By Thilak S. Fernando

" Should a democratically elected member of Parliament like you continue to support a ruthless terrorist organisation thereby encouraging it to continue its senseless campaign of murder and mayhem? I am sure that you, in your heart of hearts, wish for peace in my homeland, as much as any other peace loving human being. Then, please discard the blinkers put on you by LTTE propaganda, go and see for yourself what is happening in Sri Lanka and then help the peace process positively by supporting the Sri Lanka Government's peace efforts"

The LTTE has been methodical, systematic and effective in executing their propaganda machinery in the West. With their headquarters in London and other offices in Paris and Canada their diaspora in the West is making use of the latest Internet and e-mail techniques to the core. With the latest media campaign through their own publications from London, it is an indisputable fact that the LTTE has been making a clear headway in their propaganda with distorted facts to exploit the transnational Tamil network to the maximum.

Another strong area of the LTTE propaganda has been their one-to-one basis lobbying of the British Parliamentarians over the years, claiming that 'Tamil people in Sri Lanka have been chased out from the north and east by the Sinhala racists regimes' and their 'struggle is merely to get the lost land back to Tamil people'! This has been quite effective to win the hearts & minds of many parliamentarians in the UK. The unfortunate fact is that while the Tiger terrorists massacred killed and maimed thousands of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka through planted bombs and suicide attacks they have masterminded & quite successfully waged a different kind of propaganda war in the West, to accuse the Sri Lankan government of discrimination and genocide - ironically at times with bodies of the Sinhala victims itself portrayed as innocent Tamil massacres by the security forces.

One such parliamentarian who has successfully been brainwashed by the LTTE is the Member of Parliament for Brent North in the UK - Mr.Barry Gardiner. It is not surprising that Mr. Gardiner has quite innocently fallen an innocent prey into the LTTE trap as he himself shares 'minority feelings' having Scottish antecedents. Brent North being predominantly an immigrant area where there is an influx of Sri Lankan immigrants and refugees, majority being Tamils, the LTTE tactics seem to work wonders here when it comes to community grants, housing benefits, disabled allowances or refugee benefits. The impact of the LTTE campaign on this British Member of Parliament was such that he plucked up courage to get onto a stage at Concordia University in Canada on 1 February 1998 to support the LTTE demand for a separate state in Sri Lanka . How did a member of the British Parliament manage to publicly cry out from a public platform in Canada to support a group of ruthless terrorists proscribed by many nations in the world such as USA, Australia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc. ?

While thousands of Sri Lankans who read his speech or heard about this incident raised their eye brows and decided to get back to their slumber, at least one patriotic Sinhalese, Herman Pathige, in London, had the courage to ask the British MP to remove the goggles he was wearing.

On 1 May, 1998 (prior to the assassination of the Jaffna Mayor by the LTTE) he addressed the following letter to Barry Gardiner at the House of Commons, Westminster, London, with copies to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Derek Fatchett. Full contents of the letter was as follows: