During the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, two events were held on 3rd June – one of them was the screening of the Channel 4 video organized by the Amnesty International on the sidelines and the other was the event organized by the Sri Lanka Government.
By telecasting the one hour extended Channel 4 video show organized by the Amnesty International, a non-profit organization, claimed to be advocating human rights, the West had their cruel fun over the miseries of the Sri Lankan Tamils in particular and Sri Lankans in general.
They were advocates, jurors and judges; subsequently they insisted that Sri Lanka has to be tried for war against humanity and for war crimes. The delegates representing some NGOs, based on their unsubstantiated evidences, passed their own judgment saying, “Sri Lanka should be tried for crimes against humanity and for war crimes”.
I was in Geneva on that day representing World Institute For Asian Studies, which publishes the online daily Asian Tribune and saw the so called 1 hour extended version of the Channel 4 presentation – a curse, the loathsome exploitation of the miseries of the Sri Lankan Tamils.
When I viewed the extended version put forward by the Channel 4, I had a nauseating feeling and it provoked revulsion, hate and anger over those involved in producing a video not based on facts, but on revenge and anger on the Government of Sri Lanka and its President to fulfill the vested interests of the West.
They failed to see it is all about shaming a sovereign country where more than 20 million peace loving citizens were involved.
Channel 4 news produced by International Television Network (ITN), a TV station based in the United Kingdom, made use of the miseries of the people in Sri Lanka, to make the commercial media organization popular in the midst of its viewers and came up with the screening of one hour show and the producer who managed to cut, paste, edit numerous video clippings which were available in the public domains to fabricate the one hour show and in the end they called for charging Sri Lank for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Callum Macrae who directed the extended video clipping has agreed that they have taken photographic stills, video clippings from the official Sri Lankan army video footage and satellite imagery.
Macrae said: “The Sri Lankan government wanted a war without witness – deporting journalists and pressurizing UN representatives to leave – but it didn’t allow for the extraordinary power of mobile phone and satellite technology.”
His statement was remindful of the earlier deportation of the Channel 4 News’ team, Nick Paton Walsh, producer Bessie Du and cameraman Matt Jasper from Sri Lanka on 10 May 2009, alleging that they were arrested for false reporting on the civil war and subsequently deported.
Already Siri Hewawitharana, of Sydney Australia, our specialist who analyzed those video clippings has rightly concluded “Channel 4 Video is Fake, Edited and Video taken by Video Camera.”
The fabricated 3-piece of video clippings, titled “Sri Lanka’s Killing Field,” shown by the Channel 4 on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva organized by the Amnesty International was denounced by the Sri Lankan government as “flawed & fake”.
However, the chief advocate of the Amnesty International Saman Zia-Zarifi in the discussion following the video screening, said: “It is clear that the government of Sri Lanka’s actions likely constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“There has been repeated shelling of places like hospitals, not once, not twice, but 65 times,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ira De Silva, a journalist colleague of mine from Toronto, Canada, who was present at that event pointed out during her intervention that in the page 15 of the Darusman report (53) “This account should not be taken as proven facts..”
She further added that the Darusman panel findings are presented in narrative account. She also said that the narrative account is a collection of stories, whether fairy stories or horror stories they are still stories with no basis in fact.
Ms. Ira De Silva demanded how can an organization such as the U.N. use this type of report as a basis for an investigation, when the panel has not conducted fact finding as understood by the U.N?
As for the Channel 4 video, she pointed out that throughout the video it shows various photos of people affected by shelling and dead bodies and all the while it states that all these events are due to shelling by the Sri Lankan forces. Never does it mention that the LTTE was in the ‘No Fire Zone’, that they surrounded their big guns with civilians and continued to fire at the security forces from within the NFZ.
Saman Zia-Zarifi tried to refute this point. What he indicated was that even if the LTTE did fire their guns, it was still the responsibility of the Sri Lankan forces not to fire. Ira De Silva indicated that Amnesty International always condemns Sri Lanka and ignores the terrorism of the LTTE.
Furthermore, Saman Zia-Zarifi alleged that hospitals were repeatedly shelled by the Sri Lankan armed forces and civilians were targeted, but he never showed any proof to authenticate his statement, but he based his allegations on those fake and fabricated video clips of the Channel 4.
During the Sri Lanka Government event, I was given an opportunity for intervention and I posed a question about Amnesty International’s spokesperson Saman Zia-Zarifi allegation that a hospital was shelled 65 times by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
I asked how was it possible to make such statement when nobody was aware whether the hospital was shelled by the Government Forces or by the LTTE miscreants.
Anyhow, Sri Lanka’s deputy solicitor general A.M.D. Nawaz attacked the documentary, saying that “this video is not authentic.”
He stressed that Sri Lanka should be given time to carry out its own domestic process, noting that a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has been set up to do just that.
But the Amnesty International representative who chaired the sideline show adamantly refused to allow the Mr. Nawaz and the spokesman from the Sri Lankan Analyst Department to counter those accusations in detail.
He arrogantly said Sri Lanka Government will be holding its sideline show and you may make your comments at your show.
Peter Splinter who presided the Amnesty International event was adamant to see that nobody contradicts their version and was determined to claim that they were unscathed.
The adamancy of the Amnesty international for refusing to entertain adverse and dissenting views of their advocacy, reflected their questionable approach on their version of the human rights.
Regarding the allegation of Callum Macrae of the Channel 4 of war without witness, it must be remembered that there were more than three hundred thousand Tamils who witnessed the war in Vanni till the final days of the confrontation between the Sri Lankan Government Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Channel 4 alleged that Sri Lankan Forces were responsible for the untold atrocities in the final stages of the confrontation with the LTTE, but I am unable to understand the rationale and logic behind the version of the Channel 4, when those very Tamils who were held hostage and as human shield by the LTTE fled whenever they had the opportunity to the Government controlled areas for safety and protection. How was it possible if the Government forces were their real tormentors?
Earlier in 1996, after Sri Lankan forces captured the Jaffna peninsula, the defeated LTTE while fleeing to Vanni managed to maneuver more than 150,000 Tamils from the Jaffna district to follow them to Vanni. It was described as the second “Exodus” of the humanity drawing parallel to the fleeing of the Israelites from Egypt.
Within a period of 13 years Tamils from the North and other parts of the country went and settled down in Vanni placing trust on the failed political ideology of V. Prabhakaran, the slain LTTE leader.
If the Government forces were tormentors and responsible for all those atrocities and killings, can anyone imagine that those 300,000 Tamils would have risked their lives to enter into the Government controlled areas for their safety?
It is clearly demonstrated that Tamils had the confidence and trust on the Sri Lanka Government despite a well calculated vicious propaganda campaign unleashed by the West and fled over to Government side at the height of threat and intimidation by the LTTE to dissuade them fleeing to the Government controlled areas.
Therefore screening of “Sri Lanka’s Killing Field” produced by the Channel 4 over and over again is not going to change a wee bit, instead it will receive the strongest form of condemnation from the Tamils and Tamil speaking in Sri Lanka.