|The prosecution’s re-investigation of government employees involved in illegal surveillance operations of private citizens can be summed up by two “yes … but” statements. “Yes, there were illegal actions. But Cheong Wa Dae was not involved in them,” it said. “Yes, there were many suspicions (about the presidential office’s involvement). But there is no evidence.”
But most Koreans think _ know _ prosecutors would not trace the Blue House’s role in this scandal till the end, and that law enforcement officers have already given the lawbreakers enough time to destroy evidence.
To rebut these suspicions, the prosecutors need to explain how a vice ministerial-level official can be turned into the “VIP” other officials vowed to serve with unstinting loyalty, and how come the President’s chief secretary for civil affairs did not know that evidence was concealed as confessed by his own men, which became public knowledge of a sort because of the media’s intensive coverage?
Are all these prosecutors so illiterate that do not know the meaning of VIP and a key presidential aide so stupid or negligent?
No less shocking was that the “ethics team” also spied on about 500 _ or 1,000 according to some sources _ political, economic and social leaders, including a former chief justice. Ordinary Koreans do not need a comment from the Supreme Court to know these were “acts that should have never been in a country ruled by law.” Yet the prosecution found signs of criminal offense in only three of them. Are they guardians or destroyers of law and order?
The prosecution seems to have freed President Lee Myung-bak and his aides from another outrageous scandal. Or it has thrown them into a deeper hole if responses from the general public and the political circles, including even the governing party, are any indication.
To soothe public sentiment disappointed with the politicized prosecution, the ruling Saenuri Party is considering introducing an independent counsel or a parliamentary probe. The belated fuss will be better than doing nothing if only it is not part of the self-serving election year politics. Yet the political community should approach this egregious violation of democracy and basic rights, not with their eyes on probable vote calculations but from a sense of mission to revive the dying democracy in this country.
Unfortunately, but inevitably, Lee will likely be the second former president to face an investigation because of what he did _ and did not do _ while in office. We urge in this regard that major presidential contenders, especially the governing camp’s near-certain standard bearer Rep. Park Geun-hye, to start discussions about ways of handling irregularities committed by former leaders, such as who will conduct probes and how, as well as details of the media’s coverage.
Some may say we are going too far, too hastily. However, without some drastic steps like these, the nation will never be able to reestablish democracy and justice.
A comment from a member of the opposition described prosecutors as “monkeys in legal robes.” This is a somewhat derogatory but not entirely inaccurate way to describe an elite group that has made Korea a banana republic.
A piece of good news for them: global warming is turning Korea into a subtropical country.