Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lessons of Ramayana for Malaysia!

Dirgahayu Malaysia.

On this very special day (where we expatriates overseas still have to work, lucky you all) what do I want to write. I thought of blogging in Bahasa, which for me and my lack of fluency requires time and an alert mind to do a decent job, but it has been a long day, so perhaps another time.

What then?

I came across an old book in my place called "Cheritera Seri Rama" by Farid Mohd Onn published in 1965 by DBP - note the old fashioned spelling! I thought on this Merdeka Day, there may be a very special lesson for us Malaysians in that story.

The Ramayana is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, epics of Hinduism to come out of India. To many, it's a religious story akin to biblical tales, while to others, it's a wondrous Indian classic.

It's more than a tale of good versus evil. The most interesting aspect of the saga is that of the relationship between Rama and Sita, or in Bahasa, Seri Rama and Sita Dewi. Many Ramayana scholars have acquired their PhD from analysing the relationship a million ways, upside down, downside up, sideways and every which way.

The lesson for us Malaysian today is the inexplicable nature of that relationship, particularly from Rama's behaviour, which has puzzled scholars throughout the centuries. Why did such a so-called righteous hero like Seri Rama treat his partner Sita Dewi with such distrust, lack of respect and injustice, not once but on two separate occasions?

Rama was the hero of the saga, an avatar of Vishnu born on earth to save the world and the heavens from Ravana or in Bahasa, Rawana. Dewi Sita was his loyal partner. Together, with Seri Rama's brother, Laksamana, the three left Ayodha on a pre-destined mission.

They went through trials and tribulation. In the course of their mission until their eventual triumphant return to Ayodha, Seri Rama accused Sita Dewi twice of infidelity, even though she was innocent. Each time Sita Dewi was forced to prove her purity by ordeal.

But inspite of her repetitive demonstration of virtue, she was considered a tainted partner. Sita Dewi was never accepted by Seri Rama as a loyal and full member of the Ayodha family.

That was what had puzzled scholars, that such a man as Seri Rama could be so narrow minded and succumb to acts of injustice. Some of the scholars wrote interesting views on why Rama acted like so, but that's how they obtained their PhDs. The reality was that Rama acted unjustly.

Tell me, why does this story of the initially happy trio that finally came to a grief where a loyal member was treated unjustly, and with distrust and disrespect, has a moral lesson for us? Why so on on this particular day?

Disgraced Aussie Pollie Failed Sepukku Attempt

John Brodgen, the disgraced Australian politician of NSW State, who resigned from his Opposition post after making a racial slur on Helen Carr, wife of former NSW premier, has attempted suicide.

He was rushed to hospital where he is now in safe conditions.

Prior to his resignation, Brodgen had, after several drinks, cast a nasty remark on Malaysian born Helen Carr, referring to her as Bob Carr’s “mail-order bride.” Helen is highly respected in Australia both sides of politics.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

No Hijab but lovely Body Paint

Australian model Michelle Leslie, who has been arrested in Bali for possession of ecstacy pills, has not only worn a hijab, but gone on to wearing a black burqa dress and pants that concealed her face and covered her from head to toe while she was led from her police cell in Bali.

Now she apologises to Australia's Islamic community for any offence caused by her decision to adopt Muslim dress. Why apologise? Why should a Muslim wearing a Muslim dress use the word 'adopt'? What for? Isn’t she a Muslim afterall, as she has claimed?

We have seen an escalation of her Muslim-ness. First, it was just a sarong to shield her face. Then the sarong became a hijab. Then to make sure no one in Indonesia misses her repeated pronouncement of her Muslim affiliation, she upgraded her apparel to the mysterious exotic burga.

Her spokesman said that the Australian media's reporting of her attire had been provocative, set to annoy Aussie Muslims. Could it because they don’t believe she’s Muslim?

Well, her spokesman said Leslie embraced Islam a year ago after practising the religious obligations for 6 months prior to her conversion.

This wasn’t how the Aussie media see it, as they suggested that she was opportunistic and laid claim as a Muslim to curry favour with the Indon authorities in Indonesia. Her spokesman strenously denied such pretences. In fact he revealed that poor Leslie had sought refuge in God (Allah, man, Allah, not God) to help her through her current shitty situation.

Additionally the burga also prevented unwanted attention from journalists, cell mates and prison guards. Her spokesman claimed that her cellmates were jealous of her good looks. And the guards stared and stared, and even wanted to touch her. Ahaaa, surely that last part should garnered lots of sympathy from hot-headed Aussie males. How dare any Indons touch an Aussie darling.

Click here to see Michelle Leslie walking down the catwalk in all her “painted” glory, but sorry, her hijab “dropped off” somewhere behind her.

Dressed Only in Body Paint … & a Hijab?

2004 Best Headlines (1)

"Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over"

Wow, what a guy!

from an email

American Recipe for Chaos

As expected, the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, with the blessings of the USA, have pushed out the draft constitution for the new Iraq. The Sunnis have refused to support the draft, accusing the new laws as deliberately conducive to the breakup of the nation of Iraq as we know it today.

Now the Arab League has condemned the document as a recipe for chaos, and pointed to its potential for civil war. But the heavy handprint of American insistence could be seen in its hurried completion with an obsenely unrealistic dateline.

The old saying of shops that “if you break it, you buy it”, also reminded by Colin Powell to President Bush before the invasion, has been disregarded by the Americans. They want a constitution in place, regardless of its potential for civil war, as an essential ingredient in their exit strategy. The Bush Administration invasion has “broken” Iraq, but they have now refused to "buy" the current shambles of their created fragments, wanting only to exit el pronto.

Dressed Only in Body Paint ... & a Hijab?

Just not too recently I blogged extensively on Schapelle Corby, an Aussie girl arrested and convicted of drug smuggling into Bali. She has been sentenced to jail amidst a publicity circus where she was both a criminal and a victim.

The Indons sentenced her to prison for 20 years as a criminal while people including Australian media exploited her notoriety for publicity, TV ratings and possibly money. Corby was young, white, pretty and, as Derryn Hinch suggested, physically very well endowed. That combination was a TV producer's dream. Corby's attributes attracted both sympathisers and vultures.

Products sprang up overnight bearing her name though she wasn’t aware of those. Websites collected money for her “defence” without her knowing about it. The people surrounding her, claiming to be her white knights turned out to be black knaves instead. A second so-called white knight appeared, purportedly to champion her but was revealed (mind you, not unexpectedly) as someone who wanted the Aussie government to support his projects in Indonesia. Even the Aussie government was impelled by public opinion to overtly support her. Yes, Corby was a victim of every possible Aussie exploitation.

Now another young and pretty Aussie, Michelle Leslie, a model, faces drugs charges in the same part of Indonesia, Bali. She was caught with some ecstacy pills in her possession.

After the usual publicity and dramas with Indnesian lawyers the way Corby had experienced, she suddenly declared herself a Muslim. Just to make sure there’s no mistaking her religious affiliation, she wraps up her head with a sarong as a make-shift hijab.

Now, she’s covered from head to toe as she was led from her cell at Bali police headquarters. Her Australian solicitor, who is working with Leslie's team of five Indonesian lawyers, said Leslie was a Muslim and her hijab has been in response to the heavy media presence in Bali. But now, her spokesman added that the more correct reason is that she wanted to be comforted by God, stating "Michelle as a Muslim made a decision to wear a hijab to find solace with God, not for any other purpose." Of course not!

Mind you, prior to her arrest, when she was in front of a different set of media, the fashion kind, Leslie modelled underwear, swimwear and other clothes, and apparently appeared in little more than body paint at a modelling assignments last year. Hmmm, I wonder whether then she wore a hijab as well?

Monday, August 29, 2005

In Vino Veritas

In vino veritas. In Latin it translate into 'there’s truth in wine'. What it means is that when a bloke is drunk he speaks out the truth or his true mind.

This was the problem for John Brogden, the Opposition Liberal Party leader of Australia’s biggest state, New South Wales (NSW). He spoke his mind after 6 beers, disastrously for his political career.

The Labour Party currently forms the NSW state government, and has been so for last decade under the leadership of Bob Carr, one of the most powerful and articulate politician in Australia. It's such a pity Carr has just retired from politics. Carr is married to Helen, a Malaysian born lady.

Carr is such an intellectual - it's rumoured he read books which first sentence has at least 5 words requiring ordinary blokes to refer to the dictionary - that he was considered to have a nerdy image. In the last election, the Labour Party was a bit worried that Bob Carr’s intellectual personality/image might alienate him from the voters. So their strategy was to focus on Helen as the principal character in their political TV campaigning.

The aim was to demonstrate Bob Carr as a normal sort of bloke, whose charming wife Helen did a good job at home, cooking and talking about what Bob liked to eat, what he did at home, that sort of touchy feely stuff. The campaign was successful.

I am not too sure whether Helen’s role in Carr's reelection victory had irritated John Brogden but last week after a few drinks in a Hilton Hotel with some journalists (how more stupid can such an Australian politician be) he referred to Helen Carr as a “mail-order bride”, a racial slur on Helen’s Malaysian background.

But the disaster for Brogden didn’t end there. During that boozing session, he also pinched the bum of a journalist and propositioned another, with any of these two acts enough to kill his political aspiration to be the next premier of NSW.

This guy in his previous incarnation must have been a kamikaze pilot or a sati, a Hindu widow who burns/kills herself together with her dead husband.

One reporter wrote sarcastically:

“Quite apart from the appalling quinella [double winner or in this case, double whammy] of sexism and racism, anyone dumb enough to make a comment like that in a room packed full of journalists deserves to be kicked out of their job for gross incompetence.”

“Then there’s the revelation that he pinched one journo on the behind and propositioned another. Gee, what were the chances that’d make the papers?”

But the racist remark on Helen Carr was absolutely unforgivable. Even his own political party distanced themselves from him. He has become a political pariah overnight.

He resigned as the Liberal Party political leader today. Whether he will one day return to the top position remains to be seen, but from TV news report it would appear that his misconduct had been dobbed in by another more conservative faction in his party. John Brogden has been a more liberal sort of politician which didn’t sit very well with the right wing elements.

A wonderful lesson for Malaysian politicians - learn how to resign honourably after a dishonourable act. We don't require you to commit sepukku, yet!

Bishop & the Poison Chalice

The French did it. The Brits claimed to have suffered for it. So some Aussies thought they might follow the French example and pre-empt the Brit experience from happening.

Remember Australia’s MP Sophie Panopoulos from the Liberal Party - I blogged on her sometime ago, in Sophie Panapoulos – Silly She Ain’t!, about how clever she was in organizing her political activities to catch PM John Howard’s eyes?

Well, the right wing and very outspoken lady took a populist stand by commenting last week that Muslim girls wore headscarves to school as more an act of rebellion than a need of religion. She discarded the Aussie political convention of not debating in public, issues that may be seen to attack minorities.

Panopoulos said girls attending government schools in Australia should wear the official school uniform a la the French approach. The French recently passed a law directed at the wearing of religious or ethnic symbols such as Sikh’s turbans, Jews’ yarmulkes, and Muslim headgear, etc in public schools, that would symbolise divisions within French society, especially among school children.

Another right wing Liberal Party backbencher, Bronwyn Bishop has joined her call. Bishop wanted to ban Muslim girls from wearing headscarves at government schools. Like Panapoulos, she reckoned that the use of such headgear was an iconic act of defiance. She is worried that Australia would experience a clash of cultures if nothing was done now.

She suggested that such drastic actions need not be necessary in an ideal society, but she believed that, given the current terrorist attacks in Britain and some parts of Europe, it’s time to stop dividing society by displaying religious or ethnic symbols.

To be fair to Bishop she recommended that the ban applies only at state government schools, and that Muslim girls were entitled to continue wearing their scarves in their private/personal capacity, at home or in Muslim schools.

She explained that she “singled out the Muslim headscarf because no other religious group was arguing for the fundamental rules of society to be changed”, meaning that some Muslim clerics were preaching to their parish to obey Islamic law above Australian law. Recently the Aussie DPM Peter Costello has issued a no-shit warning that there is only one law in Australia, which is the Australian law.

I saw on Aussie TV some (sweet looking) Aussie students of the Islamic faith, explaining and clarifying very articulately their religious obligation to don the headgear, not because of any silly defiance of western rule, but for modesty as required by Islam. Those girls were obviously Aussie-born or brought up in an Aussie environment. There’s no mistaking their Aussie accent. They were very calm and relaxed in their responses to Bishop’s suggestion.

Unlike the cleverness and rising star of Panapoulos, Bishop is regarded as a has-been in Australian politics. She still has a core of supporters but she is nowhere near the dynamism and cunning of Panapoulos.

Bishop was once a prime ministerial wannabe. She fancied herself as another Margaret Thatcher and I suspect, modelled herself after the British Iron Lady. In her heydays she tried to project herself as a no-nonsense, decisive and resolute politician. At one time her hairdo looked suspiciously a la Margaret Thatcher. Unfortunately there has been no harmless-looking “Denis Thatcher” to stand beside her to complete the Margaret Thatcher image.

There was a time when she wasn’t even coy about her prime ministerial prospect. But when John Howard became the PM, he sorted her out, gave her a lousy difficult ministerial function that was the downfall of her, then demoted her to some minor ministerial post and eventually kicked her to the backbench.

I wonder whether she ought to see that as a backhanded compliment to her potential threat? But in her last ministerial post, she was an utter disaster though I wonder whether a man holding that same poison chalice would have done any better.

Another prime ministerial wannabe, federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, deflated Bishop’s proposal, stating that he supported the right of students to wear headscarves provided this fell within each school's uniforms policy.

Not entirely unexpected, the adverse fallout of this right wing proposal seems to be focussed on poor Bronwyn Bishop alone rather include Sophie Panapoulos, even though it was Panapoulos who raised this first. Bishop has again drank from a poison chalice.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Glimpse at the Gerakan Party Election Result

The surprising thing about the Gerakan Party's election was not Dr Lim KY's victory (that was a given) but that Kerk could even obtain 40% of the votes. Allowing for a core of pro-Kerk voting, this respectful margin could be due to either sympathy votes for Kerk because of the way he was ousted in a palace coup that saw Koh TK, CM of Penang being 'pushed' up into the No 2 spot, or because of anti-Lim KY votes.

The latter means that those voters do not necessarily voted for Kerk to be president but was not against him either - they just wanted Dr Lim to have either a fright or a loss.

But regardless, Kerk obtained 40%, which is a very healthy margin because he lost only by 10% - no, not 20%, that's not the way they count for a fixed number of party delegates. Another 10% would have seen Kerk with 50% in a stalemate with Dr Lim KY. Unfortunately for Kerk, the disowning of him by the Chinese educationists just on the eve of the party election affected his prospect dramatically and adversely.

Subramaniam of the MIC should take note that Kerk, having know he had to go, went but with a big bang and much dignity.

I am interested to see how the Gerakan Party handles reconciliation after all the blood-letting the past week. All of Kerk's supporters lost. There's real bad blood in the Gerakan's triangular struggle. Though the margin of the result shows a semblance of democratic practice, if the reconciliation is not managed well, the Gerakan will lose out in the long term as disenchanted and marginalised members (of Kerk's camp) leave the party to the benefit of the MCA, or if they want to go over to the opposition, the DAP or even PKR.

Why did I state that "the margin of the result shows a semblance of democratic practice"?

Well, there were suggestions of party rigging with the disproportionate representation by Kelantan State - no one believes that, given the demographic makeup of Kelantan, the number of delegates from that State could even be significantly near Penang State.

Then, the initial refusal by the Party election committee (controlled by Dr Lim KY) to disclose the list of delegates to Kerk's group smelled too strongly of dirty tricks. After much protests, the list was made available BUT for just 10 minutes. That was disgraceful. Compare that with the MCA pre-election conduct where the delegates list was published on its website. One must question this dodgy procedure and ask what's the REAL reason for the deliberate withholding of the list from Kerk's group.

But the person who gains most must be Dr Koh KT, UMNO's favourite boy.

Chavez Samba's with Chinese

Maybe this has been worrying the Americans sick. Maybe this has been what triggered evangelist Pat Robertson to call for the assassination of the Venezuelan president? And a lot of other maybe’s ….. that stretched all the way across the globe to Iraq, Iran and the Central Asian region, which we’ll leave for the time being.

No, no, it's not the decadent sexy yummy samba ;-)

China’s state oil companies and Venezuela have signed agreement to co-invest in oilfields in the South American country.

Venezuela said it can supply 15 to 20% of China's oil import needs, which is a humungous amount and an equally humungous headache for the USA.

The Americans consider Venezuela as part of its backyard, and has tried on numerous occasions to unseat the popular Hugo Chavez – why? Because of Venezuelan oil, that the USA considers as rightfully its own or at least for it to have first preference. How dare Chavez gives it to those Chinese.

If the Americans have treated Chavez with some respect and pay the appropriate price instead of resorting to its old formula of manipulating ‘regime change’ to suit its own interest for cheap oil, it would not have driven Chavez into the Chinese welcoming arms. Ole!

Related posts:
(1) The Second Cold War
(2) US Ambassador for Oil
(3) Strategically Important Krygyzstan
(4) China – One Hell of a Market!
(5) US Laying Grounds for Kurdistan?
(6) USA vs China – The Fight for Black Gold

Fighting to the Last Drop of Sperm!

It seems there is no limit to the entrepreneurial skills of some insurgents. Lacking money to buy arms and materials to support their cause, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), a rebel group in India fighting for an independent tribal homeland in their state, just next to Bangladesh, have struck on a veritable goldmine – porn.

Male and female cadres of the group have been press-ganged into acting for the porn movies, all in compact disc of course. These “actors” have the lush jungle as their love scenes.

Indian police have come across those compact discs with explicit sex scenes. The films are sold throughout India and other south Asian countries - they are very popular, it seems.

Police investigators are currently viewing and analysing the films thoroughly, and repeatedly. The Indian police are thorough if not anything.

OK, it’s the usual KTemoc add-on for the last paragraph above ;-)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Responsibility and those Responsible

A 14-year old teenage boy playfully locked his 5-year-old half-sister in a coin-operated washing machine at a commercial laundry.

Boys are like that. I remember my childhood days when my cousins and I swam in the village kolam (pool). The group would pick a ‘victim’ and then either dunked the poor bastard (many times me because I was the youngest and smallest in size – great target for bullying) or not allowed the poor bloke to rest at the edge of the very deep pool – the 'chosen one' had to keep swimming or thread water for a long long while.

But for this American boy and his kid sister, things went awfully wrong. Though no coin was inserted into the machine, so it was claimed, it began running the moment the boy slammed its door shut.

He tried frantically to stop the machine and free his sister, and resorted to using a large rock picked from the parking lot to smash at the machine's glass window. By this time, his mum was there, also using the same rock to break through the glass and eventually free her daughter. But by that time, the little girl had already died of asphyxiation.

The law enforcers charged the boy with manslaughter but the court judge ruled that there wasn't a case as he believe the prosecution could not convict the 14-year-old boy. The prosecution argued that the washer required 11 quarters to operate and would not accept coins until the heavy door has been shut. Anyway, the judge acquited the boy. I think that poor kid will be troubled for the rest of his life.

The bereaved mother claimed that the manufacturer of the machine knew the model had a history of starting up without the insertion of coins but failed to fix the problem.

This is the revelation. She is now suing the washing machine's maker.

I guess in a highly litigative society, with people don’t wanting or aren’t prepared to accept responsibility for their own actions, suing seems to be a way of devolving responsibility and making some money in the process. She should have been monitoring and controlling her kids' behaviour and safety.

I bet you if nothing had gone horribly wrong, those users would be delighted to enjoy the machine’s washing services without the need to insert any coins.

Malaysia's Gerakan Party & Lesson from Judge Bao

Jeff Ooi of Screenshots has just posted his commentary on the general elections of the Gerakan Party, a political party in Malaysia. The Gerakan Party is a member of the ruling Coalition party, known as Barisan Nasional or BN for short.

Jeff Ooi analysed the campaign statements of Mr Kerk Choo Ting, the challenger to the incumbent, as descriptive of himself as Justice Bao. Mr Kerk is the current No 2 bloke in the Gerakan Party.

I am not an expert on Malaysian politics like some other Malaysian bloggers including Jeff Ooi and Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia-Today, but like all Chinese I do know a little about Justice Bao. For one to be referred to as Justice Bao is the highest Chinese accolade for incorruptibility, professional integrity and courageous public diligence.

I’ll stay clear of Gerakan Party going-ons on this blog, but instead share with you a Saturday Morning story on Justice or Judge (I prefer 'Judge') Bao when he was still in his teenage years. Yes, China's most famous, incorruptible, fearless judge, like all famous men, was once a kid. This is a story of his teenage years. It carries a moral lesson.


When Judge Bao was a kid, he and his best friend, Chao went camping together. Late at night, while lying down in their medieval Chinese sleeping bags Bao suddenly pointed up at the starry sky, and asked Chao, "Well, what do you think?"

Chao, always wary of the brilliant super-intellectual Bao and his sharp caustic wit, cautiously attempted to cover all angles in his reply:

"Were you referring to the honourable art of navigation by stars - well, looking at the sector of the White Tiger of the West, there's the old familiar triple stars of Shen (the belt of Orion) so by them I know where North is ..."

"or do you mean the honourable study of astronomy – if so, we are actually viewing history as those lights have taken wan (a wan is 10,000), wan, wan, wan, well many many more umpteen wan's years as the number of grains of sand on the shores of our nation, to reach us ..."

"or were you considering a noble discourse of philosophy – in that case, we are but insignificant specks in the greater scheme of the universe as our Great Sage instructed us ..."

"or has it to do with ..."

At this stage he was cut short by an impatient Bao, who snapped:

"You bloody idiot, someone has stolen our tent!"

story based on an earlier email I received some 3 years ago - I couldn't find that email but still recall from memory the basic storyline - therefore the above has been largely rewritten, which allowed me to modify it to Chinese characteristics

& the moral of the story?

Someones we cannot see "the woods for the trees", or more approriately for this story, "the sky for the stars" ;-)

A Man With Two Faces, Faces Eviction

The Americans thought it might be a good idea to have a military station in Uzbekistan, a former member state of the US Cold War foe, the USSR. Its miliary presence would serve several purposes – (1) maintain a military presence in the oil-rich Central Asian region as part of the neo-cons strategy for American dominance of the world’s energy resource areas, (2) form part of the strategy of encircling China, which the US has identified as its future rival, (3) monitor Islamist activities in the region including those of Iran’s, (4) provide a handy transit and logistic support for its Afghan operations.

The double standards of this strategy is that the Americans have their Monroe Doctrine yet are pretty brazen and two face about placing their military nosiness in other people’s backyards. I suppose at that time, when one is the world’s sole superpower, one thinks one can get away with everything and anything.

Simply enunciated the Monroe Doctrine has been the US way of telling non-Americans, particularly Europeans, to butt out of its New World backyard, and that any interferefence would constitute a casus belli.

The most famous evokation of the Doctrine was during the Cuban Crisis, but the deliberate ignoring of the same Doctrine was sheer hypocrisy when the USA supported Britian’s Falklands War against an American nation, Argentina.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) mateship overrides the American ‘hemispheric defense’ doctrine signed under the Rio Treaty. It's no wonder that Mexico referred to the case of the Falklands War as a reason for pulling out of the Rio Treaty. The Latinos can't trust nor rely on the USA.

Anyway – back to Uzbekistan.

With concerted campaigning, economic aid, and political support from China and Russia under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperatiive Organization (SCO) the Uzbeks have decided to evict the Americans.

Its Senate has given final approval on Friday to an order evicting US military forces from the country.

Then cheekily, its lawmakers have demanded financial compensation from the USA for cost of building infrastructure to support US military presence and consequential workers health and environmental damage to the country.

Uzbek Senator Muriddin Zayniddinov said of the eviction, "A man with two faces cannot be a friend of Uzbekistan."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sometimes the Arab Wins

An old Egyptian-American man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to do the annual digging and hoeing of his potato garden, but it was very hard work for a 70-year old man.

His only son, Abdul, who used to help him, was being held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist suspect. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

My Dearest Son,

I miss you badly. I am feeling pretty miserable because it looks like I won't be able to plant potatoes in our garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up the garden by myself. How wonderful it would be if only you were here. I know you would dig up the plot for me.

Your Dad,

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

My Beloved Dad,

In the name of Allah swt, don't dig up that garden, don't touch anything or even walk in it. The jinn, if you know what I mean, lies beneath the soil.


At 5 am the next morning, FBI agents and local police showed up with all sorts of earth-moving machinery and dug up the entire area several times without finding any weapons. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,

Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.


;-) modified from an email I received

To Sir, With Shame

There is a sh*tbag in Vijaywada, a town in the southern Andhra Pradesh state of India, who called himself a school headmaster. Unfortunately he was actually one. His name is Srinivas Rao, and he used to threaten his teenage girl students with caning, even if they have been innocent of any misconduct.

However, he was willing to let them escape the threatened corporal punishment if they did exactly as he instructed them – namely, to strip naked and pose for him, while he photographed their nudity. Let it not be said he was technologically backward for he used a digital camera, and sent the pictures to a pornographic website. And of course he kept a copy for himself on his own computer.

I am not sure how long he was able to get away with this bullying paedophilic outrage, but it’s reported that he victimised 16 girls before he was eventually caught and thrashed by enraged parents. Maybe there had been more victims with some just too ashame to report the abuse, India being India.

I hope they whacked that sh*tbag real good.

After walloping him, the parents garlanded him with slippers, apparently a big insult in India. They then took him to a police station to be charged. It’s a pity they didn’t castrate him as well, and then take a photo of his c*ckless groin and post it on those sadist websites.

Sir, May the Camel F*** your Mother!

A conversation between a US marine patrol in Baghdad and some locals, via a local Iraqi interpreter:

Marine Officer (smiling, and in English): Hi there, how’s everything going? I truly admire you guys for your religious discipline during Ramadan, in this most holy of Islamic months. I am sure you are all looking forward to the Eid al-Fitr after such amazing discipline?

Iraqi translator (in Arabic): Peace be unto thee, my father, I feel bad about translating the infidel’s offensive remarks, but I ask for Allah’s and your forgiveness for my unpleasant task. I have to do what I have to do, to feed my 9 children, a wife, 6 brothers - oh those lazy good for nothing, and 4 sisters - woe unto me for I can’t marry them off, and a mother-in-law - may the camel screw that old crone. O Father, this satanic infidel smiles wickedly at our religious practice and asked why you are so stupid as to fast yourself when everyone is enjoying their food and refreshing drink?

An Elderly Local (becoming angry, in Arabic): And peace be unto thee too, my son, and may Allah curse this infidel. It is times like this when I wish for that old devil, Saddam, to be back here where he would teach these satanic aggressors a good lesson. May the camel f*** his mother - no, not that evil Saddam's but this Yankee son of a scorpion's.

Marine Officer (puzzled, in English): Say Hussein, why is the elderly gentleman looking so angry?

Translator (in English): Sir, he hates Christian people but most of all, Americans like you. He said it’s a pity Osama didn’t kill as many Americans as possible during 9/11. And it's a pity Saddam didn't gas all of you. And sir, I hate to say this, but he said that your American mother was f*** by several camels and Jewish pigs.

The above is of course only a notional scenario, but represents growing concerns that the US military aren’t well served in the important area of communication between American troops and local Iraqis.

For a start, there isn’t enough interpreters to translate what could be possibly life-threatening or life-saving vital information. At intelligence headquarters, files and other captured documents in Arabic are piling up, waiting for translation.

Then, more importantly for troops patrolling the streets, the current limited number of interpreters are not enough to go around with every patrol. The Americans are also wondering whether the local interpreters can be trusted, for they could very well act not only as interpreters but also as self appointed editors or censors, to suit their political, ethnic or personal interests – that’s what my painted scenario implies.

Retired US Marine colonel Thomas Hammes, author of The Sling and The Stone: On War in the 21st Century and an expert in insurgency warfare, bemoaned the shortage of good and reliable Iraqi Arab translators for US troops in Iraq.

He criticised the Bush Administration for ill serving American troops over there. The silence on this issue of interpreter shortage has been remarkably puzzling, all the more so in stark contrast to the publicity surrounding other similar shortages for troops in Iraq (equipment, flak jackets, armoured vehicles, etc). He argued that the Bush Administration is denying US troops in Iraq the tools to do their job effectively.

He pointed out succinctly that without the facility and facilitation of communication across language barriers, American soldiers in Iraq are essentially blind to what’s going on around them.

Hammes painted a scenario similar to mine, that, for example, the US troops won’t be able to identify whether a loud argument in the market is over the price of tomatoes or a threat of murder.

He is worried about trusting local Iraqi interpreters completely. For example, an Iraqi who cannot speak English but wants to inform the Americans about insurgent activities would have to be completely dependent upon the local interpreter. His message wouldn't get across and he himself would be in mortal danger if the interpreter is an insurgent sympathiser.

Hammes is disgusted with the current situation where sometimes communication between American advisers and their Iraqi counterparts have been only by hand gestures

He identified the problem as the low pay an Iraqi-Arab interpreter gets. Why the hell would a reliable interpreter risk his life in a combat situation for a paltry sum while foreign truck drivers employed for work in Iraq are paid a world of a difference?

Hammes suggested that a reliable and good Arabic interpreter should be paid, say, $200,000 a year to serve in Iraq with the troops. He argued that if the work of that interpreter can prevent one single American casualty, that would have more than recovered the cost of employing the interpreter.

He recommends that Arabic-speaking Americans be employed for the task. He wants the Administration to stop marginalizing them as have happened after 9/11, just because they are Arabs. Hammes reminds the Administration to remember the two World Wars, where “new” Americans were as loyal to the Stars and Stripes as locally born or white Americans.

Certainly a deadlier scenario for the Americans than portrayed in the movie Lost in Translation which starred Bill Murray and the delectable Scarlett Johanssen.

Bush Condones US Talibans

Bush is a hypocrite.

He and his coterie denounced Democrat Senator Dick Durbin when the latter compared the Guantánamo military prison to the Gulag. And what do you think he would do if a Jordanian mullah had gone on an Arab TV station and passed a fatwa for the assassination of the U.S. President. Already Britain and Australia are getting tough on such mullah-ish pronouncements.

But two days after evangelist Pat Robertson proposed the assassination of the president of a sovereign nation, Venezuela, President Bush and his senior officials had done f***all

All the State Department had said so far has been that Robertson was inappropriate in his remark and it is not American policy to kill the head of state of a foreign country.

Inappropriate? But nothing bloody more appropriate, decent or statesman-like came forth from Bush, Cheney or any of the leaders of their allies.

Why Bush has been so evasive about coming out and doing the decent presidential and lawful thing, has been his reliance on Robertson and his church-based right wing constituency. It has been such support that re-elected Bush. The support of those Christian Talibans will be sorely needed by the Republican Congressmen in 2006.

So, what’s the difference between Robertson and his pal Bush and those fiery mullahs who preach the death of Westerners.

Though Pat Robertson apologised much latter, it was a very much reserved apology, meaning he wasn't really sorry but did so to minimise Bush's embarrasment. He claimed he uttered that killing call out of frustration with Chavez.

As political observers mentioned, was he frustrated because socialist Chavez chose to reform land ownership in Venezuala? Was it because Chavez chose to use the oil income to improve health, education and other community projects? Was it because the US engineered coup against Chavez failed miserably due to the Venezuelan people's support for Chavez?

Political observers also mentioned the parallel between the US treatment of Ho Chi Minh and Hugo Chavez, of how the American administration chose to support unpopular dictatorships of feudal land owners (or oil barons) against popular reformist leaders who wanted to improve the lot of their people.

The Aussie Foreign Legion is coming!

The Americans have encountered problems recruiting soldiers especially during the current climate of the disastrous US war in Iraq. The Afghanistan situation will add to this recruiting problem. I have blogged earlier on this issue (see the 'Uday Singh tragedy' below), where the US military recruits foreigners for their foot soldiers. The reward for those foreign recruits is the possibility of a US citizenship, which appeals to people from the more deprived world like Filipinos, South Americans and Indians.

Australia with an increasing commitment to the war in Afghanistan faces similar problems. It wants to boost up the numbers of service personnel especially for the Army but it is encountering difficulties attracting young men into uniform. The lack of male enthusiasm may be attributed to increased economic prosperity, changing career expectations and family pressures.

Recently, there have even been talks about permitting women to serve in frontline combat roles because of such recruiting difficulties with men. But the community’s general feeling is not so supportive of women assuming such a dangerous role.

So, now the Aussies are taking a leaf out of the American book and considering the recruiting of young Pacific islanders into the Australian defence force under a citizenship-for-military-service plan.

The Aussie Armed Forces are considering a kind of Aussie Foreign Legion, like forming a Pacific Islands Regiment. The difference Australia has with the American approach is of course its traditional ties with Pacific Islanders, where it supports those people with aid and all sorts of assistance. Australia sees such recruitment as just another way to engage the young people of the Pacific Islands and improve their skills as part of a broader Pacific engagement program.

In fact, Australia also has military links with Pacific island nations during the Second World War when a similar Pacific Islands Regiment was formed, with Australian officers and SNCOs commanding the troops. The Armed Forces have a team looking into sign-on payments, free educational incentives, shorter careers and a more varied lifestyle.

Advance Australia Fair.

Uday Singh, a US Citizen

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Iraqi Women Lose Rights under Regime Change

It may well be that Iraqi women are now saying, “Saddam where the hell are you when we need you?”

Women had enjoyed far greater rights under a secular Saddam Hussein's government. Under the US wonderful regime change, Iraqi women will now be subjected to misogynist Islamic laws.

Katheryn Coughlin, program administrator for the American Islamic Congress, a nonprofit organization conducting democracy training in Iraq, expresses concerns with the political developments in Iraq.

Once the country's secular civil code is replaced with Islamic Shariah law, women will be severely restricted from an education, professional careers, the rights to choose their marriage partners, or to divorce and to inheritance.

The sad fact is the interpretations of Islamic law by the general Islamic experts make women less than equal to men.

Ironically, an Iraq under the Baathist Party enjoyed secular civil law since 1959, which guaranteed women most of the same freedoms their Western counterparts enjoy.

Coughlin stated that under the new Iraqi Islamic law, girls can be married off when they are as young as 9, men automatically receive custody of their children in a divorce, and a woman inherits only half the amount her brothers do. Women would have no legal identity.

She worries that they would be treated as property rather than equals.

Coughlin should understand that the USA also supports Saudi Arabia, which in many instance, have far more draconian laws governing women. Then there is the US wonderful ally, Pakistan, where women may be raped under tribal law of an Islamic populace. Oh, by the way, there was the US old buddies, the Talibans –remember them?

Where oil and Americans are concerned, f*** women rights!

Evangelist called Prophet Muhammad a Robber & Brigand

Bush’s Christian Right ally evangelist Pat Robertson, apart from calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Chavez, has stated that feminists are lesbians, mum killers and witches. He has also pronounced that such women would leave their husbands and kill their children, and worst of all, destroy capitalism. That last “crime” is serious stuff for Bush and his neo-cons.

To him, homosexuals practice Satanism and Nazism - told so you, that Hitler was a homo ;-)

But there’s hope for the 9/11 terrorists, who are of course now very dead. Robertson believes they weren’t the worst people. He reckons that American activist judges threaten the USA more than just a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings and killed 3000 people. It’s surpriisng he hasn’t yet ask for their assassination – no oil maybe?

Then he called Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a robber and brigand.

Christian Evangelist says Kill Chavez

Incoming, Your Majesties, Duck Duck Duck!

“Duck, duck, your Majesties, emergency alarms have gone off, we have intruders on palace grounds!”

Visualise such a scene at the British royal family's summer estate in Scotland. Because of you-know-what-and-why, the Balmoral palace grounds have newly installed security alarms.

The intruders have been identified as Arabella, Antoine, Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary and Thyme. No, these are not 007-type secret agent names.

They are but seven ducks belonging to Prince Charles. Charles obtained them because he considered and thus employs them as environmentally friendly, free-range pest controllers around Birkhall, his place at Balmoral. The ducks demolish worms, slugs and insects and other pests, thus avoiding the need for chemical applications in the garden. Charles is of course a man devoted to organic gardening. The ducks are also partial to grass, so act as living lawn mowers.

Unfortunately, day and night, the ducks are setting off alarms triggered by underground sensors buried under paths and lawns. And to compound the situation the ducks are Indian runners, an extremely active specie. Unlike other ducks, they run rather than waddle, affecting the sensors more.

To solve the problem, the security people are calling in some Chinese specialists. For a start, the plan will be to change the names of Arabella, Antoine, Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary and Thyme to seoi arh, loh arh, kiam chai arh, chean chuan arh, ark moi, mee snua arh and tau eu arh. That will definitely solve the problem of the alarms being set off. But don’t tell Charles this, OK?

OK I made up the last bit ;-)

The True Reason for Invading Afghanistan

Here is the real reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan. It’s not about 9/11. It’s not about punishing Osama bin Laden (for who knows which particular Saudi terrorist group had actually attacked the Twin Towers), though it would be great for President Bush had Osama been nabbed and brought back to the USA for trial. It's not about retribution for those victimised in 9/11 though it did serve to show the American people their president was "strong" in punishing those who dared to touch the USA (doesn't matter whether the correct party has been punished).

The oil pipeline from the oil-rich “-stan” countries of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan was an old pipe dream that became a deal between the USA and its old ally, the Talibans. Piping oil from the Central Asian countries to the coast of the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan would have allowed the Americans to avoid transiting the precious commodity through either Chinese or Russian territories.

But things went sour when their erstwhile ally the Talibans cancelled the deal in the latter's decision to close the Afghan’s door to the world and retreat into their own conceived splendours and magnificence of a medieval Islamic State.

The Americans were naturally peeved, as the slamming shut of the Afghan route left open only the undesirable alternative of taking the pipeline east through China, God forbid, or west through Russia, definitely not.

When 9/11 occurred, the excuse or opportunity to resurrect that pipeline through Afghanistan made itself available again. An invasion and occupation of the backward nation and the subsequent installation of a former UNOCAL employee as Afghanistan president would make facilitate the building and maintenance of the pipeline nicely. Read this about Ahmad Karzai and his connection with UNOCAL and the Americans.

Just like Iraq, Afghanistan was about oil. Osama bin Laden was just the excuse.

9/11 – Sex, Lies & Videotape

Iraqi Constitution - US Demands Impossible Deadline

There are many reasons for the proposed Iraqi consitution to fail. By "fail" I mean it won't be accepted by all ethnic groups. The Shiites with their numbers, plus support from the Kurds, may just be able to push it through via the tyranny of the majority. But "pushing it through" is not the same as a success, except it will bring a sigh of relief for the Americans.

Probably one of the principal reasons for the difficulty in reaching a consensus on the drafting has been the unrealistic "deadline" imposed by the USA.

The Americans want the new constitution A.S.A.P so that the subsequent election can take place for a new Iraqi government to be installed, for the world and especially the American public to see that, thanks to the USA a new Iraq is born and "independent", before they hightail it back to the good ole mainland.

The Iraqi quagmire is sucking their young men and women down into Hades. The casualties are mounting and hurting their political centre of gravity, which is the American public. That was how they lost the war to a 3rd world nation in the early 70s. That was why they exited Vietnam in utter shambles and disgrace. That was how they abandoned their southern Vietnamese allies to their bloody fate.

All those, we will see them re-do when the new Iraqi constitution is in place and the election confirms a new Iraqi government, and f*** secularity, human rights and democracy - provided of course Chalabi delivers from the south and the Kurds from the north - oil, that is!

For the Iraqis, issues such as federalism, religion as the centre piece of the new state, women's rights or rather their loss, oil wealth sharing, ethnic based militia for each autonomous region are all extremely sticky points. Each ethnic group perceives their individual net gain and losses.

To recapitulate on what I have blogged previously:

(1) Understandably the Kurds want federalism with an opportunity to secede in 8 years time. They even want this consideration for independence written into the constitution, plus the right to maintain their own militia, the 100,000 strong peshmerga. The Shiites seem not to care but the Sunnis are another matter altogether.

The Bush Administration has instructed the Kurds to go easy on this issue so as not to delay Sunni acceptance of the constitution. In reality the Americans don't give a sh*t whether the Kurds get their own nation, so long as they deliver the oil to Uncle Sam. That has been how the US treated the Shiites and the Sunnis in turn, and that's how they will treat the Kurds.

(2) The Shiites know they form 60% of the population. By sheer virtue of this alone, they enjoy a number of options. Most important of all, they will control the government, and of course the oil in the south. That's why they can afford to stick their Sharia tongue out and thumb their Hudud nose at the Americans. The US is so desperate that it has caved in, yes, born-again Christian Bush has caved in to the Shiites' demand for an Islamic state. That tells us how desperate the Americans are - it's akin to Osama bin Laden agreeing to the opening of a bah-kut-teh stall in downtown Kabul in order to obtain some advantage.

The Shiites intend to ensure the Sunnis will never ever again be on top of them. As for the Kurds, the Shiites have to decide whether it's more realistic to let go of the equally oil-rich north and graciously accept an independent Kurdistan, or engage them in an anti-secession suppression. Still early days yet. Everything right now is in the Shiites' favour, and there's no need to rush.

(3) The Sunnis are in deep sh*t insofar as their options are concerned. They realised they will be denied the oil in both the northern and southern regions. Comprising 20% of the population there isn't much they can do within the short time the Americans have allowed them, other than to imply the threat of civil war, and to demonstrate this ominous future by intensifying the current insurgency.

How have all these complications come to be?

Was it Saddam Hussein's WMD missiles just 45 minutes flight from London and a bit more from New York and Washington? Or, was it the Saddam Hussein's al Qaeda link? Or, was it regime change? Or, was it the democratisation of the Middle East, starting off with an Iraqi island of 'freedom and democracy'?

Or, is it Bush's "Please hurry up, I wanna go home!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Desperate Bush Dragging Out Smelly Old Lie

President Bush is in deep sh*t at home. The American public are p*ssed off with his disastrous handling of the Iraqi situation.

He has resorted to the same old BS tactic which tell us straightaway that he is in trouble and desperate for public support – he referred again to 9/11 together with why the US needs to remain in Iraq. When a US president drags out an old smelly lie, that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, that sure as hell tells us something, like Bush has run out of ideas.

Bush said that for the US to pull out before the mission has been completed, whatever that was (oil or the safety of Israel, or both?), would be to dishonour the memory of all the Americans who died there. But really, Bush is already dishonouring them by attempting to use an old lie that killed them in the first place

Apart from American polls indicating the public’s dissatisfaction with his conduct of the war, casualties have hit local communities in the American heartland badly, where dozens of local boys were decimated in Iraq within a week. Already, such deaths have recalled for older Americans the traumas of the Vietnam years. The campaign against the war is picking up with several demonstrations planned against Bush wherever he goes.

Both sides of the American political divide are pressuring Bush to set a timetable for withdrawal.

Bush is cornered from all sides. He is relying on lies to see him through.

Another Jessica Lynch Story with a Sad Ending

This is another Jessica Lynch story, a Pentagon fabrication to imbue legends of heroism to its military in an illegal war. To be fair to Jessica Lynch, she wasn't a willing partner to the Pentagon's misuse of her unfortunate circumstances.

But in Pat Tillman's case, the Pentagon's fabrication was to hide a terrible and tragic ending for one of America's football stars.

Tillman was a patriotic American. He gave up a football career that offered him a US$3.6 million contract because he wanted to serve his country after the 9/11 attack. I have an enormous respect for such a man, one of few who may be truly termed a patriot - not one of those numerous scoundrels who drabbed themselves with the national flag or waved symbolic weapons and called themselves patriots in order to hide their shame or selfish motives. Regardless of our disagreement with the USA for illegally invading countries at its whims and fancies, we must salute such a man.

Tillman joined the Rangers and was sent to Afghanistan, where he was killed last year just at age 27, in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

His family and the American public were told of his heroic sacrifice, of how he led his troops on a charge up an Afghan hill that was under enemy fire. The US Army cited him being killed in combat with the Talibans. He was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry and a Purple Heart for combat wounds. President Bush hailed the young American football and combat hero as "an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror."

Six weeks later, things went sour. The Army admitted to Tillman's family that their son was actually killed by friendly fire, meaning he was shot by members of his own army detachment - A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Apparently, Tillman had climbed a hill with another US soldier and an Afghan militiaman, in an advance on enemy position. A second Ranger group who arrived shortly after, saw the Afghan militiaman and thought Tillman and the other two were the enemy. They opened fire on the trio.

Tillman sought shelter behind a rock, and attempted to signal to his buddies who he was, including screaming his name and setting off a smoke grenade.

Have any of you seen the 1st Rambo film, First Blood, where the National Guards thought they cornered Rambo in a disused mine? Do you recall how that mob just opened fire with everything they had, with no one really in control or able to stop their wild hail of bullets? Well, I can imagine how it must have been so for the unfortunate Tillman and the other two. They were riddled with bullets.

Now the Army is reopening the case on the urgings of Tillman’s parents There have been so many discrepancies in the last two investigations that they wondered who the Army was shielding. The parents are particularly aggrieved that the top people have not been criticised for the monumental failure in their control of the battle situation, and the ensuing lies that followed.

For example, Tillman's bullet-riddled flak jacket was burned immediately after his death instead of being preserved for a later investigation.

If the American military could lie to their own people, just imagine .........................

Mum Wants Justice, Others Want Tony Blair's Blood

Maria de Menezes, mum of the man slain by London police in a calamitous execution as a result of police gross error, understandably wants justice for the killing of her innocent son. She told the BBC that those responsible for her son's death must be punished. She said:

"They took my son's life. I am suffering because of that. I want the policeman who did that punished. They ended not only my son's life but mine as well."

Family members and several hundred supporters have staged a vigil outside the British prime minister's official London residence at Downing Street. They howled for the resignation of the Police chief Ian Blair.

Commissioner Ian Blair did the most stupid thing, by lying to demonise de Menezes as if that could ameliorate the police monumental error in the mistaken execution, and then did nothing to correct those lies even when virtually everyone knew the police had f*** up.

The police faced the publicity assault not only from the family and supporters of the dead man, but also from the Brazilian government who has despatched a team to probe further into the smokescreen thrown up by Ian Blair and his police.

The recent revelation that the police could have tampered with the London Tube CCTV tape has dealt a hugh blow to their integrity. The British police cannot be trusted anymore.

However, I don't believe the anti-war movements are helping the situation by marshalling around the de Menezes family. Obviously they want to make hay while the British government is in thick sh*t but it can have unfavourable outcome as well, as the police could exploit their biased involvement to sneak away from their guilt over their lies.

Clare Short, the former Labour Cabinet minister who was anti-Tony Blair and anti-war, yesterday joined those calling for a statutory investigation. Mrs Short said:

"We've been lied to. This should be bigger than just calling for Sir Ian Blair to go. We need to find out exactly what happened. Who was telling the lies? How did this come about? We can never give back the life of Jean Charles de Menezes, but we have got to find out what happened to make sure it never ever happens again."

While she is of course right, the fact that she has been anti-Tony Blair and anti-war make her sound, even to me, as if she wants Tony Blair's blood rather than Ian Blair's.

Christian Evangelist says "Kill Chavez!"

Hallelujah, the Lord Giveth, the Lord Taketh away!

And so religious broadcaster Pat Robertson wants it to be so, except of course he speaketh on behalf of the Lord, calling for the return of one particular soul to Hell.

He proposes the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, because old Chavez, like Saddam Hussein with his "WMD", represents a clear and present danger to the good ole United States of America. In fact he termed Chavez as a ‘terrific danger’. Wow!

Robertson is founder of the Christian Coalition of America and also a former presidential candidate. He is also a staunch ally of President Bush. And may we here thank the Lord he wasn’t elected President of the USA.

I bet he carries with him at all times a copy of the Old Testament with all its smiting and smoting and burning of human sacrifices– Hallelujah!

Robertson went on to explain why he thought that satanic Chavez was a ‘terrific danger’ to poor little USA. He reckoned Chavez is turning oil-rich Venezuela (incidentally 5th in world’s oil production) into a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.''

Hey, what about the Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, and not forgetting the Shinto Japanese?

Not only is Robertson, being the good ole Christian he is, advocating assassination he has also demonstrated his economic management by declaring that “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.”

"It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Holy Moses! Did I hear him just mention “oil shipments”?

Hallelujah, the Lord Giveth, the USA Taketh away!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Former Guantanamo Detainee Attacked & Warned to Shut Up

Mamdouh Habib, an Aussie bloke, was arrested some years ago by Paki security forces as a terrorist suspect. They handed him over to the Egyptians for further softening up. He was eventually thrown to the Americans for incarceration in Guantanamo Bay and further interrogations. He was there for years, but was never charged. Eventually the US military had to release him, and he returned to Australia.

Since then he has been outspoken about the torture perpetrated on him and other detainees, including another Aussie David Hicks.

His wife, Maha Habib, a rather well spoken lady frequently fronted the Aussie press in defence of him when he was still incarcrated in Guantanamo Bay. I have been very impressed by her dignity, calm demeanour and articulated presentations.

Both were strolling home on Sunday when they were accosted by 3 men dressed in black and hoods - the universal faceless wonders.

They bashed him on the head from behind and then stabbed him in the tummy.

Habib, who was not seriously injured, believed they could have killed him if they wanted to. He reckoned they just wanted to threaten or give him a warning for some reasons.

His wife recollected the men said “Ah, that should keep you quiet”.

Could it be that they didn’t want him to continue talking about the Americans torturing detainees at Guantanamo Bay?

British Police Tampered with CCTV Tape Evidence?

"This should be bigger than just calling for Sir Ian Blair to go. We need to find out exactly what happened. Who was telling the lies? How did this come about?"

- Claire Short, former Labour Cabinet minister

When ITV News revealed the blatant lies made by the London Police to deliberately demonise an innocent man they had executed, because of their lack of due diligence and gross error in their procedures and conduct, the whole affair blew up with megaton-ish fallout.

The once-vaunted integrity of the British Bobbies has now been cast to the winds as its London Metropolitan Chief permitted the perpetuation of those lies - even allowing for his claims that he came to know the true facts only much later.

Incidentally I find it extremely difficult to believe a Police Chief in the midst of a hunt for terrorists wasn't apprised of the true facts almost immediately after the mistaken execution, rather than the 24 hours lag he claimed to have suffered from.

The leaks purported made by a whistleblower from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry have raised a number of serious questions about the police dodgy operation and their (lack of) honesty following that terrible event.

We all also know that the Police Chief Ian Blair tried to stop the independent inquiry, and then having failed to do so, made efforts to delay it. In the second case, he succeeded for 6 days. Complaints have arisen that vital evidence were lost during that delay.

Related to the loss of vital evidence, yesterday, sources (whistleblowers) from the London Transport claimed that CCTV tapes from Stockwell station which were handed over to police immediately after the drastic execution were later described as "blank". This is bullsh*t. There are now grave suspicions that the CCTV tapes could have been interfered. The tapes are believed to have vital footage of the incident.

Lawyers for the de Menezes family have accused the police of tampering with key scenes before they handed the tapes over to the IPCC.

Afghanistan - Another Iraqi Quagmire?

Yesterday I blogged on the American problem in Afghanistan because of the Pakistani collaboration with the Talibans. The situation is becoming bad for the US there.

Already 66 American soldiers have been killed in 2005. This figure represents more than 1/3 of the total killed since the invasion, and that big jump is really looking disastrous. The escalation in casualties in Afghanistan coupled with those in Iraq are troubling the American politicians and military.

We may expect the Afghan insurgents to be even more active in the coming months as the country prepares for the pending elections. One wonders how the relationship between Pakistan and the USA will fare out as the US military have been pissed off with the Pakis for playing the double headed snake in their relationship with the Talibans.

Air or Road Travel for Safety?

What with recent air crashes in Greece, Tunisia and Venezuela, the overshooting of the runway at Toronto airport by an Air France Airbus jet and the emergency landing of a Qantas international jet at Osaka due to fire warning in the cargo hold, many are wondering whether it’s still safe to travel by commercial air travel instead of by road when there is a choice.

I dare say air travel by commercial air transportation is always safer for a number of reasons. Because I will be referring to commercial air travel, the personalities I refer to, such as pilots, mechanics etc, will be professionals only and aircraft (aeroplanes and helicopters) will be those pertaining to modern commercial operations:

(1) For a start, flying has a better safety record than road transportation

(2) Pilots are far better trained than drivers.
(3) Pilots are required by law to have a minimum amount of training if they wish to fly passengers commercially. The training are more rigorously regulated than those for road transportation.
(4) Pilots are on average in better health than the road transport driver because they are required to undergo annual medical examination.
(5) Pilots are tested (or checked) regularly, by their own company and an official examiner at least once a year.
(6) Pilots are restricted to a certain number of flying per day, week, month and year so as not to be over fatigued.
(7) Pilots have prescribed rest plans.
(8) It's very rare for untrained pilots to fly passengers whereas it's fairly often taht untrained bus or truck drivers have been caught.

(9) Aircraft are regulated to have certain minimum power and weight, in order to be able to takeoff or land on a runway, clear obstacles, etc. In other words, teh performance of an aeroplane is more assured than that for a truck or bus.
(10) Aircraft are built with multiple emergencies in mind including escape facilities such as minimum number of exits, escape chutes, lift rafts, lifejackets, oxygen equipment, medical equipment, etc. The aeroplane's cabin crew are far better trained than a bus conductor.
(11) Aircraft has a rigorous maintenance programme.
(12) Aircraft are better built than the average road transport.

(13) Traffic in the air are in general more rigorously controlled.
(14) Radar and other surveillance devices are used more in the air than on road to keep track of aircraft to prevent collisions. yes, on roads one does get radar when police uses them to catch speed violations to issue the errant driver a ticket.
(15) Pilots are more aware of traffic rules an procedures than the average driver. They contact each other and the air traffic controller by radio, unlike road transports where it’s usually see and be seen and keep clear, or get killed.
(16) Air traffic rules and procedures are far more uniform internationally than those for roads, hence easier to understood and less likely to be violated out of misunderstanding.

The list goes on and on as to why air travel is far more safe than road travel. What do you think?

Divisive Religion or Religious Division? (3)

Continuing from Divisive Religion or Religious Division? (1) and Divisive Religion or Religious Division? (2) ...

On special or 'exclusive' greetings I wonder how Christians would do it? Would it be a simple 'Hallelujah' or 'Hi, Jesus loves you!' or a more verbose 'I shaketh thy Christian hand but nevereth thy faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ'?

What about Hindus then? Perhaps a terse but all powerful Om, or a more verbal-diarrhoeic 'May shimmering Shiva smite thy enemies and pleasing Parvati bless thee'?

Anyway, I soon heard my neighbour Angel-eyes and her Buddhist friends using that Namo Ami Tua Fo greeting in a manner like full fledged members of the White Lotus secret society, which confirms my point about the greater religious consciousness nowadays, probably because of the centrifugal forces of ethnicity and perceived inequality.

Well then, I decided that I wanted to be included in their coterie as well, but not because of ethnicity - I was ... eh ... just friendly!

So when I saw Angel-eyes next, I greeted her with what I felt was a dignified voiced Namo Ami Tua Fo, and just to make sure I really impressed her, did so with a solemn face besides adding on a little graceful bow - mind you, nothing ostentatious, you know, but just that wee itsy bitsy nod.

So carried away by the solemnity of the occasion, I had to restrain myself from flicking both my palms up together in the traditional Indian gesture of respect - though that would have very gone well with the mantra, the solemn face and the bow, but I thought I won’t overdo it the first time.

Angel-eyes gave me a very suspicious look and a most reluctant and hesitant response, being not sure whether I was pulling her leg - hmmm, yum yum.

Crumbs, can she even trust my sincerity? ;-)

She must have discussed my unprecedented and most unexpected Namo Ami Tua Fo business with my sister behind my back - yes, those women discussed my most dignified Dalai-Lama-ish greeting with the solemn face and very dignified bow, because before long, good ole Sis warned me to cease and desist using that greeting on Angel-eyes.

WHAT? But but but but but why?

I demanded to know, in the most un-solemn and undignified manner – hey man, she’s just a sister!

Sis told me that Angel-eyes felt extremely uncomfortable when I greeted her with a Buddhist greeting - I protested it’s not, it’s just a mantra.

It seems I have put Her Most Sweetness in a quandary - torn between her good Buddhist nature to respond appropriately, and her deep suspicion of me, knowing me being me, who’s quite likely to tweak her cute lovely nose while leading her up the garden path onto a naughty merry-go-around.

Me? Really, the suspicion of some people – how most un-Buddhist-like! ;-)

Hmmm, I have always wondered whether I ought to have taken out the graceful bow? That might be just a little over the top.

Namo Ami Tua Fo.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pakistan - America's Afghan Problem

4 US soldiers were killed yesterday in Afghanistan, and 3 more injured in a bomb attack in the southern province of Zabul next to Pakistan.

What is pissing the Americans has been the fact that the Talibans sit safely across the Afghan-Paki border and fired at them. The US went as far as to photograph Taliban fighters launching stuff like rockets and at American troops from the safety of Pakistan. To add more vinegar to the poison, the Talibans did all these within sight of a Pakistani military observation post.

Now, you know why the Pakistani President has refused the Americans hot pursuit into Paki territory - I have blogged on this before.

When the Americans showed the pictures of Talibans slipping into Paki territory to the Paki officials they found out that the Pakis became suddenly and strangely blind because the latter said they saw buggerall. Hey, buddy, Pakistan is the most peaceful and tranquil place in the world, and there isn’t any Talibans, only Pashtuns.

Wait, wait, there are more American grievances. This would have been funny if it didn’t involve lives. Whenever the American were chasing the Talibans and rang the Pakis to tell them of their pursuit, the Pakis on seeing the Americans coming near the border, refused to pick up the phone.

Since winter, more than 700 Afghans and 45 Americans have died as a result of Taliban border raids into Afghanistan. Can you believe the Pakis saying they have sent an additional 74,000 troops to the border region to stop such Taliban activities?

American and Afghan officials know that sections of Pakistan's military and intelligence services are still loyal to their Pashtun brethren, the Taliban, who have been trained by the Pakis to use up-to-date remote-controlled bombs.

What General Musharraf has been doing has been a process of selective weeding of non-Taliban/non-Pashtun-Paki terrorists to please the Americans but protecting the Talibans.

The Pakis want the Talibans for several reasons – (1) to support the Kashmir insurgency, (2) as strategic reserves and depth for Pakistan in the eventual kahuna battle with India over Kashmir, and (3) a pro-Paki force to take over Afghanistan when Ahmad Karzai’s government collapses, as it will. All three are inter-related for one sole objective, to pursue the attainment of Pakistan’s obsession, the province of Kashmir, over which it was, has been, is and will be at war with India. Whether the war is covert, overt, real, pretend, declared or otherwise is beside the point, but it is certainly at war.

The Americans are growing so frustrated that some officers have openly stated that they won’t be able to distinguish the Afghan-Paki border. When the day comes for American troops to ignore such political restriction and maintain their hot pursuit, it’ll be interesting to see how Pakistan reacts.

Links tonight

Unforgiven! The Demonisation of an Innocent Police Victim

In the face of severe criticism over the disastrous execution of an innocent man, Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, the London's police force has come out swinging especially after Deputy PM Prescott and Home Secretary Clarke defended the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair. It looks like the Brits want to maintain stiff upper lip as their form of serious damage control. They may have learnt how to kill people from Israelis, but they must have learnt how to be thick skin and tough it out from Malaysians.

After reviewing its shoot-to-kill policy it has decided to leave it largely unchanged, probably to demonstrate the policy was not wrong in the first place. Yes, stiff upper lip and all that, and they should see it through, old boy.

Aren’t the police the same all over the world, from Malaysia to London. They would brace themselves against criticism for a short while, after which the public’s interests would be diverted elsewhere, probably to new events.

Now, can anyone still remember the American Congressman whose intern was his secret lover (another Monica Lewinsky?)? An Jewish American girl, she disappeared during a period when she and the Congressman had an extra-curricular relationship. The scandalous relationship and her probable murder made US headlines for a while until 9/11 happened. Again, there was the usual denials. But today there is hardly any recollection of the sordid tale. Probably the only people who still want to know the truth is her family.

Back to the Brits - However, the police conceded they have made one or two small changes, but the operation remains essentially the same. This could mean the next bloke would be shot with 6 rather 7 bullets in the head.

The criticism has been not so much against the shoot-to-kill policy but more about the correct identification, and worse, the lies that the police made, to demonise de Menezes – the bullsh*t about him wearing bulky clothing, running away when challenged by police, vaulting a barrier to escape the police, electrical cables seen protruding out of his body and nostril, etc were all utterly untrue – SHEER LIES to hide the terrible mistake in the police execution of an innocent man.

Then Ian Blair made the most disgraceful comment that could come out of a Police officer's mouth. He told reporters:

"Tragic as the death of Mr Menezes is, and we have apologised for it and we take responsibility for it, it is one death out of 57."

One death out of 57!

Blair has belittled the souls of the 56 victims of the London bombing by exploiting their tragic deaths to excuse the police from their draconian execution of an innocent man. He seems to have forgotten that the 56 were murdered by terrorists, while de Menezes was murdered by the police, yes, the law! It's an absolute disgrace that he brushed off de Menezes tragedy as another terrorist statistic attributed to terrorists, when it's his organization and himself who must answer for that crime.

Ian Blair's excuse that he didn't know the full facts when he made the initial allegations comprising the lies about de Menezes has blown up in his face, for not only the de Menezes family but several media commentators riposted correctly that the Police Chief then shouldn't have made such demonising allegations about the police victim when he didn't have the facts; additionally it was incompetent of him as a Police Chief not to have known the facts of a fatal police shooting for 24 hours.

Do you believe for one moment that in the midst of a hunt for the London Tube bombers, the London Police Chief didn't know the facts of a fatal police shooting for 24 hours and yet could make such a terrible accusation of de Menezes? Ian Blair must decide whether he was lying or he was utterly incompetent!

But worst of all, even when it was already known that de Menezes was an innocent man, the Police Chief Ian Blair allowed the lies to continue without even making any effort to correct them. And don't forget, he tried to stop and then delayed the independent inquiry. Only those guilty don't want others probing into their crimes.

That is why Ian Blair should go.

He made those lies, he didn't correct them and he allowed them to be perpetuated. That, is totally unforgiven.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dilemma of the three "D"s

The Pentagon is suffering from the three “D”sDefeat, Damage control, and Double-talk.

After Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary talked about the withdrawal schedule of the US military presence in Iraq, his commander in Iraq General George Casey provided some more specific figures recently. Before the poor General could even say Mother of Them All Withdrawals, his Commander-in-Chief, none other than President Bush, jumped on him and said:

"George, this is George, yeah, the president, SHUT UP on withdrawals, we Americans aren’t going to withdraw until the Iraqis are ready, yeah I know what the Secretary said, but that's what we will continue to say in public - no, not what he said, but what I am saying."

Obviously, when General Casey mentioned those exit-words, a combination of Iraqi politicians and neo-con startegists would have rang up Dubya and said, “Assalamu ... eh ... good morning, Mr President, why are you screwing us right in the back. Those words will give the insurgents comfort and greater motivation.”

So Bush had to slap General Casey down in public. Incidentally, generals don’t make exit policy statements to the media without prior clearance from Washington, unless they are mega-egoists like MacArthur.

The situation in Iraq is really sh*t for the Americans. Virtually everyday people are being killed by the dozens through insurgent activities. Many innocent civilians have been the victims. The insurgents don’t give a damn because their aim is to destabilise the Iraqi political situation, discourage collaboration with the American controlled interim government, and highlight American military helplessness.

When civilians are killed, of course those killings/attacks make the insurgents murderers. Let’s not be mistaken about that – they are murderers, but no more or less than what the American military have been. The only difference is that the insurgents cannot claim the bullsh*t of ‘collateral damage’ because that term is copyright reserved only for US military destruction, killings and murders.

Apart from the political pressure on the Iraqis to get their constitutional act together, the Pentagon has announced it’s sending the 82th Airborne to Iraq as prison wardens. As I blogged yesterday, the military don’t send their elite shock troops to look after detention centres. It would be like providing surgical scalpel to someone who wants to chop up some firework.

Behind all these American double-talking and serious damage control, have been the pending Congressional elections next year and the growing anti-war campaign, now symbolised by what Bush and his neo-cons feared most of all, a grieving mother of a soldier slain in Iraq in the person of Cindy Sheehan. Those Republican Party chickenhawks would be sweating, squirming and certainly swearing.

For example, how would the American voting public view the contrasting shooting experience of VP Dick Cheney, chief chickenhawk of all, who had only raised his gun to shoot at pheasants and other game birds at the estate of some powerful industry tycoons, against those of young soldiers in Iraq, where more than 1800 have perished. Besides, Cheney had demonstrated where his patriotic heart has been, by taking 5 deferments from the draft during the Vietnam war. Marvellous example of a man who is probably the most hawkish in Bush Administration. That’s why he’s Chief of the Chickenhawks.

Now, another double talk to shore up the Administration verbal backflip on troops withdrawal. The US Army now claims it may keep the current number of soldiers in Iraq, about 136,000 for four more years. If you read the Sydney Morning Herald article here you will see what I mean by damage control and double talk.

For example, the US Army Chief stated the number could be adjusted lower, if called for, by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers.

I have two questions:

(1) What does he mean by “if called for”? This sounds like one of those second hand car saleman’s escape clause.

(2) How the f*** does ‘slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers’ result in an adjusted lower troop figure for Iraq? The only outcome would be a soldier staying either longer or shorter, but the overall number would be the same. ‘Slowing the force rotation’ means a soldier will be on tour in Iraq longer, while ‘by shortening tours for soldiers’ in a troop rotational programme means exactly the opposite, but neither of these two opposing programmes will lower the troop figures in Iraq, publicly at least.

This is what I mean by double-talking or BBB, bullsh*ting to baffle brains.

Then, like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands by saying it’s really up to the commanders in Iraq to decide how many troops will be needed next year 'and beyond’, thus putting the onus on poor General Casey. Some unlucky bloke has to be the whipping boy, and it won’t be the Amrny Chief.

OK, here’s the crunchline. That same double talking Army Chief then gently slipped in a piece of information that I have been anticipating.

Another paratroop unit, the equally famous 101st Airborne, referred to in WWII as the Screaming Eagles, will enter the rotation. Can you recall what I blogged on the 82nd Airborne being send to Iraq, purportedly as prison wardens.

Everyone, except for Bush's harcore believers in the US Red Land, and a handful of Malaysians ;-), knows that the situation for the US military in Iraq sucks. Thanks to Bush and his neo-cons, young soldiers are dying for their lies. And so are thousands and thousands of Iraqis.

It's so bad that the US is now forced to deploy their elite troops into the quagmire, instead of the usual practice of holding airborne forces in strategic readiness for flashpoints contingencies, like an invasion or emergency intervention in troubled spots. When such elite forces have to be deployed for policing or security duties of an occupied country, the military situation is truly deep sh*t.

(1) Why is the US Deploying Paratroopers to Iraq?
(2) Americans Abandon Ship