Feb 222013

A six-part series
The United States in the Philippines: post-9/11 imperatives

By Larry Chin Online Journal Contributing Editor

Part 1


July 17, 2002—The far-reaching and complex US objectives of the 9/11 War cannot and will not be achieved without dominance and control of the Far East/Pacific region. The key stronghold of American imperial power in the Far East is the South China Sea, and the key to the South China Sea is the Philippines.

In Bulatlat.com,investigative journalist Bobby Tuazon succinctly describes the current US “intervention” in the Philippines as a key part of a larger “global enterprise”—”a new global security framework gives the United States guarantees not only for the entrenchment and expansion of its various military installations but also for armed intervention whenever and wherever threats to U.S. vital interests occur,” while also providing “security guarantees vital for the global free trade and U.S. economic hegemony under the guise of globalization and economic restructuring.”

By understanding these dynamics, one can begin to comprehend the importance of the Philippines in the context of the long-term global agenda that was pushed into violent high gear on 9/11, and why it was chosen as the place for America’s first post-Afghanistan military expansion.

Focal point of US power in the Far East

There is an old saying in the intelligence world: GOD stands for “Gold (financial assets), Oil (natural and mineral resources) and Drugs.” In a more modern version of this adage, the “G” includes “Geo” (as in geoeconomics and geostrategy), as well as “corporate Globalization.”

Professor Peter Dale Scott explains that “all US wars in modern history—from Vietnam to the Gulf War to 9/11, Afghanistan, etc.—have involved overt and covert alliances with drug proxies and narco-trafficking criminal syndicates that are simultaneously involved in and with oil. The global narco-economy is inextricably tied to the petro-economy, and both are vital to the larger global economic and financial system itself. Drug and oil proxies assist US geostrategic aims, and vice versa.”

“GOD” is in abundance in every major theatre of the 9/11 War, from Afghanistan to Georgia to Colombia to Yemen. The Philippines is no exception.

1. The Philippines is geographically central, the gateway to Southeast Asia at the heart of the South China Sea. The Philippines is the fulcrum from which the US can project its military, intelligence and economic power throughout the Far East region. (Just look at the map.)

2. The South China Sea region is the Eastern frontier of the “Grand Chessboard” as described by Zbigniew Brezezinski in his Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, a book that continues to serve as a virtual blueprint for the 9/11 War. In Brezezinski’s “integrated, comprehensive and long-term geostrategy for all of Eurasia,” he details how Asia is the final stop in a NATO expansion across the Eurasian continent all the way to the Pacific Ocean. He also discusses the nurturing of US-led (pro-western) military alliances in the Southeast Asian region, the importance of “the US management of its relationship with China.” Among the regional flash points: Taiwan, North Korea, Indonesia and China itself (which the US is simultaneously engaging and containing).

Brezezinski: “The far eastern mainland is the seat of an increasingly powerful and independent player (China), controlling an enormous population, while the territory of its energetic rival–is confined on several nearby islands—and half of a small far-eastern peninsula provide a perch for American power.” (note: the Philippines are among the “nearby islands.”)

“Suppose China does not democratize but continues to grow in economic and military power? A ‘Greater China’ may be emerging, whatever the desires and calculations of its neighbors, and any effort to prevent that from happening could entail an intensifying conflict with China.”

“To accept China as a regional power is not a matter of simply endorsing a mere slogan. There will have to be substance to any such regional preeminence. To put it very directly, how large a Chinese sphere of influence, and where, should America be prepared to accept as part of a policy of successfully co-opting China into world affairs? What areas now outside of China’s political radius might have to be conceded to the realm of the reemerging Celestial Empire?”

“In brief, US management of its relationship with China will inevitably have direct consequences for the stability of the American-Japanese-Korean triangular security relationship.”

3. The Philippines has historically been America’s key military base, listening post, and naval port in the Far East region.

4. The South China Sea is the world’s second busiest international sea lane. More than half the world’s supertanker traffic passes through the region’s waters. It is a major “chokepoint,” as vital to the world economy as the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal. The United States continues to patrol these seaways. In fact, as Michael Klare points out in his book, Resource Wars, “the US is obliged by treaty to ensure the security of Japan, and this, in turn, entails an obligation to protect Japan’s vital supply routes. American warships also transverse the South China Sea when sailing between US bases in Japan and the Persian Gulf area.”

5. Nearly all of Asia’s energy imported from the Middle East and Africa pass through the Strait of Malacca and through the South China Sea. The bulk of the world’s liquefied natural gas passes through the South China Sea. A South China Sea that is “managed” by the United States and its allies is vital in the proposed transportation of (still unrequited) Central Asian oil and gas from its source to its ultimate markets. The demand for oil and energy in developing Asia, particularly China, will grow rapidly in coming years.

6. The South China Sea is rich in oil and gas. The Philippines themselves contain a wealth of oil, natural gas and land. The region has become the focus of intense oil and gas exploration by multinational energy companies in the past year.

7. The South China Sea is the gateway to the renowned Golden Triangle, one of the world’s key heroin-producing regions on earth. Since 2000, when the Taliban destroyed much of the opium crop (that supplied approximately 75 percent of the world’s heroin), the Golden Triangle has supplanted the Golden Crescent as the number one opium source. The Philippines is both a key drug transit nation and an internationally renowned money-laundromat.

8. Southeast Asia is a key developing economic region. Leading multinational corporations and investors have vital long-term interests in the region, including oil and gas. Asia will attract increasing interest as many Asian economies have adopted the “structural reforms,” deregulation and privatization formulas pushed by the IMF and the World Bank, etc. following the “Asian economic crisis” of the late 1990s (that many authorities believe was an orchestrated financial conspiracy). Asia will become even more attractive as a haven for outside investment if western markets and economies continue to deteriorate.

9. The Philippines is home to Islamic separatist and guerrilla groups that can be exploited, manipulated and (at least partially) controlled by CIA and other intelligence agencies, and propagandized as terrorists (due to historical ties to Al-Qaeda), and/or otherwise targeted for destruction (for nationalistic tendencies). Where US interests require force, violent intervention (terrorism) is utilized. The fact that some of these guerrilla groups are also drug traffickers fits the pattern of accommodation that is mirrored in other 9/11 War hot spots (Central Asia, Latin America, Balkans, Yemen, etc.)

10. The Philippine leadership remains deeply connected to Washington and global financial oligarchs. The neo-colony’s ties to corporate elites, and members of the current and former Bush administrations, are historical, persistent and well documented. Essentially, the Philippine government continues to function as a US proxy.

The role of the Philippines takes on even greater significance when viewed in the context of the larger 9/11 War agenda, which includes, among others:

  • Control of key natural resource regions and transit routes; seizure, consolidation and control of final supplies and deposits of non-renewable world energy supplies.

  • Control of international drug traffic, and management of covert narco-money flows (through world financial system).

  • Geoeconomics (neoliberal corporate globalization).

  • Geostrategic positioning in defense of and/or expansion of western “security” interests (superpower hegemony).

  • Legitimization of neo-fascism. Removal of anti-western imperialist/anti-globalization political opposition groups and nationalist movements.

  • Ongoing manipulation of terrorist groups via intelligence apparatus (CIA, Pakistani ISI and other affiliated proxies) to carry out imperial covert agendas.

  • War-industrial complex (neo-Cold War).

  • Corruption, fraud and government-corporate crime.

For a multitude of reasons, new as well as time-honored, the US is in the Philippines to stay.

Balikatan: The First Step

In November 2001, after secret negotiations between George W. Bush and Arroyo, a new “bilateral defense consultive mechanism” was formed between the US and the Philippines. The Pentagon approved a ten-fold increase in military assistance to the Philippines, effective starting in 2002, and scheduled to increase every year thereafter. In exchange, President Arroyo offered to reopen the port of Subic Bay to the US for the maintenance of warships. In April 2002, Stratfor revealed that US armed forces are in the process of building a military base on Basilan.

Operation Balikitan began in January 2002, with no public discussion and in contravention of the Filipino constitution (which does not allow the deployment of foreign troops on the company’s soil). This “six-month training exercise” brought 700 (reported) US Special Forces, Green Berets, intelligence operatives and military “advisors” to the southern Philippines, armed with state-of-the-art weaponry.

The White House and the mass media have consistently portrayed Operation Balikatan as a police action aimed against the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim guerrilla group supposedly linked to Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. But President Arroyo herself denied this connection in an interview with Le Monde and other publications, in which she declared that the ties between Al-Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf have been non-existent since 1995. As further clarification, Arroyo asked US Secretary of State Colin Powell (made at the World Economic Forum on February 2, 2002) to stop referring to the Philippines as the “second front” in the “war on terrorism.”

Six months later, Arroyo is requesting an extension to the operation. On July 5, 2002, in an unprecedented move, President Arroyo announced that she is taking over the responsibilities of foreign secretary after Vice President Teofisto Guingona announced his resignation over the continued presence of US troops. Arroyo’s stated objective: forge even “closer ties with the United States.”


Part 2

Oil and Gas in the South China Sea

July 25, 2002—It is a matter of scientific fact that the world will begin running out of oil in less than five years. Awareness of this coming end of the Hydrocarbon Age has driven high-level policy planning for the US government and the oil industry for years. Dwindling world oil and gas supplies, declining oil and gas production, and the nightmarish consequences associated with this imminent scenario, are at the foundation of the 9/11 War.

Professor Richard Heinberg, editor of The Museletter writes: “our world is approaching two great historical endings at once: the end of Pax Americana, and the end of cheap energy resources. Most petroleum geologists now agree that—due to geophysical constraints immune to increased exploration, investment, or technological development—we will see a global peak in the production of crude oil some time within the next three or four years. After that “Big Rollover,” as one USGS geophysicist has dubbed it, there will be a few percentage points less oil available each year to meet the rising world demand, regardless of what anyone does.”

This conclusion is echoed in a series of reports in From the Wilderness by geologist and investigative journalist Dale Allen Pfeiffer. Based on the Hubbert Curve (a standard measure of oil production peaks and declines, nationally and globally), “within five years, we will no longer be able to produce enough oil to meet the needs of our oil civilization.” In this unfolding scenario, according to Pfeiffer and others, oil elites will seek to grab the remaining supplies—and dictate their use. Simply put, the 9/11 War is an oil coup.

The oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, and the Philippines, are undoubtedly targets of the oil coup. The South China Sea has proven oil reserves estimated at 7.5 billion barrels, with oil production of approximately 1.3 million barrels per day. For years, there has been speculation that the Spratly and Paracel Islands hold significant untapped oil deposits. According to a 1994 US Geological Survey estimate, the total sum of undiscovered reserves is around 28 billion barrels. A more conservative US Department of Energy report, puts the total oil resources of the Spratly Islands at 1 to 2 billion. Meanwhile, some Chinese estimates of the total potential of the Spratly and Paracel Islands run as high as 213 billion barrels. China’s Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources reported that the South China Sea holds as much as 130 million barrels of oil—-an amount greater than the combined reserves of Europe and Latin America combined.

Access and control over significant untapped oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea have been at the core of intense territorial, diplomatic and military confrontations between surrounding nations seeking to claim the sea and its bounty for themselves. In the past two decades, some 13 military skirmishes have occurred, arising from competing claims. The Philippines is one of the claimants of the Spratlys, along with China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei. At least five nations have established military bases in the area. China claims most if not all of the South China Sea.

Sparked by conflicts with China over Mischief Reef (1995), the Campones Island (1996) and Scarborough Shoal (1997), the Philippine government has invoked its mutual defense treaty with the US to obtain US assistance in repelling Chinese forces from islands claimed by the Philippines. In 1999, officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) drafted a regional code of conduct to prevent conflicts over the Spratlys. Manila drafted much of the code, which was rejected by China. Today, simmering territorial issues remain unresolved.

Even while the US has nurtured an economic alliance with China (simultaneously engaging and containing the emerging superpower), it has continuously supported Philippine defense programs with military and intelligence aid and training, and a variety of diplomatic measures aimed at sending a “strong message” to Beijing. The message sent by the current US intervention, and the Operation Balikatan-related military buildup has no doubt registered in Beijing.

As noted by Michael Klare, “the US is bound by treaty to defend the Philippines; even if Washington does not include the (disputed) Spratly Islands in its understanding of Philippine territory; a future clash between China and the Philippines could escalate to the point where the United States would become involved.”

Recent events such as the admission of China to the World Trade Organization (after years of unsuccessful lobbying) and China’s “assistance in the ‘war on terrorism'” suggest that in the short-and intermediate-term, China’s political and economic stake in the 9/11 War is congruent with those of the US. The elite “players” on the world stage such as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brezezinski, and the heads of the Carlyle Group (to name just a few) have vested interests in playing all sides of the 9/11 War. Kissinger, for instance, has been a consultant for Unocal and a central figure in the 1990s pipeline politics of Afghanistan, as well as a consultant of China National Offshore Oil Company—which was involved in some of the Spratly Island clashes years ago (prior to Kissinger’s hire in 2001).

In the future, however, as the superpower rivalry (real as well as fabricated) between the US and China escalates, conflict over who controls the South China Sea could break out again.

Oil and Gas in the Philippines

The Philippines are rich in natural gas, oil and geothermal supplies. Multinational energy companies have significant projects underway, as reported by Bobby Tuazon in Bulatlat.com, as well as by other well-placed Filipino journalists and analysts.

In addition to a Philippine leadership that is “accommodating” to foreign investment, the oil and gas industries were deregulated and privatized in 1998. Foreign investment shot up 171 percent to $3.4 billion in 2001.

Six new offshore explorations have begun in Malampaya basin, led by Unocal, Nido Petroleum, Philippines National Oil Company Exploration Corporation, Trans-Asia Oil, and Philodril.

Chevron-Texaco, through its subsidiary Caltex-Philippines, operates a major refinery, two terminals, and more than 1,000 gas stations throughout the Philippines, and commands a 24 percent share of the Philippine market. BP Amoco runs a $48 million power solar power project in Mindanao.

Other companies with major Philippine stakes include Phillips Petroleum, Conoco, Nuevo Energy, and Globex Energy.

The Philippines is estimated to have 3.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. The impetus for renewed interest in the southern Philippines is Malampaya offshore field, the largest natural gas development in Philippine history, discovered by Shell Philippines Exploration. Proven reserves are estimated at 2.6 trillion cubic feet.

It may not be a coincidence that the deal struck between Bush and Arroyo followed on the heels of the inauguration of the Malampaya field, which also holds an estimated 85 million barrels of oil.

Malampaya is located in the South China Sea, off of the northern island of Palawan, and contains 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. A 312-mile pipeline is one of the longest deep-water pipelines in the world, and links the field to power plants in Batangas.

Shell Philippines Petroleum has committed $4.5 billion to Malampaya and anticipates potential crude oil production of up to 50,000 barrels by 2003. Chevron-Texaco also has a large stake in Malampaya.

There are plans for an $80 million joint venture to expand the pipeline to other power plants, as well as other pipelines to a developing ASEAN power grid. One of the largest-ever foreign consortiums in the country, the Malampaya Deepwater Gas To Power Project, involves Chevron-Texaco, Shell and Philippine National Oil Company

Malampaya is not the only area of foreign interest. A number of firms are exploring the areas off of Luzon and Fuga Island. San Isidoro and East Visayan contain as much as 60 million barrels of oil. Philippines National Oil is drilling in Lagao, Lambayong province in July 2002, where an estimated 561 million barrels of oil are untapped . The Philippine government estimates reserves up to 246 million barrels of oil in northwestern Palawan, and 37.4 million barrels in the Minduro-Cuyo basin.

Approximately $93 million of the $4.6 billion of aid pledged by Bush is earmarked as economic assistance to Mindanao. According to the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, “the importance of Mindanao for the success of the neoliberal project of capitalist globalization in the Philippines is the main reason for the US intervention. Mindanao, Minsupala, Sulu and Palawan are now “confirmed oil country.” Discoveries of oil and gas in Palawan and Cotabato in turn reinforce the satellite findings of the National Space Agency that the largest deposits of oil and gas in Asia could lie in the area covered by Minsupala.” The report goes so far as to call Minsupala “the Middle East of the near future.”

Finally, the Philippines is also the world’s second largest producer of geothermal power. Unocal is involved in offshore oil, gas and geothermal projects for the US Department of Energy, and geothermal projects in Davao and Tiwi.

Securing the Eastern Oil Transit Route

Since the early 1990s, major US and multinational oil companies, including Chevron-Texaco, ExxonMobil, Unocal, BP-Amoco, Shell, and energy-related companies such as Enron and Halliburton, have invested billions of dollars to exploit the untapped oil and gas in the Caspian Sea/Central Asian/Caucasus region. Capturing the region’s oil wealth and carving out territory, in order to build a network of transit routes, was a primary objective of US military interventions throughout the 1990s in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Caspian Sea. To date, these investments remain unrequited due to geographical, political and technological difficulty of transporting the oil and gas via pipelines out of the region.

Nearly all of Asia’s energy imported from the Middle East and Africa travels from the Arabian Sea (where pipelines from the Caspian and the Caucasus would be loaded to tankers) and the Indian Ocean, through the Strait of Malacca and then through the South China Sea.

As stated earlier in this report, a South China Sea that is “managed and controlled by the US-led world oil oligarchy remains critical as part of the transportation route from Central Asia oil and gas from its source to its ultimate markets in Asia.

Part 3

Drugs and the Philippines


The Philippines: Gateway to the Golden Triangle

August 1, 2002—Southeast Asia is, along with Southwest Asia (mainly Afghanistan), one of the two leading opium and heroin producing regions in the world. For centuries, the world’s two main centers of opium production have been Central Asia, or the Golden Crescent, and the Golden Triangle. According to the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP), the Golden Triangle has produced an average annual 1,358 metric tons over the past five years. Central to the Far East narco-economy is the Philippines, a key base of the covert American drug empire.

It is a documented fact that the world economy is dependent on the drug trade and its massive money flows. According to the IMF and other credible sources, criminal money laundering is a $1 trillion global industry. At least $300-$600 billion per year flows through the United States financial system. Drugs and drug-related finance are a significant portion of the world economy. The profits from drugs and related criminal activities are an essential part of the banking and financial system that provides the liquid cash basis of the world investment markets, and virtually every economy on earth.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky explains that “the drug trade provides multibillion dollar revenues to business syndicates, financial institutions, intelligence agencies and organized crime” and that “often illicit trade is the only source of essential foreign exchange, and creditors and debtors alike share an interest in the uninterrupted flow of lucrative contraband.”

As James Petras writes, “The scale, scope and time frame of transfers and money laundering, the centrality of the biggest banking enterprises and the complicity of the governments, strongly suggests that the dynamics of growth and stagnation, empire and re-colonization are intimately related to a new form of capitalism built around pillage, criminality, corruption and complicity.”

Not surprisingly, the United States, and its CIA and other intelligence arms, has been “present at the creation of most of the major post-World War II drug production centers and trafficking syndicates. Its material support and political protection nurtured the great heroin and cocaine empires whose power today rivals that of many governments,” according to Jonathan Marshall.

The Philippines is a major transit route for heroin from the Golden Triangle to markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. The Philippines exports locally produced marijuana and hashish to East Asia, the US and other Western markets, according to the CIA World Fact Book. The country serves as a transit point for heroin and crystal methamphetamine, or “shabu.” “Shabu,” most of which is sourced from China, passes through the Philippines into Guam, Australia and rest of Southeast Asia.

The US State Department’s 1999 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report identifies the Philippines as a “country of concern” because of its rising crime, pervasive corruption, strict bank secrecy laws and lack of legislation against money laundering. The drug trade accounts for some 8 percent of the nation’s gross national product.

The Role of the Philippines in the Post-Taliban World Drug Trade

Among the many catalysts for the 9/11 war, the bombing of Afghanistan and other interventions in Central Asia, was the interruption of international narco-cash flows caused by the ban on opium poppy cultivation imposed by the Taliban, and the eradication of some 3,000 tons of opium in 2000. This was a debilitating blow to economies all over the world. Opposition to Plan Colombia/Andean Initiative and other attempts to impose control over major Latin American cocaine producing regions has exacerbated this problem.

The dearth of narcotics cash flow through the financial markets has contributed to the deterioration of the world financial markets over the past year.

In the October 15, 2001, issue of From The Wilderness, Michael C. Ruppert cited an ABC News story that described an important change in international drug traffic caused by the Taliban ban: “The center of world drug production will shift from Afghanistan, which accounted for 75 percent of world opium production, to Colombia and the Golden Triangle on the boarder between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand.

A few months later, according to Reuters (March 22, 2002, Kevin Doyle), “the infamous Golden Triangle has replaced Afghanistan as the world’s top producer of heroin, UN and local officials said.” It goes without saying that the Philippines plays a key role in the revival of a healthy illegal narcotics trade.

Money Laundromat

On September 7, 2001, just days prior to 9/11, the BBC reported that the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent offshoot of the 29-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, was threatening sanctions against the Philippines, which “has still not enacted long-awaited reforms” to curb the washing of hot money.”

The FATF threatened sanctions, including the denial of bank licenses, freezing of bank accounts and other disruptive measures unless the Philippines implemented new anti-laundering legislation by September 30, 2001.

Although the Arroyo administration submitted a hastily passed new law on September 29, 2001, the FATF rejected the legislation. The FATF has kept the Philippines on its “non-cooperative” country list, which, not surprisingly, includes nearby drug trafficking and laundering havens, Myanmar (Burma) and Indonesia. In March 2002, the Philippines submitted yet another round of revisions of its anti-money laundering law, but many Philippine legislators remained uncertain that their country would be removed from the FATF list. The FATF evaluation is “long and painstaking.”

The closer ties between the Arroyo and Bush administrations, which were publicly strengthened almost immediately after the FATF sanctions threat, may not be a coincidence given the political clout and influence wielded by the US and its corporations.

When in trouble, ask Big Brother for help.

Part 4

Manila, Washington, and Globalization

The Empire’s Corporate Front in Manila

August 8, 2002—Despite earnest grassroots nationalist opposition over the past several decades, the Philippines remains a neo-colony of the United States, economically and military bound to Washington, and hopelessly addicted to foreign capital.

The US has a huge economic stake in the Philippines, which is central as a military and intelligence base, as well as a source of energy, raw materials, land, cheap labor. It was no surprise that securing the Philippines was the focus of the first US post-Afghanistan intervention in the so-called “war on terrorism.”

In his book Endless Enemies, the late Jonathan Kwitny described the Philippines as “the Zaire of Asia,” and “the one Asian country where we (the United States) have engaged in covert political activity, and sometimes fighting, and where things have gone pretty much our way. Every anti-guerrilla campaign has been victorious, and every election, real or rigged, has produced the winner the US government desired.”

Notes Gary Leupp, an associate professor of history and coordinator of the Asian Studies Program at Tufts University, “The Philippines was a US colony from 1898 to 1946. One-tenth of the Filipino population was wiped out in the first US exercise in counter-insurgency in Asia. The US backed a series of vicious regimes after the Philippines’ (alleged) independence, most notably that of Ferdinand Marcos.”

The book Development Debacle: The World Bank in the Philippines by University of the Philippines professor Walden Bello, details how the World Bank, the CIA and other US agencies have systematically plundered the domestic economy of the Philippines for transnational corporate interests, privatization, and deregulation—-and how the “Asian market crisis” of the late 1990s was the direct result of such programs.

According to Filipino investigative journalist Bobby Tuazon, who penned a searing investigation of the Arroyo cabinet (“Global Corporate Oligarchs in Arroyo’s Board of Advisors,” www.bulatlat.com, February 10–16, 2002, is a primary source for this section), the successive administrations of Presidents Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, and now Arroyo, have continued the tradition of allowing the Philippines to be carved open and exploited by US and foreign capital.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an American-educated economist, has been a lifelong advocate of corporate globalization. She is the daughter of the late former Philippines President Diosedo Macapagal, whose administration was supported by the United States and the CIA, according to many historians. Tuazon characterizes Arroyo as “the new spokesperson who will, a la Marcos, agitate for renewed U.S. aggression in Southeast Asia.”

Ramos’ former foreign secretary Roberto Romulo is the Philippines’ “senior international advisor on international competitiveness” under Arroyo. Romulo, a vociferous corporate globalization advocate, heads the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), an executive lobbying body that promotes “free trade.”

Former President Fidel V. Ramos is Arroyo’s “special envoy for international opportunities.” Despite his denials about the importance of his role, Ramos functions essentially as the country’s co-president.

He is also a direct agent of the Bush oligarchy.

Ramos is a senior advisor of the Carlyle Group and the head of Carlyle’s Asian advisory board. Its directors include former US president George Herbert Walker Bush, former US secretary of state James Baker, current US secretary of state Colin Powell, former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, former UK Prime Minister John Major, and former South Korean Prime Minister Park Tae-Joon.

Carlyle’s client list has included the likes of the bin Laden family and George Soros (a major player involved in the so-called Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s). Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has been one of Carlyle’s major investors. Its chairman is former Reagan administration defense secretary Frank Carlucci. Carlyle has major stakes in Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and China, which was recently admitted into the World Trade Organization.

During his presidency, Ramos was Washington’s best friend. As Daniel Shirmer described in Fidel Ramos: In the Footsteps of Marcos”: “Ramos follows the lead of Ferdinand Marcos in willingness to open the Philippines to foreign capital, with minimal restraint. He follows the lead of Marcos in solicitous attention to the claims of the U.S. military, covered over when politically expedient by gestures of nationalist intent.”

“President Ramos’s commitment to the reign of the free market in the Philippines and Asia is well known, especially since he played host to the 1996 APEC conference in Manila. Less known in the United States, perhaps, are the efforts he and his administration have made on behalf of the U.S. military in the Philippines. Since the Philippine Senate defeated the bases treaty in September 1991, the Pentagon has been trying to re-establish its military presence in the Philippines in order to be able to use that country again as a springboard for U.S. power projection. President Ramos and his administration have been the Pentagon’s main allies in this effort.”

“Ramos’ adherence to both free market ideology and US military dominance is evident in his support for the Pentagon’s policy of ‘rest and recreation’ in the Philippines (widely understood as the US military’s use of Philippine women as prostitutes). He apparently accepts as normal and legitimate the exploitation of cheap Philippine labor—in this case sexual labor—by the armed forces of the superpower.”

“As a high military official of the Marcos dictatorship Ramos supported the U.S. bases; as President Aquino’s Minister of Defense he continued this support. In November 1994 the Pentagon, with Ramos’s support, proposed to broaden the limited access agreement of 1992 with an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) giving the U.S. military rights in the Philippines, and the use of Philippine territory as a launching pad for possible U.S. intervention.”

Much of Philippine economic policy is shaped, or at least influenced, by foreigners and multinational corporate oligarchs. As revealed by Tuazon in Bulatlat.com, President Arroyo’s highly influential 13-member “International Board of Advisers” is headed by a virtual who’s who of elite world finance.

Heading the group is Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman of American International Group (AIG), the world’s third largest capital investment pool and a leading member of the World Trade Organization:.

US Army, World War II President of AIG in 1962, CEO in 1967 and Chairman in 1989 Vice chairman, Council on Foreign Relations Member of both Bilderberger Group and Trilateral Commission Member, Heritage Foundation Vice chairman, Center for Strategic and International Studies Chairman, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies (Council on Foreign Relations) Member, board of directors of New York Stock Exchange Former director of the Federal Reserve Bank Nominated for CIA director in 1995

Greenberg’s direct involvement in US-Far East policy is telling. As revealed in a two-part investigation of American International Group by Michael C. Ruppert (A.I.G., From The Wilderness, August 14, 2001), AIG’s insurance operations, including the entire period under Greenberg’s leadership, have been connected to CIA covert operations.

AIG’s predecessor, Asia Life/C.V. Starr Insurance Companies, operated out of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) spy agency during World War II. (AIG was formed in the 1960s as a holding company for Starr. Greenberg was C.V. Starr’s handpicked successor.) C.V.Starr enjoyed long and profitable drug/covert operations relationships with the likes of CIA legend Paul Helliwell (head of OSS World War II intelligence in China), and CIA-connected lawyer Tommy Corcoran, and CIA proprietary fronts such as the infamous opium-smuggling airlines Civil Air Transport (which later became Air America) and Sea Supply Inc., and Pacific Corporation. Today, approximately a third of AIG’s profits come from its Far East operations.

Directly relevant to the post-9/11 events, current members of AIG’s board of directors include former US ambassador and CFR member Richard Holbrooke, a major post-9/11 war advisor to the Bush administration and business partner of George Soros. Also on the board is Frank Wisner, Jr., a director of Enron, and son of one of the prime CIA operatives, Frank Wisner Sr. When Wisner, Jr., was the US Ambassador to the Philippines (1991–92), he helped Enron win contracts to run two Subic Bay power plants (that were the subject of fierce local opposition).

Not coincidentally, the board chairmen of AIG’s Philippine affiliate, Phil-Am Life Insurance, is Roberto Romulo himself (see above).

Other members of the IBA, as revealed by Tuazon, are Gerard Corrigan, managing director of Goldman Sachs; Maarten van den Berg, chairman of Lloyds Group; Minoru Makihara, chairman of the Mitsubishi Corporation; Junichiro Miyazu, president of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation; former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating; Victor Fung, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Li and Fung; Anthony Burgmans, chairman of Unilever, and Marce Fuller, chief executive of Mirant Corporation (the first corporation to privatize the Philippines’ power industry).

In a display of shameless 9/11 propaganda, Romulo has proposed hiring former New York mayor Rudolph Guiliani to serve as the IBA’s “presidential consultant on peace and order.”

The coming years should usher in an orgy of corporatization and plunder throughout the Philippines. The US-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has extended a $200 million credit line for US investments in the Philippines. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is involved in a number of large-scale trade liberalization projects in the Philippines. A $500 million airport railway system is under construction in Mindanao and a $100 million shipyard in Subic Bay. Both projects are being handled by American companies.

A Blast From the Reagan-Bush Past

In an article titled “Lost History: Marcos, Money & Treason,” investigative reporter Robert Parry detailed some of the criminal ties between former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and members of the Reagan and Bush administrations, including the ex-presidents themselves.

During his Hawaiian exile, Marcos declared that he had given Reagan $4 million in 1980 and $8 million in 1984.

Parry wrote, “The Marcos-Reagan money story is near the core of the corruption that permeated the 1980s. Some witnesses who claim knowledge of alleged Reagan efforts to sabotage Carter’s negotiations to free 52 U.S. hostages then held in Iran maintain that Marcos contributed some of the money used by Republicans to bribe key Iranian mullahs.”

Vice President George Bush, a longtime friend of Marcos, hailed Marcos for his “adherence to democratic principles,” Parry said.

“Documentary evidence about the alleged Marcos-to-Reagan payoffs first surfaced after Marcos was ousted by a revolution in March 1986. As Marcos’s fall neared, Reagan arranged for the dictator to be flown to Hawaii. Marcos’s opponents then ransacked government files and found a Feb. 17, 1986, letter signed by a senior Marcos aide, Victor Nituda.” In the letter, according to Parry, Nituda warned Marcos that Reagan’s emissary, Senator Paul Laxalt demanded that “sensitive files, including ones listing the 1980 transactions, be turned over to the US before Marcos could go to Hawaii.” Nituda’s letter specifically cited accounts set up for Reagan and his 1980 campaign manager (and later CIA Director) William Casey, and that Laxalt demanded “all documents check-listed during his last visit or the deal for a Hawaiian exile is off.” Laxalt also demanded files regarding bank loans and donations made to General John Singlaub, who was raising money for the Nicaraguan contra rebels.

“A serious investigation of the Marcos money might shed light, too, on another perplexing mystery from the 1980s: the curious relationship between the American government and the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In Jan. 22, 1981, two days after Reagan’s inauguration, Marcos and his cronies co-founded a Hong Kong bank with New York financier John Shaheen, one of Casey’s closest friends dating back to the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services,” Parry noted. “In 1983, the bank collapsed with reported losses of more than $100 million. The money was never recovered, but Shaheen associates claimed that prior to the bank failure, substantial amounts were funneled to Marcos, who reportedly was pulling the strings behind the scenes.”

According to Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign may have received an illegal $10 million in cash from Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos. (Rollins suggested that the illegal contribution never reached the campaign or the president, but were stashed “in some offshore bank.”)

In a new report on the missing Marcos stash, investigative journalist Lucy Komisar reports that Marie-Gabrielle Koller, a former attorney with accounting firm KPMG in Zurich has come forward with evidence that “on March 23, 1986—just a day before a freeze would be placed on Marcos’ accounts—KPMG secretly transferred $400 million from Credit Suisse Zurich to a Liechtenstein trust on the ex-dictator’s behalf.” (www.inthesetimes.com/issue/26/20/feature3.shtml)

The present Bush administration is, by personnel, policies and illegal conduct, a continuation of the prior Bush and Reagan regimes, just as the Arroyo/Ramos administration is an extension of prior Philippines regimes. The same can probably be said about the enduring covert relationship between the two governments themselves.

On November 1, 2001, George W. Bush illegally changed an executive order to declare that in light of the “national emergency” of 9/11, the release of papers from the Reagan and Bush presidencies would remain sealed—even though the release is mandated by the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Evidence of the Marcos-Reagan-Bush transactions, along with damning documentation of systemic criminality, may be contained in these files.


Part 5

The U.S. Military and the CIA in the Philippines


Re-Establishing a Military Foothold

August 15, 2002—A key agenda behind the 9/11 “war” has been the establishment of a worldwide network of military bases near “vital US interests.” This program has included the building of new bases (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, for example) as well as the securing of existing bases.

Central to the US-Philippine agenda is the restoration of the Far East military and intelligence infrastructure that was, according to the Pentagon and the CIA, compromised over the past decade.

  1. The US was forced to close its Philippine bases in 1992, after the Philippine senate defeated the bases treaty.

  2. US bases throughout the region (Philippines, Japan and Okinawa) have been the subject of widespread local opposition and anti-US activism, inspired by crimes committed by US military personnel.

In recent years, Washington has been looking for ways to undo the regional damage caused by the Philippines base closures for years. In 1999, Karen Talbot reported in Covert Action Quarterly, that “steps are well underway for new relations in Southeast Asia in which the US is acquiring access to military bases in Asian countries in exchange for financial help to buy US arms. The Pentagon’s East Asian Strategy Report defines this program as offering the United States a ‘credible power projection capability in the region and beyond.’ After the US bombing of Yugoslavia, the US jumped at the opportunity to gain greater access to ports and bases throughout the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement to ‘prevent the US loss of access to its natural resource and markets, and its control of the strategic and important shipping lanes.'”

Talbot also quoted Dr. Joseph Gerson of American Friends Service Committee, who described the role and impact of US bases in Asia-Pacific as follows:

“In the Asia-Pacific region, the US is enforcing its 21st century ‘Open Door’ policy by means of the IMF, the World Bank, APEC, bases and forward deployments, the Seventh Fleet, and its nuclear arsenal; as it s seeks to simultaneously contain and engage China, to dominate the sea lanes and straits through which the region’s trade and supplies of oil must travel (the ‘jugular vein’ of Asia Pacific economies).”

Under the now-universal rubric of the post-9/11 “war on terrorism,” the US has been given the green light to permanently revitalize its presence in the Philippines and the South China Sea. The “bilateral defense consultive mechanism,” created by Bush and Arroyo, provides a ten-fold increase in military assistance to the Philippines, effective starting in 2002, and scheduled to increase every year thereafter. Subic Bay has been reopened to the US Navy for the maintenance of its warships. In April 2002, Stratfor revealed that US armed forces are in the process of building a military base on Basilan.

An entrenched and unchallenged military foothold in the Philippines is even more important, given the current regional concerns of many US war planners, which include:

  • The continuing thaw in relations between North and South Korea could force another round of US base reductions and closures, and the withdrawal of US assets in South Korea.

  • China’s growing military power will become an issue in the future. The Philippines, under US control, is close to the China coast.

  • Conflict over Taiwan.

And of course:

  • The control of key shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

The CIA in the Philippines

In an August 2000, Roland G. Simbulan of the Manila Studies Program at the University of the Philippines wrote an extensive analysis of CIA history and current CIA operations in the Philippines. (See www.derechos.org/nizkor/filipinas/doc/cia.html)

This penetrating study, culled from interviews with CIA operatives who were stationed in the Philippines, interviews with Ralph McGehee (former CIA operative assigned to the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and author of the CIA memoir Deadly Deceits) and a variety of other sources, provides the context against which the current US intervention can be understood.

Simbulan wrote: “Every CIA station is virtually an infrastructure for political, military, cultural and even economic intervention. In the Philippines, the CIA has not only functioned as a listening post but has been actively used to engage in covert operations, sabotage and political intervention to undermine Philippine sovereignty and self-determined national policies.”

He said, “For a long time, Manila has been the main station, if not the regional headquarters, of the CIA for Southeast Asia. This is perhaps so because the Philippines has always been regarded as a stronghold of US imperial power in Asia.”

According to Simbulan, “The CIA’s actions and activities in its Manila station have never been limited to information gathering. Information gathering is but part of an offensive strategy to attack, neutralize and undermine any organization, institution, personality or activity they consider a danger to the stability and power of the United States.”

He noted, “The CIA in the Philippines has engaged in countless covert operations for intervention and dirty tricks particularly in Philippine domestic politics. On top of all this, the US diplomatic mission, especially the political section that is a favorite cover for many CIA operatives. CIA front companies also provide an additional but convenient layer of cover for operatives assigned overseas. In general, where you find US business interests (like Coca-Cola, Ford, Citicorp, United Fruit, Nike, etc.) you also find a very active CIA.”

The history of the Philippines is rife with CIA covert activity, according to Simbulan:

  1. From the mid-1950s, the US bases served as operational headquarters for “Operation Brotherhood” which operated in Indochina under direct supervision of the CIA’s Colonel Edward Lansdale and Lucien Conien, and it involved several Filipinos who were recruited and trained by the CIA.

  2. The CIA also actively used Philippine territory, particularly Clark Air Base, for the training and launching of operatives and logistics in the 1950s, when the US covertly supported dissident Indonesian colonels in the failed armed overthrow of Indonesian President Sukarno.

  3. Manila was the center for Trans-Asiatic Airlines, a CIA outfit operating along the Burma-China border against the People’s Republic of China. Side by side with CIA proprietary companies Civil Air Transport, Sea Supply Co. and Western Enterprises Co, the agency used TAA in an attempt to invade China in the early 1950s using mercenary Chinese warlord (and heroin smuggler) General Li Mi as leader of an invasion force.

  4. The CIA’s success in crushing the peasant-based Huk rebellion in the 1950s made this operation a model for future counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam and Latin America. Thus the Philippines had become the CIA prototype in successful covert operations and psychological warfare.

  5. “Before 1970, according to a former CIA operative, the sprawling Subic Naval Base was the site of a China operations group and “the agency even constructed 100 expensive modern homes, a large two-story office building and a big warehouse at Subic Bay.”

  6. In the late 1980s, the CIA assigned Vietnam veteran US general John Singlaub to organize anti-communist vigilante groups all over the country for mass terror, particularly as part of the Philippines government’s “total war policy” against people’s movements.

On more recent US intelligence activity, Simbulan revealed, “The post-Vietnam War and, later on, the post-bases era has only increased the importance of Manila as a major listening post and regional headquarters of the Agency. The Agency’s assets and technical infrastructure in Manila have been drastically affected by the withdrawal of the bases by 1992 because, before this, the CIA operated jointly with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) major listening posts into most of Indochina and southern China.”

He noted, “The joint CIA/DIA structure called the Strategic Warning Staff is headquartered in the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) and operated a number of similar posts as the one in Manila. The Manila station includes very sizeable logistical capabilities for a wide range of clandestine operations against Asian governments.”

Simbulan said, “The loss of the bases in the Philippines was a tremendous blow to the CIA’s Asian infrastructure, if not a major setback. The CIA lost its huge telecommunications installation at Clark Air Base, the Regional Relay Station, when the Philippine Senate rejected on September 16, 1991 the proposed treaty for the base’s renewal.”

He reported, “There is, however, a vital covert installation that the CIA was able to retain and maintain: the Regional Service Center (RSC). Located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila at the Seafront Compound about a mile south from the US Embassy, the RSC fronts as a facility for the US Information Service (USIS), formerly called the US International Communications Agency. This ultra-modern printing facility functions as a CIA propaganda plant. The CIA’s Technical Services Division maintains close liaison with the RSC, which still actively operates within the Seafront Compound.”

He noted, “Together with the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA also maintains Project Echelon, the most sophisticated eavesdropping system ever devised. Through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the US plans to fully restore its Echelon system in the Philippines. The CIA relies heavily on the Echelon Project for its technologically advanced Signal Intelligence or SIGNIT, which is managed by the NSA.”

The renewed US presence in the Philippines has provided the US an opportunity to beef up the intelligence capabilities lost in 1992.

Part 6

The Abu Sayyaf


It’s Not About Terrorism

August 22, 2002—Under the now universal rubric of the “war on terrorism,” following the events of 9/11, the US counter-insurgency called Operation Balikitan began in January 2002, with no public discussion and in contravention of the Filipino constitution.

While the White House and the mass corporate media have portrayed Operation Balikatan as a joint US-Filipino police action against the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim guerrilla group supposedly linked to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, Philippine President Arroyo herself declared that the ties between al-Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf have been non-existent since 1995.

Under Balikatan, the US and Philippine militaries (thousands strong, armed with sophisticated high-tech weaponry, aircraft and vehicles) have waged “total war” against a small group of (80 to 200) bandits, whose criminal activities appear to be a police matter for local authorities. The recently intensified action has included a bungled hostage rescue—that left two of three hostages dead—and the assassination of a top Abu Sayyaf member, Abu Sabayah.

To knowledgeable observers such as investigative journalist Bobby Tuazon of Bulatlat.com, the US operation in Mindanao is a flimsy cover for a global enterprise, in which the Philippines is being primed as a base for the projection of US power in the region and cleared of all local resistance to increasing US and foreign corporatization. The opportunistic and calculated use of “anti-terrorism” is a key component of the enterprise.

Abu Sayyaf: Another CIA Creation

According to Michel Chossudovsky, it is a fact that the CIA keeps track of its “intelligence assets”—particularly the ones that it created and continues to use. For example, according to Chossudovsky, it has been amply documented that the al-Qaeda terrorist network has been infiltrated (if not long controlled) by the CIA and its Central Asian branch, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden have been, and continue to be, well-known, if not guided, by high-level US intelligence.

The so-called Islamic jihad and its related Afghan jihad was created by the United States (CIA) and its allies, and launched in the 1970s and 1980s to fight the Soviet Union. Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, and kept out of touch with upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamist warriors were, and continue to be, unaware of whose purposes they serve.

“In the nature of a well-led intelligence operation,” Chossudovsky writes, ” the ‘intelligence asset’ operates (wittingly or unwittingly) with some degree of autonomy, in relation to its US government sponsors, but ultimately it acts consistently, in the interests of Uncle Sam.” Simply put, the CIA runs terrorist groups all the time without them having any clue that the CIA is setting them up and funding them.

Likewise, the Abu Sayyaf is a creation of the United States and its CIA—and continue to serve the geostrategic purposes of the United States government, which directly and indirectly controls their operations. Abu Sayyaf was founded by remnants of the Islamist mujahadeen, bankrolled and manipulated by the CIA, the Pakistani ISI, and elements of Saudi Arabia’s wealthy elite during the jihad against the Soviet Union. According to John Cooley, author of Unholy Wars, Abu Sayyaf was the last of the seven Afghan guerrilla groups to be organized late in the war—in 1986 or three years before the Soviets withdrew.

According to Philippine Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., the Abu Sayyaf is a “CIA monster.” In a recent speech, Pimentel said, “It is a well-documented fact that the CIA had recruited, trained and funded mujahadeens from among the Moros of Southern Mindanao to fight the Russians.”

Bobby Tuazon writes: “The fact remains that since the early 1990s, the group has been involved chiefly in criminal operations while maintaining liaisons with both military and local officials. This is partly the reason why the group refuses to die.” Just as the US has inflated the al-Qaeda legend, the US and Philippine officials are playing up the Abu Sayyaf “monster” and its alleged connection to al-Qaeda to justify a bigger US military assistance program and bigger US operations in the Pacific region.

Abu Sayyaf and Drugs

In a paper by Professor Peter Dale Scott, he writes that major US military campaigns “whether by coincidence or not, have all aligned the US on the same side as powerful local drug traffickers. Partly this has been from realpolitik—in recognition of the local power realities represented by the drug traffic. Partly it has been from the need to escape domestic political restraints: the traffickers have supplied additional financial resources needed because of US budgetary limitations, and they have also provided assets not bound (as the US is) by the rules of war. And partly (I believe) it has been from a concern to manage the drug traffic itself, and ensure that it will never fall under the control of another hostile power.”

In the case of the Abu Sayyaf, we find another example of this “deep political” dynamic. According to Sakib Salajin, mayor of Maluso (a hotbed of Abu Sayyaf activity), the Abu Sayyaf functions as a “protector of foreign drug trafficking syndicates.” The group also controls a thriving marijuana production post. Salajin says his office has compiled “substantial evidence” of drug trafficking,” but said that no funds or personnel were available to plug the problem.

Basilan police director, Chief Supt. Bensali Jabarani, confirmed Salajin’s assertion. “Drugs are a major source of Abu Sayyaf funds,” he said. “Aside from drugs from the Golden Triangle, marijuana grown here is exported to Zamboanga and other parts of the Mindanao mainland.”

This is significant in light of the statements made by Philippine Senator Pimentel, who said, “Abu Sayaff has been covertly supported by select Philippine military officers since the Ramos administration. Philippine officers did not only ‘handle’ the Abu Sayyaf, they coddled, trained, protected them, passed on military equipment and funds from the CIA and its support network.”

Eliminating Nationalism and Local Resistance

Widely unreported (and purposely distorted) in corporate media coverage of Operation Balikatan is the fact that the Moro people have been fighting for the right of self-determination in the southern Philippines for over 50 years, and has resisted colonizers for over 300 years. By design, these groups have been broad-brushed by the Bush and Arroyo administrations as terrorists, and lumped together with the Abu Sayyaf.

  • The Moro National (MNLF) signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996 that established the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

  • Its offshoot, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), refused to sign the peace agreement, but negotiated a ceasefire in 2000. The MILF has been fighting against elite armed forces trained by the US and using US military weaponry since President Estrada’s declaration of “all out war” against them in 2000.

  • The New People’s Army (NPA) is led by the Communist Party of the Philippines

Senator Pimentel put it clearly: “The MILF and the Abu Sayyaf should be not be lumped together as if they are the same dog wearing different collars. They are not. The MILF is pursuing a political agenda. The Abu Sayyaf is pursuing a purely criminal agenda. The MILF is fighting to retain their own culture, their own religion, their own identity. The Abu Sayaff is fighting to convert crime into industry for the group’s profit.”

According to the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, ” . . . it was not circumstantial that at the peak of Estrada’s military offensives against the MILF, the Abu Sayyaf came back to life. The propaganda machinery of the Estrada government (and the Arroyo government by extension) had successfully packaged the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF as one.”

Such distinctions are, of course, being ignored by the United States.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups are reporting indiscriminate mass arrests and torture of suspected members and sympathizers of Abu Sayyaf.

In a speech before the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Honolulu on January 8, 2002, the head of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Blair, called for “the defeat of separatist movements and insurgencies” throughout the region. In February 2002 testimony before Congress, Blair pushed for a widening of the operation. “Over 5,000 additional billets are needed to address the full range of force protection, anti-terrorism, and counter-terrorism missions throughout the Pacific command,” he said.


The 9/11 “war” is part of a long-planned, far-reaching and complex generational world geostrategy. It is a war not “on” but “of” terrorism. It is, among other things, a conflict for the control of the last supplies of energy on earth, control of the drug trade (the lifeblood of the financial system), and the continuation of a long-term neo-Cold War.

In this six-part series, we have explored ways in which the Philippines, the “second front,” is as vital to the Far East theater of the 9/11 “war,” as Afghanistan is to Central Asia, the “first front” of the conflict.

The US intervention in the region is not a response to terrorism, but a terroristic revitalization of US primacy in Southeast Asia. It is, to a large degree, the reassertion of the Vietnam War agenda—militarily dominate the sea and its shipping traffic, control the narcotics trade and capture the lion’s share of existing and untapped energy supplies.

The post-9/11 world has been in the making for a generation. From observing the openly and criminally corrupt actions of the Bush administration (and allied regimes) all over the world, a world economy and financial system on the verge of collapse, and the rampant subversion of democratic processes, it is clear that we are living in a new and dangerous paradigm. Only with understanding, and enlightened resistance, will the Pandora’s box of endless war be closed.


Special thanks to the editors of Bulatlat.com for its excellent coverage of the US-Philippine operation, and analysis of Philippine politics, economics and international affairs. The series of articles by Bobby Tuazon was a primary source for much of this article. The lecture by Roland G. Simbulan of the Manila Studies Program at the University of the Philippines was also critical to this work.

Amnesty International, Amnesty Now, Summer 2002.

Asian Journal, “Abu Sayyaf a CIA creation,” May 8, 2000.

BBC News “Philippines faces sanctions on money laundering” September 7, 2001.

BizAsia News, “Philippines alters money-laundering laws,” March 16, 2002.

CIA World Factbook.

William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. (Common Courage Press. 2000.)

Kevin Doyle, “Cambodia now a major heroin smuggling route to West,” Reuters, March 22, 2002.

Richard Heinberg, “Oil, War and Terror,” The Museletter October 2001.

Interpol-Drugs Sub-Directorate, Heroin.

Michael Klare, Resource Wars, Owl Books, 2001.

Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World,Penguin 1986.

Gary Leupp, “The Philippines: ‘Second Front’ in the US Global War,” Counterpunch, February 21, 2002.

Alejandro Lichauco, Today,It’s the anti-nationalists who should shut up

Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars, (Cohan & Cohan, 1991).

Nash Maulana, “Abu Sayyaf—CIA’s baby?,” October 2, 2000.

The Monthly Review, March 2002.

Robert Parry, “Lost History: Marcos, Money & Treason,” Consortium News, 1996.

James Petras, Center for Global Research,Dirty Money, Foundation of US Growth and Empire

Dale Allen Pfeiffer, “A Bigger Picture,” From The Wilderness, December 27, 2001.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer, “What Will Be the Next Target of the Oil Coup?” From The Wilderness, January 29, 2002.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer, “Leaping Off the Natural Gas Cliff,” From The Wilderness, June 21, 2002.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer, “Pipelinestan,” From The Wilderness,July 7, 2002.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global, “Malampaya Yields Oil

Resolution of the International Executive Committee of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International.

Maritess N. Reyes, “Philippines on its way to becoming a narco-state,” November 27, 2001.

John Roberts, World Socialist Website,US training exercise in the Philippines sets stage for broader military operations

Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness.A.I.G.” August 14, 2001.

Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness.“The Lies About Taliban Heroin” October 15, 2001.

Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness.A War in Planning for Four Years,” November 20, 2001.

Peter Dale Scott, web site:

Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, University of California Press, 1993.

Notes from the lecture by Peter Dale Scott, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, February 5, 2002.

Daniel B. Shirmer, “Fidel Ramos: In the Footsteps of Marcos?

Dorian Zumel Sicat, “Abu Sayyaf now into illegal drugs,” Manila Times, March 13, 2002

Roland G. Simbulan, “Covert Operations and the CIA’s Hidden History in the Philippines,” August 18, 2001.

Karen Talbot, “Backing Up Globalization With Military Might,” Covert Action Quarterly, Fall-Winter 1999

Bobby Tuazon, Bulatlat.com:

United States Department of Energy/United States Energy Information Administration. Philippines.

United States Department of Energy/United States Energy Information Administration. South China Sea Region. Note:A nearly identical version of the same report attributed to the Federation of American Scientists titled Spratly Islands can be accessed at www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/spratly.htm. The FAS is a “privately-funded non-profit policy organization engaged in analysis and advocacy on science, technology and public policy for global security” whose board members “include 55 American Nobel Laureates, and was founded as the Federation of Atomic Scientists in 1945—by members of the Manhattan Project. (The relationship between the USIE and the FAS, and ties the US intelligence community, merits analysis.)

World Geopolitics of Drugs /Observatoire Geopolitique Des Drogues (OGD).

Hubbert Peak of Oil Production.

Brain Food.

UN Regional Drug Control Profile for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on April 13th 2003

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