Southeast Asia

Philippines to turn to China for drug war aid?

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East Asia The Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China Oct. 18 for a high-profile visit that western media accounts are portraying as a tilt away from the United States. Washington has historically been the Philippines' imperial patron, providing investment and military aid—but relations are now strained over Duterte's murderous anti-drug crackdown, which is believed to have claimed 3,000 lives. Arriving in Beijing, Duterte blasted Washington and the European Union for their criticisms of his lawless crackdown, and praised his hosts for giving him free rein. "China is the only country to come out freely and [make] a firm statement that they are supporting the fight against drugs in my country," Duterte told Chinese state news agency Xinhua in a comment picked up by the Philippine Star. "The other countries, United States, EU, instead of helping us, they know that we are short of money... all they had to do was to criticize. China never criticized."

Narco-fascism in the Philippines?

Posted on October 3rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' new ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte took things to a new level last week. He had previously compared himself to genocidal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in pledging to unleash a reign of terror on drug users and dealers. But on Sept. 30, he actually invoked Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust as a favorable model for what he intends to do in his own country. "Hitler massacred three million Jews," Duterte told reporters. "Now, there are three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them." He said thusly purging the Philippines would "save the next generation from perdition." (Reuters, Oct. 1; PhilStar, Sept. 30)

Philippines: more Duterte death-squad links revealed

Posted on September 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaPresident Rodrigo Duterte's ultra-hardline anti-drug policies took center-stage in the Philippines last week as the country's Senate held televised hearings on the matter. By now, the National Police force has acknowledged that its troops have killed 1,506 suspected drug dealers or users since Duterte took office in June. (Amnesty International, adding those killed by unaccountable "vigilantes," puts the figure at 3,000.) Duterte openly boasts that the killings will continue. The hearings heard impassioned testimony both for and against this lawless crackdown.

DEA declares war on kratom

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

kratomLast month, when the DEA dashed activist hopes for a rescheduling of cannabis, it also issued another lesser-noted decision—to put the psychoactive herb kratom in the same Schedule I classification as pot, that for the most dangerous drugs with no medical use. Advocates have launched a White House petition against the kratom ban, and have already won the required 100,000 signatures to trigger an administration reponse. The DEA decision takes effect on Sept. 30, while the White House has 60 days to respond to the petition, under its own policy.

Philippines: anti-narco dictatorship consolidating?

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

South East AsiaRodrigo Duterte, the ultra-hardline president of the Philippines, ominously declared a "state of lawlessness" after a Sept. 2 bomb blast at a night market in the southern city of Davao, where he had long served as mayor. The special powers he is seizing are ill-defined, but he said he would "invite uniformed personnel to run the country." In justifying the power-grab, he stated: “There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings, and there seems to be an environment of lawlessness, lawless violence." There's an especially perverse irony to the invocation of extrajudicial killings, as his own government is accued of exactly that.

Philippines: military camps for drug users?

Posted on August 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIn his increasingly draconian anti-drug crackdown, the new Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, actually sent National Police troops to arrest a local mayor—resulting in a shoot-out that left six of the mayor's bodyguards dead. On Aug. 1, Duterte ordered Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town on Leyte to island to surrender within 24 hours—and added: "Otherwise, an order of 'shoot on sight' will be given if they resist and endanger the lives of arresting police officers." Espinosa surrendered to police the next day—but his son, wanted as a suspected drug-dealer, remained at large. The day after that, the gun-fight broke out between the body-guards and police who were on patrol near Espinosa's house. Police of course said the body-guards fired first. The affair began July 28, when five other of Espinosa's body-guards and staff were busted in a sting operation for a street sale of shabu (methamphetamine).

Indonesia executes four drug convicts

Posted on August 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

South East Asia Indonesia carried out its first executions in over a year on July 29, sending four drug convicts to a firing squad at the special island prison of Nusa Kambangan. The executions of the four—two Nigerians, one Senegalese and one Indonesian—came despite diplomatic pressure and international condemnation. As many as 10 other people await execution in Indonesia—including foreign nationals, and almost entirely on drug-related charges. Campaigners are still trying to win clemency for Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani man who "confessed" to heroin possession after being brutally beaten by police, and Merri Utami, an Indonesian woman arrested with heroin in her bag at Jakarta's airport after being tricked into becoming a drug mule. Their executions are believed to be imminent.

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."

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