the Blacklight Arrow

David Blacker’s Blog

Slow Creep — the World Tamil Movement and Tharisanam TV

The banning in Canada last week of the World Tamil Movement (WTM) and the taking down in London of Tharisanam TV a couple of days ago, hit the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a double punch that largely went unnoticed in Sri Lanka.

Last week’s listing of the WTM as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government, caused a furor in that country that went beyond the usual GoSL-LTTE split. The decision by Ottawa sparked as much debate on both sides of the Liberal-Conservative constituencies as can be seen on any Sri Lankan blog. Many of the voices remain supremely ignorant of the war in Sri Lanka, as well as the greater Tamil nationalist struggle, with much of the argument taking the predictable route of “terrorism is wrong” vs “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.

Announcing the ruling, Canada’s Public safety Minister Stockwell Day said that Ottawa had sufficient and reasonable evidence that the WTM had been raising funds for the LTTE, a Sri Lankan terror organization that Canada finally banned only in in 2006. Day also went on to say that the federal government will seize WTM assets and make it illegal for Canadians to help the group, financially or otherwise.

What is most significant is that this is the first time Ottawa has used its Anti-Terrorist Act (passed in the wake of 9/11) to shut down a Canadian community group for its links to terrorism. Until now, groups listed by Ottawa (40 in all) have been actively engaged in terror; organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hizbollah, Hamas, and the WTM’s parent group, the LTTE.

Active investigation of the WTM by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s federal law enforcement agency, began in 2002, but it wasn’t until Ottawa’s proscription of the LTTE in 2006, that the WTM came under the RCMP microscope as a possible front organization. The RCMP raided the WTM’s headquarters, housed in a red brick industrial building, a block from Highway 401 in Toronto’s suburb of Scarborough, while they looked into the organization’s financial connections to the LTTE. Earlier this year, dozens of bank accounts tied to WTM officers were frozen across the country and the group’s Montreal office shut down. By April, the Scarborough headquarters had ground to a virtual standstill, the building in the hands of RCMP officers. Continue reading

Advertisements

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Security, War | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments