"Lin Sparrow is a witch."
-That's what people say.
In her dreams, Lin has a seer's ability to foretell the future from the ashes of the past. Lin does it with her mind-the Nazis did it with a machine. Lin's prophetic visions bind her once again with Special Forces Captain James Ross. Al-Qaeda terrorist cells have been receiving funding from the mysterious professor who pays them with gold-Nazi gold. Ross has been dispatched to Switzerland to find the source of the blood money, and bring whoever is responsible to justice. In country, Ross teams up with Lin, and forms an unlikely alliance once again with the enigmatic taxicab driver known as Emanuel. Together, they follow a trail of lies, deceit, and murder that rises from the ruins of the Third Reich and reaches to the highest echelons of governmental power. But the professor is pulling the strings, and nothing is what it seems in this treacherous world of international terrorism and betrayal.
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By Bernard Cenney
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Bernard Cenney
All rights reserved.
WATER BREAKS ROCK
Helmand Province is one of the thirty-four provinces found in Afghanistan. Located in southern Afghanistan, Helmand is one of the largest provinces, with over a thousand villages and well over a million people. Helmand is also the major opium producing region in Afghanistan, responsible for seventy-five per cent of the world's production.
Lashkar Gah is the capital of Helmand. With a population of just over two hundred thousand, Lashkar Gah is serviced by the Bost Airport.
Originally built in 1957 with United States funding, Bost Airport now has the third longest runway in Afghanistan, and several newly renovated terminal buildings.
Located behind the control tower and just opposite the restaurant is a terminal building known only by its number: #23. Building #23 is an innocent looking cinder block structure, two stories high, and sporting a roof festooned with antennas. Armed personnel stand guard at its entrance, and the building is surrounded on three sides by revetments.
Revetments—in military lingo—are blast protective walls.
Building #23 is a busy place, with people going in and coming out at all hours.
People speak in hushed tones about Building #23.
Some say it is a gathering place for spies.
Others say it is a command center.
Some even say it is a prison.
Still others say people go in ... and never come out.
Currently the building located behind the control tower and just opposite the restaurant, known only by the number "23" stenciled in black paint above its front door, is an active Central Intelligence Agency safe house.
Operationally, Building #23 houses an interrogation chamber for prisoners.
The standard of international law for the acceptable humanitarian treatment of prisoners of war was established long ago by the Geneva Conventions. In diplomacy, the term convention means international agreement. The 1949 Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, does not apply to terrorists however. The Geneva Convention only applies to international conflicts between nation-states or countries that have signed on accepting the agreements.
Al-Qaeda is not a nation-state or country.
Since Afghanistan had signed the Geneva treaties, the Taliban fighters originally had somewhat of a claim to the protection of the Conventions. To maintain a humanitarian prisoner of war or POW status, signatories must follow the Geneva protocols. These protocols consist of guidelines for combatants such as: wearing a recognizable military uniform, obeying the laws and customs of warfare, and not deliberately targeting civilians.
The Taliban lost its protected status when it refused to follow the Geneva protocols.
Therefore, al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees, or prisoners, are not governed under the Geneva Convention rules.
This does not mean that al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners are not treated humanely. They are. But it does mean, however, that they are allowed to be psychologically finessed into giving up information. Sometimes that finessing happens from a rag and a bucket of water.
Today, Jennie Nelson was conducting the questioning of a detainee.
Jennie Nelson was an athletic looking twenty-nine year old woman. She had dark brown hair, cut short and parted in the middle. Her eyebrows were thin, and elegantly accented her sky blue eyes. She had European features with a small straight nose, high cheek bones, full lips, and a slightly pointed chin.
Jennie rarely wore makeup, except for the clear wet-looking lip gloss she had on today. She was wearing round, brilliant-cut, glittering, quarter carat cubic zirconia gemstones in her ear lobes. She always kept her unpainted fingernails cut short, and her palms usually had calluses from overindulgence in weightlifting. Her left wrist was adorned with a stainless steel Rolex Yacht-Master chronometer. She wore no rings on her fingers.
Jennie was well known and loved for always wearing skirts, with today being no exception.
She was wearing a white cotton blouse and a knee-length khaki skirt that was enticingly stretched taut across her muscular buttocks. A three inch wide black belt with a large silver buckle held the ensemble together. Jennie's legs were long, tan, and sexy, with muscled calves that teased you into wanting to run your hands over them. Her feet were nestled into shiny black pumps with a three inch heel.
Jennie was beautiful, and knew she was beautiful. She considered herself a professional intelligence officer, and avoided flirting at all costs. She knew it didn't hurt to be good looking though.
Originally from Minot North Dakota, Jennie attended Georgetown University and graduated with a bachelor degree in Middle Eastern Studies, with a minor in Farsi. Upon graduation, she was eagerly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and was assigned as a basic Intelligence Collection Analyst.
After proving herself linguistically, promotions came rather quickly. She applied and was selected to attend the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity at Camp Peary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ever the achiever, Jennie graduated in the top five percent of her class from the Basic Operations Course. That was followed by SERE, or Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, training at Fort Bragg. Before she knew it, Jennie was offered a Case Officer position in Afghanistan.
This morning at the Bost Airport in Building #23, Jennie was observing two of her burly assistants hold down a shackled thirty-five year old prisoner by the name of Abu Bari al-Rahman. A third man, whom Jennie only knew as Frank the contractor, was holding what looked like a centuries-old red colored rag over al-Rahman's face, and systematically pouring pitchers of water through the cloth and into his nose and mouth.
This was what the media referred to as waterboarding.
Abu Bari al-Rahman was a member of al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda, in the Arabic language, literally means the Base. It was the name given to training camps of the Mujahedeen. The Mujahedeen were Muslim guerrillas in the fight against the invading Soviet Army in the 1980's.
Back then, these Afghan freedom fighters were supported by the United States government. They were conducting Jihad, or a Holy War, against the Soviet invaders.
Today, the remnants of the Mujahedeen conduct Jihad against the United States, which they also see as invaders. They believe the Christian West is trying to destroy the Islamic East.
Abu Bari al-Rahman was a member of the money committee of al-Qaeda, which originally operated out of Abbottabad Pakistan. He operated through the Hawala banking system, which was basically similar to money brokers. Al-Rahman's job was to receive funds and launder them to avoid any trace of where they originated from.
The questioning was going very well today.
"Okay Abu, tell me once more, where did the money come from for the explosives?" said Frank.
Gasping for breath, al-Rahman whispered, "From the professor."
"Nice. Okay Abu, and who is the professor?"
Al-Rahman hung his head down.
Frank looked exasperated.
"Do you want another swimming lesson, Abby?"
Al-Rahman raised his head feebly and shook it slowly back and forth.
"I'll ask you one more time. Who is the professor?" patiently asked Frank.
Al-Rahman slowly lowered his head.
"Okay pal, here we go again," said Frank.
Frank nodded affirmatively to his two assistant interrogators.
The men positioned themselves on either side of the detainee, and each pressed a knee down hard on the prisoners' shoulders. One man aggressively pushed down and held al-Rahman's head steady on the bench.
Frank picked up the pitcher of cold water and brought it into al-Rahman's field of vision.
Al-Rahman trembled and began pleading with Frank.
"Wait, wait please!" implored al-Rahman in piteous supplication.
Frank held up the palm of his hand, signaling for his assistants to ease up.
"What do you have for me, Abby?" asked Frank.
Gasping for breath, al-Rahman said, "The professor is one of you."
Jennie's interest was piqued at al-Rahman's response, so she walked over and stood directly next to Frank.
Frank was used to prisoners saying anything until they broke. And everyman broke, sooner or later. He had learned over the years to be a patient man.
"What do you mean ... one of us?" asked Frank.
Al-Rahman whispered, "He's USA government."
"What?" Frank asked.
Al-Rahman said, "He's educated."
Frank explored further.
"How is he educated?"
Al-Rahman said, "He's a teacher."
Frank felt like he was talking to a stalling child.
"Okay. What kind of teacher? Is he an actual college professor?"
Al-Rahman realized his options were running out. He knew this American, known as Frank, would continue with the simulated drowning all week ... day after day.
Al-Rahman said, "Yes. He teaches at a university in Switzerland."
Frank asked, "What else?"
Al-Rahman said, "He is one of you, but he is also ... a ghost."
"What do you mean ... a ghost?" asked Frank mimicking al-Rahman's tone.
Al-Rahman whispered, "He is ... of the past."
Frank became intrigued. He had his assistants sit al-Rahman up on the bench.
Now we're getting somewhere.
"What do you mean ... of the past?" asked Frank.
Al-Rahman studied Frank's face for a moment.
"He is of the past, the past wars. The professor is of the crooked-cross," said al-Rahman.
Frank looked at al-Rahman with a puzzled expression.
Al-Rahman said, "You know ... the Germans, Hitler, and World War Two."
Frank looked at both of his assistants who shook their heads negatively.
"How can that be?" demanded Frank.
Al-Rahman said, "The professor provides us funding. We use his monies for arms and supplies. The money is untraceable."
Frank asked, "How is it untraceable?"
Al-Rahman said, "Because it is gold."
Now Jennie spoke up for the first time.
"The professor pays you in gold?!" exclaimed Jennie.
Al-Rahman nodded his head up and down.
"Yes. Only a few paymasters from the money committee have actually seen the gold. I am one who has seen."
"And?" interjected Jennie.
"I have seen the gold. It is not coin, but bars of gold. They are stamped with the German symbol."
Jennie asked, "You mean ... a cross ... a German cross?"
Al-Rahman nodded his head up and down.
"Yes, the German cross. But an eagle sits atop this cross. The cross is crooked on the ends."
Jennie looked at Frank, and then back to al-Rahman.
She walked over to Frank's small wooden desk and picked up a paper and pencil.
Jennie walked back and handed the paper and pencil to the prisoner.
"Draw it for me," said Jennie.
Al-Rahman took the pencil and very carefully sketched a symbol on the paper.
"There," said al-Rahman. "Like that."
Jennie and Frank peered over and looked at the piece of paper.
Al-Rahman had very neatly drawn a symbol of Germany.
There was no mistake.
It was right there on the paper, clear as day.
Only the emblem was of an older Germany.
It was a badge of a past Germany.
It was a stamp of an evil Germany.
The symbol was the sinister Nazi Swastika.
It was just after midnight.
A time referred to as the witches' hour.
Lin Sparrow tossed and turned in her bed.
Sweat was beading on her forehead.
A low guttural moaning noise emanated from her throat and pushed through her lips.
Lin was asleep and dreaming.
It was the identical dream, night after night....
... night after night.
The dream always started the same way.
It was long ago, in the distant past.
A past that was violent and shrouded in the misery of war.
Winter was yawning, and the air was frigid and crisp.
Snow covered the ground, and icicles hung from evergreen tree branches like glittering tinsel.
It was twilight—that time when the sun has just set, and the earth is neither completely lit nor completely dark.
Christmas Eve had arrived.
Armed German soldiers, from a war long lost, were marching a winding column of prisoners on a road to a new camp.
The column was enshrouded with the frozen puffs of breath searing out of the throats of the prisoners.
The road was blackened by a mixture of churned up sludge from constant campaigns, and the soot of a thousand diesel engines.
They were in southern Germany, and close to the Swiss border.
The Swiss Alps could be seen through the hazy curtain of winter.
The road turned by a lake—a lake frozen from sub-zero temperatures.
A German officer stopped marching and pointed towards the lake. He barked out a hideously sinister order to one of his soldiers.
The SS-Sturmmann soldier looked at the officer incredulously, and then obeyed. He turned towards the column of human flesh and grabbed a ten year old Jewish girl by the arm. He began dragging the little girl towards the lake.
The young Jewish girl went limp and started to sob uncontrollably as the German soldier dragged her about fifty feet out onto the frozen surface of the lake.
The soldier released his grip on the arm of the girl, and then violently pushed her forward. He cautiously crept back across the surface of the lake to the road, making sure his carefully placed footsteps did not crack the ice asunder.
The German officer sauntered across to the point at which the ground buttressed the frozen lake.
The German was smiling now as he unsnapped the flap of his belt holster and slowly drew out his model P-08 nine millimeter Mauser pistol.
The officer held the Mauser with his right hand, and extended his arm forward in the classic pistol dueling mode.
An American prisoner of war, Army Captain James Ross, brushed with his left hand at the shock of brown hair that always fell across his forehead. It stayed put for a second, then just fell back down again. He watched in horror as the Schutzstaffel officer methodically took aim at the ice under the feet of the little girl.
The first shot pierced the ice, but did little damage.
Both hands of the startled Jewish girl went up to her mouth, and she began uncontrollably trembling in abject fear.
The second bullet came closer to the feet of the little girl, and made her cry out.
"Help me God!"
The Schutzstaffel German officer laughed out loud.
"This Jew bitch is crying to her God!" he yelled to the column of prisoners.
"Ah ... ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Now, the German officer grasped the Mauser in both hands and steadied his aim.
His third shot pierced the ice so close to the startled little girl that she fell over and her body impact cracked the icy surface.
Slowly, very slowly, the face of the glittering lake underneath the young girl started to shatter and collapse.
With a "splash" the girl crashed through the ice and frenziedly reached up, groping for a handhold.
The American prisoner had had enough.
Captain Ross broke ranks and walked away from the column of prisoners and towards the little Jewish girl in the frozen lake waters.
The German officer became startled as the American officer brushed past him.
"Achtung!" yelled the Nazi officer.
The American Captain kept walking forward towards the girl.
The Nazi officer became angry.
"Anhalten!" screamed the German.
The American officer said viciously, "Go to hell."
Now the German officer leveled his Mauser pistol at the back of the American soldier.
"Stop now, Amerikaner," yelled the German while aiming his pistol.
The American Captain was now on the surface of the lake and about twenty feet from the thrashing little girl.
A nine millimeter bullet slapped into his right shoulder.
The American Captain let out a grunt of pain, but kept walking forward to help the struggling girl.
The Nazi officer became enraged. He steadied his aim and shot again.
This fifth bullet tore into the prisoner's right thigh.
Collapsing to the icy surface, the American Captain now began crawling towards the young Jewish girl.
Finally, the American soldier reached the little girl. He slid his arms forward and plunged them into the icy waters.
The Jewish girl frantically grabbed his hands, and the American started to pull her out of her icy hell.
Fully irate now, the German officer began gingerly walking across the surface of the lake to the scene.
With all the strength she could muster, the little Jewish girl pulled herself out of the frigid waters by clawing and climbing onto the back of the American soldier.
Excerpted from TIMELESS TERROR by Bernard Cenney. Copyright © 2013 Bernard Cenney. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART ONE.................... 1
PROLOGUE: CHRISTMAS EVE 1944.................... 7
1. WATER BREAKS ROCK.................... 31
2. DEATH TOLL.................... 45
3. SINS OF THE FATHER.................... 63
4. CAIRO INTERLUDE.................... 83
5. USAOG.................... 97
6. ENTER ZURICH.................... 125
7. DIE GLOCKE.................... 147
PART TWO.................... 159
8. WELCOME ALLIES.................... 165
9. FATE FOR LUNCH.................... 183
10. PAKISTANI PIPELINE.................... 201
11. STENCH OF DEATH.................... 213
12. JIHAD.................... 229
13. OUT OF TIME.................... 253
14. TIMELESS TERRORIST.................... 267
15. SOMEWHERE NEVER.................... 283
EPILOGUE: CHRISTMAS EVE TONIGHT.................... 293