Rest in Peace, Nick Rowe
Errata: "Nick" was Colonel Rowe's nickname.
And all the others whose executions were ordered by the man who goes by the alias of "Amado Guerrero". The head of the Philippine Communist Party has been arrested in the Netherlands, ironically for the crime of ordering the execution of his rivals in the Philippine Left. The AP reports:
Dutch police arrested Philippine Communist rebel leader Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday on suspicion of ordering the murder of two former allies in the Philippines, prosecutors said. ... "The Communist leader is suspected of ordering from the Netherlands the murders of his former allies Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara in the Philippines," said a statement from the Public Prosecutor's Office. Spokesman Wim de Bruin said Sison, 68, will be put on trial in the Netherlands, not the Philippines.
Kintanar was gunned down in a Japanese restaurant in the Philippines on Jan. 23, 2003. Tabara and his son-in-law Stephen Ong were shot dead in a parking lot as they got out of their car on Sept. 26, 2004, the statement said. The Philippines Communist Party's armed wing claimed responsibility for the slayings.
In Utrecht, teams of police raided the Sison's office, seizing computers, CDs, documents and books, said Aldo Gonzalez, who said he was questioned during the six-hour police operation at the office. Prosecutors said at least seven other addresses in Utrecht and the nearby town of Abcoude as part of the investigation.
Kintanar and Tabara were just a few of the victims of the hit squads of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Here's the story of another one.
By February 1989, Colonel Rowe had acquired intelligence information which indicated that the communists were planning a major terrorist act. He warned Washington that a high-profile figure was about to be hit and that he himself was second or third on the assassination list. At around 7:00 in the morning of April 21, 1989, as he was being driven to work at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group headquarters in an unarmored limousine, Colonel Rowe's vehicle was hit by gunfire from a .45 caliber pistol and an M16 rifle near the corner of Tomas Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City. Twenty-one shots hit the vehicle; one round entered through a slightly open window and struck Colonel Rowe in the head, killing him instantly. Rowe's driver, Joaquin Vinuya, was wounded. The New People's Army claimed responsibility for his assassination. Two Filipinos were convicted for Rowe's assassination—Juanito T. Itaas as principal and Donato B. Continente as an accomplice. They were however, released under a government amnesty program in 1995.
It's worth mentioning that the men behind the these death squads still shield themselves behind "peace talks" and "amnesties". The AP article on Sison continues:
Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro called Sison's arrest "a triumph of justice." "Ironic as it is, he is assured of his day in court — a right denied to the thousands of innocent victims of Communist kangaroo courts," Bacarro added.
A prominent left-wing group in the Philippines, The New Patriotic Alliance or Bayan, condemned the arrest of Sison and raids on his group's offices as attacks on civil liberties. "This bodes ill for the peace process," the group said. "The arrest was most probably undertaken with the knowledge and prodding of the (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo government which is out to sabotage all hopes for peace talks."
When the word "peace" is mentioned by the Left it is wise to remember Samuel Johnson's advice and Ralph Waldo Emerson's rejoinder. "Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons. ... the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." "Peace", when invoked by people like Sison, means danger, and very probably murder, is very near to you.
Bringing Sison to trial for the murder of fellow Communists neatly sidesteps any anti-American or Western guilt-based defense his lawyers may be tempted to mount. After all, the targets of the murders he is accused of were citizens of the Third World who were themselves men with a long pedigree in leftist ideology. That may not be entirely satisfying to his other victims, but just as Al Capone was finally brought to book for tax evasion, so Sison may have been run to ground for least of his offenses.