April 20, 2002
8:18 PM   Subscribe

As late as July 4, the US State Department described Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial as preventing people from "exercising internationally recognised rights of free speech, political expression and assembly" and therefore (more diplomatically-speaking) a cause for concern. Yet when it was recently used to detain those connected to terrorism, Bush decides to invite the Prime Minister of Malaysia to thank him for a 'stirring response' in combating terrorism. Eh?
posted by timyang (4 comments total)
Man, you people are really getting desperate, aren't ya?

1) The original story was about the use of the ISA to detain internal political opponents whose only "crimes" were being outspoken members of an opposition political party, which would be like the US having Cynthia McKinney locked up. The current story is about the detention of suspected Al-Qaida terrorists.

2) Your State Department link is from 1999, and is thus irrelevant to the thoughts, doctrines and actions of the current administration. Notice the large bold text at the top of the page saying it's merely archival material. You might as well have linked to something about State's feelings towards Malaysia during WWII.

3) Leaders of countries with differing points of view on any number of serious matters routinely meet anyway and issue proclaimations praising each other as part of the process. It's standard diplomatic protocol.

4) You really think Malaysia, a country that has long had some sizeable problems with Muslim militants itself and is not merely performing mop-up operations to make the US happy, is the only country that's going after Al-Qaida types as if they were war crminals instead of jaywalkers?
posted by aaron at 10:06 PM on April 20, 2002

Well, aaron, this link dates from March 2002, and it shows rather interesting similarities:

The ISA often is used against what the Government considers nonpolitical crimes, including those against ostensibly "deviant" Muslim groups. The Government states that deviant groups pose a danger to national security because of their radical beliefs. The ISA, and the threat of invoking the ISA, also are used to intimidate and restrict political dissent. The Government increased its use of the ISA during the year, including against members of the political opposition. For example, in April the government used the ISA to detain 10 political activists who were leaders of, or closely associated with, the opposition National Justice Party (Keadilan), claiming that they represented a threat to national security.

So while Malaysia may have used its rather extensively repressive ISA to round up some of the nuttier elements of the Muslim fringe, it hasn't tended to draw the line there. And in the light of USA PATRIOT, surely that's the issue. (How many hundreds of suspiciously brown people are still detained without proper charge in the US, following the post-Sept 11th sweep?) After all, it's not as if people ever label their political opponents 'terrorists' these days, is it? And I'm sure that Bush wouldn't know the difference between a Malaysian opposition spokesman and a mujahed if it were communique-ed from heaven by the Angel Gabriel.
posted by riviera at 12:05 AM on April 21, 2002

Man, you people are really getting desperate, aren't ya?

Who are 'you people'? Way to discredit a post you spent valuable time assembling. Why should anybody listen to anything you have to contribute when obviously demonization comes before level discourse? If you don't care enough about a (presumed) westerner voicing viable concerns about US hegemony over the self-determination of a state such as, say, Malaysia, and must pejoratively preface a post with an arrogant 'you people', how is it that one isn't to take from your glibness of all things politically Malaysian that an armchair conservative sociologist knows what's best? I'm not saying I do know. But where do you get off speaking on behalf of the agreements taken place behind closed doors away from the Malaysian people?
posted by crasspastor at 4:30 AM on April 21, 2002


1) So the ends justifies the means, right?

2) Notice my post starts with "As late as July 4". That's July 4, 2001. That's the Bush administration's comment on the ISA that I quoted. Not Franklin D. Roosevelt's.

3) Bush and the prime minister of Malaysia have several differing opinions. But the question is, do you think that doing things that basically goes against everything the American constitution stands for regarding personal liberties should be something to show gratitude for?

4) No, Malaysia is not doing to make the US happy. If it did, it would agree to hand over the suspects which it is not doing.
posted by timyang at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2002

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