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EXCLUSIVE: Concerned Filipino Mark Lopez on his open letter to US Congress

The open letter to the US Congress penned by Mark Lopez of Philippines has gone viral across social media and major outlets covering both Philippine and American politics. In this exclusive interview, Lopez told The Duran that if not for the power of social-media, Rodrigo Duterte may have meet the same fate as Muammar Gadaffi, Saddam Hussein, or Manuel Noriega

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Mark Lopez lives in Manila and is a graduate from the prestigious University of Santo Tomas. His online writing recent caught global attention when he penned an open letter to the US Congress slamming American politicians who criticise Philippines for supposed ‘human rights infractions’ without full knowledge of the real human rights disaster caused by drug use and the crime wave caused by the narcotics trade.

His open letter has gone viral throughout social media and many news outlets covering the politics of Philippines.

The Duran recently asked Mark Lopez about his views on the Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte following his State of the Nation address in which Duterte affirmed his positions on fighting drugs, terrorism and poverty, as well as his commitment to asserting Philippine sovereignty over all of its political and social policy making issues.

AG: Mark, you recently wrote an open letter to the US Congress with particular attention focused on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission  which has been critical of President Duterte’s commitment to ending the drug and crime problem in Philippines.

What motivated you to write this letter? Do you consider yourself to be an activist or just a concearned citizen?

ML: First and foremost, I am a citizen and I actually reside here in suburban Manila where I am a personal witness to how substance abuse was left unchecked and proliferated and has destroyed families. I actually have seen how my neighborhood friends and even my own relatives became drug addicts, which led them to commit petty crimes in the beginning, then gradually becoming hardened criminals. In that sense I wrote that letter being a very concerned Filipino because I have seen the worst of drug abuse, and this is the only administration who really has shown a tremendous amount of political will in finally confronting what we all believe is a serious menace to society.

AG: In your letter you spoke of how the age of social media has allowed people in Philippines to speak about the realities of their country and counteract the colonial attitudes of the American mainstream media. Do you think a political movement like the one led by President Duterte would have been possible in a pre-internet age?

ML: Social media has radically changed the way mass communication is now played, especially in the formation of opinion and points of view. It is a game changer, and it has created a seismic shift in how people now digest and process the news and information. Most importantly it has actually empowered the ordinary citizen himself into becoming an instant newsmaker, or a journalist in the broadest sense. As with what we have been discussing with my fellow socmed bloggers, if Duterte were elected prior to the advent of Facebook and Twitter, he would have probably met the same fate as Muammar Gadaffi and Saddam Hussein, or Manuel Noriega.

AG: Why is it that many American and European politicians think they can tell the people of Philippines how to run their country. President Duterte won a fair democratic election but many in the west want to interfere with democracy in Philippines. Do you think this is the real scandal?

MK: The problem with western politicians professing disapproval with our duly elected president (whose recent approval poll topped 82%) is that they are guided by misleading information coming from entities which probably have vested interests, and  these interests run counter with the platform of governance and direction of our current administration.

AG: If you could describe the horrors of the drug problem in Philippines in a short paragraph, what would you say?

ML: There are about 4 million Filipinos who have had involvement in narcotics either as user or pusher. The end result of a grown menace is the accompanying rise in crime and destruction of families.

AG: President Duterte has used his first year in office to develop historically good relations with both China and Russia. Do you think that this will help Philippines break away from the post-colonial American political orbit?

ML: The emphasis of our president is more on an INDEPENDENT foreign policy, in which our country fosters its self determination and harness its strategic position in the global community by being collaborative and cooperative with all nations.

AG: What are your thoughts on Donald Trump? When he spoke to President Duterte over the phone, he praised the war on drugs and said that Duterte was doing a good job. Do you think that Trump is a different kind of politician than those in the US Congress who are insulting Philippines?

ML: I actually predicted Trump would win over Hillary. The moment he obtained the nomination, what I saw with the American voting public is perhaps the same sentiment that we who voted for Duterte felt. It was a rage and a rejection against the status quo. I believe it was not so much about Trump, or in our case Duterte, but more of our desire to achieve change. Personally I believe Trump and his team got the nod because he was cognisant and fully exploited that rage of middle America to his advantage. In that sense, he will be a most effective leader.

AG: If you were invited to speak before the US Congress would you go?

ML: I do not think I have the credentials to speak before Congress of the United States. I am just an ordinary Filipino.

AG: Do you support President Duterte’s marital law initiative which was put in place in Mindanao to combat terrorism?

ML: Yes I fully support Martial Law in Mindanao. It is a constitutional tool that enables the executive to be better equipped in suppressing rebellion or terrorism.

AG: Has President Duterte made history even though he’s only now been in power for a little over a year?

ML: Definitely. He is the only president in the last 50 years of our political history who has a huge mandate, and was duly elected despite being a political outsider or hillbilly and a maverick. Plus, this is the only Filipino president who caught global attention because of his non-conformist stance that shook Superpowers into recalibrating and re-aligning their positions.

AG: What advice would you personally have for those who think drugs are somehow not a problem?

ML: Those who think drugs are somehow not a problem are probably into drugs themselves. If they don’t stop, drugs will kill them. It’s a sure bet.

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Russia’s economy continues to outperform as gold takes center stage (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine how US and EU sanctions have continued to provide a huge boost to Russia’s economy. Russia’s food sovereignty has practically been achieved, as the Russian central bank continues to buy gold and lower its exposure to western financial markets.

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Via TASS…

Outside pressure in the form of sanctions has become an incentive to resolve various issues of Russia’s economy, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Izvestiya daily.

He noted that through introducing sanctions against Russia, “the West aims to destabilize Russia’s economy and to create social and political tensions in society.”

“But during the difficult times, Russians have always stuck together and mobilized their resources in order to ensure the country’s sovereignty. This is what is happening now – the outside pressure has become an incentive to resolve many problems in Russia’s economy,” he said.

“Before the sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to feed ourselves and that we are doomed to be dependent on Western import. However, right now, Russia’s food sovereignty in crucial sectors has practically been achieved, and in some areas, Russia has become the leading exporter,” Patrushev noted.

Those who apply the sanctions “can see that they (the sanctions – TASS) are ineffective and often achieve the opposite goal,” the Russian security chief concluded.

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US Neocon Foreign Policy and the War Waged Against Serbia

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign.

Richard Galustian

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The ‘witch-hunt’ against President Trump over Russian collusion has officially ended, following the submission of the Mueller Report, enabling us to now focus on the real problems of America that effects the whole world.

In the hope of a waining of the Russophobia in America, let’s look at the US’s recent war history by starting with the 20th anniversary this month of the NATO war on Serbia in 1999 which amounted to almost 100 days of bombing of historic cities and infrastructure.

Firstly, these problems are, in the main caused by the Neocons, or Deep State, whatever you wish to call them, and the continuing promotion, by the US Military-Security Industrial Complex, of wars and regime change and secondly, Trump’s unreserved support for Israel, regardless of war crimes they may continue to commit against the Palestinians.

Incredibly after that one sided unjust and illegal war that NATO executed, NATO has the audacity to invite Serbia to join it! Something that will never happen. What do they smoke in DC, in the Pentagon and Brussels based NATO?

To compound these overall problems, the US Military and Israeli Defence Forces collaborate on these US regime change policies on all continents evidenced most recently by the arrival of crack Israeli troops last month in Brazil, prepared to support an attack potentially by Brazil and Columbia on Venezuela.

As, has now come to be expected, America pursues its Venezuelan regime change with full main stream media (MSM) cooperation, using well proven sophisticated propaganda techniques along with a variety of pretexts.

From Serbia to Iraq to Libya, where does it end? Observe that Trump is now seeking a ‘NATO alliance’ offering NATO status, to President Bolsonaro of Brazil to back the invasion of Venezuela.

So it is important to remember, as an example, that after a long war of economic and financial destabilization ended with the bombing of Serbia.

Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, a country which had successfully evolved after 1945 to solve the old rivalries of the 19th and early 20th Century Balkan ethnic animosities which was, prior to the advent of power of President Tito, its past history.

The United Nations, instead of supporting, in effect, so called ‘humanitarian wars’ and ‘regime change wars’ by the US, using NATO, helped and relentlessly driven home by MSM outlets like CNN and FOX NEWS into people’s heads, must finally take a stand.

So too, Yugoslavia, once the envy of many in the world, given its then ‘non-aligned’ status under President Tito, was destroyed and broken up; ‘Balkanized’ in the early 1990s.

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign. That’s what we can expect in Venezuela next.

This ‘Balkanization’ strategy similarly applies to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al. It serves US Neocon interests to dismember States in the world and create smaller more ‘manageable’ countries.

‘Regime change’ runs against the intent, the very words contained in the US Constitution. No one in MSM ever reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless America’s ambition to overthrow other States continues, which they arrogantly now make no secret of. The next States will probably be Nicaragua then Iran to name but two.

A very noteworthy most recent outrageous unilateral declaration was made by President Trump, not yet formally agreed by US institutions, ‘giving’ something he has no authority to give; Syrian territory, the Golan Heights to be precise, to Israel. Something that one day could trigger a full scale Arab-Israeli War.

This is of extreme importance yet no real outcry comes from world leaders; well not so far.

The main reason for that decision given by senior US Administration figures is that “God anointed Trump to save the Jews”.

Not forgetting Trump’s need (which we the people don’t understand exactly why) to support Prime Minister Netanyahu in his difficult upcoming elections in Israel – in part because both countries failed to ‘regime change’ Syria – but more importantly to help the ‘financial terrorists’ who formed a company jointly that has already started drilling for oil in the Golan Heights. You might like to know who owns such oil drilling company which should answer a plethora of questions in one go that you must be asking yourselves.

The shareholder’s names tells us everything; Dick Cheney; Baron Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. The titular heads of neocons, bankers and media on the planet.

In ending there is no more evidence required for us, the people of the world, to rise up against the globalist dark forces wherever they exist, be it in Brussels, London, France or Washington. We must demand democratic elections or start revolutions, the latter has already begun in France in the form of ‘the yellow vests’. And Brexit, by definition, is a rejection by the British people of globalism and American Hegemony.

The pattern of US destabilization and destruction of States to loot them of their sovereign resources is the unseen history of the last 100 years, not taught in any university, anywhere in the West.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, its government was taken down by the CIA and replaced by an ultra fascist regime that has full backing from America. This is no secret. But the MSM simple don’t report it.

US led NATO is ‘the transnational war machine’ of the world, devouring almost all free countries wealth. It can extort to terrorize all into conformity to the global ‘carcinogenic’ US Neocon imperialistic strategy.

A total estimated 20m people around the world have died since the end of WW11 at the hands of US Forces. Think about that for a moment.

One of the most famous sayings attributed to America’s great President Abraham Lincoln is about deception: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

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‘Dark day for internet freedom’: EU approves controversial copyright reform

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

RT

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Via RT


The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.

Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern everything from audiovisual content to memes, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

By essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to pay artists and publishers for the reproduction of their work online, include in meme format, the EU is effectively clamping down on online memery.

The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

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