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Two-Plus-Two Equals More Little Brown Brothers

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Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General, BAYAN-USA

Two-Plus-Two Equals More Little Brown Brothers to Project US Economic Domination in Asia-Pacific
Clinton, Panetta, del Rosario and Gazmin Reaffirm Commitment to the 70 Year Old Mutual Defense Treaty, Announce Plans to Increase US Military Intervention in the Philippines

“Today’s so-called historic Two-Plus-Two talks simply recycled old history in the time of so-called Benevolent Assimilation: the US once again is taking advantage of the Philippines to benefit US imperial interests, and the Cojuangco-Aquino ruling clique is more than willing to bear upon the Filipino people more US military subjugation in order fulfill their role as the Little Brown Brothers, this time to assist in the US government’s anti-China scare campaign,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of the Filipino American alliance BAYAN-USA.

This was the response of BAYAN-USA to pronouncements made by the Secretaries of State and Defense of the US and the Philippines, who met in the first-ever “Two-Plus-Two” ministerial talks in Washington DC today. In a press conference immediately following the meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced their commitment to “broaden and deepen” the countries’ relationship, reaffirm commitments made under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, and promote their mutual economic and security interests in the region.

No Mutual Benefits

Calling the MDT the “cornerstone of our defense relationship,” Secretary Panetta pledged the US’s commitment to strengthening the Philippines maritime defenses, including the transfer of another 60’s era US High Endurance Cutter ship this year. He also emphasized continued training, advising and assistance to the Philippine military, and praised the recent completion of the Balikatan exercises. He and Secretary Clinton, however, made carefully-worded statements about “not taking sides” in sovereignty disputes, alluding to the tensions with China over a territorial clash near the Scarborough Shoal in waters believed to be rich in oil and gas.

“There has never been anything mutually beneficial about the MDT,” said Ellorin. “Additional US troops and advisors have always led to more human rights violations and the trampling of Philippine sovereignty. This meeting merely reaffirms the continued one-sided relationship between the US and the Philippines, where the US benefits and the Philippines loses everything. PNoy is pimping Philippine territorial integrity on the cheap– for used military junk and empty promises of US military back-up.”

TPPA: NAFTA on Steroids

Secretary Clinton spoke of the American’s commitment to promoting “unimpeded commerce” in the region, and Secretary del Rosario boasted of increasing bilateral trade, investment, and tourism exchanges between the two countries. Conveniently, the talks took place less than two weeks before international trade ministers of the world’s largest economies and corporate lobbyists meet in Texas from May 8-18 for a trade summit to discuss the new Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPPA). Dubbed the “NAFTA of the Pacific,” the TPPA would ensure US economic and political domination in the region, as well as contain super rival China’s emerging economic power and growth. During the press conference, Secretary Clinton stated her hope that the Philippines would join the TPPA and Secretary de Rosario affirmed the Philippine government’s interest in eventually joining the TPPA.

“It is no coincidence that the US is simultaneously pushing both the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the military rebalance to the Asia Pacific region. The TPPA is much bigger than NAFTA since the US is more desperate to contain China’s rivaling economic growth in one of its key trading regions. Some are even calling it NAFTA on steroids. With the Philippines as a reliable military hub, the US hopes to bully the country into projecting its economic and military dominance in the region,” said Ellorin.

More Covert US Counter-Insurgency Operations

The high-level talks also come on the heels of statements made on the CBS television program “60 Minutes” by Jose Rodriguez, former head of CIA clandestine operations and former lead interrogator, who said the “default option of [the Obama] administration has been to kill all prisoners, take no prisoners.”

“Since the modus operandi for the Obama administration seems to be extra-judicial killings and the Philippines military operations are modeled after the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide, we shouldn’t be surprised that the body count under PNoy has already climbed to 67 innocent victims. Now the US plans to add more troops and advisors to the more than 600 American marines already indefinitely based in Mindanao. Will the additional US military training and advisors promised by Panetta mean that the extra-judicial killings of political opponents will spike too?” posed Ellorin.

“BAYAN-USA and many labor, faith, youth, women, human rights and peace organizations have demonstrated for years against increased US militarization in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region. The outcomes of this latest US-GPH meeting will only strengthen the resolve of Filipinos, Filipino Americans and our allies to demand for PNoy to relinquish the Little Brown Brother role once and for all and uphold Philippine national sovereignty against any foreign bully– be it the US or China. Right now, the US is clearly the biggest and most dangerous obstacle to genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines and must be stopped,” ended Ellorin.