David Scott Mathieson switches from Human Rights Watch researcher to propagandist for Aung San Suu Kyi

Rohingya child (Shafiur Rahman)

The international exposure of genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar presents a problem for multinationals investing in the country as part of its neoliberal economic program. Billions of dollars are at stake for the ruling elite & military & for the corporations. It isn’t that any of the parties involved are squeamish about genocide but that political pressure & opposition from Rohingya & human rights campaigners make their investments unstable.

Without making any outright accusations, but hoping the drift of this post is not too subtle, it is of considerable interest that David Scott Mathieson, a senior researcher on Myanmar for Human Rights Watch (HRW) from 2006 to December 2016, now calls himself an “independent analyst” based in Yangon.

He was directly involved when HRW released satellite imagery in October showing evidence the military was torching Rohingya villages. Going back in his tenure at HRW, he has issued many dispatches calling on the government under the military junta & then under Aung San Suu Kyi to be accountable for human rights crimes against Rohingya.

Just a few weeks after becoming “independent,” on January 16, 2017 he published an article in the NY Times titled “The Lady & the Rohingya,” which is an embarrassing apologetic for Suu Kyi, elaborating all the reasons why she cannot be judged too harshly for collusion with the military in a genocidal campaign of unspeakable criminality.

In the political style of the day, he brought up the issue of fake news to counter those who disagree with his accommodations to the Suu Kyi regime. That political trick is wearing thin, whether it’s used by Assad propagandists, Trump & Bannon, or Mathieson. You have to cogently rebut what people say, not just dismiss it all as lies. If you cannot answer with credible arguments & evidence, then you have to expect interrogation about your political loyalties.

Mathieson showed his hand when he said “Crude misinformation is disseminated at a prodigious rate by members of the Rohingya diaspora outside Myanmar, especially via the widely discredited websites Rohingya Blogger & Rohingya Vision.” Widely discredited, my foot! Those are two of the best blogs, both written by Rohingya activists which just as often repost useful articles from mainstream media sources. They are of the highest political quality & if they’re “widely discredited,” it is only in the new circles Mathieson is probably now hanging with as an “independent” analyst. Independent analyst, my ass!

Rohingya Blogger on FB: https://www.facebook.com/RBNewsEnglish/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/rohingyablogger
Rohingya Vision on FB: https://www.facebook.com/RohingyaVisionTV/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/RohingyaVision

(Photo is Rohingya refugee from Shafiur Rahman)