INTELSAT CORPORATION BREAKS IT WORD AND CONTINUES TO BROADCAST LTTE PROGRAMS TO SOUTH ASIA
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, D.C. complained to the Justice Department and the State Department that the Washington based Intelsat Corporation is breaking U.S. law by continuing to broadcast the propaganda television and radio services of the foreign terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), by a satellite they own, despite public assurances given a week ago to the contrary.
The Sri Lankan Ambassador, Bernard Goonetileke, told the Justice and State Department authorities, Intelsat 12, a satellite owned by the world?s leading satellite company, let the State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, who are also known as Tamil Tigers, beam the television broadcasts and radio broadcasts to South Asian countries.
Embassy spokesperson Rajika Jayatilaka said, in a telephone interview, that she contacted David Synkfield, Senior Vice President in charge of customer operations and Engineering of the Corporation, and he admitted that the South Asian beams are still working for the terrorist group.
We could not contact Phillip Spector, the man who issued the press statement, since a recording said that he was traveling and the calls would be promptly returned. The call was not returned. David Synkfield also failed to return the call, though he was not traveling.
In a press statement dated April 10, the Intelsat Corporation said, ?Intelsat officials, including its technical experts, met with Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States, Bernard Goonetilleke, on 10 April to discuss the steps Intelsat is taking to address the unauthorized use of one of its satellites by the LTTE.' During the meeting, Intelsat's General Counsel, Phillip Spector, a Havard educated lawyer said, 'Intelsat does not tolerate terrorists or others operating illegally on its satellites. Since we first learned of the LTTE's signal piracy, we have been actively pursuing a number of technical alternatives to halt the transmissions. We are clear in our resolve to ending this terrorist organization's unauthorized use of our satellite.'
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, D.C. said later, after much delay, Intelsat stated during the weekend of April 21-22, they switched off the transponder of the satellite the LTTE were using to broadcast to Europe.
But Lyngsat.com, a website who publicizes satellite broadcasts in a program updated on May 1, said the National TV of Tamil Eelam and Voice of Tiger Radio, all LTTE programs, are being beamed by Intelsat 12.
The website, an authority on satellite broadcasting, publicizes the programs constantly after approval from the producers and watching the programs. The National TV of Tamil Eelam, according to the published programs, is broadcasting to South Asia at 18.00-21.30 UTC. The Voice of Tiger Radio is broadcasting at 6.09 and 18.00-21 ist. Lyng Sat lists the source of updates as a man named D. Prabhakaran. The Tiger Voice gives a fictitious address of Muthalmaiccheylakam, Kilinochchi as its address.
Meanwhile, the Radio Broadcasts Weblog, by the Radio Netherlands World Wide reported, ?Despite the widely-reported statement by Intelsat that it has switched off National Television of Tamil Eelam from its satellite, we received a report stating that the channel was, in fact, still being seen on the Intelsat 12 satellite (45°E) as of 26 April.? They published the news, since Radio Netherlands had earlier published an AFP item saying the satellite had switched off the programs. The report was in reference to LTTE?s European broadcasts using Intelsat 12.
In their previous press statement Intelsat said, ?The Sri Lanka Embassy and Intelsat agree that these illegal transmissions by the LTTE are a violation of Sri Lankan and U.S. laws.?
Although Intelsat claimed that the terrorist group was pirating their satellite, this correspondent could not find any evidence that it could be possible with Intelsat 12 satellite and the LTTE in a statement denied that they were pirates. (EOM)