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MGG: The American Defence Council Defends Itself!
By M.G.G. Pillai

18/9/2001 1:30 am Tue

The American Defence Council Defends Itself!

So, the American Defence Council is hurt enough by allegations in Malaysia that it is not what it says it is. Its executive director, Mr Dan Perrin, has demanded the DAP chairman, Mr Lim Kit Siang, apologise for suggesting that the ADC is a "phantom creature". But its office in Washington is, by its own admission, is at 1747 Pennyslvania Avenue, Suite 1000, the offices of a law firm, Washington, Chamberlain and Bean, and a few blocks from the White House.

But a spokesman in that office was circumspect, to say the least: "If the ADC used this address, it would be because they are a client of the firm." Telephone calls to its "regional office" in Massachussets were unanswered, as one Sangkancilian found out. That its "regional" office is not in the Boston area is reflected in its telephone code of 413, instead of the more common 617. By Mr Perrin's own admission, the American Taxpayers Alliance, the ADC's parent body, has 10,000 members. Bernama no doubt is satisfied that these 10,000 members are so influential that they are a force to reckon with in a nation of nearly a hundred million taxpapers.

So, we have two scoops on Malaysia from two little known American think tanks. Few have heard of either outfit. This is not surprising in a country of hundreds of thousands of non-profit think tanks dotted throughout the country. That two obscure bodies found remarkable evidence of Islamic fundamentalist activity in a country it vaguely heard of is remarkable. That Bernama found them, and continue to insist they represent the doers and shakers of Washington, and their reports are read by the powerful and the high and mighty and have such earth shattering impact that what they write is believed. But no one knows about these two organisations. An organisation that has its main office in a law firm and a "regional office" in a suburban Massachussets and without a website of its own cannot, by any streatch, be a significantly important body.

Mr Lim was too kind to refer to the ADC as a phantom creature. Mr Perrin threatens to sue him if he does not apologise for the slur on his reputation. Mr Lim, if I know him, is not about to. Mr Perrin should, I suggest, push his luck in the Malaysian courts and sue him for defamation. And it should be for no less than a few hundred million US dollars, in the manner of cronies, courtiers and siblings of the Mahathir administration. That way, we can, once and for all, ascertain the genuineness of Mr Perrin and his organisation, and cross examine him about how he came about his thesis of PAS as a dangerous organisation that ought to be rooted out of the Malaysian political scene to safeguard democracy itself. It is an interesting theory this, that democracy must be preserved by undemocratic means. It is not surprising Mr Perrin once worked for Senator Jesse Helms.

When I asked a close friend in Washington about the ADC, he emailed me: "Thought you might like to see the clippings that relate to the American Taxpayers Alliance on the web. Incidentally, this "influential" enity does not have a web site of its own. Checking out with knowledgeable people in DC have not heard of either this or the American Defence Council! So much for being influential. I do not know where Bolehland operatives unearth "important" opinion makers! Does BERNAMA not check out the basis for its stories?"

It is therefore safe to extrapolate that the ADC report, given to Congressional aides visiting Malaysia, was (a) to demonise PAS; (b) to cuddle up to the right-wing, Islamic bashing American political spectrum; and (c) to establish credentials for the Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Mahathir Mohamed to show he is one with President George Bush in preventing Islamic fundamentalists from taking over anywhere. One should therefore assume that the Singapore senior minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, visited here also to steel Dr Mahathir with his paranoia of Islamic resurgence and pass on his own to Washington. In other words, has this Islamic fundamentalist paranoia to do with the short term gain to be invited for tea and cookies at the White House and photographs in the Rose Garden? This is unlikely for now. The powerful National Security Council, I am told, has vetoed it until there are changes that the Prime Minister cannot meet without damaging his own political credibility in Malaysia. Among the changes, for one, relates to the prisoner in Sungei Buloh and primary Malaysian non-person, one Dato' Anwar Ibrahim.

More than that, is Dr Mahathir unaware that if he continues with his claim of Islamic fundamentalist activity at every street corner, that Malaysia is about to go the way of Afghanistan or worse, it would dry up foreign investment quickly; or more importantly, that unknown outfits carry no weight in the upper echelons of the US government? That they do in Malaysia so long as they praise Dr Mahathir to the skies and excoriate his political opponents as rabid Islamic fundamentalists is neither here nor there.

M.G.G. Pillai

PS: Meanwhile the "influential American group" -- the American Taxpayers Alliance, as described by Bernama ,is none other than the one described below :.


"Davis sues to find who's funding ads

By Aurelio Rojas

(Sacramento) Bee Capitol Bureau

(Published July 21, 2001)

Buffeted by a month of television ads criticizing his handling of the state energy crisis, Gov. Gray Davis sued Friday to force his critics to reveal their identities.

The San Francisco Superior Court suit filed by the Democratic governor's political committee alleges that the American Taxpayers Alliance violated California's Political Reform Act by failing to register with the secretary of state.

"They passed the deadline the minute they put that ad on the air," Davis' attorney, Joseph Remcho, said at a Sacramento news conference. The commercial began airing June 18 and ends with the catch phrase, "Grayouts from Gray Davis."

Garry South, the governor's chief political adviser, took issue with the ad's message, but conceded those views are protected by the First Amendment.

"But you have the responsibility under California law to reveal who is paying for commercials if they fall under the political realm, and these clearly do," South said.

Remcho said groups that run issue-oriented political ads don't have to disclose their contributors, but those who advocate for or against candidates are required to do so.

"All it takes, in our view, is for the judge to take a view at this ad and decide whether it's an anti-Gray Davis ad or something that contributes to the general educational knowledge of the state about energy," he said.

The Washington, D.C.-based American Taxpayers Alliance is run by Scott Reed, a Republican strategist, and the ad was produced by a consultant with close ties to the Bush administration.

Reed has declined to identify his group's contributors, and the organization does not have a listed telephone number. The governor contends the contributors include electricity generators that Davis has accused of overcharging the state.

With the energy crisis likely to play a prominent role in next year's governor's race, the administration is also seeking to blunt the ads' political impact.

The suit seeks an injunction requiring the American Taxpayers Alliance to disclose all its contributors by July 31, the next state filing deadline. The case has been assigned to Judge David Garcia, with a hearing set for Aug. 13.

The ad at the center of the case is one of three commercials airing in California that criticize Davis. South said one ad was produced by a group with a similar name -- the American Taxpayers Association -- about which even less is known. In all, South estimated that nearly $2 million has been spent to broadcast the ads.

The Bee's Aurelio Rojas can be reached at (916) 326-5539 or


American Taxpayers Alliance - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - The American Taxpayers Alliance started running a TV ad in California last week attacking Governor Gray Davis for failing to protect the public from rising energy costs. The campaign-style ad doesn't promote a rival candidate, but features fuzzy, unflattering close-ups of Davis while assailing his record. So who are the American Taxpayers Alliance? Surely they're a group of concerned citizens who are worried about spiralling energy prices in California, right? Um, wrong. The "American Taxpayers Alliance" is actually a front group for hundreds of corporations, including Texas-based Reliant Energy.

Reliant Energy are proud to list James "rent-a-hatchet" Baker and Bush fundraiser Steve Ledbetter on their board of directors. So, Californians - energy companies are selling electricity to you at vastly over-inflated prices, then spending the profits on TV ads attacking your governor for failing to stop them. How do you feel?

Suit Filed Over Political Ad

California Governor Gray Davis's committee to re-elect is suing the American Taxpayers Alliance for airing television ads assailing the governor's handling of the state's energy crisis.

The committee maintains that the American Taxpayers Alliance is violating the Political Reform Act by not attaching its name to the ad, which, they say, has a clear political bent, and is an obvious attack on the governor just one year before the 2002 gubernatorial elections. The ad features grainy footage of the governor and ends with the catchy motto "Gray outs from Gray."

"In violation of California law, [the American Taxpayers Association] is spending millions of dollars in California's most important election without revealing the source of its funds or disclosing its expenditures," argued lawyers from Remcho, Johansen & Purcell in their complaint for injunctive relief filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court. "That's not how we conduct campaigns in California."

The American Taxpayers Alliance, a DC-based, right-of-center lobbying organization, has spent some $2 million on the ad campaign, according to Governor Gray Davis Committee lawyers.


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