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Saturday, March 01, 2003
 
Life imitates art, number 623

John le Carre's splendid story The Spy who came in from the Cold can be summarised as follows:
A disillusioned British intelligence agent accepts an assignment apparently to discredit a 'nasty' East German intelligence officer who is getting close to the real British spy. The Briton 'defects' to East Germany and is debriefed by another, 'nice' East German intelligence officer. The information 'wormed out' gives the nice one the evidence to denounce his colleague.

During the 'trial' that follows, the nasty officer accused calls a witness (the Briton's girlfriend) and produces further evidence to show that the whole thing is a put-up job and, that he is being framed. The accuser is denounced and the nasty's position is strengthened.

The nasty releases the Briton and the girlfriend and facilitates their crossing the wall to the West. At this stage, we become aware that the nasty is the British spy, not the nice one.

As the couple are crossing the wall, the girlfriend is shot and the Briton climbs back from safety in the West and is shot, too, having realised how his girlfriend has been so ill-used; he has been a prize double-dupe.
Now, how about this story: it originally appeared in Newsweek. It is now summarised here. (From The Guardian, 1 March 2003.)
Kamel, one of President Saddam's sons-in-law defected to the West in 1995 and told UN inspectors that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and abandoned its nuclear programme after the Gulf war. But he said blueprints, documents, computer files and moulds for missile parts had been hidden.

However, Rolf Ekeus, the former chief UN weapons inspector who oversaw the interrogation in August 1995, said this week that much of the chemical arsenal had been destroyed by the inspectors, not Baghdad. Ekeus further branded Kamel a liar.

After a short period in the West, Kamel was persuaded by Saddam's offer of immunity to return to Iraq where he was promptly shot.
Lots of parallels, eh? But, just as Al Capone was finally caught for tax evasion, perhaps John le Carre could sue Saddam Hussein for plagiarism. That would nail the bastard.


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