8 March, 2021

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MiG Deal & The Heavy Price I Paid In The Name Of Investigative Journalism

By Iqbal Athas

Iqbal Athas

I am proud to be associated with today’s inauguration of the Sri Lanka Centre for Investigative Journalism. I thank your Board of Governors for honouring me by inviting me to deliver the keynote address.

I take delight for many reasons. I am the only Sri Lanka member of the Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The membership is peer recommended. They are the first global organisation to use the cyber space to collaborate in investigative projects. You will recall one of the widely publicised recent projects known as Panama Papers.

Years earlier, as a member from their beginning I colloborated in their project titled “The Business of War.” Now in the form of a book, it deals with mercenary groups and how some of them gained legitimacy in battle zones. It included a part on Sri Lanka.

Your parent organisation in Washington DC, the Global Investigative Journalists Network (GIJN) is an offshoot of the ICIJ. I count as a good friend David Kaplan, the Executive Director. He held the same position earlier with the ICIJ.

Like a good recipe for a particular dish, there are different definitions about investigative journalism. To use his own words, Kaplan says there is  – In-depth reporting, enterprise reporting or project reporting. “All these,” he says, “are loosely grouped under investigative journalism.” He identifies five different characteristics:

1. Systematic Inquiry. This means you are taking your time and going in a systematic way to analyse what is going on. The work you are doing is original and in-depth. Original reporting is investigative journalism.

2. Forming a hypothesis about what is going on. To form a theory, find the facts that will support it. If it does not, you have to abandon it.

3. Using public records and public data. Investigative Reporting is following people, money, paper and data trails, collect public records, documents leaked and analyse them.

4. Making public matters that are secrets that remain hidden. Investigative Reporters are often dealing with secret information. The people in power does not want it brought out. It is embarrassing for them.

5. Focus on social justice and accountability.

I am not a teacher in investigative journalism. I will not, therefore, deal with the different technical aspects. Instead, I believe, it may be useful for those of you, who want to pursue investigative journalism, if I share some of my personal experience in this field.

Before I do that, please permit me to strike a personal note. Fifty years ago, straight out of school, I walked into the office of now-defunct SUN / WEEKEND in Hulftsdorp. It was then one of the largest groups. I did not realise it was going to be the turning point in my life.

I was offered a job as a Reporter and requested to work the very next day. I asked for time. I had to wind up a course in Sales Management. A week later, when I joined to cover Tamil political parties due to my fluency in Sinhala and Tamil languages.

My work then took me to different parts of the North and East of Sri Lanka, which were to later become the battleground for a deadly separatist insurgency. I became familiar with the terrain. At that juncture, there were only two major Tamil political parties. I covered their annual sessions and other events of importance in these two provinces.

By mid-1970s, moderate politics was transcending to militancy. Tamil political parties and groups united through what is known as the Vaddukottai resolution to go beyond democratic pursuits. Over a period of time, this saw the birth of a plethora of militant groups. During the early phases of what is euphemistically called Eelam War I, they functioned separately but were unified in their objective of confronting the Security Forces and the Police.

The subsequent phases of what was dubbed Eelam War II and III became fierce in character. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), often known as Tamil Tigers, literally eliminated their rival groups in some of the crudest and bloodiest battles. New military hardware was inducted by both the militants and the military. In May 2009, the LTTE was militarily defeated. Thus, I was fortunate in being able to cover the birth, growth and death of separatist insurgency in Sri Lanka. Military procurements were becoming controversial. Both those in and outside uniform were profiting hugely. I began exposing some of the controversial deals. The travails I faced are far too many to list here. I can only say I have lived to tell the story.

In September 2006, a source in the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) gave me a bulky document – a so-called contract for the procurement of four MiG 27 fighter jets. Each was to cost US $ 3,462,000 or over Rs 265 million. These were for aircraft manufactured between 1980 and 1983. The contract claimed they were Government to Government deals. I investigated the matter for many weeks, talking to my sources as well as diplomats who specialised in defence and security. A clear picture emerged.

After the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, as you are aware, Ukraine became another state. A fleet of MiG 27s lay in a parking lot exposed to snow, run and rain. A company based in Singapore was among those were wanting to sell these aircraft to the Sri Lanka Air Force and there appeared to be many irregularities.

The Sunday Times bared the details in an expose in December 2006. A few highlights of the report: I quote “A contract between the Air Force on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Ukranian Government-owned firm Ukrinmarsh is touted as a Government-to-Government del. Such deals are made to obviate the need to call for tenders to pick the lowest bidder. The widely accepted principle in these deals, referred to as G to G, is the elimination of third parties who make fat commissions and become billionaires overnight…” unquote

Now, this so-called contract was signed on July 2006 – just a day before Lanka Logistics and Technologies Limited came into being. This wholly state-owned concern was set up to procure all military equipment and related items to the armed services and Police. It was shocking to learn that the MiG 27s in question were those left over from two different purchases which Air Force teams that went to Ukraine had carefully selected.

These purchases, my report in the Sunday Times said: I quote “This was on two different occasions. That was six years ago and the prices were much lower. And now they have been contracted for higher prices. The first purchase was on May 25, 2000 when four MiG 27 jets were purchased for US $ 1.75 million each. They were manufactured between 1982 and 1985. The second purchase was on October 24 2000. In this deal, two MiG – 27s were purchased at a cost of at $ 1.6 million each.One was manufactured in 1981 and the other in 1984,”

You will observe from what I said that the last purchase was made from MiG 27s remaining after the better ones were chosen. If the two earlier purchases were for ones manufactured before 1985, the last was for those made between 1980 and 1983. I continued my investigations. When more reports began to appear, those at the highest levels of the Government were incensed. Powerful persons with a bottomless reservoir of arrogance, vengeance and vendetta unleashed a campaign of terror on me. Unfortunately, those travails had to be borne even by my wife and daughter. I must confess that after studies abroad, this was the reason why my daughter chose to work outside Sri Lanka. That was not the only heavy price I paid in the name of investigative journalism.

The continued exposure in the Sunday Times saw a vicious campaign by the state-run media. Together with them, the Ministry of Defence gave me a dubious title in their website – Traitor. I must single out the Sirasa television network during this troubled time for standing up to the truth. They even broadcast a letter from Senator Joe Biden, who was to later become US Vice President to then Sri Lanka President on my behalf. Crowds carrying placards calling me traitor, backed by a local councillor, demonstrated near my house. Some of those taking part demanded my arrest. I came under close surveillance and an effort was being made to locate my sources. Leave alone being arrested, if indeed I was considered a traitor, no state agency questioned me. I was making the news daily. Not one. I knew that someone somewhere was deeply hurt by my embarrassing disclosures.

Attached to me was a security contingent from the Army. I am sure you will agree that for a journalist, working with bodyguards around, is anathema. Their presence will discourage of dry up source. I had no choice. It came on the recommendation of intelligence agencies who said there were threats. They were withdrawn.

One day, I had a telephone call from the leader of a left-leaning political party who had close connections with those at the Defence Ministry. He was on visiting terms. He met me at home and did not lose time in asking me how I got details of he MiG-27 deal. I had to open a Pilot’s briefcase to pull out the documents and prove a point to him – why not punish those involved. He asked me for a copy of the contract but I said it was difficult at that point in time.

What I heard days later from my sources in the military was distressing. Plans were afoot to raid my house. They were after the Pilot’s briefcase. A sinister plan had already been set in motion. Loud hailers fixed with speakers were going around the area where I live warning residents that LTTE cadres were hiding in homes. Hence, the announcement said, a house to house search was under way. The idea was to raid my house. My source who was very familiar with the plans and asked me to get out of the house with my family. The advice was because I had some cause to protest that my house was raided in my absence.

There was a problem. A religious event in Colombo that had drawn members of the Bohra community from world over. All hotels in Colombo were full. My friend Amal Jayasinghe was kind enough to arrange for a hotel in Kalutara. Two others who are common friends, including a staffer in a diplomatic mission, drove me there. He also took charge of the Pilot’s Brief case.

There was more disturbing news just two weeks before Lasantha Wickrematunge was murdered. A very highly placed source asked me to get out of the house that very night. I flew to Thailand. I had spent long stints there living in an apartment cooking food, washing clothes and working online. The next morning, my driver who was alerted, saw a man with an oversized bush shirt moving outside my house in a motorcycle. When there was strong blowing, the bottom part of the shirt went up. There was a pistol on his waist. The driver noted the registration number. I checked it on a secure phone from Bangkok. The registration plate belonged to a lorry.

When the so-called Yahapalanaya government came to power, they set up the Financial Crimes Investgation Division (FCID). I made a statement to them in early 2015 and investigations began.

I have learnt that a FCID team went to Ukraine. On April 25, 2016 at 10 a.m. they met top Ukranian government officials including the Proscutor General. When told about the purchase of the last four MiG-27s, their response was shocking. The answer was “we never sold any MiG 27s to Sri Lanka.”

Here are some of the findings: The so-called contract which the Sri Lanka Air Force signed with Ukrinmarsh does not exist.

The Zimbabwe Defence Industries did not have stocks at the time the order was placed. Since the Army was in a hurry, a corrupt official at ZDI had approached an Israeli arms dealer. The latter arranged for the stock of 32,400 mortars from surplus stocks from the Bosnian war. They were loaded into a ship that was to first travel to Zimbabwe. I have not been able to establish the link from there until I found that it had been loaded into an LTTE cargo ship. That brought the stocks to the waters off Mullaitivu.

This was why, the ship that remained anchored for weeks, was later destroyed by the LTTE. It did not sail away. The advance paid by the Army remains in Singapore and the story ended there. There were pressure moves then to prevent a detailed probe.

I chose to mention these instances purely to underscore the fact that investigative journalism is not an easy task. There is someone somewhere who wants to hide the secrets of wrong doing so the public may not know. For those of you who aspire to become investigative journalists, it would be good to bear in mind the words Briitish playright Christopher Hampton. With apologies to him, I have modified it to say “asking what an investigative journalist what he thinks is about critics is like asking a lampost how it feels about dogs.”

In all the trials and tribulations, I must record the fact that I owe my great gratitude to my Publisher Ranjit Wijewardene, Editor in Chief Sinha Ratnatunga. They have not only stood by me but have been a tower of strength. I also owe a great thank you to my wife and daughter who had to bear all that I went through for no fault of theirs.

Once again, all my best wishes to the Sri Lanka Centre for Investigative Journalism. I think when you have to look at my work, like what a onetime US President said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.

Thank you.

*Iqbal Athas – Consultant Editor of the Sunday Times newspaper. Speech made at the Lakshman Kadirgarmar Institute in Colombo this morning

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Latest comments

  • 14
    2

    We miss you Igbal Athas.

    • 6
      0

      K.Pillai,

      Hasn’t Athas been the person who has been writing the Sunday Times political column all along, under the byline ‘Our Political Editor’?

      Mr. Athas might have worked from Thailand when Gotabhaya was running roughshod over journalists, and he might have taken a break, but I think in recent years, he has always written that column. The writing style revealed that.

    • 3
      0

      Sir,
      Iqbal Athas for President!
      A true son of the nation.
      Cheers!
      PS: Gotler should be worried. His fake “patriot” mask is slowly but surely coming off.

      • 5
        0

        Ben Hurling

        Thanks for visiting us in this forum even during the winter months.

        • 5
          0

          Native,
          Could you wake up our “SMART PATRIOT AMBASSADOR” in Moscow from hibernation too? He could double-check facts forwarded by highly respected Iqbal Athas. Then cook up some sort of a political science analysis to save his hero, corrupt Gotler. Just a matter of working his top-notch contacts in Kiev. Just a stones’ throw away from the Kremlin. Across the border in Ukraine.
          Cheers!
          PS: I guess our SMART PATRIOT AMBASSADOR is accredited to Ukraine too.

  • 19
    1

    “Powerful persons with a bottomless reservoir of arrogance, vengeance and vendetta unleashed a campaign of terror on me”. Now it is left to Mr. Gothabaya Rajapakse to respond to this. Will he have the gall to do so? Iqbal has been very very lucky to escape being murdered. Lasantha was not so lucky. The writing is on the wall but stodgy, sticky feet in the AG’s Dept are being dragged only millimeter by millimeter to where the evidence lies. When will they get there? There are files of so many such frauds and looting of our treasury that lie dusty and cobwebbed in these offices.

    • 0
      0

      Craig,
      .
      i dont compare IA with Lasantha. Lasantha was a fearless soul. But IA had then been different. His was not always consistent. Going back to 90ties or so.

      • 2
        0

        Babanpinchi,

        Yes. Lasantha was fearless, but less wise, and did not live another day to tell the story .

        Iqbal Athas was fearless intotially, but for all, because he was wise, lived another day, another 10 years or more, to tell us the rest of the story.

        Furthermore, he is doing more to expose the problem Sri Lanka has, here on Earth.

        May Lasantha, Ekluyagoda, Thagudeen and others Rest In Peace.

  • 16
    2

    So, this so called war Hero, Gotler and his goons looted tons of funds by these rotten procurements for the military. With so much evidence the justice system is moving at a snail pace but surely it would nail them, and now escape for them in this and next world. To hid it all from the country, they went on a rampage of killings and toucher of innocent and decent people like Lasantha, Keith Noir etc. Thank God Iqbal Athas luckily and miraculously escaped and saved his life. So, this thief, murderer and maniac is going to be the President. The good God should save Sri Lanka and it’s people from these despicable lots.

  • 14
    1

    My Good Lord Iqbal where were you all this time. Welcome back.

  • 12
    0

    My dear Iqbal

    Please write more often

  • 18
    2

    Gota the bastard murderer. How dare he ask for the top job of this nation

  • 15
    2

    Only Uneducated US Gas Station Assistant Gotabaya Rajapukse displays “a bottomless reservoir of arrogance, vengeance and vendetta” who unleashed “a campaign of terror” on all brave journalists including Igbal, Frederica Jansz, and Lasantha. .

    GoTa is the real traitor who tarnished the image of Sri Lanka by killing innocent civilians and protecting actual Terrorists like Karuna.

    GoTa actually destroyed all the prospects of an early end to the War Against LTTE by secretly conspiring to kill Denzil Kobbekaduwa.

    GoTabaya Rajapukse is now trying to contest for Presidency after looting the economy through multi-billion arms procurement scandals concocted with his notorious brother Mahinda Rajapukse

    God Bless Sinhala Buddhists who want this known Killer and dirty fraudster Gotabaya Rajapukse to be Sri Lanka’s next President

  • 9
    1

    Iqbal Aththas the doyen of Sri Lankan journalism is with Colombo Telegraph! Bravo!!

  • 8
    1

    It is nice to read some thing from you after long time. We still remember your report on 30 years of Sri Lankan war. Your report has been one of best reports.

  • 3
    8

    Iqbal Athas,
    I would like you to comment on my observation.
    It is believed that the MIGS helped to defeat the 30 year old war with the LTTE, bringing the war to an end? This is to justify, although Gota may have robbed and made money, the country has gained in the end. So it justify the means.
    My Observation.
    It is strange, why the LTTE closed the Mawillaru anicut to draw the Govt Forces to an open war, buried all their weaponry, that was exhibited at the Deyata Kirula Exhibition at the BMICH, later all the LTTE and the Tamil civilian population collected at Kilinochchi their stronghold only to decamp Kilinochchi in the end, to the seafront and get massacred at the Nandikadal Lagoon. Is this not what happened according to what was dished out by the Govt Media about the war? I believe if there was a real war between the LTTE and the Govt Forces for the advertised period of Jan 2008 to May 2009, the last battle should have been at Kilinochchi and not at the Nandikadal Lagoon. Did you know that our Forces did not have to fire a single shot to capture Kilnochchi as the entire LTTE cadre and the Tamil civilian population that were holed up in Kilinochchi from Aug 2008 had moved away when our Forces entered Kilinochchi on the 9th of Jan 2009. The rest of the land area that was under LTTE, was so heavily ladened with land mines, that made it, just impossible for anyone to penetrate without paying a very heavy casualty figure. Even after ten years, after the war had ended, the de mining has not finished yet. Do you seriously believe that there was a serious war, or is it that both VP and MR hyped a Propaganda war after VP helped MR become the President.

    cont..

    • 3
      3

      Part 2

      Both exaggerated a number dead from fighting just to appease the South that a heavy battle was underway in the War theater where there were no witnesses. The obvious plan looks that VP was duped to abandon Kilinochchi by berthing a couple of ships in the Eastern waters to lure VP and his LTTE cadre along with the Tamil civilians numbering a three hundred thousand to get to Puthukudiirippu on the beachfront. Once the Tamil Civilian population was allowed to wade across the Nandikadal Lagoon to the Forces control, the ships had vanished leaving VP and the LTTE cadre numbering around a forty thousand stranded. Thereafter when they came to surrender as Sarath Fonseka said first, the whole lot was massacred. The massacre took place under Shavendra Silva’s command under orders from the top and SF did not have a hand in it. That is why SF blurted out the truth, but he had to withdraw due to external pressure. Thereafter Shavendra Silva was provided safe house in the UN Head Office in NY itself, lest the whole truth about the war not to leak. The hidden hands who helped MR, presenting VP and the LTTE on a platter to annihilate them at the Nandikadal Lagoon is not difficult to be identified. It looks a typical game plan from the Veterans, to end the war that was presented to both MR and VP, who reneged on VP in the end on the promise that he would be whisked away. To do this great betrayal to VP it appears that KP had connived with MR, and for the fear that an LTTEer would get him outside, KP felt it would be safer to be in MR’s custody here with full protection and the best of comfort.

    • 2
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      “Did you know that our Forces did not have to fire a single shot to capture Kilnochchi “

      what nonsense are you talking gamini.The forces had tried to take kilinochi from oct 2008.Only after 3 months of heavy loss of casualties that the forces managed to enter kilinochi on 2nd jan 2009 and the LTTE just disappeared into the nearby jungles.

      • 0
        0

        Shankar,

        For your information what was stated in the Govt media just before the NCP elections in August 2008 was that the entire LTTE was holed up in Kilinochchi and Kilinochchi was encircled on three fronts. They never explained why the fourth side was left open. It was obviously for the LTTE to exit. There was no fighting to regain Kilinochchi. If there was then the last battle would have been at Kilinochchi where the LTTE had enough bunkers for defense. But they abandoned all this and the whole lot left to Puthukudiirippu and that is where other than the Tamil civilians the rest were massacred at the Nandikadal Lagoon. Had there been fighting at Kilinochchi there would not have been many left to get to the Beachfront. If you have common sense, use it

    • 3
      0

      Dear Gamini, I hope you understand that MIG 27 are War Planes which are used to fight other countries and certainly not the LTTE where you can pinpoint people on the ground and attack… these were 25 year old rusted metal junks that certainly did not help in finishing the war!!! Please do not justify the purchases as you are underestimating the majority of Sri Lankans with brains!!!

  • 4
    0

    Gamini. Can’t you understand that the Migs were never bought. They fought with those bought in the year 2000.

  • 7
    0

    CONGRATULATIONS retards, Lanka a shit hole like no other is now in 89 th place in the world corruption list.Thanks to presidential thatha ,s blunted sword display and MR,s 50 days illegal stay. But you have your buddy China for company at 87 th place. That should bring some smile on your faces. Enjoy the fun.

  • 5
    0

    MARA turned a blind eye for many things happened during his Presidency. He helped his Kith & Kin to loot the Treasury which was under him. Now the JADA press and some JADA yellow robed monks from some temples go Shopping for MARAS clan. The Political SLAVES do not see all the Wrongs that happened during YAMA PALANAYA.

  • 5
    0

    The Investigative Journalist Par Excellence-Iqbal Atthas has staged Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.
    The write-up does not mention Gotabaya Rajapakse. This is the beauty of this essay!

    • 5
      0

      And look at his writing style, short sentences and not trying to be another Shakespeare with big, big words like our DJ or few other professors write to CT. In a modern world with lots of mobile devices, it is hard to grasp a long sentence while big words some not in everyday use turn off your readers.

  • 4
    0

    There are many types of journalism. The work of investigative journalists is to expose corruption, fraud, bad governance, mismanagement, and other irregularities. It can be a high-risk occupation in certain countries. There is also a sharply contrasting type of journalism known as ‘cover-up’ journalism. The job of practitioners of this brand of journalism is to act as apologists for the powerful but corrupt persons who abuse their power to enrich themselves and even resort to murder to eliminate their critics. Cover-up journalists always tend to conceal, obfuscate and trivialize the wrong-doings of their patrons and mislead the people with fake news, among other things. We have many journalists of this ilk in Sri Lanka.

    Perhaps they should all band together and form the “Sri Lanka Centre for Cover-up Journalism.”

    • 2
      0

      Nice one Estate Labourer!

      ‘SLCCJ’ that will be one helluva organisation and in SL a crowded one. There will be so many who will qualify for membership. It is truly amazing what a free lap top will do.

  • 3
    0

    Has Gota passed Year 10?

    (I don’t think so)

    • 4
      0

      Mawaralle Baddhiya

      I believe Dr Gota joined the army in 1971, during JVP’s childish uprising when weeping widow was in charge of the island. During her misrule he wouldn’t have needed A/L’s, minimum 3 Credits and 3 passes would have been sufficient, plus a lot of party recommendation, ……….. just like his brother Dr Rajapaksa’s entry into Law college.

      Let us see how SJ who is the weeping widow’s only admirer react to the above information.

    • 0
      0

      Are u really that Thero Mawaralle Baddhiya?
      .
      Or just an another person abuse your name to pick up some info on this platform ?

      Please could kindly confirm !

  • 4
    0

    Iqbal Atthas

    May the ink in your pen never run dry.

    Keep well, and never let your guard drop.

  • 0
    5

    Does , at a time of intense war between a government and a brutal terrorist group with heavy international support , exposing battle plans and weaponry deployment also fall under the ambit of “investigative journalism”? I am not referring to the case on hand – the Mig deal, just wanted to clarify the definition. It is known that Lasantha Wickramasinghe expressed jubilation at LTTE victories and glorified LTTE strength. If his democratic right is conflicting with the poor citizens’ right to life and limb whose side should I take? What about ‘selective’ investigative culture?

    Soma

    • 1
      0

      ” If his democratic right is conflicting with the poor citizens’ right to life and limb….”
      In what way did Lasantha’s right conflict with the poor citizens’ right to life and limb?
      *
      If you say that it was in conflict with the right of corrupt individuals to make millions in the name of defending the country, I will fully agree, and that was why he had to be silenced.
      *
      Iqbal Athas was a lucky man to live to speak on another day.

    • 2
      0

      somass

      “Does , at a time of intense war between a government and a brutal terrorist group with heavy international support , exposing battle plans and weaponry deployment also fall under the ambit of “investigative journalism”?”

      Does it mean one should turn a blind eye to corruption, nepotism, war crimes, ……….especially when they are being committed by Mahindawamsa?

    • 2
      0

      @Soma(pala), please move on from the defunct LTTE. Stop living in the past and write something with sense. MR will play a LTTE drama every time he wants to wind up people in SL. Stop listening to his songs and grow some intelligence.

      • 4
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        Tamil from the north

        “Stop living in the past and write something with sense.”

        You must be kidding.
        HLD M is sitting on his brain.

      • 0
        2

        Tell this to Vingeshvaran.

        Soma

  • 2
    4

    Whatever said and done he is an unethical journalist. He exposed the source of information back to the heads of institutions. That is my experience.

    • 3
      1

      @Lal(chandra), can you please explain how Iqbal is unethical?

  • 1
    0

    Soma has raised a very pertinent point. Exposing battle plans
    is intelligence to the enemy and is treachery. What does battle
    plans mean? It is largely planned military action that helps the
    enemey to learn of it.

    It will be good if Soma can cite and instance. Then we can
    question the authorities why no action was taken. Simply saying
    battle plans is no use Sir. Such plans can even mean toilets for
    the troops.

    Lasantha’s journalism may be questionable to some. But I don’t
    think he relished at LTTE victories. Speak the truth.

    • 0
      0

      Malinga
      DBS Jeyaraj:

      I recall a conversation with him in October 2008 where we were discussing the military situation of that time when Kilinochchi was the prime target. Quoting a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP of that time enjoying close relations with the Tigers, Lasantha said: “Kilinochchi will never fall.” I replied saying it may not fall directly to the military but could certainly be abandoned by the LTTE if the Army captured Paranthan. I pointed out that if Paranthan was taken by the Army…”

      Soma

    • 1
      0

      Malinga

      somass never had a point in his entire life, even his life has become pointless/meaningless. His only source of nourishment is bigotry and income is whatever he forages during ethnic riots and whatever his women folks earn in the Medieval Middle East Kingdoms.

  • 1
    0

    Some commenters here have not read this article by Iqbal Athas. It is in fact a speech at the Kathirgarmar Institute. Purchase of military equipment in a time of war is never a secret.
    If the purchase was not for need but for the commission, it is most unbecoming. How can revealing this be called betrayal?
    PS: Our former Ambassador to Moscow, Udayanga Weeratunga, is somewhere out there evading Interpol because of the fraud.

  • 1
    0

    Iqbal Aththas the doyen of Sri Lankan journalism has come out of the closet.

    Now is the time for Frederica Janz to come out. Frederica you are in US. Please come back or start writing from US like Iqbal does

  • 2
    1

    To My Dear friend IQBAL ATHAS of Good Old Days at “SUN” (M.D.Gunasena Mawatha, Colombo 12.

    I am very delighted to read your key note address “COLOMBO TELEGRAPH” today under the caption ” MiG Deal and The Heavy Price I Paid in the name of Investigative Journalism”

  • 0
    0

    To My Good Friend IQBAL ATHAS of the “SUN / Weekend” fame (M.D.Gunasena Mawatha, Hulftsdorp, Colombo-2.)

    I am most delighted and happy that my erstwhile friend Iqbal who used to travel with me in my father’s “Humber Hawk” to many places, to meet people for his news coverage is still in his fine form Alhamdulillah. Rex, Dantanarayana, and many other, whom, I associated through his friendship were true gentleman journalists.

    I read the keynote address you had delivered at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Centre for Investigative Journalism at the Lakshman Kadirgarmar
    Institute in Colombo today and grieved to learn the challenges you faced, trials and tribulations you underwent at the risk of your life due to the evil corrupt forces of society who are traitors who sold our beautiful motherland for their selfish greedy power by fooling the masses under the guise of patriots who saved the country from terrorism of the LTTE and unleached state terrorism after establishing themselves as true Sinhala Buddhists safeguarding the Buddhist majority and not the minority who too are citizens of the country like others.
    Many people have made their observations and comments and I too join in wishing you well and like RW’s father Esmond you should too, be the recipient of a similar award in recognition of your contribution to journalism and that too with honor and dignity at the risk of your life bringing to light the atrocities and corruption of those so called politicians with the tag “safeguarding and saving the country from terrorists” May God Bless you, safeguard and guide you to carry on your illustrious work unscathed by unruly elements.

  • 0
    0

    Brijesh

    Please see my posting about the same in the latest article

    Frederica has a strong hand andshecan write. She should expose what happenned to her and why she had to flee

  • 0
    0

    This is a mamooth writer. We must protect him at all costs.

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    Pillai , you did notice the logic of our retards.(as usual being diplomatic). Person in the top supplies poor quality equipment to the army after getting a nice cut ,during active war is not considered a treason compared to a journalist who exposed it. Way to go Lankawe. Another Lankan,s logic is “I saw some foreigners raping a girl, so I too joined them. You have any remedy for these cursed beings????.

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    Iqbal Athas, we salute and hats off for your bravery in facing these ruthless, merciless assaults unleashed by the ruthless politicians. Thank God, you and your family are safe. This has happened in Sri Lanka! unbelievable!

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    Once a former Air force commander said
    “even if it was the Buddha who sat on my chair no one can stop the commission going to his bank account in arms purchase”
    That is the practice the world over. Even Rajiv Gandhi was accuse of corruption in the Bofors affair.
    What Athas and others tried to do was to disrupt the war effort on the pretext of disclosing corruption.
    If there was corruption as claimed by him,there was plenty of time since 2015 to bring the evidence to fore and punish the corrupt.

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      NAK

      “Once a former Air force commander said
      “even if it was the Buddha who sat on my chair no one can stop the commission going to his bank account in arms purchase”

      Couldn’t he just tell the bank it should not credit any deposits into his account other than his legitimate earned income.
      The government should have investigated his local and foreign bank accounts and charge you for aiding and abetting money laundering.

      Are you proud of yourself for being an apologists for commission crooks.

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    Malinga
    DBS Jeyaraj:

    I recall a conversation with him in October 2008 where we were discussing the military situation of that time when Kilinochchi was the prime target. Quoting a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP of that time enjoying close relations with the Tigers, Lasantha said: “Kilinochchi will never fall.” I replied saying it may not fall directly to the military but could certainly be abandoned by the LTTE if the Army captured Paranthan. I pointed out that if Paranthan was taken by the Army…”

    Soma

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