7 - Clan Amir: The U MAMA War
Copyright 2007 by Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards
In early January, 2013, Lord Robert visits the US on a diplomatic trip to last a few weeks. He’s accompanied by some university students as interns because many of the students are studying political science or public relations, and some members of the group are businessmen there to help develop closer economic and political ties between the two countries. The trip is triggered by difficulties between Berant Ambassador Shumra and the US Secretary of State on a major bi-national trade agreement. They’ve reached an impasse in the talks and the US Senate is making ugly sounds about Berant’s attitude. This visit is to repair the political fences and to try to reach a mutual understanding on the more contentious issues. There’s no blame attached to the Ambassador because the problem areas are ones where his instructions provide him with no leeway to negotiate, and the US Secretary of State has an extremely hard line approach on the same issues, but the other way.
Gerry Mannheim is included in the party as an intern under his legal name, and that’s how he’ll be introduced to people on this trip. He’ll be making the actual policy decisions Lord Robert will be implementing and presenting. Only a select few know Gerry’s real role, and even the Ambassador has been excluded from that very small group. Gerry is also there to recruit some very special people for his personal attack on U MAMA. People with very special technical skills, people who don’t want to be identified and hired. It’s taken a few years, but his local investigators have finally identified and confirmed the several people he wishes to hire. Now he’s visiting the US to personally meet them and hire them; if he finds them acceptable to hire during his final personal interview with them.
At 7:30 a.m. on Monday January 7th a big private jet arrives at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. A group of forty-seven people disembark with some small hand carried luggage. While they head toward the customs area pallets with the rest of their luggage are unloaded and accompanied by five passengers to the main luggage inspection area. Instead of spreading out along the line of customs inspectors the main group of passengers form a large mob at one end. At both customs points the people refuse to allow officials to inspect their baggage. While showing their Berant diplomatic passports the leader of each group asks to speak with the senior customs officer on duty.
The senior customs officer responds to the larger group first because it’s also just outside her office. She introduces herself to the leader of the group. Lord Robert says, “Good morning. I’m Lord Robert of Berant, the personal representative of His Majesty, King Harold. I, and my entourage, are here for a series of meetings with your government. My entourage consists of my assistants, businessmen, and my security personnel. Yes, they’re well-armed and will stay armed. We all have diplomatic passports. I was expecting to be met by our Ambassador and a representative from your State Department. However, we had a good tailwind and we’re two hours ahead of schedule. You should’ve been warned of our arrival.” In fact they’re right on their schedule, but are well ahead of the published one for security reasons.
She replies, “Yes, I was warned. But, as you say, you’re well ahead of schedule. You’re so early none of the media have arrived yet. If you can all show me your passports I can clear you and your luggage.” After examining and registering all of their passports she phones the luggage area to authorise the unexamined release of their luggage as it’s all under diplomatic seal. She asks, “Excuse me, but why do you have so much luggage with you?”
Lord Robert smiles as he says, “The bulk is equipment for the security guards, mostly surveillance gear, but it does include extra body armour, weapons, and ammunition. Just in case it’s needed. We’ve learned, the hard way, to provide for our own security. Also, because our weapons all use specialised ammunition not available here we had to bring it with us.” The customs officer is a little bit shocked. Although all of the foreign governments bring in their own armed security people and weapons they’re usually not so straight forward about explaining the weapons in the diplomatic luggage. He says, “We haven’t finalised our schedule yet, but I’d really appreciate it if your people can finish their inspection of our aircraft as soon as possible. I’d like to shift it to La Guardia Airport soon, so it’ll be available for travel to Washington on Thursday.” She nods yes while she picks up a phone to speak to the officer in charge of aircraft inspections so it’ll be ready very quickly.
The group moves away from the customs station and waits nearby. Ten minutes later a group of people hurry up to them. Ambassador Shumra introduces Lord Robert to the US State Department person with him. The representative from State is quick to touch base with the customs people to ensure all went well.
When the party upstairs starts to walk away toward the entrance a van from the Embassy is being loaded with the pallets of luggage from the plane. Then the plane is being moved to another part of the airport to be inspected. Although why it’s being inspected is beyond everyone involved. If they’d been smuggling anything in it would’ve been in the diplomatic luggage that can’t be inspected, anyway; but the rules say check the plane, so they check the plane. Some think the checks may be to ensure the crew aren’t up to anything on their own behalf.
While they drive to the Embassy one of Shumra’s staff is contacting the media organisations to inform them of the early arrival and to arrange a media interview at the Embassy for 9:00 a.m. At the interview Lord Robert explains the purpose of the trip is to see if the problems with the trade agreement can be resolved or not, also to foster closer economic cooperation and to open up opportunities for Berant businesses to export more to the US. The media ask all of the expected questions, and other questions about Berant’s stance with the CIA and U MAMA.
Lord Robert replies, “We’ve spent over sixty years burying people, family and friends, who died during attacks by mercenaries hired by U MAMA. We’re out to ensure no more of our people die because of their greed. Since the CIA are very active in their use of agents to help U MAMA plan and deliver the attacks they’re also part of the problem. The people within the CIA who’ve been helping or are assisting U MAMA will pay the price for helping people murder our children.”
Reaching into his pocket he removes a large cut diamond. He holds it up while saying, “Over the years I’ve heard many people speculate on why U MAMA wants to take control of Berant. Both sides have kept that secret so as not to encourage others to enter the field and confuse the situation further. Now I can tell you why. Well over a thousand years ago the Amir Clan found a diamond mine in the mountains that are the middle of their lands. They didn’t use gems much, so very little was done to mine them. The gems were only very lightly mined by hand. During the Second World War people from the US who were connected to U MAMA found out about the mine and sought to take control of it. For many decades the diamonds were slowly and carefully mined by hand, then cut by clan members who were trained in the work. However, following the attacks on what we call the Day of Blood, since so much innocent blood was spilled, the Clan Father of the Amir, he’s the person who controls the Amir Clan common property and leads the clan, ordered production to be modernised and techniques developed to remove all of the diamonds without making it public. The last of the diamonds were removed late last year. They were mined using new and expensive methods that kept the operation hidden from all aerial observers. Those diamonds have been placed in storage around the world, and they’ll be slowly trickled onto the market. Most people call the gems AGM diamonds. The supply will increase, but it will be a slow increase because the Clan Father insists they still be cut by the trained clan members.”
Most of the media people gasp because AGM diamonds are the highest quality you can get! No one knew where they came from, and supplies are always small. Lord Robert continues, “AGM stands for Amir Gem Mine. The diamonds are now stored in hundreds of safe facilities around the world and are currently valued at four hundred trillion dollars. Is it any wonder they wanted control of that wealth. Now the secret is out and public, so are the diamonds, there’s no point in them launching any more attacks. But we still need to make them pay, and pay personally, for the harm they’ve done. We will make them pay. Part of the old mine is currently being rebuilt as an interesting museum and luxury hotel. When it opens, later this year, you can inspect, and sleep where the diamonds once resided.” The media are surprised by this revelation, so they ask a lot of questions. The information is provided, and hand-outs with full details are also provided. This revelation of the diamonds is one of the major reasons of this trip. It serves a number of purposes because it removes the value of further attacks by U MAMA while informing the government and businesses the Berant economy isn’t as poor as they thought it was. Thus Berant can withstand economic pressure. It also puts Berant back before the public as a very highly acceptable tourist destination.
After the press meeting finishes Lord Robert, Ambassador Shumra, and their various assistants sit down to discuss the many political issues to be dealt with in meetings with the US Government officials. The main meetings are in Washington the week after next, with a few preliminary ones over the week before then. This week is to talk to US business people about improving trade relations. Gerry will also be doing some private recruiting.
The discussions start at 10:30 a.m. and finish at 3:00 p.m. They have lunch brought in and eat at the discussion table. The Ambassador is very curious about the close attention given by one of the interns, and the number of notes he hands Lord Robert. However, he says nothing because he knows many of the assistants are the real advisers to the King while Lord Robert is just their spokesperson. Many of the matters that concerned the Ambassador are resolved, but none of the ones causing the trouble with the Secretary of State are resolved. After the meeting everyone goes to their rooms for a rest before dinner.
Unlike most embassies the Berant Embassy is located in New York because the main point of its existence is to encourage commercial activities, both to and from Berant. However, the Ambassador does also spend a lot of time at the Berant Consulate in Washington, DC.
All Tuesday is spent hosting an exhibition of Berant’s exports in the Commercial Hall on the Embassy grounds. About seven hundred US and Canadian businessmen are there, by invitation, to review the wares on display before it’s opened for general public access. Everything on display is of a civilian commercial nature that’s not previously been promoted outside of Berant. For the first time Nolar is being promoted outside of Berant with the displays showing evidence of its flexibility, strength, and versatility of use. Photos and films of the Birdman light, small, and medium planes are on hand with specification sheets. Some aircraft are at La Guardia Airport and appointments are made for interested people to examine them in the coming weeks where the representatives from Birdman will deal with the people at those meetings. The same is true of the boats from Dream Boats. Printed displays are on hand where people can see the information then make appointments to view actual craft in Long Island Sound over the coming weeks. Fishing boats, small and medium pleasure craft, and luxury pleasure craft are on display at the marina. The fact they sailed halfway around the world to be there shows they’re true ocean going vessels. Some military use craft are already under trial at a naval establishment in Maryland.
The whole day is spent by Lord Robert and various advisers visiting numerous businesses with offices in New York, these are previously arranged meetings. All of the meetings are cordial and about numerous opportunities for the companies to profit by being the US importers of Berant products, or exporting to Berant, or expanding into Berant. In all of the meetings the businessmen are wary of making firm commitments because they’re very concerned about the outcomes of the current trade talks. Some of the aspects the Secretary of State is insisting on will nullify a lot of the deals being discussed today. Even those with existing arrangements are concerned about the trade discussions. Much of the discussion time is spent reassuring them the things Madam Secretary is insisting on won’t be approved by King Harold. Those with existing trading arrangements will have those arrangements protected. They’re all relieved at having this personally confirmed by the King’s Special Representative, but they’re still wary of a solid commitment until everything is settled and signed in a treaty or other official documentation recognised by both governments.
With the bulk of the commercial activities out of the way Gerry takes time to visit a young man living in an apartment in New Jersey. One of the Embassy’s local security staff drives him to the address in an Embassy van. A squad of his security staff go with them.
Arriving at the address at 9:30 a.m. Gerry gets out of the van and he walks to the entrance with a briefcase in his hand. Pushing the button for the apartment he wants he asks to speak with Albert Jones. Mr Jones hits the remote for the door. Gerry walks up the stairs and he knocks on the target’s apartment door. It’s opened. Holding out his hand Gerry says, “Good morning, Mister Jones, I’d like to offer you a job.” He’s invited in. When they sit down Gerry opens his briefcase to get an employment contract to hand to the man. Mr Jones reads it with care.
Looking up Albert asks, “These are generous terms, but why me?”
A smiling Gerry pulls a folder out of his briefcase and hands it over while saying, “Because I need the services of the best damn computer hackers in the world, Mister Jones. Or should I call you, Machete.”
Jones looks up as he’s very worried because Machete is the on-line name he uses in the hacker world and no one knows he’s Machete, yet Gerry does. Jones is worried about this because the FBI, and many other law enforcement people, are very actively seeking Machete and they’d love to know where to find him. Albert opens the second folder to find a very detailed account of how Gerry’s people have been able to trace him. He gulps, because the contents of this folder can put him in a federal prison for many years.
A grinning Gerry takes the folder back while saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll let the FBI do their own research. I want you to work for me in my country to hack into a very select list of businesses. You have a week to decide if you want the job or not.” Standing up Gerry says his goodbyes, and he leaves Mr Albert Jones contemplating the possibility of a new job in another country for very good pay. Gerry and his team leave New Jersey to head for the Bronx. They stop for lunch just before they get there.
Arriving at the designated address Gerry gets out and he walks up the stairs to knock on apartment 2C. The door is opened by a woman in her early forties. She walks with difficulty because she’s missing her left leg below the knee. Smiling at her Gerry says, “Excuse me, Missus Waters, I’d like to talk to you and your daughter, Brenda, about job offers in the computer industry.” Giving him a suspicious look she opens the door and invites him in while she calls her daughter into the room. Her twenty-two year old daughter enters the room. After opening his briefcase Gerry removes two employment contracts and hands them to the women. He also hands them a folder to look at while saying, “Good afternoon, Mister Slash. I’m hiring some top notch computer people and I’d like both of you on the team.” They both visibly jump at being named by their joint hacker name. They examine the folder and hand it back. He continues, “You have a week to consider my job offers. You’ll need to move to my country to work. Don’t worry, because I’ve no intention of ever telling anyone how I managed to trace you, regardless of your answers. Have a good day.” He lets himself out while the two worried women look at each other.
Leaving the Bronx they head for La Guardia Airport where they meet Lord Robert and the rest of the party. They board their plane for the trip to Washington’s Dulles Airport in Virginia. The next round of meetings are in Washington, DC. The plane trip is short, but quicker than by car. The US has a significant ground traffic problem.
Arriving in Virginia they disembark and climb aboard some buses from the Consulate for the drive to the Consulate. They spend the rest of the day settling in.
At 9:30 a.m. Lord Robert, Gerry, and some bodyguards are at the Head Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington. They’re at the office of the Director. Robert and Gerry enter while their guards wait outside. This meeting had been arranged weeks ago through the US Embassy in Berant and by the Royal Intelligence Service liaison officer to the FBI. However, a part of today’s purpose recently got changed due to external factors and some new intelligence information.
Meeting them at the door the Director shakes their hands while asking, “Good morning, gentlemen, how may I help you?” Both Robert and Gerry shake his hand before moving to the indicated seats around a low table in the corner of his office. Gerry smiles when he notices the Director has two cups of hot chocolate for his guests with a hot cup of coffee for himself. He’s done his background research well.
Gerry says, “All right, Bob, I think he knows I’ll be handling this one.” Both Robert and the Director smile. Yes, he’s done his research very well. He’s made the link between an intern G. Mannheim and a RIS analyst of the same name. “I’m here to poach one of your people. However, first, I can do something for you.” Opening up his briefcase he withdraws some RIS folders and a clipboard. He opens the clipboard while saying, “Can you please have your secretary send for Mister Thomas Jeffries?” The Director nods yes, stands, and he opens the door to stick his head out to speak to his secretary.
Returning to his seat he says, “Well, Mister Mannheim, will you explain everything at the start, or go through your usual playing it out process?”
A grinning Gerry replies, “I’d rather not say anything until after I’ve spoken to Mister Jeffries.” They sit and sip their drinks for a few minutes while discussing the problems of law enforcement. A knock on the door. The secretary opens it to show in a man in his early thirties. He looks like he’s had a bad night. Standing, Gerry asks, “What did you decide?”
A bit surprised by the question Jeffries gives a weak smile and reaches into his coat to withdraw two pieces of paper and a blank mini CD disc. He hands them to Gerry who reads the papers. He invites Mr Jeffries to wait by the door, but behind it. Turning to the Director he says, “Please send for Mister Chris Simpson and also ask for two people from your Internal Affairs unit to join us a few minutes after Simpson arrives.”
Giving Gerry an odd look the Director speaks to his secretary again. Removing a pair of handcuffs and a card from his briefcase Gerry hands them to Jeffries while saying, “I think you’d like to do this bit.” The rest sit and wait in silence for a few minutes. A knock on the door, and it opens. A man enters. When the secretary closes the door behind the man Jeffries steps up to grasp the man’s right wrist while he places the handcuffs on it and pulls the arm behind his back. He says, “Chris Simpson, you’re under arrest for conspiracy to kidnap a child and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.” After he adds the left hand to the cuffs he reads the man his rights. A moment later another knock and two FBI Internal Affairs officers are shown in.
A smiling Gerry says, “Will you two gentlemen please take Simpson into the attached office and keep him quiet until we ask for his return.” They look at the Director, get a nod, and move off with Simpson while Gerry hands Jeffries another pair of handcuffs he says, “One more. Director, we now need Mister Barry Winton.” The Director again passes instructions to his secretary. A few minutes later Barry Winton is shown into the room and is arrested by Mr Jeffries. The other agents are asked back in with Simpson.
Picking up three RIS folders Gerry hands them to the Director while saying, “This is the evidence on how these two men have been bribed and are acting in a corrupt manner.” Picking up a fourth folder he hands it to Jeffries while saying, “What do you wish to do with this?”
Jeffries opens it to examine it, then he hands it to the Director. He examines it and his eyebrows lift. He hands them all to the two agents from Internal Affairs. When the two corrupt agents are about to be led from the room Simpson says, “If you don’t let us go and allow us to report in she’s dead. All you’ll get at noon is a corpse. And they’ll get you later, too.”
Jeffries had guessed his daughter’s life was already forfeited, but he had hoped they might be able to save her. Now Simpson is telling him they have to report before the scheduled noon meeting. Gerry pats Jeffries on the back while he glares at Simpson as he says, “You’re wrong there, Simpson, very wrong. Unlike you, I’m not a child killer and I’d never risk a child’s life. I’ve some people out bringing her safely in as we speak.” Simpson glares at him.
They’re interrupted by another knock on the door. The secretary opens it to allow a large man in combat fatigues into the room. He’s almost knocked over by a young girl pushing by him while yelling, “Daddy,” when she runs to Jeffries, her father.
Gerry smiles at the new entrants as he asks, “Any trouble, Sergeant?”
The man smiles as he replies, “Nothing we couldn’t handle, Sir. I’ve got another three prisoners downstairs in our van, if you can arrange for someone to take them off our hands. I figure this is the best place since the girl was kidnapped in Maryland and held captive in Virginia, so it’s a federal crime and they belong to the FBI.”
A smiling Director picks up his phone and he orders more people to his office. Gerry hands him the papers he’d been given by Jeffries. Examining them the Director says, “I’m sorry, Jeffries. Although you broke no laws you did breach procedures and failed to report this situation. If you weren’t resigning I’d have to ask for it. I accept it as of noon today. Please assist the investigators with getting your daughter’s statement and then clean out your desk.” Jeffries grimaces as he nods. Leaving the FBI under a cloud will make other employment in the law enforcement industry difficult, but it’s all he knows and likes doing.
Pulling another packet of papers from his briefcase Gerry hands them to Jeffries while saying, “When you’ve done all that you may wish to sit down and read the contents of this. I’m always on the lookout for good analysts to work at RIS.” Jeffries looks up at Gerry with a new hope in his eyes. He looks at the Director.
The Director says, “Yes, that’d be a very good idea. A whole new start for you. Take it if it looks good.”
Jeffries leaves, smiling while he holds his daughter’s hand. Since his wife died she’s all the family he has, because he and his wife were both orphans.
Turning to Gerry the Director says, “Thank you for saving the girl’s life. And for cleaning up my dirty linen.”
Gerry smiles at him while saying, “No need to thank us because that’s part of what being in law enforcement is about: saving the innocents. The smile on her face makes all of the effort worthwhile. Now comes the part you won’t like. I’m going to try very hard to poach one of your top computer technicians, and I think I’ll succeed.”
The Director says, “Well, I don’t mind as long as it’s not Wendy the Web Witch.”
Gerry responds, “Wendy Paul is exactly whom I’m after.”