Does the MILF need money? Those behind the kidnapping of an Italian priest released some photos, and the cost of “proof of life” photos has escalated from P100,000 to P 500 000. ($10,000)
It has become a backyard industry once again.” says a gov’t spokesman.
The Italians want to pay and have the priest released, but the Philippine government knows that in the past this made things worse, so refuse to cooperate in a deal that gives terrorists lots of money to recruit and buy supplies.

A lot of people in the US left believe in the myth of nice cheerful revolutionaries living in peace and harmony but don’t realize that although there are “true believers”, a lot of those involved in terrorism are also involved in crime. Remember, the Mafia started as an “insurgency”, and in Colombia, FARC and the narco terrorists are gradually fusing.

For example, last week’s bus explosion was to get extortion money, so no one was killed. But the group claiming responsibility calls itself “Al Khobar” , a reference to this bombing, and police also report finding two live rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) on a highway near General Santos City.

In the last year, a lot of J.I.terrorists from Indonesia fled to the Philippines, including Al qaeda trained bomb makers.

Are the bus bombings practice runs? That is why the police are checking to see if the bus bomb was a practice run to see if their new “sophisticated bombs” work, or is it just business as usual?

The real worry is the upcoming ASEAN meeting in Manila. We need to attract business investment, and killing bigshots at a summit is not the way to do it. So Security is tight in the Manila suburbs, with the clearing out of squatters, homeless, and vendors from the meeting areas. Just like last year’s summit in Cebu, there are rumors that the al-Qaida-linked groups like the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah will attack the summit.

So the government is trying to keep up pressure on them in the Southern Philippines to keep them busy. They are also trying to locate and detain members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement,, who are Luzon natives who converted to Islam, often after working in Saudi Arabia, and as locals are able to pass unnoticed in Manila. They have been implicated in several bombings, including one of a ferry.

The passage of the new “anti terrorism” law may or may not help. Human rights groups opposed it, but Philippine commentary reminds us:

“I wonder if he even acknowledges that the Abu Sayyaf have murdered over 350 people and the NPA nearly three times as many in the last six or seven years, comprising over 200 separate terrorist attacks, bombings, arsons, murders–all in the name of jihadist or communist insurgent objectives.”

Bishop Cruz is more cynical, saying that the anti terrorism law lik most other laws here won’t be implemented anyway, but it could be used to promote political power of certain politicians. The good bishop points out that the culture of death is widespread in the Philippines:

“There are the internationally infamous extrajudicial killings not to mention the downright political murders. The killings go on and the killers also simply go away. There are killings not only because of drugs and gambling. There are also killings even in the demolition of little houses and poor shanties…”

And the dirty little secret is that the “terrorists” (both the communist and the Muslim groups) are involved in extortion, kidnapping, drugs, and guns for hire, and killing of those who oppose them. The widely condemned “extrajudicial killings” are often payback for them and their supporters, and the number of killings is only kept in check by lots of outside pressure.

But these “extrajudicial killings” also allow the NPA thugs manipulating the left in the west and the MILF thugs manipulating the Organization of Muslim nations to get sympathy…and money to keep up the fight.

The NPA won’t hit the meeting, for fear of losing funding, but there is a real danger that the Abu sayyaf or other Islamic groups will try to do so.
As for me, we’re up north, and our main danger is being caught in the cross fire between political clans.
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