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Obama Campaign accepts funds from pro-LTTE donors

A well- known LTTE operative whose funds were returned by an embarrassed Clinton campaign earlier this year has turned around and made a donation to the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama. This time, the money has not been rejected and there’s another pro-LTT E group out there raising more..

The Hillary campaign returned $2300 earlier this year to New Jersey resident Ranjan Ramanathan who was raising funds under the banner ‘Tamils for Clinton.’ The matter was brought to the attention of the Clinton campaign after a local newspaper publicized that he was an LTTE operative. Ramanathan is a state coordinator for the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), an LTTE front that the US Treasury Department designated as the fund raising arm of the Tigers. He has publicly admitted raising funds for the TRO.

In March, Ramanathan made a contribution of $500 to the Obama campaign but this time it has apparently gone unnoticed.

Ramanathan, has also contributed heavily to Democratic Representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, both harsh critics of the Sri Lankan government.

Meanwhile, a new group calling itself ‘Progressive Tamils for Obama’ is raising funds for the candidate. The identity of the individuals involved is not known but it is quite likely that this is a re-grouping of the ‘Tamils for Clinton’ group. Definitely, the rhetoric on the group’s website strongly suggests an LTTE presence:

"We Progressive Tamil Americans expect that Senator Obama will become the next president of the US. We hope that when he becomes president next January, he will be supportive of our concerns, especially of the continuing suffering of our friends and families in Sri Lanka. We are dismayed by the continuing "slow genocide" of Tamils there. We are sure that he is as concerned as we are about the destruction of the Tamil people and culture in Sri Lanka."

Calling for a ‘Bosnian model’ solution to the conflict, the group says: "We urge the 44th president of the Unite States, Mr. Obama, to take a strong hand in resolving this civil war. Perhaps he could bring the Tamils and Singhalese to Canton, Ohio, like we did with the former Yugoslavians, and force a solution to the Sri Lankan war. This solution could be based on the Bosnian model or on one of the many others like Montenegro, East Timor, Quebec, Slovakia, or Kosovo. We might be able to utilize Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s expertise to bring peace to Sri Lanka."

The candidate’s only comment so far on the conflict was in an interview to candidates@google in January when he referred to it as a ‘vicious civil war’ that raged in that country even though ‘everybody there looks exactly the same.’

The LTTE has operated under numerous fronts in the US and Canada and it is not unusual for these shadowy groups to appear and disappear. Ramanathan himself floated another organization called South Asian Community Association (SACA) which he used to rent a school auditorium in Brunswick New Jersey to memorialize dead LTTE fighters and suicide bombers in 2006. Nothing has been heard of SACA since.

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