Category: Militarization

BAYAN-USA Slams Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s Tax Day Gift for the Asia Pacific: $425 Million American Taxpayer Dollars for Militarization and War

War-Tax Resisters and Peace Activists Award BAYAN-USA with Grant to Fight U.S. Military Expansion in the Philippines

Traveling through what he dubbed the “single most consequential region” for America’s future, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ominously spent the days prior to “Tax Day” this year in countries in the Asia Pacific including the Philippines, where he gloated over plans to vastly expand U.S. military presence in the Philippines and spend $425 million over five years on a maritime security initiative in the region. Carter praised the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines, which opened the door for American plans to station U.S. military personnel, aircraft, ships, and potentially long-range missiles in the Philippines. He also announced plans to open up even more Philippine bases to be used for U.S. facilities in the future—beyond the five locations already announced in March in a midnight deal forged with outgoing Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino.

“How fitting that Carter chose Tax Day to flaunt U.S. imperialism’s grandiose plans to spend American taxpayer money on military expansion in the region,” said BAYAN-USA Chairperson Bernadette Ellorin. “Tax Day is a bitter reminder that a struggling U.S. worker pays 54 cents of every dollar in taxes for U.S. military spending, leaving little for education, healthcare, employment with livable wages, and safety net programs. For Filipino Americans, the pill is even tougher to swallow, knowing that a portion of those taxes funds increased human rights violations, environmental destruction, and trampling of the sovereignty of our homeland by the U.S. military.”

Carter used the specter of China to justify increased U.S. militarization in the region, stating that Americans “have helped provide the necessary security and stability for this … region to thrive with our strong defense engagements here. The United States has long provided the necessary reassurance, an attractive and appealing reassurance, and worked to keep the peace here in the Asia Pacific.” Ellorin countered: “Carter should stop pretending that U.S. involvement in the region leads to peace when the exact opposite is true. The firing of U.S. long-range missiles, patrols of American naval vessels in disputed territory, and joint military exercises between the U.S. and Philippines and neighboring South Korea have only aggravated tensions with China, heightening concerns that the Philippines will just get caught in the middle of power plays between the two giants. The Philippines needs to stand up for itself against the incursions of all foreign aggressors, be they the U.S., China, Japan or others. Since Aquino failed dismally to uphold Philippine interests, the next President must make Philippine sovereignty a priority by terminating the EDCA, industrializing the country, and developing our own capacity for defense.”

Carter’s trip also coincided with the 32nd “Balikatan” joint military exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines, which were provocatively conducted in some of the contested areas of the West Philippine Sea. Carter announced that the U.S. would leave some of its Balikatan participants in the Philippines on a rotational basis to “improve command and control with the Filipino Armed Forces.” Ellorin refuted: “The Americans come to the Philippines, play their war games, and leave U.S. military personnel, bases, and ships here like a bad hangover. Carter fails to mention that the U.S. has been providing advisors and the blueprint for counterinsurgency programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for years, during which time the AFP has had a notorious human rights record. Depositing more U.S. military personnel and arms in the Philippines will not resolve the fact that the AFP is implicated in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, and violent displacement of innocent people over the past six years under President Aquino.”

Also on Tax Day, in a show of solidarity with the Filipino people, conscientious war tax resisters in Northern California awarded BAYAN-USA with a grant to support the alliance’s work to oppose increasing U.S. militarization in the Philippines. “BAYAN-USA is grateful for the courageous action to support us taken by conscientious war tax resisters, who are individuals who choose to take all or part of the amount they would otherwise pay to the federal government in income taxes, and instead re-direct that money toward making peace,” said Ellorin. “We hope to forge solidarity with even more people in the U.S. by together building the movement against a common enemy: U.S. imperialism.”

U.S. Out! A Teach-in Call/Webinar on the U.S. Military Pivot to the Asia Pacific and the Trans Pacific Partnership

Thank you to all 300+ people from six countries and 23 US states who participated in the teach-in! A recording of the webinar portion of the event can be accessed here: http://www.anymeeting.com/BAYANUSA/EF53DD828247. Please forward the link to others who may be interested in the issues of the military pivot and the TPPA.

Saturday, March 1, 2014
3-6 PM Pacific | 5-8 PM Central | 6-9 PM Eastern

Featured speakers:
Renato Reyes Jr., BAYAN Philippines
Hyun Lee, Nodutdol
Masao Suzuki, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
dåko’ta alcantara-camacho,Our Islands Are Sacred & ARKiology

 A live, real-time webinar with international speakers providing critical analysis of the Pivot and the TPPA from the viewpoint of people’s movements resisting the expansion of U.S. militarization and imperialism. Presentations followed by Q&A, brainstorming and planning for local, grassroots actions to oppose the military pivot and the TPPA, as well as ways to support organizing happening in countries in the Asia Pacific region.

To participate:
Online via webinar: Register at http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EA52D680884E3E. Participants must register to receive an individual-specific log-in link and password.
In-person: view webinar and participate in discussions at local teach-in sites hosted by BAYAN-USA. Locations:
o Long Beach (Southern California)

Long Beach Coalition Office
920 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90813

New York
Ya-Ya Network
224 West 29th Street
14th floor
New York, NY
closest train: 1 to 28th St or C/E to 23rd St.

o Portland
Buckley Center
205 at University of Portland
5000 N Williamette Blvd
Portland, OR 97203

o Stanford, Palo Alto
Pilipino Youth Leadership Conference
Room 220 @ Old Union Stanford
520 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

o San Francisco
SEIU Local 1021
350 Rhode Island St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

o Seattle
WAPI Community Services
3722 S Hudson St.
Seattle, WA 98118

Sponsored by BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.

Endorsers (partial list): Civilian-Soldier Alliance, Flush the TPP, International League of Peoples’ Struggle, Iraq Veterans Against War, Katarungan Center for Peace Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines, National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee, Occupy Long Beach, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Portland State University Kaibigan, popularresistance.org, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, SOA Watch, TradeJustice New York Metro, United National Anti-War Coalition, University of Portland FASA, Women for Genuine Security

If your organization would like to endorse this event, please email vc@bayanusa.org.

http://www.peoplepowermedia.net/portfolio-post/will-the-us-militarys-asia-pivot-escalate-human-rights-violations/