Parti Keadilan Rakyat has reportedly hired the services of a well known pro-Israeli lobbying and PR firm to promote the party in the United States.
Leaked e-mails, according to web portal FMT, suggest that PKR may have hired Orion Strategies to lobby on their behalf in Washington DC and to arrange meetings in Congress.
Most recently, according to FMT, the firm appears to have been trying to arrange a lobbying visit to Washington for party councilor and Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel. The trip was due to take place in mid-March but was postponed.
Orion Strategies represent numerous right-wing politicians in the U.S. and are also one of the fiercest defenders of the Israeli government. They are infamous for launching smear campaigns against American politicians deemed critical of the Jewish state.
Orion’s Vice President, Michael Goldfarb, even launched a smear campaign against President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign last year, accusing the President of hanging out with critics of Israel.
Randy Scheunemann, a former advisor to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, heads Orion Strategies.
He earned notoriety for helping to establish the ‘Committee for the Liberation of Iraq’, which promoted the case for war in the U.S. media just prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – a war that led to the deaths of 120,000 innocent Muslim civilians.
More recently, Scheunemann helped establish the ‘Emergency Committee for Israel’, a lobbying outfit which has close links to the hard right of Israeli politics and the Likud government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The leaked documents, reported by FMT, suggest that Orion has been soliciting meetings with U.S. Congressmen and Senators for Gabriel, who was originally due to travel with Ibrahim Suffian of the Merdeka Centre.
Orion Strategies appear to have been briefing American politicians about the prospect of post-election violence and unrest in Malaysia.
Orion Strategies wrote that Gabriel would visit Washington to “discuss political developments in Malaysia prior to the upcoming parliamentary elections. Unresolved issues are threatening the integrity of Malaysia’s electoral process and hold open the possibility, if not corrected, of plunging Malaysia into deep, post-electoral civil crisis.”
Not surprisingly, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli has denied that his party hired any consultants, saying he never heard of Orion Strategies. “We believe that we have enough talent among our volunteers and leadership to spearhead the campaign on our own,” he told FMT.
Anwar Ibrahim has previously been quick to condemn the Government for allegedly employ dirty tricks against his party. Now Rafizi is busy denying that Anwar or PKR would hire Washington lobbyists to employing the very same dirty tactics he claims to abhor.
– The Choice –