Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sri Lankan blood on Liberal hands

On Tuesday, the National Post's Stewart Bell reported on the contents of an intelligence report, prepared by Canada's Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), on fundraising in Canada for the LTTE terrorist group (better known as the Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka. The report was formally labelled "secret," but its general outlines have been no secret in Canada for many years now. Nor, indeed, have Sri Lankans themselves been unaware that the Tamil diaspora in Canada has been a major source of cash for the now-defunct Tigers, a group that for more than 30 years repeatedly astonished the world with its bloodthirsty ruthlessness, its penny-ante valuation of civilian lives on both sides, its assassinations and suicide bombings and its readiness to hold economic development in Sri Lanka hostage to its dream of creating a Tamil dictatorship in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

ITAC estimates that Canadian funding for the Tamil Tigers -- secured, in part, by coercive "taxation" of Tamil-Canadians and their businesses -- reached levels of up to $12-million a year, or about $1-million each month. That may not sound like a lot. Then again, terrorist groups don't need that much money to kill people. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, for instance, were thought to have required only about $600,000.

Shortly after Canadians elected a Conservative government that had the political backbone necessary to finally declare the Tigers a terrorist group in 2006 (thereby criminalizing LTTE fund-raising), Sri Lanka's civil war ended in utter defeat and disaster for the Tigers. It is difficult to say how much Stephen Harper's decision affected the balance of power in the last three years of this conflict. But we'd bet the effect was significant: The money that the Canadian Tamil diaspora remitted to the Tigers, as we now know, comprised a large portion of the LTTE's budget.

It therefore has become difficult to deny that the protection and sympathy extended to the cause of Tamil militancy until 2006 -- most notably, by Liberal politicians -- prolonged Sri Lanka's civil war, and increased the scale of the bloodshed.

Which throws a rather startling new light on recent history. The Conservatives have been much criticized, in a wouldacoulda counter-factual way, for having at one time been willing to commit Canada to a multinational invasion of Iraq. Some of the criticisms are fair; but if Canada had gone to war, it would at least have been Canadians doing the fighting and, no doubt, some of the dying. How much worse was it for the Liberal political leaders who were actually in power to look the other way -- for years -- while terrorism and destruction, in a country where we have no discernible foreign-policy interests, were bankrolled through extortion and fanaticism on our own streets?

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