Concentration Camps ARE Popular

This also makes it hard to argue there is not deep rooted racist animus against Tamils amongst the population that is being stirred by demagogues under the guise of the War on Terror,

(Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition won the latest in a string of provincial elections this weekend, a strong result which analysts said is likely to spur its leader to call early national and presidential polls. With a popularity boost from his defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels after a 25-year war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s coalition won 38 seats in the 55-member council of his native Southern Province in Saturday’s election.

The United Peoples Freedom Alliance won 68 percent of the vote, less than the 70-80 percent it had forecast in the province where Rajapaksa has started massive development projects including work on the country’s largest port. The margin was still strong enough that Rajapaksa is now likely to call early national elections, analysts and supporters said.

While those in the camps are massively at risk-

Pointing out that “[d]eteriorating conditions, including a shortage of water since October 5, 2009, combined with the prospect of flooding during the imminent monsoon season, have led to rising tensions among camp residents and clashes with the military,” New York based rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch (HRW), called on international donors Japan, the United States and European Union member states “to send a clear message to the Government of Sri Lanka that continued detention of the displaced will have serious consequences for Sri Lanka’s relationship with the international community.”

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Killing Fields of Sri Lanka

Channel Four report-

Link to unedited clip in 3GP format -Warning, shows the execution of naked bound prisoners by military personnel-

A video clip received from Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) evidences the way extra-judicial killings are executed in the island. The video captured in January show the behaviour of Sri Lanka’s soldiers during the war that is claimed ‘humanitarian operation’ to rescue the Tamils, JDS reported Tuesday. The conversations of the killers are in Sinhala. “From the casual nature of the conversations and from the fact that it is taking place in an open area in broad daylight – it can be surmised that these are not ordinary acts by rogue elements carried out without the permission from the top leadership. The soldiers egging each other on, the insulting jokes and the laughter show that there is a consensus that these cold blooded killings should take place,” JDS further reported.

Meanwhile in the concentration camps Tamils fear the ‘Dolphin Vans’-

Displaced Tamil people are being daily abducted from camps in Vavuniya by people who come in vans, a displaced person told the BBC. Speaking with BBC Sandeshaya from a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Vavuniya, the IDP said all the displaced try to hide in their tents as the ‘Dolphin vans’ arrive in the camps. “We do not know what exactly happens as everybody hides as soon as they see the vans. But I know that two to three people are disappearing daily,” he said.

Some IDPs may also be secretly leaving the camps by paying the authorities, he said. “Some people have suddenly disappeared. I don’t know whether they were abducted or left with the help of the authorities.”

Boycott Sri Lanka

Cancel That Holiday To Sri Lanka Unless You Like Fascism

Burma style…The Sri Lankan government are unapologetic in their mass slaughter, consider health care a criminal act and are holding half a million Tamils in camps who they are screening for among other things, thought crimes. They are also enforcing tortuous visa conditions to hamper aid to Tamils.

A group of doctors who worked in Sri Lanka’s rebel-held war zone are being held on suspicion of collaborating with Tamil rebels, the government says. The doctors could be in detention for a year or more before being tried. With journalists banned from the conflict zone, they became an important source of news about the fighting during the final bloody months of war.

During the final phase of the war, the group of doctors treated wounded and ill patients admitted to the makeshift health posts in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE)-held zone encircled by government forces. Two of them had been senior local health directors and the United States said they had “helped save many lives” while the UN called them “heroic”.

But the Sri Lankan government was infuriated by the doctors’ media interviews from the zone, in which they said some of the shelling there came from the government side and had killed civilians. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the BBC they are being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department on “reasonable suspicion of collaboration with the LTTE”.

“I don’t know what the investigations would reveal but maybe they were even part of that whole conspiracy to put forward this notion that government forces were shelling and targeting hospitals and indiscriminately targeting civilians as a result of the shelling,” he said.

The government says not a single civilian died as a result of its final offensive, despite international allegations to the contrary.

Separately, Sri Lanka’s foreign secretary, Palitha Kohona, has been speaking of the government-run camps where more than 250,000 Tamils from the war zone are detained.

He said everyone there had to be carefully screened, adding that it was “quite likely” that even many elderly people were “with the LTTE, at least mentally”.

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News Of The Massacre

This gets nastier, the LTTE leadership were surrendering when they were shot down, journalist Marie Colvin was involved in the negotiations along with a Tamil MP who has fled Sri Lanka in fear for his life-

A Tamil who was in a group that escaped the killing zone later told an aid worker that Nadesan and Puleedevan walked towards Sri Lankan army lines with a white flag in a group of about a dozen men and women. He said the army fired machineguns at them.

 Nadesan’s wife, a Sinhalese, yelled in Sinhala: “He is trying to surrender and you are shooting him.” She was also shot down.

 The source said all in the group were killed. He is now in hiding. Chandra Nehru has fled the country after being threatened, the MP says, by the President and his brother.

The role the UN is playing looks to be very questionable, firstly-

Over the past few days, [Vijay] Nambiar’s role as UN envoy has come into question. His brother, Satish, has been a paid consultant to the Sri Lankan army since 2002. Satish once wrote that General Sarath Fonseka, commander of the Sri Lankan armed forces, “displayed the qualities of a great military leader”.

Then this-

French newspaper Le Monde published on Friday an article accusing the United Nations (UN) of deliberately hiding facts about civilian killings during the last months of the civil war in Sri Lanka in order to protect their own activities in the country.

According to investigative journalism by Le Monde, The UN did not publish the number of civilians killed until it was finally leaked. According to a UN confidential report, 7,720 people were killed (among them 678 children) and 18,465 were injured (among them 2,384 children) between January 20 and May 13. A UN official declared to Le Monde that his hierarchy tried to suppress these figures to remain in good terms with the government. When these numbers were leaked, Neil Buhne, the UN official coordinator in Sri Lanka, asked to be the only recipient of the figures in the future. Even the secretary general Ban Ki-moon tried to hide the numbers, according to Le Monde.

Le Monde also wrote that the United Nations did not help its people on the ground. Text messages sent by local employees in the war zones asked to “stop the war” and “what is the international community doing”. “Hundreds of people trying to flew where caught by local dictators and beaten, without distinction of age and sex. I hear them crying.” said another one. In April, Vijay Nambiar asked the locals to keep a “low profile” and play an active role in supporting the government.

‘welfare village’

(AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday came face-to-face with the despair of Sri Lanka’s war-hit civilians as he toured the main refugee camp and flew over the devastated war zone.

Just days after Colombo declared victory over Tamil Tiger rebels, he toured the sprawling Menik Farm camp, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the capital, which was jammed with 200,000 civilians displaced by the fighting.

“I’m very moved after what I have seen. I’ve seen so many wounded,” the secretary general said after spending 20 minutes walking through the camp, a sea of makeshift corrugated iron shacks and tents.

“There are huge challenges that can only be overcome by strong support from the international community,” said Ban, on a 24-hour visit to Sri Lanka.

He stopped at a government-run clinic where he saw around 100 elderly patients, some with gaping wounds, who had been caught up in the conflict.

The camp, referred to by Sri Lankan authorities as a “welfare village,” was surrounded by barbed wire and under heavy guard.

Tamil activists have likened “welfare villages” to concentration camps, while UN and aid agencies have complained about restrictions on vehicle access to the shelters.

Also this interview with an aid worker @ Indymedia is worth a look. The bottom line is the Sri Lankan government cannot be trusted with the Tamil refugees welfare. A beady eye must be kept on them.

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‘Humanitarian Operation’

Maybe like torture, war will be erased from the corporatist media polluted lexicon, then harsh interrogation and humanitarian operations will populate our complacent newspeak paradise. Until such time those forces turn their attentions towards us, then we might regret looking the other way.

Sri Lanka’s president has declared that the island’s Tamil Tiger fighters have been “defeated,” after the military said it had captured the area of coastline held by the separatists. Speaking to a G11 group of developing nations summit in Jordan on Saturday, Mahinda Rajapakse said he would return home as “a leader of a nation that crushed terrorism”.

“I am proud to announce… that my government with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] militarily,” he said.

There was no immediate comment on the situation from the LTTE and the reports are impossible to independently verify as the government has barred most journalists and aid workers from the conflict zone.

 Jan Jananayagam from a group called Tamils Against Genocide, who has spoken to the LTTE, told Al Jazeera: “Tamil Tigers have called for international intervention. They have said they are willing to cooperate with the UN and America. They do so because the people are suffering in the most enormous way,” she said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has given warning of “an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe” for the hundreds of wounded.

“No humanitarian organisation can help them in the current circumstances. People are left to their own devices,” Pierre Krahenbuhl, the ICRC’s director of operations, said.

It Could Be Worse, We Could Have Made a Loss

UK to Sri Lanka ArmsUK to Pakistan ArmsUK to Afghanistan ArmsUK to Israel Arms

Sri Lankan Govt. Deport Ch4 News After Expose of Tamil Camp Abuses

The Sri Lankan government has ordered Channel 4 News’s Asia Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh to leave the country, after taking exception to a report broadcast on Channel 4 News on 5th May Nick Paton Walsh was part of a three-person team that has been reporting from the country for Channel 4 News since April 19th. All three were told they were being deported by the country’s Defence Minister earlier today.

They have been covering the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers who have been forced back into a narrow strip of land on the eastern side of the island. In a report on Tuesday 5th May, featuring the first material shot independently in an internment camp run by the Sri Lankan army, Channel 4 News broadcast interviews with aid workers who claimed there had been ill-treatment of Tamil civilians interned in a camp in the north of the country.

The aid workers said that children were being separated from their parents in the camps and dead bodies were being left out in the open for days, as people fought for food and water. And they also said that women were being sexually humiliated, being forced to bathe publicly and sometimes abducted by soldiers.

Video and more @ Ch4 News

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Tamils Put In ‘government-run camps’

BBC sez-

Sri Lanka says 63,000 Tamil civilians have escaped from the last remaining area of territory held by Tamil Tiger rebels in the past two days. The army said it had made further inroads into the small area in the north, searching for the rebel leader. It said some civilians fled by sea and were met by the navy. They were being transferred to government-run camps. The rebels alleged the army had killed about 1,000 civilians in the latest fighting. There is no confirmation.

Sri Lankan military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the BBC’s Newshour programme that the army had rescued the civilians after breaking down earthen defences, rather than forcing them to flee amid fighting, as suggested by the rebels.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was “extremely worried” about civilians still trapped in the zone. “The situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Ongoing fighting has killed or wounded hundreds of civilians who have only minimal access to medical care,” said director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl.

The rebel TamilNet website said the territory they still controlled was littered with bodies of civilians. Video released by Tiger supporters shows mutilated bodies, but it is not clear when the recording was made.

Tamilnet sez-

Several hundreds of civilians are feared killed and injured and total chaos prevails among civilians as Sri Lanka Army (SLA) advanced into the so-called ‘safety zone’ in Pokka’nai Monday morning 11:00 a.m., according to latest reports from Vanni. Heavy fighting was reported along the bunds of the lagoon and patients in the Puthumaaththa’lan makeshift hospital were forced to run away as Rocket Propelled Grenades launched by the SLA hit the hospital. A few medical staff remaining in the hospital are hiding in bunkers. People were seen running in panic as dead and injured were seen lying scattered everywhere, eyewitnesses told TamilNet.

And the ICG make noises-

“Barack Obama’s administration has said it is committed to the principals of international law and humanitarian protection. Sri Lanka is the perfect opportunity for the new U.S. president to show that this is not empty rhetoric,” says an article by Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group. “Urgent, determined, and united international action is necessary to ensure the safety of the innocent — by the United Nations Security Council, other multilateral organizations, and individual countries that have relations with Sri Lanka, including India and Japan. Only international supervision, unhindered by the government, can provide the necessary level of protection,” writes the author, reflecting the changing and opportunistic perspectives of the IC, but elusive on the crux of the crisis – the Tamil national aspirations.

The International Crisis Group (ICG), which was highly critical of the Eezham Tamil liberation struggle sometimes back, theoretically contributed to Bush’s war on terror and the weakening of the Tamil defences leading to their genocide today, seems to have changed its perspectives, said a political analyst in Colombo.

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The Silence Surrounding Sri Lanka by Arundhati Roy

The horror that is unfolding in Sri Lanka becomes possible because of the silence that surrounds it. There is almost no reporting in the international press – or in the mainstream media in India, where I live – about what is happening. From the little information that is filtering through, it looks as though the Sri Lankan government is using the propaganda of “the war on terror” as a fig leaf to dismantle any semblance of democracy in the country and commit unspeakable crimes against the Tamil people.

The government is working on the principle that every Tamil is a terrorist unless he or she can prove otherwise, and civilian areas, hospitals, and shelters are being bombed and turned into a war zone. Reliable estimates put the number of civilians trapped at over 200,000. The Sri Lankan army is advancing, armed with tanks and aircraft.

Meanwhile, there are reports that several “welfare villages” have been established to house displaced Tamils in the Vavuniya and Mannar districts. The Daily Telegraph in London reports that these villages “will be compulsory holding centers for all civilians fleeing the fighting.” Is this a euphemism for concentration camps?

Mangala Samaraweera, a former foreign minister of Sri Lanka, told The Daily Telegraph: “A few months ago the government started registering all Tamils in Colombo on the grounds that they could be a security threat, but this could be exploited for other purposes like the Nazis in the 1930s. They’re basically going to label the whole civilian Tamil population as potential terrorists.”

Given the government’s stated objective of “wiping out” the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan, this malevolent collapse of civilians and “terrorists” does seem to signal that the government is on the verge of committing what could end up being genocide. According to a United Nations estimate, several thousand people have already been killed. Thousands more are critically wounded.

What we are witnessing – or, rather, what is happening in Sri Lanka and is being so effectively hidden from public scrutiny – is a brazen, openly racist war. The impunity with which the Sri Lankan government is able to commit these crimes unveils the deeply ingrained racist prejudice that is precisely what led to the marginalization and alienation of the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the first place. That racism has a long history, involving social ostracization, economic blockades, pogroms, and torture. The brutal nature of the decades-long civil war, which started as a peaceful, nonviolent protest, has its roots here.

Why the silence? In another interview, Mangala Samaraweera said, “A free media is virtually nonexistent in Sri Lanka today.” He described death squads and “white van abductions,” which have made society “freeze with fear.” Voices of dissent have been abducted and assassinated. The International Federation of Journalists accuses the government of Sri Lanka of using a combination of anti-terrorism laws, disappearances, and assassinations to silence journalists.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Indian government is lending material and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government. If this is true, it is outrageous. What about the governments of other countries? Pakistan? China? What are they doing to help or harm the situation?

In Tamil Nadu, India, the war in Sri Lanka has fueled passions that have led to more than 10 people immolating themselves. The public anger and anguish – much of it genuine, but some of it obviously cynical political manipulation – has become an election issue.

It is extraordinary that this concern has not traveled to the rest of India. Why is there silence?

Given the scale of what is happening in Sri Lanka, the silence is inexcusable. More so because of the Indian government’s long history of irresponsible dabbling in the conflict, first taking one side and then the other. Several of us who should have spoken out much earlier, have not done so, simply because of a lack of information about the war.

So while the killing continues, while tens of thousands of people are being barricaded into concentration camps, while more than 200,000 face starvation, and a genocide waits to happen, there is dead silence from this great country. It’s a colossal humanitarian tragedy. The world must step in. Now. Before it’s too late.

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