LTTE top man in Colombo for treatment
Covert security and top secrecy that surrounded a room at a leading private nursing home, one that introduced features from the new world of medicine when it opened two decades ago, failed to hide the identity of the VIP patient.
Defence Secretary Austin Fernando, aroused curiosity of some of those present after the visit there in the company of bodyguards.

It turned out that he was paying a call to wish speedy recovery for the number two of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Political Wing, Pulee Thevan.

The man who is next in line after S.P. Tamil Selvan, was flown from Jaffna to Colombo for urgent medical treatment. Playing the role of good Samaritan was the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) who made the arrangements.

Pulee Thevan is now back at work in the LTTE's Political Office in Kilinochchi.

Officer shuns Court of Inquiry
A Lieutenant Colonel has flatly refused to testify before the Army Court of Inquiry now probing how "secret information" about the Int. Cell or Safe House at Athurugiriya, leaked.

In other words, the Court headed by Maj. Gen. Jayantha Ranaweera, wants to identify traitors within the Army who helped interested groups to carry out a malicious campaign that the Safe House was a base from which Army personnel planned to assassinate United National Party leaders.

The Court, insiders say, is to now officially record that the officer in question refused to obey summons and testify before it.

In the Army, where discipline is sine qua non, or indispensable, the punishment for such brazen defiance of authority would have been a Court Martial and a dishonourable discharge.

These values seem to be fast deteriorating with the growing politicisation of the security forces. The officer concerned is said to be not only powerful but also has the right political connections. As one senior officer tasked with discipline noted "it is we who will face action if we enforce discipline the way our superiors did in the past."

Their cell phones go dead
At least 30 senior Army officers have had their mobile phones disconnected by the system provider.

The reason: They have not settled bills despite many reminders.

Anton to come from South India?
There is widespread speculation in intelligence circles that LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham, will arrive in Wanni later this month, this time from somewhere in South India.

Insiders say a helicopter is likely to ferry him across the Palk Straits to Kilinochchi if Norwegian efforts in this regard succeed.

His first visit to the Wanni since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government and the LTTE was on a seaplane from the Maldives.

NSC meeting put off
A National Security Council meeting summoned for last Friday by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was called off at the eleventh hour.
It was because Government leaders and security forces chiefs were all at Trincomalee where there were two major events.

One was an exhibition and the other, a meeting of the UNP's National Executive Committee.

This was to be the second meeting in succession after the NSC did not meet for more than 18 weeks.

An additional participant at Friday's meeting was to have been former DIG Merril Gunaratne, now Defence Advisor to the UNF Government.

"No" to Defence Advisors
Army top brass gave a presentation last Monday to the three member official committee tasked to prepare blueprints for a complete overhaul of the country's armed forces.

The Committee headed by Defence Secretary Austin Fernando comprises Treasury Secretary Charitha Ratwatte and a one time Army Commander Gen. Denis Perera.

Among many recommendations, the Army had made provision for an Advisor on Intelligence in a re-organised set up.

The move drew strong objections from Defence Secretary Fernando. That is even before the Committee had formulated its own proposals.

It was not over a Sri Lankan flag
Alia erred last week in saying that a flawed Sri Lankan flag forced sponsors of the 14th Asian Athletics Championships in Colombo, to withdraw a souvenir distributed to VIP visitors at the opening ceremony on August 8. Hence, that was not a national disaster as Alia claimed.

However, the real story, which has now unfolded, shows things would have ended in an international disaster.

The souvenir, inadvertently of course, omitted the national flag of the People's Republic of China. Chinese diplomats and their games contingent threatened to walk out. Sponsors assured a fresh souvenir with the Chinese flag would be issued the next day. That was done.

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