Posts filed under ‘Democrats’

RP Critical of Burma represion

Philippine Government statement on Myanmar

September 27th, 2007 · No Comments

Philippine President Arroyo who is with other world leaders in New York attending the annual general assembly meeting has come out with what is one of the few statements by leaders in ASEAN versus the repression in Myanmar.

Most ASEAN leaders – like in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are borderline countries on human rights issues. By and large while there are problems too here in the Philippines with active insurgencies and some cases of violations.

Most if not all cases that make it the courts do go through the legal process – and – widespread crackdowns like the current one in Rangoon are rare. However, Burma’s rulers often do as the rulers of any dictatorship do and do not pay heed to their own people let alone really listen intently to other leaders in the region.

Privately Philippine officials in Manila speaking on ‘Conditions of Anonymity’ say “China is the key here – and – China can stop the violence in Burma and should. So far its diplomats have been trying, one wonders how long Beijing will cover for the Yangoon Junta which of late has caused a lot of embarrassment and problems for the leaders Beijing.”

[]..Philippine President Arroyo: We call on Myanmar to act in its own best interests to avoid its further isolation and to redeem its democracy without any further delay. We have patiently but persistently advised Myanmar within ASEAN that it must make greater and faster progress toward that goal.
Recent events in Myanmar, therefore, are of concern to the Philippines and to the region as a whole. The Philippines asks the Government of Myanmar to act with the utmost restraint and to take immediate steps to preserve what advances have been made in its roadmap to democracy. Specifically, we ask the Government of Myanmar to now allow all interested parties to take full part in the effort to national reconciliation through peaceful and inclusive dialogue.
This means the release of all those who have been detained and who can contribute to the process of national renewal, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. In addition, we ask that the Government of Myanmar invite the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, to visit the country as soon as possible.
…[]

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday (Sept. 27, New York time) urged the government of Myanmar to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and scores of Buddhist monks who have been rounded up for staging protests against the country’s military rulers.

In a statement that she distributed personally to members of the Philippine media at the Waldorf Astoria Towers where she is billeted during her three-day official trip here, the President said freeing Suu Kyi from years of house arrest serves Myanmar’s own best interests and avoid further isolation of the country from the rest of the world’s democracies.

Myanmar is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Recent events in Myanmar, therefore, are of concern to the Philippines and to the region as a whole,” the President said, and called on Yangon to act with “utmost restraint and to make immediate steps to preserve what advances have been made in its roadmap to democracy.”

She said it was important that all stakeholders engage in a common search for a peaceful resolution of the current unrest in the country and bring about national reconciliations..

“This means,” she added, the “release of all those who have been detained and who can contribute to the process of national renewal, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.”

She also called on Rangoon’s military leaders to invite United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari to visit that country as soon as possible to look into the situation there.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was democratically elected prime minister of Myanmar in 1990 but the military refused to hand over power to her winning National League for Democracy Party. Suu Kyi has been under house address since 1989.

The President will address the UN General Assembly before noon Friday (New York time) as she winds up her official visit to the Big Apple. She is scheduled to head back to Manila Friday afternoon, (New York time).-press release

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September 28, 2007 at 4:10 pm 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

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

Global Terrorism: Attacks increase 25% – 20,498 killed in 2006

In a report by the US Department of State to the US congress has revealed that terrorism has increased over 25% year on year and fatalities have increased by forty per cent.

The figures put into perspective the figures and deaths that while often inder reproted in media there i a major conflict on at World War Level that many in media often chose to ignore. Some 74,543 civilians were targeted.

[]”… In the annual report to Congress includes analysis from the National Counterterrorism Center, a U.S. intelligence clearinghouse, which found only a slight increase in the overall number of civilians killed, injured or kidnapped by terrorists in 2006. But the attacks were more frequent and deadlier, with a 25 percent jump in the number of terrorist attacks and a 40 percent increase in civilian fatalities from the previous year.

In 2006, NCTC reported, there were a total of 14,338 terrorist attacks around the world. These attacks targeted 74,543 civilians and resulted in 20,498 deaths. …”[]

Iraq: Center of global terrorism action 

The report clearly shows that the center of the attacks is Iraq: ” Violence in Iraq accounted for 45 percent of the overall attacks counted by NCTC and 65 percent of worldwide terrorism deaths.  Terrorist incidents in Iraq nearly doubled from 3,468 in 2005 to 6,630 in 2006. ”

It went on further to say : “Although kidnappings declined by 50 percent internationally, Iraq experienced a 300 percent increase, according to NCTC.” an indication as shown by experience here in the Philippines that KFR and terrorism are linked. Kidnapping for Ransom is often used by terror groups and in some cases insurgents as means to both ensure community ‘cooperation’ and also a means to raise revenue.

The Philippines: ” the ‘Success’ story in war vs. terror’

The 2006 US State Department global report on counter terrorism praises  the country  citing “‘the Philippines” as among others in the region who are, ” playing leading roles in confronting threats from groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.”

[] ” Philippines
The Philippines, one of the earliest supporters of the War on Terror, continued its bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism efforts. In August, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched “Operation Ultimatum”, a concerted effort to capture or kill the top Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operatives on Jolo Island in the South. The operation has been highly successful to date as a number of ASG and JI members have been captured or killed since its inception. Philippine forces recently eliminated both Khadaffy Janjalani, the nominal leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, and ASG spokesperson, Abu Solaiman. Operation Ultimatum is one feature of a U.S.- assisted strategy to strengthen the rule of law in the Sulu archipelago. Joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises know as “Balikatan” supported the Philippine government’s campaign to separate terrorists from the general population and diminish support for their cause. The Antiterrorism Task Force arrested, captured, or killed 88 suspected terrorists, and seized over 900 kilograms of explosive materials. Philippine authorities also made some progress in tracking, blocking, and seizing terrorists’ assets.

Despite some successes, major evidentiary and procedural obstacles in the Philippines continued to hinder the building of effective terrorism cases. A large and growing case backlog and the absence of consistent trials against terrorists were impediments to the prosecution of suspected terrorists. Despite plans dating back to 2001, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had yet to introduce a digitized, machine-readable passport. While the Philippines cooperated with U.S. requests for prosecutions for persons who had tampered or altered travel documents, the prosecutions carried low-level penalties for those convicted of such fraud. In addition, there was a reluctance to investigate or charge vendors or users of false documents. Under current Philippine law, the suspect must present the fraudulent document to a Philippine government authority in order for a crime to have been committed. At year’s end, a counterterrorism bill approved in April by the House of Representatives remained in the Senate.

The Philippines experienced 93 bombings, ranging from improvised explosive devices and grenades to landmines, including:

  • In February, the bombing of a karaoke bar located near a Philippine military base in Jolo left one dead and 22 injured.
  • In March, a bomb exploded at the Sulu Consumers Cooperative in Jolo killing nine people and injuring 20.
  • In June, a roadside bombing in Shariff Aguak killed three people and injured eight.
  • In August, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Kidapawan City injuring three people.
  • In September, a bomb exploded at a public market in General Santos City killing two people and injuring six.
  • In October, a bomb exploded near the headquarters of the Sulu Philippine National Police in Jolo injuring two persons.
  • In a separate October attack, three bombs exploded in Tacurong, Sultan Kudurat; Makilala, North Cotabato; and Cotabato City killing eight people and injuring over 30.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was empowered by the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA), as amended in 2003, to investigate and prosecute money laundering. The AMLC is the lead agency responsible for implementing the asset freeze measures called for by the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee. Under current law, however, the AMLC cannot take direct action against suspected terrorists or those supporting terrorism, but must apply for a court order to inquire into bank accounts and direct the freezing of assets and transactions. The AMLC sometimes needed several months to issue the relevant resolution to the Court of Appeals after receiving information about a newly-listed terrorist entity and circulating it to the financial institutions. The AMLC has 91 cases pending in various stages with the courts, including 34 for money laundering, 24 for civil forfeiture, and the rest pertaining to freeze orders and bank inquiries. The slow judicial process hindered efforts by the AMLC to see these cases through to conclusion; a trial can take up to seven years to complete. In April, a bilateral U.S.-Philippines Security Engagement Board (SEB) was inaugurated to address non-traditional security issues, including counterterrorism and maritime security. The SEB set the stage for the “Kapid Bisig” (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) counterterrorism framework that focused on civil affairs, capability upgrades, and support for AFP operations. The United States assisted the Philippines in establishing an interagency intelligence fusion center in Zamboanga City to support both maritime interdictions against transnational criminal/terrorist organizations, and the “coast watch” system in Mindanao, established with Australian assistance. ” []

AFGHANISTAN & South Asia attacks up: 

The report also found a 50 percent increase in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, from 491 incidents in 2005 to 749 in 2006. To defeat the resurgent threat, the report urges the international community deliver promised assistance and continue working with Afghans to build counterinsurgency capabilities, ensure legitimate and effective governance and counter a surge in narcotics cultivation.

” NCTC reported that the majority of terrorist attacks remain centered in the Middle East and South Asia, but noted that overall attacks in South Asia declined by 10 percent. ” so says the State department press release.

Child victims of attacks increase 80% increase in casualties:

Children were increasingly the victims of terrorism in 2006, with 1,800 killed or injured in attacks, an 80 percent increase from the previous year.  As in 2005, government officials, teachers and journalists remain the leading professionals targeted by terrorists, according to the report.

VENEZUELA: Hugo Chavez: possible state Sponsor?

The report also claims that Venezuela’s leader may be seen as major figure in state sponsored terrorism soon, ” President Hugo Chavez has strengthened ties with Cuba and Iran and has allowed terrorist groups and drug traffickers from neighboring Colombia to cross its borders.  ” says US State Department in its press release.

However looking over the report at length it did cite the cooperation of Venezuelan police in protecting the US Embassy. ” An individual claiming to be a member of an Islamic extremist group in Venezuela placed two pipe bombs outside the American Embassy in Caracas on October 23.” But went on to say, ” Venezuelan police safely disposed of the two pipe bombs and immediately made one arrest.”

The report also cited that. “The investigation by Venezuelan authorities resulted in the additional arrest of the alleged ideological leader of the group. At year’s end, both suspects remained in jail and prosecutors were pressing terrorism charges against them.” yet in other  areas of ideological  conflict Venezuela  still supports or so the US State Department report says – Narco Terrorism and leftist rebel groups who have engaged in terror attacks versus Americans and American companies.

[] “… President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, deepened Venezuelan relationships with Iran and Cuba, and was unwilling to prevent Venezuelan territory from being used as a safe haven by the FARC and ELN, effectively flouting UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540, which form part of the legal basis of international counterterrorism efforts.

Chavez’ ideological sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) limited Venezuelan cooperation with Colombia in combating terrorism. FARC and ELN units often crossed into Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup with relative impunity. Splinter groups of the FARC and another designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), operated in various parts of Venezuela and were involved in narcotrafficking.

It remained unclear to what extent the Venezuelan government provided material support to Colombian terrorists. However, limited amounts of weapons and ammunition — some from official Venezuelan stocks and facilities — have turned up in the hands of Colombian terrorist organizations. The Venezuelan government did not systematically police the 1,400-mile Venezuelan-Colombian border to prevent the movement of groups of armed terrorists or to interdict arms or the flow of narcotics.”[]

The full text of Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 is available on the State Department Web site.

May 1, 2007 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

Moro Islamic Liberation Front: US troop ‘movements & sightings’ reported on Rebel website

The Moro Islamic Liberation Frontwebsite Lurwaran.com in a very short article more like a forum posting reported groups of two US troopers -in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabungsuan moving around the area of Mount Kabalalan.

American servicemen urged to stay in camp
[]”… A group of villagers in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabungsuan told Luwaran reporter recently that several American servicemen in group of twos were sighted in far-flung villages of upper Semba and Dimapatoy, this town. “They are scouring the mountain near Mount Kabalalan,” said one villager who asked not to be named, “and for what reason I do not know.”…”[]MILF webiste

The report does not say much – nor does it allege any wrong doing on the part of US forces but coming at a time of tension and fighting further south in Jolo in the Sulu Province area the report does in its headline “US servicemen urged to stay in camp’ says it all perhaps.

The MILF has about 16,000 OR so armed fighters both full time in uniform and rebel units and scores of sympathizers some of whom are hardliners. Like all large organizations it is not a monolithic one – small factions exist and some are alleged to be sympathetic to extremist groups. While the mainstream are moderate and follow the central organizational structure.

The posting is seen by some as – ‘a message’ – or so say those familiar with the way the MILF operates that says ‘they know’ – for the most part however the MILF is taking part in US, EU, and Australian funded and backed peace talks with Malaysian’s playing the role negotiators acting and the Philippine government.

It may have been the US troops – who are allowed to be armed for self defense – under a agreement with the Philippine government – may have just been in the area to asses it for future training missions or ‘medcap’ or medical civic action projects – or could have been just sight seeing – or perhaps were with Philippine troops moving about the area but the message seen is the men were sighted in a ‘sensitive area’ and the posting seems more of interesting view to the opinion of the organization than anything else.

The post has a worrisome portion on its generalization of the role of US peace corps workers – many do not understand that Peace Corps members are ‘vollenteers’ and are non-government in nature – but – ‘government funded’ aid workers.

Often times this kind of opinion can lead to problems for these aid workers and perhaps steps should be taken to clear up the misconception voiced on the website. The last paragraph in particular

I have in my work as a journalist met and traveled and interviewed in areas controlled y the MNLF and MILF and never really had any problems with the organized Moro Rebel groups however commanders often-warn of fringe groups who might seek to damage peace talks or create problems or just make a statement in areas where there is a gap between government and rebel control.

Hence the ‘warning’ this posting gives is les ominous than just a nudge saying ‘Hey be careful out there…”

– like  Hills street blues?

April 30, 2007 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Left Coast goes Gaga over Apple spoof ad hitting Hillary

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.

March 20, 2007 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

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