Informers, not spies

The news broke today in Macedonia. Vreme, a daily newspaper alleges that Dragan Pavlovic Latas, editor in chief of TV Sitel and the daily Vecer, has been a collaborator for the Serbian secret service. The paper bases this allegation on an internal document obtained from the Macedonian Secret Service.

Latas is probably by far the most abject personality of Macedonian public life. Fascistoid attitude and behaviour, Goebbels-like attacks on his victims, a foul language and the Balkan-mafia type of testosterone-fueled hedonism  make him an ideal object of hatred for anyone with a hint of taste and knowledge. At the same time he is appealing to the uninformed masses, kept disinformed by his very media. A typical transition figure, like most of the former communist countries have had them. Nothing special, your regular nouveau-riche thug.

And now it’s out that he was allegedly working for Milosevic. Ok, it fits the profile. Everybody suspected it, nobody ever tried to find proof. Until now.

The problem here is the process. Typical transition phenomenon. A secret service document is leaked to a preferred newspaper, bang, the news is out. I can’t help but seeing some personal vendetta behind this, an attempt to finally get rid of this clown of transition. The attempt might even prove successful, who knows. Although I doubt it.

But look at it this way: undercover forces leak an internal, secret document about someone else’s undercover activities. This is risky business, it is far beyond any attempt of democratic control. And it can hit anyone. In this case it is a bad guy, ok. But what if tomorrow someone developed an appetite for your job, your company, your house? Data can be fabricated easily. Just look at Bulgaria, at Romania, at Russia.

Just these days there was a news item saying that the lustration process had finished, that there were no informers working for the former Yugoslav services among Macedonian politicians. Oh really? After eighteen years of uncontrolled access to their files you would expect they had taken care of that part, wouldn’t you? And where is the debate aboout this in the Macedonian media? Where is the civil society demanding control and proof? There is at least one case known publicly – I am talking about Vladimir Micin – where it has become obvious that his file has been “worked”, in the sense that any note later than 1987 is missing. Guess why…

And one more thing. Regardless whether the allegations are true or not. The type of human being doing what Latas is supposed to have done, does not deserve the qualification “spy”. A spy is someone who does a job, whatever one may morally think about it, in a structured, professional environment. An informer is just about the lowest a human can sink. Mind you, the word in Macedonian is not  шпион, but кодош.

Vision? Go undercover…

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