Tuesday, April 26, 2016

U.S. “Subic Pivot” prompts Scarborough build-up

          The SCMP (South China Morning Post) report on the decision of China to start reclamation at the Scarborough Shoal or what China calls Huangyan Island is a logical consequence of the U.S. “Subic Pivot” or the return of the U.S. military base to that Olongapo town authorized under the controversial EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) signed between Obama and BS Aquino in April of 2014. Since then, U.S. submarines, missile cruisers, as well as Japanese naval ships have docked at the Subic base facilities.

          The Scarborough is just 270 km from the Subic military facility and a perfect site for monitoring and, if necessary, confronting any hostile acts that may emanate from the U.S. military forces stationed there. China’s action follows a defensive pattern since the “Asia Pivot” was announced by the U.S. officially in 2011 but had already been mulled in the corridors of power in Washington since 2009. U.S. prompted provocations behind its client states - the Philippines and Japan followed in 2012 with the BRP Gregorio del Pilar arresting Chinese fishermen and Japan’s nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands.

          The signing of the EDCA in April 2014 was met by China’s start of island reclamations in August of that year to include the Mischief, Fiery Cross and Subi reefs. Construction of airfields, lighthouse and other facilities have been completed in some of the islands while in others such facilities are being set up. Civilian use of the facilities has been highlighted by Chinese government but it is clear that in case of any necessity these can be easily converted to defense uses – which seems to be the message to the forces behind the “Asian Pivot”.

          In May of this year, 2016, reports of brushes between Filipino fishermen and Chinese security patrols in rubber dinghies appeared in Philippine media. Chinese authorities accused some Filipinos, Zambales fishermen of throwing “fire bombs” at them while their security patrols were conducting “governance” – a word China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs used to describe their action. Despite the hostility the Chinese security patrols maintained disciplined use of non-lethal tactics, unlike what the Philippine Coast Guard have done in the past using machine guns on unarmed fishermen.

          The Zambales fishermen unable to fish in the Scarborough area are understandably frustrated and exasperated, enough to commit such acts of defiance. About this situation I received a text from a farmer-fisherman national leader, Sonny Domingo who is also from Zambales and was approached by the fishermen for assistance. Domingo proposed some livelihood projects to the local authorities who unfortunately stopped him from pursuing the projects, leading Domingo to say that the fishermen’s problem is not the Chinese but the Philippine government authorities.

          Sonny Domingo is the chairman of KAMMPI, a farmer-fisherman national federation accredited by the Department of Agriculture. The lack of positive response from Aquino government authorities to his effort to create livelihood for the displaced fishermen made me wonder if the government is deliberately aggravating the situation to push the fishermen into further frustration and other acts of hostility. Actually, I believe government can easily ease the situation in the Scarborough just by beginning even low level talks initially – but maybe that’s too much to expect with Big Brother U.S. watching over the DFA’s shoulders.

          Sonny Domingo texted me this message, “Can you help me meet Sen. Trillanes? We need his help for our Zambales Fisherfolks re Scarborough. TY.” I suppose this message was prompted by the memory of Sen. Trillanes successfully back-channelling with the Chinese government during the Scarborough Standoff in 2012, when the senator succeeded in mitigating the negative effects of DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario’s deliberate tension-building against China. Trillanes succeeded in the lifting of a Chinese embargo on Philippines exports of mangoes to China, among other things.

          One of the strategic reason for China’s build-up at the Scarborough Shoal is said to be the strategic value of a base there against possible attempts at closing the Luzon Strait to the passage of the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy). A base at the Scarborough Shoal would be ideal to station forces, planes, ships and missiles to counter any such attempt, while monitoring the U.S. base at Subic at the same time. China’s actions are greatly determined by what the U.S. is doing around what China considers its security zone, as one of China’s generals pointed out - China has been invaded from the sea over 400 times.

          The timing of the announcement of the Scarborough Shoal reclamation and building project is reported by some analysts as a response to the impending announcement by the ITLOS (International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea) which is expected to sustain the U.S.-supported position of the Philippine government under BS Aquino. The U.S. has been leading the political and media chorus I projected outcome of the ITLOS case expected to be adverse to China’s position as an “internationally backed” decision that China should abide by (although the U.S. is not even a signatory to the UNCLOS).

          Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has not been sitting back to wait for the U.S. and ITLOS decision and claim of its “international” merit, in the past month alone the RIC (Russia, India and China) announced its consensus against “internationalization” of the SCS issue and its preference for “bilateral negotiations” between countries involved to resolve such issues. This was after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his Moscow meeting with FM Wang Yi announced the same position earlier. In FM Wang Yi’s meeting with Laos, Cambodia and Brunei, four countries iterated the same position. All these show that it is the U.S. and its minion the Philippines that is isolated.

          In all these it is the Filipino people, represented in the particular situation at the Scarborough Shoal by the Zambales fishermen, that is suffering the ill-conceived and ill-intentioned policy the BS Aquino-Albert del Rosario of “Lawfare” (legal warfare that reeks of insincerity and malicious motives) against China and cutting off bilateral talks that is the only viable and the internationally preferred mode of resolving issues of sovereign interests. Although it would be too embarrassing for the Philippines to step away from the Tribunal case it should resume the suspended bilateral talks with China formally to give the two countries a chance to step away from the U.S. sponsored “Lawfare”, save face for the U.S. and the Philippines, and serve the Filipino people better that way.

          The next administration after the elections should take this path. ###

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kidapawan Massacre is Ruling Class Failure
April 5, 2016 Blog

                Rina Jimenez David writing in the Inquirer follows the line of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has pointed out the possibility of the NPA organizing the farmers in the protest march that ended in several farmers being shot and killed by the PNP.

                Habito’s evidence for possible NPA support for the protest march are: the professionally prepared placards, placards calling for the removal of the military from NPA areas and lifting of operations against the NPA. These are reasonable observations.

                It is very likely that the NPA indeed have been supporting these farmers and such tactics to create controversy and catharsis through violence and bloodshed absorbed by pitiful poor farmers should not be a surprise anymore – we have seen too much of this in the history of political struggles.

                The use of violence and gory blood displays is a most effective generator of public outrage and sympathy. I remember reading an anti-communist propaganda pamphlet about this entitled “How the Reds create a riot” that end in innocent, sincere participants being bloodied, angry and pushed to join the struggle against the powers that is perceived to commit such oppression.

                Kidapawan, Cotabato, is such a faraway place, so far away from the national eye and media focus that any other protest action not accompanied by such dramatic violence and display of naked oppression can hardly hope to catch national attention. But with visible blood and tears the national media can’t help but headline it.

                If the NPA did indeed have a hand in engineering the bloody scene for media to cast its frenzied feeding for a sensational news story it is still no excuse for the National Government to shoo away the observation of many Filipinos that the incident reflects the massive failure of governance and government’s commitment to service those among its citizens most in need.

                The government failure is not only during this administration of BS Aquino, it traces back to the Cory Aquino years and the Yellow movement’s responsibility for redirecting national and public policy away from State-led national, social, agro-industrial development to private sector-led profit seeking corporate privatization and opening to unfettered globalist predation of the economy.

                Philippine government policy in the era of the Edsa I globalization caused agro-industrial development policy to be swept aside in favor of import dependency from rice, onions and garlic to fish sauce and even fish; irrigation projects that were prioritized during the national development oriented government of the State-centered Marcos government were shelved, agricultural credit programs curtailed, ad nausea. In anytime of El Niño the situation created by the lack of irrigation infrastructure in agricultural areas will decidedly be devastating.

                The government in the particular case also failed to anticipate the tactics and strategies of the insurgency, if indeed they were involved in organizing, agitating and provoking an incident, which is actually very plain to understand and prepare for to ensure no spectacular violence can be exploited. Riot control and management is a very common skill set for police and military riot control commanders and forces already.
                If the NPA indeed were involved in the Kidapawan farmers’ protest and were successful in creating the tragic incident that has been utterly damaging for the government and the nation, one can say that the government of the Yellow movement, that is the Ruling Class behind the government, has been guilty of abetting the crisis and crimes therein. ###               
Our Information Struggle
April 4, 2016


            An apology is in order. I know I promised to keep up with the daily blog schedule, but a project that has been hatching for several months now has turned out to require more time and energy to perfect that I ever expected. But reporting it to you will assuage the frustration, I hope, of those who’ve visited the blog and discovered only the last entry of a week or two ago.

            I have been working on putting together a new TV/Digital show and have just recently signed the production contract with the Global News Network, GNN which is the cable-satellite network of Politics Today program that has been airing for the past eight years. The new show will focus on the Asian Century and the Philippines’ role in the new Multi-Polar milieu of BRICS, with special focus on the Philippines-China dynamics within it.

Countering U.S. inspired disinformation.

            One of the very clear intentions of the TV/Digital information project is to counter and balance off Western and its heavily influenced Philippine mainstream and popular media that is decidedly directed towards sensationalizing and stoking the tensions over the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issues to justify the enhancement of the U.S. military alliances in the region – with Japan, Australia and using the Philippines – to help in the attempt to perpetuate U.S. hegemony in Asia in this century.

            Below is the picture of our signing of the GNN contract for our show “Journeys… Filipino chronicles through the Asian Century”, which intends to present the World of information from an independent, Asian, non-Amboy and truly Filipino perspective:

            The basic format of our “Journeys…” show will be Asia Today (and in history), Focus: China-Philippines, and the “Oy community” (i.e. Pinoy, Tisoy, Tsinoy, Manoy {Malay-Indo Pinoy}, Inddoy {Indian Pinoy}, ad infinitum) to highlight events in the different ethnic communities that form the greater Pinoy’s cosmopolitan but basically Asian culture.

U.S. Imperialism -Ever Threatening Danger.

            U.S. imperialism has been trying to recover from the two decades of ill-advised neocon designs for the “Project for a New American Century” with the U.S. Treasury draining Clinton-led Yugoslav War followed by the decade of Bush Jr.’s “War on Terror” disguising its imperial designs and continued to be imposed on Obama for another half-a-decade. The Yugoslav War and the bombing of China’s Belgrade Embassy convinced both Russia and China to start seriously building formidable military capabilities to equal and potentially surpass U.S. military might.

            Russia and China have succeeded in many ways to achieve their goals of strengthening their respective military capabilities, but at the same time they’ve also been building the global political alliances to ensure the end of the Uni-Polar World that dominated the last decade of the 20th Century. BRICS became a reality with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa coming together. At the end of the first decades of the 21st Century the U.S. suddenly saw a new reality smack into its face – the Multi-Polar World led by Russia and China rose above the horizon casting its shadow over 60% of the globe.

            From mid-2000s down, looking back from 2016, the U.S. retaliation at the emerging Multi-Polar World apparently started percolating. A few years later think-tank papers on the “Pivot to Asia” appeared and by 2011 this became official Obama policy that ushered in a series of unmistakeably U.S. engineered provocations starting with the Philippine Navy triggered “Scarborough Standoff” when it arrested Chinese fishermen in traditional “commons” and then the Japanese government nationalized the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands triggering Chinese surge of nationalism.

The Information War.

            Since the start of this second decade of the 21st Century an Information War had been initiated by the U.S. to justify and serve as alibi for moving thousands of U.S. Marines to base in Australia, start moving 60% of its military forces to Asia, impose a “re-interpretation” of the Japanese Peace Constitution to allow use of its military to “defend allies” like the Philippines, renew and multiply its military bases in the Philippines, wage the FONOP (Freedom of Navigation Operations) provocations, promote “lawfare” substitute for warfare using the Philippine government as hostage-human shield and patsy.

            The new TV/digital show will be one of the many more media platforms we will be setting up to wage our small but highly effective information guerilla war against the American media leviathan with tentacles, cultural and structural, controlling media content in its hegemony that includes the Philippines. We are successful, of course with the many others such as the Manila Daily Tribune, the Manila Times columnists, and a number of others in Manila Standard, Philippine Star, Malaya, the Bulletin, Business World, etc. There is a smattering in broadcast media exercising independence from the Western or Amboy mindset which we will also reach out to.

Very Soon… regular again.

            Very soon I will be regular again on this blog, and I hope daily. That’s probably after April 17, 2016 when our first “Journeys…” show appears on TV and the Internet. In the meantime I will try to blog-in as often as I can. ###