The US government revealed that the LTTE remains in its list of foreign terrorist organizations while stating in the same report that the Sri Lankan government has used the fear of possible reemergence of the LTTE to maintain a strong military presence in past conflict areas.
The US State Department released its country reports on terrorism for the year 2011 (published July 2012) to be submitted to Congress in which it brought up the subject of Sri Lanka, the LTTE and its current network.
The report states that the government uses the fear of a possible LTTE reemergence to maintain its military grip of conflict zones which has in turn fed resentment from the Tamil community.
The report also recognized the LTTE as part of a list of US government designated foreign terrorist organizations along with the Al-Qa’ida.
Selected excerpts from the report:
Overview: In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka militarily defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamil people. The Sri Lankan government’s comprehensive and aggressive stance of countering terrorism is a direct result of its experience in the 30-year long conflict. In 2011, there were no incidents of terrorism in Sri Lanka. The government cooperated with other countries on regional counter terrorism issues. Counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States was minimal due, in part, to statutory and policy restrictions based on concerns about alleged past human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan security forces.
The Government of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support still functions; most counterterrorism activities undertaken by the government targetted possible LTTE finances. The possible resurgence of domestic militant Tamil groups is not an immediate concern, but efforts were underway to address possible growing Tamil radicalism in the north and east. The Sri Lankan government has used the fear of the possible reemergence of the LTTE to maintain a strong military presence and role in the post-conflict areas, although the military’s continued heavy presence in the north feeds Tamil resentment.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Counterterrorism legislation in Sri Lanka has focused on eliminating the remnants of the LTTE and enforcing general security throughout the island. The Sri Lankan government continued to implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) of 1978 (Act no.48), which was made a permanent law in 1982 and remained in force. The Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities Regulations No. 7 of 2006, which is the most recent version of Emergency Regulations, were allowed to lapse in September. On August 29, the day before the Emergency Regulations lapsed, the President issued new regulations under the PTA incorporating into it aspects of the Emergency Regulations that the PTA did not already include. Such regulations included proscribing the LTTE as a terrorist organization and keeping surrendered persons under rehabilitation. The Terrorism Investigation division of the Police has the primary responsibility for investigating terrorist activity. In March, Sri Lankan authorities arrested a suspected Maldivian terrorist carrying multiple passports. INTERPOL issued a statement that he was arrested for questioning in connection with the 2007 Sultan Park bombing, in the Maldives. The Sri Lankan government cooperated with both India and Maldives to gather proof in that case, but the suspect was released for lack of evidence. In October, the Sri Lankan police arrested an al-Qa’idaaffiliated Maldivian traveling on a forged Pakistani passport. Sri Lankan authorities were cooperative and assisted U.S. investigators following the arrest.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Sri Lanka is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The Government of Sri Lanka amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act in September 2011. The main objective was to strengthen the respective legal regimes to remove deficiencies identified by the FATF in 2010 and the APG in 2006. The FATF had urged Sri Lanka to criminalize money laundering and terrorist financing and establish and implement adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets. In addition, the Sri Lankan government has placed into effect the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, as well as created a specialized branch of the Central Bank – the Financial Intelligence Unit – to track possible terrorist financing.
Although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, the Government of Sri Lanka asserts that sympathizers and organizational remnants have continued to fund-raise in many countries. The LTTE had used a number of non-profit organizations for terrorist financing purposes, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. The Sri Lankan government actively searched for other financial links to the LTTE and remained suspicious of non-governmental organizations, fearing they would be used by the LTTE.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Sri Lankan government remained committed to the counterterrorism efforts of international bodies such as the United Nations. The Sri Lanka Army held its “Seminar on Defeating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience” May 31 to June 2, to discuss counterterrorism lessons learned. Forty-one countries attended the seminar, including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation members, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States.
THE REPORT ALSO PUBLISHED THIS SUMMARY OF THE LTTE’S OPERATIONS
LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM
aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers
Description:Founded in 1976 and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) became a powerful Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support persists. LTTE remnants continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, where there were reports that some of these contributions were coerced by locally based LTTE sympathizers. The LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising.
Activities:Although the LTTE has been largely inactive since its military defeat in Sri Lanka in 2009, in the past the LTTE was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. It conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Although most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, the Black Tigers, the organization included an amphibious force, the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing, the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008. In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces and killed LTTE leader Prahbakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command. As a result, the Sri Lankan government declared military victory over LTTE. In 2010, some LTTE members reportedly fled Sri Lanka and have since attempted to reorganize in India. In June 2010, assailants claiming LTTE membership may have been responsible for an attack against a railway in Tamil Nadu, India. No one was injured when the targeted train was able to stop in time to prevent derailment. There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war. In March 2010, German police arrested six Tamil migrants living in Germany for supposedly using blackmail and extortion to raise funds for the LTTE. LTTE’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2011.
Strength:Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operations: Sri Lanka and India.
External Aid: The LTTE used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities.
Source: The Nation