Antony Loewenstein – Master of Doublethink

Is Loewenstein a liar, a hypocrite or a partisan of the Tamil Tigers?

How credible is Antony’s claim to be independent when commenting on Sri Lanka’s war and post-war politics? Antony has previously criticised “…the bias of those journalists who do not bother to report both sides.” The facts will prove his claims to authority on Sri Lanka are unfounded and that he concerns himself exclusively with one side of a multi-faceted story.

Loewenstein and Prabha - it could've happened.

A proven pro-LTTE partisan

Antony proudly proclaims his pro-LTTE/separatist partisan credentials. He asks. “How can one be non-partisan when discussing war crimes in Sri Lanka?”

Tip to Antony: If you claim to be an ‘independent’ commentator, it helps if you at least pretend to be non-partisan.

Antony was an ‘Election Monitor for LTTE Elections

Antony was proud to monitor  pro-LTTE front-group inspired ‘Elections’ in Australia to create a separate state (for Tamils only) in Sri Lanka, after the group was annihilated inside Sri Lanka. The election monitors were generally chosen for their sympathies for the separatist cause.

Lies about civilian casualties in last days of the Sri Lankan War

“My partner’s father was under the bombs in the north-east of the country and he tells of aerial bombardment on make-shift medical centres. It was hell on earth. Up to 50,000 Tamils were murdered.”

Antony cannot admit that the LTTE kept their heavy artillery near the makeshift hospital, knowing that it would make it a legitimate target for the Army who duly obliged, inadvertently killing innocent civilians. The LTTE deliberately put Tamil civilians in harm’s way. Unfortunately Antony cannot admit this.

Video of LTTE armoured vehicle firing on Sri Lankan forces from inside the ‘No Fire Zones’ (at 00:30) and LTTE cadres firing on their ‘own’ people (at 00:20)  in May 2009.

In a bravura display of chutzpah in June 2009, Antony “criticised the media’s tendency to put “equal signs” between the two sides in any war. He also criticised the bias of those journalists who do not bother to report both sides.”

Fact: Loewenstein cannot even hold himself to the standards he sets for others. He truly is the ‘gift that keeps giving’ by showcasing his ignorance and partiality.

Supported a pro-LTTE inspired sports boycott in Australia

Antony proudly supported a boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket tour to Australia in 2010.

The failed boycott of Sri Lanka Cricket team's Australia Tour in 2010

Fact: The Sri Lankan cricket team (consisting of all Sri Lankan communities) is one of the few unifying symbols that all ethnicities in Sri Lanka unreservedly support. The boycott campaign in Australia was a total failure.

Unable to distinguish defeat from victory

Antony creates a new definition for overwhelming military victory. It is now a “…cessation of hostilities” [between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers…”] The hostilities didn’t ‘cease’. They were ended by the most comprehensive and complete military defeat suffered by a terrorist group in recent times.

Supports trade boycott against Sri Lanka

Antony’s battle-cry against the oppressed Sri Lankan poor is: “Don’t buy anything from Sri Lanka”. He proudly supports the LTTE-diaspora instigated trade boycott of Sri Lankan garments. How this boycott is supposed to improve the economic well-being of the poorest segments of Sri Lanka society (including ex-LTTE cadres), whilst simultaneously punishing the Sri Lanka government, Antony doesn’t address.

Fact: The textile industry is a key employer of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres.

ex-LTTE cadres starting their new jobs at a garment factory

Tri Star Apparel in Sri Lanka announced that the company will employ 1,200 former LTTE cadres in its factories at Trincomalee and Vavuniya” and will enjoy the “same salaries and benefits” received by the others in the apparel group. Compare and contrast with pro-LTTE groups and their supporters boycotting Sri Lankan garments in the UK.

Eelamist and their British supporters boycotting Sri Lankan garments

Loewensteinian Hypocrisy in action

Proud Anti-racist?

Loewenstein campaigns against racism and racial hatred yet is unable to admit to the LTTE’s own virulent racism resulting in the only genuine act of ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka, when they ‘cleansed’ the Muslims from the East.

He says: “My point here isn’t to support rampant racial hatred; I actively campaign against it”. I never felt comfortable with what I saw as a racially superior mentality. It seemed disturbingly close to racism.”

Yet support by a significant section of the pro-LTTE diaspora for the concept of a racially-defined, exclusively Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka is patently beyond his comprehension. Or perhaps he simply can’t admit that to himself.

Hating Zionism and Loving Eelam – Antony’s Doublethink

Antony is a fierce critic of Zionism, which maintains that Jews have the right to self-determination in their own national home” (by having chased away the Palestinians who disagreed) and is simultaneously a fierce proponent of Tamil Eelam, the yet-to-be-created, ethnically exclusive ‘homeland’ for Tamils in Sri Lanka. In 1990, The LTTE ethnically cleansed Muslims from the area claimed as ‘Eelam’.

Antony loves the LTTE and hates Zionists. He's easily confused.

A more perfect example of Doublethink, (which George Orwell defined as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”) is hard to find.

Free speech – except for Sri Lankan literary festivals

Antony says: “Free speech is a delicate beast that must be constantly nurtured and defended. Our society can handle robust engagement on a host of issues….Hurt feelings shouldn’t be a crime.”

Free speech is only good in Israel, as long as Antony's involved, but not in Galle.

Fact: Antony was ‘honoured’ to participate in the boycott of a Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Despite a few authors boycotting the GLF, it was a great success including the BBC World Service sponsored debate called “After shock: the lingering legacy of civil war”.

Hotel Journalists

Loewenstein pompously proclaims: “Western journalists rarely venture past their heavily fortified Baghdad bunkers, instead relying on Iraqi reporters to risk life and limb to gather information.” Antony (rightly) despises hotel-journalists and (rightly) admires good hacks like Robert Fisk and Charlie Glass who actually visit the country they report on.

On Sri Lanka, his experience and knowledge appears to be taken from his pro-LTTE friends. For instance, in 2006, the now-defunct ‘Tamil Eelam Legislature” (without a shred of irony), enacted Child Protection legislation whilst simultaneously continuing to kidnap children to bolster their combat formations units.

Fact: Antony has yet to leave his heavily fortified drinks cabinet to grace Sri Lanka with his presence. He never visited Eelam during its’ existence to experience the wonderful life lead by the Tamil people living under LTTE rule.

A failed Pundit

Loewenstein warns Sri Lanka in December 2009 of another separatist uprising, only a few months after his favoured racist terrorists, the LTTE was annihilated. “…expect an insurgency that will change its face but remain determined to achieve set goals. Sri Lanka, you have been warned”

So far, still no sign of the PLA. Perhaps they’re waiting for Antony to inspire them into battle – from a safe distance, of course. I confidently predict that the next group of LTTE-style terrorists won’t last 30 days, let alone 30 years.

Fact:  The People’s Liberation Army was either a figment of an over-excited Times hack’s imagination or a black-ops diversion by Sri Lankan Military Intelligence.

Self-aggrandising fantasist (a ‘Best-selling’ writer?)

From Antony’s bio for the Jaipur Literature Festival, “…He has two best-selling books, My Israel Question (2009) and The Blogging Revolution (2008)”. He provides no independent verification of his claims to be a ‘best selling’ author .

Fact: On Amazon, ‘My Israel Question’ is ranked 2,001,170 in the Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Fact: His other book, The Blogging Revolution is ranked 1,304,492 on the Amazon Bestsellers Rank.

Definitely not a best-selling author!

Correction to above: based on info from Nick Shimmin, Antony’s book has been reprinted three times. http://catalogue.mup.com.au/978-0-522-85706-1.html

I don’t have sales figures, but Antony’s welcome to provide them to further cement his reputation as a best-selling author. Apologies for the error, which has now been corrected.

Conclusion:

If news organizations continue to use Loewenstein as a credible, independent commentator on Sri Lankan affairs, they only have themselves to blame when Sri Lankans and others treat their reporting with contempt.

Antony’s participation in the ‘Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice’ (who proudly proclaim their part in economic attacks on Sri Lanka) helps to reduce that organization’s credibility even further.

His expertise and credentials on Sri Lanka are as shallow and second-hand as the received opinions he regurgitates.

p.s. Antony if of course free to correct any errors contained in the post above. Somehow, I doubt he has the balls for it.

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10 Responses to Antony Loewenstein – Master of Doublethink

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Antony Loewenstein – Master of Doublethink « The Carthaginian Solution -- Topsy.com

  2. Nick Shimmin says:

    Goodness, one must admire the work that has gone into this. Mango presumably sits in his/her (I imagine HIS partly due to the Indie Rock boy slavering over Primal Scream elsewhere posted) darkened bedroom scouring the web for references to this Prince of Darkness, whom he/she has no doubt photoshopped with a black coat and a long mustache. I will refrain from commenting on the rest of the nonsense since Anthony is his own defender on this, but as a publishing industry representative I should perhaps suggest to Mango that an American website is perhaps not the best indication of whether a book has been a bestseller in Australia. Both the books mentioned have been huge and reprinted bestsellers in Australia, and in fact continue to sell. Judge the accuracy of all the rest of Mango’s comments by the same standards as this feeble attack, perhaps?

    • Mango says:

      Nick,

      Thanks for your reply. I couldn’t find any reference to Australian book sales for AL’s ‘best-selling’ titles. Amazon doesn’t yet have a .au site. As a publishing industry insider, you’d be kind enough to share any books sales info with me? The best I could find was this http://www.publishers.asn.au/index.cfm?doc_id=66 — not very helpful.

      Please feel free to prove me wrong on specific instances of AL’s proven hypocrisy, above. In AL’s own words: “Free speech is a delicate beast that must be constantly nurtured and defended.” How does that square with him promoting a boycott of a literary festival?

      And best of all, his fatuous claim to be ‘independent’ when commenting on Sri Lanka’s war – he’s a self-acknowledged supporter to Tamil separatism (as is his right). He should at least have the balls to say so openly instead of hiding behind weasel words and phrases, don’t you think.

      It only took a short time to prove AL’s hypocrisy and doublethink. The Photoshopping took much longer ☺

      So far, you haven’t proven that anything I’ve written is untrue or fabricated – except for Antony’s picture with Fatty Prabha.

      p.s. AL doesn’t publish critical comments on his own blog. I guess there’s ‘Good’ free speech (agree with everything AL says) and ‘Bad’ free speech (disagree with AL and prove him to be a bog-standard hypocrite). He can dish it out, but can’t take it, in return.

      p.p.s. Primal Scream were, really, really, really outstanding on their recent ‘Screamadelica’ tour. Leave them out of this argument ☺

  3. Nick Shimmin says:

    Oh look, life’s too short, but just today on Foreign Policy in Focus…

    “every leader like Putin who aspires to crush secessionist movements has been looking with awe at Sri Lanka and its leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
    In May 2009, Rajapaksa orchestrated the eradication of the movement for Tamil independence, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This terrifying culmination of a three-year offensive, according to the former UN spokesperson in Colombo, left as many as 40,000 civilians dead. A number of countries denounced the actions of the Sri Lankan military, and the UN Human Rights Council, with U.S. support, began to look into war crimes. The government has denied the allegations. “I will not allow any investigation by the United Nations or any other country,” said Rajapaksa’s brother, who also happens to be the defense minister.

    The official condemnations from governments contrast rather sharply with the reactions of military personnel involved in counter-terrorism operations. They’ve treated Sri Lankan military leaders like rock stars. The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson attended a recent conference on maritime security in Sri Lanka, where the formal agenda included discussions of piracy and other matters. “But mostly the conference was an opportunity for Sri Lanka’s military leaders to boast to their colleagues about beating the Tigers,” he writes. “The foreign speakers congratulated them on their achievement, and asked eagerly about the techniques they had used. Brigadier General Stanley Osserman, of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command, said, ‘Sri Lanka has a lot to offer in the field of terrorism prevention and maritime security.'”

    The Sri Lankan “solution” of massive firepower and unrestrained ruthlessness was nothing particularly new. The Sri Lankan military might even have picked up some pointers from General William Tecumseh Sherman, who cut a swath to the sea in 1864 in a bid to make sure that the American south would never utter the S word again. What made the campaign against the LTTE unusual was that it took place in the Internet age. Other countries are studying the Sri Lankan case not so much for how they did it, but how they got away with it.”

    If you look here, you’ll see the book’s been through three editions:
    http://catalogue.mup.com.au/978-0-522-85706-1.html
    Every citation refers to it as a bestseller, so you’re really making yourself seem even more ridiculous when pursuing that one. Contact the publisher if you need specific numbers.
    And as for the Scream, yes I saw them in Melbourne last week – great if you like to watch a 50-year-old leaping about pretending he’s 20 years younger. If you think that’s a “religious experience” then your understanding of religion is as profound as your understanding of politics.

    • Mango says:

      Dear Nick,

      Feffer’s article’s full of the usual errors.

      The UN Spokesman quoted is Gordon Weiss who was ejected from SL after making up the 20,000 casualty number, which the UN disowned.The UN’s own figure’s around 7,000 – a hideous total – for which the LTTE’s culpable as they deliberately used these poor civilians as shrapnel sponges, hoping that it would stop the final assault.

      http://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/the-icrc-blots-its-copybook/

      Weiss now fluffs for the LTTE in Australia proving the GoSL was correct to throw him out. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32230

      The SL solution was not simply massive firepower and ruthlessness (what does Feffer want – the LTTE be tickled to death ?) but small unit engagements and continuous multi-front assaults by a trained, motivated Army. Read the real report and not some half-baked nonsense.

      http://www.claws.in/download.php?action=1251699653MP%20No%2013%20%202009.pdf

      For indiscriminate use of heavy artillery, the US Army showed the way in how they atomized Fallujah into bite-sized chunks.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah_during_the_Iraq_War

      We in Sri Lanka wonder at how the LTTE was allowed to get away with fund-raising in the West for over 20 years. Now, there’s a story worth pursuing.

      Mea Culpa for not accepting AL’s ‘best-seller’ status. Thanks for the URL on his amazing success and I’ll amend the original post to reflect the new information.

      I’m sorry that you were unimpressed by Bobby Gillespie’s cavortings – so why did you go? They were really on form in November.

      Having missed IRA tube bombings and White racist nail bombs in London and a train bomb in Sri Lanka, my understanding of politics is as nuanced as my understanding of religion.

  4. Pingback: How To Be a Failure – Book Festival Defies Human Rights Censors. « The Carthaginian Solution

  5. Dan Lewis says:

    There were some statistics about Loewenstein’s “bestselling” book and they weren’t impressive.

    See this report which noted merely a few hundred sold in the first week (one would assume mostly by people who think he’s an idiot). The article continues on to demonstrate why those views are justified.

    Antony would often gloat about the “Second edition” and now the “third edition” of his book. They weren’t due to the need to print more copies. Rather to disappear embarrassing errors which anyone with half a clue wouldn’t have made (refer the same article).

    If you were ever to ask Antony point-blank how many he sold, he would avoid the question (or delete your comment on his blog). Any real author wouldn’t.

  6. Dan Lewis says:

    There was a trailing slash.

    I’ve posted my comment again, with the correct URL, so you can delete this comment, yours and mine above it.

    Cheers.

    • Mango says:

      Many thanks for getting back and correcting it! 🙂 The dreaded trailing slash strikes again 🙂

  7. Pingback: I’m With You To The Bitter End. « The Carthaginian Solution

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