By Camelia Nathaniel
The LTTE network outside London was the strongest in Leicester and Milton Keynes but even their participation was limited. Thanam was disappointed because he had operated from Milton Keynes, yet even those willing contributors and volunteers evaded him. Eventually, the LTTE UK was able only to organise five buses and they were operated carrying LTTE flags, banners and placards
To coincide with the inauguration of the Commonwealth Games, the LTTE in the United Kingdom gathered at Barrowfield Street in Glasgow G40 3QZ on July 23 at 3.30 pm. Although the LTTE expected between 400-500 cadres, activists, supporters and sympathizers living in the UK and overseas, they could muster less than 150 men and women, mostly rejected and pending asylum seekers, but a few residents. The event was organised by the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) led by Lucien Rupert Soosaipillai a.k.a Thanam, the LTTE chief in the UK.
The LTTE UK estimated about 400-500 protesters would come for the event and 2000-2500 protesters would come in the event of the Sri Lankan President’ arrival. However, less than 150 protesters turned up suggesting that British Tamils want to distance themselves from a proscribed terrorist group. Although the British government proscribed the LTTE under its Terrorism Act of 2000, it failed to stop its propaganda in the community and lobbying British politicians. The UK deterred LTTE fund raising by arresting and prosecuting the LTTE directing figures but unlike the US, was unsuccessful in crippling the LTTE UK organisation. Hence, LTTE UK remains a major hub for LTTE reorganisation and revival even after its defeat in Sri Lanka.
Until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the focus of the LTTE has always been London. In addition to lobbying British politicians, London remains a centre for LTTE celebration of its suicide bombers in May and the dead terrorists in November. In preparation to organise the protest in Glasgow, the LTTE requested its four regional representatives to organise buses to transport Tamils to Scotland. For demonstrations outside London, when LTTE instructed Tamil shops to organise buses, they complied during the conflict. However, on this occasion, when the LTTE leaders approached each Tamil shopkeeper and ask to organise buses, they were unwilling. When the LTTE controlled parts of the Wanni, the LTTE UK would exercise collateral coercion of Tamils especially the businessmen. Those who did not contribute were threatened that their family and relatives would be abducted by the LTTE if they did not support.
Most of the LTTE supporters and sympathizers were in Wembley and South Harrow. On this occasion, they expressed reluctance to participate stating that they were busy with either work or family matters. Privately they said, by participating in LTTE support activities, they did not wish to be listed as designated persons under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. A desperate LTTE leader Thanam then reached out to the LTTE cell leaders operating in 18 locations outside London. These cells provided funds to the LTTE prior to May 2009 (See below).
The LTTE network outside London was the strongest in Leicester and Milton Keynes but even their participation was limited. Thanam was disappointed because he had operated from Milton Keynes, yet even those willing contributors and volunteers evaded him. Eventually, the LTTE UK was able only to organise five buses and they were operated carrying LTTE flags, banners and placards. Despite an appeal by the Oslo based Nediyawan, the de facto successor to Prabhakaran, Tamils in Europe were disinterested in joining this demonstration in Glasgow. Only the Tamil Coordinating Offices in Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Rome, Amsterdam and a few others were interested in attending but in the end only a handful flew or drove from Europe and a dozen living in the UK outside London drove to Glasgow. About 150 Tamil men and women gathered outside Celtic Park, Glasgow where the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games took place. Although the LTTE media, the Tamil Net, Tamil Guardian and others, projected to imply that the “Tamil community living in the UK organised…. to stop president Mahinda Rajapaksa attending the opening ceremony on July 23 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland”, it was in fact organized by the LTTE UK.
The inauguration of the Commonwealth Games coincided with the LTTE marking a riot in Sri Lanka in 1983. Although the riot was triggered by a LTTE attack, the LTTE attempted to distort history by stating that Sinhalese organised and attacked Tamils in Sri Lanka on July 23, 1983. It was far from the truth. The LTTE periodically attacked targets such as the sacred Anuradhapura Bodhi Tree, the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Meera Jumma and Hussainiya Mosques and others to provoke retaliation. The spontaneous riots were staged by Sinhalese criminals and not the Sinhalese community and were triggered by an LTTE ambush that killed 13 military personnel in Jaffna. The common and elite Sinhalese provided shelter and protected the innocent Tamils attacked by the criminal mobs. The LTTE organisers said that the 23rd is historical in Tamil peoples’ history. Black July remembers the atrocities perpetrated against Tamil people by the organised mob of the Sri Lankan government in 1983. They said Tamils are ready to go to Scotland by buses to oppose the President’s participation at the Games.”
President Rajapaksa had decided several months ago not to come for the inauguration or the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games and also informed the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The LTTE controlled media tried to project that the President was frightened by the massive protest to be organised in Glasgow by the Tamil Diaspora against his visit. The LTTE propaganda stated that “Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa, who was scheduled to be present at the event, evaded it owing to fear of protests. The Tamils, who gathered round the national flag of Tamil Eelam in huge numbers, were treated cordially by the Scottish police, activists present at the demonstration said.”
In reality, the Sri Lankan President who is a fearless leader having eliminated the most vicious group of suicide terrorists, declared that he is even willing to go before the international criminal court to defend Sri Lanka. The ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games were not attended by heads of state and only the sports ministers of the Commonwealth member nations were invited. The Sri Lankan sports minister attended. Neither heads of state nor foreign ministers of the South Asian region attended.
As the intention of the President Rajapaksa to attend or not to attend was not publicized either by Sri Lanka or the UK, the LTTE assumed that he would visit the UK to inaugurate the Commonwealth Games. The LTTE leadership in the UK was highly excited at the opportunity to hold a demonstration in Scotland because a national referendum is scheduled to be held in Scotland on September 18, 2014 with voters asked to answer Yes or No to the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Unlike Sri Lanka, a single political entity for 2500 years, except during the South Indian invasions, Scotland was always an independent country from England since its foundation in 843.
The archaeological evidence and historical records demonstrate that except a very brief period, there was no separate Tamil rule in the North and Sinhalese and Tamils historically coexisted. But LTTE sought to distort Sri Lanka’s history and to create a narrative that Sri Lanka’s north and east were the historical Tamil territories. There is no historical, political, cultural, social, demographic, geographic and constitutional basis for neither the LTTE nor for its political proxy, the TNA to claim a separatist state. The LTTE activists waving Tiger flags and Tiger scarves, holding placards and wearing Prabhakaran T-shirts shouted and displayed slogans. The slogans were mostly old ones used in earlier demonstrations except those specifically crafted to resonate with the developments in Scotland. Chameleon-type LTTE propagandists crafted the slogans. (See box)
The Scottish did not appreciate the LTTE protest. The Scottish journalists reported that it was a noisy protest and politics should not be mixed with sports. When the Scottish realized that the protest was by a defunct terrorist group that had engaged in suicide attacks, killed, maimed and injured tens of thousands of civilians and security forces personnel and assassinated world leaders, they reported their presence to the police. Two Scotsmen appearing drunk wore Prabhakaran’s T-shirt and carried Tiger flags. Another man in a Tiger striped uniform carried Scottish national flag! As LTTE activists embarked on a leafleting campaign, many locals and visitors kept away from them thinking they wanted to collect money.
While the Tamil Coordinating Committee in the UK led by Thanam organized the protest, his associates organized a letter writing campaign seeking to influence the Scottish separatist lobby. The Tamil Youth Organization (TYO), 247 Lewisham Way, London, an LTTE front in the UK lobbied Alex Salmond, one of the foremost proponents of Scottish independence to not to invite President Rajapaksa. In a letter, TYO UK stated: “On behalf of the Tamil Youth Organisation and the Tamil societies from across the UK, we would like to wish you success for the Scottish Referendum as the Eelam Tamils can relate to the longing of the Scottish people for their independence.” The LTTE distorted history when it said: “Like Scotland, Tamils had a hold of their own separate kingdom in the north-east of Sri Lanka, before the amalgamation by the British colonial rulers.” The LTTE added: “Yet, even now Britain still does nothing to ensure the protection of the Tamil people, but the Scottish people are now reinventing their identity and nationhood by going to vote in a referendum in the months to come. We believe it is hypocritical of Scotland to advocate the right for independence through a referendum yet invite President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commonwealth Games, an alleged war criminal and perpetrator of genocide, who governs a country that denies human rights to the Tamil people and denies the right for the self-determination of the Tamil nation.
Recently, the Sri Lankan government has also categorically rejected cooperation for the investigation to be conducted by the United Nations Human Rights body. We ask you to use your good offices to stop Scotland from being a part of the Sri Lankan genocide of the Tamils. By inviting President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commonwealth Games you are not only respecting one of the world’s worst genocidal states, but also supporting the country’s views that are essentially what the Scottish Referendum is against.” In keeping with its strategy of disinformation, the LTTE tried to draw a parallel between Sri Lanka and South Africa. “Sri Lanka, like the apartheid South Africa, must be isolated and boycotted in each and every field until the UN conducts an independent, international investigation on the genocide of Tamils, since 1948, and further conduct a UN facilitated referendum amongst Tamils amicably and democratically without any further bloodshed.” The LTTE concluded by stating: “Finally, we Tamils fervently hope that Scotland will feel the pain of Tamils at the receiving end of Sri Lankan systematic atrocities and genocide and will take appropriate action to isolate Sri Lanka by not inviting the Sri Lankan President to the commonwealth games in Scotland.”
Very much like the Muslim extremist and terrorist groups in the UK, the LTTE too was determined to recruit from the educated Tamil youth. The LTTE had successfully infiltrated a dozen British universities and appointed their representatives. (See Box)
The LTTE UK employed the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) to lobby the Scottish politicians. The Scottish leaders were not aware that the TYO is a terrorist entity designated under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. They were also unaware that the long time TYO chief in the UK Goldan Lambert was arrested by the UK Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command with A C Shanthan, the LTTE chief in the UK in June 2007. Goldan Lambert who was 29 years of age at that time was Head of Finance of the LTTE and was operating under the cover of the British Tamil Association (BTA). To coincide with the arrests, the Police launched simultaneous raids on the BTA head office also known as “Eelam House” in Mitcham, Surrey and the office of the TYO in Colindale, London. Lambert, who doubled up as a procurement officer, was arrested on arrival from Dubai at the Heathrow Airport under the UK Terrorism Act of 2000 for organising LTTE activities. Lambert had organised the “Black July rally” in conjunction with the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) in Hyde Park London on 25 July 2006 where a large cut-out of the LTTE leader was displayed on the stage and participants were given photographs of the leader and LTTE flags were used to decorate the venue. The LTTE protest was no different in Glasgow but of a much smaller scale.
Many from the Sri Lankan community including Tamils questioned why the UK authorities did not arrest Lucien Rupert Soosaipillai a.k.a Thanam, who served as head of LTTE finance, deputy chief of LTTE and as LTTE chief. Born on August 1, 1964, Thanam lives in 18 Lyric Drive, Greenford, London. Under the UNSCR 1373, both Thanam (IN/CA/2013/369) and TCC were listed on Feb. 25, 2014 for supporting terrorism. A highly capable LTTE activist from
Paashaiyoor in Jaffna, Thanam was appointed Head of Finance of the LTTE in the UK after N. Seevaratnam fell out with the then head of the LTTE International Secretariat Sathasivam Krishnakumar alias Kittu in 1990.
Thanam reported to Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP and after December 2002 to Castro, who oversaw international operations. A full time LTTE worker, Thanam did no other job to earn a living and claimed benefits from the British government. In addition to co-ordinating the fund raising activities, Thanam also organized meetings and demonstrations. In recognition, Thanam was appointed as deputy chief of the LTTE in the UK under Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, also known as AC Shanthan, a relative of Prabhakaran by marriage. On June 21, 2007, when Counter Terrorism Command of New Scotland Yard at the Metropolitan Police arrested Shanthan, the Wanni based LTTE International Chief Castro appointed Thanam as his successor. In August 2007, the police raided the home of the new LTTE chief Thanam but he was careful not to implicate himself in terrorist procurement or fund raising. Nonetheless, the British authorities seized terrorist propaganda, significant information on how the LTTE operated, and he cooperated on issues the British authorities were most concerned about. At the time of the raid Thanam was not in London and may have gone to Liverpool.
While Shanthan operated as the President of the British Tamil Association (BTA), Thanam remained in the background and helped to create the British Tamil Forum (BTF). As BTF was tainted with LTTE following the arrest of Shanthan, the LTTE needed a new outfit to lobby the British politicians. A former LTTE activist in the UK described Thanam as “mobilisation coordinator in the British Tamil Forum (BTF) during the crucial time 2008 – 2010.” Like Shanthan, Thanam too was a multi-tasker but was discrete compared to Shanthan and his family members who were LTTE activists. Thanam reported both to Castro in Wanni and to Nediyawan in Oslo until May 2009 and thereafter to Nediyawan. Today, Thanam reports to Nediyawan, the de facto LTTE leader and is opposed by both the Head Quarters Group led by Vinayagam in France and the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam led by Visuwanathan Rudrakumaran. With the emergence of the Head Quarters Group led by Vinayagam in London, Thanam refused to “fall in line.” The Group consisting of former and serving members of the LTTE was led by leaders and members of the LTTE intelligence wing. In April 2011, Sangeethan, the UK representative of Vinayagam was implicated in assaulting Thanam. Sangeethan was one of the most important leaders of the LTTE intelligence wing that reported to Pottu Amman, the LTTE intelligence chief that planned the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. In front of his home, Thanam who had never served in the battlefield was attacked “while he was taking out shopping items from the back of his car. The assault by two persons made Thanam faint. He was severely injured in his head and was hospitalised. The in fighting led dozen members of the LTTE faction led by Thanam called the Tamil Coordinating Committee to joined Vinayagam. The most prominent member of the Tamil Coordinating Committee, UK to cross over to Head Quarters Group was Skanda, a close relative of a leading Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP in Sri Lanka. Since the split between Thanam and Skanda, Vinayagam organises his own “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes day), a function to commemorate the dead terrorists on every November 27.
The LTTE UK has factionalised but they are still able to exercise constituency pressure. Operating through the British Tamil Forum and its associate, the Global Tamil Forum, the LTTE was able to influence British government and opposition MPs. Furthermore, the LTTE through their fronts and operatives contributed funds to the British political parties and politicians.
In addition to an All Party Parliamentary Group, the BTF created three advocacy arms to advance their interests.
Tamils for Labour lobbies the British Labour Party led by Ed Milliband, the brother of David Miliband.
British Tamils for Liberal Democracy lobbies the Liberal Democratic Party led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
British Tamil Conservatives lobbies the British Conservative Party led by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Overtly, the BTF activists masqueraded as human rights activists but investigations revealed that the bulk of them are LTTE activists and separatists. They had supported LTTE violent campaign of terrorism with funds and other forms of support. A British official described BTF as “chameleons.” “If you are conservatives, they are conservatives. And, if you are Labour, they are Labour. They are all Tigers, he said. The significant LTTE infiltration of the British political parties with funds and votes is likely to influence UK-Sri Lanka relations at least in the short term. Although Sri Lanka has returned to peace, the Cameron government has turned a bind eye to several hundred LTTE leaders and activists living in the UK. Many have killed, maimed and injured civilians and security forces personnel and others have engaged in terrorist propaganda, fundraising and procurement.
Is Britain’s failure to act because Sri Lanka has not persuasively presented its case? Many British nationals of Sri Lankan origin who love their homeland today question why Sri Lanka did not forcefully project its achievements in the UK. For instance, they question why there was no counter demonstration against the LTTE protest in Glasgow. They also question why President Rajapaksa did not come and share the amazing post conflict developments in Sri Lanka, how he rehabilitated and reintegrated 12,000 former terrorists to resettled 280,000 displaced and removed half a million LTTE mines. Sri Lanka’s story of humanitarian assistance, socioeconomic development and political engagement to restore stability has not been told adequately at a time when the US and the UK failed to end insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron called for an international investigation against Sri Lanka but did the British government play its role in denying London from becoming a hub for LTTE activity for three decades. Did the UK neglect its international obligation when it permitted the LTTE to shift its international headquarters to London from Madras after the Indian Peace Keeping Force deployed in Sri Lanka from July 1987 until the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. According to Radhavinod Raju, India’s first chief of the National Investigation Agency, It was Kittu, the Head of the LTTE International Secretariat in London that supported the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by linking LTTE supporters in Tamil Nadu with Sivarasan, the LTTE intelligence leader entrusted with the mission to kill the Indian leader. Did the UK adequately watch the activities of terrorist groups including the LTTE, notorious for inventing many of the modern terrorist trade craft?
Another question by a Sri Lankan activist, now a British citizen, to his Prime Minister David Cameron is why he is not taking action against Adele Balasingham, patron of LTTE women’s wing, now living in London. The women’s wing was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka including the killing of Rajiv Gandhi by Thenmuli Rajaratnam alias Thanu, a member of the LTTE women’s wing. The BBC produced “Suicide Killers” (1991) a documentary where “Aunty Tiger” Adele Balasingham garlands LTTE women terrorists with cyanide capsules.
18 LTTE locations outside London
- Milto Keynes
- New Castle
- South West London: Croydon, Mitcham, New Malden, Tooting
- North East London: Enfield, Edmonton, Eastham, Ilford, Walthamstore
- South East London
- North West London: Wembley, Collindale, Kingsbury, Southall, Hayes, Eeling, Harrow,Northolt, Watford
LTTE Propagandists’ Slogans At The Rally
- Referendum for independence the right of every nation
- UN, conduct referendum on Tamil Eelam and investigate genocide of Eelam Tamil nation by Sri Lanka
- Boycott Sri Lanka because genocide is unacceptable
- Scotland, do not entertain genocidal Sri Lanka
- Sri Lankan LLRC report is a blue print for genocide of Eelam Tamil Nation
- We reject Sri Lankan LLRC
- Not just war crimes, it is genocide
- We remember 1983 Black July genocidal massacre
- Sri Lankan military must stop abducting Tamil children
- We want independent international investigation
- Suspend Sri Lanka from the commonwealth
- Sri Lanka must end occupation of Tamil Eelam
- Tamil Eelam is the only solution
- Our nation, our people, our country
- Aston University Tamil Society
- University of Birmingham Tamil Society
- BPP University College Tamil Society
- Brunel University Tamil Society
- City University Tamil Society
- Hertfordshire University Tamil Society
- International Tamil Society Imperial College
- Kings College London Tamil Society
- Leicester University Tamil Society
- London Metropolitan Tamil Society
- London South Bank Tamil Society
- University College London Tamil Society
- West Minster University Tamil Society
*Included the whole article due to its descriptive value.