The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'malaysia'
Religious dictatorships find their own use for international policing protocols, it seems. After Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari fled to Malaysia after posting a Twitter comment critical of Islam, Saudi Arabia used Interpol's red notice system to have him arrested. He has been hastily deported to Saudi Arabia, where he may face the death penalty for "insulting the Prophet Mohammed".
The Malaysian home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said: "Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other, and [Kashgari] will be repatriated under this agreement. The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities."
Kashgari said in an interview that he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict" over his comments, Reuters reported. Amnesty International labelled Kashgari a prisoner of conscience and called for his release.This incident has brought to attention Interpol's notice regime, and ways in which it could be used to suppress human rights. While the system does have ways to challenge notices, that amounts to little when an extradition for a religious offence is fast-tracked.
Laptop thieves in Malaysia have apparently developed a device that can detect and locate laptops, even when they are switched off. Details of the device are unclear, but it appears to be something more sophisticated than looking for Bluetooth devices within range.
Some speculate that it involves homing in on telltale radio-frequency emissions from the laptop's real-time clock and/or battery-management circuits, which are always on. If this is possible and within reach of ordinary criminals (who, after all, can assemble sophisticated ATM card skimmers), expect an epidemic of targeted laptop theft across the world, followed by a boom in the sales of Faraday-cage laptop bags.
On New Year's Eve, Malaysian police raided a rock gig over accusations of "Satanic black metal" activities, detaining numerous fans, who were then drug-tested and paraded before tabloid journalists. (It appears that Malaysian tabloids look like the Herald-Sun or Daily Star, only written in Malay; I guess some things are universal.) It is unclear what the attendees are being charged with, though the tabloids have recounted all sorts of sensational stories of Devil worship, sex orgies and fanzines with "elements of violence, pornography, Judaism, and curse words like 'fuck'".
The bands insist that they weren't "black metal", though, to be fair, given the fact that they had names like Force Vomit (who are from Singapore, of all places; is potentially offensive music actually legal over there?), Devilica, Triple6Poser and 360 Degree Head Rotation, it's probably safe to say that they weren't easy-listening or inoffensively sugary pop. What it looks like is the local wowsers and busybodies using religious legislation to crack down on any subculture with a whiff of adolescent rebellion and shock value about it, such as all forms of metal, punk and That Godawful Racket Kids These Days Listen To.
(via bOING bOING)
Police in Malaysia are carrying out random spot checks for pornography on mobile phones. Those found with porn will be charged with possession, and presumably flogged or caned or whatever they do, at Dr. Mahathir's pleasure.
Meanwhile, in India, the local movie studios' organisation, the MPA, has successfully obtained a general search and seizure warrant, allowing its officers to search any property in Delhi deemed under suspicion of piracy. Of course, they only intend to use such warrants against the terrorists who produce and sell pirated DVDs at markets, and, being the good guys, undoubtedly are honour-bound not to abuse these powers, so there's no cause for concern.
And in China, a researcher has discovered a sinister and ominous new trend, that people who buy webcams often use them whilst naked, posing a serious threat to public health and morality:
"At first, we thought it was merely a game for a few mentally abnormal people," the paper quoted Liu as saying. "But as our research continued, we found the problem was much larger than expected."It wasn't made clear what proportion of webcam users are filthy perverts, or, indeed, what those who don't chat naked use them for.
What do Saudi Arabia, the Bush Whitehouse, the Mormons, the Vatican and former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad have in common? They are all part of an international alliance against liberal secularism:
The Doha conference, and the resulting UN resolution, provided a striking example of growing cooperation between the Christian right (especially in the United States) and conservative Muslims - groups who, according to the clash-of-civilisations theory, ought to be sworn enemies.The coalition succeeded in introducing a resolution in the United Nations asserting "traditional" definitions of the family and attacking progressive social policies including promotion of contraception, tolerance of homosexuality, nontraditional views of the status of women and sex education. The resolution, proposed by Qatar, was backed by the United States, though, unusually, Australia (with its socially conservative and vehemently pro-US administration) sided with Godless Europe. Chances are that was the result of a miscommunication and, the next time such a resolution comes up, Australia's UN ambassador will vote with the Coalition of Willing.
The family debate certainly divides the world, but the divisions are not between east and west, nor do they follow the usual dividing lines of international politics. The battle is between liberal secularists - predominantly in Europe - and conservatives elsewhere who think religion has a role in government.
On this issue, with a president who sounds increasingly like an old-fashioned imam, the United States now sits in the religious camp alongside the Islamic regimes: not so much a clash of civilisations, more an alliance of fundamentalisms.
And in another unholy alliance, US Christian Fundamentalist groups are holding their noses and jumping into the hot tub with Hollywood on the issue of file-sharing, in the interest of instituting centralised control over the lawless internet, mechanisms control which could just as easily be used for enforcing religious morality and stamping out sin as for making sure that every byte of copyrighted content is paid for.
Nefarious Malaysian software pirates sell Microsoft's Longhorn, with adventurous consumers snapping it up. Longhorn, the next iteration of the Windows hegemony, will introduce Microsoft's Trusted Computing Platform Architecture, to make sure that you pay for each and every piece of intellectual property you consume, and will come with a new, k3wl-looking interface. I guess there's a good market for shiny, fancy-looking shackles. I wonder whether, if Microsoft started selling home-detention bracelets, like those put on low-risk prisoners, only fashioned out of titanium by a leading industrial-design firm and playing rights-managed Windows Media content from the major entertainment conglomerate of your choice, customers would flock to buy those as well.
Prominent Malaysian human rights lawyer Karpal Singh has claimed that Malaysia's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (you know, the one who blamed the International Jewish Conspiracy for Malaysia's economic woes and keeps accusing Australia of racist contempt for "Asian values" for refusing to silence critics of his regime) is moving Malaysia towards sharia law. Mahathir declared 18 months ago, for reasons of political expediency, that Malaysia is "a fundamentalist Islamic state", ignoring the Supreme Court's pronouncements that Malaysia is a secular state, and has had little respect for the evil British imperialist legacy of common law and an independent judiciary. His edict and the fact that many of Malaysia's judges are on the verge of retiring have emboldened Islamist hardliners seeking to abolish common law. Could Mahathir be the next Mugabe?
A new menace is threatening the impressionable youth of Malaysia; the menace of black metal, heavy-metal music with Satanic subtexts. It is not clear how Malaysian Black Metal differs from the Norwegian variant (presumably it'd be more anti-Islamic than anti-Christian, for one), or whether the menace is so far just headbangers getting down to imported Burzum CDs, but clerics say thay have found evidence of heavy metal fans being involved in Satanic activities. the Malaysian government, meanwhile, is taking firm steps to nip the problem in the bud, including ordering radio stations to play less heavy metal and requiring touring bands to submit videotapes before playing concerts. A committee of government-appointed clerics has called for a total ban on black metal music and associated imagery, and some schools have reportedly began strip-searching students for tattoos linked with the subculture.