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Duterte ‘happy to slaughter’ drug suspects; mentions Hitler

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, poses with a fist bump with Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana, left, and Armed Forces Chief Ricardo Visaya during his “Talk with the Airmen” on the anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing on Sept. 13 at the Philippine Air Force headquarters in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines.

MANILA » Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte raised the rhetoric over his bloody anti-crime war to a new level Friday, comparing it to Hitler and the Holocaust and saying he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million addicts.

Duterte issued his latest threat against drug dealers and users early Friday on returning to his hometown in southern Davao city after visiting Vietnam, where he discussed his anti-drug campaign with Vietnamese leaders and ways for their governments to fight transnational crimes, including illegal drugs.

Duterte has said his public death threats against drug suspects are designed to scare them to stop selling drugs and to discourage would-be users. But his latest remarks took that crime-busting approach to a different level.

He said he had been “portrayed or pictured to be a cousin of Hitler,” without elaborating.

Moments later he said, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews … there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

He was referring to a Philippine government estimate of the number of drug addicts in the country. Historians say 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis under Hitler before and during World War II.

During the presidential election campaign earlier this year and during the three months he has held office, the tough-talking Duterte has threatened to drown drug suspects to fatten the fish in Manila Bay. He also threatened to execute drug traffickers by hanging — because he didn’t want to waste electricity on them — until their heads were severed from their bodies.

While Hitler’s victims were innocent people, Duterte said his targets are “all criminals” and that getting rid of them would “finish the (drug) problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”

Germany’s government slammed Duterte’s comments as unacceptable, and called in the Philippine ambassador to the Foreign Ministry over the matter.

“It is impossible to make any comparison to the unique atrocities of the Shoah and Holocaust,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer in Berlin.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Duterte’s remarks were “revolting” and demanded that he retract them and apologize.

“Drug abuse is a serious issue. But what President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heartbreaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country,” Lauder said in a statement issued from Jerusalem, where he was attending the funeral of former Israeli leader Shimon Peres.

The U.S. State Department, which is looking to sustain its longstanding alliance with the Philippines, called the comments “troubling.”

“Words matter, especially when they are from leaders of sovereign nations, especially sovereign nations with whom we have long and valued relations with,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. He repeated U.S. calls for Philippine authorities to investigate any credible reports of extra-judicial killings.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was more blunt.

“It is reprehensible and frankly disgusting that a democratically-elected leader is talking about the mass murder of his own people, with Hitler’s Holocaust as his inspiration no less,” he said in a statement.

Philippine Rep. Teodoro Baguilat wondered if the president was suggesting that “it’s open season now for all addicts, no more rehabilitation, just kill them systematically like what the Nazis did with the Jews.” He expressed fears that Jewish businesspeople might boycott the Philippines.

Also critical was Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch, who said it was baffling why anyone would want to compare themselves to “one of the largest mass murderers in human history.”

Robertson said that in today’s context, Hitler would be accused of crimes against humanity.

“Is that what Duterte wants? Does he want to be sent to the international criminal court? Because he’s working his way there,” Robertson said.

Amnesty International said Duterte “has sunk to new depths” and urged governments around the world to condemn his “extremely dangerous outburst.”

A spokesman for Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based world center for Holocaust research and commemoration, declined to comment on Duterte’s remarks.

Duterte’s campaign promise to end corruption and crime, especially illegal drugs, within six months of taking office on June 30 carried him to an overwhelming victory in May’s presidential election.

Since the vote, more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed and nearly 700,000 others have surrendered in his crackdown. Duterte has asked for a six-month extension to finish the job.

His supporters and many Filipinos exasperated with widespread crime have welcomed his tough approach, but a growing number of critics, including U.N. officials, the European Union and the United States, have voiced concerns over the widespread killings and human rights violations.

He reacted Friday by calling critics from the European Union a “group of idiots in the purest form.”

Duterte lashed out at the U.S., his country’s longtime treaty ally, and the E.U. for finding fault with his methods, saying European countries were hypocrites for not doing enough to help the large numbers of refugees fleeing from the violence in the Middle East.

“There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you’re worried about the deaths of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 (people in the Philippines),” he said.

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  • Very tasteless to compare druggies with Jews. But the idea to kill druggies or at least make them believe they would be killed if…, can eradicate drug addiction and the immeasurable misery it causes. But suspicion of drug use alone should not be sufficient to slaughter them. There must be one warning and then proof. But not the cumbersome proof like in a US courts where it costs millions and 10 years to sentence and execute just one criminal. Even if it would mean that 0.1% is the judicial error rate.

    • Yeah, let’s just toss out a millennium of common law — the Constitution and Bill of Rights too — to solve a social issue that’s existed since humankind saw elephants and monkeys getting plastered on fermented fruit. That sounds like a faaaaabulous plan!

  • Batu = North Shore drug gangs. Started in sixties with Cali surfer endless summer dues looking for a way to finance surfing all week. grown into a nasty illegal economy, now second generation. HPD? Worthless. DEA and FBI? Next to worthless.

    • If you do your homework, law enforcement is doing their jobs, but the judicial system is the weak link that lets people off on probation and drug rehab as an outlet for prison. Have to bring back capital punishment to lessen prison overcrowding and as a deterrent.

      • Amnesty for no-violent drug dealers, a favorite of Obama! Wonder what Dutarte’s position is on alcoholics or purveying of liquor? Perhaps a revolution is occurring among the electorate that are sick and tired of the Washington “insider” and will elect outsider of the likes of Trump?

  • An idea is only as good only as it’s doable. Enforcement and follow through could be a nightmare if due process is shortchanged. (Allaha, in his/her comment above, addresses this issue.) In the worst case scenario, law enforcement would have license to kill any and all suspects. In the Philippines, now’s the time to ask the tough questions — not after the fact.

  • It’s their country. A democratic vote put Duarte in that office so their citizens should be dealing with it. We should worry about the drug problems in our own country and leave them to solve theirs.

    • His dictatorship will affect Hawaii too since now you’ll see an influx of refugees migrating here after Duerte’s purge gets out of hand and reaches Nazi Germany levels.

        • You mean these fishermen are really drug addicts and dealers? That’s the group that’s targeted and more likely to flee. You’re saying our government would start accepting these criminals into our country?

        • The smuggled aliens, primarily Filipino’s, that are fishing in the Hawaii long line not vetted by ICE/CBP and are not checked when the obtain a phantom Hawaii State fishing license. The State and the Federal government has no idea who they are. Do they do dope in Honolulu Harbor.. you tell me. Are fishermen drug addict. You need to check that out.

        • And paranoia hits Hawaii due to actions by a third world country. Reasoning thrown out the window. Huge influx of possibly drug involved fishermen arrives in Hawaii ports. Hilarious!

  • I’ll bet there are a lot fewer drug dealers and users in the Philippines now than there were when he took office. In the US we call it the war on drugs but in reality nothing gets done because there is too much money involved.

  • America liberated the Philippines from Japanese occupation in the mid 1940’s. They forget. There have been problems in our relationship since the Viet Nam war. We forget. We gave them Ferdinand Marco’s So now they want to have their own genocide under a dictator Duterte and call it a war against drugs. They are declaring war on their own people. So be it. This is another Syria is in the making. The don’t want Americans there. The want the Chinese and a stake in the South China Sea. America must close its border to new Filipino immigration. We are going to be getting the Philippines undesirables as they flee tyranny.

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