Archive for January, 2007

prayers please…

I know sometimes my posts here take eclectic paths…this one is personal. Over the last week and a half my world is coming to pieces as I try and cope with a person I loved first before anyone else in the world being sick and gravely so at that.

My mom is not famous nor hugely popular outside of her circle of friends. She raised three kids – my eldest sister Gerry Cohen, a legal secretary in San Francisco, California my brother George Jr. a computer tech in Austin, Texas. Myself – I am the journalist-producer whom she lives with – she has seven Grandchildren.

She is a meztiza of Filipino-German and Russian stock raised in Basilan and born of Zamboanga she used to tell us of her wartime childhood and dancing like Shirely temple to distract Japanese Soldiers while her older Aunts hid a radio from visiting Japanese soldiers searching for the bamboo grapevine. She is proudly Filipino – even if she likes to speak more in Chavacano or English than Tagalog inspired Pilipino.

She never taight us to view anyone as black, white, or brown saying all people are the same – she never also allowed us to judge a person as pretty or ugly – saying all beauty came from within.

She has had a colorful life – from being the wife of a Political Analyst who dined with Presidents and life of that crowd. Living a good life for many years until politics took a turn for the worst and she lost almost everything. She moved along with our family where ever was needed. Living across the Pacific – but always saving up to come ‘home’ to Manila or Palawan.

She had ended up almost as a politcal exile because of in part her husbands work and her own views.

While living on Guam – she taught me to swim and snorkel, brought us kids everywhere she went – never sought a career or a path of life she could have easily taken on her own.

She made wise investments in real estate made a few bad investments elsewhere in people and things. Perhaps in me – too.

She stood tall versus bullies – teaching me to do the same. Always taught me to stand up and speak up when things did not seem right.

She fought a battle to save mangroves along her small bayside lot in palawan – even as people closest to her chose to ignore things like that.  Because many owed favors to the people destroying the trees to make a huge fishpond. She battled and won eventually working through an NGO- even though the fishpond is still there and the owners are ‘popular’ with the political crowd of Palawan.

She did all she could to help others even if it meant going without things she needed. She worked tirelessly to be with people who needed her and never failed to do favors for those who later on – even now as she is sick won’t even answer her pleas for medical help – even if she at times risked life and limb to help those she could – she does nothave any grudges.

She is now in pain, crying out trying to wear a brave face as she bears the pain of 73 years of life and also her own ailments – she hid for months because she did not want to bother anyone. Shes lost much of her hearing, her vision, but not her sense of humor – or will to fight.

Like any child we all loved our mothers first – we cared for them more than anyone and so did they return the same to us as kids. I can not understand sometimes why people in popular media make fun of those of us who care for our parents. Those who seem to want make families move as far apart perhaps seek to do so they can more easily control-society for whatever reason they may have to make families less in touch and more easily detached.

Anyhow, try as a might to cope with everything that comes with this part of life of trying to care for someone who did the same for me as a child I know it is all part of the cycle and circle of life we all go through.

I know this blog of mine seems like such a hodgepodge of things I often write about or do stories on or care about so tonight as a clear up another nose bleed and hold a hand to ease some pain I say thank you God for bringing me the most wonderful woman in the world in my eyes to be my mom.

I also ask whoever reads this for a prayer – a chance to pray also for all other Moms and Dads too who have raised families lived lives and are not well tonight where they may be – I saw this prayer on-line and am asking you to read it through.

Miracles do happen – I hope and pray and know if it is Gods will my mom will pull through this. please read this short prayer too…

I Cannot Do This Alone

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

thanks for praying…

January 30, 2007 at 3:19 am 3 comments

Makati Skyway: Lookout Below! Bank armoured car falls off flyover…

It made an impact that for sure will many hope make some people look anew at the strength of construction on crash barriers on the Citra built Skyway over The Osmena highway to Alabang and Southern Metro Manila.

[]’… Four people were killed after an armored vehicle fell from the Skyway in Makati City. n initial report said the accident took place at the corner of Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road) and President Osmeña Highway (formerly South Super Highway) Wednesday afternoon.…”  [] ABS-CBNNews


Those of us who live and work and drive and move about metro manila know how hard it is to drive near those APC like armoured vans used by banks to ferry cash and other valuables about the metropolis.


January 25, 2007 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

Philippines: Alert level raised – car bomb attempt foiled

The Philippine Government on the advice of it’s Military and Police have raised Anti-Terrorism alert levels in the country.

Government statements say they have begun to see a pattern of attack attempts and ‘chatter’ indicating that the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and JI (Jemaah Islamiah) may be in the process of attempting retaliatory attacks in the wake of a series of successful operations that have led to confirmation of the deaths of leaders of the insurgent/terrorist groups operating in the Southern Philippines.

One soldier killed as Philippines raises alert
Reuters AlertNet, UK – The Philippines raised its alert level on Saturday in anticipation of possible retaliation from Abu Sayyaf followers after the group’s leader,

Police have foiled a attempted car bombing after the discovery of a car that had been rigged with explosives along a road was inspected and found to contain military grade artillery and mortar shells rigged to a timing device.

It is unclear if the car bomb attempts was foiled before the timer went off by alert forces or if the device malfunctioned in some way leading it to be abandoned.

Philippines halts car bomb attack
Bangkok Post, Thailand – Cotabato City (dpa) – An abandoned car rigged with about 200 kilos of improvised explosives was recovered by police and military operatives in

After nearly five months of continues combat and operations 3 main leaders of the group and 38 militants have been confirmed killed and an estimated number exceeding 100 injured in clashed with the group which has extensive ties to Islamic extremist groups around the world.

However most experts see the loss of leaders, safe-havens, and key supporters turning away from the almost 12 years of Islamic extremist activities as having taken their toll and lost much of the vast island regions support base – as – with a mixture of aid and development programs have had an impact.

Large cash rewards also for information given and innovative tipster programs involving SMS text messaging has led to limited access to towns and developed areas for the ASG and JI fighters.

ANALYSIS-Philippine military has Abu Sayyaf on the run, UK – MANILA, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The death of Abu Sayyaf chief Khaddafy Janjalani will not destroy the Philippines‘ fiercest Muslim rebel group, but a sustained

However, Philippine police and military forces say it is also a dangerous time as supporters of the group growing more desperate to prove they are still a force to be dealt with may attempt spectacular attacks or even suicide missions in revenge for the loss of the groups top leadership.

A high alert status has been ordered and close monitoring of possible soft targets ordered continued in areas where the group has sympathizers.

Officials also stress militants may attempt also to seek revenge by proxy and warned overseas embassies and offices of the Philippine government overseas to be also on heighten awareness for possible reprisals in places JI and ASG operate. Officails see also remants of the ASG become more closely inter-connected to the Indonesian Militant leaders now on the run and hidding with them.

[]”… Indonesian terror suspects Dulmatinand Umar Patek, who are believed to be still on Jolo and couldhelp the militants choose a new leader. They could continue toprovide combat and bomb-making training and link the group withforeign financiers, the military said. …” []

It would not be the first time ASG and  JI brought the conflict in the southern Philippines to other shores. It bacame linked to the battle in Mindanao – On August 1st, 2000 JI extremists bombed the residence of the Philippine Ambassador in Jakarta where the Jemaah islamiah. The move came in reprisal then for attacks versus the camps JI maintained in Mindanao during a 1999-2000 crackdown on Rebel groups in the Southern, Philippines.

More Philippines-Mindanao conflict News
One soldier killed as Philippines raises alert
FACTBOX-Philippines’ Abu Sayyaf militant group
Abu Sayyaf chief dead, Philippine military says

January 21, 2007 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Hillary ‘In to win’… Bill ready to be ‘first man’

It’s all over the news all over the world a little while after she made the annoncement on er website. Hillary is out of the starting blocks and ready to race for the nomination.

Fearless forecast a ‘Clinton – Barrack’ ticket making for a really tough to beat team this early on the run up to the primaries – Fror Hillary the running gag line is two Presidents for the price of one two Clintons in the White House. “I’m in to win.”


January 21, 2007 at 12:55 am 1 comment

Abu Sayyaf leader Janjalani Dead: US FBI & Philippine Military releases DNA test on corpse

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. 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
Reuters AlertNet
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.


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. .

January 20, 2007 at 3:10 pm 1 comment

Isnilon Totoni Hapilon: ASG’s new leader?

The last remaining high profile leader of the al-Harakat al-Islamiyya or Abu Sayyaf left if DNA tests confirm Kadaffy Janjalani’s corpse was the one recovered two weeks ago in Sulu.


Per the Philippine Military  the expected new commander of the ASG: Isnilon Totoni Hapilon AKA: Abu Musab, Sol, Abu Tuan, Esnilon, Salahuddin, The Deputy, Deputy Amir


Hapilon, 40, who hails from Basilan Island is seen as the likely succesor to Janjalani and Abu Solaiman should things follow the path most see – He is a battle hardened veteran of the campaigns of the Southern Philippines. Quiet and like his uncle another former ASG leader. He studied at the University of the Philippines and has studied engineering.

Conflicting reports have also confused his current status as some have claimed in past media reports that he was killed in 2004 – but – other statements by Philippine military leaders say this is partly confused by other members of his family who also are highly placed within the ASG and Islamic rebel ranks.

If DNA tests confirm Janjalani’s demise then Hapilon is now the overall commander of the ASG.

[]”… Indicted in the District of Columbia, for his alleged involvement in terrorist acts against United States nationals and other foreign nationals in and around the Republic of the Philippines. Hapilon allegedly served as deputy or second in command for the foreign terrorist organization, Abu Sayyaf Group …”[] US FBI most wanted terrorists website

Under the Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Isnilon Totoni Hapilon.


Photograph of and link to Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani
Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani

January 18, 2007 at 4:55 am Leave a comment

Abu Sayyaf spokesman / sub-leader:Dead – Military


Philippine Military spokesman Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, says it’s a significant victory in the war against terror. A Major leader of the Abu Sayayf who announced death, bombing, and beheading for more than five years on radio in Mindanao was killed in a encounter with Philippine special forces troops in ongoing US backed operations versus the Abu Sayyaf on Jolo island.

[ ]… General Hermogenes Esperon, the chief of the Philippine military, said Wednesday that army special forces killed Abu Sulaiman in a gun battle on the southwestern island of Jolo. He died Tuesday. Sulaiman was one of the leading terrorists wanted by U.S. and Philippine authorities. He claimed responsibility for the 2004 bombing of a ferry off Manila bay that killed more than 100 people, one of Southeast Asia’s worst terror attacks. …” [] VOA news

Solaiman is accused of taking part in masterminding the kidnapping of three Americans and a 27 Filipino tourists and workers from Palawan island in 2001. He is also known to have directed the beheading of security guard at the resort who resisted the Pirate style raid which happened a few months before the 9-11 attacks in the USA. One of the Americans Guilermo Sobero of a small town near Bakersfield California was beheaded during his captivity. Solaiman made the announcement of Sobero’s killing on local radio in Mindanao – saying it was a birthday present for Philippine President Arroyo.

Sulaiman also is suspected also for his role in several bombings in the southern city of Zamboanga among them one that killed a U.S. soldier in 2002 which was funded by Saddam era Iraqi diplomats assigned to manila. The attack took place prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Solaiman also thanked the late Iraqi dictator for a $100,000 gift of support his Abu Sayyaf organization allegedly got from Saddam’s government.

January 17, 2007 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

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