By Wayne Madsen
The western corporate media generalised the Duterte-Obama feud as one between a statesmanlike US president and a Filipino Donald Trump. For Obama to lecture Duterte on human rights was the ultimate in hubris. Duterte is a fiery pragmatist who is on guard against Obama and the neoconservative war hawks.
The explanation by the Western corporate media, which caters to a very basic secondary school level of education, about the reasons behind the recent war of words between US President Barack Obama and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, had little to do with the leader of the Philippines calling Obama a «Putang ina» or «son of a whore» in Tagalog. The breakdown in relations between the Philippines, a former and much-abused American colony, and the United States is based on renewed Philippines nationalism, a disgust by Duterte for the selective human rights agenda of the Obama administration, and the Philippines leader’s antipathy for those schooled in Muslim beliefs in neighboring Indonesia.
Duterte knows full well that Obama prayed in a mosque and recited from the Koran in his early childhood years at a quasi-Islamic state school in Jakarta. And for Duterte, a former mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, – a southern Philippine island plagued by Saudi-financed Abu Sayyaf Group Wahhabist terrorism nurtured from radicalized mosques across the Sulu Sea in Indonesia – Obama’s upbringing in Southeast Asia is very germane.
Duterte’s reference to Obama’s mother was not uttered in a vacuum of history. Duterte fully understands Stanley Ann Dunham Obama-Soetoro’s role in the aftermath of the 1965 bloody Muslim – and Central Intelligence Agency – backed coup that toppled Indonesia’s secular president, Sukarno. The coup, in which Obama’s Indonesian stepfather, Lieutenant Colonel Lolo Soetoro, participated as a brutal thug out to identify and execute as many Communists and ethnic Chinese Indonesians as possible, was staffed out of the US embassy in Jakarta.
In 1967, Obama’s mother took young Barack Obama to join her war criminal husband in Jakarta. After her arrival in the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Obama’s mother worked for the CIA-linked US Agency for International Development (USAID) fanning out across central Javanese villages with orders to collect as many names of Communists as possible.
Indonesian intelligence files document Obama’s mother’s involvement in Javanese village-and rural-based Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and Sukarno cadre eradication efforts in the years following the coup, an operation that relied on USAID-financed anthropologists like Ann Dunham-Soetoro and which was code-named Project PROSYM. PROSYM, run by the CIA, had a number of counterparts throughout Southeast Asia.
The program’s counterpart in South Vietnam, which targeted Vietcong and Vietcong sympathizers for eradication, was known as Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), also known as the Phoenix Program. In Laos, the eradication program, which targeted Communist Pathet Lao forces and North Vietnamese troops, was known as the Rascal Program.
Under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, Obama had a willing military partner prepared to establish a new version of the defunct Cold War-era South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), which would ally Washington with various South East Asian nations to militarily and politically confront China over control over western Pacific. A «SEATO II,» where US warships and fighter planes would, once again, have full base rights in the Philippines for their «WESTPAC» deployments, was the intention of Obama and his generals and admirals in the Pentagon and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After being elected president on a nationalist platform, Duterte began engaging with China and signaled he was prepared to come to an accommodation with Beijing that would allow Filipino trawlers to continue fishing around disputed South China Sea islands, including the contentious Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop in the South China Sea.
Accommodating Beijing is the last thing on Obama’s mind. Therefore, Obama was prepared to issue a demarche in person to Duterte at the ASEAN summit in Laos over his human rights record and his policy on the extrajudicial execution of drug dealers in the Philippines. After US ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg publicly rebuked Duterte for his crackdown on drug dealers, the Philippine president called him a «gay son-of-a-bitch.» Goldberg has a background of undermining countries to which he has been assigned. He was expelled by Bolivian President Evo Morales for meeting with right-wing Bolivian opposition members in order to foment an Obama-sanctioned coup in Bolivia.
Duterte, of course, as aware of the ties that Obama and Goldberg have to the CIA. The Philippine president, who Obama referred to as «colorful,» is not, as claimed by the Western corporate media, a «Filipino Donald Trump.»
Instead, Duterte is a fiery pragmatist who is on guard against Obama and the neoconservative war hawks and Wahhabi and Salafist accommodators who dominate America’s CIA and State Department. Duterte and his supporters know fully well that the bloody CIA purge of PKI members and sympathizers, along with ethnic Chinese, in Indonesia would not have been possible without the support of Indonesia’s Sunni Muslim hierarchy – a group in which Obama’s mother and stepfather were in total lockstep.
Before and after the 1965 CIA coup in Indonesia, the Muslim political party, the Crescent Star Party, received financial assistance from the CIA in their declared jihad against the PKI, Indonesian Chinese, and Indonesian Christians. The Crescent Star Party, which is still active in Indonesia, favors the adoption of Islamic sharia law in what has been a largely secular country since the end of World War II.
The Indonesian Muslim political movement was particularly strong in Java, where Obama’s mother and her Muslim husband, Lolo Soetoro, had extensive contacts down to the town, village, and hamlet levels. The problem for counter-insurgency forces in the Philippines is that the Indonesian Muslims were also active in Kalimantan (Borneo) and across the border in British North Borneo (now Sabah), areas uncomfortably close to Muslim Moro separatists active in a rebellion in Mindanao, Duterte’s home island. The Philippines also has a longstanding claim to the state of Sabah in northern Borneo.
Cross border Muslim terrorism continues to plague Mindanao, Sabah, and Indonesian Kalimantan. More vexing to the Philippine government is that Obama’s stepfather was in cahoots with a Filipino Jesuit priest named Father Jose Blanco, a CIA agent who formed KAMI, an anti-Chinese and Muslim-oriented Indonesian student organization that fomented street protests in 1965 against Sukarno in Jakarta and across the Indonesian archipelago. The CIA’s Indonesian proxies also began stirring up anti-Chinese sentiment in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
All of these CIA operations were conducted under the imprimatur of SEATO, an organization that Obama and Hillary Clinton would like to see resurrected in a new form in order to plunge Southeast Asia into a new Cold War. Duterte is displaying the same sort of nationalism and populism that is spreading across the planet against the twin evils of globalism and multilateralism.
The western corporate media, which knows about as much about the history of Indonesia, the Philippines, and the surrounding region as a 7-year old child, generalized the Duterte-Obama feud as one between a statesmanlike US president and a «Filipino Donald Trump.»
Duterte is the first Mindanaoan to be elected president of the Philippines. As a Mindanaoan, who knows more about the history across the Sulu Sea than many of his countrymen, Duterte has little time for an American president whose Indonesian clan has the blood of innocent Southeast Asians on its hands. For Obama to lecture Duterte on human rights was the ultimate in hubris. Duterte, who survived political office in violence-prone and Islamist guerrilla-rife Mindanao, let Obama know exactly what he thought of the American upstart.
This article was first published on Strategic Culture on September 9, 2016.
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