Sri Lanka: 40,000 killed, Haiti: 60,000 raped – Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics
Posted on April 9th, 2018

By Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune US National Correspondent Washington, D.C. 08 April (Courtesy 

Immediately after the end of the military battle in Sri Lanka in May 2009, the UN documents, compiled in Colombo in which Gordon Weiss was the senior official, estimated that approximately 7,000 unarmed Tamil civilians were killed during the final stage of the battle.

Gordon Weiss’s subsequently released book The Cage: The fight for Sri Lanka & Last Days of the Tamil Tigers the figure increased to 40,000.

UK’s Channel 4 in its documentary Killing Fieldcontinued with that 40,000 figure. And this figure has already gone into many American and Western official documents fed by the professional activists within the Tamil Diaspora.

In February, UK’s SUN newspaper carried a breaking story that that a bombshell U.N. dossier” found that United Nations aid workers had raped 60,000 people.

It began with an expose by The Times of Londonalleging that staff members from the charity Oxfam had paid earthquake survivors in Haiti for sex.

The Interpreter Magazine founded by the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan organization, dedicated to promote cooperation between the United States and Europe, exposing this canard confirmed that the figure was in fact 311 victims.

How 311 did went on to become 60,000 as much as Sri Lanka is still struggling to ascertain how a 7000-odd figure became 40,000.

There are three kinds of lies, goes the old saying popularized by Mark Twain: Lies, Damned Lies, and statistics.”

Quoting the above, The Interpreter Magazine’s investigative journalist Amanda Taub, she wrote on February 28 That’s been on my mind this month as I’ve watched a big scandal over aid workers’ sexual misconduct unfolding in the British press.”

British Parliamentarian Lord Michael Morris, Baron Naseby stated last November upon the research of classified military documents of the British government that the casualty figure of 40,000 civilians killed during the latter stage of the civil war in Sri Lanka was a guess made by the Darusman Commission set up by the UN to probe the civil war. Lord Naseby stated that the actual number of casualties during the final weeks of the war was approximately 7000.

On Haiti figures, the investigative journalist of The Interpreter Magazine states, That is a horrifying number. It is an attention-grabbing number. It is also more or less a made-up number. And it’s got me thinking about which stories get believed, how numbers can become a stand-in for rigor and objectivity, and how that can be a problem.”

The author of the document on Haiti’s sexual abuse and rape Andrew Mac Leod, a former United Nations employee said The Sun newspaper exaggerated his claims considerably.

The dossier,” Mr. MacLeod explained, wasn’t a leaked internal United Nations report. It was a two-page memo he had written for the British government long after he left the United Nations’ employ.

The terrifying numbers the memo cited were just rough guesses intended to hint at the scale of the problem, not actual measurements.

Take that estimate of 60,000 rapes, for instance. For one thing, it was actually an estimate of the number of victims of all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation, not just rape, he noted.

To arrive at that figure, Mr. MacLeod said, he started with a 2017 report in which the United Nations said it had recorded 311 victims of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers in the previous year. He then made a series of assumptions that led him from 311 reported cases to his headline-grabbing claim of 60,000. But those assumptions were little more than guesses, and Mr. MacLeod freely admits to The Interpreter Magazine he has no hard data to back them up.

The Interpreter reports: The first assumption was based on a remark by the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, that the problem of sexual abuse was probably worse on the civilian side of the organization than within the peacekeeping forces. Mr. MacLeod concluded that this meant there must be at least 312 victims of the non-peacekeeping staff — 311 plus 1 — but to keep his estimate” conservative, he put the number at 289, to arrive at an even 600 for the year. Needless to say, that kind of rounded guess based on an offhand statement is unlikely to be reliable.

From there, Mr. MacLeod estimated that only 10 percent of the assaults were actually recorded, a figure he said was based on reporting rates in the United Kingdom, to arrive at a figure of 6,000 victims annually. But because the United Nations doesn’t have good (or possibly any) data about the rate at which victims report assaults by its staff, there’s no way to know if that was the right multiplier to use.

Then, to arrive at an estimate for the decade, Mr. MacLeod assumed that 2016 was a representative year, so he multiplied 6,000 by 10.

Presto: 311 becomes 60,000.

Numbers, if trustworthy, are a way to make reporting more rigorous and objective, and to show that a story is based on cold hard facts rather than a handful of anecdotes. And when a number is big and splashy, like Mr. MacLeod’s 60,000 victims, it can make a point very powerfully, was the determination of The Interpret Magazine.

See if the following The Interpreter statement fits into the Sri Lankan 40,000 figure that has been used against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government, even after the authoritative statement by Lord Naseby in the British Parliament, doesn’t seem to have made any attempt to absolve the Sri Lankan military allowing the canard to globally disseminate leading to other issues such as devolution and federal constitution.

Here’s what The Interpreter state:

When people see a number in the paper or on a trusted news program, they tend to believe that it’s valid, especially if an expert is cited as the source. They don’t see an advocacy statement. They see rigor and objectivity, even if none actually exist. The result is that a number will often be taken much more seriously than an advocacy statement would be.

That’s all the more true if the story gets picked up by other news outlets. Mr. MacLeod, who has appeared on television and given other print interviews, seems to be everywhere. And the more he gets quoted, the more authoritative he seems to be.

The first problem with that, of course, is that the public is now under the mistaken impression that a reliable whistle-blower investigation has concluded that the United Nations is harboring thousands of predators, when in fact it was just a back-of-the-envelope sketch of the size of the problem. It’s entirely possible that the number of victims is much, much higher. It also might be much lower. We just don’t know.

Note: Gordon Weiss was in Sri Lanka from August 2007 – December 2009 (2 years 5 months). When he initially came up with the figure of ‘7,000 unarmed Tamil civilians were killed during the final stage of the battle,’ I called him on the telephone from Sweden, Where I was living at that time and challenged him. Immediately, he tendered unconditional apology and assured that he will correct, but to my dismay, when he left Sri Lanka, he became more timid to come up with his nonsensical, unsubstantiated account, – Editor, Asian Tribune .

– Asian Tribune –

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka: 40,000 killed, Haiti: 60,000 raped – Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


  2. RohanJay Says:

    Gordon Weiss is probably an intelligence asset of the Australian Govt. Which means he is also connected to the CIA and British Intelligence throught he five eyes.

    Which means they are connected to the UN as well. When I first heard Gordon Weiss figures back in 2009. I thought it was ludicrous figures.
    Also Gordon Weiss was in Sri Lanka from August 2007 -December 2009. This would make sense that he would be in Sri Lanka during that critical period when three year war was being waged this would fit the behaviour of a intenational intelligence operative who would probably ultimately answer or report back to his masters in either London, Washington DC or New York . I am sure many intelligence agents from all over the world were in Sri Lanka during this time as the terrorists were about to get defeated. When I visited in Sri Lanka in February I saw plenty of white UN marked Toyotas in Colombo! You hardly see any in Colombo these days. They looked very busy just as their terrorists were getting decimated in Sri Lanka back then.

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