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US: Tigers sought SA-18 missiles

The US embassy in Colombo on Tuesday said that the LTTE tried to acquire Russian made SA-18 surface to air missiles and missile launchers.

The following is the full text of the embassy statement: Two complaints were unsealed August 21 in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn charging thirteen 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). Four of the defendants were arrested on Long Island, New York, on August 19, after three of them traveled to New York from Canada to attempt to purchase Russian-made SA-18 surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers, AK-47s, and other weapons to be used by the LTTE.

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.

The investigation leading to the arrests announced yesterday was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with assistance provided by more than 20 of the FBI’s Field Offices, the United States 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 multi-faceted scheme by members and supporters of the LTTE 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."

According to one complaint, a senior 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.

According to the complaint, an LTTE supporter attempted 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 a charitable organization suspected of being a "front" for a LTTE fund raising organization.`A0 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.

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.

Via… The Island


August 23, 2006 - Posted by | Media Journalism, News, News and politics, World News

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