Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/05/05MANILA2042.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2042 2005-05-04 08:54 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002042

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, USIP – SOLOMON
NSC FOR GREEN
SEOUL FOR ERIC JOHN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2015
TAGS: PTER EFIN PREL SA RP XC XF
SUBJECT: DEPORTATION OF SAUDI TERROR SUSPECT AT BEHEST OF SAUDI AMBASSADOR

REF: A. MANILA 1961
¶B. TD-314/20397-05
¶C. TD-314/17381-05
¶D. MANILA 2016

Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S/NF) Summary. A new case of Saudi diplomatic
interference, protection, and deportation of a suspected
terrorist financier underscores the ambiguous role of
official and unofficial Saudi nationals here in the
Philippines. While the most recent case could serve as an
opportunity for cooperation (should the judicial and law
enforcement process be allowed to run their natural course)
we see a disturbing trend involving the Saudi envoy and
senior Philippine police and immigration officials. Saudi
public pronouncements against terrorism are contradicted by a
developing pattern of effective Saudi Embassy influence on
GRP officials to release suspected financiers. The large
number of Filipino workers in the Kingdom and the hundreds of
millions of dollars they annually remit gives the Saudis
tremendous leverage over the GRP. The Saudi Ambassador has
professed to us a commitment to work with the US in providing
development assistance to poor Muslim areas in Mindanao, and
to countering extremist thought in Muslim communities. End
Summary.

Behind-The-Scenes
—————–

¶2. (S/NF) According to Lt. Col. Winnie Quidato, a Philippine
National Police (PNP) officer seconded to the Philippine
Bureau of Immigration (BI), PNP officials recently arrested a
Saudi national named Talhi, who was on a watchlist of
immigration violators. Quidato claimed that, after a dinner
meeting with Saudi Ambassador Mohammed Ameen Wali on May 2,
PNP Chief Lomibao ordered the PNP to turn Talhi over to the
BI and that Wali then convinced BI Commissioner Alipio
Fernandez to sign the deportation order handing over custody
to the Saudi Embassy. Quidato further claimed that Talhi had
admitted to giving $8,000 to Cotabato Mayor Sema (whose
meetings with suspected terrorist financiers caused us to
suspend a USAID road project — ref a). Quidato also noted
that Ambassador Wali “typically” uses the presence of about
one million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the KSA as
leverage in dealing with the GRP. (Comment: RMAS reports
indicate Tahli may have terrorist finance links and is
associated with Mayor Sema — ref B. Talhi will likely be
deported soon, given that he is now fully out of the
Philippine judicial process. End Comment.)

¶3. (S/NF) There are precedents for such Saudi diplomatic
interference in terrorist cases in 2005. After the arrest in
Zamboanga on January 17 of Al Sughayir, a known financier of
al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Ambassador Wali
successfully pressured the GRP to deport him on January 18,
according to press reports as well as intelligence. In
another case, GRP officials arrested Abdullah Nasir Al-Arifi
in March 2005 upon arrival in Manila from Saudi Arabia
following identification of his name on an Interpol list of
suspected terrorists, again according to press reports and
intelligence. Wali similarly interceded to take direct
custody of Al-Arifi, who was then deported back to Saudi
Arabia (ref C).

¶4. (S) Comment: Septel in other appropriate channel will
report on Wali’s comments on these cases, his promises of
enhanced cooperation with the USG in counterterrorism in the
Philippines, and his assurances that his government has
instructed him to share information with us here. He clearly
has powerful access and influence with senior GRP law
enforcement officials, undoubtedly stemming from the
important role the remittances of OFWs in Saudi Arabia play
in keeping the weak Philippine economy afloat. With Saudi
cooperation, we significantly impede the ability of
Saudi-based financiers to provide financial assistance to
terrorists operating in Mindanao. On the other hand, we
cannot yet dismiss the possibility that the Saudi
Ambassador’s priority objective is to safeguard and protect
at least certainly possibly well-connected Saudi citizens —
regardless of their possible links also to terrorist groups.
Ricciardone

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.