US worthy of emulation
The United States has set an example in the global drive
against terrorism by becoming the first to take tangible action against
an LTTE front organisation.
The US Government froze all assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation
Organisation (TRO ), an LTTE front, in the USA in furtherance of its
declared aim of financially isolating terrorist groups and their support
networks. The US Government arrived at this decision following detailed
The TRO, which styles itself as a charitable organisation, acts as a
front to facilitate fund-raising and procurement for the LTTE. It has
been already declared a terrorist organisation in the US, Britain,
Canada, India and the European Union.
While forcing Tamil expatriates to pay 'taxes' the LTTE terrorists
continue to raise large volumes of funds from their own community and
sympathisers in various countries through front organisations that
seemingly have no connection to the LTTE.
As pointed out by Sri Lanka for sometime the proscription of the LTTE
has been undermined by certain front organisations of the LTTE,
particularly the TRO to continue collecting funds to beef up the LTTE
The freezing of assets of the TRO and other allied bodies would no
doubt set a precedent to several other countries which are also
investigating LTTE front organisations to take tangible action against
Many people here had their reservations on the conduct of some
Western countries, which seem to have turned a blind eye against
activities of terrorist organisations in developing countries.
However, in taking such a timely and appropriate action against a
'shadow wing' of a ruthless terrorist organisation such as the LTTE, the
US Government has proved its sincerity.
The United States has declared the LTTE as a Specially Designated
Global Terrorist Organisation since 2001 and a Foreign Terrorist
Organisation since 1997. The TRO has now been designated under Executive
Order 13,224 which is aimed at financially isolating terrorist groups
and their support networks. It freezes any assets held by designees
under US jurisdiction and prohibits US persons from transacting with
The TRO raised funds in the US on behalf of the LTTE, through a
network of individual representatives.
According to a source within the organisation, the TRO is the
preferred conduit of funds from the United States to the LTTE. The TRO
has also facilitated LTTE procurement operations in the United States.
Such operations included the purchase of ammunition, equipment,
communication devices, and other technology for the Tiger terrorists,
clashing with the legitimate Government in Sri Lanka.
The TRO's efforts worldwide reportedly have allowed the Tiger
terrorists to use humanitarian aid, which it collected for the
international community after the December 2004 tsunami, to launch new
campaigns to strengthen the LTTE's military capacity. The TRO runs an
office in Kilinochchi and operates branch offices throughout the island
and in many countries.
It is well-known that the LTTE oversees the activities of the TRO and
other LTTE-linked NGOs both here and abroad. The directives issued by
the Tigers suggest that LTTE-affiliated branch representatives are
expected to co-ordinate their efforts with the TRO representatives in
their locations and report all activity to the LTTE.
It has now been proved that the LTTE has ordered INGOs in Tiger-held
areas to provide all projects funding through local NGOs, which are
managed collectively by the TRO.
This allows the TRO to withdraw money from the local NGO accounts and
provide a portion of the relief funds to the LTTE to finance their
The LTTE has reportedly exerted pressure on a few international NGOs
that resisted. The LTTE more often than not tried to give a human face
to the TRO so that it could attract more finances.
It has been a well-organised move to raise funds for a terrorist
organisation that has been banned in the US since October, 1997, with a
subsequent amendment as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
played a major role in exposing the true nature of the LTTE and TRO
before the international community.
We earnestly hope the countries battling against world terrorism
would take the cue from the United States. At the same time, the Tamil
community both here and the world over should realise that this is a
move against global terrorism and not against a particular ethnic group.
As the US Ambassador Robert Blake has said, the purpose of freezing
the TRO assets in the US was to block funds to the LTTE and not for
While the Government makes a sincere effort to find a negotiated
settlement - an honourable peace acceptable to all communities here,
through the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), we must continue
the nation's drive against terrorism. We cannot allow the LTTE to heap
misery on innocent civilians anymore.
The bold decision of the US Government is an eye opener to one and
all. By doing so, the Bush administration has proved its sincerity to
eradicate world terrorism. All peace-loving people and those who
campaign for anti-terrorism would hail the US decision and hope that
other countries too would follow suit.
As President Mahinda Rajapaksa has quite often emphasised at various
international fora, including the recent UN General Assembly, terrorism
anywhere in the world is terrorism. There can't be two types or
definitions to terrorism in the East and West.
Terrorism should be defeated at any cost as it is a big threat to