Spies and other lies
1. From ancient Babylon and Sparta, and through the ages up to the modern Persian Gulf, spies have changed history. The intrigues, plots, thefts and lies existed in Greece, Rome and China and beyond the fall of the Russia-led soviet state. Secrets have been hidden, lost, stolen and revealed. The fortunes and misfortunes of war have been influenced by the information gathered by espionage.
2. When the formerly trustworthy colleague becomes the instrument of heart-felt betrayal, you’ve learnt you have a spy in your midst. Late at night a shadowy figure slips into an enemy camp and makes off with important documents. At least that’s the popular image of the spy at work. More likely the spy is someone within the close-confines of a military unit or the intelligence network of that nation. Generally this individual sells secrets for profit. Various armed forces have their own intelligence networks, and deal in sensitive matters such as weapons, tactics and present and future strategies. The loss of any of these could decide a battle, or a war.
3. Politics is at least as dangerous as war. The internal and external health of a nation can rise or fall because of the right or wrong political information. Many unfortunate politicians have had their reputations and their careers destroyed by scandal. The spies may come from a foreign power, but are more likely from an opposing political party or the press. The discovery that their leaders are disreputable or easily influenced can be disheartening to a nation and affect it’s standing in the international community.
Sleepers in our midst ‘The reality of illegals’
4. Recently a group of foreign agents was discovered in the United States of America. These US-based ‘illegals’ were foreign agents posing as American, Canadian and British citizens. They had carefully-crafted false identities, elaborately-false past lives, and had fooled their business associates, their neighbours and even their children. No one is quite sure of their mission. Whether they were after military, corporate, political or financial secrets, remains as mysterious as their true identities once were. Who allowed these agents to enter, and why weren’t they discovered sooner raises questions of accountability. The confusion and paranoia created by their discovery can be as damaging as whatever actions they may have taken or planned.
5. Nations and businesses thrive on information. ‘Knowledge is power’ is the mission statement of all but the most naïve of corporate leaders. Manufacturers of heavy equipment, aerospace, communications, medical or pharmaceutical products all have design and manufacturing secrets that help them to maintain a competitive edge or to dominate a particular market. Even fast food chains and soft drink producers have secret formulae.
6. There are organizations and individuals who make it their business to find, steal, duplicate and sell those closely-guarded secrets. The loss of this information could seriously damage, or even destroy, a company. The loss of large companies means the loss of jobs, and has wide spread repercussions in the national and global market.
7. We marvel at the covert exploits of spies in films and books, while we shake our heads at the reality of their clandestine activities. We don’t really believe in the existence of spies. They inhabit the corners of our realities, and linger in the shadows of our perceived civilized societies. Their influence doesn’t depend on our belief to be effective, but it impacts our lives at the most basic levels. Secrets exist everywhere. Their existence shapes our lives. The advantages of having those secrets can impact on us socially, financially and affect our basic safety.
1. Clandestine _________________________________________
2. Confusion _________________________________________
3. Disreputable _________________________________________
4. Accountability _________________________________________
5. Unfortunate _________________________________________
6. Trustworthy _________________________________________
7. Community _________________________________________
8. Espionage _________________________________________
Comprehension for reading
True and False
1. Spies are a creation of our modern world. T/F
3. Espionage is a part of our lives T/F
2. Spying in real life is just like the movies. T/F
Please answer in full sentences, using your own words as much as possible. If you use parts from the passage please use quotation marks around that portion.
3. Roughly estimate how long humans have spied on one another.(1)
4. Why do spies steal military secrets? (2)
5. Why is espionage harmful to a nation? (2)
6. What were the ‘illegals’ after?(2)
7. Speculate on the financial and social costs of spying.(3)