28 August 2017

Au revoir, Auf wiedersehen, Goodbye Huang Jing

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently accused Prof. Huang Jing, an American IR academic and lobbyist at its Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, of conniving with foreign intelligence, on behalf of foreign powers, to subvert the state and interfere with domestic politics, with the help of prominent and influential Singaporeans he enlisted.

To be fair, the MHA gave the good doctor a chance to appeal, and that appeal was eventually rejected.

Huang Jing must leave on a jet plane and never return... after an undefined grace period
But that doesn't mean that the expulsion of the professor, the accusations against him, and the prosecution of his case are credible. We've previously explained why the accusations against him are pure nonsense; we now explain how the MHA's prosecution of Huang's case completely undermines its own security narrative.

Huang Jing operation run by ISD or Monty Python's Flying Circus?

Let's play a game. Either the investigation, prosecution, and proscription of Prof. Huang Jing is the result of a competent intelligence-security operation, or Singapore's feared ISD has been replaced with the Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Can a subversive foreign agent be a free man?

Prof. Huang Jing was having dinner at a restaurant with friends when the MHA accusation was announced. He's still a free man in Singapore almost a month after the accusations broke.

The ISD in 1997 and 1998 accused a total of 6 persons of being foreign agents engaging in subversive activities, and arrested and jailed them under the Internal Security Act.

Ten points to Gryffindor the Spanish Inquisition
Can an ISD investigation be done without anyone knowing?

The MHA offers no proof of an investigation into Huang Jing. In addition, it is open knowledge that none of the IR postgraduate students he was supervising, all lobbyists and IR pundits in training, were ever questioned. In addition, none of Dr Huang Jing's colleagues as well as the very experts that he had been lobbying and presumably subverting and enlisting have been questioned, or even heard of anyone witin their circle being questioned. Hence their utter surprise at his arrest.

In contrast, the ISD would have hauled up and questioned nearly everyone in Dr Huang's social and professional circle, including his supervisees and their supervisees. By the time of the accusation phase, it would've been clear that several people had temporarily gone missing for interviews with the much-feared ISD.

The Spanish Inquisition employed the rack in their interviews with suspects
What happens when prominent and influential people are enlisted by a foreign agent?

Unless he's a lobbyist. But let's assume the good doctor isn't a lobbyist. The MHA accuses Dr Huang of enlisted an unspecified number of prominent and influential Singaporeans to further influence domestic policy.

In contrast, the ISD would've named the Singaporeans Dr Huang influenced, drawn up a J-drama style relationship chart between them, given sordid details of how he recruited them, published their confessions, and televised it on prime time national TV.

Prominent and influential Singaporeans can expect the Comfy Chair if they've been enlisted by foreign intelligence
Is there a right to appeal when you're a foreign agent, subversive, recruiter, and ringleader?

The MHA offered Dr Huang Jing a chance to put in an appeal against his expulsion. Given that he nor the public were given evidence for the accusations, it's hard to imagine how he could've conducted his appeal. Given that the MHA is not a court and does not operate a court, it is unclear how an appeal proceeding could be conducted to legally recognized standards. But still, he was given a chance to appeal

The ISD on the other hand has never in its history of prosecuting security and subversion threats, allowed any appeal.

We conclude that even if the ISD historically has the element of surprise, ruthless efficiency, and a fanatical devotion to the State of Singapore, it is completely unlikely that it was behind the operation to proscribe Dr Huang Jing. It is far more likely that its role here has been taken over by the Spanish Inquisition!

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