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Freedom IncorporatedAnticommunism and Philippine Independence in the Age of Decolonization$
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Colleen Woods

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749131

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749131.001.0001

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A Dirty, Half-Hidden War

A Dirty, Half-Hidden War

The CIA and U.S.-Philippine Covert Operations in Southeast Asia

(p.159) Chapter 5 A Dirty, Half-Hidden War
Freedom Incorporated

Colleen Woods

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses the formation of a private paramilitary organization in the 1950s by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents who were associated with Edward Lansdale, as well as by a group of veterans from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This “Freedom Company” was meant to transport the “lessons of the Huk campaign” to sites elsewhere in Asia and Latin America. As an organizing principle, the Freedom Company and its U.S.-based supporters assumed that U.S. colonialism had imparted “modern political knowledge” to Filipinos; as the most “politically modern” Asians, therefore, they were best equipped to “export democracy” throughout the region. The Freedom Company Philippines (FCP), staffed entirely by Filipinos in an effort to distance contemporary U.S. interventions from a history of Western imperialism, actively promoted the idea that the U.S. colonial project in the Philippines had succeeded, while European imperial practices had failed to develop Asian societies properly. Though steeped in racialized perceptions regarding the political capacities of colonized or formerly colonized peoples, anticommunists contended that U.S. colonialism in the Philippines and contemporary U.S. interventions demonstrated the United States' interests in liberating Asians from colonialism across the region.

Keywords:   Central Intelligence Agency, Edward Lansdale, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Freedom Company, U.S. colonialism, Freedom Company Philippines, anticommunists, U.S. interventions, Asian societies, Philippines

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