalith was fast asleep in his grave. All of sudden he was disturbed by the sound of knocks on his tombstone. He was quick to his 9mm strapped on his right thigh and drew it maintaining a pistol grip. He challenged the intruder in military manner “Who goes there?” The intruder replied “Sir, Corporal Kularatne.”
Then Lilith asked “What is going on?” CPL Kularathne replied “Sir, Sri Lanka Army is doomed; the internecine war is at its worst!” This caused Lilith to ‘turn in his grave’! Then Lalith decided to use ‘Challenge’ and ‘Password’ to confirm the identity or positively identify the intruder. Lalith identified, in fact, CPL Kularathne was none other than the Hasalaka Weeraya (Hero). Lalith leaves his grave and smartly salutes Corporal Kularathene (This may look odd to the reader. Lailth is a lieutenant colonel but Kularathne is a corporal. Something does not look right here you wonder. But in the US military if you are a Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient then it does NOT matter what your rank is, even a General is required to salute the private awarded with an MOH on seeing or meeting each other! In this case CPL Kularathne was awarded the parama vīra vibhūṣanaya (Supreme Heroism Decoration), which is the highest Sri Lankan military decoration equivalent to the British Victoria Cross, or US MOH. Lalith, who has undergone training in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA, was very professional and humble even in death and that is why we miss him so much!). The visibly upset CPL Kularathne assumed the position of attention and rendered a smart salute to Lt Col Lalith Jayasinghe. Lalith in his own endearing way calmed down the Hasalaka Weeraya and inquired about what was going on as Lalith‘s whole military life was spent in the Wanni jungles and did not truly know what was happening in the city. CPL Kularathne started to describe what he had seen when he went home to ‘watch over’ his family in Hasalaka for a while. He told Lalith that everybody was fighting each other to claim the credit for the victory; a general being dragged on the floor like a dead dog and locked up in a windowless room; top brass betraying each other in the media; high-ranking military officers being cashiered; transnational Drealamists relentlessly pressing for a UN inquiry for alleged human rights abuses in the humanitarian operations and the final war; Dr. Dutugemunu running amok…so on and on. Lalith said “Let’s take a stroll.” They started to walk a while, and Lalith could not believe his eyes or what he saw. A line of larger than life cutouts of the biggest rascals in Sri Lanka had been erected along the road. Lalith was thoroughly disappointed and disgusted. He said to the Hasalaka Weeraya “I have a good idea; these cutouts are ideal silhouettes for me to target practice! Let me do it right here and my quarterly 9mil refresher training required in 2SF (2nd Special Forces Regiment) for every operator is up.” He drew his 9mil (Chinese pistol) and doubled tapped, in rapid succession, right on the middle of the forehead on the cutouts of MR, SF, GR, Mervin, RW, WW, Sowansa, S’mbandan, Bahu, Mano G. even of JJ, one by one… bam.bam… bam.bam… bam.bam…making holes on the foreheads of the cutouts!
The sound of pistol fire woke me up suddenly. True that it was a dream……but the dream alerted me to something very important. Lalith’s birthday is around the corner. So I thought of writing this article in his honor and release on his birth day, April 29th. Moreover sometime back the SLG editor asked in an e-mail for my thoughts on the military defeat of LTTE. I am not a paid writer at all. I write articles to kill my free time in a warzone away from my family, and send them to Sri Lankan websites, some decide to publish, and some think they are rubbish. I have no political affiliations in Sri Lanka and I dislike the rough and tumble politics we have nowadays in the world.
I write this particular article as a soldier using my military background, know-how and knowledge. I use in the article extrapolations and deductions when necessary. My presentations of the situations, incidents, or outcomes may be true or assumptions or courses of action developed based on possible scenarios using ‘reverse’ battle appreciation or military decision making process (MDMP). I don't pretend to be privy to all the inside details that Combatant Commanders in the north and east have. I would like to own up that I was not in the Operations Room of any Battalion (BN) or Division (DIV) that took part in the colossal humanitarian operation and the final battle. But Been There, Seen and Done That!
Sometimes I digress from topic as I have a lot of information to put out, please be patient and read this article alpha to omega. If you like this article, please e-mail to your friends and family too. There is something I guarantee you will come to know or learn a lot of things from this very long article and be able to do some good for Sri Lanka as a patriotic Sri Lankan.
Truth Nothing but the Absolute Truth;
Winning a war, for that matter, a basketball match, is a total team effort, though the individual contributions vary. If Michael Jordan (MJ/Air Jordan) was the ‘franchise player’ that helped the Chicago Bulls to win the NBA world championship many a time, if Kobe Bryant the Black Mamba for the Los Angeles Lakers, or Tim Duncan the Scientist for the ST Antonio Spurs then it was none other than Late Lieutenant Colonel Lalith Jayasinghe, WWV, RWP, RSP, was the ‘Franchise Officer’ who was singularly responsible for the military defeat of LTTE, not a President or his siblings, not a Commander of Army, Navy , Air Force or CDC, not an IGP of police or a DIG of STF, some of whom now try to project themselves as ‘Balraj the master tactician of LTTE’, saying the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) invented or conjured up by them helped to win the war! I disagree; the military analysts who have had the inside knowledge would disagree. I will tell you why here in a minute.
If top brass and politicos have an iota of self-respect or a vestige of humility or selflessness left in them, it is not too late even now; they would cease forthwith claiming the lion’s share of credit! They shamelessly are clamoring and demanding for and crowing about the real credit that belongs to unquestionably to Lalith. But unfortunately this is Sri Lanka where a vast majority of her citizens behave like Alice in Wonderland; their behavior defies description; a Sri Lanka where success has many a father but failure a bastard!
Here is the analogous situation; the persons dying to claim the Lalith’s credit are like Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) pilots. True they fly planes, but remotely. True they fire weapons, but sitting in the well cushioned seats set up in a very well protected Air Operation Center (AOC) room of a desert air force base in the United States (US) which is monitored on the giant plasma screens installed on a well secured Coalition Air Operations Center (CAOC) in a Middle Eastern country, thousands of miles away from the actual battlefield. True they kill terrorists, but remotely by pressing the ‘Arm’ and ‘Fire’ buttons on the joy stick to release the payload on the target, there is no threat absolutely to UAV pilots’ lives, except possible cardiac arrest due to their very sedentary lifestyle they live in their careers!. But Lalith was like a Night Stalker (pilot) of the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment (SOAR) in the CH-47 Chinook (Cargo Helicopter) G (Golf)-model that went down in the Afghan Korangal Valley, dubbed the Valley of Death, while on a Search and Rescue (SAR) mission to retrieve the 4-man SEAL (SEa Air Land) reconnaissance team, lost for days. He, his bird, the elite operators, 16 in all, on the rescue mission and the crew on board went down in a hail of Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and automatic gun fire directed at them by Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters, at an elevation where oxygen is low, air thin, visibility dangerously low, and the rugged craggy mountain terrain all around. They literally inhaled smoke and smelled cordite.
I think, now the reader is smart and bright enough to understand the vast difference between waging war from Colombo, being in the air-conditioned rooms and eating Chinese food AND the very risky nature involved in trekking the jungles of Oddusudan to ‘erase’ the top leaders of LTTE against all odds such as tigers on the prowl, snakes slithering in the grass, land mines and booby traps strewn around, treacherous double canopy jungles, Tamil civilians, oops tiger sympathizers out in the jungle for game or to fetch firewood, who could alert tiger cadres. I know you now feel like spitting, in total disgust, at the rascals who try to claim the undue credit or at their posters on the walls and cutouts along the roads! Isn’t it revolting or nauseating to see the shameless attempts to claim someone else’s credit? Aren’t you sick to the stomach? I am!
Here is why Lalith was ‘THE’ man who could have singularly claimed the responsibility if he was narcissistic or bumptious, but ask his friends, peers, subordinate, superiors or the workers of rubber state where his father worked. He was so humble and down to earth he never wanted to bask in glory, for Lalith it was part and parcel of duty, as far as the life or dangers or ‘situations’ he faced ‘outside the wire’, he just shrugged them off as if it was nothing but occupational hazards. He was a ‘silent professional’ in the right sense of the words!
I am telling you this ‘only’ because it is now in the public domain. A national secret that was sadly outed by the parties with self-interests or vested interests to claim personal glory. This should have been a state or national secret forever. At least in 2SF it was a jealously-guarded secret. Here it is; Lalith and his team delivered justice to Col Shankar of LTTE aka Vaithilingam Sornalingam on September 26, 2001 at about 1045hrs (10:45am) in the form of a claymore package. Lalith and team had followed to the letter and spirit what it says on every claymore; ‘FRONT TOWARDS ENEMY’, in the general area of Oddusudan, Wanni, Sri Lanka. The Mission Accomplished, and Lalith and team safely had arrived at base.
The singular importance of that operation could be gauged by the reaction of Prabakaran himself. The panic and fear had ‘really’ struck Prabakaran for the first time in his life. His blood pressure had risen and diabetes worsened. He had sweated a lot too. Madawadani, the wife of ‘Praba’, the unfortunate medical student who playfully threw water at the tiger chieftain or the psychopathic killer in a festival in India not knowing what was really in store for her, could see with her medical background that Praba would be the sick leader of LTTE and a new ‘normalcy’ had dawned for worse in their lives.
Prabakaran declared a virtual state of ‘emergency’ in the tiger controlled regions of Wanni in the aftermath of one of his ‘closest’ associates and senior leader Col. Shankar being killed by Lalith and his team. He went into total recluse, and had started to worry and get angry and annoyed about the slightest or trivial things, started to distrust loyal and close associates. Simply put, since then he was said to have had very bad nightmares! The Shankar’s death created a siege like situation in tiger held areas. The LTTE chief needed to get to the bottom of this issue to get a handle on. Many were taken in for interrogation on suspicion and some of whom were never seen alive. They had died a violent and brutal death at the hands of LTTE interrogators, some ended up in the barbed wire, open air prison cells getting bitten by mosquitoes and beaten and tortured by the barbaric or bestial tiger interrogators.
The usual suspects were or the suspicion fell on sympathizers of anti-tiger groups or a dissident faction supporting former LTTE Deputy Leader Mahendrarajah alias Mahattaya who was executed on charges of treason. It was believed monetary gain, or just retribution for Mahathaya’s violent death was the motivation.
Prabakaran ordered the deployment of LTTE's special commando unit known as "Leopards" and the civilian militia called "Ellaippadai" for intensive combing out operation in the jungle areas in the Wanni in order to kill or capture the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP-Pronounced ‘lurp’) team members of SLA.
The master tactician of LTTE, Balraj was vested with special powers by Prabakaran to take all measures necessary to eradicate or prevent the selective assassination campaign conducted against close associates of the tiger chief and the very important leaders of LTTE allegedly by members of a ‘Deep Penetration Unit of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA)’.
The express tasks from the tiger chief to Balraj were:
1. Prevent infiltration into tiger-controlled areas by the army 2. Track down LRRP (DPU) members in the jungles 3. Identify all suspected informants and collaborators among Tamil civilians and bump them off in ‘show’ killings.
The Implied tasks were:
1. Increase the number of bodyguards assigned top very important tiger leaders 2. Allocate more vehicles to the tiger leader motorcade to reduce the probability and vulnerability 3. Hardened the vehicles with armor plates and reduce the visibility with tinted glass 4. Change the routine 5. Wear civilian clothes 6. Increase or heighten awareness of OPSEC (operational security) 7. Maintain a low profile etc.
Did all these measures taken work? Please ask ‘Charles’ aka Shanmuganathan Ravishankar, but one has to wait till he meets Charles in the other world. The operators were patiently waiting for him for the Central Bank bombing and the death of Krishna Mohan, a basketball player (who worked in the Central Bank and died in the blast). The Special Forces operators also did not forget Charles’ spearheading the Bandaranaike International Airport Attack that destroyed the good number of aircraft in the inventories of national carrier and Sri Lanka Air Force, reducing the SLAF to air ‘FARCE’ the way they had defended the only international airport in Sri Lanka and the biggest air force base in Sri Lanka . The SLAF Base Commander at that time, an air commodore named RAA was relieved of his duties.
Tamil terrorists need to remember this always, Sri Lanka Special Operations Forces (SLSOF) avenge the deaths of good Tamils; likes of Dr. Thiru, Kadir, IP Bastiampillai, Krishna Mohan. Sometimes, it takes some time to catch up with the ‘bad guys’! But the SLSOF will. The unofficial of motto of 2SF, I think, should be ‘We do bad things to bad guys!’
Tigers would have been the most lethal terrorists (or the best but bogus freedom fighters) in the world but 2SF are the best anti-terrorist operators in the world, JVP may have been the best but spurious revolutionaries (insurgents) but 2SF are the best counter-revolutionary (insurgency) experts in the world. It has been proven beyond an iota of doubt. The trans-national Drealam terrorists need to accept that fact grudgingly at least and note the following saying as well if they have ‘plans’; if they still wish ill-will towards Sri Lanka; if they do not want let bygones be bygones; ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy, Twice Bitten Shy for Life!’
The single most important live-wire or operational commander in the LTTE terrorist outfit with vision, technical training and know-how and tertiary education was none other than Colonel Shankar though Pottu Amman aka Shanmugalingam Sivashankar who gained the notoriety for brutality on own tigers or the smiling tiger aka Suppayya Paramu Thamilselvan though they held military and political highest posts or designations respectively.
There were other charismatic LTTE operational commanders too, like Victor Oscar (VO) Marcelline Fuseless, a very handsome LTTE leader who was said to have been appointed by Prabakaran as the leader of the female tiger wing to attract young female recruits as there would be no sexual misconduct by VO with LTTE women cadres as he was believed to be gay. He was the LTTE Liaison Officer (LO) to South Indian politician Nedumaran during his illegal visit to Wanni.
Victor Oscar was subsequently killed in Adampan in October 1986. After a skirmish he just appeared around a corner of a street, not knowing soldiers might be present. A soldier just opened fire felling him, but they did not know they had just killed Victor Oscar!
It reminds me always how Lt Col Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu (March 13, 1946-July 4, 1976) was killed. He was the commander of the elite Israeli army commando task force, from Sayeret Matkal, that mounted the famous and successful rescue mission called ‘Operation Thunderbolt’ at Entebbe, Uganda, the elder brother of current Israeli prime minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu. The Operation Thunderbolt was over, all the hostages had been rescued and they were rejoicing on the Entebbe tarmac then all of a sudden a Ugandan soldier fired at ‘Yoni’ from the control tower fatally wounding him. It was so sad ‘Yoni’ was the only casualty and he was the Task Force Commander. It is also said that ‘Yoni’ was having sex with his wife when he was alerted by telephone to skyjacking and he had stopped immediately what he was ‘doing’ and reported to his unit for a situation update briefing. That is the level of dedication one can expect from true and silent professionals.
Balraj aka Balasegaram Kandiah was another brilliant leader rather the best tactician or strategist ever in the LTTE top rung. He was never trained in a formal ‘military academy’ in Sri Lanka and/or abroad. He was much better than majority of the ones Sri Lankan military has ever had, by the way, some of whom have also undergone advanced training at US Army War College, National Defense College in India or The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Surrey, UK.
Fortunately or unfortunately for Sri Lanka Balraj did not get a formal military training locally or abroad. My goodness, what if he had had! Your guess is as good as mine. Or shall I say Sri Lanka would have been in ‘deep sh**’ for sure.
Balraj’s brilliance came to light when he landed with tiger fighters in Kudaarappu for Iththaavil fighting on the A9 highway during his attack on the Elephant Pass garrison. Soosai and his sea tigers helped Balraj, who always led his tigers from the front and about 1,200 tigers to land behind SLA lines to capture the Elephant Pass complex, which was deemed impossible to overrun by a lightly armed force or by infantry alone.
He cut off supplies going to the Sri Lankan Army and attacked from three directions. This attack was notable not only for the heavy casualties SLA suffered, most of them died of dehydration but scotching the military thinking or the assumption that rear defense in depth of a nation’s conventional army could only be seriously threatened by an armed force supported by strategic air power (StratAir) or close air support (CAS). Another reason that this operation was very successful for LTTE because Theepan aka Velayuthapillai Baheerathakumar and Col K attacked south of Elephant Pass stopping reinforcements coming in. The rest is sad history.
I understand that some in the Sri Lanka military and police/STF, who have not ever been to the frontlines at least couple of times, I mean 300-1000m from where the action is now, sadly and shamelessly, fancy themselves or show off as Balraj of LTTE!
Then there was Imarn, the karateka, the trusted bodyguard of Prabakaran, CID is said to have ‘taken care’ of him in Jaffna at a very early stage of LTTE movement, like a surgeon take care of a ‘patient in an operation theater’! You cannot blame the CID for becoming ‘surgeons’ as a CID team was brutally killed and burnt and their car buried in Murugandi in the early stage of LTTE terrorism in the north.
Another one is Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam (alias Selvarasa Pathmanathan, Kumaran Pathmanathan or simply ‘KP’) who is said to be very good in bed and to have a big ‘tool’. ‘Size’ does matter when one has to tame ‘Thai dolls’ and build up a safe haven for the clandestine and procurement activities of LTTE in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui or Pattaya. Another tiger who was said to have a ‘big tool’ was Bala the Theoretician, that is why a nurse who has seen many a phallus in her nursing career opted to leave the Australian outback, Adele leaving Adelaide, to follow Bala for the mosquito infested jungles of Wanni to live in squalid conditions (or the other belief, to engage in lesbian relationships with young tigresses: carnal knowledge using sex toys with young female tigers, how do you like that!)
Erasing Shankar or taking him out was so much important, not only because he was the brains behind TAF (Tiger Air Force), or the founder-commander or commander in charge of the LTTE AA Wing (anti-aircraft or Ack-Ack unit), Military Intelligence (MI), the Sea Tigers Division or Underwater Attack Unit [(Under Water Delivery Team (UDT)] but because of his very closeness to Prabakaran, his IQ (Intelligence Quotient) level, academic and technical brilliance, and most importantly for his vision for LTTE. All the Units or Divisions he headed were not mere routine appointments given to him by Prabakaran based on nothing, but on his total trust in Shankar and his capabilities.
You can gauge the importance, respect commanded or swagger a person has had in life by looking at his funeral arrangements after his demise; who or what sort of dignitaries or powerful people attended his funeral; very elaborate decorations; or by reading the heaps of condolences, the eulogy, and elegies. To give you a sense how LTTE felt about Shankar’s loss I quote here from the official LTTE statement issued; “the LTTE leadership shares the Tamil people's outrage and treats the killing of a senior leader with utmost gravity….Col. Shankar has been an active participant in the Tamil people's freedom struggle for nearly two decades. He was a close confidante of the LTTE leader, Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan and accompanied him in the first historic meeting in the Wanni with Oslo's Special Envoy".
Lalth and his team hit where it hurt most!
If a military analyst needs to prepare a target list to erase or to take out some high value targets (HVTs) or key leaders (KLs) he will get hold of the ‘Wedding Album’ of the leader of the terrorist outfit. It is human nature to invite your best friends or very close confidants and immediate family members or close relatives to the wedding. Everything is ‘best’ on that day! Isn’t it? From Best Man, best friends, best dress, best hotel, best wedding car, best dress to best food.
To run a secretive or clandestine and lethal terrorist outfit, a leader needs to surround himself with very loyal, dependable and reliable friends who will be with him through thick and thin, in bad times and good times, and above all in the moment of truth. If they are bright and smart too it is so much better. It is even true for a successful business organization. For Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to necessarily have very loyal, dependable and reliable officers who have to be bright and smart in his ‘Tiger Team’. Why then you blame MR for nepotism? He has also had to have very loyal, dependable and reliable people around him. But the difference between his Cabinet, Secretaries or Chairmen and a CEO’s ‘Tiger Team’ is MR’s selectees may be dumb, crooks or mutt but a successful CEO’s always tend to bright and smart!
Take a look at the Wedding Album recovered by SLA troops of Prabakaran and the duped medical student Madavadani; who is sitting next to the psychopathic killer Prabakaran? Shankar and KP! Take a look at the photo taken with the Norwegian peace negotiation team in 2000; Shankar and Tamilselvam. You can now easily prepare the ‘target list’ and give to 2SF!
Shankar’s Brilliance, Smartness and IQ Level; I do not know how many readers have noticed when a picture of a graduation certificate out of recovered items was published in the Internet (most may have thought or treated it as another photo of a recovered item. I also doubt SLA has the possession of it now, may have thrown into a WPB, for them they do not know the value of Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE)). If one had read between the lines he would have noted this; ‘Distinguished Graduate-Aeronautical Engineering, Hindustan College of Engineering (HCE). To whom does that certificate belong? Vaithilingam Sornalingam aka Shankar! If one can graduate as a distinguished graduate from a reputed Indian technical college it really says a lot about the graduate.
Shankar was a visionary. He gave new dimensions to the Drealam war. He created TAF that we know for sure. He was said to have set up the overseas procurement of LTTE for lethal and non-lethal cargo before KP aka Kumaran Pathmanathan took over the reins and was said to have also been the founder-commander of many a Division in the LTTE to include sea tigers.
With the creation of TAF it created a balance of terror situation overnight; it sent a bold message to Colombo if we (Tamils) were vulnerable in Wanni, if SLAF could bomb us at will in Drealam then Sinhalese or the places of symbolic importance or the power, economic or population centers were equally vulnerable in Colombo or in the south to tiger attacks. The Palali army camp in Jaffna or the naval dockyard in Trincomalee was no different either. This balance of terror situation tied down military personnel to man AA sites and guns in Colombo, this created fear and anxiety in everyone in the south. This created less freedom of movement for the populace. GOSL needed more money to install cameras, radars and sirens, and what have you and had to conduct air raid drills to create awareness and reduce casualties. You know now the total mess, pandemonium, mockery, and own casualties created by ack-ack fire due to virtually unchallenged TAF forays from time to time into Colombo until the last suicide mission. The LTTE was so emboldened and became more and more audacious. The TAF caused heavy economic damages requiring a lot of FOREX to restore normal operations at the economic targets hit.
With the sea tigers unit being launched it became a balance of terror situation on the coast or seas around Sri Lanka. During the initial days the LTTE dinghies ran away from Dvoras, Fast Attack Craft (FAC) of Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), and beached, unless air around OBMs caught fire due to five zero or 20mm rounds fired from the Dvoras. The air around back of the dinghy are so charged with fuel from the heated outboard motor engines, a round fired from a SLN craft can ignite the boat instantly setting off secondary explosions on board due to the nature of lethal cargo the LTTE are transporting. During those days tigers were burning bright and to death in their boats on high seas. This changed with the sea tigers being introduced, especially ‘suicide sea tiger cadres’. The oppressed became the oppressor overnight!
We know now the names of the officers and sailors or the pennant numbers of the craft and ships that ended up in the Davy Jones’ Locker. We know the enormous amount of national wealth we spent to buy these craft or ships against all odds as no nation except China, South Africa, Israel or Pakistan was willing to sell warlike materials or equipment with military use to the end-user that was GOSL. The economists at Sri Lanka Central Bank or capitalists would tell you the wealth spent on these craft and ships that were lost due to LTTE terrorism would never create wealth, as it was lost forever!
He was the founder-commander of the LTTE Underwater Delivery Team (UDT) and anti-aircraft unit. We know how SLN was clueless at times as to what had hit their FAC sinking it, as there was no ‘contact’ or a ‘blip’ on the radar screens of the FAC in distress or the ships and craft in the surrounding area. It was same balance of terror in the skies over Wanni with the introduction of MANPADS (Man-Portable-Air-Defence-Systems) by LTTE to bring down SLAF craft, from AVROs to MI-24, HINDs.
With these new dimensions in the Drealam war envisioned by visionary Shankar LTTE went from defenceless to being able to defend. To quote Late Saimamoorthi Thondamn about state Tamils asserting against hooligans harassing the state workers; “The worm has turned!”
The first time I saw the visuals of Shankar was in the BBC documentary filmed in 80s in the jungles of Wanni, Sri Lanka. I was in the military, a minnow or a small shot, not even in the Intelligence. If you have seen the documentary by chance you would see him act as the Liaison Officer (LO) to the BBC camera crew, the man with a walkie-talkie in hand, at one time, asking the camera crew to get into an underground bunker under the jungle canopy. He says on camera that they hear the sound of enemy planes (probably the sound of SIAI-Marchetti ground attack planes of Sri Lanka Air Force-SLAF). He also discloses his motivation for leaving his lucrative job as an aeronautical engineer, very cushy life, though cold in Canada for the mosquito infested jungles, to sleep in a cot, to break bread with boys and to be in constant or mortal fear of being captured or killed by Sri Lankan military; he says on camera “Because of the 83 July massacre of Tamils”.
Remember, Sri Lanka is quick to blame LTTE for all the ills due Tamil terrorism, but who is going to accept the responsibility for the tacit contribution of thug politicos and their goon squads, hoodlums and hooligans, the opportunistic ‘red revolutionaries’ (do not be defensive or go into denial now, Red Brothers! Two guys came on a motorbike and tried to incite ‘military personnel’ in a camp in Rathmalana and to seek personnel support to burn down the Maharaja warehouse in Rathmalana).
Some persons participated in this disgraceful act of looting and burning down, and killing the totally innocent out of business jealousy and for economic gain, or the poor took part out of ignorance, necessity and opportunity.
LTTE would not have had the fertile grounds for collecting funds, oops sorry, ransom or hotbeds of terrorism to plan terrorist plots, sway the public opinion in western capitals towards LTTE or influence western government to turn a blind eye to their activities and inhibit GOSL from mounting effective anti-terrorism operations.
In a nutshell, though Gangai Amaran was ‘erased’ before 9/11, Shankar’s death which happened on the death anniversary of Thileepan, was the first ‘tipping point’ that set off the domino fall for the total military defeat of LTTE, and burying the leaders, en-masse, on or about 18 May 2009 in or around the NANTHIKADAL Lagoon and in the mangroves of MULLIVAIKAL.
What factors contributed? Who was instrumental?
The Contribution of Instruments of National Power: Diplomatic, Informational, Military and Economic (DiMe), all of the means available to the government in its pursuit of national objectives.
DIPLOMATIC: With 9/11 attacks the attitude of western nations towards terrorism changed completely. The western nations had to come to term with ‘new normalcy’ and they were forced to live with it. The new normalcy was here to stay and was reinforced later by Spain train bombings and London subway attacks. This created a very good ‘environment’ (we in the military check ‘atmospherics’ i.e. political, military, economic, social, school and infrastructure situation on ground) for the GOSL to go ahead and mount humanitarian operations. To save Tamil people suffering in Wanni in LTTE bondage, without being able to ‘lead a life’, though they were just ‘living’ day to day. In this case ‘global atmospherics’ created a very conducive environment to mount operations against LTTE to wipe out the scourge of terrorism in Sri Lanka; simply put the very favourable international opinion or the pulse of the international community was subtly felt by GOSL. Before 9/11 the western nations or powers thought they were ten feet tall and could kick a** anywhere in the world with impunity until some terrorists with a different ‘background’ and a ‘cause’ decided, literally, to slap them in style in their capitals and cities. The result was that the rubric of Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) had to be established. The GITMO (Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp) had to be stood up quick, fast and in a hurry.
Here is a LA time headline on Google as I write this; ‘U.S. to use profiling checks for incoming flights’. Let me break this down for you; next time Vany K, the famous British medic (oops an LTTE Foreign Legion masseuse) comes to US to put a dressing on a simple cut on Rudrakumaran’s hand (or to give a deep tissue Swedish (Norwegian or British) body massage with oil or powder) she will be ‘questioned’, screened and vetted. Now you tell me, please, why it is not good for Sri Lankan police to stop, search and questions Tamils in Colombo or elsewhere? Why is it a human rights violation when Tamils are dislodged from the lodges in Colombo? Why it is good for US and bad for Sri Lanka. We live in a ‘new normalcy’. Prevention is better than cure! Profiling is everywhere and come in different ways, shapes and forms.
Preponderantly, MAMs (military age males) in Iraq and Afghanistan are screened and vetted very closely. Pakistani looking males in US and UK are stopped on the streets and asked: “Where are you from?” “You eat pork?” In western countries police stop blacks at traffic stops; Sri Lankan Police and SLA question and check the identity cards of Tamils at roadblocks in Sri Lanka. There is a ‘valid’ reason for it; more often than not they were the ones law enforcement agencies were looking for to prevent an impending attack; they were the ones who were active participants in the past attacks in the city. Or else they had, at least, provided the material or moral support to Tamil terrorists or were the material witnesses to the tiger atrocities committed against a lawful government or its citizens.
It was just bad luck for Tamils. You Tamils (DBS, Vany and the birds of a feather to include the cloak and dagger clergy in the Wanni) had the chance to prevent the difficulties your brethren encounter(ed) in freedom of movement or privacy ‘officially’ encroached now or then if you had nipped it in the bud or helped Sri Lanka Security Forces to do it for you when ‘podians’ were getting out of control or getting emboldened by the day and trying to overawe the military machinery of a nation and create a Drealam.
When the civilians were killed due to the LTTE attacks at the Pettha Central Bus Stand or on the devotees at the most sacred place of worship in Anuradhapura, the young novice monks in Aranthalawa, the Muslims in the Kathankudii mosque, the fishermen in Kokilai and Nayaru, the innocents in Dollar and Kent farms, and the hundreds of surrendered policemen, 600 in all, in Rufaskulam to name a few, there was mere, superficial condemnation. A standard statement of ‘vehement condemnation’ was issued from some western embassies in Colombo, from their governments or forward offices of the so-called international human rights organizations. The tiger was ‘crooking’ its ‘finger’ rather claw at Sri Lanka and having a field day in bombing and massacring the innocent.
This sort of routine and ineffective condemnation was tantamount to a contrite issued by a celebrity (once disgraced) after calling a press conference and on camera. The envelopes in which the letters of condemnation came were affixed with the ‘crocodile tears’ shamelessly shed by the officials of western governments or their institutions with vested interests or hidden agendas.
I would like also to mention here that there were retaliations by Security Forces. The innocent Tamils died in those emotional reactions by military personnel. So unfortunate but those were ‘very’ preventable deaths. When the boys were gathering to plan attacks, conspiring to kill soldiers, government officials and innocent civilians, setting off explosive charges and land mines by using command wire or remote control Tamils in and around the plan or attack sites, I am positive, at least one knew about it or smelt it. By the way ask a visa officer in a western embassy or high commission in Colombo how many ‘petitions or scurrilous papers’ he gets by mail when one applies for a visa to go abroad. It is the same sneaking when one applies for a job in a good firm or a company, or the neighbors bad mouth to the prospective groom’s family about a ‘girl’ (bride-to- be if lucky) they are inquiring about. Then why Tamils did NOT turn in the podiyans when they were up to no good? The Tamils then need to blame themselves for getting caught up in crossfire, though all Sri Lankans are sorry for those preventable deaths!
Let me tell you this, in the neighborhoods of western capitals and cities where these political asylum seekers aka ‘economic refugees’ from Wanni live, there are signs at every stop sign at an intersection that say ‘Neighborhood Watch Is In Effect’. Simply put, each and every household keeps an eye on who comes in and goes; who loiters or loafs around. The neighbors exchange the vital information of unusual ‘sightings’ among each other, the local Sheriff or police. They know for sure if something serious do happen, their peace will be disturbed, their home ‘value’ plummet and their neighborhoods become high crime areas or ‘projects’. Can you put the total blame on Sri Lankan military for going ‘berserk’? Do not tell me about discipline here. When a soldier sees his buddy blown to smithereens he does not think about ‘cause’-Tamils around the site simply, coldly and coolly decided to be ‘apathetic bystanders’ when LTTE were burying the landmine in front of their homes and eyes-but leaves an ‘effect’ (a message in blood and destruction) with the next landmine blast the trail of destruction would be much longer and the ‘human cost’ higher if you decide to continuing to be an apathetic bystander!
The Tamils living around could have easily tipped off or ‘snitched’ to the authorities about the impending attacks. It was a civic duty the Wanni or Colombo Tamils collectively failed to do or perform. Each and every Tamil owed it to whatever Government in power for free food (rice and Thriposha), medicine and schooling provided to them without stop and under very trying circumstances.
That is why, even today, a lot of Sinhalese would not feel sorry for the sorry state of Tamils in the IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps as Tamils in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Tamils living overseas collectively have been very ungrateful. They keep their mouth shut and get or amass free of charge as much as they could until they could land in Toronto, Canberra or Oslo then wave the LTTE flag, instead of waving the Lion Flag or white peace flag. You Tamils do not ever forget at least the ‘Free Education and Medicine for life’ you have received or continue to be receiving. You would love Sri Lanka when they ask you for the Blue Shield or Blue Cross insurance card at your doctor’s office or when you draw the student loan from Fannie-Mae or a bank to send your tiger cub to college or university in a western country.
The western nations themselves started to feel the pain, anxiety, misery, the material and monetary damages and the lives lost suffered by Sri Lanka. The myth that the LTTE was fighting for a ‘cause’ on some language issue came to light. Sri Lankans all along had been telling the westerners that LTTE was drawing a red herring, crying ‘blue murder’ and telling cock and bull or sob stories to facilitate an exodus for the economic asylum seekers to Canada and greener pastures elsewhere.
Can anyone, including DBS, Vany, MIA or Adele, tell me in which part of Canada, UK or Australia respectively Tamil is used in the official letterheads in their government offices, on road signs or signboards on the buildings or spoken by their government officials to include policemen on the beat? I have been to the western capitals and cities where there are Tamil enclaves. I have not seen Tamil is used as a national language. Then, why the f*** you Tamils blame GOSL for not having Tamil speaking officials in the north and east government institutions but happily put up with the French and English language used in day to day activities or daily life in Canada? The LTTE supported by the very sympathetic Tamil population purged Sinhalese from the Northern and Eastern provinces preventing inter-racial marriages and homogeneity to continue.
One word in plural to describe the majority of Tamils: Hypocrites!
a. Kadir or K-Factor in Diplomacy-Some sense of diplomacy existed under the leadership of western educated, able-bodied, intellectual, learned, professional Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar. It died with the assassination of FM Kadir by an alleged LTTE sniper. He was so instrumental or the live-wire in getting LTTE banned in USA, Canada, some countries of the European Union and Australia as a terrorist organization. He was a national asset and hero in his life time. He was for all the communities in Sri Lanka to live in concord, not in ethnic enclaves (in the north, east, central, north western, and what have you) in discord and with forces arrayed against each other! LTTE and their handlers and sympathizers did not desire FM Kadar’s vision.
The most important or deciding or decisive factor those countries would have considered or given credence to in their determination to ban the LTTE as the most ruthless, lethal and fanatical terrorist organization in the world would have been, without a vestige of doubt in my mind, that the plea or the request to ban came from none other than an ethnic Tamil of stature and standing and a western educated lawyer, above all, the country’s Foreign Minister!
I would give you a part of the interview he gave to BBC’s ‘HARDTALK’ that would show you how he approached it to get the LTTE banned overseas and how the LTTE viewed him in his own and very candid words. You also would have also read the slanderous write ups in the media and watched the video clips in YouTube to ridicule, slander and discredit Kadir.
“By your own admission, you are at the top of the Tamil Tiger hit list. How do you feel as an ethnic Tamil, yourself to be reviled by the group?”
“Well, see it is like this; at birth I was given a label. If having been given that label the LTTE, nobody else, wants me to accept and approve everything that they do, the suicide bombers, the child soldiers, the political assassination, the extortion of ordinary people, if being opposed to all that makes me traitor which is what they call me sometimes, I am absolutely delighted to accept that appellation. I do it with pleasure.”
b. The Appointment of Four Good and Capable Diplomats: Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka and Mr. Pallihakara as UN ambassadors, Dr. Palitha Kohona as Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prof. Wijesinghe as Secretary General for the Secretariat for Co-ordination of the Peace Process(SCOPP) to handle diplomatic side of the house during the humanitarian operations and in the final war.
Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka: The bad cop or the diplomat with a megaphone. The one of the few good things GOSL ever did to SL Foreign Service was to appoint Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka as a diplomat. He does not belong to the career-diplomat pool. He is very fluent in English and well-read. Therefore he can debate with any other nations’ diplomat and so impress him. If any other nation tries to lecture GOSL for its conduct of the humanitarian, anti-terrorism or anti-insurgency operations he has examples up in his sleeves how other nations, especially the western nations handled the ‘business or situations’, from the Stammheim trial of the Baader-Meinhof gang to the Bloody Sunday trials.
He can speak or argue with such confidence the diplomats of other countries show grudging respect. He can ‘network’ from Cuba to Venezuela, Venezuela to Russia to get important votes at the UN for GOSL to counter some nations’ machinations. He does so openly, so loudly, so emotionally or, shall I say, passionately. Therefore he is known as the Diplomat with a Megaphone. His modus operandi is irrelevant if it works! It does work! Sometimes he becomes a ‘talking point’ or diplomatic embarrassment to the friendly governments of GOSL because he speaks his mind. We can easily fix it. A good Foreign Minister, not a wasteful, nepotistic and junketing one named RB (Triple Gem! As I edit this, I am getting wires saying Sri Lanka’s new FM is the Law Professor!), can pull him to the side and set up time for a beer or lunch and have a heart to heart conversation, then allude as to why a little bit of toning down is required for ‘the time being’. That way you do not hurt the pride of a man, chastise him in public, and insult him by recalling in capricious manner. How do you forget so quick that, after all, Dr. Dayan Jayathileka was the firewall of Sri Lanka!
Mr. H.M.G.S. Palihakkara: Then Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations-New York was the good cop or the silent diplomat. He did the magic behind the closed doors to thwart the attempts at UN to discredit GOSL. He achieved a lot for Sri Lanka. He is a thorough gentleman; he does not like to blow his own trumpet! His very important previous assignments at the United Nations in Geneva and New York helped him immensely to do a wonderful job silently.
He is a career diplomat. So in a place where it is who you know than what you know that matters he had the charm and knowledge to ‘make it happen’. He is not corrupt, and not corruptible according to the information I have read. It was/is a big plus, plus! He is another unsung hero gone without felicitations in the defeat of LTTE.
Dr. Palitha Kohona: He is both a citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia. One might wonder, what’s the ‘big deal’? It is a very big deal! First, the Western nations or other governments look after their citizens very well when they need help or are implicated or embroiled in any situation. Second, if she or he has worked in the state department or Foreign Service of a country she or he has friends or ‘contacts’ (right connection at the right place) all over the world playing important and powerful roles. Third and most important in this case is his ‘English accent’. You might not understand it if you do not live in an English speaking country. You may have noticed this, in a casual conversation with officials or listening to a speaker in an auditorium or on TV, the first thing which ‘automatically shuts down’ a listener in an English speaking country is the speaker’s ‘English accent’. Believe it or not, there are well qualified Indian cardiologists, IT professionals and engineers in US who are underpaid, I say again, underpaid solely because of his or her heavy accent. Not to ridicule but to state a fact, you and I have listened to cricket commentary “Sunny Govaskarrr scorres anotherr fourrrr morrre Rrrruns forrr motherrr India!” I think you get my point.
During the humanitarian operations Sri Lankans had to talk to a lot of MPs, senators, diplomats, power players and brokers to counter effective propaganda and lies of LTTE and their paid supporters and sympathizers, in that situation, to be very effective, Sri Lanka needed people who could articulate with a western accent.
The most notable thing that Dr. Kohona did was to respond to MIA (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) in a video interview. In that video he very effectively and eloquently articulated why the rap artist on a Tiger Air Force ‘paper plane’ should do what she was best at and leave politics and wiping out terrorism to governments and military respectively. His English accent more than anything else did play the biggest part in communicating that message to the wider world.
MIA, the talkative and ambitious celebrity mouthpiece of LTTE almost became a ‘show stopper’ (stopping the humanitarian operations and the final war) because this daughter of a terrorist who married a non-Tamil (because he is rich and popular or famous) to ‘procreate a child’ with him to ‘preserve’ the ‘Tamil culture’ used her celebrity status as a world famous rap artist to ‘network’ her way up to President Obama through personalities in music industry and the talk show host, Oprah. Lucky for President Obama she could not get near him, otherwise it might have resulted in a Dhanu ‘garlanding’ Rajiv situation.
First, normally you are not going check a pregnant woman (MIA was pregnant at that time) that much and you think she is actually pregnant with baby, in actuality she has a lump of ball bearings embedded in C4 (plastic explosive) around her tummy. You could not also be sure that the Secret Service would do a thorough job given the Tareq and Michaele Salahi embarrassment (the White House state dinner gate-crashers).
Professor Rajiv Wijesinghe: Then Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) in Sri Lanka, he was another good selection by GOSL. It was so much better or the right thing to do,( than appointing a crossover joker, a so-called professor of law as a Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy Investment Promotion or Cabinet Minister of Export Development & International Trade of Sri Lanka, and my goodness, as I edit this, the law Prof is just appointed as FM of Sri Lanka. These law professors should look into why a simple land dispute is in Sri Lankan courts unresolved for so long until the plaintiff and defendant both live their full lives and die a natural death, and these professors need to propose laws or suggestions to alleviate it Shame on Sri Lankan professors of law!).
Prof Wijesinghe’s ‘plus’ in the job was that he is an ‘English’ professor. So he has read a lot of English literature. You needed a very good command of English to take on some nations’ officials and the LTTE bankrolled professors and lawyers before, during and after the humanitarian operation and the final war. Take a look at some of the countries that gave a headache to GOSL during anti-terrorism operations; US, UK, Canada, Australia. What is their main language? English! So Prof Wijesinghe did not have to fight, argue or counter a Professor Kandaia from Madras oops Chennai or a lawyer Gopal from Singapore but had to pick up the cudgel with Boyles (the blood’boyles’ or my blood is boiling) and Steins (the blood ‘steined’-the Sinhalese blood on his hands as a tiger supporter) and win on the international stage! He was always ready to counter or anticipatory. You could see he was Eye for Eye, Blood for Blood in his diligent rebuttals and astute comments.
He had just praised ‘Selvy’ (N. Selvy, the LTTE spokesperson on Human Rights) once as to how good Selvy was in her human rights class; very good, bright and smart. I think she quickly realized the LTTE’s folly (and even the Sinhala ‘enemy’ could recognize her talents!) would have left the LTTE like famous spokesman ‘Rahim’ from Trinity College and a friend of ex-Major Sarath Kotalawala of Singhe Regiment’. I have not heard of or seen ‘Selvy’ in the media or anywhere else thereafter. ‘Dear Selvy’, if you are still living and married I wish you a happily married life and many a well-adjusted child! Also If you happen to see ‘Lavanya K.’ by chance, the news anchor in LTTE’s Sinhala news program, please say ‘Hi’ for me, as she was technically more proficient (maybe trilingual or more) than some of the ones the government mouthpiece, SLRC, has!
Those were the four main players in the diplomatic warfront who acted as the Great Wall or fire wall, moats, bulwark or whatever you call it against the audacious onslaughts of Stein, Boyle, and MIA and subtle machinations of the likes of Pillai, Bildt. Milliband or Solheim or the avalanche of international support garnered from the misinformed public with the crocodiles tears of the cry babies like Vany K.
There might have been other unsung heroes in MFA (maybe Nihal Jayasinge) here and there. I truly apologize if I have hurt their feelings by accident. But let me tell about Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service and its diplomats. This is not secondhand information but firsthand information. As a soldier I serve in overseas duty locations, and pass through a lot of countries to and fro. I have met and spoken to the GOSL diplomatic staff from ambassador, minister counselor downward up to diplomatic chauffer. I am sorry to say that Sri Lanka Foreign Service is a ‘total clusterf**k’!
Where are the ambassadors like Dr. Vernon Mendis in contemporary Sri Lanka? In 1980s Sri Lanka Army organized a lecture by Dr. Mendis at the Army Headquarters (AHQ). The lecture was to commence after work, I should say at 1700hrs (5:00pm). The front rows were allocated to Brigadiers and Colonels and rest was filled with young officers who were there to ‘fill the seats’. Why I say this is when there is a rugger match between services or service versus a club you see cadets in tie and shirt there (They are ’bussed’ there, like politicians pay and give lunch packets to bring crowds to May Day rallies, to cheer on). For this lecture the sister services had been invited too but only for Flag Officers (naval or air commodores) and above. It was a disgrace, no officer, was there except one whose rank happened to be equivalent to a ‘major’ from a sister service. Can you imagine why he was there? For saving face; he was the Training Officer. Though I did not have a ‘rank’ nowhere near a brigadier or equivalent, I snuck into the lecture room and listened very attentively. The things I learnt in that lecture I never forget, and has helped this eighth grade soldier (for JVP, soldiers are just eighth graders!) to stand shoulder to shoulder with top notch military officers in the western world and let them appreciate what sort of IQ level Sri Lankan soldiers can bring to the table. Later Dr. Mendis was kind and humble enough to grant, on my kind request, a private information briefing for an officer who had to sit for the service promotion exam. I asked at his home about the constant instability in Afghanistan as it was under the Russian occupation then. He said emphatically that Afghanistan has never been governed by a central government and never would be as it is a tribal society. That was in 1980s, in the 20th century. When the western forces, some of them are my good friends, struggle in Afghanistan in the 21st century I remember Dr. Mendis in total gratitude. Thank you, sir, letting me know that when I was just a 24 year old soldier!
Nowadays the ambassadors in Foreign Service are old and feeble; most of them are political appointees. They are there either to seek advance medical treatment or send their children to good universities and colleges. They are not there to promote Sri Lanka’s image by appearing on TV or writing in the media, giving speeches at universities or having a conversation one on one with power brokers or power players to counter the transnational Tamil Drealam vicious propaganda or the subtle and insidious attempts to proselytizing Sri Lankan migrant workers.
Here is a thing an ambassador once confided in me; a Foreign Minister (a modern day Puran Appu) walked into the Embassy on a visit, and the very first thing, shamelessly, came out of his mouth was when he saw his photo hanged on the wall, “I will send a better picture of mine!” Sadly He is not photogenic either, is he? “Triple Gem Bless Sri Lanka”!
Millions of people wear ‘Bruce Lee, Mohammed Ali, and ABBA, for that matter ‘Che’ tee-shirts bought with money out of their pockets, because these idols have left a lasting impression in the minds of millions of people in this world. The political idiots in Sri Lanka force highly educated, well qualified diplomats with a wealth of experience to hang the pictures of un-photogenic foreign ministers on Sri Lankan embassy office walls. So the ambassadors do not have time to do their legacy tasks as they are supposed to do trivial and menial things. The infra dig things which are foisted on the serving ambassadors to do for Foreign Ministry officials on overseas visits are of the nature of being ‘diplomat cum chauffer, diplomat cum grocery cart pusher or diplomat cum panderer’!
Minister counselors are either useless ones from Sri Lanka Administrative Service or good for nothing political appointees. They are not there to promote tourism or tea or get job opportunities for the high literate skilled and non-skilled labor force Sri Lanka has in abundance. They are not on the ‘prowl’ either to find out the advancements in the medical, agricultural or industrial fields and ‘get’ it for Sri Lanka as grants rather than loans. Or to sign up quite favorable bilateral agreements for exchange of commerce or delegations of scientists, doctors, engineers etc.
These minister counselor jokers do not know the etiquette either, and one of them once offered me a stiff drink with ‘jaggery’ for ‘bite’ or ‘finger foods’! I was totally shocked and disgusted. That may be the way these ‘diplomatic staff’ treat state officials, fellow diplomats, and very important persons to a drink in their posted countries. If it is the case, I say, the damage caused is more than the diplomatic staff post kept vacant!
A vast majority of embassy or high commission staff lack the working knowledge of English, do not know how to answer phones and are not subject matter experts (SMEs). It is an open secret that most of the female diplomatic staff members were interviewed for the job in a Rest House by her Member of Parliament (MP) rather than a ministry interview board in a conference room. Their qualification, beyond the mediocre stenography and clerical work is their ability to stretch, extend and widen their legs and open or contract holes, oops orifices. So they are more suited as masseuse for old and frail ambassadors to give a ‘Siddahalepa herbal massage’ culminating with masturbation or coitus than the positive image makers to promote what is good about Sri Lanka. If they are male they are no more than the thugs who assaulted opposition supporters, pasted posters or put up cutouts or provided song, wine and women of themselves to thug politicos. So ambassadors extend the service for the former (females) beyond normal tour of duty to continue to receive the ‘Gentleman Club’ services they provide for them, and for the latter (males) out of fear of losing the ambassadorship and its accompanied perks due to smear campaigns by henchmen or thug politicos going ‘berserk’ by their henchmen’s sneaking! I was wondering why most of the time why some ambassadors leave their families behind in Sri Lanka.
INFORMATIONAL: We knew the truth in 80s that the LTTE had more ‘front’ offices all over the world than the number of high commissions/embassies/consulates GOSL had overseas, or the famous saying LTTE used to discourage or as an Information Operations (IO) tactic; the Sinhalese army fights for a ‘pay’ but tigers fight for a ‘cause’! Now everyone in the world knows that the ‘paid’ army has won, and the tigers that fought for a (lost) ‘cause’, have been militarily wiped out lock, stock and barrel!
I have explained elsewhere about the pathetic nature of GOSL’s Foreign Service or its diplomatic staff’s ineptitude, laziness or lack of drive. Due to this pathetic situation, in 80s LTTE was having or had a field day in propaganda operations because the LTTE had a very robust propaganda unit, run by very dedicated intellectuals, in place. They had a global presence or reach and were briefing the sympathetic western government officials on the “Black July’ or the victims of army retaliations. The gullible western nations whose citizens are not familiar with the poor nations or the third world nations’ internal issues or matters got carried away by either listening to the sob stories or the crocodile tears shed by ‘economic asylum seekers’ in the guise of political asylum seeking! All this changed with 9/11. As a result, countries like Sri Lanka (against LTTE), Yemen (against AQ), Indonesia (against Jemaah Islamiyah-JI) and the Philippines (against ASG-Abu Seyaf Group) truly and really benefited.
In the 80s Sri Lanka had a rudimentary Psychological Warfare unit headed by bespectacled Brigadier (retd) Wijesekera BA (Ceyl). It was like one-man show. He was known as ‘iskole mahathaya’ (the teacher) in the military circles , and here is a little known fact about him; he highly recommended to his Gemunu Watch soldiers to buy a gold sovereign a month, out of their monthly pay when they were serving in 70s in Jaffna. He could foresee how gold or ‘precious metals’-in stock market terms was going to appreciate. He was the first ‘Psy Ops’ Director when late Maj Gen, ex-Speaker, PSP Munasinghe was boasting and bragging day in, day out how he was able to kill ‘Seelan’ after cornering him into a paddy field! All these were before ‘9/11’.
a. Training: After 9/11 the GOSL received some ‘slots’ for training in Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs from a superpower. It was the real deal as SLA officers underwent the training with the host nation’s plus other nations’ officers in the same classroom except for ‘highly classified’ portions relevant to the host nation’s activities overseas. The SLA officers who underwent this type of training came from different units and backgrounds in the army that enabled the Didivisions they belonged to have their own man on the ground and ‘marching forward’ with them for Information Operations and Civil Affairs purposes rather than ‘an attachment’ doing it for them from a ‘central location’. The ‘central location’ being an air-conditioned room in Colombo ‘close to home’ away from the enemy rather than vice versa.
Training and experience is a force multiplier (force multiplier definition later).
b. Cyber Activity: The other thing before 9/11 SLA did not have their own website, and if one followed the SLA website during the final war with LTTE one could see SLA had improved, technically and tactically, in leaps and bounds in IO products and messages in audio-visual or print form being put out. I was happy to see the transformation but wondering how much money was being spent and how much of which was played out as I was fully aware of the ‘yield’ the Sri Lankan ‘nation’ would get for the money spent on a project.
Though I talked about the military side of Information Operations first but the biggest push or phenomenon mostly came from the Sri Lankan patriotic intellectuals residing or working in the capitals and cities all over the world. They ran websites such as LankaWeb or organizations such as SPURNZ. They put out a very effective IO product we call in the military: ‘Story Board’; one page picture story in Portable Document Format (PDF) or in a Power Point slide. It is not a big ‘file’ so one could e-mail it all around the world to the powers that be to be in the know what the innovative but murderous LTTE has been doing for last three decades in Sri Lanka. These Story Boards varied from “the Anuradhapura Massacre to the assassination of the likes of ‘Kadir’.
The other important thing was, as Sri Lanka has a very good pool of Information Technology (IT) professionals, a lot of young and patriotic computer graphic crowd helped in making those ‘story boards’ out of patriotic feeling or fervor rather than greed for profit.
These patriotic websites and organizations were needed more than ever to counter mushrooming by the day LTTE or LTTE sympathizer websites and media organizations such as TamilNet, TransCurrents, Ground Views, and Lanka News Web, to debunk the LTTE propaganda propagated through them. These sympathizers profess that they want decent solutions for Tamils or Tamils’ (perceived) issues. With apologies to Aesop, but in reality every one of them is nothing but a tiger in sheep’s clothing. These peaceniks’ were/are a media Fifth Column for the LTTE.’ As I have explained elsewhere, what decent solution for 90 percent Tamils who are nothing but hypocrites? For the rest 10 percent they have been/are/will be welcome in any part of Sri Lanka, I am sure!
c. Patriotic Activism: Another aspect we fail to note is the activism by overseas Sri Lankan patriots. To give a good example: Remember "dismay and displeasure" shown by the Canadian federal government with the Sri Lankan government over the deportation of Liberal foreign affairs critic, Bob Rae. It was widely believed that it was a result of a dispatch by a lady named ‘Mel’ alerting the authorities in Sri Lanka. Why the Sri Lankan high commissioner in question has to wake up government officials at 0130 hrs 1:00 a.m. (we call it in military jargon: O dark thirty) if he did his job right. Again, Prevention is better than cure! Mr. High Commissioner here is two words for you to remember from a soldier; always anticipate! That is what happens when high commissioners or ambassadors do not do their job or take measures to protect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Activists will take charge or take over or lead from the front. I have described elsewhere what overseas diplomats do on a daily basis.
d. Information Operations: There were very subtle ‘Information Operations’ by locally or internationally and/or individually or collectively organized groups of intellectuals to create awareness in the capitals of LTTE friendly countries. They were neither paid nor handled by GOSL. They gathered in groups or organized themselves, out of patriotism, into groups across the globe as ‘Information Operations Warriors’. I am not going to divulge their Techniques, Tactics and Procedures (TTPs), if by chance a transnational Drealam Tamil onslaught ever to occur those TTPs would come in very handy.
e. Combat Video Camera: ‘Embedding’ ‘ENG’ (External News Gathering) crews from major television networks to be sort of ‘combat cameramen’ and follow the battle and record it as it happened or unfolded and rushing the tapes on board SLAF aircraft to Anuradhapura or Vauniya to be delivered at TV stations in Colombo to be edited and telecast should be commendable.
Day by day the TV viewers saw the indisputable material evidence of captured LTTE arms, munitions, hideouts, super bunkers, camps, boatyards, tanks, explosive rigged boats, mini subs, suicide vests and what not, this way GOSL could unite people or generate popular support needed for fighting to the finish, and Sri Lankans saw for the first time in their lives the positive signs of the inevitable defeat of ‘invincible’ tigers. This snowball or avalanche effect of the mounting public support for the fight to finish motivated the military and helped the recruitment drives by military for the first time in recent history.
One thing I noticed was though the narrations on camera were made by the civilian media personnel but the text or contents in the narrations seemed to have been written by SLA IO officers. These video clips were very much sought after by Sri Lankans overseas. There were ‘hooked’ on these clips, I should say. Lanka Tube and YouTube helped overseas Sri Lankans to readily access these clips.
f. Pitfalls: There is also inherent danger in embedding civilians as ‘war correspondents’.
1. They might allegedly remove or lift the items recovered from the enemy for personal use (e.g. the alleged ‘Laptop’ computers detected at a roadblock in a SLRC TV crew’s vehicle)
2. Controversial video clips of alleged atrocities committed by individual soldiers on their own rather than as a government policy (by the way atrocities do happen in any war or conflict due to human weaknesses of individual soldiers). But the controversial clips could be blown out of proportions for the enemy’s propaganda advantage e.g. the much debated Channel 4 (C4) video clip or the killing of a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a Fallujah mosque in Iraq during combat operations by a US Marine, witnessed by NBC’s Kevin Sites.
3. The so-called war correspondents could sell combat footages, controversial or not, for profit, to the human rights organizations and NGOs (once fallen out or disgruntled to embarrass a government and its military) or use as a bargaining chip for promotions or as a ‘get out of jail’ card for his alleged misconduct or unlawful acts.
g. Do-It-Yourself: Overseas Sri Lankans who are good at computer graphics and video editing downloaded the clips from the Sri Lanka TV websites and edited them and rereleased to YouTube and Lanka Tube for the wider world. At the same time these IT professional redubbed the LTTE video clips or rearranged then released to YouTube and www.TamilNet.tv to expose the farcical nature of LTTE and as a ‘psy ops’ tactic. These video clips were also circulated via e-mails free of charge thus GOSL and Sri Lanka military got the much needed popular support from overseas patriotic Sri Lankans.
This way of publicizing war in Sri Lanka among overseas Sri Lankans and the forward march of victorious army helped ‘jellying together’ the Sri Lankan intellectuals to support the GOSL’s war cause. You could see this by looking at the number of patriotic websites or blog sites writing in support of Sri Lanka that mushroomed in no time; amount or quantity or type of the equipment donated to Security Forces from overseas Sri Lankan communities; the events and rallies organized by Sri Lankans living overseas to counter LTTE rallies or keep other nations’ government officials informed. Remember, ‘a four feet no inches small made lady’ running up to the motorist (a LTTE sympathizer maybe himself a tiger) stopped at a red light in Australia and wresting the LTTE flag from him?
If one really analyzes whatever the success GOSL had in the information operations arena though the LTTE propaganda machine was relentless and worked overtime churning out a lie after a lie, was due to the synergy effect i.e. the intellectuals saw that this time the military was fully capable of winning the war; the government was determined to fight to the finish; there was diplomatic support from unusual quarters; the LTTE was weakened due to Col K’s defection and the destruction caused to LTTE men and materials by the Boxing Day tsunami and the ever present LRRP in the Wanni jungles! So the intellectuals decided that it is worth this time to take some time off from their multimillion dollars a year jobs to dedicate their money, time and energy to put an end to the scourge of Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka. That did happen on or about 18 May 2009 on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon!
MILITARY: The military aspect of defeating LTTE. The Techniques, Tactics and Procedures (TTPs), equipment, people and factors that helped or were deployed, employed or utilized to defeat the LTTE militarily.
a. Failed Strategy: When SLA (Ealam War I- 23 Jul 83 Operation Kinihira-06 Jan 2001 and every operation in between) engaged LTTE or was engaged by LTTE (Operation Thavallai, Yaldevi and Unceasing Wave I-III etc) SLA realized that they were fighting a losing battle because they were fighting a conventional battle where as LTTE was fighting an asymmetrical war (This was true with navy too. When a young naval officer suggested to the SLN chain of command that Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) needed to reevaluate its TTPs against LTTE small boat operations the young officer’s idea was pooh-poohed as he was young and not from the Navy’s Executive Branch! The small boats and swarm tactics concept now some others desperately want to claim was, in fact, his brainchild).
b. New Strategy: Sri Lanka army reevaluated its TTPs and resorted to small team tactics. SLA was very effective when these TTPs were used by the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) (Pronounced ‘lurp’) teams to take out Shankar, Charles and a host of others or the big army in major battles conducted in conjunction with the Vakarai humanitarian operations, 21 Jan 2007. The successes achieved by SLA by going from Force-on-Force to Four Men-on-Force changed entirely the way SLA wanted to fight to the finish. SLA resorted to this Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, Disseminate and Decide (F3EAD2) method.
Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, Disseminate and Decide (F3EAD2): This was a very vicious cycle for the enemy (LTTE) but a boon or blessing in disguise for the military (SLA).
I will give an example from Sri Lanka and in this example the operation is almost driven by human assets or human involvement.
FIND: Confirm probable HVI (Shankar)/Focus Sensors (Use ‘GT’ to track his personal electronic devices)/Locate (on an interior road near Oddusuadan at about 10:00am 26 Sep 2001)
FIX: Maintain Track (Lalith’s team have their eyes on the target)/Maintain HVI ID (Identification) (They positively identify the Shankar’s double cab and its occupants /Refine Location (on the Oddusudan to Puthukkudiyiruppu road near Oddusudan)/Update Time Available (Lalith looks at his wristwatch and inform the members that they would spring the ambush at 10:45am local, and it provides ample time to withdraw safely)
FINISH: Launch operation/Capture/Kill (Lalith looks at the claymore switch and whispers to himself ‘I see the light, I see the light, I see the light…BOOM! The claymores go off killing Shankar)
EXPLOIT: Target Exploitation/Document Exploitation/Sensitive Site Exploitation (Lalith and the team removes files, diaries, laptop and what have you)/Detainees (No detainees, all dead)
ANALYSE: What was to be achieved was achieved and what could be gathered to better plan, to get more results, and to see are there known unknowns? (Conducts after action review and hand over the recovered items to the intelligence unit)
DISSEMINATE: Insights into the Enemy Network/New Lines of Operations/Leads and Start Points/Enemy’s New TTPs (the Intelligence unit disseminates information gathers from the laptop about the LTTE’s nascent underwater attack craft program and underwater delivery team capabilities to Sri Lanka Navy)
DECIDE: ID HVI (Next target to take; Charles)/ID Desired effect (Capture/Kill (need to kill Charles for the BIA and Central Bank attacks)/IO value (You can run but you cannot hide; we will get you!)/Establish Priority (Charles has to be ‘erased’ before Tamilselvam)/Assign ISR assets (Signal Intelligence monitors Charles’ movements)/Assign Finish Assets (2SF gets the ‘Executive Order, a young officer and his teams delivers Justice to Charles in Mannar!)
In the next example, from a Middle Eastern country, the whole operation is driven by use of electronic and signal assets and remote weapons and payloads, though humans at joy sticks control the ‘toys or gadgets’ far from the target! This is somewhat similar to taking out of ‘the smiling tiger’ S. P. Tamilselvan, the Tamil Tigers’ political head in military uniform at about 0600hrs (6:00a.m.) on 02 November 2007 when the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) fighters accurately targeted an LTTE complex in Thiruvaiaru.
FIND: Confirm probable HVI (high value individual (AZ)/Focus Sensors (use ISR platforms-UAVs)/Locate (AZ talking to AU, his religious mentor)
FIX: Maintain Track (ISR assets continuously track movement)/Maintain HVI ID (compare his profile with the intelligence available/Refine Location (Villa in an orchard)/Update Time Available (with AF fighter planes)
FINISH: Launch operation/Capture/Kill (fighter planes drop 2x500lbs a payload on the target razing the house and killing AZ)
EXPLOIT: Target Exploitation/Document Exploitation/Sensitive Site Exploitation (operators close in with the host nation police and secure the site remove materials with Intel value)/Detainees (injured detained and given medical treatment)
ANALYSE: What was to be achieved was achieved and what could be gathered to better plan, to get more results and are there known unknowns? (Conduct after action review and analyze the next course of action)
DISSEMINATE: Insights into the Enemy Network/New Lines of Operations/Leads and Start Points/Enemy’s New TTPs (make story boards about his death for international media and send intel leads to sister and friendly services)
DECIDE: IP HVI (AM)/ID Desired effect (Capture/Kill (the new leader)/IO value)/Establish Priority (Who should die next!)/Assign ISR assets (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance- UAVs deployed to Named Area of Interest (NAI) or Targeted Area of interest (TAI)/Assign Finish Assets (Special Operations Forces, armed UAVs, attack helicopters or fighter planes)
The good thing about F3EAD2 is you can start at any place of the cycle and derive necessary and favorable results. Moreover it is very economical or cost effective for the very simple reason the very accurate intelligence does not come from ‘sources’, paid informants or grainy videos recorded by cell phone cameras but from the items found on person of the dead terrorist(s) (Shankar’s or Charles’), from the files, documents, cell phones, briefcases or laptops found in their pickup. This is called Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE). And all the items recovered are given to intelligence fusion cell. That is why is I hold LRRP team members in highest regard or esteem as they bring in an intelligence treasure trough, nothing but solid gold, every time they take out a target.
Fearsome reputation is a force multiplier!
c. Intelligence Gathering in 80s: The intelligence gathering was a fiasco as the Nikan Inna Buruwas (NIB) and Military Intelligence personnel were just getting by ,except for a very few dedicated young officers pulling the load or stepping up to the plate. By the way, the majority of these young and capable Intelligence officers were non-Sinhalese.
Things started to change in positive direction when a couple of these young officers got diplomatic appointments. While performing their duties in the name of Mother Lanka they did a lot of good reporting; managed to see the LTTE underwater craft being assembled overseas; worked diligently to ensure that the LTTE members involved in overseas clandestine/illegal arms procurement were arraigned or prosecuted by the respective governments in their courts of law.
d. Intelligence Fusion: In the meantime the intelligence outfits of other services were beefed up and a new breed of young officers were in charge. The coordination between these intelligence outfits (sister services) was so excellent due to the fact the ‘cordial relationships’ maintained were ‘unofficial’. It is always better to leave top brass out of this intelligence business as they would betray national secrets for filthy profit as you have seen for yourself as to who divulged national secrets in the run up to the recently concluded presidential election; army commanders, major generals, DIGs and defence secretaries and a whole lot of top brass. The camaraderie was so strong that at times the members of sister services intelligence units were present at interrogation sessions. They learned from each other and they cared about each other and they exchanged intelligence and TTPs.
e. Effective Interrogation or Grilling: Out of all intelligence outfits in Sri Lanka I especially give kudos to naval intelligence, according to the things I have ‘heard’. The last thing a terrorist needs expect is to be interrogated by Sri Lanka naval intelligence for the mere fact they need not apply ‘physical pressure’ to ‘break’ a terrorist. They can take a terrorist anytime of the day to a platform where he can be elevated to experience varying degrees of ‘rolling’, ‘pitching’ and ‘yawing’ with the help of nature. Thereafter you do not have to do anything to the terrorist; he is exhausted, vomiting and already broken down. He has only two options available; 1. Cooperate and spill the beans 2. Undergo the next phase of interrogation at the hands of ‘ratings’. A terrorist should not ever opt for the second option, my goodness; he is between the blue sky and the deep blue sea instead of the ‘Devil and the Dead Sea’! I say again, do not ever opt for the second option. I leave it at that.
f. Intelligence Treasure Trough: Thanks to the intelligence treasure troughs LRRP brought in after hits it was so ease to cross check detainees’ LTTE connections. The intelligence analysts did not have to find the missing pieces to build the jigsaw puzzle as a complete picture of sort was able to be recovered by LRRP teams. They just had to cross check or the incriminating evidence recovered through Sensitive Site Exploitation (and it just filled in as check and balances). If a detainee was caught with the incriminating evidence the detainee no longer could bluff the law enforcement authorities or wiggle or talk his way out of a difficult situation or extricate himself as they used to do in 80s with some bribe, sex or both. You might have been wondering how the law enforcement authorities or military or police intelligence personnel were apprehending suicide cadres, tracing safe houses, finding caches, locating vehicles rigged with explosive, recovering claymore mines and suicide vests etc by ‘smart’ work and luck than ‘hard work’. Moreover Security Forces did not have to spend valuable time or resource to search all over Wanni to find out what they were looking for.
g. Way Out for a Terrorist: When sleuths zeroed in on a terrorist the only way out for him was to forget about ‘engineering’ and jump out from the seventh floor of a flat to mother Earth to die on impact! These dead-enders needed to thank late ‘Dodampe Mudalali’ for showing the way out of a difficult situation.
The hard work and ‘very effective’ interrogation and the interrogation methods employed by these young intelligence officers, without the knowledge of top brass who have been nothing but a hindrance like the proverbial dog in the manger during nearly three decades of LTTE terrorism, paid dividends day after day. As an example, how long did it take to the naval intelligence to track the perpetrators, accomplices or material witnesses of the Digampathana massacre of hundreds of naval recruits going on New Year leave, not very long isn’t it? Where are the perpetrators now? You and I hope they are in a better world.
h. ‘Information’ from Overseas SL Community: The other thing that nobody appreciates that much is the quality ‘information’ that came from overseas Sri Lankan communities. Once the heat was on LTTE, overseas tigers and their sympathizers went into overdrive to mobilize public opinion in the western capitals, so the Sri Lankan community could pick out the ‘important players’ during rallies, meetings, sit-ins, hunger-strikes etc and send the information back to Sri Lankan intelligence country representative who in turn relayed back to Colombo to be disseminated to the intelligence outfits so that they can build profiles and HVI target lists for Special Operations Forces to take out.
i. Pure Luck: Sri Lanka was/is an unintended beneficiary of the post 9/11 intelligence efforts by the western nations. When they were/are searching for Islamist terrorists they found/find leads, money trails, weapon smuggling routes, terrorist shipping lines and lanes, credit card cloning, procurement agents, terrorist cells and safe houses. If the information or leads were related to LTTE, I think, GOSL received complete intelligence dossiers from friendly nations.
j. Local Modus Operandi: A superpower cannot, since it always professes democratic values and holds human rights so high, eliminate the terrorist threat using the ‘modus operandi’ used by a third world democracy! Anyway they are said to have passed the valuable intelligence information on to Sri Lanka. I do not want to discuss the modus operandi here as it has future use in defense of Sri Lanka’s national security.
k. Playing Hide and Seek: Patient is a virtue, so Sri Lanka was very patiently waiting and watching KP draw money from the bank to pay the illegal arms dealer for the lethal cargo. Then the LTTE cadres clandestinely loaded the cargo onto an LTTE operated MV (Motor Vessel) for onward dispatch to the Mullaitive coast. All was being tracked. SLN sent ships to deep sea, and an officer W’tunga aka ‘Tango’ took care of it sending it to the Davy Jones’ Locker for good. A salvo from the ship commanded by ‘Tango’ sank a motor vessel (MV) laden with warlike materials purchased with ransoms paid by the innocent and not so innocent expatriate Tamils to create a Drealam. The MV and the seasoned LTTE seamen onboard belonged to the ‘KP’ Department.
The western nations were very happy as one dead tiger was one less terrorist! You may remember the saying ‘The only good terrorist is the one who is dead or the one in the photo! For Sri Lanka; it was less bombs exploding in busses and trains, for the army; less deaths and amputations, for the air force; safety of aircraft and airports, for the navy; saving FAC and passenger craft from attack, for the police; fewer searches!
a. Technology: The one of the few single most important things that helped the troops ‘during the final war was technology.
Definition: Force Multiplier-a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment or else a force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence "multiplies") the effectiveness of an item or group.
Technology, Morale, Training, Experience, fearsome reputation, deception, military strategy, military tactics, weather, geographical features and recruitment through diplomacy are examples of force multipliers.
i. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: The GOSL managed to obtain or purchase UAVs or ‘drones’ (unmanned aerial vehicles) from a friendly nation. It was a terrific force multiplier. You know now how UAV footage helped to locate the LTTE strong points, earth bunds and ditches, bunkers, fighters, artillery pieces or boats being towed, and the concentrations of human shield. And counter lies and propaganda by LTTE sympathizers overseas. The UAVs could be used to do the BDA (battle Damage Assessment) after an aerial attack or to call in an airstrike again. (Remember the bombing of Soosai’s suspected safe house, no sooner it was bombed an excavator was seen being rushed to the scene to rescue the buried. What happened next? The fighters scrambled and took the excavator out with the operator.
These UAV platforms can vary from hand launched ‘Ravens’ to armed ‘Predators’ and their role from acting as an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform for a platoon engaged in ground combat to firing a missile by remote control at an HVT. They can down link real time FMV (full motion video) to a special operations team. Full Motion Video will allow much broader access to relevant video imagery throughout the fielded armed forces. A LRRP team using ROVER (Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver) could have eyes on the target and ensure Zero Civilian Casualties (ZCC) or no collateral damage. I do not want to go into specific details of the individual capabilities of UAVs as they are classified but I can tell you as a person who has access to live footage day in day out whether you are wearing ‘BATA’, ‘De Samson industries’ (DSI) or Dasa Industries (DI) shoes!
Israel developed the first modern UAV (as Syrian missile batteries in Lebanon caused heavy damages to the Israeli fighter jets during the Yom Kippur War), the images provided by these UAVs helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian air defenses at the start of 1982 Lebanon War resulting in no pilots downed. So Sri Lanka Army used UAVs in the final battle to achieve desired effects without incurring losses, men or materials and to increase the efficiency using UAVs as force multipliers.
UAVs can be used in a disaster area to survey the damage or to find out where the survivors are so that search and rescue (SAR) teams with relief supplies or paramedics with medical supplies can be rushed. As an example during the recent earthquake in Haiti a ScanEagle UAV was deployed to survey the damage, to find out where the looters and refugees were.
ii. MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System): Formerly known as the General Support Rocket System (GSRS), and famously known in Sri Lanka as ‘multi barrels’. You know now the shameless offer of help by India to evacuate the besieged troops from Jaffna and what turned the tide against the charging and surging wave after wave of tigers; quick introduction of MLRS purchased/given by Checzs and Pakistan into the northern battle field! The shock and awe effect provided by those MLRS left tigers dead, dazed or confused. It was the first time tigers or soldiers saw it in action.
After a salvo or launch from MLRS one could see the scattered bodies of dead tigers all over the square target area. The photos of heaps of human flesh and mangled bodies were too graphic to publish in the media for public to see. The soldiers arranged the mangled bodies of dead tigers, dress right dress, in rows to take photos and disseminate among troops to boost otherwise sagging morale, to motivate the rank and file and let them know that gains can be made, sustained and maintained if you fight hard, even though gains are reversible. The sheer numbers of dead tigers gave a ray of hope to the infantrymen that this time the war was winnable if they pressed on a little bit hard. In other words they saw for the first time after a while that the tables or the tide could be turned on tigers. Morale is a force multiplier.
It has proved itself as a practical and effective weapons system. It is a very mobile unit, thus well suited for the so called shoot and scoot: it can fire its rockets very rapidly and immediately move away to avoid returning counter-battery fire. We derive so much solace knowing it takes out a ‘click’. For starters, when we say a ‘click’ in the military it means a kilometer, in this case a salvo practically destroys anything in a square kilometer. One launcher firing twelve rockets can completely blanket one square kilometer with submunitions. For this reason, the MLRS is sometimes referred to as the "Grid Square Removal Service". That is the destructive power of an MLRS M270 or equivalent.
iii. Gun Cameras and Onboard Cameras: In eighties when SLAF aircraft dropped bombs, shall I say the veritable powder kegs or barrels they had no way to record the effect for Battle Damage Assessment (BDA), After Action Review (AAR) and/or Information Operations (IO) purposes (to hurt the enemy’s and his sympathizers morale, boost the morale of soldiers and garner the popular support for the war efforts by releasing to the TV stations, Internet websites these gun camera video clips so that they could be rerun days after days till the next hit. These clips went ‘viral’ on popular Internet video sites such as YouTube and Lanka Tube, especially among overseas Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka watchers.
In 8os when COMNORTHs, Commander(s) Northern Naval area were more interested in collecting the pilotage in dollars for bringing in the cargo vessels into the KKS (Kankasanturai) harbor (to the vicinity of A525 – the non-seafaring floating logistic platform and passenger hub for the Army and Navy). They did not have time or interest to give an ear to a young naval officer’s suggestion that engagement TTPs used by FAC squadron needed to be re-evaluated. Immediately after an engagement, a stricken or distressed FAC could not conduct a thorough After Action Review. Because everyone onboard from OIC, normally a Lieutenant, 2IC (a sub-lieutenant) and crew of 10-15 were dazed and confused in the fog of sea battle just took place. Their memory was hazy or worst still was the incoherent description of the event. So introduction of the onboard cameras were helpful to derive the results I have mentioned above with respect to the fighter plane gun cameras.
iv. Small Boats Operations: The young naval officer I have mentioned elsewhere was watching sadly, helplessly and angrily the unfolding situation. The more and more bad news and sad news came from the FAC squadron of losing their multimillion dollar craft with young men on board due to sea tiger attacks. He looked at the situation and found the problem lied in the way FAC engaged a cluster of sea tiger boats. A FAC is a very big silhouette or target compared to the small dinghies the sea tigers were on. Simply put, which one is very easy for you? Throwing a rock to strike a raging elephant, or a raging bull? That was simple thinking, not rocket science. His concept was if sea tigers used small boats, SLN should fight with small boats, no two words about it. Then the enemy cannot use ‘swarming tactic’ (military swarming- a maneuver in which forces and firepower converge on a target force simultaneously from all directions).
This was in 80s and the young naval officer in question had NOT heard of ‘what happened’ at the siege of Samarkand where Spitamenes used Scythian horse archers in effective swarming attacks against a relief column sent by to Alexander the Great or how the Mongols under Genghis Khan did practice an equivalent of, partially because their non-electronic communications were still advanced for the time, within the limitations of communications by flags, horns, and couriers.
But he intuitively knew how to counter the ‘swarming tactic’ of sea tigers. But the powers that be were/ are not willing to accept ‘home grown solutions’ unless they came/come from foreign experts, think tanks like RAND corporation or Global Risk Solutions or local top brass as they want to spend millions of dollars unnecessarily to boast about the ‘price tag’ of the solution they introduced. Unfortunately it might not the right solution even after the millions of dollars unnecessarily spent!
To sarcastically put, that is the way some times powers that be receive a message very well, one has to hurt their feelings or pride; if a Service Commander on assuming duties decided to pay a courtesy call to ‘Tissahami’ at Binthanne before his passing away rather than rushing to the religious dignitaries in Colombo or Kandy ,who travel nothing but by an air-conditioned Benz, he would have explained the swarming tactics the way he knew it best: “Swarming is not limited to the pure human military realm. As the name suggests, it comes from insect behavior, although social insects (e.g., bees, wasp, and ants) also use some of its principles in nest building, food gathering and reproduction”.
v. Base Defence Cameras: I do not have to explain about this camera. You saw its capability to zoom in and track a target when the TAF’s Czech-built Zlin Z-143 single engine plane came to Colombo for one final time to be incinerated in a heap of rubble. You saw how these cameras installed and operated by SLN to defend the Colombo harbor could zoom on the aircraft and keep a very good track. Later SLN made the footage available to public through the media. The camera operators could send an island-wide alert, warn and indicate the location of enemy aircraft to the anti-aircraft batteries in the city and in turn alert SLAF planes and helicopters to scramble.
Aren’t you thankful to these cameras for them watching for you by day or by night while you were day dreaming or sweet dreaming (or having nightmares)? These cameras do not fall sleep but only the ones who operate them!
a. ‘Joint’ Operations or ‘Inter Agency’ Cooperation: During the first gulf war things did not go right for the US military as all the forces were not on the ‘same wavelength’. This was true across the board or there were systemic problems; policies; computer systems, software and programs; type of gas (petrol) used on vehicles; radio frequencies and whole host of issues. There were fratricides-blue on blue situations. There were delays. There were frustrations. At times Situation was Normal but All F**ked Up (SNAFU)! The US military conducted a re-evaluation of its Tactics Techniques and Procedures. It was found that the only solution for this issue to operate as a ‘joint’ force, not only among army, navy and air force but with the other government agencies (OGAs) such as CIA, FBI, Customs and Border Patrol and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). After 9/11, the ‘joint operation’ concept expanded to include private contractors to include security contractors such as Black Water (now Xe) or LOGCAP (Logistics Augmentation Program) services provided by Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR). This ‘joint operation’ concept or ‘mantra’ was a success in the second Gulf War and has been put into effect in every war since then.
i. The ‘Sordid’ Past: There was a sordid time period in Sri Lanka where sister services and police did not see to eye to eye but were at each other’s throat at the slightest provocation. Everyone except police was suffering from sort of the superiority complex. Police were suffering from the inferiority complex. Those were the times or the days the police Echelon Barracks were burned to the ground and millions of rupees worth, the newly installed communication equipment went up in smoke, witnessed by Tissa Induka Weerathunga of SLA, later the first Supreme Commander- Jaffna appointed by JR.
Those were also the days Major Lucky Nadarajasinghem, an international shooter, from SLA Field Engineers (the Army 7th Intake Under Officer) witnessed shameless firing by army personnel on a group of police personnel from Trincomalee police station at Fort Fredrick killing innocent police personnel( at the entrance to Koneswaram or the Swami Rock area).
Those days Police could be brow-beaten, faced down, man-handled or rough housed at will as they only carried a .303. With tiger terrorism looming, not only police but home guards (Gramayas as they were derisively called), now CDC (Civil Defence Corps) were armed with T-56 fully automatics. Now services no longer challenge each other for a ‘duel’! Besides automatics, police carry RPG launchers and grenades and 60mm mortars and tubes. Now everyone knows misplaced personal ego or a silly folly can result in irreparable damages on both sides, and no one will be a winner!
Can you remember the rash incident at the last UNP rally at Kotahena area once upon time? Late Gamini Dissanayake (GD) and JR were on the same stage. The GD’s personal security detail consisted of army commandos and JR’s of STF personnel. The protocol is such the President’s (VVIP) security detail is the command element and then Prime Minister then Defence Minister and so on. Unfortunately at this instance, the superiority complex of commandos was about to transcend the protocol, a commando wanted go near GD, the ASP in charge of the inner cordon of JR politely asked the commando to stop, turn around and leave. The commando thought he lost his face in public and felt his manhood was challenged, instead of being humble and saying sorry, Sir, to that Gazetted Officer and turned around, he felt his pride and ego badly hurt, the commando retorted “What are you going to do if I proceed?” The ASP, again, politely and sternly said “If so you will be stopped by force!” The next thing the commando said was “Go ahead, if you dare!” The next thing happened was a KO (Knock out) by the ASP in question, with the commando losing some teeth! Then everyone started running helter-skelter as both sides cocked their weapons and chambered a round. JR ordered to wrap it immediately and returned to the Ward Place. Elena was relieved!
There are other instances I can write but the moral of the above real story is to tell you ‘Be humble and be respectful and know who is in charge! To tell you the truth when I go to hospital I just follow the instructions of the attendant as I know doctor is there to diagnose, the nurse to take vitals and the attendant to do crowd control. I operate on that principle wherever I go, in government offices or at public places such as airports. I have had no issues. But when I am in uniform and on duty I am in charge and take no ‘Sh*t’ from anybody!
ii. Luckily They are Grownups Now! I just wanted to tell you that real story to tell you how far Sri Lanka military and police have come, and not to arouse sad memories. I would like to tell you how friendly they are now and how ‘joint’ operations conducted by them have helped to defeat tigers. Here are some examples; when tigers were roaming freely and unloading lethal cargo at will SLN wanted to find solutions. SLN did not have a lot of FAC to keep deployed at see all the time. With introduction of SBS (Special Boats Squadron) and ABS (Arrow Boat Squadron) SLN did not have to deploy resources at sea unnecessarily for days for an enemy not in sight. SLN did the smart thing by stationing the radar teams and SBS and ABS craft at STF camps along the east coast. STF commandos and SLN officers and ratings ate, slept and played beach volleyball at the ‘joint’ camp.
One could see the camaraderie and team building in action, which was spontaneous. At camp parties for team building, the fish for bite and duty-free liquor were provided by SBS and ABS and the wild boar and red meat by STF. There was no ill-will, antagonism or hating each other or each other’s service any more. When the navy personnel went on leave and got into some trouble at some ‘massage clinic’ they did not call a lawyer first but the STF friends in their ‘joint’ camp to find a police point of contact! Isn’t it nice to see how they, both parties, have matured or grown up, from the days they wanted to kill each other?
Here is another fine example; when commandos wanted to infil and exfil their teams in the east to take out some targets, where did they go? They went to the STF camps that were scattered across Batticoloa and Ampara. They stayed with STF for weeks and lived very amicably with them. The commandos learnt some Bomb Disposal TTPs from the STF inspectors who were trained in a ‘sweet Albama Police Academy’ and STF also provided ‘quality claymores to the commando teams. Are not you proud to see in your life time the two groups of people who locked and loaded their weapons to kill each other at a political stage in Kotahena bear hug each other, shake hand and wish them good luck when STF drop the commando team at the dead of night at a named point of interest (NPI)? The tears of joys welled in commandoes’ eyes when they saw STF was there at given time at a given point to exfil and take them to safety of their camp and give them a stiff drink to relive their body pain and mental stress rather than offering Panadol and aspirin!
b. ‘Modified’ ‘Combined Squad’ Structure in Small Unit Tactics (SUT): SUT can define as the application of military doctrines for the combat deployment of platoons or smaller units in a particular strategic and logistic environment. The SUT is mainly talked about or taught in Special Forces Qualification Course, commonly known ‘Q’ course. Since a US Army SF team or an ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha) is a self-sufficient unit of eight members we have to analyze the tactics used by SLA in the final war with LTTE taking into consideration ‘small teams’ the Sri Lanka Army Commander, General Fonseka, was talking about when he said he changed tactics from Force-on-Force to small team operations. I believe he was definitely talking about squads. In SUT, squad structure can be one of three-Classical, Balanced or Combined.
My observation has been, during the final war Sri Lanka adopted ‘modified’ ‘combined’ squad structure. The combined squad is composed of dissimilar fire teams; an RPG team, a fire team and a sniper team. The RPG team consists of two personnel; one armed with an RPG launcher and the other porting extra RPGs and providing protection with an assault rifle. The fire team is composed of two personnel; one carrying a machine gun and the other porting its ammunition. The sniper team consists of one or two persons; one deploying the weapon, often a semi-automatic designated marksman rifle opposed to a true sniper rifle and the other acting as spotter and providing close protection.
I believe SLA modified ‘combined squad’ structure by introducing a ‘claymore’ team into ‘combined’ squad structure which turned the tide on LTTE. If you have carefully watched and listened to, right throughout the final war, the on camera interviews of soldiers how many times you have heard this ”Corporal A and I went around the bunker and set up the ‘claymore’ charge while Corporal B and his team covered our movement…” Many a time, isn’t it? Now you see that this ‘modified’ combined squad structure was a real ‘force multiplier’ and use of which provided SLA another ‘tipping point’!
o. Sniper or Marksman Training: When Sri Lanka military officers ushering in the New Year 2006 while dancing in New Year ‘eve parties with their ‘date’, girl friend, own wife or disgracefully somebody else’s, like an ex-SLAF commander did in star hotels in the city with an air force widow, the then LTTE Northern Region Commander, Theepan, was distributing trophies to top marksmen and women from Sothiya Brigade, Malathy Brigade, Kutti Sri Mortar Brigade, Charles Anthony Special Brigade and LTTE Military Academy in a marksmanship competition organized by the LTTE Military Academy.
On a prior occasion (on 25 April 2005) the 100 meter sharpshooting competitions marked the fourth day of events celebrating the fifth anniversary of the fall of Sri Lanka Army's (SLA's) Elephant Pass garrison on 22 April 2000, with LTTE’s Col Theepan, supervising the day's events at the LTTE schoolhouse. Theepan was quoted saying: "A sniper's job is to deliver discriminatory, accurate rifle fire against targets which cannot be engaged successfully by the regular rifleman because of range, size, location, fleeting nature, or visibility. Our cadres chosen for such training develop basic infantry skills to a high degree of perfection. The competition highlights the importance of snipers and allows our cadres to show their marksmanship."
Sadly Sri Lankan military officers did not hear it ‘loud and clear’ as they were taking Dispirin and Aspirin for hang over and were worrying whether they transmitted to or got STD from ‘loved ones’! I had to alert some of my friends about this unusual event on ’a January 01st’!
SLA started paying more attention to sniper training as it started to pay dividends, and more and more snipers were needed in the new modified ‘combined’ squad structure. You might have heard SLA was talking about having had to rush the snipers in training from the SLA Marksmen Training Unit in Diyathalawa to the Wanni battlefield. It is ‘Juba’ the sniper who causes havoc in Iraq and it was Corporal W.I. Ranjith Premasiri alias ‘Nero’ of SLA who was responsible for the deaths of more than 180 Tiger cadres, before his demise on 28 April 2009.
Here is another big hit scored by a sniper of Sri Lanka Army instilling terror and fear in the hearts and minds of LTTE leadership. A Senior Commander of LTTE in the East, Commander Ramanan, the Deputy Head of the LTTE Military wing of the Batticaloa district, was felled by a bullet fired by a sniper of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) around 1730hours (5:30p.m.) on 21 May 2006 at Vavunathivu Forward Defence Line (FDL), 5 km southwest of Batticaloa.
a. State Department vide supra Defence Department (MFA VS MOD): I am not sure about this; the people who bashed some countries left and right have they themselves noticed next when they wrote angry comments and editorials against those countries. Here are some names: David Milliband, Carl Bildt, ‘Hila’ Clinton, Bernard Kouchner, Stepen Smith, Lawrence Cannon or Erik Solheim, and what do they have in common? They have either served or are serving in a State department or a Ministry of foreign Affairs in their respective country. What did they do to GOSL? They used strong arm tactics by diplomatic means to discourage Sri Lanka from wiping out the scourge of LTTE terrorism from Sri Lanka forever and tried to give oxygen to murderous Prabakaran and his gang of killers.
Here are some other names: Robert Gates, Peter Mackay, Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, Sten Tolgfors, Bob Ainsworth and John Faulkner. What do they have in common? They are serving in a Department of Defense (DOD) or Ministry of Defence (MOD) in their respective country. Have you ever heard of these names or seen in the Sri Lankan newspapers or news websites with regard to making adverse comments against the operations against LTTE? No! Not at all! You may ask, why? In the final war the top generals of other countries were monitoring the Sri Lanka Security Forces’ daily successes against the so-called invincible ruthless terrorist group, LTTE, very closely and with interest and briefing their Defense Minister or Defence Secretary on the shrinking Wanni footprint of the LTTE or the area controlled by tigers, from a size of 50 map sheets to one sliver, an area that of one map sheet.
The warriors in the military and DOD or MOD personnel of those countries were so elated that a small nation in the Indian Ocean was registering the total success against terrorism in recent history and at the same time wondering why technologically superior nations were not winning or not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! These warriors also wanted to help Sri Lanka by way of providing equipment, training and advanced technology but these state department officials or the Foreign Ministry officials were behaving exactly like the proverbial dog in the manger.
Some unpatriotic Sri Lankans and prominent LTTE sympathizers, the likes of Jehan, Paki, Bahu, the media organizations like FMM, and INGOs and local NGOs supported and encouraged by likes of RSF, MSF or AI amply strengthened the hands of the officials in DOS and MFA in the case against GOSL, therefore the DOD or MOD personnel did not have wiggle room to help Sri Lanka publically in any way, shape or form. But I assume there were some ‘very secure programs’ to help Sri Lanka, which we would never know as those are national secrets for both countries.
There is no better example to cite the positive views of US DOD now towards Sri Lanka other than the recent Joint Humanitarian Exercise conducted by U.S. and Sri Lankan militaries with help from Special Operations Command- Pacific [SOC (P)] and the Disaster Management Centre and the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, and the current US Defense Attaché’s comment, “U.S. and Sri Lanka have a long tradition of cooperation. We hope this partnership can be expanded.”
There was another positive sign, the incipient change of heart in DOS (Department of State) for good in this year US DOD’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s greeting!
“For the ‘first time’ in ‘decades’, Sri Lankans from all parts of the island ‘can celebrate together’ in a ‘peaceful ‘and ‘united’ country “(the emphasis added)!
Now it is the absolute duty of the smart diplomats, if any left, of MFA to nurture and cultivate it to full fruition than allowing it to wilt in no time!
p. The Tale of Three Udawattas-Individual Contribution in the Final War: As an example to explain things better on one’s individual contribution in the final war I present this episode or tale of three Udwattes. They were a major general, a commodore, and a sergeant. Two of them have the same initial in their first names and two of them studied at Sri Sumangala Maha Vidyalaya, Panadura. One led an army Division that took heavy casualties, another volunteered to take out bunkers and fought valiantly until he was killed, the other came from Naval Dockyard, TCO to Champianpattu, (CHOP-CHange of OPerations) boarded a FAC and in exuberance bear hugged ‘Disa’ who came from Karainagar, JFN, while others onboard cheered on as the cameras of state TV were rolling. What a coincidence that the state TV cameras happened to be right there or awaiting them on high seas!
In the final war, for that matter, right throughout the Drealam wars, there were true heroes, unsung heroes and the media savvy rascals in uniform. In my tale of three Udawattes only one out of the three would go down in history, only one Udawatte would remain in our collective memory. That is Sergeant Namal Udawatte of Sri Lanka Army. And his unofficial citation reads like this: “In the course of fierce fighting and clashes one of the finest and experienced fighting men was lost to the Army. Sergeant Namal Udawatte who became a hero in the capture of the Akkarayankulam Bund few months back, when he successfully led an eight-man team to capture three bunkers being manned by LTTE. The LTTE fiercely and successfully resisted all previous attempts to overrun this bunker line. Sgt. Udawatte accomplished that task at Akkarayankulam by volunteering to lead his team as a Corporal. Because of that daring achievement he was elevated to the rank of sergeant.”
q. Contributions of Officers the Minorities: Why are the contributions and very personal sacrifices of officers of the minority communities in the military easily, conveniently and ungratefully forgotten? Why are these who contributed immensely to Sri Lanka’s national security are not talked about, mentioned with gratitude or felicitated to the frenzied levels that other ‘media savvy’ generals are elevated or treated? Is it just because they are not from the majority Sinhalese community? It is a very ungrateful act if we do not show regard, respect towards or appreciate the immense contribution of versatile military officers from the other communities in Sri Lanka, who were very instrumental in the defeat of LTTE. I am going to disclose or mention some names here because they are no more and paid the ultimate price. They are IP Bastaimpillai of CID, Col Rizlie Lafir of SF, Col Tuvan Nizam Mutaliph of MI, Lt Cdr Bahar of Navy, to name a few.
I am going to discuss here about a living one and his contribution, just to show him that there are at least some grateful people left in this world to recognize officers like him. We know Sri Lankans are, the first to invent and perfect the ‘condom theory’ and so famous to use a person, abuse and then kick him to the curb.
There was so much hype about the clearing operations in the east and who the hero was or who the heroes were. Even in a Fundamental Rights case it was said that a particular army officer was in charge and under his command the east was cleared (I am not talking about alleged ‘treasure hunting’ later). The names of some other army officers were ‘promoted’ or very favourbly mentioned in the write ups.
If you ask a counter-terrorism specialist who knew about the strengths, defenses, deployment of LTTE cadres or the terrain in the east he would tell you if you could clear the ‘Kanchi’ jungle and secured Kanchikuda Aru then clearing LTTE from the East was not that of a difficult task. This officer who went to a Sinhala school in Colombo, can read, speak, write many a language, has set so many records throughout his career, has the most cordial or best of relations among sister services and other agencies, has had access at very young age and at a junior rank to the most sensitive places in Sri Lanka, has served in diplomatic appointments, has saved Sri Lanka with his presence of mind from international embarrassment rather censure due to the ‘Prawn Farm’ deaths during the Manmunai operation by STF in January 1987 (He went to the local head of the Prawn Farm, which was multi-national project and grabbed his Wedding Album and showed to the wider world the photos taken on his wedding day with ‘Kummarappan’, who was having his arm around the local manager of the farm to prove the LTTE connections to the farm, and ‘case closed’ then and there!).
The most important thing about this officer is his unmatched humility, humbleness and down to earth attitude. This officer planned the ‘Kanch Op’ or Kanchikuda Aru Operation that was a resounding success. Soon the troops were having a shower at Ram’s Guest House and taking photos at the LTTE Tharavai martyrs cemetery in the east. The elated troops were posing for photos, right around the ‘Eternal Flame of Sacrifice’ distinguished forever by Special Task Force commandoes. That was the pre-cursor for clearing the east, Batticaloa, Ampara up to Thoppigala. He does not seek publicity or personal glory. He is so media shy.
You might remember, later a politician commented about taking Thoppigala was no big deal, Thoppigala was a piece of real estate and the amount or resources used to claim it was not worth the effort etc. If you consider the casualties in clearing the east it was minimal as the LTTE could not send reinforcement over land routes as ‘Kanchi was well secured after the ‘Kanchi Op’.
Here are some excerpts from an operational briefing and motivational speech given by this non-Sinhalese counter-terrorism specialist to troops before ‘Kanchi Ops’ commenced.
“East is the granary of Sri Lanka. This was one of the several major reasons why the LTTE was concentrating in the East. The others being to stretch the SLSF resources, conduit to the South as a launching pad for attacks, recruitment base ,financial base, to exhibit to the world that the LTTE is spread over the N & E, the traditional homeland concept, the Tamil-speaking concept involving the Muslim people, etc.”
“If and when the East is strangulated and with Karuna out, the LTTE would be struggling with scarcity of oxygen for sustenance “
“Kanchi Kudichchi Aru was discovered during the reign of King Dutugemunu when he marched from Magama to confront Elara in NCP. When the Troops discovered a natural watering hole after a long trek and relaxed, the Troops were offered 'Porridge / Kanchi' by the Tamil Natives to Dutugemunu and his Troops. That is how the name, Kanchi (Porridge) biwwe (Kudichchi) wewa (Aru). It is fertile ground with an uninterrupted supply of water throughout the year. Kanchi provides a conduit for the interaction and interconnection between the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala areas. A launching pad for attacks in Yala, Moneragala, and this is the area where ASP Ivan Boteju and the 600 surrendered Police Officers were massacred and dumped into mass graves by the LTTE on 11 Jun 1990.” After hearing this speech STF commandos were ready to go to avenge the deaths of their surrendered comrades and bring a closure to the bereft families! STF commandos did it in style with minimal casualties!
Why I am so concerned is that he is not given the due recognition because he is not Sinhalese. One thing and that is the most important thing Sinhalese should never forget, I say again, never forget; the contribution, versatility, and sort of indispensable rather instrumental nature of the dead officers I have mentioned elsewhere and this living officer in the fight against LTTE. Without their contributions, for sure, GOSL would NEVER have defeated the LTTE. These officers could, speak, read and write tigers’ language, blend with or work against tigers without arousing suspicion. GOSL did not have capable Tamil speaking Sinhalese officers in numbers or abundance to successfully deploy against LTTE. Sinhalese should never forget that, whatever the successes Sri Lanka Security Forces have ever scored, the vast majority of them were due to these very loyal and selfless other community officers. There were more Sinhalese traitors in the army or the military than the very few traitors from other communities in the intelligence field or in the other services. I always remember these non-Sinhalese officers in gratitude! I salute them with respect!
Though it is expensive to buy, operate and maintain or was not meant to engage in dog fights with rudimentary Tiger Air Force’s four in number Zlin Z-143s small aircraft, the Israeli built Kafirs, Russian built MIGs and Chinese built F7s played a vital role in the final war to defeat LTTE. These aircrafts performed three vital functions:
1. Accurate or pin point bombing of an LTTE boat in the sea, an artillery piece being towed by a tractor or in action, a military or jungle training base, a top leader’s hide out or a super bunker because these aircraft have the capabilities to electronically ‘lock onto target’ and can take counter measures against LTTE anti-aircraft fire or MANPADS.
2. Targeted air strikes on top LTTE leaders and their hideouts–Remember the best day in SLAF’s history-02 November 2007 in Killinochchi-it was payback time for the Anuradhapura Air Bass attack-Brigadier SP Tamilchelvam along with Lt. Col. Anpumani-LTTE Communication Director(Alex), Major Mikuthan, Major Kalaiyarasan (Nethaji), Major Selvam, Lt. Maavaikkumaran and Lt. Aadchiveal of LTTE were buried at 0600hours on Friday, 02 November 2007 in a heap of ruble by Sri Lanka Air Force in Ki'linochchi, unfortunately ‘without’ full military honors!
3. Provided vital gun camera or onboard camera footage for the reasons I have described elsewhere.
s. Sri Lanka Navy Crafts and Ships: It is heartening to see the commendable expansion of the inventor y of Sri Lanka Navy from the gunboats named after JR and SWRDB, locally built two OPVs named after Jayawardena, two landing craft, two passenger craft, Surveillance Ships-Abeetha, Edithara and Wicrama, Auxiliary ships:A-524, A525 and A526, a few Dvoras and an assortment of other small craft to an impressive inventory of Offshore Patrol Vessels, Fast Missile Vessels, Amphibious vessels, Auxiliary vessels –a large fleet consisting of combat, support ships and inshore patrol crafts. The roles they played and functions performed helped expedite the demise of tigers as an innovative and fanatical terrorist outfit with conventional military capabilities. Here are some vital roles or functions SLN played in the final war and humanitarian operations.
1. Though difficult, maintaining a naval ‘cordon sanitaire’, nearly ‘non-porous’ sea boarder around the island to prevent LTTE movements in and out of Sri Lanka by boat. Also to deploy SBS and ABS to prevent or engage and destroy LTTE men and material redeployment along the coast and sea tiger training and maneuvers. The SBS and ABS also provided the vital fire support to FAC in distress. Also created small camps with craft and radar units around the island to increase the effectiveness of surveillance and naval engagements.
2. Created a very vital MSR (Main Supply Route) through a sea line of communication in the absence one on the land, without which logistics (food, tools, fuel, barrier materials, ammo, toiletries for personal hygiene, major end items, medicine, spare parts, farm or construction equipment) needed to fight, sustain and win a war would not have been possible. I am also aware that SLAF could do and did some cargo lifting. What we are talking here is huge quantities or bulk.
3. Transformation from a brown water navy to a blue water navy; to lie in wait, self sustain, and give the LTTE lethal cargo (and pleasure cargo for selected LTTE leaders ) laden ships with seasoned LTTE seamen onboard a sea burial, again ‘without’ full naval honors with ‘underwear-less bagpipers‘!
4. Transporting safely to and fro, military personnel on redeployment or leave and the injured civilians or displaced civilians as a humanitarian mission to calm down the international community hell-bent on forcing GOSL to stop the wiping out of tigers or negate their outcry.
5. More than any other service, SLN provided doctors, paramedics and medical equipment and services in the humanitarian operations to take care of the Tamil civilians injured or sick on the battlefield.
t. Special Task Force (STF): STF, since its inception, provided a very silent service throughout their deployment mainly in Batticaloa and Ampara districts. They suffered minimal casualties, lost no huge quintiles of arms or munitions, and lost no major camps to LTTE. They protected border villages from LTTE attacks and maintained ethnic harmony among Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslim communities. They also provided material support and acted as staging areas or logistic or operations centers for small boat teams and naval radar teams and army commando teams. All these are force multipliers. They conducted very successful ‘Kanchi Ops’ to set stage for the clearing of the East by Sri Lanka Security Forces.
u. Civil Defence Corps (CDC): We need to look at the eventual graduation from Home Guards to CDC and their contribution to the victory of the final war with LTTE. As you already know ‘training’ is a force multiplier. The CDC personnel were better trained, better armed, better compensated and better dressed than Home Guards. The keyword you have to remember here is ‘better’. They are the ones who had the biggest stake in wiping out the tigers as their border villages, households, livelihoods and families were day in day out at the mercy of marauding bands of tigers. Though they were the lowest level of the food chain they had the distinctive advantage the other services did not have. The vast majority of CDC personnel in the north and east spoke ‘Tamil’ and knew the terrain very well. They could easily cut off a withdrawing path of a LTTE hit squad, lie in ambush for them or act as jungle guides or scouts for a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) of the military in case of a hit and run by LTTE. This advantage also paid dividends at roadblocks, in apprehending and interrogating suspected or fleeing LTTE carders or/and finding and locating explosive rigged vehicles or hidden caches.
v. SLAF (Regiment Branch) and SLN (Patrolman Branch): They were involved in more and more ground combat roles or were tasked to hold the more and more ground army was liberating day by day. This eased up army infantry troops to smash through and clear earth bunds, bunker lines and other obstacles. They could be also used as road clearing parties, in cordon and search operations, as beach patrols, at roadblocks in Colombo and suburbs, to name a few other tasks they performed that helped army to fully concentrate on the final war.
ECONOMIC: The economic aspect of the instruments of national power. There is no wealth more valuable than human wealth/capital. A living example for that is China. A decade or two ago where was China? With technological boost, today you can see the quality of life of more than billion people in China where literacy rate is not even 100 per cent. Can imagine what would be the annual economic growth if the literacy rate was 100%?
a. Literacy Rate: Sri Lankans rather the entire world wonders how a tiny nation, an island in the Indian Ocean could manage or afford to wage full scale fighting, halted for a few years intermittingly for the failed rounds of peace negotiations, suffering a huge human cost, thousands of deaths and the material damage running into billions of dollars. How Sri Lanka could be that resilient and did not end up like a poverty-stricken African nation whose citizens either kill each other in food riots, scavenge food from dumpsters to survive or die of starvation. The secret lies in the Sri Lanka’s highest literacy rate in Asia next to Japan.
b. FOREX Earned by Overseas Sri Lankans: How this nearly three decade long war was viable? FOREX or foreign exchange remitted by expatriate workers and overseas Sri Lankans, FOREX generated by exporting apparel made with sweat, blood and youth of poor, innocent village girls, from whatever tourism industry that was left and selling software or Information Technology (IT) products.
c. Goodwill or Quality of Products: A little noticed thing by majority in Sri Lanka was that when the London Stock Exchange (LSE) decided to supercharge its trading platform provided by MillenniumIT, a Sri Lankan software and services company it bought for $30m last year. With shares changing hands faster than a blink of an eye in today's financial markets, it has never been more important for stock exchanges to complete trades in lightning-fast time and this electronic platform can shave one thousandth of a second from the time it takes to trade a share through the exchange. This caused sort of uproar in the Drealamists’ world as it was a bold assertion by the LSE, regardless of UK government’s interference in the humanitarian and final war, to do business with Sri Lanka. This sort of major corporate decisions in favour of doing business with Sri Lanka packs more punch in capitalist world or counters all the negative publicity by AI, HRC and FMM, who are prodded or paid by Drealamists with sex or money or their ‘honey’ or ‘bun’.
Victoria’s Secret did not keep any secret when it was or placing orders and buying apparels made in Sri Lanka. When high society was buying the lingerie, made in Sri Lana, in bundles, it made a fashion statement in bed and was an approval statement in the market to show the willingness to do more and more business with Sri Lanka. That was why the Drealamist were parading in front of the VS stores asking people to boycott Sri Lanka. I bet those rascals inciting others to boycott were most definitely dressed in clothes bought in Sri Lanka, cheaply from House of Fashion, French Corner or Odel!
As long as Sri Lanka’s valued and loyal customers like London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Victoria’s Secret (VS) had total confidence in quality of Sri Lanka’s products and were willing (and their customers buying) to do business with Sri Lanka or held Sri Lanka in good stead.
d. Calm on the Streets: There were no food riots. Schools were open and offices functioned. Simply said, if the atmospherics I have mentioned elsewhere were positive, GOSL could wage the war and win, even after 30 years!
The benefit of high literacy rate coupled with free education and medicine allowed the insurgents and terrorists, rich and poor, and Sinhalese and Tamils ‘equal opportunity’ to follow same island wide education syllabus. If you were born with a good IQ (Intelligent quotient) level you would be perfectly alright though the parents may be too poor to afford access to tuition or a city school due to high costs or expenses. In that case you can win a Grade 5 scholarship to Ananda, Devi Balika, Mahamaya or Polonnaruwa Royal!
Your future is set if you know your only obligation is to study without playing truant and you are determined to fulfill your parents’ fervent hope and dying wish to see you as a fully-fledged doctor or an engineer. My bother started schooling in a village school then went to a Maha Vidalaya where he secured 8 distinctions at O levels then received education at a College, entered university, and returned to Sri Lanka, recently, with PhDs for him and his wife. The cost of education: literally speaking or when compared to other countries, almost nothing!
That is why my blood is boiling when I see and hear the Drealam terrorists who or whose fathers have received the same free education, and clamour now and hell bent on censuring or boycotting Sri Lanka! If I have my way I will ensure that they or their same thinking kith or kin will not ever set foot on Sri Lankan soil or live on Sri Lankan soil. If I am accused of some sort ‘cleansing’, so be it. My idea here is to rid a country of hypocritical and opportunistic terrorists and their accomplices or sympathizers. I let only good Tamils, like the bereaved families of Kadir or Thiru, live in Sri Lanka.
Two Costly Mistakes LTTE Committed: The Killing of Rajiv Ghandi and the closing down of Mavil Aru sluice gates.
1. The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the seventh Prime Minister of India by the LTTE suicide bomber Gayatri also known as Dhanu supported by Nalini and others was the one of the two gravest mistakes LTTE had committed ever. If the LTTE leader and his theoretician thought for one fleeting moment that they could kill the national leader of a nuclear state of more than a billion people and get away with murder with the support of 50 millions Tamils in Tamil Nadu then I can imagine what sort of people had participated in the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) to arrive at a decision to kill Rajiv. Most definitely a bunch of smugglers like ‘Velu’ from VVT would have participated. Unless how could you make such a rash decision. The LTTE should have abided Rajiv until he lost elections or was assassinated by someone else as his mother was. It was karmic forces that won the day; a lady who gave ear to Tall Sri Sabarathnam of TELO and created this scourge of terrorism in Sri Lanka was punished by her own people in India.)
True that LTTE was mad at Rajiv for the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) presence in the north and east and its alleged atrocities in Wanni but you always look at the trade off; to kill and be damned or not to kill and not be damned!
Nothing is more farcical than if the LTTE’s school of thought or line of thinking was: Damn India! We have 50 millions Tamils on our side; in the moment of truth those 50 millions in India and some so many millions across the world would pour into the streets and bring life in their respective country to standstill to influence GOSL to halt the humanitarian operations and the final war. The LTTE were highly mistaken! As long as there is money, sex, wine, and shrewd people in the world and borders of a country are open then divide and rule is possibility, in fact, a way of life! Tell me any country in the world that is not sorely divided, except N Korea. That is why four feet no inches Mr. Kim has decided to drink Scotch and live in recluse with ‘Army First’ army at the ready! The LTTE should have abided Rajiv and his government and let to solve problems than let time ‘heal’ the killing!
2. The ‘Casus Belli’ or Closing Down Of the Mavil Aru Sluice Gates: Because of nothing but total ignorance of LTTE decided to resort to sort of scorched earth policy; decided to use water as a weapon of mass destruction. The foolish LTTE decided to deny water to 60,000 innocent farming people. The LTTE did not have legal or moral right to close the sluice gates at all as water belonged to whoever wanted use or consume or were dependent on it. Without water how you could live and survive.
The LTTE gave GOSL on a platter what it was searching for: Casus Belli for waging war. GOSL was smart enough this time rather saner counseled prevail. The GOSL thought very carefully how this ‘casus belli’ of closing down of the Mavi Aru slice gate to deny water to 15, 00 families could be used to garner the international community’s support; for information Operation purposes; to win hearts and minds of people in Sri Lanka and abroad; the sympathy and understanding of Tamils world over.
As the global atmospheric was very good for GOSL due to the closing down of sluice gates, the GOSL gave full powers to Sri Lankan Security Forces to mount the humanitarian operations and to teach the LTTE a lesson they will not forget. The rest is history.
Do you remember ‘casus belli’ the United States used in invasion of Panama, codenamed Operation Just Cause, in December 1989? Here it is; according to an official U.S. military report "witnesses to the incident, a U.S. naval officer and his wife were assaulted by Panamanian Defense Force soldiers while in police custody". (The naval officer was US Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Robert Paz, who returned from a restaurant in Panama City. Paz was recovering from recent knee reconstruction surgery, and on leave from his duty station of Camp Pendleton California; he was stopped and harassed to the point where he panicked; as he attempted to flee, he was shot and killed.)
I cannot tell you this enough; if one has seen how military decisions of national importance are made you would have see how laborious it was to arrive at the final decision; every aspect of its success and failure is war gamed; nothing is left to chance, wittingly; it is not done on one’s whims and fancies after a stiff drink.
a. The Change Of Heart of Col K: When Col K came out of the Wanni jungles, for the first in life, to participate in peace negotiations (September 16-18, 2002 at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand) he realized what a miserable life he was living, suppressed and controlled, with fear of LRRP of Army and total anxiety, with his tiger wife. He or for that matter any tiger other than Prabakaran and family was not ‘leading’ a life. Lucky for GOSL Col K was dazed and confused by neon lights and Thai dolls in the red-light districts of Thailand. The temptations were so strong. He was or for that matter every tiger was in pressure cooker situation, after all, due the decades of suppressed feelings and sexual urges and lost youth and denial of freedoms.
Though he told Tamil people on his return from peace rounds at a function in Batticaloa to release a music CD produced by two of his fighting formations "We are strong, we will be patient". He was weak and impatient. He came back in a very sexually excited state. When he saw the ‘Thai dolls’ in translucent dresses he got so amorous. He was lost in mind and unfortunately did not see the wedding band on his ring finger when he used his fingers to fondle the Thai dolls erotically. So he started surfing the Internet. He opened the LNW webpage, a website run by some LTTE sympathizers. He saw onto his left the ever scrolling ‘LNW Special Model Bank’. Viola! ‘Model’ Geethani’s photo appeared and Col K‘s thoughts for one fleeting moment was lost in Geethani’s cleavage and clicked the mouse. For that fleeting moment, being fraction of a second late, once he clicked the mouse, instead of Githani’s photos, Model Sunalie’s came up. He thought Sunalie was ‘Elakiri’ and went through all her photo albums, some taken with ‘Mr. Putt Putt-Shriyantha M’. After that it was so easy for a Lieutenant Commander of Sri Lanka Navy Intelligence to introduce Col K to a very ‘fast life’. You could see now Sunalie and Col K are having time of their lives on the dance floors of Colombo discotheques and at the New Year eve dances at places like Beruwala. One could also see now in the media that his ex-tiger wife is also ‘spitfire’.
On a lighter note about those ladies or Models in the LNW Special Model Bank I remember a song we used to hear in the annual cricket encounters between ‘Somawansas’ and ‘Weerawansas’, which is called the Battle of Mangooseteens! (For starters, Somawansa studied at Kalutara MV, Weerawansa at Tissa MV but both are utter disgraces when we consider people like famous Narada Dissasekara , innovative ‘Dil Scoop’ Thilakaathne, Malinga Banada the next Mularitharan or SP De Silva-army ruggerite-first to convert a free kick beyond 40 yard or Maj Gen Sanath Karunarathne-the Hero of Elephant Pass siege-Dharmashoka MV wants to claim him because he is a hero now but only Kalutara MV accepted him when Dharmasoka MV chucked him out. He used to travel from Ambalngoda to Kalutara, if you do not believe me ask Maj Gen Wijesinge a former Army CofS and KMV cricket captain). The song goes like this ‘Bom(b) Bom(b) Bom(b) Bombay hurray, those ladies are nice but menna hile size (here is the size of the vaginal orifice, and the revelers extend their arms to emphasize!)
It is also apt to remember here how Bala’s ‘Holier than Thou’ attitude in the media on return from the peace negotiations trips. Bala pointed an accusing finger (‘not me, that one!’) at others, or put out names as to ‘who’ visited the strips clubs in Thai red-light districts and when. When the members of tiger peace delegation visited those strip clubs, after a hard day of ‘peace procrastination’, for some fun and night life they lost their bearing and their minds started spinning like the nude Thai dolls spinning, in the neon light, around the club pole in the center of the stage. They could not believe what they saw; there is fun to life than the miserable life the psychopathic killer Prabakaran imposed on others in Wanni while living in luxury and procreating with Madawadani. (Prabakaran messed up the Madawadani’s future like JVP messed up the future of many a brilliant medical student. Lest Sri Lanka could have had a qualified doctor by the name of Dr. Madawadani serving the poor in the Castle, the Lady Ridgeway or the Batticaloa government hospital. Moreover she could have been happily married and still living with her children from a totally different husband. Unfortunately she would not have thought in her wildest dreams what the circumstances would be when she playfully threw water at an ‘animal’, a fanatical tiger named Praba!)
Tiger leaders were nothing but a bunch of crooks. Ask baggage handlers at the Bandaranaike International Airport, when the tiger top rung or the so-called peace delegation returned from their junket tours or the peace negotiation, oops procrastination rounds of talks they brought in lots of luggage and bought a lot of electronic goods at duty-free shops. It showed to us clearly and loudly the ostensible ‘freedom fighters’ vowed to fight to death for a Drealam are nothing but a bunch of rogues yearning to be living in vanity. Why top tigers did not live an austere life, and behaved like Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan (Alsatian), 10th Election Commissioner of India. He was more transparent, fire brand, and gentlemanly than any of the tiger leaders. When Seshan returned from US after a seminar he only brought a yo-yo, it was also for his grandson. Tigers did not practice what they preached.
You could see the anger against Col K by the amount of libelous videos released to the web by LTTE and its sympathizers and the murder of his brother and close associates by a LTTE hit squad in Colombo suburbs when he defected to the ‘Sinhala regime or Army’
The ultimate beneficiary of this new life of Col K was none other than the GOSL; And Sri Lankan military could ‘separate’ the battle space into two and clear the eastern province of LTTE then the Northern Province.
It was like splitting in half or sending half of military of a nation home on compulsory leave. The eastern tigers were like the Republican Guards of Iraqi Army, battle hardened through the war of attrition with Iran. This freed up fighting divisions and resources for Sri Lanka Army to conduct search and destroy operations against the remnants of LTTE in the east, especially in Batticaloa and Ampara districts. Out of all this the intelligence scoop and support GOSL got from Col K and his cadres must be very worthwhile. This intelligence support from eastern cadres who had been to the length and breadth of Wanni to participate in the LTTE military campaigns against Sri Lanka Security Forces could have helped Sri Lanka Air Force to bomb major LTTE camps, operational or training, super bunkers, comfortable, well fortified, disguised and protected safe houses of LTTE top rung, mutation factories, boat yards and what not. The same intelligence may have helped ground troops to zero on LTTE strong points rather than running all over Wanni to find tigers. This way it did not tire soldiers that much and SLA would not have had to tie down resources that much either.
I do not how many have thought about this. The talk of the town or the belief was that always the ‘heavy lifting’ in the major battles against Sri Lanka military was done by fighters born and bred in the East. The LTTE formed a unit named ‘Jeyanthan Brigade ‘. This unit was named after Jeyanthan (alias Sampukuddi Pathmanthan) from Morakkotanchena, who died in an engagement with a SLN FAC off Point Pedro 04 May 1991. The cadres for this brigade consisted of especially the fighters raised from Baticaloa and Ampara.
It was deployed in the LTTE code-named operations; ‘Operation Unceasing Wave I’ (overrunning of the SLA Mulative base complex), ‘Operation Unceasing Wave II’(the recapture of Kilinochchi by LTTE), ‘Operation Unceasing Wave III’ (the overrunning of Elephant Pass SLA base complex), ‘Operation Frog Leap’ to destroy the SLA Ponneryn camp in 1993, and against Sri Lanka Army code-named operations ‘Operation Jaya Sikuru’, Operation Sath Jeya’, ‘Operation Rivibala’ and ‘Operation Rana Gosha’ 'Operation Forward Leap' and 'Operation Sun Ray'.
The most notable thing is that the Jeyanthan Brigade was ‘USED’ to spearhead the LTTE’s crushing of the six-week rebellion by renegade LTTE commander, Col Karuna, dismantling Karuna’s military structures.
The Jeyanthan Brigade tigers were the real warriors. But they were treated like ‘sh*t’ or coolies! No leadership positions in the LTTE, no important appointments in major tiger divisions, no recognition etc for the eastern tigers. The fighters from the east were frustrated and disappointed. It was a major grumble by Col K for the reason for defection from his erstwhile fanatical and innovative terrorist organization and the psychopathic killer leader. I had this in the after burner but I thought to confirm this for myself. To do this I followed the vote block promises to General Fonseka by Tamils and their voting patterns in the recently concluded presidential elections. The northern Tamils abandoned him lock, stock and barrel and threw him under the (victory) bus of MR. Now SF is dying a natural death in a windowless room at the Naval Headquarters without seeing sun rise or set, like high rollers in a Las Vegas casino but for high rollers food, drinks, smokes and girls are around in abundance. The eastern Tamils stood steadfast by SF as promised. It tells me of the quality of eastern Tamils.
b. Tsunami Tidal Waves: The Boxing Day (26 December 2004) tsunami was a huge tragedy in human and material cost to Sri Lanka and South Asian nations. It was another very decisive tipping point in the military demise of LTTE and I will elaborate more on it later. For the first time in their lives villagers the panic-stricken faces of so shaken to the core tiger boys. They had never seen so dull or fear-stricken faces of ‘podiyans’ in their lives.
Though the LTTE never accepted publically the damages to their boats, boatyards, armaments and equipment, and men and women we can fairly gauge the damage was of epic proportions by analyzing the LTTE reaction and the statements issued. "Liberation Tigers declare 26th January as a National Day of Mourning to remember those who lost their lives in the Tsunami disaster in Tamil…..the force of the tidal waves hit the Southeast Asian region including Sri Lanka causing unprecedented devastation ……. Our people living in coastal areas of Tamil homeland have been severely affected. The fury of nature has rendered our people homeless, traumatized them by taking away lives of their loved ones and forced them to seek shelter in welfare centers and in homes of their friends and relatives .”
c. INGOs and NGOs: Let’s talk about a Mercy Corps, a Peace Corps in Crisis Corps mode or an Intelligence Agency (Central or otherwise); of which one, a Mercy Corps which donates cycles to school students in a place like Trincomalee, bath basin, blanket, mosquito net, food, and soaps for tsunami affected pregnant mothers, more than one million rupees worth tools of trade (TOT) for tsunami affected persons in a place like Nilaveli or conducts two day Food Processing Fair in a place like Akkaraipattu; a Peace Corps in Crisis Corps mode volunteers working as Civil Engineers for water sanitation and reconstruction projects, Community Liaison Officers assisting in the coordination of regional relief and reconstruction efforts, Field Officers, Evaluation Specialists, Livelihoods Assistants, Community Health Assistants and Capacity Building Specialists or an intelligence agency spooks ‘pumping iron’ in a hotel gym in the morning, trash talking about their favorite NFL (National Football) Team or doing the Monday morning quarterbacking at breakfast, talking about their ‘Harleys ‘ at lunch and whining, dining in business attire and fornicating with local girls to their hearts’ content using intelligence slush funds at night, are YOU AFRAID MOST? An intelligence agency (central or otherwise), right? If the answer is yes, you have no sense about the intriguing world of intelligence gathering!
I am dead scared of a Peace Corps or a Mercy Corps team wanting to help a strategically important country affected by a natural disaster than a CIA team stationed in normally embassy or a very safe house. These Peace Corps, Mercy Corps teams consist of academics, experts and intellectuals, they basically are Human Terrain Teams that have ‘social scientists’ who map relationships and create databases of local leaders, economic issues, social problems, castes and political disputes as well as using mapped knowledge and cultural insights to advise military commanders. For CIA team they kill time and get hold of a rascal like ‘Curve Ball’ and file a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) report pushing a nation to a war baselessly or welcome an AQ double agent without frisking him prior to his entry to a base and wait in a receiving line to be blasted to smithereens by him.
I have put out a lot of details to get to my point. Though Sri Lankans and the government friendly or patriotic media, deliberately or not, bashed or pilloried all International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) without an iota of mercy but how do you know that some of these INGOS or NGOs paved the way for the wiping out the tiger terrorist by providing very vital information about locations, activities, equipments and movements of LTTE top rung in real time so that GOSL or Security Forces could take ‘timely’ action? As every Tamil is not a bad Tamil, every INGO is not against unitary state of Sri Lanka. Please remember that.
That is why Pakistan in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) earth quake in 2005 asked only for material aid, not for INGO personnel by plane loads.
d. Unsung Heroes in the Military: I will give you just two examples for the time being.
1. A Young SLAF officer who was in charge of a bunker line took initiative to motivate airmen in trenches to play football. He organized a team that won a lot of matches and about four of his players ended up being selected SLAF soccer team. He took another initiative to get some crushers to crush granite and deliver to other camps pave foot paths or in building construction. He started a project to grow vegetables, his camp and other camps ate ‘organic’ vegetables! Not only that, when a suicide bomber attacked a sister service convoy he heard the loud explosion at his camp, he jumped into a truck and arrived on the scene, on his own, to evacuate the injured and remove the dead.
2. When the entire ship did not have water supply as the only water pump motor was burnt a young naval officer gathered a few trusted ratings. They were to steal/sneak into the LTTE area, passing an active LTTE bunker line, to descend into a disused well and remover the motor. The young sailor who descended into the well had only request; if the LTTE showed up, do not leave him in the well to be captured! When he emerged from the well with the motor he was bleeding in the mouth as he had used his teeth to cut the wires! The water supply was restored to the ship.
Are you not so proud of these unsung heroes who live in a few people’s mind forever? I am! I always remember then when I rise up in the morning and go to bed in the night!
Morale is a force multiplier!
THE WAY FORWARD- SWEAT MORE IN PEACE TO BLEED LESS IN WAR
(May 13,Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)a. Duty of GOSL: This is a sine qua non! Never waver, dither or vacillate in what to do with the captured LTTE camps or complexes or what to do in the north and east. As far as the LTTE training camps and complexes are concerned; if it was an LTTE jungle training camp it should be developed to be next SLAF’s Morawewa camp or SLN’s Andankulam camp, to turn the LTTE jungle camps into training plus fully fledged agricultural farms. So Military can do away with doing the victualing business with David Karunarathne sooner than later and save a lot of money to build houses for the needy warriors! If it was a military camp in a town area: develop them into military communities one finds in Fort Hood, Texas or Fort Benning, Georgia, USA or Yongsan, S Korea. If it was a building complex; turn in them to administrative buildings or AGA offices. This should be done without delay.
The Pentagon in US, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the Joint Base Ballad (JBB) in Iraq, the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, the Kelly Barracks in Germany are all High Security Zones (HSZs) but I am yet to see the public anger on the streets in those countries to remove them. They are there for a purpose. For starters, the purpose is to maintain peace and stability of own country or the host nation. By the way when LTTE were in those camps, armed to the teeth, extorting money , corralling people at gun point, and planning mass murder but TamilNet or an ‘anonymous Tamil academic’ in Jaffna did not utter a word or there was not a whimper. Then why GOSL need or should yield or cower when some countries, organization or people want to have them dismantled in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Ask them to go and fly a kite at ‘paper’ planes of MIA. Wake up the ‘diplomutts’ in MFA and ask them to study what other countries do in similar circumstances, ask them to prepare a good information brief and present it to the western diplomats in Colombo. After reading the well presented information brief I am sure those learned diplomats would put their countries in order leaving Colombo to mind its own business.
Go to heck with the traditional Tamil homelands hogwash! Because of previous governments lacked the backbone or best diplomats to articulate GOSL’s message to other nations very effectively it does not mean GOSL should shy from doing what is needed. Once upon time it was a case of truth went by default the lies prevailed! Human tigers in fatigues are now extinct forever in the north and east, and do not make the mistake of allowing them rise as ‘phoenix’. To prevent or avoid it from happening, GOSL need to prevent ‘enclaves’ in any part of the country. No China Towns! No Tamil Towns! No Muslim Towns! Only Sri Lankan Towns! Go ahead and saturate north and east with all kinds of people. Let TamilNet cry all day long about the new settlements and let them post the pictures of the statues felled of the so-called LTTE ‘martyrs’ aka murderers of innocent civilians. Tell TN and its henchmen that you are going to put up a statue of little ‘Madduma Banadara’ to remind future young generations how to be brave or of Honorable Kadiragamar or IP Bastiampillai. By the way replace all the LTTE statues in the north and east with the ones of Tamil politicians, military officers, academics and government officials killed by LTTE. As far as the houses or homes of terrorists are concerned tell them that you are NOT going to do what Israelis have been doing, raze terrorists’ homes to the ground and build settlements or Kibbutz BUT are going to build toilets for public to ‘PISS’ and as a stark reminder NOT to ‘PISS OFF’ a peace-loving and tolerant nation ever again! GOSL needs to turn LTTE bases into SL military camps. If GOSL does not act now Sri Lanka will find itself soon back in ‘square one’ and regret it. I am sure Sri Lankans do not wish to live to rue that!
a. Duty of MFA-I would tell you this with almost certainty that the next war, if waged audaciously and foolishly by the Transnational Drealam Tamils incited by people like Film Director and Tamil activist S. ‘Semen’, oops Seeman, it would NOT be a war fought by Sri Lanka Army Special Forces in the Jungles of Wanni, in the mangroves of Mullivaikal or on the banks of Nanthikadl lagoon, but a war fought by the diplomats and staff of Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Tamil intellectuals and their bought off academics and MPs in sympathetic governments with vested interests, hidden agendas or ulterior motives such as money making or expecting Tamil vote block, free supply of interns for their political campaigns.
The battle grounds will be in the media and in cyber space. If Sri Lankan diplomats are again going to behave like ‘diplomutts’ and the staff continue to sing Hosannas and act as lackeys to politicos and are appointed by politicos, then Never Mind! The Drealam will come true. GOSL need to tell sternly to each and every body in MFA to pull up their socks and to put them on a war footing. Not only the new breed of warrior diplomats should be knowledgeable, capable and well-read but they should be tech savvy or computer literate too to be victorious against TNT turned TDT (Tamil New Tigers to Transnational Drealam Tamils).
Sooner rather than later GOSL must come up with an official cyber warfare unit consisting of subject matter experts. As to who they should be I have already passed on to my friends. There are things I will intentionally refuse to talk about in the media as they are vital to preserve national security and counter or thwart terrorist threats.
Let me give you the inside intelligence, you ever wondered why the statements from a ‘state department’ almost always were against Sri Lanka? Brace yourself to hear the truth; “What you guys are doing, the State Department is flooded with ladies with ‘thikkam’ on their foreheads”. This is not something I conjured up. I happened to meet a top level advisor to the State Department, an academic who knows and has worked in Sri Lanka. Those were his words ‘verbatim’!
Let me tell you this: Sri Lanka is nowhere near on the top in a superpower’s State Department’s order of priority list as there is no real or perceived threat from Sri Lanka as a country or from LTTE as an organization. On the top it has the Axis of Evil, Russia and Al-Qaida, to mention a few to take care of. The time is running out, the patient almost exhausted, and all options are on the table as far as some of these countries are concerned. The internecine warfare between drug cartel members on the Mexican border towns is an ankle biter compared to the bigger and volatile issues with the axis of evil. The alleged nuclear proliferation, global terrorism by AQ, two wars in Iraq and AFPAK, counterfeiting dollars at mass scale by a government in recluse, drug trafficking by container loads etc are of more or paramount importance than what is going in Sri Lanka.
In the Secretary’s daily life or her order of the day there are so many things to do and commitments to fulfill. From hair-do to exercise, briefings to speeches, family to friends, reading e-mail to sending e-mails, overseas trips to a friend’s wedding and a whole host of other things. Remember a day has only 24 hours! In her hectic schedule she has no time to slice and dice, analyze and logically think, check the veracity or facts and figure of the statements issued with regard to matters pertaining to or concerning Sri Lanka. In this situation, pressed for time, she just put her Jonny Hancock’s to the statements prepared to be issued against GOSL by her staff, who may either be staff or interns who do not know where Sri Lanka is or a lady with a ‘thikkam’ on the head. Even with more than 5000 people dead and 150000 affected in the Boxing Day Tsunami most of Americans do not know where Sri Lanka is yet but they want everyone to remember 3000 deaths in the World Trade Center! Truth is stranger than fiction!
b. Patriotic Duty of Overseas Sri Lankan Community: Please hear me out! Your support in all ways, shapes and forms was so vital to the defeat of LTTE. Your contributions may not be recognized or would be forgotten in their scramble to claim ‘sole or individual’ credit rather than accepting the ‘team’ award. I am not sure when Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka would wise up.
I know a vast majority of you left Sri Lanka in disgust as you no longer wanted to see evil and injustice and experience ingratitude and backstabbing. The guilty each and every one of you suffers from is that you are what you are thanks to free education received up to university and medicine for life. You tend to appreciate it more when you are overseas and have to spend a lot of money to send your children to colleges and keep them healthy.
When people like Seemen in the film industry and MIA in the music industry with Boyle and Stein in tow are hell-bent of creating a separate state on spurious grounds you should never relax or let your guard down. Your academic background, intellect and right connection at right place at right time, all are very important in this regard to support Sri Lanka and its security forces. You are overseas and know or get to know what the enemy is planning or up to. You need to strengthen and augment the networks you had had in place in the last war. Develop, cultivate and preserve the connections you have had to very important officials and people in your respective county. You need to continue the relentless Information Operations you conducted in the last war. You need to maintain total situational awareness (SA) and situational understanding (SU) as far as the Transnational Drealam Tamils are concerned. In nutshell you need to be a member of a Human Terrain Team at ready with the information and guidance Sri Lanka Special Forces Operators may ask for if there is another war against Drealamists.
c. Duty of Young Officers in the Military: It is very pathetic to see the sorry state of affairs in the Sri Lanka military. The most of officers from general to colonel are beyond redemption and if they are Combat Arms top brass then they are in some politico’s pocket, if they are Combat Support or Combat service Support on some businessman’s bankroll. It is a disgrace to the uniform for military officers to be handled by a rascal politico who is not qualified or fit, physically, mentally, educationally, spiritually and morally to be a ‘lawmaker’ according an observation by the Election Commission himself recently (Vast majority of Sri Lankans knew about that sent them to parliament anyway) or a businessman who earns his filthy lucre by unethical means or questionable means.
I address here the officers in the rank of subaltern to major equivalent in the tri-service and Police Inspectorate.
1. Stay away from politics and live by Army Values- Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage (Moral and Physical) or police code of honor.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS-IN-CHARGE OF STATIONS- Part I – Preamble
“l. You were selected for the post you hold, not because of any particular cleverness, smartness, or goodness on your part, but purely because you had the good fortune to be brought up in such a way that if you strive your utmost you should be able to fill that post efficiently. You have been fed and looked after physically and have been educated and looked after mentally, and must thank those who have given you these advantages and not yourself for the position you now hold.”
2. Maintain physical fitness and mental toughness always.
3. Instill warrior ethos in the subordinates (the soldier's selfless commitment to the nation, mission, unit, and fellow soldiers. It is the professional attitude that inspires every soldier. The Warrior Ethos is grounded in refusal to accept failure. It is developed and sustained through discipline, commitment to the Army Values, and pride in the Army's heritage).
4. Train constantly to be sharp always and use mock scenarios in training to maintain the martial fervor in subordinates.
5. Read, Read, Read! My father always used to say ‘Reading Maketh a Man!’ Remember knowledge is power. This is self-development. This way you can always know what is going on in the world; the unfolding world situation; the new research and development in your field; to educate your subordinate; to be on par with other nations’ military officer when on overseas training, to name a few.
6. Take care of family and spend quality time with your family or girl friend. They will be the only people left with or stay with you through thin or bad times. The others will be with you through thick or good times and will become, overnight, the rats leaving a sinking ship. (You see for yourself the very sad and pathetic nature of the lives of Triple A -Apsara, Aparna and Anoma, SF used to always talk about ambush, ambush, ambush, was away from family fighting the enemy, leading troop and briefing commanders. Now he is spending his life in an inauspicious manner during the Auspicious Time, away from family, not observing movement of the sun from Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries)! That is why you need to spend quality time with your family without neglecting them unintentionally.
7. Last but not Least; Never ever allow anyone to take away the Free Education and Free Medicine for Life. In a superpower country the public education system is a real mess and the healthcare is run by the insurance industry mafia. This is firsthand news; a student in Grade 3 cannot multiply 23 by 32! If you do not have the medical insurance you do not have access to quality care. Remember always or never forget what Banda, oops‘Bond’ from Horagolla did; with a stroke of pen he made Sinhala the only official language, all the while an ‘ura’ and satellite were speaking not only English at home but French too. To add insult to injury one of them received education at The University Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) while, they say, some of Bond’s children could NOT produce the original GCE O/L certificates! You, I and every Sri Lankan have suffered enormously due to Bond’s short-sighted policy for more votes, and LTTE used this ‘Sinhala Only’ policy as ‘casus belli’ to wage an unjust war and seek to create a separate country called Drealam! As a soldier son of a soldier my English could have been very much better than this or in fact that of all Sri Lankans. The Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Middle East and all over the world would have been on a better footing. If I was not lucky to receive quality free education I would not have been able to brush shoulders with the powerful militaries in the world and do Sri Lanka proud. I hate Bond forever for the political expediency he resorted to and his policy that have caused untold misery to past, present current and future generation.
d. Duty of the Media (Electronic or Print) and Human Rights Organizations or Activists
The Editors and News Directors need to have a session or healthy dialog every week with behind the closed doors with the Heads of Intelligence units where they would ‘just allude’ (and would never own up) to a ‘national security operation’ just concluded. If there is/are a dead person(s) then the Editors and news editors must understand what it ‘means’ by a ‘national security operation’, without spinning up the story and embarrassing Sri Lanka in general GOSL in particular in the international community.
Some pious fraud would now say this is collusion or collaboration in the murder. I would like to meet those rascals and human rights lawyers who are the first person to bribe a Police OIC to ‘bump off’ the culprit who broke into their house and stole the jewelry of their wife or raped their daughter. Then and for them it does not matter the manner in which or how the culprit is going to die; maybe in a ‘shootout with police’; police retaliated when he threw a hand grenade at the police party when taken to show hidden weapons; or he tried to grab or wrest the weapon out of a constable’s hand, am I right?. Human rights layers and media activists enough is enough. We do not want any more hypocrisy from any quarters.
So I ask politely the media and human rights activists to think of the ‘reality’ rather than ‘fact’. Think of the National Security or the unitary state of Sri Lanka rather than personal profit or gain in monetary terms or fame. Think of a better future for your children and safe return home to for parents and brothers and sisters every day from work or school rather than hearing your son in the school baseball team or your daughter in a netball team died in an explosion triggered by terrorists in a railway station.
As an EXAMPLE, this is NO WAY a ‘Carte Blanc’ for Dr. Silva on his whims and fancies to use talcum ‘powder’ Lal to ‘take care of’ or ‘erase’ political opponents. In that case taking care of the talcum ‘powder’ Lal should be considered a national security issue for 1. Drug running. 2. For setting a precedent to use the bullet to ‘SELECT, not the ballet to ‘ELECT’ the lawmakers or MPs (most of them, though, Mutt Persons)! 3. Habitual or constant thuggery.
Duties of the Human Rights organizations and activists: Act on the case by case basis in the normal daily life of Sri Lanka;
Example 1. A drunken lawyer in a sports utility vehicle, with a group of equally drunk friends, running over a group of pedestrians in Ambalangoda town; The Lilly-White Lawyers on this occasion shamelessly tipping the balance the blindfolded Virgin is holding, without an uproar from activists or Sri Lanka Bar Association.
Example 2. An ex-Air Force Commander, again from Amablanagoda, after an all night drink party and a sexcapade with a widow of an air force officer (Pilot G), the paramour or the KEEP herself an air force officer, forcing one of official drivers to own up to his hit and killing the innocent cleaner of a lorry in a traffic accident. Above the law Almighty Top Brass who browbeat the innocent into unjust submission.
Example 3. An innocent village damsel who was working in the city in a garment factory earning a meager salary sought treatment for her ailments in the belief that a government hospital doctor, for that matter a doctor would hold, live and die by the Socrates Oath. The doctor tricked rather inveigled he, a patient, into a room, a few floors above the ground level. The doctor raped her without shame (let me use some medical terms here-the forcible rupture of hymen against will), killed her in cold blood, dragged her on the floor (you do not do it even to a cadaver in medical school) and pushed her to death i.e. causing to fall under gravity to die on impact (from zero kinetic energy to zero potential energy). The squeaky clean doctors in the GMOA were mum on this, without showing the outrage or the level of outrage when some knucklehead commando killed a doctor in a rage of fit (true he was a soldier, a soldier quick to temper and an isolated incident, not one orchestrated by the ‘army’!)
But when it comes to national security issues or the national security operations by the elite troops of Special Forces and STF in the name of Mother Lanka, I ask the media and human rights organizations and their activists; STAY THE F*CK OFF or STAY THE F*CK AWAY ( Simply, more politely, put; SLIP AWAY)!
e. A New Way of FOREX Generation: Turning an LTTE training complex into an all-weather ready and fully habitable a recreational complex for tourism purposes. The recreational warriors from all over the world on vacation will pay top dollar to shoot, speed drive, jump (parachuting and bungee) and abseiling, and what have you.
This sort of a compound for international recreational warriors will be able to deliver a realistic experience and earn foreign exchange. You can add DZs (Drop Zone), HLZs (Helicopter Landing Zone), configurable shoothouses, breachable entry points, 6 mile off-road tracks, obstacle courses and shooting ranges-outdoor or using indoor EST (Engagement Skill Trainer). OPFOR (Opposing Force) from military and civilian role-players can add more realism.
How about another one complex for Sri Lanka military, a simunitions ready, and SESAMS- Special Effects Small Arms Marking System and flash-bang capable MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) or FIBUA (Fighting in Built up Areas)site with individual rooms configurable for multiple training scenarios in the buildings in Oddusudan named LT Col Lalith Jayasinghe Jungle Training Camp, in one of the LTTE camps to constantly remind the military personnel the sacrifices made by him to liberate Wanni to unite Sri Lanka, and as a constant reminder not to let the guard down!
I believe you can have an ideal site around the Iranamadu Tank so that Navy can play a role with RFDs and speedboat training, and SLAF can develop the airstrip close by for PPL(Private Pilot License) training and rappelling etc. Your imagination is the limit.
What to Do or What Can GOSL Do with the Big Military?
a. Sri Lanka Army: A distraught army in a dilemma-a politicized and divided army, more than ever, by an army commander who might be punch-drunk (or suffering from Dementia pugilistica-It is also called, chronic traumatic brain injury associated with boxing (CTBI-B), due to the tau protein buildup then we must feel sorry for him), an ex-army commander who could not control his mouth, be tactful and wanted to realize self-actualization overnight and a Defense Secretary who is profit seeking and politically powerful. They all have shamelessly been politicking in uniform or in office. They all are equally culpable for the sorry state of affairs in the army and the dilemma faced by its rank and file. I do not want to talk about the officer corps as it is so sordid, beyond description. I do not want describe the politicians’ hand or the contribution in this respect as there are involved in an officer’s life ever since one is selected as an officer cadet. An officer candidate has to get letters of ‘endorsement’ from the MP in power from the electorate and his henchmen.
The options or Courses of Action (CoAs) available are as follows:
1. To continue to slide down on the slippery slope and end up in the dustbin of history as a good-for-nothing, undisciplined, unprofessional, political militia rather than well recognized, respected and endearing professional army every Sri Lankan could admire and be proud of.
2. Regain the lost prestige and professionalism and assert it as the best army on the planet earth, pound for pound, technology aside. It has the total package, I think, to be an expeditionary army well sought after-except the proper military leadership required – No Apparatchiks need to apply! Only leaders who technically and tactically proficient, fair and firm in peace and inexorable in war.
The way to realize the 2nd Course of action is so easy given the literacy rate, educational levels, technical and tactical proficiency of the current army and or full life time exposure to terrorism and an insurgency as a soldier.
Sri Lanka Army is the only army in the world to have its commandoes and Special Forces who have nothing but the battle experience, not only against terrorists but insurgents as well, from Private to Major General(Prassanna-SF) (Mahesh-SF till recently) (Raj-Colonel-SF-a few years back) (Priyantha-Col-CDO), ever since they joined the military. There is no army on earth with such a coveted wealth of experience, and the quality of that experience was manifest when the LTTE was defeated in less than three years and is crystal clear when one sees, day in day out, the superpowers are struggling to effectively deal with terrorism ever since 9/11.
By using the above credentials Sri Lanka army can make it an expeditionary force that United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and African Union (AU) or some other country (Maldives?) will call upon Sri Lanka to help out with in a disaster stricken or war ravaged country. That way Sri Lanka can get international recognitions; win friends to get help, when needed, at UN; some change, experience and exposure for personnel; FOREX for Sri Lanka and a lot of extra money for personnel and their families to name a few benefits.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs must deploy the best and smart diplomats to skillfully negotiate, work out modalities, and secure a real good compensation package for SLA rather than kowtowing to demands or pressures that emanate from whatever quarters then sell a contingent of valiant and experienced but poor army personnel for a song!
To be an expeditionary army, SLA has to do following:
1. Improve the command of English or the English knowledge of officers and especially rank and file.
2. Make them computer literate. No more in the world literacy rate, 3Rs, is measured or gauged with ability to read, write and do arithmetic. It is 3R&C now-Read, Write, Arithmetic and Computer Literacy!
3. Instill in them the good reading habits-for self-improvement, Situational Awareness and Situational Understanding. As I have said elsewhere; Knowledge is power!
4. Instill discipline in officers and soldiers and keep them away from politics.
5. Use diplomats who have served in ‘target’ countries to give Cross Culture Communication training to troops in a contingent before its possible deployment.
6. At least to simulate hot and cold environment in the other parts of the world train the army in Anuradpura during the hottest months and in Nuwara-eliya during the coldest.
7. Train! Train! Train! Realistic training with possible scenarios in ‘joint’ environment-with Navy, Air Force, Police and other government agencies like Disaster Management and Health Ministry personnel. Have MOD updated “Operation Cloud Burst”, “Operation Shock” Operations orders for contemporary Sri Lanka. Does MOD have updated operation orders for all the essential services of Sri Lanka and have MOD conducted simulated training? If not, why, wait till the horse has bolted to close the stable? Have written and Sweat more in peace to bleed less in war!
8. “We Will Go Anywhere - We Will Anything – Jeyanthan Brigade Sri Lanka Army”
b. Sri Lanka Navy; Hear it from me, Sri Lanka Navy is no different than army in divided loyalties but it is not visible to general public as much, it existed as Silva vs. Fernando camp, Cadet Entry (Mohan J) Vs. Direct Entry (Mohan S), Mohan W Vs. Wasantha, now it is Ananda Vs. Royal camp.
Options or COAs for Sri Lanka Navy is the same as for the army.
1. To sink
2. To sail from sea to the shining sea! From East to West, Sri Lanka Navy is the best!
To be blue water navy, SLN has to consider in addition to what I have described from 1 to 7 under Sri Lanka army. I am not sure GOSL realize the potential of Sri Lanka Navy except continue politicize it by appointing henchmen to top positions and humiliating Army using the Navy HQ as a brig or dungeon for political purposes for Army officers. I am no fan of SF. Why I am concerned is the humiliation and bad blood created in this ugly issue, which has unimaginable repercussions in the cordial relationship among sister services officers in the long run. Why can’t SF be kept in ‘house arrest’ in ‘Hotel Galadari’ and guarded by STF as GOSL then did to the LTTE delegation of mass murders in town in peace garb for peace talks in 80s? The distance from NHQ rather the gate by Kleppenberg House; the official residence of Commander of Navy to Hotel Galadari is mere 60 meters.
During the humanitarian war SLN was in the forefront of medical services provided to the civilians who were sick or injured on the battlefield. I do not think any other navy in the world that has had to handle the volume or the quantity of patients that SLN did manage to handle during the humanitarian operations and final war. Those skills are perishable and the valuable experience gained, maybe, only possible once in a naval rating’s life time, would lose over time.
Did MFA or its diplomats give thoughts to this, or did SLN navy Flag Officers lean forward and come up with a proposal to undertake a turnkey project to wipe out the Somali pirate menace along the sea lines of communication along the Somali coast and HOA (Horn of Africa)? Did SLN intimate their ability, readiness and willingness to tackle and get rid of this problem for good to US AFRICOM (AFRICAN COMMAND) through PACOM (PACIFIC COMMAND)? If it didn’t, may I ask, WHY? Do not tell me those Flag Officers have been smoking and drinking the duty free stuff afloat personnel get on monthly basis and watching ‘Maskada’ (Triple X-XXX-rated movies) on board ships since 18 May 2009, as they used to do in 80s, instead of being pro-active or leaning forward!
SLN should also consider some serious water scooter training as it would come in handy one day.
This is how SLN can operate and win the fight against Somali pirates: Station OPVs (Off-shore Patrol Vessels) SLNS Sayura, SLNS Samudura, SLNS Sagara and SLNS Sayurala as ‘motherships’ ordering to take turns to pull watches and attach a sizable squadron of small boats or arrow boats to the motherships. Initiate a very good Information Operations campaign with short video clips and storyboards of SLN’s sea battles with tigers through international media such as CNN, Reuters, AP and BBC to tell in stern and unequivocal terms that SLN has defeated the most ruthless, fanatical and innovative sea tigers and black sea tigers in sea battles, and ask Somali pirates ‘test’ SLN if they dare.
Tell the world that SLN means business and not democracy or due process on a platter for pirates who threaten lives and commerce at sea. Tell UN boldly using the best and brightest diplomats that SLN’s ROES (Rules of Engagement) are very simple. If a suspected boat does not heed signals from SLN to stop immediately, then SLN will open fire on a suspected boat to sink it with occupants, sending a strong signal that the due process for the culprits can be expected only at the Davy Jones’ Locker. If UN wants to vacillate and dither in their policies in this regard, if UN wants SLN to pussy foot with the pirate and pacify international community, then request UN another nation to pull the mission. Then I will guarantee Somali pirates will terrorize the shipping along Somali coast till the end of this world!
The most important benefit or outcome of this will be, other than stature and standing in the world that Sri Lanka can request or will get or be able to get helicopters, night vision goggles, sniper rifles, boats and whatnot from other nations free of charge. How many of you know this; US has given equipment with military use to Iran, an alleged member of the axis of evil, or Iranian border guards help them do duty efficiently in arresting drug flow or the drug runners along Afghanistan border, or to Pakistani Army and Frontier Corps in their fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban? By the way Kingdom Saudi Arabia needs to safe guard their supertankers. They will you grant money to Sri Lanka to do a good job instead of paying hefty ransoms to the Somali pirates.
My experience with other countries is that if you take initiative, are dedicated or do a selfless and wonderful job, they admire you, they support you and they compensate you. I have seen living examples!
c. Sri Lanka Air Force-The division in the SLAF is based on General Duties branch and rest of other branches. Reason for this is SLAF pilots belong to GD branch and only a pilot can become an Air Force commander though the SLAF act says a fit and proper person can be appointed the Commander of Air Force.
Since 80s I have known a lot of SLAF pilots. I have flown with them in the cockpit on observer missions. Sadly, the most of them I have known are no more, the list so long, and only a few remain. Now in my new life I happen to read the biographies of retiring pilots of an air force in another country. They retire after 20, 30 or 40 of honorable service to their country. The most important factor or the nearest and dearest one, except family, to a pilot is the number of flying hours he has accumulated over the years flying fixed wing or rotary aircraft.
When I was young and my pilot friends were flight lieutenants, into 5 years of their service in the air force, they had almost three thousand flying hours. When I used to tease them; hey, you are a pilot you must be dating a very beautiful and rich HFC (Holy Family convent) chick or Visakian, they replied very friendly “What are you talking about? We are not pilots, machang (buddy)! We are ‘Taxi Drivers’!” It said a lot about their very hectic life then, and I could visualize it during the humanitarian operations and final war. The other thing we must never forget is that this new generation of young pilots’ almost every single flying hour, unless they are VIP pilots, was flown in combat, that means under enemy fire from LMGs, Five Zeros, RPGs, and MANPADS! What the most of the other nations’ pilots did in their whole service lives was troop transport (PAX movement) or ferrying cargo. That was also in PEACE time!
SLAF is also capable of becoming an expeditionary air force, at least providing pilots and personnel. The inventory of air force is not built up to give up transport planes or cargo helicopters to missions overseas as they are needed here. The other issue is as C-130s SLAF has are old and in not good shape for very long hauls or journeys.
Options or COAs for Sri Lanka Air Force basically are no different than for the Army or the Navy.
1. To become an ‘air farce’!
2. An expeditionary air force that has bold pilots, who can match or surpass the bravery and innovative tactics of the Argentinean pilots in the Falklands war!
To be an expeditionary air force, SLAF has to do what I have described from 1 to 7 under Sri Lanka army in addition to the following.
1. Flying training in high altitude, rugged mountainous terrain or hot, dusty deserts terrain with or without night vision goggles.
2. High risk SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape) training.
As SLAF was there in the 2005 Pakistani earth quake disaster relief it could have gone to Haiti if GOSL had worked out a package deal. It is GOSL’s duty to talk to friendly countries and declare its intensions through the best diplomats and get aircraft for Sri Lanka pilots to train on and use them in a future natural or man-made disaster anywhere in the world. I am sure SLAF would be the obvious choice when it comes to flying ‘piece’ any country would make given SLAF’s pilots’ vast combat experience proven beyond doubt. Why does not GOSL or SLAF make hay while the sun shines?
d. Special Task Force: STF is an elite outfit with two unique skill sets in one commando; an advanced infantry man and a peace officer or law enforcement officer in one piece or one body. I fail to understand this; when GOSL send troops on UN missions to places like Haiti why, at least, one Company strength of STF is not included. For one they equally helped to defeat the LTTE and deserve overseas tours for change, experience, exposure and money, secondly but more importantly when Sri Lankan troops have a brush with law, at least STF, with law enforcement experience, can ‘coach’ them on how to give a ‘statement’ thus saving a national disgrace or embarrassment, like reported carnal knowledge by Sri Lankan troops in Haiti, a few years ago.
Majority in Sri Lanka is under the erroneous impression that STF was successful only because LTTE was not that strong in Batticalloa or Ampara. That is total nonsense. If you know the spoils of LTTE Jeyanthan Brigade or have visited Tharavi martyrs cemetery you will get a sense of how strong LTTE was in those two districts. It was the STF’s unique Tactics, Techniques and Procedures that saved the day, men and equipment. Let’s be honest and for mere argument’s sake only, pound for pound, who has lost more men and materials, to include arms and ammo, tanks and trucks, arty pieces and mortar launchers that LTTE managed to decamp with, or camps destroyed, top leaders killed or captured (remember, Krisnamoorthy of EROS, who was shot to death while trying to escape from AHQ, who caught him? STF, just to name a declassified secret) and lethal and non-lethal material captured from LTTE or found in their hideouts. Then you will really appreciate STF’s national security missions in the east.
They were trained mainly by ex SAS (Special Air Service ) and RM (Royal Marines) commandos, these instructors have told STF troops from day one; to be reticent and professional; be good at what you do and silent about it! STF was an elite outfit until recently when it was shamelessly politicized, good and capable fighters transferred out of it and henchmen appointed and used for political purposes, as bodyguards to thug and uneducated politicos; to hunt common criminals any police station should be able to handle.
Let me give you one example: Who remembers the siege of the Kiran army camp? The famous saying associated with it? “This HIRAN will NOT leave KIRAN”-the words of Lt Col Hiran Halangoda, 1GW. This siege was unique as the LTTE for the first time mounted a gas attack or resorted to chemical warfare in the east in order to overrun it. Luckily for the Army troops they had a well dug by STF so that they could use water for survival and decontamination of eyes (with soap and warm water the simplest way of decontaminating). They were able to fight heroically for three weeks until the relief columns arrived. Kiran is situated in a very strategically important junction, the gateway to Thoppigala, Kalkudha and Vallaichchenai in the East. The Kiran camp was first occupied by STF and the bunker system that saved the lives of army troops to fight another day was constructed and developed by then IP Davulugala and his men in Kiran STF camp. The bunker and tunnel system was made in a such a manner, In case of an attack, a commando sleeping in bed could run through the tunnel system to the communication vehicle or the bunker without being exposed to enemy gun or indirect fire. That was the quality of defenses in the Kiran Camp that STF left behind for Hiran!
Word of Caution, Though: When you select units or troops for overseas assignments the only deciding factor should be merit; not because they used to in a ‘Rock House’; not because they were ‘two-legged’ lions adored and raised by a general languishing now in a windowless room; not because they were/are the henchmen or storm troopers for politicians and of a defense secretary; I can make a president’s son a flyer through back door the same way I got my son to fly; my uncle helped a future president in a finding job in Vidodaya University Library so I can get more slots for Navy etc.
It is so easy to decide which unit deserves it or the perks most; Number of LTTE camps captured or destroyed; number of top LTTE leaders killed; number of very important LTTE caches (arty pieces, suicide boats, weapon factories) found etc. So prepare a checklist of just evaluation criteria and abide by it. Do it on pure merit!
What Should Have GOSL Provided to Warfigters: I understand very well that Sri Lanka is not a rich country with limitless FOREX reserve or could afford to buy every military gadget available on the market. At least the following should have been made available to each and every soldier as they have been vital to military to survive, fight and win.
1. Combat Application Tourniquet® (C-A-T®) is a small and lightweight one-handed tourniquet that completely occludes arterial blood flow in an extremity. The C-A-T® uses a Self-Adhering Band and a Friction Adaptor Buckle to fit a wide range of extremities combined with a one-handed windlass system. The windlass uses a free moving internal band to provide true circumferential pressure to an extremity. The windlass is then locked in place; this requires only one hand, with the Windlass Clip™. The C-A-T® also has a Hook-and-Loop Windlass Strap™ for further securing of the windlass during patient transport.
This CAT sells at about $39.99 (approximately 4550 rupees ) in US but I you can make mass produce it in Sri Lanka less than 200 rupees at the most. Most importantly this cheap and simple piece of life saving equipment could have saved thousands of soldiers from death due to excessive bleeding resulted in shock. I am glad that only Lalith and his team had one CAT each on their person every time they left the ‘wire’, thanks to a gift from some overseas friends.
By the way where has GMOA been? Why did not the GMOA alert MOD to this very simple to apply, cheap and effective piece of life saving equipment? Maybe they were fighting with the nurses over on some silly ‘Break Room’ space in a hospital.
2. QuikClot® Combat GauzeTM brand is the latest generation of the product, a medical gauze infused with nanoparticles of kaolin clay. It has been found to be 100 percent effective in careful testing performed at the Naval Medical Research Center. Z-Medica also markets a civilian version, QuikClot® 1st ResponseTM, which is becoming standard equipment with emergency providers nationwide, and QuikClot® Sport™ brand and QuikClot® Sport™ Silver, which are available over the counter and becoming popular with outdoor adventurers.
Severe battlefield injuries present unique problems in stemming blood loss, which is the primary cause of combat deaths. Medics may have less than two minutes to stop blood loss before death is imminent. A QuikClot® formulation with silver ions provides enhanced clotting as well as antimicrobial properties to fight infection.
Again, this kind of gauze, a very simple, cost-effective solution that works, could have staunched the bleeding of combat casualties and the civilian casualties (LTTE human shield) on the battlefield thus saving thousands of lives. May I ask where GMOA was? Do not the members of GMOA read the latest developments in their field to be current? Shame on you medical doctors for not showing up for the valiant troops and the innocent civilians bleeding to death, in their hour of need! Instead of going on strike for a silly thing as a ‘threat’ from an angry man to one of their doctors, spend your time on something worthwhile or of national importance rather than being hypocrites who have taken the Socrates Oath to care for the sick and injured. Again some well wishers passed this information on to a few officers but for them being not top brass they were helpless.
3. Breathable Combat Boots: Had Lilith been wearing one on that fateful mission he would be still living with us today and will have been able to take out ‘Rudrakumaran’ if he would ever sneak into the island like ‘Nedumaran’.
When we were undergoing military training we wore all leather artillery boots. Those are not breathable boots at all and moreover were required to spit shine them. Imagine a soldier wearing that kind of boots and fight for days in a jungle environment getting bogged down in mud and wading water from time to time. Remember the severe floods troops encountered during the final war. Imagine the foot diseases soldiers would have suffered because a government or military did not take action to mitigate it.
They could have easily provided breathable combat boots to each and every soldier, at least one pair. The money spent on a pair would have paid back multifold by saved man-hours of a warfigter lost or medical costs.
Did you ever wonder most of the time LTTE fighters were in ‘slippers’, did military top brass or intelligence ever wonder why? If you are a soldier wearing boots, even they are breathable boots, you need to change socks daily. Good Platoon Sergeants conducts ‘Foot Inspections’ on their soldiers every day. Once again, Prevention is better than cure and a platoon sergeant needs healthy soldiers to kill as many as terrorists possible.
Army Black Leather Breathable Pro Boots Developed specifically for Law Enforcement, Emergency, Military and Security Personal. The ultimate in comfort, support and durability; contains a unique Cordura 'Du Pont' fabric that is up to 7x more durable than Nylon, Polyester and cotton. Soiling system for superior comfort and durability. The unique dual density technology features: Direct moulded construction for long lasting durability. Shock absorbing polyurethane midsole to combat fatigue Hardwearing Nitrile rubber outsole. Heat resistant up to 330 degrees celcius. Multidirectional anti clog tread pattern for maximum traction.Broad base for stability Resistant to oil, acid and solvents. Completely breathable. Controls foot temperature. Rapid moisture absorption Soft Comfort feel. Superior abrasion resistance. Resists odour and mildew. Rapid drying. The open knit weave allows air to calculate and control the foot temperature and allow rapid drying of the fabric. So basically these boots are awesome and will last for years.
It was same with running shoes. We were given BATA shoes (standard issue) to wear and run. We were wondering then why soldiers were complaining of knee pain or having foot and knee problems. We had never heard of ‘Plantar Fasciitis’, also known as a ‘heel spur’. We just ran in same type of BATA shoes for decades. Now we know the following.
Foot type refers to differences in foot structure and shape, as reflected in pronation (side-to-side tilting of the foot) during heel strike running-Neutral Pronation, Overpronation, Underpronation (supination). I have Neutral Pronation and I run in ‘Cushioned’ or ‘Neutral’ shoes (others being ‘Stability’ and ‘Motion control’ shoes).
4. LED headlamps: This low cost AAA battery operated, about 500 rupees worth, hands-free, small piece of equipment would have helped soldiers so much and made their life so easy. We never go anywhere without it. They could have it used for ‘signaling’ purposes.
THE WISH LIST
1. ROVER: It stands for Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, is a system which allows ground forces, such as Forward Air controllers (FAC), to see what an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform (unmanned aerial vehicle-UAV) or aircraft is seeing in real time by receiving images acquired by the aircraft's sensors on a laptop on the ground. There's little time delay and usage of ROVER greatly improves the Forward Air Controller on the ground reconnaissance and target identification which are essential to Close Air Support (CAS)
Harris Corporation unveiled on 17 June 2009 ISR Video Receiver, the handheld version, known as the RF-7800T, a breakthrough portable product that delivers high-resolution full-motion tactical video to individual warfighters for real-time ISR.
Why 2SF team needs a ROVER? As an example, when LTTE Mannar leader forces Bishop of Mannar at gun point and against the wishes of the Bishop or that of populace of Mannar to relocate the statute of Our Lady of Madhu to the terrorist territory, an 2SF LRRP needs to be sure, absolutely sure that when they trigger the ambush or claymores only the terrorist leader and his bodyguards escorting or chasing the Bishop of Mannar behind, in a pick or Pajero, would be RIP! That way GOSL could save the Our Lady of Madhu from falling into terrorists hands; avoid inadvertently killing the clergy; and most importantly to avoid an outcry from the international community and providing a sensational headline for the international media for exploiting it for maximum possible profit-‘A Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit Kills the Innocent ‘Christian’ Bishop of Mannar, and the Our Lady of Madhu Destroyed.’ You can imagine the outrage all over the world from the Philippines to US, from Pope to Pat Robertson!
2. MH-6 Little Bird Helicopter, and its attack variant, the AH-6, are single-engine light helicopters used for special operations aviation in the US Army. They are manufactured by MD Helicopters, which is an aerospace company, headquartered in Mesa, AZ, USA, that produces helicopters primarily for commercial use.
If you do a search on YouTube for a MH-6 in action video clip you would see what an effective role it can play, especially in killing terrorist leaders or in snatch-and-grab operations. That is why 2SF needs them. Had 2SF had them available or at their disposal the surviving leaders, I do not name them but 2SF know who they are and are looking for them with diligence and sense of urgency, would have been spilling the beans and singing, giving GOSL an intelligence treasure trough. Then the Security Forces could have uprooted the entire network lock, stock and barrel forever.
Sri Lanka may not be able to buy AH-6 as it has been modified for ‘Dark Side’ US Special Operations Forces and has communication packages, counter measures and weapon systems that are classified. But GOSL will be able to buy a commercial version and use local talent to modify it. After all, if Sri Lanka were able to produce ‘Arrow Boats’ locally why then Sri Lankan engineers local or overseas cannot ‘make it happen or reality’? They owe it to Sri Lanka at least for the life time free education and medicine they have received.
3. UAVs or ISR platforms: When it comes to UAVs and ISR platforms you cannot have enough of them. They do wonders. Believe it or not If not for them, AMZ (AQI) would still be living! They are the prime reason for the coalition forces successes in Iraq and AFPAK (Afghanistan+Pakistan). If not for them and their versatility on the battlefield the coalition forces would have wrapped up and gone home, a long time ago.
In this case too Sri Lankan techies can easily design and manufacture if given thought to and dedicated time and service. It is the duty of Sri Lankan academics, scientists and engineers to provided the best and latest to warfighter so that he can give peace and stability for you and your family to sleep good in the night. You owe it to the poor soldier who has sacrificed a lot or might pay the ultimate price!
4. Trijicon’s™ Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight™ (ACOG®), self-luminous aiming systems have been battle-tested by coalition military-rightfully earning the reputation as having the most sophisticated and dependable optics on the planet.
Whether you’re doing a night sweep through enemy territory, or defending an established position against multiple moving targets, you’ll want to equip yourself with the brand that’s now standard issue with many government agencies and military outfits the world over.
Through decades of tireless innovation and dedication, Trjicon’s ACOGs have earned accolades from soldiers and officers by combining long range accuracy with instantaneous shot placement.
Though expensive at least some Special Forces and commando teams need to be provided with these ACOGs.
I know my article was long but hope you learned something you did not know; at least you know now the heroes made by the media with vested interests are not the real heroes; you know now a politician or a general alone did not win the war against the LTTE terrorists.
I leave the words of ousted US General David McKiernan in Afghanistan with you to ponder:
“The war will not be won by any one leader or one country but a collective of leaders with the support of other nations and there is no silver bullet for victory. At end of the day what counts most are one’s reputation and the ability to look in the mirror and know you made decisions based on mission and taking care of troops and their families. If those are two valid criteria for self assessment then I'm OK.”
“Determined, Dared, and Done”-SLA Special Forces Motto