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LTTE Director in the US based in new York arrested


By Walter Jayawardhana

Karunakaran Kandasamay alias Karuna, a US based leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the New York suburb of Jamaica, Queens on the charge of providing material support for the Sri Lankan separatist terrorist group by fund raising.

According to the complaint the suspect arranged meetings between LTTE intelligence agents and people who knew about military technology to gather information for researching military technology

If convicted he could face jail term of 15 years. Kandasamy (50) was arrested by the Joint Terrorist Task Force of the federal law enforcement agency late Tuesday (April 25) the FBI said.

US Attorney Roslin R.Muskopf said the suspect allegedly was involved in fund raising activities and overseeing those activities as the local director of the group in the United States.

He was charged for holding fundraising event in November and December 2004 at a church and a local high school in South Brunswick New Jersey. New Jersey is the adjacent state to New York. The local area Sri Lankans were protesting at that time about those fundraising activities and complained to the FBI.

“As alleged in the complaint, for years the LTTE has covertly operated within the United States drawing on America’s financial resources and technological advances to further its war of terror in Sri Lanka and elsewhere,” stated U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf. “We refuse to allow this to continue.” Ms. Mauskopf added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution said he was the leader who was arranging the meetings between the leaders of the LTTE and the supporters and other Sri Lankans for the purpose of fund raising.

According to the complaint, Karuna also was responsible for arranging meetings in LTTE-controlled territory in Sri Lanka between LTTE leaders and prominent LTTE supporters from the United States. These supporters typically have backgrounds in engineering, technology, weaponry, medicine, and other scientific fields. Karuna and his subordinates also assisted LTTE intelligence agents in researching military technology.

The court papers filed said, the Tamil Tigers organization was founded in 1976 and relies on acts of terrorism, including suicide bombings and political assassinations, to achieve its goal of an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. The Black Tiger squad of the Tamil Tigers is responsible for the assassinations of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.

Assistant FBI Director Mark Mershon said, "Kandasamy hasn’t merely supported the Tamil Tigers’ cause, he orchestrated U.S. support. We can no sooner allow terrorists to raise funds here than we would allow them to carry out acts of terrorism here."

During the first sting operation by the FBI eleven others have been previously indicted in Brooklyn federal court on material support charges involving the attempted purchase of military equipment, including surface-to-air missiles from an undercover FBI Agent and the attempted bribery of a purported U.S. State Department official to remove the Tamil Tigers from the foreign terrorist organization list.

The arrest of Kandasamy took place in the same area. The government’s investigation was conducted by the New York and Newark Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with assistance provided by more than 20 of the FBI’s Field Offices, including New Haven, CT, Buffalo, NY, Seattle, WA, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, San Jose, CA, and Los Angeles, CA; the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the U.S. Department of State; and several foreign governments.

According to the complaint, the LTTE relies on sympathetic Tamil expatriates residing in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and several other countries to raise and launder money; smuggle arms, explosives, equipment, and technology into LTTE-controlled territory; obtain intelligence about the Sri Lankan government; and spread propaganda. To coordinate these activities, the LTTE has established “branches” in at least 12 countries, including the United States.

The complaint alleges that Karunakaran Kandasamy alias Karuna is the director of the American branch of the LTTE, which is located in Queens, New York, and operates through a front organization called the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (the “WTCC”). Karuna oversees and directs the LTTE’s activities in the United States, including fundraising. In the summer and fall of 2004, for example, the LTTE allegedly undertook a major worldwide campaign to raise money for its planned offensive against the Sri Lankan government in late 2005. In support of this planned offensive, Karuna held fundraising events in November and December 2004 at a church and a public high school in Queens, New York, and a school in South Brunswick, New Jersey. Hundreds attended.

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April 26, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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