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Apr-27-2012 02:11printcomments

Big Trouble for Sri Lanka: UN Has Cluster Bomb Evidence from Northern Province

Discovery is further proof of war crimes committed against Tamil civilians in 2009.

Majinda Rajapakse
Majinda Rajapaksa. Special thanks to sagennext.com

(SALEM) - You have to wonder about the life span of a lie - they all have one after all. Dead men tell no tales, but living witnesses, photo and video evidence, and actual battlefield remnants of war crimes... have plenty to say. Those elements when combined, can lead to the sound of prison bars slamming shut.

A government's use of inhumane weapons on civilian populations is a dishonorable and illegal act; investigations armed with the evidence now mounting against Sri Lanka, generally expose government scoundrels who have no business leading anyone, and their lies make the process of ushering in the truth an even uglier task. Defiance over war crimes is nothing new, but Sri Lanka's has been nearly unprecedented, by anything in modern history.

Colombo's Rajapakse regime went way too far, they have refused to be accountable for what took place: the slaughter of what may have been well over 100,000 Tamils. Now, United Nations inspectors have pinned the tail on the donkey, one might say, locating evidence of cluster bomb use, something Sri Lanka has repeatedly, vehemently denied, even though it was reported at the time, as further indicated below.

Of course SL denies the use of illegal weapons, and they deny killing civilians, they denied routing those civilians into smaller and smaller areas in order to pound them with all types of munitions; they basically deny everything. Then of course is the fact that after the bombing ended, government forces entered the remaining refugee areas and slaughtered civilians ruthlessly with guns, machetes, and other weapons.

Photo and Video Evidence

One photo shows a woman with a rocket that literally pierced her lower half, but failed to explode. These are heinous images that the government of SL did everything to prevent being seen, but they had no such power. Even well-planned lies leak visions of truth very early.

In fact it is all very perverse, as shown by the fact that the soldiers recorded themselves on video, gloating over the silenced victims of sexual abuse, as their thrashed bodies; young, stripped of clothing and dignity; raped, dead and dying, are thrown carelessly into the back of a truck. These men of the Sri Lanka army regarded the women as Tamil 'terrorists', implying this gave them a license to get away with rape and murder.

Indeed, it is their own doing, as the outing of that crucial evidence shown by Channel-4 in their pair of documentaries, the series 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields', seemed to be among the elements that tipped the scales and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sri Lanka was itself guilty of terrible crimes against humanity.

The lies that have accompanied their story from day one, make the emergence of the truth a labor-intensive birth; it hurts more and is far more dangerous to the real health of this country than the Sinhalese Buddhist majority had possibly anticipated, as they conducted their bloodbath of Tamil people; civilians, just children in cases, so much grief, so many tears, and all of Sri Lanka's officials denied every part of it, and accused human rights groups and one particular London television station, of being blatant liars, as they have stated about all parties who refuse to be silent about this.

Cluster Bomb Evidence

The AP and many other sources, have reported that unexploded cluster munitions were located in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka. This appears to confirm, for the first time, that these illegal weapons were in fact used in Sri Lanka's long running civil war.

The news agency speculates that this new finding will increase existing calls for a thorough, international investigation into possible war crimes connected to the last months of the fighting that ended in May 2009. It has been widely reported, that the government of Sri Lanka has exclusively denied all allegations of having used cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

The Associated Press wrote:

Cluster munitions are packed with small "bomblets" that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.

They are banned under an international treaty adopted by more than 60 nations that took effect in August 2010, after the Sri Lankan war. The nations that haven't adopted the treaty include Sri Lanka, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the U.S., which says the bombs are a valid weapon of war when used properly.

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.

The email was written by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program's mine action group in Sri Lanka.

"After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka," the email said.

During the final weeks of the war, tens of thousands of civilians and Tamil Tiger rebel fighters were trapped in a tiny section of Puthukudiyiruppu as attacking government forces closed in on them.

Lakshman Hulugalla, a Sri Lankan government spokesman on security matters, said the military had not used cluster munitions in the war.

"We are denying that information," he said.

The U.N. did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment.

Badly Designed Illegal Immoral Weapon

Cluster bombs are also prone to failure as containers tend to open at the wrong height, or the bomblets don't fuse properly, or their descent is broken by trees, or they land on soft ground - they may not detonate. This is a dire problem for people who live in these areas, as a slight touch can set them off, which happened in Puthukudiyiruppu.

i tvs reports in the article Bombies, that cluster bombs disperse widely and are difficult to target precisely, they are especially dangerous when used near civilian areas:

With a high dud rate estimated to be 10 to 30 percent, unexploded cluster bombs lay on the ground becoming, in effect, super landmines, and can explode at the slightest touch. They have proven to be a serious, long-lasting threat, especially to civilians, but also to soldiers, peacekeepers and bomb clearance experts. Children, who are sometimes attracted to the bomblets' bright colors and interesting shapes, represent a high percentage of victims.

Cluster bomblets become less stable - and more dangerous - as time passes. In Laos, nearly every day people are still being killed from bombs dropped 30 years ago. With an estimated 10 million (or more) unexploded cluster bombs, it could be many decades - or even centuries - until the killing is over.

Cluster Bomb Terror in Puthukudiyiruppu

(This is what was reported at the time)

Sri Lanka forces after declaring "Security zone" had attacked Puthumaathalavan where people were sheltered in multitude, continuous attacks were initiated in the said area, in the intention of murdering the innocent civilians.

On Saturday another incident at Puthumathalan area, while people were moving , the Sri Lankan forces were on target attacks towards them with artillery and double barrel missiles. On this attack 12 boys including 78 Tamils were killed and 132 persons were injured.

Attack towards "Peoples Security zone" at Puthumathalan was on Sunday by the Sri Lanka forces by artillery missiles, double barrels which lead 6 Tamil persons brutally murdered and 17 persons injured. In the same area in the afternoon at 3.00 p.m, Sri Lanka forces were in similar attacks towards the same vicinity, which destroyed 12 Tamils and 38 persons injured.
Death persons are:
Y.Jegadeepan aged 16
Selvaraja Selvakumar aged 32
C.Thiruchelvam aged 33
S.Kugajini aged 35
P.Rasamma aged 55
S.Yoganantharasa aged 47
V.Nishanthan aged 26
C.Kaminidevi aged 63
C.Nagawathani were idenitified.

0ther than this, two males and a female body were not identified.

- 17 Feb 2009 report from NowPublic Sri Lanka air raids and artillery attacks were towards "peoples"

Cluster Bomb Attack at Puthukudiyiruppu was Documented

The news of this discovery is a direct connection to a story published by IBN Live during the peak of the war, about a cluster bomb attack on a civilian hospital, no less, in Puthukudiyiruppu, on 4 February 2009:

Cluster bombs have been used in the war in Sri lanka for the first time since the collapse of a Norway-brokered ceasefire in 2007.

The bombs were used near a civil hospital in Puthukudiyiruppu. It is not clear if they were used by the Lankan military or the tigers.

The death toll in the two days of shelling on Sunday and Monday at that hospital has risen to 12, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The organisation's spokesperson, Sarasi Wijeratne couldn't say who fired the shells. But Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, the top Government health official in the area, said the attacks appeared to have come from the army.

The UN says it is fearful for the safety of thousands of trapped civilians and its own staff and families.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday that the army was on the verge of crushing the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Puthukudiyiruppu is inside the small wedge of jungle where the military has surrounded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters.


Revelations and Lies

As Channel-4 revealed in their powerful set of documentaries, United Nations crews were in place in a refugee zone when bombs began falling on their heads.

The UN members on the ground taking care of desperate Tamils, called Colombo to report that the bombs were landing in their immediate area. Shortly after that, the SL army redirected their fire into a different part of the refugee camp, proving conclusively that the government itself was directing the deadly fire, not the Tamil Tigers, against their own people.

Puthukudiyiruppu, scene of Sri Lanka's cluster bombing in 2009

New York-based Human Rights Watch, said it would have been disastrous to use such weapons among the hundreds of thousands of civilians crowded into the Sri Lankan war zone.

"If there is evidence that cluster weapons were used, it would show yet again, the government's constant attempts at deception and underscore our demand that there should be an independent international investigation into all allegations of laws-of-war violations," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

Sri Lanka found itself in Geneva recently following a resolution filed by the United States government, the conclusion was an extension of the wrist slapping that has been continuing for years now; however it certainly angered the majority Buddhist population who believe the problems relating to the civil war should be dealt with internally, in fact the repeated statement that it is "not for the world to decide" is similar to sentiments of many past war crime governments.

The war against the Tamils is a long, complicated, mournful story. It has been a perilous engagement for both sides and many needless deaths have prolonged the suffering.

The most important thing, the real reason that everything went so wrong in a place that truly defines the expression, 'island paradise', is not found in any part of Asia; the reason there was a civil war, cultural strife and ethnic cleansing, relates back to the same problem that India, and Afghanistan, and Palestine, and so many other countries suffered: British colonialism.

Root of All Evil

In Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was formerly known, the British viewed the Tamils in a more positive light, and gave advantages to their Hindu and Christian culture, while affording no similar treatment for the Sinhalese. After the British finally left in 1948, the war for religious domination began, and the Tamils, who had like their counterparts lived here for thousands of years, tried for three decades to use a peaceful, non-violent approach to maintain their rights, relying on political solution, never turning violent.

But their rights were eroded, programs were enacted to remove their language and strike their culture from the record. By the 1970's, a resistance group formed in the northern Tamil area called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

There was a continual escalation of tension and fighting, the Tamil Tigers had changes, inner-problems, division and treason. There was also a driving goal to establish the breakaway state of Tamil Eelam. To avoid this secession, the government would eventually become willing to commit Genocide against an entire culture.

In 1983 the victory of Tamil Tigers over government forces in a particular battle that left a handful of Sri Lankan Buddhist soldiers dead, led to rioting and plundering. Murdering hordes of Buddhists storming Tamil communities in revenge, were spurred into action by a militant Buddhist monk who today is a powerful political figure. After that ruthless retaliation against Tamil civilians over a military victory, the LTTE increased their violence against the government, and civilian blood flowed on both sides.

A cease fire agreement was in place when the current President, Majinda Rajapakse, took office in 2005. This internationally brokered treaty was apparently meaningless in his eyes, and those of his administration, of which two of his brothers occupy top posts.

With engineering assistance from then-US President George W Bush, the Sri Lanka government had its internal opponent, the LTTE, declared a terrorist organization and then the Tamils lost their political bargaining power. That is when the government began preparing for its final showdown.

One big part of this was the GoSL's elimination of the journalists in Sri Lanka who were sympathetic to Tamils, and they disappeared; often in the notorious 'white van' incidents that continue today, and were often found, murdered, sometimes tortured, sometimes they never are found.

It is ironic that 'terrorist' only applies to Tamils, when they continue to live as one of the most terrified populations on this planet. The discovery of the cluster bomb evidence just might be the bomb that blows up in Majinda Rajapaksa's face.

Special thanks to Muthamizh Vendhan

Sources:

Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka war: UN

APNewsBreak: UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka

- கிளஸ்டர் குண்டை தாம் கண்டு பிடித்ததாக ஐ.நா பணியாளர் தெரிவிப்பு (படம் இணைப்பு -ttnnews.com

Cluster Bomb image - varudal.com

Cluster Bombs - AP NewsAlert

UN report says unexploded cluster munitions found in Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm war use - washingtonpost.com

APNewsBreak: UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press -google.com

U.N. Finds Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka

'Bombies' - i tvs

Tim King's previous Salem-News.com reports on Sri Lanka:

Apr-12-2012: Carpetbaggers in Sri Lanka: Traitors Terrorize Northern Tamils

Apr-10-2012: Sri Lanka: Genocide and Poor Toilet Training

Mar-23-2012 UN Warns Sri Lanka Against Retaliating Toward Humanitarian Activists

Mar-22-2012: White Flags, White Vans and White Lies? A Closer Look at the Death of Colonel Ramesh

Mar-18-2012: Is Google Earth Hiding Sri Lanka's Ghosts?

Mar-15-2012: Channel-4 Documentary Proves Sri Lanka Committed War Crimes

Mar-11-2012: War Crime Court and its Conflicting Interests

Mar-08-2012: Sex Abuse and Murder in Sri Lanka- New Photos Emerge

Mar-02-2012: A Very Uncivil War - Ghastly Images- Gross Detail and Denial of Sri Lanka's Genocide

Feb-28-2012: Americans Praise Sri Lankan Politicians who Orchestrated Genocide

Feb-28-2012: Tweets from Tamil Eelam

Feb-24-2012: Two of Sri Lanka's Foulest War Crimes

Feb-19-2012: Will Another Documentary on Sri Lanka's Genocide Impact the Geneva Human Rights Session?

Feb-08-2012: The Questionable Effectiveness of Lighting Yourself on Fire

Feb-03-2012: Sri Lanka's Independence Day- a Black Day for Tamil Eelam

Jan-11-2012: While UN Claims Zero Tolerance, No Discipline of Sri Lankan Abusers in Haiti

Dec-28-2011: Why Was a Red Cross Manager on Vacation from Gaza Murdered in Sri Lanka?

Nov-24-2011: Fear, Genocide and Torture in Sri Lanka

Nov-21-2011: London Calling: Time for Sri Lanka's Release of Post-Conflict Report

Nov-11-2011: Ode to a Humble Hero of Sri Lanka: Dr Brian Senewiratne

Oct-15-2011: Genocide 101: World and Media Apathy

Oct-08-2011: Sri Lanka Joins Israel in Naval Attacks on Unarmed Fishermen

Oct-05-2011: War and its Aftermath... a Real Killer for Tourism

Oct-01-2011: Sri Lanka in the Crosshairs of Canadian Parliament

Sep-13-2011: Sri Lanka Recalls Diplomat Accused of War Crimes

Aug-31-2011: 'No Song and Dance' Over Sri Lanka War Crime Admissions

Jul-25-2011: Former Sri Lanka President's Children 'Reacted With Anguish' to Tamil Genocide Program

Jul-22-2011: M.I.A. - A Beautiful Reflection of the Besieged Tamils of Sri Lanka

Jul-17-2011: 44 Prisoners Join Hunger Strike at Vavuniya Prison in Sri Lanka

Jul-14-2011: The Bush Administration's Role in Sri Lanka's Tamil Genocide

Jul-13-2011: Fields Should be for Sports, not Genocide... Sri Lanka

Jun-29-2011: Sri Lanka Continues Genocide, Thumbing Nose at UN and World

Jun-20-2011: Sri Lanka's Violence Toward Tamil Minority Continues

Jun-18-2011: 'International Day in Support of Victims of Torture'Remember the Tamil Genocide

Jun-17-2011: European Tourists Waylaid in Sri Lanka, Resurgence of 'White Van' Crime

Jun-15-2011: Tamil Genocide Explored in Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

Jun-02-2011: UN Experts: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide Video is Real

May-31-2011: New Song 'Depression' - Graphic Truth of Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide

May-31-2011: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide: Killing the Messenger

May-03-2011: Confronting the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka

Apr-27-2011: Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka Emerges Into Public View

Apr-22-2011: World Ignores Genocide of Sri Lanka's Tamil Population

______________________________

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Tim King in 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.

Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

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Prakash April 7, 2013 10:46 pm (Pacific time)

What is the different beweten Tamil Nadu Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils? British people brought Tamils from Tamil Nadu for maniac jobs (to clean streets , to collect bucket toilets, to clean toilets, coolies for tea and rubber plantations) Sri Lanka 80% Sinhalese 3.9% Sri Lankan Tamils 4.8% Indian Tamils and 6.8% Muslims. 90% tamils living in Tamil Nadu belongs to Tamils and 80% sinhalese living in Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese. Out of 225 MPS 201 MPS are Sinhalese. It's same like Israel, because Israel belongs to Jews, middle east belongs to Arabs and Fiji Islands belongs to Fijians.


Ranjan April 30, 2012 2:23 am (Pacific time)

Who drop those cluster bombs on helpless civilian’s heads ? Sri Lanka Army denies using the banned cluster bombs . If the LTTE used custard buns….oops I meant to say cluster bombs, pray tell us how they dropped them on the armed forces or civilians? Did they use space ships? Did the LTTE have MIGs and Kaffirs? Every time that evidence like this is unearthed, the Rajapaksa government and its sycophants get egg on their faces. After four years of hearings at the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in the Hague, the former warlord Charles Taylor was convicted on 11 charges including murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations. Let’s hope that the historic judgment against Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, now facing a lengthy term in a British prison, will set a precedent that heads of state, dictators and wannabe dictators can no longer consider themselves immune to international justice. Land mark rulings against monsters like this give oppressed people all around the world some hope. http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/former-liberian-president-found-guilty-of-abetting-sierra-leone-war-crimes/


Nathan April 29, 2012 9:16 pm (Pacific time)

Rajapaksa's "gift" to Tamils-cluster bombs. Ah! They have found some cluster bombs in Paradise and no one is responsible. No surprises here. Naturally the Sri Lanka Army will blame the rebel Tigers. The consequences of Sri Lanka’s war live on and on untended while its children are maimed and destroyed. Young limbs, young minds, what amounts to the future itself, destroyed in a moment by those with power in their hands. While the world continues to sunbathe on the island’s sunlit beaches. Years ago, as a child living in London, listening to the arguments going on around me, I used to hate the fact that I was Sri Lankan. I understood perfectly, even then, exactly what was happening in that dreadful country. Wasn’t it simple? Some Tamils, discriminated against for years, wrongly, resorted to violence in order to get their voices heard. Thereby playing into the hands of majority rule. For in those days the majority of Sinhalese hated the Tamils people without quite knowing why. The words to describe this, as every child of ten knew, were, Prejudice and Discrimination. From then onwards this Discrimination and Violence stalked the streets as government after government began to push the Tamils back from the capital up towards the north of this beautiful island. majority rule had the upper hand. Or to put it another way, the right to kill as many Tamils as possible in the name of anti-terrorism. It mattered not that many of these Tamils were innocent civilians. Who cared about the details. All is fair in love and war. Isn’t it? So that, as the lorryloads of white paint arrived at the capital to wash down its bloodstained, bullet marked walls, the phrase on the lips of everyone was: ‘But the Tigers are terrorists, don’t you know…’ Yes, and the people who govern the country are murderers. And murder, as the world knows, will out. Eventually. So that in spite of The Great Whitewashing Programme other images are seeping and oozing out of the cesspit. Images that will not go away. Of the dead, The maimed, The innocent, The disappeared. Children whose faces stare out from eternity pleading for recognition. The truth remains that every single time a tourist visits the world’s ‘Number One Holiday Destination’, every time the uninitiated say that things are fine in Sri Lanka, the abuse, rape, murder and torture in that place is being endorsed. Two children were killed last month. What were they doing? Trying to collect scrap metal to sell. Unaware they were touching an explosive device. Thus has innocence always been destroyed by grown men. We in the West must remember that the real cost to life cannot be counted immediately after a war ends, but several generations later. Sri Lanka and its people, one hopes, will one day understand this, too.

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©2018 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.



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