Jungle Telegraph

24th June 2001
By Alia
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Billion dollar question
Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle, insiders say, learnt of it only recently. He immediately ordered that a satellite telephone installed at Security Forces Headquarters in the Wanni be disconnected.

The reason ? A top boss assigned to that area had run a bill of nearly a million rupees making overseas telephone calls to a sibling studying in the United States.

The system provider is now demanding the money. Will the caller be asked to pay, remains the billion dollar question.

Count was right
There was at least one er- ror in the no-confidence motion against the Government signed by 97 Parliamentarians of the UNP and three moderate Tamil parties.

One UNP MP from the Kegalle district has placed his signature twice one after writing his name in Sinhala and another after writing his name in English. That has, however, not been counted as two.

Police promotions
Thirty five Senior Superin tendents of Police vied for seven DIG vacancies. Interviews have been held and the appointments are to be made public shortly. Who are the lucky ones ?

According to insiders, those successful are said to be V.N. Dharamaratne (Director, Administration, Police Headquarters), T. B. Kehelgamuwa (Director, Transport), Edward Vitharane (SSP Matara), Felix Alles (Deputy Director, Directorate of Foreign Intelligence), Ananda Jayasekera (SSP Kelaniya), Nihal Karunaratne (Deputy Director, Administration, Police Headquarters) and C.L. Ratnayake (Director, Police Narcotics Bureau).

Like the saying goes, there is always a slip between the cup and the lip. Last minute changes are not being ruled out.

Interesting revelation
A Police Special Task Force (STF) radio intercept of Tiger guerrilla communications in the East makes an interesting revelation.

Karuna, the Batticaloa leader was on the radio to another base. Noting that the current wave of attacks in the East was not adequate, he said it should be stepped up in the coming weeks.

Strong arm censorship
Barely four weeks after the Government officially lifted the censorship, some top bureaucrats dealing with the media seem to be using strong arm tactics to enforce an unofficial censorship.

Dynavision, the local distributor of CNN in Sri Lanka, still blacks out any local news reports appearing in CNN programmes

One official explained that a bureaucrat had warned the station to be careful since there were wrong reports. He was alluding to a mix up of captions on visuals projecting the incidents at Mawanella. That was the result of a TV news agency sending in a shot list which erroneously suggested the incidents occurred in Colombo. 

"So we first see what they report on Sri Lanka and then decide whether we should re-broacast," the official said.

Even if President Kumaratunga and her Cabinet wanted to get rid of the censorship, some bureaucrats seem to wield more power and do things their own way.

Hence, there is now an unofficial censorship for some, one that is imposed through threats and intimidation !!

Whose interests do these bureaucrats serve ? The Government or their own?

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