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 Post subject: LTTE conspired to buy SAM in USA - Photos added
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:42 am 
LTTE conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles in USA
Tamil Tigers sympathizers in region accused of terror support

Nine Tamil Tiger supporters - including four from Canada - were arrested for trying to buy Russian-made missiles and firearms for the terrorist group. One of the Canadians - Sahilal "Sahil" Sabaratnam, 27 - arrested by the FBI in Long Island on Saturday was described by authorities as the financial mastermind of the operation. Canadian citizen Sathajhan "Satha" Sarachandran, 26, and Thiruthanikan "Thani" Thanigasalam, 37, described as being from Canada, were also arrested. The RCMP also arrested Suresh Sriskandarajah, 26, in southern Ontario in connection with the scheme. He's expected to be extradited to the U.S.

Monday August 21, 2006
By TOM HAYS / Associated Press Writer
@ CB4Boston


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NEW YORK (AP) Emissaries of the Tamil Tigers rebel group conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles from a black-market source in the United States amid an escalating conflict with military forces in Sri Lanka, authorities said Monday.

Newly unsealed criminal complaints also allege the defendants sought to have the group removed from a list of terrorist organizations and to obtain classified intelligence by bribing U.S. officials.


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The defendants were involved in ``the procurement of military equipment, communications devices and other technology, fundraising and money laundering through charitable organizations and a myriad of other criminal activity, including conspiracy to bribe public officials,'' court papers said.

Six defendants, all foreign nationals, were to appear in federal court in Brooklyn to face charges of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted, each face up to 15 years in prison.

A defense attorney confirmed Nachimuthu Socrates, described in court papers as a Tamil Tigers supporter based in North America, had been arrested in Connecticut.

``We plan to fully and vigorously contest the charges,'' said the lawyer, Gerald Del Piano.

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Socrates was arrested around 6 a.m. at his Simsbury home, according to his son, Aristotle.

``It's just absurd,'' Aristotle Socrates said. ``Basically they spent a lot of time, they didn't get anywhere. They're going to ruin some guy's life to justify their existence.''

Socrates was born in India and came to the U.S. in 1976, his son said.

Aristotle Socrates said he was awakened in the morning by FBI agents who visited his home in Princeton, N.J., asking if his father was involved in terrorism. He said his father is an engineer with a master's degree from Columbia University, runs a small firm and was a soccer coach in the affluent Hartford suburb.

Authorities described Socrates as a supporter of the Tamil Tigers who made interim bribery payments connected to the scheme.

Socrates met with purported State Department officials to buy a purported classified intelligence document which referred to a U.S. investigation into the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, a charitable organization suspected of being a front for a Tigers fundraising organization, authorities said.

The U.S. Department of State added the Tamil Tigers, which began fighting in 1983 for a separate state in the Indian Ocean island's northeast, to its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 1997. The designation bars the group from raising money, obtaining weaponry or lobbying for support in the United States.

In a sting operation, undercover agents posing as Department of State officials were offered millions of dollars during a series of secret meetings in an apartment on Staten Island, one of the complaints said.

At a meeting in July 2005, Socrates asked undercover agents whether they ``could stop the United States government from sending arms to the Sri Lankan government'' and ``provide intelligence about this issue,'' the papers said.

Another defendant ``made it clear that he had traveled to the United States on behalf of (the Tamil Tigers') senior leadership in Sri Lanka,'' including the group's evasive founder, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the complaint said.

The undercover agents told the defendants that to be pulled off the terror list the group ``would have to renounce suicide bombings and the use of children as soldiers,'' the court papers said.

Other defendants were recorded in a separate sting last month in Queens negotiating for the purchase of 10 Russian-made missiles and 500 AK-47 rifles, prosecutors said.

``We need something for Kfir,'' one defendant said, according to court papers, referring to the type of fighter jets used by the Sri Lankan air force to strike rebel strongholds.

A recent surge in fighting has threatened to drag Sri Lanka back into civil war, four years after the Tamil Tigers and government reached a cease-fire brokered by Norway.

The rebels fought for almost two decades to carve out a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority. The civil war killed about 65,000 people.

Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in renewed fighting since late last year.


--

Associated Press reporter John Christoffersen in New Haven, Conn., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.)


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 Post subject: Four Canadians accused in Tamil Tiger missile plot
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:58 pm 
Four Canadians accused in Tamil Tiger missile plot

Sahilal "Sahil" Sabaratnam, 27 - arrested by the FBI in Long Island on Saturday was described by authorities as the financial mastermind of the operation. The name Sahilal Sabaratnam is listed as director of communications for the Canadian Tamil Congress in Toronto on an April 29, 2005, press release.

By ROB LAMBERTI AND BRODIE FENLON, SUN MEDIA
Copyright © 2006 Edmonton Sun


TORONTO -- Nine Tamil Tiger supporters - including four from Canada - were arrested for trying to buy Russian-made missiles and firearms for the terrorist group.

One of the Canadians - Sahilal "Sahil" Sabaratnam, 27 - arrested by the FBI in Long Island on Saturday was described by authorities as the financial mastermind of the operation.

The RCMP also arrested Suresh Sriskandarajah, 26, in southern Ontario in connection with the scheme. He's expected to be extradited to the U.S.

Canadian citizen Sathajhan "Satha" Sarachandran, 26, and Thiruthanikan "Thani" Thanigasalam, 37, described as being from Canada, were also arrested.

The nine are charged with conspiring to provide support and resources to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The arrests come as a 2002 cease fire appears to have crumbled, restarting a vicious civil war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels.

One of two indictments unsealed yesterday stated four suspects were arrested on Long Island on Saturday after three arrived from Canada trying to finalize a $900,000 deal to buy SA 18 surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers, AK-47s and training from a confidential informant.

"These defendants allegedly sought to obtain, through a variety of means, weapons and materials to carry out a deadly campaign of violence," U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a statement.

In Queens, a confidential informant allegedly discussed selling weapons with Sarachandran to shoot down the Kfir, Israeli-made jets used by the Sri Lankan Air Force. The $900,000 was to be funnelled through Swiss or other off-shore banks.

Sarachandran allegedly told the agent he was "taking direction" from the man who runs the intelligence and operations wing of the LTTE.

The second complaint filed contends the suspects were using funds raised and laundered through "front" charitable organizations, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization and the World Tamil Co-ordinating Committee, said Newark FBI spokesman Steve Siegel.

Authorities allege the group tried to bribe U.S. officials with $1 million to remove the LTTE from the U.S. terror list.

The name Sahilal Sabaratnam is listed as director of communications for the Canadian Tamil Congress in Toronto on an April 29, 2005, press release. David Poopalapillai, spokesman for the group, said last night that he didn't know him.


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 Post subject: Tamil Tigers offered a $1 million bribe
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:46 pm 
Tamil Tigers offered a $1 million bribe to a State Department official

Feds: Rebs wanted off watch list

Tamil Tigers supporter Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, a physician in London, declared that rebel leaders would never renounce suicide bombings and the use of children as soldiers as a condition of getting off the watch list. The Staten Island Sri Lankan turned out to be an FBI informant, who introduced Tamil Tigers operative Nachimuthu Socrates to an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a State Department official. After Socrates gave the official a $5,500 down payment on a $1 million bribe to lift the ban barring the Tamil Tigers from fund-raising in the U.S., the scheme was put on hold, authorities said.

BY JOHN MARZULLI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

© 2006 Daily News, New York

Supporters of the lethal Tamil Tigers offered a $1 million bribe to a State Department official to remove the Sri Lankan rebel group from a terrorist watch list, federal officials charged yesterday.

Brooklyn prosecutors said the audacious scheme was hatched by senior terror group leaders, who dispatched an operative to the U.S. in 2004 to gain favor with a Sri Lankan national living in Staten Island with purported "government sources."

The Staten Island Sri Lankan turned out to be an FBI informant, who introduced Tamil Tigers operative Nachimuthu Socrates to an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a State Department official, the complaint stated.

In addition, rebel operatives met this month with the informant in Queens, Staten Island and Long Island to discuss buying Russian-made missiles that could down Sri Lankan military aircraft, officials said.

"We refuse to allow the [Tamil Tigers] and its supporters to use the United States as a source of supply for weapons, technology and financial resources," said Brookyn U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf.

After Socrates gave the official a $5,500 down payment on a $1 million bribe to lift the ban barring the Tamil Tigers from fund-raising in the U.S., the scheme was put on hold, authorities said.

The complaint alleged that Tamil Tigers supporter Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, a physician in London, declared that rebel leaders would never renounce suicide bombings and the use of children as soldiers as a condition of getting off the watch list.

Besides Socrates, 55, and Vinayagamoorthy, 57, the feds charged 11 others in the bribery scheme and in a separate plot to buy weaponry for the rebel group.

The Tamil Tigers group was founded in 1976 to establish an independent state in northern Sri Lanka and has carried out 200 suicide bombings over the past 15 years.


Originally published on August 22, 2006


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 Post subject: Seattle man accused of aiding Tamil Tigers
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:04 pm 
Seattle man accused of aiding Tamil Tigers

FBI agents arrest a 27-year-old Seattle man of Sri Lankan origin Thirukumaran Sivasurbramaniam. At least 13 persons are arrested so far by US Federal agents in a sting operation and charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to LTTE which is on State Department's terrorist groups' list. Additional arrests were expected, sources said.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006
P-I STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES


SEATTLE -- FBI agents arrested a 27-year-old Seattle man of Sri Lankan origin early Monday, accusing him of providing financial services and moving money for the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization.

Thirukumaran Sivasurbramaniam faces charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and willfully dealing in property of an organization designated as terrorist by the State Department.

Sivasurbramaniam was one of eight people arrested around the nation Monday in an undercover sting operation that allegedly exposed attempts by the Tamil Tigers to obtain military equipment and to bribe U.S. government officials to remove their organization from the terrorist list.

The Tamil Tigers, according to court papers, have engaged in suicide bombings and assassinations in Sri Lanka as part of efforts to establish an independent state for the Tamil people, a minority ethnic group.


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 Post subject: The investigation
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:45 am 
The investigation
8 Defendants Arrested by FBI, Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support, Resources to Foreign Terrorist Organization

The defendants used several e- mail accounts in the United States to inquire about or purchase military arms, unmanned aerial vehicles for jamming radio transmissions and radar, submarine design software, flight lessons, cell towers, radio controller equipment, global positioning system equipment, short wavelength radio equipment, radio and satellite equipment, air traffic equipment, cameras, computers, and a host of other items to be used by the LTTE.

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@ USnewswire, 8/21/2006 6:19:00 PM

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Aug. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Two complaints were unsealed this morning in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn charging eight defendants with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization - the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers).

Four of the defendants were arrested on Long Island, N.Y., on Aug. 19, 2006, after three of them traveled to New York from Canada to attempt to purchase from an agent acting in an undercover capacity Russian-made SA-18 surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers, AK-47s and other weapons to be used by the LTTE in its rapidly escalating conflict against the Sri Lankan military. These four defendants were acting at the direction of senior LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka.

In the second complaint, multiple defendants are charged with providing material support to the LTTE that included the procurement of military equipment and dual use technology, fund raising and money laundering through "front" charitable organizations and U.S. bank accounts. The complaint also charges that the defendants attempted to obtain classified information, conspired to bribe U.S. public officials in an effort to remove the LTTE from the U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and dealt in illegal financial transactions with LTTE.

As alleged in both complaints, the defendants are closely connected with LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka, and many of them have personally met with LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and other senior leaders of the terrorist group.

The defendants arrested in the Eastern District of New York are scheduled to have their initial appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"The multi-faceted scheme by members and supporters of the Sri Lankan organization known as the Tamil Tigers demonstrates the need for continued vigilance in the global war against terrorists," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "These defendants allegedly sought to obtain, through a variety of means, weapons and materials to carry out a deadly campaign of violence. We will use every tool in our power to disrupt the activities of those who seek to harm others, both here and abroad."

"As charged, for more than 15 years, the LTTE has waged a war of terror, assassinations, and suicide bombings in Sri Lanka and elsewhere," stated U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf. "We refuse to allow the LTTE and its supporters to use the United States as a source of supply for weapons, technology, and financial resources." Ms. Mauskopf added that the investigation is continuing.

"Today's arrests of high level Tamil Tiger financiers and operatives are a clear example of the FBI's ability to combine long term, complex intelligence gathering, terrorism prevention, and law enforcement," stated Leslie G. Wiser Jr., FBI Special Agent-in-Charge, Newark Field Office. "This weekend's operation has severely impaired the Tamil Tigers' ability to acquire funding and weapons for their ongoing terror operations in Sri Lanka."

The investigation leading to the arrests announced today was conducted by the Newark Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with assistance provided by more than 20 of the FBI's Field Offices, including New York, New Haven, Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., Seattle, Wa., Baltimore, Md., Chicago, and San Jose, Calif.; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the U.S. Department of State; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Security Program; and British law enforcement authorities.

The LTTE

According to the complaints, the LTTE was founded in 1976 and uses illegal methods to raise money, acquire weapons and technology, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE began its armed conflict against the Sri Lankan government in 1983, and utilizes a guerrilla strategy that often includes acts of terrorism. With an army of several thousand combatants, the LTTE controls most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka. The complaints allege that over the past 15 years, the LTTE has conducted approximately 200 suicide bombings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of victims, and carried out numerous political assassinations, including the May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; the 1993 assassination of the President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa; the July 1999 assassination of Neelan Thiruchelvam, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament; the June 2000 assassination of C.V. Goonaratne, the Sri Lankan Industry Minister; and the August 2006 assassination of the Sri Lankan government's peace secretariat, Ketheshwaran Loganathan. Beginning in 2002, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government operated under a tenuous cease-fire agreement, but that agreement has essentially ended, and since April 2006, more than 1,700 people have been killed in the escalating conflict.

In 1997, the LTTE was designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and, therefore, may not legally raise money or procure specified equipment or materials in the United States.

Attempts to Bribe Purported State Department Officials

According to one complaint, Murugesu Vinayahamoorthy, a senior LTTE supporter, Nachimuthu Socrates, a LTTE supporter in North America, and other defendants attempted and conspired to bribe purported U.S. State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Beginning in 2004 and continuing over a period of several months, the defendants met with a confidential informant (CI-1) who was operating under law enforcement supervision and two purported State Department officials, identified in the complaint as UC-1 and UC-2, and discussed the financial terms of the bribe, including a $1 million up-front payment. During one meeting, the complaint alleges that Vinayagamoorthy said that he had traveled to the United States for the meeting on behalf of senior LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka, and that the LTTE "leader"- referring to Velupillai Prabhakaran - would make the ultimate decision as to how much the LTTE was willing to pay the State Department officials. During some of these meetings, UC-1 and Socrates also discussed the sale of classified United States intelligence information to the LTTE. The complaint alleges that Socrates made interim bribery payments to the CI to give to UC-1. Ultimately, the defendants put the scheme on hold due to "the prevailing climate" in Sri Lanka.

According to the complaint, in December 2005, Socrates met with UC-1 and CI-1 in order to purchase a purported classified intelligence document concerning the LTTE which made reference to an investigation by the United States and a foreign government into the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), a charitable organization suspected of being a "front" for a LTTE fund raising organization. Although the document was presented to the defendants as containing classified information, it was created by the FBI for purposes of the investigation. Socrates and CI-1 gave UC-1 $1,000 in cash, and UC-1 permitted Socrates to review the document. Socrates, in turn, passed the information to Vinayagamoorthy.

Attempt to Purchase Surface-to-Air Missiles

As alleged in the other complaint filed today, in July 2006, CI-1 received a telephone call, which was consensually recorded, from a LTTE supporter, Nadarasa Yogarasa (YOGA). Yoga believed that the CI had a relationship with a black market arms dealer who could acquire heavy military artillery, including missiles. On July 31, 2006, CI-1, Yoga, and Sathajhan Sarachandran (Satha), a LTTE supporter, met at a location in Queens, N.Y., and in a recorded conversation Satha discussed the types of weapons he wanted to purchase on behalf of the LTTE, specifically, surface- to-air missiles to be used against "the Kfir," a reference to the Israeli-made Kfir fighter jet aircraft used by the Sri Lankan military against the LTTE. Satha, a Canadian citizen who had traveled to New York from Canada for this meeting, advised CI-1 that he was taking direction from Pottu Amman, who handled "outside purchasing" of arms. Pottu Amman leads the intelligence and operations wing of the LTTE. On Aug. 7, 2006, CI-1 and YOGA met at another location in Queens and discussed various weapons that the LTTE needed, including AK-47s and truck-mounted missile systems.

On Aug. 18, 2006, Satha, Sahilal Sabaratnam (Sahil), identified in the complaint as the "financial guy," and Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam (Thani) traveled to the United States by car from Canada. Sahil and Thani, both Canadian citizens, are LTTE supporters.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, CI-1 met Satha, Sahil, and Thani at a location in Queens, and then they drove to another location on Long Island, where they met for several hours with two undercover law enforcement officers (identified in the complaint as UC-1 and UC-2). The meeting was consensually recorded. At the outset, UC-1 asked the defendants what they wanted to purchase, and Thani said, "We need something for Kfir," the Israeli-made fighter jets. UC-1 asked, "You want to shoot this airplane down?" Thani said yes. Thani also said they wanted weaponry to destroy boats. The defendants discussed using bank accounts in Switzerland, St. Croix, or other offshore locations to finance the purchase, and Thani stated that the defendants wanted delivery to occur ship-to-ship in the Indian Ocean. Thani and Sahil requested UC-2, who posed as a technical expert in military weaponry, to travel to Sri Lanka to train the ultimate users of the arms. Thani indicated that in the future, they wanted to purchase between 50 and 100 surface-to-air missiles, but would start with the smaller quantity of 10, obtain training on them in Sri Lanka and, if the missiles worked well, buy the remainder. During the meeting, the parties discussed the quantity and price of the missiles and AK-47 assault rifles, and agreed that an initial shipment would consist of 10 SA-18 surface-to-air missiles and 500 AK-47s, and that UC-2 would provide technical training on the use of the missiles. The parties also discussed a total price of between $900,000 and $937,500 for the equipment and the training. Satha, Sahil, and Thani then examined an SA-18 missile, which was brought into the room in a long wooden crate, as well as the missile's firing tube and trigger mechanism, and two AK-47 assault weapons.

LTTE Procurement Activities

As detailed in the complaints, the defendants used several e- mail accounts in the United States to inquire about or purchase military arms, unmanned aerial vehicles for jamming radio transmissions and radar, submarine design software, flight lessons, cell towers, radio controller equipment, global positioning system equipment, short wavelength radio equipment, radio and satellite equipment, air traffic equipment, cameras, computers, and a host of other items to be used by the LTTE. They also allegedly used U.S.-based bank accounts to launder money for LTTE-funded activities, including the purchase of operational equipment and travel to and from Sri Lanka.

LTTE Fund Raising in North America

The complaints allege that the defendants' conspiracy to provide material support to LTTE included fund raising in the United States and Canada, relying on "front" charitable organizations to give the fund raising the appearance of legitimacy. These organizations were also used to send goods and material to LTTE in Sri Lanka.

Maximum Sentences Defendants Face if Convicted

If convicted, the defendants face the following maximum sentences: 15 years for conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, 10 years for dealing in property of a specially designated terrorist, and five years for conspiracy to bribe public officials. The charges in the complaints are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Knox, Robert M. Radick, and Gurbir Grewal, under the supervision of Kelly T. Currie, Chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office Violent Crimes and Terrorism Section.


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 Post subject: We know nothing - LTTE
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 2:17 am 
We know nothing - LTTE
LTTE denies link with US arms agents

Source: HT / PK Balachandran
Colombo, August 22, 2006


The LTTE on Tuesday denied that it has any links with a group of Tamils who were arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for trying to buy arms for it, in defiance of the ban on the organisation in the United States.

"We have no connection with the people arrested and this is not our way of operating," Rasaiah Ilanthirayan, the LTTE's Military Spokesman told Hindustan Times over the phone from Kilinochchi.

Denying that the LTTE had tried to bribe officials to secure its ends, Ilanthirayan said: "We have never done like this before."


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 Post subject: US arrests show LTTE's desperation
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:08 pm 
US arrests show LTTE's desperation

The LTTE's anti-air capability stands considerably depleted since 2000 and its efforts to procure replenishments have not succeeded so far. It is now keeping its much reduced capability reserved for the personal protection of Prabhakaran. Unless and until it manages to procure replenishments, it would continue to lose heavily due to the increasingly successful air strikes by the SLAF. As the SLAF gains in self-confidence in its air strikes, there is a real danger of a successful decapitation strike against Prabhakaran himself.


B Raman | August 22, 2006 | 21:09 IST
© 2003 rediff.com India Limited


The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which figures on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTOs) of the US State Department since October, 1997, has landed itself into further difficulties in the US.
This follows allegations by US law enforcement officials that persons?said to be belonging to the LTTE?had tried to bribe US officials in an attempt to have its name removed from the list, and to buy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) from agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who posed as arms sellers and trapped them.

The announcement of the arrests is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it shows the desperation of the LTTE in trying to protect itself from the air strikes of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). The use of the SLAF against the LTTE by the Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse started after the abortive attempt of the LTTE to kill Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the chief of the Sri Lankan Army, towards the end of April, 2006.

Initially, the air strikes were confined to the Eastern Province, but, since the last week of July, 2006, the SLAF planes have been repeatedly venturing out into the skies over the Northern Province too.

In the beginning, the air strikes targeted a suspected airfield of the LTTE. SLAF aircraft also provided air cover to the ships of the Sri Lankan Navy during their confrontations with the ships of the LTTE's Navy. Since the last week of July, the SLAF has been using its air strikes to provide air cover to troops of the Sri Lankan army engaged in confrontations with the LTTE in the Eastern Province and in the Jaffna area of the Northern Province.

The LTTE's anti-air capability stands considerably depleted since 2000 and its efforts to procure replenishments have not succeeded so far. It is now keeping its much reduced capability reserved for the personal protection of Prabhakaran. Unless and until it manages to procure replenishments, it would continue to lose heavily due to the increasingly successful air strikes by the SLAF.

As the SLAF gains in self-confidence in its air strikes, there is a real danger of a successful decapitation strike against Prabhakaran himself.

The only counter which the LTTE has presently is the destruction of the SLAF aircraft on the ground in the airfields from which they are operating. Through effective physical security, the SLAF has been able to prevent this so far.

The arrest of the supporters of the LTTE by the US authorities would add to the revulsion of the international community over its continuing resort to terrorism. There will be a further dilution of whatever public support it has enjoyed abroad so far.

The developments in the US would come as a shot in the arm for the Sri Lankan authorities in their counter-insurgency operations. While there is still considerable support abroad for the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils, the law of diminishing returns is likely to set in so far as the LTTE is concerned.

The LTTE is unlikely to retrieve its image so long as Prabhakaran and his close associates involved in terrorism continue to lead the organisation.

Prabhakaran has become a liability for the Tamil cause. It is high time the moderate elements in the LTTE remove Prabhakaran and his close associates and take in their hands the responsibility for the future direction of the Tamil movement.

The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora should also exercise pressure for the removal of Prabhakaran and his terrorist associates.


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© 2003 rediff.com India Limited


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 Post subject: Sale of 'needles' was police sting operation
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:30 pm 
Sale of 'needles' was police sting operation

One American ensnared in the FBI sting -- Vijayshanthar "Chandru" Patpanathan -- reportedly told the FBI informant he laundered Tigers cash and "in total more money is raised in Canada" but the Tigers rely heavily on donors in the U.S.

The Canadians became involved July 30, when Nadarasa Yogarasa allegedly called the FBI informant in the belief that he had links to a "black market arms dealer." The next day, Yogarasa and one of the Canadians, Sathajhan Sarachandran, reportedly met with the informant in New York.

By ALAN CAIRNS
@ Ottawa Sun - 23 Aug 2006


TORONTO -- A supply of missiles and 500 AK-47s to be shipped to the Indian Ocean for the Tamil Tigers would have been bought and paid for yesterday if the arms dealer wasn't really a convicted drug trafficker turned informant, the FBI claims.

The informant at the centre of a massive weapons sting involving four Canadians was a convicted drug trafficker who was allowed to stay in America and get "financial assistance" from the FBI in return for turning informant.

'BLACK MARKET ARMS DEALER'

The Canadians became involved July 30, when Nadarasa Yogarasa allegedly called the FBI informant in the belief that he had links to a "black market arms dealer."

The next day, Yogarasa and one of the Canadians, Sathajhan Sarachandran, reportedly met with the informant in New York.

According to FBI documents, Sarachandran said his direction came from Pottu Amman, a Tiger leader in Sri Lanka.

Sarachandran allegedly told the informant they needed missiles to down Israeli-made Kfir fighter jets used by Sri Lankan forces. He said a "big guy" in Canada was Pottu Amman's "direct contact," the documents say.

The informant later is said to have told Sarachandran by e-mail the arms dealer could get Russian-made SA-18 missiles.

He sent photographs of the missiles with his e-mail.

In an Aug. 8 e-mail to Sri Lanka, Sarachandran told a Pottu Amman aide it would cost $75,000 US for each "needle," the FBI alleges.

On Aug. 15, Sarachandran told the informant the "big guy" in Canada had returned from Sri Lanka and had a weapons list. the documents say.

The Tamil Tigers were interested in 50-100 needles, Sarachandran allegedly told the informant.

Four Canadians tried to cross the border last Friday night on the pretence of attending a bachelor party in Buffalo, the FBI alleges, but one of them -- a man whose name is blacked out in court documents -- was turned back because he had a criminal record.

The Canadians met up with the informant and two undercover cops posing as arms dealers Saturday on Long Island, the documents say.

SHOOT DOWN PLANES

The undercover cops were allegedly told the Tamils wanted weapons to shoot down planes and sink boats.

The undercover cops were told the cash could be paid "Monday or Tuesday" and that bank accounts in "Switzerland, St. Croix" and elsewhere would be used, the FBI says.

The cops showed the three men a crated missile.

When alleged financial mastermind Sahil Sabaratnam said the crate looked like a casket, the FBI says, an undercover cop said, "the missiles would put quite a few people in caskets" and (Sabaratnam) laughed "yes."


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 Post subject: 'Charities' back terror in Sri Lanka
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:45 pm 
'Charities' back terror

The FBI fingers Canada as a hub of arms buying and the major source of illegal fundraising for Sri Lankan rebels, according to U.S. court documents filed in the terrorism-related arrests of four Canadians. The Tigers do most of their fundraising in Canada and the U.S., through charity organizations, including the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), the FBI said in documents filed in court after smashing the alleged terror ring.

By TOM GODFREY
@ Ottawa Sun Wed, August 23, 2006


TORONTO -- Canada is one of the top fundraising nations for the Tamil Tigers who earn enough here to fund their ongoing battle at home, U.S. court documents allege.

The Tigers do most of their fundraising in Canada and the U.S., through charity organizations, including the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), the FBI said in documents filed in court after smashing the alleged terror ring.

The charity groups "give their fundraising activities the appearance of legitimacy," the documents say.

The FBI alleges the WTCC "openly sells Tigers propaganda and literature on their websites."

Raj Guna-Nathan, president of TRO Canada, said the FBI allegations involve the American chapter of the organization -- which has 16 independent chapters around the world -- and is not connected to his group. Guna-Nathan said WTCC has no presence in Canada. Officials with the WTCC in the U.S. could not be reached last night.

MILLIONS RAISED HERE

According to the documents, Vijayshanthar "Chandru" Patpanathan, an alleged top Tigers fundraiser who was arrested, said millions of dollars were raised in Canada and sent to Sri Lanka through the TRO.

"More money is raised in Canada," Chandru reportedly told police. "The Tigers rely more heavily on donors in the U.S. for time-sensitive financing needs." Sending the money from Canada posed huge problems and the funds were smuggled into the U.S. and then relayed to Sri Lanka, he allegedly said.

The U.S. says the Tigers rely heavily on supporters in the States, Europe, Canada and Australia to acquire intelligence, purchase technology, arms and equipment and bribe government officials.


Group's shopping list deadly

By TOM GODFREY

TORONTO -- The outlawed Tamil Tigers terror group was filling a shopping list of deadly arms to be used to blow up Indian aircraft, ships and even submarines, FBI court documents allege.

Frontmen for the Tigers were trying to buy from undercover agents 50 to 100 so-called "needles," or Russian-made SA-18 surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers, 500 AK-47s and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of jamming radio and radar frequencies, the documents indicate.

"This group was gearing up for something big," said security specialist Sunil Ram of Huntsville, who does counter-terrorism training. "This equipment is enough to outfit a roving guerrilla army."

The Tigers made repeated attempts to obtain truck-mounted missiles and other weapons to shoot down Israeli-made Kfir fighter jets, the FBI says. They allegedly agreed to pay agents more than $1 million for the missiles, AK-47s and for undercover cops to provide training.

The group was also apparently interested in obtaining anti-tank missiles, "fire finders" that track the location of enemy fire and U.S.- and French-made surface-to-air missiles that can be used to attack ships.

Last March, the Tigers allegedly dished out $24,500 for design software to detect the weak spots of subs, the FBI says.


More Details:
:arrow: Read United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Report


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 Post subject: Analysis: Tamil terror bust 'shows threat'
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:48 am 
Analysis: Tamil terror bust 'shows threat'

Counter-terrorism specialists said that the Tamil Tigers had a highly sophisticated fund-raising machine. Mia Bloom, a former counter-terrorism consultant to the New Jersey state Department of Law and Public Safety, who now lectures at the University of Georgia said that through the tithing or taxation system known as nandavanan, the group was able to raise about a million dollars a day from diaspora Tamils. She said the figure was an estimate she had heard from both non-profits working in Sri Lanka and Western intelligence services.

By SHAUN WATERMAN
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor
© Copyright 2006 United Press International


WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The alleged efforts by U.S. and Canada-based supporters of the Tamil Tigers to buy weapons in New York represents an alarming departure from their traditional activities, which have been restricted to raising funds and political support.

Counter-terrorism specialists said that the Tigers, armed separatists fighting the government of Sri Lanka for an ethnic homeland, had a highly sophisticated fund-raising machine in Canada, but had never attempted to procure weapons in North America before.

Two U.S. federal criminal complaints unsealed Monday charge eight named men and seven others with a series of offences including attempting to buy shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles and AK47 assault rifles for the group, and plotting to bribe State Department officials to remove it from a list of terrorist organizations.

According to the complaints, those accused in the sting operations include "senior ... supporters" of the group, formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, or LTTE, who "have direct and frequent contact with LTEE leadership in Sri Lanka and are often dispatched by the LTTE to countries around the world, including the United States, to facilitate LTTE projects."

The complaints say that the group's supporters in the United States have been under investigation since 1999.

"This was a long-term intelligence gathering operation," Steven Siegel, spokesman for the FBI's Newark field office told United Press International.

"Recently, the individuals concerned became more and more determined in their efforts" to acquire advanced weapons and sophisticated dual-use technology like night-vision goggles, GPS equipment and software programs to assist in the design of submarines, said Siegel.

He said 14 people were in custody in various locations in the United States and Canada. The first arrests took place Friday following a meeting in Long Island, N.Y., with undercover FBI agents during which four LTTE supporters agreed to buy 500 assault rifles, 10 Russian-made SA-18 shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles and training for the missiles for $900,000.

According to the complaints, the chain of events that ended with the meeting about the missiles was initiated with a phone call on July 30. But some of the other activities charged date back much further. They include the bribery of a purported U.S. immigration official to issue fraudulent travel documents to several aliens to allow them to enter the United States, which dates back to October 2001.

Siegel said that hundreds of federal agents from 20 FBI field offices in the United States and law enforcement agencies in 10 countries abroad had taken part in the investigation.

Other arrests followed this week in San Jose, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Buffalo, N.Y., Connecticut and Canada. More were expected, he said.

Peter Chalk, a senior analyst with the defense think tank the RAND Corp., told United Press International the development was "worrying."

He said Canada and to a lesser extent the United States were "very important hubs for fundraising and propaganda work," for the group, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government in 1997.

He said that while the Tigers were famous for their sophisticated arms procurement capability, they had previously restricted themselves to Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent Eastern Europe.

"They have always gone out of their way to present as clean an image as possible" in North America, he said.

"It's a real change in tactics," agreed Mia Bloom, a former counter-terrorism consultant to the New Jersey state Department of Law and Public Safety, who now lectures at the University of Georgia.

She said that through the tithing or taxation system known as nandavanan, the group was able to raise about a million dollars a day from diaspora Tamils. She said the figure was an estimate she had heard from both non-profits working in Sri Lanka and Western intelligence services.

The complaints include charges of laundering and illegally raising funds for the group, and quote one of the defendants as saying "we have sent millions" to the Tigers through fake charities.

The defendant, Vijayshantar Patpanathan, went on to explain that, in the words of one complaint, "in total more money is raised in Canada, but that the LTTE relies more heavily on donors in the United States for more time sensitive financing needs."

Both Bloom and Chalk said they were concerned that the apparent change might presage a more operational stance by the group's supporters.

Chalk said the group had restricted its activities in North America to avoid attracting law enforcement attention and to shore up political support in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

"If they're starting to abandon that restraint," said Chalk, "the issue is where the line is now."

Bloom said the change in stance meant "The question is, will they start attacking Sri Lankan targets" in North America.

Aaron Mannes, a researcher at the University of Maryland, agreed that "there is little question that they have the ability" to launch terrorist attacks in the United States and Canada. "The issue," he said, "is what would push them into that kind of action."

Mannes said he personally considered any terrorist attacks by the Tigers in North America "highly unlikely. But you can't rule it out."

Siegel would not comment on any possible threats posed by the group in North America, beyond saying "That's why (the FBI and other federal agencies) are out there -- to stop terrorist attacks."


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 Post subject: Amherst man held for allegedly assisting terrorists
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:32 am 
Amherst man held for allegedly assisting terrorists
Shetland Drive resident may be involved with Tamil Tigers

By Jeff Shaw
TheAmherstRecord.com


Many people in Amherst have probably presumed the town is free of international terrorists.

According to recent federal charges, they may be wrong.

Amherst resident Vijayshanthar “Chandru” Patpanathan, 44, of Shetland Drive, is being held in New York City on accusations that he smuggled illegal aliens into the country, bribed federal officials and helped raise money for the Sri Lankan terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or the Tamil Tigers.

“They are a separatist group that is attempting to carve out a homeland for themselves,” said FBI Special Agent Steve Siegel. “They are renowned for their use of suicide bombers, as well as women and children, as soldiers in their actions.”

The Tigers are currently trying to get themselves off the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list, and have operatives in the United States trying to achieve that goal with bribes, according to the official federal complaint against Patpanathan and others.

“When an organization is on that list, they are restricted in the type of interactions they can have in other countries,” Siegel said. “(It restricts) trade, technology or any type of funding from the United States.”

The report also claims Patpanathan was heavily involved in phony charity organizations that act as a front for funding the Tigers and that he bribed Immigration and Naturalization Services officials to smuggle illegal aliens from Sri Lanka into the United States.

The arrest shows that not just big cities can be host to international criminals, Siegel said.

“There’s no specific place where people who support terrorism reside,” he said. “That would make our job much easier.”

Assistant Amherst Police Chief John Askey sees this as a reason for local police to be stronger than ever.

“It just confirms and should strengthen the resolve of law enforcement,” he said. “We have to stay vigilant... and do anything to curb the opportunities for this type of activity.”


Contact Jeff Shaw at 693-1000, Ext. 157, or shawj@gnnewspaper.com.



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