July 14, 2008

Shhh! I'm Spying Here.

Sepp Blatter, president of Fifa, has inexplicably closed an investigation into spying launched by Danish women’s national team coach Anne Dot Eggers during the Women’s World Cup. (Blatter is also a member of the International Olympic Committee; the olympics will be held in Beijing next month.) Here’s one of the many strange incidents that happened to Denmark’s team, which had a match against the host team China, during the World Cup in 2007:

“The day before their game with China they planned a tactics talk in a seminar room at the Howard Johnson hotel.

‘Our officials saw a black mirror on the back wall and were joking, do you think something is going on in there?’ recalled Anne. They looked hard and saw movement. The hotel manager was called to unlock the door and inside were two men with video cameras.

‘They tried to get out with their cameras and had to be held back by our officials. Then policemen turned up and got the two guys away. It seemed they were protecting them.’”
(from reporter Andrew Jennings)

Here’s an embarassing video of that incident:

video

Sepp Blatter’s termination of the investigation is a typical retreat into silence when it comes to past spying. Monika Maron takes on the issue with ambivalence in Stille Zeile Sechs (English title, Silent Close No. 6), novel, 1991.

The protagonist Rosa Polkowski met Herbert Beerenbaum, a veteran communist of her father’s generation, by chance not long before his death. Beerenbaum was a communist party functionary responsible for the programs of ideological education at universities, which ruined careers out of mere suspicion. Rosa agreed to type his memoirs per his dictation in twice weekly sessions at his residence in the Stille Zeile, a road reserved for the party elite in the former East Germany. Irritated by Beerenbaum’s self-righteous pride and inability to honestly acknowledge his past of spying, she vents her mounting hatred by confronting him with his guilt. The old man suffers a heart attack he can’t recover from.

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