| by Shenali Waduge
(October 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) What makes Al Qaeda different from the LTTE? Both are terrorist organizations. Just a single incident in 2001 sufficed to make Al Qaeda top a global crusade referred to as the “war on terror” while the world cared not to apply the same criterion against the LTTE for its crimes against innocent people irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or gender through 3 decades. Terrorism is not Muslim fundamentalism. This is the mistake western policy makers & global peacekeepers appear to make. LTTE banned in 32 countries excepting Australia (which has chosen to ban only 19 Islamic organizations as terrorists) was making USD300m annually through a network of nefarious global activities connected to other crime networks that international bodies & foreign governments were all well aware of. Its international crime network ranging from credit card scams, to human smuggling, to global prostitution, narcotics & contract killing leaves LTTE far more dangerous than the Al Qaeda despite its guerilla base now lost in Sri Lanka. The question that needs to be answered is why have western policy makers kept silent over LTTE terrorism & how far are they willing to allow LTTE to prevail?
Foreign governments are all guilty of clandestinely associating with terrorist organizations & this is why there is no general list of banned terrorist organizations. Can there be good & bad terrorists? Terrorist groups cannot be banned on whims & fancies of a government in power. A terrorist organization is termed such because it cares little for the lives of people, property or peace. Courting terrorist groups by successive US Governments have left US citizens in fear of their lives & their country. The same has been for the UK & nations in the EU. Australia need not join that list & Australians must ensure that its politicians do not commit the same set of fallacies that the US, UK & EU have made in allowing their countries to be bases for terrorism. Just because the terrorists who use foreign offices as bases do not terrorize these nations it does not make them good terrorists & it is only time that their terror can strike those very countries that gave them safe haven. Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi are good examples of how terrorists nurtured by them turned their guns on them.
LTTE had its international office in London & several other capitals throughout Europe, it openly ran front organizations that collected money for LTTE to purchase arms, ammunition & carry out fatal attacks on Sri Lankan citizens. It indulged in propaganda promotions with foreign policy makers appearing atop LTTE stages, it ran illicit operations that have made illegal profits. All these activities were known to foreign intelligence agencies that chose to turn a blind eye. Why is the question? Terrorism is terrorism & a terrorist is a terrorist.
If an organization is banned – what the US, UK, EU nations must answer to Sri Lanka is why have these nations allowed LTTE to carry out its propaganda & fake charity operations? Why have these nations allowed their politicians to appear on LTTE stages, open LTTE offices & tv stations as well as join events that have praised suicide cadres? The answer is simple – the LTTE is paying big money to buy these foreign parliamentarians even debiting large chunks to foreign political campaigns. These are some of the hometruths that Australia need to be aware of especially so since Australian parliamentarians are showing weaknesses that US, EU & UK parliamentarians have fallen prey to.
Australia never banned the LTTE though it has considered so on several occasions. Lately, however, the LTTE has managed to canvass itself amongst Australia’s Green party & it came as no surprise when Senator Lee Rhiannon called for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth. Senator Lee Rhiannon needs to be immediately investigated for links with the LTTE. If it is a fact that the LTTE has been able to buy foreign policy makers in the US, UK & EU when Australian legislatures are speaking on behalf of the LTTE, it is the right of Australian citizens that its Government investigates these links forthwith. The concern of Australia must for the betterment of Australia & Australian citizens before being concerned about the welfare of others!
Australia is a country that is a home to over 73,000 Sinhalese & only 8000 Sri Lankan Tamils. Which makes the case of money deciding allegiance! The accusation of buying parliamentarians is nothing new – UK lost Liam Fox for lobbying Tamils for funds! The same template is being used by Tamils throughout the world & foreign parliamentarians are falling prey. Australian parliamentarians will prove no different unless its Government stops this practice forthwith.
The reality remains that with the LTTE defeat in Sri Lanka Tamils are beginning to shirk their fear of a movement that ruled the Tamils with fear. It was not the Sinhalese or the army that took money from Tamils, that charged them when entering the North to see their relatives, that made them sign their ancestral homes to the LTTE & made Tamils monthly pay to the LTTE kitty. The LTTE is guilty of devastating the lives of Tamils except for those that rode on the LTTE & became rich – these are the people living overseas & attempting to keep alive a movement that should not be allowed to raise its head. Most Tamils are now openly coming out to relate the terror they lived under the LTTE. Those Tamils living overseas will disassociate themselves from castigating the LTTE because they are guilty of using the LTTE as reason to decry harassment by the Government of Sri Lanka since that is the only option available to them to go overseas on the ticket of “refugees”. That is how 1m Tamils from a total 2.4m found themselves domiciled overseas.
The LTTE is behind all the credit card skimming crimes in Australia which has cost about 6000 West Australians more than $6.5M from EFTPOS machines. There is evidence of more when 3 Tamil community leaders in Melbourne pleading guilty to sending over $1m to the LTTE along with components to make bombs. Australia has become a hub for boat arrivals with Tamil asylum seekers increasing. It is upto Australia to decide to accept them as Australia has over 5.5m immigrants.
Perhaps Australian parliamentarians do not know how many Sinhalese & Tamils there are in Australia as often numbers is what decides allegiance in terms of votes of course. Tamils in Australia have succeeded to portray that they are able to win elections for Australian parliamentarians. But the reality remains that in every federal electorate there are hundreds more Sinhalese than Tamils.
The latest calls against Sri Lanka for war crimes in nothing to be surprised over. No sooner an international event or conference is about to take place these calls emerge. Therefore, the present calls for war crimes investigations which comes days away from the Commonwealth Heads meeting where Sri Lanka’s President is due to attend is something Sri Lanka expected. Which simply shows that little as Sri Lanka may be the people are far wiser to know how world politics & mainstream media function.
If there is any Government in the US, UK or EU that have taken part in a military operation involved with terrorists & have carried out a humanitarian rescue operation while rehabilitating practically all of the terrorists caught & reintroduced them to society as well as fed & clothed the people who they rescued & returned them to their homes – let us know. As far as we know it has only been Sri Lanka that has rehabilitated LTTE cadres, rehoused Tamils that were living as destitutes amongst the LTTE & created an environment for people to move freely from North to South & vice versa. If war crimes is what is on the minds of people then it is time to investigate NATO for its crimes in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afgahnistan & Libya & the US for its treatment of prisoners in Diego Garcia, Guantanomo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison.
For Australia & Australians it is better not to follow the path of US at least where home politics is concerned & the Australian Government is advised to investigate possibilities that its parliamentarians are subject to being purchased for that is an ugly precedent likely to create future trouble for Australia when the name of the game is to divide & rule. Australia with a rising immigrant population & a decreasing native Australian population needs to be mindful of ensuring its country does not fall prey to such future risks & threats.