One Hø's Response to "[vnbiz] Intel Vietnam refuses to pay bribes"

Dear Anh Hoanh,

Could you please expand a bit on your statement, "The US is the ONLY country in the world that has the anti-corruption practices act", to explain whether or not this means the US is (a) the only country with anti-corruption laws, (b) the only country with effective anti-corruption laws, (c) the only country with one set of laws specifically called the "Anti-Corruption Practices Act" or (d) some other meaning? The wording and grammatical mechanics of that statement seem to invite misinterpretation in the USA's favour.

I initially wondered about this because i remembered that while living in Hong Kong over 1990-1994 that territory had already instituted a very rigorous set of anti-corruption laws complemented by an enforcement infrastructure that was world-renowned for its effectiveness. And, according to Google searches on the American Bar Association, US anti-corruption laws seem to date from 2000.AD, though i didn't have time to confirm that conclusively.

Next, i was reminded of the curious naming of the Operation Iraqi Freedom which avoided the then most prevalent keyword of the Bush Admin's pro-war propaganda, "liberation". It would be just too revealing to call the US invasion of the sovereign state of Iraq, "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (OIL). No?

Just joking. But around the rest of world not dominated by the Fox network and other pro-US-Bush-Admin media i think it's been pretty obvious from the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq that that war has always been primarily about controlling oil supplies and resultant wealth (and pollution).

Often less obvious have been self-serving links between the Bush Admin', Big Oil and the Bush family's ties to the Saudi regime, Dick Cheney's Halliburton, which was virtually granted a monopoly on repairing the damage the Bush Admin' has been causing in Iraq, along with arms dealers like Carlyle (with its long, well-documented Bush-family ties to the Saudi bin Laden family). (Cf http://www.google.com/search?q=bush+family+arms-dealers+oil-companies, in particular "'Frauds-R-Us' - The Bush Family Saga", which has entries about both Halliburton and Carlyle. Otherwise, if you're not a rabid neocon , just watch or read Micheal Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11".)

Now, if that's not yet another example of the USA's long history of highly sophisticated INSTITUTIONALIZED corruption, i don't know what is.

Like the leadership debate, there seems to be yet another glaring gap between principles and practice when we discuss anti-corruption efforts.

But how do we measure and rank institutionalized corruption? Because most accepted international corruption indices (now also "indexes") are based on legal definitions of corruption most will have difficulty measuring corruption based on legal loopholes or institutionally accepted practices that allow corruption to leak in legally.

Still, just to get an idea of how the US ranks on corruption, internationally -- without counting the institutionalized corruption inherent in political campaign contributions, media patronage, etc -- see for example the "2006 Corruption Perception Index" of Transparency International [pdf] wherein the US ranks 22nd, after Chile.

Also, i did stretch my free time a bit to use the US-dominated World Bank's Governance data to construct a chart of 20 arbitrarily selected nations' "Corruption Control" rankings, including the USA and Vietnam. I'd suggest it's significantly revealing of the USA's position. I posted it here.

Here it is, again (click on it to enlarge it):

I'd also submit that the VNExpress report (BeLow) on Intel's anti-corruption role primarily highlights most news media's foci (now also "focuses") on news involving what the TV ad-industry calls "Jiggles & Jolts", ie representations of sex, money, violence, etc, to attract and hold viewers attention. Jiggles & Jolts sell the news just like they sell TV game shows. Just as your own anti-corruption efforts went unreported, Anh Hoanh, i'm sure hundreds of other laudable efforts before Intel's have just not been judged "news-worthy".

Last but not least, i'd suggest we should not forget the pervasive impact bribes still have in the editorial choices of Vietnam Inc's PR Department, ie, the nation's entire state-owned news media.

Just yet another couple of dong's worth -- for whatever that's worth (max VND16,198/USD according to Vietcombank, but VND16,200/USD at a Go Vap jewelry shop, yesterday).

With regards,

On 8/15/07, Tran Dinh Hoanh <tdhoanh@xxx.com> wrote:
[ Vietnam Business Forum ]

Dear CACC,

According to this VNExpress article, Intel Product Viet Nam has signed with the management of the Advanced Industrial Zone of HCMC a memorandum on business ethics, rules of conduct and "saying 'no' to corruption." This is the first momorandum of this type in Vietnam. The US General Consul in HCMC also signed this momorandum.

And I am very a happy that this is a US-based company. The US is the ONLY country in the world that has the anti-corruption practices act that prohibits its citizens to engage in corruption practices overseas.

When I was in Vietnam, I was solicited into many multi-million-dollar deals with under-the-table payments required. I refused all of them (which made some of my solicitors very upset and kept me poor).

But I told them, "I am an American lawyer. My job is to teach my clients to keep the law. And the US law is very clear: 'No payment under the table, no kickback, no bribe.' Sorry, no deal."

I hope that US companies will happily follow Intel to lift up the American ethics torch overseas. And I am very happy to see that the US government is involved in this ethical effort.

Have a great day!

Tran Dinh Hoanh, Esq., LLB, JD
Washington DC
AD (Andi) Marshall
eMail: admarshal [at] gmail [dot] com
Zone: ICT (IndoChina Time, GMT/UTC+7)
Web: http://admarshall.googlepages.com/
Post: HoChiMinh City (ex/or SaiGon), VietNam
Quote: "Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none..."
Source: Shakespeare, 1623, "All's Well That Ends Well"
Get it at Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2246

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