The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon

Sachi Sri Kantha
28 December, 2002]


Thwarting the Careers of Closet Tamil Operatives  

LTTE has been condemned strongly for the assassinations of Sam Tambimuttu and Neelan Tiruchelvam, as well as the execution of its one-time deputy leader, Mahendrarajah (aka Mahattaya). As expected, condemnations came from those circles (in Colombo, Chennai, New Delhi and Washington, DC) who had close links to these three Tamils, whom one can label as Closet Tamil Operatives (CTOs). Expressed eulogies to these CTOs deserve dissection to reveal the cant implied in them.  

Mervyn de Silva’s eulogy to Tambimuttu 

The dictionary defines eulogy as, (1) a spoken or written piece of high praise, esp. when delivered publicly. (2) great praise. The word ‘eulogy’ is derived from, two Greek words; eu [= good, well, easy, agreeable] and [legein = to speak]. I quote excerpts from Mervyn de Silva’s eulogy to Sam Tambimuttu, written within the black-border lines – symbolizing sorrow:  

“…Right through the ‘war’ in the east, before and after the arrival of the IPKF, Sam Thambimuttu was the reporter’s first choice for what in the professional patois is called a ‘check’ and a ‘double check’…There was the more exacting professional demand rooted in the very character of a highly competitive profession. Beat your rival. Get the story out first. 

‘For the foreign correspondent’ (the foreign-foreign, or the local stringer) the source is vital. So is the ready access to the source. But most of all, reliability. And credibility. Since this is not a personal, but a professional’s tribute to Sam Thambimuttu, I have had to break an old established rule not to reveal the source. In this case, however, Sam’s assistance to the International press, particularly to the BBC, was hardly a secret. His name has been mentioned a hundred times. 

Nothing reveals the man better than his role as a regular news source. And since there are no real secrets in this little island, Batticaloa or Colombo, certainly the English-educated Sinhala-Tamil-Muslim community, knew all about Sam’s work as chairman of the Citizens Committee. In fact, Everyman’s Mouthpiece, Lawyer, the Community’s PR man, Batticaloa’s link to the world. 

And why Sam, not somebody else? He was independent…though he sported a party label. He was outspoken, perhaps too outspoken. He respected the press, and understood its role, recognised its role, recognised its needs and its importance. He realised that the best service to his ‘own people’ was to let the world know what was going on.” [Lanka Guardian, May 15, 1990, p.3] 

Hardly any Sri Lankan will doubt that Mervyn de Silva is an excellent writer. What he projects and what he omits have profound meanings. In his brief, but touching eulogy, Mervyn de Silva, while mentioning the many caps worn by Tambimuttu, had willingly omitted one role of his valuable ‘source’ - that of a wily shrimp farmer. And Mervyn de Silva had not deviated from the spirit of eulogy – i.e, speak only the ‘good, well, easy and agreeable’. Kindly note that the meaning of eulogy does not have any roots linking to ‘truth’. 

Even when American correspondent William McGowan published his brief expose on Tambimuttu’s shady deals with shrimp farming subsequently, as presented in the previous chapter [see, Part 49], Mervyn de Silva failed to amend his eulogy on his once vital ‘news source’ from the East.  

Eulogies to Neelan Tiruchelvam 

If the eulogies offered for Sam Tambimuttu’s killing in 1990 amounted to pound equivalents, the killing of Neelakandan Tiruchelvam (hereafter abbreviated as Neelan) on July 29, 1999, elicited eulogies at ton equivalents from diverse quarters, who benefited from Neelan’s expertise as an informant. At the time of his death, Neelan held the nominal position as one of the Vice Presidents of the Tamil United Liberation Front, and was a nominated member of the Sri Lankan parliament. Despite this relatively low-profile ranking, the then American President Bill Clinton offered an eulogy. The US State Department mourned the loss of one of its ranking ‘sources’ [in positive as well as negative contexts] on Sri Lanka. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN, condemned the LTTE in not so uncertain terms. Quite a number of Self indulgent Obscurantist Rights Evangelists (SOREs) in Sri Lanka and India sobbed with words uncontrollably in the news media. It is of relevance to note that Neelan’s professional career has a precedence in the American War of Independence – that of despicable social climber and scientist Benjamin Thompson (better known for scientists as Count Rumford). Thompson, was a colonial American who spied on the American colonies for the British, and was later knighted by King George III.  

The unusual high-octane eulogy offered for any Sri Lankan was received from the US State Department on July 29, 1999. For record, I provide this somber text couched in diplomatic lingo and euphemism - in full: 

“US Department of State

Office of the Spokesman

July 29, 1999. 

Statement by Philip T.Decker, Acting Spokesman 

Sri Lanka: Assassination of Dr.Tiruchelvam 

It is with profound regret that we learned of the murder today of Dr.Neelan Tiruchelvam on the streets of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Dr.Tiruchelvam was a respected academic and constitutional law expert, the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and a member of parliament representing the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), a moderate Tamil political party. He was killed by a suicide bomber on his way to work. Several bystanders were also injured. 

The attack appears to be the work of the terrorist LTTE, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have been waging a separatist war in Sri Lanka’s north and east for more than 16 years. The United States has long urged the LTTE to cease its terrorist activities, to stop immediately the killing of non-combatants and civilians and to seek peaceful means of pursuing its political ends. We designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. 

The United States has always supported, and continues to support, a peaceful resolution to the conflict through negotiations among all parties. We believe the Government of Sri Lanka has put forward realistic and sincere proposals for constitutional reform that could help toward this end. 

The United States extends its sincere condolences to Dr.Tiruchelvam’s family, friends and associates, and to the other victims of this bombing and condemns in the strongest possible terms this outrage. 

Dr.Tiruchelvam had many friends and colleagues in the United States. He freely shared his knowledge and conviction of the possibility for a peaceful resolution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. He had taught at Harvard and was scheduled to teach there again this autumn. So, we in the United States also share the terrible sense of loss of his family and country.” 

 It is my assessment that the last four sentences, couched in euphemism, reveal to some extent Neelan’s closet links to American officials and Intelligence operatives and exposes the motive of such a high-octane eulogy offered by the US Department of State. 

On July 30, 1999, the day following Neelan’s killing, President Bill Clinton extended his “deepest condolences” from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina – where he was visiting. The full text, as released by the US State Department is as follows: 


Office of the Press Secretary


July 30, 1999 

Statement by the President 

Hillary and I were shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Neelan Tiruchelvam at the hands of terrorists in Sri Lanka today. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife and family. 

Neelan Tiruchelvam was a constitutional lawyer and human rights advocate who was well-known and well-respected far beyond his country. He devoted himself to seeking a peaceful and just solution to the tragic conflict that has caused so much bloodshed in Sri Lanka. 

Hillary was deeply moved by her meeting with Mr.Tiruchelvam during her 1995 visit to Sri Lanka. With his death, a powerful voice for reconciliation in Sri Lanka has been silenced. I hope that this tragedy will spur efforts to find an end to the fighting and to build a lasting peace in Sri Lanka.” 

At the end of Clinton presidency, Americans as well as non-Americans have come to learn that President Clinton’s errors of judgement – both personal and professional -  are monumental. Monica Lewinsky scandal and the presidential pardons of Clinton are two best examples. Thus, Clinton’s special condolence on the killing of Neelan, issued from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina could also be attributed as none other than another minor error of judgement. Or could it be, that President Clinton was sincere in offering the condolence, as the US State officials and Intelligence operatives lost a loyal informant, who worked for them under cover? And LTTE’s assassination of Neelan eliminated one vital Colombo source, who had close links to the dictators of power in Sri Lanka. 

Evaluating the eulogies delivered for Neelan Tiruchelvam 

It is of relevance to dissect the essence of eulogies delivered for Neelan, from the side of Eelam Tamils. The openly expressed views of three contemporary Eelam Tamils, of which one is mine, is presented below. 

 (1) by S.Sivanayagam, the journalist: 

“…This man who held no office, wielded no ostensible power, not a man of the people by any means, and what is worse, a Tamil by birth in a country where Tamils as a people have long been reduced to second class citizenship, has now emerged in death, (if not in life), as a seemingly more deserving figure than the rest of them for public lionizing. How does one account for this paradox? 

Even President Clinton and his good First Lady Hillary thought it fit to come down from superpower perch and brush aside all norms of protocol to say how ‘saddened and shocked’ they were to learn the death of a man whom hardly any American citizen would have heard of, or even of the little country that he came from. UN chief Kofi Annan, not to be left behind, showed proof that the world was indeed a global village with hardly any distance separating Manhattan from Rosmead Place in Colombo 7. 

Condolences and condemnatory messages came from the Foreign Ministers of Canada and Australia. The Times (London), The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, Toronto’s Globe & Mail (who usually run long obituaries of people whom most readers are not even sure whether such people were alive) – gave more space for this man’s death than to report the death of 60,000 civilian killings in Sri Lanka…. 

There is no questioning the many personal virtues ascribed to Neelan as a man, as a scholar, as a jurist and as an academic and constitutional pundit. But all that do not add up to the motivations behind the adulatory postures struck by many of his obituary writers. The reason is not far to seek. Every man who enters public life chooses his own favourable constituency and builds on it, which is a fact of life; and some obituary writers have their own private agendas. 

One can assert with certainty that had poor Neelan died of natural causes, half those obituaries would not have been written and whatever written would not have had the ‘fire’ that characterised those eulogies. To put it in plain language, many of them exploited the assassination at the hands of a suspected Tiger suicide bomber to use the opportunity to indulge in Tiger-bashing. What a pity, even in death, he had played into the hands of those whose only motive was to discredit the LTTE. 

Copious references were made to Neelan being a ‘moderate’, a ‘democrat’, and so on, but surely he was not killed for being any of this? The one writer who came closest to finding the right word to describe the victim in the eyes of the assassin – AND INDEED IN THE EYES OF THE WIDER TAMIL COMMUNITY, was Lakshman Gunasekera (Sunday Observer, August 1). That word was COLLABORATOR. 

Collaborators, as anyone who knows the history of peoples fighting for justice and freedom know, end up by being executed by their own people, status notwithstanding. In war-time phraseology the word ‘collaborator’ (with the enemy) invokes in people a sense of shame and anger. If what is happening in Sri Lanka is not war, what else is it?… [Hot Spring magazine, London, Aug-Sept. 1999, pp.1 & 3] 

(2) by G.G.(Kumar) Ponnambalam Jr., fellow lawyer and politician: 

Kumar Ponnambalam’s lengthy assessment on the assassination of Neelan appeared in the Sunday Times (Colombo) of Sept.19, 1999. But in this published version, as one would expect from the servile Colombo press, almost half of the feature, containing quite a number of unflattering paragraphs, was deleted. I provide only excerpts of Kumar Ponnambalam’s assessment, and the deleted paragraphs from the Sunday Times are shown in italics.  

“….I wish to place on record the feelings of a preponderant section of the Tamils on the matter of Dr. Tiruchelvam’ death. Eulogies have come in from abroad and locally. From foreigners and from Sinhalese. Indeed, at this time, it is the done thing to say all the good things about a dead person. But there has been hardly a good word for him from some of the Tamils, whether from abroad or locally. Why this glaring dichotomy?…. 

In 1997 October when President Kumaratunga, at a weekly meeting of financial officials on Fridays, blurted she would get onto the streets and attack Tamils if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked Buddhist places of worship and this leaked out and there was a hue and cry from the Tamil quarter, Tiruchelvam feigned another’s signature in an irrelevant and disgraceful letter to the President which sought, dishonestly, to bale the President out of a very difficult position. To say that Tiruchelvam is a paragon of virtue, even after this notorious act, is nothing but midsummer madness. The Tamils have not forgotten this. 

Tiruchelvam is described as a ‘crusader for peace’ and ‘a tireless worker towards resolution of conflicts.’ After Tiruchelvam’s death, it has surfaced that he was abandoning Parliament and the ‘Peace Package’ for pastures new and that he was going to take up a teaching assignment in America on 1st September 1999. Some interested parties want the people to accept the ‘Peace Package’ as this would be the least that they could do in the memory of Tiruchelvam. But if D.B.S.Jeyaraj’s eulogy at page 10 of The Hindu of 7-8-99 [Note by Sri Kantha: Aug.7, 1999] is anything to go by, Tiruchelvam obviously did not tell Jeyaraj, even as late as 35 minutes before his death, that he was leaving the shores in a matter of days. On the contrary, Tiruchelvam had - even minutes before this death -‘wanted a little more time in Parliament to accomplish his goal of achieving a political settlement’. It will not be easy unravalling this strange situation, more so if we take into consideration what the President has said about presenting the ‘Peace Package’ to Parliament by the end of August 1999. This, too, has raised Tamil eyebrows and all sorts of questions are being asked in Tamil circles. Was Tiruchelvam decamping after ensuring his pension? Where is his commitment to the Peace Cause, leave alone the Tamils? The Tamils have not forgotten this. 

Tiruchelvam is described as an ‘international figure’. Of particular interest to Tamils was the fact that he was Chairman of the Minority Rights Group International. This organization did a study of Sri Lanka after the present Government came into power and brought out a report in February 1996 with special reference to the Tamils. It was an indictment against his friend – the Sinhalese Government. The Report had many recommendations. Some Tamil organizations had written to Tiruchelvam during his stewardship requesting him to use his good offices with the Government to which he was so close (as has been now made out by representatives of this Government) and alleviate the distress of the Tamils. He just would not move in the matter. The Tamils have not forgotten this. 

In July 1998 when President Kumaratunga went to distant South Africa and came out with the bloomer that the Tamils are not the original people of this island and there was a mass protest from Tamils, here and abroad; there was not a whimper from the international personality that Tiruchelvam was. He could have used his good offices as an international figure that he was held out to be, to neutralize this statement, more so, when he had the opportunity to do so as he was in South Africa soon after the President’s characteristically ill-conceived outburst. He did nothing. The Tamils have not forgotten this. 

To make matters worse, Foreign Minister Lucky Kadirigama who, incidentally, was suddenly catapulted into the political arena from nowhere, due largely to a typical Tiruchelvam machination, completely let down his friend by calling a press conference on 2-8-99 [Note by Sri Kantha: Aug.2, 1999] and announcing, with pompous finality, that Tiruchelvam was a virtual consultant to the Foreign Ministry. This has opened the eyes of the Tamils who now charge that Tiruchelvam, with his ‘international connections’ as was evidenced by the outpourings that came from abroad and specifically from America, had a hand in the designation of the LTTE  [as a terrorist organization] and that Tiruchelvam was indeed a CIA agent. A greater dis-service Kadirigama could not have done to Tiruchelvam. 

In spite of the fact that the President had done nothing about Tiruchelvam’s ‘Peace Package’ for three years, that he should have thought that she was still the best bet for the Tamils when the whole Tamil Nation was arraigned against the President for years showed not only Tiruchelvam’s political acumen but also the distance he occupied from the Tamil Nation. 

Friends of Tiruchelvam have said that the Tamils have kept their distance from Tiruchelvam because of fear of the LTTE and as the Indian Express has said ‘mortgaged its soul to the LTTE’. I do not think the LTTE would ever think of videoing those who attended the Tiruchelvam funeral in order to take it out of those Tamils. Such modus operandi are only carried out by a despotic Sinhala Government to intimidate and harass Tamils who attend Tamil political meetings in the vastly predominant Sinhala Colombo….[Hot Spring magazine, London, Sept-Oct.1999, pp.15-18] 

(3) by Sachi Sri Kantha, an academic: 

I focused on one particular point G.G.Ponnambalam Jr. had expressed in his assessment – that of Neelan being a CIA agent – in my letter to the Hot Spring magazine. Excerpts: 

“The allegation of being a CIA agent in Sri Lanka is a serious one to tag to any individual. Thus, one sentence in G.G.Ponnambalam (Jr.)’s excellent commentary on the political career of late Neelan Tiruchelvam deserves further analysis. (Hot Spring, Aug-Sept.’99). This particular sentence states, ‘…Tamils who now charge that Tiruchelvam, with his ‘international connections’ as was evidenced by the outpourings that came from abroad and specifically from America, had a hand in the designation of the LTTE [as a ‘terrorist organization’] and that Tiruchelvam was indeed a CIA agent.’ Is there any proverbial ‘smoking gun’ for the charge that Neelan could have been a CIA agent? 

Before I read G.G.Ponnambalam (Jr.)’s commentary in the Hot Spring, I was intrigued by a couple of tid-bits which appeared in the eulogy of Celia Dugger to Neelan, published in the New York Times of Aug.24. In it she had written as follows: 

‘Tiruchelvam’s elder son, Nirgunan, 26, an investment banker in Singapore, became almost obsessed with his father’s security. He begged his father to stay inside their house, or to wear a bullet proof vest and travel in a bomb-proof car. The son tracked down an aging bomb-proof Jaguar that had carried the Queen of England when she visited Sri Lanka in the early of 1980s. But when his father used the car, it broke down. The one garage that could fix it always seemed to be busy.’ 

I feel that some vital information is missing in the above passage. How Nirgunan was able to locate the bomb-proof Jaguar which carried the Queen of England for his dad? Did he receive any extraordinary help from ‘foreign hands’ to purchase this car? Why ‘only one garage’ could fix this bullet-proof car? Why this ‘one garage’ was always ‘busy’? How many months (or years) did Neelan use this car?… 

Unless evidence to the contrary is revealed publicly, messages of condolences offered by Kofi Annan as well as President Bill Clinton on Neelan’s untimely death have to be taken as a circumstantial evidence of a link between Neelan Tiruchelvam and CIA.” [Hot Spring magazine, London, Oct.-Nov.1999, p.14] 

When this letter of mine was published in November 1999, neither me nor G.G.Ponnambalam Jr. would know that the ‘circumstantial evidence’ of a kind which I was alluding to would present itself within three months. On January 5, 2000, G.G.Ponnambalam Jr. was assassinated in Colombo – now believed to be - by the Gestapo-gang affiliated to the current Sri Lankan President’s Security Guard. In the eyes of Eelam Tamils, by birth pedigree, by age, by professional merits and even strangely by death,  both Neelan and G.G.Ponnambalam Jr. formed identical mirror images. The only difference was that, while G.G.Ponnambalam Jr. had turned into an  open LTTE sympathizer in the 1990s, Neelan was content to be the closet Tamil operative in the corridors of power. For the eulogy offered to Neelan in July 1999, to be counted as comforting the Eelam Tamils, a similar eulogy from the American as well as Indian Pooh-Bahs would have been forthcoming six months later as well. But G.G.Ponnambalam Jr.’s killing did not elicit any eulogies from President Clinton and the US Department of State – proving that Neelan was indeed a valuable closet operative in the services of American interests. 

Mahattaya –the Benedict Arnold of LTTE 

If Neelan Tiruchelvam was the Count Rumford for Eelam Tamils, Mahattaya – the ex-deputy leader of the LTTE -  became the Benedict Arnold of the LTTE. On the perfidy and pathos of the LTTE’s ex-deputy leader, I concluded part 24 of this series, penned 13 months ago, as follows: “I leave it for those such as Anton Balasingham, who had known both Pirabhakaran and Mahattaya, to shed more light on the Mahattaya episode, at appropriate time.” 

To my relief, some light has been thrown on the Mahattaya episode, by Anton Balasingham’s wife, Adele, who is also privy to the inside details on the LTTE. Thus, I provide relevant details, appearing in her autobiography, published in 2001. 

“….[Around April 1993], Mathaya and some of his close associates were arrested by the LTTE’s intelligence wing for conspiring to assassinate Mr.Pirabhakaran. In a massive cordon and search of his camp in Manipay – supervised by senior commanders of the LTTE – Mathaya was taken into custody along with his friends. We were shocked and surprised by this sudden turn of events. Mr.Pirabakarn, who visited our residence that day, told us briefly of a plot hatched by the Indian external intelligence agency – the RAW – involving Mathaya as the chief conspirator to assassinate him and to take-over the leadership of the LTTE. He also said that further investigations were needed to unravel the full scope of the conspiracy. 

The investigation took several months to complete. Mathaya, his close associates involved in the conspiracy, and several other cadres who functioned directly under him, were thoroughly investigated. Finally, the complete story of a plot emerged. Confessions by all the main actors were tape-recorded and video filmed. The leadership also arranged a series of meetings for all the LTTE cadres to explain the aims and objectives behind the plot. Apart from Mathaya, other senior cadres who were involved in the conspiracy were allowed to make public confessions during those meetings confirming their involvement. It was a complicated and bizarre story of the Indian intelligence agency establishing secret contacts with Mathaya through his close associates, with the promise of huge funds and political backing from India if the plot succeeded and the LTTE leadership was eliminated. A former body-guard of Mr.Pirabakaran was secretly released from an Indian jail in Tamil Nadu and trained as the main assassin. He was sent to Jaffna with an intriguing story of a successful jail break as cover. His assignment was to plant a time bomb in Pirabakaran’s bed room as a part of an overall plot planned by Mathaya. This young man, as soon as he landed in Jaffna, was once again included amongst Mr.Pirabakaran’s bodyguards. Surprisingly, just a few days before his arrest, he visited our residence to tell us fabulous stories about his jail break. The investigation established, without doubt, that Mathaya was the chief conspirator. The plot was to assassinate Mr.Pirabakaran and some senior commanders loyal to him and assume the leadership of the organisation. On 28th December 1994, Mathaya and a few of his fellow conspirators were executed on charges of conspiracy to eliminate the leadership.” [Book: The Will to Freedom – An Inside View of Tamil Resistance, 2001, pp.296-298] 

Naturally, Pirabhakaran’s opponents as well as those who were close to Mahattaya and those who stood to benefit from Mahattaya’s ascendancy would not accept the insider-account presented by Adele Balasingham. But, one should note that Adele Balasingham has a special standing. She is peculiar mix of ‘insider-outsider’. She is privy to Pirabhakaran’s confidence, and at the same time the only non-Tamil who had seen Pirabhakaran’s rise as a Tamil military leader in close circuit. Her link is similar to that which Edgar G.Snow had with Mao Ze Dong. 

The demerit of Pirabhakaran’s critics in Sri Lanka, India and elsewhere is that, unlike Adele Balasingham, none had an opportunity of watching in close circuit the growth of a guerrilla movement, which transformed into a military force. Discipline is to the military, as rhythm is to music. Thus, as a military leader, it is within Pirabhakaran’s parish to execute those who betray his confidence. And Pirabhakaran was following the military traditions of Washington, Mao and Castro. Critics of Pirabhakaran, including the Pooh-Bahs from the US diplomat corps, ignore the historical facts of how Washington reinforced discipline. To quote Allan Nevins, 

“One element of Washington’s strength was his sternness as a disciplinarian. The [Patriots’] army was continually dwindling and refilling; politics largely governed the selection of officers by Congress and the states; and the ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-paid forces were often half-prostrated by sickness and ripe for mutiny. Troops from each of the three sections, New England, the middle states, and the South, showed a deplorable jealousy of the others. Washington was rigorous in breaking cowardly, inefficient, and dishonest men and boasted in front of Boston that he had ‘made a pretty good sort of slam among such kind of officers’. Deserters and plunderers were flogged, and Washington once erected a gallows 40 feet high, writing that ‘I am determined if I can be justified in the proceeding, to hang two or three on it, as an example to others’. At the same time, the commander in chief won the devotion of many of his men by his earnestness in demanding better treatment for them from Congress…” [entry on George Washington, Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia, vol.29, 15th ed., 1990, pp.699-706] 

It is debatable whether Pirabhakaran and LTTE has the moral right to short-circuit the careers of  a handful of Closet Tamil Operatives. In spirit and execution, LTTE’s assassinations do not differ from both the currently employed American policy of ‘bring to justice’ those who have extinguished American lives and Israel’s ‘payback principle’ of targeted killing. I quote from a recent feature by David Margolick entitled, ‘Israel’s Payback Principle’: 

“…For Israel, ‘targeted killings’ are as old as the Talmud. ‘If he comes to kill you, kill him first,’ it states. Sprinkled throughout the nation’s 54 years are many such actions, often filled with James Bond-like tales of ingenuity and derring-do. The Israelis have always been quietly proud of them, while also asking themselves whether they want to be, or should be, doing such things… 

In 1955 the Israeli philosopher Yishayahu Leibowitz complained in a letter to Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, about innocent Palestinians killed in Israeli operations. ‘I received your letter and I do not agree with you,’ Ben-Gurion replied. ‘Were all the human ideals to be given to me on the one hand and Israeli security on the other, I would choose Israeli security, because while it is good that there be a world full of peace, fraternity, justice and honesty, it is even more important that we be in it.’ 

Last July, Israel’s most respected political columnist, Nahum Barnea, of the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, showed Ben-Gurion’s letter to Prime Minister Sharon, who said he agreed with every word of it. 

Traditionally, such operations have been conducted in strict secrecy and steadfastly denied. [Vanity Fair magazine, Jan.2003, pp.40-47] 

Israel’s area of 20,770 is almost identical to the area of the traditional Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. Israel’s political leaders from Ben Gurion to Ariel Sharon had learnt the value of the security of their land, and the means of protecting its security. It is not an exaggeration to state that in idea and execution, Pirabhakaran’s policy of protecting the Tamil homeland was not in variance from that employed by the military minds (Begin, Shamir, Rabin, Barak and Sharon) who later became the political leaders of Israel. [To be Continued.]