Category Archives: news fabrication

The Death Toll in 2009: Deceit and Myopia, International and Lankan

 Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph which  accepted the idea in principle several days ago, but requested a division of the essay into six parts.

Discussion of the death toll during Eelam War IV and the related topic of “The Disappeared” has been marked by collective myopia. Most discussions have dwelt in cloud cuckoo-land. This criticism can be levelled at the witch-hunters in the Western international order (whether UN and Western officials, media personnel or Tamil migrants) as well as the liberal humanists within the Sri Lankan middle class supporting a range of allegations. However, it also applies to analysts and reporters in defense of the realm such as Rohan Gunaratna,[1] Shamindra Ferdinando,[2] the editors of Sri Lanka’s print and internet media and many defenders of the Sri Lankan dispensation in its moment of crisis.

 1=Tiger dead assembled by SL Army (MoD Pic)    2 = A body in the Last Redoubt, presumably Tiger (MoDefence Pic)

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, disparagement, doctoring evidence, Eelam, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

The Games that the Almighty Play: Syria Now, Sri Lanka Then

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka, from The Island, 10 April 2017, where the title is “Watching Syria, seeing Sri Lanka” … highlighting in this presentation being my workas Editor …. and with further Commentary and Bibliographic References at the end

It was not easy to watch the proceedings on Friday April 7 that the UN Security Council’s emergency ‘open session’ on Syria without thinking of Sri Lanka, although the actual circumstances of the UN’s engagement with the two countries are very different. Only one thing seemed alarmingly similar. It seemed like a set up. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s dramatic gesture of holding up photographs of chemical-gassed children only served to bring to mind the now famous theatrical display of a vial of anthrax by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the same venue to warn the Council of the imminent danger that lay before the world from WMDs in Iraq.

Image #: 24024242 Pigeons lie on the ground after dying from what activists say is the use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen August 24, 2013. Picture taken August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Dar (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ANIMALS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) REUTERS /STRINGER /LANDOV

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, disparagement, Eelam, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes

Mighty USA and the Israel Lobby in This Our World

I  sent Kamal Wickremasinghe’s article to several individuals who have a better grounding than myself in the complex jungle of international politics and Christopher Black has responded immediately to indicate that Wickramasinghe has muddled his emphasis by arguing that the Israeli tail wags the dog. In his view — presented here at the end — it is the other way about: USA calls the shots. Michael Roberts as Editor, Thuppahi.

Kamal Wickremasinghe: “Cabals behind the UNHRC inquisition,”  Island, Midweek Review, 28 March 2017

The 34th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have just ended, and another resolution on Sri Lanka adopted Resolution A/HRC/34/L.1 requests the Commissioner and his special procedure mandate holders to strengthen their technical assistance to Sri Lanka on the promotion and protection of human rights, truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability. More importantly perhaps, the resolution calls for a written update on the implementation of resolution 30/1 (of 2015) at the 37th session of the UNHRC, and a comprehensive report at its 40th session. These requirements are clearly designed to keep Sri Lanka ‘on the leash’ for the foreseeable future. Needless to say it was the hand of the global enforcer, the US that was behind these impositions on Sri Lanka. The foreign minister, in co-sponsoring the junk resolution with the self-appointed imperium may have thought, cynically, that it will soon be someone else’s problem anyway!

Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, democratic measures, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, Middle Eastern Politics, military expenditure, military strategy, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Final Passage for McGuinness and Prabhākaran: Sharply Contrasting

Michael Roberts

 The ‘final’ journeys on this our earth for Martin McGuinness and Velupillai Pirapāharan have been sharply different: McGuinness’ mortal remains were borne in March 2017 by his very own with a massive crowd of IRA and other Irish around; Pirapāharan’s in May 2009 was borne by his deadly enemies with no Tamils present…. and, definitely, no Tamil Tiger fighters.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, citizen journalism, doctoring evidence, gordon weiss, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, zealotry

Bill Leak etches no more…. Appreciations galore

Bill Leak, the editorial cartoonist for THE AUSTRALIAN, passed away at the age of 61 from a heart attack. The VALE iin appreciation in that newspaper extends to several pages. But perhaps the best epitaph was from the cartoonist Paul Broelman in the Geelong Advertiser–showing a memorial in stone of a hand with the index finger extended as “Up Yours!!”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, life stories, modernity & modernization, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, press freedom, pulling the leg, slanted reportage, unusual people, world affairs

The LLRC Sittings in Pictures

The recent presentation in Thuppahi of a specific proposal from the LLRC on national anthems as well as the issues raised by Thuppahi on the topic of DISAPPEARANCES prompt me to present a number of images from the sittings conducted by this peripatic body of personnel together with a brief officla report. the images have been helpfully provided by Kithsiri De Silva an old Aloysian class-mate who was an officer servicing the work of this august body.  I am also tacking on an official report on the LLRC plus one dissenting note about its lopsided composition from Harshadeva Amarathunga. Michael Roberts

llrc-1

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, communal relations, democratic measures, disparagement, ethnicity, gender norms, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, law of armed conflict, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, military strategy, modernity & modernization, news fabrication, NGOs, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes

HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under american imperialism, arab regimes, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, gordon weiss, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, Middle Eastern Politics, military strategy, nationalism, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes