Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

Abu Sayyaf extremists warn of beheading ICRC captives

March 30, 2009

After two months of holding the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers in the mountains of Jolo, Sulu, the kidnappers headed by Albader Parad of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group demanded that military, police and civilian forces must leave 15 barangays in five towns in Sulu within 24 hours. The new demand came after three military men died and 19 others were wounded last week in a skirmish between government forces and members of the Islamic extremists.

There are fresh worries that Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba—-the three humanitarian workers snatched by the kidnappers, last January 15, 2009 in Mindanao will be harmed or killed. According to Sulu vice gov. Lady Ann Sahidulla, one of the negotiators said the terrorist group is serious in its threat to decapitate one of the hostages.

The appeal of the ICRC to spare and free the hostages have fallen in deaf ears. With little that it can do, government forces are weighing in on how to resolve the hostage situation which drags on, putting the hostages’ fate in greater danger.

The Abu Sayyaf has a disdainful history of beheading its innocent victims as in case of Peruvian-American Guillermo Sobero who was snatched together with 20 others in a Palawan resort before being killed 8 years ago.

Martin Burnham, a missionary died under Abu Sayyaf hands in a deadly shootout after being held in captivity for more than a year with his wife Gracia. In the past, this violent Islamic group with Al Qaeda ties is known to seek ransom that runs in millions. (Photo Credit: Charlie Saceda) =0=

Pope Appeals for the release of hostages

On March 31, 2009, the Vatican issued an appeal from Pope Benedict to set free the innocent ICRC hostages. The pontiff calls for “humanitarian sensibililty and reason to prevail over violence and intimidation.” His message was sent by the Holy See as the 2 P. M. deadline to comply with the kidnappers’ demand that the military and police pull back from Jolo draws near.


Finding the right term for the global war on terror

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration wants to retire the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operation”—- This is political correctness pushed by critics who think the old term used by Pres. George W. Bush “justifies human rights abuses including detention and interrogation methods.”

In a directive to administrators and speechwriters, the Obama government seeks to avoid terms like “long war” and “war on terror.” Not everyone supports this fancy recommendation though. Those who know that “a spade is a spade” dismiss this as a wimpy change which lessens the real threat posed by terrorists.

Americans cannot protect themselves by “softening” the terminologies of war. It is dangerous to assume that their enemies will be kind to them by such naive gesture. (Photo Credit: MrMoonKe88; lonesome:cycler) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message” Posted by mesiamd at 3/22/2009


Abu Sayyaf kidnappers asks for P50 million ransom for ICRC workers

March 12, 2009

The notorious terror group Abu Sayyaf has finally demanded P50 million ransom as a condition to release the three humanitarian workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC.) This is according to Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema.

Many did not believe the earlier denials that all the Mindanao extremists wanted was for the military to pull out from their area of operation. As in the past, the public expects this group to ask for ransom. Two months after Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba were abducted and held hostage in the hinterlands of Jolo, Sulu, the terror group has finally been reported to be asking for ransom which the ICRC rejected.

The reason for the rejection is clear. It rewards acts of banditry. It encourages more kidnappings. Leaving the problem’s resolution to the local crisis negotiators, the government has three options—-ignore the demand and not to do anything, forcibly rescue the hostages, or pay the ransom. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC file) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Three kidnapped Red Cross workers still missing in Mindanao” Posted by mesiamd at 1/21/2009


Muslim religious leaders must also seek the release of Red Cross workers

February 25, 2009

Islamic religious leaders have climbed the mountains of Sampinit in Mindanao to seek the freedom of Umar Jaleel, a peaceworker from Sri Lanka who was abducted by nine armed men believed to be part of the notorious Abu Sayaff group led by Puruji Indama.

“Because the victim is also a Muslim preacher, the Muslim religious leaders went to the mountains to negotiate for his release,” according to the member of the group trying to solve the crisis.” —Philstar (02/25, 09, Pareno, R)

Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakalahul who heads the provincial crisis management committee says Ulamas who believe hostage-taking is against Islam are out to seek the release of Jaleel, a Muslim.

If kidnapping is against their beliefs, these religious leaders must work for the freedom of other innocent victims—like Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, the three International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) humanitarian workers being held in Sulu, Mindanao since they were forcibly snatched in January 15, 2009. At the time of kidnapping they were doing charity work for prisoners in the area. (Photo Credit: AmUnivers) =0=

UPDATE:“Please tell them, if possible, if they can, to quicken the process. It has become very hard and truly painful. Physically and emotionally, it’s really very, very hard,” said Mary Jean Lacaba, the Filipino captive in the ICRC kidnapping said in a phone interview last Feb 25, 2009.—PDI (02/28/09, de la Cruz, A)

RELATED BLOG: “Three kidnapped Red Cross workers still missing in Mindanao” Posted by mesiamd at 1/21/2009


Abu Sayyaf kidnapped victims appeal for help; their fates still in limbo

February 5, 2009

Three weeks after the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted while doing humanitarian work for Sulu prisoners in Southern Philippines, they sent an appeal to the world, particularly the local authorities to work on their release. The Abu Sayyaf Islamic group with Al Qaeda ties had been holding them in an undisclosed forested location while demanding that the military with a force of about 1,000 soldiers pull out from the area.

“Please try to… deal with them, try to find a way to pull us out,” Eugenio Vagni, the 62-year-old engineer, said in an interview aired by a local radio. “We call on concerned authorities to choose to negotiate with the group, to negotiate and we hope that they will take this effort seriously,” said Swiss Andreas Notter, 38, the head of ICRC team abducted in Jolo island on Jan. 15 after a prison sanitation project inspection.—-GMA / Xinhua (02/05/09)

The initial maneuvers to secure their freedom have not worked. Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Andreas Notter and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba are reportedly treated “well,” but this doesn’t guarantee that this situation will hold until a happy end.

The public reception of the abduction is tepid; there’s practically no outrage from Filipinos and people abroad who have been numbed by banditry in this location. Military officers pin on secrecy and news black out “to protect the safety” of the abducted victims. Behind the scene however, there are those who question the competency of the government in handling the hostage situation. The US embassy in Manila has offered their help and ICRC officials mulls on how the three victims could be rescued.

The longer the abducted workers are held, the public sees clearly the brutality and evil terrorism inflicts on the world. The Abu Sayyaf militants speak of “guest treatment,” on their victims, but it won’t be long when their real motivation comes to light. Nobody will be surprised if ransom, intimidation, and physical harm become the center piece of their familiar modus operandi. (Photo Credit: JezICRCGeneva; Charlie Salceda)=0=


Three kidnapped Red Cross workers still missing in Mindanao

January 21, 2009

A week after 3 members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped in Patikul, Sulu by heavily armed unidentified men on motorcycles, there had been little news on their whereabouts. Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba were snatched in Southern Philippines on January 15, 2009 during their field inspection of a water sanitation project in Sulu Provincial Jail in Southern Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf, the extremist Islamic group under Albade Parad with Al Qaeda ties had been suspected to be behind the abduction. On Monday, January 19, the kidnapped ICRC workers placed a phone call to their office asking that the military rescue operation be suspended.

Gen. Alexander Yano of the Armed Forces of the Philippines heads the search and rescue operation which show no progress. The military officer keeps a controversial news blackout which he believes is needed so as not to compromise the life of the kidnapped victims.

“Thursday’s abduction was the most high-profile kidnapping of foreigners since 2001, when Abu Sayyaf gunmen snatched nearly two dozen tourists from a resort, including three Americans. One of the Americans was beheaded, a second was killed during a military rescue operation and the third was rescued. The incident prompted Washington to deploy troops in the south starting in 2002, but they are barred from combat.” —Yahoo News / AP (01/17/09, Teves, O)

“Alain Aeschlimann, head of the ICRC’s operations for Asia Pacific in Geneva, said their main concern is to ensure that they continue to be unharmed and that they are let go, without any conditions, as quickly as possible.” —Malaya (01/20/09, Reyes, V)

There is increasing clamor to step up the search. Conflicting rumors heighten the anxiety and feeling of helplessness of hostages’ relatives. With no progress in finding the missing workers, the US Embassy in Manila has offered help to the Philippine authorities. If mishandled, this crisis can quickly degenerate into another round of ransom-giving, then body injuries, and even deaths. Unintended results bring back the old questions on the competence and integrity of the military authorities in solving this kind of dilemma. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC file; Charles Saceda) =0=


Israeli air strikes leave 200+ dead in Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008

As Pope Benedict XVI calls for renunciation of violence during the holy season of Christmas, Israelis and Palestinians are on a bloody confrontation again in the Gaza Strip leaving at least 200 dead and injuring about 400 more. This is the result of heavy air strikes conducted by Israeli troops against militant Palestinian targets in Hamas-dominated territory a week after a 6-month ceasefire truce expired.

The resumption of bombings and killings on Saturday, December 27, 2008, is supposed to be Israel’s retaliation to months of Hamas’ mortar fires and indiscriminate rocket launches which terrorize about ¼ million Israelis who live in the area.

Hamas infrastructures and installations had been destroyed and many security officers were killed or hurt. Gaza residents had been on the state of panic as the death toll rose and the wounded victims flooded hospitals and clinics.

“The offensive sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation.”—; AP (12/28/08 Barzak, Brahim)

Hamas, the radical group considered by Israel as a terrorist organization, called for revenge, but Isreali military authorities had been firm in their stance. In spite of the call for calm, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak vowed to widen the military offensive if needed. Israel did not set a time-line on when the air strikes would end.

The long-standing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has taxed peace-makers for decades, but a solution has been consistently elusive. Extremist Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East who support the Palestinians call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. (Photo Credits: AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AFP; AP/ Mohammed Zastari) =0=


Mexican narcotics gangland: 5,376 murders in 2008

December 9, 2008

If terrorism which alarms the Indians in Mumbai and Pakistanis in Islamabad, half around the world, the Mexicans are worried about the escalation of narcotics-related deaths. Organized slaying south of the border of the United States has doubled since the start of the year. Illegal drug dealers have been fighting for narcotics dominance in their location.

Mexican law enforcement has also been hit by the biggest corruption scandal in a decade in recent months, as more than a dozen high-ranking officials in police and prosecutors’ offices have been detained or charged for allegedly passing information to the cartels.”—AP (12/08/08, Castillo, Ed)

Compared to the 2,477 slayings of last year, the number of drug related deaths in 2008 rose to 117 percent, a total of 5,376 murders. The number is more than 1.5x than the casualty of the terror of 911. The brutal killings in Mexico were results of long-standing quarrels involving trade routes, street sales, and leadership in the narcotics cartel.

The wave of beheadings, mutilations, and shootings prompted the US government to release $197 million, part of the $400 million assistance to support Mexico’s police and soldiers in a cooperative campaign against narco-terrorism.

According to reports, the rise in murders coincides with the split of the Beltran-Leyva gang this year from the dominant cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman igniting fightings between competing factions. Moreover, the weakening of the US economy has left many jobless Mexicans lured to the drug business.

A sharp decline in border crossings from Mexico is noted as few jobs for laborers, mainly in agriculture and service jobs, are available. Rising unemployment fuels the illegal drug trade and crime.(Photo Credit:


Orphaned boy, broken peace

December 7, 2008

A week of investigation has yielded evidence to suggest that the Mumbai terrorist attack which killed nearly 200 people is linked with the violent Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT,) a radical Islamic group with roots in the Pakistani soil.

The horrendous suffering of innocent people cannot be completely quantified in this recent act of terrorism. It is horrible to imagine that there are people who spend time to destroy lives rather than build them.

In the aftermath of India’s worst terrorist attack, the story of Moshe Holtzberg stuck out as the most heart-rending. The two-year old Jewish tot lost his father Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and mother Rivkha in the killings at the Chabad House during the 60-hour carnage.

If not for the decision of his quick-thinking nanny, Sandra Samuel, the innocent kid could also have been shot dead too. Safely back in Isreal with his grandparents, seeing him cry is upsetting.

Moshe’s uncertain future and those like him don’t bother the terrorists. The orphaned child wails when he remembers his dead parents whose religious mission in India came to an abrupt end.

The boy’s young life seems to reflect the state of peace in the world today. It mirrors the trauma people have to endure as as they try to survive the climate of violence which seems difficult to stop. (Photo Credits: AFP/ Lorenzo Tugnoi; AP/ Hillary Levin)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008


India’s 911 & the reminder of the ugly nature of terrorism

November 30, 2008

Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair.”—Pope Benedict XVI

The gruesome killing spree by militant Islamic radicals in the financial district of India on November 27, 2008 brought a toll of at least 195 dead and more than 300 injured. Many lives were lost senselessly; many homes were broken. After a 60-hour bloody rampage, one could ask if these terrorists could be expected to follow the standards of Western justice and fair play.

Suspected to be Muslim extremists from neighboring Pakistan, the brutal killers left 22 foreigners and 15 Indian security officers among the dead. Their barbarity is their hallmark; their cruelty is incomprehensible.

“Terrorism is carried out purposefully, in a cold-blooded, calculated fashion. The declared goals of the terrorist may change from place to place. He supposedly fights to remedy wrongs — social, religious, national, racial. But for all these problems his only solution is the demolition of the whole structure of society. No partial solution, not even the total redressing of the grievance he complains of, will satisfy him — until our social system is destroyed or delivered into his hands.

“When I say that terrorism is war against civilization, I may be met by the objection that terrorists are often idealists pursuing worthy ultimate aims — national or regional independence, and so forth. I do not accept this argument. I cannot agree that a terrorist can ever be an idealist, or that the objects sought can ever justify terrorism. The impact of terrorism, not merely on individual nations, but on humanity as a whole, is intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and w holly evil.”—Benjamin Netanyahu

The question about justice and fair play of terrorists is more significant as Pres. George W. Bush, the leader of the war on terror leaves office. In spite of his gains with America’s allies, many people forget his credit of foiling of reckless radicals who want to bomb US cities as they did with India. Demonized in a greater scale than his shortcomings, Bush still reminds the world of complacency, the evil of terrorism, and the costly war required in stopping it.

“Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” —Sir Winston Churchill

Terrorists are determined to strike in a date, time and place of their choosing. They will do it in their own terms. Security and safety can only be achieved if they are vanquished and eradicated.

It appears this is a battle that can last longer than the lifetimes of people of the present generation. Changing a warped and immoral ideology takes time especially if linked with radical religious beliefs among people with failing governments and cultures.

“We can’t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.” Mayor Rudolf Guiliani

There are those who think that the terrorists are reasonable and fair. They believe they can be made to embrace peace and be taught good moral conduct. Yet by choosing violence and seeking the destruction of their enemies (i.e. Israel and USA) how can they be trusted? The people of the world are caught between their freedoms and living in a bubble of a society on edge, raising security to avoid an attack.

This might sound arrogant, but I told the terrorist, ‘You can harm my body, you can harm my mind, but you can’t harm my soul. That is mine.’Terry Waite

It’s at this juncture that President-elect Barack Obama thinks deeply on how he’ll deal with cold-bloodied killers whose basic belief is to spread hatred and cause destruction of Western world. It is increasingly clear that those who want to destroy civilization will not stop at causing damage and physical harm. They are bent to inflict suffering, confront the world, until they gain control.

The Republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it … This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.—Elmer Davis

The war on terror isn’t an electoral campaign issue anymore. Rather, it’s a problem that all Americans and their allies have to tackle with undiminished resolve. Obama needs to balance diplomacy, the use of force, pragmatism, and rational judgment. It remains to be seen whether his diplomacy will open a future world order that is peaceful and prosperous.

While we must remain determined to defeat terrorism, it isn’t only terrorism we are fighting. It’s the beliefs that motivate terrorists. A new ideology of hatred and intolerance has arisen to challenge America and liberal democracy.”— Sen. John Kerry

To expect enemies to abandon their violent agenda in a diplomatic negotiation table is naïve and foolhardy. Not to use force against them when it is necessary may be courting defeat. The terrorists know how to exploit any sign of weakness. With the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attack, those who are soft on the radicals have something serious to think about. (Photo Credits: Madalena Pestena; Reuters/Stringer; AP/Gurinder Osan; AFP/Pedro Ugarte; Harpagonis; AFP/Indrabil Muherjee; AFP/Prakash Singh) =0=