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Monday, June 1, 2009

LTTE: Malaysian connection

Report on April 10, 2009
LTTE planning for fifth Eelam war —- in Malaysia
By Ranga Jayasuriya
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is losing the fourth Eelam war, but is planning for its next phase. Though the guerrillas have been unrelenting in fighting last week, it is planning on the next phase of the Eelam war.
Behind the radars, the LTTE leadership is relocating hand picked cadres and their families out of the war zone. According to local and foreign intelligence reports, at least 21 boats have smuggled LTTE cadres to Tamil Nadu during the month of March.
In the month of February, 12 boats have smuggled LTTE cadres. Four boats have been intercepted by the Navy. The rest ended up at their destination. This information has been verified with a foreign intelligence source. Intelligence officials believe that the modus operandi of the Tigers is to bring back these cadres in exile after the resettlement of civilians.
The LTTE, which fears annihilation at the hands of the forces, would like to increase the cross strait smuggling in the coming week as the troops encircle the No Fire Zone.

Tamil Nadu, given its demography and growing pro-LTTE sentiments have all the characteristics to function as a rear base for the LTTE, but, intelligence officials raise concern at the increasing LTTE activities in Malaysia.

Ethnic Indian Tamils in Malaysia, which account for 8 per cent of the population, have become increasingly politically active since the departure of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, whose rule was marked by the contradictory legacies of spectacular growth in economy and political repression.
Indeed, the most ardent proponents of the ethnic Indian sentiments, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) — which in 2007 held a massive rally of 20,000 against discrimination of ethnic Indians in Malaysia - has since been banned and its top five leadership was arrested and held in prison under the Internal Security Act.

During the height of these events, Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police, Musa Hassan charged that Hindraf “has been actively canvassing for support and assistance from terrorist groups”.

The links were discovered following intense police investigations in the past six months into Hindraf’s activities, he said in a report.

“They are also lobbying for international support from India, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Nations and Europe,” Hassan said in a statement, accusing the group of giving a “twisted and distorted picture” to the international community on the status of Indians in Malaysia.

This was followed by remarks from the country’s attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail who accused Hindraf of suspected collusion with Sri Lanka’s LTTE.

“Everybody in the world is worried if there is an LTTE connection,” he said, adding that police were investigating the issue.

However, the Hindraf leadership has denied links to the LTTE and the party has been on a low key since the arrest of its top leadership.

Recently a Tamil charity in Malaysia came under criticism after it was found it had funneled the large share of its tsunami aid to the Tiger front NGO, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO).

Recent intelligence reports revealed that Mathivathini, wife of the Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran and his youngest son have been smuggled into Malaysia. The chief of the LTTE’s arms smuggling wing, KP alias Kumaran Pathmanathan alias Tharmalingam Shanmughan was reportedly operating from Malaysia.
Intelligence Agencies have raised concern of the LTTE investing in local business ventures and building relations with local political and business interests. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government is restructuring the staff of the Sri Lankan High Commission in KL, by posting a number of military personnel in order to increase intelligence gathering capabilities.

And, according to available intelligence, KP operates all Tiger bank accounts from Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, attending the eighth Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore today, met Malaysian Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and requested Malaysia to seriously consider proscribing the LTTE.

The Foreign Minister expressing deep concern of certain overseas illicit activities such as fund raising, arms trading and human trafficking, political patronage and dissemination of false propaganda, which could have negative effects on peace and stability of Sri Lanka in particular and the region in general, requested close co-operation and assistance of Malaysia.

Foreign Minister Bogollagama also thanked the Malaysian-Defence Minister for cooperation extended over the years with regard to the terrorist conflict.

Minister Bogollagama expounded the recent developments in the military front and the manner in which the Sri Lankan Military Forces succeeded in annihilating the LTTE from the shores of the country. He stated that the counter terrorism measures of the Government were most successful.

Minister Bogollagama stated that the Sri Lankan military managed to destroy 13 LTTE vessels transporting arms and weapons, thus blocking the entry of such arms to the country. The Malaysian Defence Minister also congratulated the Government of this unprecedented feat and stated that it earned the respect of the entire world.

Ahmad Zahid, stated that splinter groups of the LTTE could cause certain difficulties and accentuated the need to address the post-conflict scenario with greater efficacy. Sri Lanka appealed for support in dismantling the LTTE international support network after victory over the terrorists.

"Many of the operatives have clearly cultivated powerful, political lobbies in certain capitals with a view to resurrecting the LTTE," he said.

"It is important for the international community to take all measures to assist the government of Sri Lanka to track down the global network of the LTTE," he told an annual forum of defence and military officials organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

But, where is Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP alias Kumaran alias Selvarajah Pathmanathan, Current Head of the LTTE and the Arms Smuggler. KP, a most wanted person by the Interpol and several intelligence agencies including FBI, the black listed arms smuggler, is the key procurement agent of the LTTE.
Report said KP is currently based in Malaysia and also believed to be responsible for calling a public meeting at Batu Caves temple on May 24. An SMS asking them to gather at Batu Caves for a mass rally in support of Tamil Eelam. The mass rally is organised by Malaysian Indian non-governmental organisations to protest the "genocide" against the Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

A source linked to an Italian intelligence firm said that LTTE leader Vslupillai Prabakaran who was killed on May 19, has talked to KP, over a satellite phone.

The phone call was made around 2 AM on May 07 from Sri Lanka to Malaysia, says the intelligence bureau that is monitoring the communication of the international terrorist organizations. The LTTE leader asked KP to assume the leadership of the LTTE and lead the struggle following any circumstance within the coming few days.
He has urged KP to work with the people mentioned in an email he has sent. Prabakaran has asked to carry on the struggle since the conditions are good for the Ealam struggle internationally, the Intelligence bureau.

On May 24, nst repotrs:

KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of people, including Tamil MPs from both sides ofthe political divide, gathered at Batu Caves temple yesterday to protestagainst the mass killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The protest, organised by the World Tamil Relief Fund and severalnon-governmental organisations, also condemned the Sri Lankan governmentand the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said the rally was not meant to support any militant groups, but to show concern for innocent Tamil civilians victimised by the war in northern Sri Lanka.

"We urge the international community including Malaysia to not supportthe Sri Lankan government and to help the Tamil community there to live peacefully.

"We call for the Sri Lankan government to be charged with war crimes for killing innocent civilians," said Saravanan.

The protest started around 10am and ended about 1pm, without incident. It was carried out without a police permit, despite warnings by the Selangor police against it.

Several policemen in plainclothes were seen monitoring the situation but no arrests were made.

Participants were seen carrying banners and placards highlighting the plight of innocent lives lost and condemning the Sri Lankan government.

Some also carried banners glorifying LTTE's late commander, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Among those present were Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, Teluk Intan MP M.Manogaran and MIC Youth adviser S. Vel Paari.

Another report:

Thousands of people gathered at the Batu Caves temple this morning to protest against the Sri Lankan government despite a police warning against the rally.

The protest rally was to voice the opposition against the war crimes perpetuated by the Sri Lankan government against innocent Tamils in its ongoing war against the LTTE.

LTTE has been fighting for a separate Eelam state in the north of Sri Lanka. The war reached a boiling point earlier this week with the Sri Lankan government claiming victory with the killing of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

In the process, thousands of innocent victims, almost all of whom were Tamils, have been killed and about 100,000 made homeless.

The protest today was organised by the World Tamil Relief and the Coalition of NGOs movements.

Among those who attended the rally included MIC information chief and Deputy FT Minister M Saravanan, DAP’s Teluk Intan parliamentarian M Manoharan, DAP’s Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran, PKR’s Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan , Kapar MP S Manikavasagam and Batu Caves temple committee chairperson R Nadarajah.

Also present were DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago and MIC Youth wing advisor S Vell Paari.

Yesterday the Selangor police urged the public not to join the protest as it was being held without a police permit.

State deputy police chief Jamshah Mustafa however said that people can go to Batu Caves to pray but “not for an illegal rally”.

But despite the police warning, there was no strong police presence in Batu Caves.

One of the organisers SP Pathi told Malaysiakini that they had originally expected some 15,000 people to participate today but conceded that the police warning would mean fewer people turning up.

Eyewitnesses said that a few hundred people had gathered by 10am. By noon the crowd size had swelled up to about 4,000. By the time the rally ended at about 1pm organisers said some 5,000 people had attended.

Several posters condemning the Sri Lankan government were also seen pasted in Batu Caves. A platform was set up on the field within the temple compound where fiery speeches were made.

First to speak to the crowd was Nadarajah who said that he was pressured by some quarters not to allow for the rally to take place in the temple compound today.

“But I insisted on it being held in support for the Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said to the loud approval of the crowd.

Saravanan also lauded the presence of so many politicians at the rally despite their political differences.

“I am proud that we can stand united here for our Sri Lankan Tamil brothers,” he said.

He also lashed out at the Indian government, particularly the Tamil Nadu state government, for not doing anything to stop the attacks on civilians in Sri Lanka.

“If one Prabhakaran is killed, thousands of Prabhakaran will rise. If Israel can be formed, a Tamil nation can be formed too,” he added.

He also urged the Malaysian government not to support a draft resolution tabled by Sri Lanka at the United Nations calling for member nations not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

He said such a support for Sri Lanka would hurt the hearts of Malaysian Tamils.

Manoharan meanwhile said that the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse had committed war crimes by killing innocent Tamils in the country.

“He is guilty of war crimes and must be charged in the war crimes tribunal,” he added.

Gobalakrishnan also similarly condemned Rajapakse for “murdering innocent children and women”.

He said that the spirit instilled by Prabhakaran would remain even if he was killed.

Kulasegaran urged the Malaysian government not to give any financial aide to Sri Lanka as it would seem like it was supporting the war crimes in that island state.

“The government of Malaysia is going to give RM3 million to Sri Lanka. We cannot allow that. I will raise this issue in the parliament,” he said.

A donation campaign was also launched at the rally to collect funds for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Later at a press conference, several resolutions and immediate plans were revealed to assist the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“We will form a peace team to be sent to Sri Lanka to help rebuild the lives of the war victims,” said organising committee member K Arumugam.

And among the resolutions passed included a call for the United Nations to start a probe on the Sri Lankan government and to institute war crime charges against the Sri Lankan leaders.

Another resolution called for the lifting of all restrictions imposed on the international community to assess the full nature of the catastrophe that has struck the Tamils in Sri Lanka and offer immediate relief.

The protest group also wanted the formation of an independent Tamil state and until then the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force on the island to maintain peace.

“We call upon international community to offer all necessary humanitarian aid through international aid agencies.

“We also call upon the Malaysian government to recognise the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils and institute immediate measures to give assistance and financial support to the Tamils in Sri Lanka,” they said.

They also wanted the government to withdraw its support for the Sri Lankan resolution in the UN.

Earlier, an English-language newspaper in Sri Lanka ran an analysis on the war with the LTTE, whose dream of an independent Tamil state of Eelam in the island is fast fading.

The subhead to that article in the Lakbima News read: "LTTE planning for fifth Eelam war -- in Malaysia".

With the Tigers' conventional army decimated and its leadership literally cornered on a sliver of land in a war that pundits claimed could never be won by either side, a new scenario is unfolding.

This could have dangerous implications for countries well beyond the borders of Sri Lanka. Yet the gravity of it does not appear to have been fully appreciated. The article did not spell out the wider issue but the message was clear enough: military defeat in Sri Lanka is not the end of the 30-year war. The battle for Eelam will be fought elsewhere, though the war of attrition will still be conducted in Sri Lanka.

While the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, whose 60 million Tamils have cultural and ethnic affinities with the Sri Lanka Tamils, would serve as the LTTE's rear base, Sri Lankan intelligence officials are increasingly concerned at what they perceive as burgeoning LTTE activities in Malaysia.

The Lakbima News article, while recalling the comments of Malaysian officials at the height of the Hindraf protests in 2007 about possible links between Indian Hindu organisations and the LTTE, said that the Tigers' chief arms buyer Kumaran Pathmanathan, alias "KP", wanted by Interpol, was reportedly operating now from Malaysia.

There was much speculation in Colombo that the Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka had travelled to a Southeast Asian country to meet "KP", and some said it was to Malaysia.

The ambassador was rebuked by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry. This week, Sri Lanka withdrew recognition of Norway as the "peace facilitator".

Another Sri Lankan newspaper, The Nation, returned to the subject of the supposed Malaysian connection. It said that army intelligence had information that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's son Charles Anthony and military leader Sornam "had fled to Malaysia" for medical attention following injuries sustained in a recent clash.

"The LTTE is believed to be planning to establish their international network centre to be based in Malaysia," the newspaper said, adding that the strengthening of Sri Lanka's diplomatic mission in Kuala Lumpur was a result of this intelligence.

Malaysia, may not be the only Southeast Asian country where the LTTE, banned as a terrorist organisation by some 30 countries including India, is likely to set up support bases or revive dormant links for a different kind of war.

This would happen whether or not Prabhakaran survives the military offensive. The LTTE has lost not just territory but several top commanders since President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government decided to carry the fight to the enemy three years ago, after six months of absorbing Tiger attacks.

During a visit to Thailand last month, Bogollagama warned Thai leaders of the danger to the region if the Tigers based themselves in Southeast Asia, given the presence of sizeable Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil communities there.

Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan police chief Datuk Osman Salleh has criticised an Opposition member of parliament (MP) for blaming police for the death of a suspect on Saturday.

"This is what happen when politicians meddle without asking authorities for clarification," he told reporters.

Osman said suspect S. Tilak, 27, was handed over to police at 7am on Saturday for breaking into a house and stealing jewellery worth RM30,000. He was also assaulted by several men.

"Police recorded a statement from the man who detained Tilak and then sent him to Port Dickson Hospital where he died at noon. We never detained him," he added.

The MP for Kapar S. Manikavasagam (PKR) claimed in his
blog that Tilak was mistreated when detained by Port Dickson police.
Osman said after Tilak''s death, police detained two Indian men who had detained him and applied to the court for a second autopsy on the body.

He was disappointed with the spread of SMS messages alleging that police had delayed sending Tilak to hospital.

"The people responsible for Tilak''s death are not under pressure while police are being slandered for doing their job," he added.
p/s: In 1990, port authorities at Penang impounded the Sunbird, a LTTE commercial vessel, and seized diving and communication equipment and some ammunition.

Any constructive criticism and comment that would contribute to fair, frank and informed discussion on this posting to help achieve our national objective will be most appreciated. We need to have more open exchange of ideas on this sensitive but important subject in the context of the national vision and security.

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