[Marxism] Prologue in the Philippines: when torturers boasted

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Mon May 10 16:53:16 MDT 2004

While psy-war included propaganda and disinformation, it also relied on
terror tactics of a demonstrative nature. An Army psy-war pamphlet, drawing
on Lansdale's experience in the Philippines, advocated "exemplary criminal
violence -- the murder and mutilation of captives and the display of their
bodies," according to Michael McClintock's Instruments of Statecraft.

In his memoirs, Lansdale boasted of one legendary psy-war trick used against
the Huks who were considered superstitious and fearful of a vampire-like
creature called an asuang.

"The psy-war squad set up an ambush along a trail used by the Huks,"
Lansdale wrote. "When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers
silently snatched the last man on the patrol, their move unseen in the dark
night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the
body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the
trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their
bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed the asuang had got
him." [See Lansdale's In the Midst of Wars.]

The Huk rebellion also saw the refinement of free-fire zones, a technique
used effectively by Bell's forces a half-century earlier. In the 1950s,
special squadrons were assigned to do the dirty work.

"The special tactic of these squadrons was to cordon off areas; anyone they
caught inside the cordon was considered an enemy," explained one pro-U.S.
Filipino colonel. "Almost daily you could find bodies floating in the river,
many of them victims of [Major Napoleon] Valeriano's Nenita Unit. [See
Benedict J. Kerkvliet, The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the

Full at http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/lost22.html

from Brian Shannon

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