Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Philippines: Secret Cables Reveal Exercises Used as Cover for US Military

Posted by enaadoug1982 on September 29, 2011

Secret Cables Reveal Exercises Used as Cover for US Military

Communist Party of the Philippines
September 16, 2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called attention to secret cables from the US Embassy in Manila published by the website Wikileaks.org revealing the use of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the annual Balikatan joint military exercises as “legal cover” for the involvement of US military forces in combat operations in the Philippines.

The CPP statement coincided with the 30th anniversary of the historic Philippine Senate decision of September 16, 1991 to abrogate the Military Bases Agreement of 1946. The abrogation paved the way for the dismantling of Subic Naval Base, Clark Air Base and several other American military installations in the Philippines.

“Thirty years after the abrogation of the MBA, US military forces continue to trample on Philippine sovereignty by maintaining permanent presence, engaging in local combat operations, advising the AFP in strategic planning and using the Philippines as a platform for its ‘power projection’ activities in the Pacific region,” said the CPP.

In a cable dated January 19, 2005 titled “AFP/DND Talks Produce Progress on Counterterrorism Scenarios,” former US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone reported to the US State Department that Philippine military and security officials held a working meeting with representatives of the US Pacific Command and succeeded in “developing a range of enhanced US-GRP counterterrorism scenarios”.

In the said meeting, officials and legal counsels of the Department of National Defense (DND) assured the US military that “(we are trying to) push the envelope to combat-related activities” but asserted that such activities “should fall under ‘the rubric of exercise’ because of the difficulty the word ‘operation’ posed for the Filipino side.” DND officials gave assurances that the VFA and Philippine Supreme Court decisions covered such operations.

“This and other secret cables clearly reveal that so-called joint exercises regularly conducted by the US and Philippine militaries merely serve to camouflage the direct involvement of US military forces in combat operations in the Philippines,” said the CPP. According to the CPP, US military forces are involved in combat operations not only in Southwestern Mindanao where the 700-strong Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF)-Philippines is based, but also against the New People’s Army in various parts of the country.

“Aside from actually joining combat operations in the field, US forces set up position in tactical command posts, embed themselves in AFP combat units, join so-called civil-military activities, provide surveillance and intelligence information and help in the mobilization of troops,” said the CPP.

“Even so-called humanitarian missions are being used as a ‘public diplomacy tool’ with the aim of drowning the issues of sovereignty and military interference,” pointed out the CPP. In another cable prepared by former Ambassador Kristie Kenney dated January 17, 2008, she said that these “humanitarian missions” “are relatively inexpensive activities (which) are critical to ensuring future access to these ports and deflecting leftist and elitist critiques of U.S.- Philippine military engagement.”

“The US imperialists continue to treat Philippine sovereignty with utter contempt,” said the CPP. “The Filipino people must heighten their patriotism and continue to struggle to put an end to US military interventionism.”

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