Democrat's Trip To Sri Lanka Funded By Terrorist Group

Discussion in 'Politics' started by GotZoom, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    Suicide bombers - Child soldiers.

    Nice.

    Looks like Congressman Davis didn't do his homework.

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    WASHINGTON -- Chicago congressman Danny Davis and an aide took a trip to Sri Lanka last year that was paid for by the Tamil Tigers, a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers, law-enforcement sources said.

    Davis' seven-day trip came under scrutiny this week following the arrests of 11 supporters of the organization on charges of participating in a broad conspiracy to aid the terrorist group through money laundering, arms procurement and bribery of U.S. officials.

    The five-term Democratic congressman said he was unaware that the Tigers paid for the trip and on his required congressional disclosure form he reported that the trip was paid for by a Tamil cultural organization, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, based in Hickory Hills, Ill.

    During the visit, Davis spent most of his time in a region controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the group is formally known, and visited the organization's political headquarters. He also met with a police chief for the region appointed by the Tigers.

    The Tamil Tigers, a separatist group that has been fighting since 1983, seek an independent state for 3.2 million ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, a tear-shaped island nation of 20 million off the southern tip of India. In addition to conventional guerrilla tactics, the group has used terrorist methods, including 200 suicide bombings, in a conflict that has claimed 64,000 lives. Though the violence between the government and the separatists has abated in the past several years, it recently surged, threatening renewed civil war.

    Davis said he believed that the trip, from March 30 to April 5, 2005, was paid for by the Tamil federation, which in accordance with congressional ethics rules sent him a written statement of the travel expenses, more than $7,000 each for Davis and his aide, Daniel Cantrell. Davis said he knew that the group was "associated" with the Tamil Tigers but did not realize that the trip's costs were covered with funds controlled by the rebel group.

    "I know who I got the trip from," Davis said. "I don't know if any clandestine group gave them money. All I know is what I saw and was told."

    He also said that he had not been contacted by federal investigators in connection with the trip.

    He defended the trip, saying he traveled there at the behest of ethnic Tamils who live in his West Side congressional district so that he could examine charges that the region was not receiving an equitable share of relief funding sent to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami. Davis has been harshly critical of the Sri Lankan government's treatment of the Tamil minority.

    "Since I have an interest in human rights and since I have a tendency to kind of favor the underdog, I went at their request to take a look," Davis said. "I don't regret taking the trip. I have a much better understanding of the situation than prior to going."

    As recently as Saturday, Davis talked in Chicago with a supporter of the Tamil Tigers who was among the 11 people accused of conspiring to aid the rebel group through money laundering, procurement of arms, including surface-to-air missiles, and bribery of public officials.

    $1 million bribe alleged

    That Tamil Tiger supporter, Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, was described in a federal criminal complaint as a high-level operative who served as an intermediary between the Tigers' leaders and foreign backers. The complaint charges that he offered a $1 million bribe to an undercover FBI agent posing as a State Department official in an attempt to remove the Tamil Tigers' designation as a terrorist organization.

    Davis said he first met Vinayagamoorthy, a 57-year-old London physician, at a Tamil cultural event in the Chicago suburbs at which both of them gave speeches "a few years ago." Vinayagamoorthy also participated in several of the meetings that Davis held while visiting Sri Lanka, the congressman said.

    The Tamil supporter contacted the congressman's office again last week seeking a chance to brief Davis on events in Sri Lanka, where violence between the government and Tamil Tigers has flared anew. Vinayagamoorthy arranged to do so while walking alongside Davis for 10 blocks Saturday during the congressman's annual Back to School Parade in Chicago, Davis said.

    The criminal complaint against Vinayagamoorthy asserts that he had "direct and frequent contact" with leaders of the rebel group and was "often dispatched" to facilitate its projects around the world.

    Without mentioning Davis or his aide by name, the complaint describes transactions in which Vinayagamoorthy and others charged in the case allegedly laundered $13,150 in Tamil Tiger funds at the direction of a top guerrilla leader to pay for travel of "two individuals" to Tamil-controlled Sri Lanka. The two were Davis and Cantrell, law-enforcement officials said.

    Another person arrested in the case, Nachimuthu Socrates, was listed as a director in 2004 of the Tamil cultural organization which Davis listed in public disclosure forms as the trip's sponsor, the Tamil federation based in Hickory Hills. Federation representatives did not return phone calls Wednesday.

    Davis said he always assumed that the organization had a connection with the Tamil Tigers.

    "I knew that they were associated with the Tamil Tigers, yes," he said.


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...40213aug24,1,5329055.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
     
  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Is this guy up for reelection?
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Nah, he's just lying. Welcome to Chicago politics. :thup:
     
  4. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Howie Dean McGovern has called the terrorists "freedom fighters"

    Another example of how libs view the war on terror
     
  5. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    The media calls these Tiger scumbags "rebels". :tdown2:

    Why is it that when terrorists act against US interests they are "terrorists" but if they act against someone else they are "rebels"?
     

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