As its target audience are Malaysians rather than Americans, the American Defense Council should explain whether it is an American group to lobby Americans or Malaysians

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday): Bernama has scored  a third international scoop in less than a month, this time reporting on a statement by the Executive Director of the American Defense Council (ADC), Dan Perrin, demanding an apology from me for "irresponsible attacks" and “uninformed, baseless and wrongful accusations" against his  organisation.

Bernama described the ADC as “a foreign/defence policy arm of the American Taxpayers Alliance”, and added: “The two-year old, non-profit organisation promotes a  strong national defence in the United States. It   operates under the umbrella of the American Taxpayers  Alliance which has a membership of about 10,000.”

It quoted Perrin as saying that “a quick glance at the Internet would show  that the Alliance is an active player in American politics” and that "We spent nearly US$2 million in advertisements in  California this year, and for this the Governor of California, Gray Davis, attacked us - as did Lim Kit Siang yesterday."

For the record, neither the ADC nor the American Taxpayers Alliance has a  website on the Internet, although claiming to be a serious player in  the American political arena.  What Dan Perrin said is nothing new as  I had already  said in my media statement dated 8th September 2001:

“With the second international ‘scoop’ of Bernama, it would appear that the Malaysian authorities is scraping the bottom of the barrel in their campaign to win the favour of Washington and American media.

“Although Bernama described the American Defence Counsel as ‘an influential American group’, nobody seems to have heard of it and it could not be located on the Internet, unlike the ‘mama-papa’ think-tank National Centre for Public Research which at least has a website.  An American lobby group which does not even maintain a website cannot but be a very fringe outfit.

“As the report is described as ‘an authorised programme of the American Taxpayers Alliance’, there is also no website for the American Taxpayers Alliance, although a search uncovers two references, one in June this year  describing it as belonging to the ‘Top Ten Conservative Idiots’ and another in July this year that the  American Taxpayers Alliance was being sued in California for spending millions of dollars in  airing  political television  advertisements in violation of the elections laws of the state.

“It is a tragedy and national shame if the Malaysian authorities have to resort to roping  in obscure,  fringe extremist rightwing  American groups for its international media campaign to bolster its domestic stocks, befriend the Bush presidency and gain Mahathir an  invitation to the White House.

“If the latest report on Malaysia is by  an ‘influential American group’, why is it not to be found in  any credible media in the United States, not even in the moonie-owned Washington Times this time - raising the question as to its credibility.”

Dan Perrin has nothing  new to add to what I had to say  about the ADC or the American Taxpayers Alliance, let alone giving answer to my question.

The question of my apology to the American Defense Council does not arise, as the thrust of my queries to Bernama in the five media statements had been  to challenge the national news agency to prove that it had not perpetrated the biggest hoax in Malaysian journalism by establishing the actual existence of the American Defense Council, that it was an “influential American group” and that its report had been circulated to aides of all US Congressmen.

This is why even in my statement yesterday, I asked  Bernama  to enlighten  Malaysians all the relevant details of this  “influential American group” -  its history, influence and the  galaxy of personalities and illuminaries who constitute its team, which Dan Perrin had not been able to acquit himself creditably.

It is significant that the Bernama report today said:  “A legislative aide at the senate foreign relations committee, who did not want to be identified, admitted that he received a ‘three-feet’ stack of position papers every day from such groups”.  Further, the aide  confessed  that “there was no way for him to read all of those positions from interest groups because there were just too many of them”.

Had the ADC’s report on Malaysia been thrown and lost in the mountainous  rubbish heap of the Congressional position papers in Washington?

It is significant, however  that there was no   reference or confirmation that the so-called American Defense Council’s report on Malaysia was included in the daily “three-feet stack” of Congressional position papers from interest groups, even if unread!

If anyone owes any  apology, it is  the American Defense Council.  Dan Perrin should explain whether the ADC is a bona fide  American group to lobby American legislators, and if so, why its report on Malaysia was targetted  more at the Malaysian audience instead of the  Americans - given  prominent front-page treatment by the Malaysian mainstream media while totally ignored by the American press, whether  mainstream, alternative or fringe!

Why did ADC fax its report on Malaysia direct to the Bernama head office in Kuala Lumpur instead of going through  the Bernama office in Washington?  Is there some special connection or arrangement  between the ADC in Washington and the Bernama head office to assure that its report would receive prominent coverage in the Malaysian mainstream mass media after  bypassing the Bernama Washington office?

If ADC’s target audience are more Malaysians than Americans, it  should re-register as a Malaysian lobby group and not as an American group and become the first foreign lobby group whose main interest is to influence the political process in Malaysia from Washington!


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman