Corruption at the highest level has sparked a new political crisis in Romania. Peter Janku reports from Bucharest.
No sooner did the Romanian parliament reject an application from state prosecutors to investigate Prime Minister Victor Ponta on corruption charges, then all eyes were on President Klaus Iohannis and the country’s highest judges. How would they react?
Iohannis immediately criticized the highly controversial decision by the parliamentary majority as a decision against justice, and demanded that Ponta resign. Livia Stanciu, president of the high court, said the decision demonstrated that the law in her country does not apply equally to everyone.
Attack on justice?
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Ponta’s allies in his Social Democrat party and in parliament attempted to put a different spin on the story. In a hastily convened session of the Social Democrats‘ executive committee, attended by Senate President and former Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the message was one of solidarity with Ponta. Following the meeting, his statement was terse. „We must protect and support the independence of the justice system, “ Ponta said. Tariceanu added that „trust in the justice system must be restored“ and suggested the formation of a parliamentary commission „to evaluate democracy.“
The problem is that the president, judges, prosecutors and opposition demand the same thing, but can have very different interpretations of terms such as justice, democracy and the rule of law. Ponta is accused of money laundering, forgery, tax evasion, and conflicts of interest. The claims are tied to his working relationship with friend and fellow lawyer Dan Sova: Ponta is said to have billed Sova’s firm for services he never rendered.
Parliament protecting Ponta
Four months ago, Ponta vowed to step down if the country’s anti-corruption authority, known as the DNA, were to target him in an investigation. Since then, he’s clearly revised his position. Now, he is proclaiming his innocence, blaming instead a „politicized justice“ that has „sole power and wants to replace both parliament and government.“
Romania President Klaus Iohannis
According to the country’s constitution, the president does not have the necessary powers to bring the prime minister, senators, and MPs to reason should they stand in the way of justice and prevent the suspension of politicians‘ immunity on the grounds of their parliamentary majority.
The National Liberal Party (PNL), the most important opposition party, also failed last Friday in its attempt to force a no confidence motion against Ponta in parliament. Ponta’s protective shield still remains intact. At the same time, the governing majority has proposed several changes to the penal code to parliament. Observers say that if the changes are approved, they would make it much more difficult for the judicial branch to pursue corrupt politicians.
„Separation of powers in danger“
Professor Mircea Vasilescu, editor of the weekly „Dilema Veche“ warns that the changes would make it impossible to fight corruption at the highest level. At the same time, the separation of powers in the country is in acute danger, as is freedom of the press, said Vasilescu.
Romanian minister quits after ‚thugs and prostitutes‘ comment
The transport minister in Victor Ponta’s government has stepped down over remarks on Romanians working abroad. The move puts additional pressure on embattled Prime Minister Ponta, who many accuse of corruption. (11.06.2015)
Romanian parliament votes against stripping PM of immunity
Corruption probe targets Romanian PM
The rule of law in Romania is just as much under threat now as it was 25 years ago following the end of the Ceausescu regime, according to historian and political scientist, Vladimir Tismaneanu. In June of 1990, the first post-Communist head of state, Ion Iliescu, appealed to thousands of miners from northern Romania to descend on Bucharest and seek revenge for anti-government riots.
Europa schweigt zu den Gefängnissen der gerade in Kumano getödeten US Terroristen aus dem Kosovo, wo Migranten gefangen gehalten wurden, um Gelder von den Familien zuerpressen. Schweigen und nochmal Schweigen, im Steinmeier Verbrecher Kartell, was diese Leute als Wirtschafts Faktor auch im Drogen Handel sehen, weil man dann Mercedes, VW und Porsche u.a. verkaufen kann. siehe Aussage auch von Willy Wimmer über Deutsche Aussenminister und Kollegen, die alle keine Kompetenz haben, ausser als Mitglied in Schwulen Clubs.
Psychologen, Politiker, Diplomaten aber keine Fachleute der Praxis führen die Polizei und Justiz Missionen im Balkan, weil die hoch dotierten Posten im Proporz Verfahren wie bei Mafia Clans vergeben werden. Das kann nicht funktionieren, aber so lässt sich von inkompetenden Berufs Banditen leichter Gelder unterschlagen, auch mit vielen Konferenzen. Drogen- Waffen- Treibstoff- Frauen Handel wird geduldet, gefördert wie der Visa Skandal schon zeigt der Deutschen vor 10-15 Jahren, weil Kriminelle das Auswärtige Amt übernahmen, was bis heute fort gesetzt wird, mit dieser Inkompetenz, weil so so strohdumm ist, das man nicht einmal lernfähig ist. siehe zuletzt auch Ukraine und das Desaster mit der Justiz in Albanien.
Eulex unter Verdacht
Privatisierungs Betrug, als System der Weltbank, Europas und Deutscher Politiker und Firmen im Kosovo und die Franzosen und Amerikaner waren Vorreiter.
Seit Sommer 2014 sollen etwa 100 000 Kosovaren versucht haben, in die Europäische Union einzureisen. Mit Beginn dieses Frühjahrs hat der Strom weiter zugenommen. Jeden Tag fahren ganze Familien quer durch Serbien bis zur ungarischen Grenze. Nach Angaben der Belgrader Behörden haben 60 000 Kosovo-Albaner einen serbischen Pass beantragt, um ein EU-Visum zu erhalten.
„Sieben Jahre nach der Erklärung der Unabhängigkeit und der Unterordnung des Kosovo unter die Vormundschaft der EU stehen wir vor einem Debakel“, sagt Andrea Capussela, ehemaliger Direktor für Wirtschaftsangelegenheiten beim International Civilian Office (ICO) der EU, das im März 2012 aufgelöst wurde. „Die Situation ist schlimmer als vor Beginn der europäischen Mission“, meint Capussela, der gerade eine Streitschrift gegen die Politik der Europäischen Union auf dem Balkan veröffentlicht hat.1 Darin zieht er nicht nur die Wirksamkeit der EU-Investitionen in Zweifel – von 1999 bis 2013 flossen mehr als 5 Milliarden Euro nach Kosovo –, sondern auch die Glaubwürdigkeit der EU-Außenpolitik insgesamt.
Seit vergangenen Herbst versucht die EU-Außenbeauftragte Federica Mogherini den Brand zu löschen, den Eulex im Kosovo gelegt hat.
Capusellas Buch enthält eine Liste der schlimmsten Fehler von Eulex im wirtschaftlichen und finanziellen Bereich wie auch hinsichtlich der Menschenrechte. Demnach hat die Kosovo-Mission weder zu den Korruptionsaffären im Zusammenhang mit Privatisierungen (Telekommunikation, Zementindustrie), Landenteignungen oder Straßenbauaufträgen, noch wegen des mutmaßlichen Wahlbetrugs oder der Einschüchterung von Journalisten Ermittlungen aufgenommen. Selbst in Fällen von politisch motiviertem Mord und von Kriegsverbrechen hat sich Eulex nicht gerührt.
von Willy Wimmer, ehemaliger Staatssekretär im deutschen Verteidigungsministerium und Vizepräsident der Parlamentarischen Versammlung der OSZE
“ Nachdem ein deutscher Bundesaussenminister die Heroinproduktion in Afghanistan zum Grundpfeiler der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung dieses Gemeinwesen umfunktioniert hatte, sollte man Beteuerungen dieser Art seitens europäischer Spitzenvertreter ohnehin keinen Glauben mehr schenken……..Die Perspektivlosigkeit, in die Nato, EU und die Welt nach Lehman-Brothers gerade diese Staaten gestürzt hat, macht sie natürlich und verständlicherweise süchtig bei russischen finanziellen Avancen. Warum im Glauben an westliche Hoffnungslosigkeit verelenden……….“
This is big business. In only a few hours in Belgrade, I met 10 different people who had been kidnapped and held by the gang – some of them in a different house to where Mohammed and Ahmed were kept.
A smuggler who knew about the house told me that over a thousand are extorted every week. There will be inevitable fears of connections between the gangsters and international terrorism.
But there are also more immediate dangers. When they started making phone calls, the villagers told us we should leave. The Afghans were one thing. But what they feared more was who was taking those calls. High powered ethnic Albanian mafia – the sort of men who can take on the Macedonian state in open combat and could be relied on to violently protect their share in the profits from human traffic………………………..
Police are investigating media reports about the alleged large-scale kidnapping of illegal migrants from the Middle East by gangs who are said to be holding them for ransom.
Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Refugees in Macedonia | Photo by: AP / Dalton Bennett
Police said they had launched a probe after Britain’s Channel 4 News programme broadcast a report about hundreds of migrants from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen being held for ransom by gangs in at least one Macedonian village, alleging that local police has been colluding with their captors.
“We still don’t know and are investigating whether suchan event involving the kidnapping of several hundreds of migrants did happen, like the reports say, and were they indeed kept for several days,” said police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski.
The report alleged that the gang is led by a boss of Afghani origin, nicknamed ‘Ali Baba’, who is colluding with the local authorities.
Police said they have raided the house in Vaksince mentioned in the report several times in the past, as well as several other locations, after receiving reports that illegal migrants might be held there.
They said that dozens of people have already been charged with human trafficking, both foreign citizens and locals, and are already serving sentences.
But they said that the smugglers are hard to catch as they often change their hideouts and manage to escape raids.
Police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski admited that Macedonia is struggling to cope with the influx of migrants from conflict-hit countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and that numbers have quadrupled in the past few months.
He said that in the past week alone, some 8,500 migrants entered Macedonian from Greece in railway carriages, seeking to illegally cross the country towards Serbia and then Western Europe.
“There are days when our forces prevent the entry of up to 2,500 people [from Greece],” Kotevski said.
The government recently said it was mulling whether to change legislation to allow migrants to legally cross Macedonia in three days. The authorities hope this will keep migrants away from the notorious railway tracks where most of the kidnappings take place.
The railway line from Greece towards Serbia has also become notorious for train accidents involving the deaths of refugees who travel along it on foot, risking their lives while traversing narrow gorges, often in the dead of night. So far at least 25 people have lost their lives after being run over by passing trains.
The goal of the refugees, as a BIRN investigation showed, is to use the track, which is part of the Macedonian section of the pan-European Corridor 10, to eventually reach the European Union…….
Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research.
Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.
CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists. He further instructed the agency’s health personnel to oversee the brutal interrogations – the beginning of years of controversy, still ongoing, about US torture as a violation of medical ethics.
But the revelation of the guidelines has prompted critics of CIA torture to question how the agency could have ever implemented what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” – despite apparently having rules against “research on human subjects” without their informed consent………………..
B.A., Georgetown University; Master’s degree, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Served in staff positions in U.S. Senate, including Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1979-93.
Bill Clinton applinted him to National Security Council, then as Deputy Director, CIA
Became CIA Director, 1997. Bush kept him on till 2004.
Currently managing investment bank Allen & Co.
In Tenet’s CIA, torture is for defending the agency
The 9/11 attacks placed the CIA in general and George Tenet in particular in a defensive crouch—how had the agency missed al Qaeda’s plot, and what were they doing to assure nothing similar would happen again? Tenet told Bush officials that al Qaeda was so disciplined and sophisticated that the CIA’s normal intelligence-gathering methods (for example, surveillance and infiltration) were useless. He insisted that at “terrorist training schools” al Qaeda members had learned tricks for resisting our usual interrogation methods, and that the only hope of cracking a plot lay in capturing a high-ranking member of al Qaeda and torturing the information out of him. Thus, Tenet explained away his agency’s failure by blaming restrictive laws that had prevented the CIA from torturing. The Bush administration responded immediately by lifting virtually all restrictions; Tenet’s CIA wandered the world, abducting people at will and spiriting them to secret “black sites” where they could be tortured endlessly. To protect the agency from charges of rogue brutality, Tenet repeatedly requested and received permission in writing, and he insisted that a doctor be present during torturous interrogations and that detailed records be kept, including videotapes. Alternatively, he kept the CIA’s hands clean by outsourcing torture to other governments and/or destroying evidence, including his own videotapes.
Tenet feeds false confession obtained through torture to Colin Powell, speeding the runup to war
Tenet’s agents also used torture to promote the interests of the CIA’s bosses, notably Cheney, whose top intelligence priority was linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda and 9/11. Cheney was so dissatisfied with CIA efforts in this regard that he had created his own intelligence service in the basement of the Pentagon. In early 2003, a few days before Secretary of State Colin Powell was scheduled to present the case for the Iraq war to the United Nations, Tenet revealed “new information” he said came from interrogation of an unnamed informant who had revealed details of a close working relationship between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, including Iraqi training of al Qaeda operatives in chemical and biological warfare. Powell, who had reportedly been quite skeptical of the administration case, found the new revelation persuasive; Tenet’s revelation figured prominently in his speech before the U.N. Tenet did not tell Powell that the informant had produced the confession in hopes of putting a stop to waterboarding and other torture; only after the invasion would the falsehood be exposed to Powell and to the entire world.
CIA-Offiziere werfen Tenet Kriecherei und Selbstinszenierung vor
Verbittert rechnet der frühere CIA-Boss Tenet in seinen Memoiren mit dem Weißen Haus ab – reine Show, sagen Ex-Offiziere des Geheimdienstes. Er inszeniere sich als Opfer der Regierung Bush, obwohl er bei den Lügen vor dem Irak-Krieg Mittäter gewesen sei.
Washington – Sechs Ex-Offiziere des US-Auslandsgeheimdiensts CIA haben ihrem einstigen Boss George Tenet schon am Samstag einen Brief geschrieben, in dem sie die Vorwürfe gegen ihn erheben. In dem Schreiben nennen sie Ex-CIA-Chef Tenet „den Alberto Gonzales der Geheimdienst-Community“ – anspielend auf den unter Druck geratenen US-Justizminister. Und weiter: Er sei „eine groteske Mischung aus Inkompetenz und Kriecherei, verdeckt von einer liebenswürdigen Persönlichkeit“.