|Monday, 05 May 2008|
Tamil terror group's manual revealed
Tap politicians, Tamil Tigers' guide dictates
Graeme Hamilton And Stewart Bell, National PostPublished: Monday, May 05, 2008
MONTREAL - Inside the school auditorium, the Tamil Tiger flag had been raised in a solemn ceremony and the audience of 600 people had heard a taped address from the terrorist group's leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Then an undercover RCMP officer watched as "a Caucasian male" approached the podium."The male praised [Foreign Affairs Minister] Maxime Bernier and spoke about the position of the government, which is to favour the nonviolence, diplomatic solutions to the conflict, etc.," says an RCMP affidavit made public on Friday by the Federal Court.When the speaker drove his Mercedes away from the Martyrs Day celebrations organized by Montreal's World Tamil Movement last Dec. 1, a surveillance officer noted the licence plate. It belonged to Maurice Brossard, the Conservative candidate in the riding of Brossard-La Prairie on Montreal's South Shore.The school auditorium address was typical of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's strategy of using everyone from Canadian political figures to ordinary Tamils visiting family in Sri Lanka to advance their fight for independence.An LTTE operations manual seized by RCMP in 2006 and made public for the first time in court documents unsealed on Friday, reveals that foreign politicians are central to the group's propaganda battle.
A photo from an exhibit filed in support of an RCMP affidavit shows Muralee Karan Thurairatnam, a WTM administrator, left, next to Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran
"The WTM followed the directives of the LTTE Operations Manual, which dictates that the foreign branches must establish contact with parliamentarians and political figures of all levels of government in order to advance their cause," RCMP Corporal Shirley Davermann wrote in the affidavit. Police uncovered the operations manual in a 2006 raid on WTM properties.Dated April 1, the affidavit supported a federal application to seize the World Tamil Movement's Montreal headquarters as well as its bank accounts, saying the assets were being used to finance terrorism. (The Canadian government listed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group in 2006.) The affidavit describes the WTM as a "foreign branch" of the LTTE.The annual Martyrs Day celebrations held in Montreal typically feature dozens of mock tombstones dedicated to fallen Tamil Tigers and militaristic banners.At last December's event, children were photographed wearing LTTE T-shirts and one young boy in military garb was shown brandishing a fake weapon.In an interview yesterday, Mr. Brossard said he was approached to offer support for the Tamil cause but did not think he was endorsing the Tigers. He said he did not recognize the flags on display as being those of the guerrilla group."I don't know all the symbols," he said.
"I was going there to support a peace process. The idea is to stop the violence. I don't want to be associated with the Tamil Tigers. I don't agree with terrorists."At the 2004 Martyrs Day event, Michael Applebaum, Mayor of the Montreal borough of Cote-des-Neiges-NDG, was photographed in attendance. Tamil Tiger flags were prominently displayed at the event, as was a banner with the logo of the Black Tigers, the group's suicide-bombing unit.RCMP investigators visited Mr. Applebaum at his office last February to inquire about his participation. "Applebaum confirmed attending some of the events prepared by the WTM," the affidavit notes. It says he gave investigators WTM documents requesting that he take part in other events and that the city provide financial assistance.The inclusion of Tamil-Canadian children in ceremonies celebrating the Tigers represents another prong of the group's plan for its foreign branches, as discovered in a document seized by the RCMP. An account of a 2004 training workshop held in Sri Lanka attended by Canadian Tamil activists, it describes a speech given by Mr. Prabhakaran, the Tiger leader."He strongly suggested that everyone has to believe in the absolute victory, and he explained that the younger generation that lives abroad must be taken in, for the freedom battle," according to the affidavit.The organization's wide-reaching tentacles have created a climate of fear among many in Montreal's Tamil community.
One confidential informant told investigators that the "WTM is omnipresent in the life of Tamil people" and ordinary citizens "are constantly reminded about the LTTE cause by the WTM members." None of the three Tamil informants cited in the affidavit are prepared to testify in court, fearing for their security.The RCMP also interviewed five Tamil witnesses, whose identities are blacked out in the affidavit. The five described being forced to agree to make regular payments to support the LTTE before they could enter territory controlled by the Tigers on trips back to Sri Lanka. The forms authorizing monthly withdrawals from the witnesses' bank accounts were brought back to Canada by Thanasegaram Chandrasegaram, a WTM fundraiser, the RCMP alleges.The police affidavit provides the most detailed explanation to date as to why the RCMP believes the World Tamil Movement has fuelled Sri Lanka's brutal civil war by financially harnessing the Tamil Canadian community.
Although the WTM office in Montreal has repeatedly denied fundraising for the Tamil Tigers, the RCMP says the Quebec group has been following explicit written demands from the guerrillas for money.The Canadian fundraising operation is run by the LTTE International Secretariat, based in Sri Lanka and headed by V. Manivannan, also known as Castro, according to police.In the LTTE operations manual seized by police, Manivannan advises his foreign branches to take "all necessary steps" to collect monthly donations from Tamils living outside Sri Lanka.He also spells out the types of fundraising activities that are to be conducted, ranging from charging admission fees for music, drama and sporting events to selling reading materials on Tamil Tigers "liberation battles."The Tigers keep careful track of the international fundraising machine. Foreign branches are told to send monthly income and expenditure statements to the LTTE International Secretariat by the 10th of each month. The RCMP says it obtained a binder containing 64 pages of such reports.A pre-authorized payment bank scheme appears to be the most lucrative fundraising method. The WTM encourages Canadian Tamils to sign forms allowing money to be withdrawn from their bank accounts each month, police say.
The RCMP document says the WTM in Montreal has raised more than $300,000 since 2003 using the method.The WTM works in close co-ordination with the Tamil Tigers on the bank scheme, police allege. The WTM sends the Tigers details about Canadian Tamils, including whether they have contributed money to the cause.When Canadian Tamils visit Sri Lanka, the Tigers will then check to see whether or not they are contributors. Those who aren't are asked to sign pre-authorized payment forms, which are sent back to Montreal."Karunananthaswamy was personally responsible for collecting the promised contributions signed by returning Tamil tourists. There were approximately 150 names on his collection list. Karunananthaswamy received the authorization forms on a regular basis from the LTTE in Sri Lanka and had the mandate to enforce the collection," the affidavit says. (Manivannan Karunananthaswamy is a WTM administrator.)"Karunananthaswamy and Chandrasegaram have been visiting Tamil people in Montreal in order to collect from the persons who signed the pre-authorized forms mentioned above and also to collect from those who are reluctant contributors."Other fundraising methods include a loan scheme and newspaper sales.
"The people feel intimidated by members of the WTM and feel obliged to give. They fear retribution if they refuse to contribute financially to the LTTE cause," the police affidavit says.Police estimate the WTM has raised $666,874 since 2001, just in Montreal.Police say financial records show the WTM has been transferring the money it collects to the Tamil Tigers through the International Secretariat. During one six-month period in 2005, the Montreal group sent $105,000 to the Tigers, the police document says.In some cases, WTM members used their own personal bank accounts to transfer money, and were repaid later by the WTM. "LTTE activists are fronting money to the WTM, in order to make fund transfers to the LTTE at the required time. The activists are then repaid from the money collected by the organization locally."It is unclear whether those making the donations were aware the WTM was sending the money to the Tigers.http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=492287
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 June 2008 )|
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