Monday, April 14, 2008

LTTE money collecting agents on the prowl in London

Money collecting agents representing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in London, a proscribed Terrorist organization in the United Kingdom are once again on the prowl targeting defenseless Sri Lankan Tamil business proprietors across London demanding money to replenish their depleting war chest in order to fund their Eelam War crusade against the Sri Lankan state and armed forces.

Several Sri Lankan Tamil businesses in areas of North and East London have been targeted by LTTE's agents in recent times demanding sums of up to £2,000 onwards, an amount vulnerable Sri Lankan Tamil business owners, can ill afford to cough up. Sri Lankan Tamil businessman who own convenience stores in the areas of Wembley, Harrow, Ilford, East Ham, Manor Park and other suburban areas across London have been the victims of continued intimidation, death threats and harassment from agents acting on behalf of the LTTE. Despite the fact that the LTTE remains a proscribed banned Terrorist organization in the UK, agents acting for the LTTE have remained undeterred.

Many victims fear exposing these incidents to the Police as such is their fear psychosis. These victims are also fully aware of the LTTE’s capabilities of targeting their dissidents who refuse to give in to or do not agree with to their ideology and dictatorial demands. Details of relatives of these Sri Lankan business proprietors living in Sri Lanka have been mentioned by the LTTE's money collecting agents and their victims have been warned that their relatives would be harmed if they fail to come up with their demands. Many of these LTTE money collecting agents have been accompanied by a bunch of LTTE hooligans who have recently come into London from Denmark, France and Switzerland to assist their colleagues in intimidating and distressing innocent Sri Lankan Tamil business owners in London into funding and supporting their cause.

The Metropolitan Police's Borough Commanders across London have been notified by Scotland Yard and their safer neighborhood teams are on the watch so that criminals acting for the LTTE in London can be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes and terrorist violations. One such senior Metropolitan Police officer Chief Inspector Zander Gibson, who heads the Community Policing Unit for the London Borough of Newham is said to be actively working with his safer neighborhood teams in partnership with local Sri Lankan Tamil residents who have been brave enough to face up to the LTTE.

Many more moderate Sri Lankan Tamils who do not conform to the LTTE’s ideology are liaising with the Metropolitan Police’s safer neighborhood teams, which, has resulted in a few arrests. However the LTTE's main criminal culprits are still at large. The Metropolitan Police and its anti-terrorism branch have appealed to the Sri Lankan Diaspora living in London for more information and assistance that will help bring under control and stop the LTTE’s illegal fundraising in the UK.

Norwegian Government Funding for LTTE Film - My Daughter the Terrorist

The 50 minute documentary Min Datter Terroristen (my Daughter the Terrorist) attempts to glorify the motivations of two Black Tiger women. The documentary follows the training and indoctrination of Dharsika and Puhalchudar (possibly not the real names) for a suicide mission against the Sri Lankan state. The main emphasis of the documentary is to give some pseudo-justification to the act of suicide terrorism by the LTTE. Sections of the documentary are narrated by Maria (actor playing the role of Mother).

The documentary has been produced/co-directed by two Norwegian nationals Mr.Morten Daae and Ms. Beate Arnestad. Interestingly, Ms Arnestad states that she used a false name Ms Smith when she traveled to Sri Lanka to make the film. Ms. Arnestad has blatantly breached Sri Lankan immigration regulations and also media guidelines for visiting journalists as prescribed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The camera crew was led by Norwegian Frank Alvegg. The Production Company is Snitt Film Production based in Oslo , Norway .

The international rights for the documentary is managed by TV2 World ( Denmark ), Rugaardsvej 25, 5100 Odense , Denmark . As at December 2006, the broadcasting rights to the documentary have been purchased by Radio-Canada Television ( Canada ), TV2 ( Denmark ), Al-Arabia (Satellite Television covering the Middle East), NHK-BS1 ( Japan ) and TV2 ( Norway ).

Financial support for the making of the documentary was provided by two institutions, one a NGO operating in Norway named Freedom of Expression Foundation (Institusjonen Fritt Ord), Uranienborgveien 2, 0258 Oslo . According to the annual report of Freedom of Expression Foundation, financial support of one Million Norwegian Kroner (NOK 1,000,000) was provided. In addition the Norwegian Film Fund, which is a government institution enacted by the Norwegian Parliament in 2001 and functioning under the purview of the Norwegian Ministry of Culture provided 250,000 Norwegian Kroner (NOK 250,00) for the making of the documentary.

The fact that a Norwegian government institution provided funding for the production of a documentary that glorifies suicide terrorism against the State of Sri Lanka is in contempt of the friendly relations between the two countries. Furthermore Norwegian government funding was provided to a film Director that used a false identity to operate in Sri Lanka is a serious matter.

(Asian tribune)

LTTE deliberately targets civilians in attacks says AI

Amnesty International (AI) has criticised the LTTE for deliberately targeting civilians in an extended series of attacks.
The London based human rights group notes that it is a basic principle of international humanitarian law that persons fighting in armed conflict must, at all times, distinguish between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.

“It is not unlawful to target combatants for attack, where legal means and methods are used; however specific rules aim at protecting civilians and other non-combatants.

They must not be the object of attack. Indiscriminate attacks, including attacks on military objectives that are expected to cause excessive loss of civilian lives or damage to civilian objects (the principle of proportionality) are similarly prohibited, as is the use of civilians as human shields,”

AI said in a statement relating to the assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in which several civilians were also killed.

The organisation is alarmed that since the abrogation of the ceasefire agreement in Sri Lanka on January 16, the conflict continues to involve the intentional targeting of civilians and indiscriminate attacks.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 180 civilians died in the first six weeks of 2008 and nearly 270 more were injured in a series of attacks on civilian buses, railway stations and individuals in Colombo, Dambulla, Kebhitigollewa, Madhu, Okkampitiya and Welli Oya.

AI further says that as suicide bombs kill and injure civilians in the south of Sri Lanka, ongoing offensives in the north and east continue to affect families in conflict-affected areas.

One continuing example is the situation near Madhu Church in Mannar District in the north of Sri Lanka.

“As a result of intensifying fighting, a historic statue of the Virgin Mary has been removed for safety from the Madhu shrine. The LTTE is reported to have used communities around the Church as ‘human shields’ and Amnesty International has in the past raised concerns about the recruitment of children by the LTTE from families living in the locality.

The government for its part in April 2008 reportedly shelled civilian areas around the Church. The Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph has repeatedly appealed to both sides to respect the Madhu area as a no-conflict zone,” AI added.

AI notes that under international humanitarian law, parties to armed conflicts, including non-international ones such as in Sri Lanka, must take special care to protect cultural property, including buildings dedicated to religion, from damage unless there is imperative military necessity to do otherwise.

AI is urging the LTTE to stop immediately any direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians, condemn all such acts publicly and state that they would not be tolerated; to immediately suspend any persons suspected of participating in (including ordering) violations of international law from any position or placement in which they may commit additional violations and to ensure that their forces take special care to avoid damage to cultural property, including buildings dedicated to religion.

AI also urges the government to ensure that all security force personnel respect obligations under international human rights humanitarian law, ensure that its armed forces take special care to avoid damage to cultural property, including buildings dedicated to religion and allow the establishment of an independent, international human rights monitoring presence on the ground without delay.

A bitter harvest in rice-eating Sri Lanka

TO SAY rice is Sri Lanka's staple food is an understatement. Rice is politics in Sri Lanka. Not only that, we are also in love with rice. Take my case. My day is not complete if I do not eat rice for my lunch. There are times I eat rice for all three main meals. Take a ride on a taxi along Colombo's busy roads during lunchtime.

One would be sure to see hundreds of vendors sitting under huge umbrellas and selling parcels of cooked rice. The price was reasonable — at least till the beginning of the year. But then there was a sudden increase in the price of rice — and everyone is talking about it.

One woman said the kilo of local rice which she bought at Rs 80 last month was being sold at Rs 112. The imported Indian rice, which two months ago fetched, a price of Rs 60 a kilo in Colombo's retail markets is now sold at Rs 100 — and the stocks are fast vanishing.

My grocer predicts that the prices will go up further in the coming weeks. But our government says it will not allow the situation to get out of hand. It was only a few months ago that the government asked the people to eat more rice when flour prices went up. But today, rice is beyond the common man's reach.

In the early 1990s, Sri Lanka achieved self-sufficiency in rice for the first time in several centuries. Where did we go wrong?

In the recent past, a coterie of big-time rice mill owners with political backing was blamed for hoarding and artificially jacking up the prices. But this time, it was the weather.

The rain came down heavily in March — a usually a dry month during which the rice farmer would collect his harvest. The unusual weather pattern was blamed on factors related to global warming. Tens of thousands of paddy land went under water with thousands of farmers becoming destitute overnight, unable to reap the harvest.

The rains not only washed away all the hopes of the farmer but also put a damper to the New Year, which has its origin in the harvesting festival.

A desperate government pleaded with India, Pakistan and Myanmar to sell some rice. We are told that India, which has banned rice, exports to avoid a food crisis in that country, has agreed to sell 100,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka. But other reports say we have just got a promise from India. The promise was more than enough for the government to feed us — not rice but hopes and propaganda.

The World Food Programme in a recent report listed Sri Lanka among eleven countries identified as "hunger's global hotspots". The other countries on the list are Afghanistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Experts attribute the global rice in food prices to several factors, including prolonged droughts or floods in food-exporting countries, the diversion of crops to make bio-fuel, the rise in transport costs as a result of increased oil prices and restrictions on export of food by countries such as India.

Is the Sri Lankan government prepared to face the upcoming crisis? It is no simple matter, for rice has been the core of Sri Lanka's politics since we gained independence in 1948. Rice politics has accounted for the rise and fall of many governments. Independent Sri Lanka's first major social upheaval was over rice. The world rice prices had skyrocketed because of the Korean War.

The then United National Party government found it difficult to maintain the subsidy on rice. It increased the price of a measure of rice from 25 cents to 70 cents. The Left parties led by the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) organised a day of civil disobedience or strike on August 12, 1953. The response was overwhelming. The government panicked and deployed the army to crush the agitation. Scores of people died and hundreds were arrested. But at the general election held three years later, the UNP suffered a humiliating defeat.

The fall of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government in 1977 was also attributed to rice politics. She came to power, promising that she would give every Sri Lankan two measures of rice free. When the opposition queried as to how she would find the rice, she said her party would bring it even from the moon. Obviously, she could not fulfil her promise and she lost the general election in 1977.

Will Sri Lanka witness food riots in the coming weeks or months? The main opposition United National Party recently organised demonstrations against the rising food prices but not many people joined the protests. The reason: The people still believe that the government is winning the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and once the LTTE is defeated, there will be economic boom. But it is only a matter of time before the people question the government's promises of better times ahead. The signs are already visible.

Last week, a newspaper carried a story saying rice was available at Rs 60. The following day, a group of housewives held a protest outside a newspaper office demanding to know where they could find rice at Rs 60.


Fleeing LTTE cadres complain of heightened Tiger atrocities

The incidents of child recruitment and forcible conscription are on the rise in the Wanni and is getting worse with each passing day, a Sea Tiger escapee told the Daily News.

Following an appeal by Security Forces to LTTE cadres to surrender with the promise of transforming their lives, around 54 Tiger cadres including Sea Tiger cadres and sympathisers had given themselves up at the Rehabilitation Centre in Jaffna during the last three months.

The Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1995 for LTTE surrendees but this was disrupted due to the continuing conflict in the Northern front. The Security Forces once again reactivated the Centre in February and placed in direct charge under the Presidential Secretariat.

“Since the Security Forces announcement to the LTTE cadres to give up terrorism and surrender themselves, around 54 Tiger cadres had given themselves up at the centre from February to March. They were between 17 and 50 years,” Co-ordinating Officer Colonel J.J. Mohotti said.

The LTTE surrendees will be rehabilitated at the centre by providing vocational training which will prepare them even for foreign employment.

“We are providing vocational training to the LTTE surrendees such as sewing, wiring and motor mechanics. The duration of the training will range from six months to one year depending on the training category. Those who wish to seek foreign employment will be given an opportunity to find jobs abroad. We have already sent one such LTTE surrendee for overseas employment,” the Colonel added.

Colonel Mohotti said parents and guardians of the LTTE surrendees were allowed to visit them on Sundays and Wednesdays. The centre is operated with the assistance of the ICRC, UNICEF, local government agencies and other sources.

“We are confident that the LTTE surrendees will be reformed. We are aware of their real reasons for surrendering. Therefore, we hope they will be good citizens,” he said.

The LTTE which is fast losing control in the Wanni is disrupting civilian life. “Child recruitment, proscription and intimidation are high,” Colonel Mohotti added.

K. Robinson, 27, was recruited to the LTTE Sea Tiger Wing at the age of 14 in 1995.

“I have received training in the Mullaitivu seas and taken part in four sea attacks against the Navy. I was among those deployed for sea attacks in Kalpitiya, Pulmodai, Nayaru and Pesalai seas. I lost part of my right leg in 1998. I was also a member of the Black Tiger reinforcements in an attack targeting a Navy ship in Mamunai,” he said.

During the ceasefire agreement, Robinson left the outfit and moved to Jaffna to start a new life.

“I got married and began a new life in Jaffna, but the LTTE never let me settle down. They were looking for me and threatened my family members and compelled me to rejoin the outfit. I was assisting the LTTE to carry out claymore attacks against the Security Forces in Jaffna,” Robinson said.

He asserted that he is safe with the Security Forces and was positive of turning a new leaf in life. “I have surrendered to the Security Forces denouncing terrorism and look forward to the future with a new ray of hope. I am awaiting foreign employment,” he said.

He said the LTTE has lost the sympathy of the Tamils.

“They don’t fight for the Tamils. People in the Wanni front are made to suffer and they forcefully recruit children to the outfit. Every family is forced to sacrifice one member to the battle field”, he added.

K. Thevarasan, 37, a father of three joined the LTTE in 1987 and surrendered to the Security Forces on February 2008.

“I was recruited to the LTTE when I was 17 years and left the outfit when the Indian Army was in Sri Lanka after three years of combat,” he said.

“In order to start a new life, I continued my studies and became a Manager at the Palmyra Corporation in Chavakachcheri. I also got married and have three children. While I was continuing my normal life, I started receiving threats from the LTTE and their intelligence was looking for me.

Initially, I surrendered to the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna last year and I was later produced before the Jaffna Magistrate and remanded.

Following the Security Forces announcement of an amnesty, I surrendered at the centre and feel safe. I am positive of a bright future for myself and my family”, Thevarasan added.


Sri Lanka troops take Tiger bunkers on new year's day

Sri Lankan soldiers patrol along the 'de facto' frontline at Nager Kovil in the Jaffna Peninsula, north of Colombo, on April 6, 2008. Security forces smashed through defences of Tamil separatists in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least five rebels as the country marked the traditional new year, the defence ministry said Monday.

Security forces smashed through defences of Tamil separatists in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least five rebels as the country marked the traditional new year, the defence ministry said Monday.

Government troops captured eight bunkers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Jaffna peninsula on Sunday, the day of the new year shared by the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, the defence ministry said.

It said a total of five guerrillas were killed and another 16 wounded in clashes on Sunday while military losses were placed at one soldier killed and another wounded.

The ministry figures show that at least 92 guerrillas had been killed since Saturday. However, the LTTE said in a statement on Saturday night that they lost only three of their fighters and claimed killing 25 soldiers.

At least 2,850 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed by government troops since the start of the year, while 172 soldiers have lost their lives during the same period, according to defence ministry figures.

Verification of casualty claims is impossible as Colombo bars journalists and aid workers from travelling to embattled areas.

Tens of thousands of people have died since 1972 when the Tamil Tigers launched an armed struggle to carve out an independent homeland in the island's north and east for Tamils.

Canada: Counterterrorism police move on Tamil group

Counterterrorism police in Quebec and Ontario effectively shut down a non-profit organization for Canadian Tamils this weekend due to allegations it has been raising money to finance terrorist activities in Sri Lanka.

The RCMP was expected to announce details of its unprecedented actions as early as today, but several sources said police had moved in to enforce a Federal Court restraining order against the World Tamil Movement.

The WTM's offices in Montreal and Toronto have been under police investigation for six years, and were raided by police in 2006. While no charges have yet resulted, the decision to seek a restraining order suggests Ottawa is aggressively pursuing the group.

The restraining order pertains to real estate in Montreal and other assets in Toronto.

The recent events are focused mostly on Montreal. Police sealed off the Montreal WTM office on Friday, said Steven Slimovitch, the group's lawyer. He said his clients were barred from entering the premises, disrupting community programs.

"A Federal Court judge has issued an order to seal the office of the World Tamil Movement and to essentially put it under the trusteeship of the federal government," he said.

The order was issued under a section of the Criminal Code dealing with terrorism financing, but Mr. Slimovitch said no defence counsel were present for the hearing and his clients deny the allegations they are financing terrorists.

"My clients have never been charged with terrorism-financing, and my clients have never had a chance to defend themselves against terrorism-financing accusations," he said.

The action is the latest development in two related RCMP-led investigations called Project Osaluki and Project Crible. The probes, by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams in Ontario and Quebec, are examining allegations the WTM has been funnelling money to the Tamil Tigers to finance civil war in Sri Lanka.

The Tamil Tigers are an outlawed terrorist group in Canada. Knowingly raising money for the group or financing its activities is against the law and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Many members of Canada's large ethnic Tamil community support the Tigers and their fight to create an independent state for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority.

Police went to court last week to ask for restraining orders against WTM properties in Toronto and Montreal, said a source familiar with the case. Officers were in the process late yesterday of serving official notice to the people associated with the properties.

Police officers were having difficulty finding at least one per-son linked to the group and its properties. The RCMP was apparently waiting for that to take place before publicly announcing the moves it had taken.

This appears to be a first in the realm of terrorism, but the police action is similar to the way police routinely deal with organized crime: Officers will appear before a judge in private and present affidavits seeking judicial approval to restrain properties considered proceeds of crime.

While the property is restrained, the owner cannot sell it, move it, alter it or dispose of it. The order secures the property pending a court hearing. The owners are then notified and can appear before the courts and mount a defence against the Crown's allegations.

A judge will then decide whether the restrained property should be forfeited to the Crown or returned to its owner. The process is similar to how police restrain fortified clubhouses of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and other bike gangs.

The weekend police action in Montreal has disrupted community activities scheduled for the group's headquarters in the city's Cote-des-Neiges district, Mr. Slimovitch said.

"Essentially they're shutting down the entire community -- artistic things, sporting things," he said. "My clients completely deny any terrorism financing. They support the Tamil people and they support the Tamil people's right to self-determination, but they are very much against any form of terrorism."

An official with the WTM Montreal office declined comment and referred all questions to Mr. Slimovitch. The lawyer said he intends to go to court to have the reasons for the order disclosed.

Corporal Elaine Lavergne of the RCMP said the police force could not comment as a result of the secrecy order.

"We are under the authority of a court," she said. She could not even disclose the level of court that issued the order, which she said is sealed from public view. "It has never happened before," she said of the sweeping secrecy provisions.

The president of the WTM's Ontario branch, Sitta Sittampalam, also declined to comment yesterday. "I was asked by my lawyer not to reveal anything on this matter," he said. "I'm not in a position to divulge anything."

(National Post)


Terror funding probe revolves around conflict between Singhalese, Tamils

Canada's biggest terrorism financing investigation revolves around a beautiful island with a tragic history. Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) gained independence from Britain in 1948 but fell almost immediately into ethnic conflict. The Singhalese majority imposed harsh restrictions on the ethnic Tamil minority, suppressing the Tamil language and limiting Tamil enrolment in universities and the civil service. Ethnic rioting and civil war followed, fought primarily between ruthless separatist guerrillas, the Tamil Tigers, and the government. The Tamil Tigers resorted to terrorism and pioneered the now-familiar tactic of sending suicide bombers into crowds wearing explosive vests. For their part, government forces have been accused of widespread war crimes against Tamils.

Tamil movement held to account

Police probe alleged collection of 'war taxes'

The World Tamil Movement headquarters is a red brick industrial building on a strip of auto body and garment shops a block from Highway 401.

A Canadian flag waves above the front door.

Inside, a giant portrait of a Tamil guerrilla leader fills a wall above a stack of Tamil newspapers reporting the latest skirmishes in the jungles of Sri Lanka.

Down the hall in the library, Tamil books are stacked neatly on shelves. But otherwise the building is empty and dark, its contents in the hands of RCMP officers.

"We are functioning but our actions are limited," says Dave Thevarajan, 67, a retired civil engineer who volunteers at the WTM office. "We are trying to do our best but most of the rooms are closed because of the suspicions."

Those suspicions revolve around money: The RCMP accuses the World Tamil Movement of collecting "war taxes" from Canada's large ethnic Tamil community and funnelling the cash to the Tamil Tigers guerrillas in Sri Lanka.

In 2006, police backed a three-tonne GMC 6500 gentle-ride cargo van into the WTM parking lot in Scarborough, armed with a search warrant alleging the innocuous-looking building was a front for terrorist fundraising.

For three days, police tagged and seized more than 1,000 items, and then loaded them into the truck, leased for the occasion from U-Haul. Flags, T-shirts, golf shirts, ball caps, desk clocks, mugs, key chains and bumper stickers -- all bearing the militaristic Tamil Tigers emblem -- were hauled away.

But it was financial records police were after, and they found them too: pledge forms, receipts, ledger books and lists of contributors. "Significant evidence of terrorist financing was found," RCMP Corporal Satish Tarachandra wrote in a court affidavit.

Two years later, however, the investigation is still underway. So is a related probe in Montreal, Project Crible, which is examining alleged links between the Quebec chapter of the WTM and the Tamil Tigers (also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE).

Police were under pressure to act because a judge had given them only until April 12 to hang on to the evidence seized in Montreal and until April 22 to keep the materials taken from the WTM office in Toronto.

Though the RCMP would not comment yesterday, sources said officers moved in during the weekend to enforce a federal order that places restraints on WTM property.

"We are waiting," says Sitta Sittampalam, the president of the WTM Ontario branch, said in an interview before the weekend's developments. "Probably they have a lot of materials taken from the office…. Probably they might need translation, a lot of them may be in the Tamil language. That may be the cause."

Parliament outlawed fundraising for terrorism in 2001. Since then, only one person has been charged. Prapa Thambithurai was arrested in British Columbia on March 14 for allegedly collecting money for the Tamil Tigers. He was active in the Vancouver chapter of the WTM, which is how he came to the attention of counterterrorism investigators in British Columbia.

Other than that, the terror financing law has spawned several investigations but no charges. A look at Project Osaluki may hint at why: language barriers, logistical problems and the challenge of tracing the global flow of money from Canada to the hands of terrorists.

RCMP spokesman Corporal Marc LaPorte says he could not comment because the investigation was ongoing, but details of the case are described in hundreds of pages of documents filed in Ontario and Quebec courts during the past two years.

Sergeant John MacDonald, the lead investigator and a member of the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, described the probe in an affidavit as "complex, extremely time-consuming and cumbersome."

The difficulties began as soon as police began their search. The RCMP did not have an evidence vault big enough to store the hundreds of boxes taken from the WTM. Nor could any nearby police detachment accommodate the investigators and their U-Haul of materials.

Police had to take everything to a covert RCMP Emergency Response Team base while the sergeant looked for a long-term work site. It took three weeks to find commercial office space -- and then all the exhibits had to be loaded into a tractor-trailer and taken to the new location.

Between six and 10 officers sifted through the evidence, as well as a translator, since almost all the materials were in the Tamil language, which uses a script called vatteluttu and has 12 vowels and 18 consonants.

A forensic accountant analyzed hundreds of financial documents. Then officers had to chase leads. "These are time-consuming activities necessitating a slow methodical approach," the sergeant writes.

In the view of Mr. Thevarajan, investigators are wasting their time looking for something that isn't there. "The RCMP and CSIS were trying to bring a link between us and the LTTE, but we are not LTTE," he says.

The World Tamil Movement was founded in the 1980s by expatriates in Toronto who had fled Sri Lanka but remained eager to further the cause of Tamil independence. Allegations soon surfaced that the WTM was effectively an arm of the Tigers.

The police investigation into the WTM began in Ontario on July 9, 2002. But it was not until four years later, when the federal Conservatives added the Tigers to Canada's list of proscribed terrorist groups, that things heated up.

Two days after the announcement by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, a police surveillance team spotted a suspect removing boxes from the WTM building in Montreal. Fearing evidence was being destroyed, police moved in to conduct a search.

In Toronto, surveillance teams also thought they saw materials being relocated from the WTM office to a grocery store called Ambal Trading and the Tamil Academy of Arts and Technology. All three addresses were searched beginning on April 21, 2006.

Police say they seized: - Lists of Tamil Canadians and the amounts they had donated, as well as pre-authorized bank payment forms; - Lists of businesses that had made donations in multiples of $10,000; - Plastic collection jars with the WTM and Tamil Tigers logos side by side; - Computer disks that police said suggests money flows from Montreal to Toronto, then to other countries.

"The World Tamil Movement acts as the de facto taxation arm of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and … utilizes collectors to collect funds from Canadian Tamils on an organized and systematic basis," Sgt. MacDonald wrote.

Police also found a manual on missile design, tributes to Tamil Tigers "martyrs," "large numbers of documents pertaining to LTTE cadres, operatives and activities" and photos suggesting the WTM encourages Tamil Canadian children to "develop a cult-like devotion and obedience" to the leader of the Tamil Tigers, he wrote.

The lengthy list of seized items, obtained by the National Post, suggests a reverence for the Tamil Tigers and its leader but whether it translates into a criminal case remains unproven, and the law itself is still untested. It is also unclear whether the investigation has made a dent in Tamil Tigers fundraising efforts in Canada.

Last Monday, Conservative MP Art Hanger tabled a petition in the House of Commons signed by more than 1,000 Canadians of Sri Lankan origin. It urged the government to "ensure adequate surveillance and prosecution of the LTTE's front organizations and bogus charities."

Volunteers at the Toronto WTM headquarters say their numbers have dwindled since the police raid. Some don't want to be associated with the group while it is under police scrutiny, but Mr. Sittampalam says there is nothing to do but wait. "We would like to have our things back," he says. "Anyway we'll wait for the deadline, that's the best we can do now."

Difference between "Tamils" and "Tamil Tigers" - by a Tamil who had insights into Tamil Tigers

* Pirabaharan killed all the persons he worked with before he became the leader of the Tigers.
* After Pirabaharan became the leader of the Tigers, he started killing all Tamil political leaders, elected mayors, university professors and many innocent Tamils who had criticized Tigers.
* In 1990 Pirabaharan wanted 100,000 Muslims in the North of Sri Lanka to get out within 24 hours - a text book example of ‘ethnic cleansing’.
* If all Tamils like Tigers, why is Greater Colombo flooded with Tamils from Tiger controlled areas?
* Why are none of the Tamil business people investing in Tiger controlled areas?
* Last thirty years, Tigers killed more Tamils than any body else.

The story begins:

The actions of Velupillai Pirabaharan, the leader of Tamil Tigers (LTTE) prove he is real tiger. The only business he knows is killing. He killed Kalvian Kaadu Chetty, the person who named the group "Tigers" and the original leader of the Tiger group.

Then Pirabaharan tried to kill the next leader of Tigers, Uma Maheswaran in a shoot out in India. He killed the founding members of the Tigers, Michael and Pat Kunam. Pirabaharan himself tipped off the Police about the then leaders of Tigers, Kuttimani and Thangathurai and their whereabouts. This incident led to Kuttimani and Thangathurai’s incarceration until their terrible deaths in the Welikade jail.

Pirabaharan killed all the persons he worked with before he became the leader of the Tigers. He even killed the last surviving Tiger group founding member Sabalingam who was residing in France, because Sabalingam started writing about Pirabaharan's power hungry killings.

After Pirabaharan became the leader of the Tigers, he started killing all Tamil political leaders, elected mayors, university professors and many innocent Tamils who had criticized Tigers. Pirabaharan banned all Tamil political organizations for the last twenty years and finally the international community including USA, Canada, European Union, India and Australia has banned the Tigers, mainly due to Tigers' continuous use of child soldiers and their terror activities.

Pirabaharan also killed hundreds of people who were members and supporters of Tamil political organizations. Pirabaharan killed the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He even killed the Sri Lankan President Premadasa who had provided helicopter loads of weapons and money to Tigers.

Pirabaharan clearly knows that under any circumstances except at gunpoint, majority of Tamils won't accept his leadership. That's why he killed all other Tamil Political leaders, to become as the so-called "Sole Leader of Tamils".

Ramachandran a.k.a MGR, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu gave Pirabaharan more than 1.25 billion rupees in 1985. Tamils provided their support to Tigers at gunpoint only and never helped Tigers to grow to this extent. Without MGR massive financial support and Premadasa's supply of weapons and money, Tigers won't exist today.

Tigers are terror loving trigger-happy killers, created by MGR and Premadasa. Tigers' killings are severely affecting the future of Tamils since the killings created a huge political vacuum.

In 1990 Pirabaharan wanted 100,000 Muslims in the North of Sri Lanka to get out within 24 hours, leaving their belongings and treasured valuables - that was a text book example of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Prabhakaran made Idi Amin look like an angel as Idi Amin had a heart to give the Asians in Uganda three months to leave the country and not 24 hours.

Most of the young people who are younger than 35 years, do not know the history of Tigers. They believe that, Tigers became so powerful, because of continuous outpouring support from majority of the Tamils.

If Tamils like Tigers, why is Greater Colombo flooded with Tamils from Tiger controlled areas? If majority of Tamils like Tigers, Tiger controlled areas should be flooded with Tamils from other areas. Why are Tamils trying to escape Tiger controlled areas, rather than migrating to Tiger controlled area?

If Tigers lift the exit pass system and allow free movement in the Tiger controlled areas, except the people on Tigers' payroll, every body else will leave Tiger controlled area. The only supporters of Tigers are that they either do not know anything about Tigers or gain benefits from Tigers.

Why are none of the Tamil business people investing in Tiger controlled areas? Why are even farmers leaving Tiger controlled areas? Why are Tamils living abroad trying to help their relatives to leave Tiger controlled areas? In Tiger controlled areas nobody can express any political opinions or different ideas.

Only things allowed to say are those that support Tigers. No way can anyone criticize Tigers and live the next day in a Tiger controlled area. Tigers that do not care about human lives will never understand even the basics of human rights. Even the hardcore Tiger supporters are not willing to relocate to Tiger controlled areas.

Majority of the Tamil refugees, who claimed asylum in western countries, told the authorities that they were running away from Tigers. If majority of Tamils who live abroad support Tigers, why do they have to be threatened to collect money for Tigers as reported by the Human Rights Watch?

If majority of the Tamils who live abroad support Tigers, those Tamils would line up in front of the Tiger branch offices to drop off money. The major serious problem Tamils are facing right now is there are hundreds of very young terror loving trigger happy Tigers who know only one thing, which is killing another human. Last thirty years, Tigers killed more Tamils than any body else. Also more Tigers were killed by Pirabaharan than any body else.

Majority of Sri Lankan Tamils are patiently hoping, praying and waiting for a new young democratic political visionary as a leader. Until then, gunpoint Tiger culture and never ending killing spree by Tigers will grow and continue.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Impossible dream - Sri Lanka's triumphant government

FOR a quarter of a century, Sri Lanka’s bloody ethnic conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils has sputtered on, with periods of all-out war and low-intensity insurgency, ill-observed ceasefires and frequent terrorist atrocities.

It had become conventional wisdom that there was no military solution. The government could not be ousted and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which had brutally monopolised the Tamil struggle, could not be defeated.

That is still conventional wisdom outside Sri Lanka. But in Colombo, the scent of victory is in the air. The outside world’s efforts to persuade the government to pursue a peaceful solution are floundering.

Indeed, so confident is the government that its foreign minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, this week gave a speech in London entitled “Post-conflict development: Efforts of a democracy”.

He was talking mainly about the east of the country, where the Tigers have been routed, thanks to a split in their own ranks. The holding of local elections in the area in March for the first time in 14 years was a fillip for the government’s self-confidence.

These elections let the government show that it was possible to “reintegrate” one part of the Tigers into mainstream Sri Lankan politics; the party formed by the breakaway Tigers, the TMVP, did quite well.

Mr Bohollagama was able to point to this as a model for the continuing conflict in the north, where the Tigers still control two of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts.

He stressed that his government was committed to a political process. But it has abrogated the ceasefire it signed with the Tigers in 2002 (which had admittedly become a largely meaningless cover for an intensifying conflict).

And he quoted approvingly the words of Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, that “military victories never provide solutions, but they can provide the space for political and economic solutions to be found. And without military power, the result can be more bloodshed.”

Yet this is somewhat to misrepresent the position of Britain and most other countries on Sri Lanka. They tend to emphasise the first bit of Mr Milliband’s aphorism: that there can be no military solution.

And many are not convinced that the government of Sri Lanka is doing enough to pursue a political settlement. But they are finding it hard to influence it.

They do not want to do anything to give comfort to the Tigers, with its appalling record of murder, terrorism and extortion. So India, for example, helps the Sri Lankan army with some training and equipment.

So does America, despite having earned the wrath of Sri Lanka’s government for the State Department’s annual human-rights report, which this year highlighted the failure to curb assassinations, abductions and disappearances.

In the search for a lever over the Sri Lankan government’s policy, many eyes have lighted on an unlikely instrument: Sri Lanka’s clothing exports.

The European Union gives Sri Lanka preferential tariff treatment under a scheme known as “GSP Plus”. Largely as a result, Sri Lankan garment exports are booming: they make up half of all Sri Lanka’s exports, 67% of its industrial production and 10% its of GDP, employing 270,000 people directly and 700,000 indirectly. The EU accounts for 45% of Sri Lanka’s garment exports.

The scheme comes up for renewal this year and Sri Lanka is engaged in a campaign to ensure that the war does not get in the way.

It has even taken the initiative with a “Garments without Guilt” campaign, advertising itself as an ethical and green producer (if not necessarily the lowest-cost) without child or bonded labour, discrimination or pollution.

Loss of the tariff privileges might not have the disastrous impact the industry claims. But the battle to keep them may at least bring some benefits to those working in the industry—if not to those being killed and injured in Sri Lanka’s war.