Daily News, Sept 8, 2009


Government tells Channel 4: Retract video

Scientific evidence proves it was a fake



Ranil Wijayapala,

Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said that the Government is going to ask the retraction of the controversial execution video from Channel 4, as comprehensive investigations and analysis conducted by four experts on the video have provided scientific evidence to prove that it was a fake and a heavily tampered video.

Addressing the media at the Media Centre for National Security along with Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and three other experts to discuss the authenticity of the controversial video, the Minister said that he will also take up the controversial video issue with United Nations Secretary General Ban ki- Moon very soon.

The United Nations Secretary General raised the issue about this controversial execution video broadcast by UK based Channel 4 when Minister Samarasinghe met him last week. “We are not making a mere political statement; it is backed by scientific evidence following comprehensive investigations by well-known experts,” the Minister said.

“Not only Channel 4 we will also submit scientific evidence to prove the video is a fake to Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim too, to retract his statement based on the video footing,” the Minister said.

Minister Rambukwella said the Government cannot easily forget the issue as a simple one because it was matter concerning the reputation and image of the country, the Government and the Armed Forces.

Minister Rambukwella said apart from the scientific evidence obtained, the Defence Ministry has also conducted investigations to ascertain whether there are Security Forces personnel similar to the people appearing in the video footage.

“It has been established with finality that the people appearing in the video are not in the Armed Forces,” Minister Rambukwella added.

Minister Samarasinghe said that four experts on the subject have conducted investigations into this controversial video telecast by Channel 4 and subsequently picked up by various other international media including BBC and CNN.

“We will also raise this issue with other international media channels which had picked up the Channel 4 video and broadcast it without verifying the authenticity of the video footage provided by the so-called media organization called Journalist for Democracy in Sri Lanka,” the Minister added.

He said the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka or the JDS has organized and published their blogpost only on August 1, 2009.

The Minister made the statement that the video was a fake based on the findings made by Siri Hewawitharana, an international expert on the subject who is also the former head of Cisco’s global broadcast and digital video practice, Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva, a Senior Lecturer on Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the

Centre for Instructional Technology, Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the Chief Signal Officer of the Sri Lanka Army and the Major P.A Bandara attached to the Media Centre for National Security.

The four experts who analyzed the video had come to the obvious conclusion that the video footage had been filmed not by a mobile phone camera but by a digital cam code and the sound had been dubbed separately into the video and the gun noise in the video is coming from a long distance proving the fact that the video footage was doctored.

Major P.A. Bandara making his presentation on the controversial video after playing it on normal speed and 50 percent speed, pointed out the discrepancies of the video footage and the unusual things appearing in the video.

The non- spreading blood stains, the movements of the victims while being executed, the outward appearance of the victims and the uniforms worn by the so-called soldiers executing those victims came under close study by him.

“It is not the practice of the Sri Lanka Army soldiers to wear a white coloured T-shirt with an olive green uniform,” Major Bandara said making a valid point that the video was doctored.

The movements of the executed victims also came under his close scrutiny to suggest that that the video was a fake.

Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva from the University of Moratuwa who had earlier assisted the Government to analyse the videos of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle’s assassination and the suicide attempt on Minister Douglas Devananda said that the video has not been filmed by mobile phone camera but a digital cam code.

“If it had been filmed by a mobile phone camera it should have jumping or discrete effects,” he added.

He said that although the video has less colour sensitivity in the blood stains of the victims it is unusually colour sensitive and the blood stains with clear margins prove the fact that it was heavily tampered or fabricated.

“There is clear proof that the sound has been dubbed into the video separately,” he added.

Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva made his technical analysis based on the video footage downloaded from the internet.

Chief Signal Officer of the Sri Lanka Army Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said that the Signal Base Workshop of the Army following a comprehensive investigation noticed a gap between the sound and the video film to suggest that the sound has been dubbed

into the video footage.

The sound of gun firing had been recorded at a distance of some 102.4 metres which is quite impossible to be done by a mobile phone camera, the Brigadier added.