Thursday, July 29, 2010

Founding Member of Abu Sayyaf Group Pleads Guilty to 1995 Hostage Taking Involving U.S. and Philippine Citizens

Good news for the day.

While I criticize the Holder Justice Department for its politicization, this case, which pre-dated the current Regime, was successfully prosecuted. Kudos to the DOJ on this one.

That being said, I would have liked to have seen a life without parole sentence, but the wheels of justice sometimes require plea agreements in order that they move smoothly and this was one of those times.

For those of you who don't recognize this terrorist organization, the Abu Sayyaf Group has been a thorn in the side of the Philippine government since the late 1980s. They've been responsible for kidnappings, murders and mayhem in the southern Philippines. They were the group responsible for the kidnapping of American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in May of 2001. Martin died in the rescue attempt that freed Gracia and if you haven't read her book, In the Presence of My Enemies, I would strongly recommend it. 

The Abu Sayyaf is best described as a terrorist group that profits from bank robberies, murder, rape and pillage. They profess Islam and their founder, Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani was born in a Christian-Muslim family in Mindanao and joined the Afghan jihad against the Russians. When he returned to the Philippines he was a committed Islamic extremist bent on jihad against the Philippine government and all Christians.

The Abu Sayyaf Group was borne of his jihad, but it must be remembered that Islamic lawlessness in Mindanao is not a new development. The first U.S. military expeditions to Mindanao were on the heals of the Spanish-American War when the United States seized the Philippines from the Spaniards. General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing was moved to lead an expedition to quell the kidnapping of Americans in Mindanao at the beginning of the 20th century. It is true that history does repeat itself.

Follow the link for more on the case.

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