hey, joe! epic fail, joe?

let’s hope that senator grace poe who will be conducting the senate hearings on mamasapano is taking note, and preparing to get to the bottom, of stories in different major dailies re american involvement in that january 25 carnage of SAF commandos, muslim rebels, and civilians.

manilastandardtoday‘s “Marwan’s calls tapped” tells how suspended police chief alan purisima and US troops used drones and marwan’s wife as a “tracer” to pinpoint the precise location of the world’s most wanted terrorist.

inquirer‘s “US hand fingered in anti-Marwan operation” tells that the 84th and 55th SAF troops trained with americans in a zamboanga facility, and that the mamasapano ops was planned and fully funded by the americans.  and today inquirer reports that a “US drone watched Mamapasano debacle.”

manilatimes‘ “PNoy ordered AFP, SAF to stand down” tells that the SAF commandos only served as police escorts for a team of US agents who were allowed by the MILF to enter mamasapano in exchange for an entrance fee of P60M, and that before the US agents could proceed with the capture, the MILF demanded the balance of the bounty but the US agents balked and soon after all hell broke loose; allegedly the president and bff purisima were monitoring it all from a US drone facility in zamboanga.

online, mindanaotimes‘ “US Embassy denies it helped SAF in Mamasapano operation” tells of eye-witness reports of a caucasian among the dead and a US helicopter carrying off “specific bodies.”

of course the americans are denying any involvement, it was a purely filipino police operation, except for the extrication phase when, allegedly, philippine officials asked for help.  not surprisingly the president has neither confirmed nor denied the american hand, but given the long history of american intervention in our affairs, and given the EDCA’s expanded american presence in gross violation of the constitution, the stories ring true.

via facebook, gina apostol weighs in:

His boss is America. We keep forgetting that, and I wish the news agencies would do the investigative reports on the imperial issue. It would blow away all the smoke and mirrors of this operation. “Hindi sa bawat pagkakataon ay hinihiling nila ang pahintulot ko, dahil impraktikal naman kung hintayin pa nila ang clearance mula sa akin,” Aquino said. We need to deconstruct Aquino’s statements: he clearly has a boss, and it is not the Filipino people.

Planeta Amerika. Should not people also be looking and grieving about the US connection—how implicated America’s geopolitical aims are in this operation? Should not journalists be looking at that issue a lot more carefully? The emotional focus just gets so strange. I get it. I get the sadness. But if we don’t address our complicity here in the US’s so-called war on terror that, as we can see, will run roughshod over us as collateral, we are also doing a grievous injury upon the widows and orphans. We are collateral in someone else’s war. That’s what we are. It is so obvious in this operation against American targets, Marwan and Usman. The US has a $6-million dollar bounty on their heads. Why is the Philippines doing the job of America’s army? That is also the question the widows should be asking the President.

Wonder why, if the govt was keen not to use the AFP at all (because that would so-called hurt the peace process), why would the AFP request US helicopters to pick up casualties? Why is this story so convoluted? … most Filipinos are not interested in knowing about US involvement in Mindanao (it’s easier to have personal shouting grudge matches against the president and so on). When we say the buck stops at President Aquino, we should be asking him truths about the role of the US in the deaths at Mamasapano. It is our right as citizens to know. (and if it derails the peace process, which the citizens of Mindanao want and need—that really sucks).

Those linked to the yellow EDSA crowd share with the Marcos technocrats of old a similar response to US involvement in Philippine events (and I won’t even mention the idiots in Erap and GMA’s govts): they pretend it is absent. The focus instead is on intramural politics. If not PNoy then Binay: kadiri! And so on. I wish leading voices like Solita Monsod would also push the analysis on structural problems of Philippine governance—our reliance on foreign powers that undermine our sovereignty, and so enabling corruption, disabling human rights, endangering peace. I understand that this is only one of many columns Monsod has written (I do not follow her): but in the light of the terrible implications of this incident in Mindanao, this blubber is just so disappointingly hollow, shallow, empty, missing the point. Really painful to read. I feel most for the ordinary citizens of Mindanao, caught in this conflict, who for so long have been desperately hoping for peace: and this peace process was a light in that tunnel. I really was on the side of Aquino here in the govt’s peace process; and Justice Sereno’s voice on this was so encouraging for me. But for too many people with a voice in Manila, this is only another plot in their long long long soap opera of who among them should have power. A strong effort by people like Solita Monsod to go after the links to US involvement in Mamasapano would help reveal to Filipinos who we are as a people—a dependent neocolony that has become collateral in someone else’s war so that its own citizens do not have to die like the Filipinos do? Is that who we are? Somewhat more interesting than whether PNoy’s lack of a wife makes him a better, less corruptible person. A shameful focus. The fact is, our personalan, scandal-based politics—from Quezon in the early days of US occupation to now—has been hugely effective in keeping us under the thumb of US interests that, in fact, have been killing us since 1898. Our personalan politics—its shallow analysis of governance—provides cover for imperial aims. The Manila burgis political operatives have blood on their hands, too. (And they’ve had it since the Arellano/Legarda/Paterno/Pardo de Taveras of the early Federalistas hung on to WH Taft’s fat figure for dear life in 1899. Same old names—same old Manila burgis classes fucking us up, really.) But in my view, as long as we keep pushing for deeper analysis, not just personalan, maybe we can do better—maybe we can truly probe. Kung hindi tayo aasa, wala tayong magagawa.

also on facebook, herbie docena notes:

ZERO DARK THIRTY GONE HAYWIRE: So it’s becoming clearer and clearer now as we put the pieces together. The Americans wanted a completely-secret, commando-type capture of ‘Marwan’ ala the celebrated capture of Bin Laden: “Zero Dark Thirty” not in Abbottabad but in Tukanalipao. As in Pakistan, US officials pushed President Aquino to execute the mission, provided the intelligence, and likely promised to give the Philippine government other forms of covert support. As in Pakistan, where the Americans have learned not to trust the Pakistani military command, because of their corruption and their ties to the enemy, the Americans insisted on complete secrecy, on keeping everyone else but Aquino and his chosen ones involved, so as not to compromise the mission. And Aquino went along–nevermind that this set-up would have heightened the risks for the troops to be deployed, nevermind that it would have violated the Constitution because it in effect means the US military were engaging in “combat” in Philippine territory, and nevermind that the operation would risksmortally wounding the peace agreement that the government had been negotiating with the Moro rebels.

Their mistake? They seemed to have forgotten, or chose to go ahead despite the complications arising from the possibility that, unlike bin Laden who was hiding in a fortified compound isolated from the population, Marwan could be hiding in the middle of a village, among people who saw themselves as resistance fighters fighting a war of liberation, who may have been ordered to observe a ceasefire, as per the agreement with the occupation forces, but who–perhaps because those occupation forces have violated past agreements many times before–stood ready to fight back when attacked. This decision in turn seems to have rested on a deeper assumption: that the ‘natives’ or the ‘googoos’ would simply roll over, play along with their plan, and refuse to fire back when fired upon. In short, the US and their Filipino accomplices may have been tripped by the same colonial attitude that has tripped many an imperial force in history: their contempt towards the natives.

Perhaps this account is still missing important elements to complete the story; maybe a few details are wrong. But that only means we should continue to demand answers and press for a genuinely independent truth commission. At the same time, however, we should not be intimidated into waiting for the results of any “official investigation” and be forced to suspend our judgment because, given the stakes and given that nothing less than the “deep state” is involved, those who have everything to lose from “we, the people” knowing the truth–those who have everything to gain from us failing to make up our minds–will do everything they can to hide the truth and prevent us from rendering our judgment.

So far, several conclusions are becoming increasingly difficult to dispute (and I appeal to those who have a different information to dispute them, for the sake of our collective search for truth): The US gave the orders. President Aquino went along. And in so doing, he violated the constitutional provision that foreign military troops should not be involved in combat operations in the country. He put the lives not just of Filipino security forces but also of Moro civilians and rebels at risk. And he sabotaged the peace process. He should be held accountable not merely for refusing to show up at the fallen policemen’s arrival honors. He should be held accountable for so much more than just insensitivity or indecency. 


  1. It never cease to amaze me that Filipinos deny their nation’s own ability to make decisions in the best interest of the Philippines. They want sovereignty but won’t accept accountability. The Philippines decides if it wants America’s information or not. America does not decide. It is correct to keep matters secret. That’s the way enemies are defeated.

    Did American “intervention” in Filipino affairs prevent the Pope from getting blown up, perhaps, along with hundreds of bystanders? How many other ferries might have been blown up. How many other Bali bombings might have been undertaken by Marwan if he were not desperately on the run.

    Understand what you are dealing with here. Really nasty people. It has been thanks to American information and resources that the threat has been pushed away from Manila to the remote islands near Sulu. Never in the history of the planet have two nations had such well-aligned self-interests, and you want to remove the American capability from the arsenal of Philippine defense.

    Strange way to keep a nation safe.

    Insecurity and envy do not good decisions make.