Monday, February 25, 2008

Feb 28: Community Vigil for People Power in the Philippines

Bay Area community demands government accountability
and support our kababayan's call for GMA to resign!

People's Power Lives On!



On February 25, 1986, the oppressive dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos was
put to an end by the power of the people. Twenty-two years later, we are faced
with ousting another tyrant, one who's record surpasses those of Marcos'.

Join us in commemorating the success of People Power I,
and call for the RESIGNATION of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo!

Community Vigil
Thursday, February 28, 2008
5pm
In front of the SF Philippine Consulate
447 Sutter St. (cross is Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94108


Sponsored by BAYAN USA organizations: babae-San Francisco,
League of Filipino Students-SFSU, Anakbayan-East Bay, and the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP). Endorsed by the ILPS-Bay Area Grassroots School Of Unity and Liberation (SOUL).


Thursday, February 21, 2008

US "Water Cure" Torture Tactic Used on Filipinos in 1901

The Water Cure

Debating torture and counterinsurgency—a century ago.

by Paul Kramer

Original article can be found here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/02/25/080225fa_fact_kramer


A picture of a “water detail,” reportedly taken in May, 1901, in Sual, the Philippines. “It is a terrible torture,” one soldier wrote.

Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom. This was the language that, when coupled with expanding military and commercial ambitions, had helped launch two very different wars. The first had been in 1898, against Spain, whose remaining empire was crumbling in the face of popular revolts in two of its colonies, Cuba and the Philippines. The brief campaign was pitched to the American public in terms of freedom and national honor (the U.S.S. Maine had blown up mysteriously in Havana Harbor), rather than of sugar and naval bases, and resulted in a formally independent Cuba.

The Americans were not done liberating. Rising trade in East Asia suggested to imperialists that the Philippines, Spain’s largest colony, might serve as an effective “stepping stone” to China’s markets. U.S. naval plans included provisions for an attack on the Spanish Navy in the event of war, and led to a decisive victory against the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in May, 1898. Shortly afterward, Commodore George Dewey returned the exiled Filipino revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo to the islands. Aguinaldo defeated Spanish forces on land, declared the Philippines independent in June, and organized a government led by the Philippine √©lite.

During the next half year, it became clear that American and Filipino visions for the islands’ future were at odds. U.S. forces seized Manila from Spain—keeping the army of their ostensible ally Aguinaldo from entering the city—and President William McKinley refused to recognize Filipino claims to independence, pushing his negotiators to demand that Spain cede sovereignty over the islands to the United States, while talking about Filipinos’ need for “benevolent assimilation.” Aguinaldo and some of his advisers, who had been inspired by the United States as a model republic and had greeted its soldiers as liberators, became increasingly suspicious of American motivations. When, after a period of mounting tensions, a U.S. sentry fired on Filipino soldiers outside Manila in February, 1899, the second war erupted, just days before the Senate ratified a treaty with Spain securing American sovereignty over the islands in exchange for twenty million dollars. In the next three years, U.S. troops waged a war to “free” the islands’ population from the regime that Aguinaldo had established. The conflict cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and about four thousand U.S. soldiers.

Within the first year of the war, news of atrocities by U.S. forces—the torching of villages, the killing of prisoners—began to appear in American newspapers. Although the U.S. military censored outgoing cables, stories crossed the Pacific through the mail, which wasn’t censored. Soldiers, in their letters home, wrote about extreme violence against Filipinos, alongside complaints about the weather, the food, and their officers; and some of these letters were published in home-town newspapers. A letter by A. F. Miller, of the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment, published in the Omaha World-Herald in May, 1900, told of how Miller’s unit uncovered hidden weapons by subjecting a prisoner to what he and others called the “water cure.” “Now, this is the way we give them the water cure,” he explained. “Lay them on their backs, a man standing on each hand and each foot, then put a round stick in the mouth and pour a pail of water in the mouth and nose, and if they don’t give up pour in another pail. They swell up like toads. I’ll tell you it is a terrible torture.”



Please click here for the rest of the article.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

U.S. Troops Sighted During Sulu Massacre

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 2, February 10-16, 2008

original article can be found at: http://www.bulatlat.com/2008/02/u-s-troops-sighted-during-sulu-massacre

U.S. troops were present during the Feb. 4 assault by combined Army and Navy elite forces on Barangay (village) Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu that killed eight non-combatants, including an Army soldier on vacation. Worse, they tolerated what had taken place.

Soldiers from the Army's Light Reaction Company (LRC) – a unit composed of Philippine soldiers who had received training from U.S. troops during the RP-U.S. joint military exercises –and the Navy's Special Weapons Group (Swag) attacked Brgy. Ipil early morning, while most villagers were still sleeping, on Feb. 4, said Concerned Citizens of Sulu convener and former Jolo councilor Temogen "Cocoy" Tulawie in an interview with Bulatlat.

Killed in the attack were Marisa Payian, 4; Wedme Lahim, 9; Alnalyn Lahim, 15; Sulayman Hakob, 17; Kirah Lahim, 45; Eldisim Lahim, 43; Narcia Abon, 24 – all civilians. Also killed was Pfc. Ibnul Wahid of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, who was then on vacation.

"Wahid's hands were even tied behind his back," Tulawie said, citing an account by Sandrawina Wahid, the slain soldier's wife. "He was forced to lie face down on the ground and they stepped on his back. His wife ran into their hut and back out, showing the soldiers his Army ID and bag, begging them to not hurt him. But still, they shot him."

One of the victims, Kirah Lahim, was even mutilated. "They took out his eyes and cut off his fingers and ears," Tulawie said.

Military officials have given varying explanations of the incident. One explanation was that the non-combatants were killed in a firefight between soldiers and "terrorists," while another points to a "family feud" as having triggered the killings.

One Army general said what happened on Feb. 4 was a "legitimate encounter," claiming that troops searching for kidnapped trader Rosalie Lao clashed with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits and members of the terrorist Jema'ah Islamiyah.

The military did not say whether Lao, who was kidnapped on Jan. 28 while on the way home from her store, was being held in Sulu.

Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael, commander of an anti-"terrorist" task force in Sulu, said two soldiers and three bandits – including ASG leader Abu Muktadil – were killed in the "encounter."

"It was a legitimate encounter," Rafael told media. "As far as we are concerned, troops clashed with the Abu Sayyaf and Jema'ah Islamiyah. We have recovered the bodies of Muktadil, but soldiers also found eight more bodies in the area and we are trying to find out whether they were caught in the crossfire or slain by terrorists."

Tulawie, however, said this was not true.

"That's a lie," Tulawie said. "Most of these people (who were killed) are just seaweed farmers. There is no ASG there. In the case of Wahid, they killed their own fellow soldier."

"They were quiet people who had no enemies," Tulawie said of the victims.

Meanwhile, Maj. Eugene Batara, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said authorities are presently investigating reports that the killings were sparked by a family feud.

As the killings were taking place, there were U.S. troops nearby. Tulawie said Sandrawina was taken into a Navy boat, where she saw four U.S. soldiers.

"They were just nearby and they tolerated what was happening," Tulawie said. "There was only one who was heard shouting, 'Hold your fire!' but that was all. They tolerated these human rights violations committed by the soldiers they had trained."

Westmincom chief Maj. Gen. Nelson Allaga said there were no U.S. troops involved in the operation.

"There was no direct involvement of the Americans," Allaga said. "It is strictly prohibited."

Not the first time


Sulu Gov. Abdulsakur Tan said this was not the first time that U.S. troops were reported to have taken part in Philippine military operations in Sulu. With this, he corroborated what Tulawie had said in an earlier interview with Bulatlat.

When an encounter between the AFP and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) broke out in Brgy. Buansa, Indanan, Sulu in early 2007, U.S. troops who were a few kilometers away were seen running toward the direction of the gunfire. They were carrying their guns.

Military spokespersons said the attack was brought about by reports that members of the ASG were in the MNLF camp. The MNLF – with which the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) signed a Final Peace Agreement in 1996 – has repeatedly denied that it coddles ASG members.

During that same period, U.S. troops were busy with a road construction project in Brgy. Bato-Bato, Indanan. At that time, the area was the center of Philippine military operations in Sulu.

These were gathered by Bulatlat in its interview with Tulawie in March last year.

This, Tulawie said, is just part of a larger picture that has been developing in Sulu since 2004.

"Military operations always take place not far from where U.S. troops are," said Tulawie. "The presence of U.S. troops has been visible in areas where military operations have taken place."

While Tulawie says there is yet no evidence that U.S. troops have actually participated in combat operations, their visibility in areas where AFP operations have been conducted raises questions on the real reasons behind their presence in the country's southernmost province.

U.S. military presence in Sulu

The presence of U.S. troops in Sulu started in 2004 and has been continuous since then.

U.S. troops would have entered Sulu as early as February 2003. The AFP and the U.S. Armed Forces had both announced that the Balikatan military exercises for that year would be held in Sulu.

This provoked a wave of protest from the people of Sulu, who had not yet forgotten what has come to be known as the Bud Dajo Massacre.

The Bud Dajo massacre, which took place in 1906, is described in some history texts as the "First Battle of Bud Dajo." It was an operation against Moro fighters resisting the American occupation.

The description of the incident as a "battle," however, is disputed considering the sheer mismatch in firepower between U.S. forces and the Moro resistance fighters. The 790 U.S. troops who assaulted Bud Dajo used naval cannons against the 800-1,000 Moro resistance fighters who were mostly armed only with melee weapons.

In the end, only six of the hundreds of Moro resistance fighters holding Bud Dajo as a stronghold survived, while there were 15-20 casualties among the U.S. troops.

The announcement in February 2003 that the year's Balikatan military exercises would be held in Sulu summoned bitter memories of the Bud Dajo Massacre and led to protest actions where thousands of Sulu residents participated.

The next year, however, U.S. troops came up with ingenious ways to find their way into Sulu – coming in small groups and bringing relief goods. This "neutralized" the residents' resistance to their presence.

"Unconventional warfare"

The U.S. troops in Sulu are part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P). Based on several news items from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the JSOTF-P are in Sulu to train the AFP's Southern Command (Southcom) and to conduct civic actions.

However, an article written by Command Sgt. Maj. William Eckert of the JSOTF-P, "Defeating the Idea: Unconventional Warfare in Southern Philippines," hints that there is more to the task force's work than training AFP troops and embarking on "humanitarian actions." Wrote Eckert:

"Working in close coordination with the U.S. Embassy, JSOTF-P uses Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations forces to conduct deliberate intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in very focused areas, and based on collection plans, to perform tasks to prepare the environment and obtain critical information requirements. The information is used to determine the capabilities, intentions and activities of threat groups that exist within the local population and to focus U.S. forces – and the AFP – on providing security to the local populace. It is truly a joint operation, in which Navy SEALs and SOF aviators work with their AFP counterparts to enhance the AFP's capacities."

These U.S. troops have always been seen near the sites of Philippine military operations in Sulu. The latest sighting was during the Feb. 4 attack on Brgy. Ipil, Maimbung where seven civilians and one Army soldier on vacation were killed. Bulatlat

Saturday, February 9, 2008

International League of People's Struggles

Dear Friends and Allies in Struggle:


Greetings of Peace and Solidarity from BAYAN USA!


We would like to announce the Third International Assembly of the
International League of People's Struggle (ILPS TIA) on June 17-22, 2008
in Hong Kong. This year's assembly will focus on the theme ""Strengthen
the People's Struggle, Unite to Build a New World Against Imperialist
Aggression, State Terrorism, Plunder and Social Destruction!"


Founded in 2001, ILPS is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation
that promotes, supports and developes the anti-imperialist and
democratic struggles of the people of the world, including the workers,
peasants, women, youth, professionals and other sectors of society
against the ideological, political, military, economic, social and
cultural domination and attacks of imperialism and reaction.


It strives to realize the unity, cooperation and coordination of
anti-imperialist and democratic struggles throughout the world. Through
its study commissions, research and solidarity campaigns and actions, it
exposes and opposes the oppressive and exploitative policies and acts of
the imperialist and puppet states, the multinational companies and
imperialist-dominated international agencies, such as the IMF, World
Bank and WTO, and the military alliances such as the NATO and the
US-Japan Security Council.


As member of the ILPS International Coordinating Committee in the United States (ICC-US),
we invite all US-based anti-imperialist organizations and individuals who are interested
to attend the Assembly. The Assembly is open for member and
non-member organizations and individuals who want to apply for
membership or observe and/or attend conferences being organized by the
study commissions.


We will send more information regarding the Assembly in June. For more information
about ILPS please visit www.ilps2001.com.

Thank you and MABUHAY KAYONG LAHAT!

In solidarity,

Chito Quijano
Chair, BAYAN USA
member, ICC-US

Monday, February 4, 2008

Philippine-U.S. War: "Kill Everyone Over Ten"

"Kill Everyone Over Ten"

Photobucket

"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States." General Jacob H. Smith said.

Since it was a popular belief among the Americans serving in the Philippines that native males were born with bolos in their hands, Major Littleton "Tony" Waller asked "I would like to know the limit of age to respect, sir?."


"Ten years," Smith said.

-Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903, Stuart Creighton Miller, (Yale University Press, 1982)
 

 

100 years later...

The untold story of our people's bravery and sacrifice remains buried beneath the soil where over 1 million Filipinos were killed.

Today, our children are still being robbed of their history.

Let us unearth our people's legacy of resistance and provide for our youth, what the government does not.