BBC’s never-stopping propagation of baseless lies: “UN reports 40,000 civilians killed by Sri Lanka”
Posted on November 14th, 2013

Asada M Erpini

A report in the media, dated 14 November, quotes BBC as saying, -UN estimates 40,000 civilians were killed in the last five months of the war-. BBC is obviously referring to the war of liberation that culminated on 19 May 2009.

The fact that there was never a UN report that gave the figures stated above clearly is irrelevant to BBC -” the once prestigious British institution that none would pay a tuppence today to watch, especially when it comes to its news broadcasts.

The UN Office in Colombo at the time said that it estimated that approximately 7000 civilians were killed in the final stages of the war, but did not release it as an official count of the dead as it had no way of verifying the figure.

A high level U.N. official responsible for humanitarian operations subsequently stated that the number dead in the months before the war that ended on May 18 was unclear. Furthermore, he disputed the 20,000 deaths in the final month that had been mentioned by The Times correspondent. The UN’s position as regards the number killed was, -It may be right, it may be wrong, it may be far too high, it may even be too low. But we honestly don-â„¢t know.” The official had added that the initial figure of 7,000 deaths had been far too questionable for official publication.

One of BBC-â„¢s previous correspondents Frances Harrison had said that she had spoken to many civilians and that over 40,000 civilians died in the last stages of the Eelam War IV war.

The 40,000 figure was something that was plucked out of thin air by the one-time UN employee Gordon Weiss. When he was based in Colombo the figure was 7000. The figure was quoted by Michelle Monas, UN General Secretary-â„¢s New York spokesperson, who added in response to a query by Inner City Press reporter Matthew Lee, “We have no way of knowing the exact count”.

The 7000 (questionable) total ballooned to 20,000 and by the time Gordon Weiss landed in Australia, it had got jacked up to 40,000. The figure of 40,000 had been quoted in the so-called UN report, which in fact was not in any way the data obtained by a UN sanctioned investigation: a group of three individuals, whose objectivity as far as Sri Lanka was concerned could be questioned, had been appointed by the UN Secretary to advise him. All the major anti-Sri Lanka media are quite ready to refer to the report as a UN Report although it never was the outcome of a decision by the UN Security Council or the UN General Assembly.

It is sad that BBC, which was a few decades ago regarded by many in the former British colonies as an objective and dependable source of information, is being driven by an agenda that probably is promoted by anti-Sri Lankan groups in the affluent countries.

8 Responses to “BBC’s never-stopping propagation of baseless lies: “UN reports 40,000 civilians killed by Sri Lanka””

  1. Sooriarachi Says:

    I totally agree with you Mr Erpini. Those who quote 40,000 as a figure estimated by the UN are either ignorant about the origin of this figure or are deliberately lying. BBC which boasts for investigative journalism, obviously must be knowing this is not a UN figure. Even the inventor of this figure Gordon Weiss himself had mentioned the figure could be 10,000 when he was challenged at his book launch in Australia. However, the Dharusman panel (which is a UNSG private advisory panel and NOT a UN panel) in order to satisfy those hostile to SriLanka, had preferred to mention 40,000, instead of the subsequent 10000 Gordon Weiss himself had mentioned. The bottom line is nobody counted the bodies and if there was an iota of truth the US aerial surveillance pictures would have revealed such large scale slaughter, but there is absolutely no such evidence. If one accepts the number of civilian deaths quoted by the Tamil doctors on duty at the Northern hospitals during this phase of the conflict, then, the number could be as low as 1500 or so and many of this too caused by deliberate shootings, suicide bombings etc by the Tigers when the hostages tried to escape to the safety of Sri Lankan soldiers.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    May a BOLT OF LIGHTENING strike off Ava-Mangala Samaraweera’s TREACHEROUS Head!

    With Politicians like this TREASONOUS snake, How can Sri Lanka survive?

    Hold credible probe or face consequences – UNP
    November 13, 2013, 10:37 pm

    The UNP yesterday warned that unless a credible local investigation was conducted into alleged accountability issues, there was the likelihood of the country having to face more international pressure. It also called for the abolitionof the 18th Amendement which it called a draconian piece of legislatiion.

    Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s official resident in Colombo, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera blamed the government for not doing enough to clear the country’s name. He said the government had to improve its human rights record without inviting further trouble.

    MP Samaraweera called upon Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma to step up pressure on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to adhere with the Commonwealth Charter.

  3. aloy Says:

    If David Cameron visited Udayan and sympathized with the owners then our President should cancel any separate meetings with him. There is no point meeting a liar who believes in Ch 4 information.

  4. S de Silva Says:

    This spurious story of 40,000 dead is never ending! WHY? Because GoSL talks and talks, denies and denies but the ONLY available legal remedy to this is to SUE Gordon Weiss (the father of this 40,000 figure) for LIBEL. But, Asada, we have utterly failed to do that and I am a bit sick and tired of repeatedly pointing this out ! Once when I raised this with someone having links to the GoSL, I was told “oh it will be very expensive and there are no funds for that!!” My response was that the ’War Project” should have had a Provisional Sum for this obvious contingency to deal with the political aftermath of the War. If not, from the goings on now, funding does not appear a big issue for this purpose…… When the GoSL refrains from due action all these accusations will continue forever and we will have to stop complaining – S de Silva – London.

  5. Ratanapala Says:

    If war crimes are to be investigated then it will have span to whole period of the war and not just the last few months. Fact of the matter is if this is done whole lot of unsavoury characters will get exposed including the Christian Church. This is why our politicians who are held back by the Christian Church gets tongue tied when it comes to war crimes in the South of the country.

    They have a right to point out the human rights abuses of Britain, America, Canada and even India. Diplomatic niceties aside they must come out defending Sri Lanka which they are not doing.

    When Cameron goes to Jaffna he only gets to see one side of the story. There should have been people from all over Sri Lanka who protest over the atrocities carried out by the LTTE over a period of nearly 30 years, at the behest of these unsavoury political powers.

  6. Marco Says:

    I recall you commenting on a number of occasions vis a vis legal action against CH4, Gordon Weiss etc.
    I believe the excuse of cost is a ruse to avoid the real reason – i read a Counsels opinion back in 2009/10 when legal action was considered against CH4 on the first Killing Fields video came out. There was doubt about the partiality and credibility of expert witnesses on the Govt side and more importantly high profile witnesses could be called for cross examination. The risk of losing the legal battle and ramifications and the aftermath thereafter would have been far worse and hence a robust denial campaign like the Lies Agreed Upon etc.
    Regrettably the accusations will continue with new videos ( or re-cycled) released at various opportune moments.
    I understand C4 released another one a few days ago about White Vans.
    President Rajapakse missed a golden opportunity soon after the LTTE terrorist was vanquished to set the country in the correct path.
    Unfortunately other issues like Corruption as never seen before, lack of the rule of law, governance, accountability, nepotism, religious tensions and more recently the farcical Chief Justice saga has been tagged along with the Human Rights issue.
    Apart from the recent interview i saw of Dr Chris Nonis for CNN, i havent seen anybody else manage the accusations well.
    It does not bode well and laughable when you see the “mad dog” of Parliament Azwar high jack a CHOGM press conference.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    We Patriots of Sri Lanka will ALWAYS Love & Protect President Mahinda Rajapaksa who rescued Sri Lanka’s hallowed crown from the GUTTER and placed it on our heads!

    What a Generation of Pusillanimous Political Pundits posing as National Leaders could not do this Great and Good man acheived with great skill and courage taking the Personal Risks that the others avoided.

    While others Piously Pontificated to the chorus of foreigners chanting the mantra of “Human Rights” and “Democracy” for the TERRORISTS blowing hundreds of thousands of people to bits, and slicing and dicing innocents in the dead of the night, this Courageous Man with the Heart of a Lion took up the sword on behalf of his hapless countrymen.

    He understood that innocent VICTIMS rights TRUMP those of pitiless MURDERERS!

    We have only to look at the UTTER CHAOS WITHOUT END that reigns today in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in world, despite, or because of, the failed bungled efforts of resource-rich superpowers, to appreciate the STUPENDOUS MAGNITUDE of the SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK that our President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Band of Brothers accomplished on a shoestring budget.

    We Patriots of Mother Lanka will NEVER ABANDON this Heroic Leader of Ours who SAVED COUNTLESS lives of our fellow citizens by his inspired leadership in our hour of DESPERATE NEED!

    Eternal Glory, in the Highest, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Band of Heroes!

    Rajapakase Seen As Hero At Home, Despite Foreign Critics

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Nov 16 (MD) COLOMBO- Mahinda Rajapakse may be a pariah for some of his Commonwealth peers, but for many of his fellow Sri Lankans he is a national hero who ended four decades of bloodshed.

    The combative Sri Lankan president has long battled allegations that his troops killed some 40,000 civilians in the closing stages of the island’s ethnic conflict which ended in May 2009.

    His refusal to countenance an international inquiry into alleged abuses at the end of the war has prompted the leaders of Canada, Mauritius and India to all stay away from this weekend’s Commonwealth summit in Colombo.

    Others who are attending, such as Britain’s David Cameron, are promising to have “tough conversations” with the 67-year-old Rajapakse.

    But for all the international criticism, Rajapakse’s popularity has stood firm back home among a population who endured 37 years of war before government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels once and for all.

    “People were getting killed for 30 years, at least after 2009 we have stopped it,” Rajapakse said in a typically unapologetic performance before the press in Colombo on Thursday.

    “There is no killing in Sri Lanka today.”

    Former Sri Lankan diplomat Dayan Jayatilleka says Rajapakse — who was overwhelmingly re-elected in January 2010 — still has no shortage of credit in the bank with the majority Sinhalese community after overseeing victory in what many had thought was an “unwinnable war”.

    Jayatilleka likened Rajapakse’s image to that of Vladimir Putin, who restored Russian pride and prestige by ending the war in Chechnya — even if there was also a heavy human cost.

    “Mahinda has the same kind of appeal as Putin. He has done something that none of his predecessors could,” said Jayatilleka, adding that he created a sense of patriotism among the majority.

    Ordinary Sri Lankans, questioned on the streets of Colombo, were quick to voice their support for Rajapakse even if they have less kind words to say about his government.

    “People are still grateful to him for ending the war,” company executive Nilantha Perera said. “He is seen as the man who defeated terrorism. He did the impossible.

    “Whatever his flaws in governance, many are willing to overlook all that. We are a grateful people.”

    Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella acknowledged that Rajapakse’s military success was still a strong draw at national elections.

    “I will vote for him any day because he won the war and stopped the daily bomb blasts we had to face for over 30 years,” Rambukwella told AFP. “People trust him. Ask the ordinary people. That is what is important to us.”

    The UN estimates that at least 100,000 people were killed in the fighting between 1972 and 2009, making it one of the longest and bloodiest ethnic conflicts of the 20th century.

    Rajapakse is widely regarded as an astute politician, managing to shift blame for corruption onto others in an administration which includes several of his brothers in senior positions.

    He has also been helped by a failure of the opposition to come up with a credible challenger.

    UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay is among the international voices who have accused Rajapakse of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

    But he strengthened his hold at his last electoral test in September, when he won two of the three provincial council contests. His only defeat was in the north, where the main Tamil party unsurprisingly won in Jaffna.

    Tamil politician Dharmalingam Sithadthan said increasing international criticism actually helped Rajapakse to consolidate his nationalist credentials.

    “He projects Western powers as the new enemy of the state and he is fighting them,” Sithadthan told AFP. “This has proved a very successful strategy.”

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Tamils here lead better life than those in TN, Basil tells foreign media.

    By Shamindra Ferdinando
    November 15, 2013

    Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to stop worrying about Sri Lankan Tamils who, he says, enjoy far better living conditions than those living in her state.

    Minister Rajapaksa pointed out the absurdity in CM Jayalalithaa’s much repeated concerns as regards the Tamil speaking people here, whereas the vast majority of her people lived in abject poverty.

    The soft-spoken minister was reacting to a foreign journalist, who waylaid him at the media centre at the BMICH. The minister was accompanied by Media Secretary Charitha Herath.

    A smiling Rajapaksa said that Sri Lankan Tamils were economically strong and experiencing post-war developments, therefore TN politicians should look after their own. The minister challenged the media to compare the situation in the Northern Province and that of Tami Nadu. Having pointed out that the people had been provided with water, electricity and housing, he urged the media to visit Jaffna to see the ground situation for themselves.When the same journalist queried the minister about the ongoing protest campaign in the Valigamam, in the Jaffna peninsula, targeting the government, an angry Rajapaksa said the people had the freedom to protest in Jaffna or any other part of the country. Recalling recent attack on Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu, the minister said the media should visit both the southern Indian state as well as the Northern part of Sri Lanka to examine the ground situation.

    Minister Rajapaksa told The Island that a section of the media was working at the behest of those undermining post-war stability here. He said that an influential section of the British media was spearheading a costly operation targeting Sri Lanka. In spite of their efforts, the government development project was on track, the minister said, urging the media not to turn a blind eye to post-war developments. The minister alleged that the LTTE rump had hired an expensive international propaganda outfit to spearhead the campaign against Sri Lanka.

    He stressed that whatever the media said about Sri Lanka, the masses knew they were safe today, but some people couldn’t stomach Sri Lanka’s victory over LTTE terrorism. Responding to a query, the Minister emphasized that India too, benefited from the eradication of the LTTE in May 2009. “The LTTE posed an immense threat to India, therefore the destruction of the LTTE was nothing but a necessity. We had the solid backing of many countries, including India and New Delhi knew what was happening. Tamil Nadu too, was aware of the campaign against the LTTE. The war was brought to an end a few days before parliamentary elections in India,” he said.

    The minister said that ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) would never have been a reality as long as the LTTE retained a conventional military capability. A gathering of over 50 heads of state or their representatives in Colombo was unthinkable a few years ago, the minister said, while recalling India positioning warships off Colombo during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 2008.

    Commenting on Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s decision to skip CHOGM 2013, Minister Rajapaksa it was a far bigger problem for India than Sri Lanka.

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