Thursday, March 14, 2013

Solidarity with the People of the Philippines

2013-03-12 "End U.S. Support for the Death Squad Government of the Philippines! U.S. Troops Out of the Philippines Now!"
by Steven Argue from "Liberation News (RT-SP) [] (subscribe free to Liberation News []):
[Photo: General Jovito Palparan, known as the butcher of Mindoro.  He “served” under the U.S. backed capitalist government of the Philippines. Under his military command, in Central Luzon, government assassinations of political opponents of the Filipino government averaged 52 people per month.  According to Human Rights Watch, mass murder by the Filipino government continues.  In 2012, the Obama Administration tripled U.S. military aid to the Filipino government while also dramatically increasing the number of U.S. troops rotated to the Philippines.  U.S. troops are fighting directly in the Filipino Civil War to prop-up its capitalist death squad government.]

Filipino General Jovito Palparan took part in the U.S. occupation of Iraq.  When he returned to the Philippines in 2005 he was assigned to command counter-insurgency efforts in Central Luzon by the government of President Gloria Arroyo.  Under General Palparan’s command, government assassinations of political opponents of the Filipino government averaged 52 people per month. Now, General Palparan has retired and is in hiding, wanted for his crimes of torture and mass murder.  Yet, the reign of terror suffered by the Filipino people continues.
In 2012, President Benigno Aquino doubled the reward for information leading to the capture of General Palparan.  Human rights lawyer Edre Olalia, counsel for the parents of abducted and disappeared University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, missing since 2006, points out that this doubling of the reward means little:
“At first blush, it seems to be a positive step and should be welcomed by everyone desperate to see that justice is done. But ultimately, it is not key or decisive.  The amount and the move are still too little and too late and are empty tokenism especially with the continuing killings, disappearances and other rights violations and impunity.”
The families of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño agree that the increase in bounty was useless; pointing out that the government isn’t looking for General Palparan in a legitimate way. 
Human rights organizations confirm continued abuses under the government of President Benigno Aquino.  Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that the Filipino government continues to murder, carrying out extra-judicial killings that make “leftist activists, journalists and clergy” disappear.  Since Barack Obama first took office, he has given the murderous Filipino government $700 million in aid.  The Obama Administration tripled military aid to the Philippines in 2012.
The supposed attempts to bring General Jovito Palparan to justice are simply part of an age old ruse of capitalist governments.  General Palparan’s crimes are admitted and an insincere attempt to bring him to justice is made, all the better to pretend that the crimes of General Palparan and former President Gloria Arroyo are a thing of the past.
It is the duty of all anti-imperialists to oppose the reign of terror being carried out by the U.S. backed government in the Philippines.  The Filipino capitalist government, with its brutal police, military, and death squads has targeted leftists, labor and peasant activists, as well as women's rights activists.  Capitalist repression includes assassinations, abductions, torture, and disappearances.  Poverty and grinding capitalist exploitation are the norm.  Women's activists are also targeted by a sexist Catholic government that prohibits abortion and divorce. 
On January 28, 2013, Carlos Caldron was convicted by a Filipino court for “offending religious feelings”. The conviction was for a peaceful protest by Calderon in 2010 demanding reproductive rights for women.  He is facing up to 13 months in prison.  Free Carlos Caldron!
Besides lacking access to safe legal abortions, backwards Catholic morality and the lack of socialized medicine in the Philippines restricts women’s access to contraception and sex education.  As a result, unwanted pregnancies are common, deaths due to induced pregnancies are high, and the prevention of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, is murderously hindered.
The number of people officially below the poverty line in the Philippines is 26.5%, a rate equivalent to capitalist Haiti and far worse than China (at 8.5%) and Vietnam (at 13.5%).  Falling below the official poverty line in the Philippines are 94 million people living on less than a $1.25 a day.
For the Filipino government, brutal repression is the name of the game in protecting extreme capitalist exploitation.  The Filipino government’s war on the working class included the November 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre of striking workers of the Kilusang Mayo Uno labor federation (KMU).  At the massacre, heavily armed soldiers and cops, equipped with armored personnel carriers, attacked striking workers killing seven people, including a child.  For Americans, this was your tax dollars at work.
In 2012, the Filipino government built temporary walls around slums in Manila during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank Board of Governors which was discussing poverty.  The walls were put up so that attendees could not see the slums.  In response to criticisms, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman argued in defense of the walls saying "any country will do a little fixing up before a guest comes."
The Philippine Communist Party (CPP), political wing of the New People’s Army (NPA), compared the actions of President Benigno Aquino to the U.S. backed Marcos dictatorship in 1974 that erected similar walls to hide Filipino squalor during the 1974 Miss Universe pageant held in Manila.  
The U.S. government supports the injustices of the Filipino government; both through military aid and through keeping troops on the ground that participate in direct combat with the New People’s Army.  One known example of U.S. combat was in 2009 when a joint military operation of the Filipino Army and U.S. Army attacked members of the NPA.  The NPA fought back, killing three soldiers of the Filipino Army and wounding one U.S. soldier.  One member of the NPA was martyred in the clash.  In response to this battle, more U.S. soldiers were then sent into the area as part of the Philippine Army’s rapid “quick reaction force”; a force with U.S. soldiers integrated into the Filipino military.
The CPP responded to this direct military attack saying: "This incident shatters US and Philippine officials' lies that their military forces in the ongoing joint Balikatan exercises in the Bicol region, Panay, Central Luzon, Mindanao and elsewhere are merely involved in humanitarian operations. The recent incident in Esperanza, Masbate proves that the Balikatan exercises are laying the groundwork and raising the level of involvement of US soldiers integrated within government forces of the Arroyo government's counterrevolutionary war. The US military has long been involved in the AFP's [Filapino Army’s] counter-guerrilla operations. Their troops have served as consultants, advisers, trainers and providers of intelligence information to the local fascist troops. They have been providing aerial reconnaissance and satellite and electronic intelligence information and have gone to the extent of participating directly in counter-guerrilla operations on many occasions. As more and more US troops are embedded in the combat units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and participate in armed encounters with the NPA, more and more US soldiers are bound to either get killed or wounded. The CPP and the Filipino people trust that given the tremendous loss of American lives in Vietnam and Iraq, the vast majority of the American people oppose US participation in foreign civil wars and an escalation of US involvement in the Philippine civil war. We call on the American people not to allow their government to continue with military interventionism, waste millions of taxpayers' money and risk the lives of US soldiers in the Philippine civil war.”
In 2012, under the imperial presidency of Barrack Obama, the United States increased the number of U.S. troops being sent to the Philippines.  In addition, Obama tripled U.S. military aid to the repressive capitalist government of the Philippines.  Increased military aid went from $11.9 million in 2011 to $30 million in 2012. 
An additional purpose for increased U.S. troops in the Philippines today is part of Obama’s stated goal of an increasingly aggressive stance towards the People’s Republic of China.  U.S. bases in the Philippines were used as a launching site of U.S. imperialist attacks on Vietnam (murdering 3 million people) as well as more recently on Iraq and Afghanistan (killing over a million people).  The Chinese government has denounced the increased U.S. military presence in the Philippines and, in apparent response to the increasingly aggressive stance of the United States government, Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping told the 2.3 million member Chinese People’s Liberation Army to “Push forward preparations for a military struggle.”
Besides the current U.S. war in the Philippines, U.S. intervention has a long and bloody record that goes back to the Philippine-American War (1899—1902).  This was a war that turned the Philippines into a U.S. colony against the will of the Filipino people.  To accomplish this goal, the United States was forced to murder about a million Filipinos.  Mark Twain denounced this brutal war and openly campaigned against it as a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. 
Today, from direct U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of the Philippines (protecting U.S. imperialist investments) to the aggressive stance of the United States towards China, anti-imperialists oppose all of these goals of the U.S. government, demanding: U.S Troops Out of the Philippines!  End U.S. Military Aid to the Filipino government!
[article edited. for complete version, please visit the link underneath the headline]

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