Anwar understood that to thrive and survive in Umno politics by taking the top seat and holding it, he must be perceived as a hero from any angle. (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The sixth chapter of a book about Anwar Ibrahim, being published chapter-by-chapter as a blog, continues where the fifth chapter left off, with Anwar’s web of financial connections which the writer calls the politician’s “money machine”.
The first four chapters were summarised by The Mole in May, followed more recently by the fifth chapter.
In Chapter Six of The ‘I’ Files, Jonathan Smith writes about the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which he says operated secretly from a slum in Lahore, Pakistan after being officially shut down, and laundered money for criminal organisations around the world.
Smith claims Anwar became involved with BCCI through Pakistani associates. He writes:
Anwar relied on a network of front companies anchored by deposits, transactions, and fund transfers through the remnants of the BCCI network, Israel Discount Bank, Al Baraka, Hong Leong, and a Hong Kong-based entity called Hong Kong Venture Ltd.
Through his Saudi patrons, and through the network of bankers, tax lawyers, and financial specialists he employed, Anwar and his cronies established a network for financial transactions and investments through which money was washed again and again over time. It was a very big laundry machine.
Smith goes on to give an example of a transaction which saw US$15 million diverted from various sources into BCCI, then going through Bank Negara Malaysia and into accounts at Hong Leong Bank.
"Anwar was never mentioned by name in any of the wires,” he says.“Many of the institutions shut their doors not long after making a transaction.”
Smith writes that Anwar used these methods to bring large sums of money into Malaysia, not only to increase his personal fortune but to aid him in his plans to topple Mahathir from power.
Smith describes how Anwar continued developing relationships with Western leaders through various organisations (IIIT, APPC, ISIS), inviting them to events and convincing them that “if only Anwar were in charge in Malaysia, here at last could be a perfect Muslim democracy”.
American liberals – amusingly, overwhelmingly Jews – accepted Anwar’s projection at face value. To them, he was their tabula rasa: A Muslim who cared about the environment, about global peace and nuclear disarmament, about social justice – basically, about all of their core beliefs, yet never with any specific detail – Anwar was the noble savage for these men and women who likely believed Malaysia a tropical rainforest where the natives went around naked most of the time.
People with influence in politics were not the only ones Anwar became close to, Smith says:
Unlike Mahathir, who came of age when a poison pen letter could bring down a sitting Prime Minister, Anwar understood that to thrive and survive in Umno politics by taking the top seat and holding it, he must be perceived as a hero from any angle. He cultivated favourable ties with journalists and politicians abroad to build international support; at home, he made the conquest of all of Malaysia’s journalism outlets his next stop.
Anwar had learned from his Saudi patrons that the key to political control is control over appearance and image. His frequent outbursts of anti-Semitism at home were ignored in the West because he had so completely convinced opinion-makers that he would never engage in such a thing (a useful effort after he accused the United States and Malaysia of being run by a cabal of Jews in 2010). In Malaysia, he needed to lock down the establishment Malaysian press.
Besides working to influence the foreign press, Smith says, Anwar worked hard to control Malaysian journalists:
The extent of Anwar’s complete control of the media is hard to express to someone who today might view the BBC, CNN, or any of the plethora of media channels broadly available online and off. Google now makes some of the old press clippings available, and there are certainly archives about, but the number of above-the-fold headlines and opening broadcasts that began with ‘Anwar Ibrahim Rescues…’ or ‘Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim Accomplishes…’ or the equivalent is simply remarkable.
Anwar’s control of the media was very close to complete, a situation he would naturally decry and of which he would pretend total ignorance a decade later. But then, Anwar has always had a talent for righteous hypocrisy.
There’s more to the story of Anwar Ibrahim at The ‘I’ Files.