Is the European Fuss over the LTTE Front Liners a Parable?
Posted on August 2nd, 2011

by Dr. Chandana Jayalath

 Neither an academic nor an international legal consensus as to what “ƒ”¹…”terrorism’ means is available. However, it could be the use of violence irrespective of the context in which it occurs. Because of many divergences that have made it impossible to conclude a convention on international terrorism in order for a single, all-encompassing, legally binding definition, some terrorist allied groups are hiding behind the term of “ƒ”¹…”rebels’. In whatever form it takes, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned terrorist acts using a political description of criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public. It goes onto include the circumstances that are unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them. So, it is all about social devastation including loss of innocent lives. The price the Sri Lankans paid for LTTE’s dream of Ealam exceeds some eighty to one hundred thousand lives with an economic cost of US$ 200 billion. It is a drop by 30 years in the country’s development.

Rather than apportioning the blame into two accounts by trying to find who and who are responsible for what and when, time has come to find ways not to repeat the most terrible moments of the nation. One such effective measures and perhaps a must is to identify supporting arms of terrorism that has been geographically dispersed and largely involved in money laundering, propaganda, and more tenderly in large scale brainwash. One such rendezvous is the Europe where “ƒ”¹…”sympathizees’ have been a source of nuisance to local governance. Since knowingly financing, planning and inciting terrorist acts have been already declared to be contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, it is important to understand that any individual or entity who acts for, or on behalf of terrorist organizations, in the name of “ƒ”¹…”liberation’ is still terrorism. It is therefore an obligation of the member countries to institute actions under the numerous UN conventions on terrorism. Doing so also casts on countries the obligation to implement these provisions equally, to all terrorist entities across the globe.

Since the trajectory taken by the LTTE in its global operations has been complex, the actions of LTTE front organizations such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), the World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), and Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) must be the next in line to be closely monitored for. Nonetheless, forming an integral part of the LTTE overseas infrastructure, these organizations have been notorious for various acts of crime. For instance, TRO passed off its operations as charitable, when in fact it was raising money for LTTE responsible for atrocious acts of terrorism. In the United States, TRO through a network of individual representatives was the preferred conduit of funds from the United States to the LTTE. While acknowledging the actions taken in the US and Canada to proscribe the TRO and the WTM, it should be regretted that at present sufficient attention was not being paid in Europe to the activities of the LTTE front organizations. Save of course several arrests and upcoming trials in France, the UK and Italy, there are no significant emphasis placed on their “ƒ”¹…”games’ behind the screen. Apart from the threat against Sri Lankan diplomats, and the Sinhalese living in Europe and more importantly the fund raising, money laundering, these organizations maintain “ƒ”¹…”Thamil Cholai’ schools to brainwash the next generation.

Children dressed in LTTE combat uniforms carrying replicas of rocket launchers, missiles and machine guns were seen at a cultural festival in Thurgau in Switzerland. As young as eight years enacting a drama dressed as combatants were in the event organized by the Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau, an organization purportedly for promotion of Tamil culture and art. However, the entire event turned out to be a down and out fundraiser of the LTTE. The question is why the Europe states allow LTTE front organizations to play hell with such gullible children having known that it is a blatant violation of child rights. Swiss authorities should take action against the organizers of the event as the use of children for glorification of violence and subjecting children to such practices could lead them to grow up as social misfits who believe in violence a better tool. Unfortunately while children in Europe were living in peace and security, for countless others in Vanni lived with cyanide capsules. However, the Sri Lankan government is now trying hard to bring these children who lost their childhood the psychological normalcy. However, the children of Tamil diaspora living in Europe are beyond the Sri Lankan government and can well be supervised at least at arm’s length of the Europe administration so as to avoid them being influenced by the violent acts they are asked to perform although they have no experience at all about the theater of war. Therefore it is time the Europe took a stern action to abide by Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the indirect involvement of children in armed conflicts. Since the LTTE continued to recruit large numbers of children into its armed forces- forcibly through intimidation, coercion and violence – and to use them in a range of combat and non-combat roles, it is not something uncommon for allied organizations to repeat the same.

On the other hand, the LTTE allied organizations are still believed to have a wide network of publicity and propaganda with pockets located in at least 54 countries. The largest and most important centres were located in the Europe with large Tamil expatriate communities, most notably the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. In addition to these States, the LTTE is also known to be represented in countries as far-flung as Cambodia, Burma, South Africa and Botswana. It’s publicity networks covering Europe, Australia and North America also included radio and TV satellites. Apart from publicity, the majority of financial support comes from six main areas, all of which contain large Tamil Diasporas namely Switzerland, Canada, Australia, the UK, the US, and the Scandinavian countries.

It is therefore vital for the EU to prohibit the engagement in propaganda and glorification of terrorism. It is imperative that the EU come to an early determination as to where the right of freedom of expression ends, what the liberation means and how terrorism works. Any failure to take timely action to curb LTTE front organization activities in Europe could have several ramifications. It could not only render the sacrifices being made on the ground to eradicate terrorism in Sri Lanka wasted but also pave the way for recapturing LTTE lost strengths using Europe money. It will also help continue funding the LTTE residues which in turn intensifies conflict within the Diaspora with those who opt for peace and reconciliation. Accordingly, it was heard that Sri Lankan government has updated a request to the EU to list front organizations of the LTTE as terrorist entities. On July 6, the UK government re-listed the LTTE among the UK’s “proscribed terror groups” following a review carried out through the UK Strategy for Countering Terrorism (CONTEST). It must be noted the persons so far arrested by the European and other authorities have all been found to be members of the TCC, TRO, TYO and other LTTE front organizations. The message is that although militarily defeated in Sri Lanka, its allied organizations continue to be active internationally, espousing the ideology of the LTTE.

In nutshell, terrorism that takes various shapes is a global challenge that no State can ignore in the misguided notion that it is somebody else’s problem. Also, the States should not be deceived in semantic debates on either the justifications offered by so-called liberal movements which act on behalf of terrorist organizations. If any State to succeed in coping with the terrorist menace, it must necessarily have to stay ahead of the terrorists in terms of intelligence, technology and criminal justice. More than anyone else, the entire Europe must carefully reassess the security levels and take a decision whether to flourish or perish. Therefore, it is high time a serious concern is made over the law enforcement communities in the Europe to watch movements of the LTTE allied organizations. The biggest lesson the Europe to learn is if a camel gets his nose in a tent, its body will follow. Those who believe they have a way for “ƒ”¹…”proto-state’ status in the corridors of Western powers are the myth they coddle next. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, therefore.

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