Taming the Tamil Tigers
As terrorist groups go, it has quite a résumé:
Perfected the use of suicide bombers;
Invented the suicide belt;
the use of women in suicide attacks;
some 4,000 people in the past two years alone; and
Assassinated two world leaders—the
only terrorist organization to do so.
Needless to say, the Tamil Tigers are among the most dangerous
and deadly extremists in the world. For more than three decades,
the group has launched a campaign of violence and bloodshed in
Sri Lanka, the island republic off the southern coast of India.
Its ultimate goal: to seize control of the country from the Sinhalese ethnic
majority and create an independent Tamil state. Along the way, it has launched
suicide attacks, assassinated politicians (including a government minister
this week and even the Sri Lankan President), taken hostages, and committed
all of kinds of crimes to finance its operations. The resulting civil war has
taken the lives of nearly 70,000 Sri Lankans on both sides of the conflict
since 1983 alone.
Why should you care? Certainly because of the suffering and
bloodshed that the Tamil Tigers have caused. And because its
ruthless tactics have inspired terrorist networks worldwide,
including al Qaeda in Iraq. But also because the group has placed
operatives right here in our own backyard, discreetly raising
money to fund its bloody terrorist campaign overseas, including
purchases of weapons and explosives.
government has designated the Tigers a foreign terrorist organization,
so their activities here
are illegal. And we’re
determined to stop them, using the full range of our investigative
and intelligence capabilities.
for example, we struck an important blow when our Joint Terrorism
Task Force in New York arrested
the alleged U.S.
director of the Tigers. The man supposedly held several fundraising
events at a church and various public schools in Queens and in
northern New Jersey in 2004. He is also accused of arranging
high-level meetings between the group’s leaders and U.S.
We’ve also arrested another 11 Tamil Tiger-related suspects
in the New York City region. And in Baltimore, following a multi-agency
a pair of Indonesian men pled guilty and were sentenced recently for working
with others to export surface to air missiles, state-of-the-art firearms,
machine guns, and night vision goggles to the Tigers in Sri Lanka.
You can help by being careful with your donations. Like other
terrorists, the Tigers have raised funds under a variety of cover
organizations, often by posing as charities. A great deal of
money, for example, was raised for the Tigers following the 2004
tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka and many other countries.
And please report any suspicious activities to your local field
office or anonymously through tips.fbi.gov