Thursday, June 30, 2005

President Bush's Mind over Matter!

President Bush, a man who didn’t even go to Vietnam (I am being polite here) has the nerve to tell his troops that the death and injuries of US service people in Iraq have been worth the sacrifice. To Bush, it may be just a case of mind over matter, as in “Bush doesn’t mind, the soldiers don’t matter.”

But worse than the insult to the loved ones of those killed and maimed in an illegal war based on a pack of lies, the bullsh*t pep talk has revealed Bush’s very dangerous policy, that will undoubtedly lead to more deaths for his military in Iraq.

He asked for patience (while others had died, are dying and will die) while rejecting calls for a timetable for withdrawal or sending more troops to battle the enemy. In other words, he is putting his military in Iraq in an unenviable position.

Doesn’t he realise his men and women are being slowly picked off. He should either get them out or ensure that the force level in Iraq is half a million troops as assessed by his top military commanders, so as to neutralise the insurgency once and for all.

There is a saying that wars are too important for generals to decide, but once decided, wars are defintely too important for politicians located safely faraway to manage.

His arguments are cynically political without any appreciation of the operational circumstances, or he just doesn’t care – mind over matter! His words are of small comfort to the people actually on the ground in the combat zones.

He stated that sending more soldiers would undermine the US policy of getting Iraqis involved and to take a lead in the counter-insurgency efforts. But he is against withdrawal because that would undermine the new US-propped up Iraqi givernment. He has to stop pussyfooting around, and allow the terrible situation to continue. He must make some tough but meaningful decision, at least for his own soldiers

In a very unworthy action, he tried, again, to link 9/11 to Iraq. If he is really interested in solving the 9/11 recurrence, the solution lies in Saudi Arabia.

And he even dared to tell the troops that if the army commanders wanted more soldiers he would send them. As I have blogged in Driving the Sea to the Fishes! (2) “a couple of top US generals had laid down the required force level of 450,000 troops in their invasion and occupation plans. Indeed, US think-tanks like the Rand Corporation have agreed with the figure of 450,000 to 500,000 troops. Instead, the US troop strength in Iraq is around 170,000.”

But Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came up with his now-useless doctrine of ‘shock & awe’ and light highly mobile forces specialising in blitzkrieg tactics, but is too proud to admit he f**ked up. Which general in Iraq would dare to go against his boss, the Defence Secretary, who now stubbornly digs in to defend his war plans that have gone badly wrong?

While Bush's decision not to withdraw is his presidential responsibility to consider, I reckon his refusal to send in more troops is an abdication of that same responsibility to the American people and armed services, as more US military men and women there continue to be killed.

But then, it's a case of mind over matter!

What is a crokodile?

This is a real life exam answer of a grade 5 primary school pupil's 2nd term exam.

Write an essay on the following: "What is a crocodile?" Use block letters and write legibly.

Name: [removed by KTemoc]

The crokodile is a specially built so long because the flatter the better swimmer. At the front of the crokodile is the head. The head exists almost only of teeth. Behind the crokodile the tail grows. Between the head and the tail is the crokodile.

A crokodile without a tail is called a rotweiler.

A crokodiles body is covered with handbag material. He can throw his tail off if he gets a fright but it doesn't happen much because a crokodile is scared of nothing.

A crokodile stays under the water because if you were so ugly, you would also stay under the water. It is good that a crokodile stays under the water because a person gets such a big fright if a crocodile catches you that he first has to rinse you off before he can eat you.

[the pupil was very polite - hope you readers know why the croc has to rinse the person before eating him?]

A crokodile isn't hardly as dangerous as people say he is, except if he catches you. The longer he bites you, the more it hurts.

[how true!]

Very old crokodiles only suck people and buck that they catch dead.If you eat him, he is a crokosatie.

[hope you got that? 'Satay', get it?]

A crokodile did not learn to swim with his arms so he uses his tail. The little brother of a crocodile is a lizard. The slow sister of the crokodile is a chamelon. The gay brother of the crokodile is a dafodil. And the crokodil also has a dead brother the frikadel.

[there you are - all nicely & neatly defined. Surely an 'A+'?]

From an email currently circulating.

Khyber Pass Again?

The Afghans did it to the British in the earlier days. Then the Soviet Army was next, and now the Americans are also their targets.

The spirit of the Khaibar lives on. As Lt-General George Molesworth of the British army invading Afghanistan in 1919, said "Every stone in the Khaibar has been soaked in blood." The same goes for the rest of Afghanistan.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Breaking the Silence on morally corrupt Israeli Defence Force

Now I know this news is going to upset one particular Malaysian pro-Israeli blogger because what I have been saying all along, for months now over at BolehTalk, has now become even more irrefutable.

This person is a bit like Major Sharon Finegold, an Israeli army spokeswoman who boasted that the Israeli army is a role model for many armies in the world and pioneers in the war on terror. While I can understand why Finegold defends the Israeli Army – she is Israeli after all and an IAF spokesperson - I can't that particular person. ;-)

The news is that a group of 300 former Israeli service personnel calling themselves the Breaking the Silence group have come forward with stories of widespread Israeli military abuses against the Palestinians - indeed abuses of the most draconian kind. They have made damaging accusations against the behaviour of the so-called model Israeli soldiers.

And it’s not just coffee-shop badmouthing. In public testimonies, these former servicemen, very much troubled by their consciences, stated that the Israeli Defence Force routinely carried out "deterrent gunfire" into Palestinian areas without a specific target, in other words, just pouring fire on, for example, schools and other inhabited areas - and tough sh*t if anyone gets blown away. These former soldiers condemned such behaviour as sheer ‘moral corruption’.

I mentioned schools because there have been a series of complaints by UN officials of such Israeli military criminality.

Additionally the Israeli army also pushed Palestinian civilians forward as cannon fodder by forcing them to investigate suspected roadside bombs, and also used those civilians as human shields during arrest operations.

Well, it's more than just "moral corruption" - it's Nazi-like persecution of the worst kind motivated by cowardice.

Such confessions by Israeli soldiers are not new. Previously a number of officers of the crème de la crème of the Israeli Defence Force, its Air Force pilots, had refused to participate in bombing, rocketing and machine-gunning Palestinian towns. Some of these objectors were highly decorated pilots. They couldn’t stomach such unchivalrous and in fact criminal actions. They cried out “We are air force pilots, not the Mafia.”

That certainly gave one an idea of what they had been instructed to perpetrate.

Under Ariel Sharon, most of the Israeli military has turned into vicious but cowardly sturmtroopers.

But at the same time we must salute those Israelis who have stepped forward to tell all because of their conscience.

God Better Bless America

Before Dick Cheney became Vice President of the USA, he was head of Halliburton. And would you believe it, Halliburton received most of the lucrative military contacts in Iraq as well as for the reconstruction of the country’s damaged installations.

An army whistleblower has told Congress how the company ripped off the USA of more than US$1 billion. She implicated the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in the way contracts were handed out in a non accountable and non tendered fashion. Virtually every rule of contractual procedure was ignored or broken.

But the part that worried her most of has been the oil contract, which had a top value of US$7 billion. This was just given to Halliburton without competitive bidding, basically handed over on a silver platter.

Well, the war has proven to be lucrative for some Americans while others including female US marines died needlessly.

Indeed, God better bless America.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

USA wants to seize the Amazon?

Many Brazilians are convinced that the USA plans to control the world’s biggest tropical forest. They believe the Americans would do it by three possible ways, through:

(a) commercial stealth by buying up or developing plantations and farms in Brazil;

(b) American military surveillance technology purchased by the Brazilian military but providing crucial intelligence data to the US;

(c) control of the Amazon by an organization like the UN under the pretext that the tropical forest is an international treasure to be administered by a global organization, which will in turn be controlled by the Americans.

The Amazon is not only the Earth’s principal oxygen producing factory but contains limitless natural resources, from wood and gems to medicinal herbs, and various to-be discovered resources.

Update 29 June: A reader advised that most of the world's oxygen are produced by phytoplankton or marine vegetation. I googled and found that rainforests produce around 22% of the world's oxygen, while phytoplankton produce 32%, but as the previous link suggested, the verdict is still out on which source generates the most oxygen. Some say that rainforests account for 40%. Rainforests have an additional benefit - they are gigantic airconditioners, preventing our atmosphere from warming up.

A Brazilian, Flavio Lacerda, a 31-year-old street vendor, seems a bit paranoid about the USA when he said “They’ve already laid claim to it morally. They say the Amazon ‘belongs to the world’ of which they’re the best representative. They say they have a real interest in the world and the Amazon, but in actual fact they care only about themselves.”

I don't blame him considering there's a USA that goes around making illegal and hypocritical 'regime changes' when it suits her interests, while at the same time nurturing various dictatorships around the world.

Another Brazilian, Leandro Schilipake, a sociology professor and obviously more at the other end of the Brazilian social spectrum, worries about encroaching big North American interests on the rain forest. He said “We don’t have a xenophobic attitude regarding the Amazon. We don’t think the riches are here only to benefit Brazilians. But we defend the principle of the sovereignty of nations. The Amazon is a part of our national identity. It’s a symbol of Brazil.”

Hmmm, distrust of avaricious American business interests is obviously not confined to just Asia or the Middle-East.

Have you ever been f.....ed?

A man was sitting on a beach. He had no arms and no legs. Three women were walking past and felt sorry for the poor man.

The first woman said "Have you ever had a hug?" The man said "No", so she gave him a hug and walked on.

The second woman said "Have you ever had a kiss?" The man said "No", so she gave him a deep, hard kiss and walked on.

The third woman came to him and said "Have you ever been f**ked?" Excitedly, the fellow said "Oh my gosh, no!"

She said "You will be when the tide comes in."

From an email currently making the rounds.

US in Iraq - The Beginning of The End

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted that US officials have been talking with the “enemy”, the Iraqi insurgents.

In addition Rumsfeld also admitted that the Iraqi insurgency will last for a dozen years or so, and it WILL have to be the Iraqis, not the US, who have to fight them.

This basically signals the beginning of the end of the American military occupation of Iraq. Bush is facing enormous pressure in the USA to pull out from Iraq, especially so after the tragic death of several female US troops on Thursday night.

A target for the Democrat Party’s scorn has been the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, for his mismanagement of the war. Senator Ted Kennedy lashed out at Rumsfeld’s gross errors and mistakes, rebuking him:

"You basically have mismanaged the war and created an impossible situation for military recruiters, and put our forces and our national security in danger. In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the Secretary of Defence?"

The moment the US feels it has set its puppets in place, it will leave. But the US may be surprised to find that those modern puppets may not be so pliant as previous puppets.

Whatever, the end for the Americans in Iraq is near. But will the new Iraq be one that will be better for the world?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rumsfeld Looked After Numero Uno!

One thing about VIPs around the world is that they sure know how to look after numero uno, namely themselves - and f**k the bloody peasants.

When Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq last year, he moved around in a vehicle that has been termed a rolling fortress. By contrast, his troops moved around in the Humvee, which fatally for some troops had been and, for others continues to be very vulnerable to explosive devices placed by the roadsides. Most American troops killed after President Bush claimed "the end of combat operations in Iraq", had been by such roadside explosions.

But despite the pentagon’s claim of the Humvees being armoured plated to protect the troops, the reality is they aren’t. But hell, they are only soldiers and marines, not the Secretary of Defence.

It proves the numero uno principle still applies, even and especially for the USA.

Sleeping with the Enemies?

A dog in Russia is playing mum to two Siberian tiger cubs after the tiger-mum rejected the babes.

How sweet. BUT did anyone tell doggie that tigers are uurghhh CATS?

Related post:
Myanmar’s Tomulus & Temus

US Military Legal System An Absolute Disgrace

In February last year two US marines attacked an Australian university undergraduate with a bottle, slashing his neck. They were apprehended by Australian police and charged with attempted murder and assault causing serious injuries.

Their trial was transferred to a US military court after the Australian government agreed to a request from US authorities.

The victim was not even asked to give evidence against the two accused marines, nor informed of the outcome of the case either by US or Australian authorities.

The two culprits have been cleared by the US military courts.

This is a disgraceful example of US sense of justice. This is an indictment of their bullsh*t military legal system, where Australian David Hicks will be victim to.

If the US can do this to Australia, one of their closest allies, guess how they would treat others.

Basically in sheer contempt.

The US military has over the years shielded its criminal service people from even its own court system, when the crime had been perpetrated against non-Americans. Ask a host of countries whose people could never seek justice from American military criminals (except in those public relation cases where a few underlings had to be sacrificed to protect top generals and the Defence Secretary) – indeed ask Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Australia. = yourchoice.cancer, a Canadian website claims to be committed to restoring common sense, balance and civility to the way Canada's adult smokers are treated by their government.

Oh, by the way , the organization and its president Nancy Daigneault are financed by the tobacco companies. Daigneault was also selected by the merchants of cancer sticks.

What a blooming surprise!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Schapelle Corby On-Off-On Defence Team

In a bizarre twist, Schapelle Corby has apparently re-appointed her previous defence team except for two, Bali lawyer Lily Sri Rahayu Lubis and case coordinator Vasu Rasiah. Rasiah was reported by Mark Trowell QC as the one proposing the half a million dollar bribe. I used the word “apparently" in the mention of the re-appointment because the announcement has been made not by Schapelle but by her sister Mercedes Corby.

Mercedes Corby in releasing to the press the re-appointment, stated that Corby might have acted a bit too hastily. She has also told the new 'white knight’ Walter Tonetto that he wasn’t required anymore, but he refused to accept that rejection from Mercedes, insisting that he was afterall appointed by Schapelle herself.

It was revealed that Hotman Paris Hutapea would only accept the re-appointment if Tonetto was dismissed, and that Mercedes appear in a Jakarta press conference to clear his name from the bribery allegations.

The Corby saga has become even more ugly as one of Corby’s previous Australian lawyers hurled counter accusations at Corby’s mum and sister Mercedes for being the ones actually profiting from her name.

Oh, by the way, Walter Tonetto has also attempted to approach the Australian government to support his investment project in Indonesia. Well, what can one say ..........

Guess I have been a bit too hasty in saying that we would miss the circus - it's back!

The consolation of this nightmarish Corby saga is we all get to see once again the sweet angelic face of Anisa Tri HapsariWow!

Globalisation's Sweet Justice?

In Britain 2000 Chinese tourists stormed the Clarks store at the Bicester Village shopping centre, near Oxford, and bought up many many many pairs of shoes, which were all made in China. Obviously they didn’t care.

Sweet justice of globalisation?

Fallujah Ambush - Unchivalrous or Inevitable?

On Thursday night in Iraq, six US marines were killed, including four women. Eleven of 13 wounded Marines were female. This tragedy represents the largest number of US female service members killed in one attack during the Iraq war.

The party was returning home after a day’s work manning checkpoints around Fallujah. Their convoy was rammed by a suicide car bomber. Gunmen waiting for them opened fire.

As a bloke I feel very upset that women have been killed or hurt, for the very thought of such casualties militates against traditional male chivalrous feelings. Call me old-fashion if you like but I find it hard to stomach the killing of the fairer sex, even amazonian as the female marines were.

From my previous postings, readers would appreciate that Fallujah was severely assaulted by US marines in November last year. Then, I blogged a series of postings on the US attacks, terming the siege of Fallujah as the Iraqi Alamo.

I referred to Fallujah as Alamo for two reasons – one, to indicate the hopeless outgunned position of the Fallujans as the Texans were at Alamo; two, to remind Americans that the Fallujans will be stirred by nationalistic feelings and the urge to pay back the attackers, in the same emotional way the call of Remember the Alamo arouses in Americans.

On Thursday the Fallujan pay back continued, but in the most tragic manner for the American women. It’s damn bloody unchivalrous, but then, neither were the Americans as they killed innocent women and children in Iraq, particularly those in Fallujah.

Meanwhile in Washington, chickenhawks sit on their fat behinds in air conditioned carpeted offices, ‘bravely’ declaring there shall be no early withdrawal and that the Iraqi insurgency was in its final throes.

(1) Falluja – The Iraqi Alamo
(2) The Iraqi Alamo (2)
(3) The Iraqi Alamo (3)
(4) The Iraqi Alamo (4)
(5) The Iraqi Alamo (5)
(6) The Iraqi Alamo (6)
(7) The Iraqi Alamo (7)
(8) The Iraqi Alamo (8)
(9) They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
(10) Fallujah Revisited

(11) Driving the Sea to the Fishes!
(12) Driving the Sea to the Fishes! (2)

Iran's new President a Non-Cleric

An Iranian hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has won Iran’s Presidential election. His highest elected position before the recent election has been as the mayor of Tehran.

Ahmadinejad is viewed by his supporters as a people’s person, a sort of Robin Hood who looks after the poor. Not only that, some see his victory as a backlash against American hostile opposition to Iran. His election has effectively closed the door to any possible rapprochement with the USA or even the West in general.

Incidentally Ahmadinejad will be Iran’s first non-cleric President.

The USA considers his election as flawed and not a proper democratic expression of the Iranian people.

Schapelle Corby Appeal - New Though Doubtful Start

Schapelle Corby has a new ‘white knight’ to manage her appeal though her mum said the appeal prospects are now a bloody shambles.

I would say the shambles had already existed from the very beginning.

Douglas Wood Rescue - Dangerous Double Cross

What did I tell you?

The authorities tracked Sheik al Hilaly’s movement when they used him as the intermediary to negotiate with the insurgents. The aim was to locate and snatch Wood from the insurgents without paying the agreed ramson – in other words the authorities aimed to double cross the insurgents (and probably the Sheik as well, who had been acting in good faith).

While that double crossing act in itself shouldn’t unduly worry us insofar as dealing with the insurgents are concerned, there were certain dangers and disadvantages involved in that hardline policy insistence:

(a) Wood’s and the Sheik’s lives were unnecessarily imperilled,

(b) The Sheik’s honour as a neutral contact-negotiator was shot to shreds (he would be in mortal danger should he ever return to Iraq),

(c) The avenue for possible future negotiations insofar as using the Sheik is forever closed,

and most important of all (and why the Sheik cried on TV),

(d) Since Wood could have been released 10 days earlier, wouldn’t that have also freed the two Iraqi hostages killed just one week before Wood was “discovered accidentally”?

The American policy of 'no negotiation' has been to ensure that no ransom money could be used to fund the insurgents' activities. As I mentioned, to what extent the US had required of the Australians in upholding this hardline policy of 'no negotiation' is something to reflect upon, but the probability is very high. I do not believe for an instant that Australia took all the above risks (lives of Wood and Sheik) and setbacks (cutting off future avenues) just for one lousy hundred thousand dollars.

I am once again reminded of the tragedy surrounding the negotiated release of Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena, where the American soldiers poured fire on her car on its way to Baghdad airport, killing an Italian agent, Nicola Calipari. According to this analysis the aim for the US attack on Sgrena's car was to teach the Italians a lesson.

We should all be thankful Douglas Wood was eventually rescued without being 'sacrificed' away, perhaps for an American policy.

Rescue of Douglas Wood was No Big Sheik

Post-Rescue Gungho Behaviour of Douglas Wood Dangerous to Other Hostages

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Driving the Sea to the Fishes! (2)

The title of this article relates to an earlier and similarly titled article, Driving the Sea to the Fishes!, that I wrote over at our companion blogsite BolehTalk last year. That article discussed the consequences of the American exceptionally harsh military actions against Iraqis, whether they were insurgents or not.

This posting is an accompanying piece to an earlier blog piece titled Fallujah Revisited.

I have already penned the following discussion about 2 months ago at Macam-Macam in Fabian's article on The Fall of Saigon: 30 years on. BTW, Fabian blogs most knowledgeably on Indonesian affairs at Macam-Macam.

I have worked with US service personnel before, and while some personal chums are excellent blokes and very capable professionals, with many others decent lads and lassies, they collectively and in general aren't suitable for the sort of anti-insurgency roles required in Vietnam and Iraq. They lost in Vietnam and they will lose again in Iraq.

The US military are excellent for conventional warfare where they showed verve, speed and sometimes courageous brute force with the effective support of their firepower, technology, numbers, incredible resource capacity and gargantuan logistic capability. These characteristics including the bravery of US soldiers and marines were magnificently demonstrated in the invasion of Europe and the Pacific Islands during WWII.

But when it comes to occupying an invaded country, as in Vietnam and Iraq, the American weakness for anti-insurgency warfare stand out like the proverbial ........ Their weaknesses are:

(1) Impatience – Counter-insurgency warfare requires lots of patience, and sensitive handling of the local populace. Brash and insensitive American troops, unexposed to the outside world, have been and are the least qualified people for this role.

The Malaysian counterinsurgency efforts, bringing about the only successful counterinsurgency war in the world, employed a para-military force, police with army training, in search operations similar to the case of Fallujah, to ensure proper handling of the local populace.

The basis behind this? (a) Never allow the army or marines, who are basically trained killing machines, to operate within a civilian environment; (b) use the police, who knows civil laws and how to handle civilians.

Allowing the military to operate in cities like Fallujah would be akin to unleashing pit bull terriers into a hutch full of rabbits and hamsters. The outcome was obvious and inevitable. Before someone starts to argue, just remember that the US military offensive in Fallaujah was a counterinsurgency operations, not conventional warfare as was the case in the invasion.

(2) Obsession for measurable objectives/achievements - remember the Vietnam’s 'body counts' and other similar bullshit statistics. These are counterproductive towards realistic planning and preparation, and divert urgent resources from real tasks to enable the "situating" and fabrication of such statistics.

(3) Racism - yes, in many cases - not all Americans are from the more enlightened regions of their country - which is extremely counterproductive to winning 'hearts & minds' of the local populace.

(4) Noticeable lack of ability to fit in with the natives - others must fit in with their culture and line of thinking - ditto consequences of No (3).

(5) Overwhelming belief in high tech and gadgetry to solve their battle campaigns. In Iraq it shows in their deficient ground strength which has also been a factor of domestic politics, very much influenced by their 55,000 dead from the horrors of Vietnam - and to a very small extent, Somalia.

To be fair, this issue had to do more with political consideration, meaning US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, than the military planners. Rumsfeld had touted the 'shock & awe' doctrine coupled with blitzkrieg tactics by light highly mobile forces. Obviously his doctrine had been designed to avoid the Vietnam quagmire but has now become unravelled. The doctrine is hopeless and totally unsuitable for occupation duties. Instead, it's the Americans who are now shocked and awed by the hit & run tactics of the Sunni insurgents - just imagine how it would fare for the US military if all ethnic groups in Iraq, and not only Sunnis, become insurgents?

Prior to the Iraqi invasion, a couple of top US generals had laid down the required force level of 450,000 troops in their invasion and occupation plans. Indeed, US think-tanks like the Rand Corporation have agreed with the figure of 450,000 to 500,000 troops. Instead, the US troop strength in Iraq is around 170,000.

(6) Condescending arrogance towards 3rd world enemies, which they found to their shock in Vietnam, but unfortunately has since been forgotten in the occupation of Iraq - see point No (5). Afghanistan is also showing a Taliban comeback in the form of insurgency, but the US can at least be thankful other NATO nations are there to address the US deficiencies in this type of warfare.

(7) Using reservists who may not be as well trained tactically and mentally. Morale would be the first to go once the going gets tough. Lack of professionalism also results in atrocities which are again counterproductive to 'hearts & minds' campaign, so essential to guerilla warfare.

(8) A naïve belief in and unmitigated dependence upon unreliable locals who pretend to be pro-Americans or pro-democracy, but who actually have self-interests, and hope to gain power through the Americans. Most have turned out to be dictatorial scoundrels.

(9) A reluctance to meet genuine local leadership half-way. This has been apparent in Iraq where the Sunnis and former Baathists were shunned or ostracised. This has in part been a factor of point No (8). The Americans ought to have realised that many Iraqis joined the Baathist Party to survive - they weren't necessarily committed Baathists or Saddam loyalists.

(10) As a nation and a people, the USA is equally impatient and demanding of visible achievements. Once again, when the going gets tough, the support for the military adventure wanes, with the poor bloody soldiers incorrectly blamed, maybe spat upon on return, when all they did were to be sent there by the Administration. Again, soldiers are aware of this fast changing mood, and become very sceptical, losing morale when they sense things aren't going right for them.

When a nation loses its will to fight, as the American people had in the Vietnam War, it has effectively lost the war. The national will is one of five factors necessary for a nation to wage war effectively.

Morale is the 2nd most important principle of war. Once your troops lose that, you virtually lose the war. More than 5500 US soldiers have deserted - see my blog titled Desert Storm becomes Deserting Storm.

As mentioned above, last year I blogged on the issue of US' inability to win the 'hearts & minds' of the local Iraqis in Driving the Sea to the Fishes!

Yes, ‘Driving the sea to the fish’ is an apt description of what have occurred in Iraq. The US military, through their insensitive, harsh and brutal behaviour - eg, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib, has driven the sea (people of Iraq) to the fishes (the insurgents).

Thus, I believe the US will lose the war in Iraq, as they did in Vietnam.

Hippocrates Oath or Hypocritic Oath?

It’s not only the Nazis who had Dr Josef Mengele. The USA military at its top Gulag, the Guantanamo prison has many Angels of Interrogation as well.

Where is Simon Wiesenthal or Hippocrates when you need them

4-Letter Words

The most beautiful, gorgeous, sexy and sought after 4-letter word in Australia is rain, but for the people in southern China the same 4-letter word, rain, also means the old traditional meaning of f**k, and truly f**k.

A Bad Master but a Good Servant

I have to say that as a bloke who don’t like Bush, I support him this once on his call for America to have more nuclear power stations.

For a start, the USA’s needs may be met in large by these nuclear power plants rather than oil, thus directly and indirectly minimising its current tussle over oil sources in the form of a very quiet 2nd Cold War with China and a soon emerging new economic power, India. Look at France and Lithuania – they get 80% of their energy compared to the US' 20% from nuclear power stations.

Use of nuclear supplied energy will also reduce oil dependancy on some Arab countries, and may even force these Middle East nations to democratise faster, because right now there is no motivation for them to do so, as the superpower USA is shoring up the status quo of their dictatorships. The removal or even a diminishing of US backing for the dictatorships will encourage the people of these countries to press more assertively for greater accountability, justice and freedom.

Second, it reduces human created carbon gas emission. Hey, a recalcitrant USA may even sign the Kyoto Protocol. We need to bear in mind that the USA is the world’s biggest polluter. Soon a China and eventually India may reach the same frightening level, so a nuclear-energy supplied China and India will be a good thing as well.

Thirdly, most of the world’s supplies are in safe hands, with good old Australia holding 28% of the world’s uranium, Canada 14% and South Africa 10%. Thus, there will be stability in uranium supply from these democratic nations. The other big uranium-resource nation is Kazakhstan (12%), who also possesses the world’s largest but yet-to-be confirmed oil reserves – lucky soon-to-be rich bastards

The Greens and environmentalists have always been concerned about such nuclear stations, but look at the alternatives. Oil is dirty in every aspect, from its carbon gas emission to its motivation for war. Solar energy is still a long way down the track. Wind energy is relatively new and only effective in high latitude countries, while tidal energy is yet to come into reasonable shape or form.

Nuclear energy is like fire – a bad master but a good servant. It’s up to us to be responsible for the safe operations and proper maintenance of the nuclear power plants.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Schapelle Corby Sacked Defence Team

Schapelle Corby has just sacked her defence team.

I believe that’s the wisest course for her to take, principally because being tainted with a proposed bribery scam, the defence team has become a liability rather than a help, not that they had been helpful at all ever.

We’ll probably miss the circus but at least Corby may now get serious legal support.

Clash of Culture?

I am not sure who had advised McDonald the burger chain store on how to advertise its ware in China, but its recent TV advertisement has backfired.

It showed a Chinese middle-aged bloke (not a kid) on his knees begging for a discount.

The McDonald people claimed it was meant as a humorous message that the company has a line of discounts throughout the year. It has apologised for the wrong impression that it obviously carried – a humiliating picture of a hard-up Chinese begging for the discount, nothing more than small change. How terrible! How insulting!

The AP released news as published by the Sydney Morning Herald stated that “McDonald's is the latest of several multinational firms whose advertising has run afoul of sometimes prickly Chinese national pride.”

To attribute the adverse reaction to prickly Chinese national pride or cultural clash is of course standard western prejudiced bullsh*t, as I haven’t seen any such McDonald's TV ad scenes in Australia or in a couple of other western countries. Why posit such a humiliating image with a Chinese, and in China? Why the double standards?

In Australia, some years ago a well-known company advertised its frozen prepared food in a scenario that showed a bachelor girl living by herself, and her concerned mum ringing her a couple of times to inquire as to how she was faring on her own.

The scene showed the young woman demonstrating exasperation at her mum because of her phone calls, and her eventual dismissive and rude ‘Yes, Mum, I’m looking after myself’. It coordinated that rude behaviour with an image of the young lady tucking away at the advertised food with an annoying overly smug (self centred selfish) look on her face. The message I obtained was ‘Bugger off, I am doing bloody OK.’

Though it was only an ad, some of us were fairly riled by the rude and self-centred manner in which the young woman responded to her concerned mum. Invariably we took to discussing the terrible ad but thought our annoyance must be a result of the clash of cultures. Maybe we just didn't understand Australian family values?

Surprise surprise, a week or so later the company took the ad off, apparently following numerous complaints from Australians. The moral of the story is that regardless of cultures, there are many universal values of decency, decorum and dignity.

So let’s not blame the Chinese for McDonald’s awful, pathetically insensitive, and highly insulting message.

US Double Standards with NGOs

When the dictatorial Uzbek government slaughtered hundreds of its own citizens, the US State Department urged ‘restraint’ on both sides and request its ally President Islam Karimov, who ordered the massacre, to allow the International Red Cross in to assess the situation and provide the US government with ‘facts’ (as if the IRC serves the US?), but sang a different tune during its last assault in Fallujah, Iraq, where it refused the Red Cross access totally.

Oh! Did I mention that the US military did NOT exercise any ‘restraint’ in the Iraqi town?

Read this Reuter report on the US double standards.

Long Winded ...?

Bangkok may have the longest name in the world for a city, but Germany definitely has the longest URL with 63 letters. is the URL for the German Language Society website.

The URL is a quote from classical German literary genius Friedrich Schiller, and roughly means "Just how human humans are is shown by how they treat their mother tongue."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Schapelle Corby - Helen of Troy without Paris?

My word! Paris has threatened to leave Helen of Troy, right in the middle of the Aegean Sea.

Or is it a case of you-know-what deserting a sinking ship?

US Misuses Iraqi Billlions

The Bush Administration has been rather generous with US 20 billion dollars, doling them out in a rather cavalier manner without proper control. Even now, auditors cannot account for a humongous 8.8 billion!

But hey, despite all these, there’s only one very small problem. Luckily for the USA, all the money doesn’t belong to her. It's just Iraqi funds.

Seems the Bush Administration started spending it all one year before the planned handover to the Iraqi, and in a manner that's rife with fraud and nonsense. Well, that's governance for you, USA-style! The UN should start an investigation into the US irresponsibility.

What did I tell you?

What did I tell you about Ariel Sharon, the wily old fox, sabotaging the Palestinians at every opportunity he can to deny their statehood? Read this and this also.

Japanese PM f-off Korea & China

China and Korea are the main objectors of the Japanese PM paying homage at the Yasukuni war shrine, as these nations, victims of Japanese WWII atrocities, consider such high powered visits as honouring those very Japanese war criminals who committed the untold brutalities in their countries.

But Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi in answering a query on the issue from a Japanese parliamentary committee has as good as told China and Korea to f**k off.

Heil Hitl …. I mean Tojo!

Schapelle Corby Defence - The Circus Continues

Well, the ghost of Princess Diana wouldn’t turn up, so as an alternative gimmick, Schapelle Corby’s defence team wants half a million Aus dollars from John Howard to bribe the Indonesian judges.

This was revealed when Mark Trowell, one of the 2 QCs assigned by the Australian government, pressed the defence team for legal details about their defence plans or grounds.

I guess the moment the Australian government stated it would fund Corby’s defence, the defence team must have seen the Aussie Treasury as an unlimited cash cow to be milked for all it’s worth – including taking on its payroll an Indonesian soapie starlet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Cardinal, The President & Sin!

Roman Catholic Cardinal in the Philippines, Jaime Sin, passed away yesterday, aged 76. Sin, part Chinese, was a prominent personality in the Philippines, mainly for his proactive political role in bringing down some unsavoury regimes of that country.

He had also help bring down the corrupt regime of flamboyant Filipino playboy and former actor, President Joseph Estrada, a notorious womaniser, boozer, gambler and party animal.

In the Catholic Church, believers would go to confessional by saying “Father, I have sinned …..”, whereas it was rumoured that when Estrada confessed to Cardinal Sin, he declared “Sin, I have fathered …..”

Rice Declares USA will no longer Nurture More 'Saddams'

Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea change

- Shakespeare

In Cairo US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice revealed a watershed US policy for the Middle-East, that the USA will no longer tolerate repressive regimes in the name of political stability – in other words, Rice is saying that the USA will no longer play footsie with repressive regimes even when those are pro-US, eg. American allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and other similar undemocratic dictatorial brutal regimes.

Rice didn’t exactly mentioned the above countries by name, but she reserved her finger-pointing for two, the anti-US governments of Iran and Syria – should we be surprised?

The rest, namely those US allies, will just have to surmise that there was a subtle message somewhere within her speech for them as well, but then repressive draconian regimes are fairly thick-skin.

Mind you, to be fair to Rice, she did hint strongly to Egypt.

I believe Rice is sincere, though I am not sure whether this US policy sea change is just an euphoric and momentary lapse in the wake of the election victory for the Lebanese political parties who are anti-Syrian.

I heard on the radio this morning, an expert warning that democratic governments in the Middle-East may not necessarily be friendly to USA, which suddenly bring us (and the US strategists) back to square one. Yawnnnnnnn.

But if what she has announced is indeed a true reversal of hitherto US Middle-Eastern policies, perhaps then the USA may be on its path back to the ideals and leadership of real democracy. I fervently hope this would be the case, and wish Rice all the best, with an advice for her to watch her back. ;-)

Schapelle Corby Surrounded by Vultures, Vampires & Ghouls

Schapelle Corby’s white knight has shown his true colours now. Corby’s mum called him a Black Knight for demanding from Corby $500,000. This is where recently-released Australian hostage Douglas Wood with his gungho expletive ought to come in.

The demand for the $500,000 is on top of the Australian government bearing all legal costs associated with her defence thus far. Ron Bakir, the white … eh … black knight conveniently neglected to inform Corby’s family of the government’s financial support, putting himself as the financier of Corby's legal defence.

The bloody black knight, according to Corby’s mum Rosleigh Rose, had even posted Corby's personal bank account details on a website he set up before the family even knew who he was, so people could make direct donations. Douglas Wood, where are you when we need you?

Mark Trowell, one of the QCs assigned by the Australian government to assist Corby, said that Corby had been forced to sign away 50% of any earnings she might make from films and book rights, and payments from film and television studios.

Wait, there are more vultures.

The Bulletin alleged that a company has lodged an application to trademark the words "Schapelle Corby" in relation to rights to produce and sell books and movies, without approaching her family. Then there is a bloke, who runs a small Gold Coast business, who attempts to trademark the name "Schapelle" in association with a raft of products from antiperspirant to nautical equipment.

Didn’t we mention all these before? In fact, I did say that for some people, Schapelle Corby, not unlike an artist, would be more valuable dead than alive. The way her appeal team has been conducting itself, it's not inconceivable she may end up that horrible way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Post-Rescue Gungho Behaviour of Douglas Wood Dangerous to Other Hostages

Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly confirmed that Nick Warner, head of Australian negotiating team in Iraq, knew that the negotiated release of the hostages including Douglas Wood was only 12 hours when the Iraqi military raided the release location. The Sheik has been quite sure the Americans had used that intelligence supplied by him. Needless to say, the Sheik has been pissed off by the Americans unnecessarily outflanking his efforts, and to worse consequences too.

The raid might have release Douglas Wood but now has put into jeopardy the lives of two Iraqi hostages who were supposed to be released at the same time with Woods. The Sheik moaned:

"The stupid action that was taken last week has exposed the fathers of these families to death. There is a 90 per cent chance that they will not be released now."

Well, Sheik, the Americans don’t like negotiated releases, as in the case of Italian hostage Guiliana Sgrena, where American troops poured fire on her vehicle as it was making its way to Baghdad airport after Sgrena's release. The American ambush killed her escort, an Italian agent Nicola Calipari.

Besides, unlike Woods those as-yet unreleased hostages are only Eye-rakees, aren’t they?

Anyway, the Sheik’s advisor told Wood’s family not to let Wood return to Iraq as he had earlier declared to do so. This is because he had called his captors ‘arseholes’ during the press conference, which will undoubtedly instigate the insurgents to specifically target him, this time not for money but rather for his life.

I was also wondering whether such unnecessary name-callings might have endangered those two yet-to-be released Iraqi hostages, one of whom Wood knew quite well. To add injury to the insult, Wood had to lavish sycophantic praise on Bush's policies in Iraq, which are anathema to the insurgents. He even apologised to Bush for reading from an insurgent-prepared statement about American occupation of Iraq. What has Bush done for him or to secure his release? Basically zilch. All efforts had been Australian, including the Sheik's sacrifice by delaying his heart surgery to dash off to Iraq for Wood.

Pity Wood didn't bother to spare a thought at least for the other hostages' survival prospects and kept his comments subtle and non-committal, at least until their release.

But then, Wood was happy as a lark and must have forgotten that his Iraqi co-hostages are still in the hands of the insurgents, while he is now safe with his family. In fact, as I blogged yesterday, Wood was pretty gungho, even singing Waltzing Mathilda as he swaggered into the press conference, making 'tough talk' like Dirty Harry.

The Sheik also said what I mentioned yesterday:

"What the raids also risk is that we lose the contacts and the friendships that we built with contacts in Iraq in the future."

Indeed, as I stated, “the probable loss for Australia is that a very useful Australian contact for the darker side of the Arab world may have been sacrificed for good. Let’s hope Australia may never ever need the help of the Sheik again.”

Pity Australia has to genuflect to American political manipulations, which may yet cost the loss of two additional Iraqi lives, and possible future Australian ones.

Fallujah Revisited

Over at BolehTalk, our companion blogsite, I have blogged on several occasions about the US siege and destruction of Fallujah. I then termed Fallujah 'The Iraqi Alamo'. I am sure Americans know what the name Alamo implies in terms of nationalistic emotions, sacrifices, and the will to 'pay back' for the wrongs they had suffered.

I reckon that the wanton and excessively brutal assault on Fallujah was the US military’s greatest mistake in its campaign in Iraq. It seemed to bear the hallmark of the Israeli military doctrine, of an over-the-top Deuteronomic “10 eyes for an eye, and 10 teeth for a tooth”. It hasn’t worked for the Israelis against the Palestinians over the years, so who in their idiocy thought it would have worked for the far-less capable US military.

Today Fallujah remained “desolated” in the very meaning of that description by the Roman historian Tacitus. The claim of 'peace' has been a joke, but a dangerous one for American troops.

US Army roadblocks in Fallujah prevent Fallujans from direct access to nearby medical facilities, forcing them to take long circuitous routes; there’s no piped water and very little electricity, a situation far worse than the other affected parts of Iraq; US troops have commandeered schools for military purposes, ousting students from their sheltered classrooms into tents; the city remains 'desolated'.

The world still recalls the horrendous image of a US Marine cold bloodedly executing an already wounded, immobile and unarmed Iraqi in a mosque. Then the International Red Cross were denied access during Fallujah's moments of most dire needs.

Even now, there's no law and order in its streets save those harsh unaccountable brutalities and atrocities imposed and committed by the Iraqi National Police, which have been dominated by the US favoured Kurds, an ethnic group extremely hostile to the local Sunni Arabs; the destructions in the city remain with little fulfilment of the promised reconstructions; cholera and other diseases run rampant from lack of basic infrastructure, destroyed during the American assault - these pose continuous threats to the health of the locals; the list goes on with the utter destructions and desolations.

More than all these, the Fallujans remember the American massacre of their fallen.

Just ideal breeding grounds for anti-American insurgents.

In my accompanying piece to this posting, I will blog on what I believe to be the failures of the Americans.

Gandhi & The Politics of Curry

Now, an Aussie takeaway shop serving Indian cuisine, Handi Ghandi, may be a little naughty in using the venerable Mahatma ‘Mohandas’ Gandhi’s name to sell food offensive to Hindus, notwithstanding the observation that the shop has spelt 'Gandhi' wrongly – a fairly common western error in spelling Gandhi’s name.

Tushar Gandhi, the great man’s great-grandson and head of the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation based in Bombay, said that it was blasphemous to use his vegetarian ancestor’s name to sell, of all things, beef curry.

Beef is of course taboo to any self respecting Hindu, though the great man himself confessed to a cheeky curiosity once – he tried beef curry just to experience what the B-word tasted like. That's what make Gandhi endearing - his truthfulness, lack of hypocrisy and humanism.

Hindus believe that God gave the cow to the human race for its milk and help in agricultural activities. Many Hindus regard the cow animal as a spiritual mother. There had been riots in India with several hundreds and even thousands of people killed, because of the incited perceptions that non-Hindus had slaughtered cows, or deceived Hindus into the partaking of beef, as was the case in the historical Sepoy Mutiny.

Thus, before India decides to invade Australia, why not change the shop’s name to Patel's Papadum which can then carry the advertising boast of At Least My Curries Won’t Kill You!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Rescue of Douglas Wood was No Big Sheik!

Douglas Wood appeared rather gungho in his first press conference in Australia, which could be due to a burst of walled up adrenalin after all those weeks in captivity. But on the other hand, when asked about Sheik al Hilaly he answered in a rather curt, dismissive and rather ungracious manner “Never heard of him”.

That would be strange and extremely unlikely, considering he would surely have been briefed by his brothers who had sought the Sheik’s help in the first place. Additionally, he had his medication delivered to him while in captivity via the Sheik. Obviously he doesn’t believe that the Sheik’s negotiations with the insurgents at the request of first his family, then the Australian government, had probably kept him alive through those weeks.

No, indeed he didn’t, for he attributed his rescue to the training the Americans and Australian gave to the Iraqi military. He laid it on rather thick for Bush and the Americans – remember the news report of his ‘God Bless America’ on being rescued, rather than ‘Goodonya Iraqis, you bloody beaut’. Afterall, weren’t the troops who rushed in to secure his ‘rescue’ Iraqis?

Now we also have Wood's assertion that his release was proof-positive that coalition troops were improving the country. Hmmm? I have no doubt that many, especially Americans and indeed GOP senators, who would totally disagree with him. But, the press conference was his moment, and his alone.

There is a growing belief, derived from the various news reports, that the Sheik undoubtedly played a very significant role, even to the extent of securing Wood’s release. However, the Iraqi military, probably on American instructions and with Australian advice and intelligence, decided to pre-empt the negotiated release by launching a raid.

They must have used the Sheik’s reports, through eavesdropping on or trailing him when he was conducting contacts in Iraq, or through his voluntary reports to Nick Warner, head of the Australian negotiating team. It is noteworthy that when Wood was rescued none of the captors were armed, which would be highly unlikely had there been no preparation for the release.

The growing belief includes the suspicion that the Australian government, but more particularly the US government wants to maintain its strict policy of no negotiation with any insurgents, hence the pre-emptive raid rather than wait for the negotiated release. Otherwise, how can one explain the coincidental ‘stumbling’ upon Wood when the release was just 2 hours away (according to the Sheik), and the captors completely unarmed.

While there is also the embarrassment of the Sheik nearly becoming the hero of Wood’s release, this is insignificant compared to the publicity of a seemingly effective Iraqi military (fortified by Wood glowering endorsement), all paving the way for a US dignified exit from Iraq, without being seen to be abandoning its Iraqi allies.

What does this mean for the future?

The Sheik is now virtually useless now as a conduit or contact for future hostage problems in Iraq. In fact, he may even be killed if he steps foot there again for he would be considered as reneging on the negotiations. The probable conclusion is that he has been 'used'.

But the probable loss for Australia is that a very useful Australian contact for the darker side of the Arab world may have been sacrificed for good. Let’s hope Australia may never ever need the help of the Sheik again.

The Lotus Will Not Bloom For One Man

One of the cental pillars of Chinese culture has always been ‘education’. Every Chinese, especially those from the disadvantaged social strata, aspires for his or her children to make it good via an education, to become a mandarin, to ‘rise above the muddy waters and bloom like a lotus’. That’s why many Chinese named their daughters ‘Lotus’.

Chinese folklore has many glorious tales of a poor peasant's son becoming the Emperor’s mandarin, through the young man’s arduous and brilliant studies. Those historical tales have inspired Chinese society to educate their children well.

In Malaya, legends abound of prominent surgeons, engineers and other notables of society who were children of poor hawkers or coolies, so poor that they had to study by the street lamps or flickering candles during their school days. Those young lads, hardly in their teens, were also required to work for the family’s survival that it was a wonder how they managed to combine their studies with their apprenticeships as hawkers and labourers. Some even walked for umpteen miles to reach school. But they eventually attained their exalted positions.

That is why education is a very sensitive issue with Chinese Malaysians. That has been why the Chinese in Malaysia have virtually abandoned the national education system which they consider to have dodgy standards.

Chinese parents there have been known to mortgage their houses and worldly possessions to send their children abroad for tertiary education in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, USA, China, India etc. Many have left very comfortable positions and lives to migrate abroad for such educational reasons.

The reasons for seeking university education abroad even though the financial cost threatens their economic position are three-fold – the dodgy standards of local universities, difficulties of getting a scholarship (there’s no HECs in Malaysia), but most significant of all, the very slim chance of even securing a place in a university study of their preference because the government’s affirmative actions have marginalised many Chinese and Indians.

Four years ago, the daughters of Malaysian bus driver Loo Moy Shan, applied for and were offered places at a university to study chemical engineering. But the educational outlook was bleak for them because they had to work to support the family.

If the two girls were to have a chance, Loo knew he needed 60,000 Malaysian ringgit to pay the university tuition fees for his two daughters. A bus driver’s salary in Malaysia isn’t something to shout about, so 60 grand was virtually a fortune.

Besides, poor Loo who earned RM1,000 a month had to support his mother’s medical bill of RM2,000 per month. His savings was gradually eroded away as well. It was obvious that he didn’t have the money for his daughters’ education, so he decided to rob someone to get the required sum, but was caught in the act.

Last Thursday he was
jailed for life for the armed robbery he committed four years ago.

The younger daughter now works as a clerk while her sister is a factory clerk in Singapore. Loo’s eldest son also works in a factory, while the youngest is still in college.

The family was shocked when they learnt of his crime, for he didn’t inform them of his crazy scheme. His younger daughter

“He told us he was going to find a better-paying job in Kuala Lumpur and left. If we had known my father was going to do something like that, we would have never let him go. We would have told him our education didn’t matter. We love him so much. The money doesn’t matter. We want him to come back to us.”

A Chinese-based political party, having heard of their story, offered to help them, but the family proudly asserted they
do not want public sympathy nor financial assistance. The two daughters no longer wish for tertiary education, explaining they already have steady jobs.

What Loo Moy Shan did was very wrong, though he did it to fulfil his fatherly duty out of love for his daughters. He made a huge but crazy sacrifice, and now is paying for it for the rest of his natural life.

I couldn’t help but feel tears welling in my eyes for such a tragic ending for his family.

The lotus will never ever bloom for Loo.

A Good Australian

Michael Kirby is a self-acknowledged gay Australian and a High court judge as well. In fact he is more than just a judge – he is one of the most respected and admired judges in Australia. A wonderful and compassionate man, who has always behaved with great dignity and professionalism, Kirby is invariably disliked by some you-know-who.

Three years ago, Senator Heffenan, one of PM John Howard’s close friends, attacked Judge Kirby in Parliament by accusing the judge of using his official car to trawl for male prostitutes. But the whole rightwing driven affair exploded back in the senator’s face.

He had relied on fabricate documents, and was forced to give an unreserved apology to the judge. He blamed a government driver for duping him, but come come now, wasn’t he just that little too eager to lash out at the good judge?

Judge Kirby graciously responded by saying "I accept Senator Heffernan's apology and reach out my hand in a spirit of reconciliation. I hope my ordeal will show the wrongs that hate of homosexuals can lead to."

He added that what he had suffered was insignificant compared to the wrong done to the Parliament and High Court.

Incredible, that's Judge Michael Kirby for you.

The Romanian Exorcist

A Romanian Orthodox priest crucified a nunyes, with nails and the whole blooming lot - and then celebrated her funeral as a triumph of good over evil. He claimed that the murdered nun was possessed by the devil. Four other nuns participated in the ritual as well, and attended the funeral, apparently without displaying even a single sign of emotion.

The priest was defiant, stating that he was prepared for excommunication and imprisonment. He and the 4 nuns are being charged for murder, with possible death sentences, though not by crucifixions.

During the funeral, a storm broke out which the priest immediately declared as a sign from God that His Will has been done. Of course! What else could it be?

I am sure glad I am not living next door to him or the other 4 nuns.

Now why did he do that? Why did the priest believe the nun was possessed?

Well, one parishioner said it was inevitable the murdered nun had to be punished, as she had argued with the priest during a Sunday mass and insulted him in front of the congregation. Voila! That sure explains everything so clearly.

But he is looking for a good lawyer. Hmmm, I wonder how far Bali is to Tanacu in Romania?

Stupid, Stubborn & Shameless - Sri Lanka Government

Bureaucracy at its most obdurately stupid.

Oxfam has to bring into Sri Lanka twenty five Indian 4WD vehicles for its reconstruction projects as part of its tsunami-aid assistance. The Indian vehicles have been necessary because Sri Lanka doesn't have locally produced 4WD vehicles.

Believe it or not, the Sri Lankan government insisted on slapping a US$1 million tax on the vehicles, yes, vehicles that are meant for reconstruction projects to help Sri Lankan victims of the tsunami.

When Oxfam appealed against the tax, the Sri Lankan government gave Oxfam 3 choicespay up the taxes, get the vehicles out of Sri Lankan, or hand the vehicles over to a Sri Lankan Ministry.

Its excuse for its gross stupidity?

Aid had been duty-free (really? Amazing!) until the end of April but was now needed to prevent 'market distortions'. But what about the “distortion” of your people’s lives, those victims of the tsunami, while you forced Oxfam to wait for the bureaucratic processing of the importation?

Paperwork alone kept the vehicles lying idle in Colombo for a month, where a US$5,000 per day charge was levied by Sri Lankan Custom (how dandy!).

That’s already US$1,150,000 short for the Sri Lankan victims, not counting time and other expenses wasted while Sri Lankans suffered, thanks to the utter idiocy of the bureaucratic Sri Lankan government.

But Oxfam soldiers on in spite of such stupid bureaucratic obstacles, to help the needy. Oxfam's example is an object lesson for those who, angry with the Schapelle Corby's conviction, had demanded Australian aid organisations not send aid money to Indonesia. If one wants to donate to charity, and help the needy, one shouldn't use one's dislike of a foreign system to punish the needy of that country. Look at the bigger picture and not be weighted down by unrelated prejudice.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Rescue of Douglas Wood - The Plot Thickens!

As I mentioned in my earlier post Australian hostage in Iraq Rescued I have been sceptical of any US' claim for the credit of the rescue because of its dodgy records on such heroic operations – eg. the US military fabricated rescue of Jessica Lynch a la Hollywood was a clear case in mind.

But I should have included the Australian authorities as well. Initially the Australian Foreign Minister asserted that the credit ought to go to the special negotiating team headed by Nick Warner for their enormous input. PM John Howard, never one to miss a favourable photo opportunity, was seen nationwide posing with the Woods family shortly after news of the successful rescue.

But the rescuers, the Iraqi military, confessed that they stumbled upon Douglas Wood and his captors through sheer luck.

Meanwhile, Sheik al Hilaly, Australia’s controversial Islamic cleric who had originally postponed his own heart surgery to dash off to Baghdad to rescue Wood, provided an explanation as to why he returned to Baghdad after he had left that city for Cairo to seek interim medical support for himself. He had been severely criticised for returning to Baghdad, outstaying his welcome and hindering the rescue mission. But the truth was the Australian government had requested him to return to Baghdad to continue negotiations with the insurgents.

He told reporters that the Australian government urged him via the Australian Embassy in Cairo to return to Baghdad to continue negotiations, which was the crucial factor that had kept Wood alive – he claimed he possesses proof of the Australian government’s request in the form of a fax.

The Sun-Herald, obtained a copy of the fax sent from Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's office to the Sheik via the Australian ambassador in Cairo, stating that it appreciated the Sheik’s efforts, and requesting he returned to Baghdad to deliver an extraordinary offer to Mr Wood's captors, on their behalf.

The fax added that it did not want the mufti to be seen giving "public undertakings on behalf of the Government", and asked him to be discrete in the message that Australia would be open to suggestions [from the insurgents] that might help Wood’s release.

There's no denying the fax proves the Australian Government sought out the mufti in Egypt, where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition, and confirmed the claim of the Sheik’s camp in Sydney that he played a far greater role in the rescue effort than anyone had previously realised.

For political and security reasons (like not wanting to be perceived as negotiating with insurgents) the Australian Government may ask the mufti not to release the documents at his planned press conference.

To shore up the government’s embarrassing position (negotiating with the insurgents, which it vows it won’t and never will) the Australian Defence Minister, Senator Robert Hill has now cast doubts on the Sheik’s contribution in keeping Wood alive and his subsequent rescue. Instead he attributed the credit to the Australian special negotiating team, Wood’s family and a range of other factors, all of which, implied in his statement, excluded the Sheik’s role.

In Senator Hill’s words, as far as the Australian government is concerned, the Sheik did buggerall. Now, this could just be a cover-up for Australia's politically embarrassing position rather than an insult to the Sheik.

The coincidental stumbling upon Wood and the rescue without any injuries on both sides (disregarding the link's claim that Wood first words on his rescue were 'God Bless America' - now ain't that just sweet) seem to favour the belief that the rescue location was actually the agreed point for the negotiated release of the Australian hostage.

It is also noteworthy that Wood's rescue is the FIRST ever successful rescue operation of a hostage in Iraq. Previous cases involving hostages have either ended up with the voluntary release of the hostages or the murder of them. What does that tell us?

The capture of the captors could well be a red herring to disguise the truth of a negotiated arrangement and also protect the parties involved.

The Sheik, by contrast to the Australian authorities, has graciously given unstinting praise to Nick Warner, head of the Australian negotiating team and PM John Howard. He remarked:

"I did this work for the pleasure of God and in loyalty to our Australian nation, a nation whose goodness has overwhelmed us, whose water we drank and which gave us the freedom that we missed in our country of origin."

"I wanted to prove my community's love for Australia. I am not here to take credit nor to claim to be a hero. I was no more than a servant for a community and for my nation, Australia, out of feeling for my detained brother [Douglas Wood]."

Related posts:
Australian Hostage in Iraq Rescued

Sheik al Hilaly – From Australian Villain to Australian Hero?

The Frightening Truth of Iraqi Kidnappings

Schapelle Corby Appeal - Useful Case for Appeal Team

On New Year’s eve Adiguna Sutowo and his partner Novia Herdiana went to the Jakarta Hilton Hotel, one of five owned by Sutowo's brother. They had drinks and drugs. When waiter Natong, a law student earning his way through university, returned Herdiana’s ‘bad’ credit card, that apparently pissed off Suwoto, who took out his pistol and shot Natong at point blank range in the head.

His sentence?

Seven lousy years for the callous cold blooded murder. And his lawyer Assegaf has given notice that Suwoto will be appealing.

Hendrik Jehaman, maintaining a watching brief for Natong's family condemned the verdict. He said the only time a murderer received a lighter sentence had been when the defendant co-operated with the court and admitted the offence, something Adiguna has consistently refused to do.

Suwoto is a scion of a powerful wealthy Indonesian family. Jehaman stated the the judges were influenced by the Suwoto big name. He alluded to possible bribery. I wonder whether the fact that Suwoto brought his personal army of more than 100 thugs with him to court had anything to do with the judges rather timid sentence.

The prosecutor?

Chief prosecutor Andi Herman said that the light sentence was not a problem, as "it's normal". Unlike his Bali colleague, he wasn’t sure about appealing against the joke of the sentence.

Suwoto’s father was Ibnu Suwoto, one of Indonesia’s most powerful man during his time. The senior Suwoto was head of Pertamina, Indonesia’s oil conglomerate. He fell out with former President Suharto after a US$10 billion bungle (10 billion in 1970's value) with an oil tanker fleet project.

My teacher taught me that 'comparison is odious', but nevertheless the Schapelle Corby's defence team should use this case to appeal against her 20 years sentence, after a cold blooded murderer can get away easily with a pathetic 7.

I am of course assuming Corby's razzmatazz team is not busy involved in a seance to contact Princess Diana as a material witness?

Rice Oversees Gaza Pullout

Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State has put her reputation on the line by personally making sure that Israel does not renege on the pullout from Gaza, or instigate trouble by baiting the hotheads among the Palestinians. Even though she urged both sides to honour the peace pledges, there is no doubt she has directed the subtle warning principally at Ariel Sharon.

A couple of more factors in the Palestinians’ favour are:

(1) A second term President Bush is less beholden to the Israeli, Jewish and pro-Israeli lobbies.

(2) The American quagmire in Iraq and the growing concern for assured supplies of affordable oil in the face of a thirsty China have made President Bush more conscious of the need to engage the Arab world in a friendlier manner. Undoubtedly it would have been a strategic policy developed by either Colin Powell and continued by Rice, or by Rice herself.

Rice obviously doesn’t trust Sharon, being aware the wily old fox has a habit of twisting and turning things to Israel’s favour even when the Israelis have been the aggressors.

If Mahmoud Abbas plays it right, Palestinians may actually see some hope for an independent state, one which has been denied to them for more than half a century. There are talks also of a US$ 3 billion aid package for the Palestinians to develop the Gaza enclave. His job is to keep a rein on the hotheads so that Sharon won’t be able to whisper the T-word to Washington.

Let’s keep an eye out on Sharon’s behaviour and activities to see whether the fox will play his usual monkey tricks, again.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Schapelle Corby Story - Her Defence Must Stop Showbiz Antics

As I feared, Schapelle Corby’s defence team is truly in a shambles. In a number of previous posts on her case, I termed her team as nothing more than a circus. My thoughts have been shared by others including the media.

From their bizarre 'evidence' of handwriting analysis to character profiling to hearsay evidence (from a drug convict, who heard someone in prison said they heard someone said this and that) to grandstanding TV docos to blaming the Aussie government and the Aussie federal Police chief and virtually everyone including the Indonesian judges, they have eventually graduated to Indonesian soapie starlets.

You wonder what will be next? Get the ghost of Princess Diana to testify on her defence?

The Indonesian Defence team are now at odds with the two Aussie QCs assigned by the Australian government to advise her. The two QCs were NOT even invited to contribute to the appeal writeup.

Mark Trowell, one of the QCs, has this to say:

"We have got better things to do than participate in publicity stunts with Indonesian soapie stars. We have always said they [the Indonesian-based defence team] need to button down and come to terms with the case - this case has to be about more than publicity stunts.”

"... perhaps they [the Indonesian-based defence team] should just stop bleating about it, stop criticising everybody and just get on with the appeal."

This sure as hell doesn’t look good for Corby.

Sometimes, yes, sometimes, I get the weirdest feelings that some people would be more than happy to see a Schapelle Corby hung for her marijuana saga. Sometimes my paranoia goes ballistic and feral, and I get the craziest impression that for some people, a dead Corby is a more valuable Corby?

Maybe I feel sorry for Corby – maybe I dread her appeal fate – maybe I ........... you work it out yourselves!

Who was Abraham? (21)

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.

In the Koran, the confrontation between Moses or Akhenaten and the Pharaoh was far more straightforward than the Bible. The Koran also contains more details on the episode. Undoubtedly the Muslims had less concerns over the Egyptian identity of the patriarch than the Israelites.

Sura VII, 104 to 124 of the Koran narrates this tale. I have selected the relevant extracts - after Akhenaten or Moses made his demand to take his out of bondage - as follows (the preceding link shows the complete text):

Pharaoh said: ‘If indeed
Thou hast come with a Sign,
Show it forth, -
If thou tellest the truth.’

Then (Moses) threw his rod,
And behold! It was
A serpent, plain (for all to see)

And he drew out his hand
And behold! It was white
To all beholders!

As we can see from the Koranic verses, there’s no disinformation like an Aaron involved in the casting of the serpent rod. Also, Moses did show his the secret hand sign to the Pharaoh and the court officials.

Then the Pharaoh brought in his sorcerers (allegorically to challenge Akhenaten’s royal credentials). Now the Koranic verse about Moses serpent swallowing up the opposition is far more interesting:

He put it into Moses’ mind
By inspiration: ‘Throw (now)
Thy rod’: and behold!
It swallows up straightaway
All the falsehoods
Which they fake.

Thus truth was confirmed,
And all that they did
Was made of no effect

Falsehoods? Truth confirmed?

Akhenaten’s royal credentials was beyond doubt with evidence of his royal sceptre and the secret Pharaonic hand signs. Those two items demonstrated the 'truth' of his Pharaonic lineage and crushed the 'falsehood' of the Pretender to the Egyptian throne.

Then this was what the Egyptian officials did:

But the sorcerers fell down
Prostrate in adoration,

Saying: ‘We believe
In the lord of the Worlds, -‘

Ahmad Osman, author of Moses and Akhenaten stated that the wise men (sorcerers) of Egypt, or high court officials, recognised the royal credentials of Akhenaten, that indeed he was the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

The actual political struggle over the Egyptian throne was disguised in the Bible as some feats in a magical contest, wrought by a monotheist like Moses, the most unlikely person to countenance sorcery .

To be continued ……..