militarization

Philippines: Duterte to mobilize the army in drug war

Posted on February 6th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThere was recently a sign that the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte was going to rein in his murderous police in the face of mounting international criticism of their harsh anti-drug crackdown. It took the police killing of a foreign business executive, but Duterte finally pledged that he would disband and reorganize the National Police narco units. But human rights observers may have rejoined too soon. On Jan. 31—just one day after his announcement of the police overhaul—Duterte made a speech to army generals, telling them that while the police were off the drug war beat the armed forces would have to step in to replace them. Rather than taking a step back from the brink, it looks like the Philippines could be following the grim examples of Mexico and Colombia of turning the drug war into a real war, run by the military.

Trump appoints drug war general to lead Homeland Security

Posted on December 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPresident-elect Donald Trump is reported to have named the former chief of the Pentagon's Southern Command, Gen. John Kelly, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security. As SouthCom chief, Kelly oversaw counter-narcotics operations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean from late 2012 until his retirement in January 2016. He was a notorious hardliner, which resulted in policy clashes with President Obama, the Washington Post tells us. As Homeland Security chief, he will oversee the 20,000-strong Border Patrol, with responsibility for drug interceptions along the 2,000-mile frontier with Mexico. 

Central America: tri-national task force against gangs

Posted on November 16th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaA joint security force bringing together the three nations of Central America's Northern Triangle officially began operations to fight narco-gangs and organized crime on Nov. 15. The force is made up of military, police, intelligence and border officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—which all face growing internal violence from criminal networks. The force was officially inaugurated at a ceremony in the Honduran border town of Ocotepeque, near the point where the three countries meet. The presidents of all three nations were in attendance.

Philippines prez delivers on deadly drug war pledge

Posted on July 27th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office last month with a pledge to unleash a deadly crackdown on drug users and other miscreants—and he's sure delivered. In his first State of the Nation address July 25, he issued more such rhetoric. "Show no mercy to them because they are not showing any mercy to us anyway," Duterte declared to cheers from his supporters in congress. He called on police and security forces to "double your efforts, triple them if need be... We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars or below the ground if they so wish." Clearly addressing his critics, he added that "human rights cannot be used a shield or an excuse to destroy the country."

White House to reconsider ban on military gear for police

Posted on July 25th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

BlackLivesMatter Amid a growing sense of crisis here in the United States, comes the unwelcome news that the White House will reconsider its May 2015 ban on police forces getting armored vehicles and similar military gear from the Defense Department. The leaders of two police organizations boasted of this to Reuters on July 21.  The named sources are Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Johnson, that of the National Association of Police Organizations. The ban was instated following a public outcry over use of the military-grade riot gear by police in Ferguson, Mo,, and other cities in protests against police brutality.

Philippines prez urges citizens to kill 'drug addicts'

Posted on July 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaRodrigo Duterte was sworn in as president of the Philippines on June 30, and wasted no time in launching a foul-mouthed tirade threatening to unleash a reign of terror against drug users. After a staid inaugural speech at the presidential palace, he made a visit to a poor district of Manila where he expounded on his real agenda—and even called upon citizens to take the law into their own hands and kill "drug addicts." AFP news service noted this line from his profanity-laden harange before a crowd of some 500: "These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, don't go into that, even if you're a policeman, because I will really kill you. If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful."

Paraguay: drug czar steps down after deadly anti-cannabis op

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Southern Cone Paraguay's top anti-drug official stepped down June 20, two days after a botched anti-cannabis operation left a three-year-old girl dead at the hands of his troops. Luis Rojas resigned as head of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), under apparent pressure from President Horacio Cartes. The deadly operation took place in Nueva Italia municipality of Central department, where SENAD troops searching for cannabis plantations apparently fired on a van—which proved to be carrying members of the Zanotti Cavazzoni family, owners of a local sugar plantation and mill. The girl's uncle was also wounded in the attack. The girl was the grand-daughter of Ulrico Zanotti Cavazzoni, local sugar oligarch and land-owner. One wonders if Rojas would have been forced to resign if it had just been a peasant's daughter who was killed.

Anti-gang 'mega-raids' in crisis-hit Venezuela

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

VenezuelaAs Venezuela lurches deeper into political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro has announced a new phase in the government's controversial "Operation Liberate the People" security program, pledging to cleanse the country of gang-related crime. Thousands of elite military troops have been deployed across Caracas, with five new “permanent” bases and over 130 checkpoints established in the city. Perhaps not coincidentally, this comes as Maduro has declared a "state of emergency" throughout the country in response to a supposed US-backed conspiracy against him by the political opposition, earning rebukes from Amnesty International, which called the declaration "alarming."

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