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The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon Part 35 http://www.sangam.org/PIRABAKARAN/Part35.

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The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon


Part 35

Sachi Sri Kantha


[31 May 2002]

Rajiv Gandhi Assassination - International Links


Pirabhakaran – A Moron?

Of course, millions of Tamils know that Pirabhakaran is not a


moron by any objective criterion. His track record (now lasting for
25 years) in guiding the LTTE into an internationally recognized
army proves that. But, for mediocre analysts and journalists who
earn a living by his name, sticking a ‘moron’ label on Pirabhakaran
is a comfortable exercise. One of the tortured reasonings presented
by the media analysts in attributing a motive to Pirabhakaran’s
alleged ‘decision’ to eliminate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 was that he
feared re-induction of the Indian army in Eelam, if the Congress
Party formed the government in India following the general
election. As one of the voluble proponents of this motive, Rohan
Gunaratna, presents it:
“The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was imperative for the
LTTE. If the LTTE did not, the IPKF that withdrew would
have returned heralding another period of bloody fighting.
Prabhakaran’s calculus was right. As a leader, he had done
his duty by his rank and file. By assassinating Rajiv Gandhi,
he prevented the reintroduction of the IPKF to Sri Lanka.”
[presented in the Sunday Times, Colombo, Jan.19, 1997; as
an excerpt from a chapter from his book]

That this inference is nothing but baloney and based on deluded


thinking can be asserted from the actions of President
J.R.Jayewardene and his nominal deputy in the 1980s,
R.Premadasa. The Indian army was brought into Sri Lanka by
Jayewardene in 1987, and this action was vehemently opposed by
Premadasa. By early 1989, when he assumed power, Premadasa
was keen on sending back the Indian army and reverse the faulty
step taken by his predecessor. While he was rightfully boasting

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this as his major contribution to protect the sovereignty of Sri


Lanka, one should be insane to swallow the logic presented by
analysts like Gunaratna, that Premadasa would have willingly
invited the Indian army again into Sri Lanka, even if Rajiv Gandhi
and his coterie were inclined to do the same. What Jayewardene
did in 1987 was a consensual act, about which Premadasa was
screaming ‘rape’. One should give the political devil his due.
Whatever his faults were, abrasive Premadasa was a Buddhist
moralist to the core, and it is incredulous to even consider that he
would have committed the same ‘consensual act’ in 1991 which
would have tarnished his image for which he had labored for
decades. Then, it is also laughable to think that Pirabhakaran
could be a moron (like for instance V.Perumal of EPRLF) and
could not comprehend Premadasa’s mind. In my assessment, if
Pirabhakaran can be faulted it could be for his penchant for
ruthless disciplinarianism, but not for being a moron.

A critical look on non-LTTE suspects


Just as evading the documentable evidence for LTTE involvement
in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination is unacceptable, equally
detestable is the outright elimination of the international links to
the assassination, which question the ‘LTTE did it’ hypothesis of
the Indian law enforcement personnel. Other than LTTE,
identifiable parties who had political, economical and financial
motives for eliminating Rajiv Gandhi included,
1. The Sri Lankan State and Sinhalese chauvinist elements.
2. Secessional elements in India such as Khalistan group and
Kashmir group.
3. Rajiv’s opponents with the Congress Party
4. International mercenaries, in alignment with the Intelligence
Agencies such as Mossad of Israel.

Subramanian Swamy, in his book, The Assassination of Rajiv


Gandhi (2000) has informed that the CBI sleuths in India carried
out a ‘Probability Analysis’ following Rajiv Gandhi assassination
and by May 31, 1991, had identified the suspects as belonging to
the LTTE, from a list of seven. I provide the details of this
probability analysis, courtesy of Swamy, and briefly comment on
its reliability.

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Eight parameters (identified as ‘variants’) had been chosen and


each was scored from 1 to 5 in increasing order of probability
against the 7 targeted suspects. The chosen eight parameters were,
1. Intelligence inputs regarding known earlier plans or level of
antagonism
2. Beneficiary analysis probability
3. Level of improvised explosive device (IED) fabrication
expertise – known/probable
4. Accessibility to Materials Used.
5. Availability of cadres who can perform such a task
6. Probability on the basis of modus operandi and
circumstances of the case
7. Capability analysis on the basis of area of strike
8. Probability considering unidentified (UI) lady as the prime
suspect

Then, the 7 targeted suspects in the books of CBI sleuths were,


1. Sikh terrorists
2. Kashmiri militants
3. United Liberation Front of Assam
4. People’s War Group (alias Naxalites) in India
5. Tamil militant groups [non-LTTE]
6. Sri Lankan government/mercenary
7. LTTE

So far, so good. The scores received by these 7 targeted suspects


for each of the above 8 parameters ranking consecutively from 1 to
8 are given below.
1. Sikh terrorists: 5 + 5+ 4+ 4+ 1+ 2+ 1+ 1 = 23 out of 40.
2. Kashmiri militants: 3+ 4+ 2+ 5+ 1+ 1+ 1+ 0 = 17 out of
40.
3. United Liberation Front of Assam: 2+ 3+ 1+ 0+ 0+ 0+ 1+ 0
= 07 out of 40.
4. Naxalites of India: 2+ 3+ 1+ 0+ 2+ 1+ 2+ 2 = 13 out of 40.
5. non-LTTE Tamil militant groups: 1+ 1+ 1+ 0+ 1+ 3+ 3+ 3

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= 13 out of 40.
6. Sri Lankan government/mercenary: 0 + 3+ 4+ 5+ 2+ 3+ 3+
3 = 23 out of 40.
7. LTTE: 2+ 2+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 5+5+ 4 = 33 out of 40.

Thus, in the books of CBI, the suspect which received the highest
‘probability score’ turned out to be LTTE. That this arbitrary scale
is a flawed one can be shown as follows:

First, the designated scores are highly questionable. To cite one


example, for the first parameter (i.e, the level of antagonism), Sikh
terrorists had received the maximum score of 5; LTTE received 2
and the Sri Lanka Government/Mercenary had received a zero
score. If the CBI sleuths have studied the history without blinkers,
the Sri Lanka Government/Mercenary also should have been
scored 5, since there was a serious assassination attempt on Rajiv
in July 1987 at Colombo. The anti-Indian speeches of the then Sri
Lankan President Premadasa, between 1984 and 1991, make a
mockery of the zero score granted for the first parameter.

Secondly, considering the antagonism Rajiv faced within his


Congress Party, anti-Rajiv forces within his party or even the
power peddlers (such as Chandra Swamy) should have formed
another suspect group. Probability of their collusion with shady
Eelam Tamil militants who were trained by the RAW personnel
(such as Sivarasan) or with whom RAW officials developed some
affinity (such as Mahattaya, the ex-Deputy Leader of LTTE) to
weaken Pirabhakaran has been ignored for convenience.

Thirdly, by design or ignorance, the probability of two suspects


[such as the non-LTTE militants and the Sri Lankan
Government/Mercenary] joining hands to achieve their mission has
not been considered by the CBI sleuths in their calculation. If this
additive probability is calculated, the total score of the two
suspects could equal or even exceed the total score of LTTE.

Fourthly, though the mere mention of numbers may project the


analysis to be scientific, how the observer bias by the CBI was
eliminated or decreased has not been explained.
Ignored Suspects: The Sri Lankan Government and Tamil
mercenaries
How flawed is the probability analysis of the CBI sleuths can be

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illustrated by a pungent opinion-piece published in the The


Illustrated Weekly of India (Aug.22-28, 1992). It was authored by
one Dr.Norman Baker, who was introduced as a US-based writer.
In this highly relevant piece, Baker had focused on elements that
were ignored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) officials, but
deserved notice relating to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

I have been unable to identify who this Norman Baker is, since I
have not read any of his other published contributions, prior to or
after the Rajiv assassination, though he began his commentary
with the sentence, “As a student of the history and politics of
India, the events following the assassination of the former Indian
prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, have been a subject of intense
interest to me.” A computer search via the Google search engine
generated two candidates with the name Norman Baker. One is a
historian belonging to the University at Buffalo, The State
University of New York, who was awarded the Chancellor’s
Award for Excellence in Teaching. Another Norman Baker
(b.1957) is currently a Liberal Democrat MP in Britain,
representing Lewes constituency since 1997. His bio-data states
that he was a teacher previously. Recently, his name has appeared
in Indian press related to his queries on the issue of British
passport in 1999 to business baron running the Hinduja Group. It
is feasible that neither of these two individuals authored this
critical commentary.

Despite this caveat on the identity of the author, the 1992


opinion-piece published by the Illustrated Weekly of India
magazine deserves notice for its vigor. So as not to distort the case
presented by the author, I provide lengthy excerpts below:
“…In my opinion, the investigation by the SIT was flawed
from the very beginning. As one looks into statements made
by SIT officials, leaks from SIT sources and the general
direction which the investigation took, it is rather evident that
the SIT had started with the assumption (maybe even the
conclusion) that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) was responsible for the assassination. Instead of
looking for and analyzing evidence in order to find who the
culprits behind the assassination were, the SIT seems to have
been looking for and analysing evidence to prove their
assumption that the LTTE was guilty. Even when some pieces
of evidence at hand suggested that the LTTE might not have

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anything to do with the assassination, the SIT tried to


force-fit such evidence to support their pre-conceived notion
that the LTTE was guilty…
The Sri Lankan government under President Premadasa was
as anti-Rajiv as the LTTE. Premadasa opposed the India-Sri
Lanka Peace Accord of 1987 and the induction of Indian
troops into Sri Lanka in 1987 from the very beginning. His
presidential election campaign included a pledge to get the
Indian troops out of Sri Lanka. His first foreign policy
initiative as the newly elected president was to request India
to withdraw its troops from Sri Lanka. When Rajiv Gandhi
procrastinated, Premadasa did the unexpected and the
unthinkable – he secretly supplied large quantities of arms to
the Sri Lankan government’s long-term enemy, the LTTE.
Finally, the Indian troops were withdrawn in 1990 and the
new Indian Prime Minister V.P.Singh, pursued a hands-off
policy on the Sri Lankan civil war.
Premadasa likened Singh’s hands-off policy to Gandhi’s
activist policy. Premadasa feared the latter’s return to power.
He feared that Rajiv Gandhi might interfere in the Sri Lankan
civil war again, possibly in support of the LTTE, as he and
his mother Indira Gandhi did until July 1987. Thus, the Sri
Lankan government under President Premadasa had a motive
to see that Rajiv Gandhi did not come to power again. Did
the Sri Lankan government have the means (the ability) to
assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in Tamil Nadu?”

Baker continues further,


“The Sri Lankan government might not have had the means to
assassinate Rajiv Gandhi directly but it had close
relationships with some Sri Lankan Tamil guerrilla groups,
namely the EPRLF, the PLOTE and the TELO. At least two
of these groups (PLOTE and TELO) were helping the Sri
Lankan army in its civil war with the LTTE. These groups
had operatives in Tamil Nadu for many years and thus had the
ability to plan and execute the assassination. These groups
also had the necessary expertise with explosives. Moreover,
these groups are armed militants without a cause. (They had
long given up the cause of creating a homeland for the Sri
Lankan Tamils.) The history of mercenary operations tells us
that such groups are fertile grounds for mercenaries.

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In fact, a few years ago PLOTE was involved in an


unsuccessful mercenary operation to overthrow the
government of the tiny island nation, Maldives. In addition to
these Tamil guerrilla groups, it is believed that the Sri Lankan
government also had some Tamils in its intelligence service
and the Sri Lankan government did not hesitate to use them
on Indian soil when necessary. During the mid-‘80s, the
LTTE’s political advisor, Balasingham, lived in Madras. A
Tamil Sri Lankan intelligence operative named Kandaswamy
Naidu – a former Sri Lankan government employee –
allegedly tried to blow up Balasingham’s Madras residence.
A case was filed against him in Tamil Nadu but he escaped to
Sri Lanka. Interestingly, Sivarasan, the mastermind of the
Rajiv Gandhi assassination, was allegedly a former Sri
Lankan government employee…”

Baker on Sivarasan:
According to Baker,
“Throughout the investigation, while every piece of evidence
that could possibly link the LTTE to the assassination was
painstakingly pursued, other evidence was not given serious
attention. One piece of information was that Sivarasan was a
former Sri Lanka government employee. Especially in view of
the Kandaswamy Naidu episode mentioned earlier, the SIT
should have investigated any possible connections between
Sivarasan and Sri Lankan intelligence agencies. But this was
not done. Also, the question remains unanswered: Why did
the Sri Lankan government tell the SIT in May-June 1991
that Sivarasan was an LTTE operative but failed to mention
his former employment with them? The Sri Lankan
government distributed Sivarasan’s photograph to its offices
in eastern Sri Lanka. Why wasn’t his past government
employment revealed? Was it a case of incompetency or
cover-up?
While the SIT was quick to examine the LTTE’s bank
transactions in European banks to uncover any incriminating
financial transactions between the LTTE and foreign
governments, it made no such attempt to investigate if the Sri
Lankan government had any questionable financial dealings
with the EPRLF, PLOTE, TELO or other mercenaries.”

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Furthermore, Baker has questioned the validity of the assumption


that Sivarasan was an LTTE cadre. To quote,
“The SIT had information that Sivarasan smoked cigarettes
and drank alcohol. This does not fit the profile of an LTTE
operative. LTTE militants are prohibited from smoking and
drinking. This code of conduct is strictly enforced from the
very top to the newest recruit. The fact that Sivarasan smoked
and drank would seriously undermine the theory that
Sivarasan was an LTTE operative. However, the SIT simply
brushed it aside. Was Sivarasan a former LTTE, EPRLF,
PLOTE or TELO operative? Did he become a mercenary,
using the skills he learned from these groups and the
connections he made when he was with these groups?
In fact, there was evidence to suggest that Sivarasan might
have been involved in a mercenary operation. According to
the SIT, Sivarasan had visited Sweden, Singapore, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates some months before the
assassination. The LTTE had representatives in all these
countries. If Sivarasan was planning the assassination on
behalf of the LTTE, there was no reason for him to visit these
countries to meet foreign government agencies or collect
monies or secure explosives; the LTTE networks in these
countries are better suited to do these back-up tasks. It is
highly unlikely that the LTTE would send Sivarasan to
foreign countries for this purpose. Sivarasan’s foreign trips
would make sense if he were a mercenary. But the SIT chose
to go around this piece of evidence and tried to force-fit it to
its ‘LTTE is guilty’ hypothesis. What was the SIT’s analysis?
It concluded that Sivarasan, while planning the assassination
for the LTTE, was at the same time on the payroll of (under
contract to) an unidentified foreign government without the
knowledge of the LTTE.
Is such a scenario plausible? Highly unlikely. The LTTE is a
well-disciplined, tightly-knit organization and it is highly
unlikely that an operative assigned for the most sensitive and
critical operation in the history of the LTTE (namely the
assassination of Rajiv Gandhi) would be able to establish
contact with a foreign government and travel to many foreign
countries for weeks without the knowledge of the LTTE. It is
more likely that Sivarasan was a mercenary than a mercenary

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and an LTTE operative at the same time. However, the SIT


chose to propound the latter theory."

Baker on Dhanu:
Baker’s view of Dhanu, the woman assassin of Rajiv Gandhi, was
as follows:
“An experienced covert operative-whether a Sri Lankan Tamil
guerrilla or a Sri Lankan intelligence operative – could have
‘persuaded’ a suitable young Tamil lady raped by Indian
soldiers and thus enraged against Rajiv Gandhi, to act as a
suicide-assassin. (The assassin, Dhanu, allegedly told her
friend, Nalini, that Indian soldiers had raped her. The fact
that Indian soldiers raped some Tamil women has been
established beyond any doubt; if Dhanu was a rape victim
may never be known for sure).”

Baker on the significance of Rajiv-LTTE meeting in March


1991:
Baker attributed this vital meeting as the signal for the anti-LTTE
operatives to speed their mission on assassinating Rajiv. To quote,
“Within days of the assassination, the Hindu reported that an
LTTE emissary met Rajiv Gandhi earlier in 1991 to
re-establish a cordial relationship. The Congress Party
spokesman, Pranab Mukherjee, denied that such a meeting
took place. Later, it became evident that the meeting in fact
took place on March 5, 1991, at Rajiv Gandhi’s New Delhi
residence. This is a critical piece of evidence. If the meeting
ended amicably and if the LTTE believed that Rajiv Gandhi
would not be hostile to the LTTE, then it would no longer
have a motive to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. (If the LTTE’s
foes were to know of the meeting, they might have a motive to
assassinate Rajiv.)
By giving false information that no such meeting took place,
the Congress spokesman essentially misled the investigation
until the truth emerged from other sources. Why did the
Congress Party spokesman mislead the investigation? The
only one to be adversely affected by the denial is the LTTE.
Were the anti-LTTE leaders within the Congress party and its
ally, the AIADMK, responsible for the denial?

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The Rajiv-LTTE meeting is an important piece of evidence


and the gist of the conversation could be useful in assessing
the LTTE’s motives. The SIT simply brushed it aside as a
diversive tactic used by the LTTE. But there is some prima
facie evidence to suggest that the Rajiv-LTTE meeting did go
well. The very fact that Rajiv Gandhi agreed to meet an LTTE
emissary indicates that he had an open mind about the LTTE.
Furthermore, the June 1, 1991 issue of the Illustrated Weekly
of India reported that ‘intelligence sources, on condition of
anonymity, confirm this (the meeting) and are inclined to
view that the compromise worked out between Rajiv and the
LTTE could have been the cause for the assassination and
that international forces who stood to lose by Rajiv becoming
prime minister, standing by the LTTE’s demand for an
independent Tamil Eelam could have been behind the blast
(assassination).’ Who has more to lose by a rapprochement
between Rajiv and the LTTE than the Sri Lankan
government?…”

Baker, concluded his commentary with the following note:


“Even if the LTTE chief [i.e. Pirabhakaran] is found guilty by
an Indian court, there will always be a lingering doubt about
whether the LTTE was really guilty of assassinating Rajiv
Gandhi. The recent order by Judge Siddick prohibiting the
publication of the proceedings of the court is more cause for
concern.”

The role of Mossad operatives and Mercenaries


It is not a hyperbole to state that the role of Mossad operatives and
mercenaries in the Rajiv assassination conspiracy has been at best
under-investigated, and at worst completely ignored. The
following facts need mention in this regard.
1. The warning given by the PLO Chief Yasser Arafat to Rajiv
Gandhi on the possible threat of latter’s life, five weeks
before the event.
2. Existence of records relating to clandestine professional
links formed by the RAW operatives and Mossad in the
1980s, while the RAW personnel were providing training
for Tamil militants in India. RAW’s most pampered group
was TELO and not LTTE. This should be linked to the

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revelation that Sivarasan, the mastermind of Rajiv


assassination conspiracy, was identified with TELO before
1987.
3. High decibel campaign by Subramanian Swamy, a noted
apologist in India for Israel, in implicating only LTTE for
Rajiv’s assassination.
4. Consultancy and services of Mossad operatives in Sri
Lanka in mid 1984 by the then President Jayewardene
during the incipient stage of civil war, which continued
until 1989.
5. President Premadasa’s apprehension of Mossad for
‘fishing’ in South Asian politics, especially following the
impeachment campaign initiated by Lalith Athulathmudali
(a noted sympathizer and beneficiary from Israel), which
followed within few months after Rajiv’s death.
An erroneous inference by Commissioner Jain
Justice Milap Chand Jain, in his voluminous Commission report
(1997) on the Rajiv Assassination, has strained hard to project a
nexus among the LTTE, Mossad and CIA, and had recommended
further investigations. His inference was mainly based on the much
publicized book ‘By Way of Deception’ (1990) by Victor
Ostrovsky, an ex-Mossad case officer. While reviewing this book
in 1992, I had doubted the authenticity of Ostrovsky’s
observations. Excerpts from my review are as follows:
“…What shocked the Sinhalese ruling establishment and the
journalists (including the editor of Lanka Guardian, Mervyn
de Silva) was the revelation of Ostrovski that Mossad had
trained the Sinhalese military personnel and ‘a group of
Tamil guerrilla factions’ simultaneously. Based on the
meager details provided by Ostrovski, these power-brokers
and opinion-makers had identified LTTE as the beneficiary of
Mossad’s patronage.
To me, this sounds too premature and incorrect. Let me
repeat what Ostrovski had written on this topic. ‘Around
1983, a group of Tamil guerrilla factions, collectively known
as the Tamil Tigers, began an armed struggle to create a Tamil
homeland in the north called Eelam – an on-going battle that
has claimed thousands of lives on both sides.’ This is the
only sentence in the book, where a vague reference is made to
the Tamil Tigers. The time-frame Ostrovski had written about

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was ‘mid-July 1984’, when he was still a trainee at the


Mossad Academy. He had not mentioned LTTE by name
anywhere in the book. At that time, all the militant groups
fighting for Eelam (LTTE, TELO, EPRLF, EROS and
PLOTE) were identified as ‘Tamil Tigers’. This point need be
stressed. The authors of Broken Palmyra also clearly state
this fact in page 72 of their book: ‘Upto this time (April
1985), the Tamil population had hardly differentiated
between rival groups. They were all referred to as boys and
even Tigers.’
Again the fact is that as reported in the Economist of August
3, 1985, in its coverage on the five Tamil militant groups,
LTTE was identified as receiving training from the PLO in
Lebanon….” [Tamil Nation, London, March 15, 1992]

My inference that LTTE did not have links to the Mossad was
subsequently confirmed by the Sinhalese sources as well. Rohan
Gunaratna, the pushy anti-LTTE analyst, in his book Indian
Intervention in Sri Lanka (1993), has not dealt in detail the
embarrassing revelations of Ostrovsky for obvious reasons; the
ex-Mossad agent has portrayed the Sinhalese army team who
visited Israel for training under Mossad in pejorative terms such as
‘monkeys’. He does not even mention Ostrovsky’s book in his list
of references. But, in one sentence in the text, he has noted in
passing, “Even though Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent
sensationalized LTTE relations with Israel, there was virtually no
relationship.” [p.409 of the book]

Furthermore, at the height of Sri Lankan army’s embarrassing


battle losses in April-May 2000 at the hand of LTTE, the Island
newspaper published a heavily censored news report by Keith
Warren, with the caption ‘Israelis here again’. It reiterated my
1992 inference. To quote,
“During the Premadasa regime an ex-officer of the Mossad
intelligence agency accused the Israelis of helping the LTTE
too and Premadasa appointed a commission to investigate
that allegation. The then service commanders testified to say
that it was the PLO which helped the LTTE and not the
Israelis.” [Island, Colombo, May 7, 2000]
Mossad’s Links to the Sri Lankan army and RAW
One of the early reports I have in my files on the Sri Lankan

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army’s links to the Mossad was a feature by Prema de Mel, which


appeared in the Asian Monitor (New York) weekly of June 22,
1984. It was entitled, ‘Lanka and the Mossad Connection’. I quote
a few passages from this feature.
“…It is being said that over 50 Mossad members (Israeli
secret service agents) are training the Sri Lanka armed
services to fight northern guerrillas who want a separate state.
This claim has been strengthened by the statement of
President Junius Jayewardene that he would even ‘seek the
help of the devil’ to rid the country of the Tamil terrorists.
The assistant director of the Asia and Oceana division of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, who now heads the
Israeli interest section, said in an interview with Asian
Monitor that his country was ready to help Sri Lanka…
The Tamil United Liberation Front and the Tamil Congress
issued a joint statement. The secretaries of both parties,
Appapillai Amirthalingam and Kumar Ponnambalam, said:
‘TULF and the TC are shocked and alarmed by the decision
to open an Israeli interest section. News reports state that this
decision of the government is quid pro quo for the services of
Israeli experts to train military units in ant guerilla warfare
and counterinsurgency operations. We further infer from
news reports, uncontradicted by the government, that the
Israeli secret service, Mossad, is already engaged in security
operations in the north and east. These moves have caused
great alarm and apprehension among the Tamil-speaking
people.”

I also cite two additional sentences from the previously quoted


Island report by Keith Warren, which provide a plausible link to
Sivarasan (the mercenary, as pointed out by Norman Baker) with
the Sri Lankan army and Mossad.
“The Israelis trained our Special Task Force at Maduru-Oya
during the Jayewardene rule. The Israeli Interest Section
which operated here was directly in contact with those Israeli
personnel involved in planning out war strategies.”

Early this year, Michael Jansen reporting from New Delhi, mused
on the precise nature of Indo-Israeli relations, which reached a ten
year mark this year. Some tidbits mentioned in this report are
relevant for digestion.

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“…[Since 1980s] cooperation also developed between India’s


intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),
and Israel’s Mossad and among senior armed forces officers
of the two countries. One of the factors promoting this
connection on the Indian side was anti-Pakistan, anti-Muslim
resentment, particularly amongst officers whose homes were
in areas which fell in Pakistan after partition. However, the
subordination of the military to the civilian authority
prevented the pro-Israel sentiments of those officers from
surfacing in Indian policy until full diplomatic relations were
established in 1992.” [Al-Ahram Weekly Online, February
21-27, 2002; Issue No.574]

What is notable is the date of establishment of full diplomatic


relations between India and Israel. It occurred following Rajiv
Gandhi’s death. One can postulate that here lies the motive for the
role of Mossad’s ‘hands or fingers’ in deciding the fate of Rajiv
Gandhi. Michael Jansen provides a synopsis on the historical
factors which could have played a role. To quote,
“India’s policy of supporting the Palestinians goes back to
the 1920s and 1930s when Mahatma Gandhi stood against
the Zionist colonization and expropriation of Palestine. After
Independence, India followed Gandhi’s principled policy out
of self-interest. India had the largest Muslim population of
any non-Muslim state, enjoyed lucrative economic ties with
the Arabs, which are further strengthened by the presence of
millions of expatriate Indian workers in the Gulf and Saudi
Arabia, and shared with the Arabs a policy of non-alignment
during the Cold War.” [ibid]

Thus, Nehru, his daughter Indira and his grandson Rajiv, for
obvious political reasons of courting the Muslim vote and
minimally for paying allegiance to Mahatma Gandhi’s views,
followed a pro-Arab policy in the international arena until the
1980s. Rajiv Gandhi, if he would have regained the prime
ministership wouldn’t have deviated much from the pro-Arab
stand. But his elimination resulted in the substantial turn-around
in India’s diplomatic policy of favoring Israel. Though
Subramanian Swamy, India’s pro-Israeli voice, has debunked the
warning issued by Yasser Arafat to Rajiv as a red herring, his cited
reason for rejection is markedly humorous. To quote Swamy,
“The whole hullabaloo on Arafat’s warning on RG’s [i.e.,

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Rajiv Gandhi] possible assassination was so much Middle


East desert hot air, because after hearing from Arafat
personally, Chandrasekhar had asked the RAW to find out.
Accordingly the RAW had sent messages to all field stations
abroad to do an in-depth check and report back. They came
up with nothing.” [Book: The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi,
2000, p.191]

There is a fallacious assumption here that just because RAW’s


field stations couldn’t make head or tail about the warning by
Arafat, this warning was a ‘Middle East desert hot air’. To prove
the efficiency (or lack) of RAW’s field station, one need not look
further than the assassination attempt on Rajiv made in Colombo
in July 1987 by the Sinhala naval rating. If the RAW’s field
station in Colombo – with all the proximity to India and
intelligence links to its Sri Lankan agents – failed miserably in
protecting Rajiv, what chances the RAW’s field stations in the
Middle East and Europe have of detecting a conspiracy better than
Arafat’s agents?

Facts on Sivarasan
As an aside, I should also mention that Swamy, while ridiculing
Arafat’s warning, has included in his book, a photo of him with
Arafat. But nothing is included in the text, why this photo appears
in his book, unless he wished to make amends for his undeserved
ridicule. Swamy also asserts in his book, that it is the LTTE which
had made a mountain out of mole hill from Arafat’s warning to
Rajiv. His view may be reliable, if the following documented facts
are ignored for convenience.

Fact 1: It is undeniable that the Mossad cultivated links with the


Sri Lankan army and simultaneously with India’s RAW since
1984.

Fact 2: LTTE did not have links to the Mossad.

Fact 3: In 1984, the RAW operatives did send some Tamil


militants for training under Mossad, and TELO was the pampered
group of RAW agents.

Fact 4: Sivarasan belonged to the TELO camp in 1984, and


received training by the RAW operatives in India.

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Fact 5: Sivarasan also worked for the Sri Lankan government in


the Eastern province, during or after IPKF’s operations in Sri
Lanka.

Fact 6: Sivarasan also has traveled to Sweden, Singapore, Saudi


Arabia and the United Arab Emirates some months before the
assassination.

Fact 7: Sivarasan also doesn’t appear in the records as a prominent


member of LTTE. If according to the SIT officials, Sivarasan
organized the ‘hit’ against the EPRLF chief Padmanabha in 1990
and escaped to Jaffna thus evading capture, it begs the question
why he didn’t do the same on the day following Rajiv’s
assassination, before his identity was revealed by the photos of
Haribabu. That Sivarasan was cavalierly dancing around Tamil
Nadu and Karnataka for three months, before his reported death in
Bangalore, is a bone in the neck of SIT officials which they cannot
dislodge.

Like the proverbial six blind men who saw the elephant, one is
under the impression that Sivarasan was the ‘elephant’ in the Rajiv
Gandhi assassination story. To-date, his links to the RAW
operatives, Sri Lankan army-Mossad operatives, ‘heavy weights’ of
the Congress Party, and TELO remain hidden. That he was a
‘mole’ prepared by the RAW operatives to penetrate the LTTE is
within the realms of truth. This may be an embarrassing fact, even
for Pirabhakaran to acknowledge.

In the early decades of the 20th century, when Einstein’s relativity


theory came under attack for scientific and non-scientific reasons,
professors belonging to the universities in Germany issued a
signed memorandum elaborating on why Einstein’s theory was
wrong. To this action, Einstein’s wisecrack was a memorable one.
Einstein noted to the effect that, if his theory is indeed wrong, one
professor is more than enough to correctly point out why it is
wrong, and one hundred heads are not needed. In a similar vein,
one can state that if Pirabhakaran was indeed the main conspirator
in the Rajiv assassination, one clinching evidence is adequate; that
is, an authentic, unadulterated document revealing
Pirabhakaran’s motive or instruction to Sivarasan to commit the
deed. Though eleven years have passed, this document has not
seen the light of the day. (Continued)

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