Archive for category Philippines

the link between climate change (ie: weather modification) and violence

1. barbaric night killings in Jos, Nigeria blamed on Fulani herdsmen

Less than two months after hudreds of people lost their lives in two days of ethno-religious crises in Jos, Plateau State, another 500 have been reported killed in a night raid on Dogon Nahowa village, Jos South local government area, yesterday. Another source said over 200 were kiled. Both figures could not be confirmed last night. The villagers said their attackers were Fulani herdsmen who swooped on them while they slept.

Reports from the village said the attack, which lasted all of two hours, began at about midnight, and the victims were completely unprepared for the fury of the marauders. The intense gunfire and wild use of cutlasses and other metallic weapons left little chance for the victims who were hacked down and burnt as they attempted to escape the massacre.

A resident of the village, Peter Jang told Reuters news agency that, “The shooting was just meant to bring people from their houses and then when people came out they started cutting them with machetes.” As at press time, fear and suspicion has spread throughout the city of Jos, and anxious residents mostly kept to their homes, especially when reports spread that the mood in Mangu Local Government in central Plateau was tense. The attackers were said to have departed the scene of their mayhem unscathed; arriving and departing with such speed that neither the villagers nor the police could mobilise fast enough to stop their escape.

more @ next

2. police arrest 93, recover weapons

“The Police arrested 93 person and they are in two categories,” the statement said.

“The police arrested 19 Fulani’s with sophisticated weapons in Anjuri village in Jos east Local Government Area,” it added.

According to the statement, the 19 Fulanis’ said they were on a revenge mission with the weapons.

“We also arrested 74 people from Mangu area of the state, with different weapons,” the police said.

Weapons recovered includes, four double barrel guns, two locally made double barrel, five AK 47, 5 mm ammunition, 34 live cartridge and many local made charms, the statement said.

more @ chinaview

3. about Fulani tribe –
The Fulani people call themselves Fulve* (Pullo, in singuler).They were originally nomadic herders, traders and farming people living throughout West Africa. Today the majority of fulani people live urban centers. While their origins are disputed, Arab writers recorded their existence over 1000 years ago. However experts believe that they originated from a region that occupied the present day Northern Senegal. Over the centuries, they migrated with their cattle to occupy vast areas in the Sahel and Savannah regions of West Africa and evolved into many subgroups with a variety of designations including Fulve, Jelgove, Gurma, Gorgave, Fellata, Fula, Fulakunda, Bororos, Wodaabe, Peul, Pulaar, Halpulaar, Liptaako, Toucouleur, and Tukolor. Presently, they live in communities throughout much of the West-Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon and as far east as Sudan and Ethiopia.The fulani range covers an area larger than continental United States and western Europe.
Historically, the Fulani played a significant role in the rise and fall of ancient African empires such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai and the Mossi states.

They greatly contributed to the spread of Islam throughout Western Africa. More recently, slavery and colonialism dispersed Fulani throughout the Middle East, the Americas and Europe. American history books are full of individuals of Fulani origin who have distinguished themselves in North and South America and the Caribbean.

Fulve have rich traditions and fascinating way of life. They have had a significant social, religious and political impact in West Africa. As minorities in most of the West African countries where they reside, the Fulani are steadily mixing with local dominant cultures. The phenomenon of local integration, combined with the impact of colonization and westernization, has slowly eroded the Fulani language and traditions.

If nothing is done to maintain their culture and language, the Fulani will simply vanish in a few generations. Without an awareness of the unique richness and formidable contribution of the Fulani traditions and without a serious effort to conserve and sustain the Fulani heritage, their culture may be lost forever. It is increasingly important to preserve this ancient culture. Jamtan.Com will explore the history, traditions and many aspects of Fulani culture to promote a better understanding of the Fulani people.

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DESPITE A HISTORY OF CONFLICT WITH FARMERS, WHY WOULD THE FULANI PEOPLE START COMMITTING HEINOUS MIDNIGHT RAIDS MURDERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN?

ARE THE FULANI REALLY TO BLAME FOR THIS VIOLENCE? OR ARE THEY JUST A CONVENIENT SCAPEGOAT?

HOW DID THE FULANI GET IN AND OUT OF JOS SO QUICKLY? WITH THEIR HUMVEES?

4. a month ago: Nigeria: dry season forces Fulani to migrate

The prevailing dry season has forced Fulani herdsmen who are currently moving down south of the country with their herds, searching for greener grazing fields.

Nasarawa State , a major route, is currently witnessing groups of herders moving through to the greener fields of Southern Nigeria . The movement began earlier in the year, but it has heightened in the last two weeks, with unending herds of cattle trudging with luggage of their owners on the backs. A major part of the luggage, according to further observation, is the mat with which the cow boys use in sleeping in the open.

The movement is observed mostly around communities lying along the Jos-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road which links Nasarawa with Kaduna and Benue States .

Our correspondent observed that the Fulani cow boys move alongside their women who are seeing with large calabashes or other containers with boiled milk called Nono, selling as they move along.

One of them who stopped to speak to Daily Trust along Lafi-Makurdi Road said moving down south at this time of the year is a yearly practice, explaining that “so that our cattle can graze upon fresh fields.” He said up north, the fields are dry by this time, forcing them into the migration to Southern Nigeria .

A grazing route that will run through four neighbouring states - Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Ebonyi is on the way for Fulani herders as part of federal government’s efforts to tackle the incessant conflicts between the herders and farmers.

source


5. February 17th: Fulani herdsman “reported” and “suspected” of violence. the Fulani have some cows go missing, and they now want to retaliate against the people they believe took their cows.

Jos — Report of silent reprisal attacks in parts of Plateau State is growing by the day as some Fulani herdsmen are reported to have unleashed violent havoc on a Berom tribe village, in Riyom Local Government of the state with one person feared killed.

Also, farms produce worth millions of naira were destroyed in the Jol village last weekend, following a retaliatory attack suspected to have been carried out by the Fulani herdsmen.

Also speaking on the development, the chairman of the Council Development Area, Mr Samuel Iliya said since the Fulani people gave them an ultimatum over the missing of their cows in the area they were having a sleepless nights over fear of retaliation by the herdsmen in the area.

more here

6. February 12th: menace of Fulani herdsmen is a worry in Upper West — THIS IS LINKED BACK TO CLIMATE AS THE FARMERS AND THE FULANI BOTH STRIVE TO SURVIVE WITH A WATER SHORTAGE. THE DESTRUCTION IS BLAMED ON THE FULANI, BUT ARE THE FULANI MESSING WITH THE WEATHER? OR IS THAT SOMEONE ELSE?

Gwollu (U/W), Feb. 12, GNA - In the Upper West Region there is no community, village or settlement where people are not campaigning for the expulsion of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle from the Region.

Women and children are worried because they are leading a “Mickey Mouse” freedom class of life.  Their social and economic activities have been curtailed. None of them can go to the bush to fetch vegetables, pick sheanuts, baobab fruits or dawadawa fruits for home consumption. The small boys can not also go for rats and other fruits that are of nutritional value to them.

Farmers are crying loud, they can no longer leave their foodstuffs in the farms.  Their yams, cassava and millet that are left on their farm huts are broken into by herdsmen for their cattle to feed on. Yam and cassava mounds are destroyed and those who sow their yam seedlings get them eaten up by the cattle.

Water sources are drying up. Economic trees such as the shea have their branches slashed and the leaves used as fodder. All ant hills in the bush are eaten up by these cattle.  The Fulanis add salt to water and pour it on the ant hills for the cattle to eat. Hunting has come to a halt in many of the communities in the Region.

Rape and defilement are high, threat to kill and killing farmers is equally high in the communities. Indeed the people have now become social and economic refugees on their own land, all in the good name of the Ghanaian hospitality and the Great ECOWAS Conventions.

In some of the communities one does not need to go to another community by following the old roads. There are now many paths created by these cattle leading to all communities in the Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa East Districts.  The environment is completely destroyed and farmers now have to travel long distances this time round to their farms.

Madam Florence Zaato, Vice Chairperson of the Sissala Union, expressed worry about the huge environmental degradation caused by Fulani herdsmen and their cattle to the land at the annual general meeting of the union at Tumu recently.

She urged District Assemblies and Traditional Authorities to collaborate and get them out of the area to save the land for their children. She expressed unhappiness about their involvement in rape and armed robbery.

The South Sissala Tertiary Youth Association also appealed to the Chiefs of the South Sissala area and the Wa East District Assembly to expel all Fulani herdsmen from the area for degrading the land and making it unproductive.

Mr Timothy Nbenaba, President of the Association, explained that the decision to call for the expulsion of the Fulani herdsmen is to avert any future clash between the farmers in the area and the herdsmen that may consequently lead to loss of lives.

He said last year there were clashes leading to the payment of compensation by the herdsmen as a result of losses incurred by the farmers through the invasion of their farms by the herdsmen and their cattle.

At Gwollu the District Chief Executive of Sissala West, Mr Robert B. Wavei appealed to the youth to compel their chiefs and all those who had settled Fulani herdsmen and their cattle in the communities to let the herdsmen go.

He said it is disheartening for some chiefs to accept cattle from the herdsmen and to keep them in their communities and slaughter the animals to entertain their visitors.

A prominent farmer, who wants to remain anonymous, said the North would soon become a desert if the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle are not expelled.

He asked the Government to be bold to say no to the Fulani herdsmen to save the people from virtual bondage.

“After all, the Fulani herdsmen have somewhere to go but our people have nowhere to go when the land is destroyed,” he said.

He said the District Assemblies should not use revenue mobilisation as an excuse to harbour the herdsmen and close their eyes to the huge destruction that they are causing to the environment.

“The land belongs to the people and they must not be made to feel as slaves on their on land,” he said.

GNA

SOURCE

7. In the Philippines: El Nino drying up farms

MANILA, Philippines—Intense heat is drying up farmlands, reservoirs and waterways all over the country, and farmers are scrambling to find ways to cope and survive.

The abnormal signs of El Niño, a weather phenomenon referring to the warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean that results in drought in Asia and Australia, and wet winters in the United States, are exacting their toll in the Philippines, according to agriculture officials.

With the lack of rainfall and irrigation

water, Filipino farmers are keeping a closer watch over their fields so that whatever available water is used wisely.

Huge clumps of light-brown soil have appeared in the corn fields of Cagayan Valley and Pangasinan, while rice paddies have turned barren in Isabela, Bulacan, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Camarines Sur, Negros, Davao del Sur and other provinces.

The desert-like images have prompted some farmers to stop planting to cut losses.

more @ inquirer

Philippines

some context for what’s happening in the Philippines:

1. US embassy officials met with MILF rebels, in their very camps, back in November, after they abducted the Irish priest Michael Sinnot. This was around the time that the tungsten gold bars story circulated. Hillary Clinton rushed to the Philippines. from Asia Times:

Despite the row over Sinnot’s kidnapping, senior US Embassy officials in Manila have held clandestine meetings with MILF leaders in their Maguindanao camp. The US Embassy has kept mum on the meetings, but on its website, the MILF confirmed in a statement that it had held talks with a visiting group of American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d’affaires, Leslie Basset, on October 16. Lasting for two hours, the meeting “was warm and forthright”, the MILF said and quoted Basset as saying that the US was willing to play a role in the peace talks. “Helping attain and sustain peace, security and development in Mindanao is a priority concern of our government,” the MILF quoted Bassett as saying.

pretty cozy, huh?

2. as covered here earlier, a whistleblower testified to the US military having permanent structures, unmonitored by the Filipino government, in the Southern Philippines, in violation of the Philippine Constitution, and that the US military behaves with arrogance toward the Filipinos.

In her affidavit, Gadian also accused the US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south. She added that the Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.” Gadian likewise said these structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution….The ex-Navy official also complained of the “arrogant” behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.

pretty suspicious, huh?

So taking official pronouncements at face value,  here’s two stupid QUESTIONS… why doesn’t the MILF control it’s people, since the MILF has such a good relationship with the government… and what is the US military doing holed up illegally in the same area of the Philippines as the Abu Sayyaf?


3. NOW: over 10 dead in Abu-MILF raid on village

ZAMBOANGA CITY – (UPDATE 3) At least 11 people – including two children – were killed when suspected Moro rebels and Abu Sayyaf bandits stormed a village in Maluso, Basilan early Saturday, authorities said. The police corrected its initial report of 13 killed in the 5:45 a.m. attack staged by more or less 70 gunmen led by Puruji Indama in the village of Tubigan, Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza Jr., Basilan police chief, said by phone.

…Mendoza said the gunmen, including Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members, razed at least five houses during the attack. The attack on Tubigan came barely nine hours after authorities rescued the two Chinese nationals that Indama’s group had abducted in November, along with a local. The local, Marquez Singson, had been beheaded.

Mendoza said the gunmen immediately fled to Barangay (village) Libug in Sumisip town after the attack and were being pursued by the police and elements of the Army and the Marines. Founded in the early 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden, the Abu Sayyaf is blamed for a series of bombings and kidnappings targeting foreign missionaries, Christians, and US military advisers based in the south.

They have also carried out the worst terror attacks in Philippine history such as the 2004 bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people. Indama was an obscure Abu Sayyaf commander who gained prominence after he and other Muslim militants attacked a military convoy, killing and mutilating 14 Marines in 2007. The military says fewer than 400 Abu Sayyaf members remain active in the islands of Basilan and Jolo, down from a peak of about 1,200 in 2002. Government forces recently scored a string of victories over the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo Island, south of Basilan, and last week captured a bomb-maker and killed top commander Albader Parad, and five of his men.

more @ inquirer

4. missionary recounts captivity

Held hostage for 376 days by the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, Gracia Burnham doesn’t seem to tire of recounting the time she and her husband spent in the jungle with their kidnappers. It was the last year of her husband’s life. Burnham conducted a three-day lecture series this week at Southeastern Bible College, discussing mission work, terrorism and her personal experiences.

The kidnapping happened May 27, 2001, less than four months before the 9/11 terrorist hijackings in the United States, and her captors considered themselves aligned with al-Qaeda, Burnham said. “A few were bent on jihad,” she said. Some others, including a 9-year-old boy and others recruited from villages against their will, may not have had much choice.

…Burnham returned to the Philippines in 2004 to testify against some of her former captors, under heavy security. Twenty-four of the captors, out of a group of about 80, are in a maximum-security prison in Manila, she said.

She got a call this month from the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, informing her that another one had been apprehended on Feb. 18. Jumadail Arad, known to the Burnhams as “Hurayra,” had been their closest friend and kindest captor among the Abu Sayyaf, she said. Burnham remembers talking to her husband about how he would treat Hurayra if they escaped and he one day showed up at their door in Rose Hill, Kan. “I would invite him in, cook him a big meal and then call the FBI,” she recalls him saying.

Abu Sayyaf leader Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani, one of Burnham’s captors, bragged of talking with Bin Laden by satellite phone, according to an Associated Press report. Burnham said her conversations with Abu Sayyaf leaders showed that they at least believed themselves to be part of a global effort, not a ragtag band of kidnappers. “People in America don’t understand,” she said. “Their basic goal is world domination.”

read more @ ai.com


5. UNICEF: Philippines has a terrible child trafficking problem, and it’s because of the poor ignorant people ya hear? nothing to do with corrupt officials or military or wealthy people in the cities or anything like that, who drive DEMAND. it never has to do with the demand side of the equation, only the supply side. they keep studying the problem, studying and studying, and they can never seem to work their way around to figuring out who moves the children around and where they end up. well actually, they know the children are moved from rural to urban, and for what purposes (sex, pornography, labor), but if they tackled that end it might get a few connected people in trouble. so instead they keep talking about the ignorant poor parents. it’s their fault, see?

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A United Nations agency has identified the Philippines as one of the seven countries in Asia with the worst child trafficking condition.

A study by the UN Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) entitled “Child Trafficking in East and Southeast Asia: Reversing the Trend,” said that throughout East and South East Asia, various socio-economic, family and individual factors render children vulnerable to trafficking.

These factors are poverty, family breakdown, the low status and role of children in their societies, lack of educational and viable employment opportunities, rapid economic growth and urbanization, gender inequality, discrimination, and the demand for illegal adoption, brides and sexual relations with children.

...It noted that the problem of child trafficking has yet to be stemmed amid the best efforts by the governments and aid agencies.

…In a region where the demand for young brides, adoptive infants, sex with children, images of child pornography, and cheap labor is strong, the study said children may be trafficked at source or during migration, either en route or after reaching their destination.

It noted that origin, transit and destination countries for child trafficking exist throughout the East and South East Asian region, with some countries characterized as origin and destination, transit and destination, and others encompassing all three.

Internal trafficking, from rural to urban centers, and from small towns to big cities, is also a considerable dynamic, although less researched in comparison to cross-border trafficking, it said.

In some countries, such as the Philippines, the country assessment indicated that internal trafficking is more of a problem than its cross-border form. “In the Philippines, children are mainly trafficked from the rural regions of Visayas and Mindanao to the urban cities of Cebu City, Manila and Quezon City,” the study said.

more here

violence justifies the narrative and allows it to move forward

1. more Abu Sayyaf militants captured, ties to AQ, JI, MNLF.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The Philippine military killed at least six Abu Sayyaf militants in fierce clashes Sunday in the southern province of Sulu, official said. Top commanders of the group were among the dead.

Three soldiers were also slightly wounded in the fighting that erupted in the village of Karawan near Indanan town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf who are blamed for a spate of kidnappings in the restive region. “We have killed at least six militants and recovered their weapons. Three of my soldiers are slightly wounded in the fighting,” said Marines Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu, who is leading an offensive against the militant group tied to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.

He said a platoon of Marines special unit and reconnaissance soldiers attacked an Abu Sayyaf camp in Karawan, a mountain chain s and a known lair of the militants. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, the regional military commander, said a senior Abu Sayyaf leader wanted by the United States was among those killed in the clashes. “We have reports that Albader Parad and Dr. Abu were among those killed and we are trying to verify this information,” he said.

Dolorfino said troops were fighting Abu Sayyaf forces under Albader Parad and Abu Jumdail, also known as Dr. Abu because of his alleged ability to cure wounded militants. Jumdail was the cousin of Umbra Jumdail, one of the core leaders of Abu Sayyaf. Both leaders are wanted by the Philippine and US authorities for their involvements in the kidnappings of American citizens and the killing of two US Special Forces soldiers in Sulu. Dolorfino described the offensive as a “surgical, intelligence-driven operation.” Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels under former chieftain Nur Misuari also fought side by side with the Abu Sayyaf militants in the fighting that began at dawn, local media said.

more @ arab news

see also: set the table for additional context

2. Iraq: gunmen murder two iraqi families, mostly children, and behead some — blamed on election, ie: it’s the locals. DON’T COUNT ON IT.

Gunmen murdered two Iraqi families, mostly children, beheading some of the victims and killing 12 people on Monday, as a spate of brutal attacks hit the country less than two weeks before elections. Nine children were among those killed in their homes in and around Baghdad, while 11 other people died in violence across Iraq, including three in a suicide car bombing and a police commando who was shot dead by a sniper. The worst incident occurred in Al-Wehdah, a predominantly Shiite Muslim town in an ethnically-mixed area about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Eight members of the same family, including six children younger than 12, were gunned down and several were beheaded.

Beheadings have been the trademark of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, particularly Al-Qaeda militants in the violence that flared after the 2003 US-led invasion, although the motive for the attack was unclear. Baghdad police said they later apprehended four people carrying silencers in connection with the murders, after receiving a tip-off. A second family, comprising a mother and her three daughters, was shot dead overnight in their home in the mostly Shiite north Baghdad district of al-Hurriyah, a police official said, on condition of anonymity.

more @ middle east online

3. Pakistan: beheadings cause fear and panic in Sikhs

Islamabad/Hundreds of fear-stricken Sikhs clamoured to escape to India after the Pakistani Taliban beheaded one of three Sikh men they abducted over a month ago. The killing was condemned in India by the government and political parties.

The body of Jaspal Singh was found in Pakistan’s restive tribal region Sunday, triggering panic in the small community that has faced the ire of the Taliban for some time….According to arzePakistan.com, the kidnapping occurred in an area where the Pakistan government has virtually no control….No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder but members of the Sikh community blamed it on the Pakistani Taliban, which has close ties with Al Qaeda, and said they wanted to quit Pakistan for good….The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked the government to mount ‘diplomatic pressure’ on Pakistan to ensure the release of the abducted Sikhs.

more @ irish sun

4. Germany arrests 3 suspects of helping Islamic militants planning attacks against “The West”

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested three people suspected of helping a radical Islamist group whose followers have confessed to planning attacks on U.S. targets in Germany, prosecutors said on Monday.

The federal prosecutor’s office said it suspected two men whom it identified only as Alican T. and Fatih K., and one woman, Filiz G., of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a group often linked to a militant Islamist movement that originated in Uzbekistan.  “They are accused of aiding the terrorist group financially,” said Marcus Koehler, a spokesman for the prosecution, adding that the charges involved the transfer of several thousand euros to accounts in Turkey late last year.

Four men affiliated to the IJU and known as the “Sauerland group” are on trial in the western city of Duesseldorf for planning bomb attacks on U.S. institutions in Germany. A verdict in that case is due in the next week or two. Prosecutors said the three suspects arrested on Saturday were apprehended in Berlin and the southern city of Ulm, are aged between 20 and 31 years, and hold German citizenship.

source

set the table

gadget-crock-pot-programmable-vers

follow the finger to the philippines - 1/18/10

foreshadowing - 1/19/10

abu sayyaf: ready to come out of the crockpot - 1/20/10


1. Abu Sayyaf militant captured, linked to 9 year old kidnapping and murders of westerners. with links to aq and JI, let’s see if he talks about the Karachi Project…

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 19, 2010) – Philippine authorities arrested a wanted Abu Sayyaf militant accused of kidnapping three US citizens and 17 Filipino tourists at a posh resort nine years ago.

Security officials said Jumadali Arad was arrested late Thursday afternoon while trying to board a passenger ship bound for Zamboanga City.

Arad was among those who raided the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province near central Philippines in 2001 and kidnapped US missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, and California man Guillermo Sobero and the Filipinos, and brought them to Basilan province, south of Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.

Guillermo Sobero was beheaded in 2001 in Basilan while Martin Burnham was shot and killed in 2002 during a US-led military rescue operation in Mindanao. Gracia Burnham was also shot and wounded during the rescue operation.

“The arrest of Arad is part of the military’s continuing operation against terrorism,” said Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman.

The Abu Sayyaf, which means “bearer of the sword, has been linked to many kidnappings of foreigners and terrorism in the southern Philippines and was linked by authorities to the al-Qaeda terror network of Osama bin Laden and the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiya. (Mindanao Examiner)

source


2. more details: he was going to the southern Philippines, on a mission to buy ammo for abu sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon

It said Jumadali Arad was captured at Manila harbour on Thursday as he was about to board a ship bound for the southern Philippines, where the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group has planted bombs and carried out kidnappings despite US-backed military offensives against the militants.

Arad had been in hiding since 2001, when Abu Sayyaf abducted three American and 17 Filipino tourists from the Dos Palmas resort in south-western Palawan province at the start of a year-long kidnapping spree, said marine commandant Major General Juancho Sabban….

Arad, who allegedly drove a speedboat loaded with the hostages during the kidnappings, was reportedly on a mission to buy ammunition for Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon when he was arrested on Thursday, the military said in a statement.

Hapilon has been indicted in the US on kidnapping and murder charges, and Washington offered a US$5 million (S$7.07 million) reward for his capture. — AP

source

3. a little more: those kidnappings 9 years ago JUSTIFIED the US military presence in Southern Philippines. this says there’s no top commander (no mention of Hapilon) and the group has split into at least five factions

The kidnappings and violence prompted Washington to deploy hundreds of troops to the southern Mindanao region, where they have been training Philippine forces and sharing intelligence. U.S. military personnel are not allowed to engage in combat in the Philippines.

Although the government claims to have crippled the Abu Sayyaf after several offensives, the group still poses a major threat. It held three Red Cross workers and several others hostage last year, attacked troops and blew up bridges. A roadside bomb in September killed two U.S. soldiers.

The militants, however, have remained without a central leader following the killings of its top commanders and have split into at least five factions, police said.

source

4. more: navy operatives captured him on the way to Zamboanga City, and he PROMPTLY CONFESSED during arrest! who needs courts.

Operatives of the Navy and Southern Police District arrested Thursday a suspected member of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim militant group linked with the al-Qaeda, accused in the kidnappings of three Americans and dozens of Filipinos nine years ago, a Navy spokesman reported Friday.
Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said  Jumadali Arad was captured at 5:15 p.m. at the gate of Pier 2 in North Harbor, Tondo, Manila, as he was about to board a ship bound for Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

In his arrest, Arad confessed to the kidnappings and admitted being a member of the Abu Sayyaf.

Arad allegedly drove a speedboat loaded with the hostages that included American missionary Gracia Burnham, who survived the jungle captivity, and husband Martin who was killed in the military rescue in 2002. The third American, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded by the militants on Basilan Island.

source

Philippines Terror SuspectIn this photo taken yesterday and released by the Philippine Navy, Jumadail Arad, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf group, is shown after his arrest. AP (source)

(ahem) This man evaded capture by the US military for NINE YEARS. Sure.

5. more: current militant activity — Chinese hostages and homemade bombs. the search for these hostages has led to soldiers dying.

Two soldiers were killed and one wounded on southern Basilan Island on Friday when they tripped the wire on a homemade bomb during an operation to track down militants, said regional commander Rear Adm. Alex Pama.

They are believed to be holding two Chinese workers snatched from a plywood factory last year, Pama said. A third hostage, a Filipino, was beheaded a month after the November abductions.

source

6. regarding Zamboanga City, where he was headed: see this post from 1/28/10

1/28/10: Philippines: air force general and 8 others killed in Cotabato City, southern Philippines, near Jolo Island. general stationed in Zamboango City, very near to Jolo Island, where Abu Sayyaf allegedly operates from.

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—(UPDATE 4) An Air Force general and eight other people were killed when a military Nomad plane crashed into a residential area here before noon Thursday, authorities said. Mayor Muslimin Sema said the Nomad plane crashed into at least two houses in Barangay Rosary Heights here around 11:35 a.m., killing all eight passengers, including Maj. Gen. Mario Lacson of the 3rd Air Division based in Zamboanga City.

Gumitom said she heard a loud noise before the plane hit her house.

…Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Lacson and his party were on their way to Zamboanga City. “The plane crashed two minutes after takeoff,” Cabangbang said by phone.

Maj. Gen. Carlix Donila, commander of the 5053rd Search and Rescue Squadron based in Davao City, said moments before the crash the “pilot made a call (to the Cotabato airport tower) and he said ‘power loss.’” Sema said based on witnesses’ account, the plane was trying to land again at the airport after takeoff and appeared to be having “some trouble.” “It was flying in a zig-zag mode and crashed.”

more @ enquirer

also see foreshadowing (link up top), which ties Abu Sayyaf and the Philippines to Pakistan, and describes the US military presence in the Southern Philippines, where, supposedly, the are not allowed to engage in fighting against the rebels, but only to help the Philippine military.

  • The US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.

  • The Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.”

7. meanwhile, 5 Arabic translators arrested over alleged plot to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson military base in South Carolina… blah blah blah PAKISTAN….. blah blah blah MUSLIM….. blah blah blah ARABIC….. blah blah blah FORT HOOD. the army takes these allegations “extremely seriously” even though there is “NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE to support the allegations.”

FIVE men have been arrested amid a probe into food poisoning at Fort Jackson US military base.

Sources told Fox News the five men were detained in December over allegations that they attempted to poison the food supply at the South Carolina base.

They were all part of the base’s Arabic translation training program, referred to in the army as “Lima 09″. “Each of them uses Arabic as his first language,” one source said. In an earlier report, before the arrests emerged, a military source told Fox News the suspects were Muslims.

CBN News reported that the five arrested men were Islamic and cited a source who said they may have been in contact with five Washington, DC Muslims, who were arrested in December after authorities uncovered their plans to travel to Pakistan to wage jihad against the US.

However, it was unclear whether the men were still in custody.

An ongoing probe into the alleged Fort Jackson plot began two months ago, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division spokesman Chris Grey told Fox News. The army was taking the allegations “extremely seriously,” Mr Grey said, adding there was “no credible information to support the allegations”.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation told Fox News they were aware of the Fort Jackson investigation, however they said the inquiry would be carried out by the army’s CID. The investigation has surfaced in the wake of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas last November, which killed 12 people and wounded 31 others. It was allegedly undertaken by US Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, who was serving as a psychiatrist. He has been charged and a prosecution is ongoing.

source

above the law

1. border guards ‘key to trafficking in N. Koreans’

North Korean and Chinese border guards play a vital part in the trafficking of North Korean women to China, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday.  In a feature report, the Japanese daily quoted a Chinese border guard as testifying he caught a few female North Korean defectors in their teens and 20s crossing the Duman (or Tumen) River and handed them over to a Korean-Chinese human trafficker.

The Chinese border guard said he gets requests from a trafficker in China and informs his North Korean counterparts, who then ask a trafficker in the North to find suitable women. The North Korean guards then let the women pass in the area on the Chinese guard’s watch. This particular Chinese border guard alone had sold some 40 to 50 women per year this way.

Traffickers reportedly pay about 6,000 to 7, 000 yuan (approximately W1.02 million to W1.19 million) a head. Of the money, 4,000 yuan go to the Chinese border guard, who hands 1,000 yuan over to a North Korean guard. The Chinese guard added, “If they are told they can eat to their hearts’ content [in China], many North Korean women are happy to be on their way.” An estimated 150 human traffickers work in the border area.

source: chosun ilbo

2. Sweden: rape suspicions mount against ex-police chief — possible tie in to sex ring involving “well-known men in high positions”

The allegations directed at a former Swedish police chief suspected of rape continued to grow on Friday with at least five women and girls now thought to be involved in the case. Göran Lindberg, a respected law enforcement official who recently retired after a career spanning more than 20 years, is now suspected of rape and plotting to rape at least five women and girls.

On Friday Södertorn District Court appointed Caroline Rainer as the plaintiff assistant for the seventh woman or girl involved in the police investigation against Lindberg.

…Göran Lindberg, who as an active police officer developed an international reputation for giving talks on the importance of gender equality and the perils of sexual harassment, was arrested on January 25th on suspicion of raping a woman and attempting to rape several children. He was arrested at a hotel in Falun in northern Sweden, where he is suspected of having been in the course of plotting to rape a girl.

The case against Lindberg has its origin in the investigation into a suspicious death in the suburb of Bredäng, in southern Stockholm, in July 2009 when a 60-year-old man mysteriously fell to his death from a balcony.  Lindberg’s name unexpectedly turned up after police launched a preliminary investigation into the suspected murder. During the investigation police confiscated a computer and a mobile phone which belonged to the deceased 60-year-old. When investigators examined the contents of the machines and found the names of several men, their suspicions were aroused and they handed the matter over to the Stockholm County police force.

After intense media speculation into Lindberg’s links to a purported sex ring, police leading the investigation issued a denial that there were further suspects under investigation. “There are no other suspects at the moment,” said Jonas Trolle, who is leading the 25-person police team investigating the case.  ”All the speculation about well-known men in high positions has nothing to do with our investigation,” said Trolle in a statement on January 31st, adding that it was important that the media exercises some restraint.

more @ the local

3. Germany: documents in Kunduz affair may have been destroyed

Military documents detailing the events surrounding a deadly bombardment in Afghanistan now under investigation by the German parliament have reportedly been destroyed.

The news came a day after Colonel Georg Klein, the German commander who ordered the controversial air strike that killed more than 140 Afghans last year, appeared before a parliamentary inquiry to defend his actions. Daily Bild reportedly has obtained documents that prove special forces were involved reading: “Clearance to destroy and liquidate under terms of ZDv 2/30 hereby issued.” This number 2/30 central service command, abbreviated as “ZDv,” indicates that files are to be “shredded or cut up with the shredder so that the contents are neither recognisable nor could be made recognisable,” the paper said.  An inside source on the parliamentary investigative committee told the paper that they believed the documents had been destroyed.

more @ the local

4. and MI5 didn’t do anything wrong either

The head of MI5 has issued a strong defence of the security service, denying that his staff had withheld documents relating to Binyam Mohamed from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) or sought to cover up its involvement in the torture of detainees.

The director general, Jonathan Evans, said claims by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, that there was a “culture of suppression” within the service were “the precise opposite of the truth”. He also contacted the ISC to deny that the service had withheld documents relating to Mohamed, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee, the ISC’s chairman, Kim Howells, said last night.

more @ guardian

also see aangirfan: MI5 and Shaker Aamer; deaths in Guantanamo

5. the modern day versions of Stella Capes, Mandy Rice Davies, Christine Keeler, etc. (see aangirfan: the classic sex scandal)

…When I move on to Boujis - Princes William and Harry’s favourite club - I find girls who are still pretty ordinary looking. Their particular targets are the wealthy men from landed families and the financial traders who flock to the club, and the only suggestion that these girls are classier than the Movida girls is that they wear tights with their six-inch skirts.

But wherever I go, whatever the club - famous, aristocratic, fashionable or discrete - one thing is the same: it’s shocking how shameless the girls are….They know they’re trading sex for drinks, and the chance of a footballer or a celebrity or a rich boy - depending on the club - taking them back to a hotel for a liaison which, if they’re lucky, that man might actually remember.  Because for these girls, with so many of them literally flinging themselves at the men with money, it’s all about being memorable.

more @ daily  mail

6. Philippines: military exec accuses top cop of complicity in Maguindanao massacre

MANILA, Philippines—A senior police commander of Maguindanao tried to cover up the abduction and brutal slay of 57 people in the province last November 23, a top military official told the court Friday. Taking the witness stand at the hearing of the rebellion case against the Ampatuans, Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer said Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay denied seeing the convoy of vehicles carrying the victims moments before they were held at gunpoint and executed by armed men allegedly led by Andal Ampatuan Jr.

Dicay, then the acting chief of the Maguindanao police office, had previously admitted in a sworn affidavit that he headed the setting up of a checkpoint near the massacre site in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town. Ferrer, the commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Dicay’s attempt to hide the crime proved that there was a “breakdown of loyalty” of state forces in Maguindanao which later led to a “breakdown of law and order” in the province.

more @ inquirer

7. and just so you know, the only people who ever conduct child sacrifices are impoverished people from the deep back woods of third world countries. capice?

KATHMANDU - NEPALI police said on Thursday they had arrested four people in connection with the death of an eight-year-old girl believed to have been killed in a human sacrifice. Police said the child’s throat had been slit and her body pierced with a sharp weapon. Local media reported her blood was found inside a brick kiln along with religious offerings of money and food.

‘The circumstances of the killing in early December suggest the girl was sacrificed,’ local police official Narhari Adhikari told AFP from Rupandehi district in the south of Nepal. ‘We have arrested four people including the owner of the brick kiln on charges of murder. Two of those arrested confessed they killed the girl as an offering to the gods to bring good fortune to the business,’ he added.

Mainly Hindu Nepal is deeply traditional and religious rituals are a part of everyday life in the impoverished country. Around 80 percent of the 27 million-strong population are Hindu.

Nepal outlawed human sacrifices in 1780 but experts say it is still practised by some communities in poor rural areas. ‘Some people still believe sacrificing human beings will appease the gods, improve their fortunes and raise their social status,’ said Chunda Bajracharya, professor of cultural studies at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan University. ‘Such beliefs are the outcome of extreme ignorance.’ – AFP

source: straits times

terrorist activity news: some narratives progress, others trail off

Narrative progresses in Southeast Asia, West Africa, Pakistan: drug trafficking, Abu Sayyaf, JI, al qaeda, attacks on Westerners…

1. JI terrorist Dulmatin resurfaces on Jolo, Philippines - Abu Sayyaf — same area that US forces use wo/oversight

MANILA - AN ISLAMIST militant accused of being behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings is alive and hiding in the southern Philippines despite earlier reports of his death, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

Dulmatin, leader of the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was not killed in a clash in 2008 as the military initially believed, said Major General Juancho Sabban, the head of the Philippine Marines.

‘I believe, from what my sources say, he is still in Sulu,’ Maj. Gen. Sabban told reporters, referring to the southern chain of islands in the south including Jolo, a hotbed of Islamist militants.

He also said that another JI militant, Umar Patek, is also believed to be hiding in the Sulu islands and is being sheltered by the Abu Sayyaf, a local Muslim extremist group linked by intelligence agencies to the Al-Qaeda network.

Dulmatin, accused of helping the JI plan and carry out the Bali bombings that killed 202 people in the Indonesian resort island, was initially believed to have been killed by the military in the southern Philippines in January 2008. However DNA tests of the body of the slain man raised doubts that it was Dulmatin.

Patek and Dulmatin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, have been hiding out in the Philippine jungle with the Abu Sayyaf group since 2003, intelligence officials have said. The US State Department has offered a reward of US$10 million (S$14 million) for information leading to the arrest of Dulmatin, and $1 million for Patek. — AFP

source: straits times

2. 2 Malaysians abducted in Borneo, affirming warning given by US authorities last month

KOTA KINABALU (Malaysia) - MALAYSIAN police said on Monday that two men have been abducted by gunmen near a Borneo town which the United States warned last month was being targeted by criminal and terrorist groups.

Noor Rashid Ibrahim, police chief in Sabah state, said the maritime border with the Philippines, which lies to the north of Borneo, had been sealed off to prevent the gunmen from escaping.

He said that the two abducted men, Malaysians working at a seaweed farm near the fishing town of Semporna were seized in the early hours of Monday by five men armed with two rifles. ‘Based on police investigation, the group is believed to be comprised of foreigners and locals out to commit robbery,’ he told reporters.

Mr Noor Rashid declined to say which country they came from, and also sidestepped questions over whether they were from the Abu Sayyaf militant group which is active in the southern Philippines.

The US embassy in Kuala Lumpur had warned that there were indications of strikes being planned in isolated areas of eastern Sabah state, including the diving resort of Sipadan as well as the destinations of Semporna and Mabul.

Mr Noor Rashid said that the two kidnapped men were a 40-year-old manager and a 25-year-old farm supervisor. He said their abductors arrived in a narrow-hulled boat and were believed to still be in Malaysian waters. — AFP

source: straits times

3. Malians face cocaine charges in the US: drug trafficking, FARC, al qaeda, Europe, West Africa

Three men have been charged with plotting to transport tons of cocaine across Africa with the help of Al Qaeda. The three defendants all of them from Mali, were arrested in Ghana on Wednesday and flown to the United States on Thursday night. The men said that they were helping some people set up a trafficking network to move what they thought was FARC’s cocaine from Ghana to the deserts of North Africa to Spain.

The 3 whose names were given as Oumar Issa, Harouna Touré and Idriss Abelrahman, were charged with conspiracy to commit narco-terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorist groups: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the FARC.

According to the charges, the men were alleged to be members of a criminal organization operating in the West African countries of Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali and that they worked with Al Qaeda groups in the region which ultimately promised to provide security for the North African leg of the journey. According to the New York Times, the three men were charged under statutes passed in 2006 that gave federal drug agents the authority to pursue narcotics and terrorism crimes committed anywhere in the world if a link between a drug offense and a specified act of terrorism or terrorist group could be established.

source: Newstime Africa

4. Plot foiled to bomb Americans in Pakistan hotel — police get testy with reporters

LAHORE—Pakistan police claimed Monday to have arrested six suspects, including a would-be suicide bomber, who were plotting to attack a five-star hotel and kill Americans. Police recovered an explosive-laden suicide vest fitted with 26 hand grenades during the operation in Lahore, the country’s second-biggest city, senior police superintendent Zulfikar Hameed told a news conference.

Police in Pakistan, which is under huge US pressure to do more to root out Islamist militants, routinely claim to foil high-profile attacks, most often in Karachi, but rarely release any details of the alleged plots. It is not possible to confirm the alleged plots independently.

The six suspects were paraded at the news conference wearing black masks to hide their identity….

Police also recovered four kilograms (nine pounds) of hashish, he added.

But officers angrily called a swift end to the news conference after a television reporter snatched away a hood, unmasking one of the suspects.

“If you behave like this we will not invite media in the future,” one police inspector said.

more @ inquirer

5. India: asks officers to please not speak to reporters there are too many leaks!

CBI officials are not allowed to interact with the media under their service rules. Only the CBI director and the chief PRO is allowed to interact with reporters and share details of stories. Journalists are not allowed to carry mobile phones, camera, laptop and other electronic gadgets inside the CBI headquarters at the CGO complex in New Delhi.

A new circular issued by the top brass of the agency has asked the officers to refrain from speaking to the media.

The agency sleuths are anyway not supposed to talk to the press under the service rules laid down for them, so why the circular?”The directions are against any particular group of mediapersons or individuals. It is only meant to alert the officials from some fake journalists who can misuse the information imparted to them,” explained an official spokesperson for the top investigating agency.

CBI sources told MiD DAY that though no such journalist has been encountered by the agency, so far but the circular seems a clear effort to “safeguard the secrets better.” While contents of the circular, issued last week, is being guarded as a much-valued secret, sources said it is “very clear and categorical in nature.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, highly-placed officials in the CBI headquarters told the agency has already been under fire from various quarters for cases under its investigation, the word of caution would help the agency to stem bad publicity. They also pointed out that the notice is “actually about mediapersons who could be trying to do sting operations on cases being investigated by the CBI.”

“Recently, the agency came under public scrutiny after news reports related to Sant Singh Chatwal. Though public enjoy such investigative stories but sometimes the repercussions are very hard on the CBI officials related to that particular case. It is assumed that the story leaked from their end,” said a senior CBI official, requesting anonymity.

Sant Singh Chatwal whose name appeared in the latest list of Padma awardees was later discovered as a multiple offender who has been under CBI scanner for cases of fraud against him. Earlier the CBI had earned public ire for its probe into cases against Bofors kickbacks accused Ottavio Quattrocchi. “Of late the department became a subject of ridicule on issues like Bofors, Nithari, kidney transplant racket, Arushi double murder case and Ruchika Girhotra molestation case. It is assumed that officers connected to the cases leak information to the media and hence the notice,” the officer said.

source: mid-day

Narrative limps along slowly in Mexico shooting cases: drug trafficking, gunmen escape and reportedly go on to kill others, arrests of a few people around the edges. evidently some people are supposed to get away with murder.

1. a suspected lookout arrested in attack that killed 15 youth in Ciudad Juarez

Reporting from Mexico City — Authorities in the border city of Ciudad Juarez said on Tuesday night that they had arrested a man suspected of taking part in a shooting attack on a high-school party that killed at least 15 people early Sunday.

Officials summoned reporters to see the suspect, who said in their presence that the main Juarez-based drug cartel targeted the party because it had received reports that members of a rival trafficking group were in attendance.

The suspect, identified as Jose Dolores Arroyo Chavarria, said he acted as a lookout for the 24 or so gunmen he said took part. He said they were ordered to kill everyone inside.

Authorities said they arrested the suspect Monday afternoon after army troops interrupted the planned assassination of a drug rival. Killed during that gunfight was one of the men who allegedly supervised the assault on the party, in which dozens of young people packed a private home.

Officials said some of the same gunmen are believed to be responsible for the killings of four people Monday at a dance hall.

Authorities in the state of Chihuahua on Tuesday gave the number of dead as 15, though a day earlier they had said 16 died, a figure corroborated by local news reports.

Parents of the slain teens have denied that their children were involved in criminal activity.

source: la times

2. another arrest in the same case

Police have made a second arrest in connection with last weekend’s party massacre which left 15 people dead in the Colonia Salvarcar of Cuidad Juarez. Witnesses at the site of the massacre said they believed one of the “lookouts” for the group of armed men was driving a Jeep Cherokee.

Police said the witnesses gave police a description of the jeep and the license plate number. Police stopped the Jeep Cherokee and arrested the driver, Israel Arzate Melendez, who later confessed to taking part in the massacre. Juarez police say they now know the names of three other suspects.

http://www.foxrio2.com/2nd-shooting-suspect-arrested-in-cuidad-juarez/

3. Salvadore Cabanas case: just unconfirmed rumors (links removed)
Salvador Cabañas: Assailant Captured and Arrested in Sonora? True? Or Rumors?

Al Dia, Costa Rica newspaper, has reported that the Mexican newspaper, Diario Reforma, suggests that Jose Jorge Balderas (aka. JJ or el Modelo), Salvador Cabañas’ assailant, has been captured and arrested by Mexican authorities. Baldera was staying at a local hotel in the Municipality of Puerto Peñasco located in the State of Sonora.

According to Al Dia, it appears that media reports have been confirmed by the State Attorney General’s Office and Notimex, the official Mexican Government News Agency. However, no other governmental office has either confirmed or denied this rumor.

http://www.beautifulfootball.info/2010/02/salvador-caba%C3%B1as-assailant-captured-and-arrested-in-sonora-true-or-rumors.html

trafficking news

1. Haiti holds 10 Americans suspected of trafficking children, as you’ve no doubt heard, since this one has made it to teevee. this might go one of two ways. it might be an attempt at damage control / limited hangout, to draw attention away from the larger problem and hold some people accountable while managing the narrative that it is merely an “adoption” ring, ie: not *that* bad. OR, if they are cleared and it turns out to all be a “misunderstanding” over “paperwork”, it might serve to debunk the concerns over child trafficking, and discredit the people who are claiming it’s a very huge problem, making them out to be hysterics. we’ll have to see if they expand the conversation to illegal organ trafficking, child sex trafficking, etc. i doubt it. instead i think we will see (continued) major gate keeping around this topic, as it vectors directly into The Pedophocracy.

Haitian police were holding 10 US citizens Saturday evening on suspicion they tried to slip out of the country with 31 Haitian children in a trafficking scheme, a government minister said.

Haitian Social Affairs Minister Yves Christallin said the police arrested five men and five women with US passports, and two Haitians, as they tried to cross into the Dominican Republic with the children Friday night. He said two pastors were also involved, one in Haiti and one in Atlanta, Georgia.

more @ inquirer

2. children in question very fearful of adults, most have families, people express shock. the picture shows clean, well kept children.  why would people take these children when there were 300,000+ restavek (ie: slave) children in Haiti BEFORE the earthquake to choose from? if people want to traffic children, they have an ample supply of uncared for children to pick from. so looks like this might  be building up for a combo misunderstanding /wrist-slapping resolution, and everyone will breathe a sigh of relief. Be More Careful Next Time! sure.

“The majority of these children have families. Some of the older ones said their parents are alive, and some gave an address and phone numbers,” said Vargas, a Costa Rican who is in charge of SOS Children’s operations in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

…Inside the SOS Village scores of volunteers from countries including Chile, Guatemala and Costa Rica do not hide the shock of the news.

“Even if we had … [suspected] that this was happening in Haiti after the earthquake, it is a shock,” said SOS spokesman Georg Willeit, an Austrian.

more @ telegraph

3. teacher to plead not guilty to abuse charges

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Colorado man is expected to plead not guilty to new charges that he sexually abused boys at a school he founded in Haiti.

A Colorado man is expected to plead not guilty to new charges that he sexually abused boys at a school he founded in Haiti. Douglas Perlitz is scheduled to appear Tuesday in federal court in New Haven. Perlitz was charged last year with sexually abusing nine boys. Prosecutors doubled the number of alleged victims to 18 with a new indictment announced Thursday. Perlitz pleaded not guilty last year to the original charges. His lawyer, William Dow III, said Thursday that he would also plead not guilty to the new counts.

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7249350

4. 9.5 MILLION people trafficked in Asia-Pacific since 2005.

MANILA, Philippines—An estimated 9.49 million people were in forced labor in the Asia-Pacific region as of 2005, with a significant number believed to be in the Mekong region, according to United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).

Thus, officials from the six countries of South-East Asia’s Mekong region and observers from the United Nations and other stakeholders opened a two-day meeting in Myanmar Thursday to step up the war on human trafficking, including sexual slavery and labor exploitation.

The meeting brings together ministers from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with observers from the UN, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking of Persons Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donors.

more @ global nation

5. in other trafficking news, Israel says that Hamas guy who got whacked? yeah, he was smuggling weapons to Hezbollah. other than that, we don’t know anything about it.

Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was slain in a Dubai hotel room, played a key role in smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, an Israeli army official said. “This guy was a middleman for smuggling weapons from Iran, not only to Gaza but to Hizbullah” in Lebanon, the official told The Los Angeles Times.Among other things, Mabhouh, believed to be about 50, was suspected of helping to route smuggled arms through Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. One of the arms convoys was bombed in Sudan last year, reportedly by Israeli aircraft.

“Of course, the moment a guy like this is dead, there is always someone to replace him,” the military official said. “But information (about arms-smuggling routes) is usually kept very secret. You have to renew the connections, rebuild the trust. It takes some time to grow into his shoes. It shakes the whole system.”

Though Israel has not acknowledged any role in the killing of al-Mabhouh on Jan. 20, it was one of several mysterious deaths of Arab militants attributed to Israel’s Mossad spy agency over the years.

Relatives and Hamas officials said al-Mabhouh was electrocuted and poisoned, perhaps by having his face smothered with a poison-soaked cloth. Despite surviving what his family says were several earlier attempts on his life, he had traveled without bodyguards to avoid drawing attention.

source: naharnet

6. aq, jumping the shark: watch out for the latest new thing in the war on terror, terrorists who have their bombs surgically inserted in their bodies. so they inject themselves when they want to explode. yeah. that’s pretty normal. do you think they’d have to be under mind control? but nevermind that. do you see that you can NEVER EVER in a million years EVER be safe from these diabolical people, these al qaeda terrorists? that’s the point. you are powerless.

Britain is facing a new Al Qaeda terror threat from suicide ‘body bombers’ with explosives surgically inserted inside them.

Until now, terrorists have attacked airlines, Underground trains and buses by secreting bombs in bags, shoes or underwear to avoid detection. But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time. Security services believe the move has been prompted by the recent introduction at airports of body scanners, which are designed to catch terrorists before they board flights. It is understood MI5 became aware of the threat after observing increasingly vocal internet ‘chatter’ on Arab websites this year. [i love that... "it is understood"]

more @ daily mail

7. more terrorist creativity: Philippine  senate to probe rice shipment from Vietnam

Senator Richard Gordon said Saturday the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will look into the discovery of sacks of a white substance which can be turned into either shabu or explosives that were found in a shipment of rice imported by the National Food Authority from Vietnam.

Gordon, who chairs the committee, said there was something highly suspicious in the discovery of N-methylephedrine, which was later said to be ammonium sulfate, in a shipment of 77,000 bags of NFA rice from Vietnam to Bacolod City as it could be a move to raise funds for the elections.

…The following day, the Bureau of Customs in Bacolod City issued a hold order on a Vietnam-registered vessel, MW Trai Thien 66, its crew and its cargo of 77,000 bags of rice consigned to the NFA in the wake of the discovery of the bags of white crystalline substance.

…Negros media were baffled by the fact that while PDEA officials on Thursday evening and Friday morning confirmed the seized substance to be N-methylephedrine, later in the day they were saying it was ammonium sulfate.

Paul Ledesma, head of the PDEA in Western Visayas, said the earlier findings of N-methylephedrine were based on a Philippine National Police laboratory test in Negros Occidental but a later test done by the PDEA in Manila showed it to be ammonium sulfate.

N-methylepehedrine can be processed into an ingredient in manufacturing shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride). Ammonium sulphate, on the other hand, is a fertilizer component but can also be used in producing explosives.

The rice from Vietnamese was part of the rice importation that the Department of Agriculture announced in December last year.

An announcement on Dec. 14, 2009 on the DA website said the NFA had given the notice of awards to four winning bidders to supply a total of 509,950 metric tons of well-milled long grain white rice to the Philippines .

The NFA awarded the rice importation to Vietnam Southern Food Corp., Louis Dreyfus Commodities Asia Pte. Ltd., Chairyaporn Rice Co., Ltd and Asia Golden Rice, it said.

A total of 300,000 metric tons of rice will be sourced from Vietnam. The balance of 209,950 tons will come from Thailand, the United States, China and Pakistan.

The whole shipment is scheduled to arrive within the first half of the year starting January until May, it added.

8. cocaine bricks wash up on Philippines shores

February 1, 2010

January 8, 2010

December 29, 2009

cobra gold (CG10) starts today

1. one can’t help notice how extra light is the news coverage of this important exercise in Southeast Asia, a known hotspot for terrorists. of course there is a history of these sorts of things suddenly going ‘live’, as they did on 911 and 7/7.

THE Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is taking part in in Exercise Cobra Gold, being held in Pattaya, Thailand from Monday to Feb 11.

The multilateral exercises, also involving the Royal Thai Armed Forces, United States Pacific Command, Japan Self-Defence Forces, Indonesian National Defence Forces and the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, focus on peace support and civilian evacuation operations, said a statement from the Singapore’s Ministry of Defence on Monday.

…Representatives from another 20 countries are also involved in this year’s exercise as observers.

more @ straits times

2. largest US - Asia wargames — “rehearsal” for the day when the services are needed.

RAYONG (Thailand) - THE US military began its largest war games in the Pacific region on Monday - an annual training exercise with troops from Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, now joined by South Korea.

At the opening ceremony in the eastern Thai province of Rayong, US Ambassador Eric G. John said that the ‘Cobra Gold’ exercise, now in its 29th year, had become a ‘multinational showcase event’. ‘The US continues to view this exercise, which is our premier training event in Thailand, as an important symbol of US military commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia,’ he told the audience.

‘It’s imperative that our separate militaries learn to work with each other - together - and rehearse for the day their services are needed to answer that call for help,’ he said. In total representatives from more than 20 countries will participate, observe or support, he added. — AFP

more @ straits times

3. Thailand and the United States are long-time allies, but a large sum of US military assistance to the Southeast Asian nation was suspended after a Thai coup in 2006. The aid was resumed after elections in December 2007.

source

4. Thailand walks a fine line with the weapons cache: keeps the men in detention, mentions Iran, but splits hairs with the cargo and the flight plan

BANGKOK - THAILAND said Monday that an aircraft loaded with North Korean weapons was flying to Iran when it was intercepted in December but the ultimate destination of the arms is still not known….

But Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayarkorn said Monday that ‘to say that the weapons are going to Iran, that might be inexact.’ ‘The report only says where the plane was going to according to its flight plan, but it doesn’t say where the weapons were going to,’ he said. ‘It’s still under investigation, and the suspects are under our legal system.’

The five-man crew - four from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus - remain under detention. The crew has been charged with illegal arms possession, but the charges are expected to be stiffened once the investigation wraps up, police have said. The weapons found on board the aircraft were reportedly light battlefield arms, including grenades - hardly the ones Iran’s sophisticated military would need.

more @ straits times

5. training based on a computer simulation

“The training is based on a “computer-simulated command post exercise (CPX), field training exercises linked to the CPX, and humanitarian and civic assistance projects,” he said. The joint activity is designed to improve the American Pacific Command’s ability to carry out joint and multi-national military operations and to improve the ability of the participating countries’ armed forces to work together.

The computer-era exercise combines Thai, US, Singaporean, Japanese, Indonesian, and South Korean participants in a coalition grouping.
Thai, US, Singaporean, Japanese, Indonesian, South Korean, and United Nations military force personnel will participate in the field training modelled after the UN’s multi-national peace support operations scenario.

more @ bernama

6. additional details from the military: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2010/01/mil-100112-afps04.htm

Sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command and the Royal Thai Supreme Command, the three-week exercise includes a command-post exercise, a series of medical and engineering civic-action projects and joint and combined field training. The exercise continues to serve as a venue to build interoperability between the United States and its Asia-Pacific regional partners.

The command-post exercise focuses on training a Thai, U.S., Singaporean, Indonesian, and South Korean coalition task force. The exercise also includes Japan participating within a United Nations Force staff. A team composed of representatives from Brunei, Chile, China, Germany, Laos, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will observe the command-post exercise at the invitation of the Thai government.

Among Cobra Gold 2010’s objectives is Pacom’s rapid deployment of a joint task force and subsequent coordination with U.N. forces, with the aim of improving Pacom’s ability to conduct multinational operations and increase interoperability with partner nations, officials said.

In addition, officials noted, the military-to-military relationships developed during Cobra Gold exercises underscore a combined capability to face myriad issues in the Asia-Pacific theater, including terrorism, transnational threats, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief efforts.

(From a U.S. Army Pacific news release.)

7. overview of why the military does this exercise in general: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/cobra-gold.htm

“Cooperative engagement” is the USCINCPAC strategy designed to deter aggression, promote peace, encourage prosperity and democratic ideals, and — if necessary– allow the US to fight and win if a conflict cannot be avoided. Specifically, the strategy is a process of aggressively employing the means available to USPACOM (forces, assets, funds, and programs) in three principal ways: forward presence, strong alliances and friendships, and a visible demonstrated capacity for crisis response. The goal is to achieve engagement and participation in peace, deterrence and cooperation in crisis, and a swift and decisive victory in conflict, through multilateral alliances if possible.

Thailand is one of five countries in the Pacific region with which the US has a functioning security alliance. The other four countries are Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and the Republic of the Philippines. Thailand and the US have an extensive bilateral military exercise program.

Cobra Gold is a regularly-scheduled joint/combined exercise and is the latest in the continuing series of U.S. – Thai military exercises designed to ensure regional peace and strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to defend Thailand or respond to regional contingencies. Cobra Gold is one of several training exercises the US conducts with Thailand each year. The US funds Thai military and civilian professional development training under the international military education and training program (IMET). Thailand is a generous host to US Navy ships that make frequent port calls at Pattaya and Phuket.

Cobra Gold is a six-week exercise during April and May, the hottest time of the year in Thailand where daytime temperatures linger between 103 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

updates on various fronts

1. black box found. what will it say? let us hope the box is recovered without incident. so many experts around…

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the French body for civil aviation security Bureau D’Enquetes et D’Analyses (BEA) have sent experts to join a team investigating the tragedy. The search operation has been led by Lebanese navy troops, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as well as US navy destroyer the USS Ramage and a civilian boat from Cyprus with sonar equipment.

more @ naharnet

2. Headley pleads not guilty, said to be cooperating with investigators

CHICAGO - AN AMERICAN pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to US charges that he scouted targets for a militant Pakistani group blamed for the attack on Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people. David Headley, 49, has been cooperating with US investigators since his arrest in October….

Headley, who was born in the United States but spent several years in Pakistan, has previously pleaded not guilty to similar charges. His accused co-conspirator, 49-year-old Pakistani-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, entered a not-guilty plea on Monday to charges he provided material support to the plots and to Lashkar. — REUTERS

source: straits times

3. did Headley cut a deal with DoJ? and why does Dana Perino come out of the woodwork all of a sudden??? to support the intelligence services having maximum latitude and political cover at all times, or they can’t do their job and we’ll all be killed.

As Mumbai terror plot accused David Coleman Headley pleaded not-guilty during an arraignment in Chicago, he could become the centrepiece of a debate on how to treat terror suspects in the US. Headley, who was presented before US Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys on Wednesday morning, expectedly entered a plea of not guilty to all the 12 counts of indictment against him.

Just one day before the arraignment former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino used his case to challenge the Obama administration’s strategy to deal with such cases. The main point of contention of President Barack Obama’s detractors and critics is that in such cases it makes no sense to treat suspects as criminal defendants.

Citing the Obama administration’s supposed argument Perino and Bill Burck, a former federal prosecutor and deputy counsel to president Bush, wrote in the National Review Online: “Most recently, David Headley, who has been indicted in Chicago for helping plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has given us information of enormous intelligence value.”

The two then countered it saying: “So the Justice Department has cut a deal with Headley to get him to talk. It will be interesting to see how much prison time will be shaved off for his cooperation. We’ll find out after he pleads guilty and is sentenced. Headley’s deal might give us a preview of how much time the Justice Department is contemplating for Abdulmutallab: 50 years? 20? Two?”

The reference to Abdulmutallab is about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who nearly blew up a Delta jet on Dec 25 flying in from Amsterdam.

Perino’s mention of Headley is part of a larger piece titled “Obfuscation after obfuscation” that wonders whether the Obama administration’s statement on Abdulmutallab’s interrogation hides more than it reveals. It is critical of the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant “with Miranda rights, a decision we now know was made without consulting the intelligence services whose job it is to protect the country from attacks”.

source: hindustan times

4. Philippines: air force general and 8 others killed in Cotabato City, southern Philippines, near Jolo Island. general stationed in Zamboango City, very near to Jolo Island, where Abu Sayyaf allegedly operates from.

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—(UPDATE 4) An Air Force general and eight other people were killed when a military Nomad plane crashed into a residential area here before noon Thursday, authorities said. Mayor Muslimin Sema said the Nomad plane crashed into at least two houses in Barangay Rosary Heights here around 11:35 a.m., killing all eight passengers, including Maj. Gen. Mario Lacson of the 3rd Air Division based in Zamboanga City.

Gumitom said she heard a loud noise before the plane hit her house.

…Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Lacson and his party were on their way to Zamboanga City. “The plane crashed two minutes after takeoff,” Cabangbang said by phone.

Maj. Gen. Carlix Donila, commander of the 5053rd Search and Rescue Squadron based in Davao City, said moments before the crash the “pilot made a call (to the Cotabato airport tower) and he said ‘power loss.’” Sema said based on witnesses’ account, the plane was trying to land again at the airport after takeoff and appeared to be having “some trouble.” “It was flying in a zig-zag mode and crashed.”

more @ enquirer

5. tension in Sri Lanka — Colombo also involved in the recent capture of Mohammed Abdul Khwaja, a purported LeT terrorist, who during interrogation made statements that led to the recent terrorist warnings in the UK

COLOMBO - SRI Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse won his second war in a year, crushing an electoral challenge by his former army chief, who was left holed up in a hotel surrounded by troops yesterday. But a defiant General Sarath Fonseka refused to accept the result, which gave Mr Rajapakse 57.9 per cent of the popular vote in Tuesday’s presidential election against his own 40.1 per cent.

He vowed to challenge the result in court because of ‘obvious rigging’. In an apparent effort to dispel the acrimony of the campaign, the 64-year-old President said: ‘From today onwards, I am the President of everyone, whether they voted for me or not.’ He urged Sri Lankans to join together to rebuild the country, which is still recovering from a 26-year civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels that ended last year.

Speaking from the Colombo hotel where he has been encamped since Tuesday evening, Gen Fonseka accused Mr Rajapakse of intimidation and said his staff had received threatening phone calls.

source: straits times

foreshadowing

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, warns that South Asian militant groups threaten to destabilize the entire region and could trigger a war between “nuclear armed Pakistan and India.”

(Just for the record, India is also “nuclear armed.“)

Watch Mr. Gates reflect anxiety, set expectations, and proactively absolve India for whatever it might do in response to “some provocative act:”

Reflecting anxiety in the region about New Delhi’s reaction if it were attacked by a militant group with roots in Pakistan, Mr Gates said restraint by India could not be counted on. He added that militants under Al-Qaeda’s ’syndicate’ - which includes the Taleban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba - posed a danger to the region as a whole.

They are trying ‘to destabilise not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but potentially the whole region by provoking a conflict perhaps between India and Pakistan through some provocative act,’ Mr Gates said during a visit to New Delhi. ‘It’s important to recognise the magnitude of the threat that the entire region faces,’ he said following talks with his Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony.

…’I think it’s not unreasonable to assume India’s patience would be limited were there to be further attacks,’ Mr Gates warned.

New Delhi suspects the Pakistani intelligence service of supporting terror groups that target India and has consistently called on Islamabad to crack down on militants operating on its soil. Mr Gates described India as a vital partner in the struggle against extremist threats, expressed appreciation for its economic aid to Afghanistan and said that he had discussed how to bolster US-India military cooperation.

It appears that whatever happens, Pakistan will be blamed. If India retaliates — even out of proportion — it sounds like that will be overlooked by the US, given that it’s not “unreasonable to assume India’s patience would be limited were there to be further attacks.”

Interesting. Which country has suffered more from terrorism in recent memory? India, or Pakistan?

India had the Mumbai attack in 2008 (173 deaths). India blames Pakistan for Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in 2009 alone, over 3,500 people have died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

And who is responsible for all the terrorism in Pakistan? Good question.

The Pakistan government has been provided a variety of proofs of involvement of Indian government and especially the Indian intelligence agency behind the continuous chaos in various parts of Pakistan, particularly NWFP province’s Malakand division and tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan where Pakistan army is fighting a war against terrorists.

…These investigations indicate that the Pakistani law enforcing agencies found highly credible evidence proving that the Indians were not only giving comprehensive financial support to terrorists in Balochistan but were also providing them with huge caches of all sorts of weapons and other military equipment.

…The Daily Mail’s [of Pakistan -- ed.] findings indicate that not only this but the Pakistani security forces also seized a large amount of Indian currency and Indian medicines from the deserted or conquered hideouts of militants in different operations in Swat and Waziristan.

In addition, the security forces also seized huge amount of currency bills of Indian currency either from the arrested militants or from the captured hideouts. The investigations reveal that trade in Indian currency in all parts of Afghanistan is quite open and normal and one can buy anything at anywhere with Indian currency in any part of Afghanistan. According to some reports, the Indian currency is more acceptable than the US Dollar in Afghani business markets.

^^^^^^^

Over the last several weeks the contrived Clash of Civilizations has flared up in Malaysia over the use of the word Allah in Christian churches. After a week or two of that, the US Embassy in Malaysia warned that tourists to the Sabah state were at risk of attack by criminal and terrorist groups.

This warning precipitated a prompt response. The Malaysian government tightened security and quickly dismissed the warning. The Malaysian government then summoned the US envoy for an explanation of the misleading advisory.

This is the explanation:

The US advisory did not give details of the possible threat, but noted that Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines - a short boat ride from Sabah - have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah’s secluded resort areas in the past.

^^^^^^^

Abu Sayyaf has an outstanding terrorist pedigree. It can be linked back to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, 911, the CIA, ISI, etc.

In particular, for the purposes of this thread, the Abu Sayyaf can be linked back to Pakistan.

[Privilege speech of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel at the Senate, July 31, 2000]

In the early 1980s, the CIA actively recruited, “armed and supported” moujahideens or volunteer Muslim warriors to fight the CIA sponsored-US proxy war in Afghanistan against the Russians who had invaded the country in 1979 and had put up a puppet regime there. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, p. 13 et

Thousands of Muslim fighters from many parts of the world, including many young men from the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao, enlisted to fight in Afghanistan. After all, the dollar-denominated monthly pay plus incentives of $100 to $300 a month was certainly attractive enough for the jobless and impoverished Muslim youths. John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars, p. 107

These young warriors were, then, trained to – and many did - fight in Afghanistan supported with funds and equipment by the CIA and its network of friendly foreign funders which at that time included Osama bin Ladin, a highly successful Arab business man in the construction industry. Bin Ladin subsequently fell out of grace with the CIA which has since been trying to get him either literally or extradited to the US for his complicity in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

In the case of the Filipino Muslim Moujahideens, most came back to various parts of Mindanao from their base in Peshawar, Pakistan.

In the words of John K. Cooley in his book, Unholy Wars, “This group (of Filipino Muslim Moujahideens) was the core of an armed guerilla band of several hundred men who xxx moved from its Peshawar, Pakistan base to the southern Philippine Islands after the end of the Afghan war. Under the name of the Abu Sayyaf group, it operated on the fringe of the Moros Muslim insurgency.”

Thus was the Abu Sayyaf born.

The Abu Sayyaf took its name from Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan intellectual, who had preached an ultra-conservative Islamic ideology called Wahabi.

Cooley calls the Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s as “the most violent and radical Islamist group in the Far East, using its CIA and ISI (Pakistan’s intra-military directorate for intelligence services) training to harass, attack and murder Christian priests, wealthy non-Muslim plantation-owners and merchants and local government in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.” [p. 63]

Thus we can see that the CIA and ISI created this problem, the Abu Sayyaf, with an assist from Saudi Arabia, which spawned Wahhabism.

According to Senator Aquilino Pimentel, military and police personnel then cultivated informers within the Abu Sayyaf, and some members received military intelligence services IDs, safe-houses, safe-conduct passes, firearms, cell phones and financial support. In his speech, he demanded that these traitors to the Philippines be held accountable for their corruption.

Since that speech in 2000, the Abu Sayyaf has certainly not been contained. They operate from the island of Jolo. It appears they stepped up their attacks in 2009.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf took about 20 people – most of them Western tourists – captive from an island resort across the Malaysian border. They were all released within three months after the Libyan government paid a ransom of around $10 million, media reports said at the time.

…Last year [2008], Muslim rebels generated more than 22 million pesos (SFr528,000) in ransom payments from at least six kidnappings, including the high-profile abduction of three members of a local television network, according to the Philippines military.

…About two dozen people have been kidnapped in 12 incidents on two restive southern islands since January [2009], authorities say.

In September 2009, two US Navy men and one Filipino Marine were killed in a roadside bomb.

Abu Sayyaf is believed to have about 400 fighters, to have received funds from al-Qaida and is suspected of sheltering militants from the larger Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. An estimated 600 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the Philippines, mostly in the southern front lines of the Philippine military’s operations against the Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiyah.

In November 2009, the group beheaded a teacher.

In December 2009, they burst through a jail wall and freed 31 inmates.

^^^^^^^

In July of 2009, the Philippine government deployed hundreds of troops on Jolo and Basilan islands to finish off the 400 member Abu Sayyaf.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro ordered the military last week to launch new assaults against the militants on Jolo and Basilan islands after the militants freed Italian hostage Eugenio Vagni — the last of three Red Cross aid workers who were kidnapped on Jolo in January. Without any hostages to worry about, government forces can now carry out more offensives, regional military commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.

The government has opened peace talks with a bigger Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but the Abu Sayyaf is not covered by the talks. A report by the US Pacific Command describes the Abu Sayyaf as “a cross between a chilling gang of bandits and a franchise operation of al-Qaida.” “Since the early 1990s, it has terrorized the southern Philippines with kidnappings, bombs and outright massacres; it has also been linked to several international terrorist plots and militants,” the report noted. More recent reports said the Abu Sayyaf, under new leadership, has been able to link up with the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah, said to be behind a regional Islamist terror campaign, including two recent bombings in Jakarta.

By November, after the beheaded school-teacher incident, hopes faded. The Abu Sayyaf would (miraculously) defy the sustained US-backed campaign to finish them off.

The beheading of a kidnap victim is the latest proof that a small number of Islamic militants in the Philippines are defying a sustained US-backed military campaign to extinguish them, observers said. The grisly development this week came just ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, throwing the spotlight on joint efforts by Filipino and American forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf.

It’s always very helpful when they “throw the spotlight on.” In any case, regrettable.

And then Hillary Clinton arrived, and the kidnapped priest from Ireland, Michael Sinnot, was released by the MILF. MILF is another long-standing and much larger terrorist group in the Philippines, originally accused of abducting the priest, but later cleared and thanked for securing his release.

The release of the 79-year-old missionary coincided with the arrival in Manila of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, prompting speculation that it was timed to coincide with her visit, the way the release of a kidnapped Red Cross worker was made on the day US Central Intelligence Agency head Leon Edward Panetta flew to Manila.

Although the Asia Times reported that the US Embassy held clandestine meetings with MILF a month earlier, at their camp. Evidently the US Embassy personnel do not fear the MILF. In fact, they have warm and friendly relations. Everyone wants peace, evidently.

Despite the row over Sinnot’s kidnapping, senior US Embassy officials in Manila have held clandestine meetings with MILF leaders in their Maguindanao camp. The US Embassy has kept mum on the meetings, but on its website, the MILF confirmed in a statement that it had held talks with a visiting group of American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d’affaires, Leslie Basset, on October 16.

Lasting for two hours, the meeting “was warm and forthright”, the MILF said and quoted Basset as saying that the US was willing to play a role in the peace talks. “Helping attain and sustain peace, security and development in Mindanao is a priority concern of our government,” the MILF quoted Bassett as saying.

^^^^^^^

In August 2009, GMANews.TV reported the statements of Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian at a press conference held before an inquiry by the Senate oversight committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) into the activities of US troops in the Philippines.

Gadian, a whistleblower, was invited to the hearing.

Gadian earlier this year exposed the alleged misuse of the P42-million fund allotted for the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US by high ranking military officials.

Gadian made the following statements:

  • US soldiers have joined Philippine troops in actual combat against Muslim rebels.
  • The American soldiers were embedded in local units.
  • About 500 US soldiers were assigned in Mindanao as “the first line of defense against the enemy.”
  • US troops usually engaged in operations in Mindanao without informing heads of the Philippine military in the area.
  • Philippine forces are fighting the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and other armed groups in Sulu.
  • American troops are stationed in Mindanao even without any Balikatan exercises going on.
  • The Philippine government does not monitor the deployment and movement of these troops in the country’s southern region.
  • Americans in Mindanao usually have programs or projects which they do not tell the leadership of the Southern Command. They just go to areas where they want to go.

Gadian’s affadavit also states:

  • The US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.
  • The Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.”
  • These structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.
  • The “arrogant” behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.
  • Some US military men bringing Filipino women prostitutes to different areas in the camp.
  • “On the whole, their assertions of power and authority appear like they rule over us and the country.”

^^^^^^^

Given that the CIA helped create Abu Sayyaf; and given the US military’s unrestrained access to the very areas of the Philippines where Abu Sayyaf allegedly operates from; and given the history of connections between Abu Sayyaf militants and their military handlers; and given the warm and friendly relations between US Embassy personnel and MILF leaders…

Can we not imagine that Robert Gates’ foreshadowing remarks about provocative actions might, perhaps, have something to do with Abu Sayyaf?