“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 15

After returning from an in-town dinner, Jack and Kathy were watching late news when JWM Serialization.jpegnews of the attack on churches broke. Jack called Frank and asked Kathy to get on the extension. Frank answered his home phone on the third ring. Jack gave him a quick brief, with Kathy adding some details she knew he would want. Frank responded that he was sure the Professor was behind these attacks and that he was just starting. He told them he was heading into the office and asked them to call him in an hour.

By the time Jack and Kathy got Frank on the phone, he had been briefed by his own people and was ready to get down to work. First, he wanted to get the observation post overlooking the rug shop up and running 24/7. If Jack had trouble staffing the OP with vetted people, he would send three people from his office tomorrow. Frank emphasized that burning of the churches was the Professor’s work. Much more would be coming. The Professor wasn’t taking the risk of personally running operations in America for small stuff. Something much bigger was in the works. Right now their only lead was the rug shop and its owner. Jack said he would call tomorrow with his plan. In his usual style, Frank hung up before Jack could say goodbye. The conversation was over, why waste any time with goodbyes. Jack smiled at Kathy and said, “Are his telephone manners part of CIA protocol?”

“No. He’s always been that way. I’ve never been able to figure out where it comes from. It is definitely not part of CIA manners.”

Jack said, “Go meet this Lou person and get him to come here now and to bring anyone else that you and he agree would fit in. Offer him whatever he needs, including covering any business losses he might have by coming here. I also think that we can use Kelly. She can make up whatever course work she misses later. This is a good opportunity to get her started. Can you call her and ask her to come in the next few days? She can stay at our house for now.”

“Okay, that leaves you alone to man the OP.”

“No problem. I’ve spent hours as a sniper and a cop manning an OP. Just get back as soon as you can.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 14

It was late the next afternoon before the Charleston attackers all made their way JWM Serializationseparately to Columbia, SC. The Professor listened to their separate debriefings from behind a screen and sent them all to Myrtle Beach to await further commands.

The Professor had two groups waiting for him in Myrtle Beach, one group of young White Aryans and the other of more Black al Qaeda recruits. All Americans were recruited in the US and trained in Somalia. His plan was simple. The Aryans, dressed to look like the old KKK, would attack and burn a number of Black churches between Georgetown, SC, and Savannah, GA. The Black al Qaeda group would retaliate for the burning of the Black churches by attacking white churches and wealthy white residential neighborhoods. Each attack had to be quick and decisive. No one could be captured. The Black al Qaeda team, using motorcycles, would hold their attack until the White KKK group in pickup trucks finished their work and the news media focused on the attacks. The Professor picked one man in each group to be the enforcer. Anyone in danger of being captured would be killed. Now he had time to prepare his two suicide car bombers.

The Professor checked into a three-star motel near Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. Here he could use one of his American aliases. The constant coming and going of tourists provided him with a perfect background. There was no real security check. He was amazed that the possession of any credit card and, in some cases, a driver’s license was all that was needed as long as one had enough cash. In the Great Satan, profit ruled. It was simple. If you had credit, it trumped any need for cumbersome background checks, especially for prosperous Americans.

The Professor was an excellent language student and his American accent was flawless. He took steps to protect his American alias. No one associated with his great plan would ever meet him where he was staying. In two hours, just after dark, he would meet his two male drivers. The young girls of Muslim faith from good Palestinian families were the actual suicide bombers. The families would be well rewarded after the incidents. There would be no questions. The girls would be martyrs and Jihadist heroes. They would follow the instructions of his two drivers.

His second in command arranged for the logistics needed. All the girls had to do was take over the driving of their cars for the last half-mile. Their handlers would get the girls behind the wheel with their left wrist handcuffed to the steering wheel. The handlers controlled the timing of the detonation. Timed right, the explosion would cause damage and deaths within 100 feet. The car bomb attacks were scheduled to occur within a five-minute window in different parts of the city. After the Professor prayed with the martyrs, he sent them and their handlers to the rug shop in Charleston under escort of Joseph Green, the man the Professor had instructed Joel Hankins, the owner of the rug shop, to hire.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 13

Following the Professor’s detailed instructions, Omar, the Black Muslim leader of the bikers, led the four motorcycles across the bridge from Mount Pleasant into the outskirts JWM Serializationof Charleston’s historical district. Then, with a final check of readiness, he passed the word to take out their assigned targets.

Holding one bike team in reserve, Omar and his sidecar rider sped off to attack Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, the historic Jewish Synagogue on Hasell Street. The other two teams headed for the Roman Catholic Church next door to the synagogue and the Congregational Church on Market Street.

All the attacks were planned to take place in a three-minute window. The Professor liked to keep operations simple. All the teams were trained to use the same M.O. The saddlebags of the bikes were full of homemade Molotov cocktails, glass quart bottles filled with a mixture of gasoline and liquid soap with a cloth wick. Simple, but quiet and effective.

After getting the bikes as close to the targets as possible, each team member dismounted with three fire bombs each and ran to opposite sides of their targets. Two fire bombs through the basement windows and four through first floor windows. The fires would start slowly and then gather strength. Before the bikes were out of sight, fires were raging. The three motorcycles hit their targets within their three-minute window.

At a wooded site, little more than a mile from the Hasell Street bombings, they loaded the bikes into a waiting truck that headed south to Savannah. The men got into a van waiting nearby. No problems were encountered at any of the targets. As the van drove west on Highway 26 to Columbia, the sounds of sirens from racing fire trucks could be heard.

The van driver called the Professor and told him the work was completed, and they expected to be at their dispersal site on schedule. After receiving the report of success from his team leader, the Professor sent an email through three other destinations before it was sent from Atlanta to the network news centers in Charleston saying:

“THE BLACK MUSLIMS OF AL QAEDA HAVE RETALIATED FOR YOUR ATROCITIES AGAINST ISLAM. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. MORE DESTRUCTION WILL OCCUR. NO AMERICAN CITY IS SAFE AND NO AMERICAN IS SAFE. YOUR GOVERNMENT OF 21ST CENTURY TEMPLARS CANNOT PROTECT YOU FROM THE WRATH OF BLACK MUSLIMS IN AMERICA. THEY HAVE BEEN WELL-TRAINED AND WANT REVENGE. AS THE CRUSADERS DID IN JERUSALEM WITH MUSLIM BLOOD, CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH BLOOD WILL RUN LIKE RIVERS IN THE STREETS ALL THROUGH THE LAND OF SATAN.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 12

Before Jack could tell Frank he and Kathy wanted to come up for a meeting, Frank said he would be in Charleston tomorrow to see them. Jack got the flight number and arrivalJWM Serialization time and told Frank one of them would meet him.

The next day Kathy met Frank as he came through his gate at Charleston airport. Kathy smiled to herself as she picked Frank out of the passengers streaming out of the gate. No one seeing Frank would even imagine how important he was to their safety. He was the kind of dedicated CIA officer who did his job quietly and efficiently. Mild manner, not quite. He was very tough when needed and wasn’t big on second chances. She remembered once in the Counter Terrorism Center when a pompous middle level manager was stating that his unit had met all their objectives and had no failures to report. Frank stared at the officer and said, “That’s not quite true. You have just failed as a leader. Meeting all of your goals means to me that you have deliberately set the bar too low. Managers often do that. Leaders never do. When good people fail, it means to me that they are pushing the envelope. Taking justifiable risks. Not playing it safe to look good. I expect to have your request for a transfer on my desk within the hour.”

Kathy said, “Everyone at the table got a lasting lesson in leadership.”

An advertising sign partially screened her from Frank and she waited until he was walking past her before stepping out and taking his arm.

Frank said, “I see you haven’t lost any of your skills and you look great. All that action over the last year hasn’t aged you a bit.”

“No, but it made my hands sweat a few times and I still miss Anita.”

“Yes. So do I. While I’m here I want you to brief me on Anita’s sister and daughter.”

“You knew Kelly was Anita’s daughter!!”

“I suspected but didn’t know until now. Thank you.”

“Frank, damnit, are you always going to be a step ahead of me?”

“I hope so. Where are we going to meet?”

“Jack has set up our house as the meeting site. It’s isolated and quiet. We’ll be there in about 40 minutes, depending on traffic.”

Shadow came running up as Kathy pulled into the circular driveway. Frank said, “I finally get to meet the famous Shadow. I hope he likes me.”

“You don’t know the half of it. Shadow saved us twice last month when Jack took me to see his old house and to meet Captain Shorer of the Pittsburgh Police Bureau. That’s a long story that I’m sure Jack will cover.”

Jack met them at the front door, “Frank, welcome. I now have a better appreciation for your world than I did when we first met. Come into the dining room. I’ve set us up around a table. The Minhs have left us the fixings for lunch. Sweet tea and coffee are ready and almost anything else.”

“Sweet tea is good. Let’s get to work. Tomorrow I need to be back in Washington, and there is a lot to cover.”

As they seated themselves around the table with Shadow lying in his customary spot between Jack and Kathy, Frank said, “If you agree, I want to take the floor first.”

Jack nodded and Frank began, “Your first year was phenomenal. Your small unit was successful beyond any expectations on my part. Tracking down and killing those al Qaeda cells in America, with some help from the FBI, I expected you would accomplish, but when the trail led to India and Nepal, you were just as effective. I know Anita was killed and I grieved for her. She was a great warrior. You must put it behind you. Anita wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not finished but I want you to tell me about Anita’s family, especially her daughter, Kelly.”

“Jack, why don’t you tell the Pittsburgh story while I get lunch on the counter?”

While Kathy was showing her domestic side, she could hear Jack telling Frank about their Pittsburgh adventures. She noted he left out some parts regarding his own actions and his instincts in following Shadow’s lead. She would fill in the blanks when taking Frank back to the airport. Kathy tapped a spoon on a glass and said, “Thanks to the Minhs, lunch is not only served but it quite good judging from my grazing. So everyone, serve yourself, please.”

Frank noticed that both Jack and Kathy were never very far from the out-of-sight but quickly retrievable handguns. He thought, that is good. These people don’t take security for granted. I hope they will agree to my proposal. I need them.

Over a cold lunch of sorrel soup, potato salad and sandwiches of rare thin-sliced sirloin with Vidalia onions, sliced tomatoes and a mustard-touched horseradish dressing, Frank began his proposal.

“I want to bring you in a little closer. Without using any names or events that could identify you, I got general approval to enlist contract agents, as long as there were no identifiable costs to the CIA. No paper trail will exist. As usual this kind of relationship has one important rule – don’t get caught. As in the past, you will only report to me. Anything I ask you to do will be voluntary. You will take all the risks and bear all the costs. I will provide information and some non-specific CIA equipment when required. Neither your accounting nor CIA’s can show any links to this relationship. For starters I want you to add a few more people to your team. I have some suggestions, mostly people Kathy knows. Unfortunately, none of them will be as well qualified as Anita. Comments or questions?”

Jack said, “When we were in Pittsburgh, Captain Shorer asked us to check out a suspected serial killer who began his spree in Pittsburgh about 18 months ago with the brutal killing of two Pitt coeds. The suspect was trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is now running a rug shop in Charleston. Captain Shorer gave us badges and weapons permits. But we asked him not to inform the Charleston Police, so from a legal standpoint the badges are not of much use in Charleston. Kathy made an entry into the shop while I watched the subject. She found and copied disgusting pictures of dead naked young girls. All were killed by a counter-clockwise twist of the neck. None of the 11 kills left any recoverable forensics evidence. We had no subpoena, so the evidence will not be useful in a trial setting. A further complication is that we think the rug shop is now active as an al Qaeda support base or, as you guys say, a safe house. Kathy photographed a well-dressed foreigner leaving the shop and walking some unnecessary distance to his car in a questionable neighborhood. She thinks he may be a player.”

Reaching into his briefcase, Jack slid three black and white 8×10 photos across the table to Frank. Frank shuffled through the photos and then asked for a magnifying glass. Peering intently at the side view of the visitor, he said, “My God! This man is the ‘Professor’ AKA Mohammed Al Naziri. He was in the graduate program at Princeton the same time I was there.

“He is very high on our capture or kill list. His looks are deceiving. He is a highly intelligent planner and a cold-blooded killer. The Professor comes as close to anyone I’ve ever heard of who can kill innocent people without remorse. He is very dangerous and wouldn’t be here unless something big was in the planning stages. This is a very big deal. Let’s work out our approach, starting with the premise that the Professor is your number one priority. You can deal with Captain Shorer’s serial killer after we deal with the Professor. Agree?”

Jack looked at Kathy who had clenched her jaw, and Jack knew she was going to tell them her position.

“Frank, I recognize national prerogatives, but I want to show you some pictures. I’ll wait until you’ve finished your lunch.”

“Go ahead, Kathy. I’ve finished. So show me the take from your illegal search.”

Kathy handed Jack a flash drive and asked him to show Frank the pictures in their office while she cleaned up lunch.

After seeing the pictures, Frank said, “I see why Kathy is upset. This guy is really sick, and he surely will not stop on his own. Left alone, however, the Professor will kill dozens or more innocent people. He has to be our priority. He’s so disciplined that he will close up shop here and move elsewhere at the first indication there is a possible compromise of his security. In any event, he won’t completely trust this untested rug merchant and will be watching and testing him the entire time. He’ll have his own people watch the rug shop now that he has made contact. If we’re lucky, they may not have set up in time to see Kathy pick the lock.”

“How do we know they didn’t see her?”

“We won’t until we see the Professor again. If they saw her, he will be long gone, leaving the rug merchant to take the fall.”

“So I leave Captain Shorer out of the loop and let this sick bastard kill more daughters, sisters and wives.”

“Yes. If you try to trap him, scare him off or beat him to death in some parking lot where he’s waiting to catch his next girl, the Professor will run. He’s too important to jeopardize over a serial killer. As much as the rug shop owner disgusts me, we must leave him alone. It will take all we have to try to keep track of the comings and goings at the rug shop. Call Kathy to join us. We have some work to do.”

When Frank told Kathy about his decision making the Professor their top priority, she said, “Look, I understand that national priorities trump local serial killers, but I don’t have to like it. When you give us the go-ahead on our sick serial killer, he is going down either legally or otherwise.”

The rest of the afternoon was spent in a long planning session. Frank thought the observation post Jack set up was necessary, but they needed to move a real business into the space, a business allowing people to come go during the day and for the owner to work long, irregular hours. Kathy suggested a computer or a camera services and repair shop. She even had the perfect person to act as the owner/operator. She remembered Lou Washington, a former FBI surveillance specialist with very good technical skills, from working with him on a joint FBI/CIA operation in Washington, D.C., and he only lived twenty minutes from Charleston.

When Frank asked how well she knew him, she said, “It just so happens that I worked with Mr. Washington a few years back on a domestic surveillance problem with foreign implications. Lou is a retired FBI officer who was the expert in street surveillance operations. He now owns a camera service and repair shop in Mount Pleasant with his daughter. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind picking up some extra cash.

“He’s the best I’ve ever seen at all kinds of surveillance. He saved me once from an ugly situation. We were running a surveillance operation in a bad part of Washington. Three street thugs cornered me. They were just moving in when Lou arrived. He told them to move on, but they didn’t take his advice. He broke the lead guy’s knee, pushed him into the closest attacker who went down. Lou grabbed the third guy’s arm, pulled him close and hit him with an elbow strike to the side of the neck. He took my arm and we just walked away. He said later that the only difficult part of the fight was being careful not to permanently maim or kill one of them. He is not as skilled as Jack is, but he is a dependable fighter. If you agree, I’ll call him and see if we can go out to his shop.”

Kathy wondered what Jack would think of Lou. He was an impressive man, at least fifty-five and still moved like a predator. Lou and Jack were alike in many ways. Both carried themselves like warriors. No bravado or tough guy acts. People just stayed out of their way. Jack was a little taller and heavier than Lou with twenty years of Hapkido training. Still, something about them made her feel they were pretty equal.

Frank said, “Before I run to the airport, let me summarize my thoughts. First, my plans to expand your little unit have to be put on hold. The Professor is too important. Taking him down has to be our number one priority. Only add more people if you need them to monitor the rug shop. If he shows up again, call me immediately. Use the term ‘Princeton’ for this activity in your reporting to me. Don’t send any information regarding the Professor to the FBI. I’ll take care of any necessary notification of other Agencies. Lastly, no more entries to the shop or mobile surveillance of anyone coming and going from the shop without my okay. This man is one of the best professionals in the business, and I don’t want him even to get a sniff that we have picked up a thread to his operation. I can’t even go to any of our foreign intelligence liaison sources for help. I believe the Professor has his agents inside all of them, especially the Pakistanis. Any questions? Okay, I see we are all on the same page. This is a great lead and we’ve been lucky to get it. Good work. Now, Kathy, can you take me to the airport?”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 11

The Vietnamese couple, the Minhs, did more than run the house. Although beginning to show their age, they were still very fit. Both were veterans of the war in Vietnam with JWM Serializationthe Quang Tri Provincial Reconnaissance Unit. Jack briefed them on the bomb attempt on his Pittsburgh house. The Minhs listened carefully and asked Jack to provide them with two 12-gauge pump shotguns and night vision glasses.

With the Minhs on guard, Kathy and Jack felt free to live a near-normal life in Charleston. Kathy loved to churn laps in the heated pool, hoping she could shame Jack into a race. Jack was a strong swimmer with a lot of in-water experience, but Kathy still beat him in the sprints. It didn’t matter how hard he tried, Kathy always beat him. She told him he should stop fighting the water and move through it. Maybe someday he would figure it out.

Kathy hoisted herself out of the pool, one full yard ahead of Jack. In deference to the Minhs, she was wearing her bikini. Kathy was addicted to skinny dipping and was delighted with the large pool and total privacy, so she could indulge herself. By the time Jack had settled in the heated cabana, Betty Minh appeared with two cold Yuenglings, homemade chips and a salsa dip.

Kathy had spent the early afternoon in their surveillance post across Market Street from Joel’s rug shop. Jack asked her if she had learned anything from watching the rug shop.

Kathy said, “Your serial killer is not doing much business. Maybe four people visited the shop all afternoon. Nothing special about any of them, but one was well dressed. He stayed an hour and left walking. He looked and walked like a European, maybe from a Mediterranean area. I decided not to follow him, even though I thought it was unusual someone so well dressed was walking in an area that was not all that good. There were a number of more convenient parking spots closer to the rug shop. I did get some photos of him that I think are pretty good. We need to send them to Frank. Maybe some of his counter-terrorism analysts can identify this visitor.

“Captain Shorer told you this rug dealer was trained in the al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. If he is part of a support network, any visitor he gets may be a terrorist. The well-dressed visitor looked to be in his mid-fifties. It is possible he is a pro and was being careful, looking for surveillance. Following a subject walking from a meeting some blocks to a parked car gives a surveillance team real problems. I think we should set up a remote motion-activated camera system aimed at the door of his shop. There is not much traffic in and out, so it shouldn’t give us a logistical problem to check the tape once or twice a week.”

“I think we might need some help. Watching a suspected serial killer is a job we can do. Adding the task of watching a possible terrorist site compounds the problem, for we must be alert to all the visitors to the shop as well as Hankins himself. The two of us cannot do that.”

Kathy said, “Look, I know about you cops and rules of evidence, but we need to break some rules. We need to look inside that shop before things get more complicated.”

“I suppose that means you go in.”

“You got that right. I am the spook who can pick locks, search computers, look for entry traps and generally be a lot smarter about clandestine entries and searches than a handsome, well-trained cop who is, by the way, an excellent lover. So you watch your perp and I’ll do the dangerous, highly skilled work. Okay?”

“Put like that, what choice do I have?”

“Okay. I love it when you agree.”

“Never mind the gloating. We need to do some planning.”

Their past random surveillance coverage of the rug shop indicated Joel Hankins seldom left the shop for more than an hour. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, he went to a small Taekwondo Dojang at 9:00 and stayed there until 10:30.

At 8:30 on Thursday, Jack was parked down the street from the Dojang watching the front and only entrance. At 8:45, Joel appeared. Jack waited until he saw Hankins come out on the Dojang floor in his uniform before he called Kathy and told her she could go into the rug shop. Kathy had studied the lock when she visited the rug shop a week ago. She was confident the lock itself wouldn’t be any problem. She has also sure there was no technical intrusion alarm in the rug shop, but Hankins may have trapped the entries to his shop and living quarters to reveal any entry after his departure. It had been cloudy all day and the night was unusually dark and threatening rain. Kathy stepped up on the narrow wooden porch and, with a quick glance around the door’s edge for traps, dropped on one knee and began to pick the lock, being careful not to leave any tell-tale scratches on the lock. Twenty seconds later she was in.

Snapping on her small beam hooded flashlight, Kathy went up the back staircase to Hankins’ living quarters over the three-car garage. Her light showed a clean orderly bedroom, bath and small sitting area that opened into a Pullman kitchen. The freezer and storage cabinet were stocked to overflowing with frozen dinners and staples. Heavy drapes covered the windows. Kathy used her digital camera to shoot pictures of the entire area. She wanted everything to be back in place when she left.

There were two other small bedrooms furnished with two cots and sleeping bags in each one. The windows were covered with heavy black drapes. The only sign of indulgence on Hankins’ part was the high definition TV and the Oriental rugs on the floors of all the rooms. A desk was centered on the wall opposite the bathroom under a black-draped window. A notebook computer was on the desk. After checking for any traps, Kathy sat down at the computer and hit the power switch. She checked all the internal drives and then went to files on the ‘My Computer’ area of Windows 7. She found no hidden files or files protected by a password on the hard drive. Checking the desk drawers she found no DVDs or CDs. The access slots to the two DVD drives were dusty. She then checked the most convenient USB port and found signs of routine use in the small scratches around the port. So, she thought, he makes use of flash drives to store his data. I guess that makes sense for a traveling merchant who wants the ability to showcase his wares. Except that they are nowhere to be seen and surely he wouldn’t have taken them to his Taekwondo lesson. Multiple gigabyte flash drives would be easy to hide. If he uses them a lot, the hiding place should be close to the desk or in the desk.

For the next ten minutes, Kathy searched the desk drawers. She took each one out and examined their interior and exterior. Finished with searching the desk and not finding a flash drive, she leaned back and thought, surely his hiding place has to be nearby. She thought, wait a minute, girl, the guy uses a notebook and, if his flash drives are not for the rug business, he could move the notebook anywhere, so maybe the flash drives are hidden where he could relax. There was nothing under or in the mattress. She checked the drawers in the bedside stand and, taped to the back of the bottom drawer, she found three flash drives. She knew there wasn’t time to open any of the drives, so she put them in a USB port on her notebook one by one, and thirty seconds later all the data they contained were transferred to her hard drive.

She just finished when Jack called and told her Hankins had left the Taekwondo Dojang and appeared to be heading back to his shop. She had three minutes to clear the shop. With a quick look around, Kathy saw nothing out of place. She hurried down the stairs and after pausing to check the area outside the shop entrance, slipped outside. Kathy picked the lock closed. She was just entering the side door of the observation post when she saw Hankins’ dark blue van coming down the street. She thought, that is just a little too close.

She watched Hankins park his car in the garage. A few minutes later a sliver of light escaped from a window in the upstairs living area. As planned, she headed home to meet Jack.

Kathy thought, from idea to execution in two days. Not bad. No red tape or approval chains to climb. No endless briefings and hand holdings of nervous superiors. No struggle for funding. There was something to be said for freelancing. But, it was clear they needed some help. A two-person team was too limited, and pushing beyond your resources is a proven formula for failure.

Jack saw Kathy pull into the driveway and waited for her on the back patio. The late January weather certainly was better than it was in Pittsburgh. He could tell Kathy was in her cool state waiting to tell him what she had. Jack hugged her, handed her a cold beer and said, “Okay, what did you get while I was babysitting Mr. Hankins?”

“Well, we have a picture layout of the shop and living quarters and some computer files. We don’t have any coverage of the garage. Ran out of time. Let me walk you through the visual layout first.”

She covered the shop area very quickly but paused in the coverage of the living area. “First, the living quarters are laid out and furnished to house at least six people. The kitchen is stocked with enough food for several days. Most of the frozen dinners are suitable for a South Asian or Middle Eastern diet, including basmati rice and pita bread. Probably from that Whole Foods store in Mount Pleasant. It looks to me as if Mr. Hankins is expecting some visitors who plan on staying for a week or more. No sign that any women are staying there or have been there.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes, let’s see what I copied from the flash drives I found taped to the bottom drawer of his night stand. I didn’t have time to open any of the files, so I don’t know what’s on them. From the care he took in concealing them, they must contain something he wants to hide.”

Kathy opened the files she copied to her hard drive. The first several frames contained pictures of rugs with prices and descriptions. The next frame brought gasps. A naked young girl, not much beyond her middle teens, lay on her stomach. Her neck was wrenched around so her blank eyes were staring up. Her body was covered with welts. Each frame seemed worse than the one before. Kathy could feel her stomach churning and ran into the bathroom. Jack could hear her heaving and thought, no wonder, this is sick stuff, real sick.

Kathy came back looking a little green but said, “Okay. I want to see the rest of what this sick son-of-a-bitch has been doing.”

There were a total of ten young women tortured and murdered. All with their necks twisted, except for one whose face and body was so badly beaten, she might have died before he could break her neck.

Jack stopped his pacing around the room and said, “I would like to go over and kill this guy right now. I’ll leave the flash drives in his pocket. We can’t let this sick bastard kill again. All of these sexual predators need to be put away for life.”

Kathy said, “We have a big problem, the standard conflict or divide between the law and national security priorities. If we take this guy down, it will scare off al Qaeda contacts who may intend to use the rug shop as a staging or training area to kill several hundred Americans. If al Qaeda knew their support agent is a serial killer of young women, they would kill Hankins themselves. We’ll have to keep close track of our sick rug merchant and try to keep him from killing anyone else. We’ll get him as soon as we talk to Frank and he gives us the go-ahead.

“I see no pattern here except that the women are all young. Nothing else sets them apart. Not hair color, body type, racial or ethnic background. We know he doesn’t sexually assault them. There is, according to your old boss, Captain Shorer, no DNA from semen, blood or anything else. Why does he do this?”

Jack said, “Three years ago I was working with a small task force in Pittsburgh, trying to get a serial killer of young girls, even younger than this nut is killing. Again, little or no forensic evidence. This was before the routine use of DNA. We finally trapped this guy and killed him in a shootout. Before he died, an officer asked him why? The killer said, ‘The eyes! The eyes! I love seeing the light go out and the soul depart.’ Maybe that’s what we have here.”

Kathy said, “You know, I was wondering why the eyes were always open on his victims’ pictures. You may be right on. That also means he doesn’t keep his prey alive very long and he doesn’t play with them. He beats them, breaks the neck and shoots his pictures. This guy must be stronger than he looks and well-coordinated to break their necks and get his camera ready to shoot before they die. I hate to say this but we have a few more files to look at.”

The rest of the files had to do with the rug business and a copy of the King James Version of the Old Testament. The business files listed the towns and cities Hankins visited buying and selling rugs. Jack realized the need to correlate the dates and places of Hankins’ travels, with the homicides of the young women with the same M.O. Trouble is, if he gave this information to Captain Shorer of the Pittsburgh Police, he would be off and running to gather the evidence and arrest Hankins before Frank and the counter-terrorists were ready.

Would they have to let this monster walk the streets in order to stop an unknown terrorist plan? The cop in him said, hell no! But after battling with al Qaeda, he knew they were capable of bringing a major terrorist attack to the United States again. Kathy had the floor and was waiting for Jack to focus on the files, especially those associated with the Old Testament. Finally, he looked at Kathy and said, “Why in hell does this monster have the Old Testament on file in his computer?”

“Well, it’s not for religious purposes. There is nothing religious in his living quarters. No religious books or pictures. This bastard doesn’t belong to or go to any church. In the time we’ve had him under surveillance, he hasn’t gone near a mosque. Before the science of cryptology became technologically advanced after WWI with near random generated codes, intelligence agencies used books to code messages. The code could be made up of a substitution code based on a pre-designated line or lines on a page of the book. The page of the book used for a message would not be used again. So each message would have a different substitution code.”

“So, you’re saying we can decrypt any message Hankins gets from al Qaeda.”

“No, I’m not saying that. Without the page and line numbers, we can’t break his code. NSA probably could but not fast enough. I doubt that he gets any messages by radio or via the Internet. They are more likely to be hand-carried or mailed messages. So, what we have doesn’t help us.”

“Okay, so much for that, I have a couple of ideas how we can stop this nut from killing again. It will require some help to keep track of him 24/7. We’ll need to put a beacon on his van. It’s the only vehicle he has, and I don’t think he will rent a car to go kill someone. Anytime he moves the car, we’ll have a team standing by to follow him.

“It’s time to call Frank and see if we can go see him.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 10

Jack and Kathy were enjoying their third week in Charleston. To operate in a city, you have to know the city. Each day Jack and Kathy walked and drove through its JWM Serializationneighborhoods. Life was a little slower than in McLean. Or maybe, Jack thought, there was just less wheel spinning in this southern jewel. During their meandering, they located Joel Hankins’ Oriental rug store. Kathy stopped in a few days later to case the shop and its owner. She bought an interesting five-by-three-foot tribal rug from Pakistan and spent almost an hour looking through the stacks of rugs and chatting with Mr. Hankins. Later she told Jack that Mr. Hankins was one creepy guy who didn’t like women very much. She could easily believe that Captain Shorer’s suspicions about his being a serial killer could be right on. Kathy sketched what she had seen of the shop and the next day checked in at the courthouse to gather more data about the property. The courthouse tax records showed that the property included a two-story garage attached to the rug shop.

While she was doing her research, Jack scouted the neighborhood to find a place where they could observe the shop. He found a location that looked good and, using a cover company set up by his attorney, Jack contacted the realtor. Later that day, he rented a vacant two-story building with a good view of Joel Hankins’ shop. It was across the street and about fifty yards east of the rug shop.

Joel was restless. He thought how long can I fuck around all the damn day with these rugs? There is not a lot of money to be made. It’s been three months since an al Qaeda courier had stopped in his shop. The courier said that he should expect an important visitor soon and that big things would be expected of him. He had been on a high for the first month. After that he decided his superiors had changed their minds again. He really wanted to go out and capture another young girl but knew he had to keep his urges under control. Maybe next month he would go hunting again. Tonight he would put one of his flash drives into his notebook and look at some of his best images of young women being tortured and killed. The several gigabyte flash drives were easy to hide. The hard drive on his notebook contained nothing that could get him in trouble. He stored his al Qaeda notes the same way. At times he was tempted to share his art and research, but he knew that would be almost certain suicide.

In two more hours he would close the shop and go for his one-on-one training session in Taekwondo. His test for the blue belt was coming up, and he needed to work on some of his open hand forms. As Joel was mentally going through his most difficult form, the door opened and a well-dressed middle-aged man walked in. Joel said, “Hello. May I show you some rugs?”

The man looked around and said, “You have done well. I am the man from Herat. Perhaps you have been told about me.”

Joel was shocked. He had never had an important al Qaeda visitor before. He said, “Yes, I have heard you were coming. What can I do for you?”

“Do you have a place we can sit and drink some tea?”

Joel hung the closed sign on the shop door and ushered his visitor up to his living quarters above the garage. The small area was spartan but functional and clean. While Joel was making a pot of strong black tea, he asked his visitor what he should call him. The visitor laughed and said, “Whatever you want. My name is not important but my mission is, and I will need your help.”

Joel sat down at the small table and waited for the man from Herat to talk. After sipping his tea he said, “I see you learned how to brew a good cup of tea. Do you remember what else you were taught in Peshawar?”

“Yes, but I haven’t had much opportunity to use it.”

“That will change. The time has come. Once before conflict between Americans began in South Carolina, and I see no reason why another one should not start here almost in the shadow of Fort Sumter.”

Joel leaned forward in his chair, staring at his visitor and said, “I am sorry. I don’t understand.”

“Don’t worry. I will tell you what you need to know. First, what I am going to say, you must never tell anyone. Your life and mine depend on it. You may ask some, and I repeat some, questions but I probably will not answer most of them. I will stop in often enough to keep your instructions current. The first questions you might have are, who am I, and where am I from? Those questions I do not answer. You have already guessed that I am no stranger to America and its history. I am not a citizen of any country, only a loyal worker for the cause, as you are. Now, your first task is to ready this place to keep three or four people out of sight for a few days. Buy the supplies you need but do not call attention to yourself by your purchases. Make sure you have put prayer rugs here for my people. Do not be surprised when you are excluded from some of my meetings up here. The others will be leaving. You have to stay here and the less you know, the better off both you and our cause will be. You must be prepared to carry on your activity here for at least the next year. We have a lot to do together. We are sending you some help. Within the next two weeks a man, whose name is Joseph Green, will come to the shop. He will give you a message from me. Hire him. He has been well trained and told to take orders from you. Pay him enough to rent a room and buy his meals.”

With that the man from Herat finished his tea and left, just as the afternoon traffic was picking up. Joel was both excited and frightened by his visitor. The man’s cold gray eyes cut right through him. Whoever he was, he was used to people following his orders. Joel had no doubts about doing exactly what he was told to do.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 9

A year ago

A small group of ranking al Qaeda members were holding a critical meeting in Karachi, Pakistan. Since the destruction of the twin towers they hadn’t been able to bring Jihad to JWM SerializationAmerica. Their leader, an Egyptian who had been educated at Princeton University and lived almost twenty years in the United States before joining the movement for Jihad, was the undisputed theoretician in al Qaeda. He was using the name Mustafa al Faraq and traveling on a Jordanian passport. To his followers, he was known as the “Professor.” The group filed back into the meeting room after prayers. When everyone was seated, the Professor said, “I must tell you now about the enemy and how we are going to defeat it. With the defeat of America, the Christian world will dry up, leaving the followers of Allah to inherit the Earth. When you are looking for a weakness in an enemy, you must look at their strength, for that is where you will find its weakness.

“America’s strength is in the unprecedented freedom of its citizens and the diversity of cultures, races and religions that function freely and unfettered in the so-called New World. Most Americans pride themselves on the tolerance they show each other in the face of vast differences in attitudes and beliefs, emanating from the multi-ethnic and religious fabric of their society. Within that fabric there are many threads that have never been tightly woven. It is our task to find those threads and pull on them until the fabric of national unity comes apart. We shall fray that fabric so badly that it can never be woven back together again. The melting pot that mixed races and religions will boil over and spill its stored up hatred across the Great Satan’s land. Do not think that the American people are weak or afraid. They are a powerful warlike people that cannot be defeated on the field of military battle. Even though many of them blame their country for all wrongs and believe that talk, negotiations and compromises can solve all problems, we cannot defeat them. They must be led to defeat themselves. That is our challenge and it is why we are here today. We must take the battle to America.

“As long as the battleground is on our sacred soil, we are losing the war. On our land, the Americans and their allies use their soldiers with all their awesome firepower and reconnaissance capabilities against us. Within their own country, they send police, lawyers and courts to fight us. They don’t realize that the location of the battlefield doesn’t change the struggle. It is all part of the same war. One does not send lawyers, judges and politicians to war. In America, the politically correct way to fight the war we are going to bring to their shores is to use ‘law and order’ techniques. This approach will never work against our disciplined Jihadists who are willing to sacrifice their lives.

“Now, let me discuss their other weaknesses. There are hatreds between Blacks and Whites, between Blacks and Hispanics, between Muslims and Christians, among Protestants, Catholics and Mormons. Jews and non-Jews. Southerners and Northerners. Irish and Italians. Puerto Ricans and Blacks. Germans and English. Illegal aliens and citizens. The rich and the poor.

“We must act as the catalyst that fans these historical differences into an open flame that will consume our greatest enemy. We have seen this strategy work in Iraq by exacerbating the anger between Sunni and Shia. On the battlefield, we are no match for the Americans. But, by using the long repressed hatreds of the people against those of different races, religions and beliefs, we will triumph. That is the theory. Now, how do we make it happen?

“Many Americans are already angry with Muslims, so it should be easy to make them take out their anger on moderate Muslims by planting a bomb to explode in a city with a large Muslim population. The Soldiers of Allah, a title I just made up, will take credit for the bomb. A single action may be enough to drive some of the angrier anti-Muslims to take violent action. If not, we must have patience and try again. The Koran does not require haste. It only requires faith and sacrifice.

“Over the last five years, we have trained a number of Americans and sent them back to America to await our call to action. We now need them to attack America from within. Burn Black churches by a revived racist group, the Ku Klux Klan. Burn White churches in the name of Black revenge. Attack Jews, in the name of Muslim organizations. Attack Hispanic illegal aliens in the name of a mythical right wing American group. Blacks attacking Asians. Poor attacking the rich. All these attacks will be believable. Your job is to provide the money and the martyrs necessary to keep the attacks going. This is our most important project. I will be going to America soon to get this Jihad begun.”

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