Cut the Head off a Snake

Chapter One

May 2nd, 2020

Huzaifa Mostafa sat on a patio chair at Little Heaven on Corodon with his back against the brick wall of the exterior of the building. He was tucked into a little nook near the back of the patio that had partial privacy created by lattice fencing installed around the table. He could still clearly see the road and all passersby, but was well out of earshot of the street. The plain white table and black folding chair he sat on where a common sight up and down this strip in little Italy and matched the ones his security detail sat at near the entrance to the patio. There was a hedgerow growing in a raised planter skirting the entire patio that kept out unwanted people and provided a measure of privacy for the cafe’s patrons.

He had been here plenty of times and had no nervous feelings toward being open or inviting contacts here. It was his place and he knew all the staff by name and they knew him and his associates, or at least they thought they did. He was known as ‘The Lion’ out in the field and was a well respected businessman managing an export and import company as a well crafted cover. He was active at a Mosque in the West End of Winnipeg where he lived a modest life renting a penthouse apartment from a family friend at 411 Cumberland. Married with one teenage son he had been here in Canada for fifteen years now and had built a business from scratch using Al Qaeda contacts and money from the Middle East.

The area around the neighbourhood was counter surveilled by his operatives and they had direct contact with his security team in the advent of trouble or suspect activity. In other words he knew what was what on his block and knew when to talk the talk or walk the walk. Seldom was there anything going on but he was a known player in the game and once and a while a Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent or a Central Intelligence Agency agent would stake him and his premises out. There was a break in once a couple years back… His guys thought it was spy games where they try to get bugs into your business to listen in but they could never prove it.

The sun shone brightly as Huzaifa was here to relay wonderful news to an associate who was due in mere moments. The associate was another local business man who owned a car dealership on Notre Dame avenue. Farid Badrashi had immigrated from Pakistan about the same time Huzaifa had come from Syria. They were men with ideals that were enshrined upon them in the training camps of the Tora Bora mountains and then were ordered to immigrate to North America to build a network and scout potential targets for terrorist actions. Today was exciting as Huzaifa had finally received the call to activate his terrorist cell networks. He only heard “The Moon Hangs High” over the phone when he answered the unknown number presumably from a burner phone somewhere on earth.

He knew from training that the SIM card out of the phone would be destroyed after the list of preprogrammed numbers had been called and he was only one of them. He knew there would be no logical order to the numbers dialed, but the operative making the calls would have been who he knew him to be. There had been the matter of calling a special one time number from a secret phone he kept in a safe at an apartment he rented to say, “Operation Prime Rebel Underway” which would have been voice print verified and logged by overseas assets in Afghanistan. Then he took out the SIM card and melted it in an ashtray with a blowtorch. He knew the worst had come to pass but they would now strike out as Osama bin Laden had wanted.

There had been a break in the US backed ‘War on Terror’ on May 2, 2011, when the death of Osama bin Laden had been announced throughout the free world which should have been gloomy for all the Islamic world but still Huzaifa stood fast knowing his mission in Canada had just started. There had been a phone call that day to notify him of a secret plan by top Al Qaeda operatives to topple the governments of the UK, US, and Canada in retaliation for their parts in the war in Afghanistan. It had partly been put into place by bin Laden himself and was to be rolled out should he untimely be put out of play.

For years Huzaifa had scouted targets… The wonderfully celebrated Bell MTS Centre… The Millennium Library… The many malls like Polo Park and Portage Place… The new arena in Fort Garry… Pretty much any place people gathered en mass would do for a terror target. The Legislature Building would be an example of a target intended to cripple the government. There was the bonus of the Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg that was combined with Air Command’s 5th Wing Airbase…. Even the Legions or ANAVETS clubs would be good targets to take out. To cripple industry he could attack any of several well known industries like the Boeing plant, MacDon, New Flyer, Old Dutch, or the CentrePort facilities, as they would cause panic right across the nation spreading fear from the heart of Canada.

He assumed that the other leaders had also received phone calls to activate and where in the process of doing so, but put that out of mind and picked up his phone. He texted an associate at the office saying he’d not be back in today and then sent a text to his secretary to screen calls and only forward the important ones thinking he’d hit pay dirt when he hired Joseph as he followed directions to a tee and never seemed to make many mistakes. He had called Farid earlier in the afternoon and told him to meet at the cafe by 4pm for a casual coffee. Huzaifa’s order had just been placed before him when Farid sat down unexpectedly.

“I wasn’t followed this time. I’m sure of it. I had the taxi driver circle the street three times before he let me off down the block. I stopped once as an innocent looking lady came out of a shop and followed me, but she went right into the next shop with a smile and that was that.” said Farid.

“Things have progressed… I mean we are going live with our software update tomorrow. You know the new code for the server will be online by noon.” I said speaking in code about our primary target.

“Oh? You sure that it’s time? I didn’t think the beta copy had passed inspection yet… But knowing the Americans I guess they have found all the bugs they needed and are convinced they will be better off for having eradicated them.” replied Farid replying in equal code about the higher-ups of Al Qaeda finally being caught or killed.

“It seems that real annoying cockroach we have to credit with our being here has come through and so will we… I received word early this morning to proceed and wrap up the preliminary data gathering. We are to go live tomorrow… At exactly noon.” I said hinting that our primary target was to be hit and all the assets had been woken up and were in place for the first strike.

“I assume the whole country is coming online this time, not just the wingnuts we had prove we were around?” asked Farid subtly feeling me out to see if this was a loyalty test or if it was in fact real.

“Yes… Our developers in Toronto are ready to go live with the new code. They have been in place for months now awaiting the signal to proceed with planed changes. It should go off without a hitch as they have gained top security clearance and have access to all the required systems… Remember noon is the beginning. It will be glorious for all our associates and we will shine in the end.” I said hinting of a coordinated effort to cripple the economy of Canada in one fallow blow.

The Toronto Stock Exchange was the primary target for our initial phase of attack. We thought that destabilizing the economy without creating casualties would make the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan retreat from our lands as it was not just Canada’s Markets that would feel the sting. Assets to the south would see Wall Street crippled in the same effort and the London Stock Exchange would also be brought down by felicitous and erroneous code slipped in through several years of hacking from the inside. Exactly at noon Central Standard Time the main servers would be rebooted and the new code would take over. It was to look like a waffle in the greater of things, but this waffle had sprinkles and was chocolate dipped for our side while being bitter to the Westerners.

The new code essentially spawned a slow crawling worm to drain off funds from legitimate stocks and invest the funds into our dummy stocks that had been sitting dormant and forgotten

to artificially raise the price. This would set up a bubble that we would poke when the time was ripe and should set off a crash that crippled the ability of the Western World to openly trade. If it went off the way we planned it would be akin to Black Friday in 1929. Our agents in positions of interest were to tip off the market analysts that some new technology breakthrough was imminent and certain stocks should be bought before it was too late to siphon off even more money.

When the bubble was to be popped the stocks would suddenly be sold en mass and the funds deposited into Al Qaeda controlled numbered accounts in Switzerland and other places abroad. The money was to be used to fund Jihad in Afghanistan and would be doled out to the cells in North America to make Osama’s dream come true… Revenge would be sweet… Definite… Finite… Reality. The leaders were to take the funds they received and prepare for phase three… A massive simultaneous coordinated attack in several North American and British cities. First there would be more warning signs given as the electrical grid would be hacked and random rolling blackouts would plague the power grid causing wild swings in stability.

The three phase plan had been thought up by Al Qaeda leaders after 9/11 did not have the desired results and the West had invaded several countries looking to put an end to terrorism. The philosophy was that losing control of their sacred markets and revered power grid would strike a subtler terror into the populace worldwide. The reasoning was that the Western world would just dump more soldiers, and tanks into Afghanistan, and bomb more of the Middle East in retaliation to having more innocent deaths.

With winter approaching electricity would be in high demand to heat homes and businesses where commerce happened. Stores would not be able to operate without power and would lose business eventually being forced to close their doors due to lack of income. This would further destabilize the Western economy eventually creating chaos as the masses could not have Big Macs and Slurpees. When the society supporting industries where in tatters the Western leaders might think it to be in their best interest to accept the loss and leave the Middle East for good.

In all it should take three weeks to engineer the massive stock market crashes and six months more of rigging the power grid for failure to bring the West to their knees. At least that was the plan and if that did not succeed then the attacks to follow in the spring would surely cripple them for good.

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