Truth before Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

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.

Evidence against Princess Alexandra Hospital, Wooloongabba, Brisbane

via Threats by the PA Hospital

Brian Senewiratne Collecting War Porn

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, the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and Dr Panchacharam’s Book

On 15 May 2018 my father, Brian Senewiratne, was awarded the second ever “Nelson Mandela Memorial Award” by the leadership of the bogus Transnational ‘Government’ of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). The TGTE is a front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization.
The award is the brainchild of Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran who assumes the title of “Prime Minister” of the TGTE and was previously one of the USA-based lawyers for the LTTE. The other was Karen Parker, an American woman who calls herself a “humanitarian lawyer” but acted as the legal adviser to the terrorist organization since the 1980s. Brian Senewiratne has described both Karen Parker and Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran as “close friends”.
Two years ago Rudrakumaran awarded his friend Brian with a “Lifetime Acievement Award” for which he travelled to the USA. He was awarded a plaque signed by Rudrakumaran praising him for his “life-long commitment and invaluable and dedicated contribution rendered to the Eelam Tamil Nation in educating the Sinhala Nation and the international community – in furthering the cause of human rights, human dignity, gender justice and of the liberation of Tamil Eelam”. In return Brian Senewiratne “awarded” Usha Sriskandarajah, who presented the TGTE award back, with a copy of Winston Panchacharam’s book, titled “Genocide in Sri Lanka”. He told Sriskandarajah that it was one of only three copies of the book in existence.
Last year Rudrakumaran thought of making the most of President Mandela’s name, fame and reputation and awarded the inaugural “Nelson Mandela Memorial Award” to the South African Tamil lawyer Yasmin Sooka. Sooka had criticised the Sri Lankan government of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the so-called Darusman Report, of which she was one of three authors. Later she wrote a report from her own organzation detailing reports of torture and sexual violations by Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers in Britain, who had been captured during and after the war. She admits in the report that these reports may have been compromised by desire to prove persecution in support of their asylum claims. This is the source of the information about alleged rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka that Brian Senewiratne has repeated, misrepresented and further exaggerated in a self-published propaganda book that he took with him to Canada. He claimed, for example that the reports were from Tamils who had returned to the island and then been tortured and sexually abused, which he knows to be false. The book quotes Yasmin Sooka’s report selecting the most disturbing details, and twisting what she has written to allege that there is an “epidemic of rape by the armed forces” in northern Sri Lanka. Last weekend, in his “acceptance speech” he promoted what he called the “second edition” of his book shouting to the Tamil Canadian audience that while they were sitting down to dinner Tamil girls are being raped in Kilinochchi (the LTTE’s previous “capital”, a small town in the north of Sri Lanka). He claimed that it was for these raped women that he had “produced” the book.
He printed a few copies of this book after failing to find even an unreputable publisher for it. The “first edition”, 130 pages long, was self-published in 2014. Since then he has had it reprinted with minor variations, including changes in the title and cover. He gets them printed by his local printer Bosco Ng in small runs of 5-10 books. After he received his “award” from his friend and biggest fan, Usha Sriskandarajah, Brian Senewiratne used his “acceptance speech” to promote his “12 DVDs” to the obvious dismay of the frowning MC, who had asked the awardees to be brief in their speeches since they were running late and it was already past 9.30 pm. He said that the DVDs were free and invited the audience to contact him in the “next day or two” and tell him if they want “1,2,3,4,5 or the whole ruddy lot”. He stressed that he was not trying to make a “fast buck”, and the videos were free (previously he complained that he wasn’t being paid enough for them and that the Tamils were “the stingiest race on earth”). He then brandished his book (which he has been flogging with updated versions since 2014) alleging an epidemic of rape by the armed forces and urging that the United Nations invoke the R2P provisions and send troops to Sri Lanka to stop “ongoing genocide of the Tamils of the North and East”.
Brian Senewiratne makes things up, always to glorify himself. He is an egotist. In his acceptance speech he claimed to have met Mandela (he actually met Desmond Tutu in 2008, in a lobbying trip arranged by the LTTE that also took him to Canada). In the speech he claims, falsely, that he met Mandela himself and that the South African legend had arranged for him to go to Robben Island to see the conditions he was kept for 25 years in. This is a blatant lie as is his claim that he told Mandela “The thing that is remarkable about you is that you are not bitter” to which Mandela replied “If I was bitter I wouldn’t be Nelson Mandela”.
Brian Senewiratne is a very bitter man. He is bitter about many things, but especially so about the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and their political leadership for defeating “his side” is the war in Sri Lanka. His side was his own personal aggrandisement and money for the poisonous propaganda he produced from his home in Brisbane, Australia. This propaganda demonised his own race, the Singhalese and the Buddhist clergy in particular as well as the Sri Lankan political and military leadership. Brian Senewiratne calls himself a “Christian” but never reads the bible or go to church. He claims that he prays while he’s in the toilet and closed the door, quoting a passage from the Bible to justify this bizarre practice (to pray in ones “closet” rather than make a show of public prayer).
The cardinal principles of Christianity include humility, sincerity, truth, charity, kindness and forgiveness, but my father is an insincere liar who has held grudges all his life. He is cruel, spiteful and malicious towards those that he doesn’t like and he dislikes anyone who opposes him. Jesus of Nazareth had harsh words for hypocrites, and my father is a glaringly hypocritical individual. He shouts about “human rights” in public but violates them at home and in secret. He is also an egotist who is ruthlessly manipulative and Machiavellian.
This short documentary is about my father’s relationship with the truth and the mystery of Winston Panchacaram’s book, titled “Genocide in Sri Lanka” and published by Panchacharam and unknown others at the now non-existent International Tamil Center in New York. In 2011 Brian Senewiratne boasted to an audience at a small human rights seminar in Darwin, Australia (James Cook University) that the book had just been published and that he had all the copies. He made a big show of presenting a copy of Panchacharam’s book to the university and drew attention to the last page which contains the rhetorical question, “IF THIS IS NOT GENOCIDE, THEN WHAT IT?” in large red and yellow capital letters on a stark black background. It is primitive propaganda, but Brian Senewiratne is unaware of how obvious it is.

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.

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.

 

Public Image, Social and Professional Networking and Defying a ‘Schizophrenia’ Label

The PA Hospital psychiatrist Ghazala Watt has claimed, in a report for my upcoming Mental Health Review Tribunal hearing, that I have “paranoid schizophrenia” and that the only social support network I have is my 84-year-old mother. This essay proves her wrong.

The textbook characteristics of ‘schizophrenia’ include social awkwardness, social withdrawal and what was called, when I studied psychiatry in the 1980s, ‘downward social drift’. I have been labelled with schizophrenia, but I reject the diagnosis in myself for several reasons, including my social and professional networking ability and in others because it is a stigmatising misnomer. I do not satisfy diagnostic criteria for the label and the diagnostic criteria themselves are flawed. It is not scientific or rational to believe that people who have auditory hallucinations have the same incurable brain disease as people who are disorganised or socially withdrawn or who believe in telepathy or corporate and government conspiracies. I have never had hallucinations, of any sort, am well-organized in my thinking and actions, am sociable, and have never had telepathic experiences, but I admit to believing in certain conspiracies. These include my long-standing and well-founded conviction that my father conspired with others to have me silenced by getting me locked up and stigmatised me as a ‘mental patient’.

My father is blunt in his terminology when he speaks about me to my mother – “he’s bloody mad, he’s completely bananas” and other invectives. When he writes about me or phones people up he is more discreet, however, and says that I have a “serious psychotic disorder”, concealing his animosity towards me. He refuses to allow me to visit my mother at their house, though she wants me to do so, and he hangs up the phone on me if he answers it rather than my mother. Occasionally he abuses me first, but mostly he hangs up the phone silently or leaves it off the hook without answering my repeated “hellos?”

 

I have appealed to the Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) for release from a “Treatment Authority” (T/A), previously called an Involuntary Treatment Order (ITO) prior to the change of terminology (but not practice) with the new Mental Health Act of 2017. The hearing is next week. I was put on an ITO a year ago by Dr Jumoke ‘Jumi’ Banjo of the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Dr Banjo, who had recently come to Australia from Nigeria, kept me locked up on three occasions over a few months in late 2016 and early 2017, following complaints to the hospital by my hostile father and next-door neighbour, Jeff Miller. She changed the diagnosis from ‘psychotic diagnosis – not otherwise specified (NOS)’ to ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ and dramatically increased the dose of the Paliperidone injection she ordered from 25 mg to 150 mg.

I contested this diagnosis at a MHRT hearing while I was still an inpatient, but, as I expected, I lost. Refusal to accept the disease label you have been given is routinely regarded as ‘lack of insight’ and further evidence of mental illness, necessitating involuntary treatment. This is despite Banjo writing, of my mental state:

“MSE [mental state examination]

Casually dressed, grey hair and beard, settled and polite with reasonable engagement, no psychomotor agitation.

Spontaneous speech, normal in rate, volume and tone.

Mood is euthymic and affect is reactive.

Thoughts are coherent, no disorder of thought form and does not currently appear preoccupied with previously described delusional content, no depressive cognitions, no suicidal or homicidal ideas.

No evidence of perceptual abnormality.”

This sounds like a normal, mentally healthy person. It is hard to explain, given this assessment, her statement that I have “limited insight into the nature and severity of [my] condition”, which she specified as “paranoid schizophrenia”. It is also hard to reconcile with her denying my liberty by keeping me locked up in the ward and her treatment plan to have me injected every month, indefinitely, with 150 mg of the antipsychotic drug Paliperidone. Her actions were illegal, according to the Mental Health Act, which states that patients can only be confined against their wills if they are and remain a risk to themselves or others. The legal loophole the psychiatric system in Australia uses, to get around these exclusion criteria, is to argue that the patients jeopardise their own health by refusal to take the prescribed drugs. It is also against the law to lock people up for their political or philosophical beliefs, but these laws are routinely violated too.

 

My 1995 theories

 

I had started theorising on the cause and management of schizophrenia before it was first suggested that I myself had the ‘disease’. This suggestion was made by my father, in a letter he wrote to the psychiatry registrar of the Junction Clinic in Melbourne, Noel Barrett, in March 1995:

“I’m not sure why, but I did remark to my wife that I thought his recent adventures into the unknown, the attempts to explain autism, the compulsive eating of obesity (which I’ve had an interest in), sleep, memory disturbances, Alzheimers, schizophrenia etc – was abnormal. I even said, ‘I don’t know whether this is the start of a schizophrenic illness.’ Why I said so (to my wife, of course, and not Romesh) I cannot quite remember but I did notice that the ego boundaries were no longer there.”

It is true that I was developing original ideas about the cause and management of autism, schizophrenia and memory disturbances and was also researching sleep. I was particularly interested in the role of the reticular activating system (RAS), the noradrenergic network of neurones connecting the brainstem with the midbrain and cortex that influences state of alertness and concentration as well as sleep. I hypothesised that the RAS is also involved with attention and mental focus, partly through its connections with the thalamus, which integrates and directs attention through the senses.

My theories on autism included the theory that lack of eye contact was related to lack of trust and fear of adults, which can be addressed by a gentle approach to building trust through play, music and art, with a conscious attempt to encourage eye contact with the child. My theories on schizophrenia, which have changed since then, related to the neurochemistry of dopamine, development of the limbic system and analysis of mental associations. These were only a few of the theories I was working on at the time; others related to the development of aesthetic appreciation in sight and hearing, integrative neuroscience, holistic approaches to health and theories about instincts. I was particularly fond of my insight that communication, curiosity and play are instincts which can be used to develop public health and individual health promotion strategies.

My theories on dementia were related to the relatively uncontroversial theory that curiosity is an instinct. It was based on the assumption that keeping the brain actively learning would help ward off dementia, something I thought was self-evident. I was interested in identifying social factors such as the beliefs that you are “too old to learn” or “too old to change” in contributing to dementia, and thought that encouraging curiosity and ongoing experiential (not necessarily formal) learning could mitigate against it. I later found, when I tried to discuss my ideas with Professor Colin Masters, in charge of Alzheimer’s Disease research at the Mental Health Research Institute in Melbourne, that not everyone thinks that keeping the brain active helps prevent or slow down the progress of dementia.

 

My Father’s Insanity

 

When he wrote to Noel Barrett and his consultant Rajan Thomas in March 1995, my father was clear that he wanted me committed, raising the possibility that I had both schizophrenia and hypomania. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t like to be committed himself. He wrote, in brackets, at the end of the long, handwritten letter:

“(I hope that the above dissertation does not result in someone certifying me!!!)

The preceding sentence in the letter, which was faxed to the Junction Clinic in Melbourne, refers to his activities in drawing attention to what he called “Third World conditions” at the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, where he had worked as a visiting consultant physician since we came to Australia in 1976 (note his use of capital letters);

“ I am having a hectic job here handling a very busy practice and also Consultant Physician at a major hospital to add to this. I’ve recently become the major (in fact, one and only) spokesperson for the Hospital to represent the chaos in the Brisbane hospitals to the government. So I’ve got my work cut out. However, if you feel that I can be of any use in Melbourne – if only to provide the necessary family support – I’ll be delighted to hop on the next plane and head off there”.

This is a self-serving lie. My father did not represent the hospitals to the Queensland government. That was the job of hospital administrators, with whom he was mostly not on good terms. What he did was to agitate the junior staff and non-medical staff that the old hospital was like a “Third World” country like Sri Lanka and approached all the commercial TV stations to give interviews to make this charge. He didn’t mention that his main political activity was lobbying for the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and the separatist cause in the war in Sri Lanka.

My father has written several letters to psychiatrists about me, but never mentioned Sri Lanka or his political activities in support of the separatist war. However, a review of his own blog (called ‘Brian Senewiratne pages’) and YouTube clips from his own site and the network of LTTE-supporting sites indicates what a serious omission this is. My father’s LinkedIn site, which reveals only that he is an ‘onsultant [sic] physician’, has no photo and no details of his medical work or qualifications but includes a list of his skills, all of which have been endorsed by his network of professional Tamil friends. He has 258 contacts, one of whom he shares with me.

His LinkedIn site also fails to mention what he calls elsewhere his “human rights work” and also his role, since the end of the war (May 2009) as a ‘senator’ of the ‘Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’ (TGTE). Despite not speaking or understanding Tamil, he was appointed (not elected) as a ‘senator’ by Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, a Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer in New York who was the legal representative of the LTTE until their defeat in 2009, following which he established the TGTE with himself as “Prime Minister”. The TGTE flies the LTTE flags at its events and commemorates the “martyrdom” of the LTTE fighters including their leader Vellupillai Prabakaran, as well as the organizations many suicide bombers. My father has written recently (2017) that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are missing the LTTE now that they are gone, and that what most people call a terrorist organization ran a “well functioning de-facto state”, selectively omitting the long list of crimes committed by LTTE against Tamil, Muslim and Singhalese citizens of Sri Lanka over the 30-year conflict.

His public profiles as a doctor and as a political agitator have been kept separate, though he uses his qualification as a doctor to win the respect of his pro-LTTE audiences. My father has defended the fact that he only “preaches to the converted”, responding to this criticism in a YouTube clip where he says that “you have to preach to the converted to keep them converted; otherwise they become unconverted”. What he is intent on “converting” the Tamils to is the belief that they have been subjected to genocide by the Sri Lankan government and that the only solution to this is a separate state for Tamils and division of the country. He also tries to convince his Tamil audiences to support a boycott of Sri Lankan goods and services, as well as sport (cricket) and tourism, which he declares will “bring the Colombo government to its knees”. Back in 2006 he gave an interview in Canada where he said that what is needed, and could be achieved by such a boycott, is “economic exsanguination” of the country. Exsanguination is the act of draining all the blood out – he thought the LTTE could win the war by destroying Sri Lanka’s economy, disregarding the cost to the ordinary people of Sri Lanka, especially the poor.

My father makes it clear that he is not Tamil and makes a point of stressing that he is of Singhalese ethnicity and a “Christian”, whose mother was a “devout Buddhist”. In the same 2006 interview he claimed that he is a “genetic half-Buddhist” as if religion is inherited in the genes. He uses this claim to justify his criticism of the Buddhist clergy, whom he accuses of “ethno-religious chauvinism” and trying to make multicultural Sri Lanka into a “Sinhala-Buddhist” nation. He then says that he has no objection to this, but by the same token the Tamils need their own state – Tamil Eelam. This gained him the support of the separatists, but was a distortion of the actual situation in Sri Lanka, where though Buddhism is protected the State, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are also respected and celebrated with public holidays. He has claimed that the Tamils were denied their language in 1956, when his uncle SWRD Bandaranaike made Singhalese the only official language, ignoring the fact that for many years the official policy has been to promote trilingualism in Singhala, Tamil and English, and Tamil has been a national language (in addition to Singhala, which was also the official language) since 1958 with the introduction of the Tamil Language Special Provisions Act.

There are many videos of my father on YouTube and also videos made by him. The videos of him include recordings of speeches he has given, always to Tamil Tiger-supporting audiences (in the USA, Canada, UK and Australia) as well as a few interviews he gave for Tamil cable TV channels. These have been uploaded by various supporters of the LTTE. The videos made by him have been uploaded by LTTE supporters and also, relatively recently (2 years ago) he uploaded 3 videos of him talking to the camera while seated at his dining room table. Though the talk was intended as an address to the TGTE, he posted it publicly on his own YouTube channel. These latter videos have had a few hundred views, a few likes and several dislikes (including by myself). The videos of his speeches, in which he shouts his support for the LTTE and “the Tamil Eelam struggle” have also had mainly negative ratings, and up to a few thousand views.

The videos made by my father, available for free on YouTube, but which he had originally hoped to make money out of, include his home-made propaganda videos. These were recorded unprofessionally with my mother turning the video camera on and off. He started making these in 2006, after he was invited to address the expatriate Ilankai Tamil Sangam organization in the USA and offered to make a video to “correct the disinformation campaign by the Sri Lankan government”. My father does not have video editing skills and very few computer skills, but he had access to the expertise of some of his ex-students, now doctors, who supported the LTTE. These took still photos and short video clips from the LTTE propaganda collection and inserted them into the videos, which he subsequently boasted were “a dozen DVDs I have produced on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka”. These, he claimed, were a “major contribution” that had worried the Sri Lankan government.

Using his own terminology, my father is an egomaniac. He is also extremely manipulative, as is seen by the titles of his videos, one of the first being “The New Killing Fields of Asia”. He’d hoped to emulate and capitalise on the popularity of the successful and famous movie “The Killing Fields” about the genocide in Cambodia. He was trying to create a mental association to support his claim that the Sri Lankan Tamils were being subjected to a similar genocide. He is not a subtle man.

The ‘New Killing Fields of Asia’ made in 2007, was uploaded 3 years ago by a Tamil separatist and supporter of the Tamil Tigers. Since then it has had only 65 views, and rated 3 dislikes and no likes. Another of his videos, ‘SRI LANKA – THE ETHNIC CRISIS – WHAT THE WORLD MUST KNOW’ was uploaded 10 years ago by another separatist site. It has had 518 views since then (ratings not disclosed). Then there is ‘SRI LANKA GENOCIDE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW BY BRIAN SENEWIRATNE’. This video has had 215 views in 5 years (one like and 3 dislikes). Despite this obvious lack of interest in and effect from his videos, my father continues to boast to Tamil audiences and members of the Socialist Alliance and Greens Party about his “dozen DVDs” being a “major contribution” he is proud of.

On YouTube there is another bizarre video, also amateur and home-made, of my father professing to be an expert on ‘AFFECTIVE DISORDERS’. This video was uploaded by one of his patients, who had been given the DVD by him. In this video slides have been crudely inserted that cover part of his face, and he slowly reads what is on the slides to reinforce his points. These include that the diagnosis of affective disorder is frequently missed by doctors less perceptive than himself (including psychiatrists), that adult doses of antidepressants should be used in children (saying that the only alternative is shock treatment) and that depression is caused by the neurones in the limbic system “not talking to each other”. He gets these videos copied, in small runs, by his local printer (a Vietnamese gentleman who has also printed his LTTE-supporting propaganda over the years) and hands them out free to his patients. He tells them, though, that the DVDs are in high demand and sell for “50 pounds each in the UK”. (I have heard him say this, when I called him while he was seeing a patient and left the phone off the hook so I couldn’t call back).

 

Yet my father admits elsewhere (when it suits him), that he is not trained in psychiatry. Earlier in the letter 1995 letter to Noel Barrett he has written:

“I’m not sure whether it is even worth recording the opinions of someone such as myself who has no background in psychiatry. My concerns are that he has decided to suddenly throw in his practice without really good reason. I’m also concerned that the ego boundaries seem to have been breached to the extent they are.”

 

Google provides this explanation of ‘ego boundaries’, a term I have never heard psychiatrists use any more, and don’t use myself:

“When the inner boundary is critically weakened or lost, the return of repressed egostates falsifies reality and can result in delusions and hallucinations. When the cathexis of the outer boundary is weakened or lost, the sense of reality is disturbed, and external objects are discerned as unknown, strange, and unreal.”

This is psycho-babble. I like to keep it real and use ordinary language. On a point of fact, I did not decide to “throw in” my medical practice in 1995. I told my parents that I was thinking of selling it to concentrate on research, music and writing. It was a carefully considered decision and not impulsive or indicative of mental illness in any way. After I was locked up, my family got the practice closed down and I lost it without selling it.

 

Ghazala Watt’s claim about my lack of a ‘Social Network’

 

I decided, when confronted with a recent report for the MHRT ‘authored’ by the MSAHMS psychiatrist Ghazala Watt, to prove her wrong. She has claimed, in the section on “Social Networks and the Capacity to Support the Patient”, that:

“Romesh’s only positive relationship was with his mother who supported him and accommodated him in a property which belonged to her. Romesh has a long-term conflict with his father who also antagonises with him. Father often prevents mother from supporting Romesh.”

That’s all Ghazala Watt has written, and to make matters worse, she has repeated it, word for word (along with the grammatical error), from the previous report to the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) from 20.9.2016. This time the person who claimed to be the author was Jumoke Banjo, a graduate of Ibadan University in Nigeria, and recently employed by the PA Hospital as a consultant psychiatrist. I had been relieved at first to have an African woman to discuss my freedom with, but before long I realised my optimism was unfounded. Let me correct the record, and explain why, though my father and I do not get on, this is not a consequence of mental illness on my part, and most certainly not a sign of ‘schizophrenia’, the serious mental illness label that both Ghazala Watt and Jumi Banjo are trying to pin on me.

The psychiatrists know full well that sociability and good social (and professional) networking skills go against this ‘diagnosis’. Making out that I have no friends is part of the process of pathologising me and stigmatising me. It makes a mockery of the stated values of ‘Metro South Health’, which includes the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS). These, their website proclaims, are “caring for people, leadership, respect, integrity, teamwork and courage”. I think I deserve to be treated with more respect, and so do other patients of the ‘service’. They also show little evidence of integrity, leadership or courage, and what they call a “team” is a hierarchical system where the psychiatrist’s word is law.

My Social Networks and their capacity to support me

 

I get all the support I need from my daughter, my friends and my social networks, especially from Facebook and the positive comments I get on my YouTube sites. Since I was told that Ghazala Watt was increasing the dose of the abusive injections she has ordered, I have also worked on my professional network on LinkedIn, increasing my list of contacts from 200 to over 800 in less than a week. Several of my new contacts are professors, including psychologists and psychiatrists, from many countries, but mainly in Australia, the USA and UK. I have found, over the years, that my scientific opinions are more likely to be accepted by psychologists than psychiatrists, especially the psychologists leaning towards holism, positive thinking, CBT, embracing change and promoting healthy motivation and activities, as well as mindfulness. I am looking out for progressive psychiatrists that will be prepared to countenance criticism of their doctrines without pathologising me. I have also had contact requests accepted by other medical doctors, by lawyers, journalists and authors, environmentalists, film-makers, musicians, engineers (especially sound engineers), art therapists, social workers, nurses, public servants and other professionals.

Unfortunately, increase in sociability and motivation are liable to be pathologised by the medical profession as signs of mental illness, namely ‘hypomania’ and ‘mania’. I was first locked up, in 1995 and again in 1996, following accusations by my father and my sister’s boyfriend Rob Purssey (then a psychiatry registrar) that I had mania.

Sudden change raises alarm bells in people looking out for mania and psychosis, so I have to be careful not to seem “over-sociable” or “overactive”. But I am a sociable man, which is why I have more than 2700 friends on Facebook. These include people living all over the world, and some whom I have known since my childhood in Sri Lanka. I can chat to them whenever I want, but most of the time I am busy working, not socialising.

It is true that not all my Facebook ‘friends’ are people that I know and like. I have accepted friend requests from people I don’t know, though I have refused others, if they were spam. I consciously set out to make friends with people of all the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka – traditionally classified as Singhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Veddha. I have no Veddha friends, since they are forest-living people, but I have over a thousand Sri Lankan friends on Facebook, including Singhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Chinese Sri Lankans. I went to school with some of these friends and have known them for more than 40 years. I have made a point of making friends with people of every major religion, though I no longer believe in the Anglican Christianity I was brought up with, and lean more towards Buddhism. I have friends who are both Protestant and Catholic Christians, but I have more friends who are Buddhist and Muslim, with a few who are Hindu or Jewish. I rarely ask people about their religion, unless they raise the subject themselves, but I am interested in finding common values in different religions and am interested in their different perspectives.

I also have many friends in the anti-psychiatry movement and the psychiatry reform movement, some of whom I have known for many years, though I have been actively making friends in these movements in recent weeks as well as joining some related groups.

Many of my Facebook friends are musicians, mainly in Australia and Sri Lanka. Some of my Australian friends are personal friends that I have played music with over the past 30 years and one is a guitarist who played with me in my first serious band, Strange Etiquette, back in 1986, who is now a well-connected psychiatric nurse educator and academic. I am also friends with other members of Strange Etiquette, as well as other Brisbane musicians, but I have musician friends all over Australia. This is not the situation of a person who is socially isolated.

I also have Google+ and Twitter accounts, and even an old MySpace site. I have uploaded about 40 documents, including several e-books to my Scribd site, which I have had for about 10 years. These include books I have written on eugenics, holistic health, schizophrenia and music, as well as books of my poetry. I have recently purchased a new WordPress site and am enjoying writing for it and watching the site grow. What I publish on my WordPress blog is automatically shared with my LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages, and I am also able to make links to my YouTube and Scribd sites. My YouTube site has 304 subscribers, which is not a lot, but more than my father (who has only two). My most viewed video has had 20,000 views, this being a documentary I made some years ago on my research into eugenics, biological warfare and AIDS. Though it has the most views and likes (44) it has also had the most dislikes (10). Other popular videos include footage I shot of mimicry by a Pied Butcherbird (7,490 views with 29 likes and 2 inexplicable dislikes) and a clip of me playing the piano and singing “Living in a Bubble”, one of my original songs. I have uploaded 241 videos over 10 years, including my musical compositions, a documentary on the neuroscience of music, my art (and that of my mother) and more clips of birds in my garden.  I have also uploaded some videos about the militarisation of psychiatry, the pineal organ and my research into it, as well as a monologue called “The Pseudoscience of Schizophrenia”. I work long hours on the Internet, but enjoy my work.

With the help of LinkedIn I have been able to compare the professional careers and profiles of the psychiatrists and medical family members who have called me mad with my own work output, networking and public profile. From memory, I have been diagnosed as mentally ill (with various labels) by the following Brisbane psychiatrists, none of whose assistance I sought: Rob Purssey (who was my sister’s boyfriend and a psychiatry registrar) who has a LinkedIn (with more than 500 contacts) and YouTube site (with only 4 subscribers) but no Facebook page; Ghazala Watt (LinkedIn with 353 contacts and Facebook with 200 friends but no YouTube); Jumoke Banjo (no LinkedIn or Facebook); Justin O’Brien (LinkedIn with 250 contacts and Facebook with 1000 friends); Joanna Loftus (LinkedIn with only 36 contacts and no information about her qualifications, experience or background) Daniel Varghese (LinkedIn with only 7 contacts and no Facebook); Subramanian Purushothaman (LinkedIn with 2 contacts and not filled out other than ‘Australia’); Monica Des Arts (no LinkedIn or Facebook) and Paul Schneider (no LinkedIn or Facebook).

I have also been seen by Dr Jill Schilling who said I was not mentally ill after a single visit to my home in July 2015 and took me off the ITO the hospital had put me on; by Ken Arthur, a private psychiatrist who examined me at the request of the MHRT (LinkedIn with only 16 contacts, no details and no photo); by Joan Lawrence (in 1995) who agreed that I should remain locked up at the Prince Charles Hospital under Dr John Bowles and by Brett Emmerson, who certified me in 1995 and got me locked up at Prince Charles Hospital at my father’s request, based on information provided by my father as well as a heated debate I had with him when my father brought him to my parents’ house in 1995 to certify me.

Brett Emmerson and my father now have both LinkedIn pages, but Joan Lawrence has neither. My father has a Facebook page but he doesn’t know how to use it, and has no friends at all. John Bowles has a LinkedIn page that says he is now retired but is an advisor to the MHRT. He has 111 contacts including 10 shared with me. I have also been seen, initially for an examination ordered by the Medical Board of Queensland, and later on my own volition, by Dr Frank New, who I have not seen for a while, but wrote to the Medical Board in 2002 that he was confident that I did not have a mental illness (after a 3 hour interrogation). My father, angered by this, told my mother that Frank New “is not highly regarded”. Frank, who I have considerable respect for, is in private practice. He doesn’t have a LinkedIn or Facebook page.

Brett Emmerson has 274 contacts on LinkedIn, and also features in a single video on YouTube. This was uploaded in 2014 by the Metro North PHN (Primary Health Network) and is of a lecture he gave to junior employees in an auditorium. He is currently the Director of the Metro North Hospital and Health Service, which covers the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Prince Charles Hospital. I have watched this lecture and found it very boring. It has only had 56 views in 3 years, and rated 3 dislikes and 1 like.

The directors of the PA Hospital and Metro South Health also have LinkedIn pages, namely Michael Cleary (Executive Director of the PA), David Crompton (Director of Metro South) and Balaji Motamarri (Director of the MSAHMS). Professor Crompton’s LinkedIn page says that he is “Professor and Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention” at Griffith University (since March 2017), “Professor School of Human Services and Social Work” (Griffith University, since December 2013) and “Executive Director Addiction and Mental Health Services” (Metro South Health) from September 2008 to the present. He was a rural general practitioner before he became a psychiatrist and then a medical administrator. He too has 111 contacts including 10 shared with myself.

The website of Metro South Health has a photo of Professor Crompton (OAM) listing his position as ‘Executive Director’ of the ‘Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services Executive Team’. Dr Balaji Motamarri (with the space for his photo unfilled) is named as ‘Clinical Director of Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit’. The ‘Chief Executive’, who I had not heard of until I checked the website today, is Dr Stephen Ayre, a graduate like me of the University of Queensland who did general practice before getting a Masters in Health Administration from the University of New South Wales. He was previously Executive Director of Medical Services at Prince Charles Hospital (2008-2014) before being appointed ‘Executive Director’ of Princess Alexandra Hospital and QEII Jubilee Hospital Health Network in May 2014. He was appointed Chief Executive of Metro South Health in July 2017. Stephen Ayre, like Robert Purssey and myself (but unlike all the others mentioned) has over 500 LinkedIn contacts.

The psychiatrist in charge of the MSAHMS “psychosis unit” and the man who is responsible for the hospital’s atrocious, negligent and disrespectful treatment of me is Balaji Motamarri, who has refused to speak to me, even on the phone, though I have been locked up several times under his authority. His LinkedIn and Facebook pages do not suggest a man with academic skills or computer literacy, which are essential for a man in his position in this day and age. He clearly does not know how to use Facebook, which 13-year-old kids can handle. Not knowing how to have a private chat with his friend Manju, he has written on his wall, for all to see:

“Hi Manju My apologies for not replying earlier. As you can understand we are “recovering” from our trip – the trip of “Telangana 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 of holidays’ – what a nightmare to the parents.”

This was posted in January 2010 and he hasn’t posted anything since.

Academia is competitive, business is competitive and medicine is competitive too. I have opted to compete with my detractors on an uneven playing field, in which I was at a disadvantage, with the stigma of having been, as my father puts it, “in and out of mental hospitals”. I think I have won the competition for social and professional networking, as well as work output and public response to that work. I have also disproved the allegation that I have schizophrenia.

Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam Arya Chakravarti

HUB Forensics

25.2.2018

Debating Ghazala Watt

Today, when I attended the appointment that was sent to me in the mail, the PA Hospital psychiatrist Ghazala Watt was prepared to lock me up again. She arranged for a man called Gordon, a middle-aged man with a shaven head and thuggish demeanour, who I recognised to have a Scottish accent, to come into the consulting room with us. I wasn’t told that Gordon was the ‘duty officer’ (I read it later in her report) but I noticed that he sat between me and the door. If Ghazala had decided to “admit” me, Gordon would have provided the muscle to subdue me, if needed. As it was, he sat there silent, unmoving and expressionless, while I debated with Ghazala Watt and tried, again, to correct her misconceptions.

I attended the appointment under duress. I have made it clear that I have no respect for Ghazala Watt and do not want her to be my doctor, or have anything to do with her. I am my own doctor, though I also have a GP, who studied with me at the University of Queensland and I used to consult a private psychiatrist, Frank New, who won my respect when he interviewed me for 3 hours and then wrote a 13-paged report explaining why he thought I was not mentally ill, and didn’t think I ever had been. This was back in 2002, when Dr New was asked to provide an independent psychiatric assessment for the Medical Board of Queensland, following my numerous incarcerations as a mental patient in Melbourne. Since then, he has rung the hospital on several occasions, saying that he does not think I have ‘schizophrenia’, the label Ghazala Watt is trying to pin on me again. The schizophrenia diagnosis (initially made in Melbourne) was discarded by other psychiatrists at the PA in favour of what they termed “psychotic disorder NOS”. NOS stands for ‘not otherwise specified’, meaning not otherwise specified in the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It is a misconceived label, open to abuse, that has now been discarded in the current DSM V.

After our debate, I was asked to wait while Ghazala prepared a document that I was given by Gordon titled “CLINICAL REPORT – TREATMENT AUTHORITY REVIEW – MENTAL HEALTH REVIEW TRIBUNAL”, for “Romesh SENEWIRATNE”, supposedly “prepared” by Raghuvan (Raghy) Raman and Ghazala Watt. This is misleading. The ‘interim case manager’ Raghy had little to do with the preparation of the report – it is a repeat of the last one the hospital produced, and the ones before that, with a single paragraph by Ghazala following our debate today. The false claims in the report were initially based on a thorough character assassination of me by the inpatient psychiatric registrar David Nguyen in 2012, then modified and made slightly less offensive by the psychiatrist Daniel Varghese (under whom I was locked up in 2009, 2010 and 2011). It was later added to by subsequent psychiatrists, including Subramanian “Subu” Purushothaman, Justin O’Brien and the registrar Sagir Parkar but no efforts were made to correct the factual inaccuracies (or even the typographical errors) after the most glaring ones in Nguyen’s initial report were amended by Daniel Varghese 5 years ago.

Ghazala Watt’s own contribution is written in bad English and all in lower case without any capital letters except Sri Lanka (the first time, the second reading ‘srilanka’). It reads (under ‘current mental state assessment’):

“presented for the review on time, was seen in the presence of duty officer. remained focused on his father’s actions leading to him having medications and admissions to the hospital. presented with multiple writings about his father, political movements in Sri Lanka and anti psychiatric movements. remained focused on the cause of previous admissions in relation to complain about father and not in relation to medication noncompliance or treatment authority being revoked.

presented less irritable preoccupied with srilankan politics and mental health services being ‘sided’ with his father. insight remains limited with limited understanding on mental illness and the role of medications.”   

Watt and Raman have also changed the diagnosis from “Psychotic Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified’ to ‘Paranoid Schizophrenia’. Someone who uses capital letters correctly, but also with a poor understanding of psychiatric terminology and theory, has written the section on “current treatment”. This may be Raghy or Nigel Lewin, who is English and was my ‘case manager’ and monthly assaulter for several years, until he went on long service leave recently, when he was replaced by Raghy Raman, who is an Indian Tamil man of late middle-age who is sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), the terrorist organization that my father acted as a lobbyist and propagandist for during the war in Sri Lanka, and has praised in his writings and speeches since the military defeat of the Tigers in May 2009. His most recent book claims that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are missing the Tigers now that they are not there and that the LTTE ran a “well-functioning de-facto state” that had a good police force and legal system with courts superior to parallel courts provided by the Sri Lankan government. This is nonsense. The LTTE “courts” killed, tortured and imprisoned people who stood up against them. They were run not by trained lawyers but by young LTTE thugs. The LTTE kidnapped Tamil children and gave them weapons to fight in a war they knew they were losing (after placing cyanide necklaces around their necks, which they boasted showed their dedication to the cause rather than the organization’s ruthlessness). They used Tamil civilians as human shields and shot civilians who tried to cross to the government side at the end of the war. They killed numerous Tamil leaders who were branded as “traitors” for siding with the government. My father was one of the people who publicly named these “Tamil traitors” who became assassination targets for the LTTE. And this is just what the LTTE criminals did to the Tamils, who they claimed to be fighting for the “liberation” of.

I had a discussion with Raghy about Prabakaran and the LTTE the last time he came to visit me. He was armed with an injection; I was armed with a video camera. I filmed the interview and uploaded it to my YouTube site a week later, after I was told that I would have to see Ghazala Watt despite my objections to her. This may be why Ghazala asked me, as soon as I entered the room, “Are you recording this? Because I don’t give you permission to record this”.

I answered that I don’t even have a mobile phone. She said “I heard that you sometimes record interviews”. I explained that when people come around to my house to inject me I am in the habit of filming them and the camera is visible for all to see. I reassured her that I wasn’t recording us. She, on the other hand, had a “witness” who would agree with everything she said (Gordon), and act as her bodyguard too. It is ironic that she called me “paranoid schizophrenic” when it was she who demonstrated the paranoia.

During our discussion, Raghy expressed conviction that AIDS is man-made (as I have long suspected) but also came out with some strange delusions, with a political twist. He said that the LTTE’s military leader Prabakaran was not a terrorist in his opinion, but an “activist”, who only killed the “other groups” (of Tamils) after he converted to Christianity and this killing was directed by the Church. He also accused the Catholic Church and Sonia Gandhi of killing her husband Rajiv Gandhi (the ex-PM of India) “to win the sympathy vote” so that Sonia could become Prime Minister of India. When I told him that the LTTE had admitted to killing Gandhi (by a female suicide bomber), he said that this was due to a deal made between Sonia Gandhi and Prabakaran and that the LTTE had been promised help by India to win the separatist war but that India had let them down.

I corrected Raghy, and told him some things he needed to know about the LTTE’s terrorism and other crimes against Tamil as well as Singhalese and Muslim Sri Lankans, but I didn’t confront his delusions as strongly as I could have. As it was, he evidently thought I had “elevated speech”!

It was Raghy who gave me the last injection and also gave me the bad news last week that if I didn’t attend the appointment I had been sent I might be “returned to the hospital” by force. Raghy also told me that rather than stopping the injections, Ghazala and the “team” had decided to increase the dose. The report I was given today claims that I have “elevated speech”, in the section on “Current treatment”:

“Assertive case management for ongoing review of mental state, risks and compliance with medication. Paliperidone IM medication increased to 100mg every 4 weeks in the context of possible relapse in mental state evidenced by elevated speech with the treating team. To have monthly reviews by case manager and psychiatry registrar, and regular reviews with a consultant psychiatrist.”

This is a confusion of psychiatric jargon. There is such a thing as an elevated mood (often misdiagnosed), but I have Raghy on record saying that I did not have one and that I was euthymic – presenting with a normal mood. The other psychiatric term is “pressure of speech” which is described as a sign of mania, not schizophrenia. An elevated mood is a sign of hypomania and mania, according to the DSM; there is no such thing as “elevated speech” in psychiatric terminology, such as it is.

Ghazala Watt claims in her CV that she has expertise in writing medico-legal reports. Yet she has written a report to the Mental Health Review Tribunal with poor grammar, incomprehensible sentences and no capital letters as required according to the accepted rules of English grammar, which are insisted on in legal reports. My 8 year old daughter uses appropriate capitals at the beginning of a sentence. One might think that a Fellow of the RANZCP should too.

My fresh recollection of this morning’s debate and interview are rather at odds with the brief assessment by Ghazala. Let me take it sentence by sentence, correct and include what she omitted.

“presented for the review on time [I was 15 minutes early], was seen in the presence of the duty officer”

I did not want Gordon, who looked like a neo-Nazi thug, to come into the room with us, but Ghazala insisted. She said she wanted him there, but not why. I had never met him before, and didn’t want to discuss personal matters in his presence. The real reason is that she wanted “backup” if needed. I didn’t know and wasn’t told that he was the duty officer, responsible for admissions from the clinic to the hospital.

 

The report’s next sentences are:

“remained focused on his father’s actions leading to him having medications and admissions to the hospital.” and “presented with multiple writings about his father, political movements in Sri Lanka and anti psychiatric movements”.

She has omitted some important information and misinformed the tribunal about what I carried with me to show her when I “presented”. I didn’t have “multiple writings” about my father. I didn’t have any at all. What I did bring with me, was my diary (which I showed her) and a folder I had titled “Public Image and Personae – Me vs. the people who are calling me MAD”. I didn’t show her this folder, but I selected particular documents for her to keep and read, including one piece by my father and two pieces by myself – “Theorising About the Pineal Gland” and “Royal Park Admission (1995)” printed off from my new WordPress blog. She had never heard of WordPress, so I explained what it was, and that I was writing about my psychiatric experiences. I didn’t have any of my own writings on the anti-psychiatry movement, though I mentioned it in my books The Politics of Schizophrenia (2000) and The Pseudoscience of Schizophrenia (2011) which I have not shown her yet.

At the end of the interview I also gave her a document that I hoped would give her some insight into my father’s modus operandi. This is a long and highly defamatory piece that he had published in the Britain-based expatriate website Colombo Telegraph (CT) a few years ago that purports to be a “psychiatric analysis” of the highly respected Sri Lankan politician Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is hated by the LTTE supporters for his role in defeating the Tigers in his role as Defence Secretary. I gave Ghazala the first 10 pages of the article so that she could compare the sanity of my father’s writing with my own. This is the only thing I had in my folder about “political movements in Sri Lanka”, and it was not written by me.

What I did have in the folder, apart from these, were documents printed off the internet, from Google, Linkedin, Facebook and Youtube, comparing the work and image of four people – myself, my father, Ghazala Watt and her boss Balaji Motamarri, an undistinguished Indian psychiatrist who heads the “service” she kept referring to – the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAHMS) of which the PA is one of several hospitals. I was ready to debate the fact that madness and sanity are relative terms, but Ghazala rejected all talk of madness or sanity.

“What’s madness?” she asked

“Insanity.”

“What’s insane?”

“Crazy.”

I would have explained my reasons for thinking that everyone has false beliefs or delusions, and that these are propagated by several means, including the media, religions, cults, political parties, schools, universities and families. But such a discussion requires the other person to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas. Ghazala was only interested in denying concepts of madness and sanity in order to try and convince me that she and the “service” were “helping me” with my “mental illness” and not taking sides in what the report admits is an “acrimonious relationship” with my father. I doubt that Ghazala knows what acrimonious means.

 

I didn’t have writings of my own about “political movements in Sri Lanka” or the “anti psychiatric movement”. I had asked her about what she knew about the anti-psychiatry movement and she said she’d never heard of it. I showed her a printout of the first page of the “Worldwide Protest of the American Psychiatric Association” Facebook page, with a posting by myself, saying:

“It seems to me that psychiatry is primarily a system of character assassination”

“Why are you showing me this?” she asked.

I pointed out that the posting had many likes, and that it was part of a world-wide movement against abuses by her profession.

 

It is a sad reflection of psychiatric education for specialists in Australia that Ghazala Watt became a consultant and member of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) without being aware of the anti-psychiatry movement and scientific, ethical and legal criticism of her profession. Raghy and Nigel, the case managers, both psychiatric nurses, had heard of it but that’s about all. Raghy said the movement had been active for at least a hundred years, and he thought it was active in Melbourne, but I never saw signs of this during the 20 years I spent in Melbourne, during which I was locked up and injected more than 40 times between 1995 and 2007, when I returned to Brisbane.

In our brief conversation after my debate with Ghazala,  I asked Gordon if the anti-psychiatry movement was active in Scotland.

“No!” he answered, emphatically.

I then asked if he thought I had schizophrenia.

“I’d have to go along with the doctor on that, I’ve never met you before.”

“Do you think I am elevated?”

“Maybe.”

I explained to Gordon that I wasn’t elevated, or irritable, I was justifiably angry that the hospital kept siding with my father, who used to work at the hospital, against me.

The next sentence is hard to comprehend, but I think she’s trying to say that I was (and am) blaming my father for getting me locked up, rather than my not taking medications. I’m not sure what she means by “previous admissions in relation to…treatment authority revoked”. I have not been locked up because I was taken off the ITOs (Involuntary Treatment Orders – there were no such things as “treatment authorities” until the new Queensland Mental Health Act of 2017):

“remained focused on the cause of previous admissions in relation to complain about father and not in relation to medication noncompliance or treatment authority being revoked.”

In fact, as I explained to Ghazala, a previous psychiatrist, newly employed at the PA Hospital in 2015 by the name of Dr Jill Schilling had visited my house with Nigel in July and came to the conclusion that I was not psychotic and could not be legally kept on an ITO. After a single visit she took me off the ITO. The report says only that “ITO was revoked on 28/07/2015” but not why, and the fact that Dr Schilling thought me sane.

I told her what happened after that: my father pressured my mother to ring up the hospital complaining that they should not have taken me off the ITO and I was “again” saying that my father was involved with the Tamil Tigers. The fact is that I had never stopped, and that this was not just the truth but it was demonstrably true from his writings and speeches which are freely available on the Internet. The PA responded, to my mother, that as I had been taken off the ITO the only way I could be forcibly “assessed” was if she went to court and took out a “Justice’s Examination Order” (JEO), which she had never heard of. My father was in charge. It was he who drove my mother to court, but “kept his hands clean”.

I was then visited by police who told me I had to go with them back to the hospital, where I was locked up for a few days and discharged. Unsatisfied, my father continued his efforts to get me locked up and evicted from my house, enlisting the help of my next-door neighbour Jeff Miller, with whom he had several phone conversations (while refusing to speak to me on the phone and ringing the case manager to allege that I was harassing him by ringing him all the time, which was untrue).

This pattern of hostile behaviour by my father has continued to the present day. Only last month he shouted to my mother, “He’s getting worse. He’s completely bananas. You’ll have to call Miller and get him to call the hospital”. When my mother demurred he got angry, “What about the other neighbours? We can jump up and down and they [the hospital] won’t take any notice of us”. This was because Nigel Lewin had recognised my father’s animosity towards me and took what he said with a pinch of salt. Nigel and Sagir Parkar had also spent some time looking into my father’s political activities on the Internet and concluded that what I had been saying about his involvement with the LTTE was, in fact, true.

I was locked up again on my 55th birthday, on 22nd September 2015, after my neighbour Miller and my father reported me together, one (my father) to the Mental Health Services and one (Miller) to the police. Miller said I was armed with a knife and he feared for his life lest I run across the road and stab him, because in his paranoid imagination I hated him that much. The truth, as I reported to the police who eventually dropped the case,  was that I had not even seen Miller and had walked across the road to cut some bark off a paperbark tree for my art. Ghazala Watt’s report contains the version of this event as recorded by Justin O’Brien who was the consultant at the hospital responsible for keeping me locked up for the next two months, while my father emptied my house of its contents and convinced my mother to put it up for sale (rendering me homeless). He also employed workmen to chop own all the trees and shrubs I had planted over the past 8 years, and got my mother to sign a curt, legalistic note informing me that if I attempted to return to my house she would take out an ‘Apprehended Violence Order’ (AVO), though again, she had no idea what an AVO is or its legally correct use. My mother signed the letter in three places as directed by my father, and copies were sent to Justin O’Brien and the case manager. She has no recollection of signing this cruel letter two years later, and eventually relented and let me return to my home (she owns the house, but the title deeds are in the hands of my hostile older sister’s lawyers).

After she told me she was increasing the injection I told Ghazala that I was disappointed that she and the hospital consistently took my father’s side against me.

“There are no sides” Ghazala tried to persuade me, “Not your side, or the hospital’s side or your father’s side. I can assure you that the hospital is quite independent of your father.”

In her “assessment” she continues:

“presented less irritable preoccupied with srilankan politics and mental health services being ‘sided’ with his father”

Less irritable than when? I have never been irritable. I am a very calm and forgiving person, but I get irritated (not irritable) when I am insulted by people calling me mentally ill or psychotic, especially  by people who are wilfully ignorant or prejudiced. I was justifiably angry because Ghazala Watt had just told me that she had decided to increase the dose of the ‘antipsychotic’ injection from 75 mg to 100 mg. This was despite my explaining at the beginning of the interview that I was suffering from deteriorating physical health because of these abusive injections. I told her that I have gained 10 kg of weight and my daughter has recently commented on my “pot belly”, which I didn’t have in the past. Ghazala is well aware that weight gain is a common side-effect of the drug she insists on ordering be given to me against my will, under threat of being locked up again. Today when I challenged the science behind her “clinical decision” to increase the dose (rather than stopping the drug, which would be the ethical and scientific thing to do) she asked me, threateningly, “do you want to be hospitalised again?”

It was Ghazala who raised the matter of my father with me. She said he had contacted “the service” several times and complained about me, which is why she was increasing the injection (she later said that there were other reasons too, when I accused her of siding with my father against me). She said she had not spoken to him herself, but asked me to explain why I had posted things about my father on the Internet. She then said that she’d heard that I’ve also posted things about “our service” in which I had named names. I couldn’t deny it and explained that I am naming them and shaming them.

Interestingly the new report has taken out the previous report’s naming of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) as the terrorist organization I was accusing my father of supporting. Instead it says that I was, in October 2016, “preoccupied with delusional thoughts about his father’s involvement with a political group”. I have never heard the LTTE described as a “political group”, or as Raghy would have it “activists”. Most people know them as ruthless terrorists, which they were.

Finally, she ends her contribution to the character assassination with:

“insight remains limited with limited understanding on mental illness and the role of medications”

My understanding of mental illness and the correct use of medications is at least as good as Ghazala Watt’s. I worked for many years in family medicine, including psychiatry. I know the role of the drug companies in shaping the thinking of doctors, and that drugs are over-prescribed and over-consumed. I am also aware of the pseudoscience prevalent in psychiatry with its various “chemical imbalance theories”. I have also researched the Australian psychiatric system and the role of eugenics in shaping psychiatric doctrine in Australia, the USA and elsewhere. I had to admit to Ghazala Watt, though with a smile, that I thought she was heavily brainwashed.

I explained to Ghazala that I needed to defend myself when people called me mad.

“Who called you mad?”

“My father. He calls me a bloody madman, all the time.”

“You don’t like that?”

“Would you?”

“I don’t know. No-one has ever called me mad.”

I held my tongue, but I confess to the urge to be the first to do so. That was a wise decision that may have stopped me from being locked up again, something Ghazala and Gordon were ready for.

“Let’s get this clear, I am not involved with mad, crazy and insane, I am a doctor treating mental illness”, she said.

A label of ‘mental illness’ is worse than a label of mad. It’s cool to be mad. It’s good to be mad at bad things, evil actions, oppression, torture and abuse of power and position. I’m mad at my father, and mad at Ghazala Watt, but I am not mentally ill. I am angry, and my anger is justified and rational. They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. I’m hoping that the pen is also mightier that the needle.