Revelation on TV: UK fake news in collusion with Core Group in UN Human Rights Council
Ranjiv Goonawardena of International Consultants who is an aficionado on Sri Lanka, working very closely with the Rt. Hon. Lord Naseby, facilitated the TV program which dropped the bombshell revelation, exposing the United Kingdom’s fake allegations made against Sri Lanka with the collusion of the UN Human Rights Council, in collaboration with the Core Group that comprises Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK.
By Ranjiv Goonawardena
The trumped-up charges of war crimes were exposed when aired live on television on 18 March in Colombo. The exposure was done by Ada Derana 24 TV on the progam Get Real with Mahieash Johnny, Episode 93, ‘Evidence Exonerating Sri Lanka’.
Lord Naseby, an ardent supporter of truth and justice for Sri Lanka; a voice of reasoning in Her Majesty’s Government in the UK outlined categorically the complicit nature that the UK Government has been concealing information crucial to exonerate Sri Lankan soldiers of heinous war crimes.
It was apparent when Lord Naseby mentioned that an ample amount of evidence was, for unknown reasons, classified and taken out of circulation by the UK Government, and they actively took steps to hide the information in an attempt to sway the investigation by the UNHRC to a political one. The former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Sarath N. Silva says that the Sri Lankan Government should push much harder for credible evidence from the accusers.
In 2014 Lord Naseby wrote and requested Her Majesty’s Government to release the diplomatic dispatches of Lt. Col. Anton Gash who was the defence attaché at the UK High Commission in Colombo during the conflict period.
They decided maliciously to redact the actual figures which Col. Anton Gash reported back to his superiors, these were the figures of casualties, internally displaced people and most importantly the number of civilian deaths which indicated somewhere around 8,000. At no time was it ever quoted in his report as it has indicated by the bogus number of 40,000 casualties, which has been claimed by the UN Human Rights Council; the fake figures can’t be verified and validated.
This has been the campaign slogan of the proxy LTTE groups as they use false figures to campaign. The proxy LTTE has been financially sponsoring politicians in the Western hemisphere including the UK, Canada and America to bring these trumped-up charges against Sri Lanka. It was revealed in the program with the actual documents which are now in the public domain after Lord Naseby’s efforts of getting them released but they have been redacted to a very large extent.
Lord Naseby met up with Colonel Anton Gash in Colombo and he was amazed at the revelations which were disclosed to him two fundamental points were disclosed:
1) The care the Sri Lankan armed forces were taking not to kill civilians and the care extended to civilians who were coming onto the Government side during the day and night, were being looked after exceptionally well.
2) This was happening on a regular basis on the ground.
All throughout the process, the UK Government was trying to hinder Lord Naseby’s efforts every step of the way. Then eventually Lord Naseby took it up with the final stage of a tribunal in March 2017. According to the UK Government, the reason for the delay was because the OHCAR was making an enquiry and they did not want to influence their findings based on the dispatches of Colonel Gash who was the military attaché to the UK Government in Sri Lanka.
Mahieash Johnny was taken by surprise and dumbfounded, he went on to say this is the British Government that’s saying apparently they don’t want to give the evidence to people who are doing the investigation because apparently the truth will sway the investigation to another direction, so they’re waiting upon till they come up with the version they really want to hear and then they will release it.
More recently Lord Naseby went on to say, “I have asked written questions in the House of Lords from Her Majesty’s Government, if the UK Government has supplied UNHRC with redacted or unredacted information. The answer comes back from Her Majesty’s Government, no, we haven’t, as nobody has asked for the information, this is incredible.”
“Here we are talking about alleged war crimes which will affect individual members of the armed forces of Sri Lanka, men and women who work to keep peace and law and order; this is very, very serious. The UK Government sitting on its hands waiting to be asked by the UNHCR, when peace, unity and lives are at stake. This is unacceptable especially because the UK is the Chairman of the Core committee. There must be a liaison between the core group and the UNHRC, this is very unfair and very biased in my judgement,” Lord Naseby went on to say.
Lord Naseby went on to reveal evidence from the dispatch reports that he had in his possession; just take the date 16 February 2009, Colonel Gash writes: “I observed the arrival of 400 Internally Displaced Persons by sea to Trincomalee. Taken on a boat down to Trincomalee the operation was effective and efficient but most importantly was carried out with compassion, respect and concern. I am entirely certain that this was genuine my presence was not planned and was based on a sudden opportunity; I have free access to 300 m long stretch of the beach over a four-hour period and was able to observe upwards of 200 Sri Lankan Navy personnel working extremely hard in difficult conditions. Their high morale was notable; they were enjoying the work and clearly finding it satisfying. There were constant examples of thoughtful assistants looking after babies while mothers were being searched for, helping elderly ladies or mothers of babies with their bags cheerfully offering food, etc.”
After reading extracts of Colonel Gash’s report Lord Naseby went on to say: “There is clear evidence you haven’t got an army which has gone amok. The absolute opposite has taken place, taking huge care of the civilians at a great cost to themselves. Then you have UNHRC in Geneva producing a report which ignores the basic fundamentals and disregards all this vital evidence. The UN has something to answer for this is totally unacceptable in my judgement.”
Lord Naseby stated: “Unfortunately there seems to be a bit of history where everybody is sitting on their hands and refusing to divulge information.”
The statement is said in a very polite manner but the reality is that they are withholding critical information which is vital to the Government of Sri Lanka as it would exonerate its armed forces from this heinous allegation that has been enacted with the collusion of several foreign governments, the UK taking the lead here.
Lord Naseby went on to state: “That’s not 40,000 killed and US Ambassador Blake said on 7 April according to the UN the dead was 4,164. Then you have your own census which have been done by Tamils themselves indicating that February 2012 stated 7,400 people died in the five months.”
The former Chief Justice Sarath Silva meticulously examined the details on the Ada Derana 24 TV program Get Real with Mahieash Johnny of the dispatches of Colonel Gash and pointed out that Colonel Gash’s input was not just some run-of-the-mill analysis, it was one of the most objective reports ever undertaken on the armed conflict against the LTTE. Silva also pointed out that Colonel Gash was the UK’s designated military attaché in Sri Lanka to monitor and report back on the counterinsurgency campaign being conducted. He was even given diplomatic status by Sri Lanka and allowed to travel where he wanted without restrictions.
He then pointed out the dubious manner in which the report had been presented to Lord Naseby by the British Government, with large portions of it blocked out even while being presented to a member of their own House of Lords. By looking at the parts that were not concealed though, Silva asserted that the hidden passages were clearly parts that would have worked against the UK Government’s efforts at the UNHRC, had they not been censored. Given that there are no obvious national security implications, he also pointed out how strange it was that so many sections of the report had been rendered inaccessible.
The UK Government, despite being such a prominent part of the resolution against Sri Lanka, did not share the Gash report with the UNHRC. Silva noted how patently unfair such behaviour was. The Gash report, he reaffirmed, rightly noted the vast military capabilities of the LTTE, including the use of trained mercenary pilots, submarine manufacturing plants and conventional warfare capabilities. It thus made it clear that that the Sri Lankan Army was not just facing an IRA type terror campaign but a far more complex armed insurgency. He added that the Gash report also gives specific instances of attacks by the LTTE against civilians in no-fire zones, something rarely acknowledged.
Former Chief Justice Silva then used the report to discuss Gash’s graphic accounts of forced recruitment by the LTTE, especially of women and children. He also noted that the report documented how food supplies were controlled by the LTTE and denied to civilians until their own needs were met. The former Chief Justice was particularly critical of the Darusman report throughout the conversation, which he said lacked the data and overview of the Gash version.
Another important part of the discussion was the number of civilian causalities that is often touted in such conversations, with some accusations bloating up to 40,000. Sarath Silva once again used the report to demonstrate how such numbers are beyond the realm of what was actually being discussed at the time. As a matter of fact, Colonel Gash even reveals that the UN-estimated numbers themselves were around 6,000 civilian casualties, a far stretch from the figures being thrown out now.
In fact, the Gash report repeatedly points to the compassionate way in which the armed forces acted in the heat of the moment, often putting themselves at risk to rescue people even when the LTTE sent in suicide bombers among civilians to deter any humanitarian operation.
Sarath Silva also critiqued the international system itself and the way in which the UNHRC process works, with nations that have no knowledge or interaction with Sri Lanka now becoming the co-sponsors of the resolution itself.
The former Chief Justice added that the entire campaign was being done with a political agenda, rather than any altruistic concern for human rights in Sri Lanka. There are vested interests who wish to keep the LTTE flame alight perpetually and he warned that there was nothing objective about these accusations. He also stressed on his deep appreciation for Lord Naseby’s pursuit of the truth, despite the obstacles that keep being thrown his way.
It is difficult to avoid a few questions after listening to Sarath Silva’s comments:
1. Why was the report presented to Lord Naseby censored to such a large extent? What are the security implications that prompted the UK Government to block out so many passages?
2. Why did the UK Government, despite playing such an active role in moving the resolution forward, not share the Gash report with members of the Human Rights Council? Colonel Gash was the person specifically appointed for this task, surely his report has to be the central piece of first-hand evidence to consider?