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By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

A Canada based LTTE front leader contradicted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and said so far not a single penny belonging to the Sri Lankan terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had been frozen either by Canada or by the United States.

Both in the United States and in Canada the LTTE is a banned terrorist group and the governments have the power to freeze their assets.

An assistant to former Canadian LTTE leader Manickavasagam Suresh, and President of the World Tamil Creative Writers Association, a Toronto based LTTE front organization, Velupillai Thangavelu in a letter written to the Washington Post and published in the LTTE daily electronic bulletin the Circle Digest was replying to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's statement that money crunch was a great problem for the LTTE.

The Prime Minister was telling the Washington Post, "The money helped the LTTE a great deal but they were not able to get the money across in the last year."

The Tamil Tiger front leader said, " (M)oney crunch is a problem for the Sri Lanka government and not the LTTE."
He said there was no truth at all in the Ranil Wickremesinghe statement.

The letter also challenged the statement of the State Department that the LTTE organization exploits large Tamil communities in North America often by extortions .

Thangavelu categorically ridiculed the State Department statement that the LTTE organization "exploits large Tamil communities in North America often through false claims or even extortion."

If the LTTE organization was doing that it was an insult to the law enforcement agencies in the United States, Thangavelu said. He asked what the FBI was doing about it. He challenged the Washington Post to cite a single instant when an extortionist was prosecuted and convicted in a court of law in the US.

Thangavelu said the Washington Post was conveying the false impressions that assets worth millions of dollars belonging to the LTTE was blocked by US and Canada.

Thangavelu's letter to the Washington Post said, "If so you must tell your readers details of LTTE assets blocked by the 'executive order' of President Bush . For your information , in Canada, not a cent was blocked since there is no LTTE organization in Canada. "

LTTE is believed to be operating in Canada through front organizations.

Thangavelu said either the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been quoted wrong or his memory was extremely short when he said, "The leader of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran , declared a ceasefire and opened peace talks with Colombo government this spring because of the international climate opposing terrorism."

Thangavelu said the unilateral ceasefire by the LTTE was declared long before the September 11 incident and had nothing to do about it.

The local Canadian LTTE activist said Ranil Wickremesinghe had to reciprocate to the ceasefire declaration because of an empty treasury his government took over.

Asking the US not to label the LTTE terrorists Thangavelu's letter in no uncertain terms said, " The real terrorists are US and Israel who both bomb and kill innocent people under the guise of fighting terrorism. President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are bombing Iraq and killing civilians on a weekly basis."

On an earlier occasion, the chief strategist and negotiator of the LTTE Anton Balasingham in London had said that the LTTE fundraising showed an actual increase after the government declared it an illegal organization branding it as a terrorist group in the USA. (EOM)

(27/07/02 go2lanka.com)