“The fateful knock came in the middle of the night, bringing me into a life without light. They took me away from my family. They threw away my rights and my dignity.”

Michael Cheng, Deputy Secretary of Think Centre, a FORUM-ASIA member and an NGO in Singapore.

From FORUM-ASIA:

Draconian Internal Security Acts (ISA) have long been used by governments to stifle peaceful political dissent. One of the more unfortunate legacies from British times, such acts are still in use in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Reginald Hugh Hickling, the British lawyer who first drafted the ISA, wrote in 1989, “I could not imagine then that the time would come when the power of detention […] would be used against political opponents, welfare workers and others dedicated to nonviolent, peaceful activities”.

ISAs are laws allowing the government to detain for a practically indefinite period anyone suspected of posing a threat to national security. According to critics, it is basically a free pass for the government to arrest anyone it likes, without any judicial review whatsoever. Considering the amount of criticisms levelled against ISAs, and the available evidence pointing to ISAs as a severe abuse of human rights and civil liberties, it is troubling to note that Thailand and the Philippines are now considering installing similar laws.

“The ISA has been kept in use all this time mainly because it is a very convenient tool at the disposal of the ruling coalition. It has served as an instrument of terror of the state and used consistently against dissidents who have defended the democratic and human rights of the Malaysian people,” said Dr Kua Kia Soong in 2005. He is a noted social scientist who is on the board of directors of the Voice of the Malaysian People or SUARAM, a leading human-rights organisation.

Originally created and used as a powerful weapon to bludgeon communist insurgencies in British colonial times, governments have used ISAs against political freedom and freedom of expression.

In Operation Lalang in 1987, 106 people were detained in Malaysia under the ISA for allegedly being involved in activities “prejudicial to the security of Malaysia.” The detained included Lim Kit Siang, leader of the opposition, and Dr Chandra Muzaffar, a prominent human rights activist (both detained for two years), as well as university lecturers, environmentalists, businesspeople and some members of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO); all were critical of the government.

In April 2001, prior to a planned demonstration to mark the second anniversary of the sentencing of prisoner-of-conscience Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian police detained nine opposition activists and a human rights defender under the ISA.

Chia Thye Poh, a former member of parliament for the Barisan Sosialis Party in Singapore, was detained without trial in 1966 for 23 years, making him the second longest serving prisoner-of-conscience at the time, after Nelson Mandela. Until today, he has denied government claims of being a communist.

It is worth noting that in 1962 (before Singapore’s independence), then Malaysian Prime Minister Tungku Abdul Rahman said that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew “was taking advantage of an atmosphere of urgency to include a number of political opponents in lists of [ISA] arrests on purely political grounds.”

In 1987, 22 Singaporeans were detained for alleged involvement in a Marxist conspiracy. Most of these were English-educated professionals, hardly fitting the profile of those engaged in such activities at the time. The state claimed that they were out to topple the government by illegal means. Critics saw it as a political clampdown, especially when it came to light that many of those detained were volunteers or were in some way involved with the alternative Workers’ Party.

Today, with 9/11 casting its long shadow around the world, governments have justified use of ISAs on counter-terrorism grounds. There are currently around 40 terror suspects under detention in Singapore. In Malaysia, more than 100 terror suspects have been detained since 2000. None have been charged in a court of law. None have had access to legal counsel.

The ISA’s impact on Singapore society is a lamentable one. Its effect on stifling political dissent and freedom of expression is undeniable. At political activities not officially sanctioned by the government (rare as they are), it is not uncommon to start looking around to try and spot the officers from the Internal Security Department (ISD). Terms such as ‘ISA’ and ‘ISD’ in conversations whispered around the island still spark a certain morbid fascination. The climate of fear generated by the use of the ISA in the past have deterred many today from political activities.

Ms Braema Mathi, former president of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) put it succinctly, “What got ingrained was the power of the state and the instruments that the state could use. What we embraced was fear. This kind of thing takes a lot of time to shed.”

Think Centre President Sinapan Samydorai notes, “’If the intention was to break the backbone of a social awakening of people who could become politically active, then I think they [the government] – more or less – achieved it.”

ISAs are a prime example of unjust laws that have no place in a democracy. Any basic premise of innocence until proven guilty is thrown out the window. The government does not bring charges against a suspect in a court of law. How then does a suspect have access to legal redress?The suspects are denied access to lawyers, family visits and independent medical care. They are also at grave risk of police brutality and abusive interrogation methods. Numerous accounts exist of humiliating verbal and physical abuse.

Incredibly, there are some who do not realise, or choose to disregard, the fact that ISAs are unconstitutional. As members of the United Nations, states have an inherent obligation to respect and observe all UN Conventions. Thailand and the Philippines, for instance, have even ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They are clearly going against the grain of internationally accepted behaviour. In showing no regard for the conventions signed, the governments have also brought down their standing in the international community.

Governments are threatening to violate human rights and deprive citizens of their civil liberties by enacting anti-terror bills and ISAs. We need to be constantly aware and wary. In the global war against terror, it is easy to be swept up or intimidated by government rhetoric. We must never give the slightest inch in allowing our governments to embark on actions that threaten our human rights.

There are now movements in several countries campaigning for the abolishment of ISAs. If civil society does not speak up against ISAs, rights will continue to be eroded. Governments will be given the right to knock on your door and take you away, removing all human dignity and rights.

46 responses »

  1. silverwolf says:

    “Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” — James Madison, 4th President of the USA

  2. Rajah says:

    Under the country’s Internal Security Act, the legal burden of proof is reversed. As the accused detained under the Act, you will have to prove why you are not a security threat and why you should not be detained. Without being charged and without the advice of counsel how would you even begin?? The presumption of innocence no longer applies. You are guilty unless proven innocent.

    In the past and during the nation’s struggle to free itself from communist terrorists and the activities of the Communist Party of Malaya (MCP) led by Chin Peng and Rashid Mydin and the others, it has proved an extremely useful tool. Today the United States looks to the extensive powers such as those conferred on the executive by Malaysia’s ISA to help fight Jihadists both domestic and foreign. In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 Congress passed the U.S> Patriot Act. The Act allows the government to track your activities, your computer records, your e-mails, telephone conversations, the books you borrow at the public library, books you purchase at bookstores, wire tap your phones, the bookings you make with your travel agents, who you travel with and the list can go on and on. The intrusions into the individual privacy rights would remain intrusions without more but they are accompanied with powers to detain individuals the U.S. President classifies as ‘enemy combatants’ without charge and without trial for an indefinite period – and without counsel. That is unprecedented in U.S. history!

    This is a post 9/11 world and to call for the abolition of laws like the Internal Security Act may be irresponsible and reckless. Malaysia will then be out of step with the rest of the world committed as it is to the struggle to rid itself of all forms of terrorism. What needs to be done in Malaysia’s case is to restore the right of judicial review and not allow the Minister of Internal Affairs unfettered powers to detain any individual it deems a security threat. The Act carries no definition of “security threat” and has in the past been the subject of executive abuse. It is time we amend the Act and bring judicial control of executive powers rather than abolish it.

  3. hutchrun says:

    Well, Hishamuddin is following the exact steps of his cousin who sparked `operation lallang`.

  4. hutchrun says:

    Malaysia will then be out of step with the rest of the world committed as it is to the struggle to rid itself of all forms of terrorism.
    ________________________________________
    The US Congress are trying to roll it back:
    Congressional leaders fail to protect terror tipsters from insane lawsuits
    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/07/20/2007-07-20_disarmed_by_the_dems.html

  5. Rajah says:

    That’s true.

    The U.S> Congress under the Dems has been trying to trim some of those very wide powers given to the U.S. President. In fact there has been calls for the impeachment of the U.S> President for leading the nation to war with Iraq.

    Most I would think are mere rhetoric. 9/11 has forever changed not just United States but the whole world. Civil libertarians everywhere may lament at the loss of civil liberties but even they will agree and give up some of those in the interest of national security. We owe it to ourselves and to our children.

    But here comes the danger! When an out-of-control executive uses his or her powers to impose on the country what ‘national security’ requires which is not quite in tune with the legislators intent e.g. the definition of ‘enemy combatant’ is too vague and too wide and flexible and could describe anybody who is critical of the Administration especially when he is of Arab descent. However, in the U.S. Presidential system with its strong emphasis on checks and balances, the legislative and the judicial arms of the government still have control over his use of such powers – unlike in Malaysia.

    In the case of Malaysia we should expect greater use rather than less, of legislation like the Internal Security Act (as we all know there are others) by a fascist regime bent on perpetuating itself at any cost. In Malaysia the definition of ”security interest’ by the executive arm of government has allowed the stifling of public dissent to government policies. Ops Lallang is a good example. The processes should be subject to judicial control.

    But abolish the ISA altogether?! Well, we can talk but it is not going to happen especially under the Abdullah Administration or in other future Administrations.

  6. Rajah says:

    “ISAs are a prime example of unjust laws that have no place in a democracy. Any basic premise of innocence until proven guilty is thrown out the window. The government does not bring charges against a suspect in a court of law. How then does a suspect have access to legal redress?”

    Tell that to the United States the beacon of freedom for the rest of the world to follow, the “Land of the Free’ and the ‘Home of the Brave’.

  7. hutchrun says:

    HaHa. Rais Yatim said that the US copied M`sia.

  8. hutchrun says:

    Maybe white-eyes are afraid of that taqiya thingy. After all proving `potential` terrorists is not exactly easy.
    India is a good e.g. A certain no. of people must die before prosecution can be initiated like in mumbai and they took more than 10 years in sentencing 3/4 for the over 200 dead.

  9. silverwolf says:

    Rajah — Yes I do think it is a dilemma because there are terrorists who want to kill large numbers of people. I call them the necrophiles. And when it is a valid question of a terror ring say of bombers of course you want to be able to hold them a little longer. I cant imagine a period of from 7-21 days wouldnt suffice to be able to bring bona fide charges based solid evidence. But even there in probably 95-98% of cases you would have enough evidence to charge within 24 hours. These are terrorism charges, not seconhand accusations of jaywalking.
    So Bush and governments have legit. concern to stop these caitiffs that blow up bunch innocents. But prez. had all he probably needed under the old law. They didnt really need the patriot act to control terrorism. They just wanted to erode the earthen base of the Bill of Rights with the scatwater from their septic tank of collectivism, because that base is fragile and needs constant resupporting with dialogue of democracy like we are doing. Prez also had the FISA court which could approve his wiretaps and break-ins in a few hours. Jonathan Turley, law prof at Georgetown U. in Wash, D.C. in testamony before Congressman Moyers committees on Secret Survaillance. (its available i think on c-span archives) told of how he had worked as a law claerk in his yngr days delivering FISA warrants to the judge. The guy would barely glance and rubber stamp. When he discussed with his boss at FBI boss agreed it was a joke, but what could they do. Bush claims they only tape people who are talking to “bad folks” (And folks is a favorite word of american politicians, esp. the populists) but at the Congressional hearing the witness said, if I recall, “they’re tracking everythinon the net”. But they’d go bankrupt busting everyone who critisises Bush. My sarcasm is peanuts compared to their ravings. Yet no one is knocking at their door — because they’d have to jail about 14 million americans on any given day for what they must be saying about the Dummy in charge on line. His rating just went from 29 to 28% Paranoids who phone in say, he will suspend the election, but he cant unless he declared martial law and hed have to have a very drastic sit. to do that. Only the states can suspend the election because under the constit., it is their responsibility to conduct election. Bush has no authority over states rights in this matter. It just doesnt exist. Something to keep the paranoids grinding their teeth on all night instead of meditating on truths of life. Nor has america ever suspend elect. in time of war. Paranoids say, “He’ll go to war and suspend elect. But war no excusehas to susp. elect. under law. Still must go on.You see ,the paranoids, they dont know the law and the constitution. Thats one reason Dem/Rep collectivists can usurp rights both civil and property(i.e.financial taxes). People dont know the U.S. Constitution. But they can overhaul their car engine.

  10. hutchrun says:

    His rating just went from 29 to 28%
    ______________________________
    And Congress is running at 24%, I hear.

  11. silverwolf says:

    But the terrible things are the being held without being told the charge. And being considered guilty and having to prove innocents. You see how Jefferson and those guys knew all the tricks that govts try.
    But that is the battle of finding and keeping a just political system that all libertarians, be they social or radical-free market, are engaged in. U.S. system isnt perfect. I like the Brit. Parliam. process of Prime Ministers question time. Imaging if Bush, every few weeks, got raked over the coals by sharp aggressive politicians, the shark=razor sharp minds, a pack of politicial pitbulls, ready to tear the logic of the Dummy in charge to shredds. See what booze does to the human brain. I agree with Islam 100 % on complete abstent. from alcohol, but I still wouldnt flog my neighbor for having a beer. What absurdity.

  12. hutchrun says:

    I just simply love my wine and some vivaldi etc.

  13. silverwolf says:

    These laws are why I think we need this Congressman Ron Paul, though I think Americs need to grill him on a lot of his positions. He is a radical free-mkt capitalist, wants to abolish income, esate and gift taxes, decriminalize all drugs, abolish farm subsidies and all foreign aid, pull out of UN, no restrictions on guns. He voted twice against Patriot Act; a very patriotic thing to do if you love U.S. Cpnstit. and Bill of Rights, two of my very best friends.

  14. silverwolf says:

    Well thats fine hutchrun. Almost everybody wants something to change their consciousness with something, be it alco. or cannab. or caffeine. I admit to being a habitual user of the physically addictive drug caffeine. Why aren’t I rotting in a jail like 10 thousand other americans who chose to have l.01 oz of cannab. Big brother is never wrong , is she?But couldn’t you just get high off the Vivaldi? Hes so good, its easy.

  15. hutchrun says:

    Hey you got your caff, leave my wine alone will yer🙂

  16. silverwolf says:

    I once read fat volume at Univ. California reasearch library on Islamic religious laws in relation to cannab. as an intoxicant. Some few condemned it, but many seemed to take tolerant, or semi-tolerant attitude. It seemed in general to be accepted as a peccadillo. Perhaps the Islamists scholars can enlighten us on this one? But almost all music puts almost all humans into an instant trance where the mind stops chattering, and pays choiceless attention to it. Thats why we like it so much. Bach’s 2 and3 pt inventions i like very much. But why do we want drugs to give us an experience? Why do we crave experiences (and thats what most people want), while at the very moment that we are craving , experience is going on all around us. Have you ever sat 10 minutes uninterrupted in your whole life and thought about that? We are asleep, caught in thought labyrinths of mind.

  17. silverwolf says:

    Believe me, bro hutchrun, I’ll never confiscate your wine. But I’m afraid you’ll have to pay a premium if you want national health insurance, that the strictly observant Muslims wouldn’t have to pay. So the free market punishes your behaviour financially, but thats all. The only deterent is you pocket book, not the religious police as I recently saw in Iran, going round telling men their hair was one millimeter too long for their interpreteation of ultimate truth. I went through the same crap at Hollywood High School during Vietnam war days
    when the boys vice-Principal, Mr. Beck, a tin-pot fascist, would have us in and order us to get haircuts. He once ripped my peace button off my shirt. But dont worry hutchrun. Studies seem to indicate that one oz. alcohol/day does very little damage. Maybe just higher risk of oral cancer.

  18. silverwolf says:

    However the really exciting and important thing is that this candidacy coinciding with this great cynicism against government has a real chance of mushrooming into a national boom. The way Paul went from 2 to 3 percent in just a couple of days, the fact that he is all over the web, he is being interviewed by prominent outfits, he was invited to speak at Google,etc. (By the way I forgot to add that he wants to have all U.S. troops out within 2 weeks) One young chap at Google said in effect “Thank you Dr. Paul for finally bringing the Austrian school of economics to the attention of the public. I’m just so grateful… and the guy was almost gushing. And I felt the same when I saw it. So this guy Paul;s candidacy may be a last chance for freedom and liberty in the world both for America and for situations like you are in. If a spirit of free libertarianism, of free speech were to sweep through America, it would have a big impact on world freedoms. Paul is an isolationist, so it wouldnt have a direct impact from day one, like it would under say Carter or Clinton, but the ideas of freedom of speech, of oppos. to death penalty (he opposes it. He also opposes abortion, but dodges issue by saying it is a matter for the states. It is under the const, but that would in effect overthrow row vWade. Tough. So he offends everybody and pleases everbody. And speaks with the quiet reasonableness of a George McGovern.

  19. hutchrun says:

    Have you ever sat 10 minutes uninterrupted in your whole life and thought about that?
    ______________________________________
    Actually the Bardo Thodol itself took very very very very much longer than that

  20. wits0 says:

    Silverwolf, Carter was Khomeini’s enabler, and Clinton got an honest gotta honest bone in him? At best, I read in them the type of good intentions paving the way to hell.

  21. hutchrun says:

    Maybe just higher risk of oral cancer.
    ________________________________
    And smoking is a deterrent of sorts to Parkinson`s.
    It`s a great idea to have those troops out of Iraq n Afghanistan as fast as possible. Obama`s latching on to it now:
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/07/21/obama_dont_stay_in_iraq_over_genocide/

    I`ve been saying that for a long time now.

  22. silverwolf says:

    So he is a strange admixture; the darling of the gun nuts, the pot heads, the gazillionairs, anyone subject to the estate tax, everyone who dislikes the income tax,( which obviously will be just about everybody in the country except govt. workers and those on welfare and gvt. pensions) the gay rights mvt. ( because as a fundamentalist church goer in Texas you can imagine what he thinks) as a constitutionalist believeing in bill of rights, he is for certain gay rights that fundamentalist (no pun intended) crowd are def. not into. An original for sure. His weaknesses are (1) he once refered to wisechief Jefferson;s “wall of separation between church and state” as abhorrent. That is certainly not the attitude we need now, so if he is for overthrow of sep. of church and state, he is no good for libertarians, and we should vote for another one of these unknowns that are sure to lose. There is also the very serious fact that his newsletters made statements about Blacks that I consider and most would to be racist, or bordering on it. You can find them on the web. Houston Chron. tracked them..He claims, he didnt write, but an aide whom he employed when traveling. Very feeble repud. Je ne suis pas satisfait.

  23. Rajah says:

    Silverwolf,

    Alcohol and cigarettes are legal. I was not around during the Prohibition years. Today the use of marijuana has been legalized in the U.K. and Canada. I say the U.S. should legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes too. Or has it been done so i certain states – like California?

    Well, in Malaysia, there is talk by Malaysians about some other Malaysians being addicted to the NEP, often referring to it as opium – lest any ‘gaijin’ reading this thinks that Malaysians are hopelessly addicted to opium, we are not! In the early 80s department store customers would walk in and ask for ‘Opium’ but that too has nothing to do with their addiction to opium.

    The white men got the Chinese in Hong Kong addicted to opium when they ran short of silver. Years later it was the Chinese who brought opium with them to the then Malaya and popularized it here until it was banned. Before the 2WW there were opium houses doing business openly. I believe the Brits got it banned. Funny – it was the Brits ruling Afghanistan with its poppy flowers who introduced opium to China and got the population addicted.

    Silverwolf, what makes you think readers here are Muslims? Almost half of us are non-believers or mostly infidels as they say and some are of the wine drinking variety – only wine costs a bomb in this country which is still in the midst of a debate as to whether the framers of our Constitution of 1957 meant to set up an Islamic state or just a state with Islam as the official religion. The only Muslim fanatic who has lost his marbles is Monsterball who took pride in having lived in the U.S. as a student and has now returned to Malaysia to spread his version of free speech!

  24. Rajah says:

    Wanna talk about human rights??

    Human rights activists like Elizabeth Wong should go to the remote parts of East Malaysia and save some 200 female students from a boarding school from drowning in a river of sanitary pads. This is a human rights violation just like Nataniel Tan’s arrest and detention – only that events like this does not attract the same attention like when a blogger is arrested.

    Read about it here. The head of its parent-teacher association had the scene photographed.

    http://www.nst.com.my/

  25. silverwolf says:

    Oh I got the impression from web, like UMNO in front of that Hindo Temple, that large number were very pious. And then a few hours ago I read that very courteous letter from a Christian minister concerning the establishment of a religious state. You see! there we are right now.Church state separation question. Israel too runs into big problems because it is a religious state but also a state with freedom of speech. It ends up making convoluted legal rulings. Instead of saying “The government is the dirty oil that keeps the engine of society going. Just enough for no infringement of civil/prop rights but no more and throw out and replace every 3000miles. Yeh! Perhaps Bush’s last push as his popularity fades is coinciding with your situation as it transmorphs. The imposition of state religion is a sign of insecurity , but it sounds like a large part of your economy is free-market and this probably has a salubrious effect and somewhat innoculates you against the enroachments of collectivism, economic or religious. And if your all out sinning, having beers, and like depraved me having a cup of coffee or Typhoo black-as-treacle, a cuppa wollap, well then democracy and liberty really does have a chance. I really think the hedonism of modern America has insulated it against an unjust war like Vietnam. They could never get the draft with so many kids into sex,dope and rockand roll. Its good in that way. Their selfish hedonism will make them very reluctant to leave their girlfriends and bongs and have to be round men all the time(how boring!), so they have to bribe these poor young latinos and Blacks, who are the nicest kids imaginable, who want nothing more than to have a beer or bowl and chat-up the birds. Just as it should be. So there bribed and used like fodder. I hated Saddam so much for his genocides I always wanted UNor someone to go in and get him and try him. Pipe dream. Then the Chief Dummy does exactly that. And decimates the special forces that were the sort of S.S of fanatical believers that carried out so much of his genocide with relish, not just poor draftee who really has no stomach for genocide of Kurds and others. But I really believed in WMD. So did many. And I was worried that as soon as he had it, he’d go for israel, israel would retal. and the third would have come, and if isr. went down you can be sure itd take all the major Arab metros with it, so the loss of life to civils, and the chaos, and economic chaos round world would have been tremendous. I dont want that. Therefore, clear out Nazi-clone fasicist A-l1quality war crim. at same time prevent WWIII. But after no WMD, tide of cynicism start to rise, only itsy-bitsy at first, but constant grow, like compound interest, and now after 4 years — he’s the boy who cried wolf 30 times, and he’s getting a lot of nice kids killed and maimed. I tell ya the Executioner of Texas aint too popular right now. Anyway I was way wrong on WMD. Ya see, doubt everything, including your own believes. (However, religious sentiment or insight need not be doubted when whole being perceives it to be true, such as insight that something exists in the world that is holy). I mean more like intellectual doubt about your philosophical beliefs.

  26. silverwolf says:

    And unfortunately now as I spoze always, about the veracity of our governments. We do have similar problems, US and Malyasia.But I think its a lot easier for us. Youo people must be very brave. Liberty vs. unreasonable overreach of govt. power, esp. in light of terrorist nutzis. Questions for Rajah when he becomes Q.C.

  27. silverwolf says:

    We dont really have to put our ass on the line here, like you. I think here that virtually every white person taken in here on terrorism charges would be taken in because something was really fishy, not because he said the president had his hair mussed on tv and was a disgrace to the nation. But if another collectivist comes in here and this (I thnk) bogus Keynsian econ. isnt repalced with Austrian school econ.then democracy and Bills of Rights like ours can bend over and kiss the Euro-American lily white glutimus maximi goodbye. Putin is doing his own dance on political liberty, and the China seem to grow more repressive faster than capitalism is liberalising it. And all that pollution. And did you see that slave labor factory where they were forced to make bricks with bare hands and burn themselves and get scared. Sores on feet and no bath for a year. Gruel. Disgust your faith in human race. Remind of early Brit. capitalism before social welfare bills were passed mid 19th cent by Lord John Russell, grandfather of Bertrand, who was so moved by Dicken’s novel’s descriptions of the miserable conditions of the poor. So all you marxists, it wasn’t Marx who catalyzed social progress, it was Charles Dickens ( my own theory).

  28. silverwolf says:

    So in summary I think this candidacy of Ron Paul might really shake things up. I could see a libertarian party growing in America to 10-20%, like Perot-size influence, and then the scaredycats of the two major parties would fall over themselves legalizing this and that. Any US candidate of any size and renown (like a Congressman) who comes out for the legalization of cannabis will win the presidency and Paul is the only person to do that with any relish, not because he approves of it, he doesnt, but because its your right and your body and the constitution guarantees it. And since he believes in the const., he will fight for your rights. Track his polls. But be sceptical. He is our servant. But he seems like a pretty good guy.
    Now if someone like that won, it would be a big boost for political liberty round the world, and more trade should mean more overall prosperity. Near free solar power would sure help. The dollar would strengthen. Interest rates would decline. Gold would decline, and the ridiculous deficit spending in US on annual budg and entitlements would start to shrink quite drastically. This whole trend of unsound money that could destablize whole world would be reversed. So when I consider that, I feel my strong disagreements with him, on say his wanting to cut off all military aid to Israel (he would also cut all off to Egypt, Jordan,PA,Saudi — see he’s consistent) are minor in relation to his chance to turn world trend towards collectivism around. Big, big stakes on this election. But if he;s for putting prayer back in state schools, he;s no libertarian and must be rejected.
    So lets watch his polls and the markets as they develop over the next 4-5 days. Ill shut up and leave you your column till then and then check back in later next week. Please throw any observations. Enjoy hearing.
    But does Malaysia have much of a canopied interior left? I figured it would have been pretty much denuded by now.
    I leave you with this, which I think describes the salubrious effect of this dialogue (as long as it doesnt degenerate into racism)
    “Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political fermament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere.” — James Madison, 4th President of the USA

  29. silverwolf says:

    wits0 “Carter …Khomeini’s enabler” Yes i loathe the guy for many things. Don’t get me wrong. He might speak out for human rights in Malaysia while selling F-16 to testicle-crushing Shah of Iran. Of course it got the Iranians mad. With just cause. What true lover of liberty and democracy sells weapons to a tyrant and torurer like the Shah. And then takes him in for asylum, just like he did with Marcos. I think Carter was morally corrupt. But perhaps his largest disgrace was doing nothing in the face of Pol Pots genocide and Idi Amins murder of 2million people in Uganda. I wonder why the Palestinian apologists never mention that the Palestinians were his chief supporters, his head torturer Ali Tawili, was a Palestinian. This is all in the UN publication book “Uganda and Human Rights” i believe the title is. So why is it we never hear about the complicity of the Palestinians in murder of 2million non-Muslims(cause they’re Blacks being killed?) and Amin’s shameful expulsion of the East Asian community who had lived peacefully there for so long. And many of those people were Muslims. I knew one of them. He was a Muslim minister, ordained. And then war-criminal Amin spends cushy retirement by Riyadh swimming pools. Such injustice. Carter also revivified the cold war and started the hugh climb in military expenditures that is bankrupting us. If I recall correctly, when Ford left office and Carter took over, it stood at $78 billion. When he left it was 134-38 range. So he almost doubled it. Then Reagan took it to 295-308 range, and Clinton all those years, even after end cold war when he could have safely cut and saved US taxpayer fortune, didnt. See its corporate welfare for the contractors so they never cut, except in face of someone with integrity like Congressman Paul. So Jimmy Carter really catalyzed this arms build up from then till now. A terrible terrible thing he did. So dont get me started on the Crimes of Carter, a man who never met a war criminal he didnt like. (Imagine if his daughter or Rosalind had been tortured by one of these dictators. Would it still be the warm handshake and the toothy grin?)

    And hutchrun. You’re absolutely right on tobacco helping prevent Parkinsons, one of the very few positive effects of tobacco I can think of.(hard to think of others}
    Over and out till late next week.

  30. monsterball says:

    Look at silverwolf talking his USA shit stuffs here!!
    I thought Rajah should have the decency to guide him back as a respect to Susan..but no..that idiot encourage him to go on….selfishly enjoying..yet he claims he respect SUSAN.
    silverwolf went to ‘free Speech Zone” battled with me on USA…also talking out of line and purposely ignored the truths of it all….their evil… devilish .. double headed thick skinned hypocritical foreign policies.
    It ended up with witsO …giving him two extra nicks…silverfish…silverfox
    Ofcourse….he cannot leave that site without insulting me….thereafter all agreed with my opinions on USA government..it’s people and it’s future economic situations.
    He is without a doubt…trying to promote US at SUSAN’S BLOG…..similar to fanatics religious blokes…but silverwolf is a real and cunning bloke. He is doing it in a smart way…play middle man …then say US is better than Malaysia..that kind of stuffs.
    If Rajah is a true Malaysian….wake up to defend your country’s reputations.

  31. […] that fateful knock “The fateful knock came in the middle of the night, bringing me into a life without light. They took me away from […] […]

  32. Rajah says:

    Dear Mr. Monsterball,

    The only reason why I’m living away from Malaysia is because of people like you. Malaysia remains the country of my birth having left behind family and friends – a relatively small price to pay for the freedom that I now enjoy.

    Malaysia will always be ‘my country’ though I have left her shores for good, only to return occasionally to renew my ties and nurture the roots I still have.

  33. kittykat46 says:

    I think the USA Patriot Act = Malaysia ISA remark is a bit of hyperbole. Its a frivolous argument to equate the two. In the context of the USA, the Patriot Act IS a threat to liberty simply because the US did start of with a pretty high standard of legal protection for individual freedom, which is not the case in Malaysia.

    Malaysia’s ISA allows indefinite detention of citizens without right of Judicial review. The US President does not have such power. The often quoted Joseph Padilla case is an abberation, I’m quite sure the long winded appeal case will eventually find that the Presiden DOES NOT have authority to hold a US citizen indefinitely.

    Guantanamo is a serious violation of human rights, but to be clear, the majority of them were captured on the battlefield in various countries. Of course they have rights, and it can be argued that they must be accorded rights under the Geneva Convention. In the long history of human warfare, there is no legal precedent to accord battlefield prisoners the same rights as civilian citizens detained within the country.

  34. wits0 says:

    You got it, Kittykat46, that’s the case. Furthermore the articles of the Geneva Convention applies to uniformed soldiers of an enemy state. AQ does not even have a state, riding on the back of the Talibans. The fact that many, if not all the states that these combatants originates from do not want them back and are ready to persecute them.

    To equate the ISA to the Patriot Act is that selfsame kneejerk loved by imbecilic blatherers of the PC and partisan sorts.

  35. whispering9 says:

    Dear Rajah,

    My heart went out to you when you were pilloried. I had a similar experience here and didn’t know how to brave myself when visiting again. Maybe I was looking for other renaissance men and women like you. Your presence and together with others here have already made something brighter. Thanks. On top of everything else, the host susan is pure and graceful in her democracy. I have yet to meet another such Malaysian libertarian. Bravery is the word. Nature always find a way to correct imbalances. You choose the end of Al trial to exit graciously from this site. They may have a summary judgement but not the ending. So when shall I exit? To me the ending of um-o politics is an inevitable when they cannot ‘feed’ the coming population explosion of princes and princesses in Malaysia. This site can serve as a sort of 6 degress nexus to allow all of us who still care (local and overseas) to get our ideals and benchmark right before reformation comes to shore. Subjects like religions, politics, ideology, philosophy and even sex must be discussed openly and without pillorying if we want to survive a future. Paranoia, aspersions and distrust must be cast aside for the time being. Please stay on a little longer if you can. Bye.

  36. Rajah says:

    Dear Whispering9,

    I’ve been following your postings here and elsewhere. It is always a breath of fresh air to find readers like yourself and to be able to read your thoughts on the issues.

    I am not here to prove anything. I am here to sample the thoughts of fellow readers who care to stop by the blog and of course those of Susan who runs this blog, and to share my own with those who care to read.

    I’m not a student of U.S. politics or U.S. history. The closest I got to an American as an undergrad was when I was lectured to by an American Jewish professor in “Political Strategies” (‘political strategry’ as Bush would say); and I knew readers like Silverwolf would sooner than later make the inevitable retreat from this blog which was the reason why I chose to raise issues with him in whatever thread I could find him. Apparently it has incurred the wrath of the resident gatekeeper – though I suspect that it was only an excuse. The fact that one tends to find at least one such personality in every blog one visits does not make it any easier to completely ignore. Suffice it to say that I have no intention of engaging in a long diatribe with this resident gatekeeper. I know I should not take him seriously as obviously he has unkind words for almost every other reader on this blog. In fact some readers may welcome him for the comic relief he provides to tired bodies and minds. It would be nice to know though, Susan’s thoughts on the issue.

    I did not receive my education here in the U.S. and my lack of familiarity with U.S. history and politics is an embarrassment which I am trying hard to remedy. I have long been a student of Malaysian politics and the Malaysian political system. I keep in touch with blogs run by Malaysians so as to keep in touch with what’s happening at home – or should I say ‘my country’ since I no longer regard Malaysia as my home

    I have not taken the oath of allegiance to the United States and will not be doing so for some time yet. When I do, and when I utter these words before a judge in open court “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty “ and “I will defend the laws and the Constitution of the United States..” it will no doubt send shivers down my spine as I am the first in my family (some of whom have had distinguished careers in foreign service and political careers) to do so i.e. renounce my allegiance to the country of my birth. Let it not be misunderstood that though I may take the oath of allegiance to a country different from the one I was born in, I am proud to be a Malaysian and will always be Malaysian in my ways, thoughts and deeds – though less and less so in my thought processes.

    There are many others on this blog who have the same emotions. I am not alone; and I don’t see the need to dwell on personal issues. My interest like I said earlier is in the Mongolian murder trial and how it impacts justice and the legal system in Malaysia, the country of my birth and the country where I still have my roots, where I have left friends and family behind – the country which sees it fit to ban Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses.”

  37. whispering9 says:

    Dear Rajah,

    You are frank and kind. I am still whispering because experiences taught me that fascists always go after families and love ones first. Silverwolf reminds me of my niece’s political science professor, an american born korean. A brilliant man who taught my neice to open her mind fully. I am afraid that many cannot see the arts of diplomacy and confrontation you are trying to teach us. In essence, how to win over your adversaries. Silverwolf was actually setting himself up in FSZ to defend your honour, just in case you missed that. Brilliant move. Have a wonderful day. Sorry if I don’t reply…I still have a business to toil on.

  38. Rajah says:

    You are right about our Internal Security Act (ISA) not being the same as the U.S. Patriot Act. Here is where the difference lies.

    The U.S. Patriot Act originally of 2001 has a sunset clause which was in 2003. Our ISA has no sunset clause. Our ISA though enacted by the Brits at the time when colonial Malaya found itself in the throes of an armed struggle against Communist terrorism was continued post-1960 when the so-called Emergency (the official term historians now used to refer to the period after the 2WW when remnants of the MPAJA., the military arm of the illegal Communist Party of Malaya or MCP refused the offer of amnesty at Baling, Kedah) was declared over. The justification was that the threat from non-militant communism was not over! The uniformed terrorists or CTs fighting in the jungles of Malaya are now in mufti.

    You are right about the ISA not being the same as the U.S. Patriot Act. The U.S. Constitution it may surprise you to know makes allowance for the suspension of habeas corpus. By definition, the suspension of habeas corpus implies a suspension of certain civil rights; namely, the right to judicial review, and a trial that is public, speedy, and by jury – but only when necessitated by war and public safety, and even then in certain circumstances.

    The greatest potential problem posed by the Patriot Act is said to also be the most obvious: How does the Patriot Act define terrorism, and who is the arbiter of this judgment? As in the case of our Internal Security Act (ISA), the same questions can and should be asked: who defines ‘national security’ and who is to be the arbiter of what is a ‘threat to national security’? It is always the U.S. President. It is always the Minister of Home Affairs (now Internal Affairs) whose decision is not now subject to judicial review. It was in the mid-80s (if my memory serves me right).

    Does our Federal Constitution of 1957 make such an allowance? Or is the legislation which came to be known as the ISA unconstitutional?

    You are certainly right about the U.S. Patriot Act not being the same as our ISA. The former is a plethora of legislation allowing tools to the federal government for use in its fight to combat terrorism both international and domestic, such as roving wire taps, undisclosed “sneak and peek” search warrants etc all massive intrusions into the constitutional rights of citizens.

    Our ISA allows detention without trial and without charge for an initial period of two years after which is it is reviewed – not judicial review but executive review.

    But here is where it is the same: even if the Patriot Act is not abused by its inceptors in the present administration, citizens are worried the Act could be abused by subsequent governments. The ISA, on the other hand, has been abused and repeatedly so and for the wrong reasons.

  39. monsterball says:

    silverfish alias silverfox alias silverwolf brilliant my arse and Rajah can tell it to the marines for his reasons to leave Malaysia.

  40. Rajah says:

    Kittycat46:

    “Malaysia’s ISA allows indefinite detention of citizens without right of Judicial review. The US President does not have such power.”

    The Bush Administration has created a new category called “enemy combatants” and once you are so classified by the U.S. President you (including a visitor from Malaysia, for reason or reasons unbeknownst to you) may be detained indefinitely and never be tried by the civilian justice system or the military – until the end of the war on terrorism. The problem is that such a war has no end!

    Western democracies elsewhere have imposed legislative and judicial oversight on preventive detention but the Bush Administration has been criticized as being too arrogant to even want to acknowledge any role for Congress or the courts.

  41. wits0 says:

    “…such a war has no end!”

    No, unless the enemy can first be boldly named openly. At this junction all the Western democracies have their heads in the sand and drowning in the political correctness of flawed and skewered “multiculturalism”.

    Consequently they may be unwittingly promoting this scenario instead:
    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2262

  42. Rajah says:

    Speaking about ‘prisoners of war’ and lawful detainees, Al Qaeda is not a nation state and “enemy combatants” becomes a 3rd category involving citizens and aliens alike. It is not like someone who just came off a submarine and buries his uniform whose nation is at war with the United States and who admits to being in the country with the intention of blowing bridges etc.

  43. wits0 says:

    One wonders how a different US administration and Prez might have handled things since 9/11.

  44. wits0 says:

    He may have to wear pajamas for the rest of his life:
    http://tinyurl.com/2zmbx5

  45. Rajah says:

    Wits0, thanks for the write-up of Ralph Peters who writes:

    “There are two sorts of “thinkers” out there that repel me: Those who change their positions every other day and have no consistency or integrity ..”

    Is he referring to Hilary Clinton who changes her position ever so often that even Bill could not follow??

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