||ISBN10 0982646232 Electronic Book text
The Hunt for Megrahi
#2 in the hunt club series
By W. Addison Gast (Nome de plume de Bill Overmyer)
The media had relaxed quickly on the event in New York. Relaxed to the extent that the assault on the Middle Eastern dictator and the taking of his life was no longer front page but not history—just yesterday’s news. There remained, still a lot of unanswered questions in respect to just how many were actually involved in the operation. The three wounded suspects that were arrested at the scene evidently were not talking or it would have been in the ongoing conspiracy stories on the net and in the thousands of blogs all over the free world that were still holding onto the story. All the members of the hunt club were back at their respective geographical locations engaged in their individual occupation. The only pucker time that occurred after the event was when the FBI came to question George Kellogg about the stolen equipment that was used as a part of the recent assassination of the Dictator. When he provided documents to the agents covering the case showing where he had made a police report on the theft of the traced equipment three days prior, they no longer bothered him. George felt, as he related to Charlie Ball, that the agents didn’t seem to really have their hearts in the investigation and was not as aggressive in their questioning as you would normally think they would be. That was fine. The members did not need some relentless, nosy agent prying into the events of any of the club members the days or week prior to the event. They may accidently connect the dots between the death of George’s niece Katelynn on Pan Am 103 and the event. It was highly improbable that any investigation as to where the two TV remote vans that were used at the scene would produce anything. The two TV vans were safely buried beneath a concrete slab in the Manhattan suburb. The slab had become the floor of a large warehouse that was to become a part of a company specializing in extended time storage. The investigators would most likely find Jimmy Hoffa before they did the two TV vans.
Timmy Moore was following closely with keen interest the trial of the three suspects arrested at the scene. He felt some intense connection with these individuals that were unlucky enough to be in the wrong spot of the kill zone when the Amazon guard tossed a grenade their way. Tim knew that if he so much as donated any funds to their defense it would be like giving the FBI another lead to follow. In the age of super computers and especially in the finance world, tracing funds was as simple as doing a Google search for information. He’d have to find another way to help them. At first, the media had described them as some sort of white supremacist group but there was no evidence of that connection so far so news analysts and contributors as they preferred to be called were happy to characterize the three as mercenaries. From the little amount of information released about the group, Tim knew that they were all U S. citizens and veterans. That fact of information put to rest the possibility of the HSA claiming they had quelled another terrorist plot only this time that verb was not accurately descriptive of the action. The target had been killed.
"I talked to George Kellogg today. He said to pass on his regards to you.” Charlie Ball was greeting Bill O’Neil coming through the door to the bunkhouse on the hunt club ranch.
“Any problems?” Asked O'Neil. No one else was in the bunkhouse but Charlie closed the door behind Bill and continued to describe his phone conversation with George Kellogg.
“ George said he had a visit from two agents asking about the trash container and the loader backhoe. ”And he told them…?”“Gave them a copy of the police report on the theft of said articles dated three days prior to….the event… and after a short conversation, they left.
” Was it that simple? "
"He said they didn’t really act like they were trying to crack the case of the century. George feels confident that they most likely won’t be back unless something earth-rattling turns their head our way.”
“Anything from RJ?”
“Of course not. R J is history—vaporized as is his custom I am told. Tim knows how to get in touch with him if we need to but outside of the comment Timmy made in our last conversation, I don’t think any of us will be shaking hands with R J again.
”Just out of curiosity sir, what was Mr. Moore’s comment? ”
"When we said goodbye to RJ at the Marina, Tim shook hands with RJ and said One down, one to go .” Charlie Ball was looking at O’Neil with one eyebrow raised.
"And RJ was smiling back at Mr. Moore with dollar signs in his eyes I imagine.” Replied O’Neil.
“You know RJ. He just looked at Tim and said Abdel Basset al-Megrahi in that computer staccato articulated voice of his. Then, when he realized,--I think—that Tim was serious, he said he would gather needed intel on the subject. “Bill O’Neil listened to that last remark from Charlie and slowly twisted the cap from the top of a bottle of Pearl Light. He took a small taste of the contents of the bottle and then looked back at Charlie and replied;
“Different ball game and a really different ball park boss. Have you ever been in that part of the world?”
“Algiers—French Morocco a long time ago. I do remember that it was the first country that I was ever in where a guy spit on me just because I was an American.” Replied Charlie.
"Has not changed much I’ll guarantee you Charlie and their admiration for westerners is probably the same if not worse. I mean these guys still cook their supper over a piece of dried camel dung and eat with one hand and wipe their ass with the other.”
“Well, it’s been three months since that handshake between Tim and RJ at the marina and I have not heard any more on the subject Bill so I’d say that we won’t be packing our bags any day soon.
”I’ll go anyplace you think I can be of assistance to the group Mr. Ball and you know I’ll do my best but Tripoli is not New York City.”
“Ok Bill. I think we have spent enough on that topic. Let’s get ready to show this group of Japanese CEO’s that will be here tomorrow some Texas hospitality.
Tripoli International airport was, like most international airports in the world under construction. Located in the town of Ben Ghasir, the single five story terminal was serving 3.2 million passengers per year but needed an additional two terminals minimum to serve the modern air travelers. It was the hub for Libyan Air which is the airline RJ used to enter the country even as Charlie Ball and Bill O’Neil were talking to each other 7,000 miles away. It was hot, the smell of diesel taxi engines idling as they waited in line for customers departing the baggage concourse, irritated RJ’s sinuses. He disliked working in the Middle East. He disliked the accommodations, the food and especially, the people. In his line of work RJ has become accustomed to ignoring the unpleasant things associated with where he had to travel. He hated most the Asian countries with a passion because of the incessant smell of decaying feces in his opinion. It was like sleeping with your nose in your armpit. The young man reading the copy of London Times was leaning against the rail of the fence between the street and the construction site. He barely looked up as RJ approached and asked the question;
“Prince Andrew going to have to sit out the Polo game today because of his ankle?”
The man lowered his paper enough to look over the top and appraise the man asking the question. The he replied;
“Andy is ex Royal Marine. A bummer of a foot will not keep the chap out of the game.” Then he folded the paper, lowered his sunglasses back in place on his nose and reached out to take RJ’s pull-a-long suitcase. RJ had his lap top case over his shoulder and a briefcase in the other hand. He surrendered the bag on wheels to the man and followed him to the parked BMW twenty yards away. As the man lifted the rear door to the BMW and placed RJ’s bag and brief inside, RJ noticed another briefcase lying in the back.
“You would not want to get my brief confused with that one when we get to the hotel would you my friend?” He said accusingly.
“Not a chance Sir. Those are my history notes which you said you wanted to review when you arrived.” This time he was smiling. The driver’s hair was dark and thick. He had a trim, full beard that shaped his olive colored skin of his face so that it accented his eyes which were coal black. R J had not a clue as to this person’s background or birthright but, obviously he could walk down any street in this area drawing little attention. R J was observing this new acquaintance and somewhat admired his casual reference to the fact that they probably had a government surveillance car following them. The statement was not meant to alarm or impress R J--- the driver had been given enough information on RJ to understand that he was a professional when it came in to entering and exiting dangerous locals.
“Call me Yuri, Sir. I don’t think you need the traveler’s arrival caveat or the geographical references or history lesson so sit back and try to stay cool. “R J now looked again more closely at Yuri. He didn’t waste his client’s time with idle chit-chat while he was behind the wheel. RJ detected that his driver’s attention was on the car following as much as it was the road in front of them.
“We will arrive at your hotel in about fifteen minutes Sir so let me provide you with some information that will keep us both from getting involved with the local ……..opposition shall we say? ”What can you tell me in fifteen minutes Yuri that will keep me alive and out of prison for the next few days?” Smiling, RJ looked over at Yuri and opened his hand in a gesture of a question.
“This car is the only place that you and I can converse without being recorded or videoed. You notice that I have the windows tinted. The film used for the tint process has a unique component that blocks video and some audio signals. When we get to the hotel, I will assist you in taking your luggage to your room along with the bellhop. You will wind up with an extra briefcase---the one you saw in the back of my car here, delivered to your room. Inside is the detailed dossier you are purchasing from me. Once I leave your room, that item belongs entirely to you. There are no electronic records, copies or tapes of the content. They have all been destroyed. I would suggest you read the document in the privacy of your room and commit the facts to memory and destroy the document. A small fire, a page at a time would not provoke attention if it was done in the wastebasket from your room close to the balcony so as not to set off any smoke alarms. Any questions you may have after reading the dossier can be addressed later at a meeting other than at your hotel. “
Yuri continued as RJ remained silent, taking in every word spoken. Yuri reached in his pocket and handed a small cell phone to RJ. “This phone has over 27 local numbers in it. Most of them would appear ---to anyone looking at the numbers, to be just references for airport reservations, food and travel agencies. There is one number in the address book that is labeled Tripoli aviation security. If you need to talk to me, dial that number and then meet me at the outside café two blocks down the street from your hotel. Do not---please, say anything into the phone when it connects. I will answer and give you a simple greeting. You will not reply to the greeting. This greeting I say when I answer the ring is what you say to me when we meet at the café. If you think you are being followed, preface the greeting with the words, Excuse me.”
“Do you watch a lot of James Bond movies?” R J had a slight smirk on his face as he spoke. Yuri really didn’t fully appreciate the humor--- if it was intended to be Humor in the reply. "
"I'm thirty two years old RJ and I have lived in this snake pit since I was thirteen and my parents were killed by the Libyan Jamahiriya el-Mukhabarat when they were mistaken for agents smuggling missile components. My Dad was an electronics engineer working on a large solar project in the desert and had several printed circuit boards in his luggage. The Libyan intelligence thugs never gave him a trial they just executed him, along with my mother that was traveling with him at the time. I was hidden by some business friends of my father and began a life in this anus of the Globe. I have survived doing what I do because I take these safeguards, instructions g that I have just given you. Our conversation in the hotel and when we meet will be in respect to my gaining employment with your company as a liaison here in Tripoli. We are approaching your hotel Sir. Do you have any questions we need to discuss here? "
”You have pretty well covered all I need to know Yuri. I can see why you come well recommended."
”Really? With all respect RJ I really don’t want to be well recommended. I consider that a dangerous characteristic and very unhealthy. Please forget our acquaintance when we have completed my……interview with you.” Yuri was not smiling. As the small car pulled up to the lobby entrance to the Tripoli Embassy Suits, R J observed the small BMW that had been following pass and continue down the street. RJ checked in at the desk and went over to the elevator up to the eighth floor with Yuri following behind. The bellhop started his usual tour of the room showing where the towels were in the bathroom and opening the drapes; the usual performance prior to holding out his hand for the tip but RJ interrupted his act by handing him a USD fiver. The guy smiled, gave RJ a quasi-military salute and did an about face. Yuri was the first to speak as he walked around the room.
"Was your flight confortable Sir? You were right on schedule and it evidently did not require much time to get your luggage." Yuri continued to walk around the room as he listened to RJ's reply.
"Nice flight and I'm not as tired as I thought I would be with the time change. Why don't we start your interview over breakfast tomorrow Yuri? I'll just get relaxed a bit and maybe go for a short walk around this area and get a good night's rest and meet you tomorrow. Would that be ok with you or are you committed tomorrow to something else? Yuri smiled and removed a thick booklet from the brief he had added to R J's luggage assortment. As he tossed it on the bed he made the gesture of putting his index finger and the next of his right hand indicating a fork to his eyes and then pointed to his head. Obviously he is indicating to read and commit the data to memory as he said and then burn it Thought RJ.
"I'll meet you in the lobby at seven thirty RJ if that is agreeable?"
"Fine replied RJ as he opened the door to let Yuri leave the room. As he turned to take the elevator Yuri turn to RJ and indicated his two fingers against his ear as to suggest-If you need me, give me a call on the phone I gave you. RJ closed the door and immediately went to the packet on the bed. It was about a hundred and twenty five pages including some photographs and newspaper clippings. RJ started reading the dossier.
Abdelbaset al Megrahi
Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Magrahi
Born 1 April, 1972 in Tripoli, Libya. Libyan Intelligence Officer. Head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines .Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Tripoli, Libya. Spouse; Aisha al Megrahi married to Abdel since the 1980's- Four sons and one married daughter. Convicted January 31 2001 by Scottish judges of planning and executing the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. His co-accused was Lamin Khalifah Fhmiah who was found not guilty and was acquitted. Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds from the Scottish prison on 20 august, 2009. He had previously been sentenced to life by the court at Camp Ziest in the Netherlands. (The dossier continued to provide facts presented at the trial indicating the suitcase and radio used i the bombing had belonged to Megrahi as well as the Mebo timer on the bomb itself.) Megrahi now lives in a villa constructed for him and his family by the Libyan government in a suburb of Tripoli known as little Damascus. He leaves the villa four times a week to take chemotherapy treatments and radiology at a nearby clinic. His security varies but usually consists of four armed bodyguards of which one also acts as a driver and a young lady that is evidently his personnel nurse. Surveillance of the villa in the past three weeks indicates that he leaves the area in a white armored GM SUV vehicle and usually stops at one of several cafes on his return from the clinic. Attached is a list of the locations and the frequency of his visits in this time period. The security personnel as well as the nurse live in quarters away from the main house but on the villa property. They have their own eating facility and kitchen as well as a small recreation area. In the past three weeks the security detail has not had any personnel changes indicating that these individuals can be assumed to be permanent detail assigned to Megrahi. (The dossier then included several close photos of the security detail, a map of the villa complete with an electrical plan and security camera locations. Phone numbers of the villa and where the phones were located as well as the Wi-Fi identification number,)
RJ chuckled to himself that the dossier included the target's home Wi-Fi ID. Things had sure changed in the covert operation industry, he mused to himself. It was a good report and a small head start but nothing he could make a plan of action from to take to the hunt club members. He would have to do some on the ground work himself. He spent the next hour going back over the important parts of the file and then, as he promised Yuri, they were burned, one at a time in the waste paper basket and the ashes left on the balcony of the room to drift away on the evening breeze. It was time to recon his area.
Tripoli this time of year had weather that usually provided some relief from the heat during the evening hours. RJ casually left the hotel and walked in the direction of the small sidewalk cafe that Yuri had described. The shops were very much alive and doing great business even at this hour of the day. Tourists did not like to go out on the streets during the hot day so they waited until this hour to get their curios and souvenirs Merchants hawked their wares in the language that they considered their prospect may understand. If the customer-to-be did not respond when Omar addressed them in French then he would try the same in English. RJ was amused as he passed a shopkeeper trying to sell a genuine Berber Rifle speaking fluent Russian in his pitch to the two prospects listening closely to his story of the history of the weapon. He could feel the eyes of the entire market on him as he walked another block to the cafe. As he turned the corner the cafe came into sight and he relaxed a bit. It was the usual hole in the wall with tables and chairs outside on the sidewalk. Approximately fifteen tables were spread over an area that occupied the entire sidewalk from the front of the cafe to the curb. You would have to walk between the tables if you were walking past this place and didn't stop. The cafe next to the Net Cafe where he was to meet Yuri was also one that occupied the entire sidewalk area. RJ surveyed the area and casually glanced over his shoulder at the street behind him. The fat man was still bouncing along behind and coming in RJ's direction when RJ suddenly stopped and took a seat at the cafe. RJ almost broke into a loud laugh as he watched the fat man put on the brakes and try to look as if he saw something in the shop window next to the cafe that required an immediate second look-see. RJ seated himself looking directly at the fat man and opened his newspaper. The waiter approached and asked if he would like to order. The waiter's French had much to be desired. It would have irritated most Parisians as they expect the person they address to reply in perfect French or not bother. He ordered "Pernod avec oue" which made the waiter do an about face for the inside bar. He would order some cakes or pastry when the man returned. The fat man decided he also needed some refreshment and took a seat at a table next to some young Italian girls giggling about the room clerk at their hotel. The waiter returned with RJ's Pernod and he ordered some Italian hard bread and a saucer of olive oil and Malt vinegar. He also got up from the table and asked the waiter where the men's room was located. The waiter replied as RJ had hoped he would; behind the bar and to the right. RJ left his paper and his drink to signal the fat man that he intended to return. The inside of the cafe was crowded as the outside street area and a person would have to walk along in front of the bar to get to the Men's room excusing themselves as they moved around the people engaged in conversation not seated at the bar but talking to people who were seated. He came to the end of the bar and saw exactly what he had hoped for. It was a back door leading to the side street behind the Cafe. Perfect. The fat man waiting on RJ most likely assumed that RJ perhaps had a bit of a prostrate problem or maybe not used to the Libyan spicy foods yet. He took his time returning to the table and his newspaper only to find an elderly man sitting there.
"Scuzi Senior. This is my table. You may take the chair to another table but I enjoy my privacy sir." That was in English.
"Lo Siento Senior. No problema. " Was the reply in Spanish.
"Are there others in your party?" asked RJ in Spanish.
"No, I was just walking the area and decided to take a rest. I really was not going to order anything." RJ noted that man looked slightly flushed and perhaps winded. He also observed that the fat man was confused. He evidently did not speak or understand Spanish.
"Please be my guest. Have you been in Tripoli long?
"I'm staying at the Radisson down the way." Gesturing back over shoulder toward the fat man who was now getting nervous.
RJ continued in Spanish What brings you to Libya traveling alone Sir? My Name is Robert Andrade, Incidentally."
"I am Dr. Alejandro Gonzales Ramirez. I am an Oncologist from Madrid Spain here attending a conference on cancer radiation technology."
"Interesting." Replied RJ "Will we hear on the news soon that there has been advancement in the cancer research and perhaps a nomination for the Nobel Prize for medicine?" The elderly Dr. immediately broke into a roaring laugh that completely befuddled the fat man listening over the chatting of the Italian girls next to him.
"Not likely Mr. Andrade. This is only a new procedure for mapping the patient for the treatment of radiation."
"How is that done? "Asked the very interested RJ at this point. The good Doctor started giving RJ a layman's run down on how the mapping was done in the past and how it would be done with this new procedure.
Suddenly, RJ had a plan of action. Could he pull it off?
R J's conversation with the doctor from Spain continued and when asked what his occupation was, RJ told the doctor he was a freelance photojournalist in between assignments. It occurred to RJ that his opportune time had come to fruition when the doctor told him that the convention was not taking a lot of his time and he was somewhat bored with it all. When RJ dropped the suggestion that perhaps a story on the process that was used in the cancer mapping would be interesting to some publishers of medical magazines, the doctor took the bait and volunteered to participate. All the time he was discussing the process with the doctor, RJ was also calculating how he could use the cover to gain access to the oncology facility where Megrahi as taking his treatments. The visual of what RJ had in mind brought a small grin to his face. He was not a person that could hold any empathy for the Bomber of flight 103. He did not have any relatives or friends that were on the flight but he knew that George Kellogg did and what the tragedy had done to that man. This evil dirt bag deserved to die and in whatever manner RJ and his group could devise would not be painful enough .The evening progressed and RJ decided to buy the good doctor dinner in exchange for all this information on a possible story on oncology. Completed, RJ walked back to his hotel and the Spaniard decided to take a taxi rather than walk in the humid evening atmosphere. Within an hour of returning to his room, RJ had a tentative plan that would work. He was confident that the plan could be accomplished with a minimum amount of manpower and best of all, possibly with little liquid assets required with exception of some USD for bribes at the cancer facility if needed. He would need to do some surveillance on the facility, check out the doctors that came and went during the day and if there were any special procedures done in respect to security on the day that the facility knew their national hero was coming for his treatment. RJ could not help but consider that this was turning out to be a lot of work for one lonesome spy. Could he trust Yuri to help in this preparation? RJ had obtained Yuri through one of his former teammates at the agency. He had been the agent's asset for over five years he said and was very versed in the local happenings. As a matter of fact, the agent had told RJ that if the guy said that it was too dangerous, to listen to him. He warned RJ that it was not uncommon for some of the local Fatah and Hezbollah to spot an American or Brit traveling alone at the airport and kidnap them as they departed the airport. These were the creatures---fruit flies--- at the lower end of the food chain trying to impress their higher ups in the various terrorist groups in hopes of getting a slot a notch up in the ranks. He would have to trust him—time was of the essence and the target may be headed for treatment which he received only every other week now within days. If he missed this window, RJ was looking at the prospects of having to wait another week for the opportunity which met longer exposure in the area. He didn't like the idea of being around his intended work area any more often or longer than was absolutely necessary. After the first 45 minutes working on the internet and reading the local phonebook, RJ found that Oncology Treatment centers were a scarce item in Libya. Four were good possibilities because of their facilities and they were close to the targets villa. It was sunrise in Texas about this hour so RJ made the phone call on his SKYPE program on his lap top computer. He decided not to use the video aspect of the SKYPE program because he knew well enough that anything that was going out of that hotel over the wireless net was also being received at some monitoring station in downtown Tripoli. No sense in giving the gomers a face on the video to go with the voice. Charlie Ball answered after about five rings.
"I have found the information we need on the product Sir but I am going to need the assistance of our financial department head in order to close the deal." Charlie had a good idea who RJ was talking about when he called Tim the financial department head.
"That guy is still in bed as you would probably guess Curly so as soon as he is up, I'll call Moe and tell him you need help. Should I also call for any other help?" RJ thought for a nanosecond and then grinning as he knew who Charlie was referring to as Curly and Moe. He replied; "No ...Larry, let me get a better idea what can be done before we bring any more into the negotiations." RJ typed in the text box the words you know where to get in touch with me. And signed off. Now it was time for some rest if he was going to be up the following night as long as he anticipated.
Yuri was sitting in the lobby when RJ exited the elevator . RJ stopped at the service desk and picked up a copy of the London Times and greeted Yuri with a handshake and suggested they have breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Considering the area, the facility was refreshingly clean and modern. A table in the far corner of the room would be excellent he informed the waiter that greeted them and they were seated. A large fan was behind the table and the door to the kitchen serving the restaurant was on the other side of the table behind where Yuri was sitting. As soon as they were seated, RJ pulled a cell phone from his shirt pocket and placed it on the table between himself and Yuri.
Yuri glanced at the cell phone and smiled. He then saw RJ looking at him intently and intentionally looked at the kitchen door, the fan and then the cell phone on the table between them.
"Noise inhibitor?" He asked in a voice barely audible to RJ.
"It works—combined with this." At that RJ opened the newspaper and held it up in front of him but he could still see Yuri around the edge of the paper. Yuri did the same. The scene was ---two gentlemen sitting together having breakfast. Both of them intrigued with the day's news but you could not see if they were talking or not because the paper was in front of their faces. Add to that the noise from the fan and the dishes rattling in the kitchen and it would make it very difficult to run an audio surveillance on them and with the papers in front of their faces, reading their lips was out of the question. Add to these factors the low voices of each and they were reasonably assured of a private conversation.
"I ment a most interesting fellow yesterday at the cafe down the way here." RJ started.
"Rather chubby and usually a little nervous fellow? I'd bet that he followed you from the hotel. That would be Haydar ali Ghasir---a Hezbollah reject that works for the local police chief. He gets the details that are not considered prime importance. You can be gratified that you didn't get one of the younger, more aggressive hot shots assigned to foreigner surveillance. If needed you can simply outrun the fellow." Yuri smiled as he gave his analysis of the fat man that followed RJ the previous day to the Cafe.
"I saw him—and you are probably right—would not take much speed to put some distance between chubby and yourself in a pinch but I'm referring to a Spanish Doctor here for a convention."
RJ than went into detail about the plan he had to find the facility where Megrahi takes his chemo treatments and do a recon of the area.
"This is getting interesting RJ. Can you give me some more detail on what happens after you have that information?"
"Something we need to talk about in your car I think Yuri." Said RJ smiling.
"How much would it be worth to save you some time in that research RJ."
"Why did I not just ask you how much for the info? I should have known you have done some work besides what you put in that report." RJ had not raised his voice and regardless of how much he was broadsided by the remark that Yuri made he quietly asked; "Anything over 500USD would be excessive for something that I could find in about three hours of questions at the right spot."
"Cash?" Asked Yuri, again with a grin on his face.
"Five Ben Franklin's when we get inside your car. This of course would involve a drive-by and perhaps any other data you would want to entice my interest with to purchase other gems that you forgot to put in that highly priced dossier."
"Cool. When we finish eating, and you pick up the tab I'll run you by the place after you ditch the fat boy."
"Give me an hour on the dot as soon as we finish here and meet me at the side entrance to the Cafe down the way and plan on making our exit of the area so that it does not go past the front of the Cafe where , I hope fat boy will still be sitting waiting on me to return from the john."
"Speaking of fat boy, where is he this morning I wonder?" Asked RJ.
"He is out there on the street across from here waiting on you to leave for wherever you are off to today. His surveillance partner is the desk clerk so he doesn't miss anything when he is not sitting in the lobby. "
The papers were put aside and the conversation turned to the possible hire of Yuri as the Libyan representative for Toner King toner cartridges for laser printers and copiers. When they finished eating, RJ shook hands with Yuri and turned to take the elevator to his room. Yuri exited the hotel. It was 8:45 local time. Yuri would be outside the side entrance to the Cafe with the engine running in exactly one hour. This gave RJ enough time to make a phone call and walk to the Cafe. Back in his room, RJ turned on his lap top and dialed the SKYPE number for Tim Moore. It rang five times and when RJ expected to hear Tim's voice come over the speaker, the text only icon flashed and the words; Audio Is Sour---Use Text. This meaning was obvious to RJ but not surprising or alarming. Tim suspected that the SKYPE audio contact had been compromised so they would have to use the text feature which was not any more secure but it would take whoever was monitoring the conversation some quick moves to switch the listening equipment.
Larry I need permission to conduct the negations with only myself and the new hire. I'm confident that we do not need to involve Moe or others except for the financials.
Charlie Ball could not believe what he saw on the screen. RJ wants to take out the target on his own? He doesn't need our help except to bankroll the operation? What if he falls short? How are we going to get him out of Libya? The place was in the papers more and more every day with the neighboring countries of Egypt and Iran starting to revolt in the streets.
Curly---we are concerned with your safety considering the news reports we are seeing about the area you are in. Do you consider the deal possible within the next 48 hours?
RJ had to do some fast calculations before he replied. He placed the SKYPE program in the background and went to his resource page and found the information he needed. The International airport symbol for Valletta, Malta was MLA
Affirmative. I sincerely believe we can conclude within that timeframe. Tell Moe we would suggest he take the bird to MLA at the conclusion of this venture.
OK. There it was. Charlie did not have any problem reading that RJ wanted to attempt the take out with only Yuri and then exit the country by water to the island of Malta and meet Tim there with his jet.
One last request before I return to the customer for the negations, when we finish here I would like to bring the new hire to our main office for additional training. Is that possible?
Charlie had no idea what the last request was about. Tim had made the arrangements for Yuri to meet RJ at the airport and give him the dossier. He was not to get involved further so far as Charlie was aware. Evidently RJ feels that this Yuri's safety is a factor and wants to get him out of there.
There may be some difficult paperwork involved but I'll investigate and let you know the next time we communicate. Good luck.
With that, RJ closed the program and turned off the lap top. As a standard operating procedure, RJ's lap top did a complete delete of any and all net locations and transfer files used in the session. There were other programs that continued working after the computer shut down that emptied the cache and cleaned the hard drive.
Thirty five minutes to Yuri's meeting at the Cafe back door. RJ picked up his sig Sauer and put it in his waistband in the small of his back. He felt better with something like this in his possession even if it did mean an instant arrest if he was caught with it. Leaving the hotel he was glad to see that his tail had not changed. There was fat man sitting in the lobby reading a paper. RJ almost had to kick him to be noticed as he walked past his location. Fat man got up as if he was quite put out that his morning reading had been interrupted by his assigned target. He fell in step dutifully about thirty feet back from RJ walking down the street.
When they reached the cafe it was the same scenario as yesterday. Fat man took a table close to the street and where he could watch RJ and ordered a beer. It was already happy hour at the bar evidently because the Russians were raising hell and the street was beginning to look more like a convention of protesters than a market square. People were standing in small groups talking and some were carrying signs. This was going to be an interesting day in Tripoli most assuredly. RJ made his way into the Cafe and discovered that the Russians had an early start. Loud and drunk was not the atmosphere and the bar was crowded. RJ had a difficult time making it thru the gathering to get to the rest room. He politely smiled and gave his best Nas Strovia and Das Vednaya as he made his way thru the drunks. One decent looking blonde woman pinched his butt and smiled. Just as RJ was approaching the back door he looked down the bar to see the fat man looking his way and starting to get up as RJ opened the door the fat man suddenly came alive and headed into the Cafe. When he saw RJ exit the back door, he immediately dove into the crowd of drunks and tried to get to the back door in time to trail RJ but in his aggressive thrust into the bar crowd he made the mistake of shoving the blonde lady out of his way. The blonde yelled something in Slovic and the fat man was immediately shoved to the bar and people started pouring beer, vodka and anything that was in a glass all over him all the time singing some song that sounded like something from the Volga boatmen. RJ took a deep breath once outside the bar and immediately jumped into the waiting car with Yuri at the wheel.
"You left your fat friend at that bar?" Smiled Yuri.
"He is drinking with his Russian friends today." Replied RJ.
"Must be fun ... and drunk in there. I can hear them clear out here"
"Fat man is the star attraction right now." RJ detailed the prior ten minutes to Yuri which made him laugh out loud.
"You made me leave the party so where are we headed?"
We are going to an area of Tripoli called little Damascus which is where Abel Megrahi's villa is located for some up close surveillances. Then I'll take you down the road only about three miles to Tripoli Oncology Center where he gets his Chemo three times a week. I would imagine you have seen or at least heard the street action going on here. I think that the revolution that has taken place in Egypt is moving here. We will want to be careful where we drive and on what streets we use today. However that factor has its good sides also. I think that many if not several or perhaps all of Megrahi's security has been pulled back to the palace. This could interrupt our plans somewhat. We shall see in a few minutes.".
As Yuri drove past the villa, RJ took out a pack of Camels from his shirt and was holding it by the open window.
"I did not know you smoked, RJ." Commented Yuri as he noticed the cigarette pack.
"I don't" replied RJ.
"Yuri got the message and shook his head and let out a "Cool, absolutely cool."
"Dogs? They always have dogs." Queried RJ.
"Two cameras in the courtyard and a very long trip wire on top of the villa wall. I am told that Megrahi is scared to death of dogs so he does not allow them on the grounds."
RJ noticed only one guard walking around in the inside courtyard. There was a possibility that the two workers –gardeners working the landscape bushes were also security but they did not appear to be curious to see a car drive past the front of the villa. Their mind was working on what they would do if their boss and the Dictator were suddenly removed from the life on this planet more than likely. The street riots were getting all the radio time and the internet was starting to show some you tube footage of the unrest in the eastern part of Libya
"Let's take a look at this chemotherapy place that he goes to. Yuri. I don't think we want to ambush the fort here. Too many unknowns at this time. If we decide to do that, I'll want to come back and put an eyeball on the front gate for about five hours to see what and who comes and goes here."
The chemotherapy center was only three miles from the villa-most likely the reason for its selection. Typical white stucco front with a very western drive-up-front to let off and receive patients. Three stories and the building appeared to have been built within the past five years. Patients were coming and going and in various condition of health. Some were brought in from private cars and a few were there in ambulances. The lobby was of the usual design with a receptionist behind a glass slider window and an area off to the side that was used as the station where the patients made their blood withdrawal for establishing a panel of information for the doctor to measure their progress prior to taking the treatment.
"How secure do you think that inside area is Yuri? Would they panic if they saw me walking down one of the passageways between rooms by myself?"
"You---by yourself---yes. Westerners are frowned upon still in this country even in the educated medical field. Why do you want to expose yourself needlessly?"
"I want to see the area where they administrate the treatment. Is it an open area with several seas or is it administered in a private atmosphere?"
"You sound like you are going to make the recon in there for me---good. Find out the name of the administrator and if possible a few doctors." RJ smiled at Yuri and punched his shoulder as he got out of the car.
The receptionist looked up from her computer screen and surveyed the young man tapping on the glass that separated them. He was more than likely Libyan or at least Egyptian and had a pleasant smile –unusual for a male in her experience. He must be a sales person or want something. He certainly does not appear to be in need of dialysis or other treatment.
"I need some information on your facility. My mother is coming to Tripoli to be with me and she will require a continuation of her treatment while she is in this country. I'd like to speak with someone that can give me suggestions on how to proceed."
The receptionist looked at the man's fingers---no rings except for one nice sized diamond in a gold setting. Not a marriage band.
"I'll get one of our counselors to meet you. Please have a seat." She slid the window closed and dialed a number. Yuri turned around and took the chair next to a man that obviously was in a treatment phase as he had lost most of his hair. He was wearing a ball cap with the logo of a local soccer team on the front. He returned the look and a smile that the older man gave Yuri.
"I often wished that I had continued to train for the Olympics in soccer when I was younger. Is your son on the team?"
"The man excitedly opened up and began telling Yuri about his grandson that had just made the team. They continued a sort conversation and then the man rather hesitantly asked; " I heard you tell the woman that your mother is coming here for treatment."
"Yes" said Yuri leaning closer to the man so that the conversation would be more private. Then the only other woman in the waiting room was called and there was only Yuri and the man.
"I have looked at three other facilities today and truthfully, I am not impressed. I want my mother to have the very best."
"These people are absolutely the best. It is very expensive I must warn you but they have a good if not excellent reputation and they have some notable patients that come here."
"I am pleased to hear that. My mother has no worries about expenses but she is very concerned about how educated the doctors are and the staff. That is what I need to discuss with them. " Then, trying not to be obviously excited about how much the man was volunteering, he asked; "You say,,,notable patients you mean there are some TV personalities that obtain their treatment here?" Yuri crossed his fingers and waited with anxiety for the man's reply.
"O yes I imagine they have those also but did you know that the honored patriot Abel Meghari himself uses this clinic?"
"No? Have you seen him here?"
"I have sat next to him while we are receiving the fluid from the bag. He is usually here the same time I am but they say that he will be taking his treatment in a separate room tomorrow because of the unrest in our area. The nurses know that I like to converse with him and they told me that during tomorrow's treatment I will be in the area with the others but he will be in the private room at the end of the hall. I will introduce your mother to him if she gets here in time."
"I sincerely appreciate that Mr.........?"
"Mohammad Bin Ali Abel" Was the reply as the man made the rolling gesture of acquaintance with his hand. How lucky could Yuri have been? Here was all the information that RJ would need; the time of treatment, the location when Meghari is here and the reference of a friend--- the old man's name that could be used to get closer to Meghari. Yuri changed the conversation to the man's family and how he got to the clinic, his past and everything down to where he lived when the door next to the receptionist opened and a young lady called his name.
The conversation with the nurse involved the usual questions about what doctors were on staff and where they were educated, how long they had been treating patients and the costs involved. Then he asked the nurse if it was possible for a tour of the facility.
"Of course." Replied the nurse. "May I ask what type of cancer does your mother have?"
This caught Yuri broadside. He didn't have much data on cancer. He had never had a friend that was treated or died from the disease much less ever donated to any fund or cause for cancer. A glance at the medical brochures neatly arranged on the nurses desk for hand-out gave him an easy answer.
"Thymoma, she has been diagnosed with that cancer." He replied without letting his eyes move over to the brochure.
"We have several patients here we treat for Thymoma." Said the nurse.
"Fine then." Said Yuri. "I think we will make a decision on that perhaps tonight when I call my mother in England. She is due to arrive in Tripoli within the week."
Suddenly the nurse acquired a solemn look about her and her demeanor changed as she casually remarked; "I certainly hope that this protest we see growing in the streets will not interfere with the airport arrivals."
"O, I'm confident that Colonel Gadhafi will have that all under control. He is a very smart man and knows how to handle such things promptly." Commented Yuri almost vomiting at the sound of his words.
The nurse then got up from her desk and reached over beside her desk and took a small keychain from a hook and placed them in her nurses smock pocket. She then led Yuri on a guided tour of the entire facility and answered every question he asked in detail. His memory was loaded with office numbers, obvious supply rooms and closets, all opened by one of the keys on her keychain. At the end of the hallway on the second floor he was shown a small room with a recliner, TV, toilet and wash basin. This obviously was the room referenced by the old man in the lobby. This room amazingly was not locked. At least the nurse did not use a key to enter when showing Yuri. He had seen the laboratory just down three offices from this end treatment room that was used to compound the chemicals used in the treatment. The chemicals, usually carboplatin and paclitaxel or a variation of same were mixed here and labeled with the patients name and then ready for the injection once the patient was rested and in a relaxed mode in the room. Yuri noted that many of the patients that were receiving treatment in the main clinic room were either reading or napping. The treatments usually required about three hours' time depending on the type cancer and the chemo used. Then, as he was being shown out and back to the lobby Yuri saw exactly what he was looking for. The room was used as a locker room and personnel eating area and had three piles of clean scrubs used by interns and doctors. At the end of the lockers was a beautiful simple window looking out over a small roof with the parking lot below. Wonderful.
Before he said goodbye to the nurse that had given him the tour he waited, engaged in idle conversation to see if the keys were returned to the hook on the side of the desk. They were.
"Tonight." It was the one word he said to RJ as he climbed back in the car.
Yuri explained to RJ how easy it was to get the information from the old man and that, combined with what they had shown him on the tour made the mission almost self-explanatory. It would require, of course that they make an entry into the building that night to prepare the lethal injection and place it—disguised in an IV drip bag in the supply room for the unsuspecting nurse to use on Meghari during his treatment.
"RJ could only repeat to himself the words that had come into his head so many times before on a mission to take out a gomer. This is too easy, too simple. It's a no-brainer that could be organized and carried out by a high school kid. Something is out of place and I need to be ready for the unexpected.
Before Yuri left RJ off three blocks from his hotel, they agreed to meet later that night and pay another visit to the clinic. This time they would look for the possible unexpected. RJ asked Yuri to get a list of articles and have them ready the next morning. Yuri looked at the list RJ gave him and said; "Who do you think I am RJ? This stuff would take a week to find and big bunch of cash to get all of it."
"Here is more cash than you'll need Yuri and it's important that you get every item on the list—OK?"
RJ wanted to smile at the fat man as he entered the hotel lobby. He had a bandage on his left ear and his hand was wrapped in a bandaged splint. Those Russian drunks evidently gave him a work over when he tried to shove the one out of the way. Impolite bastard. He got what he deserved. Instead of trying to look inconspicuous this time the fat man glared at RJ as if to say "you lost me this afternoon Englishman but from now on I'll be on you like iron shavings on a magnet.
Later that evening RJ left the hotel with a small canvas travelling bag and walked up the street until he was sure the fat man and probably this time, some thinner, more agile accomplices to help if he decided to try to do the same thing as this morning and ditch the fat man. He simply went into several clothing stores as if he was shopping for clothes. Each shop he entered, he stayed a little longer coming and leaving the dressing rooms to look in the mirror and judge the fit of the purchase. The fat man made not even a second glance at the Arab dressed in the thob that left the shop. RJ told the owner he needed to go keep an appointment with his tribal brothers and would be back for his clothes in the canvas bag. He gave the store clerk a 20 USD to hold the bag for him.
Yuri was on the appointed corner on time and RJ climbed into the car complete with the Arabian throbs clothing.
"Good evening Sheik RJ. Are you ready to learn the floor plan of the clinic tonight" Chided Yuri as he looked at RJ as if he was going to a Halloween mascaraed party. The entry to the building was easier than expected. For a place that was to receive one of the world's most notorious bombers within the next twelve hours, the security was very lax. Perhaps, with the unrest and latest events with the students in the streets and protest marches, his treatment had been postponed? No--- that was unlikely because the treatments were in a phased cycle that had to be kept punctual. There was a light on in the hallway but the office was dark. Then RJ and Yuri saw the reason for the light. A man was buffing the floor on the first deck. His janitorial van was parked in front of the building .
"This is getting too easy Yuri." Said RJ.
"Next we'll go up to the door and find it unlocked. We enter, go to the second deck where that treatment room is, open the door and five Libyan troopers have the drop on us."
"Time we found out then Sheik. You have the stuff you want to use tomorrow or do we need to come back again later tonight?" Yuri handed RJ the small back pack of the toys they would need inside.
"We aren't going anyplace but here tonight Yuri. We have a job to do and I'll instruct you as we move along once we are inside."
It was a piece of cake. The door was unlocked and as far as could be seen, there was only one worker waxing the floor and he was busy looking the opposite direction and could not hear the door open as they entered over the sound of his buffing machine.
The keys were right in place on the receptionists desk and Yuri lifted them off the hook and placed them in his jacket pocket. They went up the stairs and inspected the top floor trying the keys to make sure they had access to every place they wanted to go this evening. The worker left in about a half hour and the clinic was quiet. This is when RJ and Yuri went to work getting ready for the next morning when they would complete their mission.
Sunrise came and the clinic opened as usual. As usual except for two additional people on the treatment staff. Yuri had changed into medical scrubs and lifted a stethoscope from one of the offices and looked every bit the intern or cancer technician. RJ was still in his Arab clothing and had done his work by flashlight in the hours between the time the janitorial worker finished and left, locking the door behind him. In the hours between that event and the opening of the clinic, RJ had used the chemo laboratory to prepare two bags of IV with the name** MEGHARI** plainly marked on the labels. One he placed in the supply labs area that was marked "RFI" or, Ready for Issue. Yuri had provided the Arabic interpretation required to make the packets look common. They stayed in the supply closet for the rest of the night taking turns sleeping. RJ had locked the door to the storage area they were in and removed the key form the keychain before they replaced it at the reception desk. If anyone tried to get into the janitorial supply room that morning, the key would be unavailable and the clinic would have to get someone to pick the lock or make another key promptly. At any rate, it appeared as RJ and Yuri had an excellent hiding place. Until their mission operation was to take place. RJ had placed a small TV camera in the lobby and one at the end of the hallway. The monitor that they watched showed the people entering, leaving and coming down the hall to the treatment room and past the storage closet. Perfect.
No one tried to open the janitorial closet door that morning and RJ and Yuri stayed quiet---which was difficult to do in a confined area for several hours –and waited.
"Heads up." Whispered RJ as he pointed to the monitor screen that emitted an eerie green light into the small room. A white SUV had pulled up in front of the clinic and there were four people getting out. One was obviously a nurse---there was not enough detail from the small TV camera to confirm that the face matched the face of Megrahi's private nurse but the SUV looked exactly like the one parked at the villa the day before. Then the moment both had waited for. It was no one else but Abel basset Mohmed Ali al Magrahi himself that exited the SUV and came into the building. He was helped from the van and placed in a wheel chair and promptly received a blanket over his legs. The third person was identified as his wife, Aisha al Megrahi who had been married to the man since the 1980's. He was brought to the elevator and delivered to the second floor where he was being pushed by the nurse down the hall to the private treatment room.
Yuri and RJ watched all this on the TV monitor. Hey watched as the wheeled him into the private room and closed the door. Shortly, a clinic nurse entered the room from the hallway carrying a small packet of chemo and an IV lead. Yuri had hoped that Megrahi had a port installed to make it easier to start the fluid into his arm on each visit. He had been in the room for over twenty minutes when RJ decided it was time to make their move.
"WAIT!!" Yuri was looking at the monitor as they were just about to open the door from the closet. He pointed at the monitor.
"The nurse and his wife are leaving the room!!" It was the opportune time for their move and they took it. They left the closet and proceeded to the room where Megrahi was getting his treatment. RJ stayed outside the door and as Yuri entered, RJ handed him the liquid packet and IV line with the special label attached. Yuri read the Arabic and looked back at RJ as he stepped aside and started to stand watch outside the room---Yuri smiled.
There he was. He was just opening a book to read when Yuri entered the room with the packet. Yuri started an incessant chatter in Arabic as he moved over to the IV pole to place the packet.
"Good morning sir. You are looking well today. I have some vitamin supplement we are going to add to your treatment today that should give you some added energy over the next 48 hours."
"Who are you?" Asked Megrahi.
"I am Mohamed al Yuri. We have never met previously but I am the clinics nutritionist. We do have a common friend though." All the time he was talking, Yuri was attaching the new packet to the IV chain. He had not opened the valve yet.
"Your friend, Mr. Mohammad Bin Ali Abel said to with you a happy birthday. Your birthday is tomorrow—right Sir?"
"Yes. I remember the old man you speak of" Megrahi again opened the book without saying any more...........ever. Yuri had opened the valve and left the room. The two patriots of the Texas hunt club left the area and the left the country on a ferry that was going to Malta. There they would beet Tim Moore and continue to the United States and the Texas ranch.
The word panic would not properly describe the action that took place at the clinic when the nurse and Megrahi's wife returned to the room almost an hour later. The place was swarming with soldiers and police who were questioning everyone present and looking for the security videos. There was none. The recording tape had been removed and the cameras refocused so that even the backup tape that was at the police station was not legible. The inspector was standing with the doctor who was in charge of Megrahi's treatment looking at the small packet that had been attached to the main IV line entering the dead man's vein. The label on the top of the now empty packet read; Happy birthday Abel Megrahi--- from the passengers of Pan Am flight 103.