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Mar 16

Boom, corrupt, corrupt

Boom corrupt, corrupt
Boom corrupt, corrupt
Kurakot, kurakot
boom, boom, boom!

…As the opposition version of the ditty goes.

Today I wrote my first entry for Current, a blog for Inquirer.net that John Nery (of Newsstand fame) and I will be writing on alternate days. So if you have time, you can take a look and see how that blog will differ from this blog, and my views on Barbara Boxer’s US Senate hearing on the deteriorating human rights situation in our country.

One additional bit from the Report of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State, can serve as a take-off point for this blog, though:

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary; however, the judicial system suffered from corruption and inefficiency. Personal ties and sometimes venality resulted in impunity for some wealthy and influential offenders and contributed to widespread skepticism that the judicial process could ensure due process and equal justice. The Supreme Court continued efforts to ensure speedier trials and to sanction judicial malfeasance and was in the midst of a five-year program to increase judicial branch efficiency and raise public confidence in the judiciary.

The point here is that when corruption enters the picture, then the very things that should serve as safeguards -the law, legal procedures, etc.- become viewed as a means to ensuring that the law becomes yet another tool to protect the mighty and disadvantage the weak. This is at the heart of disagreements between people like myself who oppose the Anti-Terror Law, and its supporters like Philippine Commentary.

If the law is being used to bludgeon even legitimate dissent (as I think it is) than regardless of the good intentions of a new law, if it serves to increase the opportunities for actually eroding the credibility of the law, then I don’t think any such new law should be given the benefit of the doubt. For example, Dean Jorge Bocobo says the law is necessary and if abused, he will be at the barricades to denounce its misuse; but the barricades have already been raised; the abuses are taking place, the new law adds a new measure to the statute books that will increase abuse.

but the main point today is corruption. If, as the State Department’s report points out, corruption slows down the wheels of justice and in effect, makes them come off the axle of governance, then corruption in the judiciary presents an obstacle to the rule of law serving as a deterrent to human rights violations (worse, the atmosphere of impunity, in which abuses take place but no one gets punished, that has people rationalizing and excusing official human rights abuses on the shallow pretext that well, you have to fight fire with fire).

And not just when it comes to shadowy war between our armed forces and the NPA. The Bunker Chronicles recently blogged about the most recent manifestation of petty leading to lethal crimes afflicting the metropolis. Personally, I think both administration and opposition candidates have been deafeningly silent on criminality not just in Metro Manila, but in most cities of the country. Cellphone snatching, holdups in public utility vehicles, etc. What can legislators do about this? Denounce it. And lest we forget, they have the power of confirmation over military and police officials who deserve to be raked over the coals for letting these crimes take place. And for those who speak glowingly of the administration, let me add that if you exalt impunity, politically, for the chief executive then of course it follows that everyone else down the line will be lining up to line up the public, in term, for a holdup.

See also, Amando Doronila’s analysis of the survey findings and what it means -he deftly ties it to the question of human rights. The Inquirer editorial, too, points out this is a case of chicken coming home to roost for the government. The best that government apologists can do is Emil Jurado’s report that Senator Enrile has vowed to get even and give the foreign businessmen a good grilling.

I understand the Management Association of the Philippines is due to release a statement in the next couple of days, supporting the survey of foreign businessmen which found the Philippines the most corrupt country in our region. Just last night I had a chance to sit down and listen to the views of some businessmen and a banker. I asked them, is it worse today than before? One answered by means of a joke. Corruption, in FVR’s time, he said, was “under the table.” In Estrada’s time, “over the table.” And today? “With the table.”

This points to an interesting dynamic. They pointed out that the best they can do is echo what the foreign businessmen say, because if they said it first their necks would be on the line. They don’t have the luxury of being so big, like the Taipans, as to be untouchable, one remarked with a shrug. If foreign businessmen hadn’t said, it wouldn’t mean it wasn’t so -only that no one wanted to take the risk of pointing out the obvious. I’ve heard more than one person say: you want proof corruption is bogging this country down? Look at the unopened NAIA-III. The present government has had more than enough time to fix that mess, even if its origins lay in Estrada’s administration.

And before the usually yackey-yack on “well, at least Estrada’s in jail” starts up, please meditate on this picture.
Thumbs Up
It says it all. Hello, Nani, who remains blissfully free.

On another note, the Chief Justice’s recent speech is all very nice, and much as I agree with what he said, is it proper for a chief justice to make such a statement?

Finally, Comelec decides to take down the voter’s list which published people’s private information on line. And speaking of privacy, here’s a legal precedent: the Manila Trial Court declares that the president’s husband is most definitely, a public figure, that he can’t go around suing people for libel when what’s taking place is public scrutiny of his actions, or on the basis of his right to privacy.

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  1. Abe N. Margallo

    DJB, JL,

    I think my argument goes back to the logic of “moral equivalence,” the rejection of which as fallacious (by neocons and DJB) translates into the following: America can never be as bad as its perceived enemies.

    What I’m basically trying to drive home is: If a certain behavior that America engages in cannot be equated with a substantively similar behavior others engage in, then we are simply begging the question (or, simply, assuming the truth of the very point raised in a question). And the point being raised is: That America cannot rest on a conclusive presumption that it is always in the right (especially if the conclusiveness of such a presumption is based upon a claim that America is supposed to be destined by Divine Providence to be always in the right in the first place).

    Are the facts that we know support the presumption at all? The facts are: America was the first creator of the evil B, (evil because the intended use of the Bomb can never be good) and therefore the first nation “possessed” of it; America is also the only country that had the bile to actually use the B; there’s open discourse in the US and elsewhere today about plans by the Bush government to use again the B against Iran (Iran is being accused of attempting to develop its own version of the B, which accusation Iran denies on a claim that its nuclear facility is intended for industrial use only.)

    Who do you think will scare one apolitical Martian if he comes down on earth? OBL who has gone into hiding in a cave in Pakistan, holed up like a mouse terror-stricken by a hungry bobcat, or the bobcat himself who with an overwhelming military firepower at his disposal and after announcing “if you are not with us you are against us” has proceeded to raid and invade two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq) and abetted in the attack of another (Lebanon) and threatening to overrun a fourth country (Iran), and all the havoc being wreaked is still visible to the poor ET from Mars?

    The fear about OBL is fed by the speculation that if he got hold of the B he would unleash a “nuclear terrorism” because judging from his past misdeeds he is capable of doing so. But can he really get hold of the B?

    Again here are some complications (pls correct me if I’m wrong): it is not that easy to direct the development of the B especially if you are essentially a caveman; if instead OBL just decided to acquire the B from the black market, who will put it on sale (N. Korea is about to be out of the equation, China and Russia have mailing and bombing addresses and thus assured of mutual destruction) and if there is, does OBL have still a sack full of gold to purchase the goods, and how will the exchange of goods take place without being detected by sophisticated intelligence network?

    If at all some AQ sympathizers could come up with what is called as the “dirty” B, but that has the power of only knocking down a couple of city blocks.

    Now, tell us very honestly, who has the capability of unleashing the big B and “nuclear terrorism”? Yet, can the world be assuaged that the America will not use the B because it is not destined to be as bad as OBL and AQ?

    Here’s the point in my last post. The common sense of ordinary Americans, which was exercised to end the Vietnam War, will restrain Bush from playing fire with the Bomb once again on humanity. The restraint did not operate during WWII because the “propaganda model” was then in full sway. Besides, I too believe that WWII had all the earmarks of a “just war.”

    Today, exchanges like this, that will continue to take place in many places and forums, will help too to deter the neocons from giving way to madness. And good, just and decent Muslims, and there certainly are plenty of them, are also capable of self-introspection, as any good, just and decent Americans, to deter a tiny minority of OB and AQ from testing the fire of hell.

  2. justice league

    Abe,

    I am again pressed for time so I’ll digest the rest later.

    But for now I believe that a minimum needed by good, just and decent Muslims to deter OB and AQ from doing that is that they know where they really are.

    Are you in agreement with that?

  3. UPn student

    Abe… The general you idolize, General Douglas MacArthur, one time commander of United Nations armed forces during the Korean War, in a 1954 interview stated that he had wanted to drop “between thirty and fifty atomic bombs” on enemy bases before laying radioactive waste material across the northern edge of North Korea during the war.

    The US president with the bile to decide to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to more rapidly end World War II/Pacific — President Truman disagreed with MacArthur’s recommendation. Truman decided not to use the atomic bomb in the Korean War of 1950.

  4. cvj

    In matters that threaten us with mass casualties or extinction, such as Nuclear weapons, it is better to focus on capabilities not intentions. For example, if as what nearly happened in the past, an accidental nuclear exchange is triggered between the USA and Russia, it is of no use if DJB somehow emerges from the rubble and blogs that the millions dead were just collateral damage and that their killing has ‘truly been unintentional’.

  5. justice league

    Abe,

    I’m willing to accept that America isn’t always right.

    But as you stated as fact already is that America already has the Bomb, and lots of it; and we can’t do anything more about that.

    As regards to the Martian, he’s like a moviegoer who may approve or not of the movie that he came to watch but he is certainly arriving in the middle of it.

    With regards to complication of acquisition; I believe you’re right when you clearly stated that the question is “who” and not “what” will put it on sale. As can be gleaned for now; it was so called rogue persons and not nations at large that are “contributors” to the Libyan, Iranian, and North Korean nuclear programs.

    And practically in all factors in the problem of the acquisition is the key role of America in preventing such acquistion which tends to “imply” that you are actually in favor of the role America is portraying to prevent OB and AQ from getting their hands on to the Bomb.

    So are you actually in favor of what America is doing in keeping pressure on OB so he feels the need to live like a cave man; trying to freeze his finances, maintaining the intelligence network, and suffocating the black market of the Bomb?

    There are already many nations that have the capacity to launch nuclear destruction. Maybe Mutual Assured Destruction can assuage the world, maybe it can’t. But I don’t think the world can do anything practical about “all” the nations keeping nuclear weapons either. But just because the world seems inutile in that doesn’t mean that OB and AQ can have their own.

    As part of the minimum to hold AQ and OB accountable; what I can think of right now is info on their whereabouts, means to hold them accountable, numbers to enforce it, and the will to do it.

    As to your statement that there are far more fundamentally good, just, decent and well-educated Muslims who will hold Bin Laden and AQ accountable for their demented politics of hatred and violence, then the numbers to enforce it and the will to do it should be a “given”.

    If the means and the info are also present; then why are OB and the AQ not yet been held accountable for their actions by their own brothers in faith?

    And if the factors I mentioned are not all significantly present; then how can OB and the AQ be held accountable? Which then begs the question again as to what would restrain Osama and Al Qaeda from unleashing whatever they can?

  6. Bencard

    Abe & JL, I’m not a blind admirer of the USA who thinks that it can do no wrong and “cannot be as bad as its perceived enemies”. Neither can I agree that there is a “conclusive presumption” about its being always “in the right”; that it was ordained by Divine Providence to be so.

    USA is the first and oldest existing democracy of its kind. Its body politic, since inception, has been divided into two opposing camps, each of them always with a definably different world view. In an environment of freedom guaranteed by its fundamental law, ideas and principles are born, adopted and discarded according to the will of the prevailing majority of its responsible citizenry.

    USA is not a monolith governed by a single power source. It has an intricate governmental system that consists of
    federal and local authorities with defined powers and jurisdictions. It is not possible for a one person or entity to formulate and carry out a course of action of national, let alone global, implications.

    The development and use of the Bomb were not without compelling reasons. USA was a reluctant protagonist in WWII. It did not seek confrontation with the Japanese, nor even with the Nazis in Europe. Given the fanatic intransigence of the enemy, even while suffering tremendous losses, the Bomb had to be used to shorten the conflict and thereby cut the loss of human lives from both sides. Needless to say, sometimes you have to destroy in order to build, kill in order to save a life.

    If there is one nation on earth that I would feel safe and comfortable possessing the ultimate weapon ever to exist, to the exclusion of all others, it would be my second home, good old US of A.

  7. cvj

    Bencard, that sentiment is typical of your generation of Filipinos. That’s all well and good for citizens living within the cocoon of the United States. I don’t think our Filipino great-grandfathers and their Vietnamese, Latin American and Iraqi counterparts will share your benevolent view given the millions dead as a result of their direct or indirect interventions.

    As for your feeling of safety and comfort given the USA’s responsible possession of nuclear weapons, as explained in antiwar.com

    The Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations [.pdf] is the Pentagon’s implementation of the new nuclear posture. According to Hans Kristensen’s analysis, “Foremost among the doctrine’s new features [is] the incorporation of preemption into U.S. nuclear doctrine….” It lists a variety of new conditions under which nuclear weapons will be used, including, “For rapid and favorable war termination on U.S. terms,” “To demonstrate U.S. intent and capability to use nuclear weapons to deter adversary use of WMD,” and against “An adversary using or intending to use WMD against U.S., multinational, or alliance forces or civilian populations.”

    It appears that it is the United States who has both the capability and intent to use nukes again.

  8. Abe N. Margallo

    JL, Bencard,

    Some clarifications:

    1. First, I think I made a careful distinction between Americans and America (as the leader of the Western World), and between ordinary Americans and Bush (and the neocons or their successors).

    2. I called the politics of OB and AQ demented but I did not say too that the politics of Bush and the neocons are NOT demented. In other words, to me, both politics are immorally equivalent.

    3. I labeled the violence on both sides as “political” and not merely as senseless killings and destruction because both AQ and the neocons are looking towards some sort of Aristotelian telos at the end of the tunnel, that is, to impose the will of one upon the other, or wipe out each other, if necessary.

    4. What I’m looking for to serve as restraint upon the lethal dementia of either the neocons or the AQ is for the vast majority of ordinary Americans as regards the neocons and for the vast, vast majority of ordinary Muslims as regards the AQ to arise from being “quietists” to BECOMING “activists” in order to overrule the tiny renegade minorities of their respective great societies (the West and the Islamic) and prevent those hairbrained ruffians from taking the forlorn road to perdition for all humanity.

    5. If seriously aspired for, both societies can be as good and just as the other since in the final analysis, there is really only one civilization.

  9. rego

    Hay, naku masyado nang pinhaba ang diskusyong eto…..

    Nagsimula lang eto sa pag kaareesto ni Satur eh. Na kung tutuisin nasa bounds naman nag rule of law. May nagreklamo, so dapat lang na asikasuhin ng gobyerno ang reklamo na yun.

    Ngayon , totoo ba o hindi ang reklamo eh di sa korte pag usapan yun. Mali kung kung inaresto si Satur na walang nag reklamo . pero kung may nag reklamo eh di dapat lang na arestuhin sya para mapatunayan nag nya na mali at hindi tooto ang reklamo. Ang pagka aresto naman ng isang tao ay kelan man hindi nangaghulugan too nga nag paratang sa kanya.

    Anti Terror Bill… Lahat naman na niniwala na na ang terismo ay kumikitil ng buhay. Kaya masama. Ngayon meron bang batas ang Pilipinas para labanan ang terorismo? Wala kaya kailangan na magka roon ang bansa nag batas laban sa terorismo. So may nag pasa ng bill. Na aprubahan para maging batas. eh di maganda. Hindi maganda! dahil may mg kontrobersyal na provison . eh di i challenge sa Supreme Court ang mga provision na yun para lumiwanag at maayos

    Ano kaya ang kinalaman ng syllogism at ng paninirhan ng isang tao sa America sa Anti Terror. ? Isa lang naman ang resulta ng terorismo , kumitil ng buhay. Na labna sa batas ng kahit na aanong bansa…

    May Pulis may ulis sa ilalim ng tulay… Ang tagal tagal na nag kantang eto., Pero may nagaw ba naman eto par masugpo ang kurapsyun sa bansa. Pwede nag na nag sasaads eto ng ng pagtutol sa kurapsyon. Pero nasupo pa ang kurapsyon ng kantang to? maliwang na hanggang ngayon malaking ptoblmea pa rin ang kurapsyon kay wlang naitulong ang kantang to!

    Ang katagang bang pare pareho lang ang problema?Di ako naniniwala! Ang problema ay yung kawalan ng konretong aksyon laban sa korapsyun.

    Tama ba naman yung ituuon mo lang ang korapsyun at pag labag sa batas kay Gloria lang at pikit mata ka na lang sa oppsisyon.

    Mali!

    Dahil ang isa o lahat na pag kakamili ay kelan ay hindi matutuuwid ng isa pang pag labag sa batas o pag kakamali!

  10. mlq3

    rego, pakibasa ang dedication ni rizal sa noli:

    http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2006/06/noli-me-tangere-jesus-says-to-mary.html

    yan ang value ng isang kanta, o nobela, o essay, o poem, yan ang value ng “animal farm”at “1984” ni orwell: panglaban sa nagbubulag-bulagan o sa taong makitid ang kaisipan.

    sa obserbasyon mo naman tungkol sa mga pumapanig sa oposisyon, ganinto yan.

    kung sasabihin ng isa, “ayan o, bad yan.”

    at ang sagot lamang, “eh leche ka pala, bad rin iyan ah.”

    isinasangtabi mo ang pagtitimbang ng mga masasamang bagay. kung ang masasabi mo lang ay “aba, bad rin yan, ha,” eh ang dulot ng obserbasyon na yan ay “masaya na lang ako sa bad na umiiral” at ang result nun ay… panalo ang d’original na bad. kahit konting lunas di ka pala payag dun.

  11. justice league

    Abe,

    Your reply is not exactly straightforward but nevertheless I wish to respond to your new post.

    With regards to #5, I am perplexed as to why you brought up the idea that both societies can be good when aspired to be when that idea was supposed to be a “given” in our discussion and our topic focused on the “renegade minorities”?

    You also stated that:
    “The memory of the people-powered movement that ultimately brought back home those Americans fortunate to survive from the vicious quagmire of Vietnam is too recent to be forgotten. It was the common sense of ordinary Americans that contained or restrained the furtherance of the catastrophic imprudence on the part of the American elites during the Vietnam War. Today, if Bush and the neocons remain stubborn, unwise and blindsided by their outrageously high-priced romanticism in present-day Manifest Destiny, it is not unlikely the anti-war movement will rise to its feet again.”

    From Saturday to Tuesday, there were demonstrations around the world and even a number of Americans themselves trooped to the streets of America to give Bush and his administration a piece of their mind as a sort of commemoration of the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The anti-war movement in America that you spoke of is already present (whether a vast majority of Americans will become activists is another matter).

    Since in #2, you have decided to adopt the idea of equivalents; do you have an equivalent example for the decent Muslims against OB and AQ as with regards to the anti- war movement of Americans against the Bush administration?

    Since you yourself admitted that the anti war movement served to restrain the American elites during the Vietnam war; that is therefore categorical proof that Americans can actually restrain the likes of Bush and company.

    Do you have comparable examples that restraints of moderate Muslims have worked on the likes of Osama and his kind?

    This thread is about to die. If you wish to continue when this thread is archived; we can do so on your blog.

    Bencard,

    Thanks for the remarks on the jury system.

    When the HSA was passed; the administration remarked that it was fulfillment of an international commitment. Given the words of the law; I certainly doubt that this is the kind of law the international community was expecting.

    Whether an anti terrorism bill is needed or not is I believe irrelevant as far as this law is concerned. Whatever the country needs; this is not it.

    Of course one can always view with doubt what the “intransigent left” has to say; but to paraphrase Abe, neither can any of us rest on a conclusive presumption that any of us is always on the right. (Pun might or might not be intended).

    We have to give them the chance to be heard (with regards to sensible discussion).

    You have already explained your preference well with your idea of the democracy in America and should have ended with that. I feel that you should have excluded the fact of your second home from the discussion. A nation possessing such awesome destructive power can hardly be thought of deliberately turning that kind of power against itself.

    Again, thanks.

    Rego,

    The HSA is already assured of being brought before the Supreme Court. And things don’t look good for it. (Of course, I could be wrong)

    The President signed it herself (I guess she had to since her administration asked for it) instead of letting it pass into law which she could have allowed. And that is besides her administration’s glowing remarks for the law.

    Her reputation is again inextricably linked on a matter that will be decided by the SC. Can she afford another possible debacle in the Supreme Court?

    Can she even risk it?

    What if she takes a hard line stance on this and she suddenly finds a disappointing outcome on the midterm elections and also loses before the Supreme Court?

  12. Abe N. Margallo

    I am perplexed as to why you brought up the idea that both societies can be good when aspired to be when that idea was supposed to be a “given” in our discussion and our topic focused on the “renegade minorities”?

    No, it is not “given” at all even to someone as intelligent and decent as DJB or Bencard.

    Bencard’s rationale, which is an echo of DJB’s, runs as follows: “Needless to say, sometimes you have to destroy in order to build, kill in order to save a life. If there is one nation on earth that I would feel safe and comfortable possessing the ultimate weapon ever to exist, to the exclusion of all others, it would be my second home, good old US of A.”

    Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that the political terror of Islamists such as AQ is so marginal compared to the political terror of “good old US of A” that it would perhaps be more rational for AQ than for the good old US of A to reject the argument of moral equivalence. The fear and damage OB has inflicted are certainly far less than Dubya is causing, “Why should I,” OB is probably remonstrating, “accept the co-starring role as the baddest men in town?”

    The Orientalist “culture talk” out there that could dim the imagination of intelligent (but less-than-willing-to-be-vetting) people goes something like this: The West is rational, humane and superior and its “Other” is “half-devil and half-child” and in the name of progress the primitives are expendable. So, the terror of air raids and smart bombs (or stocking up on the big B) are sometimes fun, like playing a video game, but slitting the enemy’s throat is savaged.

    Since you yourself admitted that the anti war movement served to restrain the American elites during the Vietnam war; that is therefore categorical proof that Americans can actually restrain the likes of Bush and company.
    Do you have comparable examples that restraints of moderate Muslims have worked on the likes of Osama and his kind?

    Bush and the neocons are still in control of US foreign policy today and capable of ignoring popular wisdom even when reflected in an electoral process. (Just a couple of hours ago, John Bolton, former US envoy to the United Nations said using military force against Iran is ok to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Still, many well-meaning Americans are likely to take the provocation in stride. How, for instance, would US react if an Iranian of Bolton’s stature said the same thing?) It will probably take some sort of an EDSA moment to curb Bush’ intransigence.

    Not so with OB and AQ. They may be having fiesta with good press because of their notoriety (courtesy of CNN) but even in Pakistan where OB is believed to be holed up, the political support for Islamists is still limited to about 11% because the movements of so-called radical but social-centered Islamic reformers have kept OB and AQ to isolation and hence have effectively restrained the Islamists’ politics of terror.

    Plsease note too tha in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, the government remains pro-US and in the same way the Islamists are isolated.

    This thread is about to die. If you wish to continue when this thread is archived; we can do so on your blog.

    Why not? But I would rather we do it here, in Manolo’s blog, unless by “archived” we cannot post anymore.

  13. justice league

    Abe,

    I’m not really that familiar with John Bolton. But so far I know that he didn’t get confirmation from the U.S. government to keep his post in the U.N. He doesn’t seem to enjoy presently a high stature in the government (as evidenced by his non confirmation) to begin with so I’m not sure if an Iranian of the same would have much effect on American sentiments.

    I previously asked you if you were in fact supportive of the efforts of America in preventing Osama and AQ from acquiring the Bomb. Included in that was the pressure exerted by America so Osama might feel the need to live in caves.

    I don’t think you gave the Americans an iota of credit in that instance (at least not in your replies).

    You even went so far as to equate Osama as a holed up mouse hiding from the American Bobcat. Clearly you understand the pressure exerted by America though you never gave an affirmative response that you supported such action.

    How come now you seem to be giving full credit to the actions of social centered Islamic reformers as the one effectively restraining Osama and AQ and keeping them in isolation when you previously acknowledged that there was American pressure (without necessarily supporting it)?

    The Indonesian Government maybe pro-U.S. but however isolated the Islamists were did not prevent Indonesia’s Bali from getting bombed twice.

    Yes, I think we can continue to post in archived threads but unfortunately it’s cumbersome and the number of replies isn’t posted anymore making it difficult to know if there’s actually a new reply. But very well then.

    Bogchimash,

    I keep forgetting to acknowledge your post to me.

    Consider this as better late than never.

  14. Abe N. Margallo

    I don’t think you gave the Americans an iota of credit (for confining bin Laden to the caves).

    Let me put it this way: I’m not sure US deserves any credit for efforts to neutralize a monster of its own creation. Serious scholars on the subject provide convincing argument and evidence that the birth of Al Qaeda was a direct offshoot of “American jihad” in Afghanistan against the USSR.

    Before Khaled Sheikh Mohammed made the suggestion that OBL is Muslim’s George Washington, Reagan had been first to hail the mujahideens “as the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” The mujahideens were the progenitors of Al Qaeda.

    The Indonesian Government may be pro-U.S. but however isolated the Islamists were did not prevent Indonesia’s Bali from getting bombed twice.

    Do you ever wonder at all why the Bali bombing which killed 202 people was given as much prominence as, for instance, the 2004 tsunami that killed an estimated 250,000 people?

    Now this: In 1965-66, state terrorism by Indonesian government, backed by US, produced the mass killing of at least 500,000 Indonesians.

    Let me connect some of the dots from the tail end of this thread to the exchanges at the top on the RP Anti-Terror Law by agreeing with Chomsky that in the final analysis terrorism is the weapon of the strong. And also in my own view when the strong and the weak exchange threats (of war), as in the case today between US and Iran, the party on the receiving end and thus “terrorized” is the weak. (What do you think ordinary Iranians are thinking and feeling today given the hell that is going on in neighboring Iraq? Would counterpart run-of-the mill Americans think and feel American the same way?)

    I therefore agree also with MB, cvj and the bystander that the Human Security Act (RP’s Anti-Terror Law) is actually a terror enactment. The law is liable to be exploited by the powers that be in the same way that the FBI has used and abused the US Patriot Act against ordinary Americans.
    With or without the Anti-Terror Law, the ruling power in the Philippines can practically do what it wants to muzzle dissent. The extra-judicial killings being attributed to the government are a case in point. So are the cases of Satur Ocampo and of others harassed under the libel laws.

    The Anti-Terror Law is therefore an extra screwy tool kit by people in power against those who happen to disagree.

    I’m not really that familiar with John Bolton

    .

    John Bolton is a card-bearing neocon. He was one of the signatories to the letter to President Clinton dated January 26, 1998 (together with other neocons and superhawks Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Francis Fukuyama [he defected from the gang], Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Richard Perle and nine others) calling for a unilateral war against Iraq and “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power” with or without UN resolution.

    He letter unabashedly made the case: “If Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil, will all be put at hazard.” (Italics mine).

    Please take note once more, the letter was sent to President Clinton 3 years and 9 months BEFORE the 9/11 attack. Doesn’t the letter sound like a terror threat?

    Now, the hawks are wafting their wings again over Iran.

  15. justice league

    Abe,

    So again you acknowledge U.S. efforts. You just believe that they should not deserve credit so you are not giving them any.

    So I will revise my previous question into asking you-
    Do you believe that the movements of social-centered Islamic reformers are enough (without the American effort) to inhibit OBL and AQ from getting an Atomic Bomb and using it?

    Based on your post on March 21 at 11:25 AM, on #4; you stated that you are looking for the
    “…vast, vast majority of ordinary Muslims as regards the AQ TO ARISE from being “quietists” to BECOMING “activists” in order to overrule the tiny renegade minorities …”.

    Your statement seems to imply that you are still waiting for that event to happen.

    Without the American effort, can the social-centered Islamic reformers as of now keep OB and AQ in isolation and effectively restrain the Islamists’ politics of terror?

    I thought you said that “Reagan neocon Jeanne Kirkpatrick has cleverly given birth to the phrasal concoction of “moral equivalence” in order to denounce and kill it” yet now you stated that Reagan himself used that phrase.

    Nevertheless, I can’t disprove that so I will take your word that Reagan did say that.

    I never actually wondered about the prominence of the Bali Bombings. I just associated it with the same prominence of the Beslan crisis, Moscow theatre crisis, Madrid, London bombings, WTC bombing and subsequent 9/11, Tokyo subway gas attack etc …..

    Your information regarding the state terrorism by the Indonesian government as backed by the U.S. is taken though I fail to see the relevance of such in our discussion. I have already accepted that America isn’t always right.

    With regards to the Iranians, all that has been shown on T.V. are Iranians in the streets shouting with their arms raised. I don’t understand their language so I can’t tell you what they are saying except that they don’t “seem” terrorized.

    Your info on Bolton is taken though the Iranians still don’t “seem” terrorized.

  16. Abe N. Margallo

    JL,

    For now, here’s an excerpt of a piece in the latest issue of Time Magazine (3/26/07) titled “Iran’s War Within.” I hope it will help explain some of my points. You may check the full article here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1599710-1,00.html
    __________

    The scene was like the Iranian answer to March Madness. At Amir Kabir University of Technology in Tehran this past December, a crowd of several thousand packed the school’s auditorium. On one side were hundreds of members of the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary force controlled by Iranian hard-liners, who had been bused in to cheer their most prominent alumnus, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They waved placards and roared as Ahmadinejad boasted about Iran’s growing power and dared the country’s enemies to challenge it. But in the back of the room, a group of 50 activists burned an effigy of the President, set off firecrackers and interrupted his speech with chants of “Death to the dictator!” Ahmadinejad grinned tightly and struggled to finish, but few people would remember what he said. At the height of his power, in a time and place of his choosing, Iran’s President had been upstaged. xxx (Italics mine)

    Most Iranian leaders and the public believe in Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. But a real split has emerged between hard-liners allied with Ahmadinejad, who are willing to risk international sanctions and even the threat of a U.S. military strike in a quest to become a nuclear power, and pragmatists, who might accept limits on Iran’s program in order to win political benefits from the West that would preserve the current regime’s hold on power. Reflecting the success of recent U.N. sanctions against Tehran, officials in Iran say the consensus seems to be tilting toward less confrontation, more negotiation. xxx (Italics mine)

    The Parliament cannot on its own dump him, and he has a little over two years left in his term. Impeachment proceedings require approval of the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, who has yet to repudiate Ahmadinejad. “If Parliament senses for a second that Khamenei has withdrawn his support, the government will fall,” says Atrianfar. A politician close to Rafsanjani tells Time, “Most of the decision makers and the élite are against him. If he becomes less popular, even the Supreme Leader will withdraw his support.” (Italics mine)

    _________

    Over the weekend, I’m hoping to post a blog on my site to cover some of the points you’ve raised.

  17. justice league

    Abe,

    THanks.

    I’ll be waiting for that then.

    The dateline of the article and Bolton’s speech however don’t coincide. Bolton doesn’t seem to have put much stock into the article if he knew the events in it as his speech came after the article came out.

    I believe that Bolton being out of the job however still leaves much room for diplomacy to work.

    And I hope diplomacy does work.

    And not that this reflects on you,I’m just terribly quite particular about articles written by people who make a living out of it. In this instance is the Time article itself.

    Time contends that an effigy was burned inside an auditorium when it referred to the actions of the activists at the back of the room with accompanying fireworks. The same circumstances here would have cleaned out the room in no time and the speech would have been cancelled.

    But this is a Time article so I think it’s safe to say that it did happen that way.

  18. justice league

    Abe,

    Just took a peek at your dateline.

    You must be referring to the magazine date (3/26/07) while I was referring to the article date based on your link.

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