Homeland Security Director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton said the complaints reflect the US’ determination not to allow itself to be abused by corrupt foreign officials.Meanwhile this week Bloomberg reported that Wachovia Bank laundered $380 billion in drug money and received.... a $160 million fine. Oh, and they had to promise never never never to do it again. As Alternet points out, if you were actually busted selling Mexican drugs on the street, you'd go to jail for many years (and have your assets seized). But laundering Mexican drug cash? No problemo! I'm sure we're all safer now that Chen Shui-bian's family had two homes seized, and those Mexican drug cartels, duly warned, are running for cover.
“This serves as a warning to those ... officials who abuse their power for personal financial gain and then attempt to place those funds in the US financial system,” he said.
Running around the net this week is Ben Goren's A Very Regional Leader, hilarious comedic send up of the President's policies. Looking forward to more. You'll need some comic relief for the next couple of news items....
The Ma Administration's curtailment of Taiwan's ability to engage in independent action on its own behalf continues... Today's Taipei Times reports a couple of terrifying developments. First, that Chinese tourist who "wandered" into a sensitive area was probably a spy looking at Taiwan's cyberwarfare center.
A former government official who handled intelligence matters under the former Democratic Progressive Party administration told the Taipei Times earlier this week that the Ma case was far more alarming than it first appeared and hinted that political intervention may have played a role in the decision not to charge him.I blogged a couple of posts below about the quiet importance of the RDEC; here's a good example -- the government's cybersecurity program is conducted under its aegis. Somehow this tourist accidentally stumbled into a sensitive area that contained this program. The TT report goes on to say:
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that aside from the off-limit computer warfare command area, which falls under the Ministry of National Defense, the area also houses the government’s Information and Communication Security Technology (ICST) center, a little-known unit under the Executive Yuan’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission that plays a crucial coordination role in ensuring information security for all government agencies. In the government hierarchy, the ICST ranks above the ministry’s computer warfare center.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) in February last year reported that the National Security Council may have ordered the National Security Bureau to cease recruitment of agents to work inside China.Of course,a spy swap would be understandable. Even a quiet repatriation would be acceptable, if the government in Taipei could be trusted to guard the island's interests. But in the context of other moves, it gives every appearance of being just more service to Beijing.
A drawdown in human intelligence in China and a deprioritization of China as a counterintelligence target would make it even more difficult for Taiwanese agencies to determine what information Chinese spies are looking for and what has been compromised, the source said.
The former official suggested that in its efforts to foster closer relations with Beijing, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government may not only have imposed further restrictions on espionage against China, but could also have downplayed the Ma incident.
Asked if Ma [the spy, not the Regional Administrator -- MT] knew what he was looking for on May 25 — in other words, if he knew of, or had been directed to ascertain, the location of the ICST center — the source said it was “very probable.”
Speaking of serving Beijing, it turns out that another Uighur activist won't be able to get a visa to come to Taiwan:
After exiled World Uyghur Congress president Rebiya Kadeer was denied entry into Taiwan last year, another Uighur activist yesterday said he would not be able to make a scheduled trip to Taiwan because the Taiwanese office in Washington was still reviewing his visa application. World Uyghur Congress vice president Omer Kanat was supposed to accompany Kadeer's daughter, Raela Tosh, to Taiwan to attend screenings of The 10 Conditions of Love, following the official release of the movie on DVD in Taiwan last month.It is shameful that Taiwan blacklists Kadeer, but let's recall that not only is it allied to the CCP, but the KMT government actually claims East Turkestan for "China". The KMT has a long history of working with the CCP against local activism on issues of independence for the more recently colonized territories. GUT leader and Chthonic star Freddy Lim said it best:
Guts United Taiwan (GUT), which is hosting the screenings of the film on Kadeer, was originally planning to invite the US-based exiled leader, but learned recently that after being denied entry into Taiwan last year, the Taipei government had placed her on a three-year blacklist.
“It's ironic that officials from China can come to Taiwan any time, while human rights advocates from other countries like Kadeer and Kanat are banned from coming to Taiwan,” he added._______________________
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