Friday, February 29, 2008


Philippine Women’s Network on Peace & Security

Amnesty International-Pilipinas * Buklod Center * KAISA Ka* Metro Subic

People’s Task Force on Bases Clean Up * WEDPRO * WomanHealth-Philippines

Member, International Women’s Network for Genuine Security

On October 4, Cherrie Anne Guzman-Coleman died under suspicious circumstances, allegedly by hanging herself. Cherrie was the bride of SSgt. Glenn Edward Coleman of the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, which is stationed at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The two met when Cherrie worked for six months in Okinawa as an overseas performing artist, and had only been married for five months when Cherrie died. Coleman claims that Cherrie took her own life after a “slight” domestic disagreement. Cherrie’s friends have said that the couple often quarreled due to Coleman’s jealousy. They had seen Cherrie distraught, in tears and bruised after such incidents. On October 13, the battered body of Cherrie Ann Guzman-Coleman arrived in the Philippines and was claimed by her grieving mother, Ms. Myrna Vergara.

Almost 50,000 US forces and their dependents are stationed in Okinawa’s 42 military installations under Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, current commander of all US forces in Japan. Sexual crimes and violence directed at women, including domestic violence, are the most common forms of human rights violations in the world. Violence against women is particularly pervasive in the context of military bases and prevailing military culture and training. The number and gravity of cases of violence against women have been especially shocking in Okinawa where US bases began its operations in 1945. In the past 62 years, hundreds of victims have been attacked, kidnapped, abused, gang raped or murdered, including a nine month old baby and girls with ages ranging from six to fifteen. Cherrie may well be the latest in a long line of women who have been attacked, kidnapped, abused, raped and even murdered by US servicemen in Okinawa.

Actions taken by Coleman and US military authorities in Okinawa have raised speculations that they have engaged in an attempt to cover-up the real facts regarding Cherrie’s death. The 20 year old Filipina’s death certificate, signed by medical examiner Capt. James Caruso of the US Naval Hospital in Okinawa did not contain cause of death, although an autopsy was supposedly carried out.

The Philippine Women’s Network on Peace and Security Network (PWNPS) calls on the Okinawan authorities, along with the Japanese Government, to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the death of Cherrie Ann Guzman-Coleman.

We call on the Philippine Government to assist the family of Cherrie through her mother, Ms. Vergara, to determine the actual cause of her death and seek justice for the untimely death of her daughter.

We call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to fulfill its responsibility to protect and promote the well-being of all its citizens, including Cherrie Ann and all Filipino women living and working in military facilities all over the world.

Ref: Women’s Education, Development, Productivity & Research Organization (WEDPRO), Inc.

Convener and Secretariat: Philippine Women’s Network on Peace & Security (PWNPS)


‘What are they hiding?’ Knocking on a US base’s door in Zambo, a citizens’ group is shut out

19 February 2008, Jolo Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY (February 18, 2008) -- Members of a citizens’ fact-finding mission walked up inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City and confirmed the presence of a little known fortified US military base with communication facilities inside the Philippine military camp.

Asserting the right to information and transparency, the Citizens’ Peace Watch knocked on the doors of the base requesting to inspect its premises and to meet with officials of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P).

The JSOTF-P is the unit of US Special Forces that – unknown to many Filipinos – has been headquartered in the said US military base in this city since 2002 and has been deploying to various parts of Mindanao since then.

The members of the Citizens Peace Watch were told to wait, and they waited, only to be fetched by a Filipino soldier called up by the JSOTF-P to send the group away.

The JSOTF-P later sent a fax to the group saying they don’t have the authority to grant the request for a visit. They claim to have forwarded the request instead to the Armed Forces of the Philippines which is supposedly in the position to decide on the matter.

Such an explanation, however, was contradicted by a Filipino military official whom the group interviewed inside the same camp. Capt. Vicente Enriquez of the Western Mindanao Command had earlier told the group that it was not up to the AFP to approve any requests to visit the US military facilities. Only the US military can decide, Enriquez said.

Even Filipino soldiers, Enriquez stated, are not allowed to enter the military base without the US military’s permission.

“By the Philippine military’s own admission then, what we have here is clearly a US military base that is outside the control of the Philippine military, where the US exercises sovereignty within Philippine territory, and that is off-limits to Filipino citizens,” noted Atty. Corazon Fabros, a member of the Citizens’ Peace Watch.

“The ‘visitors’ have not only stayed on, they have set up camp in our house and told us – their hosts – to go away,” added Fabros.

The US military base stands out and is sealed from the rest of Camp Navarro by walls, concertina wire, and sandbags. The actual size of the area it occupies could not immediately be established from the outside. But communication facilities such as satellite dishes, antenna, and other instruments are visible.

US Marines provided protection for the facility; some workers were seen wore IDs identifying them with DynCorp, a controversial US military contractor.

What other facilities were inside the base is also unknown but the US embassy – responding to an earlier report exposing the granting of a P700-million peso contract to a company providing “base operations support” – had confirmed that they are constructing structures for “medical, logistical, and administrative facilities” for US troops “to eat, sleep, and work.”

The Citizens’ Peace Watch’s requests to various members of the cabinet, military officials, and the US embassy for meetings and for an inspection of US military facilities in the country was effectively rejected, with a Philippine military official saying that such requests would be acted on in “two months or in 2013.”

“What exactly are they hiding here? Why all this secrecy?,” asked Amabella Carumba of the Mindanao People’s Peace Movement, a member of the mission.

The following organizations are represented in the Citizens Peace Watch mission: Alyansa ng Kabataan sa Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan, Anak Mindanao Party List, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Bangsamoro Women’s Foundation, Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights, Focus on the Global South, KaisaKa, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (LAHRA), Mindanao Peoples Caucus, Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement, Mindanao Tri-People Women Forum, Moro Human Rights Center, Muslim Women’s Organization, Peace Women Partners, Peacebuilders Community, Pinay Kilos (PINK), Resource Center for People’s Development, STOP the War Coalition Philippines, Sumpay Mindanao, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Tulong Lupah Sug, Inc

Atty Corazon Fabros: +639178871153

Rage against Rape, Rage against US Bases and War

Kaisa ka 22A Libertad St. Brgy Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City

Press Statement
February 22, 2008
From the Desk of: Atty. Virginia Suarez-Pinlac, Spokesperson, KAISA KA-KPD

KAISA-KA, a progressive women’s organization in the Philippines strongly condemns the rape by a marine staff sergeant of a 14 year old girl in Okinawa. We sympathize with the victim and we hope that she gathers enough strength so that she, her parents and her supporters resolutely fight for justice.

The news of the rape saddens us. As supporters of the victim in the 2005 rape in a former base in the Philippines by a lance corporal from the US Marines, we in KAISA-KA know the emotional and mental anguish the victim and her family are going through.

But more than the sadness is our outrage. Rape and other military abuses have been committed against several people around US bases in Okinawa in the past several decades. People have been opposing the bases but these bases have been in Japan for 62 years now and have even expanded. And worse, the Japanese government has now allowed its armed forces to be dragged into US’ wars.

Wherever US troops are, cases of rape and other sexual abuses abound. A US naval investigator even admitted in the course of his testimony during a hearing on the Subic rape case that 50% of the cases his office attends to involve rape.

We believe, a US official’s promise of countermeasures to prevent recurrence of military sexual abuse will not bring peace of mind to the Japanese women. US officials make this promise every time cases of rape or molestation happen.

The problem lies in hosting bases for the armed forces of the only superpower. Because of its economic and military might, the US government forces upon other countries unequal agreements. These agreements give erring soldiers immense protection, virtually giving them license to bully locals.

The US establishes bases for its interventionist wars. To keep its soldiers in “fighting form”, it allows its troops to have “rest and recreation” (R & R). R & R for them largely include taking liberties with women. The areas around bases are places for these. Hence, women and children in communities around bases become more prone to abuses of their soldiers who may be drunk, demoralized, and alienated.

No less than the dismantling of the US bases and the complete withdrawal of US troops from Japan will give peace and security to the ordinary people of Japan, most especially to its women and children. A united people strongly against interventionist wars can make this happen!

US Troops: Terrorizing Women and Children

Kaisa ka 22A Libertad St. Brgy Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City

Press Statement
February 22, 2008
From the Desk of: Atty. Virginia Suarez-Pinlac, Spokesperson, KAISA KA-KPD

The Philippine Senate should terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement and send US troops in Mindanao and Sulu out of the country now or people, especially women and children, will remain gripped in terror.

No self-respecting sovereign nation would allow foreign troops to run circles around its own army as well as its own citizenry which has been the case with the permanent presence of these US troops since 2002.

The shooting incident that happened on February 4, 2008 in Barangay Ipil in Maimbung, Sulu was clearly a massacre. As established by the fact finding mission of the Citizens’ Peace Watch, Filipino and American soldiers fired at civilians. Nine people including a pregnant woman and two children got killed. The survivors of the incident are not only grieving. They cower in fear as they remember the barbaric rampage.

This is not the first incident US soldiers got involved in shooting of civilians. Earlier, a certain Sgt. Reggie Lane fired at a civilian, Buyong-Buyong Isnijal, in Basilan.

The national government and the US Embassy should stop making cover up for the involvement of these foreign troops in crimes against the people. After all, the terror and the social problems that result from their presence and operations far outweigh the benefits of their so-called humanitarian missions.

Prostitution is flourishing in areas surrounding the US bases. The “rest and recreation needs” of the US soldiers encourage this phenomenon. It will not take long before the country confronts a host of other social problems related to this—illegal drugs proliferation, more sexual abuse and violence against women and children, abandoned Amerasians, and a rise in the cases of sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS.

We call on the Philippine Senate to conduct an immediate investigation of the massacre and the whole conduct of the US troops in Mindanao instead of ratifying into a new treaty the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement with Australia. The senators should see for themselves the US facilities and make a firm stand to end Visiting Forces Agreement.# # #

Urgent Appeal for Information About Military Crimes and Bases

FYI reagarding 19 year old girl rape on Iwakuni base


--- Joseph G. wrote:


Following is an urgent appeal from Steve
Leeper, who is senior staff for Mayor Akiba of
Hiroshima. Please read it and, if possible, send him
whatever information you can about U.S. military
crimes against host nation communities and citizens.

With appreciation,

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Leeper
[ hiroshima. jp]
Sent: Wed 11/7/2007 7:27 PM

Dear Friend of Hiroshima,
We need some help real quick.

Last week some American soldiers raped a 19-year old
girl in Hiroshima. This
is happening at a time when the nearby base at
Iwakuni is planning a major
expansion that could result in fighters sonic
booming right over Peace Park.
We need to use this incident to fight that base and
bases in general. Plus,
we want to make sure this incident is taken
seriously by all local
authorities, including the US base.

To that end, I am writing to ask if you have any
information or can point me
to any information about the relationship between US
military bases and
crime worldwide. This is certainly a problem in
Japan. We have heard it is a
problem in Germany and elsewhere, but we lack hard
core facts. Do you know
other bases or countries that have trouble with
crime? Can you help with
this effort in any way?

Thank you,

Okinawa Women Protest Statement against Rape by US soldier

February 13, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Consul General Kevin Maher
United States Consulate General in Naha, Okinawa
Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer
US Military's Okinawa Area Coordinator

We protest the sexual violence against an Okinawan girl by a U.S.

We demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa

We, people of Okinawa, particularly women, are outraged at another
heinous crime committed by a U.S. serviceman on February 10th, 2008.

We have been imposed the burden of hosting U.S. military and bases.
For long 62 years, the lives of women and children in Okinawa have
been made insecure by the presence of the U.S. military and bases.

The fact that the perpetrator took the victim from city center where
local residents spend their leisure time on holidays and weekends,
demonstrates the close proximity between our daily life and the
violence and danger caused by the U.S. military. The perpetrator, a
Marine who belongs to Camp Courtney lives outside of the base in a
local residential area. Why should U.S. soldiers be allowed to
freely enter a residential area at any time? Why is a safe
environment for children and women not assured in Okinawa? The fear
of the victim, the anger of her family, the shock and anxiety of the
local residents are all immeasurable.

The U.S. military has promised over and over "the requirement for
the highest standards of conduct," every time a crime was committed.
It is evident that these promises resulted in nothing. It needs to
be reminded that in the past, during long weekends such as
Independence Day weekend, many girls were revealed to the violence
if U.S. soldiers. Behind the crimes that have been made public are
many more women and children who could not speak out about the
violence they were exposed to.

We call for withdrawal of the U.S. military in order to abolish such
violence. We argue that the military is a violence-intrinsic
institution. And true security cannot be realized by the military in
our community nor between nations.

We demand:

careful and adequate psychological care of the victim,

apology and compensation to the victim,

strict punishment of the perpetrator,

tighter discipline and control over soldiers living in off-base

The realignment and transformation of the US-Japan military alliance
will only intensify the functions of the U.S. bases in Okinawa. We
demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa and closure of
the U.S. bases in Okinawa.

Co-chairs, (Ms.) TAKAZATO Suzuyo, (Ms.) ITOKAZU Keiko
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
3-29-41-102 Kumoji, Naha, Okinawa, 900-0015
Ph. Fax. 098-864-1539

Activists report on GI atrocities against Japanese

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Marianas Variety News Staff
January 28, 2008

AN activist group from Okinawa has released a report
compiling over 400 documented cases of gang rape,
abduction, beating, murder and other forms of abuses
committed by American soldiers against the Japanese
people from the post-war period until recent years.

The reports compiled by the Okinawa Women Act Against
Military Violence showed that only 29 cases had
corresponding records of convictions.

Most of the cases were never prosecuted and the
suspects were allowed to go scot-free. Others had
records of arrests but no charges were filed.

"Violence, human rights violations and sexual assault
on women are among the problems brought about by U.S.
military presence. We want to discuss these issues
with women in Guam to find a way to minimize the
problem," said Suzuyo Takazato, director of the
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence and
chairman of the Okinawa Rape Emergency Intervention
Counseling Center .

Takazato, a former Okinawa council member and 2005
Nobel Peace nominee, will keynote today's forum on
women and human rights at the lecture hall of the
Jesus S. and Eugenia A Leon Guerrero Building at the
University of Guam .

* Relevant *

Takazato said the forum is particularly timely and
relevant to Guam as the island prepares for the
arrival of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa .

"I don't know how much the people of Guam realize the
impact of having a big military concentration in a
small island. Guam is half the size of Okinawa , where
we have 28,000 troops and 22,000 families. The
military presence is creating serious problems,"
Takazato said in an interview with Variety.

"As this region becomes the world front for the war in
Iraq and Afghanistan , we can expect more
aggressiveness to come," she added.

Besides the impact on the social landscape, Takazato
said the Okinawa population also has to deal with
environmental destruction and noise pollution brought
about by military exercises.

"Our government only sees the economic benefits of
having the U.S. military but we really have to think
about the problems that it brings. I feel that Guam
should be aware of this," Takazato said.

"Most people in Okinawa know Guam only through
(travel) advertisements. Most Japanese know Guam
simply as a tourist destination," Takazato said.

* Similarities *

What most Okinawans don't know is the similar
histories shared by the two islands, Takazato said.

Like Guam, she said, the island of Okinawa was
captured by a foreign government and battered by the
war. The continuing U.S. military presence gives a
constant reminder of the traumatic episode in history,
Takazato said.

Okinawa lost a quarter of its population during World
War II
. While suffering from the abuses of the U.S.
troops, Takazato said the Okinawans also feared the
Imperial Japanese Army.

"The Japanese troops were stationed in Okinawa to
protect the territory and not the people. The Japanese
soldiers killed the Okinawa people that they suspected
to be spies. Many families experienced the loss of
family members and many children became orphans,"
Takazato said. "Those experiences are seated deeply in
Okinawa people; this is why we have sentiments against
the military presence," she said.

Takazato said the cases of abuses committed by the
American troops during the postwar period were never
solved and those who committed them were never

After the war, Okinawa was placed under the control of
the U.S. military beginning in 1945. During which
time, Okinawa couldn't prosecute crimes committed by
military personnel. "It was only after Okinawa was
reverted to Japan in 1972 that military crimes were
brought to civilian courts," Takazato said.

* Nightmares *
While the people of Guam are still awaiting war
reparations and apology from the Japanese government
for the sexual enslavement of Chamoro women and other
atrocities committed by the Imperial Army, the people
of Okinawa have their own nightmares to confront
related to the abuses of the American troops.

The documented cases included incidents such as women
being gang raped in front of their husbands and

Women issues in relation to the military relocation
will be the focus of today's forum, which starts at
3:30 p.m.

The forum was organized by the Fuetsan Famalao'an, the
Women and Gender Studies Program and the Department of
Social Work at UOG.

Takazato's lecture will be followed by a panel
presentation from representatives of the Asia-Japan
Women's Resource Center delegation.

Join us for a historic trans-pacific call on CNMI federalization issues- 2/11

February 11, 2008

Please join the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
and Famoksaiyan for the first ever national educational teleconference
on the Northern Marianas Covenant Implementation Act (H.R. 3079/Title
7 of S. 2483).

When: Monday, February 11, 2008 at 3:00p.m. PST
Call-in: 605-990-0550
Pass: 548473#
RSVP Tiffany, by Feb. 11 12p.m.
EST/9:00a.m. PST.

Who: Our speakers will be joining us from across the Pacific and
continental U.S.:

* Dr. Keith Camacho, Assistant Professor –UCLA Asian American Studies
Dept. (Los Angeles)
* Deanne Siemer & Howard Willens, CNMI Special Legal Counsel – Wilsie
* Sabina Perez, Organizing Chair - Famoksaiyan (Guam)
* Sam Sablan, Organizer – Famoksaiyan (SF-Bay Area)
* Tiffany Rose Naputi Lacsado, Organizer – Famoksaiyan & NAPAWF Board
Member (SF-Bay Area)
* Priscilla Huang, Policy & Programs Director, NAPAWF (facilitator)

Why: 8,500 Miles away in the Western Pacific, the U.S. affiliated
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) eagerly awaits
Congress' decision on Omnibus bill S. 2483 Title 7. This bill, if
enacted, will greatly impact CNMI's labor and immigration practices as
well as the indigenous and foreign worker community in the islands.
Foreign workers make up one-third of the island chains' population and
hail from Asian countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, China
and Indonesia. Many of them have been long time residents of CNMI. If
enacted, this bill could require all foreign workers regardless of
length of residency in the islands to return to their home countries
with no hope of accessing a pathway to citizenship.

What: Please join us as we aid a network of progressive Pacific and
U.S.-based organizers who are trailblazing the way to building
national awareness on this and other related issues impacting the U.S.
affiliated Micronesian region. S. 2483 Title 7 is a crosscutting issue
and we strongly encourage members and allies who are interested in the
complex intersections among labor, immigration, decolonization,
colonialism, human trafficking, militarism, immigrant and indigenous
rights issues, and who are also interested in building their own and
organization's awareness about U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands and
their communities to join us on this historic call.

To learn more, please review the attached documents:

Legal memo by Howard Willens highlighting some of the key deficiencies
in the bill
Statement by CNMI Governor Fitial on HR 3079

Plastic Recycling on Guam

February 11, 2008
Famoksaiyan Friends

Good news!

Recycling of plastic bottles is now possible - water bottles,
juice bottles, laundry detergent canisters, etc..

The Guam United Methodist Church (corner of Rt. 15 and Fadian
Point, across Eagles Field) is a collection center. Entirely
non-profit, GUMC will help collect plastic bottles and arrange to
have them shipped off-island. They ask only that the bottles be
clean - easy, eh?

(GUMC will also take your aluminum cans.)

Asking the wrong questions on the build-up

Marianas Variety, February 15, 2008

The military officials' Joint Guam Program Office and its contractor for the military build-up Overseas Environmental Impact Statement have sent out a set of questions that indicate just what they are looking for in fulfilling their responsibilities under the National Environmental Protection Agency.

While a number of their inquiries will yield some information on what people think the impact will be, and while they are looking for existing data (i.e. things the Government of Guam already knows), they show no evidence of having a sociological or social imagination or framing of the problem.

Here are just a few of the problems.

A great number of the questions are framed as if the goal, at best, were to understand how to get more money into the pockets of Guam businesses and get more labor access with the least conflict for military construction.

In other words, the questions are not "how will military spending, military construction, and military operations help or hurt each of the different kinds of people on Guam (different demographically and different in terms of vulnerability to impacts or likelihood of losing or making money or health or confidence in the future and the self)?"

Instead, the underlying questions and concerns are mostly those of the military itself and some of the more powerful business people. They include underlying questions like "how can we get enough people to do the building and who would cause the build-up the least trouble?" not, "how much will inequality grow during the build-up?"

Or, "how can we reduce 'racial conflict'? as we go about the military build-up?" not, "how bad is existing racism against people of Guam within the US military and the groups who will be brought in as labor, and is it likely to get worse or better?" The difference between "racial conflict" and "racism" of course, is the difference between acknowledging or denying that racism exists.

Section II includes a military frame or a "military definition of the situation" by focusing on military spending, not costs like road wear, use of local recreational facilities, and tax revenue, not tax losses.

The focus on high-paying, high profit construction jobs rather than low-paying retail or service jobs¡½the real long term jobs that would stay in Guam¡½also matches the military myopia and bias that Tec Inc. has taken on in this study.

There is no explicit attention to population growth as a problem in and of itself, or the many other social and health and environmental issues that last year's public meetings made them well aware of.

The final sign that this is not a social impact assessment is Item IX which says as much. Their goal is not to understand actual impacts but just list "Chamorro interests and concerns." This is flat out insulting.

The general question we should be asking then is: What is your falsifiable hypothesis about the social impact of the build-up?

And the final question is how much this for-profit corporation will make for this work; what kind of expertise do the people who come to do the work have in the required full range of social sciences; and, who pays their wage?

Can we rely on the military's JGPO to find out real answers for Guam and its people? How do we get this military contractor to make meaningful sense of their social-economic impact assessment as a part of this EIS/OEIS? As it is currently designed, it is quite outrageous.

Hope A. Cristobal

Former Senator, Guam Legislature