By Ike Suarez, Tech Times Contributor
YouTube, the online video forum, accessible to anyone in the world with Internet broadband connectivity, now appears to be a new guerrilla front for the New People’s Army in its 38-year insurgency to overthrow the Philippine government and establish a Stalinist society in the country.
An examination of this online video portal shows that the National Democratic Front has uploaded a number of propaganda videos into it with a view to rebut the charge they are a terrorist group as classified by the United States State Department.
The videos appear professionally done with the composition of the camera shots, their sequencing, and voiceovers produced by crews familiar with television work and broadcast news. A group calling itself ISNYP Media, which claims to be an official propaganda arm of the National Democratic Front, has produced them.
The videos have been uploaded by ISNYP Media itself or by a certain Jake25 whose commentaries in the feedback section give the impression he is an official NPA propagandist or at least a rabid sympathizer.
The videos also offer a subscribe button for online viewers interested to regularly receive online feeds from the National Democratic Front.
An examination of the commentary sections show that the videos have elicited passionate reactions for and against these videos with Jake25 often taking the cudgels for the Maoist rebels.
An example would be the series of online videos showing the capture of a Philippine Army 1st lieutenant and a private first class and their subsequent release in March and August 2004, respectively. The Philippine Army junior officer and enlisted man were captured in an encounter in Barangay Bataan and Tinamba, Camarines Sur.
The voice-over has been done by a propagandist of the Romulo Jallores Command of the New People’s Army who has identified herself as Luisa. Though her face is not shown in the videos, she narrates events in Filipino with a well-modulated voice typical of television reporters in the Philippines.
The scripts for the voice-over have also been written in line with standard formats for television newscasts and documentaries.
Stressed is the message that the NPAs treated the two prisoners humanely and in line with the protocols of the Geneva Convention. The NPA is therefore not a terrorist group as branded by the US State Department.
As of this article’s writing, most of these videos have drawn a total of from over 1500 to 2000 online views.
One video shows the capture of 1st Lt. Ronaldo Fidelino and Private First Class Ronel Nemeno. Another shows their days in captivity with the NPA.
A third shows a cultural show done by the NPA for them. A fourth shows their release.
Their release features a speech done by NDF Spokesman Greg Bañares who again stressed that the NPA is not a terrorist group. The ceremonies also feature a sequence showing an NPA unit, its members clean-cut and neatly dressed smartly performing close order drills.
The videos have elicited a few dozen comments, all of them hotly partisan for or against the NPA.
One unfavorable comment in Filipino is a poster claiming he is an OFW coming from Bukidnon. He accuses the NPA of extorting revolutionary taxes from even very small landowners.
In several postings, Jake25 repeats variations of the theme that the NPA is the true army of the people.
The NPA is only one of the many dissident groups worldwide now using YouTube as a propaganda forum.
It is also being used by other political groups considered as legitimate in their countries as a vehicle for projecting their political agendas. Among these are presidential hopefuls in the United States who seek to be the Republican’s or Democrats’ standard bearers in the November 2008 US presidential elections.
(NDF search link on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results? search_query=national+democratic+ front&search=Search. YouTube [www.youtube.com], owned and controlled by Google, is an online portal where anyone on the planet with Internet connection can post videos with subjects anything under the sun, which then can be freely accessed as well – ed.)