By Hasaka Ratnamalala
Even though, Sri Lanka just got rid of LTTE terrorism, within her boarders; LTTE overseas operations are still at large. The network that gave LTTE a life line is still functioning and it is still in business of supplying life line to other terrorist organizations in the world. According Jane's defence magazine, LTTE still continue commercial shipping under the two companies registered in Panama and Bahamas. These commercial shipping lines are becoming a threat to the national security of the democratic nations through out the world.
As an example, in a incident took place in May 1997, a LTTE owned Greek registered ship Stillus Limassul picked up an arms shipment belongs to Sri Lankan Government by bribing an Israeli arms dealer. (CSIS commentary No: 77). This shipment would have sold to other terrorist organizations or may have used them to attack Sri Lankan Security forces.
Also, there are several instances, where, other international terrorist originations are following foot steps of LTTE. According to Glen Jenvey, a specialist on international Islamic terrorism; there are several occasions that Al-Qaida has picked up LTTE methods. As an example, the LTTE invention of the modern suicide jacket is widely used by Al-Qaida and other organizations today. Blowing ships and piracy is another method of LTTE which picked up by other terrorist organizations. Attack on USS Cole off Yemen and the sea piracy off the coast of Somalia are such examples. Attack on the World Trade Centre in Sri Lanka by LTTE also picked up by Al-Qaeda and duplicated it on the World Trade Centre in New York. The LTTE women section duplicated by Al-Qaeda and Chechen terrorists, who took over the Russian theatre are now deploying women suicide bombers of their own. Attack's on civilians in bus and trains in Sri Lanka killing innocent passengers were also “copy cat” by Al-Qaeda in London on 7/7 attack.
After the defeat in Sri Lanka, LTTE spent some time in a transitional period. Not to withhold terrorism; but to look for new and innovative ways to operate without going under the radar of international security agencies.
If “Terrorism” is some one’s business, having a brand name like “LTTE” is not going to help them. At Prabakaran’s death, that was the question LTTE Diaspora Commissars had in their mind. “How to legalize business of terrorism?”
Through out the past 30 years of their lives, these LTTE international commissars had nothing but terrorism in their blood. Terrorism was the only language they knew; and they haven’t had practiced any other profession; therefore end of terrorism meant, the end of their livelihood. Their rich lifestyles in the Diaspora were in the verge of destruction. But At the end, they came up with an interesting idea of so called “Trans-National Government” (TNG).
Even though, there is no such thing called “Transnational Government” in the political vocabulary; they are in a hard struggle to give a professional look into the idea. This attempt was visible, in a recent statement by the new US based LTTE leader Rudrakumaran.
In an introduction to TNG, he stressed that; ‘What they have achieved is military supremacy in the balance of power. This is beneficial only within the island of Sri Lanka. Further, this military supremacy is useful only to counter armed struggles and cannot counter the diplomatic approach. In this context, the Tamil people’s struggle for the realization of their right to self-determination by unarmed methods carried out in the international arena is viewed with alarm by Sri Lanka’s rulers as one they cannot confront.” While this statement expresses his agenda; it is also trying to justify their appearance as for a reasonable cause. By wrapping up in a diplomatic jargon, it also made itself an untouchable subject to Sri Lankan security forces.
As the LTTE failure in Sri Lanka is still echoing in the western world, certain international NGOs, press people and politicians who were depend on LTTE funds, are taking a second look at this new idea; meanwhile some of them have already jumped in to it. A multinational group namely “Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice” consist with internationally acclaimed academics; with links to some Sri Lankan NGOs, have already started PR work for the idea with the support of LTTE funds. But in practical sense any child would understand what expected from TNG is nothing but legalization of LTTE terrorism in the international arena.
As per the introduction given at the first meeting held at a LTTE owned Hindu temple in Scarborough, Canada; the first proposed step of the TNG is to appoint money collectors in village level; then the regional and national level. Each of these money collectors collects the money and hand over it to next level after keeping a commission. Even regional money collection offices are also to be open, picturing a mafia type ransom collection. Finally the money goes to Rudrakumaran who is running the international terrorism network with a fleet of ships under his command.
In most of western countries fundraising is not illegal unless it is for terrorism purpose. Therefore “transnational government” idea open doors and gives legality for fundraising until, it is proven that, these funds are for illegal activities. LTTE use this space of normalcy to cultivate maximum international support and collecting money for its existence.
This scenario also highlighted by Dr. Palitha Kohana at a UN session recently. “Terrorist groups with their transnational linkages and multifaceted criminal networks generated a vast and complex mix of criminal activities, ranging from fund-raising using overseas bases, terrorist financing, money laundering, arms procurement and other organized criminal activities, all of which were interrelated. The transportation of large consignments of sophisticated equipment and lethal cargo to provide logistical support to terrorist groups continued to pose a threat to maritime security. Weapons transported by sea were reaching more than one group,” Certainly a call for action.
It is time that the international community should step in, close doors for LTTE activities and find smarter ways to take control of the situation. Otherwise it won’t be much long that LTTE would start doing home delivery of weapons and drugs to the back yards of any nation, for the use of individual terrorist groups.