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Saturday, April 29, 2006


Newsflash: Mexico legalizes drug use… may have to put up wall to keep Americans out!

" Mexico's Congress approved a bill Friday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use —"

Ok, the headline is bit of a stretch. but I can see it as one solution to a major problem that Mexico has been unable or unwilling to contend with.

i can also see Jay Leno's Tonight Show and those guys from Comedy central's writer's pool and a lot of Hollywood getting ready to write punch lines to jokes; With the same message I had in my headline. While others will be doing it in hotel rooms in Mexico to be there when the bill is signed into law.

" The only remaining step was the signature of President Vicente Fox, whose office indicated he would sign it. Supporters said the law would let police focus on drug smuggling, rather than on busting casual users. The bill also would stiffen many drug-related penalties: for trafficking, for possession near schools, and for possession of even small quantities by government employees." - FOXNEWS.com reports.

I do expect if the law is enacted; a lot of those using and abusing the "personal use" law will be Americans and people from other countries who use and abuse drugs.

I can imagine those drums along the Border in "TJ" where people can dump contraband oin return to the USA will be full of "personal use" items of people returning to the USA.

But; the bottom line, it is a surrender to drug barons and drug dealers in way - however domestic consumption in Mexico is a problem that is encouraged by the huge demand across the Border.

The major problem is Mexican jails are filled with tens of thousands of people who technically are addicts in need of rehabilitation. They need to do a Malaysia and Philippine solution which is to save the user- "rehab" them - and kill the pusher- as provided in the death penalty for drug lords and drug barons.
Read the rest on the website link to FNC.

In light of recent ruling in the United States where a Federal ruling has overturned some states use of medical marijuana it may be way for those who suffer from ailments to seek treatment and may be a move to cash-in before US "smoke rooms" are shut down .

Do not get me wrong; I do not use drugs; I said no a long time ago - nor do I condone the use of the illicit drugs mentioned above for sale illegally or as is now legally allowed in Mexico when Fox signs it into law.

To do such is a surrender; A failure to being able to enforce drug laws effectively or failure to be able to stop the trade.

But what I am saying is it a sad day for those engaged in fighting the sad social scourge and I am sure will be abused extensively by many who are in the drug trade.

Vicente Fox could still Veto the measure; but it is unlikely seeing it is an election year in Mexico.

In fairness to Mexico; in the Netherlands, a similar law was introduced. It was not successful and later redrawn with stricter policies and change as drug abuse and drug tourists visitors escalated to levels many could not tolerate.

Friday, April 28, 2006


New US CT status report

New counter-terrorism progress report out

New report released on counter-terrorism efforts of the USA; which lead to success in some areas including here in the Philippines according to the report just released.

• “In the Philippines, authorities have regained control of the island of Basilan and, increasingly, the island of Jolo, both areas of operation for Abu Sayaff and Jemiah Islamiya.”

I am kind of questioning the lead sentence of the press release- which seems to say the US has downsized terror groups in smaller, leaner, and meaner groups. Not the thing you might want to “high-lithe” but it is a truthful statement.

link to the report is below as well.



U.S. Counterterrorism Coordinator Crumpton Announces New Report

Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 finds terror groups smaller, more sophisticated

By David I. McKeeby
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Thanks to the successes of the U.S.-led multinational counterterrorism effort, terror organizations are now smaller and more sophisticated, and more challenging than ever to bring to justice, says Ambassador Henry Crumpton, coordinator of the State Department’s counterterrorism office.

An annual report developed jointly by the State Department and the National Counterterrorism Center, Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 is produced to provide Congress information on progress in the fight against al-Qaida and the 41 other identified terrorist groups active in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, Crumpton told journalists in an April 28 press briefing announcing the release.

Among the broader trends identified in the report, Crumpton said that terrorist groups are forming smaller, harder-to-detect cells; becoming more technologically sophisticated, particularly in their use of the Internet; and are building closer links with international criminal networks. He also said many terrorist groups continue to focus their efforts in Iraq to provoke sectarian violence and derail democracy, making continued international support of the Iraqi government essential.


Military force alone cannot defeat terrorism, Crumpton said. “We must fight the enemy with precise, calibrated force to buy space and time to transform the environment and the conditions which terrorists exploit.”

He said the report emphasizes the need for a multilevel strategy “utilizing all the instruments of statecraft” to counter violent extremism and disrupt terrorist networks globally; using regional partnerships to deny terrorists safe haven; and improving security by using development assistance programs to help countries build institutions that support the rule of law and address political and economic injustices.

“This is not just the right thing to do; it also enhances our partners' capacity to resist the terrorist threat and address conditions that terrorists exploit,” Crumpton said.

The report finds that al-Qaida’s core leadership no longer has effective global command and control of its networks, Crumpton said. Confined to an increasingly smaller territory along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Crumpton says that al-Qaida’s senior leaders increasingly are frustrated by their lack of control and “desperate to claim Iraq as their own,” resorting to propaganda to demonstrate their continuing influence by inspiring terrorist attacks.

“Al-Qaida and its affiliates are attacking what they fear the most, the development of a global civic society -- a society characterized by global networks of liberal institutions, free speech, democratic organizations, free-market forces, and law,” Crumpton said.

Although international cooperation has succeeded in denying them safe haven in Iraq and elsewhere, the ambassador said, “We must maintain unrelenting pressure against al-Qaida -- we know they aim to attack the U.S. homeland and seek to match or surpass the terror of 9/11.”


Crumpton said that the report features regional overviews and reports on the terrorist situation in individual countries, marking not only the progress made but also the challenges remaining.

Among the examples of success he cited:

• In Colombia, local police forces have returned to all 1,098 municipalities throughout the country. They successfully have demobilized 23,000 paramilitary fighters, and are making progress in their fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC).

• In the Philippines, authorities have regained control of the island of Basilan and, increasingly, the island of Jolo, both areas of operation for Abu Sayaff and Jemiah Islamiya.

• In Indonesia, leaders launched a broad counterterrorism campaign that has gained momentum, featuring new legislation, successful prosecution of terrorist operatives and an emphasis on moderate religious theology to blunt radicalization.

• In Saudi Arabia, the government is taking steps to counter radicalization, opened a Financial Investigation Unit and has captured or killed the top 26 senior al-Qaida operatives inside their country.

The report also identifies several countries that the United States considers state sponsors of terrorism. Most significant among them is Iran, which Crumpton called, “the premier state sponsor of terrorism, provid[ing] a national safe haven for its own operatives and members of al-Qaida and Hezbollah.” (See related article.)

Iran’s ongoing vocal support of terrorist attacks against other countries, combined with its failure to disclose the true extent of its nuclear program to the international community also raise the continuing concern that it may facilitate future terrorist attacks utilizing weapons of mass destruction, Crumpton said.

The full text of the new report is available on the State Department Web site.

For more information, see Response to Terrorism.


Al qaeda at sea? are multiple maritime plots afoot?

In the Movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a alien ambassador seeking to get the world's attention stops time and makes the world - stand still.

Kerry Collison; avid author and mega-blogger may feel like the alien ambassador trying to warn people in the USA of a problem we in SE Asia know only too well, It is recurring fear for many in the region, a coordinated attack by Al Qaeda and it's allies in the region on the Straits of Malacca.

While ASEAN has put up joint patrols versus the repeated acts of piracy; amidst reports of hijacking of ships where-in nothing was taken and seemed more like training missions. Warnings have emerged over the last four years of a possible major terror attack on shipping in the area.

There are among the Navies of the region a worry expressed both by Military people and members of both the international shipping companies and leaders in the region.

A growing fear; rising over the years; about a possible attack on or near Asia’s choke point in the Malacca Straights.

A lot of people are expressing renewed concern Now at this time of extreme oil prices if a Attack on or near Straits of Malacca near Singapore could hold up traffic for a few days what it would do to the global economy. One analyst says a few days of tension could see a $120 a barrel "As not impossible."

" The same conditions that allow pirates to operate in Indonesian waters can also be conducive to militant groups such as al Qaeda or its Southeast Asian offshoot Jemaah Islamiah. Maritime attacks and attacks against oil infrastructure and transportation...." Stratfor report quoted by Collison

Collision’s post based a report of the STATFOR organization; But that threat of a attack here near us is in part based on one that occurred before while it was off Yemen and en-route to the entry to the Suez Canal.

" An attack similar to the one against the MV Limburg off of Yemen in October 2002 would bring an immediate international response --....The economic fallout, however, would have already begun " Collison quoting Stratfor

But going beyond the STRATFOR warnings; speaking to analysts they say one area of extreme concern is if “multiple choke points are hit link up several events,” imagine a much larger scenario; not just Malacca, And here is where talking to the people I have been discussing this with in the last few hours see something.

“But what if Hormitz, in the Gulf; or on Oil tankers in the Suez and Panama canals; then that were followed by attacks on oil pipelines and or refineries.” my sources say such actions taken over period of days;

World be enough to send oil prices soaring “They would skyrocket.”

At first I asked if “such a plot had been considered even a remote possibility?” the answer given to me; "There are several actual intelligence reports on individual attacks plots versus these targets." I was told by not just one security analyst - But the same quote repeated almost in the same words by another who cited intelligence information gleaned from detainees and captured documents.

I and my counterparts in the news media have done stories with topics like this; to try and get these concerns aired- on occasion we do a pretty good job Looking for these things and hopefully raise concern enough for us to see some action taken to prevent events like this from happening but we are not always successful. .

But reading and re-reading this possible path of action; the thought of something going on at multiple point’s worries me repeatedly I have been told;

Analysts say "it is not far-fetched."

"If one looks at past actions of Al Qaeda for example they have arranged for attacks to be carried out in different hemisphere’s or countries before, " one senior fellow of a major think tank told me when I asked him about the subject said; " I would not think it impossible."

Groups like Al Qaeda are able to commit multiple attacks across the globe; One need only look at the assassination of the leader of the northern alliance in Afghanistan around the time of the 9-11 attacks; Then embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the string of bombings across the globe that almost move across time zones like a clock.

I often wonder why the Madrid Attacks were never linked to the bombing of Superferry 14 and the attacks on other targets in an around the same timeframe.. I am suddenly worried about the new message of the leaders of Al Q. I wonder; and worry, if indeed as mentioned in the statements “Oil supply” is now the new target, weapon, and, threat next. plot to make a real life; World Standing still….. waiting in gas lines and trying to figure out how move about.

I hope I'm not the only one thinking this way. Something I am sure is being done to prevent this on a individual level at the various places; If not - we'll all be walking for couple of days and trying to recover from the chaos of a world standing still.


Police on manhunt for JI-ASG "strike team" in Manila

Police on manhunt for JI-ASG "strike team" in Manila - Protests groups targeted as well.

Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday are searching for and checking on the reports that a joint JI-ASG strike team is in Manila to carry out attacks during the May1 "Labor Day" public events that is often a mix of celebration and always large crowded protests.

The Chief of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, or, CIDG, Asher Dolina, in Metro Manila, says his men will continue to monitor the apartment they raided. The CIDG, is looking for members of the ASG team in manila believed to number between 4 to 6 men who are at large.

"They will continue to check on reports of alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) activities in the capitol "

This comes after a raiding team led by Lt. Col. Nelson Yabut,, raided a home n Marikina City, at 21 Champagne St. residence village, where they recovered explosives and firearms inside several rooms. Six Anti-Personnel grenades and a small IED were found, it is also believed the group may have "other statehouses" in the area. Police believe the strike team had intended to use the weapons on crowds taking part in protests and other May Day activities.

This comes on the heels of other tense reports ;

Rumors have circulated that left-wing groups, disgruntled troops and opposition leaders plan to move to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday, when the country marks Labor Day. The military has said an alleged coup attempt in late February could be revived next week.

Tension is rising;

But, some feel the reports and attempts come on renewed concerns by most people who are more concerned about domestic issues more directly affecting their lives than Political infighting.
The current prime concern in most surveys is "rising fuel prices" as well as "Employment and Income", However the Philippine street political scene is always fluid.
However, new survey numbers, made by the Social Weather Stations, a more conservative and far more complex survey research group, released full page ads indicating that a slight majority of people want to move on with their lives and are less willing to take part in "protests and people power" events.
But the numbers overall are tight. With a large sector of "undecided"


Motion to reduce charges dismissed vs. Subic USMC accused

At the Makati RTC; Judge Benjamin Pozon of Branch 139 dismissed a motion of the prosecution to reduce the charges filed versus 3 of the US Marines accused in the Subic Rape case.

The Motion filed by the Philippine DOJ, was "Dismissed" for "lack of merit" and furter the Judge ruled that the motion be expunged from the record of the case.

Earlier the DOJ, had sought to reduce the charge of rape versus three others accused in the case, The three will continue as "principle accused"are Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis, and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier.
Who along with Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the principal accused of the accused in the case will be facing the full case at this time.

The men are scheduled to be seen for the first time as they are formally arraigned at the makati hall of justice at 2pm, Friday, the case was reassigned after "difficulties" in the original venue for the case; when the original judge inhibited himself in the case.

The US embassy has assured the men would face the court as part of the process of the trial the embassy has custody of the men under a joint military agreement with the Philippines on cases filled versus US personal accused of wrongdoing under the visiting forces agreement.

Meanwhile the Legal Panel of support for the victim in the case has been beefed up;

" A former vice president, a former senator, and a law dean have joined the team working as private counsels for the complainant in the Subic rape case. Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., former Sen. Rene Saguisag, and Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law dean Pacifico Agabin have joined lawyers Evalyn Ursua, Honorato Aquino, and Anna Lisa Gonzales in lawyering for “Nicole,” the 22-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by four U.S. Marines in Subic, Zambales in November last year. " More at bulatlat.com

The case has galvanized "Leftist or progressive groups"depending on your point of view; Anti-American, Anti-War, and, Anti-US forces groups have rallied behind the victim, in the Philippines who see the case; in their eyes as "all that is worng with the presence of US forces in the Philippines." or thierwebsites nad statements issued go...

In particular the RP-US VFA or visiting forces agreement, which gives legal protection to US troops charged with criminal offences, a measure of protection under the agreement not provided for in US law. Where off-duty Military personel who would be charged in a offense would face a civilian court - like anyone else.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Zackary Abuza; has a summary of recent Mindanao activity that is full of information - the entire site actually is very good with expert information on intentional topics and scope of the problem from a global perspective.
just FYI-


Threat of May One violence confirmed in Police Raid

Militant Extremists of the Abu Sayyaf and not military rebels may have thier own "G plan" for the upcoming may day rallies in the Philippines. a total of six granades five hand granade and a rifle granade as well as a unfinnished IED and blasting cap fuse wire were recovered by Philippine Police.
When operatrives led by Lt. Col. Nelson Yabut of the CIDG NCR ; raided a compound in the suburban city of Marikina where at 21 champaign street in residence village in Marikina they found the weapons cache.
I know Nelson - he was Lt. Yabut of the WPD or Manila's western Police district when I first met him a long -long time ago- myself- like other reporters used to sneak into his office to get instant coffee! (what does that tell you about how long ago that was!) All I can say it was a much happier if not interesting time. A lot of us - learned quite a bit from Nelson... i dont know why but - a watering hole in front of WPD's press center comes to mind - spent many late nights there learning the trade in what now seems - a long time ago.
Now Lt. Col or perhaps Col. Yabut - he should be General soon I hope; I know many Cops; not Yabut, Nelson is a "Police Officer".
Anyhow he explained to reporters the purpose of the raid - and the need for a higher level of vigililance by all groups in the days ahead.
Among those seen at the compund were higher ups in the ASG - they believe that a plot to throw grandes into crowds of rallists protesting this labor day- may have been the purpose of the group that reports say numbered anywhere for four to six men. Who are "at large" by the way at this time.
A trademark of the groups here though - was seen at the site- the blast wire- I can't go into details but perhaps I can talk about it in another blog.
"Fusewire" was found at the site as well as wrapping paper for more - alert levels have been raised. Police in the City of Manila are on a high level of alert to deal with anything untoward other groups attempt to create chaos in the days ahead.
the six men included a cousin of the Abu Sayyaf leader Kadaffi Janjalani.
I'll keep an eye on this one...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Nokor Super-notes linked to JI "trade"

By Mike Cohen

Manila - Officials in the region are worried that North Korea may be financing regional terrorist groups in Asia using “mass produced high quality Super-Note forgeries and fakes of US and other currencies” A senior counter-terrorism official in Asia says, “increasingly we are seeing a link between the Korean fake notes, and groups like Jemaah Islamaih and Al Qaeda backed groups in Asia.”

“Ideologically the groups are opposites” the regime in Pyongyang and the groups who operate in the Southern Philippines do “share” things in common and “trade” in other ways “Arms made in North Korea are often found in camps of the extremists and also there are reports of Methamphetamine “crack” and “Ice” produced in large quantities allegedly in North Korea and Burma; "Being sold by the Extremists groups who are strapped for cash.” The official who requested anonymity said

Super-sized notes: 2.8 Million served

North Korea is producing millions in “Fake Greenbacks” and other currencies and continues to spread them throughout the world to cover its shortfall in foreign exchange as well as to fund terrorist groups and purchase arms and other items clandestinely across the globe. The South Korean based Korea Times reports.

The Bills called “Super-notes”, since 1989 where first discovered by the Central Bank of the Philippines, US officials say the problem “Is an ongoing strategic case with national security implications.” .

“A U.S. secret service official claimed Tuesday his agency has made “definitive'' connections between North Korea and its counterfeiting of U.S. currencies, saying Washington has confiscated “Super-notes'' worth $2.8 million on a yearly basis.” The Korea times said in a report posted on its website based on testimony given in Washington last week.

“The Super-notes” A US Treasury report on the Super-notes says “Are printed using the same methods the U.S. Bureau of Engraving uses to produce genuine notes,.”

Michael Merritt, a deputy assistant director of the U.S. office, which investigates counterfeiting offenses, said during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C.; that “North Korea also uses paper that has similar security features, including special fibers, threads and watermarks.” In the Korea times report. “Providing a frame of reference, he said the Secret Service seized over $113 million in counterfeit U.S. currency during the 2005 fiscal year.”

“High-quality, counterfeit $100 U.S. bills allegedly produced by North Korea are collectively referred to as super-notes.” The US officials say “Our investigation has revealed that super-notes continue to be produced and distributed from sources operating out of North Korea,’’

Korean Won, Euro, Japanese Yen also "Super-sized"

But the further other regional and International currencies are also coming out of the North Korean “Super Fakes” treasury units from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East but he declined to give estimates to reporters as the extent of the spread of the fakes of other currencies targeted by Pyongyang.

“Super-notes” Merritt says are detectable with minimal training. adding that; “There are also machines which are commercially available that can detect the Super-note,'' he claims.

In Asia; regional Terrorism analysts are worried as the presence of “super-notes” increasingly are found in the money changer shops and along the drug trails they believe where the Terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah is working "An indication of trade links - but not formal ties between regional militant extremists and the regime in Pyongyang.”

A simple “rogues-alliance” and does not indicate formal support of each other the official said. The notes are believed to used along the lines of the former Baathist regime in Iraq which also flooded many parts of the middle east with fake U.S. Dollars and other currencies during the Gulf War to pay-off small groups for support. The Iraqi action, then in part led to a major redesign of the US currency in 1991 after the spread of "Saddam Dollars" were uncovered in 1990.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


'In the coming Days.'.. LA times article on "Gringo"

Something seems to be up; what exactly is hard to say. But a lot is being made of a interview and quote about "In the coming days." I talked about this in a earlier blog below.

The quote is from an interview with a "Magdalo" member of the foiled Oakwood mutiny - "Former Sen. Honasan serves as an example and inspiration. We believe he is fighting for genuine reforms." Army 1st Lt. Sonny Sarmiento, said this on Che-Che Lazero's probe team episode on the "Magdalo Group".

Todays; Sunday edition of the LA times has an article by Richard Paddock on Sen, Gringo Honasan; Xinghua Chian news agency has a piece out the Philippine Military saying they are ready for anything. Time has a story in the works So does Newsweek Al Jazeera is working on something, the BBC, ITN, and CNN or so I hear. Wazzap?

The article got noticed in the USA - I got a few calls from a couple of US TV networks to be "ready and aware"... It seems the buzz is out there indeed. But- Paddock's Article intrigues me... In the LA times the report is focused on these points; But waht grabs me is the tone - its an advanced piece... advanced to what I do not know. If you take the Ny time editorial and then this. Then the Heritage Foundation Rpeort very critical of the GMA government and a very well oiled and organized campaign in the US with web ads and a strong PR effort vs. the Philippine Gov't one looks to the heavens and wonders aloud like Yule Briner in the King and i and musses - "It is a puzzlement..."

Perhaps it is nothing but a interesting rehash of things we have heard here in Manila time and again but - in news timing is everything. And I think it's time I listened a bit harder. I could be wrong but I think the LA times and other US based media groups hear the distinct but distant pitter patter of feet- and they may be wearing combat boots.

- I hope they're wrong…. but my camcorder batteries are charged just in case.


Hydrogen Powered Pick-up truck

Ok; its Earth Day and here's the scoop - For those thinking back to the Pinoy watercar- well it's official.

Ford is set to launch a internal combustion engine Pick-up powered by hydrogen this sound familiar to anyone who has watched the watercar concept of Dingel?I looked online for background - can't find much Data on it. But as always there is one blogger who clipped the Sept. 2004 press release of Ford on the f-360 H2o truck during design testing.

Quotes below from Green Car Forum:

This is not a fuel cell vehicle; this truck uses an internal combustion engine which consumes hydrogen gas rather than gasoline or diesel fuel. Using Hydrogen ICE is also the approach BMW is taking with its current H2 efforts.

Ford plans to have a fleet of H2ICE F-350s on the road for testing within 12 months. Driving range for the trucks is still a too-short 100 miles. Doubling the capacity of the hydrogen storage tanks will help, but not enough.

Although the use of the fuel is more efficient than gasoline, engine performance is lower. Ford is using supercharging—forcing air into an engine—as a way to improve combustion and generate more power.

Ford views the hydrogen internal combustion engine as a transitional technology. The F-350 hydrogen engine’s economically feasible because it's based on existing engine designs'— only the fuel has been changed.

"“You service it the same, change the oil every 5,000 miles,"” said Bob Natkin, technical leader of Ford’s V-10 hydrogen engine program. The truck’s hydrogen fuel tanks are reinforced with carbon and can withstand a rifle round or a five-story fall, Natkin said.

"“If you want to build a hydrogen infrastructure, the way to do it is to get on with building hydrogen fuel systems for cars,” said Ray Smith, program leader for energy technologies and security at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “When the fuel cell guys get their economic act together, the transition will be relatively smooth"

So calling on the people who own the water companies - Hey put on turbans! Your the new Arabs in a few years - if the country could force automakers here to make the shift to the
Hydrogen infrastructure then there is a very strong chance that the new power and fuel source could be also used to generate electricity.

More posts from Green Car Forum:
City of Barstow to Test Hydrogen-Methane Blend (Hythane) in Fleet
20 April 2006
Sasol Chevron Stunt Highlights Gas-to-Liquids Diesel Fuel
19 April 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006


A Report like this one from Bangkok; shows how Politics often affects the War on Terror. It also showa how labels put on people are often are meaningless when Political perception conflicts with Political oppression. -MIke

Both photo and content from - Asianews.it

http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=5970 - Full story

" Barely a year ago, Waemahadee Waeda-oh, was on trial, charged with being a member of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a Islamic terrorist network linked to al Qaeda. A few days ago, he was elected senator in Thailand with an overwhelming majority.

On 16 May 2003, Waemahadee and three other Thai Muslims were identified by police as being members of the group of Arifin bin Ali of Singapore, believed to be a JI member. At the time, he was detained in Bangkok and later repatriated.

They were charged with involvement in terrorist attacks, including the 2002 Bali bombs. In June 2005, the court in Bangkok absolved them citing "“lack of evidence"”.

"I used to live in fear and suspicion," Waemahadee, 43, said. "People here are in a similar situation, so they looked for a person who could reflect their frustration."”

In one of three Muslim southern provinces "– within a Buddhist majority country "– Waemahadee won 100,000 votes, three times more than any other candidate in his area. Clashes between Muslim rebels fighting for independence and government troops have plagued the south of the country since 2004. ....

"Apparently the government is trying to win people's hearts and minds now, but villagers, whose relatives have been threatened or taken away by officials in the past, are still skeptical,” continued the new senator. "“My victory shows people wanted a change of policy." - it's a good read look it up on the web in full

Reports coming from the recent counter terrorism summit held in Mactan, Cebu warn, that, a new wave of organized rebuilt and armed with a new crop of cadre's Jemaah Islamiah is ready to strike anew.

Australia, did issue a warning for Indonesia last week- While not clearly indicating where- they gave a date of April 20th onwards- of new a plot for new attacks somewhere in Indonesia.

The DFAT (Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade) issued a alert calling on Aussies; living in Indonesia to” lie low” for those who already were in that country.

While warning tourists of a new possible plot, that had been uncovered by the AISO, in the wake of sweeps and arrests that foiled attacks in Sydney.

"A noted regional security analyst said here yesterday the regional Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network has 100 foreign militants in Mindanao who have trained 400 to 500 fighters for new attacks." - the Philippine Star reported further - " Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, head of the Singapore-based International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, told reporters on the sidelines of a three-day international experts’ conference on counterterrorism here that nearly 100 JI militants were being given refuge by rogue guerrilla leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front."

Overall the MILF has rejected extremism, and has repeatedly said. They want to see an end to groups engaged in these kinds of terror acts be stopped; and are cooperating by and large to see "outlaws" face justice.

Overall, the Cebu summit versus terrorism got a few "footnotes" of coverage on the news locally;, print coverage was better though than Broadcast most TV Stations seem perplexed of late covering anything outside Politics,

So for them it is a focus of covering the Cha-Cha or alleged plots and reports and claims of new plots to destabilize the country rather than focus attention on an "old topic" it is a dilemma for many in the industry who focus on this topic as conflicts abound in Newsroom’s with personal bias high against the topic .

I remember one time; when I too felt that way – then- six years ago- it all changed one day- it was on Dec 30th of 2000 - I had just gone to work to check my email when the Desk editor on Duty asked if i could hop into a crew cab and help out as a something had gone wrong with a LRT train at the Blumentritt station.

Earlier Robert Tan, another reporter, had gone out to Makati - a fire had been reported on a bus - and while I was in the crew cab on the way to the story a third team was being rushed to Plaza Ferguson in front of the US Embassy in Ermita.

Something had exploded,,, at three locations… as well as on a Bus,

When I reached the Bumentritt LRT station - we saw pandemonium; people screaming - people running down the steps carrying victims. The steps were slippery and sticky - blood and body parts were everywhere,

A series of explosions in four places at one time had rocked Metro Manila, the first thing that came to mind, was domestic politic s- then almost ominously- I looked at a local Police detachment commander talking to General Avelino Razon - the words the man said echoed in my head for a while “ This isn't local Sir...Tthis is like a middle east bombing...look at the blast – it cut - this is not something Filipinos rebels do look at the civilians, Sir, ...”.The Police detachment officer who had been a PNP UN peacekeeper in Lebanon and elsewhere in the middle east - He knew in an instant what many at the immediate time choose to ignore, that a new wave International terrorism had hit Manila.

Everyone was skeptical; Most of our news coverage had been focused on the Impeachment allegations of that time – and - we like everyone else were looking at a possible coup plot or other type of destabilization at the time.

Even later that night at the Chinese General Hospital when the President came to visit the injured victims - another officer - a PSG close in security officer I had known for years told me, in almost a whisper one word "Terrorists..."I looked at him – my face showing disbelief; When I asked "who”His reply hit me like a lightning bolt-

"Al Qaeda... from Indonesia"

He said it - I couldn't believe it at first- but the cold stare in eyes and years of knowing him one look said it was what he believed to be true. What many People then did not understand that at around that time Former President Estrada had ordered his forces to move into MILF camps in Mindanao in 1999 for a offensive – what they uncovered was a large number of Foreign fighters; many of whom were from Indonesia and other from as far off as Pakistan and the Arab World. Piles of passports and documents had been seized in several camps.

The MILF; at that time had welcomed the foreigners into the camps for simple logistics and as volunteers who I was later told by senior MILF people “Abused the hospitality of the MILF and established hard-line sects within the group.” The Military of the Philippines has a very different view of that period – but since both parties are now in peace talks – in the spirit of reconciliation I’ll leave it there.

Now; back to that Rizal Day, after doing a bunch of reports on air for all of ABS-CBN’s channels- before being relieved by more senior correspondent Doris Bigornia , for a special edition of TV patrol as night fell, I was happy to see Doris, she had money for dinner! We had been going at it since morning – by then we were tired and most of our energy was spent.

Most of us in Media on that night on December 30th, 2000 –- remember this was before 9-11 – had really very little knowledge of the extent Al qeada had grown; although many knew it did have ties to the Abu Sayyaf this was still unclear then.

Later on that night I went back to the office we were told of calls by a man claiming to be from the” International Islamic Movement”, claiming responsibility in broken English.

It was only then - I noticed people staring at me- I hadn't had a chance to change yet- my pants, shoes, shirt, was stained with blood. We had been first on the scene and had helped EMS teams with some of the victims. I also remember that there was flesh and body parts everywhere.

When I went home - I couldn't go to sleeps – Always in my mind is the picture of Baby Bottle; its nipple bit off- blood around the rim. I can understand the reasons behind these kind of attacks; but when ever one see’s the effects it never really leaves you.

I sat down and remembered the wounded- the words they spoke those children asking for parents some we knew were dead; killed in the blasts. 22 in all died that day a few hundred more were injured.

In the weeks, months, and years, that followed there were more bombings and attacks - a bus her e- a place there, other parts of the country as well; always the scene was the same - people frantic. The worst was the Super Ferry; a couple of years back I didn’t go to the scene at the time - but later went to the Ship when it had been raised.

The faces of terror's victims always looks the same; Also the sight of people like me always at the scene- reporting ,looking, seeing first hand the death and dying the people after a while it becomes another story- the more it happens the less it grabs the headlines. I wonder if the People who do this realize that, that people while fearful seem less and less shocked by the carnage.

A report I posted further down said last year was the worst; the number of attacks across the globe setting a new level with 10,000 attacks overall . Yet there is less and less focus of coverage on that kind of news. More showbiz- more sports- more politics.

So now with the new warnings and new threats it seems like before when people first warned of “new groups of extremists” in 1999.

At that time Asia was just hearing of the then new recruits, new groups old slogans and tactics it was largely ignored by media.

Now amidst fears by expressed by “experts”; fears of worse and more horrific attacks. A lot of which is ignored save for a few seconds on the news on TV stations and back pages of some newspapers.

So when warnings like this come out I think back to the warnings of before and worry about seeing history repeat itself as some seem in media seem to prefer to ignore this threat and clear present danger – for the latest showbiz scandal – or Political event or exercise they have vested interests in… I hope I’m wrong this time – and these warnings will now fall on deaf ears.

Friday, April 21, 2006


West Papua / Irian Jaya new home of JI?

A leader for the Free Papua Movement based in Australia has raised an issue that might be something worth looking into from the journalist point of view- afterall -it is a vastly open area of Indonesia and well- is an intriguing suggestion.

"Senior Papuan independence campaigner Willy Mandowenalso believes terrorists are likely to be targeting Papua because of its strategic location bridging the southern Philippines and Pacific nations, and that Canberra should be paying more attention to this issue."- Australian

While the man may have his own reasons to suggest it- uit does make a lot a possible reason many of the key bombmakers of JI have not been captured - the area is known to be a haven for smuggling and also for other illegal activity.

Perhaps it is a story worth checking into... but then agian this is a man who by Indonesia's point of view is himself considered a "terrorist or rebel"... still where there is smoke?
Story below shows a defensive posture on the local view that critics of the position of the Country's inability to stop the terror training camps in the Southern Philippines - what the Gov't should do is turn the tables on the USA and other critics and say...

I offer three other responces the Palace can give when asked anew over the JI problem....sugjested responce statement from the Palace

"Well ... Now how many people are you worried about who got across your border? hmmmmm... Whets that 12+ million undocumented people my... my.... The Philippine delegates could look at the other side of the table and say - speak up I cant hear you? Your spending how much? 12 billion dollars a week - a week- (3 weeks is the national budget of this country) and you cant find a single old man with a beard hangs out with goats- who posts videos on websites? hmmmmm... Very poor management of resources..."

Another optional responce -

"The Philippines has done a lot - but sadly - Washington's, Canberra's, and London's people here spend more time playing golf and going to spa's and figuring out how to extend their tours of duty here - I mean... If they caught all the badguys here... They might have to go to Iraq!
And the Spa's, Karaoke, and, seafood is just not the same in the greenzone."

Or the blunt one-

" Two US administrations both Clinton and Bush were given warnings by the RP AFP & PNP intel communities on plots vs. The US prior to 9-11- which were ignored. One which mentioned hijackings and planes crashing into buildings a series of reports were submitted in 1995 &1996 in 1999 & 2000 - all were; flatly ridiculed by US Gov't people " Esp, a ex Clinton era national security adviser who wrote a marginal note- " Couldn't happen even if they tried... This is a daydream. " or words to that effect. ...." - done while holding up a copy of the returned report with the comments in handrighting of US officials... (it exists.. dont ask me how I know)

Now with that in mind...

Manila Times: http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/apr/22/yehey/top_stories/20060422top8.html

RP terror fight defended

SHORT of saying that the country's efforts to fight terrorism is not that bad, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said on Friday that the Philippine government will soon eradicate terrorism in the country.

Speaking to more than 600 delegates at the First Counter-terrorism Experts’ Conference at the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort in Cebu, Ermita said the Philippines has neutralized 238 terrorists under the Arroyo administration. Of these, 212 were members of the Abu Sayyaf, 10 were foreign terrorists and 4 were members of the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement.

Other speakers on the forum’s second day underscored the need for governments to understand why individuals join terrorist groups.

The reason could be other than religious passion or zeal. It could be economic or something else,” said Australian Ambassador Tony Healy

All for the Money... Nuke rummblings in Iran look more and more like a Persian salesmans push for higher Oil prices!

This is interesting to say the least... it renews my idea that this whole Iran nuke thing is a way to cash in on tension and raise the price of Oil.

“very good,” is the reaction of Iran' s President when told of sky rocketing Oil Prices-
"Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported, emphasizing the hawkish position of the world’s fourth largest oil exporter as crude prices have hit record levels. -“The increase of the oil price and growth of oil income is very good and we hope that the oil prices reach their real levels,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said as he toured an oil exhibition in Tehran, in the Report of the Iranian news agency based in Tehran. Earlier remarks suggest Ahmadinejad believes crude prices should rise above this week’s record high of over $74 a barrel.
He spoke of plastics and other by produicts of Oil that need to price factored or value added in.

Another minister for Oil production said he felt oil should be sold to rich countries for $100 a barrel... its real value.... Ok.... where's there a scooter salesman when you need one?

Meanwhile - record prices for Gasoline in Beverly Hills - where reports say the Prices have reached over $4 a gallon.


10,000 terror attacks in 2005... This thing is far from over

If you thought that this War is waning down - you might be pardon the pun "Dead wrong"

A report be a established and long held credible news agency in the U of A. Knight Ridder- no - not the TV show of David Hasslehoff and there is no "Kit" black Trans Am in the parking lot there either this is serious stuff - so listen up.

" The number of terrorist attacks documented by U. S. intelligence agencies jumped sharply in 2005, crossing the 10,000 mark for the first time, according to U counterterrorism officials and documents obtained by the Knight Ridder news agency."

10,000 Attacks! Typical news director reaction would be - "It's almost as bad a L.A./S. Cal /Vegas gang problem already?" Or typical LA news desk reaction - "Or Compton on the Friday night after a high school football game with Sta.Ana."

Yes- people it is - it is that bad - and if you notice from my analogy - which is the same reaction of most news people in the US you probably not be reading much of it on the web in print or in the papers - save for those who subscribe to the service running - 10,000 attacks - is really bad.

Most People I met in the USA in the news biz - seem to think the war is over and all the extended action in Iraq and elsewhere in Iraq and around the world is the old term of simple "Mopping Up Operations."

Iraq- has become terrorism central "More than half the fatalities from terrorism worldwide last year occurred in Iraq, said a counterterrorism official, " that means all the major attacks the 10K number is found in the theater of operations that is Iraq - also on this point one can clearly see one major thing 85% of all US casualties in the fighting have been there as well.

But closer to home the News Agency report found out something - "There were 3,192 terrorist attacks in 2004..." According to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center.

A new system of looking at the events surrounding the attacks and terrorism changed also hence a higher number - "In the past, intelligence analysts had counted only "international terrorism," defined as attacks involving citizens or territory of more than one country. But officials concluded that the definition was outdated and undercounted terrorism.

The 2004 sinking of a ferry in the Philippines by [Abu Sayyaf] that left 132 people dead was omitted in the tally, but , with the new reporting system the numbers of attacks clearly show a higher level of activity by groups like Al Qaeda and others indicating even when reviewing old data - last year was a marked increase in activity for the groups engaged in violence.

More clear in this reports is this -

"U.S. State Department counterterrorism coordinator Henry Crumpton told Congress earlier this month that the leadership of al Qaida, responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "may be isolated and under pressure, unable to communicate effectively. But, Crumpton told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, regional terrorist groups have established their own independent networks, a development that in some ways "poses even more daunting intelligence collection and strategic policy challenges."

Meaning with all the new groups that have sprung up since the start of the conflict- one can almost think the worst case scenario has happened.

The Hornets nest that was Afghanistan then the worlds breeding ground for extremists has not been crushed but spread to the winds - and in 2005 has come up from its Ashes and those groups that were thought destroyed, have been reborn- perhaps not the same - perhaps more complex; those captured leaders have been replaced - and further spread out.

An increase in the number of attacks from 3,000 to 10,000 in a year clearly means - even if most of those new attacks did take place in the main center of the war.

That this war is not anything near being over - and the Jihadi's or Terrorist's depending on your perspective has not nor did not bow out like dust in the wind but instead has spread out to new areas and have focused their energies in places like Iraq and may be ready to start new operations in places like... Well... Here in Asia anew.

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