This was Amy’s e-mail response to the New Sunday Times query asking her to comment on my speech at the DAP 13th National Congress the previous Saturday, where I said that Malaysians were entitled to know whether Ridenour and the NCPPR “have been hired in a campaign to win the hearts of Washington, whether taxpayers' monies are involved in the retention of American lobby groups to provide ‘sweeteners’ to pave the way for a meeting between the Prime Minister and President Bush, and whether the KMM and the militant Islam issues are being used to win the ear of Washington”.
It is an open secret in Washington that in the past few months the Malaysian government had been very active in orchestrating an intense campaign through the Malaysian private sector and individuals - particularly through a Malaysian lady lawyer living and practising in Washington - to win the media and the powers-that-be in Washington and to pave the way for a meeting between the Prime Minister and President Bush.
Both the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim and the Foreign Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar should explain whether their recent visits to the United States had any connection, directly or indirectly, with the outrageous NCPPR report warning the US overnment against being “fooled” into backing Anwar and the forthcoming visit to Malaysia by the acknowledged leader of the Republican extreme right, Congressman Tom DeLay at end of the year.
DeLay is best remembered for taking the floor of Congress after the Columbine High School tragedy and massacre last August where 12 students and a teacher were shot to death by two fellow students - the worst school shooting in U.S. history – to mount an impassioned defense of guns and to rant against birth control, day-care centers and the teaching of evolution. He has called the Environmental Protection Agency the ``Gestapo'' of the government, fought restrictions on pesticides and toxic waste and tried mightily to undermine the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
Bernama does not have a good record of instant publication of many international reports which do not give Malaysia top marks in their reports or surveys, whether by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Economic Forum, Amnesty International, Transparency International or US conservative think-tanks like Heritage Foundation.
But in the case of the Amy Ridenour piece, Bernama not only gave instant and full coverage, but misled Malaysians with its claim that the National Centre for Public Research is a "non-partisan American think-tank" when it is a reactionary, 'free market/conservative', Reagan/Bush campaign operation and the Washington Times where the report appeared is owned by the moonies, or the unification church - a bastion of American conservatism and the Republican right.
Although Amy Ridenour denies that she and her organisation had been paid by the Malaysian Government or any other entity for the outrageous report, she should identify who are the Malaysian officials and individuals who had fed her with the materials for her article.