Sri Lankan (SL) War against Tamil Diaspora

in Host Countries

Why the offensive on the diaspora?

Readers may raise the question why is the SL regime targeting the diaspora. In the earlier phase of genocide SL saw easy success in getting rid of nearly one million Tamils overseas who now constitute the diaspora. But in this phase the SL regime faces a formidable resistance (the LTTE) that the earlier easy success was not likely to be repeated. According to the regime�s thinking the culprit was the diaspora funding that made the LTTE formidable. The SL regime was also concerned over the diaspora providing sustenance for the deprived and the starving, as a result negating the effects of the regime�s use of starvation as a weapon of war to force out the Tamils from their traditional homelands and safe havens under the control of the resistance. Hence SL�s offensive on the diaspora.

The nature of the SL offensive on the diaspora and results achieved.

The covert aspect of the SL offensive is its use of the overseas arm of the abduction cum extortion network to instill fear to dissuade the diaspora�s pro-resistance (LTTE) leanings. The overt aspect is to entice the host countries to harass the diaspora on its behalf. For this SL has a well funded campaign of mis-information; commissioning or contracting persons with counter insurgency industry background, and cultivate the media and state agencies in the host countries by various deceptive methods. Expensive Counter terrorism conferences are also used. Though initially the host countries were misled by SL�s propaganda offensive the work undertaken by host countries� own law enforcement/intelligence agencies soon revealed the extent of SL mis-information and the damage the host countries initial actions caused alienating the diaspora; its own citizens. Attempts of SL to export its civil war and create divisiveness in the host country societies in the end appear to have failed miserably.

Quotes of the Foreign Ministers of SL and Australia are given in support of this thesis, namely though the regime almost succeeded in exporting its civil war overseas but the balance was restored to the disappointment of the SL regime. Bogollagama�s euphoria has to be viewed in the context of host countries� initial actions: Downer�s assessment reveals the sober balance that most host counties have restored.

Bogollagama�s boast - (SL) statement in Parliament 9 August 2007;

�Sri Lanka�s diplomatic campaign in countries where the LTTE has traditionally raised funds through intimidation, extortion, human smuggling, narcotics and arms smuggling has grown abundant fruit�the reality is that important members of the international community are themselves greatly alarmed by the activities of the LTTE�..LTTE stands proscribed in 28 countries�and a host of members of their front organizations have been charged under the ambit of regulations resulting from UN Resolution 1373 in countries including Australia�.

Alexander Downer�s response 

�Some of it (funds) comes from Australia, probably nothing like 30 percent, but small amounts do come from Australia. While most Tamils in Australia identify with the LTTE�s cause, only some are known to be engaged in raising funds�

Ajit Kumar Singh�s SL assignment

Please see page 4 of �Tamil Resistance (LTTE included)) � Are they �terrorists� of Al Quada brand�.in blog. This piece critically examined �LTTE�s Australian subversion� in Daily News (SL) of 6 June 2007 by Ajit Kumar Singh (a Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict management). The piece also appeared in Outlook India of 7 June 2007.

The SL regime commissions studies in support of its diplomatic offensive against the Tamil diaspora. A K Singh argued that Australia was a �central front of a distant war ... a rich source of millions of dollars for the Tamil Tiger terrorist group... LTTE reportedly raises funds .. through a range of front organizations...The Tamil community is under pressure to help the LTTE,.. unfortunately some of the people who have been contributing these funds are being intimidated.. The LTTE also takes recourse to narcotics and human trafficking �use a variety of tactics to attract donations, including music festivals, dance concerts and radiothons�the group is yet to be outlawed in Australia..�

The SL Minister�s statement echoes Singh�s subversion theme when he stated �.important members of the international community are themselves greatly alarmed by the activities of the LTTE�. AK Singh has a standing in the intelligence establishment in India yet the piece was flawed under critical examination more so when the Australian Foreign Minister�s statement failed to make any mention of LTTE�s subversion in Australian. Thus the success the SL Foreign Minister crowed about is hollow in the context of the Australian Foreign Minister�s comments and AK Singh�s �the group is yet to be outlawed in Australia�.

Whiteman SL assignment

Others that SL commissioned for this job were Dominic Whiteman and Shanaka Jayasekera.

The comments in Sunday Telegraph of 19 November 2006 summarizes the background of Whiteman and hence the quality of the intelligence SL purveyed to the host countries. �Working on the internet from an anonymous city office, the shadowy figures (Jenvey and Whitman) ..are both British and in their 50s. One is a city financier, the other an ex-member of the Armed forces. And 18 months ago they became the unlikely financiers of a secretive organization that,. . Both apparently worked for the Sri Lankan High Commission in the 1990s�. Readers are encouraged to browse the web to relish details on Whiteman�s background.

Whiteman�s piece fails to measure up to the standards of A K Singh�s piece. Whiteman dishes out the standard counter-intelligence menu in the form of unsubstantiated generalizations. However Whiteman seems or at least claims he undertook some intelligence field work. Whiteman�s catalogue of LTTE�s misfeasors include amongst others; fundraising (methods include); extortion; open public events; Hindu temples; charities. Indirect reference to narcotics trafficking and criminal activity; use of front organizations are also made.

Shanaka�s assignment dossier!

Like commissioning Whiteman to pursue the diaspora, so is Shanaka! Shanaka�s LTTE fund-raising catalogue adds, distribution of Tamil DVD; return on investments-business ventures; mother tongue schools; informal remittance systems; pre-paid phone card; fixed income generation methods-registration of the Tamil diaspora; modalities to relocate, hold and transfer funds. Though the catalogue looks longer and impressive; as a research product the value added is minimal. The comments below are purely for the benefit of the busy and unwary readers. The sober A K Singh�s piece scores on quality and substance. Unsubstantiated assertions or shallow generalizations are not the hallmarks of good research and Shanaka�s piece is full of such generalizations. Shanaka is a Researcher at Macquarie University (Australia). Shanaka presented his findings in a paper �Terrorist Fundraising & Money Transfer Operation� at an International Conference on Countering Terrorism� 18-20 October 2007, SL Foreign Minister Bogollagama delivering the inaugural address.

For the paper Shanaka apparently has borrowed heavily from �LTTE �Tamil Tigers� and its UK-wide network� by Dominic Whiteman published in Global Politician of 18 October in 2006. The contents, format, some facts and the counter-intelligence jargon that Whiteman and Shanaka used have much in common.

Comments on Shanaka�s itemized claims are as follows:

�collections from individuals/businesses�. The Australian law enforcement agencies drew a blank on this. Though Minister Downer�s comments make this patently clear Shanaka continues to peddle his half truths even at international counter-terrorism (industry�s) conferences. The Shanaka comments are inappropriate for US, Canada and EU countries where lawlessness especially related to the diaspora is not on a scale to cause concern. It�s different in SL where kidnapping for extortion is most lucrative and active. Shanka�s comments cast aspersions on the state of lawlessness and the capacity of law enforcement agencies of the host�s countries.

�event based fundraising�; though Shanaka makes specific mention to the �marathon radio appeal for a blood bank in Kilinochi� held in Australia, it back fires exposing the SL state�s shameful neglect of people in Kilinochchi that the diaspora had to step in to provide for the deprived. Shanaka fails to substantiate on this event�s LTTE fund raising role. The event had wide media coverage. Shanaka also fails to provide the specifics on the extent of extortions amongst the diaspora

�donations (SFR 20 000) demanded�; Shanaka�s Swiss dinner extortion claim portrays the diaspora as a meek and ill-informed bunch who do not even know how to seek police assistance in such situations. Obviously the diaspora refrains from seeking police assistance over the more serious extortion demands of the overseas arm of the state sponsored abduction cum extortion cum killings network operating out of Colombo. The network is run by groups comprising ex-convicts, pro-regime militias, ex-police/armed forces/intelligence personnel, some of whom are stationed in the host countries of the diaspora to collect ransom money from the diaspora kins of the kidnapped. The overseas arm also provides intelligence on diaspora traveling to SL to the network in Colombo. Here the risks are higher as the arms of the SL state are involved and they have an extensive reach.

Narcotics trafficking and criminal activity

Shanaka throws in these standard fare of the counter-intelligence industry without specifics. The inference from his comments �the Tamil gangs infused a culture of violence into the fabric of Tamil diaspora societies� is that the law and order agencies in the host countries are hibernating. Whiteman makes very similar mentions about LTTE related gang violence in London. Shanaka implies the uncontrollable LTTE gang violence alarmed the host countries (Bogollagama). It is surprising the LTTE gangs in host countries do not use white vans to abduct victims, immigration officers at airports do not tip off the members of the abduction cum extortion network on arrivals to prey upon for extortion. Bogollagama/Shanaka is concerned over state inaction in host countries setting unhealthy precedents spreading a culture of violence in other countries about which SL is most concerned about. In SL the impartial UN accredited Human Rights agencies have been critical of the activities of the abduction cum extortion networks.

People Smuggling

The extent to which any Tamil miscreants (found in every other community) are involved in such an activity and how they are linked to the LTTE fund raising is unknown; Shanaka being unable to provide any specific information. Perhaps Shanaka/SL wishes to avoid a repeat of the memorable story/hoax of the 130000 stolen Norwegian passports the LTTE sold to Al Qaeda realizing an estimated $ 60 million narrated by Bernard Goonetilekke, SL�s Ambassador to the US to the Washiington Post radio. The Tamil Murasu of 23 November 2007 carried the story of two Sinhala gentlemen snooping around suspiciously and arrested in Chennai. with false passports. Karuna, the SL regime�s well wisher was smuggled into UK using a passport in the name Kokila Gunawardena. Surprisingly Shanaka has not blamed the LTTE or its fund raising for these.

Use of front organisations

Whiteman discussed the TRO as a front oranisation in the dossier that the SL regime commissioned. As SL regime�s spokesperson on intelligence Shanaka is privy to much of state manufactured (mis)information. The diaspora respects the TRO and its dedicated volunteers for their commitment to alleviating the sufferings of the Tamils in state deprived areas. A tremendous amount of rehabilitation work was required in these areas that were starved of state funds for several decades and extensive destruction of essential civil assets (hospitals and schools) caused by the state�s aerial/artillery bombardment.

Distinguished members of the diaspora (especially from the medical and engineering professions) volunteer their services for TRO�s humanitarian works in the field enduring hardships willingly. To SL/Shanaka belittling the humanity of the diaspora and the TRO volunteers who undertake such noble work is part of the gruesome propaganda war on the diaspora. The incorruptible TRO delivered results commensurate with the funds entrusted unlike the funds entrusted to state agencies (take tsunami case) which ended up in the pockets of the armed forces personnel and politicians. The diaspora patronizing the TRO in these circumstances is unavoidable. The sufferings were/are concentrated in the areas under de facto LTTE control and like every other NGOs, the TRO worked with the de facto authority in those areas. However would Shanaka/SL regime suggest proscribing these NGOs for working with the LTTE?. The diaspora is elated and laud the non-state medical centres servicing in the area treating serious medical injuries. SL/Shanaka is critical of these medical centres for servicing the sufferings of the sick.

Distribution of Tamil DVDs

�LTTE provides tacit protection�. To whom? Aynagaran International is a multi-national whose market is the 70+ million Tamils world wide; the bulk in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil disapora being a tiny fraction of the DVD market for Aynagaran. TN hasn�t the problems with Aynagaran that SL/Shanaka have, namely the supposed links with LTTE, a �banned organisation� in India. Investor friendly Singapore and Malaysia host this multi-national. Singapore�s standards of scrutiny of foreign investors is exemplary that Shanaka is either ill-informed or suggests that Singapore compromises on its standards to promote foreign investments. Another unsubstantiated assertion.

Return on Investments � business ventures; supported by LTTE assets; Though Shanaka throws in some business jargon without providing specifics on the actual nature and size of LTTE assets in the businesses he names and their earnings to have an idea of the rate of return for the LTTE, the assertions are meaningless. The conclusion is that Shanaka resorts to wild conjecture that the credibility of his assertions is lost. Apparently Shanaka was tutored well by Whiteman in producing information to mislead.

Mother tongue schools

The Tamil diaspora driven out of SL fighting for their language rights in SL feel utmost gratitude to these countries that show true humanity and respect the feelings of the diaspora. Again Shanaka has not or is unable to give specific information on how LTTE fund raising comes in here and why the countries that proscribed the LTTE have not closed these schools on account of the LTTE factor.

Informal remittance system

Besides the Tamils many other nationalities including the domestics (Sinhala maids included) working overseas use this system. Such extensive patronage must then be LTTE�s fund raising windfall. According to Shanaka ��was under pressure to reactivate the Singapore money route as the LTTE urgently..� Singapore�s reputation as an international centre was built on the free market model without exchange controls unlike in SL. Shanaka�s mischievous assertions on the Singapore money route and gold over invoicing practices are prima facie damaging to Singapore�s reputation as a financial and commercial centre that calls for investigation by the proper authorities.

Pre paid phone cards

Shanaka scratching the proverbial bottom of the barrel is prospecting the pre paid phone cards as a source of LTTE fund raising. Despite the very retail nature of this business (the diaspora outlets being a very tiny fraction) and the meager earnings that the card businesses produce, it is incomprehensible that Shanaka lists it as a source of funds for the LTTE in his research!

Management of Hindu temples

Ownership and management of temples are a source of common acrimony that to see the LTTE behind each such dispute amounts to one�s imagination running amok. Shanaka October 2007 research possibly uses the re-cycled information on the temple in dispute(s) and the parties involved obtained from Whiteman�s October 2006 article. Of the numerous temples in various cities in the host countries the diaspora lives Whiteman/Shanaka mention only three. To make a generalization on such a minute proportion of the temple population and assert �The LTTE has found the business of temple management to be lucrative ..with minimum paper trail� cannot pretend to be good research. To conclude impliedly that the diaspora comprising a large percentage of professionals do not have the capacity to manage the temples professionally meeting the requirements of legal regimes in the host countries also reveals the dubious quality of Shanaka�s research. Audited temple accounts satisfying sound accounting standards ensures the integrity of the paper trail that every dollar belonging to the temple is duly accounted for. Shanaka�s statement is baseless.

Fixed income generation methods-registration of the Tamil diaspora; modalities to relocate, hold and transfer funds.

No comments are offered on these. Registration of the Tamil diaspora is unheard of in the Australian context. Such an assertion will become the butt end of jokes (like the 130000 Norwegian passports hoax) in liberal democratic societies that rejected identity cards on the ground of invasion of privacy. The diaspora is part and parcel of such societies that to suggest that the diaspora who are fighting SL genocide for decades would succumb to registration demands of any group or entity is most amusing. On the financial network of the LTTE Shanaka�s bold assertion �This research has identified the financial network as the Aiyanna group...The Aiyanna group is involved in intelligence work...etc� border on defamatory stuff. Defamatory action is viable only if Shanaka has assets/capacity to meet any damages awarded in a suit.

Readers especially policy makers in host countries may now pass judgment on the nature of mis-information the SL regime and its counter-intelligence surrogates use in its offensive against the diaspora. Some host countries decision are based on such deceptive mis-information. 


More by :  V. Sundaram

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