Daily Archives: February 1, 2007

Indian police catch more military gear for Tamil Tigers

By Walter Jayawardhana


A week after catching six tons of steel balls to make claymore mines India’s Mumbai police caught Indian Rupees 150,000  worth of spy cameras about to be smuggled out to the same terrorist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The procurement of arms and other military equipment by the LTTE after the detection of six tons of ball bearings as raw materials for claymore mines by Indian law enforcement officials continued to make headlines in India when the Police also discovered another 5000 ball bearings and digital cameras used for spy work worth Indian Rupees 150 thousand rupees was once again caught  in Mumbai area, according to police reports.

The Mumbai police sources revealed that four people including three hailing from Tamil Nadu were arrested from North Western Mumbai area suspected to be people dealing with the Tamil terrorist group LTTE. Police said the equipment included 65 Japanese made digital cameras believed to be used widely by the Tamil Tigers for spy work.

"The four were arrested from Vile Parle on Monday. They were in the process of sending a consignment of 65 digital cameras, 500 ball bearings, 21 camera lenses, 30 motherboard chips, 300 FM radio sets and other accessories collectively valued at Rs 15 lakh to Tamil Nadu," Additional Commissioner of Police (west region) Bipin Bihari told news reporters

The four were arrested while they were getting ready to ship them to Chennai from Vile Parle station, the police said. The goods were in a Maruti van from where the police took them.

Police Inspector Sudhakar Pujari said that Nainar, Sultan and Khan arrived in Mumbai on January 25 and were staying in Dongri. "There is reason to believe that the goods were meant for some illegal purpose, as the four travelled from Dongri to meet Khan — who owns a courier agency at Vile Parle. We believe they had sent goods to Chennai in the past too." Coins from other countries, including Sri Lanka were also recovered.

"We learnt that one them came back from Hong Kong with these goods on January 28. They had planned to smuggle these goods to Chennai," said Additional Commissioner of Police  Bipin Bihari (western zone).

Strangely none of the people arrested for having dealings with the LTTE were Tamil people and all were Muslims.

The police said none of the suspects arrested could produce any receipts to indicate the suspected military related merchandise were purchased legitimately.

The police identified the suspects as  Mohammed Kashim Nainar, Hamid Wahab Sultan and Mohammed Sayyed Ahmed (all from Tamil Nadu) and Rafiq Ahmed Atiullah Sheikh, a local who works for a courier company.

Police said it was too early to associate the seizure with the arrest of an alleged agent of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Oshivara on January27.

The very first to be arrested were eight alleged men suspected to be LTTE agents last week. That led to the arrest of Miraj Saheb Ismail, a tea vendor hailing from Tamil Nadu but living in Mumbai. He is the one who purchased the six tones of ball bearings from Mumbai.  Thereafter the police detectives from Q branch of the Tamil Nadu Police arrested the seller of the steel balls Asghar Ali, who did business in South Central Mumbai’s Null bazaar.

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Sangaree writes to UN on LTTE atrocities

by Harischandra Gunratana

TULF leader Ananda Sangaree yesterday said that the masses in the North and the East want transition of power from the LTTE to the Government.

Sangaree in a letter addressed to the UN Secretsry General Ban Ki-Moon also warned that the LTTE, after a humiliating defeat at Vakarai is detemined to recapture Jaffna at any cost and are harassing people. The veteran politician said the Tigers have ordered every household to release one child to be recruited to its child brigade, that those who got married after August 2006 join the LTTE to fight the government forces, that no one will be permitted to obtain foreign calls except through the Tiger telephone booths at which calls can be booked in the morning and connection will be provided after verification in the evening and these calls are limited to five minutes, anyone found calling another person on a mobile phone would be taken into custody and detained for an indefinite period, LTTE now recruits only those who have reached 18 years and those who are under 18 are not allowed to leave their respective areas in order to hide the fact that the organization is recruiting child soldiers.

People live in agony under LTTE boot

The following is the full text of a letter TULF leader V. Anandasangaree sent to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations Head Quarters, New York.

In this small Island of ours we talk of freedom, democracy, fundamental right, and human rights violations. We have various organisations and institutions both foreign and local to protect these rights. Within minutes of an accident taking place, the Police come to the spot. When a crime is reported the Police visit the scene of the crime immediately. For a small dispute with the neighbours the police is there to inquire into. In short there are various organisation and institutions in our country to inquire and to redress the grievances of the people affected.

The world does not know that there is a group of people, under the dictatorial rule of the LTTE, all Tamils, living in areas under their full control, without these facilities and with no guts to protest. There is none to receive the protest and to rush to their rescue. They are at the mercy of the LTTE. My solitary voice is echoing and re-echoing the grievances of these unfortunate people, with hardly anyone responding to my call. These people are undergoing this agony not for one or two years but easily for quarter of a century, with no hopes of any relief. Till the cease fire agreement was signed these people were hoping that they will soon be able to lead a peaceful and normal life like others, but the CFA dashed all their hopes and contrary to their expectations the CFA only legitimised the LTTE’s grip on them. It is now almost five years since the CFA was signed and the LTTE’s grip tightened more and more as every day passed and today their atrocities had become so unbearable and have reached the peak level. The people are now shouting for help for their liberation and are ready to give all their support for any one doing it.

The most crucial problem the country facing today is the liberation of the Tamil people from the LTTE’s atrocious rule, in the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu and in parts of the districts of Mannar and Vavuniya. I do not exaggerate anything for I gain nothing by doing so. I have received enough brick-bats from the Pro-LTTE media, both print and electronic, all over the world. There had been de-meaning articles by even some Tamil Professors and also cartoons, mercilessly attacking me. Pro-LTTE media had even honoured me with titles like "Traitor", "Stooge" etc. Undeterred by this type of humiliations and threat to my life, I go forward to fulfil my sacred mission of liberating the people who had been subjected to immense hardships, deprived of all their rights and living like slaves for more than 24 years.

The 22 Members of Parliament fraudulently elected by the LTTE with the people’s vote, not to represent them in Parliament but only to act as proxies of the LTTE. As one elected at the last free and fair Parliamentary Election held for the North and East in December, 2001 and coming first out of the nine members elected from the Jaffna Electoral District, the duty is now cast on me to speak on behalf of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka although I am no more a Member of Parliament.

Mr. Prabhakaran and his clique are very fond of accusing the Sinhala Community as a whole, of adopting a policy of genocide of the Tamils. I do not agree with them. There are a few upheavals here and there once in a way, sometimes in the battle front and at times as retaliatory measures, following some gruesome killing which cannot in anyway be described as genocide. Such incidents had been very strongly condemned by leaders of all communities irrespective of who did it. No one, except the LTTE leaders, condone acts of terror in Sri Lanka.

LTTE’s atrocities have now reached a climax and the people, unable to bear them any more are longing for a change. If no action is taken immediately Mr. Prabhakaran will soon pave the way for the total annihilation of the tamil race. I have very reliable information that people want a smooth transfer of power from the LTTE to the Government. The LTTE after a bitter defeat at Vaharai is determined to recapture Jaffna at any cost and are harassing the people for their support.

1. Every house-hold had been ordered to give at least one member to be recruited to their fighting cadre.

2. Those who got married after August, 2006 should join their fighters. Those married before August and those from Mahaveer families are exempted.

3. No one is allowed to take foreign calls except through their telephone booths at which calls can be booked in the morning and connection is given after verification in the evening. Calls are limited to five minutes.

4. Anyone found calling somebody on the Mobile is taken into custody and detained indefinitely.

5. Now they recruit only those who have reached 18 years. Those under 18 are not allowed to go out of the area under their control.

6. People do not celebrate Festivals like New year, Deepavali etc.

7. They abduct youths married even before August if they are from the Government held areas of Mannar, Vavuniya or Jaffna.

8. All A/L 1st year students have been taken away for training, the only exception are members of Mahaveer families.

9. School going children are kept locked up in their homes by their parents who do not allow them even to go to hospital.

10. People do not go out for work and wait at home keeping guard over their children.

The LTTE had abducted more than ten thousand youths for recruitment to their fighting cadre in Kilinochchi and a similar number in Mulaitheevu also. In addition to this, youths abducted from Government controlled areas like Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna, are also recruited as fighters. It is now clear that the LTTE also have a hand in the abductions that take place in White Vans in Jaffna. All abductions during the day-time are undoubtedly by the LTTE. No one else will dare to abduct during day time.

The training period for the LTTE cadre varies between 2 and 4 weeks before they are sent to the battle front. Those who resist training or refuse to co-operate are assaulted badly and if by chance anyone dies he is hung by the neck to give the impression that he had committed suicide.

The latest tactics of the LTTE is to wait till dark and after the inmates go to bed they force open the house and take whoever they want to join the fighting cadre. In certain cases when the parents plead with them for the release of their children, they are released on conditions that they will be brought and surrendered at their office at a future date. Out of fear some parents keep their promise and the children so surrendered are declared as if they had joined voluntarily. Parents who resist arrest are severely beaten and the children are taken away inspite of the curse showered on them by the angry and heat-broken parents.

I take full responsibility for all what I have said here. The people who had been living in areas under the control of the LTTE had sacrificed enough and it should be noted that all their sacrifices, tolerance and sufferings were all borne by them for the sake of their children. No with a demand from the LTTE for one person from each house-hold they are prepared to defy the LTTE and revolt against them. They are also prepared to welcome and give all co-operation for a friendly army that will give an undertaking to give protection for their lives and properties inspite of any provocation that they may have to face, while engaged in the process of liberating them.

The time has come for the Tamil Media and the TNA Members of Parliament to tell the LTTE to stop fighting, release all children abducted or recruited to their fighting cadre and to come to the negotiating table, after discarding claymore and landmine attacks targeting the Forces which causes more deaths and injury among innocent civilians including small children. The LTTE should be told in clear words that this is the last call. Both the tamil Media and the TNA parliamentarians should come out openly to save the Tamils from total annihilation. Let there be no hide and seek in this matter about which the people are very much concerned.

As for the Government my sincere advice is to come out with a reasonable proposal to solve the ethnic problem without any further delay. I reiterate that any solution within a Unitary State will never meet the aspirations of the minorities. Undue delay will prove detrimental to the cause.


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Windows Vista ready for Sri Lankan market

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Windows Vista, the latest operating system developed by Microsoft Inc. and Office 2007, which was launched world- wide yesterday is bound to revolutionise the local language users with its built-in Sinhala platform and improved productivity.

"Microsoft has spent time and money for this technological enhancement which was launched globally and is to be unleashed shortly in Sri Lanka with Sinhala-user facility," Microsoft Sri Lanka Country Manager Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne said.

According to industry experts on Microsoft’s latest version of its flagship operating system, opening windows to hitherto untapped vistas of opportunity and productivity, ease of use, security, stability and connectedness.

Today’s employee works in a number of simultaneous roles and scenarios that flow across time, geography and organizations as well as stakeholders.

The new launches are designed to address the core issue of making communication and working together in teams easier by adding features that enable sharing applications, working together on documents and projecting presentations wirelessly.

The products have also focused on gains in productivity, efficiency and connectivity to its users which the company says will enhance how employees can work with one another, partners and customers while also enhancing how organizations capture and use information. Microsoft says the 2007 Office System is designed to increase individual impact, simplify collaboration, streamline business processes and content management, and improve business insight.

Language is the vehicle that transports ones thoughts and imagination to another’s mind.

The key advantage in Windows Vista is its compatibility with the Sinhala language. Microsoft 2007 introduces precision speech recognition, Sinhala documentation & mail on to the desktop ensuring easy usage for most segments of the population, which will in turn benefit the entire nation.

A major challenge facing companies is the load on employees to control ever-increasing volumes of content, which slows down people. By streamlining everyday business processes and content compliance procedures, Vista allows companies to optimize their enterprise content management workload and improve compliance.



Two indonesians tried to buy weapons for Tamil Tigers plead guilty

By Walter Jayawardhana

Two of the six men pleaded guilty charged in the case following a sting operation by the FBI against illegal arms buyers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a Baltimore federal court in the USA.

They were charged with paying undercover custom agents in the US State of Maryland to smuggle out restricted high tech weapons to the Tamil Tigers who are fighting a separatist war in Sri Lanka.

When brought to the Baltimore Federal Court , dressed in prison uniforms, January 30,  the two Indonesians, Reinhard Rusli(34) and Helmi Soedirdja (33) pleaded guilty for the charges of attempting to illegally export arms and money laundering.

The US federal prosecutors accused Rusli and Soedirdja of contacting undercover agents to buy monocular night vision and holographic weapons sight devices, purporting to be used by the Indonesia Army.

The charge sheet filed against the two individuals August 31 last year says they wired US $ 2950 from Indonesia to the United States to obtain monocular night vision device and holographic weapons sight. Under US laws those items cannot be exported without a license from the US State Department or any other written authority since they are restricted military technology.  

The US federal government further said in the papers filed in the courts that the pair arrived in the US territory of Guam, which is an island, to complete the transaction.  After their arrival the Indonesians, who were actually planning to buy them for the LTTE met with undercover US agents to examine the night vision devices and to discuss future plans to acquire further purchases of additional military equipment. According to the court papers they arrived there on September 21 last year. Thereafter they were arrested in Guam by US Immigration agents.

According to the law both of them could receive a maximum jail term of 10 years for the charge of attempting to export prohibited arms and another 20 years jail term for the money laundering charges.

But under a special provision of US law called plea bargain, they have agreed to receive a lesser jail term by pleading guilty. According to the agreement and comments on it by the presiding judge the likely prison term for Rusli and Soedirdja would be about four to five years. They are scheduled to be sentenced next April 27.

The second sting operation against the Tamil Tiger arms buyers was revealed during August of last year when undercover US agents rented a four star hotel called Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, even provided facilities in a mosque in Laurel to worship and pray and allowed him to test the military weapons he was planning to buy in a camouflaged police shooting range in Harford County.

Fooled by the elaborate sting operation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who are also known as the Tamil Tigers, a foreign terrorist organization listed by the US State Department, deposited US $ 700,000 as a down payment to buy an arsenal of US manufactured weapons worth millions of dollars like sniper rifles, submachine guns and grenade launchers. The arms dealers also inquired about unmanned air vehicles and buying surface to air missiles capable of shooting down the Israeli made Kfir jet military planes operated by the Sri Lanka Air Force, the prosecutors said.     The remaining four men who have pleaded not guilty continue to stay in federal custody and their joint trial is scheduled to come up in May.

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Masses aren’t asses, Mr. Sirisena!

Sri Lankans are a peculiar lot. They are adept at embracing something that they pretend to dislike, trotting out excuses. This could be succinctly put as the average clergyman’s attitude towards sex—he condemns it in public but relishes it in private. Today is Poya day and meat stalls and liquor bars are closed—quite rightly so, practising Buddhist will say—but at every home where liquor and meat are consumed, adequate stocks of meat, fish and liquor are maintained. Some people’s gorges rise at the mention of beef but the same worthies gobble up fish, mutton and chicken and fall over one another to help themselves to val uru mas (wild boar) wherever that rare commodity is available! Some are against killing animals but consume fish and meat by the ton insisting that the poor animals, to which those carcasses, belong have not been killed for them! Some proclaim their aversion to liquor in public but gulp a glass or two on the sly claiming that the stuff that cheers helps reduce the cholesterol level! However unpalatable it may sound to some of us, we ought to come to terms with the fact that most of us are hypocrites.

It is against this background that one should view a comment Minister Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have made at a ceremony to mark his assumption of duties at his ministry. He has said he is ashamed of being part of a jumbo cabinet! All ministers must be ashamed of being a burden on this mendicant state. If Mr. Sirisena has any compunction, he must resign from the cabinet forthwith so that the number of the ministers will go down by at least one? If others of his ilk claiming to be honourable men and women follow suit, the question of a jumbo cabinet won’t arise.

Has Mr. Sirisena taken the people for a bunch of suckers?

He is reported to have said in the same breath that the government was without an alternative to a jumbo cabinet, as it wanted to avert an election which would have cost the country dearly. (Even politicians seem to be feeling for the country!) His contention is not completely false. In reshuffling the pack, President Mahinda Rajapakse had to accommodate even jokers in the cabinet. Else, they would have pole-vaulted to the other side. That is, for the 18 UNP crossovers, he would have lost an equal number of SLFPers or more to the UNP, had he reduced the number of ministers to 25 as the Rathu Sahodarayas demand.

But, that is no reason why a person, like Mr. Sirisena, the General Secretary of the SLFP, should stick to his cabinet portfolio like a limpet, while feeling ashamed of it. He could have set an example for the greedy politicians by resigning from the cabinet.

Perhaps, the lay politicians should be forgiven for peddling that argument, as even some Buddhist monks seem to think that to serve the public, they need to hold political office! What pathetic figures they have cut in politics!

The Proportional Representation system (PR) has, as one of our staffers pointed out on this page yesterday, led to unstable governments. No single party can aspire to forming a government on its own unlike in the good old days. Rainbow coalitions have become the order of the day! The late President Premadasa was the first leader to appoint a large number of ministers to prevent the disintegration of his government in the aftermath of an attempt to impeach him in 1991. He introduced the concept of kankaanam project ministers to keep his parliamentarians happy and content. The tradition continues.

However, jumbo cabinets must not be taken for granted. Some of the remedies suggested are legislating for limiting the number of ministers as in the Provincial Councils, re-introducing the Executive Committee system so that all parliamentarians will be able to participate in the developmental activities and have a say in governance and reverting to the First Past the Post (FPP) system, under which a parliamentarian doesn’t have to nurse so huge an electorate.

But, we must not make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bath water. The PR system has its merits. The ethnic minorities are also enamoured of the system. On the other hand, the FPP system, too, could lead to unstable governments like in 1960, when we had two elections–one in March and the other in July.

A viable way out may be the adoption of a cross between the PR and the FPP systems or the so-called German Model. Most of all, laws must be made to strip parliamentarians, especially ministers, of powers with which they have risen above the law, perks and other benefits they are enjoying at public expense. They must also be denied opportunities to engage in corrupt deals—the main attraction in politics. If that is done, no one will want to be a minister and we might even have to import ministers!

President Rajapakse has done a grave injustice to the General Secretary of his own party, Maithreepala Sirisena by making him accept something, of which he is ashamed. He and all other ministers who feel ashamed of belonging to a jumbo cabinet or make public statements to that effect must be immediately relieved of their portfolios so that they could live with a clear conscience.

Let Minister Sirisena be told that masses are not asses to believe him!



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