Wednesday May 22, 2013
How the Dutch Journalists were 'White Vanned' and the Real Story Covered UpDonald Gnanakone for Salem-News.com
An unbelievable story, but true with eye witnesses and evidence.
(SAN PEDRO, CA) - (Foreword by editor: I wrestled with the idea of carrying this report and in the end had to agree that it is terrible to allow a crime against European tourists/journalists in Sri Lanka to remain out of sight. Silence and hidden facts are already too large of a component with this genocidal conflict that amounts to a long, long series of war crimes and other violations of international law. The media has been singled out and killed for their articles about the crimes against Tamils, and I stress that I have no desire to create dangerous conditions for anyone. These two are out of Sri Lanka and will not be able to go back at this point. Truth and disclosure are the first steps, with them we can seek real justice. Only then is peace possible.)
There are only a few thousand in this world who are aware, that exactly a year ago two young Dutch journalists were roughened up and interrogated in a small hotel in Batticaloa at midnight, by 10 Police and security officials. That was not all. The terrified journalists left the Hotel very early in the morning, and got into a public bus to Kandy.
Originally, Kandy was not in their schedule, and it was Jaffna. After the midnight visit by the Police, since they have maintained that they were tourists, they decided to divert their trip to Kandy in a public bus and lie low.
The RNW journalist, for the first time are been identified, as Maike Winters and Richard Walker. They wanted to remain anonymous forever, pleading that those who spoke with them from the NGO, media or former LTTE cadres would be in danger. That logic is very difficult to fathom although Tamil Daily Net, and Tamils For Justice gave them such an undertaking on the basis that they would disclose the fully story and not half. Furthermore, the medical interest was also respected as Maike was hospitalized for being traumatized, and had problems with her sleep and other issues.
MOD and the police knew who exactly they were after during the visit to the hotel room. The NGO Tamil was picked up and also interrogated but he did know wrong nor did he give any sensitive information to the foreign journalists. The former LTTE men and women were Karuna-Pillaiyan group members and come under their protection. They do not come under any dangerous category as Pillaiyan is the Chief Minister and Karuna is a government Minister appointed by President Rajapakse. So there is no need for any further cover up or anonymity. Maike and Richard live in Holland, and they are not permitted to go to Sri Lanka.
This sensational story where the foreign journalist were not only "white vanned" but physically attacked, robbed, and threatened with a revolver needs to be told to the entire world, and a name and face will help such a cause. Maike Winters and Richard Walker might be still terrorized that they do not wish to formally surface from their hiding. However, they are certainly doing a disservice to all other journalist who might have not been so lucky to have escaped with little physical and no sexual harm. Many journalist have been murdered, disappeared, beaten, raped and tortured.
Recently, a Russian tourist was gang raped in Tangalle, and her British boyfriend was brutally murdered. There was also a German tourist who was raped. Many incidents of rape and molestation goes unreported, since the foreigners are threatened or too traumatized and ashamed to report such incidents and perpetrators who are all Sinhalese or government men simply get away and are looking for their next victim. MOD is either directly involved or complicit in providing support and protection to the perpetrators of such crimes for the past 6 years. It is similar to the "Grease Devil" phenomena, where no one was caught, punished or exposed. Because, they are part of the military.
The other disgraceful part, is the cover up involved by the diplomatic staff. Especially the Dutch embassy. The ambassador was away and the deputy decided to cover up the incident without any protest to the government. He ensured, that the two journalist were escorted personally by him right up to the aircraft, as he wanted them not to be harassed and intimidated by the customs or the "secret police" operating at the airport. The embassy was also aware that they all were watched, and the MOD knew that the journalist without going to any hotels went to the embassy to seek shelter as soon as they arrived from Kandy. Why the Dutch authorities did not make any protest either in Colombo or Hague still remains a mystery.
The US embassy also was aware of the incident. Whether any help, support, or encouragement to them was provided is unknown. But they all seemed to have simply buried this story, and would not even discuss it at their regular diplomatic "cocktail parties" and receptions in Colombo. I wonder why?
That is not all. The Sunday Leader also knew about their visit once they arrived in Colombo. Raisa Wickrematunge, niece of Lasantha, even interviewed them. Frederica Jansz, the editor spoke to them and was scheduled to meet them after their trip to the North and East. No one expected that the journalist who came to write stories about the Sri lankan war, and the people became the story themselves. An important one, even after a year.
At the request of the Dutch journalist, the Sunday Leader kept silent that week, but there certainly was not a life time ban, on them to remain silent, so that they too will play ball with the "State Terrorist", and keep the country in the dark. The media claims to play a serious role, but succumb to self censorship, because of terror and fear, after the murder of their editor, and his wife who was a journalist at Sunday Leader fleeing the country to America, now publishing a website, book, and a documentary which just premiered in New York.
This is what what Maike wrote to Tamil Daily Net soon after her return to Holland.
Sunday Leader also was informed to be silent, which they have faithfully followed instructions. Al Jazeera which was interested in the story, was requested to hold off until the journalist recovered.
Maike is not a stranger to Sri Lanka. She was indeed an intern with the Island news papers for 6 months, a decade ago. More details of the incident and attack in Habarana next week.
An unbelievable story, but true with eye witnesses and evidence.
Please read and listen to the audio:
Articles for July 11, 2012 | Articles for July 12, 2012 | Articles for July 13, 2012
|Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | Copyright © 2013 Salem-News.com | news tips & press releases: email@example.com.|