A series of Wikileaks cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald has shown that senior Singaporean officials have been sending confidential information to their U.S. counterparts on their dismissive impressions of neighbouring states.
National security is usually an overriding reason given by governments to suppress information or persecute those who choose to release these information to the public. Yet, when it comes to defining national security, most officials would have a difficult time, trying to justify the need to classify these information as confidential.
What is history? What can history teach us? What often happens to the stories of the people who are on the other side or worse, wrong side of the history as opposed to the victors? In that sense, Howard Zinn’s unflinching portrayal of the alternative version of the official history is always illuminating. Yet, Zinn does not stop at that. By documenting the voices of the ordinary people, he tried to show us that notions such as nationalism have always been disguised by the ruling elites as a form of psychological warfare against class struggle. This is best expressed in his own words within the introduction to Voices of a People’s History of the United States:
When America voted Obama as the next President instead of John McCain, many around the world, including liberals/ pro-demcorats/ anti- republicans thought things will change. After all, this is the first black President (debatable) who has promised the world that ‘yes we can’. Continue reading
Taking advantage of US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice’s visit to Libya, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have highlighted the human rights abuses that have persisted in the autocratic regime (AI 2008a; HRW 2008a) . In a letter to Rice, HRW has urged the former not to place to business and terrorism issues above human rights concerns (HRW 2008 a).
The issues voiced by both human rights organisations include the imprisonment of political prisoners and suppression of political dissent. These critics include Fathi el-Jahmi who ihad been imprisoned but now reported to be in hospital custody. He had called for political liberalisation such as conducting free and fair elections and having a free press. Idriss Boufayed, the purported organiser with 11 other men for planning a peaceful protest are still being imprisoned (AI 2008a; HRW 2008a). Three other men from the same group who had planned the demonstration are said to have been released in 2007 and 2008 though two of them are reported to have disappeared (HRW 2008b, p. 3) Continue reading