June 15th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Anthony Albanese: NSW left factional warlord takes charge

EDITORIAL Religious freedom: the political and legislative challenges

CANBERRA OBSERVED Will Bill Shorten emerge from the shadows again?

FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Keating's 'nutters': Don't blame the messenger

ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY Health policy is not immune from neoliberal infection

HUMAN RIGHTS Canada accepts Asia Bibi and family as refugees

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Families keeping the faith: the Benedict and other options

IDEOLOGY Feminist claims for equality, Part 1: The context

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 3: More on science and ancient cultures

LIFE ISSUES Families, youth boost crowd at WA Rally for Life

MUSIC Muse of delight: The laugh ascending

CINEMA Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

BOOK REVIEW Pioneering aviator's flights and fancies

BOOK REVIEW Catholic resistance in a forgotten war

BOOK REVIEW AFA patron's long life of public service


NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal, June 5-6, 2019: An account from the live streaming

Books promotion page


Warren Reed


Buy Book

(Seattle: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013)
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN: 9781484888148
Price: AUD$29.95



The author of this spy thriller, set in the Middle East in 1989/90, is a former intelligence officer with the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) who served in the region. He was trained by MI6 in London and also served for 10 years in the Asian region.


Book description

The story deals with powerful political forces churning away in the Middle East at a time when Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya were at the peak of their power. Gaddafi was the ogre of his day before Osama bin Laden came to prominence as the Al Qaida leader, with the ultimate tragic ending being the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

The story deals with the nitty-gritty daily grind of intelligence work undercover in a region where so many conflicting forces are at play. In a common quest to pinpoint where reality lies at any given time allied intelligence services often cooperate to great effect and with camaraderie always to the fore. Despite this, however, things can often go spectacularly wrong and lives are lost, especially when treachery rears its ugly head inside one’s own agency. This story shows how spies contend with these dangerous challenges.

Most of the story takes place in Cairo, with other events occurring in Canberra, Washington and London.



“What a great read this is! This story has the ring of truth. Intelligently written and masterfully shows several countries’ ‘spies’ working together in Cairo to achieve common goals. Unfortunately, the Australians are unprotected by an ambassador with much to hide and much to lose. Highly recommend to anyone interested in books like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
Patricia Heaton.


“A great read. Delves into the deceptive and corrupt world of foreign affairs and its bureaucracy. Placed in the tense and exotic Middle East.”
Mark Chapman.


“The Arab concept of intelligence dates back long before the rise of Islam in the first half of the seventh century to the ancient times of the second and third centuries when the tribes of Southern, Central and Northern Arabia all had their networks of spies.

“Espionage activities were normal within the Arab world in peacetime and war as elsewhere in the world.

“Arabia has received much attention over the years from foreign intelligence services, not the least of whom is the British Secret Intelligence Service [SIS, aka MI6]. The accounts of successive British military officers, such as Arabists T.E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger are well documented.

“Albeit fiction, Hidden Scorpion does not disappoint and is firmly grounded in this tradition. It meticulously draws on this rich historical setting to masterfully tell the story of an Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer who must against all the odds pave the way where no Australian spy has ventured.

“Set in Egypt at the end of the Cold War, the Australian spook quickly discovers the sand is not so firm as he slowly but surely is enveloped in a quagmire of treachery, deceit and death.

“The operational intrigue of the plot and the meticulous attention to tradecraft are masterfully woven into the politics of the day to provide a thoroughly engrossing and utterly captivating story.

“Reed is something of a breath of fresh air in the spy genre, especially given his own antecedents as a former MI6-trained Australian spy.

“Highly recommended.”
Dr Mark Craig, New York City


“John Le Carré, eat your heart out! Hidden Scorpion is a thriller of our times. The author’s first hand experience shines through at every twist and turn and readers soon become immersed in the deceptive but all-too human arena of spying. The fact that Mr Reed has lived and breathed the perils of spying enables him to explore not only its political but its moral dimensions and the demands that acts of betrayal make on individuals who are also juggling the national interest. It’s timely, given that the Bradley Manning case has come up for review, which makes it more urgent than ever, and indeed the issues explored by this author leave us pondering where one’s allegiances should lie.”
David Jansz


“Warren Reed is a former Australian intelligence officer, turned writer, who has managed once again to pull off a good story, with an excellent plunge back into pre-‘Arab Spring’ days: do we remember those? Some critics, usually in his homeland, have said that Australian intelligence is an oxymoron; but, as Mr Reed makes clear by word and deed, he can shine light into the shadows. With strong character delineation and a plot that moves, he has depicted the life of a spy in hostile territory.

“As most foreign service officers have found, the enemy is not always where and whom you expect. Even your own embassy is a hazardous assignment because diplomats and spooks make for an uneasy mix without even consideration of potential personal conflicts. What I consider to be the Eighth Deadliest Sin — namely Betrayal — is integral to understanding the spy world and the threats to intelligence officers working in your nation’s interest.

“Without giving away any of the plot, this is a book that should have interest around the world. One day perhaps, Australian spy fiction will make its mark in the genre, in no small way owing a debt to Warren Reed.”
Christopher J. Ward, “Doc Ward” (Tasmania, Australia)


“Fact or fiction? This isn’t Steven Spielberg’s work… no no… This is a top espionage veteran sharing his accounts with us....

“What I love about this new novel is that its author was trained by Britain’s MI6 and then served as an Australian spy in the world of espionage for a decade. Without question, readers can assume that many of the events and much of the story-telling in his book, including the types of characters portrayed, are based on people and situations he dealt with during those years. Novels that we know must draw on true experience are always more intriguing than those that are the product of a conventional story-teller’s imagination.

“What’s also fascinating is the period in recent history in which the story is set, taking place when countries with dictators such as Gaddafi, Saddam and others were an immediate threat that had to be contended with. It was a scenario that called for hands-on espionage work, far from the type of operations called for in today’s environment, one that current leaders inherited from those before them.

“If this book is classified as a ‘novel’, don’t be fooled by the innocence of that term. Written by a respected espionage and intelligence veteran, who’s been stationed in the most strategic locations during his career, it must be telling us something. To me, many of the events in it ring true, as though they are accounts of what actually happened out there in the field, colourfully and nicely packaged for us readers.

“The story and the events that Hidden Scorpion takes you through keep you thoroughly engrossed from chapter to chapter. If Syriana [a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan] was to have a sequel, it could learn a thing or two from Hidden Scorpion. In short, it’s an excellent piece of work. I’ll certainly be on the look-out for anything new from its author, Warren Reed.”
Faisal Faisal

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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