Wednesday, March 5, 2014

He’s in hiding because he knows too much, or so Mel Reynolds says

I don’t doubt that there’s a stink surrounding the story of Mel Reynolds, the one-time member of Congress who recently got deported from Zimbabwe after managing to offend the government of that African nation.

REYNOLDS: The man who knows too much?
Then again, being on the bad side of Robert Mugabe doesn’t take much to achieve. That man seems to have a problem with anyone who won’t kowtow to him.

NOT THAT THIS fact makes me feel much in the way of sympathy, since he seems determined to continue his current saga in life.

For it seems that when Zimbabwe officials transported him from the jail where he had spent six days to their airport to get him out of the country, he didn’t return to his native United States.

He went to nearby South Africa – a nation that decades ago wouldn’t have let him come anywhere nearby. But now, is the place where he claims to be in hiding because he fears that a “secret Zimbabwean death squad” is trying to hunt him down. He’s marked for assassination, or so he says.

Although I wonder just how deep in hiding could he be if both WLS-TV AND the Associated Press managed to track him down by telephone for interviews in which he told us his life’s latest sob story.

REYNOLDS, WHOSE CRIMINAL record in this country involves both state charges related to being sexually involved with underage girls and federal charges related to his tax returns, has turned himself into a self-described consultant who was helping U.S. business interests to make connections in African nations.

Which is why he supposedly was in Zimbabwe since back in November.

He now says that his experiences have caused him to learn of U.S. officials, including some from our very own Chicago, who are skirting their way around the law – particularly since Mugabe doesn’t have the best record on international issues.

Reynolds now wants us to believe that the reason he got hit with criminal charges of pornography possession in Zimbabwe is because he was threatening to expose those people.

WHICH COULD COST business and government officials serious money!

Hence, the “death squads” that would turn Mel into a corpse. It all sounds so far over the top – almost like something out of a James Bond film (at least one from the Sean Connery era, the rest get just a bit too lame to pay much attention to).

Or maybe it’s more like something from a “Get Smart” episode – it sounds more like a Maxwell Smart caper than anything else, on account of all its inanity.

In fact, about the only reason I give it any credence is the fact that the pornography possession charge seemed too trumped up – and officials in Zimbabwe were way too eager to dismiss it.

REYNOLDS WAS CHARGED with a visa violation (it had expired) that was the reason he ultimately got deported. The pornography charge supposedly was dismissed because police did not get the consent of higher-ranking authorities before making the arrest.

Which may sound reasonable to someone whose legal sensibilities are U.S.-oriented. Although since when Zimbabwe officials care about such sensibilities is the real question.

A pornography arrest was just the way to draw attention to a U.S. political official whose lingering reputation was of getting aroused by the 16-year-old in peach-colored panties.

Reynolds isn’t wrong when he says that they used the most effective weapon they could come up with to discredit anything he might have to say about business interests in African nations. He may even be truthful in his statement to WLS-TV that he essentially “bribed” Zimbabwe officials to deport – rather than incarcerate – him.

ALTHOUGH EVEN TAKING that into account, it just seems like Mel Reynolds has a knack for walking into gaffes. And why his threats to expose what he knows about corruption (a press conference to be done while in hiding, he says) likely won’t be taken seriously.

Which may well be why the Rhodes Scholar-turned-Congressman-turned-inmate never was able to live up to the promise he showed early in life.


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