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LTTE attempting to play transnational terrorist game - Ex US Assistant Secretary

The boat carrying around 200 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka heading towards North America was part of an attempt by the Tigers to “create a network again and play the transnational terrorist game,” the Washington Post quoting former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia James Clad, reported yesterday. “I’m not an advocate for sending people back to their deaths, but that is just not happening in Sri Lanka,” he said.

“I’ve helped a lot of migrants before, but I know a scam when I see one,” he added.

Excerpts from the Washington Post article:

An estimated 200 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, including some believed to be members of a group the United States has labelled a terrorist organization, are aboard a ship in the Pacific Ocean heading towards North America, according to U S Government officials and other sources.

The MV Sun Sea had been destined for Australia but changed course after its captain determined that Australia’s navy and coastguard would prevent it from landing. Its current destination is believed to be the west coast of Canada, and it is expected to make landfall mid-month. “We are aware of the vessel and are monitoring its progress,” Homeland Security Department Spokesman Matthew Chandler said. “Should an emergency arise, the United States will respond appropriately.” The passengers are believed to include members of the LTTE as well as women and children. Sri Lankan newspaper reports said the ship had passed through the Straits of Malacca and was monitored by the Thai navy before heading east toward North America.

The ship appears to be the second to carry Tamil asylum seekers to North America after last May’s collapse of the Tamils’ 40-year battle for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka. In October, a ship with 76 Tamils landed at Victoria in British Columbia.

The State Department identifies the Tigers, also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as a terrorist organization. The FBI, in a 2008 posting on its Website, identified the group as “among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world,” crediting it with inventing the suicide belt, pioneering the use of women in suicide attacks and killing two world leaders — something no other terrorist group has done.

 

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