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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1946

Sri Lankan Makes Submission To Senate Foreign Relations Committee

New York, 24 February, (Asiantibune.com): In a submission to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Anjalika Silva of the State of Maryland says her main concern is that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) is propagating false information about the country in order to benefit from Western nations with the best refugee and welfare programs.

The only method available to them to continue living in Western nations is by claiming that their lives are in danger if they return. They use the term "Genocide" to generate fear psychosis so that Western Governments will permit their asylum or refugee status to continue, she adds.

Losing refugee status for many of these people means a loss of income for the LTTE that has been extorting even funds from welfare programs for immigrants in unsuspecting western nations. If the war ends and the country returns to normalcy two things can happen:

Her detailed submission to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is holding hearing on Sri Lanka on Tuesday February 24, reads as follows:

Firstly, I wish to express my appreciation to Senator Kerry and others for taking the initiative to hold a hearing and examine the true facts leading to the current situation in the island nation of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is in a struggle to free itself from 30 years of terror against civilians of all ethnicities by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). In the struggle against terrorism the country is also facing false allegations of Genocide that are being leveled at the Government forces fighting to free the suffering inflicted on the Tamil Civilians being trapped in the LTTE controlled areas against their will.

As a naturalized citizen of the United States who emigrated to this country 25 years ago from Sri Lanka, I wish to place before you some facts that concern me in the current situation that prevails in the country's struggle against terrorism.

I make frequent trips to the country to visit family. However, being a member of the majority race, I was permitted only in the southern parts of the country. As a Sinhalese, my life was in danger if I ventured to the Northern part of the country that has been systematically ethnically cleansed of all other races other than the Tamil speaking people by the LTTE. The East of the country was equally inhabited by Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils. However, due to the acts of terror against other races, the Sinhalese and Muslims left the area for many years through fear after several attacks on non Tamils in places of worship.

Recently the situation has changed and the government has recaptured the east and brought normalcy and democratic elections in the area making it safe for anyone to travel to these parts. Since this happened, I have not visited the country but I have received reports from those who have traveled to the East, that it is no longer under the threat of the LTTE and is free. It was the LTTE that practiced ethnic cleansing and committed Genocide against all other races in the areas it was claiming as a Tamil Homeland.

Sri Lanka is one of the oldest democracies in the world with a population of approximately 18 million people. Approximately 12% of this population comprises the Tamil speaking people. Tamil speaking people are not confined to the Northern part of the country. In fact, 55% to 60% of Tamil speaking people live in the Southern part of the country among the majority Sinhalese and other minorities.

The country consists of the majority Sinhalese and other minorities the Tamils, Muslims, Burghers (Euro-Asian), Malays, and even a small population of people of Chinese descent. Sri Lanka takes pride in being a multi cultural multi ethnic community with the freedom to practice many religions. Among those religions being the majority religion Buddhism, Hinduism, Roman Catholic, Baptist and other Christians, and Islam. Places of worship for all religions spread throughout the country and freedom of worship and the use of one of three languages being English, Sinhalese or Tamil is a way of life in the country. For many decades, following Independence from the British on February 4th, 1948, all ethnic groups co-habited in all parts of the country, living in peace and harmony. This changed in 1983, due to unfortunate consequences following the killing of 15 soldiers of the Government forces in the North.

Sri Lanka has the distinction of providing free education from elementary school to a college education including Medical Schools, Engineering, Dental, Veterinary and other degrees in Science and liberal arts. The healthcare system is free for those who cannot afford to pay. For the more affluent there is a choice of private paid education or private paid healthcare but the access to medical expertise is from the same pool of doctors whether in state or private hospitals.

Admission to universities was based on merit and special concessions made to students from under represented areas. In proportion to the population of the country, admission to universities for degrees, medical degrees, engineering etc., was statistically proven to be far higher for the Tamil minorities. In all areas of employment, professions and other privileges, they enjoyed a far higher percentage of opportunities. In terms of unemployment, prior to 1983, unemployment among the Tamil speaking people was lower than the national average. All Tamil speaking people have the freedom to choose any part of the country to buy property and settle and they represent about 50% of the population in the Capital Colombo.

However, the Sinhalese majority was never able to buy property in the North or in some parts of the Capital (Colombo.6.) areas where there is a high concentration of Tamil speaking people. This continues even today with the war in the North. Many of the Tamil people have fled the so called "homeland" in the North and come to the South to live among the Sinhalese, although the LTTE has brainwashed the people in the North to believe that they will be killed in the South. They concentrate in pockets and control areas in the South for only Tamil speaking people although they claim discrimination by the Sinhalese.

My main concern is that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) are propagating false information about the country in order to benefit from Western nations with the best refugee and welfare programs. The only method available to them to continue living in Western nations is by claiming that their lives are in danger if they return. They use the term "Genocide" to generate fear psychosis so that Western Governments will permit their asylum or refugee status to continue. Losing refugee status for many of these people means a loss of income for the LTTE that has been extorting even funds from welfare programs for immigrants in unsuspecting western nations. If the war ends and the country returns to normalcy two things can happen:

a. All refugee applications will become null and void and refugees will have to return when Sri Lanka is safe.

b. More hardcore terror suspects may apply for immigration and enter host nations.

Some of the countries that have opened their doors to Tamil refugees are today in a quandary because together with refugees, LTTE war mongers have entered countries like Canada, UK, Germany and other European countries where they conduct criminal activities that have become a huge problem. The US should be concerned due to the easy access for these elements to come across from Canada. The LTTE supporters look for two major factors in surging their quest for refugee status: Countries with liberal refugee policies and generous welfare programs are their main targets. They are not interested in countries that allow immigration and leave people to fend for themselves.

These are because their refugee population is not highly educated and serve more as welfare seekers who can generate welfare income. They swell the numbers with further illegal immigration and demand contributions out of the welfare allowances received by the smuggled refugees. Many countries discovered their motives too late.

A thorough study of terrorists by the Mackenzie Institute in Canada (2003) refers to the LTTE and its similarities to Al-Quaida and their patterns of operation throughout the world. However, in Sri Lanka, the cry for a homeland for Tamils is contradicted by the claims of Genocide because the Tamil people are fleeing the areas under LTTE rule due to the sheer brutality they experience under LTTE rule. Claims of Genocide cannot be substantiated because there is no deliberate or systematic elimination of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Tamils are among very successful politicians, judges, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and heads of companies, diplomats and others. This would not be so if there is Genocide and systematic elimination of Tamils.

The Government is fighting the LTTE Tamil Tigers and not the Tamil people. Not all Tamils are Tigers however, all Tigers are Tamils. The Government Forces have a difficult task in distinguishing between a disguised LTTE Tiger and a civilian as they look the same. On many occasions, they have been duped by suicide bombers who look like ordinary citizens.

Points to Consider about the LTTE

1.The LTTE is the World's leading group for suicide attacks

2. The LTTE recruits children as young as 8 years for combat by forcibly threatening families to give up their children

3. The LTTE makes young children into killers and gives them cyanide capsules to kill themselves if captured. However, lately many young child soldiers have been taken in by the Government Forces and returned to their families and also provided with rehabilitation services.

4. The LTTE trains their youth to kill and in attacking Sinhalese villages, they were taught to take infants by their legs and slam them on walls in the presence of their wailing mothers and were known to enjoy this type of action.

5. Canada mentions many terror groups operating from within their territories but lists three that should be noted. Among those are the LTTE and AL-Quaida as being the deadliest

6. The LTTE Started as street gangs of criminals raising funds through bank heists and other robberies.

7. The LTTE started by assassinating their Tamil Elected Mayor.

8. The LTTE targeted violence against all mainstream democratically elected Tamil politicians through systematic assassinations. This included a Past President of Sri Lanka, A Tamil Foreign Minister, other elected officialsm.

9. The LTTE graduated from being street Thugs to a well organized, international network of terror groups.

10. The LTTE had some training from Palestinian terror groups.

11. The LTTE had military logistical support from India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) but in later years, the Indian Peace Keeping Force suffered heavy casualties from LTTE attacks.

12. Claim Of Discrimination has no bearing if examines statistically. In the Post Independence era, Tamils were over represented in well paying jobs due to their ability to work in the English Language. The British era provided many missionary schools to the Tamil Minority who learned English and were rewarded with better jobs.

13. LTTE activities began around the 1970s but there arose several Tamil insurgent groups by the 1980s. However, there was no unity between them.

14. In 1983 LTTE aggressively targeted and assassinated leaders of the other Tamil insurgent groups and succeeded in crushing them to some extent due to its sheer brutality.

15.The LTTE later became a worldwide network of illegal immigration and human smuggling, extortion from Tamil Diaspora or refugees, Drug trafficking and also carried out an international credit card fraud.

16. The LTTE used their Tamil speaking community in countries like UK, Canada, Australia, USA and other European Nations to conduct a vast network of criminal activities to raise funds.

17. Funds raised were laundered with the purchase of legitimate businesses as seen in major cities like Toronto, Canada, and in London, England.

18. The LTTE owned their own fleet of ships for their drug trafficking businesses.

19. The LTTE network extorted funds from Tamil Diaspora under threat to families in Sri Lanka if those overseas did not pay up. The keep up an efficient network to follow through and intimidate those who don't contribute.

20. The LTTE was involved in Prostitution rings to capture prospective Tamil donors who were their patrons in well placed positions.

The Situation Today

The Government has attempted to bring the LTTE to the negotiating table on 3 occasions or more but they walked away. The current President Mahinda Rajapakse has refused to negotiate until arms are laid down.

Previously, with every attempt at negotiation and a ceasefire, the LTTE regrouped and rearmed.

It is not to the advantage of the LTTE to agree to peace because in peace, there will be no fundraising mechanism for the leadership of the terror outfit to obtain free monies in large sums.

When a past Prime Minister declared a ceasefire, the LTTE used such opportunities to regroup and rearm and attack the forces and civilians alike.

The Government continues to pay salaries and supply food items to the rebel areas which although reduced now, were provided all government assistance even when they were held by the LTTE.

The LTTE claims that the Government forces are shooting and attacking the civilians but the reality is that civilians running away from the LTTE areas are being killed. Those who survive and come across to the Government areas are provided food and medical attention. They tell their stories of being trained to carry arms or dig trenches for long hours with no food.

Many civilians attempting to flee were shot and killed and some who lost families found safety among the Government Forces. They state their cases of child conscription and abductions to join in taking to arms and even suicide bombings.

Civilians are remaining in the rebel areas not by choice and are fearful of the LTTE that is holding them as prospective cadres and using them on the front lines. There are reports that families with children are not allowed to leave as they want the children to be trained.

The FBI ( Taming The Tamil Tigers has named the LTTE as follows:

As terrorist groups go, it has quite a résumé:

• Perfected the use of suicide bombers;

• Invented the suicide belt;

• Pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks;

• Murdered some 4,000 people in the past two years alone; and

• Assassinated two world leaders—the only terrorist organization to do so.

No, it's not al Qaeda or Hezbollah or even HAMAS. The group is called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or the Tamil Tigers for short.

Needless to say, the Tamil Tigers are among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world. For more than three decades, the group has launched a campaign of violence and bloodshed in Sri Lanka, the island republic off the southern coast of India.

1. For a complete study of terror groups among which LTTE occupies an important and gravely dangerous reputation, please refer to the link below from the A Mackenzie Institute Occasional Paper

2. As a US citizen and a voter in the democratic process of this country, I ask you to stand by Sri Lanka as a parallel democracy and an ally of the USA.

3. The falsehood of Human Rights Violations and false accusations of Genocide if examined will be proven to be false when people in the country cohabit peacefully among different ethnicities.

4. Help to free the Tamil Civilians who are being held under duress by the LTTE when they wish to move to the areas under control of the Government Forces where they feel safer.

5. The claims of Genocide are for the benefit of those who wish to remain in Western Nations for economic reasons to further collect funds for the LTTE brand of terrorism.

6. Statistics prove that the LTTE - Tamil Tigers have eliminated more Tamils than those who have died in the hands of the Sri Lankan Military in the war. If they don't pay the extortionist, or provide a child from the family to be trained as a terrorist, they are gunned down.

7. Anyone that opposes their ideology is eliminated. They eliminated many of their own moderate politicians and one President of Sri Lanka, a Foreign Minister who was a Tamil and also the Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi who did not support their demands. This is the LTTE. She has given concerts to raise funds for this terror group when the whole world is fighting fundraising for terrorism.

8. By standing firm against the terror campaign of the LTTE, the US Government can count on the support of the Sri Lankan-Americans in the global struggle against terrorism.

The LTTE is to Sri Lanka what the Al-Qaida is to the US. They are all terrorists and their basic goal of death and destruction are no different and gains nothing for anyone. If Sri Lanka can eradicate terrorism, it will be the break in the link between the most brutal terrorists and a rare fete. Sri Lanka tried to negotiate but failed to tame the enemy and using military action was the only recourse. As a person who travels to Sri Lanka, I can truly feel safer when the country is rescued from terrorism. We must all support the Government of Sri Lanka for their brave move against terror to liberate the Tamil people from their own enemy.

- Asian Tribune -

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