Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ampatuan Massacre-A Masterpiece Unfolding

by Erick San Juan

It has been a while since our country has been put in the international limelight, may it be for good or bad. A few scores of natural disasters and a couple of world recognition cannot put down the recent one, a man-made disaster that was brutally barbaric and has put us back in world’s attention.

The massacre in Maguindanao did not happen overnight, as what some of the evidences showed so far - it was planned. But it was out of tune when some government officials said that what had happened is an isolated case and just a war between the ruling families and political in nature. A very typical statement that lacks deep understanding and analysis of the nature and magnitude of the situation.

The key players, the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus are the ruling clans of the turf or territories they had protected for more than 20 years now. The Ampatuan's had gone as far as killing a magnitude of 57 people in one day. Worse, more than 20 mediamen were brutally murdered too that earned a lot of sympathy from different organizations here and around the world. Again, who benefits? The warring clans? One clan is already the casualty and the other will be investigated as the prime suspect and now under the custody of the NBI.

A friend analyst told me that the Maguindanao case which actually happened in Ampatuan town is not different with what had happened in Mexico ’s warring clans which was about drugs, women and turf control. Although we can never set aside the possibility that foreign hand is working overtime to achieve their goals in the region which is very rich with natural resources. That same 'unseen' hand with their local legion have mastered the details and art like what they did before the Iraq-Kuwait war and the Afghan tribal war where "machismo" is manifested. Sometimes even without thinking about the repercussion of the MAD(mutually assured destruction). In our case, the ever looming shadow of the revival of the MOA-AD which can divide the Greater ARMM into several Bangsamoro Juridical Entity- turf control by MILF and MNLF and the Jesuit-controlled basic Christian communities.

Not far from realization, this analysis, as the turn of events led to people in power who are Jesuit-trained and very influential at that. Nightmarish as it can be that the incoming US ambassador is also Jesuit-trained from Massachusetts. Can we consider this as mere coincidence? Are we going to see another Ramos Horta-Guzmao control in East Timor, in Mindanao?

I'm not saying that all Jesuits are bad but history will tell that a clique within the religious order were trained to be combatant and espoused liberation theology. The silence of the rest is perceived as approval to the politically covert action of the few.

The "script" got out of control when the 'implementor' included in their massacre, unwitting mediamen. The reported end game was for the MILF thru the Mangudadatu's controlling not only Central Mindanao but the whole of Ampatuan's controlled ARMM where the MNLF's reign.

How about our newly appointed DND chief? Did we hear any comments and strong reactions at all coming from his office? Lest we forget that he was a never loyal follower of the war on terror who pushed for the Human Security Act of 2007 or the Anti-Terror Law. Why is it that the “unconstitutional” state of emergency was implemented in Maguindanao and not the anti-terror law or the HSA 2007? It is quite clear that what happened had sown terror and fear not only in that area but the whole country which incidentally put Metro Manila in heightened alert for a possible spillover. Thanks to the immediate instruction of PGMA to DILG Sec. Ronnie Puno and the clash of civilization there was temporarily neutralized.

To all my avid readers and followers of events unfolding, we said time and again that our country is being pushed to becoming another Yugoslavia,Iraq and possibly Nigeria, balkanized and looted in the end as we continue to suffer all its consequences. Unless we and our government will do something drastic to save our land from the hands of the greedy and cracky-megalomaniacs and its globalists masters. God bless the Philippines!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What America Wants!

What America Wants!
By Erick San Juan

After the short visit of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, it became clearer to most us as what really is the US agenda in Southeast Asia . While Sec. Clinton was here and wanted the Filipinos to believe that the US is here to help the typhoon victims, her boss, US President Barack Obama was country hopping in this region and made the historical Beijing visit. The Philippines just settled for the Secretary of State. Asia, particularly the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the current concern of the US. China’s influence in the region is growing stronger both economically and militarily. The US government has not change it's rhetoric, that we Filipinos are the closest ally of the Americans in Asia, but it's unusual that the US president didn't visit the most loyal nation even for a day. In fact, Singapore is just a four hour trip from the Philippines.

Now that we have fully analyzed the predicament that we or this administration are in, it is very crucial to be cautious in dealing with very important issues that can affect our people now and the generations to come. I am referring to the future of Minsutpala(Mindanao-Sulu-Tawitawi-Palawan) with all its riches especially GOD(Gas,Oil and Deutherium) and the possible balkanization of our country (like Yugoslavia ). Uncle Sam needed us very badly especially in the never-ending war in the south (which was being sustained by covert operations) that will stabilize the region. (Translation – the US forces had to have their bases or a continuity of their much needed military presence there and near the China Sea).

The article of my friend, Ms. Carmen Pedrosa of the Philippine Star the other day regarding the Clinton visit further prove my point that it was all what US wants that our country must adhere to without asking our consent because we were “told” by Clinton of what they would like to see and do here. Protocol wise, we could have set and lead the discussion of the agenda instead of being told or "dictated" by the visiting diplomat. It's just like watching the latest James Bond movie, The Quantum of Solace". Our position is always at the receiving end when it comes to matters pertaining to policies that is internal in nature, but what occurred obviously was not a dialogue. Domestic problems such as sovereignty and political exercises were "ordered" by our visiting ally to be handled according to the principles of “democracy” (or is it democrazy?).

Obama said, "In an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another. Cultivating spheres of cooperation - not competing spheres of influence - will lead to progress in the Asia-Pacific." Very well said but not in practice as we shall see the unfolding of events after the Beijing visit by President Obama which takes us a few days back on the completion of the joint "Juniper Cobra" ballistic missile defense (BMD) exercises in Israel, which was described as the largest and the most sophisticated BMD drill of its kind ever held. Hundreds of US military personnel along with US warships joined together with Israeli forces in order to fend off a wide range of simulated missile attacks”. (Peter Brown, AsiaTimes online 11/19/09). UN Peacekeeping mission coming from different nations including from the Phillipines were sent to Israel as "neutralizer".

Need we say more? As what Mr. Brown’s keen observation imply “Juniper Cobra is casting a shadow of war over Asia ”. Here, the VFA issue and the peace talks in Mindanao will fit in perfectly but unfortunately our government leaders never asserted its importance to the US to level off the playing field, so to speak.

We hope and pray, that as PGMA's legacy, her administration will play the US and China cards well in favor of the Filipinos, no more, no less – whatever America wants…

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Michael Sinnot's White Lie-Black Lie!

Michael Sinnot's White Lie-Black Lie!
by Erick San Juan

When Irish priest Fr. Michael Sinnott was kidnapped last month, the government through DILG Sec. Ronnie Puno said that it was the MILF who kidnapped the 79-year old Catholic prelate with a $12 million ransom for his release. But then the MILF strongly denied this accusation. Amidst all these, the US Embassy was quiet about the meeting at the MILF camp in Maguindanao by the American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d'affaires, Leslie Bassett, with the MILF leaders headed by Haj Murad last October 16. The report was confirmed only through the MILF’s website, Luwaran. This gesture of a US diplomat was a breach of protocol and blatant interference in our domestic affairs and should have been declared "persona non grata", but not in the Philippines.
Now that Fr. Sinnott was released in time for the arrival of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he cleared the MILF as his abductors and said that the “original lumad” of Mindanao were his kidnappers and they treated him well during his captivity. He even thanked the MILF Central Committee for helping out for his release. What is the real story behind the release and who were the kidnappers? Was there a ransom paid? Was it really just a coincidence - the arrival of Secretary Clinton and Fr. Sinnott’s release? The kidnap for ransom of Fr. Sinnot had the same pattern of Fr. Bossi's abduction in the past where a MILF group transferred him in another safehouse controlled by the remnants of the Barracuda's allied to the so called MILF "breakaway group" in Caromatan.
There are so many questions that led to speculations as answers to the real intentions of the visit.
The controversial one is the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) wherein Sec. Clinton said that this is important for the US in the fight against terrorism in the region especially that the Philippines is the country coordinator in Southeast Asia. (Translation – no VFA abrogation and no clear definition as for the role of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in Mindanao, even using our camps as their temporary base and will continue to support the AFP in their fight against terrorism.
Another issue is the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain’s (MoA-AD) BangsaMoro Juridical Entity that was set aside because of its unconstitutionality that could be revived with the help of the US in its efforts for the resumption of the peace talks with MILF as front. Now that both Kuala Lumpur and Washington are interested in mediating in the peace talks, Manila will have to do a balancing act as to which country to continue the talks. This hot issue may put GMA in a very tight position for as we said this could lead to the balkanization of Mindanao. It is believed that the Marshland in Central Mindanao which the MILF claims to be in their control is awash not only of natural gas but of the "black gold" meaning vast oil deposits which is allegedly bigger than Saudi Arabia's.
Lastly, the May 2010 elections seems moving well and I’m sure will be of special concern to the US and PGMA as perceived, will have a special role to see to it that what the US wants, the US gets. But what's in it for us? Let us wait and see as events unfold. May God bless the Philippines!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Taiwan-China Relations : A Strait Too Far

Taiwan-China Relations : A Strait Too Far
By Erick San Juan
The potential for war between the two long-time rivals - a flashpoint in the region - still very much exists, as indicated in Taiwan's views of the military situation highlighted in the island's recently released defense report.
The report issued by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense last week said the number of China's missiles targeted at the island now amount to 1,500. This is up from an estimated 800 a year or two ago. In terms of short-range missiles, there are 1,300 aimed at the island that lies just 160 kilometers (100 miles) away at the closest point. (From : “More missiles across strait” By Cindy Sui, Asia Times Online)
In this scenario, one will think that the one China policy efforts of both parties will be in vain no matter how hard they tried for the past year to bridge the gap. Although a lot were achieved through cross-strait talks like the exchange of tourists and several economic activities. But the fact remains that China’s military power is steadily intensifying and can be felt not only at the strait but in this part of the world and thus making everybody nervous. Although this should not be viewed as if Taiwan is not capable when it comes to military might. “Five months after Ma came to power, Taiwan purchased its biggest arms package from the United States since 1979,” Sun noted. (Sun Yang-ming, vice president of the Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation, a policy think-tank to the Taiwanese government.) As a whole, Taiwan’s “friendly relations” with Washington is somewhat another key factor to consider in Taiwan ’s sovereignty and the realization of the one-China dream.
It is quite obvious that China ’s military power is no match with that of Taiwan ’s but the Washington factor is that aspect that had to be considered because the American policy now will affect Taiwan ’s decision in its foreign relations especially with China .
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s situation now is somewhat similar with our present administration in dealing with both US and China, and how these two giants affected the government’s policies – both foreign and economic. Our leaders must have a strong political will in the midst of conflicting ideologies and a clear objective as to where these relations will lead our country. We should take the cue from what is happening in Taiwan when it comes to military support from the US , we should avoid being shortchanged and be left behind after they got what they want.
Let us always be guided with the geostrategy games being played by the two giants in this region or we will be caught flat-footed in the end, so to speak. I’m sure the present administration will leave a legacy that she played her cards well in dealing with US and China.
As for China and Taiwan relations, it is still a “strait too far”, i.e. its unification.