Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MALAYSIA - Sarawak, the sling comes in waves

From an apartment overlooking a restaurant in Covent Garden, Clare, investigative journalist and a Dayak [native Borneo] aka Papa Orang Utan and covered with tattoos, getting ready, like every day, to broadcast their revolutionary radio program to the heart of the jungles of Borneo. Both form an unlikely couple: she white, English, middle-aged and her proud grand-son of a Dayak headhunter.

Their goal is no less interesting: to reveal the corruption of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the head of government of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo island, to 10 400 miles from London, and to end thirty years of his reign. "This is Radio Free Sarawak [Sarawak Radio Free]" Orang-Utan Dad launches before putting his helmet and interview a village chief driven from his land who speaks from the edge of the forest through a mobile phone.

"Do not forget to ask him if he knows if Taib who seized his land? And finds that he is going to vote, "he recalls Clare. Until now the identity of "pirates" who were behind Radio Free Sarawak was a closely guarded secret, and for good reasons. Taib, 74, is one of the most ruthless and richest in the world - more wealthy, it seems, than his neighbor the Sultan of Brunei - and those who resist are exposed to violent reprisals.

But today is a decisive moment: the duo has courageously decided to appear in broad daylight in view of upcoming elections. The Evening Standard is able to unravel the mysterious Englishwoman who founded Radio Free Sarawak six months ago and invited the Dayak tattoos - real name Peter John Jaban - to lead emissions is actually Clare Rewcastle-Brown, sister of former prime minister Gordon Brown.

Forest shot 95% Rewcastle Ms. Brown, 51, was born to British parents in Sarawak before the colony is handed over to Malaysia and lived there until age 8. She is the founder of Sarawak Report, a fierce hitherto anonymous blog, which recorded 18 000 hits per day. "English is still the lingua franca in Sarawak.

I am using my blog and my shows to reveal the shocking rampant deforestation there: the forest has been cut down to 95% and replaced by logging and oil palm plantations that enrich Taib and his family, asserts Does. In addition, my investigations show that some of the Taib family money is here in London, and includes among others a very lucrative real estate portfolio in the heart of our capital.

"Clare Rewcastle-Brown also seeks through her work "to give the choice to the 2.5 million oppressed Sarawak. The leader of the opposition party, an advocate of human rights known as the charismatic Baru Bian, raised hopes of real change for the next election, but only a third of the electorate is registered as voters .

It is outrageous, but the corrupt government of Malaysia closes his eyes because he always brings Taib Sarawak, which is the richest state in the country. "Clare Rewcastle-Brown and Peter John Jaban decided to come forward because of death threats were posted on the Site Report and Sarawak as their main informant in the United States has experienced a tragic fate.

"Boyert Ross, former American adviser to Taib, was found dead before Christmas in a hotel room in Los Angeles, his head in a plastic bag. The investigation is still ongoing, but Peter and I had the feeling that perhaps in danger. Rather than hide from us, we decided to fight the big day.

"It gets rid of his leather boots, laughing. "The funny thing is that Taib and his cronies think we're a huge organization, but in reality we are only five, with some laptops and a mixer. With the progress of the MP3 technology, you can easily make the shortwave radio on the cheap. We are so effective that people Taib believe that we are financed by George Soros, whose foundation supports Radio Free Burma.

"Radio Free Sarawak, launched in October since the dining room of the loft of Victoria where she lives" in a dilapidated sordid "with her husband and their two teenage children, costs less than 10,000 pounds [11,300 euros] per month. At first Clare Rewcastle-Brown asserted itself financing, but has since rallied some "friends easier" which involve "anonymous" assistance.

"No Gordon," she hastens to clarify, its support is purely moral. "His passionate commitment to this cause, 99% of Londoners have never heard of is sometimes a source of tension with friends and family. "But, honestly, I am convinced that Taib is probably one of the worst environmental criminals in the world and has gained huge profits from my homeland." She smiled.

"He did not see coming. When he founded his real estate companies in 1982, he never imagined that disentangling the mad son of his real estate empire just by studying company reports online in her kitchen in London. "Clare Rewcastle-Brown debuted at the BBC World Service in 1983. Investigative journalist, she was probably better equipped than the average person to uncover the family fortune Mahmud.

"My inquiries show that Taib and his family own a real estate empire in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Taib has obtained funds by selling the forest and part of the money was channeled through the British Virgin Islands. "The Evening Standard submitted the allegations to officials of the companies in question, denied.

The passion of Clare Rewcastle-Brown for the forest in Sarawak was born when she was a child she accompanied her mother in the jungle, Karis, who was a midwife. At the time, this forest be the richest biodiversity in the world, 3000 species of trees, 15,000 varieties of plants, 420 species of birds and 221 mammals.

"My mother dragged me up to remote clinics to show what Dayaks should look like a healthy baby," she recalls. In these villages, everyone sleeps in a 'long house' [house collective] and my mother has often saved the lives of sick babies. As a kid, my first friends were the children's corner: we climbed trees and they ran barefoot, avoiding scorpions.

"The family returned to the UK when Clare was 8 years old. Thirty-eight years passed before she returned to Sarawak with a group of journalists. The forest degradation, evident from the air, the upsets. In 2008, she went to cover an election and used it to shoot in secret societies who clear forest to plant oil palms.

There, she "almost died by falling into a bog" and also where she met Peter John Jaban, 46, who watched the vote and was rejected for public radio listeners for allowing criticism the head of state government. Hope for change tenuous Clare Rewcastle Brown Jaban invited to become the voice of Radio Free Sarawak in London last year.

A momentous decision for him, which meant he could not return home until Taib was in power. "My four children fail me, I miss my home," he says, in tears. He looks vulnerable, like a fish out of water, but he suddenly straightens. "I am ready to die for this cause, he says. At the time of my grandfather, he had to report the correct number of heads to prove his manhood when they got married.

Today things have changed, but must always be a man. "What are their chances of success? Clare Rewcastle-Brown thought for a moment. "People say that our man has not the slightest chance in the election and that Taib, as usual, intimidate voters, but I think our shows have a huge effect and there is a groundswell for change.

"She smiles. "Seeing what happened to these leaders of the Middle East that seemed irremovable few weeks ago, one can not but feel encouraged."

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