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I started a new site, prosecutorialdiscretionblog.wordpress.com. The basic idea is the same: “the rule of law is a no longer in effect.”

While the government’s abandonment of the Constitution’s limits is a pretty well known problem, the problem of prosecutors looking the other way when their friends and allies break the law has contributed equally to the fact we are Without Rule Of Law (WROL).

 

Got a call from a contact in Mississippi about Wade Hicks being temporarily detained, and currently stuck, in Hawaii while travelling to Okinawa to see his wife who is stationed there in the Navy. News story here.

He is a member of the Mississippi Preparedness Project, and I am told he may have been at the Gravelly Point rally. Can anyone confirm? Anyone tried to fly recently and found that they too were on a No Fly list?

In any case, please spread this!!!

 

 

New MIAC scenes for PD

I went back and added this stuff toward the beginning of “Prosecutorial Discretion.”

***

The phone rang in the small security office in the lobby of the Missouri Hazardous Materials Agency building located in the sprawling Militia Drive complex of government buildings just east of Jeffersn City.

“State Hazmat Office, watch officer Phillips speaking, how may I help you sir or ma’am?” the young man said.

“Officer Phillips, this is Regional Director Robert Vance, Homeland Security Department. I need you to get the emergency recall roster for the MIAC staff.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let me know once you have the binder and the recall roster in front of you.”

“OK. Got it.”

“On the list you should see the following names toward the top: MIAC Director Tom Gordon…..”

“OK.”

“…..Missouri Department of Public Safety Homeland Security Coordinator Paul Fernwell,…….”

“OK.”

“……and DHS intel officer Jeff Dorsey.”

“Ok, got ‘em all here, home numbers and cell numbers.” The young officer on duty said.

“Alright, what I need you to do is first call Paul Fernwell, try both numbers, leave a message if he doesn’t answer. If you can’t get through to him at first, then try Tom Gordon , and if he doesn’t pick up, then try Jeff Dorsey. Now, the only message you are to pass here is that Exercise Pivot Turn is commencing. I say again, that is ‘Exercise Pivot Turn.’ They’ll know what to do from there. Ok, got it?”

“Got it.”

Director Vance hung up the phone.

“7 PM to start an exercise – this guy doesn’t play around. I know I’d be pissed getting’ called at dinner like that,” The watch officer said to himself uder his breath as he hung up the phone and looked over at the home number for Paul Fernwell.

The previous iterations of the senior staff level exercise known as Pivot Turn had all begun during regular working hours as the previous Regional Director in charge of them hadn’t been too keen on making waves. But, as the new Director, Bob Vance, saw it, making waves was part of what he was assigned to do and it was especially part of what Exercise Pivot Turn was about. Vance had been a US Army Infantry Commander in Afghanistan; he’d been there, done that, and gotten the T-shirt when it came to fighting counter-insurgency warfare, conducting low level diplomacy with tribal elders and getting Afghan military leaders on board with his unit in joint operations. Exercise Pivot Turn was the DHS’s bread and butter when it came to senior staff training, and Vance, like just about every former military officer in the department, looked forward to the exercise as a chance to get noticed (and promoted). And, like the other ex-military types at DHS, it was also a chance to have a little fun. Compared to the real world combat they’d experienced, the exercise was a video game.

***

Paul Fernwell walked up to the front door of the Missouri Hazardous Materials office building and entered the 4 digit code, opening the door. He walked past the security office and got on the elevator. There, he entered another 4 digit number, allowing him access to the 3rd floor, which, on the elevator, was marked “State Hazmat Emergency Response.”

The elevator opened on the 3rd floor, and Paul walked out, turning right and walking down the main hallway. Paul Fernwell first went to his own office and retrieved a laptop computer and a three ring binder marked “Exercise Pivot Turn.” With these items in one hand, he went to the door across from his office marked “Missouri Information Analysis Center SCIF” and set the computer and binder on a small table. Next to the small table, at about chest height mounted on the wall was a key pad with a card reader and a pad with the outline of a hand. Paul swiped his card, hit a few buttons and placed his hand in the outline on the pad. Once his palmprint was scanned in properly, he hit another button next to the door, and pulled the heavy door, the type used on bank safes, open and carried his computer and binder inside.

Inside the SCIF, the Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility, also known simply as the MIAC War Room, Fernwell started turning on lights, computers, and TV screens. Exercise Pivot Turn was already underway, and the other key players would be arriving shortly. Paul found the page in the binder marked ‘Exercise Script’ and started reading:

0000 – Monday, Nov 1 1900 – Jefferson City Police locate several flyers at polling locations threatening election day violence. The flyer says it is from a group calling itself  “Guardians of the Republic” and reads:

 

To all who can hear our voice,

 

Your system has become corrupted to the point where voting is of no use in restoring our liberties lost through years of abuse at the hands of tyrannical and self-serving politicians. To cast a vote here tomorrow can only be construed as support for this rotten system and the evil it embodies. Therefore, stay home and do not vote. If you do choose to come here tomorrow, you may be targeted as you will be part of the problem

 

-The Guardians of the Republic

 

Regional DHS Director Bob Vance was the next to enter the War Room, followed by the other key players, in all about ten people. Vance himself had written most of the main storyline of the script for the exercise, which, as its name ‘Pivot Turn’ alluded to, dealt with transitioning from a law enforcement type response to a warfighting response in the event of a terrorist attack.

***

 I skip over the actual exercise taking place and resume the MIAC scenes a few days later with an after action meeting:

 ***

DHS Midwest Regional Director Robert Vance picked up the phone in his corner office on the third floor of the Missouri Hazardous Materials office building and dialed the extension for Paul Fernwell, the MIAC Director.

“Yeah, Bob, what’s goin’ on?” Paul answered.

“I’ve got some feedback from DHS on exercise Pivot Turn. You got a minute?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“The exercise audience, and these are DC insider types here, liked how we handled it, how you handled it, overall.”

“That’s good to know, considering we were in there all night and into the morning the other day.”

The exercise had the terrorist group, ‘Guardians of the Republic,’ make good on their threat and carry out sniper attacks against two polling locations on election day in Jefferson City, Missouri. According to the script, the domestic terrorists first fired shots above the heads of those going inside to vote, then, if they weren’t stopped, the next move would have been for them to shoot and kill a police officer at one of the polling locations, and, if they still weren’t stopped after that, they would have massacred a group of civilians in line to vote. While the perpetrators were stopped and all captured before killing anyone, to the credit of the Missouri Information Analysis Center and its director Paul Fernwell, the Guardians were able to achieve one goal: suppress voter turnout in a close election.

But that was above the head of Paul Fernwell. And, as Director Bob Vance had responded to his bosses’ critiques, “They hit us on election day. That’s gonna suppress voter turnout no matter what we do.”

“So of course, they had a few things to say about the politics. But I said, you know, what are you gonna do?” Bob said. “I mean we got the bad guys before they could do any more damage, and that’s what counts. The script had the Republican candidate narrowly winning because of the suppressed voter turnout, but that’s just a script. These things are overly written.” Bob was at work, and he had to be politically correct. “I think if something had gone down like this in real life, I think the voters would have come out equally despite the threat, Democrat and Republican, in order to show the bad guys that they wouldn’t win. Anyway, the only real fault, if you even want to call it that, that they had was that we didn’t push hard enough and early enough to have the first attack declared an Incident of National Significance.”

“..And that’s not really something we have much control over anyway.” Paul said.

“Well, in these kinds of things, the exercise audience, the higher ups, they had themselves written into the script. I didn’t know what they had written for themselves; I just had a little input on the bad guy stuff, the election intimidation M.O., something I had a lot of familiarity with in Afghanistan. But anyway, so the higher ups have themselves written into the script, and the point is to test us, not them. So they’re gonna have themselves written in as lazier or less competent than they would be in real life. Their scripted selves aren’t gonna be a whole lot of help, so it forces us to work harder.” Director Vance said.

“OK, I can see that, kind of like running with weights on your ankles.”

“Right, right.” What Vance didn’t need to say was that, as the relatively new top DHS rep at MIAC, he was there to push everyone harder and that he had a hand in putting those weights on their ankles. “So, these kinds of things are good for us, they keep us on our toes.”

***

 

“These kinds of things are good for us, they do keep us on our toes. Exercise Pivot Turn was a big success, and you all performed marvelously. I know most of you, well, all of you, at the beginning of this exercise the other day were probably saying ‘who the hell’s idea was it to start this thing off at 7 PM in the middle of dinner at home and have us come into work?!?’” Director Bob Vance said to the group of key players assembled in the MIAC War room for the after action briefing. There were a few mumblings at Vance’s question.

“No, no, don’t raise your hands….” Vance continued, attempting a little humor which was received by a few polite ‘hm-hm’s.’ “By now you all probably have a pretty good idea who’s idea it was. Yeah, it was mine; I’ll take full credit for it. Now, if it’s any consolation, I’ll try to have he next one kick off at a more reasonable hour. And, believe me, there will be a lot more of these. Now, anyaway, like I said, you all performed in an excellent manner. Once the enemy made their move, we were right on top of them. Everyone got in here pretty quickly and kicked ass, even though y’all didn’t want to be here.”

“Now in review, I’m just going to go through the timeline here on this PowerPoint.” Vance clicked a button on a pointer and the slide ‘Exercise Pivot Turn: Timeline pt. 1” came on the big screen at the head of the War Room:

0000  (1900) – Start – Jefferson City Police receive threat communication. FBI, MIAC notified. MIAC begins activating emergency recall, phone tree activation.

 

0023  (1923)– Key players begin arriving at War Room

 

0042  (1942)– All key players assembled. Main points briefed.

            – identical threat letters at Ward 1/Precinct 2, Calvary Baptist Church  and Ward 2/ Precinct 1, Miller Performing Arts Center.

            – no security cameras at either location – no video evidence

 

0045  (1945)– Actions Taken:

            – Area LE agencies tasked to check all polling locations and report back status on security cameras, threat literature.

            – Text of threat letter checked on open source internet and FBI, MIAC databases

            – Request sent to DHS for INS declaration, request JFO status, request access to Spotlight Radius for all MIAC SCIF personnel

 

0053 (1953)– Confirmed all local LE agencies working task

 

0054 (1954)– All requests to DHS denied

“So we’re doing all we can do with what we’ve got, and that’s pretty much what the audience is looking for here. As you can see, I put in the first request to DHS for declaring an Incident of National Significance and all that that entails, and, as we expected, that first request was denied.” Vance said and then clicked to the next slide:

0104 (2004)– Local news reports story on Calvary Baptist Church and Miller Performing Arts Ctr threat letters

 

0107 (2007) – Third threat letter found at Ward 5/ Precinct 3, Moreau Heights School, local LE agencies report no security camera at this location, also report 2 other locations found to have no cameras.

 

0108 (2008)– Action Taken: DHS/ local air assets dispatched to monitor Jefferson City area polling locations with priority on those without their own cameras

0112 (2012)– National news picks up report of Calvary and Miller threat letters, story also says police now out in force in Jefferson City looking for more threat letters, photo of one of the threat letters now up on CNN.

 

0115 (2015)– All national news stations covering election threat story. DHS issues nationwide alert. Police across US now checking polling locations.

 

Bob Vance again addressed the assembled group. “And so at this point we don’t really have any leads, and it looks like the enemy’s still got the upper hand; he’s got all the initiative. I’m not gonna read the whole slide here, but you can take a look at it for yourselves. The enemy, basically, has managed to make the top story in the national news and scare the crap out of everyone going into election day. And its not just the national security talking heads that are giving him the publicity he wants – the political talking heads are also all over it. And, of course, the gist of what they’re saying is that it benefits the Republican Party by suppressing turnout. Lower turnout in general helps Republicans, and, add to that, you’re going to have an increased police presence, which, some say…will suppress, well,…er….it’ll suppress Democratic voter turnout specifically. Again, enemy is getting all it could ask for so far as publicity goes……..just with a couple of letters on churches and schools.”

MIAC Director Paul Fernwell raised his hand.

“Yes, Paul, go ahead.”

“Now was it also around this time that we had the UAV spot the guy in he woods near one of those polling locations?” Paul Fernwell asked.

“Well, technically, that’s when the pilot first saw him; I believe that event would fit on this slide. That image, I remember, was on screen 1 for a while until we determined he wasn’t a lead. And, while we’re on that, if anyone here didn’t see how that was played, the DHS air assets, a Predator I believe it was, spotted this guy in the woods behind one of the spots we were watching, a church, I believe. We had County Sheriffs Deputies respond, and, by that time, the guy had come out of the woods and was walking on the sidewalk. They couldn’t arrest him, this is a scripted exercise; it’s supposed to be more challenging for us. In real-world, 9 times out of 10, if air spots a suspicious person in a situation like this, the cops are going to find something to arrest him for. Again, scripted exercise, scripted exercise, gents.”

Pauls hand went up again.

“Yes” Vance nodded to him.

“There wasn’t an active OPFOR on this was there?” Paul asked.

“Well, yes and no. All of the enemy’s courses of action were written in in advance, and they mostly just came up in sequence as the timeline progressed. Some of the enemy actions were automatically selected as responses to our actions. For example, and I’m jumping ahead a little here, the enemy was going to hit the Capitol West Christian Church on the morning of day two, as the polls opened on election day, but we had the Highway Patrol flying one of their remote aircraft, one of the older military hand-me-down units with the loud propeller. The sound acted as a deterrent, and so the enemy decided not to act wherever he heard the prop sound overhead.”

***

“So the higher ups at DHS didn’t green light INS status until we started getting shots fired,” Director Vance said as he clicked onto the final slide for the Exercise Pivot Turn after action session. “..and, from there, things started moving pretty quickly.  Now, keep in mind the Spotlight Radius intel in the exercise was all 100% fictional; we were not working with the real Spotlight Radius. And, as some of you pointed out, there were SR links that you couldn’t really click on to pull up email traffic and cell phone comms. In that respect, I don’t think that part of the exercise was particularly realistic. We could kind of cheat and follow the links that worked, even though the writers threw in a good deal of false leads and had the notional analysts doing a less than stellar job of connecting the dots.”

 

Vance pointed his laser pointer at a line on the final slide:

1724 (1224 Day 2)– Shot impacts brick wall at Cole R-5 School polling location, 1 woman slightly injured with brick fragment in neck.

 

1724 (1224 Day 2)- Action Taken :

            Predator UAV zooms in on red-dot tagged vehicle closest to Cole School

 

“Now this is where Spotlight Radius was instrumental in helping us get this thing resolved. If we didn’t have the SR intel up there linked to the UAV footage like we did, we wouldn’t have had a red-dot label on that vehicle, and we wouldn’t have known to have eyes on the area where he was. That vehicle was actually on an orange dot level of concern until a sweep by one of the Predators showed that it came within a mile of a voting location. And at this point it took damn near 10 minutes, 10 friggin’ minutes to figure out for sure what direction the shot came from. That’s the fog of war, though; that’s how it goes – you’ve got panicked civilians running for cover, ambulance sirens, police sirens, everybody on the ground talking to eachother trying to figure out what’s going on and what to do – meanwhile, we’re just trying to get one straight answer from the cop who was there on the ground when the attack started. The question being: ‘from the looks of the bullet hole, where do you think the shot came from?’ And in a real-life situation, that’s the kind of thing you’re going to have to deal with when you’re trying to get information from on-site observers when an attack goes down.”

             

“So with Spotlight Radius, we were able to cut through a lot of that fog and see very clearly that someone with a pattern of associations with so-called ‘restoration’ type right wing extremists, especially those following the whole ‘we’re not voting our way out of this’ kind of meme – and this was based on open source and semi-open source stuff plus it was confirmed based on email and cell phone communications intel, was driving his vehicle no where near his home, no where near his place of work, and toward a polling location that was not the one he was registered to vote at. We were able to see this pattern as suspicious and elevate his status accordingly, from yellow to orange, and finally to red. And when the UAV pilot zoomed in on his vehicle, low and behold, no one was inside. A quick search for movement revealed a man running through the woods about 300 meters from the school toward the vehicle. We had a pretty good idea where that shot came from before most of those folks on the ground did.”

 

“So, judging by my watch here, which is always right, of course, it’s about 2 PM now. Now I could continue to bore you all with these slides, or we could break off here and continue this after action session at the Jefferson City Country Club.”

 

“I’ll second that motion, Bob. I’d like to ask everyone at this time, is there anyone who does not have their clubs in their car at this time?” MIAC Director Paul Fernwell said.

 

Jim White, the senior intel analyst for MIAC, raised his hand.

 

Paul Fernwell gave him a stern look. “Jim, you should know by now that’s grounds for a poor performance review. See me in my office first thing tomorrow morning.” Paul joked, but it sounded dead-on serious.

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

***

 

Weak

Despite voting to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt ofCongress, there’s little House Republicans can do in the short term to compel him to turn over documents — unless it wanted to revisit a long-dormant power and arrest him.

The thought is shocking, and conjures up a Hollywood-ready standoff scene between House police and the FBI agents who protect the attorney general. It’s a dramatic and unlikely possibility not least because Congress doesn’t even have a jail any longer. But in theory it could happen.

Republicans say it’s not even under consideration, with House SpeakerJohn A. Boehner’s spokesman flatly ruling it out.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/28/house-could-arrest-holder-with-inherent-contempt-p/

I’ve taken down some of the older PD posts and am re-working the story as a short novel to be published, at a minimum, as an e-book. I’m still working on it just about every day off that I have, and I think that those who like the story will like the additions and changes I’ve made to the beginning and middle. Anyone who’s been following the story on the blog here will most definitely get a chance to have a free copy of the e-book, or whatever format the final product is in. Just email or comment if I don’t have your email address already.

-Dan

Chapter 14 – Finally

Ch 14

Eugene Sullivan could hear Adam screaming, and he could make out the word, “kill.”  Sullivan wasn’t having too good of a time as it was in the trunk of the car already. He hadn’t known that he was as claustrophobic as he was finding himself to be, but, then again, he had never been in the trunk of a car. Now he was not only crammed tightly and uncomfortably in a small space, but he was also in complete darkness and still feeling the residual effects of the acid that his kidnapper, torturer, and interrogator had shot him up with.

And this guy was now screaming, “Kill!” at the top of his lungs and driving him somewhere. Sullivan’s mind again began to race wildly despite the fact that Adam had basically told Eugene everything that was supposed to happen from this point on.

Gene was scared, worried that Adam might kill him, worried that Adam might torture him again, and worried that the videotape might make it out. But he wasn’t, at this point, so much concerned for himself but for his family, and especially his children. As he continued to take stock of his most dire and unpleasant predicament, he focused his attention mainly on his oldest son, Andrew.

How would Andy handle it if I didn’t make it out of this alive? How would he handle it if the video were released?

 

Eugene decided to try his best to stop that particular line of thought. He tried to imagine black darkness in place of the images in his mind of the carrot video. But simply imagining blackness didn’t work; the awake mind having no tolerance for a vacuum. Eugene’s still-acid tripping brain went instead to thoughts of how the video would be copied into various versions and distributed if it were ever released. Did the students at Andy’s school have cell phones capable of playing such a video in homeroom class or on the school busses? Probably……definitely…..

 

No! No! No!! No, Gene! Stop thinking about that fucking video!

 

Eugene bit his hand and growled loudly out of frustration and found that the pain and the anger release did push out some of the embarrassing and unthinkable imagery. So he continued along this approach and made an effort to focus on the raw and burning blisters on his feet and between his toes, the memories of the hot oil torture, and the utter fear he’d had when the pot was held over his face. Yes, these were safe and comforting thoughts to be having. And if and when he got out of this alive, these would be the details he would focus on describing.

He bit his hand again harder and growled a little louder. Success.

****

Now finished with his brief stop in the store, Ed Hawkins was now ready to complete his final operational task. He started his vehicle and headed out of the parking lot turning west, going in the same direction along the same road as Adam and Eugene’s vehicle.

Ed retrieved one of his disposable cell phones and a list of phone numbers from the glove compartment. He slowed down a bit as he was not the type to use a cell phone while driving; in fact, he wasn’t the type to use a cell phone at all unless he absolutely had to.  He cautiously dialed the first number, glancing back and forth between the road ahead, the phone, and the printed list.

The phone rang a few times before going to the familiar cookie cutter automated voice of answering service, and Ed quickly hit the “end call” button.  “Damn!” Ed said.

He then took the phone away from his ear and fumbled around with it and the piece of paper as he dialed the second number on the list, hoping that someone would answer and trying to keep the Cherokee on a steady course. The highway was a straight one which made this a little easier than otherwise, but it also made it easy for the highway patrol and other police along the road to see everything and to notice a vehicle driving erratically.

Still no answer, and the phone call again went to an answering service, this one a human voice: “You have reached the Hanson residence; please leave a message.”

“Damnit! C’mon! Doesn’t anyone answer their phones anymore?!?” Ed said to himself. The sooner he got a real person, the easier this would be. The numbers Ed had tried were chosen completely at random. A random household would have been ideal, but, as Ed and Adam had expected, the chances of getting an answer weren’t all that good, and there wouldn’t be time to call dozens of random home phone numbers until someone picked up. So the next number Ed dialed was a number off of a Cragslist posting in the “vehicles for sale” section – not as good as a random number out of White Pages.com for the purpose at hand, which was to convey a message to the police anonymously. With the white pages numbers, there were addresses with them which meant that Ed could know the police jurisdiction where the person lived. With that information, it would be easier and quicker to determine, using his scanner radio, if the message was passed on and what the authorities’ reaction was. With Sullivan’s release time nearing, the kidnapping phase of The Plan was nearing its end, and the deception/blackmail phase was beginning.

And now, Ed resigned himself to the fact that this phase would now be taking a little longer than he’d hoped it would. While a Craigslist ad poster’s location was less knowable, thus making law enforcement response less knowable, such folks were, of course more likely to answer the phone.

“Hello.” The woman answered.

“Hello,” Ed spoke, affecting a little bit of a fake sounding southern redneck accent, “I saw your ad on craigslist for the Honda Civic for sale.”

“OK, well if you’re interested in having a look at it, either me or my husband can show it to you later in the evening around 6:30 or 7.”

Ed’s voice lapsed back into his regular Midwest accent as he tried to sound as serious and intimidating as he could. “Now, ma’am, I’m not calling about the car….” He paused, trying to get more into character and sound like the creepy stalker type, someone who would prompt someone to call the police, someone who would not be dismissed as a prank caller.

“Uh, OK. Who is this?” The woman said.

“My name’s Mike. Now I’m not callin’ about your ad; I’m calling to give you some information to pass on to the police. You are in danger, now, trust me, so listen very carefully to what I have to say. I’m not threatening you, I am warning you, do you understand?”

“Well, I will call the police, that’s for sure!”

“Just relax and listen, try to remain calm.” Ed said. He could hear her voice starting to tremble a little, and he could hear her breathing through the phone. This meant she was scared; that was good for Ed’s task, but he felt bad for trying to scare someone he didn’t even know. This was most unnatural for him, what he was doing. So he decided he’d achieved his purpose and backed out of the creepy-angry stalker character a little.

“Now I don’t know what this is about, we just started putting the ad out on Craigslist a couple days ago for the first time.” said the woman, a 45 year old housewife named Ashley Willis.

“Now, I need you to get a pen and paper and write something down. Let me know when you have a pen and paper ready.” Ed said.

“OK, got it got it ready.” she said, complying out of fear as she could sense from the tone in Ed’s voice, despite the fake accent, that this was most likely not a joke.

“Your gonna write down a message, and your gonna give this message to the police. You’re gonna call them as soon as we hang up. Now start writing this down and repeat each part back to me once you have it written down.”

“OK”

“This is the Modern Sons of Liberty.” Ed said.

“This is the Modern Sons of Liberty.” the woman repeated back after writing it down.

“You will hear more from us soon, but for now we are advising you that we have captured one of your leaders.”

She again repeated Ed’s line after writing it down. The two continued in this manner, and, after about ten more minutes, the entire communication read:

“This is the Modern Sons of Liberty. You will hear more from us soon, but for now we are advising you that we have captured one of your leaders. The detained leader in our custody is Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Sullivan. We are now at war, and the only rules of war we will adhere to are our own. 

 

Our list of immediate demands can be found buried in a plastic container at grid coordinates 38 54’ 13.50” N 93 32’ 01.87” W. A string of fishing weights are tied to the top of the container making it easier for your metal detectors to find.

 

If our demands are not met within 24 hours, we will not hesitate in executing Eugene Sullivan and continuing further operations without further warning.

 

We have sat idly by for too long and have finally decided to strike back. You knew it would only be a matter of time, didn’t you?”

****

Adam was still saying his “kill” mantra to himself as he neared the decoy safehouse, only by now he was only saying it in his head and not out loud. He could hear Sullivan growling and yelling in the trunk, and it seemed to Adam a fitting background noise so he didn’t really think much of it. As a human being, Adam would ordinarily have taken notice – the man was obviously in a lot of physical and emotional pain, but he was now numb to these sounds and the alarm bells that would ordinarily be going off in his head were being bypassed.

His mantra faded out, as he no longer needed it. And despite the anguished noises he could hear coming from the trunk of the car, Adam’s mind quieted down almost completely into a calm “this is what it should be” kind of state. He knew what he needed to do in order to make everything right; he no longer needed to think about it. His muscles relaxed to a bare minimum level of tension, including those holding his eyelids open and his mouth closed. What remained of his sense of identity was now nothing more than a short series of simple instructions.

Handle the car. Get to the house. Handle the hostage. Handle the dope. Handle the gun.

Eventually Sullivan quieted down as well, although more out of fatigue than out of any kind of meaningful understanding or acceptance of what was going on. As a matter of energy conservation, his brain set aside, if only temporarily, his worry and dread as his thoughts turned to what he would say and how he would act if and when he was released. No sense dwelling on all the “what-ifs,” no matter how nasty and undesirable they were. He concentrated more and more on his story.

I saw their faces. I’ll never forget their faces.

In order to prepare for worst case, he had to assume that someone had seen some of them. Only he’d seen their faces up close, some of them anyway.

Closer to the truth is better. Don’t contradict anything that another witness might say. Don’t contradict. Keep it short. Close to the truth, but not too close. Don’t remember the details. I saw two of the faces. It took two of them to torture me. They’ll show me mugshots. They’ll show me pictures from watchlists and FBI files. None of the pictures will be the guys. They’ll do composite sketches. They’ll use face selection software. I need to have an image of what they looked like.

Sullivan began constructing images of the faces he’d feed his investigators. He’d worked armed robbery cases before; he had a pretty good idea of how it would work. The facial selection software program was an improvement over the old way of manually sketching a witness’ description. Instead of a lot of questions as to what a suspect looked like, the program showed the witness a screen full of computer generated face images, and the witness would choose the face that looked the most like the one he saw. This face wouldn’t look completely like the one the witness saw, but it would lead to a new series of faces that looked similar to it. From this new series, the witness would again choose the one that most looked like the one he saw. This selection would again lead to a new series of faces to choose from and so on and so forth until the witness found a face that pretty much looked like a photograph of the person he’d seen. The witness didn’t need to be able to verbalize what features made him select the face, and the system basically took advantage of the natural ability of a person to recognize another. So for this reason he had to come up with a definite image in his mind and stick with it.

The details and the planning helped Sullivan keep his mind from straying into the kind of uncontrollable worrying, both of the paranoid and justifiable variety, as he’d been doing earlier. He’d managed to carve out a space within and surrounded by the dread and the what-iffing.  You’d better get all this shit right…….or else!

****

“911 what is your emergency?” The operator at the Kansas City North Zone 911 center answered.

“Someone just called me and said that they kidnapped the district attorney, and they’re holding him hostage.” Ashley Willis said.

“They’re holding the D.A. hostage?”

“Yes.”

“Are you in any danger yourself, ma’am?” the operator asked.

“I think so. This guy….who called me……he sounded very serious.” Ashley said, her voice starting to tremble. “Please send someone to help me.”

“Ok. We’re going to send someone. Just stay on the phone and try to remain calm, alright?

“OK.”

“OK,” the operator continued. “You’re doing fine. Just try to relax and we’ll have someone there to you shortly. Now what is your location?”

****

Adam backed his car into the decoy safehouse’s carport. He turned off the engine and sat quietly for a few seconds. The few seconds turned into a few more as the LSD he’d injected into himself worked its way further into his brain, amplifying and solidifying the state of mind he’d reached with his mantra recitation on the road a few minutes earlier. Acting out the remaining steps of what he’d resolved to do, he picked up the lunchbox containing the drug needles, got out of the car, and went inside the house. He set down the box on the kitchen counter. He noticed the effect the drug was having on his attention span as he stared at the picture on the box, but he fell back on his military discipline and training that he’d honed in combat in Samarrah and kept moving, kept operating, despite some signals in his mind telling him to do otherwise. So Adam looked away from the box and toward the front door, which was where he had to go next.

The acid was making it more difficult to operate as planned, in terms of physical movement. The drug was intended for use on Sullivan, but Adam knew very well his own limitations and knew that he would not be able to take his own life without a good deal of chemical assistance.  While it made physical operation and concentration on immediate tasks a little more difficult, it did help to stiffen Adam’s resolve and to help him overcome his natural, reflexive human self-preservation instincts, those annoying, nagging, thoughts, which, in times of sobriety, kept telling him “Don’t do it; you’ve got stuff to live for.”  Given the choice between the distraction of the drugs and the fear of death and pain that came with sobriety, Adam chose intoxication.

He reached the front door, opened it, and walked outside. He didn’t bother to close the door, and he didn’t bother to look around to see who might be watching him. He focused on carrying out his next few steps not so much despite his intoxication, in concert with it. He noticed the complexity and the beauty in the world around him; the sky and trees that he normally took for granted now seemed to pulsate and compete for his attention. He took note of it and moved on, arriving at the rear of the car under the carport, knowing that himself and his actions fit perfectly into the grand design of things in the same way as the sky and trees.

As he opened the trunk and looked at Sullivan, he was reminded that this grand design included so many apparent contradictions; the world was full of ugliness, evil, human error and stupidity.

And there he is….this guy….this piece of shit. What does anything matter when there are so many of these guys running around?

People like Sullivan, and there were so many like him, male and female, young and old, black and white, occupying so many roles. Sullivan was, boiled down to his essence, a bullshitter. Adam knew that people like this just went through life telling others what they thought they wanted to hear, telling themselves what they wanted to hear. And they even took pride in what they did. Phrases like “bullshit makes the world go ‘round” and “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter” came to mind. These people made life so difficult for those who simply wanted honesty in human interaction and honesty with themselves.

Sullivan looked helplessly at Adam from inside the trunk as Adam continued staring him down and continued his line of thinking.

You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, but you can find where he lives, you can kidnap him, you can torture him, you can sexually abuse him, you can blackmail him.

Adam nodded, realizing that the acid had shaken all the meaning from the word “bullshit” causing him to see the rest of the world in terms of it.

Maybe it does make the world go around.  Maybe I’m just playing the same game.

 Another quote came to Adam’s mind, this one along the same lines but a little more dignified. He didn’t remember the exact words, and paraphrased it:

“The world is absolutely perfect, including your frustration with it and your efforts to change it.”

Adam sobered up a little, and remembered that he was wasting his time looking at Sullivan’s face. It was useless trying to think of Sullivan as a fellow human being. Sullivan was the enemy, and, like the Iraqi insurgents and Al Qaeda foreign fighters he’d dealt with in Samarrah, it was easier to think of Sullivan as sub-human, an animal or a robot.  Adam shook his head and helped Sullivan out of the trunk. “Come on,” he said, nearly drowning out Sullivan’s gasps of pain as he began putting weight on his burned feet. “You’ll be alright. Suck it up. Suck it up. We’re almost done, almost there,” Adam said in a tired voice with not too much empathy in it. The two entered the house, this time through the side door.

****

“Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department,” the Sheriff’s administrative assistant answered.

“Yes, this is Captain Bestwick with the Kansas City PD. We’ve responding to a call from someone about the Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney being kidnapped. Don’t know at this point if it’s a joke or a threat or what; just wanted to see if you could check on your end. They mentioned Eugene Sullivan by name, saying someone was holding him hostage. So, if you guys are able to get eyes on him, then we can just treat this as a threat or joke….”

“Alright, lemmie put you on hold just a minute.”

****

The phone in Eugene Sullivan’s office at the Lafayette County courthouse rang.

“Eugene Sullivan’s office, this is Erin speaking how may I help you?” Erin answered the phone.

“Yes, Erin, this is Sheriff Ken Sterling, is Gene in today?” The Lafayette County Sheriff said.

“No he isn’t; he called in sick this morning.”

“Well, we have an urgent matter here; are you able to reach him?” The Sheriff asked.

“I can try his cell, but I’ve called it a couple times today and haven’t gotten an answer. I actually got a call from his wife a little while ago.”

****

Ed was on highway 210 driving west with the Missouri river between himself and the town of Lexington when he finally heard what he had been intently listening out for so far on one of his handheld scanners:

“All units 10-3, all units 10-3.” This meant that dispatch was telling everyone to stop transmitting. Ed hit the “hold” button on the scanner and waited a couple seconds.

“All units 10-21 dispatch ASAP. All units 21 ASAP.” This meant for all units to telephone in to dispatch. Ed smiled and said to himself “There we go. Game on! Bout damn time!”

He hit the “scan” button again, now listening out for something similar to come from the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop A frequencies. After a few minutes and a few stops on some non-pertinent traffic, Ed again found what he was waiting for on one of these channels:

“All units be advised 10-21 to main J-1, all units 10-21 to main J-1”

****

Lafayette County Sheriff Ken Sterling and Chief Detective Ron Baines sat down in front of Eugene Sullivan’s secretary’s desk. The Sheriff had a cell phone up to his ear and another one in his hand. Detective Baines introduced himself to Erin.

“Alright, I’ve got his secretary right in front of me here. Here she is” Sheriff Sterling said as he took the cell phone off of his ear, covered the mouthpiece, and looked Erin in the eye. He said to her, “FBI,” and handed her the cellphone.

As Erin recounted everything to the agent on the phone, another agent was on scene at the home of Ashley Willis, the woman who had received the initial kidnapping claim call from Ed Hawkins.

****

Ed was now south of the Missouri River, having crossed it on route 291. As the road changed to Interstate 470 near the cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 70, Ed heard a click, then a long hiss, then a click from his other scanner radio, the one he had dedicated to Federal law enforcement frequencies.

As he got onto I-70 he could see a cluster of blue lights in his rear view mirror.  The hissing and clicking of the encrypted transmissions on the scanner kept up, and Ed decided at this point to turn both his scanner radios off and put them in the trunk. He was able to do so just before the police convoy behind him, moving very quickly in the fast lane, began passing him. Ed looked to his right and saw two Missouri Highway Patrol cars leading a convoy of about 8 more vehicles which included a Highway Patrol Chevy Tahoe, several black, unmarked Chevy Suburbans and a couple of black Humvees, all with blue lights flashing but no sirens.

“These guys are getting their act together pretty quickly” Ed said to himself. By now, Ed was pretty sure that this convoy was on its way to the grid coordinate he’d put in his communication to Ashley Willis, and, judging by the unmarked vehicles, the feds had already taken charge of the response and investigation into the disappearance and kidnapping of an elected official.

The convoy enroute to 38 54’ 13.50 N 93 32’ 01.87 W, located within the Perry Conservation Area, had been dispatched from the FBI’s Kansas City, MO field office to assist in securing a perimeter around the grid coordinate. A few highway patrol units were already setting up roadblocks around the Perry Conservation Area in order to prevent anyone from entering the park as well as to photograph and interview anyone leaving it.

By the time Ed returned to his hotel room and turned on CNN, the news was showing live aerial footage of the Perry Conservation Area with the caption “Breaking News: Terrorist Threat.”

“If you’re just now joining us, what you’re seeing here is from our affiliate in Kansas City. This is a state park in Missouri where you can see numerous police and government vehicles converging. Authorities are very tight lipped at this time, and local residents are saying that a wide area is being cordoned off. “

****

120 miles away,  Midwest Regional Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Director Robert Vance was also watching this footage on the large screen at the front of the Missouri Information and Analysis Center’s (MIAC) “war room”. Vance was seated at the head of the MIAC war room’s main conference table along with other representatives of state and federal law enforcement agencies. Seated to his left was DHS intel officer Jeff Dorsey, and to Vance’s right were MIAC Director Tom Gordon and Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) Homeland Security Coordinator Paul Fernwell.

Across the table were several empty seats, each with a name placard and each with its own individual two-way video screen. The space directly opposite from Director Vance had a name placard reading “Jeff Haywood, FBI SAC” in front of it. A video screen next to this name placard and its corresponding empty seat linked to the Kansas City FBI office, and the office’s Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Jeff Haywood was on the screen.

Director Vance sat quietly watching the CNN footage on the big screen as FBI SAC Jeff Haywood spoke through his video conferencing link across the table:

“So by now, I’m sure all of you gentlemen have read the communiqué from the ‘modern sons of liberty,’ or, well, at least from an individual claiming to be part of such a group. We’ve got the entire text of that communication up on one of our big screens here on our end…..”

“We’ve got it up here as well” Said Missouri DPS Homeland Security Coordinator Paul Fernwell.

“Good, and what’s the status on your end so far as getting your space ready for JFO war room configuration?” The screen with Jeff Haywood’s face on it said from across the conference table.

“We’re ready to rock and roll over here!” Paul Fernwell said aggressively.

“Hoo-ah!” said the Midwest Regional Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Director Robert Vance, a former Army infantry commander.

Several other ‘Hoo-ahs’ could be heard from throughout the large classroom-style MIAC war room as well as a few ‘Oo-rahs,’ a couple ‘Yuts,’ and at least one ‘Urrr-kill.’

STM now available for free

From Tom Baugh:

Can’t Afford the Book? I Can Help 

Are you one of the unfortunate millions who have been targeted, directly or indirectly, for destruction by this system? Think the material in this book can help you get back on your feet, but you can’t afford it because of all that has been stolen from you? 

In that case, if you are willing to read it, learn from it, use that material to make yourself and your family stronger, and then help others get stronger for the fight ahead, then write me and we’ll send one to you at no charge, not even postage, those strings attached. 

Later, if after you get back on your feet, you can pay for it then, that’s great. Or, if you are still able to afford it now, know that each copy purchased at full price pays for others that can be sent to our destitute brothers.

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