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Dem Rep’s Trip To Sri Lanka Paid For By Terrorists

From Chicago's NBC5.com:

Rep. Danny Davis

Davis Claims He Was Unaware Terrorists Paid For Trip

CHICAGO — Rep. Danny Davis is on the defense Thursday over a recent trip that was sponsored by a known terrorist group.

Davis and an aide went to Sri Lanka last year on a trip paid for by the Tamil Tigers. That group is on the government's list of known terrorists groups for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers.

Davis maintains he didn't know the Tigers paid for the trip.

Note that this report fails to mention the Congressman's political affiliation. Which we all know by can only mean that he is a Democrat.

A fact the (erstwhile conservative) Chicago Tribune does manage to point out in its third paragraph on the subject:

Rebel group funded congressman's trip to Sri Lanka, sources say

By Andrew Zajac and Mike Dorning

Posted on Wed, Aug. 23, 2006

WASHINGTON – Illinois 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 new scrutiny this week following the arrests of 11 supporters of the organization on charges of participating in a broad conspiracy to support 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 Hickory Hills, Ill.-based Tamil cultural organization, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America.

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 is a separatist group that has been fighting since 1983 for 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 bloody conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives. Though the violence between the government and the separatist group abated during the past several years, it recently surged again, threatening a 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." …

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

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…

The question arises as to why a Congressman from Chicago should be concerning himself with the internal political events half a world away. But that question can be asked about almost every political junket. (Cf. Barack Obama’s current sojourn in Africa.)

Indeed, Rep. Davis is quite the traveler, having been given at least 47 "Gifts of Private Travel" in the past six years.

Still, one hopes these free vacations fact-finding missions aren’t also regularly paid for by terrorist organizations.

Supposing Davis isn’t lying about not knowing who was behind his trip, how can he be so stupid? And what good can anyone so dumb do?

Incidentally, if you’re having a hard time keeping straight all of these terrorist groups, Wikipedia has a lengthy write up on the Tamil Tigers. But it wouldn’t be too unfair to sum them up as a bunch of Communist thugs.

Funny that the Congressman would take such an interest.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 25th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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