Shultz Brings ‘Operation Condor’ to the Philippines
This article appear in June 30, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review
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Shultz Brings ‘Operation Condor’ to the Philippines
by Mike Billington
Although there may be no apparent direct connection between the recent wave of assassinations of “leftist” political activists in the Philippines, and the similar mass executions of communists, trade unionists, social activists, and others during the “dirty wars” of the 1970s and 1980s in Argentina, Chile, and other-Ibero American nations, the international banking figures who orchestrated these atrocities are identical. George Shultz, in particular, was a leading controller of the fascist Pinochet regime in Chile, and the murderous “Operation Condor” which wiped out thousands deemed a threat to that regime. So, too, is Shultz the key figure over the past 20 years in destroying the sovereignty of the Philippines, and forging the emerging political dictatorship in that nation.
In the Philippines, however, unlike Chile under Pinochet, the republican institutions of the nation-state are not yet destroyed. If the Shultz/Cheney regime in Washington can be removed in the near term, the patriots of the Philippines may be able to restore their republic.
Since the beginning of the Presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001, between 231 and 690 (depending on who is counting and who is being counted) political and social activists, as well as 69 journalists, have been murdered. Most of the murders are by masked assassins who arrive on motor- cycles, unload multiple bullets into their target, and escape untouched. Ninety-two of the murder victims were members of Bayan Muna, a group with three elected members of Congress, while 23 were members of Anakpawis, which has two members of Congress. Both are considered “front groups” for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). A Police Task Force investigating some of the murders has acknowledged that military and paramilitary networks are likely responsible for many of the assassinations.
Amando Doronila, a columnist for the leading establishment newspaper in Manila, the Philippines Inquirer, joined his voice to the sentiments expressed regularly in the opposition newspapers, when he wrote on May 29: “Fifty years onward, past the era of military juntas in Latin America and the low-intensity anti-left insurgency campaigns in Nicaragua, Chile, and Argentina, an ostensibly civilian government is throwing back Philippine democracy to the benighted era of the white terror of an anticommunist witchhunt.”
Doronila pointed to the recent promotion of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is suspected of a role in the extrajudicial killings, to be the Army Commander in Central Luzon, the heart of the insurgency by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP. Palparan has called for a return of the Anti-Subversion Law, to stop the Communist “infiltration of the government,” referring to the leftist organizations with elected members of Congress. Palparan has pulled 3,000 troops from around the country to add to his regular force, to deploy into 118 towns and 12 cities in Central Luzon, supposedly to achieve President Arroyo’s plan to wipe out the insurgency in two years. Perhaps a close look at the ongoing disaster of a similar plan in Iraq would be in order.
Catholic Church leaders and others have expressed outrage at the new “war on the left,” arguing that the process will only intensify the insurgency, and pleading for the peace process to be renewed. In fact, the peace process was ended by Washington, when, in 2002, it placed the CPP on its “international terrorist list,” against the wishes of the Philippines government, and despite the fact that the CPP does not carry out military operations outside of the Philippines.
Sources in the Philippines tell EIR that the extra money will be used to pay informers to identify civilian backers of the insurgency—-targets for death squads—-in the manner of British colonial counterinsurgency tactics. General Palparan largely confirmed this report when he told the press that the NPA has a small number of fighters, but that it has “a large intelligence network and support system from the civilians.” President Arroyo’s Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, then made it definite, telling the press on June 22: “Anyone who abets the insurgency, anyone who gives comfort to the enemy, will be within the ambit of the counter-insurgency operations.”
The Push for Dictatorship
Even more damning is the fact that President Arroyo, with the backing of her Svengali, Fidel Ramos—an asset of George Shultz and the synarchist international since the 1980s—has blatantly implemented dictatorial mandates, denying the right to peaceful protest, preventing government officials and military officers from testifying before the Congress (including in regard to an impeachment effort against Arroyo), and ordering arrests without warrants. Although the Supreme Court has ruled against all three of these unconstitutional measures, the policies have continued unabated—sometimes openly, sometimes under the cover of “rogue” military operations.
For example, on May 22, five supporters of former President Joseph Estrada (who was deposed in a military coup, directed by Ramos, in 2001, placing Arroyo in the Presidency) were kidnapped by military police forces, who at first denied that they knew anything about the men’s disappearance. The military finally admitted its role, and, for whatever reason, the five were released after several days of physical and mental torture. Although some officials have been placed under investigation, the message delivered was clear.
Then, on June 16, President Arroyo authorized an additional $20 million for the military to launch an all-out offensive against the continuing insurgency by the NPA. While fighting the insurgency is a laudable goal, Arroyo stated at the same time that, “The fight against the left remains the glue that binds.” In the context of the expanding death-squad murders, her statement is viewed as a carte blanche for terror against the “left.”
University of the Philippines Professor Randy David responded to Arroyo’s statement by noting that “equating the ‘Left’ with armed rebellion . . . sanctions the use of death squads to silence political dissenters. . . . Our Constitution outlaws armed rebellion, but it resolutely protects freedom of thought and of speech.” The Inquirer issued a stark editorial on June 18: “Surrounded by a Senate that would not die, a Supreme Court that can say no, an impeachment threat that refuses to go away, and a legitimacy crisis that won’t disappear, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has decided to put all her political eggs in the military basket: she has declared all-out war on the left.”
The Drive To Eliminate the Presidential System
The reference in the Inquirer editorial to the “Senate that would not die,” refers to the effort by Arroyo, again with direction from the ubiquitous Fidel Ramos, to do away with the Senate altogether, by changing the Constitution to eliminate the Presidential system, along with its “checks and balances” between the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches of government, in favor of a unicameral parliamentary system. Lyndon LaRouche, asked recently by a Philippine official what he thought of this campaign in the Philippines, warned that, “in a crisis, the Parliamentary system tends to give you a dictatorship.” He pointed to the European parliamentary nations that fell, one after another, to fascism in the 1920s and 1930s, while in the United States, the Presidential system allowed for the emergence of a true patriot, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who not only saved the United States from the threat of fascism, but built an “arsenal of democracy” out of the ashes of the Great Depression, and saved the entire world from the fascism imposed on Europe by the synarchist banking institutions.
The institutions within the Philippines are beginning to recognize the prescience of this warning. The Inquirer, which generally represents the financial and political elite, published an editorial on June 13 stating unequivocally: “We believe, especially at this time when there is a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, a vigilant Senate can serve as an effective check on the Executive. The nation has seen how a politically smart President can bend the House of Representatives to her will—to kill an impeachment move, or make it pass a general appropriation bill that promotes their selfish political interests. Without a Senate, what will serve as a check on an Executive-House combine?”
In fact, the Senate is moving to block the constitutional change, drawing on the relevant constitutional provisions, such that Arroyo and Ramos will have to attempt to circumvent the Constitution in order to change it!
It is here that the Supreme Court will likely play a role. The Court in recent years has been denounced by many in the opposition as a rubber stamp for the Arroyo/Ramos faction, especially in regard to its decision to grant legitimacy to the coup against President Estrada in 2001, a coup which blatantly exceeded all constitutional bounds. However, the Court has recently made several decisions directly challenging the Arroyo push for dictatorship: a ruling that the “state of emergency” declared by Arroyo in February, while legal, had been used by the President, in violation of the Constitution, to order arrests without warrants and other measures; a ruling that the President had illegally ordered all government and military personnel to get her personal approval before responding to Congressional requests for testimony; and a ruling that Arroyo’s order to the police to forcefully disperse peaceful demonstrations was unconstitutional.
There was a revealing demonstration of the institutional response to the threat of dictatorship on May 14, when Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban gave a public address at the Philippines Embassy in Washington, D.C. With Philippines Ambassador to the United States Albert del Rosario present, the spokesperson for the embassy introduced the Chief Justice by praising him for the three recent Court decisions against the Arroyo Administration’s breach of the Constitution, especially in regard to the separation of powers. Just days later, Ambassador del Rosario, who has been in his position for five years, announced his resignation, although sources in the Foreign Ministry told the Inquirer that he had been recalled.
The Role of George Shultz
The role of George Shultz in this push for dictatorship is direct. It was Shultz, as Secretary of State in 1986, personally orchestrated the coup against the Philippines’ nationalist leader Ferdinand Marcos, through his asset Gen. Fidel Ramos, then head of the Philippine Constabulary. The purpose of the coup was made clear by the policies of the subsequent regimes, which systematically dismantled the ambitious agro-industrial projects initiated under Marcos—-including the completed, but never operated nuclear power plant in Bataan, the first and only commercial nuclear plant in Southeast Asia-—and the subservience of the Philippine economy to IMF dictates ever since. The result has been a loss of sovereignty which has rendered the Philippines a desperate, dying nation of mass unemployment, hunger, and a population fleeing overseas as the only means of subsistence.
That this was Shultz’s intention is made clear by a passage from his autobiography concerning Chile under the fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet, another regime which Shultz and his allies created, through a U.S.-orchestrated coup against President Salvador Allende in 1973. Writes Shultz: “General Augusto Pinochet came to power, bringing dictatorship and repression to the political scene. But he did restore prosperity to the economy. Chileans trained in free market economics at the University of Chicago [where Shultz was Dean of the Business School in the 1960s—ed.] applied the ideas of classical economics, opening the Chilean economy to international competition, eliminating subsidies, relying on market signals to direct investment, seeking fiscal balance and a stable monetary policy. These policies worked.”
Of course, they only “worked” for the synarchist bankers who looted the nation, killed off the opposition through death squads, and used Chile as a testing ground for fascist economic policies of the sort subsequently imposed around the world, including within the U.S. itself under the Bush/Cheney Administration.
Fidel Ramos, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on May 12, was challenged by this author to answer to three charges: that he had served as the leading Shultz hitman in the 1986 overthrow of Marcos and the mothballing of the completed nuclear plant; that he had used the subsequent energy shortage during his own Presidency (1992-98) to justify signing corrupt contracts with Enron and others, driving the nation into bankruptcy; and, finally, that he had maintained his alliance with George Shultz as part of the ongoing neo-conservative drive for imperial power.
Ramos pled guilty on the last two issues. He said that he had just played golf with Shultz the previous day, and the two had then met with another of Shultz’s fascist creations, California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also admitted to the “necessity” of signing the many corrupt contracts with the foreign power companies, supposedly as the only means of getting the needed electricity. However, he foisted responsibility for the closure of the nuclear facility on former President Cory Aquino, failing to mention that he had placed her in power, and that she did as she was told by those in Washington who who controlled them both.
If the Shultz cabal now running the White House can be removed, by resignation or impeachment, as it must be in any case, if the world is to survive the current onset of financial collapse and the threat of global war, then the institutions in the Philippines will likely find the Filipino people finally ready and willing to throw off the yoke of foreign control, forced upon them in 1986 under the guise of “People’s Power.” It is time for the Philippines to return to its historic mission as the mediating culture between East and West, and as a center for leadership in science and technology for all of Asia.