Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are the New Caucus and Barbara Bowen Taking a Page from Lee Kuan Yew's Playbook?

I have blogged about "Sue" O'Malley's and the New Caucus's attempt to silence Sharad Karkhanis via "Sue" O'Malley's lawsuit (also see here, here, and here). Have the "progressives" of the New Caucus merely taken a page from the playbook of the suppressive retired Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew?

The following is how Wikipedia describes Mr. Lee's abuse of law suits to suppress and bankrupt political opponents:

>"Singaporeans and foreigners have criticized Lee as elitist and even an autocrat, and that the economic prosperity under Lee was achieved at the expense of much political and social freedom. Lee was once quoted as saying he preferred to be feared than loved...

"Lee has been criticized for implementing some harsh measures to suppress political opposition and freedom of speech, such as outlawing public demonstrations without an explicit police permit, the restriction of the press freedom, and the use of defamation lawsuits to bankrupt political opponents, such as Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, Tang Liang Hong and Chee Soon Juan. On political matters, public opinion was rarely solicited.

"On the above issue, Devan Nair, the third president of Singapore and who was living in exile in Canada, remarked in a 1999 interview with the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that Lee's technique of suing his opponents into bankruptcy or oblivion was an abrogation of political rights. He also remarked that Lee is 'an increasingly self-righteous know-all', surrounded by 'department store dummies'. In response to these remarks, Lee sued Devan Nair in a Canadian court and Nair countersued.[6] Lee then brought a motion to have Nair's counterclaim thrown out of court. Lee argued that Nair's counterclaim disclosed no reasonable cause of action and constituted an inflammatory attack on the integrity of the government of Singapore. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice refused to throw out Nair's counterclaim, holding that Lee had abused the litigating process and therefore Nair has a reasonable cause of action. [[5]]. After his death, The Economist published an obituary of Nair which was critical of Lee Kuan Yew. The following issue, The Economist published a letter from a Singaporean official which claimed Nair's drunkenness was a source of his mental disturbance in his latter years. The Economist did not publish other letters that were supportive of Nair due to the reason that the publication would be forced into another lengthy libel trial."

Rather than defend academic freedom, the insiders of the New Caucus and the Professional Staff Congress rely on role models like the suppressive Mr. Kew to silence Karkhanis with a law suit, taking a page out of Lee's playbook. Perhaps the PSC thinks that New York has become sufficiently "suppressive" that

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