Spying has been a top topic for some time now. Wikileaks, Bradley (aka Chelsea) Manning, Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers have outed the US for eavesdropping on its allies as well as its enemies, and now Australia has been revealed to have bugged the phone calls of bigwigs in Indonesia.
I’ve even been accused of spying myself, with some cretinous BN cyber-creep commenting on my column last week that I must be an agent of Mossad.
But why, I keep wondering, would I or indeed anyone else bother spending precious time and money on spying when the truth is so obvious for all to see?
For example, it only takes a day or two in Jakarta to see the effects of appalling levels of corruption, incompetence and neglect that successive Indonesian regimes have inflicted on their people.
That the government of a nation as rich in oil and other natural resource could have so comprehensively ripped-off its 200 million people that it still needs to go begging for foreign aid is an absolute disgrace.
As is the fact that it embarked on Konfrontasi with the emergent Malaysia all those years ago, more recently annexed and trashed East Timor, and continues today to commit its customary atrocities against the indigenous peoples of West Papua, or what it claims as its very own Irian Jaya.
Similarly, you don’t have to be an agent of Mossad, or the CIA, or ASIO or any other or kind of spook to all-too-clearly perceive the terrible toll the BN regime continues to take of Malaysia.
A terrible toll in the most literal and obvious sense, what with crony-enriching tolls to be paid wherever anybody is foolish enough to drive. And then there’s the shocking toll of death and injury on the roads that’s all the evidence that anybody could need of poor traffic engineering and inept, corrupt policing.
Then there’s everywhere the literally concrete evidence of even more pervasive rot: countless so-called “abandoned projects” that bear witness to decades of corrupt collusion between so-called “developers” and the authorities that pretend to be responsible for land-use, planning and preservation of the environment.
And another obvious sign of BN’s mismanagement of Malaysia is the rash of Soviet- or People’s Republic-style roadside banners and posters proclaiming the alleged virtues of the Prime Minister and his partners in crime.
Take a break from the tolls, posters and endless traffic jams that infest a nation bereft of anything but the most minimal public transport, and sit down with a Nescafe Tarik and a newspaper, and you don’t have to be a master spy to quickly gain clear insight into why there’s so much amiss with Malaysia.
The regime-repressed press, not to mention the even more ridiculous air media, is, to even the most casual and poorly-informed reader, nothing but a load of propaganda for the regime that’s responsible for the whole ugly mess.
Or as Nottingham University Media and Communications associate professor Tessa Houghton expressed this long-self-evident fact, “the mainstream Malaysian news media is actually more akin to a BN party organ.”
“When the only media functioning as anything like professional news journalism organisations are in Mandarin or online,” Malaysiakini quoted her as adding, “it’s safe to say that there’s something seriously wrong in what aspires to be the best democracy in the world.”
Though the associate professor’s conclusions hardly come as news to those of us who’ve been paying attention to the Malaysian media, let alone intercepting the emails or bugging the phones of the germs responsible for these travesties of so-called “journalism”, the figures her research revealed are most telling.
English-language television’s coverage of the 13th general election emerged as the most biased in favour of the regime and against the opposition, by a factor of about 20 to 1. And equally blatant in its political bias was Malaysia’s alleged “news” agency, Bernama.
In fact Bernama is so blatantly biased, and so painstaking in its efforts to record every lying word uttered in all seriousness by BN bigwigs that any budding James Bond or Mata Hari with a mission to spy on the Malaysian regime would be well advised to skip all the cloak-and-dagger stuff and simply monitor Bernama “news” releases.
Because the truth is simply the reverse of what Bernama publishes. One of countless classic examples of this was its triumphant trumpeting of the laughable “Integrity Pledge” that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak signed before the aforesaid 13th general election.
This worthless document proclaimed the “four principles” that Najib claimed he and other BN leaders would observe during the election:
- Truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability, including not accepting or giving bribes or being involved in corrupt practices in way;
- Upholding and giving priority to the interests of the rakyat as a whole;
- Good governance and transparency; and
- Compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations of Malaysia.
See what I mean? Whatever Najib or any of his BN minions proclaim and Bernama slavishly reports is the absolute polar opposite of the truth. And given that Bernama and the rest of Malaysia’s mainstream media produce this trash in industrial quantities for anyone with eyes to see and hear it, and the basic good sense to simply reverse it to understand the BN regime in all its stark, rotten reality, what’s the point of spying?
Granted it could be a cheap thrill to eavesdrop on calls between Najib and Rosmah and get the lowdown on all the bargains they manage to pick up on their international shopping trips.
Not to mention a bit of a hoot to hear first-hand the latest ploys Najib is plotting with the attorney-general to endlessly stall prosecution of the countless cases of BN criminality, from the Scorpene submarine scandal and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu all the way to the PKFZ and National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) financial fiascos and frauds.
Doubtless there are lots of intelligence agencies recording this and lots of other stuff even as we speak. And hopefully there are operatives in all of them who will eventually get disgruntled enough to leak it all to the international media. But meanwhile, it doesn’t take more than a shred of ordinary, everyday intelligence to espy all the dirty tricks that regimes like Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s are up to.