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Jun-24-2012 14:09printcommentsVideo

Sri Lanka Can't Deny This Disturbing Video Proves Sri Lanka Army Committed War Crimes

One casualty of war was Shoba, also known as Issapria, a reporter from TamilNet.

Issapria or <i>Shoba</i>, reporter from TamilNet and a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - The Tamil Tigers.
Shoba, also known as Issapria, was a reporter from TamilNet.

(SALEM) - I've written about Issapria before... she was a young reporter from Sri Lanka whose life and dignity were stripped away by government forces as they carried out a series of war crimes on the minority Tamil population.

The acts manifested particularly savagely in the Vanni during the bloody month of May 2009.

The Tamil minority of Sri Lanka waged a decades-long war for independence. This unfortunate young woman was born into her existence, she didn't choose it. Her whole life was in front of her, when she was viciously sexually attacked and murdered. This is the only woman I ever came to know after she was already dead.

To this day, in spite of mounting evidence, the government of Sri Lanka denies that it conducted illegal war crimes against both resistance fighters and civilians in the north during the conclusion of the three-decade long civil war.

The administration of President Majinda Rajapakse refuses to acknowledge that its goal was to humiliate and eradicate these Hindu and Christian victims.

But Issapria, even in her death, is here to tell us a story that allows everyone to conclusively agree that allegations of sex abuse, murder and mass deception are part of this war and thus, a direct attribute of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and the Rajapakse government. Allowing Sri Lanka's crimes against its own citizens to remain unpunished, is like issuing a license for mass murder.

It rubs salt in the wounds of all war crime victim families, and makes international law, frankly, into little more than a joke. Sri Lanka's excuse for ethnic cleansing is that the fought terrorists, but it employed terrorism a thousand times more potent.

There are too many excuses. These are what this government offers when it is not directly accusing its critics of being blatant liars with personal agendas.

Excuses, reasons, explanations...

Also known as 'Shoba', Issapria was many things. She was a mother, a dancer, an actor and journalist with TamilNet, a media group we often carry. Issapria was a member of the armed resistance group LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) but she had health issues and she didn't carry a rifle, she carried a microphone.

But even if she had been a full bore LTTE fighter, there are international laws that protect combatants after they are prisoners of war.

Sri Lanka did not follow these rules of war.

In the first photos of Issapria, she is dead, her clothes are stripped away from her body, her hands are tied behind her back and her pants are pulled down, her legs are spread. But in similar photos of her in this same place, she is alternately positioned.

Either way, dead women with their legs open and their clothing stripped away, who are bound, are generally rape victims.

She is photographed and videotaped initially it appears, where the murder likely occurred. These are the images that show her with her hands bound behind her back. They are backed up with video that Channel 4 used in 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' and it shows, very very clearly, that the girls who are recently killed, are actually covered up to some degree when the video begins, and then the clothes come off again to reveal their damaged, nude, dead bodies.

The defensive posturing of Sri Lankan nationalists is endless, as are the endless denials by a network of Sinhalese Buddhist supporters who refuse to accept evidence or even acknowledge the extremely obvious. Some, like Romesh Senewirante, claim to know all about the war, yet he was in Australia when it happened. Commenting on the new information and video, Sinewirante wrote:

    Why are these videos in black and white - for dramatic effect?"

A comment from another (there are many) person using the name Dissanayake in my last article about these images, suggests that these blatant photographs represent legal war conduct.

    "It is an exaggeration to say that these video clips show any war crimes", fails to hit its mark."

In disagreement with my assessment, Dissanayake added:

    It is very understandable to remove cloths of female fighters because they may be from suicide formations. It is dangerous to take all the dead bodies without through search. I can remember the cloths of the male LTTE fighter who was the pilot of the last suicide air attack near the Katunayake airport were removed for searching of similar items. It was done in front of the magistrate.

These are hard images to look at, but they tell more of a story now, than they did at first. A London attorney named Vasuki Muruhathas, who represents an unnamed Tamil war crime victim, recently acquired and released 32 new video clips of captured and dead LTTE fighters.

It is clip #28, at 2:56, that heavily indicts Sri Lanka in the death of Issapria.
This video shows her body in a row of dead fighters, presumably photographed for identification by the Sri Lankan Army.

Smoking Gun

Even in this video the photographer pauses and comments on her naked body. But the thing that sets it apart, is that the young woman is not bound in these shots.

Her hands have been untied to make her appear as one more dead resistance fighter, but we know that shortly before this, she was laying in a pool of blood with her hands tied.

This is where the deception of Sri Lanka's government clearly enters the picture. They really must have assumed their critics are dumb.

Several things become clear:

  • Issapria was captured alive or surrendered, or else she would not have been restrained. Nobody ties the hands of a dead person, so she was alive at first.
  • The positioning of her body; the nudity and seemingly depraved references to her naked form recorded on video, indicate a state of sexual interest and assault.
  • The fact that her hands are untied and that she is laid in a row of corpses, proves that the SLA tried to cause the viewer and consequently the world public, to believe that her death was a legal act of war when it could not possibly have been.

We have the proof and there is no need to ask about whether war crimes took place, indeed the only question left is 'how many?' This revelation brings hard reality to Sri Lanka.

Donald Gnanakone has been working with Vasuki Muruhathas to distribute this material into the public channels and it is working. His contributions to the Colombo Telegraph are both informative and revealing:

I did not know before, that Issapria would speak to us from the grave and point us to irrefutable evidence, good enough to prove this point in any court. The real tragedy is that her case is only one, and we are putting this together largely because she is highly identifiable.

I look at the other new video clips, and compare them to the photos of slaughtered Tamil Tigers we are all supposed to believe were "killed during combat operations" with the SLA. At this point only Issapria is showing us proof positive evidence, but I suspect there is a great deal more and it too will show itself to us eventually.

At one point the world will no longer be able to ignore this painful series of international crimes and the reign of Majinda will come to a crashing close.

It absolutely can not be avoided.


Tim King's previous Salem-News.com reports on Sri Lanka:


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Rand Jay October 3, 2012 9:27 pm (Pacific time)

hello Shiva, if you go and look into a mirror you can see who is really stupid. The worlds ruthless terrorist group were the Tamil Tigers who killed more of their own kind than the SriLankan Government did during war. The Tigets killed men women and children while your idol Ishapriya sang songs praising suicide bombers of the Tiget terrorists. The SriLankan Army did the correct thing in destroying the entire Tiger leadership and their families as well for the crimes they all committed jointly or separately. The Tigets even killed your own Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

Tim King: No conclusive proof exists connecting the Tigers to Gandhi's death, stay with the facts.

Julia July 28, 2012 11:41 pm (Pacific time)

I'm writing this to remind especially those of you Sri Lankans who live in the West, who are passing judgement on Sri Lanka, thinking that justice in their adopted homeland is superior to Sri Lankan justice. Remember My Lai massacre in Vietnam? How many soldiers participated in that massacre? Only one - Lieutenant Calley was convicted, but Richard Nixon changed the sentence two days later to three years house arrest. Have you heard of Colin Powell? He investigated the killings and submitted a report which was just whitewash. Heard of Operation Speedy Express in Vietnam? 10,000 civilians killed, only 40 US servicement died in the operation. These were My Lai type massacres taking place every week for two years, never investigated, no one held to account, no outcry by the 'International community' that is so concerned about Sri Lanka.

Tim King: Julia, your point is well taken on My Lai, I have a friend who is one of the few survivors, you can read about that here: Reunion at Site of My Lai Massacre: Survivor Duc Tran Van and Photographer Ron HaeberleFor our other reports on My Lai, and there are several, visit this link: My Lai Reports on Salem-News.com Note that we do not make excuses for these terrible crimes, nor do we agree with the hand slap of Calley and the avoidance of prosecuting others.

Then we come to good old Britain. Heard of Bloody Sunday? 26 unarmed civil rights protestors killed by British troops in 1972, three investigateions held, first was a complete whitewash. The third investigation took 12 years to produce a report, finally published in 2010. No criminal proceedings here

Tim King: Bloody Sunday is a terrible event, there is no excuse for war crimes at any time.  I understand that you would like to move forward but as long as the Tamils are living under a military occupation and so many remain missing, along with other problems like land seizures, destruction of Hindu Temples and Catholic Churches continues, there is no point in anyone trying to move forward.  What is broken must be repaired.  There are no excuses for war crimes, U.S., Sri Lankan or any others, but if you read the Geneva Convention you see that no nations are immune from war crime charges.  I do not think that anything will happen until the Rajapakse brothers are out of office.   You need a neutral government that is tolerant of all cultures.  Anyway, as I said you do raise good points.

Rand Jay July 17, 2012 5:40 pm (Pacific time)

Hi Tim, Thanks for responding. You must be having something good in you after all as you published my views. Thanks mate. I am a Sinhalese Catholic and not a Buddhist. But Buddhists were discriminated by British Colonists who favoured the minorities. Today the German people blame the killing of six million Jews on Hitler, but they never voiced their opposition when Hitler was in power. Similarly many of those do called refugees or displaced persons were supportive of the terrorists and never went against the Tiger Terrorists when they reigned supreme. Many are relatives of the terrorists. If our great King Mahinda did not destroy the Tiger Tertorists in 2009, thousands of more innocent lives would have been lost and continued to be lost in the future too. Sometimes the end justify the means. It were the terrorists who held innocent or so called innocent people as hostages not the SriLankan Government. Any civilian deaths should be blamed on them and not on our Great King Mahinda the Merciful. Well Tim I rest my case and I have no more to say. You are forgiven as you know mostly what the Terrorist Diaspora says but I think you are not unreasonable to an extent. Good luck to you mate in your future reportings but give the other side a fair go too. Regards Rand Jay

Tim King: Rand, it is all good, I do not advocate violence, only truth.  As you know, the Tamil Catholics are very challenged, they continue to speak out and are thus endangered.  You have to appreciate why...  it is about a quest to establish a Sinhala govt.  The only answers are to leave cultures intact and to respect all.  You may know by researching history, that the Tamils tried for 30 years, that is a LONG time.. to keep their rights without violence.  It was only after those disappointing three decades that the LTTE was born.  It would have never taken place if this government had not passed so many laws against Tamils. 

Please appreciate that I have no use for the word terrorist, and if there is a terrorist in the mix then it is the GoSL and the Tamils only used suicide bombs because of economic reasons.  But the extremely revealing aspect to all of this, is my continual discovery of how the Tigers would strike military targets, only to have their civilians receive the repercussions.  Now, it is not rocket science to understand why they were drawn to a long, brave period of resistance.  I despise the terrorist label, it is not accurate, and the first to terrorize are always the well funded governments with their American and Russian killing machinery.   You reference the hostage aspect, I wonder what the odds are that you would do that to your own people... not much of a chance I'm sure.  Every time the Sri Lankan regime of Rajapakse or the Israelis start this crap, they are blowing pure steam.  People don't use civilian hostages just to get them killed, that is a lame excuse for war crimes.  Sri Lanka is a nation of war criminals.  The Tamils were forced to the point of resistance, and most of their targets were military.  Either way, the Sinhala majority struck civilian Tamils long before it was the other way around.

I will always agree that the entire civil war is a tragedy, I do not contend that Tamils are perfect or above reproach in any way.  I just happen to know a lot of the history and not surprisingly, it fails to match the mainstream version of  history.  It becomes a lot of broken record like crap after a while.  All religious governments that fail to protect their minorities are a hindrance on the face of this earth.  Have a good day mate.  

Rand Jay July 17, 2012 1:07 am (Pacific time)

Hi Tim, your arguments on behalf of the Tamils are biased and flawed. It shows how prejudiced you are. The Tamils have more schools and medical facilities than the 85 percent Sinhalese and Muslim populations. Most problems in SriLanka arose when your kind or in other words the British favoured them and gave special privileges not given to the Sinhalese. Your kind created the same problems in India that led to the partition. Why don't you write about war crimes committed by your kind in other countries? SriLanka did not invade another country it only safeguarded the unitary nature of StLanka. You people invaded other countries in the name of WMD s or Regime Changes and bombed innocent civilians. What about the war crimes by your kind. It's good for the International Hague to investigate and punish War Crimes committed by every country and the investigation can start from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where hundreds of thousands died and still continue to die to this very day. Physician heal thyself first. Regards Rand

Tim King: Rand, there is almost nothing true in what you said, I can't respectfully address outright lies, you should be ashamed of yourself for writing this.  Readers, the Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka are living under a brutal military occupation with rape and violence as part of their daily diet.  More than 80% of the country is Sinhala, not Hindu.  Sri Lanka suffers from a Buddhist driven ethnic cleansing and Genocide and a tiny amount of research verifies everything I say and nothing this person writes.

Rand Jay July 16, 2012 12:30 am (Pacific time)

The Tamil Tiger Terrorists killed more of their own than the number killed by the SriLankan Army. The Tamil Terrorists killed hundreds of innocent villagers hacking woman and children to death. They bombed busses and trains during peacetime killing hundreds. They killed 800 SriLankan policemen who surrendered to them. They killed the Indian Prime Minister and the SriLankan President. What about talking about the crimes the Tamil Terrorists committed during peace time? Rand Jay

Tim King: Looks like you need to go back to the history books friend; Tamils are an ancient civilization that has as much right to exist as anyone, they tried for 30 years to deal with the Sinhalese on a political level.  Just remember that, and also go back and check your figures, look at Black July to see a massive Sinhala killing of innocent Tamils.  Indeed, there is nothing accomplished by violence or apartheid.  

kiruba June 25, 2012 2:07 pm (Pacific time)

Editor: Kiruba, your message came through blank, please feel free to resubmit or email your comment, newsroom@salem-news.com

Our apologies for the inconvenience, sometimes links in the comment will cause this to happen, thank you..


Tamil supporter June 25, 2012 4:58 pm (Pacific time)

The Tamil people need freedom and Rajapakse needs a long overdue court sentence.

Matt Johnson June 25, 2012 3:05 pm (Pacific time)

Nope, can't deny that. The mere fact that she was an announcer known to the SLA proves they knew she was a non combatant. It was murder committed as an act of war.

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