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    • Historic bells to returned to the Philippines in an effort to build U.S. ties

      By American Media Institute - Historic bells to returned to the Philippines in an effort to build U.S. ties The arrival of three historic bronze church bells in the Philippines on Tuesday marked the final chapter in an obscure but, largely forgotten war in American history as well as sincere effort by the Trump administration to improve U.S.-Philippine relations. A U.S. C-130 aircraft arrived in the Philippines carrying 1three bells taken from the Philippines 117 years ago by the United States during the Philippine-American War. The initiative came at the instigation of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis who sought the return of the bells as an essential step to improve relations with the Philippines at a time of growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. “The Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for many people in the United States and the Philippines,” said Lt. Colonel David Eastburn a Defense Department spokesperson in a statement to AMI newswire,“ The return of the Balangiga Bells to their home in the Philippines is of tremendous importance and is a product of sustained hard work by so many Americans and Filipinos of good will and good hearts.” The bells had become an unlikely political issue. While the Catholic Church has long supported the return of the bells which were taken from a village in the East Samar province of the Philippines in 1901 previous U.S. presidential administrations have declined to act on the issue. Then Filipino President Fidel Ramos first raised the issue with President Clinton in 1994 even suggesting the casting of replicas which could be jointly shared by the two countries. The Clinton administration quashed the idea for reasons that remain unclear. The fate of the bells has continued to be an issue in Filipino politics. During his 2017 State of the Union address, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte called for the return of the bells to the Philippines. The bells have an unusual history. In 1901 a group of the U.S. 9th infantry regiment was enjoying breakfast when they were attacked by Filipino nationalist forces eager to secure their independence from the United States. The attack killed 48 of the 74 Americans soldiers stationed in the village and injuring all but, four American soldiers. American forces launched reprisals in punishment for the attack and a successful effort to recapture the village from Filipino forces. Subsequently, a group of 11th infantry soldiers seized the bells in fear that they could be forged into weapons. The bells were rung throughout the battle from a nearby Catholic church as a rallying cry for Filipino forces. The battle was just one episode in the Philippine-American war which began almost immediately following the Spanish-American war of 1898. The conflict cost the lives of somewhere between 250,000 and one million civilians. Americans lost by some estimates roughly 6,000 casualties with Filipino forces (mostly irregulars) suffering 16,000 combat losses though most of the fighting ended by 1902 sporadic resistance continued into the next decade. The Philippines was a U.S. colony from 1898 until July 4, 1946. American and Filipino forces subsequently fought together during World War II, the Korean War and during the Vietnam War. More recently U.S. special operations forces deployed to the Philippines after the September 11, 2001 attacks to fight Islamist militants — a century after the end of the Philippine-American war. Two of the bells had been held on a U.S. military base in South Korea where the 9th infantry is stationed while the other two remaining bells had until recently been displayed at F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Several US lawmakers including congressional representative Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois) and Jim McGovern (D-Massachusets) had opposed the return of the bells due to the authoritarian policies of President Duterte whose brutal crackdown on alleged drug dealers has led to numerous human rights abuses. Earlier this year Filipino Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the return of the bells would be “strong indicator of the sincerity of the Americans in forging a lasting relationship with the Filipino people and truly symbolic of what their government has referred to in the past as an ironclad alliance between our two countries,” he said in a statement this summer adding, “ we call on the American people not to allow the bells to serve as trophies for atrocities that were committed by both sides on Philippine soil a very long time ago.” Lorenzana was part of a senior delegation of Filipino officials who met the U.S. Airforce C-130 carrying the bells when it landed in the Philippines. Thanks for being here and being a loyal reader. The American Media Institute covers stories other news outlets do not. We recruit reporters all over the world, investing money in translators, travel and document research. We are not a blog, which has few expenses beyond pajamas. Please help us continue to provide hard-hitting journalism by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you. Source: American Media Institute Historic bells to returned to the Philippines in an effort to build U.S. ties is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

    • Mattis calls for return of church bells taken from Philippines in colonial fight

      Church bells seized by American troops during the Philippine-American war more than a century ago could soon be on their way back to their home country. “Secretary of Defense (Jim) Mattis has notified Congress that the Department of Defense intends to return the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines,” Molly Koscina, a press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, told Stars and Stripes. The bells were said to have rung on Sept. 28, 1902, to signal a surprise attack by Filipino rebels against soldiers of 9th Infantry Regiment, which left 48 Americans dead. The Philippine government has long insisted on return of the bells, which belonged to the Roman Catholic church in the town of Balangiga. But some veterans and Wyoming’s members of Congress are against the move, seeing them as a memorial to U.S. troops. Download our FREE Mobile App - The Highest Rated Military News App in the World! In a statement last November, those groups declared that they “strongly oppose any efforts to deconstruct or disturb this veteran’s memorial that honors America’s fallen soldiers.” U.S. troops brought two of the bells back to their base in Fort Russell, Wyo. This was later renamed F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and the bells remain there in an arched brick wall. A third, smaller bell, which was also taken to the United States, now stands the 2nd Infantry Division Museum at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea. No date has been chosen for the return of the bells, but the announcement came after years of lobbying from some American veterans and Filipino activists. Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly called for their return, and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 allows for their transfer to the Philippines if Congress does not object. In the Philippine-American War, which began Feb. 4, 1898, and ended on July 4, 1902, 4,165 U.S. troops were killed and 200,000-600,000 Filipinos died. After the deaths of 48 troops in the ambush at Balangiga, U.S. troops returned to the area and bombarded the town with cannon fire. U.S. General Jacob Smith then infamously ordered his troops to kill any male in the region over the age of 10 and turn the area into a “howling wilderness.” Over the years, the bells assumed emotional significance in the Philippines, and in 1994, Manila first began insisting that the bells be returned. It has repeated the demand many times since. Although the two countries have traditionally been close allies, Washington sought to skirt the issue in the past because of opposition from some vets. Eric Burke, a historian who served as the regiment’s guidon bearer, said the bells represent fallen American dead, even if the war they died in was messy and in some parts dishonorable. “These men, regardless of the individual causes that brought them to that war, were Americans,” Burke told Stars and Stripes. “Their sacrifice is still an American sacrifice, and thus is also symbolic of all American soldiers who have fallen throughout the history of this country. Hence why the whole thing is such a tangled mess symbolically.” Some Filipino-American veterans welcomed the Defense Department move. “I think the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines heals the animosity and hatred both nations share during the early days of occupation,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nonie Cabana of San Antonio. “It shows America’s inclination to err on the side of human decency and humanity.” The current offer returns the bells to the Catholic church. Advocates for the return believe this is a shrewd maneuver legally and politically. “By returning the bells to the Catholic Church, the decision (softens) any attempt by the U.S. Congress to block the return,” said Bob Couttie, a historian who wrote an account of the Battle of Balangiga. ——— © 2018 the Stars and Stripes Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. View the full article

      in Military

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      A team from Textron Inc. and Bell Helicopter will demonstrate the maneuverability of its experimental V-280 Valor helicopter. View the full article

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