Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Subic Rape Case - American Imperialism and Servile Filipino Rulers (UPDATED)

"What the US and the Philippine government have connived to teach you is imperialism's most insidious lesson: that whatever you do is an exercise in futility, because you are a citizen of a client state, because your country is a claptrap Third World country without power, because your government is a failed government, because your country is not independent, because you are part of a "colored" race, and because there are among you people who prefer survival to dignity and honor." - Ninotchka Rosca


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The following previous posts and the RECTO READER are essential about us native, Malay Filipinos and are therefore always presented in each new post. Click each to open/read.
  2. WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
  3. Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots 
  4. The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
  5. Our Filipino Kind of Religion
THE RECTO READER is presented in several postings. Click below for previous posts:

NOTE: Recto's cited cases, examples or issues were of his time, of course; but realities in our homeland in the present and the foreseeable future are/expectedly much, much worse. Though I am tempted to update them with current issues, it's best to leave them as they are since Recto's paradigms about our much deepened national predicament still ring relevant, valid and true. In short, Recto saw the forest and never got lost in the trees.- Bert

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"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." - Noam Chomsky

"...the role of U.S. overseas bases in the world -bases in the Philippines among them-- is to "act as magnets for enemy attacks, thus dispersing and weakening his threat to our cities and fixed installations." --Hanson W. Baldwin (1903-1991), U.S. Naval Academy Class 1924, N.Y. Times Military Editor, stated in the NY Times Weekly 2/17/57 & 8/18/57 - as quoted by Claro M. Recto

"The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of the US' first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as "civilizational imperialism" - a project we're presently repeating....Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipe-dream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indians, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future." - --Major General Smedley D. Butler, America's Armed Forces: 'In Time of Peace', 1935. 1898-1914: The Phillipines


Hi All,

The issue here is rape and not the knee-jerk reaction of questioning the character of the woman.

All the six(6) US marines and the Filipino driver should be prosecuted; if only one actually did the act, the rest should be considered conspirators to the crime. And I guess that should be a death penalty if found guilty (am no lawyer but that's what I interpret from the law of the land.).

Whether the six(6) US marines will be successfully prosecuted, convicted and placed in Philippine custody is doubtful given our history in treating offenses and crimes by members of the US military.

Furthermore, the Philippines is a signatory to the US Bilateral Immunity Agreement (BIA) aka Article 98 Agreement imposed by the United States as a (another) condition to receiving American foreign aid, etc.

With our historical weakness, our Americanized minds and awe of America, the result will predictably be a whitewash.

However, I hope I will be wrong.

NOTE: In 1995, anti-base protests broke out in Okinawa in response to the rape of a twelve-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen, who had rented a car for the purpose, so that they could take her to a remote location and rape her; and in response to the callous view of Admiral Richard C. Macke, commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, who told the press: “I think that [the rape] was absolutely stupid. For the price they paid to rent the car, they could have had a girl.”

The widespread protests, led by an organization called Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, were not, however, just in response to this single rape, brutal though it was. 

Between 1972 and 1995, U.S servicemen were implicated in 4,716 crimes, nearly one per day, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a conservative Japanese newspaper.

The Japan-U.S. agreement that governs the Okinawa base allows U.S. authorities to refuse Japanese requests for military suspects, and few indeed have suffered any inconvenience for their crimes.

- Bert

"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about." - Noam Chomsky

Letter to Nicole: Surrender is Not an Option
By Ninotchka Rosca
Posted by Bulatlat

Just a short note, by way of reminding all that at the center of all the legal, diplomatic and political verbiage on the Subic rape case, is a young woman, not only sexually assaulted and humiliated, but betrayed so thoroughly by those with the power and the responsibility to protect her and lend her justice.

I read about all the issues swirling around you, Nicole, in the various newspapers and Internet news services, and wish we could know you in all your fortitude. I wish we could say "we feel your pain" but we can't really, only imagine it.

I am tempted to say you have already made history; that at least, you got one convicted, at least you got a trial, at least you precipitated a crisis, at least… But that is a cop-out.

Filipinos have been trained to live on the "at-least" level. I hear it all the time, from exported Filipinas: at least, you have a job; at least, you're in the US; at least, you can send money home; at least, your amo (master) is kind; at least…

It's become our prime and only virtue: survival by whatever means, under whatever conditions. I hear it often from women who work 18/7 to enable parents, siblings and various relations to continue to exist in an archipelago so wealthy it's globalization's paradise.

There are no words of comfort to make up for this travesty, to you and to millions of Filipinas living lives of quiet desperation. The Philippines ranks fifth in the world in the number of women working. The first four are all Western developed nations, like Sweden, Denmark, etc. It is a painful irony that a country dependent on women's labor does not have the political will to defend, protect and assert one woman's right to redress of grievance.

What the US and the Philippine government have connived to teach you is imperialism's most insidious lesson: that whatever you do is an exercise in futility, because you are a citizen of a client state, because your country is a claptrap Third World country without power, because your government is a failed government, because your country is not independent, because you are part of a "colored" race, and because there are among you people who prefer survival to dignity and honor.

This is the first lesson of slavery, of course: that sense of futility and helplessness, of powerlessness; of being always in the wrong and the master always in the right. Hence, the contemptible spectacle of some Filipinas lighting candles for a convicted rapist and the equally contemptible spectacle of a priest who had lived parasitically almost his entire life on the Church contributions of the poor of the Philippines denying the veracity of a court trial to defend a member of the master race.

What makes this race a master is the equally contemptible willingness of the country's so-called rulers to be enslaved, thereby dragging the whole nation into enslavement.

Do not accept this. Do not abide by this lesson in powerlessness. Do not internalize powerlessness. That is the first step to slavery.The only thing we can offer, those of us who also work 18/7 scampering to correct each sliver of injustice, each instance of exploitation, each whiplash of racism in this country, are the words we live by: to the degree that you struggle against suppression, to that degree are you already free; to the degree that you resist imperialism, to that degree are you already liberated.

And if it's any comfort, know that you were done in, not by the US marines whom you bested, by a cabal of four-letter men and one five-letter woman masquerading as Filipinos.So, go for it, girl, ignore the "at-leasts" and keep on truckin' to victory, if not by way of the courts, then some other way.

Surrender is not an option.

January 3, 2007



"In time of peace, foreign bases serve as protection for foreign investments within the country where the bases are established." - Claro M. Recto

Caving in to U.S. Bullying
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo 

Posted by Bulatlat

On top of everything else – the lying, stealing, cheating and murdering spree against those her regime has demonized as “enemies of the state” – Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today takes the cake as super toady to the Superpower bully, the United States of America.

 In the process she has managed to stir up latent nationalist sentiments that have been all but smothered by ubiquitous propaganda about “globalization” and the hype about a border-less “war against terrorism” fought with the mighty US war machine.

By authorizing the hasty, clandestine and deceitful transfer of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to the custody of the US government by means of his illegal, non-court authorized release (prosecution lawyers have categorically labeled it as an assisted escape of a convicted felon) from detention in the Makati City Jail and delivery to the U.S. Embassy, Mrs. Arroyo has proven that she is indeed the U.S. puppet repeatedly condemned in countless protest rallies and demonstrations.

Why does Mrs. Arroyo’s belated admission that it was her decision to get the convicted American soldier out of a Philippine jail and her plea for “understanding” sound pretty much like her "I'm sorry" spiel after being caught red-handed engaging in wholesale electoral fraud? Why are we reminded all over again of her emotional "I will not run (for president)" speech, a promise she promptly abandoned after manufacturing a spurious groundswell of support as well as allegedly receiving divine inspiration to run anyway?

There are three reasons: first, is the familiar ring of insincerity; two, the blatant lying about the grounds for her highly questionable and legally untenable actions; and third, the thinly-veiled attempt to assuage an enraged populace whose reaction to this latest atrocity, Malacanang has obviously underestimated.

This time Mrs. Arroyo’s offense -- or rather, offenses -- is much, much worse. She used her high office to undermine the rule of law, undercut the judicial process as well as surrender national sovereignty to a foreign power. It was bad enough that her government did little to help, or more accurately, helped to sabotage the fight of the Subic rape victim, Nicole, to attain justice by way of the damaging pronouncements and decisions of the Justice Secretary and his deliberately bungling set of public prosecutors.Furthermore, the executive department automatically and consistently concurred with the US interpretation of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provisions on criminal jurisdiction that clearly favored the accused US marine over the Filipina rape victim. 

The Arroyo regime, in fact, lawyer-ed for the US government (and, effectively, the accused US soldiers) on the issue of custody from day 1 of the commission of the crime. With the unmistakable show of US displeasure as expressed in US President George Bush’s pronouncement and the abrupt and unilateral cancellation of the annual RP-US joint war exercises known as Balikatan as well as humanitarian assistance to typhoon-ravaged areas, the Arroyo regime literally caved in.

It did the unthinkable – gross, ill-disguised flouting of the independence of the judiciary and grave abuse of authority – in springing Smith from his Makati prison and delivering him to the US embassy in true-blue lackey fashion.

The Arroyo administration could not wait for the legal fig leaf of a court order when it failed to get a favorable ruling from RTC Judge Pozon, who had earlier found Mr. Smith guilty, sentenced him to 40 years imprisonment and ordered his temporary incarceration in the Makati city jail until the court decides otherwise, pending diplomatic negotiations between the Philippines and the U.S. as to what detention facility, on Philippine territory, would be used to jail the convict. Failure as well to get a Temporary Restraining Order from the Court of Appeals on Judge Pozon’s order to retain custody over Mr. Smith by incarcerating him in a Philippine jail apparently caused alarm on the part of both Malacanang and the U.S. authorities.1]

Thus the legal cover used by Mrs. Arroyo’s hatchet men amounted to nothing more than the U.S. position that the VFA grants it custody of its erring soldiers no matter that the crime committed is a heinous one under Philippine laws, it had nothing to do with Mr. Smith’s duties as a member of the U.S. military, and he was, in fact, off duty when he committed the rape. In the guise of fidelity to its obligations under the VFA, the Arroyo regime attempts now to cover-up its latest impeachable crimes.This incident is once more threatening to blow up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face revealing just how shaky her regime is and how fearful it is of losing the backing of the U.S.

That is the real meaning of “strategic RP-U.S. relations” for this client regime as it has been for those that preceded it. (The last time this same line was invoked was during the Senate debates on the renewal of the RP-U.S. Bases Agreement when then President Corazon Aquino even led a street march to the Senate to dramatize her support for the bases’ continued stay and thus endeared her to U.S. policymakers.)

On the part of the U.S., it exposes the narrow and aggressive mindset of the current neoconservative leadership of the lone Superpower, used to getting its way unchecked by international law and international public opinion. It also reveals just how much respect the U.S. political leadership has for the dignity and independence of its former colony, now reduced to nothing more, it appears, than disdain for a current neo-colony  a vassal state of the Big White Father.

The Balikatan war exercises are certainly a critical part of US military strategy – having to do with the continuous deployment of US forces and materiel in key regions so as to ensure military readiness and maneuverability in exercising its hegemony. Is the decision to cancel it a measure of its concern for its troops? We think not. The US makes clear that it doesn't want another bad precedent of a client state (aka “ally”) reneging or failing to implement lop-sided military agreements that protect US interests and not get punished for it. The US clearly twisted the arm of the Arroyo regime and got what it wanted.

Of course US spokespersons maintained the propaganda line that this was about implementing the VFA; that this was about protecting its troops. In truth it is about the US having its way in complete disregard of a sovereign country’s justice system and sovereignty and delivering that message loud and clear to the entire world.

US imperialist objectives are of course so much easier to achieve when it deals with a subservient government desperate to cling to power like that of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Published in Business Wolrd5-6 January 2007

Pag-aralan ang lipunan, paglingkuran ang sambayanan!Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya! Isang Inisyatiba ng BAYAN, ang [propagandista] ay kasangkapangpabatiran ng mga propagandista ng iba\'t-ibang samahangprogresibo sa Pilipinas.Para sa impormasyon, sumulat",1]



Women and Armed Conflict -- Foreign Military Bases as a Source of Violence against Women

Presented by Yayori Matsui (Item 5 (b) Rights-Based Approach) 

Madam Chairperson, Extinguished delegates,

It is my honor to be given an opportunity to speak to you on behalf of women and children who are victimized by all forms of violence committed by military personnel in foreign military bases. 

I would like to draw your attention to a major gap in the Beijing Platform for Action concering this issue which was identified at the Asia-Pacific Regional NGO Symposium last month. 

The NGOs at the Symposium reviewed the Platform for Action and pointed out the Gap that, while "foreign military occupation" is included in Section E. Women and Armed Conflict, there is no mention to "the effects of the long-term presence of foreign military bases".

It was recommended that the scope of armed conflict should be broadened to include the long-term presence of foreign military bases. The grave violation of human rights of women and children under such situation is an urgent issue that needs to be clearly acknowledged as a part of the Section E. of the Platform for Action.

The women and children living in areas where foreign military bases are present have been and still are exposed to severe cases of rape and other forms of violence by military personnel stationed in Okinawa, Japan and in Korea. The long term presence of military forces in the Philippines has also resulted in the same situation.

Let me explain the situation of Okinawa where 75% of the US military bases in Japan are concentrated , occupying 20% of its land where 27,000 active duty military personnel are stationed under the Japan-US Security Treaty.

A 12 year old school girl was gang raped by three military men in September 1995 during the fourth World Conference on Women. More than 70 Okinawa women who participated in the conference returned home to learn of the incident. The shocked women quickly acted to expose the brutal crime to the world, because the victimized girl courageously raised her voice that such an outrage should never occur again. The women in Okinawa mobilized a nation-wide campaign and also undertook a research to uncover the chronology of the post-war military sexual violence against women. 

The research resulted in a long growing list of rape and murder of women and children. This included young rape victims who were 9 years old, 6 years old, and even 9 month old baby. There were extreme gang rape cases; where one victim was raped by as many as 30 soldiers. Some were killed.

The report also revealed that the incidents of sexual crime had surged especially during the Viet-Nam War for which Okinawa was used as the key base. This substantiated the fact that the presence of military bases is in itself a source of threat to women and children living in surrounding areas even if the host country is not directly under war situation. 

Okinawa became the island of military bases since the end of the World War II under US military rule. The same situation persisted after its return to Japan in 1972, and even after the end of the Cold War. The untold history of rape and murder in Okinawa is linked to this post-war history.

Now we are posed with a new threat to perpetuate this violence against women associated with war. The new US-Japan Defence Guideline recently agreed will function to perpetuate the US military presence in Okinawa under Japan-US Security Treaty and require Japan to mobilize the whole society for cooperation with US military operation.

The paradox here is that the existence of the bases are meant to provide security for the country. However, women in Okinawa question the concept of security. -- "Security for whom? when women and children in Okinawa are deprived of their security in their daily lives?". -- They demand demilitarized women's security instead of militarized state's security.

NGO Symposium urged women's NGOs and international civil society to lobby against the existence of military bases and defence cooperation agreements that propel super-power military dominance.

In the context of review of the Platform for Action, we are convinced that it is necessary to include the longtime foreign military presence in the scope of Women and Armed Conflict(stated in Section E).

By including, we'll be able address more effectively the issue of protecting human rights of women and children in the next five years, while we play a more important role in contributing to creating a world of peace without violence against women for the 21st century. 

Yayori MATSUI, Director
Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center
presented on 28th October 1999 ESCAP High Level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 


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