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Rodrigo Duterte "Harry" & the Phillipines' Drug War

djfear

TRIBE Member
I feel like his war on drugs is going to be a big failure based on similar historic attempts, and I can't help but feel sorry for all the innocent people being murdered. Real criminals are probably using this opportunity to take out their rivals, and the government is quickly turning towards a dictatorship now, and the aftermath of this will stay with them for a long time. But hey, his approval ratings are sky high so there must be something that I, as an outsider, don't know.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
They've been killing drug dealers in that part of the world a long time. Indonesia puts some to death every year.

It's telling that the places with the harshest penalties have just as much of a drug problem - and certainly worse in many ways - under harsh penalties.

We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg from SE Asia drug problem - we're still a long ways to go over here but the stigma around drug use over there is crazy. Situation for addicts even more hopeless and fatal than here. The regimes typically lie about their stats to pretend there's no drug problem - just like they'll tell you there are no gays in Iran.
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
I feel like his war on drugs is going to be a big failure based on similar historic attempts, and I can't help but feel sorry for all the innocent people being murdered. Real criminals are probably using this opportunity to take out their rivals, and the government is quickly turning towards a dictatorship now, and the aftermath of this will stay with them for a long time. But hey, his approval ratings are sky high so there must be something that I, as an outsider, don't know.
it's an interesting concept that he's used as mayor previously which I what lead to him becoming president (PM or whatever).

it's kind of like the movie the Purge
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Here is a 2006 article about Indonesia's experience with harsher penalties. We'll just see a more merciless and cruel word for "pawns" - the well connected should still stay clear of the worst of it:

Indonesia’s growing drug problem

Two years ago, Indonesian authorities tied a 32-year-old Thai woman named Namsong Sirilak and a 62-year-old Indian named Saelow Prasert to palm trees at dawn in northern Sumatra and shot them for trafficking in heroin — only weeks after the execution of their Indian accomplice, Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey.

That might have been a spectacular answer to Indonesia’s growing problem with illegal drugs, but so far it doesn’t seem to be doing much good. Despite Jakarta’s declaration of war on drugs, traffickers continue to tap into the increasingly lucrative Indonesian market, already awash with cheap speed, ecstasy and heroin as the archipelago nation begins to catch up with the drug use problems that Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines especially have been fighting for decades.

The government, however, is beginning to learn that massive drug seizures and the threat of capital punishment for trafficking are no more effective in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world. A study in 10 major cities found four million Indonesians had used illegal drugs, and the country's drug trade was valued at nearly US$4 billion a year, with drugs readily available in schools, karaoke lounges, bars, cafes, discotheques, nightclubs and even in remote villages. More than 15,000 deaths every year are attributed to drug abuse.

The country’s drugs plight is attracting increasing worldwide attention because of the fact that six young Australians are on death row in Bali after being found guilty of heroin trafficking. The Attorney General's Office said last month it is preparing to execute 16 of the 43 others sentenced to death for drug trafficking since 2000. They include seven Nigerians, six Indonesians and three foreign nationals from Nepal, Malawi and Thailand.
Another 27 people are still appealing death row sentences for drug-related offenses.

Nonetheless, last week police discovered almost a tonne of crystal methamphetamine imported from Hong Kong inside a van pulled over during a routine check in Tangerang, a metropolitan area that butts on to Jakarta. In the same area last November a raid led by National Police chief General Sutanto unearthed an ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine factory with a capacity of one million pills a week. Prosecutors at the trial currently underway have termed it Southeast Asia's largest illicit drugs-manufacturing factory.

Former justice minister Muladi has called the Indonesian court system a "judicial killing machine" ready to bring down the hammer on hard-drug mules like the Australian youths, whose chances of escaping the death penalty appears to be slim. Amnesty International says it is concerned by Indonesia's "increasing willingness" to execute criminals, particularly drug traffickers as authorities step up their crackdown on producers, smugglers, traffickers and users.

The government has answered with harsh drug laws stipulating that manufacturer and distributors of so-called “class 1”drugs including heroin, marijuana, opium and cocaine could be subject to the death penalty. A second law stipulates sentences up to 20 years for importing, manufacturing and distributing amphetamines such as shabu-shabu, ecstasy, speed and ice. Both laws include a clause saying that drugs "severely damage and cause significant danger to human life, the community, youth, the nation, culture and national security."

In the capital itself there have been well-publicized raids on several top nightclubs, but the big dealers usually bribe their way out of trouble. The judicial system is one of Indonesia’s most corrupt state institutions and the highest bidder can buy police and the courts. Well-connected, big-time dealers have never been brought to trial and there is widespread acknowledgement among Indonesia’s citizens that the courts have failed to mete out similar harsh justice to members of the security forces allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking. There are also complaints that children of powerful military officers and politicians are rarely punished, let alone put to death, for drug offenses.

No way out

Drug counsellors cite peer pressure, poor enforcement and lack of treatment facilities as among the key factors contributing to the rise of the drug menace. Using drugs is often considered as a ritual and rite of passage by the younger generation. With little prospect of a job and the cost of living escalating others reach out to drugs out of desperation.

"Spending (on narcotics) will definitely go up this year. The increasing number of people living with high levels of stress will contribute to this rise in drug spending," warns National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief General Made Mangku Pastika. The national narcotics agency, set up by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri in 2002, is loosely modelled on the US Drug Enforcement Agency with specific responsibility for intelligence networking and the investigation of international drug syndicates that impact on Indonesia's counter-narcotics efforts.

Ganja (marijuana) is the drug of choice among university students and intellectuals. A small packet of marijuana, enough to roll five joints, can be had for around Rp50,000. For an increasing number of young people, however, the preferred intoxicant is putauw (low grade heroin), frequently sold at 'warungs' or roadside food stalls, at shopping malls and by street vendors for as little as Rp30,000 a hit. Although cheap and plentiful, it is potentially deadly. The National Anti-Narcotics Movement (known by its Indonesian acronym GRANAT) was founded by lawyer Henry Yosodiningrat, whose son was a putauw addict. The designer drug ecstasy, favored by upper-class thrill-seekers, is generally thought to be the "gateway" to the harder drugs.

The difficulty of catching traffickers is illustrated by the fact that there are 142 ports and airports and countless thousands of unguarded entry points making the country is a porous trans-shipment point. The narcotics agency says there are 39 Indonesian ports that are susceptible to being used for drug trafficking.

Frequent drug busts are made at Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta International Airport, but with more advanced security systems and multiple x-ray checks now in place at main airports, drug traffickers are less likely to use planes for distribution.

International drug dealers have come up with new methods for smuggling in or producing narcotics in the country. Patrolling the country's 5.8 million sq km of territorial waters is a Herculean task made more complicated by the fact that one recently discovered mode involves dropping drugs in the middle of the ocean, to be picked up by small boats. The drugs are then distributed throughout the country via small seaports. Police believe the crystal meth found in Tangerang was smuggled into Indonesian waters on a large boat before being transferred to a smaller vessel

Police and military personnel have long been accused of involvement in illegal drugs. After the police were separated from the military in 2000, the two underfunded forces became embroiled in a struggle for control over turf. They are thought to still be in fierce competition with each other and powerful elements in both forces protect the big drug traders.

In one incident in November 2002 eight people were killed in North Sumatra when soldiers from an army airborne unit tied up their officers and attacked police stations using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and automatic weapons, killing eight police and civilians. The battle was triggered by the arrest of a drug dealer by police. Much of Indonesia's marijuana is grown in neighboring Aceh province.

Much of the heroin coming into Indonesia originates in Afghanistan. It is controlled and directed by West African and Nepalese traffickers, commonly using couriers who stage through Thailand and Singapore.

Cocaine seizures occasionally occur at some Indonesian airports, but the Indonesian market for cocaine is very small. More commonly, cocaine is transhipped to more lucrative markets, mainly Australia.

Aussies hard hit

Police say Bali has become a hub for international narcotics distribution. Signs scattered throughout Denpasar International Airport declare in English and Indonesian, "Death penalty for drug trafficking." Yet the Australian media have had several field days with saturation coverage of young Australians being handcuffed and dragged to court screaming their innocence.

The "Bali Nine” were caught in April last year with heroin taped to their bodies, trying to smuggle it out of Indonesia back to Australia, in true "Midnight Express" style. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) supplied the information used to make the arrests. They came under criticism for alerting Indonesian police to the presence of the group before their crime was committed. The heroin originated in Myanmar, and AFP provided passport numbers and photographs, as well as details of the group's modus operandi.

Australian rights groups later complained the AFP were exposing the youths to the death penalty and should have instead arrested them on their return to Australia. Initially two of them were sentenced to death and the others handed down life sentences. But only this week it was announced that the Supreme Court had ruled last month that four of the nine, who had appealed their life sentence, had now been sentenced to death.

But the party is far from over for Indonesian users. Although President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s incredible pledge to end the drug trade and drug use in Indonesia is more of a dream than a plan, the chilling drug trade among the young threatens a whole generation.

Yudhoyono says he will never grant clemency to convicted drug offenders, yet
so long as there is demand, there will be supply. After all, as the lawyer, Henry Yosodiningrat points out, "the syndicates have a lot of money to buy officials and this is a most corrupt country."​
 
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Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member
Asians (in general) view drugs much differently than westerners. I know tonnes of Filipinos, in general they like Duterte.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Asians (in general) view drugs much differently than westerners. I know tonnes of Filipinos, in general they like Duterte.
Yep but its interesting - very modern development. If you look at WHEN asian countries started going crazy for the War on Drugs it happened when the Nixon admin declared a War on Drugs and made it part of their International Order, baking it into international organization rules like the UN charter and trade agreements and started incentivizing weaker countries in Asia with carrots and sticks to sign on to a tough war on drugs. Tough penalties would get you American favour - weak penalties could mean economic starvation and serious economic consequences from America.

So it may feel like this is some part of Asian cultural heritage, but its really a political genesis, and a very recent one, behind what has become a very novel part of the culture these days. That said, it kind of fits with the stereotypes of "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down" so maybe there was some natural endemic compatibility with a harsh War on Drugs waiting there for Uncle Sam to kick it off.

This was a really good view of capital punishment with respect to drug policy:

Death Penalty for Drug Offences Global Overview 2012: Tipping the Scales for Abolition | Count The Costs

And there's more here on harsher approaches in SE Asia:

Inflicting Harm: Judicial corporal punishment for Drug and Alcohol Offences in Selected Countries | Count The Costs

Abuse in the Name of Treatment

Skin on the Cable: The Illegal Arrest, Arbitrary Detention and Torture of People Who Use Drugs in Cambodia | Count The Costs
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
More here on the American cajoling of nations to join their Drug War, kicked into high gear in the 80s - Indonesia sentenced its first victim to capital punishment for a drug offense in 1986:

pg 6
Also in 1986 the United States Congress enacted the disciplinary mechanism of drug certification. Countries that failed to fully cooperate with the anti-narcotics efforts would face. mandatory sanctions including withdrawal of most of their foreign aid along with a concomitant opposition to loans those countries sought from multilateral development banks. Countries decertified included Burma, Afghanistan, Colombia, Nigeria, Guatemala, Haiti, Venezuela and Mexico, although sanctions were occasionally waived for national security reasons. Many more countries appeared in at least one of the categories of the certification system. The procedure for inclusion was highly politicised, effectively working as a compliance mechanism to coerce countries to carry out the forced eradication of a specified number of hectares; tighten drug laws and arrest quotas: accept extradition of national citizens to the United States; or to refrain from adopting less repressive policies (as was the case in Jamaica when cannabis decriminalisation appeared on the political agenda). To its considerable surprise, The Netherlands once appeared on the drug certification list of “emerging threats”, with North Korea and Cuba as the two other new threats.​
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Philippines is seen as kind of a backwater and not a flashpoint for any geopolitical problem now really, being locked in the American orbit for over a century

So it's kind of like he has a bit of impunity now and American backers probably cool to turn a blind eye but I think soon we might see an international backlash leading to some degree of American pressure on him... Maybe...

Trump doesn't seem like the guy who would tell him to chill.

I'm still interested in what parties close to the Duterte admin are getting their competition killed for them
 
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wickedken

TRIBE Member
Philippines is seen as kind of a backwater and not a flashpoint for any geopolitical problem now really, being locked in the American orbit for over a century

So it's kind of like he has a bit of impunity now and American backers probably cool to turn a blind eye but I think soon we might see an international backlash leading to some degree of American pressure on him... Maybe...

Trump doesn't seem like the guy who would tell him to chill.

I'm still interested in what parties close to the Duterte admin are getting their competition killed for them
It's not like to you sleep through a media event :) for a while the media verse was all a twitter and wondering if the PH was not only moving away from the US sphere of influence and also becoming more ingrained with China.

No one cares but al Queda is there too. They used to be really bad people u till the US called them moderates. I think a Canadian lost his head over this.

So in terms of geopolitics I'm not sure I would agree with your characterization.
 

wickedken

TRIBE Member

praktik

TRIBE Member
Ya never meant there was NO geopolitical concerns, there almost always is everywhere.

Just that Americans and the media don't have much to talk about with respect to the Philippines (until now maybe?) - its not a "flashpoint" - most people don't care about what happens there.
 

wickedken

TRIBE Member
Yeah I can see how much concern there is for the plight of the Syrian people... that's why American's are bringing them over by the boatload.

You're right though... I think the PH has some leash to play with as long as there is not too much noise made about there being a dictator and killer in charge.
 
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wickedken

TRIBE Member
Funeral homes in the Philippines are very unpleasant places. It's a hot and humid country. People are kept in coffins with sealed glass tops, like a real box. It's a searing memory.
 

wickedken

TRIBE Member
Asians (in general) view drugs much differently than westerners. I know tonnes of Filipinos, in general they like Duterte.
Had a chance to meet up with some extended family over the weekend and this view prevails. There was little discomfort with the contradiction between their constitution and rule of law, and this act of "justice". On the face of it this is a textbook example of the need for international intervention, as the government has essentially entered into anarchy, but it's crickets on the UN side, at least from the powerful states.

@praktik - there's been a constant yearning for "powerful authority" since the Marcos days, something I've seen time and time again going there, and with family members and random flips I meet.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Yep, no doubt. A similar cruelty and yearning for strongmen undergirded the US war on the underclass.

This shit doesn't happen absent a society trained into it - trained by attitude, class and straight up propaganda to "other" drug addicts and make them enemies of the state. Once so defined, anything can be done to them.

"Super Predators" and the so called "crack epidemic" were American manifestations of this. Duterte is just riding their own version over there of it for his own personal political success as many craven politicians have in these kinds of dynamics in many places before.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Put another way? Cruelty is a moral virtue when dynamics like this develop, the moral panic creates an enemy and any excess of cruelty directed against this enemy only serves to reinforce the righteousness of the hand of justice so employed.
 

wickedken

TRIBE Member
Put another way? Cruelty is a moral virtue when dynamics like this develop, the moral panic creates an enemy and any excess of cruelty directed against this enemy only serves to reinforce the righteousness of the hand of justice so employed.
In war the law is silent.
 

wickedken

TRIBE Member
lol

Philippines' Duterte calls U.S. envoys 'spies' over alleged ouster plot

The Manila Times said Philip Goldberg, who recently ended his term as ambassador in Manila, had outlined various strategies over an 18-month period to destabilize Duterte.

That would include supporting the opposition and co-opting the media, the military, neighboring countries and senior government officials to turn against Duterte and isolate him economically.

Duterte has a dislike for Goldberg and has previously called him a "gay son of a bitch". He referred to him in three successive live television interviews on Thursday, calling him Washington's "superstar" with a track record of trying to undermine governments.

Goldberg was expelled as ambassador to Bolivia in 2008 by then President Evo Morales, who accused him of siding with his rightist opponents and of orchestrating street protests.

The United States rejected that and said his expulsion was a "grave error".

"Maybe he will deny it but it's not good," Duterte said of Goldberg's alleged blueprint, which he said was plausible because of Goldberg's history.

He added: "You might be able to oust me, but I will give you a bloody nose."

Attempts by Reuters to reach Goldberg this week were unsuccessful.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Russel dismissed the Manila Times report.

"No such blueprint exists," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people."
 
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