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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When asked about President Clinton's behavior during one Clinton's many scandals, the Civil War Historian and novelist Shelby Foote said, "I suppose that since the President is from Arkansas, his first first reaction would be to lie."

Given that one's background is a strong predictor of one's likely behavior, it should have come as no shock to the State Department that the first impulse of an American Fulbright Scholar would be to betray his government.

An AP story displays the photo of a bearded, pencil-necked, gesticulating specimen with the rather uneuphoneus name Alex van Schaick. He seems to be under the delusion that he was being recruited as a spy during a routine security briefing given to visiting Americans in Bolivia. I gather that the State Department asks traveling Americans to provide information on what they have seen or or are likely to see while abroad. They have done this for a very long time, and they do it in the touching belief that patriotic Americans are glad to share what they know for the good of their homeland. They've done this with businessmen for ever. Charles Lindberg was willing debriefed on what he saw in Nazi Germany. But this is very different from recruitment as a spy, most of whom are foreign nationals in any case.

So the State Department should have anticipated van Schaick's behavior. And indeed van Schaick reported the content of this security briefing given (I presume) in confidence, to a representative of the Government of Bolivia. Bolivian Foreign Minister Choquehuanca, to whom van Schaick tattle-tailed, was presumable too disgusted by this act of faithlessness to give a quote to the AP. I guess that it never crossed Mr. van Schaick's mind to just ignore the request if it disturbed him. He was only asked to report the names and locations of Cubans/Venezualians he came across in his work. I imagine his tantrum will garner him credit among the decadent academic sissies in his field, whatever that is.

It is also alleged that the State Department asks Peace Corps Volunteers to report any sighting of Cuban or Venezuelan activity they see. This would be a faux pas, as the Peace Corps Charter forbids this. Good will is the point there and the State Department has no business fishing in those particular waters. That said, I have no doubt that host countries take real steps to keep Peace Corps Volunteers away from sensitive areas. It's hard to imagine Peace Corps Volunteers being allowed to teach the children of the workers building Uga-boogastans secret A-bomb. Although I can imagine a Fulbright Scholar helping them build that weapon and not telling us what he/she/it is up to.

Finally, it's difficult to believe that any intelligence officer would attempt to recruit a Dutchman to spy for the US. With all due respect to my Dutch friends, it must be admitted that the Dutch have the worst reputation for reliability as spies. They have the reputation of compulsive, double, triple, quadrupel agents. As long as there is someone to run to with information, on go their track shoes, as Mr. van Schaick illustrates. And no one was even paying him!


  1. Alex van Schaick is not an anarchist, and the United States should have known that his loathing for the United States would lead him to act in this manner. I really liked your comparison with Lindberg. It is a shame that spoiled rich kids like Alex have so much hatred for this country, and all the liberties it represents. If you want to see the kind of thoughts Alex believes in check out his rants about his mistreament while working at Starbucks. IWW stands for I wont work, a luxury only people like him can afford.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I found references to what seemed to be him, "organizing" Star Bucks workers, but i was not convinced it was him. The comic possibilities of the Starbucks proletariat as vanguard of the revolution were hard to pass up but, well, time marches on. Notice that no mainstream media types picked up on the bizarre nature of their whistle blower. I take it that our young hero is in Latin America to reveal that the peasants that grow Starbucks coffee lack BMW's and other accoutrements of the Starbucks consumers! I can hardly wait to hear the tale.
    Do you know this fool? It might be interesting to herald him as he deserves. Would you like him better if her were a true anarchist? I'm curious.