March 2, 2013
by Din Merican
As we are already under the onslaught of the UMNO/BN propaganda machine in the weeks leading up to the 13th General Election, a little nugget has popped up that reminds us of the characteristics and attributes of the incoming government.
If you recall in 2008 UMNO-BN began acquiring the services of very expensive international public relations consultants including APCO and FBC. In both cases the contracts were exposed and eventually canceled. But not after much ink and video tape had been spilled on ad hominem attacks on Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition, while blindly extolling the greatness of PM Najib Razak. These articles were portrayed as ‘journalism’ but they were in fact anything but.
One of the people at the center of this scandal and abuse of government power was the American Joshua Trevino. In January Josh Trevino filed a report with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Unit. Any American doing work on behalf of a foreign government or politicians has to proactively register these activities with the Department of Justice.
In it we see and are reminded of a few interesting things.
- Trevino was working on behalf of the Prime Minister’s office through the companies APCO Worldwide (Washington DC), FBC Media (London, now defunct) and the David All Group (Washington DC, now defunct, its employees absorbed into APCO worldwide).
- Trevino is no longer doing work for the Malaysian government since at the very least the 3rd quarter of 2012
- Trevino received payments totaling $389,724.70 from May 2008 through April 2011 for the blogs he posted at MalaysiaMatters.com (now defunct) and MalaysiaMonitor.com (also defunct) and efforts to place other opinion pieces in US media.
- Trevino also was paid to visit Malaysia in 2008 and to attend the 3rd International Conference on the Muslim World and the West as part of his activities related to MalaysiaMatters.com
- Josh Trevino was a conduit through which payments were made in 2010 to 10 additional hired writers who published blogs and articles in the United Sates frequently attacking Anwar Ibrahim and the Malaysian opposition. These amounts totaled $130,950.
These individuals included
- Brad Jackson (received $24,700) who published articles attacking Anwar Ibrahim at the conservative blog RedState.
- Ben Domenech (received $36,000) who published articles attacking Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the conservative blog RedState including this one and this one on the Huffington Post.
- Claire Berlinski (received $6,750) who published essays attacking Anwar Ibrahim at the conservative blog Ricochet.com here.
- Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld (received $30,000) who published essays at FamilySecurityMatters.org attacking Anwar Ibrahim an Georgetown University here; a contributing editor and director of the New York City based American Center for Democracy and one of the key proponents of Islamophobia-fear in America.
- Seth Mandel (received $5,500) who viciously attacked Anwar Ibrahim at FrontPageMagazine, the National Review, Daily Caller and other conservative blogs.
- Chuck DeVore (received $3,000) former member of California State Assembly who ran for the US Senate in 2010 and lost in the Republican primary. Currently works at a conservative Think Tank. He sent out emails and published essays attacking Anwar Ibrahim and was debunked here.
- Rachel Motte (received $9,500) who attacked Anwar Ibrahim frequently at a now defunct blog called the New Ledger. One of her essays was so outrageous that she had to remove it when she was threatened with a law suit by a former US Ambassador for its libelous statements. (see my blog here). Rachel also posted at the Daily Caller and other conservative sites.
- Christopher Badeaux (received $11,000)
- David Brown (received $2,500)
- Kevin Holtsberry (received $2,000)
Let us repeat. All of these individuals were paid BY THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT to publish essays that praised the Malaysian government and attacked Anwar Ibrahim in AMERICAN MEDIA and make it appear like they were independent, UNBIASED writers. This is a breach of journalistic integrity at RedState, Huffington Post and every other outlet that carried these frivolous essays.
This also reflects the ethics of the Malaysian government and its belief that it can throw a few million dollars to paper over the massive corruption taking place under its purview simply by slinging some mud at its political opponents.
Furthermore, the irony of the propaganda is amazing. In Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim is regularly attacked as being a Jewish agent and American agent. However in many of these articles the paid writers attack him for being a terrorist sympathizer, an agent of the nefarious Muslim brotherhood and and frontman for radical Islam, who hides behind a facade of moderate Islam.
Trevino himself has become the target of some ridicule. He was about to join the staff of the Guardian when information about his writing-for-hire activities was revealed to the British paper, which promptly canceled his contract.