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UNP wanted radio equpts for LTTE

2011-01-07 08:17:48
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A top secret diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks makes a revelation that the then former UNP government, had requested Norwegian assistance in the importation of radio equipment for the LTTE in a bid to give legal recognition to the “Voice of the Tigers”. 

“Norwegian Ambassador (Jon) Westborg told us that the Sri Lankan government had specifically requested his Embassy’s assistance (for the importation of radio equipment) several months ago,” reveals the cable, dated December 20, 2002.
 

“The Norwegians underscore that they were working to further the peace process at GSL request,” the cable further states.

 “The recent import of radio equipment for the LTTE has stirred controversy, with critics asserting that the government and the Norwegian facilitators have gone too far in pleasing the Tigers. In response, the GSL says it assisted in the import of the equipment in exchange for the LTTE´s agreement to work within broadcasting regulations.”

 

However the Government of Norway “(GoN) only agreed to help if the equipment was provided to the (Sri Lankan) Peace Secretariat -- and not directly to the LTTE,” it added.
 

The US Embassy opines that “the incident has left a bad taste in everyone´s mouth”
 

“The equipment in question was brought into Colombo harbor last month in a shipping container. Because the consignment was for the Norwegian Embassy, no duty was paid. The Norwegian Embassy has confirmed that it turned the consignment over to the GSL´s Peace Secretariat, which then passed the items over to the LTTE with the assistance of the Defense Ministry,” the cable explains.


VoT legalised by the GSL

“At some point in this process, the LTTE´s radio station, the "Voice of the Tigers," was legalized by the GSL as a private entity and given permission to broadcast.” 

“It is not exactly clear what sort of radio equipment the LTTE was importing, but it is believed to have consisted of items that would allow the Voice of the Tigers radio to upgrade its FM capability,”

 

At this time, the Voice of the Tigers has very limited FM and short-wave capabilities, allowing the station to be dimly heard in parts of the north and east.

 

Cable states that press reports had cited that the FM-upgrade equipment cost about USD 90,000 and that the equipment was bought in Singapore.

 

Indian government expresses concerns

 

“The Indian government reportedly has expressed concerns to the GSL that the equipment will allow LTTE broadcasts to reach Tamil Nadu”

“It is not clear what range the new equipment will allow the Voice of the Tigers to have.”

 “When word of the equipment import leaked out, critics pounced on the GSL and the Norwegians accusing them of going too far to please the Tigers.”

 “The radical, Sinhalese chauvinist Janantha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party was particularly vociferous, asserting that the government was helping sponsor the LTTE´s "propaganda" campaign. Some newspapers criticized the government for undertaking the import effort in "secret."

 GSL admits it did a poor job

 The Norwegians, who have come under so much criticism from anti-peace process elements, feel particularly aggrieved at the charges. The GSL admits that it did a poor job of communicating what it was doing. This failure, in turn, helped set up the Norwegians for criticism.

 The US diplomat notes that many Sri Lankans were allergic to the mere mention of the Voice of the Tigers and opines that “the station has broadcast some pretty bloodcurdling stuff in the past, including salutes to the LTTE´s terrorist acts.”

 However the Embassy opined that “Norway was particularly hard hit, with critics asserting (in wildly inaccurate fashion) that the GoN -- acting of its volition -- was importing equipment for the LTTE in an effort to save the group from paying duties to the legitimate government.”

 In response to the flak, the government stressed that it was allowing the import of the equipment because the LTTE had agreed to accede to GSL broadcasting regulations.

“… at the same time, it is important not to miss the fact that this was an instance where the Tigers paid heed to government regulations, something they never did in the past”

“Overall, while the incident did not really do too much damage to the peace process, it’s handling provided skeptics of the process some ammunition,” the cable concludes.

VoT Permit revoked in January 2009

In January 2009, following petitions filed by a group including Dr. Piyasena Dissanayake, Attorney General’s Department intimated to Court of Appeal that measures would be taken to revoke the permit given by the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRCSL) for the LTTE during the ceasefire when UNP was in power, for the operation of “Voice of Tigers” radio network.

 
FULL TEXT OF THE CABLE

 

Date: 20.12.2002

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 002337 SIPDIS DEPARTMENTFOR SA, SA/INS, S/CT, EUR/NB; NSC FOR E. MILLARD E.O. 12958: DECL: 12-20-12 TAGS: PGOV, PTER, ECPS, CE, NO, External Relations, LTTE - Peace Process SUBJECT: Import of radio equipment for TamilTigers sparks controversy for GSL and Norwegian facilitatorsRef: Colombo 1891(U) Classified by Lewis Amselem, Deputy Chief of Mission. Reasons 1.5 (b, d).

 

1. (C)SUMMARY: The recent import of radio equipment for the LTTE hasstirred controversy, with critics asserting that thegovernment and the Norwegian facilitators have gone too far in pleasing the Tigers. In response, the GSL says it assisted inthe import of the equipment in exchange for the LTTE´sagreement to work within broadcasting regulations. TheNorwegians underscore that they were working to further thepeace process at GSL request. The incident has left a badtaste in everyone´s mouth. At the same time, it is importantnot to miss the fact that this was an instance where theTigers paid heed to government regulations, something theynever did in the past. END SUMMARY.

 

Import of Radio Equipment-------------------------

 

2. (SBU)

 

The recent import of radio equipment into Sri Lanka for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has stirred controversy. The equipment in question was brought into Colombo harbor last month in a shipping container. Because the consignment was for the Norwegian Embassy, no duty was paid. The Norwegian Embassy has confirmed that it turned the consignment over to the GSL´s Peace Secretariat, which then passed the items over to the LTTE with the assistance of the Defense Ministry. At some point in this process, the LTTE´sradio station, the "Voice of the Tigers," was legalized by the GSL as a private entity and given permission to broadcast.

 

3. (SBU)

 

(((Note: It is not exactly clear what sort of radio equipment the LTTE was importing, but it is believed to have consisted of items that would allow the Voice of the Tigers radio to upgrade its FM capability. At this time, the Voice of the Tigers has very limited FM and short-wave capabilities, allowing the station to be dimly heard in parts of the northand east -- See Reftel for additional background. Some pressreports state that the FM-upgrade equipment cost about USD90,000 and that the equipment was bought in Singapore. It is not clear what range the new equipment will allow the Voice of the Tigers to have. The Indian government reportedly has expressed concerns to the GSL that the equipment will allow LTTE broadcasts to reach Tamil Nadu. End Note.)))

 

Controversy Erupts ------------------

 

4. (SBU)

 

When word of the equipment import leaked out, critics pounced on the GSL and the Norwegians accusing them of going too far to please the Tigers. The radical, Sinhalese chauvinist Janantha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party was particularly vociferous, asserting that the government was helping sponsor the LTTE´s "propaganda" campaign. (Note: Many Sri Lankans are allergic to the mere mention of the Voice of the Tigers: the station has broadcast some pretty bloodcurdling stuff in the past, including salutes to the LTTE´s terrorist acts.) Some newspapers criticized the government for undertaking the import effort in "secret." Norway was particularly hard hit, with critics asserting (in wildly inaccurate fashion – see below) that the GoN -- acting of its volition -- was importing equipment for the LTTE in an effort to save the group frompaying duties to the legitimate government.

 

GSL, Norwegian Response-----------------------

 

5. (C)

 

In response to the flak, the government stressed that it was allowing the import of the equipment because the LTTE had agreed to accede to GSL broadcasting regulations. Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke, the chief of the Peace Secretariat, told us that this was an important concession by the LTTE because for the first time the group had conceded that its radio station should follow GSL-set procedures like all other stations in the country. In any case, Goonetilleke noted, the Tigers could have tried to import the equipment illegally, as they have done in the past. If they had done so successfully, the government would not have had any leverage over their broadcasting capabilities, which it now has to some degree.

 

6. (C)

 

For their part, the Norwegians, who have largely kept mum in public, have told us that they were only working to further the peace process at GSL request. Norwegian Ambassador Westborg told us that the Sri Lankan government had specifically requested his Embassy´s assistance several months ago. The GoN only agreed to help if the equipment was provided to the Peace Secretariat -- and not directly to the LTTE. Press reporting to the effect that the Norwegian government was out to assist the LTTE by undermining GSL authority was an outright falsehood, he emphasized.

 

COMMENT-------

 

7. (C)

 

The incident has left a bad taste in everyone´s mouth. The Norwegians, who have come under so much criticism from anti-peace process elements, feel particularly aggrieved at the charges. The GSL admits that it did a poor job of communicating what it was doing. This failure, in turn, helped set up the Norwegians for criticism.

 

Overall, while the incident did not really do too much damage to the peace process, its handling provided skeptics of the process some ammunition. At the same time, it is important not to miss the fact that this was an instance where the Tigers paid heed to government regulations, something the group never did before the peace process was launched.

 

END COMMENT.

 

8. (U) Minimize considered.

 

WILLS

 

(Source : Asian Tribune)



  Comments - 69

  • Pandula Friday, 7 January 2011 08:35

    Wiki leaks both GOV UNP and Western countries behaviour. All are traitors in the history and present. Need a revolution

    Reply : 7       79

    John Doe Friday, 7 January 2011 09:33

    Power corrupts people! Except a very few! Get your self up there, you'd do the same! fact of life mate!

    Reply : 29       10

    nagu Friday, 7 January 2011 14:15

    Maybe you & the UNP will do it....Not the Country loving people.....

    3       21

    MK Friday, 7 January 2011 09:54

    HAHA. Cats out of the bag for all of them!

    Reply : 3       46

    kumar Friday, 7 January 2011 11:14

    This is adequate reason to try RW and GLP for treason. At the very least, RW must step-down now from UNP leadership

    Reply : 3       28

    nagu Friday, 7 January 2011 14:16

    Absolutely correct...Lets see what RW has to say...

    2       14

    Konde bendapu china Friday, 7 January 2011 08:43

    that is what ex Norway ambassador Hetzborg delivered even with out paying proper taxes,

    Reply : 3       44

    commansense Friday, 7 January 2011 08:44

    badu mattu...

    Reply : 4       71

    anpan Friday, 7 January 2011 08:45

    Whats wrong in converting illegal LTTE activities into legal ones? This would have enabled the LTTE to keep its activities within law of the land. This would have been the civilised way to make the insane LTTE into a sane one, than appearing on channel 4 with all sorts of war crime allegations.

    Reply : 109       23

    Wara Friday, 7 January 2011 09:16

    Yes, we should have legalize illigal LTTE too. And also their illigal demands legal. !!

    Reply : 10       34

    Appuhamy Friday, 7 January 2011 09:22

    I wonder that still ur kind of silly ppl live here... God bless SL

    Reply : 8       54

    billy Friday, 7 January 2011 09:30

    keeping ltte activities within law the land, how can any terrorist activities can be kept withinn any law? just dont give excuses for the stupid acts done by these UNP traitors!

    Reply : 5       51

    Chandra Friday, 7 January 2011 09:49

    How many chances that LTTE used similar option for gaining militory power against GOSL. What was the guarantee that LTTE was to come to maistream politic???????

    Reply : 3       25

    dan Friday, 7 January 2011 11:02

    still we get the LTTE honters in SL, like this,,, I thk CID should investigate on this person...

    Reply : 5       21

    bernard Friday, 7 January 2011 17:40

    Oh sure!! They should have legalized suicide bombers too!!!

    Reply : 0       2

    Hasiya Friday, 7 January 2011 08:45

    Finally the truth has revealed.... Now RW & UNP will come up with 1000 reasons to justify this... What a pity!

    Reply : 5       83

    Lionking Friday, 7 January 2011 08:57

    RW should be in the Cell next to SF.

    Reply : 9       83

    malkanthi Friday, 7 January 2011 09:09

    RW gave in to LTTE, SF destroyed LTTE, what's the PROVEN reason to compare them?

    15       10

    nikita Friday, 7 January 2011 09:22

    Very correct one for betraying the nation and other for saving the country

    16       34

    Channa Friday, 7 January 2011 14:19

    Thank god for MR for wiping out the LTTE....If not not LTTE will have a country within a country thanks to Ranil.

    Reply : 2       12

    navin Friday, 7 January 2011 08:45

    Ranil is finished.

    Reply : 6       72

    Hasiya Friday, 7 January 2011 09:55

    He's already dead

    Reply : 3       37

    DMG Friday, 7 January 2011 08:47

    Nice headline you've got there

    Reply : 4       40

    Konde bendapu china Friday, 7 January 2011 08:51

    Premadasa Gave weapons to LTTe and Ranil gave radio equipment ,Tit for Tat

    Reply : 4       57

    Anton Friday, 7 January 2011 12:56

    ... and Mahinda, Gota and Basil ARE GIVING everything under the sun to KP, Karuna, Pillaiyan, Douglas, Daya Master and other top LTTE killers.

    Reply : 30       11

    Channa Friday, 7 January 2011 14:21

    Dont be stupid, they have to play MR's Way....Not by their own way....

    2       19

    Vijaya Friday, 7 January 2011 08:55

    Bang.

    Final nail to the Ranil Wickramasinge's coffin.

    Anitchawatha Sankara.

    Rest in peace.

    Reply : 4       75

    sanje Friday, 7 January 2011 09:00

    Wikileaks for LGP ????????

    Reply : 13       33

    Wara Friday, 7 January 2011 09:18

    Are you mad !! Are international concern about LG election which is not even seriously concerned by locals.

    Reply : 4       20

    dilan Friday, 7 January 2011 14:22

    If he contested ....surely he will win any election...

    1       1

    Modi Friday, 7 January 2011 09:06

    JULIAN ASSANGE BUDU WEWA....!!!!!

    Reply : 1       39

    lovely Friday, 7 January 2011 11:33

    Ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaa.... Nice one Modi.

    Reply : 3       18

    Palitha Friday, 7 January 2011 09:16

    What more evidence should the moda UNPers need to leave the party of the Portugease.

    Reply : 2       28

    Pathum Denipitiya Friday, 7 January 2011 09:19

    At last...! Now what RW/UNP say?

    Reply : 3       28

    Wimal_Madawansa Friday, 7 January 2011 09:29

    Excellent timing.

    Reply : 3       41

    UNP Friday, 7 January 2011 09:29

    All UNP leaders & supporters should apologizeof our mother Lanka...

    Reply : 4       53

    Fair N Square Friday, 7 January 2011 09:46

    Politics is "PODI" tricks. All greed for power. Period !

    Reply : 19       10

    TMA Friday, 7 January 2011 09:57

    But wait, the SL govt. already said wikileaks is a bogus. After they revealed ab't the paramilitaries backed by the govt.

    Reply : 23       5

    Ind Friday, 7 January 2011 10:20

    So you agree with government when things happen in your favour ???

    Reply : 7       17

    TMA Friday, 7 January 2011 11:18

    Nothing's happenin in my favor. I neither agree with govt. nor wikileaks. Even B4 govt. said so I never took wikileaks seriously. Any1 can put anything on a website.

    16       4

    udesh Friday, 7 January 2011 12:00

    When did SL government say WikiLeaks is bogus? They did not say so..Government disagreed illegal access to USA's secret info. That is it.

    Reply : 2       11

    rizvan Friday, 7 January 2011 12:10

    God bless for LG election...haha..and boost for Wimal

    Reply : 4       7

    dilan Friday, 7 January 2011 14:24

    These things Wikileaks dont have to say....MR, Govt and everybody else have bee telling this for past 8 years.....Where were you TMA? sleeping?

    Reply : 2       6

    natureboy Friday, 7 January 2011 09:59

    So this news is true...and govt purchasing weapons from NK and Iran is fake...get a life people!

    Reply : 23       9

    Hasiya Friday, 7 January 2011 10:05

    Yeah.. that can happen.. One can be correct & one can be wrong!

    Reply : 5       18

    TMA Friday, 7 January 2011 11:20

    Who recomend that? the gr8 god king?

    10       4

    David Friday, 7 January 2011 10:10

    no body told it a lie , we told we don't mind buying weapons from NK and Iran cause we don't have issues with them , get a life dude ...!!!

    Reply : 6       30

    Ind Friday, 7 January 2011 10:26

    Who say fake ?? We could and we got weapons from anywhere available. So what's the issue ???

    Reply : 2       22

    TMA Friday, 7 January 2011 11:18

    Same thing LTTE thougt when they bought weapons from China

    11       4

    wara Friday, 7 January 2011 10:27

    Who said that we didn't buy weapons from them ??

    Reply : 2       19

    Bluff Bluff Friday, 7 January 2011 09:59

    Let Ranil as well as Sajith explain this to us soon!

    Reply : 3       33

    Ran Friday, 7 January 2011 10:19

    Badu Maattu!

    Honda honda sellam eliwena jameta.

    Reply : 0       31

    Ghaffari Friday, 7 January 2011 12:06

    This Wikileaks tring to sell their make their name populer
    now they are poor

    Reply : 22       0

    loc Friday, 7 January 2011 12:26

    So o one can say GOSL didnot treat well LTTE . They even didnot satisfied with this treatments and only final option is kill LTTE

    Reply : 1       8

    Roland Kuranage Friday, 7 January 2011 12:35

    Why Mr Ranil cannot reveal troth to the country ?

    Reply : 1       12

    prassana Friday, 7 January 2011 13:24

    read this many more to come

    Reply : 1       10

    dilan Friday, 7 January 2011 14:28

    How many Elections have the UNP lost in a row?

    Reply : 1       7

    Padmi Friday, 7 January 2011 15:11

    That is UNP. Always try to act what western countries says without thinking of motherland.

    Reply : 2       10

    eddy Friday, 7 January 2011 16:44

    If Ranil knows the truth there will not be a UNP.

    Reply : 0       0

    Pottuvil putha Friday, 7 January 2011 17:24

    Traitor RW after falling off the tree has been gored by the bull. UNP - RIP !

    Reply : 0       1

    Preme Friday, 7 January 2011 18:55

    RW is a national traitor and friendship between Norway and the LTTE are no secrets

    Reply : 0       3

    Ernie Ton Saturday, 8 January 2011 01:49

    Who were the UNP Government then .... GL Peries and Et al

    Reply : 2       1

    Jonathan Saturday, 8 January 2011 08:25

    Why RANIL too was there dude!

    Reply : 0       0

    PRESIDENT Saturday, 8 January 2011 11:30

    Rani Must go inside with SF

    Reply : 0       1

    weerasuriya Saturday, 8 January 2011 13:07

    It was not the Mr. RW 's decision other ministers and MP's in the government at that time were responsible.

    Reply : 1       0

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