SBS Documentary on Torture Claims by Returned Asylum Seekers. A narrative of crass journalism
Posted on October 2nd, 2014

Dr D.Chandraratna, Perth

Yesterday (2/10/14) on the Australian Television (SBS) network was a scurrilous attack on Sri Lanka by a journalist David Corlett, Ph.D. who was doing a shallow type of investigative reporting on the torture of asylum seekers who were returned to Sri Lanka. The manner of unbalanced reporting was so surreal that the nut job can be laughed out of court.  A public broadcasters responsibility to a community must be presenting factual material rather than moral posturing through a social engineering job to seek fame.

First, it was the case of a female (Asuni) and a male Narada) both Sinhalese who sought asylum for political persecution. These economic migrants fleeing alleged political persecution is incredible and only if this ‘expert’ had asked any unbiased Sir Lankan would enlighten him that our people are politically savvy and in spite of the rough and tumble there is no need to flee the country. These western reporters can never get a feel for a different culture of a non-western country for the next hundred years.  Is it not reasonable that our security agencies keep tabs on would be asylum seekers to send a clear message to those contemplating suicidal journeys across seas. The vast majority of people in Sir Lanka have confidence in our security forces, which is justified and unconditional which the Tamil diaspora living overseas cannot stomach. This is the reality that those interested in serious debate must address; not snide commentaries and conspiracies.

The woman allegedly was raped before leaving and on arrival by many soldiers and subjected to physical abuse as well. A high school student doing a report will ask probing questions for the sake of balance and truth: the places, times, dates, onlookers, forced abortions etc. for solid evidence. Why did not she become pregnant for heaven sake after so many successful attempts of rape. This expert investigator did not ask any such questions. It was pure drama. For us it is reassuring that that anti people smuggling from Sri Lanka are bearing success and perhaps less openings for human rights activists.

Narada, the Sinhalese man from the South, was allegedly assaulted at the notorious fourth floor of the CID so brutally for two months that this reporter David Corlett had his eyeballs rolling. This expert on human trafficking did not think that in the name of reason to check with anybody while in Colombo, his hospital cards, doctors, his pulled out nail wounds to check whether these two people were letting off stories in the hope of seeking refugee status somewhere. (Not Cambodia for sure because Galle is hundred times better). Then there were the Tamil man who was returned, burnt with cigarette butts and iron rods neatly placed in a pentagon shaped style in the back being suspected of LTTE leanings. The interspersed video clips shown were Tamils wearing the usual vetti (muslin cloth) assaulting the man. This Ph. D reporter cannot see that. It was not a dramatization but was enveloped in the main report to imply what the Sinhalese soldiers were doing. Where on earth did he film that? Which archives loaned him the clip? My guess about the burnt marks is definitely the penance offering of one’s body at places like Kovils and never the beatings of any sort. We also would like to know more about the Tamil surgeon who is an expert on burns.

Dr David Corlett is a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ on asylum seeker and refugees issues. These experts are dime a dozen these days. Human rights reporters, lawyers and activists are on good pay, which is common knowledge. I wonder how anyone can call himself an expert on any subject overnight with no capacity for intellectual reasoning. The LTTE rump overseas will manufacture ‘white experts’ on any subject overnight with the massive funds at their disposal and there are white people who will buy the loot anytime putting self-interest before ethical concerns. This report contained statements and facts, which are untested, based on opinions to deliberately mislead readers.

With regard to this laughable documentary we have all along maintained that the white journalists are so gullible with guilt of past brutality under colonialism that runs in their veins. They will take up any rubbish and without a proper inquiry calls itself a true account if it is against the state because they go scot free for malicious vilification which they will not do against an individual or a corporation for fear of defamation. Any Sri Lankan will note that the whole thing was a cooked up story which this ‘investigator’ swallowed hook line and sinker. In Sinhalese we say he swallowed the rope like a bull. If these returnees were tortured they should report to the Australian High Commission or the International Organization for Migration or the Human Rights Commission in Colombo. This is a load of bull dust and I regret the utter callousness of SBS to air such unverified reports spending public money for cheap propaganda stunts. We know that the SBS is forced by vested interests within the organization to churn over things in view of the forthcoming UNHRC investigation against Sir Lanka manufactured by the former Commissioner Navi Pillay. But poor countries have to suffer this ignominy, no matter what, because that is the new world order in which we live. Regret to say that honest truth is a commodity for sale in poor countries because for material gain it is not hard to find guinea pigs for any sob story. The western reporters know this and do not hesitate to use their checkbook journalism to capitalize on the poverty of people. This report was full of naivety: he had undercover men assisting who told him that he was followed, to remove his sim card, and many other tit bits. Sri Lanka is no cuckoo land. By the way the SBS listeners like to know who funded this trip and what monies were paid for the informants. The woman interviewee, who says she had political problems in Sri Lanka, generates rib chuckling laughter if only you understand Sri Lankan politics, which is such a groupie affair unlike the raw individualism that is prevalent in the reporter’s culture. Any such torture of a fellow supporter of a political party will be grist to the mill of the Sri Lankan press. It is utter codswallop and we can only tell this Ph.D. man that he should get his head examined for disconnect with reality.

That Sri Lankan military gangs raped her before she eventually boarded a boat and fled, he says.  

’On her second attempt to escape, Australian border officials intercepted her vessel.  

After days at sea, as she was kept on an Australian vessel, she was subjected to ‘enhanced screening,’ consisting of a 30-minute satellite phone interview, through an interpreter, with an immigration department decision maker back on the mainland.  

With three or four of her fellow passengers, in the same area who she was unsure she could trust, she said that there was no privacy for her to tell her full story’. 

Can any person with an iota of brains fail to ask her why this raping was not reported to the Australian immigration and the interpreter. We know that lawyers appearing for the boat people are desperate to unearth any story to keep their jobs afloat more than anything. If only you ask any interpreter I am sure you will come to know the sheer folly of this asylum saga.

Corlett says, ‘When I met her in a secret location, after an elaborate process involving a lawyer, a ‘safe’ driver, and various phone calls in which I was instructed to go from one place to the next to get further directions, she was terrified of being picked up again by Sri Lankan authorities’. 

Why did not this man check the veracity of the story even with a three-wheeler driver in the area. He will tell him the true story for a mere $5 dollars for sure. A decent investigator will check the facts and mud slinging against a spirited country is sheer indecency.

‘Another man I spoke with as part of researching the fate of people sent back to Sri Lanka told me that he had been subjected to brutal torture after Australian officials rejected his refugee application and he was returned.  

After months of monitoring by Sri Lankan security forces, he was abducted and taken to a secret location. He says that for more than two months, he was tortured, including having his fingernails torn out and being hung upside down and beaten’. 

What nonsense. Ask him to talk to the JVP if he does not like to go to the CID. Whatever their political views, the Marxist JVP will take it up and check with the authorities. The whole story smacks of the white imperialistic view of an uncivilized nation. This Dr Colette needs to know that the Sri Lankan security forces do not do the kind of sexual perversions in public and it is grossly unfair to a nation to hurl unfounded accusations. The Tamil tigers out of their perverse animosity to Sir Lanka have taken up the latest UN inspired sex and rape allegations to the fore for their legal currency and this coached up man is now talking of rape is an intentional falsity, an imposture, deception and sham. But such canards are the imprimatur of the LTTE rump. Let the truth be told. Who opened the checkbook for SBS gutter journalism Dr Corlett? We will ask.  Before you do the next asylum run for greasing your palm please investigate the link between terrorism, present or past, and the manipulation of the media.

The Tamil man he interviewed was accused of being associated with the defeated Tamil Tigers. 
 And I quote, ‘
Later, he says he was picked up again and taken to the notorious 4th Floor of the Criminal Investigations Department in Colombo.  

This time, he says his wrists and ankles were tied behind his back and he was hung from a pole between two chairs. 

These stories may seem paranoid or unbelievably brutal, but they are consistent with credible international research’. This interrogator did not know that the real 11000 Tiger combatants were treated humanely and re-socialized into being civil and human and why on earth should a person seeking economic security be so important for the authorities. A circumspect reporter should know that the Sri Lankan government has the least interest in asylum returnees except for the fact they tarnish the image of the country and also as a friendly nation Sri Lanka helps the Australian effort to curb the deaths at sea of innocent people whom the tigers living overseas are prompting to jump to a boat. For the LTTE they are a source of income if they can settle overseas. It should be told in passing that back in Sri Lankan soil there will never be a Tamil insurgency in this millennium for our security forces (like in the west) will watch every move of the would be terrorists forever so that citizens can live their regained lives for the rest of their time.

We know that earlier this year, human rights lawyer, Yasmin Sooka, authored a study called, An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014. 
  She was also one the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts advising him on Sri Lanka. 

Sooka’s report found that even now, men in ‘white vans’ are abducting years after the end of the civil war, people accused of being associated with the Tigers and then tortured, including branding with hot rods. 
Sooka is a typical NGO funded woman, friend of Navi Pillay from South Africa who will do her bidding anytime. We are aware of it. She authored that infamous report cooking up the 40,000 deaths directly from the Tamil Net and would rally for the cry from Pillay anytime. In this sane world only the loony and the UNHRC will believe in an investigation on the last phase of the terror war without setting foot on that land to check the Tamil propaganda evidence. Just as the world would accept any untruth backed by the super powers like the pitiful WMD Colin Powel demonstration lecture at the UN which was kindergarten stuff the Panel of Experts report is not any better. But we are powerless to refute. With the Islamic threat things are getting better for poor nations like Sri Lanka and anymore of the so-called human rights abuses by the UN agencies will be called flagitious and shoved in the bin. That day is not far off.

Sooka is unprofessional to say the least. To say this ‘is planned’ and ‘systematic’ and goes to the ‘highest level’ of government is grossly unfair- an offensive imputation.  
We are from that country and a Westerner will never ever understand that our values are different and we do not resort to things like putting penises in other people’s mouths in the work place because such an errant thing is checked by any who is decent and for sure you will be embarrassed for life. In our language the word is degrading which Obama is using repeatedly against the ISIS these days. In Sri Lanka we never hear of these perversions done in public places. In our culture the shame is on the owner of the penis and not the shaker. 
It is beyond belief that Sri Lanka is now a country that is rebuilding so well after decades of civil war.  Tourists are flocking there in increasing numbers. Australia’s quick return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers after a just assessment of their claims – namely, that it is administratively and politically correct, and is safe to do so – is absolutely correct. The former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, during his term in office, sought and received transparent and consistent assurances from Sri Lanka regarding similar allegations raised and found them flawed. He is one foreign minister who understood the asylum canard fully.

Let me quote from the ‘Island’ newspaper editorial today on another subject about a South Indian politician who was railing against Sri Lanka, who is now in jail for absolute corruption, stealing millions from the utterly impoverished people of Tamil Nadu. ‘Justice is like the truth; it hurts those in the wrong as well as their kith and kin. Most people take exception to judicial decisions, which are not in their favor. If anyone disagrees with a verdict, there are legal remedies available to them; the jurisdiction of appellant courts can always be invoked. Let the asylum returnees do just that.

There is no bigger fool than who believes, ’Right or wrong he/she is an asylum seeker and must be a paragon of virtue’. Come to the real world Mr. Corlett and the SBS management. Let the SBS plutocrats use the tax impost on Australians wisely.

2 Responses to “SBS Documentary on Torture Claims by Returned Asylum Seekers. A narrative of crass journalism”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    They are copying TAMILS.

    According to Tamil media, there is not a single Tamil woman in SL who is not raped! Then how come Tamil women from SL get married when they check their virginity?

    Only fools believe this BS.

    Australian govt. has realized the lies and don’t trust them. Now these other fools are trying to DISRUPT it. Shame.

  2. Christie Says:

    We are all fools. Yasmin Sooka is an Indian colonial parasite from South Africa who has made her fortunes at the expense of Blacks in Africa; like the Tamils and other Indians in Sri Lanka. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia has always being pro Indian and pro Tamil in its inception. The main reason was a well known god father of the Indian terrorist arm was involved with the SBS and the Labor government of the day according to my Indian Myna in OZ. The program was part of a well orchestrated scheme. It included Fairfax media where WA Today (Perth Fairfax news paper)carried an article on similar lines. On 30th/9 a talkfest was held at Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, Australia where a Tamil gave a talk about same issue. These activities in Australia and I am sure similar activities occur in other countries to coincide with the UN actions of the day.

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