A Body Guard of Lies – Channel 4, The Truth and Sri Lanka’s “War Crimes”.
14/06/2011 5 Comments
The Great McCray’s own viewpoint clearly betrays a man Fluffing so hard for the LTTE, its wonder that he hasn’t got lockjaw. Even the title “Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” was obviously chosen to echo the Cambodian Genocide.Crimes Olympics has finally come alive with Callum McCray’s polemic documentary to be shown in the UK on 14th June.
McCray furious article has the usual quota of Truthiness – defined as a ‘truth’ that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. (© Stephen Colbert)
Big Lie 1: “The increasingly battered remnants of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are on the run and along with perhaps 400,000 Tamil civilians, they are being herded into an ever smaller area of land in north-east Sri Lanka.”
The Truth: An objective journalist would admit that the LTTE deliberately used these Tamil civilians as human shields to prevent defeat and annihilation by the Sri Lankan Security Forces. The LTTE were more than just ‘secessionists’; they were proven irredentist terrorists. The (non-Western) Indian journalist M R Narayan Swamy wrote: “Prabhakaran hoped for Indian and Western intervention for an 11th hour ceasefire. It was to no avail, and he was killed in battle in May “in the same callous and brutal manner he had so often used to send so many thousands to their death”.
Big Lie 2: “The brutal Sinhalese government of President..”
The Truth: McCray’s is either deluded or an ignorant moron who won’t or can’t admit that all Sri Lankan governments contained non-Sinhalese politicians, including Tamils, many of whom were murdered by the LTTE. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle (a Tamil Minister) was blown to pieces by a LTTE suicide bomber along with another 14 people as he attended a marathon marking in 2008.
Big Lie 3: “..armed with the rhetoric of the “international war on terror”
The Truth:(of all ethnicities) didn’t need rhetoric about the ‘war on terror’ to want the LTTE destroyed, having experienced the LTTE’s real war of terror, well before the West finally got its wake-up call from Al-Quaeda. In February 2008, baseball team from a multi-lingual school (i.e. including Tamil kids) was murdered in a LTTE suicide bomb attack on a train station. Not ‘rhetorical’ terror, but real terror.
Big Lie 4: “The UN and other international agencies have been pressurised into leaving..”
The Truth: The LTTE used UN agencies as cover and the Sri Lankan government could not guarantee their safety in a war zone. Many international aid agencies were also overtly sympathetic to the LTTE cause. vehicles were ‘stolen’ by the LTTE to help construct its defence lines.’s
Big Lie 5: “..world’s media have been excluded”
The Truth: The Western media was excluded on the basis of their record of lying, making up stories and being generally pro-LTTE. The local media and many Asian reporters including Indian journalists and Al-Jaeera were allowed to accompany the security forces. McCray forgets that Eelam War 4 was not fought for the benefit of Western hacks to clock up their air miles, but to destroy the LTTE.
Big Lie 6: “the government does appear – through the deliberate targeting of hospitals and laughably named “no-fire zones” – to try to kill as many Tamils as possible..”
The Truth: Hospitals were targeted because the LTTE used them cover for their own artillery positions to target the advancing Sri Lankan forces. If the government really had aimed to kill as many Tamils as possible, he is unable to explain why Tamil civilians streamed towards the Army positions, to escape their ‘sole protectors’ – all of it on video captured by Air Force UAVs.
Where were these mythical LTTE bunkers and artillery position among the civilian shields? Perhaps here, in the ‘The Landscape of the LTTE’s Last Redoubt“.
Big Lie 7: “perhaps 40,000 civilians.. perhaps far more”
The Truth: Perhaps only 400 civilians were killed? Perhaps far more? Perhaps 400,000? Perhaps the moon is made of cheese? Who knows? McCray doesn’t know, so he creates his own truthiness. The UN’s own estimate is around 4-7,000 civilians – a horrific figure, but one deliberately engineered by the LTTE to save its own miserable skin, at the expense of the lives of the Tamil civilians on whose behalf it claimed to fight.
Big Lie 8: “…Tamil Tigers who used those same civilians as human shields does not in any way lessen the government’s culpability.”
The Truth: The LTTE , its supporters and fundraisers are culpable for the deaths of these innocent civilians. McCray ignores the proven fact that it was the LTTE – not the government – that held Tamil civilians as hostage in these inhuman conditions. DBS Jeyaraj, an exiled Tamil journalist summarised perfectly, the LTTE’s strategy of ensuring maximum Tamil civilian deaths: “The LTTE wants a ceasefire for the ostensible purpose of ensuring civilian safety and security. It would be easier to do that by evacuating the civilians but the tigers will not agree because if the people go the tigers are vulnerable.
If necessary the LTTE will go down fighting to the very end and also take down a large number of civilians with them. But they wont let the people go.”
Big Lie 9: “..innocent civilians dying in agony on the ground in makeshift hospitals, which have been denied medicines and supplies by the Sri Lankan government.”
The Truth: Throughout the conflict, the Sri Lankan government continued to send food and medical supplies into LTTE territory knowing that a large proportion of it would be stolen and used by the LTTE’s combat formations. The Red Cross even commended the Sri Lanka Navy for its actions in sending supplies during the fighting.
Innocent civilians always die when they’re being used as human shields. The government’s responsibility is to end the war as quickly as possible, minimizing civilian casualties whilst keeping at bay, huge pressure from hypocritical humanitarians of the West bloc who wanted a ceasefire, which would only have helped the LTTE to survive and return to war.
Big Lie & Sorta the Truth: “..and critical local journalists have been exiled, disappeared or murdered.”
Unfortunately all Sri Lankan governments have attacked, exiled and disappeared critical journalists. This is a terrible but all-too-common response in counter-insurgencies. McCray fails to mention that the LTTE also murdered critical journalists, including Bala Iyer who was murdered for documenting LTTE human rights abuses. Oh, the irony.
The Big Truth 1: Were war crimes committed in Sri Lanka?
Yes, as in every war – especially ones as brutal as Sri Lanka’s Eelam Wars. Execution of surrendering troops? Yes, by both the government and the LTTE. If Sri Lankan soldiers are identified killing civilians and surrendering LTTE terrorists, let them be prosecuted by Sri Lanka’s military laws, as has already happened previously.
It is for the Sri Lankan justice system (mauled after 30 years of LTTE insurgency) to find its own solutions and punishments for the perpetrators. It is not for Channel 4 or the morally compromised, neo-colonialist Western ‘humanitarian community’ to stand in judgement over Sri Lanka’s own terrible past.
The Big Truth 2: “..the message to every tyrant and repressive government will be clear: if you want to kill your own people with impunity, you will probably get away with it.”
Let the Western bloc of the international community first put its own leader on trial for their proven impunity and culpability for the deaths of millions of civilians (mainly unfortunate Arabs) and then come for Sri Lanka. Channel 4’s attitude to the ‘truth’ about the war in Sri Lanka is (to paraphrase Churchill), so precious that it has no hesitation in deploying a bodyguard of lies.