US Escalating Psychological Warfare on Myanmar: Lessons for Lanka
Posted on May 19th, 2024

e-Con e-News


Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News 12-18 May 2024

The US is escalating their war on Myanmar – via Thailand and India. This ee Focus glances at the US psyops (psychological operations) there, where they actively fund a terror campaign. All of this unfolds midst their attempts to implant parallel government structures via unrepresentative NGOs, including corporate & religious networks. Myanmar – or for that matter, Asia, let alone Sri Lanka – cannot be free apparently until US-sponsored subversion and their terrorism (with NGOs and other good-intenders vending masquerades) is ended or overcome.

     The USA offered more white comedy when it ‘sought to intervene in the drafting of Sri Lanka’s new piece of legislation that, if enacted, will provide for the registration of both local & international NGOs in the country’. US Assistant Secretary of State for South & Central Asian Affairs Donald Banana2 Lu, during his visit last week to Sri Lanka, demanded ‘a general overview of the possible implications of the proposed law’.

     Responding to a Daily Mirror query, the US Embassy in Colombo said it advocates ‘publicly & privately… for an open, consultative process in which the government drafts legislation that reflects full stakeholder input and international best practices… that does not stifle freedom of association or expression’. Wonder where these ‘international best practices’ strut about in Palestine?

     This US campaign of hypocritical interference is clearly linked to what their media has been playing up in Georgia (see last ee), falsely calling such laws ‘Russian-style’, when the US itself enacts stronger laws to target selected political actors they view as ‘foreign agents’. Last week, ee examined how the US is funding violent ‘street’ opposition to a law to curtail foreign slush-funding in Georgia, a law similar to the USA’s own Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

     In the end, all capitalist parties demand high reliance on ‘exports’ and ‘imports’, which makes us subject to the vagaries and foibles of imperialist mindgames and multinationals, who love to flaunt as free marketers of virtue. It is a display of their power to openly wiggle their hypocrisy.


     ee also looks at the continuing detention in the USA of the still-unnamed crew including one Sri Lankan and 20 Indians held on board the Singapore ship carrying toxic waste to Colombo that destroyed Baltimore’s biggest bridge in March. The US government now claims the Maersk-chartered ship, owned and managed from Singapore, originated in Sri Lanka! It was in bad shape, and operated by an untrained crew. What then was such a rickety tub as tall as the Eiffel Tower doing in New York’s biggest port and the US Navy’s largest port, before it sailed to its Baltimore rendezvous and denouement. Here is a crew that had already sailed the ship over 14,000 kilometres from Sri Lanka. What did it unload and what did it pick up? The exact contents of the ship remain a mystery, due to the continuing segregation and threatening of the crew, and the surreptitious removal of its cargo midst the cordon sanitaire around the wreckage. A slavish corporate media will only end up parroting what the powerful shipping insurance cartels wish us to repeat (see ee Focus).


     ee is published weekly in tribute to the work of SBD de Silva. This ee reproduces de Silva’s prophetic and poetic Preface to his monumental oeuvre The Political Economy of Underdevelopment. This book was written in opposition to his own London School of Economics PhD thesis in 1962 on Investment & Economic Growth in Ceylon.  He said his argument involved claiming the plantations were modern and capitalist, and had positive impulses to impart to the rest of the society. This was not true. He had realized he was wrong. A Deputy Director of Economic Research in the Central Bank of Ceylon, his book explaining why his thesis was wrong, was finally published in 1982 while he was Deputy Director of the Agrarian Research & Training Institute, Colombo, where he surely must have learned what interests were also behind the prevention of rural industrialization.

     His Preface memorably opens with the declaration: ‘Research in the social sciences in underdeveloped countries has, of late, metamorphosed into a variety of big business. Institutes & research agencies flourish in rich profusion, with virtually a business interest in staging seminars, symposia & workshops and in sponsoring publications. In contrast, concerned activity committed to exposing the real roots of social disarray is, remarkably, absent.’ This was written in 1982, but his words ring out even truer as a warning needed more than ever. This hijacking by corporations occurs not just in academia, but in the media & other arts as well, where such sponsorships reign supreme. It operates in the customs yards, where professors and importers & shippers mud-wrestle in naked display.

     SBD therefore always examined the ‘reasons why social scientists would want to publish their works’. Outside of seeing one’s name in print, and/or to lubricate careerism, one reason scientists should publish is that ‘knowledge has to be tested and developed through a process of confrontation’, which therefore requires engagement in the transformation of society.

     ‘Why publish for the sake of publishing?  We are not talking about a novel where you can go where ever your mind or fancy takes you. We are talking about making a logical argument that others can understand. We have great talents, who write like Shakespeare…”, but what are they arguing for and about? The complexity of an idea has to be presented in a sentence. And where to put a word or idea, in the middle, end or at the start of a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter or a book, determines emphasis. Every word has a certain strategy…in whatever language we write. It is not a problem of a lack of knowledge…or vocabulary.. it is a matter of substance, verifiable logic, that enables writer or reader to say, I can see what you see”.’ He too spoke to the wasteland of academic publishing – kalenderr gahanava, churning out calendars, a sure-fire means to an easy year-end profit.

     The last few weeks, ee has attempted to historicize the legacy of the contribution made by Nalin de Silva. Nalin de Silva doubted the neutrality and objectivity of the so-called scholarly learned paper and ‘peer’ review, nay, the entire canon of their academic onslaught. He saw a civilizational and epistemological barrel lurking behind the paper snowfall of science, and not just science alone but the purported utopian panaceas aimed at thwarting our striving for ‘nidhahasa’ – a concept beyond just liberty and freedom. An engagement by people to expose servility and transform society. Two de Silvas. One sought the answer in a vital class, the other in a vital people.

     SBD de Silva speaks to all such strivers, when he poetically concludes his Preface:

They are not content to be a cork in the gushing waters of their time

but would ride the crest of the wave and attempt to direct its course,

giving it greater thrust by whipping up the social forces

which constitute the underlying current.



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