My one encounter,When Gobind Singh Deo ‘encounter specialists’ shoot first and whistle later shocked Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani if that is the appropriate word, with a lawmaker who had washed his hands in cold blood, The worry is that public opinion often condones “Dirty Harry” methods, in which a bullet takes precedence over due process. Only one thing is clear in this dust storm of fierce argument. We are not interested in truth. A complex reality has been distilled into campaign fodder in election season. Politics is the petrol that can turn such a fire into conflagration.
when Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) posed the question to Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghaniwhether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was a suspect in the probes related to 1MDB led to an heated argument between a minister and lawmaker.At first, Johari said he did not have an answer to that question, but when pressed, told Gobind to meet him outside.This angered the DAP legal bureau chief, who said that he wanted an answer in the House.
Life’s most traumatic cemetery is surely the memory of pain, for it is buried but not dead. Neither amnesia nor vengeance is a solution, although the timid find solace in the first and the violent seek options in the second. Individuals, communities, nations have to find the spirit that can liberate them from the bonds of past anguish, to discover a future in a new perspective that is something far more than a distorted reflection of fear.
When a nation’s confidence is undermined, adversaries abroad pounce to take advantage, The fulcrum of a tipping point in public life is that mortal enemy of a politician: humour. A joke might not destroy reputation quite as effectively as a corruption scandal, but it deflates credibility. Through his long career
enough never to get tempted by a wisecrack; wit is not his forte. He might therefore be a little bewildered by the artillery fire of jokes after his disastrous mismanagement of DAP
If it is any consolation to Gobind jokes about Prime Minister i are far more harsh. As we leap-frog our way towards another general election, DAP might discover that its biggest problem is ridicule. We are in the last chapter of a drama that 1MDB has gone on too long.
dreaming of resurrection on DAP a deathbed is a waste of time. For most of this term, policy was lost in a swamp. Now, decisions are made to serve as slogans.An announcement now is mercenary: to milk the environment for what votes it can bring, and postpone ensuing problems. The timing is determined not by advantage to the people but by thoughts of benefit to the party.The dark side of today’s political satire is the evil of corruption. There is a school within the ruling establishment selling the theory that corruption as an election issue has been deflected. This is delusion. The voter is not going to be finessed by the argument that all politicians are corrupt, and so theft of the present lot should be condoned. A jury can punish only the person in the dock, and the present government is on trial in the next electoral court.Jokes are the evidence and the argument in this trial; the voter is both lawyer and judge in the court of the people. But there is some good news for those on trial. The maximum sentence is just five years in wilderness. The next five years will pass as quickly as the last five.
Shakespeare, being a genius, got most things right. But, being human, he also got a few things wrong. A rose by any other name does often smell like a weed.
One dangerous misnomer is this entity called an intelligence agency. These organisations, a consistent growth industry in every nation whether times are lean or prosperous, are information accummulators. Intelligence may or may not be a by-product of their endeavours. Look no further than the case of the latest American whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
America’s spymasters lost this plot long before Snowden broke cover and revealed massive incursions by US and British agencies into private lives. Their rage reflects the fury of impotence, or perhaps incompetence. Snowden did not hit and run. His sting took much preparation: he copied data, and then established contact with Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and China, at the very least. Directly or indirectly, China, Russia and Ecuador knew what he was going to do before he moved. CIA, NSA and FBI were blindsided. America’s intelligence was shipwrecked in an ocean of information.
One would assume, after the Wikileaks fiasco, that there would be alert mechanisms to track any unauthorized transfer of secret data by an insider. Wrong. Neither was there any security firewall between Snowden and either a pest like Wikileaks or a foreign power like China, although both must be equally high on CIA’s watch list. If you imagine Snowden landed in Hong Kong by flipping a coin, you must be in kindergarten, still reading fairy tales. Conversely, if you believe China ignored the US demand for extradition because of a typing error in the application, your sense of humour is almost as nuanced as the Chinese official who thought up that whopper. The Chinese ran this operation for precisely as long as they wanted to, or Snowden would never have left Hong Kong, even if he had managed to enter this semi-liberal enclave of an authoritarian state. Snowden’s story got top play in local media; and he was accompanied by a Wikileaks executive on his ride to Russia, both impossible without a silent nod from Beijing. Snowden went to Hong Kong because he was certain of a Chinese umbrella. And in Moscow, of a Russian shield. Try boarding a flight a Moscow without a valid visa on your passport. You won’t get beyond check-in. Absolutely do not consider making Moscow airport a temporary residence, unless you are certain local police won’t put you on the next flight to anywhere. Nor will Ecuador’s friendly diplomats drop by to say hello without Kremlin’s permission.
At the moment of writing, Snowden is discovering a few facts of life. Heroes have limited uses when playing cloak and dagger; the dagger can change direction in the switch of a blade. China, Russia and Ecuador were happy to use Snowden in the secret wars that continue below the surface of good relations, but reluctant to damage bilateral business with Washington beyond a point. Big boys like America carry aces up their sleeve when they sit at any table.
For some time now America has been ratcheting up an international offensive against China’s invasion of cyberspace. This was high on the agenda of the summit between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in California earlier this month. China’s President kept an admirable straight face while his shadow-security infrastructure timed this double-whammy to a nicety, producing Snowden just when American protests hit a crescendo.
While spy fact imitates spy fiction, the world must come to terms with a difficult truth. Privacy, a cornerstone of individual liberty in a free society, now belongs to the past tense. America, the world’s largest people-friendly democracy, and China, the world’s largest people-friendly dictatorship, have used war as the excuse and technology as the means to monitor the language, and through that the thought process, of any individual they want to target. If other nations, including Russia or India, have not succeeded as spectacularly, it is not for want of trying.
Governments know something that idealists are loath to admit: the argument for liberty does not travel very far with the populace when it is positioned against terrorism. The progress towards a free society has been led by a liberal elite that flourishes in the calm of peace, and bends before the hurricane of conflict. Barack Obama turns into George Bush. Obama knows that total information is the dream of every totalitarian, but will not intervene. He is in politics. Politics is about survival first and consequences later. For every Snowden briefly on the front page, and in limbo for the rest of his life, there are dozens defeated by helplessness. That is how a state defines victory over the individual.
Obama invited Xi Jiang for their summit in California to a place called Rancho Mirage. What an excellent title for a sequel to George Orwell’s 1984.