- [VIDEO] Karpal Singh Talk About Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
- [VIDEO] Azizah: ‘Karpal tak pernah ambil satu sen pun untuk bela Anwar’
- Burning bright
- Data Doesn’t Lie?: The fuzzy math behind the search for MH370
- N Surendran: Court of Appeal’s Fitnah 2 written judgement is flawed, defensive and insupportable
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 05:12 AM PDT
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 04:07 AM PDT
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 02:43 AM PDT
KARPAL SINGH, who died in a car accident in the early hours of April 17th at the age of 74, was a rarity in the venomous world of Malaysian politics: a man respected by many of his opponents as well as those on his own side.
That side, for all of a long career in politics, was the opposition to Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has held power ever since independence in 1957. Yet on Facebook and on Twitter condolences to his family have poured in from across the political spectrum, including from the prime minister, Najib Razak, who paid tribute to a "formidable opponent". Known as "the Tiger of Jelutong" after the constituency on the island of Penang he long represented, Mr Karpal was indeed formidable.
Anwar Ibrahim, leader of an opposition coalition, of which Mr Karpal's Democratic Action Party (DAP) forms part, mourned the passing of "my brother-in-arms for freedom and democracy, an inspiring symbol for the struggle against oppression and injustice and a man of unimpeachable moral integrity.”
For most of Mr Karpal's political career, opposition politics has been a mug's game, offering virtually no chance of winning power, and endless trouble, from petty harassment to, in Mr Karpal's case, imprisonment.
He was one of 106 critics of the BN government who were locked up in 1987 under Malaysia's Internal Security Act by the government of Mahathir Mohamad, a long-serving prime minister. The act itself was repealed in 2012. Mr Karpal also campaigned long and hard against the death penalty in Malaysia, which still remains on the books.
But Mr Karpal was no mug. He was recognised as a fine lawyer, even if he often found himself on the losing side. In one of his recent defeats, in March, an acquittal that had been won for his client, Mr Anwar, was overturned; a charge of sodomy was reinstated against him. Mr Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail, though he is appealing against the verdict.
A few days later Mr Karpal himself was found guilty—of sedition. Mr Karpal escaped with a fine rather than a jail term, but the conviction caused outrage. His crime was a remark he made during a press conference in 2009, when he merely expressed his legal opinion on a political dispute in Perak, one of the states in the Malaysian federation.
The conviction meant Mr Karpal had to give up his chairmanship of the DAP, the ethnic-Chinese-dominated party that led the charge for the opposition in last year's election. Their coalition actually won the popular vote. Gerrymandered constituencies mean it has something far short of a parliamentary majority, but death has taken Mr Karpal at a time when prospects for the Malaysian opposition look better than ever before in his long career.
It will be tested, however, by the loss of Mr Karpal, and perhaps of Mr Anwar, too, if he is again removed from the political fray and put behind bars.
Mr Karpal's popularity was due to more than his tigerish courage and tenacity. His dignity, modesty, humour and courtesy, all played their parts. A BBC radio interview in 2011 demonstrated also the remarkable lack of rancour with which he accepted his life's many travails—including an earlier road accident, in 2005, that left him in a wheelchair.
It was also a reminder that, though his death has been greeted with respect and regret (some nasty political jibes notwithstanding), that is not how Malaysia’s opposition politicians are treated when alive. Mr Karpal had described taunts about his disability and even death threats, in the form of bullets sent in the post. All this he dismissed as “professional hazards”. Many people, he said, wanted him dead. "I tell them ‘You have to join the queue’."
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 02:31 AM PDT
Five weeks into the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, more than $30 million has been spent scouring great swatches of the southern Indian Ocean. Yet searchers have still not found a single piece of physical evidence such as wreckage or human remains. Last week, Australian authorities said they were confident that a series of acoustic pings detected 1,000 miles northwest of Perth had come from the aircraft's black boxes, and that wreckage would soon be found. But repeated searches by a robotic submarine have so far failed to find the source of the pings, which experts say could have come from marine animals or even from the searching ships themselves. Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted that if wreckage wasn't located within a week or two "we stop, we regroup, we reconsider."
There remains only one publically available piece of evidence linking the plane to the southern Indian Ocean: a report issued by the Malaysian government on March 25 that described a new analysis carried out by the U.K.-based satellite operator Inmarsat. The report said that Inmarsat had developed an "innovative technique" to establish that the plane had most likely taken a southerly heading after vanishing. Yet independent experts who have analyzed the report say that it is riddled with inconsistencies and that the data it presents to justify its conclusion appears to have been fudged.
Some background: For the first few days after MH370 disappeared, no one had any idea what might have happened to the plane after it left Malaysian radar coverage around 2:30 a.m., local time, on March 8, 2014. Then, a week later, Inmarsat reported that its engineers had noticed that in the hours after the plane's disappearance, the plane had continued to exchange data-less electronic handshakes, or "pings," with a geostationary satellite over the Indian Ocean. In all, a total of eight pings were exchanged.
Each ping conveyed only a tiny amount of data: the time it was received, the distance the airplane was from the satellite at that instant, and the relative velocity between the airplane and the satellite. Taken together, these tiny pieces of information made it possible to narrow down the range of possible routes that the plane might have taken. If the plane was presumed to have traveled to the south at a steady 450 knots, for instance, then Inmarsat could trace a curving route that wound up deep in the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Australia. Accordingly, ships and planes began to scour that part of the ocean, and when satellite imagery revealed a scattering of debris in the area, the Australian prime minister declared in front of parliament that it represented "new and credible information" about the fate of the airplane.
The problem with this kind of analysis is that, taken by themselves, the ping data are ambiguous. Given a presumed starting point, any reconstructed route could have headed off in either direction. A plane following the speed and heading to arrive at the southern search area could have also headed to the north and wound up in Kazakhstan. Why, then, were investigators scouring the south and not the north?
The March 25 report stated that Inmarsat had used a new kind of mathematical analysis to rule out a northern route. Without being very precise in its description, it implied that the analysis might have depended on a small but telling wobble of the Inmarsat satellite's orbit. Accompanying the written report was an appendix, called Annex I, that consisted of three diagrams, the second of which was titled "MH370 measured data against predicted tracks” and appeared to sum up the case against the northern route in one compelling image. One line on the graph showed the predicted Doppler shift for a plane traveling along a northern route; another line showed the predicted Doppler shift for a plane flying along a southern route. A third line, showing the actual data received by Inmarsat, matched the southern route almost perfectly, and looked markedly different from the northern route. Case closed.
The report did not explicitly enumerate the three data points for each ping, but around the world, enthusiasts from a variety of disciplines threw themselves into reverse-engineering that original data out of the charts and diagrams in the report. With this information in hand, they believed, it would be possible to construct any number of possible routes and check the assertion that the plane must have flown to the south.
Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Inmarsat had presented its data in a way that made this goal impossible: "There simply isn’t enough information in the report to reconstruct the original data," says Scott Morgan, the former commander of the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. "We don't know what their assumptions are going into this."
Another expert who tried to understand Inmarsat's report was Mike Exner, CEO of the remote sensing company Radiometrics Inc. He mathematically processed the "Burst Frequency Offset" values on Page 2 of Annex 1 and was able to derive figures for relative velocity between the aircraft and the satellite. He found, however, that no matter how he tried, he could not get his values to match those implied by the possible routes shown on Page 3 of the annex. "They look like cartoons to me," says Exner.
Even more significantly, I haven't found anybody who has independently analyzed the Inmarsat report and has been able to figure out what kind of northern route could yield the values shown on Page 2 of the annex. According to the March 25 report, Inmarsat teased out the small differences predicted to exist between the Doppler shift values between the northern and southern routes. This difference, presumably caused by the slight wobble in the satellite's orbit that I mentioned above, should be tiny—according to Exner's analysis, no more than a few percent of the total velocity value. And yet Page 2 of the annex shows a radically different set of values between the northern and southern routes. "Neither the northern or southern predicted routes make any sense," says Exner.
Given the discrepancies and inaccuracies, it has proven impossible for independent observers to validate Inmarsat's assertion that it can rule out a northern route for the airplane. "It's really impossible to reproduce what the Inmarsat folks claim," says Hans Kruse, a professor of telecommunications systems at Ohio University.
This is not to say that Inmarsat's conclusions are necessarily incorrect. (In the past I have made the case that the northern route might be possible, but I'm not trying to beat that drum here.) Its engineers are widely regarded as top-drawer, paragons of meticulousness in an industry that is obsessive about attention to detail. But their work has been presented to the public by authorities whose inconsistency and lack of transparency have time and again undermined public confidence. It's worrying that the report appears to have been composed in such a way as to make it impossible for anyone to independently assess its validity—especially given that its ostensible purpose was to explain to the world Inmarsat's momentous conclusions. What frustrated, grieving family members need from the authorities is clarity and trustworthiness, not a smokescreen.
Inmarsat has not replied to my request for a clarification of their methods. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that in recent days experts had "recalibrated data" in part by using "arcane new calculations reflecting changes in the operating temperatures of an Inmarsat satellite as well as the communications equipment aboard the Boeing when the two systems exchanged so-called digital handshakes." But again, not enough information has been provided for the public to assess the validity of these methods.
It would be nice if Inmarsat would throw open its spreadsheets and help resolve the issue right now, but that could be too much to expect. Inmarsat may be bound by confidentiality agreements with its customers, not to mention U.S. laws that restrict the release of information about sensitive technologies. The Malaysian authorities, however, can release what they want to—and they seem to be shifting their stance toward openness. After long resisting pressure to release the air traffic control transcript, they eventually relented. Now acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says that if and when the black boxes are found, their data will be released to the public.
With the search for surface debris winding down, the mystery of MH370 is looking more impenetrable by the moment. If the effort to find the plane using an underwater robot comes up empty, then there should be a long and sustained call for the Malaysian authorities to reveal their data and explain exactly how they came to their conclusions.
Because at that point, it will be all we've got.
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 02:30 AM PDT
I refer to the written judgement dated 11 April of the Court of Appeal in the Fitnah 2 case, which criticises Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s decision to give a statement from the dock, accepts Saiful’s evidence and claims that Anwar’s defence was not credible. The judgement is insupportable in law and fact, and fundamentally flawed from beginning to end.
Unprecedentedly, the judges go out of the ambit of the case before them by saying that ‘ it would be stretching it too far to say that this appeal has been disposed of in haste’. This appears to be a defensive response to widespread public criticism, including a censure motion brought in the Dewan Rakyat against the three judges. It is highly inappropriate for the judges to respond to criticism of their conduct in such a manner. The judgement in a criminal case must deal with the facts and law of the case, and not extraneous matters. Otherwise it raises questions about the Judges’ impartiality and objectivity; justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.
The judges drew legally untenable conclusions based upon Anwar’s decision to give an unsworn statement from the dock. They ‘ wonder why ‘ Anwar chose to make an unsworn statement, and suggest sinister motives. In fact, under the criminal law it is the hallowed right of the accused person to make an unsworn statement from the dock. Mandela did so when he was on trial for his life in the 1963 Rivonia case. Anwar did so in the Fitnah 2 trial, and thus put on trial the unjust legal and political system which had brought him to the dock. The Court of Appeal judgement has departed from all legal precedents by criticising Anwar for giving a statement from the dock.
The judgement says there is ‘nothing impropable about Saiful’s evidence’. How do these three judges reach such a conclusion when it is undisputed that Saiful met with Anwar’s political enemy, Prime Minister Najib, just 2 days before the alleged incident? Why did he also meet with top police officer SAC Rodwan, who was involved in the first sodomy case? How is that Saiful claims to have been sodomized several times whereas the GH medical report finds no such physical evidence? Why is it Saiful did not get away after the alleged incident although he had plenty of opportunity to do so?
Crucially, although the investigating officer Jude Pereira had cut open the sample bag P27, the judges say this does not ‘ amount to tampering of the exhibits’. This conclusion is against all legal principles governing the chain of evidence, and against all common sense.
In short, this is not a credible judgement; it disregards crucial facts and goes against accepted principles of law. This judgement purports to convict Anwar, but in fact it strengthens the general public conviction that Anwar Ibrahim is a victim of political persecution and a grave miscarriage of justice.
18 April 2014
|You are subscribed to email updates from Anwar Ibrahim |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|