Oct 032014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06MANILA4985.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4985 2006-12-13 09:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3697
OO RUEHNH
DE RUEHML #4985/01 3470949
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130949Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4257
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0062
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNS/COMSOCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUHEHMS/COMMARFORPAC IMMEDIATE
RUCOMFJ/CG III MEF IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004985

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, PM, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO AND J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2016
TAGS: PREL CASC MARR RP
SUBJECT: NEXT STEPS IN REGAINING CUSTODY OF LANCE CORPORAL SMITH

REF: MANILA 4968 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: (U) Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Lance Corporal Smith remains in Philippine jail
following Makati City Regional Trial Court Judge Pozon’s
December 13 ruling against a defense petition to return him
to U.S. custody under the provisions of the Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA) (septel). Although the Philippine Executive
Branch is now working to prepare an intervention in support
of an expected motion by defense attorneys to the Court of
Appeals to overturn this decision (most likely on December
14), clearly the time has come to ratchet up our response.

RATCHETING UP OUR RESPONSE
————————–

¶2. (C) Ambassador on December 13 chaired an inter-agency
special working group to discuss options that would induce
the Philippine Government to take more forceful steps to
secure Lance Corporal Smith’s return to U.S. custody and
demonstrate its willingness and ability fully to comply with
the VFA. Philippine leaders are now more noticeably engaged
in addressing the courts about Philippine legal obligations
under the VFA, but could still be even more pro-active and
articulate. We agreed that probably the most expeditious
manner to get their attention would be to revise — or at
least make clear to Philippine officials that we are
considering revision of — our travel warning on the
Philippines to highlight a growing lack of USG confidence in
the Philippine government’s and judiciary’s willingness and
ability to uphold obligations under international agreements
and law. Given the Philippines’ dependence on the tourism
sector (especially before Christmas) and its sensitivity to
travel advisories in general, we believe this prospect might
most immediately spur some more effective action. We also
urge that the Department call in Ambassador Gaa to reiterate
President Bush’s December 8 message on the need to solve this
problem expeditiously, and to raise the travel warning
prospect.

ACTION AS OF DECEMBER 14
————————

¶3. (C) Should the issue of custody remain unresolved as of
December 14, we recommend quick short-term measures that
would indicate our concern, while still preserving core U.S.
interests in the Global War on Terrorism. We would make
clear to key Philippine officials what we are doing and why.
We recommend:

— canceling all new International Military Education and
Training for Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel;
— canceling all subject matter expert exchanges with the
Philippine military; and,
— canceling all attendance at upcoming Counterterrorism
Fellowship and Asia-Pacific Center for Strategic Studies
courses.

ACTION AS OF DECEMBER 15
————————

¶4. (C) Should the issue of custody remain unresolved as of
December 15, we recommend cancellation of the three U.S.
Naval Ship port visits scheduled December 22-26.

ACTION AS OF DECEMBER 21
————————

¶5. (C) Should the issue of custody remain unresolved as of
December 21, we recommend cancellation of the annual
Balikatan Exercise, the largest and most prominent of our
bilateral exercises.

RE-EXAMINATION OF OTHER COURSES OF ACTION AFTER DECEMBER 22
——————————————— ————–

MANILA 00004985 002 OF 002

¶6. (C) In light of our own security interests in helping
the Philippine Armed Forces capture High Value Targets in the
ongoing offensive in Jolo, and in advancing the overall
Mindanao peace process, we do not recommend any immediate
changes in the deployment of the Joint Special Operations
Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P). However, if the issue of
custody remains unresolved as of December 15, we would
examine ways to curtail some of its activities, such as
bringing Liaison Coordination Elements back to Zamboanga and
postponing medical missions or other civil-humanitarian
operations. Should the issue of custody remain unresolved as
of December 22, we would have to examine further scaling back
of JSOTF-P presence or operations.

¶7. (C) We will also be examining our assistance by the U.S.
Agency for International Development and by the Public
Affairs Section to the judicial system, perhaps refocusing
some assistance to improve understanding of international law
and obligations. Regardless of the custody issue, Lance
Corporal Smith still faces a perhaps lengthy appeal process,
and it is now clear that Philippine judges are not fully
cognizant of these aspects.

APPRECIATION OF SUPPORT
———————–

¶8. (C) We appreciate the strong support provided by other
elements of the USG in dealing with this very difficult case,
and are especially grateful for III MEF’s interaction with
the Philippine Consul General in Okinawa, and OSD’s frank
talks with the Philippine Defense Attache in Washington.

¶9. (C) The VFA has since 1999 served as the bedrock for a
our military-to-military relationship with the Philippines.
Until this point, it has functioned effectively. Should we
be able to work through the current situation, we continue to
believe that the long-term implementation of the VFA will not
be in jeopardy and remains in the U.S. interest.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
KENNEY

   

 

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