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By Derek Robinson

Pit unstoppable conmen opposed to one another, throw in a truckload of greenbacks, upload sufficient political paranoia to ship all the United States having a look below its beds for Reds, cue within the CIA, the KGB, MI6 and the Mafia, all dressed to kill, and you've got "Red Rag Blues". this can be america, 1953. One conman is senator Joe McCarthy, excessive priest of America's holy conflict on purple treachery. the opposite conman is Luis Cabrillo. as soon as he made a fortune as a contract in counter-intelligence. Now he is flat broke. the 2 males embody one another like clams. Luis sells Joe a gradual circulate of bogus Commie treachery. either males prosper. yet Luis's dodgy previous is catching up with him...Also meet: Julie Conroy, Luis's female friend, a corker of a brand new Yorker; Soviet secret agent Kim Philby, lately tipped to move MI6; and younger Bobby Kennedy, who particularly did serve and respect Joe McCarthy in 1953. "Red Rag Blues" is a black comedy encouraged through the real nation of the United States because the McCarthy witch-hunt reached its climax of ranting and raving, while it used to be not anything to snicker approximately.

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Bailey was once an audio typist. She listened to spools of tape and made transcripts of what she heard: no longer completely every little thing, no longer chitchat in regards to the climate or sexual longings or borrowing ten greenbacks; simply critical enterprise. the difficulty with audio was once humans wandered, coughed, mumbled, chewed gum, interrupted. Mrs. Bailey was once sufferer, chronic. She replayed the tape. nevertheless, a few phrases afflicted her, so she extra a question in crimson ink within the margin. She did this with Arabel, if it relatively used to be Arabel. occasionally it appeared like Annabel. Mrs. Bailey had simply ever encounter Arabel as a girl’s identify and this was once a guy speaking. She couldn’t locate it in any of her dictionaries: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German. She used to be now very hungry. within the margin she wrote Arabel or Annabel? and went to lunch. The CIA operative who learn her transcript was once no longer inspired by means of massive speak in McCarthy’s workplace. “Same outdated stuff,” he acknowledged. Then he spotted the red-ink question. It intrigued him. Why might a male use a feminine codename? there has been a cause of every little thing, and he desired to understand it. He despatched a memo to all departments of the company, asking if the identify rang a bell. Wagner were a brigadier within the Abwehr. German army intelligence. whilst international warfare ended, he used to be in a prisoner-of-war camp. firstly it used to be scoured via Allied investigators, settling on contributors to face trial for battle crimes. Wagner was once now not one. quickly the Soviet Union used to be construction its Iron Curtain, a buffer quarter from the Baltic to the Black Sea. That was once a fortunate holiday for Wagner and lots of like him. a few of their Abwehr colleagues, unfortunate sufficient to be captured by way of the Russians, stumbled on themselves again at paintings in East Germany. Wagner’s wartime operations concerned sending spies into Britain and receiving their reviews: precisely what American intelligence now needed to do in East Germany. It made experience to counter one set of Abwehr officials with one other. the united states cherrypicked the simplest, together with Wagner. while the CIA used to be organize in 1947, Wagner was once one of the ex-Abwehr males at the power. He used to be nonetheless there in 1953, a memo that used to be all a few identify. “Arabel,” he acknowledged aloud. Agent on the middle of the Abwehr triumph of the struggle. may there be Arabels? accident? No, he knew this has to be a similar guy. yet the following, in Washington, dickering with Senator McCarthy? weird and wonderful. Wagner used to be particularly excited. He needs to discover extra. every type OF FREAKS AND WEIRDOS 1 on a daily basis the rubbish scow went down New York’s East River and much out to sea, the place one of many workforce pulled a lever, the hull opened like bomb doorways and one other a number of hundred a whole lot metropolitan crap bought dumped into the Atlantic. at the long ago, halfway among the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn military backyard, a deckhand observed an strangely huge piece of rubbish drifting with the present. The skipper ordered striped buoy be dropped with reference to it, and he received the Harbor Police at the radio. “It’s a floater,” he pronounced. allow the law enforcement officials get their arms soiled. Ten mins later, a police release stumbled on it.

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