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Death squads in the Philippines

Published Jun 18, 2006 11:57 PM

It seems that the Colombian regime of Alvaro Uribe is not the only client of U.S. imperialism that uses paramilitary death squads against popular leaders, trade unionists and people’s organizations.

Now the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Philippines, who in 2002 was the first Asian leader to fully-embrace Bush’s so-called War on Terror, has unleashed this scourge on the people of her country, at the same time that she has re-invited U.S. troops onto the islands they were driven from in 1992.

All in all over 680 people’s leaders, all active in the movement against intensified U.S. intervention and imperialist domination of the Philippines, have been assassinated under the U.S.-backed Arroyo regime, according to the human rights alliance Karapatan.

Since January over 80 critics of the Arroyo regime have been assassinated by unidentified motorcycle-riding assai lants. All victims are members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), or BAYAN-allied groups. BAYAN has played an integral role in the current people’s movement for an Arroyo ouster. This rise in death-squad attacks hits not only activists and party representatives but priests, trade unionists, journalists, students and youth as well.

Washington has broad experience backing regimes that serve U.S. imperialist interests while using official and unofficial arms of the repressive state against people’s organizations and their leaders. Death squads aimed at people’s movements supplemented the open warfare in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, as they do in Iraq now. These same
tactics were used heavily in Central America in the 1980s.

It is easy to see that Washington and its clients in Manila are forcing the popular movements in the Philippines to take defensive measures to protect their militants and organizers from these government-sanctioned murders, carried out by death squads connected to the army and police.

No popular movement in the world, especially no anti-imperialist movement in the United States, can remain indifferent to death-squad killings of popular leaders. The anti-imperialist movement in the United States has a special responsibility to help expose before the working class and people here the role of the Arroyo government and its U.S. backers in these crimes and to support the right of the popular organizations in the Philippines to defend themselves by whatever means they find necessary.