The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 176


Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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Six indicted in arms brokering for Tamil Tigers and Indonesia
Associated Press, September 29. BRIAN WITTE Associated Press Writer BALTIMORE (AP) _ Arms brokers for the Tamil Tiger terrorist group are charged with trying to buy missiles and other weapons through undercover agents in Maryland, along with arms dealers who tried to get military equipment for the Indonesian Army, federal officials said Friday.

Haji Subandi, a suspected international arms dealer from Indonesia, was at the center of two conspiracies to buy weapons and other military equipment, said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

``The common tie between the two conspiracies is that members of both conspiracies dealt with a suspected international arms dealer named Haji Subandi, who acted as a broker and arranged for military equipment to be purchased,'' Rosenstein said at a news conference in Baltimore.

The Tamil Tigers are a rebel group that began fighting in 1983 for a separate state on the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka. The group was added to the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations in 1997. The designation bars the group from raising money, obtaining weaponry or lobbying for support in the United States.

In one conspiracy, Subandi made numerous requests to the undercover agents between March 2004 and April 2006 on behalf of Tamil Tigers to acquire night-vision goggles, special forces weaponry, communication devices, sonar technology and unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a federal indictment.

Subandi, 69, has been charged with Haniffa Bin Osman, 55, and Erick Wotulo, 60, in a three-count indictment unsealed Friday. They are charged with conspiracy to export arms and munitions, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and money laundering.

Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, 36, of Sri Lanka, also is charged with being part of the conspiracy.

Wotulo, who identified himself to undercover agents as a retired Indonesian Marine Corps general, submitted a purchase order in June to a dummy business set up by U.S. investigators for weapons totaling about $3 million, authorities said. Osman told undercover agents that if the first order was successful, a second order could be worth as much as $15 million.

In another conspiracy, Subandi is charged with conspiracy to violate the arms export control act, along with Reinhard Rusli, 34, and Helmi Soedirdja, 33. The three are Indonesian citizens. They allegedly conspired to ship night-vision goggles and a holographic weapons sight to customers in Indonesia, according to the indictment.

All the men were arrested Thursday and Friday in Guam, where they met to examine the weapons, which weighed 3.5 tons and filled up 14 pallets in a truck, said Mark Bastan, acting special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Baltimore.

``They had a plan to ship these weapons from Guam to members to the Tamil Tigers in the Indian Ocean, where they would then be used for their terrorist purposes,'' Rosenstein said.

The weapons waiting for them included grenade launchers, submachine guns, sniper rifles and night-vision devices, Bastan said.

Bastan said the weapons were intended to be used against the Sri Lankan government, but it was unclear whether they were to be used for a specific attack.

Authorities said that among the weapons Osman sought to purchase were surface-to-air missiles.

``The indictment quotes one defendant as saying that the Stinger missiles were for the Tamil Tigers to use in downing Israeli aircraft flown by Israeli pilots in Sri Lanka for the Sri Lankan Air Force,'' Bastan said.

Under the operation initiated by ICE, investigators posed as arms dealers, wining and dining Osman when he came to Baltimore in July to work out the deal. Investigators even took him to the Havre de Grace police department's firing range near the Susquehanna River to test some of the guns.

``We just took the police signs off'' the range, Bastan said, describing the set up.

Last month, U.S. officials in New York announced that eight emissaries of the rebel group had conspired to buy surface-to-air missiles in the United States amid an escalating conflict with military forces in Sri Lanka. The men charged in that case also tried to get the Tamil Tigers removed from a list of terrorist organizations and sought to bribe U.S. officials for classified information, according to a criminal complaint. Discuss this story
Published: Fri Sep 29 15:35:13 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
Federal officials to announce arrests of alleged arms brokers  - Associated Press
Arms Brokers for Tamil Tigers Charged in Md. Sting  - Washington Post

6 charged in arms case $900K in weapons allegedly sought for terror group
PDN, September 29. Federal prosecutors have accused six foreign nationals of using Guam in connection with two schemes to smuggle military weaponry out of the United States to Sri Lanka and Indonesia. In one case filed Thursday in District Court of Guam, four men are accused of attempting to smuggle weaponry --including machines guns, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, night-vision goggles and sniper rifles -- through Guam to Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Fri Sep 29 14:37:57 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's Dhanapala quits race for U.N. chief+
Associated Press, Fri September 29, 2006 12:46 EDT . NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (Kyodo) Sri Lanka - 's Jayantha Dhanapala, one of the seven candidates for a new U.N. secretary general, said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council on Friday that he will quit the ongoing race for the U.N. chief.

Dhanapala, a former U.N. undersecretary general for disarmament affairs, remained in the last spot in all of the three straw polls -- an outcome that apparently led him to decide to quit the race for the world's top diplomat.

The top U.N. post is currently held by Kofi Annan, whose term is to expire at the end of December.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told reporters some of other candidates may retreat from the ongoing race.

The other six candidates are South Korea's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki Moon, who became the front-runner for the third time in the latest straw poll held Thursday; Indian Shashi Tharoor, the U.N. undersecretary general for public information and a novelist; Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga; Thailand's Surakiart Sathirathai, former deputy prime minister; Jordan's U.N. Ambassador Prince Zeid Raad Zeid al-Hussein; and Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister. Discuss this story
Published: Fri Sep 29 14:09:47 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels kills a police officer in northern Sri Lanka , government says
Associated Press, Fri September 29, 2006 02:36 EDT . ANTHONY DEUTSCH - Associated Press Writer - VALACHCHANI, Sri Lanka - (AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels fatally shot a police officer in northern Sri Lanka - , the government said Friday, as police found bodies of three Tamil youths believed to have ties to rebels on a road in east... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : 3 dead bodies found on road in east, witnesses and police say
Associated Press, Fri September 29, 2006 01:51 EDT . - - VALACHCHANI, Sri Lanka - (AP) The bodies of three Tamil youths believed to have ties to Tamil Tiger rebels were found on a road in eastern Sri Lanka - and one of them was beheaded, witnesses and police said Friday... Back to the top

Nandana Gunathilake resigns his posts at Sri Lanka s Marxist ..., Friday September 22, 2006 - 14:12 EDT. Sept 29 (LBO) - The simmering power-struggle within the JVP, or People's Liberation Front, came out into the open today with a stalwart disclosing his differences with the leadership of Somawansa Amarasinghe... Back to the top

Norwegian envoy to arrive in Sri Lanka
The Hindu, Friday September 29, 2006 - 00:35 EDT. COLOMBO: Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer is expected to be here in the next few days to carry forward the efforts to persuade the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to halt hostilities and resume the stalled dialogue... Back to the top

Over 200 civilians killed in Sri Lanka fighting since July: monitors+
Associated Press, Thu September 28, 2006 10:30 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ At least 200 civilians have died in two months of fighting between government soldiers and separatist Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka, European cease-fire monitors said Thursday... Back to the top

Pro-LTTE party memo to Delhi skirts Rajiv killing, September 29. The memorandum sent by the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 19, seeking a direct Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan Tamil question, had made only an indirect reference to the critical issue of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi... Back to the top

Sri Lanka war imperils civilians, tsunami aid: UN envoy, Friday September 29, 2006 - 06:45 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - A deadly new chapter in Sri Lanka's two-decade civil war is putting the lives of thousands of civilians at risk and derailing efforts to rebuild areas devastated by the 2004 tsunami, a senior UN envoy said... Back to the top

US for resumption of peace talks in Lanka, September 28, 2006 . Chennai, Sept 28: The US has expressed hope that negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE would continue and a system would be brought about to ensure peace and stability in the island republic, US Ambassador to India David Mulford said today... Back to the top

South Korean foreign minister remains front-runner for UN secretary-general in latest poll
Associated Press, Thu September 28, 2006 19:07 EDT . NICK WADHAMS - Associated Press Writer - The other three candidates former U... Back to the top

Central Bank of Sri Lanka advises government to hedge oil prices ..., Friday September 29, 2006 - 06:45 EDT. Sept 28, 2006 (LBO) - Sri Lanka should hedge oil prices to mitigate negative effects on the economy, by entering into contracts with foreign banks, the country's central bank said in a statement... Back to the top

Norway steps up Sri Lanka peace effort
Yahoo News, Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 06:19 EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway stepped up moves to arrange a face-to-face meet between the warring parties after Colombo accepted a rebel pledge to resume talks, diplomats said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s five state-owned banks develop plans to leverage ..., Friday September 29, 2006 - 06:45 EDT. September 28, 2006 (LBO) -- The Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) and top state bank officials are due to present a comprehensive proposal to the President to make state banks more competitive... Back to the top

Panchayati raj useful to Sri Lanka: Aiyar, Sep 29, 2006. COLOMBO: The Indian experiment on devolution of powers through Panchayati raj model could be useful for Sri Lanka in dealing with its ethnic strife, Union Minister for Panchayat Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports, Mani Shankar Aiyar, said here on Tuesday... Back to the top

Indian guru gifts white shawl to LTTE chief, 2006/9/28 . New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has gifted a white shawl to Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran... Back to the top

Some say terror label prolongs Sri Lanka war, 28-Sep-2006 . The streets of Jaffna were lined with government soldiers. Posted every 50 metres, leaning up against pockmarked walls, or standing in the thin shadow of a tree in the blazing sun... Back to the top

Sri Lanka military, rebels violate truce-monitors, Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 06:19 EDT. COLOMBO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's military and the Tamil Tigers have grossly violated a 2002 ceasefire in the past two months, Nordic truce monitors said on Thursday, accusing both sides of hampering their work... Back to the top

Fear, hunger stalk Sri Lanka's Jaffna Tamils
Reuters, 27 Sep 2006 08:44:00 GMT. JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Sept 27 (Reuters) - First driven from their homes by a Tamil Tiger warning, then forced to move back as the military emptied schools-turned-refugee camps, many residents in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula are hungry and afraid... Back to the top

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