Channel-4 video a fake’– Video forensic analyst‏
Posted on June 16th, 2011

By Amjad Saleem

The recently telecast Channel 4 documentary on “ƒ”¹…”Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ sheds no new light (despite claims to the contrary), in terms of groundbreaking evidence, regarding the incidents related to the end of the war in Sri Lanka.
If anything, it will seek to entrench already hardened attitudes and decrease the ever reducing space for dialogue and reconciliation.
From the government’s perspective, it will seek to discredit the documentary as fake as it feeds into the insecurity that it surrounds itself with, of a perception that the west has been influenced by a highly successful pro LTTE lobby.
The end result will be the securing of its “ƒ”¹…”credibility’ especially as a “ƒ”¹…”victim of an external conspiracy’ consequently rallying the people’s sympathy, thereby making any genuine attempt to hold the government accountable for anything fruitless.
On the other side, for the pro LTTE lobby (largely represented by their supporters in the UK, US and Canada) this will be a “ƒ”¹…”vindication’ of their claims regarding the Government and its conduct of the war, thereby serving to boost their movement and support whilst ignoring the part that they have played in fund raising and supporting the LTTE (despite the proscription of the LTTE as a terrorist group).
has been helped by a fairly sympathetic media (angered at being excluded from the front lines by the Sri Lankan Government) which so far has tended to focus on the government’s part in the end of the war rather than also holding these representatives in the West, accountable for the crimes committed by the LTTE.
It is this decrease in the space to explore mutual understandings that lie at the heart of most people’s disapproval of moves like Channel 4 or the UN to talk about War Crimes. At the end of the day, the repercussions will not be felt by the Diaspora in the Global North or even by the Government. It will be felt by the ordinary people in Sri Lanka who have to live with the consequences. For those of us who are active in trying to work on post conflict reconciliation, it is not about defending the indefensible. We are not here to deny or justify abuses.
War is never just or civil, even when it is fought against a proscribed terrorist organisation. There is no excuse for abuses to be meted out. But the question remains how, who and when should accountability take place? Is it when the wounds are still fresh or is it when there has been enough time for healing to have taken place?
Equally when accountability is demanded it has to be done against all responsible and for all crimes. Whilst blame is very often vociferously laid at the feet of the Sri Lankan government for its actions, nothing is said with the same intensity about the atrocities committed by the LTTE such as: the ethnic cleansing of 100,000 Muslims from the north (who still live in refugee camps today in the north west of Sri Lanka, with no one voicing any concern about them); the assassination of key political and intellectual leaders (of all ethnicities) or the forcible recruitment of child soldiers.
The reports do not carry any discussion of how the LTTE combatants mingled with civilians and forcibly conscripted them to fight in the final stages, as has been documented in an interview given by a former Tamil National Parliamentarian who was trapped inside the war zone during this period.
This former Member of Parliament said that he saw people being shot and killed by the LTTE. No explanation is given about the fact that during the heaviest of fighting, the LTTE also moved its heavy artillery positions near the no fire zones and within the hospital compounds and used them. The Tamils who objected to this move were brutally shot dead which has been corroborated by the war victims and even former LTTE cadres and can be viewed on You Tube.
Nor do they discuss the phenomenon that Mark Meadow’s 2010 book “ƒ”¹…”Tea Time with Terrorists’, describes of how former LTTE fighters have explained LTTE tactics such as “LTTE cadres dressing up in Sri Lankan army uniforms, then firing at unarmed civilians to put false blame on the army”.
The truth of the matter is that the conflict in Sri Lanka is not black and white. The truth is somewhat blurred in between. Unfortunately, in the midst of this flurry of interest once again in what happened in Sri Lanka in 2009, the real discussion is becoming sidelined, for whilst it is important to look at the past, it is vital that an eye is placed towards the future at all levels, not just political. How can Sri Lanka learn from the mistakes of the past that sidelined the minorities and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians? Successive governments have always hid behind the pretext of winning the war and defeating the LTTE militarily without addressing some of the fundamental key issues concerning minorities.
Now with the defeat of the LTTE, there is a real opportunity to address the legitimate grievances of the minorities to ensure that the country is not subject to a repeat of the conflict ever again. The questions becomes, how can Sri Lanka, despite more than sixty years of independence, develop a constitutional framework that will satisfy the aspirations of all its citizens and deliver an environment of peace and harmony? Moreover at a grass roots levels, how can people work towards reconciliation between polarised communities (growing increasingly suspicious of each other thereby encouraging inward looking clannish tendencies) and ensure an environment of peace, justice and equity that can hold politicians accountable for good governance? Like it or not, it is at the grass roots level where ideologies take root and prosper or fester and also where consequences are felt, either way.
Those involved in conflict resolution and peace building will often talk about a period of healing in order for accountability to take place.
The Bloody Sunday acknowledgement by the British Government took 38 years after a 12 year investigation.
Poland and Germany still have strained relations incurred during the Second World War. The period of healing for Sri Lanka is still in a baby stage of 2 years yet is not being addressed. As it stands it is doubtless felt that such endeavours will in fact damage efforts being undertaken to achieve reconciliation.
What is critical for Sri Lanka is the rebuilding of trust which can only be rebuilt when a space is created for effective dialogue and understanding. Rebuilding trust is about honouring unity and celebrating diversity, working towards equity and justice and ensuring the eradication of social prejudices in building a collective identity. Sri Lanka needs the space for this to happen. It needs time for its people to go through the healing process. Its people need to come up with their own locally developed solutions.
Transparency, accountability and social justice are the pillars of a mature democratic society. Sri Lanka’s journey is still very early in trying to achieve this, but nevertheless it has started. Accountability will come in time once people are ready to not allow the past to become a ball and chain for the future.
The release of this documentary and other reports provides unwarranted distraction from the main issues that the government (and any government in a post conflict country) should be held accountable for including: steps taken towards reconciliation, stemming the rising cost of living, tackling corruption and trying to ensure law and order. By demanding it from outside, it also abrogates responsibility from all the stakeholders at all levels within Sri Lanka to ensure that seeds are planted at the grass roots that will not fester into another conflict. This is possibly the biggest disservice we do to those people who died (on both sides) of the conflict for something they believed in or were forced into due to other’s selfishness.
Amjad Saleem was previously the Sri Lankan country director of British based NGO Muslim Aid, where he oversaw post tsunami and post conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. He was at the fore front of relief efforts for the current crisis which saw 300,000 people being displaced as the war came to an end in Sri Lanka. Amjad is currently consulting with the Congress of Religions and The Methodist Church in Sri Lanka to establish an Interfaith Coalition for Peace to undertake practical projects using spirituality as a resource for reconciliation and rehabilitation.

4 Responses to “Channel-4 video a fake’– Video forensic analyst‏”

  1. geoff Says:

    Good work Mr Amjad Saleem. Peace be with you. Your group has done well in UK in many well organised projects.

  2. radha Says:

    Information is emerging that the Channel-4 video broadcast has been used by LTTE supporting diaspora to sway the British courts to block the deportation of illegal Tamil immigrants back to SLK. Channel-4 was originally set up to support the interests of so called minorities in UK. It may well be that the video has been produced by the Tamils who wants to set up an Eelam in UK with illegal immigrants and wants to hoodwink British courts carrying out its duties. Beware Home Office, Channel-4’s collusion with LTTE diaspora.

    Funding this work by LTTE backers, and Channel-4 support through terrorist sympathizers in Channel 4 (masquerading as minorityu rights groups) need no elaboration. Recycling cocncoted images through Channel-4 has been perfectly timed with the intention of blocking the planeload of illegal Tamil immigrants leaving British air space. It is said, that after the broadcast three of the intended deportees were allowed to stay. This deportation issue could well be the tactical objective of the video broadcast while keeping the long term strategic objective of sabotaging the hard won peace and prosperity of Sri Lanka.

  3. Vis8 Says:

    Despite the usual ‘announcements’ against Sri Lanka by the western politicians and media, who are obliged to the financial support from these terrorists who have conveniently used fabrications to gain “refugee status” in the greener pasteurs of the west, the Britsh govt finally appears to have learnt who these wolves in sheeps clothing are. The first batch of terrorists have been deported.

    Like in Canada, where these terrorists paid “campaign money” (aka terror money) to bribe politicians along with promised votes, they have gained temporary sympathy, but their true colors are beginning to show…. They colonize in suburban towns in Toronto, and eventually will feel “discriminated” by the very western people who helped them, and will clamor for a ‘separately governed’ townships…… and will go on with separatist demands. Not long ago, these people publicly clamored “discrimination’ against a Canadian politician, just because the politician had disagreed with them.

    Recently, one of these terrorists got allvotes from her fellows to be elected to the Canadian parliament. The first act she brought to the Canadian parliament was to “invesitgate Sri Lanka”. – just shows what the hidden aganda of these terrorists. Canada will soon learn…. but it cannot escape from these terrorists many have now made Canada their home. Terrorism will raise its ugly head in Canada, Australia and the EU, but never again in Sri Lanka, thanks to our forces.

  4. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Thank you Mr Saleem for an unbiased analysis of the Sri Lankan situation.
    It is now well past time for the West, the UN and the so called human rights groups controlled by the Western nations, to have taken action against the Tamil Tiger Diaspora for crimes against humanity over a period of 30 years, by virtue of the fact that they gave material and moral help to the LTTE terrorists to carry out their crimes against the people of SriLanka. If this happens then a number of politicians in the West, as well as members of certain NGOs, too could get roped in for assisting them knowingly.

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