Wednesday, May 10, 2006

LTTE Tax Collectors at Chunnakam Market Nabbed

adres belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who functioned as Tax Collectors at the Chunnakam Market, one of the biggest vegetable markets in the Jaffna peninsula, was arrested by the Sri Lanka Army and Police.

The security forces assisted by policeman arrested 6 men, suspected to be the members of the LTTE from the Chunnakam market in Jaffna on Tuesday (09) while they were collecting extortions from vendors inside the market, Sri Lanka Army website revealed.

A search conducted afterwards by the Security Forces was able to detect a receipt book and a collection of Rs 15,000 in cash.

The Security Forces handed them over to the Manipay Police station for further investigations.


Is Cyber trekking of the LTTE at optimum? by Thanuka

According to a scholar on terrorism, most of the planning and coordination of 9/11 attack was conducted through internet and the FBI Director Ronald Dick was quoted as saying “The hijackers had used internet and used it well”.

It was way back in 1997 the LTTE hacked into Sheffield University computer system to send their propaganda for fund raising. This was done so covertly with the legitimate user IDs and passwords of some academics of the university.

One year later, the LTTE swamped a specific number of Sri Lankan missions abroad with nearly 1000 e-mails a day over a period of two-weeks.

LTTE in fact admitted the offence stating in the Email that " Internet Black Tigers are doing this to disrupt communications."

Wikipedia defines Cyber-terrorism as use of computers and information technology, particularly the Internet, to cause harm or severe disruption to others with the aim of advancing attacker's own political or religious goals. This implies that individuals or groups can use the anonymity afforded by cyberspace to threaten citizens, specific groups, communities and entire countries.

This definition does not seem to cover the subject area adequately. A better definition is offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They specify that “cyber terrorism is the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against non combatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents.”

Literature also suggests that ‘terrorists may be classified as cyber terrorists whether they solely rely on cyber terrorism to further their cause, or whether they use cyber terrorism in addition to other more conventional forms of terrorism’. That completes both definitions as Cyber terrorism has become a real threat because of a) its own sophistication and dynamics, b) dependence of financial institutions, production facilities, and government functions on computer technology and c) the vulnerability of economies that are increasingly dependent on electronic transactions.

Some argue that the term cyber terrorism simply does not exist because the worst that can happen on the computer is information warfare and hacking which could be classified as a crime and not terrorism. The terrorism label is said to be inappropriately heavy due to its improbability of creating fear of real physical harm or death among people using electronic means.

The need arose to define cyber terrorism with hate websites and hate emails, intrusion into sensitive computer networks gaining momentum. In order to deal with this global phenomenon of the abuse of computers and the Internet, an international convention, backed by national legislations, was needed.

In a case where in 1996, a computer hacker allegedly associated with the White Supremacist movement successfully disabled a US based Internet Service Provider and temporarily damaged part of its record keeping system. This was not identified as cyber terrorism as the intention of the attacker was not to further any political, social, religious, ideological goal.

In 1998, Institute for Global Communications (IGC) was bombarded with thousands of bogus e-mail messages sent by protestors against IGC’s hosting of the web-site for the Euskal Herria Journal supporting Basque independence. IGC had to give in and pull the site. This was considered an act of terrorism as the normal activities of the ISP in cyber space had been disrupted by using a pre planned methodology and the intention of the attackers was to further a political objective.

‘Cyber Terrorism and Information Warfare’ authored by Michael Vatis sheds light to cyber terrorism from Governments’ perspective. One is to use the system for disseminating propaganda. LTTE is one organisation that uses the information and cyber technology for dissemination of propaganda. Vatis says the Internet is used for fund raising. Once again the LTTE is leading in that. Internet transactions are found to be much easier for some members of Diaspora to contribute.

Intelligence gathering is another use in cyber technology. To what extent the LTTE is using cyber technology for intelligence gathering, such as hacking individual electronic mail and entering classified data bases etc, is not ascertained, not because it is not important, it is because there are no avenues to tap such information. Hacking has become technically possible and all that the hacker has to do is to download onto computers automated hacking scripts. And one needs is to put in a target, click on a button, and launch the automated script against your intended target or list of targets.

Vatis says ‘terrorists can communicate with their co-conspirators around the world’. Indeed so and the cost would be minimal. Communication is effective. The communication is well secured ‘outside the eyes and ears of government, law enforcement, or security agencies’. LTTE is one group that has exploited this global facility to its utmost.

But how big is the LTTE cyber threat?. This is not assessed. What is known is that LTTE has used cyber attacks on Sri Lankan government sites and also to hack into web sites to alter and send political propaganda. Some people refer to that as the first known instance of cyber-terrorism. But the facts are still far from knowledge as to how much they are using the cyber space for their own development.

The study ‘ E-fying terrorism’ carried out by Ranga Kalansooriya in 2004 was aimed at identifying the electronic face of terrorist and politically violent groups and to evaluate the campaign strategies that they have adopted through their e-outlets.

Kalansooriya described in his study how rebels who were fighting in the jungles or deserts, brought battle into the cyber world. He elaborated that ‘technology has always been a tool of advantage for terrorism since its inception, and the internet – Information Technology (IT) in particular – added new dimension to their strategies, tactics and operations’.

He identified that organizations such as Zapatista of Mexico and LTTE of Sri Lanka as local rebel groups with international reach and they have a significant presence on Internet with the aims of propaganda and fund raising. LTTE in particular, expanded its campaign into the World Wide Web during the very inception of the IT boom. LTTE naturally caters to international audiences including the ethnic Diaspora community.

Kalansooriya’s study brings out the point that contents of rebel websites will never admit that they are engaged in ‘terrorism’ or violence against unarmed civilians. Instead the propaganda will justify as it is the only available option to ‘liberate their peoples from the oppression. ‘ E-fying terrorism’ study when completed in 2004, had predicted that LTTE will be in full force on the web with dozes of websites, supported by other sympathetic and individual web pages catering to the Diaspora and their home countries.

The Sri Lankan Government eventually realised the extent of cyber threat of the LTTE, but any possible counter strategy and methodologies had fallen way short of requirement. LTTE activities have always been driven by commitment while the Government has no such aptitude.

Prof Jeganathan of the University of Chicago, referring to the Tamil Diaspora and Eelam websites stated that these websites "preserve the form of the nation as territory for the LTTE and those who want to believe in its mission". He said that the Pro LTTE Tamil viewers whether they are in the US or in Australia, the Eelam is real, not as a place but as an image although they have no intention of returning to Sri Lanka.

That is the key appoint and the strength that LTTE will carry for the next few decades with or without Prabhakaran. Pro LTTE Tamils argued that propaganda cannot be considered cyber terrorism as politically, each group has a right to express its appeals whoever they are targeting their propaganda at. Such propaganda will invariably have a provision for fund raising.

The anti LTTE factions are trying hard to express the way LTTE is using cyber space and recently accused Pottu Amman for launching sites including to put out threats, intimidations, hate e-mails, spam, and viruses. They also complain that LTTE operatives exert pressure on the web hosting companies in Europe and North America with the threat that court action will be taken if anti-LTTE stories are not removed.

It is reported that LTTE’s websites nitharsanam, neruppu etc are registered with go-daddy. This company has responded to the complaints stating that they are not expected to judge the alleged illegal activities. This could be true as there is only a thin line between propaganda and disinformation which the legislators can hardly fathom out.

LTTE is using the cyber system for networking among their fronts and cover organisations. The efficiency and cost saving on cyber networking has been immense. Procurement by the KP department has been heavily dependent upon cyber communication that always operate beyond detection.

Nonetheless the LTTE will continue to believe in bullets than bytes. For LTTE the cyber communication has been complementary to their primary activities. It is unlikely therefore that LTTE will resort to high scale acts that can be theoretically identifid as cyber-terrorism as they have attempted in the past.


Sampur, Ralkudi LTTE camp attacked, 30 killed

An attack on LTTE's Ralkudi camp in Sampur by members of the renegade Karuna faction has left 30 LTTE cadres killed, unconfirmed reports said.

On the night of April 25th, in the aftermath of the suicide attack on the Army Commander, security forces carried out an attack on the Sampur camp.

Trincomalee residents said they heard the sounds of gunfire and explosions last night.

Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said he cannot comment on the incident as the area in question is outside government held territory.

Meanwhile forces have recovered a claymore mine weighing 8 kilograms from Nelliadi, Jaffna. Two suspicious looking men had defied security force orders to stop and fled and the mine had been found when the security forces searched the area.

In another incident in Mannar, a claymore mine was exploded targeting troops returning after duty, but no one was injured as the mine was detonated prematurely.


What would happen if LTTE went to a coalition with Karuna? by Lanka Left

Our studies on paramilitary Karuna Group in the Eastern Province has made us to come to a conclusion that the paramilitaries are trying to establish a small territory of their control in Welikanda area utilizing the advantageous conditions from the Sri Lanka military forces.

Very reliable sources from Eastern Province reveal that the paramilitary Karuma
Group has a camp in government controlled Bowatta village in Welikanda.

Around 60 persons are staying in this safe house. Most of the armed persons who are with Karuna Group are underage boys. There are a few former LTTE cadres who defected from the mainstream group around a year ago but the majority of the cadres are new recruits. The group is provided with enough money and other resources such as motor vehicles. They obtain supplies from Welikanda town and the residents, the security forces and the Police in the area know their presence.

There are a few Sinhala youths also with the paramilitary. They participate in the operations conducted by the Karuna Group and are said well paid. The paramilitaries have been nosy about in the civil life of the village and they have proscribed moonshine selling, drinking and quarrelling, say the villagers. At the moment they seem not engaged in political activities but maintain as a paid competent paramilitary group.

Karuna Group operates in Wadumunai, Karapola, Muthugala and Thiruchenai Tamil
villages in the areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers. Our sources reveal that Karuna Group is gaining support from the Tamil villagers of these areas who are in fear of them. It is reported that the LTTE is losing their grip in these areas as a result of it.

LTTE recently attacked several paramilitary camps in Welikanda area. Sri Lanka
government claimed that the area where the camps were situated was in the LTTE
territory. LTTE said the vice versa. Karuna Group spokesman first said that the
camps were located in the border of Batticalao; about 2 kilometers from the LTTE controlled Kaddumurippu, but later said that the area is not governed by both of the parties.

Karuna Group's move to establish an independent territory of control is well
supported by the short sighted Sinhala chauvinist hardliners. Monk Party National Heritage (JHU) recently demanded the Karuna Group's territories be demarcated and it should be engaged in the peace process.

Our observations on Karuna Group make us to take the matter more seriously. Karuna who was the Second-in-Command of the LTTE has not completely lost his ground in Eastern Province yet. LTTE's sudden allegations against him over corruption did not materialise well. The battle hardened rebel will not give away his ambitions easily.

He will seek a position for himself in Tamil politics in future. Although he lost badly in the first round of his sudden defect he continued to fight. That is why he could stay in the game. He is utilizing all the favourable opportunities to establish himself. Karuna Group has opened a political office in a high security area and once they publicly participated in a meeting of anti-LTTE political groups held at a government office in Colombo representing Karuna's political party.

But the support of the Sinhala camp has both good and bad effects for Karuna. Groups like EPDP, EPRLF and PLOTE were trapped in the support of the government military and were reduced to mere paramilitaries. But Karuna seems to try to avoid such pitfalls. That is why he is trying to work on his own agenda creating his own territories. He is trying to maintain some independence. He has been so cunning to utilize ultra Sinhala chauvinist JHU to raise the issue of demarcating territories for Karuna Group and taking him involved in the peace process. It seems an early expression of his plans. Yet he has to go further to achieve this position.

But it is extremely difficult to be an independent Tamil armed movement because all the anti LTTE forces supporting Karuna Group do not want him to be so. They need just a formidable paramilitary and none other than that. EPDP and PLOTE also tried this but could not succeed and finally reduced to paramilitary outfits. Government security forces let them go only to the length they want. Karuna, if understands this situation will try to evade the traps and sneak out through the contradictions his support camp.

Karuna was a hardcore Tamil nationalist and his earlier acts against Sinhalese and Muslims depicted a kind of Tamil racism. He could have not been changed much in that sense after his defection. On the other hand if he needs to be a de facto leader in the Tamil society, a position he held earlier, he has to base among Tamils. Ties with Sinhala chauvinist camp alienates him from the base he targets.

At the moment Karuna Group does not levy taxes and maintains good relations with the people in Welikanda area where they have chosen to base. This strategic strip of land between Trincomalee and Batticaloa is crucial for the LTTE and therefore Army has allowed them to position there. Security forces think that they can control the paramilitaries who are struck in the edge of their territory. Karuna who understands the plans of the security forces is trying to move further in to the Tiger territory as they can be more independent there.

Karuna Group will gain immensely in a war situation. Their military experience will put themselves far ahead of the government forces in the eastern terrains. The government security forces will have to depend heavily on them and will have to pay for that. LTTE will directly target Karuna Group in a full scale war context and therefore Karuna will also have to depend on the government military machine. However the possibility of protraction of war is high. Such a situation will be disadvantageous for both the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE, but not to the Karuna group.

Sinhala camp is playing with fire. They will win the gambling if they will be able to maintain the Karuna Group reduced to a mere paramilitary. But if Karuna could succeed in investing politically in the complex contradictions among the Sinhala camp he will be able to develop as a formidable independent armed group. In such a context he will even be able to bargain with the LTTE. What would happen if LTTE offered him a formal or informal amnesty or went to a coalition with him? There are experiences from the history of Tamil struggle that when such amnesties are offered by the LTTE directly or indirectly Tamil leaders have warmly welcomed them. You can find enough of anti LTTE Tamils, but it is difficult to make them Sinhala chauvinist to accept the Sinhala unitary state.

Narrow minds who are running the politics of Sri Lanka are putting this beautiful country into trouble from trouble. Those who gain from this kind of narrow politics are the rogues who are in European suits, national suits, red shirts and even in yellow robes.


Karuna challenges LTTE, Sri Lanka government and international community

"Nobody envisaged us splitting from the LTTE, so the CFA does not cover us."

May 08, Colombo: Sources from the Welikanda area, 250 km east of Colombo, say the Karuna Group is maintaining a chain of camps in the Sinhala and Tamil border villages. There are suspicions that the breakaway faction of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is trying to establish an area of their own control in the region.

The LTTE recently attacked three paramilitary camps in the Welikanda area and assassinated several cadres. The Sri Lanka government claimed that the area where the camps were situated was in LTTE territory, rejecting LTTE claims that the area is in the territory controlled by the Sri Lanka government. A Karuna Group spokesperson first said that the camps were located on the border of Batticaloa, about 2 km from LTTE-controlled Kaddumurippu, but later said the area was not governed by either party.

Meanwhile Karuna spokesperson Thooyavan, speaking to the Daily Mirror by telephone from an undisclosed location, also dismissed allegations that the group was operating with the assistance of the government security forces, claiming that 17 of its cadres are in Anuradhapura prison for carrying arms in government-controlled areas.

“We were not given arms by the government. If the government gave us arms, then they can disarm us. The government has disarmed the groups it provided arms to. We are not a part of those groups. Our group is a splinter organisation of the LTTE. Nobody envisaged us splitting from the LTTE, so the CFA does not cover us. We will disarm only when our leader Karuna Amman tells us to do so. The government, Norway, the SLMM or the LTTE cannot disarm us,” Thooyavan said.

The splinter group led by the former leader of the LTTE Eastern Command, Karuna Amman, does not favor being called the ‘Karuna Faction’ and wants to appear as a political party named Thamil Eela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP).