ON THE COATTAILS OF THE AMERICAN JIHAD
Professor Roland G. Simbulan
Professor, University of the Philippines
& Co-Convenor, Gathering for Peace
Are we lapsing into authoritarianism and into a police state? The more accurate question is, are we again riding on the coattails of the United States, which, in its declaration of war after Sept. 11 against all international terrorists, has launched its own jihad at home and abroad against its perceived enemies? The consequences are grim and chilling.
The government of the United States, that some Filipinos still want to be a part of, is rounding up and detaining thousands of immigrants without due process and detaining them for secret trials. The US Patriot Act is waging war without limits of time and space and has introduced new police state restrictions threatening the very right of Americans to dissent. The hollow promise of safety and security has stifled the right to question and articulate. The very freedoms and liberties that democratic governments claim to be fighting for are being eroded.
Pre-criminals and pre-terrorists in the United States and overseas can now be arrested and imprisoned by President Bush's borderless armed forces (a development foreseen perhaps by the Spielberg film "Minority Report" where persons who have yet to commit a crime are promptly rounded up?) on mere suspicion that they are about to commit acts of terrorism.
The Philippines is one of the countries around the world suffering from similar policies that are consequences of the American jihad. It is being made to violate its own constitution to make way for "Balikatan military exercises," which are, in fact, field operations in combat zones. Now, Filipinos are also being deceived with an unconstitutional military-to-military "accounting agreement" (or arrangement), like the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), that will allow the setting up of US military facilities and infrastructure to house US military supplies, logistical depots and refueling installations, armaments and other weapons of mass destruction. These logistics and supplies will be meant for US military operations in the Philippines and also using the Philippines as a staging area against other countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya which have diplomatic ties with the Philippines but refuse to be bullied by the United States.
The "war on terrorism" is already trying to deceive our people in secret "accounting" agreements like the MLSA. Muslims and so-called Arab-looking types are being picked up and interrogated in warrant-less arrests, or even threatened with Duterte's "final solution." Soon even critical thought, resistance to injustice and speaking out against the machinery of war and repression could be defined as "terrorism" or "association with terrorism" as it is already happening in many parts of the United States, especially against Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants. Does the era of wiretapping and e-mail tapping for purposes of political control mean that we are developing into a full-fledged "strong state"? And for whom is it? The US corporate elite and their Filipino counterparts in power at times of economic, social and political crisis?
More and more, the Bush administration will increase its support of military technology to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), laying the groundwork for the expansion of US-Philippine military cooperation. This is all designed to prepare more US-created Philippine army counter-insurgency units directed by US SEALS and Ranger advisers and trainors to operate all over the country against homegrown "terrorists." Expect more US special forces directly involved in counter-insurgency missions, including monitoring and intelligence missions, most of them secret. The MLSA will allow the US to set up radar facilities on Philippine soil to detect "terrorist" and "insurgent" activity, both armed and unarmed. Some of these sites may be located on Philippine army installations, but will be manned by US military personnel and US "civilian technicians", as they are allowed under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Expect that as political and civil dissent increases in the light of our economic crisis, the continuing state neglect of rural areas, a non-existent rule of law, and a lack of economic infrastructure and opportunity, the Army and police will undertake a more active role in dealing with civil unrest, which will be treated as "terrorist- inspired" or "terrorist-infiltrated". The military will be more concerned with defending the state from within than from outside. We will witness changes in our laws as we already are witnessing these. Legislation in the form of anti-terrorism acts and resurrected or rehashed anti-subversion laws will be provided as the legal basis for the "strong republic" or "strong state" based on legalized repression.
Since US assistance will be overwhelmingly military in nature, it will only continue a failed strategy against insurgency and rebellion. US military trainers think that what they offer their Philippine counterparts in the form of war-fighting skills and sophisticated technology can lick the less sophisticated guerrilla army of the poor in the countryside. More than any military solution --whether foreign or local -- we must find solutions to mass poverty and social injustice through a healthy and pluralistic political process, and an empowered citizenry rather than the use of military force and authoritarianism to solve these problems. We cannot have resurrected Hitlers or Marcoses crying wolf and eating the flock themselves.
But state barbarism would be answered by the people's concerted and united action. The victory of people's revolutions and uprisings shows that when that state of tyranny is reached, even the most vicious repression using the most advanced technology cannot safeguard the repressive state. Soon, all the propaganda about the threat of terrorism will fade out as people realize that the wolf that cries wolf is their true enemy, and what will be left will be an authoritarian instrument, the military and police forces, whose basic function is really to protect the existing social order for the elite.
Ironically, too, the "free market" of globalization will soon see the rise of what the Russian philosopher Nikolai Bukharin predicted for capitalism: "Thus arises the final type of contemporary robber state, an iron organization which envelopes the living body of society in its grasping paws. It is a new Leviathan before which the fantasy of Thomas Hobbes seems child's play."
The threat of a police state is now with us.
August 12, 2002
THE WAR OF COLORSAnonymous
Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed thatthey were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.
“Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I waschosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Lookover the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”
“You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is thewater that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea.The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”
“You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time youlook at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.”
ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet:
“I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am preciousfor I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins.Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don’t hangaround all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beautyis so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”
RED could stand it no longer he shouted out:
“I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood – life’s blood! I am the color ofdanger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire intothe blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am thecolor of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”
PURPLE rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty andpower. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey.”
Finally INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just asmuch determination:
“Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without meyou all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight anddeep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”
And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain startedto pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
In the midst of the clamor, Rain began to speak:”You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate therest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, uniqueand different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”
Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.
The Rain continued: From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.
The Rainbowis a sign of hope for tomorrow.” And so, whenever a good rain washes theworld, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)