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Philip Dorling & Nick McKenzie
Sydney Morning Herald
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charges are the result of a ”set-up job” which the politician ”walked into”, according to an assessment by Australia’s peak intelligence agency. A leaked US state department cable reveals that Singaporean intelligence officials told their Australian counterparts that Dr Anwar engaged in the conduct for which he is accused, a claim he has steadfastly denied.
Australia’s Office of National Intelligence also states the conduct was the result of entrapment by Dr Anwar’s enemies.
The cable is one of several that deals with the highly explosive private views of senior Singaporean officials, including claims that:
>Malaysia is in a ”confused and dangerous” state due to its incompetent politicians;
>Thailand’s political elite are dogged by ”corruption” and the country’s crown prince is ”very erratic and easily subject to influence”;
>Japan and India were struggling to deal with China’s influence due to their ”stupid” behaviour;
> and some Asian leaders wanted the junta to retain power in Burma to ensure the country’s stability.
The cable that deals with Dr Anwar’s sodomy case, dated November 2008 and released exclusively to The Sun-Herald by WikiLeaks, states: ”The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligences services and [Singaporean elder statesman] Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted’.”
The document states the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment on the basis of ”technical intelligence”, which is likely to relate to intercepted communications.
The ONA is also recorded as saying that Dr Anwar’s political enemies engineered the circumstances from which the sodomy charges arose.
”ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, ‘it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway’,” the cable states.
Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia and carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years.
Dr Anwar, a former Malaysian deputy prime minister, was jailed in 1999 on charges of corruption and sodomy after a falling out with then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
He later had his sodomy conviction overturned and was freed from jail in 2004.
In 2008 he was charged again with sodomy. Dr Anwar has maintained the case against him is fabricated and trumped up by his political enemies who fear his political resurgence.
The case against Dr Anwar has drawn widespread international criticism and has included some bizarre twists. Earlier this year, a prosecutor in the sodomy trial was dropped after she was accused of having an affair with the star witness.
The witness, 25-year- old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, worked as an aide in Dr Anwar’s office. He has accused the 62-year-old of sodomising him in an apartment in Malaysia.
Earlier this month, Australian politician Nick Xenophon travelled to Malaysia to observe Dr Anwar’s ongoing court proceedings, which were adjourned.
In December 2009, a month after ONA’s brief assessment of Dr Anwar’s case, the Malaysian criticised Kevin Rudd for not meeting him during his visit to Australia. He accused Mr Rudd of appeasing Malaysia’s ”corrupt leaders” by snubbing him.