TamilWeek, Nov 27 - Dec 2, 2005
Did LTTE infighting in Australia lead to the crack
down of Melbourne Tigers?

by Hector Kulendraraja

A major crack down on alleged LTTE activity by the Australian Federal Police has
caused much excitement within the Sri Lankan diaspora here.

Tamil political circles were shell - shocked as the AFP in a swift, surgical strike
surrounded the homes and offices of Tamils with suspected links to the LTTE and
took into custody some prominent tiger activists for questioning.

They were released after statements were recorded and warrants issued.

Tiger activists however were in a state of panic after the crackdown.

Chief among causes for this agitated frame of mind was the lurking suspicion that
someone or some people from within their own ranks has turned "whistle blower".

According to a tiger activist speaking on condition of anonymity the Police seemed
to have exact information about the goings on within LTTE ranks in Australia.

"They had the bank account particulars, faxes, e - mail copies, passport numbers,
bank receipts, etc. They also knew who was responsible for what duty in our work.
They also knew the amounts of money sent to Sri Lanka and elsewhere, the dates
on which they were sent and the method used to send it" he said.

"Such information could have gone only from inside. Some of our own people
involved in the top positions must have leaked information to the authorities or the
Police must have infiltrated us". He blurted out.

"Even with all the top surveillance or electronic monitoring or wiretapping all this
information couldn't have been gotten by the coppers. It was too detailed" he said.

"We have a rough idea about the possible leaks but we must first meet this
problem" he said.

Apparently there were major splits and infighting among tiger activists in the
recent times. The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization had become a hotbed of
corruption and conspiracy. Disgruntled elements sidelined or removed from
positions of power could have informed the Police is the talk going around the
Tamil grapevine.

A well - informed LTTE insider described in detail the goings on within Australian
TRO circles as follows -

" The head of TRO International and well connected to TRO Australia is none
other than Jeyarajah "Jay" Maheswaran from Australia, who also represented the
LTTE at the Peace negotiations when it began in 2002.

He also worked very closely from Kilinochchi with the UN Agencies and other
INGO's. Lately, he was sidelined by the LTTE and TRO, due to reasons unknown.

Maheswaran  brought in the Pararajasingham brothers to Kilinochchi, and they
worked out of Kilinochchi. Later the younger brother Chandru Pararajasingham
was the defacto CEO of the TRO operating out of Colombo, when Tsunami struck
Sri Lanka just after Christmas.

TRO who were struggling for funds to coordinate the resttlement of the nearly
800,000 IDP, refugees from Point Pedro-Mannar to Pottuvil, and well placed with
small regional offices along the coastline was better placed than any organization
or NGO to handle the Tsunami problem. They  received the close cooperation
and assistance from the LTTE.

It was a windfall for TRO which according to reliable sources collected and
received around 55 Million US dollars, from 119 countries, INGO's, and other
agencies ..

Due to several irregularities in the Colombo office highlighted by knowledgeable  
Tamils and Tamil donors Chadru Pararajasingham was suddenly removed from
TRO and sent home on leave in March this year. His close associate Narendran
who went on leave in the heat of Tsunami in February, was not invited to return.
So was Chadru's Australian second wife, Margaret.

However, in  July Chandru to everyone's surprise was back in his luxurious "hot
seat" in Colombo and his luxury home paid for by TRO in Colombo, handling all
the finances and operations. His buddy was sent as TRO's Ambassador in the UK,
where TRO was "banned" recently and a million dollars of donation was seized  by
the British government.

Several fund raising opportunities in England where millions of dollars could have
been raised has been lost due to inadequate handling. TRO's international
exhibitions organized by Chandru Pararajasingham spending millions of rupees to
advertising and promotional companies have been shelved in summer.

According to TRO's own public statements to the Sri Lanka media a new
organization has been created with the "sister organizations" called ITRO.
Narendran is the CEO of ITRO in the UK and coordinates with the VENN PURA
organization, which has now replaced the banned TRO as the main Tamil NGO.

Other main players of this ITRO are Chandru Pararajasingham, his associate who
was involved with all the Colombo post Tsunami activities, Thasam Gunanayagam
from San Jose California, K P Regie who is the "official" TRO head in Sri Lanka. In
September Chandru was again removed from Colombo TRO for mysterious
reasons.

TRO worldwide has been collecting funds for the Tsunami victims. However
allegations are plenty on the manner the funds were used, as to the waste, and
inefficiency, and some instances of nepotism and corruption when the Sri Lankan
Customs, unlicensed Muslim Freight Forwarding agent's activities with TRO was
exposed.

A major cover up followed, to protect certain individuals and now even Chandru
Pararajasingham is covering up the prosecution of the Muslim Freight forwarding
agent and his close associates. The Muslim agent will walk free; in return of the
favor that he does not "spill the beans".

An  Australian millionaire who had volunteered to assist the TRO worked in
Colombo for a few months and then quit the TRO in disgust a few months ago.
The former CEO of Glaxo who volunteered to work at the Colombo office in
January gave up in a few weeks, accusing the TRO  of unmentionable conduct.

TRO worldwide was also guilty of appointing some undesirable representatives in
some cities who were associated with undesirable elements  and close relatives of
their own, who are having their own secret agenda, and are guilty of operating it
as a "secret organization" in certain cities.

It is this split and division within the Australian TRO personnel that led to
information being leaked to authorities it is suspected.

Whatever or whoever the informants who provided special information to the
authorities the entire operation carried out by the Police was a "blitzkreig".

In a surprise swoop the Federal Police arrested for questioning more than 15
LTTE operatives and raided offices of LTTE front organisations and homes of
suspected LTTE operatives. Computer hardware, passports, cash, diaries, bank
receipts, cheque stumps, and other records were seized.

According to some  sources, the  operation followed painstaking investigations
conducted over many months into the activities of LTTE operatives and LTTE
front organisations allegedly involved in fund raising and money laundering.
Federal Police targeted members of the Tamils Coordinating Committee, Tamils
Rehabilitation Organisation and Tamil Medical Aid which are identified as LTTE
front organisations operating in Australia despite an Australian Government ban
on the fund - raisiing activity of the LTTE. Police raided the Melbourne office of
the Tamils Coordinating Committee (TCC) which functions as the headquarters for
LTTE's operation in Australia and New Zealand. Several other premises including
a printing press, grocery stores and private homes were also raided.

Australian Federal Police have uncovered an LTTE international network of front
organisations, companies, business establishments and factories in Australia, and
in countries like Malaysia used as fronts for LTTE's international money
laundering, fund raising and arms running activities. Tamil Coordinating
Committee, Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, World Tamil Coordinating
Committee, Tamils Medical Aid, Liberty Pharmaceutical and Medical Company,
Unipex Marketing Alliance, Kaliba Company, RF Modules, Allice and Charles Pty
Ltd, and Limate Pty Ltd have been identified by the Australian Federal Police as
part of LTTE's international network connected to Australia.

Among the leading figures targeted by the Australian Federal Police are Thillai
Jeyakumar (the LTTE's representative for Australia and New Zealand), Jeyarajan
Maheswaran ( LTTE's Economic Advisor and member of LTTE's delegation at
Norway sponsored Sri Lankan Peace Talks) Sivarajah Yathavan (President of the
TCC in Melbourne and Editor of Eelamurasu), Dr Ponniah Sathiyanathan ( a Tamil
Press owner), Dr Easwaran Kanapathipillai (leading member of the Tamils Medical
Aid), Arooran Vinayagamoorthy, Quilan, Abiramin Yathavan, Visakamperumal
Vishnu Raj (co-owner of Venus Stores), Sundar Sunderalingam (proprietor of a
Travel Agency),Rajeswaran Mailvanagam (co-owner of Venus Stores), Arumugam
Ragavan, Alagaratnam Thillagarajan, Mayuran Pathmanathan, Emmanuel
Jebanesan Samuel, Elilvannan and Mohan.

According to Police sources, LTTE operatives were involved in a massive fund
raising operation in Australia and have managed to transfer a sum of 246 million
Sri Lankan rupees to the LTTE over a period of 2 1/2 years between April 2003
and November 2005. Five of the LTTE operatives, Thillai Jeyakumar, Sivarajah
Yathavan, Dr Sathiyanathan, Abirami Yathavan and Arooran Vinayagamoorthy
are to be charged for violating UN Security Council Resolution 1373 “ the key
resolution prohibiting terrorist activity “ and the Australian Criminal Code Act of
1995.

They face four charges under Section 102 . 3 and 102.6 of the Criminal Code  
a)for being intentionally members of a terrorist organisation,
b)receiving or making available funds for a terrorist organisation,
c)intentionally provided or collected funds to be used to facilitate terrorist acts,
intentionally providing support and resources to a terrorist organisation, and for
d)  dealing with assets of a terrorist organisation.
Certain provisions of the commonwealth Criminal Act are also likely to be invoked.

The Australian Federal Police action against the Tigers  comes in the wake of
reports that the LTTE is engaged in a massive fund raising operation allegedly for
the final war for a separate Eelam homeland. Each Tamil Australian was being told
to give $10,000 and business establishments $25,000 allegedly for LTTE leader's
final battle for a separate state in North East Sri Lanka. The raid has reportedly
disrupted the Heroes Day celebrations being organised by TRO in Sydney and
Melbourne.

The  Melbourne raid is the  toughest action so far by a Western government
against overseas LTTE organizations so far.

It is also reported that several copies of the book "War and Peace in Sri Lanka"
written by tiger ideologue Anton Balasingham were also seized by the Police in the
raid.

The head of the TRO in Australia, Melbourne-based gynaecologist Rajan Rasiah,
was unaware that any of his members were raided but revealed his organisation's
fundraising had jumped fivefold after the tsunami, which ravaged the nation, from
$200,000 a year in charitable donations to $1.1million.

When Australian Journalists , Cameron Stewart and Natasha Robinson,  spoke to
him Dr. Rasiah insisted that the TRO had no choice but to co-operate with the
Tamil Tigers, also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, 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 north-east," Dr Rasiah said.

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.
However, Dr Rasiah said the Tigers were "freedom fighters", not terrorists.

In an attempt perhaps to share the fame  the Sri Lankan High Commission claimed
credit for the action.

Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner Asoka Girihagama told "The Australian"
newspaper  yesterday that Sri Lanka had passed information to Australia about
suspected fundraising by the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation.

"We have heard bad news about the TRO's fundraising activities in Australia," he
said. "We have kept the Australian Government very well informed about these
activities."

According to some observers the Australian action comes four years after the
Australian government pledged to freeze assets of over 200 individuals and
organisations including the LTTE.This was revealed ahead of Biennial
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Coolum, Brisbane in
early March 2002. On the first day of the four-day summit Commonwealth leaders
including British Premier Tony Blair and Australian Premier John Howard,
unanimously adopted a plan in which countries supporting terrorist groups would
be expelled. The CHOGM taking place in the backdrop of the 9/11 al-Qaeda
strikes on the US,  declared that there was no place for any member nation that
aided, supported, instigated, financed or harboured terrorists.

The anti-terrorist strategy adopted at the March 2002 CHOGM had been
prepared by a ten-member Commonwealth ministerial-level committee that
included India and Sri Lanka. The committee was appointed by the former New
Zealand Foreign Minister and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Don
Makinnon following fierce criticism that he ignored the al-Qaeda attacks.

The strategy is designed to assist member countries in the implementation of the
UN Security Council Resolution calling for international action against terrorism. It
covers assistance to member countries to ratify and implement UN anti-terrorist
conventions, a review of Commonwealth Extradition and Mutual assistance in
criminal matters to ensure they can operate effectively to combat terrorism, other
measures to increase low enforcement co-operation, measures to combat money
laundering and financing of terrorism.
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