In this chapter Devlin brings Maryam to a backup spy house he has stashed somewhere, which is also filled with goofy cartoon traps. Where exactly does he get all of this stuff from? Does the NSA have people who’ll install canisters of nerve gas and explosives in their agent’s houses for a fee?
Now he knew he was absolutely right not to have bought the Muslim terrorist line. Everybody expected “terrorists” to be Muslims these days, especially the media. They were the politically incorrect bogeymen with incendiary “sensibilities.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking- is Devlin actually criticizing the stereotyping and scapegoating of Muslims? Well yes, but only because they’re too stupid to be competent:
They were also a singularly inept group of adversaries from cultures that could not build a flush toilet or maintain an electrical grid.
As we all know, any part of the planet not touched by the light of Christianity and American culture is a blighted wasteland of poverty, where people live in mud huts among squalid filth. Just look at these harrowing images from The Muslim World:
OH THE HUMANITY
THOSE POOR PEOPLE WON’T SOME WHITE CHRISTIANS SHOW THEM HOW TO BUILD A TOILET
AAAAAAA okay seriously though. I know it’s for some reason hard for people to believe this, but technology and infrastructure and cities and shit are not the exclusive domain of “The West”. Yes, there’s probably tons of poverty in the places I’ve included photos of, but there’s also tons of poverty in the United States. If you selectively cherry-pick your conception of any country you can make it look like a post-apocalyptic hellscape, as I will demonstrate:
^ The Richest Country In The World
^ Backward Muslim-land
And hey, what about Ireland? Yep, we’ve got poverty here too. Imagine that!
And let’s take away the ridiculous west vs Islam Land clash of civilizations bullshit for a second and keep in mind that flush toilets and electricity grids are cool, yes, but there are people in places without them who aren’t necessarily living in grinding poverty. Ranking parts of the world on a sliding scale based on how “modern” they are is reductive and simplistic.
Anyway, Devlin reminds us that these attacks couldn’t really be the work of Islamic terrorists because they’re so stupid and incompetent and can’t get anything done 9/11 WAS A FLUKE LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU
As you can probably tell, the book is taking a singularly contradictory view of Muslims, on the one hand waving around the right-wing bugbears of demographic crisis and filthy immigrant hordes taking over the world and on the other portraying them as backward incompetents who could never pose a threat to the glorious, technologically advanced west. That’s because the politics Walsh is tapping into relies on whipping people into a frenzy of fear and paranoia, but at the same time the national pride of the people holding these views can’t stand the idea that a culture they look down on could ever threaten them. In order to resolve this paradox they posit that the country is being weakened by enablers and traitors- in this case Sophisticated Europeans and limp-wristed American liberals.
It turns out Maryam is an agent of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an organization aimed at ousting the current political leaders of the country, and she was sent to Paris when she and Devlin met specifically to find him and help him. The current actual leader of the real-life NCRI is also named Maryam, and I can’t decide if that’s slightly creepy or hilariously unimaginative; I have this image of Walsh needing a name for his badass spy woman and just doing a five-second wikipedia search.
Devlin does some computer wizardry and manages to trace Charles to somewhere in London, then him and Maryam head to his fancy spy bedroom to have spy sex. Because of course they do.
It’s now time for DAY THREE!
When men are inhuman, take care not to feel towards them as they do towards other humans. —MARCUS AURELIUS, Meditations, Book VII
GOTTA KILL ALL THE TURR’RISTS
Just in case the message wasn’t clear enough yet.
It’s back over to Charles in London, where we get confirmation that he is indeed trying to flush Devlin out of hiding. He had hidden cameras stashed somewhere during the school siege to get a look at Devlin’s face.
No matter how poor the quality, the computers would be able to extract an image, extrapolate concealed features simply from the shape of the chin or the earlobe.
People really need to get over this idea that computers are magical image-restoration engines capable of gleaning data from noise. If your image doesn’t show a person’s facial features, no program on earth is going to let you see them accurately.
Also confirmed in this chapter (although anyone would have figured it out by now) is the fact that Charles and Skorzeny are connected. Through Charles’ narration we learn that all of the “aid” being sent to LA is surplus stuff that Skorzeny didn’t need anyway and that there’s something sinister hidden in the cargo ship.
The greatest country on earth, a country (it pained him to admit) even more powerful than the Empire at its zenith,
See, even the other first-world bad guys from countries with flush toilets and electrical grids are impressed with how awesome the US is.
As you know, it is my fondest dream to see a new world order emerge before I die, one in which we all are citizens of the world, not simply citizens of whatever nation in which we happen to have been born.
This naturally makes Skorzeny even more despicable, fervent nationalism being a virtue to Walsh’s intended audience.
During Skorzeny’s speech they put the next phase of their plan into action: a stolen tomahawk missile hits the London Eye, which Skorzeny is standing right in front of for dramatic effect. At the same time, a bomb in a second aid ship en route to the US explodes, sinking it.
Hey, here’s a little flaw with Skorzeny and Charles’ master plan- wouldn’t someone get a tad suspicious if a ship sent by Skorzeny’s company happened to explode at exactly the same time as a famous monument was destroyed right as Skorzeny finished giving a speech in front of it? No, there’s nothing there to actually point to his involvement, but surely someone would at least sit up and take notice, even just to ask if the terrorists were targeting Skorzeny and his company for some reason- the strike on the London Eye could easily be interpreted as an assassination attempt.
This gets even more absurd once we discover that a key part of the plan involves the authorities not finding out about what’s stashed on the aid ship that already pulled into port. Given one attack on a ship owned by Skorzeny and what looks like an attempt to blow him to pieces, might the police not insist on searching every inch of the remaining ship to make sure there isn’t another bomb on board?
Just as Charles’ is finished plucking Devlin’s face from the digital ether Amanda Harrington (Skorzeny’s underling who he’s obsessed with, remember) sashays in and is all naked and sexy at him. It’s very James Bond-ish, and comes across a precisely as juvenile as its inspiration.