|The Terrorist Factory
Part One, "Hypnotic Morocco"
Copyright Joe Vialls
| Otto Jewell lay strapped to the spotless white operating table while special operations technicians checked the electrodes on his scalp, and adjusted the two high-resolution lenses mounted directly above his head, designed to reflect images from the visua input projector at the foot of the operating table directly onto the retina of each eye. On each side of Otto's head, two extra-low-frequency generators built into special headphones pulsed slowly and smoothly, enveloping both hemispheres of his brain with high-intensity electromagnetic fields.
Off to one side of the room was located the ELF generator control console, and a sophisticated electroencephalograph (EEG) linked to four green computer screens, each displaying one of Otto's four brain frequency groups: Alpha, Beta, Theta and Delta. As the generators pulsed slowly, the delta screen showed a brilliant green trace while the other three remained blank, apart from an occasional brief green 'spike' on the alpha screen. Directly beneath the four green screens a larger colour screen was on standby, ready to repeat all data relayed to the retina of Otto's eyes by the visual-input projector.,
To the left of the computer bank stood a standard medical array, monitoring Otto's vital signs including respiration, pulse and skin conductivity. All was well in The Terrorist Factory: Otto was sleeping like a baby and programming could continue as soon as the staff were ready.
CIA controller Julia Long nodded to the others and walked out of the climate controlled operating room into the blazing hot Moroccan sunshine. Although it was still early in April 1984, the sun beat down remorselessly and Julia thought again how unfair it was that the 'special access' facility had to be sited in the middle of Morocco, a country she personally found far too backward for her tastes. Unfortunately there was little choice, because the US Congress had banned experiments on human targets back in 1973, at which point Special Operations had secretly moved the facility to Beirut in the Lebanon. She smiled bitterly. Beirut had been wonderful, and ideally sited until the Russian military had blown more than two hundred US marines apart with a pair of special truck bombs.
Beirut was also an ideal launching point for her more normal 'clients': Arabs, including Palestinian refugees with a military background, programmed to believe they were operating under the direct orders of the PLO as they bombed their way across Europe, creating mayhem and fanning blind hatred against the nations of the' Middle East. Most of the patriotic PLO terrorists were killed during their missions of course, and those who survived could not provide their interrogators with any information at all, even under intense torture. US techniques in manufacturing electro-hypnotic dual personalities had been developed over a thirty year period and were the very best, totally resistant to expert probing by anyone up to and including the Russian KGB.
It never occurred to Julia Long that what she was doing was wrong. To her, the end justified the means entirely when spreading the doctrine of CIA 'democracy' across the globe. If a few dozen or a few hundred people had to die in front of television cameras in order to manipulate public opinion, then so be it. Julia was in the business of deliberately generating public anger by staging horrific, obscene operations which shocked the public via the television screen.
After seeing bloodied, mangled bodies attributed to the PLO, Shining Path or whichever group was selected by the CIA as the "culprit" for the atrocity of the day, the public was happy to cheer on the US bombers which then proceeded to blow the 'terrorists' and their wives and children off the face of the Earth. The fact no one would have died at all without the intervention of her small deadly Special Operations group was of no concern. For Julia Long, the world was run by CIA covert operations, and nothing else was of any consequence.
As Julia sat in the hot sunshine smoking a cigarette, she thought briefly of Otto. It was nearly ten years since one of the facility's clients had been subjected to such an intense programme although the rationale was inescapable: as an Englishman, Otto had to be word perfect in every way, in the event he was captured and interrogated during the special mission planned for him in the West End of London. It was one thing interrogating an Arab who was 'obviously' PLO; quite another interrogating an Englishman with a high-profile professional oil background. British Intelligence would pull out all the stops and try especially hard to break Otto if he were taken alive during or after the mission.
A little grimly, Julia cast a sidelong glance at the smoky Atlas Mountains in the background as she crushed the cigarette under her boot. She would allow no mistakes with Otto: Not one. As she opened the door of the operating room, cool air controlled at exactly 68 degrees Fahrenheit swept over her. Taking her seat at the control console and donning a set of headphones, Julia turned with long familiarity and deftly moved two sliding controls. Immediately the green trace on the delta screen started to diminish and the alpha screen came alive slowly with a full-length trace instead of the intermittent spikes.
As Otto started to show signs of stirring, Julia flicked a switch across to the "binaural" position and the electromagnetic fields were thrown out of synchronisation, flooding Otto's left and right brain hemispheres with fractionally different frequencies. The effect on Otto was to force his brain to try and 'match' the continually shifting frequencies. Unable to do so, his brain became entrained by the alternating beat. In less than ten seconds, Otto was in a full-blown electromagnetic hypnotic trance.
With high technology at its disposal, Special Operations had not used "You are feeling sleepy..." hypnotic techniques for years, though a large team of tame, well funded academics was held in reserve to assure the gullible public that hypnosis was "quite safe" and "could not be used to make a person act against his own personal moral code". Recalling the tame academics, Julia smiled a slow, sardonic smile. All Special Operations had to do was point a professor at the public, and his hurriedly composed excuses were instantly accepted without question by media and citizens alike.
Julia swung around on her chair and spoke briefly to the team psychiatrist by the operating table: "I need maximum pupil dilation five minutes from now." With a mute nod, the heavy-set bearded psychiatrist turned to the drip leading into Otto's left forearm and waited as the drug slowly flowed into his vein. The powerful hypnotic drug rapidly reinforced Otto's trance state, while a "cocktail" derived from Curare limited the movement of his eyelids. Nodding with satisfaction, the psychiatrist slowly started to administer atropine.
As the atropine started to take effect, the pupils of Otto's eyes grew steadily larger despite the intense overhead lighting and the eye's natural inclination to shut out light under such circumstances. The visual input projector now had direct and unrestricted access to the retina of each of Otto's eyes. Julia spoke clearly into a special boom microphone positioned less than an inch away from her lips:
"Okay, Otto, I am going to take you back to 1970 when you were flying over Oman. Do you remember the mission we talked about before, when your helicopter was covering the fighter -bombers attacking the fort occupied by Yemeni terrorists?"
"Yes," Otto replied tonelessly without moving a muscle.
"Right. You are there again in the cockpit just before the fighters start their attack run. Everything is so real, Otto, so very real. Start flying the mission from there. Remember Otto, remember everything - the sight, the sound, the smells and the vibration of the helicopter."
Otto looked around at the jagged edges of the mountains below the helicopter and then back up. at the horizon, before spotting the two Hawker Hunter ground-attack fighters moving in fast over the desert, sunlight' flashing from their plexiglass cockpit canopies as they turned to line up fbr the attack run.
Swiftly but smoothly, Otto climbed out of the helicopter's left-hand pilot seat and made his way back to the starboard door. With one deft movement he swung the heavy machine-gun mount outwards and locked it in place.
Still watching the Hunters out of the corner of his eye, he fed the leading end of a 200-round belt of glittering brass shells into the machine-gun breech. Every third shell was a red-tipped tracer round, designed to aid accuracy when firing at ground targets. Cocking the weapon, Otto started searching the ground below for signs of movement at the rear of the fort as the Hunter fighters levelled their wings, flipping out their belly air-brakes to reduce speed to 450 miles per hour.
While he watched, Otto checked the clip of his Browning 9-mm automatic pistol, then patted the pocket of his flying suit to check his two "special" 9-mm rounds were safe. If the helicopter was hit by ground fire and brought down in the mountains, the crew's handling by the Chinese-trained Yemeni terrorists was pre-ordained. Without ceremony their testicles would be slashed off with a carved dagger, then sewn into their mouths while they stiff lived. If an airman panicked on the ground and emptied the clip of his Browning too fast, the two "'special" rounds were there with which to blow his own brains out, if he had enough time. Two rounds, not one, because the first might misfire
A small stream of humans was already leaving the rear door of the fort as the first Hunter fired its salvo of high explosive rockets towards the front walls. With soundless flashes and clouds of smoke, the rockets burst slightly to the left of the fort with only three hitting the main structure. Cursing over his radio, the leader pulled out of his attack dive while his number two fired a-second salvo straight into the fort itself. Otto's helicopter plummeted down towards the dark valleys like a falcon, as both Hunters swooped again to strafe what was left of the fort with their four 30-millimetre cannons.
Below Otto's helicopter the terrorists leaving the fort had seen his approach, and three stopped briefly to fire ragged bursts of automatic fire from their Chinese-made AK47 assault rifles. Otto swivelled the heavy machine-gun, allowed for aim-off and lightly tapped the trigger twice, firing two rapid three-round bursts to sight the weapon. The two red tracers smashed into the rock face slightly in front of the terrorists 500 yards away in the valley.
Shifting the machine-gun fractionally, Otto fired three five-round bursts in rapid succession. As the machine-gun shuddered violently in the helicopter, all three terrorists were knocked spinning backwards against the rock face. Ignoring the empty shell cases and black belt-links being ejected into the helicopter slipstream. Otto continued firing carefully spaced five-round bursts, until interrupted by Julia Long:
"Otto, Otto, report your current activity!"
"Air-to-ground suppressive fire."
"Good, Otto, very good! Listen carefully to my voice, listen carefully to my voice. I am relaying a new assignment to you from headquarters. You have been requested on an exchange programme with Special Operations in Morocco. The security classification is Cosmic International and you are promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Open your eyes wide Otto, open your eyes wide. You are still flying on operations. I repeat, you are still flying on operations..."
With the flick of a switch Julia Long turned a the projector at the foot of the operating table, the beam of which was promptly split and relayed directly to the retina of Otto's eyes by the accurate high- resolution lenses above his head. As new images started flickering from the projector, his detailed memories of the mountains of Oman started to shimmer and slowly dissolve, to be replaced by similar scenery passing more quickly.
When Julia increased the alpha field to maximum and decreased delta to minimum, Otto watched transfixed as his Northrop F5 fighter-bomber swooped low over the Western Sahara, firing a burst of 20-millimetre cannon shells at two vehicles trying to escape behind a large sand dune. As the first vehicle exploded, Otto kicked off deflection and fired another burst at the second. With black flecks of soot from the cannon speckling his windshield, Otto pulled back viciously on the controls and slammed the twin throttles through the afterburner gate. For an instant in time, he looked down at the devastation below as green tracer shells weaved lazily around the wings of the F5.
The radio crackled in his headphones: "Good run, colonel, good run! Now get the bell out of there and return to base." Still strapped to the operating, table, Otto watched obediently as he and his aircraft broke off the action and returned to base. The runway threshold rushed towards him, and with a very real screech from its tyres the F5 settled gracefully on the tarmac, slowly decelerating and then turning at the runway intersection to head towards the dispersal area and the waiting ground crew.
A post-mission flood of adrenaline rushed through Ono, and Julia swiftly adjusted the alpha and delta fields to compensate for his rapidly increasing pulse rate and skin conductivity. After stabilising his vital signs, Julia Long turned . and spoke once more into her sensitive boom microphone.
"We will now conduct your debriefing, colonel The mission was a complete success. Listen carefully so my voice, listen carefully to my voice. You are tired from your mission and will be allowed to sleep. When you wake again, you will have forgotten all life events after the age of 27 years. I repeat, when you wake you will have forgotten all life events after the age of 27 years. All you will remember, I repeat,
all you will remember is that you are a lieutenant colonel on exchange duties with Special Operations, at a classified base in Morocco for multi-role training required for your mission. Congratulations, colonel! Enjoy your sleep."
As Julia moved her controls, the green trace on the delta wave screen slowly increased at exactly the same rate as the alpha trace decreased. Within minutes Otto lay passively unconscious, his sleep disturbed only by intermittent green spikes on the alpha screen.
Once more Julia turned to the psychiatrist waiting next to the operating table: "Put him out for about eight hours please, then have the technicians take him to his room. Put a discreet guard outside, but don't worry; when Otto wakes again he will believe he really is a 27-year-old lieutenant colonel. He will remember nothing about his life beyond that point."
Under his bushy eyebrows, the psychiatrist's eyes glittered slightly as he prepared the powerful tranquiliser and watched Julia Long as she strolled out of the room. Though in her forties, Julia was a very attractive woman capable of turning many male heads.
As Julia sat down at a table in the officers' mess and slowly stirred her cup of hot coffee, she thought back over the chain of events that had finally resulted in Otto being delivered to the 'special facility' in Morocco. Julia smiled a. wan smile.
It was perhaps the height of irony that another Englishman, John Dwyer, had brought Otto to the attention of a refired American CIA operative in Salt Lake City, Utah. For years Dwyer had worked as a sub-contractor for the CIA's African desk, and thought Otto's qualifications might be of use to his masters at Central Intelligence.
After leaving the RAF in the early 'seventies, Otto had moved into the specialised field of oilfield drilling operations. He seemed to have a natural aptitude for that profession, because by 1980 he was operating as the top engineering troubleshooter for an American multinational corporation he had joined only three years earlier. At the time Dwyer called his retired CIA contact, Earl Haggard, Otto was troubleshooting some oil wells in the Rocky Mountains, due east of Salt Lake City.
Discreet CIA enquiries revealed Otto spent much of his. spare time at a rifle range near his home, so an 'accidental' meeting was arranged. Earl Haggard, a veteran of the notorious Phoenix psychological operation in Laos, turned up at the range and casuaIly befriended Otto. As the weeks rolled by, Earl became convinced Otto Jewell could be of great use to the Agency.
As a top troubleshooter in the oilfield service industry, Otto had immediate and unquestioned access to almost any country in the world. His strong military background was also in his favour, as were his demonstrated lethal skills as a marksman with pistols, rifles and automatic weapons.
The question of how or where Otto might best be used by the CIA was not Earl's concern however, so after sending a long, detailed assessment of Ottos potential to Langley Headquarters in Virginia, he returned to his favourite golf course and forgot all about the Englishman.
CIA headquarters in Langley showed immediate interest. It was not every day that an Englishman with Otto's qualifications was brought to the attention of its intelligence analysts, one of whom noted Otto had spent much time in Middle Eastern countries, before carefully circling the single, word `LIBYA' with a bold stroke of his red pen. Otto's background pointed to his obvious use on covert missions under the aegis of Special Operations.
Within a week, Otto Jewell's file was hand-carried by special courier to a small low-key CIA facility located in New Orleans, Louisiana,. where it was placed in the "in" tray of one Gordon Nobel. From that point forward, only paper files would be kept on Otto: computers were far too vulnerable to researchers leaning on the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act.
Julia Long moved uneasily on her chair in the officers' mess as she thought about. Nobel, the man legend said coordinated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Nobel was an animal, a known CIA heavy who took considerable pleasure in breaking limbs and, where necessary, shooting people through the back of the head with a heavy-calibre pistol. Most people in Special Operations were afraid of him and literally jumped to obey his every command. Julia was no exception and had all but sat rigidly to attention when he called her during 1983.
"Julia, hi!" The voice was deceptively soft when Gordon Nobel spoke on the secure international landline from New Orleans to Morocco. "Listen, I have a new client for you: an oilman with a good, solid military background. Initially we intend to use him on a tripartite drilling operation in West Bengal, then we'll get around to his special mission a little later."
"Fine, Gordon, where is he now?"
"We are going to hire hire him as project engineer for a drilling operation near Calcutta. It's an interesting job. The Russians are helping the Indians to drill a deep oil and gas well in the Ganges delta, and our man is going in there to help them drill it with an
advanced American fluid system. Or at least he thinks he's going to help them. The whole thing is basically a cover for the special mission he'll go on later, but he doesn't know that."
Gordon continued: "We think it's a hell. of a deal. We can really screw those Russian and Indian Commie bastards at the same time!" Julia Long listened nervously to the cold soft voice hissing on the, scrambled secure landline, then suddenly started when she realised Nobel had stopped speaking: "Fine, Gordon, fine. What do you want from my end?"
"Take your time, Julia. Have a couple of weeks' holiday, then fly to Dakar in Bangladesh. We'll arrange diplomatic cover for you and attach you to the local US aid team; From there you can go in and out of Calcutta as a diplomatic commuter. Your contact will be Louis McCaul at our local Calcutta consulate. He's in deep cover and there are no known documented links ,between him and the CIA or Special Operations. Louis will arrange for your special equipment to be carried in the diplomatic mail bag.
"The name of your new client is Otto Jewell and he'll be staying at the Oberoi Grand Hotel. We've bought a couple of the hotel staff, so access to Otto's room will not be a problem. Louis will arrange all that. Okay so far?"
Julia thought for a few seconds. "Okay, Gordon. What do you want me to do with this Otto Jewell? In other words, what mission are we preparing him for exactly? I want to get the procedures right."
"On this mission we operate 'need to know', Julia. All you need to know at this stage is that you spend the first month or so observing Otto from a distance. Watch his behaviour patterns carefully. We'll be doing our bit by screwing the Commies at his rig, so Otto will be under plenty of stress trying to figure out what in hell is going on. When you get word from me, I want you to start building a shallow 'decoy' hypnotic level - not too easy to break, but not too hard either."
"Have your Marine technicians rough him up under hypnosis and threaten his children - you know, the usual things. Make it as nasty as you can Julia, because if he's taken alive on the real mission early next year, that is all, I repeat, all that any interrogator is going to sweat out of him: the decoy level you develop in Calcutta. You'll get more orders later."
Coming back to her senses, Julia Long finished her cup of coffee in the officers' mess, then strolled through the searing noonday Moroccan heat towards her room. Though the conversation had taken place nearly nine months before, the memory of Nobel's voice still had the capacity to make her feel afraid. Lying down on her bed, Julia fell into a deep sleep.
And as she slept, she dreamed a dream. Suddenly Julia Long was back amid the chaos and noise of Calcutta, setting up her equipment in Otto's palatial room at the five-star Oberoi Grand Hotel.