them with a convenient and strategic outpost from which to project its military might in aregion dominated by Muslim countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. TheUS sees this sub-region as the natural catch basin for the overflow of the militant Islamicmovements in Central Asia. The US is particularly keen on militant movements here andhave linked not only the Abu Sayyaf but the MILF and MNLF to the Jemayah Islamiyah,Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda.Mindanao is also home to the communist-led armed revolution. Many parts of Northern, Central and Southern Mindanao are known strongholds of the New People'sArmy. The CPP-NPA-NDF is, of course, a staunchly anti-imperialist armed movement andhas particularly denounced US imperialism as among the country's three basic ills. Atactical alliance was said to have been formed a few years ago between the CPP-NPA andthe MILF.But there’s more to it than strategic political and military interests. Mindanao, andthe BIMP-EAGA area for that matter, is home to one of the world’s richest and relativelyuntouched natural resources. Mindanao is not called the promised land for nothing. Youhave oil, gold and other minerals, rich water and marine resources, the thickest forest cover and highly fertile lands. The Mindanao trench may also hold the ultimate fuel of the future,deuterium, which is not only clean but also unlimited in supply.Mindanao’s strategic economic, political and military value to US imperialism andits twin thrusts of neoliberal globalization and unilateral, preemptive military action isreflected in the amount of military operations and so-called development aid being pouredinto the island, particularly the ARMM. Not a week goes by without a picture of USservicemen or embassy officials involved in some kind of feel good activity in Mindanao.In Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga and various parts of Mindanao, there is a permanent presence of American troops. Just last month, it was revealed that the US was building amulti-million peso military facility in Sulu, aside from the various “temporary” and“borrowed” facilities already in place. In Sulu and Basilan, despite blanket denials by bothUS and Philippine officials, residents confirm that US troops are involved in covert andnot-so-covert combat operations, intelligence gathering, and civic-military actions. Clearly,they are here to stay.There have also been reports and evidences of covert Philippine and US militaryoperations done to instill a state of terror and justify greater military involvement inMindanao and the Philippines at large. In May 16, 2002, US agent Michael Meiringaccidentally exploded an improvised bomb in his rented room at the Evergreen Hotel inDavao City.Confined at the Davao Doctor's Hospital, he was visited by three FBI agents JohnGray, Robert McDowell, Adalberto Rivera and US Vice-Consul Michael Newbill. On May19, Meiring was discharged, boarded a chartered plane and was spirited out of the countryallegedly by fellow CIA operatives to escape criminal and civil charges.