Final Word from Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Soviet "mole" in John le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy said that "the secret services are the only real expression of a nation's character." The mole revealed his own character by sending his best friend into near-death in Cold-War Czechoslovakia in an elaborate scheme to protect his own identity as a double agent. Le Carré's books are fiction, but they expose the arrogance and self-righteousness of the intelligence services and the extremes to which they sometimes go in the name of "national security." Germany, with its own Gestapo past still fresh in memory, chastised the U.S. yesterday for the abuses in Iraq and said it would take legal action against a professor who stated that torture can be a legitimate tool against terrorism. The Czech government would prefer to forget its own StB past and has avoided commenting on the abuses by its allies. Le Union


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