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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam > Department of International Relations  > Formation of Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam > LTTE overseas hardliners see KP as a failure alleges Sinhala 'Academic/Intelligence Expert'  Rohana Gunaratne

LTTE overseas hardliners see KP as a failure
alleges Sinhala 'Academic/Intelligence Expert'  Rohana Gunaratne

Interviewed by Manjula Fernado
in Sinhala Sri Lanka State Controlled Daily News 18 July 2009

Comment by  tamilnation.org "Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image... The PR technique is simple enough: minimise the human rights abuses, talk about it as a 'complex' two sided story, play up efforts at reform... If possible, it is best to put these words in the mouth of some apparently 'neutral' group of 'concerned citizens', or a lofty institute with academic credentials."  Richard Swift, New Internationalist, in Mind Games, July 1999

The following is an interview with an expert on LTTE Affairs and the Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research of the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Prof. Rohan Gunaratna.

Q: A one time LTTE operative in Colombo, now in detention, in an interview with a newspaper confessed that he received instructions, the funding and motivational feedback from a foreign source. In this context shouldn�t we be more concerned about the LTTE�s declaration of a provisional transnational government?

A: The LTTE failed to establish a Government in the North and East of Sri Lanka. As a result of this failure, it is now trying to establish a Government in exile. This too will be a short lived dream. The desire of Prabhakaran to create an imaginary state is still being advocated by those who funded, procured weapons, managed ships and indoctrinated Tamil youth to continue the journey. Main Tamil leaders who are moderate and tolerant must now step in and appeal the Tamil Diaspora to give up violence and develop the North and East. KP should be arrested and extradited to Sri Lanka, any government, any institution or any individual working with KP should be investigated.

Q: But shouldn�t the Sri Lankan Government take this declaration seriously?

A: The Sri Lankan Government should have three pronged approach to reduce this threat to our country. First is to continue the mopping up operations in the North and East and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. Two is to prevent the emergence of another Prabhakaran from the Tamil community either in Sri Lanka or overseas. Three is dismantling the LTTE international network, this is still intact.

Although the LTTE has been vanquished in Sri Lanka and its leadership decapitated, the LTTE is very active overseas. Unless the Government, especially the Foreign Affairs Ministry gears up to meet this challenge, the LTTE will grow overseas and the threat will affect Sri Lanka�s national security. The Foreign Ministry should take the lead in the next phase of the battle to counter the propaganda and dismantle the overseas network. Police both through interpol and unilaterally should work to arrest and extradite known the LTTE leaders and operatives. To protect the future of the country the battle must be taken overseas.

Q: This will be harder than the ground battle?

A: The international battle will be long and hard.

Q: KP who was the LTTE�s chief international procurer is now the self proclaimed leader of the LTTE. Has the outfit�s international network accepted this in unanimity or are there any other hidden players?

A: KP�s authority as successor to Prabhakaran is being challenged. Prabhakaran relied on KP to lobby the international community to intervene during the last phase of the campaign. However, KP failed leading to the death of Prabhakaran and almost the entire leadership. A man who failed in this very important LTTE mission will not be accepted by the LTTE hardliners overseas. Furthermore KP will not be accepted by the International community because of his past life as the chief procurer and shipping officer of the LTTE.

Q: It has been nearly two months since the elimination of the LTTE Leader and the liberation of the North by the Security Forces. How do you assess the strength of the LTTE�s intelligence network within Sri Lanka?

A: The LTTE�s intelligence network has been dismantled just like its military and political structures. However, there are a few people that are unaccounted for. They are still in IDP camps hiding among civilians, operating in the jungles of Sri Lanka or overseas. The Government has done a remarkable job but they will need to continue to work hard to counter the residual threat.

Q: What happened to Pottu Amman?

A: It is very likely Pottu Amman committed suicide. His wife certainly committed suicide. Although his body was not recovered, there is information that he took cyanide and drowned himself in the Nandikadal lagoon.

Q: How do you view the restriction of movement in IDP camps?

A: The President was correct when he said that there are important LTTE leaders in IDP camps. Some of them hiding among the civilians have committed massacres and were involved in other terror activities. They must be found out and arrested. Because of the huge LTTE infiltration, I would estimate that at least 10 percent of the IDPs in the camps have been radicalized through LTTE training.

Q: What happened to the LTTE�s famous shipping fleet?

A: The shipping fleet has been destroyed by the Navy. Admiral Karannagoda is a very innovative commander and a brilliant strategist. However, the LTTE is still maintaining a few ships. Those ships are currently non operational and do not pose a threat to Sri Lanka.

Q: Who are the prominent LTTE international players?

A: The campaign to tarnish Sri Lanka�s image and reputation including the disruption of aid assistance is strategized by KP followed by LTTE activists in number of countries. They include Mrs. Balasingham in London, Rudrakumaran in the US and others who continue to lobby Human Rights organizations, the UN and certain Governments in the West.

Q: There are many speculations as to the LTTE�s post-war operational base, what is your opinion?

A: Malaysia. The State of Penang is the key centre for LTTE operations. KP has shifted from Thailand to Malaysia. Unless the Sri Lankan Government works very closely with the Malaysian counterparts, the LTTE is likely to re-structure, re-organize and pose a threat to country�s security in the coming months.

Q: The LTTE and violence cannot be separated, if the LTTE is still active in the international scene how would you suppose that it will perpetrate violence and live up to their name as the world�s most ruthless terrorist organization?

A: A very senior officer of the US Government once ranked the LTTE the A-team together with Al Qaeda and Lebanese Hisbullah. As long as the group uses the term LTTE and has �The thirst of Tamil Tigers is Thamil Eelam� as its motto, the LTTE will pose a threat to Sri Lanka and other countries. The LTTE has committed terror acts in other countries. They assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and will not hesitate to kill again if necessary. The LTTE has also emerged in credit card, bank and cheque frauds as well as other forms of organized crime such as human smuggling, defrauding social security and federal funds. However, the biggest contribution of the LTTE to international system has been the introduction of maritime terrorist operations and suicide attacks.

Until Prabhakaran watched the movie �Death wish 2� and developed the suicide jacket to kill Rajiv Gandhi, no terror group used human borne suicide jacket.

KP recently articulated, Tamils whether they are in Fiji, Mauritius, Africa, Europe, North America or Asia, they must link up. Unless the LTTE form of highly destructive Tamil nationalism is contained, it is likely that the LTTE�s mindset of intolerance of other communities spreads among the Tamil people.

US lobbyists making a killing of killings in Sri Lanka
Sinhala Opposition Paper Sri Lanka Sunday Leader, 19 July 2009

The Sunday Leader has learned that the Government of Sri Lanka is paying the Washington firm Patton Boggs $35,000 a month "to provide guidance and counsel to the Embassy of Sri Lanka regarding its relations with the Executive and Legislative Branches of the US Government."

In other wordsthe firm is/was being paid to lobby on behalf of the current administration and keep US scrutiny away from the conflict in the north. The use of lobby groups as a means to sway the attention of those at the pinnacle of power in the world's most powerful nation is common practice. In Washington there are lobby groups for absolutely everything from soft drinks and fast food, to gun control and free trade agreements.

That this country's current administration sees the need to engage the rather expensive services of professional lobbyists however is an indication of the government's desperate desire to keep itself somehow in the US' good books. Or at least out of its bad books.

It has also been reported that in 2008 another firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP (BHFS) was contracted, for an annual fee of $600,000 by Sri Lanka's Washington Embassy 'to advise and assist the government with issues relating to Sri Lanka and the United States of America.'

An initial $ 300,000 payment was made to BHFS by Sri Lanka's previous Ambassador in Washington, Bernard Goonetileke in May, 2008. The government's lavish expenditure however appears to have fallen somewhat flat.

Lobby groups use access to the movers and shakers, in what remains the political epicenter of the world, to influence opinion in favour of their clients.

The US however has continued to condemn the government's conduct in the final phase of the war, and has strongly supported moves to launch an independent investigation into possible war crimes committed during the last days of the government's offensive in the north.

In exchange for the several hundred thousand dollars spent by the government so far Patton Boggs is reported to have produced a 'white paper' on the civil war and arranged a number of meetings between Sri Lanka Embassy staff in Washington and high level US government officials.

Sources claim that Patton Boggs arranged meetings between Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Senator Richard Lugar.

However these meeting have evidently borne little fruit. The government's relations with the US remain at a low ebb. Crucially the US continues to drag its feet on the matter of the IMF loan which remains an urgentnecessity in terms of stabilising the country's battered economy.

Ultimately it appears that millions ofrupees of tax-payers' money has been spent enriching expensive law firms and slick Washington lobbyists adding to the billions already thrown into theblack hole of government waste.

And next time the government might want to look into cheaper and more effective methods of swaying US public and political opinion.

A simple poster campaign perhaps - an area in which the government already has considerable expertise, or maybe the embassy should considerhiring the growing ranks of US unemployed to distribute fliers outlining the government's point of view.


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