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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2342

Break-away LTTE commanders get high positions exchange for combat support – US Terrorism report casts aspersions

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 01 May (Asiantribune.com): Continue to PIllaiyan - Karuna  - the LTTE breakaway commandersPIllaiyan - Karuna - the LTTE breakaway commandersstress that the Government of Sri Lanka has harnessed para military cadre of the breakaway LTTE commanders Karuna and Pilliayan to fight the LTTE which the U.S. has criticized in many State Department reports the United States in its just released Country report on Terrorism cast an aspersion that the two commanders were posted to high positions in exchange of their services.

The report was released by the State Department Thursday, 30 April as required by U.S. law to give a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in legislation to the Congress.

The aspersion was made in this manner:

“The government used paramilitary groups to assist its military forces in fighting the LTTE. The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), led by breakaway LTTE eastern commanders Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan aka "Karuna" and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthen aka "Pillaiyan," operated mostly in the east. Karuna was appointed a Member of Parliament on October 7; Pillaiyan was elected as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), led by Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda, operated in Jaffna.”

The report does not make any comments about United States approach to terrorism in Sri Lanka instead accounting incidents that took place during the reporting period – 2008.

Before presenting the complete report Asian Tribune takes this opportunity to present the interests the U.S. has in LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka.

The former United Stated ambassador (2003-06) to Sri Lanka Jeffrey Lunstead declared two years ago in an analytical paper to the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation that Sri Lanka’s rebel Tamil Tiger outfit is a "Sri Lankan phenomenon" and that it "has no links to any other terrorist groups in the world."

Lunstead analyzed thus: "the U.S. opposes all terrorist groups, but all such groups are not equal in the extent to which they threaten U.S. interests directly."

He went on to justify his claim that this terrorist outfit is a Sri Lankan phenomenon:

"U.S. has no significant strategic interests in Sri Lanka, certainly in comparison to other areas of enhanced U.S. engagement. If the U.S. developed anything approaching a strategic interest in Sri Lanka, it derived from the feeling in the post-September 11, 2001 world that the threat from terrorism had to be confronted globally, and that governments facing terrorist threats should cooperate against them."

He says that U.S. strategic interest was "limited by the fact that the LTTE is essentially a local Sri Lankan phenomenon with no clear ties to other terrorist groups with a world-wide reach."

What the former U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer endeavors to convince is that the LTTE has no influence and clout beyond the Sri Lankan shores and that was the reason the U.S. has limited engagement.

Here is the complete text of the Sri Lanka section of the Country Report on Terrorism released by the State Department April 30:

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), killed more than 7,000 people and displaced many thousands more. Effective January 16, the government formally abrogated the 2002 Cease-fire Accord (CFA) with the LTTE, and the conflict intensified during the year. The government maintained control of the Eastern Province, and captured the strategic town of Pooneryn in November, placing the entire northwestern coast under government control. The LTTE controlled a significant, although rapidly shrinking section of the north and carried out attacks throughout the country. The Sri Lankan Army remained deployed across the country in all areas it controlled to fight the insurgency. The Special Task Force (STF) police were deployed in the east, north, and in strategic locations in the west.

In 2008, there were at least 70 attacks attributed to the LTTE, including:

The October assassination by suicide bombing of the leader of the opposition in the North Central Provincial Council retired Major General Janaka Perera, UNP organizer Dr. Raja Johnpulle, and 26 others in Anuradhapura.

In April, a suicide bomber killed 14 people in Gampaha district including the Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.

Other major LTTE attacks included the August air strikes on the naval base in Trincomalee, a combined air-ground assault on a military base in Vavuniya in September, and the October bombings of the Thallady Army camp in Mannar and the Kelanitissa power plant in Colombo.

The LTTE also targeted public transportation systems. In April, a parcel bomb killed 26 civilians at a bus stand in Colombo.

The government used paramilitary groups to assist its military forces in fighting the LTTE. The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), led by breakaway LTTE eastern commanders Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan aka "Karuna" and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthen aka "Pillaiyan," operated mostly in the east. Karuna was appointed a Member of Parliament on October 7; Pillaiyan was elected as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), led by Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda, operated in Jaffna.

In 2008, there were numerous killings of civilians by unknown actors suspected of association with the TMVP or the EPDP. The government captured the key town of Pooneryn in November. At the end of the year, government forces and the LTTE were poised to take LTTE’s administrative headquarters at Kilinochchi. The LTTE maintained control of a shrinking section of the north and retained the capacity to mount attacks throughout the country.

The LTTE financed itself with contributions from the Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, by imposing local "taxes" on businesses operating in the areas of Sri Lanka under its control, and reportedly by extortion in government-controlled areas. The LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising. To date, the Sri Lankan Navy has sunk 10 LTTE supply ships; the most recent sinking occurred in June.

The United States has provided training for relevant Sri Lankan government agencies and the banking sector. The Government of Sri Lanka cooperated with the United States to implement both the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports program at the port of Colombo. (End Report)

- Asian Tribune -

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