Yesterday morning one could almost hear the city-wide, collective gasp at the news that now ex-mayor Michael Applebaum had been arrested. It’s not pretty and a profound disappointment to many. The first Jewish mayor, the first Anglo mayor in over 100 years. And yet – as we thankfully live in a democracy, one is innocent until proven guilty.
Applebaum resigned today and will begin the task of preparing his defense. We can only hope that he is telling the truth when he said he never took a penny from the citizens of Montreal. Unfortunately for him, there have been so many politicians on the take and/or using our tax dollars as personal money trees, that until his trial people are just not going to believe him – or almost any other elected official for that matter.
On top of the Charbonneau commission, we now have a construction strike with the provincial government saying they will not get involved. Both sides say the other side is negotiating in bad faith. 175,000 people are not working, not getting paid and not spending money. Nothing good can come from that. As we have suggested in other impasses: put both sides in a room with a bit of food and maybe a bathroom. Then lock the door and throw away the key until they reach an agreement. You’ll see – it won’t take long.
Through a third party, Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Iceland. As a U.S. citizen, Snowden would not need a visa to enter Iceland and could immediately apply for asylum. He would be free to live there while immigration authorities decide his case, which could take more than a year, experts have said.
Here’s the kicker: if Snowden wants to seek refuge in Iceland, he’ll have to get there first. And this is where the U.S. could have a chance.
Interpol will sometimes issue a ‘red notice’ – which is like an international arrest warrant – but keep it sealed so that the person doesn’t know it exists. If he tried to travel, he would be arrested at the airport. If he did get to Iceland, it is unknown if he would be safe. Iceland does have an extradition treaty with the United States, but it is unclear if it would cover any crimes that Snowden might be charged with.
As well, it would be very surprising if Iceland would be eager to engage in any international disputes with the U.S. In the meantime, Snowden’s still holed up somewhere in Hong Kong. Yesterday he held a four hour long question and answer period. People online were told that the connection could be interrupted periodically if Snowden felt in danger of being discovered.
Remember we keep saying that nothing is ever deleted from your computer, text messages, facebook, emails etc. Well, here’s a sobering fact: Yahoo Inc said U.S. law enforcement agencies made between 12,000 and 13,000 requests for data in the last six months. Of course the government was looking into fraud and other criminal investigations, but the fact is, nothing save a face to face conversation is private any longer.
How to balance the right to individual privacy with concerns about national security was brought front and center by Mr. Snowden. The flip side of this argument was brought forward today by senior intelligence and law enforcement officials in the United States. They said they had disrupted more than 50 terrorist plots around the world through tapping into foreign internet communications and phone records. Yesterday was the anniversary of the Watergate break in – 41 years ago in 1972.