militarization

Philippines: protests against martial law

Posted on June 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaProtests are emerging in the Philippine against ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao last month. Over 100 former and current lawmakers, religious leaders and activists gathered in Manila for an interfaith rally on June 11, the Philippines' Independence Day., demanding an end to the official suspension of basic democratic rights in Mindanao.

Colombia: new push to resume glyphosate spraying

Posted on June 8th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .
cocaA new ruling by Colombia's top court may open the way for a resumption of glyphosate spraying to wipe out coca crops, which was suspended in 2015 due to health concerns—in defiance of much pressure from Washington. In the May 25 decision, a two-judge panel of the Constitutional Court did order that the suspension of the fumigation program be continued. But it also ordered the government to conduct a "prior consultation" with campesino communities to establish acceptable terms for spraying. 

Has drug war made Mexico second most dangerous country on Earth?

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoProtests have been held in Mexico over the slaying of an award-winning journalist on May 15—the latest in a long line of reporters killed for daring to cover the country's ongoing nightmarish narco-violence. Javier Valdez was founder and editor of weekly newspaper Ríodoce in Culiacán, capital of Sinaloa state and principal stronghold of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel. Ríodoce staff pledged to carry on his work in spite of threats. Valdez was the sixth Mexican journalist killed so far this year.

US Marines back to Afghanistan's opium heartland

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

opiatesUS Marines this week returned to Helmand province, now the epicenter both of Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency and opium production. Ostensibly, the mission is to train Afghan forces struggling to stem the insurgency, but they certainly have the power to fire if fired upon. Many of the 300 Marines coming to Helmand under NATO's Resolute Support training mission are veterans of previous tours in the province—where almost 1,000 coalition troops (mostly US and British) were killed fighting the Taliban before they pulled out in 2014. When they left, as part of that year's supposed "withdrawal" of US troops from Afghanistan, they handed over the sprawling desert base they dubbed Camp Leatherneck to the Afghan army, hoping not to return.

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."

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