Nothing good can come out of visit of US’ war profiteer defense secretary—Karapatan

Human rights alliance Karapatan assailed the visit to the Philippines of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, saying nothing good could possibly result from the country’s dealings with a man whose career and fortune were built on the deaths and destruction resulting from US-driven wars of aggression.

Austin is in the country to facilitate the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) under which the US is allowed to build structures within Philippine military bases where it can pre-position troops and weapons as well as private contractors.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said Austin, who worked as a private defense contractor after retiring from the US Army, reportedly profited immensely from selling war materiel to the US government during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “He will likely make it possible for his cohorts in the military-industrial complex to make a killing from supplying the military hardware that will be pre-positioned in the five additional quasi-bases to be built in the country through the EDCA as well as from providing a range of services and logistics to the US troops that will be staying in these facilities.”

“Aside from being one of the top military commanders who led the US’ bloody wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan that claimed almost a million lives, most of them civilians, he is the face of the money side of US warmongering, the side that ravenously feeds off the suffering of the victims of these evil wars,” she said.

“The EDCA, which Austin is pushing, will be used both to bolster the US’ muscle-flexing in its rivalry with China for dominance in the Asia-Pacific, as well as to provide intelligence, logistical and other forms of support for the counter-insurgency war in the Philippines,” said Palabay. “At least $100 million in military assistance is already in the pipeline in exchange for the Marcos Jr. regime’s reaffirmation of EDCA and other military agreements with the US. With Austin’s background, we can expect more murder and mayhem against the Filipino people as the US intensifies its intervention in the conduct of the counter-insurgency war in the country.”

“We must expose the insidious reality behind Austin’s visit to the Philippines and call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to close ranks to oppose scaled-up US military intervention in the country,” said Palabay.