Monday I spent the whole day in my office responding to emails and calls about being on TV. In between I met with Andy and discussed progress in the pipeline to Puerto Vallarta; the teams were thirty miles from the west coast terminal.
We had more prisoners and six more human traffickers. This time instead of two girls there were six, along with two boys tied in a van. The girls would just as well have been naked, they had on so little. Same as before; raped, beaten, drugged, abused and sold along the route to Los Angles. The boys were no better off.
The drones had spotted the suspicious van in the pipeline right of way and had witnessed transfer of two girls from another van that quickly left. The van had pulled into and out of the right of way several times after the drone was locked onto the position. Problem is the van that left headed in the direction that four Humvees and two Blackhawks were coming from.
The teams split and two Humvees and one Blackhawk stopped the van on the highway. While the other two headed to the van – now vans (another had arrived) – two of them in the right of way.
They were transferring two more girls to the first van. The Blackhawk arrived to witness the brutal transfer. The two girls must have give them trouble; one of the men was beating them down while the other held them.
A burst of the mini gun into the brush to get their attention was all took to put an end to that. The arrival of the two Humvees seal the deal.
With the two young girls nearly naked and on the ground and bleeding, it was a no brainer what my men were going to do and they did it. All four men were beaten until they were nearly unconscious.
Pictures of the girls’ injuries, names, where they were from and a brief state statement of what happened were taken for the tribunal trial of the six traffickers. With the first aid kits from the Humvees and the big kit from the helicopter, the men started first aid.
The girls were treated as best as my men could, bandages, something to drink – Gator Aid that we bought by the truckload. Wool fire blankets from the Humvees and two from helicopter covered some of the girls, extra shirts and rain gear covered the rest.
It was thirty miles to the big hospital. The team leaders called control for guidance. The six girls and the two boys were put into the two Blackhawks and flown to the VMC Vallarta Medical Center.
Andy called Mexico’s Prosecutor Inez in case he wanted the media spotlight. He did and was on his way to the hospital in a Mexican jet to the Puerto Vallarta airport.
The six men were in the Humvees going to the latest staging site – a wire fence prison where further interrogation would take place. I would have to depend on the men there to do that. The Doc had just returned home from Mexico and I didn’t want to ask him to go back this quickly. But – they would meet the Doc soon.
On Thursday the Doc and I would be in Matador. I would be there to watch the arrival of the two hundred and thirty prisoners from France and the first session of the tribunal. A triple gallows would be constructed before the construction crew left for the west coast on Wednesday.
After I finished the review of today’s operations, I made the meeting with the girls. From there I went home to pack; I needed to be at Andrews for the flight to Buenos Aries at midnight. It was a two day meeting; Air Force 2 was going to drop me off at Brownsville on the return trip.
My G5 was bringing the Doc and a load of new interrogation equipment to be permanently left at the infirmary in Matador. We would fly home together on Saturday.
Two little boys were home with Lisa finishing home schooling for today. RJ and JJ helped me pack. I had to explain twice the difference in why underwear for girls was called panties and underwear for boys were called underwear. After that, there were the questions about the bras and why boys did not wear them. They were growing up way too fast.
I packed shoes, the better expensive pant suits, fancy jackets, a couple evening dresses and jewelry. My go bag contained the clothes that were more me – jeans and camo – was going as well. Yes, it included the five stars – the girls had seen to it that all my camo had five stars on it, much to my dismay.
After goodbyes, hugs and kisses I was in a Secret Service convoy. They carried me to Andrews Air Force Base where I met the group of advisors who were the experts on one of the treaties that was being negotiated. The Vice President had been working on this treaty for two years.
It was for a radar site and a runway for search and rescue in Drake Passage, a heavily transited piece of water between South America and Antarctica. I was sure it was a cover story.
The Chinese were trying to extend their influence around the world. One of those places was Antarctica, suspected of holding vast amounts of oil, natural gas and precious rare earth minerals. This was a place to keep watch on them.
There was also the possibility that they could sail ships through the passage to Africa where they had already invested in multiple governments there in the form of grants, loans and infrastructure projects to gain influence and natural resources.
It was a long flight that allowed me to sleep and then read all of the information the experts had brought with them in several different cycles. I would read until I could not comprehend anymore, then nap to think about it. And then it was back to reading more.
It was 1000 hours when we touched down. There was a welcome luncheon and greeting and of course – a press conference. And then the first round of meetings to carry us until dinner.
The meeting was confusing; none of the information the Vice President had briefed me on was in the discussion. It seemed the State Department people were using a different playbook. For an agreement that was so close, now looked like it would never happen.
In fact, the more I thought about it, I had never seen this group of State Department people before, but that didn’t really mean anything with as large as the State Department was. I was sure they were in a specialized group that did nothing but international agreements.
With growing frustrations, we stopped and went to the state dinner. All the pomp and circumstance helped everyone relax – at least a little.
I left as soon as things wound down, still puzzled by today’s turn of events. Argentina’s lead negotiator Franco Sanchez and Sergio Mendez – who was also a negotiator I was to meet with tomorrow afternoon about the anti-drug task force – followed me into the hall. They were as confused as I was and wanted to talk without the State Department people there. I agreed to meet them at my hotel in an hour.
In that hour I called the Vice President and discussed what had happened and the turn in attitude by the State Department negotiators. We had a good talk; very informing.
My next call was to Dick James, I found out that the State Department group of negotiators with me were given internal talking points developed months ago from a lower level committee and not the last notes from the Vice Presidents meeting a month ago. These were not the State Department negotiators that had accompanied the Vice President to the last session.
The motel room I had was a large business suite that had been ordered for the Vice President. It had a large private bed and bathroom, an adjoining room for business meetings, additional bedrooms for the Secret Service and a small kitchen.
Franco and Sergio along with a clerk typist arrived on time and I was there with a clerk and a big pot of coffee. We started the negotiations from the beginning, page one.
We went over corrections, suggestions, hard points and then movement and changes. The art of negotiation is being able to see the deal from both sides and gently maneuvering the other side to your way of thinking without them digging in to an unyielding position.
At 0100 we were done with the initial document in a final draft I thought we could live with. The only thing left was to negotiate the port of call for US Navy ships that might be involved in any operations in the area. Argentina had resisted the US making any port visits since the Falkland War.
I wasn’t supposed to be involved in that but I took the opportunity – over a glass of champagne – to celebrate the completion of the first agreement to open the door.
That door opened wider than I thought possible and by 0200 there was a draft to send to Washington. My clerk was finalizing the text and sending copies to the Vice President, the President, Dick James and the Secretary of Navy along with the Joint Chiefs. A conference MTAC was set up for 0900.
The agreements allowed the US Air Force to build and operate a new generation Doppler radar at Puerto Espanole and the construction of a single runway 200 by 10000 feet with hangar and service capabilities at the current airport. The airport – in its initial layout – had space reserved for a runway for large commercial traffic that had never materialized.
My argument for the runway was that heavy transport planes bringing large rescue equipment needed a large runway, especially in bad weather.
The radar would be required to assist the radar at the major civilian airport to vector passenger planes during an emergency. Heavy fog and bad winter weather was always an issue in the area and there were always weather emergencies.
A port of call with docking facilities for US Navy ships with limited stays of not more than fourteen days at the deep water port at Puerto Espanole was in writing. It would be up to the Navy to negotiate the terms and fees.
I learned in the general conversations over the champagne that the Argentine government had invested in the deep water port at Puerto Espanole for potential container ship and cruise traffic that did not materialize. Argentina had several deep water ports in the Atlantic that were situated near the large population centers and that was where the shipping went.
The only ships that frequented the port were usually in trouble from the severe storms that hit the Drake Passage.
The time for tomorrow’s meeting was changed from 0800 to 1000. It was 0300 when I stepped from the shower and slid under the covers, totally exhausted. Breakfast was moved from 0600 to 0700 and was still going to be way too early.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof Read by Bob W.
Thank you for your hard work in writing chapters for us.
Happy new years,
The beat goes on. Happy New Year, Jack