Category Archives: doctoring evidence

Disappearances and Torture in Lanka, 2009-16: A Bibliography

Michael Roberts

 a-z-torture  t-for-temperature

In reviewing the blog comments on my short memo on “Sinhala Mind-Set” during the years 2009-15,  I was induced to place a claim by one “Flloyd” before about eighty of friends and others in my email address list in order to evaluate his assertion in April 2013 that “the Tamils continue to be tortured, raped, and killed by the state.” Though reading this particular charge as far too sweeping, I set out to test my reading. In my thinking this claim gained weight from the fact that the rest of Flloyd’s commentary suggested that he was not an extremist.

Some 23 individuals – including 5 Tamils, 1 Irishman,1 Colombo Chetty and 2 Indians — have responded, albeit briefly in several instances (with a few endorsing  my suggestion that it is a sweeping exaggeration).. This item is now on web. One of those who commented, the Telugu Indian journalist Muralidhar Reddy has been kind enough to send me a private note from his location (now in India) that runs thus: “This turned out to be a very good exercise. Productive, useful and frankness from the heart of real people who were or are still on the ground.”

In pursuit of further value, I now present a BIBLIOGRAPHY on the topic of disappearances that amplifies previous efforts – one that has been assisted by the recent exercise. Note that I have not embraced items that focus specifically on rape in this exercise. Ii is a standard practice in agit-prop action from anti-state activists[1] as well as foreign reporters on brief excursions to the island to bracket “disappearances, torture and rape” together. Such an ‘alliance’ brings feminists on board and illuminates the halo around any writer’s head. Continue reading

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Disappearances and Torture in Sri Lanka, 2011-13 … or Thereabouts: Soundings and Question-Marks

Michael Roberts

In studying the blog-comments on “Sinhala Mind-Set” and presenting the lot for public scrutiny a specific claim by a person identifying himself as “Flloyd” caught my attention. Whether Flloyd is a Tamil is of lesser moment than his allegation. It is the sort of claim that is widely peddled by reporters and VIPs who drop in and fly out after short stays and have the clout to reach a worldwide audience – for instance Roger Draper in the National Geographic and Greg Bearup in The Weekend Australian recently.   Thus prodded,  I took the initiative to test the degree of validity that we could attach to this type of assertion by approaching a selected body of personnel (mostly Sri Lankan) via a one-on-one letter presenting the QUESTION repeated here [in blue].

“I came across a blog comment from one “Flloyd” in April 2013 which adopted a reasonably moderate stance on the ethnic situation in the country but which also presented this assertion: “The presence of an organized rebel group is no more, but the Tamils continue to be tortured, raped, and killed by the state. Many still mention the brutality of the rebels, but in no way can that justify the current situation, as the rebel activity is gone.”

05-april-2009-exodus 09-yatawara-2figure-10a-tamil-people-at-the-last-redoubt-after-the-final-battles-2009 Continue reading

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Sins And Kills: The Rajapaksa Clan And Their Messy Cupboard

Greg Bearup in The Weekend Australian, 26/27 November 2016, where the title is “Phantoms of Sri Lanka’s Reign of Terror”

Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at a desk in his party office beneath a photo of himself. He’s not especially tall but solid in the chest and arms; like an old rugby prop, his head seems to rest on his shoulders without much need for a neck. He’s never seen in public without his brown scarf, supposedly signifying the sweaty rags of Sri Lanka’s hard-toiling farmers. On his fingers this man of the people wears three chunky gold rings and on his wrist a bracelet of jade balls. Everyone here still calls him Mr President.

aa-thzaju-protest Public Protest on bhalf of Thajudeen 

mahinda-r-lefterispitarakis Photo by Jefteris Pitakaris

The photo hanging over him was shot a few years ago, back when he was Mr President, and back when things were very different for the Rajapaksa clan. His rule was absolute. The Rajapaksas controlled the treasury and Sri Lanka became one of the most expensive places on the planet to “build” a road. He and his family ran the country as if they owned it. They acted with impunity. His sons, ordinary footballers by all accounts, were selected to play rugby for Sri Lanka. Foreign coaches who dropped them were deported. They were lucky; others who displeased the clan disappeared. Continue reading

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A ‘Parachute History’ of the Sri Lankan War and the Island’s Circumstances Today

Robert Draper, courtesy of the National Geographic, November Issue, where the title runs thus: “Can Sri Lanka Hold On to Its Fragile Peace?” …with photographs by Ami Vitale … …. …. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/11/sri-lanka-tamil-peace-civil-war/… with the title here being the Editor’s imposition – see Note below.

The photograph the young woman holds is barely the size of a postage stamp. But it is the only one of her husband she could find here in her parents’ house. They had not approved of her marriage, given that he was just a fisherman from the coastal town of Mannar, while her family has lived in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, for generations. But as the photo attests, her husband, a Tamil like herself—is broad-faced and confident. Staring at the tiny image of the man who went missing a decade ago, her mahogany eyes brighten as she loses herself in memories.

draper-11 A military color guard lowers the national flag on Galle Face Green, a popular park in Colombo. The country’s largest city shows few signs of the strife that divided the Sinhalese and Tamils for 26 years.

They’d fallen in love at a refugee camp in southern India in 1999, when she was 17. Both had escaped Sri Lanka’s wantonly vicious civil war, pitting the army, controlled by the majority Sinhalese, against Tamil rebels. She had fled Jaffna with her family, leaping over the corpses of neighbors as the military’s bombs plummeted from the sky. He had escaped Mannar after he saw an army officer shoot his youngest sister to death in their home. They had married under the withering glare of her mother. Continue reading

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Manipulative Distortions & Duplicity in ABC Programme on Nauru Detention Centres

Carolina Overington & Rosie Lewis, in The Australian, 19 October 2016,  where the title runs “ABC’s Four Corners slammed over old, selective Nauru footage.” Go to http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/broadcast/abcs-four-corners-slammed-over-old-selective-nauru-footage/news-story/f80ceeb432f4ec5907a10beff3697877 for Blog comments from Aussies and note the Caustic Summing up by The Editor, Thuppahi at the end of this post.

The ABC has endured excoriating criticism of its flagship current ­affairs program, Four Corners, after Monday’s episode about refugee children on Nauru was found to include old photographs of facilities no longer in use, and random footage of brawling adults, previously published on YouTube by a user known only as “NoRulz”. During intense questioning at Senate estimates yesterday, ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland admitted the ABC did not film the footage that went to air on Monday night, but said he was satisfied the vision was “appropriate” for a program devoted to the lives of refugee children on Nauru.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last night accused the ABC of irresponsibility and said Four Corners had declined to use new photos and videos, offered by his office, of schools upgraded at a cost of $8.3 million. The Australian has established that the program included what appears to be random footage of a group of men on Nauru hitting each other with steel poles that can also be found on a YouTube channel run by NoRulz. On YouTube, the footage is in a video called “Who Let The Dogs Out”. It is one of a series of fight videos posted by NoRulz, who has also posted clips called “Nauru Shit Shit Fight” and “Batud the Deadly”.abc-11

The ABC used the footage to ­illustrate the Four Corners argument that Nauru is a violent ­society where refugees feel unsafe, because they have witnessed and been subjected to acts of violence. Continue reading

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Intimidating Assault Tactics behind Phil-Hughes’ Death by Bouncer

Michael Roberts

Background information known only to a few has emerged during the coronial inquest into the tragic death of Phil Hughes after he was felled by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott of New South Wales (NSW) at the personal score of 63 runs on 25 November 2014 – with the revelations produced by the Hughes family in response to the coroner’s approach fueling this new fire. From my particular political position on the practices that prevail on the cricket field, let me summarize the conclusions that I draw from this corpus of data.

hughes_3116917b

A. Phil Hughes was regarded as one of the most potent batsmen in the South Australian side and the game plan fashioned by the NSW team management and leaders was to subject him to a short-pitch bowling barrage – as blurted out by Trent Johnston, NSW bowling coach to Matthew Day (a cricketing mate of Hughes) in the immediate aftermath of the accident during hospital vigil.

B. This tactic was supplemented by the verbal badinage and abuse that is a standard practice in Australian cricket[1] – a practice referred to as “sledging” and regarded as legitimate by all-and-sundry in Australia.

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In Anguish. The Hughes Family nail Cricket Australia to the Mast

The AUSTRALIAN divulges the full text of Their Evidential Letter to the Coroner, 15/16 October 2016

I am Gregory Bruce Hughes. I am the father of Phillip Joel Hughes; the late Test, One-Day and 20/20 international player for Australia. Husband of Virginia Hughes and father of Jason and Megan ­Hughes. I’m a humble farmer who believes I have successfully taught my children the meaning of life alongside (my) wife Virginia. With these values I also believe I have given my children the ­desire to succeed in their own indiv­idual way. An example of this would be the feeling I had seeing my son Jason and daughter Megan on stage at Phillip’s funeral service speaking so highly of their loved brother and our family. I am truly very proud to be their father.

auss-front-page

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