ALEX MAGNO: WE ARE THE WEAKEST LINK BECAUSE...

Manila, August 9, 2003 (STAR) FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno  - The stupid chatter of leftist ideologues is truly annoying.

These ideologues are trying to convince us that the "war against terror" rests on contrived premises. It is, they say, a "war" undertaken by our government at the behest of Washington. Being that, it is a "war" conducted by a client state at the behest of "imperialism" to the final disadvantage of our own people.

This is hogwash.

Earlier this week, the Marriot Hotel in Jakarta was bombed killing at least ten people. The bomb used resembled that used in the deadly Bali bombing and the bombing of the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta that very nearly took out our ambassador.

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) claimed responsibility for the attack. This group is linked to the global Al Qaeda terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden.

Captured members of the Jemaah Islamiyah admitted they received training in MILF-controlled areas in the Southern Philippines. Operatives of the Al-Qaeda-JI network have been busy setting up operations in the Philippines – including a plot in 1995 to take commercial aircraft and use them as missiles to coincide with the Pope’s visit to Manila. That was to be the dry run for the September 2001 attacks in the US.

Philippine police operatives have succeeded in capturing a number of JI agents in the country. Among them is Fathur Roman al-Ghozi.

Like Indonesia, the Philippines has been the target of terrorist operations.

We now know the JI was behind the Rizal Day bombing across Manila. We know the JI and the al-Qaeda have attempted several times to establish operations bases here. Some of the terrorists actually trained in some of our flying schools.

We are an important link in the chain of terrorist operations across the region. And now analysts are saying we could be the weakest link in the fight against international terror.

We are the weakest link because our law enforcement is less than fully reliable – a deficiency highlighted by the al-Ghozi escape. Our political system allows stupid leftists and posturing politicians to undermine the execution of our anti-terror policy. After many years, our Congress has yet to pass an anti-terrorism law.

Often, it seems, our domestic political discourse is afflicted by an inflated understanding of rights and a depleted appreciation for the requirements of communal security.

We have a large human rights industry here. And it is an industry largely controlled by leftist activists with a political agenda to keep authority on the defensive and allow maximum leeway for those who undermine authority.

Notice how these guys have managed to win media mileage questioning the President’s proclamation of a state of rebellion in the face of an obvious rebellion by misguided young officers.

Notice how, over the past few days, our politically-correct media every imagined inconvenience of the detained mutineers: the restrictions on their access to self-serving publicity, restrictions on visiting hours driven by security constraints and even normal restrictions on their communications which are to be expected anywhere else in a situation where the authorities are still facing down a live threat to the state.

In other countries, after a mutiny has been quashed, the mutineers are held incommunicado for long periods in order to prevent revival of the conspiracy. Here, voluble lawyers for the rebels are demanding round-the-clock access to their "clients", phone-patch interviews with the media and birthday parties in the detention cells. If the authorities grant anything less, they are accused of muzzling the prisoners, covering up the sources of their grievance and even fabricating evidence against people who obviously tried to topple government.

The rebels themselves seem to be protesting their own detention, as if this was an unnatural thing to happen. They are objecting to the filing of cases against them in the normal courts. It seems that after threatening the whole nation with bombs and impressive firepower, they want to be billeted in a hotel and given all the freebies they want.

In other countries with significantly more extreme national security practices, participants in a rebellion are put to the wall and shot summarily. At the very least, people charges with serious crimes lose their right to be heard, lose the privilege to continue addressing the public through the open media.

Has anyone seen or heard Anwar Ibrahim since he was detained in Kuala Lumpur?

For that matter, has anyone seen or heard Nur Misuari after he was arrested for instigating that funny mini-rebellion?

Why is it that so many people now want to put the mutineers on 24-hour reality TV?

Perhaps we should try once more to put a more realistic perspective on recent events.

An attempted coup happened in Makati on July 27. A bomb blasted a hotel in Jakarta a few days ago, very likely undertaken by a terror network with known operatives here. There is good reason to suspect that this terror network could hit Manila once more.

In a word, our security situation is a bit unhinged. There is every reason for government to take every precaution to restore normalcy in military ranks and prevent terrorist from exploiting the tense situation by mounting a bloody attack.

Leftist mouthpieces have tried to convince our people that the proclamation of a state of rebellion is martial rule in disguise. They have raise wild scenarios about human rights being violated wholesale.

The effect of the proclamation is vastly less romantic and immensely more reassuring. It allows government to decree prices to be constant, thus preventing panic buying and holding in check unscrupulous merchants who would indulge in profiteering amidst all the excitement.

Threats to our peace coming from coup conspirators and terrorists are real.

Government will be abdicating on its responsibilities to protect public welfare if it does not do what it is now doing. There is no better guarantee of public safety than proactive vigilance on the part of the governing authority.

And while we go about repairing our damaged sense of security, it will help a lot if the politicians of both the left and the right shut their mouths for the moment and allow our political system to recover its bearings.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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