Features

British Charity Commission report exposes TRO-terror links
by Dushy Ranetunge

The exposure of the TRO titled "British Charities Fund Terrorists" was published in the Island on 4th October 2000. In the evening of the same day, SBS television in Australia also ran an in-depth investigation into the TRO. Simultaneous exposure of the TRO in Sri Lanka and Australia, led the LTTE to suspect that an orchestrated offensive against its overseas fund raising operations was underway.

Three months previously on a hot summer’s day in July 2000, I was contacted by a British national from London who congratulated me on an investigative article I had written about the LTTE and its manipulation of human rights, including an attempt to gain UN accreditation. He then stated "Dushy, we would like you to look at the TRO". I told him that I will look into it, and get back to him.

A Terrorism expert from the University of St Andrews in Scotland had also suggested that I look at the TRO a few months before. Now this second request from another source, made me curious.

I was aware that the TRO was the LTTE’s premire fund raising vehicle. TRO was to the LTTE, what NORAID was to the IRA. Later Lord Avebury informed me that terrorist organizations registering charities to fund their terrorist activities is an old game and that even the Iranians used registered charities to fund the Ayatollah’s revolt against the Shah of Iran. TRO headquarters was in Australia and the TRO operation in Australia had links to KP’s arms procurement operation.

The investigation into the TRO was daunting and took almost three months. At the end of three months, I was truly knee deep in various financial documentation, security reports, photocopies, articles, newspapers, magazines, published financial accounts etc from four continents of the world, relating to the TRO and other LTTE fronts. At least 100 hours of overseas telephone calls had been made to various contacts, diplomats, and law enforcement agencies of several countries including RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), in Toronto, Canada.

The British Charity Commission was particularly helpful in providing, free of charge, photocopies of entire files relating to various British registered charities.

In late September I telephoned the British gentleman in London who had wanted me to look at the TRO and faxed him, over ten pages of my findings. A few days later we met at a London restaurant for lunch and discussed the report. I informed them of my intention to publish the report and that I will be giving a copy to the British Charity Commission. After lunch, I walked over to the Charity Commission and hand delivered a copy of the report as requested by them.

A few days later on 4th October 2000 it made front page headlines in The Island and was serialized over several days. The Island immediately recognized the importance of the report, and as far as I am aware, it was the only front page headline article to be serialized making it quite extraordinary.

Three weeks later on 26th October 2000 the British Charity Commission raided the TRO and seized their bank accounts.

The exposure hit the LTTE hard. The LTTE was particularly nervous because London was formulating its terrorist list as per the Terrorism Act at the time. A month later, during the hero’s day speech at the London Arena, Anton Balasingham digressed from his hero’s day speech and began attacking me. He told the thousands of Tamils at the London Arena that this writer may be hiding in the London Arena and that Tamils should be vigilant. He stated that the writer had caused great damage to the Tamils etc. This was broadcast live over London via their radio. Balasinhgam was aware that I had attended LTTE conferences in London, Ottawa and Geneva and expected me to be at the London Arena.

When I attended the "peace conference" in Ottawa organized and attended by LTTE fronts and sympathizers, I witnessed young Arjun Ethirweerasingham speaking at the event. He is now at the TRO in Colombo trying to uplift its image.

A few weeks after the Hero’s day speech, a photograph of this writer was published in an LTTE newspaper in London insinuating that this writer was a Sri Lankan government spy and that Tamils should be vigilant.

The photograph was taken at Portcullis House, near the British Parliament. The organizer of the Portcullis House event, Jayadevan, has now turned against the LTTE after the LTTE abducted him and detained him in the Wanni.

Four months later the British Government listed the LTTE as a terrorist organization. Representations were made from Sri Lanka and India requesting the British Government to list the LTTE under the Terrorism Act.

On the day that the LTTE was listed as a terrorist organization, the writer attended a dinner party in London and among the guests were the head of DII (Directorate of Internal Intelligence) and the head of DFI (Directorate of Foreign Intelligence). Before dinner, during drinks, Sri Lanka’s head of DFI leaned over and softly inquired "Dushy, whom do you work for?" Suppressing my inclination to laugh out loudly, I whispered back to Sri Lanka’s top spy, "The LTTE thinks I work for you."

Continued Tomorrow

 

 

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