Your Majesty–Are you aware that UK MPs openly support LTTE terrorist fronts GTF/BTF?
There are times that one wonders whether organizations get banned in order to give them more notoriety and lever their campaign agendas? Such is the case with the LTTE proscribed by the UK Government under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Inspite of the UK ban, LTTE has continued to openly run its international headquarters from London, LTTE’s theoretician and wife lived in UK and openly conducted terrorist affairs, UK allowed demonstrations, events that eulogized suicide terrorism listened to by British MPs on top of LTTE stages, UK’s television is spearheading the anti-Sri Lanka campaign through its channel 4 and UK is allowing its own Parliament to hold events of LTTE front organizations created to continue LTTE’s fundraising and tarnishing activity. Need we say more for Her Majesty’s Government to feel ashamed? Can the Sri Lankan populace be blamed for wondering if British patronage for these terrorist fronts prevail?
Right from the inception of the LTTE, its theoretician Anton Balasingham and nurse-wife Australian Adele lived and functioned from the UK –its international headquarters masquerading under the name British Tamil Association. Adele trained Tamil children as child combatants and presented each with a cyanide capsule with instructions to commit suicide if caught. Why has there been no charges filed against Adele Balasingham for these criminal offences against children?
LTTE was banned on 28 February 2001.
Human Rights Watch published “Funding the final war – LTTE intimidation and extortion in the Tamil Diaspora, a case study of UK and Canada”. HRW gives details of how LTTE fronts extort money in the range of £2000 to £100,000 from Tamil families and businesses. Subramaniam Sivakumar, a Tamil businessman operating a grocery (Apna Bazaar) in North West London was killed on 5 January 2006 for not making regular payments. Tamil gang violence resulted in the stabbing to death of a Tamil on 16 February 2006 at McDonalds, Tooting. In 2005, 16 killings were reported involving Sri Lankan Tamils.
HRW’s report also highlighted the British Hindu kovils that provide another revenue for the LTTE.Sivayogam Temple in Tooting is under investigation for possibly sending explosives in the guise of humanitarian assistance after 2004 tsunami. Sivayogam kovil also sponsored the boat yard in Sampoor which was for LTTE suicide squad. Annual remittances from the UK from extortion and other illegal businesses is said to be in the range of £10 million. What has the UK Government done about these?
UK Government is also questioned in the manner it allows open public events inspite of the 2001 ban. LTTE holds 2 such events annually – on 27 November 2005 the 50th birthday of LTTE leader was commemorated at Wembley Arena amidst a gathering of 5000 Tamils with entrance tickets priced at £35 per head. On 25 July 2006 LTTE organized Black July rally at Hyde Park with permission obtained from Royal Parks Policy by Labour Councillors Sashikala and Eliza Packiadevi who form the British Tamil Councillors and Associates. There was a 20ft cut out of Prabakaran organized by the Tamil Youth Organization. Attending the event were Harrow Councillor Thaya Idaikaddar who is closely associated with Gareth Thomas MP.
While the UK Metropolitan Police is well aware of LTTE activities it prefers to use shortage of staff as a lame excuse for inaction.
The only arrests and charges filed since 2001 number a handful insignificant in comparison to the more than 300,000 Tamils that now live in the UK and the LTTE front organizations and teams that operate from the UK. In June 2007, the founder of BTA, Krishanthakumar alias Shanthan was arrested by Metropolitan Police Service. In April 2009, he was found guilty of supplying bomb-making equipment for the LTTE and receiving documents for the purpose of terrorism. Goldan Lambert (29 yrs), Head of Finance of the BTA was also arrested in connection with the Black July rally organized by the TYO in 2006 in Hyde Park, London.
Interestingly, they have been arrested under Section 12 (3) which refers to “support for a proscribed organisation” (i.e in terms of speeches made at the Black July rally) and Sections 2 & 6 which refers to “providing material support for a proscribed organisation” (i.e in terms of financial support/fundraising etc). How many UK MPs and the LTTE front organizers would fall into this category? Why have they not been arrested and taken for questioning? Instead the BTF organizes a photo exhibition in the British Parliament in 2008 (16 July) attended by MPs of all partys, Members of the House of Lords, Former Cabinet Ministers, Mayors, Councillors, University students, and representatives of international & UK organisations.Some of the attendees included three MPs of the Tamil National Alliance – Ms Padmini Sithamparanathan MP, Jayananthamoorthi MP and Gagendran MP, Labour Party MPs Joan Ryan MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Keith Vaz MP, Andy Love MP and Lord Waddington QC of the Conservative Party. It was hailed by Neil Gerrard MP as “making a clear case for self-determination” and as a final note, Barry Gardiner MP wrote of the exhibition “We Build a Nation.”
Can the UK Government blame us in Sri Lanka for wondering whether the UK is actually assisting these organizations to separate Sri Lanka?
How can organizations like BTF/GTF with links to terrorists be given VIP treatment and be allowed to lobby in the halls of the UN and amongst Parliamentarians – what explanation can Western Governments give to us?
When the War on Terror became the slogan after 9/11 LTTE quickly changed strategies and in order to circumvent legal hassles brought by proscription of the LTTE it rechristened its groups as NGOs and humanitarian organizations. Thus, the emergence of Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), White Pigeon, the World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), the British Tamil Association (BTA) and the British Tamil Forum(BTF), Tamil Youth Organization (TYO), and International Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (ITRO registered immediate after TRO was delisted).
TRO was banned in the UK but not before it transferred its funds to White Pigeon which is also facing ongoing investigations. One of the trustees of TRO, UK, N. Sathyamoorthy is a director of ITRO, which shows the clear link between the two. Prominent LTTE supporters, (Tamil Labour councillors) Daya Ida Kadar, Miss Elizabeth Mann play an active role in organizing LTTE events in UK under the BTF banner. The BTF’s involvement with European Parliamentarians such as MEP Robert Evans, has also been exposed.
The Tamil Refugee Action Group even got a British National Lottery grant of £78,450 pounds on 2nd December 1998. Tamil Refugee Education and Training Centre received a British National Lottery grant of £155,484 pounds, on 4th March 1999. TRO has since 1995 raised 2.5 million pounds which has gone to LTTE tax free, under the guise of “rehabilitation work”. TRO has no staff costs because they work for other charities and receive salaries courtesy of the British tax payer which amounted to 1.5million pounds. Is the UK authorities not bothered, is this not defrauding the British Treasury and Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue?
With all these millions supposedly being sent for “Tamils” why is it that absolutely nothing but sophisticated bunkers prevailed when the Sri Lankan troops finally took over the North? In reality there was nothing that gave evidence of the work done by other INGOs/NGOs stationed for so many years in the North either. In comparison anyone visiting the North can see for themselves the enormous changes visible at every level – infrastructure, housing, electricity, education etc in just 4 years.
The two leading LTTE front organizations are the BTF and the GTF. Additionally there is the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T). The Chair is Lee Scott MP, Ilford North while Siobhain McDonough MP Mitcham and Morden is Vice Chair. MP Robert Halfon (Treasurer and Secretary)
Both BTF and GTF were launched in the UK. BTF in 2006 while GTF was launched on 24 February 2010 at the UK House of Commons in the presence of the then British Foreign Secretary David Miliband despite protests by the GOSL GTF is led by 75 year old Catholic priest Father S J Emmanual – what kind of priest would visit LTTE training centers teaching children how to kill? The GTF’s choice of venue was no happenstance. The February 24th conference had the blessings of the entire British political establishment and of the US government. Even British Prime Minster Gordon Brown met with representatives of the GTF.The Conservative “shadow” foreign secretary William Hague, and his Liberal Democrat counterpart, Ed Davery, addressed the GTF conference.Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Robert Blake, the current US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and a former US ambassador to Sri Lanka, sent greetings. Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was introduced as “President Obama’s friend,” gave a speech welcoming the GTF’s founding. Is this not imperialistic patronage at its best?
The examples of UK MPs links to LTTE and its front organizations is worthy of mention:
· 13 January 2010 – Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Keith Simpson addresses British Tamil Conservatives at a fundraising dinner at The Barn Hotel in Harrow for Dr. Rachel Joyce, PPC for Harrow West. Hon. Nick Hurd, MP (Shadow Minster of Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering), Mr David Ashton, Councillor and Leader of the Council, Jean Lammiman, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community, Richard Almond, Volunteer Coordinator for Harrow West and Golsie Simms, Council Candidate for Roxeth. , Ansela Peterpillai, Council Candidate for Roxeth also attended.
· September 28, 2011 – Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP (British Shadow Foreign Secretary) calls for an international commission on inquiry into war crimes against Sri Lanka speaking at a Tamils for Labor event at the Labour Party Conference because there were “profound concerns” regarding the LLRC.
· September 19. 2012 – Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West makes an emergency “Point of Order” speech in the House of Commons raising concerns about the Human Rights Watch report about Tamil asylum seekers deported from UK and being tortured in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has no qualms about UK keeping all Tamils in the UK if that pleases all parties.
· 17 January 2013 – Lee Scott MP calls for ‘justice for Tamil people’ through the Ilford Recorder a widely circulated newspaper in London. Incidentally he is the Chairman of the APPGT so his comments were nothing to be surprised over.
· 41 British MPs wrote to PM Cameron in 2011 no sooner the UN Panel of Experts released its report calling for an independent, international inquiry against Sri Lanka. Below are these MPs. Notice how the same names associated with LTTE front organizations.
Lee Scott (Chair) Virendra Sharma (Vice Chair) Siobhain McDonagh (Vice Chair) Simon Hughes (Vice Chair)
Heidi Alexander Ian Austin Hazel Blears Peter Bottomley Russell Brown David Cairns Martin Caton Katy Clark Jeremy Corbyn Stella Creasy Jon Cruddas Jim Cunningham John Cryer Jim Dowd Clive Efford Mike Gapes Barry Gardiner Mary Glindon Robert Halfon Tom Harris Margaret Hodge Sharon Hodgson George Howarth David Lammy Andy Love John Mann Stephen McCabe John McDonnell Teresa Pearce Steve Pound Nick Raynsford Chris Ruane Joan Ruddock Stephen Timms Emily Thornberry Gareth Thomas Keith Vaz
Another example of UK allowing terrorist conferences is the permission given to hold the World Tamil Conference on 10 November 2012 at the British House of Parliament.
The Conference was attended by leaders and party members of Tamil Nadu political parties, TNA MPs, members of Tamil National People’s Front, Members of Tamil Civil Society and Tamil Diaspora organizations as well as human rights activists and UK parliamentarians. Labour MPs speaking at the event were Jeremy Corbyn urged the international community to recognize Tamil’s aspirations and their right to self-determination in Sri Lanka.
Also present were Siobhain McDonagh, Mike Gapes, Barry Gardiner, Seema Malhotra, Stella Creasy, Kate Green while Garath Thomas urged to set up international independent inquiries. Conservative MPs were Steve Baker, Steve Brine, Bob Blackman, Alok Sharma, Stephen Hammond, Mike Freer, Nick de Bois, Iain Stewart, Lord Popat of Harrow. Liberal Democrat MPs Tom Brake also attended.
Tamil Nadu politiciansattending were : M.K. Stalin, Mr. Rathakrishnan, Illankovan and T.R.Balu of Dravida Munnetra Kalakam, D.K. Mani of Paddali Makkal Kadchi, Arul of Pasumai Thayakam, Iyanar of Nam Thamilar Kadchi, Viduthalai Rajendran of Thiravida Viduthalai Kalakam, D.K. Rajah, T. Pandyan of Communist Party of India, Thol Tirumavalavan of Viduthalai Chiruthaikal, Arjun Sampath of Inthu Makkal Kadchi, Dr. Krishnasuamy of Puthiya Thamilakam, Kumaraiya of Ganthiya Makkal IyakkamSaravanan of Save Tamil Movement, Thirukumaran of May 17th Movement and Ram Shankar of Delhi Tamil Advocates association.
Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance MPs – Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran, Sritharan and Yokesvaran and Former MP and the General Secretary of the Tamil National People Front Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam.
Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Global Tamil Forum (GTF), La Maison du Tamil Eelam – (France), Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) Tamils Centre for Human Rights (France), Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYO UK) and United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) participated on behalf of the Tamil Diaspora organisations.
MP Robert Halfon (Treasurer and Secretary APPG-T) condemned the international community for not recognizing the genocide of Tamils at the World Tamil Conference in 2012. Liberal Democrat MP and the Vice Chairman of the APPGT Mr. Simon Hughes speaking at the same event accused the Sri Lankan government for committing serious war crimes during the final war.
Mr. Alfred Robert – senior member of BTF mobilization team handed over a memorandum to the UK Foreign Secretary Rt.Hon William Hague highlighting situation in Sri Lanka The Resolution adopted by World Tamil Conference 2012 – is it surprising these are just what the Western Governments are also calling for?
1. Take immediate steps to create for free flow of information that would bring to light the ground realities prevailing in the North and East of the Island of Sri Lanka.
2. To stop decimation of the Tamil Nation by the Sri Lankan State.
3. To stop Sinhalisation of the Tamil traditional Homeland.
4. To demilitarise the Tamil People’s Homeland of the people to exercise their democratic rights free from fear of persecution.
Parties endorsing Resolution adopted by the World Tamil Conference in November 2012
· Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (Australia)
· British Tamils Forum (United Kingdom)
· Canadian Tamil Congress (Canada)
· Communist Party of India (India)
· Delhi Tamil Advocates Association (India)
· Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (India)
· Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (India)
· Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam (India)
· Global Peace Support Group UK
· Hindu People Party (India)
· International Council of Eelam Tamils (Federation of 14 country councils)
· La Maison du Tamil Eelam – (France)
· May 17 Movements (India)
· Naam Tamilar Karchi (India)
· National Council of Canadian Tamils (Canada)
· Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils (Norway)
· Pattali Makkal Katchi (India)
· Puthiya Thamilagam Party (India)
· Save Tamils Movement (India)
· Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka (South Africa)
· Tamils Against Genocide
· Tamil National Alliance
· Tamil National People’s Front
· Tamil Youth Organisation
· Tamils For Labour (United Kingdom)
· Tamils Centre for Human Rights (France)
· Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
· Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi(India)
· United States Tamil Political Action Council (US)
Then came the 27 February 2013 Global Tamil Forum 3rd Anniversary Conference also held at the House of Parliament, Committee Room 14, on Wednesday from 10am-5pm.
Objectives were to support an international independent investigation into war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against Tamils as well as a venue change for CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka.
Ms Siobhain McDonagh gave the welcoming address. MP Robert Halfon (Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils – APPGT) also spoke. The other speakers were:-
· Mr Peter Kellner, Chair Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS)
· Cde. Ms Ribbon Mosholi, African National Congress International Relations Manager
· Mr Bawa Abdul Kader, former Deputy Chairman of the Sri Lanka’s Teacher’s Union
· Mr Danny Sriskandarajah, Director General of Civicus
· Mr Gordon Weiss, former UN Spokesman in Sri Lanka
· Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
· Rt. Hon Mr Nick Clegg MP, UK Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
· Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary
· Rt. Hon Mr Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
· Cde. Mrs Yasmin Sooka, Member of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka
· Hon. Mr R. Sampanthan MP, Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
· Hon. Mr MA Sumanthiran MP, Human Rights Lawyer and Member of Parliament
· Rt. Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party
· Rt. Hon Mr Simon Hughes MP, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Vice Chair of APPG-T
· Rt. Hon Mr Keith Vaz MP, Chair of UK’s Home Affairs Select Committee and Member of APPG-T
· Mr Lee Scott MP, Chair of APPG-T
· Ms Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)Minister with responsibility for Sri Lanka
· Rt. Hon Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State FCO
· Mr David Mepham, UK Director Human Rights Watch (HRW) on HRW’s new report “‘We Will Teach You a Lesson’: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces”
· Ms Yolanda Foster, Senior Researcher on Sri Lanka for Amnesty International
· Professor Joshua Castellino, Head of Law Department Middlesex University
· Dr.Elvira Dominguez-Redondo, Senior Lecturer Middlesex University, speaking on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) initiative
· Professor William Schabas, International Law Expert Middlesex University
· Hon. Mr Erik Solheim, Former peace negotiator in the Sri Lankan peace process and Norwegian Government Minister
· Video Message by Rt. Hon David Miliband MP, former UK Foreign Secretary
· Video – Mr and Mrs MCM Iqbal, Human Rights Activists – Introduce excerpts of film on plight of women in the Vanni
· Director Callum Macrae introduces excerpts ‘No Fire Zone’ documentary via video
While the Vote of thanks was delivered by Rt. Hon Joan Ryan, Policy Advisor, GTF.
Please take a close look at all those who have being associated with the tarnishing campaign against Sri Lanka, connect with their statements against the GOSL to understand the bias that should now be clearly visible. Both GTF/BTF have proven direct links to the LTTE. The links of LTTE front organizations is evident in the Joint Statement issued on 7 March 2012 by the British Tamils Forum (BTF), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC – the Organization that gave 50,000 to Amnesty International), Tamil Youth Organization UK (TYO UK) and US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC). Are people seriously ready to accept statements from organizations that are linked to LTTE terrorism?
Moreover there are reasons why UK Channel 4’s documentaries on Sri Lanka are claimed to be baseless and tarnishing campaigns only. The Sri Lanka Killing Fields screened in 2011, then the 14 March 2012 sequel War Crimes Unpunished and now the latest “No Fire Zone” have been nothing but allegations without proof. Moreover, when the producer is guest at pro-LTTE events it leaves little to the imagination on his bias.
Meanwhile, the second US-backed Resolution against Sri Lanka harps on the lack of “pace” in the accountability and the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. Though recommendations does not equate to mean a sovereign Government is bound to follow through on all the recommendations made and no foreign nation has any right to insist on what should be implemented. Moreover, the LLRC was openly denounced by HRW, Amnesty International said on 9th September 2011 that “the inquiry is flawed at every leve: in mandate, composition and practice, the Tamil National Alliance, BTF, APPGT said the LLRC failed to address issues related to international humanitarian laws or accountability, The Elders claimed the LLRC is “not nearly enough”. While in a joint letter on 14 October 2010, the International Crisis Group, HRW and Amnesty International declined to even appear before the LLRC but now these very groups and organizations are backing the US-backed Resolution which bases its clauses on the LLRC.
Yet, inspite of this long list of UK MPs showing open disregard for their own proscription of the LTTE there is a handful of men who have gone against the tide. At the recently concluded UK Parliamentary debate on 8 January 2013, Ian Paisely Jnr, the Northern Ireland Parliamentarian for North Antrim from the Democratic Unionist Party was supported by Conservative Party MPs James Wharton from Stockton South and Aiden Burley from Cannock Chase.
Ian Paisely Jnr goes on to say that after visiting Sri Lanka it worried him about the “misinformation” and said that “Most of the 300,000 internally displaced persons have now been resettled. I visited Menik farm, one of the welfare camps set up to house the huge numbers of people displaced by conflict in January of last year. There were about 6,000 people left, and the camp has now closed and the people have gone home. They have been able to do so because demining operations have proceeded at an amazing pace, with more than 900,000 mines and unexploded ordnance having been cleared, primarily by the Sri Lankan army…. More than 120,000 houses have been constructed in the north and the east, nearly 600 child soldiers have been rehabilitated and more than 10,000 adult combatants have been rehabilitated or reintegrated into Sri Lankan society. Some 900 Tamil speakers have been recruited into the police force in the north and east, and that is important in building trust in a community that does not have historic trust in its Government and the organisations that represent it.”
Whilst Conservative MP Aiden Burley, giving further details of his 8 day trip to Sri Lanka says that he strongly believed that only those who had first-hand experience, seeing things with their own eyes and forming their own impressions rather than just watching a Channel 4 documentary could speak about Sri Lanka and advised Siobhain McDonagh to go to Sri Lanka and speak to the people of Sri Lanka, not to the people of Mitcham and Morden, and listen to what they have to say. He goes on to say
“I have visited Jaffna, the most disputed part of Sri Lanka in the north. There I saw new housing settlements, with Tamils living in them. I had tea with some of those families, whose interests are fishing and farming. They did not talk to me about the past, even though they had opportunity to do so. Indeed, when I raised the past—I was with them on my own—they wanted to talk about their future, their children and their new housing settlements, which were supported by money given by our country through the EU to help rebuild their country. They wanted to talk about moving forward. I have met both Tamil and Sinhalese families, and their united wish was to present a picture of hope for their country, not a picture of division. It was a community that wanted to move forward. They did not want to hear the international community talking about what happened in the past; they wanted the international community to help them to move to a better future…..He (Sambanthan) did not raise with me the issue of the disappeared; he did not take time to raise with me the issue of war crimes; he did not take time to talk about routine torture, in his country, of his people.He had a politician with him from this nation and he did not want to talk about those things. In fact, he actively applauded the Government, whom he opposes….. That was the message of the man who is leading the opposition.”….
“The international community will not solve Sri Lanka’s problems. It will be the people of Sri Lanka, living in Sri Lanka, who will fix the problems of Sri Lanka, and we should actively encourage them in that.”
Leaving aside the Resolution the issue at hand is that if there is a War on Terror complimented by nations introducing legislation that have banned organizations as terrorists and specifically denotes sponsoring, financing and logistically assisting terrorist organization as an equal crime we would like to know what the UK authorities is doing by blindly allowing LTTE and its fronts, banned since 2001 in the UK to openly operate, openly raise funds and extort Tamils living in the UK while also fleecing British citizens by various illegal operations like credit card scams etc. Worst has been the blatant violation by UK MPs seen atop LTTE stages and now openly holding positions in LTTE front organizations and canvassing using their office on behalf of the LTTE against a sovereign Government and against a nation of 20million people.
What we would like to have answered is – is Her Majesty aware that UK MPs whether in Government or Opposition are supporting LTTE front organizations in a bid to destabilize and separate Sri Lanka, a member of the Commonwealth and a sovereign nation with a democratically elected Government?