Canada: RCMP Seize Assets Linked to Terrorism
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
If found guilty as previous convictions against the Tamil Tigers Organization in 2006, just another case where Refugees escaping War and Violence in their Homeland look to Canada as a Safe Haven in which to Plan and Organize and Direct Terrorist Activites and the Killing of Innocents from the Safety of Canadian Shores.
Another convienient case where the excuse of "Canada's Multiculturalism and Diversity" being taken advantage of by those who use our laws against us in committing atrocities a half a world away.
Perhaps those who wish not to assimilate into our Canadian Identity and Flout our Laws for their own Terrorist Bent should be sent a plane ticket immediately to their Country of Origin to fight those it wishes to destroy, and join their Brethern, but we all know Cowards rarely face their adversaries Mano O Mano, preferring others to do their dirty work for them as they safely Suckle on the "Full Teats of Western Democracy" with pursed Lips and Both Hands Greedily. Isn't that always the way with Cowardly Terrorists?
A Montreal building and several bank accounts in Ontario and Quebec were seized by police because they were deemed to be the property of a terrorist group, according to Federal Court documents unsealed yesterday.
The court orders explain why RCMP counterterrorism officers began shutting down the operations of the World Tamil Movement in Montreal and Toronto late last week, using powers granted to them under the Anti-Terror-ism Act.
The police action was carried out in secrecy, but yesterday Justice Francois Lemieux unsealed the court orders approving the seizures. The judge found there were reasonable grounds to believe the building and accounts were property "owned or controlled by, or on behalf of, a terrorist group."
The WTM is a non-profit organization run by Canadians of ethnic Tamil heritage, but the group's Quebec and Ontario branches are currently under police investigation for allegedly raising money for Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas.
On Friday, police seized the Montreal WTM headquarters at 4160 and 4162 Van Horne as well as several Ontario bank accounts held by the Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
"The action was made because we believe that this property was being used to financially support terrorist activity," Corporal Elaine Lavergne, spokeswoman for the RCMP in Quebec, told the National Post yesterday.
"And we did seize the building because it's going to help out in our investigation. It's going to stop the financial support for terrorist activities in Sri Lanka and it's going to stop, as well, members of the Sri Lankan community in Canada from being victimized by individuals who want to support terrorist activities."
Police searched the Montreal building in 2006 and found Tamil Tigers propaganda material -- flags and hats bearing the terrorist group's militaristic logo, and photos of guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
They also found financial records such as pre-authorized payment forms and lists of contributors. Police allege the money collected by the WTM is bankrolling the Tamil Tigers' civil war in Sri Lanka, but no charges have been laid.
Steven Slimovitch, the WTM's Montreal lawyer, said this was the first time the government had seized property under new provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with the financing of terrorism. "This hasn't been tested yet. This section has never been used before."
Mr. Slimovitch said the law allows the government to confiscate property if a judge determines "on the balance of probabilities" that it is tied to terrorism. That is a lower burden of proof than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" required for a criminal conviction.
"It's much easier for the government," Mr. Slimovitch said, adding that other Charter protections available to the accused in criminal trials do not apply in this case. "The government can very clearly say that in this kind of a case, you don't need those rights, because you're not accused."
The lawyer has not seen the RCMP affidavits used to obtain the seizure order -- they remain under a court-imposed seal -- but he said he was told he would get an edited version. He said a constitutional challenge was possible.
His clients maintain they are not involved in funding terrorism and are upset by the police action, he said. "Their attitude is that, 'It's enough already. If you want to accuse me, accuse me. If you're not going to accuse me, let me go on with my life.' "
The seizures are the latest development in two long-standing police investigations, Project Osaluki and Project Crible, that are probing the alleged Canadian fundraising activities of the Tamil Tigers. Also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, the guerrillas are fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority.
The Tigers are a banned terrorist group under Canadian law because of their tactics, which include suicide bombings. While some Canadian Tamils support the Tigers, others complain about their violent methods and aggressive attempts to raise money in Canada.
A spokeswoman for Stock-well Day, the Minister of Public Safety, said she could not comment on the matter because it was before the courts. "It was our government that took decisive action to list the LTTE as a terrorist entity to ensure the safety of our communities against terrorism," Melisa Leclerc said.
Police spent the weekend serving the court orders on the individuals and organizations associated with the seized materials (except one individual who could not be found). In Quebec, those served included the World Tamil Movement of Quebec, Student Association of the World Tamil Movement and Eelam Tamil Association of Quebec.
The Montreal WTM office is co-owned by Thanasegaram Chandrasegaram and Sivanathan Sivaram, the court order says. In Ontario, WTM president Sitta Sittampalam and 13 WTM officers were served.
Marlys Edwardh, the lawyer representing the Ontario chapter of the WTM, said the court orders had frozen not only the accounts of the World Tamil Movement but also those of a Tamil newspaper and business directory that were operating at the same address.
She said her clients deny any involvement in financing terrorism and intend to fight the seizures. "There's no doubt that they are upset. They are distraught by the fact that they can't publish the community newspaper but they intend fully to resist it," she said.