Have you got your banned mag?


#1

The DPP government has banned issue no. 43 of Next Magazine (Yizhoukan) for publishing secret documents which reveal the corruption of former president Li Denghui. 7-11 has slavishly gone along with the ban by not selling the offending magazine. However, it is widely available in small backstreet shops. At least, it is in Taibei. I am interested to know whether people in other parts of Taiwan have been able to buy it.

I bought three copies so I can give the spares to any friends who haven’t managed to buy it. I am trying to do my bit for press freedom by carrying the magazine around with me and blatantly reading it on the bus, MRT or wherever I am. Any other ideas for how to flout this censorship?


#2

I can’t get a copy so could you give us the important points? Is there any question that the documents are authentic? What is the DPP saying about the veracity of the allegations? What is Lee doing now- doesn’t he back one of the non-DPP parties? What is that party’s platform?


#3

Well, I’m sorry to say I can’t answer your questions yet. The whole issue is pretty complex and I haven’t had time to delve into it. Can anyone do us a favour and sum up the issues?


#4

Former National Security Bureau cashier embezzled a large sum of NSB funds and fled the country, some say to red China, others say to Amerika. Embarrassed the hell out of the people who should have been overseeing him.

Later, he gave a newspaper faxes of confidential documents detailing secret NSB funds for the exclusive use of Lee Teng-hui and not subject to legislative scrutiny. This does not seem to be disputed.

Lee used the money (NT$3.5 billion – that’s BILLION) to buy a year’s worth of diplomatic recognition from South Africa, to buy presents for his aides and various other purposes. This part is disputed, I suppose, as there’s no way of knowing what he spent the money on. HE doesn’t seem to be telling.

The whole deal is that the government is trying to treat this disclosure of corruption in Taiwan at the highest level as the publication of “state secrets.”

The government is preparing to get farked, big time, on this.

Human rights and press freedom in Taiwan? Yeah, and monkeys fly out of my butt!


#5

Oooh, look!! Today’s papers have reports containing a statement from Taiwan’s ambassador to S.A. at the time that the US$10 million WASN’T for diplomatic recognition at all – it was just a big-hearted US$10 million gesture of goodwill to the ANC (who by a sheer coincidence were the ruling party at the time) – NOT a gift to the S.A. government.

Whew! I feel so much better now.

Aren’t Taiwan politicians really just a bunch of really nice, generous guys? Warms the cockles of my heart!


#6

These ROC bribery for diplomatic recognition scandals are most revealing to the extent that the 30 or so countries doing so are based only upon monetary incentives to not appease Beijing. It appears these shameless “friends” of Taiwan expect handouts and nothing else particularly motivates them otherwise. What if the funds stop?

Will one still be able to claim “country status” with a straight face?


#7

First of all, no one has alleged that any of the slush funds were actually used for personal gain. So let’s not throw around the term “corruption” lightly.

Nevertheless, I agree that it is sad that the Taiwanese government needs to resort to “buying” friends in the diplomatic arena. Clearly the “friends” it gains in this manner are not true friends.

However, let’s not be hypocrites – Taiwan is hardly alone in these type of actions. Much of the foreign aid dispensed by U.S. and other countries is also a thinly veiled tool to buy diplomatic influence. The difference is that Taiwan needs to do it stealthily lest it incurs the wrath of China.


#8

Sorry, SCL, but as far as I’m concerned, appropriating money from the public coffers for the use of an individual without it being subject to legislative scrutiny IS corrupt, as is trying to silence the whistle-blowers with cries of “endangering national security.”

Whether or not other countries do it makes no difference whatsoever.

And FYI, there have been several newspaper reports alleging that Lee used some of the money, maybe not for direct personal gain, but to buy gifts for aides and to “repay favors.”

These are either true or false, but I guess we’ll never know because Lee’s the only one who knows for sure. I would say that this entire situation is corrupt and that’s exactly the word I choose to throw around.


#9

Sandman, as you are well aware, diplomats
don’t actually do a hell of a lot but chatter
to each other about what ought to be done, and
they have to maintain a fairly comfy lifestyle,
too… Somebody has to pay for their paper, pens,
apartments, etc…

I am always wondering if the work I do is worth
more or less… I feel more, but it is easy
to see that right business makes you into a slave
because it makes you feel that you have to earn
that little extra sliver, and that only your
humble devotion can make you actually deserve it…
But the irony always remains the measure
of your talents is seldom, if ever, reflected
in your real earnings, unless you are both gifted
and extraordinarily lucky at the same time…

I am saving my corporate hand-outs so I can go
write literary novels nobody is going to want
to publish… Does that make any sense? Hardly.
I’d rather spend it all on cheap whores and
whiskey! See – and I still go out at night,
believing in free, gentle love… Not mean-minded
slutting, but easy-going slow-tongued frolicking…
Meanwhile, the illusion of propriety is so interesting
a defeat for all of us…

Hypocrisy breeds contempt… I understand that
people do not talk here… It is hard enough
to get an office girl to say “Booo!” let alone
some irresponsible, selfish higher-up techno-
bobbie…

Remember, the government need not “justify” its
actions according to the letter of the law…
It only need decree its rationale: this asiatic
way is hard for the Western mind… I cannot
think of a good parable, we need an analogy here.
A riddle… Tell me, what do the camel and the
cat have in common?

looks like it’s going to rain…


#10
quote:
Originally posted by sandman: Sorry, SCL, but as far as I'm concerned, appropriating money from the public coffers for the use of an individual without it being subject to legislative scrutiny IS corrupt, as is trying to silence the whistle-blowers with cries of "endangering national security."

Whether or not other countries do it makes no difference whatsoever.

And FYI, there have been several newspaper reports alleging that Lee used some of the money, maybe not for direct personal gain, but to buy gifts for aides and to “repay favors.”

These are either true or false, but I guess we’ll never know because Lee’s the only one who knows for sure. I would say that this entire situation is corrupt and that’s exactly the word I choose to throw around.


“Use of an individual”? Debatable – Lee was clearly using the funds in activities related to his office, albeit in a clandestine and (presumably) illegal manner.

I’m quite sure you can find a report in some Taiwanese paper accusing Lee of any crime under the sun, but I haven’t seen a credible allegation of embezzlement for personal use that has been investigated and reported in a reputable paper.

And arguing that the infringement of press freedoms constitutes “corruption” is stretching the definition of that word I think.

But in any case, my main point wasn’t to argue over semantics, as I AGREE wholeheartedly that there is extreme risk in the executive branch engaging in covert operations that are not subject to external oversight.

I was merely making the point that Taiwan has much less room for diplomatic maneuvering than other countries, and a lot of its diplomatic efforts require a great degree of discretion.

At the same time, I doubt there are any posters here who know where every penny of the CIA budget is going (or SIS or whatever). And methinks buying diplomatic recognition is a lot more benign than training guerrilas or arming paramilitary troopers or the like…


#11
quote:
Originally posted by SCL: At the same time, I doubt there are any posters here who know where every penny of the CIA budget is going.
You're missing the point. It isn't important that every citizen know where every penny goes. What IS important is that there is some sort of congressional or legislative oversight. America is very thorough in this regard. There are even congressman who cannot individually know what is happening on some committees due to the classified nature of some things, but you can be sure that there is some system of checks and balances in place at every level. Here in Taiwan, they're asking us to just trust their judgement - there is no accountability, and [i]that[/i] is why the system is inherently corrupt. [img]images/smiles/icon_cool.gif[/img]

#12
quote:
Originally posted by Maoman: America is very thorough in this regard. [img]images/smiles/icon_cool.gif[/img]

Yes, that’s how we found out about the Iran-Contra deal.

I’m not going to comment on the appropriateness of slush funds, but I see no problem with Taiwan “buying” diplomatic recognition and doing so openly. Why do you think most countries recognize Beijing? I sincerely doubt it’s because of the PRC’s spotless humanitarian record. Strictly economic reasons.


#13

Bypassing or concealing from the legislative power of the purse is a “black op” of national security organizations like the CIA. What is not good is the fact these funds were diverted to US officials for “entertainment”…$400,000 to paint the town red while entertaining Mr. Ford during a few visits is more than a few drinks.

And of that $7 million splurge on US influence peddling including Ford, other undisclosed amounts were spent on Cassidy & Associates. I think $7 million is more than a dinner and show.
The TRI contract with Cassidy is about $1 million annually and is reported by FARA. But wait only $66,000 was reported for six months in 2000…

US Dept of Justice: Foreign Agent Reporting Act

More “soft money” is being spent to wine and dine the US politicians than is officially disclosed.
Gee, wish we had just their table crumbs for the human rights of foreigners in Taiwan.


#14
quote:
Originally posted by Maoman: You're missing the point.

How can I be missing the point when I said I agree wholeheartedly? I guess I was merely pointing out some “mitigating circumstances.” And here’s another one

With regard to the apparent bribes funneled through Cassidy & Associates and other excessive costs:

I think it’s important to note the difference between accepting and offering bribes. Many people may be suprised to know that under the laws of most countries (including the U.S.), it is NOT illegal to bribe foreign officials. There has been a longstanding discussion about an international treaty to ban bribery, but thus far it has stalled due to the reality of operating business in certain countries.

Still, offering bribes is clearly unethical and harmful, if not quite illegal. But again, if any country merits extra justification for using bribes in its foreign policy it would be Taiwan.


#15

Wrong. US citizens abroad are criminally subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Plus anyone also using the Overseas Political Insurance Corporation (OPIC) for underwriting their political insurance risks are further scrutinized by OPIC as it is an instrument of the US government. FCPA is included in their commercial insurance policy contracts. However, OPIC just no longer underwrites political insurance for China but it still does for Taiwan. So there are convenient conduits to bypass FCPA!

AIG, however, has filled that OPIC vacuum in China with their own political insurance risk policies and thus have received “most favored” concessions after WTO accension by Beijing. Now the EU is contesting this and for good reasons. Furthermore, their questionable accounting practices included a $92 billion “over valuation” for future business potential. That is in China. The publicly listed company has a very high actuarial risk exposure to China and any politically-motivated business losses to US corporate policy holders there will trigger a huge backlash on Wall Street. There are too many cracking US eggs in the China basket and AIG’s total $200+ billion market valuation will crack due to the excess “goodwill” in their accounting.

AIG is the key leader behind the “China corporate lobby”.


#16

Oops my bad! Did a little research, and it looks like my facts are behind the times. In fact – the FCPA has been US law since 1977. And after 20 years, the OECD states finally signed the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions in 1997, and ratified it a year later. Similar conventions were passed by the Council of Europe and Organization of American States in the last few years.

While Taiwan would not be a party to the any of the above agreements, I wonder if there’s a domestic Taiwanese statute banning bribery of foreign officials?

[Moderator’s note: Taiwan has no such law at the present time.]


#17

No such laws for Taiwan?! Perhaps the Hong Kong “secret society” laws are the best model for Taiwan. They operate much like the RICO laws of the USA.


#18

See this posting
Falun Gong files “RICO Lawsuits”
http://oriented.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000070

which refers to this Washington Post article
[b]Falun Gong Followers In the U.S. Sue China
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A58272-2002Apr3&notFound=true


#19

More on the Li Denghui scandal: