Blocking terrorists' funds
Terrorism is a global phenomenon. The
world's foremost terror groups, including al-Qaeda and the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam, have spread their menacing tentacles everywhere.
They may operate in one country or regionally, but they have a financial
network that spans the globe.
Terror groups need funding on a massive scale to maintain and train
their cadres, procure weapons/equipment illegally, plan acts of
sabotage, engage in false propaganda campaigns through several media and
recruit new personnel.
With the banning of terrorist groups in many countries, they have
found it impossible to raise funds under their own names. This is where
their front organisations come in.
The LTTE is a master of this game, having several humanitarian and
cultural front organisations which actively collect funds for the
conflict back in Sri Lanka under the very noses of authorities in the
countries they operate in.
In the case of the LTTE, the Tamil diaspora is coerced into
'donating' funds. But the LTTE, and indeed other terrorist groups, have
not stopped there. They have a raft of legitimate business interests,
whose profits are funnelled to fund terror.
India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has exposed this
brazen method of terror groups. He has revealed that terrorist groups
including the LTTE are manipulating stock markets to raise funds.
Terrorism and security experts say this is a new development.
Terrorist groups used to target stock exchanges for terror attacks, but
having failed to make any major impact, they have apparently followed
the old adage "if you can't beat them, join them".
Terrorist groups find stock exchanges particularly attractive since
large transactions can be effected routinely without any suspicions
Terrorists had funded bourse activities through legitimate
businesses, including restaurants, real estate and shipping.
Intelligence agencies face a huge hurdle here as these businesses
cannot be banned outright because they are legal for all intents and
While some of these companies actually do exist, there are instances
of fictitious or notional companies engaging in share market
transactions. Some of these "companies" were later traced to terrorist
Terror groups also use legitimate banking channels to remit funds for
their deadly campaigns. Narayanan has rightly called for the lifting of
"banking secrecy" in terrorist-related cases.
All indications are that Governments around the world are waking up
to this threat and working together to stem the flow of funds to
After all, terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere. The
UN's conventions against terrorist financing are thus a step in the
In this context, we must commend Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
for vowing to stop terror groups from covertly raising funds for their
operations on India's stock markets.
India's reassurance in this regard is significant in more ways than
one. India is our closest neighbour, a dear friend that has always stood
for Sri Lanka's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
India has also emerged has a frontline campaigner against global
terrorism. It has banned many terror groups including the LTTE, which
has been accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
It is undeniable that the LTTE has been operating in India in spite
of the ban, though not overtly. India knows that the terror group is a
threat to its security as well.
Even as India vowed to block LTTE fund raising through its stock
markets, the Indian Coastguard has detected boatloads of LTTE weapons
and arrested several LTTE cadres.
Alarmingly, one consignment of weapons and explosives was being
smuggled into India perhaps for a major attack there.
Clearly, terrorist groups are using a variety of methods to achieve
their aims. Military crackdowns apart, the constant surveillance of
their vast financial networks has become essential to eliminate the
ambitions of terror.
Olcott - the Searcher of Truth
THE American impact on the evolution of modern
education in Sri Lanka has taken place at too crucial junctures in
the history of the country. The first instance was in 1920's when
the missionaries of the Church of America acceded to a request made
by the British Government to establish missionary schools in then
British colony Ceylon.
Providing a sound platform to stop human rights violations
THE Commission being mindful of the need to
obtain assistance of legal counsel with appropriate professional
experience, sought and obtained the nominations of the Attorney
General to empanel the Panel of Counsel of the Commission,
'We will stand by each other'
FIFTY years ago, the world was a very different
place, particularly in the international field. Just a year earlier,
in 1956 Ceylon as she was then known had ushered in a political
earthquake with the resounding victory of the political front led by
Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, the founding leader of the S.L.F.P.