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Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Wednesday, 19 September 2018 | Sri Lanka Watch
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“The truth is KP is an internationally wanted fugitive” PDF Print E-mail
Shanaka JayasekaraShanMuch has been written about the LTTE in the Media. But there are just a few who are competent to speak about the true nature of the LTTE terror network. Prof. Rohan Gunaratna and Shanaka Jayasekara, both are Sri Lankan born professionals and internationally acclaimed experts on LTTE terrorism. Both mold future agents of Intelligence and counter Terrorism who would contribute to combat Terrorism in this World.

Editors of Sri Lanka Watch has Interviewed both these experts about their views on the operational LTTE network internationally and the arrest of their new illusive Leader KP. Two days ago we published the Interview with Prof. Gunaratna. Today Sri Lanka Watch present the second Interview with Shanaka Jayasekara

Sri Lankan born Shanaka Jayasekara is an Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT) at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

He served as Director (Policy) at the Secretariat for Co-ordination the Peace Process (SCOPP) in Sri Lanka and attended seven rounds of peace talks with the LTTE as an Advisor to the Sri Lankan Delegation (2002-2006). Prior to that, he worked for the UNDP in Colombo. Shanaka has done extensive research on the international network of the LTTE and has a good understanding of the international operations of the LTTE.

SLW: What are your views and assessment on the arrest of KP?

SJ: I would rather not comment on the events of 5-6 August for legal reasons. However, we need to understand that Selvarasa Pathmanathan (alias  Kumaran Pathmanathan or KP) was the chief weapons procurement agent of the LTTE. He was the main architect of the most sophisticated weapons procurement network operated by any terrorist group. It is believed that KP acquired the C4 explosives for the for the suicide vest worn by the Dhanu in the assassination of Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. In around 1994, it is alleged that KP established a front company in Kharkov City in Ukraine and procured weapons for the LTTE. In around 1998-2001 he established a front company in Dubai named “Otharad Cargo” that facilitated weapons shipments to the LTTE. KP together with a UK based activist known by the code name “Rajah Ananda” purchased 11 merchant vessels to transport the illegal arms to the LTTE. Reports indicate that in May 2001, KP traveled to Kabul in Afghanistan via Karachi to meet with the Taliban government at the time. KP’s most recent operation was to use fraudulent End-user Certificates to acquire an arms consignment from a weapons manufacturer in China in September 2003. After the death of
Prabakaran, the pro-LTTE diaspora lobby had desperately tried to shed KP’s past deeds to launder him as an acceptable LTTE leader. Unfortunately, the truth is KP is an internationally wanted fugitive who was involved in procuring lethal weapons for the LTTE.

SLW: It has taken almost three decades for the Tamils to realize - if they really have - that they were playing tandem with a smuggler fraternity. Do you think with the arrest of KP, the LTTE is crushed globally?

SJ: After the death of Velupillai Prabakaran, the LTTE as a conventional military power was completely decimated. However, it is important to be cognisant to the fact that the LTTE buried a sizeable amount of weapons and ammunition during their retreat. Unless the Security Forces can locate and unearth all these weapons, the LTTE combatants when released after rehabilitation and/or amnesty there is a strong possibility of some elements recovering these weapons and engaging in internecine violence.

SLW: Some other source of information says the authorities were able to track him down because the intelligence agents had the satellite phone details since the death of Prabhakaran therefore they were able to track his movements. Other possibility is the power struggle within the „Inner Circle“ of the LTTE.So could it be that which lead to this arrest?

SJ: As I said before, its best we do not discuss events of 5-6 August.
Sri Lanka can learn by the mistakes that China made with Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer. During the protests in Xinjiang province the Chinese government accused Kadeer of inciting violence. The Chinese government in fact put  Rebiya Kadeer in the spot light and made her an international figure. Sri Lanka should learn from such mistakes and not give undue prominence to any diaspora activist.   

SLW: LTTE is banned in as a Terrorist Organisation in the USA. But Rudrakumaran, who lives in New York, operates openly for the LTTE since years. But why have the US Government and the anti terror authorities failed or have been unable to bring him to books like any other person who supports terrorism on US soil?

SJ: The LTTE overseas network operates at two levels, firstly the “Covert Level” and secondly the Overt Level”. Activists like Rudrakumaran operate mainly at the overt level performing duties like public relations, political lobbying and media activity.
The US government has prosecuted LTTE operatives engaged at the “Covert Level” of the network. Several weapons procurement attempts were foiled and key operatives arrested and prosecuted. The US government has been very supportive and acted where it matters.  

SLW: If one can focus on a reality that has impacted the Tamil Diaspora, did the LTTE become the agent of revenge against the Sinhalese and Prabhakaran exploited it to the hilt?

SJ: I think the LTTE lost its way. They were not interested in any form of political settlement. It was all about a separate state and nothing else. The LTTE was a cult movement that espoused a dream of an independent Tamil state. The cult members found it appealing as it provided a pseudo-status within the Tamil migrant community. If you were a LTTE activist in a foreign country, you would be able to flex your muscle, be known and demand respect from the community. It was this pseudo-status that encouraged marginalised Tamil youth to get involved in LTTE activities.  

SLW: Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP evidently has operated over the last three decades in a manner which is good for fiction thrills in the cinema world. On the other hand, specially the Tamil Diaspora living abroad should have known better that KP could have never come out as their new leader in reality, with such a criminal back record. But still KP made it to be the successor to Prabhakaran. How did he (KP) managed to do that ? Was the Tamil Diaspora so naive and foolish to believe that the “Eelam dream“ could have been achieved with a man wanted by Interpol? What made them hang on to him?

SJ: The LTTE has significant amount of overseas investments and assets. The elements promoting the continuation of the LTTE are only interested in acquiring these assts. The internal problems between KP and Norwegian based Nediyavan was based on sharing LTTE wealth and assets.  

SLW: According to your knowledge how much of wealth belonging to the LTTE around the world was controlled by KP and what will happen to all that?

SJ: The LTTE has a number of business activities overseas. It is unclear as to how much of this wealth KP had control of. Much of this was controlled directly from Kilinochchi. A key person that controlled LTTE bank accounts was person with a codename “Chandru” based in the Netherlands.

SLW: CBI (India) has already raised its hand up to question KP on Rajiv Gandhi’s Trial which is going on for 11 years or more. Some observing the developments between India and Sri Lanka in regard to LTTE activities believe that if KP is handed over to India for the trial of Rajiv Gandhi, he may be a free man with in few years like Nalini. What do you think? Should he be handed over? Or what should be done?

SJ: In extradition law, the right for first prosecution is with the country that holds the alleged perpetrator. It is the duty of the Sri Lankan government to come up with a comprehensive indictment. Sri Lanka must learn lessons from the events in Turkey regarding the captured PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and not let KP become an international pressure point.
Its not India that I would be worried about, given past records of Sri Lanka, petty politics in Sri Lanka will permit a future government to release all the LTTE hard core leaders, as a political gimmick. Can you remember how Rohana Wijeweera was released ?, and what happened thereafter.

SLW: In the last stages of Wanni Operations KP in his statements identified the Diaspora as “Eelam Tamils”. Sources in Tamil Diaspora say that he encouraged and financially supported demonstrations in western capitals like London, Paris, Berlin Toronto and Washington against the Government of Sri Lanka. Was it a part of his plan already at that time to be the successor to Prabhakaran?

SJ: I think the demonstrations were part of the disbelief, the incomprehensible emotions that the so called invincible LTTE was being decimated by the Sri Lankan security forces.

SLW: According to your knowledge what are the European Countries he has visited in the past?

SJ: KP lived in Sweden for a period of time.

SLW: John Holms who is a UN official admitted being in contact with KP some time back with the help of Erik Solheim. Was this a wrong decision as it embolden the LTTE not to release people held hostage at that time, LTTE hoping the that they would be able to get away again hoodwinking the UN. So have not the UN and the other to persons supported a terrorist organisation in some way?

SJ: Without any specific reference to an individual, I think it was wrong for any high ranking official to make contact with an Interpol wanted fugitive.

SLW: Recently a dossier on the conventional and unconventional military capability of the LTTE based on the weapons recovered from the War Zone has been compiled, what does it say about the procurements of the LTTE?.

SJ: The weapons captured from the LTTE has provided valuable information on the array of weapons accessible to terrorist groups. The LTTE had acquired weapons from several countries, but they had also received expertise relating the interoperability of equipment. The LTTE had focused on ensuring compatibility so that they could make efficient use of these weapons. The LTTE not only received weapons from the informal arms market, they also engaged foreign military experts to provide training and advice on weapons and modernization.

SLW: What do you think the immediate reaction will be by KP loyalist within the LTTE's overseas network ?
SJ: This is a very serious concern, many of KP's confidants are former LTTE combatants with military training and anything is possible. I think the Sri Lanka government should take extra precautions with its diplomatic staff especially in countries with an active LTTE presence. The government should put in place security measures to prevent any attempt by KP loyalists to kidnap a Sri Lankan ambassador, defence attache or other diplomatic staff as revenge or retaliation.

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