Brian Senewiratne’s Poisonous Propaganda

Brian Senewiratne (my father) did not have formal training as a propagandist, and it shows. His propaganda is obvious to anyone familiar with discerning truth and sincerity from lies and deceit.

This series of clips is focused on Brian Senewiratne’s promotion of what he calls his “13 DVDs” which he says he has “released”. This is despite his having no film-making, editing or production experience. His motive, he claims, is to “counter the disinformation campaign of the Sri Lankan government”.

Countering Truth with Lies

The Sri Lankan government did not engage in a disinformation campaign. Brian Senewiratne did. He began this campaign in 2006 after he was invited by the expatriate Tamil organization Ilankai Tamil Sangam to speak at their Annual General Meeting in the USA. At the meeting, he suggested that what was needed was a video presentation about Sri Lanka to provide background to the conflict, and then offered to produce such a video, accepting donations from affluent Tamil friends for the promised DVDs.

When he got back to Australia he investigated how much it would cost to make the videos professionally, writing to the Tamil expatiates that it would have cost $4,000 each which would have “sent him to the wall”. Instead, he decided to make the videos unprofessionally, himself, using his own video camera and the assistance of his elderly wife to turn the camera on and off while he spoke to the camera.

The videos took the form of “lectures” to an empty room in the dark, in which he pointed to, and read off,  slides projected onto their living room wall. Into these monologues he had one of his ex-students insert photos and later short videos from the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) propaganda archives.

Brian Senewiratne made several versions of the video between 2006 and 2009, to which he gave what he thought would be catchy titles: “The New Killing Fields of Asia”, “The Future of the Tamils at Stake”, “Sri Lanka: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Violation of International Law” etc. The New Killing Fields of Asia was an obvious attempt to capitalise on the success of the Hollywood movie “The Killing Fields” (about the genocide of Cambodians by their leader Pol Pot in the 1970s) and to associate the word “genocide” with the Sri Lankan war. The “13 DVDs” also included recordings of speeches he gave to LTTE-supporting audiences between 2006 and 2009.

After his side lost the war, he has continued promoting these DVDs and even in 2018 he has urged the Tamil expatriates that one of the things they needed to do to achieve “peace and justice” in Sri Lanka is to distribute his writings and DVDs.

Despite maintaining for several decades that he had no political agenda or anything to gain from his involvement in the “Tamil struggle” (despite declaring his ambition, in 2008, to be made the Foundation Professor of Medicine in a new University of Tamil Eelam if the LTTE won the war), after the war was ended with the defeat of the LTTE, Brian Senewiratne accepted a political position as the “sole Sinhala senator” in the LTTE-supporting ‘Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’ (TGTE), headed by the New York-based refugee lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran. Rudrakumaran, who has assumed the title of ‘Prime Minister’ of the TGTE, was the LTTE’s lawyer until their defeat in May 2009. He formed the TGTE in 2010, and appointed Brian Senewiratne as one of several ‘senators’, a pseudo-political position he has accepted till the present day.

There are many disturbing things that Brian Senewiratne says in these speeches, but perhaps the most disturbing is his anecdote about how he gives his propaganda DVDs to his patients, and the example of “Mr Brown”, who came to see him with hypertension and diabetes. According to his boastful telling of the anecdote to a Tamil audience in Australia (in 2009) he grills the patients afterwards, expecting them to know where Mullaitivu is. He then tells “Mr Brown” that if he wants his diabetes treated “properly” he had to watch the DVDs, boasting that all his patients, and “50,000 people in the area” (whom he stresses are “White” and therefore more likely to be listened to) can “give a talk on Tamil rights, any time of the day”. Needless to say, brainwashing patients with political disinformation is not what the Medicare system is intended for. He admits that he knows this is against the law, also showing no insight into the fact that his DVDs could be expected to worsen the high blood pressure of his patient, ‘Mr Brown”, by causing stress, which can also worsen diabetes.

I would be interested in the professional opinion of any forensic psychiatrists and psychologists with an interest in counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation analysing these speeches.

 

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