Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Never mind it's 3 strikes & we're still in

In baseball, if it’s 3 strikes, the hitter is out. In Malaysian politics, by contrast, 3 strikes can in fact enhance the hitter’s position.

1st - Strike for Nationalism

China Press has disgraced Malaysia by suggesting that Squatgate nude woman was a Chinese national, forcing Malaysia, rather unnecessarily and disgracefully, to apologise to China. China Press had been punished by suspension. That way, Malaysian honour has been somewhat regained!

Never mind that the ministers concerned knew the victim of the police abuse was not Chinese, let alone a Chinese national, even before China Press had published anything. Never mind that they kept very quiet on China Press' error. Never mind that the info was allegedly held back to avoid serious damage to UMNO’s prospects in the marginal Pengkalan Pasir by-election. Never mind that other Malaysian newspapers including you-know-which-one had also jumped on the bandwagon to proclaim the woman’s wrong nationality as a headline winner.

2nd - Strike for Islam

Sarawak Tribune and Guangming had the audacity to publish those Danish caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They have been suspended. Tough luck on our BN partners but let's face it, they aren't UMNO. We needed to demonstrate the Ministry's Islamic credentials.

Never mind that our silly own media sources had jumped on the scandalous bandwagon – the complaints of double standards will soon die out! Never mind the impertinence of Malaysiakini reader Melanie Towle Abdullah for bringing out issues embarrassing to UMNO!

3rd – Strike for UMNO

The NST won't be punished even though that busybody Old Man himself had cleverly caught us by our balls and squeezed same by highlighting the significance of the Non Sequitur’s cartoon. Curses & swears – couldn’t he just stay retired?

Never mind that he stated: “But to say that somebody is sitting there and for some money, I will make a caricature (of the prophet), that means you are saying that this is all right (when it is not).”

“So why do you publish it (the comic strip)? It shows that you lack understanding of the sentiments of the Muslims. And again they reproduce it yesterday as if to say that ‘what is so wrong about this?’”

Never mind that bloke Jeffrey for writing in to Malaysiakini to say the following blinking obvious:

“It is also not an issue of whether NST was to be severely punished. NST is owned ultimately by Umno and the question of it being put in harm's way by suffering its printing licence being suspended indefinitely like The Sarawak Tribune simply did not arise."

my underlining

"The issue was whether the move against NST's top editors would have represented a move to undermine the prime minister’s authority, discredit his reform agenda and usher in his eventual exit.”

Never mind that he highlighted the nexus between UMNO and NST even that it’s already known. Never mind that he had unnecessarily waved the bloody red flag in front of the Malaysian bull.

Never mind it's 3 strikes and we're still in, 'cause we can make the rules as we play along!

Don't misuse powers - Back off from Jeff Ooi

A Malaysiakini reader Usman writing from Leicester questioned the police report alleging that blogger Jeff Ooi had been inciting racial disharmony. He was obviously directing his comments at the NST, because his letter was on affairs surrounding the newspaper, known in Malaysia as the government mouthpiece.

Usman said he was sympathetic towards the NST who had printed the Non Sequitur cartoons. I wonder whether Usman has been aware that the NST was so arrogant as to publish the cartoons not once but TWICE.

We would have thought that when there’s a hoo-haa about the publishing of a questionable cartoon, the newspaper would have stopped to evaluate whether it had been a mistake or not. But oh no, it daringly went ahead and publish the same cartoon AGAIN.

Thus you can’t blame people for saying that the NST, with the right connection, had already know it won’t be hauled up. So I wonder whether Usman’s sympathy was necessary. Semua (All) under control.

Usman reminded us that the NST editorial had said: "But there are also others, some more powerful, who have had their crosshairs sighted on the unyielding editors of the group. Because, simply, these editors have tried to be as professional as possible, to give their readers the news as objectively as possible. And when the truth gets reported, some get hurt. The powerful ones will seek to protect themselves with whatever means at their disposal"

So if they are so professional, Usman asked: “But at the same time, let us ponder the fundamental issue - do we continue to be a society where a vocal few, with personal vendettas and less than honourable motives, can whip up sentiments and make the innocent guilty? What are we saying of our own selves and our country if we allow people with personal motives to capitalise on religious and racial sensitivities to victimise others?”

He told someone in NST [and we all know who] that whatever vendetta that bloke has against blogger Jeff Ooi or vice versa, to bloody back off because the Malaysian public aren’t interested at all. Usman wants the editorial board of NST to demonstrated higher values than to indulge in puerile nonsense, like going all out to destroy someone's life.

Hear, hear, Usman, you said what most of us have in mind but weren't able to articulate so succinctly.

Jinn in a Nescafé Bottle

A week ago, on the beach in Kampung Kuala Pahang in Pekan, a fisherman found a bottle, not unlike the type used by Nescafé. Within that bottle he saw a red-eyed figure dressed in a black cloak.

The whole thing was more or less like a modern Aladdin’s lamp with a red-eyed genie spotted through the transparent glass bottle.

Star photo

Not sure of what it was, and perhaps feeling a little unsettled by the sight of the eerie red-eyed figure dressed in black, he gave it to a bomoh [Malay shaman].

For unknown but undoubtedly wise reasons, the bomoh in turn passed it on to the Pekan museum, who, according to its director, “conducted a simple study on the object” - maybe just taking one quick look without touching or opening the bottle.

And I don't blame the museum people - we Malaysians don't like red-eyed dolls dressed in ominous coloured clothing, especially when they come in bottles picked up from the seas. Mind you, I do love a cup or two of Nescafé.

The museum confirmed what the bomoh and the fisherman already knew, that it was a puppet inside the bottle. I am not sure whether the museum staff had been apprehensive over the weird looking voodoo doll, but the bottle was expeditiously returned to the bomoh.

Undoubtedly the museum staff believed that with such occult stuff one sought to "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s". Wakakaka.

Lay people like us don't want to mess around with occult stuff that should be under the guardianship of someone who is more familiar with the supernatural.

The museum director added: “We believe it had been used by someone for some healing ritual and it was thrown into the sea maybe because the owner wanted to get rid of it.”

By then, the bomoh decided that the bottle contained a toyol and threw it back into the sea.

A toyol is, according to S.E Asian belief, a supernatural creature brought to life from a dead/aborted baby foetus by occult means. The owner, its creator or purchaser - it's possible to purchase a toyol from a witch doctor - maintains the creature's allegiance by feeding it with his/her own blood, just a few drops taken from a pricked finger or toe.

The toyol can be used to conduct spying, stealing or spooking (harassing) missions for the owner. I wonder if it can do more.

But some say that a person who keeps such a creature of the Dark would be stuck with the toyol for life, a kind of damnation. Before the owner's own demise, it's vital that he or she pass the creature to a new owner to maintain regular feeding.

If the handover is not successfully completed before the owner croaks, the toyol will turn against the owner to feed on him/her. Apparently being eaten up on one's death bed is not a pretty sight or pleasant at all, and very distracting for the dying owner. Thus the dying would take a long long long and very excruciatingly painful time.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Potshots at Jeff Ooi

Malaysiakini reported that Jeff Ooi, probably Malaysia's best known blogger whose postings focussed on issues of public governance, consumer affairs and the media, has had his blog sabotaged by what is known as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. That’s when several computers working in concert ‘swarmed’ the targeted blog and jammed up access for other (normal) users – hence the term distributed denial-of-service.

Jeff has closed his Screenshots blogsite for 72 hours to allow IT experts to investigate and address the problem.

Obviously someone doesn’t like him or what he has been posting. Coincidentally someone reported him to the police for using his blog Screenshots to instigate racial hatred. Some of Jeff’s postings have struck hard at certain Malaysian personalities and companies, and in the Malaysian blogosphere it’s a well known story that Jeff has an ongoing vendetta with a NST person. I can't provide any informed background to this feud as I am a Johnny-come-lately on the blogging scene.

However, while I don’t always buy Jeff’s views or stand, I disagree with the allegation of his blog inciting racial hatred. In fact, if anything, Jeff has demonstrated he's a proud Malaysian.

Apart from his postings, Jeff as a blog-moderator can be abrasive at times but when a blogger like him has hundreds and even thousands of hits per day with wide ranging comments, he has to be firm and at times curt. He had been in trouble before for a visitor's comment on his blog, known among Malaysian bloggers as the 'oil & water' saga, where the comment was deliberately misinterpreted by Jeff's opponents as insulting to Islam. While the target had been Jeff of course, the poor visitor became the eventual prey.

Look, there’s no denying every blogger has a certain barrow - political, social, cultural, religious, special interest, etc - to push, and how he does it depends on his methodology, character or philosophy. Some use a topic to tease, others to elicit, a few to confront, one or two to promote or uphold, and the odd bloke or lassie who doesn’t care a stuff about visitor participation.

But on issues of public governance, consumer affairs and the performance and conduct of the media, the postings can invariably be offensive to some. Jeff does have enemies.

The best way to disagree with a blogger's views, if one feels strongly about it, is to engage it in intellectual sparring by posting one's comments on the blog. If the blogger employs the owner’s prerogative to block out one’s responding comments, then create one’s own blog to air one's own views or launch opposing views.

In this respect I have also noted that a new blog has just come up 4 days ago, whose postings seem to be taking sarcastic pot shots at Jeff. Not so strangely it called itself Potshots with the anonymous blogger flippantly named Daft Oi.

Its postings obviously have one aim - to undermine Jeff’s credibility. I must say it’s rather well written with a cheeky flair, though it's just a one-issue blog. Now, this seems to be a more intellectual approach than the DDoS.

I frown on bully boys’ tactics which seem to be what the DDoS or the police report on Jeff have been. I hope Jeff can sort out those attacks and look forward to reading his worldviews soon. And I'll continue to read Potshots also, and to see how it is prepared to engage Jeff in intellectual debate, and jaga [maintain] its standards.

Will the Curse of Jerusalem be lifted?

Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian PM-designate issued a ground-breaking announcement:

"If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognise them."

Basically Hamas is prepared to accept Israel as a nation on the following grounds:

(1) Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, which involves one seemingly insurmountable problem, the return of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

(2) Israel recognises the rights of Palestinians to form their own State.

(3) Israel recognises the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees who fled, or were forced to leave, in the 1948 war and their descendants.

If Israel accepts these Palestinian demands, Hamas will be prepared to accept the right of Israel to exist, and renounce its vow to repossess ‘every inch’ of Palestine, which to Hamas includes the entire Israel. Obviously Hamas has entered into negotiation mode.

[Note: the term 'every inch' in today's metric world gives one an indication of how long the conflict has been].

An Israeli cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit welcomed Haniyeh’s announcement. He said: "We won't have any trouble speaking to Hamas, and to reach a settlement", provided of course Hamas renounces violence. The bargaining has begun.

But I reckon there may be one to two points that Israel may not accept at all. The most obvious non-negotiable point would be the ‘right of return’. Israel fears that 'returning' Arabs will turn the demographic patterns around, making the Israelis the minority. I also believe that Hamas knows this, but negotiations would usually start off with a wish-list before hard bargaining trims it down.

The second point may or may not be achievable, depending upon how it would be negotiated, namely the issue of East Jerusalem. It’s not just land or the city per se. Jerusalem carries emotional and spiritual significance for both sides. A long-past proposal was to make Jerusalem an international city governed by the UN, but that was rejected outright by Israel.

The current indirect dialogue represents a great crack in the hitherto 'closed door' between Israel and Hamas. The recent exchanges, albeit indirect, could initiate peace talks towards the burying of a 50-year hatchet once and for all, though there's still many hard yards to cover. If Israel does the brave and decent act by returning East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, it will still have the Western city for itself.

I suppose we'll have to wait and see how far a post-Ariel Sharon Israel is prepared to meet this probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The onus should be on the Israelis as the party in a superior position to meet Hamas half way.

(1) The Curse of Jerusalem?
(2) The Curse of Jerusalem? (2)
(3) The Curse of Jerusalem? (3)

The real Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

When I posted Anwar Ibrahim - accused sodomy to accused sedition I mentioned Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as comfortably ensconced in his premiership, and in complete political control. My exact words were “… today PM Badawi appears to be more in control and assertive than ever before.”

Readers wrote in to dispute my assessment. They believed otherwise. Anonymous [who also signed him/herself as ‘Wong’] told me to ‘remove the wool from my eyes’, while offering several examples of Badawi not in control – those being “Rafidah/APs, Vellu/highways, Noh Omar/nude squat, Proton/Augusta, Singapore/bridge & water.”

I thank them, particular Wong, for their recommended readings at several links, and their feedback on perceived Badawi’s failures, but still hold fast to my reckoning. I apologise for not responding earlier to what must have been an irritating KTemoc’s assessment of Badawi. I had been caught up with other articles.

I believe there’s an unjustified dismissal of Badawi as a weak and indecisive leader, one not in commanding control of UMNO. This is unfortunately an incorrect and dangerous perception of him, of which I too had been equally guilty of. Many merely consider him as an interim UMNO leader of limited tenure. I am not an expert on UMNO but as an interested observer I have since changed my mind about Badawi after some reflection. I now entertain an entirely different impression of him as PM [and UMNO No 1]. Let’s examine his career progression.

In 1964, he joined the Malaysian Administrative and Diplomatic Corps (ADC). The Malaysian Civil Service was then of two stratified career paths, the elite ADC and the lower ranked General Services. Some of the various Sir Humphrey-ish positions he served on were the Director of Youth, Ministry of Youth and Sports and secretary of the National Emergency Council. He had about 15 years of civil service with at least a couple of upper echelon assignments before he became a MP in 1978. That’s a considerable span of experience in the corridors of powers, where as a senior civil servant he was exposed to, and might be even involved with the intrigues and party manoeuvrings of his political masters.

When he became a politician himself, he was variously Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Youth and Sports, Defence, Foreign Affairs and the powerful Home Affairs. That too has been a considerable range of experience not only in ministerial exposure, but more significantly, in his ability to foster political allegiance and intra-party manoeuvrings to secure those ministerial posts. Though he made the drastic mistake of being on the Ku Li team, suffering banishment to backbencher duties, he had the foresight to remain in UMNO, the fount of Malaysian political power.

Rather than just dismiss his decision to remain in UMNO - instead of joining the disastrous Ku Li’s Semangat 46 - as typical of a passive bloke, who lacked fire and initiative, one should actually consider that as due to his brilliant strategic assessment. Sitting there patiently in unobtrusive manner he inched his way back into Mahathir’s favour and actually won one of UMNO’s Vice Presidency positions. That could only have come about as a result of his developing and consolidating a strong power base and factional alliances in UMNO. It must be all that more striking when we consider he achieved such a power base during a period of Anwar Ibrahim’s expanding influence and ascendancy in UMNO.

His seemingly infinite patience, quiet mannerism, judicious political timing and actual gains in the upper echelon of UMNO reminds me of a hungry predator, waiting, waiting waiting among the tall grass [of silence] before he suddenly propels himself forward to pounce on the prey [= advantage point in the party or issuance of a prime ministerial decison/policy]. Then, when Anwar fell by the wayside, Badawi’s rehabilitation in UMNO was total and complete, where we saw him fill up the gap left by Anwar.

Even though Mahathir anointed Badawi as his post-Anwar successor, the Old Man was not completely oblivious to Badawi’s erstwhile party alignment during the Team A vs Team B saga. I saw on TV Mahathir’s making this point to a foreign TV journalist who was badgering him on his acrimonious relationship with Anwar Ibrahim.

Mahathir remarked, words to the effect, that he hadn’t and didn’t pick people to be his successor based on their personal relationship with him or total loyalty to him, or that they mustn’t oppose him. To prove his point, he referred the reporter to Badawi as his successor, a man who had once been against him [Team A vs Team B] but who had remained loyal to the party. Mahathir made this comparison to Anwar in an obvious criticism of the latter’s apparent petulant, self-centred and selfish indulgence in taking to the streets against an UMNO-led government.

Be that as it may, what it has also highlighted has been Badawi’s amazing political resurrection to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, despite him being earlier on Team B, an astonishing party career achievement unattained by Ku Li, Musa Hitam, or Anwar Ibrahim. And Mahathir’s obligatory or obligated protégé, Najib Razak has to still wait in the wing, subordinated to Badawi.

Now to attempt to answer Wong’s highlights of “Rafidah/APs, Vellu/highways, Noh Omar/nude squat, Proton/Augusta, Singapore/bridge & water” under a Badawi Premiership as indicative of his downhill ability to control UMNO-BN. Why would we imagine Ahmad Abdullah Badawi to be different in substance to Dr Mahathir. Both PMs, and even hypothetically Ku Li and Anwar Ibrahim as PMs, were or are from UMNO!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Coalition of the Unwilling?

Looks like Hamas has outflanked both Israel and the USA. The governments of the last two attempted to twist Hamas arms not only into accepting the existence of Israel but Israel’s land grab beyond the 1967 borders. They wanted Hamas to accept what they reckon is an Israeli fait accompli, brought about by force.

The Israeli is of course the prime mover of the politico-economic blackmail against Hamas. Israel kick-started the extortion for recognition by Hamas by withholding the Palestinian own tax revenue, which Israel collects at the borders for the Palestinian Authority. It also instructed the Americans to demand back a $50 million aid for Palestinian infrastructure project. Shamefully President Bush toed the Israeli line.

Israel has instituted other vindictive measures, such as restricting Palestinian movements between the West Bank and Gaza. Elected Palestinian members of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza were prevented from travelling to Ramullah to attend their first parliamentary meeting. It has also planned to stop Palestinian labourers from earning a living on its side of the military enforced line.

The Israeli-American couple have been doing the international rounds to marshal a new coalition against Hamas, with the aim of cutting off funds to the new Hamas-led government but they seemed 'shocked & awed' that no one in the Arab world as well as the principal players of Europe wanted to have anything to do with their anti-democratic mischief.

Russia and Turkey have invited Hamas for talks, recognising it as the democratically elected majority party that now forms the Palestinian Authority. France has supported Russia’s policy of engagement with Hamas.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has just made a disastrous tour of Arab countries to storm up support for the US intention to financially and politically blackout a Hamas-led Palestinian government. The Egyptians and Saudis snubbed her appeal with varying degrees of polite rejection.

I suppose we could say the USA did get its coalition, but a Coalition of the Unwilling.

Why did the Americans idiotically imagine for one instant that Hamas who has just won a landslide election victory on the basis of its credentials as incorruptible freedom fighters would immediately genuflect to Israeli. Accepting the latter's set of demands wholesale without any concession from a belligerent Israel would be seen as a surrender of its own principles.

If the US, on behalf of Israel, wants to see a responsible Hamas-led government, there are better ways of achieving that without threatening, intimidating and sabotaging Hamas. The US administration should by now recognise that its aggressive foreign engagement hasn't achieved much, especially with an organization like Hamas. As for the Israelis, ultimately, they have to come to terms that for lasting peace, they must pull back to the 1967 borders.

Notwithstanding the Israel-US attempts to undermine its status as the government of Palestine, Hamas isn't about to abandon its ceasefire with Israel. In fact the Israel-US effort to isolate a Hamas-led Palestinian government will succeed, if the world sees Hamas launching attacks against Israel. The Europeans would undoubtedly have second thoughts about continuing the funding of the Palestinian Authority.

Once the European stop its funding, which constitute 60% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget, the Palestinian sufferings will increase, for a start with hospitals, schools, infrastructure support, etc closing down. That’s what the Israeli-US wants, so that the Palestinian people will reject Hamas and re-vote Fatah in.

But political observers who have been admiring the political astuteness of Hamas reckoned it will extend the ceasefire with Israel indefinitely, even unilaterally. That way Hamas can avoid acknowledging Israel’s existence while receiving financial aid from Europe and Arab nations. It knows it can forget about US aid, unless of course Israel allows the Americans to do so, which everyone knows is unlikely at this stage.

Hamas is also not above a little manoeuvring of its own, showing a level of political sophistication that’s quite alarming to the USA. Hamas has receive pledges of financial support from Iran to cover the loss of American aid. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal made a big show of announcing the Iranian pledge in Tehran when he was there to solicit support from the Iranians. The Iranian aid per se is not as important as the fact that Hamas is virtually saying to the USA and the Arab world that the Persian influence will reach even further west in the region if the Americans [or Arab nations] want to exclude itself from engaging Hamas.

The only thing Hamas need to watch out for is the inevitable Israeli provocations to deliberately elicit violence from Hamas hotheads. With the USA already in its back pocket, Israel wants Europe to view Hamas as a violent terrorist organization rather than the democratically elected Palestinian government it is.

Hamas needs also to bear in mind how the provocative caricatures had been published in Denmark by the Jylland-Posten cultural editor, Flemming Rose, who [by strange coincidence?] has very close connections with Daniel Pipes, a leading neo-con Zionist who is said to be viruently anti-Arab.

Just consider, how do the previously pro-Palestinian Europeans feel towards any Arabs today after the series of violence over the caricatures in Muslim countries?

Sarawak Chinese daily Berita Petang suspended

Sarawak's only afternoon Chinese daily Berita Petang should have adopted the name Berita Harian. Then it might have avoided becoming the 2nd newspaper to be suspended by the government for reproducing the Danish caricatures.

The newspaper is to be suspended for publishing a seditious article entitled ‘We are prepared to launch a Holy War’ with some of the caricatures in its Feb 4 edition.

The Internal Security Ministry has imposed on the Berita Petang a 2 weeks suspension that comes into force tomorrow.

This gives it time today to publish an apology. Yes, launch a pre-emptive apology today! Don’t bother to be creative. Just borrow word for word the apology that the New Straits Times (NST) had used. The NST words must be really good because the government has dropped its investigation into its indiscrete sins (twice over in sheer in-your-face arrogance), let alone consider suspending it.

Meanwhile, the government is considering action against RTM's TV2 for airing footages showing the caricatures. I wonder whether the investigation will extend to RTM1 and UMNO-linked TV3 and ntv7. All had broadcasted the caricatures.

What happened to British 'Freedom of Expression'?

image from Uruknet.info

"There is a myth that we love freedom, others don’t: that our attachment to freedom is a product of culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values … Ours are not Western values, they are the universal values of the Human spirit".

Tony Blair - a speech given at a joint session of the United States Congress, summer 2003

Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, has never been one to kowtow to convention or the British ‘establishment’. Like George Galloway, he was from the British Labour Party but left it to stand against Tony Blair’s candidate for the London mayor’s post against Blair’s candidate, and won.

Subsequently he rejoined his old party but still frequently spoken up against Blair, the Americans, the Iraqi war, British police, reporters or anyone he reckons ought to be told off. One of his bête noires is the Evening Standard, a newspaper he detests.

As would have it, last year the Evening Standards sent a reporter Oliver Finegold to question Livingstone when the latter was leaving a party.

Livingstone nearly went ballistic when Finegold identified himself as from the Evening Standard. That’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Livingstone just loathed, and still does, the newspaper, so he
asked of Finegold: "What did you do? Were you a German war criminal?"

Finegold retorted he was Jewish, and that calling a Jew a Nazi war criminal was an offensive outrage. In turn, Livingstone riposted that Finegold was more like a concentration camp guard, because he just did what he was doing for pay.

Going on the offensive against the hated newspaper to remind the reporter who he had been working for, Livingstone added that the Standard's sister paper, the Daily Mail, had supported the Nazis in the 1930s, and reminded Finegold he, Livingstone, had been rude to reporters for decades and had no intention of changing. Besides, other reporters hadn't complained on what he had uttered so there’s no use telling him he couldn’t speak to Jews like that.

The powerful Board of Deputies of British Jews lodged a complaint against him for his remarks against a Jew, and a three-person panel which hears complaints against local authorities passed a finding to suspend Livingstone from his position as mayor for 4 weeks.

The British media were shocked by the unduly harsh verdict on what had been nothing more than verbal sparring between the mayor and a reporter from a newspaper the mayor detested. They had expected at most a public rebuke but obviously haven't reckoned on something even more scared than the European 'freedom of expression', that is, Jewish feelings.

Livingstone was unrepentant, saying the panel's verdict struck at the heart of democracy. He also scoffed at the idea of the 3 members of the complaint panel, which no one has ever elected [former Aussie PM Paul Keating called such people 'unrepresentative swill'], be permitted to overturn the votes of millions of Londoners who had elected him as mayor.

In Europe or America, when it comes to anything that offends Jews, such as the remarks by Livingstone, which was directed at a newspaper rather than the Jewish community, or young Prince Harry’s fancy dress ball
swastika arm band at a private party, or David Irving’s crackpot Holocaust Denial, the Europeans woud suddenly go into apoplectic fits of guilt and forget their own nauseating preaching on ‘freedom of expression/speech’ to others including and especially Muslims, slipping irretrievably into cringing servitude to appease the Jewish lobby.

While one can understand the need to control anti-Semitic violence, one cannot on such ridiculous censorship and disproportionate punishment of 4 weeks suspension or 3-years imprisonment for saying something that the Jews deemed offensive.

The Europeans’ double standard, of utter subservience to Jewish interest while sneering down on Arab-Muslim sensitivity, calls into question their political, religious, racial and ethical hypocrisy.

Europe's Dilemma - Holocaust Denial vs Caricatures
European 'Freedom of Expression' took nosedive!
David Irving - Still divisive to the end

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hell hath no fury like a woman .....

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
William Congreve - The Mourning Bride

Awesome! Hell hath no fury like a woman robbed of her makeup kit. She’s virtually a Lethal Weapon!

In Kota Baru, two snatch thieves didn’t quite bargain for what they were shortly to experience when they snatched the handbag of a woman as she was just getting into her car. Thinking they were safe as they sped off after robbing, ala, just a woman, they must have been shocked when the lady bundled her son into her own car and gave chase.

Zipping through the traffic in hot pursuit while continuing to provide ABC spelling lesson to her son, she rammed her car into the getaway vehicle. Yeah, she sure was going fast!
Star photo

Not only that, she lost control of her car [KTemoc is keeping his mouth shut here] which careened straight into a gymnasium equipment store, smashing up things until the roof caved in, caused a 3rd car to hit a hawker stall and built up a massive traffic jam. She then shouted to the startled owner of the wrecked store to go after the thieves, and bet you he complied instantaneously.

Lady got out of her car, pat her son on the head, went straightaway to chin-up bar [remember, it's a gym equipment store], did a couple of smart pull-ups before she joined in the chase.

One of the thieves was apprehended. The other would have been too if he wasn’t so terrified of Wonder Woman [drooool!], which must have lent wings to his heels.

But the woman got back her handbag in which was the makeup kit. She retrieved same and straightaway applied a bit of powder on her nose.

But alas, she’s already married.

P/S - OK, I did add a bit of KTemoc’s spice in my version of the incident - see if you can guess which bits without referring to the link?

Lustful Fantasy!

I am going to 'fess up to one of my secret fantasies. But I better start at the very beginning, when I was still at school.

One day {Penangites would say 'Nah, limpeh kar lu kong hnar ...' ;-) }, while in Keat Seng coffee shop with Michael, my classmate and best friend, I foolishly revealed to him that I had the hots for the teenage daughter of the koay teow stall man. She was standing just 5 metres away talking with another girl behind the shop cash counter. She had the sweetest demeanor.

Michael turned to me with a sneer on his face, and proclaimed - I thought rather too loudly for 5 metres - "She's just a kid, you cradle snatcher!" And there we were, two teenagers ourselves.

I cringed in embarrassment - at his booming revelation of my secret passion in such a crowded place - and protested, in a lowered voice, that she must be at least 15-ish, our age. Michael crushed me with an incredulous look. The bastard had this amazing ability to convey his disdain of my taste in girls with his versatile facial expressions, which at that moment, I did consider sinking my fists into. He tautologised: "That baby-face baby 15? Sheesh!" and added with a terrifying (for me) "I'll ask her."

Before I could react to prevent him from walking towards my dream girl and - knowing his teasing propensity to embarrass me - revealing my secret admiration to her, he had already reached the counter. Ever so confidently he slid into easy conversation with the 2 girls. After what I assessed to be a lengthy conversation, during which I noted with increasing trepidation that the girl was smiling so sweetly at him, he returned to our table looking like the cat that had licked the cream.

"Yeah, OK, she's 15! I've her name!"

"And ..." I said excitedly and with full expectation he'd pass that vital info to me.

"I've a date with her tomorrow."

KNN*, the bastard potong jalan me [stole my dream girl from me].

*KNN = Karn Nee Nare - a Penang Hokkien expression that's best translated, in the presence of ladies, as 'Dash it!"

You need to understand, my best pal Michael was good looking with the most devilish handsome smile, smartly dressed, tall and slim, confident and well spoken, had a snazzy motorbike, plenty of cash in his pocket [upper middle class family - dad's a Chartered accountant], had a terrific collection of the latest pop songs, played the guitar, danced like Fred Astaire, yes indeed, a bloke with many charming talents. Teenage girls were easily attracted to his easy going Adonis ways.

Me? Well, the class called us the 'beauty & the beast' and may I just clarify that those name calling was unnecessarily spiteful by immature classmates who were jealous of our close friendship - we had always worked as a tight team.

As for my own bike, my late grandfather did leave me his rusty vintage bicycle with a tradesman-type rear goods rack - the type that could hold several 30 kg sacks of rice, which granddad delivered for a grocery shop. No one in my family wanted the daggy bike anyway, and neither did I, but I was told to use it to cycle to school. I knew that if rice was not transported, it could carry easily two girls on the rear carrier, which regretfully for me, never did ever eventuate.

What about dressing? I must say that day in Keat Seng coffee shop I had on my feet a pair of blue and brand new Japanese slippers [thongs to Aussies].

I was also damn shy which may explain why I didn't have the guts to strike up a chitty-chat with sweetie - mind you, my favourite aunt said my shyness was charming - oh, how I clung on to her verdict like the proverbial straw. And I wasn't exactly without talent, as I could fold an origami sampan rather well.

They say 'opposite attracts' which could well sum up my relationship with Michael. Despite our contrasting nature Michael and I were best buddies - I remember our times at school as halcyon days.

After we left school, I didn't see nor hear from Michael who went overseas for university. Being him, he was probably too busy enjoying himself with the ladies to write to me as he had vowed. The years passed by swiftly and sadly we completely lost contact.

From time to time I did hear from mutual friends how he was getting on. Then I heard he married a real stunner, a Miss this-or-that, which wasn't surprising for our Adonis. I also learnt that his wife turned out to be a real nasty domineering bitch, which might have been a Karmic outcome for Michael's teenage Casanova flings.

But my regular defeats by Michael in the 'faint hearts never win the fair lady' contests during our school days did, I must confess, leave me unconfident, psychologically scarred, and competitively cringing. Battered badly in the self-esteem department, I upheld Nature's tactics and evolved to survive in the game of the hearts.

I knew Michael didn't particularly like older women so I decided that it might be a sensible and sound move to shift my targeting of the fairer gender to 'types' that Michael didn't have any interest in, the more 'mature' women.

At this juncture, I thought I would remind you of my weakness also for strong minded, power-inclined, good looking but bitchy women, as you would have gathered from my stories of Rightwing Bitch and Rightwing Bitch (2). Where I was concerned, it wasn't hard for those women to be strongminded, power inclined or bitchy - most of my girlfriends called me a passive wimp. Oh, how those girls bullied poor me. Only in one area did I remain resolute and defiant - my leftwing principles!

But in the end, my developed interest for … eh … more ‘mature’ women, overlaid by an ass-whipped, sexually neurotic and troubled subconscious - blame Michael for this - and my inherent shyness, I took instead to fantasizing about such women rather than having real affairs.

Yes, I indulged in a fantasized lust list, of powerful, good looking, 'mature', bossy and 'baby-face' women - the last characteristic was not always a criterion but probably a token resistance against the awful memory of my loss to Michael of the 'baby-face' koay teow belle.

Carrying forward my fantasized hit list to recent times, and I want to be honest here, I have developed an erotic fantasy to 'involve' myself with - 'involve'? Why the hell do I use words like this - you would never have guessed, our neighbour’s President, yes, none other than Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

BTW, the latest with Baby - and I wouldn’t be surprised if her family calls her that, as ‘Baby’ seems to be quite a popular name for Filipino women - has been the Filipino opposition demanding her resignation, but she told them to bugger off. In fact, she has just neutralised a military coup, and declared a state of emergency in the Philippines.

Her strong and confident gesture had sent me into near orgasmic delight. My knees felt weak as I witnessed her taking on a bitchy stance.

Now, now, if you are attempting to demoralise me by suggesting she’s near 60, hey, that’s discriminating against age. I am an equal opportunity lover, so cease and desist! Also, knowing a bloke like Michael wouldn't have any interest in such a 'mature' woman, I feel somewhat comforted. Besides, a Pommie friend once wisely advised me, “Many a fine tune have been played on an old fiddle”.

She’s great looking (yum), sexily baby-faced (ooooooooh!), powerful (gasp) and obviously highly intelligent (gasp again). She holds a PhD in economics. Here’s a picture of her when she was younger - gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

So excuse me as I fantasize of a wishful tryst with Gloria. It’s KTemoc’s contribution to ASEAN solidarity. God knows in today's ugly world, we could do with better neighbourliness.

Teflon-coated NST

The PM has announced that the Internal Security Ministry won't take any action against the New Straits Times (NST), as it had against two other newspapers, the Sarawak Tribune and Guangming.

And the reason? The NST has apologised! Wow! What a nice, well brought up and polite newspaper.

This exception has been despite Dr Mahathir telling the government not to practice double standards by allowing NST to get away with its insensitivity while Sarawak Tribune and Guangming had already been made examples for the same reason.

But no, the NST won't be suspended as everyone was hoping for. [except of course those at NST or UMNO]

Hoping for? Don't tell me Malaysians are that bad hearted?

Au contraire, if NST had been penalised for its cartoon faux pas, Malaysians would then be able to proudly say "in Malaysia, the same laws or standards apply to everyone. We have a fair government" - but alas, we have been denied that privilege. We should have known better.

When Kalimullah assured his staff not to worry, he knew what he was saying, because he knew!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bloody Bastards

Tourism Australia decided that its new ad will not use celebrities, whom it had employed in its previous campaign with a cost running up to $360 million.

The new ad features ordinary people in some of Australia's most well-known places, with a typically Aussie invitation: "So where the bloody hell are you?"

There was outrage at the word 'bloody' from some quarters, but PM John Howard defended the ad, saying it's just an Aussie colloquialism. This time I agree with PM Howard.

While Aussies have been known to call their enemies ‘bastards’ , they would call their close friends ‘bloody bastards’!

NST apologised for cartoon

Malaysiakini reported that NST apologised for its Non Sequitur cartoon.

TDM, NST, Kalimullah Hassan & his red fish!

New Straits Times Group deputy chairperson and editorial adviser Kalimullah Hassan thinks the News Straits Times (NST) is Teflon-coated as it’s an UMNO-government mouthpiece. He assured editors and journalists that the Non Sequitur cartoon was not offensive to Islam. He said the board of directors was fully behind the editors who okayed the Non Sequiter cartoon.

Then when you would imagine NST being remorseful and repentant, it rushed in AGAIN where angels dare not tread in the first place, by brazenly RE-publishing the cartoon. With that, Kalimullah invited those present at his impromptu briefing to compare the NST cartoon with the original Danish caricatures.

Kalimullah brashly declared blah blah blah, and that at most, the papers would be suspended for max 2 weeks only. Maybe a man who reputedly has the ear of the PM as well as those of the latter’s son-in-law may feel privileged to second-guess the decision of the Minister of Internal Security.

But then the Old Man himself, none other than TDM, told the government not to practice double standards by allowing NST to get away with its faux pas while Sarawak Tribune and Guangming had already been made examples for their religious insensitivity. He recommended at least 3 to 4 months suspension for the NST editor.

He succinctly stated: “But to say that somebody is sitting there and for some money, I will make a caricature (of the prophet), that means you are saying that this is all right (when it is not).”

“So why do you publish it (the comic strip)? It shows that you lack understanding of the sentiments of the Muslims. And again they reproduce it yesterday as if to say that ‘what is so wrong about this?’”

Perhaps arrogance? Maybe Kalimullah was of the opinion that NST, being the mouthpiece of UMNO, would be exempt from the sort of scrutiny and standards expected of the Sarawak Tribune and Guangming? Maybe he has heard from the horse's mouth?

But Kalimullah is not a man to give up easily when he must have felt he was on form. He then decided to throw in a red herring by dobbing in RTM2 [Mandarin news], saying that National TV program had also shown footage of a person reading a newspaper containing the offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Apparently the TV camera focused on the page of the newspaper showing the cartoons. To stir things up and direct everyone’s attention to RTM, he claimed that a NST reporter had approached Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin for comment on RTM’s airing.

Now what has that got to do with NST's problem! The alleged RTM airing is a separate issue for RTM to answer to. RTM’s error does not absolve NST’s. So let’s cut out the diversionary tactics. But it’s quite disgusting that Kalimullah has resorted to pointing dirty fingers at someone else, in this case RTM, without showing cause as why the NST was so insensitive in the first instance, and truly arrogant in the second.

But I hope the Minister of Internal Security Ministry is not a person partial towards Kalimullah’s offering of a red fish, and would prefer ‘spare-parts’ kambing (goat’s tripe), basically the guts of NST.


BBC photo

Above photo shows the 'before' and 'after' of the bombed al Askari Shrine, the sacred tombs of Ali al-Hadi and al-Hasan al-Askari, the 10th and 11th Shia Imams, and where the 12th Imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi, disappeared.

For hundreds of millions of Shia Muslims the shrine is of great spiritual significance. Bombing it must be for them the ultimate blasphemy.

In invading Iraq and marginalising the Sunnis because of their 'suspected' allegiance to Saddam Hussein, the USA has opened Pandora's box and let loose this and this.

Who has done the unthinkable? No one in Iraq knows, no one there cares!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An UMNO Renaissance?

As I mentioned once, one has to take the bad with the good when it comes to Mohammad Nazri Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He acted the villain as Barisan Nasional whip to bully the women Senators and MPs into voting for the Islamic Family Law bill, very much against women’s interests, while he lambasted the police for condoning one of its cops in intimidating a whistle blower through a libel suit.

Nazri Aziz has always been surprisingly vocal in a secular sense, particularly in the M Moorthy saga where he agreed with non-Muslims that, until the late Moorthy’s religious status was confirmed, the civil courts should hear the appeal by Moorthy’s widow. See my posting Tottering Tower of the Moorthy Saga.

Now, as the to-be Law Minister, in his first interview, Nazri said he firmly believed that the civil court has jurisdiction in cases of conversion to Islam. He clarified what Article 121 (1A) means and why the PM had declared the Article shall remain unaltered. Nazri stated that the civil court has no jurisdiction to review decisions of the Syariah Court, except in cases of conversion from non-Muslim to Muslim, like the late Moorthy.

He confirmed what I posted in Article 121(1A) - What terrified the Civil Courts!, where I commented that the Article was meant to deal with Muslims who wanted to leave Islam, like teacher Abdul Rahim in in the mid-1980’s, and not cases like M. Moorthy's where the religion of the deceased was still 'iffy'.

Nazri Aziz has also condemned the attempted formation of a volunteer force of religious snoopers, as posted in Malaysian Taliban-ish Peeping Toms.

Now, Nazri Aziz has done it again. He admitted what virtually everyone in Malaysia knows already, but it’s refreshing to hear it out straight from an UMNO minister. In fact I find it rather astonishing and unexpected!

Nazri Aziz conceded that over the years UMNO had been under political pressure to out-Islam PAS in their battle for the Muslim constituency. Basically, UMNO has been politically stampeded into demonstrating its Islamic credentials that extra vigorously, and do things which UMNO had felt would be at the expense of the nation. He was replying to lawyers on whether the country had been pandering to the agenda of Islamic hardliners.

Nazri called on secular-minded Muslims to speak up even at the risk of being labelled as infidels or apostates. He said:

“The problem among Muslims is that we rely on people who are knowledgeable (Islamic scholars) but people like you and me are secular. So speak up, even if you may not be the majority.”

He revealed that he disagrees with those conservative Muslims who felt that only those who are well-versed in religion may comment on Islam. He said if the majority speaks up, the government would find it damn difficult to ignore them.

This tsunamic turnaround by an UMNO minister must have been OK-ed by the PM. Taken together with Cultural Minister Dr Rais Yatim’s regular exhortation to Malays to revert back to Malay roots rather than follow an Arabic cultural proselytism, are we finally seeing the beginning of an UMNO renaissance? Does this mean UMNO is now confidant PAS' green banner will not attract away its traditional constituency?

Certainly the consistent tone of pronouncements by these two ministers have been starkly unusual from the Mahathir days, where Malaysia, a constitutionally secular nation, was declared as an Islamic one.

Bird Flu Threatens Fall of British Kingdom!

The Poms are worried. Because of the current increasing (reported) incidents of the dreaded H5N1 virus affecting fowls in Europe, they are taking no chance with their famous ravens at the Tower of London.

They have built special aviaries in the Tower for Branwen, Hugine, Munin, Gwyllum, Thor and Baldrick, names of the 6 birds. The aim is to keep them indoors until the bird flu is safely contained. But why this extraordinary fuss over 6 ravens?

There is a British legend that says the Tower of London will collapse and the kingdom fall if all the Tower ravens leave [or die]. Even modern Christian Britain dares not mess around with this prophetic avian-related doom.

Well, the latest report is that the Tower ravens have gotten used to their new surroundings. But it reminded me of a very old Hindi film, titled, I think/guess, ‘Hattim Tai’, or something sounding like so.

The story of the film is about gods and goddesses and how they capriciously buggered mere mortals. Then of course there would be the obligatory villain who was also a super-duper virtually indestructible evil warlock. He couldn’t be killed no matter how he was slashed, stabbed, attacked, etc – because his heart, his only vulnerable point, was safely ‘placed’ in a parrot’s body.

Kill pretty polly and he would be kaput! Kill the ravens and Tony Blair would be in a deep scatological situation!

Why did USA squander peace with Iran?

Breast beating and forehead slapping have started in the USA, because the Bush Administration missed out big time to work out a peaceful deal with Tehran.

They had a chance to sort out things with the Iranians but deliberately blotched the whole deal by their determined and arrogant 'no deal at all cost' posture. Critics, including two former Bush Administration officials, European diplomats, and policy experts, said Washington squandered a golden opportunity to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program.

Flynt Leverett, a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, and Paul Pillar, who served as the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East, revealed the sorry tale of American arrogant belligerence.

After the invasion of Iraq, in May 2003, the Iranians sent messages to Washington through the Swiss ambassador to Tehran to discuss stuff with the Americans on virtually everything from Iran’s nuclear program to Washington’s claim of its support for alleged terrorist groups. The Swiss has been representing US interest in Iran.

Leverett said: “The Iranians acknowledged that WMD and support for terror were serious causes of concern for us, and they were willing to negotiate. The message had been approved by all the highest levels of authority. They wanted us to deal with sanctions, security guarantees, normalisation of relations, and support for integration of Iran into the World Trade Organisation."

Iran's envoys to Sweden and Britain were also conveying the regime’s readiness to negotiate an understanding with the Americans. And other channels, such as intelligence network were receiving such indications as well.

But according to Leverett and Pillar, the Bush Administration was not interested at all. Washington demonstrated its ultimate arrogance when it told off the Swiss ambassador, Tim Guldimann. The Bush Adminstration informed the Swiss envoy that he had overstepped his role as an intermediary by passing the Iranian message.

By telling the Swiss ambassador off, the Americans were actually sending a message to the Iranians to either bugger off or capitulate to US demands. Leverett and Pillar suggested that the Administration was deliberately looking for trouble by avoiding any negotiation with the Iranians.

Because of the American snub, the Iranians knew the US was out to get them. The Bush's ‘axis of evil’ speech supported their suspicion. The Iranians decided that there would be no sincere negotiation from the Americans, and started to dig in, with a more determined conservative and defiant posture.

Diplomacy has been and is the art of the possible, as could be seen by the persistent and sometimes frustrating negotiations with North Korea, but why had the Americans deliberately pushed Iran into a corner when the Persians had indicated a willingness to negotiate, an attitude that was far more accommodating than the Koreans?

KTemoc believes that the USA could have been “under instructions” not to negotiate but to confront the Iranians head-on and drive them into war or submission [dismantle their N-programme]. Iran represents a fearful threat to someone who wants to see the same US ‘shock & awe’ devastation for the Iranians as the Iraqis had suffered.

You tell me who would have guided Washington down the path of no negotiation, no diplomacy, no peace, no reasoning and no return! You figure out who would be interested in seeing a devastated Iran. You work out whose security would benefit most from an incapacitated Tehran.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim - accused sodomy to accused sedition

Malaysiakini has reported that Kelantan Police called Anwar Ibrahim in for questioning. The cops wanted his statements for an investigation into seditious remarks he allegedly made at the Pengkalan Pasir by-election campaign last year in late November, where he drew a crowd of 10,000.

Seditious utterance is a crime falling under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948. The maximum penalty is three years’ jail or RM 5000 fine or both. Other Malaysians who had suffered from this anti-sedition law were Lim Guan Eng of the Democratic Action Party, Marina Yusoff former Vice President of Parti Keadilan, and Zulkifli Sulong former editor-in-chief of Harakah.

Police refused to identify who had reported the alleged sedition or even any other details including the officer in charge of the case. ASP Fazlisyam Abd Majid from the Pasir Mas district police headquarters admitted that they were under instructions not to speak to the media. He referred reporters to the CPO Kelantan, who by some strange coincidence was away at a meeting when the press wanted more details from him.

Let's examine what’s going on.

One, Pengakalan Pasir’s election had been won by UMNO. Anwar’s speech didn’t do much to influence voters. So why is UMNO … eh … sorry I mean, the Police going after him?

Two, it’s known that Anwar Ibrahim has lost much of his political lustre, so why introduce this harassment when he's no longer the dangerous threat he had been when he was incarcerated?

Three, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali suspected that the report could be an attempt to discredit Anwar who has openly criticised the government and its policies. As mentioned, Anwar is no longer perceived as the influential 'reformist' he claimed to be after he was kicked out of UMNO and certainly before he was released from prison, therefore I don't hold much store by this supposition.

Besides, today PM Badawi appears to be more in control and assertive than ever before. Why would he worry about a tired political has-been like Anwar criticising his policies?

Four A, the allegations could have substance [sorry, I have to include this possibility as I wasn't there at Pengkalan Pasir to hear his oration].

Four B, I feel the Police chasing the alleged sedition would have come from the very top.

Five, Could it be that he needs to be shut up, not for his criticism of the government and its policies, but for very very nasty information that he could have threatened to tell-all or UMNO feels that he could tell-all, that would have inflicted serious political or even legal damage to UMNO top wigs?

The Police investigation could be a warning to him that if he doesn't observe the laws of omerta, he could end up behind bars for another 3 years, or more in Hotel Kamunting.

Perhaps some kind readers would supply the inside story on the machinations and strategy of UMNO , but please nothing too seditious ;-)

New Straits Times published a caricature?

Well, this one will be a test of the PM who is also the Internal Security Minister. For the sins of publishing the insulting cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 2 newspapers, the Sarawak Tribune and Chinese language Guangming, have been penalized. One was suspended indefinitely while the latter for a couple of weeks.

Now, Confederation of Malaysian NGO’s spokesperson Izham Nayam reported that the New Straits Times (NST) have done the same thing, by the publication of a similar cartoon [with association to the blasphemous caricatures] in its 'Life & Times' section. He cried out that the NST cartoon was biadap dan kurang ajar (rude and uncouth), and demanded that action be taken against NST Group Editor Brendan Pereira.

Let's see how the PM handles this!

American Gestapo (2)!

The Human Rights First organisation, comprising a group of US lawyers, has revealed in its report that, discounting those deaths due to fighting, mortar attacks or violence between detainees, about 100 prisoners in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq have died since August 2002.

The causes of deaths have been
attributed to the interrogations they were subjected to and the conditions of their physical detention in American hands. Of these, 34 are suspected or confirmed homicides, meaning those unfortunate detainees were deliberately or recklessly killed. Another 11 had been under suspicious circumstances, while between eight and 12 prisoners have been confirmed as tortured to death.

Deborah Pearlstein, the editor of the report told TV Newsnight:
"We're extremely comfortable with the veracity and the reliability of the facts here. These are documents based on army investigative reports, documents that we've obtained from the government or that have come out through freedom of information act requests in the United States."

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, told the BBC:
"Of course, we always investigate and determine what happened and appropriate punishment is given if the judgment is made that illegal actions took place. If those reports are true, of course they would be terrible abuses and they would be illegal things. Those who are responsible for them would be investigated and they will be punished."

Please read
this together with this, and then tell me why I don’t believe one single word he said!

Bagram Villagers: "Die America!"
Why the World Hates America (2)
The New Gulag Archipelago!

US Churches pronounced Bush's policies idolatrous!

"Our country responded (to the September 11, 2001 attacks) by seeking to reclaim a privileged and secure place in the world, raining down terror on the truly vulnerable among our global neighbours ... entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of national interests. Nations have been demonised and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous." my underlining

“…national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous.” Holy Mackeral, who said those words?

It’s none other than the US National Council of Churches. And President Bush better take note, cause the Council considers his Iraqi policies as idolatrous!

The Council released a letter to Washington urging President Bush to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, saying that reports of alleged torture violated the fundamental Christian belief in the dignity of the human person.

It also denounced the US-led war in Iraq, accusing Washington of raining down terror on the unfortunate Iraqis. The Council then apologised to other nations for the violence, degradation and poverty the USA has sown. It went on to say:

"We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights. We mourn all who have died or been injured in this war. We acknowledge, with shame, abuses carried out in our name." my underlining


David Irving - Still divisive to the end

European Jews are split over the conviction of David Irving over his Holocaust Denial. An Austrian court has sentenced the British historian to 3 years imprisonment for denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz concentration camp during the last world war.

Briton Lord Greville Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, is one who has been happy with Irving’s punishment. He said:

"It is the conviction and not the sentence that matters. It sends a clear message to the world that we must not tolerate the denial of the mass murders of the Holocaust. The Nazis tried to wipe out an entire people. They murdered every one of my family on the continent, except those who lived in Denmark. We must learn the lessons of the past to build a decent society for the future. Irving's conviction, especially in Austria which was a former Nazi country, is important and appropriate."

Lord Janner is the man who called young Prince Harry ‘evil’ for wearing a swastika arm band to a fancy dress ball

But other leading Jews have been troubled by the severity of the sentence for a man expressing his belief, distorting as those ideas have been. Irving hasn't advocated violence or any call to atttack Jews. They fear that sentencing him may make him an unnecessary martyr, when Irving ought to be treated with disdain and the contempt he more deserves than physical detention.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No to Fowl Play (4)

Well, there’s the frightening avian flu right again at our doorstep. Not surprising as birds carrying the deadly H5N1 virus do fly around a fair bit. They all over – apart from the previously exposed countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, etc the flu has been spotted in India, France, Nigeria, Turkey, etc, and now Malaysia. In Gombak 40 possibly tainted birds had been culled. Well done for that!

I won’t comment much other than to direct readers to my previous postings on subject:

14 Oct 2004 -
No to Fowl Play
24 Nov 2004 -
No to Fowl Play (2)!
18 Dec 2004 -
No to Fowl Play (3)
23 Dec 2004 -
The Pig on Noah's Ark

Reading again through my postings at BolehTalk, I did express my concerns over the lack of discipline by some people in persistently smuggling fowls across the Thai-Malaysian border. Officials suspected that the case in Gombak could well be such a case. Let’s hope our relevant ministries can educate the public on the importance of strict quarantine in the current adverse situation.

In the last of the above postings
The Pig on Noah's Ark, blogger Aisehman argued that Malaysia should rid itself completely of pigs as the animal presents itself as a dangerous health hazard. I blogged his opinions as:

"He quoted international health officials on an imminent pandemic – a possible hybrid strain of avian influenza and human flu virus, with Asia as its likely epicentre. This pandemic may be even worse than SARs. He mentioned WHO raising the possibility that bird flu could mix with a virus carried by pigs, and give rise to another mutated and deadlier progeny."

My response to his concerns:

"My belief is that if we select pigs to purge completely from Malaysia, on the basis of viral danger to health, then what should we do about the current problem of Avian Flu? This is the imminent danger rather than pigs. Does that mean we should also cull all types of fowls (and eggs), and ban Malaysians from indulging in their hobbies of keeping merbok, merpati and various other birds as pets? The problem with the culling-elimination approach is that we will never ever see a satisfactory conclusion, even if we may end up shooting every bird that dares fly over Peninsula Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah."

I have added bold-ing and underlining to one sentence. I believe I have been vindicated.

European 'Freedom of Expression' took nosedive!

As I predicted in my previous post Europe's Dilemma - Holocaust Denial vs Caricatures, David Irving has been found guilty of Holocaust Denial and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

For the Europeans, especially Austrians or Germans, the clarion cry to defend ‘freedom of expression’ has to be subordinated to Jewish feelings plus their [Europeans'] collective guilt.

Though Irving pleaded guilty and admitted he was wrong in denying the existence of the Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII, obviously hoping for a suspended sentence, he was not spared the imprisonment. He has been lucky not to receive 10 years, which is the maximum penalty for Holocaust Denial.

The presiding judge Peter Liebetreu
said: "The court did not consider the defendant to have genuinely changed his mind. The regret he showed was considered to be mere lip service to the law."

I agree with the judge’s perception because this morning I heard David Irving on the radio saying he had no choice but to plead guilty, on advice from his lawyer.

While Irving deserves to be condemned, does his Holocaust denying merit such a punishment? This is a disproportionate imprisonment for nothing more than his crackpot theory, which I suspect has more to do with the commercial exploitation of an equally crackpot market, the neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups. Where was the much touted western value of ‘freedom of expression’?

I reckon David Irving, repulsive as his theories might have been and unscrupulous as he may be, he has been made the sacrificial lamb for Austrian atonement for the Holocaust.

"The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the LORD and has done a horrible thing in Israel." (Joshua 7:15)

The Europeans must now shut their mouths up, and cease their hypocritical pontifications of the ‘freedom of expression’, and accord to Muslims the considerations of sensitivity that they have correctly accorded to the Jews.

MAS safer airborne than on ground

MAS pilots seem to be having frequent trouble taxying on the ground. They kept taxying their aeroplanes off the taxyways and runways into soft grounds, which means the aeroplane would remain stuck until rescued, very much to the annoyance of passengers.

Before this Kuching incident, I recall reading Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots postings on a similar MAS incident in India. Then I remember another MAS Boeing hitting the Miri terminal bridge while taxying to the disembarkation point. There were other episodes of MAS Boeing running off the runway while landing at Changi airport. Another Boeing 777 hit something, I think it was a refuelling or deicing truck, in Switzerland.

A pilot friend informed me that if a pilot hit something on the ground or taxyed off the taxyway or runway, there’s no mitigating excuse, none whatsoever, with the sole exception of the pilot and copilot both suffering heart attacks at the same time.

Indian Minister wants Danish cartoonists beheaded!

Here’s another bloke wanting to cash in the outrage over the caricatures for political advantage.

Mohammed Yaqoob Qureshi, a state minister in Uttar Pradesh, India, at a Muslim rally offered a reward of 510 million rupees and the killer’s weight in gold (which works out roughly to be RM 45 million or Aussie $15.58 million) for the beheading of any of the cartoonists of the caricatures of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

That’s inciting murder, but that’s a lot of money. He must be a generous man. Then he revealed that the reward will be paid by the taxpayers. Isn’t he just generous with other people’s money?

The government of Uttar Pradesh said the minister had made a personal statement, but it disgracefully failed to condemn him for inciting murder. Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state with a large Muslim community (and thus voters), which may explain why! The State government shamefully stated that Mohammad Yaqoob’s incitement did not violate government rules.

F**k government rules because the state government can make that up or even alter it as it sees fit, but what about the laws of the State and that of India?

The home secretary of the State government tried to evade the legal question by spinning: "The announcement has been made taking into account the feelings of the people. There is no offence to make such an announcement about a person living in a distant foreign country.”

Balderdash! India’s laws aren’t all that different from Britain's or Malaysia's, where it’s a crime to incite someone to kill. And Indian laws do not discriminate on whether the designated victim is a foreigner.

However, the national body of Muslim clerics slammed Yaqoob’s reward as anti-Islamic and anti-humanity. Mohammed Yaqoob Qureshi's inflammatory incitement is an example of how politicians make up fatwa or religious dictates as they go along, exploiting religion for their own political grandstanding rather than for pious belief. The unfortunate thing is that a hothead or one very poor Indian may take it into his mind to carry out the beheading.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Buried Village - Belay that Elated News

I am not sure what's going on re the mud buried school in the Philippines.

I posted the previous joyous news after reading the Reuters Alert, which claimed the news was confirmed by an Interior Minsitry official! But switching to BBC I read on its 'Latest' that the US rescuers have denied such a rescue.

The only thing true is the Taiwanese team using a sonic detecting equipment for life, but rescuers aren't too sure whether the sounds heard were that of the earth moving. Digging continues! Let's hope.

Reuters Alert now confirms the BBC report that no one has been rescued yet, contrary to Filipino Interior Ministry's announcement.


This is fantastic news!

A Taiwanese rescue team heard sounds from the school that had trapped school children and teachers after a giant mud slide buried the entire village of Guinsaugon. They realised the people trapped down in the school were knocking. Rescuers were recalled to start digging again.

The rescuers including US marines successfully broke through and pulled out 50 people still alive. The rescue has been confirmed by an Interior Ministry official on Filipino TV

Just don't "crack" our stuff or systems!

Look, I have nothing against new Federal Territories Minister Zulhasnan Rafique. Besides I have always like fighter pilots. This posting is not about him but rather the New Straits Times headline “New FT Minister gets cracking”.

I have heard this cliché so often, about ministers or head of departments who would “get cracking”, but no one in reality “got cracking”. What we have witnessed over the years have been a lot of “cracked” promises, and worse, the systems have also being irrevocably “cracked” after their administrations.

The PM seems to agree with me for he bemoaned billions wasted in repairing deteriorated or damaged buildings and facilities, that if attended to in a timely fashion, would involve less cost.

And before the PM could say "get cracking", Humpty Dumpty in an apple poli ..... eh ..... "cracking" mood, supported Tai Koh's comments. He declared that his ministry was prepared to "get cracking" to upgrade roads and public amenities that had "cracked". The more useful solution would be for Humpty to build them properly in the first place instead of the subsequent need to "get cracking" to repair something that ought not to have "cracked" so soon.

I am just sick of those tired empty headline-promises and wish we would get - no, not "cracking" - something more discerning like “Let’s see what the new Minister will do” or “We’ll be monitoring his performance”.

OK, let’s see what Zulhasnan Rafique has in store for us - hopefully nothing Humpty-Dumpty-ish - and monitor his performance as well. At the same time I wish well in his ministerial responsibilities.

Filipino SMS: "We are alive. Dig us out."

The mud slide disaster in Leyte Island in the Philippines has presented rescuers with the most daunting, frustrating and heartbreaking challenge. They are focusing on the rescue of over 200 school children and around 40 teachers trapped in a school buried under 10 metres of soft squashy mud, although deep in their hearts they know it may well be a futile effort.

The children and teachers had been sending desperate SMS messages imploring for help. One teacher SMS-ed her mother: "We're still in one room, alive." Another from a pupil read: "We are alive. Dig us out."

But the SMS messaging stopped late Friday. Let’s hope it’s only the phones’ batteries or some kind of transmission problems.

Filipino Congressman Roger Mercado claimed on Sunday that rescuers have reached the rooftop of the school building, and that they would continue digging and listening for any sounds beneath. But the subsequent lack of progress report diminished hopes of finding anyone alive in the school.

With storms approaching in the next 48 hours, the rain will make rescue operations even more difficult, if not impossible.

Already the Philippines government has been talking of a Memorial over the buried village to mark the mass grave beneath.

USA ever obedient to Israel!

In 2004 Peter Hanson, a Dane worked as the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA (UN Relief & Work Agency) which supported and aided the dispossessed Palestinians living in refugee camps, ironically in their very own homeland. Hanson was forced to resign from his post because Israel considered he had committed 2 grave sins – (1) he spoke the truth about the oppressive nature and conduct of the brutal Israeli military, and (2) he was too compassionate to the sufferings of the Palestinians.

Israel tried to get rid of him by presenting false evidence (in the form of satellite photos) that Hanson allowed UNRWA ambulance to transport rockets for the Palestinians insurgents, but failed miserably in its sinister attempts when the so-called Israeli evidence itself proved Hanson's innocence. Israel had to grudgingly apologised (though the apology was NOT published in Israel). The Israelis were not done because it rang up Washington and instructed the Americans to apply pressure on Kofi Annan to get rid of Peter Hanson.

An obedient US threatened the UN that it would withhold aid of $120 million for the UNRWA unless Peter Hanson leave. Coupled with the realisation that Israel would be playing vindictive bugger by obstructing the UNRWA every which way as long as he was still Commissioner-General, Hanson himself decided to resign.

As I remarked, such had been the power of Israel over the USA that it could order the USA to do what it wished.

It is happening again. Israel doesn’t want Hamas to assume the role of the Palestinian Authority and has been flinging threats of open sabotage left and right for the last couple of weeks. The USA has also openly agreed to Israel's demand and intention to overthrow a democratically elected Hamas.

Israel’s diabolical plan is to deprive the Palestinian people of a functioning government and make them suffer - hmmm, perhaps for daring to vote in Hamas - by denying them their own tax revenue [collected for them by Israel], jobs in Israel [stopping entry of Palestinian labourers into Israel] and principally to drive them into dissatisfaction with a financially deprived Hamas unable to administer as the Palestinian Authority. It is also restricting movement of Palestinian (Hamas) elected members between Gaza and Ramallah, the abode of the Palestinain Authority.

In total obedience to the command of the Hebrews, the USA now wants the Palestinian Authority to return the US aid of $50 million provided last year to the Fatah government for infrastructure projects. The current caretaker government of President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to return the $50 million.

The USA has also warned the Arab League and Iran not to provide finance for the Hamas-dominated Palestnian Authority. Though the Arab League has promised to provide the Palestinian Authority with $50 million per month for running costs, Hamas noted that even before Yasser Arafat passed away, only a fraction of that promised sum was ever delivered. Now, what more with the USA's warning, Hamas doesn't expect much from the League.

The Europeans who have been contributing 60% of total aid anually (approx $2 billion) to the Palestinians are probably the best hope of financial help. But the USA has been applying pressure on international bodies and governments to cut off financial assistance to the Palestinains.

I wonder what Dale Carnegie would have thought of the USA’s tactics in persuading the Palestinians people to go over to the side of Fatah rather than Hamas'.