Stupid intelligence endangers lives

Again, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has proven that military
intelligence is an oxymoron.

The sad thing is it is no laughing matter because the irresponsibility
and stupidity of military intelligence, specifically of the Army’s
10th Infantry Division, places lives in danger, if it has not already
cost some people their lives.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has come into
possession of a PowerPoint presentation entitled “JCICC Agila, 3trd
Qtr 2007 OB Validation Report,” which is marked “Secret” and was
apparently prepared by the 10th ID based in Southern Mindanao.

An “OB” is an “order of battle, a list of what the military considers
to be enemy targets, often members of the communist rebel movement. It
is no secret that, very often, landing in the OB is a veritable death
sentence, as shown by the close to a thousand extrajudicial killings
that have raked the ranks of progressive legal organizations that the
government and military openly label “legal fronts” of the communist
rebel movement.

The 10th ID OB lists down more than a hundred individuals, mostly
leaders and members of progressive and leftist organizations – Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela – church organizations,
based in Davao City, all of whom are classified as “organized,”
“dominated” and “targeted.”

It also includes one media organization, the National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines, under which is listed Carlos Conde. He
is among those categorized as “targeted.”

Mr. Conde is the Philippine correspondent for the New York Times, the
International Herald Tribune and, a contributor to
other foreign and Philippine publications, and is a member and former
secretary general of the NUJP. Mr. Conde, who lived in Davao for 10
years, also used
– Hide quoted text –
to be NUJP’s coordinator for Davao and Southern Mindanao.

To our knowledge, at least one person in the 10th ID OB has been
murdered – Davao peasant leader Celso Pojas. Others have been
threatened and harassed.

Thus, aside from our concern over the continued extrajudicial killings
of persons the state and its security forces choose to consider
enemies, we are particularly worried over the inclusion of Mr. Conde
and the NUJP in the 10th ID OB, which contains, in this case, not only
dated and erroneous information, but is also based on a false premise.

The NUJP was once included in an earlier PowerPoint presentation
produced by the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, which was being shown in schools, called “Know Thy
Enemy,” that listed down so-called communist legal fronts tagged
“enemies of the state.”

The clamor over that fiasco led a red-faced military to admit its
mistake and promise to pull out the presentation.

Apparently, at least one unit of the AFP – the 10th ID – does not
think the NUJP’s inclusion among the state’s considered enemies was a
mistake and, has in fact, even singled out one of our more senior and
more respected members for “targeting.”

The existence of such an abomination as this OB only bolsters the
thesis of United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston that the
plague of extrajudicial killings that has cost the lives of close to a
thousand activists and dissenters since 2001, when President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo came to power, can be blamed on a government
counterinsurgency strategy that targets personalities from legal
leftist organizations openly tagged rebel legal fronts.

While the NUJP reiterates that we have, so far, seen no indication
that the murder of journalists in this country is part of official
policy, the discovery that our organization and a former officer are
considered “enemies of the state,” has made us think that we may have
to reconsider our position.

Especially since, not only have the most number of journalists – 64 of
the 100 slain since 1986 – lost their lives under this administration,
it is also this administration alone, after the 14-year Marcos
dictatorship, that has attempted a wholesale muzzling of the
Philippine media.

The 10th ID OB also belies all claims by defense officials and the
military top brass about reforms within the AFP and how state security
forces have been reoriented to respect human rights.

The only way the AFP and the Department of Defense, specifically
Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., can rectify this mistake is to sack
everyone involved in producing this abominable and stupid PowerPoint
presentation, including the commander of the 10th ID, who cannot evade
liability under the principle of command responsibility, and to issue
a public apology to Mr. Conde, the NUJP and to all the other
individuals it may have wronged and placed in danger because of their
inclusion in the OB.

Not to do so can only lead us to conclude that the OB has the
blessings of the defense and military leadership, and, as a
consequence, the government itself.

Nonoy Espina
Vice Chairman


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