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[P]
Abu Sayyaf

By William Rees in Op-Ed
Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 04:47:35 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

One year ago today, Guillermo Sobero's hands were tied behind his back. He was led away from his fellow detainees and marched deep into the Basilan jungle. That night, his head was chopped off.

Sobero is just one of thousands of victims in the war between the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Filipino government. Since 1991, the ASG has conducted kidnappings, looting, murder, and war. The United States government has tied the ASG to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Earlier this year, the US increased its military presence in the Philippines to over 1000 troops specifically designated to help the war against the ASG. What is the Abu Sayyaf? Why are they fighting the Filipino government? What are their demands?


Islam in the Philippines

Islam came from India to the Philippines in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. The religion slowly converted a small population in the Southern portion of the Philippine archipelagos. Rather than replacing the existing culture and social structure, Islam integrated into the traditional way of life in the Southern Philippines. The Moro, the Philippines' main Muslim population, constitute only about five percent of the nation's citizens. Traditionally, the Moro were geographically and culturally separated from the Philippines.

The Moro remained distinct from the rest of the islands that compose modern day Philippines until occupation by the United States near the beginning of the twentieth century. Under US rule, and continuing through independence in 1946, the Moro were the subject of intense discrimination. A lack of political power bred poverty, unemployment, and low education rates in Moro communities.

After independence, the newly formed government attempted to integrate the Muslim population. The government sponsored massive migrations of Christians to traditionally Muslim lands. In return, state scholarships were given to lower class Muslim students to attend universities in the capital and abroad. The migrations, it was thought, would integrate communities while the scholarships would increase education and job opportunities among the Moro.

MNLF and Tripoli

During the government efforts to integrate the Muslim population, anger and frustration toward the Filipino government grew among the Moro. The migrations of Christians to traditionally Muslim lands were viewed as an invasion of culture. Tensions grew between the Moro and the settlers. Both groups, feeling that police were unable to ensure their security, formed self protection forces. These forces quickly turned into paramilitary militias. Bloody conflicts soon ensued.

The scholarship students returned to the Southern Philippines with ideals, charisma, and energy. A small group of them capitalized on the frustration, fear, and anger of the Moro. They formed the Moro National Liberation Front, or MNLF. This nationalist group blurred the boundaries between ethnicity and religion. Through one of its leaders, Nur Misuary, it sought a nationalist movement that united all Filipinos who wanted freedom.

A guerilla war started between the MNLF and the Filipino government. The President, Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law in September of 1972. The war lasted years with thousands dying on both sides and hundreds of thousands being displaced. Accusations of genocide on the part of the government created international sympathy for the plight of the MNLF.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference and Libya intervened in 1976. Libyan negotiators hammered out a peace agreement that December. Named after the city in which it was signed, the Tripoli agreement was to give autonomy to 13 traditionally Muslim provinces in exchange for a permanent peace. Despite accusations of the Marcos government not fulfilling its part of the treaty, the MNLF was left without a purpose. Factional internal fighting led the MNLF to split into three groups by the end of 1977. The political and military power of the MNLF dissipated over the following years.

Abu Sayyaf Emerges

A relative peace reigned through the semi-autonomous provinces as the Moro were slowly integrated into mainstream Filipino culture. The traditional Moro way of life was transformed into a modern Islamic society. Left without a purpose, many ex-MNLF and their children traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980's to fight the jihad against the Soviet Union.

After the jihad, the fighters returned to the Philippines. Many of them knew only fighting. Upon their return, they were upset at the complacency of the remaining MNLF. In 1991, eight former mujahedeen fighters broke from the MNLF and formed the Abu Sayyaf. The ASG's main goal is to establish an Islamic country based on Shariah. Whereas the MNLF was a nationalist movement, the ASG is a religious one.

Originally led by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, the ASG started a campaign of guerilla attacks and kidnapping. After some minor skirmishes with the military in 1991 and some bombings in 1992, the ASG started their main technique of kidnapping for ransom by abducting a business woman for 1 million pesos. The kidnapping was followed up by the abduction of five year old and his grandfather. Kidnappings were interspersed with military attacks such as the 1995 massacre of Ipil, which left the town leveled and 53 dead.

Over the past decade, the Filipino military has fought with the Abu Sayyaf. The ASG, at its height, was said to have over 1000 fighters. Their forces have been reduced due to heavy fighting to somewhere around 60. Just this last week, the Filipino military, with help from United States forces, attacked over 30 ASG fighters in order to secure the release of three foreigners who were kidnapped. Unfortunately, all but one of the hostages was killed in the attack.

Commentary

Unlike most rebel groups that tie their actions to political gains, the Abu Sayyaf fights and kidnaps primarily for money. In the most recent example, several foreigners, including Guillermo Sobero and Martin and Garcia Burnham, were kidnapped in May of 2001. Negotiations for over 300,000 USD were rumored to be underway to secure the release of the Burnhams. Under a previous administration of Joseph Estrada, the ASG was in negotiations with the government, resulting in three western hostages being released for over 1 million USD each.

The Abu Sayyaf hides behind the shield of religion. They claim to be fighting for independence. Their demands have, in the past, asked for the removal of Catholic symbols from Muslim communities and for sovereign fishing rights in the Sulu and Basilan seas. Their words, however, fall flat when compared to their actions. The ASG does not hold hostages for the release of political prisoners. The ASG does not attack military outposts to free oppressed communities. They are, as the Filipino President Gloria Macapagl-Arroyo has stated, "a money-crazed gang of criminals."

The Abu Sayyaf tries to draw legitimacy from its roots in the MNLF. The MNLF had a clear, nationalistic goal. Through careful political strategy, they secured the sympathy of the international Islamic community. They proved, through their actions, that the MNLF was serious about independence. The Abu Sayyaf, however, has been nothing but a festering public relations nightmare for Islam in Southeast Asia. Their abductions, massacres, and lack of a clear political strategy prove they are nothing but lawless bandits.

Further Reading

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Poll
The Abu Sayyaf is
o "a money-crazed gang of criminals." 69%
o misunderstood by the international media. 1%
o a group of determined freedom fighters. 11%
o nearly extinct. 17%

Votes: 62
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o ASG information from the US Navy
o Basic background from the ICT
o BBC Background information about the ASG
o CNN special on the ASG
o Local Filipino news inside report on the ASG
o MNLF background
o Also by William Rees


Display: Sort:
Abu Sayyaf | 84 comments (76 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Portrait of a Weakened, Desperate Abu Sayyaf (4.71 / 7) (#1)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 02:23:26 PM EST

From the Washington Post

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
From the article... (2.00 / 10) (#7)
by Xeriar on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 03:20:53 PM EST

"Something seems to have changed," the official said. "It looks like the U.S. presence has brought in more integrity."

I vote this for the most ironic comment of the day :-)

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

Some rebel groups don't deserve sympathy (3.62 / 8) (#2)
by marcos on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 02:43:26 PM EST

Usually I am a rebel sympathiser. I support people who want self-determination.

But certain rebel movements hardly make sense - The Sierra Leonan rebels, the Liberian rebels (of which one is now the President), the Columbian rebels, and now, if this story is accurate, the Filipino rebels.

Rebels who want to conquer the country they are living in deserve no sympathy. If you want to rule a country, then form a political party, and not a band of armed thugs. If the people want you, they will vote for you.

If however, there are dictatorships that must be overthrowm, then armed struggle is ok, in my opinion. Similarly, if political moves for independence fail, I support armed struggle for independence. I have never believed that any group should be forced to remain in union with a country it doesn't want to belong to.

Freedom of Association. (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by caca phony on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:25:57 PM EST

I have never believed that any group should be forced to remain in union with a country it doesn't want to belong to.

Sadly, freedom of association is incompatible with government. Freedom of association (the ability to chose to be or not be a member of any political body without coersion) is the primary ideal of a large percentage of Anarchists. No true government can allow groups of its citizens to individually decide whether or not they are under its power.

[ Parent ]

Why should they have that power? (none / 0) (#17)
by El Volio on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 10:44:50 PM EST

Why should the group of people who are in power have the right of self-determination, while another group does not? If there's a distinct group of people who desire some distinct government, and they can achieve it without compelling anyone around them to also be forced to accompany them, it's truly a violation of their humanity to force them.

Not that I'm an anarchist -- far from it -- but this is a fundamental failing of our entire concept of "government".

[ Parent ]

Georgia (none / 0) (#64)
by elgardo on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:12:26 AM EST

What would happen if, say, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, etc, didn't want to be part of the USA? Oh wait... that already happened, and we know how it all turned out.

[ Parent ]
"dictatorship" (none / 0) (#20)
by danny on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:25:58 PM EST

One problem is defining "dictatorship"; another is that it's quite possible for elected governments to brutally repress minorities. And unfortunately groups wanting independence rarely fit within neat geographical boundaries - what happens if 51% of the people in a province want independence from a larger state, but 49% don't? (I'm thinking Quebec here.)

Incidentally, issues of indigenous self-determination seem to me critical to understanding the conflict in Colombia.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

kind of shortsighted? (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by tps12 on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:12:56 AM EST

It is weird to claim that you are "usually a rebel sympathiser," IMO. Rebellion (as opposed to the right to rebel) is not something it makes sense to support in and of itself.

Running for office is also not a form of rebellion. American militia members don't want to hold offices, they just want the government gone. Rebellion is the only option in any situation where a person or group's goals are incompatible with a nation's structure, whether the nation be a dictatorship or not.

___
Check out my 1999 Honda Civic
Check out Parent ]

Great article, thanks :) (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by Jel on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:07:08 PM EST

The conclusion seems a little biased.  I would prefer a little more evidence before such a strong conclusion.  However, even in spite of that drawback, this is a great and informative article :)

Good article (none / 0) (#23)
by fsterman on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:38:43 PM EST

I second that, very informative and interesting. Although I do like my news completly unbiased however an ending like that (saying they are a for money operation) is necesarry. Just use less stong wording next time. Thanx

[ Parent ]
Bias (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by William Rees on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:39:38 PM EST

Please keep in mind that this is an op-ed piece. I tried to keep my personal comments restricted to the last section titled 'Commentary'. If you strip out this section, the story becomes much less biased.

[ Parent ]
Very informative (4.33 / 6) (#13)
by BloodmoonACK on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 05:55:52 PM EST

This is the kind of thing I love about K5; the random, very informative and (surprisingly!) useful articles. I remember way back when these articles on Osama bin Laden appeared, before the 9/11 attack. It was odd because, during 9/11 and 9/12 (the dates) people kept asking me about Al'Qaeda and the Taliban, etc., because I already knew about it; the hottest new information had already been covered on K5. The same kind of thing goes for the Paleotech articles. I really enjoy learning about these snippets of history. Keep up the good work, K5 authors. I appreciate any new articles on unknown societies and political factions!

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner

Intense discrimination under the US (3.33 / 3) (#14)
by TON on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 06:52:46 PM EST

And, just a tad bit more.

Thanks for the great article.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis

Ted


religion is messed (3.53 / 13) (#15)
by meatsack on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 09:20:44 PM EST

Its just another great example of how religion fucks up people. Christian, Islam, everything. I still think its ironic how the term 'Holy War' is even in our vocabulary.

My invisible friend is better, lets fight!

uhm, the soviet union was atheist (2.42 / 7) (#19)
by turmeric on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:20:39 PM EST

the soviet union invaded afghanistan and murdered thousands of people. all in the name of communist atheism. thanks alot, atheism! you are sooooo much better than religion!

[ Parent ]
Understatement (5.00 / 5) (#21)
by irreplicant on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:36:31 PM EST

Afghanistan? Afghanistan was the Soviet Union's great mistake? What the hell are you smoking? Ol' Joe Stalin's purges make the invasion and repression of Afghanistan a mere business venture by comparison.

The danger you see in religion doesn't always speak of gods. Any ideological movement, given sufficient intertia and power, can wreak horrible damage upon humanity.

In the name of progress.

[ Parent ]

What Would Jesus Do? (2.50 / 2) (#26)
by meatsack on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:13:20 AM EST

Yes, communist atheism, lead by the same ideals as religion. Religion is not the problem, its the idealism involved, same as this.

[ Parent ]
atheism (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by dalinian on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:40:07 AM EST

As I'm sure you know, communist atheism is not the only type of atheism. In fact, it's not even the most popular one. For example, 1) philosophical atheism, i.e. the desire to examine all views equally carefully, and 2) agnosticism, the refusal to consider the existence of divine beings because it is impossible to acquire knowledge about them, are much easier to defend.

Okay, I know agnosticism isn't exactly atheism, but it's close. Strictly speaking, an agnostic should be agnostic about everything, not just gods, because no truths are absolutely certain.



[ Parent ]
they were also communists (none / 0) (#56)
by sully on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:09:10 PM EST

You can't really blame atheism so much for the Soviet Union - their problem was that they were communists, and bad ones at that. However, you can pretty much blame Christianity for the Crusades. What I find somewhat interesting is that both communism and the various religions that are responsible for such horrible things are based on ideals regarding sacrificing for $higher_cause (which actually turns out to be church/party/other bad guy). Maybe altruism is the fuck-up...


-------------
The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of my prefrontal cortex.
[ Parent ]
On what basis (none / 0) (#57)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:11:50 PM EST

You can't really blame atheism so much for the Soviet Union - their problem was that they were communists, and bad ones at that. However, you can pretty much blame Christianity for the Crusades.

I fail too see any logic at work in this distinction. Why is Christianity the cause for the Crusades? Why not place the blame on the fact that they were (those who were in charge anyway) Italian? What about all those Christians who had nothing to do with the Crusades? You do know the fourth crusade was carried out against other Christians (the Byzantines), don't you? Why not just chalk it up to one imperialist civilization finds itself in a land dispute with another imperialist civilization?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Ironically... (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by William Rees on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:38:40 PM EST

The war in the Philippines has little to do with religion. If this question was asked in the 40's, I'd say it is a religious conflict. The MNLF was decidedly secular. The Abu Sayyaf has almost nothing to do with religion.

[ Parent ]
Religious / not religious (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by anser on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:19:16 PM EST

Your comment says:
The war in the Philippines has little to do with religion. If this question was asked in the 40's, I'd say it is a religious conflict. The MNLF was decidedly secular. The Abu Sayyaf has almost nothing to do with religion.
But your story says:
The ASG's main goal is to establish an Islamic country based on Shariah. Whereas the MNLF was a nationalist movement, the ASG is a religious one.
How can both of these be true?

[ Parent ]
Words vs. Action (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by William Rees on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:10:52 PM EST

Abu Sayyaf main stated goal is a Shariah based state. Their actions, however, show little interest in establishing such a state. They are driven by many motivations (greed, perhaps anger or revenge) but religion is not one of them.

I can see your point, however. Saying that the ASG is a religious movement was a little heavy handed. I was trying to contrast the MNLF with the ASG. The shift away from nationalism was a major philosophical change for the guerilla groups in the Philippines.

[ Parent ]

40's Patriots vs. 40 Thieves (none / 0) (#52)
by anser on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 04:42:28 PM EST

That makes sense. Abu Sayyaf seems to be an Islamic banditti whose leaders have mastered enough of the buzzwords of jihad to earn some tolerance and backing from the Arab brethren. If the Sharia state they profess to desire ever actually came to pass, they would presumably have their hands chopped off.

[ Parent ]
baaah...you're almost a bigot (2.40 / 5) (#25)
by thelizman on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:41:13 AM EST

It's not the religeon, it's the demigogues who pervert religeon. Ultimately religeon is evil because it's a means of control, and not an excercise of faith.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Bigot in da house (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by meatsack on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:19:55 AM EST

Almost? And next you'll tell me that Hitler was a bigot too? Sure...

In all seriousness, you're right. Religion is a means of control. Its hierarchy consolidates power in the few who control the many. Mental control, the best kind for a leader to have. Its the most successful business in the world, and tax free!

Acts of faith are just as bad at times. Would you give respect to those who believe so strongly in their faith that they refuse to examine it? That applies to almost everything nowadays.

[ Parent ]
Sure (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by Curieus on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 05:00:37 AM EST

Now that you have pulled Hitler into the discussion, i will add some nazis :-)..

Sure Hitler was a bigot, but his creed is nowadays not seen as a religion, but just because he lost.
The signs are very clear, if you look at the Nazi language.

**WARNING THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS WORDS THAT ARE <<NOT>> MY OPINION**

Das dritte Reich (the third empire) should last 1000 years. Compare Revelations 20.
The first Reich was the Roman empire. The second was the Holy Roman Empire. So the third was supposed to be even better.
Die Endloesung: Jews had to be destroyed because they were a danger to the soul of the german people. ("soul": atypical for a materialist) They were inherently evil, uncapable of doing any good. Any apparent good was only a mask for furthering their goal of corrupting the soul of the germanic peoples.
Christianity: Hitler hated it. One of the reasons why the german navy had last dips in the steel allocations "I have a National Socialist Luftwaffe, a conservative Army, and a christian navy".
Himmler was even busy designing a new faith that should replace christinity and be pure.

Another good measure were his actions: The tennants of his faith were so important that they overrode all practical considerations.
First: Die Endloesung couldn't wait till after the war when resources were plenty
Second: Even in 1944 when the army was screaming for transport (:=trains) towards the east front, an extra effort was made towards shipping jews to destruction camps.
Third: in 1941 (IIRC) Hitler issued a statement that the population in the newly conquered russian territories should be treated harsly. These inferior people "untermenschen" should know their place in the order of things. Again german army protests availed nothing. An with distress the german generals saw the support from the russian people (for liberating them from Stalin) change in the fierce hatred.

END WARNING

In all these cases ideology was overriding practicality. So yes he was a bigot. A religious bigot? Perhaps, perhaps not, depends a bit on where you draw the line between ideology and religion.

(One philosopher i spoke stated that there was a clear difference between Positivistic philosophy and positivism, or more generally between a philosophy and its -ism. This is because the philosophy has questions and some suppositions. The philosophism has all the answers and doesn't need reality checking: It is the reality (it thinks)

[ Parent ]

i invoke... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by wolfie on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:59:41 PM EST

godwin's law.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, couldn't remember the name (NT) (none / 0) (#77)
by Curieus on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 05:09:37 AM EST



[ Parent ]
gnosticism... (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by EvilNoodle on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:09:55 PM EST

tends to liberate rather than enslave in my experience. As does buddhism if followed personally. But I generally agree, spirituality suffers from religion.

[ Parent ]
something I've heard (3.25 / 4) (#40)
by mpalczew on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:44:37 AM EST

Forgot where I heard this, but Holy War's are rediculous, it's like fighting about who has the better imaginary freind.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
Holy Shit (none / 0) (#66)
by jforan on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:59:20 AM EST

Kinda weird how that got in there too.

Jeff
I hops to be barley workin'.
[ Parent ]

and the afghanistan jihad was run by the CIA (1.88 / 9) (#18)
by turmeric on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:19:22 PM EST

thank you very much CIA. thanks. thanks USA for colonizing the phillipines in the first place and causing this mess

Wrong. (5.00 / 5) (#24)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 11:57:16 PM EST

Spain colonized the Philipines.  The US took ownership of them when we won the Spanish-American war.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Shhhh (5.00 / 5) (#35)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:37:00 AM EST

What kind of sicko are you, bringing facts into his ideological world?

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Shhhh ... (none / 0) (#51)
by sye on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:18:10 PM EST

so what kind of weirdo do you do? Are you related to hurstdog? Any connection at all between weirdog and hurstdog?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

and the Katyn forest massacre was run by the USSR (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 09:43:14 AM EST

thank you very much NKVD. thanks. thanks turmeric for being so relevant.


[ Parent ]
Not as dangerous (4.20 / 5) (#28)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:49:03 AM EST

I saw several interviews of prisonners of Abu Sayaf after they were released against a ransom, 1 or 2 years ago. Actually they are not really a gang of dangerous criminals, they are a bunch of poor and young ignorant peasants who have nothing much to do but kidnap tourists, drink and occasionaly fight (and kill). Apparently they don't even have an idea of what a million USD really is worth (it is more money than they could possibly spend where they live), they are loosely organised and don't seem to really have much strategy either.

Sure they are barbaric, but they are nowhere near a real mafia or a western terrorist organisation.

Say what? (none / 0) (#31)
by curien on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 07:58:40 AM EST

... they are a bunch of poor and young ignorant peasants who have nothing much to do but kidnap tourists...

Excuse me? That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all month.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt
[ Parent ]

Obviously (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:38:11 AM EST

You haven't been reading his comments on other stories...

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
....and out came this golden calf! (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by killmepleez on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 01:04:43 PM EST

yeah, that line reminds me of a quote from the, er..um, perfectly-executed film, "Series 7: The Contenders", about a Reality Show in which people are randomly selected for a contest in which each is trying to kill the other contestants. At one point the main character is doing one of those post-action 'Tell Us How You Feel About What Happened' clips, and she says, "I dunno... I mean, it's a tough world, and sometimes you get so angry and so confused all you can think of to do is go out and kill people".

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
[ Parent ]
Stop reading CNN (5.00 / 2) (#46)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:22:01 PM EST

The journalists were allowed to go back and forth in Abu Sayaf camp without any control, to talk to hostages etc... what kind of terrorist organisation is that ? And if you don't believe this, read the article from 2000 : http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/philippines000508.html (ABC News) ? There are many other hostages interview available around that were made when they were actually held hostages.

Could you really imagine a bunch of western reporters moving freely in Bin Laden camps and interviewing people or Bin Laden ? Abu Sayaf are murderers, but as far as terrorism goes they are absolute amateurs.

[ Parent ]

and start reading Disney, right? (none / 0) (#48)
by Lode Runner on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:03:12 PM EST

Your claim that journalists "were allowed to go back and forth in Abu Sayaf camp without any control, to talk to hostages etc..." has no bearing on the story you cited or on reality.

The tapes concerned were filmed by Abu Sayyaf and released to the media. When journalists entered the Abu Sayyaf camps, they were escorted. And interviews of hostages were generally conducted via telephone.

Granted, Abu Sayyaf may not be as organized as Al-Qaeda, but nor are they the rabble of angry peasants you European leftists so badly want them to be.

p.s. - you still haven't answered my other post. I guess you're too busy bashing CNN to take the time to substantiate your claims...

[ Parent ]

Terrorists ? A big stretch (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by Betcour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 03:14:31 AM EST

The tapes concerned were filmed by Abu Sayyaf and released to the media. When journalists entered the Abu Sayyaf camps, they were escorted. And interviews of hostages were generally conducted via telephone.

That's still amateurism. Serious terrorists :
  1. Don't take hostages, except in Hollywood movies when they want to save their butt from Bruce Willis. Real terrorist kills peoples, period !
  2. Don't let western journalists visit their installations, garded or not. They kill journalists, just like they did in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  3. Don't sell hostages for 1 M$ each. For one it's not why they are here for, for two this create more problems that they want to deal with (organizing the transaction without gettign killed, laundering the money, etc.). Besides, organisations like Al Quaeda have more than enough money already.
Saying Abu Sayaf is a group of terrorists is an utter lie, that only serves Bush effort to scare people a bit more ("look, all the bad terrorists everywhere"). As for their criminal business in hostage trading, it's done pretty badly. You wouldn't expect the Sicilian mafia to let journalists visit the hostage and interview them. When you read articles like this. And if you really want to put hostage takers in the terrorists, then you have to put quite a lot of people in there (Italian mafia, Chinese mafias, eastern-Europe mafias, Yemen tribes, South-american gerillas, etc.)

p.s. - you still haven't answered my other post. I guess you're too busy bashing CNN to take the time to substantiate your claims...

I'm affraid I don't have access to the INA video archives, and even if I did would have problem sending you a feed of the Envoyé Spécial documentary about Abu Sayaf.

[ Parent ]
gee whiz (none / 0) (#69)
by Lode Runner on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:10:59 PM EST

I'm sorry about those INA video archives, because only they could provide the proof to back up your assertions. Apparently none of the thousands of text articles posted on Abu Sayyaf can substantiate your claims.

Yeah, those text articles are great. In them, you can find evidence of Abu Sayyaf's non-terroristic activities like setting off bombs in crowded streets and churches. Calling this "terrorism" is an utter lie. Damned American simplisme...

Not only does Abu Sayyaf do more than kidnapping, but "real" terrorist groups do frequently condescend to take hostages. Hizbullah is an example, and so is the rabble of Chechen "rebels" that was commanded by the bloody-splotch-formerly known-as-Khattab.

What's more, these "real" terrorists are media-savvy and regularly let western journalists -- especially the sympathetic ones -- pay them visits. Just look at Robert Fisk.

p.s. -- it's Chuck Norris, not Bruce Willis.

[ Parent ]

Answer (none / 0) (#54)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:28:11 PM EST

Could you really imagine a bunch of western reporters moving freely in Bin Laden camps and interviewing people or Bin Laden ?

Yes.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

That was in 1998. (none / 0) (#60)
by Betcour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 02:55:41 AM EST

At that time Bin Laden wasn't know as "world's most wanted terrorist".

[ Parent ]
Oh, he was the world's most wanted terrorist (none / 0) (#63)
by KilljoyAZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:55:58 AM EST

If you don't think the US wanted him badly, you're sadly mistaken. It's just that terrorism wasn't the number 1 issue at the time.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
let's see your sources (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by Lode Runner on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 12:50:31 PM EST

because I'm curious about where you acquired this extensive knowledge of Abu Sayaaf.

As it stands, what you're claiming goes in the face of the arguments of William Rees's thoroughly documented article.

[ Parent ]

Terrorist? (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by William Rees on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:16:32 PM EST

Did the story ever once mention the word terrorist?

A terrorist is someone who utilizes terror to achieve a purpose. It is a means to an end. The ASG uses kidnappings to get money. Their actions may imbue terror in the general population of the Southern Philippines, but the terror is an unintentional result. Their mean is abduction. Their goal is money. Terror is not in the equation.

[ Parent ]

Dangerous world trends (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by informer on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:19:18 AM EST

Thanks for the article. Clearly one of the real tragedies about this situation is more widespread hatred and/or misunderstanding of Islam.

I've spent quite a bit of time consulting in the Philippines, mostly on an island not far from the area's these people live (hide). I can say that generally the mainstream media in the Philippines is heavily biased towards viewpoints held by the U.S., which is of course (though not always) currently quite anti-Muslim in nature. Specifically, the media often does not publicise legitimate grievances held by the people of these areas, while widely publicising grievances of the non-Muslim communities.

Consequently, there are huge (and growing) numbers of people in the Philippines who attribute much of the local (and indeed, international) world problems, to the plights of Islam.

While I am quite far from a 'supporter' of these guys, I sympathize with the history of Muslims in the area, and strongly oppose the many of the military and political actions taken by the U.S. Govt. and the Philippine Govt. in relation to those Muslims in the area who have legitimate grievances with the decidedly anti-Muslim people in power.

Lets hope peace can be brought to the area soon.

IMHO, let them have their island(s) and let them govern it the way they want. The only legitimate (hah!) argument for disallowing this is because there is money to be made from the area; therefore the government wishes to keep a hold on the region.

Anyone care to give me a better rationale argument for preventing the largely Muslim islands from forming their own government free from the rule of a government who is not looking after their best interests?

- Adam


Clarification (none / 0) (#34)
by informer on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 08:31:16 AM EST

I just wanted to make sure nobody misunderstood my post to mean I supported the Abu Sayyaf becoming the goverment.

I would of course, oppose this.

[ Parent ]

Two things (3.20 / 5) (#47)
by DarkZero on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 02:42:31 PM EST

Clearly one of the real tragedies about this situation is more widespread hatred and/or misunderstanding of Islam.

In a situation with this much war, poverty, death, and torture, I think the misunderstanding of Islam ranks pretty low on the list of the "real tragedies" about this situation, if it even ranks as a tragedy at all. The misunderstanding of a set of ideas, which is basically what a religion is, pales in comparison to the torture, death, or generally shitty lives of many thousands of people in the Phillipines.

I've spent quite a bit of time consulting in the Philippines, mostly on an island not far from the area's these people live (hide). I can say that generally the mainstream media in the Philippines is heavily biased towards viewpoints held by the U.S., which is of course (though not always) currently quite anti-Muslim in nature. Specifically, the media often does not publicise legitimate grievances held by the people of these areas, while widely publicising grievances of the non-Muslim communities.

The mainstream American media jumps at every chance to claim that the Islamic religion should not be blamed for the terrorism that is carried out in its name. The US government, regardless of who is speaking for it (presidents, senators, secretaries, etc.), has repeated the same sentiment over and over again. If the mainstream Filipino media is blatantly anti-Muslim, that is not a bias toward the viewpoints of the mainstream American media or the US government. That is simply racism on their part, born and bred on their own shores.

[ Parent ]

Oh get real (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by Ken Pompadour on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 03:17:31 PM EST

Your American media is saturated with Anti-Islamic sentiment. Want proof? Take a gander at the last page of the latest Time magazine.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
For those of us who don't subscribe to Time (none / 0) (#53)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:25:10 PM EST

Enlighten us as to what's on it, and why its presence on the last page constitutes "saturation."

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Heh heh (1.00 / 1) (#58)
by DarkZero on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:32:32 PM EST

Your American media is saturated with Anti-Islamic sentiment. Want proof? Take a gander at the last page of the latest Time magazine.

Actually, rather than refuting my point, your little bit of evidence there just backed up what I said. To find a media bias against Muslims in Time magazine, you had to look to the last page. In case you aren't aware, the last page isn't a news page, but rather the "Essay" page. It's a weekly feature that Time has that's basically an op-ed story from the point of view of whichever writer is chosen that week. The entire idea of the feature is that it's an opinion essay from the point of view of a single person, as opposed to the entire rest of the magazine, which is intended to be balanced, unbiased news (with the exception of the movie/music/theater reviews that take up about three pages each issue).

One guy who is given a forum to speak his mind with all of his personal biases intact is evidence of the American media being satured with anti-Islamic sentiment? That's just as ridiculous as ignoring every mainstream American newspaper and news channel and considering a lone essay by Jerry Falwell as evidence that the mainstream American media hates Muslims, hates the ACLU, hates gays, and is totally in favor of making abortion illegal. One op-ed article from one person is by no means evidence of a widespread media bias against Muslims, especially when op-ed articles and real, unbiased news have always been considered as completely different entities in the world of news media. They have different standards and different intentions, but happen to be in the same newspapers and magazines because they cover the same topics.

[ Parent ]

That article would be considered inciteful (none / 0) (#65)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 11:21:04 AM EST

Where I live. Because it is. That sort of anti-Islamic sentiment wouldn't fly in Canada - that author would be handed his head on a platter, assuming that his editor would ever let it slip by. That it's alright with you is quite telling.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
It's telling (none / 0) (#70)
by KilljoyAZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:44:37 PM EST

that you're all for free speech, so long as the person speaking agrees with you. I'd rather not live in your groupthink utopia, thanks.

Still waiting for proof of the saturation, Ken.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

There's a difference ... (2.00 / 1) (#71)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:21:53 PM EST

between free speech and hate speech. And guess where I read said disgusting statement? In Time Magazine. Which is sold in Canada. It's a lucky thing for Joel "Funny in his own Mind" Stein that he's not writing for a Canadian magazine, since the letter writing campaign that would follow would result in his forced resignation or firing.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
I looked online (2.00 / 1) (#72)
by KilljoyAZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 08:58:46 PM EST

Is it the article titled "The Rest-of-the-World Cup"? If so, I agree with you the man isn't funny, but what he says about Iranians pales to some of the things you've said here many, many, times. Yet no one's starting a letter writing campaign to rusty to get you banned here, as attractive as that may seem.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Once again (1.00 / 1) (#73)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:27:08 PM EST

There's a difference between things that are true and inflamatory drivel. You're able to correct me here if I make a mistake, but there's noone to stop the barrage of anti-Islamic sentiment in mainstream media.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
It's called "Letters to the Editor" (none / 0) (#74)
by KilljoyAZ on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 09:50:06 PM EST

They publish them sometimes, if they're well thought out.

Still waiting for the saturation. A one line blurb from a "humor" columnist on the back page of Time just isn't going to cut it.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

WTF? (3.50 / 2) (#82)
by jagg on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 07:15:50 AM EST

There's a difference between free speech and hate speech.
You can't have it both ways. Either speech is free, or it is not. Just because you don't think it's a valid point, doesn't mean it should be censored. If the point is invalid, it is open to rational criticism, in which case, it can be thoroughly debunked.

Fire someone for his or her opinion, eh? Yeah, that's the solution. Marginalize them. Good one. One only needs to look to the rise of far-right parties in Europe to see the wonderful effect censorship brings.

--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]

It *is* a tragedy (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by informer on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 07:58:56 AM EST

In a situation with this much war, poverty, death, and torture, I think the misunderstanding of Islam ranks pretty low on the list of the "real tragedies" about this situation, if it even ranks as a tragedy at all. The misunderstanding of a set of ideas, which is basically what a religion is, pales in comparison to the torture, death, or generally shitty lives of many thousands of people in the Philippines.

I think you are mistaken. Misunderstanding of a set of ideas and a way of life is very bad for the world, and is a huge contributing factor in much of the violence and hatred that has existed throughout modern history. What history has taught us is that tolerance and understanding of different cultures and beliefs promotes peace.

It is not merely a tragedy that this group murders people, or that many of their parents have indeed been murdered in the past by the US and the Philippine Government, it is a tragedy that there is escalating hatred and misunderstanding on both sides (which leads to more violence).

If you believe what the author of this article wrote, look at what he says is one of the original causes for the fighting: The migrations of Christians to traditionally Muslim lands were viewed as an invasion of culture.

The mainstream American media jumps at every chance to claim that the Islamic religion should not be blamed for the terrorism that is carried out in its name. The US government, regardless of who is speaking for it (presidents, senators, secretaries, etc.), has repeated the same sentiment over and over again. If the mainstream Filipino media is blatantly anti-Muslim, that is not a bias toward the viewpoints of the mainstream American media or the US government. That is simply racism on their part, born and bred on their own shores.

Its easy to say "Islam should not be blamed" on one hand, while repeatedly allowing everyone to assume that Islam is the *cause* of every piece of violence between Islamic and non-islamic people on the other. To be unbiased, you need to push both sides of the story, at all times regardless of your belief that one is more correct. Bias in this case could mean the distinct lack of details mentioned about exactly why these people (The Muslims of the south) are currently subjected to rule by a government they don't want? How did they come to be under this rule? Clearly (and you can research this if you must) the reason the US media (and the local media) typically avoids these and other sensitive topics are because they have much to be ashamed of, and probably more than the Abu Sayyaf do today.

[ Parent ]
Gracia not Garcia; and rescue operation outcome (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by richxcasto on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 10:47:00 AM EST

"...Martin and Garcia Burnham, were kidnapped in May of 2001."

Small typo: that would be Gracia Burnham (not Garcia). They were US missionaries.

Last Friday, the Philippines military (with US intelligence assistance) attempted a hostage rescue operation. Unfortunately, Martin, along with Filipino nurse Deborah Yap, was killed in the firefight. Gracia was rescued with only a bullet wound to her thigh and is now reunited with her family in the US. Details are at http://www.ntm.org/connect/burnham/index.shtml

Great article (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by wji on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 11:16:53 AM EST

Thanks for the background. Do you know a good book about the factions and history of the Phillipines? It seems like a really complex place with a great variety of cultures and ethnicities in a geographically compact area. And then of course there's the American genocide, the Japanese occupation, the Huk rebellion and various CIA machinations... got a title for me?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
I'm glad you asked. (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by codeslut on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:11:13 AM EST

Yes it definitely is quite a complicated place, and yes also on the variety of cultures. Though I have to say that westernization is smoothing out a lot of the diversities, which I'm sure is true all over the world.

For a good general history of the Philippines, check out my college textbook! History of the Filipino People, by Teodoro Agoncillo. If you have any Filipino friends, they might be able to source it for you.

On the American genocide, there's Stanley Karnow's In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. Here it is on amazon.com. There are good reviews. Plus, it also has an overview of the Spanish era.

If you can find it, there's O.D. Corpuz's An Economic History of the Philippines.

And finally, here are some sites with plenty of links:

  • the historical archive at pinoylaw.com
  • Tanikalang Ginto (golden chain)

    Happy reading!


    -----
    "`The Kerastion is a musical instrument that cannot be heard`.
    Now there's a Borges story in ten words!"
    - Ursula K. Le Guin
    [ Parent ]

  • Interesting. (3.50 / 4) (#55)
    by mindstrm on Wed Jun 12, 2002 at 06:41:42 PM EST

    I find it interesting how, historically, Muslims were the educated, open-minded ones.  They did not feel everyone was worthless or evil simply because they were not Muslim.. they were just not as enlightened.

    They educated, travelled, and tolerated.

    Now Islam has been perverted into a twisted religion, and hte Islamic nations are among the most backward on earth.

    Very sad that makes me.


    theboz, why the one? (3.66 / 3) (#76)
    by Lode Runner on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 01:16:39 AM EST

    Where did mindstrm err?

    A thousand years ago in the religiously diverse and tolerant city of Basra, a man named Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham grappled with problems of optics and metaphysics that Western Europeans could not even conceive until the late 17th century. He shared his ideas with a community of scholars that stretched from Baghdad to Cairo to Spain while my ancestors fought over sheep and flayed people who asked questions that Ibn al-Haitham was answering.

    Today, Ibn al-Haitham's name adorns Saddam Hussein's experimental weapons program, weapons that were tested on the inhabitants of Basra.

    This makes me sad too.



    [ Parent ]

    No it doesn't (none / 0) (#78)
    by Ken Pompadour on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 10:22:30 AM EST

    Today, Ibn al-Haitham's name adorns Saddam Hussein's experimental weapons program, weapons that were tested on the inhabitants of Basra.

    This makes me sad too.

    You're a liar if you say it makes you sad.



    ...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
    [ Parent ]

    just because (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Lode Runner on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 04:06:57 PM EST

    you enjoy watching innocent people suffer doesn't mean that the rest of us do.

    Ken -- can I call you Ken? -- it's not your fault that you're marginal and mediocre; but venting your anger on those of us who're trying to engage in meaningful dialogue here will not cure those problems or their symptom, your anomie.

    If you want a shoulder to cry on, or if you just want to talk, e-mail me.



    [ Parent ]

    Lode Runner... (3.50 / 2) (#81)
    by Ken Pompadour on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 06:59:25 PM EST

    How's the Venlafaxine working out?

    ...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
    [ Parent ]
    I don't get it.. (none / 0) (#83)
    by mindstrm on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 01:48:38 PM EST

    where did I err? You just proved my point.


    [ Parent ]
    precisely (none / 0) (#84)
    by Lode Runner on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 09:53:09 PM EST

    I was scolding theboz for oneing your comment, silly.

    [ Parent ]
    Islamic history (none / 0) (#80)
    by gibichung on Fri Jun 14, 2002 at 04:47:47 PM EST

    historically, Muslims were the educated, open-minded ones.
    While I'd hesitate to call this a "liberal myth," it's probably appropriate here. The Islamic 'renaissance' was certainly very important in inspiring and shaping the European one that followed it, but this reign of Islamic tolerance was short. The Muslim Caliphate in Spain crumbled not to Christians, but to other Muslims. In 1013, the 'Great Library' at Cordova was destroyed... by Muslims. The 'reconquista' was only made possible because of this infighting. In 1099, crusaders captured Jerusalem.

    Despite the resurgence under Saladin, the Muslim world was fractured. Saladin himself was a Kurd, not an Arab. After Saladin came the Mamluks, who were Turks. In 1258, Mongols sacked Baghdad, murdered the Caliph and killed pretty much everyone. Depending on who ask, this was from 200,000 to 800,000 people. Following this, the fate of Islam was in the hands of Central Asians, not Arabs, and, for the most part, our period of enlightenment and tolerance ended.

    -----
    "No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
    [ Parent ]

    What about the colombian problem? (none / 0) (#68)
    by ferpunt on Thu Jun 13, 2002 at 12:29:41 PM EST

    This article shows how big and dangerous a criminal gang can go using a political reason to go on, when they´re well funded and armed, specially with narcotrafic money. The colombian guerrilla that call themselves "the freedom from the capitalist oppression" are simply a group of criminals that kidnap and kill civilians, only to have more and more power and money. They don´t have any political ideas or plans to improve the life level of the colombian people. They only care for their interests. And what is the international community doing to stop this? Nothing, because there are no commercial interests in Colombia worth the effort. They prefer to help (silently) the war between the goverment and this criminals in order to continue selling weapons and military technology. The results? Colombians fleeing away to avoid being kidnapped or killed for no apparent reason or for refusing to pay the "revolutionary tax" to the guerrillas. Imagine a person that has worked its entire life to have a modest house and a little business, and one day, has to give up everything to "the cause" of the guerrilas, if he/she doesn´t want to be killed or kidnapped, or his/her family harmed. It is really sad to see this happen, and it is more worrying to see that nobody does anything to help Colombia out of this. It is a small army of 15.000 men vs. 40 million people, scared and unable to defend or protect themselves.

    Abu Sayyaf | 84 comments (76 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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