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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shutting down the Tamil Tiger supply line


Six charged in Maryland with trying to run guns to the Tamil Tigers, as set out here. Some of the action used Guam as a shipment point:
For the last six months federal authorities working in Maryland and Guam have been conducting an undercover operation as six individuals with ties to a foreign terrorist organization attempted to purchase firearms and night vision equipment locally. Sealed indictments and complaints were handed down in Maryland on September 19. The federal complaints and charges were unsealed today charging six individuals with conspiracy to export arms and munitions. Three of those defendants were additionally charged with conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization and money laundering.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the six were arrested in Guam after attempting to purchase sniper rifles, sub-machineguns with suppressors, grenade launchers and night vision equipment. The arms and support were to be given to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and twenty-eight other countries.

55-year-old Haniffa Bin Osman of Singapore, 60-year-old Erick Wotulo and 69-year-old Haji Subandi, both of Indonesia, were arrested on Guam charged with conspiracy to export arms and munitions, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and money laundering. A complaint was also filed in the District Court of Guam this week against 36-year old Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, a citizen of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, charging him with being a member of the arms trafficking conspiracy.
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The Tamil Tigers organization has been linked to assassinations, ethnic cleansing, recruiting and using child soldiers, extortion, and suicide bombings
The Tigers are also inventors of the suicide vest and well-known for their use of boats as suicide bomb platforms.

The Tigers have been active:
Last month, U.S. officials in New York announced that eight emissaries of the rebel group had conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles in the United States amid an escalating conflict with military forces in Sri Lanka. The men charged in that case also tried to get the Tamil Tigers removed from a list of terrorist organizations and sought to bribe U.S. officials for classified information, according to a criminal complaint.
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