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What’s so surprising?

The leaked cable to the US State Department from US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis has this week added to growing calls for international investigations into the Rajapakse administration’s culpability for war crimes.

However, it is worth remembering that the cable's contents can only be a ‘revelation’ about Washington’s awareness, if relatively recent history is ignored. For example, this is what President Obama said on May 13, 2009:

“First, the government should stop the indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives, including several hospitals, and the government should live up to its commitment to not use heavy weapons in the conflict zone.

“Second, the government should give United Nations humanitarian teams access to the civilians who are trapped between the warring parties so that they can receive the immediate assistance necessary to save lives.

“Third, the government should also allow the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross access to nearly 190,000 displaced people within Sri Lanka so that they can receive additional support that they need.”

Colombo did none of these things. The government did not even reply. Instead, it intensified its mass bombardment from air, land and sea.

Lest there's any doubt as to Colombo's intent;

For months, video feeds from Sri Lanka’s unmanned spy planes guided the bombs and shells falling on 300,000 Tamil civilians corralled into a space the size of New York’s Central park - which the government mockingly termed a ‘Safe Zone’, before turning into a killing field.

So, what basis can there be for any doubt?