Kareem Al Sadawi was a minor link in the global chain of terror. Years before September 11th, he worked in the United States. After that date, the Americans declined to renew his visa, forcing him to leave his job at JPL and return to Lebanon. He felt betrayed by his adopted country and was willing to do something to avenge his honor.
On his return to Beirut, he had taken a position as Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at the American University. The pay was one third of his former salary, and he was frustrated by life in Beirut with its own problems with extremists and the look of a moonscape in some parts of the city due to the Israeli-Lebanese War of 2006 that saw Israel laying ruin to Hezbollah strongholds in the city’s urban slums. .
For the past five years, he’d worked secretly to develop an “intelligence gathering” cell to collect information that could be of some use to Hamas or Al Qaeda using dedicated software to search the world wide web for clues as to what the Americans were up to in the Middle East not reported in the New York Times. In truth he was a frustrated man trying to become important.
“What are you doing Kareem?” his girlfriend asked. She lay on the bed waiting impatiently for him to come over as she watched Ali’s fingers fly over the keys.
“Searching for critical information,” he turned to look at her and wondered why he bothered with these immature creatures uninterested politics.
She came up close, placed her hands on his shoulders, and pressed against his back with her breasts. He kept typing. Then looking back, taking her hand as he stood up, he led her back to the bed with its bedsheets all ajar, and the heavy scent of recent sex laying a thin veneer on its synthetic surface.
“Go home.” He said after settling her on the bed once again, “time for children to leave.”
She chose not to move; she was too comfortable. He had enough of the girl; he stopped mid-way and returned to the bed, reaching down, he rolled her out of the bed. She spit at him as he gathered up her cloths and pushed her out into the hallway slamming the door almost in her face.
Kareem went back to the computer. Years before, he managed to break into the JPL computer system; after all, he helped design the firewall before the FBI had discovered things about his past and his current company that had led to his loss of a security clearance and being booted out of the country with his name placed on a No Fly List that made it hard for him to even get to Western Europe now. Rarely was there anything except office gossip in these e-mails, but from time to time there might be something of possible interest too.
Preceding through the new e-mails accumulated in his JPL file he saw several exchanges between Roger Carlton and a man at the Los Alamos labs.
Reading the traffic between Carlton and Ben Arnstein, who headed a Weapons Research Group at Los Alamos, he grew excited. There were references to General Reinhardt, to Lockheed’s super-secret ‘Skunkworks’, to Stanley Marks at Draper Labs, and to a ‘Project NorthStar’. He added these names to his watch list and set his internet-spiders to work searching for more clues.
Taking what he’d discovered with him, he went to work. In between classes, he met with a carefully selected group of students committed to bringing down the American Empire in the Middle East. They held the United States responsible for Assad remaining in power in Syria and the Russians becoming more entrenched in the Middle East. Either the United States acted like a mouse, as it had in the beginning in the Syrian war, or as a lion, with equally disastrous results for the defense-less peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia.
“So what do you think,” he asked finally.
“It’s part of the Star Wars defense system,” one student suggested, “probably has something to do with lasers. They might use a small nuclear weapon to create sufficient energy to destroy a warhead at the highest point on its trajectory.”
“A weapon that they abandoned,” another suggested. “You see the reference to the failure to activate in Arnstein’s e-mail to Carlton. You see when Arnstein says it would have led to a new arms race and that it was impossible to defend against the meaning is clear.”
The only woman in the group, Hannah, pulled the bits together, her theory made the most sense.
“They placed nuclear weapons in space,” she said with a smile, “but didn’t complete the project. Something stopped them before they made it operational.”
Kareem watched the others nod in agreement. The immoral Americans were capable of almost any hypocrisy.
“We will have to spend some time thinking like an American.” He said as he started to leave.
“And, then what?” Kareem asked.
“We will find someone, perhaps General Reinhardt himself, who knows the truth.”