• The Cage

    Select reviews

     

    THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – “This powerful book is a haunting reminder of the price countries in the developing world pay for the flawed choices of their founders.”

     

    THE ECONOMIST – “An excellent account of how that victory was won, and of the price paid for peace.”

     

    NOAM CHOMSKY – “This shattering… tale of savagery and suffering not only lifts the veil that conceals one of the most awful tragedies of the current era, but also helps us understand what should be done… before other such horrors spiral out of control.”

     

    THE SPECTATOR (Best Summer Reading 2011) – “A parable of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil… the thin line that separates civilized societies from those that sink into collective madness governed by hatred.”

     

    FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Book of the Day, April 2016) – “Weiss provides harrowing details, as well as insight.”

     

    THE SUNDAY TIMES (Jon Swain) – “A striking account of the ruthless terror wreaked by both sides on the innocent civilians trapped in a pocket of land… [Weiss’s] book is a powerful indictment.”

     

    THE INTERCEPT (Best Summer Reading List 2015) – “Deeply informed, humane and compassionate… a beautifully articulated insight into the human experience.”

     

    THE LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS – “A potent analysis.”

     

    THE SCOTSMAN – “Painstakingly researched and referenced study... he lines up his targets carefully, then picks them off with surgical precision.”

     

    BBC (Nick Bryant) – “Some of the best coverage of Sri Lanka.”

     

    THE AUSTRALIAN – “Essential reading… Its value lies in its dispassionate analysis of the cause of Sri Lanka’s tragic civil war and how such conflicts can be avoided.”

     

    THE LITERARY REVIEW – “Unpicks the roots of the problem...”

     

    THE ISLAND (Sri Lanka) – “A knockout blow. No wonder the government had it taken off the shelves; it does not want you to read it.”

     

    JON LEE ANDERSON (New Yorker staff writer) – “A tightly-written and clear-eyed narrative about one of the most disturbing human dramas of recent years… a riveting cautionary tale about the consequences of unchecked political power in a country at war. A must-read.”

     

    GARETH EVANS (fmr Australian Foreign Minister) – “A compellingly readable account of one of the very worst atrocity stories this century… Weiss is scrupulously even-handed… a timely prod to the world’s collective conscience.”

     

    ROMA TEARNE (author) – “A fair and brilliantly written tour de force of this long forgotten war.”

     

    GOODREADS – "Absolutely enthralling and brilliantly written..."

     

    CHARLES PETRIE (Diplomat and author of the UN’s ‘Petrie Report’ inquiry) – “The first thing I was handed was a copy of ‘The Cage.’ Weiss’s… account should serve as a guidepost for decision-makers and scholars of international affairs. A book can change the world.”

  • Bio brief

     

    I joined the UN for two decades of service focused on multi-faceted peacekeeping, political, and humanitarian crises in some of the world’s most fragile zones. I was boots-on-the-ground in theatres of seminal and open conflict and disaster, often in isolated conditions in Africa, India, former Soviet Central Asia, the Western Balkans, the Caribbean, the Caucasus, South-East Asia, and the Middle East.

     

    I began my international service work with the OSCE in 1996, and led large teams for the UN in Bosnia and Kosovo, before I was relocated for a year to Pakistan and Afghanistan immediately following 9/11. As UNICEF's head of Emergency Comms based in New York, I managed a full range of interlocking political, aid, emergency, and security issues. I headed UN comms during the final three years of Sri Lanka's civil war, and then led the UN urban agency's global comms team, 2015-18 out of Nairobi.

     

    Other stuff

     

    Between UN engagements, and after authoring The Cage, I was a visiting scholar at Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (dept. of Political Science); a research professor at Griffith University’s Asia Institute (dept. of Government); a joint founder of the International Crimes Evidence Project investigating war crimes; and a director for ActionAid Australia.

     

    As an investigative journalist, I reconstructed one of the worst 'honour' killings of a young Australian Lebanese Muslim woman; was in the the team which traced, located, and exposed members of the "52 Pack" of Bosnia's Nato force Most Wanted war crimes suspects; and reconstructed through digital forensics the murder of hors de combat prisoners of Sri Lanka's war.

     

    Most recently I ran Global Affairs and Emerging Markets for Pressland.com, a publicly-listed company tackling mis/disinformation) through rigorous media supply-chain transparency; and am a Senior Fellow of the ARTIS International group, applying research and social science insights to a range of policy, stability, and human development issues around violent extremism of all political persuasions.

     

    Current

     

    I'm honoured to be working with the folks from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) – some of the nicest people you'll ever meet in international work – on the September 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. Food production accounts for a third of greenhouse gases, and new efficiencies in water and food are fundamental to peace, and to tackling the climate crisis in this pivotal year of COP26 in Glasgow.

     

    Personal

     

    I am the son of an immigrant who became an early female judge in Australia, and a Czech refugee whose 57-member family was killed during the Holocaust (he died last year).

     

    I lived for extended periods in New York, Ashgabat, London, Prishtina, Herat, Colombo, Sydney, Barcelona, Sarajevo, Tokyo, Nairobi, Luanda, and Islamabad. Covid-19 aside, I currently live between Prague and Sicily and Sydney, to which the highland Scots part of my family immigrated in the 1820s. I raised two girls, with a Turkmen/Belarusian ex.

     

    I began professional theatre when I was 12, did soap operas, then worked in bars, on trucks, farms, and building sites, and as a Supreme Court clerk. I keep bees, love dogs, ride horses, garden and photograph, and designed, built and ran my own Weimar-themed jazz/burlesque bar – "Red Barons."

  • Recent media

    September 2020

    Watching mob violence in the streets of America, I recalled an encounter in Kosovo in 1999. Driving through the country one day in a UN vehicle, I stopped at the house of a man who, some months before, had been dragged from his house by Serbian paramilitaries and made to kneel on the dusty road and was poised for execution in front of his seven daughters.

    October 2020

    ‘When small men begin to cast big shadows’, wrote the Chinese intellectual Lin Yutang, ‘it means the sun is about to set.’ It is a dictum that, like many, functions neatly in reverse. When small countries stand up to the great, it might well be a sign of a new day.

    November 2020

    A billboard firm cleverly lures clients with a simple slogan on an otherwise blank canvas—unsee this.

     

    Its genius rests on a human trait: we can’t unsee, unhear or unsmell anything. Our senses are primordial devices programmed to extract millions of data points every second, most of it, at some level, novel. Yet the brain can sort and analyse only around 50 points per second in order to assess a possible response.

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  • The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers


    "More than 20,000 copies sold ..."

    Available in print, audio, and Kindle editions

     

    UK and rest of world

    Published 2011

    US and Canada

    Published 2012

    Australasia

    Published 2012

  • The Sucker's Break

    A personal blog - "I am myself the matter of this book;

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