Herald Scotland : [Letter] Echoes of the Devil’s Music

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Echoes of the Devil’s Music

December 26, 2010

You raised the possibility that Mossad had secretly "signed off" its handiwork by including the Latin word "myrtus" in the computer code that recently disabled Iran’s nuclear facilities (Assassins, cyber worms and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, News, December 5). You report that the Hebrew word for myrtle is Hadassah, also the birth name of the Jewish Queen Esther, famous for persuading her husband to execute a pre-emptive strike against their enemies.

The probability that this Mossad signature was deliberately planted is strong. The intelligence services have a high conceit of themselves, and secret agents naturally look for forms of recognition that are normally denied them.

For example, the recent enquiry into the death of the British code breaker, Gareth Williams, was named "Operation Finlayson". Why? The explanation may be simple. There is an old story in Highland Scotland about a Mary Finlayson, who at a dance in Ross-shire announced she would dance any man in the hall – even the devil himself – off his feet. All night, Mary Finlayson danced with a tall dark stranger whom nobody knew – to the tune Bog an Lochan, known as the Devil’s Music. "Next morning they found the girl – lying cold, spread-eagled – on the floor of the hall". This story was told to me by Alec John Williamson, the last great Traveller Gaelic tradition-bearer on the mainland of Scotland and is an allegory of the dangers facing anyone who challenges the dominant order.

Now we know that the intelligence operative, Gareth Williams, was a brilliant mathematician and code-breaker from the Isle of Anglesey, the great centre of British druidism. We also know that it was in Anglesey that the Romans slaughtered "the last" of the Druids; that it was where Edward Langshanks slaughtered the remnants of Welsh druidism, and it is where the body of Gareth Williams now lies. At his funeral, Sir John Sawers, head of MI6, made a surprise appearance.

Is it possible that Gareth Williams, like Mary Finlayson, overstepped the mark and suffered death not just as a personal reward but as a clear signal to others that political hubris will not be tolerated?

Timothy Neat

Wormit, Fife