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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2959

Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers swipes hard at United States alleging US favor Sinhalese in East development

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, DC., 29 November ( The LTTE sniper attack that hit the air craft carrying American Ambassador Robert Blake in a Sri Lankan eastern district city last year was accidental according to a statement issued by the LTTE immediately after the incident. But, here is a direct attack on the United States’ development assistance policy toward Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tigers clearly manifested in its web site TamilNet of 28 November using a TNA proxy parliamentarian to convey to the US that her development assistance policy toward Sri Lanka’s east is only benefiting the Sinhalese.

The TamilNet, an LTTE mouthpiece used a catchy headline that clearly conveyed the LTTE condemnation of the United States foreign policy/foreign assistance toward Sri Lanka; US development aims integrating East with Sinhala provinces.

The TNA parliamentarian’s statement was not one that he had made from a public podium but a prepared statement to the LTTE web portal.

The LTTE charge is serious, using Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Ariyanethran as its mouthpiece, accusing the United States of interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka denouncing the Super Power of implementing an economic assistance program, which is normally tied to her overall foreign policy, of marginalizing the minority ethnic Tamils to greatly favor the majority ethnic Sinhalese with an ultimate objective of 'integrating the East with adjacent Sinhalese-majority provinces'.

The general worldwide practice generally by media, both print and electronic, is to use an outside mouthpiece to convey a message that they are unable to convey directly to a person or party they do not wish to antagonize. In this case Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger outfit used a TNA parliamentarian as its mouthpiece to convey a ‘seriously antagonizing’ message to the Government of the United States in general and US ambassador Robert Blake in particular referring to the US development assistance to the East saying: "At the surface they may look attractive, because people of the East, through the military might of the Sri Lanka government, are now reduced to accept whatever that comes as relief. They have no means of planning for themselves based on their own perspectives or no infrastructure to convert the ‘development’ to their own integrity, without becoming slaves for the hierarchy of the larger systems, operating from Colombo and Washington. This is exactly the ground reality the ‘developers’ wanted in the East".

"To put it simply, it is first to help Colombo to make majoritarian inroads into the East, to integrate it economically and socially with the Colombo system, and then to integrate the entire island with the international system", the LTTE proxy parliamentarian for the Batticaloa District Ariyanethran is quoted by the LTTE Web Site TamilNet as saying, a very serious allegation against the United States Government and her Colombo-based policy planners led by Ambassador Blake.

If the American Embassy and Ambassador Blake are unaware that all TNA parliamentarians are proxies to the Tamil Tiger outfit and that in and outside parliament they express sentiments based on the Tiger overall agenda then they are no seasoned diplomats. If Ambassador Blake and his political office in his Colombo diplomatic mission take the TNA parliamentarian’s remarks in the LTTE Web Site TamilNet lightly or dismiss as a statement by another Sri Lankan parliamentarian, then they are ignorant of the manner in which the Tamil Tiger outfit operates in the sphere of public diplomacy.

That’s not the manner in which the American embassy in Colombo operates. When Ambassador Blake and his political staff want to know what the Tamil Tigers think of any particular issue they meet and engage in dialogues with TNA parliamentarians. Under the US Federal laws American Foreign Service officers are prohibited from maintaining any contact with an organization designated under US Federal laws a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Sri Lanka’s LTTE is a designated FTO since 1998 under US Federal laws.

Here is how the TNA parliamentarian question the political knowledge of the 'American planners' who are undoubtedly the officials of the USAID, the overseas development arm of the US State Department, on behalf of the Tamil Tiger outfit: "The American planners and all those who harbour such development ideas to the East are either ignorant of the dynamics of Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka or think that the Tamils and Muslims of the East can be easily isolated and subjugated".

And, the LTTE, as never before, gone to the extent of accusing the United States of kindling ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka using the TNA Batticaloa District parliamentarian as a mouthpiece to declare: "Whatever the face value of the development programmes, the agenda behind them as we understand from the US embassy literature will only add to the ethnic conflict in the island. Meaningful development of the East can take place only after a substantial political solution to the Tamil national question".

The Asian Tribune poses an obvious question: Mr. Ambassador, does your press statement give that impression?

The Asian Tribune under normal circumstances does not quote the LTTE TamilNet but this seems to be an abnormal circumstance. The LTTE is clearly, using its proxy parliamentarian as a mouthpiece, has questioned the USAID/State 'American planners' who are based in Colombo of their development assistance project/s for the newly liberated and democracy restored Eastern Province, and the political wisdom of the American ambassador and his political staff.

Anyone who is familiar with the working of the US State Department and its overseas diplomatic missions, in this case the US diplomatic mission in Colombo, is aware that American diplomats read this type of public diplomacy of a terrorist outfit, in this case Sri Lanka’s LTTE, with seriousness. And the entire presentation of TNA parliamentarian splendidly fits in to the LTTE agenda and the outfit’s thinking of the United States.

Most importantly, the entire feature in the LTTE web portal TamilNet is presented in contempt of the ‘American planners’ in Colombo headed by Ambassador Robert Blake whose office at times endeavors to provide, along with some senior State Department officials, 'life lines' to Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers who are still in an utopian dream that they are the 'sole representatives of the Tamil people' to which the Americans believed until recently.

- Asian Tribune -

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