Posts Tagged ‘cover-up’

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart

April 21, 2012

After Top-Level Struggle Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found. 

The headlines are from Saturday’s New York Times. The news article details how Walmart de Mexico—that nation’s largest employer—regularly paid huge bribes to Mexican government officials to approve permits for new stores; how senior management of the Mexican subsidiary was party to the bribery; how Walmart headquarters in Arkansas investigated the allegations of bribery, and how, when the investigations turned up hard evidence, hq proceeded to bury it.

“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” So goes the conventional wisdom, but in this case it was both: the crime was committed by top management of the Mexico subsidiary, and the cover up was by top management of the parent company.

In my business ethics courses we use Walmart as a case study: Is the company ethical or unethical, and is it good or bad for America.

On the plus side Walmart gives employment to hundreds of thousands (more…)

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admits all, apologizes to everybody, including Andrew Breitbart

June 6, 2011

At a circus of a press conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admitted tweeting a photo of his brief-covered crotch to a 21-year old college student, then panicking and lying to cover it up. What ethics rule did Weiner break?

The Golden Rule, for one. He hurt a lot of people, starting with his wife, his loyal Congressional staff, the people who believed in him, and apparently, even Andrew Breitbart, the scurrilous right wing defamer and doctorer of videos.

The nearly universal rule against lying, for another. If we lie to each other society crumbles.

The rule that says do what’s expected of you. The voters who sent Weiner to Congress expected –reasonably—different of him.

In addition to the ethics violations Weiner violated the First Law of Washington Scandal: the cover-up is worse than the crime.  In this respect he is forcing his admirers (including me, as of last week) to question his sanity: What in the world was he thinking when he made up those pathetically lame, unbelievable lies. Nobody, no matter their politics, not even Chris Mathews, believed he was telling the truth.

To Weiner’s credit, and there’s not much in this to his credit, he set the standard for apologizing. No “I’m sorry if you thought…” or “I was under the influence of a new allergy prescription,” or (more…)

The Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara wasn’t Gaza-bound, and the Israelis knew it. Or did they? Needed: Israeli cooperation with an independent investigation

October 25, 2010

 


The Turkish newspaper
Hurriyet reports that the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship carrying supplies for blockaded Gaza, had altered their course to avert a diplomatic crisis.

“During our departure, we said we were going to Gaza, but the coordinates that we gave were to Egyptian territorial waters. Everyone was aware of our course to [the Egyptian port] El-Arish,” Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, said today. “The situation required us to go there.” He added that the U.S. ambassador in Ankara was notified, and told Israeli authorities.

Hurriyet is a credible source, not a mouthpiece for the Turkish government—far from it: it has been so critical of the government and so set on exposing corruption that the Erdogan government, in its most anti-democratic action, is trying to put Hurriyet and its sister publications out of business.

In the same edition the paper reports that the Israeli military chief of staff testified before the Israeli commission investigating the incident that Israeli commandoes fired live ammunition only after the Turks fired first, an account in stark opposition to a recent U.N.-commissioned report into the raid, which said there was “no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship.” (more…)

FIFA response to referee errors: cover up the evidence

June 29, 2010

When you make a mistake the ethical thing to do is to correct it as best you can and take action to prevent a recurrence. Right? Not if you’re the head of FIFA, the world’s soccer federation (football everywhere but in the USA) running the world’s biggest—by far—sporting event.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa has been beset by ugly and blatant refereeing errors that cost the USA team a win against Slovenia, and disadvantaged England and Mexico in their losses to Germany and Argentina.

The most egregious error was the referee disallowing a clear England goal when Frank Lampard’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced a good yard beyond the goal. Instead of tying Germany, 2-2, a disappointed England team went on to lose, 3-1. Just three hours later, another referee gave Argentina a go-ahead goal on a ball hit by a clearly offside Carlos Tevez (see photo).

When the Tevez play was replayed on the stadium’s giant TV screen, the fans erupted and the Mexican players protested to the referee. But the referee held his indefensible ground.

FIFA’s response? “FIFA will not make any comments on decisions of referees on the field of play.” But they did admit one mistake: close plays are not to be shown on stadium TV screens anymore, because it incites fans and leads to on-field arguments. Yes, the truth often does that.

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What’s the true story of the blockade-running Mavi Marmara and the Israel Defense Force: What happened off Gaza? Who to believe?

June 13, 2010

There are two dramatically different stories of the botched May 31 incident that cost at least ten lives and poisoned relations between Israel and Turkey, and perhaps damaged the relations of both with the United States.

In one version, Israeli forces attacked a peaceful group that was trying to deliver humanitarian relief to the besieged people of Gaza; in the other, violent extremists, in league with Hamas, surrounded themselves with naïve civilians while attacking Israeli forces exercising a legal search of a ship attempting to run a legal blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

We won’t know the true story for a long time. The best that could happen would be an objective and unbiased inquiry, but that won’t happen. As George Orwell said, “History is written by the winners.” The Israelis won, and they released video showing Israeli commandos sliding down ropes from helicopters and being attacked with what appear to be metal pipes.

The people on the Mavi Marmara took videos, too. All have been confiscated by the Israeli forces, all except one, snuck past the Israelis by San Francisco-based activist Lara Lee, available here. It records sixty minutes, starting about 30 minutes before the commandos boarded the ship. The dialog is mostly in Turkish, perhaps five percent in English. A brief and admittedly amateur analysis of the video is posted on the website of the United States Naval Institute, here.

Like any government that covers up evidence, Israel is damaging its credibility. Israel’s friends and impartial observers will believe Israel has much to hide, else why would they be hiding so much.

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What’s with the Sestak case: felony, political stupidity, or bad ethics?

May 28, 2010

Ethics Bob has to comment on the Sestak case, under penalty of losing his ethicist license. First, the background.

While campaigning in the Democratic primary for the U.S. senate seat from Pennsylvania against incumbent Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, Congressman Joe Sestak said that the Administration had offered him a big job, hinted to be Secretary of the Navy, if he would get out of the race. He wouldn’t say who made the offer, and the White House wouldn’t say anything. After winning the primary mostly because Specter kept getting confused about which party’s endorsement he was seeking, Sestak repeated the claim, then became coy about who and what, finally clamming up completely.

In the wake of a furor on all sides over a possible felony and cover-up, the White House this morning released its official review of the affair by White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer. There had been an effort, made not by the White House staff but by Bill Clinton, (haha), “to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in [uncompensated] service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.”

The lawyer’s memo gave a traditional lawyer’s analysis:

· We didn’t do it.

· The guy who did it didn’t make an offer, he just asked a question.

· The question wasn’t about a real job, just about an unpaid advisorship.

· It was perfectly legal when he did it.

· Everybody does it. (more…)


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