30th November 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Explanation called

The Ministry of Defence has called for the explanation of Air Force top brass. It is all over the press events they arranged outside the purview of the Ministry.

Did they or did they not violate procedures laid down by the Ministry seems to be the question.

Drama in news

Insiders say the talent search for a surrendee to make “confessions” ended only after the discovery that the balding man had a better command of English. He also passed out with flying colours in performance.

Among others “interviewed”, they say, was Ravindran alias Sundan, 25 years old. He surrendered on October 10 with a T 56 weapon and a magazine. Another was Sasi, described as an affectionate friend of Thamil Chelvam, the man who is handling media matters including translations. Sasi has made some juicy revelations about his boss and how he replaced Thiagarajah, who was then doing his job.

The balding man is now waiting for his reward. He has, of course, made an unusual wish that he be not released. As for the LTTE “video boss” who surrendered, there may be a ready job, they say. Why not, when there are so many teledramas being produced under the 9LABEL of news.

Look who’s talking

These are days the State run media is talking a lot about sensitive military information.

It was only last Friday night the ITN reported five soldiers have been killed when the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence said it was five LTTE cadres. Perhaps they wanted Prabhakaran to believe he has lost five more men. On September 4, 1995, a Sri Lanka Air Force Shaanxi Y 8 aircraft landed in Palaly and lay parked in the apron. The LTTE fired mortars, both at aircraft and on the runway. That evening senior military officials went mad when they heard the SLBC and Rupavahini report on the incident. Within hours the enemy had received confirmation that they had accurately ranged their Mortar launchers and that their aim was right. And guess who ran a report with photographs of anti aircraft gun positions being established in high rise buildings surrounding a VVIP residence? Well, the very one which is now pontificating about how the war should be reported by all and sundry.

Bangkok buzzes

One of India’s leading national newspapers The Hindu of November 25 has a revealing news brief.

It says “Sri Lankan Tamil sources in Bangkok claimed that the LTTE has managed to “hijack” an arms laden vessel from Zimbabwe recently.”

It adds “According to information in Bangkok, there was an all-out effort to track down the vessel and destroy it if the need be. It was said that since nothing had been heard of the cargo after that, they had presumed that it had “discharged” its load on to the waiting speed boats of the LTTE on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka not too long ago.” Despite boastful claims that all what was ordered had arirved from Zimbabwe, The Sunday Times revealed it was not so. And now the news has travelled and Tamil sources in Bangkok are buzzing!! There’s more news now. The ship the Air Force bombed on Nov. 2 off the Mullaitivu coast is the same vessel that carried the mortars. The LTTE wanted it destroyed because Interpol was after it.

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