Posts filed under ‘jakarta’

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

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.
.

May 9, 2007 at 12:18 am 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

US Senate hearings on Philippine killings brings new focus of attention

Sen. Barbra Baxor’s hearings into the the spate of political killings continues to stir thing here in these islands. Some in the Philippine Government see the entire hearing process for what it was – a case of domestic political issues in America – by members of the US Congress – to dig, bash, and, criticize those in everything and anything that can splash mud and dirt on the Bush administrations handling of the war. So now feeling the US pressure and the support given to the groups who have been hitting away at the Philippine government.

[…” Continued strong ties between the Philippines and the United States, despite the “transient controversy” arising from the US Senate’s hearings on whether or not to impose cuts on US aid to the Philippines amid the hundreds of unsolved political killings in the country.

“The strategic partnership of the Philippines and the United States remains steadfast and firm, despite the issues that tend to invite transient controversy,” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement. …”] Manila Bulletin

Others in some secotrs perhaps not too aware of the current situation might think the probe harm stability in the country and the ‘grandstanding’ all be it a term used more on these shores use about Sen. Boxer’s probe about US interference in what to them is ‘domestic afairs’ is all coming from groups who might feel something strangely out of place.

Most of those who testified before the Senate foreign relations committee chaired by Sen. Boxer are coming from some sectors who more often than not lead protestsagainst the United States – it’s almost strange to see – America’s greatest critics in Asia being given such a treat as to bash the ArroyoAdministration before the US Senate. While the oversight role of the US Senate is afterall most concerned that US Aid might be supporting right wing death squads here – it is ironic – that many of the speakers were those who bash everything happening here – but does underscore that even critics and those who are the mostvehement in opposition to the United States are given an opportunity to air the views they have- such is democracy – such is the right of free speech.

[] “…Welcome Intervention
ABS CBN News, Philippines – general secretary of Karapatan and Eliezer Pascua, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, testified. Boxer said, “I don’t
RP-US ties remain strong — Malacañang Manila Bulletin
US Senate Wants Philippines To Take Tougher Action On Political All Headline News …”[]

Now being given such a platform to bash the Philippine and American governments in Washington D.C. the same speakers will most likely be back – protesting and criticizing and in de facto support of both countries enemies soon.

But, it was not the extreme left who hasled the charge to the US congress and European parliment and the UN. But rather church groups – upset over the killings.

[] “… US says Philippines‘ president must do more to stop political murders
North County Times, CA – Barbara Boxer asked John whether the US should link the military aid to improvement in the country’s human rights record. “It’s really important that we do
Delegates urge lawmakers to help stop murders in Philippines
Worldwide Faith News (press release), NY –
Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was the first conducted by the subcommittee under her leadership, the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. … …”[]

March 18, 2007 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Abu ‘X’: New ASG leader a mystery says reports

For now the man is Abu “X” a unkown leader of the ASG who seeing perhaps how nearly all of the known leaders have either been captured or killed or hunted down in the jungles of Mindanao to the hinterland areas of Jolo and Basilan prefers to go  ‘Unkown’ to all but the ASG itself.

[] ” …Officials: Unknown militant considered to lead al-Qaida-linked
International Herald Tribune, France – JOLO, Philippines: A little-known Filipino militant is being considered to lead the violent al-Qaida-linked group Abu Sayyaf after US-backed troops killed …..” []

With the Australian government still pointing to the ASG and the JI as the major peace and order threat in SE Asia. The report of the International Herald Tribune the says the ‘unkown’ is leading what is considered al qeada’s most violent and profitable franchise in Asia, Estimate on ransom income from the Sipadan Kidnappings alone go over a Billion Philippine Pesos. Not to forget to mention tying down a good protion of the US Delta force in Asia and forcing regional allies to keep on thier toes to prevent attacks in the region.

Philippine, US troops end two weeks of military drills in restive
International Herald Tribune, France – AP. BATO-BATO, Philippines: Hundreds of US troops wound down two weeks of military exercises Saturday that focused on development work in the southern
DOD official: Int’l partnership necessary
United Press International –As a model of this international partnership O’Connell cited the 2002 US-Philippine combined action against the AbuSayyaf organization.

The ASG – down – but not quite knocked out still needs the focus and attention of Washington, London, Manila. and, Malaysia’s KL and Singapore – because a lot of the flow of terror funds and action has passed through those small islets of the southern Philippines.

 Safe Haven for Islamic Terrorists
Strategy Page :  The government believes 82 members of Indonesian terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the major al Qaeda affiliates in southeast Asia,
Jemaah Islamiyah poses biggest Southeast Asia threat: Australia
China Post, Taiwan – Militant group Jemaah Islamiyah may have gone quiet but its radical wing is keen to mount new attacks and poses the biggest threat to Southeast Asian

Southern Thailands current problems based on tactics and types of attacks and as well fueled by domestic issues is I am sure in the near future to be formally linked to the regional fight on terror as much as tourism based Thailand does not want to admit it.

The types of weapons retoric of Jihad and types of attacks used point to a link to what is happening here in the Southern Philippines or what has happened in the past or so it seems to experts here.

March 3, 2007 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

Iraqi Insurgents using “Chlorine truck bombs”

Iraqi Insurgents have raised the stakes in two recent attacks that took place in the ongoing civil war of sunni’s versus shia in Iraq. Putting near WMD chemical weapons into the warfare and risking more lives that might be affected in the fallout of chemical truck bombs.

Using trucks that were laden with clorine gas canisters the recent attacks this last week threaten more than just bomb damage but chemical poisoning as well.

The chlorine trucks bombs could also infirm or cause death by chlorine poisoning.

NEW ‘DIRTY BOMB‘ FEAR
Gulf Daily News, Bahrain – Feb 22, 2007
BAGHDAD: Iraq insurgents are fighting with deadly new tactics, including poison gas attacks. Medics were treating dozens of patients poisoned by chlorine

Iraqi Militants Use Second Dirty Bomb
FOX News – Feb 22, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Insurgents exploded a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters Wednesday — the second such “dirty” chemical attack in two days — 

While these insurgent groups actions seem more linked to the Iraqi baathists than Al Qaeda types – the attacks do bring a fear of an excalation. Tons of VX and other poisons were produced during the Saddam area as well as other weapons based on Nerve agents – the fear in the region is if some stockpiles missed could fall into the insurgent or terrorist hands the scope and strength of those attacks might produce tragic consequences,

Some media outfits during the start of this conflict equip-ted their NeWS teams with Biological and Chemical warfare basic survival suits. Most of these have been set aside and are rare even among coalition or Iraqi army  troops.

The worried minds of security experts is the shift towards new more devestating types of terror based attacks might be considered now that insurgents have begun to shift to crude dirty bombs.

February 26, 2007 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

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