Friday, July 27, 2012

Bulatlat: (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

[Undated], Abu Sayyaf: The CIA's Monster Gone Berserk, by Edmundo Santuario III,
[Undated] First web capture: December 17, 2010,, Abu Sayyaf's Links To Police, Military Traced, by Carlos H. Conde,
[Undated] First web capture: December 17, 2010,, Moro Group Urges Congress Probe of Sayyaf Links with AFP, PNP,
September 16-22, 2001, Issue No. 31,, Unexcusable, but Also Unexplainable Acts of Terror?
by Andrew Kennis,
March 16-22, 2003, Volume 3, Number 7,, The Discourse of Terror and Its Pacific Effects, by David Palumbo-Liu,
July 6-12, 2003, Volume 3 / Number 22,, History's Memory, Literature's Memory - Including Ourselves in History, by Linda Ty-Casper,
October 1, 2005,, Canadians report on human rights abuses in R.P,
August 16, 2007,, Children’s Rehabilitation Center helps Kid victims of state violence, by Maricar Cinco,
April 4, 2009, Filipino Reporter,The Terror Group that Refuses to Die, by Benjie Oliveros,
January 25, 2012,, On US Imperialism and a way forward for the Philippines, by Bill Fletcher, Jr.,

[undated], Abu Sayyaf: The CIA’s Monster Gone Berserk, by Edmundo Santuario III

The Philippines is under watch by America's "anti-terrorism" network. This is so not only because of the presence of active Moro and Marxist guerrillas but also because of its special concern on the Abu Sayyaf. In the '80s, just as it was waging its last surrogate wars against the Soviet Union, the U.S. was also engaged in new forms of covert operations -- the training of Islamic militants to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and elsewhere. A product of this war – the Abu Sayyaf – was once hailed by American presidents as a group of "freedom fighters." It was an exaltation that would haunt them for years.

To those who have been following the Abu Sayyaf's exploits, the offer of military assistance by the United States government in tracking down the extremists in Mindanao (southern Philippines) has sent a chilling effect particularly among the patriotic sectors.

Related to this, similar concerns have been raised as to why despite government’s “total war” policy on the small group of bandits – whose hostage-taking spree is a purely police matter - not one of its active ringleaders has been caught. Previous suspicions that the Abu Sayyaf enjoys the protection of some top Armed Forces officials have surfaced again.

In a surprise operation last May 27, Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnapped three Americans and 17 Filipinos from the world-class Dos Palmas resort just off Arracellis in Palawan. It was not immediately known where the new hostages were taken but the gunmen reportedly operate from the southernmost islands of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya on Saturday said they also took 10 fishermen hostage on their way to Basilan. The kidnapping was pulled off just barely two months after their last hostage – American Jeffrey Schilling – was freed after nine months of captivity.

In declaring a "no ransom, no negotiations" policy to the Abu Sayyaf, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered military assaults on the group's suspected lairs and offered a P100 million (US$2 million) reward on the ring leaders' capture, dead or alive.

Meeting Arroyo in Malacañang on May 30, U.S. Rep. Robert Underwood offered military assistance to the Philippine government’s pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf. Underwood, who was accompanied in his visit by U.S. Charge D’Affaires Michael Malinowski, is a member of the powerful House Armed Services Committee and was in the country to explore how military relations between the two countries can be enhanced. Malinowski had earlier pledged continued American military support to the Arroyo administration.

On the same day, U.S. State Department spokesman Phil Reeker demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, particularly Americans Guillermo Sobrero and missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham. Among the 17 Filipino hostages is construction magnate Reghis Romero, said to be the front man of former Estrada crony Mark Jimenez in the purchase of The Manila Times. The latter, who has just been elected Manila congressman, is himself wanted by U.S. authorities.

Since the Dos Palmas abduction, at least 12 American warplanes had been seen hovering over Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. Then on March 31, two U.S. destroyers – the USS Curts and the USS Wadsworth -- and the landing ship USS Rushmore arrived in the country with 1,200 American troops. Philippine armed forces officials squelched speculations of U.S. intervention in the hostage crisis, claiming that the American troops’ presence was in connection with ongoing war games in Palawan and Cavite.

Efforts to downplay reports that U.S. military assistance has indeed come into play in the latest hostage crisis were of no effect, however, when Press Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao himself revealed that military contacts between the two governments are ongoing. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – whose agents have been in and out of the country in connection with "terrorist" cases – was also placed on alert. Former Philippine Ambassador to Washington Ernesto Maceda also revealed that in last year’s Sipadan hostage crisis where 20 tourists were held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf, the Americans backed military and police operations through the use of high-powered satellite surveillance equipment.

'CIA monster'

U.S. military efforts to intervene in the Abu Sayyaf hostage crisis appears to be a turnaround from their reported links to the Mindanao extremists several years ago. In May last year, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. described the Abu Sayyaf (“Bearer [or Father] of the Sword” in Arabic) as a “CIA monster.”

Abu Sayyaf members, Pimentel said, were initially recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency as mujahideens to fight the U.S. proxy war in Afghanistan in the '80s. Before their deployment, they were trained by AFP officers in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and other remote areas in Mindanao. But the arms and funds came from U.S. covert operations connected with the CIA, Pimentel said.

The mujahideens returned to Mindanao after the Afghan war to constitute the core of the Abu Sayyaf, the Senate president added.

In his revelations, Pimentel cited the book, Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. But it was American writer John K. Cooley in his book, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, American and International Terrorism, who made "the most direct statement regarding the training and funding of the (Abu Sayyaf) by the CIA," he said. Cooley was the Middle East correspondent for the reputable Christian Science Monitor and ABC News.

In his "Ghosts of the Past" report for ABC News in August last year, Cooley said the Abu Sayyaf, like many "international terrorists," has its origins in the 1979-89 jihad or "holy war" to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. Wanting to tie down the Soviets to their own little Vietnam war, the CIA recruited and trained thousands of Islamic militants to support the Afghan resistance against the Soviet invasion forces. The American quarterly Foreign Affairs reported that some 35,000 Muslim militants from 40 countries -- including the Philippines -- took part in the Afghan jihad. Related historical accounts said among the recruits was Osama bin Laden, now the U.S.'s No. 1 "terrorist enemy."
'Freedom Fighters'

"The CIA orchestrated massive arms shipments via Pakistan, including state-of-the-art Stinger surface-to-air missiles," Cooley said. Three American presidents – Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- hailed the mujahideens as "freedom fighters," he said.

The Abu Sayyaf, Cooley said, was the last of the seven Afghan guerrilla groups to be organized late in the war – in 1986 or three years before the Soviets withdrew. It was founded by an Afghan professor named Abdul Rasul Abu Sayyaf. And like Osama bin Laden, the group was financed by Saudi Arabia’s wealthy elite and influenced by Wahabism, an ultra-conservative form of Islam that dates back to the mid-18th century and is espoused by the Saudi royal family.

"Some of the original veterans of the Afghan jihad, and their sons and grandsons and those trained by them, have been operating with destructive effect since the 1980s from Egypt and the Philippines to Algeria and New York," Cooley wrote.

With the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the CIA's powerful Pakistani partner, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), lost control of the Afghan fighting groups. The Abu Sayyaf had established a training camp north of Peshawar, Pakistan, "to train terrorists in the methods taught by the CIA and ISI," Cooley reported. Some 20,000 volunteers were trained in the "Peshawar university" to "look for other wars to fight" including in the Middle East, North Africa, New York and the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf moved its operations to the Philippines ostensibly to support the war for a separate Islamic state. Emerging from these operations were two leaders – the brothers Abdurajak Janjalani, who was an Afghan war veteran, and Khaddafi Janjalani.
Early Operations

In a privilege speech in July last year, Pimentel named former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan and then Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Ruiz as knowing about the group's early operations in Mindanao. He also asked the Senate to summon former President Fidel V. Ramos and ex-Defense Secretary Renato de Villa to shed light on the matter.

Pimentel also cited revelations by a police asset, Edwin Angeles, who has since died mysteriously, that the military equipped the Abu Sayyaf with vehicles, mortars and assorted firearms for its raid of Ipil in April 1995. In the raid – the group's first large-scale action – 70 people died while 50 teachers and schoolchildren were kidnapped.

Following its "split" with the MNLF in 1991, the Abu Sayyaf resorted to illegal logging, kidnapping, bombing, looting, burning, killing and other criminal activities for its logistics and operations. So far, they have kidnapped at least 32 foreigners, including five Americans, Europeans and Asians. This does not included hundreds of other Filipino hostages, a number of whom were Catholic and Protestant priests and nuns. Some of them, including priests, were killed.

The metamorphosis of the Abu Sayyaf from "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan to sheer bandits in the Philippines is a new dark spot in the U.S.'s covert dirty tricks operations throughout the world. The CIA has created not just one Frankenstein's monster in the mold of the Abu Sayyaf but hundreds of others who are now wreaking havoc in other parts of the world – including right in the belly of the United States itself.

But in war and in modern "counter-terrorism warfare" – which the U.S. now is eager to wage in the Philippines – there is at least one advantage that can be drawn. The anti-Soviet Afghan "resistance movement" promoted the U.S. arms industry. The U.S. may as well be doing the same thing as it embarks on a new crusade to destroy one of the "monsters" it created.

[Undated. First web capture, December 17, 2010],, Abu Sayyaf's Links To Police, Military Traced, by Carlos H. Conde,

"How can a band of criminals with no military training to speak of withstand the full might of the armed forces, slip through the troop cordon and conduct kidnapping right under the very noses of government troops?" An exasperated senior military official asked this question a few years ago by way of noting the Abu Sayyaf's connections to the police and the military.

(Editors' note: This article was originally published, under the author's pseudonym C.C. Hidalgo, by the Pan-Philippine News and Information Network early last year, before the Sipadan kidnapping occurred. Minor changes have been made.)

From the time its leader, Abdurajak Janjalani, died in 1998, the extremist Abu Sayyaf hadn’t entered the public consciousness as deeply as it does nowadays. The public only got to know about the group’s activities by the occasional news that a teacher or a Chinese businessman in Western Mindanao had been kidnapped and that the police and the military were certain the Abu Sayyaf had been behind it.

Suddenly, on March 20, 2000, the Abu Sayyaf hit the news big time – probably the biggest since it was accused of leading the sacking of Ipil town, Zamboanga del Sur, on April 4, 1995 – when it abducted 51 people, most of them school children, in Sumisip, Basilan. The incident was jarring in its magnitude. But what was striking about the abduction was the Abu Sayyaf’s next moves, which were uncharacteristic thus suspicious.

It suddenly became accessible to the media, showing off their military hardware before television cameras, issuing threats and warnings to the authorities and the families of the hostages. But what exactly did the Abu Sayyaf want in the kidnapping? If it wanted ransom, as they had allegedly done in the past, it was not made clear. There were negotiations but what was the Sayyaf’s demand?

Then the tragedy suddenly shifted to tragi-comedy: the Abu Sayyaf wanted actor and Islam convert Robin Padilla to negotiate with it. This after Basilan congressman Gerry Salapuddin -- who was tasked initially to negotiate the release of the hostages, 18 of whom actually went down the mountain with him -- inexplicably threw up his hands and walked away from the crisis. As of Monday, April 10, the Abu Sayyaf was at it again, threatening to behead the male hostages, one of them a priest, if Padilla was not allowed to go to their lair within 72 hours.

"What is going on here?" is probably the most asked question nowadays. And precisely because the situation is muddled, because no one is certain what the crisis is all about, speculations abound, foremost of which is this: Is the Estrada administration wagging the dog in Mindanao, deflecting attention from the ever unpopular Estrada to the one place in the country that has historically been used by politicians to 1) muddle things up in this country and 2) to score brownie points with the public?

If Malacanang is not wagging the dog – that is, creating a little war in Mindanao to snatch attention away from the perceived incompetence at the Palace – could it be encouraging the war, even provoking Moro rebels and extremists into action? After all, the March 20 kidnapping occurred just a few days after the battle in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, which hardly stole the spotlight away from President Estrada’s troubles. Could it be…?

And because the newspapers just couldn’t get enough of Estrada, was Robin Padilla factored in for good entertainment measure, to stretch this drama further, to provide a heavy dose of entertainment that would hopefully glue the public, including reporters and editors, to their TV screens – and perhaps forget about everything that’s been going on by the Pasig River?

Speculations such as these could be, of course, unfair to Malacanang. But consider this: the Abu Sayyaf is capable of doing these things. In fact, according to a book scheduled for launching this week, the Abu Sayyaf has been conveniently used by the military for all sorts of purpose.

Credence to Suspicion

The book Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao by veteran journalists Marites Danguilan-Vitug and Glenda Gloria gives credence to suspicion that the Abu Sayyaf was a military creation. It details enough incidents and quotes convincing testimony from credible and named sources to bolster such a suspicion.

In fairness, the book does indicate that the vision of Abu Sayyaf leader Abdurajak Janjalani was for the fundamentalist group to be the alternative to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) whose leader, Nur Misuari, the young and charismatic Janjalani particularly disdained. Janjalani had wanted to struggle for an Islamic state to bring Moros closer to the Koran – indeed, to make Koran the center of the life of every Muslim in Mindanao, even to the extent of exterminating the Christians that get in the way because such an act, Janjalani would tell his followers, is allowed by the Koran.

Janjalani's fundamentalist vision had brought the Abu Sayyaf close to forging an alliance with the MNLF's National Islamic Command Council (NICC) – a plan that was botched, however, after the sacking of Ipil in 1995. According to the book, the NICC, which surfaced only a few weeks ago, had long wanted to break away from the MNLF. Its leaders were MNLF officials who had grown disgruntled with Misuari, who had by then shown a predisposition to negotiate with and to be co-opted by the Ramos government.


For a while, the Abu Sayyaf was respected in the Muslim community, particularly in Basilan, owing largely to the young Janjalani's fiery charisma (he would have been 37 by now). Its troubles started when Edwin Angeles, who was there from the very beginning, earned Janjalani's trust and confidence, and started flirting with the authorities. Angeles, the book says, facilitated the provision of military hardware to the Abu Sayyaf courtesy of corrupt soldiers within the AFP. Angeles was an acknowledged police agent who may have, according to the book, tipped the authorities off on Janjalani, who was killed in 1998.

And Angeles had also grown very close to Janjalani's brother, Khaddafi, who took over the leadership of the group after Janjalani's death. It is assumed that Angeles may have influenced Khaddafi in more ways than one; the latter even trusted the former so much that he agreed to facilitate the planned surrender of his brother to the PNP in 1995.

“Many observed that it was only when Angeles came into the picture that the Abu Sayyaf turned to banditry and kidnapping,” the book says.

It also quoted Melham Alam, a friend of Janjalani's who leads the NICC, as saying "I was advising him (Janjalani) against Angeles. He never listened."

Anti-Terrorist Campaign

By this time, the police and the Department of the Interior and Local Government under then secretary Rafael Alunan III, had been using Angeles for their anti-terrorist campaign, using him as a guide once to the hideouts of suspected foreign terrorists who had slipped into the country. (He would later turn against his benefactors by accusing them of planting firearms on arrested Arab nationals.)

"He's a crazy guy who deals only for the sake of money," the book quotes Maj. Gen. Benjamin Libarnes, a retired military top spy. "I don’t know why they (the PNP) used him."

Vitug and Gloria wrote: "The man knew the ins and outs of the Abu Sayyaf and the dynamics within the Muslim armed movement in general. Though dangerous, Angeles appeared to be of some use to the PNP at the time, so the gods played with him."

Chief Rodolfo "Boogie" Mendoza, the officer whom Angeles later implicated in allegedly planting firearms against the Arabs in the police's custody, was quoted by the authors as saying that "I received orders to handle him…. I had the impression he was also being handled by somebody higher." Angeles, according to the book, worked for the PNP intelligence throughout 1995.

Planned Surrender

One of the events that highlighted Angeles' links to the PNP, the book reveals, was the planned surrender of Janjalani to the police. Using television reporter Arlene dela Cruz as a conduit to the PNP, Angeles arranged Janjalani's surrender, even showing his "sincerity" to the PNP by sending Janjalani's brother Khaddafi to meet then PNP chief Recaredo Sarmiento. The surrender never took place.

“The negotiations turned into pure money talk,” dela Cruz said a year after the fiasco, adding that the PNP gave whatever amount Angeles wanted to effect the surrender. Angeles’ duplicity would later show when it was revealed that he had also arranged Janjalani’s surrender with the Army’s Southern Command, which didn’t have any idea of the planned PNP surrender.

The book also alleges that the Marines in Basilan used Angeles and the Abu Sayyaf. "A senior Army general assigned to Basilan says that the Marines on the island used Angeles to the hilt, believing that propping up the Abu Sayyaf through him would neutralize the MNLF in the province and in the whole Western Mindanao," the book says.

The MNLF was convinced, according to the book, that the Abu Sayyaf enjoyed the support of the military. An MNLF commander told Vitug and Gloria that one time, his group called the Abu Sayyaf to help them to repulse the Marines who had raided an MNLF camp in Kapawayan, Isabela. The Abu Sayyaf did respond but "they just made their present felt and no single shot was fired from (the Abu Sayyaf)." The MNLF commander said he was shocked when Angeles radioed the Marines "to clarify to them that the encounter was not with the Abu Sayyaf but with the MNLF." The commander said he was so enraged he nearly shot Angeles right there and then.

The MNLF chief in Tawi-tawi, Damming Hadrijul, was quoted by the authors as saying that the Abu Sayyaf was trying to win over MNLF commanders for P20,000. Hadrijul said the Abu Sayyaf was a military creation. "When there's no war, there's no business for the military, right?" he told the journalists.

Military's Role

AFP officials had likewise grown suspicious of the military's role in Abu Sayyaf, particularly the skill with which the Abu Sayyaf had evaded the military. "How can a band of criminals with no military training to speak of withstand the full might of the armed forces, slip through the troop cordon and conduct kidnapping right under the very noses of government troops?" asked Lt. Col. Ricardo Morales in a 1994 article for the Army journal, portions of which the book used. "Something is terribly wrong with our Armed Forces," he declared.

More specific was Army Capt. Rene Jarque who told the authors that that Abu Sayyaf's ability to evade military operations "for too long in a tiny island lends credence to reports that military units have been ordered to halt operations when the Abu Sayyaf head, Janjalani, is already within reach." In 1995, the book notes, military officers would wonder why the Abu Sayyaf "knew when they were going to be attacked, and Janjalani was always able to escape even a very tight dragnet."

After the death of Janjalani in 1998 and of Angeles in early 1999, things seem to remain the same for the Abu Sayyaf, which appears crafty as ever in evading the military in Basilan despite the supposedly intensified operations in the wake of the March 20 kidnapping.

The book notes that, in 1995, after the Ipil raid, cynicism greeted the government’s announcement that the Abu Sayyaf was behind the sacking. Vitug and Gloria have an acceptable explanation for this. Because, they wrote, "for all the warring it has done supposedly in the name of Islam, there is so much confusion and mistrust surrounding the Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders had flaunted their ties with the police and the military."

[Undated] First web capture December 17, 2010,, Moro Group Urges Congress Probe of Sayyaf Links with AFP, PNP,

Congress should investigate the alleged collusion by the Abu Sayyaf with police and military elements, the Bangsa Moro Council said over the weekend.

Sultan Macapanton Yahya Abbas Jr., chairman of the Bangsa Moro Council and founding organizer of the E-Just Movement which demands equal protection of the laws for all to attain equal justice for all, demanded this during the media forum at the Sulu Hotel on June 2, 2001.

In a statement issued to media a day after the forum, Abbas said this alleged collusion between the Abu Sayyaaf and some officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines officials must be investigated by Congress or else there will be no solution to the kidnappings.

"The Abu Sayyaf kidnappings in Dos Palmas, Puerto Princessa, and the attack at the Barcelo Pearl Farm resort on Samal Island in Davao were the result of the failure of the government, both civilian and military authorities, in effecting solutions after the Sumisip and Sipadan kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf," Abbas said.

It was also a result, he added, of "other depredations from last year and (the failure of) massive poverty alleviation programs for Muslim Mindanao as promised by the previous and present administrations."

He said that the "failure by the government to investigate the causes and effects of the Mindanao war in Central Mindanao and the ransom payments by the European Countries and South Africa as well as Malaysia through former Secretary Robert Aventajado and former Presidential Adviser Lee Peng Wee with, the full authority from former President Estrada and the cooperation of the AFP and PNP leaderships has emboldened the ASG."

Abbas said "this fact must be considered in relation to the present Sulu war to liquidate the Abu Sayyaf but not even one of its leaders was captured or killed in action."

Abbas also pointed out that the policy of a news blackout, aside from violating the freedom of the press and the equal protection of the laws, is counterproductive. "It is also not enforceable because the international media has already made the kidnapping international headline news. Further, the military, police and politicians love to talk to the media," the Moro lawyer said.

He said that the policy of using vigilantes against the Abu Sayyaf "is a practice resorted to by uncivilized and warlord-dominated regimes but unthinkable for a democratic, civilized and Christian country."

Abbas said that the reported support by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines for vigilantes "is a bad message of the Roman Catholic Church to the Muslim world that it condones savage measures against Muslims even if they are terrorists while they oppose the implementation of death penalty for convicted criminals of heinous crimes."

This position, he said, "may lead to a revival of the jihad movement, which was recognized by the Organization of the Islamic Conference from 1972 to 1996 when the Final Peace Agreement was signed between the Moro National Liberation Front and the OIC."

Meanwhile, Abbas also called on President Arroyo to stop Palace officials from interfering in the internal and leadership issues of the MNLF and Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “These actions will only cause the radicalization of the mujahideen groups, who have already cooperated with government in peace efforts, because they will not accept Malacanang puppets to take over their organizations," Abbas said.

Abbas said these positions by the Bangsa Moro Council is consistent with the series of consultations with various Muslim sectors including the MNLF, MILF, Musuwarah Party of MNLF ulama, the Supreme Council of Ulama, the Bangsamoro Youth Independence Movement, Muslim Bar Association, the Fourth Bangsamoro Congress, and newly elected governors, congressmen and mayors in Mindanao. These groups have arrived at a consensus calling for a National Muslim Unity Conference.

The groups, according to Abbas, have said that the President "should enter into serious, substantive and regular consultations with the Muslim political, ulama, intellectuals, business and sectoral leaders in its pursuit of national goals and policies affecting the peace, social progress and economic development of our regions as it pursues the peace process with the MNLF and the MILF.”

They also urged the President to evaluate the selection of advisers and officials in Mindanao for the Muslims, Christians, and Lumads "because the results of the May 14, 2001, elections clearly sent the message that these men and women were not effective and failed to bring the message of the President to the people, with the People Power Coalition senatorial and local candidates failing to achieve convincing victories."

[July 28, 2002 ] August 4-10, 2002, Volume 2, Number 26,, U.S. Armed Intervention in the Philippines and the People's Struggle for National Freedom,  By Rep. Satur C. Ocampo,

I cannot recall the names of the two Filipino soldiers who, on the warm moonlit night of February 4, 1899, were shot dead by American sentries, nor, indeed, if their names were ever recorded. But whoever they were they are remembered as the first casualties of U.S. armed intervention in our nation's affairs. That encounter served as U.S. imperialism's pretext to begin the conquest of the Philippines and heralded the Filipino-American War - a heroic struggle by the Filipino people against the United States whose revolutionary legacy extends to this day.

By now I am sure we are all aware why the Philippines figures so prominently in the United States’ hegemonic ambitions. As it was a century ago, we are strategically important as a staging post in the region from which the United States can protect and advance its imperial interests. But also, as it was a century ago and indeed in all the time since, the Filipino people do not meekly submit to U.S. imperialism's designs.

The Filipino nation was born in the battlefield, through over 200 uprisings during three centuries of Spanish colonialism and then with the 1896 Philippine revolution under the leadership of the Katipunan. These culminated in our distinguishing ourselves as the first nation in Asia to wage and win the old democratic revolution against a colonial power. When we fought U.S. aggression beginning in 1899 we fought it as a sovereign nation. When we fight U.S. imperialism today we do so as a sovereign people.

Filipino-American War

The sounds and images of the Filipino-American War reverberate to this day. In all the important things, U.S. imperialism's deep grip on Philippine society was established through its war of conquest and in the course of the colonial and then the neocolonial puppet regimes in its wake.

The extent and brutality of the U.S.' war of aggression against the Philippines are lost or obscured in history written from the U.S. viewpoint.

The defiant resistance of the fledgling Filipino republic against the then still maturing but already mighty imperialist behemoth is undeniable. The Spanish-American War lasted less than four months in its entirety with insignificant losses for the U.S.: less than 800 dead from direct fighting, mainly in Cuba. Yet the Filipino-American War dragged on for virtually 17 years in Luzon and the Visayas, up to 1916, and at least 14 years in Mindanao, up to 1913. When the U.S. formally declared colonial rule in 1902, only three years into the fighting, there were already 4,234 American dead and 2,779 wounded.

The U.S. had unleashed its vast war machine. Some 60% of the U.S.' 216,029 Army regulars and volunteers in 1898 were deployed in 639 outposts across the archipelago. Indeed, the 50,000 Army regulars of 1898 were doubled - some estimates say even quadrupled - because of the Filipino-American War. Prosecuting the war cost the U.S. anywhere from U.S.$400 million to over U.S.$600 million, staggering amounts for the time.

Clearly then it was by no means the small "Tagalog rebellion" as it was called by then U.S. President McKinley. Nor was it fought just by what U.S. General Otis called "a rag tag army". U.S. history has recorded the Filipino-American War as an "insurgency" or an "insurrection" by insurgents, outlaws, brigands and bandits. It was far more than that.

The Filipino fighting forces came from the working classes, mainly the peasantry - hacienda tenants, dispossessed farmers, small farmers and agricultural laborers - and some urban working people. They fought with whatever weapons were at hand. Maybe one in four had rifles captured from the Spanish and the rest were armed with bolos and other crude weapons. This against the U.S. troops' modern rifles, revolvers, artillery, rapid-fire guns, flamethrowers, explosives and their navy's big guns. But the guerrilla war we fought drew its strength from much more: the people.

Even General MacArthur couldn't but concede:

"The success of this unique system of war depends upon almost complete unity of action of the entire native population. That such unity is a fact is too obvious to admit of discussion; how it is brought about and maintained is not so plain... but fear as the only motive is hardly sufficient to account for the united and apparently spontaneous action of several millions of people."

And it was the people who paid the price for their fierce patriotism and determined struggle for independence. Filipino soldiers and civilians alike were wantonly killed. We were beaten, dismembered, burned alive and subjected to the infamous "rope torture" and "water cure". Our villages, crops and property were indiscriminately burned and destroyed. Public assassinations, beatings, intimidation, rape and other wanton violence and terror tactics were in daily use.

As early as May 1901, U.S. General Bell estimated that there were already 600,000 Filipino casualties in Luzon alone of which perhaps only between 15,000-20,000 were soldiers. This was only after two years of fighting and before the systematic "pacification campaigns" in Luzon and the Visayas. Entire populations were herded into so-called "zones of protection" and so many tens of thousands died from hunger, exposure and disease. Perhaps 100,000 Muslims were also killed in their resistance from 1903 to 1913 in Mindanao. It is certain that U.S. imperialism killed between 10-15% of our population then of some 8 million, or from 800,000 to over a million deaths. By any account that is a staggering amount.

Colonialism and neocolonialism

We rake up these brutal events not out of any historical curiosity but because they are of the greatest relevance today. As so well put by one of our country's nationalist historians, the present is a continuation of the past.

The Filipino-American War and the succeeding decades of colonial rule aimed to destroy any vestiges of the sovereign Filipino nation and erect in its stead a vassal state, be it in colonial or neocolonial form. Brute military force, as we have seen, was used to deadly effect. But the colonial period also saw U.S. imperialism using the rest of the powers of the state against the Filipino people.

Repressive laws like the Sedition Law (1901), Brigandage Act (1902), Reconcentration Act (1903) and Flag Law (1907) were put in place to sanction the use of force against all nationalist Filipinos. The U.S. also started organizing and training surrogate armed forces to help suppress resistance to American rule. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) we know of today trace their anti-people lineage to the U.S.-created Philippine Scouts and the National Police Force of 1901.

There is an important point worth stressing. The people's armed revolutionary and anti-colonial resistance continued well after U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declared the so-called "Philippine insurrection" over on July 4, 1902 and long after the ilustrado elite had reverted to attending to their political and economic affairs.

Armed fighting continued in Pampanga, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Zambales, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, Tayabas, Isabela, Albay, Samar, Leyte, Negros, Cebu and elsewhere under the leadership of Sakay, Montalan, Felizardo, San Miguel, Guillermo, Ola, Toledo, Manalan, Tomines and many others until 1916. Defiant Mindanao Moro resistance continued still in Cotabato, Sulu and Lanao until 1913 in the face of equally ferocious massacres by U.S. troops. As late as 1935, some 60,000 Sakdalistas rose up in arms in 18 municipalities of Southern Tagalog and proclaimed independence shouting "Long live the Republic of the Philippines!"

Despite the death penalty or long prison terms under the Sedition Law for anyone calling for independence, open legal struggles against U.S. imperialism and its colonial rule continued to flourish. The pro-independence Partido Nacionalista was organized in 1902 and Congreso Obrero de Filipinas (COF) in 1913. The Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF) led the commemoration of the first labor day in 1903 with some 100,000 workers shouting "Down with U.S. imperialism!" Filipino journalists and writers opposed colonial rule through nationalist plays like "Tanikalang Ginto" and newspapers like El Renacimiento and Muling Pagsilang. And doubtless to the great dismay of the U.S. colonial government, the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) was launched on November 7, 1930.

Flag independence was granted the Philippines on July 4, 1946. By that time, however, decades of colonial rule had succeeded in politically, economically, ideologically and culturally fettering the Filipino nation to U.S. imperialism. The very puppet governments and the big business and landlord interests beholden to U.S. imperialism carefully put in place then - as its proxy rulers - are the very caretakers of the system today.

Continuing U.S. armed intervention

Sustained U.S. intervention in the Philippines' affairs in the past half century is no less armed just because American fingers haven't been pulling triggers of guns aimed at Filipinos. The most glaring example of this in the post-colonial period are of course the U.S. military bases guaranteed under the RP-U.S. Military Bases Agreement (MBA) of 1947 and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951.

Is there any doubt that the U.S. military presence is, in the final analysis, what lay behind such outrageously anti-people laws as the U.S.-RP Treaty of General Relations Property Act (1946), the Bell Trade Act (1946), the Parity Amendment (1947) and the Luarel-Langley Agreement (1954)? These blatantly affirmed the country's neocolonial character, especially by upholding and deepening the interests of U.S. monopolies over our economy - by granting Americans equal economic rights as Filipinos, by skewing trade and investment relations in their favor, and so on.

And is there any doubt that, in the decades that followed until today, brute U.S. military might is in the final analysis what underpins IMF-WB stabilization and structural adjustment programs, World Trade Organization (WTO) "commitments", and imperialist globalization in all its forms? We are not naïve.

That U.S. forces haven't been openly mobilized against Filipinos - because it is certain that they have - is testament more to the complete servility of the U.S. imperialism's puppet Philippine governments and especially its armed forces than to any real independence. We note how the AFP, the U.S.' proxy armed force in the country, has historically been active not against any external aggressor but mainly against Filipinos - in the peasant uprisings of the 1930s, against the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap) and Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) in the 1940s and 1950s, against the New People's Army (NPA) since the 1960s, and against the Moro people since the 1970s.

But even then it's important to highlight our complete solidarity with national freedom movements around the world. Since 1946, the U.S. has conducted hundreds of military operations in over 70 countries, not even considering yet countless covert operations. It actively had a hand in attempts to overthrow some 40 foreign governments and in efforts to crush 30 freedom and liberation movements. We know that the U.S. used their military bases here in the Philippines as major staging areas in at least the Korean War and the Vietnam War. They have also been key transit points during military operations in the Middle East such as against Iraq. Most recently of course was the use of Philippine facilities by the U.S. in its war against the Afghan people. Our struggle against U.S. imperialism dovetails with the sovereign rights of other peoples to be free from outside intervention.

In any case it's clear that the U.S. exercises the overtly military option even in the Philippines when, as, and how it sees fit. We recall the December 1989 "persuasion flights" by U.S. Air Force jets from Clark Air Base that helped the Aquino regime put down a rightist coup. And of course the current military operations under the guise of Balikatan "training exercises".

But the Filipino people's struggle for national freedom has continued, in the open mass movement and in the armed struggle. Against the backdrop of 1950s U.S.-orchestrated anti-Communist hysteria, militant Left organizations spurred a resurgent nationalism and directly opposed U.S. imperialism from the late 1950s and in the 1960s. Sparked by the youth and students, the workers and peasants movements revived nationwide and flourished. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was re-established on December 26, 1968 and the NPA organized on March 29 the following year. National democratic (ND) mass organizations took root among the people and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was formed in 1971 aiming to build a sovereign, democratic, progressive, just and peaceful society.

Despite the imposition of martial law and harsh repression by the U.S.-backed Marcos dictatorship, millions of people were swept into the struggle for national freedom and democracy. The people's movement continued to draw broad swathes of the country's patriotic and progressive into its fold, coalescing into the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) formed in 1986, and was instrumental in toppling the regime in 1986.

The ND forces spearheaded the anti-bases movement with the militant Abakada (Anti-Baseng Kilusan) and Anti-Treaty Movement (ATM) at its core, also driving other broad anti-bases initiatives forward. It was a truly nationalist force that couldn't be resisted. When the MBA lapsed in 1991, the Senate rejected its extension by voting against the new proposed RP-U.S. Bases Treaty and caused the removal of U.S. troops and facilities - a truly historic step towards genuine freedom for our people.

The return of U.S. troops

But U.S. imperialism apparently can't long stand being deprived of Philippine facilities so crucial to its geopolitical interests.

When the U.S. came to our shores a century ago, it was continuing a wave of territorial expansion conducted throughout the 19th century - from its east coast across the mainland continent to the west coast and various Pacific islands, then into Central America, then across the Pacific to the Philippines. We were desired not only for our rich forests and vast minerals but also as a staging post from which to expand into the markets of China and the rest of Asia - in short, extending the U.S.' imperial reach into this part of the world. Senator Beveridge said to the U.S. Senate in 1900:

"...the archipelago is a base for commerce of the East. It is a base for military and naval operations against the only powers with whom conflict is possible."

Things have changed little even after the Cold War. The U.S.' 1995 East Asian Strategy Report of the Department of Defense:

"reaffirms our commitment to maintain a stable forward presence in the region, at the existing level of 100,000 troops, for the foreseeable future... for maintaining forward deployment of U.S. forces and access and basing rights for U.S. and allied forces... If the American presence in Asia were removed... our ability to affect the course of events would be constrained, our markets and interests would be jeopardized."

U.S. imperialism first tried to extract an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which would have allowed U.S. forces to refuel, repair and store war materiel in the country. Vigorous protests and mass demonstrations put this down. This was repackaged in 1997 as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and, again, was met with great opposition and put down.

Yet, quietly, RP-U.S. military exercises were still held in the country even after total U.S. withdrawal in 1992. These exercises allow the U.S. to gain familiarity with other countries' forces and potential battlefield terrain, as well as cement political and military ties of dependence.

The U.S. was finally able to force a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) through in 1999 despite the protestations of our Junk VFA Movement. Approved by the Senate as a treaty - and by the U.S. as a mere executive agreement - the VFA effectively makes the country one gigantic U.S. military facility at its convenience. Full access to Philippine territory is granted by giving U.S. military and civilian forces, including their personnel, warships, and warplanes, extraordinary rights and privileges.

The VFA is fully a piece of the U.S.' global military spread spanning over 800 military installations (including 60 major facilities) in over 140 countries, significant troop deployments in 25 countries, and at least 36 security arrangements. It's part of a string of dozens of security treaties, arrangements, ACSAs and SOFAs in Asia stretching from North Asia through Southeast Asia to Australia and the South Pacific - including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Marshall Islands and so on.

The U.S. lost no time in taking advantage of this and conducted Balikatan 2000 in January 2000 in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite and Palawan - i.e. in exercise venues exceeding the scope of any before it.

We have always argued that these agreements make a mockery of Philippine sovereignty and lay the basis for a return of U.S. troops to the country and direct armed intervention. Well a scant decade after the ejection of the military bases, the foot soldiers and grunts of U.S. imperialism are well and truly back - this time for their "war on terrorism".

The "war on terrorism"

Terrorism is an indefensible scourge and should be condemned. Yet what is even more condemnable is how U.S. imperialism, which has had little qualms in targeting civilians in defense of its hegemony, is invoking that legitimate cause for its own self-interested ends. All the end of the Cold War has meant for the U.S. is a golden opportunity to expand its economic, political and military hegemony ever wider across the world.

Consider what the important U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2001 says. It begins from the premise that America's overseas presence posture, concentrated in Western Europe and Northeast Asia, "is inadequate for the new strategic environment, in which U.S. (economic and security) interests are global and potential threats in other areas of the world are emerging." It thus calls for an even more aggressive U.S. global security posture reoriented to:

"a) develop a basing system that provides greater flexibility for U.S. forces in critical areas of the world, placing emphasis on additional bases and stations beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia; b) provide temporary access to facilities in foreign countries that enable U.S. forces to conduct training and exercises in the absence of permanent ranges and bases; c) redistribute forces and equipment based on regional deterrence requirements; d) provide sufficient mobility, including airlift, sealift, pre-positioning, basing infrastructure, alternative points of debarkation, and new logistical concepts of operations, to conduct expeditionary operations in distant theaters against adversaries armed with weapons of mass destruction and other means to deny access to U.S. forces."

Largely written before the 9/11 terrorist attacks though released a few weeks after, implementation of the recommendations of the QDR 2001 gained momentum with the creation of the "war on terrorism" as a propaganda pillar.

The Philippines was quickly declared as the "second front" after Afghanistan with the return of U.S. troops sycophantically embraced by the Arroyo regime. As ever, the country is critical to the U.S. strategy of fortifying its presence in Southeast Asia, a presence somewhat weakened after the ouster of the bases. The region is rich in natural resources like oil, gas and minerals. With over 500 million people, it's a vast market for U.S. goods and services and a significant destination for U.S. investments. Its east-west sea lanes connect the Indian and Pacific Oceans and its north-south routes link Australasia with Northeast Asia. These are vital not only to international commerce but also to any movement of U.S. forces from the western Pacific to the Indian Ocean or the Persian Gulf. Mainland Asia is also home to three nuclear powers: China, India and Pakistan.

Tenuous links of the CIA-created bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) with the Al Qaeda were played up to bolster the U.S. campaign for deeper military ties with the Philippines and a stronger military presence. Spuriously invoking the VFA, Balikatan 02-01 was a qualitative leap for RP-U.S. relations with open joint RP-U.S. field military operations conducted for the first time. Mindanao is clearly of special significance with U.S. Combat Engineers ("Seabees") working on a network of roads and airfields that come on top of earlier U.S.AID-funded development of military-ready "civilian" airports and seaports.

More to come

The VFA - a toned-down ACSA - is apparently still not enough for the U.S.' tastes. In her trip to the U.S. last November, President Arroyo took up a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) which is presently being negotiated secretly by the two governments. The preamble of the working draft says the MLSA aims to "further the interoperability, readiness and effectiveness" of the RP-U.S. military forces "through increased logistics cooperation." The basic aim though is simply to allow the U.S. to set up logistics support network in the country - covering supplies, billeting, transportation, communication and medical materiel -by storing or procuring them locally. Though involving seemingly innocuous items they clearly have a darkly military purpose.

The joint combat operations against the trifling ASG are also obviously meant to lay the ground for similar operations against the NPA, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The Arroyo regime has been conspicuous in floating and pushing the idea of allowing the U.S. troops to go well beyond Basilan. In her State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week the president even boasted of "[enhancing] our strategic relationship with the U.S. through continuing training exercises." Clearly the deployment of U.S. forces against the ASG was meant to start a chain of events for rationalizing further U.S. military intervention and aggression, which can only wreak havoc on the Filipino people and our struggle for national freedom. Bayan Muna joins U.S. Troops Out Now in confronting U.S. imperialism's machinations.

Our history is replete with experiences that show U.S. imperialism is a deceitful and brutal enemy of the people. The widespread poverty, social inequity and deep exploitation we suffer today is in large measure due to its domination of Philippine society. Yet our history also shows that the hard and valiant struggle and, indeed, the sacrifices and martyrdom of so many are not in vain.

We are unrelenting in our struggle and convinced that each battle we fight, no matter the outcome, is a step in the right direction. A step towards national freedom and liberation.

(Speech prepared for the International Solidarity Mission Against U.S. Armed Intervention in the Philippines, July 28, 2002) Posted by

March 16 - 22, 2003, Volume 3, Number 7,, The Discourse of Terror and Its Pacific Effects [1], by David Palumbo-Liu

On February 21, 2003, the United States announced it would send some 1,700 troops to carry on the war against terrorism, this time, in the Philippines. Despite Manila’s (at least, as that name names the ruling state leader) welcoming of the troops, there was absolute disagreement between the US and the Philippines as to the precise role those troops were to play. The US government insisted that these troops would be entirely active; the Philippines government countered that they would remain as security forces and advisors. Very few in the US press wondered about this contradiction. Yet a minimal perusal of the recent history of the reterritorialization of the islands as the “second front in the (US) war against terrorism” would yield more than enough data for an explanation, and a deeper understanding of what, exactly, the United States is doing (or supposedly not doing) in the Philippines. Rather than being "just" an extension of the "global" war against terrorism, without too much of a stretch of the imagination the return of the American military to the islands can be seen to be nothing less than the re-colonization of the Philippines, or at the very least, a signal of a critical erosion of the sovereignty of a democratic nation, an erosion predicated upon its leader’s precipitous deployment of what I will call the "discourse of terrorism." That discourse is characterized by the recasting of everyday political, social, economic, and cultural life as permeated bypotential terror or terror-making, and the consequent use of that possibility in fueling policy-making and public opinion-shaping. It is thus not (only) the present that drives policy, but a future particularly construed as terror-laden. The trouble is that the logic of pre-emption is always engaged in at once balancing costs and benefits (the usual policy issues), and the feasibility and moral rightness of envisioning the possible future to be pre-exempted in this fashion.

The discourse of antiterrorism has thus remapped not only the entire world, parcelling out new alliances and agreements and territorializations, but also the imaginings of all future worlds. My main point with regard to the current situation in Asia/America is that, since we are now told that the US can and should act according to not only actual situations, but possible situations (the logic of pre-emption), the mobilization of action according to this logic is prone to contradiction and yields unexpected consequences as they are mapped simulataneously on the US, on various Asia states and entire regions. The indiscriminant use of the discourse of terrorism has raised serious issues of sovereignty and democratic governance even as it as consolidated regional and global spaces and local regimes. Ultimately, the deployment of the discourse of anti-terrorism has been revealed to have an inherent and tremendous capacity to backfire and negate, or at least compromise, its pragmatic purposes. In the Philippines, the government has stragetically decided on a re-imagining of its national space in ways that might well cost it more in terms of self-determination that it will benefit by garnering US and other foreign aid. Furthermore, its strategic position on the global stage might coincide with its fragmentation domestically.

Almost immediately after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, the Philippines government rushed to at once declare its active allegiance to the US in its response to those attacks, and to characterize itself as already engaged in anti-terrorist activities. Recently-elected President Gloria Macagapal Arroyo rushed to embrace the discourse of terror, and to deploy it to obtain foreign aid for her country. Nevertheless, this strategy has proven to open up the contradictions of the "war against terrorism," especially as those contradictions are manifested in the Philippines nation. For in its rush to ally itself with the actions of the United States, the Philippines government has effectively halted whatever post-colonial efforts had been in place to finally remove the most visible traces of US "presence" in the Philippines, and instead awaken the only slightly dormant dreams of American Empire in the Asia Pacific, thereby sacrificing national sovereignty for immediate pragmatic gain. (It used to be that the term "American empire" was only articulated in progressive circles within American studies in the academy--these days, the term is pronounced with a spirit at once messianic and terrible by pundits and politicians of all stripes in the public sphere.) In sum, the inherent instablity occasioned by the discourse of anti-terrorism has had deeply unsettling effects for Filipinos and Filipino Americans. And it is especially important to examine closely the situation in the Philippines, since the Philippines has been held up by the US as a possible model for other countries in the fight against terrorism.

Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Philippines became known in Washington as the first country to offer military contributions to war on terrorism. The first Asian leader to reach out to Bush was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who on September 19, 2001, announced that she would create a regional anti-terrorism coalition to support looming US retaliation against attackers (Gulf News, 9/19/01). She promised to "walk every stage of the way" with the US's "war on terrorism" [1] and vowed to bring Filipino "terrorist" groups to justice. She took care to point out that even before September 11th, the Philippines had been engaged in anti-terrorist activities, referring to the Abu Sayyaf group that had allegedly kidnapped and beheaded an American, and were currently holding two US missionaries hostage [3]. By correlating pre-existing efforts to eradicate outlaw bands of kidnappers previously associated with Al-Qaeda with the attacks of 9/11, Arroyo was able to claim a kind of political and moral prescience at once and globalized a local instance. A former AFP chief of staff put it concisely: "The Philippine government's success in defeating the Aby Sayyaf is a defeat of international terrorism" [4].

The remapping of Asia Pacific as a correlate territory of global terrorism thus occurred immediately. Four months after September 11th, the Jakarta Post asserted that the United States had created a "second front" of anti-terrorist war by sending 1,200 troops to the Philippines in January 2002. This terminology was introduced by Republican Congressman Sam Brownback of Kansas, who at that time announced that, "it appears the Philiippines is going to be the second, the next target, after Afghanistan in the war on terrorism” [51]. More concretely than the lipservice Arroyo paid to the war on terrorism, the president offered airspace and combat troops to aid in the US's efforts, and invited US troops to the islands. [2] Business World called this a "gesture of solidarity and friendship as well as political savvy" [11], as it yielded tremendous benefits to the Arroyo government. Within a year, the magazine said, "a cold shoulder turned to a warm embrace" (September 6, 2002).

One thus witnesses a radical remapping of prior relations according to the new logic of terrorism, but, more importantly, according to new opportunities for US and other foreign aid--both to fight terrorism and to prop up national and regional economies and political power bases. Arroyo's public pronouncements on the war on terrorism stressed that terrorism fed on poverty, and that, besides military assistance, the US and other countries interested in stopping the spread of terrorism should send foreign aid to her government. However, as we will see, this benefit cut both ways. But before I address that, it is crucial to point out how, while the strategic epicenter for this second front was the Philippines, a newly-organized Asia Pacific region was its new circumference.

The reterritorialization of Asia Pacific has occurred steadily in the year since September 2001. Although the Jakarta Post noted that "it is undeniable that Southeast Asia is not a breeding ground for terrorists," it noted too that "thanks to the war against terrorism, ASEAN, which lost its fire and fame due to the 1997 [economic] crisis, is regaining not only confidence but respect" [Dec 16, 2002]. Such reconsolidation has been dramatically staged. In November 2002, at least nineteen countries took part in anti-terrorism conference in Manila (co-hosted by the World Tourism Organization). The conference was called the "International Conference on Terrorism and Tourism Recovery." The participants included all ten ASEAN countries plus the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, S Korea, China, and the UK.

Not only were regional relations revised, but international ones as well. In each case we find a particular correlation between international cooperation and the re-enforcement of national control. For example, in November of 2002, the European Commission said that Europe would "help the Philippines boost its capabilities to fight terrorism" through "technical and funding assistance," and renegotiate a former dispute over high European tariffs on Philippines tuna. It also offered European support for development aid for the Muslim-held southern Philippines regions. [30] And on December 4, 2002, China's public security minister, Jia Chunwang, struck an agreement with Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina Jr., for closer cooperation between their respective police forces [18].

Philippines as beneficiaries of terrorism

As noted before, right after the attacks of September 11th, President Arroyo not only announced her country's unswerving support for the United States, she also began an energetic campaign to revise prior agreements and gain foreign aid from key nations. In January 2002, she visited Canada, and signed six new agreements, including one which articulated Canadian support for various judicial reforms in the Philippines. Such agreements were said to be predicated on the two countries' "common determination to fight terrorism and poverty" [32], but it also became clear that these and other agreements served as well to support politically, economically, and militarily the consolidation of the Arroyo administration's power. In particular, and most impressively, we find the resurgence not only of American military and economic aid and activity there, but also American military presence.

In the United States, Bush took credit for Arroyo's "political savvy," calling his acquisition of Philippines' support "a great success," but ignoring the blatant quid pro quo. For instance, while the Philippines government offered the US combat troops, airspace, and enthusiastic public relations support, and allowed six hundred Filipino workers to help build the Guantanamo base camp for Al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, the US offered dramatically increased economic and trade assistance: Bush immediately directed USAID to increase financial support for Philippines and gave signs that massive debt relief was on the horizon. At the same time, he promised $92.3 million in military equipment to combat terrorists and insurgents [5]. James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs put it bluntly: "The US may help ease the Ph debt burden as part of a reward aid package for its support of the US campaign against terrorism" [24]. And after the recent Republican Congressional victories, BusinessWorld predicted that "economic and political relations between the Philippines and the US are expected to mount to new levels of vigor and vibrancy.... The Bush administration is expected to use its new clout to spur the war on terrorism and win bilateral trade agreements with the Philippines and its neighboring countries." [28] The Arroyo government is looking for more development aid, as well as "improved access of its tuna, seaweeds and a variety of fruits and vegetables to US markets." [28] Again, all this has hinged on the discourse of anti-terrorism. As one journalist noted, "The most dramatic turn for the better in bilateral ties took place in the opening of a second front--Basilan Island, the lair of the Abu Sayyaf group of Muslim extremists, second in the list of foreign terrorist organizations drawn up by the US State Dept." [Business World September 6, 2002]. So evident were the new political and economic relations between the two countries that Business World stated in October 2002 that: "the Philippines could possibly be one of the very few countries in the world that could benefit from the terrorist attacks on NY, Bali, and Moscow.... Because we have a common enemy, the Philippines suddenly finds itself as a strategic and important ally of the United States." Nevertheless, after this enthusiastic gushing, BusinessWorld hastened to add: “However, this does not mean that we condone terrorism because in the end, no nation benefits."[3]

Not only did Bush offer economic assistance, more to the point perhaps is the tremendous amount of military aid bestowed upon the Arroyo government for what it called its "anti-terrorist" campaign, but what its critics called political repression. In June 2002, Paul Wolfowitz visited the Philippines and asserted the increased US role there: "the US military presence in southern Philippines is the largest mission outside Afghanistan to fight terrorism since 9/11" [7]. Over and above the aid and resources promised immediately after 9/11, which included more than 600 military "advisors," the United States promised $100 million in military aid and one hundred more special forces units, bringing the total to more than a thousand US troops. The Philippines became the fourth largest Asian recipient of US foreign military financing (FMF) and the first in terms of US International Military Education Training. [37] August 2002.

Because the presence of US troops in the Philippines is of doubtful consitutionality, their role there has been carefully guarded and obscured. While on the one hand military experts such as William Berry, professor of political science at US Air Force Academy construed the Philippines as a "test case to see how this method [only firing if fired upon] works in waging the rest of the war," on the other hand US Special Forces Commander Colonel David Fridovich said in Feb 2002 that officials are "still searching for the right words to describe the precise obligations of US soldiers in the Philippines" [Washington Post Feb 1, 2002] [49]. This vagueness creates a dangerous situation for the Philippines--the deployment of these troops has the potential to both help in the reputed anti-terrorist war, and work against sovereign Philippine interests. The very recent announcement of new troop deployments has, as mentioned above, coincided with an explicit articulation of the difference between what the US says they are to do, and what the Philippines government wishes. Again, the causes for this difference have everything to do with the particular agendas and politics of these two countries. For instance, the Arroyo government understands the instability it has wrought as well as anyone. Although in August 2002, Colin Powell declared the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement critical (“the alliance between the US and the Ph has been a bulwark of freedom and stability in the Asia-Pacific region” [35]), Arroyo signed this agreement in secret, and received considerable criticism for doing so when it was leaked.

The battle against Muslim agitators threatens to emesh the US in a Vietnam-like struggle. Since 1898, with the assertion of US control over the Philippines, no one has been able to control Muslim sultanates on the southern islands. US military campaigns against Muslim populations in the Ph can be traced as far back as the turn of the century, when the US fought anti-colonial insurgents in Mindanao. In 1906, some nine hundred Muslims, including women and children, were massacred on Mount Dajo. Among those outraged by the slaughter was Mark Twain, whose satire, "The War Prayer" critiqued the US government's glorification of its anti-colonial campaign. The current difficulty in waging war against "terrorists" is that to warrant US involvement in the Philippines, terrorism has to be linked to either radical Islamic movements and/or armed insurgency. One of the clearest candidates for the label of "terrorist organization" is the Moro National Liberation Front. But although there has been sporadic armed combat despite the 1970s peace agreement between the government and the MNLF was signed, in 2002 the agreement was renegotiated, and Philippine military campaign against them has ceased. So main target has become the Abu Sayyaf. The Abu Sayyaf was conceived by Filipino separatist Abdurajak Janjalani, who may have fought in Afghanistan against Soviet troops. The Abu Sayyaf may have initially received financing from Osama bin-Laden's brother-in-law, and some Philippine officials assert that the Abu Sayyaf funnels ransom money to Al-Qaeda. Nevertheless, these links, especially after Janjalani's death, have become more and more tenuous. National security advisor Roilo Golez has been quoted as saying that there is no proof of ties to Al-Qaeda since the early 90s. By all accounts, the Abu Sayyaf groups has now dwindled to a force of about 60 members, regarded more as thugs intent on kidnapping and extortion, with no particular ideology. Ian Cuthbertson, the director of the counterterrorism project of the World Policy Institute, argues: "This wasn't Al-Qaeda.... What you have is an insurgency cum banditry on a small island that got attention because they made a habit of kidnapping westerners and killing them" [13]. July 7, 2002.

Despite such evidence to the contrary, the Boston Globe pointed out that "government and military officials privately acknowledge that Washington focused on Islamic terrorism, [since] it serves Manila's interests to re-brand Abu Sayyaf as terrorists instead of bandits and to take advantage of any assistance in wiping out the rebels" [Boston Globe, 1-26-02, [44]]. [4] In October of that year, Arroyo intensified this trend, and correlated this pre-existing terrorist activity with the assertion of "a possible shift in the Al-Qa'idah centre of gravity to Southeast Asia" [6]. As if to confirm the need for such evidence, in December 2002, new US military training missions involving some 1300 troops in the southern Philippines were carried out based on the claim that the Abu Sayyaf had formed ties to the Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia, the group now held responsible for the terrorist bombing in Bali. [47]

The timing of all this is crucial to understand. In 1991 the Philippines Senate rejected a proposal to renew the treaty allowing the retention of US military bases in the country. In 1999, there was a fierce fight in the Senate regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which provides for military exercises within the Ph between US and Ph troops, and grants extraterritorial and extrajudicial rights to visiting US servicemen. This time, under the Estrada presidency and with many anti-bases legislators gone, the VFA passed. [5] In 2002, after the fall of the Estrada regime, new anti-US military presence mobilization occurred, prompted by the instantiation of the "Balikatan" ("shoulder-to-shoulder") exercises between US and Ph troops in the aftermath of 9/11, and under Arroyo's war on terrorism. Critics of these exercises say that they violate even the terms of the VFA, which allow for exercises of only six months duration or less. At this time as well, Arroyo secretly signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement with the US.

Critics of these policies argue that GMA is using anti-terrorism policies against not only insurgency movements but also simply all anti-government critics. They also see this as an opportunity seized by the US to re-enter the Philippines and regain its military presence there in order to re-solidify its strategic presence in the Pacific. [12/02; 63] Luis Franca, one of the most astute scholars of the Philippines, put it this way: "I think the war on terrorism is being used, in this case, as a Trojan horse on the part of the US to re-establish its military presence not only in the Ph but in the region. Two of the largest US bases were in the Philippines, Subic Bay and Clark Air Base, bases that were extremely important to US military dominance globally." [NPR 3 Feb 02 (23)].

Franca's theory seems borne out when juxtaposed with statements and documents attesting to US interest in the Pacific, specifically the strategically critical Philippines. In 1995, former US Air Force Pacific General John Lorber declared: "We, the US, are a Pacific nation where command extends from the West Coast of the US to the eastern coast of Africa and includes both polar extremes. The US has seven defense treaties worldwide, and five of them are in the Pacific region" [53]. Another course notes, "According to the 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review by the US Department of Defense, US national defense and security policy implemented by 100,000 US troops deployed in the region is intertwined with economic globalization such as 'the protection of the sea lanes of trade,' and 'ensuring unhampered access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.' Pentagon literature now treats the operational jurisdiction of the US Pacific Command as 'highways of trade which are vital to US security'" [53]. And another report put together by former CIA and State Department analysts talks about US plans to re-establish 'forward bases' in the Philippines as part of an American strategy against international terrorism. [53] Indeed, four months before September 11, 2001, that is, in May 2001, the Rand Corportion issued an important policy strategy labelled "The US and Asia--Toward a New US Strategy and Force Structure," wherein it strongly pushed for the restoration of US forces in the Philippines through 'future US Air Force Expeditionary Deployments.' This study was prepared by a team headed by Zalmay Khalilzad, now a senior member of the NSC and Bush's chief advisor on Afghanistan. [53]

The terrorist attacks thus served as the opportunity to gain reentrance to the Philippines for the US military, as long as the US could make the case that the Philippines was a "second front." This case was made for it by the immediate pronouncements and actions of Arroyo. However, just as the correlation of the US and the Philippines served as an excuse for both governments to re-exert their particular control over the region, so too did their actions include similar abuses of civil liberties. In November 2002, the National Union of Journalists in the Philppines, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the Correspondents-Broadcasters-Reporters Association Action News Service, and the Negros Media Council for Press Freedom condemned widespread anti-free speech actions and the illegal harrassment and detention of journalists in the Philippines: "in the guise of the war against terrorism, the Arroyo administration has run roughshod on press freedom, the people's right to know, and to free expression and organization." Student groups, academics also targeted [71]. The Canadian human rights group, the "BC Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines" criticized Arroyo: "Human rights is the biggest collateral damage in the Arroyo government's vicious war on terror" [72]. Earlier in 2002, London-based Amnesty International, Washington-based Human Rights Watch, and even the US State department warned of the rise of human rights violations in the Philippines [72]. And a UN special rapporteur was sent to the Philippines to investigate reports of human rights violations. Besides such violations of civil liberties, there have been severe costs in humn life: the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace noted that from January to Oct 2002, over nine thousand civilians have become victims of of bombings and indiscriminate firings from military and paramilitary and police forces [72]. Finally, "in a move that the Arroyo administration will likely use as additional justification for its intensified counter-insurgency campaign, the United States has declared the Communist Party of the Philippines as a 'foreign terrorist organization,' joining 33 other groups in such a classification by the US State Department." Colin Powell made the announcement August 9, 2002.

Joel Virador of the human rights group Karapatan in Southern Minadanao said this could mean more human rights abuses. Since the US enlisted the support of the Philippines in its campaign against Al-Qaeda, countless Filipinos have been arrested without warrant and jailed without charges. "Declaring revolutionary organizations such as the CPP as terrorist groups is practically a declaration of an open season against anybody who dares to criticize the Arroyo regime and US policies against sovereign nations," Virador said. He noted that, of late, the Arroyo administration has been branding as Communists those who have been criticizing its actions and policies" [ August 12, 2002 [69]]. Such actions have had the effect of destabilizing Philippine domestic politics, dampening any hope for peace between the government and opposition movements, which are now criminalized. In September 2002, the "International Ecumenical Conference on Terrorism in a Globalized World" condemned the labelling as, among other things, disrupting the peace negotiations b/n the government and the National Democratic Front of the Ph [70].

Criticism has swelled in the Philippines--Vice President Teofisto Guigona, several, legislators, and even some pro-government journalists have stressed that even if they do not support the armed Left’s struggle, it had legitimate aims for political reform and could not be labelled 'terrorist.' In November, United Nations representative Francis Deng visited the Philippines and asked the Philippines government to refrain from branding the Moro Islamic Liberation Front a terrorist organization, but rather to continue peace negotiations with it. The United States had considered labelling the organization as such, but said it would take its cue from the Philippines. (Xinhua General News Service, Nov 13, 2002). What we have then in the Philippines is a critical drama regarding the stakes for national sovereignty of playing the "terrorism" card.

Second thoughts for Arroyo?

The emphatic response of the Arroyo adminstration to the events of September 11th should be understood as well within the context of the May 2001, elections, in which Arroyo was faced with significant pressure from Estrada loyalists. At that time, many still felt that Estrada was popular amongst the lower classes, and that Arroyo needed to make a stronger attack on poverty. The attacks of 9/11 thus served as an opportunity to gain crucial foreign aid; and, as I have noted, Arroyo has been consistent in her eqauting the war on terrorism with her war on poverty. Nevertheless, the bargains struck with the US and other foreign nations have led to unintended consequences. Given the new uncertainties opened up by new US actions, Arroyo has started to modify her position. To begin with, Arroyo seems to be backing away from “second front” nomenclature. She herself told Le Monde in Jan 2002 that there was no evidence to link Abu Sayyaf to Al-Qaeda, and she asked Colin Powell to resist using "second front" language, perhaps acknowledging the possible loss of Philippinr sovereignty and a unexpectedly high US presence. Some have voiced the feeling the the Ph was turning into one huge US military base [55]. And by September 2002, Arroyo had withdrawn her offer of use of Ph airspace to launch attack on Iraq. [63]

The danger posed to the Philippines of being willing to reconstitute its domestic space as a "second front" against terrorism became especially clear in November of 2002, when the Philippines government explicitly ruled out a possible US air strike against suspected terrorists similar to the one conducted by the CIA against terrorists in Yemen, which killed six suspected Al-Qaeda members. Arroyo's spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao drew out the differences between Yemen and the Philippines, stressing that, unlike Yemen, there was no strong indication of Al-Qaeda presence in the Philippines, thus backing away from that posture which the government struck in the aftermath of 9/11. Tiglao made it clear as well that any such strike in the Philippines would be "an intrusion into our sovereignty" (Agence France Presse, Nov 10, 2002). Nevertheless, Arroyo has shown herself too much in the sway of economic concerns to break away completely from the beneficial aspects of the discourse of anti-terrorism. This has exacerbated a split within her own administration.

On December 4, 2002, Australian Prime Minister John Howard caused great consternation among the nations of the Asia Pacific by saying that Australia would not rule out pre-emptive strikes against foreign-based countries if they appeared to threaten Australia. On the basis of that remark, Philippines National Security Advisor Roilo Golez advised reconsidering the proposed anti-terrorism pact between Philippines and Australia, arguing that Howard’s pre-emptive policy could well result in an "assault" on the sovereignty of the Philippines, and the Philippines foreign ministry issued a statement saying that Howard's pronouncement revealed "hegemonic ambitions." But Arroyo dismissed Howard’s remarks as merely "hypothetical," and used the occasion of that day's press conference to instead ask for more Japanese aid in fighting the war on terrorism, noting, "the yen is mightier than the sword." (Agence France Presse, Dec 4, 2002).

Consequences for Asia/America

The interstitial space between the US and the Philippines has been deeply affected in the radical redefinition of US/Pacific relations according to the logic of the discourse of terror. I am speaking of immigrant and diasporic subjects. Renegotiations of regional and international relations provided the occasion as well for revisiting new anti-terrorist policies in Europe and the United States that adversely affected Filipinos. For example, at the anti-terrorism, pro-tourism conference, Arroyo asked Francis Taylor, US ambassador to the Philippines, for exemptions for Filipino-Am security workers who would lose their jobs because of their lack of citizenship. Colin Powell was also pressed on Asian American issues upon his announcement of the signing of the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement. He was tested on the question of US deportation of overseas Filipino workers, as well as the loss of jobs faced by Filipino Americans whose lack of citizenship made them ineligible to hold securiy jobs.

And Philippines Foreign Undersecretary Delia Albert asked the European Union to remove the Philippines from its list of countries whose citizens have to undergo special screening before they are granted entry visas [31] (but isn't this a paradox? If the Philippines suddenly appeared as locus of terrorist activities, the center of a "second front," and therefore legimate areas for increased policing and warfare, then why exempt Filipinos from special screening? Such contradictions became characteristic of the unexpected results of anti-terrorism policies, that confused not only national, regional, and international interests, but the internal interests of individual nations as well).

In his famous 1882 lecture, "What is a Nation," Ernest Renan declared, "Shared suffering unites more than does joy. As far as national memories go, acts of mourning are more potent than those of triumph, since they impose duties and require common effort." Note how in this essay Renan uses at least two notions of memory--first, those memories of violence and subjugation that subaltern groups must forget if they are to sign on to the dominant national project of historical memory and unity, that is, a necessary amnesia. Second, an unforgettable memory, a pragmatic and functional memory of the dominant group of a wrong done to it, to which all in the nation must rise in reaction to. But in this situation, it is rather that a memory of a wrong has given rise to a wide set of re-imaginings and projections forward. And in that projection forward, a number of pragmatic needs are attached. The great difficulty we face resides in the fact that the particular melding of Asia and America in this discursive imagining has served as both a point of consolidation and for the re-emergence of dominance. Now what does this mean for Asian American studies? While certainly not arguing for the abandonment of current explorations of "hybridity" that break apart the supposedly homogeneous field of Asian America, it strikes me as urgent to map the new conditions upon which Asia and America have indeed been fused together in the logic of 9/11. It will of course not be a permanent state (at least one wishes that it not be), but for the moment, and for the foreseeable future, it seems impossible not to factor in this phenomenon into our understanding of Asian America.


[1] This paper was first presented for the Center for **** at the University of Oregon in February 2003.­ I thank Arif Dirlik for offering that venue as a trial site for the paper, and the audience for their comments.

[2] Members of Ph Congress called GMA’s invitation to US military as a gross violation of the Constitution [51]

[3] Cf. “Increased activity of the al-Qaeda--linked to Abu Sayyaf, including the May 2001 kidnapping of Americans Martin and Gracia Burnham, made terrorism a catalyst for revitalizing relations” (Heritage Foundation Reports, May 13, 2002).

[4] Journalist: "A connection to Al-Q is critical to justify American involvement"[8]

[5] In March 2001 Estrada faced impeachment trials; new elections were held in May. Macapagal-Arroyo faces a general election in 2004., History's Memory, Literature's Memory - Including Ourselves in History, BY Linda Ty-Casper,*

Today the Philippines is left out of many American history books and mostly ignored in classrooms and overlooked in newspaper retrospectives, though the same issues of that war confronted the U.S. in Vietnam. At the turn of the past century, it was not surprising for Americans to misplace the Philippines but today Americans still think of it as vaguely somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Or is it the Carribean?

Open an American history textbook, look up and down the table of contents and the index and you're not likely to find much, if any, about the Philippines. In a 2002 book entitled American Empire, the word Philippines appeared just twice, and nothing at all about its being the colony in Asia the taking of which converted the American Republic into an empire. Nothing about the Philippine-American War of 1899.

The Spanish American War was a different matter. It captured the imagination of America, for that War brought it face to face with the evil empire of the turn of the century, Spain. To destroy Spain's hold on the Western Hemisphere, America intervened in Cuba: interpreting its manifest destiny as the duty and obligation to save the world. Then pursuing the Spanish warships fleet to Asia, Commodore Dewey was sent, supposedly by the undersecretary of the navy (though this could be a myth; history is not immune to myths) to HongKong, from where he proceeded to Manila Bay, where on May 1, 1898 he sank Montojo's invincible fleet in one morning's work.

America called the Battle of Manila Bay the "splendid little war." Against hundreds of Spanish sailors drowned in Manila Bay, the Americans suffered only one casualty, from excitement or heat stroke most probably. In the hold, coalers fed the furnaces steadily, and the engine rooms heated up so much they had to strip down to their shoes, which they had to keep on because the floor plates sizzled.

On his way to Manila to pursue the Spanish fleet, Dewey had brought back the Filipino officers and leaders who had been exiled by Spain to HongKong, and gave them the arms and ammunition in the Spanish city of Cavite Viejo. Armed with this and Dewey's promise to help them overthrow Spain, as France had helped America in her war of independence, the Filipinos proceeded to besiege the Spanish garrisons, reducing them to three: Manila, Iloilo, and Zamboanga.

But in a change of heart, or a change of policy in Washington, instead of becoming jubilant, Dewey refused the invitation to attend the inauguration of the Philippine Republic June of 1898, denying promising the Filipinos help in getting their independence from Spain. Instead, the Filipinos were asked not to capture Manila but wait until American troops landed. After American troops landed in July they took the city, blocking the Filipinos from entering their city. Thus began the Philippine-American War.

Word of honor

The War started as push and shove, with the American army demanding to occupy trenches Filipinos had invested with their lives, promising, short of a written document, to return the trenches. Word of honor. Which they broke. During those times, word of honor was binding and combatants stopped fighting on Sundays to honor the Lord's day. Until the American Senate ratified the treaty of peace signed in Paris on December 10, 1898 giving the Philippines to America for $20 million. American troops were cautioned not to start or provoke hostilities, or to ask for discharge.

But on the 4th of February 1899, a Sgt. Gray fired at Filipinos allegedly crossing into American lines and the first shot of the Philippine-American War ended the Spanish-American War. Even with its overwhelming resources, it took American troops over three years to defeat the Filipinos (1899-1901) at the cost of tens of thousands of noncombatants, towns leveled to the ground, and thousands of military casualties. One journalist estimated it would cost $20M to rehabilitate wounded and sick American troops.

That is the Philippine-American War in a nutshell. Is it in American history books? America called the war an insurrection, designating it as an internal affair, though the Philippines had been a republic almost 8 months before it started, had an army, a cabinet, a Congress, with a Constitution patterned after the American Constitution.

Today the Philippines is left out of many American history books and mostly ignored in classrooms and overlooked in newspaper retrospectives, though the same issues of that war confronted the U.S. in Vietnam. At the turn of the past century, it was not surprising for Americans to misplace the Philippines but today Americans still think of it as vaguely somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Or is it the Carribean? Isn't that where mail order brides come from, and the what-is-it-called, the Peaceful Revolution that toppled Marcos in 1986, briefly holding the world's attention until the next international crisis pushed it out of the headlines?

I'm still asked if the Philippines is in Hawaii, and this, after the Philippines has been in the news--inside pages--part of the interest in Iraq and Al Qaeda, a link traced to the Abu Sayyaf pirates who took hostages in Malaysia and hid in the most southern islands of the archipelago. From Manila I had an email that text messages were asking Bush to liberate the Philippines along with Iraq, and end the Al Qaeda conspiracy.

When Commodore Dewey was sent, supposedly by Theodore Roosevelt, Undersecretary of the Navy, to Hong Kong to await the development of the Spanish American War - there was a frantic search for maps in which the Philippines could be located. What was found were old Spanish maps, no longer accurate, so when Dewey received his orders to proceed to the Philippines, he had to travel down China Sea slowly, feeling his way to the capital city of Manila.

When American troops began arriving to win on land what Dewey's navy had won in Manila Bay, the lack of maps resulted in their being landed at high tide. So the Filipinos' first view of the Americans were boatloads of soldiers struggling in the surf, one hand holding aloft rifles, the other their clothes, to keep both dry. The Filipinos supposedly ran away or at least covered their eyes.

True memory

Why should it matter that the Philippines is not in American textbooks? Well, unless we enter a country's history, we do not exist in its consciousness. Lacking a true memory of the Philippines has led to inequalities in the Philippine-American relationship. Witness the Filipino veterans whose rights are still not recognized by the U.S. Congress that took these rights away unilaterally almost as soon as World War II ended.. By the time, if ever, Congress recognizes their role in Bataan and Corregidor, how many will be left? There used to be 25,000 in San Francisco. There are now only 8,000. If the U.S. Congress continues to drag its heels, soon there will be no beneficiaries to recognize.

Two bells were taken by American troops from Balangiga, town of atrocities on both sides of the Philippine-American War. Two surviving bells! And the U.S. refuses to restore one to the town in Samar that the Americans, by their own account and admission, turned into a "howling wilderness."

Witness the continuing widespread feeling in the Philippines: gratitude for small American doles - outdated helicopters and planes that fall apart while in flight - with Japan having received more in aid than the Philippines whose rights to reparation from Japan were greatly reduced by the American policy of helping the former enemy reclaim its role in history. America paid much less for its bases in the Philippines than for bases in other countries.

Yet there persists a feeling of gratitude among Filipinos for American tutelage, the American word for their occupation of the Philippines in 1898. Pro-Americanism first became the new name for patriotism in the Philippines with the Federalist Party, established 1907, which encouraged former officers in the Philippine Republic to place their future in America so they can share in the profits of empire. These leaders traded off their memory, did not oppose the Philippine exhibit at the 1904 World Fair of tribal Filipinos to prove the Philippines needed civilizing, when other Filipinos had been educated in Europe as doctors and engineers. General Alejandrino, conferring with Dewey, was asked what language he wanted to use. Dewey had to get an interpreter when Alejandrino chose French.

Just after independence - won or granted, let's leave the point aside - the Parity Amendment gave Americans a free hand in developing the Philippines, but severely limited Filipinos equivalent rights in America. Claims of American benevolence, unsupported by historical facts, is responsible today for remnants of colonial mentality that survives in gratitude for being granted independence they had already won before the Philippine-American War even began, submitting to the exploitation of Philippine resources, acceptance second class citizenship, (this month an American Filipino lawyer in LA was led from a Walgreen drugstore, in handcuffs, for allegedly paying for a counterfeit $100 bill which was later proved to be genuine).

Sadly, the Philippine-American War is not in Filipinos' memory, it seems. Is it because it is not in American history's memory? Do we still need American confirmation. Filipinos are notorious for erasing memory, painful memory. After Manila was liberated in 1945, coming upon the bloodied walls of the infants' ward of the PGH - the babies had been smashed against the walls - the first thing the survivors did was to whitewash the walls.

"Consensus history"

Understandably, American history books cannot not record everything. And traditional history is "consensus history" ignoring challenges and divisions, upheavals and dissensions. Like probably all histories, it chooses to be celebratory, recounting the country's exceptional history; its uniqueness. The heights, not the depths of national life. Big man theory of history. Leaders. Elites. Capitalists. Generals. Witness the non-inclusion from textbooks, until recently, of Native Americans, Blacks, women, the labor force. History has been a narrative of victories, military and of the spirit, man's nobility. I imagine the defeated focus on their national souls, on recovering and nurturing it back into world history.

But American history's amnesia about the Philippines reflects the nation's uncertainty about whether it had done the right thing by taking the Philippines as a colony. To include and to name the Philippine-American War in history texts would force the U.S. to confront the issues raised at the turn of the century. The issues of conscience that surfaced in the Philippine Question were raised against the 1990 sanctions against the Vietnam War, the bombing of Afghanistan, of Belgrade. It must have been a troubling question then, as troubling as the war in Iraq: needing to have it dissimulated as the American duty to guide the world’s history, to bring American ideals and institutions to all, its obligation to reshape the globe in its own image.

Those who were for taking a colony in 1899 argued that its Manifest Destiny obliged Americans to expand its institutions, civilize and Christianize the world for the world's own sake. Taking a colony would be accepting its role as a world power, along with Europe. In the 1840s Herman Melville said, "We bear the ark of the liberties of the world." A senator said, in 1898 "…the trade of the world must and shall be ours. American law…order…civilization… flag will plant themselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted." Reinhold Neibuhr saw Americans as "tutors of mankind in its pilgrimage to perfection." Woodrow Wilson tried to "bring the world...into conformity with American principles and American policies. More recently, Madeleine Albright declared that Americans have the "duty to be authors of history."

One soldier, in 1898, was so carried away by idealism and the adventure Manifest Destiny promised, he stabled his horse for two weeks - the length of time it was assumed it would take for American to take the Philippines - then enlisted. He might have started worrying when the voyage to Manila took a month. Many underage volunteers paid for papers attesting to their eligibility with their grandfather's gold watch at reference tables stationed at the street corners of San Francisco, believing that by taking the Philippines, it was fulfilling its Manifest Destiny to save the world, Filipinos included, from the Spanish empire. That destiny includes setting the world straight, guiding world "history."

The Philippines Question was bitterly debated - carried on in dinner speeches of guilds and associations, letters home of soldiers, letters to editors. One, in the caution of the times, was signed "A Lady from Lexington." At the turn of the century there were the anti-imperialists, the League having been founded in Boston, as well as writers like Mark Twain.

War letters

Now, people demonstrate openly against war in Iraq, believing that "a democratic society cannot allow unlimited accumulation" or "economic expansion." They now demonstrate across the globe. At the turn of the last century, disillusioned, soldiers in the Philippines grew to oppose the Philippine-American War. Though their letters home were routinely censored by the Eighth Army Corps, the Anti-Imperialist League of Boston managed to collect some. A soldier in the Nebraska regiment: "We came here to help, not to slaughter, these natives; to fight the oppressor Spain, not the oppressed. It strikes me as not very fair to pursue a policy that keeps us volunteers out here to fight battles we never enlisted for. I cannot see that we are fighting for any principle now."

Rev. C. F. Dole received this letter : "Talk about Spanish cruelty: they are not in with the Yank. Even the Spanish are shocked… I have seen enough to almost make me ashamed to call myself an American.'" F. A. Blake, of California, in charge of the Red Cross: "I never saw such execution in my life… showing the determination of our soldiers to kill every native in sight. The Filipinos did stand their ground heroically, contesting every inch, but proved themselves unable to stand the deadly fire of our well-trained and eager boys in blue…bodies were stacked up for breastworks." Captain Elliott, of the Kansas Regiment, February 27th: "Talk about war being 'hell'… Caloocan was supposed to contain seventeen thousand inhabitants. The Twentieth Kansas swept through it, and now Caloocan contains not one living native… In the village of Maypajo, now not one stone remains on top of another. You can only faintly imagine this terrible scene of desolation. War is worse than hell."

Charles R. Wyland, Company C, Washington Volunteers, March 27: "I have seen a shell from our artillery strike a bunch of Filipinos, and then they would go scattering through the air, legs, arms, heads, all disconnected. And such sights actually make our boys laugh and yell, 'That shot was a peach.'.... Hasty intrenchments were thrown up to protect our troops…the bodies of many slain Filipinos being used as a foundation for this purpose... Other bodies were thrown into the deep cuts across the road, and with a little top dressing of dirt made a good road again for the Hotchkiss... " E. D. Furnam, of the Washington Regiment, writes of the battles of February 4th and 5th: "We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs,pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer."

Ellis G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas: "They will never surrender until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights. Their independence is dearer to them than life, as ours was in years gone by, and is today." A private writes: "In a word, I believe they should be accorded all the rights that they claim for ourselves. As for myself, I marched into the battle to make them free, not to make them subjects. I understood our mission to be one of humanity and for the cause of freedom, but our offering on the altar of liberty has been prostituted. "Most all the men who think in the Army Corps are opposed, and have been from the start, to holding these islands. Well, I hope we may never get another weak-kneed politician in the presidential chair at a critical time like this."

Albert Brockway, Company M, Twentieth Kansas: "We must all bear our portion of the shame and disgrace which this great political war has forced upon us… The press censorship will not allow our papers to publish accounts of deaths, etc., hence we, on one end of the line, scarcely know how the others are getting along." When it was declared officially ended, the Filipinos who continued to fight were called bandits to justify their ruthless annihilation. Teaching the Filipinos self-government allowed Manifest Destiny to be a cover for exploitation. Before the Philippine American war was over Americans were using Spanish tactics - reconcentration and water torture - that they decried in Cuba.

The two faces of America

President McKinley supposedly fell on his knees to ask for divine guidance, rose again convinced that it was America's manifest destiny to scare off the Germans, Swiss, English, Japanese who had warships watching Dewey in Manila Bay, and to take not just a coaling station but the entire archipelago so America could be "traffic policemen" in Asia. Supposedly what convinced McKinley was that fighting in the Philippines would heal the pain of the Civil War, with the boys in blue and the boys in grey fighting in the same ranks. General Joe Wheeler, tracking Emilio Aguinaldo and his Republic across Luzon, was heard to rally his men with the cry, "Get those damn Yankees!"

Considering the bitterness of the debates, American history was not likely to record the issues that divided the nation over taking the Philippines. Excluded from history texts, these facts are buried in the newspapers of the times, in books stored in basements/subbasements of libraries. Archives are notoriously out of reach for the public. Back in the late 50s, a thunderstorm made me take shelter in Widener, where I discovered books about the Philippines in the sub-subbasement, D Level West. It was like finding chunks of gold in heaps of raw ore. I had no idea these existed anywhere. The books were catalogued as Oceania and only walking up and down alongside the shelves did I find them. Most were derogatory, calling Filipinos unfit to govern themselves, needing American tutelage, etc., justifications for the so-called Insurrection.

The rest of the remaining year, I was drawn to that sub-subbasement. I felt guilty about taking the time but there I was, finally concluding that a book of essays would probably end up in some library's sub-subbasement, unread, so I decided, to write historical novels set in periods critical to Philippine history: deeply imagined literature that one cannot wipe from one's eyes, writing history so it can become a contemporary experience. Not politicized history. And researching, researching because what's the point of historical novels if one maims them with distortions.

Notwithstanding the prediction about editor's raw nerves about imperialism--in the 70s when I was doing research as a Radcliffe Institute fellow, the wife of an editor, big publishing firm, discovering my project, asked, Do you expect to get it published?--I kept at it. I also had my grandmother's memory of the Revolution against Spain and the War with the Americans. She was born in 1871, had lived through various rebellions. Almost every night when we were children, she would have us lie in bed with her, telling us stories of the War and the Revolution. And she would say, Someone should write about this. This should be written down....Finally, without realizing it then, I was doing as she asked. Confident in the historical novels' relevance, staying power, and wider reach, with material from archives and my grandmother's stories, which made the Revolution against Spain and the War with America as real as my own experience, I began with The Peninsulars, 1850s, Philippines, about the time of the British Occupation, a book to anchor the following years. As it happened it was not possible to answer all those books on the Philippines with just one historical novel. And a lot of things intervened. So, several novels later about the Philippine revolution, martial law, People Power, after thirty-three odd years, finally, the Philippine American War: The Stranded Whale.

So, here I am, still writing historical novels in order to include ourselves in the world's memory, in the world's history, in our own history. Literature as historical reality, a nation's memory. Literature, National Artist Franz Arcellana said, "must be read first as information, essential information; then as knowledge which is power, which empowerment leads to wisdom which in turn makes us understanding, merciful and forgiving." We do not only learn history from literature, we also understand it. In this sense we can recover our history in literature, a perception of ourselves that history ignores: ourselves not as imagined by political forces, but as we are. Through our literature we include ourselves in history, recover our place in it, belong to ourselves. Our memory of ourselves, the essence of our personal identity/and of national identity no matter where we live. Because, for all of us, literature is a sacred text. Posted by

*Linda Ty-Casper used to teach English literature at the University of the Philippines in the 1960s. She is the author of almost a dozen historical novels set in the Philippines. Despite being married to an American and living on American soil for the past 40 years, she remains a Filipino citizen. This paper was read in a talk given at the University of Connecticut on April 9, 2003.

April 4, 2009, Filipino Reporter, The Terror Group that Refuses to Die, by Benjie Oliveros,

The January 15 kidnapping of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Swiss Andreas Notte is truly deplorable. However, the bigger question is not why the Abu Sayyaf did it but how.

How could the Abu Sayyaf survive the continuous joint operations of the AFP and the elite troops of the most powerful armed forces in the world, the US Armed Forces? How could it continue to find replacements for its leaders who have been killed one after another? How could it continue recruiting fighters when supposedly they have been constantly on the run? How could it still undertake major armed operations when it is supposedly headless and decimated, on the run and lacking in funds?

The January 15 kidnapping of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Swiss Andreas Notte is truly deplorable. The ICRC is an international humanitarian organization that ensures that the lives and dignity of civilians and other non-combatants in areas of armed conflict are respected. It is accorded protection by armed groups all over the world because of the nature of its work.

Its work involves:
• Trying to ensure that civilians who are not taking part in hostilities are spared and protected
• Visiting prisoners of war and security detainees
• Transmitting messages to and reunite family members separated by armed conflict
• Helping find missing persons
• Offering or facilitating access to basic health care services
• Providing urgently needed food, safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter
• Promoting respect for international humanitarian law
• Monitoring compliance with and contribute to the further development of international humanitarian law
• Helping reduce the impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on people
• Supporting National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to prepare for and respond to armed conflict and other situations of violence

Because of its humanitarian work, the act of kidnapping its workers for ransom invites condemnation locally and internationally. It does not help the cause of the Bangsamoro people for the recognition of their rights as a people. Rather it seems to justify the all-out war in Mindanao being conducted by the Arroyo government against the Bangsamoro people, and the “war on terror” being done by the US all over the world. It serves the interests of those who want to use the Bangsamoro people as scapegoats for its militarist designs more than the Bangsamoro people themselves.

However, the bigger question is not why the Abu Sayyaf did it but how.

Suspicions are rife that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) created or at least encouraged the formation of the Abu Sayyaf. The Abu Sayyaf’s first leader was Abdurajak Janjalani who reportedly fought in the International Islamist brigade in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. The US was known to have aided the Taliban resistance against the Soviet occupation and the Central Intelligence Agency was said to have supported the recruitment of radical Muslims from different countries, including the Philippines. Abdurajak Janjalani was one of those recruits. He reportedly formed the Abu Sayyaf upon returning to the country. Khadaffy Janjalani, Abdurajak’s younger brother, took over the leadership of the Abu Sayyaf when the latter was killed on December 19, 1998.

Suspicions regarding the collusion of the AFP and Abu Sayyaf became stronger when the latter escaped a tight military dragnet in Lamitan in June 2001. Fr. Loi Nacorda, a Catholic priest in Basilan who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in 1994, revealed his suspicions regarding the AFP-Abu Sayyaf collusion after the Lamitan siege and escape. Fr. Nacorda said that while he was in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf, they passed near military camps, a mere 50 to 100 meters away, and that he overheard Abu Sayyaf commanders discussing arms shipments from government sources.

The defeat of the Abu Sayyaf has been the objective of joint military trainings and exercises, as well as combat operations by the AFP and US Special Forces since the Balikatan 2002. The US even offered cash rewards for information that could lead to the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders. The Arroyo government has declared the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf so many times, especially after its leaders have been killed by the AFP one after another in 2006 and 2007. In September 2006, Khadaffy Janjalani was killed in Jolo by AFP troops. In January 2007, Abu Sulaiman, Janjalani’s likely successor, was also killed. Other senior Abu Sayyaf leaders were captured and later killed in a prison siege in May 2005 namely, Kumander Robot, Kumander Kosovo, and Kumander Global. There were also reports that the three were summarily killed.

In June 2008, Zachary Abuza, professor of Political Science at Simmons College in Boston who specializes in Southeast Asian politics and security issues, wrote that the Abu Sayyaf lacked “any semblance of central leadership”. Also in June 2008, the military declared that the Abu Sayyaf numbered less than a hundred from a peak of 2,000 in the 1990s. The military also said the leader of the group that abducted broadcast journalist Ces Oreña Drilon and camera man Jimmy Encarnacion that same month was Albader Parad and Gafur Jumdail. Parad is the reported leader of the group that kidnapped the ICRC workers.

One begins to wonder, with the thousands of US-trained AFP troops deployed to defeat the Abu Sayyaf how could the group persist? AFP operations against Abu Sayyaf troops were also reportedly supported by US Special Forces, who, at the minimum, provide intelligence support. US troops, with its continuing presence in Mindanao, have also been engaged in civic-military operations as support to the AFP. There were even sightings of US military personnel in war rooms during AFP-Abu Sayyaf battles.

How could the Abu Sayyaf survive the joint operations of the AFP and the elite troops of the most powerful armed forces in the world, the US Armed Forces? How could it continue to find replacements for its leaders who have been killed one after another? How could it continue recruiting fighters when supposedly they have been constantly on the run? How could it still undertake major armed operations when it is supposedly headless and decimated, on the run and lacking in funds?

The worst case scenario is that the alleged collusion between the AFP and the Abu Sayyaf has been continuing. Some corrupt officers of the AFP may be getting a cut from ransom payments to the Abu Sayyaf while at the same time, the continuing presence and operations of the bandit group provide the justification for the intensified military operations being conducted by the AFP under the auspices of the US “war on terror”. (There were suspicions that an AFP general got a cut from the Lamitan loot thus, the Abu Sayyaf was allowed to escape.) The presence of the Abu Sayyaf also provides the justification for the continuing presence of US troops in Mindanao.

Another plausible explanation is that the AFP and the US created a monster that refuses to die: the Abu Sayyaf. The Taliban and the Al-Qaeda were supported by the US before.

However, one thing is certain: the AFP and US Armed Forces’ counter-terror strategy of fighting terror with terror is self-defeating. It has never worked with the major armed groups opposed to the Arroyo government such as the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. It has not worked in Iraq and Afghanistan. It could not even defeat a small bandit group such as the Abu Sayyaf.

In the final analysis, the bigger question is not how the AFP and the US Armed Forces conduct its counter-terror, counterinsurgency operations, but for whom? (

January 25, 2012,, On US Imperialism and a way forward for the Philippines, by Bill Fletcher, Jr.,
(Shorter version appears in AlterNet, January 22, 2012)

1. Most people in the USA know little about the Philippines, its history, and/or its relationship to the USA. What do you believe are the reasons for this ignorance?
Answer: The US mass media are most responsible for informing, disinforming or simply keeping the American people ignorant about a country like the Philippines. I presume that most people in the USA become most aware of a country when the mass media are blaring out a certain extended course of sensational events of great interest to the US officialdom and the ruling class.

I am sure that in the past there were times of long duration when the mass media called the attention of the American public to the Philippines, like when the US was justifying and carrying out its war of aggression against the Filipino people from 1899 onwards, when the Japanese fascists pushed the US out of the Philippines at the start of World War II and the US reconquered the Philippines in 1945 and when the US-propped Marcos fascist dictatorship was in the process of being overthrown.

When the extraordinary or sensational subsides, the mass media pay less attention to the country and do not say much about the protracted reality of US colonial rule in the Philippines in most of the first half of the 20th century or the US semi-colonial domination of the Philippines since 1946. The ruling system in the US does not allow the Americans who know the truth about of the Philippines to impart their knowledge to the public promptly, widely and sustainedly through the mass media or any other means.

2. Given what you are saying, do you think that the US media has consciously mischaracterized the situation in the Philippines by focusing on groups like Abu Sayyaf?

Answer: Yes, the US media drum up US policy and corporate interests and consciously misrepresent the Philippine situation, as in the focusing on the Abu Sayyaf . This small bandit gang, whose origin can be traced to the CIA and intelligence operatives of the Philippine army who organized and used it against the Moro revolutionaries (MNLF and then MILF), is magnified as an extension of Al Qaida in order to serve the false claim of Bush that the Philippines is the second front of a global war on terror as well as to rationalize state terrorism and US military intervention in the Philippines.

Through the mass media, the US has spread the scare about terrorism in order to justify a whole range of actions: the curtailment of democratic rights in the US and on a global scale, the stepping up of war production to please the military-industrial complex and the unleashing of wars of aggression.

3. Would you sum-up the situation in the Philippines, particularly the state of negotiations between the NDFP and the government; the situation facing workers and farmers; the overall economy; and fighting that may be taking place?

Answer: The Philippines is severely stricken by crisis because of the rotting semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system and the growing impact of the crisis of the US and global capitalist system. The prices of the raw materials and semi-manufactures produced for export by the Philippines are depressed and foreign loans to cover the trade deficits and debt service are becoming more onerous than before. There is now less demand for overseas contract workers and thus their remittances are decreasing. The global economic and financial crisis is hitting hard the Philippines. The growing public deficits (budgetary and trade) and the public debt are growing and exposing the bankruptcy of the big comprador-landlord state.

Various forms of popular resistance, including people’s war, are ever growing because of the extreme and ever worsening conditions of exploitation and oppression of more than 90 per cent of the people, the toiling masses of workers and peasants. Like preceding regimes, the Aquino regime wants to destroy the armed revolutionary movement. It is implementing the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, which is the same dog as Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya but which tries to be different by dressing up brutal military operations as peace and development operations and maintaining human rights desks in the reactionary army and national police for the purpose of shifting the blame for human rights violations to the revolutionaries. On the other hand, the New People’s Army led by the Communist Party of the Party is carrying out a five-year plan to advance from the strategic defensive to strategic stalemate in the people’s war, increasing the number of guerrilla fronts from 120 to 180.

While their respective armed forces continue to fight, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are supposed to engage in peace negotiations in order to address the roots of the armed conflict by forging agreements on social, economic and political reforms. But the GPH has paralyzed the peace negotiations by refusing to release a few political prisoners who are NDFP consultants in the negotiations and thus violating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The GPH is also grossly violating the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL) by refusing to release more than 350 political prisoners who are imprisoned on false charges of common crimes.

4. You have described the Philippines as semi-capitalist/semi-feudal. Please explain what this means in practical terms. We are in the early years of the 21st century. How could there be a semi-feudal situation in the Philippines? The Philippines seems, for all intents and purposes, to be tied into global capitalism.

Answer: You can say bluntly that the Philippines is capitalist and has long been capitalist since the 19th century if you mean that the commodity system of production and exchange through money has come on top of the natural economy of feudalism when local communities could subsist on a diversified agriculture and engage mainly in barter. The specialization in crops for domestic food (rice and corn) and for export (tobacco, hemp and sugar) and the import of a certain amount of manufactures from Europe for consumption pushed the domestic commodity system of production as well as integration with global capitalism through colonialism as a part of the primitive accumulation of capital in Europe and subsequently under the banner of colonial free trade.

But it is utterly wrong to say that the Philippines is industrial capitalist or even semi-industrial capitalist. The Philippines does not have an industrial foundation. Its floating kind of industry consists of imported equipment paid for by the export of raw materials and by foreign loans necessitated by the chronic trade deficits. It is most precise to describe the Philippine economy as semi-feudal to denote the persistence of the large vestiges of feudalism in the form of disguised and undisguised landlord- tenant relations and usury at the base of the economy, the peasant class constituting 75 per cent of the population and the combination of the big compradors and landlords as the main exploiting classes. The big compradors are the chief financial and trading agents of the foreign monopolies and are often big landlords themselves, especially on land producing crops for export.

Global capitalism under the neoliberal policy of “free trade” globalization has not changed but has aggravated and deepened the pre-industrial and underdeveloped semi-feudal character of the Philippine economy. The share of manufacturing with the use of imported equipment and raw materials under the policy of low-value added export-oriented manufacturing in the last three decades has decreased in comparison to that share under the previous policy of import substitution. The illusion of industrial development has been conjured by excessive foreign borrowing for consumption of foreign manufactures, by conspicuous private construction projects and by the sweat shops that engage in the fringe-processing of imported manufactured components and yield little net export income.

Neither the series of bogus land reform programs since decades ago nor the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization has broken up feudalism completely and given way to a well-founded industrialization. The backward agrarian and semi-feudal character of the Philippine economy is now increasingly exposed by its depression and ruination due to the decreasing demand for its type of exports, the closure of many sweatshops of semi-manufacturing for export, the tightening international credit and the decrease of remittances by overseas contract workers in the current prolonged global economic and financial crisis in this 21st century of desperate, barbaric and imploding global capitalism. The conditions have become more fertile for people’s war in the Philippines.

In the 1980s, certain elements in the Philippines pushed the notion that the Philippine economy was no longer semi-feudal but semi-capitalist or semi-industrial capitalist in order to glorify the Marcos fascist dictatorship as having industrialized the Philippines. This notion also aimed to undercut the Communist Party’s strategic line of protracted people’ s war involving the encirclement of the cities from the countryside by the armed revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants until such time that they have accumulated enough politico-military strength to seize the cities on a nationwide scale in a strategic offensive.

The bureaucratic big comprador Ferdinand Marcos conjured the illusion of industrial development by borrowing heavily from abroad and by importing consumption goods and luxuries and construction equipment and structural steel in order to build roads, bridges, hotels and other tourist facilities. The profligate spending of foreign loans only served to maintain the agrarian and pre-industrial character of the Philippine economy. Cognizant of the persistent semi-feudal reality, the New People’s Army under CPP leadership has been able to wage people’s war successfully with the main support of the peasantry and under the class leadership of the working class.

5. When one talks of the Philippine working class, what are the main sectors in which it is found and how is neo-liberalism affecting it?

Answer: The Philippine working class is found in such main sectors as the following: food and beverages, hotels and restaurants, public utilities (power generation, water and sewage system), mining and quarrying, metal fabrication (imported metals), car assembly, ship assembly, transportation, communications, mass media, assembly of electronic and electrical products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil refining, construction, construction materials (cement and wood), banks and other financial institutions and public sector services (education, health, etc).

In the Philippines, the neoliberal policy has favored certain enterprises away from industrial development and has expanded employment in such entterprises during boom periods. The favored enterprises include those in mining and export-crop plantations, the assembly of electronic and electrical products, the semi-manufacturing of garments, shoes and other low-value added products for reexport, car assembly, construction of office and residential towers, cement production, hotels and restaurants, business call centers and financial services. They are vulnerable to the ups and downs characteristic of global capitalism under neoliberal policy and now to the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Closures and reduction of production have resulted in a high rate of unemployment and the further immiseration of the people.

Under the neoliberal policy, the working class has been subjected to wage freezes and reductions, loss of job security, flexibilization or casualization (reducing the number of regular employees and increasing the number of temporaries or casuals), systematic prevention or break up of workers’ unions and ceaseless attack on union rights and other democratic rights. The kinds of enterprises generated by the neoliberal policy involve cheap labor and the most tiring and health-damaging processes and conditions. They also limit the number of regular employees and expand the ranks of the casuals subjected to a series of short-term employment contracts in order to circumvent the law on regular employment. The scarcity of employment opportunities in the Philippines has compelled nearly 10 per cent of the population to seek employment abroad as overseas contract workers and undocumented workers with practically no rights. This fact proves the lack of national industrial development.

6. You mention that certain elements in the Philippines had a different view than yours (and the CPP) on how to characterize the Philippines today. What were/are the practical implications of these differences? Do the differences preclude any degree of unity or are there strategic differences that are irreconcilable?

Answer: Certain elements in the revolutionary movement put forward the subjectivist notion in the early 1980s that Marcos had truly carried out land reform, industrialized the Philippines and raised its urbanization to the level of 40 per cent. They subjectively concluded that it was already wrong to call the Philippines semi-feudal and to pursue the strategic line protracted people’s war by way of accumulating strength in the countryside before seizing the cities. The subjectivist notion gave rise to two opportunist currents, Right and ultra-Left , both grounded on rejecting the line of protracted people’s war but taking two different directions, one along the line of legalism and parliamentarism and the other along the line of military adventurism.

The ultra-Left opportunists adopted the line of speeding up the regularization of the people’s army or the premature formation of absolutely concentrated companies and battallions supposedly to catch up with the expected development of urban insurrections as the lead factor in the revolution. The prematurely enlarged military formations were unsustainable, became divorced from the masses and were easy for the enemy to locate and attack. When they incurred heavy losses, the ultra-Left opportunists engaged in scapegoating and blamed so-called deep penetration agents as the cause of their disasters.

Meanwhile, the Right opportunists called for making legal struggle the main form of struggle against the dictatorship and for taking out working class leadership from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines supposedly to attract more people. After Marcos fell in 1986, they wanted to join the Corazon Aquino government and some of them succeeded in joining the new reactionary government. After failing to swing the Communist Party to a line of reformism, they fragmented into various groups and adopted various lines, including Gorbachovism, Trotskyism, social democracy, neorevisionism and even neoliberalism.

The most notorious and most aggressive of the Right and ultra-Left opportunists have found jobs in the regimes of Cory Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino and the very worst of them have even joined even the intelligence agencies. They would be most hostile to any suggestion of reconciliation or unity with the CPP. But many of those they have misled are known to have returned to the revolutionary movement or have dropped out to mind their own private lives.

7. What have been the chief obstacles to a negotiated settlement between the NDFP and the government?

The Manila government and NDFP have their respective constitutions, governments and and armies. To lay the ground for peace negotiations, they issued The Hague Joint Declaration to define the framework for peace negotiations. They agreed to address the roots of the armed conflict or the civil war by negotiating and forging agreements on human rights and international humanitarian law and on social, economic and political reforms. They also agreed that they are guided by the mutually acceptable principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice and that no precondition shall be made by any side to negate the inherent character and purpose of peace negotiations, i.e. no side can demand the surrender of the other side.

Under the current Aquino regime, his presidential adviser and his negotiating panel want to undermine and nullify the aforesaid declaration by asserting that it is a document of perpetual division. They are practically demanding the immediate surrender of the revolutionary movement. They do not respect the agreement on the sequence, formation and operationalization of the reciprocal working committees that are to negotiate and work out the agreements on reforms. The question of what kind of authority will be formed to implement the comprehensive agreements on reforms shall be settled when the time comes for negotiating the political and constitutional reforms.

The Benigno Aquino III regime has shown no respect for and has in fact violated the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) by refusing to release some 14 political prisoners who are NDFP negotiating personnel and are therefore JASIG-protected. It has not called to account those military and police personnel who have abducted, tortured and murdered NDFP consultants who are JASIG-protected. Also, it has violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law by condoning violations of human rights of suspected revolutionaries and sympathizers by the Arroyo regime and by his own troops and by refusing to release 350 political prisoners who are unjustly imprisoned on trumped up charges of common crimes.

The regime keeps on demanding ceasefire in order to distract public attention from the agreement to address the roots of the civil war though basic reforms. The NDFP has offered truce and alliance on the basis of a general declaration on common intent on ten points, including the assertion of national independence, empowerment of the working people, land reform and national industrialization, immediate assistance and employment for the impoverished and unemployed, promotion of a patriotic, scientific and popular culture, self-determination of national minorities and independent foreign policy for peace and development.

The biggest obstacle to the peace negotiations is US political and military intervention. The US has upset the peace negotiations by unjustly designating the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant as terrorists. It has dictated upon the Aquino regime to draw up Oplan Bayanihan under the US Counterinsurgency Guide, which considers peace negotiations as a mere psywar device for outwitting, isolating and destroying the revolutionary movement. Oplan Bayanihan is a campaign plan of military suppression. But it masquerades as a peace and development plan. It regards peace negotiations only as a means to enhance the triad of psywar, intelligence-gathering and combat operations. Many people think that the US does not allow the puppet regime to make the overall agreement for a just and lasting peace with the NDFP.

8. Optimally what would a settlement between the NDFP and the government look like? What is the vision of the NDFP for a future Philippines?

Answer: The Communist Party of the Phlippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines have declared that their line in the peace negotiations is no different from their line of struggle for national liberation and democracy in the people’s war, whose ultimate goal is a just and lasting peace. Through peace negotiations, they seek to forge agreements with the Manila government on social, economic and political reforms in order to pave the way for a just and lasting peace.

The NDFP is desirous of a settlement in which the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and territorial integrity of the Philippines are upheld and unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements with foreign powers are done away with. The workers and peasants who compose the majority of the people must be empowered in order to have real democracy. Land reform and national industrialization must be carried out in order to have real development and realize just social relations. A national, scientific and mass culture and system of education and information must be promoted. An independent policy must be carried out in order to promote development and world peace.

The vision of the NDFP is for the Filipino people to enjoy far better conditions when they have national independence, democracy, economic development and social justice. They can aspire for still better conditions in a socialist society. The protracted and worsening crisis of global capitalism is resulting in the resurgence of the anti-imperialist movement as well as the socialist movement. An increasing number of people are saying that it is not enough to fight against capitalism and imperialism. It is necessary to fight for socialism.

9. Are you optimistic that negotiations can result in a just settlement?

Frankly speaking, I am not optimistic that negotiations can result in a just settlement. Like its predecessors, the Aquino regime is too servile to US imperialism and stands as the current chief representative of the local exploiting classes, the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlord class. It has shown no inclination to assert national independence and undo unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements that keep the Philippines semi-colonial. It also has shown no inclination to realize democracy through significant representation of workers and peasants in government and through land reform and national industrialization.

It has become clear that the reactionary government is not seriously interested in peace negotiations as a way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict through agreements on basic reforms. Especially under the Aquino regime, the negotiators are always trying to lay aside the substantive agenda and to push the NDFP towards capitulation and pacification. Failing to accomplish their vile objective, they paralyze the peace negotiations by refusing to comply with obligations under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

10. What has been the role of the USA? And, have US policies towards the Philippines changed under President Obama? If so, how? What is your overall assessment of the Obama administration?

The USA has not been helpful to the peace negotiations. In fact, it has obstructed these. The US designation of the CPP, NPA and myself (the NDFP chief political consultant) as terrorists is meant to intimidate and put pressure on the NDFP in the peace negotiations. The US Counterinsurgency Guide actually tells the Philippine reactionary government that peace negotiations are dispensable but are useful only for purposes of psywar to mislead the people, possibly split the revolutionary forces and make the reactionary killing machine more efficient. But the US policy against peace negotiations with the NDFP has served to make the revolutionary force and people more vigilant and more resolute in opposing US intervention in the internal affairs of the Philippines.

From the Bush II to the Obama regime, there has been no change in US policy towards the Philippines. Obama continues the policy of serving the interests of the US imperialists in the economic, political, military and cultural fields, collaborating with the big compradors and landlords, manipulating the puppet regime and its military forces, preventing land reform and national industrialization, controlling the fundamentals and direction of the Philippine cultural and educational system and stationing US troops in the Phil ippines and maintaining a permanent relay of US military forces under the US-RP Mutual Defense Pact and the Visiting Forces Agreement. Obama is a good servant of US imperialism. He used his glibness to make himself look better than the brazenly brutal Bush. But he is using the same glibness to cover many acts as bad as or even worse than those that made Bush infamous.

11. How did the CPP and NPA end up on a list of terrorist organizations? How did you end up on a list of supporters of terrorism? What steps are being taken to remove this label from you, the CPP and the NPA?

Answer: During the November 2001 visit of then Philippine president Gloria M. Arroyo to Washington, she requested then US President Bush to have the US agencies (State Department and the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the Treasury Department) designate the CPP, NPA and myself as “terrorists”. When US state secretary Colin Powell visited the Philippines in the early days of August 2002, he was reminded of the request and he assured Arroyo that he would act on it immediately upon his return to the US. Indeed, within August 2002 the CPP, NPA and I were designated as “terrorists.”

The Philippine and US governments connived to take advantage of the terrorism scare that followed 9-11. They themselves engaged in terrorism by deciding to undertake harmful actions against the CPP, NPA and myself. The designation of the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” is absolutely absurd because they have carried out revolutionary actions strictly within the Philippines, have not engaged in any cross-border attacks against the US and up to now have not been discovered to keep bank accounts in the US or anywhere else outside of the Philippines.

In my case, I have been falsely accused of being the current CPP chairman and being responsible for the alleged terrorist acts, in fact the revolutionary actions, of the NPA despite the fact that I have been out of the Philippines since 1986 when I was released from nearly a decade of detention under the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The malicious intention of the US and Philippine governments is to pressure the entire NDFP negotiating panel and me as its chief political consultant. Like the Arroyo regime, the Aquino regime uses the terrorist designation as a kind of lever against the NDFP in the peace negotiations.

It is impossible for the CPP, NPA or myself to begin any legal process for undoing the terrorist designation in the US or in any other country tailing after the US in the so-called war on terror, without proving first the legal personality and material interest of the plaintiff. In my case, I could take legal action against the Dutch government for putting me in the terrorist list because I live in The Netherlands. After my administrative complaint, the Dutch government repealed its decision to put me in its terrorist list but took the initiative in having me put in the terrorist list of the European Union in October 2002. I went to the European Court of Justice and I succeeded in having my name removed from the EU terrorist list in December 2010 after eight years of legal struggle.

12. Has the “terrorism” designation made it difficult for NDFP supporters in the Philippines and in other parts of the world? If so, how? Have civilian political activists faced increased government-inspired violence as a result of this terrorism designation?

Answer: The “terrorism” designation is an incitation to hatred and violence and various forms of discrimination and harassment against known or suspected NDFP supporters in the Philippines and other parts of the world. Although the NDFP is not designated as terrorist, everyone knows that the CPP and NPA are the most important components of the NDFP. In the Philippines, the incitation to hatred and violence is quite deadly because the military, police and their death squads are emboldened to go on terrorist-hunting and are assured that they can abduct, torture and kill people with impunity.

Abroad, the EU, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have followed the US in labelling the CPP and NPA as terrorists and there are adverse consequences to Filipinos who oppose imperialism and the puppet government in the Philippines. The overseas Filipinos are vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, nonrenewal of work contracts and denial of residence permits.

The Dutch authorities have advised the Norwegian government not to give any assistance to the NDFP negotiating panel for maintaining office and staff in The Netherlands on the claim that such assistance would be for building the infrastructure of “terrorists”. They have also raided the NDFP office and houses of NDFP panelists and consultants and seized documents and equipment needed in the the peace negotiations.

13. Periodically the US media discuss alleged Muslim fundamentalist terrorism in the Philippines. What is the situation? In Mindanao there have been efforts at autonomy and self-determination. What has been the stand of the NDFP on these efforts? What is your take on allegations of Muslim terrorism?

Answer: The NDFP supports the Moro people’s struggle for self-determination, including the right to secede from an oppressive state or opt for regional autonomy in a non-oppressive political system. The Moro people have long been oppressed by the Manila government and by local reactionary agents. They are not free in their own homeland and are victims of Christian chauvinism and discrimination. They have been deprived of their ancestral domain. They have been robbed of agricultural land as well as forest, mineral and marine resources.

The Moro people have all the right to fight for national and social liberation. The NDFP has therefore found common ground for alliance with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and subsequently with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the MNLF capitulated to the Ramos regime in 1996. By fighting well against their common enemy, the NDFP and the MILF gain better conditions for growing in strength and advancing in their respective struggles.

The US government and the US media exaggerate the threat of Muslim fundamentalist terrorism because they wish to promote the entry of US corporations for the purpose of plundering the rich natural resources of Mindanao, especially oil, gold and deuterium. They also wish to justify the current stationing of US military forces and eventually the basing of larger US military forces for the purpose of strategic control over Islamic countries in Southeast Asia and strategic countervailing of China and the DPRK in Northeast Asia.

Like Al Qaida, Abu Sayyaf was originally a creature of CIA and the intelligence agency of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to counteract the MNLF. It has become a bandit gang since the capitulation of MNLF. It has also been convenient for the US and Manila government to depict the Abu Sayyaf as a Muslim fundamentalist group and as an extension of the A Qaidda, since 2001 when Bush declared Moro land as the second front in the so-called global war on terror. There are indications that the US and Philippine governments continue to arm and finance the Abu Sayyaf in order to block the advance of the MILF in Sulu and to provide the pretext for US military intervention in the Philippines.

14. In the 1990s there were several splits from the CPP. There were charges and counter-charges regarding sectarianism and militarism. Some who split seemed to have chosen to engage primarily in electoral politics. Some former CPP members have suggested that the CPP/NPA has attempted to kill/silence political opponents. Please give us your take on this and on these allegations.

Answer: In answer to a previous question, I discussed the subjectivist ideological line that the Philippines was no longer semi-feudal. Such line emerged in 1981 and induced the political currents of ultra-Left and Right opportunism among a few members of the CPP. Eventually in the early 1990s, there would be splinters, not big splits, initiated by grouplets who opposed the Rectification Movement which was launched by the Central Committee of the CPP in early 1992.

The rectification movement was an educational movement inside the CPP to repudiate, criticize and rectify the major errors of ultra-Left and Right opportunism that had caused serious damage to the CPP and the revolutionary mass movement since 1981. But there were elements, whose connections with enemy intelligence were eventually exposed, who stridently attacked the rectification movement as a bloody scheme of “Stalinist purge” and who tried to spread the fear that those found in error would be terribly punished.

The rectification movement was undertaken precisely to rectify the sectarian and military adventurist line of the ultra-Left opportunists who tried to accelerate ill-prepared tactical offensives and the unsustainable formation of companies and battalions supposedly to back up the impending urban uprisings of the armed city partisans and spontaneous masses as the leading force. No such armed urban uprisings ever occurred. But mass work in the countryside was neglected and the rural mass base decreased by 15 per cent by 1988 and by 60 per cent in 1991.

Under the influence of the ultra-Left opportunists, CPP cadres in the urban underground (Davao City and Cagayan de Oro) also exposed themselves in the early 1980s to the enemy through mass actions which did not use the mantle of protection from the broad anti-fascist united front. When the ultra-Left line was resulting in effective enemy offensives, the ultra-Left opportunists did not look into their wrong line but instead engaged in scapegoating and in a bloody witchhunt for presumed deep penetration agents and saboteurs.

By 1988, the ultra-Left opportunists were already a spent force, especially after the failure of the so-called nationally coordinated NPA operations, which resulted in a big loss of ammunition, without any gain in rifles. Frustrated, they swung to the Right and joined the longstanding Right opportunists. But certain ultra-Left opportunists who were captured by the enemy were recruited into the intelligence service. They were used to attack the CPP line of new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. And they tried to discredit the rectification movement and they collaborated with the Right opportunists in doing so. At any rate, the Right opportunists became a relatively wider array of grouplets than the ultra-Leftists.

Since the 1989-91 fall of the revisionist regimes in Eastern Europe and disintegration of the Soviet Union, which they revered as socialist, the incorrigible Right opportunists have shed off their communist pretenses and have become bitterly anti-communist. They have joined the ruling system by getting employment in the bureaucracy and corporate offices, operating imperialist-funded NGOs or attaching their grouplets to major reactionary parties. Those who have chosen to engage in electoral politics have limited success because they are divorced from the masses and do not have a substantial mass base like the CPP, NPA and NDFP and the electoral parties being Red-baited as proxies of the CPP. A handful of them have been appointed to high positions by the Aquino regime.

The so-called ex-communists are the worst anti-communists. At one time, they misrepresented a political map of pseudo-progressive groups published in the organ of the CPP’s Central Committee, Ang Bayan (The People), showing how the opportunists of the past have divided and subdivided, as a hit list for NPA assassination teams in order to slander the CPP and Red-bait progressive legal mass activists. The psywar attack by the ex-communists emboldened the death squads of the reactionary government to abduct, torture and kill suspected communists and to cover their criminal deeds by claiming that communists were killing each other.

15. We are in a tumultuous global situation with a convergence of economic and environmental crises. In this conjuncture, what do you see as the prospects for socialism? In many parts of the Muslim World so-called political Islam seems to be a leading force. Is this political tendency outpacing socialism (and the Left)? Are there viable left-wing alternatives or are we still grappling with the implications of the crisis of socialism?

Answer: The prospects for socialism are bright precisely because of the convergence of the grave economic and environmental crises which point to monopoly capitalism as the culprit and cause of the crises. This is the criminal force that plunders labor power in the economy and the material resources in the environment all for the sake of profit-making and capital accumulation. The identification of the monopoly bourgeoisie and the financial oligarchy as the class enemy that captivates and plunders nature and society points to the working class as the opposite force capable of leading the entire people towards liberation in a revolutionary process.

The epochal struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie involves zigs and zags and ups and downs. On the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto in 1998, I traced the alternation of great advances and retreats of the working class in periods of three to five decades. It is about time that the working class rises again from a deep trough and moves forward from the disintegration of socialist societies due to revisionist betrayal by degenerated ruling communist parties. The crisis conditions comparable to those of the Great Depression are again favorable for the rise of communist and workers’ parties and the resurgence of anti-imperialist and socialist movements. In the last three decades, the CPP has been proud to call itself a torch-bearer in a relatively dark period for the world proletarian revolution.

For some three decades under the neoliberal policy, the greediest of capitalist relations of production thrived on the adoption of higher technology which facilitated production, distribution and abuse of finance capital as well as powered the system of education and information to serve the purposes of monopoly capitalism. But the higher social character of production made possible by higher technology contradicts the capitalist character of the relations of production and demands the socialist revolution to remove production from the clutches of the monopoly bourgeoisie. But it takes decades before the communist and workers’ parties can take power again through the revolutionary process.

In the meantime, political Islam can arise and grow in certain Muslim countries against imperialism and against the most reactionary currents. But we cannot foreclose the possibility that Muslims, bourgeois nationalists and Marxists in Muslim countries can unite on the common ground of anti-imperialism and democracy to form secular states that assert national independence and aspire for socialism. There may also be viable Left-wing alternatives arising from the petty bourgeoisie or from a mix of workers and petty bourgeoisie. At the moment, they may be grappling with the petty bourgeois modes of thinking as well as with the implications of the defeats of the socialist cause. But we can be confident that in the long run communist and workers’ parties will reemerge and resurge and will come to united front and united actions with other anti-imperialist and progressive forces.

16. Do the experiences of the 20th century with attempts at socialism, particularly socialism as articulated by Stalin, still hang over the leads of the revolutionary Left? Do you think that the crisis of socialism tells the radical Left something about a different vision that it needs for the 21st century?

Answer: We should recognize the great victories won by the proletariat and the rest of the people in building socialism in the 20th century. In the countries where socialism was built, especially in the Soviet Union and China, imperialist domination was ended and the exploiting classes were overthrown. The workers’ socialist state was established. Socialist revolution and socialist construction were carried forward. Science and technology and proletarian culture flourished. Fascism was defeated. A powerful system of defense was established and the US and its imperialist allies were deterred from launching aggression against the socialist countries during the Cold War. It was modern revisionism (bourgeois degeneration of the party and state bureaucracy), not the US or Stalin, that corroded and ultimately brought down socialism in both the Soviet Union and China.

The imperialists and petty bourgeois anti-communists of various types have been demonizing Stalin and Mao as responsible for the defeat of socialism in the Soviet Union and China, respectively. The cause of socialism cannot be carried forward by those who simplistically scapegoat the longest-time builders of socialism Stalin and Mao for the defeat of socialism and restoration of capitalism. These two great leaders had their share of achievements and shortcomings, with Mao correcting and improving on Stalin in certain important respects. We should be able to learn a lot of positive and negative lessons from the class struggles in the socialist countries and the comprehensive experiences of building socialism in the 20th century. By learning such lessons, we have the advantage of knowing what principles, policies and methods we can carry over into the 21st century and what major errors we should avoid.

In 1992 the CPP issued a long document, Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism, as a major document of the rectification movement and as a counter to all the attacks on the socialist cause churned out by the imperialists and the petty bourgeois anti-communists in the aftermath of the rapid full restoration of capitalism in the revisionist-ruled countries. For the purpose of building socialism in the 21st century, the CPP restated the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, pointed to the positive and negative lessons from the socialist past, made proposals among others for the development of democracy, legality and restrictions on leading organs within the socialist framework, the mass line in every type of social activity, the well-balanced economy in the service of the people, the various aspects of cultural revolution and the use of science and higher technology for material and cultural progress and for promoting democracy.

17. You are generally identified as a Maoist. First, in light of various analyses of China during the time of Mao’s rule, do you see any limitations or weaknesses in Maoism? What is your sense of other left-wing tendencies (globally)? Do you see the chances for global and local strategic collaboration between differing left-wing tendencies? If so, do you have any examples from the Philippines or elsewhere? What role does Maoism have to play in the renewal of the Left?

Answer: I am aware of various analyses of China during the time of Mao’s leadership in China. But despite my overall favorable view of Mao in philosophy, political economy, social science, strategy and tactics and so on, I do not think that Maoism is some kind of final perfection in theory and practice. It is a further development of Marxism-Leninism and goes as far as the theory and practice of cultural revolution under proletarian dictatorship in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidation of socialism. But soon after Mao died, the Dengist capitalist counterrevolution prevailed in China. It means to say that even as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution prevailed for ten years there must be reasons for its defeat. The lessons can be learned as in the earlier case of the defeat of the Paris Commune of 1871 which held power for some two months. The Paris Commune would serve as the prototype of the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917.

I have my grounding in Maoism. It is my guide to action. But I am open to all Left tendencies on the ground of anti-imperialism and common struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism. The CPP is not confined in any exclusive club of Maoist parties. It has publicly declared that it avails of bilateral and multilateral ways to exchange ideas and information, debate ideological and political issues, raise the level of common understanding through resolutions and arrive at various forms of practical cooperation. The protraction, worsening and deepening of the crisis of the world capitalist system inflicts intolerable suffering on the people but it also generates favorable conditions for the resurgence of the revolutionary mass movement and for the strategic collaboration and united front of various Left-wing tendencies.

There are various multisectoral, sectoral and issue-based alliances of anti-imperialist and democratic forces in Philippines. Maoism can play a major role in the renewal of the Left because it is concerned not only with the ideological building of the Maoist party but it is also concerned with political work, such as arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses for the revolution and availing of the united front and united actions of various parties and groups in order to reach and militate the masses in their millions in the quickest possible manner. Maoist parties are waging people’s war in a number of countries and have gained the respect of many people in the world for daring to answer the central question of revolution in the appropriate conditions. They are expected to increase in number as the crisis of the global capitalism protracts and worsens. Thus, they will be more inspiring to all Left forces and the people on a global scale. They will also need broad international support.

18. Let’s focus, for a minute, on this matter of Stalin. Nationalities were expelled from their homelands; the leadership of the CPSU was largely annihilated; anti-Semitism was promoted after World War II; and it is difficult to identify any real mechanisms of worker control that were built during the Stalin period. What does the experience of the USSR and, in a different way, the PR of China, say about a vision for socialism for the 21st century? You speak about modern revisionism bringing down these various systems, but for our readers who have observed undemocratic systems that have called themselves “socialist”, what would you say? What lessons have been taken from these experiences?

Answer: To say the least, despite all the allegations against him, Stalin must have made significant achievements with regard to keeping the Soviet Union as a state of various nationalities, with regard to maintaining the CPSU as the lead force in socialist revolution and socialist construction, with regard to letting Jews excel in Soviet society and defending them and the rest of the people against the racism of Nazi Germany and with regard to workers’ control in factories and collective farms through the party and the workers’ courts.

I think that is inaccurate and unfair to make a complete negation of Stalin and/or Mao or to simply dismiss them as anti-socialist and anti-democratic. It is even more unfair and unjust to use allegations against them as a way of burdening or denigrating non-Soviet and non-Chinese communist parties and leaders or later generations of fighters for socialism, who must be assessed and evaluated according to their own history and circumstances in the light of Marxist-Leninist theory and related experiences. I need not clutter my answer with trying to cover what you sweep as undemocratic systems that have called themselves as “socialist”.

Let me underscore that Stalin and Mao and their respective parties had remarkable merits and demerits. In studying their theory and practice, we must be as sober and fair as when we do not condemn and totally negate the French Revolution, the Jacobins and the liberal democratic revolution just because the French Revolution was followed by the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorean reaction and the monarchical restorations in France. We can learn valuable lessons, positive and negative, from the experiences of socialist revolution and socialist construction in the 20th century, for the purpose of fighting for and building socialism in the 21st century.

I have earlier referred to some lessons and proposals in this regard. Let me stress one of them: In the course of uniting the people for fighting imperialism and the persistent reaction and building socialism, let us ensure that democratic rights are respected and the state, the leading organs and leaders are prevented from abusing their power. We do so as a matter of principle as well as a matter of practical wisdom in view of the new means of communications which allow people to speak out to the whole world.

19. Did you ever think that the struggle would be this long? This is a question i have wondered for a while. When you and others formed the CPP and when the struggle started, did you ever conceive that it would be going on for this long?

Answer: At the founding of the CPP, I thought that the armed struggle to seize power would be protracted, perhaps ten to 20 years. I did not think that it would this long, more than 42 years already. It is even longer if you start counting from 1942 when the People’s Army Against Japan (Hukbalahap) was formed or from the three centuries of Spanish colonial rule when more than 200 armed uprisings occurred before the Philippine Revolution could come into force in 1896. The people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy will go on for as long as imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords continue to oppress and exploit the people.

20. When the People Power uprising took place against Marcos, it appeared that the CPP and much of the Left was taken by surprise. What are your reflections on that period and lessons learned? I thought about this in light of the Occupy movement that we are seeing taking place in the USA and elsewhere and the role/place of the Left in it.

Answer: The CPP was not taken by surprise. The course of events was too clear. In fact, soon after the Marcos dictatorship cheated in the February 1986 presidential snap election, the CPP leadership issued a call for all-out people’s resistance to overthrow the regime in concert with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which condemned the illegitimate and immoral foundation of the Marcos regime and Cory Aquino who called for civil disobedience. The legal organizations of the national democratic movement were at the forefront of the open mass struggles to overthrow the fascist regime along EDSA highway and in front of the presidential palace and in the provinces in all the days before Marcos was flown out of the Philippines by the US.

The biographical books, The Philippine Revolution: The Leader’s View which I co-wrote with the German social scientist Dr. Rainer Werning in 1988, and At Home in the World: Portrait of a Filipino Revolutionary which I co-wrote with the Filipino novelist Ninotchka Rosca in 2004, describe the significant participation of the CPP and the patriotic and progressive forces, which are often Red-baited as organizations of the CPP. Their participation in large numbers was not only in Metro Manila but also in major provincial cities and towns. These organizations played a key role in starting the mass uprising and in providing a conscious and disciplined force, a hard core, for the mass uprising at EDSA and elsewhere.

What detractors of the CPP misrepresent as failure of the CPP to join the so-called EDSA revolution is actually the boycott policy adopted by the CPP leadership, in particular Chairman Rodolfo Salas and the Executive Committee, against the presidential snap election. The CPP leadership correctly stated that Marcos would use the election to keep himself in power but failed to see that, as in what was then a recent example in the Haiti of Duvalier, the US and the anti-Marcos forces would discredit and seek to oust Marcos on the charge of electoral cheating. Afflicted by sectarianism, the CPP leadership went to great lengths in disciplining CPP cadres in Metro Manila who opted for participation in the election and it failed to complement its boycott policy with a deployment of secret Party cadres and alternative legal formations to join the pro-Aquino electoral alliance. For sectarianism and inflexibility in the boycott policy, Salas himself would be removed from his position in May 1986.

I think that unarmed mass uprisings to confront those in power and seek their ouster are an important part of the revolutionary process. At a given time, such unarmed uprisings may not result in the overthrow of the entire ruling system but only the ouster of a corrupt and despotic regime and the adoption of some significant reforms. At any rate, they are part of a chain of events that can lead to the overhaul or overthrow of the ruling system. In this connection, I take a positive view of the Occupy movement in the US and elsewhere. whoever are the initiators at Wall Street. I appreciate the role that Left forces are taking in this movement. As chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, I have expressed solidarity with and support for the movement and have called on the more than 300 member-organization of the ILPS and their allies in more than 40 countries to expand and intensify the Occupy movement.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a long-time racial justice, labor and international writer and activist. He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, editorial board member of, and a Visiting Scholar with the City University of New York Graduate Center.

October 1, 2005,, Canadians report on human rights abuses in R.P.

SOME of the local Canadian delegates to the recently concluded International Solidarity Mission (ISM) have now returned home from the Philippines bringing with them horrific tales of human rights abuses.

“We are outraged over the blatant violation of human rights and the lack of respect for humanity that Arroyo shows for her own people,” says Barbara Waldern a human rights activist and chair of the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP) from Vancouver who attended the mission.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came under increased international scrutiny during the ISM and the International People’s Tribunal which followed the mission, which found her and US President George Bush “guilty” of crimes against humanity.

The Mission also presented three boxes of evidence at the impeachment trial of Arroyo held in the Philippine Congress. There have been widespread calls for Arroyo’s resignation or ouster since last June over evidence she cheated in the last presidential election. In July she publicly confessed to having a phone conversation with an election official asking him to rig the election results.

“The number of human rights violations in the Philippines today exceeds the human rights violations of the Marcos era,” said Waldern in Congress. “The situation is very serious. We verified the numerous extreme cases: abductions, murder of activists, torture of children, mutilation of corpses, disappearances, forced evacuations etc. of civilians, innocent people including children.

Suppressing the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – New Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) is often given as a justification for the human rights violations but there is no acceptable justification. These atrocities are crimes against humanity and as such a concern for all. We are urged to raise the matter with our respective governments and we are beginning to urge our government to withdraw its support for Arroyo,” she added.

The CPP-NPA-NDF has been waging an armed rebellion in the Philippines for over 30 years.
The ISM had 86 delegates from 15 countries. Among them were lawyers, teachers and students, church people, youth and trade unionists. The delegates were divided into five areas: Mindoro Island in the Southern Tagalog region, Samar Island in the Eastern Visayas region, Surigao in Mindanao region, Hacienda Luisita in Central Luzon and the Moro populated areas in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The solidarity mission took place from August 14-19, 2005 and culminated in the International People’s Tribunal and a protest march.

In nearly every region, blatant human rights violations were reported by victims and their families through testimony after testimony. While delegates to the Mission were also warmly welcomed by the people, delegates also faced harassment from military personnel. In Samar, military in plainclothes questioned and took photos of the delegates. In Mindoro Oriental, signs were displayed reading, “No to foreign intervention! ISM go home!” A similar message was conveyed in Samar and Hacienda Luisita areas.

Delegates to the ISM documented various abuses including extra-judicial killings, torture, illegal arrest and evacuations due to military operations in the countryside.

According to reports from delegates Elizabeth Dollaga and Emmauel Sayo who visited Surigao, human rights violations are taking place in areas where development projects are being targeted. In Surigao, for example one of the largest coal deposits in the country is set for exploration. The military often conducts clearing operations to prevent potential resistance from local civilians or armed rebels.

According to the testimony of a peasant woman, her husband who was an evacuee was shot and later died from his wounds because of torture by the military. On his way to the hospital, the vehicle he was traveling in was stopped several times at military checkpoints. According to his wife, the military tried several times to remove the bullet from his wound in order to avoid being questioned. She says he died from bleeding because of the torture.
In the NCR, ISM delegates were subjected to long delays and a strip search before they were allowed to enter and visit the Moro prisoners being held in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Rizal. Canadian student Yvette Stephenson recalled the terrible conditions of the prisoners: they were packed six prisoners to a cell and not allowed to leave to the common area. They were denied the right to practice their Muslim religion which requires them to pray five times a day.

Stephenson brought home with her a short video detailing the conditions of the Moro prisoners. Since September 11, the military has been arresting many Moros on suspicion of being members of the bandit Abu Sayyaf group. Those arrested have never been tried or charged and are being detained. 27 were massacred last March when prison guards opened fire in the cramped jail quarters. Other Moros living in National Capital Region have been displaced from their lands in Mindanao because of militarization and development aggression.

ISM delegates met with the Canadian Embassy in Manila where they presented their concerns. They also rallied outside the Vancouver office of the Philippine Consulate on September 2, 2005 and called on local acting Philippine consul general Raul Hernandez for a meeting to present their findings and concerns. They presented a letter protesting a statement Hernandez recently published in the Philippine News Today denying any human rights abuses in the country. He has yet to respond to their request.
For more information, please contact May Farrales

August 16, 2007,, Children’s Rehabilitation Center helps Kid victims of state violence, by Maricar Cinco,

The joy of remembering one’s childhood is irreplaceable. There is excitement as one triumphantly hits the targeted can with his slipper, or runs freely in the streets soaking in the downpour of the rain.

But unfortunately, this is not the case for the thousands of Filipino children whose recollection of childhood is tainted with fear, trauma, and distress. Even worse, some never had the chance of building up these memories.According to the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), a non-government institution that serves child victims of state violence, there are 1.5 million children found in the streets working as street hawkers or beggars instead of playing and going to school as children their age are supposed to be doing. Only 69 out of 100 school children entering Grade 1 are bound to finish elementary. Eight out of ten are underweight. And about 14 million live below the poverty line.

With the multitude of these numbers, what the government had done was to allocate one billion pesos to intensify its all-out war against political insurgents. This budget that could have built 1,000 schools in rural areas or 2, 857 additional classrooms, sent 166,666 children to primary school, or supported 54, 795 children in one year was given instead to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP’s) counter-insurgency program. Its counter-insurgency program called Oplan Batay Laya (Operation Guard Freedom) implemented since 2002 failed to solve the armed conflict but has successfully claimed innocent lives of civilians, including children.

The case of Grecil Buya Galacio, the nine-year old girl killed in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, was the latest account of child victims of political repression. According to reports, Grecil was heading for a nearby creek to take a bath on March 31, 2007 when members of the 101st Infantry Brigade allegedly shot her at the head, killing her instantly. The military initially issued a statement claiming that Grecil was a child-soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA) and had fired an M16 rifle at them. Later, after the victim’s family denied the charges and proved it unfeasible for a child to carry a long firearm, the military retracted its claim.

Arrests and filing of trumped up charges against youth suspected of rebellion also escalated. In February of 2006, the police arrested 11 youths, including two minors, in Bugias, Benguet on mere suspicion that they were part of an NPA unit that conducted a raid in Mankayan four days earlier. The youths who were on their way to Sagada, Mountain Province were charged with robbery with homicide but were ordered by the court to be released in May, 2006 after the judge ruled that their warrantless arrest was illegal.

Within the same year, high school students Aileen and Marjorie were shot and injured in Baggao, Cagayan because the military thought they were “amazonas” (women guerillas) Fifteen year-olds Jefferson, Kennedy, and Joey were gathering coconuts in Lopez, Quezon when they were tortured and forced to admit that they were members of the NPA. While working in their farms, eleven minors were arrested in Basilan for being suspected as Abu Sayyaf members. They were detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan up to now.

CRC recorded 59 cases of children and minors (including Grecil) killed at the hands of suspected AFP soldiers, or due to intensified and indiscriminate military operations. From 2001 to June of 2006, there were 215,23 child victims of human rights violations with cases of massacre, torture, enforced disappearances, unwarranted arrests, illegal detention, coercion, threat and intimidation, rape, and sexual harassment.

Fear and trauma

Not only that the children are physically affected but CRC also recounts socio-emotional and psychological effects on the victims. Based on its reports, child victims of violence suffer constant fear and apprehension. There are those who have witnessed the brutal murder of their parents and consequently developed a generalized fear of uniformed men such as military, police, or even security guards. Others undergo a prolonged trauma and are easily frightened by the loud noises of thunder, banging of doors, and firecrackers.

Forced evacuation and displacement due to military operations inflict equally negative effects to the families. The children’s education is disrupted when the schools are used as evacuation centers. Or in cases when the parents are killed, the child, who is supposedly enjoying his youth, is compelled to assume the role of breadwinner, working at an early age.

It is saddening to imagine a time when people can no longer look back to a joyous episode of their childhood. It is when the it (the seeker in the game of hide and seek) starts to cheat, peeks from his fold, and hunts for any innocent bystander instead. And with the implementation of the Human Security Act, the government promises to “secure humanity.” How? We have all these childhood stories to remember to answer that question.

September 16-22, 2001, Issue No. 31,, Unexcusable, but Also Unexplainable Acts of Terror?
by Andrew Kennis,

The crashing of four airplanes this past Tuesday in the United States, presumably by hijackers, was a series of unexcusable acts of terrorism. Such acts, according to CNN as late as the night of the bombings, cost the lives of 1,350 people with some 2,100 more injured.

There is no need, however, to recant the details of what happened. They have been amply reported in the mainstream media in the U.S. What has not been present in most media analysis and commentary (if not all), and what will probably continue to fail to appear, is analysis and commentary that speculates why such acts of terrorism were committed. While the terrorism was certainly unexcusable, was it also unexplainable as well?

Within the mainstream U.S. media, this question is not even asked, much less answered. The explanation for why this is so can perhaps be found in an article that appeared shortly after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, which could be said to arguably accurately convey mainstream U.S. intellectual opinion on the subject. Therein, a New York Times commentary by Douglas Jehl reads that the search for a rational explanation for the bombing is misguided, a "particularly American" error, as Jehl put it. Jehl continues by explaining that U.S. culture is one thatis "attuned to the straightforward"; but "terrorism represents a confrontation with the oblique." We must learn, Jehl advises us, "to not assume that terrorist attacks will always reflect Western logic." Such thinking could explain how the question of whysuch attacks happened is never even addressed by mainstream media and the respective intelligentsia they so often consult and rely on. After all, as Jehl said, it cannot be assumed that terrorists from other countries have the capabilities of "Western logic" that the U.S. apparently uniquely possesses.

In this regard, however, an alternative viewpoint may be in order. It can be argued, for instance, that a quick dismissal such as that of Jehl's is one that could lead to a lack of understanding of real and possible explanations for these horrible acts of terrorism. Such a lack of understanding could in turn decrease (if not eliminate) the chances at avoiding such acts of terrorism in the future. Unfortunately, when one reflects on recent U.S. foreign policy during the last few years, as well as the fact that the media has consistently ignored the question on why such terrorist acts may have taken place, it seems that such a lack of understanding is just what has taken place.

In an attempt to take an honest look at U.S. diplomatic history, let us consult the words of respected scholar and U.S. military analyst William Blum, who wrote that "since World War II, the United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations." Thisfigure is quite staggering and certainly is not replicated by any other nation. Nevertheless, the media has a habit of sticking to a very short time frame of history. Thus, putting any possible objections to this practice aside, let us stick to only the recent history of U.S. foreign policy.

Within the last few years, respected commentators and intellectuals, who in other times could be described as war hawks, have warned that Washington is treading a dangerous course. For example, the influential scholar Samuel Huntington, in writing for the renown journal Foreign Affairs (which he edits), states that in the eyes of much of the world (probably most of the world), that the U.S. is "becoming the rogue superpower," considered "the single greatest externalthreat to their societies." (see Foreign Affairs, May 1999) Indeed, even a cursory glance at recent U.S. military actions certainly suggests that such a perception may in fact be true.

In the time span of little over a year between 1998 and 1999, the U.S. had the dubious distinction of being the only country in history to carry out air bombing raids on five countries in such a respectively short time span. These bombing raids were carried out against the likes of poor and impoverished countries from different regions all over the world. In the Middle East, Afghanistan was bombed, on the lone pretense that they were harboring terrorists (a crime that many countries, including the U.S., could be said to be guilty of). Pakistan was bombed as well, albeit according to U.S. officials, accidentally. Finally, Iraq has been victim to a series of bombings over the last few years that have cost the lives of hundreds of civilians. Such bombings have been carried out on the pretext of protecting the Kurds, despite the fact that the U.S. is heavily funding and arming Turkey, a country which has committed acts of ethnic cleansing against their own respective Kurdish population (including the political imprisonment of hundreds of Kurds). This also occurs despite the fact that the U.S. was an ally of Iraq during the late 80's, when Saddam Hussein was sending Kurds to gas chambers.

The bombings in Iraq, however, have caused much less death and destruction than that of the sanctions imposed, at this point, only by the U.S. and Britain. These sanctions have long since been repudiated in other parts of the world. In fact, the sanctions have had such tremendous consequences as to precipitate the resignation of one of the officials who had previously been presiding over them (Dennis Halliday). That former U.N. official has since been traveling on speaking tours to against the genocidal consequences of the sanctions. And indeed, the sanctions can easily be argued to have been genocidal: they have killed millions of Iraqi civilians, including an average of over 5,000 children a month (or almost 200 a day).

Turning to other corners of the world, in Africa, the "rogue superpower" managed to wipe out half of a starving country's medical supplies, when it bombed the Sudan in August of 1998. A key source, a former manager from Britain that had worked in the plant that was bombed, testified that the plant could not have been used for anything but medical production to WBAI's Democracy Now! the day following the bombing. Such reports and sources, however, were ignored by mainstream media, which instead, initially following the bombing, supported it in most commentaries and editorials, calling it a justified "reaction" to terrorism.

Finally, in Europe, it was not only bombing raids that were carried out against Yugoslavia during the Spring of 1999 - instead, an all out aerial war that caused 35 billion dollars worth of damage and raised the toll of refugees and deaths considerably, *after the bombing*, is what occurred. Such effects were hardly surprising, and even "entirely predictable," according to the U.S.-NATO Commanding General, Wesley Clark. Commentary from dignitaries abroad was particularly critical and prominently published in the foreign press (only to be effectively and dutifully suppressed by the U.S. mainstream media). Amongst the likes of such critics included former U.N. Secretariat-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who stated that he had "fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy ... The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States."

The military expeditions noted above do not even speak to the fact that the U.S. has the distinction of being the largest arms dealer in the world, selling more weapons to more countries than any other in the world. These sales are often supplanted with intense military relationships, involving training and education (i.e. the infamous School of the Americas with graduates by the likes of Pinochet and Noriega). These types of relationships can be with countries who have extremely high counts of human rights violations, refugee tolls and massacres - examples abound, and are simply too numerous to mention - prominent amongst whom include, however, Colombia, Israel and Turkey (as noted above). Even with our southern neighbor of Mexico, we can find another example of crucial U.S. support for human rights violations, as Mexico is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid and training and also the second largest violator of human rights in this hemisphere. Such distinctions are according to Amnesty International, which also ranks the leading recipient of military aid and training, Colombia, as the greatest human rights violator in the hemisphere. The corroboration between human rights violations and U.S. military aid and training is a familiar one, as it has been for over two decades now (that is, two decades since such patterns were amply documented by scholars such as Lars Schultz, amongst others).

These elementary observations about recent U.S. foreign policy - again, sticking to the rules of mainstream media to only include recent history and thereby excluding examples such as horrific U.S. policies during the 80's towards Central American countries like Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala - can go a long way to possibly explain why such extreme acts may occur. As for the question about who is responsible for such acts, possibilities could reasonably include any number of the countries and groups who have suffered as a result of the imperialistic foreign policy of the U.S. The real question is, however, whether the U.S. will learn from this atrocity. In the past, unfortunately, such lessons were apparently not learned.

For instance, in 1993, prominent U.S. foreign policy critic and linguist Noam Chomsky wrote that "As recognized at once, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York on February 26, 1993 which killed 6 people and caused great damage, may be a portent of things to come." Indeed, it was a portent of things to come, as the U.S. did not lessen the aggressiveness of their foreign policy, and instead increased it right through the Clinton years and into the present (hence, plausibly resulting in the current acts of terrorism against the U.S.). Early comments from the government, do not suggest that the U.S. is modifying such aggressive behavior. CNN reported, for example, that "the president says the U.S. government will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed the acts and those who harbor them."

In light of this comment, and also the U.S. government and mainstream media unwillingness to address the question of what of any number of recent agressive U.S. foreign policy stances may have provoked the bombings, one can reasonably predict that more U.S. military adventures abroad will be increasingly seen in the near future, as well as more terrorist acts within U.S. borders.

Email the author .

Issue No. 15 May 25- May 31, 2001
Journalism, Filipino Style By Edmundo Santuario III,

Issue No. 14 May 18- May 24, 2001
RP Gears For Another Proxy War in Asia By Edmundo Santuario III,

Issue No. 13 May 11- May 17, 2001
Bayan Muna Target of State Violence, Black Propaganda by Other Groups By Tonyo Cruz,

Radio and Television as Political Media By Ruperto S. Nicdao, Jr.,

The Poor and the Politics of Manipulation By Ananeza Aban,

Oslo Talks: Inching Towards Peace By Sandra Nicolas,

Issue No. 12 May 4- May 10, 2001
COMMENTARY- Putsch Mortem (Or Why the Plot Against Arroyo Failed) By Sandra Nicolas,

Karapatan 2009 Human Rights Report.pdf - Bulatlat
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Mar 12, 2010 ... the military and the police, as perpetrators of gross human rights violations nationwide. ...... Abu Sayyaf leaders detained in Camp Bagong Diwa attempted to escape on 15 .... plate was traced to a military camp in Norzagaray, Bulacan thus ..... supposed to be active participants of or have links with the plot.

No comments:

Post a Comment