The Americans, both U.S. and Canada, want us to track down and “accident” a sub-contracted leaker. This is a rush job because it has to be done before Trish gets to him. With the knowledge allegedly locked up in his pea-brain, Edward could single-handedly bring down the entire clandestine operations of all the NATO countries. Information Trish could sell to NATO’s enemies for a bundle, or worse…
Idiot that he is, the former employee of a well known management consulting firm. didn’t nail down his escape plan before his big reveal to the world. From an English speaking communist country, China’s Hong Kong, Ed made his proclamation about the U.S. America’s NSA Prism program. Seriously, who didn’t already know about that? From there he assumed, Communist, Russia would welcome him with open arms. Edward somehow forgot that the Cold War is, mostly, over. A high profile traitor’s extradition would greatly improve U.S.A / Russian Federation relations. Having learned the Cyrillic alphabet as a boy and studied the complex Russian language for several years, Eddie was really hoping to meet a nice Japanese girl and make a new life as a grey-hat hacker in Vladivostok, Russia.
An old friend from my Special Branch days, specialising in satellite communications, is stationed in Qatar. Jarli has been keeping tabs on the NSA for a couple of years, he finds it is easier to intercept the NSA’s boiled down take, from the massive amounts of collected data, being sent to their homeland than to screen the data himself. A short, “encrypted phone only please” call to Jarli reveals the Russians will extradite Edward to a, less than friendly to the U.S. America, country south of the Tropic of Capricorn by way of Cuba. I know that he must not live past Cuba. Trish, with her concentration of salacious female operatives in Havana could easily squeeze information from dummy, er, I mean Edward. A source of mine, lets just say she may or may not work in the NSA’s Prism listening post in Annecy, just 40 clicks south of Geneva, knows of an even bigger, restricted knowledge program. If Edward knows of and/or releases details about Project Back-Snake, the NSA’s intelligence gathering capabilities will revert to the stone-ages.
An NSA and CSEC joint black on black operation, Back-Snake works hand in hand with major US and Nippon electronics manufacturers to spy on first world citizens. Originally piloted as Project Hitch-Hiker, in the late 1970’s, Hitch-Hiker tried to utilise consumer electronics like tabletop radios and cable TVs, to monitor conversations in the vicinity of the device. Feedback-loading the TV speakers as rudimentary microphones, the Government was able to spy on the populace. As the technology was primitive, the data collected was deemed useless and the project mothballed.
Fast forward twenty years, unlimited data storage, high-speed processing, and the proliferation of gaming console systems. Remote-less controls mean cameras and microphones are aimed at the consumer making it all too easy for “The” spy agencies to listen in. Many terrorist organisations maintain sleepers in first world countries. By back-channelling, the American clandestine organisations are snaking, into the game networks, video networks, and hands free consol systems, monitoring a vast amount of conversations. Back-Snake is practically welcomed into the homes of first world countries.
Having boarded a company Gulfstream, to fly directly to Havana’s José Martí International Airport; it was nice to not have to fly commercial for the twenty three hour flight.
Upon landing in Cuba, I checked in with a loyal friend in Havana. I ascertain the target is to be flown by Аэрофлот to Rancho-Boyeros Airport, arriving in two days. Two days after that he will fly to one of the few second world countries willing to offer sanctuary. Here in Havana I’ll create the mishap to befall The Guardian’s favourite traitor.
With Clyde in tow, I decide to utilise the celebrated Slippery Goat on Eddie. As I’m preparing the man-trap for the ‘Goat’, Clyde bend’s my ear; “If we extract the details about Back Snake from Eddie before we kill him, we can make a bundle of cash marketing the information”. Wow, Clyde is completely off reservation; to be expected I guess, having been forced out of retirement and all. Adding, “Look, Jae doesn’t want what is in this dummy’s head, the C.I.A.A. simply has been contracted, along with half a dozen NATO exterminators no doubt, to silence him.”, Clyde continues, “If we promise protection and learn what he knows before we terminate him, we can sell that information to the highest bidder. Oh, of course we’ll sell it to the CIAA”, wink, “after we shop it around to drive up the price”.
Given the changes going on in Kathmandu, an expedited ticket to retirement sounds attractive. I decide to pretend I’m on board with Clyde’s plan; who knows when one will need a parachute. Besides, a dispute between hitmen, even lifelong friends, in this business can prove deadly. Clyde, satisfied with my commitment to his idea, relaxes his demeanour. About to return to my work, it dawns on me; how does Clyde know about Back-Snake? Heavy sigh, Tequila time!
I despise Tequila. In particular, Tequila time! If I don’t hydrate properly during a Tequila binge, the hangover is abysmal. Hydration anywhere outside the U.K. is risky; fortunately, before leaving Buenos Aires, I purchased a six-pack of Perrier. I will not be sharing. In short, Clyde learned of project Back-Snake from Trish while she was ‘vacationing’ in Argentina.
Clyde reports, while monitoring flight data in and out of Hong Kong, the island of Chek Lap Kok experienced a freak blizzard. Buried under three centimetres of snow, the airport delayed all flights until the runways are swept clean. Looks like we will be here an extra day or two until the snowed-in flight is released.
Cuba’s first National Park created in 1930, is where Edward will meet his demise. Doomed to be a permanent resident of Parque Nacional Sierra Cristal , or at least until the wild boars consume him, Edward falls to his death at 1300 kilometres while climbing Pico Cristal, the local constabulary and the news press will report.. If he was truly the world patriot he claimed to be, he could have remained anonymous, but he just wanted to get laid, poor Edward.