Sri Lanka’s recent experiences with the UN and UNHRC
Posted on March 14th, 2014

Mahinda GunasekeraToronto, Canada

Sri Lanka’s recent experiences with the United Nations

Sri Lanka has been a member of the United Nations since December 1955 completing 58 years of membership in the world body.  Sri Lanka has made a noteworthy contribution towards the goals and ideals of the United Nations, especially in the areas of formulating UN Conventions on terrorism, Law of the Sea, GATT negotiations, disarmament, peacekeeping duties, several other areas of international concern and even presiding over the UN Security Council in 1960 during the U-2 spy plane crisis.  Sri Lanka has at all times honored the UN’s aims and principles, and in turn expects the UN body to uphold her rights as an equal member of this international organization.

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Actions of UN Officials that have soured Sri Lanka’s relations with the UNO

The first thing that comes to mind is the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the UN in calling on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) designated as an international terrorist movement as per the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 of September 2001, in calling on the LTTE to desist from abducting thousands of children and conscripting them into their fighting forces to be used as storm troopers or suicide bombers.  The LTTE not only deprived them of their childhood, the love and care of parents and family members, and opportunities for schooling, but brainwashed them into child killers who set upon non-Tamil people in remote villages while they slept, killing adults and infants alike using guns and machetes in order to strike fear and drive them out of areas sought for their mono-ethnic racist separate state of Tamil “Eelam”.

The LTTE made a mockery of the pledges given to the UN Secretary General’s own Rapporteur on child soldiers, Mr. Olara Otunnu, and also to UNICEF about the release of child soldiers. The Tigers took Rupees 30 million from UNICEF to construct a halfway house where the released child soldiers would be looked after by Unicef pending final release of the children to the respective families, and instead built a few low cost semi-permanent structures and pocketed the excess funds. They made an initial token release of about 35 children, but abducted more the very next day showing utter contempt for the UN and their pledged undertaking.  To add to this slap in the face, it was strange to have Kofi Annan, UNSG, sending a message of sympathy to the families of Kausalyan and other Tamil Tigers killed in an ambush by the breakaway Tamil group. It was especially shocking because Kausalyan who was the Tiger head in the east and a close associate of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was faithfully carrying out the leader’s orders including the forcible recruitment of children.  No such messages of condolence were received when members of Sri Lanka’s security forces or political establishment were gunned down by the Tigers.

Coming to more recent times, we have the blatantly partial acts on the part of the UNSG, Ban ki-Moon and the head of the UNHRC, Navaneethan (Navi) Pillay who are using their office to selectively target countries in support of moves by western governments.  The western powers that had to divest control over their former colonies continue to exert pressure on countries that follow independent policies to bring about regime change, and plant stooges who could be maneuvered to back their agendas of controlling strategic geopolitical assets and valued resources in their attempts to dominate the world.  

Ban ki-Moon who visited Sri Lanka immediately after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009 was flown over the final battleground along with foreign media personnel in northeast Sri Lanka, when he described the scene as the most appalling scene that he had ever witnessed.  He was unaware, that the Tamil Tigers who were making their final stand had set fire to their sensitive and incriminating documents and other material at this spot, and also used their stockpile of bombs to destroy their remaining buses and trucks, resulting in an inferno which burnt for three days and nights with smoke rising up to the skies. This wrong assumption on the part of the UNSG was published by the foreign media giving the impression that the Sri Lankan Forces (SLF) had indiscriminately shelled and aerial bombed the place disregarding the presence of any civilians. The SLF had abandoned the use of heavy weapons and air strikes from the third week of April 2009 and engaged in an infantry operation to take out the remnants of the LTTE with minimum harm to any civilians still held by the Tigers. As a result of fighting with hand held weapons, the SLF lost between 55-60 percent of their total killed in action of nearly 6,000 men to unrestricted Tiger shelling and their use of heavy weapons against the lightly armed security forces in the latter stages, before finally overcoming the LTTE on the 19th of May 2009.

The UNSG most likely influenced by the western funded rights groups, western powers and the remnants of the LTTE rump domiciled in western countries (who quickly transformed into HR activists sitting on a huge pile of illicitly gathered loot), decided to take action on his own on Sri Lanka an equal member of the UN.  He proceeded to appoint a Panel of so called Experts from outside the UN to report on the last stages of Sri Lanka’s military action to eliminate terrorism, rescue Tamil civilians held as a human shield and restore the Right to Life of all of her 22 million citizens, focusing on just the last five months of a 33 year conflict ended on May 19, 2009. This action was taken by the UNSG without the sanction of the UNGA, the Security Council or UNHRC, violating the Charter and exceeding his authority.  Ban ki-Moon selected persons who had publicly declared their antipathy to Sri Lanka such as Darussman and Steven Ratner for his panel.  The panel takes up information from one side of the conflict which is obviously a prejudiced source and comes up with what they term as “credible allegations” including guesstimates of civilian deaths repeating the fibs of Gordon Weiss and the ICG of tens of thousands said to be around 40,000. The panel which conducted its hearing in New York stated that none of the allegations have been proven, and also that it does not meet the high standards of a UN report, and further goes on to lock away the evidence presented to them for the next 20 years.  To add insult to injury, Ban ki-Moon causes the panel’s report to be leaked, although it was intended purely for his own guidance in dealing with similar situations in the future, and not meant for worldwide publication.

Prof. Phillip Alston and Prof. Christof Heyns both of whom in the capacity of UN Special Rapporteurs  on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings entrusted with verifying the validity or authenticity of the Channel  4’s video titled ‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ did a ludicrous job in their selection of video technology and forensic experts needed for the task.  Journalist Hassina Leelarathna of San Francisco has studied the background data of the so called experts most of whom lack specialist knowledge and have a poor track record, and calls it a ‘forensic hoax’.  Hassina’s article can be accessed at the following link: http://srilankausa.weebly.com/un–forensics-hoax.htmlWanting to pursue their mission of bringing war crimes charges against Sri Lankan authorities, Special UN Rapporteur Philip Alston and his successor Christof Heyns commissioned four US-based forensic specialists on two separate occasions to validate the disputed video.  While Sri Lankan officials and experts have called the video a fake, all four experts they commissioned ended up telling the UN officials what they wanted to hear — that it appears authentic, with no alterations. Appears authentic is far from authentic, and does not give sufficient reasons for these rapporteurs to confirm authenticity at UNHRC which they did.

Brief descriptions of the UN Special Rapporteur’s experts’ are as follow:

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Dr. Daniel Spitz ” ‘Doc Hollywood’ : “The man to call to give you the results you need.” 
Spitz’s botched autopsy earned mention in a yearlong investigation conducted by ProPublica in partnership with PBS’ Frontline.  The ProPublica report noted:  “[A] doctor in a suburb of Detroit autopsied the body of a bank executive pulled from a lake ”” and managed to miss the bullet hole in his neck and the bullet lodged in his jaw.”

If Dr. Spitz has failed in at least two known instances to determine cause of death when examining a physical body, how reliable is his testimony regarding death captured on a cell phone camera?

Grant Fredericks: “No training in photogrammetry and no more expertise in the science of making measurements by use of photographs than the average layperson.”

Mr. Grant Fredericks – A ‘forensic video expert’ caught lying in a scandalous police cover-up in a Canadian courtroom where a new Polish immigrant with disabilities was shot with a taser gun by the border police at the Vancouver airport causing his death.

Jeffrey S. Spivack: The UN Special Rapporteur’s report describes Mr Spivack as “formerly a Forensic Multimedia Analyst with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), and a calibration laboratory specialist for the US Air Force. He is a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute, is a Certified Forensic Consultant, and has been qualified as an expert witness on forensic video analysis in courts throughout the US.”

A check with LVMPD into Mr. Spivack’s tenure with that police department revealed that he worked there for just 8 months during 2008-2009!  Click Here for a description of  his job responsibilities.  As for being a ‘Certified Forensic Consultant,’ ACFE and several colleges confer the certification after a very minimal online study process.  ACFE’s website states “This certification course is available to any one with the desire to further educate themselves.”  Payment of $495 gets you into an online self-study course that promises to “prepare and educate you on the following tasks:”

Peter Diaczuk: Firearms Specialist

 UN’s Forensic Experts

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Clearly, the UN Special Rapporteurs had no concern for the professional abilities or integrity of their ‘experts’ since they were looking for people who were career ‘expert witnesses,’ who would give them the answer they sought.  The two have abused their authority and perpetrated a ‘forensic hoax.’

The descrepancies in the main segment relating to the extra-judicial killings has been questioned by video technology experts.   Experts hired by both the UN as well as the Sri Lankan government, i.e. Grant Fredericks and Siri Hewavitharne respectively, have stated that it has been filmed with a video camera and not a mobile phone as originally intimated by Channel 4, and that it has been digitally altered with more than one video layer being present.  Channel 4 initially stated that these summary killings had taken place in January 2009, and now claim that it had happened in May 2009, whereas the inscribed date on the video is UTC 2009-07-15 13:17:23 which is after the war ended on May 18, 2009.  Also, Jon Snow concludes that the perpetrators are government soldiers as they are wearing Sri Lanka Army uniforms and supposedly speaking some meaningless Sinhala words in the background, and that the victims are captured Tamil Tiger cadres, without identifying a single person.  The experts have concluded that the Sinhala sounds appear to have been later dubbed, and that the voice recording together with 17 frames are not synchronized with the rest of the video.  In fact a second video has been found where the gunmen speak clear Tamil words which are directly related to the action taking place, making it more than likely that the perpetrators are Tamil Tiger cadres masquerading as Sri Lanka Army soldiers dressed in army uniforms which came into their possession when they previously overran army camps, vide http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohI3CSD4neM .  This video has been made by the Tamil Tigers of their execution of captive Sri Lanka soldiers which has subsequently been doctored to frame the Sri Lankan forces. It had been carried in a Tamil website (since deleted),  i.e. www.pulligal.blogsite.com , as far back as November 2008. The original video saved in Facebook is sent in attachment.

 The Facebook video choreographs, in perfect unison, to the voices in the background: And, all dialogs are in Tamil, the native-language of the terrorist outfit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (1). Translating from the Tamil dialog in the video, the group describes some parts of the dialog video-recorded during the apparent shootings of “POW’s”: The person who orders the apparent killings in the video says, “Blindfold”, “Bring the next man” “Remove the boots” and, “Are you taking the photos?” (2), all in the Tamil language.

A Tamil asylum seeker (Tamil migrant may have taken part in shooting of soldiers, hearing told  – Global News ) who arrived in Canada on the ‘MV Sun Sea’ admitted to have been one of the LTTE fighters who had been asked to shoot and kill Sri Lankan soldiers held captive towards the end of the war, per news report of 4/19/2011 by Doug Quan in the Postmedia News.

Unlike the UN’s so called experts with questionable track records and qualifications well below what one expects of such forensic experts, Sri Lanka engaged qualified experts able to analyze and provide valid explanations to dispute veracity of the video arbitrarily authenticated by the UN’s experts despite serious flaws cited by them. Brief data relating to the Sri Lankan experts:

Siri Hewavitharana, an internationally renowned expert in broadcast video systems and Executive Director IPTV Systems Australia. He was the former Head of Cisco’s global broadcast and digital video practice and prior Head of Systems Engineering for Star TV Hong Kong. (Further analyzing the Channel 4 Videos, he found a video grab that shows a boy’s head blown off and a pool of blood nearby which is clearly a fake. Hewavitharana said he isolated pixel mapping to indicate pixels that have been manipulated using a digital paint brush to show blood. There is a whole fake pixel line from the neck up.)
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Mr. Siri Hewavitharana

Dr. De Silva, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering and director of the Centre for Instructional Technology at the University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka).

Major A.P Bandara of the Media Centre for National Security; and

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe of the Army’s Signals Corps.  

Gordon Weiss the UN spokesperson in Colombo who was obviously sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers who estimated a total of 7,000 deaths from September 2008 to the end of April 2009 has played a villainous role in trying to demonize Sri Lanka.  Even the figure of 7,000 deaths estimated by him was rejected by Sir John Holmes the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs as unreliable due to the UN not having a presence on the ground.  This number has been arrived at by reports received from the 240 members of the UN’s local Tamil staff who were not released by the LTTE, the Catholic clergy who were supportive of the Tiger’s separatist goals, and other doctors who served in the LTTE controlled areas who later admitted that they had been forced to give false information under threat from the Tigers.  Weiss with an eye to personal profit later went on to publish a book titled ‘The Cage’ to be sold to the million strong Tamil diaspora, where he inflated the number of civilian deaths to be in the tens of thousands, padding it up from 10,000 to 40,000. On his being later questioned  at a book launch in Canberra, he had rolled back the number to 10,000 and claimed the higher number was a printer’s error making him to be known as an ‘unreliable witness’.

Also, the tale of the much hyped Food Convoy Number 11 of about the 20th of January, 2009, where two UN security personnel (retired Bangladeshi military officer and a Canadian Tamil) had accompanied it without the prior authority of the Resident Representative, Neil Buhne, to try and negotiate the release of the UN’s local staff held by the LTTE.  They had camped at a spot in Mullativu which they assumed to be within the ‘safe zone’ declared by the Sri Lanka Army.  The Army on being notified of the presence of the UN personnel, immediately abandoned hostile operations in the region.  The UN officers had experienced heavy shelling through the night which resulted in some 23 civilians who came to spend the night in the vicinity of the UN staff bunker being killed.  Having spent the night in their bunker, t hey once again assumed that the shelling was directed by the army which they relayed to Gordon Weiss, who in turn passed on this information to UN headquarters and rights groups such as the ICG, giving rise to the allegation of indiscriminate shelling of UN food distribution compounds by the Sri Lankan forces.  On the UN Security officer later being questioned along with his supervisor Chris du Toit in Colombo at Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Disaster Management, (refer blogsite of Rajiva Wijesinha) the Bangladeshi security officer could only recall having identified some shells coming from the Tiger positions. Much damage has been done by these UN security officers undertaking unauthorized missions into the battlefront and giving this bogus information hurriedly reached to the ‘unreliable witness ‘ Gordon Weiss.

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Navi Pillay,  the High Commissioner for Human Rights who is a South African of Indian Tamil descent comes from a South African community which has raised funds for the Tamil Tigers and even operated military training camps, which were ordered to be dismantled by President Nelson Mandela at the request of Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar.  Her actions tend to be influenced by the views of major western powers which still selectively follow their ‘divide and conquer’ agendas that exploit ethnic, religious and other differences to weaken or even break up nations in the guise of extending democratic freedoms and human rights. In the case of Sri Lanka, her bias is apparently linked to her Indian Tamil roots that induced her community in South Africa to fund the Tamil Tiger terrorists or even arrange secret military camps to throw in their lot to fight alongside the LTTE in pursuit of a separate state of Tamil “Eelam” to be carved out of Lanka’s sovereign territory. As an official of an international body reviewing aspects of a conflict involving Sri Lanka and the militant Tamils designated as a terrorist movement by the UN Security Council, she should have been wise enough to recuse herself to avoid criticism of her highly assertive and biased role.  She fails to recognize that she is merely a paid official of an international body required to assist member nations in complying with international laws which have been adopted within the ambit of the collective decisions of member countries, and not act as the Viceroy empowered to whip subjects into place.

Navi Pillay called for an ‘independent and credible international investigation’ as far back as May 26, 2009, just one week following the defeat of terrorism at the 11th Special Session of the UNHRC without any basis, probably going on rumour and hearsay. She was perhaps relying on the story in the UK Sunday Times where Jeremy Page overflying the last battle scene at Vellimullivaikkal in Northeast Sri Lanka in the aircraft carrying the UNSG and other foreign journalists estimated a total of 20,000 civilian deaths. She has repeated her call for an international probe  at each and every subsequent session of the UNHRC, citing other flawed reports such as that of the UNSG’s POE, and fake videos of Channel 4 which used material supplied by Tamilnet, the LTTE’s propaganda unit, and other Tamil Tiger supporters which had been staged or fabricated to frame Sri Lanka. In her latest report, she has exceeded powers mandated to her and gone outside the boundaries of the previous Resolution 22/1 which confined itself to the framework of the LLRC.  Sri Lanka has pointed out that her recommendations  are in contravention of the rules of procedure governing the conduct of the Council as stipulated in General Assembly Resolution 60/251 and HRC Resolutions 5/1 and 5/2.

Pillay paid a visit to Sri Lanka in 2013 and was allowed to travel to any place and meet with anyone of her choice. Having preconceived notions and an apparent bias against Sri Lanka, she was bent on picking holes and giving the highest credence to a few agitators and rabblerousers she encountered.  She has attempted to mislead the members by painting a false picture and laying blame on the soldiers for risks to women and girls citing rape, whereas only 18 soldiers have been convicted out of a total of 504 charges of rape in the northern province in the last 5 years, for which they have been dealt with by the courts and further court martialled by the military. No mention is made of the military demining almost 70 percent of the 6,200 sq. km. of land contaminated with landmines and IEDs planted by the LTTE to open the land for resettlement, engaging in the construction of homes for the IDPs, building roads, irrigation reservoirs/channels, schools, carrying out repairs to places of worship and providing a host of other community needs.  She has downplayed the achievements in the areas of resettling 295,873 Tamil IDPs, rehabilitating nearly 11,800 former LTTE combatants including 594 child soldiers and releasing them to society with new life skills, and putting in place infrastructure valued at over $3 billion that has helped the conflict affected area to register a 27 percent growth as against 7.2 percent for the rest of the country. . Some recommendations were so intrusive, that they violated the sovereign rights of the Sri Lankan state in dealing with matters of an internal nature.

I would dare Navi Pillay to visit Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. where hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been displaced,with ongoing sectarian violence, to find out the situation directly from the affected people living under dire circumstances following intervention by western powers.   Does she have any solution for the over 26 million people living in sub-standard refugee camps awaiting asylum, with nearly 12 million of them having remained there without  any hope?

Mahinda Gunasekera

Toronto, Canada

March 14, 2014

 

One Response to “Sri Lanka’s recent experiences with the UN and UNHRC”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Navi Pee-Illey is a TAMIL RACIST.

    She only cares about Tamil racists. Iraqis, Afghans, etc. are no concerns for the TAM-ILL woman.

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