Friday, June 27, 2008


Scientists say the Earth is humming. Not just noise, but a deep, astonishing music. Can you hear it?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

This is the kind of thing we forget.

This is the kind of thing that, given all our distractions, our celeb obsessions and happy drugs and bothersome trifles like family and bills and war and health care and sex and love and porn and breathing and death, tends to fly under the radar of your overspanked consciousness, only to be later rediscovered and brought forth and placed directly in front of your eyeballs, at least for a moment, so you can look, really look, and go, oh my God, I had no idea.

The Earth is humming. Singing. Churning out a tune without the aid of battery or string or wind-up mechanism and its song is ethereal and mystifying and very, very weird, a rather astonishing, newly discovered phenomenon that's not easily analyzed, but which, if you really let it sink into your consciousness, can change the way you look at everything.

Indeed, scientists now say the planet itself is generating a constant, deep thrum of noise. No mere cacophony, but actually a kind of music, huge, swirling loops of sound, a song so strange you can't really fathom it, so low it can't be heard by human ears, chthonic roars churning from the very water and wind and rock themselves, countless notes of varying vibration creating all sorts of curious tonal phrases that bounce around the mountains and spin over the oceans and penetrate the tectonic plates and gurgle in the magma and careen off the clouds and smack into trees and bounce off your ribcage and spin over the surface of the planet in strange circular loops, "like dozens of lazy hurricanes," as one writer put it.

It all makes for a very quiet, otherworldly symphony so odd and mysterious, scientists still can't figure out exactly what's causing it or why the hell it's happening. Sure, sensitive instruments are getting better at picking up what's been dubbed "Earth's hum," but no one's any closer to understanding what the hell it all might mean. Which, of course, is exactly as it should be.

Because then, well, then you get to crank up your imagination, your mystical intuition, your poetic sensibility — and if there's one thing we're lacking in the modern world, it's... well, you know.

Me, I like to think of the Earth as essentially a giant Tibetan singing bowl, flicked by the middle finger of God and set to a mesmerizing, low ring for about 10 billion years until the tone begins to fade and the vibration slows and eventually the sound completely disappears into nothingness and the birds are all, hey what the hell happened to the music? And God just shrugs and goes, well that was interesting.

Or maybe the planet is more like an enormous wine glass, half full of a heady potion made of horny unicorns and divine lubricant and perky sunshine, around the smooth, gleaming rim of which Dionysus himself circles his wet fingertip, generating a mellifluous tone that makes the wood nymphs dance and the satyrs orgasm and the gods hum along as they all watch 7 billion confused human ants scamper about with their lattes and their war and their perpetually adorable angst, oblivious.

But most of all, I believe the Earth actually (and obviously) resonates, quite literally, with the Hindu belief in the divine sound of OM (or, more accurately, AUM), that single, universal syllable that contains and encompasses all: birth and death, creation and destruction, being and nothingness, rock and roll, Christian and pagan, meat and vegetable, spit and swallow. You know?

But here's the best part: This massive wave of sound? The Earth's deep, mysterious OM, it's perpetual hum of song? Totally normal — that is, if by "normal" you mean "unfathomably powerful and speaking to a vast mystical timelessness we can't possibly comprehend."

Indeed, all the spheres do it, all the planets and all the quasars and stars and moons and whirlpool galaxies, all vibrating and humming like a chorus of wayward deities singing sea shanties in a black hole. It's nothing new, really: Mystics and poets and theorists have pondered the "music of the spheres" (or musica universalis) for eons; it is the stuff of cosmic philosophy, linking sacred geometry, mathematics, cosmology, harmonics, astrology and music into one big cosmological poetry slam.

Translation: You don't have to look very far to understand that human beings — hell, all animals, really — adore song and music and tone and rhythm, and then link this everyday source of life straight to the roar of the planet itself, and then back out to the cosmos.

In other words, you love loud punk? Metal? Jazz? Deep house? Saint-Saens with a glass of Pinot in the tub? Sure you do. That's because somewhere, somehow, deep in your very cells and bones and DNA, it links you back to source, to the Earth's own vibration, the pulse of the cosmos. Oh yes it does. To tap your foot and sway your body to that weird new Portishead tune is, in effect, to sway it to the roar of the universe. I mean, obviously.

At some point we'll probably figure it all out. Science will, with its typical charming, arrogant certainty, sift and measure and quantify this "mystical" Earthly hum, and tell us it merely comes from, say, ocean movements, or solar wind, or 10 billion trees all deciding to grow a quarter millimeter all at once. We will do as we always do: oversimplify, peer through a single lens of understanding, stick this dazzling phenomenon in a narrow category, and forget it.

How dangerously boring. I much prefer, in matters mystical and musical and deeply cosmic, to tell the logical mind to shut up and let the soul take over and say, wait wait wait, maybe most humans have this divine connection thing all wrong. Maybe God really isn't some scowling gay-hating deity raining down guilt and judgment and fear on all humankind after all.

Maybe she's actually, you know, a throb, a pulse, a song, deep, complex, eternal. And us, well, we're just bouncing and swaying along as best we can, trying to figure out the goddamn melody.

Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Jackson ~ EARTH SONG

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Sub judice my foot! Before the Mongolian murder trial even began, the Attorney-General himself had publicly declared that there were only three people involved in the murder - Abdul Razak Baginda and two members of the Unit Tindakan Khas (Special Action Squad) assigned to Najib Razak as bodyguards. Isn't that "sub judice" to the max? The BN seems to have adopted former PM Mahathir's infamous modus operandi of accusing everybody else of being a liar and opportunist except himself.

The Altantuya murder trial, even more so than the grotesque Anwar Trial nine years ago, has worn out the public's patience with the rusty grind of ill-fitting wheels that passes for Malaysian justice. Not a single person I know has the slightest confidence in the impartiality of Attorney-General Gani Abdul Patail - or the presiding judge hand-picked to play his part in the charade. Nor does anyone (apart from, of course, his political masters in Umno) believe for a moment that Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan is worth a single cent of his salary. Indeed, the general perception is that both the A-G and the IGP work exclusively for Barisan Nasional and not on behalf of the Malaysian public. As such, we find ourselves in a total quandary where there is no longer any authority figure or public institution that can be relied upon to do its work independently and effectively.

Imagine a situation where a young woman has been abducted and gang-banged. Finally, she manages to free herself and escape. Her friends take her to the nearest police station to lodge a report - and there, to her utmost horror, she finds the same gang that just raped her standing behind the counter, smiling smugly in their uniforms and eager to take her report. Well, that's more or less the nightmarish predicament Malaysia is in right now.

The devastating information presented in Raja Petra Kamarudin's June 18th statutory declaration at the Kuala Lumpur High Court reveals that there was indeed a military intelligence report delivered to the Prime Minister of Malaysia who, at the time, also served as Home Minister. RPK does not indicate when this military intelligence report might have been submitted to the PM - but he states unequivocally that the report was subsequently handed over to the PM's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, "for safekeeping."

What does all this imply? What are the broad ramifications of this truly mind-boggling development?

Let's connect a few dots so we can step back and look at the ugly picture that emerges. The background to Altantuya Shaariibuu's gruesome abduction and murder can be traced to the Defence Ministry's shopping spree over the last few years that resulted in the acquisition of Scorpene (2) and Agosta (1) submarines and 18 Sukhoi SU30MKM jetfighters. Abdul Razak Baginda, the main accused in the ongoing Altantuya murder trial, is a close friend of DPM and defence minister Najib Razak. Razak Baginda is - or was - a consultant to the Defence Ministry and also doubled as a purchasing agent and high-level negotiator via his private limited company, Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, whose subsidiary, Perimekar Sdn Bhd received a record-breaking RM534.8 million commission on just the submarine deal alone. (Perimekar Sdn Bhd is jointly owned by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, Boustead Holdings Bhd, and KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd.)

Abdul Razak Baginda's sworn affidavit, filed on January 5th, 2007, named Altantuya Shaariibuu (alias Aminah) as Razak Baginda's mistress. As she was reportedly conversant in several languages, including French and Russian, it can be surmised that she might have come in handy as a paid interpreter at negotiations between the Malaysian Defence Ministry, Perimekar, and the French and Russian manufacturers. She accompanied Razak Baginda during his stay in France to conduct the negotiations - and it has been established that Defence Minister Najib Razak was also in France at the time (June 2005) and handed out jackets sponsored by Perimekar Sdn Bhd to Malaysian submariners undergoing training at the Brest naval yard. On June 11th, 2005, Najib Razak gave a press conference after visiting the site where the Scorpene submarines were being built. This indicates that the Defence Minister took a personal interest in the French submarine deal and it's unimaginable that he would not have been in contact with his purchasing agent, advisor and negotiator, Abdul Razak Baginda (who would have had Altantuya in tow). In effect, Najib's vehement insistence that he never met "the Mongolian woman" rings particularly hollow - and even more so when Altantuya's friend, Burmaa Oyunchimeg mentioned during the trial that she had seen a photograph of Altantuya dining with "the two Razaks." In short, we detect an extremely high possibility of untruthfulness in the Defence Minister's public denial of any personal acquaintance with the murdered Mongolian.

Malaysia's first Scorpene sub, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, launched 23 October 2007 by Rosmah Mansor at the DCNS dockyard in Cherbourg, Normandy, France.

We are also inevitably drawn to the conclusion that astronomical amounts of kickback payments were involved and that "the Mongolian woman" may have been privy to the financial arrangements behind the Defence Ministry's shopping spree in Europe - at least circa June 2005. Could there have been the added bonus and titillation of some fun and games when negotiations were transferred from boardroom to bedroom? Dare we say it... a ménage à trois? If that was indeed what happened in France in June 2005, it would explain the subsequent wrath of Rosmah Mansor, official wife of the Defence Minister and DPM.

Jealous rage and power are a lethal combination - as we have already witnessed in another high-profile murder case, unsolved since 2002, involving Siti Hasleza Ishak, second wife of a member of the Perak royalty. There are many more unsolved murders involving pretty women: take the 2003 case of Noritta Samsudin (left) whose cellphone records were conveniently erased although rumors persist that she had called some extremely powerful politician on the night she was murdered.

So what we have before us is a deadly and scandalous combination: corruption of the first magnitude, sexual peccadilloes, betrayal, blackmail, harassment, intimidation - and finally abduction, possible torture, and cold-blooded murder ending with the body getting blown to a million bits with military-grade explosives. RPK's statutory declaration names three others present at the crime scene: Rosmah Mansor, Lt. Col Aziz Buyong (an explosives expert with the Defence Ministry's engineering corps), and his wife Norhayati Hasan (a Defence Ministry employee who also happens to be Rosmah's aide-de-camp). In every instance, the Defence Ministry is implicated, as well as police personnel assigned as bodyguards to Najib and Rosmah - and everybody knows who the Top Dog is at the Defence Ministry.

Some folks play high stakes poker, willing to risk everything to get where they want to go - in this case, the very highest rung of power in the country.

There is absolutely no way that Abdul Razak Baginda and the two accused UTK cops (Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar) could have accomplished the crime and the subsequent (albeit clumsy) cover-up without help from the highest echelons of power. Not even DSP Musa Safri (Najib's ADC) would have the necessary clout to order immigration records deleted so that there would be no traces of Altantuya and her cousin's arrival in Malaysia.

Then we have the blatant interference of the Attorney-General who replaced the trial judge and prosecution team under outrageously suspicious circumstances - and the dramatic resignation of Azilah's lawyer, Zulkifli Nordin, who publicly stated: "There were serious attempts by third parties to interfere with the defence that I proposed."

RPK alleges that the PM and his son-in-law have read the military intelligence report and are therefore accessories after the crime in that they have all this while been withholding crucial evidence for their own political advantage.

No wonder the BN-owned media have been absolutely mute over RPK's bombshell declaration!

In other words, if RPK is as "reliably informed" as he claims to be, he has just indicted the entire Malaysian government for various jailable offences - and under ideal circumstances we ought to be seeing on TV the arrest of everybody from the PM and his son-in-law, defence minister and DPM Najib and his wife Rosmah, the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police (for aiding and abetting a variety of serious crimes). Even without the anticipated crossovers, BN is dead meat. In any case, nobody in their right mind will accept Najib Razak as Malaysia's next prime minister. The only way he could rule the country would be by martial law - and that would spell ABSOLUTE AND IRREVOCABLE DISASTER for our beloved nation.

But will BN leave the stage without fussing and fighting and resorting to the ISA? RPK took pains to add in his declaration that a ruler had been briefed on the sordid details of the Altantuya murder and was fully in the know. We can only surmise that he was referring to his cousin, Sultan Sharafuddin of Selangor, who was subjected to an abusive phonecall about a month ago - according to an RPK blogpost on Malaysia Today - from none other than Rosmah Mansor! Now that was a really smart move, RPK. Because, when push comes to shove, we may have to call upon Royal Intervention to protect the nation from the vicious Crime Syndicate that has taken over the reins of government.

It's High Noon at the Not-So-OK Corral that Malaysia has become. We watch with bated breath as the showdown begins between those of us who love the country - and those who love only their own power and privilege, which they have abused for far too many decades.


      Courtesy of Malaysiakini.TV (added 24 June 2008)
Veteran DAP politician and lawyer Karpal Singh wants Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail to immediately initiate an investigation into the fresh explosive allegations over the Altantuya Shaaribuu murder.

Speaking at a press conference held at his office in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur today, Karpal said that he will try and arrange a meeting with Gani at his office in Putrajaya tomorrow morning to push for a probe.

Full story in

Camera: Mohd Kamal Ishak
Editing: Indrani Kopal

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did I read this in The Star or NST? NOPE!

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at a press conference (photo from NST)

An influential Malaysian blogger alleges that Najib’s wife was present when the Mongolian translator was murdered in 2006

Asia Sentinel

One of Malaysia’s most prominent bloggers, in an explosive statutory declaration to a Malaysia court, has alleged that the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as well as a Malaysian Army officer and the officer’s wife were directly involved in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu on October 19, 2006, and that people at the very top of the Malaysian government are aware of the fact.

The declaration, by Raja Petra Kamarudin, who edits the web publication Malaysia Today, has been ignored by Malaysia’s government-linked mainstream media. However, it threatens to finally break open the case. Even if it doesn’t, it adds considerable chaos to the country’s political mix. The Barisan Nasional, the national ruling coalition, is reeling from the loss of its two-thirds majority in March elections.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, taking the brunt of criticism over the loss, has already promised to step down at some future date to cede the premiership to Najib. District elections are due in July in the United Malays National Organisation and there are suspicions that the verdict in the Altantuya murder trial is being delayed until the elections are completed.

Raja Petra wrote that Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and Acting Colonel Aziz Buyong and his wife, Norhayati, Rosmah’s aide-de-camp, were present at the scene of the murder and that Aziz Buyong was the individual who placed C4 plastic explosive on Altantuya’s body and blew it up. Both Najib and his wife have repeatedly denied any involvement in the case although top society in Kuala Lumpur has been buzzing for months with rumors of their complicity.

Shaariibuu was executed by two shots to the head and her body was blown up with military explosives in a patch of jungle near the suburban city of Shah Alam. One of Najib’s closest friends, Abdul Razak Baginda, once the influential head of a political think-tank, and two of Najib’s bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the elite Unit Tindak Khas or Special Police Action Unit, have been the subject of a marathon murder trial that got underway more than a year ago.

Neither Najib nor his chief of staff, Musa Safri, has been questioned nor summoned as a witness despite the fact that Baginda in a sworn statement in November 2006 said he had contacted Musa for help in dealing with Altantuya, his jilted lover. That has raised widespread suspicions that the court – prosecution, defense and judiciary – have all been struggling to keep the case under wraps. It has been subject to numerous delays for reasons that are unclear.

Raja Petra himself is due to go on trial in October on sedition charges that were filed against him for writing an article titled “Let’s Send The Altantuya’s Murderers to Hell” and accusing Najib, his wife and others of complicity in the murder. He amplified the statement considerably in his statutory declaration, made last Wednesday, in which he also said that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had been a full report by military intelligence on the involvement of his deputy premier’s family. Badawi gave the intelligence report to his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, for safekeeping, according to Raja Petra’s statement.

Raja Petra, a member of the Selangor royal family, also wrote that one of the country’s sultans had been given a full report on the matter. He didn’t identify the sultan, but that raises additional implications, presumably that there is at least one member of royalty who can back up his declaration, which was made under oath, if he is subjected to additional charges over the matter.

From the time Altantuya’s body was discovered, there has been widespread suspicion that not only figures at the top of the government were involved but that the 28-year-old translator and mother of two may have been involved in a much bigger controversy than a jilted relationship. She made several trips to Kuala Lumpur to attempt to confront Baginda, at one point standing in front of his house and screaming “Razak, bastard, come out.” The last time she was seen alive was again in front of his house, when she was bundled into a car and taken away.

She accompanied Baginda to France when he was involved in negotiating the purchase of two Scorpene submarines and a used Agosta submarine produced by the French government through a French-Spanish joint venture, Armaris, for the Malaysian defense ministry, which was headed by . The submarines were bought through a Kuala Lumpur-based company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which at the time was owned by yet another company called Ombak Laut, which was wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda.

The €1 billion (RM4.5 billion) contract to buy the submarines was non-competitive and netted Perimekar €114 million. Although Najib has sworn an oath to Allah that he had never met the woman, he was in France at the same time one of his best friends was there, dealing with matters over the submarine. A cousin of Altantuya's testified at the trial that she had seen a picture of Najib together with the dead woman, but she was quickly hushed up by both defense and prosecution lawyers about the matter.

Altantuya, by her own admission in a letter discovered after her death, wrote that she had been blackmailing Abdul Razak, presumably to keep his family from finding out about their relationship. But in his cautioned statement to the police, Baginda said he had already informed his family of the relationship and said she was pressuring him for US$500,000. Her father, Setev Shaariibuu, a psychology professor in Ulan Bataar, has said she was killed because she "knew too much," although he has never elaborated on that statement.

Given the close relationship between the two men, and that Najib was reported as presenting jackets made available by Perimekar to the submarine crews training in France, and that Altantuya was along with Baginda, it is difficult to believe they had not met.

It is also difficult to believe, given the wealth of published reports, plus the fact that Azilah Hadri, and Sirul Azhar Umar, were members of Najib's own bodyguard unit, that neither has been questioned about how the bodyguards came to be involved in allegations of Altantuya's murder.



KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) has submitted a notice calling for an emergency motion to discuss allegations by online news portal Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin over the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.

In his notice, Lim said the credibility and legitimacy of the Government would suffer a mortal blow if the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and those named in the allegations remained silent on the matter.

Copies of the notice were distributed to reporters in the Parliament Lobby.

Lim repeated the statutory declaration by Raja Petra who claimed that he was reliably informed that three people were present at the scene when Altantuya's body was blown up.

"He (Raja Petra) said these three people have thus far not been implicated in the murder nor called as witnesses by the prosecution in the ongoing trial at the Shah Alam High Court.

"He was aware that it is a crime not to reveal evidence that may help the police in its investigation of the crime,” Lim said.

- The Star