This arti­cle is part 4 of 8 in the series The Hague Massage

After grab­bing a quick bite of lunch at the near­by Civic Center food court and find­ing out as much as Marsden could tell me about my tar­get, we walked togeth­er back to his hotel.

Entering the cool lob­by, I was almost chilled by the drop in tem­per­a­ture, espe­cial­ly since both the out­side tem­per­a­ture and humid­i­ty had risen rather dra­mat­i­cal­ly since we had depart­ed the hotel earlier.

“If you’ll wait here Michael, I have a pack­age of mate­r­i­al that con­tains every­thing we’ve already gone over, as well as addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion that might prove help­ful to you.”

Marsden walked over to the front desk and spoke to Willoughby, who was still on duty there.  Willoughby reached under the counter and pro­duced a large Manila enve­lope which he hand­ed to Marsden, who turned and head­ed back to where I was sitting.

“Here, Michael.  Should be every­thing you need includ­ing how to get in touch with me, how your final pay­ment will be made, and an American Express card in your name to take care of your ini­tial expens­es.  Stenolic’s tri­al is sched­uled to last until the end of September, so that’s your win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty.  I trust that will be enough time?” Marsden asked, some­what apprehensively.

“I would pre­fer more time,” I replied.  “But I’ll get start­ed right away.  If there’s no chance of com­plet­ing the assign­ment, I’ll let you know as soon as I do.  But you under­stand I’ll still require twen­ty-five per­cent of my fee, even if I can’t complete?”

“Of course, Michael.  We real­ize that your time and effort require remu­ner­a­tion, regard­less of the outcome.

“Well, good luck.  I hope to hear from you with good news. I don’t sup­pose we’ll see one anoth­er again, but it’s been a plea­sure meet­ing you,” said Marsden as he extend­ed his hand.

“Thanks.  My plea­sure.  Please be assured that I’ll make every effort to com­plete the commission.”

“I’ve no doubt of it, Michael.  I’ve heard you’re very rep­utable… and persistent.”

Marsden turned and walked towards the ele­va­tors as I head­ed out to retrieve my car, head home, and begin plan­ning for a trip to Europe.

When tak­ing on any assas­si­na­tion assign­ment, it is always nec­es­sary to try to deter­mine which tools of the trade might be nec­es­sary to car­ry out the assign­ment suc­cess­ful­ly. My first thought was to use the sniper rifle in my arse­nal.  This is usu­al­ly the first con­sid­er­a­tion, as it allows me to main­tain dis­tance from my tar­get — dis­tance which makes depar­ture from the scene eas­i­er.  However, fly­ing to Europe with firearms is not eas­i­ly accom­plished so the alter­na­tive is to ship the equip­ment sep­a­rate­ly and pick it up at some spot near the final destination.

I broke down the Remington into sev­er­al com­po­nent parts and packed it along with the scope and the P238 into a pack­age whose size would not broad­cast its con­tents.  All the items were care­ful­ly sep­a­rat­ed so that they would not shift or con­tact one anoth­er, sig­nal­ing some­thing metal­lic inside.

I called FedEx and deter­mined that there was a ship­ping cen­ter in Amsterdam to which the pack­age could be sent for lat­er pick­up. Fortunately, the cen­ter was locat­ed very near the air­port which would be con­ve­nient for me as I would be book­ing my flight to Amsterdam instead of trav­el­ing by air all the way to The Hague.

I decid­ed to leave for The Hague on August 11th, which would give me a few days to pre­pare. I set the date for FedEx to pick up my pack­age on the 9th, which should ensure that it would arrive ahead of me and be wait­ing for pick­up when I arrived.

I then booked my flights which would take me from Lexington to New York and on to Amsterdam and went online to rent a car once I arrived at Schiphol Airport.  Sixt is a rep­utable car rental agency and cov­ers most of west­ern Europe, so I arranged to rent a BMW Series 1 sedan, which was not only a low-priced rental, it was a speedy vehi­cle with good han­dling and would not attract undue atten­tion, as they are pret­ty com­mon there.

I then uti­lized Google Earth on my com­put­er to find out some things about the area, espe­cial­ly The Hague and where the ICJ is located.

While exam­in­ing the area I could quick­ly see that find­ing a suit­able loca­tion to uti­lize the sniper rifle was going to be dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly if I hoped to appre­hend Stenolic at the ICJ, and a long shot some­where near the prison proved to be even more remote.

The prob­lem is that there are no build­ings suf­fi­cient­ly far away and suf­fi­cient­ly tall to offer a clear shot and a high prob­a­bil­i­ty of escape.  I don’t like to take shots at less than a thou­sand yards and The Hague is so built up that there seemed no prospect of find­ing that dis­tance with­out inter­ven­ing struc­tures in the way.

But I did­n’t want to rely sim­ply on Google Earth to estab­lish my method­ol­o­gy this time around, so send­ing the rifle on any­way was a way to pro­vide a sec­ondary plan.

Still, some oth­er method must be avail­able, some­thing that I can pack along with­out arous­ing con­cerns of cus­toms officials.

I guessed that, as long as it was­n’t explo­sives, I should be okay pack­ing some­thing in my checked luggage.

After read­ing through all the mate­r­i­al that Marsden had pro­vid­ed, espe­cial­ly on the habits of Stenolic, I set­tled on a fair­ly safe alternative.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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