My AMAZING father was born 100 years ago today: a story of US corruption & betrayal ๐Ÿ’ฐsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #conspiracy โ€ข 7 years ago (edited)

Harry Stonehill.jpg

Harry Stonehill was responsible for the industrialisation of the Philippines after the 2nd world war with a business empire built around the production of low cost housing & amenities for the poor, including glass, steel, cement & cotton.

Known in the Philippines as 'the G.I. whose brass turned to gold', he defended them against the Japanese as a US soldier and stayed on for 20 years to become the most powerful man in the country, dedicated to improving the lives of millions of Filipinos, before suffering complete betrayal at the hands of the US government and was ultimately deported from his home, never permitted to return and chased around the world, prevented from establishing any further successful businesses until his death in 2002.

Why have you not already heard of him?

His REAL story has not yet been publicly released to the world. To say that it is a little controversial is an understatement.

The rise and fall of Harry Stonehill.jpg

A biography was written by Lewis E. Gleeck, a dedicated US citizen who only scratched at the surface of what I know to be the truth. But even Gleeck acknowledges that 'Harry was a wronged man' and that 'Stonehill did important and valuable things for the Philippines which deserve recognition.'

Many other historical books of the time mention him briefly, but there remains only one dedicated publication on his long and event filled life which took him from rags to riches... and back to rags.

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He was born in Chicago to a Polish Jewish family who had moved to America in the wake of the growing anti-semitism in their own country.

Here you can see him standing on the right with his family in 1932.

In the picture below you can see a blonde baby me with my father in 1979.
Me and dad.jpg

I grew up idolising him despite the fact we never lived in the same country. He would visit us once a year and sometimes we would travel the world together on holiday. My interactions with him were always brief and consequently very special.

Here you can see me with my mother and father in 1992.
me, mum & dad.jpg

Born in London, I spent my childhood with my mother and two younger sisters while he fought a 30 year court case against the US government in the Supreme courts in Washington DC.


He was accused of tax evasion and corruption of the highest level in the US and in the Philippines the media machine took this even further by suggesting that he was involved in organised prostitution, drugs and gun running.

They ensured he could never return without fear of assassination or kidnap & ransom. This perception of our family is still held by some of the Philippine elders and my father consequently advised me to never go there.

The case continued on after his death and was only recently concluded, leaving our family nothing of the millions he earned in the Philippines, forever branding him as a criminal.

Leaving one rather important unanswered question...


Asia style business

One only had to meet him to know that that these accusations could not possibly be true.

He was a particularly loving individual who adopted the business methods of the time and place which involved 'under the table' payments to officials, ensuring smooth and long lasting relationships.

Now that I live in Indonesia I can tell you that nothing has changed in Asia. MONEY TALKS louder than anything else here.

Why did the US blackmail the Philippine government to deport him?

To put it in one word... TOBACCO.


He was the owner of 17 corporations and tobacco turned out to be the most successful. As the first man to grow tobacco in the Philippines he cut off the supply of US tobacco to a poor country whose main agricultural product at the time was rice.

The US approached him in the early 1960s indicating that he would have to help them elect Ferdinand Marcos as president if he wished to continue doing business. He told them in no uncertain terms to 'GO TO HELL!' and this was the beginning of the end for him.


Marcos was selected by the US because he was more likely to bend to their wishes than the president at the time, Diosdado Macapagal who was firmly loyal to his country and to Stonehill.

Mainhart Spielman: undercover agent

A man of Jewish roots was employed by the US as a spy and sent to find suitable evidence with which they could blackmail Macapagal to ensure Harry's deportation. He didn't see what was happening at the time and feeling the Jewish connection, he gave Spielman a job in one of his many companies.

A chance to change everything

Upon discovering the required evidence, Spielman approached Stonehill with the truth, giving him an opportunity to buy his way out of the situation. And what he asked for was no small figure.


My father told me this part of the story very clearly and I do believe what happened next is a great reflection of who he really was. Consumed by rage he took Spielman to the top floor of one of his office buildings where he held him at the edge intending to kill him... but could not.

Instead he refused to pay the enormous bribe and let him free. Ironically, once Spielman had delivered the evidence to the US, he was killed shortly afterwards. Two local Philippine men were convicted of the crime but it was clear that Spielman was no longer needed and to safeguard their lie, the US had him murdered.

The infamous 'Blue Book'

The evidence came in the form of a small notebook which contained the names, dates and amounts paid to various high up political figures. My father described these payments as an essential process in 'greasing the wheels' of his empire but what they represented to the Western world was simple corruption and this was enough to put Macapagal under enormous pressure to do as he was told and deport Harry once and for all, confiscating all his businesses and assets.

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Here you can see Justice Secretary Jose โ€œPepeโ€ Diokno, making the first public announcement relating to the Stonehill controversy which rocked the country to its core.

Macapagal was forced to respond immediately before the internal investigation could be mounted, firing Diokno and deporting Stonehill.

US control

In 1965 they were able to achieve their goal and Marcos was elected president, leading to the economic downfall of the country.

He ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 until 1981.

How has my father's life influenced mine?

I am very different to him but there is no question that I have been influenced by his story.

me with mum & dad.jpg

He taught me from a very young age that governments were not to be trusted.

And through my own observations of him I was able to see the poisonous effect of having lots of money.

He longed to have it all back and would constantly reminisce about the good times of old.

As a child it is hard to understand why a person cannot be happy with what they have NOW. And seeing his growing desperation I became increasingly aware that his desire for this stuff called money was slowly killing him.

I wrote my first manifesto (in the back of a maths book) at the age of 10. And in this manifesto I declared that I would be starting a new world in which money did not exist. I selected a region of the Amazon rainforest where I would begin my new world and made detailed plans for how our society would function on love, generosity and abundance.

Interestingly not much has changed! Only now I am not so stuck on the final destination.

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My intention to tell his story here on Steemit

My name is Samuel Stonehill, the youngest son of Harry Stonehill and today I have a dream:

To tell his story via a medium which cannot be deleted, censored or adjusted to fit the ulterior motives of ANY government.

And here on Steemit, for the first time in history, this is possible.

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Final Note

I would like to extend a question to any Filipinos reading this who still remember his time there.

My family and I are intent on visiting the Philippines to witness for ourselves the legacy he left behind. I refuse to live in fear of what might happen and firmly intend to break his dying wish for me to never visit the country.

So my question to you is this: Do you believe it is safe now for us to visit?

Further to this I would be very interested to hear the opinion of any residents who experienced this most interesting period in Philippine history.

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Harry Stonehill 1917 - 2002

The following words were written by Harry as the preface to his unpublished autobiography:

"Ever since my parents brain washed me into believing America was a magnificent nation, completely altruistic and sincerely devoted to helping under privileged peoples, even to its own detriment, I had believed it with all my heart until I saw what they could do to one of its citizens if that person did not bend to its powerful bureaucracy or political dictates.

In relating the sincerity of myself towards the self improvement of this impoverished, under developed Philippines and then finding I was fighting a group in Washington dedicated only to American self interests shocked me and destroyed my naive desires.

This is a story about the good guys and the bad guys. Generally the good guys win the battles against the evils of the world and the bad guys end up paying for the consequences of their actions in many different ways.

I am of the opinion a great injustice has been done and I believe in this instance, the good guys have committed continuous criminal acts in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Judiciary, the U.S. State Department, FBI, CIA and Department of Justice. And in doing so have reversed their roles with the bad guys."

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All images are taken from our family archives with the exception of three:

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Wow, what a story! @canadian-coconut recommended this to me and I'm glad she did. I would begin my new world and made detailed plans for how our society would function on love, generosity and abundance. My husband and I had a very similar idea for many years, a paradigm of "What can I do for you" Rather than "What's in it for me". I write fiction for the most part, but one day I will write the story of our life, which includes an entire year where we walked away from money and society. A magical year that we cherish. but we learned a community of like-minded individuals is needed for such a thing to be sustainable in the long term.

I'm going to pass your story along to my good friend @jedau, he lives in the Philippines and may be able to provide an answer to your question. I really look forward to reading more!

Well I am very glad you found me to :) Thank you for taking the time to leave a lovely comment.

I have been learning about the Gifting Economy since arriving in Bali and what struck me as most interesting is that many indigenous cultures functioning on this system don't even have a word for please & thank you. Not needed in a world where 'what can I do for you?' is the primary question on everyone's mind.

In time I will find (or build!) such a place where we will put down our roots and build out from this solid centre ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

sounds like your father's life and exploits would make a great movie! resteemed for more exposure. Unfortunately your father was caught between the 'communist threat' (the bogus domino effect theory) on one hand and the power and greed of vested interests. politics is an ugly game that more often than not grinds up good people

A great movie indeed. This was a dream of his. He wanted Harrison Ford to play him!

Now that I am am a pro filmmaker it is my intention to achieve this for him.

But the documentary must come first I think...

Whoever holds his assets then, they are still in there. I read the newspaper clipping, it involved 2 Filipinos. Although the present regime hates the previous one, a lot of those corrupt officials still hold office. As for the oligarchs, they are very much present still.
I have hopes with the present government Sam, the political arena is changing. Perhaps in the future, but not yet. That Stonehill name have marked you, wait a while. The US government still have some hold to some people.
One day.

Thank you for your honest & informative response. Though I had rather hoped you would say not to worry about it and pack my bags immediately for the big Philippine trip!

Now that I have children I must put their safety first.

Great news that you have hope for the present government. Let us keep in touch and see how things work out ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Oh yes pls..keep in touch, your little ones will enjoy our beaches.
Well, either our concern is justified or there's nothing to it.
@steemph will need you in the future. it is inevitable.

He taught me from a very young age that governments were not to be trusted.

To me, this is the summary. What an amazing story of a man who built up so much with pure effort. It's fantastic that you tied together the story by sharing how he influenced you. If I could upvote this more than once I would. Resteemed.

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal and tragic story.

This is what Steemit was meant for.

Oligarchs use them, governments, to get what they want. Beware the person who gets in the way. :(

Indeed. As I said I am suspicious of all governments now, no matter their intentions at the beginning. Once they achieve their position of power it is difficult to not get sucked in to the control system. The Oligarchs have many tricks to get what they are after...

It may sound strange, but this is one of the primary objectives of Liberty Professionals. The idea is to create a group who act as a combined defense. Good people need to make alliances to not so easily be targeted. Certainly, the enemies of liberty work together. We should too.


I really appreciate your words.

And you are right.. that line does seem to sum it all up. I wouldn't be on Steemit right now if it wasn't for him. Even though he died so long ago ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Thanks again.

I was redirected here by @dreemit and after reading this, I found this rather interesting. It's always great to hear all the sides of the story so that we can make a more informed judgement. Personally, it's way before my time (I was born after the Marcos' regime) so I only know this from the history book. They paint a rather unflattering picture of your father, so I'm glad that you were able to use this Medium to set the story straight from your end.

I don't know if this is a positive or not, but your father's name has faded into obscurity. I've only ever heard his name again when he was compared to Janet Lim-Napoles recently, which is something that's quite negative. I think the comparison isn't fair, as I feel your father did produce real results, though, and I mean this with no offense, I believe everyone lives in the gray area. That is to say, nobody's hands are ever truly clean. At least, when we talk about these kinds of topics.

Mind you, I'm trying to be respectful and completely unbiased here, man, so I hope you don't take this the wrong way. I'm sure that he was a great influence on you, and I bet he was a great guy, but of course everyone has their faults in the story. I think he was used as a scapegoat, but for him to get to the position he was, there were questionable decisions for sure.

I just brushed up on other people's sentiments on him to be able to give a more informed response, and it seems like he was one of the earliest whistleblowers of the corruption in government. Now, and this again is just my personal opinion, I really hate all of the modern whistleblowers. They're smug, and they feel entitled to be immune to prosecution just because they're the key to nabbing even bigger fish. But, that just means that they are still part of the equation, just not the guiltiest people in the equation. I don't want to go off-tangent so I'll leave it there.

To answer your question, and this is just my opinion, I feel that you shouldn't be worried about visiting the Philippines. The issue has long passed, and almost all of the parties involved are gone. But, I'm not one of the people that was affected, so I can't fully speak on their behalf. If I were in your shoes, I would err on the side of caution though. If I would ever decide to visit the Philippines, specifically the sites that your father influenced, I wouldn't bring the children just yet, and opt to go alone.

I've read some of the responses here by other Filipinos, and I'm in two minds about providing (yet another) contrarian response. I think you shouldn't be afraid about the threat on your life, since your father was never able to pocket any of the earnings. Is that right? That's what I interpreted from what you wrote regarding it.

Heck, the Marcoses run free without a care in the world and they pocketed all of their accumulated wealth! In my opinion, if they're not in constant fear, then you shouldn't as well. But, I guess if it's really not necessary for you to come, then you don't have to risk anything.

I am deeply grateful to you for taking the time to respond here in such detail, and please know that I never take anything personally. Especially from a story which is more a combination of my perspective with his perspective... which certainly doesn't make it absolute truth. Though I enjoy believing it is as close to the truth as I am ever going to get, now that most people involved are gone.

Interesting to hear the idea that it may have been him who was one of the whistleblowers. This is a new thought for me and i have sat with it for a little while. I find myself wondering what was in it for him if this were the case? They took everything from him and ensured he was unable to set up shop anywhere else.

The story he told me was that if it were not for a Swiss bank account, he would have had nothing... and most likely I wouldn't have even been born. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye? Could it be that the money in this account was not saved by himself? And that the money was in fact a payment of some kind? For sure he wasn't the kind of guy to save for the future... so I will look into this now as best I can.

Am conscious it is only my ego which wants to walk my fathers steps in the Philippines though ironically it was him who instilled the curiosity I have. He told me over and over that it was the most beautiful country in the world, full of the most beautiful people in the world. And then told me never to go there! Which is like being handed a bowl of 'the most tasty food in the world'... only to be told you can never taste it!

One day we will visit. And perhaps it will be for a whole different reason. Like the 1st Philippine Steemit meetup!!!??? ๐ŸŒ…

Now that would be a much less ego based, positive reason to arrive there with my family ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Speaking of Swiss bank accounts, the Marcoses stashed a lot of their ill-gotten wealth there. A sizeable portion of it probably belonged to your father, Sam.

As for visiting the PHL, I don't think anyone has heard of the Stonehill name in modern times. I don't think your presence will be a threat to anyone here so you're very likely to be safe but just to be sure , best to work under the radar.

I appreciate your words here very much. There is no fear of visiting any more and fingers crossed I will be there soon enough :)

Leaving thoughtful replies is the only thing I know how to do here haha! I would really be interested in reading what you unearth. I do hope that perspective would yield something fruitful towards the truth. Do keep me posted if you find out anything new about this, I'm quite invested now.

There are always multiple sides to the story, and if we ever hope to learn the absolute truth, we can't only rely on what we would prefer to know. I'm glad you're open to learning about anything and everything involving this.

I think there was already a first Philippine Steemit meetup, but I'm not sure. It's hard to keep track of the firsts these days, what with everyone proclaiming they're the official representatives of an entire country haha! Here on Steemit, I feel like I'm a man without a country, completely out of the loop of the goings on of my countrymen, so yeah..

I do hope you and your family get to visit though. If anything, at least to prove your father right about the beauty of the country :D

Quite a story there @samstonehill. I was born in 81 but followed that part of history. I feel sorry that something like this happened to your family in my country. That may well be the darkest age in Philippine history until the Marco's regime ended.

I am not into politics, but I really feel that things have changed for the better recently. We have a president who refuses to be a puppet to uncle Sam. Not saying that he is faultless though. Still I think you may be putting too much at risk by wanting to visit, we do not know if the personalities involved at that time still holds power somewhat through their living relative.

I suggest thinking really hard, and decide only to come after getting some strong assurances. I sadly cannot give you that. I am happy to host you once you've decided. Just hit me here in any of my post.

Fancy seeing you here :)
Keep that thought. He will come.

I most certainly will! And look forward to meeting both of you.

It is just a question of time...


Thanks to you also for your honest perspective not only on my situation but the situation of your country.

I have little else to go on, except the judgement of people like yourself, so it seems clear now that I should be a little less hasty to pack my bags right away.

Thank you for your kind invitation too! Let us keep in touch and hold on to our high hopes for the future ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

The main issue is that the US State Department is VERY different in it's methods than it was back during that time - during the Cold War and Indochina wars. Back then there were LOTS of black ops going on, and a much more hard-lined military approach to relations with Asian countries. In modern times, however, it is much different. Most State Department people are liberal-leaning, and are much more - I would say TOO much more - diplomatically soft with the handful of Asian countries who have a track record of EXTREME human right violations. A perfect example of this is the current political crisis in Cambodia :

where the fascist prime minister - with the backing of China - is now moving against US interests (mainly humantarian). They've been soft-handling this goon for decades, turning the other cheek, and now everyone in the international media, and the US government is so shocked that he is shutting down the main western newspapers, asking the Peace Corps (and other humanitarian organizations), etc. to leave. The current crisis in Cambodia, and much of the other problems in the region, are, in my opinion, the result of not taking a harder stance against the rampant corruption and abysmal human rights records of these countries. Sure, it's great to take advantage of comparative advantage through cheaper labor costs, but at what ULTIMATE cost? Duterte is a nationalist like Trump, and they have a fondness for each other - which they have expressed openly. So, in terms of you potentially going back there, you may want to actually just consider contacting people in the state department and explain the situation, and ask what they think. In other words, I don't think that the mood is such that you will have serious issues from the US government - although I could be wrong, as I don't know the exact nature of the situation, and it ALREADY sounds UBER-strange. However, as far as the response on the Philipines side, I would exercise extreme due caution when dealing on ANY sort of political level with ANY of the countries in the Asian region right now. This is just my opinion through experience living in this region, as well as on the information you have provided in this post. Hope this helps...

You are a legend for writing so much here! Really interesting to hear your take on this situation.

And yes, it seems based on the comments here that I may yet wait a few years before visiting.

It's not so much the US I am concerned about now, but embittered locals who believed the lies thrown at them after his deportation. I understand kidnapping and ransom is quite common.

There are many who believe our family stole all their money! Which couldn't be further from the truth.

In time I will go there for sure.

And will keep on steeming all the way!

All the best to you ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Hello @samstonehill

We at @adsactly find this post profoundly exceptional. This testament to your father is an extraordinary post, a testament to truth. We also appreciate everything you are doing for the Steemit community in general. You are a Steemian every community will benefit from.

Please accept this small token of our gratitude and be welcomed to our ranks here: ADSactly

Your post was upvoted by Keyholder North, rewarding you with 19$

Keep up your awesome work!

You guys (or girls!) at @adsactly are also profoundly exceptional. Thank you for noticing (and rewarding!) my efforts here on Steemit ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Great story. Bet he would be well chuffed with you!

Thank you Danny. I like to think that he is watching me closer now than he was able to before. I wanted to call my first son Harry, but this was poo pooed as being too English! So, Harry is his middle name ;)

What a story and yep, as you said ...nothing much has changed in politics . Different faces , same old archetypal story. I can imagine that you may have a somewhat incomplete image of your dad that comes from the relatively short interactions you had with him and... his charisma has been transferred from him onto you in one way or another. It has shaped your perception of how the world works in many ways and I think this blog is a good attempt of putting the pieces together as good as you can. Well written indeed always. Thank you for sharing. Yep, it would make a good script for a movie...

Thank you @copa-communion for your words here. It is lovely to see them and all the energy attached ;)

Perhaps before you leave we might be able to speak briefly about this subject. It's quite a big one really and should have been on my life goal list! That film is COMING SOON...

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