Call for probe into LTTE-Al-Qaeda links

Shanika Sriyananda, courtesy of the Sunday Observer, 12 December 2010

An international counter terrorism expert has called upon the United Nations to initiate an investigation to probe material support provided by the LTTE’s international network to Al-Qaeda affiliates. Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Macquarie University in Sydney Shanaka Jayasekara told the Sunday Observer that the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee on Al-Qaeda (Resolution 1267) needs to probe the LTTE’s international network, which is actively engaged in grey-charter logistics operations that include forged documentation and travel papers to anyone who could pay the right price.

According to media reports, the Spanish and the Thai police, investigating the group which supplied forged passports to al-Qaeda-linked groups, have found their links with LTTE, recently. The investigators who arrested 10 suspects eight Pakistanis, a Nigerian and a Thai national – with forged documents alleged that the suspects had provided forged passports to organisations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan and the LTTE, both of which have links with Al-Qaeda. Police which seized forged passports, immigration documents, fake rubber stamps, computers, mobile phones, passport photos, British driving licences and sophisticated counterfeiting equipment claimed there was evidence that the suspects were members of the LTTE.

“The recent arrest made during Operation Kampai by the Spanish police and the revelations that the LTTE were involved in an identity fraud is part of wider mercenary services provided by the LTTE’s international network. This is not the first time that the LTTE overseas members were linked to fraudulent documentation that was supplied to Al Qaeda affiliates”, he said. Jayasekara said that in 2005, LTTE agents had stolen a large number of Norwegian passports some of which were recovered in Bangkok with LTTE operatives Kangasabai Sabanathan and Mike Daniel Jeya.

“It is believed that the LTTE agents had sold some of the passports to an Algerian based Al-Qaeda affiliated group. The LTTE credit card scam operated using African connections, for example the LTTE credit card skimming operative Satrubarajah Shanmugarajah (aka – Ruby) used contacts in Nairobi and other African locations”, he said. He added that  there was no doubt that the LTTE’s international network has the capacity and the capability to facilitate forged travel documentation to other terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Jayasekara said that the UN 1267 Committee needed to soon investigate the mercenary services of the LTTE’s international network that provides travel documentation for terrorist groups and criminal organisations.

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Thai police link forgery arrests to huge terror cell

Two Pakistanis and a Thai woman arrested on suspicion of making fake passports for Al-Qaeda linked groups were part of criminal networks tied to “many terrorist attacks”, Thai police said Thursday.

The arrests in Thailand formed part of an international operation to stamp out a huge cell that has been linked to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai and the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

Pakistanis Muhammad Athar Butt, 39, and Zeeshan Ehsan Butt, 29, and Thai national Sirikanlaya Kijbumrung, 25, were arrested in Thailand on Tuesday as they attempted to flee into Laos.

“They are suspected of being part of a transnational criminal group, linked with terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba and involved with many terrorist attacks in Spain and European Union countries,” a statement by Thai police said.

The Thai raids were coordinated with Spanish police, who arrested six Pakistanis and a Nigerian in raids in and around Barcelona, which has a large Pakistani community, late on Tuesday. Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation, working alongside authorities in Spain, found criminal networks in South Asia, specifically Pakistan and Bangladesh, had used Thailand as a base for document forgery.

“These are linked with terrorist groups, credit fraud, human trafficking and arms traders, which use those forged passports to enter third countries,” the statement continued. Police seized forged passports, immigration documents, faked rubber stamps, computers, mobile phones, passport photos, UK driving licences and other counterfeiting equipment. Special branch police chief lieutenant general Tritos Ronritthiwichai told reporters the three suspects were charged with passport and document forgery, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. “It is time for Thailand to arrest, eliminate and push out these criminals from our country because they are not welcome here,” he said.

Operation Kampai “neutralised a vast cell that helped provide passports for Al-Qaeda”, according to a statement by the Spanish interior ministry on Wednesday.

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