NOW THAT the U.S. Marine convicted of raping a Filipina is in the custody of U.S. Embassy officials, the United States has announced that it will push through with the “Balikatan” training exercises involving U.S. and Filipino troops scheduled next month. It had earlier cancelled the exercises to protest the Philippine courts’ refusal to release Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to U.S. authorities while his case is on appeal. Yet unknown to many, a contingent of U.S. Special Operations Forces that had been stationed in the southern Philippines since January 2002 was clearly staying on despite the “Balikatan” exercises’ cancellation.
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