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Press Statement

Opening Statement at Press Conference

18 September 2002

 

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

Friends:

As soon as I learned that thousands of civilians were killed in the September 11 attacks, I expressed deep sorrow and wholehearted sympathy to their families, friends and the entire American people.

I condemned those acts of terrorism. I said that the victims did not deserve to die. And I also said that the American people must reflect on why the U.S. government, its armed forces and big business firms arouse so much hatred in the world.

By way of helping the American people reflect, I mentioned the fact that the US was responsible for the killing of 1.4 million Filipinos from the start of the Filipino-American War in 1899 to the end of the so-called pacification campaigns in 1914. This fact of history proves the superterrorism of US imperialism, even if we were not to mention yet the daily violence of superexploitation that the US and the local exploiting classes continue to inflict on the Filipino people.

Cultist terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf, both originally created by the US Central Intelligence Agency, are minor terrorists relative to those forces that have undertaken colonialism, ignited global wars among the imperialists, used fascism to ride on economic crisis, waged wars of aggression and installed puppet regimes of terror like the Marcos fascist dictatorship of recent memory in the Philippines.

The terrorism of those responsible for the September 11 attacks is horribly unjust. But it is also unjust for the US government to engage in far larger acts of terrorism by using the September 11 attacks as the pretext or license for misrepresenting as "terrorist" the highly principled revolutionary forces and movements of national liberation, democracy and socialism.

The US government is absolutely wrong in labelling as "terrorist" such revolutionary forces as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army. These forces and their mass following in 128 guerrilla fronts, in nearly 20 per cent of Philippine villages and in around 70 provinces, have a written constitution with a bill of rights.

They establish organs of political power, elect their officials, have a well-disciplined people’s army, build mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, cultural activists and other sectors and carry out mass campaigns for the social good, involving mass education, land reform, production, health and hygiene, settlement of disputes, self-defense and so on.

Since 1992, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has represented the aforesaid revolutionary forces in preliminary and formal peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian governments have facilitated these negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1 September 1992.

In the striving for a just and lasting peace, ten agreements have already been reached by the NDFP and GRP. Most important substantive agreement so far reached is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. The NDFP has been insistent on the soonest formation of the Joint Monitoring Committee in order to promote the implementation of the agreement and tackle the complaints.

With the highest sense of political responsibility, the NDFP has deposited with the Swiss Federal Council a Unilateral Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I.

The US State Department is unjust for designating the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as "terrorist" organizations. The US Treasury Department is likewise unjust for listing these two organizations and an individual like me, the NDFP chief political consultant, as subject to the freeze of assets on the presumption that they are "terrorist".

The aforesaid actions of the US government prejudice the continuance of the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations and throw fuel into the flames of the civil war in the Philippines. By criminalizing as "terrorist" the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant, the NDFP is being pre-empted from representing the CPP and NPA and from including in its delegation and in the ranks of its staff and consultants those who come from the CPP and NPA.

The NDFP negotiating panel is either being placed under duress or is already on the way to being criminalized as "terrorist" simply because the US government wishes this.

By following the baton of the US in designating the CPP and NPA as "terrorists" and taking punitive measures against those suspected of belonging to the CPP and NPA, the Dutch government is running counter to its own commitment to facilitate and support the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and to the 1997 and 1999 resolutions of the Euro-parliament which endorse and support these negotiations.

As early as November last year, soon after GRP President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met US President Bush, I learned that the US and Philippine governments had agreed to put a squeeze play on the NDFP negotiating panel and the NDFP chief political consultant. According to a high official of the Manila government, the US would take a series of steps up to the point of extraditing me from the Netherlands.

The objective of the scheme is to compel me as NDFP chief political consultant and the NDFP negotiating panel to opt for capitulation in the peace negotiations or else suffer the worst of punitive measures would be applied on me and eventually on the NDFP negotiating panel and even on the NDFP consultants who reside in Manila.

I am supposed to serve as the example for targetting by the unchallengeable and unstoppable power of the US if the NDFP would not capitulate to the GRP in a sham peace agreement.

According to the aforesaid high official of the GRP, the series of steps ranged against me include the following:

  1. Listing as "terrorist" and freeze of assets at the national level of the Dutch government,
  2. Deprivation of benefits (allowance for food and other basic necessities, housing and health insurance) and adverse chain reaction on the living conditions of my family,
  3. Publicized raid on our apartment and possible arrest to degrade me before the Dutch public,
  4. Terrorist listing at the European level,
  5. Provisional detention upon request of the US government, and
  6. Extradition to a US territory.

Also according to the aforesaid GRP official, the US is ready to fabricate records of investigation and findings and to gather new testimonies as basis for a criminal complaint against me in order to overcome the 1998 declaration of the Manila government that there is no pending criminal case against me and to lay the ground for a US request for my extradition.

Furthermore, the US is working to overcome the protection that I get from the Refugee Convention and the European Convention for the Protection Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by giving assurances to the Dutch government that the death sentence shall not be made and if made, shall not be carried out. All along, in violation of the US-Netherlands extradition treaty, the political character and political purpose of the trumped up charge of a common crime are to be denied or glossed over.

We are now at step No. 2 above. As of now, certain basic rights under the international bill of rights, under the Refugee Convention, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and even Dutch law are so grossly and wantonly violated.

  1. I am criminalized as a "terrorist" without the benefit of due process,
  2. I am demonised as "terrorist" under my full name in official publications, and
  3. I am deprived of the basic necessities of life in violation of the most basic human right to life.

We know that the US and Dutch governments have gone this far. They can go further in persecuting and running me down if I do not have the competent legal counsel and the support of people who love justice and peace and who resist the arrogance and oppressiveness of imperial power.

You can keep track of my continuing struggle by visiting the following websites: www.defendsison.be and www.inps-sison.freewebspace.com. In the meantime, I can answer your questions at this press conference.#




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