Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another “Doll in One’s Pocket”?

Another “Doll in One’s Pocket”?
By Erick San Juan

Gathered from various news wires, Senator Richard Lugar (Republican-Indiana) arrived in Manila last October 27 and will stay until October 31, and the purpose of  his Asia-Pacific tour is ‘to encourage nations to reduce the use, production and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction’.

According to a press release from the US Embassy in Manila, Lugar’s visit is an effort to expand the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, which focuses on dismantling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and reducing their stockpiles.

“Cooperation is essential to identifying and interdicting the flow of weapons of mass destruction through out Southeast Asia. Sources of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or precursor materials could be states or rogue terrorist elements,” the press release quoted Lugar as saying.

Thinking Filipinos and pundits alike might ask, why in the world that Sen. Lugar chose the Philippines to make his announcement? Do we have such WMD, nuclear weapons and the likes?

The last time I checked my history books, it was their 'gang' headed by then Secretary of State George Shultz that helped put Cory Aquino as president replacing Ferdinand Marcos through the People Power Revolution in 1986. Together with that was the immediate ‘death sentence’ to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that we paid but we never used a single watt of electricity. And the rest, is somewhat part of our ‘bad’ history.

It’s quite obvious that our dream to have cheaper electricity (through nuclear power plant) has long been shelved, and now the good senator announced such nuke threats here?

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. (Franklin D. Roosevelt) Same is true with geopolitics.

Since the standoff in the Panatag Shoal (or Scarborough) until the famous announcement of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States’ pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, the confluence of events lead to the return of US troops to the Philippines. Of course there is always the convenience of citing the Mutual Defense Treaty through the Visiting Forces Agreement for the reason that US troops can legally ‘visit’ their former military base in Subic. But the nagging question is for how long the visit will last?

And having FDR’s quotation in mind, the plan has been set since the election of PNoy as the country’s next president. Lest we forget that the unseen hand of Uncle Sam is always there especially in choosing the highest leader of the land.

And the visit of Senator Lugar here is not just an ‘ordinary’ visit. The fact that he played a major role in the country’s recent past history, might be repeated (or people might repeat history).

I want to share here another flashback about the good Senator. Back in early June this year, he was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Collar (Supremo) during the launching of the new lobby group, US-Philippine Society- a think tank co-chaired by businessman Manuel Pangilinan and former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte.

Lugar was given the Lakandula award for his “significant contributions to the enhancement of the Philippine-US alliance and friendship.” And in fact, he introduced Senate Resolution 481 calling for increased American defense and security cooperation with the Philippines, including support for the modernization of the Philippine military. (Source: PDI by Daxim L. Lucas)

Need we say more? So, it seems that we owe Sen. Lugar our military’s modernization.

Back to his intention ‘to encourage expansion of the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat reduction program’ here in the region is quite a doublespeak. Why?

The fact that Washington wanted to restrict the use of nuclear arms here in our territory. What about their warships who many believe are loaded with nuclear arms and nuclear-powered at that?  As I always say, not all Filipinos are fools or can be fooled by rhetorics and deceits, especially coming from a supposed ally.

As a matter of fact, Russia just announced last October 10 that it ‘will not renew a decades-old agreement with Washington on dismantling nuclear and chemical weapons when it expires next year, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Senator Richard Lugar, a veteran disarmament campaigner, was in Moscow in August to push for the renewal of the program, known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which he helped launch.

The project intended to dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons from the former Soviet Union, was last ratified by Russia in 2006 and is due to expire in 2013. Aides said it has resulted in the deactivation of more than 7,650 strategic warheads.

Ryabkov said that Russia now has the finances to carry out its own programs and that Moscow is interested in the continuing partnerships in third world countries. (Reuters)

Could this be the reason why Sen. Lugar turned to this region in promoting his program?  And the main thing here that we have to watch out for is, what could be Beijing’s reaction to Uncle Sam’s emissary’s visit to the region?

Possibly not good. Pundits believe that another scenario is being hatched. We have shown to our neighbors here (and the rest of world) that a possible rehash of 1986 is in the offing. Hope that it is not another programmed 'doll in the pocket’. God forbid!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Puppet and His Master by Erick San Juan

The Puppet and His Master by Erick San Juan

Two important elections are in the offing – the United States and China. Both will happen sometime this November. As the heated debates between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney intensify, many analysts think that both US presidentiables are using the China – bashing tactic to win some votes.
US Presidential debate (Round 2) last October 17, 2012 in New York - the debate metamorphosed into blame game on policy breach and failures. Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney claimed that one of them is soft with China and secretly doing business deals with China.

As the debate moves on, the skeleton in the closet of both candidates were exposed. Breitbart.com obtained an advance copy of a bombshell report which reveals that the Obama.com website is not owned by the president's campaign but rather by Obama bundler Robert Roche, a US citizen living in Shanghai, China. Roche is the chairman of a chinese infomercial company, Acorn International, with ties to state-controlled banks in China that allow it to gain revenue through credit card transactions with Chinese banks. If you will type Obama.com, it will redirect to contribute.barackobama.com/donation/index-ovf.html. While Romney is being exposed to have also business ties with China, with Chinese banks, industrialists who have senior positions in the Chinese government. The buzzword is, Romney even visited a factory in China when Bain bought it. A factory that have barbed wire on the fences, sniper towers which was reportedly a slave labor camp. Both wanted to please their audience, the American people and the world’s televiewers. The puppet masters, of course, are watching, evaluating and grading them on who will they put to power come November. Such puppet masters hold the future of the rest of the world as the United States’ next president will be as powerful when it comes to its foreign policy. We are now living in very exciting times, both economically and the world’s security. We have witnessed on the latter part of President Obama’s term on how his administration’s foreign defense policy shifted to what they call Air-Sea Battle and turned to the Asia-Pacific region as its next focus when it comes to its fight against terrorism among others.

And these ‘others’ – one the encirclement (a.k.a. containment) of China and the  so-called nuclear threat from North Korea. Many believe that these two candidates are both the same and equally bad for the American people and the world.

Washington announced plans last spring to expand its missile defense shield and install its components not only in Europe but also in Asia and the Middle East. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Issues Madelyn Creedon said that locations in Australia, Japan and South Korea could be selected. It was also reported in August that missile defense components – early warning radars would appear in Japan and the Philippines. The strategic locations of the countries mentioned here all points to the area of significance to China and North Korea.

With the establishment of military base in Australia and the return of US troops and warships in Subic, it is clear that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ The White House has made no secret of the fact that it sees China as the main regional threat. As the American leader Barack Obama put it back then, the United States and small Asian countries had long been concerned about Beijing’s territorial claims to islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). Washington considers this region to be of great strategic importance because up to US$1.2 billion in commercial shipping passes through it annually on the way to American shores.

The perceived danger posed by both China and North Korea in the region has actually increased the desire of every nation, especially claimants in the disputed areas of the SCS, to purchase more war materiel in the process. Such move only increased the possibility of a regional conflict and in the end it’s only the military industrial complex who got all the profits through the arms race fanned by their surrogates in Pentagon. And, in this way the goal of Pentagon’s full spectrum dominance in the region was achieved.

The provocations, as perceived by China, by Uncle Sam through its allies has developed into a bigger rift in the relationship among the countries in the region. The US may not be headed for a direct military confrontation with China at the moment but the Pentagon wants to contain China, wants to encircle China and keep its subservience to US dictates. And, Philippines can become a hostage to the strategic plans of Washington in the region.

And for as long as we kowtow to Washington’s every whim without even a 'quid pro quo', we cannot remove ourselves from the stigma that we are Uncle Sam’s military outpost and doormat in the region. And from my previous article – The Shield that Will Endanger Us, this same shield will put every Filipino life in danger if we will not get our act together and change the course of history and stop being Uncle Sam’s pawn in their game of war.

 Wake up!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Road to Peace, a Piecemeal?

The Road to Peace, a Piecemeal?      
By Erick San Juan

After pacifying the netizens of the cyberworld (for the meantime) due to the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on the Cybercrime Law (R.A. 10175), the PNoy administration has ‘pacified’ the warring factions in the south through its so-called Bangsamoro Framework Agreement. But for how long?

As what Ninez Cacho-Olivares of the Daily Tribune wrote “So why should this piece of paper be hailed to high heavens by foreign governments and the yellow propagandists of Noynoy or even by the MILF, especially when there have been many previous peace agreements with specified terms and conditions from the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, to Presidents Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo, all of which failed to bring about peace?”

A very good question that PNoy and the people in his loop should consider seriously now that certain sectors were not pacified with this agreement. What else is new with this ‘framework’ anyway? Framework is the skeleton and the unknown annex is the meat. What could be politically right, could be legally wrong. Even Dick Pascual of Philippine Star twitted that we can't fix a broken system by breaking it more. He added that the agreement is only between Malacanang and the MILF.ARMM was created by our congress through RA 6734 based on our constitution. It can't be abolished by mere executive order. Some say it is somehow related to Gloria Arroyo’s MOA-AD (BJE) that was ruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional back then.

After the propaganda hype has died down and the agreement was signed, sealed and delivered to the parties concerned, what’s next?


A lot has already been written and so many comments went around through the internet and text messaging, the bottom line here is the good old question by the main players – WIIFM, translation, what’s in it for me?

The elusive road to peace is not as straight as the ‘daang matuwid’ of PNoy, the receiving end, the Bangsamoro  political entity through the MILF will tread the long and winding road to peace until 2016 (or thereabouts) because the ‘framework agreement’ says so. The week-long (since its announcement) jubilation culminated at the signing in Malacanang is only the beginning. And the major players will not just wait and see until it becomes a law without us benefiting from it.

Lest we forget that there will be elections next year here and in Malaysia. Thus, it is a good copy for more ‘pogi points’ so to speak to win an election.

Another important reminder, the different analysis from various analysts and respected writers like former Senator Rene Espina and Erik Espina of Manila Bulletin, Jemy Gatdula of Businessworld, etc. have pointed out the flaws and crucial points that the ‘framers and fixers’ of the Framework Agreement had (deliberately?) overlooked that might be essential in the coming deliberation process. Which in due time will encounter difficulties and make the whole undertaking painfully longer than expected.  And will not be under PNoy’s term? What a masterpiece. Who said that PNoy is dumb? Just asking.

Ferdie Pasion, an activist blogger said that, Kosovo and East Timor right after attaining sub-state status, declared independence with the international community immediately giving them recognition. With this in mind, as for the time being, the present leadership assured everybody happy after the ‘historical event’ and the road to peace (even by piecemeal) has taken a step forward. But two steps backward… When it comes to peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

As the euphoria escalates among the Muslim world, the US troops has also intensified its presence in the country. Alongside with the ongoing PHIBLEX that will end on October 18, there is the ongoing military buildup in Subic. It is just like "painting in the west (peace) and possible fighting in the east" scenario in the offing.

As I have written in my past articles, the role of the Philippines in Uncle Sam’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region is very vital. As far back as the time when Halford Mackinder’s Eurasian heartland’s map was drawn, our country has an important role in their plan to encircle China (or some geostrategists will say ‘containment of China’).  Sadly, the present leadership seems to be unaffected by the recent developments and some pundits branded the PNoy administration and his key officials to be witting tools for the global elite's  plan to be implemented here.

As I keep on repeating for the nth time, the program is on, the drive for a global war through a regional conflict can be delayed but it cannot be stopped.  We are witnessing a world repeating a bad part in human history, in order to save a dying economy, the world will need to start a war. Because of stupidity amongst war freaks, for them - war is imminent. And if we will tag along with such stupidity, we will all be part of a mutually assured destruction. And the world will destruct by piecemeal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Double Fasten Your Seatbelt by Erick San Juan

The US and Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX 13) was formally opened aboard the USS Bonehomme Richard in Subic Bay, Zambales on October 8 and will last until October 18. It is a regularly scheduled exercise hosted annually by the Republic of the Philippines (as reported by different news agencies).

As per news release from the defense department, PHIBLEX 13 is the 29th iteration in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security by ensuring interoperability and readiness of Philippine and US forces.

“This year’s exercise will focus on improving interoperability for humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions which are critical in the Ring of Fire,” US Ambassador to the Philippine Harry K. Thomas, Jr. said.

As if the Philippines has just recently included in the Ring of Fire, 'WTF' that this centuries-old fact had to be mentioned in this year’s PHIBLEX anyway? Is there something new here that we haven’t heard before?

As what US Navy officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Camp Aguinaldo reporters, "that the US military continuously conducts port calls and other military activities in various countries in the region to guard against possible bullying by China".

 “We need to maintain presence in the area so that you will not be bullied by China and Iran,” added the US officer. (Source: tribune.net)

And so another reason is to show support to the AFP (armed Forces of the Philippines) against the bullying of China… and (now) Iran? Why Iran?

Being an ally of Uncle Sam in this part of the Pacific, it is giving me the nightmares. We are like a giant magnet attracting enemies we had acquired in the process of being a pawn to a possible war games.

The big picture is getting clearer now. of how crucial the role of our country to the so-called ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific by Washington and the Pentagon. In my last article. Why Register Your Punches? (can be read @ericksanjuan.blogspot.com), the plan to help our AFP by Uncle Sam was enumerated and the recent development at Subic Bay Freeport is in tune with this plan.

The plan to convert the Subic International Airport complex into a Singapore Sentosa-type family-oriented entertainment and casino resort center has been deferred.

Instead, the airport complex is now being eyed to serve as a forward base for the joint operations of the Philippine Air Force and the United States Air Force Pacific alliance.

The joint operation, according to sources, was aimed at maintaining regional balance in the light of the continuing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea. (Source: Joint PH-US base in the works in Subic, Manila Standard Today 10/03/12)

I have written about this possible return of the bases before when some senior legislators from Washington went here and visited Subic. The turn of events since then has culminated into this forward base in Subic. And we have forward operating bases already in Mindanao – “Since 2002, a unit now called the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP) has been deployed to the southern Philippines. Contrary to the US and Philippine governments efforts to present the troops belonging to the unit as part of temporary training exercises, this unit has maintained its presence in the country continuously… With various military facilities now being constructed for their use, members of the unit refer to their bases in Mindanao as "forward operating base-11" and "advanced operating base-921". (IN THE DRAGON'S LAIR US prowls for China in the Philippines by Herbert Docena).

And there is more to this so-called forward base, the creation of the CSLs. The "Cooperative Security Locations" are technically run and maintained by Manila or private contractors. The Pentagon considers them "US military facilities that may be activated for pre-positioning logistics support and as venues for joint operations with host militaries during actual combat operations."

From the article of Mr. Docena - the indefinite stationing of US troops in the country - have significantly improved the US ability to operate in and from the Philippines, thereby locking the country firmly within the US global posture.

In effect, we are locked (so to speak) and in the crosshairs for possible retaliation from any country perceived as adversary by Uncle Sam. And the present leadership seems to be oblivious to what is happening to our country.

If there is anything that is unconstitutional here is this so-called forward basing and the establishment of the CSLs (a category of military bases in official US parlance). Lest we forget that our country has strictly prohibited the re-establishment of foreign military bases here after 1991, when the US left Subic and Clark.

Sadly, Uncle Sam will always conveniently seek the MDT and VFA in particular to justify their forward bases here. What a convenience in our expense because our legislators has forgotten to pursue the long-standing review (and possible abrogation) of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

If we keep on repeating history, we will end up the witting cannon fodder and worst, we will not even know what hit us. Why? Because the people in the government who supposed to be protecting this nation’s populace seems to be in the ‘noynoying’ mode, translation – the next election, with the same faces and family names, this country is really going to the dogs.

 Double fasten your seatbelts!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Telegraph Your Punches? By Erick San Juan

 Why Telegraph Your Punches? By Erick San Juan

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs Mark Lippert bared a three-part approach that the US Defense Department will do to help boost the alliance between the two countries on security-related issues.

In a live stream forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies held in Washington, DC (last September 27), assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs Mark Lippert bared a three-part approach that the US Defense Department will do to help boost the alliance between the two countries on security-related issues. (Source: Manila Standard Today online 9/30/2012)

Sounds great, another helping hand extended by our ally, the good old Uncle Sam in the midst of the growing military strength of China in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. But, why the feeling that somehow there is something fishy here? As an observer of events unfolding on the matters of national and global security, we noticed that there is a scenario-building here, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation.

We came across some articles in their website that enumerated the country’s military weaknesses – translation, a script that culminated at the recent conference by the CSIS, Washington, DC. Now that Uncle Sam is in rescue mode to “help” our AFP. Such helping hand is actually in tune with their Air-Sea Battle strategy.

They will 'help' us strengthen our air and naval forces, but as always the nagging question, is Uncle Sam really helping us? Lest we forget that the so-called AFP modernization where military hardware and other war materiel were purchased, as in ‘bought’ from Washington are not FREE. As what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts said in one of his article – everything in America is for sale. Why telegraph your punches? In fact, these war materials can't be delivered immediately. Plus most of the possible warring nations will do a preemptive strike or the so called "First Strike Policy". Do we have to say more?

Here is the plan :

In June 2011, the executive branch of the government and the AFP agreed on a multiyear, multibillion peso defense upgrade spending and military buildup. The Department of Budget Management (DBM) released a multiyear obligation authority (MOA) to the DND, allowing the AFP to enter into multiyear contracts with other governments or private arms and military hardware manufacturers. The DBM also committed 40 billion pesos (about $800 million) in the next five years (2012–2016) to develop the AFP’s capabilities for greater domain awareness of the Philippines’ territorial waters and EEZ. In the proposed “rolling” program, the executive branch will ask the Philippine Congress to allocate 8 billion pesos ($160 million) annually for five years for the acquisition of air-defense surveillance radar, surface-attack aircraft, close-air-support aircraft, combat-utility helicopters, and long-range patrol aircraft.  Also covered are current upgrade programs, such as the installation of a radar and communications network along the coast of Palawan and East Mindanao under the Coast Watch System and the acquisition of three refurbished U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton class cutters for the Philippine Navy.( By Renato De Castro and Walter Lohman September 24, 2012)

Seriously, we have to build up, modernize our Armed Forces in order for Uncle Sam to have a ‘strong ally’ in the region against a perceived adversary that will hamper Uncle Sam’s plans, meaning-the Philippines as a cannon fodder, what else?

Furthermore, from the same piece we got from the authors mentioned, the US will ‘help’ us by :

“Providing the Philippines up to two squadrons of refurbished F-16s through the Excess Defense Articles program, along with a training program on their maintenance.

Forming a Pentagon–DND–AFP committee to formulate a multiyear program guiding the re-establishment of the country’s air-defense system in tandem with maritime surveillance capabilities.

Encouraging U.S. allies (Australia, Japan, and South Korea) to sell the Philippines their state-of-the art lead-in jet trainers that can be used by the PAF as a transition fighter before it shifts to a fourth-generation interceptor.

Deploying, on a six-month rotational basis, a U.S. Marine or Navy fighter squadron to be based in cooperative security locations (CSLs) in the Philippines.

Establishing radar and weather-monitoring stations in the Philippines. These stations will be manned jointly by the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the PAF, just like the Wallace Air Station set up prior to 1992 when Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Bases were still operational.

Deploying, on a rotational basis, a squadron of P-8 Poseidons to CSLs in the Philippines. These reconnaissance and surveillance planes will be flown by a U.S.–Filipino crew to survey and safeguard the Philippines’ vast maritime borders.”

With this plan, Uncle Sam is just making sure that their pawn or ally in this region is strong enough to face any external threats. And, that their shift from economic to strategic policy in this region will be easier because a loyal ally will do it for them. But if we will look more closely, Uncle Sam benefitted much more from such arrangement, economically – to fuel their war machine a.k.a. military-industrial complex and strategically by dragging us into a war that is far from the mainland US of A. Sounds familiar? Like a Pearl Harbor scenario. In the end, we are once again shortchanged.

When Washington announced their pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, their purpose of peace and stabilization in the region came out as the opposite. And now the region is a like a powder keg awaiting just a spark of stupid provocations and that’s it, we will all go to hell.

Still our politicians are preparing for the 2013 electoral circus which many pundits believe might not push through due to external conflicts. Wake up!