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When the camera lies for terror

When the camera lies for terror

In the past few days the international media has been full of alleged pictorial evidence, mainly through video footage, of what they claim to be scenes of the "massive humanitarian crisis" said to be occurring in the north of Sri Lanka, where the LTTE is holding thousands of Tamil civilians hostage.

Viewers have been shown harrowing details of alleged bombings of hospitals and of many persons killed and injured, in what are said to be indiscriminate shelling by government forces, in the No Fire Zone. All of such pictorial material is attributed to pro-Tamil pressure groups abroad, especially in the West. Most of these pictures and video clips are also carried on the cyber voice of the LTTE - the Tamil Net. Very rarely are the exact locations and the dates and times when these pictures were obtained stated.

There have been many doubts about the authenticity of these pictures, and the time when they were captured. The news agencies, as well as human rights organizations, and Tamil pressure groups distribute these freely to show the world of the alleged disregard for humanitarian needs of the Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE, whose basic human right to freedom has been denied by this terrorist organization.

One of the main sources for this pictorial imagery is the pro-LTTE Tamil Net, which has been consistent in misrepresenting the truth about developments in Sri Lanka, especially about the war against the terrorism of  LTTE, and using false pictures to buttress its stories. Recently, Tamil Net carried a news item, using a photograph which claimed to show Tamil civilians fleeing what was said to be nearby artillery fire by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces in the No Fire Zone in Vellamullivaikkal. What was shown as truth was only part of a bigger lie.

Complete picture

We now have the complete picture. It shows how the camera has been made to lie for the benefit of those who are seeking to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka, callously using the suffering Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE. What Tamil Net showed, was only part of the real picture, which part is seen below on the left. It shows, people, mainly women fleeing, with some smoke rising in the distance. This is what Tamil Net wanted the public to see.

On the right is the entire picture, in its unedited version; from which the imagery on the right has been edited out. It shows a smiling girl photographing the "fleeing" women. There is a man behind her who seems undisturbed, and a keen observer of the scene, just as the female photographer is. There is a parked white van behind the photographer and the man.

On left - People fleeing an artillery or similar attack with smoke rising in the distance.  Terrorists have resorted to such cowardly tactics triggering large explosions within the CSZ for international consumption.


On right - the complete picture shows a smiling girl photographing the "fleeing" women using what appears to be a Nikon D Series camera.

All of this, when take in full context shows that this was a well staged event, with camera at the ready.

This is how the camera is made to lie, giving the lie to the worn out adage that the camera never lies.

This is just one example of the falsifying imagery used by Tamil Net, often a source of news and pictures for major news channels, and the pro-LTTE pressure groups, to serve their self-fulfilling warnings of an imminent "bloodbath" and "humanitarian catastrophe" in Sri Lanka. Closer examination of the still and video footage put out by these institutions and pressure groups is bound to give much more evidence of how the viewers and policy makers the world over are being misled by such calculated false imagery.

There was similar misleading by photography of alleged craters caused by aerial bombardment from satellite imagery claimed to be from the United Nations. The UN Office in Colombo later admitted that these pictures were not released by it to any media or other sources, and the authenticity of what was claimed could not be established in the absence on ground verification.

On May 13, 2009, the BBC carried a news item, using satellite imagery, in a further effort at misleading viewers in with images that claim to show an alleged aerial attack by the Sri Lanka Air Force. See pictures below.

Above photo was posted on the BBC website.  It clearly shows that there are no damages to trees or permanent buildings. No signs of aerial attack or artillery fire.  The right side image clearly shows signs of a mass evacuation of the makeshift shelters, probably temporary camps of the hostages who were dragged by the terrorist on the retreat as a human shield.   If SLAF continued bombarding or SLA fired artillery, how could only the permanent buildings be left intact.

And so the merry-g-round of images that lie for the terrorist LTTE goes on.

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