Fourteen years ago, the civil war between Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam came to a bloody end, with the government shooting dead, in cold blood, a slew of Tiger officials who had neogtiated a surrender and were making their way across a lagoon, holding up white flags.
This act of bastardry was what enabled the government to show the dead visage of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhkaran on TV, signalling that the conflict, which had run for 26 years, was finally over.
There were claims and counter-claims after the war ended, with both sides accused of war crimes. But because Sri Lanka is of little importance in the global scheme of things, there has been no push internationally for investigation of these claims.
Politicians normally try to keep their private lives separate from their public personas. And the media generally respect this separation, unless any probing can be justified as being in the public interest.
But some politicians purposely ventilate aspects of their private lives when they feel that it will help them in their jobs.
Twenty years after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the mastermind of the attack, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has still not been put on trial despite having been arrested in March 2003.
KSM, as he is known, was picked up by the Pakistani authorities in Rawalpindi. Just prior to his arrest, the other main actor in the planning of the attacks, Ramzi Binalshibh, was picked up, again in Pakistan, this time in Karachi.
A report says KSM, Ramzi and three others appeared in court on Tuesday, 7 September. KSM was reported to be confident, talking to his lawyers and defying the judge’s instruction to wear a mask.
National Bird is a disturbing documentary. It isn’t new, having been made in 2016, but it outlines in stark detail the issues that are part and parcel of the drone program which the US has used to kill hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and a number of other countries.
The use of remote killing was even seen recently after a bomb went off at Kabul Airport following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. There were boasts that two people responsible for the blast had been killed by a drone – only for the truth to emerge later.
And that was that the people killed were in no way connected to the blast. Using faulty intelligence and an over-quick finger, America had pulled the trigger again and killed innocents.
There’s a common element to much, if not most, of the news that flits across the TV screens: lies.
People attempt to add a touch of sophistry to lying, by trying to create classes of lies, but in the end it all adds up to the same thing: saying one thing when knowing that the opposite was correct.
One well-known example: the current president of the United States, Joe Biden, came to office promising a US$15 minimum wage for the country. He also promised to provide medical services for all and forgive at least a part of the billions in student debt.
For many years, Australia has been trading with China, apparently in the belief that one can do business with a country for yonks without expecting the development of some sense of obligation. The attitude has been that China needs Australian resources and the relationship needs to go no further than the transfer of sand dug out of Australia and sent to China.
Those in Beijing, obviously, haven’t seen the exchange this way. There has been an expectation that there would be some obligation for the relationship to go further than just the impersonal exchange of goods for money. Australia, in true colonial fashion, has expected China to know its place and keep its distance.
This is similar to the attitude the Americans took when they pushed for China’s admission to the World Trade Organisation: all they wanted was a means of getting rid of their manufacturing so their industries could grow richer and an understanding that China would agree to go along with the American diktat to change as needed to keep the US on top of the trading world. Continue reading “Managing a relationship is hard work”
In 1987, I got a job in Dubai, to work for a newspaper named Khaleej (Gulf) Times. I was chosen because the interviewer was a jolly Briton who came down to Bombay to do the interview on 12 June.
Malcolm Payne, the first editor of the newspaper that had been started in 1978 by Iranian brothers named Galadari, told me that he had always wanted to come and pick some people to work at the paper. By the time he got the oppotrunity to do so, he had been pushed out of the editorship by both the Pakistani and Indian journalists who worked there.
For some strange reason, he took a liking to me. At the end of about 45 minutes of what was a much more robust conversation than I had ever experienced in earlier job interviews, which were normally tense affairs, Payne told me, “You’re a good bugger, Samuel. I’ll see you in Dubai.” Continue reading “History lessons at a late stage of life”
Michael Anthony Holding, one of the feared West Indies pace bowlers from the 1970s and 1980s, bowled his best spell on 10 July, in front of the TV cameras.
Holding, in England to commentate on the Test series between England and the West Indies, took part in a roundtable on the Black Lives Matter protests which have been sweeping the world recently after an African-American man, George Floyd, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.
Australia has been imposing hefty duties on Chinese steel, aluminium and chemical imports for more than six years, despite a letter from the Chinese side in 2014 saying that holding talks with Canberra on this would be of no use.
Recently, China said it would impose tariffs on Australian barley and also block beef imports from four Australian abattoirs. This latter story has become a big stamping ground for patriotic Australian journalists, a crowd who accuse Chinese scribes of being one-eyed, but act exactly the same way.
But the fact that Australia has been imposing huge tariffs? Only one journalist to date, Angus Grigg of the Australian Financial Review, has written about it.