Switzerland widens its enquiries into Malaysia’s 1MDB

Economist
14th April 2016

Malaysia’s mega-scandal

One of the biggest controversies in Malaysian political history gets bigger

EARLIER this year authorities in Switzerland said they had begun criminal investigations into two former officials at 1MDB—a Malaysian state investment firm from which they believe some $4 billion may have been misappropriated through a series of deals struck between 2009 and 2013. On April 12th the Swiss said the scope of their enquiries was widening, and that they have now also opened files on two former public officials from the United Arab Emirates.

This latest escalation relates to a deal struck in 2012, in which IPIC, an Abu Dhabi state fund, agreed to guarantee bonds raised by 1MDB to purchase two power firms. 1MDB paid billions of dollars in collateral (and other monies linked to the guarantee) to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, which bore a similar name to one of IPIC’s subsidiaries. But on April 11th IPIC issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange confirming rumours that it did not own the firm. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Sarawak voters to support DAP and Pakatan Harapan candidates as an appreciation for the life-long struggle of Wong Ho Leng and Karpal Singh for their commitment and sacrifices for a democratic and better Sarawak and Malaysia

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of DAP National Chairman, MP for Bukit Gelugor and life-long champion for democracy and human rights in Malaysia, Karpal Singh.

In another two months, we will sadly mark the second anniversary of the passing of another great Malaysian son who had also dedicated his life to promote democracy and human rights in Sarawak and Malaysia, as well as the constitutional rights of Sarawakians to autonomy in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 – Richard Wong Ho Leng, DAP Sarawak State Chairman and State Assemblymen for Bukit Assek.

This year marks the 38th anniversary of the formation of DAP in Sarawak and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the DAP in 1966.

For half a century, DAP leaders who have passed the test of time have proven that we are a breed of political leaders who are in politics not because of wealth, position or glory but because of our political convictions and ideals, even when we are subject to trials and tribulations like detention without trial, selective prosecution and persecution, protracted character-assassination in the mainstream media, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poor Abdul Rahman Dahlan – he had to be saved by SPRM and IGP from a debate with Guan Eng which will confirm the truism that ‘empty vessel makes the most noise’

There are many events happening in the country which seem to be remote from Sarawak and unrelated to the 11th Sarawak state general election which will be held on May 7.

In actual fact, on deeper reflection, one would realise these developments have intimate relationship with the 11th Sarawak state general elections, whether the latest developments in the first global scandal in the country, the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and all the acrobatics which are being performed every day in furtherance of the media scam that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has nothing to do with Malaysia’s first global scandal, or even the cancellation of the debate that should be telecast live next Wednesday by TV3 between DAP Secretarg-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

In fact, all the hoo-ha and the allegations against Guan Eng for corruption in connection with his RM2.8 million bungalow purchase is not unrelated to the Sarawak state general election! Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s media strategists want to have a second bite of the cherry after the first abysmal failure of the media scam to create the myth and image that PAC Report on 1MDB exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is badly served by his coterie of astronomically-paid media strategists, who want to have a second bite of the cherry after the first abysmal failure of their media scam to create the myth and image that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on the 1MDB had exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

This elaborately-structured media edifice collapsed like a house of cards when four days after the PAC Report on 1MDB was tabled in Parliament without debate, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited, which was paid a least USD3.5 billion by 1MDB.

Was the astronomical sum of USD3.5 billion paid by 1MDB to a phoney company by mistake or by design – making it Malaysia’s first global financial scandal? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Adenan to lead Sarawak BN to an election victory which will be the result of clean, free, fair and democratic elections which could be the pride of Malaysia and the world

I flew from kLIA to Miri this morning with the DAP National Organising Secretary and MP for Seremban, Anthony Loke, to carry out legitimate political activities n Sarawak, i.e. the 11th Sarawak State General Elections, as guaranteed by the Malaysian Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the 18 Points, but Anthony Loke became the latest victim of a gross abuse of power when he was not allowed to enter Sarawak and was sent back to KLIA on the same Air Asia flight back.

Loke joins a long list of DAP, PKR and Amanah leaders/MPs who have been denied their constitutional right to carry out legitimate political activities in Sarawak in the 11th state general election – a list which includes DAP leaders/MPs like National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua (MP PJ Utara); Asst National Publicity Secretary Teo Nie Ching (MP for Kulai); PKR National Chairmen Nurul Izzah Anwar (MP Lembah Pantai), Tian Chua (MP Batu), Rafizi Ramli (Pandan), Shamsul Iskandar (MP Bukit Katil) and PKR MPs like Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang) and Sim Sze Tsin (Bayan Baru) and Parti Amanah President Mohamad Sabu. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will 2016 Sarawak GE herald great changes in Malaysia’s 14GE as happened in two previous 2006 and 2011 Sarawak state elections, or will Adenan succeed in crushing DAP and Pakatan Harapan as he is hoping to do?

For the past 10 years, Sarawak had been both the barometer and the vanguard of political change in Malaysia.

DAP’s breakthrough win of six State Assembly seats in the 2006 Sarawak GE heralded the “political tsunami” in the 12th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections in 2008 which saw the Barisan Nasional losing power in five states – Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan.

DAP’s doubling from six to 12 State Assembly seats in the 2011 Sarawak GE heralded the 13th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections in 2013, which should have toppled Barisan Nasional from Putrajaya as Pakatan Rakyat won 53% of the popular vote, but because of an unfair and undemocratic electoral system, Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the first minority Prime Minister in Malaysia.

What will happen in the May 7, 2016 Sarawak state elections, and what has it in store for the 14th GE in Malaysian parliamentary elections which must be held by 2018?

There are both certainties and imponderables in the 11th Sarawak State General Elections on May 7. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAC should reconvene and present new findings on 1MDB based on three factors: (i) reconsideration of PAC Report on 1MDB; (ii) London Stock Exchange statement that Aabar Ltd BVI is phoney company; (iii) summon important witnesses omitted in PAC investigations

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should reconvene and present new findings on 1MDB based on three factors: firstly, reconsideration of PAC Report on 1MDB; secondly, the London Stock Exchange statement that British Virgin Islands-incorporated Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) has no links with the Abu Dhabi-state owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) or its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS and that neither of them have received US$3.5 billion which 1MDB had paid to Aabar BVI; and thirdly, summoning important witnesses omitted in PAC investigations.

I say reconsideration of the PAC Report on 1MDB because the host of 1MDB scams, mismanagements, dubious loans and transactions do not just demand that the 1MDB former CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and others in the management should be held responsible for the first global corruption in the nation’s history, but all fingers in the PAC Report point to a final authority and decision-maker higher than Shahrol.

This is because there are four tiers of management authority in 1MDB, namely the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management, but over and above all these three tiers of management, is the fourth and most vital tier – the Prime Minister who by virtue of Article 117 of 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) is the ultimate authority who exercised final direct control of 1MDB.

Article 117 of the 1MDB M & A requires all major decisions of the company involving financial commitment (including investment) and restructuring to have the written authorization from the Prime Minister, it is the Prime Minister who is the most important player in 1MDB, exceeding the role of the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management all added together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hasan should convene emergency PAC meeting to ask Arul Kanda to explain why he should not be referred to Committee of Privileges next month for lying to PAC claiming that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was related to Aabar Investment PJS

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Datuk Hasan Arifin should convene an emergency PAC meeting to ask the 1MDB President and CEO, Arul Kanda Kandasamy to explain why he should not be referred to the Committee of Privileges next month for lying and claiming to the PAC that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was related to Aabar Investment PJS.

Within four days of the tabling of the PAC Report on 1MDB last Thursday, Arul Kanda’s lie to the PAC in his testimony on 18th December 2015 was exposed when the Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) told the London Stock Exchange in a statement on Monday that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited which was paid RM4.24 billion (about US$1.367 billion) by 1MDB as security deposit in 2012.

This is the fastest result for any PAC Report in the nation’s 59-year parliamentary history, and the five Opposition PAC members have been fully vindicated for signing the PAC Report on 1MDB although it did not go as far as it should in its findings and conclusions.

One other important thing which the PAC Report on 1MDB had achieved as a result of the signing of the five Opposition PAC members – Deputy PAC Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Dato’ Kamarul Baharin Abas (Telok Kemang), William Leong (Selayang), Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bahru) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara) – was the admission by the Najib administration of the hosts of 1MDB scams, mismanagements, dubious loans and transactions in the past seven year which until last Thursday had been dismissed as speculative and unverified allegations by irresponsible, biased or even Jewish/Zionist-inspired journalists in hostile foreign newspapers like Wall Street Journal (WSJ), New York Times, Financial Times or unreliable websites like Sarawak Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia on the wrong track

Opinion
THE AUSTRALIAN
APRIL 14, 2016

Malaysia’s use of its colonial-era Sedition Act to frame possible charges against former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad following his interview with The Weekend Australian is a worrying sign of the extent to which democracy, civil rights and stability are under threat in one of the most important countries in our region. Dr Mahathir, 90, was Malaysian prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. But that has not saved him from the ire of the incumbent Prime Minister, Najib Razak. Mr Najib is fighting for political survival amid the $1 billion 1MDB sovereign wealth fund corruption scandal. Although he was widely regarded as Mr Najib’s mentor, Dr Mahathir is now fiercely critical of Mr Najib, demanding his removal from office.

In his recorded interview with our Southeast Asia correspondent Amanda Hodge, Dr Mahathir argued “foreign interference” was needed to oust Mr Najib, saying: “Normally I don’t like foreign interference in Malaysia’s affairs but our avenues for redress have been closed completely. So now we have to allow interference in our domestic affairs.” Under pressure, Dr Mahathir has since sought to qualify those remarks, saying he did not ask for foreign governments to interfere. But that has not pacified Mr Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Syria to Malaysia: Tentacles of Terror Are Spreading

Phill Hynes
Frontera News
11.4.2016

Despite having Asia’s second-largest Muslim population, Malaysia’s contribution to Islamic State has gone largely unnoticed. That may be about to change – with potentially dire implications for the country’s tourism-driven economy.

Recently Britain issued a very specific caution to its citizens: Avoid all but essential travel to the island resorts off Malaysia’s eastern Sabah province.

Then, three days later, Australia warned of potential terrorist attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur.

Faced with a direct financial hit on its all-important tourism industry, the local reaction was to downplay. “Malaysia is safe from any threats including terrorism,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz. “There are no indications of an imminent attack on the capital”, assured Kuala Lumpur’s Police Chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa.

So what prompted two foreign governments to suddenly issue terrorism warnings in one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourism destinations? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB Fund Says It May Be Victim of $3.5 Billion Fraud

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 13, 2016

1Malaysia Development Bhd., the troubled Malaysian state fund that’s the subject of global investigations, said it could be a victim of fraud if payments of $3.5 billion intended for an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund never made it there.

Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. this week denied ownership of a company that received the funds known as Aabar Investments PJS Limited or Aabar BVI. Swiss authorities said on Tuesday they are investigating two former public officials from the United Arab Emirates, who handled Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds that guaranteed 1MDB bonds.

“Given the recent denial by IPIC and the announcement by the Office of the Attorney-General of Switzerland, indicating that 1MDB could be a victim of fraud, 1MDB is exploring all avenues open to us,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Authorities from the U.S. to Switzerland and Singapore are trying to determine if some of the billions of dollars that 1MDB raised were siphoned out inappropriately. 1MDB, whose advisory board is headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, amassed more than 50 billion ringgit ($12.9 billion) of debt over six years, using some of it to buy energy assets, including joint ventures with companies in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Read the rest of this entry »

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Swiss widen corruption investigation into Malaysia’s 1MDB fund

Guardian
Agence France-Presse
Wednesday 13 April 2016

The state-owned fund is linked to PM Najib Razak, with two suspects indicted over an alleged phony bond deal

Switzerland has widened its corruption probe into a Malaysian state-owned fund linked to prime minister Najib Razak, with two new suspects indicted over an alleged phony bond deal.

The Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) said the new suspects – who are accused of fraud, bribery and other offences – are officials from the United Arab Emirates who were in charge of sovereign funds based in Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, the OAG said it had evidence that the management of the 1MDB fund violated Swiss embezzlement laws through a fraudulent bond agreement with the UAE officials, with money routed through Swiss banks.

Allegations that billions were looted from 1MDB in a vast campaign of fraud have shaken Najib’s government.

The scandal intensified last week when a Malaysian parliamentary committee clearly suggested misconduct had occurred, in the first condemnation from an official body in Kuala Lumpur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia fund 1MDB’s payment to Abu Dhabi fund IPIC may have ended up in the movie business

Leslie Shaffer
CNBC.com
13th April 2016

The trail of breadcrumbs from a troubled Malaysian state investment fund took another twist Tuesday when Swiss authorities said some of the money ended up in the movie business.

On Monday, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC), and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS, said that they never received $3.5 billion in payments from troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The payments were related to a guarantee for a bond placed by Goldman Sachs.

Instead, the payments appear to have been sent to a nearly identically named firm registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General said on Tuesday that as part of its criminal investigation of suspected embezzlement from 1MDB, it was extending its probe to two former officials in charge of Abu Dhabi sovereign funds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposition MPs signing of an unsatisfactory PAC Report on 1MDB fully vindicated by the swift solution about the “rogue” character of the fake company Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal

One shock tactics UMNO/BN Ministers, leaders and cybertroopers like the Barisan Nasional Strategic Media Communications Director and Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had been hashing in the past few days was in the form of the question on the social media: “U guys bodoh!! Why sign the report when u r only 80% satisfied. BODOH!”

However, the Opposition MPs’ signing of the Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, although not thoroughly satisfied about its findings and conclusions, have been fully vindicated by the swift solution about the “rogue” character of fake company Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI) in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

The statement by the Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) to the London Stock Exchange on Monday that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited which was paid RM4.24 billion (about US$1.367 billion) by 1MDB as security deposit in 2012 would not have come about if the PAC Report on 1MDB had not been signed and tabled in Parliament last Thursday.

With the PAC Report, IPIC and Aabar, as public listed companies in the London Stock Exchange had to make a mandatory public announcement that they had no relations to Aabar BVI, and had not received the RM4.24 billion payment from 1MDB in 2012 – an issue which had been in the public domain in the past four months but not from authoritative or official sources like the Malaysian PAC Report and could therefore be ignored by IPIC, Aabar and 1MDB.

The signing of the PAC Report on the 1MDB, though not fully satisfactory, has achieved the first fruits and I want congratulate the five Opposition PAC members for achieving this result within four days of the tabling of the PAC Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fixing the Finances of Malaysia’s State Fund: The Process So Far

Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 13, 2016

It’s been more than a year since state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., at the center of multiple probes into its finances, announced plans to sell assets and pare debt. Its borrowings then ballooned to over 50 billion ringgit ($12.9 billion) as of January.

1MDB has said it won’t make new investments or undertake projects once it clears some existing deals. Set up by the government in 2009 to build infrastructure with borrowed money, it has drawn political criticism and almost failed to repay loans.

Global investigators are looking into possible money laundering and embezzlement at the company, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Here’s a snapshot of where 1MDB is at in getting its finances in order: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mystery deepens over $3.5 billion Malaysia’s 1MDB sent to BVI entity

ABU DHABI/KUALA LUMPUR | BY STANLEY CARVALHO AND PRAVEEN MENON
Reuters
April 11, 2016

The mystery over who controlled a British Virgin Islands-registered company that received $3.5 billion from Malaysia’s scandal-tainted state fund 1MDB deepened on Monday when a company in the Middle East with an almost identical name said the BVI firm did not belong to it.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS said in a joint statement the BVI firm with an almost identical name, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, “was not an entity within either corporate group.”

They had neither received any payments from the BVI company, which was wound up last June, nor assumed any liabilities on its behalf, the statement said.

A Malaysian parliamentary committee investigating 1MDB said in a report released on Thursday that the Malaysian sovereign fund sent a total of $3.5 billion to “Aabar BVI”.

What happened to the money after it went to the British Virgin Islands could not be determined, the report said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abu Dhabi Fund Says It Never Received Payments From Malaysia’s 1MDB

By TOM WRIGHT and BRADLEY HOPE
Wall Street Journal
April 11, 2016

An Abu Dhabi state fund said publicly for the first time on Monday that it hadn’t received billions of dollars in payments that a controversial Malaysian fund set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak claims it sent.

The International Petroleum Investment Co., or IPIC, an Abu Dhabi government fund, said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that it was aware of media reports that 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, had sent money to a company called “Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.”

IPIC said in the statement that it has a subsidiary called Aabar Investments PJS, but that the similarly named company “was not an entity within either corporate group.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the media scam of the century – creating the myth that the PAC Report on 1MDB marks the closure of Malaysia’s first global scandal in nation’s history – collapsed after five short days

It was to be the media scam of the century – to create among Malaysians the myth that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on the 1MDB marks the closure of Malaysia’s first global scandal in the nation’s history.

But it collapsed within five short days – the coup de grace delivered in London when the Abu Dhabi-state owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) sent a statement to the London Stock Exchange that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to a British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm named in a report in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal – Aabar Investments PJS Limited (Aabar BVI). Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB Hearing Spells More Trouble for Najib

by Shamim Adam
Bloomberg
April 12, 2016

Transcripts from a Malaysian parliamentary hearing into a troubled state fund highlight Prime Minister Najib Razak’s involvement in decisions on questionable transactions that bypassed the board of directors and finance ministry.

The documents from the committee’s probe of 1Malaysia Development Bhd. are a blow to Najib’s efforts to halt months of political attacks and to draw a line under allegations of irregularities surrounding the fund.

Released by the Public Accounts Committee, the transcripts showed 1MDB and government officials when quizzed made multiple references to Article 117 of 1MDB’s constitution which states all matters need authorization from the premier. That’s even as the probe blamed financial and reporting lapses on a former chief executive.
The scandal has heightened political tensions and sparked worldwide graft probes, although Najib has retained the support of the bulk of senior officials in the ruling coalition.

The bipartisan committee in its separate 106-page report identified at least $4.2 billion of unauthorized or unverified transactions and recommended former CEO Shahrol Halmi and other managers be investigated. Shahrol, who said last week he hadn’t done anything wrong, told lawmakers in November that Najib had signed documents related to a joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd. that has been under a cloud, according to the transcripts. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Trap of Our Mindset

M. Bakri Musa
www.bakrimusa.com

Related to the concept of a free mind is that of mindset, defined as one’s attitude to or philosophy of life. With all the established neural networks and stored memories in the brain, it forms a working hypothesis of what reality is. How the brain perceives new information is influenced by its existing working hypothesis, its pre-set narrative of reality.

If the brain were to receive new information that would not conform to or diametrically contradict the brain’s preexisting narrative, then it (the brain) would use various ingenuous interpretations to make the new data conform to that pre-set pattern.

A dramatic demonstration of this is the rare clinical condition called Cabgras delusion. Here the sufferer, through injury or stroke, has lost the capacity to recognize hitherto familiar faces including those of close family members. The patient would readily admit that the person facing him looks, speaks and even smells like his mother for example, but would adamantly refuse to admit that is who she is. Instead he is convinced that she is nothing more than a look-alike imposter, intent on swindling him for some nefarious ends, as with claiming insurance benefits. Imagine the mother’s heartbreak! Read the rest of this entry »

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