Following the broadcast of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ on the 14th of June and its public release – for seven days – on Channel 4’s website, there has been an overwhelming international reaction to what has been described as ‘brutal,’ ‘horrific’ and ‘shocking’ footage of war crimes.

In an effort to collate the reportage following the release of the documentary, we have created a bundle that features the most significant news reports, blogs, comments and videos by international networks, which have been published on the web over the last few days. We have clipped several sources that include responses by ambassadors, civil servants and soi-disant advisors to the government.

The news agencies featured in the bundle include the Guardian, New Statesman, Independent, Telegraph, Hindu, Hindustan Times, International Business Times and numerous other sources including leading blogs from Sri Lanka.

Groundviews will continue to curate the bundle and upload new reports as soon as they are published. Please note that each clip in the bundle features a quote from a news report or blog post. The full article, video or podcast can be accessed by clicking the title featured on each clip. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed of our curated news bundle by clicking here.

  • Fernando De Silva

    I believe the Channel 4.

    The execution of the bounded and naked Tamil prisoners by Sri Lanka Army Soldiers was authenticated by four experts: forensic pathologist Daniel Spitz, forensic video-analyst Jeff Spivack, firearms-evidence expert Peter Diaczuk and forensic-video expert Grant Fredricks.

    Rajapaksa Regime argues that the Channel 4 execution footage was debunked by experts; unfortunately the sole expert cited is a Sri Lankan-Australian, Siri Hewavitharana, described in the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry website as ‘one of the world’s leading experts on digital video systems’.

    However most us believe four experts cited by Channel 4 seem more credible than the regime’s sole authority. Channel 4 footage looks, sounds (the Sinhala voices in the background, the terminology used) and feels horrifyingly real to me. Just watching it is a searing experience.

    The Sri Lanka Army atrocities have been horrendous..

    The mere thought that this barbarity could have been committed by the Sri Lankan army, and in the name of all Sinhalese, is an undying shame and an unbearable burden.

    The Channel 4 footage ,and the accusations it levels, is a political and moral-ethical millstone around our collective necks.

    The charge that Sri Lankan soldiers tortured, raped and executed Tamil prisoners is echoing round the world and will return to haunt us, even years from now.

    • yapa

      Those four names do not change the picture even a bit. We are not insensitive to the unfortunate incidents if happened to whoever it is. However, those names do not add an additional peck of evidence to show that at least it was done in Sri Lanka or done by GOSL soldiers. What is the possibility that the LTTE or some other interested party create a such video or it is really an act by the LTTE. LTTE which trained suicide bombers to blow up themselves, and killed 600 surrendered Policemen is quite capable of ding so. There are enough evidence to believe there is interested parties with required expertise to make shams of more subtlety. No one thought there would not be Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, before it was invaded by the NATO forces. What was the ultimate result of “much Authentic Reports” of WMD of the best experts of the world?

      Experts are also humans viable to errors and bendable for benefits.

      Thanks!

      • yapa

        Can those experts eliminate the possibility of executions shown in the video(if really happened)were done by LTTE or any other militant group or group of actors other that SLA to say it was done by SLA?

        [No ad hominem comments]

        Thanks!

  • Velu Balendran

    What’s gone wrong with the normally noisy comments column?
    Guys ‘n gals are on vacation, are they?

    • Off the Cuff

      Velu Balendran,

      Nothing wrong Velu. I for one is horrified, not by the old execution video which to me appears staged and has an unprovable location (could even be Tamil Nadu), but by the horrific pictures of naked LTTE women.

      That said, the CH4 50 minute documentary is unique as I could not observe a SINGLE LTTE CADRE IN LTTE UNIFORM within the Hospital precincts or outside. If there were any, it escaped my attention. Haw many can you count and at what locations?

      The LTTE was short of fighters and was known to have pressed all able bodied men, including children, into fighting. It was also known to have pressed the less healthy in to supporting the fighters.

      It was strange to see so many able bodied injured Tamil men in civilian clothing but none in LTTE fatigues. The video footage on the LTTE side is usually done by the Truth Tigers.

      Here is a report about them.
      The extraordinary story of the camera crews who record the bloody exploits of the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. Mark Corcoran meets the cameramen and women who’ve routinely put their lives on the line recording the pitch battles between the Tigers and Government troops. They call themselves the Truth Tigers but their stock in trade is propaganda. The 120-strong Truth Tiger unit has lost 51 camera operators and more than 100 seriously wounded. Every Tiger unit of 100 fighters is accompanied by two Truth Tigers Channel 4 used these LTTE propaganda videos.
      http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s553001.htm

      This 50 minute (so called) documentary splices in govt UAV footage but takes care not to show how the Tamil Civilians surged towards govt lines when the LTTE Earth Bund imprisoning the Tamil Civilians was breached. Even the machine gunning done by the LTTE is presented with a doubt as to the identity of the shooters. The whole of Lanka saw it and the Foreign Diplomatic Corps saw it live.

      It also failed to show how SL Soldiers carried infirm Tamil Civilians to safety. They suppressed the fact that the LTTE suicide woman attacked the receiving centre for Tamil civilians to discourage the civilians from abandoning the LTTE.

      There was first hand evidence by Anna Marie Loose of Medicines Sans Frontiers who reported that People were being Shot in the back and Limbs cut off to prevent the Vanni Tamils moving towards Govt controlled areas for safety. She stated this on Australian Television. Nothing about this in the CH4.

      CH4 is not an unbiased documentary. It is a carefully scripted and edited, lopsided film.

      • Velu Balendran

        Ah, now you are talking!

        Having the ability to talk off-the-cuff is an impressive trait. But to really impress you ought to get the facts right. So tell me, how can you expect LTTE fighting cadres to be loitering in hospital precincts when there is a war front-line elsewhere? Ok, it didn’t dawn on them, until it was too late, that the Hospitals in the so-called NFZ were where the SLA was concentrating and targeting their own attack! And who knows, if LTTE had worked out the SLA strategy and defended the hospitals they might have even won the war. 🙂

        Then you say the LTTE were short of fighters (and your govt too claimed their strength to be around 500 during the final phase). But then, they say, they have in captivity over 11,000 Tigers now. Could it be that only 10% would be Tigers and a good part of the remaining 10,000 are fine ordinary Tamil youth, on whom the Sinhala captors are committing crimes, as we speak, without telling the world their names or even there whereabouts. Do you think by any stretch of imagination, after seeing Channel 4 that their security will be guaranteed? Looks like another documentary is needed to free these youth from cultural genocide.

        (By the way were MSF there during the war? I thought they left way before. Your truth tiger link is about 10 years old!)

      • Off the Cuff

        Velu Balendran,

        You said “But to really impress you ought to get the facts right. So tell me, how can you expect LTTE fighting cadres to be loitering in hospital precincts when there is a war front-line elsewhere?”

        Silly question Velu.
        What facts are you talking about?
        I said there were no LTTE injured in the Hospital or ANYWHERE in that cooked up film.
        I see that you could not find any either.

        Hence the FACT IS THAT there are NO LTTE INJURED OR DEAD ANYWHERE IN THE FILM

        Did you get that fact straight at least now?

        The glaring question is what happened to the LTTE INJURED and Dead?

        I see you have observed that This NEW CH4 has an Achilles Heal which is bigger that the old CH4.
        Not that easy to defend that I am afraid.

        Don’t they get injured?

        So where are these LTTE injured, treated?
        In Ditches at the front line, when there is a Hospital with Doctors?

        The injured LTTE Cadres are in Civilian Clothes that’s why you don’t see a SINGLE LTTE Cadre in Military Fatigues.

        CH4 made a mistake by using LTTE Propaganda material to create their so called Forensic Investigation The material the LTTE shot, using its misnamed “Truth Soldiers”.

        You say “Ok, it didn’t dawn on them, until it was too late, that the Hospitals in the so-called NFZ were where the SLA was concentrating and targeting their own attack! And who knows, if LTTE had worked out the SLA strategy and defended the hospitals they might have even won the war.

        Yes they would have won the war because “bullets and Bombs” don’t injure them or Kill them. In addition to the Cyanide capsule they probably were wearing a a Velu Talisman that protected them against Death and Injury from Bullets and Bombs.
        Hence they had no need for Hospitals.

        You say “Then you say the LTTE were short of fighters”

        Velu, I know that there were Tamil Employees of the UN who did not leave the UN compound in Kilinochchi for over an year for fear of being conscripted. Some UN employees were unfortunate as they got caught when they left the UN compound in Kilinochchi. The same compound that you see in the CH4. The UN could not get them released for a long time. These are documented and are UN records. It is also known that the LTTE were forcing even 14 year old children to man the front lines. Some of them were rescued by the SL forces. You could verify these from your Gordon Wies.

        It is laughable for you to claim that 11, 000 was enough to contain the SLA attack. But then they don’t get injured or die curtsey the “Velu Talisman.”

        You say “By the way were MSF there during the war? I thought they left way before.”

        You thought wrong Velu. Just like ALL the LTTE flag waving Diaspora Tamils you are also blind to the truth. Maybe because you are also one of them.

        Search for Anna Marie Loose on the web, the MSF Nurse who gave evidence about the LTTE shooting and Cutting Limbs off to prevent them from running away from the LTTE. She later worked in the IDP camp which was featured in that film. It was a ABC documentary about 40 minutes long focussing mainly about IDP’s. Anna’s few words were hidden away within this 40 minute film. The Tamil Diaspora that went to town when this film was released hardly noticed what Anna Marie said as it was just 2 or 3 minutes out of a 40 minute film. Of course to you that is insignificant as you and your children were safe and comfortable in the West. To you and the Tamil Diaspora the Wanni Tamils (Children, Women and Men) were expendable. Just mere pawns in your dirty game. It was so then and it is so now.

        You find it tough to refute such sources?

        You say “Your truth tiger link is about 10 years old! “

        So what? Did they disband the “FIB Tigers” after 10 years?
        In fact with 10 years experience they became more professional in propagating lies.
        Watch Tamilnet.
        It’s full of “FIB Tiger” material.
        Now you see it on Channel 4 too.

        It’s too late now.
        The video was made public.
        Hence no way to delete the Tell Tale errors.
        Good Luck

        The ABSENCE OF LTTE INJURED AND DEAD IN HOSPITAL is a glaring give away that those who SCRIPTED and EDITED this film were Disgustingly DISHONEST.

        Other than the horrific material about the LTTE women, this so called forensic investigation is nothing but rubbish.

    • sabbe laban

      They are busy washing the saban off the channel-4 documentary!

      • Velu Balendran

        I don’t think even the carbolic saban variety can easily wash away the C4 effects. Do you?

        (Just curious, do you have anything to do with a shop or poster named “labbe saban”?)

  • Truth

    Govt response on this girl confirms the video is not faked. She wearing an LTTE shirt but not an armed combatant was raped and killed.

    • Dedan Kemathi

      what makes you think she is raped ? only an allegation not a conclusion

  • Dear Velu,
    You might be aware of this famous LTTE combat video, (recovered by the SLA), which neatly demonstrates everything that’s being argued about.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=h2T1FiwRmQo

    The Truth Tigers present:
    Outgoing LTTE heavy weapons fire from ZSU-23s (to the SLA lines) from within the NFZ,

    LTTE armoured vehicles (previously captured from SLA) in action,

    Tamil civilians building defences (willingly or unwillingly, we’ll never know),

    LTTE cadres fighting in civvies,

    Unnecessary cruelty to animals (Canine Genocide, no?)
    … and a surprise ending.

    • ravana

      Thanks Mango,
      I had forgotten about it after two years. I clearly remember the dog being run over by the LTTE guys. Now it is on my Hard Drive. Instead of denying things it’s better to produce evidence like this.

      • Velu Balendran

        Here is another good link for your storage

        http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/02/27/prabhakaran%E2%80%99s-mother%E2%80%99s-ashes-desecrated/

        On how dogs were used to desecrate Parvathi Ammal’s ashes

      • Off the Cuff

        Velu Balendran,

        Pathetic reply

        Who has gone silent now?

      • Velu Balendran

        I don’t believe in responding to convoluted off-the-cuff 🙂 arguments that benefits nobody – but only pollutes pristine web space.

      • Off the Cuff

        Velu Balendran,

        You said “I don’t believe in responding to convoluted off-the-cuff arguments that benefits nobody – but only pollutes pristine web space”

        Oh it does have a major benefit Velu.

        I have been able to stop you from spreading hatred haven’t I?

        I agree that the web space is pristine until it gets polluted by Terrorists and their sympathisers whose main agenda is spreading hatred and division by peddling falsehoods within that space.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Mango,

      Thank you Mango for that link.

      I saw it when it was released on TV but could not find a link on the web. The site you indicated is very good.

      There was another picture that was released refuting a claim by Tamilnet which published it stating that Civilians were being shelled. The unedited version of this pic was found by the SLA later when Tiger areas were captured.

      It clearly showed how propaganda was staged. Wonder whether you have a link to that too.

      CH4 spliced in a lot of LTTE propaganda film footage to buttress the Agenda they had. They carefully avoided footage released by the Govt that debunks these claims.

      The absence of the LTTE wounded and Dead in hospitals and the TV footage at the link that you provided rubbishes the overwhelming majority of content of the latest CH4 video.

      The thing that disturbs and shocks me are the scenes depicting the LTTE women. If any soldiers within the SLA can be identified they should be prosecuted and dealt with under Sri Lankan Law.

      Any army has it’s black sheep. The US had Abhu Gharib, Deigo Garcia, Guantanamo and many others. No countries’ Armed Forces are free of them.

      Velu thought he held all the Aces but just a simple observation has him stumped.

  • Prof Robert’s blog’s got a fascinating article called “The Landscape of the LTTE’s Last Redoubt” giving some much needed perspective on what was happening in May ’09.
    http://tinyurl.com/3gzhdsv

    The faked “civilians coming under SLA artillery fire” is here: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/190/image002cvl.jpg/

    I don’t understand why the LTTE had to fake this picture as there were plenty of real instances of SLA artillery hitting Tamil civilians. But, no-one can beat the LTTE when it comes to faking atrocities. GoSL should hire some of the now-unemployed LTTE media people and put them to work.

    • Off the Cuff

      Thank you Mango.

      Hope those who peddle CH4 have a look at them

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Readers who are interested in objectivity.

      Please read Prof Robert’s blog at the link provided by Mango above.

      I am taking the liberty of posting here a response by a Tamil Gentleman Mr S.Nadarajah on June 8, 2011 at 12:51 am in that blog.

      Quote
      It is a good coverage of the last stages of the war. However, we are none the wiser about exactly what happened in the last few days. Suffice to say that all reports of mass killings by armed forces is a gross distortion of facts. No doubt atrocities were commited by both sides as shown in a recent eye witness account in the Sydney Morning Herald about 3 weeks ago. Also it is evident that LTTE were largely responsible for such atrocities by 1) creating human shields of civilians for good aprt of the war and 2) shooting at those who tried to escape the war zone.

      When you look at this situation and compare with well documented war crimes in the Balkans and Africa, it is evident that such atrocities are blown completly out of proportion by the Tamil Diaspora who are stirring the pot with the UN and western countries, which in turn can rebound on the poor Tamils living in Sri Lanka.
      Unquote

      Food for thought to people like Jansee and Velu Balendran.

  • War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of such conduct includes “murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps”, “the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war”, the killing of prisoners, “the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity”.

  • Kate

    Off the cuff.. You are the bomb! It’s great to see at least someone defending our brave soldiers.. I don’t know enough to refute these pro LTTE and Western crusade against Sri Lanka so have had to sit in silence with embarrassment and shame when people judge us Sri Lankans based on the unsubstantiated C4 video.. It’s great to see that there’s way more to it that what meets the eye. Keep up the good work off the cuff
    Cheers

  • Cats’ Paws (tiger Paws) in Channel 4 come into light.

    “Immigration head Chulananda Perera told Xinhua that one female journalist, Shirani Sabaratnam, was refused entry at the country’ s only international airport on Tuesday.

    Her husband Stuart Cosgrove, a director at Channel 4, meanwhile entered the country and was at a Colombo hotel when he was taken back to the airport by officials and sent back, Perera said.”

    http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2012/06/06/117-Sri-Lanka-bars-entry-to-two-British-journalists.html

    Thanks!