Channel 4 video of Sri Lankan Killing fields
Posted on June 19th, 2011

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1 Canada

18 June 2011

The Editor (Letters)  
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

Sir:

“Graphic footage of the murder of Tamil civilians in a powerful documentary should move the world to seek justice” wrote Chris Cobb.

I myself was reviled by this documentary as was Chris Cobb.  But my revulsion was for a very different reason.  This was a video when challenged by independent experts as not being authentic footage, was admitted by Channel 4’s  Callum Macrea who directed it that it was put together with photographic stills, LTTE (Tamil Tiger) websites, video clippings, from official Sri Lankan Army video footage and satellite imagery,  contrary to what we were made to believe were completely shot by a simple mobile phone in the  killing fields.  I also noted that it was Channel 4’s News team, Nick Paton Walsh, producer Bessie Du and cameraman Matt Jasper who were deported from Sri Lanka on 10 May 2009, as they alleged were arrested for false reporting on the Tamil Tiger terrorist war and subsequently deported.

It is also clear that the motive to air this video to be seen around the world is to insist that Sri Lanka has to be tried for war against humanity and war crimes during the final few months of the war, when we know that the Tamil Tigers did kill  over 100,000 innocent  unarmed Sinhalese and Muslim civilians, men, women, pregnant mothers, children and infants for 27 long years and hijacked the right-to-life of 21 million people who were just scared to step outside their homes for the fear of being bombed to smithereens by the Tamil Tigers.  They were the terrorists  who perfected the art of suicide bombings with suicide body packs,  and executed 388 suicide bombings by the time the war ended on 18 May 2009, which also assassinated two heads of state Rajiv Gandhi of India and President Premadasa of Sri Lanka.

 There were no  if’s and but’s as this Tamil Tiger terrorist war had to come to a military conclusion not only to give back the right-to-life to 21 million people, but also to defend the sovereign territory, and to liberate the Tamil people which the government forces did by liberating 300,000 Tamils by 18 May 2009,  who were herded for 30 months like cattle by the Tamil Tigers from the west coast to the east coast as a human shield.

 War kills, but such killings that happened and is happening in the millions in Iraq, Afghanistan  and Pakistan are always explained by the western nations as co-lateral damage and keep going on with their wars to eliminate terrorism.   And as the western nations who were responsible for these killings so has the Sri Lankan government denied the allegations that it has deliberately targeted its own civilians.

My revulsion is visceral with Channel 4 and Amnesty International for airing this film with such horrifying images that will degrade the dignity of a dead person and that of the dead person’s family without any guarantee of the authenticity of the film footage as it would only adversely harm the present reconciliation process in Sri Lanka among the affected communities by way of lacerating the healing wounds of 27 years, as it has the potential to incite hatred among these communities and their future generations at home and abroad.  This is unfortunate and cruel.

Asoka Weerasinghe

7 Responses to “Channel 4 video of Sri Lankan Killing fields”

  1. dhane Says:

    Daily in TV and Movies we are see Digitally made films like Jurassic Part, Harry Potter, Star Wars ets. With modern technology you can make any type of images. Authentic of any documentary is the question. But most TV vievers beloeve what they see and hear is truth.

  2. jay-ran Says:

    Learned people will definitely se this like JURASSIC PARK show as the dignity of Ch 4 has alraedy been rediculed by BBC, according to ITN News Sri Lanka.

  3. sreiss Says:

    I have followed the misfortunes of the Sri Lankan conflict over the years and it’s very clear to me that both Tamils and Singhalese are relieved that it’s finally over. The country is beginning to recover from its horrible aftermath and the international community should help Sri Lanka heal its wounds. However the Channel Four program titled ‘The killing fields of Sri Lanka’ served rather to inflame them. It’s clear that Channel Four has an agenda of discrediting the Sri Lankan government and this is accomplished at the expense of truth and good journalism. The documentary insisted that the Sri Lankan government carried out deliberate and systematic attacks on Tamil civilians. This is wholly untrue and is a reprehensible suggestion. It is as ridiculous to suggest that the British Army deliberately targeted all republican Irish citizenry during the height of the Northern Ireland conflict. A sovereign democratic government will not met out mob justice using it’s armed forces on it’s own citizens, and Tamils are as much Sri Lankans as are Singhaleese and other ethnic minorities in the country.

    It was particularly evident during the end stage of the Sri Lankan conflict that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) held Tamil civilians hostage, denying them the very freedom that the LTTE allegedly sought for them.

    Throughout the long history of this conflict various methods have been tried to bring about a peaceful settlement and to encourage the LTTE to enter mainstream politics. This included direct intervention by Sri Lanka’s powerful neighbor India. However, the LTTE rejected all these efforts in pursuit of an independent Tamil state under its control. It was unacceptable for a terrorist state to exist and export its evils such as suicide bombings, therefore the Sri Lankan Government carried out its duty to protect and serve its citizens by removing the LTTE terrorists from their area of dominance. Unlike in Afghanistan and Iraq the Sri Lankan government did not need foreign intervention to accomplish this task.

    Contrary to what the documentary suggested, every effort was made by the Sri Lankan government to extract civilians from the combat zone, and local journalists were given unprecedented access to the front lines. Perhaps the government didn’t allow some western journalists – such as Chanel Four – with a liberal bias towards the LTTE terrorists, into the frontline to prevent truth being a casualty and to avoid military attack plans being divulged to the enemy. Embedded journalists in combat zones are a privilege allowed by the government. It was no secret that the United States armed forces disliked Al Jazeera correspondents in the front lines during the last Iraq war, and directly attacked the Al Jazeera building on the outskirts of Bagdad. This was not the case in Sri Lanka, where Chanel Four correspondents were only escorted out.

    The UN chose to leave the combat zones in North Eastern Sri Lanka, as they abandoned Rwanda, Kosovo, and many other places. The Sri Lankan government merely highlighted the fact that it couldn’t guarantee the safety of UN officials. There was a very plausible danger of the LTTE killing UN employees and blaming it on the government.

    Clips chosen for the Chanel Four documentary were emotive, screaming people and the crowd outside the UN offices showed the real horrors of any war. They didn’t show direct evidence of the Sri Lankan government’s cruelty. Perhaps the Tamil civilians begging the UN to stay, were afraid of exactly what followed, that the LTTE taking them hostage and used as a human shield, or the forcible conscription of their children. The alleged aftermath of a Sri Lankan army bombardment of a hospital showed buildings very much intact and patients lying on their beds. As for the execution videos, these have been proven to be inauthentic by the Sri Lankan government.

    Mr. Gordon Weiss, the former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka, who was interviewed extensively in the documentary has published a book titled ‘The Cage’ about his experiences of the final days of the war against the LTTE. Its worth quoting a chapter in page 216 of the book in its entirety:

    ‘It remains a credit to many of the front line SLA (Sri Lanka Army) soldiers that, despite odd cruel exceptions, they so often seem to have made the effort to draw civilians out from the morass of fighting ahead of them in an attempt to save lives. Soldiers yelled out to civilians, left gaps in their lines while they waved white flags to attract people forward and bodily plucked the wounded from foxholes and bunkers. Troops bravely waded into the lagoon under fire to rescue wounded people threading their way out of the battlefield or to help parents with their children, and gave their rations to civilians as they lay in fields, exhausted in their first moments of safety after years of living under the roar and threat of gunfire.’

    Gordon Weiss is a hostile witness for the Sri Lankan government, however Chanel Four chose not to show any of the positive comments he made in his book focusing entirely on the negative. Mr Weiss has made bizarre unsubstantiated comments but even he cant deny the fact that there was no official policy of deliberately harming Tamil civilians.

    The capture of LTTE carders was made difficult by their suicide policy and the danger to civilians in the conflict zone. Many LTTE suicide bombers crossed over to government held lines mixed in with the population only to detonate their bombs in the presence of Army personnel, causing heavy civilian deaths. Despite all its sophisticated technology, the US navy seals team in its mission to capture or destroy Osama Bin Laden, chose to kill him rather than take him captive, as precaution against a suicide bomb concealed in his person. The killing of LTTE leaders was inevitable, as they would not surrender.

    War is an evil that ultimately reduces the humanity of its participants, however it is a well used conflict resolution tool of mankind. A surgeon will hack a diseased limb to save the body. It is unpleasant, but often has to be done. War also serves to highlight peaks of humanity and the personal sacrifice of individuals for the greater good. Once its ended, a healing has to begin, and this process can only happen if scars are allowed to settle. Chanel Four should get off its high horse of moral monopoly and allow Sri Lankans to sort out their own issues.

  4. thurai Says:

    Channel 4 is pro mafia?
    LTTE showed dead Government soldiers for profitting from Diaspora Tamils. Diaspora Tamils never considered
    about killings of innocent Tamils or Sinhalese by LTTE. They celeberated suicide bombings of LTTE.
    Now Sri Lankan Government ended the LTTE Terrorism in Sri Lanka. But LTTE among Diaspora Tamils have no income (mafia type collections) now. They want violence in Sri Lanka or keep Diaspora Tamils against Sri Lanka.
    by telecasting the pictures Channel 4 support Terrorism. If not why they didnn´t mention the peacefull life of the
    Sri Lankan people after 19th may 2009? Western medien must ashame for the work of Channel4 which
    prifiting from trouble making in the world.

  5. Rohan8 Says:

    Thank God Sri Lanka wiped out the great evil that was the LTTE. I am pretty sure the footage that was shown on Ch.4 was a group of unfortunate Sinhalese Soldiers who were captured by the LTTE then executed then the Ch.4 Dr Goebbels department of propaganda got to work on it and turned it around to make it look like the it was the LTTE that was executed. We all know what the Evil LTTE does with prisoners. They never respected the Geneva conventions unlike the Sri Lankan soldiers. I have heard so many stories of LTTE killing prisoners in cold blood. They also filmed their gruesome actions. They are not called the most ruthless barbaric terrorist group for nothing. Unfortunately westerners brought up on western mainstream media propaganda will never get it unless they had lived in Sri Lanka for many years during the 80s, 90s and 2000s to understand how evil the LTTE were. Only a few bright western analysts like Webster Tarpley in the United States fully understood who and what the LTTE really were. Unfortunately most people in western countries arn’t as bright as Webster Tarpley so they will not understand the truth without extricating themselves from mainstream western news propaganda of which Ch.4 along with FOX News is one of the absolute worst offenders.
    I am convinced this video is a doctored video. Very easy to do if your a good propaganda film maker.
    I am glad Sri Lankans are coming out around the world to demolish Ch.4’s lies.

  6. Sarath W Says:

    Are we just going to whinge that this is a doctored video every time this is shown in western media? This is exactly what the Sri Lankan government is doing and not taking legal action against channel 4.The president on several ocations has said he will do anything to defend the arm forces. It is time he takes action against channel 4.Not doing so will create doubts on many independent observers.

  7. Sarath W Says:

    Are we just going to whinge that this is a doctored video every time this is shown in western media? This is exactly what the Sri Lankan government is doing and not taking legal action against channel 4.The president on several occasions has said he will do anything to defend the arm forces. It is time he takes action against channel 4.Not doing so will create doubts on many independent observers.

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