The rising death toll in Iraq, Israel and Palestine has kept media coverage of the War on Terror focused squarely on the Middle East. Lost in this reporting are serious allegations concerning the Philippines–a chief ally of the US in its global fight with Islamic fundamentalism.
As Nation columnist Naomi Klein recently detailed, on July 27, three hundred soldiers of the Philippine Army rigged a Manila shopping mall with explosives in an act of protest against their superiors. The story quickly faded from view and with it the serious allegations made by the insurgent troops, among them the startling charge that the Philippine government and army had themselves engineered terrorist bombings, which they then blamed on Islamic terrorist groups in an elaborate plot to justify increased military aid from the United States.
The mutineers insisted they were not interested in taking power but only wanted to expose a top-level conspiracy. When Philippine President Gloria Arroyo promised to launch a full investigation into the allegations, the mutiny ended peacefully. And, as Klein wrote, though the soldiers’ tactics were widely condemned in the Philippines, there was widespread recognition, even inside the military, that their claims were “valid and legitimate,” as retired Navy Capt. Danilo Vizmanos told her.
Especially given that Southeast Asia looks like it could quickly become the next front in America’s War on Terror, it’s particularly important not to let these charges drop. Writing members of the House Foreign Relations Committee can’t hurt. Click here to access the Nation‘s Congressional directory database. Contacting the media could also be a big help. The Nation has created an easy way for you to write, call or email your local media about this story letting them know that the issue needs to be reported, examined and debated.
Click here to send a letter to your local daily or weekly newspaper, talk-radio program or public affairs television station. And tell any print pub you contact that if they don’t have the resources to devote to this important story, they should consider reprinting Klein’s Nation column, which is available at very reasonable rates. (Click here for reprint info.)