Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Is America Being Destroyed by Vested Interests? by Erick San Juan

Is America Being Destroyed by Vested Interests? by Erick San Juan

In world history there were many wars, big and small, short and long, fought for whatever reasons. Although some wars were avoided to happen due to the intervention of cooler heads (like the United Nations) and several party talks to come up with peaceful resolutions.

Unfortunately, some analysts believe that certain ‘peace talks’ led to the regime change of a sovereign state and has left the nation in shambles. America is clearly being destroyed by vested interests from within. We’re not even sure now if American critics of their government are mere patriots or working for foreign interests.

Details of this programmed scenario can be found in the article ‘North Korea Would be Stupid to Trust the US’ by Jacob G. Hornberger (Global Research, October 01, 2017) - To many mainstream pundits, the solution to the crisis in Korea is for U.S. officials to sit down and “talk” to North Korea in the hopes of negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. While it won’t guarantee that a deal will be worked out, they say, “talking” is the only chance there is to resolve the crisis.

According to Hornberger, “They ignored an important point: Any deal that would be reached would involve trusting the U.S.  government to keep its end of the bargain. And trusting the U.S. government would be the stupidest thing North Korea could ever do. That’s because as soon as U.S. officials found it advantageous, they would break the deal and pounce on North Korea, with the aim of achieving the regime change they have sought ever since the dawn of the Cold War more than 70 years ago.”

“Look at what U.S. officials did to Libya.  Muammar Qaddafi, agreed to give up his nuclear-weapons program in return for regime security. That turned out to be a stupid move. As soon as U.S. officials saw an opening, they pounced with a regime-change operation. Today, Qaddafi is dead and Libya is in perpetual crisis and turmoil. That wouldn’t have happened if Qaddafi had a nuclear deterrent to a U.S. regime-change operation.”

“Look at what U.S. officials are doing to Iran. They entered into a deal in which the U.S. government agreed to lift its brutal system of sanctions, which has brought untold suffering to the Iranian people, in return for Iran’s abandoning its nuclear-weapons program. After the deal was reached and Iran had complied, U.S. officials broke their side of the deal by refusing to lift their brutal system of sanctions and even imposing more sanctions. U.S. officials also now looking for any excuse or justification for getting out of the deal to which they agreed.”

“Even longtime partners and allies of the U.S. government can never be certain that the Empire won’t suddenly turn against them.”

“Look at Syria, which for a time served as a loyal partner and ally of the U.S. government, as reflected by the secret agreement to torture Canadian citizen Mahar Arar on behalf of U.S. officials and report their findings back to the CIA. Later, U.S. officials turned on Assad’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, in a regime-change operation.”, Hornberger added.

“Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. Recall the countless agreements that U.S. officials made in the 1800s with Native Americans. U.S. officials were notorious for breaking them once it became advantageous to do so. Native Americans were entirely justified in accusing U.S. officials of speaking with a “forked tongue.”

“If you were a North Korean, would you trust U.S. officials? Would you give up the one thing that is deterring a U.S. regime-change operation in return for a promise from U.S. officials that they would not initiate a regime-change operation? That would really be a stupid thing to do, from the standpoint of North Korea. As soon as the U.S. government found it advantageous to break the deal and invade North Korea, engage in another state-sponsored assassination, or impose a new round of regime-change sanctions, they would do it.”

“Talking” to North Korea will do no good because North Korea will never trust the United States to fulfill its part of any deal that is worked out. There is but one solution to the crisis in Korea: withdraw all U.S. forces from that part of the world immediately and bring them home. Anything less will only continue the crisis or, even worse, result in a very deadly and destructive war.”

Like the other sovereign states that are not in tune with what Uncle Sam wants, more sanctions are more likely than peaceful talks, and in the end war or regime change might just be the best for the west.

And in the latest report by Steve Holland (@atimes, 10-3-2017) : The White House  ruled out talks with North Korea except to discuss the fate of Americans held there, again appearing to rebuke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said Washington was directly communicating with Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile programs.

“We’ve been clear that now is not the time to talk,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, reiterating a tweet from President Donald Trump at the weekend that was seen as undercutting Tillerson.

“The only conversations that have taken place were that … would be on bringing back Americans who have been detained,” Sanders said. “Beyond that, there will be no conversations with North Korea at this time.”

Tillerson said during a trip to China that the United States was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs but that Pyongyang had shown no interest in dialogue.
Trump, who has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in recent weeks, later dismissed any prospect of talks with North Korea as a waste of time.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote on Twitter, using his sarcastic nickname for Kim.

“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump wrote.

It was not the first time the White House and State Department have seemed at odds on policy issues, but when asked if Trump still had confidence in Tillerson as secretary of state, Sanders said: “He does.”

A senior administration official said Tillerson misspoke.

“I think it was just him misspeaking. He was just acknowledging the fact that we do have channels and we might have reason to talk if North Korea’s behaviour changes sometime down the road,” the official said.

Dialogue with North?

Tillerson said in Beijing that the United States had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang and that it was probing North Korea to see if it was interested in dialogue.

The top US diplomat expressed hope for reducing tensions with North Korea, which is fast advancing towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson told a small group of reporters. “We ask: ‘Would you like to talk?'” He said the United States had “a couple of, three, channels, open to Pyongyang.”

Another US official said Tillerson may have overstated the status of US lines of communication with North Korea for the benefit of his Chinese hosts, who have been pushing the Trump administration to do more to lure Pyongyang to the negotiating table.”

There are more to come, may it be word war or the real shooting war. But who’s interests?

God forbid!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Be Wary of People Pretending to be Your Friends by Erick San Juan

Be Wary of People Pretending to be Your Friends by Erick San Juan

Is there nobody minding the store? This is the general perception now being felt by the ordinary ‘Juan dela Cruz’ who once part of the diminishing middle class. Why is this so? Seems to be an ongoing demolition job to topple the present administration. Obviously, since day one, one issue after another were being thrown at the President’s men but of course the target is the president himself.

The war on drugs and its so-called casualties is the favorite among all the other campaign promises that were mentioned before his entry to the Palace.

Opposition from some sectors were very quick to throw criticisms from EJKs (Extra Judicial Killings) to alleged police payola to meet certain quotas in the killing spree of supposed drug addicts and pushers from the lower class of our society. But the perennial problem remains – where are the big fishes in this war on drugs, a selective one, so they say.

In DU30’s circle of friends when he was still a local politician from Davao, they are still around and some sectors are not happy with this at all. How can the Duterte administration succeed in its war on drugs and corruption at that, when some people in his loop of friends are rumored to be involved in such alleged shady activities? Just asking.

So can we rightfully say that the citizenry is right to criticize that this is just a ‘big show’ for the real big people behind are still free and are in the government, some elected, some appointed.

We are doing our part to help this administration work even if we are not sometimes satisfied with some of the people around PRRD who are actually doing things that are quite damaging to the image of the president and his administration.

To compound the problem, the much-praised people in the economic team of the government, no thanks to their PR operators, are really serious to make the populace suffer even more. With the comprehensive tax reform bill passed on the House of Representatives which the ball is now on the Senate, this is another round of hardships for the Filipino people.

On top of these, are the already approved increases in the prices of water, electricity and petroleum products. Can’t we help but ask, where is the promise of a better life from the change that was supposed to be felt in the first year of the current leadership.

According to former DILG Sec. Raffy Alunan, ‘foreign investors are leaving including huge hot money coming out and cancellation of contracts for call centers despite the glowing propaganda. The ills of society and government are deeply entrenched as ever. The NPA, not the left but the non-performers and rotten are still in the government service. Others are barnacles that remain constant, unmoving and untouched.’ Raffy is correct, reason so many Duterte supporters are demoralized. One example is the ouster of former SBMA chairman Martin Diño without a formal advance notification and replaced by Atty Wilma Eisma, who’s known as a former executive officer of Mar Roxas at DOTC snd also close to former Exec. Sec. Jojo Ochoa.

We respect and adhere to PRRD’s plans for this country but if he will not check the people around him who are now in the process of gradually destroying his goals for a better Philippines, we will all go down with him and this could create chaos, as some perceived.

With the almost done war in Marawi City that is now in its more than four months of bloody encounter, what went wrong? Again some fake news and more hyperbole are creating more boo-boos and some may wonder are there really people deliberately pulling down the administration to the pits?

Now with the latest statement on the possible of drug transshipment of illegal drugs through the country to the United States courtesy of the 14K and the Chinese Bamboo Triad, the designed scenario is programmed to drag us all to the dog. The president should review his information about the Chinese Triad controlling even the 14k of Hongkong and the defunct Bamboo gang of Taiwan. Triad in the Philippines  has basically linked in all walks of life. Reason they survive any transition of administration. A top intelligence officer, a Chinese Triad expert told me once that covert China’s economy includes all money making ventures. It is inclusive, everything that can deliver money to China is part of their economic strategy.

China is now even warning us not to blame China in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped thru our Bureau of Customs (Daily Tribune Sept.27,2017). During our meeting with the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations at Romulo’s Restaurant with several VIP’s from China as guests, i even thanked China for tipping off the shipment but the big question is, I knew for a fact that smuggling of drugs in China is very strict that even the father in law of drug lord and Taiwan fugitive Richard Chen , a former China’s custom official was killed due to corruption. How come the huge volume of shabu was released in China and transported to the Philippines. The untold story about the shipment will be exposed soon.

Beware!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Day of Reckoning is On by Erick San Juan

The Day of Reckoning is On by Erick San Juan

The country will commemorate the declaration of Martial Law by the late President Ferdinand Marcos more than four decades ago. Of course the country is again divided between pro and anti Marcos, wherein those who bitterly reminisce the so-called brutalities during the Martial Law days and for those who appreciate the legacy of the Apo of infrastructure and development projects which is only now realized that Marcos raked a lot of money through grease money known in our local lingo as 'tongpats'. The mere fact that when Marcos entered Malacanang in 1964-5, the peso was P4 pesos per dollar and left in February 1986 with P22 pesos per dollar. It compounded due to external debts and interest rates. Plus 'yon ninakaw ng Marcos family ay ninakawan din ng mga past leaders and corrupt government officials'. During the 60"s, we are second to Japan as the most progressive nation in Asia and when Marcos and family left for Hawaii, we're categorized as the 'sick man of Asia'

Some anti- martial law groups see the present administration’s Martial Law version now imposed in Mindanao region somehow similar to former President Marcos’ Military rule and will stage their usual protest rally come September 21. The protest will focus on the past Martial Law or the present one in Mindanao or against the Duterte administration altogether. It could be a big one as the left leaning progressives estimated due to an alliance of several sectors of society emboldened by the church leaders hardline stand against Duterte's anti drug campaign perceived as victimizing only the poor and petty drug users-pushers but up to now only few narco-politicians who are known distributors of shabu killed. Where are the big fishes, the real source of shabu and substance in making it? Why is the government not demanding an explanation from China who openly delivers shabu through our very own customs bureau instead of stopping it at China's customs and ports? Why the script of China tipping off our customs when the Triad plan got leaked by foreign intelligence to PDEA? These are several questions whispered and will be the outcry by militants this time.

Although the present administration already declared September 21 as a National Day of Protests, there will be no classes for students and no work for government offices, in lieu of possible violence or untoward incidents of some protesters.  A good strategy to avoid further escalation of any troubles in the process.

We should be vigilant this time around for a possible 'mutually assured destruction' in the offing if the government will not gather its act together. It’s not a walk in the park like the past EDSA people power (1 and 2). There are several undercurrents now working towards achieving a scenario of possible destabilization efforts. A bloody one? God forbid, a probability this time.

Some pundits believe that what this country need is something like a bloody revolution in order to find its true cleansing of all corrupt officials - whatever position in the government and hoodlums in uniform and those foreign nationals, underworld who are dealers of illegal drugs that gave out huge amount of money to corrupt people in government. Yes, it could be a bloody one but if it will remove all the impurities in the government, and so be it. A harder way to learn our lessons.

As much as possible, we don’t want any violence at all but it seems that the situation is already ripe for such, i hope we can still stop it. But the signs are all over, there are efforts in some sectors and factions from the opposition and some pretending to be friends of President Duterte trying to implement a designed scenario in order to destabilize the nation.

We have given some warnings and the way things are going, some sectors in the society are not happy on what is happening especially in the war on drugs campaign plus the ongoing hearings in both houses of Congress involving appointees of Pres. Rody. And now even PRRD’s supposed link with some known corrupt political families (coupled with some ‘favors’) are criticized by oppositions and ordinary citizens alike especially in the social media.

But the recent news in the cases filed at the Sandiganbayan versus Mrs. Imelda Marcos is a welcome development. In the report from Rappler - Ombudsman prosecutors asked the Sandiganbayan to convict former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos for graft, over a corruption case that has spanned 26 years.

In a 28-page memorandum filed on August 29, the prosecution pointed out to the anti-graft court that evidence has been admitted without comment from the Marcos camp in relation to 10 counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Based on the charges filed in 1991, Marcos was accused of unlawful financial interests in non-governmental organizations in Switzerland and various local business enterprises from 1968 to 1986, the period where she held various government positions.

The widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos served as minister of human settlements and Metro Manila governor from June 1976 to February 1986 and as member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa from 1978 to 1984.

The graft case is one of the oldest pending cases at the Sandiganbayan.

Those who testified against Marcos include former solicitor general Francisco Chavez, former central bank governor Jaime Laya, former Philguarantee chairman Cesar Virata, and former Philguarantee president Victor Macalincag who died recently.

The prosecution panel, in the memorandum, told the anti-graft court that it had "successfully discharged its duty of proving the guilt" of the former First Lady "beyond reasonable doubt."

"Hence, a verdict of conviction for the aforementioned crimes is sought against the accused," the prosecution panel said.

The submission date of the memorandum coincided with President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement that an emissary of the Marcos family offered to return some of their ill-gotten wealth.

The Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth has been the subject of numerous cases both here and abroad. It reached an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion during the Martial Law years, a period also marred by human rights abuses. What about Imelda and children's SALN( Statement of Asset and Liabilities Networth) where in when they returned to the Philippines, they all filed an ordinary wealth figure and after a year they're Income tax return ballooned like magic.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has so far recovered P170 billion since 1986. Duterte, however, has threatened to abolish the PCGG.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos later denied that talks have been initiated, but said they trust Duterte will "end decades of cases" against their family.”

Will justice be served to the Filipino people as the former First Lady will put an end to the unfinished revolution of Edsa Uno by conviction on the cases that had long been sleeping in the halls of the Sandiganbayan?

Methinks KARMA is now running after the KLEPTOCRATS. "May sa jinx talaga, pati si Pres. Duterte inaabot ng malas magmula ng nagbigay sya ng open support to this ingrate family. "

May God bless the Philippines!

Are We Prepared for Manmade Chaos? By Erick San Juan

Are We Prepared for Manmade Chaos? By Erick San Juan

A real war is like a thief in the night. Nobody will be told or ask to prepare.

Although a country’s leader should take the cue from the continuous word war from the current spat between US President Donald Trump (and the people in his loop) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But one can’t help but ask - there are so many missing links that must be answered. Why is Kim and Trump telegraphing their punches? Who will strike first?

“The North Korean nuclear test last September 4, its sixth and most powerful, has once again exposed the extremely volatile and precarious state of global geopolitics and the great danger of a descent into a nuclear world war.

The unstable regime in Pyongyang has concluded that its only hope of self-preservation, in the face of provocative threats from a perceived unstable Trump administration, is to try and expand its nuclear arsenal as quickly as possible. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is acutely conscious of the brutal end of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, after they abandoned their so-called weapons of mass destruction.

While the actions of North Korea are certainly compounding the risk of conflict, prime responsibility for pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war rests with US imperialism. Moreover, as the (deliberate) reckless and belligerent statements from Trump and his officials demonstrate, North Korea’s limited nuclear weaponry and reactionary nationalist bombast will not prevent the US from using its military might, including its huge nuclear arsenal, against the North Korean people.

Question is, whose funding and supplying Kim Jong-un's technology and firepower?

After a meeting between Trump and his top military and national security advisers, US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis warned North Korea that it face “a massive military response” to any threat to the US or its allies.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” Mattis continued, “but as I said, we have many options to do so.” President Trump “wanted to be briefed on each one of them,” he added.

I believe the statement of Secretary Mattis that they have a more superior technology controlled by the consortium of the military industrial complex. The so called killing machine without destroying a nation's ecology. They even have killer robots and drones just like in the movies.

Trump himself warned of a US nuclear attack against North Korea when he declared last month that it confronted “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” A White House readout from his phone call yesterday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explicitly declared that the US stood ready to use “the full range of diplomatic, conventional and nuclear capabilities at our disposal.”

Trump was asked on Sunday:

“Will you attack North Korea?”

He refused to rule out pre-emptive military strikes, simply declaring: “We’ll see.”

The US president has repeatedly said that he would not signal a military attack in advance, compounding the uncertainty, and hence fears in Pyongyang.

Furthermore, as the crisis on the Korean Peninsula has escalated, the divisions in the Trump administration have resulted in an incoherent policy, which swings wildly between threats of all-out war and suggestions of talks, further inflaming the already explosive situation. This 'moro-moro' or political circus in the US political spectrum could be stage managed to make believe that the US government is in disarray and pretending to be weak. And this could provoke it's enemies to act while the US is in internal turmoil including the so called believed to be 'weather engineered' hurricanes destroying states like Texas.

In the aftermath of yesterday’s nuclear test, the White House, along with the American media, has turned its fire on China and Russia, underscoring the fact that the US confrontation with North Korea is bound up with far broader strategic aims. American strategists regard domination of the vast Eurasian land mass as the key to US global hegemony and China as the chief obstacle to that goal. (Trump, North Korea and the Danger of World War, By Peter Symonds, Global Research, September 05, 2017)

That is in the area of geopolitics but we overlooked the fact that their (big nations) countries’ economy are already overheating despite the propaganda that everything is well and healthy especially in the case of China. The full page advertisements in our major dailies (Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star) and other nations major dailies show how healthy is China’s economic condition. But is it the truth or another ‘fake news’? Just asking.

Another point raised by Peter Symonds (in the same article) – “The most dangerous factor in this highly volatile situation is the profound economic, social and political crisis of US imperialism—of which Trump is the most malignant expression. His administration confronts deep internal divisions and a huge and mounting social crisis, which is generating massive domestic opposition, as a result of its incompetence and indifference to the human suffering caused by the Houston flooding. The danger is that Trump will resort to a war against North Korea with incalculable consequences, as a means of directing acute domestic class tensions outwards against an external foe.

At the same time, these social tensions, in America and around the world, are fueling the coming revolutionary upheavals of the working class. The crucial issue is the building of a revolutionary leadership, to forge a unified international movement of workers guided by a scientific socialist program and perspective to put an end to the capitalist system and its outmoded division of the world into rival nation states. That is the perspective for which the International Committee of the Fourth International and its sections fight.”

And there is another perspective pointed out by Stephen Lendman on the same issue – “Regardless of current or likely more advanced DPRK capability later on, the nation’s history shows it threatens no other nations.

Its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons are solely for defense – deterrents against feared US aggression.

The real menace lies in Washington, not Pyongyang. (Posted @Global Research, August 16, 2017)

For whatever it’s worth the world is in the brink of another world war and sadly our domestic word war among politicians is also on the brink of an internal revolution. Are we ready for a new 'Bolshevik Revolution' through a revolutionary government? Are we prepared for a domestic revolution and the war against the real target of the globalist? Just asking..

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fog of War By Erick San Juan

Fog of War By Erick San Juan

The perceived bully in the region that might start a regional conflict in the process has issued another threat.

North Korea warned the US that it would pay a ‘due price’ for spearheading a UN Security Council resolution against its latest nuclear test, as Washington presses for a vote to impose more sanctions on Pyongyang.

The call for additional sanctions came after the North’s sixth nuclear test on September 3, which Pyongyang said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.

North Korea has also threatened to fire missiles into waters off the Pacific island of Guam, home to US military bases, as a show of force.

The United States wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on the North, block its export of textiles and freeze the financial assets of leader Kim Jong-un, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.

The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the United States was “going frantic” to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang’s nuclear test, which it said was part of “legitimate self-defensive measures.” (Asia Times, 9/11/17)

Japan and NATO were quick to push for such sanctions on DPRK in order to halt its efforts in building nuclear arms or whatever kind of materiel they are making.

The persistent word wars between North Korea and the United States and its allies are making the countries in the region nervous for it might lead to real shooting war. Although one might notice that this is going on for quite some time now and one may wonder who benefits?

In the article by Mike Whitney (published at Global Research, 9/10/17 and CounterPunch, 8/9/17) he writes – “Donald Trump isn’t going to start a war with North Korea. That’s just not going to happen.

Not only does the United States not have the ground forces for such a massive operation but, more important, a war with the North would serve no strategic purpose at all. The US already has the arrangement it wants on the Peninsula. The South remains under US military occupation, the economic and banking systems have been successfully integrated into the US-dominated western system, and the strategically-located landmass in northeast Asia provides an essential platform for critical weapons systems that will be used to encircle and control fast-emerging rivals, China and Russia.

So what would a war accomplish?

Nothing. As far as Washington is concerned, the status quo is just dandy.”

So what could be the reasons of keeping a bogeyman in the region?

“The crisis has clearly tightened Washington’s grip on the peninsula while advancing the interests of America’s elite powerbrokers. I seriously doubt that Trump conjured up this plan by himself. This is the work of his deep state handlers who have figured out how to use his mercurial personality to their advantage.

Does Trump know anything about the history of the current crisis?  Does he know that North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands?  Does he know that the US agreed to those terms but then failed to hold up its end of the bargain?   Does he know that the North honored its commitments under the agreement but eventually got tired of being double-crossed by the US so they resumed their plutonium enrichment program?  Does he know that that’s why the North has nuclear weapons today, because the United States broke its word and scotched the agreement?

That’s not conjecture. That’s history.” (Ibid)

History tells us a lot on why the Korean Peninsula crisis is still a crisis and the role of the big powers which made it difficult for both Koreas to achieve its unification.

Have we forgotten the 'detente' involving China's Mao Tse Tung and Russia's Nikita Kruschev in 1964? North Korea's Kim il Sung felt betrayed and this time, his grand son, Kim Jong Un is playing a different but confusing game plan.

"China may be the real target of North Korea's pressure."(Agence France Presse September 7,2017) China suspected that North Korea's escalating nuclear provocations are putting China, a known ally in a bind and assessed as part of a strategy to twist Beijing's arm into orchestrating direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington which could cause embarassment to China.

So, who is the real bully in the region and will benefit in the process?

“Now the North has hydrogen bombs and Washington is still playing its stupid games. This whole fake crisis is a big smokescreen designed to conceal Washington’s imperial machinations. Trump is using Kim’s missile tests as a pretext to extend the Pentagon’s military tentacles deeper into Asia so the US can assume a dominant role in the world’s fastest growing region. It’s the same game Washington has been playing for the last hundred years.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty good at it.” (Mike Whitney, writer, based in Washington) 

This fog of confusion could lead to a real war soon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Think Out of the Box by Erick San Juan

Think Out of the Box by Erick San Juan

We are now a nation being challenged once more with several issues emanating from the present administration’s policies concerning its war on drugs and corruption.  The latest word wars among government officials - appointed and elected has created more problems than solutions.

Filipino people are fed up with such bickering and endless “he said, she said” rhetoric in the midst of high prices of commodities and utilities that affects the daily life of an ordinary Juan De la Cruz.  Pundits are asking,"Where are the promises pertaining to a better life for every Filipino especially the poor?" Even the middle class families are slowly inching towards the lower class status.

Are we seeing a repeat of the past administration’s promises that were never fulfilled that has created the hardships we have today? Particularly, the supposed positive economic results of foreign investments. Is it still the same ‘old trickle- down effect’ or all B.S. and just taking this country for a ride?

News of investments that will bring jobs via build, build, build seems to be trapped in the drawing board yet. Or the observation of some analysts that we are being herded (like a herd of cattle) into a debt trap. Which is which? Are we really moving towards industrialization? Meaning more jobs – more buying power for the needy and more opportunities for growth?

There seems to be a problem, to some geopolitical experts on our relationship with China – economically. More skeptics are saying that we are being pushed towards a debt trap which we are not aware of due to the ‘friendly ties’ that PRRD used with China, a.k.a. soft power on the part of China. And on the occasion of the launching of the so-called One Belt, One Road (OBOR op) operation initiated by China, it was assessed by some geopolitical-economists that we will be used as dumping grounds of manufactured goods from China. Translation – the true economy of China lies on its manufacturing which seems to be overheated and they have to unload these somewhere and it is a win-win solution to recover from their economic downturn.

China is not giving away money or goods to be used in infrastructure via the OBOR op, there are ‘soft loans’ and maybe some geopolitical maneuverings on the leadership of countries, especially claimants in the contested areas who joined in the OBOR.

Of course when data/statistics that are sourced from Chinese-controlled sites – it’s all rosy and healthy economy, but the big questions is: is it the true picture? Or just ‘fake news’, as the trending word nowadays?

From the words of Mehreen Khan – “The true state of China's economic fortunes remain a mystery to the world. The latest round of official quarterly GDP statistics from Beijing's National Statistics Bureau show the economy has slowed to its lowest level in 25 years. Quarterly growth is at its lowest rate since the depths of the financial crisis six years ago.

Yet the government's estimates have long been dismissed as an accurate barometer of what's really going on in the Chinese economy.

"There has been a long history in China of the official GDP data understating true GDP during a boom and overstating it during a slowdown", wrote Willem Buiter in September- a former Bank of England rate-setter and influential economist at Citi.

Questions over China's "actual" rate of growth have been thrown into sharp relief after a summer of turmoil in financial markets. Sudden anxiety over a Chinese "hard-landing" left investors dumbstruck. Billions were wiped off global stock indices and authorities were forced to suspend trading to prop up equity prices.

China data-watching has now become the main driver for global economic sentiment.”

I will not dwell into technicalities here, our country should be more concern on how President Rody Duterte and his so called economists handle the crisis once the huge red dragon will hit the bottom, and unfortunately, we will go down with it. Are we prepared? Or some will say – it is better to wage war and fight that outside enemy to save China’s internal crisis. But still, who will be minding the store once it hit us?

Possibly Pres. Duterte can feel the heat this time. Our peso is on a free fall, high prices of commodities was compromised by bird flu hype, infestation, the month long Marawi siege, the shocking control of top Chinese drug lords of our political system and possibly behind terrorism to weaken our nation. That even the Marcoses are even attempting to dupe him of the fools gold and stale gold certificates to avert the global class suit the Marcoses will face soon. Pres. Duterte was even advised by some vested interests to implement a revolutionary government which will surely fail time due to the infighting from within including his political  party mates.  The president should think and act out of the box if he wants to survive this crisis by design.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Epicenter of War by Erick San Juan

Epicenter of War by Erick San Juan

So many issues are now being thrown at the present administration’s ability to handle matters of great concern specifically of drugs and corruption. Campaign promises that has to be curtailed in order to achieve a better life to every Filipino. Are these just lip service after one year in office and there seems to be no major accomplishment?

Yes, these two problems are deeply rooted to the core of the society’s socio-political life. Admittedly, past administrations seemed oblivious that such problems existed and the current leadership is painstakingly trying very hard to diminish the effects of such menace.

The entry of huge amount of shabu at the Bureau of Customs vis-à-vis the age-old corruption in the Bureau seems to disregard the marching order of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to clean this country of drugs and corruption. Accepting the fact that the BOC needs a total overhaul right at its roots to clean the bureau of the mafia within to avoid illegal shipments of contraband.  But what about the problem emanating from without?

Pres. Duterte should have realized that transnational shipment of illegal drugs is much harder to curtail than the ones circulating in the country through corrupt politicians and scalawags in uniform. The mere fact that most oppositions (sometimes even pro-PRRD) have been criticizing the present leadership on its soft dealing with China when it comes to the illegal entry of illegal drugs. Obviously most key personalities involved in the illegal trade are Chinese. And so much for all the “palusot” from the Chinese customs on how on earth that hundreds of kilos of smuggled shabu are coming in our ports without their knowledge. Is the Chinese leadership too lax in solving their own drug problem that they also want to export these illegal drugs to us in their favor, economically?

That was my question i asked last saturday at the meeting of Philippine Council for Foreign Relations at Romulo's Restaurant in Bel Air, Makati City from one of the mainland VIP's who attended our meeting as speaker for the China's Council for Foreign Relations. I reiterated to the CCFR group that I know that China's custom is very strict especially with illegal drugs but how come that billions of pesos worth of shabu passes and cleared thru their port and out of the blue, when it entered the Philippine port and delivered, their customs personnel tipped off our customs bureau which led to a bungled operation and non-coordination with our own anti-illegal drugs unit, the PDEA. The rest was history that pressured Commissioner Nick Faeldon to resign.

The Duterte administration should be wary because problems emanating from illegal drugs are going overboard and oppositions are finding ways to use these to destroy and humiliate him. From EJK and human rights violations to police brutality and corruption among “friends” dealing with illegal drugs are easy target to justify a call for a regime change. Even PRD's son is now being dragged into the fray.

Another issue of grave importance is our sovereign rights to our territories that is being challenged again by the Chinese government. The one exposed by Congressman Gary Alejano on the Pag-asa islands.

News reports came out that last week, a Philippine lawmaker, Congressman Gary Alejano, released images showing Chinese coast guard, naval, and civilian vessels within a stone’s throw of Pag-asa, or Thitu Island — a significant Philippine possession in the disputed Spratly group of islands. Pag-asa, which is administered as part of Kalayaan municipality, an archipelagic cluster in the South China Sea.

Shortly after their release, Alejano’s allegations regarding the presence of Chinese vessels were independently verified by Gregory Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI). AMTI’s perusal of satellite imagery acquired on August 13 showed multiple Chinese vessels in the area, including “nine Chinese fishing ships and two naval/law enforcement vessels.” A Philippine fishing boat was also docked at a nearby unoccupied sandbar.

The incident remains highly murky, with neither Chinese authorities nor the Philippine government having officially commented on the claims levied by Alejano. Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio described the events underway near Pag-asa as an “invasion of Philippine territory” on Saturday, calling on Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano and President Rodrigo Duterte to step in.

One of the features under question in the area is the Sandy Cay. Carpio noted that Sandy Cay, an unoccupied sand bar, “is a Philippine land territory that is being seized (to put it mildly), or being invaded (to put it frankly), by China.” (Sandy Cay should not be conflated with the Vietnam-occupied Sand Cay, another feature in the Spratly group.)

Aside from the relatively short list of facts concerning current events — that there are Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island and both the Philippine and Chinese governments are rather silent about the whole affair — there is little else to be said conclusively at this point. Regardless, whatever is happening, there appears to be a potentially significant change to the status quo in the South China Sea in 2017. We won the arbitration case at the International Court at the Hague but now China is grabbing our islands with consent in the process.

The context of the ongoing Chinese naval and coast guard activity is crucial. First, the Philippines, along with nine other Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, has just concluded a draft framework on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

Second, it has been less than a year since Duterte visited Beijing, concluding a range of agreements and broadly lowering the geopolitical tensions between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea — tensions that appeared to have reached their apotheosis last year as a Hague-based arbitral tribunal ruled almost completely in the Philippines’ favor in a major case concerning maritime entitlements and other issues in the Spratly group.

Beyond the context and the facts, however, analysts are left mostly to speculate about possible Chinese intentions and the factors governing the Philippine government’s remarkable silence about an unusually broad Chinese presence near Pag-asa.

 Instead, Duterte has said that the Chinese are there to “patrol” since “we are friends.”

“China assured me that they will not build anything there. I called the Ambassador, I said, when I read – (They said) ‘We will assure you that we are not building anywhere there,'” the Philippine president added. The assurances were reportedly delivered by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Duterte’s remarks on Monday raised more questions than answer. If there was an existing understanding, why did neither the foreign secretary nor the minister of defense issue clarifications early last week? Second, did Duterte order Philippine Navy vessels to stand down from the area and allow the Chinese Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army-Navy access to the waters near Pag-asa and Thitu Island? Finally, how does the president explain reports of Philippine fishing vessels being denied access to the waters if these are indeed friendly patrols?

Given the legal stakes involving Sandy Cay highlighted above, the Duterte government’s nonchalance about ongoing Chinese activities at Pag-asa remains unconvincing. Perhaps the Philippine government will soon offer a more compelling rationale for the ongoing activities, before it’s too late. (Source: Ankit Panda, August 22, 2017)

I hope that Pres. Duterte will soon realize that he's being perceived by critics as a 'China doll' willing to be a governor-general of Philippine Islands, Province of China. As the saying goes, 'Only fools don't change their mind.'  PRD was believed to be a socialist bit his change of heart with the left could also happen despite China's ongoing salamization of our country. He has to act fast before we become the epicenter of a looming war between the US and China.

Leave a living legacy Mr, President!