Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Canada's Crackdown on the Tamil Tigers: An Update of Sorts...

i missed this article last week, giving details of where the legal suppression of the World Tamil Movement is at.

While i do not know enough about the WTM or about the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) to stake out and defend a position, i think radicals in canada should be paying attention to this as (1) regardless of any problems the Tigers may have, the reason the canadian State has cracked down on the organization has to do with its support for the racist and repressive Sri Lankan State, and (2) the criminalization of political organizations within immigrant communities here is part of the broader State repression of any and all anti-imperialist organizations within canada.

Here is the article from last Friday's National Post:

RCMP's Tamil probe extended
Given another year

Stewart Bell
National Post

Friday, April 27, 2007

TORONTO - A year after the RCMP raided a Canadian non-profit organization suspected of financing arms purchases for the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, investigators are still sorting through the boxes of materials they hauled away in a moving truck.

Although police have not commented on their investigation into the World Tamil Movement (WTM), an RCMP affidavit filed this week says officers are working full-time to translate and analyze more than 1,000 exhibits.

"The RCMP investigation into the fundraising activities of the World Tamil Movement is a long-term, sophisticated investigation requiring a great deal of time and resources," wrote team leader Sergeant John Macdonald.

"The investigative team is making progress, however, more time is required to properly assess those things seized," wrote Sgt. Macdonald, a member of the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.

A "plethora" of new evidence has already been found among the 796 items examined to date, Sgt. Macdonald wrote. The remaining 233 items are "for the most part complex financial documents each requiring in-depth review."

At a court hearing on Tuesday, the RCMP was given another year to examine the boxes of documents, cancelled cheques, Tamil Tigers paraphernalia and other materials they seized during last year's searches in Toronto.

The RCMP probe, called Project OSALUKI, is one of several underway in the United States, Britain and France that are attempting to unravel the financial and procurement networks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE.

"This organization is suspected of collecting funds in Canada that I believe are used to finance terrorist activities in Sri Lanka," Sgt. Macdonald wrote in the

affidavit. "The LTTE operates in Canada through a front organization known as the World Tamil Movement."

The Tigers, a guerrilla group fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority, have been condemned internationally for tactics that include suicide bombings, political assassinations, ethnic cleansing and recruitment of children.

Counterterrorism officials have long claimed that the Tigers finance their warfare partly with money collected in Canada, which is home to several hundred thousand ethnic Tamils, one of the largest populations of Tamils outside Sri Lanka in the world.

The RCMP investigation began in July, 2002, but took on new urgency after the Conservatives added the LTTE to Canada's list of outlawed terrorist organizations on April 8, 2006.

Within days, surveillance teams spotted WTM members removing boxes from the group's offices in Montreal and Toronto.

Police obtained search warrants and moved in.

Inside the WTM offices, police found Tamil Tigers flags, manuals on missileguidance systems, books encouraging suicide bombings and paperwork they claim is evidence of terrorist fundraising.

Also seized were "comprehensive lists" of ethnic Tamils living in Canada that showed the amount of money each had donated. Lists of business donors and cancelled cheques to the WTM were found as well, many of them in excess of $10,000.

The investigators also found evidence the WTM had collected taxes for the Tigers, produced propaganda materials and "specifically promotes and commemorates the activities of LTTE operatives, including suicide bombers."

The RCMP says there are reasonable grounds to believe the WTM has violated three of Canada's terror-financing laws by collecting money knowing it would be used by a terrorist group and terrorist activity. No charges have been laid.

Following the raids, the Canadian Tamil Congress complained that Tamils were being "slandered and portrayed in a negative light in the media." But other Canadian Tamils openly applauded the police action.

In an unrelated probe last August, the RCMP and FBI arrested several Canadians and Americans for allegedly trying to buy missiles for the Tigers. Among those charged were former University of Waterloo students and a former communications director for the Canadian Tamil Congress.

The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers entered into a ceasefire in 2002 but it has since collapsed.

1 comment:

  1. Tamils arrested in Australia under Howard’s draconian “anti-terrorism” laws