So senator Lindsey Graham (R-Crazy) is so upset at the possibility of Russia giving asylum to Edward Snowden that he wants the US to boycott the Winter Olympics if they do so. One can only imagine how ballistic he will get if one of the smaller Latin American countries that have offered Snowden asylum (Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua) make good on their promise. Will he call for an invasion?
But via Adrian Chen, I learned about Michel Christoph Meili who in 1997 was charged with violating Swiss law by leaking documents from the megabank HBS that the Swiss authorities had taken possession of and had labeled as ‘classified’. He came with his family to the US to escape prosecution from the Swiss authorities.
Not only did the US not return him to Switzerland to face charges, but they passed a special law granting him and his family immediate permanent residency in the US.
Congress determined that although Meili did “not meet the necessary criteria for permanent residency under any existing categories” under U.S. law, that Meili nevertheless deserved sanctuary in the United States. Therefore Congress passed a special law, Private Law 105-1 that granted Meili, his wife, and his children permanent residency in the United States “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law.”
Senator Charles Grassley, who said of Edward Snowden, “I believe that whatever the law requires, just like anybody that breaks the law, [Snowden] needs to be prosecuted” and that “I suppose it gets down to – did he break a law? – I think it’s pretty obvious he did”, was saying something quite different back in 1997.
The situation we have here with Mr. Meili, albeit everything that he has brought to our attention has worldwide implications, but a person like him acted out of bravery, or maybe the bravery comes after he has acted because he has had to withstand the mental torture of what has gone on since then. But it reminds me of a lot of things that happen in our own Government, and I realize his is a private sector situation, but I like to think that we keep our Federal Government honest when we have people in our Government who, when something is wrong, will be willing to come forward and say what is wrong.
We speak of these people in our Government as whistleblowers. Maybe, originally, that was to denigrate them, but as far as I am concerned the word “whistleblower” is a description of somebody who wants to seek the truth, who wants to make sure that all of the facts and circumstances are known so that a wrong can be corrected.
Ah, those were the days. But silly me, there I go again, expecting our political leaders to act on principle and not on self-serving expediency.