Jeff S. Spivac - Founder, Covert Sciences

The double standards that are patent in the report of Christof Heyns on the Channel 4 video almost defy belief. I have already pointed out how he falsified what his predecessor said about Siri Hewa, while himself using experts who had previously acted as advisers on this same issue, all from the same country which, at least if the public pronouncements of some of its leading diplomats are anything to go by, seems to have prejudged several issues.

These experts have finally admitted that the footage has been edited. This was not mentioned previously, whereas now it is trotted out as providing very simple explanations of what seemed inexplicable previously. Since Alston had previously claimed that, while there were ‘a small number of characteristics which the experts were not able to explain….Each of these characteristics can, however, be explained in a manner which is entirely consistent with the conclusion that the videotape appears to be authentic’.

Why then were these not explained previously? The answer seems to lie in the fact that, until it became too obvious for even this bunch of so-called experts to deny, the fact that the video was edited was suppressed.

Grant Fredricks - Avid Editing Solutions

But, in admitting that the video was edited, it is stressed that this was only ‘the type of rudimentary editing possible on a mobile phone’. There is no attempt however at explaining why, in the course of this editing, the order in which events are supposed to have occurred has been transposed. As Grant Fredericks puts it, ‘The first four segments were actually recorded in the following chronological order:

• Segment 3,

• Segment 2,

• Segment 1,

• Segment 4’.

The experts go out of their way to claim that the events in the video are authentic, which suggests that they have completely missed the point of the initial Sri Lankan government reaction. Mr Alston brought a video to our attention and we claimed that this video had been tampered with. This was initially denied, but now it has been granted that not only was the video edited, but that the events it depicts were transposed. None of this was admitted earlier, which surely suggests that there should be further investigation of those who supplied the video before it can be so conclusively asserted that a prima facie case has been established.

Even more astonishingly, both forensic video analysts declare that the final segment of the video had little connection with the first four segments. Spivack says quite baldly that ‘the final segment appears to have been recorded at another location based on differences in natural/geographical features’ while Fredericks thinks that the lack of wind sounds merely suggests that ‘that this segment was recorded on a different day, or in a different area, than were Segments #1 through #4.’  Earlier he had simply said that ‘Segment 5 is dissimilar to the other segments in that the ground appears less saturated and none of the victims are visible in the other four segments. Also, none of the killings are actually contained in the recording. It is likely that this segment was recorded to the same device, but at a different time than were segments 1 through 4,’ apparently disagreeing with Spivack that the location was different.

Daniel Spitz - Chief Medical Examiner, Macomb and St. Clair Counties, Michigan

Why the whole bunch believes we should engage in a witch hunt on the basis of such a doctored video defeats me. Certainly I can see that what is depicted in the video is horrendous, but since we are now clearly dealing, not with Alston’s putative traumatized victim, but someone who has edited and added to a video in a manner that compounds confusion, surely we are entitled to ask those who supplied the video, those who showed the video, and those who are now getting ready to dance on the grave of the Sri Lankan army, to at least find out a bit more about the whole business? And while we can quite understand that this bunch do not wish to name names to us – since I suspect the provenance, if ‘Journalists for Democracy’ is anything to go by, includes people who will do anything for pecuniary gain, and they cannot risk us pointing this out – surely they can do a bit more investigation themselves to iron out anomalies before pronouncing so categorically?

I should add that, just as one of this bunch suggested last time that the July date was a deliberate attempt to mislead, I will not be surprised if we are told that perhaps the transposing of the sequence was yet another deliberate attempt to deceive.

There are other indications too of absurdity. The new video has not one, but two, depictions of people holding mobile phones, almost as though those who produced the video were reacting to the Sri Lanka government point that the video could not have come from a mobile phone. Unfortunately the two persons are dressed differently. Grant Fredericks, sharp little creature that he is, notices this but provides a hasty explanation – ‘The person operating the cell phone has a short sleeved shirt. The person operating the cell phone in Image 862 has a long sleeved shirt. Either the two men were using the same cell phone camera or multiple recordings were produced.’

Peter Diaczuk - expert in firearm and tool mark examination

I say hasty because in fact the difference in dress does not need explanation, if we are prepared to believe that this particular group of individuals were determined to have souvenirs of their actions. Indeed, even if the shirts had not been different, it would have been obvious that multiple recordings were being produced, since obviously the video we see could not have been produced by the phone in the hand of a man featuring in that video. So, as with Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark in the night, I believe we should wonder for a moment why Mr Fredericks was so quick to offer a redundant explanation for something that should not be problematic for those who accept his narration.

I suspect I have said enough to show that, whatever we think of the video, the independent experts Alston and Heyns are certainly not the real thing. But perhaps I should note a couple of other points which have been suggested to me, though I should add that I am not an expert in the field.

Fredericks notes at one stage that ‘Image 766 is a direct ‘descendent’ of  Image 765  within the same GOP. Also, the exact center of Image 765 is also the center of Image 766, indicating that the camera operator did not moved at that the zoom was  instant. It is clear that the camera used to record this segment has an ability to jump to a 2X zoom. The zoom appears to be an optical zoom, since digital zoom artifacts are not present.’

I am assured however that all mobile phones at 2009 and even now have digital zoom and not optical. Optical zoom is available only in video cameras. I cannot of course vouch for this, but I am sure the matter can be checked on easily. If the information is correct, it would suggest either that Mr Fredericks is not professionally competent or that he is serving another agenda.

Daily News  7 June 2011