Rohan Gunaratna (born 1961) is a political analyst specializing in international terrorism. He is the former Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
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]
Criticism and controversy
In 2003, Gunaratna claimed that Al-Qaeda commander Riduan Isamuddin (alias Hambali) regularly visited Australia and plotted to fly planes into the British Houses of Parliament; these claims were dismissed as baseless by the ASIO. 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 false claims to be a "principal investigator" at the UN's Terrorism Prevention Branch. In reality, he has only spoken at a seminar organized by the Australian Parliamentary Library, testified at 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 claims to the New Zealand Herald that "sympathisers and supporters of various terrorist groups were in New Zealand” and 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".
- Rohan Gunaratna's Profile, Rsis.edu.sg; accessed 1 September 2015.
- Rohan Gunaratna; Peter Chalk. Jane's Counter Terrorism. Books.google.com. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Small, David (24 August 2004). "Terrorism Expertise of Rohan Gunaratna Questioned". Scoop. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Riduan Isamuddin & Australia Archived 5 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 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. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 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.
- 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