US troops engaged in combat and other forms of military intervention in the Philippines — CPP

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today lambasted US Ambassador Harry Thomas for "lying through his teeth" when he claimed yesterday that US troops in the Philippines are not engaged in combat operations in the Philippines.

The CPP said "The US government is actively waging a multi-dimensional interventionist war in the Philippines. US troops are actually engaged in military operations in the country, starting from the provision of advice and training, sending 'humanitarian assistance forces,' in the country providing logistical, intelligence and combat support to local puppet troops, or actual engaging in covert combat operations."

Since 2001, a 600-strong contingent of US soldiers under the US Pacific Command's Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP) have been operating in many regions of the country under the guidance of their exclusive headquarters inside various AFP camps.

The CPP pointed out that "More than just an open secret, there have been factual reports that US soldiers stationed in the Philippines have been actively involved in so-called counterinsurgency operations in the country. It has carried out military operations independent of or integrated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) including providing intelligence, weapons and other logistical support, and joining operations in the battlefield. In many cases, US military officers based in tactical command posts in battlefields have actually been the ones giving instruction or 'expert advice' to AFP commanders during combat operations."

"Ambassador Thomas glosses over the fact that in the past several years, there have been several reports of US troops engaged in battlefield operations together with AFP units in various provinces across the country, most of them in Mindanao," the CPP added.

Various instances of direct involvement of US troops in operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao were cited by the CPP: "In September last year, two American soldiers were killed when they were ambushed in Indanan, Sulu. Earlier that month, a team of US soldiers transporting undisclosed items passed by the port of Jolo in Sulu and opened fire indiscriminately in a knee-jerk reaction to a supposed grenade explosion. The US soldiers damaged dock facilities and a nearby mosque. Back in 2002, Sgt. Reggie Lane, a US Army serviceman embedded among troops of the 18th IB shot Buyong-buyong Isnijal, a farmer in Basilan in a raid on his house to arrest him for suspicion of being an Abu Sayyaf element."

The CPP also enumerated a number of instances US where military personnel were witnessed to have been playing active roles in combat operations in Mindanao against the New People's Army (NPA):

"Around mid-February and again in early July this year, US soldiers were seen together with troops of the AFP operating against the NPA in Quezon, Bukidnon. These interventionist troops, together with a unit of the AFP, engaged an NPA unit in a firefight and even committed atrocities against the residents in the area."

"In April and again in September last year, US troops were also sighted with AFP soldiers in Valencia and Malaybalay asking local residents for possible NPA locations and even intimidating civilians in the area. In May 2008, a four-man team of US military officers set up office inside the tactical command post of the 1003rd Brigade during a massive anti-NPA operation in Compostela Province. In April last year, a US soldier was wounded in a firefight between the New People's Army and troops of the 9th IB in Masbate."

The CPP added that US interventionist forces have been expanding the scope of their Joint US-Philippine Balikatan military exercises to cover areas with strong NPA presence for the purpose of military mapping and mastering the area, setting up their own intelligence infrastructure and providing intelligence and backup support to puppet troops engaged in combat operations against the NPA. The CPP also cited increasing reports of US drones flying over guerrilla fronts of the NPA to monitor  guerrilla movements and feed these to the puppet operating troops.

"Within the framework of its doctrine of counterinsurgency, various US agencies also launch 'civilian-military operations' with the aim of painting a benevolent image of US imperialism and drawing the people away from waging armed resistance."

"All these forms and levels of direct and indirect military intervention are being undertaken by the US government in line with its US Counterinsurgency Guide, which stipulates the US' self-claimed role of interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and in the fight against local armed resistance," the CPP said further.

The CPP added: "What makes it worse for the Filipino peoples is the fact that the puppet Philippine government acquiesces to such unabashed foreign political and military interventionism. US officials have repeatedly claimed that its presence and operations in the Philippines are being undertaken upon the request of the Philippine government." It also noted that in his speeches, the new president of the puppet state, Benigno Aquino III has been openly and repeatedly declaring his obeisance to the entire concept of the US Counterinsurgency Guide."