Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Trends not in Israel's favour'

Reading the American Jewish press is instructive. 'Trends not in Israel's favour' is an assessment of Res, General Danny Rothschild, former head of Israeli military intelligence, which appeared in a recent issue of the 'Jewish Week'.
General Rothschild is a star for the more liberal Jewish lobby J Street, which the 'New York Times Sunday Magazine' featured recently. J Street 'introduced' the general to members of the two houses of Congress, the White House, and the liberal think tanks and chatting classes.
Nonetheless, he sang the old refrain that Israel needed iron clad guarantees of defence, in order to settle the Israel Palestine question, and create conditions of peaceful relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
Is Israel which is armed to the teeth-- and what's more has a large nuclear stock pile [but not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and publicly boasts that it will never sign it!], and has a state of the art military industrial complex, seconded by very active intelligence services, which engage in propaganda and black arts--so absolutely unsure of its ability to defend itself? You would be led to think so by General Rothschild's patter.
Israel has engaged in at least 5 wars, mostly preemptive, against its Arab neighbours and the Palestinians. Only once it was caught napping. And that was 35 years ago in what is known as the 'Yom Kippur War', from which it emerged victorious. Its recent war in Lebanon and Gaza have serious damaged its reputation. Furthermore, as the fortune's of its superpower protector the US has changed, for Washington the once ultra strategic role of Israel has diminished; yet its largess in unstintingly lavishing us$ billions in military and economic aid to its client in Jerusalem has not lessen an iota. Nor has it stopped forgiving the loans which if repaid would greatly benefit the health and welfare of the American rate or tax payers.
Thus, in the larger scheme of things, Washington's interests are less parochial than Israel's concerns for remaining the bully in the Middle East. And here the we have the nub of General Rothschild's presence among the movers and shakers of US policy. His bag of tricks are shop worn, but they have lost the power to influence and twist one way or the other Americans around Israel's fingers!
Israel has grown increasingly concerned about the rise of Iran at a time US president Obama [BHO]c and his major allies in Europe are preparing to enter into direct negotiations with Tehran. Its partisan US president George Bush rebuffed its plans for the stealth bombing of Iran's burgeoning nuclear programme, which from all accounts is centred on the development of the peaceful use of the atom for electricity, and under the watchful eye of the IAEA. Even a hawk as Mr. Bush realised the geopolitical catastrophe an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran would obtain. And he was a president who never shied away from pushing the envelope on war and skating on the dangerous and more oft than not reckless edge of foreign policy.
BHO offers a challenge to Israel. On one hand a sympathetic US president to the concerns of Israel and its survival as a state; on the other, a president aware of the need to broaden US policy in the Middle East and Muslim world. BHO has committed the heresy of mild slapping Israel's hand on illegal settlements in the Palestinian west bank, now 42 years under Israeli occupation, and rcalling for the recognibtion of and a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Suddenly,
BHO is cast as the devil incarnate, as an avatar of Adolph Hitler, as an anti Semite, so on and on. And suddenly, too, Mr. Obama not only has fallen out of favour with Israelis, but his policies in the Middle East must be undermined, sabotaged through misinformationt, guile, and other dirty tricks, in order that Israel's 'defence' remains under a seamless American protective sky.
Here the role of General Rothschild comes in. He will stoke American Jewish opinion to pressure BHO and Congress; for Israel realises that among American Jewry, its appeal has tarnished. He will stroke the ego of US lawmakers to continue the generous support of Israel that it receives; he will appeal to the Christian right to second loudly its continued favouring of Israel's aims of preeminence and domination in the Middle East. As a former head of military intelligence, he will feed America's paranoia of an Iran with nuclear bombs which a much detested Irani president Mahmoud Ahmadi nejad will lob at Israel [even though historical evidence shows that Tehran is not an aggressor state, but one who will resist invaders, to wit Saddam Hussein's war against Iran].
Mr. Rothschild's task is not difficult. Consider the Israeli intelligence misinformation campaign against Iran's 'hidden' uranium enrichment plant, which is hardly a secret. Satellite photographs which the 'New York Times' put on its front page [29 September 2009] shows that it was obvious what Tehran's intentions were when they began building the facility. Israeli intelligence poured oil on the fire by saying, ah, yes, uranium enrichment for nuclear bombs, and a plant built next to a military installation.
Well if you were a country that Israel kept pushing to bomb for years, wouldn't you build a public utility providing cheap electricity for your people next to a military facility, in order to protect it from hostile foreign forces intent on destroying you!
The retired Israel general of military intelligence 'expertise' will make his appointed rounds, but with small influence. For BHO and his allies will began discussions with Iran within the week. Each side is posturing to influence the other. BHO bangs the drum loudly on suspicious exaggerated Israeli and perhaps US intelligence estimates, threatening harsher sanctions which are easily flouted; Iran has tested short range missiles as a warning against any preemptive strike against it, translation if Israel attacks which it is chomping at the bit to do, Tehran's bombs, not with nuclear warheads, but standard ordinary warheads, would rain down on every Israeli town and city, and bring a wider war in the Middle East, damaged the hardly sterling performing US economy, and lead to vast ruin and global warfare.
Yet, Israel is intent on invading Iran preemptily. For the moment, it seems, BHO will stay its hand, as George Bush did. US cable television talking heads are flashed across global networks; they wearily admit an Israeli invasion is in the cards, yet they won't criticise Israeli policy.
General Rothschild will make his case; he will find sympathetic ears, but Israel's wishes are and should continue to be resisted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ahmadinejad treats Netenyahu the same way Netenyahu treats the Palestinians!

On 24 October 2009, Israeli prime minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netenyahu took the podium before the
UN general assembly. With grand gestures, he unfolded a Nazi plan of a concentration, in order to silence the 'holocaust denier' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the president of the Islamtic Republic of Iran. He then proceeded to excoriate Tehran which his old ally and former US president George Bush, had labeled an 'axis of evil' state. Israel has a nervous finger on the bomb button to teach Iran a lesson by 'pre emptively' attacking one or two or many underground nuclear installations. But his American proconsul in Washington has denied him that opportunity. Little wonder, an Israeli attack on Iran would ignite the fuse on the powder keg that is the Middle East. And so short of the black art of propaganda and sabotage, Mr. Netenyahu has little choice but to vilify Iran.

Iran's Ahmadinejad, a wily politician he, knows how to tweak the tail of the Lions of Judea. He simply denies that the Holocaust took place. Which understandably serves one purpose: to set Israel's nerves on edge. It matters little that Holocaust survivors are alive and living in Israel and in other lands, the Irani president willingly speaks out that the destruction of some 6 million Jews and more millions of Poles, Communists, dissident Christian clergy, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, and Roms or Gypsies, perished in a Nazi lunatic plan of 'Lebensraum' or what we today call 'ethnic cleansing'. It is a deliberate ploy of the Irani president. Usually in the same breath, Mr. Ahmadi nejad speaks of the sorry plight of the Palestinians who are living under sorry conditions and badly treated by 42 years of Israeli occupation where day by day they are subjected to the complete disdain of the Israeli occupier who not only demeans and debases their humanity, by steals their land, in a calculated move to redeem the Biblic'. al Judea and Samaria, and realise the Zionist dream of one country from the Mediterrenean to the banks of the Jordan river. Not only that, it has waged brutal military assaults on Palestinians, especially those in Gaza who refuse, under the democratically elected Hamas government, to recognise the state of Israel.

Now, president Ahmadi nejad might not or might truly belong to Holocaust deniers, but he has the authority of a rival state in a neighbourhood that Israel's military and economic might think that they control. Wrong. By his 'denial', he has Mr. Netenyahu by the short hairs. By insisting on the rights of, and the wrongs done to the Palestinians, the Irani president has challenged Israli's monopoly on the Palestine narrative. And there is little Israel can do about it short of ''manu militari'. Israel's brutal war against Gaza the victims of which were overwhelming civilian, has lost it friends, or if not, has raised serious doubts or questions of its political sense and sensibility if not sanity.
And that is the object all sublime of Mr. Ahmadi nejad's 'denial of the Holocaust'. It is a hard lesson for Israel to learn. It is not anti Semitism as such but it does wash Mr. Netenyahu in the clotted mud that Israel has for the last 60 years tried to bury Palestinians' rights and aspirations, in. Mr. Ahmadi nejad has dare to vilify, to treat with utter contempt the right to another people's land. Since the Likud government that Mr. Netenyahu heads refuses the littlest of acknowledgements of Palestine's right to exist as a sovereign nation, nor stop illegally grabbing Palestinian land, but affirms Gold Meir's contemptable utterance, 'the Palestinian people, they don't exist', Iran's attacks against it won't strong. They will encourage more questioning of Israel's intransigeance in bringing peace to Palestine. And that is the lesson, Mr. Netenyahu hasn't learnt, nor, it seems, is capable of understanding and correcting. Mr. Ahmadi nejad's denial of the Holocaust simply put, says that Israel is a usurper of other people's land, and therefore illegitimate in its claim to a state and a seat among other nations. It's a hard lesson to learn for Israel.
Israel and Iran were friends once upon a time. Certainly during the days of the Shah. And yes, they co operated even after the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Remember Ronald Reagan's underhanded banking rolling the Contras in Nicaragua. And Israel served as the middle man. [Vide, Trita Parsi's ground breaking study of the exchange of money for guns!]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama falters on Palestine and Israel

US president Barack Obama [BHO] may know a thing or two about dealing with street gangs in the ghettos of Chicago, but he's outclassed and klewless on bringing peace to Israel and Palestine and furthering negotiations for a two state solution.
Talking about a gang of thugs in the Middle East, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu takes the pride of place as king pin. BHO is no match for him, even though the American president holds a hand full of aces. He has softened his mild stand on illegal settlements in Palestinian land which Israel holds in its steel vice of occupation since 1967.
BHO can and should exert economic pressure on the Likud government. Israel is a US client, but the way things are going it looks as though the US is Jerusalem's eunuch. BHO should take a page out of Dwight Eisenhower's book. During the Suez crisis, Mr. Eisenhower sent a strong message to Israel's prime minister David Ben Gurion: either you withdraw from Suez or we are going to stop economic and military aid. And Ben Gurion folded his tent and sneaked away in the night. This is not BHO's style, which is a cream pie in his own face.
Unless the US tells its client to whom it furnished untold billions in economic and military aid, without demanding reimbursement!, to stand down, the two state solution is condemned to the dung heap of fantasy.
BHO may deliver moving speeches, but he does not follow through. He's congentially unable to talk the talk, walk the walk. And the victims of his spaghetti spined policy are the Palestinians whom the Israeli have caged in Bantustan islands of their own territory which Jerusalem has the termity to Samaria and Judea, long gone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goldman Sachs evaluates North Korea?

If the nay sayers do not see movement on dealing with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea], the mighty investment house of Goldman Sachs' analyst suddenly discover the economic clout, Pyongyang would bring to a re unified Korean peninsula. Goldman Sachs smells money in Korea. Suddenly, in spite of its planned economy, the economic strong suit of North Korea suddenly emerges like a genie out long time imprisoned in a bottle.
The mighty Wall Street investment banking house's conclusion that one Korea would surpass the Germany and Japan in growth in the next 30-40 years. Now, that's hedging one's bets!
Pointing out the DPRK mineral wealth which the ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] lacks, North Korea would benefit from the lessons Seoul's first world economy can teach it.

Goldman Sachs is peddling warmed over rice. And it is engaging in gimcrack research on what anyone with mild curiosity could copy from the 'Encyclopedia Britannica'. Until now, for the US
the DPRK has been a 'pariah state', and one unworthy of attention. This has dramatically changed, the more especially owing to Washington's inept diplomacy in discussions with Pyongyang on a host of questions, not the least being its nuclear programme.

Within the last fortnight the US state department announced 'quietly' that the Obama administration will engage in direct talks with North Korea; for its part the DPRK will soon rejoin the six party talks in Beijing which he swore that it would never do.

Citizen Bill Clinton 'private mission of mercy' has opened the floodgates of diplomatic activity on issues with North Korea. And South Korea's hard line president Lee Myung bak has soften his approach to the North, in line with Washington's change of heart.

Even the doyen of business magazines 'Fortune' in its 15 September 2009 issue carried a long article on 'the man who loves North Korea', a certain Mr. Kim, originally from the ROC now living in the US, who is building a private science and technology university in Pyongyang, which the articles says will also award MBAs.

Goldman Sachs' analysis talks of the weaknesses of the North Korean ecovnomy which the pundits and talking heads have been predicting complete collapse for the last 15 years, but it does not track the flexibility that Pyongyang has initiated or overtaken by severe famine which loosened coontrol of family farming and open air 'free' markets, nor the slow reforms put in place. It fails to appreciate that the fiercely nationalistic North Korean state acts in its own interests on its own terms.

Nonetheless, the Goldman Sachs 'report' is a bellwether for the big bracket banks and business to look seriously at investing in North Korea, and of course, with the long term view of re unifying the divided Korean peninsula.

Guam Diary wonders how much the house that Goldman and Sachs built pays attention to history and the political realities of both Koreas. But you can count on one thing, where Goldman Sachs sticks it nose in, there is lots of money that it is hoping to be made!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Xinjiang twists the Chinese dragon's tail

Meeting Chinese official abroad, say, at symposia or luncheons or informally, is interesting. The younger ones and more oft than not the middle aged ones, and the few, old and more senior ones are polite, and schooled in a civility and a pattern of speech agreeable to foreign ears, especially westerns'. Furthermore, they have matriculated in US or British or continental European schools of higher learning. They have done their homework, and the results can be impressive.
Yet, mention Tibet or the Dalai Lama or Xinjiang or Rebiya Kadeer, now residing in the US and spokeswoman of her fellow Turkmans' aspiration, the tone of the conversation turns south and frosty, if not hostile.
China's central government, ruled by the CCP [Communist Party of China]'s reaction is more extreme, and might be designated by 'ballistic' or 'off the wall' in icalumny, viciosius misinterpretation, character assassination, and downright slander and gutter language.
Consider the film 'The 10 conditions of love' about the once feted, now damned documentary on the World Qyghur Congress' leader Rebiya Kadeer. Shown at an Australian film festival, Beijing not only lodged complaints of interference in the internal affairs of China but the festival organisers were handmaidens of the devil splitters of the Chinese motherland, by trying to estrange the Qyghurs of Xinjiang from the bosom of the Han motherland. The organisers were not amused nor persuaded by high emotions; they did not give into black mail easily. So, Beijing played a strong suit: it forced its own film makers to withdrew from the festival. The festival went on anyway, but the only casualties were China's 'metteurs en scene'!
Now '10 conditions...' is coming to Taiwan, which mainland China is trying to woo back into its fold. 'Resolutely opposing' the projection of the film which brings the horrible plight of the Qyghurs in Xinjiang to the wider world, blue in the face with indignation, its 'demarches', protests, strong pungent language, won't stay Rebiya Kabeer's image from flashing across the cinema screen. Beijing forgets that on Taiwan a flourish democracy prospers, and a degree of free speech exists which is what dreams are made of on mainland China.
In less that 8 weeks, China has had to drink bowls of bitter tea when its come to Taiwan. It had to swallow the visit of the Dalai Lama, after the torrential rains and mud slides which laentombed thousands in the south of Taiwan. And now, another arch enemy of the Han, Rebiya Kabeer's appeal for the indigenous rights of the Qyghurs, long abused by the CCP, gains a hearing on Taiwan.
Beijing cannot escape the fallout of its repressive policies in Tibet and in Xinjiang. One October, the CCP will be celebrating year 60 of its seizure of power. On the matter of the right of self determination of its minorities, Tibetan or Qyghur [Turkman], it has failed miserably through armed repression, encouraging emigration of the Han majority to swamp Tibet and Xinjiang by massive infusions of Chinese settlers with privileges denied to Tibetans and Qyghurs, repressive regulations and laws, the marginalisation of minority culture, language, religious practices, so on and on. In brief, a mental genocide and a factory line production of ersatz Han. China has created its own shameful legacy and it cannot nor won't be erased by threats and objections and childish stamping of feet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another black eye for Israel

The much awaited Goldstone Report on Israel's war in Gaza, commissioned by the United Nations [UN] is out. The 574 report did not have Israel's Likud Government support nor cooperation. Its conclusions are damning for Israel. It is quite damaging to Israel the more especially since South Africa's international respected jurist Richard Goldstone is not only Jewish but he is a Zionist. Yet, which his heart may inform him, does not in any way influence his judgment, probity, and integrity.
Hamas does not escape blame, and may be guilty of war crimes. But the lion's share of the judge's censure belongs to Israel. Its IDF [Tsuhal or Israel Defense Force] committed crimes of war against the civilian population of Gaza. It is estimated that 1400 defenceless women, children, and men perished in Israel's 21 day war in Gaza in June 2009. The destruction of property ranges in the hundreds of millions of $US. Jerusalem carried out a war of collective guilt which is against the Geneva Convention. Israel suffered 13 deaths and minimal damage to property, but its citizens near Gaza's borders may have sustained psychological distress, they are at least alive and enjoy very little damage to infrastructure damage, nor spend nights in bombed outbuilding or in tents, nor are they subject to a deliberate policy of obtaining the very minimum nourishment which a steel trapped Israeli blockade enforce.
Israel and Hamas have a period in which to reply to the report. Jerusalem has brazenly announced, it won't. In fact, it has reissued an IDF report which absolves it of any blame. If Israel persists, the International Tribunal in The Hague will consider charges of war crimes against Jerusalem.
Israel's protector and banker the US will block any such move.

Meanwhile the major American newspapers have already begun skewering the Goldstone Report's conclusions, apportioning equal blame to Hamas and Israel. The blame of course is not evenly shared. The facts are there to see that Israel should and has to shoulder the consequences and the blame for a brutal war against a civilian population. But Americans on the whole do not go in for facts much, so willful ignorance will absolve blame of Israel in the US.

Judge Goldstone's daughter speaking in Hebrew to the Israeli media, defended her father's record and his integrity. Nonetheless, judging by anyone who dares criticise Israel, the internationally renowned jurist will be smeared with the brush of 'self hating Jew'.

Still, Israel's war in Gaza has stripped it of any pretensions that it is a David battling the Arab hordes. Israel is armed to the teeth; it has a nuclear arsenal; its arms industry is flourishing; and it has to don the clothing of the bully in the Middle East. It can never escape the judgment of the Goldstone Report, nor its sagging reputation and the moral decline of a corrupt country.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The US takes the diplomatic road

Yesterday Guam Diary's 'US DPRK breaks the ice'. Yet the Obama administration's breaking ground on North Korea [DPRK or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] has got lost in the media shuffle, going greatly under reported. Today's it signals a willingness to sit down to discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran breaks out in large and occasionally banner headlines, which momentarily burying in the back pages news of a new initiative in talks with the DPRK.
The grand market place that the United Nations becomes every September when the leaders of its members take to the podium, and cross paths in VIP lounges or ranking diplomats run into one another or talk in shaded alcoves or share drinks, will tell of the direction the talks will take.
It is reasonable to point out that any items on announced agendas or press releases or stories in the press, are starting points, for the long weeks or even months of sharp horse trading, in order to arrive at agreed upon outcomes.
Yet, the DPRK and Iran are part of a larger diplomatic thrust that the Obama state department has launched. The influential US press bruit stories of a breakthrough with Castro's Cuba, where New Mexico's governor and old Clinton administration trouble shooter, Bill Richardson turned up a few weeks ago. [See, Guam Diary's 'the peripatetic Bill Richardson] Rumours abound that Mr. Richardson might be Washington's first ambassador to Havana should restoration of normal diplomatic channels take place. Nonetheless, rumours are simply bits and snippets of gossip which usually have little substance.
On the Dafur front, president Obama [BHO] is forging ahead with crafting an agreement which would put a final chapter on a horrible onslaught against Sudan's nomadic Muslim population.
BHO's diplomatict offeinse has so far no echo in the NATO war in Aghanistan. Already powerful committees in the houses of Congress and in more senior military circles are having second thoughts of persecuting a war which suddenly reminds them of the fiasco that was Vietnam.
It is hoped that secretary of state Hillary Clinton who has a hawkish position on Afghanistan, is also exploring back channels with amenable Taliban elements, the better to wind down a draining war in Central Asia.
Little mention is made of Spanish and Portugese speaking America. Mme. Clinton has dragged her feet on the coup in Hondorus which stays afloat thanks to the Yankee economic and military dollar. Will she extend BHO's hand to smooth ruffled feathers in a vast continent with its oil reserves, mineral resources, and its growing sense of this continent's standing and power?
Africa poses a delicate problems. Furthermore, solutions are less easy to come by, owing to endemic corruption, immense health problems, drought, and general low level of development.
And finally, there the push by veteran negotiator George Mitchell, to untie the knots of the Israeli Palestine imbroglio. He has his work cut out for him: he has to contend with a feral Israel, an anemic Palestinian Authority, which suffers from the steel grip of more than 40 years of Israel
occupation. He has to somehow, way, shape or form, bring Hamas into the equation. He has his work cut out for him. The outcome is far from secure.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

US breaks the ice with the DPRK

Quietly on Friday 11 September 2009 with the US remembering the fallen at the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon, and the crash of an al Qaeda commanded aeroplane in Pennsylvania, Philip Crowley a spokesman for the department of state, dropped a bombshell. The Obama administragtion was reversing its oars on dealing with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea]. It waesols now willing to enter bilateral discussions with North Korea, something it has resolutely and steadfastly resisted, especially during the 8 dark years of George Bush's diplomacy. It is a break in the mistaken, bumbling Obama administration's hard line policy towards the DPRK. Guam Diary has repeatedly and incessantly suggested that president Obama [BHO] playing a dangerous gambit by seizing the UN sedcurity council calling for onerous sanctions against Kim Jong il, found that his clever by half ploy had back fired dangerously and badly. Swiftly Pyongyang slammed the door on the six party salks in Beijing to end its nuclear programme; it sent packing IAEA observers and began anew its nuclear plant anend programme; it launched short and medium ranged missiles; and it tore up in a peak of anger theal 1953 Geneva Accords. BHO felt challenged; he strong armed the UN security council into passing punitive sanctions, which Kim Jong il called 'causi belli', acts of war. To signal its displeasure, the DPRK on 26 May set off a powerful underground explosion which nuclear sensors, even the one in the ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] registered no synthetic traces of nuclear matter, even though Washington claimed it was a nuclear test, in violation of UN resolutions. And there the standoff remained.
In June, Kim Jong il in a new approach, called for discussions directly with the US. In the meanwhile two ambitious journalists got caught entering the DPRK without proper documents. Owing to the acrimony on both sides, they were quickly tried and condemned to 12 years at hard labour.
Anxious to seek the rel.enior DPRK diplomats stationed at Nsorth Korea's permanent mission to the UN in New York. And then at the funeral of Nobeclist and former South Korean president Kim Dae Jung in August, Madeleine Albright represented the US where she was bound to run into a very important DPRK delegation to honour the memory of Mr. Kim . She in Octobeer 2000, met with Kim Jong il, and gave an interesting and positive profile of the DPRK leader, which many hhings began loosening up. The DPRK delegates met with South Korea's granite resistant to North Korea, president Lee Myung bak. Then the visit of Mme. Hyun Jeorng un, ceo of the Hyundai group, to the DPRK. She expressing regrets, obtaine release of a Hyundai technician held for 127 on charges of trying to aid and abet the defection of a North Korean woman he had become sweet on. Mme. Hyun thereby set the stage for the reopening at full speed of the industrial park which both Koreas needed and wanted for obvious economic benefits. And then quickly, the borders between the North and the South were open to rail traffic, and the Red Cross of both countries looked to restart visits of families separated by the Korean war more than a half century ago.
Now if these steps did not signal the merry singing of the diplomatic tea kettle, the sudden, fortuitous [sic] appearance of high ranking delegates from the DPRK, the ROC, and US should have alerted even the more dense that something big as going on. And the announcement by Mr. Crowley that the US had set its diplomatic to new winds with DPRK is of the swift series of events since Citizen Bill Clinton's 'mercy mission' to the DPRK.
The regime change Americans had been banging pots and pans to derail this, but to no avail. They're down but won't admit defeat.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mad cow hysteria in Malaysia continued...

Selangor authorities arrested 12 Muslims parading a severed cow's head in Shah Alam, to protest the relocation of a 150 year old Hindu temple 200 metres from their neighbourhood.
As Guam Diary reported, the authorities had a found the site for the temple because Malaysian law stipulates that had the demographics of a neighbourhood shifted towards a Malay or Muslim majority, any place of worship other than a mosque would have to be removed and built elsewhere. And such was the case of the Hindu temple in proximity to Shah Alam. [Guam Diary will not comment on intent of the law, which favours, to say the least, segregation of racial groups in Malaysia and upholds the primacy of Islam in all matters.]
Fifty angry demonstrators denigrated the Hindu religion by brandishing the bloody cow's head in front of government offices.
Twelve protestors appeared before a judge magistrate. Five are charged with sedition, 6 others with unlawful assembly, and one might have been dismissed, but that is not certain. No trial date was set; all defendants, released on their own recognisance, The case will be heard again on 21 October 2009.
According to local officials, all but one protestor lived in Shah Alam. Eleven came from elsewhere, who taken by the power of their own oratory, waxed in fiery fury to denounce the relocation of the Hindu temple, thereby with intent inciting the Muslims of Shah Alam towards insurrection against State authorities.
Now in the charge of sedition is a serious office, and one not proferred lightly in Malaysia. Yet, it does seem strange that the court did not see fit to impose heavy bail or remand the 5 men charged to gaol until the court reheard arguments in late October.
Where the shoe on the other foot say, the perpetrators would be under lock and key, were it an offense against Islam. Bloody rioting and yes lynching if not murder would have ensued. Charges of blasphemy, sedition would ring from the highest rafter, it is safe to say. But sedition in this case, is as lightly worn as gossamer wings.
It is more likely than not, the charge of sedition will be dropped in October, the case treated with a lax hand, and the firebrands released to engage in mayhem and mischief once again.
It is not difficult to document the case that Malaysia sets double weights and double weights for non Muslims; that a mild form of racial and religious apartheid obtains; and that civil justice in Malaysia is skewered and discriminatory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

China kicks old friends in the pants

In the 'New York Times Online' [2 September 2009] appears 'Filmmakers barred from China Festival'.
In an effort to put a bright smile on a lamentable situation, the Chinese authorities have banned the showing of 'China's unnatural disaster: the tears of Sichuan province' at this year's Beijing International Festival. Filmed by the award winning documentary filmmaker Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, it captures the anger and sadness of loss of parents whose children died in the collapse of shoddily built schools during a strong earthquake in 2008.
The Chinese Communist Party [CCP] has treated with a rough and steel hand the families who called for redress and the pursuit of corrupt officials and builders, the more especially government buildings withstood the violent shocks of the quake but not the shabby schools.
Alpert and O'Neill along with a co producer Dr. Peter Kwong, chairman of Asian Studies at New York's Hunter College had visa applications rejected. As such, they and their documentary are barred from the festival in Beijing, which is not surprising as the CCP is going to celebrate the 60 anniversary of its seizure of power in 1949.
For Dr. Kwong a reconstructed Maoist, and drum beat for Beijing, this must come as a loss of face.

Lisa Ling and Euna Lee speak up without remorse

Citizen Bill Clinton's mission of mercy to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] had the ostensible purpose of bring two American journalists sentenced to 12 years each of hard labour, back safe and sound to the US. Their release snowballed into a relaxation of tensions first between Washington and Pyongyang, and then Pyongyang and Seoul. The thaw in relations is warming up to a degree that as Guam Diary had 'called for a conference in Geneva', lto resolve outstanding matters lingering from the war in Korea [1950-1953], not the least the signing of a peace treaty.
Lisa Ling and Euna Lee are finally terlling us their story almost two months after arrfiving back on American soil. It has come in the form of an op ed piece in the 'Los Angeles Times' [2 September 2009]. As good journalist, they went the extra mile for their story: North Korean defectors or refugees who fled to China for food and work. Mostly living in the shadows, among the Sino Korean population, the women were forced into sex slavery or marriage. The men too began slaves in sweat shops or restaurants or menial jobs, lest they be denounced and sent back to harsh punishment in North Korea.
Ling and Lee are no novices in reporting. Swept along with even interviewing border guardson the Chinese DPRK border, on the dawn of 17 March 2009, they crossed the border at the shallow Tumen river. They had asked their guide, a Sino Korean who had worked with other foreign or western journalist, to arrange a meeting with friendly border guards. He tried to set it up on his cell phone but was unable. Ling and Lee threw caution to the wind, by going with man in the hopes that his signals would end in their much sought interview with North Korean border guards who accept bribes from the refugees, thereby allowing them safe passage into China.
It had the wrong, desired outcome. Two guards emerged from the woods, in hot pursuit of the two women who ran for safety in China. The guide and their camera crew, all male, ran as did the two women. The men escaped, but Ling and Lee got nabbed for entering the DPRK illegally.
They pleaded guilty at their show trial, and later willingly apologises for violating North Korean law by trespassing. Owing to US president Obama's [BHO] hard line policy towards Pyongyang for not desisting in the launch of a satellite on a long range rocket, fueled by Washington's seizure of the UN security council on questionable grounds, which resulted in sanctions, Kim Jong il escalated his response by slamming the door on the six party talks in Beijing, sent packing IAEA observers, started up its nuclear programme, exploded a powerful non nuclear device [see Clery's article in 'Science'], and shredded the 1953 Armistice Accords. And the poisonous atmosphere gathered more and more lethal until the Ling and Lee in a call to their families in San Francisco that the Kim regime after US secretary of state proffered an apology, would welcome the visit of Citizen Bill Clinton, to lance the boil of discontent between Washington and Pyongyang. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Still the fallout of Ling and Lee's arrest has had dire consequences for ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] citizen rescue efforts, mainly by evangelising Christian pastors who came not only to bring aid and succor to the North Korean refugees, but also convert them to their brand of Christianity, and in the hope that they could spirit them to South Korea. North Korean authorities confiscated the two reporters notebooks, and possibly filmed interviews, thereby compromising rescue efforts. Articles have appeared in the South Korean press denouncing the irresponsibility of Ling and Lee for being zealously blind to the consequences of their actions at the DPRK border crossing.
Ling and Lee are back home safe, but nowhere in their joint op ed 'Los Angeles Times' is there a feeling of remorse for the North Korean refugees whose life they rendered less secure and even put at risk by being sent back to the DPRK.
It is doubtful that they've absorbed the full import of their rash decision to interview venal North Korean border guards.