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 Post subject: Pleads guilty to buying missiles for Tamil Tigers
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:05 am 
Project O-Needle - Canadian pleads guilty to buying missiles for Tamil Tigers

The investigation, called Project O-Needle ("needle" was allegedly the conspirators' code word for missile) began on July 30, 2006, when Yogarasa phoned a contact about a potential arms deal, FBI Special Agent James Tareco wrote in an affidavit.

By Stewart Bell and Adrian Humphreys
© National Post / Monday, January 26, 2009


TORONTO - A Toronto man pleaded guilty in New York on Monday to attempting to purchase Russian heat-seeking missiles and hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles for the Tamil Tigers guerrillas.

Sathajhan Sarachandran, 29, and a former national president of the Canadian Tamil Students Association, pleaded guilty to all five counts against him, which included supporting terrorism and conspiracy to acquire missiles. Nadarasa Yogarasa pleaded guilty to two charges. Both men were about to go on trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., for their role in an international arms-smuggling conspiracy that worked under the direction of the senior leadership of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The case was the product of a cross-border investigation conducted by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in Ontario. The investigation, called Project O-Needle ("needle" was allegedly the conspirators' code word for missile) began on July 30, 2006, when Yogarasa phoned a contact about a potential arms deal, FBI Special Agent James Tareco wrote in an affidavit.

The contact - who was actually a confidential police informant - invited Yogarasa to New York to discuss the deal. The next day, Yogarasa, who went by the nickname "Yoga," met the informant in Queens, N.Y. He was accompanied by Sarachandran, who had travelled from Canada for the meeting. Sarachandran said he was "taking direction" from Pottu Aman, the intelligence chief of the Tamil Tigers, the FBI said.

At the meeting, Sarachandran, who was referred to by his co-accused as "Satha," said he was seeking weapons to use against Sri Lankan military jets. Later that day, the informant sent an e-mail to Sarachandran, saying: "I will contact my guy and see what he has." The FBI informant sent another e-mail to Sarachandran on Aug. 2. "Here are photos of what my guy has available," it said. The photos showed Russian SA-18 shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles. "Let me know if you guys are interested," it said.

A few days later, Sarachandran indicated that the elusive leader of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran, had seen the photos of the SA-18 missiles, the FBI agent wrote. Meanwhile, on Aug. 14, an undercover officer posing as an arms dealer contacted Sarachandran, who said he was "serious" about buying the weapons. They spoke again the next day and Sarachandran said he wanted 50 to 100 "needles." On Aug. 18, Sarachandran and two others left Toronto and drove to Long Island to meet the undercover informant and police officers to further discuss the deal, said the FBI.

They agreed on an initial shipment of 10 missiles and 500 AK-47s. The cost was $900,000 US. The weapons were to be delivered by ship off the southern coast of India. As the meeting was winding up, one of the undercover officers gave a signal and police moved in to make the arrests. The RCMP later arrested three more men in Ontario.

The Tamil Tigers are separatist rebels fighting for independence for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority. Providing material support to the Tigers is a violation of Canadian and U.S. anti-terrorism laws.

Sarachandran is a Canadian citizen. He faces a sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment. He entered his plea as a jury was being selected for his trial. The two men who accompanied Sarachandran to New York are still awaiting trial. The three arrested in Canada are fighting U.S. efforts to have them extradited to New York.

Piratheepan Nadarajah, 32, of Brampton, Ont., is accused of being an accomplice of the two men who pleaded guilty Monday. He and Suresh Sriskandarajah, 28, a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo's engineering program, are free on bail and in the midst of a joint extradition. The hearing will continue next month in Toronto, according to his lawyer, John Norris.

Ramanan Mylvaganam, 33, of Malton, Ont., who was a computer engineering student at the University of Waterloo when he was arrested, was ordered extradited in October, but is currently on bail pending an appeal, according to the Department of Justice.

The RCMP has been clamping down on Tamil Tigers activity in Canada since 2006. Last year, the government shut down the Toronto and Montreal offices of the World Tamil Movement, a suspected rebel fundraising front. An RCMP forensic accounting report says that between 2002 and 2006, the group had wired more than $3 million to overseas accounts, most of them linked to the Tigers. Many Tamil-Canadian donors told police they were pressured into giving money.


© Canwest News Service 2009

Related:
1) LTTE conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles in USA
2) Tiger hunting continues in Canada
3) David Poopalapillai - cowards die a thousand times


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:42 am
Posts: 22
Now our security forces and the government have a duty. We must check all (including foreign passport holders when they arrive in Sri Lanka.) We must check them thoroughly at Colombo airport. We all have a responsibility towards our country. We must do what USA is doing at present time. Every Airport in USA is very concern about middle easterners who comes and goes from their Airports. They don’t believe every one’s a terrorist . but they’re very cautious to whom they open the doors in the country. As a matter of fact we have come to know the Australian TRO man ( from Melbourne) has traveled to Colombo few times under the radar. We must be more caution than this in the future now that we’re liberating the country and trying to bring peace and prosperity to our Motherland.


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 Post subject: Two more plead guilty in US
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:27 pm 
Two more plead guilty in US to aiding Tamil Tigers

@ UK reuters / Tue Jan 27, 2009

NEW YORK, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Two more men accused of conspiring to provide material support to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebel group on Tuesday pleaded guilty on the eve of their trial in U.S. District Court.

Sahilal Sabaratnam, 29, and Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam, 40, each pleaded guilty to conspiring to buy equipment, including guided anti-aircraft missiles, for the group, court spokesman Robert Nardoza said.

On Monday, just as jury selection was getting underway, two other men charged in the case -- Sathajhan Sarachandran, 29, and Nadarasa Yogarasa, 54 -- also pleaded guilty. Opening arguments had been set to begin on Wednesday.

Several others -- including Karunakaran Kandasamy, the suspected head of the U.S. branch of the group -- were charged separately and are expected to go on trial later this year.

Kandasamy stands accused of overseeing the organization's activities and fund-raising.

The four men were arrested on Long Island, New York, in 2006, after three of them were accused of negotiating with an undercover FBI agent to buy heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles and launchers and hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles.

The men were acting under the direction of senior Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka, prosecutors said.

The United States designates the Tamil Tigers as a foreign terrorist organization.

The rebels, known officially as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, have been fighting for decades for an independent state in the north and east of the Indian Ocean island.

On Monday, Sri Lankan army officials suggested the ethnic conflict might be coming to an end, saying they had captured the last big town held by the separatist group and confined the Tamil Tigers to a small wedge of jungle.

More than 70,000 people have died and millions have been displaced since the war began in 1983.

Prosecutors said the Tamil Tigers rely on expatriates to raise money, get weapons and spread propaganda.

To coordinate these activities, the Tigers have established "branches" in at least 12 countries, including an office in the New York borough of Queens, they said.


(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Xavier Briand)


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