Posts filed under ‘Lebanon’
Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby who leaked the name of a CIA agent who was critical of the White House actions that led to the war in Iraq will still face probation a huge fine and civil suits that will most likely hound him for the rest of his life. The public figure’s worst nightmare is often the stripping of the ability to work within the corridors of power and end of high-profile life and the wheeling and dealing that goes with it.
‘Scooter’ doesn’t walk – he is punished -the executive clemency action by the President is a privilege he has – something perhaps he can wield in the weeks months and more ahead if any other white house insiders face trouble on his watch.
Would i have been better to put him behind bars for thirty months? that’s somethings lawyers debate on – I mean paris hilton got a reprieve and lesser jail time in a way because some felt the popularity and notoriety of being tough on those who walk the lights and places of power should be made to suffer more in sentences – something of making an ‘example’ of them.
But justice is supposed to be fair – regardless of social stature – wealth and or influence. In similar circumstances others might have been fined or have collar placed on them and home arrest. Or so the President says in his statement.
So While not ‘Scott free’ Libby will scoot away from jail and try and to rebuild his life an family. An outcast fallen and perhaps stripped of all if not most of his power and influence and forever etched as the man who leaked a name of as some call it – those oh so secret ‘carte blanche’ untouchables of Langley – whose identities are protected to the grave even if at times their actions run against all that is enshrined in a document whose main essence is “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” except those whose names must be kept secret? Even if their actions run against those wants of their commander in chief?
Sadly there is a new aristocracy in America made of privileged lawyers and fringe groups and others who lord it over the rest of the People. But take comfort in this thought that this will nt last forever. Since after all – “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”…
SO Scooter, punished, humiliated, and most likely a life story for Hollywood in the works – did not get away with his actions. He is punished and the President’s clemency act – his only reprieve will go forth into the night – Independence declared and lesson learned that his liberty and freedom to pursue his happiness comes on Independence day.
Here’s GW’s statement:
Grant of Executive Clemency
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby’s request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.
I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby’s appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.
From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.
After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.
This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.
Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.
Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.
I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.
# # #
At the Corporate level the Philippines and Singapore have topped a recent survey of growth among the corporate firms increasing in size in 2006. The report carried by many news organizations was a business story I found on the pages of Brunei Times – a very conservative paper based in the Sultanate on Borneo.
 “…AN international survey shows that the Philippines is among the top 10 countries with the highest proportion of booming businesses.
From the 23rd spot last year, the Philippines catapulted to 8th place this year, indicating the country’s growing share of super-growth companies, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report.
The report surveyed 7,200 privately held businesses representing 81 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and determined which of the respondents are super-growth companies. The survey covered 32 countries, including powerhouses the United States, Germany and Japan, as well as emerging Asian markets like China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan. …” [[ THE MANILA TIMES
The figures show the Philippines tied at over 27 per cent corporate growth and among the worlds top in the speed of the rising corporate sector jobs. One can see this on a daily basis in any of Metro Manila’s business districts – the majority of the growth is fueled by investment and renewed spending by people in the rapidly growing BPO or Business Process Outsourcing firms existing in the country.
NBN Teledyaryo on YOUTUBE
While conservative estimate put the figure at around 200,000 new jobs created in the sector in the last year – real figures and part employment levels show the figure to be skyrocketing to a level of above 300,000 jobs in the sector mostly seen for ‘call center work’ but missed out are other higher value services like accou8nting, book-keeping, inventory, sales, and technical functions like website and graphic design. One major advantage continued to be held is the growth level in ‘overnights’ where services are rendered between 6pm and 8am eastern time of the USA where Manila is a perfect 12 hour time shift for overnight work – while London is also another point – with a 8 hour toss in time.
Meaning firms in this 24/7 world of business – are able to be ‘up and alive’ at quitting time – savings on overtime alone – make for huge returns and higher efficiency figures on US shores – it also shows in the same survey – that US firms top the list with 4 of t 10 getting high levels of growth. Partly fueled by Outsourcing which has allowed companies to expand domestic services in other areas.
Good well made satire always makes one think – it’s about brands and more of whats in a name there’s also a strong commentary of today’s events as name hints – very well made and interesting.
There are several groups – looking at the New Vision of politics that is on the web and powered by YOUTUBE. Here in Asia being bashed on youtube means a political figure is noticed – so a Tube or two even a critical one is still a tube.
To those on the right wing of things who have been bashed and battered for the last few years on google videos, youtube, grouper, and others – the posting of a video versus the demcrats fronts runner seems to bring little more than a shrug and a ‘welcome to the club’ responce.
But to California’s media see’s it as a heracy of sorts a attack on what ‘they’ feel will set things ‘left’ of center anew in the White House and bring back the good old days of ‘Bubba’ back to 1600 Penn Ave.
Already under the influence of a San Francisco speaker and with congress firmly back in the groove – soon some hope on the left the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll at the white house will be back.
Reading the headlines of west coast papers one sees editors – and reporters – if you want to call them that – putting a huge headline spin and some even seeing grand conspiracy theory over a short Internet video – built on a old apple Macintosh advert from the 1980’s redone with perhaps simple home editing software and recasting Hillary in a ominous role of evil ruler.
Hillary’s Politics are sooo 1984 [Video]
AlterNet, CA - 4 hours ago
A video spoof lays bare the artificiality of Hillary Clinton’s attempt to run her campaign as a one-way “national conversation.” …
Who is the person behind the Clinton attack ad?
San Francisco Chronicle, CA - 5 hours ago
(03-19) 17:53 PDT — Just who is “ParkRidge47″ – the mystery figure who introduced an Internet political attack ad that has stirred the press and political …
Big Sister Clinton (2.0)
New York Times, NY - 5 hours ago
By Patrick Healy. Wondering what this presidential campaign might look like in the world of “Web 2.0” social networking sites? …
Obama supporter casts Clinton as Big Brother
Independent, UK - 6 hours ago
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles. It is the most striking, perhaps most powerful advertisement to come out of the US presidential campaign to date: a …
In the advert – which is based on a George Orwell novel about a fictional state of total control – ironically put Hillary – in the mold of ‘ruler’ in total control. Unlikely casting – I mean she couldn’t even keep Bill in check in the governors mansion or the white house – so ruling with a iron fist seems unlikely.
Mystery YouTuber slams Hillary in name of Obama
Boston Herald - By Jesse Noyes. A 74-second ad painting Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a pale-blue Orwellian light, while praising rival Barack Obama, is making waves on video sharing site YouTube.
The YouTube Effect (Part XIII) Washington Post
Obama fan targets rival Hillary with internet clip Unison.ie (subscription)
Most likely it was some ids class project – a simple cut and past edit using any number of off the shelf software could do it.
In responce the pack of pro-hillarites are out in force and producing the videos to bash the likely suspects. Seems a lot of effort for what might be afterall something put out by Hillary supporters in strange – backlash styled PR campaign used commonly by those seeking sympathy.
Seems this is going to be the YOUTUBE election.
Here in the Philippines this type of thing has been going on for about three years now on youtube and other video sites. I’ve seen an interesting similar clip done showing the current philippine president posted in satire over the movie ‘V for vendetta’ -and other films – redone using a simple screen overlap.
While the Politics of the US is as all politcal throery domeistic in focus – it is interesting to note on YOUTUBE and using spoofs and technology have the Phgilippines on equal or even ahead of the game on youtube political satire.
I must admit the editors of the French based International Herald Tribune might be playing a bit too far – with the headline – but indeed – a story I did a few months back showed a different path taken in the Southern Philippines versus the Abu Sayyaf by the US JTSOF and JUSMAG units in the area than that taken elsewhere.
American troops rout terrorists in southern Philippines with love …
International Herald Tribune, France - INDANAN, Philippines: US Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Valls had used his M-16 in Iraq, but here on the Philippines‘ restive Jolo island, he is fighting with a labor of love — helping paint school buildings and pave a dusty road.…
Anti-US sentiment dwindles in southern Philippines Reuters India
Balikatan troops show off Philippines achievements Stars and Stripes
So far it is mostly technological support, Medical missions, civic action projects, road building, and leaving the fighting to local forces. A model that has produced fewer causalities than any other theater in the War on terror.
Most analysts agree that the US styled full action and air ground warfare techniques would have escalated the conflict and perhaps even brought in groups who are at ideological odds with the ASG and JI.
One must be reminded that the weapons available to the Extremists here – the IED’s, Mortars, even RPG’s, landmines, and, rockets. Firearms outnumber people in many of the communites where the anti-extremists actions have happened.
But the ‘White gloves over a iron fist’ US posture has taken here is something that has allowed many of the armed groups to not take sides with groups like the Abu Sayyaf or Jemaah Islamiah.
As a news producer/reporter for now almost two decades on Television it makes perfect sense to me what the Philippine Daily Inquirer is doing using youtube to post and up-post videos they have on youtube.
It is cost effective, no servers needed and works.
Plus the great views like these!!!!
The Youtube – use by PDI is something that may have come as a necessity. Considering the recent shifts as INQ7.net to each having its own place and base.
But the only problem I see is this… Even just a little more effort in putting a bit more edited and explained content out there. Right now it’s all raw video. nice but unexplained.
It is as easy as it is to put videos on the youtube service. A little touch of editing it could be easily edited a few cut effects a littke bit of a title card or basic kyron or cargen added.
Also avoice over now and then and perhaps just a little bit of production skills training used to improve the stories they post.
- News Video: Danton Remoto reacts to Comelec decision
- News Video: Charges of premature campaigning
- Entertainment Video: PETA director is a vegetable stylist
- Entertainment Video: Alicia Mayer lettuce bikini for PETA 1
- Entertainment Video: Alicia Mayer lettuce bikini for PETA 2
- Entertainment Video: Alicia Mayer promotes vegetarianism
- News Video: Three alleged mutiny leaders
- News Video: Rangers arrive for mutiny case hearing
C’mon guys? There are so many reporters and producers out there could and need work who could make a little more effective the wonderful steps you have taken to put news on the community sharing networks like this. Myself included many of us would and could do a lot to make this a little more – newsy – but agian great first step guys!
Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
Philippine Military reaction: Inquirer.net on youtube
Report of Professor Phillip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Manila, 21 February 2007
Comments on you tube: Inquirer.net on youtube
TEXT of formal statement:
I have spent the past ten days in the Philippines at the invitation of the Government in order to inquire into the phenomenon of extrajudicial executions. I am very grateful to the Government for the unqualified cooperation extended to me.
During my stay here I have met with virtually all of the relevant senior officials of Government. They include the President, the Executive Secretary, the National Security Adviser, the Secretaries for Defense, Justice, DILG and the Peace Process. I have also met with a significant number of members of Congress on different sides of the political spectrum, the Chief Justice, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, the members of both sides of the Joint Monitoring Committee, and representatives of the MNLF and MILF.
Of particular relevance to my specific concerns, I also met with Task Force Usig, and with the Melo Commission, and I have received the complete dossier compiled by TF Usig, as well as the report of the Melo Commission, and the responses to its findings by the AFP and by retired Maj-Gen Palparan. I have also visited Baguio and Davao and met with the regional Human Rights Commission offices, local PNP and AFP commanders, and the Mayor of Davao, among others.
Equally importantly, roughly half of my time here was devoted to meetings with representatives of civil society, in Manila, Baguio, and Davao . Through their extremely valuable contributions in the form of documentation and detailed testimony I have learned a great deal.
Let me begin by acknowledging several important elements. The first is that the Government’s invitation to visit reflects a clear recognition of the gravity of the problem, a willingness to permit outside scrutiny, and a very welcome preparedness to engage on this issue. The assurances that I received from the President, in particular, were very encouraging. Second, I note that my visit takes place within the context of a counter-insurgency operation which takes place on a range of fronts, and I do not in any way underestimate the resulting challenges facing for the Government and the AFP. Third, I wish to clarify that my formal role is to report to the UN Human Rights Council and to the Government on the situation I have found. I consider that the very fact of my visit has already begun the process of acting as a catalyst to deeper reflection on these issues both within the national and international settings. Finally, I must emphasize that the present statement is only designed to give a general indication of some, but by no means all, of the issues to be addressed, and the recommendations put forward, in my final report. I expect that will be available sometime within the next three months.
Sources of information
The first major challenge for my mission was to obtain detailed and well supported information. I have been surprised by both the amount and the quality of information provided to me. Most key Government agencies are organized and systematic in much of their data collection and classification. Similarly, Philippines civil society organizations are generally sophisticated and professional. I sought, and obtained, meetings across the entire political spectrum. I leave the Philippines with a wealth of information to be processed in the preparation of my final report.
But the question has still been posed as to whether the information provided to me by either all, or at least certain, local NGO groups can be considered reliable. The word ‘propaganda’ was used by many of my interlocutors. What I took them to mean was that the overriding goal of the relevant groups in raising EJE questions was to gain political advantage in the context of a broader battle for public opinion and power, and that the HR dimensions were secondary at best. Some went further to suggest that many of the cases were fabricated, or at least trumped up, to look more serious than they are.
I consider it essential to respond to these concerns immediately. First, there is inevitably a propaganda element in such allegations. The aim is to win public sympathy and to discredit other actors. But the existence of a propaganda dimension does not, in itself, destroy the credibility of the information and allegations. I would insist, instead, on the need to apply several tests relating to credibility. First, is it only NGOs from one part of the politicaI spectrum who are making these allegations? The answer is clearly ‘no’.
Human rights groups in the Philippines range across the entire spectrum in terms of their political sympathies, but I met no groups who challenged the basic fact that large numbers of extrajudicial executions are taking place, even if they disagreed on precise figures. Second, how compelling is the actual information presented? I found there was considerable variation ranging from submissions which were entirely credible and contextually aware all the way down to some which struck me as superficial and dubious. But the great majority are closer to the top of that spectrum than to the bottom. Third, has the information proved credible under cross-examination’. My colleagues and I heard a large number of cases in depth and we probed the stories presented to us in order to ascertain their accuracy and the broader context.
As a result, I believe that I have gathered a huge amount of data and certainly much more than has been made available to any one of the major national inquiries.
Extent of my focus
My focus goes well beyond that adopted by either TF Usig or the Melo Commission, both of which are concerned essentially with political and media killings. Those specific killings are, in many ways, a symptom of a much more extensive problem and we should not permit our focus to be limited artificially. The TF Usig/Melo scope of inquiry is inappropriate for me for several reasons:
(a) The approach is essentially reactive. It is not based on an original assessment of what is going on in the country at large, but rather on what a limited range of CSOs report. As a result, the focus then is often shifted (unhelpfully) to the orientation of the CSO, the quality of the documentation in particular cases, etc.;
(b) Many killings are not reported, or not pursued, and for good reason; and
(c) A significant proportion of acknowledged cases of ‘disappearances’ involve individuals who have been killed but who are not reflected in the figures.
How many have been killed?
The numbers game is especially unproductive, although a source of endless fascination. Is it 25, 100, or 800? I don’t have a figure. But I am certain that the number is high enough to be distressing. Even more importantly, numbers are not what count. The impact of even a limited number of killings of the type alleged is corrosive in many ways. It intimidates vast numbers of civil society actors, it sends a message of vulnerability to all but the most well connected, and it severely undermines the political discourse which is central to a resolution of the problems confronting this country.
Permit me to make a brief comment on the term ‘unexplained killings’, which is used by officials and which I consider to be inapt and misleading. It may be appropriate in the context of a judicial process but human rights inquiries are more broad-ranging and one does not have to wait for a court to secure a conviction before one can conclude that human rights violations are occurring. The term ‘extrajudicial killings’ which has a long pedigree is far more accurate and should be used.
It may help to specify the types of killing which are of particular concern in the Philippines:
- Killings by military and police, and by the NPA or other groups, in course of counter-insurgency. To the extent that such killings take place in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law they fall outside my mandate.
- Killings not in the course of any armed engagement but in pursuit of a specific counter-insurgency operation in the field.
- Killings, whether attributed to the military, the police, or private actors, of activists associated with leftist groups and usually deemed or assumed to be covertly assisting CPP-NPA-NDF. Private actors include hired thugs in the pay of politicians, landowners, corporate interests, and others.
- Vigilante, or death squad, killings
- Killings of journalists and other media persons.
- ‘Ordinary’ murders facilitated by the sense of impunity that exists.
Response by the Government
The response of Government to the crisis of extrajudicial executions varies dramatically. There has been a welcome acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem at the very top. At the executive level the messages have been very mixed and often unsatisfactory. And at the operational level, the allegations have too often been met with a response of incredulity, mixed with offence.
When I have sought explanations of the killings I have received a range of answers.
(i) The allegations are essentially propaganda. I have addressed this dimension already.
(ii) The allegations are fabricated. Much importance was attached to two persons who had been listed as killed, but who were presented to me alive. Two errors, in circumstances which might partly explain the mistakes, do very little to discredit the vast number of remaining allegations.
(iii) The theory that the ‘correct, accurate, and truthful’ reason for the recent rise in killings lies in purges committed by the CPP/NPA. This theory was relentlessly pushed by the AFP and many of my Government interlocutors. But we must distinguish the number of 1,227 cited by the military from the limited number of cases in which the CPP/NPA have acknowledged, indeed boasted, of killings. While such cases have certainly occurred, even those most concerned about them, such as members of Akbayan, have suggested to me that they could not amount to even 10% of the total killings.
The evidence offered by the military in support of this theory is especially unconvincing. Human rights organizations have documented very few such cases. The AFP relies instead on figures and trends relating to the purges of the late 1980s, and on an alleged CPP/NPA document captured in May 2006 describing Operation Bushfire. In the absence of much stronger supporting evidence this particular document bears all the hallmarks of a fabrication and cannot be taken as evidence of anything other than disinformation.
(iv) Some killings may have been attributable to the AFP, but they were committed by rogue elements. There is little doubt that some such killings have been committed. The AFP needs to give us precise details and to indicate what investigations and prosecutions have been undertaken in response. But, in any event, the rogue elephant theory does not explain or even address the central questions with which we are concerned.
Some major challenges for the future
(a) Acknowledgement by the AFP
The AFP remains in a state of almost total denial (as its official response to the Melo Report amply demonstrates) of its need to respond effectively and authentically to the significant number of killings which have been convincingly attributed to them. The President needs to persuade the military that its reputation and effectiveness will be considerably enhanced, rather than undermined, by acknowledging the facts and taking genuine steps to investigate. When the Chief of the AFP contents himself with telephoning Maj-Gen Palparan three times in order to satisfy himself that the persistent and extensive allegations against the General were entirely unfounded, rather than launching a thorough internal investigation, it is clear that there is still a very long way to go.
(b) Moving beyond the Melo Commission
It is not for me to evaluate the Melo Report. That is for the people of the Philippines to do. The President showed good faith in responding to allegations by setting up an independent commission. But the political and other capital that should have followed is being slowly but surely drained away by the refusal to publish the report. The justifications given are unconvincing. The report was never intended to be preliminary or interim. The need to get ‘leftists’ to testify is no reason to withhold a report which in some ways at least vindicates their claims. And extending a Commission whose composition has never succeeded in winning full cooperation seems unlikely to cure the problems still perceived by those groups. Immediate release of the report is an essential first step.
(c) The need to restore accountability
The focus on TF Usig and Melo is insufficient. The enduring and much larger challenge is to restore the various accountability mechanisms that the Philippines Constitution and Congress have put in place over the years, too many of which have been systematically drained of their force in recent years. I will go into detail in my final report, but suffice it to note for present purposes that Executive Order 464, and its replacement, Memorandum Circular 108, undermine significantly the capacity of Congress to hold the executive to account in any meaningful way.
(d) Witness protection
The vital flaw which undermines the utility of much of the judicial system is the problem of virtual impunity that prevails. This, in turn, is built upon the rampant problem of witness vulnerability. The present message is that if you want to preserve your life expectancy, don’t act as a witness in a criminal prosecution for killing. Witnesses are systematically intimidated and harassed. In a relatively poor society, in which there is heavy dependence on community and very limited real geographical mobility, witnesses are uniquely vulnerable when the forces accused of killings are all too often those, or are linked to those, who are charged with ensuring their security. The WPP is impressive — on paper. In practice, however, it is deeply flawed and would seem only to be truly effective in a very limited number of cases. The result, as one expert suggested to me, is that 8 out of 10 strong cases, or 80% fail to move from the initial investigation to the actual prosecution stage.
(e) Acceptance of the need to provide legitimate political space for leftist groups
At the national level, there has been a definitive abandonment of President Ramos’ strategy of reconciliation. This might be termed the Sinn Fein strategy. It involves the creation of an opening — the party-list system — for leftist groups to enter the democratic political system, while at the same time acknowledging that some of those groups remain very sympathetic to the armed struggle being waged by illegal groups (the IRA in the Irish case, or the NPA in the Philippines case). The goal is to provide an incentive for such groups to enter mainstream politics and to see that path as their best option.
Neither the party-list system nor the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Act has been reversed by Congress. But, the executive branch, openly and enthusiastically aided by the military, has worked resolutely to circumvent the spirit of these legislative decisions by trying to impede the work of the party-list groups and to put in question their right to operate freely. The idea is not to destroy the NPA but to eliminate organizations that support many of its goals and do not actively disown its means. While non-violent in conception, there are cases in which it has, certainly at the local level, spilled over into decisions to extrajudicially execute those who cannot be reached by legal process.
(f) Re-evaluate problematic aspects of counter-insurgency strategy
The increase in extrajudicial executions in recent years is attributable, at least in part, to a shift in counterinsurgency strategy that occurred in some areas, reflecting the considerable regional variation in the strategies employed, especially with respect to the civilian population. In some areas, an appeal to hearts- and-minds is combined with an attempt to vilify left-leaning organizations and to intimidate leaders of such organizations. In some instances, such intimidation escalates into extrajudicial execution. This is a grave and serious problem and one which I intend to examine in detail in my final report.
The Philippines remains an example to all of us in terms of the peaceful ending of martial law by the People’s Revolution, and the adoption of a Constitution reflecting a powerful commitment to ensure respect for human rights. The various measures ordered by the President in response to Melo constitute important first steps, but there is a huge amount that remains to be done.
Gen. Esperon’s statement inquirer.net on youtube:
The War vs. Terrorism in the Philippines has had a busy last three weeks. today US Law Enforcement and Military sources released information confirming that a body believed to be that of the Abu Sayyaf groups leader Khaddfi Janjalani was the body found in shallow grave. Some reports say his own bodyguards who buried him may have actually been involved in his death. They were the ones who told Philippine police where to find the body. US DNA tests confirmed the cadavers identity. .
AFP confirms ASG leader’s death
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday confirmed that the corpse recovered in the town of Jolo in Sulu province last year was that of slain Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Khadaffy Janjalani.
abs-cbnNEWS.com 1/20/2007 3:42:15 PM
Philippines, US say Abu Sayyaf chieftain is dead, DNA tests confirm
International Herald Tribune, France - MANILA, Philippines: DNA test results confirm the killing of Khaddafy Janjalani, the head of al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, during a clash with …
Philippines sends more troops to hit militants China Post
Philippines sends more troops to counter militants Reuters AlertNet
US denies engaging in Philippines combat Stars and Stripes
all 486 news articles »
This comes days after a announcement about of the death of Abu Solaiman, an Abu Sayyaf leader and spokesman who was involved in a series of kidnappings and bombings spread across the Philippines.
Solaiman took part in attacks from a ferry bombing that killed over 100 in Manila. He is credited for the operation at dos Palmas the Palawan Kidnappings which took scores of Filipino and Ameircan lives, He is also reported or have claimed responcibility himself as well for over 20 terrorist bombings and Was often the voice annoucing on mindanao radio stations about beheadings of civilians in Mindanao. He personally was accused in crimes that have killed over 200 people.
Solaiman was eliminated in an encounter with members of the US trained and equiped 8th Special Forces Company in the town of Talipao, Sulu.
THE END OF THE LINE:
On Friday another the Philippine military unit reported that nine Abu Sayyaf members were killed in a firefight in Patikul town some 20 miles away .
These men were providing protection for the last original leader of the Abu Sayayf gang left alive – Hapilon or Abu Musab,.who is now the last Abu Sayyaf leader standing.
After nearly 12 years – the reign of terror of the abu sayyaf has been cut back from a force numbering thousands – to small bands of less than a few hundred men.
This battle is almost at an end.- the abu sayyaf leadership that became a nightmare for people in Mindanao – is nearly all gone.
The US funded Operations include Operation Plan Ultimatum, the final push against the terrorist ‘bandit group’.The deaths of hard-line terrorist leaders and capture or killing of over 300 abu sayyaf and Ji members have by and large the neutralized the forces of Abu Sayyaf and its al qaeda allies the Jemaah Islamiah in Mindanao.
The fight has cost the American taxpayer some 350 million dollars since 9-11 in direct military aid. Almost 900 Million dollars in projects and development grants.
In 12 years more a thousand Philippine soldiers, marines, and, police have lost thier lives in the battle with the ASG. Hundreds of civilians have been kidnapped, injured, or killed. scores of robberys, forced marriages by kidnappings, and countless other crimes have been alleged to have been commited by the group- who are frequently called ‘bandits’ or ‘pirates’ rather than strict islamic militants.
The lives of 22 americans both civilians and military. 14 of whom died in nighttime chopper crash at the start of the US backed operations. Hvae been part of the human costs to the USA in the last few years. At a monatary cost of about 1.5 billion dollars overall.
Privately Philippine officials point out – it has been money well spent – It has prevented scores of terror attacks – including some meant versus targets in the U.S.A. that include among them plots versus Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and, San Francisco. As well as other plots disrupted versus regional targets in Singapore, Malaysia, and, Australia.
The details of the disrupted plots Philippine officials will not reveal.
But one thing is clear both the US and Philippine governments in joint statement Friday in Manila say they are determined to mop up the forces of ‘evil’ – as they call the Abu Sayyaf – whose terrorism, pirate attacks, and, kidnappings – have been financed by crimes that include drug trafficking, counterfeiting, kidnapping, human trafficking, and extortion.
So far the US backed and funded effort has taken the southern islands of Mindanao from being a second front in the war on terror – to a areas that now give hope that at least in these island a Victory against the original leaders who kidnapped and or killed scores
Officials point out, while other leaders might rise up – most of the support areas these men once held are now for the most part back in civilai9n control. And the majority of grievances the Sayyaf used to recruit followers; are being addressed.
While in comparison to Iraq and Afghanistan the Abu Sayyaf never gained full control of even one of the Philippines provinces – the imapct they had on regional security and stability made the group a both a real and de-facto ally of extremists from Al Qaeda and even rogue state leaders like the late Saddam Hussein – whose own documents recovered in Baghdad revealed extensive funding and support given to the terrorist organization.
Now – with the last original leader of the Abu Sayyaf is being hunted. And when and if he is captured or killed – perhaps one chapter in this long war on terror will have an ending. Even though a ‘mission accomplished’ here will be meaningless by and large for most Filipino’s or Americans.
Yet – in these islands, freedom from fear and chance to live their lives in relative peace is a priceless – something the people of Sulu, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan – they will never forget. .
A Agreement many are calling a ‘landmark’ declaration that will mark a shift to more cooperation between those fighting versus trans-national terrorism. There is already a high level of cooperation between Malaysia, The Philippines, and Indonesia.
It also covers ‘other’ groups -‘Political persons’ – in Article 14; that in the past have been able to gain support at least material support in insurgency i.e. weapons, training, and, ‘safe harbor’ or sanctuary from some regimes deemed by those who may be seen as ‘enimies of the state’ by other ASEAN members.
But, If these groups engage in violence to create conditions that diusrupt public order.
While still only a piece of paper drying among the papers signed and put forward. It does allow member states to exchange and collect information that may help end some groups ability to ‘hop around’ ASEAN states. It also assures confidentiality between documents gathered – that these won’t end up in places that will ‘embarrass’ other states unless specific permission is granted.
Seeking relative safety of more sympathetic groups for support.
FULL TEXT OF CEBU CONVENTION Vs. Terrorism:
ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism
Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, hereinafter referred to as “the Parties”;
RECALLING the Charter of the United Nations and relevant principles of international law, the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to counter terrorism and relevant resolutions of the United Nations on measures aimed at countering international terrorism, and reaffirming our commitment to protect human rights, fair treatment, the rule of law, and due process as well as the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia done at Bali on 24 February 1976;
REAFFIRMING that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group;
RECALLING also the ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism and the Declaration on Terrorism adopted at the ASEAN Summits in 2001 and 2002 respectively;
REAFFIRMING our commitment to the Vientiane Action Programme done at Vientiane on 29 November 2004, particularly its thrust on “shaping and sharing of norms” and the need, among others, to work towards the conclusion of an ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement, and an ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism, and the establishment of an ASEAN Extradition Treaty as envisaged by the 1976 Declaration of ASEAN Concord;
DEEPLY CONCERNED over the grave danger posed by terrorism to innocent lives, infrastructure and the environment, regional and international peace and stability as well as to economic development;
REALISING the importance of identifying and effectively addressing the root causes of terrorism in the formulation of any counter terrorism measures;
REITERATING that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, committed wherever, whenever, and by whomsoever, is a profound threat to international peace and security and a direct challenge to the attainment of peace, progress and prosperity for ASEAN and the realisation of ASEAN Vision 2020;
REAFFIRMING our strong commitment to enhance cooperation in countering terrorism which covers the prevention and suppression of all forms of terrorist acts;
REITERATING the need to improve regional cooperation on counter terrorism and undertake effective measures through deepening cooperation among ASEAN law enforcement agencies and relevant authorities in countering terrorism;
ENCOURAGING the Parties to become parties as soon as possible to the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to counter terrorism;
The Gallup organiztion came up wih number for a global corruption index of countries based on peoples perceptions in those ocuntries surveyed. Overall the general perception is places in Scandinavia like Finland ranked highest in the lowerst level of corruption in business and government and former soviet republics topped the list as where the corruption is felt by people as the most widespread.
The Philippines came in at the same place as India – and many other coutries:
The Top ten least corrupt are by the poll are:
Singapore scored the best in Asia with New Zealand coming close for the Asia-Pacific region at least as rated by people themselves ho live there or who interact there:
The Worst- perception wise:
Moldova, Ecuador, Latvia, Panama, Slovakia, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Cameroon, Thailand, Lebanon, Poland, with Lithuania coming in last overall in a class by itself at 101.
the Philippines is tied with four other nations in the index coming in at 64 on the poll of 101 :
64: Turkey, India, Honduras, Nicaragua
The worst in ASEAN were Thailand and Indonesia coming much lower in the catagory Thailad making it to the bottom of the list. But Manila did beat out Italy, Israel, and, Pakistan.
You can see the whole list while it lasts online at the post below:
The Gallup Corruption Index tracks the likelihood of populations around the globe to perceive widespread corruption in their government and businesses. Initial findings reveal that perceptions of corruption are prevalent in a majority of the 101 countries ranked. Index scores are significantly related to approval of leadership within a population, and to residents’ likelihood to be satisfied with their personal freedom. …” 
The countries included in the 2006 Index are ranked from the lowest score, indicating the population least likely to perceive corruption as widespread, to the highest.