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Peaceful demonstration against the terrorism by the LTTE in Sri Lanka

April 4th, 2009 No comments

Today I attended the peaceful demonstration outside the Victorian State Parliment to show my support for banning of the LTTE from obtaining funds and support which in turn go to funding terrorist activities (WARNING: Graphical content!) back in my motherland, Sri Lanka.  They also need to stop using innocent civilians as human-shields in their last ditch efforts to hold onto a war they are losing – and that tamils are turning away from.Then and now.

Whilst it took until the events of S11 for the rest of the world to wake-up to terrorism and change the way we live, think and go about our business, the people of Sri Lanka have been adapting to such (and far worse) activities on a daily basis for the past few decades. The Tamil Tigers perfected the art of suicide bombing (Bra bombs anyone?) and gave inspiration for countless other organisations to carry out mass killings and grave human rights violations. Just a little bit of trivia from an article on The Counter Terrorism Blog by Zachary Abuza:

Founded in May 1976, by Villupilai Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers – formerly the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – grew from being a several thousand man guerilla force to being at its height a conventional force with some 10,000 combatants. Though their military collapse since mid 2006, has been surprisingly swift, one cannot forget that for years, they fought the Sri Lankan military to a standstill and controlled a significant amount of territory. Their nearly forty-year struggle is highlighted by firsts and superlatives:

  • The LTTE have perpetrated more suicide bombings than Hamas and Hezbollah combined.
  • The LTTE’s suicide vest design has been copied by nearly a dozen organizations.
  • The LTTE is an equal opportunity employer: the LTTE has used female bombers in a more than 3-2 ratio. The LTTE fields a conventional women’s corp.
  • The LTTE has used suicide bombing as a weapon of choice in terms of targeted assassination, including the 1991 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the near assassination of Sri Lankan President Kumaratanga in 1999. The LTTE assassinated nearly 50 prominent moderate Tamil leaders, and is estimated to have killed thousands of moderate and anti-LTTE Tamils.
  • The LTTE has used suicide frogman and other special operatives to penetrate far behind enemy lines.
  • The LTTE targeted pillars of the Sri Lankan economy, including bombings of the Central Bank in 1996 and Columbo’s World Trade Center in 1997. In 2001, LTTE operatives penetrated the international airport  and destroyed three jetliners, half of Airlanka’s fleet, in addition to 23 military aircraft.
  • The LTTE was the first organization to post martyrs’ posters for the “Black Tigers” their suicide corp.
  • The LTTE is the first sub state actor to use suicide naval vessels. There have been over 40 suicide naval attacks since June 1990, seven years before the USS Cole attack.
  • The LTTE had a full-fledged navy, and many of their craft were indigenously designed and built. Sri Lankan forces recently captured a submarine in its final stages of construction.
  • The LTTE was one of only two terrorist organizations to use a WMD (the other being Aom Shinrikyo). The Tigers used a chlorine gas bomb against Sri Lankan forces in 1990.
  • The LTTE became the first sub-state actor to acquire an air force. Though used in desperation over the weekend, in two attempted “kamikaze” attacks, the LTTE has used their Czech trainers 9 times since March 2007 Sri Lankan forces captured six airfields in LTTE territory.

While their innovations on the battlefield were remarkable, it is nothing in terms of their innovations in finance and logistics. In short, the LTTE wrote the book on terrorist financing. Originally supported by India, the Tigers, turned on their patron in 1987, and since pursued a policy of self-reliance. The “Snow Tigers” under the leadership Tharmalingham Shunmugham aka Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), have funded themselves through legal and extralegal means and have procurement operatives based in around the world.

The LTTE have used arms dealers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Lebanon, Egypt and Cyprus; shopped black markets in former war zones – Cambodia (Thailand), Afghanistan, Mozambique and the former Yugoslavia; and shopped the countries of the former Soviet bloc – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Kazakstan, as well as North Korea and China. In one famed case, China North Industries Corp (Norinco) sold the LTTE two consignments of assault rifles, light artillery, rockets and ammunition, each large enough to fill a 230-foot cargo ship. The purchases in September 2003 and October 2004 were arranged through a middleman and certified with North Korean “end user” documents. The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksapersonally appealed to Chinese leaders in Beijing in February 2007 to halt a third consignment. One senior procurement officer arrested had a laptop with spreadsheets detailing more than $13 million in payments in the summer of 2006 for military equipment, including anti-aircraft guns and 100 tons of high explosives. His passport showed more than 100 trips in the past five years to countries such as China, Kenya.

Now that the war has intensified and the press has renewed their interest in the situation in Sri Lanka, its important to ensure that The Tamil Tigers, as an organisation, does not promote propaganda to sway the public opinion to the dark side. Whether we’re Tamil, Sinhalese, Burger or Muslim, we’re all Sri Lankan. One Nation. (not related to Pauline Hanson)

Here are some pictures uploaded to Flickr from todays demonstration:

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All these were uploaded without modifications – asside from cropping 🙂

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Inaguration of Barrack Obama: Microsoft PhotoSynth 3D Viewer

January 21st, 2009 1 comment

We were up till the wee hours of the morning awaiting the broadcast of the inauguration of Barrack Obama, The President of the United States. What an event and if you couldn’t make it dont fear, Microsoft – using their PhotoSynth tech – have a cool view of the area from the many happy snappers on the day.

Things are looking bright, his speech was impecable and inspiring (compared to The Bush) all of which you can read at your leisure. Not only can he give rivetting speeches to inspire a nation (can you see I’ve got some pointers from him?) but he can belt out some dance moves too – again, lets compare that to The Bush. All in all it seems the americans have had a ball which is a seachange from the most depressing farewell party given to Bush and his posse.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. – A fragment from The President’s Speech.

I have a good feeling about this one 🙂

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Mumbai Under Attack: Graphical Pictorial

November 29th, 2008 No comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days you would have heard about the shocking development in India (Mumbai – India’s business capital) come face to face with an onslaught of terrorism. Thankfully today, the commandos have successfully brought an end to the 3 day seige.

According to reports, upwards of 60 young men entered Mumbai in small inflatable boats on Wednesday night, carrying bags filled with weapons and ammunition, and spread out to nine locations to begin their attacks. Lobbing grenades and firing their weapons, they entered hotels, a railway station and several other buildings, killing scores and wounding even more.

Mumbai disaster official R. Jadhav told AFP that 195 people had been killed and nearly 300 injured in the battle, which began when the dozen or so militants split into groups to attack multiple targets across the city, including the main railway station and a hospital.

TV channels described the attacks as “India’s 9/11”.

But I came across a post on the Boston that shows (at times quite graphically) the extent of the chaos.  Surreal and unbelievable that such attrocities can be carried out in the name of a religon or ideals.

For a deeper look at the situation, see the article on TheAge titled Mumbai: attack on all fronts.

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