From: "Magnus Bernhardsen" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: [Peoples War] Communist Party warns US troops they are targets

(OK, here is the full story. MB)
  
this story was taken from www.inq7.net

URL: http://www.inq7.net/nat/2002/jan/30/text/nat_1-1-p.htm



Communist Party warns US troops they are targets
Posted:0:15 AM (Manila Time) | Jan. 30, 2002
By INQ7.net, Inquirer News Service and Agence France-Presse


THE COMMUNIST Party of the Philippines warned Tuesday that its New People's
Army (NPA) would target American soldiers if they go to NPA territory.

"Should these so-called US military experts wander into an NPA territory,
our comrades may not possibly resist the temptation to seize them," said
CPP spokesperson Gregorio Rosal, alias Ka Roger.

About 600 American military advisers and troops are expected to join in six
months of "training exercises" with t Philippine troops in the southern
Basilan island, the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim bandit group, with
both government link to the al-Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.

The "Balikatan" training exercises are scheduled for formal launch on
Thursday after a day's delay.

The NPA is said to operate in various parts of the country, in varying
numbers. 

Exiled CPP leader Jose Ma. Sison said, however, that Filipino-American
members of the US contingent visiting their relatives in the country would
not be harmed. "The NPA will not fire at or seize my province mates, who
joined the US armed forces, if they are just visiting relatives and are not
in combat gear," said Sison, chief political consultant of the National
Democratic Front. 

Sison also advised militant groups not to rely entirely on the Supreme
Court to resolve the constitutional issue being raised against the presence
of American troops in the Philippines. "Mass action should still be the
preferred option. A petition with the Supreme Court could just result in
complacency on the part of those against the presence of US troops.

"This is the real intention of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and his
spokesperson Bobi Tiglao," Sison said in a reply to questions e-mailed to
him. 

The Macapagal administration maintains that the coming of US forces for
military exercises with Filipino soldiers in the Philippines is allowed
under the Philippine Constitution, and Presidential spokesperson Rigoberto
Tiglao has suggested that the only way to end the debate is to take the
case to the Supreme Court.

Protesters could resort to both mass and legal actions, Sison said, as
militant groups vowed to continue their mass protests. The Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (Bayan) said it would intensify protests until US troops withdraw
from Mindanao. Bayan spokesperson Renato M. Reyes Jr. said his group, the
youth group Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students would hold
protest actions this Wednesday in front of the US embassy in Manila.


After a last-minute hitch over how many US troops would be involved in the
"Balikatan" exercises, Philippine officials announced Tuesday the formal
starting date and some of the ground rules.

Filipino training director Brigadier General Emmanuel Teodosio said US
troops would be allowed to fire on the rebels "primarily" in self-defense
once they moved to Basilan island.

"They (Americans) will be under the command of a Filipino officer, but it's
an inherent right of an individual to defend himself if threatened," he
said. "They can fire back primarily to defend themselves."

The campaign will see one of the biggest deployments of American troops
since the United States began its campaign to wipe out the al-Qaeda
terrorist network, which is blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and
Washington. 

Ground rules for the campaign were laid out at a meeting in southern
Zamboanga City Tuesday between Teodosio and his US counterpart, Brigadier
General Donald Wurster.

Teodosio said American troops would train with Filipino units in Manila in
the first week of the campaign before moving in on Basilan island.

The campaign was initially due to start Wednesday but it was delayed after
the US and Philippines negotiated on how many US troops would be involved.

Teodosio said the Americans were "apprehensive" that setting a fixed number
of US participants would cause them to "lose some flexibility", Teodosio
said. 

Both later agreed to stick to the previously announced number of "more or
less 600" including 160 Special Forces, "plus or minus 10", he added.

Wurster, special operations chief of the US Pacific Command, did not speak
to reporters. 

There has been some public anxiety here over the exact role of the US
advisers, as well as concern that the Americans could be killed or taken
captive by the Abu Sayyaf. The Filipino Muslim gunmen operate in small
units on a number of heavily forested islands around Zamboanga City.

In Basilan, roughly the size of Los Angeles, the Abu Sayyaf is holding a US
Christian missionary couple and a Filipina nurse hostage.

An independent polling firm, Social Weather Stations, said Tuesday that its
November nationwide survey found that 84 percent of Filipinos approved of
the US military assistance in fighting terrorism here.

US preparations gathered pace here Tuesday with the arrival of more
military equipment and personnel from a US base in Okinawa, Japan.

Some 159 American troops are already in Zamboanga, all of them logistics
personnel, southern Philippines military chief Lieutenant General Roy
Cimatu said. 
©2002 www.inq7.net all rights reserved



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