The Malaysiakini headline asked about the Lingam tape, Is the tape authentic? That's the panel's job.
Many Malaysians believe they already have the answer, so why bother to ask anymore or even have an investigating panel?
Then, some aren’t interested in nor will accept what the panel will discover, unless of course by some delightful miracle, the panel's findings fit their already set-in-concrete belief about the tape.
Their attitude would be influenced by a mix of (1) distrust in any government’s appointed panels (call it ‘independent’ with a capital ‘I’ or whatever, and the public would still be pretty much unmoved, (2) a frustrated public’s eager willingness to believe in anything against the integrity or conduct of the establishment, and lastly but not least, especially for the PKR crowd, (3) the silver bullet to bringing Anwar Ibrahim back in legitimate running for the general election through overturning his corruption conviction, by proving through the tape that he was 'fixed' by a dodgy judiciary.
Bakri Musa, a columnist for Malaysiakini, wrote of the authenticity of the tape:
"The quality of the recording is such that it is unlikely to be a fake. With today’s forensic capabilities, it would be foolish for anyone to even attempt this. The lawyer concerned was speaking on his cell phone, meaning, there will be the inerasable digital trail. My monthly cell phone bill details my outgoing and incoming calls. Because of the quality, the video could not be shot surreptitiously as with a cell phone a la the earlier “nude ear squat” episode. Besides, such a device was probably unavailable back in 2002."
OK, that means that more dated equipment was used to record it, probably something quite bulky, unlike the modern palm-size slim-line cell phone camera. Bakri asked what some of us did – though many couldn’t be bothered as it’s a heaven-send-come gift for Anwar Ibrahim, so why look a gift horse in the mouth - yes, some of us share Bakri’s intriguing question on why the taping was made in the first place. Indeed, why?
He reckons that if we ignore the most common and obvious reason – stupidity – and kaytee believes we still shouldn’t dismiss that - he offered a few possibilities:
1) Vanity. He said that when man (or woman) have passed the thrill of bragging about their accumulated monetary wealth, he (or she) would seek some other 'trophies' (a good word from Dr Bakri) – Bakri offered some typical example,“like an embellished royal title or additional wives (for Muslims). If you already have those, or cannot acquire them, then the next intoxicating fantasy would be to be a kingmaker, or fancying yourself as one.”
Indeed – hmmm, my mind leaps to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I wonder on which level of the pyramidical hierarchy would a Malaccan (RM250,000, unless you're a VVIP's wife) 'Latuk Seli' sits?
Bakri reckons this possibility for a lawyer would be for him to brag, in later years, that he had judges in his pocket, a sort of kingmaker in the world of the Malaysian judiciary. Bakri said: “Years later in your old age, your skeptical grandchildren might attribute your boasts to nothing more than the rambling of a senile mind, unless of course you have the video to prove it!”
2) Arrogance. Bakri explained that “Humility is when you could manipulate the nation’s judiciary and have the quiet satisfaction; arrogance is when you flaunt it.”
Maybe the recording was associated with an arrogant need to flaunt it, perhaps within a closed circle, which as the Chinese have warned us way beore ‘osmosis’ was scientifically proven by Western scientists: “Even water can get into an egg!” or was it the other way around?
3) The third possibility that Bakri offers actually questioned the authenticity of the tape despite his earlier assertion that it’s likely to be authentic.
He said: “I do not put it below this shyster to put on this monologue with an imagined targeted senior judge at the other end, a la Lat’s old cartoon, and then purposely ‘leaked’ the tape out. It would certainly be a headline grabber. As for a motive, rogues are known to do this to each other when they have a falling out. There is one quick way to check this: examine the tape to determine when it was manufactured.”
Er ... “examine the tape to determine when it was manufactured”? Hmmm ......
Now, how would that confirm whether it was a monologue, because the videotape wouldn't be able to show evidence that there was no one at the other end? Even Lingam’s phone bill details wouldn’t confirm that unless there is a date-time stamp on the videotape for the association to be made between ‘real calls’ (to that judge) at that time, to disprove a monologue.
Then we may imagine the next step would be to prove the authenticity of the date-time stamp on the tape ... alas, with the proving process going on ad infinitum.
4) Bakri said that of course there is a last possibility, which incidentally was my suspicion right from Day 1, that it was an insider’s job, by someone close to and trusted by the lawyer.
Bakri reckoned it could be an employee’s scheme to get even with his or her boss just in case he [the lawyer boss] would get nasty in future. He declared that knowing how law firms’ employees are treated in Malaysia, this is a real possibility.
Kaytee believes we also mustn't also discount the tape being surreptitiously made by a close friend or relative of the lawyer.
Some years ago, there was a scandal involving an Indian politician, a rising star in a Malaysian political party. He liked to tape his salacious romps with the ladies for subsequent viewing, maybe to admire his own conquests or to wank off during a lean spell.
He was said to have consensual you-know-what with the wife of another Indian. His nephew removed one of those tapes and allowed that to reach public viewing. Unfortunately it was the one involving the other person's wife. Unable to face the shame, she committed suicide. He plummeted like a falling comet.
Ah well, you choose which possibility is most plausible for the making of the Lingam tape.
Next, I will examine the issue from the Anwar Ibrahim’s side.