It is most regrettable that the mainstream media, in particular radio and television yesterday, gave prominent coverage to the ADC demand for an apology from me without reporting a single word of my rebuttal which I issued the very same day on Thursday.
Bernama scored a third international scoop in less than a month when it produced a face for ADC and carried an exclusive report on Thursday 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, which had described ADC as an “influential American group” now 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 (ATA) 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."
Perrin claims that the ADC “periodically send out its position papers to legislative aides in the house and senate, as do hundreds of other Washington lobbying and non-profit groups seeking attention from their elected representatives”.
The whole Bernama report is most “fishy” and does nothing to establish that the ADC is a “influential American group” or not a phantom outfit, for the following reasons:
Firstly, the misuse of the name “American Defense Council”, giving the wrong impression all round that it is a national government institution, when it is probably a one-man show.
Malaysians in North American who had in the past few days tried to contact ADC and Dan Perrin from the two telephone numbers given by Bernama are not impressed, as the ADC probably don’t even have an office space.
A Malaysian graduate student in Washington who checked the Washington address of ADC found that it belonged to a law firm who said that “If ADC uses that address it would be because they are a client of the firm."
A check with the phone number of the ADC's regional office at Massachusetts: (413) 280-6369 will reach an answering machine, which said: "You've reached the American Defense Council.”
He also called the law firm of Webster, Chamberlain and Bean as Bernama reported that the ADC is housed there, to be told by the receptionist, after a pause, "ADC people aren't around."
Another Malaysian in North America was more lucky, as a person identifying himself as Dan Perrin returned his call, but he was astounded as from his conversation Perrin seemed very ignorant about Malaysia, not even knowing who is Anwar Ibrahim or about his jail saga.
Secondly, Perrin’s claim that “a quick glance at the Internet would show that the Alliance is an active player in American politics” is untrue. Both the ADC and the ATA do not have a website, which immediately relegates them to the most outer fringes in the United States. An intensive search of the Internet could not uncover the existence of the ADC, and could only produce three references to the ATA, which are all unflattering ones as they refer to ATA’s violation of California’s Political Reform Act in connection with its television political advertisements in June this year against the California Governor, Gray Davis.
In one such reference, the adviser to Gray Davis estimated that the American Taxpayers Association had spent nearly US$2 million to broadcast the ads and the speculation was made that the ATA was an umbrella group with a membership of some 10,000.
These information from the Internet are now used by Bernama and Dan Perrin to prove the existence and solidity of the ATA and ADC, when ATA had never openly admitted either to such an expenditure or membership on the Internet - which can only deepen doubts as to whether Dan Perrin is authorised to speak on behalf of ATA, and whether ADC actually exists.
As Perrin claims that the ADC “periodically send out its position papers to legislative aides in the house and senate”, can he list out all the position papers which had been issued the ADC.
If Perrin cannot produce a full list of the position papers which ADC had sent to US congressional aides, then ADC is a phantom and phoney outfit, and Bernama must fully apologise to Malaysians for perpetrating the biggest hoax in Malaysian journalism.