Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08MANILA899.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA899
2008-04-15 09:26
2011-08-30 01:44
SECRET
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7703
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0899/01 1060926
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 150926Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0378
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000899

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/15/2018
TAGS: PTER MOPS PINS KJUS RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE ANTITERROR SUCCESSES CONTINUE

REF: MANILA 426

Classified By: Amb. Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 b, d.

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Philippine authorities, with U.S.
assistance, arrested or killed eight significant terrorists
since January. These operations demonstrated enhanced
synergies between security and intelligence forces, increased
sophistication, and effective avoidance of collateral damage.
In recent arrests, suspected foreign terrorist financiers
were among those detained and deported, possibly indicating a
heightened interest in the Philippines by Middle Eastern
operatives. The most prominent recent case, that of Bali
bomber Dulmatin, who carries a ten million dollar Rewards for
Justice reward, remains in limbo, as U.S. and Philippine
authorities have been unable to obtain corroborating DNA
samples from Indonesian counterparts. The improved
coordination between law enforcement, military, and
intelligence organizations has not only led to more effective
operations, but also has provided greater security for
civilians. END SUMMARY.

———————————————
CONTINUED SUCCESS IN THE SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES
———————————————

¶2. (C) Philippine military units conducted a raid on the
southern Philippine island of Tawi-Tawi on January 31,
resulting in the death of Abu Sayyaf Group sub-commander
Wahab Opao (a.k.a. Abu Fatima), and allegedly the death of
Jemaah Islamiyah leader and Bali bomber Amir Bin Usman
(a.k.a. Dulmatin). Opao was a logistics specialist who had
been involved in numerous terrorist operations in the
Philippines, including bombings, kidnappings, and the murder
of at least three individuals. U.S. and Philippine officials
believe his death may have dealt a setback to Abu Sayyaf’s
operational ability.

¶3. (S) Separately, on February 17, a joint Philippine
military operation hit the Jemaah Islamiyah network when
authorities captured significant Indonesian terrorist Latif
(a.k.a. Salman) near Davao in southeastern Mindanao. Latif
is a known associate of wanted Jemaah Islamiyah Bali bomber
Umar Patek and is thought to have been hiding in the
Philippines for more than three years. In a coordinated and
well-timed operation, Philippine military forces captured
Latif after quickly reacting to a tip; significant evidence
including computer equipment, mobile phones, weapons,
explosives, and training manuals were found in his possession
at the time of his arrest. Philippine authorities have been
cooperative in sharing intelligence from debriefings of
Latif, which have been productive and yielded insight into
Jemaah Islamiyah activities.

——————————————— ——-
IDENTITY OF REMAINS HINGES ON INDONESIAN COOPERATION
——————————————— ——-

¶4. (C) Following the January 31 firefight on Tawi-Tawi, a
Philippine informant led troops from the Philippine Marines
and Military Intelligence Group to a grave on the island on
February 18, where the informant claimed Jemaah Islamiyah
terrorist leader Dulmatin was buried (reftel). Dulmatin is
suspected of masterminding the 2002 bombings in Bali,
Indonesia, that killed 202 people, including seven U.S.
citizens. He is an electronics specialist with training by
al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan and a senior member of the Jemaah
Islamiyah terrorist organization, listed as wanted under the
Rewards for Justice program for up to $10 million. At the
request of Philippine authorities, U.S. personnel are
assisting in the investigation. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation has completed their DNA testing of the cadaver
samples, but cannot determine whether the remains are
Dulmatin’s without comparison to known DNA samples that are
in the custody of the Indonesian government. Indonesian
authorities have thus far refused U.S and Philippine requests
to release the samples for analysis, citing a preference to
conduct their own tests. The FBI and Embassy Jakarta are
seeking a compromise that would allow Indonesian specialists
to monitor FBI comparison of the Indonesian and Philippine
DNA samples.

——————————————— —
QUICK ACTION IN POSSIBLE PLOT TO BOMB EMBASSIES
——————————————— —

¶5. (C) The investigation by Philippine authorities of a

MANILA 00000899 002 OF 002

potential plot to bomb multiple embassies in Manila and
subsequent arrest of five suspects demonstrated the
increasingly structured and disciplined interagency approach
by the Philippine government towards counterterrorism
operations. On February 27, Philippine National Police
arrested Jordanian national and Saudi resident Khalil Hassan
Al-Ali and Jordanian national and Philippine resident Walid
Abd-al-Razzaq Husayn Salim Abu Ayshah for visa-related
violations. Both individuals were financiers with suspected
connections to the plot. Following interrogation, the
Philippine government took immediate steps to deport the two
suspects to Jordan.

¶6. (S) In a separate, but apparently related case, combined
elements of the Philippine Army and Philippine National
Police arrested Mohammad Macaraya Bani on March 8, 2008, in
the resort of Boracay and Khalid Pagayao on April 8, 2008, in
a suburb of Manila for their suspected involvement in the
Manila plot. Bani is a known to be associated with the Moro
National Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and other
foreign jihadists involved in terrorist financing schemes,
while Pagayao is believed to be a Jemaah Islamiyah-trained
bomb maker and had bomb-making materials in his possession
when arrested. A fifth individual, Muhammad Amro, was
arrested by Philippine National Police on March 20, 2008, for
his suspected role in financing the Manila bomb plot. In all
the arrests, Philippine military, police, and intelligence
officials displayed cooperation that transcended historic
interagency barriers that in the past would have hindered
their ability to effectively pursue the suspected terrorists.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶7. (C) While continuing to aggressively press the fight
against terrorist groups throughout the country, Philippine
authorities are cognizant of the need to take all possible
precautions to avoid civilian casualties. A noteworthy
example of this concern for non-combatant safety was evident
during an April 6 operation on Jolo island in the Sulu
Archipelago, when Philippine National Police killed Abu
Sayyaf Group/Rajah Solaiman Movement operative San Hassan
Amdal during an early morning arrest attempt. When the
police approached Amdal at his home in the middle of a remote
village to serve an arrest warrant in the pre-dawn hours —
an operation fraught with potential hazards — Amdal
attempted to fire on the officers and was killed. Despite
the proximity of other residents, the operation was conducted
without any collateral casualties. As with the Manila bomb
plot investigation, the high degree of cooperation between
different Philippine military, police, and intelligence
agencies contributed to the success of the operation. While
historically not commonplace, these types of sophisticated,
integrated operations are becoming more the norm rather than
the exception in Philippine counterterrorism operations.
KENNEY

   

 

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