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It's war crimes stupid!

The British media has done it again! Channel 4, which is blatantly hostile to Sri Lanka and partial to the LTTE, has found 'evidence of war crimes' in Sri Lanka––a video footage of a naked civilian being shot dead by a person who looks like a Sri Lankan soldier.

This footage said to be a handout from a collective of 'journalists' from Sri Lanka is being bandied about as solid evidence of war crimes, which Britain, the US and the EU failed to charge Sri Lanka with at a recent UNHRC special session.

It is intriguing that Channel 4 did not care to check the video clip's authenticity before beaming it across the globe and tarnishing Sri Lanka's image. One is reminded of a widely circulated picture that the LTTE released in the aftermath of Prabhakaran's death. It showed a smiling Prabhakaran watching his own corpse on TV, while holding a newspaper. The message the LTTE sent out with that picture was that its leader was alive and kicking and the government's claim that he had been killed was a lie. This newspaper debunked the LTTE's claim by publishing the original picture––of Prabhakaran with Anton Balasingham––which LTTE propagandists had doctored by deleting Balasingham and inserting a TV set and some furniture. A week later none other than KP admitted that Prabhakaran was dead!

LTTE propagandists are quite adept at doctoring pictures. The man in it may be an LTTE cadre in an army uniform massacring dissidents or even an LTTE actor playing the role of a soldier. There are thousands of such cock-and-bull videos doing the rounds on the Net and only the naïve take them seriously. The most pertinent question to be raised in this regard is whether any filming would have been allowed, if war crimes had been perpetrated in the Vanni.

Technology is so advanced today that we could even produce a short film where 'Miliband' or 'Kouchner' shoots naked men in the back of their heads against the backdrop of streets strewn with dead bodies.

The British government, it may be recalled, stands accused of having 'sexed up' dossiers on Iraq and WMDs by way of a casus belli. So, it is not surprising that the British media has suddenly got hold of a video footage said to have been done in January this year to back the Brown government's anti-Sri Lankan campaign. What on earth took them so long to find that 'evidence'?

A British newspaper once published some pictures of the war zone taken by one of its photographers from a Sri Lanka Air Force chopper days after the final offensive, claiming they were irrefutable evidence of war crimes by the Sri Lanka Army. Would the SLAF have ever flown a group of journalists over the scene of the final battle, if the Sri Lanka military had had anything to hide there? Strangely, the British media has conveniently dropped the issue.

Now that Channel 4 has gone to town on 'evidence of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka', the onus is on it to prove that the video footage in question is authentic and the perpetrator in it is a real Sri Lankan soldier and the victim a Tamil civilian.

Why the British media has suddenly woken up to Sri Lanka's 'war crimes' again is not difficult to see. The EU is scheduled to decide on the renewal of Sri Lanka's GSP Plus concession soon and attempts being made in some quarters to have that facility scrapped are doomed to fail as cases against Sri Lanka presented by some NGOs are seriously flawed. The anti-Sri Lanka forces are looking for fresh evidence to bolster their campaign. The video footage at issue is their latest weapon against Sri Lanka. Unfortunately for them, their war crime project has a foundation of sand!


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