Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hamas pledges Gaza ceasefire to end five days of bloodshed Group hopes temporary truce will stop escalating violence spiralling out of control

Hamas pledges Gaza ceasefire to end five days of bloodshed
Group hopes temporary truce will stop escalating violence spiralling out of control*

By Donald Macintyre in Gaza

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hamas has told Egypt it will enforce a ceasefire by militant factions in Gaza aimed at halting bloodshed which started with the killing of eight Israelis by gunmen last week.

The truce was finalised yesterday in Gaza after the Popular Resistance Committees, the faction blamed by Israel for last Thursday's lethal attack near the Red Sea resort of Eilat, finally agreed to what it called a "temporary" ceasefire.

Although Hamas was thought, along with Israel, to be anxious not to let the cycle of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket attacks to spiral out of control, the agreement in Gaza appeared to be a success for Egyptian diplomacy, backed by the UN.

Around 15 rockets and mortars were fired by Gaza militants overnight, causing no injuries. Israel responded with an air strike which targeted a rocket launcher.

At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in the air strikes, mainly militants, but also including a doctor, and three children under the age of 14.

A 38-year old Israeli man was killed in a rocket attack on Beersheeva on Saturday night. The PRC claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel has made clear that it has not made an agreement with the Palestinian factions but that it will respond in kind provided the rocket attacks stop. Israel's President Shimon Peres said while on a tour of the southern Israeli communities that are most affected by rocket attacks: "If they will cease fire, there will be a cease-fire."

However, an Israeli official warned that the military would reserve the right to attack those attempting to fire rockets, whether before or after the rockets had actually been fired, and to fire on those Palestinians who approach too close to the border fence with Israel.

The official declined to confirm that Israel had helped to pave the way for the factions' agreement to a ceasefire by making clear in advance to the Egyptians that it would respond positively if one was called. But an Israeli delegation was in Cairo on Sunday while its terms were being drawn up.

Israel has been anxious to maximise co-operation with the post-Mubarak authorities after a diplomatic row blew up at the weekend.

Egypt threatened to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv over complaints that three of its security personnel had been killed by Israeli troops firing on gunmen as they retreated across the border after Thursday's attack along Route 12, which is 20km from Eilat.

In a rare statement issued during the Sabbath, Defence Minister Ehud Barak expressed Israel's "regret" for the deaths of the three security men and promised a joint investigation to be carried out by both the Israeli and Egyptian military authorities.

The air strikes on Gaza started within hours of Thursday's attack.

One of the strikes – believed to be by a drone – killed five prominent PRC members in the yard of a house in the southern town of Rafah. But the strike also killed the two-year-old son of one of the PRC members.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Force has not yet released any names of the seven gunmen that it says it hit. But it says that it killed at least four gunmen in the fierce exchanges of gunfire which followed on from Thursday's well-executed attack.

Israeli officials say they knew that the attack was the work of the PRC because of prior intelligence that the organisation planned an attack in the area – intelligence some Israeli critics have argued should have enabled security forces to prevent the attack. While the information was detailed this did not extend to the timing of the attack, an unexpectedly bold raid conducted in daylight.

Meanwhile a senior Israeli military officer, Colonel Zvika Haimovitch, acknowledged yesterday that the new "Iron Dome" rocket defence system did not offer full protection against all the salvos that had been fired from Gaza over the last few days.

It shot down four out of five Grad rockets fired by the PRC at Beersheeva, for example, but the fifth rocket killed an Israeli civilian. The man had left his car as the attack was underway.


Gaddafi defeat 'a matter of time'

Gaddafi defeat 'a matter of time'*

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Libyan ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces are cornered and his defeat is "only a matter of time", Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said today.

After chairing a meeting of the National Security Council, Mr Clegg insisted the reappearance in Tripoli of the dictator's son Saif Al-Islam was "not the sign of some great comeback for the Gaddafi regime".

But he acknowledged there would be "frustrations and setbacks" before the regime fell.

Mr Clegg said: "Our assessment is that Free Libya forces now control much, but not all, of Tripoli.

"Yes, there will be frustrations and setbacks but the remaining remnants of the Gaddafi regime are now cornered. It's only a matter of time before they are finally defeated and Libya is completely free."

Mr Clegg played down the significance of Gaddafi's son Saif turning up at Tripoli's Hotel Rixos, where a number of foreign journalists are staying.

"He is not roaming freely through Tripoli. He and the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces are now cornered, they are making their last stand, and it's only a matter of time before they are finally defeated. About that we are very confident indeed."

Colonel Gaddafi's whereabouts is still unknown, while Saif's elder brother Mohammed is also missing after reportedly breaking free from house arrest last night.

Mr Clegg's comments came as television images showed a jubilant and free Saif, regarded as his father's immediate successor, meeting supporters outside the loyalist-held Hotel Rixos before claiming that forces loyal to his father had "broken the backbone" of the rebel offensive.

He also indicated that Gaddafi remained in the violence-torn capital, stating that the weakening regime remained in control.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell blamed confusion over Saif's apparent arrest on the "fog of warfare" but acknowledged there would be a "bumpy ride" over the coming days.

"There was a lot of confusion, there are quite long lines of communication involved," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It's inevitable in this situation, with the warfare going on as it is, that there will be some confusion."

On BBC1's Breakfast he added: "This will be a bumpy ride, as the Prime Minister made clear in his statement yesterday.

"But if you look at the events over the past week or so it is clear that the Free Libya forces are doing well and now occupy very large parts of Libya."

Prime Minister David Cameron, who resumed his family holiday in Cornwall today, and US President Barack Obama discussed the rapidly unfolding situation during a telephone conversation last night in which they called on Gaddafi to "relinquish power once and for all" and discussed plans for a "peaceful transition to democracy".

Forces loyal to Gaddafi continue to fight fierce battles with rebels surging into Tripoli from all sides and taking control of large areas of the city.

There were significant casualties after clashes around the dictator's heavily fortified compound.

The head of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, warned that victory was not yet complete.

But he added: "The youth of Libya have written an epic heroic battle."

Nato spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie told Today the alliance was not in "direct contact" with the rebels and had no plans to send in ground troops.

But he said the no-fly zone authorised by United Nations Security Resolution 1973 would continue to be enforced by Nato jets.

"We have enough to be busy with the current situation," said Col Lavoie. "This mission is not finished yet."


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Libya: secret role played by Britain creating path to the fall of Tripoli

Libya: secret role played by Britain creating path to the fall of Tripoli*

Gordon Rayner, Thomas Harding and Duncan Gardham,
The Telegraph,
London, 22 August 2011

The key role played by Britain in equipping and advising Libya’s rebel fighters for their final push on Tripoli was becoming clear last night as Col Muammar Gaddafi’s remaining forces staged a last stand around his bunker.

For weeks, military and intelligence officers have been helping the rebels plan their co-ordinated attack on the capital, and Whitehall sources have disclosed that the RAF stepped up raids on Tripoli on Saturday morning in a pre-arranged plan to pave the way for the rebel advance.

MI6 officers based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi had honed battle plans drawn up by Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC) which were agreed 10 weeks ago.

The constantly-updated tactical advice provided by British experts to the rebel leaders centred on the need to spark a fresh uprising within Tripoli that could be used as the cue for fighters to advance on the city.

But when it finally came, the speed with which it achieved its goal took everyone, including the rebels, by surprise.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that although the uprising in Tripoli began on Saturday night, the first phase of the battle for the capital had begun hours earlier, when RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft attacked a key communications facility in south-west Tripoli as part of the agreed battle plan.

On Saturday morning five precision-guided Paveway IV bombs were dropped on the Baroni Centre, a secret intelligence base headed by Gaddafi’s brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi.

The aircraft then struck at least one main battle tank belonging to Gaddafi’s troops, and in the afternoon another RAF patrol destroyed an artillery piece on the western edge of Tripoli and a nearby command and control facility.

On the ground, the rebels had spent weeks smuggling weapons, communications equipment and battle-hardened fighters into Tripoli, setting up secret arms dumps around the capital and waiting for a pre-arranged signal to trigger the uprising.

Mahmoud Shammam, a spokesman for the TNC, told the Daily Telegraph that the agreed signal was a televised speech by the TNC chairman, Mustafa Abd-al-Jalil, which was broadcast via the Qatar-based Libya TV on Saturday evening.

Mr Jalil told the citizens of Tripoli “you have to rise to the event”, and as dusk fell at around 8pm local time a group of rebels seized their chance and took control of the Ben Nabi Mosque close to the city centre.

Using loudspeakers which normally call people to prayer, they began anti-Gaddafi chants to confirm the start of what rebel leaders called Operation Mermaid Dawn – the battle for Tripoli, which is nicknamed Mermaid in Arabic.

Mr Shammam said: “The start of the uprising was pre-arranged. We used our TV station for Mr Jalil to give a speech calling for the uprising and soon most of the people of Tripoli were on the streets.”

The timing of the uprising caught Gaddafi completely by surprise; the rebels had spent that day flushing out that last of his forces from Zawiyah, 30 miles west of Tripoli, and the Brother Leader had clearly expected them to regroup, reorganise and re-arm - as they had done in the past after each major battle - before making an attempt on Tripoli.

Instead, the rebels who had been fighting in Zawiyah were making a dash for the capital, and in the skies overhead RAF Tornados and Typhoons were launching further surgical strikes on pre-planned targets.

The RAF and its alliance partners carried out 46 sorties on Sunday alone, relying heavily on the RAF’s Brimstone ground attack missile system that can pick out targets close to civilian areas with incredible accuracy, minimising the risk of civilian casualties.

Gaddafi’s bunker at Bab al-Aziziya was pounded throughout the night, and the Tornados’ advanced electronics also enabled aircraft already in the sky to hit Gaddafi targets as they were identified, using a system known as dynamic targeting.

Gaddafi’s command and control centres, set up in industrial buildings or even empty schools, were also attacked, crippling the Libyan despot’s ability to direct his troops.

On the ground, meanwhile, the rebels sent out mass text messages to regime opponents waiting in Tripoli for a signal to rise up, and as Gaddafi’s forces tried in vain to suppress the revolt it spread out across 13 suburbs.

By Sunday afternoon the rebels who had been fighting in Zawiyah were just miles away from the outskirts of Tripoli.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, confirmed yesterday that Britain had equipped the fighters with a range of “non-lethal” kit including advanced telecommunications equipment and 1,000 sets of body armour.

They had also been given night vision goggles, which proved crucial in picking out snipers who had been sent by Gaddafi to impede their progress towards the capital.

The battle plan also included a sea-borne assault on Tripoli launched from the port of Misrata to the east, which landed at dawn on Sunday.

Gaddafi took to the airwaves to make a series of increasingly desperate appeals for Libyans to defend Tripoli from the rebels as “a matter of life and death” but the crackling recordings of his voice – and a lack of any video footage – led to speculation that he had either fled the country or had gone into hiding in a 2,000-mile network of tunnels built in the 1980s.

His soldiers, sensing the battle was lost, had begun dumping their uniforms wherever they stood, and by midnight on Sunday the rebels had reached Green Square, the symbolic heart of Tripoli, with little resistance.

The speed of the rebel advance was such that Gaddafi’s intended heir, his son Saif al-Islam, had no time to reach his father’s compound, and was captured by rebels on Saturday night.

His brother, Mohammed, was giving a telephone interview to a broadcaster when a gunfight broke out inside his home. The line went dead and seconds later he too was captured.

Mr Shammam said: “The plan was very successful. Our assumption was that it would take a few days but the results were clear in a few hours.

“We were expecting more resistance from Gaddafi’s troops. We thought they were determined to fight to the last moment but it seems like they got tired or lost the cause.”

David Cameron, who was on a family holiday in Cornwall, also seemed to have been caught out by the rapid turn of events.

Although he had been kept up to date with the rebels’ plans, no-one had expected Tripoli to fall so quickly, and the Prime Minister scrambled to get back to Downing Street to chair a meeting of the National Security Council yesterday.

Speaking outside Number 10, he paid tribute to the “incredible bravery, professionalism and dedication” of the RAF pilots, adding: “This has not been our revolution, but we can be proud that we have played our part.”

As the fighting continued in Tripoli last night, the rebels had gained control of around 90 per cent of the city, with the bloodiest battle raging around Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya.

Another of Gaddafi’s sons, Khamis, was reported to have led his eponymous Khamis Brigade into battle from the compound, killing what one official described as “a big number” of rebels.

Tanks rolled out of the compound to begin shelling the city, and snipers fired from rooftops to prevent rebels joining the battle at Bab al-Aziziya.

Loyalist tanks were also deployed at the port, but the rebels continued to press on, and scored further victories.

By mid-afternoon yesterday they had reportedly captured a third son of Gaddafi, Saadi, and at 4pm Libya’s state broadcaster went off the air, removing one of the despot’s final and most important tools in his ability to maintain any form of resistance.

Across Tripoli, its citizens tore down every green flag of the Gaddafi regime they could find, chanting “freedom” in English. By last night, Green Square had been renamed Martyrs’ Square as 42 years of tyranny finally came to an end.

“We came out today to feel a bit of freedom,” said Ashraf Halaby, 30, as he joined the celebrations in the square. “We still don't believe that this is happening.”

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Gadaffi son rallies loyalists

Gadaffi son rallies loyalists*

Tuesday, 23rd August, 2011

Free: Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam raises his hands to supporters in Tripoli. Reuters

A son of Muammar Gadaffi who rebels said they had captured made a surprise appearance with jubilant supporters in Tripoli overnight and issued a rallying cry to loyalists to fight off opponents who say they control most of the Libyan capital.

Saif al-Islam, who has been seen as his father's heir apparent, visited the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists are staying to declare that the government was winning the battle against the rebels.

He took journalists to his father's Bab al-Aziziyah stronghold. Television footage showed Saif smiling, waving and shaking hands with supporters, as well as holding his arms aloft and making the V for victory sign.

"We broke the back of the rebels. It was a trap. We gave them a hard time, so we are winning," Saif said.

"Take up arms today, take up arms today," Saif told loyalists waiting to be given weapons. "Inshallah (God willing) we will attack the rats today," he said to cheers.

Saif's arrest had been reported both by rebels and the International Criminal Court in The Hague and his appearance before the foreign media raised questions as to the rebels' credibility.

He said Tripoli was under government control and that he did not care about the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court seeking him and his father for crimes against humanity.

Gadaffi himself has not been seen in public for several weeks before the rebels arrived in the capital at the weekend. But when asked if his father was safe and well in Tripoli, Saif told journalists: "Of course."

World leaders urged Gadaffi, 69, to surrender to prevent more bloodshed and appealed for an orderly transition of power, as the six-month-old battle for control of the oil-producing North African nation appeared to enter its final stages.

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CIA Asset: We Have Just Handed Libya Back to Islamic Radicals

CIA Asset: We Have Just Handed Libya Back to Islamic Radicals

NATO SLAUGHTER IN TRIPOLI: "Operation Mermaid Dawn" Signals Assault by Rebels' Al Qaeda Death Squads


"Operation Mermaid Dawn" Signals Assault by Rebels' Al Qaeda Death Squads*

By Thierry Meyssan

Voltaire Network

Monday, Aug 22, 2011

Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 22, 2011, – On Saturday evening, at 8pm, when the hour of Iftar marked the breaking of the Ramadan fast, the NATO command launched its “Operation Mermaid Dawn” against Libya.

The Sirens were the loudspeakers of the mosques, which were used to launch Al Qaeda’s call to revolt against the Qaddafi government. Immediately the sleeper cells of the Benghazi rebels went into action. These were small groups with great mobility, which carried out multiple attacks. The overnight fighting caused 350 deaths and 3,000 wounded.

The situation calmed somewhat on Sunday during the course of the day.

Then, a NATO warship sailed up and anchored just off the shore at Tripoli, delivering heavy weapons and debarking Al Qaeda jihadi forces, which were led by NATO officers.

Fighting stared again during the night. There were intense firefights. NATO drones and aircraft kept bombing in all directions. NATO helicopters strafed civilians in the streets with machine guns to open the way for the jihadis.

In the evening, a motorcade of official cars carrying top government figures came under attack. The convoy fled to the Hotel Rixos, where the foreign press is based. NATO did not dare to bomb the hotel because they wanted to avoid killing the journalists. Nevertheless the hotel, which is where I am staying, is now under heavy fire.

At 11:30pm, the Health Minister had to announce that the hospitals were full to overflowing. On Sunday evening, there had been 1300 additional dead and 5,000 wounded.

NATO had been charged by the UN Security Council with protecting civilians in Libya. In reality, France and Great Britain have just re-started their colonial massacres.

At 1am, Khamis Qaddafi came to the Rixos Hotel personally to deliver weapons for the defense of the hotel. He then left. There is now heavy fighting all around the hotel.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obligations Under Signed Agreements Must Be Complied With -NDF

Obligations Under Signed Agreements Must Be Complied With*

Fidel V. Agcaoili
NDFP Negotiating Panel
22 August 2011

Atty. Alexander Padilla, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH), is foolish in hurling false and vicious accusations against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The Joint Statements signed in January and February 2011 in Oslo, Norway, between the GPH and the NDFP, clearly stipulate that the GPH shall release most or all of the 17 NDFP personnel protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), before the second round of formal talks in June 2011. It is now August 2011 and there are still 13 JASIG-protected individuals in prison.

The GPH is under obligation to comply with signed agreements, if it expects the NDFP to enter into an agreement on social and economic reforms. The GPH must have palabra de honor and release most or all of the JASIG-protected individuals before the rescheduled second round of talks in September which it has itself proposed to the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in a letter dated 15 July 2011. There is a Tagalog saying that concretely applies to the present situation: ang balasubas ay kailanma'y di mapagkakatiwalaan (one who reneges on agreements can never be trusted).

In shooting down the NDFP offer of truce and alliance, Atty. Padilla has also foolishly misinterpreted the offer given that is based on the Concise Agreement for an Immediate Just Peace. It is obvious that Atty. Padilla is hellbent on scuttling the peace negotiations, both its regular and special tracks.

For the information of Atty. Padilla, the regional authorities of the revolutionary movement have the right to hold Lingig Mayor Henry Dano for investigation for actively participating in military operations against the people. Mayor Dano shall be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the people's democratic government.

Atty. Padilla should stop accusing the NDFP of what the GPH is precisely doing – holding hostage the JASIG-protected individuals to extract concessions from the NDFP or set preconditions for the second round of talks. He should instead recognize the clear obligations of the GPH under signed agreements. But thanks to his foolish talk, the NDFP is now duly forewarned of the malicious intention of the GPH in the peace negotiations.

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GPH is accountable for putting to risk the safety of NPA captives by launching full-scale military offensives -NDF

GPH is accountable for putting to risk the safety of NPA captives
by launching full-scale military offensives*

Rubi del Mundo
NDFP-Southern Mindanao
21 August 2011

Not only is Alex Padilla lost in a daydream, he also wants to obfuscate the revolutionary movement’s record of handling prisoners of war and those accused and held under its own legal and judicial system. In the process, he is endangering the lives of the GPH members because of military offensives in the region.

This was the contention of Rubi del Mundo, spokesperson for the National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao, in reaction to the recent pronouncement of the GPH peace panel chief who called it a “blackmail” and “bad precedence” to negotiate for the release of the four PNP/BJMP personnel prisoners of war and arrested GPH Mayor Henry Dano and two military intelligence escorts.

“The GPH is engaged in treachery, where on one hand, it is on a murderous rampage, with its AFP scouring the countryside in various acts of reprisal and offensive military operations, using as dubious pretext the so-called rescue operation for the NPA captives, while on the other hand, it is foisting the issue as blackmail in the non-resumption of the peace negotiations with the NDFP,” del Mundo said.

The 75th, 28th, 67th, 66th Infantry Battalions and the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion of the Philippine Army and PNP contingents are using “rescue operations” for GPH Mayor Dano and two escorts to cover up its fascist offensives against the peasant communities in the towns of Lingig, Boston, Monkayo, Cateel, Bagangga, Trento and Mangagoy. In the towns of Kitaotao, Kibawe, Arakan, Magpet and Makilala, the 8th, 57th and 61st Infantry Battalions are also engaged in offensive actions in search of the PNP/BJMP POWs.

Del Mundo scoffed at the AFP and the US-Aquino regime “for mercilessly endangering the lives of the prisoners of war and the three arrested while maliciously demanding for the unconditional release of the latter.”

“The GPH is accountable for putting to risk the safety and security of the NPA captives by ordering the full-scale military offensives, by refusing to acknowledge the Geneva Conventions-mandated protective status of the four PNP/BJMP personnel, and by ignoring the status of GPH Mayor Dano who enjoys his rights while under custodial investigation.”

The revolutionary movement has a long history of dealing with prisoners of war and those accused who were arrested for various crimes, a track record which “Mr. Padilla wants to gloss over in a veiled attempt to belittle the achievements of the people’s democratic government in upholding international humanitarian law and its own legal and judicial process,” del Mundo said.

Contrary to a news report stating otherwise, GPH Mayor Dano was able to call his wife on the evening of August 15. In respecting his legal rights as an accused, the NPA custodial force facilitated the communication between the couple, since GPH Mayor Dano was concerned that his wife -- who has a heart ailment -- would be unduly worried over his situation.

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NPA hits PA-AFP troops on combat-cum-rescue mission in North Cot; army sergeant, 3 others killed

NPA hits PA-AFP troops on combat-cum-rescue mission in North Cot;
army sergeant, 3 others killed*

Ricardo Fermiza
Magtanggol Roque Command,
Guerilla Front 51 Operations Command,
NPA-Southern Mindanao
20 August 2011

The NPA's Magtanggol Roque Command-Guerilla Front 51 Operations Command in Southern Mindanao ambushed a platoon of enemy troops under the 57th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army-AFP, killing four of the troops including an Army sergeant last August 16, 11:00 AM in Sitio Malumpine, Barangay Old Balatukan in Makilala town, North Cotabato. No casualties were reported on the side of the Red fighters.

The enemy troops were conducting combat operations related to the four BJMP/PNP prisoners of war when hit by the Red fighters. These operations went full-scale since the taking of the four POWs last July 21 at the Davao-Bukidnon national highway. Despite the assurance of the NPA custodial unit, the Herminio Alfonso Command-Guerilla Front 53 Operations Command, that the rights of the four prisoners of war (POWs) were fully respected; and their safety and welfare fully ensured, the AFP continues to endanger their lives with these combat operations in the boundaries of Davao, Bukidnon and North Cotabato.

Again, the GPH-AFP must understand that military and police offensive operations in the guerilla areas will only put the lives of the POWs in peril and will be met with tactical offensives by the NPA.

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GPH negotiating panel chairperson Padilla gives notice of no formal talks next month -NDF

GPH negotiating panel chairperson Padilla gives notice
of no formal talks next month*

Fidel Agcaoili
NDFP Negotiating Panel
20 August 2011

As spokesperson of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), I am obliged to answer the press statements of Alex Padilla of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines(GDP) which reveal publicly the contents of his letter to the NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni dated 19 August 2011. In due time, the latter shall send his reply.

In said letter, Padilla gives notice to Jalandoni that there will be no formal talks of the panels in Oslo next month and indefinitely until the reciprocal working committees on CASER shall have completed the common tentative agreement on social and economic reforms. He also declares that before then, there shall be no formal talks between the panels about issues involving the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), including the reconstruction of the list of DI holders under JASIG.

He insists that the GPH has no obligation under JASIG or under the Oslo Joint Statements of 2011 to release most or all of the JASIG-protected persons before what should have been the second round of formal talks last June or next September and no NDFP personnel shall enjoy the protection of JASIG until formal talks are made possible by the completion of the common tentative agreement on social and economic forms.

The GPH position expressed in writing by Padilla brazenly violates the JASIG and the entire peace process and alerts the NDFP that the GPH is already scuttling the peace negotiations. We also take notice that Padilla has scorned the NDFP offer of alliance and truce and is shooting it down in a press statement today.

Now, we fully understand why Padilla has been issuing press releases every day like an extremely irresponsible and provocative psywar agent of the reactionary armed forces and not as a negotiator with some amount of dignity and political sense.

We thank him for unwittingly justifying the determination of the armed revolutionary movement to defend the people against worsening exploitation and oppression and the escalating campaigns of military suppression, which are propagandized by the US-directed Aquino regime as peace and development operations.

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Punish the perpetrators of the Plaza Miranda Bombing of 1971 and other fascist crimes -CPP (NDF)

Punish the perpetrators of the Plaza Miranda Bombing of 1971
and other fascist crimes*

Communist Party of the Philippines
August 20, 2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in commemorating the Plaza Miranda Bombing of August 21, 1971. The dastardly bombing of the Liberal Party miting de avance was carried out by criminal henchmen of the US-Marcos dictatorship. Blaming the political opposition and the armed revolutionary movement for the bombing, Marcos ordered the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and declared martial law a year later.

For fifteen years after the Plaza Miranda Bombing, Marcos propped himself up as a military dictator, whipped up anti-communist hysteria, suppressed the people's mass movement, imprisoned mass activists as well as the political opposition and unleashed counterrevolutionary violence in the countryside in order to monopolize political power and enrich himself and his cronies. For fifteen years, Marcos was supported by the US imperialists by encouraging American investments, extending loans, supplying arms to the fascist military and providing counterinsurgency training and advise.

During the entire period of martial law, Marcos and his military henchmen surpassed the Plaza Miranda bombing with one fascist crime after another. Under martial law, tens of thousands of people were illegally arrested, tortured, summarily killed, abducted and forcibly disappeared. These fascist crimes were carried out by the AFP with utter impunity.

Forty years after the bombing of Plaza Miranda, none of the criminal perpetrators has been charged and punished. None of the past reactionary regimes after Marcos succeeded in having him face criminal responsibility for the Plaza Miranda bombing or any of the fascist crimes perpetrated during his rule. The failure of the past regimes to punish the perpetrators of the Plaza Miranda bombing and other fascist crimes reflects the state of justice of the ruling political system.

The ruling classes are lenient to their own kind. Like Marcos, past presidents and key officials charged with high crimes have never been put to justice, resulting in the perpetuation of the rotten and fascist ruling system. In particular, not a single officer of the AFP has been put to justice for the innumerable crimes perpetrated under martial law and under the past US-designed campaigns of suppression carried out since 1986. As a result, the military and other armed agents of the state continue to trample on human rights and carry out fascist crimes against the people without letup.

Forty years after the Plaza Miranda Bombing, the CPP joins the Filipino people in declaring: We will not forget! As long as the fascist criminals and plunderers continue to prevail, the aspiration for justice will continue to fire the Filipino people and drive them to wage revolution.

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The GPH is responsible for prolonging the peace negotiations through long interruptions and violations of agreements

The GPH is responsible for prolonging the peace negotiations through long interruptions and violations of agreements*

Fidel V. Agcaoili
NDFP Negotiating Panel
19 August 2011

Atty. Alexander Padilla, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as the GRP), has the penchant for blaming the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) of among others prolonging the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations supposedly for 25 years since 1986.

What are the facts as reflected in the time line study of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations?

There were no peace negotiations during the Cory Aquino regime. There were merely ceasefire negotiations which resulted in a short-lived Ceasefire Agreement. The negotiating panels of both sides were still trying to hammer out an agenda for peace negotiations when the massacre of peasants calling for genuine land reform occurred on 22 January 1987 and the ceasefire broke down. The massacre was followed by the “unsheathing of the sword of war” by Mrs. Aquino in March 1987.

It took more than five (5) years and six (6) months after March 1987 before The Hague Joint Declaration (THJD) was signed on 1 September 1992. This should have led to further preparations for the opening of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations but Ramos in self-contradiction created the National Unification Commission to prevent such preparations.

It was only in 1994 when the GPH formed its negotiating panel to engage its NDFP counterpart in further preliminary talks and forge, among others, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees (RWCs).

These agreements, together with The Hague Joint Declaration, paved the way for the opening of the formal peace negotiations on 26 June 1995 in Brussels, Belgium upon the facilitation of the Belgian Government. Strictly speaking, the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations started sixteen years ago, not 25 years ago.

From 1 September 1992 (signing of THJD) to 15 February 2011 (opening of the formal talks under the Benigno Aquino III regime), there were only 34 interface meetings in formal and informal talks between the GPH and NDFP negotiating panels which involved a total of 128 days. There were also the normal recesses in between rounds of formal talks which totaled around eleven months.

On the other hand, there have been 12 interruptions, all of which were at the instance of the GPH except for one by the NDFP. This was in August 2004 when the NDFP postponed the formal talks scheduled on that month to give time for the GPH to comply with its obligations under THJD, the JASIG, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the 2004 First and Second Oslo Joint Statements.

Among the major interruptions initiated by the GPH from 1992 to 2011 were:

1. The nearly two (2) years of interruption (1 September 1992 till June 1994) imposed by the Ramos regime after the formation of the National Unification Commission (NUC) on 16 September 1992.

2. After the appointment of Howard Dee as the GPH negotiating panel chairperson, he caused further interruptions by unilaterally making declarations of suspension, indefinite recess and collapse which totaled almost two (2) years, including a one year suspension (June 1995 to June 1996) because Gen. Renato de Villa refused to release Sotero Llamas, a Document of Identification (DI) holder under the JASIG.

3. The more than two (2) years of interruption instigated by the Joseph Estrada regime when it suspended the peace negotiations on 24 February 1999 and officially terminated these on 31 May 1999 and declared all-out-war against the revolutionary movement (the termination ended in March 2001).

4. A total of more than eight (8) years of suspension (from September 2001 to September 2003 and from December 2004 to December 2010) by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime when it tried to defeat and/or render irrelevant the revolutionary movement by carrying out military suppression campaigns in the countryside and urban areas, accompanied by widespread and systematic violations of human rights against residents of communities and members of legal democratic organizations, through Oplan Bantay Laya I and II.

These four major interruptions come to a total of 14 years (excluding the five years and six months during the Cory Aquino regime). Together with other GPH interruptions, more than 21 years were wasted by the GPH since 1987 in attempting to resolve the armed conflict in the country militarily and to impose its will on the NDFP across the negotiating table.

The GPH should comply with all signed agreements in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations instead of raising irrelevant issues to avoid obligations under, or worse, negate these agreements. Only for the second time in June 2011 did the NDFP call for the postponement of formal talks between the negotiating panels because the GPH failed to fulfill its obligation to release all or most of the 17 JASIG-protected individuals before said month. The recurrent problem is that the GPH does not fulfill its obligation and comply with agreements.

The NDFP has no interest in prolonging the peace negotiations. It recognizes the military superiority of the GPH in terms of personnel and resources and the harm that such power has been wreaking on the people in the countryside and urban areas. But the Filipino people must continue to defend themselves against the violence of the reactionary state, hold their destiny in their own hands, and fight for an independent, democratic, just, progressive and prosperous Philippines.

The GPH must exercise strong political will in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. It must agree to carry out basic social, economic and political reforms in the country. The GPH must exhibit patriotism, if it has any, and must respect the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people, especially in these times of grave crisis which goads the people to resist. It should formally reply to the proposal of the NDFP for a round of formal talks in Oslo in September 2011 and to the offer of truce and alliance on the basis of the ten-point Concise Agreement for an Immediate Just Peace.

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Resist US imperialist push for charter change! -CPP (NDF)

Resist US imperialist push for charter change!*

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
August 18, 2011

US imperialism is now vigorously pushing the local ruling reactionary classes to subject the 1987 Philippine constitution to amendments. Working with key economic and financial officials of the Aquino regime, US Ambassador Harry Thomas is now openly campaigning for charter change, completely disregarding Philippine sovereignty and in outright violation of the principle of non-interference between sovereign states.

The US imperialist ambassador has publicly espoused the position of the US government to amend the 1987 constitution to remove provisions prohibiting foreign entities from holding majority stakes in companies operating in the Philippines. He has also publicly expressed exhilaration over the fact that key officials of the Aquino government—including the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the House Speaker and Senate President—have already declared their openness to changing the economic provisions of the Philippine constitution.

The US government and officials of the Aquino regime are working hand in glove to have the Philippines included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a so-called "free trade" bloc that aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 among participating countries which include Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US. The US ambassador has outrightly declared that for the Philippines to join the TPP, the Aquino regime must amend the Philippine constitution.

The Filipino people must exert all effort to resist the US-instigated campaign for charter change ("cha-cha"). The amendments being pushed by the US aim to further diminish Philippine economic sovereignty which has already been significantly weakened in the past twenty-five years by the liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization policies of successive puppet regimes. The amendments being pushed by the US will complete the economic recolonization of the Philippines and lead to ever deeper crisis.

In reality, though, the provisions of the 1987 constitution which are supposed to protect economic sovereignty have never really stopped the imperialists from ravishing the Philippines’ national patrimony. Since the late 1980s, a number of economic laws have been enacted in compliance with policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund which sought, among others, to further open up the economy to the operations of foreign monopoly capitalists. In line with these policies, numerous laws have been passed which have made a mockery of the Philippine constitution.

Right after the 1987 constitution was enacted, the Corazon Aquino regime pushed for the passage of the Omnibus Investments Code which exempted foreign entities from the 60% rule in operating local enterprises in so-called pioneer projects and priority areas of investment. Investment laws for foreign capitalists were further liberalized by the Foreign Investments Act of 1991. Through one amendment after another, these laws further relaxed regulations and provided incentives to foreign capitalist investors.

In subsequent years, more laws were passed favoring foreign capitalists. In 1995, the Special Economic Zone Act was passed. This was followed by related laws creating the special economic zones in Cagayan, Zamboanga City and in the Calabarzon area where foreign investors were given full freedom to operate. In 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was ratified under which the all-out liberalization of trade and investment laws was further carried out. Further laws were enacted that liberalized foreign investments, among them the Bank Liberalization Law of 1994, the Build-Operate-Transfer Law of 1994, the Mining Act of 1995, the Oil Deregulation Law of 1997 and the Investment House Liberalization of 1997.

To create an environment "attractive" to foreign investors, laws were passed which further suppressed Filipino workers and pulled down the cost of Filipino labor. In 1989, the Wage Regionalization Act was enacted to counter demands for wage increases and abolish national minimum wage standards. In the same year, the Herrera Law was enacted which amended the Labor Law, allowed labor contractualization and imposed additional restrictions on the right to strike. This law was taken advantage of by capitalists to further push down wages and prevent workers from establishing labor unions. For more than twenty years, workers’ wages have been virtually at a standstill, falling way behind the rapid rise in the cost of living and condemning Filipino workers to ever worsening social conditions. Since then, the number of unions and unionized workers in the Philippines has dropped by more than 80%.

Successive IMF-approved Medium Term Philippine Development Plans (MTPDPs) were implemented by the Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo regimes. All these were marked by efforts to bring in foreign investors to do business in the Philippines and fully exploit cheap labor power of Filipino workers. Foreign capital was invested in privatized and deregulated industries such as power generation, water and electricity distribution utilities, road infrastructure, transportation and in business process outsourcing to take advantage of the deregulated regime and generate assured profits for big foreign monopoly capitalists.

None of the past four foreign-investment oriented six-year programs was able to address the need to develop the local economy. There has been a continuous decline in manufacturing, which is generally considered as the engine of an economy that creates value. The number of manufacturing firms has fallen from 7,500 in 1999 to just 4,600 in 2008 with a concomitant drop in employment from 1.1 million to 860,000 or a decline of 4% percent in its share in total employment. Manufacturing contributes only around 23% of the total gross domestic product—the same level it was more than 50 years ago.

For several decades now, "attracting foreign investments" has been the key element in the economic programs designed by IMF-trained technocrats of all past puppet regimes. However, for sixty five years under the neocolonial republic, the Philippine economy has been in a constant state of crisis, unable to achieve self-reliance and always dependent on the foreign loans and capital infusion. The wealth being created by the Filipino peasantry and working class is constantly being siphoned out by big foreign capitalists and consumed by the parasitic local ruling classes.

Unemployment, landlessness, poverty, hunger, homelessness, disease and other social maladies worsen from one decade to another. As the ruling puppet states constantly serve the interests of big foreign capital, they are increasingly unable to address the people’s economic needs and have constantly shifted the burden of crisis on the working people. While foreign capitalists are provided with tax incentives and tax havens, the broad masses are fleeced with more and more taxes. While foreign capitalists are allowed full freedom to raise prices, workers’ wages are constantly held back. While more and more funds are allocated to partner with foreign big business, public spending on social services experience bigger and bigger budget slashes.

In pushing for amendments to the 1987 constitution, the US imperialists and their local political henchmen aim to do away with all pretensions to economic sovereignty. They seek to break down all barriers and allow foreign big capital to plunder the local economy with impunity.

The US imperialist push to amend the Philippine constitution is closely linked to the desperation of the US government in the face of one of its worst economic recession. By seeking to shatter the economic boundaries of the Philippines and other semicolonies, it aims to open up the Philippines’ remaining economic frontiers for American capitalists to expand their sourcing of raw materials and cheap labor. It seeks to subject the Filipino working class to ever disastrous working terms and conditions. It seeks to further drown the Filipino peasantry in debt and bankruptcy as a result of the unmitigated dumping of foreign agricultural products.

US imperialist spinmeisters are acutely aware of the political dangers of coming all-out for charter change. Under the past three regimes, attempts to push for charter change have been widely opposed by the people as these have been invariably linked to the political ambitions of the ruling clique. In pushing for charter change, the tacticians of the US Embassy in Manila are trying to generate a pro-"chacha" groundswell by gathering the support of key officials of the judiciary and legislature. A number of them, including the chief puppet baton holder Juan Ponce Enrile, have issued statements in favor of amending the 1987 constitution, carefully avoiding the issue of extending the terms of office of government officials.

However, if the US and its puppets decisively push "chacha", they will ultimately have to contend with the Filipino people’s determined resistance to further imperialist domination, oppression and exploitation. In resisting the US-instigated "chacha", the Filipino people sharply oppose the neoliberal framework of imperialist globalization that calls for the complete breakdown of protective national barriers of semicolonial countries while trade and investment walls continue to stand high in imperialist countries.

After almost three decades of worsening conditions resulting from the IMF-imposed policies of liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization, the Filipino people clamor for national sovereignty and demand nationalist policies in the field of economics. They seek an end to foreign economic domination and a radical shift in economic policy that will put the interests of the Filipino people above all.

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Presence of GPH military camps near schools and civilian population are blatant violations of IHL but AFP and CHR sees nothing wrong in militarizing

Presence of GPH military camps near schools and civilian population are blatant violations of IHL but AFP and CHR sees nothing wrong in militarizing communities*

Anvil Guinto
Crucifino Uballas Command,
NPA-Southern Mindanao
15 August 2011

The New People's Army (NPA) in Compostela Valley province today lambasted the 10th Infantry Division-Philippine Army-Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-XI for blaming the NPA for the unintended wounding of a CAFGU’s kin during the August 9, 2011 attack on an army patrol base in Barangay Tagnanan, Mabini while conveniently skirting the fact that the presence of its army camps near schools and civilian population are continuing acts of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

In the recent tactical offensive by the Crucifino Uballas Command of Guerilla Front 2 that resulted in the seizure of seven high-powered rifles, the killing of three GPH combatants and the wounding of two other paramilitary CAFGUs, it was unfortunate that two family members of one of the CAFGU casualties were also hit in the course of the battle. While the CUC-NPA asserts that it only targeted the enemy combatants in a raid of a legitimate military target, it must be pointed out that the close proximity of the 72nd Infantry Battalion detachment to the civilian population is in fact the real culprit. While it was unintentional on the part of the NPA, it is deliberate on the part of the AFP to imperil the lives and properties of the civilian population.

Early last year, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao has informed the public and the media that the 10th ID-PA-AFP is putting the lives of about 300,000 civilians in danger as its detachments and camps were established within civilian communities and close to civilian structures and facilities such as schools, barangay centers, health centers and places for public recreation like gyms and plazas. Apart from army patrol bases usually of the 72nd IB/Cafgus, the operating units of the 10th ID-PA-AFP regularly avail of these civilian structures and facilities as their quarters and as tactical command posts during combat operations by its maneuver battalions and special operations by its special operations teams or SOTs.

To argue that these are part of their “civili-military operations” is an acceptance that the AFP purposely use civilians as their unwitting shields.

It becomes more condemnable when a GPH agency such as the CHR condones this blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and its Protocols and the GPH-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). When CHR-XI Regional Director Atty. Alberto Sipaco denounces the NPA for the wounding of the two civilians but turns a blind eye on the larger issue of the AFP militarizing the places of abode of the civilian population, we can only say that he is a coddler of an HR/IHL violator. And by failing to criticize this, the CHR is all the more exposed as an apologist for the AFP. Department of Education (DepEd)-XI spokesperson Mr. Jenelito “Dodong” Atillo fare better than him in that the former recently expressed serious concerns over confirmed reports about army camps situated near public schools which endanger the schoolchildren.

Hereunder is a partial list of elementary schools in the towns of Maragusan and Maco in Compostela Valley alone where there are 72nd IB-10th ID detachments in the vicinity. This is merely part of a long lost list which Atty. Sipaco and the CHR see as a non-issue and a perfectly acceptable set up. Definitely, more of the same set up can be seen in numerous army camps in Southern Mindanao and elsewhere.

1. Paloc Elementary School (Maragusan);
2. Tandik Elementary School (Maragusan);
3. Parasanon Elementary School (Maragusan);
4. Cambagang Elementary School (Maragusan);
5. New Leyte Elementary School (Maco); and
6. Sangab Elementary School (Maco).

Also, we provide an initial list of the numerous PA camps in Mabini, Maco and Pantukan located dangerously close to the civilian population. Their continuing existence directly violates Article 12, Part IV of the GRP (now GPH)-NDFP CARHRIHL which provides that "Civilian population shall have the right to be protected against the risks and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in urban centers and other populated areas".

1. 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion camp in Brgy. Pangibiran, Mabini;
2. 71st IB headquarters at the back of the municipal hall in Brgy. Poblacion, Pantukan;
3. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Anitapan, Mabini;
4. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Panamin, Mabini;
5. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Cabuyuan, Mabini;
6. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. New Visayas, Maco;
7. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. New Asturias, Maco;
8. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Libay-libay, Maco;
9. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Kinuban, Maco;
10. 72nd IB patrol base in Brgy. Mapaang, Maco;
11. 72nd IB patrol base in Sitio Palo, Brgy. Napnapan, Pantukan;
12. 72nd IB patrol base in Sitio Bukobuko sa Anay, Brgy Napnapan, Pantukan; and
13. 72nd IB Patrol base in Sitio Gumayan, Brgy. Napnapan, Pantukan.

Dodging the issue would only further expose the 10th ID-PA-AFP and the CHR as state instruments of repression of the people’s rights and interests. All the necessary measures should immediately be undertaken to remove the conditions for such continuing acts of violations by the GPH armed forces. The AFP strategy of militarizing civilian communities must be exposed, denounced and opposed.

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Irresponsible talk by GPH does disservice to the Peace Talks

Irresponsible talk by GPH does disservice to the Peace Talks*

Fidel V. Agcaoili
Spokesperson, Negotiating Panel,
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
16 August 2011

The Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as the GRP) has really gone berserk in its extremely irresponsible disinformation campaign against the revolutionary movement in connection with the recent arrest of four (4) Prisoners of War (POWs) and three detainees under the custody of the New People's Army (NPA) in Mindanao.

The GPH wants to hide the fact that it still has more than 350 political prisoners under its custody who have either been charged or convicted with common crimes in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and have suffered torture while undergoing interrogation and in detention.

These political prisoners have been on hunger strike since 25 July 2011, prompting Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to call for the “immediate and unconditional release of those whose arrests are deemed to be politically motivated” and “have already served long and completely unjust sentences.”

Among the political prisoners are the 13 remaining individuals protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) whose releases have long been overdue – before the second round of formal talks slated in June 2011 as provided for in the 21 February 2011 Joint Statement signed in Oslo, Norway between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The GPH is bound in solemn agreement to expeditiously release all, if not most, of the 17 JASIG protected individuals by June 2011.

It is now August 2011, yet only four of the 17 have been released. So I ask Atty. Alexander Padilla, Chairman of the GPH Negotiating Panel: which side is delaying the resumption of the second round of formal talks? The GPH should immediately comply with signed agreements and not engage in dilatory tactics in an attempt to exert pressure on the NDFP.

Moreover, the Aquino regime deliberately glosses over the fact that it has been condoning the culture of impunity in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and their paramilitary groups (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units/CAFGUs and Civilian Volunteers Organizations/CVOs). Such tolerance is manifested in the failure to bring to justice the human rights violators under the Arroyo regime and to address the continuing violations of human rights under its own rule.

Under the Aquino regime, human rights groups have already documented 50 cases of extra-judicial killings and eight (8) cases of disappearances from 30 June 2010 to 31 July 2011 – the most recent of which involved three peasant organizers in Negros Occidental last 19 July.

There have also been a spate of arrests of peasant and labor organizers – most recently in La Union and Batangas – as well as surveillance, harassment, threats and attacks on human rights groups and advocates. For example, it is now deemed an “act inimical to national security” to render assistance to human rights groups as evidenced by the resolution of the National Police Commission signed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, depriving a local official of administrative control over the police for helping a local human rights group.

Under Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino regime continues the practice of the previous regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya in attacking communities and deploying thousands of troops in areas suspected to be under the influence, control or supportive of the revolutionary movement. These troops base themselves in schools, health centers, church premises, barangay halls and civilian houses. They conduct surveillance and interrogation of the populace under the guise of census-taking and civic action. They actively recruit members into the CAFGUs and CVOs and set-up Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN).

They harass, threaten, arrest and torture people, including children, who oppose their presence and recruitment and protest their rowdy behavior during their daily drinking sessions which often lead to the indiscriminate shooting of work animals and houses. They molest local women, restrict the free movement of residents and the flow of food into the community, thereby disrupting the normal lives of the people during planting and harvesting seasons and the education of schoolchildren. They act as occupying troops over these communities.

The Aquino regime should not begrudge the New People's Army (NPA) for having the capability to arrest four (4) armed components of its counterrevolutionary and coercive apparatus, and an abusive local official and his two bodyguards who are deemed to have taken active part in military operations against the revolutionary forces.

The NDFP is a legitimate national liberation movement and a co-belligerent in the ongoing armed conflict in the country within the purview of international law and international humanitarian law. As a principled revolutionary organization, the NDFP represents 17 allied organizations and local organs of political power that are present throughout the country in urban and rural areas and in more than 120 guerrilla fronts with a mass base running into millions and an armed force operating nationwide under the guidance of a central political authority that functions within the framework of the Guide for Establishing the People's Democratic Government.

As Atty. Padilla knows very well, the NDFP has acquired such status of belligerency by dint of hard struggle since a long time ago against the US-Marcos fascist dictatorship. He should ask Atty. Marvic Leonen of this fact and point of international law. Such status was not bestowed by any entity external to the revolutionary movement. Direct or implied recognition by any foreign State merely enhances such status inherent in the people's revolutionary government.

Atty. Padilla should be reminded that there are two governments in the Philippines. One is the revolutionary government of workers and peasants based in the countryside and the other is the reactionary government of big compradors and landlords represented by Mr. Aquino in Manila. The NDFP Negotiating Panel has always declared that it represents the revolutionary organs of democratic political power, together with the CPP as the ruling party, the New People's Army as the main armed component of people's state power, the mass organizations and the broad masses of the people.

Since its founding and in the course of decades of practice, the NPA has treated POWs well in accordance with the 1969 Basic Rules of the New People's Army, international humanitarian law, the CARHRIHL and within its capabilities and circumstances. These have been publicly attested to by former POWs themselves, such as Gen. Victor Obillo, PA Major Eduardo Montealto, P/Major Rene Francisco, P/Major Roberto Bernal, among others, and by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Let me also assure Atty. Padilla that the people's court of the democratic people's government is guided by the principle of fair administration of justice in observing the rights of individuals to due process. This is provided for in Part III on the Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens in the Guide for Establishing the People's Democratic Government. Atty. Padilla has nothing to fear for the POWs and the detainees in the criminal justice system of the revolutionary movement.

The NDFP is committed to pursue the peace negotiations with the GPH to bring about just and lasting peace in the country by addressing the roots of the armed conflict. It has even offered truce and alliance with the Aquino regime provided it firmly stands up for national sovereignty, democracy and social justice on the basis of the NDFP ten-point proposal for a Concise Agreement for an Immediate Just Peace issued on 27 August 2005. What the GPH should do is to respond to the NDFP proposal instead of engaging in irresponsible provocative talk that threatens to terminate the peace negotiations.

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Legal and judicial processes of the People's Democratic Government are applicable to GPH Mayor -NDF

Legal and judicial processes of the People's Democratic Government
are applicable to GPH Mayor*

Rubi del Mundo
NDFP-Southern Mindanao Region
15 August 2011

GPH in a state of denial of the raging civil war and the existence of two governments in the country; Legal and judicial processes of the People's Democratic Government are applicable to GPH Mayor

When the GPH brands as “criminal” the NPA’s humanitarian act of according the prisoner of war status to four of its armed personnel and the application of revolutionary legal and judicial processes to Lingig Mayor Henry Dano, it shows that it is stuck in a sordid state of denial of the reality of a raging civil war between two governments in the country.

By alleging that the revolutionary forces have no right to undertake these humanitarian and legal acts, the GPH ignores and deceitfully forgets the following facts:

1) The 1996 NDFP Unilateral Declaration to Apply the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I;

2) That the 1998 GRP-NDFP CARHRIHL:

a) affirms that the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law are universally-acceptable;

b) acknowledges that the prolonged armed conflict in the country necessitates the application of the principles of HR and IHL; and

c) realizes the necessity and significance of assuming separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and IHL.

3) That in the course of the civil war between the GPH and the revolutionary forces and people as represented by the NDFP in peace negotiations, many of its armed personnel have been captured, detained and released as POWs;

4) That in the course of this civil war, two governments –- one being the Manila-centered reactionary government of the ruling class of big compradors and landlords, and the other revolutionary government of the oppressed and exploited peoples based in the countryside –- exist in the country;

5) That the legal and judicial system and processes of the people’s democratic government which exist, continuously develop and in force in its guerilla territories in the country has had administered the dispensation of revolutionary justice over the last four decades; and

6) That the 1992 The Hague Declaration that laid the framework of the current GPH-NDFP peace negotiations does not give any right to the GPH to presume, much less demand from the NDFP, that the revolutionary forces and its people recognize, work under and lay prostrate before the GPH political authority, constitution, legal system and judicial processes.

It is futile for the GPH to expect that on the basis of its myopic insistence of the supposed “non-belligerent” status of the CPP-NPA-NDFP, the people’s army would default on its revolutionary duty to undertake humanitarian acts in accordance with IHL and the NPA policy of humane and lenient treatment of its POWs. Nor would the People’s Court turn a blind eye on the cases filed before it, more so when it involves the people’s rights, security and welfare. It is not up to the GPH to determine the belligerency status of the CPP-NPA-NDF; the revolutionary resistance and achievements of the masses speak for itself.

It is for the benefit of the four PNP/BJMP personnel and the two AFP intelligence operatives masquerading as Mayor Dano’s security escorts that they are being held consistent with the NPA’s policy of humane and lenient treatment of its captives and in accordance with Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions. It is also for the benefit of Mayor Dano and the complainants that the legal and judicial processes of the people’s democratic government are applied to them.

Unlike the NPAs taken by the mercenary AFP who are either tortured, killed, declared missing, or were unjustly charged in the reactionary courts and left to languish in various jails, the four armed PNP/BJMP personnel are held under protective status, Mayor Dano enjoys legal rights as befitting suspects charged in the People’s Court and the two military intelligence operatives legally processed in accord with pertinent provisions of Protocol I relating to acts of espionage. In contrast, it is the GPH which acts criminally and unjustly against abducted innocent civilians, noncombatants and NPA hors d' combat.

Contrary to the GPH peace panel’s twisted pronouncement, the People’s Court -- by which the Lingig mayor is under auspices of -- is a revolutionary judicial tribunal that upholds the basic principles of due process and other legal standards in its rules and procedures. Thus Mayor Dano’s fundamental rights as a suspect are guaranteed; it is malicious and baseless for the GPH to say otherwise.

Essentially, the GPH authorities -- the GPH principal Benigno Aquino III, the AFP-PNP and GPH peace panel -- are acting contrary to the interest of the seven GPH personnel when they dispute the protective status and ongoing legal-judicial processes and intensify its military and police operations. The GPH ignores the logical path of negotiation, dismisses the rights of those in the NPA custody, and sets up stumbling blocks to the speedy resolution of these cases.

Instead of issuing hypocritical pronouncements and self-serving demands, the GPH peace panel should avail of the various methods of negotiation and stop the empty, uninformed and irresponsible pronouncements.

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Double-dealing Aquino regime must release Eduardo Sarmiento and all NDFP peace consultants

Double-dealing Aquino regime must release Eduardo Sarmiento
and all NDFP peace consultants*

Fr. Santiago "Sanny" Salas
NDF - Eastern Visayas
August 14, 2011

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today said the Aquino regime's seriousness for peace negotiations is under question as long as Eduardo Sarmiento and other NDFP peace consultants are not released. The NDF-EV spokesperson, Fr. Santiago Salas, also noted the regime talks of peace but has militarized the region with 11 army battalions. “The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDFP signed this year the January 18 Joint Communique, with the Norwegian government as witness, where the GPH committed to immediately releasing the detained NDFP peace consultants and personnel covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. But after many months, obviously, the Aquino regime has not released Eduardo Sarmiento, NDFP peace consultant for Eastern Visayas, and his fellow consultants.”

Fr. Salas added that, “As far as Eastern Visayas is concerned, the Aquino regime is on the warpath in militarizing the region with 11 army battalions under the euphemism of “peace and development.” In NDF-EV's view, the Aquino regime is double-dealing by deliberately stalling the peace talks and ordering the 8th Infantry Division to crush the NPA in the region under Oplan Bayanihan. If the Aquino regime is really for peace, it should have been working for the progress of the peace talks and restrained the search-and-destroy mission of the 8th ID masquerading as “peace and development” operations.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson called on the Aquino regime to release Eduardo Sarmiento and all NDFP peace consultants as well as other political prisoners, end the anti-people Oplan Bayanihan, and work on the peace talks to deliver socio-economic reforms. “Eduardo Sarmiento has been languishing in jail since February 2009 on trumped-up charges, like his fellow NDFP peace consultants and other political prisoners. His release is not only because of his role in the peace talks, but also a matter of justice. Eduardo Sarmiento and the people have all been victims of the GPH's wanton violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

“The people of Eastern Visayas are only suffering war and misery under the the contradiction in terms of Oplan Bayanihan's “peace and development” operations. The people are questioning why “peace and development” are not being discussed at the negotiating table by the GPH and the NDFP, but being mouthed by armed minions of the state who are violating human rights with impunity. If the Aquino regime persists in betraying the interests of the people, it will surely become isolated and vulnerable to the wrath of the people who desire a just and lasting peace.”

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Israeli Army Arrests over 50 Palestinians in Hebron

Israeli Army Arrests over 50 Palestinians in Hebron

Ramallah, Aug 21 (Prensa Latina) Israeli forces arrested over 50 Palestinians in Hebron on Sunday, in the biggest raid carried out in the last eight years in the city, announced Palestinian sources.

Detained include various leaders and relatives linked to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), one of them legislator Mohamed Abu Dheishe and some children of the members of the organization, said deputy Samira Halaik, and Maan and Wafa news agencies.

The Israeli forces accompanied by more than 100 military vehicles invaded the city of Hebron, in the south of West Bank, Sunday at dawn, and in neighboring villages such as Dura, Surif, Beit Umma, Yatta, and Samua.

Official Wafa news agency of the Palestine National Authority reported 40 arrests, though the estimates are higher.

Libyan Government and Rebels Claim Control of Zones

Libyan Government and Rebels Claim Control of Zones

Trípoli, Aug 21 (prensa Latina) The Libyan leader Muamar el Qaddafi assured in a recorded speech to have eliminated rats, as he called his opponents backed by NATO; while his opponents assured they will soon control the city.

Rats want to destroy the country, said Gadaffi who added that he will stay in Libya while official sources announced the recapture of Brega city, under seige for days, and from where the self-styled National Transition Council (NTC) admitted that it had to retreat because of intense bombing.

Gadaffi's message also served to give the lie to versions previously spread by different sources saying that he ran away to South Africa or Bolivia seeking political asylum.

In another TV message Saif al-Islam, son of the Libyan leader and chief of the 32nd Brigade, the most powerful of the army, appeared on a TV broadcast reiterating his father's call to "withstand and win". although he ratified the readiness of the government to negotiate without pre-conditions.

The NTC demands removal from his post and the country of Gadaffi, who assured he would never leave the country.

Songun and Unity

Songun and Unity

article by ASSPUK and JISGE on occasion of 51st anniversary
of Songun revolutionary leadership

On the 25th of August it will be 51 years since the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il gave on-the spot guidance to the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su 105 Guards Tank Division of the Korean People's Army. This tank division was the tank divsion that liberated Seoul(thus earning the title of Guards division) in the Fatherland Liberation War, smashing the walls of division and liberating the oppressed people of south Korea. Their tanks were first to rush into Seoul. A shining example in the history of revolutionary wars. It can be said that the Seoul Ryu Su 105 tank division was steeled in the flames of anti-imperialist war and class struggle. Also that it is a vanguard unit on the anti-imperialist military front. Therefore visiting the unit took on a profound and special significance. This on-the spot guidance marked the start of the Songun revolutionary leadership of the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il.

The five decades of Songun revolutionary leadership have produced great results and vast achievements. Of course the main one is the DPRK, a socialist state of Juche has been able to maintain solidly its independence and defy all imperialist attempts to encroach on its sovereignty. It has proudly held high the banner of socialism despite the frustration of socialism in a number of countries, it has rejected so called "reform" and "opening up" which are just a trick to destroy socialism from within.
Another durable achievement and one that effectively underpins everything is army-people unity. In the DPRK the people and army are united. The KPA is deeply respected by the people. This is a contrast to the imperialist countries. In imperialist countries soldiers are viewed with suspicion because of their role in imperialist wars and in oppressing the people or even contemptuously viewed as "thick squaddies" -people of low intelligence unable to do any other job. However in the DPRK service in the army is a matter of honour and every youth wants to join the army. The army is respected by the people and seen as their army , the army of the people.

The DPRK has established firm traditions of army-people unity. Their origins lay in the anti-Japanese armed struggle and the Fatherland Liberation War. During the anti-Japanese armed struggle the great leader comrade Kim Il Sung always emphasised that just as a fish could not live outside water the guerrillas could not live without the people. During the Fatherland Liberation war the KPA and Korean established firm bonds of fraternity. The army-people unity displayed in the Fatherland Liberation War was an important factor propelling the victory of the Korean people against the US imperialists.

Starting his Songun revolutionary leadership in 1960 the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il did everything to solidify and enhance the firm tradition of army-people unity declaring that the People's Army is the main pillar of the revolution, the core of society. Admirable traits of the people assisting the army and the army assisting the people have come into full bloom . The KPA participates vigorously in the work of economic construction and improving the people's living standards. Several "army-people" power stations have been built such as the Anbyon Power station. People feel that it is that duty to assist and help the army.

If the US imperialists attack Korea then the people and army will become one, an indestructible force under the command of the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il which will wipe out the imperialists to the last soldier.

The DPRK is marching ahead under the Songun revolutionary leadership of the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il in the spirit of Songun-based army-people unity. Indeed the DPRK is the most united society in the world ,this year many countries have been shaken by upheavals and disturbances owing to internal con traditions but the DPRK is united and racing towards the goal of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation under the Songun revolutionary leadership.