Meiring Affair in The Nation

Jacob Levich jlevich at
Mon Aug 18 19:34:55 MDT 2003

Excellent piece by Naomi Wolf. First time the Meiring Affair has hit the US 
press so far as I know.


Lookout by Naomi Klein
Mutiny in Manila
[from the September 1, 2003 issue]
What does it take to become a major news story in the summer of Arnold and 
Kobe, Ben and Jen?

A lot, as a group of young Philippine soldiers discovered recently. On July 
27, 300 soldiers rigged a giant Manila shopping mall with C-4 explosives, 
accused one of Washington's closest allies of staging terrorist attacks to 
attract US military dollars--and still barely managed to make the 
international news.

That's our loss, because in the wake of the Marriott bombing in Jakarta and 
newly leaked intelligence reports claiming that the September 11 attacks 
were hatched in Manila, it looks like Southeast Asia is about to become the 
next major front in Washington's War on Terror™.


Now, post-mutiny, the question is: Who did it? The government blames the 
Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The mutinous soldiers point the finger back 
at the military and the government, claiming that by inflating the 
terrorist threat, they are rebuilding the justification for more US aid and 
Among the soldiers' claims:
§ that senior military officials, in collusion with the Arroyo regime, 
carried out last March's bombing of the airport of the southern city of 
Davao, as well as several other attacks. Thirty-eight people were killed in 
the bombings. The leader of the mutiny, Lieut. Antonio Trillanes, claims to 
have "hundreds" of witnesses who can testify to the plot.
§ that the army has fueled terrorism in Mindanao by selling weapons and 
ammunition to the very rebel forces the young soldiers were sent to fight.
§ that members of the military and police helped prisoners convicted of 
terrorist crimes escape from jail. The "final validation," according to 
Trillanes, was Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi's July 14 escape from a heavily 
guarded Manila prison. Al-Ghozi is a notorious bomb-maker with Jemaah 
Islamiyah, which has been linked to both the Bali and Marriott attacks.
§ that the government was on the verge of staging a new string of bombings 
to justify declaring martial law.


[T]he soldiers were not the first to accuse the Philippine government of 
bombing its own people. Days before the mutiny, a coalition of church 
groups, lawyers and NGOs launched a "fact-finding mission" to investigate 
persistent rumors that the state was involved in the Davao explosions. It 
is also investigating the possible involvement of US intelligence agencies.

These suspicions stem from a bizarre incident on May 16, 2002, in Davao. 
Michael Meiring, a US citizen, allegedly detonated explosives in his hotel 
room, injuring himself badly. While recovering in the hospital, Meiring was 
whisked away by two men, who witnesses say identified themselves as FBI 
agents, and flown to the United States. Local officials have demanded that 
Meiring return to face charges, to little effect. BusinessWorld, a leading 
Philippine newspaper, has published articles openly accusing Meiring of 
being a CIA agent involved in covert operations "to justify the stationing 
of American troops and bases in Mindanao."

Yet the Meiring affair has never been reported in the US press. And the 
mutinous soldiers' amazing allegations were no more than a one-day story. 
Maybe it just seemed too outlandish: an out-of-control government fanning 
the flames of terrorism to pump up its military budget, hold on to power 
and violate civil liberties.

Why would Americans be interested in something like that?

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