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Mad dog, p.21

Mad Dog, page 21

 

Mad Dog
 


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-Yes very good, -responded Charlie becoming both frustrated and irritated. –Phone whoever you need to phone but I warn you, if I do not have the information within two minutes I will be arresting you for obstructing us in the course of an investigation. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?! –

  -Look I suppose I could make an exception, just once. –answered Bailey with a smile designed to display complicity but which in reality only displayed submission.

  -And while you’re at it, do you know anything of the information that we have requested from your head office? –

  -That the one about the number of vehicles on the road in the Knightsbridge area yesterday morning and the number of vehicles potentially being used for private purposes at that time and whether any of the vehicles at the depot could have been on the road at that time? –

  -Yes! –

  -Right well I’m just running up some statistical analysis on that at the moment. Quite interesting it is too. Do you know that 5 % of the damage caused to the vehicles occurs whilst they are not being used for official purposes? -

  -No and I’m not interested in that either. Do you have the information and the relevant drivers’ names? –

  -Well yes of course! –

  -Then give it to me and let us do the extrapolations that we need to and stop wasting our time! –

  -Well I… I mean I… Well I was only trying to help. –stammered Bailey.

  -Mr Bailey, the information please. - said Charlie coldly, extending his hand in Baileys direction and not precisely for him to shake it.

  -What a pompous prick that is, -said Charlie as he left the building, -Get someone over to George Beasley’s place and keep them there until he shows up and get his credit cards checked, see if we can find him that way, and get an alert placed on them in case he uses them now, get a general search placed on his bike, do we have his registration plate number yet? –

  -Yes Sir. –

  There were two vehicles in the area on service, six vehicles “off duty” and one vehicle being road tested at the time the van they were looking for was parked outside of Knightsbridge Station. The futile task of interviewing the drivers of these vehicles was immediately started. Hazy, however, was not one of them, he had officially been on duty but had not been where he was officially supposed to have been. The credit card trace was also to prove futile, George was far to careful with his money to be paying interest on credit cards when he could happily pay cash for whatever he needed and had sufficient will power to not “need” anything until he had sufficient cash to pay for it.

  On arriving back at Thames House on Millbank Charlie was summoned to Harvey’s office.

  -Charlie, where have you been? –asked Harvey coldly.

  -Well, I’ve been to the Thames Water Depot to see if we can trace the van from the photos, why? –

  -Because while you’ve been out we’ve received the details from the Iranian Embassy that we’ve been waiting for and you weren’t here to analyze them, that’s why! Look Charlie, you are in charge of the investigation now, you can not go off and do the spade work yourself, you’ve got to designate and believe me the agents here are, in general, extremely capable. Is that clear? I need you here to coordinate, organise and analyse, let others do the spade work okay? –

  -Yes Sir, -replied Charlie feeling suitably chastised, -you won’t need to tell me again. Can we have a look at what they’ve sent now Sir? –

  The Iranian Embassy had sent them poor quality passport type photos of their recruits over the previous three months along with the corresponding names and descriptions of the functions that they performed and their current location. MI5 had enhanced the images and produced computer generated images of each with beard, without beard, with sunglasses and without sunglasses and had produced an evaluation of them identifying each to a minimum of 90% accuracy.

  The results were surprising. With the exception of Imam Mohammed Al Abad and Nushab El-Sayed all the names provided coincided with the photos they had received and what was more surprising was that none were known to MI5. They had forwarded the list to The Americans and were waiting to see whether they knew anything about any of them. It had taken the Americans less than five minutes to confirm that they knew of both Abdul Qassin Shirazi and Hassan Al Turabi, Abdul being suspected of being very close to Osama Bin Laden, although they had nothing to indicate his involvement in any terrorist acts and Hassan having been a collaborator of theirs in Afghanistan and who was known by the nickname of “Chucky” and who was considered extremely dangerous and was believed to be training recruits at an Al Qaeda training camp, he also could not be linked to any terrorist act known to them. From the CCTV footage that they had from the kidnapping, the tube station and the Embassy they had managed to split them into two groups, one that contained Latif, Rasin and Jiriyis and that had gone to Knightsbridge tube station and the other that consisted of Abdul and Hassan who were responsible alongside Tawid, Rashid and Jamil for the kidnappings on Hanover Gate. The bearded image that they had received for Nushab El-Sayed was that which the computer believed to belong to Jiriyis and the equally obscured picture of Imam Mohammed Al Abad, complete with sun glasses, was that of Hari. They could identify all of them on various tapes, with the exception of Hari, who at their best guess was one of those that entered the Embassy with the children on Tuesday. They were therefore left with little doubt that it was Hari who was on the “outside” pulling the strings. All, according to the Embassy, with the exception of Imam Mohammed Al Abad (Hari), were resident in the Embassy building itself, the Imam staying at The Central Mosque. Given the urgency they had for finding him and sure in the knowledge that he would be staying anywhere other than at the Mosque it was a huge boost for them when they received the news that the property searches they had instigated had already thrown up three very interesting links.

  They had a list of over two hundred people and companies that had rented properties in the Soho area during the previous two months and they had a team already working through that list but that was not the good news, they had discovered that The Islamic Republic of Iran was the owner of three properties in Soho apart from five others in Knightsbridge and Mayfair.

  -Good Lord, -said Harvey, -they may be poor but they’ve got some top quality properties! –

  -Sir, how do you want to handle this? I mean, we could simply raid the eight properties and assuming we have the fortune of finding Hari in one of them we can bring him in and question him at our pleasure but given that we have less than four days to release the kids and discover the rest of their plot I’m not sure that we stop them from doing anything by arresting him, on the contrary maybe we’d make them anticipate their plans with the consequences that that would have. –

  -For now get teams over to all eight addresses and find out if they are occupied and if so by whom but lets be discreet, let’s not go knocking on their doors. Once we have a clearer view of things we can then decide our next step. As you say we have four days left and we don’t want them accelerating things. –

  -Sir, -interrupted agent Bradley, -we have teams investigating on a number of fronts at the moment and we have more than two hundred other links to investigate on the property search alone, not to mention the three hundred and fifty three reported sightings of Hari and the rest of the crew that you showed at the press conference. Can I draft in help from Scotland Yard to help with the spade work? -

  -Well you’ve got the best person to ask in front of you. Ask DS Clarke here, if anyone can organise it, it’s him, well him and his mate DS Mann. –answered Harvey laughing. –

  -I’m sorry Sir, but I was asking him not you! –he replied with a smile. So Sir, what do you say? –

  -Looks like we’ve got too many chiefs and not enough Indians to me, -answered Charlie trying not to laugh, -come on lets go and draft a few more Indians in. -

  -Sirs, -said agent Bradley using the plural, may I suggest that we start the investigations around the eight addresses tomorrow morning. It’s already almost six
and these things are always most effective during the day, no one pays attention to people calling on doors during the day but during the night they automatically seem to assume that it’s the police. –

  -No, get the teams in place now but just don’t have them knocking on doors, get them to use their wits a little, anything they can find out will help even if all they discover is that the properties are empty. –

  When Charlie started his briefing of Harvey at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning they had already discarded four of the addresses and established a favourite.

  5 Williams Mews, a three bedroom luxury apartment in a picturesque area of Knightsbridge was the first to be discarded as it was clearly unoccupied and in the middle of reform work. 8 Pont Street, a two bedroomed maisonette also in Knightsbridge soon followed as the occupants, a family of three, were confirmed to have lived there for the best part of the last two years, at least according to the local paper shop and the milkman that they chatted with at six thirty that morning. 1 North Row in Mayfair was equally discarded after having been observed overnight from Hyde Park, which it overlooked, and was clearly occupied by a young executive who had arrived in a new Ferrari and his girlfriend who enjoyed prancing around in front of the panoramic windows bereft of clothing. It had been the most enjoyable watch that the agents had undertaken in years, eagerly offering to continue their vigilance in case the situation changed! Finally, 9 Brewer Street was also discarded. The two floor flat, above “Soho’s original Bookshop” was, as confirmed by the staff from the shop, occupied by Jamie and Chris, wealthy students who held the best parties in Soho.

  This left four properties; 18 Charles Street in Mayfair, a superb example of a Grade II Town House, former residence of, amongst other bespoke gentlemen, a Brigadier General, a granddaughter of the Queens Mother, a Reverend and two Colonels, which was now occupied by a “wealthy” Arab, according to their source, once again the local milkman, who had only taken up residence a month earlier. They had neither seen anyone enter nor leave but had observed quite a lot of movement within the property; there was an attic flat at 16 Rupert Street in the heart of Soho between Shaftsbury Avenue & Brewer St which was clearly occupied but from which they had failed to observe anybody either leaving or entering and of which they could not get any views of the attic flat from the building in front, the blinds being permanently closed, the property was only a hundred yards away from The Global Net Internet Café on Great Windmill Street which would have been significantly easier for him to use if he was indeed there; then there was the top floor of 4 Princes Gate, only five doors away from the Embassy itself where they had observed the cleaning staff from the Embassy entering the building immediately after finishing their evening duties; and finally the attic duplex at 3 Dean Street, one of the busiest streets in Soho, absolutely jam packed with bars and restaurants and only two minutes walk from The Habashia Internet Cafe. This was the ideal location, heavily transited both day and night, virtually in the middle of four tube stations giving access to five lines and therefore extremely difficult for the police or other authorities to secure. The local services delivered nothing to the flat and the two residents that had been observed entering the three story building had then been accompanied by movement in the other two flats. Nonetheless the flat was clearly occupied.

  -What’s in front of 3 Dean Street? -asked Harvey.

  -The ground floor is a Thai Restaurant and the first floor is vacant. The second floors are the offices of Gregory Theatrical Agencies and the third floor that is directly in front of the lower floor of the duplex is the Alpha Anglo Language Academy. We entered the offices last night and have placed cameras but as yet the curtains on the lower of the floors remain closed. We could however see shadow movement on the upper floor but there is no roof access and we can not get a view of it as yet. –

  -I take it this is your prime target. –

  -Well yes Sir. –

  -Okay, but don’t forget the others. If I was you I’d concentrate my efforts on eliminating the others first. –

  -I am Sir. –replied Charlie with a smile.

  -Okay well done, but stop calling me Sir! Harvey will do fine as it has done up till now. –

  -Okay SIR, -giggled Charlie as he rose and left the office.

  By six o’clock that afternoon they had whittled the possibilities down to two, 16 Rupert Street and 3 Dean Street. 4 Princes Gate having been eliminated once one of the cleaners had confirmed that it was used by the Iranians as a conference centre and 18 Charles Street was eliminated once they realised that it was being used by the Iranians as little more than a bordello, the three Iranian diplomats that had stayed there the previous evening having departed only moments before five young blond women were quickly ushered into taxi’s, the “resident” of the property being no more than a butler.

  At 16 Rupert Street no one had seen the current resident and he or she had not left the building in the whole time they’d been watching it, so they were going to have to find a way of discovering his or her identity. The resident of 3 Dean Street had not left the property either but his neighbours had described him as a rugged looking gentleman with the appearance of having his origins in the Middle East who very much kept himself to himself none of them having even spoken to him. There was the added detail that six of the calls generated by Harvey’s appearance on TV claimed to have spotted both Hari and Abdul at the Soho Theatre and on Frith Street both within yards of the address. In neither case the utility services could provide them with any information as the bills were paid by the Iranian Embassy.

  It was time for them to take a decision, time was dragging by yet the deadline was accelerating towards them.

  19

  Brock and Harris arrived at Heathrow shortly before 04.00am on the morning of Saturday 1st July to catch their KLM flight KL1000 to Amsterdam where after a short change they were to catch KL6059 directly to Minneapolis St Paul Airport where they were scheduled to arrive at 12.15pm.

  Despite the fact that at four o’clock in the morning there are very few travellers mulling around the terminals and even fewer services available, Harris soon found himself to be the centre of attention of his fellow travellers. The looks that he received, surreptitiously in the majority and straight forward stares in a few cases, generally those of children who pointed at him whiles tugging at various articles of their parents clothing, were beginning to make him feel self conscious and that in turn was translating itself into irritability. Brock, who was more than accustomed to stress situations, did what he always did when he felt that one of his men was being mistreated, he attacked.

  Turning towards one particularly ill mannered traveller he planted his feet, pushed out his chest, pointed at his unfortunate victim and in a firm, controlled yet commanding, even threatening voice, began to peel the paint off the walls.

  -WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT, UNGRATEFUL SON OF A BITCH? THINK HE LOOKS FUNNY DO YOU? THINK HE´S GROTESQUE? WHAT´S YOUR PROBLEM?

  Let me explain to you something about the MAN that you have in front of you, the MAN that you stare and point at, the MAN that you ridicule and snigger about. This MAN has been injured and scarred in your defence, in the defence of your freedom, so instead of staring at him what you should be doing is thanking him, him and all those like him who defend your freedom with their own lives.

  DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR? RIGHT, THEN NOW YOU CAN GO AND FUCK YOURSELVES!

  ANY QUESTIONS? –

  The bowed and shaking heads of those that shifted nervously in front of him would have been comical in other circumstances but in this case was only the prelude to all those present feeling a surge of righteous indignation half an hour later when they felt secure that Brock was no where to be seen. This indignation would of course later transform itself into vivid memories of how each and every one of them had been the only one to have given the prick a piece of their own minds.

  -Thanks,-said Harris grabbing Brock by the arm, -At least we are no longer the centre of attention! –
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  -What do you mean by WE Elephant Man? - replied Brock with a smile. –Shower of pricks! –

  The truth was that Harris was worthy of staring at. The right side of his face, the side furthest from the blast when he forced the door open, had suffered second degree burns that, in the days after the blast, had become swollen and reddened before blistering painfully and weeping. These burns had left his skin with a rippled texture causing his right eye to appear half closed although the hair on that side of his head and the facial hair on that side of his face had returned to their previous fullness. The left side of his face was however a different story. Harris had received extensive third degree burns which, from a suffering point of view, were better than the second degree burns, the nerves in the area having been destroyed with the effect of making it painless. From an aesthetic point of view however it was significantly worse, him having developed a patchwork of leathery skin that ranged from black to white passing through bright red and to make matters worse his hair had started to grow back in a few patches whilst the rest remained, and would remain, permanently bald. At first he had shaved the clumps of hair as they had sprouted but as the nerve ends were dead in that area he continually cut himself and decided that he was beyond such vanities. In part, it was the realisation that he was not beyond such vanities that was causing his distress.

  Their next problem came when Sylvia Cooper, the KLM rep behind the check in desk, stopped open mouthed, staring at Harris´ passport photo which naturally bore no resemblance to his current appearance.

  -You always look worse on a passport photo, -said Brock smiling.

  -Look, I had an accident and got burned okay! –

  -Yes but, -started Sylvia before becoming stuck for words clearly not wishing to offend him.

  -Look, I’m a senior detective at Scotland Yard, here’s my badge. –said Harris putting his badge on the desk.

  -Still got that? I thought they’d taken that off you! –interrupted Brock, clearly enjoying the situation.

 
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