April 24, 2008 

Anakbayan Seattle stands together with our brothers and sisters of the March 1st Solidarity Movement protesting against the presence of US troops in Asia as a continuing legacy of neo-colonialism and imperialist aggression.  The issue is particularly of concern for Filipinos who face a history of 109 years of US military aggression and domination up to the present day.

      In 1899, the US launched an imperialist war of aggression against the newly formed Philippine republic resulting in the deaths of 1.2 Million Filipinos, one of the largest violations of human rights in world history that continues to be forgotten or glossed over.  The Philippine-American war was the “first Vietnam” that saw torture methods against Filipinos including the water cure which is now commonly used in Iraq by the US military.  Thus began US domination in Asia as a way to create a market to sell its goods as well as secure a cheap supply of raw materials and labor which continues to this day through sweat shops and child labor.

      The presence of US bases in the Philippines until 1992 saw the increase of prostitution, rape and abuse of the local population.  The toxic pollution of Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay continues to kill dozens of people annually through cancers or exploding munitions left behind.  With the Visiting Forces Agreement, US troops continue to have free reign over the country, in violation of the Philippine Constitution.  The presence of US troops in the Philippines under the guise of the “Second Front on the War on Terror” has also seen an increase in human rights violations.  The US backed Armed Forces of the Philippines uses the counter-insurgency training to eliminate unarmed activists opposed to the GMA regime resulting in the deaths of 900 people and 200 disappearances since 2001.  While the world is focused on Tibet, they continue to ignore the much larger number of Philippine dead at the hands of President Arroyo backed by US military aid.

      The presence of US troops in the Philippines and Asia has brought nothing but death and misery to the Philippine masses.  In Sulu Island on February 4 this year, the Philippine military massacred 8 unarmed civilians with witnesses seeing US military advisors overseeing the attack.  On February 18th, a Filipina in Okinawa was raped by a U.S. Army sergeant who has not been charged.  This comes on the heels of a US Marine also accused of raping a 14-year-old Japanese girl on February 10th.  And after 2 ½ years, we are still waiting justice in the Subic Bay rape case of “Nicole” against 4 US Marines who gang raped her on November 1st, 2005.  Despite convicting Daniel Smith, one of the marines, he was given to US custody to stay at the comfortable US Embassy instead of a Philippine prison where he belongs.

      As a member of the International League of People’s Struggles, we are encouraged by the growing people’s movements in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and other countries in Asia rising up against the presence of US troops in Asia who are used to suppress the legitimate demands for democracy and a pro-people government and economy.  We condemn the War of Terror used by the US ruling class to further their greedy economic and political control of the world.  We also condemn the US military for recruiting poor people of color (including many Filipinos) to fight for wars that are against their own interests.  We call on US troops, particularly those of Asian and Fil-Am heritage to not be used by the US ruling class to prop up an exploitive system around the world that impoverishes our own people.