By Shenali Waduge
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service claims that there are more terrorist groups active in Canada today than in any other country in the world. That is an alarming scenario for Canada. Terrorists are called terrorists because they strike terror. They do not respect or honor human life and instead take potshots to nullify the right of a person to live. Why does it become difficult for even media to project terrorists for what they are instead of romanticizing their killing campaigns in order to justify their killing? Why would parliamentarians and members of society put the right to life of a terrorist above the right to life of a civilian and do these civilians not have the right to live in peace and is a Government not bound to provide that peace?
Given that terrorist groups are active in Canada it should not surprise any as to how strong LTTE terrorism prevails inside Canada to warrant its proscription by the Canadian Government in 2006 with its anti-terror laws denying any financial support to the LTTE or any means to “facilitate” LTTE work in Canada. If declassified Canadian intelligence report (by Integrated Threat Assessment Centre) has revealed that the LTTE has been waging an intensive “propaganda campaign” in Canada to win support of Canadian politicians, and that the LTTE is “spending” resources to lobby Canadians – what is the Canadian Government doing about it?
The evidence of pro-LTTE groups raising funds, intimidating Tamils to “donate”, organizing events and demonstrations clearly indicate that serious irregularities are taking place in Canada.
- The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has fined two Hindu temples for sending money to an LTTE front organization in 2004 (Richmond Hill Hindu Temple had donated $118,000 towards LTTE in 2005-2006 whilst Hindu Mission of Mississauga had donated $85,000) sent through the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization which is banned in both US and UK
- In 2010 CRA shut down the Tamil Refugee-Aid Society of Ottawa for trying to purchase missiles and AK-47s rifles for the LTTE in 2006.
- In 2008 Canada banned the World Tamil Organization for raising funds for the LTTE.
- The RMCP has labeled the World Tamil Movement as a front-organization of the LTTE. All these organizations are linked to other pro-LTTE groups worldover.
- October 2012 – Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said it had asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to issue a terrorism-related deportation a member of the World Tamil Movement accused of accused of using pressure tactics to squeeze contributions from ethnic Tamils in Canada to send to LTTE and its Former WTM leader Manickavasagam Suresh was arrested in 1995. A former WTM member, Prapaharan Thambaithurai, pleaded guilty to fundraising for LTTE in Vancouver in 2010.
- In 2001, Prapaharan Thambithurai became the first Tamil Canadian to be charged on terrorism financing, for soliciting donations for the World Tamil Movement.
- In 2006, Director of Communications of Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) Sahilal Sabaratnam, a student of the University of Toronto Sathajhan Sarachandran and 8 others were arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation for trying to purchase Russian-made missiles and firearms worth $1 million, for the LTTE
- U.S. State Departments states that the World Tamil Movement and the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils are the major umbrella organization for pro-LTTE groups
- If anyone has any doubts of the LTTE or its front organizations please read the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report – http://www.csis-scrs.gc.ca/pblctns/cmmntr/cm77-eng.asp
- Tamil Canadians spent $ 7 1/2million for the explosives that blew up the Central Bank in Sri Lanka in 1996 killing innocent civilians (reported by RCMP) – Canada took no action
Why Canada is not taking a firmer hold of the situation?
Canada needs to seriously address the issue of LTTE lobbying Canadian parliamentarians and the type of monetary and non-monetary remunerations that pro-LTTE groups adopt in Canada?
- Many appeals have been made to the Canadian Government to investigate LTTE support/propaganda and financing in Canada (estimated USD2m sent from Canada to LTTE) – Canada took no action
- Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin / Ms. M. Minna and several MPs attended an LTTE fundraiser in 2000 – Canada took no action
- Canadian MPs, local politicians etc openly take part in LTTE propaganda. If Canada’s Liberal MPs attended a ceremony honoring LTTE leaders – should these MPs not be investigated by secret service because any MP that takes money from one terrorist group can easily take funds from other terrorist groups which will be a national security concern for Canada?
- Why is it that only Canadian MPs including Bob Rae and Rathika Sitsabaiesan of the Greater Toronto Area and Suburbs are concerned about the Tamils in Sri Lanka? A sovereign country has every right to decide where it places its military – would Canada move its troops if Sri Lankan MPs were to protest?
- Amnesty International accepted Canadian dollars 50,000 from the Canadian Tamil Congress which was lobbying against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva – an “unbiased” international HR organization cannot accept donations from “biased” groups! CTC fund raising event where the cheque was presented was attended by pro-LTTE TNA parliamentarian Sumitharann and the CTC head openly thanked Canadian MP Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird for supporting their cause.
Canada is well aware that LTTE activists have been using threats of violence to coerce Canadian Tamils to make financial contributions. In 2006 Canadian Conservative Government went on to say that LTTE was not a “suitable peace partner” though for 13 years the Liberal Party has watched LTTE blossom in Canada and Bob Rae was the Leader of the Liberal Party. However Rae, writing to the Globe and Mail on 21 November 2012 claims a “mammoth” loss of life took place in Sri Lanka though not a word was ever written about loss of civilian life in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. Canada needs to investigate the context of Bob Rae’s vindictive attitude towards a sovereign nation.
To all mouthpieces of the LTTE issuing statement after another, books galore and singing songs on behalf of the LTTE – we would like to simply say the “Rule of Law” lies in chunky deposits to their bank accounts which is not too late to investigate! The bestsellers now on the stands of bookstores claiming to project a picture of “genocide” cannot deny that every piece of “evidence” quoted comes from pro-LTTE speakers or interviews and pro-LTTE channel sources like Tamilnet. Frances Harrison’s book “Still Counting the Dead” finds her thanking Tamilnet – Will a pro-LTTE group ever confess to its sins? So is there any point in asking Tamilnet, Global Tamil Forum, British Tamil Forum, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization anything against the LTTE – that’s like asking the thief whether he stole!
Yet why is the Canadian Government so hostile towards Sri Lanka?
When not a single country dares to accuse the US and NATO of war crimes why is it only Sri Lanka that is being flogged? Why did the Canadian PM make a statement that he would not attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka after meeting leaders of the LTTE in Toronto? Why are voices like Martin Collacot (former Canadian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka and a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute) who says LTTE is trying to influence Canadian MPs not warrant decisive action from the Canadian Government.
A Parliamentary delegation from Canada comprising Deputy MP Joe Daniel, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multiculturalism Hon. Chungen Leung MP, and Member of the Conservative Party Marlene Gallyot visited Sri Lanka in January 2012 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxlQ01IbSf0
The delegation confirmed that Canada is only given a one-sided version from pro-LTTE groups and Marlene Gallyot confirmed that when she asked the people of the North whether they received the moneys that so many Tamil charities had been collecting from Canada they had replied not a dollar had been received – so do we believe Bob Rae, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and a host of other Liberals whose 13 year rule resulted in pro-LTTE groups collecting $2million a month to send to the LTTE to kill and maim innocent Sri Lankans?
Rathika Sitsabaiesan who represents NDP, Scarborough Southwest winning 18000 votes from a valid voter base of 85,000 should give priority to investigate the intimidations that pro-LTTE groups make upon Tamils in Canada, the harassment that they go through and why they live in fear in a country where democracy prevails not wanting to report their fear to the Canadian authorities…..these are the duties beholden of Ms. Sitsabeisan having won from Canadian votes which is more productive than ignoring the plight of Tamils to promote pro-LTTE groups who desire to destabilize Sri Lanka.
As for all the furor over civilian killings how is it that the statement of US Attorney General Eric Holdier “If someone is an enemy combatant, it does not matter if he is unarmed or not, because lethal force is permitted against enemy fighters and commanders in the course of an ongoing armed conflict and sometimes in case of self-defence”! If Sri Lanka were to say the same – how would the world react? Or did anyone dare say President Obama committed a crime when in his address to the Nation claimed “I ordered the Director of the CIA to make a killing or capture of Osama Bin Laden who is responsible for the 9/11 attack. At last justice has been done to the victims of 9/11. We will not stand idly when our security is threatened”. 9/11 was just one instance – Sri Lanka lost thousands of lives in 30 years. What about the justice for these people who died each day, each month as a result of LTTE bombs, suicide missions and assassinations?
The guestimates of civilian casualties are as bizarre and appear to be a competition on who can guess the correct number. So we have figures been thrown at the Government but without a single proof but said often enough creates the “ahs” and “ohs” preparing grounds for other agendas.
Can those competing to guestimate the civilian fatalities please note that in a population of 20m when 12% are Tamils (excluding the Indian Tamils) there are only 2.4m Tamils in Sri Lanka – and from this figure we need to reduce the number of Tamils now overseas…. Which doesn’t leave that many Tamils in the North given the large numbers that live amongst the Sinhalese! So those competing to quote civilian casualties please do your arithmetic properly – it saves us from ridiculing these arguments. Also view the on the spot reporting by Indian journalists to see the unfair attitude of international organizations towards a sovereign nation.
- To those that tear when hearing the stories of these LTTE lobbyists first need to ask what country other than Sri Lanka has made 6 separate attempts over 30 years to negotiate peace through direct negotiations at both local and international levels with countless ceasefires the last of which the Nordic monitoring mission recorded close to 7000 violations by the LTTE?
- To those that weep for the LTTE need to first ask why LTTE would kill their own Tamil people numbering over 250 including parliamentarians, academics, public servants, civil society, mayors, clergy inclusive of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, a distinguished Tamil?
- To those in mourning for the LTTE need to answer why a movement should opt to kidnap Tamil children and turn them into child killers and order them to commit suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule – Bob Rae and Rathika please answer? Are there no mourners for these children denied the love of their parents and denied their fundamental right to education?
- To those projecting a picture that the Government of Sri Lanka has committed “genocide” should explain why they would save 295,873 civilians – not at once but in batches where the soldiers attempting to save them had to lay down their lives. Do these soldiers not have families of their own and are their kids now without a father – who is there to mourn for these fatherless children? Did a single international editorial allocate space to show how the Sri Lankan soldiers were feeding, nursing the wounds of the Tamil civilians they helped save? Is this not part of unbiased journalism to be showing both sides of the story? Given that the civilians had been with the LTTE why were these civilians practically crying out for food and water – was it not because LTTE were giving food only to their cadres and their supporters?
Did it not occur to international entities screaming down the Governments’ throat to “resettle” Tamil civilians that there were over 1.5million landmines that needed to be demined before allowing people to settle? Were these calls purposely to coerce the Government to allow civilians to walk into mined areas so that they could use these deaths as another “genocide” accusation? We are broaching all the odds!
Those probably making silent prayers to the fallen LTTE may also like to note that the President of Sri Lanka made 2 appeals to the LTTE to give up their arms and surrender. Had the LTTE done so probably Sri Lanka would be a nation experiencing constant bombings, suicide attempts and having an inundated number of foreign VIPs landing in Sri Lanka for “negotiated settlement” and political solutions – all those lovely terminologies that have brought the people nothing in 30 years but enabled the LTTE kitty to rise to USD300m and kill – is this what the world wanted to continue in Sri Lanka instead of the peace that now prevails?
The views expressed are the author’s own.