Friday, November 16, 2012

Sanctioning the Abu Sayyaf Franchise

That the following is truly today's news is so unutterably sad that it actually becomes somewhat newsworthy in spite of itself. It is with public information releases like this the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI can assert their title as the preeminent buffoons and laughingstocks in an international post-cold war security establishment

Nearing 80, Sahiron had moved past geriatric terrorism to its eschatological twin a decade back, while Hammami (Al Jolson Minstrels? Blackface? Jeffrey Schilling, is that really you?) took the easier, softer way after Phillips Exeter---given all the possible rhymes that go with "Off the map! and Into the sea!"
Being called  an "American operative" is the one just thing here, given the false-flag authorship behind both the Philippine and Somalia terror campaigns. Why doesn't Omar go off to Syria and do some really useful work.

And rather than "armed and dangerous," shouldn't Sahiron be called "one-armed and maybe denture-ous?"

November 16, 2012, The Philippine Star, 2:42 AM, Abu leader, rapping jihadi make FBI terror list,

Radulan Sahiron (left) and Omar Shafik Hammami are now among the FBI’s most wanted.

MANILA, Philippines - Abu Sayyaf commander Raddulan Sahiron and Omar Shafik Hammami, an American operative for Somalia's Shebab insurgents who uses rap as a propaganda tool, have been added to the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.

Sahiron, who lost his right hand in a gun battle in the 1970s, is believed to be the leader of the Abu Sayyaf and is wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping of an American in 1993.

He was indicted in US federal court in 2007 in connection with this. He is also accused of involvement in the 2001 kidnappings in Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.

The FBI website said Sahiron, believed to be in his ancestral domain in Patikul, Sulu "should be considered armed and dangerous."

"Sahiron, the overall leader of the Abu Sayyaf since 2005, uses the aliases Radulan Sahiron, Raddulan Sahirun and Commander Putol, the FBI added.

[misspelling his name in newspaper accounts does not establish an "alias"]

The US State Department has offered $1 million for information leading to the arrest of Sahiron.

The Philippine military welcomed Sahiron's inclusion in the FBI list. Maj. Gen. Francisco Cruz Jr., Armed Forces deputy chief for intelligence, yesterday said: "Sahiron is included in our own most wanted list so it complements our effort in fighting terrorists."

Sahiron was implicated in the kidnapping of American missionary Charles Watson in Pangutaran Sulu in 1993.

About 14 members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped Watson from his house in Narangay Simbahan.

Watson was then moved to the Abu Sayyaf's jungle camp in Jolo where he stayed until he was freed on Dec. 7, 1993.

Sahiron was indicted in a US court on Feb. 27, 2007 for hostage taking and aiding and abetting and causing such act to be done.

Sahiron was also accused of plotting the kidnapping of Protestant missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham and 18 others in Palawan in May 2001.

Also among those kidnapped was American Guillermo Sobero, who was beheaded in June 2001.

In 2002, Martin was killed during a military rescue operation, but Gracia survived and managed to write a book recounting her experience as captive.

About 300 members of the Abu Sayyaf operate in the country, the military said.

Hammami, also called the "rapping jihadi," was born in Alabama but is now thought to live in Somalia and is believed to be a senior leader of the Shebab rebels, who were placed on the US State Department's terror blacklist in 2008.

The group has "repeatedly threatened terrorist actions against America and American interests," the FBI said in a statement.

Also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, Hammami has been releasing rap songs in English on the Internet since 2009 as a recruitment tool, although music is forbidden in Al-Qaeda’s strict interpretation of Islam.

In the songs, Hammami says he hopes to be killed by a drone strike or in a cruise missile attack so he can achieve martyrdom.

He invites young people to join the jihad to "wipe Israel off the globe," and he encourages strikes against the US military in Afghanistan and

The FBI most wanted terrorist list was created in October 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Seeking Information-Terrorism list was then created to publicize efforts to find suspects not yet charged with crimes.

Abu Sayyaf man captured

In Lamitan City, Basilan, intelligence and security forces captured an Abu Sayyaf member tagged in the Lamitan siege, according to officials.

The suspect, a certain Abu Benjamin, was charged with kidnapping and illegal detention, according to Capt. Alberto Caber, 1st Army Division spokesman.

Caber said Lamitan police and military intelligence agents cornered Benjamin in Barangay Oval.

"Alias Abu Benjamin was involved in the infamous Lamitan siege in June 2001 following the Dos Palmas kidnapping and the invasion of the bandits in the city and took hostage of medical staff of the Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital,” he said.

Benjamin was taken to military headquarters in Zamboanga City and placed under tactical debriefing before he would be handed over to the court for proper disposition.

Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, 1st Army Division chief, commended the troops that captured Benjamin. - Alexis Romero, Roel PareƱo

The Philippine Daily Inquirer's, archival research article published on page A20, on October 19, 2001, Kidnapping, killings of priests in South, doesn't even mention an American missionary named Charles Watson, kidnapped from Sulu in 1993, although it does mention three nuns who were kidnapped from Jolo [Sulu] that year. 
How wonderful of the American judicial system to then wait fourteen years to indict a man for this crime, then wait another five years, for a total of 19 years, before elevating the indicted to the prestige of the "FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists," with the offer of a $1 million reward "for information leading to the arrest of Sahiron." This, mind you, in a context where the usual top reward for help in arresting the Abu leadership paid out by the Philippine government was one million pesos, which translates into something like $20,000.
This kind of real fiscal inflation is reminiscent of what occurred with the Abu Sayyaf in their ability to extract ransom starting with the Sipadan hostage taking in 2000. Of the dozen or so organized kidnapping gangs operating in the Philippines who were active over the same period,  primarily targeted rich Chinese-Filipino business people (Why? Because that's where the money was!)--- all except the Abu Sayyaf, whose penchant for abducting poor schoolteachers and those in religous life was long established, with the most money they ever took from a kidnapping being a few thousand dollars. But their brand of activity carried an entirely different weight in the public imagination, and this seems to have been their public relations goal. 
At both Sipadan and Palawan, the Abu threw in a few working-class locals along with their intended up-market victims (adding to an already dangerously overloaded boat in the Dos Palmas case, ) with no apparent motive other than to have a few warm bodies to hack to death later on---justified by their inability to pay ransom!
Let us remember also that the $10-$20 million they grossed from their later abductions was paid out in U.S. greenbacks. So it is a false narrative to claim the Abu Sayyaf began as a somewhat ideologically principled separatist rebel organization that subsequently devolved into mercenary banditry. Instead, they were a bunch a ragamuffin outcasts who finally hit the big time,.

No comments:

Post a Comment