"Tamil Tigers" and its UK-wide network
October 17, 2006 - London, England -
LTTE was banned in the UK February 28th 2001 and the annual publication of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) London 'Military Balance 2005/2006' referred to emerging links between the LTTE and the Al-Qaeda movement. It was later revealed confidentially by the editors to diplomatic sources that these links were in terms of commercial transactions including trafficking for financial gain and acquisition of technology rather than any ideological linkage. Experts are studying with interest links between the LTTE and Al-Qaeda in its financial, commercial and arms dealings. It is also believed that such links also exist in maritime transactions.
The LTTE, better known as the Tamil Tigers, which is engaged in an armed confrontation with the Sri Lankan Government, was the first terrorist organisation to use suicide bombers against civilian and military targets. It has in the last 23 years assassinated the political leadership in Sri Lanka, killed a former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and been involved in the loss of nearly 60,000 lives of mostly innocent civilians.
On August 21, 2006 a British NHS GP at Forest Primary Care Centre, Hertford Road in Edmonton, Dr Murugesu Vineyagamoorthy and his wife Dr Pushpam were arrested in New York by the FBI for attempting to bribe a US Justice Dept official with $1 million to try to get the LTTE off the list of banned terrorist organisations in the USA. He was further charged with facilitating the purchase of American made missiles and British submarine technology for the LTTE. This arrest according to many observers was an eye-opener to the huge volume of money that is raised through extortion and intimidation from the Tamil diaspora in the UK that is either smuggled into Sri Lanka through human carriers or in the form of weapons purchased in third countries.
Fundraising in UK: method case studies
i) Extortion The US based organisation Human Rights Watch earlier this year published a study entitled "Funding the final war - LTTE intimidation and extortion in the Tamil diaspora (a case study of UK and Canada)". According to this study many individual families and businesses have been approached to pay sums of money ranging from £2000 to £100,000. The LTTE's de-facto headquarters in London masquerading under the name 'British Tamil Association' has even arranged direct debit arrangements to its account at the Natwest Bank. They have now progressed to getting members of the Tamil community to fill out a questionnaire detailing family address, income, details of family in Sri Lanka etc. Any refusal to meet with payments would result in one of the following steps.
1. Next of kin living in Sri Lanka would be abducted and later killed
2. The person refusing to pay, himself would be killed
This can be illustrated as follows.
On January 5, 2006 Mr Subramaniam Sivakumar, a Tamil businessman who operated a grocery shop called Apna Bazaar on Willesden Lane in North West London was killed in mysterious circumstances. Police later found in his journals that he had been making regular payments of £10 - £20,000 to "LTTE boys". Family members believe his failure to make one of these 'regular payments' sealed his fate. Police investigations are continuing.
ii) Open Public Events In Spite of Ban Each year the LTTE holds 2 (regularly annual) events in London. On 27 November 2005, notwithstanding the fact that the LTTE is banned both in the UK and the European Union, nearly 5000 Sri Lankan Tamils gathered at the Wembley Arena to commemorate the 50th birthday of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who incidentally is wanted by Interpol after having been charged by the Supreme court of India for assassinating their Prime Minister. The event took the form of drama and dances performed in his honour and candles were lit to honour the name of the notorious "black tigers" (LTTE suicide bombers). Entrance to the event cost £35 per head which entitled attendees to a 2006 calendar with colour illustrations of Prabhakaran's military prowess. Incidentally the principal speaker at this event was Mr Anton Balasingham, the LTTE's theoretician and chief negotiator at all the LTTE's talks with the Sri Lanka Government. Mr Balasingham is a British citizen who lives comfortably in Greenford, London from where he proclaims the LTTE ideology to the western world. His operations in the UK have been ignored by the authorities citing various reasons.
On 25 July 2006 the LTTE organised the black July rally at Hyde Park with a 20 ft cut-out of the LTTE leader on the stage. The event was supposedly held to commemorate an incident which had occurred 30 years ago where some tamil civilians had been killed by a Sinhalese mob. The event was organised by a LTTE front calling themselves Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO, UK). The event had the likes of Labour party Harrow Councillor Thaya Idaikaddar delivering a homily extolling the virtues of the LTTE leader. Incidentally permission to hold the rally was obtained from the Royal Parks' Police by 2 other Labour councillors - one from Harrow Ms Sashikala and the other Ms Eliza Packiadevi Mann from Southwark. These councillors have now formed another LTTE front called British Tamil Councillors and Associates. Although they are supposedly elected to represent the people of Harrow, Southwark, East Ham etc they claim that they have been elected to safeguard the well-being of the Tamil people. Seem to be unable to integrate into British society and are contributing their might to strengthen the Tamil "ghettos" in North & East London (Ealing Road, Wembley, East Ham, Croydon, Walthamstow, Tooting etc). Mr Idaikaddar is closely associated with DFID Minister Gareth Thomas who usually is an active participant in these events in his electorate. Mr Robert Evans - another Labour member who is a member of the European Parliament (PSE group) - is another active supporter.
iii) Hindu Temples The Human Rights Watch report has also thrown light on the role of British Hindu temples which have come under the control of the LTTE and have become a source of huge revenue to the LTTE's war chest. The report refers to the detention of 2 British nationals of Sri Lankan Tamil origin in the north of Sri Lanka (whilst they were visiting relatives) - Mr Rajasingham Jayadevan and Mr Arumugam Kandiah Vivekanandan, proprietors of a private Hindu temple located on Ealing road in Wembley by the LTTE. They were detained for several weeks in February 2005 until they agreed to hand over control of the temple to a group aligned with the LTTE. Mr Jayadevan subsequently initiated an application to the UK High court and on April 7, 2005 the High court ruled that the transfer of the temple was not valid and returned control of the temple to its original trustees. However the group aligned to the LTTE continues to operate the Sivayogam Hindu temple in Tooting. The UK Charity Commission has continued to drag its feet on this investigation for several years citing the usual bureaucratic delays. This is despite evidence available of how during the tsunami disaster in December 2004 the Sivayogam Trust sent a container load of 'tsunami relief goods' which contained among other things aluminium kitchen pots inside which were cleverly concealed ball bearings and other items required for assembling explosives. The Sivayogam also sponsored the construction of a boat yard in Sampoor in the East of Sri Lanka purportedly for fishermen affected by the tsunami but which later turned out to be a boat yard for the LTTE's sea tiger suicide squad.
iv) Charities Another LTTE front organisation White Pigeon currently under investigation by the UK Charity Commission for its links with the LTTE in 2005 transferred approx. £500,000 (SL Rs 98.64 million) from its account at the National Westminster Bank, Sutton branch. This organisation also regularly transmits funds to the Bumiputhra Commerce Bank in Kuala Lumpur which is the bank account of the World Tamil Relief Fund for procurement of military hardware for the LTTE.
Note that in August 2005 the UK Charity Commission de-listed the charity Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (UK) from its list of charities for its links with the LTTE. At the time of its being de-listed it had £1.3 million but the trustees made a mockery of British legislation by in September 2005 registering the same organisation under the name "International Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (ITRO)" as a company with Companies House UK. It was recently uncovered that TRO (UK) had collected a staggering sum of SL Rs 56.3 million for tsunami work in the north of Sri Lanka which was supposedly to construct 639 housing units in the north & east of Sri Lanka. The entire sum of money has been drawn by the LTTE but only approx 100 housing units have been completed.
The banning of the LTTE in the UK in 2001 resulted in only one change in their course of action. They changed the name of their secretariat and fronts - and now continue to operate "business as usual".
Today they are at the centre of everything from credit card frauds to money laundering, drug trafficking and the international narcotics trade and they operate a commercially viable shipping network. The LTTE continues to destabilise Sri Lanka with funds mainly collected from the UK and Canada. Annual remittances from the UK alone both from extortion and their business activities is in the range of £10 million.
According to the Counter Terrorism Command of the UK Metropolitan Police they are aware of these activities but are faced with staffing constraints, as they are preoccupied with handling "Islamic terrorism". It is regrettable that terrorist groups that the UK, EU, USA, Canada, India, Australia and many other countries have chosen to ban continues to operate at large in the UK due to this "differentiation" between Islamic terror groups posing a threat to UK's domestic security and "other terrorist groups" which pose a threat to the domestic and regional security of other regions in the world, in this instance South Asia.
British tolerance feeding terrorism
Tamil gang violence continues unabated throughout London and its suburbs. On 16 February 2006 a Sri Lankan was stabbed to death at McDonalds in Tooting, London. The attack was carried out apparently in revenge for a sword attack against another Sri Lankan man which took place outside the Tooting police station 4 days earlier. According to police grudges based on the 23 year rebellion by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka have spilled into Britain and led to some horrific attacks. In 2005 alone, 16 killings have taken place involving the Sri Lankan Tamil community in the UK. The Specialist Crime Unit of the UK Metropolitan Police launched 2 operations (Operation Enver and Operation Quadrant) but sadly these operations which led to the arrest of hundreds of LTTE gangsters in the suburbs of London has been abandoned due to lack of funds apparently the priority is 'Islamic terrorism'.
It is interesting to note that Mr Charles Anthony, son of the internationally hunted criminal Velupillai Prabhakaran is now a student at the University of Belfast. His entry was secured with the help of the IRA's Martin McGuinness as a "confidence building measure" to contribute towards bringing peace to Sri Lanka!
Since 1995, three LTTE British charities and the Tamil Housing Association has raised over 8 million pounds. Most of the funds have been attracted as grants from local and central government because of the legitimacy these organisations have derived from being registered charities and a Housing Association in the UK. The Tamil Refugee Action Group has even got a British National Lottery grant of £78,450 pounds awarded on 2nd December 1998. Tamil Refugee Education and Training Centre where the LTTE official spokesman Anton Rajah works, has also attracted a British National Lottery grant of £155,484 pounds, awarded on 4th March 1999. It is a grant covering a period of 3 years.
The TRO has declared to the British authorities that since 1995 approximately 2.5 million pounds have gone from Britain to LTTE control, tax free, via the charity under the guise of "rehabilitation work". Although TRO has raised approximately 3 million pounds since 1995 and have no staff costs, most of those who canvass for the TRO are working for the other two charities and the Housing Association and are receiving salaries courtesy of the British tax payer. The total salary costs since 1995 of the Housing Association and the two charities (excluding TRO which has no salary costs) is approximately 1.5 million pounds.
By raising over £3 million pounds in the UK, without paying Value Added Tax on turnover and transferring over £2.5 million pounds out of Britain since 1995, exploiting the "charity status" it has gained by deception to avoid the payment of corporation tax, the LTTE may have defrauded the British Treasury, Her Majesty's Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise of over a million pounds.
There is no doubt that these groups are doing some degree of charity work and no doubt that the TRO does carry out refugee relief work in the Vanni jungles, but in the words of Charles Somasundram, the LTTE activist who wrote in the "Hot Spring" magazine, these charities are the brainchild of the LTTE leader Prabakaran. The charity work they carry out in the Vanni jungles is minuscule, (a fraction of the £ 2.5 million pounds that has been sent from Britain) compared to the other organisations such as UNHCR, ICRC, OXFAM etc. who are active in the conflict areas and refuse to have anything to do with the TRO, as they are all aware of TRO's LTTE connections. In its propaganda the TRO claims that it "works with" organisations such as CARE, MSF, UNHCR and UNICEF in order to gain credibility and legitimacy.
The charity work of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation is a facade to cover up its primary purpose, which is to raise funds to purchase weapons as commented by Don Gracey, security specialist to the Canadian Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence. The little work the TRO does in the Vanni jungles is given massive publicity in the LTTE controlled media in order to create a distorted perception among expatriate Tamils, that they are the largest NGO operating in the Vanni jungles, so as to emotionally target them and raise more funds to finance terrorism.
While UNHCR, ICRC, OXFAM and other international organisations move about freely all over Sri Lanka, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (British charity number 1010029), only operates in terrorist held areas of Sri Lanka, because as a terrorist outfit, it has no legitimacy in parts of Sri Lanka where democracy prevails.
Recurring themes of banned terrorist entities in UK
a) There are always 20 or so individuals (mover/shakers) who run groups, who - if taken out of the picture - would paralyse a group's activities overnight. b) When a group knows it is probably going to be banned, it steps up its level of activities (and rhetoric) until the day it is banned, preparing for banning.
c) Fundraising for groups comes from ongoing assets like property and state benefits, which are not going to disappear even if a group's funds are seized or re-distributed.
d) Fundraising for groups most often includes some use of a British registered charity.
e) Websites are often cached or duplicated.
f) Web presence will continue using a general term (Followers of Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamaa, for example, which is a group term also used by non-radicals)
g) Propaganda material (audio and video) is often moved to an online storage site, such as Sendspace, and its destination promoted privately.
h) Clear IP address / bank account detail / written / audio / video / other prosecutable evidence exists on individuals within groups likely to be banned.
In light of these themes, VIGIL is currently lobbying the UK parliament for a change in banning legislation. This would take the form of the following:
The suggested VIGIL banning mechanism
VIGIL has devised a simple method by which groups can get themselves banned - not a code making it easier for the government to ban groups, but a code allowing effective banning of groups by the government. It is similar to the threat security code but simpler. It is a three level code as follows:
GREEN First - whether by a UK authority, foreign government or other body - the UK Home Secretary receives a report of a group or hydra. This green level results in rapid private investigations of the group.
AMBER Second, investigations (or the strength of the original report) result in a public warning to the group. An official letter goes out to the recognised leaders of the group informing them of a likely imminent ban unless there is an immediate change in their conduct and activities (the 20 mover/shakers mentioned above). The letter clarifies that they will be held personally responsible (just like a company director for his company's activities) for future infringements and that these infringements could lead to large fines, deportation and / or a jail sentence (standard Dutch sentence 12 months, for example). These individuals have one week to convey this message to the group's followers and to present to the police / Home Office any group members they feel will put their positions in jeopardy. Finally, these individuals will be warned that they are as of now subject to an open ended review. A group/hydra - once it has reached amber - can never return to green.
RED Third, comes the ban. This is a seizure of assets, a cutting of ongoing funds (benefits, direct debit contributions etc) and the arrest of the liable individuals. Standard banning legislation is also used - websites forced offline and propaganda material seized. Banks used in the fundraising process for these groups should be publicly chastised where guilty and fined if possible.
Banning groups is a great opportunity for the British government to inflict lasting damage on terrorist networks. There are few opportunities as good as the banning opportunity to wound terrorists before they strike. There is no cure in terrorism - just prevention - and banning is an opportunity too good to miss.
There has been much talk of how the 7/7 bombers needed very little money to cause so much devastation. Yet the groups who provided them with support and succour use lots of money daily to spread their vile ideologies and win similar recruits - they openly raise these funds here in Britain.
This LTTE case study - just touching the surface of evidence collected by VIGIL over three months' infiltration - is a shocking example of how banning can go so wrong. It should not be allowed to repeat itself. While the effect on Britons of the LTTE's comfortable existence in the UK is minimal, the effect on Britons of the Al Mujahiroun Hydra's continued comfortable (benefit supported) existence in the UK will be paid for in blood. Not that this makes effectively banning the Al Mujahiroun Hydra more important than the effective banning of the LTTE - which causes daily mayhem in Sri Lanka and beyond, and whose infrastructure (so advanced it has its own shipping fleet) it is alleged Al Qaeda uses.
The key point here is liability. These supporters of terrorism are liable for what their proteges and "martyrs" go and do. The leaders of such groups - publicity seekers all of them - will not step aside from their responsibility of being seen as the leaders of their groups, or they will lose the leadership of their groups by default anyway. It is far easier talking the terror game than being an actual terrorist - it is time the British government stood up to the plate and stuck some long nails into the comfy armchairs of the leaders of these supporters of terrorism.
To the camp that says, "these groups will go underground - don't frighten them off" the Home Secretary should say "rubbish - they need the publicity so much they cannot afford to go underground." (And from VIGIL's experience they are groups which are easy to infiltrate - easy to glean amber level evidence on - even when they think they are out of the public glare).
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. - Sir Winston Churchill
Banning Explanation written by Dominic Whiteman. Dominic Whiteman is spokesman for the international anti-terrorist organisation VIGIL. VIGIL is headquartered in London and is comprised of anti terror experts, ranging from retired intelligence officers and military personnel to linguistic and banking experts.VIGIL is involved in anti terrorism intelligence-gathering activities across the globe, covering eighty percent Islamist terrorism and twenty percent other forms of terrorism. Its intelligence reports and gathered evidence are passed onto the UK agencies and other national intelligence establishments - on a regular basis. VIGIL's maxim - all terrorists are is fear.
© VIGIL/Dominic Whiteman, all rights reserved.