The bourne supremacy, p.150
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.150

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 150


  'Who did this to us? said David Webb, his voice barely above a whisper.

  'I did,' answered Havilland, at the end of the rectangular white table. The ambassador leaned slowly forward, returning Webb's deathlike stare. 'If I were in a court of law seeking mercy for an ignominious act, I would have to plead extenuating circumstances. '

  'Which were? asked David in a monotone.

  'First there is the crisis,' said the diplomat. 'Second there was yourself. '

  'Explain that,' interrupted Alex Conklin at the other end of the table, facing Havilland. Webb and Marie were on his left in front of the white wall, Morris Panov and Edward McAllister opposite them. 'And don't leave anything out,' added the rogue intelligence officer.

  'I don't intend to,' said the ambassador, his eyes remaining on David. 'The crisis is real, the catastrophe imminent. A cabal has been formed deep in Peking by a group of zealots led by a man so deeply entrenched in the hierarchy of his government, so revered as a philosopher-prince that he cannot be exposed. No one would believe it. Anyone who attempted to expose him would become a pariah. Worse, any attempt at exposure would risk a backlash so severe that Peking would cry insult and outrage, and revert to suspicion and intransigence. But if the conspiracy is not aborted, it will destroy the Hong Kong Accords and blow the colony apart. The result will be the immediate occupation by the People's Republic. I don't have to tell you what that would mean -economic chaos, violence, bloodshed and undoubtedly war in the Far East. How long could such hostilities be contained before other nations are forced to choose sides? The risk is unthinkable. '

  Silence. Eyes locked with eyes.

  'Fanatics from the Kuomintang,' said David, his voice flat and cold. 'China against China. It's been the war cry of maniacs for the past forty years. '

  'But only a cry, Mr Webb. Words, talk, but no movement, no strikes, no ultimate strategy. ' Havilland cupped his hands on the table, breathing deeply. There is now. The strategy's in place, a strategy so oblique and devious, so long in the making, they believe it can't fail. But of course it will, and when it does the world will be faced with a crisis of intolerable proportions. It could well lead to the final crisis, the one we can't survive. Certainly the Far East won't. '

  'You're not telling me anything I haven't seen for myself. They've gone down deep in high places, and they're probably spreading, but they're still fanatics, a lunatic fringe. And if the maniac I saw who was running the show is anything like the others they'd all be hanged in Tian an men Square. It'd be televised and approved by every group opposed to capital punishment. He was - is a messianic sadist, a butcher. Butchers aren't statesmen. They're not taken seriously. '

  'Herr Hitler was in Nineteen-thirty-three,' observed Havilland. The Ayatollah Khomeini only a few years ago. But then you obviously don't know who their true leader is. He'd never show himself under any circumstances where you might even remotely see him. However, I can assure you he's a statesman and taken very seriously. However, again, his objective is not Peking. It's Hong Kong. '

  'I saw what I saw and heard what I heard and it'll all be with me for a long time . . . You don't need me, you never did] Isolate them, spread the word in the Central Committee, call in Taiwan to disown them - they will! Times change. They don't want that war any more than Peking does. '

  The ambassador studied the Medusan, obviously evaluating David's information, realizing that Webb had seen enough in Peking to draw conclusions of his own, but not enough to understand the essence of the Hong Kong conspiracy. 'It's too late. The forces have been set in motion. Treachery at the highest levels of China's government, treachery at the hands of the despised Nationalists, assumed to be in collusion with Western financial interests. Even the devoted followers of Deng Xiao ping could not accept that blow to Peking's pride, that loss of international face - the role of the duped cuckold. Neither would we if it was learned that General Motors, IBM and the New York Stock Exchange were being run by American traitors, trained in the Soviet, diverting billions to projects not in our nation's interests. '

  'The analogy is accurate,' broke in McAllister, his fingers at his right temple. 'Cumulatively that's what Hong Kong will be to the People's Republic - that and a hundred thousand times more. But there's another element and it's as alarming as anything else we've learned. I should like to bring it up now - in my position as an analyst, as someone who's supposed to calculate the reactions of adversaries and potential adversaries-'

  'Make it short,' interrupted Webb. 'You talk too much and you keep rubbing your head too much and I don't like your eyes. They belong to a dead fish. You talked too much in Maine. You're a liar. '

  'Yes. Yes, I understand what you're saying and why you're saying it. But I'm a decent man, Mr Webb. I believe in decency. '

  'I don't. Not any longer. Go on. This is all very enlightening and I don't understand a goddamned thing because nobody's said a goddamned thing that makes sense. What's your contribution, liar?' 'The organized crime factor. ' McAllister swallowed at David's repeated insult, but still delivered the statement as if he expected everyone to understand. When faced with blank looks, he added. 'The triads!'

  'Mafia-structured groups, Oriental style,' said' Marie, her eyes on the undersecretary of state. 'Criminal brotherhoods. '

  McAllister nodded. 'Narcotics, illegal immigration, gambling, prostitution, loan sharking - all the usual pursuits. '

  'And some not so usual,' added Marie. 'They're deep into their own form of economics. They own banks- indirectly, of course - throughout California, Oregon, the state of Washington, and up into my country, in British Columbia. They launder money in the millions every day by way of international transfers. '

  'Which only serves to compound the crisis,' said McAllister emphatically.

  'Why?' asked David. 'What's your point?

  'Crime, Mr Webb. The leaders of the People's Republic are obsessed with crime. Reports indicate that over a hundred thousand executions have taken place during the last three years with little distinction made between misdemeanors and felonies. It's consistent with the regime - the origins of the regime. All revolutions believe they are conceived in purity, the purity of the cause is everything. Peking will make ideological adjustments to benefit from the West's marketplace, but there'll be no accommodation for even the hint of organized crime. '

  'You make them sound like a collection of paranoids,' interjected Panov.

  They are. They can't afford to be anything else. '

  'Ideologically?' asked the psychiatrist, skeptically.

  'Sheer numbers, Doctor. The purity of the revolution is the cover but it's the numbers that frighten them. A huge, immensely populated country with vast resources - my God, if organized crime moved in, and with a billion people inside its borders, don't think for a minute the overlords aren't champing at the bit - it could become a nation of triads. Villages, towns, whole cities could be divided into "family" terrains, all profiting from the influx of Western capital and technology. There'd be an explosion of illegal exports flooding the contraband markets across the world. Narcotics from uncountable hills and fields that could not possibly be patrolled; weapons from subsidiary factories set up through graft; textiles from hundreds of underground plants using stolen machinery and peasant labour crippling those industries in the West. Crime. '

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