The hit list is very long; it has already been long for several decades. One could easily lose count and get confused: how many personalities have been marked and secretly condemned to death? How many of them actually died?
It reads like a catalogue of illustrious world leaders: from Patrice Lumumba (Zaire), Mohammad Mosaddegh (Iran), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Sukarno (Indonesia), Juvénal Habyarimana (Rwanda), Salvador Allende (Chile) to Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), Al-Basheer (Sudan) and Fidel Castro (Cuba), to name just a very few.
Some were directly assassinated; others were ‘only’ toppled, while only a handful of ‘marked’ leaders actually managed to survive and to stay in power.
There were several grave crimes committed by almost all of them, very similar crimes. They include: defending the vital interests of their nations and people, refusing to allow the unbridled plunder of natural resources by multinational corporations, and standing against the principles of imperialism. Simple criticism of the Empire has also been often punishable by death.
Mr. Duterte is committing all those horrid crimes, which have been mentioned above. He seems to be ‘guilty as charged’. He is denying nothing; he even appears to be proud of the charges that are being brought against him.
‘Is he bored with his life?’ some are asking. ‘Is he out of his mind? Is he ready to die?’
Is he a hero, a new Asian Hugo Chavez, or just an out of control populist?
He is definitely risking a lot, or maybe he is even risking absolutely everything. He is now committing the most unforgiveable sins in the eyes of the Western regime: he is openly insulting the Empire and its institutions (including the UN, NATO and the EU). He is even spitting in their faces!
‘To make it worse’, he is not only chatting; he is taking decisive actions! He is trying to help the poor in his country, he is flirting with the Communist Party and with the socialists, and on top of it he is basically asking both China and Russia for assistance.
The sparks are flying. Periodically such people and institutions like Obama, Pope, the US, the EU, and the UN get advised to go to hell, or are re-Christened as son-of-a-bitches or son-of-a-whores!
And the people of the Philippines absolutely love it. Duterte won elections with tiny margins, but his latest approval rating towers at an astounding 76%. Some would therefore argue that if ‘democracy’ is truly the ‘rule of the people’ (or at least it should be reflecting the will of the people), then all is exactly as it should be in the Philippines.
While Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Professorial Lecturer of Asian Studies
(University of the Philippines Diliman), is critical of Duterte’s ‘un-presidential’ speech writing and for him “scoring negatively on the issue of civil and political human rights”, he is clearly impressed by his achievements in several other spheres. As he recently wrote to me in a letter:
“Positive initiatives on other fronts have been taken. The appointment of Communist Party cadres to cabinet positions for agrarian reform, social work and development, and anti-poverty programs is good. Other left wing and progressive personalities occupy other cabinet positions in labor, education, health, science, and environment. More important, positive initiatives have been taken on moving land distribution forward, ending labor contractualization, reaching out to and learning from Cuba’s health programs, and curtailing the environmentally destructive operations by big mining corporations. Moreover, peace negotiations with both the CPP and the MILF/MNLF have been revived with initial steps that are looking good.
An independent foreign policy has been announced and Duterte no longer kowtows to the US and Western powers, unlike previous presidents before him. He is also mending fences with China and taking a different and less belligerent track in resolving the territorial disputes in the South China Sea…”
That is all ‘bad’, extremely bad as far as Washington, London and Tokyo are concerned. Such behavior never goes unnoticed and unpunished!
The response of the Empire came almost immediately this time.
On September 20, 2016, the International Business Times reported:
“The Philippines government has claimed that a coup d’état is being masterminded against President Rodrigo Duterte and said the administration is cracking down on the suspected plotters. A government spokesperson said some Filipino-Americans in New York are planning to oust the abrasive leader.
Without revealing the names of the suspected plotters or their plans, the Philippines government Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said those conspiring against Duterte should “think twice… ‘I have received information from credible sources in the United States. Yes, we have names but I don’t want to mention it. We are looking [at] it seriously. We are investigating it,’” said the senior government official.
The coups, the assassination plots. Soft coups, hard coups: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Paraguay, Honduras, and Sudan, half of Africa… All in just the few last years…and now the Philippines? Bravo, the Empire is accelerating! The work ethic of its cutthroats is clearly improving.
President Duterte has it all figured out. As mentioned above, he has already defined President Obama as a ‘son-of-a-bitch’, ‘son-of-a-whore’, and recently suggested that ‘he goes to hell’.
That is even tougher than what President Hugo Chavez used to say about George W Bush, also known as “Señor W”. And President Chavez, according to many Latin American analysts, ended up paying for his openness, antagonism towards the Empire and imperialism in general, with his own life.
The truth is that the Empire never forgives those who show it a mirror. It kills mercilessly for the tiniest signs of disobedience, rebelliousness. Its propaganda apparatus and its right hand – the mass media – then always manage to craft a suitable explanation and justification. And the public in both North America and Europe is fully complacent, indoctrinated and passive; it only defends its own narrow interests, never the victim, especially if the victim is from some far-away country inhabited by ‘un-people’.
The great Indonesian President Sukarno was overthrown and destroyed (among other things) for shouting publicly at the US ambassador: “To hell with your aid!” …And of course, for defending the interests of his people against the Empire. Patrice Lumumba was assassinated for daring to say that Africans have no reason to be grateful to the colonizers.
Duterte says much more. He is bitter and he has countless reasons to be. The United States murdered more than one million Philippine people, most of them at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century. In recent history, it has turned this once proud and promising nation into a doormat, into a humiliated semi-colony, fully dependent on Washington’s whims. Capitalist and totally pro-American, the Philippines has evolved, like Indonesia, into a ‘failed state’, a social disaster and an intellectual wasteland.
President Duterte has managed to put in place a determined cabinet of like-minded thinking intellectuals and bureaucrats.
As RT reported recently:
“Duterte’s foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, who has at times tried to downplay his boss’s comments, released a statement on Facebook titled “America has failed us” in which he says that, while there are many “countless things that we will be forever grateful to America for,” the US has never fully respected Philippine independence.”
“After proclaiming in July 4, 1946 that the Filipinos had been adequately trained for self-determination and governance, the United States held on to invisible chains that reined us in towards dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom,” the FM said in the statement.”
Such statements very rarely appear in the pages of Western mainstream media publications, where Duterte and his cabinet are uninterruptedly demonized and ridiculed.
This is how the latest headlines on the Philippines read:
‘Drug-dealing daughter of playboy baron Antony Moynihan is shot dead in the Philippines’ (Daily Mail).
‘The president of Philippines has been accused of feeding a man alive to a crocodile’ (The Journal.ie via Yahoo UK & Ireland News)
‘Special Report – in Duterte’s war on drugs, local residents help draw up hit list’ (Reuters)
‘Duterte killed justice official, hitman tells Philippine senate’ (AFP)
Nothing about the fight for social justice! Nothing about the battle against Western imperialism.
The war on drugs…
Yes, many people in the Philippines are genuinely concerned that the ‘bodies are piling’ and the approach of this government could be defined as too heavy-handed, even intolerable.
But the situation is not that simple. This is not Europe. This is Asia with its own culture dynamics and problems. In Philippines, the crime rate has reached grotesque heights, unseen almost anywhere else in Asia Pacific. Much of the criminality is related to drugs. And people are genuinely fed-up. They demand decisive action.
For many years, Mr. Duterte used to serve as the Mayor of Davao, a city on the island of Mindanao. Davao used to be synonymous with delinquency; a tough place to live and many say, almost impossible place to govern.
Mr Duterte is honest. He openly admits that he could not have lasted long as a mayor of Davao, if he ‘was following the 10 Commandments’. Perhaps no one could.
He is extremely sensitive to criticism of his human rights record. Whether it comes from the UN or EU or the US, his reply is mostly defiant and consistent: “Fuck you!”
And that is what usually gets reported in the West.
But what is omitted is that Rodrigo Duterte usually continues, explaining:
You tell me about human rights? What about those millions you are killing all over the world, including recently in Iraq, Libya and Syria? What about the Filipino people that you had slayed? And what about your own people, African-Americans who are being slaughtered by police, every day?
He does not hide his deep allergy towards Western hypocrisy. For centuries, the United States and Europe have been killing millions, plundering entire continents, and then they reserve the right to judge, criticize and boss around others. Directly, or through institutions they control, like the United Nations. Again, his reply is clearly Sukarno-esque: “To hell with you! To hell with your aid!”
But you will not read this on the pages of the The New York Times or The Economist. There it is all about the ‘war on drugs’, about the ‘innocent victims’ and of course about the ‘strongman’ Duterte.
The situation is evolving rapidly.
Recently, President Duterte ordered a halt to a military drill, dubbed as the ‘Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise’ (Phiblex). It began on 4th October and was scheduled to run for more than one week. Around 1,400 Americans and 500 Filipino troops are involved in the war games, some dangerously close to the waters near the disputed islands in South China Sea.
According to several leading Filipino intellectuals, the US has been using the Philippines for its aggressive imperialist ambitions in the region, consistently antagonizing and provoking China.
Duterte’s government is determined to move much closer to China and away from the West. It is very likely that the Philippines and China will be able to resolve all disagreements in the foreseeable future. That is, if the US will be out, kept permanently at bay.
To demonstrate its goodwill towards China, and to show its new independent course, Manila is also planning to cancel all 28 annual military exercises with the United States.
President Duterte knows perfectly well what is at stake. To mark his 100 days in office, he has given several fiery speeches, acknowledging that the West may try to remove him from the office, even kill him:
“You want to oust me? You want to use the CIA? Go ahead… Be my guest. I don’t give a shit! I’ll be ousted? Fine. (If so) it’s part of my destiny. Destiny carries so many things. If I die, that’s part of my destiny. Presidents get assassinated.”
They do. They often do get assassinated.
But recently, one after another, countries all over the world are joining the anti-imperialist coalition. Some are prevailing; others get destabilized (like Brazil), economically devastated (like Venezuela) or fully destroyed (like Syria). All defiant nations, from Russia to China, the DPRK and Iran are demonized by Western propaganda and its mass media.
But it seems that the world has had enough. The Empire is crumbling; it is panicking. It is killing more and more, but it is not winning.
Are Filipinos joining this alliance? After only 100 days in the office, it seems that President Duterte has made up his mind: No more servitude! No coming back!
Is he going to survive? Is he going to stay on his course?
How tough is he, really? One has to have nerves of steel to confront the Empire! One has to have at least nine lives to survive the countless intricate assassination plots, elaborate propaganda schemes, and trickeries. Is he ready for all this? It appears that he is.
The elites of his country have fully sold out to the West; the same as those of Indonesia and to a great extent, Thailand and Malaysia.
It will be an uphill struggle. It already is.
But the majority of his nation is behind him. For the first time in modern history, Filipino people may have a chance to take control over their own destiny, in their own hands.
And if the West does not like what is pouring out from Manila? President Duterte doesn’t care. He has declared that he has already prepared plenty of counter-questions. And if the West cannot answer them:
“If they are unable to answer, son of a whore, go home, you animal. I will kick you now. Do not piss me off. It cannot be that they are brighter than me, believe me!”
Most likely, they are not; they are not brighter than him. But they are definitely more ruthless, more brutal.
What are they accusing him of? Of a ‘war on drugs’, that has taken around 3,000 lives?
How many lives has the West (or those ‘son-of-whores’, as many would call it these days in the Philippines) taken after the end of WWII, all over the world? Is it 40 or 50 million? Depends how it is calculated: ‘directly’ or ‘indirectly’.
The Empire will almost certainly try to murder President Duterte, most likely soon, very soon.
In order to survive, to keep on going, to keep fighting, to defend his battered and exploited country, he will most definitely have to permanently forget all about the 10 Commandments.
Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, he’s a creator of Vltchek’s World an a dedicated Twitter user, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”