Category Archives: Military

Rights groups blast newest Duterte threat vs them

MANILA, Philippines — Human rights groups denounced on Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest tirade against them during which he ordered security forces to shoot activists for “obstructing” justice.

Speaking at the anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Duterte again made plain his disdain for the Commission on Human Rights, a constitutional body, threatening to have it investigated for “conspiracy” because “galit ako sa inyo (I am angry at you).”

Responding to this, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said: “The Commission wishes to reiterate that it is merely doing its constitutional duty and it remains hopeful that the government will recognize that the guarantee of equal protection of the law as well as fair and impartial trial including investigation is a constitutional right available to every Filipino.”

But the rights groups Karapatan and Human Rights Watch were not as restrained in their reactions to the latest threat from Duterte, who has repeatedly cursed critics of his “war against drugs,” which has claimed thousands of lives since last year.

GO TO SOURCE: http://www.interaksyon.com/rights-groups-blast-newest-duterte-threat-vs-them/

Duterte warns he’ll order shooting of human rights advocates

“Sabihin mo, ‘Pulis, barilin mo na ‘yang kasali diyan’ (Tell them, ‘Police, shoot those who are part of it’). If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them,” said Duterte on Wednesday, August 16. “Para makita talaga kung anong klaseng human right (So they can really see the kinds of human rights),” he added. (READ: Human rights in Duterte’s 1st year: Where do we go from here?)

GO TO SOURCE: http://www.rappler.com/nation/178968-duterte-probe-shoot-human-rights-advocates

China hands Trump a win on North Korea crisis

Less than a week ago, the world seemed to be on the edge of a nuclear confrontation or at least a bloody military conflict in East Asia.

What a difference a few days make.

After a weekend filled with a series of conciliatory statements from China, some of them downright surprising, the situation with North Korea seems to be less tense right now, which could be construed as a major win for the Trump team.

 

To be specific, the big move came Monday as China agreed to ban imports of North Korean iron, lead, and coal as part of new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang. That’s hitting Kim Jon Un’s regime where it hurts.

But there was also the statement in the Chinese-run state newspaper Global Times on Friday that said that if North Korea attacks the U.S., China should remain neutral. In other words, they’d be on their own.

READ FROM SOURCE: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/14/in-north-korea-crisis-china-hands-trump-a-win-commentary.html

China’s Xi Grapples With Rising Cost of Supporting Kim Jong Un

It’s getting harder for Chinese President Xi Jinping to maintain support for wayward ally North Korea.

For weeks, Xi has been caught in the middle as leader Kim Jong Un lobbed intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan and U.S. President Donald Trump vented his frustration with warnings of “fire and fury.” China has urged calm while backing tighter sanctions against North Korea to ward off U.S. threats of punitive tariffs and military strikes.

The prospect of nuclear war has sparked a debate in Beijing about maintaining support for the Kim dynasty, which dates back to the Korean War in the 1950s. The two countries have grown apart over the decades, with China opening up to become the world’s second-biggest economy while North Korea has become more isolated and impoverished.

READ FROM SOURCE: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-13/china-s-xi-grapples-with-rising-cost-of-supporting-kim-jong-un

N. Korea ‘on standby to launch,’ state-run paper says in response to Trump’s latest warnings

North Korea took its turn Saturday in the country’s escalating, back-and-fourth with President Trump, with the state-run newspaper saying leader Kim Jung Un’s revolutionary army is “capable of fighting any war the U.S. wants.”

The assertion was made in an editorial that also states the Paektusan army is now “on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack.”

Go To Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/12/n-korea-on-standby-to-launch-state-run-paper-says-in-response-to-trumps-latest-warnings.html

Beijing warns Pyongyang: You’re on your own if you go after the United States

 China won’t come to North Korea’s aid if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation, a state-owned newspaper warned Friday — but it would intervene if Washington strikes first. 

The Global Times newspaper is not an official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, but in this case its editorial probably does reflect government policy, experts said.

The stern Chinese warning came as government leaders and politicians around the world urged calm after a series of threats and counterthreats by the U.S. and North Korean governments. The brinkmanship has spread jitters and weighed on global financial markets, which were down Friday for a fourth consecutive day.

Go To Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-warns-north-korea-youre-on-your-own-if-you-go-after-the-us/2017/08/11/a01a4396-7e68-11e7-9026-4a0a64977c92_story.html?utm_term=.c511bf764d3b

U.S. Destroyer USS McCain sails within 12 nautical miles from Chinese Artificial Islands.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The operation came as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

It was the third “freedom of navigation operation” during Trump’s presidency.

Thursday’s operation, first reported by Reuters, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China’s cooperation to rein in North Korea.

GO TO SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-southchinasea-exclusive-idUSKBN1AQ0YK

Hawaii: First state to prepare for nuclear attack

Honolulu (CNN) – Mitsuko Heidtke shakes her head in disbelief after hearing that Hawaii is now the first US state to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear strike by North Korea. She lives on the island of Oahu now, but 72 years ago she was in Hiroshima, Japan.

Heidtke says she was 10 years old when she experienced firsthand the utter devastation and the terrible consequences a nuclear bomb can deliver. She is disturbed to learn that there is even a remote possibility of going through anything like that again in her lifetime.

But growing tensions between the United States and North Korea over North Korea’s weapons program have led Hawaii to take action.

GO TO SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/09/politics/hawaii-prepares-for-nuclear-attack-north-korea/index.html?iid=ob_lockedrail_bottommedium

Report: North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear warhead

Washington (CNN)North Korea has taken a major step forward in realizing its goal of becoming a nuclear power, according to a Washington Post report on a confidential US intelligence assessment that concludes Pyongyang has developed a nuclear warhead capable of fitting inside its missiles.

The Washington Post first reported details of the assessment on Tuesday just hours after North Korea threatened ‘physical action’ in response to punitive sanctions unanimously passed by the United Nations Security Council over the weekend.
 
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post.
 
CNN has not independently verified the report.
 
 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in PH

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Manila on Saturday, the US Embassy announced on its Facebook page.

Tillerson was met at the NAIA by Sung Kim, the US ambassador to the Philippines, as well as other embassy and Philippine government officials.

 

He is set to participate in diplomatic meetings with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the regional bloc’s other dialogue partners.

He is also expected to press China and other Asian countries to take tougher action against North Korea, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.

GO TO SOURCE: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/05/17/look-us-secretary-of-state-rex-tillerson-arrives-in-ph

UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea after missile tests

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea including banning $1 billion in exports.

The new sanctions are aimed at countering the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear programme following two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July.  

The United States-drafted resolution comes after weeks of tough rhetoric from the administration of President Donald Trump, with the President himself having recently taken aim at China for supposedly not doing enough to counter the regime of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. 

GO TO SOURCE: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world-0/us-politics/trump-north-korea-un-sanctions-vote-nuclear-threat-security-council-a7878911.html

Current UN Security Council Members

5 Permanent Members:

ChinaFranceRussian Federationthe United Kingdom, and the United States,

 

US moves to have North Korea suspended from ASEAN

MANILA, Philippines — Washington is seeking talks on how North Korea can be suspended from Asia’s biggest security forum as part of a broader effort to isolate Pyongyang diplomatically and force it to end its missile tests and abandon its nuclear weapons program, U.S. and Philippine officials said.

Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that North Korea’s actions have violated the conflict-prevention aims of the ASEAN Regional Forum, which groups the United States and North Korea with 25 other countries.
 
The Philippines is hosting an annual ministerial meeting on Monday of the 27-nation ARF which will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. Tillerson has no plans to meet Ri on the sidelines of the meeting, Thornton said. With the U.S., Japan and South Korea expected to push for stronger actions against the North, a verbal showdown looms at the forum.
 

“What we have been sort of looking at is having a serious discussion of what it would take for a member to be suspended from this organization that is dedicated to conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy,” Thornton said. “I think we’re going to continue to have that conversation as it regards North Korea.”

“What we’ve been doing is going around talking to partners about what more could they do to contribute to that increasing pressure on the regime and the increasing sort of diplomatic isolation of the regime,” she said.

READ FROM SOURCE: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/03/1724342/us-moves-have-north-korea-suspended-asean

KIM JONG UN IS A ‘SON OF A B****’ WITH A ‘CHUBBY FACE,’ PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT DUTERTE SAYS

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest controversial remarks target the North Korean regime, and they come just a few days ahead of his hosting a meeting of foreign diplomats at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum.

In his typical colorful rhetoric, Duterte professed his hatred for war and described North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un as a “fool” and a “son of a bitch” who is “playing with dangerous toys.”

“This Kim Jong Un, a fool…. He is playing with dangerous toys, that fool,” Duterte said in a speech live-streamed on Facebook to tax officials on Wednesday. Then, he commented on Kim Jong Un’s appearance.

FROM SOURCE: http://www.newsweek.com/kim-jong-un-son-b-chubby-face-philippines-president-duterte-says-645394

U.S. Test-Launches its own ICBM Amid North Korea Tensions

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military successfully test-launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from California early Wednesday, according to an Air Force spokesman — just days after North Korea’s second test of an ICBM.

The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched at 2:10 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

An Air Force statement said that the test was not a response to recent North Korean actions, but shows that America’s nuclear enterprise is “safe, secure, effective and ready to be able to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies.”

Duterte to mayors on ‘final’ drug list: Resign or die

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte plans to confront mayors who are on his final list of suspected drug personalities, and warn them to resign and abandon their drug trade, or face death.

Tatawagin ko ‘yung mga mayor, i-lock ko, kami-kami lang. Sabihin ko talaga, ‘Ganoon kakapal ‘yung ‘pinakita ko sa inyo. Hanapin mo ‘yung pangalan mo diyan, mayor. Putang ina, ‘pag nandiyan pangalan mo, may problema ka,'” said Duterte on Monday, January 9. (I will call the mayors, I will lock them in so it’s just us. I will really tell them, ‘The list I gave you is this thick. Look for your name there, mayor. If your name is there, son of a bitch, you have a problem, I will really kill you.)

He was giving a speech during the oath-taking ceremony of over 200 appointees.

“Either you resign or make a clean break of everything, come up with clean nose and we’ll talk,” he added.

If he will be remembered as a murderer, so be it, he said.

Roque: No presumption of regularity when suspects die in police ops.

There is no presumption of regularity in the Philippine National Police’s operations when it results in the deaths of suspects, according to Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque.

Roque cited no less than the police force’s own rules in saying such deaths should be property investigated through an inquest proceeding to determine if there is foul play.

He said Chapter 3, Rule 15.4 (Inquest Proceeding Necessary When the Suspect Dies) of the Revised PNP Operational Procedures provided that the team leader of the operating unit should submit the incident before the duty inquest prosecutor

Read more details: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/919145/roque-no-presumption-of-regularity-when-suspects-die-in-police-ops#ixzz4oR8F1eB1 

‘Drop boxes’ help gather intel for Duterte’s drug war

It is a drop box where “suggestions” can lead to someone’s arrest — or worse.

In line with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, the Quezon City police and local authorities have been encouraging residents to write down the names of suspected drug users and pushers in their community on a piece of paper.

From there, eager informants need only to look for the nearest “drug box” where they can do their part in making their villages “drug-cleared.”

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/918727/drop-boxes-help-gather-intel-for-dutertes-drug-war#ixzz4oGPx9ZoS 

North Korea missile test as Kim claims ‘whole US mainland’ in reach

(CNN)North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday that appears to have the range to hit major US cities, experts say, and prompted a fresh round of condemnation from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.

A combination of US, South Korean and Japanese analyses of the launch from Mupyong-ni, near North Korea’s border with China, shows the missile flew about 45 minutes, going 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) high and for a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

If the missile were fired on a flatter, standard trajectory, it would have major US cities such as Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago well within its range, with the possible ability to reach as far as New York and Boston, according to David Wright, a missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

READ FROM SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/29/asia/north-korea-intercontinental-ballistic-missile-test/index.html

UK wants to send ‘colossal’ warships to test Beijing’s claims in S. China Sea

Hong Kong (CNN)The UK has waded into a tense territorial dispute in the South China Sea, potentially infuriating Beijing.

Speaking in Australia Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said

“one of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area.”

Johnson did not specify exactly where the carriers would be sent, but added the operation was designed to “vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade.”

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon said the deployment area was not finalized

“but we won’t be constrained by China from sailing through the South China Sea.”

READ NOW FROM SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/28/asia/south-china-sea-uk-johnson/index.html

Duterte suspends military operations in Marawi

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has suspended the military offensive in Marawi, citing concerns over the safety of some 300 civilians being held by Islamic militants still holed up in some parts of the besieged city.

His instructions came on the heels of Congress’ voting to allow the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

“We will finish it. We are not joking. Until the last terrorist is taken out, the war will continue. They have 300 hostages there and that is what is delaying (the operations),” the President said in his second State of the Nation Address.

“Sabi ko, huwag mo muna i-assault (I said, hold off the assault) if possible. We just have to wait it out,” he added.

The safety of the civilians, he pointed out, is the primary consideration of government forces.

BEST TO READ FROM SOURCE: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/26/1721632/duterte-suspends-military-operations-marawi

West Point returns San Pedro Church bell to Philippines

West Point returns San Pedro Church bell to PH
 / 01:22 PM May 02, 2016

WEST POINT, New York — A church bell that once belonged to a Catholic parish in Bauang, La Union, rang for the last time outside a Catholic chapel here. The bell is returning home.

After being away for more than a hundred years, the San Pedro Bell – baptized and named after a patron saint – received the blessings of a Catholic chaplain during a valediction ceremony at the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel last Friday, April 29.

Nearly a hundred members of the Filipino American community, Philippine Embassy officials, diplomats and scholars, and U.S. Military Academy (USMA) cadets, staff, officers and guests, gathered for the send-off.

 

“Today is a joyous and happy day for all of us,” said Col. Matthew Pawlikowski, USMA’s Catholic chaplain who officiated the Catholic Mass and led the procession to the site outside the chapel overlooking the Hudson River where the bell rested.

PLEASE READ MORE: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/139152/west-point-returns-san-pedro-bell-ph#ixzz4nq9W8sjb 

US Embassy vows to find resolution to Balangiga bells issue

The US Embassy in Manila on Tuesday vowed to solve the issue on the Balangiga bells seized by the Americans more than a century ago.

“We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines. We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution,” US Embassy spokesperson Molly Koscina said in a statement.

READ MORE: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/619386/us-embassy-vows-to-find-resolution-to-balangiga-bells-issue/story/

Duterte wants martial law in Mindanao extended until end of 2017

 

By  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ

 / 12:20 PM July 18, 2017
 
 
 
 

(Updated, 12:51 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte wants the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Duterte, in a letter to Congress, said the “existing rebellion” in Mindanao would not end on July 22, the 60th day in the limit prescribed by the Constitution.

“Upon a thorough personal assessment of the current situation in Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao and taking into account the reports and recommendations of the Secretary of National Defense as martial law administrator, the chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as martial law implementor and the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), I have  come to the conclusion that the existing rebellion in Mindanao which prompted me to issue Proclamation 216 on 23rd May 2017, will not be quelled completely by the 22nd July 2017 – the last day of 60-day period provided under Section 18 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution,” Duterte said in a message read by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a Palace briefing.

 

“For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon the Congress to extend until 31st December 2017 or for such a period of time as the Congress may determine the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao,” Duterte’s message added.

 

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/914795/duterte-wants-martial-law-in-mindanao-extended-until-end-of-2017#ixzz4nAD4SVEF

Philippines acquires 2 spy planes from US

MANILA, Philippines — Washington has offered to send two surveillance aircraft to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations against terrorists, the US ambassador said Tuesday.

US Ambassador Sung Kim said that two Cessna 208 planes will be turned over to the Philippine government in a couple of weeks.

 

Kim stressed that the US is deeply concerned about the security situation in Marawi City, where government forces have been fighting against local terror groups for more than eight weeks now.

“We have been providing a very important support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of information sharing, intelligence sharing, training, technical advice as well as equipment grants,” Kim said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.

The US envoy also noted that American troops are present in Mindanao under the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.

Kim added that the US is committed to helping with the rehabilitation program for Marawi.

READ FROM SOURCE: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/18/1720779/philippines-acquires-2-spy-planes-us

Former gov’t officials call for reversal of Marcos reinstatement

MANILA – A group of former Philippine government officials urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse the reinstatement of policemen linked to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

According to the group ‘Former Senior Government Officials’ (FSGO), the reinstatement of Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 of his men makes the government look like it condones extrajudicial killings.

 

“It displays Mr. Duterte’s contempt for national and international law and warns against expectations that the thousands of deaths from the Drug War will undergo any credible investigation,” the group said.

READ FROM SOURCE: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/16/17/former-govt-officials-call-for-reversal-of-marcos-reinstatement

Ombudsman orders filing of raps vs Aquino over Mamasapano massacre

(Updated, 2:50 p.m.) The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former president Benigno Aquino III for usurpation of authority and graft over his alleged hand in the botched 2015 Mamasapano operation that cost the lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) cops.

In a statement Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of criminal charges against Aquino for his liability in the Mamasapano massacre.

In her resolution, Ombudsman Morales ordered the filing of charges against Aquino for Usurpation of Authority (Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code) and violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

 

Standing as his co-conspirators, are former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and Director Getulio Napeñas of the Special Action Force (SAF).

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/913948/ombudsman-orders-filing-of-raps-vs-aquino-over-mamasapano-massacre#ixzz4mmzDt5iD 

Trillanes: Marcos reinstated for fear that he would rat on Duterte

Why did President Rodrigo Duterte order the reinstatement of the cops behind the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.?

For Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte’s staunch critic, it was because the President is afraid the team of Supt. Marvin Marcos would incriminate Duterte in the murder of Espinosa.

“Duterte not only set the murderers free, he now gave back their badges and guns so they could murder again with impunity. Why? Because Duterte fears that these policemen might rat out on him for what they know about his involvement in the Espinosa murder,” Trillanes said in a text message to reporters on Thursday.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/913573/trillanes-marcos-reinstated-for-fear-that-he-would-rat-on-duterte#ixzz4miUK4DZn

US says missile defense system successfully intercepts incoming projectile during test in Alaska.

(CNN)A United States-built missile defense system on Tuesday successfully intercepted its target during a test run, the US Missile Defense Agency said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense () missile defense system successfully shot down a target over , according to a news release.


“I couldn’t be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves in the statement. “This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats.”

An official with the US Department of Defense told CNN the test is not related to North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

Each THAAD system is comprised of five major components: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and support equipment, according to Lockheed Martin, the security and aerospace company that serves as the prime contractor.

READ FROM SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/11/politics/us-thaad-missile-defense-test/index.html