17th November 1996

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Dvora debris miles away

Sea Tigers drew in a flotilla of Naval boats into the high seas off Trincomalee after a feigned attempt to attack the harbour on October 26. Boats loaded with suicide cadres later rammed the Israeli built Dvora (P 457).

Navy rescue teams mounted a four day long search in the general area where the Dvora is known to have sunk. Bubbles were surfacing and there were oil slicks. But the rescue parties found the depth in the area to be well over 500 metres. Rescue operations were later called off.

Now comes the news that fishermen in Pottuvil, some 150 kilometres south-east of Trincomalee have found some debris from P 457.

There were several odd pieces including a Peak Cap. What confirmed they were from the Dvora was a National Identity Card, that of Lt. M.A.S. Amerasekera, one of two officers and ten sailors on board.

Putting the foot in

A senior government official asked a one time propaganda man in uniform recently why television footage from battle areas had the bold reference Media Unit, MOD.

The official had received word from many broadcasters abroad that the titles were too large and appeared unweildy to the viewer.

One would have expected our expert to say, we want the world to know it's our own footage. No, he did not say that. Our know all's reply was, if we don't put that, there are people who will sell our material and make money.

He was of course referring to the handful of Colombo based TV journalists. Like their print counterparts, the TV men get paid no matter whether they feed the MOD's footage or not.

But, as for the MOD footage itself, there certainly is no payment to the local journalists or the MOD. Perhaps, our expert whose propaganda skills were all not too futile (since some were entertainment) should have added one more line -Not for sale after that title Media Unit, MOD.

Petty and personal interests can sometimes outweigh national interests. Our Goebbel's have made that point clear.

Champagne or shady deal

A multimillion dollar deal for purchase of surveillance aircraft has become the focal point of attention among those in Sri Lanka's lucrative defence trade.

The aircraft is needed by the newly set up Air Surveillance Command whose operational base is located somewhere in the south. For obvious reasons the exact location cannot be divulged.

Suppliers from super powers to not so super are making strong bids. Some say one supplier with the right connection is getting ready with champagne to celebrate the receipt of the award. Not only the award, but the champagne also comes from the same country.

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