Posts filed under ‘Indonesia’

Mission Possible: Stolen American chopper recovered in Mindanao, Philippines

MIKEINMANILA EXCLUSIVE: UPDATE 3
13 bikes, 3 ATVs, SUVs, sports cars, guns galore and more recovered in a major raid. Second raid recovers around two dozen more bikes. NBI in Northern Mindanao identifies alleged owner of car dealerships as professional rider and car & bike dealer, report says 25 cars and 18 bikes recovered in major transpacific anti-grand theft auto raid.

One mans search for his unique Martin Bro’s custom ride leads to major bike gang GTA bust in Mindanao. PHOTO Law Enforcement handout

The story reads like a plot for Die Hard Six, for Skip Woods, the writer of Die Hard 5, GI Joe The Rise of Cobra, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.It’s often said the best stories are true to life. For the plot,  which would also fit on Fox’s ‘The Good Guys’, it starts from the simple recovery of a stolen vehicle —  a motorcycle,  a Martin Brothers original. Key figures:  a ‘major writer’  based in Texas who works in  Hollywood.

He loves his bike, a custom Martin Brothers bike. He loved long drives and would head out from wide open spaces in California to flatlands and expanse of open space of the Southwest to Texas. Reality paints a better picture than film here… he and his bike he loved – a man free to roam.

The bike and him were inseparable, then, his bike was stolen in Houston Texas.The writer, Skip Woods, like any other victim went to Police, who traced the bike theft to a gang that ships expensive American-made motorcycles like Harleys and his Martin Brothers custom to Asia via Mexico and Los Angeles.

One mans search for his unique Martin Bro’s custom ride leads to major bike gang GTA bust in Mindanao. PHOTO: Law Enforcement handout

Not content to go out and buy a new one with insurance money, he hired private investigators, Orion Support Inc., who traced the bike and upon that, the custom bike was seen in Asia in the Philippines.

Tuesday, led by local Philippine National Police Provincial Director  Buboy Mijares, Agent Wency Galindez of NBI Cagayan De Oro, along with US Law enforcement – at least one FBI agent and OSI private invetigators – the team searching for the rare bike found much more than Skip’s bike.

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May 10, 2011 at 1:44 am Leave a 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

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

International Poll Watchers in Mindanao: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia

A group of 21 poll watchers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have set up shop in Mindanao to look over the Philippine election process,

The observer mission is being coordinated by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and supported with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Asia Foundation.

In all some 219 observers from the US, EU, Canada, the UK and the UN are looking at the conduct of the election process. Some have also come to learn how to watch and what to look for in election related issues and concerns for when elections take place in their own countries.

 

For this group of mostly Muslim observers during their deployment in the ARMM, the observer team members will be hosted by six local Muslim civil society groups that have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on April 3, 2007.

The goal is make sure that this group gets a chance to see what is going on and report any irregularities if any are found in the conduct of the polls. The observers for this group from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia – come from countries that do also have elections – however have very different government systems –

Hence each of the observers do bring some issues from their home countries that does show more localized understanding than many western observers – Pakistan for example – is run by former general who took power after a coup. Bangladesh – just had a major upheaval with local political reform being meted out by a sweeping move at anti-corruption and very public arrests of old styled political figures and oligarch’s there. Thailand – well – we all so that coup however peaceful – it still does not have democratically elected leadership at this time – although elections are promised and expected soon there and a major Islamic insurgency is ongoing. Indonesia – like the Philippines is dealing with post dictatorship adjustments to democratic space – and so far it has done well – its government is elected. Malaysia is a democracy – but – still has some post Mahathir issues – reform there seems close at hand with the changes made so far and freedom given to people like Anwar Ibrihim.

Sri Lanka is also facing insurgency – seperatists Tamils hold a mjaor section of the country – but for the most part is a democracy: .

 

 

May 9, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Tacurong blast – reports say JI behind bombing

Police in the Philippines think a earlier attempt to bomb a police station on April -and – The suspect they have in that failed attack on a Police Station is behind todays bombing of a billard hall at the Tucurong City market

Police are hunting down is id ntified as Edris Sabal for the failed bombing. Sabal is suspected of having links to the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists from Indonesia led by Umar Patek and Dulmatin – both men are on the US governments most wanted terrorist lists.

Today’s bombing followed the discovery of another explosive in Banga, South Cotabato on Friday.

As well as a Bomb being dellivered exploding on a motorcycle as would be bombers tried to transport it. two men were killed in the blast.

The blast Tuesday comes six days before the Philippine midterm elections and two weeks after the US, UK, and Austalian embassies in Manila warned its citizens to avoid going to public areas in Mindanao after it received information of an imminent terrorist threat.

JI terrorists, politics could be behind Tacurong blast – report
GMA news.tv, Philippines – Meanwhile, as of 9:30 pm Tuesday, there had been no travel advisory from foreign embassies in the Philippines due to the blast. – GMANews.TV.

» (Update) Bomb blast kills 4, injures over 30 others

» AFP: 3 dead, 30 hurt in Tacurong explosion

Tacurong has been targeted by bomb attacks in recent years,

In January 2003, eight people were killed while 33 others, two of them children, were critically wounded after an unidentified man hurled a grenade at the city’s plaza filled with New Year revelers. Two months later, another blast in Tacurong killed a man and wounded two others. In October 2006, two people died and at least four people were injured when a bomb went off at a public market in the city.

Five killed in bomb attack in southern Philippines Reuters AlertNet
At least three dead in bomb blast in southern Philippines (Roundup) Monsters and Critics.com
Five Killed in Bomb Attack in Southern Philippines Javno.hr
all 19 news articles »

It is known as part of area called the ‘classroom’ by counter terrorism experts in Asia. A majority Christian city that was built on the outskirts of large American agribusiness plantations of Dole and Del Monte – aside from successful bomb attempts over 70 foiled attempts have been foiled and items recovered show a roadmap of bomb making that reaches Iraq, Afghanistan, and, Indonesia – based – on bomb designs. A large number of IED R&D design work is done in the area which is about a two hour drive from a major rebel conflict zone.
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May 9, 2007 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

Patronage Politics blamed: For Political Murders & Mayhem in the Philippines

The 90 day long Philippine election campaign period for the mid term polls for Congressional and local positions has so far resulted in 75 election related murders.

A briefing given by the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported.

GMANews.TV

</b> Election-related violence cases rise to 108

Saksi: Election-related violence cases rise to 108

» Comelec: Cell phones not barred, just watched

» SunStar: Benguet town ‘loses’ 40 cops to poll duty

» GO to question resolution naming LP as dominant minority

» Poll execs will call which areas to put under Comelec control

» Comelec mulls control over Bantayan Island

» Report: NPAs briefly hold Kampi bets hostage in Agusan Norte

“The PNP, as of May 1 the fatalities included two lawmakers (congressmen), a vice-governor, two mayors, three city councilors, 19 village chairmen and 16 village officials.” Senior Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr added that, “Another 32 casualties were supporters of the political candidates or civilians who happened to be in the area when the attacks took place.”.

Police officials however are quick to point out that 75 election related murders however violent this may seem is actually an improvement over past elections. “The number of casualties is still low compared to the 189 reported killed and 279 wounded in the 2004 campaign period”. PNP Spokesman Gen. Pagdilao clarified; overall the situation has improved since the last election.

Partly the decision by the Philippine election commission or COMELEC to place 60 cities and municipalities and two provinces were placed under ‘Comelec control is seen by Police as major reason for the drop in half violent incidents and killings.

Far from Over: 2 weeks till Election Day .

The Philippines Police is at a higher alert level during the election period with assault teams backing up armed police in the streets and mobile and fixed checkpoints spread throughout several areas of COMELEC control.

 

In part to keep warring political factions with heavily armed bodyguards from clashing, “417 cities and municipalities tagged as areas of immediate concern while 216 cities and municipalities were listed areas of concern.”.

Political clans and Warlord Politics:

In some parts of the Country there are those who still rule ‘warlord style’ a throwback to the 1950’s over parts of the country far from the public eye, In some cases even in urban areas with either private militias of bodyguards or often using, ‘active duty’ Military or Policemen.

To the “private Warriors’ whose pay and lifestyle are augmented by the nearly feudal system of old ‘Politics of patronage’.

But while these groups are often in far flung areas.

It is when rival political groups clash the outcome can be extremely violent. In the Central Luzon Province of Nueva Ecjica, an example of what happens when heavily armed political groups cross paths was displayed the often ugly side of ‘politics of the gun’ at it’s worst.

“The shootout in Jaen, Nueva Ecija between the camps of Nueva Ecija congressman Rodolfo Antonino and former Jaen Mayor Antonio Esquivel left four people dead and 14 more wounded – one of the bloodiest election related incidents this campaign.” Babe Romoldez, a columnist of Philippine Star newspaper wrote in in a Op-Ed piece, ” There’s no question a lot of business activity depends on the result of the elections, but of equal concern is for the process to be perceived as clean and honest. Unfortunately, election-related violence is getting more intense, “

The clash between warring political groups has led led to the deployment of 1,000 combat troops to the province and COMELEC (Commission of Elections) control.

In another election related killing a Mayor attending a complaint haring was gunned down on the streets of the Philippines second largest city of Cebu, while even on the campaign trail – violence has become part of the campaign, “Another violent incident involves San Carlos City, Pangasinan mayor Julian Resuello, who was fatally shot during a rally on Saturday. This further intensified perceptions that election violence is getting out of hand”

Local Government Politcal reform urged:

Political patronage which according to some of the top leaders of major LGU’s is often funded by graft ridden political cronyism and illegal ‘rackets’ that is typical at the local level of Government in areas far from the capitol – and – even sometimes in towns and cities of the major metropolitan zenes.

Barely two weeks remains in the campaign till election day on May 14th, In the last week the violence has escalated with 22 new incidents reported – this coming alongside three active insurgent groups clashes with government forces has led the US, UK, and Australia as well as many EU countries to issue warnings to their nationals living or visiting the Philippines to exercise extreme caution and avoid all Political gatherings.

“It is a cycle that needs to be broken, Political leaders to stay in power are expected by the people to hand out ‘favors’, You need funds to do this – so those not wealthy enough become forced to fund these activities with graft. Which leads to ineffective projects and governance,” A leading local official said on condition of anonymity, “Reforms are needed at the local level of politics too, or in the end it will be warfare every time there is an election as groups battle for control of local economies through political feuds and violence.”

With 75 Dead and 12 days to go and at least another week till winning candidates will be proclaimed the danger of more violence looms of violence is in the air already as political rivals claim victory amidst threats of more violence if their candidates do not win.

ABS-CBN News:

Fearless Palace forecast: 8-4 for TU 5/3/2007 4:26:52 AM
COMELEC picks Lakas, LP as dominant parties 5/3/2007 4:26:35 AM
Erap warns of ‘revolt of the masses’ if there is cheating 5/3/2007 2:37:11 AM

 

PNP concerned by swift rise of election violence

PNP concerned by swift rise of election violence

06:09 AM 05/03/2007

‘The threats of violence echo all the way down line from all sides of the politcal spectrum if they don’t win from the leaders at the top down to the lowest councilor.’ A senior national police official declining to be named told the author, “I’m more worried about what happens after the votes are counted and how that goes – if it goes bad – scenes of violence on large scale in some places might happen.’

Police officials privately fear the worst but say they expect if the polls are credible post-election violence ‘Won’t happen’. One thing is certain, as the frenzied campaign period is nearing climax, expect election-related deaths to soar as the Philippine Political warfare nears the homestretch.

May 3, 2007 at 11:21 am 2 comments

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