KP yes, but it’s the LTTE that is in the dock

If Entebbe was great, this was absolutely fantastic. I have no doubt whatsoever that this truly fantastic and stunning achievement was an initiative of Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He should without doubt be conferred the title of ‘Lanka Ratna’ for this achievement which is on par with the wiping out of the LTTE, the rescuing of the hostages and the killing of Prabhakaran and the entire leadership of the LTTE.

It is, indeed, fortunate that we were able to get the man alive for it affords us the opportunity of putting him on trial and exposing the activities of the LTTE over the past thirty plus years of their entire global network and contacts. If KP now sings like a canary some of what he reveals could be most embarrassing to some governments and some Intelligence Agencies. He would, no doubt, be a mine of invaluable information. So we would need to give KP absolutely maximum security to ensure that no one would be able to silence him. The collection of evidence should be no easy matter. I presume that not only the assistance of foreign intelligence agencies but also the assistance of persons such as Rohan Gunaratne, Shanaka Jayasekera, Vipula Wanigasekera all of whom have ‘followed’ the LTTE closely and the Intelligence officers who were posted in our missions in the west and all those others who worked in Intelligence and covered the activities of the LTTE here and abroad, would be obtained, for they could provide useful information to the authorities concerned to prepare the case against Pathmanathan and the LTTE. He operated a global fund-raising network for the LTTE, presided over their shipping operations with a fleet of some eight ships and hijacked a shipment of mortar shells from an African port in the 1990s.

KP was involved in money laundering operations, gun running and drug trafficking; his international connections would be of use to Interpol, too, which would seek to question the man. Pathmanathan also operated out of a base in Myanmar in a place called Twante for some years.

Maximum publicity should be given to the LTTE’s huge arsenal which has amazed even the Defence Attaches stationed here and in Delhi and I am certain the Defence Ministries of many countries. KP was, of course, the principal agent of the LTTE, who used the money collected from the Tamil expatriates worldwide to purchase arms from countries not only of the former Soviet Union but from a number of countries in Africa and Asia including Cambodia and Vietnam.

I am somewhat amused that the Thai authorities have been falling over themselves to deny that Pathmanathan was arrested in Bangkok. My thoughts go back to 1996 when information provided by a Sri Lankan who I believe worked with two foreign intelligence agencies, tipped us of a ship which was being loaded with arms from Cambodia in Pukhet (Thai port). I was sent out by the government and with the assistance of a foreign Intelligence Agency was able to confirm the information.

The ship was subsequently sunk in February 1996; but what was indeed of interest was that our then Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte came over and we met the Thai authorities; they denied any knowledge of the existence of KP and that an arms ship had sailed out of Pukhet. I later learned that KP had very strong connections with a particularly corrupt VVVIP and that was all the protection that he needed.

This was undoubtedly the reason for his having been released after he was ‘accidentally’ arrested in September 2007. KP moved around Bangkok almost as if he owned the place and would never have been arrested again after that infamous ‘arrest’ in 2007. This time around it is rumoured that he was betrayed by his own kind led by one Nediyavan, who seek to get their hands on the millions of dollars given to the LTTE by Tamil expatriates for arms procurement. I wonder whether the government would be able to have the banks in Singapore, Switzerland and Germany and certain other countries from where KP operated, freeze his accounts.

KP’s arrest is a major setback for the Tamil expatriates who were dreaming of a nonsensical government in exile and the continuation of their ‘war of liberation’.

The government needs to take account of the fact that the Tamil expatriate lobby particularly in the US with the monies at their disposal and their contacts could yet do much harm to this country. Their intervention delayed the IMF loan and in this, a certain local political party with its own lobbyist in Washington, did its utmost to stop that loan. The Tamil Lobby also denied this country the World Bank grant for Judicial Reform a few years ago and money from the Millennium Challenge Account. It should not be forgotten how they mobilised support to get the UN to stop the war.

We need a strategy to counter them. An important part of this counter strategy would of course be to empower the Tamils who live in the North and East. This could be done in a meaningful way by creating the Panchyat system on an experimental basis in these two provinces, ensuring justice by having a Reservation System for recruitment to the Public Service as they have in India in addition to enthroning meritocracy. The minorities should also be accommodated at the head table where national policy is determined thus ensuring that the Tamils and the Muslims of this country who incidentally seem to think that they are "Nobody’s People" according to the well known author Latheef Farook. The ‘minorities’ could themselves then tell the world that we have achieved a just peace in this country and that would take the wind out of the sails of the Tamil expatriate lobbies around the world and their supporters.

I have read with interest that the government would ‘respect’ a request for extradition of KP from India. He is wanted in India for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi but he was wanted here for a large number of crimes including the Central Bank bombing, where almost ninety were killed and over a thousand injured. He it was who obtained the means, the weapons, which enabled the LTTE to kill thousands in this country. So we must try him first. Let the west and the other supporters of the LTTE send their observers.

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