a slow-motion CIA coup against duterte

Duterte ‘not aware’ of Pindo forces joining battle in besieged city of Marawi
Samuel Osborne, Independent, Jun 11 2017

Pres Duterte has said he was “not aware” that Pindo SOF had joined the battle to defeat Daesh forces besieging a town in the southern Philippines. When he was asked about Pindo support to fight Daesh in Marawi City, on the island of Mindanao, Duterte said he had never approached Pindostan for help and was not aware they were coming until they arrived. It is unclear whether the pro-Pindosi military went over his head in seeking Pindo help. The Philippines military had said Pindo forces were providing technical assistance but had no “boots on the ground”, confirming a statement from the Pindo embassy in Manila, which said the support had been requested by the government. Duterte, who declared martial law on Mindanao, an island the size of South Korea, after Daesh overran Marawi, said that under martial law he has authority over the defence department. He did not say the armed forces had gone over his head but noted that, because of years of training from Pindostan, “our soldiers are pro-Pindosi, that I cannot deny.” Duterte spox Ernesto Abella said in a statement:

Pindo forces were participating directly in combat operations, which is prohibited by Filipino law. The fight against terrorism is not only the concern of the Philippines, or of Pindostan, but it is a concern of many nations around the world. The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries, if they offer it.

The move has alarmed south-east Asian nations, which fear Daesh is trying to establish a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten their region. The Pentagon, which has no permanent presence in the Philippines but for years has kept 50 to 100 SOF in the south of the country on rotational exercises, confirmed it was helping the Filipino military in Marawi. It said in a statement on Saturday it was providing Philippines forces with security assistance and training in ISR. It said it had an additional 300 to 500 troops in the country to support regular training and activities, without giving further details. A Pindo boxtop said support included aerial surveillance and targeting, electronic eavesdropping, communications assistance and training. A Pindo P-3 Orion surveillance plane was seen over the town on Friday. As of Saturday, the number of security forces killed in the battle for Marawi stood at 58. The death toll for civilians was 20 and more than 100 had been killed overall. At least 200 militants are holed up in a corner of the town. An estimated 500 to 1,000 civilians are trapped there, some being held as human shields, while others are hiding in their homes with no access to running water, electricity or food. One of the main Islamist factions dug in around the heart of the city is the Maute group, a relative newcomer amid the throng of insurgents, separatists and bandits on Mindanao. Maute joined forces with Isnilon Hapilon, who was last year proclaimed by Daesh as its south-east Asia “Emir.” The military believe Hapilon is still in the town, and says it is aiming to end the siege by Monday, which is also Independence Day.

Pindo SOF involved in declaration of martial law in the Philippines
Joseph Santolan, WSWS, Jun 12 2017

The Pindosi Embassy in Manila and the leadership of the Filipino military revealed on Friday that Pindo SOF have been involved in the battle of Marawi in the southern Philippines since it was launched on May 23, without the knowledge of Pres Duterte, coordinating the activities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The conflict in Marawi, which has now killed nearly 200 people, provided the military with the pretext to declare martial law on the island of Mindanao, and its population of over 22 million. The battle erupted on May 23, as Duterte arrived in Moscow to meet with Putin. The military launched a raid against what it claimed was the headquarters of Daesh in the Philippines. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana exploited the fighting to justify the declaration of military rule, compelling Duterte to cancel his visit and return immediately to the Philippines. It was the military brass, not the president, who imposed martial law in Mindanao. Duterte is not using the military to impose his dictatorship on the country, but rather the military is moving to usurp the reins of civilian government. Duterte is gradually being reduced to a figurehead. Faschingstein is using the AFP to discipline Duterte and reorient Manila’s geopolitical ties away from Beijing and Moscow, back into the camp of Pindosi imperialism. Revelations that Pindo forces were involved in the conflict from its onset, without the knowledge of Duterte, provide strong evidence for this. On Friday, an AP journalist photographed a P3 Orion surveillance aircraft flying over Marawi, reporting:

It flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck militant positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward.

When asked on Saturday about Pindo involvement in the fighting, Embassy spox M Kascina stated that Pindo SOF were providing technical assistance and training to the AFP in Marawi. Since he took office in mid-2016, Duterte has vocally postured as an opponent of Faschingstein, in an attempt to reorient Filipino ties toward China. Speaking to the press on Sunday, he declared that he had neither requested nor been informed of Pindo involvement. His press conference revealed that when the Pindo Embassy spoke of the “government of the Philippines” it was referring, not to the civilian government, but to the military. With Defense Secretary Lorenzana, head of the martial law administration on Mindanao, standing directly behind him throughout his 30-minute press conference, Duterte did not even pretend to be responsible for Filino sovereignty, handing the responsibility for foreign military activity in the country entirely to the army brass. He denied knowledge of any Pindo military presence, stating:

I am not aware of it, but when I declared martial law I gave the powers to the defense department.

He Duterte attempted to present his acquiescence to the military dictating the foreign relations of the country as if it were a matter of personality, saying:

Our soldiers are very pro-Pindosi, that I cannot deny. Almost all our officers go to Pindostan to study military matters. They have a rapport and I cannot deny that. I have no problem with Pindostan. My fight is only against that son-of-a-bitch Obama. Now with Trump, my friend, he says I’m right.

Lorenzana then held a press conference in which he declared that Pindo military advisors had been coordinating the army’s activity in Marawi not only throughout the two and half week conflict, but even before the initial raid on May 23. In other words, undisclosed to the president, Pindo forces worked with the Filipino military to prepare and carry out the raid that allowed Lorenzana to declare martial law. Both the presidential and military spoxes claimed that Pindo SOF were supplying weapons, training and technical assistance, but that they had no “boots on the ground.” These statements are demonstrably false. Leading Filipino journalists have posted photographs on twitter of heavily-armed Pindo combat forces, unloading supplies in Marawi during the past two days. Most significantly, the crew manning the P3 Orion is directly responsible for surveilling and coordinating the aerial bombardment of the city. The airstrikes being carried out on Malawi’s trapped civilian population are being directed by Pindo forces. Faschingstein is not merely involved “on the ground;” it is literally calling the shots. As of Sunday, government figures reported that 58 soldiers, over a hundred “rebel fighters,” and 20 civilians had been killed. These figures are highly suspect, as the government has given no criterion for distinguishing between civilian and combatant casualties. Since the city continues to be indiscriminately bombed, it is unlikely that all of the deaths are being reported. Marawi, a historic and beautiful city on the northern shores of Lake Lanao, has been reduced to rubble, while nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes. Without shelter or provisions, they have become IDPs throughout Mindanao and the Visayas region. Thousands remained trapped in Marawi. They hang articles of clothing from their windows, in the hope that the aerial bombardment directed by the Pindo military will see the makeshift flags and spare their lives.

The forces occupying portions of Marawi which Faschingstein and the Filipino military have labeled Daesh are the private army of an influential, elite family named Maute. Like all their rival oligarchs in the country, the Mautes have built a sizable squad of mercenaries, largely recruited from out-of-school and unemployed teenage youth, many as young as 13. Filipino elections are bloody affairs, particularly in Muslim Mindanao, where Marawi is located. The 2009 election saw the Maguindanao massacre in the same region, in which the private army of a candidate for governor slaughtered 58 people, including 34 journalists. Recognizing a brand name that would provide them with a fearsome reputation in the lead-up to the 2016 election, the Maute Group began flying the Daesh flag, and even kidnapped several mill workers, dressed them in orange jumpsuits and beheaded them, in imitation of the activities of Daesh in the Middle East. Omar Ali, the incumbent mayor of Marawi, to whom the Maute Group was allied, lost a closely contested election in Jun 2016 and filed an appeal. In the nearby town of Butig, Dimnatang Pansar, a rival to the Maute group, was elected mayor. In December, the private army of the Maute Group, flying their Daesh flags, raided the town of Butig. Duterte and the military did nothing. That the actions of the alleged Daesh group in the Philippines are rooted in electoral politics and traditional clan warfare, is highlighted by the fact that Omar Ali and his brother Fahad Salic, also a former mayor of Marawi, who lost in his bid for governor in 2016, have both been arrested on charges of rebellion for supporting Daesh. These are major political players, representatives of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), a leading national political party, whose ranks include former VP Binay and Senator Pacquiao. There have been claims of the involvement of foreign operatives in Daesh in the Philippines, but no evidence has yet been presented. What is clear is that clan warfare and electoral politics have taken on the coloration of the brutal geopolitical conflict created by Faschingstein in its drive to destabilize and control the Middle East. This bloody Daesh imitation in the southern Philippines provided the ideal pretext for martial law, allowing Faschingstein to move towards reestablishing control over its former colony through the Filipino military, whose apparatus it built from the ground up and whose leadership it has trained.

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