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Dr. Rohan Gunaratna (Born 1961) is a political analyst and widely known as an international terrorism expert. He is the Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The Globally renowned centre ICPVTR has a worldwide reputation for its counter-terrorism research and analysis. Dr Bruce Hoffman, has described it as the counter terrorism research database available.The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) listed him as an "acknowledged expert on terrorism in South Asia". He is the "former principal investigator of the UN's Terrorism Prevention Branch, Gunaratna has been called the world's top expert on Al Qaeda. He's lectured worldwide on terrorism and served as consultant to many governments. Gunaratna is the author of over 15 books, including Inside al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (University of Columbia Press) an international best-seller. For his contributions in advancing international security cooperation, Gunaratna received the Major General Ralph H. Van Deman Award in June 2014.
Gunaratna received his Masters from the University of Notre Dame (USA), where he was Hesburgh Scholar and his doctorate from the University of St Andrews (Scotland), where he was British Chevening Scholar.[self-published source]
A former Senior Fellow at the Combating Terrorism Centre at the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was invited to testify on the structure of al Qaeda before the 9/11 Commission. The author of 15 books, including Inside al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (University of Columbia Press), Gunaratna interviewed terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other conflict zones.[self-published source] For advancing international security cooperation, Gunaratna received the Major General Ralph H. Van Deman Award in June 2014.
A Member of the Steering Committee of George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute, Gunaratna is also Senior Fellow both at Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy's Jebsen Center for Counter Terrorism Studies and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, Oklahoma.
Invited to testify before the 9-11 Commission on the structure of al-Qaeda, Gunaratna led the specialist team that built the UN Database on al Qaeda, Taliban and their Entities. The author and editor of 12 books including Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (Columbia University Press), an international best-seller, Gunaratna is also the lead author of Jane's Counter Terrorism, a handbook for counter terrorism practitioners. His latest book with Michael Chandler, former Chairman of the UN Monitoring Group into the Mobility, Weapons and Finance is Countering Terrorism: Can We Meet the Threat of Global Violence? He serves on the editorial boards of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and Terrorism and Political Violence, leading academic journals in the field
Criticism and controversy
In 2003, Gunaratna claimed that Al-Qaeda commander Riduan Isamuddin alias Hambali regularly visited Australia plot fly planes into the British Houses of Parliament were dismissed by Australian authorities including the ASIO as lacking in evidence. Commenting on one of his books, the Pacific Journalism Review said in its review that "his writing here on Indonesia reveals a remarkably narrow selection of sources, a profound lack of knowledge, and a flawed understanding of the history of the Indonesian armed forces and of their intelligence operates". Australian journalist and commentator on intelligence issues Brian Toohey has called him a "self-proclaimed expert". He has also made bogus claims to be a "principal investigator" at the UN’s Terrorism Prevention Branch. IN reality, he had spoken at a seminar organized by the parliamentary library, given evidence to a congressional hearing on terrorism and delivered a research paper at a conference organized by the UN’s Department for Disarmament Affairs.
In 2004, New Zealand journalist Martin Bright, described Gunaratna as “the least reliable of the experts on bin Laden” His claim to the New Zealand Herald that "sympathisers and supporters of various terrorist groups were in New Zealand” and claimed to have seen their fundraising leaflets were also dismissed by New Zealand’s Financial Intelligence Unit.
In 2013, Sri Lankan member of parliament Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe wrote in op-ed in which said that "he (Gunaratna) insisted the importance of combating terrorism, he did not address on the cause for the emergence of terrorism." In 2017, Inspector General of Bangladesh Police dismissed his claims of ISIS presence in Bangladesh by saying that he had no experience in "real issues."
Ontario Superior Court of Justice's verdict against Gunaratna
In a February 2011 article in Lakbima News, Gunaratna claimed that the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) was a front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The CTC sued Gunaratna, and on 21 January 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled against Gunaratna, ordering home to pay the CTC damages of $37,000, and costs of $16,000. In his ruling judge Stephen E. Firestone stated that Gunaratna's claims were unequivocally and incontrovertibly "false and untrue".
Works (as author or co-author):
- Rohan Gunaratna (2013). "Countering Extremism: Building Social Resilience through Community Engagement".
- Rohan Gunaratna (2003). Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (Rei Sub ed.). Berkley Trade. ISBN 978-0-425-19114-9.
- Rohan Gunaratna (1987). War and Peace in Sri Lanka: With a Post-Accord Report From Jaffna (1 ed.). Institute of Fundamental Studies. ISBN 978-955-26-0001-2.
- Rohan Gunaratna (1990). Sri Lanka – A Lost Revolution? The Inside Story of the JVP. Institute of Fundamental Studies. ISBN 978-955-26-0004-3.
- Rohan Gunaratna (1993). Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India's intelligence agencies. South Asian Network on Conflict Research. ISBN 978-955-95199-0-4.
- Countering Terrorism: Can We Meet the Threat of Global Violence?
- Combating Terrorism (Regionalism & Regional Security)
- Ethnic Identity and National Conflict in China
- The Changing Face of Terrorism
- Conflict And Terrorism in Southern Thailand
- Rohan Gunaratna (2006). "The terror market: networks and enforcement in the West". Harvard International Review
- Rohan Gunaratna's Profile, Rsis.edu.sg; accessed 1 September 2015.
- Rohan Gunaratna; Peter Chalk. Jane's Counter Terrorism. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- Small, David (24 August 2004). "Terrorism Expertise of Rohan Gunaratna Questioned". Scoop. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Riduan Isamuddin & Australia, Abc.net; accessed 1 September 2015.
- Pacific Journalism Review article: Vol 9, September 2003, pp 201–07.
- "Analyse this". The Age. Melbourne. 20 July 2003.
- Rajapakshe, Wijeydasa. "Dr. Gunaratne’s Advice On Conflict Is More Mythical Than To Reality". Colombo Telegraph.
- "IGP trashes claim of café siege by IS". The Daily Star. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "CTC Awarded $53,000 in Successful Defamation Lawsuit Against Rohan Gunaratna". Colombo Telegraph. 19 February 2014.
- Westhead, Rick (20 February 2014). "Canadian Tamil Congress wins $53,000 libel judgment". Toronto Star.
- "Video: Canadian court orders Prof.Gunaratna to pay damages". The Daily Mirror. Indo-Asian News Service. 19 February 2014.
- Vijayan, K. C. (27 February 2014). "Singapore terror expert must pay $60,000 for defamation". The Straits Times.
- "CTC win defamation case against Sri Lankan 'terrorism expert'". Tamil Guardian. 19 February 2014.
- Gunaratna, Rohan. "Countering Extremism: Building Social Resilience through Community Engagement". RSIS. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- Michael Chandler; Rohan Gunaratna. Countering Terrorism: Can We Meet the Threat of Global Violence?. Amazon.com. ISBN 9781861893086. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- Rohan Gunaratna. Combating Terrorism (Regionalism & Regional Security). Amazon.com. ISBN 9789812102805. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- Rohan Gunaratna. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- [dead link]
- Staff Profile of Rohan Gunaratna, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, A Graduate School of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
- International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research
- Bradley Hope, How Commissioner Kelly Reads His Way To Vigilance on Crime, New York Sun October 2006.
- Daniel Hoare, Gareth Evans downplays terrorist risk in Australia