Edge of Apocalypse: pages 289-293 (Chapter Fifty)
So, like I said over on Slacktivist, I prefer listening to KMFDM rather than deal with Constitution-fetishizing Republicans who would rather recycle the tired old crap that was discredited in FDR’s time than admit that maybe it’s time to stop insisting that Democrats aren’t patriots, and admit that the Republicans are interested in only one thing: preserving established power.
That segues rather neatly into considering that this book, Edge of Apocalypse, has as one of its central themes that Democrats and Democratic politicians are just unpatriotic little twerps who want to give the USA away to the United Nations, and that the sheer bizarro portrayal of reality in this book is to be taken for actuality. We see that this book endorses the primacy of the military in terms of how the USA should organize its priorities, and implies that Democrats don’t love the USA the way Republicans do, by such things as President Corland not lionizing Joshua Jordan in front of a bazillion TV cameras when presenting Josh with the thanks of a grateful nation, or a Congressional investigation that is not conducted in good faith on the part of the Democrats.
We see this in Joshua’s cabal, his Roundtable peopled with wealthy and well-connected individuals who are trying to become movers and shakers in altering the face of US politics. And now, we’ll see this in The Patriots, the shadowy group whose members have begun contacting Josh Jordan.
It’s rather telling, I think, that these shadowy, behind-the-scenes organizations are presented as right-doers, instead of people who have no business trying to covertly manipulate the populace. It could fairly be said that the Administration isn’t much better, but at least they have the saving grace of actually having been elected to do their duty to the nation, as imperfectly as they might carry that out in practice.
So we join Josh Jordan actually being kind of clandestine now!
From his position against the railing of the ferry, Joshua Jordan had a good view of the Statue of Liberty as it loomed large on the water beyond the bow of the tour boat. The sky was grey and overcast, and the iron-colored water of the bay was choppy as the ferry left Battery Park Harbor in Manhattan. He felt uneasy about leaving the privacy of his hotel room. Wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses was a start.
Helluva lot better than amateurishly sneaky dinners in the hotel he’s staying at.
Taking one last look at the business card bearing only “The Patriot” on it along with a telephone number, Joshua wondered if anyone would show up. Joshua had called him immediately after the conference call with the Roundtable. The Patriot had insisted on the ferry for their rendezvous. Not exactly Joshua’s first choice.
Tough patooties, Josh. When the dude who might save you insists on some proper methods of meeting in ways which don’t attract attention (i.e. an ordinary meeting on a ferry, rather than a swanky restaurant dinner with someone else’s wife*), you do it, Mr. Jordan.
AND NOW WE MEET THE PATRIOT!!!
“You remind me of a man who likes to play chess.”
That was the prearranged opening line. The scripted intro concocted by the Patriot seemed melodramatic. But Joshua was required to give him the agreed response.
“I do. I prefer to lead with the knight.”
The other man reached out his hand and gave Joshua a crushing, hydraulic handshake. He had a good-natured face, in his early sixties, was medium height, and in very good shape. By all appearances he could have been a banker or a clerk in a men’s clothing store.
You know, it would have been funny as hell for Parshall to totally blow away any preconceived notions by having the Patriot dude be some shy, wispy, retiring type (like John Fiedler’s Juror #2 character in Twelve Angry Men) rather than the obviously acceptably manly guy we see here. But as is apparently typical for LaHaye-sponsored books, gender-role rigidity requires that the brave anti-government folks be the “proper” kinds of men and women.
BACK STORY TIME, folks. We learn that the Patriot is named Packard McHenry. Now, that said, Josh doesn’t recognize him. So my earlier supposition was incorrect regarding why his wife went in his stead, but a new one comes to mind: he wondered if Josh might be under surveillance and so sent his wife, who might not be immediately recognizable, who then must have reported back that Josh wasn’t being tailed/observed. If he had been, Packard would have cut off all contact.
Now, names. “Packard” evokes that kind of antique-out-of-fashion name aura that accompanies hearing names like “Hosea Blackford**” or the like. “McHenry” conveys the good-ol-Irish-guy type, a name that’s not associated with inherited status or privilege, but who’s a hard-worker, a go-getter, who goes for what he wants and achieves it no matter what.
And now let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:
“Information, Josh. Among other things. I’ve got a little group of friends that work with me on matters important to our country. Similar to your Roundtable.”
“How’d you know about that?”
“If you knew my friends you’d understand. Retired folks from the National Security Agency. Former members of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Past agents from the Secret Service. Me, I’m retired from…the Company.”
Ex-CIA agent turned head of a private, secret organization with people who move about undetected, with ease, to help implement a right-wing agenda and in doing so, spy on people connected to the US Administration. That’s not in any way at all a rather bad thing, according to LaHaye and Parshall. By comparison, the Administration screwing around with antitrust investigations as a form of bullying tactic is garden-variety political skullduggery.
I was watching the TV show Intelligence a while back, and in the second season a shadowy corporation comes into clearer and clearer sight, the “Blackmire Group”. It turns out to be led by a ruthless (ex-?)CIA agent and the Canadians suspect it may in fact be a CIA front company. This, by the way, is not fantasy. The CIA has unofficially been known to run front companies and organizations as a way to create believable non-official cover jobs and professions for their agents***. In the TV series it is hinted that the American government, through the CIA, is interested in seizing access to bulk water rights (at the time, the Canadian government had passed a law against bulk water exports, and there was a flurry of concern in the media at the time about the environmental and political downsides of losing access to reliable supplies of clean drinking water for Canadians).
In this book, even just the mention of a retired CIA agent in a capacity of some resources and power raises the very disturbing question of how closely linked Mr. McHenry is to the CIA and/or its active operatives and informants, and whether or not the CIA is actively involved with domestic right-wing political groups to work against its own political masters, which violates its own charter and, in fact, can lead to heavy prison terms should it be discovered. Given that this book has rather unintentionally exposed a subject of inquiry best explored in some depth, I think I’ll reserve the next writeup to just look at the problematic issues this kind of casual introduction creates, considering that I’ve heard the phrase, “no-one really retires from The Company”.
Moving on, Joshua and Packard begin talking.
“We’ve got an emergency. We need to know something about World Teleco. They’re shutting down a project of ours. We had a contract with them, but they’re refusing to honor it. Our media plan depended on it. And that, in turn, was going to be the linchpin for everything.”
“You mean, the linchpin to get Senator Straworth to drop the subpoena, so Judge Jenkins will then not order you incarcerated for contempt of court and of Congress…so you can keep the RTS weapon design protected and solely in the hands of the Defense Department of the United States, so it doesn’t get leaked to some less-than-friendly nations? You mean that kind of linchpin?”
Indeed it is, Mr. McHenry. And he doesn’t stint either! He goes on to blow the lid off the whole Fulsin thing, and in the process hammer a few more of those alarm bells about how the USA is being given away to all those foreigners.
I have intelligence about a meeting arranged by one particular not-nice lawyer by the name of Allen Fulsin, a man you know about because Judge Fortis Rice from your Roundtable talked to him about joining your group. I’m sure Judge Rice thought he was being discreet when he talked to him. But it turns out that Fulsin is one of those well-connected guys who knows all the dirty tricks and can get deep information from only a few leads. So Fulsin did some digging about your Roundtable based solely on the tidbits Judge Rice had given him, got what he needed, and then met with a high ranking VP of World Teleco at a bar. In a corner booth. We’ve got the whole story. Fulsin warned the telecom company that your message would be criticizing the White House. Exposing corruption. Showing how deliberate misinformation has been fed to the American people. How a media monopoly is aiding and abetting this. And most important to us, explaining how control of our country is being sold off, piece by piece, to a global network.
You have to sit there and marvel at the slanted bizarro perspective being presented as fact because dude’s a Christian and so should be believed. (If you remember from the intro, I noted that the back of the book makes mention of “The Patriots”, who are “well-connected Christians”)
How’d they find out about this at all? “Close surveillance”, Packard says. He goes on to elaborate that his guys had substituted one of the sugar packets for a fake, which is a dicier version of the John Grisham story (likely The Client) where a federal agent has a waiter substitute a bugged salt shaker on a table so he can listen in to the Mafia bad guys.
These guys are seriously creepy. They’ve already got Josh’s private e-mail address (they’re going to have someone e-mail him an affidavit about the meeting between Fulsin and Cheavers), and Packard tells him to upgrade his e-mail security! (O_O) Why Josh isn’t all like “WTF?!” even though these people are helping him out, I have no idea.
Packard goes on to explain what Josh really wants to know, which is the “globalist conspiracy” that this book’s been hinting at by means of Pastor Campbell’s sermons.
“Right,” McHenry said preempting him. “What my wife, Samantha, told you in the hotel restaurant. About being in danger from foreign actors? All we’ve got are bits and pieces that don’t add up. What we do know is that federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, are all clamping down on this hard. Closing ranks. We can’t get any intel on this at the moment. But we’re working on it. I do have one recommendation, though.”
McHenry handed Joshua a slip of paper, then said, “Have General Rocky Bridger from your group call this man at this number. They need to talk.”
On the slip of paper he had written the name of Special Agent John Gallagher along with his private telephone number.
After that, Pack McHenry pronounced what sounded like a kind of benediction. “We wish you God’s speed.”
And that’s that. One thing, though. Remember how Leary wished Gallagher Godspeed? In the book, he actually used the words “God’s speed”. Just like Packard.
I don’t know about you folks, but the idea of an active CIA involvement in a conspiracy to oppose the lawfully constituted government of the United States raises all kinds of seriously massive red flags and warning bells, because this book is majorly glossing over how much of a tar baby this thing could actually be if one begins to explore the implications of this stuff.
The next writeup I do is definitely gonna be a long one.
* You know, if this was Paul Stepola instead of Josh Jordan I’d have been wondering how long before he would have talked her out of that expensive dress and into his bed.
** A character from Turtledove’s TL-191 series who lives into the 1930s, and was born in 1850 or so.
*** The Soviets did something similar with diplomatic staff; you could almost always count on a KGB agent being in a Soviet embassy. News reporters for TASS or the like might also be KGB agents.