LTTE attempting to play transnational terrorist game - Ex US
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
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.