Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Who ‘ratted’ on Thamilselvan?
* Is there an enemy within the LTTE?
* Is there opposition to Charles Anthony succeeding Prabhakaran?
How did Sri Lankan Intelligence pinpoint the LTTE’s second in command S.P. Thamilselvan’s exact location?
Who leaked this highly sensitive information the to Sri Lanka Directorate of Military Intelligence?
Have they infiltrated the LTTE? Are there any double agents within the organisation?
After the demise of Thamilselvan, are there enemies within the LTTE?
With the above questions in the Tiger supremo Prabhakaran’s mind, he strongly expressed his displeasure to LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman and ordered the LTTE’s deputy head of intelligence Kapil Amman alias ‘Charles’, to investigate how this sensitive information was passed to military intelligence. He also ordered Pottu Amman to avenge the killing of Thamilselvan. Pottu Amman has not been seen in public for many years. Nevertheless, surprisingly, he attended Thamilselvan’s funeral and made a speech. He never did this before as an intelligence chief, as intelligence operatives or heads of intelligence are generally ‘faceless’. His sudden public appearance raises questions? Is he guilty?
Intelligence assessment is as follows
1. Planned suicide missions failed on three occasions recently. The occasions were when the security forces detected 986 kg C4 explosives-laden truck in Kurunegala district, more than 100 kg explosives-laden truck in Trincomalee, and 60 C4 explosive-laden van detected in Colombo. If these consignments of explosives were detonated in Colombo, there would have been massive damage to life and property.
2. Rocket propelled grenade attack on VIP vehicles
3. Sniper fire on VIPS from high rise buildings.
There is fire under the carpet within the LTTE after Thamilselvan’s demise.
His death was a great loss to LTTE leader Prabhakaran. There is an untold story as well as, which we unfold to our readers.
The reason Tiger intelligence chief T Shivashankar was baptised Pottu because he killed people by firing point blank to the middle of the head.
Pottu Amman is eyeing the LTTE Leadership and he tells tales to Prabhakaran, whenever someone gets close to VP. Finally, he wants to sideline those who get close to the Tiger chief. Examples are when Goplaswami alias ‘Mahatthya’ was close to Prabhakaran, Pottu killed him. Yogi, and Vinyamurthi Muralidaran alias ‘Karuna’ were also separated by Pottu, after telling tales to Prabhakaran.
Sea Tiger leader Soosai was also sidelined by the leadership, due to the same reason. After Soosai’s son died in the Mullathivu lagoon, with Soosai seriously injured in the same incident, Prabhakaran didn’t sympathise. It has been revealed that the crash of the explosive laden boat was not an accident. It was another plot of Pottu Amman’s. Due to this the Sea Tigers are demoralised and there hasn’t been any major naval operations.
If the Sea Tiger wing is paralyzed then their entire logistical arm will be paralyzed.
When it came to Thamilselvan, Pottu Amman tried his utmost to separate Prabhakaran and Thamilselvan but they too close. Thamilselvan as political head, has travelled to 17 countries (European) and was an effective conduit to the Tamil diaspora and a key person who met with foreign delegates and foreign media.
He played an important role within the LTTE as military consultant, political head and in its propaganda. Thamilselvan had direct access to Prabhakaran, and at any given time, they met in person or were in touch over the phone.
Pottu Amman spread the story among LTTE cadres and civilians that Prabhakaran was not in good terms with Thamilselvan and that he had been sidelined from the leadership but, Pottu Amman’s psy-op had failed.
According to sources, Thamilselvan and Pottu Amman did not see eye to eye. At times Pottu Amman tried to dictate to Thamilselvan, which he ignored.
Thamilselvan’s close associates were the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat Head S. Pulidaven and Deputy Political Head S. Thangiah alias ‘Suda Master’ and Sea Tiger leader Soosai, all of whom were not on good terms with Pottu Amman.
The question is why didn’t Prabhakaran appoint Pulidaven or Suda Master as political head? Did he not trust them?
Prabhakaran appointed Nadesan as political head, a one time police constable attached to Kirulapone police station. This appointment surprised the LTTE leaders and cadres, as well as Pulidaven, who is now frustrated by this.
Security of all leaders of LTTE was beefed up and Prabakaran too has started taking additional precautions.
Well informed sources said that he lives in a bunker 30 feet underground (Adela Balasinham’s book Will To Freedom, has clearly mentions this bunker. He was in the bunker, when the IPKF launched an offensive in Mullathivu). He lives comfortably in the bunker and comes out only at night. When he went to pay his respects to Thamilselvan in the night, six vehicles escorted him. He garlanded the bodies and quickly returned to his bunker. He has several bunkers and doesn’t live in one particular bunker for more than a day. The area around the bunkers are heavily mined.
Imran Pandian Brigade guards Prabhakaran, his wife and son Charles Anthony. Only select cadres from Jaffna are recruited and well trained. Most of them are relatives of Prabhakaran and his wife.
Recently released photographs show that Prabakaran has put on weight. He also wears spectacles and is Diabetic.
Suppiya Thamilselvan was a close confidant as well as Prabhakaran’s bodyguard. He was Jaffna and Pooneryn commander. He was injured in battle. and used a walking stick. After his disability, Prabhakaran appointed him as his personal assistant. Soon after, he was appointed political wing head. Although Thamilselvan was the Political head, he also functioned as a military consultant to Prabhakaran.
Prabhakaran lost North and East as mentioned last week in this column. Prabhakaran wanted to hoist the Eelam flag in Jaffna city. Therefore, he sent Thamilselvan to Pooneryn as well as Muhamalai, to plan the offensive.
In August 2006, LTTE tried to infiltrate from Kilali and Muhamalai but were thwarted by the security forces. Between October 28 and 31 this year, Thamilselvan was at Pooneryn and inspected defense lines and artillery gun positions. He returned to Kilinochchi on November 1 in a jeep, with one vehicle each in front and behind, escorting him.
Before he arrived, regional cadres were deployed on his route, to ensure there weren’t any army long range reconnaissance patrol teams.
To prevent any intruders into the LTTE area this year, special identity cards were introduced for civilians.
On the early morning of November 2, Thamilselvan arrived with Lt. Col. Anupumani alias ‘Alex’ chief of LTTE’s “strategic communication division”. He was in charge of all communications between Prabhakaran and the other international terrorist agents, and also with his bodyguards
Two fighter jets, a MiG and a Kfir from Katunayake, flown by two experienced pilots, bombed the hideout with pinpoint accuracy, from an altitude of 1,500 feet. Thamilselavan’s bodyguards, who shielded him, were blown to pieces, while his body was intact.
The bodyguards’ coffins were sealed. However, Thamilselvan’s wife Sasiroaja was fortunate to see here husband’s body, because of his bodyguards
When the pilots reported “mission accomplished” to their Commanding Officer, he informed Air Force Chief Air Marshal Roshan Gunathilake around 11.30. Intelligence confirmed that Thamilselvan was dead and re-confirmed at 12.15 pm.
The Air Force Commander boarded a Bell 212 helicopter to Katunayake, where he met the pilots and congratulated them. Air Marshal Gunathilake said to this column last week that although Anuradhapura air base was attacked, our pilots’ morale is high and they proved it.
Anybody could question that, if military intelligence was accurate, why the Anuradhapura air base attack could not be foretold? A senior Military Officer said that any country’s intelligence has pluses and minuses. Even the CIA, with all its resources and manpower, couldn’t prevent the 9/11 attack.
The CIA and their military intelligence are still hunting for Osama bin Laden. British intelligence MI 6 couldn’t prevent subway explosions.
110 Sri Lankan peacekeeping soldiers were sent home, guilty of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Military spokesman said that a court of inquiry visited Haiti, while an inquiry by an INGO identified only six soldiers, producing only three witnesses.
On the completion of the inquiry, if the soldiers are found guilty they will punished according military law.
Rohan Gunaratna reflecting on the death of Thamilselvan Said that he was a cunning and a ruthless leader responsible for several attacks on military camps as well as massacres of Sinhala and Muslim border villagers and bombings that killed women and children. In his capacity as a district military commander of the LTTE, he proved that he was competent in battle and politics. Although, at the time of his death, he held the title of political leader, Thamilselvan was committed to achieving a Tamil State not through political negotiation and compromise but, through violence and intimidation.
Contrary to the image he portrayed, Thamilselvan was like Prabhakaran - using political gains to consolidate the fighting structures of the LTTE. He was instrumental in negotiating with Norway and other Western countries to build the LTTE’s capabilities, in the guise of talking and projecting peace.
Thamilselvan functioned as the deputy to Prabhakaran, after Prabhakaran ordered the execution of his deputy Ajith Mahendrarajah. Thamilselvan was disliked by other LTTE leaders, for his closeness to Prabhakaran.
The targeted assassination of the Thamilselvan was successful because of it was an intelligence led operation. Sound and timely intelligence is key to good operational counter terrorism. An example of painstaking intelligence collection, Thamilselvan’s death is a reminder that intelligence is the spearhead of counter terrorism. In the fight against terrorism, both intelligence and building elite forces (commandos, special forces, airborne forces) is key. Instead of building a numerically large military to fight the LTTE ground forces, the strategy should be to focus on intelligence led operations, to target high value targets like leaders and high value assets like LTTE aviation. It is a reverse of what the LTTE is doing. Until now, the government’s flawed strategy has been to capture real estate, weakening its ability to maintain the offensive capability.
Terrorism should be fought with brains not with muscle.
Combating terrorism could be divided into anti terrorism, operational counter terrorism, and strategic counter terrorism. Anti terrorism or protection of government targets, both infrastructure and personnel, is central. Prabhakaran, an avengeful leader, is likely to retaliate by killing a Sri Lankan political leader. Government and society must be robust and resilient to suffer losses.
This could include even the loss of Tamil leaders that have joined mainstream politics such as Sithathan, Devananda, and Karuna, who the government has a responsibility to protect. They are more important for the future stability of the Sri Lankan State, than ministers serving in the Rajapaksa government.