Do you know who Anna Chapman is? If not, Google her. Better yet, don’t. She really doesn’t need any more hype attached to her and I’m doing enough just by writing about her. Anna Chapman one of 10 Russian “sleeper agents” shipped out of the US after their spy ring was discovered in July. The thing about Chapman that grinds my gears the most is how the media talks about her. You won’t hear about any of her spy buddies because news outlets rather focus on 28 year old Chapman by dubbing her the HOT, SEXY spy, plastering her Facebook pics and spinning stories about hot James Bond fantasies. Give me a break.
I know that Russia is no longer perceived as the threat it once was and to be honest, these spies seemed to get their training from watching Boris and Natasha cut a fool on Rocky & Bullwinkle re-runs. In a world where any car could be a bomb or some dude’s underwear could potentially take down a 757, some invisible ink is almost laughable.
Still, I’m peeved at all this talk of Anna Chapman – dubbed “Agent 90-60-90″ by Russian media because of her ample measurements in centimeters, according to the NY Post. How in the world did this woman become so damned popular? How is it that she’s obtained near celebrity status in Russia and even more unbelievable, here in the US? We’ve got some serious issues with national security in this country and as such, we’ve justified peeling back our civil liberties in the interest of safety. The mere appearance of an Arab or Muslim – looking person is enough to strike fear and distrust in the hearts of many Americans who would otherwise consider themselves to be tolerant people. I hate to go there, but I can’t help but think about the “what if she were Black/Arab/Muslim,” rationale for the media’s soft handling of Chapman. In my opinion, she’s not even that glamorous, hot, sexy, or whatever adjective they’re using now to describe her.Call it a stretch, but simply by being a white woman in this situation, she has been elevated to a level beyond comprehension. I don’t mean to turn this into a tirade about her looks (especially since that’s sort of what I’m criticizing in the first place) but would you really look twice at this woman if you saw her on the subway?
I think it’s understood by all nations that their allies as well as their enemies spy on them so our government wasn’t surprised really. However, these spies were caught and the matter made public. In that case, I feel it’s necessary to act decisively and treat any possible breach of US security as a serious matter. The US government did act, don’t get me wrong. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder helped orchestrate the largest US-Russian spy swap since the Cold War – 10 of their guys for 4 of ours. I have no problem with that because ensuring the safe return of American operatives is an important goal. Strategically, it probably made sense to just ship the spies back home in exchange for our folks and accept their guilty pleas (each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without properly registering).
It seems unfair, still, that Chapman is getting so much shine off of what happened here. Part of the plea agreement was that the group would not profit from the publication of their stories. I haven’t heard of the Anna Chapman story coming to a Kindle near you any time soon, but homegirl is certainly benefitting from her spy hijinks. Reports say she’ll run for political office. Her website is coming soon. She’s posing for men’s magazines. I’d say she’s well on her way to profiting from it. I swear, this is how I know our media is run by older, white males aka The Man. In other related-but-not-really instant fame news, I wonder what Antoine Dodson thinks about Agent 90-60-90.
A better story is that of Vicky Peláez, the 11th person arrested with the Russian spy bunch but wasn’t part of the swap.
Pelaez, on the other hand, has been in the public spotlight for more than 30 years – first as a trailblazing TV reporter in her native Peru, and then as a reporter and columnist for New York’s own El Diario-La Prensa.
In the early 1980s, she was the lovely rising star of Frecuencia Latina, the main evening news show on Peru’s Channel 2. She pioneered a new style of aggressive street reporting and live standups that a whole generation of Peruvian journalists would emulate.
In 1984, at the height of her career, Pelaez and her cameraman were kidnapped by one of Peru’s leftist guerrilla organizations, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). They were held prisoners until Channel 2 agreed to broadcast the rebels’ message to the nation. (via NY Daily News)
While the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement has nothing to do with Tupac Shakur (except that both take their names from an 18th century Peruvian revolutionary), that’s pretty damned interesting in and of itself. Peláez was accused of having received money from the Russian government and disseminating information to Russian agents in invisible ink. None of the charges stuck and because she was a US citizen, didn’t appear to have been trained as a spy and has a teenager to raise, Peláez wasn’t perceived as a threat. Still, even though she’s an older hija, I think she was hot enough in her day to make it onto the media’s radar. And you can runteldat, homeboy.