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A book review of:

   My Country Versus Me
         by Wen Ho Lee with Helen Zia
  Book Review Highlights:
  • A witch-hunt instigated by The New York Times.
  • FBI agents and FBI administrators knowingly lied.
  • Judge apologizes for disgraceful U.S. Government actions.

The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Falsely Accused of Being a Spy

   Wen Ho Lee was a full-time scientist who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was also a part-time fly fisherman, cook, gardener and family man.

    But in December 1999 he was manacled, shackled and thrown in solitary confinement. The U.S. Government accused him of 59 crimes, 39 of which carried a maximum of life imprisonment.

   The New York Times fingered Wen Ho Lee as a traitor who had committed espionage worse than Aldrich Ames. One of The Times' sources compared him to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 for espionage.

   The New York Times articles made great reading. The only problem was, in the best tradition of yellow journalism, they were untrue. The Times accepted falsehoods as fact, and it served as a conduit for lies and leaks. But the story gets even better.

   The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long promoted itself on radio, television and in the movies as a paragon of efficiency and integrity. (Think of "This Is Your FBI," "The FBI In Peace and War," "The FBI," "Without a Trace," etc.) The picture which emerges from My Country Versus Me is an organization whose agents lie. As an institution, the FBI intentionally subverted Wen Ho Lee's constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process of law.

   Eventually this disgraceful tale ended in a federal courtroom in New Mexico.

   In an extraordinary gesture, Judge James Parker told Wen Ho Lee: "I believe you were terribly wronged…  Dr. Lee, I tell you with great sadness that I feel I was led astray last December by the executive branch of our government through its Department of Justice, by its Federal Bureau of Investigation, and by its United States Attorney… They did not embarrass me alone. They have embarrassed our entire nation and each of us who is a citizen."

   When Lord Acton wrote that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," he was only partially correct. Power is often sought by those who are already corrupt or self-serving.

   Positions of power in all types of organizations are usually filled by those who seek it. Even in spiritual organizations, the Mother Theresas seldom attain power. But church politicians like Bernard Law, who concealed the activities of pedophiles during three decades, often rise to the top.

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