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Letters to Jose Maria Sison





By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
March 16, 2008

I am deeply pleased that the participating organizations of the International League of Peoples' Struggle in Vancouver are undertaking a conference to build on the gains of the 2004 Laws, Labels and Liberation conference by continuing to use my case and situation as an example of the use of anti-terrorism executive orders and legislation against human rights, civil liberties and the right of peoples to struggle for national and social liberation.

I am thankful that you continue to recognize the significance of my case and to study its implications and consequences.

The imperialists headed by the US and their reactionary puppets have taken advantage of 9/11 to escalate exploitation and oppression under the slogans of "free market" globalization and the preemptive and permanent "war on terror". In the name of anti-terrorism, they have unleashed state terrorism, global fascisation, military intervention and wars of aggression such as those against Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to commit mega-crimes of terrorism, they have applied the label "terrorist" on national liberation movements, countries asserting national independence and the forces and leaders of the people's revolutionary movements.

As you have advised me, I intend to give you an update on my case after I give you a brief background on my legal history in the Philippines. I wish to focus on developments in my case against the Council of the European Union (EU) on the issue of terrorist blacklisting and cite relevant developments in various countries. I also wish to state some key points for alliance work and mass action by the Filipino community and solidarity groups along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.

When I was released from political detention in 1986, the charges of subversion and rebellion against me during the Marcos fascist dictatorship were nullified. Since then, however, I have been subjected to a series of false criminal charges mostly in the mass media by the reactionary military and police and agencies. The charge of subversion filed before a court in Metro Manila in 1988 was nullified by the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 and was dismissed by the court. The charge of multiple murder in 1991 never reached the court but was dismissed as based on sheer speculation by the office of prosecutors of the city of Manila in 1994. In 1998 the Philippine secretary of justice certified that there was no criminal charge against me.

The Philippine Supreme Court issued on June 2, 2007 an order to the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 150, to dismiss the charge of rebellion against me and 50 other individuals, including the Batasan 6, revolutionary leaders and anti-Arroyo military officers, and nullified all the supposed pieces of evidence against us from December 26, 1968 to April 21, 2006. As a consequence, the supposed evidence against us can never be used again against all or any of us in any new charge. The Philippine solicitor general publicly admitted that the value of the state's stock of purported evidence had been wiped out by the Supreme Court decision.

From the foregoing information, it is clear that there never was any factual and legal basis for the US, the Dutch government, the Council of the European Union, the Canadian, the British and Australian governments to put me in a blacklist for terrorism. The US started on August 12, 2002 the practice of blacklisting me as a terrorist serially and indefinitely. And yet I have never been to the US. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) which I am accused of leading have never been responsible for any cross-border actions against the US and other foreign governments or their citizens. Up to now, the Anti-Terrorism Law (euphemistically called the Human Security Act of 2007) has been paralyzed by constitutional questions before the Philippine Supreme Court and has not yet been applied on me or the CPP and NPA. Elsewhere in the world, I have never been formally charged with any specific crime of terrorism.

The European Court of First Court Instance (ECFI) annulled on July 11, 2007 the decision of the Council of the European Union (EU) putting me in the terrorist blacklist and freezing my measly financial assets. It called the Council to task for infringing on my right to defence, for failing to give me a statement of reasons from the second time that it blacklisted me and for violating my right to judicial protection. The court did not require the Council to pay for the material and moral damages but opened the way for me to seek compensation for damages by the Dutch government. It required the Council to pay for the costs of litigation to my lawyers and to those of the National Democratic of the Philippines (NDFP) as intervener.

But even before the ECFI could issue its decision, the Council of the EU sent to me its April 23, 2007 letter with a one-page statement that repeated the distortions the Council had long made of the decisions of the Dutch Raad van State and the Law Unification Chamber on my asylum case in 1995 and 1997, respectively. On May 22, 2007 I sent a letter of reply and told the Council that the statement of lies had already been presented by the Council to the ECFI, had been debunked in court and did not amount to a statement of reasons as required of the Council by the court in cases of "terrorist" blacklisting. Then the Council made a new decision on June 28, 2007 blacklisting me on the basis of the aforesaid lies it had made before. This new decision of the Council was obviously intended to serially perpetuate me in the 'terrorist" blacklist and render useless the favorable judgment of the ECFI on my case.

I had to make a new application to the ECFI on 8 September 2007 against the decision of the Council of the European Union in order to demand the annulment of the terrorist blacklisting and the payment of moral and material damages by the Council. The court ruled on November 14, 2007 to expedite the procedure in the adjudication of my new application. But on February 25, 2008 the Council of the EU wrote my lead counsel Jan Fermon that it was making another new decision to blacklist me as a "terrorist" by using against me certain fragments in the September 13, 2007 decision of the District Court of The Hague and the October 3, 2007 of the Court of Appeal to the effect that there were indications that while in The Netherlands I had continued to play a prominent role in the activities of the CC of the CPP.

It is absurd that the aforesaid court decisions which set me free from preventive detention for lack of prima facie evidence on the false charge of inciting or ordering the killing of the two military agents Kintanar and Tabara are being used as judicial warrants to keep me blacklisted as a "terrorist" and make me suffer the violation of my rights, sanctions and moral and material damages. This is the second time that Dutch court decisions favorable to me on one issue are distorted and used against me on another issue. It is coming to light more than ever that the false charge of inciting or ordering the "murder" of military agents in the Philippines was merely a pretext for arresting me on 28 August 2007, raiding the NDFP office in Utrecht and the homes of NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers, seizing papers and digital files among other things and "producing" the supposed evidence or indications and court pronouncements that I and probably others are liable for terrorism. My lawyer and I are ggiven one month from February 25, 2008 to make our observations in response to the Council of the EU.

There seems to be no end to my persecution and violation of my fundamental rights by the Council of the EU, the US, Dutch and other imperialist governments. The malice, viciousness and arbitrariness that I am made to suffer and endure are being extended to other Filipinos, especially those playing prominent roles as panelists and consultants of the NDFP Negotiating Panel. But there is a growing clamor by human rights organizations, jurists, parliamentarians, academics and other people for respecting human rights and the rule of law and for stopping the US-initiated campaign to whip up war hysteria, militarism, racism, bigotry, fascism and wars of aggression in the name of anti-terrorism. Courts at various levels in various countries have restrained themselves from being completely carried away by the anti-terrorist hysteria.

The Advocate General of the European Union has strongly expressed in January 2008 the opinion that the Community Courts have the jurisdiction to review measures enacted by the Community in order to implement UN Security Council Resolutions. The Marty Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, so critical of the violation of fundamental rights by the Council of the EU, has been submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and has resulted on January 23, 2008 in PACE Resolution 1597 (2008) on the UNSC and EU blacklists. Let me quote extensively from this resolution.

The PACE resolution demands minimum procedural standards entailing the following rights: 1. to be notified promptly and fully informed of the charges held against oneself, and of the decision taken and the reasons for that decision; 2. to enjoy the fundamental right to be heard and to be able to defend oneself against these charges; 3. to be able to have the decision affecting one's rights speedily reviewed by an independent, impartial body with a view to modifying or annulling it; and 4. to be compensated for any wrongful violation of one's rights.

The resolution demands that minimum substantive standards require a clear definition for the imposition of sanctions and applicable evidentiary requirements. The "blacklisting" should be limited in time. It is inadmissible that persons remain on the blacklist for years, whilst even the prosecuting authorities after a long investigation, have not found any evidence against them. Equally important is the issue of remedy. The Council of the EU and the EU member states must implement immediately the decisions of competent European and national judicial institutions affecting the status of the listed persons or entities.

The PACE finds that the procedural and substantive standards currently applied by the UNSC and Council of the EU in no way fulfill the minimum standards and violate the fundamental principles of human rights and the rule of law. It strongly deplores that even the members of the committee deciding on the blacklisting of an individual are not fully informed of the reasons for a request put forward by one member. The person or group concerned is usually neither informed of the request, nor given the possibility to be heard, nor even necessarily informed about the decision taken-- until he or she first attempts to cross a border or use a bank account. There are no procedures for an independent review of decisions taken and for compensation for infringement of rights. Such a procedure is totally arbitrary and has no credibility whatsoever.

The PACE finds that the substantive criteria for the imposition of targeted sanctions are wide and vague, and sanctions can be imposed on the basis of mere suspicions. This is a deplorable situation and breaches fundamental human rights. The PACE finds such practices unworthy of international bodies such as the UN and the EU, considering that supposedly it is necessary for states to implement the various sanctions regimes whilst respecting their international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

I hope that the update on my case and related developments can deepen your understanding of my situation as a case study of how the human rights of refugees and the rights of oppressed peoples to struggle for national and social liberation are being attacked within the context of the globalization of anti-terrorism legislation and executive orders.

Because you are in Canada, it is necessary for you to make a focused study on the background and current status of the so-called anti-terrorist legislation in this country and discuss the impact of the terrorism label on people's struggles for national and social liberation and on solidarity efforts in Canada.

You must explore the possibilities and arrive at resolutions for uniting around and developing a campaign to expose and oppose the terrorist blacklist and other strategies of the Canadian state to undermine the solidarity and support for people's struggles for national and social liberation and persecute immigrants, refugees and progressives who continue to struggle for liberation and a new world.

I presume and I am thankful that you will reiterate your demands for removing my name and the CPP and NPA from the terrorist blacklist and that you will inform the Filipino community and solidarity groups on the growing dangers posed by the imperialist and reactionaries in using the slogan of anti-terrorism against the people and organized forces fighting for national and social liberation.

By arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Filipinos, you can develop a strong base for building alliances with the people of other nationalities. You can avail of the International League of Peoples' Struggle as the framework for a broad united front among Filipinos and other nationalities along the anti-imperialist and democratic line . ###

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