U.S. Military’s Anti-Terror Efforts In The Philippines Fueling Human Rights Violations

U.S. forces have teamed up with the Philippines’ military to combat terrorist groups in the country, ostensibly to bring about peace. But numerous human rights violations have sprung up in their wake and some believe that the U.S.’ ultimate goal may be to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
By @jncatron |
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    MARAWI– As United States special forces near their third week in Marawi, a city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, observers say their participation in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ battle to reclaim the city from the ISIS (Daesh)-linked Maute group was also aimed at reinforcing more than a century of U.S. control over the Philippines, which was its colony from 1899 until 1946.

    “The U.S. seeks to consolidate and maintain the Philippines as its semi-colony, wherein it can avail itself of cheap raw materials (minerals, oil, natural gas), a cheap labor force, a dumping ground for its surplus US products, as well as protect its billions in investments in corporate agribusiness, military production and even healthcare, education, and public utilities such as telecommunications and energy,” said Bernadette Ellorin, a grassroots human rights activist and chairperson of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of U.S.-based progressive Filipino organizations.

    A 2006 U.S. intelligence assessment said Mindanao could hold mineral resources worth between $840 billion and $1 trillion, or as much as 70 percent of the Philippines’ total mineral wealth.

    The island is also the site of enduring conflicts between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the indigenous Lumad and Moro peoples, as well as the leftist New People’s Army.



    Peace talks between the GRP and the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the leftist National Democratic Front of the Philippines have stretched on for decades. But they quickly disappeared from headlines when Maute seized Marawi on May 23, after an attempt by the GRP to arrest the leader of another Daesh affiliate, the Abu Sayyaf group.

    But many fear that the goal of the U.S.’ current intervention is to strengthen the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in their bid to repress these popular movements, as well as Maute and Abu Sayyaf.

    “The U.S. objective in Marawi and in Mindanao is to go after and crush the revolutionary armed movement in the region including the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination, rebrand the [Communist Party of the Philippines]-NPA as terrorists to the international community, and derail the peace process that was resumed under the Duterte administration,” Ellorin said.

     

    Philippine military “…the most reactionary and pro-U.S. government institution…”

    The GRP, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, did not invite the U.S. presence in Marawi. In fact, Duterte had ejected U.S. special forces from the same region nine months earlier. Their return apparently came at the invitation of the AFP.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

    Speaking at a press conference in the city of Cagayan de Oro on June 12 – one day after U.S. participation in the battle began – Duterte said he had “never approached America” for assistance and “not aware of that until they arrived,” adding “our soldiers are pro-American, that I cannot deny.”

    The AFP’s founding by the U.S., as well as the decades of training and other assistance it has received from America, make it uniquely pro-American in a country where Duterte’s anti-U.S. broadsides have won broad public approval.

    “The AFP is the most reactionary and pro-U.S. government institution in the Philippines,” Ellorin said.

    “It was established in the early 20th century during the U.S. colonial period by the U.S. colonial government as the Philippine Constabulary, whose purpose was and remains to maintain U.S. control over the country and suppress anti-colonial rebellion.”

    Many are worried about the fresh support that the AFP is receiving from the U.S., as well as its apparent ability to create its own foreign policy independent of the GRP.

    “U.S. intervention has emboldened a Philippine military that is notorious for its human rights record,” said human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, a member of the global council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

    “The aerial bombing is hurting civilians more than Maute, and we have also heard reports from a humanitarian fact-finding mission that civilians were hurt by artillery shelling directly from a military camp occupied by the U.S.,” Shahshahani said.

    Human rights violations abound amid U.S. intervention

    Before the Marawi crisis erupted, years of U.S. involvement had already taken a grisly toll in Mindanao and across the Philippines, according to the country’s human rights advocates.

    “U.S. intervention through military and political means on the affairs of Mindanao and the Philippines has resulted in countless violations of human and people’s rights such as massacres, torture and other grave crimes especially against the Moro peoples, to blatant disregard of the country’s sovereignty and patrimony, and to the worsening of social injustices and discrimination against Moro and Lumad peoples,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of the KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights.

     

    In Marawi, she added, “Human rights violations have been committed with graver impunity especially with the continuing implementation of the U.S.-driven counterinsurgency program, all-out war declaration against the people, the anti-poor war on drugs and martial law declaration in Mindanao.”

    These abuses fit an established historic pattern of the U.S. and its allies using anti-terror rhetoric to justify their repression of popular struggles, regardless of the human toll, according to Reverend Michael Yoshii, a global council member of the International Council on Human Rights in the Philippines

    “In the case of the Philippines, this has led to hundreds of extrajudicial killings targeting human rights advocates seeking social change in the country,” he said.

    “The war on terror continues to be a nebulous reality that needs to be reigned in as innocent civilians like those in Marawi have become collateral damage in these campaigns.”

     

    U.S. neocolonialism unlikely to end anytime soon in the Philippines

    Shahshahani added that U.S. involvement in the Philippines occurs across multiple levels, with various strategies but identical goals.

    “U.S. intervention takes place in the economic, political, social, and cultural spheres in the Philippines and perpetuates the country’s deep-seated social and economic crisis that is the root of chronic social unrest in the country,” she said.

    “The Filipino people have suffered the brunt of this military presence, including sexual violence against women and children, forced evacuation of communities in areas designated for military exercises and operations, injuries and killings of civilians, and destruction of the environment.”

    With U.S. forces showing no signs of leaving Marawi anytime soon, their presence raises several questions about the future. One is the effect that an enhanced U.S. role could have on peace talks between the GRP and leftist or Moro groups.

    Another is the consequence of a possible power grab by the military of a democratic country in cooperation with a foreign superpower.

    “This current situation demonstrates how divided the ruling classes are within the current administration of Rodrigo Duterte,” Ellorin said, adding that it “indicates intentions of the U.S. and its loyalists in the AFP to destabilize the Duterte administration if it does not uphold the traditional status quo of U.S. neocolonial politics in the Philippines.”

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    • Youri

      interesting report! good job Mint Press!

    • Pingback: Militant siege, drug killings mark Duterte’s stormy 1st year – Windmill Kits()

    • Mikronos

      Dugarte is a bit like Chavez – he initially hadthe kind of ‘chops’ America can majke a deal wth, but then he strted to make ‘rogue’ nioses, ever good for the long term health of these people. Killing evildoers – particularly head-chopping Moslem evildoers – is a poiint of affiliation for some Phillipinos and mech-warriors on holiday. America has never lacked for an amenable chefe in the Philippines – save that Aguinaldo ‘asshole’ – who brought so much ‘help’ down upon his people..

      • Youri

        ehhh Duterte is nothing like Chavez, a socialist who did want to help his people and was against US imperialism, Duterte is a big tent Neo-Dickesian who while he may not want to be a puppet of the US and seek relations with china and Russia, he and Trump share admiration for one another, and have this false populism to lead their herd to slaughter.

    • Brian Niziol

      Ever wonder why any puppet state of america that tries to open new arrangements with other nations has terrorist problems? This is getting so old a fool can see what is going on. The terrorists work for america and the only reason the special forces are there is to protect them. Just look at Syria the americans are in bed with isis that is beyond a shadow of doubt.

      • James Wherry

        Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The U.S. has supported the Philippines for years in its struggles with Abu Sayeff.

        In my husband’s home town of Sipalay Bay, the terrorists murdered an Australian National who ran a resort there. Are the Aussies to blame?

        Recently, a Japanese national was beheaded on Sebu Island. Shall we blame Japan, now? No: these terrorists are vile and evil.

        If you have to make up such non-sense, there’s probably no point in arguing with you because you are part of the “Blame America” crowd that seeks to manipulate Americans by blaming us for every evil in the world. Try blaming the terrorists.

        “13 more Philippine marines dead, US forces join fight as Marawi city siege continues”
        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-10/us-forces-join-philippine-troops-to-end-marawi-city-siege/8607506

        But then, perhaps we should listen to Duterte – whom you obviously like:

        “Philippines President Duterte Says U.S. Special Forces Should GTFO”
        After 15 years fighting terrorists in Mindanao, at a cost of more than $400 million and 17 American lives, elite U.S. soldiers are no longer welcome.
        Lennox Samuels
        12.30.16
        http://www.thedailybeast.com/philippines-president-duterte-says-us-special-forces-should-gtfo

        • Brian Niziol

          America should just leave the world is on to their terrorist game. I have no ideal what kind of man Duterte really is but if he is kicking out the yanks he is certainly my kind of man.

          • James Wherry

            Well, he is an abusive individual that violates basic human rights. If that is your throat kind of man,” then I do not think we can agree.

            I am happy for the United States of America to be out of the Philippines for military actions, but understand that there are consequences.

            • TeeJae

              You continue to blame the “terrorists” while ignoring the bigger picture: that they are created by, and for, US hegemony

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        I wonder if these jihadists are fed by Wahhabi from the al-Saud, America’s ally. I know that they are doing it in Malaysia, but I haven’t heard anything about in the Philippines yet.

        • tapatio

          Just hanging a post on yours, Tecumseh. BTW, the “jihadists” appear magically whenever a country doesn’t cooperate with the empire. Like the “protesters” in Venezuela who use helicopters for bombing. Terrorism is our country’s new “rapid response force”.

          • tapatio

            US ARMY MAJOR JAMES “PEDERAST” WHERRY (whose Zionist hate mongering is below) IS A SELF-STYLED “CHRISTIAN” ZIONIST (How can any human claim to follow Christ and promote the crimes of Zionism?) TROLL IN THE EMPLOY OF ISRAEL CAN BE JUDGED FROM WHAT HE IS…………………………

            JAMES WHERRY’S “SOURCES” ARE, FOR THE MOST PART ZIONIST “HASBARA PROJECT” PROPAGANDA FRONTS AND ALT-RIGHT HATE SITES. CHECK THEIR OWNERSHIP AND STAFFS.

            JAMES WHERRY WAS STUPID ENOUGH TO USE HIS NAME AND A PHOTO THAT COULD BE TRACED. TURNS OUT THAT HE IS……………..

            1 A SELF-STYLED “CHRISTIAN” ZIONIST. THESE, AH, PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT, ONCE ALL OF THE JEWS ARE GATHERED IN PALESTINE, SOMETHING CALLED “ARMAGEDDON” WILL HAPPEN AND ALL OF THE “CHRISTIAN” ZIONISTS WILL BE WHISKED UP TO HEAVEN WITH THEIR BODIES INTACT IN THE HOLY 0RGASM THEY CALL THE “RAPTURE”. NOBODY HAS EVER EXPLAINED TO THE OTHER 99% OF CHRISTIANITY HOW THESE FUNDAMENTALISTS WHACK-A-MOLES CAN BELIEVE THAT JESUS OR HIS DAD WOULD EVER SUPPORT SUCH FANTASIES OR THE CRIMES SUPPORTED BY PSEUDO-CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS.

            2) A MAJOR IN THE US ARMY FROM “CIVIL AFFAIRS”. BABY-BOOMERS MIGHT RECALL THAT “CIVIL AFFAIRS” WAS PROMINENT IN THE “PHOENIX PROGRAM” IN VIETNAM……..THOSE WONDERFUL FOLKS WHO TOLD THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE, “LOVE AMERICA OR WE’LL NAPALM YOUR VILLAGE.” WHERRY HAS ALSO BRAGGED ABOUT HELPING TO TRAIN THE STATE TERRORISTS OF UGANDA.

            3) A “GAY” PREDATOR THAT BOUGHT A BOY FROM THE PHILIPPINE SLUMS TO USE AS HIS SXX TOY. PRESUMABLY, THIS BOY HAS PAPERS CLAIMING THAT HE IS OF AGE. BUT, HE COULD PASS FOR A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL KID AND YOU CAN HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE MADE IN THE PHILIPPINES FOR $100..
            Below is James Wherry’s comment to his local paper on the occasion of his “marriage” to ayoung Filipino BOY that wherry purchased…………….
            “”I’m very happy about it,” James Wherry said. “Marriage is the bedrock of our society. I hope that same-sex couples can rejuvenate and revitalize marriage and give it the respect it is due.””

            https://www.facebook.com/james.wherry.39

            http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article29462263.html

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtrbvD22CEQ

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            We make the British Empire seem like pikers, and they were the greatest looters the world had previously seen.

            I wonder if Winston Churchill was a cryptic Jew. His odiousness was birth by an American Jewish, Jenny Jerome, and you know how Talmudic Jews feel about Jewish mothers.

            • tapatio

              It’s very possible about Churchill. Also, the Windsors and others. I tend to connect the death of Elizabeth I to the Rothschild’s emergence from the London sewers.

              America is simply a captive puppet state. The current iteration of the disease carried by Judaism was spawned in England – NOT to place any blame on the British. They were taken over by treachery, just as was America.

              • TecumsehUnfaced

                Why do you say Elizabeth I? That seems to be about a century and a half earlier than I can trace them as having serious influence. From what I currently understand is that they achieved real wealth and power in Germany working with Hesse, and changed their name from Bauer. Wikipedia claims their roots were in Venice.

                I need to go back and review. But I seem to recall the first central bank coming in with the House of Orange about 1700 CE. Also, that was about the time that the wealthy elites formed the East India Company.

                There are so many evil manipulation so blandly described in historical sources. It’s as if the authors are adopting the hear, see, speak no evil dodge.

                • tapatio

                  It’s just an estimate on my part. The Rothschilds took control of the British economy in the 1750s. Elizabeth died in 1603. Nobody could have gained any real power until then. Her cousin, Phillip I think, was much weaker. It would have taken the Rothschilds over a century to build their power in England.

                  So, as a non-expert, it’s my guess that the Rothschild’s started gaining power in England after the beginning of the 17th Century so that, by the 1750s, they would be in a position to extort George III.

    • James Wherry

      Another set of phony allegations. There are few if any U.S. Soldiers in the Philippines. Special forces operate in limited groups or teams. Despite that, here’s the actual news:

      1. There is no “plot” to overthrow Duterte. Sadly, I think he’s too much like President Trump. These plans were in the works, 18 months and more ago, long before President Trump even received the Republican nomination.

      “The U.S. military is moving into these 5 bases in the Philippines”
      By: Andrew Tilghman, March 21, 2016 http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2016/03/21/us-plans-use-five-new-bases-philippines/82072138/

      2. DUTERTE WON THE ELECTION IN MAY, 2016, DIMWIT! That was AFTER these plans were made! There is no “plot”.

      3. Despite a year of insulting the USA, Duterte appears to be going along with our help. He does not like jihadists, either.

      “Philippines: The US will upgrade and build facilities on Philippine military bases this year”
      Manuel Mogato, Reuters
      Jan. 26, 2017
      http://www.businessinsider.com/r-philippines-says-us-military-to-upgrade-bases-defense-deal-intact-2017-1

      “U.S. and the Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte’s Most Insulting Quotes About America”

      Eleanor Ross
      Newsweek30 June 2017
      https://uk.news.yahoo.com/u-philippines-president-rodrigo-duterte-040003877.html