Thursday, March 22, 2012

What the Hell is a Heritage Centre

What the hell is a Heritage Centre? Oh! Museum. SMILE. What the hell is foreign subversion? Oh! Foreign-inspired criticism of the government. Oh! Like this case in China where a writer telling people about their rights was jailed for 10 years. SNEER.. Is the museum going to show how Mas Selamat escape and was caught? Oh! I would pay to see that. SMIRK. Why the hell is MOE in the picture in the pipeline? Oh! National education. SNIGGER.

There is a role for ISD in our society, caveat stated so please, please, please don't knock on my door in the middle of the night ok Mr ISD Man, and espionage and terrorism are invisible and silent scourges to Singapore. All countries have their own versions of the ISD for national security reasons and Singapore should not be any different in keeping watch on the real bad guys. Disbanding ISD is an awful idea. In contrast, redefining ISD's powers and scope is an awesome idea.

At the end of the day, it's a big bad brutal world out there with crazy turbaned terrorists holding AK47s and homemade bombs, and countries spying on each other to gain an upper hand in military, political and economic competition. With all the SAF fancy toys bought over the years, our neighbours are probably interested in how and whether they might be used. Their spies are surely here - maybe even the wanton mee man in the kopitiam bear Mindef is spying on them! With hotheads running around in Bali again and still shouting "kill infidels", it is also unsurprising that some of them might decide to come Singapore for a holiday and then make a one way trip to heaven with its 72 virgins, bombing out Orchard MRT!

Singapore 'attractive target for espionage, foreign subversion'
by Syed Amir Hussain 04:45 AM Mar 21, 2012

SINGAPORE - Even as the threat of terrorism persists post-911, the concurrent internal security "threats of espionage and foreign subversion are just as salient today as during the Cold War", said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

Mr Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, noted that Singapore is situated "at the crossroads where the spheres of influence of major powers intersect" and also "an open society in a highly globalised world", which makes the country "an attractive target for espionage and foreign subversion", even by "friendly nations".

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Internal Security Department's (ISD) Heritage Centre, he noted that a Singaporean Embassy staff member in Moscow was compromised and worked for the Soviet Union against Singapore's interest during the height of the Cold War. During the 1990s, the ISD dealt with "several cases" of espionage involving friendly nations. "The adage that "there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests" rings true," said Mr Teo.

In highlighting other internal security threats such as the issue of self-radicalisation, as well as racial and religious extremism, Mr Teo noted that technology has been "a major game changer".

A few cyber espionage attacks have already been countered, and more are expected, he said. "Our vulnerability has increased because of our own inter-connectivity, the cache of classified information that can potentially be stolen through electronic media, and our heavy reliance on IT systems for essential services," he added.

While he noted that "the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and its affiliates continue to be a threat to Singapore" on the racial and religious extremism front, Mr Teo felt "the new variable in the racial and religious field is cyberspace".

He said the Internet allows irresponsible, offensive and at times seditious comments about other races and religions to be made anonymously.

Dangerous remarks on the Internet can go viral very quickly, "spiral out of control and rapidly damage inter-communal relations". "If transposed into action in the physical world, the consequences can be dire", added Mr Teo. He further noted that online and self-radicalisation also represent new forms of the terrorism threat.

Yesterday, the new Counter-Terrorism gallery at the ISD Heritage Centre, which showcases security operations and intelligence work undertaken by ISD officers, was officially launched.

The new gallery includes new cases and exhibits over the past 10 years since the disruption of the JI network here and features the inner mechanisms of the JI such as security tradecraft, recruitment efforts, physical and military training.

The Heritage Centre hosted over 10,000 visitors last year and has reached out to another 70,000 through mobile exhibitions in schools, tertiary institutions, community centres and shopping malls.

And as part of the ISD's outreach efforts, Mr Teo said the Heritage Centre will be working with the Ministry of Education to reach out to all national schools through mobile exhibitions that are "more student-centric" over the next two years.

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