Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Spying Story has Legs!

Ballots and Bullets, which is offering some really excellent pieces on the election, serves up Bo Tedards' piece on the Spying Scandal that lays out everything quite clearly....
Moreover, the history of these agencies, especially the MJIB (known during the Martial Law era as the Garrison Command) makes such activities seem plausible. Wiretapping has always been widespread in Taiwan, and as recently as Chen Shui-bian’s term in office, the KMT accused him of carrying out quite similar election-related operations. Amid such accusations, a law to prohibit misuse of the intelligence agencies was enacted for the first time in 2005. Ma made a very specific point of including in his inauguration speech in 2008 that under his Administration, illegal wiretapping would not be tolerated, showing that he understood this to be a current issue.
This story is reverberating across the international media, so Tedards' piece is timely. AP had a story the other day; today it was the Guardian, whose article is worth accessing because of the pricelessly loony picture of Ma Ying-jeou they used. BBC also wrote a good piece on it. I've often argued that BBC's pro-China stance is a problem of the editors and not of the correspondents in the field, and their take is good evidence. The article ends with:
The two intelligence agencies have not explained why they allegedly gathered information about potential votes Ms Tsai could get from her supporters, says the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei.

Improving ties
The president has denied receiving any information about Ms Tsai. His campaign spokesman has said that the allegations were without evidence and irresponsible.

The jostle between the two candidates is being closely watched by the US and China.

Our correspondent says that Taiwan's relations with China could take a turn for the better or the worse depending on who is elected.
Note the subheading there -- "improving ties." Nothing in the text discusses "improving ties". The correspondent didn't mention it. Somewhere an editor inserted that reflexively, because the article mentioned Ma Ying-jeou, who is reflexively associated with "improving ties." This error neatly captures BBC's reflexive support for the pro-China side. Note that the reporter, Cindy Sui, ends the piece on spying allegations by affirming the claim that the agents were collecting data on voting patterns.

The last paragraph is wrong, of course -- China relations will take a turn for the better or worse depending on what China does. They could well take a turn for the worse if Ma is elected and China decides it wants to annex Taiwan NOW. D'oh.
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Anonymous said...

Notice the absence of any "special prosecutors" who seem only required to appear if the case involved the DPP.

Can anyone think of a case in which the special prosecutors were brought to bear against a KMT figure?

Michael Turton said...

Several, most recently they made a formal appearance in the Fubon thing. Nothing will come of it since Ma is KMT.

Lorenzo said...

The word you used to describe the sensorimotor movement of BBC editor is very accurate. Fear and pain trigger reflexitivity. It roots so deep that nicotine addiction looks shallow.

green sleeeves said...

This article is in Hanji.

Food for thoughts, even if it's hard to swallow, I tend to agree with the author.

What appeals to most of the "independent" voters right before the election? (assuming green and blue have their minds made up): Some irrational emotional factor, warm-fuzzy-feeling-good factor, a vague feeling that "it will be better if I vote for this person" Like the commercial of Viagra, it shows a gray-haired couple walking on the beach happily, use your imagination, it's just a "unrealistic" vistion that Viaga is selling! The ad of pain medication: a grandma being able to dance with her grandson, to do yoga, becomes active again..

Does Viagra cure aging problem? Of course not! Does pain medication cure arthritis? Not a chance!! But by an association with the positive feeling of hope, it appeals to people's mind, or heart.

Independent voters don't care about the surveillance implemented on Tsai by Ma's administration, they don't care about whether Abian will atend the funeral, Social justice, inequality, soverignty are all on the back burners in the independents' mind, they care mostly about their well-being, their future, hence, appeal to the "feel good" factor in the immediate time before election is the most effective.

Don't forget, if the economy is booming, Ma stands a good chance of being reelected!

My unsolicited two cents. Paint a rosy picture in the last 10 days, please , DPP campaingers!!

les said...

I wonder what Hong Kong's Basic Law would look like if it were drafted now. If the British media's current kowtowing to Beijing is anything to go by, I bet it would be very different.

Anonymous said...

Sadly it seems the DPP campaign is in total disarray and out of focus.

Not a good sign.


Anonymous said...

The negative campaigning totally halted any DPP momentum and made them look no different from the KMT in the eyes of a cynical electorate.