The Hidden Truth behind the Sri Lankan Peace Process
By Dominic Whiteman
A week after publishing VIGIL Networkâ€™s shock-inspiring intelligence report on the activities of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) in the United Kingdom, it seems a good time â€“ after one successful infiltration - to release the details of another successful infiltration some time ago and the factors behind the initiation of the peace process between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government in the late nineties. To tell the world that it took an outsider â€“ just one man with the goal of peace and a shrewd mind â€“ to initiate the peace talks between a country and a terrorist organization in conflict with that country.
This is an opportune time to reveal this evidence â€“ so that the LTTE right now wakes up to the indisputable fact that it was as easily infiltrated then as it is now (yes, LTTE, London, more evidence is on its way from the latest infiltration of your group by VIGIL). That it ought to fast to realize that it is a particularly amateurish, hot-headed crowd. That its members should just grow up, put down their arms and get back to the negotiating table used by real men as soon as possible - unless it wants to seem, increasingly in the worldâ€™s eyes, like just another group of gutless, suicide-bombing losers, mentioned in the same breath as those other life-haters Al Qaeda, who, without asking their fellows, have hijacked a whole religion while the LTTE have hijacked all Tamilsâ€™ good name.
Go back to the 10th April, 1998. VIGIL intelligence operative Glen Jenvey was sitting in his chair at the LTTEâ€™s London headquarters at 211 Katherine Road. Jenvey had by then infiltrated the LTTE so successfully â€“ working at the time for an SIS (State Intelligence Service) official â€“ that, extraordinarily, he was working as the LTTEâ€™s official press secretary, appointed by the terrorist groupâ€™s London leaders. The fax machine next to him rang at some point that afternoon and a fax transmission began to emerge with senderâ€™s details he recognized immediately.
This was a fax from Mr Danaka â€“ from the IRAâ€™s political wingâ€™s press office in Falls Road, Belfast. Danaka was one of many terrorist contacts Jenvey had become connected with through his role at the LTTE â€“ contacts he passed intelligence about onto the SIS on a regular basis, who then shared this intelligence with the security agencies of other countries. It was a fax of the Good Friday Agreement, which had been negotiated only days before between the IRA and the British Government. Jenvey had some time on his hands and so read the faxed document in detail over a cup of tea and some digestive biscuits.
Jenvey was in scheming mood. Fed up with what he called the â€œforever-arguing Lord of the Flies organisationâ€ that is the LTTE in London, he decided it was about time they were pushed onto the peace-negotiating table, rather than continually arguing amongst themselves and stumbling mindlessly from one terrorist atrocity to the next. Jenvey reached for some LTTE headed paper and compiled a fax to the South African Embassyâ€™s first secretary in London, Sue Singh, with words transferred from the IRA document asking South Africa to hold peace talks with the LTTE and Sri Lankan government. One of the lines lifted from the IRA document Jenvey remembers was "in good faith on all sides." Much of his transmission was a verbatim copy of the Good Friday Agreementâ€™s terminology â€“ adjusted here and there to seem more applicable and genuine.
A few days later the LTTE press office fax machine whirred to life again. Out came a fax from the South African Embassy saying they would agree to meet the LTTE with the view to holding peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. Jenvey was both surprised (that his scheme had worked) and delighted. To him it made sense to have the South Africans as hosts â€“ their truth and reconciliation committee, reconciliatory governmental maneuvers and the high profile of Nelson Mandela seemed like a perfect backcloth for a peace deal between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers.
A copy of the South African Embassyâ€™s fax was swiftly passed onto the LTTE London hierarchy and to the Sri Lankan government via the SIS official. Phone calls to the South African Embassy by Jenvey revealed his request for the South African government to hold peace talks went through to the number two of the new ANC government in South Africa, who authorized the hosting of the peace process.
Jenvey remembers the LTTE were at first cautious about the talks and got in quite a fluster. After several free-for-all arguments, the London leaders decided they would have to contact the overall leader of the LTTE who would be the only person sufficiently authorized to agree on peace talks.
The Sri Lankan Presidentâ€™s office was openly asking if the LTTE were ready to stop violence and sit at the peace table for the good of the whole of Sri Lanka. The LTTE eventually responded by saying that they were going to visit the South African embassy in London to â€œtalk about peace talksâ€.
It was looking as if the civilians on both sides were going to get a chance for peace because of Jenveyâ€™s opportunistic fax.
Alas the LTTE leadership had other ideas. In spite of claiming to be the "ANC of Sri Lanka" the LTTE declared that the South Africans were not suitable hosts. The LTTE wanted to have the talks chaired by Norway â€“ a country where the LTTE had managed to establish themselves sufficiently to engage in direct dialogue with a sympathetic and listening government.
And thus the "peace process" began. Today it teeters on the abyss, though its Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer expressed today "cautious optimism" that both sides might sit down shortly for more talks. This against a background this last week of highly-publicized sea battles and scores of yet more pointless deaths.
Jenvey is proud that, from his chair in London, he opportunistically paved the way for the first steps to peace but he is saddened that today the war continues and the LTTE is more inward-looking than it has ever been. "If there is to be a meaningful peace which I worked for many years ago it's not the Sri Lankan Government who are dragging their feet but the LTTE and its mafia style organization who without war would have no hold over the Tamil people or demand money from them for their own personal gain and extravagant lifestyles," says Jenvey. "A real hope for peace in Sri Lanka is slipping away and talks have been dragged out by the LTTE leadership for many years in the hope that while peace talks persist, even at a snails pace, the EU and other governments will hold off enforcing anti terror laws against them."
What is clear, following VIGILâ€™s intelligence report published last week, is that the LTTE is all about feathering its own nest. Like the IRA in Ireland it has become so dependent on criminal activity that its ideals and goals have been forgotten â€“ relegated by its leadershipâ€™s short-termism and the allure of easy wealth from their criminal empire. Real intent for peace talks does not exist while big-bellied LTTE leaders bathe in their Jacuzzis and dine in Europeâ€™s finest eateries at the expense of the Tamil people â€“ whether those paying mafia-style payments to the LTTE or those thousands of Tamils who have been homeless for years and forgotten in refugee camps.
If only the Tamil people realized that the LTTEâ€™s dismissal of South African-led talks years ago was in fact a self-preserving gesture on the part of LTTE leaders, who feared a genuine peace and an end to their racketeering. That their acceptance of Norwegian-led talks was the result of a decision by the LTTE leadership, concluding that the Norwegians would be easier to play along than the South Africans, who then seemed to be getting impossible things done in a spirit of fairness, reconciliation and truth. The last thing the LTTE wanted then or wants now is truth â€“ shame for them that VIGIL has to keep printing it.
Last words to Mr Jenvey, whose opportunism is surely worthy of recognition by Nobel:
"The very first approach to the South African ANC Government for peace talks between the LTTE and Sri Lanka was made in good faith in light of the fact that it was the hope of many to see peace in Sri Lanka. The LTTE who try and compare their war to the struggle of the ANC have shown as years go by they are in fact nothing like the ANC â€“ that they will reside permanently in the gutter of history (save a brave volte face now) alongside the lowest of the low of common terrorists as base and depraved as Al Qaeda and the Real IRA.â€
Dominic Whiteman is spokesperson for the London-based VIGIL anti-terrorist organization â€“ an international network of terror trackers, including former intelligence officers, military personnel and experts ranging from linguistic to banking experts. Glen Jenvey is a VIGIL terror tracker who has worked as an intelligence operative in the past for various governments. An account of his LTTE infiltration can be found in the upcoming book War of the Web by Jeremy Reynalds