‘Gabnet 3’ for Balitang America’s Newsmaker of the Year

Last August, three women were stopped at the airport from boarding flights that were to take them home. They were Gabriela Network USA leaders Dr. Annalisa Enrile, Ninotchka Rosca and Judith Mirkinson whose names were placed by the Arroyo government on a watchlist. To the shock of many, an immigration officer revealed that the feminist women were suspected of having ties with the Taleban.

 

Photo: (from left) Rosca, Enrile and Mirkinson speak out in Manila. Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan.

The three women — dubbed the Gabnet 3 — protested, of course, and, thanks to an international uproar that reached the US State Department, were later allowed to leave the country and back to their families in the US.The Gabnet 3 became the first victims of an anti-terrorism law which supposedly targets terrorists, and their experience showed the country and the whole world that things are not what they seem in the Philippines, and that we can only survive if we fight.

Months later, it was revealed that a similar watchlist fiasco erupted in the US. A newspaper obtained a watchlist containing 750,000 names of suspected terrorists. The madness of it all is shown by the experience of a boy born a few months before 9/11 happened. The boy was in the list and was stopped at the airport in 2004 when he was brought by his grandma on his first plane ride to Disneyworld. In another incident, a visiting British minister was stopped at a US airport, detained and interrogated. Hours later, the US immigration authorities discovered the truth: the man they tagged a terrorist was a special guest of the US government and gave advice to top officials on the topic of terrorism.

Now, we have a chance to put the Gabnet 3, their terrifying experience at the NAIA, and the madness of the war of terror under the spotlight. It was big news back then, and I think it is a contender now to being the newsmaker of the year. Let’s do it for the 10 million Pinoys abroad who have to patiently go through security checks and other indignities at airports.

Let’s vote for the Gabnet 3 in the ABS-CBN Balitang America’s Newsmaker of the Year.

Just send email the words “Gabnet 3 is my newsmaker of the year” to balitangamerica@abs-cbni.com. If you’re in the US, text the term “Gabnet 3” to 650-766-1557. You do not need to be in the US to cast a vote.

Voting is only until Nov. 30.

Here are news articles and commentary on the Gabnet 3:

Inquirer: US-based Gabriela exec stopped from leaving; HSA cited
Inquirer: Immigration holds 3 women for ‘links’ to Afghan’s Taliban
ABS-CBNNews.com: Gabriela members on govt list leave for US
Asian Journal Online: FilAm USC Professor Banned from Exiting Manila
GMANews.tv/Bulatlat.com: Fil-Am activist: I’m being held hostage
Senator Pimentel: Hold Order against three US-based Gabriela members not in accordance with HSA
Pinoypress: Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza’s Privilege Speech on the Gabnet 3
Balita News Service: Detained Fil-Am USC prof back in LA
Bulatlat.com: Woman Activist Held, Two Others in Watchlist
Bulatlat.com: Arroyo Government ‘Watchlist’: Targeting Progressive Foreigners
National Lawyers Guild demands release of Gabnet 3

TonyoCruz.com: Arroyo gov’t placed Enrile, Mirkinson and Rosca in watchlist due to “links with Taleban”!!!
Statement of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada
Statement of Bayan USA Chair Chito Quijano
Letter of Concern of Philippine Peasant Support Network
Fog City Journal: American human rights activist held by Philippine government
The Manila Mail: ‘Watchlisted’ Filams back in US
Malaya/Abante Column of Ducky Paredes

News on the terror spawned by the US terror watchlist here, here, here and here.

Another contender is the Sentosa 27+ , the group of Filipino health nurses who are falsely accused of committing crimes. Despite government’s neglect of their flight, they continue to stand up for their rights. To vote for them, just email “Sentosa 27++ is my newsmaker of the year” or text “Sentosa 27++” to email address or mobile number stated above.

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