In 1973, when I was 13 years old, my father Dr Brian Senewiratne unexpectedly came home from the Kandy Hospital (in Sri Lanka) and told me to get into the car. He said he had something to show me.I thought he was taking me to “The Lab” as it was called, but instead he took me to a small dark room containing a single man who was lying on a bed. My father said to my horror, “This man is dying of rabies”. He then pointed to the air-conditioner on the wall. “We have heard that rabies can be transmitted through air-conditioners” so we are going to have to stop our research”.” I remember the event because I was terrified. I had been previously told that rabies is the most deadly virus known to man.I was familiar with the fact that my father had been injecting rabies into white rabbits that his cousin Terence Senewiratne was breeding at the Peradeniya University. I did not know why or the fact that rabbits were being used to “harvest” the rabies virus. I also did not know anything about biological warfare, though a year later my cousins in Colombo told me about what were called “cold weapons” and that these had proliferated during the ‘Cold War’.I discussed his rabies research and experiments with my father over the phone in 2001 and again in 2011 and 2017. His account has significantly changed, though he did not deny taking me to the hospital to see the dying man. He defended his actions and so did my mother, who suggested that maybe it was something I wanted to do.In 2001 my father told me that he had performed an experimental procedure on 6 people with rabies, all of whom had died. The experiment was to insert a lumbar puncture needle and siphon off the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) replacing it with “saline with some added protein”. The scientific rationale was to “reduce the viral load”.I asked what he did with the infectious cerebrospinal fluid. He said, back in 2001, that they “irradiated it and dumped it somewhere in Kandy”. He said this involved on of his friends in the radiology department. I expressed concern that irradiating a virus could lead it to mutate.When I asked him about this in 2011 he claimed that rather than irradiating the CSF he had “put it in formalin and disposed of it”. He also said that he had only done the procedure on one patient. He also denied that they were infecting rabbits with rabies.
Countering Truth with Lies
My father Brian Senewiratne is still promoting his “dozen DVDs” as a vital effort to counter the “disinformation campaign of the Sri Lankan government”. In Canada this year, he said the Tamil expatriates should support his effort by copying and distributing his DVDs at their own expense. This is despite his home-made DVDs being available free on YouTube for many years, with very few views and fewer likes.
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 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 in the Tamilnet and Sangam websites 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. The clumsy propaganda videos took the form of lectures to an empty room in the dark, where he pointed to 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 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 in Canada that one of the things they needed to do to achieve “peace and justice” in Sri Lanka is to distribute his writings and DVDs.
Brian Senewiratne’s Political Agenda
Brian Senewiratne maintained for several decades that he had no political agenda or anything to gain from his involvement in the “Tamil struggle”. This was to increase his credibility, and he made many derogatory comments about politicians and disparaged them as a group. He also made much of being of Sinhalese ethnicity (though he knows little of the language), being a “Christian” (though he doesn’t go to Church or read the Bible) and his genetic relationship with the political Bandaranaike family, which he has denounced and defamed since the 1980s. He was routinely introduced for speeches and interviews as “the cousin of President Chandrika Kumaratunga” (they are second cousins) and then proceeded to attack her and her parents, saying that he “couldn’t help being born into the Bandaranaike family” but he was. He also denigrated the other Sri Lankan and Australian political leaders, but his greatest venom was directed at the Bandaranaike family and later the Rajapaksa family.
Revealing the lie of this denial of personal political aspirations, in 2008 Brian Senewiratne declared his ambition to be made the Foundation Professor of Medicine in a new University of Tamil Eelam if the LTTE won the war. This was to a staged, flag-waving crowd of thousands of Tamil Sri Lankans in Toronto, Canada, organized by the LTTE-supporting Tamil Diaspora, After the war was ended with the defeat of the LTTE, he 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, who calls himself the “Prime Minister” of the TGTE. An uncharismatic man, he was the LTTE’s lawyer and negotiator during the war. Rudrakumaran still flies the LTTE flag on his desk in his YouTube presentations and gives propaganda speeches in a shrill monotone in Tamil and English, issues “press releases” and makes a general fool of himself, since no one sensible takes the TGTE seriously.
Vexatious Litigation by the TGTE
It appears that the TGTE believes that offense is the best form of defence. This expatriate organization has led the misguided campaign to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for supposed “genocide” of Tamils since 1948, when the nation gained its independence from Britain. Brian Senewiratne, a long-time member of Amnesty International (he used to hold AI meetings in his house in Brisbane during the war), trained at the University of London and Cambridge in the 1950s. Britain provided a base for the Tamil Tiger propaganda machine, which was headquartered in London, initially at the Tamil Information Centre, back in the 1980s.
After the war ended with the military defeat of his side, Brian Senewiratne convinced the TGTE to employ the Australian-British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, to prepare vexatious charges against the Sri Lankan political and military leadership, charging them with “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity”. Robertson made video presentations for the TGTE which were posted on YouTube, with little response from viewers. Back in 2009, at the end of the war, Brian Senewiratne had told a crowd of young Tamil Sri Lankans in Sydney, in speech through a megaphone, that he knew Robertson very well and that “he will charge these blaggards and drag them to the International Criminal Court”. As it turned out, Robertson was prepared to accept the case, but not pro bono. The TGTE still flies the LTTE flag at its functions and continues to glorify the Tamil Tigers and their leader, Prabakaran.
The first step to Truth and Reconciliation is truth. The truth is that the Tamil Tigers, with international backing, notably from India and Britain, declared war on the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka. It was a war of offense, and it is a war crime to start a war. It is also said that truth is the first casualty of war. However, the truth about the Tamil Tigers is emerging from first-hand accounts of their many victims. The loudest voices are not usually the wisest. This certainly applies to the shouting propagandists and apologists for the Tamil Tigers.
©2018 Romesh Senewiratne-Alagartatnam (MD)
I am writing this to express my strongest condemnation of the thinking and actions of Dr Balaji Motamarri towards me at the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital and Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS) of which he is the director.
I have never met Dr Motamarri, and he has refused to speak to me, even on the phone, but I have been subjected to abusive diagnosis and treatment by a series of psychiatrists at the PA Hospital and its outpatient clinics since 2002, when I was locked up 5 times under the authority of Dr Paul Schneider, who continues to work as a senior psychiatrist at the hospital to this day. Schneider was acting on the wishes of my father, Dr Brian Senewiratne, who was a long-time consultant at the same hospital and a colleague of his. My father was also a long-time propagandist and lobbyist for the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) travelling the world campaigning for the Tamil Tigers to be de-banned. He claimed that the Tigers were “freedom fighters” rather than terrorists and argued, citing the example of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), that a “guerrilla army using guerrilla tactics on guerrilla soil” could never be defeated, though the fight may go on for hundreds of years.
My father began getting me locked up in 1995, when I first publicly criticised him. A man who holds grudges, he has had me locked up numerous times since then, prevented me from earning my living as doctor, and tried to discredit me by claiming that I was “in and out of mental hospitals” (which was true, but mainly because of his insistence that I had a “serious psychotic disorder” that required “assertive treatment”). To run salt into my wounds, my father presents himself as a champion of human rights and the rights of the oppressed.
Balaji Motamarri, my father and I all have Linkedin and Facebook accounts. What I know about Dr Motamarri comes from what he has made publicly available about himself and his qualifications, rather than personal discussions with him. I have seen him once, when he was pointed out by nursing staff one weekend, when I had been locked up again in 2016. It was a weekend and he was the on-call psychiatrist for the PA. I had been locked up for more than a week and wanted to go home. I wanted to see him so that he could see for himself that I was of sound mind. He didn’t even acknowledge my presence and ignored me completely. I have not seen him since, though the Nigerian psychiatrist who had got me locked up (again on the wishes of my father) kept me locked up for a few more days, and tried to convince me that I had “paranoid schizophrenia”. I pointed out that my long-standing claims that my father was a supporter and lobbyist for the LTTE was not paranoid, it was factual. She ordered that I be injected with the antipsychotic drug paliperidone and placed on an Involuntary Treatment Order (ITO) to enable easier return to the hospital if I become “unwell” again or refuse (the abusive) “treatment”.
Balaji Motamarri’s Linkedin page indicates that he speaks Hindi and Telugu and graduated in medicine at the Andhra Medical College in 1987. His Linkedin page says he has been a psychiatrist in Australia and “Clinical Director, Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit” for 19 years and 8 months (since Oct 1998). Below this it states that he has been ‘Clincal [sic] Director” of MSAMHS since 2012. Since he has been the clinical director of the “Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit” I have been locked up and injected on more than 20 occasions, always at the PA Hospital (one of several hospitals on Brisbane’s south-side that comes under the authority of the MSAMHS).
Despite graduating (in India) some years after I graduated at the University of Queensland, Balaji Motamarri’s Linkedin and Facebook pages do not suggest that he is computer literate. He also has an almost complete absence of academic publications to his name, yet he is supposedly the clinical director of the “Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit”. As testament to his carelessness, even when confronted with the relatively simple task of listing his experience for Linkedin he made several typographical errors (in addition to ‘clincal’ instead of clinical): He says he is now (since October 2016) the Executive Director of “Clincial Services” of “Metrosouth Mental Health Services”. He hasn’t even got his own title right. This is the “Executive Director of the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS)”.
Balaji Motamarri has 161 Linkedin contacts, including 14 mutual contacts with me. I have about 3500 contacts, including psychologists and psychiatrists from many countries, including India. I also have contacts relevant to my other areas of interest – neuroscience, medicine, meditation, music, human rights, law, Buddhism, journalism and politics. I have posted links to my music and publications on my Linkedin page, which are available to be read by my peers, including Balaji Motamarri. I have sent him a contact request but he hasn’t accepted it yet.
The University of Queensland lists one and only one publication co-authored by Balaji Motamarri. From 2012, and published in “Current Medical Research and Opinion” it is titled “Practical guidelines on the use of paliperidone palmitate on the treatment of schizophrenia”. PubMed lists 3 other papers for which he was a co-author, all published in Australian psychiatry newsletters and all promoting long-acting injectables, like paliperidone. Since I was locked up at the PA in 2012 I have been injected monthly with paliperidone on the orders of a series of psychiatrists answering to Balaji Motamarri. They started off by saying I had schizophrenia, then revised it to “psychotic disorder – not otherwise specified” before changing back to schizophrenia. My protestations that I have never had hallucinations, am motivated and sociable with a stable mood, am well-organized, rational and logical and am obviously of sound mind has fallen on deaf ears. The psychiatrists have consistently taken the side of my father against me and declared me to be “psychotic” and “delusional” to believe that he was maliciously motivated towards me, and that he was a propagandist and lobbyist for the LTTE.
Balaji Motamarri’s Facebook page provides a window into his social life in 2010. There are only 2 postings, from 26 December 2009 “Merry Christmas to all” and from 25 January 2010, when he has posted on his wall what he intended as a personal message to his friend Manju:
“Hi Manju. My apologies for not replying earlier. As you can understand we are ‘recovering’ from our trip – the trip of ‘Telengana Bandhs’. Hyderabad has become a city of uncertain nightmares. And to add to the issue, our daughter’s school is starting in 2 days time and you know the dramas associated with this – just imagine ‘school after 10 weeks on holidays’ – what a nightmare to the parents.”
Balaji Motamarri seems to be feeling sorry for himself because his daughter has to go back to school after 10 weeks of holiday (which he claims he needs to recover from) and this is a “nightmare to the parents”. I have never had nightmares about my daughters going to school, but I have had many nightmares about being locked up by Balaji Motamarri’s unit. In these nightmares I am trying to prove my sanity but am interminably kept waiting. Sometimes I am assaulted by men with needles. Sometimes I am looking for my bed but am faced with endless corridors. My most consistent nightmare is being kept waiting in the confines of the PA Hospital. I am also uncertain about what he meant my Hyderabad becoming a “city of uncertain nightmares”. I am certain about my nightmares. They are very vivid.
Balaji Motamarri has only 182 Facebook friends, and hasn’t made any new ones in recent years. However, when he first filled in the questionnaire for Facebook he enthusiastically listed the Indian educational establishments he studied at. His Intro lists:
Works at MSAMHS
Worked at CNAHS
Studied psychiatry at PGIMER Chandigarh
Studied MBBS at Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatman, India
He also includes three high schools, including one in Chennai, where he matriculated in 1979 (before starting medicine in 1981).
Everybody should be treated with respect, but seniority is an important concept in society and in the medical and academic hierarchies. One is expected to respect ones seniors, as one is expected to respect ones elders. This has a long tradition in the West as well as the East (including India). The MSAHMS boasts that it provides “respect” as ones of its core values. I matriculated in 1978, winning the Tyrwitt Cup for best academic student at the Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane. I was working as a young doctor looking after desperately sick children and at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital when Balaji Motamarri was still a medical student in India. While Motamarri was studying to become a psychiatrist I was looking after a community of 1000 mainly elderly patients, including many with complex illnesses (including mental health problems) as a family doctor in Melbourne. I have researched and lectured on mind-body medicine at Swinburne University in Melbourne, and my lectures can be viewed on YouTube, if Balaji Motomarri and his staff are interested to see what my state of mind was like in 2001 (when I was first misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia). They can even see the interview I gave in 1998 when I discussed my research into the pineal gland with Micheal Adami and the documentaries I have made about eugenics, psychiatry and AIDS (the theories that were diagnosed as ‘delusional’ by the psychiatrists in Melbourne).
I think I am owed the respect of a phone call with him to explain how and why his hospital is misguided to force a disease label and anti-psychotic drugs on me. I am also owed an apology for being locked up for raising uncomfortable truths and being denied my freedom of speech and my physical freedom. I am owed an apology, too, for being poisoned with drugs that have harmed my health and brought me no benefit, as well as putting me at risk of a range of iatrogenic adverse effects. At least I don’t have the added trauma of believing that I have an incurable brain disease.
I just confronted my father with collecting war porn.
I rang my parents’ home, where my father, Brian Senewiratne, has just returned after being awarded the second “Nelson Mandela Memorial Prize” by the TGTE. The TGTE is the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, a front for the LTTE or Tamil Tigers, headed by the LTTE’s lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran who assumes the title of “Prime Minister”. Brian Senewiratne was appointed a senator by Rudrakumaran in 2010 when the organization was first formed from the American, British, European, Australian and Canadian vestiges of the Tamil Tigers international operations. The award was presented to a small audience of “Canadian Tamils” (as opposed to Tamil Canadians) in Toronto, Canada. The first time the Nelson Mandela Award was awarded (last year) it was given to the South African lawyer Yasmin Sooka, who Brian Senewiratne quotes extensively in his propaganda. He has also urged the employment of Sooka by the TGTE in a YouTube presentation he posted on his own YouTube channel in 2015.
I addressed my father before he could hang up the phone:
“I remember now. You were collecting atrocity photos on your computer during the war.”
“Oh, bugger off”. he grunted and hung up the phone.
This was the second time I have rung my parents’ house this morning. The first time I asked “Hello Amma?” and my father, who had picked up the phone but not answered it shouted to my mother, Kamalini:
“Camel, it’s that bugger again. Do you want to speak to him?”
My mother came to the phone and I told her I wanted to discuss Winston Panchacharam’s book (titled Genocide in Sri Lanka) that my father made a big show of “presenting” to Professor Ramu Manivannan at the TGTE’s award night on Saturday 15 April. I watched it on the internet and was shocked by what I saw. Since then, things have been falling into place and I realised that my father has been collecting “war porn”, short for “war pornography”.
I saw some of his collection of photos when I accessed one of his computers in 2007, but didn’t look at them in detail. They were graphic and disturbing photos of dead people and I wasn’t interested in looking at them. There were lots of them and he has several old computers. I had been asked to use the computer to access my mother’s emails for her, and didn’t realise the significance of the photos. Now I do.
I asked my mother yesterday to ask my father, who refused to speak to me on the phone (or in person) about Winston Panchacharam’s book after watching him explaining that he had all five copies of the book in existence and was “presenting” them, whenever he himself received “awards” from the TGTE to the TGTE’s inner circle – namely Usha Sriskandarajah and Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, who he describes as “close friends” of his. They are also among the last remaining supporters of the LTTE.
My mother said she had “heard of” Panchacharam but pretended not to know anything about the book that her husband had made a show of presenting to Manivannan on Saturday. She is lying to protect him and I told her so. I told her he had claimed on Saturday to have met Nelson Mandela, which she and I know to be one of his many lies. “Maybe he did, I don’t know”. She does. She knows that if he met Nelson Mandela he would have been boasting about it, rather than boasting about meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
I am sorry to people of Sri Lanka and also the Tamil community in Canada and around the world for my father’s behaviour, and not realising the full extent of his crimes earlier. I am still discovering more and will keep you posted. Please watch the video “Brian Senewiratne, the LTTE and Dr Panchacharam’s Book” on YouTube (the site of the Holistic University of Brisbane).
I have also contacted Ramu Manivannan, Usha Sri Skandarajah and Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran asking that the copies of Dr Panchacharam’s book that Brian Senewiratne gave them be forwarded to the University of Colombo, the Peradeniya University and University of Jaffna for forensic study, which I am prepared to be involved in.
Brian Senewiratne he said he had all 5 copies of this book, but it was no longer available. He then explained where each of the five copies is destined – to Usha Sri Skandarajah (who he claimed is the greatest Tamil writer alive today, to brief applause from a couple of people); Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran (boss of the TGTE); Professor Ramu Manivannan of Madras University (who wrote another book alleging genocide of Tamils called Hiding the Elephant); the Jaffna Library and – this was his applause-seeker – the last copy to be put in his bank and presented after his death to the “Library of Tamil Eelam when it is built in Kilinochchi”. He stressed that he said “when and not if”, and received the applause he was seeking, but it was very muted compared to the hysterical reception he received from the Canadian Tamils when he was the star attraction at the Tamil Pongu ceelebration in Toronto in 2008.
Winston Panchacharam’s Book
On November 21, 2016 Usha Sriskandarajah, who presented the “award” to my father, wrote, on the death of Winston Panchacharam:
“Author of ‘Genocide in Sri Lanka’ passes away. Today I was saddened to hear of the demise of Dr Winston Panchacharam, President, International Tamil Center – USA, the driving force behind the limited edition book: ‘Genocide in Sri Lanka’, a pictorial and coffee table book, made for private circulation, published especially for global leaders, “to act quickly and follow through to protect the dying Tamil Race in Sri Lanka.” Although I have never met Dr Panchacharam, I had the good fortune of receiving from Dr. Brian Senewiratne – one of three books left in his possession. After presenting one to me – wow – of the two copies that he has remaining, Dr Senewiratne said he will be donating one to the Jaffna Library and the other to the Tamil Eelam Library!”
She published, on her Facebook page, a photo of Brian Senewiratne’s dedication to her with “with sheer admiration and gratitude from Brian”, and a photo of him “awarding her” (on 15.5.2016) with one of his remaining three copies of the book (On 21 November 2016). However YouTube reveals that in November 2011 he donated a copy of the book, along with 10 of his propaganda DVDs to the James Cook University in Darwin, where he had been invited to give a talk on “Who’s Afraid of Human Rights”.
Eelaventhan, who is another geriatric TGTE boss (he’s 86, the same age as Brian Senewiratne), wrote an obituary for Winston Panchacharam on 20th November 2016, published on the Tamil Sangam website, in which he wrote, in bad English:
“Besides he authored the book titled “GENOCIDE IN SRI LANKA” that contains 185 pages published in the year 2010. For the point of view of many readers the contents of the book was a masterpiece. This will be cherished for generations to follow. In his introductory note he addressing “ Your excellencies-Global leaders for the protection of the vulnerable and those oppressed people by genocidal act. In his appeal for the global public opinion, Tamil Diaspora, and the dying race of Tamils in Sri Lanka. He further states that the global leaders must act quickly, and follow through, to protect the dying Tamil race in Sri Lanka. He rightly says that “Justice delayed is Justice buried” . He further adds that neglect of timely violence prevention is a sad legacy that has led to genocide in several countries; from the holocaust to the massacres in Uganda and Sudan. Millions of life has been lost. He continues in a very appealing tone that “ smoldering genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka that started insidiously over half a century ago culminated in several coordinated massacres before , during and after the civil war.”
I would like to know how Winston Panchacharam died, who his doctors were and what sort of fatal disease he had. I would also like to know the source of the photos in the book and how it was that Brian Senewiratne had all 5 copies, if the book was intended for world leaders to act with urgency to save the Tamil people from genocide. The text is likely to be disinformation if it is based on what Brian Senewiratne told Panchacharam, but the photos are important forensic evidence regarding the war in Sri Lanka. It is outrageous and very suspicious that Brian Senewiratne has acquired control of this material (the atrocity photos in the book) and is keeping it within his close circle within the LTTE-supporting TGTE. I believe that it should be in the hands of Sri Lankan police and forensics experts, and is important evidence regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Tamil Tigers.
Please watch the video and leave your comments.
This is a debate from two years ago (February 2016) between me and Nigel Lewin, an English psychiatric nurse from the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital.
Nigel had been appointed my ‘case manager’ and I was being made a “medical case” and “mental case” by my medical colleagues at the hospital that empoyed my father from 1976, when my family migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka. I was 15 then and remember staying in a house on the grounds of the hospital when we first arrived. Later, I avoided the hospital where my father and sister worked, and had a poor opinion of it, reinforced by my father’s claims (for which he was eventually sacked) that the hospital was “in chaos”. This was in 2001 and he got me locked up at the “chaotic” hospital (in his own written opinion) in 2002. In fact, he got me locked up 5 times in 4 months, culminating in my rib and finger being broken by security guards and male “nurses” immobilising me so that I could be injected with a drug called Zuclopenthixol, a treatment for ‘schizophrenia’ and other ‘psychotic disorders’
I began my debate with Nigel by asking him what he thought about “Psychotic Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified”, the label the hospital was trying to pin on me at the time, after revising the diagnosis from one of schizophrenia. Now, under the treatment of Jumoke Banjo (from Nigeria) and Ghazala Watt (from Pakistan) the diagnosis has been changed back to “paranoid schizophrenia”. Nigel Lewin has now gone on long service leave and a new case manager, an Indian man by the name of Raghy Raman, has been appointed. Raghy has expressed the opinion that the leader of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabakaran was an “activist” rather than a terrorist, and described me as having “elevated speech” when I debated with him about the Tamil Tigers. In response to this, the psychiatrist Ghazala Watt increased the dose of depot antipsychotic she has abusively ordered.
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.