Friday, October 21, 2011

Advocates Of Terror

DPM Teo Chee Hean invoked all incantations of ghosts of spectres past like "Marxist conspirators" and "domino theories" to scare the daylights out of you and justify the retention of the ISA. Halloween isn't even due till October 31st. For the record, Vietnam fell and the dominoes never did tumble into Thailand, or other SEA countries, as the fear mongering Americans predicted. Teo maintains ISA is a shield to protect us from terrorism, and other nasties such as foreign subversion, espionage and racial agitation. But who is terrorising who?

Writing in "Dining With Terrorists," Phil Rees noted that the United Nations spent 17 years trying to draw up a definition that all its members would accept, and failed. No armchair journalist, the author actually travelled afar to dine (hence the title) with advocates of armed conflict like Hamas, Tamil Tigers, Albanian KLA, Colombia's FARC, Taliban and Chechnya fighters, to find out if the old adage that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter still applies.

Prior to September 11, the United States of America often aligned with "freedom fighters" confronting colonial power. After all, America itself was birthed from violent rebellion against oppressive British colonialists. The Boston Tea Party, the revolt that sparked the War of Independence, was an act of heroism or terrorism, depending on which side of the Atlantic you stood. (page 18)

Then "terrorism" was a term applied to violence committed by non-state actors developed after the Second World War. As nationalist groups throughout Asia emerged to overthrow their colonial masters, British and French governments used the term to describe their adversaries in news reports.  In Malaysia, insurgents fighting the Brits for national liberation were simply called "CTs", communist terrorists.

Post 9/11, Palestinians brandishing AK-47s present the face of terror on television screens. Ironically, underground Jewish militias like the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Le'umi, were also terrorists in the Middle East. Yitzhak Shamir, who later became Israeli Prime Minister, wrote an August 1943 article entitled "Terror", for the journal of the Stern Gang, "First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today." Even Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela's ANC was not squeamish about employing violence to overthrow apartheid.

The compact edition of the Oxford Dictionary defines:
Terrorism: n  A system of terror. 1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the revolution of 1789-94; the system of "Terror". 2. gen. A policy intended into strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or the condition of being terrorized.

Teo resisted against replacing the ISA with a Terrorism Act as the Terrorism (Suppression of Bombings) Act of 2007 would not allow pre-emptive action against those who have not yet committed overt deeds that warrant prosecution. Arguing against the right of public trial, he claims "the very airing of these incendiary issues in a public trial can further exacerbate an already volatile situation." Which speaks volumes about the lame discourses in parliament. The ISA is more terrifying than one can imagine.
Quiz: Was Muammar Gaddafi killed by "terrorists"?


  1. The PAP government is in fact a terrorist in the eye of those were arrested under ISA if they are innocent. ISA is therefore a political tool to silent alternative voice and should be abolished unconditionally. If not, let the 2016 GE change to really do it.

  2. Kamarrudin Koh10/21/2011 1:22 AM

    The safeguards in the ISA which were supposed to protect the innocent from abuse were largely irrelevant. ISA in the past was used against political opponents. We cannot trust the benevolence of any ruling party to be careful and discrete in the use of the ISA. The ISA needs to be modified or removed.

  3. Poor Singaporean10/21/2011 10:15 AM

    In a small kingdom, if you take away the power of the King to arrest anyone who is suspect of causing/thinking of causing/may cause harm to him,then where is his power to rule the kingdom?

  4. With more oppositions to come...of course die die must retain ISA

  5. The ISA is the very instrument of state terror.

  6. To prevent occupation of any place in Sin,
    ISA is vital.
    And so is one man protest illegal.

    Just hope that uttering or having
    opposing view in the head and heart
    will not become a crime as well.


  7. The problem of "pre-emptive action" is well illustrated in the movie "Minority Report". How can anyone be absolutely sure that a crime is going to happen? The basic premise of the ISA is that it can predict the future beyond reasonable doubt. If there is anything that President Tony Tan was right, he was right that the ISA could harm the innocent. If the public does not understand the paramount importance of "no innocent person should be punished and be deprived of liberty", then anti-ISA campaign will remain a lost cause.

  8. A natural progression to the ISA would be the enactment of the ESA, which would allow parliament to vote on pre-emptive strikes against other nations on suspected aggression against the sovereign state of Singapore.

  9. In SG context, yes, Gadaffi would be seen as being killed by terrorists.
    It would never happen here becos those revolutionary loonies, losers, rebels, unemployed, conspirators would have been thwarted under the ISA laws "as part of the pre-emptive" moves. Never mind after locking you up and robbing you 30-40yrs of your best life, they don't even need to explain and account to you and your future generations. Let bygones be bygones. No inquiry, No answers, No apologies. Just move on.

  10. So much for Prosperity. Where is the Progress and Happiness?

  11. According to woody Goh C T, Dhanabalan resigned from cabinet over the 1987 'marxist' arrests as he did not believe in it.Luckily there is 1 of them who had the principle & guts.Wd be interesting to know why Dhana rejected the govt's stand on this arrest.

  12. The mandate given by UN to NATO is to protect civilians of Libya. The best way to protect the civilians is to stop the civil war, which, according to a rebel leader, killed at least 30,000 people and wounded at least another 50,000, by imposing an immediate ceasefire and oversee the reform of Libya.

    But NATO chose to do the opposite. NATO rejected the ceasefire proposed by the African Union, which were accepted by Libya government. NATO chose to let the civil war expanded and provided arms and military training to the rebels and conducted 26,233 sorties, of which 9,634 are attack sorties.

    Attack sorties are missions flown to identified targets with the sole purpose of destroying them. Legitimate targets include, military hardware (tanks, air bases etc) communications, and command infrastructures, troop convoys, and as we have seen Gaddafi himself, his family and anyone else that happens to be near him (one of the attack has killed 3 of the Gaddafi’s grandchildren age between 2 to 3).

    Since June 2011, NATO became more desperate and started attacking non-combat buildings and basic infrastructures (for example, NATO airstrikes on the Tripoli headquarters of the state-owned national TV broadcaster Al-Jamahiriya and two of its installations on 30 July. Three journalists were killed and 21 others were wounded in the airstrikes). The attack at basic infrastructures has caused Tripoli residents having difficulties in getting water and electricity supplies.

    If each attack sorties fired only2 missiles and each missile is capable of destroying a building, we can envisage that how much damage the 19,268 (2 x 9,634) missiles have been done to Libya. The total population in Libya is only about 6.4 millions.

    I dare to say that NATO is the main contributor to the dead and injury to the more than 80,000 Libyan ( the figure could be much more as the rebel leader don’t have much information from Gaddafi controlled areas). So far, not much information about the casualties suffered by Gaddafi’s side, because almost every time after the attack, NATO and the western media will issues the standard clause “mission completed successfully and targets destroyed, any casualties arise from the attack could not be verified”. But if we based on the 2 “friendly fire” incidents which killed 13 civilians and 5 rebels’ fighters and wounded many more others.(“friendly fire’ is defined as NATO mistook the rebels as Gaddafi people. That is, NATO has the intention to kill those people!). The 9,634 attack sorties could have killed and wounded an estimate of more than 150,000 people. [(13+5) x 9,634 = 173,412]

    Many of the innocent people like the Gaddafi’s 3 grand children (age between 2 to 3) and the 3 journalists from the TV’s headquarter, were killed not at the battle field or war zone, they were killed by the well planned NATO attack sorties at their residential area or work place.

    Tripoli residents have difficulties in getting water and electricity supplies is also the results of NATO well planned attacks at the basic infrastructures of Libya. How many civilians get killed when NATO attacking these basic infrastructures? In fact Tripoli is not the city at war, why is it received the most attack from NATO?

    The parties benefited from the expanded war are the NATO’s arms manufacturing companies and the defense related industrials. NATO’s construction industrials will have many big contracts when participating in the reconstruction of Libya (Libya is rich and can afford to pay for the rebuilding). Also, NATO’s petrol companies will benefit from the oil rich Libya if the rebel has the control of the country.