Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Imitation Game & Baghdadi in Mosul, Iraq

I saw the newly released movie, "The Imitation Game" which is about the British mathematician Alan Turing's creation of the prototype computer that broke the German coding machine, and reportedly shortened World War II in Europe by two years, thus saving 14 million lives. Sadly, Turing, who was gay, was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, and he committed suicide two years later at the age of 42.

The movie had two points: the cracking of the Nazi Enigma Code, and his homosexuality.

Frankly, the movie dragged at times. I did not feel connected with the Turing character's conflicts as a gay person. His relationship with Joan Clarke (played by Keira Knightley) seemed shallow, contrived, and undeveloped. He was supposed to have been unlikable when he starts working with his team at Bletchley, but he didn't come across as such.

I'm putting blame on the scriptwriter for these weaknesses more than on the actors.

Having said that, I must add that I was fascinated with the historical facts brought out in the movie. I had read and seen movies about decoding Nazi messages, but I had not realized that the British had created a machine that allowed them daily insight into Nazi secret messages. What a wealth of information they had! According to the movie, the British could not respond to all the secret messages or else the Germans would realize the truth and come up with another coding machine. Therefore the British had to calculate their responses to the messages, as well as leak out other excuses for the decoding of Nazi messages.

The matter of Turing's homosexuality and the laws of the time were interesting but not as compelling to me as the World War II tidbit about encryption.

Sending secret messages and decoding them continue to this day.

In Iraq for instance, just recently, the Islamic State blocked all mobile phone and internet networks in Mosul, to prevent locals from revealing information about their whereabouts. ISIL suspects that people in their midst have been informing the Coalition Forces about ISIL target sites, which have allowed accurate aerial hits by the Coalition planes.

In early November, IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly wounded by a Coalition aerial strike on an ISIL military convoy in Northern Iraq. Indeed many ISIL leaders have been killed by air strikes, including Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, Mosul's governor, who was killed with three other ISIL leaders in al-Mashayikh market of of Mosul.

A day after mobile phone networks were blocked in Mosul, news surfaced that ISIL leader Baghdadi drove into Mosul accompanied by no less than 200 soldiers.

I see some irony here - ISIL, which has proven itself to be an expert at manipulating modern social media for their propaganda purposes, has had to block cell phone and internet services in Mosul to protect their leader.

There's a saying: If there's a will, there's a way -- something proven by Alan Turing's creation of the prototype computer -- so I'm certain that modern-day cryptographers will overcome such inconveniences as blocked mobile phones and internet.

As long as there are tyrants and suppression and war, espionage continues.

The black and white photo of Alan Turing is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Read also
Thoughts on Turkey and Kobani
Islamic State: How Evil Flourishes and the Power of the Media
ISIL Kills Woman Activist for Protesting Destruction of Historic Sites
Syria Iraq: Closeup on Al Nusra Front

Tags: Imitation Game, movie, history, encryption, code breaking, secret code, Nazi, #ISIS, #ISIL, #Baghdadi, #Iraq, #Mosul

This is all for now,

No comments: