Saturday, August 11, 2012

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

In view of the recent reappearance of Balasubramaniam Perumal (a private investigator hired by Abdul Razak Baginda to keep Altantuya off his back) and a rash of accusations posted by maverick blogger RPK undermining Bala's credibility - and hinting that he may be more deeply entangled in the sordid murder than he has let on - I'm prompted to repost this excerpt from Asia Sentinel which first appeared on this blog on 23 June 2008...

Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor at a press conference (pic: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 handed 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 Najib. 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.

READ THE REST HERE.

NEWSFLASH! THIS APPEARED IN THE STAR 23 JUNE 2008...

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

THE AQUARIUS PROJECT ~ a 30-minute alchemical docu-poem on WATER

In September 2003 a friend tipped me off that Discovery Channel was looking for 30-minute documentary ideas from untested filmmakers. He suggested I submit a brief outline and try my chances. Winning entries would be granted a production team and a $25,000 budget to realize the project. I just re-read this proposal from 9 years ago and decided it was worth preserving as a blogpost. Even with a $250,000 budget I no longer have the stamina to do stuff like this. But if any young filmmaker who chances upon this would like to pick up on it....


Preliminary outline

We are watery creatures living on the surface of a watery planet and are subject to lunar influences that generate a subtle emotional tide in our interactions with our environment.

Water is one of the five elements that constitute life as we know it.

No one can agree on what the fifth element is: the Chinese consider metal as the fifth element while Hindus say it is akasha, the ether. Recently, there has even been a suggestion that the fifth element is LOVE. But everyone accepts that Fire, Air, Water, and Earth are the elemental constituents of all life on this planet.

Fire is associated with Energy, represented in the Tarot deck by Wands and in the modern deck by Clubs. Air is Communication, represented by the Sword of Intellect in the Tarot and Spades in the secular deck. Earth is Material Wealth, represented as Pentacles in the Tarot and Diamonds in the modern deck.

Water is Emotion, represented by Cups and by Hearts.

Some astrologers say that on the vernal equinox of March 20, 2001, we finally entered the Age of Aquarius, symbolized by the Water-Bearer. Yet scientists have recently warned that water shortages may be a potential cause of violent conflict in the 21st century.

Water – in all its forms and moods and guises – is the main character of my proposed ‘alchemical docu-poem.’ Water in its literal and metaphorical aspects, as the source of life and the spring of our emotions: water is a liquid analogy for the entire gamut of feelings we experience – from mirthful playfulness to unmitigated rage, from transcendental serenity to violent agitation and profound sorrow. A few years ago I wrote a polemical tract which succinctly summarizes the poetic perspective I intend to translate into moving images and sounds:

Humility means acknowledging how little we know about the universe; and humility comes from realizing that nature’s beauty and mystery are worth infinitely more than our perverse obsession with illusory fame and fortune. Being able to breathe clean, fresh air and admire the distant hills every day may not get us into the Guinness Book of World Records or the Who's Who of the Banana Republics ‑ but it will certainly get us closer to regaining heaven on earth. So stop midway through this frantic and futile feast of fools and look up at the ethereal clouds in the sky, and remember why we chose to be born on this exquisite and unique gem of a planet.  Was it to puff ourselves up with toadish pompousness and amass a hoard of dragon's gold we could never bequeath to our grandchildren? Because our grandchildren would be too busy turning into cockroaches, rats and other lifeforms that can survive or even thrive in ugly and polluted environments.

Or did we come here to experience the separation of matter from spirit, and to learn how they can be harmoniously fused again? For this lesson would teach us that the outer reflects the inner.

Where there is drought in the external reality, it means our souls are parched of feelings, love has dried up. Where there are landslides and flash floods, it means our integrity is decaying and our emotions are murky and raging out of control, bursting the banks of tranquility. And where the air is thick with greasy crud and black with factory soot, it means our thoughts are indecent (i.e., mechanical, pornographic) and our spirit is exhausted.


The Aquarius Project will address the issue of modern technology indirectly, by demonstrating the intimate relationship between murky emotions and contaminated waterways. Humans and human activities play a supporting rĂ´le in the fluid narrative which will favor the non‑verbal over the verbal ‑ although a certain amount of language will be used to help shape the form and intent of the flow. The sad state of human emotions in an industrialized landscape is revealed in our clogged and polluted streams, many of which have undergone the indignity of being turned into drains and sewers.

Only when absolutely needed will a voiceover be used. However, text will feature as an aural and visual element in the narrative, which will alternate between linearity and non‑linearity. This could happen as bits of spoken dialog, as recitations, as song, or as direct interviews with the poet-documentator and others.

I envisage working independently with a digital videocam as well as with a professional crew to achieve a balance between the intimacy and immediacy of an experimental short feature and the technical polish and authority of a conventional documentary. As a musician, I look forward to creating part of the soundtrack for specific sequences, and using library music and live sound for others.

  
TENTATIVE CHECKLIST OF REQUIRED FOOTAGE:

  • Lots of generic water shots: cloud formations, dewdrops on leaves, cascading falls, ripples on lakes and ponds, reflections in puddles, slomo sequences of watery movement, torrential downpour, drizzle, dripping faucet, lawn sprinklers, bathroom showers, wet umbrellas, raincoats, flash floods, muddy rivulets, aquarium sequences, rolling breakers, shimmering seas, speedboat wakes, etc.
  • Whitewater rafters, kayakers, rubber‑tubers, waterskiers, fishermen, boaters, swimmers, kids in rivers, swimming pool sequences, bodysurfers, public urinals, sewage outlets, effluent pipes, drainpipes, monsoon drains, abandoned wells, gutters, stagnant ponds, poisoned streams, sanitation workers, laundrywomen, aquatic flora and fauna, pedestrians caught in thunderstorm, industrial carwash, glass & concrete urban gvs. 
  • Archival footage or stills of severe drought (Afghanistan), destructive floods (China, Bangladesh), famine (Biafra), pestilence (Kosovo, Cambodia), street riots (Indonesia), massacres (East Timor), massive catatastrophes (Kobe, Gujarat), destitution and suffering (Iraq, Sierra Leone), poverty and neglect (Chennai, Chow Kit).
  • General footage of industrial activity, environmental degradation, deforested hills, dust storms, physical and metaphysical desolation.
  • Celebrants and mourners: candid portraits of emoting humans (can either be original footage or culled from magazines, photo albums, libraries, etc.) 

My preferred approach to cooking is to select and prepare the ingredients, look up the recipes of a few tried‑and‑tested dishes ‑ and then leave it to inspiration (and the random factor) to integrate and synthesize the elements, trusting that my artistic instincts will unerringly guide me to making the right decisions. This could prove a chaotic and messy process, but having emerged from a commercial background where artistic self‑indulgence must always concede to entertaining, stimulating and captivating the audience ‑ and being, incidentally, a Capricornian with a hardwired sense of internal order ‑ I have full confidence that I can come up with an immensely watchable and memorable 26‑minute docu‑poem that's aesthetically more adventurous than the straightforward documentary, but still accessible to a mass audience.


I began using a box camera at the age of 6 or 7 and have been an avid photographer most of my life. In the 1970s I had the use of a Super 8 cinecamera and made several experimental home movies which, alas, have all succumbed to the ravages of climate and time. Although I have yet to own a digital videocam, I've handled them occasionally with wholly satisfactory results. I'd like to buy or borrow a decent digital videocam so that I can gather special footage unobtrusively and at my own leisure ‑ leaving the betacam sequences to more experienced professionals. As such, I'd like to be writer, co‑camera‑operator, editor and director on The Aquarius Project ‑ but would greatly appreciate the logistical support of a competent production house.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Forrest Gump explains Mortgage Backed Securities... again!


Mortgage Backed Securities are like boxes of chocolates. Criminals on Wall Street stole a few chocolates from the boxes and replaced them with turds. Their criminal buddies at Standard & Poor rated these boxes AAA Investment Grade chocolates. These boxes were then sold all over the world to investors.

Eventually somebody bites into a turd and discovers the crime. Suddenly nobody trusts American chocolates anymore worldwide.

Hank Paulson now wants the American taxpayers to buy up and hold all these boxes of turd-infested chocolates for $800 billion dollars until the market for turds returns to normal. Meanwhile, Hank's buddies, the Wall Street criminals who stole all the good chocolates are not being investigated, arrested, or indicted.

Mama always said: "Sniff the chocolates first, Forrest."

Now here's another classic story illustrating the evils of gambling and betting...
An elderly woman walked into the Bank of Canada one morning with a purse full of money. She wanted to open a savings account and insisted on talking to the president of the Bank because, she said, she had a lot of money.

After many lengthy discussions (after all, the client is always right) an employee took the elderly woman to the president's office. The president of the Bank asked her how much she wanted to deposit. She placed her purse on his desk and replied, "$165,000."

The president was curious and asked her how she had been able to save so much money. The elderly woman replied that she made bets.

The president was surprised and asked, "What kind of bets?"

The elderly woman replied, "Well, I bet you $25,000 that your testicles are square.'"

The president started to laugh and told the woman that it was impossible to win a bet like that. The woman never batted an eye. She just looked at the president and said, "Would you like to take my bet?"

"Certainly," replied the president. "I bet you $25,000 that my testicles are NOT square.'"

"Done!" the elderly woman answered. "But given the amount of money involved, if you don't mind, I would like to come back at 10 o' clock tomorrow morning with my lawyer as a witness."

"No problem." said the president of the Bank confidently.

That night, the president became very nervous about the bet and spent a long time in front of the mirror examining his testicles, turning them this way and that, checking them over again and again until he was positive that no one could consider his balls as square and reassuring himself that there was no way he could lose the bet.

The next morning at exactly 10 o' clock the elderly woman arrived at the president's office with her lawyer and acknowledged the $25,000 bet made the day before that the president's testicles were square. The president confirmed that the bet was the same as the one made the day before. Then the elderly woman asked him to drop his pants so that she and her lawyer could inspect his balls.

The president readily obliged, anticipating an unexpected windfall of $25,000.

The elderly woman came closer so she could see better and asked the president if she could touch his balls.

"Of course," said the president. "Given the amount of money involved, you should be 100% sure."


The elderly woman did so with a small smile. Suddenly the president noticed that the lawyer was banging his head against the wall. He asked the elderly woman why he was doing that and she replied, "Oh, it's probably because I bet him $125,000 that around 10 o' clock in the morning I would be fondling the balls of the President of the Bank of Canada."

[First published 27 November 2008]

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where on earth is Saiful Bukhari Azlan (Malaysia's infamous anus)?


Actually, I don't have a clue. 
And, frankly, I don't give a fuck.

This photo of Saiful Bukhari Azlan on pilgrimage to the Ka'aba is undated.
Let's hope the same applies to Saiful.
What a twisted little Saicopath!