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Mad dog, p.19

Mad Dog, page 19

 

Mad Dog
 


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  -Yes well it’s one you’re not going to have to witness for a while, -said Harvey, -you’re not going to the States with them. I need you here and Brocks and Agent Evans are more than capable of looking after Harris’s medication. –.

  -But, -started Charlie before Harvey abruptly stopped him.

  -There is no but about it, I need you here, I need you’re talents here not baby sitting in Canada. –

  -I told you that you had no future as a nurse didn’t I? –said Harris laughing.

  -Yeah well I may be a piss poor nurse but you as a patient will take some beating. Brock you have my sympathy! – said Charlie with mocked frustration.

  The following two hours were spent going over maps and satellite photos of the area surrounding Josie’s Rest Farm although it hadn’t taken Brock long to decide on the best strategical position from which he could take Fowler out. The plan was simple; they were to trek to a point north of the farm and would take up positions in the woods overlooking it overnight. Fowler was to be taken out from a distance, there was to be no confrontation and no risks taken just a quick clean kill, disposal of the body and out of there as quickly and quietly as possible.

  -And if that doesn’t work you can frighten him to death with that new face of yours, -added Brock mockingly.

  -Damn, and there I was thinking that it gave me a certain air of mystery and romance. –

  -Yes like the Phantom of the Opera, without the mask! -

  -Well it could be worse I could look like Andrew Lloyd Webber! –

  Harvey was enjoying the banter that was starting to form between Bock and Harris appreciating the value of it, a banter that the military use to form a bond which in difficulties can be the factor that keeps them together, a bond made out of respect and trust and one that once forged lasts a life time.

  -Brock, Agent Bradley has all your travel details and your hotel reservations for this evening, if you need any other equipment or support organising then just let him know your requirements and he’ll sort it out. Harris, you and DS Clarke can stay with me a moment if you don’t mind, I have a few things I would like to consult you about. –

  Brock took that as a dismissal and rose from his seat heading for the door. Charlie rose and hurried to shake his hand before he left.

  -Good luck, -he said loudly before leaning close and whispering “look after him; I’ve become quite fond of the old git, as ugly as he is!”

  Brock shook his hand firmly, nodded and left.

  Harvey explained to Harris and Charlie the details of the recent developments, above all the departure from the Embassy of Jiriyis and two others.

  -We’re waiting for information so that we can put names to the faces of those that left the Embassy, names that we suspect to be false. We are waiting on details from Thames Water about the usage of their vehicles at and around the time of their departure from Knightsbridge Station and we are waiting to see if we can find out where the hell the van went when it disappeared off our screens. In short we are waiting for developments, as they say: -

  -Right well if I had to guess then all six of the new members of the staff are involved in this and if we assume just for the sake of it that I am right, something that usually happens, then three of them are Jiriyis and the other two that left the Embassy, which leaves three. If you take into account that the group that kidnapped the kids were five strong and those linked to the explosion in Dudley only account for three of them, then it’s reasonable that the other two are from the bunch of six, which leaves one. A certain Hari Sayeghi Alam, and I’d bet whatever you like that he’s the one on the outside and that his job is to coordinate the activities of the two cells. He therefore is the main priority, so in order to find him what do we need to know? An address! And where can we get that from? From whoever is providing it for him! What you need to do is search all lettings in the Met area during the last two months, assuming that the flat or whatever was organised specifically for him, and run all the names through the computer. You should also check to see if the Iranian Embassy owns or rents any property in the Met area, although that would be a little too obvious and if you consider the Met area too large I would start with the Soho area if I were you. The email of the note was sent from there and that would be the work of whoever is organising this and you’ve got to assume that he won’t want to be wandering all around London, that he’ll send it from close to “home” and finally Soho is a fantastic place for any foreigner to get lost, I mean it absolutely full to the brim of foreign tourists twenty four hours a day. –

  -Have you finished? –asked Harvey smiling, -you don’t really need us here do you,? I mean you ask the questions and you answer them all by yourself. What do you have to say DS Clarke?

  -Well actually he took the words out of my mouth, -he answered with a grin, -but I would also concentrate on the van in order to find the driver. Do we have any high definition photos of the van itself? –

  -I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Agent Bradley but I haven’t seen one. –

  -Well it’s just that in my experience there is almost always someone in the garages of these large companies that can identify all the vehicles in the depot from one small detail, a scratch, bump or whatever. I think we should look for that someone. –

  -Then go ahead and do so, -ordered Harvey, -as of now you are in charge of this, answerable only to me, Agent Bradley will act as your right hand man and will organise whatever resources you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for anything no matter how costly you think it will be, if it can be organised then Agent Bradley is the man to organise it. –

  Harvey didn’t need to repeat himself as Charlie immediately rose and shook Harris by the hand. For a moment he was tempted to actually embrace him but decided that Harris wasn’t quite ready for that yet and therefore simply wished him luck and told him to take care of himself before leaving the room.

  -Strange how attached you can get to that scouse git, -said Harris after Charlie had left the room, -anyway, one more thing, have you any news of Mustafa and have you considered the possibility that he could be operating somewhere else? I mean there is no reason to believe that this is solely London based or even for that matter English. They could be planning a coordinated attack in several places at once. Don’t you think that perhaps you should extend the search and alert our allies? Wasn’t he involved in the Madrid bombings? –

  -Yes he was and yes I have considered the possibility but everything seems to point to a vendetta against us. –

  -The kidnappings maybe but the involvement of Al Qaeda suggests something far bigger, besides it will cost you nothing to cover your options. –

  -You’re right; I’ll get the alert sent out today. I was all but decided to do it anyway. Now before you go I want to say something. I’m out on a limb sending you with Brock, don’t let me down but more importantly don’t let yourself down. I sense that you’ve got something to do in all this before it ends and I would like to believe that it will be something positive. Good Luck and I’ll see you when you get back. In the meantime if you have any further thoughts on this end of things don’t hesitate to let us know, okay see you soon. – they shook hands and embraced neither sure of what the immediate future held for them and each fearing for the other.

  17

  Martxelo was about to enter their room shortly before seven on the Saturday morning when he heard the now familiar sound of their incantations turned around and went straight to the kitchen.

  -They’re at it again, they’ll be out in a minute to prepare their bloody omelettes and coffee and then we can get going. Any other questions? – grumbled Martxelo in the general direction of the completely unfazed Txabi.

  -Good mood today then? –

  -Not particularly, no. –

  -Nervous? –

  -A little I suppose, I can’t help it, it’s the same every time we go to the weapons stash, I don’t know why but it makes me feel vulnerable. –

  Martxelo and Txabi were taking t
heir guests to the weapons stash that morning some fifteen miles to the north of their safe house. Martxelo had expressed the opinion that they go alone arguing that they would be less conspicuous that way, or at least that’s the excuse he gave, but Txabi had insisted that at least one of their guests should go with them to be sure that they collected everything that they needed. The fact that Mustafa showed no real interest only made Martxelo feel more justified and convinced him that it was just a case of Txabi trying to demonstrate who was in charge. The fact that Mustafa showed no real interest had a different effect on Txabi, it made him curious, “why would they not be interested in the explosives that they were going to need?” He could come up with only two alternatives, that they trusted their judgement explicitly or that they were not planning on using the explosives. Knowing Martxelo’s innate distrust for their Arab friends and his excessive willingness to think the worst, he didn’t want to discuss his suspicions with him and therefore insisted that at least one of their guests went with them so that he could prove to himself which of the two alternatives was the right one. Mustafa decided, in the light of Txabi´s insistence, that he should accompany them and that Abu and Khalid would spend the day going over the maps, the geological studies and the plans that had been obtained of the dam and the area surrounding it.

  Shortly before nine o’clock they arrived at the northbound turning off the A1 for the Camino de Robregordo which was the access road for the La Acebeda Camping Site. Three hundred yards up the service road they turned left onto the track that led into the woods and once within the tree line and invisible from the road they parked up and set off on foot to the weapons stash that they had prepared when they had first visited the area looking for a safe house from which they could organise their actions in the Madrid area. The La Acebeda Camping Site served their needs perfectly during that time as they mingled freely and unnoticed with the other tourists and they had found no reason to move the stash once they had located a safe house. ETA´s policy to never keep their stores of weapons and explosives at their safe houses was designed to minimise the damage when either one or the other was discovered and the site of this particular stash, in an area of heavy tourism where a group of trekkers would be the most normal of sights in the hills above the camp site and the lake, remained an ideal location.

  It took no more than twenty minutes of brisk trekking up the hillside, through the woods, for them to come to the bent dying tree that was no longer much taller than the shrubbery that grew all around it. It did however maintain an intense and full set of interwoven branches at shoulder level that formed an almost impassable barrier which was sufficient for any trekker straying that way to divert around it thus avoiding the thicket of branches and also the heavy undergrowth that seemed to have been placed their to deliberately impede their passage. It had been! Martxelo and Txabi had dragged and replanted the undergrowth there in order to conceal the small cave that they had discovered behind the old stubby tree, the cave whose entering was small and tight but just large enough for Martxelo, who was the smaller of them, to force himself through. Once inside he found a cave no more than three foot tall which extended only nine foot into the mountain side before it became to small for even him to pass and then wandered , they assumed, deep into the rock. It was too small for use as a hide out but just about ideal as a stash for the explosives that they took up there in the rucksacks day after day until they had stored the three hundred pounds of Titadyn 30 AG that they had been entrusted with from what remained of the 1.6 Tonnes that ETA had stolen fro a factory near Grenoble in March 2001.

  Martxelo unceremoniously dragged the first of the heavily sealed black bags out of the cave for Mustafa to see. Carefully he cut open the top of the package and peeled back the thick layers of plastic until he revealed the 80mm diameter salmon pink tubes. The familiar smell of sulphur rose to meet them and they immediately and instinctively looked around, suddenly feeling insecure as if the smell would search out someone to whom it could betray their secret.

  -What is it Titadyn 30 or 50, -asked Mustafa. –

  -30, it’s from the 2001 batch. –

  -Then we’ll need seventy five pounds at least, best make it ninety, if were going to blow a hole in the dam. What about detonators? –

  -We’ve got them at the house. –

  -How much is there in each bag? –

  -Fifteen pounds. –

  -Then that’s two bags each then. Get that one closed and we’ll take it with us. That’s the problem with storing Titadyn, it doesn’t deteriorate but it stinks if it’s closed for a time. Anyone wandering past here couldn’t help but notice the smell. –

  Txabi was delighted, Mustafa was showing the interest that he had lacked previously and he concluded that the previous days apparent disinterest was down to the euphoria of finding what appeared to be a perfect method for planting the devices.

  Mustafa had shown interest after having noticed the look of concern that Txabi had shown the previous evening, wanting to maintain his trust and support for as long as it may be necessary.

  Martxelo couldn’t believe Mustafa had asked about the detonators but not what type they were to use or how they were planning to activate them. Something was wrong! His habitual distrust resurfaced and he decided he’d speak to Txabi the moment they were alone.

  Much as they were aware of the virtual inexistence of danger in carrying the Titadyn there is something very sobering about trekking down a hillside with thirty pounds of dynamite strapped to your back. Their nervous trek back to the 4x4 took longer than the climb up and despite it being downhill, for some reason, they sweated a lot more than they had done earlier. It was therefore a relieved group of three that gently loaded their backpacks into the boot and set off for the safe house.

  -Could we stop in the village and get details of the Dam tours on the way back. Berrueco or something like that, -asked Mustafa. – Maybe we can give them a call this afternoon and see if they have any groups booked in for Tuesday. –

  -Yes Berrueco, no problem, we could do with some fresh bread anyway and the bakery is virtually next door to the tourist office and I would bet they’ll be only to glad to check that out for us. I’ll just tell them we would like to avoid school groups if we can and so they’ll tell us what times we need to avoid. –

  -It’s amazing how you can get the right answer by asking the wrong question, -said Mustafa with a grin.

  At just before one that afternoon they were approaching km12 on the M131 having bought bread and some fresh milk and been informed by the more than helpful tourist information personnel that the only school group booked to visit the Dam on Tuesday was to do so at twelve and that they could be sure to avoid them by doing either the ten o’clock tour or the later three o’clock one. Everything seemed to be dropping into place, at least that was until the offside rear tyre exploded at the precise moment that they passed the km12 sign. The M131 is a two lane road and not heavily transited and so in normal circumstances a driver of Martxelo’s ability would have little difficulty in controlling the vehicle even if it swerved a little. The problem was that the road is ditched on both sides and on the other side of the low ditches it is walled in country stone. The explosion threw the rear of the 4x4 in the direction of the ditch and Martxelo struggled fiercely to avoid it dropping over the edge of the ditch aware that if it did so he could never correct it in time and they would roll. Dragging the rear of the 4x4 sharply to the left resulted in the front drifting towards the ditch but he knew at that moment that he had sufficient control to resist the inertia of their movement and with one more readjustment he could apply the breaks and bring the 4x4 to a stop. It was at that moment that he spotted two things, over the wall and hedgerow he saw a small car approaching the fast approaching curve in the road in their direction and to his left he saw a stop sign that could only belong to a service road that was invisible to him at that moment. He had to choose, risk a head on crash or risk a handbrake turn into a road he couldn’t even see. He
chose the latter throwing the vehicle into a 180º left turn that drifted them into the entrance of the road and out of the path of the Ford Ka just as it appeared around the bend, brakes screeching as its white knuckled driver struggled to keep it on the road as it drifted dangerously towards the 4x4 that had just flashed across it’s path. Enrique the driver of the Ka struggled silently finally bringing the car to a halt on the edge of the ditch some twenty yards past the service road entrance. His wife Patri struggled, in anything other than silence as she screamed whilst at the same time tried to keep her bowls under control, only ceasing to scream as the noise she produced slowly started to take the form of words, all of which being unflattering adjectives aimed in the direction of her poor guiltless husband and the driver of the bloody 4x4 that had nearly killed them. Not a word of gratitude left her mouth in relation to Enrique’s superb exhibition of a controlled swerve nor did any thought of gratitude enter her, at that moment, hysterical head.

  Enrique looked at his wife and calmly told her to “shut up and stay put” as he climbed out of the car and headed towards the 4x4. Enrique Segarra Borras was trained to remain calm in tense situations and at that moment all of his training automatically clicked in. Enrique was off duty that Saturday morning and had been heading for the El Picachuelo Restaurant in El Berrueco where he and his wife were planning to enjoy a much deserved Arroz con Bogovantes, the speciality of the house, after him having just finished the latest technical course on his area of expertise within the Guardia Civil, the intervention of weapons and explosives. Enrique had, as usual, excelled as he devoured all the technical information that they threw at him. To Enrique, his work as a Guardia Civil was not just a job it was a hobby and he thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating his abilities to his peers at the regular courses on which he was either obliged to attend or attended voluntarily. This one had been obligatory and dealt with the latest techniques that ETA were believed to be using in the production of home made explosives, the manipulation of these improvised munitions or improvised explosives and component parts and the recognition of said elements. The Guardia Civil had discovered that recently the majority of explosive devices used by ETA had been of domestic fabrication and believed that to be due to the exhaustion of their previous supply lines of explosives and the discovery on their behalf of several of ETA´s most important stashes both in France and in Portugal., hence the need to produce their own.

 
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