By Colombo Telegraph-
WikiLeaks:‘There Will Be No Investigation, No One Will Be Able To Find Out What Happened To Keith’ – Gota
“Rajapaksa reportedly went on to say that the investigation of the Noyahr incident would lead nowhere. ‘There will be no investigation. It will reach a certain point and stop. No one will be able to find out what happened.’ He castigated journalists in general for focusing attention on Sri Lanka’s human rights record. ‘Human rights mean nothing. We do not want to be bothered about it while we’re fighting a war. Because of the international campaign, we can’t arrest anyone. But I don’t care; I will do what I want. The military will campaign for criminal defamation laws to stop all this. The fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution have to be repealed.’”the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
Secretary to the ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa made above remarks with Sanath Balasooriya and Poddala jayantha , the president and the secretary of Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association.
The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database dated June 2, 2008. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert Blake. The cable details the media suppression situation just after the abduction and beating of defense journalist Keith Noyahr. The cable also details a meeting Secretary to the ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and two media workers Sanath Balasooriya and Poddala jayantha has had with.
Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;
VZCZCXRO8831 OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC DE RUEHLM #0528/01 1541314 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 021314Z JUN 08 FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8203 INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0926 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7915 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 6090 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4421 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2072 RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 4402 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3497 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8526 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5971 RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0667 RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2799 RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 COLOMBO 000528 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2018 TAGS: PGOV PHUM PTER MOPS PREL CE SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: DEFENSE MINISTRY MOBILIZES AGAINST MEDIA CRITICS REF: COLOMBO 507 Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROBERT O. BLAKE, JR. REASONS: 1.4(b,d). ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The Defense Secretary summoned two media workers from the government-owned publishing house. He reportedly harangued them for over two hours for participating in a rally to protest the abduction and beating of defense journalist Keith Noyahr. The journalists told us that Gothabaya told them that "groups that revere Army Commander Fonseka" would kill them if they persisted in their campaign for media freedom. Five media organizations released a letter to the Defense Secretary deploring his actions. Several other journalists reported surveillance, harassment and intimidation by shadowy groups likely linked to the Defense Ministry. The CEO of the independent newspaper Noyahr works for has fled the country. The paper's editor told us he fears for his life and for his family and may seek temporary refuge abroad. The paper's majority owner is reportedly negotiating to divest his shares in the company. Government spokesmen have generally been dismissive of the threats to the media. The Defense Ministry will reportedly seek draconian censorship and criminal defamation legislation to shut down any criticism of the government's conduct of the war. The campaign against media critics of the administration appears aimed at discovering their sources within the military's disgruntled officer corps and is likely linked to the Army Commander's effort to gain another extension of his term beyond the normal retirement age. End summary.
¶6. (C) Rajapaksa reportedly went on to say that the investigation of the Noyahr incident would lead nowhere. "There will be no investigation. It will reach a certain point and stop. No one will be able to find out what happened." He castigated journalists in general for focusing attention on Sri Lanka's human rights record. "Human rights mean nothing. We do not want to be bothered about it while we're fighting a war. Because of the international campaign, we can't arrest anyone. But I don't care; I will do what I want. The military will campaign for criminal defamation laws to stop all this. The fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution have to be repealed."