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Despite LTTE being listed as a terror organisation:

Norway gives terrorists the thumbs up!



Rodney Perera

In a publicity stunt to sustain its diminishing 'glory' and as a means of propaganda fund raising, the LTTE rump printed its latest set of mock stamps with offensive material, in Norway - a country which had always been sympathetic to the terror group.

Norwegian stamps depicting LTTE symbols and its leader were preceded by similar postal stamps in Germany, UK and France. The first batch originated as far back as in May 2011. Nevertheless, the European postal services seem to be surprisingly slow in 'shutting the stable door' and alerting their officials to the impending possibility.

The actions of the postal services warrant the pertinent question, what if and how they would react if the offensive stamps in question depicted Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar or a person of the same repute - someone averse to the Western world.

The Norway like the other countries did issue an apologetic letter, in response to a letter of strong protest by the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Oslo Rodney Perera. But the tone of the letter did little to convince that they indeed regretted what has happened.

The letter signed by Director, Posten Norge, Halvor Fasting on behalf of their CEO read, "All orders for personalised stamps are checked by us and we will not produce subjects that are "illegal, improper or inappropriate".

Unfortunately, this order we did not initially perceive as problematic."

Norway has not perceived to print the face of the leader of one of the most ruthless terrorist organisations, LTTE, identified by none other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US, as one of the most dangerous terror outfits in the world before it was decimated by Sri Lankan forces, as problematic.


Mock stamps of the LTTE

It further said, "We regret of course that in this case, we have delivered personal stamps with offensive content."The German postal service too 'regretted' the error. They said the stamps were 'not a part of the official philatelist program of Germany, nor are they on sale or display in German post offices'.

LTTE is not banned in Norway but the organisation remains a listed terror group within the European Union.

A foreign Ministry senior official said they have begun a diplomatic campaign to alert the postal services of foreign states where diaspora sections sympathetic to LTTE is concentrated. "We are also concerned since the personalised stamps issuance is an attempt to raise funds intended to revive the fallen outfit.

The other motive is propaganda related," the official said. She said the Ministry via its missions has already sent communications to Canada, USA, Australia, South Africa and others where the LTTE activities are significantly high.

The mock LTTE stamps depicted, the photo of Prabhakaran, Niyangala flower (flame lily), Atikukula (Greater coucal), Tiger, the LTTE logo and the Eelam map in different formats. According to the French Ambassador who confided in the External Affairs Minister, after being summoned on the matter, the French postal service has issued 10,000 LTTE stamps in three batches. In other countries there has been less numbers.

The countries have assured the Sri Lankan Government that they will not permit any re-prints of the offensive stamps.

Executive Vice President, of the Deutsche Post Dr. Rainer Wend said 'Deutsche Post has exercised technical precautions to block the produced stamps and to prevent their usage as postage,' while adding that they have taken additional measures to prevent further abuse of the customisation service by the LTTE elements. However, there seem to be no law governing or that dictate punishment to those who abuse their postal services, even if the actions are related to terrorist activities.

 

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