Middle East Media Moguls
The President of the United States of America looked across at his captors with the wisdom, discernment, detachment and intense analytical ability of a man who had had to judge other people’s intentions and character quickly for most of his life.
That experience led him to know that right now he was merely a tool in a much larger scheme that would break his way only when the odds favored him like they now favored his current enemy. This was Texas Hold ’em, not Poker.
What made this man different from most others he had faced in his life is that this man had an AK-47 pointed at him and would use it if he calculated that a dead President was worth more to his cause than a live President. He well knew that his life was now an abstract calculation in a high stakes game that was unlike any other he had negotiated since becoming President, or before. His skills as a life-long negotiator would be sorely tested.
He also had to consider the reality that the bunker where he was now hunkered down with his staff had been rigged with plastic explosives. Beyond that, he prayed that the nation’s intelligence, security, military and police forces were doing their utmost to protect and defend the country and its people from the worst attacks.
He had been told that the price of his freedom was to sign an agreement to force the Israel’s to withdraw to pre-1967 borders initially with an understanding that this was merely a prelude to the Jews leaving the Middle East forever. It was an incredible scheme, and great movements of tribes and people had been happening since the beginning of time, but as Abdullah made clear in his demand note, this was no more insane than the demand by the Serbs, which he viewed as supported by the West despite the historical facts, that all Muslims leave Bosnia.
This bunker, which had been built several hundred feet under the White House as a Secure War Situation Room by miners from Pennsylvania and West Virginia who were sworn to secrecy at the time had been built in another era, during the 1940’s when secrets like that were kept. The fear then had been that the V2 rockets raining down on London might rain down on Washington, D.C., if WWII had continued long enough. It was deep enough in the earth that is still offered shelter from missiles. The problem now was that it offered no protection from interior penetration.
In the early 1960’s, when it was believed that an all-out thermonuclear war was a matter of time and when we had thirteen near launches during the Kennedy Administration, the bunker had been enlarged, reinforced and redesigned to withstand several hits. Everything from spare oxygen to spare toilet paper to extra food and clothes had been squirreled away by efficient government workers in an age when that kind of government work was seen as a religious calling.
President Kennedy was the last President to ever spend any time there until this day, as subsequent presidents viewed it as anachronistic for the protection of the American President as the Maginot Line had been for the French President after 1941.
Now the bunker was something the original planners never could have imagined: The stage for an international power play that Abdullah was orchestrating: to trade of the President of the United States of America and his entourage for the establishment Islamic Republic of Palestine and the end of the State of Israel.
“You really thought we couldn’t do it, did you Mr. President!?” Abdullah Hakim Hussein raged at the President, and then spit phlegm into his face to underscore his point.
“Nobody speaks to our President like that you...” but before the President’s Press Secretary, Patrick O’Reilly, could finish one of Abdullah’s guards put a bullet through his forehead. It had been his misfortune to be working late near the Oval Office on a speech the President was to have delivered about the future of agriculture subsidies when the attack came. Now he was one more casualty in a cataclysmic battle that would claim hundreds of thousands more.
Abdullah didn’t miss a beat. “Let that remind everyone here of who is in charge. Any one of you can be killed just as easily as that man for not obeying what I say. The only reason you are alive even now is due to my good graces and that you will prove to be valuable when we bargain to establish Palestine as a true nation among nations.”
“And you alone, Mr. President, could have used your good offices to help establish the Palestinian people in their own nation years ago, but that was not a priority for you or your Jewish supports, no!? It is a shame that we had to do this to accomplish our ends but that will be forgotten in ten years as the British forgot your little Revolution when they face Napoleon a few years later, no?!”
The President was from Philadelphia and not used to giving a man time to speak his mind -- except when necessary. It was a skill that served him well in his mercurial rise from city mayor to governor to president in a mere twenty years. It was a skill that served him even better now as he restrained his tongue and everyone else in the bunker followed his wise lead.
“When I was a student here in I used to protest outside this very building for a Palestinian homeland. We also used to march in front of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill, everywhere where we thought we could peacefully assemble and petition as per your Constitution and Bill of Rights. But I quickly learned that these are rights reserved for Americans and not really available to foreigners here, despite liberal protestations to the contrary.”
“But you are fools, you Americans. Then and now, you support six and a half million Jews against a billion and a half Muslims. The logic escaped me until I worked as an intern on Capitol Hill for one of my political science courses at George Washington University and saw all the Jews in Washington getting their way. Every time a bill came before Congress, the Jews won and the Palestinian’s lost. Very simple. Money and weapons flowed from America to the Jews. Nothing for the Palestinians. And after you invade Iraq several times, it only gets worse.”
“But I learned in my time in America. I later organized that little World Trade Center bombing from far enough away that no traces could be found in my world yet we learned a great deal about the vulnerability of your most prized possessions. You prosecuted and convicted that stupid blind cleric and his followers and never found my fingerprints on the plan. That was fine with me.”
“Way back after that Oklahoma City bombing happened I knew what had to be done, and finally my financial backers accepted my plan, too.”
“The trick to terrorism in the United States was not to rely on people and supplies from outside the United States but to gather both from within. All it took was a few visits to Palestinian fund raising groups that were already well established, culling money and supporters from them, and after 9/11, the invasion of Muslim lands in Afghanistan and Iraq, well, anything could be accomplished -- even this!”
“We had training camps all over your country, in the Poconos, the Adirondacks, and the Rockies, where we trained for year’s right in front of your intelligence services. Fortunately, your laws and your lawyers protected us. It cost us, yes, but look who is winning now, no?”
And none of this would have been possible without the help of the Lion of America, Barak Hussein Obama, peace be upon him. He allowed hundreds of thousands of my agents into sleepy little towns all over your country. That was a gift of Allah beyond my knowing. He invited in, and even fed, clothed and housed the very enemy that would defeat you. Allah Akbar!!!
The President read Adbullah’s pregnant pause to be his opening for some dialogue about conditions of release. As bargaining would come sooner or later, he decided to try an opening gambit. “I really...”
“SHUTUP!!! No one cares what you think right now!!! I alone give the orders and I did not order you to speak as I recall!”
Abdullah went over and placed his foot on the President’s neck. All around the bunker the terrorists chambered rounds into their weapons and aimed at the nearest hostages. In control of more bargaining chips than he had ever been dealt in his life, Abdullah gave the President a confident grin.
“Do not fear, Mr. President. You are my most valuable commodity in the international souk and I will not damage you. But you must keep your tongue in your mouth or you could cause the death of many innocent people. Neither one of us would want that, would we.”
The President nodded his head.
“Good. If you think for a minute I mourn your loss of life today you are sadly mistaken. They are a mere fraction of the blood of my people spilled by the Jews over the years with weapons and money and intelligence provided by your people.”
“But that score will be evened today. And in centuries hence it will be told of how a band of holy warriors with Allah on their lips and in their hearts captured the most powerful symbol of the Western infidels and brought him and his people to their knees. Poems may one day be written to celebrate this as they were in the past to my ancestors who slew your ancestors, the French and British and German kings when they would plunder and pillage our holy land. Perhaps I am the new Saladin and you are Richard the Lion Hearted, no?” And he laughed convulsively.
“Really you must grant everything I ask, Mr. President, for you have no choice. Your Secret Service detail is all dead. I personally supervised their execution on the way in today. Wherever we go, we dress like to masses to blend in with the masses before, during and after our mission. Your security service thinks it is above the people. Well, for that fatal flaw, they now lie about your compound with bullet riddled bodies that even now the dogs are feeding on.”
“We are equals now in many ways so I will tell you this. We no longer live in a world where conventional police forces matter. Not that I ever really respected such forces, but they have caused me problems over the years by making my life difficult at times. Until the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings, that is. Then I knew that what is true in most of the world also holds true for the great America.”
“Instead of taking out one building or a few agents at a time, why not all at once! No? It would require more planning and people than my former operations, but economies of scale more than make up for some loss of control in the initial attack. Fifteen years I planned this attack and I think even you will agree that it is an incredible success. Perhaps you don’t know. Of course not. I have been such a poor host. Nadir! The remote control.”
Nadir walked the remote control over to Abdullah and he switched on the TV and surfed the channels for the President. Every station that was still able to broadcast showed scenes of horrid destruction unmatched at any time in North America since the Civil War. Abdullah did not say a word but allowed the CNN, ABC, Fox News, and other news services to relay to the President the images that in this media age determined so much action and reaction. He stopped on the Islamic station, Al-Jazeera.
The President could now see that within minutes, screens of the hostage American President had been beamed from the Al-Jazeera Washington Bureau at the National Press Building at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue to millions of Muslim households’ worldwide. As President, he understood the power of the media to change world opinion, and knew that these Jihadi’s understood it even better.
The President’s heart raced and his hands broke out in a cold sweat. It was quickly evident that Abdullah was not bluffing. He had masterminded an incredible orgy of death and destruction that would take years to recover from and for which the national treasury might not have the money. It was a piercing thought to the President, but paled in comparison to the human lives that would be lost today and in the near future as this fiasco played itself out. He now had more in common with President’s Lincoln and Roosevelt than any other predecessor in office.
“When I think of all the years I spent killing nobodies, Israeli soldiers in ambushes and diplomats in France and Africa when I could have been going after big strategic prizes like this it makes me want to live my life all over again. But now I will make up for my error. You American’s will rue the day you ever supported six million Jews over a billion Muslims because I will make sure of it! You American’s are weak. They will not want their President killed and that is my ticket out of this country. And it will be on Air Force One. Of that, I assure you. All the years of training and hardship has its fruition today.”
“And you can thank your own arms dealers for that good fortune because they always provided me with what I wanted as long as I met their inflated prices. Greed oils every business and government whether here or in the Islamic World. I paid enough money and received all the arms I needed to pull this off.”
“Let me tell you how it is that I am sitting across from you right now, Mr. President!” He looked about the room to see if his mockery was having its intended impact. With a lifetime of experience at breaking hostages he knew techniques of intimidation that he had perfected in dozens of countries on hundreds of prisoners. It was one of the main reasons he had risen so rapidly in the ranks of the PLO before he split with them over accommodating Israel and why he remained at the top of his own organization despite numerous attempts by his many enemies to assassinate him over the years.
At this point in his life he preferred psychological torture to physical torture, but used either depending on the situation and what he wanted and how fast.
“Do you know that by sealing off Pennsylvania Avenue you actually aided my plan? You were thinking of some hayseed militia from Michigan putting a Ryder truck out there loaded with a cheap fertilizer bomb, but you failed to realize you provided a first-rate wide-level open field to attack.”
“Those fine concrete blocks provided excellent cover for my forces until the objective was obtained. We just threw wave after wave at your protectors and overwhelmed them in a technique we have mastered in Lebanon against the Christian militias and their Israeli bosses.”
“The World Bank, you may be interested in knowing, was your Achilles heel. We hired and placed people there who were very handy for intelligence, planning and coordination once we undertook the actual assault. Who do you think rented us the office space from which we rained down so much rocket, mortar and stinger missile fire on your little complex? Does “The Council for Third World Economic Development” or “The Committee for Less Developed Nation’s Privatization Efforts” mean anything to you? No? Well, they should. They and many like it were the offices from which we launched our initial assault. The irony is that much of the money came from The World Bank for those committees. Therefore, it came from you!”
“And this is only the beginning of it. My troops are in every corner of your land launching attacks that will win many of them a special place with Allah! They are holy martyrs of the cause and bring glory to their people in their brave deeds. And so many hundreds of thousands of them your Democrats brought in and supported with your largesse. Thanks you!!!"
"Some were scientists at Rocky Flats. Some were students at CUNY and are liberating sites all over New York City. They are in so many places accomplishing so many great deeds it is all I can do to keep up with their hourly exploits. But it is all for a purpose.”
“And that is what you will assist me with if you value your and your people’s lives. You will go on TV and declare that all American support for Israel is over. You will also announce that American support for a Palestinian nation is total. Our people at the United Nations will see to it that the vote there goes our way by manipulating that body as your President Truman did in 1948 to create that albatross.”
He went over again to within an inch of the President’s face. “Hear this, Mr. President. One of your most trusted advisors has been on my payroll for years. He was on your National Security Agency but by now he should be on a flight to Libya. You see, his family came from Palestine originally but they emigrated here via Colombia. So his origin was a matter of interest to us and of no use to you as you could not have known his place of origin. Yes. He was a “sleeper” for us. An Aldrich Ames kind of guy right in the heart of your inner circle.”
“We used many sleepers. We had thousands of cab drivers all over your country who were invaluable sources of intelligence, for transporting our freedom fighters and their weapons, and in providing foot soldiers for our attack. The Muslim Student Associations at all your colleges and community colleges were unreal. You provided the scholarships, they provided the intelligence, and you suffer. Praise Allah! Peace Be Upon Him!!!”
“We had additional thousands of students registered for courses all over your land, most in community colleges, that you never realized were there for one purpose: to bring your nation to its knees. Due to your society’s openness to anything, these students were able to form committees and recruit many others who were devoted to the cause. Among those I would list your own Nation of Islam that was more than willing to provide us with thousands of well-disciplined foot soldiers. They have directed us to your most vulnerable sites quite willingly. I think they are the only people on earth who hate you more than I do, but who knows.”
“All under your very nose, Mr. President. All within your own homeland and your security forces failed to identify us as we operated as a shadow force throughout your land. They were my field troops and they are good troops, as your TV shows.”
“Think about it! Every secret your government held I knew! I penetrated to the very highest level of your government and also had my people all over the American landscape planning and preparing and waiting for my cue. All to this glorious day!”
“The only question I must now answer is whether to kill you or keep you alive. I am going to fly out alive in your plane so it is really no great matter. It if helps to keep you alive I will do so. If it helps my cause to kill you I will do that as well.”
“So think about who controls your every move right now. I DO!!! I decide if you eat or starve, if you sleep or don’t sleep, if you go to the bathroom in your powder room or in your pants. Welcome to the world of hostage taking, Mr. President!”
“I can almost see the headlines in the Jew York Times: THE PRESIDENT IS HOSTAGE! And Abdullah Hakim Hussein has him hostage! What a great day this is for Palestine and the Palestinian people! What a terrible day for the Zionists!”
Riad Assassin stood with his weapons ready, truly amazed at the mastermind he had followed for so many years. All those hot days out selling candy, sodas and hot dogs to the fat American tourists on the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania. Many times when he contemplated the fact that the President of the United States was a mere three hundred meters from him, a fact that would be impossible in any Muslim capital. He knew that when Abdullah spoke of “sleepers,” he had such as he in mind.
Riad came in the way many thousands of Abdullah’s troops had, as a student or by saying two words at any American airport, “political asylum.” Either way there was no way for the overworked, understaffed and overburdened Immigration and Naturalization Service to ever catch up with them once they disappeared into the millions of other immigrants who were currently entering the United States legally and illegally. When the former President Obama in a corrupt drive to secure Hispanic voters had issued an executive order to stop enforcing illegal immigration laws, these massive loopholes allowed Abdullah to almost guarantee that his heinous plan would succeed when it was launched.
In Riad’s case, in his job of selling hot dogs, the filthy meat of the vile pig, to the infidels at a small stand directly next to the White House. In such a setting, day after day he was able to observe patterns -- when the Presidents men were ready, when they relaxed, when they changed shifts, when they were out of town, where they partied and at what clubs near the White House. This minutia was invaluable to Abdullah in his planning, because it was the kind of detail that allowed him to penetrate the most sophisticated security network in the world in a matter of minutes.
Dozens of others took up jobs around the White House with a camera and a wood picture of the president. They charged the ever-willing tourists five dollars a shot for a photo of them standing next to the image of the wooden image of the president.
When the tourists weren’t there they clicked thousands of shots of the complex that allowed that even the smallest detail was not overlooked. It was that attention to detail that allowed the July Fifth Strike Force to successfully penetrate what was once thought of as the most secure address in the world.
The vulnerable, shackled, and helpless President of the United States before Riad was the product of his devotion as much as Abdullah’s.