Today Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has grown as one of the leading terrorists outfit in the world. Though it operates from the jungle terrains of sprawling Vanni in the North of Sri Lanka, Velupillai Prabakaran has shot his way ruthlessly into the international lime light.
In the beginning, the Tamil outfit adopted the guerilla warfare tactics, followed by suicide attacks. LTTE pioneered the suicide attacks through its Black Tigers which is subsequently followed by many terrorists organization especially from the Middle East.
Today, Tamil Tigers are in possession of a region to administer with police and law courts implementing the laws of the unelected one-man regime. It has a conventional Army, Navy, Air force and international intelligence network. They have their own offices in all the Western countries, to double as their diplomatic offices in those respective countries. These offices threaten and intimidate Tamil expatriates in those respective countries to extract funds to wage their war in Sri Lanka. They are able to manipulate MPs of Western parliaments who are dependent on their bloc votes in various electorates. These MPs in Western Parliaments – from Canada to Australia – openly back the Tamil Tigers hoping to collect in some electorate anything ranging from 5 – 10 per cent block votes from the Tamil communities.
The growth of the LTTE today is not alone a threat to Sri Lanka Government, but it is beginning to pose as a threat to the international community.
Even though they don’t pose a challenge directly to the world community, their terrorist tactics are considered as innovative methods for the other international terrorists organizations to follow. The suicide attack by boat on the US Cole in Yemen, the targeting of World Trade Center on 9/11, developing the body belt of suicide bombers are all precedents set by the Tamil Tigers and followed by the others.
What are the factors behind this demonic growth of the Tamil Tigers? One factor is clearly visible: the incompetence of the successive Sri Lankan Governments.
The Tigers have beaten effectively time and again, the Sri Lankan Foreign office in propaganda and lobbying.
Second, the military failures on the ground in Sri Lanka.
Third, the divided southern polity which is waging more bitter battles among themselves than against the Tigers.
It is significant that despite all divisions in the Tamil community, the Tigers have managed to retain considerable backing from the Tamil population. Recently, however, this backing has been decreasing due to the heavy handed rough tactics of the Tigers in dealing with the Tamil community who see no end to their misery.
Tigers who fight the Sri Lanka Government, expend millions and millions of dollars to buy military hardware for their military campaigns against the Sri Lanka Government. It is a known fact that more than 60 percent of this money comes from the Tamil expatriates living in the Western countries.
Tamil diaspora domiciled in affluent Western countries fork out millions of dollars to Tamil Tigers because of their attractive propaganda campaigns.
Tigers monopolize the Tamil media operating in the midst of the Tamil diaspora. They always control the print and electronic media in the midst of the expatriates Tamils in the West. Whenever, some one launch a media outlet, Tigers takes the trouble to control them and bring them under their control. If they fail to grab any media organization, they will creep in through the backdoor by investing in the independent media through one of their proxies. If they fail in this move, then they threaten independent media organization and those working in the media.
The Tigers have never compromised in this area. This explains why the Tamil diaspora media is in the hands of the Tamil Tigers.
But on the contrary, majority of the media officers in Sri Lankan embassies are neither committed nor competent to meet the massive propaganda onslaught of the Tigers. However there are some competent challenges coming from the Embassy in Washington, which is an exception to the rule. In Australia, K. Balapatabondi, the High Commissioner, is a total misfit who has neither won the respect of the Sri Lankan community nor that of the Australian community at large. Unfortunately in the United Kingdom diplomats are masters by themselves. Diplomats attached to the High Commission used to suffer the syndrome of megalomaniac mindset.
However, there are a handful of Tamil media organizations that are waging a battle against the Tiger propaganda. These media outlets are functioning because of the personal involvements of those heading these organizations. But these organizations are perpetually threatened and hampered by the lack of funds and of infighting within the other Tamil groups which are engineered by LTTE intelligence cadres infiltrating into these groups as members.
Therefore anti-Tiger media persons are targeted and subjected to character assassinations by the ‘Dirty tricks department of the Tigers.’ Oothai (Dirty) Sethu who operate a website from Norway, with the connivance of the Norwegian government, is typical of the Tiger operations. Mud-slinging is the normal tactic of the pro-Tiger websites against those independent Tamil journalists.
Another common tactic is to flood independent media organizations with letters of protest whenever news or features that are not favorable to the Tigers are either posted or broadcasted. For example, recently Loganathan Ketheeswaran, who was shot and killed in Sri Lanka by the Tigers, was remembered at a meeting held in London and Tamil Osai ( the Tamil language service of the BBC) broadcast that meeting. Immediately Tiger agents arranged hundreds of letters to flood the BBC, condemning it vociferously for broadcasting that event. This is stressed here to explain the mode, style and the ploy of Tiger campaigns.
But in the case of Sri Lanka Government, it never was a match to the LTTE propaganda campaign. Up to now it has not taken any steps or measures to propagate its activities through an organized propaganda and match the vigorous campaigns usually let loose by the Tamil Tigers.
If the Government thinks that only military front must be strengthened then their strategists have not got their act together. There is an equally big battle to be fought out there to defeat the Tigers. Sri Lanka is aware of this but they have failed so far to take any effective steps to combat this challenge. Each successive government has appointed incompetent hacks, some of whom are journalists who can hardly put two words together. They have been no match to the Tiger lobby directed by committed and competent agents.
It should be recalled that earlier in the eighties Tamil Tigers commanded respect and popularity in the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu, in India. But the popularity suddenly vanished into thin air after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
But Tigers took efforts, left no stone unturned to re-establish their popularity back in Tamil Nadu. To regain their popularity back they spent in millions. LTTE representatives, agents and leaders who were living in the Western countries were asked to make political pilgrimages to Tamil Nadu. They kept on meeting a cross section of the people in Tamil Nadu. These LTTE’s proxies met members of the Tamil Nadu political parties, Members of the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly, engage them in regular conversations, kept on talking to them, arranged small group meetings, invited them to five star hotels for drinks and food and managed to win over them back. Newspaper editors and leading journalists were showered with gifts and donations and made them to write about Tamil Tiger activities. These Tiger agents spent millions in India individually and collectively to win back their support.
At present Tigers managed to establish popularity to the extent of adopting resolutions in the Tamil Nadu State Assembly in support of the Tamils - ‘Tamil Eelam.’ Though DMK Chief Karunanidhi, who is also the Chief Minister avoided supporting the Tigers after their truck with V.Gopalasamy (Vaiko), he with reluctance was compelled to introduce resolutions favoring the Tamil Tigers in the guise of safeguarding the Sri Lankan Tamils living in the North and east.
In the meantime, Karunanidhi a shrewd political manipulator, allowed his daughter Poetess Kanimozhi to openly exhibit her support to the Tamil Tigers. Allowing his daughter to support the Tamil Tigers openly was a clear ploy of Karunanidhi to exploit the presently emerging wave of support to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu for his party.
After killing Rajiv Gandhi, Tamil Tigers took great pains in establishing the lost sympathy and support of the people of Tamil Nadu. But Sri Lanka Government doesn’t seem to be inclined to establish contacts and promote trust and sympathy in Tamil Nadu.
It has to be pointed out that after Pakeer M. Amza, a Jaffna Tamil-speaking Muslim from the east, has been appointed as the Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, this diplomatic posting has created headaches for the Tamil Tigers in Tamil Nadu.
Pakeer Amza, an eloquent Tamil speaker and an energetic personality, has been leading a one-man band against the Tigers in Tamil Nadu.
Today except for “The Hindu” and a few other news dailies, all most all the editors of newspapers, weeklies, monthlies and other leading journals are in the pay roll of the Tamil Tigers. It is reliably learnt that editors of the daily news papers receive monthly Indian Rs. 50,000/= and editors of weeklies receives Indian Rs. 25,000/= per month, regularly from the Tamil Tigers.
Tamil Tigers have requested these editors in Tamil Nadu, that even if they can’t promote them, at least to black out anti-LTTE news and features.
Media monitors, anti-corruption agencies and Intelligence Bureau in India should be more vigilant and active in exposing these journalists act of sedition, by holding them accountable for glorifying terrorism in Tamil Nadu said to be one of peaceful state in India.
- Asian Tribune -