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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative > Interim Self Governing Authority & Aftermath > International Espionage & the Hidden Third Force
International Espionage &
the Hidden Third Force
Frederica Jansz in the Sri Lanka Sunday Leader, 9 May 2004
New evidence that has now surfaced, stirring up a hornet's nest reveals that not only have the whole United National Front government been bending over backwards to help the LTTE to keep the peace process alive, but intelligence organisations have also been playing a double game tapping into their conversations with the Tigers in a bid to derail the peace process.
Telephones have been tapped long before the April 2nd, general election in an overall master plan to destroy the UNF over its dealings with the LTTE and the peace process. The guinea pig has been the affable Head of the LTTE's Peace Secretariat, S. Pulidevan. Having forged many a friendship in the south both with UNF politicians as well as Norwegian facilitators, Pulidevan was a sitting duck for intelligence sleuths with a hidden agenda to track his every movement and telephone conversations.
Of course the UNF has also left itself stupidly open for attack. Some of the telephone conversations, excerpts of which we reproduce today, amply display the UNF's amateurish and even načve approach with the LTTE. Their fawning attention directed in these conversations with Pulidevan is nothing short of being disgraceful. Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena is a prime example. As for Jon Westborg, Norway's former Ambassador to Sri Lanka the least said the better. (see boxes for excerpts of conversations)
When we spoke to Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena and informed him of the contents of the tape and his conversation with Pulidevan, he said, "I am not aware of this. Someone rang me and told me these tapes are out. I really do not know who was behind this. But whatever my conversation recorded there was no mischief on my part. Whatever the clarification they (LTTE) wanted I have given it."
Asked why he appears to have been bending over backwards to appease the LTTE, Dr. Jayawardena said, "I do not think so. I have never bent to anybody. But I have stood for my principles, which I believe in and I was all out for a negotiated peaceful settlement. Since 1994 to 2001 I fought single-handed and on my own. I went to the Wanni and had medical camps and did all other humanitarian welfare camps openly and that was known to the north as well as to the south. None of my visits to the Wanni when I was an opposition MP were made secretly. I always got approval from the ministry of defence.
Dr. Jayawardena then contradicted himself saying he could not remember who he was referring to when he says in the conversation with Pulidevan that someone tried to kill his "two innocent children and wife" as well as branded him an LTTE spy - but that the retribution has now come.
"I cannot remember who I was referring to. These people may have twisted my conversation.with modern technology they can replace my voice with somebody else's. Without hearing the tape I cannot say if the voice is mine."
Dr. Jayawardena also denied that he had spoken against Ravi Karunanayake or T. Maheswaran who were both ministers at the time Jayawardena had this discussion with the LTTE. "I never said anything about the 40,000 tonnes of rice and never implicated Ravi," Jayawardena swore, vehemently denying that he had also said, "Minister Maheswaran is very angry with him" due to his self-declared popularity in the north.
"This tape is definitely a fabrication," Dr. Jayawardena charged insisting he never had such a conversation with Pulidevan or any other member of the LTTE.
Meanwhile not only have the Norwegian facilitators and Scandinavian monitors left themselves open to such attack and telephones taps but even confidential minutes of a meeting between the SLMM's Major General Trond Furuhovde and the LTTE on April 29, this year have been made public.
Agnes Braggatoir, spokesperson for the SLMM confirmed that the minutes of an SLMM meeting with the LTTE on April 29, this year published in the daily Island last Wednesday "are correct."
She said the SLMM is now conducting an inquiry to find out how the document was leaked to the press given that it was a "strictly internal document." They believe some party had hacked into their computer network.
Asked for a response on the allegation that the SLMM is acting in a manner partial towards the LTTE, Braggatoir said, "The SLMM is not going to comment. We never respond to criticism. We are very used to criticism with what we are doing. We do not respond, we only continue with our work."
But what is intriguing is to find out who was behind this whole act of espionage. Was it Sri Lankan intelligence with a hidden agenda? Or was it Indian espionage? The latter, may now seem plausible given India' s recent display of heightened interest in Sri Lanka's peace process. So much so that calls have gone out even calling for Indian monitors to get involved. And the role played by India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Nirupam Sen, in similar vein to J. N. Dixit, speaks volumes.
Bradman Weerakoon, former secretary to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to the fact that a telephone conversation he had with Pulidevan of the LTTE has been tapped said, "I am aware of this tape. It is my voice. We were basically talking about how Pulidevan should pay the duty for the transmission equipment. Or, if he cannot, how best to circumvent that problem."
Weerakoon denied having acted with partiality towards the LTTE or that the then UNF government had been bending over backwards to appease the Tigers. "That allegation is not justifiable. After all the fact of the matter is they paid for it and they wanted permission to do it legally to get within the framework. They wanted a license to broadcast."
Weerakoon said he had no idea who could have tapped the telephones. "This was probably somebody tapping the phone lines from Killinochchi. I do not know if this was one of those radio conversations and being tapped from outside. I really do not know who could have done this."
The question is this; has Sri Lanka become a playing field for international espionage? Norway itself has left its facilitatory role open for attack if one is to judge the conversation between its former ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jon Westborg and Pulidevan of the LTTE.
One aspect is crystal clear. And that is the conversations on these files reflect the fact that the peace process appears to have been the private affair of some powerful individuals at work in Sri Lanka, particularly those belonging to the LTTE, Norway and the UNF including the bureaucracy. These telephone conversations were recorded during the later half of' 2002.
And above all is the fact that intelligence arms have reared their ugly heads to serve masters who remain invisible. The Norwegians the LTTE and the UNF have all been reduced to mere putty in the hands of these forces. Perhaps this is the "third party" Major General Trond Furuhovde of the SLMM mysteriously refers to in his conversation with Pulidevan.
As for Sri Lanka's citizenry - as far as these forces are concerned it is obvious -they, can be damned. This is power politics at play and the two parties, including the facilitators have fallen hook, line and sinker into a net of intrigue and deceit.
Below are excerpts of the conversations.
'The message is very clear doctor..." - Pulidevan
Wiretap 3: Telephone conversation between Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, who was at the time Minister for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Refugees for the North and East and Pulidevan as well as another top rung LTTE member who remains unidentifiable. Dr. Jayawardena is now denying the voice on the tape is his.
Dr. JJ: ...Now his wife says these are legitimate money. Is it humanely possible? This is the fellow who was trying to label me as a spy of the LTTE he is the fellow who printed posters against me.. who not only tried to kill me but my innocent two children and wife you know.. So today he is paying the price. There is a NIB report that these armed dealers they have kept aside 15 million rupees to destroy me. Today maybe Prof. G. L. Peiris or Minister Milinda Moragoda all these people are in a position to talk about the peace. But when everybody was scared to open their mouths about the LTTE or about that negotiated peaceful settlement for the last seven years I fought alone - I fought alone my dear ...
LTTE Voice: Yes. you have been doing it.. We know.
Dr. JJ: And I was with the suffering people. I wonder whether you left a message you know the Japanese government they contacted me and gave me one hundred wheelchairs. So I told them I want to give it to the disabled of your organization.. The Japanese Ambassador came to my ministry and he told me for me to personally meet your political leader and hand it over. So, the wheelchairs are lying at my ministry.
Pulidevan: Definitely I will explore this possibility with our political leader.
Dr. JJ: Yeah, because ....yeah
LTTE voice: This is why I took this opportunity Doctor, to give his best regards to you personally because of your cooperation with our various leaders in our administrative setup and our political wing. he is highly appreciative of all your efforts working for the Tamil people as well as the cooperation you are giving to our cadres.
Dr. JJ: You know that on the 6th of September I am starting a cellular telephone service also for Jaffna.
Dr. JJ: And you know even that bus service that is also my proposal.. you know for the north and east to privatize that is also my thing...
LTTE voice: Very good. so easy access for the civilians.
Dr. JJ: Yeah.
Pulidevan: Doctor, one thing I like to inform to you about this in Point Pedro the office you are going to open. The people are a little bit afraid and confused about your opening.you know Douglas Devananda was also invited.
Dr. JJ: Yeah, you know actually when they came and told me I as the minister have personally allocated funds from the District Development Board all for the benefit of the Tamil people. That is why even Minister Maheswaran is very angry with me. As you know I have no political or business interest in Jaffna. My interest is only with the people -
Pulidevan: That message is very clear Doctor.
Dr. JJ: But you now I must tell you the last few days I was little hurt.
Pulidevan: Why doctor?
Dr. JJ: You know that Mr. Puvanan, and Mr. Thamil Chelvam with Mr. Emil you know they were introduced to me by the GA Jaffna. sorry Vavuniya. So you know when they came for the first time to Colombo you can ask form them I gave all protection and gave all assistance. In fact you know I sent my own personal bodyguard and vehicle even though I did not pay their hotel bill even that I got some of my trusted people to look after them. I did everything. And whatever the things they wanted I did it. But you know without my knowledge somebody has spoilt their minds and they have gone and met Mr. Ravi Karunanayake and some of the other ministers. Actually I had a problem with Mr. Ravi Karunanayake. I must tell you I must be very honest with you..
Dr. JJ: You know they imported some bad rice from Pakistan. Some 40,000 metric tonnes. Now there is a complaint against him at the bribery commission by Anura Bandaranike.
Pulidevan: Yes. the President also took this issue.
Dr. JJ: You see he was asking me to send this rice to the refugees. I said I cannot. I said I must follow tender procedure. And everything has to be transparent. So he tried to pressurize me. But I said if the Prime Minister tells me to send it, I will send it. But the Prime Minister stood with me. So he got very angry with me. Because I cannot afford.. my brother, I have worked for the innocent Tamil refugees. The money is not everything for me. Even tomorrow I can go to any part of the world. I am a surgeon a specialist. I can go to America, I can go to Germany I can go to Canada I can go anywhere. I can live like a king.
LTTE voice: Yes, yes doctor we know.
Dr. JJ: So over that issue he got very angry with me. Now these people have gone and met him. They are free to meet anybody. But they should have had the courtesy of at least informing me. right? So I was very hurt. Now both of us when we have a trust if you try to do anything behind me that is not the gentlemanly way.
LTTE voice: I understand but here really Doctor we are also a little bit confused.because you know Douglas Devananda the Jaffna people hate him.
Dr. JJ: You know actually my brother, since you spoke to me, you can inform to Mr. Thamil Chelvam that I am not going to go..
Pulidevan: That's very good news. doctor.
Dr. JJ: No problem. You know I am a man with sense my dear. I know the type of work what this Douglas Devananda has done. They have spent millions of rupees. Millions of rupees they have cheated.
Pulidevan: Yes, with the President.
Dr. JJ: You know my problem is at the moment you will understand me and my honourable Prime Minister now we are trying to balance the Parliament we are trying to get your'll the interim administration. Even one seat in the Parliament is important for us. We are just making use of Douglas Devananda's three votes.
Pulidevan: (laughs) we understand that brother.ˇ
Dr. JJ: You must tell Mr. Puvanan. You know not that..they may think I am trying to work with Douglas Devananda. You know as much as you respect your leader I respect my leader. And I want his stability. You know if he is stable only we can find a solution to this problem. If our government collapses tomorrow the entire peace process will go for a six. You know this government has to be protected.
LTTE voice: Yes, that's one issue that perspective we understand.
Dr. JJ: Mr. Puvenan he told me, he cannot talk to me directly he talked to me with the help of a translator Mr. Emil, you know every time that this meeting with Mr. Thamil Chelvam will take place tomorrow, tomorrow.this week , this week, that week. Now actually day before yesterday I told Mr. Emil, I told him very sincerely I don't want to see Thamil Chelvam right. please don't give me false hopes. don't tell me something which is not going to take place.
Pulidevan: That's true..
Dr. JJ: If, for any valid reason Mr. Thamil Chelvam does not want to see me - fair enough. But that doesn't mean that I will lose my relationship with them.
LTTE voice: No, No doctor.that is why we told Mr Suda and I also met you..
Dr. JJ: I know. . I Know. You know recently also I came and met Daya Masters. In fact today morning also I spoke with Daya Masters. I have got 6.3 million Euro which is equivalent to 6.3 dollars for North East rehabilitation .
Pulidevan: Oh, that' s very good Doctor!
Dr. JJ: And on 19th September I will be going to Geneva. I am going to meet the UN Commissioner on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for refugees and I am going to give lot of funding. And for Mullaitivu, Killinochchi hospitals I am sending medical equipment worth 1.5 million USD.
Pulidevan: Oh. great.
Dr.JJ: And I have negotiated with the Tamil Nadu government to get medical doctors, nurses and paramedics. So even temporarily they will train our people. So, actually my brother, It is necessary not for political reasons, to discuss these matters, it is high time for me to meet with Thamil Chelvam. This is nothing to do with political agenda, nothing to do with political dialogue.
LTTE voice: Humanitarian aspect.
Dr. JJ: Humanitarian aspect..
LTTE voice: I really understand and definitely I will pass that message for you.And may I pass the message you are going to attend this meeting?
Dr. JJ: Yeah.yeah. you can. Because of you. because of you.
Pulidevan: Thank you I really appreciate that. I never forget that . but we thought the SLMM had informed you of that meeting.
Dr. JJ: No. No..Whether it is SLMM or whether it is Hon. Prabhakran or Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe you and me we are brothers. You must tell me. I felt very bad because it is my duty to look after you. I don't care about these people I have already been branded as a spy. Anyway how are you know? Are your kidney functions all right?
Pulidevan: Yes thank you Doctor..there is actually no big problem at all there is no formation of calcium.
Dr. JJ: If you fax me your medical reports I will get a second opinion.even I can continue with their observations.
Pulidevan: Unfortunately I don't have the reports now Doctor. but I will try.
Dr JJ: Because last week when I came - last week was my birthday 16th of August. I came.. you ask Mr. Daya Masters I came in search of you. Because after you left Colombo only I came to know you had come to Colombo. Then you were not well. I came to Madu, from Madu I came to Killinochchi purely to see you. On the 16th, you know. I came to your office then they said you are resting. So, I said not to disturb you but I said to at least tell you that I have come. Please tell Mr. Puvanan and Mr. Emil I am a man with one policy and one mission you know...I don't do anything underhand. because I don't want them also to be misled. they can have offence but not genuine offence. There is a big difference between friends and genuine friends. Even in the UNP there are communal minded people - this is why you have to be extremely careful. Be very, very careful my dear -
Pulidevan: Yes.. Yes doctor. thank you and we are sorry.please
Dr. JJ: So tell Mr Thamil Chelvam I am very, very keen to meet him as early as possible.
LTTE voice: We will Doctor. we will
"They wear your uniform or they wear the government uniform..." - Trond
Wiretap 2: conversation between Major General Trond Furuhovde and Pulidevan.
Sensitive information is given to Pulidevan and Furuhovde is heard telling Pulidevan that the latest tiger violation is due to involvement of a "third party." The general also states "I am using all their resources to calm down the Sinhalese part of the population" and requests Pulidevan to order his people to do the same, whereupon Pulidevan agrees but states that the "Tamil people are always at the receiving end." Furuhovde advises Pulidevan to protect himself. At the end of the conversation Pulidevan requests the general to "please be involved continuously in this." He is assured that it will be so. Col. Karuna is also mentioned during the conversation. Both this and the wiretap with Westborg were made in August 2002.
Excerpts of the conversation:
Gen. Trond: I have been talking to Bernard about the Trinco situation- .. they will do whatever they can now and I will use all their resources to calm down the Sinhalese part of the population. And he asked if you could give an order to your people on your side just to stay away because then we can probably get things under control.
Pulidevan: Yes. Yes.. I will do. But they are always at the receiving end. The Tamil people are always at the receiving end.
Gen. Trond: Yeah! So, if that is possible.
Pulidevan: I will definitely inform to the people . but we need speedy action General for this.
Gen. Trond: And I think we don't know yet the details but we know that . was the reason why they were killed .. well they found a hand with a ring. So.. but I think cooperation here is needed.
Pulidevan: And that's one reason. One grenade was thrown. - the army opened fire to the people in and around .'puram' junction.
Gen. Trond: I noted what you said. But still I ask you to do what you can your side because the government will do whatever they can on their side. And, I think there must be a third party here ... I don't think this is between the parties.
Pulidevan: Yes, we have said we will be careful about this.
Gen. Trond: Yes, I think, I have a very strong feeling also down here that there is a third party who now is creating a situation and are blaming the parties. And I think that we should consider that we have a cooperation concerning intelligence and security because we have to stop it. because this can, you know, this can jeopardize everything.
Pulidevan: Yes.. definitely..
Gen. Trond: So, I think that we agree on that. I had a very good talk with the Commander of the STF and I will say that with you when I talk to Karuna. And because I think the parties here, the parties here, can think together and be strong. but if the third party is there then we will have a situation again.So already I will suggest that the parties should communicate and I will come up with a suggestion when we have finished.
Pulidevan: Ah. that's very good...
Gen. Trond: Even before we have finished it, I will have a suggestion from my side.
Gen. Trond: Its quite obvious this is not the work of any of the parties.
Gen. Trond: This is something - someone else..
Pulidevan: Hmm. But what about our forces?
Gen Trond: They are used. I think even among your people comrades are being used. I think on both sides there are people who don't like what is happening and they wear your uniform or they wear the governmental uniform so they are among us so we have to beware of that - so that's why I think there should be cooperation between the parties.
Gen. Trond: You have to protect yourself.
Pulidevan: Yes. Thank you and Mr. Thamilchelvan said please General be involved in this.
Gen. Trond: I will. I can assure you I will stay here.
Pulidevan: Yes. That's very important for us.
Gen. Trond: Yeah. I will be here.
Pulidevan: That's very good General. And if you could pay a visit to Trincomalee..
Gen. Trond: I will. When I am finished in Amparai I will go to Karuna and then I will go to Trinco.
Pulidevan: Ah, that's very good.
Gen Trond: Ok?
Pulidevan: Ok. General.
Gen. Trond: Fine. Ok. Bye, Bye.
Pulidevan: Bye, Bye.
"Equipment for the peace process..."
Below is an excerpt of a conversation between Bradman Weerakoon, Secretary to former Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and Pulidevan. Weerakoon is bending over backwards to accommodate the LTTE and its import of communications equipment. Even telling Pulidevan to make only a farcical show of paying customs duty which monies he maintains the government will thereafter reimburse the LTTE.
Pulidean : Pulidevan here.
Bradman: Ah yes, Pulidevan - we might get .. Some money more that we expected..
Pulidevan: Ah that's important.
Bradman: Important.. yes very important.they are making such a fuss its like they want to have an Afghanistan
Pulidevan: Yes.. Yes.. (laughs) ..
Bradman: (laughing) we have stolen the show.Now Puli, I spoke to the Prime Minister and also to Austin. The question of the transmission equipment its ok. Its ok basically.
Pulidevan: Ah, that is good.
Bradman: Only thing is you have to get the licenses from the various parties. We are now trying to find a way out of this payment of exemption of duties because the Prime Minister said if you can find a way of doing it because otherwise all the other jokers you know these NGO's will want to get various things duty free. So you know we have to find a way,. Is it possible to make the payment and we pay you later through some other mechanism rather than doing it this way people will immediately get to know and they will say why only the LTTE we also can get things duty free and you know there can be a problem there.
Pulidevan: Yes because this is actually the equipment for the peace process.
Bradman: Ah the peace process. Ah.. this is not normal equipment but for the peace process. Let me examine that, I'll speak to these treasury people. Charitha Ratwatte has to say ok... It's a good idea to advocate the fact that the peace thing is necessary for the equipment.
Pulidevan: Yes, I mentioned that in my letter. if you could go through the letter I have said that. We can send it from Singapore to here then we can work out the VAT and the duties later.
Bradman: Ah right we can even do that - right. That I can get done - Its holding up there..?
Bradman: Ok, I'll try and do it this afternoon Puli.
Pulidevan: Yes, Thank you. If you can get that clearance it will be more obtianable
Bradman: Right, right.
Pulidevan: If you can do it today it will me easy..
Bradman: Right, right I will try and do it this afternoon.
Pulidevan: Right that's very excellent.
Bradman: Ok. And I'll try and get your people contacted right.? Ok, Puli..Bye.
"I want it to go to my residence...
Wiretap one: Norwegian Ambassador Jon Westborg and Pulidevan from the LTTE.
In this wiretap the ambassador gives information about the communications equipment and informs him that the Norwegians will pay for the added cost. This reveals a discussion between Westborg and Pulidevan about the transmission equipment that has been "dealt with and explained and arranged with Mr. Bradman Weerakoon."
A total of six tons of equipment was delivered to the LTTE in 2002 including V-Sat equipment used in satellite communications. The conversation also revolves around a document that has been signed by Thamil Selvan and another is requested to be mailed to the ambassador's residence and not to the embassy. Westborg specifically instructs Pulidevan to send the fax direct to his residence at Gregory's Road and not to the embassy.
The conversation goes thus:
Westborg: Did you get the fax?
Pulidevan: Mr. ThamilSelvan accepted fully what you have suggested in your letter - so actually we are now trying to send it to you. I got the signatures so now we are trying to send it to you.
Westborg: Very good. very good.
Pulidevan: Excuse me Ambassador the lines are very poor.. please speak loud and clear. Can we send the fax to 674146? Is that ok ambassador?
Westborg: No, you cannot send it to that number because that is not to working. You can send it to the embassy number. you have the embassy.
Pulidevan: Please tell the number Ambassador.
Westborg: I don't have the number here now. If you have a paper with the embassy letterhead then you will find the fax number at the bottom.
Pulidevan: Yes, yes we can find it.
Westborg: So you can send it there. Now Puli, what I was trying to do was to basically understand or write it down if I have understood you correctly - do you feel that I have understood you correctly?
Pulidevan: Yes, hundred percent.
Westborg: Very good. Thank you! Then we can go ahead.
Pulidevan: That's why I am sending that with the signature of Thamil Selvan
Westborg: Excellent. Then we will go ahead. Then we have to find a way to send it - you know my address.
Pulidevan: Yes. Ward Place Colombo 7?
Westborg: No. Send it to 65.
Pulidevan: Excuse me 65?
Westborg: Yes, 65/1, Gregory's Road.
Pulidevan: 65/1, Gregory's Road?
Westborg: Yes. Colombo 7.
Pulidevan: Colombo 7. I will do it.
Westborg: That is my residence. Because I don't want this one to go to my embassy I want it to go to my residence. So I pick it up.
Pulidevan: I will definitely do it that way..
Westborg: Very good.. Excellent!
Pulidevan: So, Thank you very much for all your effort Ambassador..
Westborg: We keep it going. we keep it going. And we will cooperate. I also need to tell you.. that you know about the transmission equipment? I have dealt with and explained and arranged with Mr. Bradman Weerakoon how to deal with that issue.ok?
Pulidevan: Yes, I received that confirmation letter from Mr. Weerakoon.
Pulidevan: Thank you for all your effort.
Westborg: That's a pleasure. And the Norwegian government will have to pay for the difference.right.
(both laugh again)
Westborg: Ok. very good, very good, Bye.
Pulidevan: Bye, Bye.