Mad Dog, page 18
Mustafa talked excitedly to Abu and Khalid in their own language, Martxelo and Txabi wrongly assuming that he was translating for them.
-It’s truly a gift from Ala, they lift a trap on the main pipe line at the final stage of the process, they allow you to taste the water as it cascades towards Madrid, there is no further control from that point, anything introduced into the water at that stage is guaranteed to arrive at the consumers. IL-Hamdu Allah, -
All five set off contentedly on the trek back to the safe house.
It wasn’t until ten thirty on the Friday morning that MI5, despite working through the night, presented their report on where Jiriyis and his three companions had gone.
At the start it had been simple to follow them on the CCTV footage as they left the Embassy on Princes Gate heading for Kensington Road where they turned right in the direction of Hyde Park Corner before turning right and heading into Knightsbridge Underground Station. It was there that their problems began. The four of them entered the toilets together but despite reviewing thirty minutes of tape it was clear that they did not leave together or even separately, with the exception of one, wearing the clothing in which they had entered. The movements of the one that continued to wear his thwarb were quickly followed back to the Embassy, sports bag in hand. It was clear that the others had changed clothing and left separately and as a result they needed to check each traveller that left the toilets. To do so they needed to compare the images for half an hour prior to them entering to be sure that all that exited could be compared with someone that had entered.
Only two minutes after Jiriyis´s thwarb dressed companion leaving, they identified Jiriyis himself leaving dressed in jeans and t-shirt, he headed straight for the ticket machines entering the tunnels that led to the escalators and the various underground lines. It was clear that they were going to have to separate into teams in order to trace the movements of each of the components of the group. Whilst one team continued to check the travellers leaving the toilets a second team attempted to trace Jiriyis´s movements. They managed to find him at various stages of his descent to platform 6 (the southbound platform on the Jubilee Line) where he boarded an outgoing train. They then had to access the onboard footage which took until nine o’clock that evening to arrive. Jiriyis was seen to sit next to an exit and could clearly be seen repeatedly scrutinising the underground map as one after another passenger sat next to him before rising and leaving at the following station. At no stage did he engage in conversation with any of them until Bill Webb plonked himself down next to him after getting on at London Bridge. The following few minutes were a nightmare for Jiriyis who wanted to pass unnoticed.
It was ten forty three, according to the tapes, when Bill joined Jiriyis but he’d already had plenty of time to drink his first bottle of wine of the day, a fact evidenced by his alcoholic breath and the fresh stains that covered the stale stains on the outer of his four shirts.
-Got a spare fiver mate? - blurted Bill leaning on Jiriyis.
-No. -replied Jiriyis quietly as he studied the underground map with even greater determination.
-You look like an Arab to me, -snarled Bill accusingly, -You Arabs have all got money, haven’t you? Go on give us a fiver –
-No! –repeated Jiriyis quietly but firmly his eyes never leaving the map.
-Ah I’ve got it, you’re not an Arab you’re a Jew aren’t you, a tight arsed Jew? All got money you lot; all got money and want to shag our women, don’t you? You all want to shag em and then ditch them, ditch them with a bagel in the oven. – continued Bill laughing loud at his own joke as he stabbed his finger into Jiriyis´ chest.
The train pulled into Bermondsey and just as the doors opened Jiriyis removed a five pound note from his trouser pockets with his left hand and at the same time clamped his right hand around Bills throat and lifted him from his seat.
-Your stop I believe. –he whispered in Bills ear as he pressed the note into Bills grasping fingers before shoving him none too gently through the doors and into the path of the waiting travellers anxious to get on. The dexterity and swiftness of movement of the general public was once more demonstrated as Bill’s journey to the far wall of the platform was not interrupted by a single passenger. As tends to happen with perpetrators of gratuitous violence, Jiriyis was strenuously ignored by his fellow passengers for the rest of the journey.
Jiriyis got off at Canary Wharf. He could then be seen to walk to the nearby Heron Quays Station where he was seen on the southbound platform and that was the last place he was seen. The DLR that he boarded had no footage available as the cameras had been broken by vandals so many times that they had stopped repairing them. Of the stations that the DLR passed all but three had CCTV that they could use, Crossharbour having a technical fault, Cutty Sark being so blurred that it was useless and Lewisham being in the process of changing its installation. At none of these three stations were the images from around the station of sufficient clarity to guarantee that he had not alighted the train. They were continuing to study images from the surrounding areas but had made no progress. They therefore had limited Jiriyis´s whereabouts to the areas surrounding the Crossharbour, Cutty Sark and Lewisham areas that covered more than a dozen square miles and seventy thousand residents.
The team analysing the Knightsbridge footage managed to find images of travellers entering the toilets corresponding to all those that left with the exception of two Thames Water workers that left twenty minutes after Jiriyis and his friends had entered. After checking the tapes for a further hour back from the time of them entering they still found no Thames Water staff entering and upon checking the maintenance records they discovered that no Thames Water staff had been called to the premises that day. They now knew how his companions had left. The two “Thames Water” workers left the station and climbed directly into a Thames Water silver grey van which immediately left in the direction of Brompton Road and as much as they tried to follow its tortuous route through the intense London traffic it was impossible and they lost all trace of it after it turned into Hans Road where there was a gap in the CCTV coverage and they should have reappeared on Hans Close but didn’t.
Harvey was anything but impressed.
-Number plate? –
-No Sir, it was obscured. –
-Don’t the Thames Water vans carry a code number or reference plate of some sort? –
-Yes Sir they have a number painted on the driver’s door and the rear door but both were obscured? –
-Right, then that means that it wasn’t stolen, whoever was driving the van works for Thames Water , if not why else would they go to the trouble of covering the number. I want to know where every Thames Water van of that type was between the hours of ten o’clock and twelve o’clock yesterday morning. Find out if staff are allowed personal usage of the vehicles and if so who had usage yesterday and find out if any vans were being repaired yesterday and if so where and if it is possible that they were being road tested yesterday, and I want to know quickly, were running out of time! And get someone over to that blind spot; find out where the hell they could have gone. –
-Sir, if I may? – said Agent Bradley, -I have the information that you requested from the Iranian Embassy. –
-Go ahead. –
-In the last two months the staff at the Embassy has increased by five ; Latif Bin Hakeem and Abdul Qassin Shirazi as information technologists; Rasin Al Kazemi as commercial advisor with the specific remit of extending bi-lateral trade agreements, Hassan Al Turabi as a security advisor and Nushab El-Sayed as consultant on Islamic Affaires. Imam Mohammad Al Abad also entered on a temporary permit when he accompanied the repatriated remains of Michael Mizaei on 23rd June. He is being accommodated at the Central Mosque during his stay and the rest are, as to be expected, at the Embassy. –
-Right I want faces put to those names and I want a report on the known activities that each has performed since their arrival and I want it this afternoon. It is
Jiriyis, Latif, Rasin and Mohammed left the Embassy at ten o’clock on the Thursday morning, nervously aware that there was a good chance of them being followed. For that reason they had organised a diversionary tactic that should lose them whatever tail they had. The four strode steadily towards Knightsbridge Underground Station dressed in thwarbs and carrying the sports bags that contained a change of clothing for all but Mohammed and the two new sports bags that they were to use. Mohammed collected the clothing from his three companions jamming them into the larger of the bags alongside the two bags they had brought them in. He then calmly left the toilets and gently strolled back to the Embassy. Jiriyis was the next to leave, dressed in jeans and t-shirt he was to take the tube to Canary Wharf and then connect with the DLR to Lewisham where he was to be collected by Tarij Masri who didn’t live up to his name and appeared on time taking him directly to the flat at 26 Albacore Crescent just a stones throw from the Lewisham Islamic Centre.
Latif and Rasin were the last to leave, leaving together dressed in the Thames Water uniforms that they had been provided with. Neither had a great command of English and for that reason it was decided that they be collected outside the station by Haazig Hamidi, Hazy as he’d been called since his school days when he wasn’t exactly the brightest light on the tree. Hazy was a particularly loathsome character consumed by the hatred that he felt for all that surrounded him. Hazy´s Iranian family had fled to England in 1979 when the Iraqis surged into Iran to retake what they considered to be their rightful border territory. Visibly supported by the Americans who were determined to avenge the effrontery of the new revolutionary government of Iran and in particular that of Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Musavi Jomeini, the Iraqis made significant early breakthroughs and it was during this period that Hazy´s father who lived on the outskirts of Abadan on the Iranian side of Shatt al-Arab, the most conflictive area of combat, decided to take the British offer of asylum and escape to freedom.
Hazy was six years old at the time and spoke no English, it took him and his younger brothers and sisters little time to learn but by then he was behind the rest in his studies and discovered that he could get on better using his fighting ability rather than his brain. At the age of seven he had already learned to hate and to channel that hate into violent attacks against everything and everyone for whatever reason he saw fit. During the years that followed his reputation helped to protect his brothers and sisters as they progressed through their school life but only served to isolate him from any possibility of academic success. Two years after arriving when the Iraqi advance ground to a halt without ever having reached Abadan the family was refused assistance from the British Government for them to return to their homeland and with it Hazys last chance of escaping a society he had no intention of fitting into.
At eight years of age he hated his father for being a coward and running away from the Iraqis, he hated the Americans for supporting the Iraqis, he hated the British for not allowing his family to return home, he hated the school system for its inability to adapt to his needs and he even hated his brothers and sisters for being successful students. It was only when at the age of sixteen he came into contact with Imam Abdul Malik who introduced him to Islamic teachings and the Qurán that his life started to take a firm direction. With the help and encouragement of the local Islamic community and in particular the Lewisham Islamic Centre he learned to control and channel his hatred and anger but never to forget it nor his reasons for hating. With the assistance of the Islamic representatives on the local council he was found work in Thames Water where his main function was the cleaning and maintenance of the Honor Oak Pumping Station. It was well paid work and he had the use of a company vehicle but it was also monotonous and the damp conditions affected his asthma. It was during one particularly miserable day at work that he first experienced the desire to poison the water in the reservoir, the largest underground reservoir in Europe, and in doing so poison hundreds of thousands of infidel cockneys. In confessing his thoughts to the Imam one evening he set off the chain of events that was going to finish where it had started, at The Honor Oak Reservoir, and he was going to be there to witness it.
As Latif and Rasin emerged from the tube station Hazy beeped his horn although it wasn’t particularly necessary, his being the only silver grey Thames Water van parked in front of the station. The moment they jumped into the van he shot off down Brompton Road, changing lanes three times in the first fifty yards as any good London van driver would. Without indicating he swerved into Hans Road and then just before arriving at the junction of Hans Road with Basil Street and Walton Place he swung into the service road at the rear of the high profile offices of the doctors, architects and lawyers on Walton Place. There under the shade of a beech tree he waited for an hour before resuming his journey following the service road to it’s exit on Beauchamp Place where he headed back in the direction of Pont Street and Sloane Street looking for Grovesnor Road and Vauxhall Bridge Road which took him in the direction of Lewisham.
Hazy, Latif and Rasin arrived at Hazy´s home, 26 Albacore Crescent, shortly after mid day some twenty minutes before Jiriyis where he quickly led them to the sparse rooms that they were to occupy for the following five interminable days before returning to work where his two hour absence, as he suspected, gone entirely unnoticed.
Harvey hated days like this particular Friday, waiting as various lines of investigation were undertaken and being incapable of helping. The temptation to ring each and every agent involved in the investigations was enormous yet he knew from experience that the only option he had was to allow them to work and wait patiently. At three o’clock that afternoon he had a meeting arranged with Brock, who had arrived from duty in Afghanistan that morning, Harris and Charlie, in which he wanted to establish a plan of action for Brock and Harris and give Charlie the news that he was not going to be travelling with them.
Brock looked, for the first time in Harvey’s recollection, tired and worn when he entered Harvey’s office. His last turn of duty in Afghanistan had been harder than usual both physically and mentally. Helmand Province was once more becoming the hot point of Taliban activity and his unit had lost two members to enemy fire in the days prior to his departure. One of them, Sgt “Smokey” Griggs, being one of his closest friends and longest serving companions. It was a sign of the difficulties that they were experiencing that a veteran of five campaigns, member of the elite forces and expert in the terrain, should have been killed in an ambush that involved a double manoeuvre of forcing the unit to divert to where they supposedly had Afghani back up waiting for them only to find that what was actually waiting for them was a heavily armed Taliban assault team. It was a miracle and a testimony to their abilities that they only suffered the two casualties. The later explications of the Afghan forces claiming a misinterpretation of the coordinates that they had been given for the night time manoeuvres would have been acceptable if it were not for the fact that similar ambushes had been occurring with worrying frequency, a sign that the Taliban were exercising a strong influence amongst the ranks of their so called allies. It was a dilemma that was unlikely to improve, they could neither desist from involving the Afghans in their night manoeuvres as it was firm policy that the control for such actions should be gradually handed over to the Afghan troops but at the same time it was clear that in involving them they were dramatically increasing the risks of their missions. Brock felt guilty for leaving his unit at such a critical moment and would have refused the mission if it were not for Harvey. He was therefore less that pleased when
As Brock expressed his ample concerns Harris and Charlie arrived and were led directly to Harvey’s office. The silence with which they were greeted left little doubt that they had been the subject of conversation at that moment.
-Good afternoon gentlemen, -started Harris, -I suppose you’ve just given Brock the good news. –
-Yes, - answered Harvey starkly, -and he’s as naturally concerned as I was. –
Brock sat silently staring at Harris stunned by the change in his appearance.
-It’s rude to stare, -said Harris with a smile, if the grotesque smirk that formed on his face could be described as a smile. The smile was designed to disarm but in reality created only pity. Nonetheless the result was the same, it put Brock off guard and Harris took the opportunity to plead his understanding and promise his complete and utter compliance with whatever instructions he be given. Brock, like Harvey before him, knew that every logical argument was against Harris’s involvement but also like Harvey he had seen many before that needed closure, that needed to be there at the end. There was something deeply honest and noble about the desire and it was that something that created a doubt in Brocks mind, enough of a doubt for him to give the benefit of it to both Harvey and Harris.
-Okay, - said Brock quietly, -but under one condition. –
-Name it, -said Harris.
-That we don’t have to go out copping off together. I mean you’re gonna get all the best ones, the ugly blokes always do. – he answered as they all burst into spontaneous laughter.
-That’s twice you’ve laughed recently, -said Charlie, -you’re beginning to make a habit of it. –