Friday, May 9, 2008

Anything Goes: Chen Shui-bian's Method of Governance

Anything Goes: Chen Shui-bian's Method of Governance
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
May 9, 2008

The Chen Shui-bian regime is about to hand over political power. And yet three ministry heads were forced to resign on the same day due to corruption scandals. They threw wads of money around, ostensibly for the purpose of establishing diplomatic relations. But investigation revealed that it was nothing more than a pretext for graft. The Chen regime is like a house of cards. A single poke from a finger, and it comes tumbling down. The laughable irony is that the Democratic Progressive Party, which has been destroyed from within by Chen Shui-bian, is still standing up for him.

Chen Shui-bian's responsibility is threefold. First. Whether he was directly or indirectly involved in the scandal. Two. Whether he dealt with the scandal properly. Three. Whether he used people responsibly. No matter how you cut it, he cannot deny responsibilty. Yet he acts completely innocent, as if he were a disinterested observer watching a house burning down from the opposite side of a river.

First, Chiou I-jen and Huang Chih-fang each reported back to Chen Shui-bian when the PNG diplomatic relations case was initiated. Later, when problems arose, Huang Chih-fang repeatedly appealed to Chen, asking him to do something about it. Clearly Chen Shui-bian knew about the case from beginning to end. As to whether Chen has an even more direct role in the case is a subject for further investigation by prosecutors and investigators. Based on currently available information, the initial attempt to establish diplomatic relations between the ROC and PNG occurred during the Red Shirt Army "Siege of the City" march. It was also the time when the State Confidential Expenses scandal "Southern Front" exploded on the scene. It is hard to avoid concluding that the PNG case was not what it seemed. Ten years ago PNG talked about establishing diplomatic relations with the ROC. Its asking price then was 500 million USD. Ten years later, the Chen Shui-bian regime wants us to believe that 30 million USD could seal the deal. Obviously this violates all common sense. It is simply not credible.

Knowing full well that the asking price and the market price were too far apart, the project was still swiftly approved, and immediately funded. Therefore when billions in NTD vanished into thin air, no matter whose pockets they wound up in, they must have known well in advance the funds were not for PNG. Chiou I-jen, Huang Chih-fang, and Ke Cheng-heng were in charge of national security, foreign affairs, and national defense. Their posts were unrelated and far removed from each other. If the trio was involved in the case, only one person could have brought them together - Chen Shui-bian. Three grasshoppers clinging to a single rope. All three were A-Bian's cronies. Therefore it is not going to be easy for Chen Shui-bian to shirk responsibility. Were Chiou, Huang, and Ke all taking their orders from the same man? From Chen Shui-bian?

Secondly, an alleged attempt to "establish diplomatic relations" turned out to be nothing but fraud, during which nearly two years went by. What was Chen Shui-bian doing? The President is the highest ranking diplomatic policy decision maker. Yet Chen Shui-bian sat back and watched idly as the Secretary-General of the National Security Council exceeded his authority and usurped control of diplomatic policy. After Huang Chih-fang's complaints were posted on the Net, Chen permitted Ke Cheng-heng, whose job description had nothing to do with diplomacy, to shuttle back and forth. Think about it. A-Bian's overbearing nature is well known. Who else could have delegated authority to Chiou I-jen without his prior approval? Huang Chih-fang submitted several reports of missing funds. Yet Chen Shui-bian never launched any official investigations, either domestically or abroad. What was he waiting for? Whom was he protecting?

Thirdly. Chen Shui-bian's use of people. Huang Chih-fang's previous rank in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was Section Chief. Over the past few years Chen Shui-bian promoted him three levels, to Minister of Foreign Affairs. This forced appointment, left Huang Chih-fang without any real authority. It made him blindly subservient to the Chief Executive, the source of his power. During Chen's "Lost Voyage," Huang Chih-fang's behavior proved all that mattered to him was orders from above, not professional judgment. During the PNG scandal, he obeyed Chiou I-jen implicitly. He only began to get suspicious when he realized his life might be in danger. How tardy an awakening is this? But if one observes his actions, what was he doing, if not replicating Chen Shui-bian and Chiou I-jen's lawless style? He overrode internal safeguards for the disbursement of funds, allowing public funds to enter private accounts. Even though he attempted to make amends afterwards, he did so by ordering his underlings to sweep the matter under the rug. He compounded his error, sacrificing any legitimacy he might once have had.

Over the past eight years Chiou I-jen has held every important post within the Presidential Office, Executive Yuan, and National Security Council. He has always answered to one person alone -- Chen Shui-bian. He has never had to face public opinion or endure systemic oversight. The result has been his unbridled style. As the President and Commander in Chief's shadow, his power as Vice Premier exceeded even that of the Premier. He could even direct foreign policy. How could Huang Chih-fang not obey? Ko Cheng-heng started out as Chen Shui-bian's assistant, eventually rising to Deputy Defense Minister. Clearly he was a climber with considerable ambition. Unfortunately he was merely a bag man and messenger boy for the big boys. That was his role in the Taiwan Goals scandal. It was also his role in the PNG scandal. How many unexposed secrets does the iron triangle of Chen Shui-bian, Chiu I-jen, Ko Cheng-heng still have? Inquiring minds want to know.

Two years ago the First Family scandals were boiling over. The chain of scandals involved "One Wife, Two Secretaries, and Three Doctors." The DPP backed A-Bian with all its might. It paid the price by losing power. The PNG scandal is the sequel to A-Bian's cronyism. The Democratic Progressive Party has already lost its soul. Yet it is betting all its chips on its revered A-Bian.

2008.05.09 02:56 am



從 第一層看,邱義仁和黃志芳在建交案發動之初,皆曾分別向陳水扁報告,後來出了問題,黃志芳亦陸續向他請示;可見,陳水扁對事件始終知情。至於他在此案是否 有更直接的角色,有待檢調深入追查。從既有的訊息看,台巴建交案的發動,是在紅衫軍圍城之際,又是國務費案爆出「南線專案」疑雲之時,難免令人懷疑本案的 背景並不單純。何況,十年前巴紐與我談建交,即要價五億美元;事隔十年,若說扁政府竟圖以三千萬美元達成建交,從外交常理判斷,顯然太過離譜。

如 果明知價格與行情相去太遠,卻仍快速拍板、迅即撥款;那麼,十億台幣最終不知去向,不管落入誰的口袋,恐怕也早就知道不是為了巴紐。再看,邱義仁、黃志 芳、柯承亨分別主管國安、外交、國防,職務關係南轅北轍;三人之所以共同參與此案,把他們拉在一起的線頭其實只有一個:三隻蚱蜢一條草繩,三人都是阿扁的 親信。如此一來,陳水扁在此案的角色,恐怕就不容輕縱。邱、黃、柯三人會不會主要是聽命於陳水扁的單線指揮?

再看第二層,一樁未遂的「建 交案」淪為「詐騙醜聞」,其間將近兩年,陳水扁又做了什麼?總統是外交決策的最高負責人,但陳水扁坐視國安會祕書長越權指揮外交在先,對黃志芳的申訴和請 示置若罔聞在後,更放任職務上毫不相干的柯承亨居間穿梭。試想,以阿扁的霸道性格,若非他主動,會隨便將權力授予邱義仁嗎?且黃志芳幾度報告失金狀況,陳 水扁仍不發動政府海內外部門協查,這又是在等待什麼,或在袒護什麼?

從第三層看陳水扁的用人。黃志芳過去在外交部的最高資歷,不過是一名 科長,幾年間卻在陳水扁拔擢下三級跳升任外長。勉強的任命,造成黃志芳威信不足、歷練不夠,也導致他對長官一味屈從。在「謎航事件」中的表現,黃志芳已顯 示出他「只有上意/罔顧專業」的底蘊。在巴紐醜聞中,他對邱義仁始於服從、終於起疑,甚至自覺身家性命陷於險境,這是多麼遲鈍的覺悟?但觀察其行事,何嘗 不是複製了扁、邱一貉的越軌作風:他跳過部內的安全撥款機制,讓公帑流入私帳;即使事後欲求彌補,也是採取單線指揮身旁親信意圖「私了」。一錯再錯,使他 正當性蕩然。

再看邱義仁,八年來歷任府、院及國安會所有重要職位,從來只向扁一人負責,而無需面對民意或制度的監察,造成他肆無忌憚的作 風。由於「總統軍師」的身影,他這個副閣揆看來權力比閣揆還大,他撈過界管到外交,黃志芳豈敢不從?再看柯承亨,從陳水扁的助理,一步步被升至國防部副部 長,也可謂登天有術。可惜,他的角色仍只是背後那個巨大人物的白手套和傳話人;在鐽震案中如此,在巴紐案亦復如是。「扁、邱、柯」的鐵三角,還有多少沒曝 光的祕密,人民都很好奇。


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