MANILA — Justin Quirino is a 28-year-old radio disc jockey and events host who is active in Manila’s hip cultural scene. He abhors violence and says more of his country’s wealth and opportunities should flow to the poor. And he considers himself a supporter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“He’s far from perfect,” Quirino said, sitting in a Manila Starbucks. “But I think he’s what the country needs right now.”
Quirino holds a business degree and speaks perfect English, so he knows that recent international coverage of the Philippines has focused on the thousands killed in the war on drugs that Duterte launched after taking office last year.
“It really hits a nerve when I hear about those deaths. It’s painful. But I think that violence of that kind is unfortunately inevitable when there’s a struggle for power, especially when drug gangs are involved,” he said. “Around this country, you’ll find a blatant disregard of many of our laws, and there’s little to no accountability. We have to change that.”
Despite international allegations of mass extrajudicial executions and an outcry against the recent imprisonment of a political rival, polls indicate that Duterte still has the majority of the country behind him. That support can often be found in unexpected places, from the well-heeled elite circles that the unapologetically populist president attacks so aggressively to poor neighborhoods experiencing violence firsthand.
Quirino holds a business degree and speaks perfect English,
Hmm Chelsea Clinton given a lot of oxygen to wave around human rights here
Abu Sayyaf and the CIA in the Philippines by NAFEEZ MOSADDEQ AHMED
The conflict in the Philippines is a legacy of Spanish and American colonialism. In the 1960s, the Muslim/Moro separatist movement in the Philippines emerged among a small number of students and intellectuals articulating widespread grievances concerned with “discrimination, poverty, and inequality, linked primarily to the displacement of Moro communities from their lands by Christian settlers.” After the eruption of violence in Cotabato in 1969-1971 and in response to the declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, the movement rapidly gained popular support, coalescing into an armed group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). With 30,000 fighters, the MNLF fought the Philippine military to a stalemate in the mid-1970s.69
In December 1976, the Philippine government and MNLF reached a settlement, the Tripoli Agreement, which included a ceasefire and the granting of autonomy to thirteen provinces where the majority of Muslims lived. But the Marcos regime never fulfilled its side of the agreement, leading to the outbreak of further fighting before the end of 1977. At the same time, factional infighting led to the founding of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which was later officially established in 1984. By the early 1980s, the Moro movement for self determination was largely non-violent. In 1986, the MNLF reached a ceasefire with President Corazon Aquino and in January 1987 signed an agreement relinquishing its goal of independence and accepting the government offer of autonomy. However, in 1987 negotiations reached a deadlock, and in February 1988 the MNLF officially resumed its armed insurrection while the government pressed ahead with its plans for Muslim autonomy. In 1991, the Abu Sayyaf group split from the MNLF under the leadership of Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, but is now nominally headed by Khadafi Janjalani.70
In 1996, the MNLF signed a peace agreement with the administration of Fidel Ramos and entered civilian politics, although the agreement was opposed by the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. Moreover, the government failed to properly implement the autonomy arrangement. Negotiations between the government and the MILF continued until early 2000 when the MILF came under attack from the Estrada administration. However, the main force of violence in the conflict, apart from the government, has been the Abu Sayyaf whose declared aim is the establishment of an Islamic state based on Islamic law (shariah) in the south. However, the group has no significant political support and has failed to espouse any meaningful policy statement. Its program of terrorism, including bombings and kidnappings, is condemned by both the MNLF and the MILF. 71
The roots of the Abu Sayyaf lead us straight back to al-Qaeda. In the mid-1980s, Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf nominally headed an alliance of extremist armed groups financed by Osama bin Laden, among others, and influenced by Saudi Wahabism. He established a notorious but secretive "university"—Dawal al-Jihad—in the north of Peshawar, which functioned as a major terrorist training camp. Roughly 20,000 mujahideen from 40 countries--including the Philippines--were trained there by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI) with extensive CIA support in the form of expertise, weapons, and funds. Many of these fighters were in search of "other wars to fight," including in the Philippines, the Middle East, North Africa, and New York. It was not long before "a nucleus of Abu Sayyaf fighters had moved to the Philippines and were operating there under that name." The Philippines division of the Abu Sayyaf group conducted "kidnappings and bomb attacks on Christian and government targets" in the south. Among those coordinating operations in the Philippines with Afghan veterans of Abu Sayyaf was al-Qaeda operative Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot and an author of Project Bojinka. The first half of Bojinka was implemented by Abu Sayyaf on December 11, 1994, in the bombing of a Philippines Airlines flight between Manila and Tokyo, and the targeting of 11 other American airliners over the Pacific on the same day. The latter plot failed due to the FAA's tighter security measures, but the plot was traced back by Philippine police and the FBI to Abu Sayyaf/al-Qaeda operative Yousef. The other half of Bojinka was eventually implemented on 9/11, involving a scheme to fly civilian planes into key US buildings.72 Another member of the Abu Sayyaf terror cell in Manila was 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a key al-Qaeda leader who participated in Yousef's Bojinka operation. He lived only a few floors from Yousef. 73
According to Washington, DC's Center for Defense Information "Abu Sayyaf-al Qaeda links are strong. Many of its fighters claim to have trained in Afghanistan, including as many as 20 who were in the graduating class of a Mazar-e Sharif camp in 2001... Zamboanga City, a Mindanao Islamic hotbed, was frequented by members of al Qaeda." Janjalani forged a close relationship with Saudi businessman Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, who set up a network of Islamic charities used to fund Abu Sayyaf fighters. Khalifa's "main organization, the International Islamic Relief Organization, has an office in Zamboanga, as does a bin Laden foundation. Abu Sayyaf received training and money funneled through Khalifa's network."74 According to the National Review, US investigators are convinced that Khalifa is "an important figure in al Qaeda. Khalifa has been linked to Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as to the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Khalifa is also thought to have provided crucial start-up money to Abu Sayyaf, the Philippine terrorist group.”75
Khalifa had lived in the Philippines for several years before he visited the United States and was arrested in San Francisco in December 1994 for an immigration violation. He was of primary interest to the FBI, "which suspected him of assisting al Qaeda operatives Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad in a plot to bomb a dozen US airliners from their base in the Philippines." Indeed, he had already been formally named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 New York City Landmarks bombing plot. Furthermore, Philippine investigators charged that Khalifa had funded the Bojinka plot through a charity front in Manila. When detained by the INS in December, Khalifa was in possession of a phone number connected to the Manila terror cell responsible for the Bojinka plot, according to a 2002 indictment of Benevolence International Foundation and Bojinka trial records. The Abu Sayyaf/al-Qaeda cell was reportedly in frequent contact with Khalifa during November 1994. FBI affidavits and other trial testimony reveal that the FBI knew at the time that the al-Qaeda cell in Manila consisted of "Yousef, Murad, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed... and Wali Khan Amin Shah, a Malaysian al Qaeda operative who called Khalifa's cell phone several times during November.'" A known alias used by Khalifa was "found on one of several bomb-making manuals brought into the US" as early as 1992 "by an accomplice of Ramzi Yousef." The manuals contained "detailed instructions" on how to construct precisely the same explosives used in the 1993 World Trade Center attack and in the Oklahoma City bombing. Court records show that Philippine investigators found information connected to Khalifa when they raided Ramzi Yousef's apartment in January 1995. US authorities had also seized a number of highly incriminating items from his luggage in December, including "literature related to training terrorists in the Philippines, an address book and an electronic organizer listing Wali Khan Amin Shah's phone number in Manila, and immigration papers relating to his return to the Philippines."76
In other words, the FBI had sufficient evidence to suspect Khalifa of high-level terrorist activities on behalf of al-Qaeda. Indeed, as early as December 1994 "The Justice Department had wanted to hold Khalifa and investigate his alleged ties to terrorism." But the FBI investigation was ignored, and "Khalifa's deportation was ordered after direct intervention in the case by then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher in January 1995... wrote a three-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno in January urging that the deportation proceed." Moreover, the US attorney's office wrote that it had "no objection" to the return of the items seized from Khalifa's luggage, although they were relevant as evidence not only of Khalifa's terrorist activities, but also of that of his known colleagues Shah and Yousef--the former "was the subject of an ongoing international manhunt at the time" and the latter "was already under indictment in America." Additionally, the US government "not only agreed to Khalifa's request for deportation to Jordan, but in exchange for his cooperation it expunged terror-related charges from his INS record." In other words, despite incriminating evidence in Khalifa's own possession as well as extensive evidence from numerous credible sources demonstrating his longstanding terrorist connections and activities, the State Department blocked the FBI's attempt to detain and investigate him further, returned the incriminating evidence to him, erased all terrorist charges from his INS records, and allowed him to escape to Jordan.77
Clandestine official connivance in the activities of al-Qaeda's Abu Sayyaf group has also been documented by a leading member of the Philippine government, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. Pimentel, a former law professor, has been involved in Philippine politics for over 30 years, has been Senator of the Republic since 1998, and is a respected legislator. In a July 2000 speech before the Philippine Senate, he disclosed some startling evidence of joint US-Philippine government involvement in the emergence and activities of Abu Sayyaf:
Because the Abu Sayyaf was operating on the fringe of the Muslim insurgency in the country, its partisans were enticed by certain officers of the armed forces to serve as informers on the activities of the Muslim insurgents in Southern Mindanao... at least, three military and police officers coddlers or handlers of the Abu Sayyaf.
These officers hold very high posts. "One was the commanding general of the Marines at that time, Brig. Gen. Guillermo Ruiz; the other two were police officers, Chief Supt. Leandro Mendoza and Chief Supt. Rodolfo Mendoza," continued Senator Pimentel:
My information is that the Abu Sayyaf partisans were given military intelligence services IDs, safe-houses, safe-conduct passes, firearms, cell phones and various sorts of financial support.
Edwin Angeles, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, told me after the elections of 1995, that it was the Abu Sayyaf that was responsible for the raid and the razing down of the town of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur in early 1995. In that raid, Angeles told me that the Abu Sayyaf raiders were reportedly provided with military vehicles, mortars and assorted firearms. All this time, Angeles was "handled"--by police officer, now chief superintendent, Rodolfo Mendoza.
Senator Pimentel also quoted one of Angeles’ bodyguards:
...he told me the names of some other officers of the armed forces who 'handled' Abu Sayyaf matters. He is, however, deathly afraid of coming out into the open...
The CIA has sired a monster. What looks inexcusable to me is the involvement of a few officers of the armed forces--handlers of the Abu Sayyaf, my informants call them--in the training of the Abu Sayyaf partisans, the very same group of hooligans who are responsible for the kidnapping of foreigners and locals alike and the atrocities they had committed for several years now.
According to Senator Pimentel, these Philippine military and police "handlers" funneled CIA assistance in the form of both weapons and finances to Abu Sayyaf: "... these officers did not only 'handle' the Abu Sayyaf, they coddled them, trained them, protected them, passed on military equipment and funds from the CIA and its support network, and probably even from the intelligence funds of the armed forces to them." He also reported that "Gen. Alexander Aguirre was present at a meeting--perhaps organizational--of the Abu Sayyaf. Whatever the nature of Gen. Aguirre's involvement with the Abu Sayyaf has to be explained." He demanded that the chief of staff of the Philippine army in the 1990s, Gen. Renato de Villa, and the commander-in-chief of the army from 1992 to 1998, former President Fidel V. Ramos should likewise tell the people what he knows of the involvement of the CIA and our own military officers in the creation, handling and supervision of the Abu Sayyaf. ..
The evidence is now overwhelming--unassailable in my mind--that the CIA was the procreator of the Abu Sayyaf and that some of our own military officers acted as midwives at its delivery and who have nursed the hooligans under illegal, if not, at least, questionable circumstances that enabled the latter to pursue their criminal activities to this very day....
We have to find out what we can do as legislators to prevent a recurrence of the situation where certain military officers of our armed forces became willing tools of the CIA in the creation, funding, training and equipping of this bandit group....The officers who have been identified as coddlers or handlers of the Abu Sayyaf in various studies and documents must be called to account.78
Despite Senator Pimentel's address, the Philippine authorities have failed to even investigate--let alone prosecute--these officials. However, his damning allegations are corroborated by testimonials from other leading observers. According to one MNLF commander, "the Abu Sayyaf had the protection of the Marines. They are provided high-powered guns, plenty of ammunition and 15,000 pesos to be recruited. Who else has this money except the military?" Another MNLF leader, Damming Hadjirul, is similarly convinced of a high-level military-Abu Sayyaf connection: "When there's no war, there's no business for the military, right?" Lt. Col. Ricardo Morales, a leading Philippine military analyst, noted in an army journal in 1995: "How can a band of criminals with no military training to speak of, withstand the full might of the armed forces, slip through troop cordons and conduct kidnapping right under the very noses of government troops ?"
Former Army Captain Rene Jarque, a Philippine intelligence officer, similarly observed that "This small group has managed to evade the military operations for too long in a tiny island lends credence to reports that some military units have been ordered not to touch the Abu Sayyaf." Thus, as journalist Michael Bengwayan concludes:
It is no surprise then that the Abu Sayyaf who earlier kidnapped 24 children, one priest, and five teachers were able to slip through a cordon sprang by 3,000 military men in Mount Puno Mahadji. Today, the Philippine government is faced with a terrorist problem it cannot handle because it has looked the other way when its military was coddling a growing extremist, fanatic and suicidal group.79
The manipulation of Abu Sayyaf by the Philippine military was thoroughly exposed in a joint investigative report by the Boston Globe and the Finnish daily Hebingin Sanomat, based on dozens of accounts from eyewitnesses, sworn testimony presented before Congress and the Senate, the Commission on Human Rights, as well as new admissions from military and local officials. In the Globe, US journalist Indira Lakshmanan wrote: "High-ranking members of the Philippine military, as well as members of local government, have colluded with the Islamic extremists that US troops are being sent here to combat, a Globe investigation has found." Finnish journalist Pekka Mykkanen wrote in the Sanomat: "An array of plausible military, eyewitness and documentary sources indicate that the ruthlessness and greed of some high-ranking Philippine Army officers may pose nearly as great a security concern for the US troops as the Islamic extremist Abu Sayyaf cadres they are seeking to eradicate." The investigation revealed, for instance, that the Arroyo administration was fully aware of--indeed complicit in--military-Abu Sayyaf collusion in the 2001 kidnapping of civilians at Dos Palmas and the occupation of a parish compound in Lamitan: "The sworn statements of witnesses who were inside and outside Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital--as well as the findings of an internal army inquiry and two government human rights reports--suggest that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knew about, but chose to whitewash, what went wrong." Government and military officers reportedly took substantial cuts in the ransom money paid to Abu Sayyaf to release its hostages and deliberately facilitated the group's escape. 80
One pertinent illustration of the extent to which the Philippine military controls Abu Sayyaf is provided in the role of Edwin Angeles. With an outstanding track record of infiltrating urban opposition groups such as "the Moro National Liberation Front and the communist movement in Bataan as part of his work for a number of military intelligence agencies," Angeles was "the perfect government agent to infiltrate" the al-Qaeda terrorist group. He played a "pivotal role" in Abu Sayyaf's growth and policies. According to investigative journalist Arlyn de la Cruz, Angeles was "the first deep penetration agent of the military" to the group. He therefore "holds the key to the deep intricacies of how some government agencies manipulated the rawness of the Abu Sayyaf." It was, in fact, government agent Angeles who "introduced the idea of kidnapping as part of the fund-raising activities of the Abu Sayyaf." The group's first kidnapping occurred in 1992. As the group's Operations Officer, Angeles "planned the abduction and even initiated the plan himself." He was also active in the recruitment of Muslim converts to the group. Angeles later left the Abu Sayyaf to become an agent for the Intelligence Command of the Philippine National Police. In this capacity, he signed an affidavit revealing CIA involvement in the creation of Abu Sayyaf and exposed police corruption relating to the framing of Arabs as terrorists. Furious at his lack of loyalty to the authorities, they charged him with 54 counts of kidnapping with murder. But in the trial at Isabela, Basilan, the judge acquitted Angeles because he proved in court, using his original mission orders, that all the terrorist crimes attributed to him were committed as an integral function of his job as a government agent. As de la Cruz comments: "... at least two police officers from the PNP-IC and another from the Philippine Marines testified before the court attesting that indeed Edwin Angeles carried out a number of criminal acts in the performance of his duties as a DPA funded by legitimate agencies of government." 81
There is good reason to believe that US intelligence agencies have played a surprisingly direct role in facilitating the Philippine military-Abu Sayyaf-al-Qaeda nexus. On May 2002, a sudden explosion wracked the room of an American citizen, Michael Meiring, in the Evergreen Hotel in Davao, mangling his lower limbs. The 65-year-old Californian was subsequently rushed to Davao Medical Mission Hospital. Four months later, after an official investigation by Philippine experts, the City Prosecution Office concluded that Meiring was a terrorist:
City Prosecutor Raul Bendico said findings from the investigation of the case indicated that Meiring apparently attempted to set up explosives intended to blow up Evergreen Hotel when the accidental explosion went off... Meiring was charged with illegal possession of explosives and reckless imprudence "for failing to practice proper attention and diligence regarding .the handling of explosive materials."
But the most bizarre part of the story, as noted by Philippine's ABS-CBN News, "was that Meiring was reportedly whisked away by agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and brought to the United States. Authorities want Meiring brought back to the country to face the criminal charges filed against him."82 The Meiring explosion was only an early incident in a series of mysterious bomb attacks in Davao and elsewhere in the Philippines. Responsibility for the bombings was either claimed by Abu Sayyaf or blamed on the group by officials. In July 2003, the prominent Philippine civil society group, Interfaith for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace), cited the "claims of junior officers" in the Philippine army "that this terrorism is government-sponsored." A Magdalo "group of junior military officers" blamed Philippine Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and Gen. Victor Corpus for orchestrating the bombings. InPeace also referred to the Meiring-CIA connection and called for a full independent investigation into the apparent role of both the Philippine military and US intelligence in the wave of terror.83
Citing Philippine intelligence sources, the Philippine Star subsequently reported that Meiring had been an active CIA agent: "Highly reliable sources told the Star Michael Terrence Meiring, 65, reportedly was deployed by the CIA, sometime in the early up to the mid 90s, on assignment here in Southern Mindanao," and had been flown back to California.84 A detailed three-part investigation by the Manila Times uncovered further strange facts. Meiring first came to the Philippines in 1992, spending his time "with two agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)." He also had "close links with some well-placed government authorities in southern Mindanao as well as with national government officials." At the same time, however, Meiring had "connections with rebel leaders."85 According to the Manila Times, Philippine's Immigration Deputy Commissioner Daniel Queto admitted that "no less than agents of the US National Security Council had brought Meiring from Davao to Manila."86
Citing US intelligence sources, the Times reported that "The Americans have used treasure hunting as a cover for intelligence activities." One example is the case of "three Vietnamese terrorists arrested last year for plotting to blow up the Vietnamese Embassy." They were apparently "assets of the US intelligence community. They and their Japanese colleague were also involved in treasure hunting--and the export of marijuana." Intelligence officials gave the Times a list of names of agents, a.k.a. treasure hunters, operating in the 1990s, including that of "Nina North" from Fremont, California, whose "acquaintances claim she has connections to the Central Intelligence Agency." In 1990, 1991, and 1992, North "maintained contact with... high officials in the Mid-East, including representatives of Khadaffy and Bin Laden, with regard to transfer of gold bullion from the Philippines, through the 'back door."'87
InPeace's allegations and the facts of the Meiring case--based on credible military and intelligence sources--provide a well-documented example of how the CIA continues to be active in the Philippines, working with Philippine police, military, and intelligence agencies, while simultaneously liaising with rebel groups ultimately leading to the outbreak of terrorist violence. It is certainly difficult, in this context, to avoid concluding that the collusion of Philippine military intelligence with al-Qaeda's Abu Sayyaf group occurs with significant US connivance.
Apart from the above documentation suggesting joint Philippine government-CIA involvement in Abu Sayyaf and recent terrorist violence, the US military works extremely closely with the Philippine military, providing weapons, advice, and extensive training. For instance, nearly 1,000 US combat troops were sent to the southern islands of Mindanao, Basilan, and Jolo in 2002 to join with thousands of Philippine troops supposedly hunting Abu Sayyaf. So closely are US military officers and soldiers liaising with their Philippine counterparts that Operation Balikatan ("shoulder to shoulder") commands US troops to accompany Philippine military patrols with permission to fight in self-defense. According to US Major Cynthia Teramae: "We are here as counterparts. We will be working alongside each other. We have two co-directors and two co-generals. It shows the kind of relationship that we have."88
It is not a surprise then that the key US objective in the Philippines is not the elimination of terror. On the contrary, US-backed Philippine state-sponsored terror appears to have provided a crucial justification within the "War on Terror" narrative for the expansion of US military power in the region and the consolidation of US economic control. "The important thing is to have a safe and stable security environment for domestic and foreign investors, including US entrepreneurs," remarked US Assistant Secretary of Commerce William Lash in a January 2002 visit to Manila. Indeed, according to former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, the US aim in the Philippines "is to maintain a viable presence in Asia-Pacific as a means to secure their own interests and their huge investments."89
Thus, Philippine military intelligence (AFP) has for more than the last decade manipulated and colluded with al-Qaeda's Abu Sayyaf terrorist network, establishing what amounts to a longstanding AFP-Abu Sayyaf-al-Qaeda nexus. In turn, US military intelligence, including the CIA, appears to have been deeply implicated in this process throughout the said period by literally operating side-by-side--“shoulder to shoulder”--with both its Philippine counterpart and Abu Sayyaf, as well as by providing extensive financial and military assistance to the former. In this manner, US military intelligence provides the overarching strategic directive within which the AFP-Abu Sayyaf-al-Qaeda nexus operates, constituting its most fundamental sponsor.
duterte sucks bro
something something cia disinfo
e: also again, liquidating and repressing the proletariat is really obviously not equivalent to doing the same to the bourgeoisie
Edited by chickeon ()
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday threatened to bomb schools built for the Lumad, saying they are violating laws for spreading subversive ideas.
Duterte issued the threats as he linked the Lumad schools to the communist rebels, whom he has tagged as enemies of the state for attacking state troops.
“Iyung mga Lumad, they are operating without the DepEd’s permit. Kasi eskwelahan sila, but they are teaching subversion, communism,” Duterte said in a news conference after his State of the Nation Address.
“Umalis kayo dyan, sabihin ko sa mga Lumad. Bobombahan ko iyan, isali ko iyang mga istraktura. I will use the Philippine Air Force. You are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against government. Kung may kalokohan kayo, eh di mas lalo na ako,” he added.
Imagine if there were 20 million communists!
*cubans, chinese, vietnamese and laotians all put their hands on your back* you don't have to
I meant in the Philippines but I appreciate your post. Speaking of I don't recall reading anything about Vietnam or Laos on here. Anyone know anything or got anything to read on the state of communism there today? Cause I'm aware there were massive market based reforms and such but wonder what the story is beyond that.
I'd second this, esp. re: Laos, which I know jack shit about despite it being "one of the 4 remaining ML countries." It seems like Vietnam has pushed through neolib reforms a while ago, DPRK broke with ML many days back, Cuba has kept up the fight but now is under attack by capital (I guess Uber is there now), but never hear about the situation in Laos.
colonialists drive like this, neocolonialists drive like this