One of the major U.S.
counter-terror organizations, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
recently posted something of a reminder on their web site. It was all about the
LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a separatist Tamil group from the
island of Sri Lanka. The FBI pointed out that in three decades of operations,
the LTTE has killed over 70,000 people and pioneered the use of suicide
bombers. This included inventing the explosive belt. The LTTE has also killed
two national leaders (of Sri Lanka and India) and many more senior government
officials than Islamic terrorists. Al Qaeda learned quite a lot about terrorism
from the LTTE, which is basically a secular organizations (although most
members are Hindu).
But even more importantly, the LTTE
pioneered fund raising techniques that have greatly aided Islamic terrorists.
The LTTE developed methods which enabled them to raise large amounts of money
from expatriate Tamils (who are native to southern India). The LTTE was also
able to raise money from Tamils in southern India, but it was the techniques of
pretending to collect money for charity work, then using it to fund terrorism,
that really caught al Qaedas attention. It eventually caught the FBIs attention
as well, leading to the LTTE being declared a terrorist organization, and many
of its fund raising operations shut down.