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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: Essential Points - Page 4

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Whatever the claims of the LTTE, Sri Lanka's Tamils were never one united community. Some Tamils have ancestors who arrived in Sri Lanka over 1,500 years ago; other Tamil communities have been present for less than 200 years. There are cleavages within the Tamil community based on class, region, religious caste, and occupation. Some Tamils are so intermarried with their Sinhalese, Muslim or Burgher neighbours that they are barely conscious of their identity.

Many Tamils have no love for the LTTE - with profound reason. The Tigers were ruthless in murdering the leaders of rival insurgent groups such as PLOTE, the EPRLF, and TELO; and in purging potential rivals within their own ranks to their leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran. The toll among Tamil figures who were opposed to a militant path has been very heavy and continuous - some 200 in 2004 alone. It must be remembered that the first murder by the embryonic LTTE was a Tamil federalist politician, killed by Prabhakaran personally.

The LTTE's indiscriminate attacks with time bombs and booby traps on buses, and with truck bombs on office buildings, could not distinguish between Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers. Ethnic cleansing activities often involved massacres and midnight attacks on rural communities, which also made it difficult for machete-wielding Tigers to distinguish Tamils from intended victims.

Tamils in Sri Lanka who have tried to shield their children from conscription by the Tigers (who are notorious for using child soldiers) and educators who tried to keep the Tigers out of their school rooms have been killed by the LTTE. Tamils who objected to paying war-taxes, or who opposed the Tigers in other ways have also disappeared, or have been wiped out along with their families.

In the past two months, many of the Tamils compelled to act as human shields have been killed by the Tigers as they tried to escape. Others, hastily armed and forced into the ranks of the Tigers, have fired on the guerrillas in an attempt to save themselves and their families.

Whenever the Tigers or their supporters insist they are speaking for all Sri Lankan Tamils, it is an insult to some very brave people to accept this claim.
Some Questionable Chums

The Tigers began by adopting the traditional model of a national liberation movement in the 1970s, and they were soon tied into the networks of indirectly Soviet sponsored international terrorism that existed in those days. At various times, Asian Defence Journals, investigative reporters, and Jane's Defence Review have linked the LTTE to:

    * The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); LTTE members were at their training camps in South Lebanon during the late 1970s and apparently again after 1983.
    * The Palestinian Liberation Organization; again, this was in the 1970s when the PLO was a terrorist group in Lebanon. The PLO was also said to be providing some training for the LTTE in southern India.
    * The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); The LTTE was reported to be helping train members of this al Qaeda-related group from Mindanao in the Philippines during the 1990s.
    * The Abu Sayyaf Group; a successor to the MILF and more conventionally tied to al Qaeda. The LTTE was also said to be training their members in the late 1990s.
    * Jemaah Islamiya: The Indonesian 'franchise' of al Qaeda. The LTTE is said to have helped train JI members in maritime terrorist tactics in the 1990s.
    * Al Qaeda: Besides providing training (presumably on a commercial basis) to a number of member organizations within al Qaeda; the LTTE has assisted members of al Qaeda with false passports and in joint arms purchases before the 9/11 attacks.

Over the decades, the LTTE has frequently pioneered terrorist techniques that have been copied by other groups. These include the suicide belt bomb famously used in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and later to such effect during the Second Intifada by the Palestinians, the use of chlorine tanks in vehicle bombings to generate a gas cloud, later much copied by al Qaeda in Iraq,and suicide speed boat attacks such as were later seen in the attack on the USS Cole. This has led to widespread speculation that the LTTE provides training and instruction for other terrorist groups.

The LTTE has been involved in heroin trafficking since the late 1970s. They have been linked to heroin distribution in Canada, France, Italy, Poland and Switzerland; and major shipments of heroin and opium to and from India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka itself.

The LTTE has been accused of piracy on numerous occasions and is linked to the capture of eight freighters in the Indian Ocean since 1995. The entire crews of two ships are missing, and it is assumed they were murdered by their captors.

Criminal enterprises associated with former LTTE members in many countries include human trafficking, extortion, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, commercial fraud and much else. Organized criminal activity in any Western country requires a degree of cooperation with various other criminal societies and Tiger criminal enterprises have cooperated with Bikers, Chinese Triads, Russian and Italian Mafias, and a variety of other groups over the years.
Protesting for the Tigers.



 

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