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Of those Propaganda Hit Men

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Of those Propaganda Hit Men
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A few days ago the army monitored a conversation between the LTTE's arms procurer turned spokesman KP and a senior Tiger leader trapped in the Vanni via a satellite phone. KP asked his beleaguered colleague to do whatever possible and hold out as he and his foreign allies were doing their best to save them. Less than two days later, a story was floated that a large number of civilians had been killed in an army artillery barrage. It was sourced to a person calling himself a government doctor in the LTTE-held 'no fire zone'. The Health Ministry has denied the presence of any ‘government doctor’ in that area! (The real source was the LTTE’s web arm TamilNet.)
Obviously, the LTTE spin doctors were trying to prepare the ground for Sri Lanka's humanitarian situation to be taken up by the UN Security Council.

British and French Foreign Ministers David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner––who look Thomson and Thomson in Tintin comics because of their well coordinated yet inane actions––made, true to form, another abortive attempt to move the UN Security Council against Sri Lanka the other day. Their thundering pratfall signifies the solidarity of the civilised world with Sri Lanka. Their ignominious failure is also a pointer that the western powers are fast losing their grip on the rest of the world and their neo colonial strategies aimed at global domination have failed to yield the intended results. The US and its allies are losing ground not only to the donkey-riding primitive Taliban savages but also to a collective of sovereign states determined to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The angry reaction of the Obama administration to the Rajapaksa government’s refusal to let go of terrorists has been to block an IMF loan to Sri Lanka.

At the forefront of the Save the Tigers campaign is a section of the western media, either directly or indirectly controlled and/or influenced by their respective governments in spite of their claims of impartiality and independence.

Their recent coverage of the humanitarian situation in the Vanni is a testimony to the fact that they are far from independent and impartial and that they are ready to let ethics fall by the wayside if that suits their agenda. How a BBC story based on a single source that an intelligence dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was 'sexed up' by the Blair government to make a case for invading Iraq finally drove weapons expert and inspector Dr. David Kelly to suicide in 2003 is a case in point. The attendant scandal shook the BBC to its foundation.

BBC, it may be recalled, blacked out Sinn Fein leaders until the IRA agreed to eschew violence, though its journalists are under strict instructions not to use the term 'terrorists' to describe even the blood thirsty terrorists in other parts of the world. A former BBC correspondent, Pill Rees, boasts in his much publicised yet mediocre book, Dining with Terrorists, that during twenty years of his reporting conflicts, he never used the word 'terrorists' to describe 'armed militants'! What an achievement!

Intriguingly, nothing prevents BBC from producing programmes that lionise terrorists like the one on LTTE suicide cadres, which the LTTE made the best use of for fund raising and indoctrination purposes. It looks as if BBC needed a set of separate guidelines to prevent its personnel from currying favour with and sanitising terrorists to have access to conflict zones and get exclusive stories.

CNN is no better. A few years ago one of its glorified yet naïve correspondents had the temerity to tell the world from Colombo itself that both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army used child soldiers! That was how he sought to 'balance' his story! There is a misconception among some people in this part of the world that the western media are run by super humans not capable of wrongdoing. And some Sri Lanka watchers have gone to the extent of arguing that the western media should be given unrestricted access to the Vanni so that they could see the situation there for themselves and tell the world the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We don't approve of the government's decision to keep the welfare centres out of bounds for the media but it is only wishful thinking that the western media will report the true situation, even if granted access.


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