Monday morning was a different story. My State Department cell phone was ringing at 0600.
All the powers wanted to come and talk with the five this morning. I guess asylum was not out of the question if the stakes were big enough and the information was valuable enough.
I fed them breakfast pancakes, waffles, steak and fruit with ice tea, orange juice and lemonade, along with today’s issues of the Iran and Pakistan papers.
All the big wigs arrived and after I gave the introductions, I went into the back to allow them to discuss whatever. I worked on the computer for an hour before I needed to leave to go to the office. I sent a text to one of the security men to come and stand guard and put them back in their cells after the VIP’s left.
Back at the office I met with Andy on the security zone; it would be ready to go in thirty days. We went over the final details for closing the border between Tijuana and California for traffic returning to California.
We decided on thirty days because we had seven hundred and fifty men and ladies that had been working 24/7 for a month. They needed a break; many needed to see their wife and kids or girlfriends. I decided to send them home for two weeks R&R with hazard pay to continue. Andy agreed and started putting the plan in motion.
The other five hundred men would maintain the patrols and keep security at the established camp sites, move several of the camps and set up the new camp at Tijuana. Once that was done they would get two weeks off. Then the security zone would go in full swing and the last pipeline would be started.
I had just finished my planning with Andy when the powers called wanting me to come back to the Fort Smith jail. It only took a few minutes to go back there.
”We have had some productive talks and therefore a lot to review. We need your assurance that you will take no action against these men until we look at their request and what they are offering,” Secretary of State Dick James said.
”Are you agreeing to paying all costs related to their stay from today on?” I asked.
”Yes, I can authorize that,” Dick James said.
I closed the doors to the jail, ushering the group to the office for a private conversation.
”So you are going to grant them asylum?” I asked.
”It’s not a sure thing yet, we have to evaluate everything they are offering with what they want. You know the game. The biggest thing is their wives and children; Iran would be brutal to them,” Bob Smith said.
”They want us to try to get them out but we think that is all but impossible,” Art Cummins said.
”Let me think on it a while to see if I can pull any rabbits out of my hat,” I said.
The conversation was over so I locked the jail and went back to the office. Robert had texted me while I was finishing up with Art.
”I have located two areas that look like they are manufacturing plants for a lot of the drugs shipped north to the US. Both are close to the Guatemala border near Tapachula.”
”I used thermals from an intelligence satellite. The temperatures increased three hours after truck loads of coco leaves were delivered, usually before dusk each day. Another indicator was there is a tributary that leads to the ocean. There were reports of cartel boat works and shops there that are building the semi-submersible boats that are being used and that cartel cigarette boats and the semi-submersibles have been seen in the river,” Robert said.
”I don’t think our contracts with Mexico can be stretched to go that far,” I said.
”But then again, who knows. Keep digging,” I said.
Another week went by with no word from the powers as to what the plan was for the Iran five. I did make several trips to the jail myself and asked a few questions about their family members, basically children and wives. We had a long talk – they asked if I had heard anything from Washington.
”We have a saying here, ‘It’s above my pay grade,’ that means I am not included in those conversations,” I said.
”From your prospective the longer it drags out the better the outcome may be for you,” I said.
It was the first week of November, three weeks to Thanksgiving. The geese were flying. The girls and I had picked up our hunting licenses with all the stamps a few days ago. All of us were looking forward to the season this year; it was one more thing we could do together.
It wasn’t the cold freezing blinds of yesteryear. They now had gas heaters and pumps to keep them dry. The VIP friends that had been invited to go goose hunting needed a good experience, not freezing to death.
I remembered as a kid hunting with Dad and standing in knee deep water that was so cold it had ice forming on the top.
That was where I had my first taste of Jack Daniels and other hard liquor. The men said it would help warm you up. Like hell! It made me colder; years later I realized that if you drank enough of it, it numbed you to the cold. One drink was enough for me; I didn’t want any more.
The propane tanks at all the offices and at Morton had been filled. Even the big tanks for the runway heater system were filled and the heaters checked out.
The old farmer’s almanac was predicting a cold and wet winter and that meant snow. It might require a lot of trips to Deep Water Cay this winter.
It was Monday – the second week in November – when Dick James called me.
”We have decided to offer the five amnesty but we have to find a way to get their family – wives and children out. Have you got any ideas?” he said.
”Yes, if you are sure you want to hear it,” I said.
”I’m not sure I like that but go ahead,” he said.
”We tell the world they are dead as I said they would be. Iran was given one more day to negotiate – that they refused to do, so subsequently they were beheaded as I promised and the bodies cremated. The heads are frozen and the ashes will be returned only to the wife and children of each, not to the Iranian government for propaganda purposes.”
”That is to happen at the Iraq International airport, say on Friday. The aircraft delivering the remains will only be on the ground for 30 minutes. If the wife and children do not appear in person to claim the remains during that thirty minutes the remains will be disposed of at my discretion,” I said.
”Make all of them go through a tight security including x-ray. I wouldn’t want any of them to be able to sneak on a hand grenade.”
”We hold the aircraft at the end of the runway so there is only ten minutes for them to board. When they are aboard blow the sirens and announce a massive missile attack and in the emergency, the plane departs with them aboard.
”Once airborne the five go live on the screen to tell their families what has happened. Any that don’t want to go to America can be dropped off at Charles De Gaulle International where the plane would need to refuel anyhow,” I said.
”Do you really think that would work?” Dick asked.
”Do you have a better idea? If and when you do, I am listening,” I said.
I went to the Fort Smith jail to talk to the five.
”The powers are still discussing your situation. The problems come back to getting your families out of Iran. Would Iran allow them to travel to Iraq to claim your remains?” I asked.
”Unlikely but they could travel to Pakistan,” one of them said.
”Pakistan may be too risky and not willing to play along. They have independent streaks, want something for everything and leak information like sieve. It would take some setup and time,” I said.
Back at Andy’s office he and I had a conference call with Denton Crabtree for an update on the tribunal.
All six of the human traffickers, the Bull and the six drug traffickers had been tried and hung. Tomorrow the tribunal was going to start on the French prisoners. Those that were going to wear the suicide vests were to be the first.
I had heard nothing else from Louis since our conversation the other day. No news – in my opinion – was approval of my actions.
Tuesday morning the White House called. The President wanted me to fill in for Vice President Mason again – in of all places Pakistan – on Thursday for a two day forum on regional peace talks. I would have to leave on Wednesday afternoon to be there on time.
Vice President Mason had been working on the regional peace truce for the last three years. Every time there was progress there was a new flare-up that resulted in months of setback.
I would need to meet with Vice President Mason to get his thoughts and notes.
I questioned the President’s request that I fill in for the ailing VP, given my current situation with Iran. He insisted I was right for the job. I insisted on more Secret Service protection plus the addition of some of my own bodyguards, including the former Mossad ladies.
I made the late morning trip to Washington to meet with VP Mason. I wanted plenty of time to read his notes, pick his brain and discuss his suggestions.
It was a six hour review of his notes and conversation. The media was still waiting at the gate as I left. I was suffering from gray-matter overload on the trip home; there was just so much information to work on.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof Read by Bob W.