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Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 3.57 GMT
The great “bloodbath” lies: manipulation by media and pro-LTTE pressure groups


The Government of Sri Lanka categorically denies reports attributable to sources aligned with or under duress from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as to supposed civilian casualties in the no-fire zone in north-eastern Sri Lanka.

The most recent claim of 378 deaths and over 1,100 injured is founded on a single source – a Government doctor said to be working in the zone. The Ministry of Health has denied the presence of such a doctor in the location where these alleged heavy weapon attacks by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, reported extensively by the western media, are said to have taken place.

Defence sources and political analysts see a definite manipulative act by international channels acting in concert with pro-LTTE pressure groups to present this false news to the world, at a time when it would suit the needs of the LTTE most.

The Minister of Disaster Management & Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said at a media briefing, May 11, it would be clear to any objective journalist and anyone who has knowledge of the LTTE’s tactics throughout its separatist war that any story coming out of areas unlawfully occupied by the terrorist group cannot some without the express approval of the LTTE.

To add to the doubts of this news item was the usage of video footage which had been admittedly sent by a Tamil Pressure Group. It is well known that Tamil pressure groups, spread throughout the western world have been engaged in misinformation to serve the interests of the LTTE, and the media and diplomats who quote or attribute their information to these sources should pay due attention to this reality.

A Defence Ministry observer said it was interesting that no news organization that reported this false report, aimed at tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka, had noted that the story was put out with all kits “bloody” details, without any mention of the fact that it was almost on the eve of the Media Briefing at the United Nations by the British, French and Austrian Foreign Ministers on the Sri Lankan situation, following a UN Security Cou8ncil meeting that had no reference to Sri Lanka in its agenda. It was also just two days before the attempts by anti-Sri Lanka groups among the western countries, to call for special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on the current Sri Lankan situation. The proposers of this move need 16 signatory countries to have the item on the agenda of the HRC, and those who planted this false report were trying to influence countries to support this move.

The Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva in a statement on these reports states: “Giving credence and acceptance to this LTTE-inspired piece of “news”, would wittingly or unwittingly aid the terrorist organization to save itself at the hour of its impending demise. The best guarantee of survival for an organization that is designated a terrorist organization by several right-thinking governments the world over, would be through the generation of shock and outrage at supposed atrocities. The Government feels it is necessary to guard against these coordinated campaigns which seek to vilify the security forces and besmirch their record as they successfully overcome terrorism. It is noted that these exaggerated claims of Government forces firing on civilians in no-fire zones, dramatic casualty figures and charges of indiscriminate attacks have been heightened since January 2009 when the LTTE was pushed back into a rapidly dwindling area. It is this steady stream of LTTE-originated disinformation that has been amplified by its surrogates and acolytes through an extensive worldwide propaganda network enabling the disinformation to be widely disseminated.

This statement adds: “The Government designated certain areas in which civilians were gathered, as no-fire zones with the intention of safeguarding civilians in keeping with its policy of zero civilian casualties. The Government has, for several months, stated that it is not targeting civilians in these no-fire zones. This position was reiterated by the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat in a statement issued on 27 April 2009. The Government went so far as to specifically commit to not using heavy artillery, airpower and area weaponry which could cause civilian casualties. This is a principled stand of a legitimately elected, democratic government of an independent and sovereign nation.

“The 115,000 civilians who escaped the LTTE, bravely seeking safety while coming under fire and suicide bomb attacks from their former captors, have done so because they are convinced where their safety and security lies. These civilians, who have come over to the Government seeking refuge since 20 April, would have hardly done so if they were being indiscriminately being fired upon by the security forces. Indeed these 115,000 persons have made no mention of any instances when they were shelled or otherwise attacked by the security forces.

“In contrast, it is the LTTE which consistently endangered and attacked civilians it held hostage by locating heavy weapons within these zones and firing at the advancing Sri Lankan armed forces. They also have proved that they are not averse to firing on civilians seeking to flee to safety. They even deployed their signature weapon of terror – the suicide bomb - at civilians seeking safety with Government authorities. In contrast, the Sri Lankan forces have exercised maximum restraint despite suffering increased casualties due to being restricted to the use of small arms and light weaponry. Given the LTTE’s track record of brutality against the very people they profess to protect, it is not difficult to surmise as to who is responsible for any civilian casualties that occur in the no-fire zone.





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Last modified: May 12, 2009.

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