The Evil That Men Do: New Excerpt

The Evil That Men Do

Robert Gleason

Pierre Chambrun Series

May 8, 2018

The Evil That Men Do by Robert Gleason is the third book in the Pierre Chambrun series—a terrorism thriller steeped with equal parts terror and wit.

Income inequality and the offshore hoarding of illicit black funds have reached such extremes that the earth’s democracies are in peril. The oligarchs are taking over. The People worldwide, however, are rising up, and they demand that the UN seize and redistribute all that illegal filthy lucre. But it will not be easy. The world’s oligarchs will not go gentle.

Mikhail Putilov, Russia’s strongman; J. T. Tower, the American president, and Wahid al-Waheed, the Saudi Ambassador to the US will do anything to stop and destroy this global expropriation moment―even if it means nuking the UN. Only three people can stop them: the crusading, muckraking, investigative journalist, Jules Meredith; ex-CIA agent, Elena Moreno; and her boyfriend, the ex-Special Forces Operative turned cybersecurity billionaire, John C. Jameson. If these three fail, democracies around the world will die; and the Age of the Great Global Oligarchs will begin.

If these the three friends fail, the nuclear fireballs will blaze, the UN will burn, and a New Dark Ages will ensue. People everywhere must hold their breath and wait.

PROLOGUE

Swift is the reckoning of Allah.
—The Koran

A woman stood along the edge of Riyadh’s Deera Square. She wore a long white abaya robe, a matching niqab headdress and ultradark sunglasses. The square’s grounds were covered with granite, its perimeter bordered with palm trees. Lined up under the shadows of the palm fronds were stone benches. Along the far edges of the square stood a huge L-shaped stone building, whose pillar-supported verandas faced the square.

She slowly walked toward the structure.

As she strolled across the park, she took out her encrypted cell phone and speed-dialed Kamal ad-Din, the head of the the “New United Islamist Front”—the recently created amalgam of ISIS, al Qaeda and Pakistan’s TTP. A Saudi prince and a former intelligence minister, he had been a major leader and facilitator in the merger between the three terrorist groups. The most feared, most dangerous terrorist leader in the world, he was Raza Jabarti’s wealthiest benefactor. He was currently living incognito in a lavish walled villa outside of Islamabad.

He picked up her call on the second ring.

“I received your email,” Raza said. “You told me to call on our encrypted line. You said it was urgent.”

“You must return to Pakistan.”

“What?” Her voice was a soft but irate. She hated Pakistan.

“You know about Operation Fire and Sword?”

“I was one of the principal architects.”

“You remember our friend Rashid al-Rahman?” Kamal asked.

“He was liaison between ourselves, ISIS, al Qaeda, and the TTP.”

“He was the irreplaceable negotiator—one of the few people those maniacs would listen to.”

“That’s why we brought him in,” Raza said.

“Three nights ago, we got word from one of our insiders at the Tower White House,” Kamal said, “that Rashid was a double agent and that he ratted us and our plans out to his handlers at the CIA.”

“The Agency knows about the operation?” Raza asked, shocked.

“Yes, but not to worry. Those people are idiots. The American president, J. T. Tower, claimed the story was Iranian disinformation and quashed it. Still we have to find out which other traitors belong to Rashid’s network. I want you to interrogate Rashid personally.”

“You have others who can do it,” Raza said.

“We’ve had three of our best people working on him for three days and nights. They haven’t gotten a peep out of him.”

“But why me?”

“We’re told he has issues with women. One theory is that he fears them. I think you’d split him wide open in one torturous night.”

“I hate Pakistan.”

“Don’t we all, but you have no choice. This operation will not only bring the American foe to his knees, it will drive a sword of nuclear fire through the heart of the infidel world. For once and for all, they will know we can reach anyone, that no one in their world is safe from our revenge.”

“But it’s … Pakistan,” Raza said, spitting out the word with disgust.

“Near the Afghan border in a Pashtun safe house. That region is more like Afghanistan than Pakistan.”

“I hate Afghanistan too.”

“Raza, this isn’t a request.”

“Very well,” Raza said, acknowledging the inevitable. “Since you are being so mean, I shouldn’t do this, but I have a small gift for you—something you will love and carry in your heart forever.”

A miniature, customized, digital VidCam was concealed inside her sunglasses’ thick black frames. She double-tapped one side, and his sardonically grinning face instantly appeared in the “Hangout Screen” inside the right half of her left lens. Her phone was now connected to her eyeglass camera and to his computer’s Skype screen. Tapping the right side of her heavy frames two more times for a medium shot, she could now see he was lying on a huge circular bed with lavender satin sheets. Shockingly obese, he was dressed in a long white thawb, or robe.

Raza allowed herself a small scornful smile. Her favorite comic in all the world, Danny McMahon, delivered outrageous monologues on Kamal’s behemoth body mass. Raza had a secret DVD stash of all of McMahon’s routines, and whenever Raza was depressed, she put on a collection of McMahon’s Kamal ad-Din weight jokes. They never failed to make her howl with hysterical hilarity.

On the bedside table, Kamal had a gold dish, on which sat a gold tin, and a sterling silver ice bucket in which a bottle of champagne was chilling. A large crystal goblet of champagne was already in his hand, and he was chewing a toast point piled high with caviar.

Kamal clearly practiced his own version of Islam.

“What are you having for breakfast, my prince?”

“Champagne, caviar and dates, what else?”

“An exquisite Dom Perignon, I trust?” Raza asked.

“I trust not. Only you, my dear, would drink that goat piss. No, a very admirable Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995.” He poured himself another gobletful.

“Any good?”

“At $4,000 a bottle, it better be,” Kamal said.

He heaped more caviar onto a toast point with a small ivory spoon.

“Some excellent Beluga caviar to go with it?” Raza asked.

“You’d be wrong again, but then you always did have plebeian tastes.”

“Okay, I give up. What is it?”

“The Iranian Almas caviar, which is haram—forbidden—in our kingdom. In fact, eating it is viewed as tantamount to treason.”

“And punishable, my prince, by Allah knows how many lashes,” Raza said.

“I know, I know,” Kamal said. “I’m trading with our Persian enemy, but it’s worth the risk. The Iranian Almas is undoubtedly the finest caviar on earth.”

“Where do you find it?” Raza asked.

“I have it sent by private courier from Prunier’s in Piccadilly. It comes in these little 24-karat gold tins at $25,000 apiece. But why not? We only go around our earthly dispensation once, yes?”

“Perhaps, but with hundreds of millions of pious Muslims worldwide living in abject poverty,” she asked, feigning disapproval, “is it just—is it right—for you to spend so much money on what is merely grapes and fish eggs?”

She was, of course, being satiric. It was a game they periodically played. Raza would pretend to care about the starving masses. Kamal would dismiss her concern with patronizing disdain. In truth, Kamal knew that neither of them gave a shit about the eternal poor.

“What do you expect me to do?” Kamal asked. “Commiserate with them?”

“You could show some … compassion,” Raza said.

Raza tried playing the part with a straight face, but she could barely contain her mirth. In fact, her eyes gave her away, glinting maliciously at the word, “compassion.”

“Compassion?” Kamal asked. “Oh, my dear, the item’s long out of stock.”

Raza’s guffaws shook Kamal’s earpiece.

“Is that the only reason you called?” Kamal finally said, as her hilarity subsided. “To laugh at me?”

“Quite the contrary,” Raza said, “I remembered two days ago you said you missed our many strolls in Deera Square. Well, because I’m a woman and forced to hide my face behind a niqab, I—unlike yourself—can roam our Saudi kingdom with impunity anytime I want.”

That statement was only half true. Raza also required niqabs because she was wanted worldwide for her terrorist activities.

“Since I’m forced to wear this veil,” Raza continued, “I can give you a digitized video tour of the square.”

Raza was now halfway across the square. She could see a mother in a burqa, accompanied by a robed male guardian, walking her children around the park. You must be insane, Raza thought, staring at the woman and shaking her head. Near the stone building a sizable group of citizens was starting to collect.

“Why are you doing this?” Kamal asked.

“I worry about you, my prince.” Raza said. “The state of our world—Dar al-Islam—must bother you to no end. I thought a pleasant stroll through the square might … lift your spirits.”

“I doubt it,” Prince Kamal said. “To tell you the truth, I don’t see much in this life that’s uplifting. For one thing, I fear that our Peaceable Saudi Kingdom is losing in its Cold War with Shia Iran,” Kamal said evenly.

“But you have done a superb job of undermining Iran and blocking its entrance into the global economy.”

“No more,” Kamal said. “The Saudi leadership no longer finances those efforts. They’ve stopped putting their money where there mouth is. They plead … poverty!” He spat the last word out as if it were a curse. “They expect me to pay for everything, which is frankly insulting.”

“Our Saudi leaders cry poor-mouth?” Raza asked, amazed.

“They say their U.S. oil revenues have tapered off to a trickle.”

“Really?” Raza said.

“Oil prices sink, and our revenues shrink. Even the American president can’t suppress the alternate energy movement, and their global lobbying power grows daily.”

“Perhaps our struggle against Iran isn’t that important,” Raza suggested. “After all, it’s unlikely they’ll invade us.”

“Short term, Iran’s not a problem, but long term, they’re a nightmare. They worship at the altar of modernity. They let their women ride bicycles, drive cars and take buses with men. Their women walk the streets in tight, provocative clothes instead of burqas. They wear skimpy silk scarfs instead of niqabs. Their women even wear pants! They blaspheme the Koran by dissecting its passages and debating its meaning as if it were a stupid speech by a kaafir [infidel] politician.”

“The Iranian young people study real math, chemistry and physics, which our clerics denounce as ‘sorcery,’” Raza said, agreeing.

“Half their science majors are women,” Kamal said, “and they have a shockingly free press.”

“Freer than that of any other Middle Eastern Muslim country,” Raza had to admit. “The truth is that Iran has joined the Modern Age, and we haven’t.”

“Because of their modernity, Iran is acquiring all the military advantages of modernism as well,” Kamal said, “which will include nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in the not-too-distant future—weapons which we have no defense against.”

“Oh, we can defend ourselves against their nukes,” Raza said. “Our clerics can chant Koranic verses at Iran’s nuclear-tipped missiles, causing them to detonate on their launch pads.”

Kamal’s laughter boomed in her earpiece.

Finally, Kamal’s laughter subsided. “On a more serious note, our enemies are, once again, maligning our beloved Kingdom. They say that if we Saudis had not spread our bloody brand of Islam throughout the Middle East,” Raza said, “today that region would be Switzerland.”

“Perhaps, but the United States helped advance our Wahhabist expansion as well. Between 1986 and 1982 the United States printed millions of schoolbooks for young Afghan children. Those American texts preached hatred, violence and death to the non-Muslim infidels such as the Russians. The United States then supplied us the money and weapons to fight the Russian infidel. They still finance our activities with their petrodollars and their high-tech weaponry.”

“Policies which have won them the undying hatred of Muslims around the world,” Raza said, laughing at the sheer stupidity of the strategy.

“No one ever said the Americans were very bright.”

Hearing a plaintive wail, “In fact, take a look right here,” Raza said. Raza fixed her gaze—and her customized video glasses—on a trembling, sobbing young girl. Less than a hundred feet away, she was dressed in a thin white lightweight muslin robe and a niqab. Two clerics were dragging her by the arms to a wooden post. They held her tightly while another man manacled her wrists to the heavy eyehook on the post’s top.

“If this doesn’t cheer you up, my prince, nothing will,” Raza said. “You know the poor girl is only fourteen?”

“I am feeling cheerier already,” Kamal said.

Nor was Kamal the only person who was eager to view the impending event. A growing crowd of onlookers was gathering. Some had brought their families—wives, grandparents, children. In fact, children now abounded—something that always sickened and astounded Raza. And more people were pouring in from all directions.

These people are crazy, she thought, staring out at the rapidly expanding throng.

One little girl had broken free from her family and was running around in circles, laughing. Another child tried to run up to the sobbing teenager and had to be restrained.

“What was the young girl’s crime?” Kamal asked. “The one who’s strung up and about to be flogged?”

“One of our religious police claims to have seen her winking and waving at a young boy on the street,” Raza said.

“A girl after your own heart,” Kamal said.

“Unfortunately, for her, our clerics view such licentiousness as one step away from adultery.”

“Which means?”

“The flogging will be most severe.”

Over the VidCam, Raza could both hear and watch Kamal breathing raggedly in short rasping gasps.

“If I could only be there in person,” Kamal whispered.

“Were you spotted, you would not live out the day,” Raza noted.

“Still we can watch it together?” he asked anxiously.

“But of course,” Raza said. “I will record it and transmit it to your computer. Later you can stream it onto your 100-inch flat-screen TV and watch it as often as you wish in excruciating, close-up detail.”

A black-robed man came forward with a stiff black four-foot leatherbound whip. The cleric turned to the crowd and announced:

“Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon!” [To Allah we belong and to Him we will return.]

The group roared its approbation.

“La hawla wala quwata illa billah!” [There is neither strength nor power except in Allah.]

By now the cacophony was portentously powerful.

“SubhanAllahi azim wa bihamdi!” [Glory be to Allah, most Great and Worthy of Praise.]

The crowd’s ovation was deafening, and the cleric had to order them to be still.

After which he pronounced the final and most important blessing:

“Rahimullah!” [May Allah have mercy on her soul.]

Now there was no holding the mob back. They bawled, bellowed, blustered, rumbled and clamored for the show. Even the small children cheered wildly.

The man began to flog the girl’s back, his blows falling so hard and so rapidly Raza could barely discern the individual strokes. Raza was amazed the girl didn’t howl like the mob, whose enthusiasm seemed boundless. Apparently, her pain was so unbearable it shocked her almost speechless. Breathless groans and violent paroxysms were her only reaction. Her body bounced reflexively up and down the pole.

“How many lashes will she get?” Kamal asked as the girl bucked and bobbed on the post like a deranged marionette jerked around by an insane puppet master.

“Relax,” Raza whispered to him. “There’s plenty more to watch. She’s sentenced to 1,000 lashes, which are to be delivered 100 at a time.”

A third of the way through the girl’s ordeal, a commotion broke out a hundred feet to Raza’s right. Instinctively, she turned to watch, automatically recording it. Two crowds were forming. She knew what had been scheduled for that time and quickly walked over to film those two exhibitions as well.

“No, don’t stop,” Kamal said, begging her not to take her camera-glasses off the flogging.

“No, my prince,” Raza said. “This will be even better. You have to see it. This is one of your favorites.”

“It’s not—?” Kamal asked. “Is it—?”

“They don’t call this place ‘Chop Chop Square’ for nothing, baby.”

One black-robed man and a white-robed woman were being forced to their knees—one in front of a stone block, the other some twenty feet to his right.

Yes, it was happening.

Another black-robed torturer came forward wielding not a sword, but a terrifyingly sharp knife almost three feet in length.

The first victim’s wrist was being shackled to a thick, heavy eyehook screwed into the block. Three men held the kneeling man by his arms and shoulders in front of the stone, his wrist now firmly fastened to the eyehook.

“What’s his crime?” Kamal asked.

“The clerics said he was a thief,” Raza said.

“Was he?” Kamal asked.

“Who knows?” Raza said with infinite hauteur. “They’re clerics.” Her imperious sneer spoke volumes.

The torturer was now repeating the four required invocations.

“Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon!”

“La hawla wala quwata illa billah!”

“SubhanAllahi azim wa bihamdi!”

“Rahimullah!”

After each prayer, the crowd, which now numbered in the hundreds, responded with ecstatic screams.

The torturer then amputated the man’s hand at the wrist with a swift, single blow.

While the crowd roared, he continued on to his next prisoner—twenty feet away—without looking back, and Raza followed him.

“This new and final prisoner is a seventeen-year-old girl,” Raza explained.

“What was her crime?” Kamal asked.

“She was a servant, and she killed her employer.”

“Did she give a reason?”

“He beat, raped and imprisoned her,” Raza said, “all the while refusing to pay or release her.”

“If she was a servant girl,” Kamal said, “she was obviously not a Saudi.”

“Of course not,” Raza said scornfully. “She worked for a living.”

Kamal laughed raucously at Raza’s joke.

“She came from Jakarta,” Raza added.

“Which means she has no rights here at all,” Kamal said.

“Nor should it be otherwise,” Raza said.

But now the presiding black-robed cleric was again offering up the same benisons that the previous prisoners had received.

“Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon!”

“La hawla wala quwata illa billah!”

“SubhanAllahi azim wa bihamdi!”

“Rahimullah!”

The mob’s excitation was ear-cracking.

The executioner’s swing was level and exact.

The young woman’s head tumbled from her shoulders and struck the granite square with a sickening whommppp!

Blood hemorrhaged from her severed neck as if out of a high-pressure hose.

In her camera-glasses’ “Hangout Screen,” Raza could see the prince sprawled supine on his bed, shrieking and howling as if all the damned souls in hell were inside of him, fighting to escape. His arms were buried under his robe, and his enormous porcine body shuddered spasmodically, almost seismically.

She dreaded to think what preposterous perversions incited his crazed convulsions.

<em style=”font-size: 12px;”>Copyright © 2018 Robert Gleason.</em>

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Comments

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    Thnaks for Shaering it

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