Profiteers of the war four years on

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 08, London,Sri Lanka Guardian) Never in the history of printing have the presses gone into overload as when wars ended. Graham Greene amassed a fortune writing books on wars he covered as a war correspondent during World War Two in Vietnam and his sojourn in South America. Frontline Club in London's plush Paddington area is the trust he set up from earnings on his books he left to his grand nephew Vaughn Smith which made him a millionaire.

Incidentally Smith undertook bail surety for Wikileaks fame Julian Assange when he was pursued by UK and US on rape charges. Nevertheless, Smith's stance was noble given the fact that Assange exposed the West's complicity in its two faced attitude towards countries fighting internecine warfare.

Donate is a mantra posted on websites by bloggers although it only costs a PC and leisure time for writers to contribute. Reuters is a global news agency started by a German born immigrant who would later becomer a press baron profiting on World War One and Two. Paul Julius Reuter had been running a news and stock price information service using a combination of of technology including telegraph cables and a fleet of carrier pigeons.The astute man he was, he moved with times and founded Reuters News Agency to bank in on the world wars.

Closer home the Late Dr Hudson Silva of EDS (Eye Donation Society) was hauled up before the Presidential Commission of Inquiries into NGOs for selling eyes gouged out from JVPers killed in 89/90 by the Black Cats - a secret squad - headed by Major Udugampola and Ranil Wickremasinghe by the Premadasa Government, to the Middle East and China among other countries. He also deposited the donations to his son's bank account in Los Angeles, California. Nihal Jayasinghe, Sri Lankan High Commissoner in UK recently, was the prosecutor for this inquiry on behalf of the Premadasa Government which instituted this inquiry. Dr Silva was found guilty by the seven member panel of judges headed by Chief Justice Wanasundera. Dr Silva claimed they were donations and not fees for selling!!!There is authentic evidence his wife is the sister of arsenic poisoning dentist in the fifties who while having a clandestine affair with his nurse killed his wife Achchini with the corraboration of his mother.

War economy is big business both for the government and the press not to mention the mushrooming NGOs masquerading as human rights champions. Lest we mis-interpret, there are true champions of human rights such as the Amnesty International founder lawyers who never thought it would become big business for opportunists.Gotabhaya and Sarath Fonseka are still embroiled in the arms trade fiasco. Gotabhaya cites national pride amd covertly claims Rajapakse reign to thwart foreign interference while Fonseka swears by all deities his hands are clean and bereft of war crimes like Pontius Pilate.

Were it not for CPA (Centre for Policy Alternatives) and independent press which the Late Lasantha Wickrematunga launched as Sunday Leader in July 1994 when he was alive, this government would have been scot-free of its human rights abuses. Even in death, his exposure is there in the UN archives for its current scrutiny of war crimes.

Former foreign correspondents are churning out books on the war which rendered ethnic Tamils homeless and seeking refuge in foreign countries. That they only spent a few years reporting is lost on the readers who admire their courage in surviving in war climate while local correspondents who assissted them paid with their lives. BBC's Nimalarajan is hardly remembered. Aiyathurai Nadesan was killed for his bravery in war reporting from the Eastern Sri Lanka although he is too much of a native for the West to commemorate. These two lived in virtual penury while foreign correspondents with their insurance cover basked in the limelight of their reporting.

The list on war economy is endless. Await continuation as this writer does not want to bore readers with a lengthy piece.

(The writer has been a journalist for 23 years and worked at Weekend, The Daily News, Sunday Leader and Weekend Express in Sri Lanka as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal; Washington Bureau, where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at