Since neither the Philippine nor US government is likely to ever be completly forthcoming about what they know of the PROVENANCE of so destructive and poisonous a mystery and conundrum as the Garci Recordings represent, we in the Public Domain ought to feel completely unbound to ask such questions and continue the quest to discover the answers to them.
PING'S THE BIG LOSER: I hope this results in the resolution of the five year old double murder case of a top public relations operator, Bubby Dacer and his driver, Danny Corbito, five years ago. Two persons closely associated with Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Michael Ray Aquino and Cesar Mancao are wanted in connection with those murders. Also, the Senator has numerous legal woes in the United States in connection with various cases filed against him in California Court involving a multimillion dollar deal to purchase handcuffs over which he has been sued. However, it is an enduring mystery why the Philippine government has never quite moved for the extradition of these men back to the Philippines. It may have something to do with the fact that no one quite knows who actually rubbed out Dacer and his driver. There was much talk at that time that Bubby Dacer was "canoing on two rivers" -- some think he was killed by both sides.
Counter Intelligence Center has the Leandro Aragoncillo AND Michael Ray Aquino story covered with a comprehensive set of links, including a Time Line of the case and Court Records including this Final Indictment (PDF) by a New Jersey State Grand Jury. News of his guilty plea and the bargain that avoids a capital punishment case are carried by the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
WHO IS LEANDRO ARAGONCILLO: FBI Intelligence Analyst at Fort Monmouth, NJ in the FBI's Information Technology Center. Hired July 2004, suspended 12 Sept 2005. Retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant with 21 years service, 1983-2004.Looking over his curriculum vitae, Aragoncillo was clearly not a janitor rummaging in the trash. He was clearly a highly trusted person within both Democratic and Republican administrations, serving both Gore and the present Veep Dick Cheney. Look at his assignments too: Japan, Gitmo, Quantico, the White House!
Stationed in Japan, Guantanamo Bay, Quantico, VA and White House.
Assignment to the White House between 1999 and 2002 as "administration chief" of the security detail assigned to the Vice President (Gore and then Cheney).
Held Top Secret clearance.
Six Good Conduct Medals and a Humanitarian Service Medal
Also, the CIC time line shows that it was alert Immigration officials last year who actually ended up exposing Aragoncillo's illegal activities, when, as an FBI agent he approaced US Immigration officials on behalf of Michael Ray Aquino, who'd been arrested for overstaying his visa. Not CIA, not homeland security, not the NSA.
There are a number of rather intriguing facts revealed in the timeline too. It seems that Leandro Aragoncillo was in Manila on 10 June 2005 until 3 July 2005. He arrived just four days after Ignacio Bunye inadvertendly ignited the Gloriagate scandal on 6 June 2005 and was here throughout the first heady month of Gloriagate when the Garci Recordings were being reproduced by bloggers and mass media. Hmmm, I wonder what he was doing here and if this was coincidence. It was claimed by Atty. Alan Paguia in Congress testimony last year, that it was former President Joseph Estrada who, sometime in April, 2005, gave him two analog casette tapes containing the Garci Conversations which he then edited to include only the conversation with the alleged voice of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Virgilio Garcillano, before presenting them to the five House C0mmittees investigating the Garci Tapes. But how did Erap get the Garci Tapes?
The matter of the provenance of the Garci Tapes has never been explained to anybody's satisfaction. WHO made the original wiretappings that produced the recordings is as much a mystery today as on Day One. Although the reigning theory in the Public domain is that the Intelligence Services of the AFP made those wiretappings under orders from the Palace, because the First Gentleman (who was at the heart of the election operations) allegedly just did not trust Garcillano with what General Francisco Gudani described in Senate hearings as P500 million for Mindanao election operations.
The Isafp certainly could have done it, since it is public knowledge that the US had donated high tech monitoring equipment to the Philippine government, and provide technical training after the sensational escape of the Indonesian terrorist bomber (Rizal Day, 30 December 2000), Fathur Rohman al Ghozi from the Isapf High Security jail facility in Manila. Moreover, the simple fact is that Isafp T/Sgt Vidal Doble's voice is the one heard introducing most of the taped Garci conversations.
DID THE GARCI TAPES COME FROM US INTEL: The Aragoncillo spy case has dredged up a lot of new material and now I am not so sure that Isafp was the true and original source of the the Garci conversations! I think it is time to revisit the old, original theory that the Garci Tapes came from US Intelligence.
One reason this theory has become viable to my mind, is the revelation of the existence of a massive US wiretapping and data mining operation on domestic and foreign individuals and organizations undertaken by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The best summary of these events for our purposes happens to be a my favorite BLAWG site, the Volokh Conspiracy where we find this set of links on the matter:
- Congressional Research Service Report on NSA Surveillance:
- Data-Mining, FISA, and the NSA Surveillance Program:
- New Risen Book Sheds Light on NSA Surveillance Program:...
- Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program:
- Deputy Attorney General Stepping Down:
- Staffing the Justice Department:
According to Risen, the key to the new program is a shift in telecommunications technology in recent decades that has made U.S. networks the carriers of lots of international telephone and e-mail traffic.I think what this means is that the Garci conversations could've been just one of thousands upon thousands of intel data captures that the NSA program found in its telecomm+email nets.In addition to handling telephone calls from, say, Los Angeles to New York, the switches also act as gateways into and out of the United States for international telecommunications. A large volume of purely international telephone calls — calls that do not begin or end in America — also now travel through switches based in the United States. Telephone calls from Asia to Europe, for example, may go through the United States-based switches. This so-called transit traffic has dramatically increased in recent years as the telephone network has become increasingly globalized. Computerized systems determine the most efficient routes for digital "packets" of electronic communications depending on the speed and congestion on the networks, not necessarily on the shortest line between two points. Such random global route selection means that the switches carrying calls from Cleveland to Chicago, for example, may also be carrying calls from Islamabad to Jakarta. In fact, it is now difficult to tell where the domestic telephone system ends and the international network begins.
In the years before 9/11, the NSA apparently recognized that the remarkable growth in transit traffic was becoming a major issue that had never been addressed by FISA or the other 1970s-era rules and regulations governing the U.S. intelligence community. Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches that were physically on American soil, eavesdropping on those calls might be a violation of the regulations and laws restricting the NSA from spying inside the United States.
But transit traffic also presented a major opportunity. If the NSA could gain access to the American switches, it could easily monitor millions of foreign telephone calls, and do so much more consistently and effectively than it could overseas, where it had to rely on spy satellites and listening stations to try to vacuum up telecommunications signals as they bounced through the air.
Indeed, one of the links on the CIC website is this article (PDI, Mar 17): "US Bugged Estrada, son JV and Ping"
The United States, starting from an unprecedented spying scandal in the White House allegedly involving Filipino-American Leandro Aragoncillo, had bugged former President Joseph Estrada and his son, Mayor Joseph Victor (JV) Ejercito of San Juan town in Metro Manila, official sources said. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, said Sen. Panfilo Lacson had also been subjected to wiretapping.The US Embassy sent a diplomatic note dated Feb. 1 to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) transmitting "legal Notices of Interception of wire and/or electronic communications for Joseph Estrada and JV Ejercito."Although there has never been any doubt that the United States has a very active intelligence gathering operation in the Philippines, the fact that local politicians have been a subject of a Court-warranted WIRETAPPING and email bugging operation is quite revealing. It is presently inconceivable to me that the NSA surveillance operation DID NOT include surveillance of ALL Philippine officials, probably since 911, given the nature of the program and what we now know of its technological capabilities and its reach in foreign lands, far away from the strictures of US law and civil liberties.
It is entirely possible then that US Intelligence has the goods on Gloriagate. It is even possible that the existence of the Isapf wiretapping operation was originally revealed to Joseph Estrada by Leandro Aragoncillo because of his rooting around FBI files on Ping's behalf. The most intriguing possibility -- one that I will continue to examine for veracity -- is that the Garci Recordings themselves were somehow sourced from US intelligence data captures from the Philippines.
PIGS IN CANADA? PIGS IN THE PHILIPPINES? I didn't know that eating with a fork and spoon had already been elevated to being an element of Philippine culture, rather than the historical replacement for eating with nothing at all but bare hands and fingers. The latter practice would seem to be a far more traditional and still widespread practice in the Philippine Archipelago. So I suppose that both the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Department of Foreign Affairs should be praised and adulated for their perspicacious efforts at preserving and promoting Philippine culture. In their Sunday editorial PDI says:
PDI (Sunday Editorial): We are glad to note that the Philippine Embassy in Canada has supported the boy's mother in her complaint filed with the local school board. "The embassy considers this an affront to Philippine culture and continues to vigorously support any action that will validate a conclusion of racial discrimination," Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gilbert Asuque said the other day.I'm foursquare against racisml, but I truly wonder if that is what this is all about. I caught a short video of mother and son on ABSCBN News and got the distinct impression that I wouldn't want to be this boy's lunch monitor either. Not because of his fork and spoon cultural trait, but because, as some of the reporting de-emphasized, young master Cagadoc was causing an uproar among his classmates and his impish behavior drew laughs and derision from other kids. I thought I caught him making a face at the camera man in that snippet I saw. Anybody else notice that?
REMEMBER ART BELL! It's as if PDI and those kneejerk defenders of Filipino cultural and racial honor have already forgotten the Art Bell Fiasco of 2001. To be absolutely consistent with their fervor burning for Filipino culture, such heroes ought really to call for an abrogation of the principle of in loco parentis when it comes to public and private schooling, demand that eating with hands and/or feet be legitimized as part of cultural integrity.
LOG IN OUR EYE: How dare those nasty Canadians renege on "multicultural diversity", PDI and the nationalist lynch mobs cry. I wonder how much of such a wondrous virtue can be said to exist in the Philippines. How much tolerance is there in Manila compared to Montreal, Basilan or Payatas compared to Roxbury, any Filipino public school and Ecole Lalande...??
Pigs in Canada? Pigs in the Philippines! And yeah, contrary to their own Journalists Code of Ethics, they never really got the other side before launching another idiotic bit of their ideological VICTIMOLOGY.