Monday, November 29, 2010

The VFA “fixers” and RP Repeating History

The VFA “fixers” and RP Repeating History
By Erick San Juan

Can we defend our nation against aggression from other countries? Can we do it alone in this chaotic world if we are going to cut off relationship with the U.S.? Some nagging questions that hovers above the archipelago for quite some time now amidst the growing tensions in the region coupled with the tensions for the review and abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

VFA is simply an implementation of the Mutual Defense Treaty (signed in August 30, 1951). If we didn’t ratify this treaty, we don’t have the VFA today and might not have any visible opponents around us.

Actually the Mutual Defense Treaty was as hot as the VFA when it was ratified back then and one of the opponents was Senator Claro M. Recto (but he signed the treaty anyway together with the other senators). Here is the explanation of Sen. Claro Recto :

“I shall vote for its ratification, and I trust that the number of senators required by our Constitution shall vote likewise, but let us vote with our eyes open to what our votes shall mean to our people and this republic. We were outmaneuvered, outsmarted, and outreached in the negotiation of this treaty. But at least, in ratifying it for lack of something better, let us not believe we are getting a good bargain. It is hard enough to be outwitted. Let us not fool ourselves, and let us not build a fool’s paradise for our trusting people.”

Let these words by Recto be a reminder to our current leaders in “fixing” the VFA. But like Sen. Recto, when he was careful during that time as not to antagonize the US too much, we always say that US is not our enemy though we must be given what's due us and not be shortchanged in the process.

Here is another direct remark from Sen. Recto when he stressed the lack of mutuality in the MDT :

“… it is not true either that America is giving us almost everything for nothing; on the contrary it is we who have given, and are giving, and will continue to give America almost everything for nothing...”

With this in mind, let me cite a news article that came out last November 23 that -Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received $100.8 M worth of goods and services under a deal with U.S. last year. But it was charged $109.5 M according to the Commission on Audit. COA said that the AFP still reported a PhP6.2 billion balance in its guaranty deposits despite having wire transferred PhP5.32 billion to the US Treasury under foreign military sales required in the letters of offer and acceptance between US and RP. (Source: Manila Standard Today)

What Sen. Recto said 58 years ago is very much true today. Trust begets trust. We were shortchanged and outwitted again into believing that everything given by Uncle Sam is free. . .

In this case, as I always say, history repeating itself or that people keep on repeating history which is clearly not beneficial to us before, and until today.

Lest we forget, from the words of another nationalist – Dr. Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, “As a general rule, the stronger party in a bilateral negotiation prefers ambiguity because it allows a larger room for maneuver; but the weaker party - if mindful of its national interest - must insist on concrete formulations because it wants to limit the capacity of the stronger party to act unilaterally. In the particular case of the VFA, ambiguity is extremely dangerous for the Philippines. As I just pointed out, it can involve us in unnecessary conflicts with America's potential enemies in the region. And it runs counter to our avowed foreign policy objective of developing good relations with our neighbors."

This is the fundamental issue: Are our interests identical with those of America? Are America's enemies necessarily our own? I believe that our national interests may be different and, at times, contrary to those of the US. Therefore, we must pursue an independent foreign policy.”

We still don’t have the capacity to stand alone (and have an independent foreign policy) – militarily speaking because since the Americans left Subic and Clark, we did not have something to fall back on and had remain dependent on Uncle Sam’s support (which comes in trickles). That is why when China showed interest again in the disputed islands in the South China Sea, VFA was the convenient answer.

Can our leaders fix an agreement that was born out of the crucial need to counter a perceived enemy of Uncle Sam? In the midst of a possible regional conflict, are we going to allow a repeat of going to war not of our own liking just because we have an agreement that says so?

This is a wake up call to our leaders, our sovereignty is at stake here and hopefully, let's have a much better living legacy for future generations to come.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Party Talks and the United Nations, What Went Wrong?

Party Talks and the United Nations, What Went Wrong?
by Erick San Juan

Will there be peace in this world? This is the big nagging question being asked by many people not only nationwide but worldwide. The main query is why some power blocs, who used to be known in the past as the number one defender of democracy throughout the world are now perceived as the main sponsor and "protector" of terrorists and rogue state leaders. Most of the peace talks in all parts of the world were either stalled or have failed. Even the United Nations is becoming fragmented. There's now BRIC- Brazil, Russia, India and China; NATO- North Atlantic Treaty Organization; SALT and other geopolitical and international organizations whose main purpose is to achieve peace and order. .

Instead of denuclearizing, every nations now are arming and many are members of the Nuke Club. One example is the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. The 6-Party Talk over the North Korean nuclear weapons program and the incident at Cheonan between the two Koreas was stalled. As of this writing, North Korea bombed a border island of South Korea which created unrest to the two Koreas and the world. Geopolitical observers believe that this turbulence will be worst than the Korean War in 1953. At the onset, two South Korean mililitary were killed while some civilians and S.K. soldiers were injured. North Korea fired several artillery. The South Korean government held an emergency meeting to avoid the escalation of war. The attack was reportedly sparked by the South Korean military exercise near the island border, YEON PYONG.
The concerns of the South Korean and the U.S. on the North Korea's new nuclear facility could possibly irked the Kim's. An evolution of the situation in the Korean peninsula could push it's neighbors to arm and rearm their nation-states. Same pattern happens in other parts of the globe. Instead of warding off the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it seems that some nations continue to sell arms. Methinks, deterrence and diplomacy could still work. The Security Council could be a dynamic participant in resolving the problems of nation-states , like the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula where U.S., Russia and China are involved. The one who has no special interests in the region should chair the peace settlement. This could be the reason why the United Nations chose Russia as the chair of the 6-Party Talk in working out peace and security mechanism in the North East Asia.

The meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on board the Air Force One, after the NATO meeting at Lisbon last week could be a welcome move. Both nations are considered top guns of the NUKE, INC. What about the relationship of Russia with China and China with the USA?
Here in the Philippines, the flash point to watch is the possible balkanization of Mindanao. The MILF could be the witting and unwitting tool in starting a firefight which could involve the Malaysians and the US in the process. Let's watch and deter the confluence of events in the offing. President Noy's administration, especially the National Security Council, should ever be vigilant to prevent a "designed war" using the blame game scheme of some evil genius through a false flag op!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Terrorized Region Index"

"Terrorized Region Index"
By Erick San Juan

Maplecroft, an international global risk advisory firm that rated the Philippines as No. 8 in terms of countries that are under extreme risk for terrorist attacks, is the same firm that rated RP at no. 6 last 2008-2009 Terrorism Risk Index. A report that was disputed by the Philippine military as baseless and had to be validated further to improve the situation in our country.

What is TRI anyway?

The Terrorism Risk Index (TRI) is developed by global risks advisory firm, Maplecroft, to enable organizations to identify and monitor terrorism risks to human security and international assets. The index uses data from June 2009 to June 2010 to assess the frequency of terrorist incidents and the intensity of attacks, which includes the number of victims per attack and the chances of mass casualties occurring. It also includes a historical component assessing the number of attacks between 2007 and 2009 and looks at whether a country is at risk from a long-standing militant group operating there.
Sixteen countries are rated as ‘extreme risk’ with Somalia (1), Pakistan (2), Iraq (3), Afghanistan (4), Palestinian Occupied Territory (5), Colombia (6), Thailand (7), Philippines (8), Yemen (9) and Russia (10) at the bottom of the ranking. (Source:Maplecroft website)

Sounds convincing if one will just take such report hook, line and sinker and not consider the most important element i.e. geopolitics.

The following are the definitions of geopolitics (for the information of our readers) :

For Oyvind Osterud, “In the abstract, geopolitics traditionally indicates the links and causal relationships between political power and geographic space; in concrete terms it is often seen as a body of thought assaying specific strategic prescriptions based on the relative importance of land power and sea power in world history... The geopolitical tradition had some consistent concerns, like the geopolitical correlates of power in world politics, the identification of international core areas, and the relationships between naval and terrestrial capabilities.”

For Henry Kissinger, “Geopolitics is studying geopolitical systems. The geopolitical system is, in my opinion, the ensemble of relations between the interests of international political actors, interests focused to an area, space, geographical element or ways.

From the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: The study of geographic influences on power relationships in international politics. Geopolitical theorists have sought to demonstrate the importance in the determination of foreign policies of considerations such as the acquisition of natural boundaries, access to important sea routes, and the control of strategically important land areas. The term was first employed in the early 20th century by the Swedish political scientist Rudolph Kjellén (1864 Р1922).

The cited definitions clearly denote the importance of an “international interest” in certain areas, may it be water, land or terrestrial space. Maplecroft actually identified the regions that are being terrorized for reasons that benefits the “international political actors” as defined by Kissinger.

Obviously this is not something new especially to our blog followers and to our daily radio show listeners (over dzXQ 1350khz 4:30-5:30p.m.), we wrote several articles about the global war on terror (GWOT) and how countries are terrorized by some “bogeyman” or such “brand name” as al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden who were exposed by several American patriots as state sponsored "Frankenstein" . In this way, unwiiting and witting US troops together with the "coalition" with the pretext to restore democracy and uphold human rights can come into the picture with ease.

We will notice that majority of the countries that are rated in the “extreme risk” category are located in the middle east region and situated within the very important water ways. Somalia and Yemen are strategically situated along the Gulf of Aden, a major water way exit from the Red Sea towards the Indian Ocean. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the immediate casualties of Dubya Bush’s "war on terror" for obvious reason that they are somehow “related” to bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terror group. And, are located in the “heartland” together with Russia as what Sir Halford Mackinder in England, in his formulation of the Heartland Theory in 1904. That is why the AQAP – al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was created.

Unfortunately, our country ranked at No. 8, will have to stay in the top ten list together with Thailand because geographically speaking we are tactically and strategically positioned in the South China Sea where tensions are gradually building up between the two giants – US and China. Both nations (Philippines and Thailand) have insurgency problems along their borders. Mischief between Christians and Muslims occur once in a while. Mindanao is on the verge of balkanization due to intervention and conflicting interests of some foreign governments. The region is very near to another major waterway – the Strait of Malacca.

As for Colombia, the neighbor of Venezuela (another terrorized nation as per Dubya Bush and the chicken hawks), is hugging the coastline of the Caribbean Sea, another major body of water.

Lastly, the Palestinian Occupied Territory where a “perpetual war” seems to be convenient to the “international political actors” to justify their presence in the region through an “ally”.

To conclude, the release of this so called TRI study is in line with their Atlas that would be made available in the market next month. What a PR work!

It will be best for our government to go back to basic. Address the terror myth by regulating the so called "security experts" who are used to parrot a spin. Reactivate our National Intelligence Board and maximize the coordination with no foreign observers. We have to protect and secure our national interests this time. Need we say more?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Terror Storm on the Horizon

Another Terror Storm on the Horizon
By Erick San Juan

“If we understand the mechanism and the motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”
(Taken from the book Propaganda by Edward Bernays who is considered as the Father of Public Relations)

The discovered bomb packages from Yemen to Chicago might be a failure. For they did not serve the intention of destroying the aircraft where they were found nor reach its destination. The alleged sender of the packages as reported is the "al Qaeda" in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The “brand name” that is always conveniently use by its creator whenever there’s a need. It is no different with the Philippine setting of using the ASG-Abu Sayyaf Group, NPA-New People's Army, ABB- Alex Boncayao Brigade and now JI-Jemaah Islamiyah, etc. as the usual suspect. The pattern is easy to comprehend especially if the information is coming from the usual operators who are "experts" in fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the intention to sow fear and tension among the American populace and the rest of the world was achieved by the operator(s) of the failed bomb plot because of their assets in the media who readily leaked the myth without validating the story..

For those who are aware of such action, one can clearly identify this as a false flag operation – covert operations conducted by a clique in governments, corporations, or other organizations which are designed to appear as though they were carried out by other entities. Clearly the entity here is no less than the AQAP who many believed was a creation of an intelligence agency and state sponsored.

To name a few of the false flag operations that happened in contemporary history: Reichstag Fire (1933), Operation AJAX (1953), Operation Gladio (1947-1981), Gulf of Tonkin Incident (1964), Operation Northwoods, the London bombing (2007) and the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center bombing.

For every act of terror, one cannot help but ask the nagging question – who benefits?

Remember the failed underwear bomber plot from last year? “The plot is being played to the hilt on the TV media and especially on Fox "news." After reading recently that The Washington Post allowed a lobbyist to write a news story that preached the lobbyist’s interest, I wondered if the manufacturers of full body scanners were behind the heavy coverage of the Underwear Bomber, if not behind the plot itself. In America, everything is for sale. Integrity is gone with the wind.” (Is Anyone Telling Us The Truth? by Paul Craig Roberts, January 07, 2010)

Obviously, some governments use fear to control its citizenry and in the process the citizens will surrender their rights in the name of security. In the case of the former US President George W. Bush, he benefited from the 9/11 terror attack in several ways. The Indict Bush Now came out with this report of how Dubya Bush gained from 9/11 : 1) Bush got to implement the PATRIOT Act, which gave him an extraordinary amount of personal control by fiat over the country's society, commerce and economy, 2) Bush's War on Terror scared people into re-electing him for a second term, 3) the demolition of WTC7, which was executed under cover of the attacks, meant that records supporting the SEC's case against Enron, which Bush's longstanding friendship with Enron CEO Ken Lay left him susceptible to, was in an instant, vaporized. These are just some of the benefits enjoyed by the former President and the so called 'chicken-hawks' who actually warned the Americans and the rest of us that the war on terror may last a hundred years!

With the continuous scare-mongering coupled with actual acts of terror by the greedy evil-minded individuals, humanity will always be faced with fear and tension. To address this dehumanizing terror acts, people of the world must be united and watchful at all times.

Methinks that with our concerted efforts, we can endure every terror storm that will come our way especially with the help of the internet. Vigilant groups through their blog sites can easily spread the word of an impending terror act so that it could be exposed. Like what we are doing here in our country, vigilance is always the antidote against the criminal-minded individuals and vested interest groups and expose their plans before they can implement them. In this way, several lives will be saved in the process and such perpetrators will have to think twice before doing another criminal act.

Let us not allow another 9/11. We can do it if we will always be alert and equipped for the next terror storm.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Alarming Falsehood and Half-truth

The Alarming Falsehood and Half-truth
By Erick San Juan

In today’s world of high technology and as the world becomes smaller through fast paced means of communication, ordinary people now find it hard to sift through all the information they are getting. But for those who are aware of the daily spins where the mainstream media, most of the time became the witting and unwitting tool in feeding the public, it is easier to draw the line between truth and a lie. As an observer of events unfolding here and abroad, we can say that where fact ends, lies and bigger lies begin to condition the minds of the people who are afraid to think beyond what is being forced to them to believe. Thus, creating delusion in the process. For as long as there are people who are willing to believe and for others, to be willing tools to the myth – mongering, humanity will suffer the consequences.

Take for example the recent bomb scare allegedly found inside an ink cartridge in a plane bound for Chicago, USA. The alarming truth to this false alarm was clearly reported that – “After having examined the suspicious ink toner device for six hours and found it to be a dud, bomb experts at East Midlands Airport only reversed their decision after being ordered to re-inspect the package by US authorities following President Obama’s Friday afternoon speech in which he claimed that the devices did in fact contain explosives”. (Did Obama order British Authorities To Find Non-Existent Ink Bomb?, Paul Joseph Watson of Prison The telling contradiction in the timeline of the cargo bomb plot fiasco proves that the story was being hyped and manipulated from the very early stages.

However, despite the fact that authorities not only in the UK but also in the cases of the Newark and Pittsburgh packages, initially gave the “all clear,” according to CNN, President Obama, having already been informed of the plot the night before, simply contradicted the very experts who had dismissed the devices as duds, claiming the packages contained explosives. This soon mushroomed into a media scaremongering blitz about powerful explosives that could have knocked dozens of planes out of the sky. (Ibid)

Now that the predicate was laid, it is but logical to ask – who benefits? (Note: I will elaborate this terror scare in global perspective on my next article. Let me focus first here at home.)

It is quite obvious that our country is one of the casualties here, as one foreign government after another gave their travel advisory that RP is faced by an imminent terrorist attack, particularly – Manila. We can’t help but cite here the statement of the good Ambassador, Harry K. Thomas, Jr., a day after the inauguration of President Aquino III (this was only last July 1, 2010) : “I don’t see the Philippines as a breeder of terrorism but I see the Philippines as a partner to rid the world of terrorists.”

And at the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) change of command ceremony last July 3, Amb. Thomas said that the rebel groups Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah and Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) have become much weaker.
With the above mentioned reports, as a loyal ally and friend of the rest of the community of peace-loving nations, why is it that the US government was among the first who issued the travel warning against the Philippines?

Again, we have nothing against the Americans, like us, majority of them are being taken for a ride here on the global war on terror (GWOT) which took effect after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. But let us all be clear here as to the credibility of the said terror threat. As a nation that had suffered enough especially in our tourism industry in the aftermath of the hostage crisis three months ago, we just cannot take this sitting down.

It is good that President Benigno Aquino III said that foreign governments were wrong in warning of an imminent terrorist attack in Manila. Government security forces even downplayed the separate arrests of five men and the seizure from them of explosives, which evidently were meant for fishing rather than bombing. It was President Aquino’s strongest statement yet in the past few days against what he had described as unsubstantiated intelligence reports on the supposed terror strike in Metro Manila.

Filipinos should unite in support of our leaders against this terror myth affecting us as a nation. A group headed by a certain Professor Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), after they announced that the “bomb expert” with links to the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and who stayed in Mount Cararao in Maguindanao in the last few months has made contact with the Sulu-based bandit group Abu Sayyaf, travel warnings were issued. It became a "gospel truth" after his group predicated it at an international security forum at Dusit Hotel last October 29. In local lingo-"NABILI NA YAN." "LUMANG SCRIPT NA YAN.'

Who are we going to believe? Marine General Ben Dolorfino, a converted muslim and a real expert on jihadists or a certain “security expert” Prof. Rommel Banlaoi? Who is he really working for? PIPVTR should have coordinated what they know, as courtesy to our DND, NSC, NICA or ISAFP so as to assist in apprehending these terrorists and neutralizing them..

There is no hope to this country if our fellowmen themselves will be part of the scare-mongering. Let us stop this and be steadfast in protecting our nation against state-sponsored terrorism slowly eating into the minds our citizenry and the rest of the world. The alarm bells for truth should be louder than that of the false alarms being concocted by some evil-minded heartless individuals who could be working for foreign governments or vested interests.

God bless the Philippines!