|Tiger hunting continues in Canada - updated
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|Author:||Nissanka [ Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:56 am ]|
|Post subject:||Tiger hunting continues in Canada - updated|
2 more Canadians busted in RCMP-FBI probe into alleged Tamil terror funding plot
Ramanan Mylvaganam, 29, of Mississauga -- a University of Waterloo engineering student and vice-president of the UofW's student Tamil association -- was arrested at his Derry Rd. E. apartment Tuesday by RCMP officers on FBI requests for his extradition to the United States. Also arrested last night was Piratheepan Nadarajah, 30.
By ALAN CAIRNS AND TOM GODFREY,
Two more Canadians have been arrested amid a widening RCMP-FBI probe into allegations that Tamil Tigers sympathizers in North America tried to buy missiles and move terror cash.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun has also learned that more Canadian-based Tigers operatives -- all of whom came to light during the FBI probe -- face arrest, perhaps as early as next week.
Ramanan Mylvaganam, 29, of Mississauga -- a University of Waterloo engineering student and vice-president of the UofW's student Tamil association -- was arrested at his Derry Rd. E. apartment Tuesday by RCMP officers on FBI requests for his extradition to the United States.
A woman who answered the telephone at the apartment last night said "the family is very shocked. He is just a student."
Also arrested last night was Piratheepan Nadarajah, 30.
Documents filed in a New York City court link Mylvaganam to University of Waterloo student "Waterloo Suresh" Sriskandarajah, who was arrested by the RCMP Monday.
The FBI alleges that Sriskandarajah and Mylvaganam tried to acquire submarine computer software and night vision goggles for the Tigers.
The FBI seeks the extradition of all three men.
The Mounties have been tracking leads for months that sprang from the FBI probe and have monitored the movements, e-mails, telephone conversations, immigration and banking records of Tigers sympathizers identified as worthy of investigation, said Mountie sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Among the outstanding suspects is "The Scientist," a Canadian who on the weekend tried to cross into the U.S. with three Canadians who the FBI alleged later tried to buy up to 100 SA 18 surface-to-air missiles and 500 AK-47 assault rifles from undercover cops.
American customs officials turned "The Scientist" back into Canada because he had a criminal record, the FBI says.
In the latest arrests, Mylvaganam faces one FBI count of conspiring to "provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization."
Sriskandarajah faces two similar counts.
Mylvaganam appeared in Brampton court yesterday and has been held in custody for a bail hearing.
It is not clear in FBI documents exactly what Nadarajah, who will appear in Brampton court today, is alleged to have done.
Sriskandarajah, 26, who is also a political activist, is in a Kitchener jail awaiting a bail appearance in Waterloo tomorrow.
The FBI alleged that Sriskandarajah helped move cash, computers, compasses, GPS units and military intelligence to the Tigers, often using "student couriers."
When asked yesterday about further potential arrests, RCMP spokesman Sgt. Michele Paradis refused to talk about specifics, but confirmed the Tamil Tigers probe is "an active investigation."
Paradis said the RCMP is giving information to the U.S. on an "ongoing basis," but could not comment on who, or what is being investigated.
"It is our mandate to investigate terrorist-related activities."
The five Canadians are among 13 alleged Tamil Tiger operatives nabbed in parallel FBI sting operations into alleged weapons and materiel buying, bribery and money laundering.
One of two FBI complaints filed in U.S. District Court in New York City details how the three Canadians caught up in the missiles sting talked of paying $937,500 for an initial supply of 10 missiles and 500 AK-47s that would be shipped to Sri Lanka.
Sathajhan "Satha" Sarachandran, 27, Sahilal "Sahil" Sabaratnam, 28, and Thiruthanikan "Thani" Thanigasalam, 38, are being held in the Brooklyn detention centre on FBI allegations that they conspired to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
It is alleged in a second FBI complaint that American Tamils sought to bribe officials to remove the Tigers -- who use suicide bombings and political assassinations -- from a list of "terror" organizations which cannot legally raise funds.
Canada declared the Tamil Tigers a terror group in April.
In FBI wiretaps, one American Tamil said the lions' share of the Tigers' surreptitious funds are raised in Canada.
The FBI alleged that Sriskandarajah and two American Tamil supporters "used U.S.-based bank accounts to launder money" for Tamil Tigers "activities," including the purchase of operational equipment and "travel to and from Sri Lanka."
Sriskandarajah and Mylvaganam "conspired to purchase $22,000 of submarine and warship design software" from a U.K. company and night vision goggles from a B.C. company.
Mylvaganam is also alleged to have conspired with Sriskandarajah and an American Tamil to use laundered cash to get $12,000 in American technology.
|Author:||Peter [ Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:48 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Bridegroom in U.S. jail with 3 others|
7 Canadians among 11 in Tiger net
Bridegroom in U.S. jail with 3 others
Trio in custody here await extradition
On the surface, it seems like Thirukumaran Sinnathamby had everything going for him: a beautiful wife, a freshly minted electrical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and a job south of the border. U.S. authorities allege Sinnathamby "used his bank account to launder funds from the LTTE" also known as the Tamil Tigers, and helped some of his co-accused to buy technology.
Aug. 25, 2006. 05:36 AM
SURYA BHATTACHARYA AND THULASI SRIKANTHAN
@ Copyright Toronto Star / STAFF REPORTERS
Only three months ago, Thirukumaran Sinnathamby was preparing for his wedding to his high-school sweetheart. Yesterday he was identified as the seventh Canadian caught in a joint FBI-RCMP operation this month that led to the arrests of 11 men.
Now, the newly married man sits in a U.S. prison with three other Canadians. Authorities link them to three Canadians arrested in Canada under provisional warrants, a first step in the extradition process to the U.S. Four Americans are also charged and being held in the United States.
All are accused of participating in a conspiracy to provide weapons and other materials to the Tamil Tigers, dubbed a terrorist group by Canada and the U.S.
A member of Sinnathamby's family identified him as Canadian.
On the surface, it seems like Sinnathamby had everything going for him: a beautiful wife, a freshly minted electrical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and a job south of the border.
U.S. authorities allege Sinnathamby "used his bank account to launder funds from the LTTE" also known as the Tamil Tigers, and helped some of his co-accused to buy technology.
He is also alleged to have established accounts to purchase materials for the LTTE and "arranged to help smuggle scientific magazines" to an unnamed individual in LTTE areas of Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tigers are fighting Sri Lanka's military to establish a separate homeland.
Sinnathamby brings to four the number of students from Waterloo who are facing terrorism charges.
According to Sinnathamby's wedding website, he was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he lived until he was 13. Driven by the need to provide a better education for Sinnathamby and his brother, his parents left for Canada. Sinnathamby studied at L'Amoreaux Collegiate Institute in Scarborough when he first met his wife.
The news of his arrest came out of the blue to his family, who say the charges do not correspond with the man they know.
"He's not somebody like that, that's one thing I can tell you," said a female family member. "He has no bad history and he's always been helpful to people. This is something they must have gotten mixed up.
"He's starting his life basically, he wouldn't screw it up."
At the University of Waterloo, administrators and students were stunned. "We are all shocked and surprised by the developments and dismayed," said Martin Van Nierop, a spokesman for Waterloo.
He said the university has been consulting with authorities as well as the Waterloo Tamil Students Association to monitor the situation.
"We have many Tamil students interested in social and community activities. It would be wrong to (paint) the organization and all the students with the same brush as the individuals involved in the arrests."
In Toronto yesterday, Brampton resident Piratheepan Nadarajah appeared in court, facing possible extradition on charges he was part of the alleged conspiracy. According to court documents, he was the fourth Canadian in a car attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border in the Niagara area. The documents claim he planned to buy arms in Long Island, N.Y., but border officials turned him back because he had a criminal record. He took a taxi back to Toronto.
At the time of their arrests, the FBI found Nadarajah's cellphone number on some of the "telecommunication devices" of the other three suspects' — who successfully crossed the border — according to court documents. He was listed as "Peter Nadarajah," the documents say.
Wearing a red shirt and baggy jeans in court yesterday, Nadarajah scanned the crowd and stood with arms folded as lawyers briefly discussed his next court appearance.
Court documents state Nadarajah, nicknamed Nada, was under surveillance until his arrest Wednesday evening.
He has worked at Telephones To Go as a wireless specialist for five years. According to U.S. court documents, he was described by one of the accused as a "scientist" and technical expert.
"I knew this individual very well, on a close business relationship," said George Brody, Nadarajah's employer.
"He is not one I would've thought would be this. Authorities are often wrong. I am assuming this is not correct."
Nadarajah works flexible hours and Brody assumed he was making a sale somewhere when he didn't show up at work.. The document alleges Nadarajah is a co-conspirator with three Canadians who discussed buying arms, including ones to counter Kfir fighter-jets flown by the Sri Lankan military, with a man who was actually an undercover agent.
"The obvious connection to, and familiarity with, the intimate working of the LTTE demonstrated in this meeting, suggest that NADA would likely be welcomed and find shelter in LTTE controlled areas if he can make good his escape to Sri Lanka," RCMP officer Marwan Zogheib wrote in applying for the provision warrant.
In U.S. court documents, Mississauga resident Ramanan Mylvaganam, arrested Tuesday, is said to have smuggled materials to support the Tigers into Sri Lanka last year.
The documents allege Mylvaganam was to buy night vision equipment. Later, he is alleged to have worked with Suresh Sriskandarajah, who was arrested Monday, to buy submarine and warship design software, worth $22,000, from a British firm.
|Author:||Peter [ Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:30 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Bribe money in Tamil terror case originated from Montreal|
Bribe money in Tamil terror case originated from Montreal, FBI allege
Thileepan Patpanathan and his brother, Sujeepan Patpanathan, moved to Buffalo from Montreal about six months ago. The Patpanathan brothers were among the immigrants smuggled into the country, the FBI said. They then allegedly worked with the undercover agent to arrange for others to join them. The Patpanathan brothers are charged along with Logeswaran Krishnamoorthy of knowingly conspiring to bribe a public official to illegally bring other people from Sri Lanka.
By Adrian Humphreys for CanWest News Service
Friday, August 25, 2006
CREDIT: Canadian Press
TORONTO - Money to bribe a U.S. official - traced during an international anti-terrorism probe aimed at the Tamil Tigers - came from Montreal, the FBI said Thursday.
And two of the men arrested in the bribery case are former Montreal residents, adding more Canadian connections to a widening probe that has seen six other men from Canada arrested on charges of aiding a foreign terrorist organization, including money laundering, smuggling equipment and people, and trying to purchase anti-aircraft missiles, machine-guns and other military equipment.
Tens of thousands of dollars from Montreal were earmarked as a bribe for a U.S. federal agent who was posing as a corrupt immigration officer, pretending to allow Tamils to illegally enter the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged in a sworn criminal complaint filed in a New York court.
The money's path was tracked as part of a large sting operation mounted by the FBI against alleged operatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly called the Tamil Tigers, an organization banned as a terrorist group on both sides of the border.
So far a total of 14 people have been taken into custody in the joint FBI-RCMP probe.
First, three Canadians of Tamil descent were accused in New York City on the weekend of trying to buy military hardware after driving across the Canada-U.S. border to meet with a man they believed was a black-market arms dealer, but who was a federal agent, and a Tamil man, who co-operated with U.S. authorities in their probe.
Three other Canadian residents were arrested this week by the RCMP in Ontario, including an engineering graduate from the University of Waterloo who is accused of arranging student couriers to smuggle equipment into Sri Lanka to further the Tamil Tiger's cause.
A third set of criminal complaints unsealed in a New York court, against three people arrested in Buffalo as part of the FBI's probe, now reveal further Canadian links.
Thileepan Patpanathan and his brother, Sujeepan Patpanathan, moved to Buffalo from Montreal about six months ago, said Rodney O. Personius, a Buffalo lawyer who represented one of the men in court.
They lived in Montreal for about three years, he said.
The Patpanathan brothers are charged along with Logeswaran Krishnamoorthy of knowingly conspiring to bribe a public official to illegally bring other people from Sri Lanka. They were caught in a sting operation using the same Tamil informant.
An agent was introduced to co-conspirators as an officer with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service who, for a fee, could help smuggle foreigners into the U.S. The man was, in fact, a federal agent and the meetings were recorded, the FBI said.
An offer of $6,000 US per person smuggled was offered, authorities alleged.
The Patpanathan brothers were among the immigrants smuggled into the country, the FBI said. They then allegedly worked with the undercover agent to arrange for others to join them.
When the Patpanathan brothers were facing deportation, a further bribe of $3,000 US was offered to the agent to intervene, according to the FBI.
The men allegedly said the money was being sent first from Sri Lanka to Montreal and then on to the United States.
The FBI said the case is intimately tied to the other cases involving the Tamil Tigers.
''There are a variety of ways one can provide material support. It is not just sending weapons over there - it's sending money, moving people, giving aid to a terrorist group in whatever way they can manage to,'' said Special Agent Steve Siegal, a spokesman for the FBI.
In April, Canadian authorities raided the Toronto and Montreal offices of the World Tamil Movement, alleging it had illegally raised money for the Tigers. Those raids came days after the Conservative government added the Tigers to Ottawa's list of outlawed terror groups.
Also on Thursday, the Canadian Tamil Congress requested meetings with federal justice officials and the head of the RCMP in a bid to distance itself from the terror-related arrests of six Tamil-Canadians, one of whom used to work for the CTC.
''We are deeply concerned at the allegations and the media publicity aris(ing) from the arrests as (they do) not reflect appropriately on the hard working, law-abiding members of the Tamil-Canadian population,'' the Tamil community organization said in a letter to RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.
''The allegations involve (a) few individuals who happen to be Tamil. We stress that nothing more, and nothing less should be derived from that.''
David Poopalapillai, a national spokesman for the CTC, confirmed that Sahilal Sabaratnam, 27, one of the Canadians arrested Saturday in Long Island, N.Y., was the CTC's communications director for ''about a year'' in 2005.
''He was very inactive during that time,'' Poopalapillai said.
Poopalapillai said the CTC underwent a ''revamping'' in April and that most of the group's former executives were replaced.
National Post with file from Kelly Patrick
|Author:||Peter [ Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:03 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Piratheepan "Peter" Nadarajah - "scientist&qu|
Brains behind plot?
GTA man in court accused of seeking weapons for Tamil Tigers
Piratheepan "Peter" Nadarajah, 30, alleged "scientist" of a Tamil Tiger missile-buying plot, who was denied entry into the U.S. last weekend, appeared for an extradition hearing at a University Ave. court on FBI allegations that he was the fourth member of a $1-million plot. Nadarajah lived with his extended family in the basement of their Zia Dodda Cres. home in Mississauga, relatives said. He was employed at Telephones To Go, on Steeles Ave., W., where the firm's website lists him as a wireless data specialist.
By TOM GODFREY AND NATALIE PONA,
@ TORONTO SUN - 25 Aug 2006
A Mississauga man who appeared in court yesterday is the alleged "scientist" of a Tamil Tiger missile-buying plot.
Piratheepan "Peter" Nadarajah, 30, who was denied entry into the U.S. last weekend, appeared for an extradition hearing at a University Ave. court on FBI allegations that he was the fourth member of a $1-million plot.
His case was adjourned until next Wednesday.
He faces terror-related charges in New York for allegedly trying to procure missiles and assault rifles.
Unshaven and wearing a red T-shirt and jeans, a youthful-looking Nadarajah was escorted to court by two RCMP officers. There were no family members present.
Federal Crown attorney Nick Devlin said the accused was stopped at a Buffalo crossing en route to the U.S. last Friday.
U.S. court documents filed by the FBI show he was refused entry due to a criminal record.
FBI officials said the accused and two others claimed they were travelling to Buffalo to attend a stag. The others were allowed to continue.
Nadarajah and Ramanan Mylvaganam, 29, are the latest of six Canadians among 13 alleged Tigers arrested by the RCMP and FBI for allegedly trying to buy weapons in the U.S.
The weapons included rocket launchers, rockets, software to pinpoint the weak spots of submarines, radio and radar frequency jammers and night goggles.
Documents filed in a New York City court link Mylvaganam to University of Waterloo student "Waterloo" Suresh Sriskandarajah, 26, who was arrested by the RCMP Monday.
The FBI alleges that Sriskandarajah and Mylvaganam tried to acquire submarine computer software and night vision goggles for the Tigers.
The group also allegedly tried to bribe officials to have the Tigers removed from a U.S. terrorist watch list.
"(Nadarajah) may be willing to commit serious acts of violence so it is imperative that he be apprehended," RCMP Cpl. Marwan Zogheib said in an affidavit.
"He will be welcomed and will find shelter in Tiger controlled areas if he can escape to Sri Lanka."
Mylvaganam will appear for a bail hearing in Brampton court today. Sriskandarajah is slated for a hearing in Kitchener.
Nadarajah's family yesterday described him as "nice person" who wouldn't get involved with terrorists.
Nadarajah lived with his extended family in the basement of their Zia Dodda Cres. home in Mississauga, relatives said.
He was employed at Telephones To Go, on Steeles Ave., W., where the firm's website lists him as a wireless data specialist.
Meanwhile, Mylvaganam's brother said his kin will never put his family's future in jeopardy by aiding terrorists.
|Author:||Peter [ Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:57 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Ramanan Mylvaganam|
Ramanan Mylvaganam - Malton engineer linked to terror group
Aug 24, 2006
On Sept. 14, Ramanan Mylvaganam was supposed to start his dream job at Microsoft's international headquarters in the U.S. But, those plans came to a halt this week after the 29-year-old computer engineer from Malton was charged in connection with a North American network that police allege provides weapons and other materials to an organization in Sri Lanka that Canada considers a terrorist group.
Mylvaganam was arrested Tuesday night at his Derry Rd. E. apartment by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), where he resides with his mother and five younger siblings. He'll appear in a Brampton courtroom tomorrow, and faces extradition to the U.S.
"This has been a total shock to my family, especially my mother. She can't stop crying," said one of Mylvaganam's brothers, Raghu, yesterday. "He was here with us just studying and all of a sudden these big guys just burst through the door and grabbed him."
RCMP Sergeant Michelle Paradis said Mylvaganam was picked up on a provisional warrant at the request of U.S. authorities.
Mylvaganam and four other Ontario men have been charged with one count each of conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Tamil Tigers, a political/military organization that has been waging war with the government of Sri Lanka since the 1970s in order to secure a separate state for the Tamil regions of the country.
So far, at least 11 people, including six Canadians, have been arrested in the joint FBI-RCMP investigation into the alleged criminal organization. Paradis said the investigation remains "active," and didn't rule out further arrests.
Raghu said his brother, who came here from Sri Lanka in 1992, is a computer engineering student at the University of Waterloo who served as a vice-president of the university's Tamil Students Association in 2004. In three weeks, Mylvaganam was leaving for a four-month internship job for school at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA. He was told by the world-wide organization he would have a full-time job there after he graduated next spring, his brother said.
"My brother was so happy and ecstatic about getting that job. He got a work visa and everything" said Raghu. "He worked so hard and studied so hard and they (Microsoft) came to him with the offer. They were going to set him up with a house, a car. Now his dreams have been shattered."
Raghu maintained his brother is innocent.
"Our father passed away a long time ago, so Ramanan was the father of the house," said Raghu. "He studied so hard, sometimes all night at Tim Hortons, so he could get a well-paying job and support his family more financially. There's no way he's guilty."
Raghu wouldn't say whether he and his brother are Tamil Tiger supporters.
U.S. prosecutors say the arrests are in relation to a North American network that saw men in Canada and the U.S. use their post-secondary studies as a cover for terrorist activities.
Officials say the group kept in contact with top Tamil Tiger operatives in Sri Lanka and the United States. They tried to obtain equipment such as compasses, computers and night-vision goggles for the Sri Lankan group, but also had bigger plans that included the purchasing of aviation equipment, according to American prosecutors.
|Author:||Nissanka [ Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:13 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Tamil Tigers and the Canadian connection|
Tamil Tigers and the Canadian connection
As a civil-war ceasefire continues to fall apart in Sri Lanka, the FBI says it has discovered that the Tamil Tigers want radio towers, missile-launchers, AK-47s, night-vision goggles -- even software to design warships. And they are asking their sympathizers abroad to get it. U.S. officials now understand the extent of the cross-border relationship between alleged LTTE operatives, writes COLIN FREEZE
By COLIN FREEZE
The Globe and Mail - 26Aug2006
It's an American-led investigation, but nine of the arrested suspects are now known to have links to Canada. In fact, New York prosecutors allege Tamil Tiger operatives from north of the border were the driving force behind a host of conspiracies, all aimed at subverting U.S. laws meant to ban support for terrorist organizations.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, working with Canadian police, quickly rounded up a dozen suspects this past week. But the rapid-fire arrests came only after years after spying, infiltrating and patiently gathering intelligence about the Tamil Tigers. While it has long been feared that the separatist guerrillas had a very active presence in North America, authorities have never exposed the network until now.
Terrorist blacklists are meant to starve groups such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of money, weapons and legitimacy. Prosecutors say LTTE conspirators tried to get around the law by bribing U.S. officials to lift the ban on support, and further allege the suspects tried to trick all kinds of organizations -- including high-tech companies in Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Vancouver-based military outfitters and British military contractors -- into helping them get weapons and equipment for the Tamil Tigers.
In the jungles of Sri Lanka, the guerrillas have long told outsiders they do not prevail on a diaspora of Tamil refugees for arms or funds. They say they simply steal what's needed from the enemy army.
Yet the FBI has chronicled a very different story: As a civil-war ceasefire continues to fall apart in Sri Lanka, the agency says it has discovered that the Tamil Tigers want radio towers, missile-launchers, AK-47s, night-vision goggles -- even software to design warships. And they are asking their sympathizers abroad to get it.
"Waterloo Suresh" was a big man on campus, at least among Tamils. On several occasions, the electrical engineering student urged his fellow students to open their hearts and their wallets to Tamil orphans affected by war or the 2004 tsunami.
Yet the U.S. criminal complaint against him alleges he procured military equipment as early as 2004. The FBI says he started out by helping obtain communications-tower equipment before moving on to bigger things.
The suspect, whose real name is Suresh Sriskandarajah, contacted a British warship-design firm and asked to buy $22,000 worth of software for the Tigers, according to the U.S. criminal complaint against him. The document further alleges the suspect said he needed the software for a University of Waterloo design project, and tried to legitimize that story by sending a note on the letterhead of ATI Technologies, a Markham, Ont.-based computer-chip maker.
The FBI further accuses Mr. Sriskandarajah of buying night-vision goggles for the Tigers.
Waterloo Suresh turned 26 last month. Another recent University of Waterloo graduate, Ramanan Mylvaganam, 30, is charged with being his co-conspirator.
Waterloo Suresh was known for pleading for Tamil causes after he accompanied 25 other Canadian Tamil students on a trip to Sri Lanka, which coincided with 2004's deadly tsunami.
Another current suspect, Sathajhan (Satha) Sarachandran, was also on that journey to the war-ravaged nation, witnessing the devastation of the flood waters that killed thousands. Last weekend, he seemed destined for happier times abroad. Border agents say that when they stopped his car, he said he and some friends were heading south to Buffalo for a bachelor party.
But the FBI knew that story was not true because they had been taping the suspect's conversations for three weeks. The agents had been working to snare him in a sting.
Federal agents used a New York drug dealer turned informant. He needed to stay out of jail, a new job and a means of staying in the country. The FBI needed a native Tamil speaker to infiltrate the Tigers.
The FBI says that Satha, the informant, and a man pretending to be an arms dealer were looking at crates of assault rifles and shoulder-launched missiles when agents arrested them in a Long Island warehouse last week.
Two others Canadians who made the car journey to New York, Sahilal (Sahil) Sabaratnam and Thiruthanikan (Thani) Thanigasalam, were also arrested on the spot. Police say a fourth man, Piratheepan (Peter) Nadarajah, apparently had been turned away at the border before being arrested in Toronto this week.
For the FBI, the arms-sale sting represented a tidy three-week turnaround from start to finish. But they and their star Tamil informant had been working another angle as early as 2002.
The head of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka had sent emissaries to the United States with the specific goal of getting the terrorist ban on the group lifted. The informant's instructions were to meet those emissaries and their U.S. friends and invite them to his Staten Island apartment.
The informant did so, telling his new friends he had high-level government contacts. He said he could get the ban lifted, but "the LTTE would have to pay him millions," according the criminal complaint filed in New York.
The negotiations went on for years. There was talk of also getting the U.S. to stop selling arms to Colombo and of ways to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. Before long, federal agents pretending to be corrupt State Department officials were also attending meetings in the apartment.
The FBI says it taped the meetings. On one of those tapes, a suspect is alleged to have said "we sent millions" to the Tamil Tigers through a prominent charity, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization.
The FBI sat on the intelligence for a long time. It watched what the suspects were doing, and who they were talking to in Canada before connecting the dots and moving to make the arrests.
Several Canadians are accused of assisting in the bribery conspiracy, including two brothers from Buffalo -- Thileepan Patpanatha and Sujeepan Patpanathan -- who had recently moved there from Montreal.
Another former University of Waterloo Student, Thirukumaran Sinnathamby, is also accused of being part of the conspiracy.
|Author:||Nissanka [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:58 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Extradition efforts to proceed for terror suspect|
Extradition efforts to proceed for terror suspect
Nov. 23 2006
@ CTV /Canadian Press
TORONTO -- The extradition case against Suresh Sriskandarajah is proceeding after a request from officials in the United States was accepted by Canadian Justice Minister Vic Toews.
Sriskandarajah, 26, of Waterloo, Ont., is to appear in a Toronto court Jan. 23 to set a date for an extradition hearing on terrorism-related charges.
U.S. officials want the University of Waterloo engineering graduate turned over to face trial on allegations he conspired to support the Tamil Tigers terrorist group in northern Sri Lanka.
The alleged leader of four suspects with ties to his alma mater, Sriskandarajah is accused of helping buy military software and communications equipment, laundering money and using students to smuggle goods into areas controlled by the Tigers.
It was confirmed Tuesday that Toews determined the crimes Sriskandarajah is accused of in the U.S. would also have been crimes in Canada, the key criterion for an extradition to proceed.
The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for an independent homeland in Sri Lanka since 1983.
They have been on a U.S. list of terrorist groups since 1997 and were added to a similar Canadian list in April of this year.
The charges against Sriskandarajah, who could face up to 25 years in prison, cover a period between 2003 and the time of his arrest in August.
Now free on $445,000 bail, he is one of 12 men arrested in the U.S. and Canada in a plot allegedly involving an attempt to buy weapons, bribery, smuggling, money laundering and financial aid to the Tigers through front charities.
LTTE conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles in USA
Editorial: Ban Tamil Tigers and halt extortion
David Poopalapillai - cowards die a thousand times
Close Connection - Toronto's Tamil community and Sri Lanka
Canadian Connection: LTTE Front Organizations and Networking
|Author:||Saman [ Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:12 pm ]|
|Post subject:||‘Waterloo Suresh’ gets two years prison for helping terroris|
‘Waterloo Suresh’ gets two years prison for helping terrorists acquire ‘sophisticated’ military tech
© 2013 National Post,
Stewart Bell | 28/10/13 |
As a boy, Suresh Sriskandarajah escaped the civil war in northern Sri Lanka and fled to Canada, where he achieved notable academic success, earning scholarships and three university degrees.
But Sri Lanka eventually dragged him back: In 2006, after a joint probe by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was arrested in Toronto for helping procure “sophisticated military technology” and equipment for the Tamil Tigers rebels.
Monday, a U.S. federal judge in New York sentenced Sriskandarajah, also known as Waterloo Suresh, to 24 months in jail. He will be deported back to Canada once he has served his time.
The sentence is less than the 15 years prosecutors were seeking, but more than the “time served” the defence had asked for. He was given 10 months’ credit for the time spent in custody, meaning he will be released no later than December 2014.
The LTTE created a climate of fear and bloodshed
The case was one of the last to come before the courts in relation to the once-vast Canadian support network that had supplied the Tamil rebels until they were defeated by government forces in May 2009.
One last Canadian, Piratheepan Nadarajah, is awaiting sentencing Jan. 31 after pleading guilty to attempting to buy $1-million of surface-to-air missiles and AK-47s for the rebels.
Three Toronto men are serving lengthy prison terms in the U.S., and a fourth has returned to Ontario after completing his sentence. Another served a six-month sentence for fundraising for the rebels in British Columbia.
Meanwhile, the primary Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) front organization in Canada, the World Tamil Movement, has been shut down by the government, which has seized its assets in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
A former president of the Tamil Students Association at the University of Waterloo, Sriskandarajah, 33, pleaded guilty July 2 to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
The LTTE “pioneered terrorist tactics and has killed numerous civilians in brutal terrorist attacks,” Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said after his guilty plea. “Claiming to fight for freedom, the LTTE instead created a climate of fear and bloodshed, systematically assassinating those who stood in the way of their terrorist goals.”
But his lawyer, Joshua Dratel, asked the judge to consider Sriskandarajah’s traumatic upbringing during the Sri Lankan conflict as well as his “stellar record of achievement.”
He quoted from letters of support written by New Democratic MPs Craig Scott, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Peter Julian. In his letter, Mr. Scott described Sriskandarajah as “full of the desire to help others.”
Full of the desire to help others
Those who know Sriskandarajah, however, said his obliging nature may be what got him into trouble. He found it hard to say no to those who sought his help — including, apparently, Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil rebels.
In interviews with the National Post before he was extradited to New York, Sriskandarajah would not discuss the charges against him, but described growing up at a time of brutal ethnic unrest.
When he was seven, he watched a Tamil rebel swallow a fatal dose of cyanide to avoid being capture by government troops. While walking to school, he was attacked by Sri Lankan soldiers who pummeled him with rifle butts. His injuries were so severe he spent three weeks in hospital.
To escape the war, his parents sold their fishing boats and jewelry, but they still did not have enough to bring the entire family to Canada so Sriskandarajah, then just eight, was left behind to care for his younger brother.
The brothers were eventually able to escape on their own, but a year after they rejoined their parents in Montreal in 1989, their father abandoned the family. Sriskandarajah’s mother was left to raise three children under the age of 10 on her own.
To help his mother make ends meet, Sriskandarajah picked strawberries and sold chocolates door-to-door. Driven and hardworking, he excelled at school, particularly after he discovered computers. Xerox hired him at age 15. The next year, he won the $10,000 Canada Trust Horizon scholarship.
He studied electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and did a co-op placement at Microsoft. But he began to feel the pull of the homeland and in 2004 returned to Sri Lanka to help set up a technology training centre in the rebel capital, Kilinochchi.
While he was there, he volunteered at an orphanage on the island’s east coast but on Boxing Day 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed all but 20 of the 170 children. Sriskandarajah helped bury their bodies.
Suresh has persevered in his commitment to improving himself and others
According to U.S. prosecutors, in 2004 he also began working as a “facilitator” for the Tamil Tigers, under the direction of Pratheepan Thavarajah, a senior rebel procurement agent who was arrested in Indonesia in 2007.
Sriskandarajah was not involved in the purchase of weapons, but he helped research and buy aviation equipment, cell towers, submarine and warship design software and communications equipment, prosecutors alleged. He sent three students he had recruited to Sri Lanka “to conduct smuggling operations for the LTTE” and helped the rebels launder money in the U.S.
After his arrest seven years ago, Sriskandarajah fought his extradition to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the meantime, he earned a BA from the University of Waterloo and an master of business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. He married and was studying law at the University of Ottawa when he was extradited to New York last December to stand trial.
While he was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, he continued his academic studies, earning paralegal and alternative dispute resolution certificates from Adams State University in Colorado and completing more than 40 Bible study courses.
He also wrote his law school exams, and tutored other inmates to write their high school equivalency and English as a second language tests.
The tutoring program was “completely moribund” until Sriskandarajah revived it, according to Mr. Dratel. “Throughout his time at MDC, Suresh has persevered in his commitment to improving himself and others,” the lawyer wrote.
Among his supporters was Mr. Scott, the MP for Toronto-Danforth. They met when Sriskandarajah approached him for help with a Sri Lankan human rights campaign. The two “became well-acquainted when Suresh volunteered with MP Scott’s campaign to serve in the House of Commons,” according to Mr. Dratel’s sentencing submission.
“MP Scott writes that because of his ‘impressive educational accomplishments,’ Suresh ‘truly stand[s] out as a role model’ for young Canadian Tamils, who are ‘amongst the most socially and educationally disadvantaged group’ in Canadian society,” it said.
In his own letter, Sriskandarajah wrote he hoped to start a family and commit himself to post-war reconciliation in Sri Lanka, adding he was “anxious to be a productive member of society.”
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