Posts filed under ‘Bush’

Makati Bombings: A look back at other tragic events

Remembering other ‘Makati Bombings’


There are i m sure more incidents – but,  this is cross section of the types of attacks and some of the ones i was clearly able to find reference to online. I’ll update these over th days ahead.

The Makati Bombing Inquiry continues; I chose to call it still a bombing as theory’s of a accidental explosion may yet prove to be part of the overall impact of destruction in the area. – this was originally a comment on ‘Coffee with Amee’ -but I decide to make it a post of my own.

Meaning, as investigators have told me in interviews there was more than one explosion. A primary- and a secondary. What they are worried over is that the secondary explosion – yes there were two – may have been strong enough to scatter evidence from the first and add its own signature to the overall forensic investigation.

In rpeorts I’ve written for a news organization – the event status of the investigation a few items I’ve put on the site of mikeinmanila.info;

Raised the overall history of terror attacks at the Philippines premier shopping district that go back to the late 1970’s-1980’s. Rustan’s and Shoemart package counters were the favorite target then – so were the food courts. But – who were behind those attacks – people died were hurt and injured some say it was ‘justified’ because at the time it was revolution versus a dictatorship- yet the injured were hurt just the same. Yrt, there has never been any remorse said by those who took part- If you wonder where they are today – don’t look far – they are on your T.V. sets. One is in charge of children’s programs for major TV network. Yet that is the past…

[] …A terrorist group calling itself the April 6 Liberation Movement, after a massive 1978 anti-Marcos demonstration in Manila, had warned the travel agents to boycott the convention. Even though terrorists had set off some 20 bombs since August, killing one person and injuring scores,..

The April 6 Movement is the most visible, and most violence-prone, member of a new constellation of radical opposition groups that is sometimes called the Third Force, because it is both anti-Marcos and antiCommunist. The Third Force is composed mainly of middle-class Filipinos, [] TIME

I also remeber in the 1990’s the attack on the greenbelt theater by Al Qaeda’s early cell in manila – headed by Khalid Sheik mohamad and ramsey Youseff. The greenbelt theater was hit although damage was minimal there were injuries.

[] Dec. 1, 1994, Greenbelt Theater, Manila, Philippines, Ramzi Yousef (Organizer), Khalid Shaikh Mohammed – “This detonation was a test run for a bombing timer Yousef had built. ” [] Source: United States vs. Ramzi Yousef, et. al. indictment.

Participants Ramzi Yousef (Organizer) , Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (Facilitator) , Wali Khan Amin Shah (Facilitator)
Participants Abdul Hakim Murad (Facilitator)

Gangs have had grenade attacks and one or two disco’s were shot up and bombed as well over the decades. But, most peoples memories dont go back that far – most only remember for example the 2005 Valentines day and the Rizal day bombings of 2000.

But it is important to also mention the Makati’ bomb squad has prevented numerous attempts most go unreported – others are overlooked- two officers I knew and still remember ran with a bomb in December 2000 saving perhaps hundreds from injury taking the bomb to a then empty lot across EDSA from the Dusit -giving their lives to try and defuse a bomb there. it had been placed near SM Makati and the Dusit Hotel.

They saved perhaps as many as were lost in Fridays blast but there is little mention of SPO4 Roberto Gutierrez or Inspector Nestor Salvador, now, they got the medal of valor in 2001. Both died in the explosion of a bomb left by Jemaah Islamiah,
Scores of these attacks take place many often foiled, when something does happen though
– people are quick to judge, putting it in the politics of the moment. In 2000 the attacks helped fuel public anger versus then President Estrada – who – in that particular case was innocent – I stood with Erap at Chinese medical center when he visited a boy we later called Emanuel, he must be about twelve now – I saw tears in Estrada’s eyes – even in the police and PSG with him – yet my editors and producers – ironically still working at the TV network, refused my story since they had their own minds made up as to ‘who dun it’.
Fathur Roman Al Ghozi the mastermind was initially ignored by media in his attempts to claim responsibility – months later; after EDSA 2 people finally realized the bombings were the work of JI or Jemaah Islamiah. To to those spinning this for politcal benifit.
There is little from this though to comfort those who lost someone – or a part of themselves at blast scene of these kind of attacks or tragic accident what-ever it turns out to be or a combination of both.

I’ll wait for the investigation and continue to file my reports lets just hope those with their own agenda’s don’t spin this thing out of control. or in the madness of chaos of terrorism sometimes political pundits and spin doctors will use anything to push their own agenda in the face of tragedy for their clients own ends.

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October 23, 2007 at 4:18 am 1 comment

Global Corruption Index

Global Corruption Survey Results
Mike Cohen, PNC Correspondent 27.SEP.07
9:39 a.m. Transparency International, the global international anti-corruption ‘watchdog,’ released its latest findings today in Germany. “The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories – the greatest country coverage of any CPI to date – and is a composite index that draws on 14 expert opinion surveys.”

The yearly report, is used as a baseline by business in trade and investments as guide to global corruption, the report, “scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.”

This years survey shows, “A strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to be evident. Forty percent of those scoring below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant, are classified by the World Bank as low income countries.”

The report goes on to say some countries are falling further behind. “Somalia and Myanmar share the lowest score of 1.4, while Denmark has edged up to share the top score of 9.4 with perennial high-fliers Finland and New Zealand.”

Global corruption scale:

Scores are significantly higher in several African countries in the 2007 CPI. These include Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Swaziland. These results reflect the positive progress of anti-corruption efforts in Africa and show that genuine political will and reform can lower perceived levels of corruption.

Other countries with a significant improvement include Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominica, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Suriname. Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.

Eastern Europe improving war zones problematic:

The concentration of gainers in South East and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanising effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption.

The concentration of gainers in South East and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanizing effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption.

At the same time, deeply troubled states such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Somalia, and Sudan remain at the very bottom of the index. “Countries torn apart by conflict pay a huge toll in their capacity to govern. With public institutions crippled or non-existent, mercenary individuals help themselves to public resources and corruption thrives,” said Labelle. The divide in perceived levels of corruption in rich and poor countries remains as sharp as ever, according to the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released today by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption. Developed and developing countries must share responsibility for reducing corruption, in tackling both the supply and demand sides.

Executive overview:

“Despite some gains, corruption remains an enormous drain on resources sorely needed for education, health and infrastructure,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Low scoring countries need to take these results seriously and act now to strengthen accountability in public institutions. But action from top scoring countries is just as important, particularly in cracking down on corrupt activity in the private sector.”

* Developing countries should use aid money to strengthen their governance institutions, guided by national assessments and development strategies, and to incorporate strengthened integrity and corruption prevention as an integral part of poverty reduction programs.

* Judicial independence, integrity and accountability must be enhanced to improve the credibility of justice systems in poorer countries. Not only must judicial proceedings be freed of political influence, judges themselves must be subject to disciplinary rules, limited immunity and a code of judicial conduct to help ensure that justice is served. A clean and capable judiciary is essential if developing countries are to manage requests for assistance in the recovery of stolen assets from abroad.

* Governments must introduce anti-money laundering measures to eradicate safe havens for stolen assets, as prescribed by the UNCAC. Leading banking centers should explore the development of uniform expedited procedures for the identification, freezing and repatriation of the proceeds of corruption. Clear escrow provisions for disputed funds are essential.

* Wealthy countries must regulate their financial centers more strictly. Focusing on the roles of trusts, demanding knowledge of beneficial ownership and strengthening anti-money laundering provisions are just a few of the ways that rich governments can tackle the facilitators of corruption.

* The world’s wealthiest governments must strictly enforce the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which criminalizes the bribery of foreign public officials. Lack of compliance with the convention’s provisions continues to hinder corruption investigations and prosecutions.

* The boards of multinational companies must not only introduce but implement effective anti-bribery codes, and ensure that they are adhered to by subsidiaries and foreign offices.

Click here to read the entire report

September 27, 2007 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Myanmar:Rangoon protests on YOUTUBE

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Most media organization have been having trouble getting images out of Rangoon or as the Junta has called it since taking over Government Yangooon,

But risking a lot these people put the videos on YOUTUBE, Google videos, and other sources across the World Wide Web in order to make thier message heard. It isn’t easy and the penalities are stiff if they are caught.

title=Monks' Revolution in Rangoon

Monks’ Revolution in Rangoon…

So here’s a look at what is happening. Shame news crews are allowed in to be able to show what else might be happening – or that the perspective is limited. But as often in dictatorships or military rule it is in trickles – reports and images flow out like these.

Google and Youtube for now seem to be the only way the images are at least in trickles coming out.

Add Video to QuickList

Life under Myanmar’s military government – 18 Sept 07
02:33

From: AlJazeeraEnglish
Views: 8930

 

Add Video to QuickList

Song Dedicated To Burmese Monks in Protest
05:04

From: moemaka
Views: 9250

 

Add Video to QuickList

Monks Revolution Continue in Burma
01:57

From: zawmyolwin227
Views: 14930

It reminds me of another time and another place. For those too young to remember it was not so long ago news was spread via xerox copies and information and magazines had to be hidden here from where we now have as some put it.

Too much news all the time:  More reactions below:

Bush Outraged:New sanctions vs. Myanmar set

WWW.Whitehouse.Gov

Fact sheet President Bush Addresses The United Nations General Assembly
At the United Nations today, President Bush expressed the outrage of the American people at the continued oppression of the people of Burma. The people of Burma deserve to enjoy basic liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and worship. The United States calls on the Burmese regime to engage in a genuine dialogue with its own people, including the leaders of the pro-democracy movement and ethnic minority groups, on a transition to a civilian, democratic government. The Burmese regime should release those who have been arrested for peacefully expressing their views, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and should also exercise restraint in the face of peaceful protests.

September 27, 2007 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

When a blogger goes bad: a Fishmarket rotten

Over the two decades I’ve been in this field as a journalist I, more often than not, do not react to other writers or bloggers’ opinions on subjects – but as I sometimes look over the reports to see whats there I sometimes get frustrated when I see a report so callous, so uncaring, so insensitive to others that it makes my blood boil.

The hyperlink below is to one such blogger – whose opinions below are syndicated by the ‘blogger news network’. OK,  a nice idea, but  with pitfalls of profession being that sometimes non-journalist writers often take liberties with facts they don’t or can’t even begin to write about because they just don’t know. In other words,  they are ignorant of the realities of what they are writing about and make cute opinions about topics to get away with filling space.

Nancy Reyes describes herself as a retired doctor. Well,  what kind of doctor could be so insensitive to human suffering she just blurts out a line like below:

[] …”The Korean hostages: Part of missionary life no one mentions
Blogger News Network – Here in the Philippines, the NPA specializes in Chinese businessmen. It’s a game, and the ransom is small, since China doesn’t help them, they only charge “… []

Having covered so many kidnappings I don’t even want to remember. I can’t begin to think if a real journalist or columnist wrote this the ramifications for such a line would be – one, they would be fired, two, they would lose most of the readers or advertisers they have. Lastly, they would probably get a visit from law enforcement since partly – her article ‘gives advice’ on who and who not kidnap.

Am I over reacting? NO – I’ve been to a shallow gravesides when not far from her ‘hometown’ of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, a mother clutched the rotten body of her son – filled with worms  – and cried and  screamed. Her son had been kidnapped. I was part of news team and police who had somehow gotten the information from aprehended kidnapper where the child was buried.

The child’s only crime was he was mestizo – a Filipino-Chinese. A son a mother loved; a sad fact was that he had ancestors who came from another part of Asia and because of that he was picked up in mall in Quezon City.  Then the family begged, borrowed, and sold everything to get the boy back  from hoodlums who who were too lazy to find work other than victimizing others. They took money from the family twice – who sold everything they could to get what ever was demanded – they borrowed more the second time.

But still the kidnappers – the vile and criminal men who not only killed the child tortured him – kept him in a septic tank with just enough space for him to stand his head above the filthy water  until they decided he was too sick to return so they killed him. Hardly the ‘harmless’ image Dra. Reyes seeks to portray of the men like these – who have killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of families lives. A number of these people from her own town. But perhaps she doesn’t live in Gapan,  or in Cabantaun or in the areas she so callously doesn’t seem to care about.

I as part the coverage team that dealt with Abu Sayyaf kidnappings had to talk and be the go-between for families of victims of both the Sipadan and Dos Palmas kidnappings. I talked for hours days and weeks with their families – I knew them and still keep in touch in with them – both the family members and victims themselves.

I’ve gone out with both NBI, PNP, and others search teams – I’ve been there when most of the time these men – grown men – come back weeping seeing the evils that are often done to the victims of these children, women, old men and old women who are taken by those whose only desire is making easy money. 9 times out of 10 are themselves killed – but masterminds often go away free and clear. Other times, they get away with it for a while but as in life what comes around goes around. They more often than not get what they deserve – but often too late for anyone they happen to victimize.

I don’t know why anyone who claims to be a healer can be so hurtful, why a so-called news organization like blogger news network let this get published.

But sadly the fact of the matter is, the topic is written by what in life is often the most dangerous thing – a person with little or no knowledge for the facts who couldn’t care less so long as what they write makes a few dollars for the banner ads on the sidebar.

I defend your right to you opinion with my life  as others who really do this work for living – journalism, but tell you flatly – you’re wrong. Kidnapping is never little thing and crime can never be so gently dismissed as to almost laughingly describe events of human suffering without the proper context the events are in. Please learn the facts and please do keep on writing. But for Gods sake, please do not dismiss something so heinous as this type of crime is as just a joke.

Otherwise that is what you become – a bad joke- with nobody laughing.

September 2, 2007 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

AAP Philippine-American Friendship Day picnic at Sofitel

Fil-am friendshp Party at Sofitel

Fireworks display:

Every year the American community of Manila gathers to celebrate Independance day and Fil-Am friendship day. Last year the events took place at the International School in Taguig. It was a fun picnic and as ussual there were marching bands, kids games, a party and fun for all. I featured it on FYITv.net and my youtube site:

FYITv.net

This year the event takes place at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

flyer:

american-independence-day-flyer-high.jpg

(more…)

June 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

US, UK, and, Australia : Issue ‘Terror alerts’ over “Democracy RP style”

It was a strange read but somewhat a fact of life for expatriates here in the Philippines to steer clear of street protests and election rallies taking place in the country.

It is actually a crime for any foreigner to take part in actively the Political process and only properly registered foreign journalists, as well as political observers and diplomats are allowed into polling places. So picture taking is however jovial or festive it may seem is something to do outside of polling places – also to avoid any potential problems – never inside anywhere voting is taking place for foreigners.

I know a lot of foreign tourists often do picture tking and make vacation event out of looking in and seeing for themselves. There is very little risk – most place are very secure – but… ‘be careful or avoid it if you can.” per US, UK, EU, and most other government embassy websites.

Also any financial support is banned, no mater how worthy the cause may seem. If you are an expat here – this is a good time to take a shopping trip to Subic or Clark trade zones – or perhaps try the budget fares to Singapore or HK or go on vacation at some island resort. However the new warning is specific also about the last part of the suggestions I have made – a warning – versus remote island resorts and dive boats.

[] “…“Mid-term elections will be held in the Philippines on 14 May 2007. There is the potential for politically-motivated violence during the election period,” it said in its advisory (www.britishembassy.gov.uk).
The UK advisory came a week after the Australian government issued a similar advisory warning its citizens against going to political rallies. …” []  http://www.Gmanews.tv

Sadly both the US and UK gave a blanket warning on the entire Mindanao region. US official persons- ie diplomats and aid workers – now need special permission to travel anywhere in Mindanao per US embassy release.

[] “…
A bit of overkill – While there are trouble spots – the entire island half the size of the England is far from being a trouble zone – some parts – but not all. It should be revised to be more specific. Davao City and General Santos as well as Cagayan de Oro are while sometimes ‘eventful’ hardly conflict zones. Also thousands of US nationals live these areas. both Fil-Am and otherwise.

[]” … people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.  …” []

US embassy travel warning

Actually Compton and other gang filled cities in Los Angeles county and say North Las Vegas or San Francisco’s Hunter point area at night probably are more violent on a friday night than Davao City or any major city in Mindanao. The US attitude however is to err on the side caution always in its warnings after nine – eleven but to lable the entire region as risky – would be like saying – Jersey City is dangerous because of organized crime.

Political rallies can be colorful and often are a highlight of entertainment and public speaking by leaders in locals communities – watching from a distance might be safer – large crowds often can be unpredictable – and – pickpockets and petty crime is sometimes a problem. Violence is also a risk. IED bomb attacks numbered 98 last yar alone throughout the Philippines – although most were in areas of conflict in Southern Mindanao’s Sulu Islands. Philippine security forces defused double that number through out the country preventing over 100 attacks – hence – yes – bombs are a real risk and large crowds pose a tempting target. One need only remember the Madrid train bombings which happened just days before Spanish elections to see that risk as real and not imagined.

A similar plot was fouled by Police a few days before – Madrid’s deadly attacks – when 80 ready to use back-pack bombs werer uncovered along with RPG BP40 rockets in very suburban wuezon city in 2004.  One bomb did get thrugh and destroyed a huge inter island ferry that same year during the 2006 super ferry bombing which killed 100.

Election related violence is a key issue in many races – throughout the country.

13 days to E-day: Violence looms as key issue

I think what embassy’s are doing are just taking precautions for their nationals sake and trying to be as safe rather than sorry – but – still perhaps more detailed warnings rather than blanket alerts would be better. To be honest with you there are I times when traveling in say Cotabato and Maguidanao I feel safer than in some parts of South Central LA at night. MS13 for example has killed more people than the Abu Sayyaf has this year – and – other gang related killings have made many US cities as war torn as Afghanistan without the IED’s and roadside bombs-. So safety is relative to where you are a college campus in Virgina or a street in Manila its always good to be safe and secure.

Another topic noted the threat of terror attacks during the elections was a possible  event to be mindful of as groups might use security forces preoccupation with the election process as a chance to sow terror.

[]”…“We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – i.e. Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats traveling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets,” “[] . British embassy warning

US warning:

[]”… U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully onsider the risks to their safety and security while there, including  those due to terrorism.  While travelers may encounter such threats nywhere in the Philippines, the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are of particular concern.  Travelers should exercise extreme caution in both central and western Mindanao as well as in the Sulu Archipelago.

Kidnap for ransom gangs operate in the Philippines.  In January 2007,
one such gang abducted two U.S. citizen children outside their home in
Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, in Mindanao.  The New People’s Army
(NPA), another terrorist organization, operates in many rural areas of
the Philippines, including in the northern island of Luzon.  While it
has not targeted westerners in several years, the NPA could threaten
U.S. citizens engaged in business or property management activities,
and it often demands “revolutionary taxes.”

Terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jema’ah
Islamiyah, and groups that have broken away from the more mainstream  Moro Islamic Liberation Front or Moro National Liberation Front have carried out bombings resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage.

Recent incidents have occurred in urbanized areas in
Mindanao.  On January 10, 2007, separate bombings in the cities of
Kidapawan, Cotabato and General Santos killed seven people and injured 1.  While these incidents do not appear to have targeted Westerners  or Western interests, travelers should remain vigilant and avoid ongregating in public areas.

Many people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.

The Department strongly encourages Americans in the Philippines to
register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila
through the State Department’s travel registration website,
https://travelregistration.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located at:
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-528-6300. The
Consular American Citizen Services (ACS) section’s fax number is
63-2-522-3242 and the ACS web page is at
http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/rp1/wwwhmain.html.  … “[]

May 2, 2007 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Sulu: renewed fighting threatens peace efforts

Renewed fighting in the southern Philippines has raised tension anew in many parts of Mindanao’s Sulu province where the Military has renewed efforts to crush group’s attempting to derail the peace process and also provide aid and shelter to members of Jemaah Islamiah and the abu sayyaf.

Caught in the crossfire are rebels believed to be causing problems in some areas.

press release;

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has described as “unfortunate” the recent renewed skirmishes in Sulu between the military and some elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by renegade Ustadz Habier Malik.

Dureza said the military action was not directed at the MNLF as a whole but only against the group of Malik, who was responsible for a series of attacks on Panamao town where there were several civilian casualties and private properties destroyed.

The peace adviser said he is confident most MNLF elements in other parts of Mindanao, who now live peaceful and productive lives, will not condone the violent acts of Malik.

He disclosed that a few days prior to the attack by Malik, some channels were opened hoping to convince Malik not to pursue his announced plans of launching an attack. Even the military forces in Sulu were asked to take only defensive action at that time, he stressed.

Dureza urged Malik and his group to stop the violence. At the same time, he called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to exercise “due restraint” and be mindful of the adverse effects on the civilians whenever military operations take place.

He likewise called on the local goverments and the national agencies to immediately respond to the plight of the evacuees and the affected families.

The government signed a final peace agreement with the MNLF in 1996 and has since worked with various organizations, including the donor community to improve the lives of the former combatants in areas affected by conflicts.

April 16, 2007 at 3:59 am Leave a comment

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