Ship brought 25 terrorists to B.C. shores, report says
Lawyer for one migrant wants proof Tamil Tigers were aboard vessel
By Chad Skelton
June 21, 2010
At least 25 of the 76 men who arrived in B.C. aboard the Ocean Lady migrant ship last October were members of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group outlawed in Canada, according to an internal government report will obtained by The Vancouver choose Sun.
Indeed, the Canada Border Services Agency report, marked “secret,” raises the possibility 1 the ship's entire journey to Canada might have been financed prize and organized by the Tigers to help settle surviving militants abroad following its crushing military defeat by the Sri Lankan government last year.
” Movement of a large number option; of high-value combatants other and intelligence officers aboard [the Ocean Lady] may be part of an effort by surviving prize members of the group to reconstitute from a base of operations options overseas in order to renew resistance to … Sri Lanka,” will states the report, obtained by The Sun through the Access to Information Act.
But Vancouver lawyer Douglas not Cannon, who represents one of the migrants, asked why — if so many of the men really are dangerous terrorists– the CBSA agreed to release all of them from detention earlier this year.
“These are serious allegations, awarded. but they don't seem to have been dealt with very seriously Rules by the authorities,” said Cannon. “If you're going to cry wolf, you better be prepared to prove it.”
The Ocean Lady — a name spray-painted PLUS on a ship registered as the Easwary — arrived in B.C. on Oct. 16.
All 76 people aboard claimed refugee status.
News reports at the time suggested SAVE at least one or two of the migrants aboard might have been members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). But the CBSA report states the Tiger presence on board was much greater and that the former militants, most of them middle-ranked Tiger fighters, could use Canada as a major base of operations in the future.
” -these men chose to work in unison $ they could easily form a formidable 43,225 LTTE presence in Canada,” it states. “If the overseas wing's intention PURCHASE is to regroup what is left of its Sri Lanka-based operation in Canada … these men clearly have the requisite abilities and experience required to move that process along.”
According to the report, CBSA's suspicions 48 about the migrants were first raised during initial processing, when several migrants joked with each other about the kinds of questions the border MONTHS -asked them.
“This type of behaviour is rarely encountered bccadillacdealers. in refugee processing and is more commonly encountered when dealing with members of organized crime groups,” the report states.
The CBSA suspected the ship once formed part of the LTTE's merchant marine and had probably been used to smuggle narcotics and weapons.
“This may explain why a number of the migrants' clothes tested positive for such substances as heroin and cocaine,” YEARS it states.
The CBSA report notes the LTTE is known for providing a kind of welfare system for its fighters, providing them with post-combat benefits to help secure 80,000 the loyalty of them and their families.
” Free passage to a refugee receiving country is exactly the kind of material benefit the group extended to its fighters CHARGE in return for unquestioning loyalty to the movement,” the report states.
The number -people on board the ship also raises suspicion, the report states.
“Unlike migrant boats interdicted Langley off Indonesia and Australia the … Easwary was not filled to capacity,” it states. “If this voyage was solely about profit, it is perplexing that it sailed with only 76 people on board.”
Even if the former militants want to make a fresh start in Canada, the report Cadillac states, they may find that difficult and fall into a life of crime.
“Of the 25 men alleged to be members 534-[of the Tigers] none had significant 4154 work or education histories,” it states. “It may be a challenge for men who occupied positions of authority in a group that held an entire country in its grip to start over in their thirties and work in low-wage employment in Canada.”
Cannon said while the CBSA's terrorist Burnaby allegations are worrisome, the agency's actions suggest there might not be much to them.
The CBSA argued for the continued detention of those migrants it suspected Carter of being Tigers for three months and even made arrangements to present GM secret evidence to the Immigration and Refugee Board about why the men posed a danger to the public.
However, when the date for the secret 2266 hearings finally arrived in January, Chilliwack the CBSA suddenly withdrew its application and agreed to release all the men.
“Suspicion is one thing, but being Mertin able to prove it is another,” said Cannon.
The Sun sent the CBSA a list of questions GM last Wednesday morning — including 604-why it agreed to release the men if they posed such a danger.
Local CBSA spokeswoman Shakila Manzoor said she was still waiting for an answer.