Channel 4 News-Video Alleging War Crimes in Sri Lanka
Posted on August 28th, 2009

Ira de Silva London, Canada

Chief Executive
Channel 4
P.O.Box 1058
Belfast
BT 1 9DU
 
Dear Sir:
 
Re Channel 4 News Broadcast – Is this Evidence of Sri Lankan War Crimes?
 
I refer you to the video that is now being broadcast throughout the world. The very fact the question is asked “is this evidence” implies that there was some doubt as to whether this was valid. Your foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller narrates on the alleged incident which is supposed to have taken place in January 2009. There are several questions that come to mind about this particular broadcast by Channel 4. Perhaps you would be able to provide the answers:
 
1. As your news service is reported to be “respected”, did you make any attempt to verify the authenticity of the video? I note that your organization has attempted to clear itself by stating that it is not sure of the authenticity.
 
2. To even an amateur it could be argued that the video is suspect – the man is still  shown sitting even after he has been shot. I wonder what the cameraman was doing when the other eight were being shot – was he talking on the phone? If this was an impromptu video is it not strange that no one’s face is identifiable? 
 
3. The people lying around supposedly dead are not identified, neither is the man who is shot or the supposed soldier. There is no date, place or time.The only claim to this shooting being done by a Sri Lankan soldier is that the man with the gun is wearing a uniform of a Sri Lankan soldier. Did it never occur to you that anyone can wear a uniform? It has been well documented that in Sri Lanka the LTTE has on many occasions carried out bombings having gained entry by wearing soldiers uniforms.
 
4. The other “proof” that the killing was done by a Sri Lankan soldier are the few words in the background in Sinhala. Do you believe that the LTTE are so stupid that they would not have been able to learn to speak a couple of words in Sinhala? Just so you know, there are numerous reports of hard core LTTE speaking fluently in Sinhala. One example is the suicide bomber who attempted to kill the army commander! Did it not occur to your Jonathan Miller that the video could have been dubbed? Is he just very gullible, not a good journalist or so biased in favour of the LTTE that he has lost the ability to make an independent judgement?
 
5. Over the years, the LTTE have fabricated many stories and videos and have removed them from websites only when they were proved to be fabrications. Since the British media has covered news reports of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, and has shown a clear bias against Sri Lanka, it strengthens the view that this video has been unearthed and broadcast in the continuance of that biased propaganda. The BBC has “doctored” images too as when they showed photos of children in Afghanistan and passed them off as Sri Lankan and only pulled them when challenged and proven wrong.
 
6. It is said that the video was shot in January 2009. Did you not find it surprising that it has only surfaced now and not when the British government and media were hell-bent on trying to stop the war, were making “demands” on Sri Lanka to permit the LTTE hierarchy to leave, and issuing various threats of war crimes investigations? Strangely the British wanted to rescue the LTTE while at the same time killing thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan claiming that it was their duty to rid the world of terrorists!
 
7. The LTTE Prabhakaran leader’s close confidant and aide code named “Gokulan” has stated that Prabhakaran had ordered that civilians trying to leave to the Sri Lankan army controlled areas were to be killed and that he had several such incidents videoed and photographed to be sent to the international media claiming it had been done by the Sri Lankan forces. Was this video one of those?
 
Given the above, if your organization has an iota of responsibility for what is broadcast, was any attempt made to get independent verification that the video was not “staged”, that the words spoken were not dubbed (they sound as if they were).
 
As stated by a commentator, what has to be established immediately is whether the video is fake. The responsibility lies with your organization to prove that this was not deliberate mischief, that you had checked the bona-fides of the organisation that provided you with the video and had reasonable evidence to believe that it was not a put-together fake. I trust that in the interests of responsible journalism you will get a forensic analysis done to PROVE it is not a fake. If it is proven that it is a fake I hope immediate legal action will be taken against your news organization and a complaint filed before the British Press Council.
 
I look forward to any comments you have on this subject.
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
London, Canada 

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