Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Leftists and Terrorists Will Love this Dumb Anti-Terrorism 'Law'

The need for an anti-terrorism law is like the need for an anti-organized crime statute (such as RICO in the US), because that is indeed the nature of terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, or the CPP-NPA. They are organizations dedicated to political and ideological ends who are using illegal, violent and immoral means to attain them, just like the Mafia organized crime families, whose means are equally reprehensible and who differ only in their goals. Organized crime syndicates and terrorist organizations cannot really be dealt with effectively solely by prosecuting the component crimes of their soldati and capos

The political opposition has been blocking passage of a Philippines anti-terrorism bill ever since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo committed the government to the US-led global war on terrorism, on civil libertarian grounds and fears that such a law will be used against legitimate critics of the government. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, with sidekick Jamby Madrigal assisting, succeeded in getting 96 amendments into the Anti-terrorism bill, which Monday passed both House and Senate meeting in special session, and hundreds more are apparently in the bill from the House process.

"Weak" is not enough of a criticism, because it's really quite a dumb bill as a result of some of those amendments, for example...

(1) There is a 500,000 peso fine per day against the government for any unlawful or illegal arrest, which civil libertarians may applaud since it might make the cops think more than twice before arresting or detaining a real terror operative. The bill's author, Juan Ponce Enrile has been quoted as saying he acceded to the demand by Pimentel for this provision just to cut debate short and get the bill passed, but admits it seems excessive. It also sends the message that the authorities are really not to be trusted with such a draconian measure placed over their heads as a means of deterring carelessness or mistakes when detaining terrorist suspects. While there are surely bad eggs, lots of them in the police and military who are fighting the terrorists, this hardly supports the efforts of the good honest men and women undertaking these tasks at risk to their own lives and limbs. I bet the provision gets used by the Left to intimidate the authorities and "innoculate" their fronts and above-ground cadre in the media and mass organizations.

(2) Terrorist operatives will love this: One month before and two months after every election, the Anti-Terrorism Law gets suspended! This is a tacit accusation, built right into the law, that it might be abused for partisan political purposes, which again, is the kind of self-mockery that has resulted from the Pimentel and Madrigal amendments.

(3) If you happen to BE a terrorist, you can always work with journalists, doctors and lawyers, who are exempted from the law's provisions on compulsory disclosures to lawful authorities.

(4) I haven't seen the version that was finally passed, but I do believe the period of detention of terrorist suspects before being charged in Court is only three days, before they have to be deported back to the waiting arms of the Jemaah Islamiyah at government expense, as happened to Mrs. Dulmatin a few months back.

This is all the doing of Aquilino Pimentel Jr., our resident genius on safeguarding civil liberties presumably because he was several times arrested and jailed by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Never mind that the terrorists are blowing us up on ferry boats, crowded commuter trains and and public markets, and using remote-controlled landmines on innocent victims, and kidnapping people from beach resorts. He has to have his amendments that "safeguard liberty."

Strange how he is now allied with Sen. Jamby Madrigal, the daughter of one of Marcos' big-time cronies but who is herself lost in a romantic leftist fantasyland of the mind. According to this news report, Jamby is going to the Supreme Court to question the Constitutionality of the new law --
But Sen. Anna Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal remains opposed and plans to question the bill before the Supreme Court, pointing to some provisions which she describes as unconstitutional. “The bill is not about national security because we don’t have terrorism problems,” says Madrigal. She points out that what the nation needs is tighter implementation of existing laws and more intelligence gathering. “The bill is about legitimizing Gloria Arroyo’s muzzling her political enemies.”
With such bright senators as these, who needs the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah anyway?

Not to be outdone is Senator Mar Roxas, (already being touted for President in 2010 (if he ever gets the guts to marry Korina Sanchez and she snaps her brain stem agreeing), who explains his vote against the anti-terror law like this:
Transcript of Senator Roxas’ Explanation of Vote Against Anti-Terrorism Bill

Mr. President:

“In my reading of the “Analects of Confucius”, there is a portion there where Confucius we must be very careful how we define a problem because that problem definition will likewise define the proposed solution to that problem.

“In this instance, Mr. President, there is the problem of global terrorism, which no one deny exists; it wreaks havoc; it kills and maims people—the innocents in particular. However, Mr. President, I voted in the negative—I voted no—to the passage of this measure because I do not believe that the weakest link in our battle against terrorism lies in our not having an appropriate law to combat terrorism.

“Mr. President:

“We cannot defend our liberty by forsaking freedom.

“Mr. President, dear colleagues, we cannot be more secure if our civil liberties are less secure.

“In our country’s battle against terrorism, Mr. President, we note, for example, that the very basic . . . very back-to-basic-sort of items that otherwise would have been in our cover, in our tool box against terrorism, are not in place.

“The computers, for example, of one agency, such as the Bureau of Immigration, do not speak with the computers of the NBI, or with the computers of the agency that issues and monitors drivers’ licenses, or those of the PNP, or AFP.

“It would seem to me, Mr. President, that these—attending to these—matters; these of having the computers speak to one another, the appropriate training of our people; the providing of equipment for forensics, and for law enforcement all across the country, will have much greater impact and thus contribute to a much greater success to our battle against terrorism.

“Mr. President, in my work here in the Senate, I always use as standard what I would do if faced with this problem. In this instance, Mr. President, I do not believe that the passage of a law that curtails civil liberties is what we need to be able to address terrorism. It might make a contribution here and there but certainly, the damage that it does would certainly be much worse than whatever meager or marginal contribution that it will make.

“Mr. President, the battle is always constant, as between the citizens’ civil liberties and the government’s right to protect and defend the State. And in that seesaw, in that battle of rights of the citizens versus the State defending itself, it is always important that we strike the appropriate balance. In this instance, Mr. President, without having appropriately and effectively addressed all of the other issues with respect to training, computers, with respect to all other elements necessary for an effective battle against terrorism, then simply passing a law that reduces civil liberties in the hope that it will become an effective tool is not correct.

“And so therefore, I vote NO against the measure.

“Thank you, Mr. President.”
The Analects of Confucius!

Well, at least the name he drops is not Sun Tzu and the profound literary matter not The Art of War, though I would say Confucius and Mar's clumsy attempt to seem erudite and studious is just as hackneyed and droll as if he did. After his quotation of Confucius' comment on "defining a problem" right in the lead of the Press Release, I thought for sure he would be wading around in the quaqmire of the question, "How do we define "terrorism?"

Instead, Mar presents the utterly weak argument that we don't have the equipment, training or facilities needed for an effective battle against terrorism. So why pass a law we cannot effectively enforce, he asks? I say, why not properly fund and facilitate the law and give it every chance of being effective?

In my opinion, all three of these Senators have missed an essential point about the Anti-terrorism Law. It's not really a law that seeks to create a new or special category of crime or criminal activity. Rather it is an unconventional means of declaring war on an enemy that is not a conventional State Power or imperialist Empire. This is the real reason why those in the Senate who've opposed the bill cannot seem to understand why the existing laws against crimes like murder, kidnapping, mayhem and other historical components of a terrorist act are not sufficient to wage the war on terrorism. Like Jamby says, we don't have a terrorism problem -- so indeed why do we need an anti-terrorism law to wage war upon it?

9 comments:

engineerOFW said...

Idiotic to state "... there is no terrorism problem in the Philippines" given the body count from SuperFerry14 terrorist bombing.

manuelbuencamino said...

DLB,

You wrote:

"They are organizations dedicated to political and ideological ends who are using illegal, violent and immoral means to attain them, just like the Mafia organized crime families, whose means are equally reprehensible and who differ only in their goals. "

Doesn't the same apply to Gloria Arroyo, her coalition, and the generals and cops who prop her up?

You have written many times about Gloria's disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law and yet you are willing to trust and arm her with an anti-terror law? What gives? Help me out on this one, DJ.

Amadeo said...

All the afore-cited amendments and qualifications expressed notwithstanding, I believe this is a good start.

At least, the reality of global terrorism has been recognized, if only in the books.

Implementation? Well, we'll see.

We appear to be quite liberal and passionate in rhetoric. But acting on it?

Rizalist said...

MB--I do have a new analogy which you did not comment on. Anti terrorism laws are like laws against organized crime. It is an answer to the idea being raised that all the component crimes employed by terrorists are already proscribed by other laws. But it is precisely because the whole does not equal the sum of the parts that the need for a specific law has been recognized. I claim that the Constitutional issues stand no matter what law is under discussion, that all laws are susceptible to abuse by the authorities. That situation is not unique to anti terrorism laws. As Amadeo points out, implementation is something we need to watch...

manuelbuencamino said...

DJB,

But that's precisely what I commented on and my point - GMA her coalition and her armed forces are a criminal syndicate. The godmother, her consigliores and her soldiers!

So you will trust a criminal syndicate with the anti-terror law?

Unless of course you trust gloria. Which is the question you should concern yourself with.

Implementation of the anti-terror law should not be placed in the hands of gloria and her security forces. That's the bottom line. You might as well have placed it in the hands of the Abu Sayaff or the NPA.

But maybe what really bothers you more is the politics and ideology oi the muslims and the communists and not the illegal, violent and immoral means the ABU, NPA and Gloria employ to attain their ends.

Maybe that's why you are willing to gamble your civil liberties and place them in the hands of Gloria, Borbie Gonzalez and the security forces.

manuelbuencamino said...

DJB,

But that's precisely what I commented on and my point - GMA her coalition and her armed forces are a criminal syndicate. The godmother, her consigliores and her soldiers!

So you will trust a criminal syndicate with the anti-terror law?

Unless of course you trust gloria. Which is the question you should concern yourself with.

Implementation of the anti-terror law should not be placed in the hands of gloria and her security forces. That's the bottom line. You might as well have placed it in the hands of the Abu Sayaff or the NPA.

But maybe what really bothers you more is the politics and ideology oi the muslims and the communists and not the illegal, violent and immoral means the ABU, NPA and Gloria employ to attain their ends.

Maybe that's why you are willing to gamble your civil liberties and place them in the hands of Gloria, Borbie Gonzalez and the security forces.

Shaman of Malilipot said...

NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri was quoted as saying that terrorism is not a problem since the Abu Sayyaf is just a very small group. He didn't even mention the NPA. Neri seems to be agreeing with Jamby.

The NPA has been with us for nearly 40 years now, but how come it's only now, after Gloria joined the "coalition of the willing", which has since shrunk in membership, that an anti-terror law is being rushed? Gloria wants this law because it suits her fascistic tendencies and ingratiates herself to Bush.

Rizalist said...

Long after Gloria and her minions are gone, the problem of terrorism, both from the insurgent Left and the Global Jihad will be with us. Guys and gals, we must take the LONG view and stand for the principle of nonviolent political change. But Society is obligated to use force in self-defense against those who would take our lives, for without life, there is no liberty nor is the pursuit of happiness possible in the grave.

We have to have our priorities straight, even if the present government is NOT to be trusted.

I most certainly do not trust my liberty to ANY ONE!

The defense of my liberty I take with the utmost seriousness, as should anyone who threatens it.

nursing1998 said...

engineerO has the right word --- idiotic. It is idiotic of Neri to suggest that the small number of AbuSayyaf means there is no terrorism, since it only took two or 3 bombers to kill hundreds on SuperFerry14.

Idiotic of the malili's to be forgetful of SuperFerry (and the bomber escaped!!!), or maybe because she is not promdi.