Saturday, June 23, 2007

Are Baghdad-style Car Bombs Coming?


ARS are not always so obvious.

Even World Wars, in which pretty much everybody takes sides, may be in full flare or about to be, yet many otherwise intelligent and sensible people DENY they are ongoing or imminent. Take World War II, for example, in which SIXTY MILLION human beings eventually died. From the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939 it was three whole years (1942) before America joined the combat proper, even though she was helping out allies long before. During that short interregnum however, many people were hoping and praying the nation would not enter the conflict at all. In that period, war was not obvious to most.


Such a state of denial is perhaps understandable given that war IS hell.

Yesterday, I was with J.J. Disini of the U.P. Law School Internet Initiative and Mr. B. Cadiz, as we were waiting to appear on Cheche Lazaro's program Media in Focus program and fell into a discussion about the War on Terror and the Human Security Act of 2007.

I have a nasty feeling that their thinking on this subject is quite representative of many otherwise sensible people in our society, especially among the Left Liberal Establishment types:

That the anti-terror law is unnecessary because the so-called "component crimes" of terrorism as defined in the Human Security Act of 2007 are already dealt with under the Revised Penal Code and other existing laws.

I guess they do not subscribe to the notion that the WHOLE can be greater than the SUM OF THE PARTS.

But consider for example the legislation passed against organized crime families like the Mafia in the United States, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly called RICO). This US Federal law provides for extended penalties for criminal acts performed as part of an ongoing RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. This legislation clearly deals with crimes that are individually dealt with already in other laws, such as those against murder, robbery, extortion, mayhem, and other violent and dastardly acts. Yet no one seriously questions the utility of regarding the criminal organizations themselves as merely employing these crimes as "tactics" in the illegal pursuit of economic wealth and control of lucrative criminal enterprises such gambling, drugs, prostitution and protection rackets.

I think this is one useful way to think of the Human Security Act of 2007. It is the equivalent of RICO except it is "Terrorist Influenced and Nihilistic Organizations Act". It is an organized crime control law. Just as with the Mafia, so too with the global terrorist networks like Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf Group, MILF, MNLF (in their "lost command" modalities when they tend to go on these decapitation sprees of Christian students working on a road gang) and the CPP-NPA (in their miserable everyday lives.) The WHOLE of their activities are greater than the sum of their parts because they are actually waging WAR on the rest of mankind,.

Another theme mentioned by JJ Disini and Mr. Cadiz was that the Government only wants it to go after its enemies in the legitimate political opposition using the terrorist label. I think this is basically true for the real terrorists like Abu Sayyaf and the CPP-NPA. But the political opposition itself (like Ping Lacson of all people and Nene Pimentel) has abetted this really infantile and self-aggrandizing idea that THEY are the targets of the legislation. That the War on Terror may turn on them.

As you can see, lots of people are trapped in the definitional quagmire and want all further discussion and lawmaking and interdiction suspended until some definition with metaphysical compleatness is achieved to their satisfaction.

My own definition of terrorism by the way is this:

Terrorism is organized crime for political and ideological purposes.


Readers should not construe my support for an anti-terrorism law as complete approbation of the Human Security Act of 2007, which is a law that was passed with so many amendments and compromises that I am not sure we aren't actually worse off for it than without it!

First of all is the "definition of terrorism" said to be given in Section 3 of the Law:
SEC. 3. Terrorism. – Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:

1. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters);
2. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection);
3. Article 134-a (Coup d‘Etat), including acts committed by private persons;
4. Article 248 (Murder);
5. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention);
6. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction,

or under

1. Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson);
2. Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990);
3. Republic Act No. 5207, (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968);
4. Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Hijacking Law);
5. Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-piracy and Anti-highway Robbery Law of 1974); and,
6. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree Codifying the Laws on Illegal and Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives)

thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.
Notice that the law first defines all the possible component crimes by enumeration, but that it identifies as the distinguishing marks of a terrorist act two conditions: (a) that it creates a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic; and (b) that some kind of unlawful demand is made on the Government.

I agree with many that this is a weak and facile definition. Some have even taken to apt reductio ad absurdum examples like what happens if a suicide bomber just runs into a Jollibee restaurant and blows it up without making any demands at all?

My own question about this definition is what if there IS no extraordinary fear and panic but lots of people are dead and exploded? What if we don't WANT the public to react with fear and panic even in the face of full-on terrorist attacks, and they respond? In other words, while it is true that fear and panic are things terrorists may want to sow, they've got bigger things in mind than just scaring people, I would think. And the failure of any particular terrorist act to sow widespread fear and panic does not minimize its other possible destructive effects as components of a terrorist nature.

This makes me suspect that our lawmakers don't really understand the phenomenon well enough to craft a law that does not only what is necessary to solve the problem, but is also sufficient to do so.

Consider the following INSANITY in the Special Effectivity Clause:
After the publication required above shall have been done, the Act shall take effect two (2) months after the elections are held in May 2007.

Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be automatically suspended one month before and two months after the holding of any election.
The Human Security Act of 2007 is automatically suspended for three months around every election because Juan Ponce Enrile, who professes to hate Nene Pimentel, and vice-versa nonetheless agreed to this just to get the bill through.

Consider another provision that I think actually discourages enforcement of the law itself!--
SEC. 50. Damages for Unproven Charge of Terrorism. – Upon acquittal, any person who is accused of terrorism shall be entitled to the payment of damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) for every day that he or she has been detained or deprived of liberty or arrested without a warrant as a result of such an accusation. The amount of damages shall be automatically charged against the appropriations of the police agency or the Anti-Terrorism Council that brought or sanctioned the filing of the charges against the accused. It shall also be released within fifteen (15) days from the date of the acquittal of the accused. The award of damages mentioned above shall be without prejudice to the right of the acquitted accused to file criminal or administrative charges against those responsible for charging him with the case of terrorism.
I think this law is really damaged goods, but for quite different reasons than the Left, who may decide to rejoice in this insight.

As for the question in my title, it looks like ABSCBN News already has the answer as the city of Davao goes on alert for a possible car-bomb attack.

Hey Rizalist, are there any laws in the Philippines against blowing up old cars? Think Dulmatin has anything to do with this? I wonder how his wife and kids are now after we shipped them back to Indonesia with Filipino taxpayers money and the loving arms of the Jihad because the anti-terror law was not yet effective.

13 comments:

blackshama said...

You should extend your definition of terrorism to say

"Terrorism is organized crime for political, religious and ideological purposes specifically targeted at civilians and non-combatants"

You forgot "religious". Religious intolerance is a prime material for terrorists.

Civilians have the right of self-defence against terrorists.

Your definition could be a definition for war which I can put as

War is organized crime instituted by a State for political, religious and ideological purposes.

DJB Rizalist said...

Blackshama,

I don't consider AQ "religious" no more than the CPP NPAis "national" or "democratic". But I understand the point and it is well taken.

One question though: You must be speaking rhetorically in the last statement since I doubt you would consider World War II "organized crime" or any number of wars that without which we would be slaves to Colonialists, Fascists or Communists today.

blackshama said...

The Nazis started the war. They lost and the leaders were tried as criminals. Same thing with the Japanese

A State has the right to self-defence and it was morally right for Britain and the US to crush the enemy.

BTW, the CPP-NDF subscribes to an ideology that has all the hallmarks of a religion. None of the predictions of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has ever been verified. It is unscientific and has no empirical basis. Those who hold to Joma Sison's thought are doing so in faith.

So the terrorist tag fits them extremely well, that is if they do not renounce violence.

If they do renounce violence we can just consider them a fringe group protected by rights to free speech.

john marzan said...

Hey Rizalist, are there any laws in the Philippines against blowing up old cars? Think Dulmatin has anything to do with this? I wonder how his wife and kids are now after we shipped them back to Indonesia with Filipino taxpayers money and the loving arms of the Jihad because the anti-terror law was not yet effective.

kung talagang terrorista ang asawa ni dulmatin at ang anak nila, hindi yan papakawalan ng RP gov't--kahit na wala pang anti-terror bill. kung si dulmatin, o si bin laden ang nahuli natin sa pinas, hindi natin papakawalan yan, with or without the anti-terror bill.

I don't think the wife and kids are terrorists, but they are related to one. na-interrogate na ng authorities yung wife and i don't think she's a dangerous combatant/fighter. and there's no point in detaining dulmatin's 2 children, ages 6 and 8, unless you're thinking of using them as a bargaining chip to make dulmatin surrender.

btw, some of dulmatin's children (4) were left behind, and the wife is asking for custody of these kids.

DJB Rizalist said...

John,
what about the hundreds of people that dulmatin killed, twice, in Bali? What about them and their children? How about all the bombings now going on in Mindanao? And the Filipinos dying. And their children? Don't we care enough about them that we ought to support a law that WOULD give the authorities SOME leeway to deal with Mrs Mass Murderer and their progeny? You don't think that nice lil piece of work that went sashaying through here a few months back on her way back to JI MIGHT not be at least SYMPATHETIC with this killer? Did she at least denounce his handiwork?

Or was she smiling, ever so cunningly behind that very expensive veil knowing lots of folks like you will be writing emails and commenting on blogs about her in just this way?

DJB Rizalist said...

Blackshama,
Next thing you will conclude from that line of reasoning is that murder and mayhem and extortion are covered by freedom of religion. Nuts man.

boinky said...

In the USA, they used the RICO act to shut down the pro life movement, threatening the leaders of smaller more radical (but peaceful) groups with RICO...it took twenty years before the courts stopped the farce.

Theoretically, if the courts had not stopped it, that law could have been used against peaceful environmental groups like Greenpeace, the organizers of immigration protests or even the Catholic church (In the US, Catholics are involved not just pro life but pro immigration protests).

The way to stop terrorism is to follow the money and throw out regeimes that support them. Hence Iraq...and maybe Iran...But I dare say Bush won't throw out the Saudis in the near future. And their "charities" and madrasses teach the philosophy that supports terrorism.

john marzan said...

John,
what about the hundreds of people that dulmatin killed, twice, in Bali? What about them and their children? How about all the bombings now going on in Mindanao? And the Filipinos dying. And their children? Don't we care enough about them that we ought to support a law that WOULD give the authorities SOME leeway to deal with Mrs Mass Murderer and their progeny?


like i said previously, if the wife and kids posed a terrorism threat to us and others, the RP gov't would have never released them--even with or without the anti-terror bill.

the arroyo admin was never really interested in passing an anti-terrorism bill, even when she had control of both the House and the Senate, and had extremely good and trusting relations with the US during 2001-2004. Why? she didn't see the need for it. because the GMA admin were still able to do what they need to do (wiretap, do raids and searches) and detain suspects indefinitely even without the bill. by putting rules on how they conduct their anti-terrorism campaign, the AT bill actually hampers some of the things the admin can do.

the passing of an anti-terror bill (didn't matter if the quality was good or not) was only done to please the US, according to joker arroyo, one of the bill's sponsors.

and if there's country that wants dulmatin's head on a platter more than anybody else, it's indonesia. nasa most wanted list ng indonesia si dulmatin, but apparently, the RP and indonesian authorities did not consider the wife and kids a threat or as enemy combatants.

You don't think that nice lil piece of work that went sashaying through here a few months back on her way back to JI MIGHT not be at least SYMPATHETIC with this killer? Did she at least denounce his handiwork?

i doubt mrs. dulmatin denounced her husband's work. pero iba ang SYMPATHETIC sa pagiging active member ng isang terrorist group. I'm sure maraming muslim rin worldwide ay SYMPATHETIC sa cause at methods ng al queda, fatah, hamas at hezbollah, even though they have no contact with these people or have little inclination on joining them.

sabi nga nila, kung 5% ng mga 1.3 Billion muslim worldwide ay mga hardcore jihadists, mga 20%-30% naman ang mga sympathethizers nila. walang kinalaman ang mga palestinian sa 9/11, but when they heard the twin towers fell, they danced in the streets of gaza and handed out candies to children.

john marzan said...

OTOH, i think the problem with some people is that they treat all the muslims as potential terrorists.

Jaxius said...

I agree with you that the phrasing of the law was just about as stupid as it can get. They’ve successfully redacted the concept as to be too narrow and specific as to deny any practical implementation, while at the same time, defining it in too broad a stroke as to create confusion.

First, they’ve limited it to its subjective results. It practically means that it is not terrorism if it does not result in “sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace”. Funny thing is, even if it results in that, they limit it again to its objective as it will not still be terrorism if it is not intended to “coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand”.

What if it was intended to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand but it failed to sow panic and fear? Not terrorism, according to the law. Just as clearly as your example about a guy blowing up a resto without demanding something.

It would have been more rational if they phrased it by saying that terrorism can be committed by an organized group though the systematic use of violence or threat of violence with the following intent:

One, to sow and create a condition of widespread fear and panic among the populace.

Two, to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand.

The law was not really intended to deter terrorism. It was really intended to strengthen the various apparatus of the state to go after terrorists. The government just needed to define terrorism to justify the “draconian” measures under its provisions. They will not be convicted under the terrorism law but they will be under the enumerated crimes under it. Parang pleading to a lesser offense.

Even there, they failed. Mas lalo pa nilang pinahirapan. Under the Wiretapping Law, the authorities can conduct technical surveillance as long as approved by an RTC judge as long as the cases involved are the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping and violations of national security. Under the anti-terrorism law, division ng CA ang kailangang magbigay ng authorization.

DJB Rizalist said...

But Boinky, the Mafia has been severely attenuated while Family Planning and Birth Control Clinics are still operating. Of course any law can be abused. Let's not infantilize the citizenry by thinking they don't know the difference.

DJB Rizalist said...

John,
OTOH, there are people who don't think there ARE any terrorists among the Muslims. These btw are the same folks who don't think there are any terrorists among the CPP-NPA.

Do you think terrorists and terrorism exist at all John? How big is the problem? And what ought we do to solve the problem?

Solve all the root causes first? Is Bush a root cause of terrorism? Do you think there won't be any terrorism if and when Hillary Clinton is President, or Barack Obama, or say Conrado de Quiros?

Is it all the neocon's fiction to you John?

What's your solution to it? Love and Peace and flowers?

james said...

It isn't just Fatah and Hamas that teach that death is preferable to life. Read the Koran, it makes it very clear repeatedly that death is preferred to life. It says that the things of this world, including their families are a temptation to keep them from an honorable death killing non-Muslims.

Sura 8:28 "Believers, do not betray Allah and the Apostle, nor knowingly betray your trust. Know that your worldly goods and your children are but a temptation, and that Allah's recompense is great."

Sura 11:15 "Those that desire the life of this world with all its finery shall be rewarded for their deeds in their own lifetime: they shall not be given less. They are those who in the world to come shall have earned nothing but the fire. Fruitless are their deeds, and vain are all their works."

Sura 29:64 "The life of this world is but a sport and a diversion. It is the life to come that is the true life"

Sura 64:14 "Believers, you have an enemy in your spouses and in your children: beware of them. But if you overlook their offences and forgive and pardon them, then know that Allah is forgiving and merciful. Your wealth and your children are but a temptation. Allah's recompense is great."

The Koran makes it very clear that Islam is nothing more than a ruthless warrior cult that worships death and despises life. Allah was the war god of Sabanism (the Meccans) which is why the Muslims chant that "Allah is the god of the sword!" when they succeed in killing a non-Muslim. War gods hate peace, hate love, hate kindness and caring, hate treaties, and love killing, war, murder, slaughter, and butchering. The Koran makes it very clear that Islam is a ruthless warrior cult worshiping death and hating life.