Philippine / US troops joint training for counter-insurgency, and for US-Pacific domination

[Though both the US imperialist and comprador Philippine governments describe “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises as normal, routine, and “humanitarian,” they are actually part of more intense–and expanded–trainings for regional wars (which may challenge or extend the US’ hegemonic role, or China’s growing role) and for domestic Philippine counter-insurgency operations against rebel opposition, both communist and Islamic.  The pictures below express this very well.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Reuters, ‘Balikatan’ exercises
More than 4,000 American troops joined their Filipino counterparts for a series of military exercises in the West Philippine Sea,  an area that involves a territorial dispute that centers on a shoal not far from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. The dispute centers on a group of islands known in the Philippines as Scarborough Shoal and recognized as Huangyan island in Chinese. Both Philippines and China have staked a claim on the islands, according to media reports.

U.S. soldiers inspect a Filipino soldier portraying a communist rebel killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

A U.S. soldier patrol past a boy during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

U.S. soldiers walk past Filipino soldiers portraying communist rebels killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

A U.S. soldier carries a Filipino soldier portraying a communist rebel killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

U.S. and Filipino soldiers take part in an urban combat drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

Filipino and U.S. soldiers conduct a patrol during an ambush drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

Filipino and U.S. soldiers take part in an ambush drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

Philippines: Student activists protesting Balikatan deface US embassy seal

[The imperialist US and comprador Philippine relationship has been reaffirmed by imperialist leader Obama and comprador puppet Aquino with the new round of Philippines-US “Balikatan” military exercises.  Student activists in Manila have mounted this campaign in opposition. — Frontlines ed.]

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By Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star), April 17, 2012

A protester defaces the emblem of the US embassy in a rally coinciding with the first day of Philippines-US military exercises. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Student activists defaced the seal of the United States embassy along Roxas Boulevard in Manila to protest the Philippines-US Balikatan military exercises that started yesterday.

At least 100 members of the leftist League of Filipino Students (LFS) surprised Manila policemen and US embassy security guards. The students slipped through security to stage a lightning rally near the main gate of the embassy at around 6 a.m., then sprayed red and blue paint on the embassy seal.

Another student used an improvised club to smash the metal letters of the seal while security guards watched helplessly from the embassy compound.

There were no Manila policemen or crowd control unit on site to confront the activists.

The students brought placards that read, “Defend national sovereignty!” “Junk VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement)!” and “US troops out now!”

The activists also burned an American flag.

The VFA was signed in 1999 to authorize the Phl-US joint military exercises.

Witnesses said militants pretended to be joggers and then staged the lightning rally at the embassy gate. The protesters dispersed after 30 minutes when three policemen arrived. The police failed to arrest any activist.

Embassy security guards decided not to go out of the compound, but they took photographs of the students who were vandalizing the embassy seal. Continue reading