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Report Back from the International Solidarity Misson to the Philippines

Report back from the recently concluded International Solidarity Mission (July 24-31)to the Philippines. Chicago Activist Rev. Dan Dale was a participant in this mission and will be speaking about their findings here in Chicago in August and September.
> We would like to share with you some documents in

> the recently concluded

> International Solidarity Mission (July 24-31) in

> Zamboanga, Gen. Santos

> City and Basilan.


> The secretariat is still finalizing the main report.


> If you want to know more about the ISM, please feel

> free to write us back.


> Thank you!


> In solidarity,


> Grace Saguinsin

> Secretariat, ISM

> International Networking Officer, Bayan Muna (People

> First Party)


> ******



> Against US Armed Intervention in the Philippines

> July 24-31, 2002


> We, the 68 participants in the International

> Solidarity Mission (ISM)

> coming from the Philippines, Australia, Austria,

> Belgium, Canada, China

> (Taiwan), Japan, south Korea, the Netherlands, and

> the United States have

> visited Zamboanga City, Basilan, General Santos City

> and Manila from July

> 24 to 31, 2002.


> We came here on a mission: to gather facts, to

> assess the impact of the

> presence of US troops and to support the Filipino

> people's struggle against

> the US military intervention. We have met hundreds

> of people, both those

> who have suffered serious human rights abuses before

> and during the US-led

> Balikatan 02-1 as well as supporters of US military

> presence.


> On our trip we have heard shocking testimony and

> seen sufficient proof that

> allows us to draw the following conclusions:


> 1) American soldiers were directly involved in the

> raiding and shooting of

> an unarmed civilian in his home;

> 2) human rights abuses are continuing unabated under

> the Gloria

> Macapagal-Arroyo regime and are abetted by the US

> military forces;

> 3) the US military support operations that displace

> and violate the rights

> of Moro people and other Filipinos, including women

> and children.


> The most important case, and the one that has drawn

> national and

> international media attention, is the shooting of an

> unarmed civilian by a

> US soldier in a small village of Tuburan town on the

> island of Basilan. The

> wife, Juraida, and mother, Jalilan, of Buyong Buyong

> Isnijal stood before

> some two hundred people and ISM participants to

> denounce what happened just

> after midnight on July 25 when a composite team of

> Filipino and American

> soldiers raided their home without any warrant. The

> wounded victim was

> taken by the military after the incident and his

> family was left uninformed

> about Isnijal's whereabouts. Other relatives,

> neighbors and medical

> personnel corroborated this information.


> Delegates of the ISM decry the fact that US troops

> have been directly

> involved in the raiding, shooting and arresting of a

> civilian. This action,

> whether or not the victim is guilty of any crime, is

> in blatant violation

> of even the spurious Terms of Reference guiding the

> presence of US troops.

> It seems that US soldiers have been given free reign

> to play the role of

> military and even police in local matters, bypassing

> the civilian

> authorities. This portents another Vietnam in the

> making.


> The behavior and contradictory statements of the

> Philippine and US military

> and governments only led the delegation to give

> greater credence and weight

> to the testimony we had heard and seen. They at

> first denied outright that

> any such encounter took place, then partially

> admitted it and then, in the

> face of irrefutable evidence, attempted to discredit

> the ISM delegation,

> calling us "monkeys" and insinuating we are Abu

> Sayyaf supporters for

> daring to reveal this serious case.


> We have learned that it is not only on the ground

> that US troops are

> involved in human rights abuses. Witnesses told

> stories of US spyplanes

> circling overhead for hours, just before Philippine

> military raided their

> homes to arrest the residents without any charges.

> It was reported that a

> US spyplane provided the information that led to the

> massacre of three

> unarmed fisherfolk in Lantawan. The US planes also

> dropped what appeared to

> be barrels of toxic waste in the coastal waters of

> Basilan and the islands

> of Sulu.


> During our trip we visited communities and heard

> from families and victims

> of serious human rights abuses, from the shooting

> death of a young child,

> to the arbitrary arrests, torture and imprisonment

> of dozens of ordinary

> Moro people and other Filipinos. We saw them held in

> a crowded prison, some

> as young as 14 years old, accused of being members

> of the Abu Sayyaf Group

> (ASG), solely on the word of anonymous informers who

> receive rewards of up

> to 1 million pesos for their accusations. The

> minors, along with many other

> prisoners, told us they had been severely tortured

> by the Philippine military.


> At great personal risk and despite heavy military

> and police presence at

> all events, dozens of ordinary people including

> fisherfolks, farmers,

> housewives, barangay officials and even police

> officers from Zamboanga

> City, Basilan and General Santos City have taken the

> time to meet with ISM

> members, often inviting us into their homes. They

> told their stories of

> harassment, injury and death of their loved ones

> before and especially

> since the joint US-Philippine military operations

> started in January of

> this year.


> At times the emotion was unbearable as tears flowed

> from witnesses overcome

> with grief. One witness was unable to continue as

> she explained how her

> 11-year old child had been abducted by Filipino

> soldiers and was later

> reported killed along with three other purported ASG

> members in what seems

> to be a summary execution. At times the absurdity of

> the stories circulated

> by the Philippine military against the victims was

> blatant, for example

> when an imprisoned Muslim explained that he was

> accused of being an ASG

> member despite the fact his brother had been

> murdered by these bandits.


> There were chilling stories of women and minors

> harassed and then arrested,

> thrown in prison on unsubstantiated charges with no

> medical care. At least

> one woman prisoner lost her unborn child. Their only

> "crime" it seems,

> along with the others killed, arrested and

> imprisoned, is that they are

> Moro people who live in an area where thousands of

> Filipino troops and

> hundreds of US troops equipped with tons of the

> latest in military

> equipment are sowing terror among the local

> population.


> We the participants in the ISM, also heard

> corroborated testimony of

> collusion between the ASG, the Philippine military,

> and some government

> officials. One very reliable source, Fr Cirilo

> Nacorda, who had been held

> hostage for two months by the ASG, overheard

> discussions and witnessed

> meetings between the ASG and military and government

> officials while in

> captivity.


> The most shocking example of this apparent collusion

> was the so-called

> "escape" of Abu Sayyaf members and leaders from the

> Dr. Jose Torres

> Hospital in Lamitan, Basilan on June 2, 2001.

> Witnesses testified that ASG

> members, who were holding hostages in the hospital,

> were apparently

> surrounded by Philippine troops but were given the

> opportunity to walk away

> unharmed in broad daylight with their hostages.


> It is widely documented that the original founders

> of the ASG were directly

> recruited and trained by the CIA to fight in the

> US-sponsored proxy war in

> Afghanistan in the 1980s. Reports indicate that the

> ASG was handled by the

> Philippine military from its inception to sow terror

> and discord among the

> Moro population and to discredit legitimate groups.

> On top of this, the

> bandit group continues to provide a convenient

> excuse for US military

> involvement in Philippine internal affairs. The US

> military intervention

> has therefore not put an end to the Philippine

> military's collusion with

> the bandit group.


> While in Basilan we witnessed that abject poverty

> and hunger are still

> rampant in the province. The US military's civic

> action, including medical

> missions and infrastructure works, does nothing to

> address the basic

> problems of the people. To the contrary, as part of

> a classic

> counter-insurgency strategy, they serve to gather

> intelligence, appease the

> people, undermine their resilience and seek to make

> them submissive and

> dependent.


> The members of the ISM learned that the US military

> will not be leaving as

> promised. It has been announced that 160 Special

> Operations Forces of the

> US military will be staying behind after July 31 in

> Basilan and in Sulu,

> where aerial bombings and massive military

> operations have already led to

> mass evacuations with hundreds of houses destroyed

> and burned.


> Moreover, ISM delegates were informed that US troops

> continue to frequent

> other parts of the Philippines, with 1400 US troops

> currently active in

> Central Luzon, carrying out training exercises and

> rest and recreation,

> particularly around the former US bases of Clark and

> Subic. Already there

> are reports of proliferation of prostitution, child

> molestation and

> displacement of indigenous Aeta communities in these

> areas.


> In General Santos City ISM participants investigated

> several facilities

> including the local airport, the Makar wharf, the

> fish port, and a new

> luxury hotel and concluded that they are grossly out

> of proportion to the

> actual needs of the people of the city and the

> region. The fact that these

> huge infrastructures were built recently with US

> funding in a region that

> is strategically favorable for military use raises

> the suspicion that they

> were constructed for future use by the US military.


> Equally disturbing is the unlawful arrest and

> detention, last April 24, of

> three innocent Moro activists after a brutal raid on

> a clinic that is known

> to be within the network of Bayan and Bayan Muna.

> ISM members visited the

> detainees, known as the GenSan 3, in the General

> Santos City Jail and

> learned that they were linked by the police to the

> ASG, Moro Islamic

> Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People's Army

> (NPA) respectively, in an

> attempt to insinuate links between these groups, to

> instill fear in the

> people and justify state violence and intensified

> military deployment in

> the area.


> The ISM is aware that the return of US troops in the

> Philippines on the

> pretext of military exercises and training for

> soldiers of the Armed Forces

> of the Philippines is actually part of the bogus

> "war on terrorism" of the

> Bush administration. Using the September 11 attacks

> as a pretext, the US

> government has intensified repressive policies

> domestically, virtually

> abolishing civil liberties and targeting Muslims in

> particular. Abroad,

> Washington's increasing aggression and the

> borderless "war on terror"

> targets all peoples asserting their sovereignty and

> opposing US economic

> and political dominance.


> As ISM delegates shared during a public forum, the

> people of Palestine,

> Iraq, Colombia, Afghanistan, Cuba, and other

> countries have suffered

> greatly from this intensified belligerence.

> Meanwhile the "war at home" is

> targeting migrant workers, immigrants, people of

> color, workers and

> activists in Korea, Japan, the US and other

> countries that are falling in

> line with Bush's policies. They also testified,

> however, about the brave

> and heightening resistance by the peoples of these

> countries.


> US military presence in the Philippines is directed

> against all domestic

> forces opposed to US domination and exploitation,

> including the New

> People's Army (NPA), the Moro Islamic Liberation

> Front (MILF), factions of

> the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and even

> the legal democratic

> mass movement. Over the past months, for example, 23

> members of the legal

> political party Bayan Muna have been murdered and 6

> have disappeared.


> At the same time, Washington's military intervention

> in the Philippines is

> part of an intensified drive for further

> consolidation of US world

> hegemony. It is intended to secure and tighten US

> corporate control of

> land, markets and natural resources in Mindanao, the

> rest of the

> Philippines and Asia. Its agenda is the

> establishment of permanent military

> presence and bases so the Philippines can be used as

> a launching pad for

> attacks against the peoples of Asia and beyond.


> US Foreign Secretary Colin Powell is expected to

> finalize the new

> US-Philippines Mutual Logistics Support Agreement

> (MLSA) during a trip to

> the Philippines August 2 and 3. This will extend,

> expand and consolidate

> the growing US presence in the archipelago and

> secure the stationing of US

> military troops and war materiel.


> The ISM participants believe the government of

> Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is

> responsible for submitting to the Bush regime's plan

> to export its bogus

> "war on terror" to the Philippine soil and giving

> the American military

> free rein to directly intervene in internal affairs.

> She is likewise

> accountable for the massive violations of human

> rights and the sovereign

> and democratic rights of the Filipino people.


> Just over 10 years ago the Filipino people were

> victorious in driving out

> the US bases and all US troops. The Filipino people,

> with assistance from

> the peoples of the world, can and will drive the US

> troops out of their

> country once again. It is just a matter of time!


> Therefore we, the ISM delegates, in concluding our

> mission today, July 30,

> 2002, resolve to maintain and strengthen the

> solidarity links that have

> been forged and to develop concerted initiatives to

> end US military

> intervention and to heighten worldwide resistance to

> US imperialism in the

> Philippines and around the world. We unite to fight

> for:


> ü the immediate, total and permanent withdrawal of

> all US troops from the

> Philippines;

> ü justice for the Filipino people and all victims of

> human rights

> atrocities committed by US and Philippine troops;

> ü an end to US-led aggression and intervention under

> whatever pretext it

> occurs.


> With this in mind we have adopted the following plan

> of action:


> ü to demand the prosecution of US soldiers involved

> in the Tuburan shooting

> and other human rights violations;

> ü to campaign for the unconditional freedom for the

> Basilan 73 detainees

> and the GenSan 3;

> ü to organize protest actions against the upcoming

> Balikatan;

> ü to oppose the approval and implementation of the


> ü to launch coordinated and broad information

> campaigns (fora, workshops,

> publications and other grassroots actions) in our

> respective countries and

> localities to expose and oppose US aggression and

> armed intervention in the

> Philippines;

> ü to create and popularize websites and publications

> that will monitor US

> troops in the Philippines and other related

> information;

> ü to strengthen our links and solidarity with the

> people of Basilan,

> Zamboanga, and Sulu, Bayan affiliated people's

> organizations and

> people-oriented service institutions;

> ü to undertake networking with solidarity groups,

> international solidarity

> formations and in particular the International

> League of People's Struggles

> (ILPS), human rights organizations, church

> institutions and individuals,

> peoples of color, progressive political parties,

> international conferences,

> anti-war/anti-racist alliances, and other solidarity

> groups such as those

> working for Palestine, Colombia, Iraq, etc.;

> ü to conduct and organize militant mass actions in

> front of US embassies to

> condemn US armed intervention;

> ü to launch internationally-coordinated actions on

> the issue of US armed

> intervention in the Philippines and US aggression in

> other countries.


> **********


> News Release

> July 23, 2002




> After Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos declaration

> that she wants a 'strong

> republic' which is based ,among other factors, on

> enhanced strategic ties

> with the United States through military cooperation,

> the Bayan Muna

> political party announced their intent to launch

> the International

> Solidarity Mission against the Balikatan series of

> military exercises and

> the Macapagal-Arroyo government's plans to launch

> 'sustained program of

> security cooperation and assistance."


> The Mission kicks off tomorrow, July 24, 2002, with

> a pressconference at

> the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City from 10:30am to

> 11:30am. The ISM's

> fact-finding mission component will take place in

> Zamboanga, Basilan,

> General Santos City beginning July 25 to July 31.


> Over 35 foreign participants from the US, Canada,

> South Korea, Australia,

> Malaysia and Japan representing a broad various

> church-based organizations,

> anti-nuclear power groups, human rights associations

> and peoples groups

> unite with the Filipino people in the struggle to

> defend Philippine

> sovereignty and territorial integrity.


> The program, drafted and endorsed by the Mutual

> Defense Board (MDB) of the

> Philippines and the United States is comprised of

> military exercises,

> exercise-related construction activities, personnel

> exchange and ship

> visits, security assistance activities, conferences,

> workshops and

> symposia, civic action projects, and a partnership

> program between the AFP

> and the Hawaii and Guam national guard.


> Out Now! Convenor Ret. Navy Capt. Danilo Vizmanos

> said that the MDB's

> endorsement of a 5-year sustained military program

> between the US and the

> Philippines lays to rest all doubts of the intent of

> the United States to

> re-establish and reinforce its military stranglehold

> over the Philippines

> and thus strengthen influence over the entire

> Asia-Pacific region. He

> accused the top brass of the Armed Forces of the

> Philippines and President

> Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of attempting to muddle the

> public's understanding

> regarding the Balikatan , the 5-year plan being put

> together by the MDB and

> the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA).


> He said that the government is purposely trying to

> confuse the public by

> making it appear that all these military plans are

> separate from one

> another, each one pertaining to a different

> arrangement, a product of

> separate negotiations. "There's no difference

> between extending the current

> Balikatan exercises and beginning a new one. It all

> amounts to the same

> thing: the US troops, their warships and their

> facilities will be staying

> to the detriment of the country's sovereignty,

> security and human rights

> situation," he said.


> Meanwhile, Bayan Muna President and Representative

> Satur Ocampo said that

> Pres. Arroyo is making unilateral decisions on

> matters that concern the

> country's international security and subsequent

> future. "She is bypassing

> the entire process of consultations with the other

> branches of government,

> and more importantly, with the rest of the Filipino

> people. Protests in

> various forms continue to be lodged and launched

> against the Balikatan, yet

> Mrs. Arroyo maintains a defiant stance. The US

> troops could be here for

> the long haul, or at least so long as this

> administration is in power," he

> said.


> "The jig is up. The US troops are not here to help

> the AFP defeat the Abu

> Sayyaf or to rescue hostages; neither are they here

> impart genuine military

> expertise to the local troops. Their intentions are

> not at all altruistic

> and much more strategic to the US' geopolitical and

> economic agenda The

> explanations that the US troops will also conduct

> socio-civic work do not

> wash clean: the roads, bridges, telecommunication

> lines and towers and

> other infrastructure they're going to build are for

> their own use and

> benefit, not for the people of Mindanao," he said.


> Meanwhile, American professor and member of the

> Philippine International

> Forum Carlton Palms said that the US' return to the

> Philippines, much like

> US President George Bush's newest threats against

> North Korea, is also an

> effort to assert U.S. influence in East Asia, as

> China rises as a global

> power and other Asian economies recover from

> financial crises. He said that

> by analyzing the US wars in the past decade -- in

> the Persian Gulf,

> Somalia, the Balkans, or Afghanistan or even at

> Bush's new "axis of evil"

> of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, the same common

> themes will be realized.


> "The U.S. military interventions can nearly all be

> tied to the U.S. desire

> to build or rebuild military bases. The goal is not

> to end "terror" or

> encourage "democracy," and Bush will not accomplish

> either of these

> claimed goals. The short-term goal is to station

> U.S. military forces in

> regions where local nationalists had evicted them.

> The ultimate goal is to

> establish new American spheres of influence, and

> eliminate any obstacles--

> religious militants, secular nationalists, enemy

> governments, or even

> allies--who stand in the way," he said.


> Bayan chairperson Rafael Mariano meanwhile said

> that Filipinos should not

> allow the country to be used as staging ground for

> US wars of aggression

> in the world. He said that there was also an

> immediate need to assess the

> impact of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the

> Balikatan exercises these

> past six months.


> Bayan Muna and Bayan along with other patriotic

> people's organizations will

> embark on the International Solidarity Mission (ISM)

> to the Philippines on

> July 24-31, 2002. Its main features are a three-day

> fact-finding mission

> and conference; and a six-day Peoples' Caravan in

> Mindanao, Southern

> Philippines.


> The objectives of the ISM are: a) to investigate the

> real nature,

> objectives and extent of US military involvement in

> the Philippines; b)

> assess the impact of US armed intervention in the

> country; and c) forge

> international solidarity links and cooperation in a

> common quest for global

> peace free from wars of aggression and intervention.



> Mariano shared that mission will be composed of

> peace advocates, human

> rights defenders, parliamentarians, academicians,

> artists and

> representatives of peoples' organizations and NGOs

> from US, Canada,

> Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America,

> Africa, Europe and the

> Philippines. The ISM intends to investigate the

> reasons and consequences of

> a sudden and expanding military commitment between

> the Philippines and the

> US.


> "Already, the stepped up involvement is creating not

> just political

> problems such as the infringement of sovereignty or

> threatening potential

> conflicts with the Philippines' neighbors, like

> Malaysia or Indonesia.

> There are other less critical but nonetheless

> important issues such as the

> return of the sex trade catering to US troops or

> violation of land rights

> in the acquisition of training sites," said Mariano.

> #


> News Release

> July 25, 2002


> Rep. Ocampo says 'No Way' to Anti-Terrorism Bills


> Zamboanga City - International Solidarity Mission

> (ISM) spokesperson and

> Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo reiterated

> his strong opposition to

> the anti-terrorist bills now pending in the Senate

> and Lower House.


> ""The Arroyo government can't expect nationalist

> groups to be pacified and

> satisfied with its assurances that there really are

> no hidden dangers in

> the anti-terrorist bills that it's pushing in

> Congress. We simply cannot

> and will not take the government's word for it.

> Such measures by their

> very nature pose serious threats against civil

> liberties and democratic

> rights; and the government, with its repressive

> character is certain to use

> the law to stifle legitimate dissent," he said.


> Ocampo said that the Arroyo government is determined

> to fast-track all

> measures that will legitimize a virtual crackdown

> not so much on terrorist

> and criminal groups, but also on progressive and

> militant organizations

> vocal in their criticism against the administration

> and its all-out support

> to the US' anti-terrorist campaign. According to

> him, the provisions of the

> bills are too encompassing and targets just about

> anyone. "Anyone could be

> suspected of terroristic activities, and the

> consequences are dire. The

> anti-terrorist issue has been totally blown out of

> proportion, exaggerated

> to the maximum so that it can justify the

> enforcement of Gestapo-like

> measures like wire-tapping, surveillance which are

> infringements on the

> right to privacy," he said.


> He made an appeal to all civil libertarians and

> freedom-loving Filipinos

> to oppose what he termed to be the government's

> attempts to curtail the

> freedom of political belief. "Pres. Arroyo and her

> militarist advisers want

> everyone to dance to the same tune that they do -

> that is, the

> anti-terrorist jingle that the US has come up with

> it to justify its

> militarist and expansionist agenda. These

> anti-terrorism bills should not

> be allowed to be passed into law. To do so would be

> tantamount to imposing

> a death sentence on civil rights," he said.#


> News Release

> July 26, 2002


> International fact-finding mission exposes human

> rights violations, toxic

> waste dumping related to Balikatan exercises


> Zamboanga City - Members of the International

> Solidarity Mission (ISM)

> sponsored by the Bayan Muna political party and the

> Bagong Alyansang

> Makabayan (BAYAN) have begun their data-gathering

> and fact-finding mission

> regarding the impact of the continued presence of

> US military forces in

> Mindanao.


> Representatives Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Bayan Muna

> secretary general and

> Caloocan City councilor Nathaniel Santiago along

> with leaders of the

> Moro-Christian People's Alliance (MCPA) and US Troop

> Out Now! Coalition and

> Karapatan Alliance for Human Rights led the

> 40-strong ISM delegation in

> conducting the fact-finding mission in Zamboanga and

> Basilan. A separate

> group conducted similar activities in General Santos

> City.


> Reps. Ocampo and Maza yesterday had an audience with

> Southern Mindanao

> Command deputy commander Gen.Rodolfo Diaz regarding

> the ISM. Ocampo said

> that Gen. Diaz was very cautious in answering

> queries from the ISM

> delegates , particularly questions regarding the

> seriousness of the Abu

> Sayyaf threat, and whether there is truth to claims

> that the military is

> behind rampant human rights violations in the area

> perpetrated in the

> course of their supposed pursuit of the Abu Sayaff.


> On its third day, the ISM has already managed to

> compile and document a

> series of events and cases pertinent to the conduct

> of Balikatan 02-1

> exercises in Zamboanga and Basilan, as well as

> related incidents in nearby

> Sulu island from February to June this year.


> During the plenary session of the conference, ISM

> delegates presented their

> respective reports composed of interviews with

> residents, local baranggay

> and municipal officials, as well as their own

> observations. They also

> included in their reports the articles which came

> out in the local

> newspapers, accounts which did not reach the pages

> of Manila-based national

> newspapers nor reported over tv and radio news

> programs.


> Among the most significant findings of the team is

> that of the Commission

> on Human Rights in Zamboanga's statement that there

> has been a marked

> increase in the number of cases filed before them

> since the start of the

> Balikatan exercises in the area. They receive

> complaints almost everyday.


> Incidents monitored by ISM range from cases of

> outright murder and even

> massacres (2 cases of massacre where seven civilians

> fell victim); forced

> evacuation and demolitions involving residents of

> Zamboanga (in Brgy.

> Limpapa) and Basilan (Sitio Lipid, Tuburan) in

> separate incidents; to at

> least 13 so-called encounters between Philippine

> troops and alleged Abu

> Sayyaf Group (ASG) members.


> Rep. Ocampo said that a number of the reported

> firefights proved to be, at

> the very least, dubious since direct investigations

> conducted by the ISM

> yielded totally different stories. "It appears that

> several encounter

> reports the media has released came directly from

> the military. These

> 'encounters' are now being exposed as cover-ups for

> blatant human rights

> violations being committed not against ASG members

> but against innocent

> civilians," he explained.


> Cases of raids, illegal arrests, arbitrary detention

> and looting were also

> documented. Eight such cases revealed that

> civilians, again, and not ASG

> members were the prime casualties of these

> operations. This even includes

> the illegal raid of Tuburan, Basilan town mayor Dore

> Kalahal last April 8,

> 2002 by elements of the 18th Infantry Battalion of

> the AFP. Kalahal said

> that the 29 soldiers who barged into his home could

> not produce neither a

> search warrant nor a warrant of arrest when he

> accosted them. The mayor was

> wrongly accused of being a supporter of the ASG.


> 18th IB commander Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero claimed

> that warrants were issued

> by one Judge Danilo Bucoy; but when interviewed,

> Bucoy denied having

> issued the two warrants.


> Prostitution


> The ISM received reports that two prostituted women

> died after having sex

> with American soldiers at Basilan, according to the

> doctor who checked on

> the women. One of them had intercourse with three

> American soldiers and

> later on bled to death.The issue did not reach the

> media because the

> victims' families were allegedly intimidated into

> silence and given bribes.


> The group also found out that local prostitutes from

> Maluso and Isabela

> visit the military camp areas particularly Maluso,

> Lantawan and Isabela.

> Meanwhile, a restaurant in Lamitan offering batchoy

> is said to be actually

> serving as a front for prostitution. Filipino and

> American soldiers

> allegedly frequent the area.


> "Because of intense poverty, Zamboangenas and

> Basilenas are being forced

> into prostitution, and the US troops and their local

> counterparts are

> taking advantage of this. Prostitution dens crop up

> like mushrooms in the

> rainy season wherever foreign troops are deployed.

> It's an outrage that

> the US troops are getting away with such

> reprehensible behavior. Not only

> is their very presence in the country a severe

> violation of Philipine

> sovereignty, but it places Filipina women and

> children under the threat of

> prostitution," she said.


> Meanwhile, environmental concerns have also been

> raised by the ISM in light

> of reports that barrels containing toxic waste from

> military ships and

> airplanes have been dumped in Sulu coastal areas.

> Last March 23, 2002 and airplane was seen to drop a

> silver-coated drum in

> Mt. Sinomaan, Patikul, Sulu. Residents within the

> periphery of the mountain

> were alarmed and were forced to evacuate for fear

> that the dropped barrel

> might contain explosive devices. Many believe that

> the area has been

> targetted as a place for waste or chemical disposal.


> Last April 13, US spy planes dropped barrels of

> waste into the coastal

> waters of Baranggay Etub-Etub, Sumisio Town. Basilan

> Gov. Wahab Akbar said

> that the spy planes dropped barrels into the coastal

> waters. Immediately

> after, after which children in the area begun

> started experiencing nausea,

> vomitting and diarrhea.


> Earlier, Sulu Rep. Hussin Amin who, along with Rep.

> Satur Ocampo has been

> investigating alleged human rights violations in

> Mindanao, said that

> American P3 Orion planes were dropping what appeared

> to be drums of toxic

> chemicals in at least three towns in his province.

> Amin said that residents

> of Patikul, Luuk and Indanan towns in Sulu were

> apprehensive about the

> airdrops. But US spokesperson Maj. Cynthia Terramae

> denied the Americans

> were dumping anything and challenged Amin to produce

> evidence.


> Live Bullets


> Firing exercises began last April 19 in Tabiawan,

> Basilan. Philippine and

> US troops are said to use live ammunition in their

> trainings, causing

> residents great fear and anxiety. Violations arising

> from the military

> trainings directly attributed to US troops

> themselves have been, in

> general, kept from media. Majority of the cases

> monitored naturally, cite

> the Philippine Army as the perpetrators precisely

> because the US soldiers

> are supposedly disallowed from engaging in direct

> combat.


> Despite the absence of US troops in the so-called

> encounters, however,

> residents in affected areas themselves believe that

> the attacks against

> their communities are part of the training given by

> the American troops to

> the Philippine Army. The annihilation of the

> notorious ASG has been exposed

> to serve more as a cover for the real targets of the

> exercises, namely the

> Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the New

> People's Army (NPA).


> "These incidents reveal the mercenary character of

> the Philippine soldiers

> under the tutelage of the Americans. Looting,

> destruction and burning of

> houses, cold-blooded murder of civilians and passing

> them off as bandits

> show the degree of violence being committed against

> the people.

> The certainty is : the US-backed military operations

> in Southern

> Philippines are spawning more and more human rights

> violations reminiscent

> of the wars of aggression launched by Spanish and

> American forces against

> the Filipino natives in the 15th century and onto

> the Second World War,"

> Ocampo said.#


> News Release

> July 26, 2002


> News Flash!

> American soldier shoots Moro civilian in own home,

> in front of wife and

> children; Bayan Muna solons demand investigations

> into incident


> A 27-year old Muslim of the Lakan tribe today sought

> the help of Bayan Muna

> solons Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, saying that

> soldiers - two Filipinos and

> one African-American- broke into their house

> around midnight last night,

> Thursday, July 25, and shot her husband without

> provocation.


> The Bayan Muna Reps were talking to an audience of

> 200 Basilan residents in

> a symposium which is part of the International

> Solidarity Mission (ISM)

> when the young woman arrived with coordinators of

> the Muslim-Christian

> People's Alliance (MCPA). Ocampo, Maza and Public

> Interest Law Center

> (PILC) lawyer Edre Olalia immediately proceeded to

> listen to her narrative

> and plea for help.


> The woman, Jurida Isnijal, said that she and her

> family composed of her

> husband Buyong Buyong Isnijal, their children and

> Isnijal's mother were in

> their respective beds sleeping when the troops

> suddenly broke the door down

> and began shooting. Jurida had her flashlight out

> and she distinctly saw

> the face of the African American soldier who carried

> a long fire-arm,

> perhaps an M-16 or M-15 rifle. She described the

> man as around 6 feet,

> stocky in built, and had a distinctly aquiline nose.

> He also wore a

> jungle-fatigue bandana wrapped around his head. The

> man took aim at Buyong

> Buyong and shot him in the left leg.


> Panicking, Jurida stood up and tried to rush out

> for help. The

> African-American then told her to "shut up and sit

> down."


> By then the entire Isnijal family was awake and the

> children were crying.

> The soldiers, particularly the two Filipino troops,

> explained that they

> had found a Garrand rifle in the house of Hadji

> Saud, who lived 300 meters

> away. Buyong Buyong, bleeding, denied that he owned

> a gun or that he knew

> of any rifle that belonged to any of his neighbors.


> The soldiers then began cleaning Buyong-Buyong's

> wound. As the rest of the

> family watched, the soldiers then took Buyong-Buyong

> out of the house and

> said that they will take him to Lantawan District

> Hospital. Jurida tried

> to follow but the soldiers said that she can come to

> see her husband in the

> morning. That was the last time she saw her husband

> because when she went

> to the hospital a few hours later, she was informed

> that the soldiers had

> already taken him to the SouthCom barracks-offices.


> Rep. Ocampo said that if Jurida's experience is true

> then there is really

> should be no more debate about the correctness of

> allowing US troops to

> remain in the country. "This is in direct and brutal

> violation of the very

> Terms of Reference (TOR) they signed. An armed

> American soldier has forced

> himself into the home of a civilian family, shooting

> a civilian and then

> virtually abducting him. This is an outrage for

> which the American and

> Philippine governments should take responsibility

> for," he said.


> Rep.Maza said that the trauma suffered by Jurida,

> the old mother-in-law

> (who also gave her testimony to what happened) and

> the two children cannot

> be immediately erased. "These troops especially the

> African-American Jurida

> saw should be court-martialed

> and jailed. We demand that the Southern Mindanao

> Command immediately

> surrender these three soldiers and return

> Buyong-Buyong to the safety of

> his family."


> The two representatives said that they will

> immediately call for

> congressional investigations into the incident. #






> News Release

> July 27, 2002


> Rep. Ocampo: "Expanding US presence in the

> Philippines contribution to US'

> military agenda in Southeast Asia"


> On the 4th day of the International Solidarity

> Mission in Mindanao covering

> the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan and General

> Santos City, Bayan Muna

> Representative and ISM spokesperson Satur Ocampo

> said that signs that the

> US was bent on expanding its military presence in

> the Philippines were all

> over Mindanao.


> "Construction projects are being fast-tracked to

> meet the requirements of

> the US troop, their facilities and equipment.

> Residents say that before the

> arrival of the US troops, there was little interest

> in developing the roads

> and other infrastructure despite the local

> population's obvious need for

> them. Now, because of the planned long-term

> deployment of American military

> and the entry of their war equipment and facilities,

> immediate deadlines

> for the projects are being set," he said.


> "The US military, local government officials and the

> Arroyo government

> itself are trying to pass off these projects as

> among the benefits of

> having bilateral military arrangements. But in fact,

> what this issue

> exposes is the government's gross neglect of the

> infrastructure needs,

> among other needs, of the population. The US

> military and the government

> are taking advantage of this, turning it around and

> exploiting it to

> justify the continued presence of US troops in the

> country ," he said.


> Rep. Ocampo said that the immediate objective in

> what appears to be a

> 5-to-10-year military plan for Southeast Asia is to

> use the "war on

> terrorism" as a springboard for a deeper and wider

> U.S. military presence

> in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. This and

> the creation of a

> regional security partnership with Southeast Asian

> governments, Ocampo

> said, will pave the way for a well-entrenched

> American military

> domination in the region with serious continental

> implications.


> "The military and even police forces of Southeast

> Asian countries will be

> virtually integrated in a comprehensive security

> network that will bolster

> existing bilateral military agreements. What we will

> be seeing is the

> increasing strength of the military and its

> influence over supposedly

> civilian governments," he said.


> At this very moment, several continuing joint

> military exercises are under

> way in Southeast Asia particularly in Thailand,

> Singapore, Australia and

> the Philippines with the objective of providing a

> "permanent-temporary"

> stay of U.S. ground forces and thus complementing

> U.S. air and naval access

> privileges. "Military exercises and trainings

> combine with an increase in

> military aid and arms sales to the region that would

> eventually result in

> the formation of a multilateral/regional security

> force, resembling the

> defunct South East Asian Treaty Organization

> (SEATO)," he said.


> Ocampo said that the forces that will come together

> to build this military

> formation will come from the ASEAN Regional Forum

> (ARF), a project of

> Admiral Dennis Blair, when he was still

> commander-in-chief of the Pacific

> Command (CINCPAC). Already the ARF has made possible

> the establishment of a

> counter-terrorist coordinating body by the

> Philippines, Indonesia and

> Malaysia last April.


> Finally, Ocampo said that the US wants to recover

> the military advantage

> that it once enjoyed in Southeast Asia, and it can

> only do so by

> establishing a fixed military base. "The US. has had

> no direct military

> presence in Southeast Asia since its defeat in the

> Indochina war and the

> withdrawal of its military installations from Subic

> Bay and Clark airfield

> in 1992. Possible sites for a new military base are,

> aside from the

> Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. Because

> tensions continue to mount in

> Okinawa, Japan where the presence of the US bases is

> being opposed by a

> strong anti-base movement exist; and in the Korean

> Peninsula, the US is

> desperate to relocate its permanent facilities

> elsewhere. Pres. Arroyo is

> determined to help the US in this regard, at the

> serious expense on

> national sovereignty, security, and territorial

> integrity," he said.#



> News Release July 28, 2002


> ISM stands firm on US troops' involvement in

> shooting of civilian;

> challenges military, DFA and DOJ to initiate

> full-blown investigations into

> issue


> The 40-strong International Solidarity Mission led

> by the Bayan Muna

> political party and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

> (BAYAN) today and the US

> military command now in Zamboanga for attempting to

> dismiss the ISM's

> findings that American troops were involved in the

> shooting and illegal

> arrest of civilian Buyong Buyong Isnijal at about

> midnight of July 24

> (24:00).


> ISM spokespersons and Bayan Muna Representatives

> Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza

> assailed SouthCom head Gen. Ernesto Carolina's

> dismissive attitude towards

> the ISM's findings and attempts to justify the

> shooting by saying that

> Isnijal was an Abu Sayyaf member. The SouthCom and

> the US military in

> Zamboanga have also issued conflicting and

> inconsistent reports that

> Americans were not involved in the incident; that

> the Americans were

> involved but they were there only to provide

> 'humanitarian medical aid' to

> Isnijal when he was shot; that there was a shooting

> but that it was

> Filipino soldier who did it; and that there were no

> American troops at all

> during incident.


> Yesterday, the Southcom denied all knowledge of the

> incident and said that

> the ISM's story was pure fabrication. Today,

> however, it's issuing

> different explanations. In a heated 15-minute live

> interview with DZBB's

> Arnold Clavio at 9:00 am today, Ocampo firmly

> disputed Carolina's

> allegations. Ocampo's points of arguments are as

> follows:


> On the involvement of US troops in the incident:


> There are enough witnesses to attest that American

> soldiers were in fact

> involved in the incident. Juraida Isnijal stated

> under oath that he was

> with her husband Buyongbuyong Isnijal when an

> American soldier, an

> African-American, shot her defenseless husband in

> the left leg. Juraida

> attempted to wrest the armalite from the said

> American soldier, and in the

> process, burned her right palm on the hot metal and

> her face by the end of

> the gun barrel. She also sustained bruises on her

> forehead, the bridge of

> her nose.


> Her niece and mother-in-law corroborated Juraida's




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