Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NYT: An inside look at the Philippines president's deadly war against drugs

Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Brehulak
THE NEW YORK TIMES published a grisly photo essay by Daniel Brehulak today (Dec. 7) that takes an intimate look at the war on drugs encouraged by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I have worked in 60 countries," writes Pulitzer Prize winner Brehulak, "covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

"He (Duterte) said in October, 'You can expect 20,000 or 30,000 more.'”

WARNING: The photos are graphic and not for the weak of heart.

The photographer said in his 35 days in the Manila area, he went to 46 crimes scenes and viewed 57 victims of homicide.

So far, 2,000 alleged drug dealers or users have been killed by the police alone. (That's KILLED, not "arrested" or "jailed.") That doesn't include the killings by so-called self-anointed vigilantes made up of a mixed bag of off-duty military, police, private security or rival drug dealers - who have taken Duterte's words to heart or simply want to eliminate the competition.
Last Friday (Dec. 2), President-elect Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Duterte during which Trump praised the Philippines strongman, according to Duterte.

“If you listen to how Trump talks to me now, I have already turned into a saint,” Duterte said in a speech at the presidential palace.

By contrast, he said, Obama pictured “the Philippines – well of course, including me – to be murderers and everything.”

Duterte said Trump told him: “You’re doing great. I know what’s your worry about these Americans criticising you. You are doing good, go ahead.”

The Philippine president said that Trump invited him to visit him in New York City or Washington D.C.

Reports of the phone conversation drew a reaction from the White House. “The position of this administration, the current U.S. government, is simply that extrajudicial killings are entirely inconsistent with the notion of the rule of law and the commitment to upholding basic, universal human right," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "Signaling a willingness to backtrack from those values is bad for our individual relations, but it also degrades our ability to exert our influence around the world."

The Trump team did not make any statements about the conversation with Duterte.