In an address to the bereaved family members of the 44 slain Police-Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, President Rodrigo Duterte called the botched 2015 Mamasapano Massacre a “CIA-backed mission”.
It has been two years since news of almost an entire company of elite police commandos was wiped out at the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a mission to apprehend international fugitive and Islamic terrorist, Marwan.
Suspicions arose: how did a well-equipped, taxpayer-funded group of elite government commandos lose so badly against a supposedly ragtag band of rebels who have no proper funding nor training? It also begs the question that if the target of the operation was a high-profile terrorist, why was the Philippine Military not tapped instead?
It almost seemed as though the police commandos were sent to their graves with that mission.
In his speech, Duterte had the same questions but took it further by asking the media why it was not fully disclosed that the mission was the brainchild of the American secret service.
That charge by the President sounds like a conspiracy theory at first, but considering the history of the CIA in toppling foreign regimes it does not seem outside the realm of possibility.
In 1961, Fidel Castro’s Cuba was invaded by anti-Castro, exiled dissidents equipped with tanks, military aircraft and landing vessels that made it seem like the country was under siege by a foreign military. It was later revealed that the operation was funded and prepared for by the CIA, with the approval of the U.S president John F. Kennedy himself.
Much more recently, in 2009 then-President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya was ousted from power by a military coup. Zelaya was an ardent socialist and he was on course to replace the constitution installed by former president Policarpo Paz-Garcia, a U.S.-ally.
In her book titled, ‘Hard Choice, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton divulged the role that the CIA played in enabling that coup to happen. She stated how she made sure that Zelaya would not be able to return to power in the aftermath of that coup.
Back to the Mamasapano question, it was reported in 2015 that a Caucasian man was among those killed in that botched operation. A short video filmed by the victorious MILF fighters in the aftermath of the encounter focused on the dead body of a white male, whom they mockingly referred to as “Buddy”.
A month after the encounter, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that eight Americans were monitoring the events of the operation from the SAF command center in Maguindanao. This allegation is believable given that it was reported by surviving SAF troopers that a drone was flying over them, watching the bloodbath unfold.
According to an unidentified source who claims to be an officer in the SAF, the team which carried out the raid were given training inside a private beach resort in Zamboanga City months before the incident. Their training was allegedly funded by American nationals, which included swimming and shooting exercises.
The source also disclosed that the intel used by the SAF came from the Americans, who obtained it themselves by bribing MILF fighters.
The target of the operation, Marwan, was correctly identified to have been killed after a severed finger obtained by surviving SAF commandos matched the Bali bomber’s DNA in a test conducted by an FBI agent in General Santos City. This tells us that the FBI had knowledge of the operation beforehand, which makes it unlikely for the CIA not to.
Given the trove of compelling evidence which alludes to American involvement in the operation and also given the American secret service’s history of mingling in foreign governments’ affairs, President Duterte’s accusation of U.S. involvement in Mamasapano seems all the more believable.
This is an indictment of the Aquino government’s blind subservience to foreign influence, most especially American neo-colonialism which President Duterte has nobly vowed to stamp out. Calling the 2015 Mamasapano Operation for what it really is, is a good start.