Debate Magazine

CAPTION TEST - Sherlock Holmes And The Alderney Street Mystery

Posted on the 12 July 2011 by Freeplanet @CUST0D1AN

CAPTION TEST - Sherlock Holmes And The Alderney Street Mystery

"Picture a house of cards." [source]

"To grasp what Gareth Williams saw in the 'terror' emails and how he perceived what he saw," said Sherlock Holmes, "we should try to put ourselves into his shoes, so to speak."
"Yes, of course," I said.
"And to the extent it may be possible," the detective continued, "we should re-trace the sequence of events chronologically, as they would have appeared to him."
"Understood," I nodded.
"We can start," he went on, "with what we know about the young man who went to work at GCHQ. He was a brilliant mathematician, with an enormous gift for logic, a capable memory, and pattern-recognition skills far in advance of his peers."
"Everyone seems to agree on these points," I added.
"If we combine these characteristics," continued Holmes, "we can see, perhaps, how or why he could do mental arithmetic so quickly and accurately that his friends didn't need a calculator when he was around.
"He was also exceptionally brave and ambitious, as his racing career shows. You won't find any lazy cowards speeding up and down the mountains on their bicycles! He was good-hearted if socially awkward, honest, perhaps to a fault, and very naive, if we are to believe what we've been told -- and we've no reason not to do so."
"I am with you so far," I said. Holmes shifted in his seat and re-lit his pipe.
"Gareth left a relatively free-thinking environment in academia and joined the more constrained world of secret government service in 1999," Holmes continued. "He was well-established at GCHQ by 2001, when the events of September 11 occurred in the United States. As I read it, he was surrounded at work by people who accepted the American government's story about those events, even though the tale rings false, and since he kept to himself otherwise -- except while racing -- he was isolated from the few people who were asking difficult questions about those events at the time.
"And so the Global War On Terror was launched, with information collection and analysis highlighted as never before. The USA attacked and invaded, first Afghanistan and then Iraq, with the British alongside at every step. Gareth Williams became an asset in two wars -- or The War, depending on your point of view. And I am confident that he was comfortable in his role."
"How do you know that?" I asked.
"With a mind like his," Holmes replied, "a young man could get another job in a heartbeat, and on a much higher pay scale than Gareth was earning in Cheltenham. He wouldn't have stayed at GCHQ for ten years unless he was happy there."
"I see," I said.
[source SHATASM]

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