Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Schapelle Corby Story - Forget Helen, Just Destroy Troy!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Australians are by nature generous to a fault. They are among the greatest donors in the world, contributing to virtually every troubled and deprived spot in the world. And these are on top of their domestic charitable activities.

But what I have seen and heard these last few days, in relation to the Corby verdict, fill me with great disappointment knowing the true generosity of most Australians now have their good name besmirched by some mean-minded people. Those clowns have asked for their tsunami donations back!!! Obviously then, these mean-spirited people have effectively declared that the Acheh-ese have been found guilty of whatever crimes yet to be revealed.

Nothing is more disgraceful to Australia and the majority of Australians than to give and then demand it back, without any good reason, like the recipients misusing the aid or having done the donors any wrong.

The Indonesian authority had legally prosecuted an Australian apprehended for smuggling marijuana in accordance with the law of the country. The court passed a verdict of guilty. Australian law experts have confirmed the proceedings have been above board. If anything, the Australian law experts have stated that the Indonesian court decision has been more lenient than severe.

OK, if there are perceptions that the court judges had made an incorrect judgement, or there have been procedural errors in the proceedings, then the appeal process allows for those errors to be addressed. That's called due process. It's actually an Australian practice too!

Are these unreasoning and unreasonable Indon-bashing Aussies saying that, because Australians donated aid for the Indonesian victims of the tsunami, all Australians are now automatically above Indonesian law, regardless?

We see on TV the sad revelations from the Salvation Army officials that some donors now specifically require the Salvos to promise not to pass any money to Indonesia. We see a website urging people to boycott Bali, even though Schapelle Corby, through her mother, has taken the high moral grounds and correctly asked Australians not to do so. It seems some idiots claim to support Corby yet deliberately choose to ignore her wishes.

If these Indon-bashers think for one small moment that their aggressive (and I believe, childish) actions can influence the Indonesians an iota, they are in for a shock. And they shouldn’t be surprised if their strident campaigning, and in some cases, unlawful anti-Indon actions have instead turn the situation ugly for Corby.

In the past other Australians have undergone the Corby experience and even ended up with a worse outcome. Currently there are 46 Australians around the world, including several in Indonesia, held for drug smuggling. Yet, the Corby case is the only one that has set off such a campaign of anti-Indon hatred, redneck behaviour and the unusual and unAustralian mean-mindedness?

There may be two answers:
(1) Australians have always possessed an unfounded historical fear of Indonesia, which until the Corby case, had remained in a latent state. We know that such latent fear can emerge into hatred given certain circumstances.

(2) The Derryn Hinch theory explains the circumstances that have triggered such a hatred that ignores even the wishes of Schapelle Corby.

The attack on Troy is no longer about the rescue of Helen; Troy shall be razed and erased because Troy is the hated Troy.

Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty - the Duplicity of the USA!

Forget about the International Criminal Court, Landmines Protocol, Kyoto Protocol, the concept of a United Nations, etc. Let’s talk about the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The NPT has been one of the outstanding international treaties that held back the mad rush towards nuclear Armageddon, encouraging member states to abide by its protocol of non-proliferation and eventual disarmament. To put it in simple terms, it has two objectives: (1) to dissuade member states from developing and adopting a nuclear arsenal, and (2) to enable the nuclear powers themselves to gradually disarm, so that the overall programme progresses towards a nuclear free world.

Other than a few maverick states like North Korea, Cuba, Pakistan and Israel, the world in general including most of the super-powers have abided by the twin objectives. Understandably India as one of the biggest nations in the world has refused to sign unless it’s accorded the status of a nuclear state like the Big 5. India claims the NPT is an unequal treaty, and the following paragraph shows just one aspect of its inequality.

Its neighbour, Pakistan has been the most irresponsible culprit in nuclear proliferation. Virtually everyone in the international relations community knows who Dr AQ Khan is. Yet the USA has kept mum about the nuclear sins of its new-found ally, and worse, has even promised her nuclear-capable F-16 fighter-bombers. Is there any logic to this act of stupidity? Or is it just plain hypocrisy and double standards?

The USA has also maintain silence over Israel’s N-arsenal of at least 200 N-bombs, yet has the bloody nerve to warn Iran against being a nuclear power. If the USA is worried about Islamic States obtaining the N-bomb, it doesn't have to look beyond its chum, Pakistan, one of the most extreme Islamic States, now pretending to be an American ally against Islamic terrorism (but only because the USA had threatened her just prior to the invasion of Afhanistan), but in reality a blood-and-kin partner of the Talibans.

On the plus side, South Africa has abandoned its nuclear arsenal, and so has Ukraine. Argentina and Brazil have agreed to drop their nuclear arms programmes. Britain has voluntarily disarmed 70% of its non-strategic N-weapons. And of course everyone, except for some Republican Party supporters in America’s Bible belt, knows that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had long abandoned its nuclear and other WMD programmes.

But there is one culprit who doesn’t want to abide by the NPT, the United States of America, one of the NPT founding members. It wants to go against the charter of the NPT and expand its nuclear arsenal, by developing a tactical, read this, not a strategic but a tactical N-weapon.

What’s the difference? Tactical N-weapons are more likely to be used in conventional situations than strategic ones, and the temptation to use these will unfortunately be overwhelming. Like the fission of nuclear material, once someone starts to employ tactical N-weapons, usage escalates frighteningly.

The duplicity of the USA is that while it demands everyone retreats from Armageddon, it alone can proceed forward on with the development and acquisition of new tactical N- bombs, obviously for conventional use. This will add a new dimension of horror into conventional or even limited conflicts. And it thinks it can make the rest of the world agree to its treachery and irresponsibility.

In the recent NPT review conference, held once every five years, each time lasting for 3 weeks, the USA spent the first two weeks, trying to hide or obscure its commitments promised by the Clinton Administration from the review agenda. The last remaining week is hardly enough to revitalise the protocols of the Treaty. Such has been the US duplicity, treachery and lack of honour.

It becomes obvious that the new US stand, a maverick and reneging position, has its genesis within the Bush neo-con camp.

The Canadian representative at the conference, commenting angrily on the US recalcitrant heel-dragging behaviour stated that if the US simply ignores or discards commitments whenever these prove inconvenient, the world will never be able to progress with the objectives of the NPT.

The US also deliberately undermined the review conference by sending only lower-echelon officials, rather than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to represent it. Other nations accused the US government for not really wanting nuclear disarmament, or more correctly US nuclear disarmament.

Schapelle Corby Story - Who do we believe?

The links are 2 days old - this posting had been prepared earlier.

Are Schapelle Corby’s cellmates giving her hell as this Murdoch’s online news (Herald Sun) has asserted? It claimed that the Corby’s Indon inmates are taunting her with racial slurs and abuses.

On the other hand, this Fairfax online news (Sydney Morning Herald) provided a totally different picture. It stated that Corby is fairly popular with her cellmates, who like her for her generosity and caring character. They have become sort of buddies, with the Indons even cooking her favourite chilli nasi goring (chillie fried rice) for her. The day she went to court for her verdict, they fixed her hair a la Balinese style.

Given that both are Aussie newspapers, who do we believe?

The latter, SMH, provided such detailed information that I am inclined to believe it. Also, this would be in keeping with the kind and sweet nature of Balinese-Indon women.

Since this article was prepared, I have read that Schapelle Corby has gained another English speaking friend, Sinyo, at the prison Church services. Also, her cellmates, believing that she was going back to the Gold Coast where Corby informed would now be experiencing winter, had knitted for her a jumper.

These two additional updates are also from the Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). These are examples of how quite different news coverage from certain newspapers can easily provoke Aussies into believing the Indons are being particularly nasty to Corby . The SMH seems to be fairly balanced in its coverage.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Schapelle Corby Story - The Poisonous Support!

I would like to thank the press from the heart of my bottom.
- Nick Faldo

One of the two Queen’s Counsellors assigned by the Australian government to advise Schapelle Corby, Tom Percy, stated on ABC radio today exactly what I have been saying all along – about the unhelpful media frenzy surrounding the case. I posted that a TV channel's main aim appears to be nothing more than emotional trawling to (1) rack up the TV Channel’s rating, and (2) well and good if it comes along, get public opinion behind Corby.

But the media circus (Percy's term) have been actually adverse to Corby’s case.

As I blogged early this morning, most of the actions surrounding the Corby case, either by the media or Corby's legal defence team, have been nothing more than a circus a la the Lindy Chamberlain case. Percy has been more diplomatic with his comments on the Corby's defence team.

Percy stated to ABC radio:

"I've absolutely no doubt at all she's innocent, I've not the slightest doubt. I have no doubt at all that other people have got better results over there because the whole matter was kept a lot quieter."

Isn't that just a bloody crying shame?

Please read my earlier posting (2 weeks ago), Schapelle Corby – A Study in Unhelpful Media Frenzy, on the disgraceful media behaviour, which Percy assessed as being detrimental to Schapelle Corby’s case.

In that posting I wrote:

Hell is paved with good intentions. And these idiots know diddly squat (f***all) about Indonesian mores, feelings and pride!

Other related postings on the Schapelle Corby Case:
(1) Australian Rednecks Jeopardise the Corby Case
(2) Unhelpful Extra-Legal Support for Schapelle Corby
(3) Schapelle Corby – Behind the Scene
(4) Schapelle Corby Case – Further Observations
(5) Schapelle Corby Case – Hell Paved with Good Intentions

Schapelle Corby Case - Some less keen on the QCs?

Indonesian lawyer Erwin Siregar asked what could two Australian Queen’s Counsellors (QC’s) do in Indonesia, considering they can’t practise there, nor would they know the Indonesian law. He suggested that the Australian government would do Corby a better turn if it concentrates on obtaining fresh evidence instead of despatching the two QC’s.

He neglected to mention that those 2 Aussie QC’s have extensive legal connections with very experienced Indonesian lawyers, like the ones who successfully defended the JI leader, Bashir Ahmad. One of the QC's has sat on international legal panels which brings with him considerable understanding of the workings of foreign law, and better still, significant contacts in overseas legal world. Perhaps Siregar doesn’t even know what a QC is, in terms of legal knowledge, skill, experience, organisation and networking.

Most telling of all, Siregar's comments on the QC’s inability to practise there shows that he hasn't understood the 2 QC’s aren’t going to personally represent Corby in the Indonesian court - they are only for advice and guidance. Perhaps he may be concerned about these two taking over from what he must have considered to be his team's personal patch.

Siregar sounded rather ungracious when he said that it would be up to Corby herself to accept or reject the offer of the QC’s services.

But Corby’s Queensland solicitor Robin Tampoe has been more favourably disposed towards the government offer.

My personal take is the two QC’s with their Indonesian contacts will undoubtedly do a better job than the circus we have just seen over the last month, where the defence principal thrust was a non-productive ‘someone else must have done it’ and ‘she’s a good lassie’ rather than addressed the issue of the narcotics being found in Corby’s baggage.

The first argument was backed by hearsay evidence provided by a drug convict, and a series of out-of-court quarrelling, conducted over the media, with either the Australian government or the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, while the latter fell on the testimonies of a handwriting expert and a character-profiling criminologist.

I am not even going to mention the media campaign which had been utterly stupid and antagonistically counterproductive.

Aussie law experts have already analysed what Corby's defence team had failed to do - not focusing on the Indonesian neglect to take fingerprint evidence of the bag, not highlighting Corby’s inability to understand the Indonesian language where she could have misunderstood or been misunderstood by the Custom officer, etc. Whether these could have made a difference to Corby's case is now moot as the opportunity had already passed by.

But will Corby be briefed on the two QC’s availability for her, and who and what they are? That’s my worry!

Hope, Faith & what's that 3rd word?

ActionAid, an international charity organization, reported that international aid money has been wasted, misdirected or recycled within the rich countries themselves. ActionAid discovered that 61 per cent of aid flows were ‘phantom’ rather than in ‘real’ terms.

As examples, a donor spents the aid money on overpriced technical assistance from (its own) international consultants, tying aid to purchases from donor countries’ own firms, cumbersome and ill-coordinated planning, implementation, excessive administrative costs, late and partial disbursements, double counting of debt relief, and immigration services. This ‘phantom aid’ rises to almost 90% in the case of France and the United States.

Only 11% of French aid is genuine, though France spends nearly $2bn on technical assistance.

The USA fared slighter better, but just, providing only 14% real aid. Every 86 cents in the dollar is phantom, largely because it is tied to the purchase of expensive American goods and services.

The Bush Administration AIDS/HIV drugs plan does not permit the purchase of cheaper, generic drugs. It’s obvious the aim is to ensure lucrative contracts to US pharmaceutical companies. But this means that there would be lesser amount of the vital drugs for those who need them. But hey, who cares if fewer AIDS/HIV patients are treated in the 3rd World so long as US companies benefit!

Banzai! Japanese aid, as an example, to Vietnam, ensures that 86% is spent on infrastructure projects that facilitates the movement of Japanese exports into the country. Naturally the Japanese aided projects may be found in areas where Japanese firms operate.

This is not a new revelation as the Japanese has subscribed to this policy for the last 40 years or so. The other beneficial aspect for the Japanese themselves is that such Japanese aided infrastructure also facilitates the outward movement of material necessary for Japan’s need, such as timber, minerals, oil and gas, and perhaps, port facilities for their whaling fleet (sorry, I couldn't help adding in the last one).

Have Hope & Faith in rich donors certainly, but don't count too much on Charity!

Schapelle Corby - Suddenly Unavailable?

Apparently Schapelle Corby has told her family not to visit her in prison, so said her lawyer. The people who have visited her are 2 members of her legal defence team and Ron Bakir.

But this is the period that she most needs advice from her family, during the period allowed for her appeal. Before making any decision, which may involve her very life, she should consult her family members together with the 2 Queen Counsellors, whom the Australian government has engaged to advise her.

Her sister and brother-in-law are living in Bali. Why has Corby suddenly stopped seeing everyone, except for Ron Bakir and the original legal team?

This doesn't sound right!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Schapelle Corby - It's Only Her Life!

The Sydney Morning Herald headlines screamed “We'll risk Schapelle's life in making appeal”.

Undoubtedly the “we” in the above meant Corby’s defence team. While the headlines could be a dramatic creation of the news media, it would have reflected the defence team's voiced inclination. One of them, Vasu Rasiah, admitted that the appeal may yet cause Corby her life, yes life, and not just a life sentence. However, he expressed confidence that the team could successfully have the sentence reduced, though it may be more difficult to win an outright acquittal.

Professor Paul Wilson, a Bond University criminologist, engaged by Corby’s defence team to testify to her truthfulness as a person (though this was rejected by the Indonesian court as a totally irrrelevant testimony), also supported the appeal decision (why am I not surprised?) just as he has supported the performance of the defence team.

This was the same Corby’s defence team who had the following witnesses flown into Bali to testify for Corby:
(1) a handwriting expert testifying to her good character based on her writing,
(2) a drug convict to provide hearsay evidence based on another piece of hearsay evidence,

and I suppose their icing on the cake of witnesses,

(3) a university professor of criminology who, after a brief session with Corby, informed the Indonesian court that he could tell Corby wasn’t lying (Hmmm, I wonder why the judges failed to release Corby immediately on hearing that?).

From this group of Corby's people, one of them made slanderous remarks about the prosecutor, and subsequently had to eat crow and apologise for that.

This was the same group of people who had her appealing to the President for clemency even before the verdict on her guilt was delivered. The premature appeal had virtually signalled her admission of guilt!

Again, it was the same group of people who had snubbed the offer of assistance from two Queen’s Counsellors, assigned to Corby by the Aussie government.

And from this group of people, one had registered a company in Schapelle Corby’s name (Schapelle Corby Pty Ltd) in Brisbane with himself as the SOLE director and shareholder. This was the same bloke, who claimed the company was set up with Corby as the shareholder, but when shown the ASIC documents proving his SOLE ownership of the company, replied “It’s all for the good of Schapelle.”

Somehow, I don't know why but I obtain the nasty feeling that some or one of these people are(is) treating Schapelle Corby as their(his) ‘private asset’, and for others to keep out.

When I consider Queen Counseller Tom Percy’s caution that the appeal may take Corby into deeper and more turbulent legal waters, and square his expert opinion against the makeup and poor performance of her defence team, I shudder at their highly ‘courageous’ statement that they are willing tor risk Corby’s life in making an appeal.

On the other hand, come to think of it, it’s only Corby’s life, not theirs'.

Schapelle Corby on High Moral Grounds

I have to admit I haven’t been too impressed with the way Schapelle Corby’s family, particularly her Mum, had behaved in court during the handing down of Corby’s verdict. Even as an outsider, I squirm at the way they had virtually ‘surrendered’ the defence of their daughter to someone, virtually unknown to them and whose character, actions and motives have been and still are subjected to a number of big questions.

After my last posting early this morning prior to sleeping, I was wondering whether I ought to post a new article titled ‘What would I do now if I were Schapelle Corby’, that seeks to shore up and prepare her image more favourably for the Indonesian side of the appeal process.

When I woke up I ran through the Sydney Morning Herald and saw that Corby’s mum, Ros Rose, has uttered the most positive words since the media had got on to her. No, I am not referring to Rose’s appreciation of Aussie people’s power and her colourful comment on how this has gotten John Howard off his … eh … seat.

Rose has said what I have been visualising last night that can possibly paint her daughter, Schapelle Corby, in the best possible light for the coming appeal, should Corby still decide to proceed (and I quote her):

"Schapelle and our family do not want the Balinese people to be hurt.”

Rose had been referring to some Australians' avowal to boycott Bali as a tourist spot. She has correctly pleaded for the Balinese people who have nothing to do with Corby’s predicament, nor were they egging for her imprisonment – au contraire!

That negative campaign would be counterproductive as it hits at Indonesians with a negative message that Australians are bullies! And it won't do anything for Corby.

I hope Schapelle Corby will also ask her family to make another statement regarding the tsunami aid, namely that Australians donated to the aid because of the generosity of their hearts for the victims of the tsunami, and was without conditions of any sorts, and they should continue doing so

I would love them to keep punching these two lines on Bali and the tsnami aid (sensibly and with good taste, of course), so that not only the Aussie people gets her message but that the Indonesians can see that Corby has taken the high moral grounds.

Good onya, Ros Rose!

Schapelle Corby Case - Which Expert to Listen to?

Professor Paul Wilson, a criminologist at Bond University testified as a defence witness for Schapelle Corby during the trials. He informed the Indonesian court that based on his experience as a criminologist, he was good at detecting deception. In the time he saw Corby he had ascertained that she was not lying nor deceiving.

His statements were laughed away by the Indonesians as devoid of any concrete evidence. The prosecutor stated that Professor Wilson had provided the court statements based solely on his instinct from just a short meeting with Corby.

The professor has not been deterred by criticisms of his contribution, and has now come forward again to offer further advice on Corby’s appeal. He believes Corby has a chance as new judges in the appeal could place more weight on the evidence of the defence team.

This is contrary to the advice of Tom Percy QC who has been enlisted by the Australian government to help Corby’s appeal. Percy stated what I have mentioned in an earlier posting, that an appeal could prove to be perilous to Corby. She could end up with her 20-year sentence extended to life in prison. Both the Indonesians and Corby’s defence team have also agreed that, while a remote possibility, she might even receive the death sentence in the appeal.

Additionally, Professor John Ingleson, an expert on Indonesian law and history at the University of NSW has a piece of advice on the appeal for the defence team. The appeal process shouldn't be just a matter of regurgitating old evidence. Ingleson pointed out that the judges had already, in their written judgement, made careful explanation of each and every piece of defence evidence. Thus, to ensure the appeal has any chance of success, new evidence has to be furnished. This is different to the picture painted by the criminologist professor who believed new judges in the appeal could place more weight on the (previous) evidence of the defence team.

The criminologist’s staunch defence of the Corby's defence team, including his praise of them again seemed to be at odds with law experts, who pointedly identified its lack of experience as a factor in Corby’s weak defence.

Who should Corby listen to, because her life may depend on it?

On one side, a Queen’s Counsel who is not only an expert on the finer points of criminal law and possesses vast experience in appeal applications, but also has extensive legal connections in Indonesia, and various Australian law experts inclduing Professors Ingleson and Lindsay?


A university criminologist whose advice and arguments appear to be at odds with the law experts?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Schapelle Corby Case - Hell Paved with Good Intentions

Unless the sentence is already a maximum or death, the perils involved in a defence appeal are that the other side, the prosecution, can also lodge an appeal for the sentence to be increased. In fact, the Indonesian Attorney-General has just supported the prosecutor’s intention to appeal for a stiffer sentence for Schapelle Corby.

This is why I have been urging Aussies not to make uncouth comments or silly threats against the Indonesians, nor to insult their President or justice system including the judges or prosecutors. Corby’s so-called backer Ron Bakir had to retract with full apology a totally unacceptable, unnecessary and unsubstantiated insult to the Indonesian prosecutor, and while the latter might have diplomatically accepted the apology, grave ill will has already been created.

The threats with regards to the tsunami aid and economic boycott of Bali, etc are adding insults to an already festering Indonesian injury caused by Corby’s supporters. I cannot over repeat the tragedy of the whole affair - Corby has been ill served by her well wishers and some people who seek to exploit her unfortunate situation.

Regarding the former group (of well wishers), OK, at least one can understand their motives, silly as these might/may have been, but they must cease and desist before even greater harm are done. As Cicero mentioned, ’Hell is paved with good intentions.’

As for the latter group, well, I am immediately reminded of either vultures or blood sucking vampires, drawn by the smell of Corby’s despair.

In any effort to reach a multi party solution, the Indonesians make much ado about a verb called ‘memusyawarahkan’ which means ‘discuss or deliberate over’. Thus, the various parties involved shall politely, amicably and, preferably, quietly discuss the proposed solution. They aren’t favourably disposed towards confrontational arguments or public quarrels. They like to hold quiet behind-doors deliberations over sensitive issue, so that no one loses face and all merge in a win-win outcome.

The Corby case is one typical such example - how to quietly transfer her to Australia without being seen to be weak or deferential to a Western nation, could have been dealt diplomatically between the governments without recourse to exchanges via the media.

Indonesians are a very proud and sensitive people with a high sense of protocol. They don’t like uncouth people, especially foreigners, talking down on them or threatening them, either directly or indirectly. Reminding them of how much they owe Australia for the tsunami and any other aid insults and hurts them deeply.

Indonesians aren’t exactly forgetful of both the Australian people and government’s recent generosities. I do not have any doubt that the prosecutor’s decision not to demand for the death penalty in the first place had been a silent manifestation of this gratitude.

I was also fairly confident (note the ‘past tense’) that after Corby has been found guilty, given a slight slap on her wrist, she would be packed home after a brief interval of decency. But my belief went out of the window when I witnessed the unmitigated emotion-raking media frenzy and the rednecked behaviour of some Australians.

Another bad move has been the Aussie government actions, admittedly as a result of media pressure, of spelling out its intentions towards Corby, eg. prisoner exchange scheme, via the media. It's not helping their position on this matter with the Indonesian officials who also have their own constituencies to mollify.

Quite frankly, after that inexcusable slander of the prosecutor, judges, custom officers, and the other insults, threats, badmouthings, and conducting foreign policies over the media, I wonder indeed for Corby’s future.

Schapelle Corby Case - Further Observations

From Australian TV, I made three additional observations on the Schapelle Corby’s case, post-verdict.

(1) The relatively inexperienced defence lawyer. While she was undoubtedly passionate in her commitment to Corby, her noticeable lack of experience with Western media has led her, I thought, perilously close to contempt of court. In fact, even though not a lawyer, I assessed that in the last few seconds before the TV shot of her was cut off by another scene she might have even crossed that professional line.

When asked her opinion of the verdict, instead of stating a more professional response that the defence was not satisfied as some vital isssues had not been adequately addressed, blah blah blah, and would be making an appeal, she became emotional and, provoked by the TV journalists, succumbed to her mounting anger and frustration at the judges. I think I might just have heard her questioned the impartiality of the judges, but I hope I am mistaken - more for Corby's future standing.

But then the inexperience of the defence legal team in Denpasar had been pinpointed as one possible factor in Corby’s downfall. Read this analysis of the Corby’s legal defence by Professor Tim Lindsey, professor of Asian law at Melbourne University.

(2) There is a fallacy that the European legal system, which the Indonesian subscribes to, assumes that an accused is guilty until proven innocent, unlike the British legal justice system which assumes innocence until guilt has been proven.

There is in fact no difference, with both legal systems subscribing to the presumption of innocence. The false belief has been a consequence of ignorance or racist bias, where in the past, all systems French (or European) were considered as inferior or questionable. I recall that as a young lad, my Malaysian British-trained school teacher would sneeringly refer to the ‘dubious’ French law. Reading through the Australian papers, it seems one obviously less learned academician also think so.

(3) The Australians are one of the most generous and warm-hearted people in the world, responding to all sorts of crisis throughout the world with concerned alacrity and great charity. Their recent contribution to the tsunami aid relief had been overwhelming, to complement the Australian government’s equally generous and bountiful donation.

Yet, it has been disappointing to see that recently some of them tied such donations to the Schapelle Corby’s case. Prior to her verdict, there had been shameful shouts from some people for the government to withhold or reduce the aid. Now that the verdict is known, such calls have become even more strident.

The antic by one of Corby’s male friends outside the Denpasar courtroom was what Malaysians would termed as pretty ‘low-level’, or embarrassingly crude. He read openly and aggressively from a prepared script addressed to the Indonesian President, reminding him of Aussie tsunami aid and the death in an air crash of 9 Aussie service people involved in the relief in Sumatra, and that SBY ought to reciprocate such Aussie generosity and sacrifice with regards to Corby.

Apart from publicly insulting the Head of State of the country that holds Corby in their prison system, he didn’t realise the extent of the harm and ill will his rednecked behaviour can instead bring to Corby.

Additionally, there is an Asian saying, perhaps of Chinese origin, that a donor diminishes enormously the spiritual and moral value of an act of charity if he or she publicises the donation. How much more has the moral value of Australian donation being diminished by his crude and exploitative demand for a quid pro quo? He also demeaned the sacrifice of those service people by his shameful demand.

The fact that it was a prepared script, obviously to be read if the verdict went against Corby, makes his statement totally inexcusable.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Schapelle Corby - Behind the Scene

The Indonesian Court in Bali delivered a guilty verdict in the Schapelle Corby case, where the 27-year old Australian was accused of importing illegal narcotics into Indonesia, after she was apprehended at Denpasar airport, Bali, with more than 4 kg of marijuana in her boogie board bag. However, the court sentenced her to 20 years imprisonment rather than the life sentence that many experts had predicted.

She had been charged on 3 counts, with the first relating to importation and distribution of narcotics which carried the heaviest sentence, death or at least life sentence; the other two charges related to possession and carry 20 and 15 years sentences respectively.

While many Australians cursed and criticised the verdict as indicative of the unfairness, corruption and incompetency that exist in the Indonesian justice system, law experts in Australia thought the Indonesian court in the case was fair and in accordance to the European system of law (as different from the Commonwealth adversarial system inherited from the British), very tolerant of her defence team’s fumblings and the uncalled-for adverse publicity campaign in Australia against the Indonesian justice system, and finally, very gentle on her. These law experts considered the 20 years sentence, by Indonesian standards for a narcotic case, has been relatively light.

She and the prosecution have two further opportunities to appeal. In the meanwhile the Australian government is attempting to work out a prisoner-exchange programme with the Indonesian government to enable Corby to serve her sentence in Australia, but the Indonesians do not want the arrangement to be exclusively for one person only, namely Corby, as had been the intention of Canberra. Jakarta stated that any such programmes must apply as a general policy and not be peculiar to only one individual.

In the last few days prior to today’s verdict, the truth seemed to be spilling out that her so-called advisers had not advised her wisely, but rather detrimentally to her case. Her situation had not been helped by the cheap emotion-raking rating-seeking so-called documentaries. Even though the Indonesian prosecution had confirmed sometime ago he won’t be seeking the death sentence, an Australian TV Channel and one of her backers had continued to refer to that draconian penalty as a possible verdict, obviously to horrify and fan Australian emotions. It’s really a disgraceful and deceitful tactic.

One particular person who claimed to be championing her cause has had pointed questions aimed at his business past and motives, for example, like establishing a company in her name with himself as the SOLE director, secretary and SHAREHOLDER!

The same person also proposed to start a million dollar fund to investigate further into possible illegal use of her bag by drug smugglers and offered to donate the first 100,000 dollars, but neither the fund nor his $100,000 contribution exists today. He apologised for forgetting about it!!!

I do not propose to criticise further the unhelpful media frenzy in Australia, purportedly rallying support on her behalf, or the questionable actions and advice of her support team, other than to summarise them as unhelpful to her.

In the end, it has been the Australian government who picked up her bill, and will be picking up her appeal bill again including the offer of legal experts (as was offered to her initially).

I have only one advice for Schapelle Corby - keep clear of charlatans and snake-oil salespersons, and stick to your more reliable Aussie government.

Professor Tim Lindsay, professor of Asian law, director of the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne, one of the cooler Australian heads around, has this to say – recommended reading for a very balanced view.

Neil McMahon wrote a comparative study of two Australian women, Schapelle Corby, loved and adored by an emotional Australian public, against the case of Lindy Chamberlain, hated and damned by Australians for years before her innocence was eventually proven. It's also a study of the power of Western media.

The New Gulag Archipelago!

Amnesty International, the consciences of the world has labelled the notorious US military prison at Guantanamo Bay as the gulag of our times. The reference to the word Gulag is a damning comparison to the old Soviet prison system for special prisoners, where political opponents or even ordinary people were incarcerated in a manner to deny them due process or contacts with anyone. The system was completely non-transparent, unaccountable and of course non-existent to the West. Torture was the expected, deprivation and extreme hardship were normal.

Today at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base and until the recent scandal, Abu Ghraib, prisoners have been held by the USA indefinitely without charge, without lawful access by families and without legal representation, against all international law.

The USA bypasses its own laws banning torture by shipping such unlawfully detained prisoners to these military-controlled prisons outside its own territory - in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. Once outside the jurisdiction of its own courts, it perpetrates torture not unlike what the Nazi, Kempeitai and Talibans did. When its troops murdered prisoners in the course of torture as had happened in all the three US military prisons, it hushed up the criminal offences; when it couldn’t keep the lid on, it either attempted to brush off the complaints as old events that had already been looked into, or passed token sentences on the minor officials who had been nominated to be scapegoats.

It also has a parallel system of torture-interrogation called the rendition programme, where prisoners are shipped to one of its allies, usually brutal dictatorships like the regimes in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, etc, for softening up. The foreigners conduct the gruesome torture on its behalf.

Because of the USA unparalleled military and economic might (aid and military support to its dictator allies) it behaves with total impunity and reckless disregard to these international crimes. Its actions have been an affront to rules of law that the hypocritical USA likes to frequently preach to others.

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn introduced the term Gulag Archipelago to the world in 1973.

He used the word archipelago as a metaphor for the camps, which were scattered throughout the sea of Russian society like a chain of islands, not unlike today’s US military torture camps scattered throughout the global society, particularly among the dark side of the American Empire.

He wrote on the Soviet regime's comprehensive but deeply irrational use of terror against the Russians, of man’s inhumanity to man. He could have well written about the Bush regime’s comprehensive but deeply irrational use of terror against anyone suspected, yes, suspected only of being an insurgent - of the Bush regime's inhumanity against non-Americans.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


In South Africa, 3000 white Afrikaners protested the name change of Pretoria to Tshwane.

The city’s mayor responded by stating that Tshwane, a name of an early native chief, means ‘we are the same’, thus symbolising the end of South Africa's draconian and shameful racial past that had been perpetrated by the Afrikaner’s apartheid system.

Former white President FW de Klerk complained about the increasing tendency to purge the history and traditions of minorities from South Africa’s emerging national identity. He said that Pretoria was the symbol of the anti-colonial war that Afrikaners fought against the British Empire.

But de Klerk failed conveniently to mention that the white Afrikaners did even worse than what colonialism had perpetrated, instituting one of the most evil regimes ever, that treated non-whites as sub-humans, discriminating wantonly against their basic rights. He should recognise that the Afrikaner past has been regarded as the very symbol of evil racism.

On this score alone, the name of Pretoria should be changed to disassociate from the shameful past.

Related posting:
City Names Going Native!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Who was Abraham? (17)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

While Amenhotep IV (or Akhenaten) was growing up with relatives in Zarw, his mum Queen Tiye consolidated her powers in the royal city of Thebes. Though she wasn’t of royal lineage she was appointed by her infatuated husband as the Great Royal Wife, effectively the Queen, a post that should have been held by Sitamun, the Pharaoh’s first wife and royal sister.

[Note: some books have Sitamun as Pharaoh Amenhotep III's daughter. Ancient Egyptian royals had a matriarchal inheritance lineage, that was, via the women, thus many pharaohs became rulers by marrying their sisters the true inheritors of the throne. Therefore it would not have been strange nor incestuous for Pharaoh Amenhotep III to marry his royal sister Sitamun in order to hold on to the throne of Egypt]

Sitamun had a daughter, Nefertiti, one of history’s most beautiful women. Obviously Nefertiti was of the direct royal line, so Amenhotep IV was married to his half-sister to secure his royal position on the throne of Egypt.

Once Amenhotep IV felt he was reasonably safe from the hostile Amunites, he returned to Thebes to rule as co-regent to his royal father the elder Pharaoh. Because he grew up in Zarw, away from the standard warrior cadetship that other sons of Pharaohs and nobility underwent, and obviously under the enormous influence of the priests of On, he was more interested in promoting his religion than conducting the affairs of a young king or noble.

His efforts in promoting Aten worship in Thebes was pursued in a high handed manner, such as taking over temples of Amun-Re for his god, and at the same time desecrating other Egyptian gods. He even had the name of Amun chiselled away from temples and obelisks.

Note: Amenhotep IV was probably the world's first monotheist cum Taliban in his attitude towards the images of other gods

Evidently in his religious zeal he forgot that Thebes was the stronghold of the Amun priesthood, and his actions were highly offensive to them. He had to be stopped from his reckless proselytising behaviour before the affront to the Amunites became too damaging.

The elder Pharaoh ordered him to build a new city for devotion to Aten rather than offend the powerful Amun priesthood in Thebes. He went downriver and selected a place which is today’s Tel el Amarna for his new religious centre. He called the city Akhetaten, the horizon of Aten.

There is archaeological evidence that his father, the elder Pharaoh, was still alive after he build the new city. But when the old man passed away, and Amenhotep IV or Akhenaten became the principal Pharaoh, he pursued his Aten worship even more ruthlessly.

He turned Akhetaten into the world’s most beautiful city, a ‘city of gold and light’, a veritable Garden of Eden, where every need of the Pharaoh and his entourage were taken care of in the most lavish manner.

In fact the wealth of the land were virtually stripped for the use of the inhabitants of Akhetaten. All those who stayed in his holy city must convert to his Aten religion, whether they were bakers, builders, painters, artisans masons, or nobility, etc.

Apart from lovely Egyptian women, Akhenaten invited the most beautiful Canaanite, Hittite, Mitannian, Phoenician, Midianite, Nubian, Babylonian and neighbouring princesses to join his entourage. He basically formed his own ‘beautiful people’, turning Akhetaten into an international cosmopolitan city.

When his father, Amenhotep III passed away, probably in their 12th year of co-regency, Akhenaten emerged as the most powerful man in Egypt. He was by now so obsessed by his Aten worship, and began to pushed for the forceful spread of his religion. That’s when trouble began for him.

To be continued ……..

Heil Elvis?

Was Elvis a Nazi sympathiser or admirer?

A former bartender was given a cine film which he left untouched for years. Recently, coming across the film again in his attic, he viewed it to his shock, It showed the King wearing a Nazi cap and giving a Nazi salute.

Fortunately for the Legend, he has been dead for 30 years, or he would have faced the fury of the Jewish and Israeli people, regardless of whether he was indeed a Nazi sympathiser or just fooling around, as Prince Harry of Britain would have told him.

Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform and Swastika armband to a fancy-dress party, and was lambasted angrily by, among other people, the Israeli Foreign Minister. Many European leaders came out in condemnation of his thoughtless act as well.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi said it was imperative that the lessons of the Holocaust during WWII War were not only taught, but understood. To him, wearing a swastika was in extremely poor taste.

Pity that on the other side of the world, the Japanese government can’t recognize the hurts of traumatized Asians who suffered atrociously under the brutal hands of their military during the last World war, by continuously sneaking into school text books revisionist accounts of their WWII history to gloss or skip over their military’s act of genocide in Nanjing (or Nanking) and other atrocities throughout China, Korea and SE Asia, and by their prime minister insisting on worshipping their war criminals at the Yasukuni Shrine.

But even more pitiful had been the noticeably loud silence of the USA and Europe (except for Holland), on such Japanese fascist revisionism. This constrasted sharply with any suggestion or even hint of Naziism, even in cases of foolish innocence like Prince Harry's case.

The moral of the scandalous double standards?

The Jews has shown that the 'Pen (or Press & Political Influence) is Mightier than the Sword'. That is something for the Chinese and Koreans to think about.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Saudi Abomination or Chance for M-E Peace?

Abomination (?) in Saudi Arabia?

Someone should introduce these party people to the 2 New York Jews who proposed to sleep with the enemy for peace. And it's appropriate the US should start their campaign with the Saudis, rather than with the Afghan, Iraqis or Iranians.

Monday, May 23, 2005


The Sydney Morning Herald carries this article:

Two gay Israeli men have installed a huge double bed in a New York art gallery and are inviting Arab men to become their "lover" as part of an exhibition called Sleeping With The Enemy.

But the artists, who like to be known simply as Gil and Moti, talk about the project in romantic terms, saying it's about "falling in love" rather than sex.

"The bed is for us to live in. Artistically, three pillows symbolise unity of three people which goes along with the whole concept of make love not war," Gil said.

Heh heh heh! Good on you duckies.

I am just waiting for the right wing conservative pro-Israeli pack to say something … eh no, more likely … froth and foam at their mouth about this abomination.

The abomination link is rather interesting, as the author explains the difference in the Jewish abominations of shrimps and homosexuality. Regarding shrimps he stated:

With shrimp (Leviticus 11:10), the full phrase is sheketz hame lachem, 'they shall be a detestable thing to you.'

'You' meaning the Jewish people.

No, God does not 'hate' shrimp, but He does instruct the Jewish people that they should not eat it as one part of their particular spiritual regimen to be a 'holy people' and a 'light unto the nations.' He made shrimp tasty for non-Jews, so they should enjoy shrimp as He intended. For Jews, we now have fake shrimp, made from kosher fish, to satisfy our desire for the taste of shrimp.

Making something that's detestable to Jews, tasty to goyims? Hmmm, looks as if God is discriminating here?

The Bible Says So!

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, "You should do it since you get up first; that way we don't have to wait so long to get our coffee."

The husband retorted, "Hang on! You are in charge of cooking around here. That’s your job, and I am prepared to just wait for my coffee."

Wife insisted, "No, you should do it. Besides, it’s written in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

Husband laughed, "I can't believe you would resort to such a tale. OK, show me."

So she fetched the Bible, opened to the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says …….. HEBREWS

From an email currently circulating.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Tragedy of an Afghan Taxi Driver

"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way that girls like Lynndie are raised ... Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis."
- Colleen Kesner, a resident from hometown of Lynndie England, of Abu Ghraib notoriety

Dilawar was a taxi driver in Afghanistan. Arrested by the US military, he was beaten on his legs until he couldn’t stand anymore. This ocurred at the USAF Bagram air base, a US interrogation centre in Afghanistan notorious for torturing prisoners.

Following a rocket attack on the base, while he was in prison, he was nevertheless hauled into the interrogation room for another session, but by then his legs were bouncing uncontrollably and his hands were numb. He had been chained by his wrists to the ceiling of his cell for much of the previous four days.

When Dilawar asked for a drink of water, a 21-year old interrogator, Specialist Joshua Claus (obviously no relation of Father Christmas) concocted a form of mental torture to deny the prisoner that, enjoying Dilawar’s agony as the water was either pouring onto the prisoner’s body or squirted into his face.

A guard tried to force Dilawar to his knees, but his legs, pummelled by US military guards for several days, could no longer bend.

After the interrogation Dilawar was sent back to his cell, and chained to the ceiling. Several hours passed before a doctor saw Dilawar. By then he was stiff dead.

And the cruellest and most sad and unjust ending to this atrocity, many months before the official investigation even eventuated - and only after persistent report of torture including the Abu Ghraib scandal -
most of the interrogators at Bagram believed Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the US base at the wrong time.

report into Dilawar’s death at the USAF base at Bagram contains graphic details of widespread abuse of detainees in Afghanistan carried out by young and poorly trained soldiers, including females like Lynndie England (do read this link), except they made England look like Mother Teresa.

The torture was not just related to extracting information, but involved punishment (whatever that means) and a la
Kempeitai, alleviating the US soldiers' boredom or satiating their cruelty.

Though frequently reported to US officials, the incidents of prisoner abuse at Bagram were
casually dismissed by them as isolated problems that had already been thoroughly investigated. Human Rights Watch reports that nine detainees in Afghanistan have died in US custody, including four cases already determined to be murder or manslaughter.

The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.

- Lois McMaster Bujold

SBY Seeks US Arms - May Get *WMD*

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be leaving Jakarta on Tuesday for Washington. He aims to persuade Congress to lift the arms ban on Indonesia.

(note: sometimes Jakarta Post links may not remain unique to a particular news item, and instead take a reader to its home page).

Apart from meeting President Bush and top government officials, he is scheduled to meet some CEOs of giant U.S. companies like Microsoft, ExxonMobil (oil), Newton (mining). But there’s one CEO that I feel, and I believe many many Indonesians would agree, he shouldn’t meet at all. I refer to the CEO of Philip Morris.

Philip Morris, or as it tries to pass itself nowadays as Altria, ranks as probably one of the worst, if not the worst company for the Indonesian President, or for that matter, any nation’s leader to have any discussion or do business with.

Philip Morris or Altria sells cancer sticks or death sticks, or, if one wishes to hide from the truth, cigarettes.

Because the more enlightened western society has gradually reduced their smoking habits and at the same time, savagely hitting the tobacco companies for six through successful law suits, Philip Morris (Altria) and other Western tobacco companies are targeting Asia as new markets to peddle their deadly wares. Like most western tobacco companies they sneak in by stealth, under guises of teenage and women events and entertainment, etc. Teenagers and women are their principal targets to enlarge their customer base.

Tobacco companies have very deep pockets, are very innovative and extremely deceptive. Hence they are bloody dangerous - before you know it, they will be cosily ensconced in the deepest core of your lives (like your lungs), and you will have extreme difficulties ever getting rid of them.

They have experienced hugh liability payouts in the West, and now target relatively uninformed Asia for new markets to recoup their payout losses in the West and to strive forward with greater profits.

It needs to be pointed out that Philip Morris has been a big financial backer of Bush. Additionally, Bush's blue-eyed boy, political strategist and new White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove had been on Philip Morris' payroll before.

Nevertheless, it’s quite disgusting and unethical for Bush, who claims to be a born-again Christian, to permit his Administration to arrange the meeting between Philip Morris and the Indonesian President.

Cancer sticks are WMD - Wicked Murderous Drugs - with a difference - they hurt the owner or user.

It's Official - Whales are FISH!

It’s official in Japan. The whale is not a mammal but a fish.

Japan is the world’s largest consumer of fish, having eaten the piscatorial dish for centuries. To make whale culturally palatable, it becomes crucial to redefine the creature as a fish rather than what it actually is, a mammal. The re-classification also justifies Japan's killing of whales as an intrinsic part of its culture.

It's also necessary to reject the barbarian world's claim of whales being mammals, because without doing that, eating whale meat in Japan could only take on a dietary significance that started from the post War II period, when the food situation in Japan was bloody desperate, and any meat was welcome. But then, a mere 60 years-old experience with whale meat - an adopted practice of desperation that in fact faded away once better alternatives became available as the post War years rolled on and Japan grew wealthier - would blow the argument of whale eating being a Japanese centuries-old tradition out of the water!

In fact, research findings question the dodgy claims that whaling has deep cultural roots in Japan. Mind you, these findings are hardly likely to be aired widely in Japan, not unlike Japan’s WWII war crimes.

Dr Keiko Hirata of California State University, in the Social Science Journal of Japan, also cast serious doubts on the 'tradition' angle. She states historical evidence indicates that even up to the early 20th century, some people in northern Japan resisted killing whales, which they considered as mystical gods who looked over communities and helped bring them wealth.

She counters the main pro-whaling arguments with explanations and the real reasons for Japan's insistence on hunting and eating whale meat.

To some Japanese, eating whale meat is an expression of nationalism - a Japanese right and bugger the world. Some Japanese whaling supporters viewed the right to kill and eat the whales as a patriotic backlash against racist Western opponents. These people see themselves as footsoldiers in a battle between ‘meat eaters’ (westerners) and ‘fish eaters’ (themselves). They attribute the whaling controversy to Western racism and cultural imperialism, especially since the anti-whaling movement is led by the United States, whom they see as an aggressor in international relations.

Such nationalistic feelings are not surprising as could be witnessed in repetitive Japanese attempts to indulge in nationalistic historical revisionism, and re-invent themselves as WWII victims or even liberators rather than the despicable brutal aggressors they were. These manifestations are symptomatic of an extremely wealthy and economically powerful country that feels it is no longer obliged to genuflect to anyone anymore. Hirata mentions that unfortunately, criticisms of Japan play to nationalist passions.

Of course it’s just a mere coincidence that the school district that is putting whale meat (does one call a *fish* fillet, meat?) on the kids lunch menu is in Wakayama, a province whose small whale and dolphin hunting fleet needs customers.

The Japanese whaling activities involve principally one company that employs 300 people. It supplies all the whale used in the scientific program that costs Japan about $2.9 billion per year, certainly no small change even for Japan.

But there is simply no price that nationalism would not pay.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sharon Slammed Abbas' Swords into Plowshares

The Californian Daily Democrat has this news article:

“Israel sees Hamas' decision to join the political process as a threat.”

Why? Wouldn’t it be better to encourage your enemies to join the democratic political process, which carries opportunities for peaceful dialogue and amicable negotiations, rather than stick to the military option?

“Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has criticized Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for choosing to co-opt the militants rather than crush them.”

It's obscene that Sharon has the bloody gall to criticise Abbas for doing the right thing, though we know of course that Sharon is always out to demonise or obstruct the Palestinians in one way or another.

Abbas has set the first step for converting swords into plowshares.

"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4)

I guess with an Old Testament character like Ariel Sharon who only knows how to smite, he wouldn't understand the meaning of peace, no, not when he is building the Berlin Wall of the East.

Hmmm, speaking of Old Testament characters, I recall there were Israelis like Menachem Begin and his Irgun, and the notorious Avraham Stern and his organization Lehi (or Stern Gang). Both were terrorist organisations with cold blooded killers, yet are idolised today by the Israelis and honoured by the Knesset as heros.

The Irgun was a terrorist organisation committed not only against British rule but in fact war against the Palestinians - exactly the mirror objective of HAMAS, namely war against Israel. So, what is the difference between the Irgun and HAMAS?

LEHI assassinated UN-envoy Count Folke Bernadotte, a man who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, successfully negotiating with the Nazis to hand them over to him.

The Irgun and Stern Gang jointly and systematically murdered 100 Palestinian civilians including women and children at Deir Yassin in April 1948. T'was an ominous portent to a future Sabra & Shatila.

With such a history of unmitigated terror and indiscriminate killings, Israel is hardly qualified to call others terrorists! If they consider murderous Begin and his Irgun, and Stern and his LEHI as freedom fighters, then the answer regarding the Palestinian struggle for freedom and to be masters of their own land is obvious.

One hopes the USA won't be persuaded (or hoodwinked by Sharon) to cold-shoulder the democratically elected HAMAS members. The old wily fox always seeks excuses to sabotage any political process to prevent or hinder the Palestinian statehood.

Engage these HAMAS people politically rather than militarily.

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Don't F*** Around With A Blogger!

Don’t f*** around with a blogger – literally.

Robert Steinbuch, a counsel for Republican Senator Michael DeWine, had a ... eh ... relationship with Jessica Cutler, also of the same office.

Cutler uses the nom de plume of 'Washingtonienne' (obviously a lover of the French language) to blog in intimate details her simultaneous sexual relationships with up to six men around town, including an unidentified Bush administration appointee with the initials of R.S.

Wow! What an Amazonite appetite!

Steinbuch claimed the initials plus other details have revealed his identity, and filed a civil suit against Cutler, citing invasion of privacy and humiliation.

Intimate details? Humiliation?

Does that mean Washingtonienne depicted Washingtonian’s … ehWashington Monument as a mere puny teeny weeny ’weapon of mass deception'?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Desecration of Koran - Pentagon Knew All Along

Desecration of the Koran? Newsweek magazine blasted for using an unnamed source?

(Incidentally, which senior government source would wish to be named after the outbreak of violence, and the Administration bent on a mob lynching?)

Well, the International Red Cross stated that the Pentagon had been informed of such desecrations numerous times over the past years.

Human Rights Watch said the controversy over the Newsweek report overshadowed the widespread religious humiliation of American Muslim detainees at its various military prisons around the world, by deliberately offending their religious beliefs.

The Frightening Truth of Iraqi Kidnappings

al Hilaly, Australia’s chief Muslim cleric, who postponed his own heart surgery to dash off to Iraq in an attempt to secure the release of Douglas Wood, an Australian held hostage by Iraqi insurgents, has dropped out of sight on advice - he has gone into hiding as he has warned that he may be targeted for kidnapping too.

The potential culprits have been described as pro-American gangs, or gangs the US-led occupying forces turned a blind eye to - the old story of a cosy arrangement of 'you scratch my back, and I'll scratch your back'.

All these sinister intrigues set me thinking whether the tragic case of Margaret Hassan, kidnapped and undoubtedly murdered by now, could be attributed to these ‘pro-American’ gangs.

I recall that, when Margaret Hassan was kidnapped, insurgent groups in Iraq swore that they did not touch her - a believable claim as Margaret was probably the most loved person in Iraq. In fact, the leading insurgent leader al Zarqawi had personally called for her release.

Some western journalists such as the renowned Middle-East correspondent Robert Fisk had alluded to Margaret Hassan’s kidnapping as a possible result of mischievous plotting, but not by the insurgents. Kurt Nimmo, an American journalist-photographer mentioned the same suspicion.

I blogged on Margaret Hassan’s kidnapping a second time on 25 October 2004 over at BolehTalk in a posting titled Idiots in Iraq, Machiavellians in London (2)! (unfortunately, this link takes you to a full week’s worth of postings – you have to scroll down the page to get to the post)

What is patently clear that not all kidnappings had been done by the insurgents. al Hilaly has been wise to duck out of public prominence.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Young, White, Pretty and has Big Boobs

Derryn Hinch, host of a Melbourne radio news programme, who once had the most popular TV exposé show in Australia, with his famous signature scolding of “Shame, Shame, Shame” when he latched on to some unethical politician or unscrupulous businessman, shocked the nation last night in a TV show called “Schapelle's Nightmare: The Untold Story”.

The TV programme was of course meant to - let us place the real priority right - gardner TV ratings by championing Schapelle Corby, a 27-year old Aussie woman charged by the Indonesian police when she was apprehended with more than 4 kg of marijuana in Bali. The Indonesian court will deliver its verdict on her charge tomorrow on Friday 27 May.

Though the TV show purported to analyse and dissect the case, it has more to do with stimulating the raw emotions of the Aussie audience. Well, last night 92% of viewers deemed Corby innocent, as if their ‘verdict’ could be anything else – my only surprise is that it wasn't 100%.

But Hinch played the odd man out by expressing his opinion that Corby is guilty.

Oh la la, the proverbial sure hit the fan with Aussies outraged by his opinion, but Hinch, true to form, came back swinging, and responded to accusations that he was sexist to what most Australians considered as the “beautiful, innocent girl”. In his usual fiery blunt manner, Hinch stated that “Corby has been getting all this attention because she is young, white, pretty and has big boobs”.

He has since been receiving hate mails and abuses – read some of them here.

Welcome back, Derryn!

Related postings:

Australian Rednecks Jeopardise the Corby Case

Schapelle Corby – A Study in Unhelpful Media Frenzy

Unhelpful Extra-Legal Support for Schapelle Corby

Sheik al Hilaly - From Australian Villain to Australian Hero?

Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly, Australia’s leading Muslim cleric, is attempting to secure the release of Australian hostage Douglas Wood, kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq. Wood was working in Iraq as a contractor when he was seized by a rebel group, the Shura Council of the Mujahideen of Iraq 2 weeks ago.

The usual demands for withdrawal of Australian troops was issued with a deadline. The Australian government’s policy has always been, correctly so, to ignore such demands.

Wood’s family appealed directly to the insurgents with a promise of donation to a charitable organization in Iraq. They also turned to al Hilaly for help.

al Hilaly flew immediately to Baghdad where he sent feelers through his Shiite and Sunni colleagues to the insurgents. The kidnappers have responded positively, and even permitted al Hilaly, through intermediaries, to hand over some prescriptive medication for Wood.

al Hilaly is a very controversial personality in Australia. Based in Sydney he had been accused of preaching extremist views, and widely demonised by a number of Australian politicians and journalists. There was an incident where he drove his car with an expired road registration, where the press made an issue over what was probably a personal administrative oversight – afterall, many other Australians have forgotten to renew their car road registration too.

In a more controversial incident he was accused of preaching violence against the West and Israel at a mosque in Lebanon. The accusation was based on a report by MEMRI, which claims to be a non-partisan research institute but was founded by a former Israeli Intelligence man, Colonel Yigal Carmon, now domiciled in the USA.

There have been a number of western (not Arab) allegations against MEMRI that it specializes in demonising Arab causes by cherry-picking and translating, at times creatively, only offensive Arabic news items for dissemination to western politicians and the press.

That MEMRI report was eventually acknowledged in Australia as not reliable. Later, Australia’s SBS TV showed that the sermon was actually harmless.

al Hilaly’s efforts seemed to be gaining a degree of achievement. After the successful handing over of Wood’s medication he has been allowed to talk on a mobile phone to the hostage. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though there’s still some way to track towards it yet.

If Sheik al Hilaly pulls off the release of Douglas Wood, he’ll return to Sydney an Australian hero rather than the Muslim villain he has always been portrayed as.

That'll certainly make some Australian politicians, journalists and people choke on their beer (or chardonnay).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mother of All Smokescreens!

George Galloway has always been a bit of a maverick in British politics, refusing to toe Tony Blair’s pro-US line. Prior to the invasion of Iraq he flew to Iraq to chitchat with Saddam Hussein. He is naturally one of the most anti-war British MPs.

The US Senate committee hearing into Iraqi illegal oil deals during Saddam Hussein's rule, thought they could browbeat and intimidate him into admitting to an allegation that he had profited from illegal oil deals with Saddam, and summoned him to a Senate hearing.

Note: The ultimate in hypocrisy was revealed when a staff of the Democratic Party submitted that the USA under President Bush had turned a blind eye to US dealings in the illegal oil trade, accounting for 52% of the kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein for cheap oil.

To everyone's surprise Galloway went most willingly to Washington, and then to the senators' utter shock (because they have been used to and were expecting deferential responses), they found that they had become the accused rather than Galloway. As he promised, Galloway gave them ‘both barrels’ of his scorn. I saw his brilliant ‘take no prisoner’ performance on TV. Some of his ‘gems’ that I could remember from the TV news (and recalled with the help of the BBC and CNN reports have been:

(1) "Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you [chairman Norm Coleman] are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice."

(2) “I visited Saddam Hussein exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns."

(3) "I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do, and than any member of the British or American governments do" alluding to the US former support of Saddam Hussein

(4) "I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001."

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong. And 100,000 people have paid with their lives -- 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies, 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever, on a pack of lies."

(5) "You have my name on lists provided to you by the convicted bank robber and fraudster and con man Ahmed Chalabi, who many people, to their credit, in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq."

(6) "In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Air Base [Afghanistan], in Guantanamo Bay - including, if I may say, British citizens being held in those places -- I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances" referring to the allegations against him that came from Iraqi prisoners held by the US.

(7) "Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported."

It was a one-man ‘shock & awe’ assault on the 13 US senators in the lions' den, leaving the inquisitors dumbfounded and in complete disarray.