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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2672

Bruce Fein's Desperate Dilemma: White Washing LTTE or Getting Sri Lankan Ambassador to a Debate, Both Beyond His Reach

By Rizana Gazzali

Not having made any impact or the slightest dent in the case for a Tamil Homeland for three months, famed attorney Bruce Fein is at the end of his tether mortified that he cannot justify the $90,000 Tamils for Justice (TFJ) contracted to pay him for the initial three months. No wonder Fein's ranting speak of a desperate man, who has to prove to his paymasters that he is worthy of being retained, for the next six months.Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke asked why he should help Fein earn his living by getting into a public debate with Fein.Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke asked why he should help Fein earn his living by getting into a public debate with Fein.

Fein does not have a ghost's chance of proving that LTTE is not a terrorist organization. He can take solace in the fact that it is unlikely that the LTTE will use a suicide bomber to punish him for his dismal failure, or send over a posse to seize him, and use a thick manila rope to tighten around his neck, or even collect his scalp, but there will be no second contract, that is for sure.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Ambassador, having laid out these facts in his cool, reasoning manner, asked why he should help Fein earn his living by getting into a public debate with Fein. He said that, after all, having been an Associate Deputy Attorney General of a bygone era, Fein should have some confidence at least, to stand on his own feet and earn a living, without trying to lean on the charity of the Sri Lanka Ambassador in the U.S. Accredited Diplomats are traditionally barred from entering into public discourses, even if challenged by unscrupulous attorneys. Bruce Fein is indeed a desperate man.

What is more, there is a yawning credibility gap where Fein’s principles are concerned. People can judge for themselves from the facts stated below.

In an article titled ‘Writ Large for Terror’ in the Washington Times on February 3, 2004, Fein, referring to the U.S. designation of the LTTE as an FTO, says, “the designations pivoted on the indiscriminate use of violence by the PKK and the LTTE to intimidate civilians populations, and to cow the democratically elected governments in Turkey and Sri Lanka to capitulate to their secessionist demands.” Today, Fein charges $30,000 a month from TFJ, an LTTE front organization, to lobby for the removal of the proscription on the LTTE in the U.S. Fein, who, by his own admission has said that he was considered for the position of Attorney General, following the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sheepishly admits in a statement on TFJ on January 4, 2008 about his Washington Times article of February 3, 2004, “When I wrote the Washington Times article, I was not an expert on the LTTE.”Those who indulge in the traditional Tamil Homeland fantasy are obviously not meek.

The self-proclaimed “great” U.S. Constitutional lawyer, Bruce Fein, who has openly challenged Sri Lanka Ambassador in the U.S., Bernard Goonetilleke, for a public debate at the National Press Club this month, is definitely not meek. As Satheesan Kumaaran, in his article of March 10, 2008 in the Tamil Sydney, says that Fein appears to be flexing his muscle “like a heavy weight boxing champion,” who thinks, “he cannot be defeated in the ring.” At the same time, Kumaaran asks, “Will the Sri Lankan Ambassador accept the challenge or will he meekly retreat from the debate..?”

When I spoke with Ambassador Goonetilleke, he said that in a Judeo-Christian society like the U.S., being “meek,” is not a sign of weakness. He quoted what Jesus Christ said in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Moreover, “meek” in this context does not mean “spineless” or “weak”. It is a term ancient Greeks employed to describe a wild horse tamed to the bridle, and means “strength brought under control,” which exactly describes Ambassador Goonetilleke’s disposition. One can literally feel the strength of vast knowledge and experience in him, when he speaks. He is the intellectual heavy weight here, not Bruce Fein; the difference is, in his wisdom, he refuses to flex his mental muscle to crush and subdue a foolish man who, in his arrogance, thinks he knows everything, but knows very little, as he himself has admitted in his statement of January 4, 2008, published in the web site of Tamils for Justice (TFJ). As the Ambassador perceives, what drives Fein is sheer greed for money.

Ambassador Goonetilleke said that he perfectly understands the reasons for Bruce Fein’s hurling a challenge at him, which first appeared on the web site of Tamil for Justice (TFJ), on February 20, 2008. TFJ is a front organization of the LTTE, which has hired Fein as a lobbyist to coerce the U.S. government to deproscribe the LTTE from its current status of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and to achieve statehood for Tamils.

Prior to this effort, in August 2006, a group of LTTE agents were arrested in a sting operation carried out by law enforcement in New York and Baltimore, when they tried to bribe undercover agents they thought were State Department officials, to lift the proscription on the LTTE and to purchase surface-to-air-missiles etc., to carry out its terrorist campaign in Sri Lanka. That attempt ensnared 11 LTTE agents in New York and 4 more in Baltimore, and in the process, lost almost 1 million dollars. According to the TFJ web site, TFJ initially hired Fein for three months, for a monthly payment of $30,000. He began the contract in January 2008, and so, the initial contract would be over by the end of March 2008. The clock is ticking relentlessly, and poor Fein has little time left to swagger and flaunt his ineptitude, which, in his ignorance, he misperceives as intellectual capability. His tales, are thus, as Shakespeare said in Macbeth, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Not having made any impact or the slightest dent in the case for a Tamil Homeland for three months, Fein is mortified that he cannot justify the $90,000 TFJ has contracted to pay him for the initial three months. It is, therefore, no wonder that Fein’s rantings speak of a desperate man, who has to prove to his paymasters that he is worthy of being retained, for the next six months. It is unlikely that the LTTE will use a suicide bomber to punish him for his dismal failure, or send over a posse to seize him, and use a thick manila rope to tighten around his neck, or even collect his scalp, but there will be no second contract, that is for sure.

Having laid out these facts in his cool, reasoning manner, Ambassador Goonetilleke asked why he should help Fein earn his living. He said that, after all, having been an Associate Deputy Attorney General of a bygone era, Fein should have some confidence at least, to stand on his own feet and earn a living, without trying to lean on the charity of the Sri Lanka Ambassador in the U.S.

What is more, there is a yawning credibility gap where Fein’s principles are concerned. People can judge for themselves from the facts stated below.

In an article titled ‘Writ Large for Terror’ in the Washington Times on February 3, 2004, Fein, referring to the U.S. designation of the LTTE as an FTO, says, “the designations pivoted on the indiscriminate use of violence by the PKK and the LTTE to intimidate civilians populations, and to cow the democratically elected governments in Turkey and Sri Lanka to capitulate to their secessionist demands.” Today, Fein charges $30,000 a month from TFJ, an LTTE front organization, to lobby for the removal of the proscription on the LTTE in the U.S. Fein, who, by his own admission has said that he was considered for the position of Attorney General, following the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sheepishly admits in a statement on TFJ on January 4, 2008 about his Washington Times article of February 3, 2004, “When I wrote the Washington Times article, I was not an expert on the LTTE.”

In mid 2006, Bruce Fein approached the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC with a written proposal, to “persuade the United States to support a unified Sri Lankan nation against the independence ambitions of the terrorist Tamil Tigers; to support prosecution of Tamil terrorist leader Velulpillai Prabhakaran before an appropriate tribunal for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and companion abominations; to provide counterterrorist training and equipment for Sri Lankan security forces; and, to strictly prosecute terrorism or terrorism-linked crimes perpetrated by Tamil Tiger members or sympathizers within the jurisdiction of the United States.” The magic figure was a retainer of $30,000.

Thus, even two years after his article of February 2004, Fein remains as ignorant of the LTTE as he was in 2004. Ambassador Goonetilleke making a very pertinent observation commented that it appears Fein desires hefty payment for his education on the LTTE, with which the TFJ has obliged him.

When the Sri Lanka government did not view his proposal positively, he made another attempt in 2007, to persuade the Sri Lanka government or its diaspora in the U.S., to engage his services at a fee of $40,000, to file an amicus curie brief on behalf of Sri Lanka, when the U.S, Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit, took up the case of Humanitarian Law Project, et al. v. Mukasey, in Los Angeles, California.

Eventually, having failed to lure the Government of Sri Lanka or the Sri Lankan expatriates in the U.S., Fein turned 180 degrees in January 2008, and accepted a contract from TFJ to lobby for “The Deproscription of the LTTE, and Statehood for Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka,” and to utilize his extensive network in the media, congress, senate, and executive branches of the US government, to persuade everyone to understand and support Tamil statehood. Is this a man with a principled stand?

If there is anything constant about Fein, it would be the fee he quotes for his services and his amazing ignorance of the issues he undertakes to lobby. There is certainly nothing constant about his principles. In fact, with such an unprincipled disposition, it would not be erroneous to surmise that Fein would sell his soul for a fee, even though the 30 pieces of silver he covets are covered with the innocent blood of child soldiers sacrificed at the altar of the sun god, Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the LTTE.

As the Ambassador analyzed, the LTTE, its front organizations and its hirelings like Bruce Fein are thoroughly agitated by two articles written by him to the Washington Times. One, titled Disinformation, was published as an op-ed article on December 11, 2007. The other, titled Tamil Homeland Fantasy, was published as a Commentary article on February 17, 2008. He said, with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile, “My original and preferred headline for ‘Tamil Homeland Fantasy,’ was ‘Tigers on prowl to hoodwink International Community.’”

Having read the two articles, I can understand why LTTE backers are infuriated with the Ambassador. He has debunked the traditional Tamil Homeland theory completely, used ad nauseum by the LTTE, and has given credible reasons to show there is no plausible ground to justify the demand for a separate state for Tamils in the north and the east of Sri Lanka, based on the “principles” of the traditional Tamil homeland, as claimed by Kumaaran. This being so, the LTTE’s plea to the Secretary General of the United Nations, in January this year, to recognize “Thamil Eelam,” falls flat on its face, and all of LTTE’s grandiose plans to establish a Tamil homeland, loses validity and comes to naught. This appears to be the reason for the flurry of letters in response to Ambassador’s articles, and the repeated demands to accept Fein’s challenge.

Ambassador Goonetilleke readily agreed with Kumaaran, that any distorted statement by senior diplomats would hurt the feelings of Tamils. However, he also pointed out that in some instances, the truth hurts more than distorted statements. The truth is, as he explained, there never was a traditional homeland of Tamils encompassing the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka since time immemorial, as the 1976 Vaddukkodai Resolution of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) claimed, by hanging onto the coattails of a mercenary turned first British Colonial Secretary, Hugh Cleghorn, whose erroneous minute of 1799, was debunked by the first British Governor Sir Frederick North.

It indeed appears that Bruce Fein has now saturated himself with expertise on the LTTE that he has lost himself in a traditional Tamil Homeland Fantasy.

To be continued

- Asian Tribune -

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