APCO and Malaysian Government: A Pakatan Rakyat Point of View


March 30, 2010

APCO and Najib: Tian Chua*’s Take

Tomorrow (March 30, 2010), Barisan Nasional parliamentarians will be gearing up to crucify Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim (below) for his comments on APCO. The MPs might think that they are doing the BN government a favour by defending Najib and his high-flying consultancy company.

police interrogate anwar 110310 anwar pc 02In the minds of most BN lawmakers, defending the government is equivalent of defending the country. By the same logic, people who criticize the government are simply traitors to Malaysia.

I would like to invite my friends from the other side to think harder, and look harder. In fact, it does not require a lot of effort to find out the connection between APCO and Israel.

But before I go further, I wish to make myself very clear on this; the discussion has NOTHING to do with the ‘Jewish Question’. There is a great difference in being Jewish and being the adherents of ideological Zionism.

Malaysians are often proud to proclaim solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people. We have also maintained an independent foreign policy and have had a long record of being fully committed to the cause and principles of the non-aligned movement.

In this context, it is hard to understand how our prime minister could hire a public relations firm that is well known for its shady ties with international Zionism? Why should we trust a company with Zionist agenda to handle Malaysian strategic communications?

Not just another Jewish firm

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has raised several critical questions in Parliament on the similarities between the slogans ‘1Malaysia’ and ‘1Israel’. He also challenged the government to justify spending RM23 million of taxpayers’ money on APCO.

NONEThere is also the question of why didn’t Najib (left) and his government engage local public relations firms to undertake such work?

According to APCO’s own statement, its responsibilities cover a wide scope – beyond communications. “APCO’s work has included communication support for a broad range of reform initiatives undertaken by the government of Malaysia, especially in the areas of creating jobs, promoting education, and strengthening delivery of services to the people.”

Indeed, it is strange that this clarification did not come from Najib or the Prime Minister’s Office.

The reason Pakatan Rakyat raised these issues was not for political point-scoring, but because they warrant genuine concern for national security.

APCO Worldwide is based in Washington DC and has 23 offices all over the world including Tel Aviv. It is common knowledge that many of its key personalities and advisers are associated with Zionist Israel, e.g. Shimon Shein (former Israeli Ambassador to Germany), Itamar Rabinovich (former Israeli Ambassador to the US), etc.

APCO and ASERO

But APCO cannot deny that its operators in Tel Aviv have close links to the Zionist regime. Its CEO in Israel, Gad Ben-Ari, was a personal adviser of the late PM Yishak Rabin. APCO in Israel undertakes various communications and strategic development work for both corporate and governmental organisations.

Also, the relationship between Israel and APCO is more than merely having an office in Tel Aviv. APCO’s activities in the Zionist state go beyond the civilian sectors. Notably one of the members of Apco’s International Advisory Council is Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, who was a former security chief for the Israeli government.

NONEAPCO’s involvement in various intelligence and security-related projects is done through its strategic partner and sister company ASERO Worldwide. While APCO’s expertise is in the field of communications, ASERO specialises in homeland security and risk management consultancy.

APCO and ASERO have many overlapping consultants and management members. For example, Doron Bergerbest-Eilon who sits on APCO’s International Advisory Council was also founder and president of ASERO Worldwide.

Doron Bergerbest-Eilon was formerly a senior ranking security official of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). He was the head of the protection and security division and held a position equivalent to the rank of major-general. His dedication to Israeli secret service has even earned him a prestigious Director’s Recognition Award by the U.S. Secret Service.

Mara Hedgecoth, the daughter of APCO CEO and President Margery Kraus also sits in ASERO as Vice President. At the same time, she also serves as Vice President and Director in APCO Worldwide.

ASERO’s Senior Vice President, Carl Truscott was another tainted figure under Bush Administration. Carl Truscott was the Director of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau.

But he resigned in August 2006 after a report by the Justice Department found he had wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, wasted millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethical standards by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.

Recruited from Mossad

ASERO Worldwide advises Israeli military/civilian agencies on strategic and tactical security challenges and provides assistance to both governments and corporations to prepare, mitigate and recover from threats of terrorism and other hazards, as well as to protect lives and critical assets and ensure continuity of operations.

ASERO’s staff are filled with recruits from the Israel Security Agency (also known as Shabak or Shin Bet) and the infamous Mossad. As we all know, these agencies’ standard operation procedures in counter-terrorism include torturing suspects, assassinations, etc.

In 2006, APCO and ASERO introduced Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to Israel, and helped to develop Israel’s airport security system – the Suspect Detection Systems. The TSA was designed by John Magaw, another Apco leading consultant who used to serve as director of the U.S. Secret Service.

Links to Singapore

It is no secret that Singapore and Israel covertly engage in extensive cooperation in the fields of defense and intelligence. The cooperation between the two countries can be traced back to the 1960s.

singapore defence poster 170505Within the high-ranking ASERO directors and managerial officers, the only non-American or non-Israeli appears to be a Singaporean.

ASERO and APCO provide consultancy service on homeland security to the Singapore Government. ASERO, in particular, assists Singapore with technical and intelligence services in aviation and aerospace security. Their services and expertise have facilitated the rapid transfer of Israeli military and security technologies to Singapore.

The two companies are also involved in promoting Israeli participation in long-term research and cooperation in strategic fields that have security or military implications. One such institution is the Singapore-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (SIIRD) established in 1997.

In recent years, ASERO has actively participated in many counter-terrorism activities. In the quest for academic exchange, ASERO joined the Centre of Behavioral Science (CBS). The objective of CBS is to serve as a “platform for the transfer and exchange of leading-edge knowledge and ideas which contribute to the transformation of the life of individuals, organisations and society at large”.

Access to sensitive material

Against this background, there are ample of reasons for patriotic Malaysians to question the wisdom of engaging Apco. There is no doubt that APCO does not share the vision and objective of our nation-building. It is not surprising that ‘1Malaysia’ has not been resonating well in our local context.

In fact historically, ‘1Malaysia’ sounds too similar to the various one-nation movements around the world. Unfortunately, the one-nation slogan has become inevitably associated with conservative tendencies.

As we know, ‘One Israel’ was the slogan of a failed attempt to forge unity in a fragmented political landscape. Then there was also ‘One Britain’, which had been the theme of notorious UK Conservative politicians and far-right, anti-immigration groups.

john howard malaysia visit 301106 talkingIn Australia, ex-Prime Minister John Howard (left) formulated a ‘One Australia’ policy in 1980s. In essence, ‘One Australia’ was a reaction against multiculturalism and it insisted that Australia must retain the domination of the Anglo-Saxons.

Howard’s ‘One Australia’ theme was later picked up by racist politicians such as Pauline Hanson who founded the One Nation Party. This party’s sole platform was based on fiery anti-migrants and anti-foreigners rhetoric and policies.

Surrendering sovereignty

A year after launching, the concept of ‘1Malaysia’ is still too ambiguous to the majority of Malaysians. Although the slogan has generated lots of hype, there is no substance in it.

In fact, Malaysians of all ethnicity are equally lost in this mantra-like rhetoric. The ‘feel-good’ effect cannot sufficiently cover the disappointment or disillusionment over inaction in addressing real issues affecting the nation, such as corruption, falling productivity, poverty, national unity etc.

Our concern is more than just wasting tax payers’ money on all those glitzy advertisements, billboards, songs, concerts, essay-writing competitions etc. We must address the core issue; how secure can the country be when we voluntarily expose all governmental functionaries to a private firm with a strong foreign interest?

In its work, APCO has been given access to many highly sensitive government materials which I believe even most Malaysians are denied access to. It would be absolutely naïve for us to believe that APCO will handle our state secrets ‘professionally’, especially when we run into conflict with global powers.

I hope legislators and leaders of BN would pay some attention to this serious issue. If you are truly patriotic, stand up now. Please do not surrender the fate of Malaysia into the hands of foreign powers.

*Tian Chua is member of Parliament for Batu and is also director of strategy for Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

23 thoughts on “APCO and Malaysian Government: A Pakatan Rakyat Point of View

  1. “If you are truly patriotic, stand up now. Please do not surrender the fate of Malaysia into the hands of foreign powers.”–Tian Chua.

    This is nonsense. It only shows that this MP from Batu is as paranoid as anyone who is ill-informed. Scare tactics employed here wont work. Looking at it rationally, Tian Chua comments confirm that APCO and ASERO are very good in their respective fields and the government has chosen the best to represent them in promoting the 1Malaysia concept. It can be argued that Najib’s government is serious about re-imaging Malaysia in the eyes of the rest of the world.

    Singapore should be worried that APCO is also representing Malaysia on grounds of national security. But it is not, I think. Then why should we, if we are employing the best in the business. Politics aside, APCO is a professional firm and has its own ethical code for dealing with clients, be the private sector companies or national governments.

    The question to ask is whether the Najib government is justified in spending rm23 million to sell 1Malaysia and why it has not engaged local PR firms to do the job. Tian Chua, stop playing the Zionist card; you should ask Pakatan Rakyat to concentrate on delivering its mandate to the people in Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan.

  2. The title of this Post suggests that it is of the Good Guys ( Malaysian Patriots=Pakatan ) of the country against the Enemies of the State ( BN & APCO ). Mr Tian Chua has a point…why engage a dubious foreign PR firm ?

    Whatever happened to MALAYSIA BOLIH ? ( or maybe Foreigners are simply better … see how many Sons of the Soil they send overseas annually since dunno when, spending Billions of the other Rakyats’ money ? )

  3. Ahmadi Hussein,

    You missed Tian Chua’s point.

    This article is meant to rebutt accusations and media demonisation of Anwar by UMNO regarding Anwar’s links to the Zionists such as with Wolfowitz just because some American Jewish groups are disgusted with the Govt’s unfair attacks on Anwar eg sodomy trial.

    You are taking a very narrow view on this issue.

    It was UMNO who started playing the Zionist card on PKR and Anwar.

    It is payback time… worst still, Najib uses taxpayers to engage a firm run virtually by the Jewish diaspora and almost all of them are Israel sympathisers or financial backers of Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinians.

    I suggest you begin your accusation on UMNO first regarding the Zionist card.

    How silly can you be in trying to attack Tian Chua for playing the Zionist card!!!!

  4. If what Tian Chua revealed here is accurate, Malaysia has engaged a firm that is very closely linked to and has worked for (and profit from) the Zionist. Malaysia’s foreign policy stand is staunchly against Zionism (rightly or wrongly, that’s not the point here). So when the government appoints and pay such a firm, it is not in sync with its foreign policy. The govt should be able to find a suitable alternative – even local ones to ‘donate’ 23 million to. So far, this world famous PR firm has only been able to put Najib’s 1Malaysia in a spin, going by the farcical arguments that keeps going on about it. If appointing such a firm (again – if Tian Chua is right) is ok, then it should be alright to get mossad (through another world famous security firm probably) to assist the Government or PDRM on national security – because I hear that mossad is the best in the business. We may say that Singapore has diplomatic and trade relationship with Israel and Malaysia works with Singapore, but we don’t get to choose who our geographical neighbours are.

    Tian Chua has all the rights to play the Zionist card, because it is the government’s policy to be anti-zionist. The opposition rightfully asks the question when the government acts contrary to its own policy – besides questioning all government policies. By extension of the Government’s involvement with APCO, would it be alright for a private malaysian company to trade with a private Israel company?

  5. As I see it, this is political tee for tat. UMNO accuses Anwar Ibrahim of consorting with the Neo-Cons, CIA and liberals and conservatives against our national interest. They have even called him a “traitor”.

    Now Tian Chua is saying that UMNO is guilty of putting our country’s security at risk by engaging APCO with link to the Zionists in Israel and the Jewish lobbyists in the US Congress as Malaysia’s public relations advisor.

    Politics is always at play and we have kept in the dark by UMNO and its cohorts. Pakatan Rakyat can be accused of the same thing.

  6. One of the first clients of APCO’s new office will be the Malaysian government, which is retaining APCO to assist in evaluating its capabilities to communicate through new media. APCO will also assist the Malaysian government’s new leadership by sharing recent developments in strategic communication undertaken by governments in Europe, North America and Africa. Separately, APCO will be providing support in Washington, D.C., to Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States.

    http://www.apcoworldwide.com/content/News/press_releases2009/malaysia0809.aspx

  7. ABOUT APCO WORLDWIDE

    Founded in 1984, APCO Worldwide is an award-winning, independently owned global communication consultancy with offices in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO clients include corporations and governments; industry associations and nonprofit organizations; and seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune’s Global 500. APCO offers services related to business and finance; media, public opinion and society; and government and public policy. The firm is a majority women-owned business. For more information, please visit http://www.apcoworldwide.com.

  8. Xenophobia and anti-Semitic views have long come to define Malaysia. I don’t believe it will stop under Pakatan. It is a game both sides play and will continue playing.

  9. It is not paranoia. The Zionist/Neo-con connections of ASERO , the company APCO has strong links with, is in the public domain, just Google it . Most of their Senior Team members, especially the founder and their Management Team were former Israeli Intelligence .
    To accuse your political opponent of sleeping with the Devil is one thing, to then sleep with the Devil yourself is something else !!!

    God help Malaysia !

    It interesting that both Anwar and Najib are now throwing accusations at each other when it is becoming more apparent now than ever that both of them are in fact being screwed by the Devil but on different beds of course . :)
    I wonder what Tun Mahathir has to say about that but I won’t be amazed either if he in fact turns out to be the Devil’s original apprentice ! :)

  10. Yes, I agree with Mr Bean that the very powerful anti-Semitic, therefore strong Islamist stance, that Malaysia has will continue under the Pakatan govt when it comes to power. So maybe the Chinese will be spared from being the whipping boys, only to be replaced by the ‘evil Zionist regime’.

    Ahmadi Hussein,
    Singapore has no qualms about getting help from the Jews who are experts in protecting themselves, including their expertise in image-building.

  11. If the Devil is the main man, I wonder who is the jaded first wife, the jealous secong wife and who is the itchy bitchy latest collection? :)

  12. There is nothing wrong with the Jews, folks. They are humans like all of us. Its’s the Zionists, the world is in danger of .

  13. I agree with many of the readers view here to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.

    The problems faced by Palestinians and the Muslim world are not caused by Jews by the Zionists (they include christians too ie Zionist Christians).

    It is about differentiating between Malays and UMNO-Malays. The one ruining the country with racist policies are not Malays in general but UMNO-Malays, and to be more specific, the pariah UMNO Malays.

    The people who prefer to play on race issues are not the Chinese in general but the MCA-Chinese.

    Many of the Muslims in Malaysia, use the word “yahudi’ in strong derogative terms. No it is Zionis, not yahudi. The fundamentalist right wing Christians are equally bad when it comes to anti-Islam issues.

  14. Look, even ORTHODOX JEWS HATE ZIONISTS and they made it clear in public they hate Zionist Jews in Israel and elsewhere.

    They are strong supporters of the Palestinian.

    Click here for more on a group of ORTHODOX JEWS WHO HATE ZIONISTS

    A group called Neturei Karta.. see below

    WHAT IS THE NETUREI KARTA?

    EXCERPTS:

    Neturei Karta opposed the establishment of and retain all opposition to the existence of the so-called “State of Israel”!

    Neturei-Karta is the Aramaic term for “Guardians of the City.

    The name was given to a group of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem who refused (and still refuse) to recognize the existence or authority of the so-called “State of Israel” and made (and still make) a point of publicly demonstrating their position, the position of the Torah and authentic unadulterated Judaism.The group was founded in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisroel. Agudas Yisroel was established in 1912 for the purpose of fighting Zionism.

    Over the years, a number of Neturei Karta activists and followers settled outside of Palestine. Some of the reasons that these individuals abandoned the country in which they and their families had lived for many generations (having lived there many years prior to the establishment of the illegitimate so-called “State of Israel”) include; ideological refusal to live under the illegitimate heretical “Israeli” regime, them being exiled by the Zionist government for their insistence of remaining independent of the illegitimate heretical regime or them being unable to live a normal family life due to them and their families being persistently harassed, repeatedly incarcerated and many times even physically tortured by the Zionist police and agents.

    The Neturei Karta are fighting the changes and inroads made by political Zionism during the past one-hundred odd years. The Neturei Karta refuse to recognize the right of anyone to establish a “Jewish” state during the present period of exile.

    Orthodox Jews who believe in the anti-Zionist ideology which Neturei Karta is known for, number in the hundreds of thousands.

    Neturei Karta oppose the so-called “State of Israel” not because it operates secularly, but because the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law.

    All the great rabbis who in accordance with Jewish Law opposed Zionism at its inception did not do so merely due to consideration of the secular lifestyles of the then Zionist leaders or even for their opposition to Torah heritage and rejection of its values and practices, but due to the fact that the entire concept of a Jewish state is in direct conflict with a number of Judaism’s fundamentals.

    Condemnation of and segregation from anything connected to or affiliated with the so-called modern day “State of Israel” is based on the Talmud, the key fundamental doctrine of the Oral Tradition handed down by G-d to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

    Jews are not allowed to dominate, kill, harm or demean another people and are not allowed to have anything to do with the Zionist enterprise, their political meddling and their wars.

    Neturei Karta forbid any participation with the so-called “State of Israel” or any of its subsidiaries. Neturei Karta followers do not participate in “Israeli” elections nor do they accept any aid from “Bituach Le’Umi” (Social Security), and the educational institutions of the Neturei Karta reject any form of financial support from the so-called “Va’ad HaYeshivos” (equiv. to Department of Education).

    The Zionist state employs a set of chief rabbis and uses religious parties to ornament their state with a clerical image. They study the Torah with commentaries altered to clothe the words with nationalistic nuances. Our rabbis have countless times proclaimed that it matters little which individuals or parties govern in the Zionist state because the very establishment and existence of the state itself is to be condemned and to be deplored.

    The true Jews remain faithful to Jewish belief and are not contaminated with Zionism. The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them.

    Neturei Karta deplore the systematic uprooting of ancient Jewish communities by the Zionists, the shedding of Jewish and non-Jewish blood for the sake of Zionist sovereignty and the Neturei Karta favor a peaceful transition from the present Zionist rule to a non-Zionist entity.

    The Neturei Karta regret that the Zionist state has usurped the holy name of Israel and that the Zionists so often pretend to speak in the name of the Jewish people and assume the right to act on our behalf. Only those rabbis who have not been affected or influenced by the poison of Zionism, can be considered the spiritual leaders of today’s Jewry.

    The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!

  15. Local PR firms?

    This is an international sell job. Which local PR firm can stand up to this mandate?

    And what is RM23mil for international consulting on M’sia’s image which needs alot of help right now…. relative to things like a billion a year for our 1M’sia F1 car?

  16. If Nik Aziz had said that they can be friends of Satan then what the fuss about Jews. APCO is a marketing company and with the connection that they had then it will be more easier to perform. Is ‘Frank’ a Indian-pariah?. Could be he had no knowledge about UMNO and he is also a Zionist of Tian Chua’s clone.

  17. tak(chee)bai

    Tell me about UMNO that I don’t already know?

    I certainly want to know more about UMNO’s newly out-sourced racist polices to another of its sponsored NGO, PERKASA

  18. “Tak Bai” sounds chinese to me. And chinese usually have 3 names. So I thought it is proper to gave Tak Bai, a middle name, “Chee”

  19. This is a big blow to the credibility of our elite Administrative and Diplomatic Service. (PTD). They are the ones who belong to the so-called High Income Group and they are the ones who are paid by the taxpayer to think of all those things that APCO is slowing feeding us.

    I am saddened that my colleagues, who by and large have security of employment so that they can advice the government without fear or favour just as APCO is doing , are being side-lined.

  20. ‘Frankchee’ sound to be stupid about politics. If you are not Malaysian then just close your mouth. Or try to show off at any of the political forum.’YesFrankChee’Bai.

  21. Malaysia working together with Zionist?. Soon we can make a visit to Israel?. How stupid is it being manipulate by Tian Chua (who bite the policeman and wagging tails to Taiwan). Government giving out secrets for the sake of communication?. Another lame excuse by Tian Chua even by DSAI. What is 1Malaysia? 1Malaysia is an on-going campaign announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on September 16, 2008, calling for the cabinet, government agencies, and civil servants to more strongly emphasize ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance.While 1Israel was an alliance of the Labor Party, Meimad and Gesher created to run for the 1999. Are PKR MPs too stupid the difference and is it too wrong to promote 1Malaysia for the good cause?.

  22. Tak(Chee)Bai

    That hurts, huh? Next time you should watch your mouth when making insulting remarks anothers on this blog. You come in, try to be uppity-nose with your comments, and that’s what you get.

    Make some intelligent comments, perhaps we can excuse you for your smart-assed insults.

  23. “Singapore should be worried that APCO is also representing Malaysia on grounds of national security. But it is not, I think. Then why should we, if we are employing the best in the business. Politics aside, APCO is a professional firm and has its own ethical code for dealing with clients, be the private sector companies or national governments.

    The question to ask is whether the Najib government is justified in spending rm23 million to sell 1Malaysia ….”
    – Ahmadi Hussein – March 30, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I can forgive your loyalty to UMNO but not your ignorance.

    No, it’s not about justification for money spent – after all it’s only RM 23 million. Schucks, it costs the Malaysian tax payers a lot more to buy a submarine that could not submerge !

    You said yourself that Singapore should be worried but she is not but why, really ? I knew something was cooking when that old fox Harry Lee called by last year and left his calling card on both the ruling and opposition state governments . If a reunification agenda is on the card or if it is a matter of cleaning up the house to bring in the investors and for the good of the country , then the sooner done the better !

    But the rakyat has the right to be vary when they know that their government is dealing with a company with Zionist/Neo-con links. The rakyat has the right to be assured that the government is just giving away RM 23 million and not pawning away our underpants as well. When the NEM frees up the economy the rakyat wants to know what state assets are being given up , why,who is buying them, with whose money and what are the other options opened. This is about purely about our national security and national interest. We do not want to go from the frying pan to the fire.

    If you think the Neo-colonials are bad for the country, you cannot imagine what the Zionist/Neo-cons will do to us !!! If you are not scared, you should!

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