- Mukhriz Mahathir The prince of Corruption & mismanagement inherited from his father Mahathir
- 'Dont corrupt people of Tenang!'
- Understanding Basic Islamic Principles Course for Non Muslims ~ Part 1
- Look Muhyiddin, Who is Playing Too Much Politics?
- 260111 Felda settlers 'voxpop'
- Nazri: No media clampdown in cyber-sedition guide
- 'No changes to PPPA ... yet'
- Smile action team ensures healthy teeth for Cambodia kids
- Cameron folks: Talk to us
- The Spelling Is Atrocious
- Dokumen Bukti Calon BN Tenang Berbohong
- Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein Information is the sustenance of revolution. Whether it is conveyed in a note your days are numbered
- Wednesday stories
- Calon UMNO Tenang: Sudahlah Cuai, Berbohong Pula
- PBB N22 “I’m Coming For You”
- Obama the Israeli whore
- Kumpulan berbaju T BN ganggu ceramah Guan Eng
- Harmony brings prosperity!
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 12:30 PM PST
England's corruptions and mismanagements discover'd. In a dialogue between Trueman and Legion. … Most humbly offered to the consideration of the Honourabl [sic] the Commons of England, …
The government will not look into claims by an international organisation that Malaysia had suffered illicit financial outflows in excess of US$291 billion due to corruption and mismanagement between 2000 and 2008.
International Trade and Industry deputy minister Mukhriz Mahathir said he does not see the relevance of the figures quoted in a recent Global Financial Integrity report.
The financial watchdog had listed Malaysia as the fifth-highest of countries that have lost public monies due to bad governance.
"We do not see the need to look into it. If you go through the report, they have made quite a few bizarre claims against several countries," he told a press conference after the launch of Google Malaysia's new office in Kuala Lumpur today.
"Going by Bank Negara's figures, we know how much exactly is going out so you can hardly consider those figures (from GFI) as factual."
This is only the second time the government has responded to the allegations outlined in the GFI report since the information was released last week.
Mukhriz's answer however contradicts the announcement made by deputy Finance Minister Donald Lim, who said yesterday that Bank Negara are conducting a thorough probe into GFI's claims and that the public can expect a reply soon.
A paper on corruption and mismanagement in government: Presented at the Seminar on Uganda's Economy, organised by the Ministry of Finance and Institute … Conference Centre, 12-16 December 1989
Lim nevertheless also questioned the veracity of the report, raising doubts over the international financial watchdog's reasons for releasing their information only now despite having monitored the situation since 2000.
"It was such a long, long time ago. If they were to state this information and ask back in 2005, then okay. But now?," Lim said.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak had earlier declined to comment when asked about the GFI report last Friday, leaving it to Bank Negara to respond with "more specific comments" to the allegations.
What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn't tell from that platitudinous hogwash that the president dished out Tuesday evening. I had expected Barack Obama to be his eloquent self, appealing to our better nature, but instead he was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate in a time of trouble. He embraced clean air and a faster Internet while ignoring the depth of our economic pain and the Wall Street scoundrels who were responsible — understandably so, since they so prominently populate the highest reaches of his administration. He had the effrontery to condemn "a parade of lobbyists" for rigging government after he appointed the top Washington representative of JPMorgan Chase to be his new chief of staff.
The best and worst boards of 1996: measuring corporate governance. (includes related article on criteria for selection of good and bad boards): An article from: Chief Executive (U.S.)
The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole. Instead the president conveyed the insular optimism of his fat-cat associates: "We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again." How convenient to ignore the fact that this bubble of prosperity, which has failed the tens of millions losing their homes and jobs, was floated by enormous government indebtedness now forcing deep cuts in social services including state financial aid for those better-educated students the president claims to be so concerned about.
CEOs: Yes, they make a difference: researchers find that bad leadership wrecks companies.(Brief article): An article from: Industrial Engineer
His references to education provided a convenient scapegoat for the failure of the economy, rather than to blame the actions of the Wall Street hustlers to whom Obama is now sucking up. Yes, it is an obvious good to have better-educated students to compete with other economies, but that is hardly the issue of the moment when all of the world's economies are suffering grievous harm resulting from the irresponsible behavior of the best and the brightest here at home. It wasn't the students struggling at community colleges who came up with the financial gimmicks that produced the Great Recession, but rather the super-whiz-kid graduates of the top business and law schools.
Of bad apples and bad trees: considering fault-based liability for the complicit corporation.(Symposium: Corporate Criminality: Legal, Ethical, and Managerial … article from: American Criminal Law Review
What nonsense to insist that low public school test scores hobbled our economy when it was the highest-achieving graduates of our elite colleges who designed and sold the financial gimmicks that created this crisis. Indeed, some of the folks who once designed the phony mathematical formulas underwriting subprime mortgage-based derivatives won Nobel prizes for their effort. A pioneer in the securitization of mortgage debt, as well as exporting jobs abroad, was one Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE, whom Obama recently appointed to head his new job creation panel.
Circles of influence: the long arm of Sarbanes-Oxley touches the private as well as the public sector–and that might not be so bad.(Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002): An article from: Leader's Edge
That the financial meltdown at the heart of our economic crisis was "avoidable" and not the result of long-run economic problems related to education and foreign competition is detailed in a sweeping report by the Democratic majority on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to be released as a 576-page book on Thursday. In a preview reported in theNew York Times, the commission concluded: "The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done. If we accept this notion, it will happen again."
Rules for rock-solid governance: 'Sutton's Laws' won't solve all the problems that boards face, but they can filter the bad boards from the good and help … Story): An article from: Directors & Boards
Just the warning that Obama has ignored by continually appointing the very people who engineered this crisis, mostly Clinton alums, to reverse its ongoing dire consequences. As the Times reports: "The decision in 2000 to shield the exotic financial instruments known as over-the-counter derivatives from regulation, made during the last year of President Bill Clinton's term, is called 'a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis.'"
Summit reform: the good and the bad news.(GLOBAL INSIGHTS: Responses to Paul Martin's Proposal for the L-20)(Essay): An article from: Global Governance
Obama appointed as his top economic adviser Lawrence Summers, who as Clinton's treasury secretary was the key architect of that "turning point," and Summers protégé Timothy Geithner as his own treasury secretary. The unanimous finding of the 10 Democrats on the commission is that Geithner, who had been president of the New York Fed before Obama appointed him, "could have clamped down" on excesses by Citigroup, the subprime mortgage leader that Geithner and the Fed bailed out along with other unworthy banking supplicants.
Profligate behavior has hobbled the economy while running up an enormous debt that Obama now uses as an excuse for a five-year freeze on discretionary domestic spending cuts, that small part of the budget that might actually help ordinary people. Speaking of our legacy of deficit spending, Obama stated, "… in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people's pockets. But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in."
Why now? It is an absurd demarcation to freeze spending when so many remain unemployed just because corporate profits, and therefore stock market valuations, seem firm. Ours is a union divided between those who agree with Obama that "the worst of the recession is over" and the far larger number in deep pain that this president is bent on ignoring.
International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukriz Mahathir said today that the government will not look into claims by international financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) that Malaysia had suffered illicit financial outflows in excess of RM888 billion or US$291 billion due to corruption and mismanagement between 2000 and 2008.
He categorically dismissed the GFI report listing Malaysia as the world's top-fifth country with illicit financial outlays in the past decade due to corruption and bad governance as bizarre.
Mukhriz told a press conference after launching Google Malaysia's new office in Kuala Lumpur:
"We do not see the need to look into it. If you go through the report, they have made quite a few bizarre claims against several countries.
"Going by Bank Negara's figures, we know how much exactly is going out so you can hardly consider those figures (from GFI) as factual."
Who is this "we" – Mukhriz and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak or Mukhriz and his father, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohhamad?
It is really bizarre that a lowly-ranked Deputy Minister like Mukhriz could openly contradict the Prime Minister's open directive to Bank Negara last Friday to explain Malaysia's RM888 billion illicit capital outflows in nine years from 2000 – 2008.
Five days ago, Najib said the RM888 billion illegal capital outflows could be for "many reasons" but he said: "let Bank Negara provide more specific comments on that".
Yesterday, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim said Bank Negara has already begun its probe into the GFI report.
How then could Mukhriz publicly contradict the Prime Minister and Deputy Finance Minister's statements, even countermanding them by dismissing the GFI report as "bizarre" and declaring that the government would not look into the GFI claims of RM888 billion illicit capital outflows from Malaysia from 2000 to 2008?
Mukhriz does not have the political weight or heft to contradict the Prime Minister's public statement unless he is speaking on behalf of his father, Tun Dr. Mahathir, the person who had brought down two Prime Ministers and would not hesitate to topple a third one!
Is Mukhriz sending out a pointed message on behalf of Mahathir that there should not be any public inquiry, let alone a Royal Commission of Inquiry, into e GFI's report of RM888 billion illicit capital outflows from Malaysia from 2000 to 2008 because of corruption and bad governance, as four of the nine years covered under this nine-year period would be under Mahathir's premiership?
Is Mukhriz' "bizarre" dismissal of GFI report that Malaysia lost RM888 billion in nine years in illicit capital outflows a pre-emptive strike by Mahathir to forestall full inquiry into corruption and financial scandals under Mahathir's premiership?
The abuse and mismanagement of HUD : hearings before the HUD/MOD Rehab Investigation Subcommittee of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, …
The abuse and mismanagement of HUD : hearings before the HUD/MOD Rehab Investigation Subcommittee of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, … (SuDoc Y 4.B 22/3:S.hrg.101-868/v.1-2)
Malaysians are reminded of the allegation by Barry Wain in his biography, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times" that the former Prime Minister had wasted or burned up to RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption in his 22 years as PM.
A full-fledged inquiry into GFI revelation of RM888 billion illicit capital outflows from 2000-2008 because of corruption and bad governance must involve re-opening investigations into the many corruption and financial scandals of the Mahathir era.
Is this what Mahathir trying to forestall with Mukhriz's dismissal as "bizarre" the GFI report?
The Cabinet met today. Malaysians are entitled to know whether GFI report of RM888 billion illicit capital outflows from 2000 to 2008 because of corruption and bad governance had been on the agenda of the meeting and the outcome or whether all Cabinet Ministers steered clear of the subject and there is nothing to report to the voters of Tenang voting in a by-election this Sunday?
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 09:15 AM PST
I like what Home Minister Hisham said in Labis on Tuesday that politic of racism, hatred and division is not accepted in Johor. Johorians, irrespective of race and religion will never advocate themselves to such a politic.
In a statement prior to Tenang by-election on Jan 30, he said nobody should be allowed to sow the seeds of hatred in the state because Johorians will not accept it.
Frankly, I admire how the people in Tenang are still one despite subscribing to different political ideology. The Malays, Chinese and Indians observe mutual respect and will not do anything to provoke each other into an argument or confrontation.
And Hisham is right. Johor politics differ from that of other states. I think its unique in the sense that their politicians do not really go for personal attacks or character assassination during campaigning. They normally go after professional arguments. It is only of late that one of two 'growing up' politicians have subscribed to unpleasant tactics.
I believe in what Hisham said. A few days in Tenang proved it. The unity demonstrated by its people is not similar with that of other places. The people not only know each other but also can tell one's house. The Malays, Chinese, Indians and others bump into each other mostly everyday at the 'pasar tani' and the wet market.
Some say such a social environment is attainable because Tenang is a small area. I agree but there are many other smaller constituencies in Malaysia where the people are not only politically divided but 'they screw each other' (the best to describe it,I guess!).
In Tenang, you can be a member of Umno, Pas, PKR, DAP, MCA, Gerakan and other parties but they always meet at coffee shops and other places. Members of Umno, Pas and PKR usually meet at suraus and mosques and they can talk for hours without offending one another.
Members of MCA and DAP share the same 'house of God' and meet up regularly to discuss social and political issues but they never land a fist on each other's face.
For years, this people have observed mutual understanding and respect. For outsiders who came to Tenang for the by-election, they too should recognise the fact that Tenang's unity is not easy to be rattled. Badmouth campaigning should be avoided as the people, irrespective of politics, do not like it.
In fact, both candidates Azahar (BN) and Normala (PR) are not aliens in Tenang and Labis. Both are well respected and recognised for their contribution to the constituents.
As how Hisham puts it - dont corrupt the people of Tenang with bad politics! Let's have a clean one...
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 09:28 AM PST
Assalamualaikum. Peace be upon you.
Alhamdulillah! All praises be to Allah, our Lord and Supreme Master.
I get to share more with you about the basic principles of Al Islam and why it is important for each and every one of us human beings to study the only faith from The Almighty God of us all and for those of you who have yet to become Muslim, I dedicate this series to be a guide for all mankind based on what I have come to learn for myself and am still learning while I am still alive.
For today's session, I'd like to take you back to the stage in Time when our Parents, Sayyidina Adam Alaihis Salam and Sayyidatina Hawwa Radhiallahu Anha went against the prohibition of Almighty Allah to not eat of the forbidden fruit when they were in Paradise.
You see, being Muslims, we believe in the unseen realm that is there but we just can't see it but have faith in it. Just like the matter of our living, breathing soul. Our life force if you wish to call it so?
It is our living soul within our mortal self that keeps us alive. Once our soul @ Ruuh is taken out from our body, we cease to live in this mortal world.
No matter how much we wish to remain alive, once our time is up, there is no one who can prolong our existence here on Earth save for Almighty Allah!
The doctors and surgeons will throw up their hands and say that they have done their best and it is all up to God now as to prolong our life here in this world or depart to the next?
Whatever we as human beings come to believe in the Unseen God is born of firm unshakable faith that God Almighty is Ever Present and it is He Who created us all and all those who lived before us in times gone by and the myriad of creation and creatures that have come to be and perished, swallowed in Time but they have left their mark in this Mother Earth and in the hearts and minds of those who choose to reflect, recall and remember.
For those of us who choose to study our Islamic Faith, it is incumbent upon us to attain the necessary bedrock of faith that is grounded in a solid state of belief in Allah and His Final Messenger.
All those historical events that took place in years and ages gone by are revealed for us by The Almighty Who chose to share it with us through His Greatest Messenger Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam, Rahmatulil Alamin.
Allah's Mercy to the entire universes.
All these information that I'm sharing with you can only be fathomed and understood by those of you who have a certain level of the faculty of rational thought and logical reasoning based upon an awareness of Life and the various degrees of comprehension and skill of contemplation.
I know that I promised to keep my sharing here as simple as possible but in certain matters such as this turning point that caused Adam Alaihis Salam and Hawwa Radhiallahu Anha to be evicted from the Heavens is something that only those capable of envisioning the existence of the spiritual realm and various other dimensions of being can come to understand and appreciate just what I am sharing here with you, my respected readers.
Islam can be as simple as ABC and also at the same time be as complex as the multitudes of interstellar galaxies that are found in outer space beyond our most vivid imaginations.
Its really up to us as to how we choose to go about studying it?
Muslims who are true to the Islamic Faith believe in Allah the Almighty firmly not just by blind faith only but by reason.
We don't simply follow what our forefathers did but we study our faith and investigate as to the reasons why we have to do this or that in our Islamic way of life?
There are many out there today who speak as if they know the answers to all that takes place before their very eyes but most often end up clueless about things when it involves spiritual matters and they dismiss it off as something paranormal.
Hehehehe..run of the mill simple excuse.
Islamic teachings however can be as simple as ABC or as complex as things can be?
Right to the minutest details, scientists are now discovering that whatever has been revealed in the Holy Al Quran a thousand four hundred thirty over years ago, when no one knew about atoms or cells, even the microscope wasn't invented then!
Okay, let me start with sharing with you some basics of the Islamic faith.
Islam can be likened to an oak tree or any other large solid tree for the matter.
We see the upper part of the tree which is above ground but deep below firmly entrenched into the earth is a whole system of wide network of roots which bore deep down and also spread all around the area in all directions!
These roots hold up the large tree trunk and supports the huge weight of the tree and its branches. Those branches in turn support the leaves and bear the brunt of the fruits when they are in season.
Islam is like the tree. The main trunk of faith for us Muslims is the Aqeedah. Aqeedah means Creed.
It is the core essence of a Muslim's being. Just like the trunk of the tree. It has to be firm and healthy. If it is left to rot, chances are that the tree trunk will soon be corroded and rot away. The chances of it breaking apart or come crashing down will be more if such a situation should be allowed to take place?
We must have our basic belief in Allah firmly secure and persevere in learning more and more about our faith with every passing moment of the remaining time we still have, living here upon this Earth.
We have only this one chance to correct ourselves and strive to be a good, knowledgeable and practicing Muslim who is both kind and courteous to all whom we are privileged to live together with or meet.
We can't afford to go astray and condemn ourselves to be amongst those headed towards the Hellfire! Truly that is not the wish of any sane human being?
Let's not be amongst those who just put up an act of being holy moly in public yet be amongst the hypocrites in private! God Forbid! We know that there are a whole lot of those who are Muslim just in name amongst us.
Same like a Muslim who doesn't have a strong sense of faith in the Almighty Allah. If he or she doesn't study his or her Islamic faith and put it to practice by having a firm belief in it, chances are that the individual will likely go astray like in the case of Lina Joy and Benjamin Stephen, both infamous local apostates who are now on the run from the authorities.
Aqeedah @ Creed of Islam is a matter of faith. Belief. Dealing with the Faculty of Reason. Needs to be understood by having the ability to think and contemplate. You need to be able to process information using your brain and reason using logical and critical thinking.
You must know what believing is about? You can't rubber stamp faith with just following blindly because you see others doing it, so you just follow blindly without asking or questioning?
This is what makes Islam so appealing to those who have the intellectual capability to process information and to come to a logical decision about matters concerning the Principles of Islam and its bedrock of faith.
There are mainly 6 important Principles of Faith that every true Muslim has to firmly believe, study and accept.
If you have the slightest of doubts about any of these 6 Principles of Faith of Islam, your status as a Muslim becomes suspect and you might end up as a Disbeliever.
What are these 6 Principles of Faith that I am talking about here?
These 5 Principles of Islam are the bedrock of faith that if not practiced will render one's status as a Muslim null and void. Like operating without licence or permit! :)
First and foremost, will be :
I wish you the best in learning about Islam, the only faith from our Creator, Allah the Most Compassionate, Most Patient, Most Kind. All praises and glories be to Him, Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem.
Truly, I marvel at His Magnificence, His Forbearing with our human attitudes and recalcitrant ways, always in strife and animosity towards one another and our often stubborn attitude in defying Him whenever we feel that we are capable of this and that without realizing our fragility. Our temporarinesses. Our life that can be extinguished at any given second.
Really, I'm so humbled before His Mercy towards us, mankind.
May Allah bless and guide us all towards His Forgiveness.
Don't try to rush things. Learning about your birthright to be as a Muslim should be done naturally and a step at a time.
Ask questions if you have any but do so in an appropriate way and manner following which those whom you ask will feel inclined to help teach you about Islam in a way that is just and correct.
As for myself, I will share with you when I have the chance or opportunity to do so. Am getting busier by the day because I'm working on a media project right now where I have to focus my energies and attention towards earning my keep in order to be able to carry out my dakwah projects which do require funds and finances as much as I do need to support myself and my family.
Thus, I'm forced to be burning the midnight oil so to speak! :)
God Willing, I'll share more with you in the next article.
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 07:27 AM PST
From Straight Talk – by Khoo Kay Peng
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said excessive politicking gave an impression that Malaysia is too preoccupied with political bickering that more important things are being neglected.
Muhyiddin should walk his talk on curbing excessive politicking in his own backyard too. He should immediately put a stop to making a pass of the history subject a compulsory at the SPM level.
He should order a review of the history curriculum and contents to reflect a true and comprehensive account of the national history. Repeated calls for an immediate review were ignored by him and his ministry. The fact is the history subject aims to promote certain distorted views/facts about the making of this nation.
It is one of the worse abuses of Malaysia's diversity and national history by trying to corrupt the minds of young Malaysians.
On the same breath, he asked for Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim's resignation for failing to obtain 2/3 majority to pass the motion to amend the state constitution to empower the state top executive on appointment of top state civil servant.
This is another form of politicking. Muhyiddin has resorted to poor politicking as quick as he has asked for it to be curbed.
Although I am appalled by the Selangor Pakatan's government fiddling with feudalism, I support the amendment on the basis of power decentralisation. Malaysia is a federation of states. In the true spirit of the federal constitution, a state government should be allowed to appoint its own top civil servant.
Over the last few decades, the federal government has usurped almost the entire state autonomy. It was allowed to happen because the same ruling regime has been controlling both the federal and most of the state governments since independence.
For the sake this country, Muhyiddin should support the amendment and return the state power to the state executives. It is obvious that BN state representatives had been partisan in their rejection of the motion to return the power to appoint a top state civil servant back to the state.
Muhyiddin should walk his own talk. He should not over politicize his own ministry of education and look into the grouses on the recent controversial book 'Interlok'.
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 04:24 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 04:18 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 03:42 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 03:40 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 02:33 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 01:54 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 01:43 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 05:55 AM PST
The BN government has been busy with the upcoming by-elections.
As usual, the standard fare of bribing the constituency with money and other gifts has been employed.
To enhance the gameplan, an additional treat of flinging mud at the opposing party candidate is rampant. She has taken it in her stride though.
The propaganda machinery, Bernama, has been spinning furiously. Lies have spewed from every angle like vomit from a inebriated drunkard.
They have obviously been too busy to even check the spelling of their news items.
(click to enlarge)
Ah, the demands in the life of a prosti-journalist.
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 02:53 AM PST
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 01:48 AM PST
The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 will be amended to expand its scope and include 'publications' posted online and plug loopholes, Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam aid.
Among other things, the ministry is looking at the definition of "publication" and whether it should include Internet content, blogs or Facebook for the law to keep pace with the changing landscape of the digital era.
Mahmood said the ministry was working with the Attorney-General's Chambers to study the proposed amendments.
"We hope the amendments will be tabled in Parliament by March, because we need to overcome weaknesses, especially those involving multimedia content," he said after presenting appointment letters to members and associate members of the Film Censorship Board and Film Appeal Board in Putrajaya yesterday.
"We have to expand the Act so that it does not only cover the print media, because the landscape is totally different now, especially with the intrusion of digital technology," he said.
It is expected that online news websites, as with the traditional media, will required to apply for government-issued publication licences.The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society
'Amendments not meant to tighten control'
Mahmood said the ministry monitored Internet content on a daily basis, including what was shown on the online video site YouTube.
He said the amendments were not meant to tighten control over the press but to address loopholes in the law and make it more inclusive.
"We monitor what is in YouTube and discuss it. We won't be able to control it, but we have to see how to go about it."
On films, Mahmood said the ministry was also updating the guidelines and standard operating procedures of film censorship to cope with current downloading technologies available.
He said although the existing guidelines were only a year old, they had to be modified to ensure they suited the 1Malaysia concept of giving priority to the people's interests.
"Modification of the guidelines is to ensure we can control the entry of films using the latest technology, such as pen-drives and computers.
During the street demonstrations in Tunis, amidst the signs demanding "Ben Ali Out" were placards saying "Thank you, Al Jazeera."
The Qatar-based pan-Arab television network has never been allowed to open a bureau in Tunisia — a prescient if ultimately unsuccessful tactic by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's government — but that did not stop it from serving as a relay mechanism, collecting material from Facebook pages, independent websites, blogs, Twitter feeds, cell phone video, and other citizen journalism venues and feeding it to the vast satellite television audience in Tunisia and throughout the Arab world. The extent of opposition to Ben Ali and his vicious response were visible to all.
Satellite television and online communication do not respect political borders, and governments' measures to block them can be successful only briefly; such efforts are like trying to hold back the tide. For Tunisians, whose own, government-controlled news media provided no honest coverage of the uprising, Al Jazeera became a priceless supplier of information. Evidence of the revolt's increasing traction was amply documented, encouraging those who had believed at first that the dictatorship was too strong to be toppled.
Information is the sustenance of revolution. Whether it is conveyed in a note surreptitiously passed hand to hand or in a broadcast the entire world can watch, evidence of corruption and calls for citizens to rally in the streets pull individuals together, letting them share a reservoir of truth. This is politically intoxicating, and it fuels the collective courage needed to challenge a government.
Sometimes these challenges will fail because those who hold power are too strong and are willing to fight back, as was the case in Iran in 2009. But in countries such as Egypt and Algeria, where the governments' strength is questionable, events in Tunisia will be watched closely — by government opponents looking for pointers and by governments themselves as they search for ways to avoid a collapse like Ben Ali's.
This is not a new phenomenon. In 1989, West German television penetrated borders and delivered images from Tiananmen Square to East Germans. They were encouraged by the Chinese protests and a few months later took their own steps toward democracy by ripping apart the Berlin Wall. Today, information is far more plentiful, and in the Arab world Al Jazeera's credibility is such that governments must appraise its influence carefully.
In Tunisia, the uprising was triggered by the self-immolation of a young man who was overwhelmed by the hopelessness of life under oppressive rule. His sacrifice galvanized thousands more whose patience was at an end. The Ben Ali government controlled traditional news outlets and was clearly surprised by the speed and pervasiveness of the information flow, particularly the incendiary messages and images (not all of them accurate) that spread through social media. The government's repressive response was depicted on blood red web pages and in text messages that moved in such volume that public anger soon outstripped the government's ability to contain it.
There are lessons here for those who conduct public diplomacy. The relative ease of sidestepping government media controls by using new media was once again on display. Also underscored was the ability of an outside information source – in this case Al Jazeera — to provide news that a government did not want its people to know about. Publics can increasingly be reached directly, and they are increasingly receptive to messages from beyond conventional providers.
An unforeseen event such as the suicide in Tunisia could happen elsewhere. The potent combination of satellite television and social media ensures that news about any such occurrence will move rapidly through the Arab world, and public anger such as that seen in Tunisia could explode.
In the era of Al Jazeera and Facebook, repression will not remain invisible for long and dissent will be harder to contain. Governments that are taken by surprise and respond as Ben Ali's did in Tunisia will find themselves unable to survive. Local, regional, and world opinion will quickly turn against them, and gradually the ability to inform and to mobilize will supersede the absolutist controls some governments still embrace. In yet more countries, we may see protestors waving signs saying, "Thank you, Al Jazeera."
Here's one obvious lesson of the Tunisian Revolution of 2011: paranoia about Muslim fundamentalist movements and terrorism is causing Washington to make bad choices that will ultimately harm American interests and standing abroad. State Department cable traffic from capitals throughout the Greater Middle East, made public thanks to WikiLeaks, shows that U.S. policy-makers have a detailed and profound picture of the depths of corruption and nepotism that prevail among some "allies" in the region.
The same cable traffic indicates that, in a cynical Great Power calculation, Washington continues to sacrifice the prospects of the region's youth on the altar of "security." It is now forgotten that America's biggest foreign policy headache, the Islamic Republic of Iran, arose in response to American backing for Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the despised Shah who destroyed the Iranian left and centrist political parties, paving the way for the ayatollahs' takeover in 1979.
State Department cables published via WikiLeaks are remarkably revealing when it comes to the way Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his extended family (including his wife Leila's Trabelsi clan) fastened upon the Tunisian economy and sucked it dry. The riveting descriptions of U.S. diplomats make the presidential "family" sound like True Blood's vampires overpowering Bontemps, Louisiana.
In July of 2009, for instance, the U.S. ambassador dined with Nesrine Ben Ali el-Materi and Sakher el-Materi, the president's daughter and son-in-law, at their sumptuous mansion. Materi, who rose through nepotism to dominate Tunisia's media, provided a 12-course dinner with Kiwi juice — "not normally available here" — and "ice cream and frozen yoghurt he had flown in from Saint Tropez," all served by an enormous staff of well-paid servants. The ambassador remarked on the couple's pet tiger, "Pasha," which consumed "four chickens a day" at a time of extreme economic hardship for ordinary Tunisians.
Other cables detail the way the Ben Ali and Trabelsi clans engaged in a Tunisian version of insider trading, using their knowledge of the president's upcoming economic decisions to scarf up real estate and companies they knew would suddenly spike in value. In 2006, the U.S. ambassador estimated that 50 percent of the economic elite of Tunisia was related by blood or marriage to the president, a degree of nepotism hard to match outside some of the Persian Gulf monarchies.
Despite full knowledge of the corruption and tyranny of the regime, the U.S. embassyconcluded in July 2009: "Notwithstanding the frustrations of doing business here, we cannot write off Tunisia. We have too much at stake. We have an interest in preventing al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other extremist groups from establishing a foothold here. We have an interest in keeping the Tunisian military professional and neutral."
The notion that, if the U.S. hadn't given the Tunisian government hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid over the past two and a half decades, while helping train its military and security forces, a shadowy fringe group calling itself "al Qaeda in the Maghreb" might have established a "toehold" in the country was daft. Yet this became an all-weather, universal excuse for bad policy.
In this regard, Tunisia has been the norm when it comes to American policy in the Muslim world. The Bush administration's firm support for Ben Ali makes especially heinous the suggestion of some neoconservative pundits that George W. Bush's use of democratization rhetoric for neo-imperialist purposes somehow inspired the workers and internet activists of Tunisia (none of whom ever referenced the despised former US president). It would surely have been smarter for Washington to cut the Ben Ali regime off without a dime, at least militarily, and distance itself from his pack of jackals. The region is, of course, littered with dusty, creaking, now exceedingly nervous dictatorships in which government is theft. The U.S. receives no real benefits from its damaging association with them.
No Dominoes to Fall
The Bush administration's deeply flawed, sometimes dishonest Global War on Terror replayed the worst mistakes of Cold War policy. One of those errors involved recreating the so-called domino theory — the idea that the U.S. had to make a stand in Vietnam, or else Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and the rest of Asia, if not the world, would fall to communism. It wasn't true then — the Soviet Union was, at the time, less than two decades from collapsing — and it isn't applicable now in terms of al Qaeda. Then and now, though, that domino theory prolonged the agony of ill-conceived wars.
Despite the Obama administration's abandonment of the phrase "war on terror," the impulses encoded in it still powerfully shape Washington's policy-making, as well as its geopolitical fears and fantasies. It adds up to an absurdly modernized version of domino theory. This irrational fear that any small setback for the U.S. in the Muslim world could lead straight to an Islamic caliphate lurks beneath many of Washington's pronouncements and much of its strategic planning.
A clear example can be seen in the embassy cable that acquiesced in Washington's backing of Ben Ali for fear of the insignificant and obscure "al Qaeda in the Maghreb." Despite the scary name, this small group was not originally even related to Usamah Bin Laden's al Qaeda, but rather grew out of the Algerian Muslim reformist movement called Salafism.
If the U.S. stopped giving military aid to Ben Ali, it was implied, Bin Laden might suddenly be the caliph of Tunis. This version of the domino theory — a pretext for overlooking a culture of corruption, as well as human rights abuses against dissidents — has become so widespread as to make up the warp and woof of America's secret diplomatic messaging.
Sinking Democracy in the Name of the War on Terror
Take Algeria, for instance. American military assistance to neighboring Algeria has typically grown from nothing before September 11th to nearly a million dollars a year. It may be a small sum in aid terms, but it is rapidly increasing, and it supplements far more sizeable support from the French. It also involves substantial training for counterterrorism; that is, precisely the skills also needed to repress peaceful civilian protests.
Ironically, the Algerian generals who control the strings of power were the ones responsible for radicalizing the country's Muslim political party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Allowed to run for office in 1992, that party won an overwhelming majority in parliament. Shocked and dismayed, the generals abruptly abrogated the election results. We will never know if the FIS might have evolved into a parliamentary, democratic party, as later happened to the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, the leaders of which had been Muslim fundamentalists in the 1990s.
Angered at being deprived of the fruits of its victory, however, FIS supporters went on the offensive. Some were radicalized and formed an organization they called the Armed Islamic Group, which later became an al Qaeda affiliate. (A member of this group, Ahmed Ressam, attempted to enter the U.S. as part of the "millennial plot" to blow up Los Angeles International Airport, but was apprehended at the border.) A bloody civil war then broke out in which the generals and the more secular politicians were the winners, though not before 150,000 Algerians died. As with Ben Ali in neighboring Tunisia, Paris and Washington consider President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika (elected in 1999) a secular rampart against the influence of radical Muslim fundamentalism in Algeria as well as among the Algerian-French population in France.
To outward appearances, in the first years of the twenty-first century, Algeria regained stability under Bouteflika and his military backers, and the violence subsided. Criticscharged, however, that the president connived at legislative changes, making it possible for him to run for a third term, a decision that was bad for democracy. In the 2009 presidential election, he faced a weak field of rivals and his leading opponent was a woman from an obscure Trotskyite party.
Cables from the U.S. embassy (revealed again by WikiLeaks) reflected a profound unease with a growing culture of corruption and nepotism, even though it was not on a Tunisian scale. Last February, for example, Ambassador David D. Pearce reportedthat eight of the directors of the state oil company Sonatrach were under investigation for corruption. He added, "This scandal is the latest in a dramatically escalating series of investigations and prosecutions that we have seen since last year involving Algerian government ministries and public enterprises. Significantly, many of the ministries affected are headed by ministers considered close to Algerian President Bouteflika…"
And this was nothing new. More than three years earlier, the embassy in Algiers was already sounding the alarm. Local observers, it reported to Washington, were depicting President Bouteflika's brothers "Said and Abdallah, as being particularly rapacious." Corruption was spreading into an increasingly riven and contentious officer corps. Unemployment among youth was so bad that they were taking to the Mediterranean on rickety rafts in hopes of getting to Europe and finding jobs. And yet when you read the WikiLeaks cables you find no recommendations to stop supporting the Algerian government.
As usual when Washington backs corrupt regimes in the name of its war on terror, democracy suffers and things slowly deteriorate. Bouteflika's flawed elections, which aimed only at ensuring his victory, for instance, actively discouraged moderate fundamentalists from participating and some observers now think that Algeria, already roiled by food riots, could face Tunisian-style popular turmoil. (It should be remembered, however, that the Algerian military and secret police, with years of grim civil-war experience behind them, are far more skilled at oppressive techniques of social control than the Tunisian army.)
Were oil-rich Algeria, a much bigger country than Tunisia, to become unstable, it would be a strategically more striking and even less predictable event. Blame would have to be laid not just at the feet of Bouteflika and his corrupt cronies, but at those of his foreign backers, deeply knowledgeable (as the WikiLeaks cables indicate) but set in their policy ways.
The Ben Alis of Central Asia
Nor is the problem confined to North Africa or even anxious U.S.-backed autocrats in the Arab world. Take the natural gas and gold-rich Central Asian country of Uzbekistan with a population of about 27 million, whose corruption the U.S. embassy was cabling about as early as 2006. The dictatorial but determinedly secular regime of President Islam Karimov was an early Bush administration ally in its Global War on Terror, quite happy to provide Washington with torture-inspired confessions from "al-Qaeda" operatives, most of whom, according to former British ambassador Craig Murray, were simply ordinary Uzbek dissidents. (Although Uzbeks have a Muslim cultural heritage, decades of Soviet rule left most of the population highly secularized, and except in the Farghana Valley, the Muslim fundamentalist movement is tiny.) Severe human rights abuses finally caused even the Bush administration to criticize Karimov, leading Tashkent to withdraw basing rights in that country from the U.S. military.
In recent years, however, a rapprochement has occurred, as Washington's regional security obsessions once again came to the fore and the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan's northwest tribal belt ramped up. The Obama administration is now convinced that it needs Uzbekistan for the transit of supplies to Afghanistan and that evidently trumps all other policy considerations. As a result, Washington is now providing Uzbekistan with hundreds of millions of dollars in Pentagon contracts, a recipe for further corruption.
Last spring, one Central Asian government — Kyrgyzstan's – fell, thanks to popular discontent, which should have been a warning to Washington, and yet U.S. officials already appear to have forgotten what lessons those events held for its policies in the region. As long as ruler Kurmanbek Bakiev allowed the U.S. to use Manas Air Base for the transit and supply of American troops in Afghanistan, Washington overlooked his corruption and his authoritarian ways. Then it turned out that his regime was not as stable as had been assumed.
Here's a simple rule of thumb in such situations: bad policy creates even worse policy. The Obama administration's mistake in ramping up its Afghan War left it needing ever more supplies, worrying about perilous supply lines through Pakistan, and so vulnerable to transit blackmail by the ruling kleptocracies of Central Asia. When their populations, too, explode into anger, the likely damage to U.S. interests could be severe.
And keep in mind that, as the State Department again knows all too well, Afghanistan itself is increasingly just a huge, particularly decrepit version of Ben Ali's Tunisia. U.S. diplomats were at least somewhat wary of Ben Ali. In contrast, American officials wax fulsome in their public praise of Afghan President Hamid Karzai (even if privately they are all too aware of the weakness and corruption of "the mayor of Kabul"). They continue to insist that the success of his government is central to the security of the North American continent, and for that reason, Washington is spending billions of dollars propping him up.
Corruption Triumphant in the Name of Counterterrorism
Sometimes it seems that all corrupt regimes backed by the U.S. are corrupt in the same repetitive way. For instance, one form of corruption U.S. embassy cables particularly highlighted when it came to the Ben Ali and Trabelsi clans in Tunisia was the way they offered "loans" to their political supporters and family members via banks they controlled or over which they had influence.
Since these recipients understood that they did not actually have to repay the loans, the banks were weakened and other businesses then found it difficult to get credit, undermining the economy and employment. Thanks to the Jasmine revolution, the problem finally is beginning to be addressed. After the flight of Ben Ali, the Central Bank director was forced to resign, and the new government seized the assets of the Zitoune Bank, which belonged to one of his son-in-laws.
Similarly, in Afghanistan, Da Kabul Bank, founded by Karzai ally Sherkan Farnood, was used as a piggy bank for Karzai's presidential campaign and for loans to members of his family as well as the families of the warlords in his circle. Recipients included Karzai's brother Mahmoud Karzai and Haseen Fahim, the son of his vice president and former Northern Alliance warlord Marshal Mohammad Fahim. Some of the money was used to buy real estate in Dubai. When a real estate bust occurred in that country, the value of those properties as collateral plummeted.
With recipients unable to service or repay their debts, the bank teetered on the edge of insolvency with potentially dire consequences for the entire Afghan financial system, as desperate crowds gathered to withdraw their deposits. In the end, the bank was taken over by an impoverished Afghan government, which undoubtedly means that the American taxpayer will end up paying for the mismanagement and corruption.
Just as the Ben Ali clique outdid itself in corruption, so, too, Karzai's circle is full of crooks. American diplomats (among others) have, for instance, accused his brother Wali Ahmed of deep involvement in the heroin trade. With dark humor, the American embassy in Kabul reported last January that Hamid Karzai had nominated, and parliament had accepted, for the counter-narcotics post in the cabinet one Zarar Ahmad Moqbel. He had earlier been Deputy Interior Minister, but was removed for corruption. Another former Deputy Interior Minister evidently even informed embassy officials that "Moqbel was supported by the drug mafia, to include Karzai's younger half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai and Arif Khan Noorzai." This is being alleged of Afghanistan's current counter-narcotics czar!
Or take the example of Juma Khan Hamdard, whom Karzai appointed governor of Paktya Province in the Pashtun-dominated eastern part of Afghanistan. A little over a year ago, the embassy accused him of being the leader of "a province-wide corruption scheme." He is said to have been "the central point of a vast corruption network involving the provincial chief of police and several Afghan ministry line directors."
According to that WikiLeaks-released cable, Hamdard's network had set up a sophisticated money-skimming operation aimed at milking U.S. funds going into reconstruction projects. They gamed the bids on the contracts to do the work and then took cuts at every stage from groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting.
In addition, Governor Hamdard was reported to have longstanding ties to the Hizb-i Islami militia/party movement of Gulbaddin Hikmatyar, one of the Pashtun guerrilla leaders trying to expel the U.S. and NATO from the country, who, U.S. officials claim, is in turn in a vague alliance with the Taliban. Hamdard allegedly also has a business in Dubai in which Hikmatyar's son is a partner, and is accused in the cable of funneling jewels and drug money to Hikmatyar loyalists. As with Tunisia, the public rhetoric of counterterrorism belies a corrupt and duplicitous ruling elite that may, by its actions, foster rather than forestall radicalism.
For a superpower obsessed with conspiracy theories and invested in the status quo, knowing everything, it turns out, means knowing nothing at all. WikiLeaks has done us the favor, however, of releasing a harsh set of truths. Hard-line policies such as those of the Algerian generals or of Uzbekistan's Karimov often radicalize economically desperate and oppressed populations. As a result, U.S. backing has a significant probability of boomeranging sooner or later. Elites, confident that they will retain such backing as long as there is an al-Qaeda cell anywhere on the planet, tend to overreach, plunging into cultures of corruption and self-enrichment so vast that they undermine economies, while producing poverty, unemployment, despair, and ultimately widespread public anger.
It is not that the United States should be, in John Quincy Adams's phrase, going out into the world to find dragons to slay. Washington is no longer all-powerful, if it ever was, and President Obama's more realistic foreign policy is a welcome change from George W. Bush's frenetic interventionism.
Nonetheless, Obama has left in place, or in some cases strengthened, one of the worst aspects of Bush-era policy: a knee-jerk support for self-advertised pro-Western secularists who promise to block Muslim fundamentalist parties (or, in the end, anyone else) from coming to power. There should be a diplomatic middle path between overthrowing governments on the one hand, and backing odious dictatorships to the hilt on the other.
It's time for Washington to signal a new commitment to actual democracy and genuine human rights by simply cutting off military and counterterrorism aid to authoritarian and corrupt regimes that are, in any case, digging their own graves.
Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. His latest book, Engaging the Muslim World, is just out in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan. He runs the Informed Comment website. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Cole discusses Washington's backing of corrupt autocratic regimes globally, click here or, to download it to your iPod, .
Copyright 2011 Juan Cole
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 01:12 AM PST
In The Star today there are funny and scary stories.
Really, really Scary
Home Ministry Sec-Gen Mahmood Adam announced that the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 will be amended to expand its scope and include 'publications posted online....
And his stated reason for this? To plug loopholes. But we all know what the real reasons are, right? Do not allow return to the days when the government has the complete monopoly on truth. Don't stand for it. Protest. Make your voices heard. NIAMAH!!!
Rosmah Mansor says that Malaysia has won the admiration of many Islamic countries due to its ability to achieve peace and stability in a multi-religious environment. Barely. But I guess she is right to a certain extent. But not if our YB's can help it la.
The scary bit
In the same statement Rosmah also said, "Malaysia is a multi-racial country but it also an Islamic country" But she was quick to add, " However, we practise moderation at the same time." And judging from the photo of her in The Star today I guess she actually has. Practised moderation I mean.
Scary and maybe even funny
Did you know that we are going to have our own destructive crash test facility that will focus on impact with motorcycles and pedestrians by middle of the year? This was announced by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research D.G., Prof. Dr. Ahmad Farhan Mohd. Focus on impact with motorcyles and pedestrians? I thought it was simply that if you're a pedestrian and you impact with motorcycles and other heavy moving objects being driven recklessly you DIE! Simple what? Need to test meh? This facility is going to cost Malaysian tax-payers RM5million.
The Deputy Prime Minister says that there is currently too much politicking in Malaysia and many citizens living overseas are wondering what has become of the country. Muhyiddin also said the excessive politicking also gave an impression that Malaysia is too preoccupied with political bickering that more important things are being neglected.
Well, you don't say YB! Really ah? And who are among the biggest bicker-ers I wonder?
Teohlogy - the word according to Patrick Teoh
Now available at all major book stores @RM38
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 12:49 AM PST
NOTA EDITOR: Calon UMNO Tenang di dalam membalas soalan wartawan berkaitan isu ini berkata isu ini telah selesai di mahkamah.
Kalau calon UMNO Tenang tidak dapat menjawab soalan YB Salahuddin Ayub di bawah, maka WAJIBLAH beliau letak jawatan kerana terbukti dengan jelas BELIAU TELAH BERBOHONG:
Bohong: PAS desak calon BN tarik diri
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 12:22 AM PST
When N22 was mentioned at lunch this afternoon one mans eyes gleamed with full of enthusiasm and anticipation. Here is one seat which this man holds dear eventhough in 1991 he stood as a candidate and losts in a five cornered fight against the eventual winner in BN Candidate Julaihi Narawi.
The sudden surge of PKR which seemingly felt at one time all-out no-holds-barred assault on the Sarawak BN has somewhat losts momentum. But our man Maxwell Rojis 58 has withstood the temptation to leave PKR and jump overboard into the reenergised SNAP or even to BN parties.
He knows that his people still live without basic amenities such as roads, jetties, clinics, treated drinking water, and electricity. Time for them has stood still since independence in 1963.Moreover there has been many promises and 'we want change and everyone in BN has been given too long to change and yet nothing has improved dramatically in Sebuyau.
When we told Max that Julaihi Narawi (BN-PBB) has withstood the challenges and yet he won on numerous occasions in this constituency of 7549 what chances does he have?
He replied,"I have a fair chance and if given the mandate by PKR I will give him a fair run for his money. I am afterall the Vice chairman of PKR Division Batang Lupar and I know the terrain very well and if PKR is looking for a winnable candidate they will not have to look far."
Just as we were putting this article together,"Max send us another sms,"PKR is a party that wants winners and rests assured I will be a winner this time for them" My relationship with the voters in the area are good and I am always on the ground.He knows that the incumbent is warily looking over the shoulder and knows that Max will surely give him a run for his money "
He also said that previously PKR fielded Mohamad Akek and he was defeated easily by Julaihi and the might of BN machinery. But this time round he assures the PKR hierarchy that it will be different. The mood of the people has changed especially with so many issues and the mosts outstanding one is the "land grabbing issue" and also the overstaying of Taib as Chief Minister in Sarawak.
Max knows that this is the bests time for PKR and its Pakatan Sarawak partners to cross swords with the BN4 in PBB,SUPP,PRS and SPDP. In 1987 at the height of the Ming Court affair there were no helpers from the Peninsular as PBDS and Maju group stood alone as he remembers very well. The surge of SNAP going after 28 seats has also created tension amongst the Pakatan fold but Max says that its only mathematics that counts.
BN wants winnable candidates the same goes for Pakatan. I just hope that the leaders will be sensible enough and matured to sit down and negotiate who will be bests served in the 71 seats. The cake is big enough for everyone and the common enemy is BN.No one else."
When asks about the possibility of being "persuaded" after nomination to relinquish he said put it in writing," NO WAY NOT MY STYLE". So it seems the battle lines are drawn and PKR will need to vet through their lists and come out with a winnable candidate.
ITS NOW UP TO PKR…
Posted: 26 Jan 2011 12:14 AM PST
Thanks to his hypocrisy and cowardly cringe to Israel, President Barack Obama has betrayed the Palestinian authority (Fatah), who has once again been marginalized by the US to be made subservient to the Israeli overlord. In turn Fatah has betrayed the Palestinian people to serve its own party political interests, in acts reminiscent of quislings, collaborators and running dogs.
Read the Palestinian Papers which tell us all about the useless US-sponsored pseudo-negotiations between an Israel, backed blindly by the US, and the Palestinians (Fatah) forced to the negotiating table (knowing they won't get anything from the Israelis) just for Obama's photo-op self aggrandizing glory. Fatah had to obey or else. Learn of Fatah's sad selfish treachery to its own Palestinian people.
In particular, read Deep frustration with Obama, where the US President showed he has been worse than the Bush Administration, refusing to honour even one of the previous Administration's key promises to the Palestinians, that of the 1967 cease-fire line as the basic starting point for negotiations.
The Obama Administration forced the Palestinian Authority to negotiate from the current situation where Israel has already illegally gobbled up vast tracts of the West Bank to turn into Jewish settlements, as well as manipulated through purchases and illegal actions, to grab the majority of the areas around Jerusalem.
It has been precisely this sort of sickening US bias (for Israel and against the Palestinians) that there can be no any useful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, or will there ever be one. Also, the USA cannot be considered as an impartial broker, ever!
Because of this invincible US bias, Robert Grenier, a former CIA operative drafted a notional letter for President Obama to send to the Israeli people, to inform them that the USA will henceforth withdraw from ever mediating in any negotiations between them and the Palestinians.
As an example of Grenier's succinct points in the notional letter on why the US is not (and can never be) an impartial broker of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, he mentioned (just extracts):
It pains me to make this admission. But the clear and sustained record of the last 63 years, greatly amplified in the last 20, tells us that the passionate attachment to Israel of many of my fellow citizens, however noble and well-intentioned, has blinded us, and has made us incapable of defending either our interests or yours.
He also chided Israel for its brutal arrogance (extracts):
In fact, the peace process, as currently understood, has already ended. A two-state solution in the Holy Land is no longer possible. The policy of creating settlements throughout the West Bank, illegal under international law, has had its intended effect. […]
Moreover, I must tell you, again as a friend, that there lurks in these formulations, in the linking of citizenship and race, and in the insistence of some on gaining recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state," a grave danger – not a physical one, but a moral one. The strength of Israel and its legitimacy in the community of nations rests not on its military might, but on the humane and democratic values which it has always espoused – even if, where some are concerned, those values are observed in the breach.
Now, recent revelations tell us that the head of your largest political party, and a long term participant in negotiations with the Palestinians, has made clear that a redrawing of the 1967 borders would perhaps not be a simple matter of trading land for occupied territory annexed by Israel, but instead a sinister effort to rid Israel of a significant number of its Arab citizens, by transferring the territory they inhabit, without their consent, to a newly-created country. This is unworthy of you, and leaders who promote such ideas betray your values. Indeed, they pose a dire threat to the moral legitimacy of the state.
The Israelis are just like Nazis.
Read his proposed notional letter for the US president in full here - A letter to the Israeli people.
According to Wikipedia, Robert Grenier is a longtime CIA officer who served as the CIA's top counter-terrorism official for about a year, was fired from that position on 6 February 2006 by CIA director Porter Goss, because (as reported by the London Sunday Times he opposed detaining Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation and using forms of torture such as 'water boarding'.
Posted: 25 Jan 2011 06:37 PM PST
Posted: 25 Jan 2011 09:01 PM PST
A house divided against itself cannot stand..Abraham Lincoln
Many people often wonder why there is such a discrepancy in growth rates between ourselves and the little red dot (and for that matter, with those nations which were once called little dragons), since basically we started on the same footing, and Malaysia actually has more resources at its disposal for development and growth.
Basically, it all boils down to one reason. While others are busy expanding their cakes, we are still in the midst of deciding who gets what and how to divide our cake, which is actually not expanding much as a result of not letting the best people bake it, and at the same time, letting too many rats eat it.
The little red dot's founding father, MM Lee, attributed the success of the little red dot as this: " Singapore has been able to move forward ahead of its peers in the region despite being a tiny nation because it focused on building interracial and interreligious harmony early on, which is crucial to create internal stability to attract investors."
Whether you are his friends, admirers or foes, no one can doubt about his vision and his contribution to nation building of his country. Like all human, he may have his mistakes, but no one can doubt his foresight and his analytical mind.
What he said above hits the nail right on its head. While all the little dragons can concentrate solely on building their own industries and human resource, we are fighting to see who came first and who was last to board our own ship.
It is like a family which has half a dozen children. These children do not unite to run the family business but rather try to sabotage each other. In the end, the family business, despite started by their parents on a sound footing, can no longer compete with some of the other companies concentrating on innovation and growth. With all the back stabbing and quarrelling, everyone from the eldest to the youngest suffer.
The simple truth is " harmony does bring prosperity", like what the Chinese wisdom teaches us.
According to Lee, the red dot's success is because of its interethnic and interreligious harmony.
Ask ourselves, are we now better than 53 years ago, in term of racial harmony and religious tolerance? The answer is obvious, we are now even more divided. And the more divided we are, the slower we are going to grow.
DO we still want to continue on the same path which has not allowed us to achieve our true potential?
|You are subscribed to email updates from ☪ Journal Sociopolitical Blogs |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|