|Revenge By David A O'Neil|
Sarahâ€™s active mind could read the information, but her subconscious simply would not store the terrible details contained in the sheaths of papers that she had read. Not believing and not being able to comprehend all that she was viewing, Sarah had perused the papers again and again, reading and rereading.
The sheer enormity of the volumes of information was overwhelming and the stunning, indisputable truth of the data the papers contained was beyond her belief. Her grandfatherâ€”and by now she had come to accept that he was indeedâ€”or had beenâ€”her grandfatherâ€”had not only been the head of the major organized crime family that blanketed the eastern half of the United States, but was in actuality the â€˜Capo di tutti capiâ€™ of the Cosa Nostra, the Mafia criminal organization that reached into every corner of the world. Every nation was proliferated with groups and families affiliated with the Mafia, and her grandfather had been the â€˜boss of all bossesâ€™. He had been the supreme ruler of the Mafia, with more power and resources at his fingertips than anyone in the entire world, with the possible exception of the President of the U.S.
Many of the numerous computer disks that had come into her possession contained spread sheets and ledger accounts that were filled with in-depth details of thousands of businesses, large and small, many of which were international. The disks revealed that her grandfather had controlled billions, perhaps even trillions of dollars and was a major influence in the government of virtually every nation on earth; even the United States Congress.
His dominating presence had loomed over the economies of many of the industrialized nations. Construction companies in New York and Connecticut; banks in the US, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and virtually all of the offshore money havens fell under the influence of her grandfather and his minions. Shipping and transportation companies around the world; electronic and technological industries were under his thumb. Biochemistry, pharmaceutical laboratories; manufacturing and retailing; nothing seemed to have escaped the attention of the organization that he orchestrated.
The final computer disk bore the label â€˜International Enterprises Diversifiedâ€™. As the information it yielded flashed across the screen before her unbelieving eyes, Sarah was becoming physically ill. Spewing vomit, she frantically raced across the floor and into the bathroom. Dropping to her knees beside the commode, Sarah vomited anew, retching until her stomach was completely empty, only dry heaves shaking her body. For long minutes, she could not rouse herself from the stupor caused by the onslaught of the horrific, torturous information that she had learned.
At long last, she was able to stand, her mind whirling, her consciousness spinning. She bathed her heated face with cold water and then tried to clean up the mess she had made. Deliberately forcing herself not to return to the computer, she mopped the bathroom floor, and dried up the half-digested foods that she had discharged as she had fled across the room.
Still ignoring the images of facts and numbers showing on the computer monitor, Sarah filled a large glass with Scotch whiskey and drank deeply of it in one large gulp. Then, gulping again, she drank most of the rest of the liquid.
Sipping on a refilled glass, and with great reluctance, Sarah returned to the computer where she could read once again the names, places and events that were listed. Her senses went into orbit. Still befuddled and bemused, once again she reviewed all of the details, each shocking fact causing her to gulp large swallows of the strong liquor that seemed to have no effect on her. Her credibility was strained to its utmost. Over and over she ran the entire disk, always pausing and closely examining two events; the first was the assassination of her uncle, Senator Sam Irvin of Tennessee, and his secretary, Clara.
It was however the second set of occurrences that she studied over again and againâ€”each time having to take large drinks of the soothing liquor to sustain herâ€”the complete story of the assassination of the senatorâ€™s strong right arm, and her one true love, Scott Treadwell.
The combination of the series of strong drinks and the tremendous blows to her emotions finally took effect on Sarah, as she slowly slumped in her chair, sinking into oblivion. Traumatized by the double blow to her nervous system, she lay prone in the large chair, her body shuddering from time to time as her subconscious replayed her memories.
The following morning was dark, rainy and dreary, easily matching Sarahâ€™s morose mood. There was no way she could eat breakfast. She had to force herself to sip a little of the orange juice she took from the refrigerator before she would allow herself to look at the first piece of paper. And then the nightmare started all over anew. And it went on and on and on.
Sarah sat in silence, stunned by the information that she had studied over the past several weeks. The enormity of her grandfatherâ€™s operationsâ€”legal and illegalâ€”overwhelmed her. By now, she had accepted the fact that the mafia gangster was indeed her grandfather. And she accepted the fact that his enemiesâ€”because of himâ€”had been responsible for the death of her parents. In her mind, she held her grandfather equally responsible. Had he not been a gangster, her parents would still be alive. She also accepted the facts that the bomb that had taken their lives had been deliberately planted so as to kill her father and her mother, and it had been no accidental misplacing of the bomb as supposed by the police.
Slowly, Sarahâ€™s mind began to delve further into the information that her grandfatherâ€”better think of him as Calderon, the mafia bossâ€”had in no small way been responsible for the death of her uncle, Senator Sam Irwin. Then, she froze, her mind on fire, her brain burning with hatred.
My grandfather killed Scott!
â€œNoooooooâ€¦.â€ All went black.
When Sarah regained consciousness, she found herself lying on the floor, where she had evidently dropped when the realization that her own grandfather had been responsible for killing everything that she had loved: her mother, her father, her uncle, her lover.
Stiff from laying on the hard wooden floor, Sarah slowly rose to her feet, reeled into the kitchen, and turned the heat on under a tea kettle sitting on the range. She wouldnâ€™t allow herself to think about what she had learned until the water was boiling and she made herself a cup of herbal green tea, adding two heaping spoonfuls of sugar to a cup of the hot tea. She normally only took cream, but felt she needed the energy boost. Then she moved back into the living room, and sat down on the divan. As she sipped the fragrant hot liquid, Sarah released her steely hold on her thoughts. She found that her emotions were still frozen numbâ€”or perhaps dead.
My parents dead because of Calderon. My uncle dead because of Calderon. Carla dead because of Calderon. Heavens knows how many others, but I donâ€™t care. My Scott is dead because of Calderon. And that son-of-a-bitch is dead.
â€œItâ€™s just not fair,â€ Sarah shouted aloud. â€œHe died too damn easily. Itâ€™s just not enough. He should rot in Hell.â€
Standing up, she began to pick up the piles of papers that had been strewed about, placing them in their folders and putting them on a nearby table.
â€œItâ€™s not enough and Iâ€™m not going to leave it at that.â€
â€œDona Sarah,â€ Salvatoreâ€™s voice was husky with emotion. â€œIt is absolutely a fact. You certainly have the right to call on all of the resources of the family. You have my oath, and the oaths of all of us that we will serve you in any way possible, even as we have always served your grandfather, Don Giovanni.â€
â€œAlright then, just provide me with the name and telephone number of someone who can do what I want done.â€ Sarahâ€™s voice was cold and emotionless.
â€œThatâ€™s just it, Dona Sarah. We donâ€™t have a man who can do that. Certainly, we can eliminate someone if you want. Or even several people. Or a lot of people. You have only to point them out, and it is done. Thatâ€™s what we do. But the kind of man that you need....we just donâ€™t have anyone as good as that.â€
â€œThen how can I.....â€
â€œItâ€™s only a suggestion, Dona Sarah. To find someone so skillful, to penetrate and uncover their identities, there are only a few organizations that train their people to such a degree. The American C.I.A. or the F.B.I. Perhaps the military. Possibly the military or espionage organizations in other countries. Especially the Israeli or the British. One of the Special Forces, or a Commando. But, not a member of our family. No one is adequately trained, not even myself. We have a few contacts, so Iâ€™ll check with them, but Iâ€™m not hopeful.â€
Reluctantly, Sarah hung up the telephone, cutting off the still apologizing voice of her dead grandfatherâ€™s Sotto Capo, or second in command, his under-boss. The simmering hatred deep inside her was demanding relief, but her effort at finding someone who could implement her desires had failed. If the Mafia couldnâ€™t produce the kind of person she needed, then it was likely that no one else could. She would just have to give up the thought of vengeance.
Easing back in her recliner, she closed her eyes, resigned to failure.
Then, a name crossed her mind.
...September 9, 1990
The raggedy, makeshift uniforms worn by the band of rebel soldiers that surrounded Samuel Kanyon Doe, President of Liberia, may have been frayed, threadbare, tattered and torn, but there was nothing shoddy about the rifles that the rebels were aiming at President Doe. Where the soldiers had suddenly emerged from at the same exact moment that his twelve most loyal and trusted guards had mysteriously disappeared and how they knew not only the location but the time that he would arrive at this spot was a puzzle to the President. Still, he realized that he was in trouble. Perhaps he could bribe the soldiers with offers of money, drugs or women. Even power.
Doe, trained by the U.S. Army Special Forces, was an ethnic Krahn, part of a rural tribe in Liberia. A member of a long oppressed majority of the Liberian population that was of native descent, Doe had staged a military coup on April 12, 1980, killing then President William R. Tolbert, Jr. in his palace, and establishing a military regime with himself as its head.
Shortly afterwards, Doeâ€™s government had grown corrupt and repressive. Much of the foreign aid from the U.S. was being siphoned away from the country and into Doeâ€™s pocket. Through force and voter fraud, he continued in power despite an unsuccessful attempted coup by the military leader, Thomas Quiwonkpa. In the November 1985 attempt, more than six hundred people were killed. Thereafter, Doeâ€™s only close associate was Charles Taylor, an ally that he trusted with his life.
At the present time, Doe and Taylor were not only close friends but also allies in a fight to retain power; their opponent a faction leader, Prince Johnson. Doe had received a mysterious message via a telephone call from someone who would not identify himself. Nevertheless, Doe was certain that he recognized the voice of the Russian Ambassador, Serge Kruchev. The message asked for a clandestine meeting at which time information would be given that would enable Doe to destroy the charismatic Johnson and halt the rebel uprising.
Doe traveled to Monrovia to meet his mystery caller to secure the information that would enable him to plan an attack against the areas held by Johnson and his rebels. The caller had insisted on secrecy. Doe, aware of the careful posturing of Russia who, on one hand, supplied arms to the rebels and on the other hand supported Doeâ€™s presidency, could understand the need for anonymity, so only his most trusted guards traveled with Doe. Every member of this inner circle of guards was related either to him or to his trusted ally, Taylor; or to both. Now, Doe could only hope that Taylor was aware of his predicament and would soon arrive with support before the rebel forces killed him.
The group of rebels began to stir. Moving towards an opening that had appeared in the ring of fighters that surrounded him, Doe thought for a moment that he was to be allowed to go free. From the darkness, two men stepped forward, blocking his escape, carrying rifles that were pointed at his head. By the light of torches, Doe could see that the two were Price Johnson, his enemy. The second newcomer was Charles Taylor, now wearing the rebel emblem.
Stark Andrews, the Assistant Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for Covert Operations picked up the beeping telephone, and without saying a word, held it to his ear. The sound that he heard from the person at the other end was a well-modulated, mature, deep male voice. While evidently very well educated, the voice contained an accent that identified the speaker as someone from the southern part of the U.S.
â€œI suppose you have heard the report.â€
The AD grunted.
â€œDoeâ€™s dead. Johnson and Taylor took him out.â€
The AD remained silent.
The speaker continued. â€œFollowing your instructions to keep the Agency out of it, I was able to reach the leader of Doeâ€™s home guards. For money and for passports, the guards left him alone. Earlier, I had a contact notify Johnson where Doe would be.â€
The Associate Director spoke. â€œItâ€™s better that we let Johnson and Taylor handle it without our being exposed, John. We have enough problems with Congress watchdogs without any more publicity.â€
At the sound of agreement from the other person, Andrews continued. â€œCheck in with us in exactly three days at this same time. You will have your next target.â€
...January 14, 1991
The pedestrians who passed by all carefully ignored the bloody body lying beneath an ancient edifice along the grand Avenue Bourguiba that traversed Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. Although dead bodies were relatively rare in the city and never discovered on the major thoroughfare that was considered by many as the Tunisian Champs-Elysees, the residents of Tunis wanted nothing to do with the predominately Islamic police that would be responding to any alarm. Many of the citizens had either witnessed or learned of the brutality that was the norm of the local and national police agencies. The passer-bys turned into the shops and offices that predominated the area where colonial-era buildings blended smoothly with smaller older structures.
In time, the local police arrived, and verifying that there was no life left in the body, summoned the Black Maria hearse to cart the remains away to the police laboratory, where an autopsy would be performed. None of the police recognized the dead person, and their examination was cursory, at best.
Eventually, the body was identified as Shalah Khalaf, a/k/a Abu Iyad. Khalaf was the deputy chief and head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the second most senior official of Fatah, after Yasser Arafat. Khalaf, Arafat and other Gazan Palestinians had founded the organization in Kuwait in 1958. Fatah, a reverse acronym from the Arabic name Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini, or Palestinian National Liberation Movement became the largest organization in the PLO.
Although not widely known, Khalaf had also founded the Black September Organization in 1970, when he had become disenchanted with Arafat and Arafatâ€™s alliance with Saddam Hussein. The organization, known by its initials, BSO, began as a small cell of Fatah men determined to take revenge on King Hussein for the death of thousands of Palestinians from Jordan.
The world had learned of the BSO with the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and the murder of a German police officer, during the September 1972 attack on the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, which became known as the Munich massacre.
The Tunisian police learned of Khalafâ€™s identity and the details of his background, but they never discovered who had killed the Palestine official with a single rifle shot that had struck Khalaf just below his nose and had exploded through the back of his skull. Only fragments of the bullet could be found and there was just enough evidence to learn that the bullet was of the explosive type used by professional assassins.
On this occasion, the call was made to Stark Andrewâ€™s cell phone. Putting the rudely intrusive instrument to his ear, the Assistant Director of the CIA continued to chew the tender piece of T-bone steak that he had just placed in his mouth. Responding with only grunts, he listened to the voice with the southern accent.
â€œKhalaf â€“ or Iyad â€“ is no longer with us.â€
â€œAn informant is sending information to the Tunis police. They will believe that an Abu Nidal operative assassinated Khalaf. Weâ€™re clean.â€
Swallowing the juicy piece of rare beef, Andrews cleared his throat as the voice continued.
â€œOnly took one shot, and it was a good one. The explosive bullets donâ€™t leave much.â€
â€œGood job, John,â€ Andrews said. â€œIâ€™ll let the chief know. You call three days from now, at 12:00 noon.â€
â€œStark, is all this really that important?â€ The well-modulated voice had a sense of doubt.
â€œJohn, you know it is. Weâ€™ve been over it time and again. You know itâ€™s vital.â€
â€œYeah, I guess so,â€ the voice continued, sounding weary. â€œBut so many people dead, and for what. Stark, Iâ€™m getting tired.â€
â€œJohn, take the three days. Rest. And then call me. Weâ€™re right, you know.â€
â€œUmmm... See you.â€
â€¦July 30, 1992
Journal Le Monde: â€œYesterday, in a Paris hospital, Octave Tavio Tobias Ayao Amorin, a Togolese socialist politician died. Before his dastardly assassination by some unknown party, Amorin was the leader of the Pan-African Socialist Party. A guest of the French government and a frequent speaker to the French Communist Party, Amorin fell victim to a hidden assassinâ€™s bullet. He was shot while in Lome last week, and succumbed to his grievous wounds yesterday. His body will be returned to Togo for interment.â€
â€œOfficials of the French government under President Francois Mitterrand have sworn to find the killers of Amorin and bring those criminals to justice. Bring back the guillotine!â€
â€œStark, just why did I have to kill Amorin? What threat was he to the United States? A small, part-time politician like him?â€ In anguish, the southern accent was even more pronounced.
â€œJohn, slow down just a minute. Please believe me. We have the cold facts. Octave Tobias Amorin was in position to seize complete dictatorship of Togo and then the rest of West Africa. If you hadnâ€™t taken him out, West Africa, and possibly all of Africa, would have been lost to communist despots. It would have been worse than Berlin, or even Moscow. We had to act, and we had to act now.â€
â€œI donâ€™t see how such a small area such as Togo could be important.â€
â€œIt wasnâ€™t just Togo, John. Togo alone really wasnâ€™t worth the cost of a bullet. It was all of Africa. We have more than enough enemies now, and if Amorin had been successful, Africa would have arrayed itself with Iraq, Iran, China, and Russia. As a group, they could have gotten a stranglehold on all of the fuel that the United States imports. America would have been helpless.â€
â€œNo, not Togo. Africa. Then Europe. Then, it would be the rest of the world. John, believe me, you are vital to our survival.â€
â€œI just wish we could do it without the killing.â€
â€œSo do I, John. So do I. But, for the time being, thatâ€™s not an option. We must succeed. Failure would be deadly.â€
â€œItâ€™s just...sometimes, itâ€™s just too much.â€
â€œJohn, take some time off. I mean it. Take several months or so off. Do nothing. Just relax. We wonâ€™t call on you for a while. Not until youâ€™re really needed. Get your head straight.â€
â€œYes, John. We need you. But we need you at one hundred percent. Go to the islands. Bake yourself brown all over. Relax. But, watch the magazine, we will be in contact when we absolutely must. But not before. Okay?
â€œAll right, Stark. Iâ€™m gone. But, I will watch for the word.â€
â€œRelax, John. Get refreshed. And donâ€™t call, just watch for the ad.â€
With issues being published twelve times per year in Boulder, Colorado, the Soldier of Fortune magazine is a publication widely read by top government, military and law enforcement officials, intelligence agencies, avid outdoorsmen and adventurers of all sorts. The magazine provides a variety of articles about news as well adventures based on firsthand reports from all over the world.
The magazine also provides advertising space for individuals interested in placing classified advertisements to solicit or to offer professional services and surplus military products. The ads also provide an excellent â€“ and anonymous â€“ means of contact between those offering such services and/or products and those interested in obtaining the services and/or products.
Subscriptions are mailed to virtually every corner of the world, and that includes a post office box in the rural town of Corozal in the district of Corozal, in the Caribbean nation of Belize.
Belize is a small, underdeveloped nation that is part of Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea between Guatemala and Mexico. Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize obtained its independence from the United Kingdom during the 1980â€™s. Impoverished and lacking a major marketing program for its few exportable products, the countryâ€”slightly smaller than the state of Massachusettsâ€”has become an offshore haven for banking and foreign monies from individuals and corporations from many different countries.
Contiguous to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Belize is the only official English speaking country in Central America. With 8,867 square miles and less than three hundred thousand citizens, the major industry of the sub-tropic nation is tourism. While much of the landâ€™s biodiversity is rich, with both marine and terrestrialâ€”and with an enormous host of flora and faunaâ€”Belize is best known for its marine environment, drawing world-wide divers to the longest living barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, which is also the second longest contiguous reef in the world, after Australia.
Only a small military force, less than 60,000 total, and a correspondingly small number of national police provide security for the nation, making it a desirable destination for those seeking anonymity.
Situated on the northernmost tip of Belize, Corozal Town is the county seat of the Corozal district, one of six districts that make up the nation. A poor community in a poor nation, the town inhabitants numbering less than 2,000, Corozal is mostly a quiet, undisturbed community of relaxed, uninvolved Belizean citizens. In a country with only such a small police force, the official police presence in Corozal is virtually non-existent.
Corozalâ€™s single, bicycle-mounted policeman took no notice of the individual removing papers and magazines from box number 327. That individual, obviously a visitor, was unremarkable in his tattered beachcomber outfit, sandals, and floppy straw hat. Beneath the clothes was a lean, fit body of a man in his mid to late twenties, relatively short in stature, standing only slightly more than five feet and eight inches. The stranger, his white skin darkly tanned by the hot sunshine of the sub-tropic nation, removed the mail as he had done for the past two months and with a smooth, lithe glide walked from the post office to a nearby dock where he stepped down into a white catamaran, a twin-hulled boat filled with diving gear. Ignoring the motor of the vessel, the man pushed away from the pier and hoisted sail, moving across the brilliant blue inner channel of the Caribbean Sea towards a villa on the beach of North Ambergris Cave.
Located some three miles north of San Pedro, a small number of large luxury villas had been erected on the unspoiled, pristine beach of North Ambergris Caye. One villa, constructed on four acres that spanned from the Caribbean Sea to the Belize Bay, consisted of six thousand square feet and contained eight bedrooms, sunken living room, veranda, large dine-in kitchen, formal dining room and other amenities one would expect in a costly residence. Designed for gatherings up to twelve adults, the villa had, for the past two months, been the residence of only a single person.
That person, returning from his short trip to Corozal, had tied the catamaran to the dock; leaving the mail he had obtained in the boat, and began his ritual morning swim. He would swim along the shoreline for more than an hour, covering several miles. Then he would leave the water at that point and run along the beach until he reached the boat again. The usual run was more than five miles through the soft clean sand of the beach; however, the manâ€™s breathing would be scarcely elevated, his pulse rate only slightly increased.
Returning to the boat and retrieving the mail, which included a specific magazine, the man walked across the brown and beige cobblestone patio and entered the villa. Waiting on the table in the formal dining room was his breakfast, a variety of fruits and juices, prepared by the gourmet chef that was part of the benefits of the villa that he had leased.
Ignoring the mail, the man began to eat; mangos, papayas, watermelon, honeydews, strawberriesâ€”a wide array of tastes and sensations. The juice was a mixture of seven fruits, blended from fresh fruit obtained at the nearby marketplace.
Finally, and very much reluctantly, the man turned to the weekly mail. A couple of flyers were tossed into a waste receptacle, leaving only the magazine. A sensation of inevitability began to fill him as he thumbed through the pages of the magazine, â€œSoldiers of Fortune.â€ The source of the eerie sensation became apparent as he read a small paragraph in the classified ads section.
â€˜John, come homeâ€™. The short message was followed by a series of numbers.
The reader easily deciphered the coded message. He was to contact his control, the Assistant Director for Covert Operations. The first four numbers, 1330, gave the time of the contact as 1:30 pm. The next ten numbers beginning with 202 signified that the contact point was in Washington, D.C., thus the time would be Eastern Daylight time. The number he was to call was 202-546-9899. And the final four numbers, 0607, indicated that he should call on the 7th day of the 6th month, or June 6; one week from now.
The realization that his rest period was over had two strangely different effects on the man. One caused the pleasant taste of the ripe island fruits to turn slightly bitter, as he contemplated the future that was surely awaiting his telephone call. The second effect was to cause his pulse to increase to a pace faster than his exercise had generated as a sudden burst of adrenaline flowed through his veins. He realized that he was like a high-performance automobile built for racing. The months of swimming, diving and fishing had been fine, but deep down inside; he had longed to be back in action.
With mixed feelings of both eagerness and reluctance, he began to pack his bag, summoning the villa manager to call for a water taxi to transport him to Belize City on the mainland, where he would take the non-stop U.S. Air flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. There, he would call his control before continuing to his oceanfront condo in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
â€¦July 14, 2002
The â€œAvenue de Champs-Elyseesâ€ is the most prestigious avenue in Paris. Known in French as La plus belle avenue de monde (â€œThe most beautiful avenue in the worldâ€), the noted avenue is one of the most famous in the world. Naturally, the magnificent street often was the scene of parades and marches, especially presidential motorcades on Bastille Day, July 14, acclaimed as French Independence Day.
The sight of someone carrying luggage along the 70-meter (230 feet) wide boulevard wasnâ€™t unusual, as students and visitors often came to the â€œCity of Lightsâ€ to entertain or to be entertained. A man holding a guitar case would bring no special attention among a large crowd, and there was always a large crowd when Jacques Chirac, President of France, would pass by.
Standing in the large crowd of onlookers who were waiting for the presidential motorcade to pass before them, Maxime Brunerie, a member of the far-right-wing Unite Radical and a former candidate for the far-right party Mouvement National Republician, waited silently patient. He knew his time would some come. His comrades in the French and European Nationalist Party had provided him with the guitar case that he was carrying, as well as the high-powered rifle that was hidden inside.
Brunerie had served in the French military with several of his comrades and had impressed them with his marksmanship. Rated as an expert sharpshooter with both rifle and handgun, Brunerie had spent seven years in the French army before becoming disenchanted with the socialist direction that the French government was following, and in President Chirac he saw the ultimate threat to his beloved France.
Brunerie had agreed to be the one to launch a decisive punch against the left-leaning ex-member of the French Communist Party who was now, as President, leading the country in the wrong direction.
The rising shouts and the swelling roar of the crowd served notice to him that the presidential motorcade was nearing. Brunerie placed the guitar case on the sidewalk, opened the case and removed an AK-47, the renowned Russian assault weapon. Although the weapon was capable of firing as an automatic rifle, Brunerie didnâ€™t want to kill bystanders, only Chirac, so the selection switch was set to single-fire.
Almost as if on a hidden signal, the crowd around Brunerie parted, giving him a clear visage of the head of the French president standing in the open convertible car in the midst of the motorcade. Lifting the firearm to his shoulder and taking deadly aim, Brunerieâ€™s finger tightened on the trigger. At the precise instant that the rifle fired, Brunerie was jostled. A slender, darkly tanned man who had pushed against his back causing the bullet to go wild. With only a quick glance at the offender, Brunerie aimed the rifle again. And again, just as the rifle spat its deadly missile at the Presidentâ€™s head, Brunerie was shoved once more, and again the bullet was misdirected.
Spinning toward the one who had shoved him, Brunerie had just enough time to see that the man was dressed in khaki pants, a pullover, deck shoes and had a tan that could only have come from long hours in a tropical sun. He started to raise the rifle to shoot the small man, but was seized by numerous hands and arms that took the rifle away and beat him down to the concrete. As he lost consciousness, he could hear the â€œWhoop! Whoop! Whoop!â€ of the French gendarme wagon racing toward him.
â€œGreat job, John.â€ The Associate Directorâ€™s voice actually showed a slight bit of emotion, rather than its usual emotionless monotone.
â€œTaking him out with a rifle shot would have been simpler. I may have missed.â€
â€œYou never miss, John. I knew you would succeed.â€
â€œWhy didnâ€™t we just let him kill Chirac? After all, heâ€™s been a huge pain in the ass for the U.S.â€
â€œJohn, had Brunerie succeeded, the French government would have moved even further to the left. After all, Brunerie was associated with most of the right-wing parties in France and in Europe. Chiracâ€™s death would have caused the government to attack those people.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong with that?â€
â€œAt best, economical turmoil throughout Europe. At worst, it could mean civil war, or at least a lot of unnecessary deaths. For the moment, we need to keep Europe quiet and concentrate on Afghanistan and the Mid-East.â€
â€œStay touch. You know the routine. Every third day, at the same time.â€
â€¦Kigali Airport, Rwanda
â€¦April 6, 1994
â€œThis is a CNN news flash. Today Juvenal Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, was slain along with Cyhprien Ntaryamira, the President of Burundi and the Chief of State of Rwanda. An explosion aboard President Habyarimanaâ€™s private Falcon 50 jet that carried the three politicians and a crew of two caused the plane to crash. The wreckage from the plane landed in the backyard of Habyarimanaâ€™s privately owned country estate. President Habyarimanaâ€™s body also landed in his backyard among the wreckage.â€
â€¦March 23, 1999
â€œAn ABC news special. Luis Maria del Corazon de Jesus Dionisio Argana Ferraro, a prominent politician in Paraguay and an influential member of the Colorado Party was assassinated today.â€
â€œFerraro was involved in a bitterly contested election against Paraguayan General Lino Oviedo. Ferraro suffered a humiliating defeat.â€
â€œIt is rumored that General Oviedo, exiled and granted asylum in Argentina, may have been the instigator of Ferreroâ€™s assassination.â€
â€¦November 22, 1999
â€This time we were just too late.â€ Johnâ€™s well-modulated voice showed traces of sorrow.
â€œAbedelkader Hachani was killed in the waiting room of a dental clinic in Bab-el-Oued. We knew he was a target, but just got the information too late to act. By the time I got there, he had already been shot.â€
The A.D. was quiet, and John continued. â€œThe government believes that the C.I.A. or the Algerian Islamist party had him killed.â€
â€œAnd what do you think, John?â€™
â€œPersonally, Iâ€™m of the opinion that it was the Algerian Secret Services. He was certainly an annoyance to the rulers.â€
â€œIn case youâ€™re right, youâ€™d better get out of there.â€
â€œAlready packed and set to go. Iâ€™m on the next plane to the U.K. and then home.â€
â€œTake care, John.â€
â€œNow, donâ€™t get sentimental. Not at this stage.â€
â€œJust get out of there, John.â€
â€¦Democratic Republic of the Congo
â€¦January 16, 2001
President Laurent-Desire Kablia had been accused by Che Guevara of not being â€œthe man of the hourâ€ as he had sometimes been alluded to in world media.. Guevara contended that Kablia was more interested in consuming alcohol and bedding women rather than helping the revolt that Guevara had tried to orchestrate in 1965. Still, Kablia had founded the Peopleâ€™s Revolutionary Party (PRP) and had become President in May 1997.
By 1998, Kabilaâ€™s former allies in Uganda and Rwanda had turned against him, but military assistance from newfound allies in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola had enabled Kabila to solidify his position as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
After peace talks in 1999, most foreign forces had withdrawn from his splintered country. Today, Kabila was to meet with a cousin, Colonel Eddy Kapend. It had been agreed that Kabila would appoint Kapend to a position of authority. Kabilaâ€™s son, Joseph, opposed this appointment. And so did the United States.
The explosive bullet that hit Kabila in the head as he was walking from his palace to his cousinâ€™s office removed the entire rear of his head, his brains exploding through the opening.
Joseph became president on January 28th.
â€¦October 17, 2001
â€œCNN News Flash. Rehavam Zeâ€™evi was shot today in the Jerusalem Hyatt hotel on Mount Scopus. Zeâ€™evi had declared that his political party, Moledet, would quit the government because of the withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces from Hebron. His resignation was to become effective at 11:00 today. A search is underway for his killer.â€
â€œSuspects include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, however the single rifle shot that struck Zeâ€™evi in his head is not representative of assassinations by the PFLP, who normally uses massed fire from multiple weapons in any assassination.â€
â€¦Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
â€¦December 23, 2001
â€œCNN news flash. Bola Iga, former Justice Minister and most recently the Attorney General of Nigeria, was gunned down in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State this morning. A prominent attorney who has been noted civil rights and democracy activist; Igaâ€™s death was denounced by his colleagues as â€œa dastardly act by craven cowards.â€
â€œIga was killed by a single explosive bullet to the head, evidently fired from some distance by a sharpshooter sniper. No suspects have been found as of this time.â€
â€¦January 14, 2002
â€œI am in possession of facts and evidence of my innocence concerning Sabra and Shatila. And I have proof showing exactly what actually happened at Sabra and Shatila; proof which will throw a completely new light on the Kahan Commission report.â€
Little did Elie Hobeika realize the effects that his words would have, not only on his own security, but that of other parties as well.
Elie Hobeika had previously been commander of the Lebanese Forces. On January 1986, Oliver North had led a coup from the American Embassy in Beirut that removed Elie Hobeika from Lebanese Forces command, mainly due to Hobeika signing the Tripartite Accord with Nabih Berri and Walid Jumblat. North had the full cooperation and acted in coordination with all forces in Lebanon, including the Maronite Patrich.
Hobeika sought sanctuary in Paris, returning to Lebanon in 1990 and supported the parliamentary faction against Syria in the war initiated by Michael Aoun..
At 9:30 a.m. January 24th, 2002, Hobeika and several bodyguards left in his Land Rover to go to his office. As Hobeikaâ€™s car slowed down beside a long, shiny new black Mercedes, a 22-pound TNT bomb was detonated, killing him, his bodyguards and several bystanders. In subsequent days, fingers were pointed at Israel as the perpetrator, while other fingers were pointed at the Palestinians, Syria and even the Lebanese Forces. No one pointed a finger at the slender, black-clad rider who sped away from the scene mounted on a all-black BMW motorcycle. In fact, most observers paid the rider no attention at all.
â€¦Gaza City, Palestine Territories
â€¦July 22, 2002
On July 22, 2002, the Israeli Defense Forces targeted a building in which Salah Mustafa Muhammad Shahade and several of his associates purportedly were hiding. Shahade was the leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.
Israel had accused Shahade of masterminding several attacks against both Israel soldiers and civilians in the Gaza strip and in Israel proper. He was further accused of being involved in the production of Qassam rockets, fired against Israeli civilian targets, and other homemade weapons, as well as in the smuggling of military equipment in the Gaza strip for terrorists to use against Israel.
Acting under information received from an Israelite spy embedded in Shahadeâ€™s organization, an F-16 plane piloted by an Israeli pilot dropped a 2,205-pound bomb that destroyed many houses in a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City. As a result, 14 people were killed, including Shahadeâ€™s wife and 9 children. In addition to the building, which was directly targeted, nine other adjacent buildings were completely destroyed and 12 others severely damaged. Surprisingly, with the extensive damage, no one else was killed.
Shahade had indeed been present in the house, but the falling bomb didnâ€™t kill him. He was already dead.
Neither the pilot nor the Israeli Defense Forces commander were aware that mere minutes before the bombing, Shahade had been the target of a sniperâ€™s rifle, and a single exploding bullet had struck Shahade directly on his large, hooked nose, exploding inside his head and destroying his life. The Israeli bomb only scattered the rest of Shahadeâ€™s body.
â€¦Cote dâ€™Ivoire, West Africa
â€¦September 19, 2002
â€œNews release: Paris Monde.â€
â€œCote dâ€™Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) has lost a great leader. Robert Guei, the former military ruler of the Cote dâ€™Ivoire was brutally slain today in the Cocody district. Guei helped bring peace to this country, and had long been respected as a great leader. Circumstances surrounding his death are a mystery, spectators saying that only a single person was observed near the Guei party. Also killed were the wife of Guei and several members of his family. Additionally, the Interior Minister, Emile Boga Doudou was also killed. While no accusations have been made, suspicions are directed at Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivorian Popular Front. Each of the slain was killed with a single shot to the head with an explosive bullet.â€
â€œSo far, the authorities have not been able to find a possible witness, the rider of a black motorcycle that was seen leaving the scene of the slayings.â€
â€¦Banjul, The Gambia
â€¦December 16, 2004
â€œNews Flash, AFP News Agency.â€
Today, Deyda Hydara, correspondent for AFP News Agency and Reporters Without Borders was ambushed and killed. The killer, described by onlookers, was a small, slender person clad completely in black. The assassin escaped on a black, BMW motorcycle that sped away at high speed. Masked and with a helmet, the witnesses were unable to describe the individual other than he was relatively short and slender. Witnesses say that the black-clad individual used a handgun to kill Hydara and to wound two of his colleagues. The ammunition used to kill Hydara was discovered to be the low-velocity, explosive-tipped ammunition most favored by professional assassins when working in close or in a crowd.â€
â€œAlthough no identification of the killer has been made, it is believed by this writer that the current government (Jammeh) in the Republic of Gambia is ultimately responsible for this inhumane act. This news agency demands a full investigation into this murder that was certainly conducted by this barbaric regime.â€
â€¦September 27, 2005
Roger Brett Kebble was a South African mining magnet with close ties to factions in the ruling political party, the African National Congress. Living a flamboyant life, Kebble had developed close business and political connections to ousted Deputy President Jacob Zuma and the ANC Youth League. A man of influence, he was widely respected. That is, until his death.
Shortly after leaving his residence, Kebble was shot dead near a bridge over the M1 in Melrose, Johannesburg at some time around 9:00 PM while driving to a dinner engagement. The coroner that held the autopsy surrendered the bullets that had killed Kebble to the authorities, bullets of a rare kind, a â€˜low velocityâ€™ type used by crack security officers, bodyguards and professional assassins. Although not known at the time, Keeble was under investigation to determine the whereabouts of some two billion dollars worth of Randgold Resources shares, which Randgold & Exploration could not easily account for and which had either been loaned out or sold.
Once the news of the investigation became public, and the disappearance of the valuable shares, authorities moved rapidly to seal off the information leaks and to keep the situation private.
Investigation into the assassination could only produce one elderly woman who had thought that she had seen a man dressed in a black uniform riding a black motorcycle move alongside the car that Kebble was driving, and then roar away as the car crashed into the bridge abutments.
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