Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/06/05MANILA2590.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2590 2005-06-03 04:24 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 03 MANILA 002590

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR S/CT/CHANDLER AND EAP/PMBS
STATE ALSO FOR DS/DSS/ATA/VANCIO, SCHNAIBLE, AND SCHEEL
NSC FOR GREEN
DOD/ISA/EA FOR ALLEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/2015
TAGS: PTER PREL PINS ASEC MOPS PINR RP
SUBJECT: STAYING ENGAGED WITH COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION

REF: A. MANILA 1614
¶B. MANILA 2434
¶C. MANILA 2105
¶D. MANILA 2108
¶E. MANILA 1792
¶F. 04 MANILA 5502

Classified By: (U) Political Officer Paul O’Friel
for reasons 1.4(b), (c) and (d).

¶1. (S) SUMMARY. US counterterrorism assistance, ranging
from operations/intelligence fusion support for the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to RMAS’ involvement with the
Philippine National Police (PNP), has helped the Philippines
register some counterterrorism successes in 2004 and 2005.
While we have tremendous access here, continued, sustained
engagement is needed if we want to ensure that the GRP turns
the corner on terrorism. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (S) The Philippines continues to be one of the hotbeds of
terrorism in East Asia, with the active presence here of
three US designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI); the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG); and the Communist
Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army (CPP/NPA) (ref A).
Active US engagement has helped the GRP score some
anti-terrorism successes in 2004 and 2005.

US MILITARY ASSISTANCE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
——————————————

¶3. (S) In a series of near-misses in November 2004 and
January and April 2005 the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) narrowly avoided eliminating Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)
operative Dulmatin, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Khaddafy
Janjalani, and other major terrorist targets. In each case,
the AFP conducted after-action reviews and attempted to apply
lessons learned to subsequent operations. It also used the
US-trained Light Reaction Companies of the Joint Special
Operations Group (JSOG) in combat for the first time against
terrorist targets in Central Mindanao in the April raid.
This action involved night movement to contact and night
helicopter-borne insertion of forces. US doctrine and advice
has begun to shape and influence AFP thinking and operations.
SouthCom has demonstrated a growing willingness to integrate
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P)
Operations/Intelligence fusion support into its operations,
and continued Operations/Intelligence Fusion Team (OIFT)
support is needed to bolster AFP counterterrorism efforts.

¶4. (C) US-trained light infantry battalions have also
demonstrated improved combat mettle. The 27th Infantry
Battalion in a January 3-16, 2005 operation in Mindanao’s
Kraan River Valley killed three ASG terrorists and wounded 10
more, disrupting ASG safe havens in the area. The SouthCom
Commander, Lieutenant General Braganza, directly attributed
the success of the operation, which involved a night
envelopment, to US training, saying “the assistance of US
military experts has produced outstanding results.”

¶5. (C) In seeking to tackle the root causes of terrorism,
JSTOF-P has under consideration a comprehensive plan to
bolster AFP civil-military operations capabilities in the
Sulu Archipelago and Central Mindanao. The US effort would
support the AFP’s own program to improve its ability to meet
the needs of disaffected populations in conflict-affected
areas. This type of engagement, in synergy with existing
USAID efforts, can make a real difference over the long term.

RMAS SUPPORT CRITICAL TO PNP SUCCESSES
————————————–

¶6. (S/NF) RMAS support for the Philippine National Police
(PNP) and AFP intelligence services has proven key to
breaking apart ASG and JI networks. Arrests in March 2004
disrupted an ASG plot to attack the US Embassy and conduct
terror bombings in Metro Manila. The subsequent apprehension
of Khair Malvan Mundus in May of that year broke an important
link in the ASG’s ties with its foreign financiers. RMAS’
continued close engagement likewise was a significant factor
in the aftermath of the February 14, 2005 “Valentine’s Day”
bombings that rocked Manila and Mindanao. Follow-up PNP
operations derailed further attacks by the JI/ASG that were
designed to replicate the December 2000 bombing campaign in
Manila.
ATA TRAINING PROVES ITS WORTH
—————————–
¶7. (S) Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) trained hostage
negotiators and crisis response teams played a crucial role
in the GRP’s reaction to the attempted mass jailbreak of ASG
prisoners from the Bureau of Jail Management detention
facility in Bicutan. The PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF)
was able to retake the prison and restore order with the loss
of only one SAF trooper. Post’s proposed expanded ATA
program (ref B) would focus on building up the capabilities
of the existing interagency Anti-Terrorism Task Force to
serve as the dedicated national-level response team for
terrorist attacks.

REWARD PROGRAMS HAVE AN IMPACT
——————————

¶8. (S) DoD Rewards and Rewards for Justice (RFJ) payouts in
2004 and the ongoing DoD Rewards advertising program were
developed and executed in close coordination with AFP and
Department of National Defense counterparts. These
initiatives have begun to attack the web of social,
religious, and cultural ties upon which Janjalani and other
terrorists have long relied for their safety and freedom.
Post has proposed adding JI terrorist bombers Dulmatin and
Umar Patek to State’s RFJ list (refs C and D).

US SUGGESTIONS INCORPORATED INTO ANTI-TERRORIST LEGISLATION
——————————————— ————–

¶9. (C) Intervention by the Political Section and the
Department of Justice Attache has helped shape the GRP’s
pending anti-terrorism bill, a major US foreign policy
objective. Executive and legislative branch contacts have
quietly welcomed US proposals and incorporated them into
draft legislation. Defense Secretary Cruz, who is
shepherding the bill through Congress, predicts it will be
passed by yearend 2005.

USAID PROGRAMS ATTACK ROOT CAUSES
———————————

¶10. (U) This year, USAID completed its highly successful
Livelihood Enhancement and Peace (LEAP) Program, which
reintegrated nearly 28,000 former Moro National Liberation
Front (MILF) combatants back into society. This type of
assistance, which attacks some of the base causes of
terrorism, could play a similar role in reintegrating Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters should the GRP’s
peace talks with the MILF prove successful.

STAYING ENGAGED
—————

¶11. (S) These examples underline the importance of staying
engaged in the counterterrorism fight here. Our involvement
makes a difference, and our absence would be telling. In the
decade of the 1990’s after the closure of the US bases, Ramzi
Youseff, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, JI operatives, and other
terrorists stepped into the vacuum created by the diminished
US presence. Continued, targeted US counterterrorism
assistance makes sense, has an impact, and serves US
interests. Proposals, such as our suggested enhanced ATA
program (ref B), Streamlined Terrorism Prosecution Program
(ref E) and Management Assistance for the Philippine Police
– MAPP (ref F), aim to bolster and improve counterterrorism
cooperation, as does our support for Philippine Defense
Reform.

¶12. (S) While the Philippines may be a complex challenge, it
is one of the few countries in East Asia, if not globally,
where US personnel and military forces have such wide access
and influence. While Philippine institutions are weak, our
presence here does make a difference. Sustained long-term US
engagement is essential to defeating terrorism in the
Philippines and safeguarding the US homeland.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
MUSSOMELI

   

 

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