TamilWeek Mar 12, 2006
IGP Chandra Fernando and  JVP Propaganda Secretary  Wimal Weerawansa
"JVP has compromised national security"

Editor, The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge last
week told the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that
it is the JVP which had compromised national security and
not the newspaper.

The CID recorded the Editor's statement following a
directive by IGP Chandra Fernando that the newspaper had
published two articles compromising national security and
the peace process.

The CID did not record the references to the IGP made by
the Editor on the basis it was not relevant to the statement.

Following is the Editor's statement to the CID:  

Dealing with the first issue, which is the publication of an
article under the name Vimukthi Yapa under the heading
'Government's Own Role On The CFA' and 'Internal Clash In
Geneva' written by the columnist Suranimala.

I take full responsibility for the articles published under the
pen name and I take full responsibility for the contents of the
article.

I am asked about the references to the peace talks and the
Defence Secretary Mr. Gothabaya Rajapakse. The fact that
Mr. Rajapakse visited China is not a secret.

Every person at the airport immigration, airline counters
etc., would have known about it.

That the Secretary of Defence of the country visited China
or any other country for that matter is not a matter of
national security. Indeed, as a public servant, he is
ultimately accountable to the public.

Furthermore, there have been numerous reports in the past
even during the UNP tenure from 2001 December to 2004
April of visits by the then Defence Secretary Mr. Austin
Fernando and even the defence minister on visits overseas,
including for the inspection of weapons.

Never has a media organisation been questioned on
reporting any such events on the basis that it was impacting
on national security. In fact, there have been many such
reports published by newspapers not belonging to Leader
Publications.

I wish to also state that any nation has to purchase weapons
and there is no secret that they do so.

The JVP Leader Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe at the all
party talks held the previous Monday in fact called for the
strengthening of the military. And they released that
statement to the media as well.

I wish to also state that The Sunday Times of March 12,
2006 on page 11 under the headline 'Firepower Catalogues
After Ceasefire Talks' by Iqbal Athas specifically refers to
Mr. Rajapakse's visit to China together with Additional
Secretary Defence, Sunil Sirisena.

To the best of my knowledge no investigation has been
launched against The Sunday Times or any other
newspaper in this respect.

I wish to also state The Sunday Times of March 5, 2005, the
very week of the report in The Sunday Leader had in a front
page story even made reference to President Mahinda
Rajapakse's visit to Pakistan.

Under the headline 'President Visiting Pakistan To
Strengthen Ties' has this to say inter alia on its front page:
"However, Presidential officials said military matters would
be taken up during meetings between President Rajapakse
and his Pakistan counterpart Pervez Musharaff. General
Musharaff supplied much needed weapons to the Sri
Lankan government in May 2000 when the LTTE was about
to recapture Jaffna. The new weapons, mainly multi barrel
rocket launchers, from Pakistan helped the Sri Lankan army
beat back the Tigers."

This report in The Sunday Times front page specifically
mentions that the President is starting his visit on March 31.

But it is only The Sunday Leader, together with me, that is
subjected to this harassment, violating my fundamental
rights guaranteed under the constitution.

Dealing with the second issue of The Sunday Leader report
on page 12 titled 'The Tiger Report On Paramilitaries,'
written under the penname Vimukthi Yapa, I take full
responsibility for this article.

That article and the contents are based on a document
furnished by the LTTE to the government delegation at the
Geneva talks held in February.

The LTTE report, a copy of which I am furnishing now, is
titled 'SLAFs and Paramilitaries.' The headline itself
indicates, it is a report by the LTTE. There can be no threat
to the national security or to the security officials mentioned
in that report through the publication of it in the newspaper
since it is information already in the possession of the LTTE.

It is the LTTE that is furnishing this information to the
government. The effect of The Sunday Leader report is to
impose an obligation on the government to ensure the
security of the officers mentioned by placing it in the public
domain.

Furthermore, if the government had not notified the security
personnel identified by the LTTE that they have been so
identified by the Tigers, at least by the publication in the
newspaper they would have been alerted to taking
adequate security measures for their protection.

I am surprised that I am being asked to explain the
publication of this report which the LTTE itself has handed
over to the government without investigating how the LTTE
came into possession of this sensitive information.

The Sunday Leader report in fact had stated that the
security forces are denying the contents of the LTTE report.

However, the JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal
Weerawansa has in a statement said that The Sunday
Leader and I have compromised national security and the
service personnel by publishing this report.

He has thereby given authority to the report despite the
newspaper stating that the military had denied its contents.
It is therefore he who has compromised national security
and the lives of the service personnel mentioned.

I state that the campaign on this whole report is distorted
and misrepresented and the greater plan is to bring me into
public ridicule and hatred with a view to having me
assassinated.

In the context of compromising national security, I wish to
also state that it is the JVP and the government that have
compromised national security.

In this context I refer to Article 4 of the agreement signed
between JVP General Secretary Mr. Tilvin Silva and Mr.
Mahinda Rajapakse, the then prime minister of Sri Lanka,
prior to the presidential election of November 17, 2005.

That article states the ceasefire agreement will be reviewed
and revised fully and the agreement shall be completely
redone on removing and eliminating all the clauses which
are prejudicial and harmful to the national security and
foster and nurture separatism and are inconsistent with the
constitution of Sri Lanka.

However, the government and the JVP have now agreed to
uphold and respect the ceasefire agreement which in their
view compromises national security and paves the way for
separation. Therefore it is not I who has compromised
national security.

Further, what I say is that I am being harassed because we
have highlighted these facts.

Further, I wish to also point out that The Sunday Times of
March 5, 2006 on page 11 by Iqbal Athas also reported on
the same document furnished by the LTTE under the
heading 'Document Bares Tiger Claws In Key Places.'

I am furnishing photocopies of the said reports in The
Sunday Times referred to above.

In that article by Iqbal Athas even photographs are
introduced of LTTE renegade Eastern Leader Karuna,
Tamil Leader of People's Liberation Tigers, undergoing
training.

Mr. Athas in his article also details contents of the LTTE
document and raises the further question as to how the
LTTE got this information from state authorities.

I wish to refer particularly to the statements in the report
which state that the document highlights the access the
LTTE has about the workings of the intelligence services.

Athas has gone on to state that the report bares to which
extent the LTTE intelligence services have infiltrated
institutions in the south.

However, to the best of my knowledge, this report which was
published on the same Sunday as The Sunday Leader
report is not the subject of investigation.

Therefore I say this is a witch-hunt against me and the
newspaper. Therefore I state I am subject to harassment.

Q: Name the two persons who wrote the two articles
under Suranimala and Vimukthi Yapa?

A:
Both articles are written under pennames and I take full
responsibility for the two articles and contents.

Q: What are the sources of your information for the
two articles in question?

A:
I cannot divulge my sources of information in keeping with
the ethics of journalism.

Q: How do you specifically mention and how do you
know Mr. Rajapakse will be in China to sign a deal
with Norinco on credit terms?

A:
That is information received from a very reliable source
and has to date not been denied even through the state
media.

In fact, that Mr. Rajapakse went to China has been
confirmed by Mr. Iqbal Athas in his report. That he has gone
in the company of an additional secretary proves that he
has gone on official work.

My report is no different to The Sunday Times report of the
same date in its front page.

There too the President's visit to Pakistan together with the
comment on plans to discuss military matters is stated. The
President is the defence minister and the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces and it is reported
he is going to discuss military matters.

Q: Based on your report, the public inferred that the
government is planning to wage war against the LTTE.
What do you have to state?

A:
First of all I would like to know whether the public has
made statements to this effect to the police to date. It has
not been brought to my notice. I do not know whether the
public has made statements to this effect.

There can be many inferences drawn.

It is Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe at the all party talks who
said the military has to be strengthened to meet the LTTE
challenge. That is a direct reference and not an inference.

Q: The publication of this type of news item can create
an awful situation to hinder the peace process and
the minds of the international community?

A:
I totally reject that. That China is a foreign country is
known to the whole world. That President Rajapakse is
visiting Pakistan referred to earlier as reported in The
Sunday Times is also known to the international community.

That cannot hinder the peace process or the minds of the
international community because they are facts known to
them not through the media but in their dealings with the
government.

What is hindering the peace process today. On the contrary
it is the JVP that is publicly hindering the peace process by
publicly issuing ultimatums to the President to remove
Norway as a facilitator by branding them pro-Tigers.

Q: You have mentioned in your article on page 12
about several paramilitary groups and a Muslim Jihad
group active in Trincomalee. How did you get this
information?

A:
It is all in the document I have furnished you, which the
LTTE furnished to the government of Sri Lanka in Geneva.

With respect to the Muslim Jihad group, there is specific
reference to it on page 12, article 4.4.4 of the report. That
the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has denied the existence of
such a group has also been published in The Sunday
Leader.
[TheSundayLeader]