Monday, July 28, 2008

A Poser to AI

Much has been said about the credentials of Anwar Ibrahim as a potential PM. Fighter for the common man, civil society activist, democrat, free market advocate, victim of political persecution, Islamic moderate are some of the numerous appellations that have been heaped on this man from the boondocks of Permatang Pauh. In fact, he was credited for saving the Malaysian economy by no less than the International Crisis Group (a questionable assertion itself): see:

At home and abroad, Anwar is lionised as a true democrat, the indefatigable fighter of corruption, the ardent advocate of freedom of expression and the indomitable warrior against political repression. While questions can be raised about his more recent dalliances with the Law, the questions on the minds of this simpleton is : to paraphrase Eminem’s famous lyrics , Will the REAL AI stand up? (not Artificial Intelligence, of course!). Or are we seeing a slithery smooth Slim Shady in action?. Lets analyse the man himself as a public figure and leave out the pubic aspect to be contemplated upon by would be sleuths and wannabe CSIs.

We start off at Annapolis.

The following six are among the over 70 prominent signatories of a letter addressed to Bush and Rice prior to the Annapolis Summit which was staunchly opposed by the Iranian clergy (Sayyid Ali Khamenei) and Hammas. Read the letter here: ( and note the six Moslem signatories,Anwar being one of them. Readers, set that off against Anwar’s own words below, Q: Anwar, how do you square this with your support for Annapolis:

Finally, he described the need for engagement between the Islamic world and the West, criticizing the “extreme” foreign policy of the United States and its refusal to negotiate with regimes like Hamas.“That policy is flawed,” he said, adding that “to refuse to engage is a recipe for disaster.” (see:

Now to the signatories:

1.Hutham Olayan
President & CEO, Olayan America Corporation; U.S.A. Member of International Board, USMEP

2. Adnan Abu Odeh
Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and to King Hussein of Jordan; Former Jordanian Permanent Representative to the United Nations

3. Fouad Makhzoumi
Chairman, National Dialogue Party, Lebanon; Member of International Board, USMEP, Chairman, Future Pipe Group; Founder Makhzoumi Foundation

4. Said Khoury
President, Consolidated Contractors International Company S.A.L., Greece; Member of International Board, USMEP

5. Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia

6. Fouad Alghanim
Member of International Board, USMEP

Excluding Anwar, there are 5 other signatories:

No 1 and 4 are big time capitalists(observe that no 4 is a president of a construction set up - usually the people who gain most after a huge war. Reconstruction.. remember. Just like Dick Cheney’s crony company (Haliburton) did after the Iraq war – shades of the military-industrial complex in action).

No 3 : see and appendix 3 below

No 2 – pretty obvious, as he is former advisor to the most Pro-American kings in the Middle East (remember King Hussein owes his survival and that of his dynasty to the Americans).

No 6 : a member of USMEP, a US-funded organisation and so are 1 and 3. USMEP ( I digress briefly here) :

US Middle East Project (USMEP) is devoted to exploiting the Middle East economically after the military targets (through a series of wars.. starting with Kuwait and Iraq with Iran next) are achieved. This strategy (i.e economic control) is mapped out in the policy document below which poses several scenarios (table 7) based on their knowledge of incomes (table 6). It should be noted that since the report was generated in 2002, oil prices has almost quadrupled in value (about US 30 to US 125 yesterday). See:

After reading the report which comes after the appendices; note the people involved in preparing it (page 74), the who’s who in government, intelligence, academia, banking and finance). Then scroll down, on page 77, is the Board of USMEP, the names sure rings a loud bell doesn’t it, the echoes of which will chime to the summit of …yes… Annapolis.

What I am getting at is that these are staunch US of A supporters. People who will not raise a voice lest a finger against obvious the US' flag ration of international law and tenets of justice whenever the situation favours them. Much less, people who are not willing to comment on the rape of Civil Liberties in the US via the Patriot’s Act ( and the subtle suborning of the US constitution via National Security Directive No 51 ( released in 2007 which surely debunks Zakaria’s (2008) assertion that this is not a War Presidency.. yes it isn’t for now…… but its sure waiting to soar out of the West Wing, once a fledgling hawk (chicken hawk?) flaps its wings.

Stage Directions: Out Obama and McCain! (Good performance for the US.. plebeians though!)

Back to Anwar, there has been a discernible shift in his beliefs ever since he joined UMNO in 1982, whether it had been there all along before that is impossible to know. But, since 1990, this perceptible shift has accelerated:

a) Adoption of free market approach to structure the economy, leading to infusion of foreign capital, both short and long term especially through capital account liberalisation. This not only led to rapid economic growth which Malaysia enjoyed but also set up the bubble economy (through the sudden upsurge of short term speculative capital inflow facilitated by loose monitoring and controls) that burst in 1997. (More on this in an upcoming post based on a series of policy studies)
b) He was instrumental in masking the real American gameplan when he rejected Huntington’s (1996) (actually an extension of Lewis’ (1990) idea :see critique of Fukuyama (1992) analysis of history. In fact, it is interesting that Anwar (1994) in the asian Renaissance called for the adoption of a civil society, later coined as Masyarakat Madani at about the same time that the movement for the export of democracy worldwide gathered steam besides advocating for a dialogue between civilisations.
c) His adoption of IMF style reforms ostensibly to reform and restructure the economy. His “astute” economic stewardship led to the raising of interest rates , the slashing of public spending by 18% which together choked off money supply and raised unemployment rates and foreclosures and bankruptcies. Ironically, Anwar also had earlier implemented the very capital controls, that he later criticised Tun Dr Mahathir for imposing in 1998, way back in 1994 albeit on a short term basis but with no discernible impact.(read this policy document for a backgrounder: Ariyoshi, Akira, Karl Habermeier, Bernard Laurens, Inci Ötker-Robe, Jorge Iván Canales-Kriljenko, and Andrei Kirilenko (2000). Capital Controls: Country Experiences with Their Use and Liberalization, IMF Occasional Paper 190) Further, it is interesting to note that in the 1998 crisis, Anwar sided with the views of Michael Camdessus who was diametrically opposed by Joseph Stiglitz (see the appendix below) in thought and policy direction. Anwar questions Mahathir’s bailout but is strangely silent over the LTCM rescue and there is nary a whisper from Anwar about the more recent Bear Sterns arrangement as well as the Federal Reserve support to Fannie May and Freddie Mac.

d) Al Gore’s support for him, sounds pretty obvious now in hindsight as it is evidence that the US had vested interest in Anwar all along. After all did he not follow their IMF game plan. After his release, Anwar was embraced by the American right (note his appointments by American Universities and public think-tanks, the close relationship with Wolfowitz a right wing hawk and architect of the Iraq invasion).
For a description of his role in the Wolfowitz affair in the World Bank, read Ethics Committee Case No2 and President's Paper, p.102, Jun 2, 2005, World Bank available here at :,,contentMDK:21297772~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html. Also see appendix 1.
e) His realignment of Malaysian politics involved neutering the Islamist by getting
them to forget about the Islamic state concept and adopt the better governance,
civil society initiative. He embraced the notion of Western style liberal democracy
not only in thought but also in practice. The non-Moslem membership of
PKR consisting of liberal social democrats like Elizabeth Wong, R. Sivarasa,
Christine Liew, Low Gwo Burne, etc just to name a few and the presence of civil
society groupies like the Hisses, the MISsies and HelAngs) among his coterie
of ardent supporters is a testament to this. Further, the alliance with like minded
people in the DAP (the old style socialist like LKS and KP and young turks like
Jeff Ooi, known anti-Islamic state activists) throws the spotlight on his true

f) Anwar is a signatory of the A Common Word Between Us and You. Click on the links regarding the background of the other signatories and make your own judgements. Also tarry about to read the reactions:

g) The arrest of Anwar has provoked an outpouring of support for him again from mostly American related interests: here are some examples:
Scroll down to the signatories and don’t some of the names again ring a bell.

2. The appeals presented by Camdessus and of course the public opprobrium delivered by Condo Rice. Doesn’t all these people sound so familiar?

And familiarity will eventually breed contempt if taken to the extremes…oh sly wolf…, dig the author of this article. His name sure sounds very familiar…ain't it?,28804,1733748_1733757_1735709,00.html

interesting to note this from the article :

When he was finally released from prison in 2004, U.S. policy on Iraq was unpopular in Malaysia, and Anwar was harshly critical. It would have been easy for him to disown our friendship, but he is not that kind of person. He kept the channels of dialogue open, even while making clear our disagreements.

Wonder whether Anwar's criticism was due to the prevailing angst against America among the local Moslem polity which thus shaped his rhetoric or actually an act of sincerity?

So Anwar, having established the events as they have unravelled thus far, my simple query to you is this: what is your real stance or who are you really ? A straight answer will do and don’t sell us Moslem plebs goods that are short of substance and long on charisma. We are not that easily hoodwinked.

Revert: Well folks, don’t be enraptured by all these talk about a new, free and egalitarian Malaysia on the horizon, be prepared, instead, for Rapture oops…. rupture in the months ahead as the war machine cranks up in the Middle East and gets into full swing after a “staged event” in the USA. Strange that someone should keep harping about Sept 16 . Ain’t that fishy what with a distant buddy about to get his moment of epiphany very soon (Lewis even fixes 27 Rejab which this year falls on 30th July) and presto we will be under world wide martial law and a govt led by a technicolor chameleon beholden to the . .. go figure that one out.

So will the real Anwar please stand up unless you are affecting an elaborate Taqiya, the likes of which will even out-flummox the Shia!

Buffalo (bellowing) : me thinks… we poor sods should watch our backs… Jangan tak pandang belakang! oh my dear master…...


DOCUMENTS *( excerpt of the record)

23 October 1, 2006 Anwar Ibrahim letter to CleveIand requesting transfer of
24 December 14 note from Coll to Cleveland approving request as consistent
with agreement
25 December 14 confirmation signature from Cleveland to Ibrahim

AND HERE IS Anwar’s letter ( original : pg 24 onwards till close at page 26 for the full picture),,contentMDK:21297772~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html )

Ms. Robin Cleveland
181 8 H St. NW,
Washington DC 20433
Dear Ms. Cleveland:
I am writing to request the transfer of the secondment of Ms. Shaha Riza, British citizen, employee of the Bank, from the Bureau of Near Eastem Affairs at the US Department of State to the Foundation for the Future which she was in charge of establishing.

While assigned to the Foundation for the Future, Ms. Riza will work in the Washington DC office of the Foundation. Ms. Riza will be Senior Advisor to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Future. Her responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

9 Continue to seek and solidify the engagement of international and regional partners
e Recruit staff for the DC office. –
Supervise the registration of the Foundation and the opening of offices in the region.
Supervise the recruitment of the Foundation's senior management from the region.
Supervise the recruitment of the Foundation's staff and consultants in the region including their training.
0 Supervise and assist in identifying programs and groups that will receive grants from the Foundation.
Supervise the implementation of the policies and procedures governing programmatic, financial, administrative and development activities as approved by the Foundation's Board.

Ms. Riza's secondment to the Foundation will be subject to the same arrangements agreed to with the State Department.
After reviewing it this document, please sign it and return it to me via fax at (703) 464 5163. We look forward to continue our work with Ms. Riza on this important initiative. Should you have any questions or concerns please contact me at (703) 464 5161.

Yours sincerely,
Foundation for the Future

Excerpt from the New Republic : What I Learned at the World Economic Crisis accessible at :
By Joseph Stiglitz*
About the Author: Joseph E. Stiglitz was Chief Economist at the World Bank from 1996 until 1999, during which time he became quite critical of World Bank policy. Under pressure to keep quiet, he resigned in protest. He is the author of the book 'Globalization and its Discontents', a critique of the major international financial institutions.
………The last set of financial crises had occurred in Latin America in the 1980s, when bloated public deficits and loose monetary policies led to runaway inflation. There, the IMF had correctly imposed fiscal austerity (balanced budgets) and tighter monetary policies, demanding that governments pursue those policies as a precondition for receiving aid. So, in 1997 the IMF imposed the same demands on Thailand. Austerity, the fund's leaders said, would restore confidence in the Thai economy. As the crisis spread to other East Asian nations--and even as evidence of the policy's failure mounted--the IMF barely blinked, delivering the same medicine to each ailing nation that showed up on its doorstep.
I thought this was a mistake. For one thing, unlike the Latin American nations, the East Asian countries were already running budget surpluses. In Thailand, the government was running such large surpluses that it was actually starving the economy of much-needed investments in education and infrastructure, both essential to economic growth. And the East Asian nations already had tight monetary policies, as well: inflation was low and falling. (In South Korea, for example, inflation stood at a very respectable four percent.) The problem was not imprudent government, as in Latin America; the problem was an imprudent private sector--all those bankers and borrowers, for instance, who'd gambled on the real estate bubble.
Under such circumstances, I feared, austerity measures would not revive the economies of East Asia--it would plunge them into recession or even depression. High interest rates might devastate highly indebted East Asian firms, causing more bankruptcies and defaults. Reduced government expenditures would only shrink the economy further.
So I began lobbying to change the policy. I talked to Stanley Fischer, a distinguished former Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor and former chief economist of the World Bank, who had become the IMF's first deputy managing director. I met with fellow economists at the World Bank who might have contacts or influence within the IMF, encouraging them to do everything they could to move the IMF bureaucracy.
Convincing people at the World Bank of my analysis proved easy; changing minds at the IMF was virtually impossible. When I talked to senior officials at the IMF--explaining, for instance, how high interest rates might increase bankruptcies, thus making it even harder to restore confidence in East Asian economies--they would at first resist. Then, after failing to come up with an effective counterargument, they would retreat to another response: if only I understood the pressure coming from the IMF board of executive directors--the body, appointed by finance ministers from the advanced industrial countries, that approves all the IMF's loans. Their meaning was clear. The board's inclination was to be even more severe; these people were actually a moderating influence. My friends who were executive directors said they were the ones getting pressured. It was maddening, not just because the IMF's inertia was so hard to stop but because, with everything going on behind closed doors, it was impossible to know who was the real obstacle to change. Was the staff pushing the executive directors, or were the executive directors pushing the staff? I still do not know for certain.
Of course, everybody at the IMF assured me they would be flexible: if their policies really turned out to be overly contractionary, forcing the East Asian economies into deeper recession than necessary, then they would reverse them. This sent shudders down my spine. One of the first lessons economists teach their graduate students is the importance of lags: it takes twelve to 18 months before a change in monetary policy (raising or lowering interest rates) shows its full effects. When I worked in the White House as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, we focused all our energy on forecasting where the economy would be in the future, so we could know what policies to recommend today. To play catch-up was the height of folly. And that was precisely what the IMF officials were proposing to do.
I shouldn't have been surprised. The IMF likes to go about its business without outsiders asking too many questions. In theory, the fund supports democratic institutions in the nations it assists. In practice, it undermines the democratic process by imposing policies. Officially, of course, the IMF doesn't "impose" anything. It "negotiates" the conditions for receiving aid. But all the power in the negotiations is on one side--the IMF's--and the fund rarely allows sufficient time for broad consensus-building or even widespread consultations with either parliaments or civil society. Sometimes the IMF dispenses with the pretense of openness altogether and negotiates secret covenants.
When the IMF decides to assist a country, it dispatches a "mission" of economists. These economists frequently lack extensive experience in the country; they are more likely to have firsthand knowledge of its five-star hotels than of the villages that dot its countryside. They work hard, poring over numbers deep into the night. But their task is impossible. In a period of days or, at most, weeks, they are charged with developing a coherent program sensitive to the needs of the country. Needless to say, a little number-crunching rarely provides adequate insights into the development strategy for an entire nation. Even worse, the number-crunching isn't always that good. The mathematical models the IMF uses are frequently flawed or out-of-date. Critics accuse the institution of taking a cookie-cutter approach to economics, and they're right. Country teams have been known to compose draft reports before visiting. I heard stories of one unfortunate incident when team members copied large parts of the text for one country's report and transferred them wholesale to another. They might have gotten away with it, except the "search and replace" function on the word processor didn't work properly, leaving the original country's name in a few places. Oops.
It's not fair to say that IMF economists don't care about the citizens of developing nations. But the older men who staff the fund--and they are overwhelmingly older men--act as if they are shouldering Rudyard Kipling's white man's burden. IMF experts believe they are brighter, more educated, and less politically motivated than the economists in the countries they visit. In fact, the economic leaders from those countries are pretty good--in many cases brighter or better-educated than the IMF staff, which frequently consists of third-rank students from first-rate universities. (Trust me: I've taught at Oxford University, MIT, Stanford University, Yale University, and Princeton University, and the IMF almost never succeeded in recruiting any of the best students.) Last summer, I gave a seminar in China on competition policy in telecommunications. At least three Chinese economists in the audience asked questions as sophisticated as the best minds in the West would have asked………………

Appendix 2
As I argued in the LRB (16 August 2007), the assiduously promoted story of Israel’s pursuit of peace and its search for a Palestinian ‘partner for peace’ was fashioned to buy time to establish ‘facts on the ground’: settlements that would so completely shatter the territorial and demographic contiguity and integrity of Palestinian land and life as to make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible. In this, Israel’s leaders have succeeded so well that Olmert, who claims finally to have realised that without a two-state solution Israel will become an apartheid entity that cannot survive, has not been able to implement even the smallest of the changes he promised in Annapolis.
The above excerpted from : “Grab more hills, Expand the territory” by Henry Siegman from the USMEP website which pours cold water on the promises made by the Israelis at Annapolis.. whither now Anwar??

Appendix 3 (from the Lebanese news web portal : NOW Lebanon at :
Wolf Blitzer and Fouad Makhzoumi, fast friends But for the present, smaller parties like the Solidarity Party and the Lebanese Peace Party, despite their grand ideas, ultimately have little say in the goings-on of government; whether or not the 2009 parliamentary elections will change that, only time will tell. Similar associations, however, do use their party status to good advantage abroad, oftentimes lobbying in the US or Europe in unique and creative ways. Take, for example, the National Dialogue Party of Lebanon, a one-man show chaired by wealthy Lebanese businessman Fouad Makhzoumi.
According to reports filed with the US Secretary of the Senate, the National Dialogue Party paid just over $300,000 in 2006 to the top-tier Mississippi-based lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith & Rogers to “provide guidance and counsel with regard to foreign-policy matters before the US Government.” Furthermore, in 2004 and 2006, Future Pipe Industries, Inc. – a multimillion dollar company chaired by Makhzoumi – paid US Foreign Service Officer Cheryl Steele an undisclosed amount to lobby on its behalf, mostly for industry-related reasons, but also to advance “the Middle East peace process.”
Makhzoumi’s investments rewarded him with multiple summer 2006 appearances on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer. However, instead of calling for an immediate ceasefire before his nearly one-million-strong audience of American viewers, he used these guest appearances to denounce not only Hezbollah but also Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his government as weak and ineffective.
Both Fouad Makhzoumi and Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, however, declined to comment for this article or to add further details.

1. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in International Crisis group at
2. FAILURE RISKS DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES (first published in the New York Book review in Nov 2008) accessible at :
3. National Security and Homeland Security Directive available at: and commentaries : Who will rule the country after the next 9/11? - NSPD-51 and the Potential for a Coup d'Etat by National Emergency - Analysis by William H. White.
4. Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations?, in "Foreign Affairs", vol. 72, no. 3, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49
5. Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996
6. Tusicisny, Andrej, Civilizational Conflicts: More Frequent, Longer, and Bloodier?, in "Journal of Peace Research", vol. 41, no. 4, 2004, pp. 485–498.
7. Francis Fukuyama The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press, 1992.
8. Lewis, Bernard, The Roots of Muslim Rage available at :
9. Ariyoshi, Akira, Karl Habermeier, Bernard Laurens, Inci Ötker-Robe, Jorge Iván Canales-Kriljenko, and Andrei Kirilenko (2000). Capital Controls: Country Experiences with Their Use and Liberalization, IMF Occasional Paper 190. ( includes a review of Malaysia’s Imposition of Capital Controls in 1994 and 1998)
10. Zakaria, Fareed : America Needs a War President Newsweek, July 21, 2008.
11. Ethics Committee Case No2 and President's Paper, p.102, Jun 2, 2005, World Bank available here at :,,contentMDK:21297772~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html
12. Harnessing Trade and Development and Growth in the Middle East, 2002 available at:

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