Wednesday 18 August 2010

Way past the day of the jackal

The dogs of war
Whilst his books are a riveting read, I cannot say that Frederick Forsyth [1] is a likeable person by any stretch of the imagination.
However, that is beside the point, by happenstance during one of his researching escapades for material he was in Guinea-Bissau in 2009 [2] just when a violent coup d’etat was being played out.
For most of what has appeared in his many books, Mr. Forsyth is a fundamental security risk to many governments and institution that it was too difficult to consider his presence in Guinea-Bissau at that particular time to have been a mere coincidence.
Mr. Forsyth has been known to dabble in attempted forced regime change in Africa before, his repentance was suspect.
The veteran
For a man meticulous in detail to a fault in his plots and intrigues, it was interesting to learn that he was still quite “old-school” when it comes to technology that he neither uses a mobile phone nor computer.
Upon his “learning” of the events in Guinea-Bissau, he had to borrow a phone and dictate 1,000 words of copy, though it is not clear if this was to his wife or to the Daily Express, a newspaper in the UK that he writes for.
Except if he were speaking in Shibboleths and codes, it is possible that interested parties could have eavesdropped on his conversation and for their own ends.
One would thing a person of his stature would have moved with the times and probably had a computer and a mobile phone both with encryption and some sort of scrambling device.
The day of the jackal
In a Hardtalk interview [3] with the BBC, Mr. Forsyth accuses US spies of attacking his wife’s computer just around that time though he has no forensic evidence to provide of that claim apart from presumably informed sources he calls ‘friends in low places’.
It brings to mind the recently screened episodes of Sherlock [4] on the BBC which carried the deductive and investigative acumen and partnership Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into contemporary times from the late Victorian times with finesse.
Many would agree that ideas need to evolve with the times to find new applications with newer tools rather than be fossilised in period settings good for nostalgia and historical analysis, it would appear that Mr. Forsyth from the reading of the articles has forgotten that the day of the jackal is over and he should be dealing with a new protocol of modern times.

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