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Tuesday, 30 March 2010 23:30

Cynthia McKinney, Former Congresswoman, US Presidential Candidate, and Member of the Green Party Lends Her Support to Matthias Chang

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 08:39
Urgent Letter to Members of the Bar Council of Malaysia, and to the Chief Justice and Chief Judge of Malaysia - Niloufer Bhagwat, Advocate (India), Vice-President Indian Association of Lawyers PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 30 March 2010 23:26

Urgent:  To Members of the Bar Council of Malaysia.
Dear  Esteemed Colleagues ,
I am constrained to invite your attention to the unjust incarceration of Senior  Barrister Matthias Chang for Contempt of Court by a Judge of the High Court of Malaysia  on or about Thursday the 25th March 2010  , initially  I am informed  no  Charge or notice for Contempt of Court was served on him or issued to him and peremptorily the Court  directed that  Barrister Matthias Chang  be led to jail by a police officer , even as Barrister Chang  was a witness in a Suit interalia  for Defamation among other grounds filed by him against the  American Express Card Company, in a proceeding which I am given to understand  has wider political implications, even as Barrister Chang  objected to the Judge using abusive language against the witness and Counsels for the Plaintiff and to  pre-judging the issue,  when the witness had not yet completed his evidence, by the Judge  in Chambers to Counsel for both parties .
It is when Barrister Matthias Chang moved a formal  application to be allowed to move the Chief Justice of the High Court, due to lack of confidence,  in view of the conduct of the Judge ,  that he was directed to be jailed arbitrarily  even without a formal notice /charge at the initial stage ,when he made the following  formal  statement before the Court    :
"I have no wish to continue with the proceeding as I have no confidence in the impartiality of the Court . My three Counsels have   repeatedly  been abused by you . You have also abused me and cast unwarranted aspersions on my character without any basis. In my over thirty years of practice no judge has ever abused me or was rude to me . I intend to make a complaint to the Chief Justice and would now take leave and retire."
This formal statement made in Court disclosing the intention of the  Plaintiff/Witness who is also a Senior Barrister   to bring the issue to the notice of the Chief Justice was within Barrister Matthias Chang's legal right and did not merit jail for Contempt of Court, as every Judge is required to be civil and courteous to all parties , witnesses and counsel before the Court and  give a fair hearing to the parties without pre-judging issues mid- way in a trial  in our legal systems .Every party has a right to move the Chief Justice for transfer of proceedings due to what is perceived to be bias or conduct which is not judicious  . Pending such an application no witness , litigant or Counsel can be held guilty for Contempt of Court summarily . It appears  that the  Judge insisted on hearing the proceedings  even as the formal statement of lack of confidence was made and went on to dismiss the suit after directing that the Witness( Barrister Matthias Chang ) be jailed mid-way in the proceeding when he moved an application to approach the Chief Justice with a grievance  .
Since there is a political backdrop to the proceedings , it would appear that the wholly arbitrary incarceration and peremptory  jailing for Contempt of Court of Barrister Matthias Chang ,a lawyer of  30 years standing who has never been taken to task by any Court earlier ,  without a notice or a formal charge ,which was supplied only after he had been directed to be led away by the police officer and it was brought to the notice of the Court by a Counsel that such a notice had not been given . In fact I am given to understand that the  Contempt of Court notice was issued at the instance of the Counsel for the Opposite party and not in the interest of justice or  good order ,  in view of the cross cases for defamation filed  in borh of which the Counsel for the Defendant is appearing . In one case for the Defendant in the other for the Plaintiff .
I have known Barrister Matthias Chang 's professional work and standing as he is the Chief Prosecutor at the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal established by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad among others  .I would like to emphasize that in his concern for justice , his compassion for other nations and cultures , Barrister Chang is a citizen and lawyer of which Malaysia should be very proud in particular due to the incisive nature of his understanding of  International and national legal and financial issues which are a priceless asset for any society .
Prima facie for a Senior Barrister  to be summarily jailed without any basis  is against all judicial norms and violates the 'Rule of Law' and the principle of 'Fair Hearing' without bias in proceedings with a political implications where justice has not only to be done but appear to be done .  Jailing a  Plaintiff  who is also a  witness, after making disparaging remarks on his professional capacity and  for expressing a desire to move the Chief Justice at the direct  instance of the Counsel for the opposite party is an arbitrary act to prevent the proceedings from being fairly conducted .
I earnestly  request in my individual capacity   that the Bar Council urgently inquire into   and   intervene in the matter  as the date for payment of fine and further incarceration expires on 31st March 2010 and Barrister Chang is likely to opt for incarceration  in preference to payment of the fine in view of the prima facie unjust sentence and  procedure adopted and  proceed on a hunger fast .
I assure you all of my fraternal co-operation now and in the future and would like to emphasise that presently judicial institutions are under scrutiny in most countries, however no lawyer should be jailed or unjustly incarcerated merely because he /she is a witness in proceedings or be subjected to abusive language by a Court .

Mrs. Niloufer Bhagwat
Advocate ( India )
Vice President Indian Association of Lawyers
Copy for information in administrative capacity to :

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Matthias, We Are With You In Substance and Spirit - Niloufer Bhagwat, Advocate (India), Vice-President Indian Association of Lawyers PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 30 March 2010 22:10

Dear Matthias,
We are with you in substance and spirit. In view of the facts of the case the action of the Judge was not only misconceived but arbitrary and high handed . No witness before a Court merits remarks on the merits of the  evidence being lead whether a lawyer or any other litigant .  Evidence of reputation is vital in a defamatory proceeding as an introduction on the standing of the person claiming damages .
From what you have described, it is clear to me that  the proceedings and what transpired was a "set up" by interested parties with political connections and vast financial resources, that is prima facie it was pre-arranged;  as were the provocations to scuttle the case at the earliest, because of the merits of the case and knowing that you were a formidable witness.The Judge was aggressive with you, making deliberately provocative remarks  knowing that there was a pre-judged conclusion  already arrived at at the instance of one party and political associates. Since you and your counsel were alert and sought a transfer of the proceedings to another court , to defeat that application the Judge  resorted to contempt of court proceedings at the instance of the Counsel for the opposite side  and thereafter in your absence proceeded to dismiss the suit .
 I know you are calm , but in the circumstances you have  to think clearly . It is important to move the Bar Association/ Bar Council for a representation to be made by various Bar Associations to the concerned Chief Justices and the Ministry of Justice/Law, in particular regarding the nature of observations made, merely because a lawyer was a witness  and the communications in Chamber to scuttle the proceedings prematurely, before the completion of the  recording of evidence, declining a request for transfer of proceedings when the Court had prematurely in Chambers expressed a view on the  merits of the  suit  even before the recording of evidence, prima facie incorrect in  particular in a high profile proceeding directly related to powerful financial and  political interests, where justice must not only be done but seen to be done .
From the period when special financial  interests have commenced attempting to influence one wing of the government or the other, it has become increasingly difficult for lawyers taking public positions on issues to function . I had informed you of the difficult situation in India ,with the political underworld  and the state within a state targeting lawyers for assassination in sensitive political cases of  frame up of individuals belonging to a particular religious denomination, referred to as minorities.
In view of your high profile public positions in particular on the issue of corruption and financial and economic policy during the administration of the previous Prime Minister, you have been directly targeted by vested interest with connections to that adminisration . As of now, since two or three heads are better than one strategise with the  Counsel appearing in contempt proceedings .
What will be of immense assistance is for one of the Counsel, if not all three who appeared on your behalf to file affidavits of what transpired in the Court and in Chambers.
You have always stood for those oppressed by injustice in Malaysia and in other parts of the world  consequently you will never be alone  now or  in the days ahead and the storm for you personally  will  soon blow over . The wider issue of the  nature and quality of the justice system from country to country however is  under public scrutiny , in so far as they are now seen to be influenced increasingly in high profile cases  by  financial interests, though there are invidual judges who do not succumb and conduct themselves fearlessly and independently .
I am confident that Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will as an elder statesman, aware of the issues impugned before the Court ,  will support you in every way he deems appropriate , just as you have always stood by him .
Intuitively here in Mumbai I knew that something was wrong just about the time it happened . As lawyers we have all been through trying times , this strengthens our resolve to stand for justice and  by each other, as the Rule of Law, that no one is above the law not even an autocratic Judge or the Political Executive or the head of a Corporation, is one of the foundation stones of what we refer to as democracy , now a much abused word with millions killed allegedly to instal such a system ......
We are both with you now and in the days ahead. But as I said keep cool, take the necessary steps and the storm will soon be over for you, the larger issues will remain. There was an eminent Barrister who maintained that when the system was unjust it was necessary for everyone to court arrest opposing injustice. So you have begun.
..........And you are a high profile target in view of your incisive  economic and financial analysis of the global economy and financial decision making in Malaysia as elsewhere in the world, with no one as up to date.          
Niloufer Bhagwat
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America And China, The Next Major War - By Clif Droke (30/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
Clif Droke   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010 08:21

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It's Official - America Now Enforces Capital Controls - By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge (30/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010 01:48

It couldn't have happened to a nicer country. On March 18, with very little pomp and circumstance, president Obama passed the most recent stimulus act, the $17.5 billion Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2487), brilliantly goalseeked by the administration's millionaire cronies to abbreviate as HIRE. As it was merely the latest in an endless stream of acts destined to expand the government payroll to infinity, nobody cared about it, or actually read it. Because if anyone had read it, the act would have been known as the Capital Controls Act, as one of the lesser, but infinitely more important provisions on page 27, known as Offset Provisions - Subtitle A—Foreign Account Tax Compliance, institutes just that. In brief, the Provision requires that foreign banks not only withhold 30% of all outgoing capital flows (likely remitting the collection promptly back to the US Treasury) but also disclose the full details of non-exempt account-holders to the US and the IRS. And should this provision be deemed illegal by a given foreign nation's domestic laws (think Switzerland), well the foreign financial institution is required to close the account. It's the law. If you thought you could move your capital to the non-sequestration safety of non-US financial institutions, sorry you lose - the law now says so. Capital Controls are now here and are now fully enforced by the law.

Let's parse through the just passed law, which has been mentioned by exactly zero mainstream media outlets.

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