Double standards of Philip Alston and Christoff Heyns
It should be noted however that, so
as to shoreup the decision that the video is absolutely authentic, it is
forcefully asserted that the editing was minimal. This is despite the
fact that it has to be admitted that Segments one and two and three are
in the wrong order. But I suppose order does not matter, given the
wonderful congruence between the Earlier and the Current Mes, their
experts, the Times and the relentless critics of the Sri Lankan
The order in which these several
segments pronounce does not matter, since they simply say the same thing
over and over again, occasionally having to adjust to reality as when
they admit that a film straight from a mobile phone recording events in
January is in fact a set of films, edited in July, recording what
happened in May even though one segment may well have been filmed at a
I have now had a chance to go through the report presented to the
United Nations Human Rights Council by Christoff Heyns who has taken
over the mantle of Philip Alston. He clearly sees himself as Alston Mark
2 for he actually says that ‘some further evidence was obtained and
considered by the current me’ (doubtless as opposed to the ‘earlier me’,
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP
However, the Current Me’s effrontery is even more brilliant than that
of his predecessor, beginning with his choice of experts to back up his
case. First of all he appointed precisely those whom Alston had
appointed, namely the trio of Spitz and Spivacak and Diaczuk, all
Americans. He notes that the Earlier Me had objected to the experts Sri
Lanka had cited previously, on the grounds that they were all Sri
Lankans and were in the army or ‘had previously acted as advisers to the
government.’ This is completely untrue, since Siri Hewa is not Sri
Lankan and had not previously advised the government but simply wrote
out of the blue when he noticed the absurdities of the Channel Video.
But, having blithely, like the Earlier Me, dismissed all Sri Lankans,
Heyns then proceeded to hire, hey presto, precisely three Americans who
had acted as advisers to that Earlier Me.
The Current Me then goes one better. He notes that the government had
suggested that someone who was not part of the Earlier Me team would
have been more persuasive, so he hires - none other than Grant
Fredericks, who had been commissioned by (none other than) the Times of
London to investigate the video. The Earlier Me was well aware of this
and indeed referred in his Technical Note to the article in the Times in
which Fredericks had opined that the first video was authentic.
So, to make it quite clear whose side he is on, the Current Me hires
the Earlier Me’s three experts whom he says worked ‘free of charge, as a
form of public service.’
He does not say whether Fredericks also worked free of charge, nor
presumably did he bother to consider whether Fredericks had worked free
of charge for the Times. The Current Me does not provide the
correspondence in which the government had indicated its worries about
the first three experts, nor does he mention the government expressing
any worries about Fredericks.
I would be sorry if government had not indicated its concerns in
writing, but I suppose this makes clear that our problems are more to do
with carelessness and inconsistency than the carefully concerted and
consistent double dealing in which the Two Mes have engaged. I should
note too that further correspondence suggests a number of other concerns
on the part of the government, though typically these are not clearly
nor promptly put, which it seems allowed the Current Me to get away with
unclear faxes and omissions in the material he supplied.
Anyway, having begun by breathtakingly asserting the independence of
the experts he selected, with a startling disregard for the principle he
had approvingly cited with regard to his previous incarnation, of
repudiating those who had previously advised, the Current Me goes on to
assert that the video is genuine, albeit he grants that it has been
edited, and indeed put together upside down.
He claims categorically that ‘The outstanding issues identified
during the investigation of the first video have now been resolved’.
However, to guard his back as it were (and presumably that of the
Earlier Me who had not bothered to solve those issues but still claimed
the video was authentic) the Current Me declares that ‘the question
could be asked how material that issue was in the first place’.
Tellingly, the resolution of one problem depends on the admission
that editing has taken place, which was glossed over previously.
Previously the experts had theorized that the wrong date which was on
the film had been inserted deliberately by someone who wanted to conceal
his identity. This preposterous assertion has now been changed to the
claim that the date that is on record is the date on which the editing
So we are now to believe that someone turned the sequence of events
upside down a couple of months after the filming had been done.
No explanation is offered of the fact that Channel 4 had initially
claimed that the incidents took place in January, whereas now it is
claimed that the incidents happened in May.
It is also claimed that the mysterious letter ‘A’ that appears in the
record is the result of this editing. But then, to make clear his
determination to protest too much, the Current Me disposes of the
possibility that the video was manufactured by declaring that ‘If
someone had manufactured a false video of the events during the final
stages of the war, with the malicious intent of portraying the
government’s conduct during the war in a negative light, the last thing
one would expect such a person to do is to provide the video with a date
that falls months after the completion of the war.
Likewise, it appears highly unlikely that a person who wants to
create the impression that a cell phone was used would be so careless as
to leave an ‘A’ on the frames if that can only be done on a high quality
I presume the Current Me is an academic of sorts, but he obviously
does not understand that in the real world people do make mistakes,
sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes because they know that there will
be ruthless crusaders like the Current and Earlier Mes who will say that
such anomalies are not relevant.
If the problems could not be resolved, no weight would have been
accorded them, and the combined weight of the system represented by the
Two Mes would have crushed them. But, happily, a hypothetical resolution
has been found, giving a precise date not for the incidents but for the
editing, now that it has been decided finally to admit that editing has