Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hidden history of the CIA in the Philippines

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The Cia In Manila
Covert Operations and the CIA's Hidden
History in the Philippines

By Roland G. Simbulan, Convenor/Coordinator, Manila Studies
University of the Philippines
(Lecture at the University of the Philippines-Manila, Rizal Hall, Padre
Faura, Manila, August 18, 2000.)

For a long time, Manila has been the main station, if not the
regional headquarters, of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for
Southeast Asia. This is perhaps so because the Philippines has
always been regarded as a stronghold of US imperial power in Asia.
Since the Americanized Filipinos were under the spell of American
culture, they were easy to recruit without realizing they were
committing treason to their own people and country. And from the
beginning of the 20th century to 1992, there were the US military
bases, the mighty symbols and infrastructure of American power.
CIA human intelligence assets in Manila are said to have provided
vital information at crucial times. According to declassified
documents under the Freedom of Information Act, on Sept. 17,
1972, a CIA asset in the Philippines who was in the inner circle of
Marcos informed the CIA station in Manila that Ferdinand Marcos
was planning to proclaim martial law on Sept. 21,1972. The CIA
station in Manila was also provided in advance a copy of
Proclamation 1081--the proclamation that declared martial law in
the country--and a list of the individuals whom Marcos planned to
arrest and imprison upon the declaration of military rule.
I would like to mention --without going into any conclusions--that,
so accurate was the CIA's assessment about the Sept. 21, 1972
declaration of martial rule that it boosted the prestige of the CIA
station in Manila. Upon his retirement a few years later, Henry
Byroade, the American ambassador to Manila when martial law
was declared, was honored by the CIA headquarters in
Langley,Virginia--a tribute that is said to be very rarely given to
any retiring ambassador. Also, in 1982, the CIA was able to verify
from a high-ranking Philippine immigration officer the names of
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the two doctors who visited the Philippines to treat Marcos for
kidney failure, giving the CIA a clear picture of Marcos's health
problems.(Richelson, 1999).
It is important to expose US imperialism's clandestine apparatus in
the Philippines. If the activities of this sinister agency are not
meticulously documented, there is a tendency to mythologize, or
even Hollywood-ize, its notoriety and crimes against the Filipino
people and Philippine national sovereignty. The CIA is the covert
overseas intelligence agency of the United States government and is
likewise an "action-oriented " vehicle of American foreign and
military policy. The 1975 Church Committee Report of the US
congressional investigations into the CIA's covert activities abroad
revealed how countless foreign governments were overthrown by
the CIA; how the CIA instigated a military coup d'etat and
assassinated foreign political leaders like Chilean President
Salvador Allende, who merely tried to safeguard the interests of
their own country; and how "special ops" and paramilitary
campaigns contributed to the death, directly or indirectly, of
millions of people, as a result of those actions.
The 1974-75 US congressional investigations also uncovered CIA
intervention in the domestic politics of target countries--from the
overthrow of governments, attempted assassinations, to subsidies
and financial support for the media, political parties, trade unions,
universities and business associations--all designed "to
clandestinely influence foreign governments, events, organizations
or persons in support of US foreign policy." (Robinson, 1996;
Richelson,1999). The CIA has gone beyond its original mission of
gathering intelligence and was conducting Mafia-type operations
not only in its own territory but against foreign governments and
their leaders.
Doing covert action that undermines Philippine national sovereignty
and genuine democracy in order to prop up the tiny pro-US
oligarchical minority that has cornered most of the wealth in their
poor country is what the CIA is all about and is the real reason for
its existence. It is no longer just the collection and analysis of
foreign intelligence which is officially its mandate under the US
National Security Act of 1947 that created the CIA.
The CIA in the Philippines has engaged in countless covert
operations for intervention and dirty tricks particularly in Philippine
domestic politics. On top of all this is the US diplomatic mission,
especially the political section that is a favorite cover for many CIA
operatives. CIA front companies also provide an additional but
convenient layer of cover for operatives assigned overseas. In
general, wherever you find US big business interests (like Coca-
Cola, Ford, Citicorp, United Fruit, Nike, etc.), you also find a very
active CIA. But the covers often used are diversified.
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Desmond Fitzgerald, for instance, a former CIA chief of station in
Manila was said to have fronted as a legitimate businessman of an
American multinational company. Joseph Smith, a top CIA agent
assigned to the Philippines in the early 1960s, posed as a "civilian
employee" of the Clark Airforce Base's 13th Air Force Southeast
Asia Regional Survey Unit .On the other hand, CIA operative
Gabriel Kaplan's initial cover was really more "civilian"--with the
CIA-created Asia Foundation (formerly the Committee for a Free
Asia), then later as resident director of another CIA creation, the
COMPADRE both of which we shall be dealing with more
extensively later.
On the other hand, CIA operative David Sternberg fronted as a
foreign correspondent for an American newspaper based in Boston,
the Christian Science Monitor, when he assisted Gabriel Kaplan in
managing the presidential campaign of Ramon Magsaysay in the
The Agency's assets and technical infrastructure in Manila have
been drastically affected by the withdrawal of the bases by 1992
because, before this, the CIA operated jointly with the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) major listening posts into most of
Indochina and southern China. The joint CIA/DIA structure called
the Strategic Warning Staff, is headquartered in the US Department
of Defense (Pentagon) and operated a number of similar posts as
the one in Manila. The Manila station includes very sizeable
logistical capabilities for a wide range of clandestine operations
against Asian governments.
The loss of the bases in the Philippines was a tremendous blow to
the CIA's Asian infrastructure, if not a major setback. From the
mid-50s, the US bases in the Philippines served as operational
headquarters for "Operation Brotherhood" which operated in
Indochina under the direct supervision of the CIA's Col. Edward
Lansdale and Lucien Conien, and it involved several Filipinos who
were recruited and trained by the CIA. Lansdale was the classic
CIA operative in Southeast Asia who was romanticized in Graham
Greene's novel, The Quiet American. Lansdale was even appointed
by former President Ramon Magsaysay as his "military adviser" but
was, in fact, his speechwriter as well, who determined Magsaysay's
foreign and military policy. So successful was the CIA in pulling
the strings thru Lansdale that in 1954, a high-level US committee
reported that, "American policy in Southeast Asia was most
effectively represented in the Philippines, where any expanded
program of Western influence may best be launched."
Examples of such programs were the Freedom Company of the
Philippines, Eastern Construction Co. and "Operation Brotherhood,"
which provided "a mechanism to permit the deployment of Filipino
personnel in other Asian countries, for unconventional operations
covertly supported by the Philippines." (Shalom, 1986). The CIA
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also actively used Philippine territory, particularly Clark Air Base,
for the training and launching of operatives and logistics in the late
1950s, where the US covertly supported dissident Indonesian
colonels in the failed armed overthrow of Indonesian President
Sukarno. The CIA then established supply, training and logistical
bases on several islands in the Philippines, including an airstrip in
the Tawi-Tawi Island of Sanga-Sanga. A CIA-owned proprietary
company, the Civil Air Transport, was actively used by the CIA
from Philippine territory to give direct assistance to Indonesian
military rebel groups attempting to overthrow Indonesian President
Sukarno in the late 1950s.
Manila was also the center of operations for the Trans-Asiatic
Airlines Inc., a CIA outfit operating along the Burma-China border
against the People's Republic of China. Using the Trans-Asiatic
Airlines Inc. as a front company, the CIA recruited for this
operation in the early 1950s several Filipino aviators who were
World War II veterans, including operatives of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines' Military Intelligence Service (MIS) who were still
in active service.
In his memoirs, former Philippine Ambassador to Burma Narciso G.
Reyes narrates that one of these Filipino "undercover" MIS agents
posed as the labor attache at the Philippine embassy in Rangoon
even before this was formally established. The Filipino CIA
undercover agent was also reporting to the American ambassador to
Burma from whom he was also getting paid! (Reyes, 1995).
Side by side with CIA proprietary companies Civil Air Transport,
Sea Supply Co. and Western Enterprises Co., the agency used
Trans-Asiatic Airlines Inc. in an attempt to invade the People's
Republic of China in the early 1950s, using the mercenary Chinese
warlord Gen. Li Mi as leader of the invasion force. After a few
skirmishes with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Gen. Li Mi
later on "retired" and pocketed the US financial and military
assistance for an invasion against China and concentrated on the
lucrative opium trade along the Burmese-Thai border.
US military advisers of the Joint US Military Advisory Group
(JUSMAG) and the CIA station in Manila designed and led the
bloody suppression of the nationalist Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng
Bayan (HMB) which was vehemently opposed to the post-war
Parity Rights amendment and the onerous military agreements with
the United States. The CIA's success in crushing the peasant-based
Huk rebellion in the 1950s made this operation the model for future
counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam and Latin America.
Colonel Lansdale and his Filipino sidekick, Col. Napoleon
Valeriano were later to use their counterguerrilla experience in the
Philippines for training covert operatives in Vietnam and in the USadministered
School of the Americas, which trained
counterguerrilla assassins for Latin America. Thus, the Philippines
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had become the CIA's prototype in successful covert operations and
psychological warfare.
After his stint in the Philippines using propaganda, psywar and
deception against the Huk movement, Lansdale was then assigned
in Vietnam to wage military, political and psychological warfare. It
was Lansdale's view that the tactics that he used to solve the
problem in the Philippines were applicable to Vietnam. He was
wrong. In 1975, after two decades of protracted warfare, the
Vietnamese people defeated the strongest superpower on earth.
The CIA's actions and activities in its Manila station have never
been limited to information gathering. Information gathering is but
a part of an offensive strategy to attack, neutralize and undermine
any organization, institution, personality or activity they consider a
danger to the stability and power of the United States. The late
Senator Claro M. Recto was believed to have been a victim of the
CIA's dirty tricks department because of his staunch crusade against
the US military bases in the Philippines. It is now a welldocumented
fact that General Ralph B. Lovett, then the CIA station
chief in Manila and the US ambassador, Admiral Raymond A.
Spruance, had discussed a plan to assassinate Recto using a vial of
poison. A few years later, Recto was to die mysteriously of heart
attack (though he had no known heart ailment) in Rome after an
appointment with two Caucasians in business suits. Before this, the
CIA had made every effort to assure the defeat of Recto in the 1957
presidential election wherein the CIA manufactured and distributed
defective condoms with a label that said, "Courtesy of Claro M.
Recto--the People's Friend." Could it be that Recto was a victim of
the CIA's covert operations, or what they call "executive action"
against those perceived as dangerous enemies of the United States?
It was also during the time of Recto and the Huks that the CIA
covertly sponsored the Security Training Center as a
"countersubversion, counterguerrilla and psychological warfare
school" on the outskirts of Manila. CIA funds concentrated on the
sensitive area of "rural development" and funds were channeled to
the National Movement for Free Elections' (Namfrel) community
centers, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
and a rural development project called Committee for Philippine
Action in Development, Reconstruction and Education
(COMPADRE) thru CIA fronts and conduits like the Catherwood
Foundation and the "Committee for a Free Asia (CFA), later
renamed the Asia Foundation." (Shalom, 1986).
In the late 1980s, the CIA assigned Vietnam veteran U.S. General
John Singlaub to organize anti-communist vigilante groups all over
the country for mass terror, particularly as part of the Philippine
government's "total war policy" against people's movements.
General Singlaub posed as an American "treasure hunter" and even
secured all the necessary official permits for treasure hunting in the
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Philippines. Another operative active in the "total war" operations
in the Philippines was Vietnam counterinsurgency specialist Col.
James Rowe, Joint US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG)
adviser, whose cover was blown off when he was ambushed in 1989
by urban guerrillas of the New People's Army in Timog Avenue,
Quezon City. Rowe was clandestinely involved in the organization
of anti-communist death squads like Alsa Masa and vigilante
groups patterned after "Operation Phoenix" in Vietnam which had
the objective of eliminating legal and semi-legal mass activists and
their political sympathizers that constituted the political
infrastructure of the insurgency movement.
The CIA lost its huge telecommunications installation at Clark Air
Base--the Regional Relay Station when the Philippine Senate
rejected on Sept. 16, 1991, the proposed treaty for the bases'
renewal. Before 1970, according to a former CIA operative, the
sprawling Subic Naval Base was the site of a China operations
group of the CIA and "the agency even constructed 100 expensive
modern homes, a large two-story office building and a big
warehouse at Subic Bay." (Smith, 1976)
There is, however, a vital covert installation that the CIA was able
to retain and maintain: the "Regional Service Center" (RSC).
Located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila at the Seafront
Compound about a mile south from the US Embassy, the RSC
fronts as a facility of the United States Information Service (USIS),
formerly called the US International Communications Agency. This
ultra-modern printing facility functions as a secret CIA propaganda
plant. It has the ability to produce large quantities of high-quality
color offset magazines, posters, leaflets and the like in at least 14
Asian languages.
During the Vietnam War, the RSC was ceaselessly involved in
economic sabotage against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
(DRV) or North Vietnam. The RSC was involved in counterfeiting
North Vietnamese currency which were airdropped all over the
DRV to sabotage the economy and weaken the country's resistance.
The CIA's Technical Services Division maintains close liaison with
the RSC, which still actively operates within the Seafront
Compound along Roxas Boulevard. The post-Vietnam War and
later on, the post-bases era has only increased the importance of
Manila as a major listening post and regional headquarters of the
A former junior case officer of the CIA, Janine Brookner, who was
stationed in Manila described the capital city of the Philippines as
"a wild place" for CIA operatives who spent a lot of time in bars,
sex shows and brothels. This was because, according to her, the
standard CIA procedure for recruiting targets was to "get him
drunk, get him laid, and then get him on the Agency's dole."
Brookner was an attractive but determined blonde who claimed to
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have developed assets in both the government and the Communist
Party during her assignment to the Philippines. Brookner was also a
very productive recruiter who, as a handler of important assets and
as a CIA case officer, claims to be able to make her targets confess
everything. "You take care of them," Brookner recalls, "and they
tell you their fears and nightmares...I'm good at people depending
on me." In fact, her targets, especially high-ranking Philippine
government officials, often propositioned her. (Starobin, 1997)
Cultural Fronts
The CIA has long utilized in the Philippines sophisticated or subtle
means for clandestine propaganda, such as the manipulation of trade
unions and cultural organizations, rather than heavy-handed
activities such as paramilitary operations, political assassinations
and coups as they had done extensively in Africa, Latin America
and Vietnam. During my interview in 1996 with Ralph McGehee, a
former CIA agent, and other former CIA operatives assigned to the
Manila station, I was told that the CIA had many unheralded
successes in the Philippines such as the manipulation of the trade
union movement through the Asian-American Free Labor Institute
(AAFLI) and through funds which were channeled thru the USAID,
Asia Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy.
In a recent article in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, American
sociologist James Petras describes how progressive non-government
organizations can be neutralized, if not coopted, thru US
government, big business-backed funding agencies or CIA fronts
and conduits masquerading as foundations. The purpose, according
to Petras, is "to mystify and deflect discontent away from direct
attacks on the corporate/banking power structure and profits toward
local micro-projects ...that avoids class analysis of imperialism and
capitalist exploitation." Neo-liberalism today, according to Petras,
encourages NGOs to "emphasize projects, not movements; they
'mobilize' people to produce at the margins, not to struggle to
control the means of production and wealth; they focus on the
technical financial aspects of projects not on structural conditions
that shape the everyday lives of people." While using the language
of the Left such as "people empowerment," "gender equality,"
"sustainable development" etc., these NGOs funded by USAID, the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Asia Foundation, etc.
have become linked to a framework of collaboration with donors
and even with government agencies with whom they have
partnerships that subordinate activity to nonconfrontational politics,
rather than militant mass mobilization. (Petras, 1999)
It must be emphasized that the US places high premium on the
ideological legitimation of its continuing neo-colonial domination
over the Philipines and, as such, depends heavily on US-financed
and US-sponsored institutions, especially on the ideological front.
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Thus, grants are generously poured in by such agencies like
USAID, NED, Asia Foundation and the big business-sponsored
Ford Foundation. The objective is to constantly lure and lull the
masses into the elite-dominated electoral process, thus legitimizing
the neo-liberal economic system and its political apparatus,
producing a fragile social peace and a "peaceful" mechanism for
competition among the Filipino elite and oligarchy. In his book on
French colonialism in Algeria titled, The Wretched of the Earth,
Frantz Fanon wrote:
"Colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in itsgrip,
and emptying the native's brain of all form and content.By a kind of
perverted logic, it turns to the past of the people, and distorts,
disfigures and destroys it."
One of the most critical moments of the CIA station in Manila was
the immediate post-Marcos years when they tried to dissociate US
links with the Marcoses and politically influence the contours of the
post-Marcos era. Financial, technical and political support for the
pro-US "agents of influence" assured the dominance of pro-US
local elites and institutions as a counterweight to the progressive
anti-imperialist, anti-Marcos forces that threatened to define and
restructure the architecture of the post-Marcos neo-colonial regime.
USAID was directed to grant the Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (TUCP) with a generous financing so it could formulate
a position paper on an economic program anchored on "the
partnership between labor and capital." USAID even temporarily set
up an agrarian reform office, working closely at TUCP offices.
Political analysts of the CIA and USAID wanted to design an
agrarian reform program that would not disrupt the agro-export
sector and one which could be synchronized with the
counterinsurgency program and defuse peasant unrest. The CIA and
US military advisers also wanted a deeper role in the design and
command of counterinsurgency. These funds were supplemented by
the so-called "democracy promotion" initiatives of the NED which
poured in heavy funding for TUCP, Namfrel, the Women's
Movement for the Nurturing of Democracy (KABATID) and the
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). The NED
gave a total of $9 million from 1984-1990 to these institutions and
Following the ouster of Marcos, the US set about to transform the
"new" Armed Forces of the Philippines into an effective
counterinsurgency force that would integrate military, political,
economic and social initiatives, including broad "civic action"
campaigns, psychological operations, military aid and training. It
was a massive comeback of the low-intensity conflict years of the
Magsaysay-Lansdale era! Between 1987-1990, Washington
reportedly authorized stepped-up clandestine CIA operations against
the Left in the Philippines, including a $10 million allocation to the
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AFP for enhanced intelligence-gathering operations. There was also
an increase in the number of CIA personnel, from 115 to 127,
mostly attached as "diplomats" to the US embassy in Manila.
(Oltman and Bernstein, 1992)
In general, US military and economic aid are used quite effectively
and they remain key elements of US policy in the Philippines. The
CIA station handles political aid and political matters. This means,
according to the CIA's Intelligence Memorandum on the 1965
Philippine presidential elections for instance, assuring that the
victorious national candidates who are acceptable to the US should
be "western-oriented and pledge to continue close and equitable
relations with the US and the West on matters of mutual interest."
(Bonner, 1987) The CIA station also conducts widespread covert
operations, among them: stage-managed national elections to assure
preferred US outcome; payoffs to government officials under the
guise of grants; financing for favored business and civic groups and
pro-US propaganda campaigns among the population; the supply of
intelligence information on activists and dissidents to the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and so on. (Robinson, 1996)
Among the most prominent CIA fronts in Manila is the Asia
Foundation with offices at Magallanes Village, Makati. According
to a former US State Department bureaucrat William Blum in a
recent book, the "Asia Foundation is the principal CIA front" and
funding conduit in Asia. The Asia Foundation funds and supports
known anti-communist groups or influential personalities, i.e.
academics, journalists, local officials, etc. and institutions. (Blum,
1999) According to the former executive assistant to the CIA's
Deputy Director for Operations Victor Marchetti in his book, The
CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, the Asia Foundation had the
objective "to disseminate throughout Asia a negative vision of
Mainland China, North Vietnam, and North Korea." (Marchetti and
Marks, 1980 edition). New York Times investigative journalist
Raymond Bonner has also identified the Asia Foundation as "a CIA
creation" and "front" in one of his books, Waltzing with a Dictator:
The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy (1987). My
interviews with former CIA operatives in the Philippines in 1996
confirm the active use of this foundation for the "Agency."
But the most credible and authoritative source that I have come
across identifying the Asia Foundation as a CIA front and conduit is
Marchetti's book where the CIA-Asia Foundation link is defined in
no uncertain terms:
"Another organization heavily subsidized by the CIA was the Asia
Foundation. Established by the agency (CIA) in 1956, with a
carefully chosen board of directors, the foundation was designed to
promote academic and private interest in the East. It sponsored
scholarly research, supported conferences and symposia, and ran
academic exchange programs, a CIA subsidy that reached $88
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million dollars a year. While most of the foundation's activities
were legitimate, the CIA also used recruit foreign agents and
new officers. Although the foundation often served as a cover for
clandestine operations, its main purpose was to promote the spread
of ideas which were anti-communist and pro-American--sometimes
subtly and stridently...Designed--and justified at budget time--as an
overseas propaganda operation, the Asia Foundation also was
regularly guilty of propagandizing the American people with
agency views on Asia. The Agency's connection with the Asia
Foundation came to light just after the 1967 exposure of CIA
subsidies to the (American) National Student Association. The
foundation clearly was one of the organizations that the CIA was
banned from financing and, under the recommendations of the
Katzenbach committee, the decision was made to end CIA funding.
A complete cut-off after 1967, however, would have forced the
foundation to shut down, so the agency made it the beneficiary of a
large 'severance payment' in order to give it a couple of years to
develop alternative sources of funding. Assuming the CIA has not
resumed covert funding, the Asia Foundation has apparently made
itself self-sufficient now.... during the 1960s, the CIA developed
proprietary companies for use in propaganda operations. These
proprietaries are more compact proprietaries and more covert than
the now exposed fronts like Asia Foundation and Radio Free
Europe." (Marchetti and Marks, pp.157-158)
The CIA-linked Asia Foundation has long been active in the
Philippines. It has generously funded academic seminars,
researches, study tours, and conferences in most of the leading
Philippine universities, most especially among many colleagues and
programs at the University of the Philippines (UP).
You name it, they have their fingers stuck into it! Many
nongovernment organizations, journalists, local governments and
civic organizations have had their projects funded by Asia
Foundation. This is what makes it strategic and well-placed, thus
naturally, a matter of great concern and alarm to friends and
colleagues in both the academe and the NGO sector who may be
very upset by this information on the origins and CIA links of the
Asia Foundation. But I did not invent this issue about the CIAcreated
Asia Foundation. I merely documented the previous
testimonies from mostly open sources. It is part of the CIA's history
in this country, which I have documented from the accounts of
former CIA agents and operatives. Many recipients of Asia
Foundation grants as well as the Filipino staff of the Asia
Foundation in Manila may not even be aware of its notorious
history. But now we know a little better.
It is important to note that in 1961, the chief of the CIA's Covert
Action Staff wrote that books were "the most important weapon of
strategic propaganda." Tens of thousands of books have been
produced, subsidized or sponsored by the CIA and its conduits such
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as the Asia Foundation in support of US foreign and military policy.
Project Echelon
Together with the National Security Agency, the CIA also
maintains "Project Echelon," the most sophisticated and the most
technologically advanced eavesdropping system that has ever been
devised. Through a relay system of satellites and spook stations in
Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and United
States, the US intelligence system is able to intercept all telephone,
fax, e-mail, Internet and cellphone transmissions worldwide. Its
nerve center is located at Fort Meade in Maryland where the NSA
maintains its headquarters. This has grave implications for both our
public and private security.
The National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States has
developed a global surveillance system, Echelon, which is a
powerful electronic net operated by super-computers that intercept,
monitor and process all phone, fax, e-mail and modem signals. The
European Parliament in a 1998 report entitled, "An Appraisal of
Technologies of Political Control" has listed serious concerns and
has recommended an intensive investigation of US-NSA operations.
The NSA Echelon system provides awesome potential for abuse
against civilian targets and governments worldwide, even against
allies of the United States.
It can be recalled that under the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement
(VFA), the coverage for special privileges and criminal immunity
includes not only US armed forces personnel but also "civilian
personnel who are employed by the US armed forces and who are
accompanying the US armed forces." These US "civilians" include
technicians of the secretive US National Security Agency which,
during the existence of the US bases here, operated the spy
communications facilities at Clark, Subic and Camp John Hay,
among others. (Simbulan, 1985) All private citizens' and
government communications are intercepted and monitored by the
Echelon System.
According to Nicky Hager's book, Secret Power (1986) which deals
with the international electronic spy network, the US has not only
been using its NSA Echelon system to collect political, military and
economic intelligence against its enemies, but it also targets its own
allies. According to Hager:
"...there is extensive interception of the ASEAN countries,
including the Philippines....ASEAN meetings receive special
attention with both public and private communications of these
countries being intercepted to reveal the topics discussed, positions
being taken and policy being considered."
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Through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the US plans to
fully restore its Echelon system in the Philippines which was
greatly interrupted by the pullout of US military facilities and bases
in 1992. The CIA heavily relies on the Echelon Project for its
technologically advanced Signal Intelligence or SIGNIT, which is
managed by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Every CIA station is virtually an infrastructure for political,
military, cultural and even economic intervention. In the
Philippines, the CIA has not only functioned as a listening post but
has been actively used to engage in covert operations, sabotage and
political intervention to undermine Philippine sovereignty and selfdetermined
national policies. Former CIA operatives in the
Philippines confirm the use of official "diplomatic covers,"
especially in the political section of the US Embassy where they are
given secure communications, protected files and diplomatic
immunity. They have also used "non-official covers," disguised as
businessmen in US firms. Covers under the guise of US naval or air
force personnel are now minimal after the US bases and military
facilities in the Philipines were dismantled. But as we can now see,
the CIA has long been operating with virtual impunity and has
always gotten away with its deep involvement in Philippine
domestic affairs. Shall we allow this continued intervention in
Philippine political and economic life?
Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, Maine: Common
Courage Press,1995.
Hager, Nicky. Secret Power. New Zealand: Craig Porton
Publishing, 1996.
McGehee, Ralph. Deadly Deceits: My 25 years in the CIA.
New York: Sheridan Square Publications, 1983.
Reyes, Narciso G. Memories of Diplomacy:A Life in the
Philippine Foreign Service. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing
Richelson, Jeffrey T. The US Intelligence Community.
Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.
Robinson, William I. Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization,
US Intervention and Hegemony. Great Britain: Cambridge
University Press, 1996.
Shalom, Stephen. The United States and the Philippines: A
Study of Neo-colonialism. Quezon City: New Day Publishers,
Equipo Nizkor - Covert Operations and the CIA's Hidden History in the Philippines 7/8/09 11:59 PM Page 13 of 13
Simbulan, Roland. The Bases of Our Insecurity: A Study of
the US Military Bases in the Philippines. Quezon City: Balai
Foundation, 1983.
Smith, Joseph Burkholder. Portrait of a Cold Warrior.
Toronto: Longman Canada, Ltd., 1976.
Petras ,James. "NGOs in the Service of Imperialism," Journal
of Contemporary Asia. Vol. 29, No. 4 (1999).
Oltman J. and Bernstein, R. "Counter-insurgency in the
Philippines," Covert Action Information Bulletin. No. 4, 1992,
pp. 18-21
Starobin, Paul. "Agent Provocateur," George Magazine. Oct.
1997, pp.86-91.
Ralph McGehee, former CIA operative assigned to the
Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand; Herndon, Virginia, April-
May 1996.
Interviews with former CIA operatives in the Philippines at
McLean and Herndon,Virginia, April-May 1996.
Highly Recommended Websites:
CIABASE (use or as search engines) (click Freedom of Information Act documents) (click U.S. as a World Power) (for U.S. spy satellites) (U.S. Department of Defense)
http://www.Nuclear (FOIA documents on nuclear issues) (the CIA's World Factbook)
Editado electrónicamente por el Equipo Nizkor el 28oct00
Human Rights in the Philippines
Published online by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights

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