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War refugees (file photo) by G. H. Peiris-February 7, 2014, 8:54 pm Continued from yesterday 3.4. Satellite magery nterpretation !ethod" #ppli$ations %here are se&eral sets of satellite image-based estimates of the 'ar (one population that are of rele&an$e to the sub)e$t of the *+anni $i&ilian death toll,. %he estimates so deri&ed by the -. Country %eam (referred to in p. 4/ abo&e) 'ere" 30/312 in 3P Camps on 45 6ebruary/ and 401/072 in the .684 on 42 6ebruary. #gain/ based e&idently on the same methodology/ the -.9CH# pla$ed the total population in the 'ar (one ('hether the total in$ludes the $ombatants is not $lear) on !ay 0/ 4::; at appro<imately 1:/::: to 2:/:::. =&iden$e gleaned from satellite imagery has been a$$orded an important pla$e in the *3arusman >eport, as 'ell/ pro&iding 'hat the readers of the report are e<pe$ted to understand as irrefutable e&iden$e of bombing and artillery shelling by the Sri ?an@a army of lo$alities (mainly hospital premises) in the 'ar (one inhabited largely or e<$lusi&ely by $i&ilians. Sin$e the damaged hospitals are named (listed belo')/ and the e<a$t dates of su$h bombardment are gi&en in the report/ it has been possible for me 'ith the guidan$e of Professor P. Wi$@remagamage of the 3epartment of Geography/ -ni&ersity of Peradeniya - the pioneer of Geographi$al nformation Systems (G S) studies at the uni&ersity - to attempt a &erifi$ation of the bombing and shelling and the resultant damage so reported. -daiyar@addu Hospital +allipuram Hospital Puthu@udiyirippu Hospital Ponnambalam Hospital Puthumathalan Hospital !ullai&ai@@al Hospital
%he method follo'ed ('hi$h $ould/ in fa$t/ be repli$ated by anyone 'ho has at least an elementary understanding of satellite imagery) 'as to use the sets of satellite images (different sets a&ailable at about fortnightly inter&als) $o&ering the hospital sites referred to/ and to as$ertain 'hether there are &isible differen$es in the *grounds$apes, before and after a spe$ifi$ episode of atta$@ dated in the 3arusman >eport/ de&oting minute attention to the sites mar@ed 'ith small red or yello' $ir$les in the satellite images presented in the report in order to indi$ate *$raters, on the ground and damaged roofs of buildings attributable to e<ploding bombs or artillery shells. %here 'ere limitations in this attempt at &erifi$ation su$h as partial $loud and $anopy $o&er in the images do'nloaded by me/ or the diffi$ulty of identifying the e<a$t lo$ation of the Ponnambamam and !ullai&ai@@al hospital premises. Aut sub)e$t to these limitations/ the images that 'ere e<amined by me did not pro&ide $onfirmation of shell or bomb damage as alleged in the $ase of the o&er'helming ma)ority of sites flagged 'ith $ir$les in the satellite images reprodu$ed in the *3arusman >eport, - that it to say/ at the sites indi$ated/ there 'as no dis$ernible differen$e bet'een the image of a date before the alleged bombingBshelling episode and the image of the same site after the alleged atta$@. %here 'ere/ at the -daiyar@addu and Puthumathalan hospital premises a fe' spots that sho'ed damaged roofs and 'hat loo@s li@e small $raters and pat$hes of burnt &egetation on the ground 'ithin about 4:: meters of the hospital buildings 'hi$h might ha&e been $aused by e<plosions. %hat apart/ there is no e&iden$e to substantiate the allegation that the hospital premises referred to or their &i$inity suffered intense damage from barrages of bomb and shell e<plosions. While not $laiming any e<pertise in the field of satellite image interpretation/ the impression gained from this amateur e<er$ise of &erifi$ation is that there is C$redible e&iden$eC to 'arrant an impartial inDuiry into the $redibility of the satellite image e&iden$e $ited in the 3arusman >eport. am/ of $ourse/ $ons$ious of the possibility that 'ith the reDuired e<pertise a&ailable to the go&ernment of Sri ?an@a/ the e&iden$e $laimed by the -.SG Panel of =<perts has already been pla$ed under $areful s$rutiny. n the $onte<t of the $laim made by the -. Country %eam that *-.9S#% Eui$@bird, and *World&ie', satellite images 'hi$h sour$ed its population estimates ('hi$h ha&e $ited earlier) 'ere of suffi$iently high resolution to distinguish e&en a single person on the ground (presumably to the e<tent of fa$ilitating the ma@ing of a distin$tion bet'een $ombatants and non-$ombatants)/ find one aspe$t of the $laimed potential of satellite imagery as re$ords of monitored e&iden$e from the +anni 'ar (one some'hat intriguing. .amely/ gi&en the fa$t that the area 'ould ha&e been under $onstant satellite &igil/ 'hy is it that these or any other satellite fail to $apture images depi$ting Chundreds of rotting $orpsesC or Cup to 5:: dead or mortally in)ured $i&iliansC stre'n o&er the open surfa$e of the sea'ard sandbar of .andi@adal lagoon rimmed by the shallo' marsh. Was it be$ause there 'ere no su$h appalling s$enes to $aptureF 9r maybe they are yet to be published as illustrations in horror stories from *Channel 4,. %he same pu((le $omes to mind 'hen one loo@s at the hundreds of photographs of remar@ably high Duality that depi$t s$enes of human suffering in the 4nd .68 and in the $ourse of the $i&ilian e<odus in #pril and !ay 4::;. 3.5. Census !ethod" #ppli$ations
%he $ondu$t of Duestionnaire-based field in&estigations intended to generate Duantitati&e information on almost any so$io-e$onomi$ or politi$al phenomenon en$ounter t'o main problems - one/ referred to as *sampling errors, (those arising from the possibility of the persons Duestioned by the in&estigators being adeDuately representati&e of the population to 'hi$h they are $onsidered to belong)/ and *non-sampling errors, (a euphemisti$ referen$e to the ina$$ura$ies in the information gi&en by those Duestioned to the in&estigators). n an intensely traumatised $i&ilian population su$h as that of the +anni 'ar (one/ there is a high probability of the data generated through the in&estigation being affe$ted by both these $ategories of error. 6or/ 'hile e&en the $o&erage of all e<isting households in su$h as sur&ey (7::G sample) might not $onstitute a representati&e sample of population that has suffered losses through deaths and out-migrations/ there 'ould also be a high propensity of distorted data being furnished by the informant 'hi$h is attributable to $auses su$h as memory lapses/ fury and grief about the losses/ fears about possible $onseDuen$es of being truthful/ politi$al $ompulsions/ e<pe$tations relating to $ompensation/ and ho' the Duestions are posed by the in&estigators/ et$. =&en if these t'o forms of *error, $ould someho' be minimised/ there 'ould also be the una&oidable impa$t of the ob)e$ti&es of the sur&ey on the manner in 'hi$h the field data are pro$essed and presented. t is 'ith a $lear understanding of the limitations that are inherent to the *Census !ethod, that the efforts hitherto made to Duantify the +anni 'ar damage through large-s$ale $ensus-type sur&eys should be loo@ed at. 3.5.7 Census of War Casualties by the go&ernment of Sri ?an@a #bout 4 years after the end of the +anni 'ar the go&ernment of Sri ?an@a $ondu$ted a $ensus in the 5 administrati&e distri$ts of the .orthern Pro&in$e 'ith the announ$ed ob)e$ti&e of a$hie&ing an a$$urate enumeration of the dead and the 'ounded in the $ourse of =elam War + (i.e. from the $ommen$ement of military operations to liberate the northern plains of Sri ?an@a from ?%%= $ontrol in !ay 4::2 up to the final demise of the ?%%= leadership in !ay 4::;). #$$ording to the report of this $ensus (titled/ =numeration of +ital =&ents/ published by the 3epartment of Census and Statisti$s)/ 'hile there 'as a total of 44/34; deaths in the 5 distri$ts of the .orthern Pro&in$e during the 5 years pre$eding the end of the $onfli$t (i.e. the period often referred to as *=elam War + ,)/ about 1/4:: died due to fighting from Hune 7:th 4::2 to !ay 7; 4:7;. t appears in retrospe$t that the go&ernment itself did not pla$e mu$h signifi$an$e on this enumeration. Sri ?an@an %amil politi$al groups in and outside the $ountry either ignored this $ensus or responded to it 'ith $yni$ism. %he latter 'as refle$ted in the response of the ?ondon-based *%amil nformation Centre, (% C) a$$ording to 'hi$h the go&ernment should Ce<pand its $ensus ba$@ to the time of the first politi$al @illing of Go&ernment Cleri$al Ser&i$es -nion (GCS-) !ember and the $leri$al offi$er of the 3epartment of Health and Sanitary Ser&i$es/ +elupillai IandasamyC (in 7;41)/ adding that/ Csin$e then/ thousands of li&es/ %amil/ Sinhalese and !uslim/ ha&e been lost to &iolen$e both in the long-term armed $onfli$t in the $onte<t of %amil national struggle/ in the $onte<t of the H+P uprising in the 7;1:s/ and in politi$al assassinationsC.
%he % C 'arned that C...the go&ernment should not ta@e this $ensus only to $ounter the figures of $i&ilian deaths being Duoted by &arious .G9s and the -.C/ and pledged that it 'ill be $ondu$ting its o'n $ensus of deaths that o$$urred in the $ourse of the =elam Wars. 9ne of many ??>C re$ommendations (Paragraph ;.31b) is that the go&ernment should" CCondu$t a professionally designed household sur&ey $o&ering all affe$ted families in all parts of the island to as$ertain firsthand the s$ale and the $ir$umstan$es of death and in)ury to $i&ilians/ as 'ell as damage to property during the period of the $onfli$t.C %his in$redibly tall order ('hi$h impli$itly re)e$ts the $ensus data generated by the go&ernment earlier in the year) lea&es hardly any room to doubt that none of the Commissioners ha&e had any e<perien$e of 'hat it is really li@e to generate reliable information through field in&estigations/ espe$ially those that attempt to Duantify happenings four or fi&e years old. %he go&ernment began implementing this re$ommendation in 4:73. %he 3ire$tor of the 3epartment of Census and Statisti$s 'as reported to ha&e said" CWe ha&e de&ised a Duestionnaire after $onsultation 'ith a steering $ommittee 'hi$h $omprises e<perts in their rele&ant fields and all sta@eholders (and that the sur&ey) $arried out in 74/:44 Grama .iladhari 3i&isions island-'ide deploying 70/::: offi$ials to $olle$t information/ 'as $ompleted by 3e$ember 4:th.C n the .orth/ a$$ording to the 3ire$tor/ one enumerator handled e&ery 5:: households 'hile in the South e&ery 7::: households 'ere Duestioned by one. %he sur&ey pro$edure/ he said/ Centails the gathering of information on all the $ir$umstan$es of a death and that the $ensus offi$ials ha&e been instru$ted to $he$@ do$uments in possession of the berea&ed family in order to as$ertain the authenti$ity of their $laimsC. %he results of the sur&ey are e<pe$ted to be announ$ed in !ar$h 4:74. t 'as probably a minute glimpse that had of 'hat $ould 'ell ha&e been the implementation of the ??>C re$ommendation 'hen the Grama .iladhari of the area in 'hi$h reside (Iandy) arri&ed at my home and made a re$ording of my response to the Duestion of 'hether anyone in my household 'as @illed or 'ounded by 'ar-related &iolen$e of the past fe' years. / in turn/ $ame to @no' from him that all GrFma .iladhari of *6our Gra&ets and Ganga'ata Iorale, (i.e. Iandy) ha&e been instru$ted to fill a Duestionnaire 'ith information from ea$h household in their respe$ti&e areas of authority and that his o'n tas@ in&ol&es the $o&erage of more than 0:: households 'ithin a month during 'hi$h he has to perform his routine offi$e duties as 'ell. # reDuest for Ce&iden$eC of 'ar-related deaths and in)ury from me did not arise. t is possible that in the main 'ar-affe$ted areas a far more $on$erted effort 'as applied to this sur&ey. %he announ$ement of this $ensus/ $oin$iding as it did 'ith the Common'ealth Heads of Go&ernment !eeting in Colombo in .o&ember 4:73/ had a mi<ed re$eption. 6or instan$e/ the Common'ealth Se$retariat unreser&edly 'el$omed it/ stating that it has the potential of $ontributing substantially to re$on$iliation efforts. %he *%amil .ational #llian$e, (%.#/ main $oalition of %amil politi$al parties in Sri ?an@a)/ in $ontrast/ dismissed it as a politi$al gimmi$@.C %he %.#/ as e&eryone @no's/ is replete 'ith e<perts in gimmi$@ry.
>=6=>=.C=S 3#>-S!#./ !ar(u@i/ S99I#/ Jasmin KampL >#%.=>/ Ste&en >. (4:77) >eport of the Se$retary General,s Panel of =<perts on #$$ountability in Sri ?an@a/ a.@.a. *3arusman >eport,B-.SG-Po= >eport 3=P#>%!=.% 96 C=.S-S KampL S%#% S% CSB3CS/ S> ?#.I# (4:74) =numeration of +ital =&ents/ !inistry of 6inan$e KampL Planning/ Colombo =??##?#. (4::;) titled *+i$tims of Shelling in +anni,/ '''.s$ribd.$omBdo$B7:550;;1B&i$tims-shelling-in-&anni =.G#G= S> ?#.I# (4:73) Corrupted Hournalism/ Channel 4 and Sri ?an@a/ '''.engagesrilan@a.$om G9+=>.!=.% 96 S> ?#.I# (.o&ember 4:77) >eport of the Commission of nDuiry on ?essons ?earnt and >e$on$iliation/ '''.slembassyusa.orgBdo'nloadsB??>C->=P9>%.pdf H#>> S9. 6ran$es (4:73) Still Counting the 3ead" Sur&i&ors of Sri ?an@a,s Hidden War/ Penguin Aoo@s/ ndia H-!#. > GH%S W#%CH (4::2) *Sri ?an@a - %rapped and !istreated" ?%%= abuses against $i&ilians in the +anni/ '''.hr'.orgBenBreportsB4::2B74B75 .3=P=.3=.% 3 #SP9># #.#?JS S G>9-PB 3#G (4:74) %he .umbers Game . +-.H=??# Su)ee&a (4:73) # report on the $eremonial laun$hing of Harrison,s Still Counting the 3ead .../ in %he sland (a Sri ?an@a daily) of 43 Hanuary 4:74 >=33J !uralidhar (4::;) *6inal Hours - #n =ye'itness #$$ount of the ?ast 1: Hours of the =elam War +,/ '''.frontline.inBstati$BhtmlBfl4074BstoriesB4::;:074::;::.htm >=33J !uralidhar (4:73) # re&ie' of 6ran$es Harrison,s Still Counting the 3ead .../ %he Hindu of 6ebruary 7;/ 4:73 >9A=>%S/ !i$hael (4:73) *=stimates of the %amil Ci&ilian 3eath %oll during the ?ast Phase of =elam War +,/ %huppahi,s Alog >9A=>%S/ !i$hael (4:74) * 3P Camps 4::;" Humanitarian Wor@ in !idst of Propaganda War, http"BB'''.s$ribd.$omBdo$B4:4:533;0B 3P-Camps-4::;-Humanitarian-Wor@-in-!idstof-Propaganda-War-by-3r-!i$hael->oberts % != of 6ebruary 3/ 4::2/ *Ho' Sri ?an@a %amed its %igers, (a feature)
-. +=>S %J %=#CH=>S 69> H-!#. > GH%S-H#66.#B-%H>-H (4::;) Spe$ial >eport .o. 34 of 7: Hune 4::; KampL Spe$ial >eport .o. 34 of 73 3e$ember 4::; -.-S=C>=%#>J G=.=>#? (7;;2) *>eport on prote$tion for humanitarian assistan$e to refugees and others in $onfli$t situations,/ -. 39C.sB7;;2B223/ 44 September 7;;2 W9>?3 6993 P>9G>#!!= (4::;) *Sri ?an@a" 45:/::: People in the War 8one .eed 6ood,/ '''.'fp.orgBstoriesBsri-lan@a-&anni
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