March 20, 2010
Where there is U.S. military presence, there is protest and resistance.
As we commemorate the 7th year of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we join the growing movement of people who are calling for the immediate pullout of U.S. military troops not only in Iraq but everywhere in Asia Pacific.
As the U.S. government scuttles to justify its presence in the region, it cannot deny the fact that the people in the Middle East, South Korea, Japan, Aoteraroa/New Zealand and the Philippines do not want them in their respective countries.
In Iraq, people are protesting against the continued presence of American troops. The victims of the U.S.-led invasion have not been indemnified or given justice. The Iraqi people have become refugees in their own country as their own homes, hospitals and all other infrastructure have been destroyed and not yet built.
This voice of resistance is re-echoed in many countries where peoples in areas where the troops are based become displaced, intimidated, harassed or violated. In Japan, for example, people all over the country including local leaders have joined the Okinawa people in calling for the immediate removal of the U.S. military bases and its 47,000 troops in Okinawa.
It is arrogant and ridiculous for American leaders to state that Japan needs their military troops. The Japanese people themselves have reiterated that their presence is unnecessary and has only caused insecurity among them.
In Korea, the war games jointly started by 18,000 American soldiers and an undisclosed number of Korean army have sparked popular indignation. In the Philippines, the Visiting Forces Agreement which pushed for the implementation of the joint US-RP military exercises has likewise received massive resistance.
While these armies mouth humanitarian missions and crisis response as the major reasons for the exercise, it is very obvious that they are not. Running scot-free after raping women, committing robbery and all forms of violations against the local peoples, their presence has created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
Not only are they present through military bases but likewise through intelligence networks like the Waihopai Tangimoana spy base in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As part of the US-led Echelon spy programme, it gathers intelligence via intercepting transmissions and communication lines around the Asia Pacific. While it is allegedly aimed to “counter” terrorism plots and drug deal plans, the said base has been accused of doing diplomatic and economic espionage. Indeed, a breach of sovereignty of countries it targets.
As efforts have been made to dismantle the base, the people of New Zealand in general are demanding the immediate closure of the Waihopai base which threatens lives of peoples and nations around the world and directly serves the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Undoubtedly, US imperialism aims to strengthen, not only to maintain, its political influence in the region through strong military presence. With this, it can ensure its economic interest in the region as it can easily dominate national economies for its own economic salvation. This is the very sole purpose of the US borderless war of terror. This is the very sole purpose of its military industrial complex.
We are one with the people of Iraq in defending national sovereignty and patrimony and against the U.S. military presence not only in Asia Pacific but all over the world.
Ramon Bultron, convenor
Rey Asis, convenor
*The Anti-US Bases Coalition Asia Pacific is a loose network of regional, national and local organizations and individuals in the region who are calling for the respect of national sovereignty and justice as they campaign for the immediate pull-out of U.S. military troops from Asia Pacific. Some members of the coalition are AGHAM, International League of Peoples Struggle Study Commission #4, ANAKBAYAN, Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA), Asia Wide Campaign Japan, BAYAN Philippines, BAYAN Central Visayas, BAYAN-Panay, CEPU Australia, Critiques Reformation Journal Taiwan, Filipino Migrant Center Japan, GABRIELA Philippines, GMKI (Indonesia SCM), International Movement of Catholic Students Asia-Pacific, International Action Center USA, ILPS Youth Study Commission, INDIES Indonesia, International Movement of Catholic Students Asia-Pacific, KCTU/SPARK Korea, KMU Philippines, Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World’s People, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement USA, MIGRANTE-Melbourne Australia, MIGRANTE-Perth Australia, New Era Foundation KasammaKo Korea, PAMANGGAS, Philippine]Australia Union Links Australia, Roots for Equity Pakistan, SOLAR, United Students against Sweatshops USA, UNITE Aotearoa, New Zealand.