There is chaos, Sri Lankans are worried – apparently, there is a UN report that shows some satellite pictures that could possibly incriminate the Sri Lankan Military.
“Fresh satellite images of the war zone in northeast Sri Lanka are available, but the UN agency charged with analysing them is not making them public. The images contain evidence of severe damage from heavy artillery and possibly air strikes, suggesting indiscriminate attacks in areas of high civilian concentration, which could be classed as war crimes carried out by the government of Sri Lanka.”...says Reuters, reporting the same incident.
So I looked at the so called “UN Report” and the satellite imagery that could “implicate” the Sri Lankan military, and here’s what I found:
First, there is no UN Report. The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) operates satellites, and maps conflict areas of the world in order to provide support for humanitarian and relief efforts. The document in question is their latest release on Sri Lankan conflict zone. Please take a good look at the summarised map from the document below. Notice that there are only eight sites noted within the No Fire Zone (I’ve numbered them from 1 to 8 in black circles). All the other activity is outside the No Fire Zone, in designated battle-fronts.
Here’s the detailed view: (No 1, which is ID: 230 does not appear in the report. My guess is there is nothing to write about). No 2, which is ID: 229 shows “3 permanent buildings destroyed between 29th March & 19th April. 3 additional buildings destroyed between 15-29 March.” At the bottom of the same image it says “Trench filled with water (W: 7m, L: 850m) constructed along road between 15-29 March.”
“The images appear to show clear signs of air raids in the ‘no-fire zone’ near Mullaitivu [Unosat]” is the photo-caption given by Al Jazeera, in their website.
Now, take a good look at the buildings that are supposedly “destroyed” by air-strikes, as Al Jazeera, Reuters and Human Rights Watch claim. Any holes on the ground? Nope. Notice the walls of the buildings still intact? Notice the fact that LTTE is actively fortifying their defences by digging trenches, during the same period? Could it be LTTE removing the roofing of these buildings to shelter their bunkers - just like the thousands of buildings we have seen all over liberated areas? Now, that’s not rocket-science, is it Einstein?
On to No 3 – ID:257. There is no bombing activity here.
And below is what happens when heavy artillery or arial bombing takes place. Notice the craters, clearly visible from the sky? There were NONE of those above!
Al Jazeera, repeatedly telecast the above image and another from the OUTSIDE No Fire Zone; they also misquoted saying that the “government admits to shelling” in the NFZ. Read the caption of the above image, which clearly states “CREATERS OUTSIDE CSZ” and watch the Al Jazeera news clip here – you will see who is fabricating stories.
And as for the other “noted” sites within the No Fire Zone, this is the summary:
No 5 (ID:245) “Bridge/Road Obstacle”
No 6 (ID:249) “Site of multiple likely shelling craters within CSZ.” This is the only site with any evidence of shelling. According to eye-witnesses and former LTTE seniors such as Daya Master and George, it was the LTTE terrorists using heavy artillery against the civilians inside the safe zone. See image below.
No 7 (PC12) “Linear formation of people along beach”
No 8 (ID: 246) “Permanent building destroyed in close proximity to earlier suspected air strike damages.”
However, they also talked this morning to Robert Karniol, a military expert who presented his view on these images, which clearly shed some light and enlightened the viewers on the “credibility” and “interpretation” of the same. Shall add the link to his view once it appears online.
According to the detailed report backed by visual evidence, following is the summary of the total damage:
Damages Inside CSZ (Civilian Safe Zone):
1. Putumattalan: Three permanent buildings have been destroyed between 29 March and 19 April, bringing the total for the northern section of the CSZ to six destroyed since 15 March. There are potentially large amounts of moderate to severe damages to the remaining permanent buildings in this area.
2. Valayanmadam: 1 additional permanent building has been destroyed, and further south there is a cluster of likely impact craters within an area previously densely populated with IDP shelters.
Damages Outside CSZ:
3. Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK): The major concentration of newly detected building destruction and hundreds of impact craters is located in the eastern sections of PTK especially centered on the main route leading east into the CSZ. This route is now nonfunctional because of a series of road blocks, impact craters and trenches erected along the main road.
4. Vadduvakallu: Building destruction continues in Vadduvakallu: 40 buildings destroyed between 29 March ‐19 April 2009 and a total of 148 building destroyed since 5 February 2009. A significant number of buildings were destroyed before 5 February 2009. A complete damage assessment is in progress by UNITAR/UNOSAT.
5. Mulattivu: Building destruction also continues in Mulattivu with a small number of new destruction between 29 March & 19 April. A complete damage assessment is in progress by UNITAR/UNOSAT.
6. West of Putumattalan: Bridge closed by multiple roadblocks and road damages (29 March ‐19 April) (TZ2) transport into CSZ impossible.
Bottom-line: Newsmakers sell stories, Some are just fairytales.
Image courtersy: UNOSAT. This report, even though password protected, is available to public online. Please visit http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/asp/prod_free.asp?id=32 for details.