Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bomber Suspect Proved Blair Lied

One of the bomber suspects, Osman Hussain, spoilt the day for Tony Blair. Contrary to what Blair had been insisting on, he confessed to Italian police that the failed London bombings on July 21 was indeed revenge for the US-led military operation in Iraq.

His justification for the attacks?

"The bombs of July 7 in London? That happens every day in Iraq."

He revealed that the 2nd series (21 July) bombers met each other at a muscle-building class in Notting Hill, where they were shown DVDs of images of Iraqi women and children killed by American and British soldiers. However, he claimed that their attacks were meant more to terrify the people of London than to kill anyone.

China Breaking the US Strategic Encirclement Plans

As blogged previously, a Central Asian regional organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by Russia and China, had called for the US to withdraw its military assets from the region, namely the "-stan" nations.

This is part of the strategic struggle (oil and military encirclement) between the USA and China, the latter being supported now by a Russia worried about an American busybody right in her own backyard.

Uzbekistan has now told the US military to leave Karshi-Khanabad air base, commonly known as K2, an important staging point in Uzbekistan for American military operations in Afghanistan, and unsaid, a listening post on China and southern Russia.

What is also not said has been persistant strategic US manoeuvres and diplomatic-military alliances to encircle its perceived Nemesis, China, by forming alliances/friendships of all sorts with a number of nations like Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan, India, (hopefully but unlikely) Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan - maybe South Korea is no longer interested in the Anerican game because of growing economic ties with China and the wretched North Korean issue?

The American media attributed the expulsion of its military by Uzbekistan to Bush questioning President Islam Karin on his slaughter of Uzbek protestors recently, but as most people recalled, Washington had been conspicuously silent and tap dancing around that human rights issue. Saying that the Americans were expelled because of a human rights stand would be putting on the best brave face.

I reckon China and Russia had exerted a combination of diplomatic pressure, aid, and unreserved support of the regime, which now sees the USA being kicked out.

Related posts:
US Ambassador for Oil
(3) Strategically Important Krygyzstan
(4) China – One Hell of a Market!
(5) US Laying Grounds for Kurdistan?
(6) USA vs China – The Fight for Black Gold
(7) USA – Consistently Inconsistent! (5)
(8) China’s 700 missiles vs USA’s 7,000 missiles
(9) US Plays Indian Card
(10) US Double Standards & Shaolin vs Taijiquan

Snake Bit Man, Snake Died!

Mr Slithery thought it might be a good idea to bite a man, but hey, this was India. After it did so, the 5-foot snake (yes, not the bitten man) vomited blood and perished. A snake vomitted?

Hang on, that’s no ordinary man. He’s a priest, and not just any priest but one from the Nag Devta, a snake god. The temple is in Badapaghar village of Dumka district (now, which State would this place be in?). Needless to say, he recovered and attributed his miraculous salvation to Lord Shiva's blessings.

Now why did a snake in a temple of a snake god bite its own priest? I wonder whether there were any witnesses. Undoubtedly the alms collection would start almost immediately.

Snake worship in India is as ancient as India itself. In Hinduism, there are always snakes or serpents of some sort, consorting with various gods. Even today, snake worship still prevails in Hindu India, in states like Kerala. Lord Shiva of course is particularly associated with a snake, always having a cobra around his neck, symbolising his powers over both creation and destruction.

This claimed outcome of the encounter between the snake priest and an unfortunate snake reminds me of two stories about animal encounters with human beings.

One was an African elderly man who ripped the tongue out of a leopard which attacked him. 73-year-old Daniel M'Mburugu said "A voice, which must have been from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand into its wide open mouth, I obeyed."

Damn Spots died. That’ll teach other leopards not to mess around with humans, especially elderly men who speak with God (an African Shiva?).

Then, there was a case of an elderly woman in Alor Setar, in northern Malaysia, who was badly mauled by a couple of ferocious dogs. The woman’s family, not exactly bespectacled university professors of the fine arts or Indian classical studies (of Lord Shiva?), went to the house, caught hold of the 2 dogs and slaughtered them. They did the butcher bit, hung the two split-wide–open carcasses on the fence of the house, and demanded further accounting from the dogs' owner for his irresponsible lack of control of the poor dumb animals.

Fortunately for the man, the injured old lady rushed to the house (by car of course) to stop her family from butchering the master of Rin Tin Tin & Lassie.

You won't get the last story from the newspapers because it's all highly illegal vigilante stuff, told only by word of mouth, as Malaysians are wont to do.

Never mess around with humans. They are the most ferocious creatures on earth.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Uday Singh, a US Citizen

It’s not only the French who has the Foreign Legion. The US military has a significant number of foreign mercenaries in its ranks. Most joined to obtain US citizenship.

One Indian, 21-year old Uday Singh from Chandigarh, who joined the US Army as a private, became the American citizen he dreamed of becoming, posthumously. He was killed in Iraq in late last year. He was cremated in Chandigarh but laid to rest in his new country at the US military cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Poor Singh, who was truly keen to become a US citizen, wrote to his relative from Iraq just one month before he perished. He penned, "I got some more good news. My citizenship process has finally gone through."

Previously it was quite difficult to become a citizen even after serving in the US military, but President Bush made it easier for such foreign-born residents who joined the military for US citizenship.

Of the 15,000 new US citizens naturalized in July, hundreds were from the military. The US military has some 2% to 3% foreign residents, with the largest number from the Philippines. In 2004, there were 410 Indians actively serving the US military.

The Last Post was blown for Uday Singh. His Indian Parents received the Stars & Stripes as a memento of their son's sacrifice for his new country.

Requiescat in pace, Uday Singh.

World's Most Powerful Women

The Forbes rankings are based on a mixture of visibility - measured by press citations - and economic impact.

1. Condoleezza Rice – US Secretary of State

2. Wu Yi – Vice Premier of China

3. Yulia Tymoshenko - Prime Minister of Ukraine

4. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – President of Philippines

5. Margaret Whitman - CEO eBay

Last Year’s Stars But Out This Year

3rd last year, completely out in 2005 - Sonia Gandhi, India's ruling Congress party chief

8th last year, completely out in 2005 - Megawati Soekarnoputri, former President of Indonesia


What about Malaysia's Rafidah Aziz?

Saddam Hussein in Court Fisticuffs!

Saddam Hussein attended court hearings into his alleged killings of Shiite Muslims. Suddenly bloke attacked Saddam as he was about to leave. President of the Tribunal did nothing to stop attacker. But Saddam exchanged blows with assailant.

Hey ho - a normal day in Baghdad.

US Double Standards & Shaolin vs Taijiquan

Can anyone blame Iran for accusing the Bush administration of double standard, as well as undermining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

What the USA has done was to agree to aid India’s civil nuclear programme, while insisting that Tehran abandon its nuclear ambitions or face international sanctions.

The upsetting double standard was made worse by the fact that Iran is a NPT member while India is not.

What has been clear about the US double standard is what I have blogged on earlier, Washington’s strategic intention to use India as a counterfoil against China.

President Clinton imposed sanctions on India after its 1998 nuclear bomb tests. Bush has now changed it. This means that it will be more difficult to convince Iran not to go down the N-path.

Nigel Chamberlain of the independent British American Security Information Council supported the Iranian accusation. He stated that Tehran had complied so far with the NPT and International Atomic Energy Agency inspection requirements, and now probably thinks it's all for nothing as India gets almost everything from the Americans without even toeing the IAEA line. Iran feels that they have been singled out unfairly by the US, egged on by Israel.

Israel is of course paranoid about a Persian N-bomb. There have been talks/speculations about an Israeli Air Force pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear plants if the Israelis believe that Iran nears the achievement of an N-bomb.

There is certainly sinister collaboration between the USA and Israel against Iran, while the UN (IAEA) and the Europeans are more inclined towards the persuasive and inclusive approach. It's not only an example of US double standards but a case of US-Israeli Shaolin tactics versus UN-European Taijiquan methods.

US Plays Indian Card

Friday, July 29, 2005

British Police Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

- Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 3 scene 2)

I have raised questions about the slaying of an innocent man by British police during a recent debacle. The police was looking for one of the London bombers (of the 2nd series) and in a Tube station mistook the late Jean Charles Menezes for a Pakistani terrorist, executing him there and then.

He was shot eight times, with 7 of those bullets in his head. I have never heard of police shooting a man in the head so many times. For a start, a head shot is extremely tricky. Police normally go for body shots. Therefore so many head shots would indicate that the shooting had to be at point blank range with the captive held down and immobile. Indeed that was how Menezes was killed.

I have also raised question as to why he was shadowed from his residence to the Tube before he was pounced upon. I doubt that police story, because if the Police thought he was a terrorist, it would have been commonsense to stop him earlier in a less crowded public place.

In an earlier post Join Police, Kill Strange Looking People, See the World I ‘discussed’ with a reader, speculating that the police might have gone after another person, probably the real suspect. But somehow they lost track of that person near or in the Tube, chanced upon Menezes who might have been dressed like the suspect, maybe even looked like him, and jumped on him in an overly eager aim to “get” one terrorist.

As I mentioned, speculation or not, it sounds more plausible than the story of shadowing the bloke from his residence to the Tube. Why shadow someone who wasn't even a suspect?

Now, his family have raised further questions, challenging the police story that Menezes was dressed in a bulky jacket, giving the lie that they thought he was hiding a bomb underneath that dress. In fact, he wasn’t. A cousin, Vivien Figueiredo said Menezes had been wearing a jean jacket. She denied that Menezes had jumped the station barrier to evade police.

This reminded me of Reverend Fred Nile of Sydney, a rather rightwing puritanical clergyman who warned the Aussie authorities and public several months ago that Muslim women wearing their flowing Middle-Eastern dress might hide cannons, anti-aircraft Patriot missile batteries, naval corvettes and a B-52 underneath their hems – OK ;-) just a wee bit of KTemoc creative blogging here, but basically he warned of weapons, and called for the chador to be banned. Some Christian Australians shut him up by suggesting that he examined the Catholic nuns first. That’s what I love about Aussies – they stand up immediately for the underdogs and take no sh*t from religious bigots.

Anyway, back to Menezes family, they also challenged the British authorities claim that Menezes visa had expired, explaining why the victim ran when challenged by police. I wasn’t surprised when that leak to the press came out this morning. Spin City has been in full revolution, weaving mitigative circumstances for the fatal and unjustified slaying. The Independent Police Complaints Commssion criticised the British Home Office for releasing that information.

Vietnam Haunts the USA but Inspires Iraq

The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the most prestigious US political research bodies, has accused the US government of actually boosting Iraq's insurgency by its lack of postwar planning.

Among many things, the study mentioned a few key factors such as inadequate troops in Iraq to stabilize the insurgency problems, and the lack of postwar reconstruction that engendered dissatisfaction among the local population and consequently promoted insurgency appeal. The report berated the Bush Adminstration for making a gross and critical miscalculation by believing it didn't need any more forces than the invasion itself.

The report used disparaging terms like ‘diffuse’ and ‘uncertain’ stabilisation and reconstruction efforts, meaning half hearted or half baked efforts without any firm direction or focus. It went on to admonish the Bush Administration by stating:

"Nation-building is not just a humanitarian concern, but a critical national security priority that should be on par with war-fighting."

"The failure to take this phase of conflict as seriously as initial combat operations has had serious consequences for the United States, not just in Iraq but, more broadly, for international efforts to stabilise and rebuild nations after conflict."

The force level required to stabilize Iraq had been calculated by two US generals at 450,000 troops. This was confirmed by a US think-tank. Yet the US Defence Department has only some 140,000 troops there, less than one-third of what is required. Therefore Rumsfeld is to be blamed for this because he wanted to apply his doctrine of light mobile blitzkrieg forces. His strategy has been heavily influenced by two major factors:

(1) The US painful Vietnam experience (and to a smaller degree, the Somalia debacle). Rumsfeld was mindful of politically unacceptable heavy losses like the 55,000 dead and many hundreds of thousands wounded and maimed in Vietnam. Ironically, his fears are now realized by the very doctrinal application he formulated to avoid the Vietnam effect.

(2) The US Defence Department's disdain for Iraqi ground forces, an impression gained probably from the 1st Gulf War. Unfortunately for Rumsfeld, he had assessed the Iraqis against a scenario of conventional warfare, where American air power and technology reign supreme. But he had forgotten that while Saddam may be evil, that doesn’t mean that Mother of all dictators has been stupid.

Like Rumsfeld too, Saddam and his generals (and most military around the world) had studied the Vietnamese experience. From that S-E Asian example, Saddam's strategy would be to accept/anticipate a loss in the conventional warfare during the invasion, but strike back in an insurgency uprising during the occupation.

In so anticipating an American conventional victory and subsequent occupation, the Iraqis had planned accordingly for the aftermath. Some likely strategies would have been the pre-positioning of arms caches at various strategic locations for use in guerilla warfare and the dispersal of its crack troops, the Republican Guards, among the Sunni dominated cities, towns and regions to fight as insurgents. A system of network for the insurgency would have been in place long before the invasion.

Unfortunately, what have occurred since then has been the hijacking of some portions of the resistance by Islamist groups like al Qaeda. They have been responsible for the suicide bombings and indiscriminate attacks.

The Vietnam War has traumatised the USA so much that its modern day military tactics have been formulated around its ugly experiences in the rice fields and jungles of Indochina. But that war, where a 3rd world nation beat the hell out of a 1st world superpower, admittedly at the horrendous cost of some 4 million of Vietnamese people killed and an entire country devastated, has inspired smaller and less well armed nations like Iraq.

The Vietnam example shows that there can be still active political and military “life” after alien military occupation.

Believe me, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, and many smaller nations have also planned their final fallback strategies likewise, along the model of the incredible fighting Vietnamese.

Masters of Torture

Major General Geoffrey Miller, commander of Guantanamo Bay military prison recommended the use of ferocious guard dogs to threaten prisoners during interrogation.

US soldiers alleged that the permission to employ such draconian techniques had come from the very top of the Defence Department, namely Donald Rumsfeld, and were not random acts of abuse by rogue soldiers as officially announced.

Related posts:
US Army Sacrified Goats to Gods!
(2) Will the US Army now Sacrifice Pigs to Gods
(3) Two Generals from North America
(4) Jihad over US Military Desecration of Koran
(5) The Afghanistan Anti-USA Jihad
(6) Desecration of Koran – Pentagon Knew All Along
The Tragedy of an Afghan Taxi Driver
(8) Guantanamo – Pissing in the Wind
(9) Rumsfeld authorised Guantanamo Torture Techniques!

The Man Time Forgot!

In the world’s biggest democracy, Machang Lalung has finally being released from jail, after spending 54 of his 77 years behind bars without any trial. The de facto sentence is even longer than some so-called ‘life sentences’ in the west.

In 1951, at the young age of 23, with all the dreams a young man has, he was arrested in his village of Silsangi for "causing grievous hurt". Even if he had been found guilty on that charge, he would at most have been jailed for 10 years. Instead he was incarcerated for 5 and a half times that, without any trial.

Because there was no evidence to support that charge, within a year of his arrest he was transferred to a psychiatric institution. Sounds like Communist Russia, doesn’t it, putting disagreeable people the state didn't like into mad houses, where the aim was probably to make that unfortunate but sane person mad.

But in fact, approximately 15 years after he was first apprehended, authorities at the psychiatric institution certified him as fully fit and decided to release him. But police then sent him to another jail.


Could it be there is or was a policeman out to either punish him or prevent him from ever being released. For the second possibility, the sad romantic in me suggests that could have been a woman involved in the police reprehensible detention. An Indian Count of Monte Cristo but with a failed ending.

His family, of those still alive, has forgotten about him entirely.

In the end, wouldn’t it be more kind to keep such a man in prison and let him die there in familiar surroundings, an environment that he lived within for 54 years. What can he could outside in an alien world he knows nothing about, and which has forgotten him?

Truly this is one of the most sad story I have heard for a long long time.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wisdom of God!

Why did God create man first?

So he wouldn't have to be told how to do it. ;-)

from an email recently - I am sure our ladies have something appropriate to say, or even riposte ;-)

Japan - A Study in Moral Recalcitrancy

Sadly Japan, and I am referring to the official and political side of this nation, is a country that cannot face up to its past, a past of such unmitigated evil - genocide in Nanjing, brutal use of Asian and Dutch women as sex slaves for its soldiers, torturing western priests and civilians - that it thinks if its people learn of those atrocities it is being masochistic. So in typical Japanese fashion, instead of being masochistic (though I don’t see the Germans complaining of this) it strives instead to be deceitful by whitewashing its WWII barbarism. Unlike Germany, it lacks the common decency and civilized mores to stand up to the realities of history and say, “Never again!”

It has removed its genocidal atrocities of Nanjing and the sex slaves issue from some of its school text books again. The Japanese government pleaded or pretended that it has no control, and that the revisionism does not represent Japan’s official views, even though it has been the Education Ministry which approved the use of those revisionist text books. Its rightwing elements are so powerful that even prime minister Koizumi has to kowtow to those unrepentant barbarians.

Such a nation without a sense of civilized repentance and moral courage should not deserve a leading status on the world stage, such as a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. I have no doubt that both Koreas and China will do their utmost to deny Japan what she yearns for, political recognition consistent with her economic status.

The only bright light in this sordid affair has been the courage of some Japanese citizens in protesting against the revisionism.

On the other hand, the gloomy and disappointing aspect has been the conspicuous and complete silence of the Western nations on the Japanese moral recalcitrancy, but who were most vociferous when Prince Harry spotted a Nazi armband to a fancy dress party (for God sake, just a fancy dress function for a young bloke) or some Singapore school kids still in their teens selecting Adolf Hitler as their ideal leader. The Chinese and Koreans should employ some Jewish consultants to advise them on how to handle the Japanese resistance to civilised behaviour.

Related posts:
Hitler’s Admirers & Re-Writing of WWII History

Koizumi told: Let War Dead Rest in Peace, Stop Visit to Yasukuni!

Bagram Villagers: "Die America!"

The USAF air base at Bagram, Afghanistan is one of the most notorious American military torture centres. It forms an important component of the American Gulag Archipelago. In many ways, it is even more notorious than Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons because a few Afghans died there from American torture.

Some months back, an innocent Afghan taxi driver, who happened to be passing the air base shortly after the place was attacked by the insurgents, was dragged in by American guards, beaten and tortured until he couldn’t even bend his legs. He was deprived of water, with a young American guard deliberately tantalizing him with water placed in such a manner he couldn’t drink from. When left alone in his cell, he died from severe injuries. And the tragedy was many Americans at the base knew he was innocent.

Now, a crowd of more than 1,000 Afghans gathered outside Bagram chanting "Die America!" They threw stones at a passing convoy of US military vehicles and attempted to batter down the camp gate. The protestors also threw stones into the compound of the air base. Afghan guards had to use sticks to drive back the mob while other troops fired into the air.

The rioting was in protest against the detention of eight villagers at the base.

One of the protestors said "We have supported the Americans for years. We should be treated with dignity. They are arresting our people without the permission of the government. They are breaking into our houses and offending the people. We are very angry.”

Related posts:

The Tragedy of an Afghan Taxi Driver

The New Gulag Archipelago!

Stupid if He's Smart, Smart if He's Stupid!

In Virginia, USA, the courts will perform an IQ test to see whether a bloke convicted of murder ought to be executed. If his IQ falls below 70, he will be spared. If he is more intelligent than the quotient of 70, he will be “off-ed”.

It seems that the bloke had been tested before, and his score was 59 in 1998, but recently went up to 74 and 76. Ironically, with the recent increase in IQ he ought to be considered stupid because he has put himself some 4 to 6 quotient counts over the fatal line.

But jokes aside, the bloke Daryl Atkins was a young 18 when he and another person William Jones killed a man for beer money. Now this is the part that is uniquely America – namely ‘plea bargaining’.

‘Plea bargaining’ can take many shapes and forms for various reasons, but it has least to do with real justice. What screwed Atkins has been one where the prosecutors reached an agreement with Jones to testify against Atkins so that Jones received a life sentence in exchange for becoming the prosecution witness.

I wonder whether this unique American legal system has anything to do with the American privatized system where District Attorneys and prosecutors are elected, among other factors, on their record of convictions. Naturally such public attorneys want maximum success to support their re-elections, so ‘plea bargaining’ promotes more cooperative witnesses to support successful convictions.

Sometimes ‘plea bargaining’ takes the more draconian form of “OK you may not be guilty and I [the law] don’t give a shit. If you plead guilty anyway you’ll be guaranteed tops 5 years and with good behaviour etc get out in 3, but if you choose to fight and lose, I [the law] will ensure you get life or possibly the death sentence.”

Many innocent victims have submitted themselves to a jail term just to avoid the more repressive alternatives.

Scott Turow, famous crime author as well as a real lawyer, in his book
Ultimate Punishment (about the death sentence in America - I haven't finished the book yet) provided an example in the earlier pages where in the case of Roland Cruz and Alex Hernandez, convicted twice for murder which they didn't commit, was finally proven innocent when the real killer, one Brian Dugan was arrested and confessed to those murders. Turow related that even after this, the DuPage county prosecution still stubbornly refused to acknowledge their innocence or even question Dugan to get the truth, but instead went to the extent of attempting to rubbish Dugan's confession for 10 years. The DuPage prosecution pursued the case to put Cruz and Hernandez away for good until they finally caved in when Cruz was acquitted for a third time, and both men released.

It seems to me to be a case of the prosecution's overwhelming need to protect their record, even if two innocent men had to go to the gallows.

Wasn’t it former Secretary of State Madame Madeleine Albright who lectured Malaysia on due process?

US plays the Indian Card

India as the world’s largest democracy and an undeclared but nevertheless nuclear-capable state has also chaffed at the unequal treatment the West, especially the USA, had doled out to her. To make matters worse, the USA has over the decades favoured rogue state Pakistan, India’s archenemy, over the democratic nation because Pakistan demonstrated her willingness to come under America’s umbrella or behave as her ally.

Now, the USA has opened up her nuclear technology to India, accepting the Asian nation as an “equal” of sorts.


Because the USA wants to use India as a counterfoil against China, whom the Americans feared. In other words, the new US friendliness to India came with a motive, to ‘deploy’ an up and coming Asian power against another. As far as the Americans are concerned, there is no such thing as a free meal.

Will India, a nation with a consistent non-aligned political doctrine since her independence, a founding member of the Bandung Conference, play ball with the Americans? Will she just take the American N-technology and say ‘thank you, but no thanks’, or will she be seduced by her new American-elevated status and gravitate towards the western camp?

Russia, India’s best friend through the latter’s difficult years of non-aligned neglect, is also watching the new American startegic development.

The Americans are at it again – for their own interests of course.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Join Police, Kill Strange Looking People, See the World!

Isn’t it great?

After slaying an innocent Brazilian with 8 shots in the poor bloke's head, the police officer was congratulated by Home Secretary Charles Clarke. Now he and his family get a free holiday, fully paid for by the Metropolitan Police, as authorised by the police commissioner.

Another officer involved has also gone on such a free family holiday. Truly congratulations du Charles Clarke are in order.

The old joke on US military recruiting was the unofficial ad saying “Join the Armed Services to see the world and kill strange looking people”, but the British police could have “Join the police to kill strange looking people and get a free family holiday to see the world.”

Now it seems that the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy has been BACKDATED to 6 months after the 9/11 incident, when only a week ago, before the 8-shot execution, such a policy was strenuously denied by the police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has begun (minus of course a couple of key police officers including the one who pulled the trigger), but Amnesty International has asked for an inquiry that is prompt, thorough, independent and impartial and must comply with relevant international standards.

I think they remembered the world famous British Hutton Inquiry whitewash.

Taiwan & the Son of Heaven!

Two months ago James Soon, leader of Taiwan's People First Party (PFP), made a visit to Beijing and was met and feted by Chinese President Hu Jintao. Soong was the second Taiwanese Opposition leader given the red carpet welcome by Beijing. Obviously, the aim of mainland China has been to outmanoeuvre and deliberately marginalise Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian.

The issue is of course the independence of Taiwan. Only President Chen and some of his American and Japanese rightwing supporters desire that. Beijing has time and time again warned against any such bright ideas. Taiwan's Opposition parties, mainly the Kuomintang or its splinter groups, are hardcore Chinese nationalists and thus uphold the indivisibility of One China. In this, the Koumintang and Beijing are of one mind.

Then Chen, witnessing his political opponents given the red carpet treatment in Beijing, panicked and fell for Beijing’s tactics of isolating him into a cross-straits political nonentity. He had been initially unaccommodating to Beijing’s overtures, believing that with President Bush in the White House, he could drag the USA into the cross-straits imbroglio, and present China with a fait accompli, an independent Taiwan.

Washington, particularly the State Department, and America's top business corporations like Boeing, Microsoft, IBM, etc have been very wary of President Chen's loose cannon brinksmanship in his unrealistic drive for de jure political independence today. Even Google played ball with the mainland Chinese by not permitting the word 'democratic' (or something to this effect) appear on the Chinese Google.

They know Beijing is not yet ready to accede to Taiwan's demand, and to protect relationship (for the US State Department) and business interests for the American conglomerates, they toe the 'party' line (the Chinese party line, that is).

I personally believe China will let Taiwan go its own independent way in another twenty or thirty years when matters are more stable in China's NW regions and Tibet.

The second reason is 'face' and we are talking about 'face' inside China, rather than with the world. Chinese leaders will have problems among their own constituencies like party members and the military. If they allow Taiwan to sever the historical/nationalistic umblical cord, they themselves won't last long.

The third reason is to retain a slight tension across the straits. China doesn't want countries like the USA and Japan getting silly ideas that they could develop pro-American or even pro-Japan independent states with military bases or spying stations in those states (like South Korea)around Chung Kuo.

China is aware that the USA has been courting Vietnam, India, Nepal, and the "-stan" nations of Central Asia as part of its encirclement-of-China strategy. China, together with Russia, have already neutralised the last through the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation (SCO). She has also been doing some wooing of her own, with Vietnam, India, South Korea, and ASEAN nations. She supports North Korea, Nepal and Burma with military and other aid, and has strong economic and cooperative ties with the "-stan" nations and Iran.

Back to Taiwan - President Chen had initially and stridently criticized the trips of the two opposition leaders, but when he saw the tumultuous and warm reception they received in Beijing, he quickly expressed cautious support for them. Just trust a politician to notice the favourable situation and jump on the bandwagon.

Thus, he couldn’t contain himself anymore, and wanted to get into the act himself, declaring that he alone would be capable of breaking the deadlock with China over Taiwan's political status. He wanted to talk to Beijing himself and sought an invitation. Beijing snubbed him of course. The Son of Heaven chooses who he wishes to speak to!

Chen's pro-independence supporters had been absolutely furious with his change of direction, and demanded that he be resolute with the irreversible course of independence.

Now, as another tantalising teaser at Chen, Chinese President Hu Jintao has just congratulated Taiwan opposition leader James Soong for his re-election as head of the People First Party (PFP), where Soong secured more than 99 percent of the party's vote. The Son of Heaven has shown who is in his favour!

But the fact that Soong has emerged overwhelmingly victorious in his party election does indicate that not every Taiwanese is interested in Chen's provocative brand of independence. Afterall, Taiwan is already de facto independent.

Piggy Paintings

Wim Delvoye, a Belgian artist went to China, bought a pig farm at Chenjiatuo village, hired some local farmers and raise some 20 sows.

Is he contemplating selling pork or other related porky products for the market?

Well, in a sort of way. He tattoos his pigs, using the animals as canvases for skin art at his Art Farm. He prefers big, fat pigs - these providing larger canvases, I presume. I wonder why only sows and not boars? Maybe the male variety don't fancy being prettied up?

To avoid mucho squealing, the pigs get sedatives before they go under the needle. Delvoye keeps the tattooed pigs far longer than those normal farm pigs that are reared for slaughter. OK, perhaps I am speculating here, but I reckon at least until he gets another inspiration, which would then require a new sow, therefore out with the least exciting canvas.

Collectors can either buy the pigs live and pay for their keep as "foster parents" (with art, I prefer the word 'patron' - sounds more classy - maybe I'll advise Delvoye) or purchase their tattoo-festooned skins for display after you-know-what-happened.

Delvoye said, "Tattoos remind you of death. It's leaving something permanent on something non-permanent. Even when tattooing flowers, there is a morbid side to the activity."

Thus, mortality is a primary theme in his porky "paintings." I bet those piggies would certainly agree. I do wonder whether Delvoye preaches vegetarianism and abstaining from killing, or does he do his tattooing after a heraty breakfast of eggs and ... eh ... bacon?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hitler's Admirers & Re-Writing of WWII History

Hey, it’s not only Singaporean school kids who have been impressed by Adolf Hitler. Across the Indian Ocean, in the Indian state of Gujarat, some school text books have praised the Austrian corporal as follows:

"Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time, establishing a strong administrative set-up."

Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest, condemned the books of more than 300 factual errors. And worse, no mention was even made of the Holocaust.

The Gujarat government said that ‘anomalies’ arose when the book was translated from Gujarati into English, and were quoted out of context. It said Father Prakash charges are completely baseless.

I don’t see how translation errors could have made the terrible fact of the Holocaust disappear into thin air? Nor could I fathom how Hitler’s bullying, Machiavellian manipulations and political intimidation and murdering could be equated to dignity, prestige, and a strong administrative set-up?

What the Gujarati example has shown is precisely what the Japanese authorities, particularly its Education Ministry, have condoned in some of its new text books. Why the Education Ministry? It approves the use of such revisionist books.

rape of nanjing (nanking)

The revisionist texts were written by the Society for History Textbook Reform (Tsukurukai), a group of neo-nationalist academics, who asserted there’s no point in Japanese being masochistic. No one requires the Japanese kids to be masochistic but certainly every family member of those who suffered under the Japanese brutal occupation wants the Japanese not to be deceitful to facts. Erasing facts of atrocities is deceitful.

What their revised text books have deliberately omitted are the Nanjing massacre, comfort women (what a f***ing terrible word – pun not intended, anger - yes), and numerous accounts of Japanese WW II military brutalities and atrocities. The last have been euphemized as minor incidents, and the aggression of its invasion attributed to liberation of the Asian people, and in the case of Korea, as an invitation (to come and f*** us?).

A Blow for Menezes' Family

Jean Charles de Menezes came from a very poor family back in Brazil. As in the case of many Malaysians and Filipinos, his parents had depended upon him for financial support. His death was a monumental blow to them.

His family has refused to accept the apologies of the British authorities. His father bewailed: "It's all over for me. I hope the police officers will be punished because they killed an innocent person. I cannot forgive them at all."

His cousin called the British police what many Americans have been calling their cops,

EIGHT shots at a man already pinned down! Police action?

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot EIGHT times, not five as earlier reported. This was confirmed yesterday by a medical inquest into his death.

He was shot seven times in the head, SEVEN!!! times (what does that tell you about the man who pulled the trigger) and once in the shoulder by an undercover officer at Stockwell Tube station in south London.

PM Tony Blair said he was 'desperately sorry' for the death of Menezes, and added:

"At the same time, therefore, in expressing our sorrow and deep sympathy for the death that has happened, it is important that we allow the police …….. and support them in doing the job they have to do in order to protect people in this country."

Fair enough. At least it's not as moronic and insensitive as Charles Clarke's 'congratulations' to the police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission promised a fair investigation of Menezes' killing. Its chairman declared:

"We enter this with open minds, as we search for the truth, and we have accepted the full co-operation of the Metropolitan Police service, which they have pledged. Firearms officers have a unique and awesome responsibility. I believe they and the public accept they must be accountable for how they exercise that responsibility."

Now, he's talking!

"But I think that both the police service and public expect that the process of accountability should be proportionate and fair, and that those who judged — with hindsight and in the comfort of an office — the actions that firearms officers take when split-second life-and-death decisions have to be made, do so with great care and a degree of humility."

He's right. We cannot exclude the possibility of extenuating circumstances, but the investigation ought to look at the following points:
(1) 8 shots on a bloke who was already pinned down - one wonders about the professionalism, training and state of mind of the police officer responsible.

(2) If the police had trailed him from the house under surveillance, and they had reasons to believe he was a suicide bomber, meaning he had explosives strapped under his jacket, why wasn't he stopped earlier? Why wait until he entered the Tube? It's all very dodgy.

As one reader in a Sydney newspaper wrote (basically what I mentioned in a previous post):

"One shot at close range to the head sounds like an action to eliminate a terrorist threat. Five shots at close range to the head sounds like an execution."

Eight shots? Sounds like an execution conducted with over-the-top violence a la the Israeli doctrine.

Jolly Good Show, Old Boy, that Dago Business!

What outraged many people around the world, especially Brazilians, have been the shocking callous attitude of the British Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

In the face of public and international shock, disbelief and outrage at the deplorable slaying of an innocent man he has the gall to 'congratulate' police in their work.

Has he lost his bloody mind, praising police for excessive use of force in the multiple shooting of an electrician by a plain clothes policeman? No wonder the headline in O Estado de Sao Paulo read: "British government's attitude irritates Brazil" while Jornal do Brasil wrote: "Instead of apologising, the English authorities came out in defence of those responsible for this disastrous [police] action."

How can one 'congratulate' the police for killing an innocent man?

An expression of regret, certainly. An admission of mistake made in the heat of action, OK. A tragic case of split-decision making with regrettable results, understandable. A cautious "We are still investigating", best answer. Even a shrug of the shoulder with a "Shit happens", hardly palatable but just still barely tolerable.

But 'congratulations'? Congratulations? It's disgusting.

One congratulates someone for praiseworthy and commendable performance. When someone kills an innocent man, where's the commendable act? Someone, namely the policeman, has f***ed up real good, and that's a fact. OK, sh*t happened, and there may be mitigative circumstances but congratulations? What utter callous drivel.

The unfortunate nonsense seems to be that Britain has not only joined the USA in its oppressive adventure in Iraq, it has also adopted its transatlantic cousin's devious art of sinister euphemism, with the unfortunate added element of British stiff upper lip.

I am just waiting for Charles Clarke to say "Nasty job, that Dago business. It's those confounded Pakis. Damn those cads. But generally, our boys in blue did a jolly good show. Absolutely rippling, old boy."

Monday, July 25, 2005

An Indian Hakkenden?

A baby girl in Bengal has been married by her father to a dog, to ward off the evil eye. Hindu priests have recommended the weird wedding. Her mum objected but we are talking about India so she obviously has no say.

Disha is only 6-month-old but she has early or premature appearance of her teeth, that is, before her annoprasan or rice ceremony - a function when the baby is fed solids for the first time. Because of this, their holinesses reckon the omens aren’t auspicious at all for her.

The solution, it seems, has been to marry her off to someone with lots of teeth, a canine by the name of Pomi (and I hope no Pommies blame the Aussies for this story).

This reminds of a Chinese myth of an immortal dog (or dog fairy?) marrying a woman to produce warrior sons to save the nation. As usual the Japanese borrowed and turned it into an all-time best seller of Hakkenden. The story of Hakkenden is as follows:

"In an area of Japan known as Awa province, there are two families that control the area, the Satomi and the Anzai. The Satomi fall upon hard times and ask the Anzai for help.

Rather than sending aid, Lord Anzai sends troops to destroy the Satomi, who, facing starvation and the Anzai forces, barricade themselves within their castle. Finally, after numerous failed attempts to assassinate Lord Anzai, the Satomi realize that they have no other choice than to surrender.

In desperation, Lord Satomi promises to give the house dog Yatsufusa his daughter Fuse's hand in marriage if Yatsufusa brings him Lord Anzai's head, but this was all in jest. Astonishingly, the dog goes off and returns with Lord Anzai's head.

With their leader dead, the remaining Anzai lose hope and are defeated by the Satomi. However, Yoshizane refuses to uphold his promise, but Fuse insists upon upholding it and leaves with Yatsufusa for the mountains.

A year passes, and Fuse learns in a vision that she is bearing Yatsufusa's offspring and that there is a curse upon the Satomi. About this time, a former retainer Daisuke Kanamari of the Satomi clan comes to rescue Princess Fuse. Tragically, in his attempt to shoot and kill Yatsufusa, he instead shoots both Fuse and Yatsufusa.

Fearing what she may give birth to, Fuse, near death, kills herself. At the moment of her death, the eigth spirit beads from the necklace she is wearing disperse into the four winds.

These eight beads represent the eight dog warriors, who will be born in the following years. Each of them will embody the very ideal inscribed in their beads. In the years following their birth, the 'litter of eight' will encounter one another and learn of their predestined fate - lift the curse on the Satomi."

We trust in the case of baby Disha, her future doesn't evolve into an Indian Hakkenden.

Schapelle Corby Defence - One Confession Too Many

John Ford, an Australian convict flown across to Bali to testify for Schapelle Corby in her initial trial, averred in court that while in prison he heard a couple of other convicts named the man responsible for the marijuana in Corby’s boogies bag. In other words, Ford provided hearsay evidence of another piece of hearsay evidence.

He must have eventually named the villain as former prisoner Ron Vigenser.

Because now Visenger claims he has been
bashed by men who want him to give evidence in Schapelle Corby’s appeal. He was beaten with a lump of timber in Melbourne late last week, resulting in facial wounds.

Vigenser said he knows nothing about the marijuana.

He related how two men beat him up and threatened him with dire consequences if he didn’t own up to save Corby.

Vigenser told a TV programme that he had been a target for abuse since he was named as the bloke who placed the marijuana in Corby’s boogie bag. He is being ostracized by Melbourne restaurants and those members of the public who recognize him.

Meanwhile, Corby's Indonesian lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea
claimed that a Sydney drug ring member has agreed to testify via video-link to a Bali court that Corny was done in by the corrupt airport baggage handlers in Australia. But the witness wants immunity from prosecution.

So we have Vigenser of Melbourne and a mystery witness from Sydney who both were responsible for Schapelle Corby's sorry case of being caught with marijuana in Bali.

With the Corby’s story, it’s an eternal circus (not circle).

Shoot-to-Kill: Then you don't see it, Now you do!

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, a luckless victim of an unexplained police slaying, may sue the British police for their untowards action. Police officials continued the old line that the threat by suicide bombers made such police execution necessary.

How could they continue to peddle the unacceptable argument when the victim was an INNOCENT man.

I reckon what has brought about the unfortunate event has been either an Israeli indoctrination, or a reckless gungho plainclothes police officer, or a combination of the two factors. The fact was until the slaying, the police denied they had a shoot-to-kill order, but that denial was cast aside immediately AFTER the killing, with the shoot-to-kill order becoming a national rule of engagement.

Someone suggested that he was killed because his skin was brown.

Ironically, Menezes had expressed his fear of the London Tube bombers to his friends, even mentioning that he might avoid the Tube by getting a bike. Had he done so, he would be still alive today. Fickle Fate decreed for him to be killed not by the bombers he feared but by a policeman that he had expected to protect him.

His cousin denied that Menezes didn’t stop when challenged by police. He stated that in Brazil, if one didn’t stop when challenged, the police would shoot one in the back. And he added with bitterness, just like the British police shot Menezes in the back.

He dismissed the idea that his cousin would have ignored a police challenge or that he would not have understood it, considering Menezes had been stopped three times before on his moped and once at Brixton station, his usual stop, when a police sniffer dog showed interest in his bag. Then, the police instructed him to open his bag which he complied with immediately. Therefore the claim that Menezes ran away from police just doesn’t hold water.

I am inclined to believe that the plainclothes policeman was too hasty and eager to “get one”. Pumping 5 bullets into a man’s head when he was already pinned down tells you a lot about the policeman’s anger or over-enthusiasm.

The big brasses have now closed ranks behind the cop responsible for the tragedy, and even turned a non-policy into a standing rule of engagement of shoot-to-kill, which I believe is not a typical British approach.

London Police Rules of Engagement (2) - the Israeli Connection

Continuing from London Police Rules of Engagement (1) - the Five Bullets.

An interesting item came to light when Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission revealed that British police officers had been being sent to Israel to receive training on how to prevent suicide bombings. He stated that the impetuous killing was a direct consequence of Israeli practice, which was basically a shoot to kill attitude (when afterall the opposition were bloody Arabs and hardly Israelis).

A former London police chief John Stevens, who sent British police to Israel to be trained, defended the tactics (but of course he would, wouldn’t he?). He said that the terrible truth was that: "There is only one sure way to stop a suicide bomber determined to fulfil his mission - destroy his brain instantly, utterly. That means shooting him with devastating power in the head, killing him immediately."

Isn’t that feral approach typically Israeli towards a Palestinian? The Israeli connection in British police training may explain why I have been wrong in my faith in the British police rules of engagement. When one absorbs and adopts Israeli attitude to the perceived 'enemy', invariably one has to expect rather unmitigated excesses and brutalities.

But let's be clear about one point, Menedes, the bloke who had 'his brain destroyed instantly, utterly, with the devastating power of 5 bullets in the head, killing him immediately', as prescribed by John Stevens, the former London police chief who sent British police to Israel to be trained, was an innocent man, not a suicide bomber! So much for Steven's tactics, which imperilled innocent people like Menedes.

Considering that the wrongly identified person was already pinned down, couldn’t a bash on his head with the gun butt be sufficient to knock him senseless? And why the excessive force of pumping FIVE bullets into his head? Was there an element of unconscious hatred, either from the British officer’s own anger of the London bombings or inculcated by Israeli doctrine, which has always been hatred for the other side?

London's Mayor Ken Livingstone and British politicians have all supported the police, saying that the mistake was within the perceived need to protect the lives of the public. What could they say otherwise but to dig in deep and bunker down tight? Can anyone defend the killer of an innocent man? Of course they can't, but they have to hold the fort and support the police, for to do otherwise would be to undermine the security forces' morale in such troubling times.

As another example of this defensive behaviour, the Metropolitan police chief warned that Menezes might not be the last to die. He stated, rather stubbornly in the face of criticism, "Somebody else could be shot. But everything is done to make it right. This is a terrifying set of circumstances for individuals to make decisions." Everything is done to make it right? Balderdash, that's British double-speak if I ever heard one!

In fact last week, the police had denied a shoot-to-kill policy, but Sir Ian, the police chief performed what the newspapers termed as a complete U-turn in that policy. He now has changed his mind to a shoot-to-kill policy being in place across the country, not just in London.

There is no doubt that his reversal of his earlier stand has been to defend the terrible action the plainclothes policeman had perpetrated. In other words, pretend there has always been a shoot-to-kill rules of engagement, therefore tough sh*t for Menedes.

But sadly, most British newspapers also supported the action regardless of how tragic an innocent death such an impetuous action had resulted in. This reminds me of how the normally vociferous and independent-minded American press succumbed to utter subservience to the dictates of the Bush Administration in the immediate to medium period after the 9/11 incident.

Yes, it’s a bloody hard call though most people are willing to accord the policeman the benefit of the doubts, but I find the 5 bullets the most damning evidence of unmitigated police ferocity (and perhaps hatred). A professional needs only one, at most two bullets. Was it, as I mentioned earlier, a result of a policeman's expression of anger at what he thought to be a bomber, or has it been an adoption of Israeli doctrine of attacking the opposition with hatred.

If the former, let us pray it has been only an isolated incident, but if the latter, the British police need to remember that an Israeli doctrine is not suitable for Britain, but more for the clear cut black and white environment the Israelis see themselves in, of us against them, of Israelis against Arabs. Britain is not a wholly homogeneous society, but has a population of diverse ethnic groups and international visitors.

But the most stupid statement has been by the Mail on Sunday which stated: "And bear in mind that if the Stockwell suspect had been wearing a suicide belt, the officers who shot him would be lauded as heroes and loaded with medals, as well as the thanks of a grateful public."

What an moronic f***ing 'IF'.

FACT - Menedes was NOT wearing a suicide belt nor a suicide bomber, so why posited he could have been? The sly hypothesis is unjustified, underhanded, and unmitigated. It has been nothing more than a red herring that shamelessly seeks to be argumentative in the worst possible manner rather than offer any real mitigative reasoning. It's a shameless descent right into the gutter to pin a notional situation on a dead man who cannot answer back and who shouldn't need to.

It has not been only baseless but insensitive to the Menedes family. It’s akin to saying:

"And bear in mind that if the world has known what trouble the Israelis would cause in the Middle-East, Adolf Hitler and his SS Einsatzgruppen, by their actions at Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzek and Majdanek, would have been lauded as heroes and loaded with medals, as well as the thanks of a grateful world.”

How dreadful and horrendous such an unwarranted hypothesis would be! It's just plain revulsive. And that is exactly how the Menedes family would feel.

When an innocent man has been summarily executed without him even knowing why, there is no room to play with self-serving (to the British) and imbecilic IF’s. It’s a time to more appropriately reflect on whether the cop in question had acted excessively outside the rules of engagement, or whether the rules of engagement have been correct, or whether the criteria and conditions to meet the rules of engagement need to be examined.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

London Police Rules of Engagement (1) - the Five Bullets

Tall, dark, handsome (he really was) and unfortunately very dead, Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician living in London for three years, has been killed by British police who mistook him for a terrorist bomber.

London Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair accepted full responsibility for the fatal mistake and expressed regrets to Menezes’ family, but these polite correctness are of small comfort to them. How did this drastic event come about?

Let’s examine the case, in particular the British rules of engagement. Traditionally the British police have been very conservative, cautious and careful in its employment of firearms. Unlike its American counterparts some most British police don’t even carry guns. The old Malayan (not Malaysian) police was like its British tutor.

In the earlier and more peaceful days of my father, policemen outside the 'black areas' carried mainly truncheons. My father used to smirk at Thai and Indonesian policemen when he saw how heavily armed they were in comparison to Malayan law guardians. “Just like cowboys”, he would say. That has all changed today. Similarly, and especially in the wake of the London bombings, the rules of engagement for British police would have changed too. The person defining the rules of engagement would have to balance two competing objectives, the ability to use force effectively to accomplish the task and the need to avoid unnecessary force.

What has been disconcerting has been the report that the policeman pinned the poor innocent bloke down and pumped 5, not one, not two, but FIVE bullets into his head. I believed, given even the difficult circumstances the police would have been working under, that was way over the top.

Secondly, Menedes spoke and understood good English, as averred by his cousin and the fact that he stayed in london for 3 years, working as an electrician. He certainly would have understood police instructions in English very well. Another cousin stated that Menedes did not have a past that would make him run from police, thus the family finds it hard to believe Menedes ran when challenged by police, as alleged, as if he was a guilty man.

I heard on TV that one of the undercover policemen had been the one who killed him. Could it be that the cop in mufti did not identify himself as a policeman when he pointed a gun at Menedes, causing the victim to believe he was threatened by a criminal, thus resulting in his running away? Or, was the claim that Menedes ran away from a police challenge nothing more than a lie to cover up some gungho action by a trigger-happy policeman?

I find it hard to believe newspaper claim that the rules of engagement would have changed to a 'shoot-to-kill' policy in confronting suspected bombers. British (and indeed Australian and New Zealand) values don’t work like that a la American common practice. The British has had considerable experience with the equally ferocious IRA. While not denying themselves the ultimate right to 'shoot to kill', there would always be safeguards in the form of some stringent criteria being met and/or conditions being fulfilled.

To be continued with London Police Rules of Engagement (2) - the Israeli Connection

Terrorism - A Challenge to some Malaysian Bloggers

When 9/11 and 7/7 occurred, some Malaysian bloggers ‘flew’ the Stripe & Stars and the Union Jack on their blogsite. That’s commendable and symbolic of the universal sympathy and ‘togetherness’ with the victims and particularly their sorrowful families.

Now we have the dreadful bombings at Sharm el Sheik in Egypt where 88 victims of various nationalities perished. On a daily basis, Iraqis have been slaughtered on a scale far worse that what London or New York had suffered. The Afghans too have suffered members of their families becoming that dreadful American term 'collateral damage' or the more vogue classification 'terrorist suspects', to American bombings, reckless shooting and Gestapo-style torturing.

All were victims of terrorism, like the NY-ers and Londoners.

I hope to see the Egyptian, Iraqi and Afghan flags flying at those websites, or I’ll be forced to think that those bloggers are suffering from severe cultural cringe, by demonstrating respect only for victims of terrorism in the West.

I realise we live in Boleh-Land, but at least let's not make it into Bodek-Land.

London Bombings - Police Killed Innocent Man

Well, it seems that the Pakistani-looking bloke shot very very dead at Stockwell Tube station by British police, as I blogged in London Copycat Bomber shot Dead, has now turned out to be a Brazilian and totally unrelated to the London Tube bombings.

The police have basically gunned down an innocent man. Earlier we had read that a policeman pumped 5 bullets into the petrified man as he was held down - not once, mind you, but bang bang bang bang bang!

Police have confirmed that the 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, had nothing to do with the London bombings, and admitted they have shot the wrong man. No wander the victim was reported to have looked ‘petrified’ just prior to his execution.

According to his cousin, Menezes had lived in London, legally mind you, for three years. He spoke English very well, and would have understood police instructions, if any at all, was issued to him. He was going to his electrician job when he was pinned down and shot in the head several times.

In the USA, the Sikhs might have gotten the wrong end of the red-neck American wrath, a la KKK-style execution, but in London, a Brazilian copped it, and from the police too. Swarthy tall looking blokes are no longer 'tall, dark and handsome' guys - they are potential bombers.

Tidal Waves hit Aceh

3-metres high tidal waves have just struck coastal villages in Aceh, Indonesia. Dozens of homes have been destroyed but but no injury were reported.

Many thousands from the villages of Tapak Tuan, Sawang and Samadua have fled to higher grounds, fearing the devastating effects of another tsunami.

But tidal waves are not tsunamis. The former are caused by full moon tides and strong winds while the latter are by undersea earthquakes.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The True Obsession of Pakistan!

I have often stated this. Now even the Paki press are publishing it.

Pervez Musharraf may be an American ally against terror, but his military continues to
allow certain Islamist extremist groups to be trained at military-style camps in Pakistan.

The camps are used by Pakistan-based militant groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (Army of the Pure). The chief culprit in the double-headed game has been the Pakistani Inter-Services (or Joint) Intelligence Directorate. It actually nurtures those groups and uses them to attack India.

As I averred before, it’s all about their principal obsession, Kashmir. Their chief target is India, and not so much the Americans. But since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, these groups are quite happy to conduct a little extra targeting of the US (and other European) military or citizens and property in Afghanistan and Europe (and perhaps the USA) as well.

Prior to the American invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistani government had considered the Talibans as part of its strategic reserves, and the territory of Afghanistan as its strategic space in depth. Strategic ‘space in depth’ means that, should India, a far larger and more powerful nation, choose to invade Pakistan in a war, the Pakistani would be able to withdraw or retreat into Afghanistan but continue to fight back, making it difficult for the Indian armed forces to corner it. In other words, the Talibans and Afghanistan are part and parcel of a ‘Greater’ Pashtun Pakistan.

While the Pakistani government might have demonstrated to the Americans it has been hunting down Arab and other non-Pakistani al Qaeda militants, it has silently refused to do so with their kinfolks, the Afghan Talibans or the Pakistan-based terrorist groups. The Pakistani security services even have those groups renamed themselves so as to avoid western or Indian monitoring and tracking of them and their activities.

The 2 countries that will cause headaches for the USA and Europe will be Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, ironically so-called US’ allies. Don’t forget what were the nationalities of most of the attackers on 9/11. Next time, the Americans may see the Paki-Pashtuns as well, as the Brits already have.

Chinese Lover?

British motorcar maker, Rover, is a household word not only in Britain but throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Rover has produced classic models under the Jaguar, Mini and MG brands during its 100-year history. It’s a joy to see the once formidable mini Cooper back in production.

But financially the car firm has collapsed, and the once British pride has been sold to Chinese company Nanjing. Rover staff are of course delighted though they would have preferred the larger Chinese car producer, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) to take over, as then more jobs could be saved.

KTemoc heard on the grapevine that the new company will be re-named Lover – pronounced Low-Ver, not Luv-ver. But then with such a new name the car would kill two birds with one vroom.

OK, I made up the last bit! ;-) and I'm not being racist 'cause I'm in fact Chinese.

Rice Keeps Steady Eye on Sharon

I am glad Condoleezza Rice is keeping a close watch on Ariel Sharon as the Israelis pull back from Gaza. One can never trust the Israeli old fox, who won’t missed an opportunity to sabotage anything that benefits the Palestinians.

Rice flew into Israel to see what’s going on with the pullout, and took the opportunity to praise Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts in curbing the Arab militants. That should choke Sharon.

The Israelis put on a brave face and described the visit as one to show US involvement in the pullout was serious, following criticism that it was not doing enough.

But it seems that Rice wants a wider scope to the whole affair, intending to see the US roadmap back on track. Sharon sabotaged the roadmap in earlier days when Yasser Arafat was still alive, and an inexperienced George Bush listened to everything Sharon told him including nasties about Arafat. Rice isn't going to be satisfied with just a Gaza pullout and intends to see a more comprehensive peace. She knows that the USA needs to mitigate its disastrous Iraqi adventure in the eyes of the Arab-Muslim world, and one way would be by swinging something in favour of the long suffering Palestinians.

She wants to hold an US-Russia co-sponsored international peace conference on the region by engaging Israel with Europe and the Gulf States. This is not going to sit too well with Ariel Sharon as he prefers, for obvious reasons, to deal with the US alone behind the Palestinians' back. An international conference and subsequent participation means there will be many eyes watching for and noting Ariel Sharon's monkey tricks.

But Rice isn’t going to tango with the Israeli.

The only country that can exert pressure on Israel to behave is the USA, with its deep pockets, gargantuan military logistics and superpower political status. Without the USA's backing, Israel won't last too long. True to form, the Israeli Pm put out his grubby hands to Rice for a couple of billion dollars handout.

Rice seems to be on top so far but she needs to watch her back with those staunch pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington, as Colin Powell found out too late. Well, my darling Condoleezza, as they say, there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.

US Military in Iraq: We're OK, But We're Screwed!

Amazing. As the media put it, the US military department has given itself a pat on its back.

According to the Pentagon, it’s a case of ‘eight bells and all’s well’ in the land of the 2 rivers. It told US Congress that progress toward establishing democracy in Iraq is all honky dory despite the insurgent wolves at the doorsteps.

Only snag is it refuses to provide an estimate to Congress as to when the US could withdraw its 130,000 plus troops from the self-created hell in the Middle East.

The Pentagon’s director of strategic plans for the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that specific measuring tools are useful in gauging the combat capabilities of Iraqi forces. From those tools, the Pentagon would be able to estimate when the Iraqis can stand on its own, and accordingly plan its withdrawl. However, it refuses to publicly disclose specific data, even to Congress. It claimed that "The enemy's knowledge of such details would put both Iraqi and coalition forces at increased risk."

Essentially, it has admitted so much already to the infuriated Democrat Congressmen that they (both Americans and Iraqis, especially the latter) are so screwed the true details cannot be disclosed.

Iraq’s Phantom Army vs Insurgents

Friday, July 22, 2005

Schapelle Corby Defence: Alas, Again!

I had debated whether I ought to blog anymore on Schapelle Corby’s case because each time I read what’s going on with her defence, I get very depressed and feel sorry for her.

Her legal counsel, Mr Hotshot … eh sorry … I mean, Hotman Paris Hutapea claims to have a mystery witness who will confess to “everything” including placing the 4.1 kg of marijuana in her boogie bag. That most certainly will exonerate Schapelle Corby but of course put that man into hot soup.

Aha, there’s a catch. Hutapea wants the Australian authorities to
grant immunity to the mysterious witness, so that he won’t be prosecuted for illicit drug trading after he confesses.

Two flaws in this arrangement I see is that (1) a criminal drug merchant gets away with legal prosecution by virtue of the unprecedented immunity, and (2) which I believe to be the real issue, anyone, everyone, someone could walk in and say “Hey, I was the one who did it. Please excuse me, I have a 9:30 pm show now to catch. See you guys later.”

Now, Hutapea wants to quit because he feels everyone is giving him the runaround and refusing to cooperate. I wonder who’s been giving everyone the runaround.

London Copycat Bomber Shot Dead

British police killed a man, whom witnesses said look like a Pakistani, at Stockwell London Underground station today. He was believed to be one of the bombers who escaped after yesterday's attack.

Waiting passengers said police chased him, and shot him 5 time after he jumped over a security barrier at that station and attempted to board a stationary Tube train

An al Qaeda linked group, Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, claimed responsibility for both series of the London bombings. Police haven’t confirmed the authenticity of the cliam.

The Brigade stated that they would not relent until the European governments leave the "land of the two rivers", referring to Iraq's Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

(information also derived from the Times)

Terrorism: What Goes Around Comes Around

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, the city that had recently suffered multiple terrorist bombings twice over, said what Tony Blair won't ever admit. For Blair to say what Livingstone said, he would be admitting to personal culpability for unnecessarily importing terrorism into Great Britain and causing the needless deaths of British Service people in Iraq, not to mention countless thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children.

Blair or as I would like to call B-liar should have been more wary of his transatlantic Rambo cousin. He should have stuck to the traditional British pro-Arab policy that his predecessors had adopted for British interests.

Livingstone put the blame for the rise of Islamic extremism squarely on what everyone knows already, namely, a century of unscrupulous Western interference in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asian regions and the perceived unfair treatment of Arabs. Those Muslim adherents see terrorism as the only way to make the big powers sit up and notice them. They are fedup of being ignored by arrogant powerful western nations who think it's their God-given right to trample over everyone in the Arab and Iranians' own neighbourhood.

Livingstone was even more specific about Western governments not being satisfied enough with just getting the oil but wanting to control its supply as well. Hence the West, particular the USA has frequently intervened, for example, in creating and supporting nasty dictatorships and overthrowing those they believed weren't sympathetic enough. I blogged on a similar example for the Vietnam of 1956 in Appeasement? Absolutely Not!

Needless to say, Blair rejected his comments.

Livingstone condemned all suicide bombings but was brave enough to admit to the fact of the USA recruiting and training the Talibans and Osama bin Laden to kill the Russians in Afghanistan, and now suffering from the phenomenon of "what goes around comes around."

Then Livingstone went directly to the kernel of the truth – he said:

"I have not the slightest doubt that, if at the end of the First World War we had done what we promised the Arabs, which was to let them be free and have their own governments, and kept out of Arab affairs, and just bought their oil, rather than feeling we had to control the flow of oil, I suspect this wouldn't have arisen."

"I have watched Western governments, so terrified of losing control of their fuel supplies, that all my life there have been interventions in the Middle East by Western governments."

"It is the double standards that flow from that. We initially welcomed Saddam Hussein to power, our intelligence services gave him lists of trade unionists and communists - as did the CIA - that we wanted killed, and he then turned on us."

"You have also got this running sore of the Palestine Israeli conflict. A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy."

Livingstone's comments basically supported the report of the leading British foreign policy think tank, Chatham House.

Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are two British politicians who have the decency to speak the truth.

4 London Copycat Bombers on the Run!

4 failed bombers in London are on the run from police – ‘failed’ because the bombs in their backpacks either didn’t go off as planned or more probably, to just create chaos, as one analyst, Professor Hans Michels of the pretigious Imperial College, pointed out that it was extremely unlikely that all four devices would have failed to explode.

London newspapers called them suicide bombers, which I think may be a bit premature – they haven’t shown any suicidal characteristics as yet.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, police claimed they might have nabbed the mastermind of the bombings. But of the 228 “suspects” the Pakis denied they hold the one British police wants, namely 30-year old Haroon Rashid Aswat, a former aide to one of Britain's most militant Islamic clerics, Abu Hamza al-Masri, the blind, one-armed militant cleric who preached jihad, but was arrested last year.

Envoys in Iraq Kidnapped Again!

The BBC reported that 2 Algerian diplomats in Baghdad have been kidnapped. They were seized outside a restaurant in the western Mansour district by attackers in two cars.

I blogged recently on how envoys were departing by the droves in Iraq told Envoys to Hang on to their B*lls.

If we go by what happened to the late Egyptian diplomat, this sure doesn't look good for the 2 Algerian envoys.

London Copycat Bombing - 2 Arrested

Two men have been arrested for yesterday’s London Copycat Bombing against 3 trains and 1 bus.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London Underground Explosions - Copycat?

From the Times:

"Large parts of London were cordoned off after the bombs, including University College Hospital, near Warren Street, where armed police reportedly chased a man - thought to be a bomber - into the building."

"Soon afterwards, an internal memo was circulated among hospital staff asking them to be on the alert for a black or Asian man, 6ft 2ins in height, wearing a blue top with a hole in the back with wires protruding from it. "

"A press spokesman for the hospital confirmed that armed officers were inside. The incident is continuing."

In the news I don’t like the sound of the reference to “casualty numbers (note plural) being low. So far only 1 injured has been confirmed.

Experts believed that the minor nature of the blasts could be a copycat attempt (3 trains and a bus?), in sympathy with the earlier group, or purely to cause panic. Obviously they have succeeded in the latter objective.