Aug 9, 2008

NZ Aid To The Tamil Tigers

Does Blogger.Com employ a lot of Tamils? Someting funny going on with this post. We shall try again.

We have been wanting to comment on this issue for a few days but have not had the time.

We don't like the Tamil Tigers. It is personal. They killed a personal friend of ours. And they have killed many thousand other innocents over the years. They make the IRA of old look like a group of boy scouts. We have been of the view that New Zealand has been far too soft on these arseholes for years. We have been reluctant to recognise their terrorist status. We have not done much to stop the funding of the Tigers by the NZ Tamil community. And Ministers and officials have been willing to give them the time of day when they come in to complain about some development they have perceived to be anti Tamil.

Should it ever turn out that New Zealand taxpayer money has ended up in the hands of the Tigers or some Tiger front organisation then heads should roll. Starting with the Minister concerned. Our ears therefore pricked up when we heard a TV news item about possible NZAID funding for a Tamil Tiger front organisation.

Murray McCully clearly shares our concern

Revelations this week that NZAid has provided $121,500 of taxpayers’ tsunami relief cash for the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) raise serious questions about both the aid and security policies of the Clark Government. The TRO has for some time been widely regarded as a funding front for the Tamil Tigers, outlawed as a terrorist entity in most like-minded jurisdictions, but not in New Zealand. The TRO, too, has increasingly been targeted by authorities, and its operations suspended in several countries. So why is New Zealand so far out of step?
Regular readers will be familiar with the regular outbursts of incredulity in this publication at the failure of the New Zealand Government to designate the Tamil Tigers a terrorist entity under the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2002. In that respect this country is out of step with Australia, Canada, the USA and the EU. But that does not make the Tamil Tigers special. New Zealand has yet to designate a single terrorist entity under UN resolution 1373, as provided for in the Suppression of Terrorism Act, while Australia has designated 88 terrorist entities, and Canada over 50 under UN1373.
That the Tamil Tigers are fully fledged terrorists is beyond dispute. Around 70,000 have lost their lives in the civil war in Sri Lanka, in which the Tigers have played a significant role. But the New Zealand Government, alone amongst nations we would normally call our friends and partners, has utterly failed to use the post-September 11 toolkit of counter-terrorism legislation passed to make such groups subject to special scrutiny from counter-terrorism authorities. As a result, the Tamil Tigers, unable to directly raise funds or operate effectively in Australia, Canada, the US, or the EU, can operate with impunity in this country.
The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation
NZAid paid over a cheque for $121,500 in tsunami relief funding to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) back in 2005. But even then NZAid should have been on notice that the TRO was regarded as a fund-raising front for the Tamil Tigers terrorist activities.
In 2005, the British Charities Commission removed the TRO’s charitable status because it had “not been able to account satisfactorily for the application of funds.” On 1 October 2006, the Swiss Police arrested the TRO Secretary at the French border carrying 18 million Euros in cash, destined for the Tamil Tigers.
On 15 November 2007, the US Treasury officially designated the TRO as a front for the Tamil Tigers, including fund-raising, the purchase of munitions, equipment, communications devices and other technology. The US Treasury froze the TRO’s assets and prohibited US citizens from conducting business with them.
So while like-minded nations have formally declared the Tamil Tigers to be terrorists, and have systematically been shutting down the activities of the TRO as their funding arm, the New Zealand Government allows the Tamil Tigers to operate in this country, and far from shutting down their TRO funders, has actually given them taxpayers’ cash.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters says there is no problem. NZAid officials made sure the money was going to genuine aid purposes. But these would be the same NZAid officials that the Auditor-General has, in two recent reports, potted for failing to have proper systems to account for taxpayers’ aid money. All of which suggests that New Zealanders should be very much less than reassured both as to the purposes that $121,500 of their aid money has been put to, and as to the level of scrutiny applied to global terrorists operating in our midst.

Heads will roll for this.