Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Shoal that Will Start It All

The Shoal that Will Start It All
By Erick San Juan

It has been a little over four years now since the two-month stand-off between China and the Philippines sea vessels in the Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc) that has caused us to let China seized the shoal.

And now… China will establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal, 230 kilometres (143 miles) off the Philippine coast, the South China Morning Post newspaper cited an unnamed source close to the People’s Liberation Army as saying.

It seems that what we have been saying all along that the battleground for the next world war would be here in our country is coming to realization, unfortunately for all of us.

From the article “A Scarborough ‘shoaldown’: An opportunity to push back against Beijing” by Harry Kazianis, April 22, 2016 : “So is there any place on the map where China could be challenged, a spot where Washington and its regional partners could turn the tables, making their intentions known that Beijing’s coercive actions will now come at the steepest of costs, and that they will no longer be able to do so easily disrupt the status-quo?

Enter Scarborough Shoal.

Essentially stolen from The Philippines back in 2012 after the US helped broker a de-escalation of tensions–sitting clearly in Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) — could be the place where America could slow or possibly halt China’s dangerous ambitions.

So why pick Scarborough Shoal to make a stand and why now? Because according to various reports, it seems likely to be Beijing’s next island reclamation project. A report in The Diplomat explains that, “China is poised to take “decisive and provocative action” in the Spratly Islands. These sources report that China may dynamite Scarborough Shoal to build an artificial island to house military facilities…”

Scary indeed because this possible move by China in the Scarborough Shoal will ultimately put the last nail in the coffin for the country’s hope of getting back some parts of our territory. The following is from the Lecture delivered for the Cartographic Exhibit Forum by Dr. Jay L. Batongbacal, Director, UP Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea, September 26, 2014) : Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) is one of the oldest known fishing grounds of the Philippines, from its awakening as an independent nation-state. Previously, it was known as Scarborough Shoal, and published maps of the Commonwealth Period even included Scarborough Shoal among the natural resources of the Philippine Islands, particularly in its inventory of fishing banks.

Clearly therefore, the Philippines had been exercising exclusive jurisdiction over the shoal since at least the 19th century under Spain, and expanded such exercises in the 20th century under the United States and as an independent republic. It did not only begin exercising jurisdiction in 1946: it was actually continuing the exercise of pre-existing jurisdictions that matured into full sovereignty. In our Constitution, Scarborough Shoal is included as among the territories “over which the Government of the Philippine Islands exercises jurisdiction” (1935 Constitution), then “by historic right or legal title” (1973 Constitution), and then “all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction” (1987 Constitution).

Second, if Bajo de Masinloc/ Scarborough Shoal was indeed included as part of the archipelago transferred by the United States to the independent Republic of the Philippines, then it is arguably Philippine island territory subject to American defense commitments under the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty. This is important in light of the most prominent means by which China now asserts its claims to the South China Sea: through the use of its lightly-armed but large coast guard vessels against foreign ships, and more recently thru reclamation activities.

Under present circumstances, the only thing that prevents legal commitments under the MDT- Mutual Defense Treaty from being invoked are that there has not yet been “an armed attack…on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific” per the terms of the MDT. If China were to aggressively use its vessels in the same way as it did this year with Vietnam, and ram or sink Philippine vessels, it could qualify as an armed attack that would engage US defense commitments under Articles IV and V of the MDT.

If China were to attempt to install a station on, or undertake reclamation of, Bajo de Masinloc/Scarborough Shoal to transform it into an artificial island, it would amount to nothing less than a permanent taking of a piece of Philippine territory, and therefore be considered a direct threat to the territorial integrity of the country. The Philippines would then be entirely justified in sending public ships to impede or prevent such taking. If China then responds in the same way as it did with Vietnam with respect to the oil rig HS 981, by deploying a protective fleet of ships to block and ram such Philippine vessels, then it will thereby be carrying out a threat of an external armed attack while actually taking the shoal. This then comes within the terms of Article III of the MDT, and the defense commitments under the MDT may be invoked.

China’s continuing blockade of Bajo de Masinloc/Scarborough Shoal is thus skirting a very fine and dangerous line; it has pushed the envelope to the point that just one mistake will qualify its actions as an armed attack under the MDT. The question that must be asked and seriously considered now is whether and how the Philippine Government is preparing for these scenarios and contingencies.”

So this next move of China in reclaiming land in the Scarborough Shoal/Bajo de Masinloc is not the same as what they did in other parts of the disputed area due to the fact that it is ours as part of our EEZ, Exclusive Economic Zone. A move by it's commander-in-chief Xi Jinping (his new title) to cover his domestic problem by creating an external war front which I have been saying as "Painting in the West and Fighting in the East."

With the implementation of EDCA and positioning of the US virtual military bases already in place, will the great Uncle Sam fight for our right in the contested area?

As for Harry Kazianis, “Some would argue there is nothing the United States can do — well, short of war according to one expert, to halt China’s assault on the status-quo. Scarborough Shoal offers the perfect opportunity for Washington to begin to signal to Beijing that its actions from now on will have consequences–something the Obama Administration has failed to do. But the question as always is this: Will Washington act before it’s too late?”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Filipino’s Fate? SOLD!

Filipino’s Fate? SOLD!
By Erick San Juan

“At a time of change in this dynamic region, and democratic transitions in the Philippines and the United States, we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder. We will continue to stand up for our safety and freedoms, for those of our friends and allies, and for the values, principles, and rules-based order that has benefited so many for so long,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at the closing ceremony (April 15) for this year’s Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) war games between US and Philippine troops. (Various news sources online)

Nice – sounding statement and I hope that the US will be serious (enough) this time in defending us.

And as for PNoy, this country’s exiting President with a little over two months left in his term, has sold every Pinoy’s fate to his “master” through a policy to contain China.

This is further discussed in the Manila Daily Tribune’s April 16 editorial – “The United States was peeling off the true breadth of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed with Noynoy through its Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who revealed a lot of surprises that the opaque administration of Noynoy withheld from Filipinos.

Carter, among others, revealed that for some time now “joint” sea patrols of Philippines and American ships have been conducted in the South China Sea, presumably since January when the Supreme Court (SC) greenlighted EDCA. Carter may have as well said that US ships are all over the contested areas with the limited vessels of the Philippine Navy.

In a joint press briefing with his local counterpart, DND Sec. Voltz Gazmin, Carter also indicated the permanent presence of American forces stationed in local military camps.

Some 200 airmen in a contingent of 300 appear to be part of a quick reaction unit that can suit up American aircraft for battle on notice.

The soldiers will be left behind after the Balikatan exercises, according to Carter.
Carter said the troops and five A-10 ground attack aircraft that participated in the annual war games will remain in the country “temporarily.”

Carter revealed more, saying that the US plans to expand its presence beyond the five bases earlier announced where its forces will operate under EDCA to include Clark Air Base and the main military facility Camp Aguinaldo.

Last month, the US announced it would rotate troops in Antonio Bautista Air Base, Fort Magsaysay, Lumbia Air Base, Basa Air Base and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base.

Antonio Bautista Air Base is in Palawan Island which is about 100 miles away from some of the Spratly Islands, a collection of rocks and small islands claimed by several countries in the region.

US also fired long range missiles during the Balikatan war games at Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac which was a thinly-veiled warning against China.

What was alarming was the editorial of Businessmirror dated April 19, 2016 quoting Stars and Stripes, a US defense newspaper article written by Wyatt Olson saying, "On paper, Balikatan might be called an exercise, but the Marine general leading the training prefers to think of it more as a mission rehearsal." What might be the mission that a joint team of Filipino and American military be involved in? 

Businessmirror editorial adviced that "With the US now having a permanent contingent of its troops in the Philippines, the government  needs to inform the people exactly why and how US soldiers will deploy with and help the Philippine military? What are the specific limitations and rules of engagement while assisting our soldiers?"

Noynoy has been in his most opaque in the US military activity in the country after he swung the Supreme Court to approve the EDCA deal.

Filipinos had to hear of their fate sold to the policy to contain China from a visiting American official.”

True enough the observations of some pundits that this ‘amboy’ President will not leave his office without satisfying the whims of his master. Pundits believe that BS suits his initials!

Another amboy is what we need to repeat a lot of bad parts in this country’s history.

“US military bases only increase the possibility of new US military involvements in Asia of the Vietnam type. For their purpose is clear: in September 1945, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff spelled out their historical interventionist role in the Philippines in a TOP SECRET memorandum: “the United States bases in the Philippines should be considered not merely as outposts, but as springboards from which the United States Armed Forces may be projected.” (Source: The Bases of our Insecurity [1983] by Roland Simbulan)

Our country will be forever involve in conflicts in this region because of EDCA, and whether we like it or not we are like a magnet attracting Uncle Sam’s enemies in the process.

Again, its a bitter pill but do we have a choice?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our Filipino Comfort Women, the Fight for True Justice Goes On

Our Filipino Comfort Women, the Fight for True Justice Goes On
By Erick San Juan

I was visited by my former aging nannie (yaya) named Beata last week and she showed me several news clippings-releases about comfort women. She narrated a friends sad experience during the war. She said that she was 13 when her friend was detained, along with her grandmother, by Japanese soldiers in a municipal hall-turned-garrison in Dasol, Pangasinan. For 10 days, she was forced to do manual labor during the day and repeatedly raped at night. Later on, she would witness her own grandmother being raped and killed.

Fidencia David is one of the few living comfort women, a euphemism for military sex slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Lolas Kampanyeras, the comfort-women support group she belongs to, now has less than 10 active members from over a hundred when it formed in 2000.

Seven decades after the war, they’re still waiting for an official apology, just compensation and inclusion of their story in history books.

David was one of the first victims to step forward and file a legal suit against the Japanese government as part of the first comfort women group, Lila Pilipina.

None of those cases prospered. Lack of government support has also been blamed for the loss of every legal battle since 1998. (Source: Comfort women keep the faith by Nathalie Tomada, The Philippine Star, April 4, 2016)

This is the very sad state of our comfort women, not even the government has taken any effort to fight for their cause. To wit :

“Before Gloria Arroyo ran for presidency, she promised the lolas of Lila Pilipina (an organization of survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery during WWII) that if they vote for her, she will put her attention to the issue because, according to the lolas, Gloria Arroyo told them that “Babae din daw siya.” It was all talk.

In 2010, President Aquino said that he will task former Ambassador Emmanuel Lopez to handle the plight of the comfort women. He also promised that he will ask Congress to create a law to guarantee that the comfort women will get compensation from the 1956 Reparations Agreement. As far as the comfort women lolas are concerned, nothing came out of it. Again, it was all talk.

The Philippine government stated that the lolas have already been compensated through the Asian Women’s Fund, which was created by Japan to give out compensation packages and loans to “certified” comfort women. This “compensation,” however, does not reach the entirety of the comfort women.

And if it did, still, no amount of money can ever make up for the decades of trauma and pain that the comfort women have gone through. Japan still hasn’t apologized unequivocally for their war crimes. Money alone will never be enough to compensate for the atrocities of the Japanese Imperial Forces.” (Source: 8 Facts You Should Know About Filipino Comfort Women by Cody Cepeda, 1/26/2016)

Time is the essence of why concerned people and support groups wanted to immediately give what is due to all Filipino comfort women and maybe to their heirs because our lolas are dying.

According to a clinical psychologist and Kampanyeras coordinator Cristina Rosello. “But this is also the right time (to step up the campaign) because media interest has waned, (we’re sounding like a) broken record and the lolas are dying.”

Rosello, who authored the book “Disconnect: The Filipino Comfort Women,” has been a volunteer psychologist to comfort women since 1995.

Based on her studies, their experiences could be described as worse, as they exhibited combined symptoms of single-rape events victims and prisoners of war.

“So you would be shocked, how did these women survive?” Rosello asked.

She noted that what happened to the Filipino comfort women was distinct and “explicitly criminal” because not only were they non-combatants, it happened towards the end of the war when aggression was much more brutal.

The comfort women issue, however, has grown complex amidst “deepening friendly relations” between the Philippines and Japan.

According to Rosello, they’ve been told that the government “cannot deal with the issue without considering the context that Japan is now an ally and providing economic aid.”

The only historical marker for comfort women is found in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila in the hope that the tragedy will never happen again.

For Rosello, the implications of continuing the fight for these lolas – the living but fast-fading reminders of wartime atrocities – are wide-ranging.

“We should get redress and justice for these women because they didn’t deserve the wartime victimization. Their suffering didn’t stop in the war, it continued beyond. A lot of them brought the grief to their deathbed,” she said. (From Nathalie Tomada’s article)

Are we going to stop the fight after the last of our lolas who are victims of war atrocities meet its Creator? As what Cody Cepeda said, which I agree, “With or without the lolas in this life, the fight for true justice goes on.”


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GMO Food Engineering by Erick San Juan

GMO Food Engineering by Erick San Juan

And so we thought that we are being used as an experimental ground for weather engineering (or manipulation) but there is still more – genetically engineered foods a.k.a. genetically modified organisms use to produce GMO foods and the pesticides used in farming.

“By now, nearly all informed people recognize that Monsanto is widely regarded as the most evil corporation on our planet. But what, exactly, makes Monsanto so evil? Why is Monsanto worse than a pharmaceutical company, a pesticide company or even a weapons manufacturer?” (Source: Mike Adams, Editor of NaturalNews.com)

The following is from the comprehensive article The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation” By E Hanzai, Back in 1901 when the company founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works is named. The company’s first product is chemical saccharin, sold to Coca-Cola as an artificial sweetener.

Even then, the government knew saccharin was poisonous and sued to stop its manufacture but lost in court, thus opening the Monsanto Pandora’s Box to begin poisoning the world through the soft drink.

In the 1920’s, Monsanto expands into industrial chemicals and drugs, becoming the world’s largest maker of aspirin, acetylsalicyclic acid, (toxic of course). This is also the time when things began to go horribly wrong for the planet in a hurry with the introduction of their polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

“PCBs were considered an industrial wonder chemical, an oil that wouldn’t burn, impervious to degradation and had almost limitless applications. Today PCBs are considered one of the gravest chemical threats on the planet. Widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders. The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state.”

Even though PCBs were eventually banned after fifty years for causing such devastation, it is still present in just about all animal and human blood and tissue cells across the globe. Documents introduced in court later showed Monsanto was fully aware of the deadly effects, but criminally hid them from the public to keep the PCB gravy-train going full speed!

Monsanto created its first hybrid seed corn and expands into detergents, soaps, industrial cleaning products, synthetic rubbers and plastics in the 1930’s. Oh yes, all toxic of course!

And in the 1940’s, they begin research on uranium to be used for the Manhattan Project’s first atomic bomb, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese, Korean and US Military servicemen and poisoning millions more.

The company continues its unabated killing spree by creating pesticides for agriculture containing deadly dioxin, which poisons the food and water supplies. It was later discovered Monsanto failed to disclose that dioxin was used in a wide range of their products because doing so would force them to acknowledge that it had created an environmental Hell on Earth.

In the 70’s Monsanto partner, G.D. Searle, produces numerous internal studies which claim aspartame to be safe, while the FDA’s own scientific research clearly reveals that aspartame causes tumors and massive holes in the brains of rats, before killing them. The FDA initiates a grand jury investigation into G.D. Searle for “knowingly misrepresenting findings and concealing material facts and making false statements” in regard to aspartame safety.

During this time, Searle strategically taps prominent Washington insider Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Gerald Ford and George W. Bush  presidencies, to become CEO. The corporation’s primary goal is to have Rumsfeld utilize his political influence and vast experience in the killing business to grease the FDA to play ball with them.

A few months later, Samuel Skinner received “an offer he can’t refuse,” withdraws from the investigation and resigns his post at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to work for Searle’s law firm. This mob tactic stalls the case just long enough for the statute of limitation to run out and the grand jury investigation is abruptly and conveniently dropped.

Amid indisputable research in the 1980’s that reveals the toxic effects of aspartame and as then FDA commissioner Dr. Jere Goyan was about to sign a petition into law keeping it off the market, Donald Rumsfeld calls Ronald Reagan for a favor the day after he takes office. Reagan fires the uncooperative Goyan and appoints Dr. Arthur Hayes Hull to head the FDA, who then quickly tips the scales in Searle’s favor and NutraSweet is approved for human consumption in dried products.This becomes sadly ironic since Reagan, a known jelly bean and candy enthusiast, later suffers from Alzheimers during his second term, one of the many horrific effects of aspartame consumption.

Searle’s real goal though was to have aspartame approved as a soft drink sweetener since exhaustive studies revealed that at temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it “breaks down into known toxins Diketopiperazines (DKP), methyl (wood) alcohol, and formaldehyde.”(4), becoming many times deadlier than its powdered form!

The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) is initially in an uproar, fearing future lawsuits from consumers permanently injured or killed by drinking the poison. When Searle is able to show that liquid aspartame, though incredibly deadly, is much more addictive than crack cocaine, the NSDA is convinced that skyrocketing profits from the sale of soft drinks laced with aspartame would easily offset any future liability. With that, corporate greed wins and the unsuspecting soft drink consumers pay for it with damaged health.

Coke leads the way once again (remember saccharin?) and begins poisoning Diet Coke drinkers with aspartame in 1983. As expected, sales skyrocket as millions become hopelessly addicted and sickened by the sweet poison served in a can. The rest of the soft drink industry likes what it sees and quickly follows suit, conveniently forgetting all about their initial reservations that aspartame is a deadly chemical. There’s money to be made, lots of it and that’s all that really matters to them anyway!

And the list goes on of all the evil things that Monsanto had created but despite all these killer products, they still exist and earning billions of dollars around the globe, why? Because Monsanto corporation control some top level officials in the White House and the US Congress. Even the US President himself, signed into law a bill protecting Monsanto against lawsuits. Monsanto is a great lobbyist and they know when and to whom they will give a huge amount of election campaign funds. So what else is new? As long as there are corrupt leaders in all aspects of a government, there exist some lobbyists who has the right amount of money to give generously, translation – corrupt officials motto “show me the color of the money and I will do the rest in your favor”. 

What else is new?