Daily Archives: May 4, 2007
EXPERT SAYS THE TURNING OF BLIND EYE BY FEDERAL GOVT. IN AUSTRALIA HELPED TERRORIST AIR WING
By Walter Jayawardhana
A Singapore based terrorism expert said the attitude of showing a blind eye to the activities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the part of the Australian Federal government has contributed to the build up of the Air Wing of the terrorist group in Sri Lanka.
Due to three mid night raids of the nascent air wing of the Tamil Tigers Sri Lanka’s only International Air Port is being kept closed at night for air traffic now.
The Head of the International Center for Political Violence in Singapore Dr. Rohan Gunaratne said the LTTE has been procuring aircraft, arms, explosives and other technological deices for more than a decade from Australia.
He said the LTTE was buying light aircraft in the mid 1990’s and bought detonators for terrorist bombs as recently as last year from Australia.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer while trying to downplay Sri Lanka estimates of Australian terrorist fund raising by the LTTE supporters nevertheless has admitted there has been fundraising in Australia and those funds have been siphoned for terrorist activities of Sri Lanka.
Dr. Rohan Gunaratna said, “”It started in the mid-1990s but the procurements activities continued as far as last year in Australia,” he said.
“The last items they purchased were remote control devices which have now been uncovered in Sri Lanka with Australian markings (on the devices).”He said Australia ignored the problem since they were more concerned about Muslim extremists and focusing on them.
“Within the intelligence community now it’s very well established that because governments turned a blind eye to this today there are light aircrafts the Tamil Tigers are using to mount attacks in Sri Lanka,” Dr Gunaratna said.
“The failure of Australia and other countries to act in a timely way enabled the Tamil Tigers to procure aircrafts and other capabilities that have enabled them to develop a successful terrorist air wing.”
Dr. Gunaratna further said, “Last weekend, the Tamil Tigers air wing – said to be made up of small aerobatic propeller-driven planes adapted to carry bombs – launched a raid on oil facilities near Colombo, prompting some international airlines to cancel flights in and out of the capital.
Dr Gunaratna said Australian authorities had been aware of the problem for many years but had only begun to take the problem more seriously about two years ago.”For Australia, it was never a priority to curb the non-Islamist terrorist groups operating in Australia,” he said.
Intelligence agencies had been collecting information on procurement and fundraising activities for many years, Dr Gunaratna said.
“But the law enforcement side has been very weak,” he said.
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BRITAIN CUTS AID TO SRI LANKA AS A METHOD OF HAND TWISTING TO MAKE GOVT. ACCEPT THEIR WAY OF PEACE
By Walter Jayawardhana
Observers in Colombo said that the British effort to bring peace to its former colony of Sri Lanka could be in trouble since the British High Commissioner in Colombo, Dominick John Chilcot is in a diplomatic row with the Colombo government and Britain has decided to freeze a package of aid to the island nation as a method of hand twisting.
The Sri Lankan government yesterday blocked a visit to the rebel-held north of the island by a group of British diplomats, led by Colombo’s Deputy British High Commissioner Lesley Craig who had wanted to discuss the future of the troubled peace process with the Tigers.
Sources in Colombo said while British money continues to flow into Sri Lanka to fund an insurgency waged against the government the British High Commissioner has brought pressure on the government not to wage war against them.
Speaking in British parliament, the country’s Minister of Foreign Office Kim Howells said, “’What is Britain doing to help with the search for peace? First and foremost, we are offering the benefit of our Northern Ireland experience.”
Sri Lanka’s second largest opposition party has already declared that Sri Lanka is in need of a genuine peace process without external interference. So it is expected that a peace process with the British hand twisting would be vehemently opposed and campaigned against heavily by them in the country.
Using a ceasefire the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has even developed its air wing forcing the Sri Lanka government to close down its only international airport to night time flights.
While Sri Lanka is unable to allow night time flights due to the inability to equip its small air force to deal with LTTE’s small converted aircraft invading the city of Colombo Britain is dictating its former colony not to increase its military budget to fight the world’s most innovative terrorist group, sources in Colombo charged.
Britain said it was withholding millions of dollars worth of aid to its former colony to twist the government’s hand and until the government of Sri Lanka meets defense spending conditions- another way of telling stop the war with the insurgents. While observers see no end to the millions of dollars still flowing to the LTTE Britain has seen it fit to stop its aid to Sri Lanka, political sources charged.
Britain said it is suspending half of the 2.95 millions of pounds it had earlier agreed to give to help Sri Lanka pay off some debts to the World bank after paying only half of the payments.
“What we have said for this year is we are making half of the agreed payment because there is an ongoing consultation process about progress towards meeting the conditions agreed between the two governments,” the spokesman for Britain’s mission in Colombo said.
“The remainder of the money will be paid to Sri Lanka when we are satisfied that those conditions have been met.”
The British High Commissioner visited a news paper office in which the editor claimed that she had been threatened by a the defense secretary. He said he was declaring solidarity with the editor. The defense secretary said he did no such threatening. The newspaper is owned by the uncle of the leader of Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who himself expelled a British reporter from the country for writing against his government, when he was the Prime Minister.
Whether the claim of the editor was true or not, the interference of the British High Commissioner was seen as interference in the internal affairs of the country by sections of the government.
It has become customary for British High Commissioners to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. During a United national Party regime former President Ranasinghe Premadasa declared a former British High Commissioner persona non grata and ordered him out of the country, accusing him of interference in the internal affairs of the country.
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