Well, updated articles on the Tseng influence peddling case hitting the news cycle. The Taipei Times reports briefly....
Politicians in the pan-blue camp yesterday expressed concern about the incident and urged the Ma administration to handle it carefully.Couple of issues. As the media notes, the wiretapping of sitting legislators raised hackles in the legislature. I'd sure like some details on that -- it seems almost too good to be true that SID stumbled upon these conversations while investigating Ker for something else. Another aspect of the case that I have heard dark mutterings about is that the KMT politicians who have recently been knocked out for corruption (Lin Yi-shih, Wang Jin-pyng, Tseng Yung-fu) are all Taiwanese, not mainlanders. Meanwhile the DPP decided to go full-on conspiratorial:
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the incident involves administrative, legislative and judicial issues, and such a constitutional matter should be addressed carefully.
Former Taipei EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡公司) chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) expressed concern about the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) eavesdropping on Ker and Wang, but refrained from commenting further on the case.
Lien’s father, former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), also showed up at the Taipei City Council to cast his vote, but declined to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, conspiracy theories have been fueling the rumor mill, with KMT Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) saying that he saw the incident as “sheer infighting” in the government’s judiciary system between Tseng and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), who led the SID, while others said it was an internal struggle in the Ma administration — infighting between Ma and Wang.
The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday said that the Special Investigation Division's (SID) accusations against Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) were designed to instigate infighting within the ruling party and the judicial system.Meanwhile the DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang came out charging, saying that the wiretapping was illegal and that the whole affair was a dark day for Taiwan's justice system. Su contended that SID chief Huang's reporting of all this Ma Ying-jeou prior to the case breaking -- some media have said that Ma knew a week before it broke -- was an illegal breach of confidentiality in the case, and Ma should not have listened -- that too was illegal, said Su. The whole thing was simply Ma acting as judge in the case. Su was parodying Ma....
...who held a press conference at 4:00 to hack on his rival Wang Jin-pyng. Apple Daily reported:
馬英九表示，經過三天思考，決定發表沉痛聲明；馬英九強調，王金平涉及在野黨司法案件關說，侵犯司法獨立，這是最嚴重的一件事情，也是台灣民主政治、法治發展最恥辱的一天！若不能嚴正面對，台灣將走向無限沉淪。It's hard not to laugh at Ma saying things like this about Taiwan democracy. Essentially, the primary talent of politicians is strenuously denying that salt is salty one day and then indignantly affirming that it is the next. In that respect Ma is greatly skilled.
Ma Ying-jeou said that after three days of consideration, he decided to publish this bitter statement. Ma stressed that Wang Jin-pyng's involvement in influence peddling cases with opposition politicians is a violation of judicial independence, which is a most serious thing, and is the most shameful day for the development of Taiwan's democracy and rule of law! If this is not seriously dealt with, Taiwan will sink into an infinite abyss.
The case offered another comical moment when the prosecutor in the Ker case, Lin Hsiou-tao, said that she had never said the words attributed to her, it was all the SID's doing, and she would never lie, because she is a Christian. LOL. On the serious side, she specifically said that her superior, Chen Shou-huang, who is supposed to have carried Minister Tseng's order to her not to appeal the not guilty verdict, told her to just do what the law says.
For the conspiratorially minded, one of the FocusTaiwan editorials complains that the SID should not have immediately referred the Tseng case to the Control Yuan for administrative investigation, since the SID handles criminal cases. If you were paranoid, you might conclude that Tseng was getting off with an administrative punishment since he was just collateral damage because the real focus of the case was Wang. Keep in mind that SID has no tapes of Tseng asking anyone to do anything, they only have Ker and Wang talking. Ma said that Wang had told him that he had only been comforting Ker. Tseng basically resigned under protest....
Another Wang issue: stories are circulating that Ma wants to punish Wang Jin-pyng for insisting that the cross-strait services agreement be subjected to a review in the legislature, and because Wang has publicly criticized the Fourth Nuclear Plant, both pet projects of Ma. I seriously doubt this. Wang is always making noises that sound kinda mavericky. On ECFA he positioned himself as if he were resisting the President. Wang has consistently criticized the stupid legislative reform that handed control of the Legislature to the KMT. This is faux maverick behavior: Wang stakes out harmless "opposition" to things that are bound to occur, a favorite trick of "mavericky" politicians, giving them room to look independent while still safely remaining within the System. Wang also has an extensive network of connections to DPP legislators (as the Ker case makes plain) and they are always doing favors for each other. Ma must know that Wang has links in the opposition he must placate. Hence, it is more likely that if it is really true that Ma Ying-jeou is going after Wang Jin-pyng, it is because they are longtime rivals within the KMT and not because of Wang's stand on this or that piece of legislation.
You had to love AP's report, which, in a six paragraph piece on the Tseng case, devoted three paragraphs to "analysis". One paragraph discussed how it would hurt the Ma government, and two paragraphs focused on the DPP -- one on how Ker's involvement would hurt the DPP and the other -- yes! -- recapitulating the really really really important fact that Chen Shui-bian was packed off to jail for corruption, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Tseng case. Wouldn't it have made more sense, if AP wanted to engage in actual reporting, that it would spend a paragraph reporting that local media were speculating that the case is the result of infighting within the KMT? After all these years watching the international media trying to report on affairs here, why am I still asking questions like that?
SUPERPARANOIA: It's all a setup, see, to make Wang look like a victim of Ma to prime him for a presidential run in 2016.
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