Michael Meiring: Blast from the Past
Meiring is an American national and self-described "fortune hunter," who was seriously injured May 16, 2002 in an explosion in his Davao City hotel room on the Phillippine island of Mindanao. Screaming in pain, his legs mangled, Meiring told police someone had lobbed a grenade through his window. Actually, the explosion had originated inside a metal box with which Meiring had checked in.
Just three days later, an FBI team arrived at his hospital room and spirited him stateside before the matter could be investigated, despite arrest warrants, an order that he not leave the country, and "without the knowledge of any police, military or government official in the city or region," in the words of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who called Meiring's FBI-aided flight an "affront to Philippine sovereignty."
From The Minda News excellent three-part series on the Meiring mystery:
The circumstances behind Meiring’s sudden departure from the hospital, inspite of his serious condition, raised questions about his real identity. A number of officials in ‘for background only’ interviews, speculated Meiring may have been an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Meiring himself, according to those who had spent some time with him, refered to himself as CIA although he would qualify that to mean “Christ In Action.”
Four months after the incident, Davao City Prosecutor Raul Bendico announced that findings from the investigation of the case indicated that the accident occurred when Meiring was attempting to set up explosives intended to blow up the Evergreen Hotel.
When Meiring checked in on December 14, 2001, he was carrying two heavy metal boxes. He repeatedly warned hotel employees not to touch them, and instructed that his room be cleaned without chemicals. Davao police determined that the explosion originated inside one of the boxes. Among the documents recovered from the box was an officer identification card of the Moro National Liberation Front’s Bangsamoro Armed Forces, bearing Meiring’s name, photograph and September 17, 1935 as date of birth.
The Manila Times reported May 29, 2002 that Meiring
...had close ties to well-placed government authorities in southern Mindanao, national government officials and Philippine National Police…former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Hashim Salamat and suspected New People's Army (NPA) leader Father Navarro. Meiring also has close ties with "shady people" like MNLF Commander Tony Nasa and others in Cotabato who acted as "front men" for his dealings with the Abu Sayyaf.
Again from The Minda News:
Meiring, according to a source who knew him up close but requested not to be named because "grabe ang connection nyan" (he is well-connected), had visitors from various sectors, rich and poor, congressmen, councilors, a governor, military and once, the source said, Meiring complained he was duped by a police general.
The source said Meiring's predictions "always came true" such as the peso-dollar rate reaching this and that level. But what the source cannot forget was when Meiring said in January last year that with the Americans coming for Balikatan, sporadic bombings were to be expected and there would be a "big one." When the source asked Meiring if the General Santos City bombing on April 21 last year was the "big one," Meiring reportedly said no. Fifteen persons were killed and 55 others were injured in that blast.
The Mindanao Times report a day after the blast quoted Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as saying the police investigated Meiring the Friday before (May 10), after the intelligence community found him "highly suspicious" for bringing in boxes in and out of the hotel.
The police had good reason for their heightened suspicion. Mindanao had been enduring a terror campaign of bombings, including an explosion less than a month earlier in General Santos City which killed 15 and injured 55 more. And for the two days before Meiring's accidental explosion, bomb threats had forced the early adjournment of the regular session of the Davao City legislature and sent employees of around nine government agencies in the Council building scampering for safety.
Do you remember the mutiny of junior officers of the Philippine Army in Manilla, in the summer of 2003? They accused their military brass and the Arroyo government of conspiring with the United States in "Operation Greenbase," which involved the staging of bombings on the island of Mindanao in order to justify an increased US presence in the country.
Some particulars of what they were alleging:
- Senior military officials, in collusion with the Arroyo regime, carried out last March's bombing of the airport in the southern city of Davao, as well as several other attacks. Thirty-eight people were killed in the bombings. The leader of the mutiny, Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes, claims to have "hundreds" of witnesses who can testify to the plot.
- The army has fuelled terrorism in Mindanao by selling weapons and ammunition to the very rebel forces the young soldiers were sent to fight.
- Members of the military and police helped prisoners convicted of terrorist crimes escape from jail. The "final validation", according to Trillanes, was Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi's July 14 escape from a heavily guarded Manila prison. Al-Ghozi is a notorious bomb-maker with Jemaah Islamiah, which was linked to both the Bali and Marriott attacks.
- The government was on the verge of staging a new string of bombings to justify declaring martial law.
...the soldiers were not the first to accuse the Philippine government of bombing its own people. Days before the mutiny, a coalition of church groups, lawyers and NGOs launched a "fact-finding mission" to investigate persistent rumours that the state was involved in the Davao explosions. It is also investigating the possible involvement of US intelligence agencies.
These suspicions stem from a bizarre incident on May 16 2002, in Davao. Michael Meiring, a US citizen, allegedly detonated explosives in his hotel room, injuring himself badly. While recovering in hospital, Meiring was whisked away by two men - who witnesses say identified themselves as FBI agents - and flown to the US. Local officials have demanded that Meiring return to face charges, to little effect. BusinessWorld, a leading Philippine newspaper, has published articles openly accusing Meiring of being a CIA agent involved in covert operations "to justify the stationing of American troops and bases in Mindanao".
Yet the Meiring affair has never been reported in the US press. And the mutinous soldiers' incredible allegations were no more than a one-day story. Maybe it just seemed too outlandish: an out-of-control government fanning the flames of terrorism to pump up its military budget, hold on to power and violate civil liberties. Why would Americans be interested in something like that?
Those who disbelieve on principle that governments, even "friendly" governments, might stage false-flag terrorist actions upon their own people, simply don't know the material. Likewise for those who cannot imagine the covert agencies of the United States having a hand in such duplicitous atrocity. But they're in luck: a report this weekend on corruption in senior ranks of the Philippine military suggests much more material could be forthcoming shortly from that particular front of the "War on Terror." Especially given the remarks of Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, who said "there are times when the marketplace of ideas has to be suspended to avoid the creation of another problem."