Channel 4 Killing Fields tape VS Watergate

Could President rely on his protégées to ward off war crimes probe?

by Pearl Thevanayagam

(July 14, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) When US Presdient Richard Milhaus Nixon summoned General Alexander Haig and asked whether he could obfuscate evidence of tapes he bugged he was hoping against hope his faith in his coterie of advisors would ward off public prosecution.

That 18 and a half minute erasure of Watergate tapes would bring down the 37th President of the United States of America and earn him the name of traitor of the 20th century in the annals of US history.

It took well over two years for two fledgling journalists Edward Woodward and Carl Bernstein of Washington Post to expose the expose’ of the 20th century. The world was stunned that the Republican President not only bugged his opponents but chose to lie in public and under oath to lie that he did not bug them. Nixon resigned under a cloud in 1974.

Clinton’s, ‘I did not have sex with that woman’, as he testified under oath about his affair with his White House intern Monica Lewinsky pales into insignificance when compared with Nixon’s Watergate bugging.

Here in sunny Sri Lanka, the government’s version of the video-tape obtained by Channel 4 differs from that of the Killing Fields video aired in the four corners of the world. There are growing concerns that either Channel 4 or the Sri Lankan government has tampered with the tape and that Channel 4 doctored the video to attract viewers. There is also speculation that pro-LTTE sympathisers funded the airing of the videotape.

Technical Analysis of the Channel 4 video is doing the rounds courtesy of the GDI. It purports to analyse the video and attempts to prove the blood shown on the skull of the youth is indeed paint, that the LTTE female journalist Isaichelvi’s naked body was being searched for hidden bombs by the soldiers (apparently soldiers even search cadavers suspected to be those of LTTE cadres to make sure there are no hidden ammunition which could detonate) and not raped as popularly believed and other technical points regarding dates shown on the video, the comparison of distance to the time it took for sounds to be heard etc. etc.

There is clear evidence from independent international experts that the Channel 4’s Killing Fields is authentic but the government insists it has been doctored.

This video could make or break the government’s credibility in the eyes of the international watchdogs although the government managed to conduct the war two years ago without the prying eyes of the media or NGOs.

This video could either be the straw that broke the camel’s back or if the government succeeds in proving that Channel 4 had tampered with the tape then Mahinda Rajapakse can look forward to a long reign and carry on establishing a nouveau monarchy. Chances of the latter appears very bleak indeed.

Could Killing Fields video become Sri Lanka’s Watergate?
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