WHY THE SRI LANKAN REGIME DETESTS THE MAINSTREAM TAMIL DIASPORE
The massacres of tens of thousands and mass internment of hundreds of thousands, almost all civilians, were atrocities ruthless enough that the international community/UN would not any more ignore. Sri Lankan regimes committed atrocities of varying degrees of brutality on the Tamils for over six long decades. The initiatives of the international community to hold SL accountable for crimes against humanity the most notorious include the killing of the white flag waving militant leadership offering to surrender. A remorseless SL continuing its heinous state terrorist crimes in the post LTTE period reveals that the agenda of SL waging the civil war was not just against the bogey of ‘LTTE terrorism’ but to erase the reality of the ‘Tamil homelands’ and with it the Tamils as a people in SL. This is genocide, a crime against humanity.
The continued militarisation of the ‘Tamil homelands’ brought to focus the gravity of genocide dimension of SL’s war on the Tamils. The unstinted commitment of the grievously hurt mainstream diaspora, the victims, contributed immensely to exposing the brutality of the Buddhist Sinhala genocide. This explains Colombo’s continued vehemence in targeting mainstream diaspora and the Rajapakses officially declaring a war on the Tamil diaspora, post Tamil militancy/LTTE.
The piece ‘Sri Lankan (SL) War against Tamil Diaspora in Host countries’ (Boloji.com 9th December 2009) discusses SL regimes targeting the Tamil diaspora even in the period prior to May 2009. SL then charged that it was the diaspora funding that led to the emergence of Tamil militancy/LTTE as a formidable force though its emergence was in reality a response to the brutality of SL’s genocide and the protection the militancy offered for the Tamils under threat from the SL genocide. The May 2009 SL massacres deprived the Tamils of that security to compensate which the diaspora actively sought and secured some security in the form of support of the more humane sections of the international community. Not driven by any mercenary geo-political interests that community unlike the members who voted to congratulate SL at the May 2009 UNHRC meeting is seeking to deliver real justice to the victims of the genocide using the mandated UN offices. The UN Secretary General and the UNHRC office acted within the approved international framework to pursue SL for its war crimes despite attempts of human right abuser nations to hi jack the mission of the UN affiliated institutions striving for a just and moral world order.
The diaspora and the international community share a common interest in delivering justice to the victims of a remorseless genocide still seeking to erase the historical reality of the ‘Tamil homelands’. Tamil militancy was the consequence of that perilous genocide. In post-LTTE (May 2009) the international community is unreservedly convinced on the genocidal dimension in the SL conflict that was once masked by the fight against ‘terrorism’ slogan, though effectively Tamil militancy/LTTE was fighting the venomous evil of a naked ‘state terrorism’.
Despite resource constraints the diaspora had success in highlighting the genocidal dimension in the SL conflict and the Tamil militancy’s role in saving the Tamils from the atrocities of a militarized SL state terrorism. In post May 2009, the Tamils minus the militancy protection sought as recompense for the security lost, the support of the international community acting through its mandated arms the UN, UNHRC and ICC.
In the pre-May 2009 militancy period, SL demonized Tamil militancy creating for it a ‘terrorist’ image. SL did not also spare the diaspora then using the overseas arm of the abduction cum extortion network in Colombo to harass the diaspora into abandoning support for the Tamil cause and Tamil militancy. SL regimes heavily funded a mis-information campaign initially commissioning shadowy foreign analysts (Jenvey and Whiteman) and subsequently planted ‘home-grown’ counter-terrorism experts in host/third countries to dish out the standard counter-insurgency menu – terrorist fund raising methods; extortion, Hindu temples, charities, narcotics trafficking, people smuggling, activities of front organizations amongst others. Perusal of a counter-terrorism analysis ‘Terrorist Fundraising and Money Transfer Operation’ presented at the International Conference on Counter Terrorism, 18-20 October 2007 in Colombo shows how shoddy these were. The authors/analysts portrayed a picture of rampant lawlessness in host countries that allowed the activities of Tamil militants/LTTE to go unchecked. These amounted to insults on those countries’ security apparatus.
The home grown analysts with police/army/intelligence backgrounds in SL planted in South East Asia and Australia in academia specifically in the Counter-Terrorism area was to network with security sensitive personnel there to target the diaspora. The diaspora neutralized such SL’s plans by alerting the intelligence agency there on activities that were directed from the SL embassies. Another agent SL planted overseas was the well known boastful international ‘expert’ on Counter –Terrorism, also serving in a comparable capacity in South East Asia (now silent after he claimed for himself a role in the successful rendition of an ex-Tamil militant from the heart of KL to Colombo not long ago) to spy on the activities of the diaspora.
Third countries do not customarily contract out sensitive intelligence and security work that interfered with the integrity of the intelligence and security work in those countries. Contracting out intelligence work to hired experts carried the risks of compromising the country’s security and interests in jeopardy. The intelligence initiatives of SL world-wide and in Australia failed. The Foreign Minister Downer rubbished the claims of the SL commissioned analysts/experts preferring to rely totally on their own country security apparatus.
With the host countries, in moving away from the Bush’s doctrinaire view of ‘terrorism’, adopted a more nuanced approach that de-coupled militancy fighting genocide from orthodox jihardism. Hence the tendency in the international community to view militancy fighting genocide in a positive light and for the emergence of thinking behind R2P safeguards for the oppressed minorities with focus shifting on mechanisms to enforce accountability for crimes against humanity committed by state terrorists. ‘No peace without justice’ (Samantha Power – Obama administration) is the principal slogan underlying the UN’s appointment of the expert panel on SL war crimes.
Most host countries were not as much troubled by alleged fundraising for militants as the influx of refugees – especially the activities by people smugglers(Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Somalia); the focus turning on countries violating human rights to create a refugee exodus and exporting their ethnic cleansed as refugees (‘End Sri Lanka’s genocide behavior to end flow of Asylum seekers-Groundreport.com, Nov 2009). To deflect criticism these human right abusers blame the diaspora for the refugee flow. How credible SL’s people smuggling stories is evident from a story narrated by Bernard Goonetilekke (SL Ambassador to the US) to the Washington Post radio not long ago. He claimed that the LTTE sold 130000 stolen Norwegian passports to Al Quade realizing US$ 25 million. Jane, defense analysts factored this figure to arrive at LTTE’s fund raising capacity to over US$ 200 million a year. Once the Norwegian government corrected this mis-information; the 130 000 passports reported lost (not stolen) were over a ten year period and only in 7 cases were Sri Lankans involved; the LTTE fund raising out of the Norwegian passport lost was US$ 0 (zero) not US$ 25 million; SL’s wild claim.
The credibility of most SL claims routinely put out and analysed by its counter-terrorism experts have sharply eroded to reach an all time low. The contribution of the mainstream diaspora is in disabusing the views in the international community that the villain in the costly SL civil war was Tamil militancy/LTTE; that SL exploited the conflict to export its genocide victims as refugees to the countries where the diaspora eventually fled over the past three decades. SL mis-information was the pillar on which SL’s success in the ethnic cleansing largely depended. The diaspora constrained by inadequate funds could not effectively counter SL’s mis-information on the actual condition on the IDP issue though on the ground most interned IDP’s are still not back in their homes. SL’s mis-information claims to the contrary delayed the appointment of Ban’s expert panel.
To counter the mainstream diaspora endeavours to further the Tamil cause SL uses its diplomatic missions in the host/third countries to recruit the likes of Devanandas and Karus overseas. Whilst SL’s efforts failed miserably everywhere, Malaysia was an exception. Here a Tamil organization called Fomso incorporated in 2007 at the instigation of the SL High Commission in KL fell into the SL trap. While SL’s international standing is in shambles for its genocide and war crimes record, officials of Fomso deem it fit to confer SL respectability, shaking hands and relishing the hospitality of SL. It is interesting that Fomso came into existence at a time the SL High Commission offices worldwide were actively recruiting agents overseas to act as moles. It is not sheer co-incidence that SL using moles on the ground executed a spectacular rendition (Israeli style) of an ex-militant out of KL to Colombo. According to the diaspora grapevine the fear amongst the mainstream diaspora worldwide is that SL may use their Fomso contacts to spy on diaspora travel plans for relaying travel information to the SL immigration and for white van state sponsored militia reception in Colombo to await the diaspora visitors to SL. Most victims of the ruthless SL white van culture are members of the mainstream diaspora.
SL uses its embassies to recruit more Devanandas and Karus now from among the Tamils living overseas; funding their passage and comforts in SL before being taken on conducted tours of pre-selected show-camps to under-write SL version of conditions of IDPs. This is damaging to the Tamil cause; the progress on steps to hold SL accountable is based on reports on the condition of the IDPs. The damage to the Tamil cause from SL’s success in commissioning Tamil recruits in Malaysia is minimal given their numbers and economic contribution; limited to gifting a few sewing machines and bi-cycles. Yet the diaspora has cautioned Tamils world wide of the potential for Devanandas from among the overseas Tamils emerging to damage the Tamil cause.