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July 24, 2002
Toronto

The Editor
The Washington Times
USA.

Dear Editor,

 The news story  Cash crunch pushes Sri Lanka to peace “ filed by your correspondent Ben Barber is one-sided, misleading at best and false at worst. There is no truth in the statement by Ranil Wickremesinghe that “The money helped the LTTE a great deal. But they were not able to get the money across in the last  year."  If at all, money crunch is a problem for the Sri Lankan government and not the LTTE.    Also the statement by the State Department is palpably false and an insult to the law enforcement agencies of the US. If the LTTE organization "exploits large Tamil communities in North America often through false claims or even extortion" what was the FBI doing about it? Can you cite a SINGLE instance where extortionists were prosecuted and convicted in a court of law in US?  Also what is this “false claims” the LTTE resorted to? 

You are conveying the false impressions, assets worth millions of dollars belonging to LTTE was blocked by US and Canada. If so, you must  tell your readers details of LTTE   ‘’ assets blocked’’ by the executive order of  President Bush? For your information, in Canada, not a cent was blocked since there is no LTTE organization in Canada! 

Either the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been quoted wrong or his memory is extremely  short when he says,  “ The leader of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran, declared a cease-fire and opened peace talks with the Colombo government this spring because of the international climate opposing terrorism.” 

LTTE leader Prabhakaran declared a unilateral cease-fire as far back as December 2000 long before September 11, 2001. This cease-fire lasted for 4 months and the very day it  elapsed, the Sri Lankan army mounted a military offensive code named “Flame” (“Agni Kheela” in Sinhalese). This offensive ended in a fiasco, the army retreating ignominiously after losing hundreds of soldiers and weapons.  

Therefore, the declaration of cease-fire in December 2001 has nothing to do with events related to September 11.  

Ranil Wickremesinghe who came to power on a peace mandate was forced to reciprocate the ceasefire declaration by the LTTE because he inherited an empty Treasury left by the previous government.  He has no other alternative but to seek peace.  

The ban by USA, Canada, UK, Australia hardly matters to the LTTE.  LTTE depends on the army for weapons, not on funds from the Tamil Diaspora.  

Your correspondent is waxing eloquence about “ the Tigers murdered all their Tamil centrist opposition, massacred ethnic Singhalese and sowed terror.” On the other hand, the Sri Lanka’s Sinhala army killed and maimed more than 100,000 innocent Thamils This your enterprising correspondent conveniently forgot to tell his readers. According to Amnesty International (AI.) 540 Thamil youths disappeared during 1995/96 after the army occupied Jaffna. They were buried by the army in mass graves at Chemmani, a dark reminder that the Sinhala army’s occupation of Northeast, the traditional homeland of the Thamils. The Sinhala army presencce poses a grave threat to their freedom.  Right now more than 300 political prisoners locked up in jails under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act are on a hunger strike demanding either they be charged before a court or set free immediately! Obviously your correspondent is counting the dead and the maimed on one side of the divide and not on both. 

You should stop labeling the liberation struggle of the Thamil people as “terrorism.”  The real terrorists are US and Israel who both bomb and kill innocent people under the guise of fighting terrorism! President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are bombing Iraq and killing civilians on a weekly basis!  Now both want to oust President Saddam Hussein from power. But who gave them the divine power to topple a government which is a member of the UNO? This type of state terror will breed more terror, because the weak has no other means to fight dictators like Bush and Blair posing off as democrats! 

I wish a prestigious journal like the Washington Times should get its facts right before rushing to print!

 

Yours truly,

 

  

V. Thangavelu
Contact: 416 281 1165; athangav@sympatico.ca