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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

Danny Williams watches as Muskrat Falls takes another step toward approval

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 5, 2012 6:56 pm MDT ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Former premier Danny Williams watched from a packed public gallery at the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature as a brief debate moved the contentious Muskrat Falls hydro project closer to approval.The plan to bring power from the lower Churchill River in Labrador to Newfoundland then Nova Scotia using subsea cables was announced in November 2010 — just before he quit politics.“From my own personal legacy perspective, I stand by this wholeheartedly,” he said Wednesday outside the legislature.“I’ve said from Day 1, I’d put my own money into this project if I could because I think it’s just a great investment for the people.”Williams was unfazed by about 35 protesters who had gathered earlier outside. They’re concerned that Muskrat Falls will cripple the province of just over 500,000 people with massive debt if it soars over budget.“I can honestly say that this has been studied to death,” he said.Premier Kathy Dunderdale moved a private member’s motion that the house of assembly support the development, which is estimated to cost between $7.5 billion and $7.7 billion. Debate was limited to a couple of hours on the biggest public expenditure in provincial history before the majority Tory government easily passed it over opposition objections.“It is the best answer to our question: what is the least-cost option to providing needed power?” Dunderdale said as government members thumped their desks in approval.“It will bring lasting benefits to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”Skeptics point out that the project has not cleared a single independent, regulated review.Dunderdale said Muskrat Falls has been endorsed by global energy consultants, though they were hired and paid by her government. She has refused further review by the provincial Public Utilities Board since it declined last spring to endorse Muskrat Falls, saying it lacked updated information.Now that Ottawa has offered a federal loan guarantee that would cut borrowing costs by about $1 billion, the province’s Crown corporation Nalcor Energy and Nova Scotia private utility Emera (TSX:EMA) are expected to sanction the project in coming weeks.Williams laughed when asked if he thought Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whom he openly battled over offshore royalties and equalization payments, would have given him a loan guarantee.“Probably not,” he said. “Maybe it’s a good thing that I had moved on.”Dunderdale has said her province is expected to sanction Muskrat Falls before Christmas. A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia private utility company Emera said it is expected to do the same before mid-January.Dunderdale refused to say when repeatedly asked Wednesday whether the development is viable with or without a federal loan guarantee.“It’s not going to fall apart,” she said of the federal backing that relies on Emera’s continued support.“We’ve been through a set of negotiations that has been long and arduous. Emera’s been at the table, we’ve been at the table with the federal government. We made sure that we protected the interests of the people of this province.“So I’m telling you that if we sanction this project, that the loan guarantee will be available to the people of the province.”Liberal Opposition Leader Dwight Ball called the government’s approach on Muskrat Falls “an insult to democracy.”“I say shame on you, premier,” he said during the daily question period that preceded the two-hour debate.NDP Leader Lorraine Michael asked of Dunderdale: “How can she sanction a project that lays all this considerable risk squarely on the backs of the ratepayers of this province?”During the earlier protest outside, skeptics said they fear Muskrat Falls will spell disaster for a once have-not province that has only recently enjoyed the wealth of offshore oil royalties.“I’m disappointed,” said protester Con O’Brien.“We’re playing a game of Russian roulette with our money. We’re 515,000 people. We can’t afford to pay it.“God help us.” Danny Williams watches as Muskrat Falls takes another step toward approval read more