Adamescu SWATting and Kovesi Plagiarism  

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Another article (after Sevil) that does not give me any particular pleasure but must be, nonetheless, written is on Kovesi and the ethics of her thesis. More specifically, how things we said about Ponta’s should apply to Kovesi’s as well, yet few of us have the courage to maintain that kind of consistency in our own convictions, let alone demanding that Kovesi does in hers.

Kovesi_PlagiarismLet me be clear from the start: I haven’t looked at all the evidence for Kovesi’s plagiarism (ze-dov), but as far as I can tell, she did indeed commit plagiarism – and it’s quite obvious, systematic and willful – and it should be assumed as such. There was even a commission looking at it that decided against revoking the degree, as that would have been to harsh in their view, but rather “unpublishing” it. Apparently, the work is weak and unoriginal.

I should also mention that I’ve no idea if Adamescu’s spouse was the victim of SWATting, but that may very a European version of that mostly North American phenomenon. I find it, however, hard to believe that the Romanian government had anything to do with that episode and it’s most likely a “false flag” PR manoeuver designed to make the Adamescus appear as victims, in a London still reeling from Litvinenko’s assassination.

Quite recently, The Telegraph published an article presenting Alexander Adamescu, the son of imprisoned (for corruption) magnate Dan Adamescu as a victim of prosecutorial overreach on the part of DNA. Shortly thereafter, similar articles in The Guardian and elsewhere (starting back in 2016 with Blueprint’s Wolfe in Forbes) have called into question the ethics of Romania’s anticorruption drive. They are even adding such events to the ammunition against the European Arrest Warrant.

Mr Adamescu is far from being an icon of innocence and was seemingly implicated by more than genetics in his father’s corrupt acts. In the photos accompanying the Telegraph article, he has a less than endearing smile and his spouse is quoted as saying “we are a normal family in London and don’t show off at all” (i.e., we could show off if we wanted to, but we don’t, that’s how awesome we are). The other articles fail to mention anything positive about Kovesi’s DNA achievements which makes me wonder if Adamescu family is refraining from showing off precisely because they’re paying the famously “ethical” British press to build up their image.

And yet, despite the decidedly exaggerated situation presented by those keyboard mercenaries, there is the fact that the activity of DNA is not something I am proud of. As stated repeatedly in my previous articles, DNA should work harder at producing files that are convincing and the trials should afford the accused a standing chance of winning; otherwise, these are no different than Stalinist purges (or Japanese “justice”).

In Minima Imoralia, Paul-Gabriel Sandu makes the point of “ethical consistency” while discussing Kovesi’s plagiarism case ( cc ).

The vast majority of the signatories of the petition for review of all doctorates obtained after 1990, who joined their signature with the words "Ph.D. without plagiarism" [2] and who, through the voice of Liiceanu, believed that "plagiarism can be found by a student of eighth grade and by anyone who, knowing how to read, can compare two pages put together" [3] revised their opinion now. There were no longer signed lists, no conclusions that you can not have “Dignitas (dignity), as long as you steal or using falsehood” [4] In other words, you cannot be an official. Perhaps now the list of those who are authors of a "Ph.D. without plagiarism" can join those who have a Ph.D. with "less than 5% plagiarism".

This syntagm, minima imoralia, which realizes perfectly the reconfiguration of ethical standards depending on circumstances and actually operates as a form of justification for the double standard, describes the moral bankruptcy of Romanian society. It did not work only for Ms. Dr. Imp. (Impostor) Kovesi, but also for many others, whose "flaws" were tolerated for years, because "they were good professionals" and, especially, in the "right" ideological camp. Even if in the fridge, next to sandwiches, they had a few children kneecaps.

In short, the author imputes those who have self-ascribed themselves the role of “moral pillars” and “ethical arbiters” in the case of Ponta their duplicity and lack of consistency. The suggestion is that ethical standards are affected by one’s politics.

Yet this is a losing strategy. If Kovesi is only doing her job much like any other magistrate, then she is eminently replaceable, for it’s the institution and institutional framework that makes anticorruption work worthwhile; if not, then she is a political hack and her work is pretty much an undeclared war on the political choice of the majority. On the opposite side of the pond, some argue that this believe in institutions was fatal, and we have Hungary and Poland as proof (fp-poland).

One could try to defend her by observing that her thesis supervisor(s) are guiltier than her, but that would go for Ponta as well and virtually all the plagiarizers in Romania (a point otherwise made in Iosif Sever Georgescu’s saga), but if we absolve Kovesi of guilt, we need to do so with Ponta as well.

One could also argue that in Kovesi’s case the same thing as in Ponta’s happens: nothing. Yet Kovesi’s jobs requires far higher ethical standards and this is an opportunity to prove it and in resigning, strengthen the institution she is serving and implicitly, the anticorruption fight.

UPDATE

There is more an more talk of judicial reform, with the Justice Minister Florin Iordache pressing the need for it at home, (e.g., after meeting Kovesi), stating that Romania needs “coherent legislation”, but after meeting European official Paraskevi Michou, he stated that Romania already has such legislation and does not need MCV.

Following some strange Sebastian Ghita “revelations”, SRI General Florian Coldea (2nd in SRI) has been supposedly let go. See also Udrea’s declarations.

Sources / More info: cc, ze-dov, [2], [3], [4], hn-minjus,

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