A STINKING TERROR LIST: THIS IS THE EUROPEAN UNION’S TERROR LIST

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
15 January 2009

A blacklist of terror suspects and their supporters. Those included in the list have stopped leading a normal life. Like in the case of Jose Maria Sison.

Sison: My bank account was effectively frozen. My state allowance was stopped. I was told to leave my house. I am not allowed to travel. My health insurance was stopped.

Sison’s life as a normal citizen stopped when Brussels branded him in 2002 as a terrorist.

The accusation

The writer and founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines is accused of being the so-called intellectual leader of the New People’s Army, a militant armed liberation movement in the Philippines.

He’s been living in the Netherlands for the last 20 years.

He was granted political asylum here because of being persecuted in his own country. He had suffered nine years of solitary imprisonment under the Marcos dictatorship.

He is currently taking part in the peace process in the Philippines, but only as an observer and political adviser.

Sison: My involvement in the Philippines is primarily as observer of what is taking place there. Of course I make use of the right to free expression. I criticize the situation in the Philippines and that is perhaps the reason why I am made to suffer this misery.”

Here in Brussels, in the ministerial council, the EU terror list is being agreed upon in secret. The decision is taken based on incriminating information from secret services of member states. About 46 persons and 48 groups have been put in the list so far.

Gilles de Kerchove, EU terrorism coordinator: “We call it ‘administrative freezing’. The objective is to put pressure on the persons and groups concerned to mend their ways. We want to see to it that they don’t take part in terrorist organizations or plan terrorist acts.”

Growing criticisms

A couple of weeks ago the EU ministerial council was given the “Big Brother” award for this terror list because the list leads to serious violations of human rights.

Rolf Gössner, International League for Human Rights: “This method of gathering information is neither democratically enacted nor subjected to democratic control.”

Here in the Dutch city of Utrecht lives Sison. On humanitarian grounds he and his wife were allowed to stay in their house.

He tirelessly battles for his rehabilitation and continues to reap victories. The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg meanwhile has deemed as unlawful the inclusion of his name in the terror list.

The same applies with the Iranian People’s Mujahideen PMOY (paki-check nga kung tama ang pangalan). For the third time, Luxemburg has ruled that the organization should be struck off the terror list. The PMOY has since 2001 renounced violence. But the EU would not budge an inch; either because of her oil interests, or because of Iranian politicians from the opposition. European lawyers have been very vocal in airing their strong criticisms.

Antonio Cassese, former president of the war tribunal in The Hague: “The Council should have removed the PMOY from the list a long time ago. But they haven’t done it ostensibly on the basis of new information from the French secret service. Such a reaction only shows their unwillingness to meet the standard set by the European Court of Justice. At the same time, their action is a clear violation of the principles of due process and a case of abuse of power.”

Strong criticsm and universal condemnation, and yet the EU remains unmoved.

Gilles de Kerchove, EU terorrism coordinator: “The Ministerial Council puts someone in the terror list only when serious grounds for the inclusion exist.”

The only concession. Suspects such as Sison will from now on be personally informed about their inclusion in the list. But the heavy sanctions against them remain in force.

Sison: “I manage to survive because my friends lend me money. They always tell me, it is but a measly amount, never mind it, but I am committed to pay them back in the future. Given this situation I just keep on borrowing money.”

He has been in the terror list for six years, and unlawfully, according to the judgment of the European court. For how many more years, nothing is definite. The possibility of him receiving compensation for the damages he has suffered is also inexistent.###