Archive for July, 2006

Lebanon crisis: expect wave of new recruits for FTO’s

As the crisis in Lebanon is expected to stretch into it’s third week of fighting and rocket, airstrikes and artillery crossing the border and pitched gunbattles stretching into almost non-stop action on cable tv’s 24 hour channels.

The clear an present danger to the rest of the world – esp. in areas where the spillover could create and in fact some claim has created a climate ideal for those groups seeking to exploit images and recruit more people into radical groups in many parts of the world.

‘Godfather’ blogger Kelly Collison writes that the new terror recruitment drive might be the price of continued fighting in Lebanon erasing any gains made in fight versus JI and forcing even moderate islamic group members to the folds of more radical organizations: Kerry B Collison

[] “…. Indonesians warn that Israeli attacks could fuel terrorism

Thousands of Indonesians rallied Friday against Israel’s military operations in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, warning the West that such violence would only inflame Islamic militants. The protesters, who gathered in several cities across the world’s most populous Muslim nation, waved banners calling Israeli and U.S. leaders “the real terrorists.” “It’s ironic that America shouts about peace and democracy, and then supports Israel when it kills innocent Muslims,” said Arief Trisarjono,…’ []

 

July 29, 2006 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Lebanon Update: OFW related stories and youtube videos on crisis

Latest on Filipino’s in Lebanon trapped in crisis areas:
I have not been too prolific in my posts of late other work keeping me tied down away from my site. Plus been sick… so… here’s a few items I found below:

ABS-CBNNEWS.com

INQ7.net

Breaking News: (UPDATE) 7 OFWs held by Lebanese authorities

04:54pm04:52pm04:23pm

Israel pulls back from border town

You tube latest videos:

Bill Clinton’s view:

A site with pictures of children signing artillery shells… could be either side really… somewhat alarming to view but must be seen for what it is. A comment posted on the video’s website shows this view:

“This is unbelievably poignant and agonizing. While I would like to believe that these children are not sending their “gifts” to Lebanese children, it is still a hideous reality of war. The film could have been made in reverse and also have been true.”

Another video from a anti-hizbollah source:

    July 29, 2006 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

    The other side of SONA… by FYITV.net

    At FYITV.Net the Presidents State of the Nation address is posted for replay live and on demand. But also a good peice analyst might see as another view of all things said. From the perspective of FYI Correpondent Ces Vitan,

     

     

    News image

    FYI News Feature

    The Night Before SONA

    It rained that night, and for many more nights before and after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 6th and final State of the Nation Address. The nights and days thereafter will be the same… until government follows through with applause-worthy action that will render her plans true.  —Ces Vitan

    More features

    SONA 2006

    Part 1

    News image

    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo opens her State of the Nation Address with expressed gratitude to Overseas Filipino workers, Solons, Civil Servants, the Armed Forces, Local Government Officials and every Filipino for their sacrifices, support and continuing faith in her governance.

    SONA 2006

    Part 2

    News image

    The creation of Super Regions to attract investments and the addressing of social inequity and economic disparity take up most of the President’s State of the Nation Address.

    SONA 2006

    Part 3

    News image

    A salute to Filipino heroes big and small —like boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, Miss Tourism Queen International, Justine Gabionsa, Philippine medalists in the 2005 SEA Games, Mt. Everest achievers and call center agent, Lady Lyn— cap the President’s State of the Nation Address.

    July 27, 2006 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

    White House Spy Case: Michael Ray Aquino pleads guilty…

    After more than three months since we last had a update in the ‘White House’ Spy Case:Michael Ray Aquino, the Accused conduit in the leaking of documents from the White House and FBI to officials in the country has entered a plea of guilty according to media reports from the USA before a Federal Court in New Jersey.

    Reports say the case is major victory for prosecutors who have been working hard to clamp down on leaks out of the Federal Executive Branch of Government. “spares the government a complex trial that would have showcased how Leandro Aragoncillo, a career Marine and Filipino native, was able to pilfer sensitive military and intelligence documents from the White House and FBI over a four-year span.” A NJ Star-Ledger report says – indicating a lesser sentence and a reprieve for Vice President Chaney and former VP Al Gore who might have been implicated in the case had it gone to trial.

    Michael Ray Aquino was accused of:

    -Knowingly communicating classified information by a government employee to an agent or representative of a foreign country (i.e. receiving classified information).

    –Acting as an agent of a foreign official without notification of the Attorney General in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 951

    –Conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses in violation of Title 18 of the US Code Section 371.

    Latest Report:

    Michael Ray Aquino pleads guilty in US spy case
    ABS CBN News, Philippines -
    Investigators said Aragoncillo passed on the documents to opposition politicians in the Philippines, including former president Joseph Estrada,

    Former Philippines officer to plead guilty in spy case

    …With the plea, (Michael Ray) Aquino avoids a more serious espionage charge and a potential life sentence. Instead, he is likely to face a minimum prison term of between three and six years. It also spares the government a complex trial that would have showcased how Leandro Aragoncillo, a career Marine and Filipino native, was able to pilfer sensitive military and intelligence documents from the White House and FBI over a four-year span. Aragoncillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen who most recently lived in Deptford Township, admitted earlier this year that he stole hundreds of classified documents while working as an aide to military advisers for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney and later as an FBI intelligence analyst at Fort Monmouth….(Star-Ledger, 24 Jul 06)

    Original Indictment:

    [PDF] UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEYFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
    MICHAEL RAY AQUINO transmitted classified information to MICHAEL RAY AQUINO was arrested by ICE agents on or about March. 7, 2005, as an overstay.
    http://www.pcij.org/blog/wp-docs/aragcomplaint0912.pdf -

    Principal Accused:

    FBI Intelligence Analyst at Fort Monmouth, NJ in the FBI’s Information Technology Center. Hired July 2004, suspended 12 Sept 2005

    Retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant with 21 years service, 1983-2004.

    Stationed in Japan, Guantanamo Bay, Quantico, VA and White House.

    Assignment to the White House between 1999 and 2002 as “administration chief” of the security detail assigned to the Vice President (Gore and then Cheney). Held Top Secret clearance.

    Six Good Conduct Medals and a Humanitarian Service Medal

    background on case:

    15 September 2005 at 11:58 pm

    THE U.S. Department of Justice has released the rap sheets filed against Michael Ray Aquino, a former ranking official of the Philippine National Police, and Leandro Aragoncillo, an intelligence analyst of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The two were charged with espionage on two counts, first with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by disclosing classified information under the following circumstances: http://www.pcij.org

    The new plea is a marked change from the past plans of Aquino defense panel in the USA which at the outset had been seeking a Not-Guilty plea and exoneration.

    [] …”Thursday, October 20, 2005 Michael Ray Aquino Pleads Not Guilty.

    Updates in the Aragoncillo & Aquino spy case.
    NEWARK, N.J. — A former Filipino police official pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he passed classified information about Filipino leaders obtained from an FBI intelligence analyst to current and former officials of that nation. …” []

     

     

    July 25, 2006 at 9:18 am Leave a comment

    Arroyo Speech: ” Unity and Harmony …”

    In a mixed atmosphere of a typhoon, several thousand protesters, and, under a protective blanket of ten thousand police and troops President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, gave a speech ending on a note of reconciliation and focused on programs as well as projects that centered on strong economic gains in the Philippines in the last 22 months.

    Focusing as she started her roughly One hour and thirty minute talk on people related issues and programs, she claims the public is more concerned with government programs than politics.

    Arroyo left off directly speaking on her critics issues which still center of her legitimacy; keeping those issues off her agenda and spoke on financial gains and the fight versus corruption and the boom of the BPO service economy and technology sectors that are boosting growth with a jump from 2000 BPO jobs in 2001 to over 200,000 in 2006. Citing 22 Months of solid double digit growth figures in the Philippine Economy. Saying this next year thanks to reforms and victories over terrorism and ongoing peace talks with rebel groups.

    Opposition leaders mostly reacted by downplaying her administrations political gains and focusing on their effort at impeachment with several complaints filed and awaiting action in congress.

    Her Critics focused on the issue of alleged illegitimacy of her government and issues of human rights abuses and summery killings of members of the media, grass roots politcal parties, and, labor and leftist leaders.

    Other News
    2006 State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

    President Arroyo’s SONA (live webcast)

    PGMA 2004 Poll win affirmed

    PGMA personally welcomes home first batch of OFWs from Lebanon

    PGMA’s SONA to focus on people, economy

    PGMA’s 6th SONA to focus on regional development

    Mega-regions: NG-LGUs partnership toward RP’s attaining First World status

    July 24, 2006 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

    Yes, sometimes comedy says it better…

    Watching this on comedy central here in Manila, I noted hmmm… he’s right for once,

    Perhaps indeed CNN in it’s effort to be liberal-ly minded and not calling a spade a spade has forgot what exactly the three letter word means and in trying to ‘sugar coat’ the very topic that ‘made them’ as a network forgot what War means.

    July 22, 2006 at 12:49 am Leave a comment

    Sanctuary principle: Churches ‘right’ to provide refuge real or imagined?

    There has been a lot said over the issue of a Church leader facing charges over providing refuge or sanctuary to member of a rebel soldier.

    ” The defense of (The Bishop) that the Geneva Convention allows him to give aid and comfort to somebody accused of a crime “
    International law shows some countries do provide for ‘Sanctarum’ mostly European, BUT this is in time of war.

    But it is also provided for in rules of war for churches, temples, mosques, places of worship are considered ‘non-combatant areas’ WW2 however changed this and most recent warfare does not follow conventions anymore.

    However in ‘Criminal law’ under US law which does not always recognize this, beyonf requiring a warrant.

    The principle is based on:
    “ancient peoples, including the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Hebrews, recognized a religious “right of asylum”, protecting criminals (or those accused of crime) from legal action to some extent.

    This principle was adopted by the early Christian church, and various rules developed for what the person had to do to qualify for protection and just how much protection it was.

    In England, King Ethelbert made the first laws regulating sanctuary in about 600 A.D. By Norman times, there had come to be two kinds of sanctuary: All churches had the lower-level kind…”
    However …

    In the same entry it is also noted James I revoked the same ‘sanctuary’ principle. Spain did allow for some protection to unarmed ‘criminals’ (petty thieves, minor debt offenses, ect.) But even Spanish law draws the line with Armed rebels.

    The Vatican does however have a different status- if the case involved the Holy See – which is an Embassy of the ‘State of Vatican City’.

    One case often cited in Jurisprudence was when Jose Manuel Noriega his in the Papal Nuncio in Panama City, US troops and federal agents did not pursue Noriega into the Nuncio- not because it was a church – but- because it was an Embassy.

    It did not stop them from blasting the building with intense rock music to get him to come out and surrender. (THE VOLUME LEVEL SET SO HIGH I NEED ALL CAPS TO SHOW THE INTENSITY!) But, had Noriega fled into a regular church it would have been a different mater.

    Now, my knowledge on Noriega comes from the Film Noriega, (I had a tiny little part) on Showtime, such a shame film was never shown on HBO or sold here. But, the entire issue of Sanctuary was settled in Federal court when Noriega’s lawyers wrongfully made the claim US troops and federal agents violated local Panamanian law and the Geneva Convention to nab him though the music of Van Halen and The Who at mega-volume levels so high the vibration levels made structural repairs necessary afterwards.

    Anyhow since Spanish and US law is considered in Jurisprudence as the sum of all Philippine laws it would be interesting to see if actual charges were filled – but- from a public opinion and church relations point.,, the cases makes an interesting study to law students and political science students alike.

    July 21, 2006 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

    Iran’s Manila Ambassador condems Israeli violence…

    Iran’s Ambassador to Manila speaks out on Lebanon Speaking with DFA Sec. Alberto Romulo in Manila, Iran’s ambassador to Manila has voiced his concerns over what he labels “repeated violation of international rules and conventions by the ‘Zionist regime’, ” Referring to the current situation in Lebanon; “If the international community fail to immediately force the Zionists to halt their aggression, not only the stability in the Middle East region but also the global peace and stability would be endangered.” The last line seems somewhat ominous, the statement issued by the official Iranian state run news agency went on to say, ” He also highlighted Iran’s stands on the ongoing crisis and called for unconditional halt to the Zionist attacks and resumption of talks for exchange of prisoners of war between the two sides. “

    Romulo, according to the Iranian statement reiterated Manila’s Neutral stance in conflict and appealed to all sides to return to negotiations.

    ON ANOTHER SIDE OF THE ISSUE:

    The other side from CBN a profile of why America is not reacting is the alleged mastermind of the kidnappings of Israeli solders is reprtedly a ‘old foe’ of the USA

    July 21, 2006 at 3:13 am Leave a comment

    Philippines:Mass kidnappings pinned on rebel groups -Military

    This part of Blogspace reported a few months back about a young man – a teenager from General Santos City who reported being taken to remote location a jungle camp with-in a comples of underground bunkers or caves.

    For a weeks there was little follow-up coming from the area until this report seems to make sense and shed light on the culprits that many I have spoken with seem to also show as the most possible group behind the actions.

    [] “…militants begin using teenagers as assassins Gulf News, United Arab Emirates - By Claro Cortes, Correspondent. Manila: Filipino militants have begun to use teenagers as assassins in their effort to further push…” []

    The area of actual attacks however seems to differ from the mainland mindanao areas where the police reports seem to coincide with the statement of a commanding officer on Jolo Island whose troops increasingly have come across the “Baby Abu’s” or child solders of the ASG or Abu sayyaf group.

    []…” Brig. Gen. Alexander Aleo, Joint Task Force Comet chief, said four soldiers were killed by the Abu Sayyaf Group’s liquidation squad, composed mostly of recruits aged 16 to 20 years, in the past two weeks.” …[] Report linked above

    Meanwhile; in what is being tagged as the one of the major successes of the War on Terror in Mindanao where many former strongholds of groups like the ASG have fallen is being reinforced with more social projects alongside police operations and peace keeping and community building – the new ‘expanded version’ of the current Balaikatan has been revealed by the philippines defense secretary Avelino Cruz.

    []…” The new exercise might be held nationwide, including the restive southern region of Mindanao, where U.S. and Filipino troops are planning the construction of bridges, including one that would connect two islands in Tawi-tawi province; roads, school buildings and medical facilities under the “Kapit Bisig.”… []

    July 20, 2006 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

    Mayon Volcano: Alert level three raised – State of Calamity declared

    A state of calamity in anticipation of Mount Mayon’s major eruption: Reports say “Gov. Fernando Gonzalez identified the towns as Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Tabaco, Malilipot and Santo Domingo. He said the declaration is in preparation for the release of funding for the relocation of residents who would be affected by the volcano’s imminent eruption.” 

    Avelino Cruz, defense secretary and NDCC chairman, has reiterated residents near the volcano should be evacuated immediately. the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reports: lava flow three kilometers from the crater, while rocks and burning fragments were falling about four kilometers away,

    July 19, 2006 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

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