Friday, August 21, 2009

Those Missing Galils Need to Be Found and Fast! — GMA News Video Clip on M/V Captain Ufuk and Its Lethal Galil Shipment

21 August 2009

How many Galils were contained in 15 empty wooden cranes found aboard the M/V Captain Ufuk off the coast of Mariveles, Bataan?

Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said they seized 54 high-powered, Israeli-designed, Indonesian-made Galil rifles in 4 crates.  Simple arithmetic tells us 15 crates can contain up to 200 Galils, enough firepower to equip several formidable private armies.

This excerpt from the Inquirer article entitled Ship, 54 High-Powered Guns Seized in Bataan quotes Commissioner Morales as theorizing that the arms shipment could be "election-related":

"Morales said they also found 15 empty wooden crates on the cargo ship, prompting them to suspect that the alleged smugglers had already unloaded most of the contraband, possibly at sea.

He said he also got information that a yacht was seen ferrying 'something from the ship' a few hours before the vessel was raided by agents of the Bureau of Customs and Philippine Coast Guard around 4 p.m. Thursday.

'We are closely coordinating with the Coast Guard as we try to recover the yacht which was seen loading some cargoes from the ship,' he said.

'We already have names, some are candidates, others are supporters,' Tuason, speaking in Filipino, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview. 'I cannot give you their names because we are still verifying. Once we have verified we will issue a press release.'

'The election season is fast coming. It’s highly probable that this [shipment] is election-related,' he said.

The Galil is easily one of the most-feared assault rifles in the world. They are assets in the hands of law-abiding law-enforcers.  But in the wrong hands, they could wreak havoc now or during the 2010 elections and beyond. 

Can you imagine COMELEC officials, teacher-election poll inspectors, Namfrel volunteers and ABS-CBN's Boto Patrollers manning and defending poll precincts with their cellphones and cameras while staring them at their other end is the barrel of these deadly weapons which armies around the world have used with lethal effect for nearly 40 years?

This is one of those areas in our nation's life where the visit of President Arroyo to Washington could have had some positive effect.  As a so-called "frontline ally" of the United States, we are terribly under-equipped to deal with these kinds of things. What ships and surveillance equipment does our Coast Guard and Navy have? While other air forces of smaller countries have F-16s and the more-modern F18s, what do we fly?  Antiquated F5's of Vietnam War-vintage?  How many C-130 Hercules do we have flying? One?!  C'mon!  Our next President should make sure that the equipment of our armed forces and police should elicit some respect if only from ourselves.    
Meanwhile, our law enforcement authorities have their work cut out for them — find these missing Galils and fast! The fragile fabric of our society faces jeopardy from these lethal tools of destruction. 

This is the report filed by GMA News' Chino Gaston:

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