- There is clear evidence that Channel 4 TV documentary and other Western videos against Sri Lanka are lies and unauthentic; UNHRC Commissioner, Geneva and 47 Member States must take note of
The UNHRC has not given up asking for a war crimes enquiry based on Channel 4, other Western media and UN videos/reports. They have previously indicated a desire to set up an International Tribunal.
Already some Western countries have imposed sanctions against some of our leading Ranaviriwos (e.g. travel bans).
A new UNHRC Resolution is to be passed in early March/April 2022. Apart from the alleged war crimes, they are now considering other alleged human rights violations reported to have occurred recently. It is clear from the March 2021 vote that the majority of the 47 members are against Sri Lanka. The veracity of the impending Resolution is unclear.
Based on the harshness of the new Resolution, the EU may impose tougher sanctions on Sri Lanka like withdrawing GSP+ and other trade benefits. The EU can also ban fish exports from Sri Lanka. They have imposed such sanctions before.
Let us hope that sanity will prevail and no harsh sanctions are imposed on Sri Lanka by the EU.
In the Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” documentary broadcast in the UK on 14 June 2011 (see, YouTube video; “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” uploaded by ‘Real Stories’ on 20 September 2015), it made the main charge that Sri Lanka killed a large number of innocent Tamil civilians (40,000+) in the last stages of the war. This is a blatant lie on their part.
It is important for Sri Lanka and her friends to fight against the Channel 4 lies.
It is important to convince the UNHRC and overall the West that the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka is a farce. This charge should be dismissed void ab initio. It should never be allowed to be raised and considered in the UNHRC. All sanctions imposed against Ranawiruwos including the current travel bans must be promptly removed.
The main purpose of this article is to achieve these objectives.
It is of paramount importance that we continue to stress that Sri Lanka fought a very humane war. In this regard, the statement made in May 2011 by the then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an event to mark the two-year anniversary of the Government’s defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels is important:
“Our forces carried the firearm in one hand and the human rights charter in the other. Our forces never harboured hatred towards any community or individual. Looking at how other countries fight wars, we are proud of the humanitarian nature of our operation. Therefore, when we see how some countries carry out operations against enemies today, we are proud.”
Overall, there has been enormous apathy on Sri Lanka’s part in rebutting the baseless allegations that were made against it. Basically, Sri Lanka sat and stayed idle allowing its enemies to go round spreading lies about the last stages of the war. When the Darusman Report and the Channel 4 documentary were released, Sri Lanka did very little to attack their unfair findings and overall objectivity.
Channel 4 went on making several videos that were full of lies; they knew that Sri Lanka would not fiercely fight back.
There was much that the Government ought to have done. But for a long period of time, it maintained an eerie silence. This allowed time for the lies to be well-stabilised.
Much belatedly, in August 2011, the Government came up with the documentary “Lies Agreed Upon”. This effort is commendable. But it failed to rebut the unfair Channel 4 allegations one by one. When fighting against a powerful media organisation like Channel 4, there is no point in attacking them in an ad-hoc manner. What is important is to meticulously attack each and every lie. And, the Channel 4 video is full of lies.
Later, the Government released another documentary “Humanitarian Operation – Factual Analysis”. This was more about how the Government had cared for the Tamils in the North between July 2006 to May 2009.
Again, Sri Lanka has been very passive. It only issued mere denials – they were very short, sometimes confined to one or two sentences. Such responses were hopelessly insufficient.
When Channel 4 offered Sri Lanka the opportunity to comment about the allegations, it should have grabbed the opportunity and made strong submissions within Channel 4 programs. Surely, we have bright, capable people to undertake these tasks.
Overall, what Sri Lanka ought to have done was to embark on a vigorous campaign to rebut the war crimes allegations that were made against it. Sri Lanka should have fully utilised its diplomatic missions for this purpose.
After Australia’s ABC TV broadcast Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” (narrated by Kerry O’Brien) on 4 July 2011 (then, again on 5 July 2011 and on 9 July 2011), this writer took all necessary steps to initiate legal action against ABC TV in Australia. It was impossible to undertake such a task without the Government’s support (especially in regards to adducing evidence). Initially the Government indicated its willingness to support; but all of a sudden everything came to a standstill.
The writer came to know that someone in the highest of the Government’s legal echelons had pulled the plug. A golden opportunity to restore Sri Lanka’s honour, glory and dignity in Australia (thereby worldwide) was thwarted. The Application drafted by this writer sought an unspecified amount (in Australian dollars) from ABC TV as damages. He was going to conduct the matter himself in the NSW Supreme Court.
Note some of the obvious lies and deceptions of Channel 4 (and other Western media) below in pictures:
(1) No-Fire Zone Hospital scene
This is one of Channel 4’s main promotional slides. The scene very much seems like a put-on job. The man lying closer to us is full of bandages all over his body, it is obvious his sole role is to expose all of his bandages well to the camera. He has blood in his cheek as well. They look like dye, not blood. Then, the man who is seated and bent has a nicely laid out patch of blood on his bandage. Again, it looks more like dye. These people could well be Tamil actors.
(AA Gill of the UK Sunday Times described the footage: “Not a second of this has been shot by Channel 4; none of the eyewitness accounts comes from journalists”).
(E.A. Yfantis, a professor of computer science at University of Nevada-Las Vegas specialising in computer graphics and image processing stated: “Based on mathematical analysis, blood in the 3GP videos is not real blood. …. and that “videographic and mathematical analysis of the two 3GP videos show that the videos either were edited, or staged, or both”).
If by any chance they are real sceneries (highly unlikely), the wounded people could well be terrorists in civil clothes. In the last stages of the war, the terrorists did not wear uniforms, they dressed like civilians.
Until 18 May 2009, the no-fire zone (NFZ) was in complete control and custody of the LTTE. If by any chance these people are civilians, Channel 4 is wrong to jump into conclusion that they were injured by the Government forces. In the NFZ civilians who tried to flee died/became injured as a result of the direct LTTE gunfire. Some died after becoming caught in the LTTE missiles that targeted the Government forces.
(2) Shooting on the head from close range
According to Channel 4, the above video is where a Sri Lankan soldier was summarily executing a Tamil Tiger. In this video the victims (male and female) resemble somewhat European/Mediterranean than Sri Lankan. The victims are of white/olive complexion. The scenery also resembles more of Southeastern Europe (Balkan) than Sri Lanka.
In case, if it was a Sri Lankan scene, could this have been a situation where a Tamil Tiger executing a Sri Lankan soldier (a Tiger wearing a Sri Lankan Army uniform)? During the war the LTTE tortured and killed many Sri Lanka soldiers and they filmed these killings for propaganda to collect money from the Tamil Diaspora. Most of the Army soldiers were speaking Sinhalese with a Tamil accent (38:57 minute of the video). In reality this cannot happen.
Note, the Sri Lankan Army did not wear this exact uniform. It more resembles a Tiger uniform. In the video, the soldier has long hair. The Sri Lankan Army did not allow its soldiers to grow long hair.
According to Channel 4 these are trophy photos taken by Sri Lankan soldiers. This particular video segment is of high quality. It cannot be produced by a mobile phone or a small camera.
(Shyam Tekwani, an expert in terrorism and media at the Asia-Pacific Center for security Studies who has extensively covered the Sri Lankan conflict, compared the “tone and tenor” of the documentary to that of productions by the LTTE’s propaganda wing, and opined that “Clearly an effort to sensationalise and shock with carefully selected and edited footage, the documentary weakens its case and invites an investigation into its own credibility and accountability to journalistic norms”).
(3) One says a picture tells thousands of words
Above is a photo that appeared in the Western media where they revealed to the world that the Sri Lankan Air Force had indiscriminately shelled innocent Tamil civilians (women and children) in the NFZ (on 10/5/09). As a result of this and other similar photos/videos, there was a public outcry in the UK/France against the war. The UK and French Foreign Ministers rushed to Colombo to discuss the halt of the war. Their efforts failed.
What was hidden from the world was revealed when the Sri Lankan Army later found this second photo among the LTTE propaganda material:
This unedited photo (2nd) shows that this was a staged LTTE propaganda stunt. Look at the smiling girl with a professional camera in the right-hand corner and the men who are not affected by the alleged shelling in the back.
This is how the LTTE used women and children to act to fool the West and the world.
The writer states that this fake photo had been taken using Tamil actors.
Again, it was an attempt to deceive the whole world (that the government was shelling Tamil women and children in the NFZ), but the deception was caught red-handed.
Some of the actors in this fake photo are likely to have appeared in Channel 4’s other videos. The exact black smoke seen in this video can also be seen in Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” video (13:22 minute of the video). Therein, they had used the smoke to depict a different bombing raid of civilians by the Sri Lankan Air Force elsewhere in the North.
(4) The BBC news item of 10/5/09
Above was posted on the BBC website to claim bombardment of the NFZ by the Sri Lankan government forces.
BBC stated it was a satellite imagery showing an aerial attack of the NFZ by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).
Though at a glance it looks like complete devastation, a closer look clearly shows that there is no damage to trees or permanent buildings (a couple circled in red). No signs of aerial attack or artillery fire. The right-side image only shows signs of a mass evacuation of the makeshift shelters of the hostages who were previously herded by the LTTE as a human shield. If SLAF had continued widespread bombarding, how could the permanent buildings and trees be left intact? This is how the LTTE and their sympathisers have pushed the Western media to dupe the world.
(5) Channel 4’s ‘darling’ Vany Kumar – Who she really is?
Vany Kumar is Channel 4’s principal witness. They use her extensively to substantiate their story. In the “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” documentary, she makes 10 separate appearances.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Vany Kumar is alleged to have operated in the UK under an alleged LTTE front – Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) and she is alleged to have had links with the LTTE. It is stated that she arrived in Sri Lanka in 2008 at the request of Castro (former head of the LTTE Foreign Division) and underwent military training’.
But Channel 4 portrays her as an innocent, impartial expert of the war – a British citizen. They did not state that she was born in Sri Lanka.
Per Wikipedia “According to the government…. after Kumar’s arrival in Vanni, she underwent one month of weapons training and was enlisted under the Sothiya regiment of LTTE. She had also possessed a dog tag with a cadre number issued by the Sothiya regiment, and a cyanide capsule. She had also worked for the Castro branch of the LTTE international wing”.
In Channel 4’s ‘No Fire Zone’ video, Vany Kumar acknowledged that she had personally known LTTE’s News reader, Isipriya. This evidences her close LTTE connections (see below 12th picture).
Vany Kumar has appeared in two Channel 4 documentaries in two different names. In “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” documentary she appears as Vany Kumar. In the “No Fire Zone” documentary she appears as Vani Viji. They are two entirely different names. Channel 4 did not provide an explanation.
According to Wikipedia: “Government investigations had revealed that Vany Kumar, had worked as a full-time and active member of an LTTE terrorist cell in London. She had gone by at least four different names including Dr. Tamilvani, Damilvany Kumar and Damilvany Gananakumar, and arrived in Sri Lanka on 28 February 2008.”
What is Vany Kumar’s real name? No one knows, except herself.
When she can lie about her own name how can one believe other things that she relates in the video?
(6) Family in the trench, more concerned about the video being made than the alleged air raid
In this scene rather than focusing on the alleged air attack everyone was talking about the aspects of the video being made. This includes children. People do not behave in such a manner during a calamity. If the Kfir jet actually attacked them, where is the evidence? There was no jet sound or smoke. No damage – even collateral, was shown.
(7) Man on the left wailing over an allegedly dead person (blue garment ‘body’); he changes his two locations 6 times, within a very short span of 36 seconds
Over a period of 36 seconds the man on the left changes his two locations six times. During this time, he wails in both spots. A fine actor he is, indeed.
(8) Surely, the UN office, Wanni cannot have two entirely different main gates
1st photo – Channel 4 states people congregated outside of the UN gate in Wanni pleading the UN not to leave. Note, it’s a blue flat iron type gate.
2nd photo – Channel 4 states on the same day, a large group of children waved hands outside of the UNHCR gate pleading the UN not to leave. One thing Channel 4 forgot: this gate is different. It is not blue flat; but a white/black iron gate. Unlike the other, this one has a wide-open space towards the top.
What Channel 4 failed to realise was that the UNHCR Wanni cannot have two different gates as its main gate.
(9) How come Raja (whose 14-year-son was allegedly killed by the Army) and the man living in London who states that he had seen the carnage in the NFZ hospital, are one and the same person?
12:20 minute of the video – the man living in London who states he had personally seen the NFZ hospital, Sri Lanka alleged carnage
17:58 minute of the Channel 4 video - Raja who states his 14-year-old son was killed by the Army
Note, both men are the same. They have the same voice.
(10) Channel 4 alleges that two women’s legs were injured due to the Government shelling of the Puthukutiriappu (PTT) hospital; injuries are not shown. Why?
No doubt that the woman in the picture was keener on talking to the camera than obtaining medical treatment. Instead of her alleged injury, she talks (smilingly?) about the condition of the hospital – “situation in the hospital is like this”. People would not say such things in a calamity. The location does not even resemble that of a hospital.
(11) Channel 4 alleges that Tamil surrenderees were shot in the head; and implies they were civilians. But, Charles Anthony, a senior LTTE leader– Prabhakaran’s own son’s body was there too.
Note a correct blood patch (this is an Army photo); as opposed to red paint/die shown on Channel 4’s Tamil videos.
The scores of dead bodies strewn on the ground were those of the Tamil terrorists, but they were deceptively shown to viewers to believe that they are civilians. Note, this is a Sri Lankan military footage that is widely available. Channel 4 is lying stating that they were provided to them by a reliable source – a Sinhalese critic of the Government.
(12) Isipriya, who died during the war, is introduced as the ‘Tamil female TV presenter’. What Channel 4 did not (deliberately) say is that she was the Tamil female presenter ‘of the LTTE TV’ (note the Elam map in the background).
This is deliberate misleading conduct on Channel 4’s part – they knew that Isipriya was a Tamil Tiger. According to the Sri Lankan government, Isipriya “was a high profile LTTE cadre tasked to handle the motivation of suicide Black Tigers” (Wikipedia).
(The writer is a lawyer.)