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Covert recognition

Some hold the view that the Rubaiyat and Tamam Shud slip torn from the last page were part of a covert recognition arrangement between two parties (spies) unknown to each other but each with a common purpose. To put this theory into proper context we would have to place the spies in a hostile environment, Adelaide say, and one of them would have some secret information he wishes to pass on to the other, a coded message say.

The subtle mechanics of this operation would require that a third party (Control) be responsible for sourcing (printing?) a Rubaiyat and tearing out the slip before sending them on their separate ways, one to each spy.

Now we have two articles that need to be delivered covertly so the spies could use them in a covert recognition arrangement.

This would require that two additional covert recognition arrangements be made (one for each spy), unless Control was confident mail to the spies’ addresses was not under surveillance and possible interception by the local security agency.

Perhaps Control delivered the material to an embassy under the cover of diplomatic mail where it could be picked up by the intended recipients, but once again he is faced with the danger of having embassy arrivals and departures being watched and the spies identified. Besides, what would be the use of a covert system if both spies were able to meet in the embassy?

Once we’re past these difficulties we’re faced with the prospect of having the agents meet where one hands over his slip and the other examines same before any information is passed over. To do this successfully he would have to be sure the slip fits into the tear and the book’s paper type matches that of the  slip.

However, prior to this one-on-one meeting both spies would need to have in place a recognition routine in order to be confident of approaching each other from a safe distance. One might be carrying newspaper under his left arm if all was well and under his right arm if this was not the case. In that instance a back-up meeting would be required.

If all was well there may be yet a another recognition process required where one spy might ask of the other, ‘Is the fairground open today?’ and the other spy’s response might be ‘only on Tuesday’s.’

With all that successfully behind them, any transfer of secret information should be safe to complete.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. MyName #

    I agree with most of what you say, but there’s a bit of a problem with the slip being used for recognition – it doesn’t match the tears in the book. of course, it’s possible that the book was subsequently vandalised to hide it – but that being the case, why not remove the entire page rather than just fudge up the tear outline. In fact, I think if the slip was neatly trimmed, it suggests to me that that’s what was subsequently touched up.
    Of course, there’s a number of in-between possibilities that might even fit in with his ultimate demise.
    1) I think somebody somewhere suggested a couple year ago that the Rubaiyat the police got excited about might have been a hoax that snowballed. That someone found a copy ripped out TS and gave it to the police. Given how rare the edition is, this seems unlikely – but perhaps it was more common back then.
    2) This might also have been suggested elsewhere. Alice and Bob have been given the book and the slip. Oscar has gotten wind of the planned meeting, and the ID technique. Oscar prepares a TS slip (or perhaps the book with the torn page). The slip does not match the tear in the book, and causes an argument between Oscar and Bob, as a result one of them ends up dead on the beach. Slight problem with this is that the slip is still concealed – so the altercation couldn’t be immediate
    3) The meet happened and SM subsequently dies (probably not even important if killed or not). In a flash of ‘genius’ the other party neatens up the TS and conceals it on SM thinking it will encourage the suicide angle
    4) SM is a little naive to how the identification process works. Being a bit OCD when it comes to neatness, while journeying to Adelaide he neatens up the TS slip – I forget if there were scissors in the suitcase? The meeting goes down, but since the shape of the slip doesn’t match the book it doesn’t end well for SM. The same problem of 2 exists here. Perhaps the other party played along that all was well just waiting for their opportunity to get rid of ‘im.

    December 9, 2020
    • пожалуйста #

      Isn’t it standard practice for police to hold back specific details about crimes, crime scenes, witness statements, etc. when going public?

      That way they can eliminate bum information when people come forward.

      The TS “gap” torn from a copy of the Rubaiyat may have been used only as an indicative example for public consumption, without revealing precise detail?

      December 9, 2020
      • Holding back the name written on the back of the Rubaiyat .. that’s a specific detail.

        December 28, 2020

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