Friday, November 10, 2006

contrast 3: bbc’s "news"

today pussies attacked a ferry carrying 300 civilians to jaffna; they were beaten back by navy vessels escorting the vessel. navy lost 1 perhaps 2 dvoras and several sailors.

bbc's story is headlined: Sea battle erupts off Sri Lanka. since the story contains a reference to passenger vessel they were aware what the terrorists were attacking.

now check yesterday's bbc headline: Lanka army 'kills 45 civilians'.
that number 45 was taken from terrorist spokesman puleedevan. even in the first version of bbc's story ( bbc has a habit of changing the story, without indicating so, in the same url. however one can find old versions in various internet caches if one tries. ) it is clear that they knew icrc was able to confirm deaths of 18 only at that time. in fact only 23 people are independently confirmed dead as of now. they should have known that puleedevan, who is nowhere near the scene, has an interest in inflating the number for propaganda purposes, while icrc was there. but they chose his number instead of icrc's for the headline.


of course biased and racist reporting by bbc regarding sri lanka is not new. many people have pointed out variety of errors in bbc reporting throughout the years. let me make it clear, it is the bbc in particular not international media in general, that is found fault here. while others like the wire services do make errors occasionally, nobody else ever approaches this kind or level of errors

imo it has lot to do with individuals assigned for covering sri lanka ( dumeetha luthra , sandeshaya editors , etc.) and bbc bosses unwillingness or inability to enforce good journalistic practices on them. result is error upon error, many of them due to bias, in almost every story.

for instance, i counted 3 errors of facts in today's story. when i say errors of fact i don't mean blatantly biased headlines like above, but errors of facts. i will give only one since other 2 requires lengthy explanations.
The monitors are unable to confirm any of the details of the battle.
Their staff stopped traveling on Sea Tiger boats earlier this year after the rebels said they could not guarantee their safety.
!? monitors traveling on sea tiger boats?
as sri lanka monitoring mission has ruled several times, cease fire agreement does not allow tigers to use sea and they count all sea tiger activity at sea as ceasefire violations. so monitors never ever were on a sea tiger boat. they stopped going on government vessels after tigers made an unsuccessful attack on a navy ferry carrying 700 military and its escort vessels (which had 2 monitors on board) in may and after ltte issued what monitors said were”threats" if they go on board navy vessels at about the same time. these facts are easily verifiable.

so much for bbc’s "journalism ".

if you want to make a complaint go here.

meanwhile some sl bloggers quote whole passages from bbc (errors included) as if quoting from the bible. but then that kind of blogger never ventures out of colombo and confuses galle with matara.

contrast 1
contrast 2

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

will americans decide to waste two years?

americans are voting in mid term elections as i write. for those who don't know, all (435 of them) congressmen in house of representatives has to face an election every two years. in addition one third of senators (out of 100 made up of 2 for each state ) are also standing for reelection (math mcq for children if any are reading this: how long is a senators term of office? a) 2 years , b) 5 years, c) 6 years, d) 1.33 years. hint: you can deduce the answer from previous statement if you can understand my bad english :-)) .

there are lot of other elections for state and municipal bodies and governorships. then there direct democracy in the form of "ballot initiatives" that put single issues such as gay marriage to the voters directly in some states.

as american "liberal" media ( that is everybody except fox more or less ) has been spoon speeding anyone who care to listen democrats are "leading" by double digits in the "polls." of course polls and lead does not matter all that much in gerrymandered electoral districts of america for most part. only a score or two of the 435 seats are really capable of changing hands. in america if you get elected in any other seat you can stay put until you retire, die, or media find you in bed with not so proverbial dead girl or live boy. (it is a disgrace for such a democratic country; not the scandals but the gerrymandering).

what is clear is republican party is going to lose some seats, as happened to president's party in all recent elections, when president is in his sixth year of office as george bush is this year. average loss is 30 odd house seats and 6 senate seats. since republicans have only a 30 odd seat majority ( which mean they will lose if they lose 15 seats; do the maths) and 11 seat majority in senate ( loss of 6 seats will mean democrats become the majority there ) there are all indications of a change .

but there is more to it than that. in america unlike in sri lanka (except for some cowards in north who are afraid of pussies) most people generally do not vote in midterm elections (40% is the average turnout). this normally gives an advantage to republicans because they are generally very good at getting their supporters out to vote. will that happen this year?

it would be better if it was so, but as these election markets (congress, senate, house) in university of iowa (as well in similar markets in betting websites) predict, most likely result will be a republican senate and a democratic house (market predicted correctly in the past, better than polls. for instance in '04 presidential elections. though they too panicked on the last few hours (a fact not reflected in the graph, check the data) when the so called exit polls predicted a false outcome and "liberals" rejoiced for few hours. some people who kept cool heads must have made some serious money on that day)

why do i think it is better if republicans win? well you cannot be the world's leading country for long and if americans are wise they should make the most of it to ensure that their ideals of freedom and democracy triumph in the world at large for the sake of their own survival in the long term if nothing else. we are probably at a turning point in history and political gridlock in america (which would be the result for next two years if democrats capture the house) is hardly the best way to lead.

however i am not completely depressed at the possible outcome. generally no government (or its close cousin gridlocked government) is the best government imo, except when it comes to war. and then there is the very likely prospect that democratic party leadership (nancy pelosi and co. who are more left wing that their own party, which most people predict will move right with election of conservative democrats to those swing seats now held by republicans with dire results for party discipline ) will make fools of themselves with empty confrontations with the president and more likely than not since he or his vice president are not standing for reelection he may even prefer confrontation. result: another republican president in '08 preferably john mccain. in addition it is always good to scare those in power for a long time, to get them back on "track.

so even if americans prefer to waste two years, it is not all bad.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

justice served

a butcher called saddam hussein got what he deserved today and some of his victims got some justice if not closure. trial wasn't perfect but still valid. just as importantly, it and the other planed trials (that may not be held anyway if coward who was caught in a hole get hanged) resulted in collection of voluminous evidence that will make it hard for any serious apologist for the mass murderer to disagree now or in the future, in the same way that documented evidence against nazis make all the holocaust denier's claims ridiculous.

that of course will not prevent apologists from emerging. there will always be people who will miss the obvious truths and select the half truths to further their own agendas (whether it be irrational hatred of americans (and /or current administration) or irrational devotion to religious fundamentalism or any other such idiocy) and there will be even larger number of people unable to think for themselves, who will naively parrot the first group's claims with total disregard to reality and facts.

here in sri lanka too we see people especially peaceniks in some ngos, justifying and acting as apologists to a convicted mass murdering terrorist and his cronies. here too there are lots of parrots who repeat the claims and demands of peaceniks and pussies (latest is the opening of a9) without critically examining them, with the result that they clam up and/or start spouting obscenities repeatedly when confronted with facts. let's hope at least some of them will eventually realize that appeasing terrorists in search of a peace at the cost of justice, freedom, human rights and democracy is not going to result in a sustainable peace. peace will only result when the justice is served and as part of it bunker holed big pussy get what he deserves. since that is not likely to happen soon given the reality, let’s be clear and realistic about what it will take to defeat him in a morally defensible and pragmatic way and the time it will take. after all other options are not feasible.

for my own part i have no doubt justice will be served here as in iraq eventually.