Sunday, March 06, 2005

NR0305:Negroponte heads US spy network in RP

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 5, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362
Former US Ambassador to RP John Negroponte heads US anti-terrorism Spy Network covering Philippines since October; Military proposal to gag media critical of anti-terrorism campaign should be opposed

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that John Dimitri Negroponte, 65, former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines (1993-1996), former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and recently appointed US ambassador to Iraq, has been appointed by President George W. Bush to head the US umbrella spy agency covering five countries targeted for a new, clandestine U.S. espionage arm set up to uproot cells of international terrorism and to ensure homeland security.

According to the Washington Post, the network's focus is on "emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia." All the countries named, except for Somalia, have policies aligning themselves with the US, even if at different levels, against organizations the US has classified as terrorist, such al Qaeda and its allies.

"The US is determined to put up a well-coordinated, U.S. intelligence mechanism whose task is to oversee 15 intelligence agencies. US Pres. Bush has assigned Negroponte because of his knowledge of the countries the network is covering, especially the Philippines," he said. He said that Bush has been quoted as saying that "John will make sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions. We're going to stop the terrorists before they strike."

As director of National Intelligence, Negroponte will be the principal adviser to the president and will coordinate the nation's spy agencies. The position will be above the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director. "The US wants to establish a National Counterterrorism Center for planning intelligence missions and coordinating information on terror threats and responses. Clearly, it's already at work in the Philippines, as seen in the stubborn determination of Malacanang in pushing for the immediate implementation of a national ID system and the anti-terrorism law," he said.

The veteran labor leader also slammed the proposal of Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, Armed Forces of thePhilippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff, to sanction journalists and media outfits that interview "known terrorists or terrorist groups." Beltran said that this proposal could also well be a recommendation of the US-led spy network.

"Adan can lose his voice arguing, but it's patently clear that the proposal is a threat against press freedom. His use of the word terrorist covers a lot of ground, and indicates the attitude of the government in this matter. Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo herself called patriotic and legal cause-oriented groups "terrorist lovers" over the controversy over the RP-US Balikatan military "exercises" in late 2001 and early 2002. Now they're branding journalist critical of the anti-terror campaign as terrorists.
The military cannot be allowed to wield its authority over the media, and further close-off limit the already limited democratic space in the country."

Finally, Beltran said that last month's bombings and the surrender of the supposed perpetrators of the bombings were so coordinated it was if they were part of a plan. "By who, we don't know yet, but we have very strong suspicions," he said. Beltran said that the US' recent declarations over making the Philippines a hub of its anti-terror campaign and its intent to take over Mindanao in the name of foreign investments fuels speculations that the US in coordination with local government authorities are behind the bombings and the snowballing anti-terror campaign of Malacanang.

"Malacanang is developing a more efficient antiterrorist initiative with the help of the US," he said. "What these initiatives are and how far they go, the public has yet to be informed. It's becoming apparent, however, that Malacanang would rather keep these initiatives under wraps. In reports abroad, however, its been said that Philippines, for instance, has declared a "partnership" with the U.S. against terrorism, and has been working with the U.S. in countering the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF," he said.

Beltran said that the US is developing jointly with Philippine operatives an anti-terrorism, spy program which include "human intelligence operations," as opposed to such high-technology gathering as using "satellite photography," and range from "peacetime recruitment of foreign spies" to "interrogation of prisoners and scouting of targets in wartime."#


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