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 Post subject: Aussie Tamils 'funding terror'
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:53 pm 
Aussie Tamils 'funding terror'

Australians gave more than $1million to Sri Lankan victims of the tsunami, largely through two Tamil organisations, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation and the Tamil Co-ordinating Committee. But the FBI said last week the North American offices of these two organisations were "fronts" for the clandestine channelling of financial and military aid to the Tamil Tigers.

@The Australian
Cameron Stewart
September 02, 2006


THE FBI has accused Australia's Tamil community of helping fund terrorist attacks by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The FBI says the support may also include buying technology and military arms and equipment to help the Tamils in their bloody separatist war against the Sri Lankan Government.

The accusation was made after the Federal Bureau of Investigations arrested 13 men in the US last week for plotting to buy Russian-made shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and assault rifles for the Tamil Tigers.

It is not known if the men have links to Australia. However, Australian Federal Police officers are investigating the activities of several Tamil organisations in Melbourne and Sydney.

FBI documents tendered in a New York court said Australia played a key role in the global fundraising efforts for the Tamil Tigers.

"The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) relies heavily upon supporters in Europe, US, Canada and Australia to raise and launder money, acquire intelligence and purchase technology and military arms and equipment," the FBI said in a statement.

Concerns that Australia's Tamil community was helping fund the Tigers led to a series of raids by the AFP in Melbourne and Sydney in December. No arrests have been made but investigations are continuing.

The AFP is also expected to examine any links with those arrested in the US.

Shortly before the AFP's raids, Sri Lanka warned the Howard Government that charity donations given by Australians after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami may have been used to fund the Tamil Tigers.

Australians gave more than $1million to Sri Lankan victims of the tsunami, largely through two Tamil organisations, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation and the Tamil Co-ordinating Committee.

But the FBI said last week the North American offices of these two organisations were "fronts" for the clandestine channelling of financial and military aid to the Tamil Tigers.

"The LTTE relies on front charitable organisations, including the TRO and World Tamil Co-ordinating Committee among others to give their fundraising activities the appearance of legitimacy," the FBI said.

"These organisations are also used to smuggle goods to the LTTE in Sri Lanka."

The TCC and the TRO in Australia have strongly denied channelling funds to the Tamil Tigers.

The FBI arrests came less than a month after a frail four-year-old ceasefire between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government fell apart.

Since 1983, the Tamil Tigers have waged a bloody war -- including about 200 suicide-bomb attacks -- in a campaign for a separate homeland within Sri Lanka.

While the Tamil Tigers are not officially proscribed as a terrorist organisation in Australia, they are considered to be engaged in terrorist activity in their homeland and it is illegal to fund the group.

The TCC's offices in Melbourne were raided by the AFP in December but no charges have yet been laid.

TCC spokesman Perambalam Senthooran told The Weekend Australian yesterday that the organisation had received legal advice that its fundraising activities did not breach Australian law. He said money sent to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka was used for community projects and not to assist the separatist guerilla group.

The AFP has also been closely monitoring the actions of the Australian office of the TRO after Sri Lanka told the federal Government it was concerned about the group's fundraising activities.

The funds raised by the TRO in Australia jumped from $200,000 a year to more than $1.1million after the tsunami.

The head of the TRO in Australia, Melbourne-based gynaecologist Rajan Rasiah, has denied that the group funds the Tamil Tigers.

But he has said that the TRO had no choice but to co-operate with the Tamil Tigers in directing charitable contributions because they controlled northeast parts of the country.

"You have to work with the permission, with the approval and with the support of the LTTE if you want to work in the northeast," Dr Rasiah said.


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