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Colombage narrates how US helped destroy LTTE ships

Former Sri Lankan navy chief Admiral Jayanath Colombage has, in his recently published book Asymmetric Warfare At Sea: The Case of Sri Lanka, described how the United States helped the Sri Lankan navy destroy the LTTE’s “floating armories” by supplying vital satellite images of the location of these ship-borne warehouses, the New Indian Express reported.The destruction of the floating armories helped the Sri Lankan navy win Eelam War IV in the sea, which in turn helped the Sri Lankan army win the war on land and the Air Force take on ground targets without fear of being shot down. Based on his doctoral dissertation submitted to General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University here, the book helps debunk the general impression among nationalist Sinhalese that the US was out and out pro-LTTE, and that all that it did during Eelam War IV was to put pressure on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to stop the war so that the Tiger chieftain, Prabhakaran, and his aides could be whisked away to a safe place. The destruction of the “floating warehouses” had helped cripple the LTTE’s arms and ammunition supply network as these on-sea warehouses had come to play a critical role in the group’s survival in the context of the menacing encirclement that was taking place in the war zone on land – an encirclement which was constantly reducing the land area available to the LTTE to store its munitions. “The US side wanted assurance that we will not attack any innocent ship or civilians unless they are 100 % LTTE combatants. Once the procedure was explained, they were satisfied and positioned a satellite onto the probably area that we gave them.”“Then one day, in September 2007, we got an intelligence report saying that they (the Americans) had detected some suspicious vessel in the area,” Adm.Colombage says.But this posed a major challenge to the SLN. The question was how to reach that distant place, stay there for a while, and sail back to base. As Seelan, a former ‘Sea Tiger’ said: “When army fired a shell, we fired about 20 shells. We fired a lot of shells like mortars and artillery.”The heavy shelling from the LTTE did have a devastating effecting on the Sri Lankan army. A former Army Commander said: “Casualties due to artillery and mortars were the heaviest on our side. I think it was more than 50 percent”.Thus, it became very important for the Sri Lankan navy to cut off the LTTE’s ammo and weapons supply. And when it was discovered that the LTTE was storing its ammunitions in floating warehouses in international waters away from the main shipping lines, the help of the US Ambassador and the US Defense Attache was sought making use of the US Global War on Terror. In the asymmetrical land war that was going on in Sri Lanka, with the LTTE out-manned and out-gunned, the LTTE was using ammunition and area weapons-like artillery and mortars liberally to strike terror in the heart of the enemy.It did not show the restraint and conservatism conventional armies generally show in using their ammo. For the LTTE, firing had to be well-targeted and also exceptionally heavy, to make up for the shortage of men and artillery pieces. “They (the US embassy officials) agreed to provide necessary target information after verifying the tactics and methods used by the SLN (Sri Lankan navy) to attack these floating warehouses,” Adm.Colombage writes. “The OPV (Offshore Petrol Vessel) fleet was ready to go after the LTTE floating warehouses even to distances they have never been. But endurance was the main issue,” a former navy commander pointed out.There had to be enough fuel, food, and ammo onboard. Long sojourns out at sea become problematic for vessels which are old, and the Sri Lankan OPVs were second-hand. Rough seas could also lead to wear and tear. Refueling in foreign ports could not be considered for fear of leaking information to the LTTE.The OPVs were therefore placed on the Equator where the sea is calm and arrangements were made to keep them supplied there, when needed.Between September 10 and 11, 2007, three LTTE vessels were destroyed. On October 17, another one was sunk. Earlier in 2006, an LTTE gun runner was destroyed off Kalmunai in South East Sri Lanka, and in early 2007, another vessel was brought down off Dondra in South Sri Lanka.With successes close to home, the navy was encouraged to go out further into the sea to hunt for such vessels and went 1,500 nautical miles as far as Indonesia. But actionable intelligence was needed to make the venture worthwhile. Hence the appeal to the US for intelligence in 2007.According to a former Director of Naval Intelligence, the destruction of the floating armories deprived the LTTE of a large quantity of 152 mm, 130 mm and 122 mm artillery shells and 122 mm mortar rounds among other ammo. MV Koshia, destroyed in September 2007, had 29,000 artillery shells. The LTTE also lost electronic warfare and communication equipment; high powered outboard motors; water scooters; jet skies; swimmer delivery vehicles; radars; GPSs and other war-like material. MV Matsushima had torpedoes, bullet proof vehicles, light aircraft and tons of explosives besides artillery shells.The destruction of the floating armories did not raise a storm internationally because the world knew that the SLN had only destroyed gun-runners and not innocent vessels, Adm.Colombage notes.Given the lack of large caliber guns and anti-ship missiles, the OPVs used the available armaments on them. To supplement these, the OPVs carried boats of the Small Boats Squadron (SBS). The SBS boats would be sent to take on the LTTE ships. Getting close to the LTTE vessel, the SBS men would get into Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) and fire Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to sink the targeted vessels.Between September 10 and 11, 2007, three LTTE vessels were destroyed. On October 17, another one was sunk. Earlier in 2006, an LTTE gun runner was destroyed off Kalmunai in South East Sri Lanka, and in early 2007, another vessel was brought down off Dondra in South Sri Lanka.With successes close to home, the navy was encouraged to go out further into the sea to hunt for such vessels and went 1,500 nautical miles as far as Indonesia. But actionable intelligence was needed to make the venture worthwhile. Hence the appeal to the US for intelligence in 2007.According to a former Director of Naval Intelligence, the destruction of the floating armories deprived the LTTE of a large quantity of 152 mm, 130 mm and 122 mm artillery shells and 122 mm mortar rounds among other ammo. MV Koshia, destroyed in September 2007, had 29,000 artillery shells. The LTTE also lost electronic warfare and communication equipment; high powered outboard motors; water scooters; jet skies; swimmer delivery vehicles; radars; GPSs and other war-like material. MV Matsushima had torpedoes, bullet proof vehicles, light aircraft and tons of explosives besides artillery shells.The destruction of the floating armories did not raise a storm internationally because the world knew that the SLN had only destroyed gun-runners and not innocent vessels, Adm.Colombage notes. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Ontario Liberals plan 500M cut to education funding will close schools NDP

Ontario Liberals plan $500M cut to education funding; will close schools: NDP by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 18, 2014 12:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Some schools in Ontario will be shut down as the Liberal government makes education funding cuts to help eliminate a $12.5-billion deficit in three years, Education Minister Liz Sandals admitted Tuesday.The planned cuts are included in the government’s 2015-16 education funding guide, which was obtained by the New Democrats and calls for permanent savings of up to $500 million by 2017-18.“Lets face it,” Sandals told reporters. “We do have a deficit, so we’re going to have to look at every government program and make sure that we’re managing it efficiently.”The real issue is that the number of pupils is declining, added Sandals.“So yes, there may be from year to year sometimes a slight decrease in funding, but the funding per pupil actually continues to rise,” she said.The document, copies of which were released by NDP education critic Peter Tabuns, says the plan is challenging as it represents a potential reduction of one to two per cent in total revenue.“These cuts will hurt an education system that’s already hurting from being underfunded,” said Tabuns. “It could mean ballooning class sizes, teacher layoffs and even more school closures.”Sandals didn’t dispute the funding guide’s authenticity, and said there are over 600 schools in Ontario that are more than half empty, and some will be closed.“We want to make sure that money is being spent on educating the students who are there and not on funding empty seats,” she said.The New Democrats said the planned reduction flies in the face of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s pledge in the legislature just four months ago not to cut education funding.“Her budget promised increased funding to school boards,” Tabuns told the legislature. “She’s on the record promising no cuts to schools, and yet the Ministry of Education is spelling out $500 million in cuts to our classrooms and says annual increases are things of the past.”The Progressive Conservatives said school closings would inevitably be in small-town and rural Ontario, where schools are often the hub of the community, and warned that shutting down some of them would not result in huge savings.“Shutting them down and busing kids 15, 20 or 30 kilometres away, I don’t think is an option,” said PC education critic Garfield Dunlop. “And I don’t think it’s going to save her $500 million either.”Sandals said education funding this year hit $22.5 billion, an increase of 56.5 per cent, or over $4,000 per pupil, since the Liberals were elected in 2003.“We have increased spending in education more than any other government has ever done,” she said.The education minister also dismissed the idea of eliminating Ontario’s Roman Catholic school system and combining it with the public system, which the provincial Green Party has advocated. The Liberals will abide by the Constitutional requirement for Ontario to have a separate system for Catholic education, added Sandals“The economic arguments are not strong arguments for school board amalgamation,” she said.Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter read more