I was trolling around looking for something else when I found this article (in Romanian). It says it is quoting a Mediafax article but I can’t seem to find the original. Nonetheless, here’s what the Emissary from Our Great Father in Washington had to say:
“Putem să avem cei mai buni procurori, cei mai buni poliţişti, dar fără o justiţie care să poată să rezolve aceste cazuri corect şi rapid nu se întâmplă nimic”, a spus Mark Gitenstein la o conferință privind reforma sistemului judiciar, organizată la București de Departamentul american de Stat.
Since our Great Father’s Emissary does not speak Romanian and the text is missing from the American Embassy’s website, I’ll re-translate back into English what he (probably) said:
“We could have the best prosecutors and the best police officers but without a judicial system that can resolve cases quickly and fairly, nothing will happen,” said Mark Gitenstein [the American Ambassador to Romania] at a conference on reforming the judicial system being held in Bucharest, organized by the American State Department.
I tell you what, he sure has some balls to get away with that. Obviously Romania’s justice system has some serious flaws, there’s no doubt about it. But coming from Gitenstein is a little rich.
Let’s review Mr. Gitenstein’s own history, shall we? First he was a lawyer working for the government and then he became a private lobbyist for a number of major firms, including military weapons contractors. I won’t even get into who is profiting from the “anti-missile shield” being installed in Romania as we speak (also warmly supported by Gitenstein). Let’s focus on the legal stuff:
From 1999 to 2001, Gitenstein reportedly lobbied on behalf of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and several other defense contractors to get Congress to amend the False Claims Act, a law first passed during President Abraham Lincoln’s administration that provides rewards to public employees for information exposing fraud by government contractors. The Justice Deaprtment stated that between 1986 and 2007 the Act was responsible for recovering $20 billion for fraud. Gitenstein worked to weaken the Act.
This guy personally (and for profit) worked to weaken an act that reduced government fraud. Delightful.
[H]e also served as counsel to Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, which successfully pushed to force almost all class action suits into the federal court system, and lobbied to add more business-friendly judges to state courts.
Yes, this is exactly what the Romanian judiciary needs to be like!
In fact, the sole reason Gitenstein didn’t get a job in the government again when Obama and Biden were elected in 2008 was because all of Gitenstein’s business lobbying. In other words, they didn’t trust him to work as a government lawyer any more because he was likely to show too much favoritism to his former business clients. But because he was an influential friend of Vice President Biden (Gitenstein used to work for him), he got handed a consolation prize of being the ambassador to Romania.
And what did Gitenstein do when he got to Romania? Well you might be interested to read this interview in Q Magazine with Silviu Craescu, a Romanian who used to work for Gitenstein directly:
Silviu Craescu reveals, exclusively for Q Magazine, the way Romanians are being treated and exploited inside the United States Ambassador’s residence, how an university graduate is being commanded to wash the silverware or how he should watch the Ambassador’s dog, and not lastly, how Mark Gitenstein was involved in the presidential campaign in 2009.
Romanian version of the same interview is here. Basically this poor guy was given a ton of unpaid amount of work to do and when he complained about it he got fired:
One day, I received orders from the Ambassador and his wife, through Marian Bajenaru, employed as a footman at home, who was on vacation (in fact, spending some free time awarded by the Ambassador’s wife without mentioning this in the clocking, but paid in U.S. taxpayer money), who said that he had received an email with their wishes, about how to wash the silverware in the whole house and how to do the cleaning, including myself. I have this email to confirm my statement.
I washed silver-plates the best way I could, although this was not my task and without any assistance and without being instructed in advance on what particular materials or non-toxic solutions to use in order to clean and polish the silver; and still wasn’t good enough. When they arrived, the Ambassador and his wife complained that I did not polished the silver properly.
I stayed after night several times, at the residence, at the express request of the Ambassador when they left Bucharest, only to guard his dog, because it didn’t like to sleep alone.
So nice that they’re cheating the American taxpayers. But wait, otherwise this is just Gitenstein and his wife being pompous assholes (no surprise there) but it’s not exactly illegal. Oh wait!
Q: It is a practice to use the Romanians for various professional activities in the residence, without having a legal form of work, but to be paid on the black market?
Silviu Craescu: Yes. It is a very common practice and a very profitable one. Sure I can give you examples and support those assertions with evidence. This happened also during the other Ambassadors” representatives, beside Mr. Gitenstein, and it is a common practice in the U.S. diplomatic mission in Bucharest, where most officers and employees of the Embassy use Romanian people, both in private or official representation activities, without proving them with employment contracts recorded at the Territorial Labor Inspectorate-Bucharest. In this way, the Romanian state is robbed of taxes that aren’t being paid and the U.S. Embassy, through its head, encourages illegal employment in Romania.
Not often you can commit labor fraud in two countries at once :)
Read the entire interview for all the disgusting details. But of course the Americans say it’s all one big lie and the guy is just making the entire thing up after working there for years and getting a personal letter from Joe Biden (Gitenstein’s boss) about what a great job he (Craescu) was doing. Yep. All a lie.
Well all that set aside, no matter how grossly corrupt and terrible and awful the Romanian judicial system is, at least one thing positive can be said about it. No matter how many bribes, no matter how much corruption, no matter how slowly it moves, no matter how inefficient it is, at least no (post-1989 revolution) Romanian judge has ever ordered the execution of an innocent person.
Of course you’ll never hear a word of contradiction or critical analysis of Mark “My Dog Gets Lonely” Gitenstein’s lectures on how Romanians should operate their own country from anyone in power in this country because the entire government is beholden to the United States. Remember, he only scolds us because it’s for our own good, like all Daddies have to do sometimes.