Oops! Was he supposed to say that?

[Things slip–sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose, sometimes as a trial balloon (“Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.”)  But when these relations are more deeply exposed, it’s a good time to watch whether the embrace continues, unbroken, and who tries to cover their face.  Here, the statement of the Pentagon commander is reported; the following stories report the denials by India and Nepal. — Frontlines ed.]

Pentagon commander says US special forces in India

02 March 12, 2012

US and Indian air force paratrooper at the India-US joint air exercise in Agra on 19 October 2009

US special forces are present in five South Asian countries, including India, a top Pentagon commander has revealed.

US Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard said the teams were deployed to help India with their counter-terrorism co-operation.

The US and India were working together to contain Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he said.

The US embassy in Delhi clarified that the troops were not stationed in India.

A spokesman told the BBC that there were “no special forces stationed in India”, as media reports had suggested.

The embassy and India’s ministry of defence said a unit from the US 25th infantry division was in India to hold an exercise with Indian forces.

‘Working closely’

Adm Willard said US teams were also present in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“We have currently special forces assist teams – Pacific assist teams is the term – laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, as well as India,” Adm Willard told a Congressional hearing.

“We are working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government, not necessarily department of defence but other agencies assisting them in terms of their internal counter-terror and counterinsurgency challenges.” Continue reading

India: Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) on Tamil Eelam after Two Years of the Eelam War IV

Two years after the military assault by Sri Lanka troops, Tamil people continue to be held in massive internment camps.

Two Years after the Eelam War: The Flames of Liberation Continue to Expose the Oppressors and their Apologists!

18 May 2011
Two years back, on 18 May 2009 the Sri Lankan army claimed to have killed Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of LTTE, along with hundreds of his comrades. The next day in the Sri Lankan parliament a jubilant Rajapakse declared victory in the Eelam War IV. This was the day, two years back, when the Eelam Tamils lost their hard-fought freedom at the hands of the fascist and expansionist Sri Lanka. This week the Tamils in Eelam and outside remember the heroic sacrifice of the sons and daughters of Eelam who laid down their lives fighting the armed forces of the chauvinist Sri Lankan ruling classes. Braving threats, intimidation and harassment from the Sri Lankan armed forces and intelligence, the people of Eelam paid homage to those who have fallen in the decades-long struggle for national liberation. They reiterated that it is the people of Tamil Eelam alone who have the mandate to chose their destiny, denouncing and warning against any ‘negotiated settlement’ of the issue which compromises with the historical realities. The people have stated that any secret deal or confidential talk with the Sri Lankan state by those who claim to represent the Eelam Tamils will not be acceptable. The ‘solution’ only lies in the recognition of the historical reality of Tamil Eelam, i.e., its right to exist as a free and independent national state.
The injustice, oppression and discrimination of the Eelam Tamils by the Sinhala chauvinist ruling classes of Sri Lanka has a long history that goes back many centuries. Continue reading

Sri Lanka: When Tamil Tigers surrendered, they were killed

‘Walk to the troops’: SMS sent Tamils to their death

Ben Doherty
May 14, 2011

Beaten and with nowhere left to run, they received the text message just before 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning.

It came, through an intermediary, from the Sri Lankan foreign secretary, apparent instructions for a surrender: ”Just walk across to the troops, slowly! With a white flag and comply with instructions carefully. The soldiers are nervous about suicide bombers.”

At dawn the next day, a group of nearly 20 – Tamil Tiger soldiers and civilians – scrambled from behind their defensive sand embankment, walking under white flags towards the Sri Lankan army’s 58th Division.

Within half an hour their leaders were found, shot dead. None who surrendered are known to have survived.

The man who sent the text message was Dr Palitha Kohona, a dual Sri Lankan-Australian citizen, a former Australian diplomat and trade negotiator for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is now an ambassador for Sri Lanka, the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Continue reading

Protest against “Literary Festival” in repressive Sri Lanka

Chomsky, Arundhati, lead protest to writers meet in Galle

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 January 2011, 23:37 GMT]
“This is not the right time for prominent international writers like you to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government’s suppression of free speech by attending a conference that does not in any way push for greater freedom of expression inside that country,” said an appeal made by leading intellectuals, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka and Reporters without Borders, against writers participating the ‘Fifth Galle Literary Festival’ scheduled to take place in the southern city Galle in the island of Sri Lanka, 26 – 30 January 2011. Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy were the leading signatories of the appeal. In the great tradition of solidarity that binds writers together everywhere, the appeal urged them to send a clear message by their actions that until there is a real improvement in the climate for free expression in Sri Lanka, one cannot celebrate writing and the arts in Galle. Continue reading

Photos of Sri Lanka government massacre of Tamils

[After international media picked up on this story, Sri Lanka reversed its ban on visas for al-Jazeera.  See the video below.–Frontlines ed.]

Sri Lanka denies visa to Al Jazeera over disturbing images of war

Nov 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka has denied visas to reporters of Qatar-based Al Jazeera news service who wanted to cover the inauguration ceremony of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the broadcast of disturbing images of alleged war crimes.

The Deutsche Press Agency news report citing an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said a decision had been taken not to issue the visas for at least three staffers of Al Jazeera who wanted to cover the swearing-in on November 19 and also to visit the North.

Al Jazeera on last Wednesday published unverified photographs showing a mound of dead bodies piled up in a trailer and an associated video clip describing that the scene appears to be a mop up operation by the Army.  Al Jazeera said it is not possible to verify the authenticity of the images obtained from Tamil contacts who have reportedly received them from some one in the Sri Lankan military.

The Sri Lankan government has vehemently rejected the photographs saying that remnants of the LTTE and pro-LTTE forces are attempting to revive the vanquished terrorist organization by bringing false allegations of human right violations against the troops.  The government said it has proved that the pictures published by pro-LTTE websites were a fabrication.  “The government on previous occasions has denied these pictures. It is improper to suggest that the military was involved in these killings,” the Ministry spokesman has told the Deutsche Press Agency.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Photos of  S Lanka war massacre (Graphic)

Some viewers may find the footage in the report disturbing Continue reading

Eezham Tamils on counterinsurgency, development conquistadors and economic integrators

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=99&artid=32523#

TamilNet, 01 September 2010

 

Tamil people: from the suppression to the camps

Whether in the diaspora or in the island, observers can clearly perceive that there is an orchestrated effort in recent times to simulate a politics for Tamils, keeping them under constrains rather than allowing them freely to spontaneously voice their aspirations.

On one side the US Asst. Secretary of State outlined in June an agenda to encourage new business development in the north and to ensure power-devolvement to new democratic institutions in the north.

This must have certainly inspired a particular shade of political opinion among Eezham Tamils.

On the other side, India is primarily keen on Indo-Lanka economic integration and harps on the failed 13th Amendment as a solution.

The Centre for Indo-Lanka Studies and the Pathfinder Foundation has recently commissioned researches on various facets of integration. Preceding economic integration India is working on academic integration by proposing batch-by batch training in India to university academics of the island and a Chennai-based media empire is working on media integration. Continue reading

Resolutions from SANSAD Meeting in Vancouver, B.C.

SANSAD is an organization of Secular and Democratic South Asian Diaspora in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy held its Annual General Meeting on June 13, 2010 and elected a board with representation from Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, and Nepali communities in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.

The meeting adopted a resolution mourning the passing of Hari Sharma, the founding president of SANSAD, who had been the driving force behind the organization, and committing the members to carrying forward the work of promoting democracy, secularism, human rights, social justice, and peace with the inspiration of Hari’s memory.

The following board was elected: Chinmoy Banerjee (president); Harsha Walia (vice president); Nila Somaia (Secretary); Abi Ghimire (Treasurer); Amal Rana, Chelliah Premrajah, Habiba Zaman, Haider Nizamani, Harjap Grewal, Imran Munir, Zahid Makhdoom (members at large); Abid Pittalwala, Col. Shafaat Ali (honorary members).

Following the AGM a public educational forum on “Globalization and Militarism in South Asia” adopted the following resolutions:

1.      Whereas the adivasis (tribal people) of India have been systematically neglected, oppressed and displaced in independent, modernizing India,

And whereas more recent neo-liberal globalization of the Indian economy has intensified this oppression in the interest of multi-national companies keen to extract the mineral resources under their land Continue reading