Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sri Lanka: "Shameless attempt" to hoodwink by LTTE?


Republished for information and discussion only. This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Mike Hitchen Consulting

The air raid by Sri Lanka Air Force on Friday (February 22) at a terrorist camp in Kiranchi, West of Kilinochchi, has drawn considerable controversy. The knee-jerk reaction of the LTTE to this air raid was the release,through its propaganda mechanism, of some pictures showing the bodies of a few children and women, with the claim that nine civilians were killed and 14 others injured as the Sri Lanka Air Force had bombed a civilian settlement.

With ample evidence that the LTTE is an exponent of false propaganda aimed at gaining sympathy of those who are not privy to the terrorists' cruel mindset and also at contriving carnage against civilians, sought to refute these charges through defence intelligence services. Despite the fact that intelligence related to air raids are often classified as top secret, the intelligence sources divulged the following facts considering the exigency of the situation.

According to the defence intelligence sources, Kiranchi has been a pivotal area for the sea borne operations of LTTE terrorists for many years. They have been using the area as a launching pad for its boat movements and also for unloading its supplies smuggled via sea. Having lost its floating armouries to the SLNavy recently, LTTE has been depending heavily on the North Western coast of the island for its supplies. This is mainly due to the fact that the narrow sea stretch between India and Sri Lanka and the presence of a large number of Indian fishing vessels in the Gulf of Mannar have made it extremely difficult to have a firm hold over clandestine sea movements in those areas. Against this backdrop, the "Kiranchi Sea Tiger Base " as the terrorists termed it, became one of the most important strategic locations for the terror outfit.

Thus, it should be emphasized that defence intelligence has not identified the target haphazardly or without substantial grounds. According to Air Force sources, the Kiranchi base had been bombed 3 times in November 2006 and once again in April 2007. The air attacks caused the terrorists to shift its assets within a 1-2 km radius in the same area, from time to time, despite the heavy damages they suffered. Nevertheless, the outfit could not afford to leave Kiranchi for good, whatever the cost. Therefore, it can be reasonably assumed that the terrorists would go to any extent to keep the Air Force fighter planes away from the Kiranchi skies.

Meanwhile, navy intelligence sources received credible information on the correct location to where the LTTE has shifted its camp facility following the successive air raids. The intelligence obtained through human intelligence sources were then verified through extensive analysis of satellite imagery by navy intelligence experts.

According to the navy intelligence officials, the target was positively identified as a hiding place for LTTE logistics and attack craft, a training facility for female LTTE cadres and an area declared a no entry zone for civilians by the terrorists. Navy underscored that it was only after confirming these facts through multiple sources that the target was given to the Air Force.

The Air Force, on the other hand, claimed that it could verify the same facts given by the Navy intelligence through extensive air surveillance. According to Air Force sources there was no possibility for civilians homes to be inside 2-3 Km radius from the targeted location. Moreover, Air Force confirmed that the target was hit with the maximum accuracy and as such the bombs could not have been dropped off the target.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy yesterday (February 25) decided to release the latest intelligence reports that it received on the incident.

According to the intelligence gathered from ground sources, Navy claimed that 10 LTTE cadres were killed and 9 others suffered injuries in the air raid. It has been further reported that the bombing had taken place to coincide with a training session for female LTTE cadres at the targeted location. Among the dead were self styled Lieutenant Colonel, Kalai Arasi, "Major" Thuwarika and "Lieutenant" Senthamarai, these sources said.

"Lieutenant Colonel" Kalai Arasi, according to the Navy, was a senior instructor for female LTTE cadres and also the in-charge of an LTTE attack boat named "Surali". Also, there were 6 large LTTE craft and 3 small craft at the location at the time of the attack.

Navy has received further information from an informant, who was engaged in fishing in the Walaikadu area at the time of the air raid, that he observed a huge explosion followed by large fire with black smoke that lasted for about 30 minutes. The informant has also said that the some of the fishermen who had been engaged in fishing in the area were summoned by the terrorists to assist them. According to the informant, those fishermen who had gone to the location have stated that the Air Force had bombed an LTTE camp in an area where no civilians were allowed to enter.

Further, electronic warfare personnel of Navy on Saturday (February 23) recorded a radio conversation between two LTTE stations called KR and RM that station MR had been destroyed due to the air raid and the Mannar LTTE leader was planning to visit the area on Sunday. It was during the same radio conversation that one LTTE station issued instructions to the other that not even Red Cross personnel should be allowed to enter the targeted area until completion of the said leader's visit.

Thus, the evidence suggests that the LTTE's claim that the Air Force had targeted a civilian settlement on Friday's air raid at Kiranchi lacks credibility. It is equally true that those children in the photos published by LTTE, if really they were killed in the air raid, were no terrorists. In that case, the problem lies as to how and why those children were brought to a terrorist camp that was located in such a remote area.

When looking at the behaviour of pro-LTTE media in the South and the terrorists' attempt to massacre innocent civilians at Mount Lavinia on Saturday (February 22) , it is not difficult to understand that the terrorists at least had two things in their mind. One is to prevent air raids at their strategically vital camp facility and to create a suitable background to justify carrying out a yet another carnage of civilians.

While expressing our condolence over the deaths of those innocent children, said to be killed in the air raid, we request our viewers to contemplate the evil mind set of a group of terrorists who try to protect themselves by putting their childrens' lives at stake. Also, it is important at this crucial moment to understand how cleverly the terrorists have been playing with our minds to realize their sinister goals. For instance, there exists a "Super Star" TV station in the South that always omits to mention the LTTE in its reportage of all civilian massacres carried out by the outfit, but always strives to manipulate peoples' emotions against the security forces for such attacks. However, the same TV station when reporting security forces' attacks at the terrorists faithfully supports the LTTE's falsehoods. Thus, it would not be wrong if one may argue that such propaganda elements of LTTE are subtly creating an indulgent mindset among the people and thereby conniving with the terrorists to target civilians in the South.

The following is one such example in which a pro-LTTE website shamelessly attempted to hoodwink the world by publishing a photo taken in Iraq as one taken in Sri Lanka.

The same photo has been used by the pro-LTTE website as one taken in Mannar and even giving the Iraqi victim a name, N.Kumara

The photo which shows the remains of a man in Iraq was initially published on the website