Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

Published on - 1/30/2008

Bruce Fein: Staunch Opponent of Tigers in 2004, Zealous Defender in 2008—How Come?

BRUCE FEIN, a lobbyist with credentials from Harvard University, is openly soliciting money to get the Tiger terrorists deproscribed. In an advertisement written for the Bruce Fein Project he markets himself in his website as one who \"is uniquely gifted and experienced to give expression to the Tamils' grievances in the corridors of power in Washington and electronic and print media\" and also that he is \"well versed in the oppression that afflicts the Tamils under the current Government and their legitimate aspirations for a separate state after grim decades of pervasive and odious discrimination.\"

In his statement (January 22, 2002) criticizing the Federal Bureau of Investigation's story titled \"TAMING THE TAMIL TIGERS\", he \"challenge(s) the legal correctness of the State Department's listing of the Tamil Tigers as a foreign terrorist organization; and, advocating independent statehood for Sri Lanka's Tamils through legal channels based on the United States Declaration of Independence, natural and international law, and historical practice\" .

Among other things. including the usual litany of complaints made by the separatist lobby, he denies that (1) the Tigers are terrorists (2) the Tiger should be banned as terrorist because they had not harmed any American under federal law, section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (3) the Tiger terrorists killed India's Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka; (4) that a single Tamil had headed the Armed Forces; and (5) the Tigers executed the 15 French workers in Trincomalee even though the forensic evidence of the Australian investigator established that the bullets embedded in the aid workers were the ones used by the Tigers.

However, his role as a lobbyist for the Tamil Tigers in 2008 contradicts his position taken in 2004. In a column he wrote to the The Washington Times, dated February 3, 2004, he defended unequivocally the then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for designating 30 organizations, including the Tamil Tigers, as \"foreign terrorist organizations\" under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

Arguing for the banning of terrorists he said: \"The designations pivoted on the indiscriminate use of violence by the government PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey) and the LTTE to intimidate civilian populations and to cow the democratically elected government in Turkey and Sri Lanka to capitulate to their secessionist demands.\"

He also wrote: \"The Tamil Tigers seek a secessionist state in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka through terrorism. Characteristic of like organizations, the LTTE undertakes auxiliary activities that strengthen its terrorists torso and sweeten its public face: political organizing and advocacy; diplomacy; social services and humanitarian aid; etc.

He even opposed the alleged medical assistance programme of the Tamil Tiger terrorists.

He wrote: \"Medically assisting the LTTE, however, facilitates terrorist abominations. Its injured members more quickly return to terrorist duties. And the LTTE more readily attracts grass-root sympathizers, financial contributions and terrorist recruits. The nefarious LTTE terrorist goal of partitioning Sri Lanka into separate Tamil and Sinhalese nations would be closer.\"

He concluded by stating: \"As Mr. Bumble in \"Oliver Twist\" would have said, \"if the law sustains a constitutional right to assist foreign terrorist-secessionist organisations against countries with which we are at peace, then the law is an ass, an idiot.\"

Now, going into reverse gear, he states that (1) the Sri Lankan Government is a terrorist state; (2) one million Tamils were permanently disenfranchised and denied citizenship by the Sri Lankan Government; (3) \"the assassinations of India's Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lanka's President Ranasinghe Premadasa, moreover, occurred long years ago, and suggest little or nothing about the contemporary danger of the Tamil Tigers to the United States ; and (4) in 1983, the Government sponsored race riots that eventuated in the slaughter of 4,000 Tamils and the displacements of hundreds of thousands.

The Asian Tribune has sent the following questionnaire to him seeking clarification on his contradictory positions: 1. With all you impressive credentials from Harvard University and elsewhere, as advertised in your website, you could not have made a mistake in condemning the Tamil Tiger terrorists in your forthright article published in The Washington Times in February 3, 2004.

But in you latest statement challenging the FBI you go all out to defend the Tamil Tiger terrorists?

Have the Tiger terrorists turned into saints overnight after you were given the job of lobbying for them ? Can you please explain how you came to back the Tiger terrorists in 2008 after condemning them in absolutely unequivocal terms in 2004?

2. In your statement attacking the FBI you state that \"Sri Lanka has been allied with enemies of the United States , including Iran , Cuba , Saddam Hussein, and Yasar Arafat's PLO.\"

In your Washington Times article you wrote: \"But a constitutional right to assist a foreign terrorist organization to win secession from a nation with which the United Sates is at peace — whether through negotiations or otherwise — is preposterous. Think of the ignominious Munich \"peace conference\" of 1938.

Could an American citizen steeped in international affairs have claimed a free speech right to advise Adolf Hitler on how to outfox the British and French to capture sovereignty over the Sudentenland from Czechoslovakia?\"

\"This is a good question but isn't this exactly what you are doing in the case of the Tamil Tigers who is headed by “the latest Pol Pot of Asia\"? ( New York Times , James Burns, May 28, 1995).

If anyone steeped in international affairs has no right to defend Hitler what right have you to defend Velupillai Prabhakaran, \"the latest Pol Pot of Asia \", in the Congressional corridors of power?

Besides, US continue to have relations, either officially or unofficially, with Iran, Cuba. So why is it bad for Sri Lanka to have official or unofficial relations with these countries?

Does this reflect your vaunted understanding of international relations? Since Britain and India, for example, maintain friendly relations with these counties will you recommend to the Congress that US should blacklist them too?

Furthermore, if Yasser Arafat is an enemy of US why was he invited to Camp David and why did President Clinton shake hands with him? If Castro is an enemy of US why is ex-President Jimmy Carter advocating the lifting of the ban on Cuba?

3. You state: \"The assassinations of India's Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lanka's President Ranasinghe Premadasa, moreover, occurred long years ago, and suggest little or nothing about the contemporary danger of the Tamil Tigers to the United States .\"

Are the law professors of Harvard that idiotic/ignorant not to have taught you that there are no statutory limitations for war crimes and crimes against humanity?

In addition, you state: a recent memoir by a military official in India 's armed forces asserts that Gandhi ordered the army to kidnap and to assassinate the leader of the Tigers during peace negotiations.\" Obviously, you read and quote only what suits you. Are you aware that this was denied by Indian officials? If you disagree what proof have you to establish your case?

4. \"There has never been a Tamil president or prime minister of Sri Lanka,\" you say. Can you kindly name a single Hispanic or an Afro-American (Barak Obama, notwithstanding) as being either a president or a vice president of America? Can you kindly name one non-Anglican who is allowed to sit on the English throne?

You also say: \"No Tamil has ever headed the Armed Forces.\" Can you kindly make some inquiries from your Tamil informers and kindly tell us who the first Sri Lankan Army Commander (Maj-Gen. Anton Muttucoomaru) was?

Can you kindly tell us who the second Navy Commander (Rear-Admiral Rajan Kadiragamar) was ? Can you kindly tell us whether Rudra Rajasingham, the Inspector General of Police, was from a tribe in Timbuctoo?

5. Then you state: \"One million Tamils were permanently disfranchised and denied citizenship at Sri Lanka's independence.\" Can you kindly tell us which law course at Harvard taught you that a nation, particulary a new nation, has no right to define who its citizens are? Besides, do you know that the Citizenship Act was passed with the consenting vote of G. G. Ponnambalam, the most formidable leader of the Jaffna Tamils at the time.

The leader of the Muslims, T. B. Jayah, and the representatives of other minorities (except the Indian Tamils) voted for it. If all the elected community leaders (except the Indian Tamils) voted for it on what principle are you contesting the right of an elected parliament to define who its citizens are going to be?

Do you also know India subsequently accepted those who did not qualify for citizenship as their citizens under the Sirima-Shastri Agreement? Do you know that since then practically all the Indians have been accepted as citizens? 6. \"In 1961, a Gandhi-like non-violent Tamil movement for regional autonomy was brutally crushed by the Sinhalese,\" you say.

What is the evidence you have for the “brutal crushing”? If they were brutally crushed how did they contest elections and carry on their separatist campaign in Jaffna and other parts of the country? Besides, what kind of “non-violent movement” was this when it distributed wooden pistols by the movement's leaders?

7. “The principles celebrated in the United States Declaration of Independence and enshrined in natural and international law establish an unequivocal right to separate statehood by Sri Lanka's Tamils,” according to you.

You also state: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same objective evinces a design to reduce [a people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

On this argument can you name the non-black Congressmen who will campaign with the Afro-Americans for a separate state in the US? How many legislators are likely to be re-elected if they campaign for the right of the Hispanic to use their language in the US states which have already passed laws declaring that English ONLY shall be the official language?

Will they also consider Eboli, a dialect of the Afro-Americans, as an official language of America?

8. Consider also this quote: “The (FBI) story neglects to note that the Tamil Tigers are not an illegal organization in Sri Lanka itself; and, that the United States Department of State has urged the GoSL to negotiate with the Tamil Tigers.\"

Do you not know that the Tigers were once a banned organisation in Sri Lanka and in order to facilitate peace talks it lifted the ban? Not only did it lift the ban it even went for talks with “the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world” (FBI) without insisting on the primary condition of laying down arms before opening negotiations.

Do you also know that none of the Western democracies would ever open negotiations with a terrorist group until and unless they lay down their arms? 9. “The (FBI) story omits facts indicating that the current GOSL is a state sponsor of terrorism against its Tamil citizens;” you say. If this is the case how do you explain the fact that the majority of the Tamils live in harmony with the majority of the Sinhalese in the South, voting with their feet against to live outside the terrorist outfit in the Vanni? Besides, if the state sponsors terrorism why don't the Tamils run away to seek safety in the haven of Tamil Tigers in the Vanni?

10. On the homepage of Tamils for Justice, the objective of the Bruce Fein project includes “The Deproscription of the LTTE.” In the Bruce Fein statement of January 22, 2008, you state that Tamils for Justice “is not a front for the Tamil Tigers. Nor does it represent, associate with, or take direction from the Tamil Tigers or any other organization within or outside the United States.”

The press release Tamils for Justice issued on January 23, 2008, states likewise. How do you reconcile these two contradictory statements? If Tamils for Justice is not an LTTE front, then why is the deproscription of the LTTE its stated objective?

(11) Do you agree that the LTTE is a terrorist organization?

(12) Do you believe that the end justifies the means? That is, do you accept using terrorism for gaining political objectives?

(13) Do you disagree with the UN Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, under which, activities of LTTE front organizations are being investigated by several foreign governments?

(14) Do you now believe in the LTTE cause ? If so why ?

(15) As you, presumably, believe in transparency and accountability will you declare the details of the funds collected for the deproscription of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, including the names of the donors, particularly because of the suspicion of Tamil for Justice being associated with a banned terrorist organisation?

16) Who are the office bearers of Tamils for Justice?

(17) Do you see a difference between the LTTE and al Qaeda? If you do, then what is it?

(18) Would you also agree to represent al Qaeda's deproscription provided an organization similar to Tamils for Justice hires you ?

(19) You say in your statement of January 22, 2008, that there is no evidence to justify the accusation that the LTTE was responsible for assassination of two world leaders. If that is the case, how can you justify your accusation that the GOSL is responsible for the executions of 15 French aid workers in the Trincomalee area, as stated in your statement of January 22?

(20) Who provides information for the Bruce Fein Project?

(21) You say that in 1975, Tamils were politically united behind a declaration of independence to establish a Tamil statehood. Demand for a separate state was made by the Tamil United Liberation Front in 1976 and not 1975, and it was not a declaration but a resolution called “ Vadukkodai Resolution”.

Are you aware that this resolution is based on a myth of a Tamil homeland which has been debunked by Prof. K. M. de Silva, Sri Lanka's foremost historian, in his monograph which has not been contested by any Tamil or any other historian ? Do you know that the LTTE demand for a separate state is a demand for something that never existed?

(22) Are you aware that A. Amirthalingam, leader of TULF and the cream of Tamil leadership have been liquidated by the Tamil Tiger terrorists ? Do you know that S. Chandrahasan, the son of the father of Tamil separatism, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, has declared that the Tamil Tigers have killed more Tamils than all others parties put together ?

How do you propose to represent the Tamils for Justice with such scant knowledge of Sri Lanka's history?

(23) You state that four Tamil members of parliament were assassinated while under Government protection. How many Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim parliamentarians were assassinated by the Tigers? Were they also not afforded security ? Wasn't the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, a Tamil Foreign Minister, and President R. Premadasa, not given the highest protection by the Government when the Tigers assassinated both ?

(24).You state: \" Neither Tamils for Justice nor Bruce Fein will be crucified on a cross of fear or cowardice.\" No one will bother to crucify Bruce Fein, for sure.But we hope Bruce Fein will show courage in answering these questions.

(25) You state: \".....the LTTE undertakes auxiliary activities that strengthen its terrorists torso and sweeten its public face (through) political organizing and advocacy;\" etc.

Have you taken up the job of lobbying for the Tamil Tigers \"to sweeten its public face\" through “political organizing and advocacy\"? (Courtesy: Daily News)