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Books - Police Drugs
Written by Jean Rolin   


IT may seem that we have wandered far from our subject. In reality we are directly on it. Pentothal is all the more to be feared in that it has come into a world in process of spiritual disintegration. The question of its use is identical with that of the safety of man in a dehumanized civilization.
No doubt, as we have shown, this drug carries its own intrinsic dangers, its essential perversity. But if we admit that in the hands of some people it may be both safe and valuable, what are the things which can make it so? There should be a code of safeguards which could act as a firm rampart against all abuses: a free community, a healthy justice, independence of medical practice.
But these codes lie in pieces. It is folly or blindness to argue as if they still held firm, and to try and resolve the problem of pentothal in terms of the pulpit or the laboratory. We are concerned with forensic medicine in a world already given over to power politics, to judicial systems which degrade. Inevitably, under these conditions, pentothal must become, if it is not already, one of a number of means open to the use of tyranny, whose claims are always increasing and whose methods, when exasperated, turn to pure savagery.
Some readers may have thought that the foregoing pages contain nothing more than finicky arguments about a problem which, when all is said and done, concerns criminals often dangerous, sometimes irredeemable. The medico-legal expert and the judge now have to work at a human level where all the subtleties of freedom as to confession, and respect for secrecy are practically meaningless. Yet even at this level we see only part of the picture. In the methods it uses, justice itself stands at the bar. Its own dignity is in question even more than the rights of those it has to try. The matter cannot rest at this point. The problem of respect for the accused goes a long way further than the limits of consideration for a criminal, and in many cases and in many countries in differing degrees, judicial procedure has virtually become a means of exterminating innocent people. The safeguards given by the code of criminal investigation—the code of honest people—have never been more precious than they are to-day, when so many honest people are dragged before the judges. One sees judicial institutions seized upon by states which enslave them, and rot them by tainting them with political ideas and the insistence on efficacy. They are thereby turned away from checking crime and used simply to reduce opposition.-These justices attack the conscience of its victims, and especially those of quiet people with a moral standard which furnishes no excuse for such ferocity.
It is thus all the more urgent that the innocent be defended against false justice. For it is now not only a matter of protecting him against ordinary miscarriages of justice—frequent enough, but unwitting—which are the consequences of the weakness and stupidity of men. We are dealing with a whole legion of innocent people already forced into submission, already caught in systematized miscarriages by a justice made fanatical and built up by politicians into a relentless killing machine.
The political phenomenon of the degradation of justice makes pentothal all the more important. For the sake of the innocent, superior principles of legal procedure, such as our own, must be at all costs defended, and that, even at the cost of allowing a few undeserved loopholes to authentic criminals.
The same consideration of political climate should make us repudiate the final argument of the partisans of pentothal. That is the argument about social security. There are cases, we are told, where, in self-defence against evil-doers, 'society has the right to know',1 and the exceptional methods used for showing up evil intentions try to justify themselves by consideration of the collective good. 'Do not the interests of society take precedence over respect for individual freedom ? 2 It is time we forgot these down-at-heel platitudes, dubious in themselves, and liable to serve as a pretext for the worst of undertakings.
The alleged opposition between the good of society and individual freedom is inconsistent, and the question of pentothal cannot be summarized as one of alternatives between the two, in which the choice of either might be called sentimental.3 My opposition arises, not from a demoded attachment to fusty romanticism about liberty, or to a kind of anarchic individualism. The problem of pentothal is not one of individual versus society, but one of ends and means. We have to decide whether it is permissible to defend society by using means which are contrary to the moral and spiritual ideals which make life in that society worth while, and which are the cement which hold it together. In a group where the common weal is felt and loved otherwise than as the crushing weight of the collective on the individual, social security is directly governed by respect for individual freedom. We know also that nothing is more lethal to social unity than distorted justice, for its proceedings cause fear, rebellion and hatred. In pretending to defend the common good it actually destroys the communion of mind with mind. Justice in a civilized society can only defend common interests through its respect for the freedom of the person. Thus the dilemma suggested is not a real one, and pentothal is not to be disposed of in terms of it.
It is indeed strange to have to consider arguments on the need to defend honest people against evil-doers at a time when it is so obvious that the greatest dangers arise from the evil forms of that very justice. In the interest of society, it is clear that the good must be defended against the wicked; but it is equally clear that the good should be protected against being themselves labelled wicked. How many honourable citizens have ever had to fight a criminal? I personally know far more people who have suffered when they have had to fight against the Law. God preserve me from the judges! I had far rather deal directly, myself, with any criminal!
Moreover, we are not even told what is this 'Society', which stands in such need of protection, which 'has the right to know'. Entities whose names are written with capitals are usually fictitious; and, in this case, pregnant with menace. For even in a stable society, those who speak in the name of 'Society' thereby scarcely acquire infallibility, nor the right to do what they like. This is all the more so in circumstances where the claim to represent 'Society' is no more than a feeble excuse for trying to dominate. It only remains for those in power to decide, in the name of `Society', that everybody who disagrees with them is a traitor, a criminal—and that they therefore have the unlimited 'right to know'.
There is a political slant, therefore, in my fear of the police use of pentothal. Those who try to reassure us by saying that narcosis is a scientific method needing care and practice, and that it neither can nor must become a part of police procedure, are strangely blind to the practical aspects of the question. It is a forlorn and theoretical hope that the police will never act otherwise than as subordinates of the judiciary, conform to its principles and abide by its rules and customs. They will never agree to account to the Court for every step taken, every detail of the methods used, and so ensure that they have not trespassed on the judicial field.
The source of police improprieties such as are at last stirring the public conscience, is in the tendency for the police to trespass on the judicial role, as for instance by cross-examination of the accused. The judges themselves have tacitly connived at this, allowing the police to use dirty methods which they themselves would consider it beneath their dignity to use openly. Several scandalous cases have been brought to light, showing the brutality and the mistakes which arise from independent police action—so much so that the name of justice itself has been tarnished to the extent that the judges have at last become aware of the danger to themselves. They have begun to distrust the police and hence, indirectly, to resume their authority, thereby pointing out the subordinate role of the police officer. The whole cause of police abuses is there. We need seek no further. Moreover, since the Bench allowed them to come into being, it can also abolish them by rebuilding a proper hierarchical order in place of the one which has been upset, and regaining the authority they have allowed others t9 usurp.
If, then, police abuses are due to police independence, there are cases where they cannot be stopped. That is the case where the police is not responsible to higher judicial authority. The counter-espionage service known as that of National Security is such a case, and it is here that the worst horrors are to be found. There are also other police forces run by governments, and responsible, not to judges but to politicians who are ready to use any means which will keep them in power and who, in turn, are responsible to nobody else. This has happened in France, and there is no guarantee that we shall not see it again. Those who advocate the use of pentothal argue as if we were secure in never having any truck with a police which was not ideally submissive to the mspirit of judicial authority. If this were true, one might then feel sure that only medical experts would use this tricky drug for proper purposes and that the police would be debarred from doing so. But there can be no such security when one has to do with thugs in the pay of powers whose sole aim is to hunt down and destroy those it does not like.
I foresee an objection: that is that, under such conditions as I have suggested, no amount of prohibition, whether absolute or complete, would hold good ; hence we are wasting our time. True: oppositions and protests would vanish like straws in the wind, were there to be a universal extension of political regimes which use the Law as a means of extermination. Yet that is not reason enough for silence, and even if the protest were eventually to be ignored, one might be accused of complicity, since evil can only triumph when prior consent opens the way for it, that is when the minds of the very people concerned with keeping it at bay have been led to accept and favour it. Those who in any capacity whatever, have a responsibility for the preservation of spiritual values must not give a bad example by agreeing, even tacitly, to abuses. Their protests may do no more, but they will have prevented the establishment of a precedent, and so will have helped to add to the resistance in the minds of the people towards accepting them. In this way, no unscrupulous policeman will be able to claim to be acting according to precedent, and hence as the agent of true justice, while he will on the contrary be likely to hit up against a positive body of adverse opinion.
The duty to prohibit, which belongs to the protestor, must not be side-tracked in favour of another pretext. It may be said that the effort to avoid potential mistakes in the use of pentothal is to tilt at windmills and to forget the real foe. For the police already effectively use means of constraint far more brutal and grave, and which are real tortures. These, it will be said, should be the first object of attack,' while the battle against pentothal is against a hypothesis, not a fact. It is surely more important to protect a suspect against police officers who, acting in camera, break his limbs and skull at their leisure, than against the use of narcosis which has never yet taken place. This, however, burkes the issue: both battles are really one, and attack a single evil. The campaign for abolition must cover all forms of torture, whether overt or concealed. And we have already seen that narcosis belongs to the spirit of torture and is even more insidious than the infliction of bodily pain. One must not reintroduce by one door practices which have been already dismissed by another. It is easy enough to deal with the principles of private police interrogation, far more difficult to combat similar compulsive methods when introduced by the solemn practices of justice, even when camouflaged under the authority of science.
No single loophole must be overlooked. The battle is one, and it is against a threat to our civilization. However different modern techniques may be from those of the past, the background is the same, that is, a desire for improper power to dominate and exploit mankind even if this means also to destroy it; and that by means which should be used only for its good. The evil is clearly political, since political power is to-day the tool of barbarism. Behind every technique of power stands the monstrous shadow of the State—if a body which has lost its traditions and is often only a power captured by chance by a band of greedy, ambitious people, can be so called—an aggressive power, making capital out of every technical means which will add to its grip on the community. There is for instance nothing to fear from atomic energy other than its use by imperialistic, economic or military ideologists worse than any ever known to history. The same applies to means of communication, to broadcasting, unless used by a tyranny for propaganda and spiritual hoodwinking based on lies. Even productive technique has become a degradation of work, where the capitalist state has connived at enslaving the worker by State Socialism and Marxist economics. Finally, pharmacy and psychiatry are only dangerous when they are used outside the medical sphere, in such ways as they have already been used by political powers, to get the minds of people at their mercy and to abolish all resistance. If modern scientific technique has in fact become the technique of prostitution, it is simply because it has fallen into the hands of states which rule by debasing. Scientific barbarism is due to political barbarism.
Any attempt to enlarge the sphere of the use of pentothal by bringing it into the field of justice may go still further and reach the realm of politics. This fear might be deemed vain, were it not for the Cens case, which was surely a matter of politics. There was also the case of the relentless pursuit of the Belgian. In each of these, scientific technique was degraded through what may have been unconscious vindictiveness, into a political technique in the game of `hunt the traitor'.
The prime virtue of a medical expert is to have no party views, a difficult matter where `politism' and its fanaticism come into play. If civilization were functioning normally, we might feel reasonably sure that justice would not persecute the criminal, because the peace of mind of both judge and expert would be undisturbed, and there would be no risk of means of investigation being used for political purposes of extortion. But we are in a state of political barbarism. Hence the opposition to pentothal, in so far as it is also an opposition to the misuse of science for political ends, is part of the complex political situation of the times. It is not to be reduced, except by complete stultification, to a simple matter of forensic medicine, and the more difficult the problem, the more seriously it needs to be taken. The circumstances which would normally safeguard us are far from secure, and this makes it all the more imperative that pentothal should be kept within the walls of hospitals and clinics, not launched into a world only too ready to use it to debase mankind. And should political barbarism ever triumph, let us not be guilty of having prepared the place for abuses by tacit consent. On the contrary, let the horror we have constantly felt on the subject be the last line of resistance as well, perhaps, as giving us the last strength to refuse it.
The danger would be small, were it contained and rectified by solid medical and legal codes. But there are many deficiencies in these which ruin any hope of safety. Neither justice nor medicine has preserved its independence from the encroachments of politics. Hence for justice to allow itself to use techniques of so delicate a nature for mental expertise requires both that it shall never be used improperly by the police, and that justice should be entirely divorced from politics. This is not the case to-day in many countries.
There is no need to emphasize the need for justice to be independent of the State. We no longer live in an age when Parliament was in constant and vigorous rebellion against royal authority. Since the day when the authority of the State was separated from that of justice, the latter has tended to become subservient to contradictory forces. We need pass no moral judgment on this fact, but it is evident that justice is no longer in a position to stand firm against the possible use of narcosis for political ends: at best it would offer only a feeble resistance to the demands of the State, and we can have no faith that it would ensure only its proper use.
We have already seen how weak is the control which the Law has over the police, how judges have become accomplices in horrors and brutal treatment by allowing prisoners to be brought into Court in frightful physical condition, and in failing to take action to protect them. If this is already so, how can one hope that pentothal will never be misused by the police as a 'truth serum' ?
Still more serious is the question of the vast and soulless bureaucracy which lives entrenched behind piles of papers, bent on covering itself in every direction, as slow and uncertain in its actions as the most inhuman administrative machine. The result—as we saw in the Cens case—was the most abominable abuses, due to prolongation of detention before trial. Prisoners have sometimes waited months or even years before anybody paid any attention to them. After as much as four years in gaol, they have even been found not guilty. People have been 'forgotten' in prison, because their files had been mislaid, and often, arrest and detention have been carried out entirely unnecessarily and unjustifiably, without the prosecution bringing any charge against the victim.' Such things show so scant an attention to possible innocence, so callous an indifference to suffering, so great a disrespect for humanity, that no honest man is safe. One cannot have faith in a system where nobody is responsible, and against which the only safeguard lies in a
justice based on principles which have been lost. ,
Justice, as we have said, is in a critical state, and if some of the projected reforms seem bent on increasing our safeguards, others tend equally to abrogate basic principles—recommendations for the use of pentothal among them. This shows that the advocates of these reforms wish to deepen the work of the medical expert, and thereby to transform the whole pattern of justice. Some advocate the right of the medical expert to keep secrecy—a thing we have already shown to be untenable—but are willing to upset the whole nature of a trial to satisfy the passion of a few doctors for a new toy. Another proposition comes, this time from a jurist. 2 It is to generalize the use of pentothal in a penal system where indeterminate sentences would be used. `When one is using fairly modern principles, deprivation of liberty tends to become more or less indeterminate.' Liberation is then made conditional on psychiatric tests. We are told here that narcosis can, in such an event, only act in favour of the prisoner or, at worst, be neutral to him, since it would `not order a sentence, but study the possibility of terminating it'. But if so, we should know more of this principle of the indeterminate sentence, for if it refers to a penalty with a prefixed maximum, and it becomes a matter of setting the prisoner free before the end of that term, all is well. It would mean that justice and medicine were surrounding the prisoner with humane attentions, not treating him as an outcast, and would agree with the principles advocated by Professors Richet and Desoille as a reform of the penal system. Pentothal might safely be used in such a case. But if the principle of indeterminacy means that not even a maximum term is fixed, the liberation of the prisoner would depend entirely on medical recommendations—and one's worst fears would be justified.
Two judicial guarantees are required if imprisonment is not to be odious and barbaric: a man in prison has the right to know, (1) why he is there, and (2) when he is to be released. to would be moral torture to leave a prisoner in doubt as to the day and even the eventual possibility of his liberation. And when it comes to political powers, one shudders to think what use might be made of indeterminate sentences, under the pretext of social re-education, until the gaolers could certify that the prisoner had repented of his freely held views.
Further, such a measure would extend to absurd lengths the 'imperialism' of the medico-legal expert. Medical reports already carry far too much weight in judicial decisions, and often decide the fate of the accused. Are doctors then to become the ultimate arbiters of justice?
One of the most significant points in the crisis of uncertainty which seems to be afflicting justice to-day is that it does not see where it stands in relation to science. Clearly, it should retain its primacy and its authority, but it should also use as much science as it requires. The difficulty, however, is not due to 'progress' in the technique of mental investigation, but to the inability of justice to determine how much science can be allowed to have its say, and where it should be kept quiet. A recent affair at the Assizes at Riom shows this in a very sad case. The head of an `aerium' was found dead in the room of a member of the staff who was his mistress. The local doctor certified death from natural causes, that is, from cerebral haemorrhage. The police, however, questioned the staff of the institution and, after interrogations, one of which lasted twenty-eight consecutive hours, induced two of the women staff to `confess' to murder—after which, for some reason unstated, only one of the confessions was treated as genuine. The body was exhumed and it was indeed found that there was a clot of blood in the brain, but some experts said it was recent, and had caused death, others that it was an old one and had not caused death. There were also mark: on the neck which some said pointed to strangulation, while others said they were secondary to the cerebral haemorrhage. The case revealed both the forcible methods used by the police and the disagreement of the doctors; hence, the valuelessness of the alleged confessions obtained by the former, and the doubts among the latter. There was shown to be complete absence of motive. The accused was acquitted—but only after thirteen months in prison.
The drama was in three acts :
1. With the police: This should have been the time, now or never, to use scientific technique in collecting evidence. But no: they simply leaped on suspects and tried to force a confession: the laboratory was replaced by the torture chamber. Meanwhile, the deceased was buried only to be exhumed after the body had been in the ground far too long either to be pleasant or to afford clear evidence of the mode of death. Science was not used while time was in its favour, and outrageous and untimely means were used both on the wrong people and by those who had no business to use them.
2. Medical: It was too late, as we have seen, for science to prove effective. Moreover, the case was fogged by a false confession already obtained. Medicine, not being an exact science, moreover, expert contradicted expert, not so much on scientific grounds as on grounds of their prejudice for or against the truth of the confession of guilt. The confusion already started by the police was thus doubled.
3. Judicial: Set off by the police, bogged down by the doctors, justice could scarcely act objectively. The Court case started by a disquisition against torture, followed by a medical dispute. Twelve sensible Auvergnats, seeing this, sent the lot of them about their business, the Bench acting simply as spectators. Had the latter had to cope with the case without a jury (and I hold no brief for 'popular' justice) I do not know what their verdict might have been. And the Public Prosecutor, pleading anyway in a void, admitted there were extenuating circumstances! This was the last straw! Extenuating what?
True, justice did not miscarry in this case. But it was a near-miss and perhaps more instructive than if miscarriage had actually taken place. Let us also remember that a woman's life was in peril, and that she suffered thirteen months' detention as a result of this medico-legal-police imbroglio. The only thing lacking was pentothal, and even that came into sight and was only avoided because its use depended on a doctor who, fortunately, did not hold the superstition, and so saved justice from yet another motive for losing its head.
Why the imbroglio? Because justice had failed to put each thing in its place and lacked certain essential principles, that is, those which would define the proper role of the police, the weight to be given to medical opinion, the importance of moral elements (in this case abundantly clear, since there was neither psychological nor moral motive for the crime). The lack of assertion of the primacy of the judge on the Bench over police or medical acts is the basic cause of all this.
One has to ask oneself whether a new source of data requiring to be very carefully studied and understood, can safely be brought into play before a justice which has ceased to try and study or understand. And, moreover, is it safe to bring pseudo-scientific superstition to bear on a justice which is so unsure of itself?
Justice having lost its faith in itself, medicine has gained too much. The effects are the same, the reasons also, though in reverse, and medicine gives us no guarantees against the abuse of pentothal.
Let me say again that I am attacking no individual, nor any corporate body. Neither justice nor medicine is on trial: since the days of Rabelais and Moliere, such subjects are no longer original and, moreover, are not the purpose of my essay. We are examining a social situation and in the complexity of this both professions are inseparable and, moreover, are in process of dangerous transformations. One may think what one likes about these: I do not want to discuss them, being no social reformer, and I am quite willing to leave it to those whose job it is to try and restore the status of either the judicial or the medical profession. Yet I have the right to feel anxious over such transformations—deformations, rather—when they lead to the introduction of a novelty the risks of which could only be exorcized by the professional bodies responsible for its use if they themselves were entirely healthy.
In this century of unbelief, we are dominated by a superstition: that of belief in science and technology. These terms are allowed so wide an application that they include courses of action which are neither science nor art, and  which are not properly techniques. Yet out of ignorance we accept that they have virtues of safety and efficacy which they have not. This is the position of medicine.
Such an atmosphere may infect even people well placed not to be taken in. If incense is burned before a person for a long time, there is always the risk that he may eventually come to believe that he really is something of a god. In a world where the technician is king, the physician becomes a god and so tends to lose sight of the true meaning and the human quality of his art. The legitimate confidence which the doctor should inspire as a man is unconsciously allowed to reflect into the science he practises : the genuine virtues of the doctor himself are the very things which give false value to medicine itself. The authority given him by his place in society and in administration is sometimes very valuable in troubled times when rations, leave, exemptions from service and the like, depend on his opinion. But it makes it too easy for him to identify himself, the man, with the authority which he represents as an agent of science, and hence also to acquire a false belief in the absolute scientific value of medicine. I will not enlarge on Alain's vilification of 'the little tyrant', but what I want to say is that when a man finds himself clothed in such authority, it is humanly impossible for him not to believe that he has become the high-priest of an exact science. In the most difficult circumstance of his professional life, the doctor has perforce to safeguard himself against destructive criticism by taking up a highly defensive attitude. Few people will allow him the right to say that he does not know, and it is anyway his task to try and inspire confidence in those around him even when he feels himself in doubt. He is always expected to act and behave as if he did know. There are doubtless some who can carry the responsibility of their terrible profession without illusions; but most fall into the error of thinking that the demand that they make a decision is identical with being sure of exactly what they are about to do.
All this, moreover, is happening in a scientific climate which is highly active, and where the taste for novelty inspires unlimited faith in research. This helps to raise in the minds of the very ones who most need to remain objective, an implicit and often unconscious superstition as regards the scientific nature of medicine. This bad example is set from on high, where there is a pontificate which allows neither resistance nor contradiction. Sick people are docile, so are pupils: hence science becomes irresistible. This may indeed become dangerous, and would have done so in the case just cited, had it not been for the greater modesty and caution of those who remembered the wise saying that 'in medicine one should not be unduly positive'. For here a learned professor might have forfeited the life of an innocent woman on the slight yet authoritative statements he had made.
It should be pointed out moreover that these contradicted the teachings he himself gave in his lectures. For, as a teacher, he said that 'effusions in the carotid region may follow on cerebral hcemorrhage', while, as a medical expert, he said that the marks in this case were evidence of strangulation, despite the post-mortem findings of cerebral haemorrhage. In the Cens case, too, another learned expert was so confident of his results (he contradicted himself afterwards) that he affirmed that 'fens was cured'.1 What unshakable faith we should have in science after these demonstrations !
Fortunately, there are other teachers whose knowledge is coupled with discretion. One of the most competent unhesitatingly stated the exacting and delicate conditions under which alone narco-analysis should be practised, so that 'it should not run the risk of becoming a menace in the hands of physicians as incompetent as they are inexperienced.' 2 Indeed, the very spirit of science consists in a superior use of scientific doubt and moral caution. Lack of these virtues makes the use of pentothal a risky game, and should its use become general, one must hope also that it will be saved from improper use by an equally general growth of qualities already scarce enough and which, in the atmosphere of the present day, are likely to become still more so.
Other grounds for suspicion are to be found in the bad tendency, which is always gaining ground, for medicine to be run by the government. Bureaucracy and medicine tend to become ever more closely mingled, though it is not clear whether it is a case of the State using medicine in order to strengthen its hold on the people, or medicine exploiting the State to increase its own power. Doctors strongly object to red tape, yet it is through their own initiative that herd medicine is being promoted. This is strangely inconsistent, for if doctors do not themselves want to be regimented, they should not lend themselves to the regimentation of their patients. It is claimed that the State should govern every moment of a man's life, fi mil conception to burial on the—so far dubious—plea of the scientific organization of public health. This dream of compulsory medicine and therapy through statistics is no more than the ideal of modern collectivism dressed in scientific garb—i.e., the complete documenting of the whole of mankind.
This is a terrifying phenomenon of scientific authoritarianism. The pursuit of science has, by deterioration and over-diffusion, changed its character from a philosophical idea to a means of political tyranny. In the name of Science, the State is going to manage everything and everybody; and medicine, the science of man himself, is the most potent of its instruments for dominating man. One can no longer say that this strange wedding of scientists and tyrants, of which Renan wrote a fantastic story, is not haunting the dreams of many people. An example of how scientific idolatry, apparently harmless, can change, even among the best people, into a fearful appetite for political power, is to be found in the curious pages where Dr. Carrel foresees the role which medicine, the super-science, should play in government. He suggests that the State of the future, a reincarnation of enlightened despotism, will become embodied in the person of some dictator, surrounded by scientific counsellors.'
This kind of tyranny can and anyway does exist already without a dictator : democracy plays the part well enough. The Parliamentary Commission on Public Health (in France) of which the chairman was, I believe, a doctor, has imposed on us in an instant, the compulsory use of B.C.G.,2 and that, despite all uncertainties about it, disregarding all protests, without consultation with learned societies, public discussion or parliamentary debate. Why? Because that is science: these gentlemen are scientists, so the herd must submit in silence. Members of Parliament, who are usually far from silent, fell for this and voted as one man: clearly, parliamentary control must play second fiddle to medical dictatorship. Technocracy is the most odious of diptatorships, for it claims, in the name of Science, to have to render no accounts—and everybody thinks this is quite as it should be.
I shall soon be able to take no step in life, to marry, to make love, to send my children to school, to take a job, travel, eat, drink, without a medical certificate. Only pentothal is needed to complete enslavement to the State through medicine. In the best-of-all-worlds-to-be, the Great Tyrant will know how to use his medical Gestapo: I shall soon no longer be allowed to vote, to make my tax returns, to join the Party, to `go sick' under the National Health Insurance, to have an identity card or a ration book unless I produce a certificate of loyalty and docility, proved under barbiturate narcosis.
To sum up : there would be the greatest risk, were pentothal to be introduced into forensic medicine, lest it be used by the police for political ends. If this should happen, there would be no appeal to either of the two great institutions which should protect the freedom of the individual against arbitrary violence. Justice is too unsure of itself, too much subservient to the State. Medicine is too cocksure and, being on good terms with the State, would not defend us against her friend. Pentothal would run wild as soon as the first door to it was opened, and nothing could henceforth prevent the worst abuse of it. These are the reasons behind the automatic recoil which many people feel from pentothal, and these are the prospects which use of the drug in the precarious state of our civilization suggest to anybody at all clear-sighted.
The world of debased politics is not merely potential, it exists already in all its hideousness. We need only look there to see what takes place when justice is ruled by politics.
It may be said that totalitarian trials have nothing to do with pentothal, and that it does not explain the Moscow purges of 1937, nor the more recent affairs in countries where the proletariat is said to dictate. Moreover, it may be argued that these are simply cases of persecution of religion—as in the cases of Bishop Stepinac, Cardinal Mindszenty, the Pastors of Sofia, and the Jesuits of Lubljana —or else a settling of accounts between people in power —as in the cases of Petkov, Rajk, and Kostov—so that, by quoting them, we are only giving way to unfounded anxiety.
These trials, we are told, have led the public to believe that the strange confessions and repudiations of faith made by the accused were due to the action of a drug. It may be well to clarify matters.
If we are puzzled as to the means used in Communist persecution to make the accused confess their guilt, this is because of the complete incongruity between what was known of them in their normal state and how they behaved in Court. Where politics are concerned, it is possible to attribute the extravagance of almost delirious self-accusation to the temperament of the Slav, or to a kind of logic of self-destruction which, Koestler suggests, is part of the Marxist mentality. But when it comes to anti-Christian trials, no explanation in terms of normal psychology—assuming any of those cited to have been normal—is tenable. There is too complete a contradiction between the accused as they were, and what they have become. Their admissions are entirely out of gear with their character, their previous actions, all their antecedents. Moreover, the same scenario is repeated so exactly in each case, that only one explanation is possible, that is, the transformation of the personality by violent means. From this there arises the hypothesis of a diabolic drug, able to disintegrate the will and to inoculate into the mind of a man who has been reduced to the state of a living corpse, the theme which leads him to seek his own perdition.
History may answer the enigma, for the moment we can only speculate. We have no direct proof that drugs were used on the Primate of Hungary. The rumours and the newspaper articles which said so were premature and ill-informed. We simply do not know, though we may make conjectures from the physico-chemical angle. But they are no more than conjectures, however permissible and plausible.
The question is whether there is any drug known to Western science which is capable of bringing about an entire transformation of the personality. Nobody can be entirely positive, but some think it possible. One thing however is certain: it is not pentothal, since, even though this can extort statements while the personality is altered by it, the alteration is only transitory and does not produce this kind of psychic volte-face. Pentothal may even have an opposite result, for everything in these cases shows, not that the victim suffers from inhibition of control, such as barbiturates produce, together with euphoria, but rather a positive tension of anxiety which urges them on to make purely voluntary confessions. Only a lasting state of anxiety seems to account for the condition of the accused, and published photographs confirm this by showing the characteristic expression of anguish on their faces. To cause anxiety: this is the secret of the torturer. Drugs may be used, but only along with physical torments.'
It is possible [writes a psychiatrist] that amphetamine bodies are used, maxiton being the most powerful, in high doses and under specially arranged conditions, such as when the victim is compelled to stand up for from four to eight days—which would be impossible without artificial doping. The anxiety set off in this way and increased by physiological breakdown (maxiton makes people lose weight,,burn up quicker, brings about partial inanition and insomnia) would be followed up by suggestions of the nature of the guilt to be admitted: whence the tone of sincerity and conviction in the self-accusation of the victim.
There can be no doubt that sovietized police forces have a technique of mental disintegration which is horribly efficient. Hunger, thirst, sleeplessness; darkness or dazzling light; psychological tortures by vertigo, hallucination, frenzy; threats and monstrous blackmail; drug intoxication: all of these may be used, separately or together. They know literally how to abolish the personality, to cause complete deflation so that the tortured mind stands empty of everything except an anguish next door to madness. His private convictions and freewill are deleted. Then, catching hold of any positive suggestion, like a drowning man clutching at the first piece of wreckage which comes his way, he accepts the themes inoculated into him in the interrogation, and these acquire a hallucinatory power of self-conviction.
Pentothal may seem a harmless anodine alongside this. I agree, while pointing out that a dangerous practice is not justified by being less bad than another. But we have to consider not only the intrinsic properties of particular drugs, nor the fact that they may be used, so much as the attitude of mind common to all these things, that is, the determination to extort admissions, to debase the victim, to destroy his mind and dislocate his will, towards which the mildness of pentothal is only the first step. The amphetamines are the second.
Such is the problem. In looking at the background of totalitarian actions, we are not looking only at, a bogy, but considering an actual situation. It may have nothing directly to do with pentothal, but it shows how easily justice may become expert at suborning the mind. Pentothal may be only small beer in this, but it nevertheless fits well into the code of procedure and, as such, is quite enough to inspire us with horror.
Justice becomes identified with revolutionary movements when it feels itself to be part of historical trends and sets to work to eliminate opposition and resistance on the grounds that these impede the currents of life which are moving into the future. Such is totalitarian justice to-day, and it sets out systematically to do away with those who disagree with it, and do so with unappeasable fanaticism. The definition of guilt becomes indefinitely extended, innocence is entirely disregarded. More, sincerity and guiltlessness in an opponent are even looked upon as aggravating circumstances. The sole criterion of what is just is what is politically efficacious.
All this rests on a stupid notion that purification is a possible achievement, that all variety of opinion save one can be got rid of, so that unanimity becomes as much a fact as purity of a chemical substance. This must logically lead the purifier to total extermination. 'We will turn the whole of France into a cemetery rather than fail to regenerate her after our own desire,' said Saint Just. 'Purification is not complete,' they say to-day. And naturally so, since it can never be achieved so long as one free man survives together with the purifier. The result is complete self-destruction. In the ferocity of purification, the Terror scheduled endless gradations of guilt. There were 'enemies of the People', 'suspects', `believed suspects', while innocence itself was only considered as potential guilt. Normal justice seeks for the guilty among a mass of innocent people, revolutionary justice suspects the mass and tries to find the 'pure' among them.
So the first step is to imprison everybody: Too many guilty people would escape if one did not arrest the innocent,' says Carrier. 'Better the death of an innocent man than a spy at liberty,' recently said M. Claude Bonnet. After this, bit by bit, one releases those who pass muster. It does not matter how long this takes, provided it is done, nor how many innocent people are persecuted provided possibly guilty people are held. In revolutionary justice, imprisonment prior to trial is the permanent state of every citizen.
All revolutionary purges, moreover, attack freedom of thought, and an honest journalist is a greater danger than one who is not. The more intellectually honest a politician may be, the more responsible and guilty he is in my eyes: he is a serious political adversary,' wrote M. David Rousset. This is as good a definition as possible of a justice in which roguery is an attenuating factor: one may always make a rogue into an ally.
Yet even worse than suppression of freedom and truth is the tendency of revolutionary justice to degrade man. They are not content to kill outright, they must first extract a confession, then smirch the victim's name for the sake of their own propaganda. Why trouble about confession? Doubtless from fanaticism: there is no worse violator of others than a frenzied politician. Conformity of action is not enough, there must also be conformity of thought, and that final act of submission which occurs when a rebel confesses his guilt. Further, it justifies his acts. He does not require confession to strengthen the conviction of the judge and to satisfy his conscience (such things belong to another kind of justice) but as a pretext for ferocity and for using the pitiless killing machine. In short, it is pure sadism. The totalitarian judge, like the politician who uses him, demands that the accused should be entirely delivered over to him. Only one form of defence is allowed: admission of guilt and a plea for forgiveness. The defence of inner conviction and integrity is disallowed, people have to weep and grovel, while silence is even more reprehensible than straight denial.
Yet the right to keep silent is the last resource of the innocent before despicable judges: when honest argument is useless, silence shows the moral distance between the innocent man and the executioner, setting the fury of the prosecutors against the serenity of the victim, and so preserving the possibility of future justification against the ephemeral triumph of imposture. False justice becomes exasperated when it breaks against the rock-like silence of the innocent, and thereby betrays its purposes and stands unmasked for all to see.
Where confession is deemed essential, the process of debasement is most clearly to be seen. No doubt all human justice involves a certain amount of debasement of the guilty man who confesses, since such confession is not made entirely freely, and does not represent spontaneous conversion from wrong-doing. Nor does it know how to receive such a confession. It cannot entirely forgive, and the less savoury aspects of the confessional act itself are repeated when justice rejects its plea for absolution and refuses the immediate act of forgiveness which might help the guilty person to find his own salvation. Confession is taken as the final proof of guilt, not as the first sign of the desire to make restitution. It seizes on the confession to put a good face on its severity, and does not use it as an act of repentance and a call for help. So justice, by a sad contradiction, punishes with greater severity at the very moment when free confession shows guilt to be less than it was. The evil counsel, 'Never own up', is justified by its results, not only by sordid calculation, and because justice is always a little hesitant before a hardened denier. Besides, there is a remnant of dignity in denying one's guilt, when one thinks of the use to which one's confession will be put. Thus, by rejecting confession as a burden it cannot carry, justice pushes the victim back towards the abyss. This may be necessary in defence of society, but the fact remains that this atrocious misunderstanding, this sombre dialogue between two deaf people, the accused and his judge, exemplifies the drama of human justice which is incapable of punishing without also debasing.
Ordinary justice such as this might perhaps argue that it sacrifices the guilty to indisputable moral values, and that admission of guilt implies acceptance also of the constraint imposed by these values, the punishment meted out to those who transgress them. But justices of political extermination have the peculiarity that they use the admissions of the accused as articles of propaganda. Physical elimination alone is insufficient, it has to be coupled with moral elimination, so that the ideas of the accused have also to be killed. The last words of the corpse, they have promised themselves, have to justify the executioners, not so much in pronouncing sentence as in showing adoration of the System. The victim must prove that he has come round to the ideology which kills him, and that he has therefore agreed to his own crucifixion. That is why confession without apostasy is not enough. The accused, after admitting his crime, has also to show himself clear of past delusions, and, seeing the light, asks for punishment and blesses the judges who have saved him. Further, by a refinement of cruelty, and for propaganda purposes, he is expected to state publicly that his confession is entirely voluntary and that he has not been badly treated! So the System wins all round; it kills; it is also the Truth; the machine which destroys is right.
It is clear that when confession is degraded into denial of previous faith so that it may be used for propaganda, simple torture is not enough, for this would leave a point of uncertainty: the victim might retract, refuse to sign the certificate required of him, or show that he was acting under duress. So this too has to be dealt with. To make apostasy durable, to give it the semblance of free action, a real transformation of personality is needed: freewill and conscience must vanish, another will and another conscience have to be infused into the living corpse whose soul has been destroyed. The justice which tortured was nothing to what we have to-day: the justice which dements.
We can only guess at the psychological technique of this nightmare, but our ignorance is no reason for taking on an air of superior scepticism and for telling those who are anxious about such things not to be childish. When two hypotheses are before one, one accepts the more likely. It is much harder to believe in these unexpected and stereotyped confessions than to believe that there are means adapted to plucking out and destroying the individual will. And if we do not know what role drugs play in them, or what drugs these may be, that gives us no cause for reassurance about those we already know and dread, for though they go much less far, they nevertheless belong to the same category.
I am not going to speak in praise of torture, but one must have lost all sense of what are unequalled and unassailable spiritual values not to realize that there is worse than torture in all this. The latter admittedly degrades when it destroys freedom of will, but it does not always degrade. We see this in the case of martyrs, since it leaves them a last and finest resource, which lifts them above the merely human level and places them where heroism and holiness clasp hands. We are here concerned with methods which cancel out even that last resource of the spirit, degrading people for good. One can foresee the Nero of the future using, not hot irons and wild beasts, but skilful techniques to produce spiritual apostasy. The dark hour would then be upon us when the Church could have no martyrs.
The problem of Christian martyrdom lies at the back of the survival of our civilization. Doubtless martyrdom belongs primarily to the realm of the supernatural and is a witness to Christ, but it can also be the last rampart of human values, when it stands as a protest in favour of a free spirit and against tyranny and barbarism. At no time in the history of the Church has there not been bloody testimony of faith somewhere in the world, and it is equally certain that the problem will arise before long in a different guise. The present situation of Christianity in a decadent civilization will force us at some moment to gather together once more our scattered ultimate values, hence it calls with tragic insistence and foresight for a profound revival of our ideas on Christian martyrdom. For it is quite evident that everything will be done to try and prevent the martyr from standing out as a shining example, and that the torturers will do their utmost to deprive him of his power of irradiation.
We have seen already how political disfranchisement has induced the public to see the martyr as a degraded creature, and how, by various accusations, it can make him seem a rogue or a criminal. This is no new idea : in the second century it was said that the Christians ate children. In the twentieth they are accused of sexual perversion or of trafficking in currency. More insidious still is the flexible and indefinite term 'traitor'. These things allow of religious persecution on grounds of public safety—again no new thing, since there has scarcely been any religious persecution in historical times which did not depend on direct or indirect political accusations. What is frightening to-day is the threat to Christian solidarity itself on the question of the exact meaning of the term religious persecution. It is well known that there are some who are prepared to excuse, if not to approve, religious purging on the ground of 'collaborationism', or of 'reaction' and 'feudalism'. Some Christians had not a good word to say for Monseigneur Stepinac and found good reasons to explain the Mindszenty trial. Yet they are much concerned with the political trials of Rajk and Kostov, where the executioners themselves become the victims. Better late than never—but it is all the same very late. We shall doubtless, before long, see Christians, blinded or made fanatical by politics, applauding if not helping in the persecution of their own brothers. It is enough to make one tremble.
We can also forecast that the persecutors, knowing the powers and dangers of propaganda, will see to it that martyrdom is not publicized, so that it cannot become a contagious example. Martyrs will be made in secret; and the noisy trials of to-day will be thought of as pieces of clumsiness in making martyrs and then exhibiting them to the whole world. There is already a difference between the treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty by the Hungarian Government and that of Monseigneur Beran in Czechoslovakia. The Nazi method will come into favour, that is, suppression by clandestine kidnapping. Should the censors ever allow the news to leak out, all that the Christian community will know is that one of their fellows has vanished. It may guess that he has been persecuted, but will not know whether he has received the crown of death or whether he is still rotting in a pit.
The method of choice, of course, in all these affairs will be to force a repudiation of faith. So far we appear to be only at a stage where indirect denial is demanded, and all that has been asked openly is for political repentance, and religious matters have only been lightly touched on by making the accused testify to the freedom of religion in his country. It is pushing matters to the utmost to force the victims to make a statement for propaganda purposes which camouflages the real anti-religious nature of the operation.
A little more and the accused may be made to blaspheme and to perform sacrilege in the same way as the early Christians were made to bow down before idols. In any case, the pattern of future prosecutions is already fixed, and that is, by a terrifying use of lying: executioners have the power, in order to give credit to their own lies, to compel their victims to lie in harmony with them.
By an extraordinary paradox, martyrdom, which has hitherto been a matter of heroic resistance to false beliefs, will now become linked with what appears to be the most shameful forms of compromise and compounding with crime. The martyr was one who was a witness to truth: he is now to be forced to appear as a renegade.
This sort of ruination is disturbing to the Christian conscience, but refusal to become resigned to it is in itself a heroic protest in the moment of defeat. We have evidence of this in Cardinal Mindszenty's declaration before his arrest, when, foreseeing what his executioners might do to him, he denied in advance his possible repudiation of his faith.1 This surely is the ultimate act of heroism, to be ready to confront torture when all hope of heroic action is lost. A Protestant theological writer has even gone so far as to think that there may be times when suicide may be the supieme form of Christian testimony,2 the only means by which the soul can still stand firm before a living corpse is made to speak in its stead: the last effort of the hero at the place where heroism itself dies.
This is the point where explanations and resolutions made by man are vain, and only the mystery of Grace remains. We have no proper idea of what this power may achieve even in a being disintegrated to the point where he is no longer human. The ways of the Spirit are not to be foreseen. Until now they seemed to follow the path of heroism; but now, by an apparent turning away from grace, weakness may still be its own witness.
The whole problem can only be resolved by a complete change of perspective. Instead of considering the testimony of the witness himself, we shall have to think in terms of how that testimony is received by the community to which it is given. When one is faced by the strange witnessing of one who denies, the thing which matters is to preserve his role as martyr and, despite all its equivocal nature and its disguises, to cherish its power to illumine. The testimony must be accepted even when the witness can no longer testify. To the community which wishes to retain its insight and coherence, this new kind of martyrdom must have exemplary significance. Understood and suffered as such, no form of persecution of faith, however clever an impostor the persecutor may be, however lamentable the denials of the victim, the fundamental meaning and the basic power of bringing about communion with God remain unshaken. The problem to-day is not whether there will always be unshakable martyrs for Christianity but whether Christians will remain unshakable in their recognition of their martyrs.
From one angle, this story of drugs is a summary of our whole civilization. The need for artificial heavens into which one can escape is no new thing, but hitherto it seemed to be reserved, under aesthetic forms, to artists anxious to replenish the vials of their sensibility. Under the common garb of the vice of drunkenness it is marked for censure, since it degrades, but now, under the seal of medicine, the gate is open to anybody who comes along. I know people who think they will find mental health by undergoing 'cures' by narco-analysis : thus practising a form of drug addiction under medical direction. Any young fool, anxious about his examinations, can, even without a proper prescription, and for a few shillings, buy at the chemists a little memory and an increase of spirit. That is because in a society where everything is aimed at 'taking one out of oneself', drugs have a fine field. Everybody hopes, by using them, to recapture some rag of his scattered personality, some fictitious means of peace, some kind of euphoria either through self-surrender or self-excitation—a drugging of the constant fret of the man who finds himself always at odds with life, with no standards of normality, absorbed into the herd. Drugs provide an artificial compensation for the loss of spiritual realities which is the mark of contemporary civilization.
The worst of the drama is that by a curious paradox the very drugs which are used in this desperate attempt to catch hold of pneself can also serve the worst enterprises of self-abandonment. Pentothal, maxiton, benzedrine, offer the repressed and the depressed a transitory sense of well-being, of balance, of new enthusiasm; but they also offer the tyrant the means to disintegrate all that might resist absorption, all that remains of self-possession, self-affirmation. Escaping from the herd by drugging, and pushed back to the herd by the same means, man is caught on the infernal wheel of the social Moloch determined to hold on to his prey. He tries to escape into an unreal heaven only to fall back into a very real hell.
The paradox of the psycho-dynamic drug not only shows the drama of modern man, it also shows a bottle-neck in our perception of things. We said above that the investigation of the mind by dislocating the will is an attempt to penetrate into the depths of the soul directly, and not by the mediation of signs and symbols. Such a remark brings up a strange analogy—which doubtless the reader will have seen —between the techniques of physics for breaking up matter and the psychological technique for breaking up the soul. There is more in this than a rough, if spectacular resemblance, and the real origin of both the destruction of the material particle and the psychic entity lies in a similar bent in research. The same movement of consciousness urges the mind to try and enter the sanctuary of the real by penetrating beyond the signs by which it manifests: beyond the data of the senses to understand matter, beyond the signs of behaviour, to know consciousness. The strange thing is that in both cases the urge to go beyond the outer manifestations ends in the flight of the reality which is being pursued, or else in so changing that reality that it is as if it had been actually destroyed. As a result, the knowledge obtained is less definite, less real than that which could have been reached by a proper interpretation of simple external signs. Matter, to-day, can only be explained in terms of mathematical probability: that is, without certainty. The state of the soul, scattered by dissociation of the personality, loses all semblance to the mental unity which alone can give the various parts significance. How then can one say that one has reached reality? I find it difficult to believe that the equations of wave-mechanics represent a world more real than that of a ray of light or the song of a bird; or that the dismemberment of an intoxicated mind gives me a picture of the soul more real than that of its controlled expressions.
There is a devilish quality about a science which can only reach the real by destroying it. Doubtless the thing is congenital to the human spirit, and latent in its history. It would be childish to want to put the clock back on the way science has developed, but one should at least avoid the illusion that the objects on which it seizes or the quality of the knowledge it provides are authentic.
This reflects into the scope of techniques which science produces. To be sure, we may see the atom bomb as an apocalyptic punishment on a humanity which has violated forbidden mysteries, but this will not protect us. In the same way, philosophic argument alone will not prevent barbarism triumphant from using pharmacological research in its techniques of police extortion. The threat of cosmic destruction and spiritual death arise primarily from a certain state of civilization. Our own is so precarious that this is strong reason for not frivolously introducing certain methods into a world which would use them for evil purposes. Yet alongside this external reason there lies the philosophical principle which forbids the use of chemically induced mental analysis in judicial technique. That is, that they do not lead to realities, or that if they do, they automatically destroy or distort them. Psychiatrists may be sufficiently fore-armed against this distortion by the caution with which they practise their art and the subtlety of their psycho-analytical interpretations: that is their affair. But under the special conditions of judicial expertise (haste, poor equipment, difficulty in repeating the examination and hence of correcting mistakes), and where the conclusions drawn from the analysis, whether by the doctor or the judge, may have grave repercussions not to be foreseen, things are otherwise. Moreover, the method may be used by incompetent or dishonest people. All these things risk to disfigure truth and may lead to some of the worst psychological and hence judicial errors.
Such are the basic metaphysical criteria on which to judge the truth given by the use of drugs which bring about mental dissociation. The meaning of the phrase truth serum becomes clear in all its absurdity. One might as well call the atom bomb the detector of reality!
Everybody will agree that with this kind of truth we are travelling towards a world which is both strange and disturbing. When conscioufness is dismembered and out of the control of the self, its intimacies lying open to the eyes of everybody, everything must be at once both false and true. Nothing is concealed, but nothing is in its proper place. The light which abolishes all shadow also abolishes all outline. Everything is known, none of it makes sense: it has the transparency of a phantasm. The icy clarity which removes all mystery thereby destroys all reality. Forced consciousness is falsified consciousness. The kind of reality which rules in hell must be of this order.
1. Lebret: op. cit. (Ann. de med. leg., March—April 1949, p. 59). `Others believe that in the presence of a criminal, society has to defend itself as best it can,' crudely says another expert (Charlin, op. cit., Ann. de med. leg., July-Aug. 1949, p. 170).
2. Trillot: op. cit. (Ada med. leg. et soc., Brussels, 1949, p. 651).
3. Trillot: op. cit., 'The medico-legal expert must do away with all sentimental considerations in the general interest' (Ann. de med. leg., July—Aug. 1949, p. 170).
1. Mellor: La Torture, p. 317, supported by further correspondence with the author.
1. Annotation in Le Monde, 9 July, 1948.
2. At Lourdes, in 1948, the Chaplain of the prison of Fresnes reminded us that 350 political prisoners still awaited trial after five years of detention. Worse still, detention before capital punishment, shackled with weights, 'thirty condemned people are awaiting execution in Fresnes, one, a woman, for over nine months'.
[And, more recently, we have had the trial of those accused of the Oradour massacre, after some eight years.-7)..]
1. Heuyer and Favreau (Ann. de med. leg., Mar.-April 1948, p. 102).
2. Comil and 011ivier, Problemes de selection et d'actualites medicosociales, p. 146.
1. Alexis Carrel, L'Homme cet Inconnu, p. 353 (Plon, Paris, 1941). (There is an English translation of this, under the title, Man the Unknown, recently reprinted in the Pelican edition.—Tr.) See also the whole of the last chapter of this book, and Cahiers de la Fondation Franfaise pour Petude des problemes humains, No. 1, 1943. It is only fair, however, to distinguish between the attitude of Carrel and the arrogant and limited one of Marxist materialism.
2. B.C.G.: A vaccine used to immunize against tuberculosis.—Tr.
1. See p. 32, and the notes on the effect of the amphetamines in causing 'discharge of anxiety'.
1. 'Half an hour before he was arrested, the Cardinal had time to write the following on the back of a used envelope which he was able to conceal from the police searchers: '(1) I have been concerned in no plot. (2) I will never give up my function. (3) I refuse to make any statement. (4) Should it ever be said that I have acknowledged the facts or resigned my function and even if my own signature were given as proof, this must be looked on as a sign of human frailty, and I declare now that any confession I may make is null and void.' White Book: Documents published at the Request of Cardinal Mindszenty, p. 182 (AmiotDumont, Paris, 1949).
2. 'Shall we end by reaching the supreme absurdity in which we shall see suicide as a valid witness for Christianity because it will be the only way of preventing a corpse from betraying that which dwelled in it?' Pastor Bosc, in Reforme, 12 March, 1949, referring to the trial of the Pastors in Sofia.

Our valuable member Jean Rolin has been with us since Friday, 12 April 2013.

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