The Anti-Terrorism Bill that House Speaker Jose de Venecia is itching to pass under his leadership and Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is aching to sign with her pen poised in the air (as she herself announced) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Simply put, the proposed bill lays the legal basis for an undeclared martial rule or the return to a fascist dictatorship disguised as merely being part and parcel of the U.S.-led “war on terror”. The claimed “safety nets” against abuse that erstwhile opponents have introduced are ineffectual and a sham.
BY CAROL PAGADUAN-ARAULLO
Posted by Bulatlat
How ironic that while the rest of the world, including the people of the United States of America, are waking up to the Bush administration’s Big Fat Lies about the “war on terror,” Filipinos continue to be fed with the same sort of lies by the Arroyo regime. In fact the latter is in the process of completing the railroading of a so-called Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB) that is the result of high-profile lobbying as well as arm-twisting by high officials of the Bush government. A two-day special session of the Lower House of Congress has been called by Mrs. Arroyo to ratify the bill so that she can quickly sign it into law.
The Bush administration, bent on establishing unchallenged U.S. economic, political and military domination over the world, seized the horrific events of 9/11 to generate mass paranoia about “terrorism” (or what it labeled as “terrorism”) and blind support for what it trumpets is a “war on terror” but which is in fact an imperialist war of terror.
In the process it has funneled hundreds of billions to favored contractors in the military-industrial complex, let loose the dogs of war in the unjust invasion, occupation and destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, enacted repressive laws such as the U.S. PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and caused the unprecedented flouting of international human rights and humanitarian law standards by allowing the use of torture and inhumane treatment on prisoners accused of “terrorism” and denying them basic legal rights to defend themselves in a court of law.
Imposing a black-or[-white, “either you are with us or against us” kind of politico-military alignment, the U.S. has hoodwinked, inveigled and pretty much threatened the rest of the world to join or support its wars of aggression and intervention in the guise of fighting a borderless, indeterminate war against “terrorism.”
It is in this true context that we are witnessing the enactment in our country of the “Human Security Act of 2007” or “An Act to Secure the State and Protect the People from Terrorism” that is meant to mislead and camouflage the inhuman character and object of the bill.
While earlier versions of the bill were undisguised pieces of fascist legislation that were clearly an affront on the people’s civil, political and human rights, and thus could not stand muster in a Senate that has a predominantly oppositionist make-up (not to mention a smattering of senators posturing as human rights defenders) this final bi-cameral bill is said to have been “defanged” to the point of being harmless.
We vehemently disagree. The Anti-Terrorism Bill that House Speaker Jose de Venecia is itching to pass under his leadership and Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is aching to sign with her pen poised in the air (as she herself announced) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Simply put, the proposed bill lays the legal basis for an undeclared martial rule or the return to a fascist dictatorship disguised as merely being part and parcel of the U.S.-led “war on terror”. The claimed “safety nets” against abuse that erstwhile opponents have introduced are ineffectual and a sham.
The U.S.-backed Arroyo regime and its military and police minions can still use the ATB to outlaw and suppress all legal dissent and opposition by unilaterally declaring these as “terrorist” on the basis of manufactured intelligence reports and the claims of false witnesses. They also have the law to back them up when they interchangeably label “rebels” as “terrorists.” In one fell stroke they will have demonized the former and
reduced a revolutionary armed movement with the undisputed history of fighting the Marcos fascist dictatorship and struggling for a comprehensive political program of fundamental reforms into nothing but a bunch of heartless, despicable criminals.
The bill pays lip service to “uphold(ing) the basic and fundamental rights of the people…” then proceeds to enumerate the ways in which those rights are to be undermined and attacked.