“He’s From Saudi Arabia”

“Police put an undercover agent in a cell with Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui and asked him “Where is Osama bin Laden?”, a just-released Police Complaints Authority decision reveals.

The agent was to “gather intelligence” with questions such as “Do you like Bin Laden?” and “Where is Osama bin Laden?”

Manning said Zaoui realised the man was an undercover agent. “He was only let out of his cell into the day room a few times and this guy was always there asking bizarre questions.”

This is totally awesome. I hope there’s video tapes of this.

Of course, this is the true gem:

The agent could speak only English – which Zaoui could barely understand – so communicated some questions with charades.

Sweet angels of mercy. Now it’s WAY beyond awesome, and it’s become an episode of “Fawlty Towers” with Basil Fawlty as the intelligence gathering agent, and Manuel as Zaoui.

“Well met, fellow prisoner of the Infidel! All praise to Allah and his prophet! Truly, the Great Satan America shall fall before the might of Islam and the Mujahideen of Al Queda, as led by the mighty Osama Bin Laden. Speaking of Osama, do you happen to know precisely where he’s located at this time?”



  1. I wonder if one can lodge a complaint about utter incompetence?

    • Yeah, Zaoui should have the NZ Government pay for his family to come here and he should get a nice fat check and a great big grovelling apology for this.

      “Excuse Mr Terrorist… I am Terrorist TOO! Hey, where’s the Big Osama Cheese at now?”


      “By GOD! That man IS a threat. Quick PC Plod, put him into indefinite solitary confinement so that we shall protect this free nation of ours.”

      I have always been of the opinion that to combat his “terrorist activites” all we needed to do was place him in a small New Zealand town. No evil could possibly be done or escape the trained eyes of Mrs McCrobie the lady at the dairy, or Baz the local taxi driver, or Lyn the postmistress.

      Gore or Hokitika. Taihape or Ekatahuna… Now that’s the way to moniter your man.

  2. Where is Lionel Blair when you need him?

    The agent could speak only English – which Zaoui could barely understand – so communicated some questions with charades.

    “Uh, OK, four words. First word… sounds like head? Scalp? Hair? Hair. Um. Flair? Oh, New Zealand accent. There? Where? Where! OK. Second word. A small word. At? If? On? In? Is? Is! OK. Third word. Dog? Coffee table? I don’t… Sorry, I’m not very good at this. Trash can? Um… Refuse receptacle? Rubbish bin? Oh, just rubbish. Bin? Bin! OK. Forth word. Stir? Mix? Spoon? Wooden spoon? Ladle? Where is bin ladle? In the kitchen? No? What? Sounds like… ground? Grass? Flowers? Garden? Garden! Ladle garden? Oh, laden? Where is bin Laden? Is that it? I’ve never played this before. Is it a treasure hunt riddle or something? I don’t even know what… Are you from the psychiatric unit?”

  3. You always imagine working as a spy would be all james bond and shit, when in fact it would seem it’s probably more like dilbert and pointy haired boss sort of thing.

    • Which really is worrying.

    • I could tell you about the interview process for the SIS, but then I’d have to kill you.

      (No, really, they once gave me an interview for a job as a spook. The term ‘mickey mouse’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.)

      • See, no, don’t tell me this. I want TV to have gotten it right.

        I want our three-letter agencies to be all underground bunkers and retinal scanners and lasers and chrome-and-glass desks and “We blow up more Space Shuttles before breakfast than most people do all day!” and Sorkin-style walking down corridors while talking intensely about important stuff at the same time.

        I don’t want it to be Keystone Kops with traffic ticket quotas telling each other “go ask the terrist if he knows where Osama is.”