The Bourne Identity / Page 50

Page 50



A GRASSY KNOLL IN DALLAS?

But one fact not disputed is that the profits from his first several kills enabled the assassin to set up an organization that might be envied by an operations analyst of General Motors. It is capitalism at its most efficient, loyalty and service extracted by equal parts fear and reward. The consequences of disloyalty are swift in coming - death - but so, too, are the benefits of service - generous bonuses and huge expense allowances. The organization seems to have hand-picked executives everywhere; and this well-founded rumor leads to the obvious question. Where did the profits initially come from? Who were the original kills?

The one most often speculated upon took place thirteen years ago in Dallas. No matter how many times the murder of John F. Kennedy is debated, no one has ever satisfactorily explained a burst of smoke from a grassy knoll three hundred yards away from the motorcade. The smoke was caught on camera; two open police radios on motorcycles recorded noise's). Yet neither shell casings nor footprints were found. In fact, the only information about the so-called grassy knoll at that moment was considered so irrelevant that it was buried in the FBI-Dallas investigation and never included in the Warren Commission Report. It was provided by a bystander, K. M. Wright of North Dallas, who when questioned made the following statement:

'Hell, the only son of a bitch near there was old Burlap Billy, and he was a couple of hundred yards away.'

The 'Billy' referred to was an aged Dallas tramp seen frequently panhandling in the tourist areas; the 'Burlap' defined his penchant for wrapping his shoes in coarse cloth to play upon the sympathies of his marks. According to our correspondents, Wrights statement was never made public.

Yet six weeks ago a captured Lebanese terrorist broke under questioning in Tel Aviv. Pleading to be spared execution, he claimed to possess extraordinary information about the assassin 'Carlos'. Israeli intelligence forwarded the report to Washington; our Capitol correspondents obtained excerpts.

Statement: 'Carlos was in Dallas in November 1963. He pretended to be Cuban and programmed Oswald. He was the back-up. It was his operation.'

Question: 'What proof do you have?' -

Statement: 'I heard him say it. He was on a small embankment of grass beyond a ledge. His rifle had a wire shell-trap attached.'

Question: 'It was never reported; why wasn't he seen?'

Statement: 'He may have been, but no one would have known it. He was dressed as an old man, with a shabby overcoat, and his shoes were wrapped in canvas to avoid footprints."

A terrorist's information is clearly not proof, but neither should it always be disregarded. Especially when it concerns a master assassin, known to be a scholar of deception, who has made an admission that so astonishingly corroborates an unknown unpublished statement about a moment of national crisis never investigated. That, indeed, must be taken seriously. As so many others associated - even remotely - with the tragic events in Dallas, 'Burlap Billy' was found dead several days later from an overdose of drugs. He was known to be an old man drunk consistently on cheap wine; he was never known to use narcotics. He could not afford them.

Was 'Carlos' the man on the grassy knoll? What an extraordinary beginning for an extraordinary career! If Dallas really

was his 'operation' how many millions of dollars must have been funnelled to him? Certainly more than enough to establish a network of informers and soldiers that is a corporate world unto itself.

The myth has too much substance; Carlos may well be a monster of flesh and too much blood.

Marie put down the magazine. 'What's the game?!

'Are you finished?' Jason turned from the window.

'Yes.'

'I gather a lot of statements were made. Theory, suppositions, equations.'

'Equations?'

'If something happened here and there was an effect over there, a relationship existed.'

'You mean connections,' said Marie.

'All right, connections. It's all there, isn't it?'

To a degree, you could say that. It's hardly a legal brief; there's a lot of speculation, rumour, and second-hand information.'

"There are facts, however.'

'Data.'

'Good. Data. That's fine.'

'What's the game?" Marie repeated.

'It's got a simple title. It's called "Trap".'

Trap who?'

'Me.' Bourne sat forward. 'I want you to ask me questions. Anything that's in there. A phrase, the name of a city, a rumour, a fragment of... data. Anything. Let's hear what my responses are. My blind responses.'

'Darling, that's no proof of...'

'Do it!' ordered Jason.

'All right.' Marie raised the issue of Time. 'Beirut,' she said.

'Embassy,' he answered. 'CIA station head posing as an attach^. Gunned down in the street Three hundred thousand dollars.'

Marie looked at him. 'I remember,' she began.

'I don't!' interrupted Jason. 'Go on.'

She returned his gaze, then went back to the magazine. 'Baader-Meinhof.'

'Stuttgart Regensburg. Munich. Two kills and a kidnapping, Baader accreditation. Fees from...' Bourne stopped, then whispered in astonishment, 'U.S. sources. Detroit... Wilmington, Delaware.'

'Jason, what are... ?'

'Go on. Please.'

'The name, Sanchez.'

'The name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez,' he replied. 'He is ... Carlos.'

'Why the Ilich?'

Bourne paused, his eyes wandering. 'I don't know.!

'It's Russian, not Spanish. Was his mother Russian?'

'No ... yes. His mother. It had to be his mother ... I think. I'm not sure.'

'Novgorod.'

'Espionage compound. Communications, cyphers, frequency traffic. Sanchez is a graduate.'

'Jason, you read that here!'

'I did not read it! Please. Keep going!'

Marie's eye swept back to the top of the article. Tehran.'

'Eight kills. Divided accreditation - Khomeini and PLO. Fee, two million. Source: South-west Soviet sector.'

'Paris,' said Marie quickly.

'All contracts will be processed through Paris.'

'What contracts?'

'The contracts ... Kills.'

'Whose kills? Whose contracts?'

'Sanchez's ... Carlos's.'

'Carlos? Then they're Carlos's contracts, his kills. They have nothing to do with you.'

'Carlos's contracts,' said Bourne, as if in a daze. 'Nothing to do with ... me,' he repeated, barely above a whisper.

'You just said it, Jason. None of this has anything to do with you!'

'No! That's not true!' Bourne shouted, lunging up from the chair, holding his place, staring down at her. 'Our contracts,' he added quietly.

'You don't know what you're saying!'

'I'm responding! Blindly! It's why I had to come to Paris!' He spun round and walked to the window, gripping the frame.

That's what the game is all about,' he continued. 'We're not looking for a lie, we're looking for the truth, remember? Maybe we've found it, maybe the game revealed it.'

This is no valid test! It's a painful exercise in incidental recollection. If a magazine like Time printed this, it would have been picked up by half the newspapers in the world. You could have read it anywhere!'


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