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What Was the U.S. Involvment in the Slaughter of 44 Filipino Special Ops Police?

Feb. 25, 2015 (EIRNS)—There is increasing evidence that the US planned, directed, supported, and possibly even participated in a raid by Philippine Special Action Force police which killed a leading terrorist in Mindanao on Jan. 25, but which then precipitated a battle with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) resulting in the killing of 44 police and an uncertain number of MILF soldiers and civilians. While US special forces and CIA have been in Mindanao since 2002 (on highly questionable legal grounds—the Philippine Constitution forbids foreign bases or foreign forces in combat on its soil), the claim is that they only train and advise Philippines military forces. If it is confirmed that the US ran this disastrous failure, it will be yet another case of Obama’s criminal and incompetent military adventures.

Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino is considered by many leading figures in the Philippines to be unable to stay in office, as he was supposedly in personal charge of the disaster, and is accused of responsibility for telling the army forces nearby to "stand down," rather than move to save the ambushed police. The fact that Aquino has been trying to implement an autonomy agreement with the same MILF, granting them control over a large area of Mindanao, makes his position even more tenuous.

SAF Commander Director Getulio Napenas, who was sacked by Aquino after the incident, testified to the Philippine Senate in a closed session on Feb. 16, admitting (according to press reports) that the US military provided the intelligence on where the terrorist (a Malaysian known as Marwan) was hiding, trained the police forces for the operation, and deployed aircraft to monitor the operation in live time. The US had also offered a $6 million reward for Marwan and $3 million for his Filipine cohort Usman.

More damning, the Philippines Inquirer (the leading paper in the country) interviewed an unnamed member of the SAF on Feb. 15, who detailed the training session run by US forces at a resort in Zamboanga City in Mindanao, their hiring of two members of the MILF as guides, providing logistics, and bringing commander Napenas into their quarters to watch the unfolding operation on video.

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