Skip to comments.Waterloo man held in Tamil Tiger missile plot (Canada)
Posted on 08/23/2006 3:29:37 PM PDT by kanawa
Waterloo man held in Tamil Tiger missile plot
DIANNE WOOD, BRIAN CALDWELL AND BRIAN WHITWHAM
BRENT DAVIS, RECORD STAFF Suresh Sriskandarajah is led from Superior Court in Kitchener yesterday. He is among 4 Canadians arrested in connection with an attempt to buy arms from an undercover agent.
KITCHENER (Aug 23, 2006)
A man from Waterloo is one of nine suspects accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group in an escalating conflict in Sri Lanka.
Suresh Sriskandarajah, 26, made an unexpected appearance in Superior Court in Kitchener yesterday and was remanded in custody until Friday morning.
The former University of Waterloo engineering student is charged with conspiring with others in New York to provide material support and resources to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam -- commonly known as the Tamil Tigers -- from 2003 to the present.
Authorities issued a warrant for Sriskandarajah in the U.S. and asked Canadian police to pick him up on a provisional warrant. He was arrested in Toronto without incident on Monday night. Eight suspects arrested in Long Island, N.Y., include three other Canadians -- Sathajhan Sarachandran, 26, Sahilal Sabaratnam, 27, and Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam.
They are accused of travelling to New York to buy weapons -- including surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers and AK-47s -- from an undercover agent.
The sting was part of a joint investigation by the RCMP and the FBI.
The weapons were allegedly to be used by the Tamil Tigers, which has been fighting the Sri Lankan military for a separate homeland since 1983. The Tamil Tigers were declared an official terrorist group in Canada in April. The group has been on the U.S. list since 1997.
Other charges involve alleged fundraising and money laundering through charitable organizations and U.S. bank accounts.
Sriskandarajah, a slim, clean-cut man, is also charged with dealing in the property of a specially designated terrorist group from January 2005 to April 2005. The U.S. has 60 days to make a formal request for his extradition.
Nick Devlin, a lawyer with the Canadian Department of Justice, said property in such cases generally refers to goods or money of a terrorist group.
Thanigasalam, Sarachandran, Sabaratnam and a fourth man arrived at the U.S. border at Niagara on Friday, telling border officials they were going to a bachelor party.
The fourth man was turned back because officials learned of his criminal record, and he took a taxi home.
Court documents reveal that the three men described the fourth as a ''scientist'' and an expert in technical issues.
An FBI affidavit says Sarachandran told agents he was taking direction from Pottu Amman, the man alleged to have masterminded the 1991 assassination of Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, and who reportedly leads the Tigers' intelligence and operations wing.
Sriskandarajah, former president of a Tamil students association at the University of Waterloo, appeared relaxed during yesterday's court appearance after being ushered in by RCMP national security officers.
He was dressed in a green checked shirt and khaki pants. A half-dozen supporters attended court, but declined to speak to the media.
Justice Peter Hambly called in local police officers to search everyone entering the courtroom, something that's not routinely done in Kitchener.
A publication ban was imposed under Canada's Extradition Act on documents presented to support the remand.
Members of several media organizations rushed to court after learning Sriskandarajah was appearing in Kitchener. His case interrupted another scheduled proceeding.
"This is a matter of some urgency and importance,'' Hambly said. "The police in Canada and the U.S. have gathered a substantial amount of evidence to support these charges.''
Active in the Tamil students association at UW until at least 2004, Sriskandarajah also took a keen interest in development and humanitarian efforts in northern Sri Lanka.
He wrote articles in student publications describing his experiences as a volunteer on two trips there in 2004 and early 2005, after a tsunami hit southeast Asia.
After his second trip, Sriskandarajah urged others to get involved and complained aid wasn't getting to Tamil people because of tension with the Sri Lankan government.
"The lack of aid in the northeast bothered me to a great extent," he wrote. "I did not see much coming from outside during the two weeks I was there."
His two younger brothers, Sutharsan and Suthan, also helped tsunami victims and later gave an emotional speech at a UW vigil attended by their mother, Ganaghamalar Kathiresu.
"I'm so proud of them," she said. "I thank God for keeping them safe."
The delegation of 28 students was led by Sarachandran, a former president of the Canadian Tamil Students Association.
Sabaratnam is a former spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Association, the pre-eminent group for about 200,000 Tamils living here, the majority of them in Toronto
In a biography posted on the Internet, Sriskandarajah said he grew up in an area known as Vanni in northern Sri Lanka before coming to Canada with his family in 1989.
An avid photographer, he listed thrill sports such as mountain climbing, snowboarding and skydiving as hobbies.
"I enjoy doing almost anything with a lot of action," he wrote. "I love speed and cutting through the surface of the water with a jet ski and racing motor bikes just for fun.''
Sriskandarajah said it was his "dream" to graduate with a UW engineering degree, get an MBA and start a technology company.
"After I establish my business firmly, I would like to get settled in my life and live somewhere more laid-back," he wrote. "My plans are to get married to a loving girl and have two cute kids -- a girl and then a boy. Hopefully, have a peaceful life from there on."
After his first trip to Sri Lanka, Sriskandarajah credited an organization called the Vanni Innovation Group with making it possible.
Vanni is described on its website as a student-run organization created in 2003 to provide volunteers and other aid in northeastern Sri Lanka.
The website also endorses organizations helping children orphaned by the war between Tamil rebels and the government of Sri Lanka.
On a resume also posted on the Internet, Sriskandarajah listed positions with Microsoft Corp. in Washington state in 2005 and Research In Motion in Waterloo in 2004.
Sutharsan Sriskandarajah was a victim in a September 2005 incident in which two brothers -- Chandrasegar Nagulasigamany, 21, and Soumiyan Nagulasigamany, 19 -- were hit by a sport utility vehicle and killed on a Waterloo street.
He wasn't seriously injured in the incident, in which two men were each charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Suresh Sriskandarajah lives with his family in a middle-class Waterloo neighbourhood off University Drive.
There are red and white roses in a well-manicured garden outside and a basketball net looms over the driveway.
"Fill your heart with songs of love and joy," says a white sign hung over the front door.
Neighbour Ian Taylor said he noticed several cars around the house and a tactical officer standing in the driveway at about 8:50 a.m. Monday.
"I didn't have any idea what was going on," he said. "I thought it was a domestic dispute."
Taylor said he believes Sriskandarajah lives there with his parents, his grandmother and two younger brothers -- one of whom plays road hockey with his own six-year-old son.
Polite and unassuming, he said, family members have mostly kept to themselves since moving in about two years ago.
"As far as I know, they're super-nice people," Taylor said. "They know we like ethnic food. They bring over treats."
Several other neighbours also said they were stunned after hearing that Monday's commotion was linked to the high-profile arrests in the U.S.
Rick Snyder said it seems hard to believe anyone in a peaceful Waterloo neighbourhood could be linked to terrorism. "I guess it can be going on anywhere," he said.
Sriskandarajah, who is represented by Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, remains in custody until he decides whether he wants to have a bail hearing to show why he should be released.
The publication ban will expire Friday morning unless Ruby applies to have it continued.
The Record's lawyer, Tony Wong, was in court to address the ban. Media from CanWest Global and CBC told Hambly they support The Record's plan to challenge a longer-term publication ban.
"It's a case which touches on allegations of terrorist activity,'' Wong said outside court. "Today, in the post-9/11 era, all Canadians have a significant interest in knowing as much as possible about this case.''
Ruby said yesterday he doesn't yet know anything about the case and won't comment until he is familiar with it.
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Thanks for the link Kanawa, in 2006.
Terror Raid in Western New York
WGRZ.com ^ | Updated: 8/23/2006 7:06:52 AM | Lynne Dixon
Posted on August 23, 2006 6:13:01 AM PDT by freeperfromnj
FOUR DEFENDANTS PLEAD GUILTY TO ALL CHARGES, INCLUDING CONSPIRING TO ACQUIRE ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES
NewYork.FBI.gov - DOJ Press Release ^ | January 27, 2009 | n/a
Posted on January 28, 2009 6:45:38 PM PST by Cindy
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Canadian National Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to the Tamil Tigers
Defendant Sought to Obtain Submarine and Warship Design Software and Night Vision Equipment for Foreign Terrorist Organization
U.S. Attorneys Office
July 02, 2013
Eastern District of New York
Earlier today, defendant Suresh Sriskandarajah pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, in connection with his attempt to procure sophisticated military technology, including submarine and warship design software and night vision equipment, for the LTTE.
Sriskandarajah faces a maximum term of 15 years imprisonment. Six of Sriskandarajahs co-defendants were previously convicted of terrorism-related offenses in connection with their support for the LTTE.
Sriskandarajahs guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Newark Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. The guilty plea was accepted by United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie.
As detailed in court filings, between September 2004 and April 2006, Sriskandarajah and several co-conspirators assisted a principal LTTE procurement officer in researching and acquiring aviation equipment, submarine and warship design software, night vision equipment and communications technology. Sriskandarajah used students as couriers to smuggle prohibited items into territory in Sri Lanka that was controlled by the LTTE at that time. Additionally, Sriskandarajah helped the LTTE launder its proceeds in the United States and elsewhere. Following his indictment in the Eastern District of New York, Sriskandarajah, who is a Canadian citizen, was extradited to the United States from Canada, arriving in 2012.
The LTTE was founded in 1976 and uses illegal methods to raise money, acquire weapons and technology, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE began its armed conflict against the Sri Lankan government in 1983 and utilizes a guerrilla strategy that often includes acts of terrorism. At its height, the LTTE controlled most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka. Over the past 19 years, the LTTE has conducted approximately 200 suicide bombings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of victims, and carried out numerous political assassinations, including the May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; the 1993 assassination of the President of Sri Lanka Ranasinghe Premadasa, the July 1999 assassination of Neelan Thiruchelvam, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament; the June 2000 assassination of C.V. Goonaratne, the Sri Lankan Industry Minister; the August 2006 assassination of the Sri Lankan governments peace secretariat Ketheshwaran Loganathan; the January 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Minister for Nation Building D.M. Dassanayake; and the April 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. In May 2009, the LTTEs forces in Sri Lanka were defeated by the Sri Lankan government.
In 1997, the LTTE was designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, and the LTTE therefore may not legally raise money or procure equipment or materials in the United States.
The defendant helped the LTTE, an organization that pioneered terrorist tactics and has killed numerous civilians in brutal terrorist attacks, obtain sophisticated military technology and equipment, stated United States Attorney Lynch. Claiming to fight for freedom, the LTTE instead created a climate of fear and bloodshed, systematically assassinating those who stood in the way of their terrorist goals. We will continue to locate and prosecute those who fund and support terrorist organizations, wherever they reside. Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the New York and Newark Field Offices of the FBI and the New York City Police Department.
The governments case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Solomon.
Name: Suresh Sriskandarajah