Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #790 Now, About that Malaysian Airliner . . . .

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Introduction: The program presents analysis of the “mystery” surrounding the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

Never have we seen the news media–The Ministry of Truth in the most literal, Orwellian sense–behave more shamefully. (We admit that their whitewashing of the outright fascists and Nazi/OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine might equal the cover-up of the apparently willful destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.)

The same Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood elements figure into this investigation as into 9/11 and–most recently–the Boston Marathon bombing.

The program also takes a highly speculative look at the recent stowaway by a young Somali Muslim in the wheel well of a jet airliner at San Jose Airport. A strange story, the Muslim Brotherhood figures prominently in the background of the event. (We emphasize that we are NOT casting aspersions on the young fellow, but asking if he may have been cynically manipulated by jihadist/Muslim Brotherhood elements testing a “dry run” for a possible attack.)

Program Highlights Include:

  • The Malaysian Airlines plane was piloted by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a committed follower and political associate of Anwar Ibrahim, a key Malaysian Muslim Brother.
  • The plane was almost certainly diverted from within, by someone with considerable expertise.
  • The flight simulator in Shah’s home had data erased from it.
  • Anwar Ibrahim–Shah’s political idol–was a founder of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood front that was investigated in connection with the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.
  • Ibrahim is part of the political milieu of GOP bigwig Grover Norquist.
  • Key Bin Laden associate Tarik Hamdi was employed by IIIT.
  • The day the plane disappeared, pilot Shah’s mentor and idol was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy.
  • The New York Times, among others, has obfuscated the sinister political reality and connections of Shah and Ibrahim.A
  • Among the passengers was a Uighur professor who had taken flight training and was working in Turkey.
  • Links of Suhaib Webb–the former Imam of the Mosque in Santa Clara to which the Somali wheel well boy belonged–to the Muslim Brotherhood and Anwar al-Awlaki.
  • Evidentiary tributaries linking Webb to the milieu of the Tsarnaevs and the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • The role of CAIR–a Muslim Brotherhood front organization–in public representation of the wheel well stoway and his family.
  • Review of the positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood held  by members of the intelligence and corporate communities.

1. The plane was piloted by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a committed follower and political associate of Anwar Ibrahim, a key Malaysian Muslim Brother.

“Malaysian Opposition Leader Calls Speculation About Pilot of Missing Jet ‘Absurd’ ” by Robert Mackey [The Lede]; The New York Times; 3/21/2014.

Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, dismissed speculation that the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, a supporter of his movement for democratic change, might have hijacked the plane for political reasons, in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News on Friday.

As The Lede explained on Wednesday, the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was reportedly described by an unnamed government official as a “fanatical” supporter of Mr. Ibrahim, a remark that was widely misinterpreted by journalists and bloggers.

Speaking to the Channel 4 correspondent Jonathan Rugman, Mr. Ibrahim criticized the Malaysian government’s handling of the investigation into the missing Flight 370 as “clear incompetence” and said that any attempt “to cast aspersions on the pilot purely on the basis of political leanings is absurd.” Captain Zaharie was, according to Mr. Ibrahim, “very passionate about freedom and democracy,” and “a good professional pilot,” who simply did not fit the profile of an Islamist radical. . . .

2a. The plane was almost cer­tainly diverted from within, by some­one with con­sid­er­able expertise.

“Malaysia Asks F.B.I. For Help in Plane Case” by Chris Buckley and Michael Schmidt; The New York Times; 3/20/2014.

. . . . As the possible break in what had been a fruitless search was being pursued, the Malaysian authorities were seeking help from the F.B.I. to help retrieve deleted computer data from a homemade flight simulator belonging to the captain of the Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished 11 days ago, their first request for high-level American assistance in solving the mystery of the missing plane. . . .

. . . . Investigators have said the plane’s extraordinary diversion from its intended course was probably carried out by someone who had aviation experience. The Malaysian police, who found that Mr. Zaharie had built a flight simulator at his home, said Wednesday that some data had been erased from the simulator on Feb. 3, more than a month before the ill-fated flight.

Evidence suggests that whoever diverted the plane knew how to disable its communications systems and program course changes, and the data recorded in the pilot’s flight simulator may shed light on whether he was involved.[This can only be done from within the plane’s cockpit.–D.E.] . . .

2b. More about the deliberate diversion of the plane from within the cockpit:

“China Rules Out Terror Ties Among Citizens on Jet” by Chris Buckley and Keith Bradsher; The New York Times; 3/19/2014.

. . . . American officials said on Monday that the sharp turn to the west that took the plane from its planned northeastward flight path was achieved using a computer system on the plane, and that the turn was most likely programmed into it by someone in the cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems. . . .

3. Anwar Ibrahim–Shah’s polit­i­cal idol–was a founder of the Inter­na­tional Insti­tute of Islamic Thought, a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood front that was inves­ti­gated in con­nec­tion with the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.

Slate Whitewashes Muslim Brotherhood Ties of Malaysian Pol ‘Fanatically’ Supported by Pilot of Missing Plane” by Robert Spencer; Jihad Watch; 3/17/2014.

Here is reality: “Anwar Ibrahim’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood run deep. Ibrahim helped establish the International Institute for Islamic Thought, or IIIT, a Muslim Brotherhood front group in the United States. IIIT has come under fire for their connections with terrorist organizations.

In 2002, Anwar Ibrahim’s IIIT was included in a lawsuit by victims of 9/11 seeking damages from organizations linked to ‘rendering material support to radical Islamism.’ In 2003, US government prosecutors ‘submitted court documents detailing financial support (PDF) from the IIIT for convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad fundraiser Sami al-Arian.’ They also found that Taha Jaber al-Alwani, the president of IIIT had once stated via a fatwa that ‘jihad is the only way to liberate Palestine.’ A US Customs official said that the government is also looking into the possibility that IIIT was involved in ‘terrorism-related money laundering activities.’” . . . .

4. The IIT employed Tarik Hamdi, an operational associate of Osama bin Laden.

“International Institute of Islamic Thought”; Wikipedia.com.

. . . . Tarik Hamdi came to the United States and applied for citizenship providing false information.[30][31] Hamdi worked for Sami Al-Arian, who confessed to providing assistance to the PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and later worked for IIIT.

In May 1998 ABC News in pursuit of an interview with Bin Laden had communicated with Mohammad Atef and were directed to Tarik Hamdi as a person who could connect them to Osama Bin Laden. ABC connected with Tarik Hamdi at his place of employment at IIIT. ABC was able to get the interview. Hamdi was able to deliver a Satellite phone battery pack that according to federal agents was used three months later in the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.[32]

It took until 2005 for Tarik A. Hamdi, who was employed as a publisher at IIIT, to be charged in a federal affidavit of having been the “American contact” for one of Osama bin-Laden’s front organisations.[33][34] . . .

5. Ibrahim was jailed just hours before the plane “disappeared.”

” ‘Democracy is Dead’: ‘Fanatical’ Missing Airliner Pilot Pictured Wearing Political Slogan T-shirt” by Simon Parry, Amanda Parry and Wills Robinson; Daily Mail; 3/16/2014.

. . . . Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a father-of-three, was said to be a ‘fanatical’ supporter of the country’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim – jailed for homosexuality just hours before the jet disappeared.

It has also been revealed that the pilot’s wife and three children moved out of the family home the day before the plane went missing.

…Captian Shah was an ‘obsessive’ supporter of Ibrahim. And hours before the doomed flight left Kuala Lumpur it is understood 53-year-old Shah attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years.

Campaigners say the politician, the key challenger to Malaysia’s ruling party, was the victim of a long-running smear campaign and had faced trumped-up charges.

Police sources have confirmed that Shah was a vocal political activist – and fear that the court decision left him profoundly upset. It was against this background that, seven hours later, he took control of a Boeing 777-200 bound for Beijing and carrying 238 passengers and crew.

Zaharie’s co-workers have told investigators the veteran pilot was a social activist who was vocal and fervent in his support of Ibrahim.
‘Colleagues made it clear to us that he was someone who held strong political beliefs and was strident in his support for Anwar Ibrahim,’ another investigation source said. ‘We were told by one colleague he was obsessed with politics.’

In their interviews, colleagues said Zaharie told them he planned to attend the court case involving Anwar on March 7, just hours before the Beijing flight, but investigators had not yet been able to confirm if he was among the crowd of Anwar supporters at court.

…Malaysian officials initially appeared keen not to direct any suspicion towards Zaharie or his co-pilot, 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, who was last week revealed to have invited two women passengers into the cockpit and smoked on an earlier flight to Phuket.

But evidence of the way the plane’s transponder and communication systems were disabled and the way the plane was expertly flown over the Indian Ocean apparently using navigational waypoints meant only a skilled aviator could have been at the controls. Investigators were also baffled by why, if hijackers took over the plane, there was no Mayday call or signal from the two pilots to say the cockpit had been breached. . . . .

6. Ibrahim was networked with Janus-Merritt Strategies, founded by Grover Norquist, who founded the Islamic Free Market Institute. Norquist’s milieu is inextricably linked with the institutions targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.

“Janus-Merritt Strategies”; Wikipedia.com

. . . . Janus-Merritt Strategies was a lobbying firm founded in 1997 by conservative activist Grover Norquist and then-lawyer David Safavian, who later became better known as the chief of staff in the General Services Administration and for his conviction in the Abramoff-Reed Indian lobbying scandal. . . .

. . . . On December 17, 2001, eleven months after Safavian’s departure, Janus resubmitted its disclosure forms. This time the name of [convicted terrorist Abdurahman] Alamoudi had been replaced by the name of Dr. Jamal al Barzinji, who is also notable as a vice president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).[citation needed] Norquist has refused to release tax records of the firm for the period during which he and Safavian owned the company.[citation needed]

Safavian told the Senate that al Barzinji, not Alamoudi, was his client. “Al Barzinji,” he said, “should have been listed as the client retaining the firm for work related to Malaysian political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim,” referring to the deposed prime minister of Malaysia, who also was a co-founder of the IIIT. . . .

7. We’ve heard suspicions about possible Uighur involvment in the plane’s disappearance. With a recent knife attack on Han Chinese and the number of Chinese onboard, a detail stands out. A Uighur who was a professor in Turkey AND took flight simulation courses is an interesting suspect, to say the least… Wonder if he was uninterested in the “how to take off and land” portions of the course? For more about the use of Uighurs as jihadist proxy-warriors in the oil and mineral rich Xinjiang province, see–among other programs–FTR #’s 348, 550, 635, 636.

“Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet: Investigation Paying ‘Special Attention’ to Chinese Uighur Passenger” by Lindsay Murdoch; Sydney Morning Herald; 3/13/2014.

Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.

The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.

Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.
At least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.
The Harian Metro newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the man is not a suspect over the plane’s disappearance but that investigators were delving into his background.

According to the source the man has a PHD from a university in Britain was recently worked as a lecturer at a university in Turkey.
The source said he undertook flight simulation training in Sweden in around 2006. . . .

8. A speculative element concerns a young Somali refugee who snuck into the wheelwell of a jet at San Jose Airport. Pining to return to his mother in a camp in Ethiopia, the young man is a Muslim who attends a Brotherhood-connected mosque in Santa Clara. Communications on behalf of the family have been conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, revealed in court documents as a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. Note: we are not necessarily impugning the integrity of the boy–we are wondering if this apparently vulnerable and impressionable young fellow was being manipulated by Islamists, perhaps doing “testing” for a future incident. We wonder if the disappearance of the Malaysian plane may also have been a “test” or a “dry run.”

  • There are a number of strange aspects to the story: The boy was ostensibly trying to get to Ethiopia to visit his mother. Stowing away on a plane bound for Hawaii seems to be “the long way ’round” for such a journey.
  • Many who have stowed away in a wheel well have died of cold and/or lack of oxygen. How did this young fellow survive?
  • Was he, perhaps, a “dry run” for a future incident, in which a terrorist wearing an explosive belt might bring down an airliner?

“Stoway: Santa Clara Teen’s Dad Arrives in Honolulu” by Oskar Garcia; Santa Cruz Sentinel; 4/29/2014.

. . . . A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in San Francisco who had been speaking for the family declined comment beyond reiterating a statement earlier this week that Yusuf wanted to see his son soon.

Abdi survived a 5½-hour flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui after hopping an airport fence and climbing into the wheel well of a Boeing 767. He has not spoken publicly about the ordeal that raised questions about airport security and revealed the personal family drama of a Somali immigrant struggling to adjust to life in the United States.

Abdi, who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., with his father, stepmother and siblings, had been unhappy in California and desperately missed his mother, according to those who know his family. . . . .

9. Abdi worshipped at  Muslim Community Association Islamic Center in Santa Clara, the Imam of which was associated with the Islamic community in Boston to which the Tsarnaev brothers belonged. Suhaib Webb was also an associate of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda associate.

“Stowaway: Father of 15-Year-Old Santa Clara Boy ‘Thanked God’ He Is Safe” by Julia Prodis Sulek, Robert Salonga, Mark Gomez and Josh Richman; San Jose Mercury News; 4/23/2014.

. . . . He said he saw his son Friday afternoon while the family prayed together. They worship at the Muslim Community Association Islamic Center in Santa Clara, which has been buzzing with the news of the stowaway. . . .

10. More about the Suhaib Webb/Anwar al-Awlaki/Tsarnaev milieu:

“Boston Imam Shared Ties with Senior Al-Qaida Operative” by Patrick Howley; The Daily Caller; 6/27/2013.

. . . . Prior to the Boston Marathon attack, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, downloaded radical Islamic propaganda from the Internet, including materials authored by Anwar al-Awlaki, the senior al Qaeda operative who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011. Tsarnaev also downloaded a summer 2010 edition of the al Qaeda magazine “Inspire,” which included bomb-making instructions and which is thought to have been the work of al-Awlaki.

Al-Awlaki lived in the United States between 1990 and 2002, when he moved to the United Kingdom before eventually relocating to Yemen, where he where worked for al-Qaeda and produced propaganda tapes and other materials urging Muslims to commit terrorist attacks against the United States.

Suhaib Webb, imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, spoke alongside al-Awlaki at a September 9, 2001 fundraiser at the University of California at Irvine, according to FBI surveillance documents. The fundraiser was intended to raise money for the legal defense of H. Rap Brown, an Atlanta-based Islamic radical who shot and killed two Georgia police officers. Webb and al-Awlaki helped raise $100,000 to defend Brown, who was eventually convicted for his crimes.

“Webb and Aulaki may be associated with the Muslim American Society,” according to the surveillance documents, which were prepared to investigate the unconfirmed possibility that al-Awlaki purchased plane tickets for some of the 9/11 hijackers. . . .

. . . . The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) in Cambridge, which Tsarnaev attended, and its 2009 expansion the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) in Roxbury, where Webb is imam, are both part of the same entity under the same ownership and decision-making authorities, according to close observers of the Boston Muslim community and deeds obtained by TheDC.

“The deeds to both mosques are owned and held by the same exact group, the Islamic Society of Boston Trust, which is the official owner of those mosques and has final say in the decisions of both. They try to put difference between the two, because when one gets in trouble they try to shield the other one, but in reality they are both the same entity,” said Ilya Feoktistov, research director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which flagged the connection between Webb and al-Awlaki.

The ISBCC is run by the Muslim American Society, which counts ISB imam Sheikh Basyouny Nehela as a member of the board of directors of its Boston chapter.

The Muslim American Society was founded in 1993 after secret regional meetings of underground Muslim Brotherhood members across the United States. The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood reportedly “operated under the name Muslim American Society.”

Muslim American Society leaders were instructed to state, if asked about the group’s views on terrorism, that the Society was anti-terrorism but that jihad was one of a Muslim’s “divine legal rights” for both self-defense and for the spreading of Islam. . . .

11. In FTR #773, we looked at the relationship between “ex” CIA officer Graham E. Fuller and the Tsarnaev family, as well as “ex” CIA officer Brian Glyn Williams and Dzokhar Tsarnaev. It appears that the Tsarnaevs may well have been involved with a Western intelligence operation in the Caucasus.

12. In addition to the apparent use of Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist elements as proxy warriors against Russia and China, the Brotherhood’s corporatist economics are beloved to Graham Fuller, as well as corporate elements cdhampioned by Grover Norquist.

“Chech­nyan Power” by Mark Ames; nsfwcorp.com; 6/5/2013.

. . . Fuller comes from that fac­tion of CIA Cold War­riors who believed (and still appar­ently believe) that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam, even in its rad­i­cal jihadi form, does not pose a threat to the West, for the sim­ple rea­son that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam is con­ser­v­a­tive, against social jus­tice, against social­ism and redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth, and in favor of hier­ar­chi­cal socio-economic struc­tures. Social­ism is the com­mon enemy to both cap­i­tal­ist Amer­ica and to Wah­habi Islam, accord­ing to Fuller.

Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Robert Drey­fuss’ book “Devil’s Game,” Fuller explained his attrac­tion to rad­i­cal Islam in neoliberal/libertarian terms:

“There is no main­stream Islamic organization…with rad­i­cal social views,” he wrote. “Clas­si­cal Islamic the­ory envis­ages the role of the state as lim­ited to facil­i­tat­ing the well-being of mar­kets and mer­chants rather than con­trol­ling them. Islamists have always pow­er­fully objected to social­ism and communism….Islam has never had prob­lems with the idea that wealth is unevenly dis­trib­uted.” . . . .

13. Fuller has long been an advocate of a “turn to the Brotherhood.”

“In Search of Friends Among the Foes: U.S. Hopes to Work with Diverse Group” by John Mintz and Douglas Farah; The Washington Post; 9/11/2004; p. A01.

. . . Some federal agents worry that the Muslim Brotherhood has dangerous links to terrorism. But some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials believe its influence offers an opportunity for political engagement that could help isolate violent jihadists. ‘It is the preeminent movement in the Muslim world,’ said Graham E. Fuller, a former CIA official specializing in the Middle East. ‘It’s something we can work with.’ Demonizing the Brotherhood ‘would be foolhardy in the extreme’ he warned.” . . .

14. More about the corporatist economic philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood follows. Note that Khairat el-Shater was alleged by Egyptian intelligence to have been running Mohamed Morsi. (We covered this in FTR #787.) In turn, he was reported to be serving as a liaison between Morsi and Mohamed Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. Shater was also networked with: Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Egypt, GOP Senator John McCain and GOP Senator Lidsay Graham. In turn, Shater was alleged to have transferred $50 million from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Al-Qaeda at the time that he was networking with the Americans and Morsi. Hey, what’s $50 million between friends.

“The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt” by Avi Asher-Schapiro; Salon.com; 1/25/2012.

While Western alarmists often depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a shadowy organization with terrorist ties, the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.

The Brotherhood, which did not initially support the revolution that began a year ago, reaped its benefits, capturing nearly half the seats in the new parliament, which was seated this week, and vaulting its top leaders into positions of power.

Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat Al-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda.

At Al-Shater’s luxury furniture outlet Istakbal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egyptian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. currency. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clientele is largely limited to Egypt’s upper classes.

Although the Brothers do draw significant support from Egypt’s poor and working class, “the Brotherhood is a firmly upper-middle-class organization in its leadership,” says Shadi Hamid, a leading Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Not surprisingly, these well-to-do Egyptians are eager to safeguard their economic position in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the Brotherhood does not back radical changes in Egypt’s economy.

The FJP’s economic platform is a tame document, rife with promises to root out corruption and tweak Egypt’s tax and subsidies systems, with occasional allusions to an unspecific commitment to “social justice.” The platform praises the mechanisms of the free market and promises that the party will work for “balanced, sustainable and comprehensive economic development.” It is a program that any European conservative party could get behind. . . .


 

 

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #790 Now, About that Malaysian Airliner . . . .”

  1. Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad appears to be adding his authoritarian voice to the “people’s power” movement that’s trying to topple his former proteges and Malaysia’s current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, over a growing corruption scandal:

    Reuters
    Malaysia’s Mahathir calls for ‘people power’ movement to topple PM
    KUALA LUMPUR | By Trinna Leong and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah

    Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:12pm EDT
    Related: World

    Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad, joining anti-government protesters for a second day on Sunday, called for a “people’s power” movement to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak over a financial scandal.

    “The only way for the people to get back to the old system is for them to remove this prime minister,” said Mahathir, a deeply respected 90-year-old who was once Najib’s patron and is now his fiercest critic.

    “And to remove him, the people must show people’s power. The people as a whole do not want this kind of corrupt leader,” he told media before heading to the rally, whose numbers police estimated at 25,000.

    The two-day protest brought onto the streets a political crisis triggered by reports of a mysterious transfer worth more than $600 million into an account under Najib’s name.

    Najib, who denies wrongdoing, has weathered the storm and analysts say the protest is unlikely to inspire broad public support for him to quit because it lacks a strong leader.

    The rally, unlike the last one in 2012, also lacks the support of a party identified with the Malay majority: most protesters were from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

    However, Mahathir – the country’s longest-serving leader – was a leader of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which represents Malays.

    UMNO Vice-President Hishammuddin Hussein said that by turning up unexpectedly at the anti-government rally on Saturday, Mahathir had “crossed over the line”.

    Another UMNO leader, Jamal Yunos, told Reuters that 1 million government supporters would stage a rally on Oct. 10 that would trump the protests of the past two days.

    Mahathir’s siding with protesters sits oddly with the often-authoritarian style of his own 22-year rule until 2003, during which Malaysia became a powerhouse of economic development but also won a reputation for cronyism and dubious “mega-projects”.

    Najib was once a protégé of Mahathir, just as the now-jailed Anwar Ibrahim – once widely viewed as Mahathir’s heir apparent – was before him. Anwar fell from favor when he began a popular “reformasi” (reform) movement against the graft and nepotism he said marked Malaysia’s business and political worlds.

    Mahathir sacked him from his posts, and charges of sodomy and corruption followed. Mahathir has always maintained that the sodomy charges were genuine and made Anwar unfit to be leader.

    RIOT TRUCKS

    On Sunday, security remained tight and anti-riot trucks stood ready, but there were no reports of violence.

    City authorities rejected an application by pro-democracy group Bersih for a protest permit, which had raised fears of a repeat of the 2012 rally when police used water cannon and teargas to disperse protesters.

    In a sign the government was losing patience, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned organizers they could face legal action. “They must face the consequences if they dare to break the law,” he said, the New Straits Times reported online.

    Najib said in a speech later that demonstrations were “not the right channel to voice views in a democratic country”, and cited the religious leader of an Islamic party-ruled Malaysian state as saying the protests were illegal in the eyes of Islam.

    Malaysia has been gripped since July by reports that investigators probing allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad had discovered the transfer into Najib’s account.

    The country’s anti-corruption agency has said the funds were a donation from an unidentified Middle East donor.

    Najib, who says he did not take any money for personal gain, sacked his deputy and ministers who had questioned him as he sought to contain the scandal. The attorney-general who had been investigating 1MDB was also replaced.

    Authorities also suspended two newspapers and blocked access to a website that had reported extensively on 1MDB.

    Najib retains significant support from the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and his party, UMNO. The coalition, in power since 1957, lost the popular vote for the first time in 2013 to an opposition alliance that split earlier this year.

    However, he is under pressure over his handling of the economy, which has been hit by a slump in energy prices that threaten oil and gas revenues, and Malaysia’s currency plummeted this month to 17-year lows against the dollar.

    Najib said in his speech at a convention center that some people with an agenda had tried to spread lies that “Malaysia would become bankrupt like Greece”.

    “It is clearly proven that Malaysia is not a failed state, as claimed by some,” he said. “It is far from a bankrupt nation. We are still in a stable condition, with solid fundamentals, and remain competitive.”

    If you read this part…


    Mahathir’s siding with protesters sits oddly with the often-authoritarian style of his own 22-year rule until 2003, during which Malaysia became a powerhouse of economic development but also won a reputation for cronyism and dubious “mega-projects”.

    Najib was once a protégé of Mahathir, just as the now-jailed Anwar Ibrahim – once widely viewed as Mahathir’s heir apparent – was before him. Anwar fell from favor when he began a popular “reformasi” (reform) movement against the graft and nepotism he said marked Malaysia’s business and political worlds.

    Mahathir sacked him from his posts, and charges of sodomy and corruption followed. Mahathir has always maintained that the sodomy charges were genuine and made Anwar unfit to be leader.

    and think “uh oh, I better stay out of Malaysian airplanes with Muslim Brotherhood pilots until this blows over“, note that there probably aren’t too many Muslim Brotherhood supporters with particularly fond feelings towards Prime Minister Najib Razak.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 31, 2015, 5:46 pm
  2. Here’s something the should probably give the Muslim Brotherhood an electoral boost in Malaysian politics:
    As Forrest Gump opined, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Of course, that implies many aspects of life are also like boxes of chocolate since life is full of surprises. So life is like a box of chocolates that contain many smaller boxes of chocolate. For example, corruption probes, like Malaysia’s growing (1MBD) probe, are a part of life. And they are definitely like a box of chocolates:

    The Guardian
    Malaysian prime minister cleared of corruption over $681m Saudi ‘gift’

    Attorney general says huge sum in Najib Razak’s personal bank account was donation from Saudi royal family and not linked to troubled state fund 1MDB

    Oliver Holmes in Bangkok and agencies
    Tuesday 26 January 2016 07.12 EST

    Malaysia’s attorney general said on Tuesday that $681m transferred into prime minister Najib Razak’s personal bank account was a gift from the royal family in Saudi Arabia, and there were no criminal offences or corruption involved.

    The involvement of the Saudi royal family is an unexpected twist in a scandal over the mysterious funds transfer and the troubles of indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), whose advisory board Najib chairs.

    “I am satisfied with the findings that the funds were not a form of graft or bribery,” attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali told a hastily called news conference, where a statement was issued that said Najib had returned $620m to the Saudi royal family because it had not been utilised.

    “There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib – that is between him and the Saudi family,” Apandi said.

    He said no criminal offence was committed by Najib in relation to three investigations submitted by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency and that no further action would be taken.

    The Malaysian anti-corruption commission (MACC) had earlier said the funds were a political donation from an unidentified Middle Eastern benefactor.

    The attorney general said in a statement he would return to the MACC papers pertaining to the three separate investigations with instructions to close all three cases.

    Najib, who has weathered months of calls from opposition leaders and establishment figures to resign, has denied any wrongdoing and says he did not take any money for personal gain.

    In a statement sent to the Guardian, Najib said he welcomed the attorney general’s comments that “confirmed what I have maintained all along: that no crime was committed.”

    “This issue has been an unnecessary distraction for the country. Now that the matter has been comprehensively put to rest, it is time for us to unite and move on,” he added.

    Malaysian opposition parliamentarian Tony Pua told the Guardian the “basis to absolve the prime minister of any wrongdoing is utterly without merit because the ‘personal affair’ does not preclude corrupt motives or transactions”.

    He added: “The attorney general has provided no new or convincing information or arguments on whether the massive funds were bona fide, which leads to the question whether the newly appointed attorney general is merely covering up for the prime minister.”

    In July last year, Najib sacked the country’s previous attorney general, who had led the investigation into the scandal, for “health reasons” in a government reshuffle that also saw the dismissal of several officials critical of the premier.

    The scandal has shaken investors in south-east Asia’s third-biggest economy and rocked public confidence in the coalition led by Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, which has held power since independence in 1957.

    “The involvement of the Saudi royal family is an unexpected twist in a scandal over the mysterious funds transfer and the troubles of indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), whose advisory board Najib chairs.”
    That’s the fun of a opening a corruption probe box of chocolate: You never know what you’ll get! Like a previously undisclosed $681 million direct transfer from the Saudi royal family to Malaysia’s current prime minister. And what was that ‘gift’ for? Well, according to Malaysia’s attorney general, that reason is between Prime Minister Najib and the Saudi royal family and it’s not really for the public to know:


    “I am satisfied with the findings that the funds were not a form of graft or bribery,” attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali told a hastily called news conference, where a statement was issued that said Najib had returned $620m to the Saudi royal family because it had not been utilised.

    “There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib – that is between him and the Saudi family,” Apandi said.

    You never know what you’re going to get! Although the BBC reports that, according to Saudi sources, the Saudi ‘gift’ was actually to ensure Najib’s political victory over the Muslim Brotherhood. Note that this transfer was in 2013, before the Saudi royals’ move to reestablish the old Saudi/MB official alliance after their public falling out in recent years.

    And given that the ‘1MDB fund’ probe has already uncovered one super secret foreign political mega-donation, you have imagine that there are plenty of other chocolates of that nature still sitting in the larger ‘1MDB probe’ box of chocolates.

    And that’s just one box of chocolates. Given this revelation of the Saudi royals’ willingness to hand over entire fortunes to their political allies in other countries, who knows how many other boxes of chocolate around the globe contain such Saudi delights? The Saudis clearly have a lot of ‘chocolate’ to ‘gift’ to their ‘friends’ and there’s no shortage of ‘boxes’ around the globe that would love some of that ‘chocolate’. So if your country’s political system develops a case of political diabetes, you might want to check for undisclosed boxes of chocolate. Hopefully it’s an option. In some nations, like the US, rogue boxes of political chocolate are black boxes too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 27, 2016, 11:38 am
  3. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Goldman Sachs is now part of a US probe into potential money-laundering charges related to the giant 1Malaysi Development Bhd (1MDB) development fund that’s blown up into a major Malaysian political scandal following revelations that it may have been turned into a giant political slush fund for Prime Minister Najib Razak. So it will be interesting to see what, if anything they find, especially related to the over $680 million in ‘gifts’ that the Saudi Royal family gave to Razak that he asserts were in no way a form of graft or bribery. And especially after Razak’s party shocked the country recently by backing an Islamic law penal code that includes amputations and stoning:

    Reuters

    Outrage in multi-ethnic Malaysia as government backs Islamic law

    KUALA LUMPUR | By Praveen Menon
    Sat May 28, 2016 1:32am EDT

    Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government threw its support in parliament this week behind an Islamic penal code that includes amputations and stoning, shocking some of his allies and stoking fears of further strains in the multi-ethnic country.

    Critics believe the scandal-tainted prime minister is using ‘hudud’, the Islamic law, to shore up the backing of Muslim Malay voters and fend off attacks on his leadership ahead of critical by-elections next month and a general election in 2018.

    The government on Thursday unexpectedly submitted to parliament a hudud bill that had been proposed by the Islamist group Parti Islam se-Malaysia’s (PAS).

    Although debate on the law was deferred to October by PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang, its submission to parliament brought criticism from leaders across the political spectrum, including allies of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, who represent the ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

    Najib sought to ease tensions with his allies on Friday, saying the bill was “misunderstood”.

    “It’s not hudud, but what we refer to as enhanced punishment,” he told a news conference after meeting leaders of his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party.

    “It applies only to certain offences and this comes under the jurisdiction of the Syariah court and is only applicable to the Muslims. It has nothing to do with non-Muslims.”

    He added that the punishments would be limited and canings meted out under the law would not injure or draw blood.

    Earlier in the day, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a key party in the BN coalition, called the submission of the hudud bill to parliament “unconstitutional”.

    “As we repeatedly pointed out, the implementation of Hudud law is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution, and would ruin the inter-ethnic relationship in the country,” MCA President Liow Tiong Lai said.

    Arguments for and against the introduction of hudud have divided Malaysia for years. Most of the Southeast Asian country’s states implement sharia, the Islamic legal system, but its reach is restricted by federal law.

    Still, the hudud bill appears doomed as the UMNO-led coalition lacks the two-thirds majority needed to pass it into law.

    The Islamist party PAS is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would allow hudud to be implemented in Kelantan, a northern state where nightclubs are banned and there are separate public benches for men and women.

    Many fear such a move would open doors for other states to bring in the Islamic penal code. Hudud stipulates ancient religious punishments for Muslims who violate the law.

    EYEING POLLS

    Critics say that Najib, with an eye on by-elections for two parliamentary seats on June 18, is seeking to appease the majority Muslim votebank with his stand on hudud and to deflect attention from a multi-billion-dollar scandal at the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    They allege Najib was a beneficiary of 1MDB’s funds, after about $680 million was deposited in his bank account before a 2013 election. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

    “He added that the punishments would be limited and canings meted out under the law would not injure or draw blood.”
    The amputation and stonings will be limited. Nothing to worry about folks!

    And note the speculative rationale behind Razak’s sudden backing of the new penal code:


    Critics say that Najib, with an eye on by-elections for two parliamentary seats on June 18, is seeking to appease the majority Muslim votebank with his stand on hudud and to deflect attention from a multi-billion-dollar scandal at the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    They allege Najib was a beneficiary of 1MDB’s funds, after about $680 million was deposited in his bank account before a 2013 election. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

    That’s right, in an apparent effort to distract from public concerns over the $680 million gift from the Saudi Royals that mysteriously appeared in Razak’s bank account, Razak’s party shocked the country by backing legal stonings and amputations. It’s a pretty bizarre strategy. But what’s even more bizarre is that it just might work

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 7, 2016, 5:25 pm

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