The LTTE is Targeting Canada
âA dozen men on the Ocean Lady are LTTE membersâ
The successful interdiction of the Merchant Vessel Ocean Lady by the Canadian Forces was based on advanced intelligence, most probably aided by law enforcement agencies in Toronto. This has no doubt helped Canada prevent a major terrorist infiltration. When the ship attempted to enter Canadian territory on 16 October 2009, the Canadian Navy patrol frigate HMCS Regina was working with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to interdict the ship. Investigations to date have revealed that Ocean Lady is a ship owned and operated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). This ship was previously known as the Princess Easwary and it had been used by the LTTE to smuggle weapons from North Korea to Sri Lanka. On board were both genuine refugees and terrorists, including at least one member of the suicide squad of the LTTE wanted by INTERPOL. For more than a decade, Canada had earned international notoriety as the most important international safe haven for LTTE propaganda, fundraising, and procurement.
Canada politicians of all parties must start saying ânoâ to the pressure groups that support terrorism in Canada. More than a dozen men from a ship now docked in British Columbia have already been identified as members of the terrorist group. This well maintained and professionally operated vessel was not a tramp steamer as its appearance suggest, but rather a part of the LTTE fleet. If sources had not told Canada that the vessel was approaching our shore line, it probably would have been able to lands its human cargo and disappear again to repeat the same mission. The LTTE had lost a part of its naval and marine force in the war last year, but at least three other vessels besides the Ocean Lady are thought to still be in service, carrying out smuggling runs.
It has emerged that the militarily defeated LTTE have not disappeared, but rather they are dispersing. The most popular destination areas for their fighters and supporters will be well known terrorist safe havens such as Canada. Other target areas for their fighters will be Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and other European countries. According to figures from Sri Lanka, 10,000 or more LTTE fighters and supporters have been identified and are being held, but a few thousand have escaped. As such, we can expect that literally hundreds of individuals will want to escape to countries such as Canada.
While it is clear that this is an LTTE operation, more pressure is being placed on politicians at the constituency level and at the national level to have them accepted as refugees. It is hoped that these same politicians will then pressure the countryâs front line bureaucrats to speed up the process and avoid taking a thorough look at these individuals to determine who they really are and how they came to be in Canada.
The ability of terrorist pressure groups to operate in Canada and influence politicians is well known. In 2000, then Finance Minister Paul Martin and Member of Parliament Maria Minna went to a fund raising dinner for the LTTE put on by FACT (Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils.) Despite being warned about the true nature of the dinner by both the RCMP and CSIS, the Finance Minister lent his considerable weight and presence to the dinner. As such, he was legitimizing a terrorist group known for having invented the suicide bomber belt after having pioneered the modern day use of suicide bombers (well before al Qaeda would do this). By that time the LTTE had also led the way in developing female suicide bombers and had assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, a former Prime Minister of India. On top of everything else, the LTTE was infamous for its oppression of other Tamils and using children as fighters. This was the same Paul Martin who asked for support from the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) in 1990, five years after the Air India disaster killed 331 people and at a time when it was known the ISFY was connected to terrorism.
Notwithstanding the recent finding of the Government of Canada that the LTTE is a terrorist group, we still see MPs supporting it in public. The MP for the riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Gurbax Singh Malhi, was on Parliament Hill this year telling demonstrators waving LTTE flags that ââIâd like to let you know Iâm helping you guys. Iâm behind you because you are fighting for a right cause.â At the same time, elected officials from various levels of government are still seen in public in 2008 and 2009 supporting yet another banned terrorist group, the ISFY.
To his credit, it would appear that Prime Minister Harper has warned his Members of Parliament that they are not to attend community affairs if the event sponsor may have terrorist links. This must be seen as some form of progress, but much remains to be done as we can see from the current situation.
The state of affairs that is emerging from the interception of this ship will test various functions of the government. The Canadian response will be complicated by the fact that Canada has no foreign intelligence service and its vision is therefore often limited or even blind in a crisis. Because Canada lacks the sovereign capability to collect and analyse its own foreign intelligence, we as a country have to go cap-in-hand to other countries, institutions or individuals to provide us with intelligence. This is problematic, of course, as other countries will often provide only selected intelligence designed to influence us, rather than support us.
This deficit could be partially corrected by building an open source (yet still capable) terrorism and national security studies centre. This has been done in other countries such as Australia, Singapore and in Scotland (UK). However, Canada has not even done that, so tying into the highly valuable network of foreign centres is done on a sporadic and personal basis, rather than in an organized manner. Canada does get highly valuable information from these centres on occasion, but the expertise and skills needed to reciprocate for full cooperation are not there.
The LTTE will continue to target Canada as a safe haven for its fighters and for fund raising. As Canadians, we should be all too aware of how conflicts âover thereâ can affect us âover here.â The still unsolved largest mass murder of Canadians on Air India Flight 182 should serve as a guide as to how the right steps should be taken in the first place, not afterwards. Canadian politicians of all stripes must put aside their vote seeking goals and aim higher to protect Canada and Canadians.