Behind every great fall is the media
SOMETIME in June 1971, President Richard M. Nixon was looking at his daughter’s wedding photo published in the New York Times.
His eyes were drawn to the story beside the photo – this was the start of the end for Nixon.
The Pentagon Papers.
Then came a series of stories in the Washington Post which reported about an unassuming break-in at the Watergate office complex which turned out to be a Nixon administration scheme to wiretap conversations in the Democrat headquarters and the link to Nixon’s re-election campaign machinery.
The Watergate Scandal.
In 1974, Nixon finally resigned.
These incidences draw a remarkable likeness to what is happening in Malaysia presently.
Malaysia Today has leaked out several signed statements (eg: the IGP’s alleged link to the underworld which has not been addressed or rebutted by the police chief) and lately, high level official government documents (i.e. the classified Cabinet papers on the Port Klang Free Zone scandal which shows that the Cabinets of the Mahathir, Abdullah and Najib administrations were well aware of the PKFZ dealings).
There are more similarities:
1. The Pentagon Papers were the US military account of activities during the Vietnam War which showed that the Lyndon B. Johnson administration had plans to invade North Vietnam although Johnson kept assuring the public there was no such thing. But the Pentagon Papers that were leaked out to the press during the Nixon administration also embarrassed the Kennedy administration (clandestine policies regarding the French, Indochina and Southeast Asia).
In Malaysia, three administrations are said to be linked to the PKFZ scandal – the Mahathir, Abdullah and Najib administrations – and therefore likely to be implicated if the matter goes further.
2. The person who leaked out the documents (Pentagon Papers) was found guilty of theft, conspiracy and espionage. As for the Watergate Scandal, there was a hunt for Deep Throat, the secret source who leaked out information to Woodward and Bernstein of Washington Post.
The website which published the Cabinet papers on PKFZ, Malaysia-Today, is arguably linked to Raja Petra Kamarudin and he is being hotly pursued by the authorities. The hunt is also on for the ‘malaysian’ Deep Throat in this case. The Najib administration admits that the documents are bona fide.
3. NYT was ordered by Nixon not to print any more articles on the Pentagon Papers. NYT refused, and the government filed a suit against it. NYT had to stop publication for about two weeks at one point, but it finally won the case. By then, the Pentagon Papers were leaked out to other newspapers around the country, making it impossible for Nixon to file suits in every city where these papers were published.
In Malaysia, there were intermittent problems accessing Malaysia Today for a couple of days. Local netizens promptly set up mirror sites, gave out advice on proxy servers and provided OpenDNS configurations for the more technically inclined. As a result, the leaked PKFZ Cabinet documents have already gone around the world three times.
Do these similarities end here or will this mark the beginning of the end of the Najib administration?