Final Word from Monday, August 16, 2004

Former anti-Communist protesters who were bludgeoned by Pavel Přibyl's police unit in 1989 are understandably upset that he's been named to run the prime minister's office. Many more people are fuming too, and there will be an anti-government protest tomorrow. Premier Stanislav Gross dismissed the complaints yesterday, saying the important thing is that Přibyl passed a background check. Gross skirted the issue of how someone with Přibyl's past could get a security clearance. Even before Gross took over full control of the nation's intelligence services, his political use of wiretaps and file-gathering against his opponents had led to use of the term "Grosstapo." Gross is someone who thrives on popularity, and his insistence on going against public opinion this time suggests that he has a big debt to old-timers who helped him into his current position.


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