Sunday, December 26, 2010

Peace by All Means

Peace by All Means
By Erick San Juan

The recently concluded China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) joint working group (JWG) fifth meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) in southwest China's Kunming City, reaffirmed the importance to make the South China Sea a place of peace, cooperation and friendship.

The DOC is meant to diminish the threat of war or a military clash in the South China Sea. It has important significance in creating an environment for cooperation, peace, and stability in the region and in promoting trust, confidence building, and mutual understanding between ASEAN and China. That is why Beijing is very firm on its stand on the bilateral settlements of whatever disputes which concern the islands in the South China Sea because as a matter of policy, to include the U.S. will complicate things in the process. Although the navigation security and navigation freedom have always been upheld in the South China Sea.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed on November 4, 2002 during the Eighth ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia by leaders of ASEAN and China. The parties unanimously considered that this event has made an important contribution to the maintenance of peace and security in the region and to the promotion of development and cooperation.

The South China Sea is of great importance to China, to the ASEAN and other countries. About 25 percent of world shipping transport moves through the South China Sea. It is also critical for the military fleets that move from the Pacific region to the Indian Ocean.

Being a part of this important region, we should be cautious at all times and put the welfare of our country first and the rest of the region second. We have been shortchanged and outwitted through the collaboration of some of our leaders. We cannot afford a repeat of our country’s history where our protectors failed us.

Like all the other peace-loving countries, we want peace and development in this area although we have to play another role as an ally to a perceived rival of China – the US. When these two superpowers claim their “core interest” and “national interest” in this region respectively, how about “our interest”?

The last DoC meeting is just among the many efforts that the countries in this part of the world will have to undertake to keep the peace and harmony in this region alive. The impending threat of a regional conflict via the Korean peninsula is still in the offing and it could be the next "Pearl Harbor". The world is breathlessly awaiting a peaceful resolution to put an end to this brewing dispute.
In this globalized world where new powers are playing through soft touch operation and behave like "Maggi bearing gifts", diplomacy should be revised and updated. War freak ops does not apply today where most rich nations and rogue states are now members of the NUKE club. It will be MAD(mutually assured destruction). We should all be vigilant as we wait for that elusive peace to happen and more prayers for a peaceful New Year.

God bless us all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wikileaks Weaving a www (Worldwide Web of War) Scenario?

Wikileaks Weaving a www (Worldwide Web of War) Scenario?
By Erick San Juan

What could have been confidential cables from the US embassies around the world to a few, for others they were treated as pure gossips and should belong to entertainment page of a tabloid. Others treat such leaks and the plight of its founder as something out from a Bond movie. But whatever and however people take this information technology saga, the question is – who benefits? What could be the agenda of the manipulators behind such “leak”?

Since the release of classified US military papers by WikiLeaks, the material has been aggressively spun by various political factions. Meanwhile, virtually no attention has been devoted to investigating the source of this “leak”, or questioning the agenda behind it. (The Political Spinning of the WikiLeaks Release: Anti-war Whistleblowing or War Propaganda By Larry Chin)

It is very important to take into consideration the views of several sections of the society who are skeptical as to the authenticity of the cables and what motivated such propaganda.
In the case of our country, the timing of the leak is quite suspicious and the content of the cables is obviously laying the predicate of something this government has to look into seriously.

The point raised by former President Fidel V. Ramos that "They (leak of the US State Department's "secret cable") are not really reliable. It's possible that some of them may have been manufactured. You have to accept that possibility. That's the way it is just like the social media it's not completely factual. I'm not saying these are lies, they may be exaggerations of concoctions to fit a certain situation."

Could this be possible?

Actually the word Wikileaks came from wiki and leaks, and wiki is the Hawaiian word for quick. Just like the famous Wikipedia, wiki and encyclopedia. So, just what is a Wiki? What made them so popular?

At its core, a wiki is a content management system. What this means is it is designed to allow people to create and edit web pages without any knowledge of HTML. This allows writers to do what they do best, which is to write, and editors to do what they do best, edit.

The main thing that sets wikis apart from the pack is that they are community-oriented projects, often allowing the public at large to write and edit articles. This allows a wiki to draw upon the expertise of a large number of people, and to grow much quicker than if only a limited number of people were able to add to it.

The open-ended aspect of wikis does lead to some downsides. A wiki can be a target of people who want to post misinformation or simply vandalize an entry. However, the good outweighs the bad, and the open-ended nature allows wiki users to police themselves.

Also, compared to traditional methods of delivering content where one person or a limited group of people write and edit material to be posted on a website, wikis are very fast. Because they draw upon such a larger pool of writers, subjects can be entered at a much faster rate.

What differentiates a wiki from a blog is the fact that multiple people can -- and usually do in the case of popular wikis -- work on a single piece of content. This means that a single article could have as few as a single author or as many as tens or even hundreds of authors.

The bottom line here is that the Wikileaks can be edited, in Pinoy’s term – “bawas – dagdag” by a “community” who can “edit” the wiki to fit a certain situation. Translation – to create a pretext that will lead to a planned scenario that could benefit the interest of the few.

And the mainstream media’s role here is as crucial as the people behind the source, which is the Wikileaks, to choose what to make public and above all – the timing. Because the fact that the leaks that pertain to the Philippines are laying the predicate towards the overstretched global war on terror by our “neighbor”, this is quite alarming. Even our relationship with China is being pushed to the wall by unverified intrigues.

All these scenario-building, if not handled properly could lead to a regional conflict here and including the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.

Like the people in the Palace and those who occupied it before, they are now saying that we should be wary and take these “leaks” with a pinch of salt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cables and Leaks: Friends and Foes

Cables and Leaks: Friends and Foes
By Erick San Juan

So much has been written about the Wikileaks, or I should say – too much, and anything in excess is not good especially when it is creating a scenario where friends are being pushed to become enemies in the process.

The Philippines is a victim in this propaganda scheme, wherein a leak came out that “China has constructed a lighthouse on Subi Reef in the disputed areas in the South China Sea which Chinese troops are occupying but is being claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.”

Methinks, the timing of the “leak” is suspect in laying the groundwork of intrigue between China and the Philippines, in lieu of the bilateral signing of military hardware deal. That was very substantial to our country which, unfortunately, has one of the weakest armed forces in East Asia. Our AFP is fighting a long-running insurgencies with both Communists and Islamic rebels.

It was a relief to know that the Wikileaks’ RP scenario was met by cooler heads and was actually downplayed by our military through the officials of the Department of National Defense, saying that the lighthouse had been constructed even before the Declaration of Conduct was signed in 2002. The said Declaration of Conduct prohibits any claimant country from constructing any structure in the area.

Eight years after the signing of the DoC, the implementing guidelines have yet to be finalized. China has been consistent with its position that the South China Sea is a bilateral issue among claimant countries and has tried avoiding discussion of it in ASEAN meetings. ASEAN, however, succeeded in having it discussed at the Asean-China summit in Hanoi last September. It was there that they agreed to meet in Kunming City on December 22 to 23 for the implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a gathering which I believe will be fruitful amongst the claimants sans Uncle Sam.

Amidst the scripted “Subi reef lighthouse” courtesy of Wikileaks, the meeting of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Ricardo David Jr., with China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on December 7 and People’s Liberation Army Gen. Chen Bingde on December 8 in Beijing, was reportedly a success. Reiterating the stand of Beijing on the issue of the South China Sea disputes, Gen David said that peace and harmony shall be maintained in the region and together with the rest of the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries, the disputes will be resolve peacefully.

Tensions in the South China Seas started since the saber rattling became an open secret. When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at the Asean Regional Forum a couple of months ago, that the U.S. “has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea,” where the islands are located. Clinton added that “We oppose the use of threat or force by any of the claimants,” as "America’s future is intimately tied to that of the Asia-Pacific.”

Going back to Wikileaks’ cables and leaks, according to the article of F. William Engdahl (Wikileaks - A Big, Dangerous US Government Con Job) - Most important, the 250,000 cables are not "top secret" as we might have thought. Between two and three million US Government employees are cleared to see this level of "secret" document, and some 500,000 people around the world have access to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPR net) where the cables were stored. Siprnet is not recommended for distribution of top-secret information. Only 6% or 15,000 pages of the documents have been classified as even secret, a level below top-secret. Another 40% were the lowest level, "confidential", while the rest were unclassified. In brief, it was not at all that secret.


What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already, the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.

The process of policing the Web was well underway before the current leaks scandal. In 2009 Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and Republican Olympia Snowe introduced the Cyber Security Act of 2009 (S.773). It would give the U.S. President unlimited power to disconnect private-sector computers from the internet. The bill "would allow the president to 'declare a cyber-security emergency' relating to 'non-governmental' computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat." We can expect that now, this controversial piece of legislation will be a top priority when a new Republican House and the Senate convene in January,2011.

The raging information war via the freedom to surf the internet will now be curtailed for the benefit of the globalists who don’t want to be exposed on their agenda to deceive the world. Let us all be on the lookout for such deception and careful not to be carried away with the hype created for the convenience of the few.

Many Filipino scholars believe that the U.S. government has never recognized Philippine sovereignty over the Kalayaan group of islands. In 1992, the U.S. even signed an oil exploration with China in the KIG. Our policy makers should read between the lines. Let's be wary of double talks so that we can protect our national interests and so as not to sacrifice our national security and sovereignty.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rhetorics and Deceits

Rhetorics and Deceits by Erick San Juan

The Philippines and the rest of the world is now in the wait and see mode as the events in the Korean Peninsula unfold. When the possibility of a unified Korea is not a far-fetched scenario to encircle China in the process. While here at home, a balkanized Mindanao is in the offing. How can we afford to enter a war not of our choosing when we have a ticking bomb down south waiting to explode if things are not handled properly?

There is no other term more appropriate to describe the efforts of some evil-minded and selfish individuals than the word balkanization. It is a negative geopolitical term originally used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region or state into smaller regions or states that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other. The term has arisen from the conflicts in the 20th century Balkans. While what is now termed Balkanization has occurred throughout history, the term originally described the creation of smaller, ethnically diverse states following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. (Source: Wikipedia)

Throughout history, nation-states were divided or balkanized as orchestrated by globalists to suit their agenda. But always the bottom line is – to exploit them and their natural resources.

The age-old imperial method of divide and rule is very much in force to countries that had experienced such scheme. But in the age of globalization, David Icke calls this technique: problem-reaction-solution (P-R-S). Create the problem, encourage the reaction “something must be done”, and then offer the solution. Create the chaos and then offer the way to restore order. Your order.

Actually there are some underlying elements and concepts behind every balkanization process such as:

- Protracted Social Conflict is a theory developed by Edward Azar. The term refers to conflict situations characterized by the prolonged and often violent struggle by communal groups for such basic needs as security, recognition, acceptance, fair access to political institutions, and economic participation. The communal groups may experience deep-seated cleavages based upon racial, religious, cultural or ethnic lines. These cleavages are characterized by continuing hostility with sporadic outbreaks of violence; and caused by the frustration of human needs for security, recognition, and distributive justice.
- Sectarian violence and/or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of thought/ideology or within a nation/community, with the division not necessarily based upon religion. Religious segregation often plays a role in sectarian violence.
- Social polarization is associated with the segregation within a society that may emerge from income inequality, real-estate fluctuations, economic displacements etc. and result in such differentiation that would consist of various social groups, from high-income to low-income.
As we write this piece, the ongoing peace talks between the GRP and the MILF is also in the wait and see mode as they near the deadline come December 9, 2010 because the government has requested the four nations to extend for three months their involvement in peace-monitoring activities in Mindanao with formal talks to start soon.

In a statement, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Q. Deles said the Department of Foreign Affairs has issued notes verbal to member-countries of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), namely, Malaysia, Brunei, Libya and Japan to extend their stay beyond December. Under the terms of reference signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 9, 2009, the IMT has a one-year term which ends this month.

Malaysia has 20 representatives in the IMT with 15 members from Brunei and two from Japan. Libya also has three representatives in the ceasefire monitoring group.

The group monitors the implementation of ceasefire, socioeconomic and humanitarian agreements in the peace process.

Last Friday, Japan and Brunei have agreed to extend their participation in the IMT and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said the government is also confident that Malaysia would likewise heed its request for an extension of the stay of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in the south.
Meanwhile, the MILF through its negotiating panel member, Maulana Bobby Alanto has been issuing intriguing statements at the Luwaran, the MILF's website, the latest of which is entitled "The Clash Between Two Political Realities: Will it Lead to Final Peace?" He said that as revolutionary negotiators, guesswork is not our cup of tea. As they evaluate and assess things, they look at the roadsides for tell-tale signs. The 'negotiated peace' as the destination and the 'peace process' as the vehicle. The MILF are seeing 'signs' which cast doubt on whether they will arrive at the desired final point of disembarkation. He said, "The road is not only bumpy and full of potholes, the 'milestones' indicate that we are nowhere near our goal. The road signs tell the 'vehicle' has veered farther away and is moving into an unknown destination in the twilight zone.
Since the start of Alanto's statement. the MILF is cynical of the peace agreement and I believe that the MILF is asking for the sky which is really an impossible dream because of their claim for 'statehood'. It would require the amending of the constitution which the Supreme Court already rejected.

Dean Marvic Leonen of UP Law and the chair of the GRP Peace Negotiating Panel used catch phrases like "universe of possibilities" which the MILF believe is a synonym for thinking 'out of the box' in resolving a sovereignty based conflict. The MILF even castigated several newspapers and Manila based radio commentators who they believed mislead and outrageously claimed that it's a 'sell-out', giving away to the MILF and their foreign benefactors the oil and gas rich territory of the Philippine state. The MILF insists that Liguasan Marsh is part of their ancestral domain. Alanto said that the constitution should be amended to rectify the injustices committed on the Bangsa Moro people.

Excuse me? Alanto should be reminded that even some "geniuses" in their camp like Michael Mastura ran and was part of the Philippine government in the past. Why blame the Philippine government for the wrong doings of your local Muslim leaders and politicians who did injustices to their fellow Muslims and constituents? Alanto is even comparing our Muslim brothers to what's happening in Palestine. Our Muslim brothers were never deprived of food, medicine and shelter. They can move freely anywhere in the Philippines except for combatants bringing weapons which is not authorized by our existing laws.

Our government should think twice and should stop giving these people the 'Status of Belligerency' where their warlords/leaders and foreign benefactors will just benefit. The word "PEACE" has been prostituted again and again. Let's be wary that greed and power is the name of the game in warlordism. In the end, these warlords will fight each other, especially now that a force from within wants to have a new 'master' who has "something better to offer". Just wait and see, that’s the true face of political reality.