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LTTE on the rise again!

Interesting Article: Court Convicts 5 Tamils of Fundraising for Tigers by MIKE CORDER / The Hague published Friday, October 21, 2011

A recent article by the associated press mentioned the conviction of five Tamils in Netherlands for raising funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE are a designated terrorist organization, 32 countries have listed the LTTE as a terrorist organization including U.S, U.K, E.U and India. The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa declared military victory over the Tamil Tigers on 16 May 2009, after 26 years of conflict. The leader of the group was killed and the arms dealer for the organization was part of Sri Lanka's extraordinary rendition operations in Thailand. With the defeat, the Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka have gone on to peaceful lives and the former terrorist cadres have been rehabilitated. The message has not clearly been heard in the Netherlands and Canada, where large Tamil Diaspora communities continue to raise funds for a defunct terrorist organization. Will the Diaspora bring the LTTE movement back?


The conviction identified one person only as Selliah, as the Tigers' key overseas bookkeeper. He was given the longest sentence, six years. The judgment stated that Selliah was "an unmissable link" in the LTTE. "Without Selliah's work many millions of Euros would not have gone to an outlawed organization — the LTTE". The other men all worked for groups that judges called front organizations that raised money in the Netherlands. LTTE had developed a massive international network since their founding and the global contacts had grown steadily until their defeat. At the height of its power, LTTE had 42 offices all over the world and their apparatus was functional in 4 major areas in western countries such as Netherlands; propaganda, fund raising, arms procurement and shipping. LTTE is believed to have certain associations with al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. For example, LTTE had stolen Norwegian passports and sold them to al Qaeda affiliates including Ramzi Yousef, who was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The group had interactions with other terrorist organizations through illegal arms markets in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. It had also smuggled weapons from Pakistan-based Islamists to their counterparts in the Philippines. During the mid-1970s, LTTE rebels were known to have trained from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Southern Lebanon. LTTE's shipping fleet has provided logistics support to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani group with al-Qaeda affiliations, to transport a consignment of weapons to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines. They also maintain close contact with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). LTTE had also sent two combat tacticians and explosive experts to the southern Philippines to train members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The Times of India, in 2001, highlighted an alleged nexus between al-Qaeda and the LTTE, and claimed that they are the first instance of an Islamist group collaborating with an essentially secular outfit". The US-based research organization "Maritime Intelligence Group" said the Indonesian group Jamaal Islamiya, which has known links to al-Qaeda, had been trained in sea-borne guerrilla tactics by LTTE Sea Tiger veterans. "Norwegians Against Terrorism" led by Falk Rune Rovik, described how the Tamil community in Norway, at the behest of the LTTE, sold fake and stolen Norwegian passports to al-Qaeda members. In a 46-page report released over the weekend by the Europol, the '2011 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report' (TE-SAT is Europol’s most significant strategic analysis product. It provides law enforcement officials, policymakers and the general public with facts, figures and trends regarding terrorism in the EU. It is a public document produced annually on the basis of information provided and verified by the competent authorities of the EU Member States) highlights the LTTE’s ‘rejuvenation’ not in the area of actual terrorism but the collection of funds through numerous legal and illegal means. The global activities of the pro-LTTE elements, activists, lobbyists and professionals have been on the rise since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. According to the report, "The main source of income for separatist terrorist groups in Europe is extortion. It is estimated that, in the first semester of 2010 alone, ETA collected 3.1 million Euros from businessmen from the Basque region and Navarra. Some extortion letters demanded up to 400 000 Euros. The PKK/KONGRA-GEL and LTTE also collect money from their members, using labels like ‘donations’ and ‘membership fees’, but are in fact extortion and illegal taxation. In addition to organized extortion campaigns, there are indications that the PKK/KONGRA-GEL and the LTTE are actively involved in money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking, as well as illegal immigration inside and outside the EU. In September 2011, the Sri Lankan government enacted new laws in parliament to deal with LTTE overseas fund raising activities and money laundering. The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill and the Convention of the Suppression of Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill were passed in the House. The two bills enacted on recommendations by the United Nations would permit action against anyone aiding and abetting a terrorist or an act of terrorism here or abroad. According to the new law, police will be vested with powers to seize the assets of such people without a judicial order and with regard to money laundering, if a person is found guilty of transferring money earned through illegal means (black money) to a foreign country, the police will have power to seize his or her local assets. Several international media organizations have begun reporting that the JVP (a Marxist-Leninist, Communist political party) dissident group is receiving financial assistance from the pro LTTE Diaspora. It has been further reported that the JVP dissident group received funds and assistance from Countries such as Canada and some Scandinavian Countries. According to the International Crisis Group report in 2010 entitled "The Sri Lankan Diaspora after the LTTE" (Asia Report N°186 – 23 February 2010), "while it is clear that many Western Tamils still hold tightly to the LTTE line...some...point to the cases in which Tamil youth are suspected of attacking Buddhist temples in Canada and Europe as worrying signs of radicalization. Tamil community leaders in Toronto and London as well as law enforcement officials say they are keeping a close eye on this issue." The report goes on to say that "the younger generation could play a role in filling the leadership vacuum. Raised and educated in the West and armed with advanced university degrees, many young Tamils have become increasingly active in Diaspora politics." Organizations like People for Equality And Relief in Lanka (PEARL) comprised of Tamil-American students from elite universities, have been trying to rebuild the terrorist network in the U.S. It is important that the U.S government takes a hard look at this organization in order to counter the rise of a very dangerous terrorist entity that essentially trained the likes of al Qaeda in suicide bombings and naval attacks.

References:
Mannes, aaron. "LTTE & al-Qaeda: An Assessment". counterterrorismblog.org. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
"The history of the Tamil Tigers". Al Jazeera. November 2008.
Ahmed, Rashmee Z (22 September 2001). "Osama hand in glove with LTTE". The Times of India (Bennett Coleman).
Tigers sold Norwegian passports to al-Qaeda, Walter Jayawardhana, Sri Lanka Daily News, 20 March 2007.
Tisdall, Jonathan (19 April 2007). "Ex-convict causing trouble". Aftenposten.
Koo, Eric (20 October 2004). "Part 2: Tides of terror lap Southeast Asia". Asia Times.
http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/april-2009/embattled-tigers-mull-taking-their-war-abroad/
"Tigers sold Norwegian passports to al-Qaeda". South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR). 26 March 2007.
"Transcript- Rohan Gunaratne". Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. 2010.  
http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2011/10/15/wake-call-sri-lanka-eu-2011-terrorism-report-ltte-fund-raising-identified
http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5532577
"Pottu Amman: Patient but ruthless Tiger". The Nation. 2009.

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