WAPS Media Release on Tamilselvan

The World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) is a loose federation of some 20 Sri Lankan expatriate organizations operating mainly in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada and the US. It rarely issues Media Releases but the elimination of S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the Political Section of the LTTE, was correctly deemed as a worthy of a special release. This is the first time that a prominent leader of the LTTE had been killed by GOSL in over twenty years of fighting. Of course the LTTE has assassinated many Sri Lankan leaders in the course of the insurgency (and even the Prime Minister of India). The WAPS statement (reproduced below) was signed by the President of SPUR, the Australian representative on WAPS. But for a statement on behalf of an organization claiming to be the leader in opposing the formidable international propaganda arm of the LTTE it is somewhat weak on analysis of this important development. Certainly many implications of this development are missed in the WAPS Release, and we shall raise some of these in this blog.

The main charge against Thamilselvan that is repeatedly stated in this Release is that he was a terrorist. Certainly anybody associated with the LTTE from the supremo to the meanest functionary could be termed a terrorist. As a high ranking official of the LTTE Thamilselvan would certainly come under this. But the irony here is that GOSL has not declared the LTTE to be a terrorist organization even when many foreign governments have officially done so. WAPS should have clarified in what sense it regards Thamilselvan to be a terrorist. He is certainly a terrorist in a broad generic sense or in the usage of the foreign governments that have declared the LTTE a terrorist organization. Unfortunately this is not the legal position in Sri Lanka. In fact recently GOSL announced that the LTTE could stand candidates for election to parliament even in the south of the country. Such a previlige is never extended to a proscribed terrorist organization. The failure of WAPS to clarify this point reduces much of the value of its Media Release. It may also be pointed out that Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the next President of the US, had drawn a distinction between kinds of terrorists, and indicated that groups like the LTTE and the Basques should not be put on par with Islamic terrorists.

The circumstances under which the news of Thamilselvan's death became known needs to be analysed. The SLAF destroyed the building in Killinochchi where the breakfast meeting was to be held, but aerial reconnaisance would not have established who, if any, was killed. This information was released by the LTTE. If the LTTE had been silent the world would not have known that Thamilselvan had been killed. He had been off the LTTE radar for some time and a silence from him may have gone without too much notice taken. No announcement haas been made as to who provided the information on which the raid had been conducted. It does not probably require too much of "conspiracy theory" to conclude that Prabhakaran (P) may himself have wanted Thamilselvan to be eliminated. P is known to have killed some of his own close assistants before when they became too big for their boots. Karuna's break with P may have been because he feared that he was the next to go. There is also speculation that the elimination of Thamilselvan was part of P's plan to make his son his ultimate successor. If so the killing of Thamilselvan may not have been such a blow to the LTTE as many assume. In fact it may well be that the SLAF was doing P's job for him. Of course much of this is speculation but given the way that leadership differences had been settled within the LTTE in the past this is not entirely improbable. There has also been a symbiotic relationship between the LTTE and the major political parties in Sri Lanka, including the claim that the last Presidential election was fixed by a pact between P. and the President who was ultimately elected. If this scenario is indeed correct then a different complexion has to be put on Thamilselvan's death than is contained in the Media Release. At least this possibility should have been examined in the Release.

It is curious that whoever supplied the information about the breakfast meeting did not supply information on where the funeral was being held at which Prabhakaran and other leaders were present. Otherwise the SLAF could have done a remarkable double act which would have put the LTTE into a terminal situation!

Other than Thamilselvan most of the criticism in the WAPS Media Release is put on the peaceniks operating on the Sri Lankan side. ACSLU has roundly condemned the agenda of these peaceniks. The irony here is that "peace" figures prominently in the declared policy, and indeed in the very name, of both WAPS and SPUR. (SPUR has also added Human Rights into the area of its concerns!) So they too are 'peaceniks' though of a different kind to Jehan Perera mentioned in the Release. But whatever kind of peacenik they be there is no place for peaceniks in the fight against the LTTE. Clearly WAPS or SPUR have little credibility as Peace or Human Rights exponents and it is best to drop to facade. There is no place for these things in the dirty war that the LTTE has been waging. So this argument in the Release is also somewhat compromised.

The Media Release gives 6 numbered points about Thamilselvan's role in the LTTE. Some of these are purely speculative. Of course his military connection given in points 1 and 2 are well-known. In fact he was included in the second batch of LTTE cadres who were trained in military techniques by RAW in India. His retirement from active military duties was due to injuries suffered in the battle field. Point 3 claims that the fateful meeting was to plot "terror attacks on Sri Lanka's defence forces and innocent civilians". How would WAPS know the agenda at that meeting? Item 4 quotes a BBC report and items 5 and 6 link him to LTTE fund collecting, black tigers and child recuitment. These have become standard LTTE activities and all LTTE leaders would have a role to play in them. Thus the special importance of Thamilselvan in the LTTE hierarchy has been missed.

The role for which Tamilselvan became best known, was as the successor to Balasingham. He was the LTTE negotiator with GOSL at the second Geneva meeting and the subsequent Olso meeting. In fact the SLAF ferried him between Killinochchi and Katunayaka on these diplomatic missions. GOSL gave him red carpet treatment, and he was even treated to lavish meals cooked by the SriLankan Airlines chefs. These negotiations which gave Thamilselvan much importance was a gross policy error on the art of GOSL and merely contributed to the stature which Thamilselven got in the international community.

The title given to the Media Release assumes that it is the GOSL strategy to "bliterate Tamil Tiger terrorism and its psychopathic leadership". While such statements have been made for domestic consumption the international position of GOSL is to "weaken" the LTTE so as to bring it to the negotiating table. In a Media Release it is important that the official declared policy of GOSL be presented rather than propaganda statements made for domestic public consumption. There has been speculation, locally and internationally, that the killing of Thamilselven iindicates a change in the official attitutde to negotiation with the LTTE. If so this is a step in the right direction. But we do not have any official indication whether such a step has been taken. Only time will tell.

We can only conclude is that if official Media statements are issued by WAPS they should be written with greater precison and clarity of thought than has been the case in the present case.


WAPS MEDIA RELEASE (4 Nov 2007)

SPUR welcomes the Government's Strategy to Obliterate
Tamil Tiger Terrorism and its Psychopathic Leadership

World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) welcomes the Sri Lankan Government's relentless pursue of LTTE terrorists. The steps taken to eradicate the Tamil Tigers and especially their psychopathic leadership is praiseworthy, paving the way for the peace loving people of Sri Lanka to enjoy the fruits of democracy and peace, so callously denied to them over the last 20 years. To this extent, we appreciate the recent success of Sri Lankan Defence forces, especially the precision bombing that killed a gathering of Tamil Tiger military leaders, including Thamilselvan,

Thamilselvam, an acknowledged leader of ruthless terrorism, has been the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide of the LTTE. In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 thriller, a swig of a medical portion transformed the mild mannered man of science Dr Jekyll to a growling homicidal maniac, Mr Hyde. Although Thamilselvan flashed his smile whenever he met a foreign visitor to Kilinochchi, he continued to scheme and plot terror attacks against the people and the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka on a full-time basis. This is evidenced by:

  1. Tamilselvam's early career in the LTTE military wing and the photographic evidence depicting Selvam in battle fatigues commanding Tiger Terrorists in their failed penetration of the Muhamaalay defence line last August;
  2. LTTE's admission that at the time of his death, Selvam was in charge of the LTTE defences in Paranthan, Poonagam and Palliavaryakaddu. Defences go hand in hand with offences. Hence the fact that Selvam was an active accomplice of terrorism is indisputable;
  3. Confirmed death of five other LTTE military rankers in the same incident is also proof of an early morning meeting that was taking place to plot terror attacks on Sri Lanka's defence forces and innocent civilians;
  4. Ethirajan Anabarasan's 2 November 2007 BBC report which stated "recently a senior rebel source told me personally that Thamilselvam was away in the North-West of Sri Lanka heading a rebel fighting unit"; and
  5. Selvam acting as LTTE's interface with fronts illegally collecting funds from the diaspore for procuring weapons to sustain terrorism and his direct control of TRO's investment priorities
  6. Selvam's close connections with the suicide cadres and child soldiers.
It is common knowledge that Selvam was the loyal mouthpiece of Prabakaran and the puppeteer of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), and that he periodically summoned leaders of the TNA on command from Prabakaran to issue directives. TNA commentary and press releases on the terrorist Selvam's death must be seen in this context. The anti-Sri Lankan foreign funded peace brigade has gone in to overdrive (especially overseas) elevating Selvam to a demi-god like character committed to peace. However, Selvam who was a barber by profession, was promoted over many others by Prabakaran to be a faithful lap-dog perpetrating terror, whilst hiding behind a peace façade to dupe the public and the international community. Many observers noted his mediocrity when he was representing the LTTE at Norway led international peace discussions and concluded that he was nothing but an ineffective marionette used in public relations activities for the Tamil Tigers to gain time.

The foreign funded, cocktail swigging peace brigade parroting Selvam's 'hidden' virtues include Jehan Perera from the National Peace Council and Pakiyasotti Sarawanamuttu from the Centre for Policy Alternative making statements of doom and gloom for Sri Lanka to Reuters and the BBC respectively. The SLMM has joined the fray making commentary on Selvam whilst it remained deaf and dumb when the Tiger Terrorists attacked the Anuradapura air force base. The dollar boys of the peace brigade are compelled to show empathy with the terrorist Selvam as he was their link to the terrorist group. An integral part of the NGO's agenda include the prolonging of the war and parroting LTTE's invincibility at a time of dwindling strength and sphere of influence.

The bottom line is that S.P. Thamilselvam was a confirmed terrorist leader of the LTTE and at the time of his death, he was actively plotting terror attacks against the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka, its armed forces entrusted to maintain law and order and its people, including the Tamils currently enslaved within the rebel held regions of the Vanni. Hence the peace loving Sri Lankans and the international community should disregard the cacophony of praise heaped on a dead terrorist and a fascist, and work with the Government to bring at least some of the LTTE followers who were misled by Selvam and the LTTE leadership to the negotiating table and starving it of funds collected internationally to procure weapons of destruction.

To keep the present momentum of the drive against the ruthless killers of the LTTE, the people of Sri Lanka and their friends in the international community must strengthen the Government and its military capacity to respond to Prabahkaran's continuing lust for blood.

Signed (on behalf of WAPS)
Dr. DASARATH JAYASURIYA
President
Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka (SPUR)
Australia

Members of WAPS President - Sri Lanka United National Association (SLUNA) of Canada President - Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), NSW, Australia President - Western Australian Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, (WASPUR) Australia President - Queensland Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, Queensland, (QSPUR) Australia President - New Zealand Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, (NZSPUR) Auckland, New Zealand President - Sri Lankans Against Terrorism- NSW, Australia President - Sinhala Cultural and Community Services Foundation of Victoria, Australia President - Apey Shakthi- New Zealand Coordinator - Hela Muthu Ketaya, New Zealand President - Canadian Association for United Sri Lanka-Canada President - Sinhala Centre- United Kingdom President - The International Campaign for the Liberation of the Sinhala Nation- United Kingdom President - Sinhala Association of Sri Lankans in the United Kingdom President - New York Society of United Sri Lankans-U.S.A President - United Sinhalese Association in Italy- Rome, Italy President - Pacific Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka, Vic (National Office), Australia President - Alliance Against Tamil Domination, United Kingdom President - Veera Parakramabahu Foundation (VPF), NSW, Australia President - First Society of Sri Lankan Professors in American Universities, United States of America President - First Society of Sri Lankan Professionals in Japan, Japan