Monday, May 30, 2011

The Heat Is On

The Heat Is On
By Erick San Juan


In the midst of the official declaration of our local weather bureau PAG-ASA that the rainy season is on, in the South China Sea, it’s the opposite. In the said region, the heat is on. We had experiences of being “harassed” and “buzzed” recently by our neighbor – China, one of the claimants in the disputed area in the South China Sea.

Such situation led to the statement of President Aquino III that : “When there’s an arms race, the potential for conflict is also heightened. Who will benefit from that?”

This nagging question from President Aquino III as he sees the possibility of such conflict to escalate as the claimants in the hottest contested area in the world has started upgrading their military capabilities.

It is very clear that China has every reason to increase its military spending this year because, “many Chinese analysts have deep-rooted suspicions and even apprehensions of American policy in the South China Sea. They believe that America's intention is to check China's rise and drive a wedge between China and South-east Asian claimant countries.” (Navigating a sea of conflicting claims by Zhang Mingliang & Yang Fang July 28, 2010)

But such show of force by Beijing has actually created an atmosphere of tension among the claimants and to the rest of the region as well, thus the possibility of an arms race in the process.

What concerns me most is the fact that the purchase of almost "junk" military equipments from the US and the reality of being Uncle Sam’s ally in this region are actually creating more problems than solutions to the growing tensions in the area.

I have written several articles in the past on how we are gradually being converted into a huge magnet in the region, attracting more enemies than friends. Also from the words of Sen. Miriam Santiago - we are like a lightning rod in Asia.

This dire situation we are in for quite some time now was aggravated with the existence of this agreement we entered into with Uncle Sam – the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Last May 27 (Friday), the SCRAP VFA! Movement has reiterated their firm stand to scrap/terminate the VFA through a forum, entitled: Twelve Years of the VFA: Boon or Bane? The speakers in the said forum were all for the termination of the VFA. They are Cong. Walden Bello (for Cong. Erin Tanada), former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Atty. Evalyn Ursua (lawyer of Nicole in the Subic rape case) and the representative of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Atty. Archimedes Gonzales.
It was announced in the forum that the Presidential Commission on the VFA declined the Movement’s invitation through the office of Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa. And when the invitation was forwarded to the VFA Commission through the office of Exec. Director Adan, it was again rejected. In short, no representative from the government.

This only shows that since the “comprehensive review” of the VFA by the two government commissions started sometime in October 2010, the public is still at a lost on the development of the said review. Why the secrecy? Are these two bodies doing their jobs?

I even invited Ms. Rebecca Thompson of the US Embassy to be a resource speaker at my Hotel Rembrandt Balitaan twice but she emailed that she has earlier commitments for the week. She gave the US Embassy website for anyone to see their activities and contribution to the government and the Filipinos. But cause-oriented groups, peoples organizations and other multi-sectoral groups like the SCRAP VFA! Movement will reportedly multiply to make their demand for the termination of the VFA, if this administration will not address the public’s cry to come up with an agreement that is more pro-Filipinos than pro-Americans.

We had enough of rhetoric and deceit from the past administrations. Too much secrecy only benefits the few who are more dealers than leaders.

The US as our long-term ally will not treat us badly if we will show them that we have self - respect as a sovereign nation. In the field of diplomacy and foreign relations, this administration still at a lost and as if nobody is minding the store.

We have to gather our acts together before the heat will reach its boiling point.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Laying the Predicate. . .

Laying the Predicate. . .
By Erick San Juan
 
 
In the midst of the so-called VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) review, the country is experiencing pressures in the guise of “friendly persuasion” from our long-time friends. In this tug-of-war scenario, we can’t do much as we are faced with the reality of a weak armed forces.
 
Even in the effort of modernizing the armed forces, Uncle Sam used this in the hope of building up the Filipinos’ trust and confidence towards "Big Brother". But in reality, we are the ones helping them by buying some decommissioned military junks that will “modernize” our AFP. What can we do? The 'dealers' inside the AFP has already enriched themselves through the years by the same fund that was supposed to modernize our armed forces.
 
This sad fate of our military has weakened the country’s stand on vital issues concerning our territory and opened all possibilities of being shortchanged in the process.
 
The much publicized purchased of the Hamilton-class cutter from the US Coast Guard and several other military equipments in the near future could mean something else from our neighbors especially on the issue of the contested area in the South China Sea. The fact is that all these modernization effort to secure our territory particularly in the Malampaya area, near the Spratlys, we should be sensitive enough not to invite trouble.
Translation – we cannot afford to be used as a pawn in a proxy war and be shortchanged at the same time just to please a “friend”. We never learned from our leaders in the past as they collaborated with the 'enemies' and has actually sold our sovereignty. People repeating history. . .
 
This administration has to be careful in handling controversial issues or else, we will all be dragged into a situation that we will all regret. Like the recent tour of President Noy Aquino and some of his cabinet men on board the USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea, near the Philippine waters, it was against the standard procedures or protocol and was taken in a bad taste by most of us who knows the proper conduct in such a situation.
 
It is very clear that the confluence of events is leading towards something else and is actually adding more tension in the present undercurrents being experienced in the region.
 
The supposed “harassment” by Chinese patrol boats last March and the Chinese jet fighters that reportedly buzzed two Philippine Air Force (PAF) OV-10 Broncos on a routine reconnaissance patrol last week in the vicinity of the Kalayaan Island Group, part of the disputed Spratlys is like "laying the predicate" for a possible grim scenario.
 
Hopefully, the four-day visit of Gen. Liang Guanglie, China’s State Councilor and Minister of National Defense will iron out some misunderstandings and would really promote mutual trust and cooperation amid rising tensions over the Spratly Islands. But why the secrecy? Reportedly, no media was invited during the meeting.
 
As PNoy is doing a balancing act in the field of foreign relations, there is a brewing situation being orchestrated by a couple of cracky megalomaniac that is actually laying another predicate for a possible destabilization, if not checked. The information that we heard from the grapevine is that these people are planning another scenario that might create chaos. Knowing them, they can do it but people like us and other concerned individuals can always expose their sinister deeds so they won't be able to carry out such mischief.
 
We must be vigilant and watch out for these "bogus" anarchists in the guise of protecting democracy, they are actually the demo-
crazy.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Global War on Terror, Levels Up

Global War on Terror, Levels Up
By Erick A. San Juan


If the death of Osama bin Laden has fooled the world into believing that we can all sleep soundly now, think again. "Zombie" bin Laden will continue to be the symbol of the continuing saga on the global war on terror (GWOT), dead or alive – he will remain the culprit.

The whole story, from the very start (right after September 11, 2001) is a script written to justify an outside enemy that will sow fear and terror in the process. Even after bin Laden’s so-called death, it was reported on the mainstream corporate media, here and around the world that al Qaida and its supporters will retaliate. So, this revenge and violence is somehow became a vicious cycle and remains the support system of GWOT.

Globalists propagandists have bombarded us with a daily dose of fear mongering this week through a prime time TV channel disguised as news report coming from the usual "propagandists", that jihadists like Zulkifli and other terrorists are now in the Philippines to sow terror. Even the Wall Street Journal leaked another report last week about the Al Qaeda's next "hellstorm" could be in Asia especially the Philippines. What amazes me is the timing of the arrival of USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier that became the hearse of Osama Bin Laden. Hope that this is not part of the laying the predicate. As this synthetic anti-terrorism myth (term coined by Webster Tarpley) continues, state-sponsored terrorists will remain in our midst. The fact that it is artificial, what it needs are lies and more lies to sustain its existence.

Although the question of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is something to consider – “How can Oceania continue if the declared enemy, Osama bin Laden, is dead. Big Brother must immediately invent another “enemy of the people.” And guess who could be the next possible “enemy of the people” according to Dr. Roberts? China.

In his article “China: The New Bin Laden, Orwell Wrote The Script”, he wrote – “Hillary (Clinton), of course, like the rest of the U.S. Government, is scared by the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that China will be the most powerful economy in five years.”

“The hubris and arrogance of US policymakers, and the lies that they inculcate in the American public, have exposed Washington to war with the most populous country on earth, a country that has a military alliance with Russia, which has sufficient nuclear weapons to wipe out all life on earth. The scared 'idiots' in Washington are desperate to set up China as the new Osama bin Laden, the figure of two minutes of hate every news hour, so that the World’s Only Superpower can take out the Chinese before they surpass the US as the Number One Power.” (Ibid)

Dr. Roberts strongly worded article makes us more cautious when it comes to our foreign policies particularly in dealing with our “friends”.

What is in store for the Philippines in the near future after the “official death of bin Laden” is very crucial if we will take heed of Dr. Roberts’ words. It is not farfetched that the next bin Laden could be China…. Or Iran? The point is – the globalist elite badly needs another outside enemy whether we like it or not.

With Japan still recovering from a triple disaster, our country is the next in line as Uncle Sam’s “loyal ally” in the region who will be the witting tool via the leadership of a perceived 'Amboy' to continue the open ended war on terror.

It is very clear in the New US Military Strategy issued in February 8 of this year - calling for the development of a force that is more focused on Asia, where the document says economic and military power are growing, and the strategic environment is changing quickly.

From the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen that he wrote in his “Chairman’s Corner” blog : “The US faces a broad range of challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, from the rise of India and China, to North Korea’s nuclear program, the shifting global economic balance and a fierce competition for natural resources.”

The strategy calls for improving global security by forging deeper military-to-military relationships and cooperation with China and other Asia-Pacific countries.

The senior officer said the US military had to “achieve our mission” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also must look beyond those conflicts and “start recognizing that the strategic environment that’s elsewhere needs to be dealt with.” (Reuters)

With this new strategy by Washington, nations in this region should be on the lookout for another conflict that we never wanted.

Dilly dally approach on the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) by the Palace commission is another delaying tactic, translation – we are approaching the next level of the GWOT and a possible grim scenario is in the offing. Is the palace waiting for something that will justify the need for the retention of the VFA, hook, line and sinker? Just asking.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Confluence of Interests?

Confluence of Interests?
By Erick San Juan
 
 
The recently concluded 18th ASEAN Summit held in Indonesia was generally successful based on the reported results which was summarized in ten major issues that were agreed upon by its members.
 
It was very clear that peace and security in the region is the utmost goal of the ASEAN members because these are the pillars of development. That is why every member helped in finding solutions to the border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.
 
What worries me is the stability of the region, by addressing the issue peacefully on the disputed area in the South China Sea. The ASEAN region (and the rest of the world) is still in the wait and see mode for a possible scenario that might trigger a regional conflict. I am not an alarmist but the Asians are very well aware of several events in the past wherein China has shown its rather unusual behavior in treating its neighbors when it comes to the issue of that “contested area.”
 
Why unusual? China is promoting the peaceful solution to the said dispute and even reminded ASEAN members/claimants of adherence to the Declaration on the Code of Conduct. But Beijing’s actions on certain incidence were somehow different. Like the Philippine experience in early March of a reported “harassment” by Chinese patrol boats on oil exploration vessels.
 
To co-exist peacefully, every nation should take into consideration the situation of less powerful sovereign states. Bullying a neighbor could create a grim scenario and may drag the whole region in a mutually assured destruction,
 
I have mentioned in recent past the analysis of some geostrategists on the significance of China’s aircraft carrier to be sailing in the South China Sea.
 
According to Admiral Robert Willard, Chief of the US Pacific Command, the deployment of China‘s first aircraft carrier will bring a significant “change in perception” in the balance of power in the Asian region. He also put emphasis on China’s massive military build-up that includes the rapid development of ballistic missiles. (AP)
 
The unprecedented economic (and military) rise of China in recent decades led them to look for outside sources of natural resources – especially hydrocarbon for their growing energy needs. They don’t have to look far, as the contested area in the South China Sea is believed to have very rich minerals – oil and natural gas. Obviously, this could be one of the reasons why the “bully thy neighbor” attitude of Beijing is in effect.
 
Aside from the fact that the SCS is one of the busiest waterways in the world where hundreds of tankers and cargo vessels passed through everyday. And, this is the reality why Uncle Sam has also made his presence felt in the region that made China uncomfortable and rethink its military position.
 
The brewing tensions in this region has various undercurrents played by both powerful and less powerful nations to serve their country’s interests.
 
Summits, conferences and similar meetings of sovereign nations could only do much to solve conflicts and of coming together in addressing possible solutions economically. Although in reality, the real interest of every country is in its advantage and how they will be going to achieve this without any prejudice to their neighbors.
 
The hidden agenda of the powerful nations will soon come out and our country and the rest of Asia should be on their guard and be wary of the possible confluence of events. Real interests will surface and friendly relations might suffer in the process if we will let them have their way.
 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Greatest Lie Ever Told
By Erick San Juan
 
 
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”
 
 
A quote from a Adolf Hitler which is very much applicable to the world’s greatest lie ever told - the death of Osama bin Laden and the resuscitation of the overstretched and overused global war on terror (GWOT).
 
GWOT has surpassed all other false flag operations in contemporary history, in length and in the scope of damage to humanity worldwide. Osama, its symbol was conveniently used time and again since the September 11 terror attack by its spin masters led by Uncle Sam’s chicken hawks and war mongers, backed by the coalition of the willing. Unfortunately, our country was one of the witting tool used in such propaganda under the Arroyo administration that has made her the coordinator for Asia in the GWOT.
 
As an observer of events unfolding in the global arena, I have written several articles already on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda group and one of the significant ones I have included here that I mentioned (again) was in January 2008 :
 
"Strange as it may seem, Bhutto was murdered after she had an interview with David Frost of BBC which was never aired and viewed thru BBC international TV network but can be seen through YouTube.com, and exposed what has been common knowledge in Pakistan--- that Osama bin Laden had been dead for six long years.
 
There is a basis for suspicions that Bhutto's murder was the product of the confluence not only of events but also of interests, with the US militarists and the Pakistani fascists agreeing that her revelation about bin Laden's demise was a fatal mistake that must not be replicated. Only death would ensure that Bhutto would not repeat the mistake.
 
It was very clear that bin Laden died on December 13, 2001, with this excerpt from my August 2007 article :
 
If I may recall, President Bush, Jr. made a statement after the Tora Bora heavy bombing (many believed that bin Laden died in his mountain air conditioned safe house) at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan wherein he made specific claims that America is safer as a result of his military action. To quote – “The World is changing for the better because of American Leadership. America is safer today because we are leading the world. Afghanistan was once the home of al Qaeda. Now terror camps are closed, democracy is rising and the American people are safer.” Even Pakistan and Afghan newspaper accounts of Osama's death were published on December 15,2001.
 
Since the May 2 announcement of bin Laden’s death by President Obama, a lot has been written by patriots around the world using the internet especially through social media networks like Facebook. Revisiting hundreds of videos online through youtube.com posted by the different 9/11 truth seekers and movements around the world.
 
What concerns me most is how this new (overused) spin will affect us Filipinos in a time when interesting events are gradually unfolding. Us, Filipinos should be vigilant against the manufactured stories on the GWOT because in our midst are people especially from the corporate media who are witting tools to deceive and dumb down the populace.
 
It is very clear that important issues are on the table when it comes to our national security vis-à-vis our foreign policy that will be directly affected with this recent lie. Like the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement and the reported virtual US military bases in the south are matters that need to be addressed by the government or we will all be taken for a ride and suffered the consequences.
 
There is too much undercurrents going especially our relation with our Asian neighbors that had to be taken up with the expertise of a good geopolitical strategist that for me is still nowhere in sight. Sadly, after a year of this leadership, still as if nobody is minding the store.
 
One false decision through lack of transparency, this administration will surely lose its credibility and may lead to its downfall (the president should be vigilant) because the lives of every Filipino is at stake here and much more of our sovereignty.
 
There is still time to rethink our stand against this greatest lie in human history. We have to choose – are we going to rally behind the war mongers or we will make a firm stand against them?
 
Let us all be victors in this war against terror lies and be instruments of truth this time..
 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Testing the Water Might Lead to Its Boiling Point
By Erick San Juan
 
 
In the midst of a very hot season, the country is now being faced with various hot issues, one after another. Alongside are problems very close to every Filipino’s grumbling stomach, the reason why there is a growing number of hot-headed individuals nowadays.
 
One hot issue came out just recently, as reported by one of the leading broadsheets, that US Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and William Thad Cochran (R- Mississippi) visited the country for a “possible return of the US naval base in Subic.”
 
The timing of the so-called visit of the two solons from the US Senate is really suspicious and has raised a lot of speculations from all sectors of the society, even if the good US Embassy press attach√© Rebecca Thompson has denied the said rumor.
 
The nature of such matter should not be taken lightly especially now that the Visiting Forces Agreement is undergoing a “comprehensive review” by the reorganized review commission under the Office of the President. Possibilities of such various speculations can be incorporated one way or another in the review of the VFA if this present administration will not practice transparency.
 
The rest of us will be caught unaware because Uncle Sam is so desperately in need of more naval bases in this part of the region as Japan is slowly coming out of the ruins of the past triple calamity that shook them terribly. Even the Guamanians are resisting the new military installations there.
 
As what I have written in my past articles, Japan’s political life has been altered several times to please Uncle Sam when it comes to the issue of the US marine base in Okinawa. But it was already decided and the planned transfer of the US marine base from Okinawa to Guam is underway until the disaster happened.
 
All eyes are now on the Philippines for a perceived comeback of a US naval base that could produce a man-made calamity and turn the country into a magnet that will attract a regional conflict in the process.
 
The timing is right as events unfold after the March incident of a reported “harassment” by Chinese patrol boats in the Reed Bank near the Spratlys where an oil exploration is ongoing that led to the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines before the United Nations.
 
Followed by the announcement of the Department of Energy and the Department of National Defense that will seek assistance from the US in training forces that will safeguard the exploration in the said area. And from the Malampaya royalties, the country will purchase from the US three blue water ships, helicopters, six to seven radar systems all across Mindanao and Palawan.

Whether we like it or not, these developments are really inviting trouble. We have to be careful or else we will be in a situation that can lead us all to a mutually assured destruction, as I always keep on reminding this government and the populace.
 
Could it be that the said visit of the two elder senators from the US Senate Appropriations committee was to test the water, so to speak and make it appear that they are here “to see the economic progress in the Subic Freeport area that has been made over the years and to ask how the US can collaborate”?
 
Remember, Uncle Sam is not our enemy, but we have to be wary in dealing with them for any possibilities to becoming a pawn in a regional war game. As the old saying, "If you cannot leak them, join them." But, we have to get what's due us this time. Whether we like it or not, we are engage  and never let history of double cross repeat itself.