• The Cage

    Select reviews

     

    This powerful book is a reminder of the price countries pay for flawed choices”

    THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

     

    An excellent account”

    THE ECONOMIST

     

    This shattering tale of savagery lifts the veil

    and helps us understand”

    NOAM CHOMSKY

     

    “A parable of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil”

    THE SPECTATOR

    (best summer reading 2011)

     

    “Weiss provides harrowing details, as well as insight”

    FOREIGN AFFAIRS

    (book of the day, April 2016)

     

    “A striking account”

    – Jon Swain THE SUNDAY TIMES

     

    “Unpicks the roots of the problem”

    THE LITERARY REVIEW"

     

    “Tightly-written, clear-eyed, a riveting cautionary tale.

    A must-read”

    JON LEE ANDERSON

    New Yorker staff writer

     

    “A compellingly readable account...

    scrupulously even handed”

    GARETH EVANS

    fmr Australian Foreign Minister

     

    “Some of the best coverage of Sri Lanka”

    NICK BRYANT (BBC)

     

    “Essential reading”

    THE AUSTRALIAN

     

    “Deeply informed, humane and compassionate… a beautifully articulated insight into the human experience.”

    THE INTERCEPT

    (Best Summer Reading List 2015)

     

    “A fair and brilliantly written tour de force of this long forgotten war”

    ROMA TEARNE, author of THE MOSQUITO

     

    A knockout blow. No wonder the government had it taken off the shelves; it does not want you to read it”

    THE ISLAND (Sri Lanka)

     

    “A potent analysis”

    THE LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS

     

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

    THE SCOTSMAN

     

    "Absolutely enthralling and brilliantly written..."

    GOODREADS ☆☆☆☆

  • 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, photograph and sculpt, 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.

  • Social Me

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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

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