The Military Column

17th November 1996

who killed LTTE men in Paris?

By Our Military Analyst

The slaying of two important leaders of the LTTE on the streets of Paris on October 26, has generated four theories as to who exactly was responsible for the killings. The LTTE has placed the blame on the security agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka. In early 1995, it was proposed to the government, that there was a need to eliminate key LTTE leaders overseas particularly those responsible for fund raising and gun running.

By July 1995, a plan was drawn up by the name of Operation Phoenix and a key operative was dispatched to a western country. The government did not give the green light for the plan. The operative broke all contacts and went underground. Sri Lankan community in France and in the UK believe that the French were tired of growing LTTE activity in Paris that the DST, the French external intelligence agency, sanctioned the killing.

But the French government has expressed that they will not tolerate street violence. They have a video of the killing that they are holding on to and are bent on making more arrests. The LTTE has in the past killed several of its leaders and cadres guilty of misappropriation. The initial reaction of the British intelligence was that the killing was done by the LTTE.

A foreign spy agency has reported that Kandiah Perimbanathan, the Chief Fund Raiser for the LTTE (not only in France but internationally), has amassed wealth under the table. In fact he has a house in Holland. The LTTE has given Perimbanathan the rank of LT. Col., a rank normally awarded to district commanders.

Anti LTTE Tamil groups have increased in number from Canada to Switzerland where they have conducted operations against the LTTE. In Canada, anti LTTE groups have killed members of the pro- LTTE VVT gangland in Switzerland. PLOTE has killed a former bodyguard of Uma Maheswaran who killed Uma. Last year the LTTE killed Sabalingam, a top journalist, in Paris, for writing an anti-LTTE book.

Did PLOTE kill Kandiah Gajendran, the editor of the LTTE Elamurasu and Perimbanathan, the LTTE fund raiser? Did the government contract a third force to do the killing? There has been a recent pressure upon the government even to contract the mafia to terminate key LTTE operatives overseas but the Secretary for Defense. Chandrananda De Silva, who is bent on fighting the war legally, has declined.

What are the international implications of killing these two LTTE leaders? Europe is currently emerging out of four waves of killings. The Iranians and the Libyans and Hezbollah and the Kurdish PKK have been taking targets. Iranians and the Libyans have been killing dissidents. Hezbollah and the PKK have been taking targets as well.

The latest killing is that of the Sri Lankan Tamil leaders of the LTTE. On the evening of September 17, Iranian gunmen stormed into a Berlin restaurant and killed two men who were dining.

To quote Time of November 11, The diners, Kurdish activists in town for a convention of the Socialist International, were finishing up a feast of lamb and stuffed grape leaves at 11 p.m. when two men burst in wielding an automatic pistol and an uzi machine gun. They shouted, You sons of whores! in Farsi , then sprayed the men, tables and walls bullets and sped away in a blue BMW, leaving a horrific scene of sprawled bodies, spilled food and oozing blood.

As the papers have reported, the killing of the two LTTE leaders were no different.

The LTTE international secretariat in the UK requested permission from the Commonwealth and Foreign office to bring the two bodies to London for two hours for the Tamil community in the UK to pay respects to them.

The Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK protested at the suggestion.

LTTE newspapers - some 40 in the Atlantic -have raised the issue. Special supplements have come up on the assassination. They have held a number of meetings and demonstrations to lobby greater support.

LTTE posters have come up in their strongholds in Europe stating We are mourning our martyrs Nathan and Gajan and Killing of our Chief Editor of National Tamil paper Violation of Article 19.Ó Will Sri Lanka be better off with these two leaders dead? Yes and no.

The wealth of experience they had operating in compartmentalized structures will take years for their deputies to gather. But, the LTTE cadres and supporters overseas will be more determined. The French and the British in particular, will be concerned about their soil being used by the LTTE and anti-LTTE groups to wage war.

But the West must realize that they are paying a price for allowing their soil to be used by groups indulging in terrorism to raise money.

The fact that the LTTE has admitted that one of the leaders was the chief fund raiser for sarvadesh, meaning all the countries, proves that the LTTE is raising funds and buying arms to kill men women and children back in Sri Lanka.

Last week British and US officials discussed bringing special laws to ban fund raising in their countries. The UN is also interested in developing a resolution to that effect.

The post-Cold War world is learning reactively and not proactively. It may become too late for the West.

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