Country swings to the Right

Agence France-Presse notes the Edsa anniversary passed without comment. The Inquirer editorial explains why: we have come full circle, as Amando Doronila points out -the country has drifted to the Right.

The government faced a double whammy with the UN Special Rapporteur’s statements (see the end of this post, for his statement reproduced in full) and that of the Melo Commission: the President’s coddling of Palparan is a chicken come home to roost. The government’s response, besides the usual reflex call for “calm”, was to release a video of Jose Ma. Sison (a very interesting one, indeed, if genuine: as Tingog.com points out, Inquirer.net has put it up on YouTube for the viewer to judge; Tingog has a clip from GMA7, and he also states Sison’s reaction: “it’s a fake!”), and call the UN official “in denial.”

Please read Alston’s report, as he explains why the Melo Commission’s efforts are unsatisfactory; he also looks into the question of human rights abuses in a very objective manner, refuting the claim it’s all a Communist exaggeration quite well, as he does the view that it’s a gigantic politico-military conspiracy. After you read the UN Rapporteur’s statement, it might help put in context the debate going on on the CPP-NPA-NDF and organizations, including some party list groups, accused of being Communist fronts.

One thing is sure: the government is trying to salvage its reversal of two decades of policy and wants to cling to its strategy of all out war. December 26, 2007 marked the 38th anniversary of the New People’s Army. The three sides that form the politico-military triangulation of the CPP-NPA-NDF, that is, the building up of the party; its armed struggle in the countryside; and the building up of front organizations or the cultivation of helpful, sympathetic ones, all feature in the debate on how the CPP-NPAS-NDF should be viewed in terms of the anti-terror law, etc.

Writing in Asean Focus Group, Filipino scholar Patricio Abinales penned a fascinating summary of where the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines is at:

…The NPA has largely survived on its own, amassing its weapons from carefully planned small attacks against government forces. Military victories in the countryside have been complemented by successes in ‘revolutionary taxation’. Businesses and entrepreneurs operating in the rural areas have now come to include NPA extortion as part of their annual budgets, with such allotments sometimes going as high as 2 million pesos.

These triumphs have prompted the Party’s eternal chairman Jose Ma Sison to encourage the formation of larger company-size units to replace the smaller platoons. But this move has been a major stumbling block for the NPA. Larger units will need better weapons and these can only come from abroad. Unless the Party taps into the illegal arms trade now prospering out of the Middle East, it will not be able to make that shift.

Moreover, the CPP’s experience with arms imports has been largely traumatic. In its early years it botched two attempts to bring in arms from China, largely the result of the ineptitude of those assigned to undertake the task. In the 1980s, CPP emissaries also failed to convince the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Nicaraguans and the North Koreans to sell them sophisticated armaments.

But the bigger problem will be in the battlefield. The NPA may outmatch the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in guerrilla warfare, but the latter, despite its failings, is still a better fighting force, especially with the United States as expected coming to its aid.

The upgrading to company-size units was one of the major issues that led to the debates in the 1980s and the assassination of the Romulo Kintanar, the former NPA chief, by Sison loyalists in January 2003. In justifying the gangland style killing of Kintanar, the CPP reiterated its criticism of his attempt to ‘prematurely regularize’ the CPP (ie, shift to a company and battalion formation) under his leadership – an attempt that devastated the NPA.

But the dilemma has come back to haunt the Party today now that the NPA has just about returned to the level it was in 1980. The unfortunate thing is that none of its current commanders have the talent and capacity that Kintanar had in shaping the revolutionary army into a nationally potent force during the era of the Marcos dictatorship.

WATCHPOINT: Though almost returned to its strength as of 1980, the NPA lacks the operational leadership that it had during the 1970s. The war in the Philippine countryside will most likely enter into an enduring, even permanent state of intermittent small clashes. And in these constant exchanges of gunfire between state and revolutionary forces, it is the communities caught in between which will likely suffer.

What do Socialists and Communists believe in, however? Red Flags is full of praises for the movement, and reproduces the anniversary statement of the CPP Central Committee:

Let us joyously celebrate the 38th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism) and on the basis of the history and concrete circumstances of the Filipino people.

This is a time to celebrate our revolutionary victories… and renew our resolve to lead and advance the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

Let us salute and congratulate all our Party cadres and members for all the victories won by holding high the banner of working class leadership and leading the broad masses of the people in life-and-death struggles with the enemy…

We must further strengthen the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally. We must build on our solid achievements won under the inspiration of the Second Great Rectification Movement and through hard work and fearless struggle. Only thus can we lead the Filipino people to a new and higher level of revolutionary struggle through revolutionary armed struggle and the united front…

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has consistently asserted that peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines are still ongoing in the absence of any side properly terminating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. It has repeatedly called for the resumption of formal talks upon the resolution of prejudicial questions, such as the so-called terrorist listing of the CPP, NPA and chief political consultant, the gross violations of human rights under Oplan Bantay Laya, the release of political prisoners and the indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

The NDFP has gone so far as to offer a concise immediate agreement for a just and lasting peace, which would serve to commit both the NDFP and GRP to definite principled points of agreement in the national and democratic interest of the Filipino. Such an offer is in response to the unjust demand of the GRP for surrender of arms or an indefinite ceasefire without agreement on substantive issues. It would lead to a truce in the civil war….

The CPP then remains blunt about its desire to wage revolutionary war, but continues to proclaim itself as desiring peace. Yet the movement itself, which once pined for “The East is Red” blaring from Beijing loudspeakers, now denounces the land of Mao (excerpt from the CPP Central Committee statement of December 26):

China has the appearance of prosperity, which is real for less than 10% of its people, but which has relegated more than 90% of its people to suffer exploitation even more rapacious than, and oppression similar to pre-1949 conditions. Sweatshops, migrant workers, vagabonds and beggars abound. Workers frequently undertake protest actions against reduced real incomes and mass layoffs. Thousands of peasant uprisings have been launched against the arbitrary grabbing of land by bureaucrats and capitalist enterprises. A revolutionary communist party inspired by Maoism can take advantage of the fertile conditions for revolution. The phoney communists in power so far still succeed in destroying even the good name of real communists.

Let them be anathema!

Here is the statement of Alston distributed at the press conference held February 21, at the Renaissance Hotel in Makati.

PRESS STATEMENT

Professor Phillip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Manila, 21 February 2007

I have spent the past ten days in the Philippines at the invitation of the Government in order to inquire into the phenomenon of extrajudicial executions. I am very grateful to the Government for the unqualified cooperation extended to me. During my stay here I have met with virtually all of the relevant senior officials of Government. They include the President, the Executive Secretary, the National Security Adviser, the Secretaries for Defense, Justice, DILG and the Peace Process. I have also met with a significant number of members of Congress on different sides of the political spectrum, the Chief Justice, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, the members of both sides of the Joint Monitoring Committee, and representatives of the MNLF and MILF. Of particular relevance to my specific concerns, I also met with Task Force Usig, and with the Melo Commission, and I have received the complete dossier compiled by TF Usig, as well as the report of the Melo Commission, and the responses to its findings by the AFP and by retired Maj-Gen Palparan. I have also visited Baguio and Davao and met with the regional Human Rights Commission offices, local PNP and AFP commanders, and the Mayor of Davao, among others.

Equally importantly, roughly half of my time here was devoted to meetings with representatives of civil society, in Manila, Baguio, and Davao . Through their extremely valuable contributions in the form of documentation and detailed testimony I have learned a great deal.

Let me begin by acknowledging several important elements. The first is that the Government’s invitation to visit reflects a clear recognition of the gravity of the problem, a willingness to permit outside scrutiny, and a very welcome preparedness to engage on this issue. The assurances that I received from the President, in particular, were very encouraging. Second, I note that my visit takes place within the context of a counter-insurgency operation which takes place on a range of fronts, and I do not in any way underestimate the resulting challenges facing for the Government and the AFP. Third, I wish to clarify that my formal role is to report to the UN Human Rights Council and to the Government on the situation I have found. I consider that the very fact of my visit has already begun the process of acting as a catalyst to deeper reflection on these issues both within the national and international settings. Finally, I must emphasize that the present statement is only designed to give a general indication of some, but by no means all, of the issues to be addressed, and the recommendations put forward, in my final report. I expect that will be available sometime within the next three months.

Sources of information

The first major challenge for my mission was to obtain detailed and well supported information. I have been surprised by both the amount and the quality of information provided to me. Most key Government agencies are organized and systematic in much of their data collection and classification. Similarly, Philippines civil society organizations are generally sophisticated and professional. I sought, and obtained, meetings across the entire political spectrum. I leave the Philippines with a wealth of information to be processed in the preparation of my final report.

But the question has still been posed as to whether the information provided to me by either all, or at least certain, local NGO groups can be considered reliable. The word ‘propaganda’ was used by many of my interlocutors. What I took them to mean was that the overriding goal of the relevant groups in raising EJE questions was to gain political advantage in the context of a broader battle for public opinion and power, and that the HR dimensions were secondary at best. Some went further to suggest that many of the cases were fabricated, or at least trumped up, to look more serious than they are.

I consider it essential to respond to these concerns immediately. First, there is inevitably a propaganda element in such allegations. The aim is to win public sympathy and to discredit other actors. But the existence of a propaganda dimension does not, in itself, destroy the credibility of the information and allegations. I would insist, instead, on the need to apply several tests relating to credibility. First, is it only NGOs from one part of the politicaI spectrum who are making these allegations? The answer is clearly ‘no’.

Human rights groups in the Philippines range across the entire spectrum in terms of their political sympathies, but I met no groups who challenged the basic fact that large numbers of extrajudicial executions are taking place, even if they disagreed on precise figures. Second, how compelling is the actual information presented? I found there was considerable variation ranging from submissions which were entirely credible and contextually aware all the way down to some which struck me as superficial and dubious. But the great majority are closer to the top of that spectrum than to the bottom. Third, has the information proved credible under cross-examination’. My colleagues and I heard a large number of cases in depth and we probed the stories presented to us in order to ascertain their accuracy and the broader context.

As a result, I believe that I have gathered a huge amount of data and certainly much more than has been made available to any one of the major national inquiries.

Extent of my focus

My focus goes well beyond that adopted by either TF Usig or the Melo Commission, both of which are concerned essentially with political and media killings. Those specific killings are, in many ways, a symptom of a much more extensive problem and we should not permit our focus to be limited artificially. The TF Usig/Melo scope of inquiry is inappropriate for me for several reasons:

(a) The approach is essentially reactive. It is not based on an original assessment of what is going on in the country at large, but rather on what a limited range of CSOs report. As a result, the focus then is often shifted (unhelpfully) to the orientation of the CSO, the quality of the documentation in particular cases, etc.;

(b) Many killings are not reported, or not pursued, and for good reason; and

(c) A significant proportion of acknowledged cases of ‘disappearances’ involve individuals who have been killed but who are not reflected in the figures.

How many have been killed?

The numbers game is especially unproductive, although a source of endless fascination. Is it 25, 100, or 800? I don’t have a figure. But I am certain that the number is high enough to be distressing. Even more importantly, numbers are not what count. The impact of even a limited number of killings of the type alleged is corrosive in many ways. It intimidates vast numbers of civil society actors, it sends a message of vulnerability to all but the most well connected, and it severely undermines the political discourse which is central to a resolution of the problems confronting this country.

Permit me to make a brief comment on the term ‘unexplained killings’, which is used by officials and which I consider to be inapt and misleading. It may be appropriate in the context of a judicial process but human rights inquiries are more broad-ranging and one does not have to wait for a court to secure a conviction before one can conclude that human rights violations are occurring. The term ‘extrajudicial killings’ which has a long pedigree is far more accurate and should be used.

Typology

It may help to specify the types of killing which are of particular concern in the Philippines:

*Killings by military and police, and by the NPA or other groups, in course of counter-insurgency. To the extent that such killings take place in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law they fall outside my mandate.

*Killings not in the course of any armed engagement but in pursuit of a specific counter-insurgency operation in the field.

*Killings, whether attributed to the military, the police, or private actors, of activists associated with leftist groups and usually deemed or assumed to be covertly assisting CPP-NPA-NDF. Private actors include hired thugs in the pay of politicians, landowners, corporate interests, and others.

– *Vigilante, or death squad, killings

*Killings of journalists and other media persons.

– *’Ordinary’ murders facilitated by the sense of impunity that exists.

Response by the Government

The response of Government to the crisis of extrajudicial executions varies dramatically. There has been a welcome acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem at the very top. At the executive level the messages have been very mixed and often unsatisfactory. And at the operational level, the allegations have too often been met with a response of incredulity, mixed with offence.

Explanations proffered

When I have sought explanations of the killings I have received a range of answers.

(i) The allegations are essentially propaganda. I have addressed this dimension already.

(ii) The allegations are fabricated. Much importance was attached to two persons who had been listed as killed, but who were presented to me alive. Two errors, in circumstances which might partly explain the mistakes, do very little to discredit the vast number of remaining allegations.

(iii) The theory that the ‘correct, accurate, and truthful’ reason for the recent rise in killings lies in purges committed by the CPP/NPA. This theory was relentlessly pushed by the AFP and many of my Government interlocutors. But we must distinguish the number of 1,227 cited by the military from the limited number of cases in which the CPP/NPA have acknowledged, indeed boasted, of killings. While such cases have certainly occurred, even those most concerned about them, such as members of Akbayan, have suggested to me that they could not amount to even 10% of the total killings.

The evidence offered by the military in support of this theory is especially unconvincing. Human rights organizations have documented very few such cases. The AFP relies instead on figures and trends relating to the purges of the late 1980s, and on an alleged CPP/NPA document captured in May 2006 describing Operation Bushfire. In the absence of much stronger supporting evidence this particular document bears all the hallmarks of a fabrication and cannot be taken as evidence of anything other than disinformation.

(iv) Some killings may have been attributable to the AFP, but they were committed by rogue elements. There is little doubt that some such killings have been committed. The AFP needs to give us precise details and to indicate what investigations and prosecutions have been undertaken in response. But, in any event, the rogue elephant theory does not explain or even address the central questions with which we are concerned.

Some major challenges for the future

(a) Acknowledgement by the AFP
The AFP remains in a state of almost total denial (as its official response to the Melo Report amply demonstrates) of its need to respond effectively and authentically to the significant number of killings which have been convincingly attributed to them. The President needs to persuade the military that its reputation and effectiveness will be considerably enhanced, rather than undermined, by acknowledging the facts and taking genuine steps to investigate. When the Chief of the AFP contents himself with telephoning Maj-Gen Palparan three times in order to satisfy himself that the persistent and extensive allegations against the General were entirely unfounded, rather than launching a thorough internal investigation, it is clear that there is still a very long way to go.

(b) Moving beyond the Melo Commission
It is not for me to evaluate the Melo Report. That is for the people of the Philippines to do. The President showed good faith in responding to allegations by setting up an independent commission. But the political and other capital that should have followed is being slowly but surely drained away by the refusal to publish the report. The justifications given are unconvincing. The report was never intended to be preliminary or interim. The need to get ‘leftists’ to testify is no reason to withhold a report which in some ways at least vindicates their claims. And extending a Commission whose composition has never succeeded in winning full cooperation seems unlikely to cure the problems still perceived by those groups. Immediate release of the report is an essential first step.

(c) The need to restore accountability
The focus on TF Usig and Melo is insufficient. The enduring and much larger challenge is to restore the various accountability mechanisms that the Philippines Constitution and Congress have put in place over the years, too many of which have been systematically drained of their force in recent years. I will go into detail in my final report, but suffice it to note for present purposes that Executive Order 464, and its replacement, Memorandum Circular 108, undermine significantly the capacity of Congress to hold the executive to account in any meaningful way.

(d) Witness protection
The vital flaw which undermines the utility of much of the judicial system is the problem of virtual impunity that prevails. This, in turn, is built upon the rampant problem of witness vulnerability. The present message is that if you want to preserve your life expectancy, don’t act as a witness in a criminal prosecution for killing. Witnesses are systematically intimidated and harassed. In a relatively poor society, in which there is heavy dependence on community and very limited real geographical mobility, witnesses are uniquely vulnerable when the forces accused of killings are all too often those, or are linked to those, who are charged with ensuring their security. The WPP is impressive – on paper. In practice, however, it is deeply flawed and would seem only to be truly effective in a very limited number of cases. The result, as one expert suggested to me, is that 8 out of 10 strong cases, or 80% fail to move from the initial investigation to the actual prosecution stage.

(e) Acceptance of the need to provide legitimate political space for leftist groups
At the national level, there has been a definitive abandonment of President Ramos’ strategy of reconciliation. This might be termed the Sinn Fein strategy. It involves the creation of an opening - the party-list system - for leftist groups to enter the democratic political system, while at the same time acknowledging that some of those groups remain very sympathetic to the armed struggle being waged by illegal groups (the IRA in the Irish case, or the NPA in the Philippines case). The goal is to provide an incentive for such groups to enter mainstream politics and to see that path as their best option.

Neither the party-list system nor the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Act has been reversed by Congress. But, the executive branch, openly and enthusiastically aided by the military, has worked resolutely to circumvent the spirit of these legislative decisions by trying to impede the work of the party-list groups and to put in question their right to operate freely. The idea is not to destroy the NPA but to eliminate organizations that support many of its goals and do not actively disown its means. While non-violent in conception, there are cases in which it has, certainly at the local level, spilled over into decisions to extrajudicially execute those who cannot be reached by legal process.

(f) Re-evaluate problematic aspects of counter-insurgency strategy
The increase in extrajudicial executions in recent years is attributable, at least in part, to a shift in counterinsurgency strategy that occurred in some areas, reflecting the considerable regional variation in the strategies employed, especially with respect to the civilian population. In some areas, an appeal to hearts- and-minds is combined with an attempt to vilify left-leaning organizations and to intimidate leaders of such organizations. In some instances, such intimidation escalates into extrajudicial execution. This is a grave and serious problem and one which I intend to examine in detail in my final report.

Conclusion

The Philippines remains an example to all of us in terms of the peaceful ending of martial law by the People’s Revolution, and the adoption of a Constitution reflecting a powerful commitment to ensure respect for human rights. The various measures ordered by the President in response to Melo constitute important first steps, but there is a huge amount that remains to be done.

The Alston statement in PDF format (from Inquirer.net):

Philip-Alston-Statement02222007

And here’s the Melo report:

Meloreport

And the anti-terrorism bill (also from Inquirer.net, you may want to compare it to the PCIJ’s version posted yesterday):

Anti-Terrorismbill
And because not everything can revolve around politics: colossal squid caught.

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    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    cvj,pv,

    History is not a zero sum game. It is not we who choose culture and language. It is culture and language and history that chooses us. Just like it is not us that chooses our parents, but we emerge from our mother’s womb without our choice of who she is. I do not call this assimilation. I call this Biology. I do not have to reject my Mother and Father in order to become greater or better than them; or worse than them. That is my choice. That the Philippines was kidnapped in the cradle by America is not our fault, nor hers. But the acts of History are irreversible. Once they happen, they happen. America emerged from Britain, as we emerged from America. We are different, yet we are the same. You say we are moving on from “that”. But of course we are, but the trajectory we have chosen cannot escape the trajectory we were on, only change the direction slightly, only enrich the possibilities and expand the horizons.

    As for 1776, that was the first decisive kick into the grave of European colonialism and our Fore Fathers, (or Grand Fathers if you will in America) did not reject Britain so much as they asserted America. We should do the same! For we can be greater than America without despising her, just as we can be greater than our parents without rejecting them.

    The Communists are Martians. We are earthlings. We are human beings.

    As for outrage, that is a natural emotion. It doesn’t have to be “scared up” by anyone. It is Justice that decent human beings must fight for and are duty bound to insist upon. But “outrage” is a revolutionary tactic and the goal of propaganda. I doubt that Philip Alston would even recognize himself in the spun-description of what he alleged said or found here. Every time I listen to news reports about him, there is some new escalation, distortion, exaggeration of what he said.

    There is nothing special in the tragic life of communists. We all suffer the same, but they think they’re struggle is grander and more correct. That is why they will not lay down their arms or even admit that they have them and are willing to use them.

    Every murder is despicable, every war unfortunate. But I don’t believe for one minute that it is just some soldiers doing it. It is surely condoned from the top. Both tops.

    At least Palparan is forthright about being a killer. That he says is his job. What say you of that, Philippine Vigil? Is it not the job of the soldier to kill or be killed? But the Communists, oh no, their soldati are civil libertarians and human rights activists.

  1. Dean,

    My understanding of what is happening in the Philippines is that there were people killed in the Philippines motivated by politics.

    I don’t care one hoot to know that 100 or so people were killed because they were left-leaning or 10 people were killed because they were journalists critical of this evil regime or that they were young activists who had offended the NPAs and were purged or whatever or 15 human rights workers who were murdered by the military.

    The point is there were politically motivated extra-judical killings all over the archipelago and continuing at an alarming rate, that it is THIS GOVERNMENT’s responsibility, legal and moral, TO PUT A STOP TO THESE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED KILLINGS.

    It is not in the interest of the nation to brand either the NPAs or the military as the winner in terms of body counts, who killed or could kill more.

    This is the bottom line.

    And if, as MB raised here, the poor ordinary countryside folks who came to see Alston to tell him of their own experiences because these folks felt that they could trust an Aussie to sound the alarm, where is and why should that be a problem? Didn’t Gloria invite the UN to send a rep TO HELP SOLVE THE KILLINGS? Her own words.

    Instead of blaming Alston, you should be grateful that half the job is done – raising the issue with RP Government, something that the Melo Commission could not do simply because the countryside folks DIDN’T TRUST Gloria. Now, you can’t very well expect Alston to DO ALL THE WORK, the other half has to be done by the locals, you included. So instead of harping against Alston, you should thank him for helping you come up with some kind of report to complete the job of stopping the killings.

    You are so focalised on being anti-Communist and anti-left that you are forgetting that there’s no two ways to go about solving and stopping the killings: THIS GOVERNMENT MUST ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW SO IT CAN AT THE VERY LEAST MAKE AN ATTEMPT TO STOP THE KILLINGS.

    You are so focused on Joma, the has been in Utrecht that you fail to grasp the bigger picture of what the UN Rapporteur was trying to say: RP GOVT IS NOT TOTALLY BLAMELESS – IT CAN SOLVE THE GODDAMN PROBLEM – BUT FIRST GOVT MUST FIND THE KILLERS WHOEVER, WHEREVER THEY MAY BE – STOP THE KILLINGS, end of story.

    MB has already reminded you “The AFP is an institution. Joma is an individual. You don’t sacrifice the integrity of an institution just to bring down an individual.”

    Just listen to how you sound when you go on and on about the Communists and about the LEFT, you may as well say, who cares if there are 2,000 killed but which I know is not what your saying but at the rate you are going, pretty soon, you will sound like baah black sheep: “But Joma is sooo baaaad he’s responsible, the NPAs are baaad, they’re baaaader than Palparan, they are naaaastier than Gloria….nyah, nyah, nyah….”

    Your “American” rhetoric ain’t solving the problem, it’s making it worse!

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    PV,
    Of the 200 or so members of the UN, how many have active armed insurgencies? Is the Philippines so much worse than them that we should have such an armed opposition to poverty and injustice? What makes us so special that you would not yourself insist on an end to the killings simply by the NPA renouncing violence, laying down its arms, as even the Nepalese Maoists have just done? Why is is this all America’s fault? Or mine? Or yours? The source of the killings is the insurgency. Stopping the insurgency wont cure our ills, but it will certainly stop the killings. On both sides. Then we can argue and campaign and peacefully if forcefully work for progress. Like most of the nations of the world!

    • cvj on February 24, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    DJB, i agree that 1776 was the first decisive kick into the grave of European colonialism and for that your forefathers deserve credit. Unfortunately, their great-grandchildren forgot those ideals and have come to believe that it was their manifest destiny to become colonists in their own right.

    As you say, a consequence of this is that the Philippines was kidnapped in the cradle by America. Of course, such an act cannot be reversed, so we just reconcile ourselves to the kidnapping as a done deal. Where we have a choice is in on how to move on from there. You have chosen to call America your parent and have even proudly declared that “We are Little Brown Americans!“. I have too much self-respect as a 100% Filipino to do that. In this, i look up to your forefathers – the ones who kicked-out the British.

    Euphemisms aside, what happened at that time was a struggle to break free of Britain. Only after freedom from the colonial masters was achieved were the Americans and British able to see each other as equal partners. You can see the same pattern with the Vietnamese (whom your President recently visited). They first had to assert Vietnam and in due time, the United States had to accept them as a fellow sovereign. The same process of breaking free has to happen with us Filipinos, especially now that America has become the world’s leading evangelist for war as a way to solve the worlds’s problems. Your country’s march towards self-destruction is something we Filipinos would be well-advised to avoid.

    You say that The Communists are Martians. We are earthlings. We are human beings. You do know that this is biologically untrue. The Communists are also human beings just like the neocons which means summary executions on anyone of them is a crime against humanity. History has shown that there is always a tendency to depict ones enemies as something other than human to justify any inhuman acts against them. I’m afraid you’re falling into that trap.

    I agree that ‘outrage’ is a natural emotion, but only with regards to those you empathize with. Somehow, the communists are depicted as the Other, hence the apathy. Because the communists and their fellow travellers are rhetorically set apart from the rest of human society (by the likes of Fr. Intengan, Norberto Gonzalez and now, you) then it somehow becomes less of an outrage to kill them. That’s further evidence of the banality of evil.

    You say that the source of the killings is the insurgency. Why not take another step and ask what is the source of the insurgency? Perhaps that would be a better starting point.

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    CVJ,
    You obviously think that the armed insurgency is justified and should exist, as you do not call for its end.

    How many nations of the world would agree with you in regards to their own situation–that they would tolerate as you do an armed insurgency that denies it kills people too. Including, ironically enough thousands of their own cadre in the 80s. So I am not talking about anything theoretical here. It really happened. Oh but Philip Alston probably doesn’t know about the time Joma ate his own children out of paranoia. Do you?

    And how many of those nations and peoples are actually worse off than us?

    I ask you what I asked PV. What makes the poverty and injustice here so much worse that such root causes justify the use of a violent, criminal enterprise masquerading as liberators?

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    cvj,
    talk to me about “root causes” because I’ve been thinking about that line of argument recently and have some new ways of looking at it that may interest you. “Root causes” are the usually endpoint of all debate about the armed struggle. But here, I do think “international considerations” can debunk the reasoning that goes “The armed struggle is there because of the following root causes, etc.”

    It’s really to do with the question I just asked above. Let me phrase it another way. Let us assume the Philippines is exactly at the median of all the nations of the world in how terrible, unjust, unfair, unequal, and oppressive the government and social system are. That is, by some measure of these “root conditions” let us assume just for the sake of argument that half the world is better off and half the world worse off than the Philippines.

    Now since you imply that armed insurgency is justified because of these root conditions here, may I conclude that you support the armed insurgency also in half of the world’s nations that have worse conditions? Or that you would “understand” it if armed insurgencies started in those 100 other nations?

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Philippine Vigil,
    What about you? If OBL supports global jihad, do you support a global armed communist insurgency too because, hey, there are all kinds of oppressors, even in France and Belgium, no?

  2. You just don’t get it Dean, do you?

    You ask “Why is is this all America’s fault?” Who says it is ALL America’s fault? I seem to remember in many of my posts as well as in many other posts here that I’ve/they’ve faulted RP government and its clique of elite, with Joma being part of that elite-elitist clique for most of the continuing problems that this “brown American nation” has been facing.

    As for the other nations in the world, I don’t give a hoot as to how they should act vis a vis their own extra-judicial killings. We have enough UNSOLVED extra judicial killings of our own!

    When you ask “What makes the poverty and injustice here so much worse that such root causes justify the use of a violent, criminal enterprise masquerading as liberators?” you are assuming that individuals or groups who oppose politically motivated killings accept or justify the use of violence by any one group from either of the opposing sides.

    Completely out of line. Nothing is farther from the truth as far as I’m concerned. You are going cowboy with your assumptions, so very Bush-like, trigger happy with your parting shots that you only see your self-imposed “brown” American rhetoric as THE summum of truths.

    What or whoever gave you the idea that such is the case at all? Is it at all wrong for any citizen of this “little brown American” nation to expect a more moral and legal approach from its government, its institutions in dispensing acts of justice?

    And by the way, why didn’t you come out and tell Alston of your suspicion that Joma ate many of his children a few decades ago?

    Re your “What about you? If OBL supports global jihad, do you support a global armed communist insurgency too because, hey, there are all kinds of oppressors, even in France and Belgium, no?”

    Utter, total aberration of a question! I think you are so consumed by hatred for anyone coming from that “brown American nation” of yours who professes to be somewhat different from your neo-con friends in your “father American” nation that you pretty much assume that either someone is with you or someone is against you.

    Dean, you cannot just put people and ideas in neat, pretty little SQUARE American boxes because you believe that’s how it should be. Sometimes, you have to put them in boxes of other shapes too, in Filipino-made boxes perhaps, to try to make things work.

  3. Dean, I’ve been criticised left, right, center for my own stand re the NPA. You know are aware that as far as I’m concerned, it is inconceivable to have a parralel army calling for the overthrow of the Republic, that I have stated my conviction on the matter far stronger than perhaps you have.

    Yours is all “father American nation” rhetoric but mine is a question of some form of democratic pragmatism!

    Therefore asking me questions that you asked smack totally of bad faith.

    • Bencard on February 24, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    phil. vigil: don’t be overly simplistic. easy for you to say “stop the killings”. for as long are there are armed bands roaming around the countryside extorting money from poor innocent civilians, and hating all forms of organized government other than something from their failed ideology, there will be killings; for as long as there are hate-mongers in our midst who make conclusory accusations without admissible proof, there will be killings; for as long as there is someone in our society who would covet somebody else’s property or spouse and try to take them by force. there will be killings; for as long as there are evil men who would terrorize, kill and maim people in the name of religion and warped sense of morality, there will be killing, etc., etc.

    The government can try to contain these killings, but, realistically speaking, can they stop them? Like “King Canute” who tried to stop the ocean waves, I sincerely doubt it!

    • rego on February 25, 2007 at 12:24 am

    Actually I believe DJB make more sense and very realistic! These extra judicial killings are the responsibility of both the government and the left.

    The left has killed as much if not more than the government. They may be more organized and strategic in highlighting the casualties from their side. But it doesn’t mean that they are not into killing themselves.

    I remember what bencard said before. That these killings can or should be considered casualties of War since the government declared an all out war against the insurgency.

    However unlike DJB, I still have a little positive feeling about foriegn intervention. Because I believe it will eventually expose the killing comitted by the left. The government just have to work harder in highlighting the casulaties from their side. However these foreigners will not solve the problem for us. They will just push back the problem to us and tell us to work harder. Just like what Alstron said in his conclusion.

    To end this extra Judicial killings. Both the government and the left should come to an agreement to lay down their arms. Its not only the government that should be told to stop. Its not only the left that shoudl be told to stop. Both the Government and the Left should be told to end the WAR to prevent additional casualties. There will never be a one sided solution for this problem…

    • rego on February 25, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Oh I was just about to say that I miss bencard…

    • rego on February 25, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Eto na nga ba ang sinasabi ko…. Thanks to Erap and Pimentels and Cayatano for starting to create this political monster! And to the opposition supporters who are blindly supporting this.
    ———————————————————
    Joson-Joson in Nueva Ecija, Angara-Angara in Aurora
    By Manny Galvez
    The Philippine Star 02/25/2007

    BALER, Aurora – Perhaps inspired by the success of the Joson-Joson team-up in nearby Nueva Ecija province, the Angaras are fielding an Angara-Angara ticket in the May 14 elections.

    An Angara-Angara tandem was sealed after political leaders and supporters of Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo endorsed the candidacy of his nephew, Rommel Rico Teh Angara, as her running mate.

    Angara-Castillo told The STAR that the clamor for the younger Angara to run for vice governor has prompted them to field him in the coming polls. “The people of Aurora are optimistic that no matter how many Angaras will run for public office, they will perform well. For the past three years, the Angaras were able to do what was expected of them,” she said.

    What is important, she added, is to have a vice governor that is supportive of the programs of the governor to ensure the sustainability of the programs she has started. “Rommel deals directly with the masses. He has the common touch and more importantly, he will surely support my programs for the province of Aurora,” she said.

    Rommel, son of former Baler mayor Joselito Angara, will be the fifth Angara to seek public office. The four others who are seeking re-election in the coming polls are: Sen. Edgardo Angara, Angara-Castillo, the senator’s son, House Deputy Minority Leader Juan Edgardo Angara, and the mayor in this town, Arthur Angara.

    Rommel, who serves as the current chief of staff of Rep.Angara, said his main thrust is to fasttrack the governor’s programs while prioritizing his own sports development program to wean the youths away from illegal drugs.

    Rep. Angara said he initially opposed Rommel’s candidacy but said that eventually, the latter would be an asset to the province. “My loss will be Aurora’s gain. He’s a very efficient and capable chief of staff,” he said.

    A business management graduate of De La Salle University, the 28-year-old Angara surfaced as his aunt’s running mate after two-term Vice Gov. Annabelle Tangson, the governor’s running mate in 2004, decided to forego a third and last term to run for mayor in her hometown in San Luis, a post to be vacated by her younger brother, outgoing three-term mayor Mariano Tangson.

    Tangson said she sees nothing wrong if Rommel runs for vice governor. “I think he is competent and academically qualified,” she said.

    The Angaras are scions of Dr. Juan Angara, the first lieutenant governor of the then sub-province of Aurora, and a long-time mayor of this capital town. Dr. Angara’s brother, Jose, also once served as a congressman.

    Before she became governor, Angara-Castillo was congresswoman for three terms of the province’s lone congressional district.

    An Angara-Angara tandem is reminiscent of the Joson-Joson team-up in Nueva Ecija. The Josons, scions of the late former six-term governor Eduardo Sr., have successfully fielded the tandem since 1995, which saw the assumption into office of Eduardo Nonato Joson and Eduardo IV as governor and vice governor, respectively.

    In 1998 and 2001, incumbent governor Tomas Joson III and Eduardo IV both won. In 2004, Tomas III won a third term with incumbent vice governor Mariano Cristino as his running mate.

    Mariano Cristino is running for governor in May with his nephew, board member Edward Thomas Joson, son of Tomas III, as his running mate.

    • kimosabe27 on February 25, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Wohoho easy now. The reason I used fag in my reply is not to deride but to complement or even make a statement of fact. Since you are deep into this neocon BS I surmised that you are a fruit since most of them are closet buttfuckers as former Speaker Dennis Hastert appeared to be. Well now, it seems that I am mistaken. You’re just a wannabe, like GWB whose last successful application of neocon ideology was when he led a squad of cheerleaders. “Onward with PNAC rah rah rah.”
    But enough of this jibjab as I have apparently endeared myself to you.
    So why didn’t those jerks Satur and Liza and the rest of those Lefties renounce all violent activities? These people must be really turned on by sado-masochism and thrilled by snuff films. The last I’ve heard about Satur is that he is being hounded by men who is dying (no pun) to put the muscle on him. As for Liza, I’m pretty much sure that her congressional office are just filled to the brim of battered women and exploited children seeking audience, nothing fancy really. And those pinko Leftists, well since they are being gunned down by an unknown assassin, they really don’t anticipate the violence; strolling on a road on a sunny day or having a meal with their family and then suddenly “Bam!”. For sure the last thing they will remember is the bright sunshine or a somewhat puzzled look of their loved ones. Nothing violent really.
    So why don’t those dumbasses renounce all violent activity including that of the NPA? Well I don’t know. I’ve read somewhere that while the KAHOS was ongoing, Satur gathered all what was left of his balls and went to the area and tried to stop the madness. Picture this, you are alone or probably with some of your friends into some unknown territory with the mission of stopping a group of armed men committing butchery. I don’t know about the depth of Satur’s indignation or his power of persuasion but it will be totally ridiculous for a sane man to jump right into a middle of witch trial not expecting to come out in one piece.
    I would like to continue this rant, but since you know where I am located, you must be informed that there is fresh powder in the mountains today and it will be nice to experience something cool, other than heated tirades. My point is this, which I will elaborate further once I come back, that there is a human face to all of these violence ;and you are right, it is all about the Biology and yes History is not a zero sum game. Neocons reduce everything to black and white and structures and other unhuman descriptions and permutations, it’s time to counter it with a breathing fornicating human, however mean or foulmouthed he may be. Peace.

    P.S. Thanks for the compliment on my poetry. You know it’s intended for a dead guy so it is not as polished as Shakespeare’s sonnet, who I believe wrote poetry to get laid. I don’t imagine myself fucking a dead guy.

    • cvj on February 25, 2007 at 1:20 am

    CVJ, You obviously think that the armed insurgency is justified and should exist, as you do not call for its end. – DJB

    Like you, i’m just a keyboard warrior so i cannot put myself in the shoes of those who have chosen to head for the hills. It is not for me to judge their motives, but i believe that among them are our best and brightest who, unfortunately, have lost faith in peaceful methods for changing the current system. Just like you, i believe killing and extortion is wrong so the AFP has to engage them as it is the latter’s duty to do so. What we need to avoid is collateral damage and the targeting of innocents.

    Now since you imply that armed insurgency is justified because of these root conditions here, may I conclude that you support the armed insurgency also in half of the world’s nations that have worse conditions? -DJB

    As i said above, i don’t advocate change through violent means, but i do believe that some form of global resistance is needed against the forces of Empire. The ultimate aim of such resistance would be to establish genuine democracy i.e. the rule of all by all, and put an end to war as a way of life as advocated by the neocons and their corporate allies. We really need to get out of this George Lucas narrative that Bush and Bin Laden has plunged us into.

    Phil. vigil: don’t be overly simplistic. easy for you to say “stop the killings”. for as long are there are armed bands roaming around the countryside extorting money from poor innocent civilians – Bencard

    I don’t know how updated you are, but the ones being referred to in ‘Stop the Killings’ are not the armed bands. The victims of these assassinations are members of legitimate party-list organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, student activities and union leaders. They are not the sort of people you describe above.

    That these killings can or should be considered casualties of War since the government declared an all out war against the insurgency. – Rego

    I see you’re well into your training as a neocon-apprentice. All out does not mean anything goes. There are still rules of engagement that need to be followed to protect the innocents.

    • Bencard on February 25, 2007 at 2:40 am

    cvj, why not let Phil. vigil speak for himself. I think he was the one who said ‘stop the killings’ which i was responding to. besides, you are again taking my words out of context as you are in the habit of doing to me and others (i. e., mita, the cat, rego and djb). if you look again, i was only citing “armed bands roaming and exorting” as one reason why killings could not be stopped.

    by the way, cvj, in previous treads, you coined the term “internet brigadier” and derisively applied it to pro-GMA bloggers, or those who happen to adopt a point of view contrary to yours and your co-league MLQ3. aren’t you an “internet brigadier” too? you are all over the place (i wonder if you are a retiree or independently wealthy with no need to work for a living) and, like jim mcmahon to jimmy carson, always quick to agree to, applaud and defend mlq3’s anti-GMA rantings and bland “satirical” attempts against GMA and her presidency.

    • manuelbuencamino on February 25, 2007 at 3:02 am

    DJB,

    The government has to uphold the rule of law. Period.

    • manuelbuencamino on February 25, 2007 at 3:25 am

    DJB,

    Why the emphasis on the CPP NPA when we know your real target are the muslims?

    The Japanese Red Army, the Brigada Rojo, the Bader Meinhoff, all these were terror groups from twenty years ago. They’re gone. Wiped out. And nobody needed an anti-terror law to do it.

    So why do we need an anti-terror law now?

    Because this time the terrorists are muslims. Only you neocons can explain why a muslim terrorist is worse than any other kind of terrorist.

    • renmin on February 25, 2007 at 3:32 am

    Little Brown American DJB- here’s what some of your giants of humanity have been doing in Iraq.

    Soldier Weeps Describing Role in Rape and Killings in Iraq
    By REUTERS
    Published: February 22, 2007

    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Feb 21 (Reuters) — A soldier broke down and wept at his court-martial here on Wednesday as he described how he and others had planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, who was murdered along with her family.

    Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, was the second American soldier to plead guilty to raping the girl and killing her and her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006, then burning the bodies to cover up the crime.

    The confession, which he read, described how he, Specialist James P. Barker and Steven D. Green, a private who was later discharged after a psychiatric evaluation, had planned the attack.

    “While we were playing cards Barker and Green started talking about having sex with an Iraqi female. Barker and Green had already known …” Sergeant Cortez said before breaking down. He bowed his head and remained silent, sniffling occasionally, for a full minute before continuing.

    “Barker and Green had already known what, um, house they wanted to go to. They had been there before and knew only one male was in the house, and knew it would be an easy target,” he said.

    The sergeant went on to describe how the men, before heading to the house, changed their clothes so they would not be recognized as American soldiers.

    Once at the house, Private Green, the suspected ringleader, took the girl’s mother, father and 7-year-old sister into a bedroom, Sergeant Cortez said, while he and Specialist Barker took the teenager to the living room, where they took turns raping her.

    “She kept squirming and trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic,” said Sergeant Cortez, who was flanked by his civilian and military lawyers.

    He said that during the rape, “I hear five or six gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, that all of them were dead,” Sergeant Cortez said.

    When he began crying again, one of his lawyers asked the court for a recess, which was granted.

    Sergeant Cortez could face life in prison without possibility of parole for the rape and four counts of murder. In all, four soldiers as well as the former soldier, Mr. Green, were charged in the case, which outraged Iraqis and heightened tensions in the war zone. The infantrymen were members of Company B of the First Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and were assigned to a checkpoint considered one of the most dangerous in Iraq.

    Specialist Barker pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced to 90 years in a military prison. Mr. Green was discharged from the Army for a “personality disorder” and is in a Kentucky prison awaiting civilian trial.

    Specialist Barker and Sergeant Cortez both avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty and are expected to testify against Mr. Green and others charged in the crime.

    Sergeant Cortez also pleaded guilty to arson and breaking into the girl’s house and to obstruction of justice for helping get rid of the murder weapon, an AK-47, which was thrown into a canal. In addition, he admitted to drinking whiskey before the attack, a violation of Army rules against alcohol in that area of Iraq.

    The other soldiers charged in the case are Pvt. Jesse V. Spielman and Pvt. Bryan L. Howard.

    • rego on February 25, 2007 at 3:37 am

    I see you’re well into your training as a neocon-apprentice. –cvj.
    ———————————————————

    ah ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

    But seriously dont I dont want to be one. I been reading about the ideology(?). And Im sure I can never be one!

    Just like you I also abhored this killings, in any form at that, and was just trying to express my two cents worth….

    • rego on February 25, 2007 at 3:48 am

    The victims of these assassinations are members of legitimate party-list organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, student activities and union leaders- CVJ

    ———————————————————-

    I cannot really believe this. The “armed bands” just have so many fronts..

    On the other hand, the left are still taking all the produce in some portion of our lands. Killed my uncle in a sabungan in broad daylight. My cousin was just having a dinner with his family and then BAM!…

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 6:37 am

    MB–Ever since Cain killed Abel, Man has enacted laws against Murder. But I guess it’s time to repeal those laws since it just doesn’t seem to be working…Must be all Yahweh’s fault for giving us Free Will. Likewise, though those gangs you mentioned are no longer in the News, their successors surely are, like the AQ, JI and NPA. But whatever laws that got them should also be repealed since there are still groups that look, sound and act like BM and JRA.

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 6:46 am

    PV,
    I repeat. What makes conditions in the Philippines so terribly, terribly bad, that you condone and do not question the existence of an armed communist rebellion? Where would you say the situation here is, relative to all other countries? What makes us so special that we need not one, not two, not three, but many armed terrorist groups?

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 6:56 am

    cvj: “I don’t know how updated you are, but the ones being referred to in ‘Stop the Killings’ are not the armed bands. The victims of these assassinations are members of legitimate party-list organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, student activities and union leaders. They are not the sort of people you describe above.”

    How do you know this? Where do NPA members come from do you think? From among the cherubims and Boy Scouts? Where do they get their guns, ammo, food, clothing, medicines, remote control land mines, ink jet refills and laser printers, laptops and cell phones? Who defends them in the Media and Academe? Who argues their causes for them and shields them from anti terror laws and the evil, evil military and govt? Who gives them their pork barrel funds?

    • Botante on February 25, 2007 at 11:20 am

    as long as Glueria is in power, there will be more and more sympathizers for CCP-NPA. FYI, they are not bad guys. The issue here is Glueria and her form/system of government!

    • Botante on February 25, 2007 at 11:26 am

    P.S:

    there’s a hope crisis under Glueria so that more people resort to underground movement. I’m a sympathizer of their cause. Pahirap na pahirap na ang Pinas…pati demokrasya ibabaon pa. Dapat palitan na yang si SiRaulo sa Dept. of Injustice. His remarks/statements are always embarrasing.

    • Botante on February 25, 2007 at 11:29 am

    …the two Gonzaleses, I mean. The departments of Norberto and SiRaulo are creating tensions and chaos. The government should do something about it.

  4. This is how I understand DBJ: The focus of certain international efforts to vet the “political killings” in the Philippines is on the government because similar acts by the communists are “unable to scare up (produce or gather) much outrage from . . . a terrorized population,” the uneven treatment being due to the fact that the insurgency makes the communists’ malefaction a given.

    But isn’t that exactly how the Melo Commission has looked at this matter? “The military,” according to the Melo Report, “should not be allowed to descend to the level of the insurgents and rebels themselves with their lawless, treacherous methodologies. It is in this light that the whip must be cracked to bring the rogue military elements back in line.”

    Now, DJB pounces on the peaceful leftists supposedly for refusing to dissociate themselves from the armed extortionists and arsonists” or the Mao, Lenin, or Pol Pot wannabes.

    I think this quote from Tocqueville is relevant at this point: “There are times when nations are tormented by such great ills that the idea of a total change in their political constitution comes into their minds. There are other times when the disease is deeper still and the whole social fabric is compromised. That is the time of great revolutions and of great parties.”

    To his credit, DJB acknowledges the common wisdom of the Filipinos to distinguish Leftists who are “peaceful civil libertarians and human rights activists” and those who are “armed extortionists and arsonists using a bunch of gobbledygook.” But as many of the former are desirous of creating great movements or parties that will attempt to convulse society through pacific means so also are some of the latter, far from being mere extortionists and arsonists, attached by real convictions to principles.

    The way I appreciate it, a Leftist is one who advocates the adoption of radical policies to reduce or eliminate the great economic and social inequalities of wealth, status and privileges of the present order against the Rightist agenda of supporting the current social and economic order, accepting all those inequalities. Based on these definitions, I am not sure if the perception that the Filipinos are swinging to the right is presumptuous given the claim that the Filipinos are ALWAYS on the Right. In America the middle class is on the verge of being poor, but in the Philippines the middle class, not to speak of those who live on less than $ 2.00 a day, is poor. If the proper questions are asked, it is unlikely the claim that the Filipinos are Rightists will hold any water.

    The further claim that the ideology of the Philippine Left is effectively miniaturized because America values, in particular or Western values, in general are too grand to surmount, and that unfortunately for the Left, the self-conception of Filipinos as Little Brown Americans is just too hard to shed, is clearly a reckless expression of American Exceptionalism that has wrought havoc in the Philippines (yes, producing mutants at the very least) and today is wreaking havoc in Iraq. There lies the famous DBJ analogue of benevolent assimilation.

    Now this: Filipinos are Americanized even when being anti-Americans. Trapped inextricably in that “colonial mentality,” the Left’s hatred of America translates to hatred of themselves.

    Is this also a prediction America that is swinging to the Left will implode because of this hatred of themselves?

  5. FYI, they are not bad guys. The issue here is Glueria and her form/system of government!

    You’re clueless, aren’t you.

    Not bad guys. my foot. You should be living in the rural area where even the poor farmers have to shell out something for the “revolutionary tax”.

  6. Why the emphasis on the CPP NPA when we know your real target are the muslims?

    Now this is a no brainer statement. Not all Muslims. But the Muslims who are engaged in terrorisms.

    Qualify, please.

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Abe,
    It is “Philippine exceptionalism” that I am questioning — the claim that root conditions here are so bad that armed insurrection is tolerated, justified, or “understandable”. Our intellectuals, media, academics and “progressives” have been paralyzed into a kind of Cold War liberalism in which they don’t actually take sides because they believe that government is guilty of crimes against the people, thus justifying the existence and toleration of the NPA. By doing so, they feel they are doing their bit, or at least salving their consciences over society and government’s failures to deliver real progress for the country.

    Take the case of these killings, which are surely a mixture of truth and lies, since that is what war and conflict often results in when people lose their lives on both sides. I think most people who really have no way of knowing what is true of false about the situation give the Leftists’ claims the benefit of the doubt, because they don’t want feel complicit in abetting the killings IF the claims were even partly true.

    But the effect is based on an illusion created by a fallacy. Since NO ONE who is an “activist” or a “militant” publicly admits to being either a communist or openly espouses violence (not even the NPA!) they can all claim to be “peaceful leftists” just fighting for their conviction. Yet there are 8 to 12 thousand NPA regulars each of which needs a fairly sophisticated support network to supply and finance their “revolutionary activities”.

    It is simply disingenuous and logically inconceivable that these “peaceful Leftists” are only espousing the cause of the armed wing but not its methods; only defends their existence because of root causes but not their deadly consequences. The insurrection is necessarily a combination of both violent and peaceful means.

    I think that is why it is in the interest of the truly peaceful Leftists to disassociate themselves from and renounce the violence of those who are only pretending to be dedicated to peaceful means to attain their common end.

    Regarding the matter of our being Westerners of the American variety, there is no shame in that. Or “havoc”! Western Civilization goes back a long way, much farther than 1776. We are equally Graeco Roman for example, as our inescapable language, culture, science, and mental processes attest.

    But you seem to want us to be unique (the obsession of Filipinos for some reason), thus my charge of Philippine exceptionalism!

    Will America’s swinging to the left result in an implosion of self-hatred, as in the post-Vietnam period? That is very possible except for one big difference. Retreat and withdrawal from Vietnam had no real geopolitical or global consequences. The Middle East and Iraq are very different. A sudden withdrawal would create a huge political and power vacuum into which would move both Iran and Al Qaeda, who would see the opportunity to destroy Israel and perhaps seize Saudi Arabia. In the latter case, European economies would collapse in a matter of months (even sooner the Philippines!) and the world economy could, to use your word, implode.

    And not even a Fortress America could survive such a cataclysm without resorting to truly draconian measures involving the Secret of the Stars that no one would survive.

    I aver that what happens in America now will determine the future of the world as we know it.

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Abe,
    So there is no doubt about what I said: The need to stoke international outrage over the killings here is because there is no palpable outrage from the Filipinos who happen to know there is a VIOLENT insurgency being waged against the government. That both sides are fighting dirty cannot be converted into just the government is fighting dirty. That of course is why there is no outrage from the Filipinos, even if they have proven time and time again to be capable of mounting such outrage even over a single clear case of injustice. Viz Ninoy Aquino or Flor Contemplacion.

    • manuelbuencamino on February 25, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    DJB,

    The JI and AQ are successprs of yjodr earlier terror groups? Then those terror groups must have descended from Menachim Begin’s zionist terror goup as well. Who woll succeed JI amd AQ, the neocons?

    CAT,

    Read up on neocon history so you get the nuance of my statement re muslims and neocons.

    • manuelbuencamino on February 25, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    DJB,

    “Ever since Cain killed Abel, Man has enacted laws against Murder. But I guess it’s time to repeal those laws since it just doesn’t seem to be working…”

    First, you come out of the closet to apologize for not defending martial law. Now you dress up in funny clothes.

    Speaking of the anti-terror law. We had 14 years of martial law and still the CPP NPA was not eradicated. If it couldn’t be done under undisguised totalitarianism what makes you think it can be done under a new guise?

    Remember the rationale for martial law was a left-right conspiracy and martial law was supposed to launch the revolution from the center.

    Is the anti-terror law supposed to launch the neocon revolution?

    • DJB on February 25, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    MB,
    You must be running out of good arguments since you are starting to attack my haute couture.

    But let’s talk a lil about “conservatism” and “liberalism”.

    Do you think Gloria is a political conservative?

    She is most definitely not, but I am curious since we’ve been into definitions. Indulge me and give us a couple of short definitions of “conservative” and “liberal”?

    • cvj on February 25, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    But seriously dont I dont want to be one. I been reading about the ideology(?). And Im sure I can never be one! – Rego

    Thanks, imho you have shown good judgement on this particular matter.

    How do you know this? – DJB

    I bought the book “Stop the Killings” (by the IBON foundation). Anyway, i must say that your stance grieves me. I never expected you to be on the side of summary executions.

    It is “Philippine exceptionalism” that I am questioning — the claim that root conditions here are so bad that armed insurrection is tolerated, justified, or “understandable”. –

    What do you mean by ‘Philippine Exceptionalism’? It was not Filipinos who wrote the following: “whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…“. If this does not ring a bell, i’ll give you a hint – it’s your forefathers speaking.

    Do you think Gloria is a political conservative? – DJB

    On the matter of the killings, I think she is a reactionary, just like you. BTW, while we’re at it, neocons are *not* conservatives as its origins can be traced to the far-left, particularly Leon Trotsky, founder of the Soviet Red Army. Here’s what a true conservative, Justin Raimondo has to say:

    In tracing the intellectual ancestry of the neoconservative persuasion to its Trotskyist roots, its critics are pointing, with alarm, to its revolutionary utopianism, its dogmatism, its bloodthirstiness as characteristics inherited from the ruthless founder of the Red Army. The point of exposing the neocons’ far-leftist origins is to show that they are in no way a conservative force. There is nothing conservative about embarking on a campaign of conquest in the Middle East and uprooting most of the regimes in the region. The neocons are, as one critic put it , really neo-Jacobins. Theirs is a revolutionary project, one that violates the precepts of the Founders – and would have to mean the overthrow of the Republic. – Justin Raimondo, The Neo-Jacobins, October 21, 2003

    • manuelbuencamino on February 26, 2007 at 12:46 am

    DJB,

    I have not run out of arguments. As a matter of fact I just asked you why you think the anti-terror bill will do what martial law failed to do. Why will pseudo-martial law powers be more effective than the real thing?

    As to your labeling game. I don’t know if Gloria is a political conservative. I do know she is a cheat a liar and a thief. And she will be those no matter what ideological disguise she dons.

    I called you a neocon because you said you were one. I called your fountain of cliches neoconservatives because that’s what they proclaim themselves to be. But as to defining neoconservatism. You tell me what drives you and your comrades into such a frenzy.

    Anyway, let’s just agree to disagree. You believe freedom and human rights are alienable. I don’t. Not under any circumstances

    • watchful eye on February 26, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Is the U.S. involved? Who trained Palparan?

    Here’s some insight from Karapatan 2006 Report.

    – – – –

    . . . the series of agreements entered into by the Bush and Arroyo regimes strengthened the control of the U.S. over the AFP and PNP.

    Aside from the already existing Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG), which enabled the U.S. to send “advisers” to the AFP and control the transfer and use
    of military equipment provided by the U.S., other joint mechanisms were created to enable the U.S. to shape the orientation, strategies, and operations of the AFP.

    The creation of the Defense Policy Board in 2002 ensures U.S. control over the policies and decisions of the Department of National Defense. Another mechanism called the Security Engagement Board was created in March 24, 2006 purportedly to serve as the mechanism for consultation and planning of measures and arrangements focused on addressing nontraditional security concerns such as international terrorism, transnational crime, maritime safety and security, natural and man-made disasters, and the threat of a pandemic outbreak that arise from non-state actors and transcend national borders.

    The AFP is currently implementing a five-year Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) program under the supervision of the U.S. Pacific Command. This program was an offshoot of a Joint Defense Assessment conducted by U.S. defense
    “experts” that looked into the capabilities of the AFP in combating “terrorism.” It was a three-year assessment that was completed in 2003. This program is aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the AFP in line with the U.S. thrust of strengthening its surrogate armies. More importantly, with “significant American involvement in monitoring its implementation,” the PDR gave the U.S. strategic and tactical control over the planning and operations of the AFP.

    Historically, Philippine counterinsurgency programs have been shaped by the U.S. Lt. Col. Edward Landsdale of the U.S. Air Force, recognized as an expert in counterinsurgency, was assigned in the Philippines in the 1950s under the auspices of the JUSMAG. He directed the counterinsurgency program of the AFP during the height of the war against the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan
    (HMB or People’s Liberation Army) from 1950-1955.

    Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) mirrors the counterinsurgency strategy and tactics developed by the U.S. during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and in El Salvador during the
    1980s. The four phases of OBL namely, clear, hold, consolidate, and develop is patterned after the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy combining the “Winning the Hearts and Minds” with the “Cost -Benefit or Carrot and Stick” approaches.

    Even the ideal counterinsurgent organization developed by the U.S. which fuses the civilian government and military structure and coordinates the efforts of the different AFP services is reflected in the creation of the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security on the national level and the Area Coordinating Centers in the regions and provinces.

    OBL also employs the same combination of intensive military operations, intelligence and civic action or triad operations used by U.S. Armed Forces, combining
    traditional conventional warfare methods with counterguerrilla tactics.

    Worse, the use of terror and death squads, contained in U.S. military manuals and employed in U.S.-directed counterinsurgency programs in Vietnam, El Salvador and the rest of Latin America, and currently in Afghanistan and Iraq is also part and parcel of OBL. OBL directs AFP units to conduct target research; draw up a “sectoral/front organization Order of Battle;” and define specific targets for “neutralization” per quarter.

    From this can be attributed the spate of political killings especially in regions defined by the AFP as “priority areas” in counterinsurgency. Likewise, it also explains why the Arroyo administration is not serious in investigating and putting a stop to the killings.

    • Francis on February 26, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Ang dahilan nang lahat nang ito ay meron talagang NPA purge to clean their ranks of intelligence people from the Army. Ang problema ngayon nakisabay ang government and kinda murder some of this activist to point the finger on the NPA. Since the Army knows there is a cleansing, they can now take down ang mga off-limits personality (unarmed CPP activist). It is also a revenge since it took them decades to infiltrate the NPA and cost them their spies.

    The only solution I know is that the government need to push for a peace talk and encourage those NPAs to join our democracy. (through education and communication)

    It’s not impossible to solve this problem with all the social scientist that we have… all we lack is the effort.

    Walang effort kasi corrupt ang Army. They need an enemy to push their budget higher. They asked for a bigger 2007 budget, ang reason nila is to have more intelligence against their enemy.

    Dapat palitan ung si Esperon kasi he himself admitted that he’s fighting the NPAs for 33 years and he’s still not an expert in dealing with them. ( baka kulang sa social education and all he knows is to point and kill )

    • Francis on February 26, 2007 at 5:47 am

    “If a war be undertaken for the most righteous end, BEFORE the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has NO defense,… it is a national crime.”

    – Charles Eliot Norton

    • Francis on February 26, 2007 at 5:51 am

    “Today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.”
    – Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (retired)

    • james on February 26, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    you could be antigma for all I care..

    but if you are procommunists I wouldn’t care likewise if palparan gets you

    and I think that it is the sentiments of majority of the filipinos and is reflected by the seeming apathy for this highly sensationalized issue courtesy of sympathetic media and personlities who are antigma

    their irrational hate has clouded the distinction

    • cvj on February 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    …but if you are procommunists I wouldn’t care likewise if palparan gets you – James

    One more example of the banality of evil.

    • Francis on February 26, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    James a martian he does not care about human beings.

  7. Dean,

    Re: “you condone and do not question the existence of an armed communist rebellion? ”

    I still say, you are out of your depth – condone and do not question the existence of an armed communist rebellion?

    Where on earth did you find that I condoned such?

    • DJB on February 26, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    The party list groups are not fooling the people. Until they categorically and publicly renounce the violence of the CPP NPA the Military will get away with exterminating them extrajudicially. THAT is not the fault of people who DO renounce violence as a means of achieving political change. It is merely hypocrisy’s consequence and an underestimation of the people’s intelligence.

    This was on bald display tonight on Dong Puno’s show, when Teddy Casino admitted that the NPA is an illegal organization (i.e. it is a criminal organization) but he would not renounce their violent methods because he said this would “delegitimize” their struggle against “root causes.”

    But the means never justify the end. That is simple enough to understand. It is not the banality of evil that these folks are getting killed, but the wages of sin. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Even if you deny it. That is not the fault of peaceful human beings but the fate of martians.

  8. Dean,

    Hope you remember what you say, “But the means never justify the end. “

    • cvj on February 26, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    DJB, with the blanket accusations, guilt by association, endorsement of collective punishment, apologia for apathy, blaming the victims, and denial of their basic humanity on account of their beliefs – your comment above (at 7:14pm) is right up there with best that inquisition-related literature has to offer. It’s guaranteed to warm Palparan’s heart.

  9. Pretty surprising, Ed Ermita’s comment: “What are the activities of the National Democratic Front?”

    From Manolo’s Inquirer link: “He said the military had tagged some leftist groups as “enemies of the state” for using their congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, to help the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the CPP.”

    Why then did he condone the peace negotiations between Gloria’s govt and Sison’s clique in Oslo so many times if he knew – of all people, he was a former general, a former DND Undersecretary, a Congressman and as late as 2 years ago, he was for peaceniking with NDFP.

    Is it because Gloria had no more use for the communist, left-wing warm bodies who coddled her in Edsa II toppling of Estrada?

    What happened during the party of Rep Cynthia Villar 2 years ago when the honourable congresswoman sat Gloria side by side with Satur Ocampo so they could discuss the future of Gloria’s peaceniking with Sison and Jalandoni in Utrecht?

    What happened to Gloria’s flirtation with the NDFP via Satur Ocampo?

  10. Satur Ocampo and Gloria were seated side by side by Rep C Villar when both attended her birthday party…

    Until then, Gloria and Satur Ocampo were known to be the “best of friends.” Who knows? During Mrs Villar’s birthday party, Gloria and Satur must also have reminisced the past when Satur provided all those left-wing support courtesy of Sison so she could have the 1 million people at Edsa required by Angie Reyes for him to keep his mutiny of the generals bargain.

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