Now that Channel 4 had produced yet another video which it claims provides unquestionable evidence that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes, it is perhaps worth just recording a few of the facts that have been established in this regard. It will also be useful to extrapolate some facts from a case now being heard in Canada, which has been reported as follows –
Under questioning from his lawyer Fiona Begg, he testified that he took the call as an invitation — not an order — to take part in the killing of wounded Sri Lankan soldiers, who were being held inside a house.
Kevin Hatch, the representative for the Canada Border Services Agency seeking the man’s deportation, told the board that in an earlier interview, the man said that he had sent others around him to go — though there was a question of whether that statement had been accurately interpreted.
This makes clear that
- The LTTE ordered (or requested) that captured Sri Lankan soldiers should be executed.
- Those who did not agree with ‘the decision to shoot the soldiers’ thought they could do nothing to stop this, but instead moved away.
- The instrument of choice was the AK-47, and even those who did not agree with the decision simply ‘mentioned to others…that there had been a call for people with AK-47s to come forward’.
International representatives of a body that had no qualms at all about war crimes are now in the forefront of claims that the Sri Lankan army is guilty of war crimes. The main evidence they have is the videos shown by Channel 4. About these videos, the following facts have been established –
- The first video shown in August 2009 was claimed to have been taken on a mobile phone and shows events that took place in January 2009.
- It was claimed that the pictures had not been edited, but Channel 4 did not make a copy of the video it had received available either to the Sri Lankan government nor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the subject.
- The Special Rapporteur was instead sent another copy of what was supposed to be the same video by a body called Journalists for Democracy, which was supposed to have supplied the original video to Channel 4. However the copy supplied to the Special Rapporteur was different from the original video, notably in having fewer extra frames (17 as opposed to 30 in the video broadcast on Channel 4) with a strange ‘uppercase letter “A” in white against a red background’.
- The Special Rapporteur did not reveal that he had not got the video requested from Channel 4. However one of the Experts he employed revealed this fact.
- The Experts did not grant then that the video they were given had been edited. However, more than a year later, when they got another video – this time from Channel 4, and it seems the same as what they broadcast – they have accepted that the video was edited. They now claim that this editing was the reason for the strange uppercase letter A, whereas previously they had granted that there were ‘unexplained characteristics of this file, the most troubling of which from a file integrity standpoint is the text which appears in the final 17 frames of video.’
- They claim that the editing was done on a mobile phone, and insist that the entire sequence was filmed on a mobile phone. However they claim that there is an instance of optical zooming, whereas it is argued that mobile phones do not have optical zoom capacity.
It seems clear then that the so-called Experts, as well as the Special Rapporteurs (who present themselves as the same person in essence, whether called Alston or Heyns), grant that there has been editing, which obviously leaves open the possibility of tampering. In this context it is worth recalling the photograph that has been published of the LTTE propaganda wing filming what was supposed to be an atrocity.
The most melodramatic of the Experts, the man who thought it possible that one of the purported victims was drunk or sleeping while others were being shot through the head around him, advanced a fallback position to reinforce his case against the Sri Lankan forces. He declared that ‘Even if the file was transcoded from another format to .3gp, the conversion does not by itself invalidate the events recorded.’
He is of course quite correct, in that tampering with a film recording particular incidents does not mean those incidents did not occur. But if the narrative put forward with such a tampered film is to carry conviction, it would make sense to come clear about what has occurred. In particular, it must at the very least be suspicious that initially there were claims that nothing had been tampered with. When analysis revealed that there was something suspicious about the film, it was granted that there had been editing, but to maintain the story of trophy filming, which Little Jack Christof Heyns has pulled out like a plum, it has to be maintained too that the filming was done on a mobile phone, and all the editing too.
To grant that something more sophisticated was involved would obviously give the game away. So the Experts and their paymasters (who insist that services were provided free, without saying anything about how expenses were covered, including the provision by one expert to another of a further modified version of the video) have to insist that even optical zooming was done with a mobile phone.
But we know that the LTTE was in the habit of executing prisoners of war with AK-47s. We know that they would film scenes of destruction that were later to be used as propaganda. We know that some mistakes in the original Channel 4 film were modified by the time another version of it was sent to the UN Special Rapporteur. Anyone who understood induction would realize that it is not unlikely that the whole film is something doctored to make a terrorist case through the further sophisticated use of acknowledged terrorist activities.
(Daily News 15 June 2011)