Fil-Am Activists Demand Sison Removal from U.S. 'Terror' List
Posted 2:25 p.m., July 4, 2008
After South African Leader Nelson Mandela was dropped off from the
United States immigration watchlist of possible terrorists, an activist
group called on the US government to eliminate Prof. Jose Maria Sison
from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list of the U.S.
Department of State.
U.S. President George W. Bush signed off on a bill, effective Tuesday,
that would allow Mandela to travel to the U.S. without having to get
certification from the U.S. Secretary of State that he is not a
terrorist. The U.S. Department of State has also dropped Mandela's
organization, the African National Congress (ANC), from the same list.
In a statement, Chito Quijano, chairperson of the U.S. chapter of Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-USA), said, "Categorizing someone as admired
as Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists is an indication that U.S.
government labels are ridiculous and not indicative of the truth. Nelson
Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his activism while the US
government listed him as a terrorist. Meanwhile, Jose Maria Sison is
still demonized by the U.S. and Philippine governments and European
Union, and is still in exile. The reality is that what Sison symbolizes
to the marginalized and impoverished Filipino majority and others around
the world is also deserving of worldwide admiration, not condemnation."
Quijano also asserted that the U.S. Department of State should also
eliminate the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New
People's Army (NPA) from its list of terrorist groups.
"If we are to qualify terrorist organizations as those who inflict
unnecessary harm and sow fear among the people, the Philippine military
under the command of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime is more of the
real terrorist, not the CPP-NPA. They are waging a principled struggle
in the countryside based on legitimate demands of the majority of the
Filipino people who are fed up with a rotten and abusive system. We may
have no link to them, but we do recognize the legitimacy of their fight
as a popular one, " Quijano said.
He added, "If Mandela and the ANC can be hastily labeled as terrorists
by the U.S. government then be dropped decades later out of acknowledged
error in judgement, surely we can deduce that the U.S. government was
just as hasty and erroneous when they labeled Sison, the CPP, and the
NPA as terrorist organizations as well. We hope the U.S. government will
also acknowledge their error as they did with Mandela and the ANC."
The FTO labels on the CPP-NPA were a strong contributing factor to
declaring the Philippines as the so-called Second Front in the war on
"terror" by the Bush administration in 2002. This led to the massive
deployment of US troops to the Philippines to conduct joint military
exercises under the auspices of "anti-terrorism."
Sison has been the target of several assassination attempts, including
an illegal arrest and raid last year in Utrecht. Although a recognized
political refugee in the Netherlands, Sison's democratic right to travel
and to work were stripped due to the FTO listings of the U.S. government
and the European Union. Bulatlat