Posts Tagged ‘Hitler’

Iranian leader worse than Hitler, absolute monarchy is cool – Saudi crown prince

April 4, 2018

Russia Today (RT)

Image may contain: 1 person, hat, beard and closeup

© Charles Platiau / Reuters

Seemingly discontent with just being the darling of the British establishment, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) is on a charm offensive to win over the American public as well.

.
The crown prince must have figured the surefire way to impress the US political establishment was by glorifying Israel and demonizing Iran, judging by his wide-ranging puff interview with The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, on Monday.

Channelling former President George W. Bush’s speechwriter, David Frum, MbS described his kingdom’s enemies as the “triangle of evil,” talking about Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“I believe the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good,” bin Salman told Goldberg, without any trace of irony ‒ or evidence. “Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. … The supreme leader is trying to conquer the world.”

It was when speaking about Israel, however, that MbS brought out the big guns (though not the ones he bought from the US) in his charm offensive. According to Goldberg, MbS “did not have a bad word to say” about Israel.

To Goldberg’s question whether the Jewish people had the right to a nation-state in at least a part of present-day Israel, the crown prince replied: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

Though the interview took place before the recent killing of 18 Palestinians by Israeli authorities, Goldberg speculated that the incident would not have changed the crown prince’s mind.

“My meeting with Prince Mohammed took place before the recent fatal violence on the Gaza-Israel border, but I do not believe that the crown prince would have moderated his views in light of these events,” Goldberg wrote. “The Saudis, like many Arab leaders, have tired of the Palestinians.”

Mind you, that is the assessment of the Atlantic editor, who is known as an outspoken Zionist and served in the Israeli military, rather than the Saudi crown prince. Filtering the subject through his personal prism is not a bug, but a feature of Goldberg interviews – such as the one with former President Barack Obama, published in March 2016.

“If Prince Mohammed actually achieves what he says he wants to achieve, the Middle East will be a changed place,” Goldberg tells the readers, describing how the crown prince was “jovial to the point of ebullience” when they met at a Saudi-owned compound outside Washington.

The crown prince’s handlers “frowned with concern when it seemed as if the prince was veering toward bluntness,” such as when the conversations turned to Saudi Arabia’s laws restricting the behavior of women.

“Before 1979 there were societal guardianship customs, but no guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia,” MbS said. “It doesn’t go back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. In the 1960s women didn’t travel with male guardians. But it happens now, and we want to move on it and figure out a way to treat this that doesn’t harm families and doesn’t harm the culture.”

In Goldberg’s interpretation, 1979 was a “hinge year in Saudi history,” when the Iranian revolution and the Sunni extremists’ siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca “caused a conservative backlash in the kingdom.” So you see, it’s the “triangle of evil” that’s really to blame for the position of Saudi women, not the progressive MbS!

Asked if he intends to do something about it, however, the crown prince replied: “There are a lot of conservative families in Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of families divided inside.”

What about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen that’s been going on since March 2015, at the cost of thousands of civilian lives?

“Saudi Arabia is trying to help the people of Yemen,” bin Salman said.

Freedom of speech? There are three lines one must not cross in Saudi Arabia. “You cannot defame Islam,” MbS said. The second is, one may criticize an institution but not the person, as a matter of Saudi culture. Thirdly, “anything that touches the national security, we cannot risk.”

“But other than that, people have the freedom to do whatever they want to do,” he added.

Goldberg explained that he won’t be asking the crown prince about corruption, “in part because it is a difficult-to-define concept in a country named for its ruling family, the expropriation of national wealth being a defining feature of absolute monarchies.”

For all of his professed admiration of modernity and globalization, bin Salman is a big fan of autocracy.

“If it were not for absolute monarchy, you wouldn’t have the United States,” he explained, pointing out the support for the American founders from the French King Louis XVI.

https://www.rt.com/news/423010-saudi-salman-iran-hitler/

Advertisements

Saudi crown prince discusses anti-corruption crackdown, threats posed by Iran, more

March 19, 2018

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

JEDDAH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed has said the anti-corruption crackdown he initiated in the Kingdom was “extremely necessary” because roughly $20 billion of state funds was “disappearing” every year.

.
In a wide-ranging interview aired by CBS television on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, the crown prince also spoke about the threats posed by Iran and its proxies across the region and the reforms being undertaken in the Kingdom to fight extremism.
The crown prince said that if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon then Saudi Arabia will too.
.
CBS anchorwoman Norah O’Donnell interviewed the crown prince in Riyadh two weeks ago, shortly before he left for his visit to Egypt and Britain.
.
O’Donnell earlier said there were “no time restrictions and no preconditions” and that the crown prince spoke candidly.
.
The crown prince said Saudi Arabia has recovered more than $100 billion so far in its crackdown against corruption.
.
“The amount exceeds $100 billion, but the real objective was not this amount or any other amount. The idea is not to get money, but to punish the corrupt and send a clear signal that whoever engages in corrupt deals will face the law,” he said.
.
During the crackdown last November, the Kingdom detained a big number of incumbent and former government ministers, prominent businessmen, and at least 11 princes who were accused of corruption.
.
The accused were held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel for some time until they either returned what they have been accused of stealing from the government or proved their innocence.
.
On reports of human rights abuses in the Kingdom, Prince Mohammed assured that “Saudi Arabia believes in many of the principles of human rights.”
.
“In fact, we believe in the notion of human rights, but ultimately Saudi standards are not the same as American standards. I don’t want to say that we don’t have shortcomings. We certainly do. But naturally, we are working to mend these shortcomings,” he said.

.
Religious tolerance, women rights
.
Prince Mohammed said that his country was not always like what it has been in the last 40 years. “We were living a very normal life like the rest of the Gulf countries. Women were driving cars. There were movie theaters in Saudi Arabia. Women worked everywhere. We were just normal people developing like any other country in the world until the events of 1979,” he said.
.
The widespread perception of the Kingdom as a place with harsh Islamic laws impacted the youth of the country, recalled the crown prince, “After 1979, that’s true. We were victims, especially my generation that suffered from this a great deal.”
.
“We have extremists who forbid mixing between the two sexes and are unable to differentiate between a man and a woman alone together and their being together in a workplace. Many of those ideas contradict the way of life during the time of the Prophet and the Caliphs. This is the real example and the true model,” he said.
.
The prince was asked if women were equal to men. “Absolutely. We are all human beings and there is no difference,” he said.
.
On the issue of women’s dress code and the stipulations of the Sharia, the crown prince said: “Women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men. This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or a black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”
.
With a ban lifted on women driving in the Kingdom and women getting ready to sit behind the wheel this June, the crown prince was again asked the issue of women and driving in Saudi Arabia. He said: “This is no longer an issue. Today, driving schools have been established and will open soon. In a few months, women will drive in Saudi Arabia. We are finally over that painful period that we cannot justify.” The crown prince also said work is underway to a new initiative to introduce regulations ensuring equal pay for men and women.
.
Prince Mohammed promised to eradicate any trace of extremist elements in the Kingdom’s educational institutions. “Saudi schools have been invaded by many elements from the Muslim Brotherhood organization, surely to a great extent. Even now, there are some elements left. It will be a short while until they are all eradicated completely,” he said, adding “no country in the world would accept that its educational system be invaded by any radical group.”
.
Regional security
.
On regional security, the crown prince said Iran poses a clear and present danger. He likened Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to Hitler, adding that the Iranian mullah’s expansionist plans poses a serious threat to the security of the Middle East.
.
“He wants to expand. He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time. Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realize how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East,” he said.
.
Prince Mohammed said Saudi Arabia has no interest in acquiring a nuclear bomb, but “if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”
.
Crown Prince Mohammed, who is also the defense minister, said Iranian ideology had infiltrated parts of neighbor Yemen. “During that time, this militia was conducting military maneuvers right next to our borders and positioning missiles at our borders,” he said, referring to the Houthi militia that is fighting the UN-recognized Yemen government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
.
Houthi militias have launched missiles toward Saudi Arabia’s Makkah region and at the capital, Riyadh. Scores of civilians have also been killed or hurt in these strikes. Most of these missiles have been traced to Iran.
.
“I can’t imagine that the United States will accept one day to have a militia in Mexico launching missiles on Washington D.C., New York and LA while Americans are watching these missiles and doing nothing,” he added.

He said the catastrophe in Yemen was ’truly very painful’ and hoped the Houthi militia “ceases using the humanitarian situation to their advantage in order to draw sympathy from the international community. They block humanitarian aid in order to create famine and a humanitarian crisis.”

.
On the suggestion that what was happening in Yemen was a proxy war, the crown prince said: “Unfortunately, Iran is playing a harmful role. The Iranian regime is based on pure ideology. Many of the Al-Qaeda operatives are protected in Iran and it refuses to surrender them to justice, and continues to refuse to extradite them to the United States. This includes the son of Osama bin Laden, the new leader of Al-Qaeda. He lives in Iran and works out of Iran. He is supported by Iran.”
.
“Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world. The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy.  Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia,” He said.
.
Personal wealth
.
Asked to comment on news reports on his personal wealth, he said: “My personal life is something I’d like to keep to myself and I don’t try to draw attention to it. If some newspapers want to point something out about it, that’s up to them. As far as my private expenses, I’m a rich person and not a poor person. I’m not Gandhi or Mandela. I’m a member of the ruling family that existed for hundreds of years before the founding of Saudi Arabia. We own very large lots of land, and my personal life is the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago. But what I do as a person is to spend part of my personal income on charity. I spend at least 51% on people and 49 on myself.”
.
The crown prince talked warmly about his father, King Salman’s fondness for history and how he would foster a love of reading in his children’ “He loves history very much. He is an avid reader of history. Each week, he would assign each one of us a book. And at the end of the week, he would ask us about the content of that book. The king always says, “If you read the history of a thousand years, you have the experience of a thousand years,” the crown prince recounted.
.
When the 32-year-old heir to the throne was posed the prospect of him shaping the Kingdom’s future for the next 50 years, he said “only God knows how long one will live.”
.
Can anything stop Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? “Only death,” he said.
.

Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC a ‘cowardly option’ — Amnesty says — “When Duterte Compared Himself to Hitler, We Should Nave Taken Note.”

March 15, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Davao City, in the southern island of Mindanao on February 9, 2018. (AFP)
.

Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com) – March 15, 2018 – 3:35pm

 .
MANILA, Philippines — London-based rights group Amnesty International slammed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw the Philippines’ inclusion in the International Criminal Court, calling the move “misguided” and “deeply regrettable.”
 .
Duterte on Wednesday announced the country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, the international that created ICC, “effectively immediately.”
 .
One of the reasons he cited was the supposedly illegal attempt by the international tribunal’s prosecutor to place him under ICC’s jurisdiction.
 .
But James Gonzalez, AI’s regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that the government is attempting to run away from accountability.
.
Image may contain: 2 people
Left: Rodrigo Duterte; Right: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda
 .
“If the Philippines truly believed that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, they should challenge that in the proper way—which is at the ICC,” Gonzalez.
 .
He added: “Instead, they have taken the cowardly option of trying to evade justice.”
 .
 .
The AI executive noted that the latest move of the Philippine government shows that those in power are “more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings” than they are in ensuring justice for the victims of the ferocious “war on drugs.”
 .
He, however, said that the country’s withdrawal “comes too late” to stop the ICC preliminary examination.
 .
Last month, the international tribunal announced that it had opened an initial inquiry into the alleged killings linked to the government’s crackdown on illegal narcotics.
 .
“Duterte cannot stop international accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute,” Gonzalez said.
 .
Human Rights Watch also said that the court could still prosecute any international crimes committed while the Philippines is still an ICC member.
 .
 .
According to the Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal shall take effect a year after the written notification of the withdrawal is received by the United Nations secretary-general.
 .
“Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing state had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective,” the treaty also said.
.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/15/1797025/philippines-withdrawal-icc-cowardly-option-amnesty#EWsKv8VT05qKX9jO.99

Related:

.
.
.

.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal claim. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines
.

No automatic alt text available.

China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines slams UN rights chief for ‘disrespectful’ remarks about a psychiatric evaluation for Duterte — Is there evidence of a madman?

March 10, 2018

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Davao City, in the southern island of Mindanao on February 9, 2018. (AFP)
 .

MANILA: The Philippine foreign minister hit back on Saturday at the United Nations’ human rights chief for issuing “irresponsible and disrespectful” comments about President Rodrigo Duterte, warning such remarks could set a dangerous precedent.

.
Duterte’s attacks against UN human rights activists suggest he needs to see a psychiatrist, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein told a news conference on Friday.
.
Zeid’s comments came after the Philippine justice ministry filed a petition in a Manila court seeking the declaration of more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas, including a UN special rapporteur, as “terrorists,” a development first reported by Reuters.
.
The petition included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed in 2014 as UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, who was listed as a senior member of the country’s Maoist rebel group.
.
Tauli-Corpuz called the complaint “baseless, malicious and irresponsible.”
.
Zeid said Duterte’s attacks against UN special rapporteurs cannot go unanswered and the UN Human Rights Council must take a position. He said the Philippine leader “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination.”
.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said: “The Philippines takes grave exception to the irresponsible and disrespectful comments of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that cast untoward aspersions regarding the President of the Republic of the Philippines.”
.
Duterte has also repeatedly insulted the current UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, because of her criticism of his bloody anti-narcotics campaign.
.
The Philippines welcomed a UN investigation into Duterte’s signature war on drugs but objected to Callamard leading it, saying she was biased and not qualified.
.
Cayetano said in a strongly worded statement the Philippines was bothered by “the manner in which a ranking UN human rights official can overstep his mandate and insult leaders of member-states without first giving them due process.”
.
“This could set a dangerous precedent that the council would have to immediately address as otherwise member-states could also fall victim to those who seek to politicize and weaponize human rights to undermine legitimate governments,” he said.
.
Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said Zeid’s language was an affront to Philippine sovereignty.
.
“I would hope that although you do not have the same democratic system in your home country of Jordan, you will respect the kind of democracy that we have in the Philippines,” he said in a message to Zeid.
.
Related:
.

 

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

Philippines: Presidential language, conduct unfit for our classrooms and TV shows

March 8, 2018

.

‘Kabastusan’

.
 / 05:18 AM March 08, 2018

Someday, a generation more civilized than us will wonder why we elected — and tolerated — a President with such a foul mouth.

They will cite the curses and wonder why, despite the same expletives considered unfit in our classrooms and TV shows, despite the same rudeness regarded as unbecoming of critics and journalists, these were deemed suitable on the presidential stage.

The Harry Roques of this world explain that his cursing is a way of identifying with the “common people,” who feel betrayed by those who speak “decently” but act treasonously. But surely many of our countrymen who use the same language likewise take issue with his use of it, expecting more from the highest official of the land. Moreover, even those who see his actions as speaking louder than his speech will have to ask why we cannot have a president who is good in both word and deed.

Others, meanwhile, say he’s just joking — and must be understood in the context of “Bisaya culture.” But even today many Bisaya speakers say that his speech is unrepresentative of their values. As someone replied to my tweet about this topic: “I’m Bisaya and this continued use of ‘Bisaya humor’ to justify the President’s uncultured mouth is insulting to me.”

In any case, beyond the curses themselves, it is the content of his speech that make his language even more unacceptable.

First, there’s his misogyny, his ludicrous jokes about rape, his lecherous remarks about women, his lurid references to condom use, and, most recently, his call for soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina.” Someday, a future generation will be revulsed at these instances — and wonder why we did not condemn these more forcefully and collectively.

Second, there’s his racism, his insensitive remarks about foreign nations and individuals: from his inane invocation of Jewish victims of the Holocaust to his characterization of Barack Obama as “so black and arrogant.” Not content with insulting Catholic priests, he cites a misinterpretation of Islam by offering “42 virgins” to prospective visitors to our country, achieving the dubious distinction of being racist and misogynist at the same time.

Then there’s his lack of respect for people: from calling the US ambassador “bakla” (as if it were an insult) to attempting to shame Leila de Lima for being “immoral” (as if he weren’t); from calling drug users “not humans” to telling protesting jeepney drivers to “suffer in poverty and hunger.” Instead of elevating public discourse he has lowered it, and while his insults may reveal more about him than the people he insulted, he does not carry his name alone, but that of our nation.

I am writing this for the future, when historians will seek to make sense of our time. There will be future revisionists,  latter-day Andanars, who will conjure up a golden age, and if they are creative enough, they might even succeed in casting Rodrigo Duterte as a philosopher-king, in the same way that people today are imagining Marcos not just as a hero but also as an enlightened ruler.

But I am also writing for the present, when we cannot surrender the standards that we have held for our leaders. And neither can we sanitize the truth by accepting “kabastusan” as sarcasm or hyperbole — or referring to it as “colorful” or “controversial” language. There are many ways to be honest without demeaning others. There are many ways to be brutally frank without brutalizing the presidency. Powerful Mr. Duterte may have become, but power is never a substitute for truth or for morality, and while his henchmen may yet rewrite the Constitution, they cannot rewrite our norms, our values.

“Take him seriously, not literally,” the Harry Roques of this world say, baldly suggesting that, like the proverbs of Solomon or the novels of Jose Rizal, his words contain some profound, hidden truth. But the more we look at the things he has said, the only truth that emerges is that of hypocrisy, lack of empathy, and moral bankruptcy.

If an emperor commands his subjects to be fully clothed, he must at least do so with clothes. If Mr. Duterte wants to uphold our nation’s dignity, he must speak and act in a dignified way.

Comments to gideon.lasco@gmail.com

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/111564/kabastusan#ixzz59ABZUyfy
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Philippines among worst offender of press freedom in Asia Pacific — Corruption Perception Index 2017 predicts trouble for the Philippines

February 22, 2018
 
Members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines stage a rally criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila. The STAR/KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, along with India and the Maldives, are the worst offenders of press freedom in the Asia Pacific region, according to an international organization against corruption.

In its Corruption Perception Index 2017, Berlin-based Transparency International noted that the three countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms.

“In the last six years, 15 journalists working on corruption stories in these countries were murdered, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists,” the report read.

The Philippines, with a score of 34, also dropped its ranking in the global corruption index from 101st in 2016 to 111th in 2017.

The survey further noted that the results of the 2017 index show that corruption in many countries in the region is still strong.

“In some countries across the region, journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered,” Transparency International said.

The results of the survey indicate that countries with least protection for press and non-governmental organizations also have the worst rates of corruption.

“Every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt,” the report read.

The results of the 2017 index also show the variance in public sector corruption in Asia Pacific as the region has an average score of 44 out of 100 despite top scorers like New Zealand and Singapore.

Among the worst scorers in the region are Afghanistan, North Korea, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

“With a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 means very clean and 0 reflects a deep-rooted, systemic corruption problem, the Asia Pacific countries, on average, are failing,” the survey read.

The index ranked 180 countries and territories based on perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. Countries were scored from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43. Unfortunately, compared to recent years, this poor performance is nothing new,” Transparency International said.

http://old.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/22/1790300/philippines-among-worst-offender-press-freedom-asia-pacific

Related:

.

 (No man is above the law…)

‘Justice will come’: jailed critic of Philippines’ Duterte says — “He’s got a dark psychology. He cannot stand strong-willed women. He has a misogynistic character. He is a damaged man.”

February 22, 2018

AFP

© AFP / by Ayee Macaraig | Senator Leila de Lima has been pursuing Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte for almost a decade
MANILA (AFP) – A year after being jailed on charges she insists were concocted to silence her, a top critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says she believes justice is coming.Senator Leila de Lima has been pursuing Duterte for almost a decade, beginning with allegations he directed a death squad against suspected criminals while mayor of the southern city of Davao.

But now that the International Criminal Court has opened an initial probe into the deadly anti-drug war Duterte launched after becoming president 20 months ago, she says she has new reason to hope.

“I see the day justice will come. I hope for that day. The preliminary examination will eventually get to an indictment,” De Lima told AFP at national police headquarters in Manila, where she is being held.

“I feel this is the start of my vindication, but true vindication comes when I am absolved of the charges,” added the 58-year-old, who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2017.

De Lima’s detention, which began with her arrest on February 24, 2017, stems from allegations she took bribes from imprisoned drug lords while justice secretary from 2010-2015 under then-leader Benigno Aquino.

The charges are serious enough that no bail is permitted, and it is common for even minor cases to take years to work their way through the Philippines’ creaking justice system.

De Lima says the allegations were cooked up to stifle her criticism of Duterte, and she has earned the support of international legislators as well as rights watchdogs.

Amnesty International considers De Lima a “prisoner of conscience” and in its annual report released Thursday tagged her as “the most prominent critic of the ‘war on drugs'”.

“She is a symbol of the coming signs of the times where it will be dangerous for any Filipino citizen to speak out against the government,” Amnesty International Philippines country director Jose Noel Olano told AFP.

After being elected to the Senate in the same 2016 election that handed Duterte the presidency, De Lima led an inquiry into the thousands of people killed by police in his anti-drugs war.

But Duterte’s allies in the Senate shoved her aside from the inquiry and subsequently concluded he was not involved in any wrongdoing.

– ‘A damaged man’ –

The senator is not being held in the horrific conditions of the Philippines’ jam-packed jails, and is instead in a compound with other high-profile detainees where they have some privileges.

She has access to outdoor space where she can exercise, garden and feed stray cats. But continuing with her work has been a challenge.

Phones are banned and she does not have internet, so De Lima communicates the old-fashioned way — handwritten statements picked up by her aides.

“I have to keep fighting,” she said, smoothing her floral print shirt.

“If I keep quiet and fade away into oblivion, people will think I deserve this.”

De Lima started her career as an election lawyer and first tangled with Duterte as the head of a national rights commission in 2009.

She investigated allegations he used a death squad to kill suspected criminals in Davao, but no charges were brought.

“He has never forgotten that and he has never forgiven me,” De Lima said. “This (detention) is his vendetta.”

Duterte and his allies have launched campaigns to sideline other critics, including the anti-graft prosecutor and the Supreme Court chief justice — both of whom are women.

“He’s got a dark psychology. He cannot stand strong-willed women. He has a misogynistic character. He is a damaged man,” she said.

De Lima fills the hours reading, alternating between “Fire and Fury”, the incendiary book on US President Donald Trump, and election rival Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”.

“Duterte and Trump are the epitome of how populism has infected the global order. They are of the same kind except for the propensity to kill.”

Nights are lonely, De Lima says, when she misses her sons, two grandchildrens and ailing 85-year-old mother.

As a guard knocked signalling visiting hours were over, her thoughts turned to Duterte. “If he escapes justice in this world, he cannot escape divine justice.”

“No one escapes divine justice.”

by Ayee Macaraig
.
Related:
.
.

 (No man is above the law…)

Philippines’ Duterte cancels Canada Bell helicopter deal to dodge Canadian human rights review — The man that likened himself to Hitler may be making the Philippines a pariah nation

February 9, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said it was unavoidable that the choppers would be used against ‘rebels and terrorists’

DAVAO (PHILIPPINES) (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday abruptly cancelled a US$235 million contract to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government ordered a review over human rights concerns.”I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal. Do not proceed anymore, and somehow we will look for another supplier,” he said of the deal for 16 Bell 412EPI utility helicopters announced by the two governments this week.

Ottawa said Thursday that the deal was under review due to concerns over the human rights record of Duterte, the subject of a complaint in the International Criminal Court over the alleged “mass murder” of thousands of Filipino drug suspects.

Bell Helicopter said in an announcement of the deal that the aircraft were intended “for a variety of missions such as disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport”.

However Manila said they would also be used for “anti-terrorism” operations, including to evacuate soldiers wounded fighting insurgents.

Philippine troops are battling militants in the Muslim south and communist guerrillas in other parts of the mainly Catholic Asian nation.

Duterte said Friday he respected Canada’s stand but added it was unavoidable that the Philippine air force would used the choppers “against the rebels and terrorists”.

“Do not buy anymore from Canada and the US because there is always a condition attached,” he said, adding that he was referring to defence materiel.

“If I cannot use the gunship, the helicopter, then I might as well surrender this government to them,” he said, referring to the rebels.

“The reason I’m buying helicopters is because I want to finish them off,” Duterte added.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday that an “extremely rigorous human rights review” would be undertaken before any export permit was issued over the helicopter contract, facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corp.

“The prime minister and I have been very clear about the Duterte regime’s human rights abuses and the extrajudicial killings,” she told parliament.

“I have the authority to deny a permit if I feel that it poses a risk to human rights, and I am prepared to do so,” Freeland added.

Trudeau said in November he had called out Duterte over “human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings”.

Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead at the hands of the police, later described Trudeau’s comments as “a personal and official insult”.

The Philippine government says police have only shot suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights monitors’ description of the crackdown as a crime against humanity.

Related:

Philippines Mired In A War Against Reason

January 7, 2018
 / 05:10 AM January 07, 2018

“The fist is the synthesis of our theory.” That statement, made sometime in 1920, belongs to a militant follower of Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italian fascism.  But, it could have been uttered just as proudly by an ardent DDS (Diehard Duterte Supporter) while executing the fist salute made famous by President Du30. What it signifies is the primacy of symbols over ideas, of sensual experience over reasoned debate, and of sentiment over reason.

The writer Walter Benjamin observed that fascism marked not just the rise of strongmen but also the transformation of Europe’s politics into aesthetics. And, the ultimate aesthetic experience during that period was war. In Mr. Duterte’s time, the ultimate sensual experience has to be the slaughter of human beings in the name of the war on drugs.

There is no way one can reason against the spectacle of killing.  It is simply there, a banal reality of our times.  Whether the appropriate term is EJK (extrajudicial killing) or DUI (death under investigation) is no longer important. The government has gone past the debate on whether capital punishment should be restored or not. The killings have happened, and continue to happen, in vague retribution for some collective wrong. What’s important, we are told, is that something is being done at last about criminality.

Of course, the government insists there is no official policy to kill. Policies, after all, are subject to debate. Law enforcers do not debate whether they should kill or not. Killing, for them, is part of the reality of law enforcement, something that happens in the course of their daily work—a matter of self-defense, not of policy.

The killing of innocent bystanders as a result of police operations is likewise not a matter of policy. The correct label, we are told, is “collateral damage,” a blanket term that connotes a regrettable but excusable outcome. Nor can it be said that the government approves or tolerates the killing of drug suspects by unidentified gunmen. The appropriate authorities are supposedly investigating these deaths, even if finding the killers seems to be really low in their priorities.

But, what is perhaps most astonishing to the liberal sensibility is that the Filipino public’s response to these killings has generally been one of awe, rather than of outrage. That is what sets them apart from other forms of murder, and even from the classic cases of extrajudicial killings. In the latter, the public typically calls for justice in the name of the victims.  In the case of the drug killings, the call for justice, if there is any at all, is drowned out by an expressed readiness to believe that these executions are in fact a form of justice. The reasoning is that drug users and pushers destroy many lives, including their own. Therefore, they don’t deserve to live.

It is important to understand the public predisposition that is being mobilized in support of these killings. For, here, I think, lies the key to deciphering Mr. Duterte’s sustained popular appeal. It is a popularity that appears to be impermeable to any kind of objective reasoning because its wellsprings are basically emotional rather than rational. What I call Dutertismo draws from a deep aquifer of generalized public anger that is fed by chronic feelings of demoralization and powerlessness. Using the semantics of killing as its principal medium, Dutertismo communicates an unbending will to destroy with finality the enemies of the nation, whoever and wherever they may be.

This wasn’t at all obvious in the beginning, when Mr. Duterte was campaigning for the presidency. But a careful review of his speeches during the campaign would reveal, even then, a remarkable thematic preoccupation with the idea of killing. In one of the presidential debates, he asserted: “Anyone who is afraid to kill or be killed does not deserve to be president.” Many thought he was using hyperbolic language just to get the audience’s attention. Little did they realize he meant it literally.

The power to take a human being’s life has thus become the ultimate signifier for Mr. Duterte’s strongman rule. Everything else he does pales in comparison — whether it is the outright dismissal of a corrupt government official, or the crushing of a business group, or the destruction of an entire city to flush out the enemy. In wielding this power, Mr. Duterte has been able to command terror more than respect, awe more than trust, and subservience more than support.

There is a speaking style that is typical for this form of leadership. In Hitler and Mussolini, it took the form of the extensive use of rhythm and cadence, and the repetition of emotionally laden words. George Mosse, who studied Hitler’s speeches, described them as “logically constructed, but the inner logic was disguised by the rhythm and activity of the voice. The audience thus experienced the logic in the speeches emotionally; they felt only the militancy and the faith, without grasping the real content or reflecting on its meaning.”

We find little of that in Mr. Duterte’s oral communication.  More like streams of consciousness than methodically crafted messages, his long and meandering public speeches do not draw from existing models of powerful oratory. He is no Winston Churchill or Fidel Castro, or Claro M. Recto, but he’s a tireless storyteller. People listen to him as he weaves oral tapestries of gossipy references and allusions to people and events that he then embroiders with invectives, profanities, and curses. Various audiences hang on to his every word, not for the meaning but for the shock and awe, and the dark humor behind the words. It is an odd gift.

public.lives@gmail.com

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/110072/the-war-on-reason#ixzz53VDFnkjs
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Iran hits back over Saudi’s prince’s ‘Hitler’ comment

November 25, 2017

BBC News

Composite image of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanImage copyright REUTERS
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, warned against trying to appease Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran has accused the Saudi crown prince of being “immature” after he described the Iranian Supreme Leader as the Hitler of the Middle East.

In a war of words between the two regional rivals, Iran’s foreign ministry said Prince Mohammed bin Salman should “ponder the fate” of regional dictators.

The prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, has taken a hard line on Iran.

He told the New York Times it could not be allowed to spread its influence.

“We learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” he said, referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His remarks drew a strong response from Tehran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi accused the “adventurist” crown prince of “immature, inconsiderate, and baseless remarks and behaviour”, the semi-official Isna news agency reported.

“I strongly advise him to think and ponder upon the fate of the famous dictators of the region in the past few years now that he is thinking of considering their policies and behaviour as a role model,” he said.

Will Saudi Arabia go to war with Iran?

Relations between the two powers have become increasingly strained.

Earlier this month, the prince blamed Iran for a missile attack aimed at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, by rebels in neighbouring Yemen. He said the attack might be considered an act of war.

Iran denied it was involved.

Sunni-Muslim majority Saudi Arabia and Shia Muslim-led Iran are at loggerheads across the Middle East.

The Saudis accuse Iran of helping Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting a war since 2015.

Iran and the rebels deny the charge.

Saudi Arabia has been widely blamed for exacerbating Yemen’s humanitarian crisis by imposing a blockade on the country.

Saudi Arabia has also warned against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, where its proxy militias have played a key role in defeating so-called Islamic State, and in Syria, where it has militarily helped President Bashar al-Assad gain the upper hand in the civil war.

 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Both countries have also accused one another of trying to destabilise Lebanon, where the pro-Saudi prime minister leads a coalition including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.

The prime minister, Saad Hariri, recently announced – then suspended – his resignation, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife, while Iran accused Saudi Arabia of engineering the crisis.

Includes video:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42117134

Related: