Fervent Faces as Signs of Extremism and Deceit? From Lakemba to Lanka

Michael Roberts

The video report on Lakemba in Sydney by Emma Reynolds is causing a minor stir. My reproduction of the web report in Thuppahi and its circulation drew comments from one George Rupesinghe who challenged her sweeping presentation of “Muslim monoculturalism” and the alleged no-go sites in Lakemba.

Says Rupesinghe: “This Canadian woman came to Oz merely to draw attention to herself. She set out to be deliberately provocative and the police officer very rightly warned her against using her “free speech” rights to incite unrest. Besides the mosque there is a Christian (Uniting) Church on the main street. Another Christian Church just off the main street along the Lakemba Street and a Catholic Church also on Lakemba Street.”

Since Rupesinghe is not a White Australian and is a Sri Lankan migrant, his witness carries great weight. But let me elaborate on the question marks that I had before receiving Rupesinghe’s note – doubts embodied in a QUALIFYING NOTE I added to the EMMA REYNOLDS video message re-circulated in Thuppahi. [1]

These doubts arose from her visage in the presentation – the intense facial expression and rapid speech. They suggested reporter sensationalism in story-telling and/or exaggeration attached to a radical/liberal or, alternatively, a diehard conservative cause. Was there a White racist agenda lurking behind her presentation of self as a radical humanist attached to freedom of expression and movement? Alternatively, was the degree of attachment to equal rights moving her to a form of humanist extremism that was itself extremist and misleading? … and likely to provoke hostility and cause a breach of the peace? Hence, too, a police officer’s intervention.

There has been a groundswell of secular fundamentalism sweeping the Western world in recent decades. This wave has generated many worthwhile causes: the charges directed against of sexual predators in the film/TV world (Rolf Harris, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein for example) and the outing of paedophiles in some Christian denominations are among the latter. But one can add to this the reports on local campaigns by various Greenies against specific irrigation projects or wood mills etc and the ardent intervention of campaigners against the whaling industry associated with Japan in particular. To this array one can add the radical groups seeking to eliminate memorials for Cecil Rhodes, those shouting for LGBT rights, et cetera.

The intensity of facial expression and the type of person who voices support for these interventions is WHAT fascinates me. So, too, the ways in which reporters enter the fray and convey the complaints: their visage and their voice often replicate that of the ardent advocates.

In this manner I reflected upon the facial expressions and voices of some of the radical humanists entering the discourse surrounding Eelam War IV in Sri Lanka (2006-09): namely

  • Gordon Weiss, a Polish Jewish Australian media man
  • Jon Snow of Channel Four in Britain
  • Callum Macrae of Channel Four in Britain
  • Frances Harrison, ex-BBC and freelance media person
  • John Dowd of the International Commission of Jurists in Australia

To this grouping I add a recent phenomenon: the pursuits of David Harrison of Al-Jazeera in 2018 as he presented allegations re betting fixes by Indian racketeers and pitch doctoring at the Galle Cricket Ground.[2]

Callum Macrae

John Dowd 

These men and women are, for the most part, personnel whom I would depict as “people of righteousness.” Gordon Weiss’s choice of a picture for himself in his web site highlights my focus: here is a benign and earnest ‘missionary’ seeking to assist the poor downtrodden people of Africa (in this pictorial instance).[3] But elsewhere and on You Tube he presents himself as stern and earnest.

When Weiss had the clout to be interviewed solo by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as it highlighted the Sri Lankan situation immediately after Eelam War IV, his intensity of commitment and his zealousness was marked (in my reading as a TV watcher). He had the same earnest intensity when speaking on air to his book The Cage on various platforms, including the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2011.[4] Around April 2011, after the UN Panel under Darusman presented a critical report on the Eelam War,[5] Gordon Weiss went on air or platform at several locations from 2011 onwards and highlighted the events of 2009 as “Sri Lanka’s Srebenica Moment”. Needless to say, he was aired by Channel Four in UK making the same telling comparisons.[6] His facial stance was earnest and direct – eyes unswerving.

This was media power at its most potent: no Sri Lankan government voice or writers in the ‘alleyways’ could match the range of coverage and influence wielded by these Western media personnel and the channels they had access to.[7]

Let me illustrate this contention by details from Gordon Weiss’s interview on Channel Four on 18th April 2011 at a stage when the report from the UN’s Darusman Panel had just appeared and hit the headlines with its “credible allegation” that as many as 40,000 civilians had perished in the last phase of Eelam War IV – a suggestion that was quickly turned into a concrete fact of 40,000 deaths by the deceitful substitution of the phrase “credible evidence.”[8]

The Western media world’s easy acceptance of this figure transcended basic military common sense because such an outcome would mean that the wounded (that is WIA) would be in the region of 80,000 to 100,000 to judge from the battlefield casualties in all wars, including the Gallipoli campaign of 1914/15 – a theatre where the physical limits bore some comparison to the Vanni Pocket where the last phase of Eelam War IV was fought out.[9]

SAM 2--06_Jan_2009_defence.lk Situation Map, 6 January 2009

Let me move to illustrations of this facile combination of ignorance and deceit through excerpts from the Channel Four video documentary with Weiss as chief witness. Callum Macrae opens the exchange with Weiss thus: “How did such a vast massacre and so much abuse on both sides occur while the United Nations was on the ground in Sri Lanka?

Gordon Weiss: “Well, that was the entire point of the Government of Sri Lanka’s and the Army’s management of the war. It was intended that no one – nobody should be allowed to see what was going on. Any foreign journalist who was working on the ground in Sri Lanka understood that because no one was allowed to get near the frontlines. One of the things I expect you will see in the next few weeks as the government of Sri Lanka mounts a defence is that they will argue that journalists had access. But, in fact, that’s not true. It was a silent war.”

What we see here is a LIE – an outrageous lie presented blandly and convincingly by a consummate performer whose “authority” derived from the fact that he had been the UN Media Officer in Colombo in 2008/09.

His slanted dissimulation began then in Colombo in April/May 2009 if not earlier. At a moment just after the Foreign Ministers Miliband and Kouchner had flown to Sri Lanka and attempted (unsuccessfully) to arm-wrestle the President and government to cease their military advance,[10] in early May 2009 Weiss joined Ravi Nessman in an Associated Press broadcast to the world about the impending catastrophe in circumstances where one faced “a war without witnesses”.[11]

That was the standard theme that had been peddled by Nessman and the Associated Press media engine from February if not later – for instance when Nessman was interviewed live on the Tavis Smiley Show for its American audience on 18th February 2009. Both then, and now in May 2009, this misleading presentation on the AP News channel by Nessman and Weiss failed to tell listeners that from January 2009 several batches of reporters were ferried to the rear-battle theatre by the SLAF on day-long visits on assorted occasions in 2009 (the list is relegated here to an Appendix). Nessman himself had been on one such flight in late January and is pictured in one report as well as Kanchan Prasad’s camera work during one flight.

26-27 Jan-cluster in plane Nessman and other reporters in plane enroute to war zone

These visits, I stress, were brief day-long trips for the most part. The journalists would not have gained as much insight as Tony Birtley of Al-Jazeera during his journeys with infantrymen in the rear frontlines on three occasions in this period – leading to short video documentaries on 7th October 2008, 26th January 2009 and 1st February 2009 which should be compulsory viewing for all students of the war. Later, in April/May 2009 his colleague David Chater sent Al Jazeera reports from a desk in Colombo, but managed to join the SL Navy on the 22nd April 2009 to capture pictures of those Tamil civilians who had used the SL Army assault on the “Last Redoubt” a few days earlier as the opportunity to flee in small boats and eventually end up on the shores of Pulmoddai to the south.[12]

Tony Birtley in late 2008 David Chater

Nor would these reporters have come close to the (a) scenarios witnessed by David Gray of Reuters when he was provided privileged access to the western shores of Nandikadal Lagoon on 26th April 2009 after SL Army forces had penetrated the eastern bund defences on the 19/20th April and enabled the Army to take control of the northern/middle sections of the LTTE’s ”Last Redoubt;”[13] or (b) the post-battle frontline scenarios witnessed by Murali Reddy and Kanchan Prasad in mid-May 2009 when they were residing at Brigade HQ and were ferried every day to the newly-secured battle zone.[14]

What I am marking here is differentiation in degrees of access and thus pointing to the limitations associated with most reportage. Where the battle lines are relatively clear-cut (as they were in Eelam War IV), it is normally very rare for journalists to gain access to the interface of infantry battles.[15] The reporters who were ferried (like Nessman) to the rear battle arenas on day-long visits would not necessarily have garnered insights into what was going on – though Nessman did have the opening to interview a commanding officer (Ranjan Udawatte).

 Nessman interviewing Udawatte… January 2009

Such reservations do not disqualify the stark conclusions arising from my data. Nessman and Weiss were peddling a lie in early May. Weiss then persisted in this dissimulation when he toured the world and asserted that it was “a silent war” and reporters “could not get near the frontlines.”

Central to the weight attached to his evidence was the fact that Weiss had been the UN Media Officer in Colombo in 2008/09. Not many viewers would have known that he had committed himself wholeheartedly THEN to the US and British pressures exerted on the Government of Sri Lanka to cease their military advance on ostensibly humanitarian grounds (that hid the concurrent plans directed towards whisking the LTTE leadership a way to a ‘safe house’ … i.e. such states as Eritrea, South Africa and Timor[16]).

The proof of this commitment to the policies pursued by the Western powers (as well as the humanitarian concerns of many NGO) was when Weiss went on air for Associated Press with its anchor-man, Ravi Nessman in early May 2009 claiming that it was “A War Without Witnesses.”

In doing so Weiss and Nessman were not only being dishonest. They were indicating to us, today, that they were assessing the war as investigators (A) without tapping into the appraisals of the military attaches at the UK and US embassies and (B) without any reference to the remarkable events that had unfolded at Nandhikadal Lagoon from 20th April when over 100,000 Tamil civilians (and deserting Tiger personnel) had streamed across water and land to safety in government terrain.

The recent release of reports on the war from the British Defence Attache in Colombo, Lt. Col. Gash, has indicated that the advance of the SL Army was measured and that from early February 2009 the SL Navy and ICRC combined had begun evacuating wounded and sick civilians by sea.[17] Weiss and Nessman must have been in some dungeon of their own making if they had not received some whispers from such quarters which revealed such processes prior to the remarkable events of late April.

It is their stance in May 2009 that illuminates their one-eyed blindness and their deceit. That stance makes it clear that they were shutting out the scenarios that unfolded on TV and news reportage in Lanka as well as abroad after the SL Army penetrated the Last Redoubt on the 19/20th April.

As it happens, both journalists and the Sri Lankan public were provided with TV video coverage of the ongoing battles in late April and May 2009 courtesy of aerial UAV snatches released by the SL Air Force. Obviously, these scenes would have been selective and vetted.

However, the Western ambassadors and a clutch of foreign and local reporters were given the privilege of viewing live UAV footage at SLAF HQ in Slave Island in Colombo on 20th April 2009. Bryson Hull of Reuters served up an excellent report on this event[18] — supplemented by a selection of photographs taken from a variety of sources. This invaluable report and two companion pieces, supported by David Gray’s pictorial tale following a trip to the Nandikadal Lagoon area by plane, provided observers throughout the world with a decent glimpse of the battlefield circumstances.[19] One strand of pictorial illustration was the stark evidence of thousands of Tamil personnel[20] streaming over shallow waters as well as land as they fled from the battle zone after the SL Army penetrated the Tiger defences.

A video grab shows thousands of people the military said fled an area held controlled by the Tamil Tiger separatists in northeastern Sri Lanka on April 20, 2009. REUTERS/SLRC via Reuters TV  

 Scene from within SLAF Headquarters –clarification of the unfolding battlefield scenario with live UAV footage

This raises a fundamental question: where were Nessman, Weiss and Charles Haviland of the BBC in late April? Were they among the select few witnessing live aerial footage at the SLAF headquarters? Did they watch the local TV coverage? Why did they swallow the accounts served up by the Tamil medics and NGO personnel within LTTE space as the only reliable evidence? How was it that they remained oblivious to the three reports from Reuters personnel: Hull, Gray, and Hull & Sirilal?

The implications arising from these questions are devastating. The prima facie picture is this: Nessman, Weiss and others adhered to a predetermined political line which was opposed to the warring. They shut out the reports from Reuters and other sources that contradicted their programme. They wanted the SL Army advance to cease. They blamed both sides and apparently saw themselves as fair adjudicators. But after mid-May 2009 Weiss proceeded to concentrate his slashing attacks on the SL government because the LTTE leadership was not in existence anymore.

When he was working for the UN in Colombo, he was party to the UN Office’s statement that  the number of civilian casualties was 7,000. This became “the [approximate] official figure quoted by the UN General Secretary’s New York spokesperson,  Michelle Monas, who told Inner City Press reporter Matthew Lee, ‘We have no way of knowing the exact count’. When Weiss left the UN, returned to Australia and began writing his book, he increased the figure to 15,000. Then he upped it to 40,000, a figure that a whole range of media outlets, including BBC and NDTV, ran with.[21]

The issue, here, is this: does intense commitment to “good cause” and “humanism” lead to exaggeration and/or  incorrect appraisal? Does it induce blindness to qualifying factors? Worse still, can it encourage these ‘good committed people’ to neglect context and circumstance? ……. And even lead them into deceit and duplicity?

Our affirmative answer to this question is aided by evidence of another act of gross deceit by Gordon Weiss a few years down the track. This occurred when he was a central figure in an investigation mounted in 2014 by a radical circle centred on the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Sydney. This organisation set up a team to study the events in Sri Lanka and produced a report entitled Island of Impunity? Investigation into International Crimes committed during the Final Stage ages of the Sri Lankan Civil War (2014). This report was tabled in the Australian Parliament. It presented another lie: namely, that during the last stages of Eelam War IV the government of Sri Lanka denied essential humanitarian supplies to the Tamil civilian population.

The Paradoxes with Eelam War IV

Let me set the background by underlining an outstanding paradox associated with the Eelam Wars. Pirapāharan and the LTTE claimed that they were a separate state of Thamililam and from 1990 set up most of the paraphernalia of state. But they depended on the currency known as the “Sri Lankan Rupee” and one pillar of their economy was the monetary inputs of salaries and pensions received by persons within the Tamil areas who were still government servants or retired public officials. GoSL continued these payments as one dimension of their denial of the LTTE’s claim to sovereign status.

However, there was another remarkable dimension of this political position on the part of GoSL. Throughout Eelam War IV they continued to despatch essential food and medical supplies to the three lakhs or so of people living in Thamililam. This was a huge exercise financed by international goodwill and funds as well as GoSL monies. At some point after Eelam War IV commenced in October 2006, a Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance was set up to coordinate these activities. It was chaired by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and included leading ambassadors, the Chairman of the NGOs Committee, the Director of the World Food Programme and a government official in charge of essential services. [22]

To service this activity a logistics hub was located at Vavuniya in government-controlled territory just south of the southern border of Thamilīlam. Beginning in October 2008 at least eleven convoys with supplies (e. g. basic foods and medicines) were sent during the latter stages of the war, with the last convoy being that of “Convoy 11” in late January 2009 which features prominently as Chapter 5 in Gordon Weiss’s famous book The Cage (Picador, 2011). I stress here that these supplies were of considerable significance in sustaining the LTTE forces as well as the civilian people whom they were using as defensive formations and strategic resource. Medical Superintendent Shanmugarajah’s subsequent account indicates that Tamil officials in Tiger territory showed commendable foresight in late 2008 by stockpiling medicines, medical instruments, food etc in refriegerator trucks for an anticipated emergency down the track.[23]

Once the land convoys were deemed impractical.  the ICRC chartered commercial ships that were escorted to the coastal front by the SL Navy. At least 31 voyages occurred between early February and 9th May. Besides depositing supplies, the ICRC ships also evacuated injured and sick (selected by the LTTE) from that land-and-water war front: so that at least 13,794 men, women and children were evacuated to Pulmoddai or Trincomalee.[24]

There are, of course, questions relating to the adequacy of these food supplies because of considerable underestimation of the number of people trapped not only in government circles, but also in the Western embassies. That the GoSl agencies relied on underestimation is probable. But the fact of supplies being sent by land and by sea cannot be denied – serving up a remarkable instance of a war where one side feeds the enemy.

 

As the UN’s media officer in Colombo, Weiss may conceivably have been one of the hands engaged in the arrangements supporting this considerable relief endeavour administered from a constellation of offices in Colombo. But, in 2014, as one of the architects of the Island of Impunity?,[25]  he joined in the accusation that the GoSL had prevented humanitarian aid from reaching the trapped populace.

That accusation immediately reached the media waves and the world stage through an address in the Senate of Australia  on 11th February 2014 by Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens. Wham! Bang! Condemnation! Here, then, in Australia in the year 2014 we see Gordon Weiss compounding the duplicity which he had  revealed earlier during his talks on the world stage in 2011/12 on “The Srebenica Moment” and his marketing of The Cage at various venues. MILNE IN SENATE--www.youtube.com

Yet another lie, a gross calumny. Given his role in the UN work in Sri Lanka, his duplicity in participating in an inquiry which asserted  that humanitarian supplies were not sent to the “trapped population”[26] is even more horrendous than his claim that journalists could not approach the war front and his support for the Channel Four tale of “massacres.”

Readers are therefore encouraged to study the facial expressions displayed by Weiss in all his You Tube performances …. And match it with that of Emma Reynolds ….. and deduce lessons, tentative surmises of course, but surely serving up a cautionary tale.

 ***  ***

APPENDIX

SL-ARMY Media Accreditation to War-Zone 2007-2009 = http://www.scribd.com/doc/185693507/SL-ARMY-Media-Accreditation-to-War-Zone-2007-2009

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Al-Jazeera 2009a “SL army claims control of rebel territory, “26 January 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brMeGyyt8ow

Al-Jazeera 2009b “SL army closes in on Tamil Tigers,” 1 February 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZc_Am5HUSs

Al-Jazeera 2011 “Sri Lanka responds to ‘war crimes’ claims,” [Rajiva Wijesinha faces challenging American newscaster in Doha] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdrCR-X4iH0&feature=player_embedded#at=75

Aranze, Janith 2011 “Sri Lanka’s Srebenica Moment. Q and A with Gordon Weiss,” Sunday Leader, 1 May 2011.

Birtley, Tony …see Al-Jazeera

Chater, David 2009 “Sri Lankan civilians ‘escape’ rebel stronghold,” 22 April 2009, https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=David+chater+of+AL+JAZEERA+on+Sri+Lanka+War+2009&&view=detail&mid=A1893420EC90212A3A3DA1893420EC90212A3A3D&&FORM=VDRVRV

Colvin, Mark 2011 “Sri Lankan war crimes remain untold story of South Asia: former UN worker,” 16 May 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3218357.htm

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Roberts, Michael 2015A Drama in Four Acts: Dishonest Reportage by Amnesty International and Aussie Journalists remains Unmasked,” 2 September 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=17560&action=edit&postpost=v2

Michael Roberts, Michael 2016 “A Puzzle: When Weiss, Amnesty International and Aussie Greens LIE,” 16 June 2016, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/a-puzzle-when-weiss-amnesty-international-and-aussie-greens-lie

Roberts, Michael 2017 “Reporting War: Outrageous Obfuscations during the Last Phase of Eelam War IV,” 22 October 2017, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/reporting-war-outrageous-obfuscations-during-the-last-phase-of-eelam-war-iv/

Shanmugarajah, V. 2014 “Dr. Veerakanthipillai Shanmugarajah’s Affidavit Description of Conditions in the Vanni Pocket in Refutation of Channel Four,” 5 January 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/drveerakanthipillai-shanmugarajahs-affidavit-description-of-conditionsin-the-vanni-pocket-in-refutation-of-channel-four/

Senaratne, Kalana 2011 “Killing Fields: Problems and Prospects, “The Island, 24 June 2011 [also in https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/killing-fields%E2%80%99-problems-and-prospects/%5D.

Sri Lanka Media Watch 2011 “Appalling Journalism. Jon Snow and Channel 4 News on Sri Lanka,” November 2011, http://www.defence.lk/news/pdf/Appalling%20Journalism.pdf.

Sri Lanka Media Watch 2012 “An Unreliable Witness. Gordon Weiss, The Cage and Sri Lanka,” http://webdesginottawa.me/slembassyparis/index.php?option=com_content& view=article&id=745%3Aan-unreliable-witness-gordon-weiss-the-cage-and-sri-lanka-&catid=100%3Aheadlines&Itemid=313&lang=en.

Technical Analysis 2011Technical Analysis of Channel 4 killing fields documentary,” http://www.slideshare.net/abcbefair/technical-analysis-of-channel-4-killing-fields-documentary.

Tekwani, Shyam 2011 “The long afterlife of war in teardrop isle,” 29 August 2011, http://tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws290811long.asp.

UTHR 2009 Let Them Speak: Truth about Sri Lanka’s Victims of War, Special Bulletin Report No. 34.

You Tube Power Point 2011 “Technical Analysis of Channel 4 Killing Fields,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRrGDPKVJh0

You Tube Power Point 2011 “British Channel 4 TV Allegations manipulating the Medium,” http://www.globalpeacesupport.com/globalpeacesupport.com/post/ 2011/06/13/Channel-4-video-a-fake-concludes-video-forensic-analyst.aspx.

Tammita-Delgoda, S. 2009 “Sri Lanka: The Last Phase in Eelam War IV. From Chundikulam to Pudukulam,” New Delhi: Centre for Land Warfare, Manekshaw Paper No. 13, http://www.claws.in/administrator/uploaded_files/1274263403MP%2022.pdf.

Weiss, Gordon 2011 “Sri Lanka ‘war crimes’ is ‘Srebrenica moment’,” 18 April 2011, https://www.channel4.com/news/sri-lanka-war-crimes-is-srebrenica-moment

Weiss, Gordon 2011 “Sri Lanka faces its ‘Srebrenica moment’,” The Australian, 23 April 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sri-lanka-faces-its-srebrenica-moment/story-e6frg6ux-1226043466322.

Weiss, Gordon 2011 The Cage, Sydney: Picador.

Weiss, Gordon 2011 http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august262011/gordon-weiss-book-mn.php

END NOTES

[1] See News Item “Lakemba Sydney is “No-Go” area for White Aussies,” 2018.

[2] See https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/england-tour-of-sri-lanka-test-pitch-doctoring-match-fixing-5191816/

* https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/sports-news/galle-stadium-curator-named-in-fixing-scandal-admits-to-doctoring-pitches-to-benefit-bookmakers-in-sting-operation-4483531.html

* https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket-australia-call-for-unedited-galle-evidence-to-be-given-to-icc-20180527-p4zhu7.html

[3] See Roberts “People of Righteousness target Sri Lanka,” http://thuppahi. wordpress.com /2011/06/27/people-of-righteousness-target-sri-lanka/

[4] See Neighbour “Gordon Weiss on Sri Lanka’s Civil War,” 26 Aug. 2011,  http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august262011/gordon-weiss-book-mn.php.

[5] The UN Panel of experts (also known widely as “The Darusman Panel”) also said thata number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths” (para 137 on page 41).

[6] This You tube Video Stream was also conveyed by (1) Tamil Nation on 19th April 2011; (2) ANUTV on 5th August 20111; (3) TYO Sweden on 18 March 2012.

[7] These video documentaries needless to say, reached Sri Lankan viewers while the Sunday Leader of 1 May 2011 presented a Q and A with Weiss  conducted by Janith Aranze that was also entitled the “Srebenica Moment.”

[8] Harshula ” (2011 in Groundviews) shows that Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, ABC, BBC, AFP and Reuters were among those who substituted “evidence” for “allegations. Only Groundviews corrected this gross error.

[9] On this topic see especially Mango, “Sri Lanka’s War In Its Last Phase: Where WIA Figures Defeat The Gross KIA Estimates,” 14 February 2014. Also see Roberts “Estimates,” 2013 and “Drama,” 2014

[10] Roberts, “Miliband  … Tatters,” 5 July 2016, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/david-milibands-imperious-intervention-in-lanka-left-in-tatters/

[11] I have misplaced this  specific reference but for one sent a week later on 13th May, see Nessman 2009 viz https://mg.co.za/article/2009-05-13-satellite-shows-sri-lanka-shelling-says-rights-group

[12] See Video Report of 22 April 2009 entitled “Sri Lankan civilians ‘escape’ rebel stronghold.” Note Lt. Col Gash’s description of the landings of evacuees at Pulmoddai during the more organised ICRC-SL Navy operations from early February to early May (Roberts, “Gash III,” 2018).

[13] See Gray, “A Day at the Frontline,” 2009 and Hull “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009.

[14] See Prasad 2011a, 2011b and 2011c.

[15] One who had SL Army connections and secured access to this sort of situation was Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda (2009 and 2015). Where reporters (for e.g. Marie Colvin) have got killed on the battlefront, is in conditions of urban warfare and/or fluid battlefield circumstances.

[16] See Roberts, “Saving Pirapaharan,” 2016; and Jeyaraj, KP, 2011

[17] My series of articles on the Gash files can be accessed at THUPPAHI:  see Roberts https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/the-gash-files-iii-trapped-tamils-out-by-sea-in-2009/ as entry to the four essays and then move to the fifth entitled “Reflections: Interpreting the Gash Files IV”  for a review of the data.

[18] Hull, “Sri Lanka opens eye in the sky on war zone,” 20 April 2009,  http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSCOL450259.

[19] See Hull 2009; Hull & Sirilal 2009 and Gray 2009.

[20] The term “personnel” is deployed here to embrace (A) Tami Tiger fighters; (B) all personnel conscripted for supply and catering duties for the Tiger forces and thus one segment of the LTTE Army; and (C) civilians” who had been trapped/moved to the Vani Pocket by LTTE design.

[21] Roberts & Colman 2013.

[22] Details are provided in my 2016 article “A Puzzle;” while some of the illustrative images are reproduced here. Other contradictions and the shifts in the positions taken by Weiss over time are pointed out by Shenali Waduge 2015.

[23] See Shanmugarajah 2014 for details.

[24] These figures were collated by Citizen Silva through the careful tracking of events from a spot in UK (IDAG 2013) and are presented with some images taken from various sources in Roberts TPS Pictorial (2014: Figs. 95-98). My visit to the ICRC offices in Colombo produced only obfuscations from its principal officer, Sarasi Wijeratne.

[25] See https://www.piac.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/island_of_impunity.pdf

[26] The phrase “trapped [population” is misleading in several ways and displays the shoddy analytical framework guiding the humanist liberal lobby peddling this view. The peoples of Thamililam were pro-LTTE in 2006-08 and many were heavily dependent on the Tiger state machinery for their livelihoods. Muralidhar Reddy as well as (the late) Silan Kadirgamar were quite adamant in informing me that in 2006-08 these people had no reason to trust the GoSL. Their adherence to LTTE orders and their moving eastwards from early 2008 was a mark of this loyalty and their distrust of GoSL. But, as I have argued, this entrapment of the peoples was also part of the LTTE’s grand strategy of (A) building up a picture of an “impending humanitarian catastrophe” in order to inveigle the West to intervene and arrest the GoSL advance; while also (B) providing the LTTE with a labour force and what was in effect a defensive formation because of the restraints imposed on GoSL artillery and aerial bombardment.

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Filed under accountability, american imperialism, atrocities, British imperialism, conspiracies, doctoring evidence, Eelam, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

One response to “Fervent Faces as Signs of Extremism and Deceit? From Lakemba to Lanka

  1. Pingback: Fervent Feminism and Victimology in Indefensible Rage …. and A Cartoonist ‘set on fire’ | Thuppahi's Blog

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