Various groups support Venezuela's struggle against US intervention
US Embassy, Manila
April 20, 2015
Bayan slams Balikatan 2015
Posted date: April 07, 2015In: News Releases
April 7, 2015
The veil surrounding the role of the United States in the bloody Mamasapano incident not even been lifted, yet here are the US and Philippine governments planning another joint exercise involving 5,000 US troops starting April 20.
The custody issue involving murder suspect US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton has not been resolved in favor of the Philippines yet here is the US allowing its troops to undertake rest and recreation all over the country.
The upcoming Balikatan war games is another affront to our sovereignty. It is a spit on the face the Philippines. Why is the Philippine government welcoming these interventionist troops after all the damage they have done to our country?
The refusal of the US to reveal its true role in Mamasapano along with their earlier refusal to surrender custody of Pemberton should already be grounds for terminating US military activities in the country. These should be enough basis to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The US provided funding and training, real-time intelligence as well as hands-on direction for the bloody Mamasapano incident that claimed the lives of 67 Filipinos. Six Americans were confirmed to be at the PNP SAF tactical command post during the operation. It is an indication that the US played a leading role in the operation. Filipino troops were sacrificed to satisfy the war on terror obsession of the US. The US even had prior knowledge of the operation, ahead of top officials such as the DND and DILG secretaries and the PNP OIC.
It is not true that the US is out to protect us against China’s incursions and reclamation projects in the West Philippine Sea. The US has repeatedly said it that does not take sides in the dispute. The US is a huge debtor to China, to the tune of US $1.3 trillion. The US will not engage China in a shooting war. Our national leaders are only being made to believe that the US is there to support us. In truth, the US in only concerned with its own expansionist interests in Asia. Our national interest is not identical with US imperialist interests.
Like vultures, the US is already encircling Mindanao, anticipating the conclusion of Aquino’s so-called peace pact that would allow foreign plunder of natural resources. The US military build-up in the area is tied to US economic interests in mining and oil and energy exploration.
The Balikatan war games are a continuing reminder of the subservience of
the Aquino regime to foreign dictates. It is this subservience that makes
us weak as a nation. The Philippine government refuses to adopt an
independent foreign policy. It refuses to assert economic sovereignty
which will allow us to develop the capacity to defend our territorial
waters. The Aquino government is a shameless puppet government. ###
Click here for video of speech of Teddy Casiño
US Balikatan will not help PH vs China
Posted date: April 19, 2015In: News Releases
April 19, 2015
Renato Reyes, Jr. , BAYAN secretary general
The upcoming Balikatan war games is another affront to Philippine sovereignty by the United States government. It comes in the wake of US involvement in the botched Mamasapano operation that resulted in the deaths of 67 Filipinos. The Balikatan war games also takes place during the trial of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton who is accused of murdering Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude, and who remains under US custody.
The Balikatan war games will not help the Philippines against the expansionist activities of China in the region. Numerous Balikatan exercises from the 80’s onwards have failed to help modernize the Philippine military. Even the de facto basing pact Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which marks its first anniversary on April27, will not develop our country’s defenses.
The joint exercises are intended to boost US power projection in the region and increase US involvement in the Philippines’ internal affairs. It is not true that the US is out to protect us against China’s incursions and reclamation projects in the West Philippine Sea. The US has repeatedly said that it that does not take sides in the maritime dispute.
The US is a huge debtor to China, to the tune of US $1.3 trillion. The US will not engage China in a shooting war. Our national leaders are only being made to believe that the US is there to support us. In truth, the US in only concerned with its own imperialist interests in Asia. We assert that our national interest is not identical with US strategic pivot to the region.
The supposed new equipment that are being requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs for maritime surveillance will be owned and operated by the United States. The DFA is basically allowing the US to put up military facilities on PH territory, in the guise of helping us counter China.
Increased US involvement in the Philippines should also be seen in the context of the former’s involvement in the Bangsamoro peace process. Like vultures, the US is already encircling Mindanao, anticipating the conclusion of Aquino’s so-called peace pact that would allow foreign plunder of Mindanao’s natural resources. The US military build-up in the area is tied to US economic interests in mining and oil and energy exploration. US economic aid to the region before and after the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is also aimed at facilitating foreign investments and the plunder of resources.
We cannot effectively defend our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone against China if we continue to remain a neo-colony of the United States. It is our reliance on the US which has made our country weak and unable to develop the economic means and military capability to defend our waters. Only a government that upholds economic sovereignty and an independent foreign policy will be able to muster the strength of the Filipino people against the incursions of both China and the US. ###
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 April 2015
Balikatan will not counter China’s expansionist activities – student group
A day after the official commencement of the US and Philippines’ Balikatan exercises, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) joined other sectoral organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in a protest on Monday in front of the US embassy.
LFS said that aside from being another violation of Philippine sovereignty, Balikatan is also a disrespect to the Filipino people who have just recently grieved the death of Jennifer Laude under the hands of US serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton.
“Balikatan has always been a deliberate violation of our national sovereignty. As if adding insult to the injury, it was launched amid the prosecution of Joseph Pemberton who murdered our kababayan Jennifer Laude,” said LFS National Spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
The youth group asserted that the US military will not help the Philippines counter China’s reclamation activities in the Philippines even through Balikatan and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
“The US military has so gallantly posed itself as an ally against territorial dispute but it never really did anything to inhibit Chinese incursion. Instead, it has even set greater threats to our sovereignty through Balikatan and military agreements such as EDCA,” said Bañez.
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. earlier said that this year’s Balikatan will not deliberately ward off Chinese reclamation in the West Philippine Sea.
Bañez also said that Balikatan will not modernize the AFP and amplify the Philippines’ strength to secure its territorial integrity.
“Modernizing the AFP and training them to defend our sovereignty are nothing but lies and cover-ups to the US’ main agenda of bolstering its power in the Asia-Pacific. Even the new military equipment requested by the military for maritime patrolling will be under the control of the US and not of the Philippines,” she told.
LFS pointed out that in the Philippines will never successfully triumph against the regional dispute with China if it continues to follow the dictates of a superpower like the US.
“We will never assert our territorial integrity if a vulture like the US continues to fly in our midst. It is our decades long of slavery to the US that made us weak in terms of economy and military.”
“We do not expect a US puppet like the Aquino regime to uphold sovereignty and an independent foreign policy. The Filipino people must clamor to oust the current administration and put up a government that will truly fight for our independence,” Bañez ended.
LFS National Spokesperson
0919 617 8979
LFS Media Liaison
0926 594 5243
Click here for video of Charisse Bañez' speech
"We are urging the House of Representatives and the Honorable Speaker to use our international parliamentary networks to condemn China’s aggression. As standing members of the Asian Parliamentary Association (AIPO) and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) we should use these venues to gather international support for our sovereign claim over Panatag shoal."
Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Second Regular Session
Introduced by BAYAN MUNA Rep. NERI J. COLMENARES and Rep. CARLOS ISAGANI
17 April 2015
Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, ILPS Philippines Chairperson, 0908-1636597
MANILA. The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS-Phils) scored the Balikatan 2015 military exercise of the United States in the country as an "intensification of war preparations and a growing burden to the Filipino people and the region."
Instead of scaling down, the 31st Balikatan exercise has grown to be the biggest in 15 years. It now involves 6,656 American soldiers, 5,023 Filipino soldiers, 76 US military aircraft and three US warships. Some 61 Australian soldiers are also participating.
"This shows the US strategic pivot into Asia to project itself militarily in the region. Aside from having security alliances with Japan and Australia, it is using bilateral agreements such as with the Philippines to reinforce US interests using the expanding presence of China as a bogey," ILPS-Phils Chair Elmer "Bong" Labog said.
Various military activities are slated in the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cavite and Zambales in Northern Luzon. So-called "community services" are also slated in Albay, Bicol, in Capiz, Panay and in Palawan. Activities range from amphibious assault, field training to live fire exercises.
"The recent Mamasapano tragedy to get US-wanted terrorists has shown that these trainings and exercises have not really secured the people. In fact, the exercises are a continuing violation of Philippine sovereignty and poses real threat and harm on the people," the ILPS-Phils said.
Balikatan 2015 is the first major US military exercise after US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is charged for the murder of Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude in October 2014.
"No amount of curfew and restrictions on night clubs and bars can guarantee the safety of civilians from these trained killing men. The suggestion of Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to provide 'real women' to prevent another transgender death shows how absurdity can be stretched to great lengths just to host these foreign troops," it added.
The first Balikatan exercise was conducted in 1991. In 1995, the Philippines ended Balikatan because of a dispute over the Visiting Forces Agreement. That agreement gives the United States jurisdiction over crimes committed by military personnel while on duty in a foreign country. The Visiting Forces Agreement provided for expanded military cooperation after coming into force in 1999.###
I L P
Yet Filipinos should sit up and take notice. These most recent events in Venezuela underscore hard lessons being learned by the Venezuelan people and its democratically elected government as they try to chart their nation’s destiny toward greater equity, social cohesion and national progress. In the process they find themselves continuously, systematically and violently opposed by the tiny but still powerful socioeconomic elite with the solid backing of the US government.
Fifteen years ago, under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan society underwent sweeping reforms that aimed to redistribute the revenue from its oil wealth for the benefit of the greater majority. This entailed nationalizing the oil industry and using its earnings for government socioeconomic programs geared to ensure that basic goods and services such as food, housing and education were universally accessible and affordable. The Chavez leadership also pushed aggressively for genuine land reform. It capitalized on its huge popularity with the masses to build grassroots-based people’s organizations such as worker-managed cooperatives and community councils that galvanized the popular will behind its reforms.
The Chavez government prevailed over unrelenting destabilization moves by its opponents up to a successful coup d’état in 2002 that lasted for 48 hours, until the younger loyal officers of the armed forces restored Chavez to power. He ruled from then on, winning a series of democratic elections until his death from illness in 2013.
The Maduro government that took over and continues the sweeping reforms of Chavez (dubbed the Bolivarian Revolution) has been met from Day One by a new round of attacks from the US-backed right-wing forces code named “El Salida” or “The Exit.”
The so-called mass protests have died down despite the efforts of opposition leaders holding the reins of local government in rich enclaves to sustain these with sporadic thrashing of public parks and government buildings by hoodlums. Thus the image the destabilizers have been trying to project, that the Maduro government is unable to enforce basic law and order, much more, is violating its citizens’ right to freely assemble and express their grievances, has been unable to stick despite willful media manipulation echoed by imperialist-controlled global corporate media.
What has become starkly clear is that the right-wing opposition is resorting to the more dangerous option of military actions up to a full-blown coup d’état to bring the government down. It would appear from the account of the latest attempt in February this year (nipped in the bud when a recidivist coup-plotting general was turned in by another officer he was trying to recruit) that the plan was to conduct aerial bombings of the Presidential Palace, the government media center Telesur, the Ministries of Defense, Interior and Foreign Relations, the Department of Military Intelligence, and the Attorney-General’s Office. The publication of a manifesto in a national newspaper calling for a transition government would be the plotters’ signal fire.
There would be a call for street protests once more with intentions of fomenting violence and confusion in order to portray the events as the result of government repression. A video of a detained general, a confessed coup leader in an earlier failed attempt, would be repeatedly shown to agitate members of the armed forces. Failing this, a video of men in the uniforms of the different services of the military would be shown to announce to the country and to the world that the armed forces had risen up against the Maduro government.
All of this fell apart when the government discovered the plot and acted quickly to preempt any of the plotters’ moves. According to Mark Weisbrot (Al Jazeera), “The Venezuelan government has produced some credible evidence of a coup in the making: the recording of a former deputy minister of the interior reading what is obviously a communiqué to be issued after the military deposes the elected government, the confessions of some accused military officers, and a recorded phone conversation between opposition leaders acknowledging that a coup is in the works.
The government also categorically accused the US embassy in Venezuela of direct involvement in this latest as well as previous attempts to topple it. It pointed to the “close relationship” of the political and military figures at the core of the February attempt at another putsch with US embassy officials.
After the standard US denial of any involvement, came in quick succession US President Obama’s declaration that the Venezuelan government is a “national security threat” to the US and that US sanctions would be imposed on seven Venezuelan officials. This is indeed ironic, given the long history of US political interference up to armed intervention not only in Venezuela but the entire breathe of Latin American countries to remove governments not to its liking or to prop up those that are its vassal states.
Obama’s declaration of Venezuela being a threat to US national interest is primarily due to Venezuela’s key role in building and strengthening alternative political and economic alliances among Latin American and Caribbean states such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Petrocaribe which further the interests of these states and their peoples more than the traditional US-initiated and dominated alliances such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the so-called Caribbean Initiative.
Rather than isolate Venezuela, Obama’s move to attack and isolate Venezuela is yet another futile attempt to stem the decline of US global supremacy in its own hemisphere.
Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and proud mother of two.
Published in Business WorldMarch 22, 2015