Backfire

by: Frederick Foote

A top secret information dump reveals the true details surrounding one of the United State’s biggest (fictional?) anti-terrorism blunders. 

Backfire

[WARNING: These are unofficial annotated transcripts obtained in violation of National Security Laws and Regulations. Possession of these transcripts is a felony punishable by fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to ten years.]

The Interrogation

[Riverside County Jail, California, Interview Room No. 2. March 27, 2018. 09:01:37

Subjects: Troy S. Mathis, Isabell D Delano , Abraham Abu Washington.]

“You shot twenty innocent people, people who were no threat to you. Individuals who had befriended you and worked with you, you murdered them in cold blood. You have committed horrific crimes. Why?”

“How many did I murder in cold blood?”

“I’ll tell you that when you tell me why? Why did you go on a killing rampage? Tell me that.”

“You want to trade my private information for what is or soon will be public knowledge? I’ll not do that. You want information. I want information. Let’s trade question for question, answer for answer, and truth for truth.”

“Will you tell the truth?”

“Will you tell the truth?”

“We could compel you to tell the truth.”

“Why would you do that when I’m willing, to tell the truth? Is torture your preferred method of obtaining answers?”

“I didn’t mention torture, but when the Feds get ahold of you, they will water-board you— “

“Well, I misunderstood. I’m fortunate to be in your gentle hands.”

“When did you become radicalized?”

“A question for a question, and an answer for an answer— “

“I think we have a misunderstanding here. We’re the interrogators. We have you in custody. We’re not required to answer questions. We’re authorized to question and secure truthful responses.”

“And I’m offering you a method of doing that; a quick, painless, fair method free of compulsion, intimidation or coercion. You should be leaping at the opportunity.”

“How long were you planning this massacre?”

“Are we being recorded? I hope you broadcast this interview to show how cooperative I’m trying to be.”

[Troy S. Mathis  leaves the interview room for five minutes. The camera remains on.]

“Who was involved in the planning of this attack?”

“A question for a question, and an answer for— “

“Did you have a reason for murdering adults in the workplace? Were you trying to send a message?”

“Do you have a reason for murdering families in their homes with drones and rockets? Are you trying to send a message?”

“Are you equating the federal drone activity with your cold-blooded murder?”

“Activity? Could you be more specific about these drone activities? Define these activities.”

“Collateral damage is not the same as cold-blooded, premeditated, mass murder. They’re apples and oranges.”

“Collateral damages? Activity? What specifically are the collateral damages you are referencing? Could you clarify that for me? For the record? For the camera?”

“The weapons that you used were modified to make them more effective, more dangerous, and deadlier. How did you learn to make these modifications?”

“Who is the major arms dealer in the world? Who sells over forty-five percent of the weapons used in the wars around the world?”

“Are you attempting to justify your bloodbath of innocent workers, people with families, hopes, and dreams— “

“Are you saying the victims of your collateral damages have no families with hopes or dreams— “

“You’re a murderer! A mass murderer! No amount of rationalization can change that.”

[There is a twenty-second pause. The camera remains on.]

“Yes. Yes. I confess. I’m a mass murderer, we’re mass murderers, and there’s no justification for it. Look, police kill, what? A thousand people a year? We, at least, can agree on that. You have my confession. I would like to retire for a brief respite.”

“We? There is no we. There is just you. When did you become radicalized? I need specifics, dates, times, events.”

“Even a confession will not earn me a short recess?”

“When?”

“I need to use the restroom—“

“After you answer the questions. When?”

“I hope my bladder—“

“When?”

It was a gradual process, at least, for me. I suspect it might have started when I was in high school, and I learned that we dropped atomic bombs on old people, and children; hundreds of thousands of collateral damages in seconds. My understanding of our mass murder of ancients, the infirm and babies in arms may have been my first step in radicalization.”

“Bullshit! Bullshit! You were listening to radical Iman’s and extremist—“

“Yes, yes of course. That is indeed the source of my evil inclinations. Now, that we have resolved that to your satisfaction, brother, I beg of you a bathroom—“

“Tell us the truth. We want the truth.”

“Yes, of course, you do brother. Awww, I’m sorry. I held it as long as I could. I—“

“I’m not your brother.”

“But, of course, you are. We have an extensive history of collateral damages in the American Indian decimation, the South’s lynchings, the South and Central American death squads, the Caribbean invasions, Vietnam and—I must ask youhow could you not be radicalized by our history?”

[There’s a twenty-minute break. The camera is turned off. Isabell D Delano  replaces Troy S. Mathis as the interrogator.]

“Oh, I have a different interrogator. Are you FBI? What happened to the other gentleman? I can’t see you clearly. I have only one good eye at the moment. Is the camera recording this? I want to give the camera my best side.”

“Are you ready to proceed?”

“Yes, yes thank you for the medical attention. I’ve confessed. I hope you know that.”

“We need a lot more details. We need to know about your radicalization, your contacts in the radical communities, details about the planning and executions. Time is of the essence here. I need your attention and timely responses.”

“Of course, of course. I’m at your service.”

“When did you first start planning the attack?”

“When I realized that deadly, mass violence was my government’s language of choice in domestic and international affairs and that effective communication with my government had to be in a language it understood and respected.”

“I need the facts, not propaganda. I need the truth.”

“The truth is that we speak a common language, but you are the expert and, I’m learning at your feet. You’re an excellent instructor. The truth is murder, mass murder, is the political tool of choice for both of us. Sister, later, we should embrace and, I will kiss your pale cheeks, but for now, let us play our roles and see how the story unfolds.

The Defense Attorney

[Federal Correctional Facility, Riverside, California, Interview Room A. March 28th, 2018. 09:01:37

Subjects: Cara Truong Thuy, Federal Public Defender, Abraham Abu Washington.]

“Ms. Thuy, thank you for responding to my request. I have heard good things about you.”

“Mr. Washington, you’re the most hated person in the nation right now. There’s little or no chance of you receiving a fair trial at this time or place or in any other location in the U.S.. So, my question to you is why me? Why choose me as your attorney, and what do you expect me to accomplish on your behalf?”

“I choose you because—“

“Mr. Washington, I must advise you that it is my belief that, despite clear laws and long traditions to the contrary, we’re being recorded by the U.S. Government and that your constitutional rights are being violated at this very moment.”

[Thuy hands Washington a pen and a yellow legal writing pad.]

Please record everything that has happened to you since your arrest.

[Washington writes furiously as he meets with Thuy.]

“Ms. Thuy that’s one reason I chose you. You see this system more clearly than most and because you have a reputation for fearlessness and independence. You are your own person.”

“Thank you, but—“

“And, you are very ambitious, a bit arrogant, with a big chip on your shoulders. You’re a classic outsider the child of a black father and Vietnamese mother.”

“I’m a Federal Public Defender, and I’m bound by—“

“Your second question was what I expect of my attorney. I expect a vigorous, relentless, intelligent and even brilliant defense. I expect your best. And, if being a Public Defender prevents you from doing your best, then I expect you to cease being a Public Defender.”

“Wow! You certainly have very high expectations—“

“And, very little time. We will not waive time or any other right. We will proceed to a speedy trial. We shall insist on a speedy trial, and we will accept this venue.”

“Wait, wait, slow down—“

“My defense is self-defense. I acted in defense of myself and others.”

“Mr. Washington—“

“Please call me Abe.”

“I haven’t accepted—“

“But, you’re still here.”

“Yes, but—“

“My sister is a Muslim. She lives in Yemen with her Muslim husband and two children. They’re subject to drone attacks by the U.S. Government.

“Self-defense requires an imminent threat—“

“My sister’s a vocal opponent of U.S. international terrorism as am I. Our names are on that target list.”

“You don’t know that for sure.”

“That’s one of our questions at trial. Even if she just associates with someone on that secret list, her life is in danger. As long as the U.S. can conduct these international assassinations with impunity, they will continue and spread. Anyone anywhere in the world is subject to these attacks by our government, my government. My murders bring home to the people in my country what it feels like to be subject to a wave of terrorism. That is my defense in a nutshell.”

“Mr. Wa—Abe, that’s a nutty defense. They will never allow—“

“Ms. Thuy—“

“Cara, please call me Cara.”

“This is not about saving my life. This is a—“

“A political show, a public debate on U.S. foreign policy and war powers—“

“A morality play, better than Broadway, more real than Hollywood, more fascinating than any game or sports event—“

“I think you need a Broadway or Hollywood director and writers and—“

“Yes, yes all of that. Find them. Find the talent we need. That is part of your job.”

“I was being sarcastic. I have to think about this. I need time to—“

“Yes, yes, of course. I will see you tomorrow. Think about this we can save many lives and make the world a bit brighter for many of us outsiders if we do a good job on this production. I hope you will think about that.”

[Washington returns the paper and pen to Thuy.]

[Federal Corrections Center, Riverside, California, Interview Room B. March 29th, 2018. 09:01:37

Subjects: Cara Truong Thuy, Federal Public Defender, Abraham Abu Washington.]

[Thuy passes several pages of folded, yellow, lined paper to Washington. Washington reads the pages during this interview.]

“Abe, did you know the people you killed?”

“Cara, I recognized all of them, but I was closer to five of them, and I was friends with Eddie Morales. We were good friends.”

“Why did you kill friends and associates? Why not kill strangers?”

“I, I wanted to make it difficult for me. I wanted to impress, impress everyone with how serious I was. I—“

“Abraham, that is profoundly disturbing. I question your sanity.”

“It is the logic of life and death in these rude times. The sane don’t stand much of a chance in this age.”

“Do you regret the horrific acts of violence, the pain, and suffering you have caused?”

“I regret that I speak this language of violence. I regret being part of that dialog.”

“And you truly believe that your murders will reduce government murders?”

“Ask your President that question. This is a fire I’ve set to stop a wild, out of control firestorm. This is my backfire.”

“Abe, it may backfire on you.”

“It may already have. I’ll not survive this. There’s no punishment severe enough for what we have done. I accept that.”

“Do you have any words for the friends and families of—“

“I’ll have something in writing. Something the government spies can’t overhear for you soon. My energy level is low today.”

“Yes, I can see. I have filed motions to dismiss your confessions based on the lack of Miranda warnings and the beating you suffered. I have asked to have outside physicians examine you, especially your eye and ribs. And, I have filed a motion to have the monitoring systems for these interview rooms audited by an outside inspector.”

“Excellent, I knew you were the right person—“

“I had to shut down my email. The hate mail flooded it. I may not be the right person. This is already extremely intense.”

“I think you will thrive on this. Just find an escape hole; a place where you can retreat from all of this when this case threatens to overwhelm you. I agree with everything you have written. Please, proceed accordingly.”

[Washington refolds the pages and returns them to Thuy.]

“Good. Abe, it may be impossible to find a retreat from this conflagration, but I will try. You take care Mr. Backfire.”

FBI Headquarters

[Office of the Director of the FBI. Meeting between FBI Director Sharon H. Burnaby and White House Special Assistant, Lloyd L. Greer, Jr. March 30th, 2018. 15:00:32]

“Hello, Lloyd. Please have a seat, and I will bring you up to date on the Abraham Washington situation.”

“Sharon, we have made it clear that a trial is not in the best interest of this Nation at this time—“

“No. What you have made clear is that this Administration wants to prevent a trial to retain the Senate in November.”

“Madam Director, you’re an appointee, and you need to keep that fact in mind and let it guide your tongue.”

“Greer, we all have a specified shelf life here—“

“Some shorter than others. How in the world did you ever let Riverside County get custody of Washington? What a mess. They fail to read him his rights during the initial interview. They beat the shit out of him and put him right back in front of the cameras. How could you—“

“Riverside, PD captured him. They hid him from us for over two hours. They wanted their fifteen minutes of fame. I think they employed their standard interview protocol for black and brown arrestees.

“You should have intervened sooner. You—“

“I do regret not being able to turn Mr. Washington over to the NSA in pristine condition. What form of torture are they employing these days?”

“The NSA interviews are beyond your scope. You let Washington choose his own Public Defender? That amazes me—“

“The White House agreed to that decision. Didn’t they brief you? Washington asked for her or Abdula Pasha—“

“The Muslim Nobel Peace Prize winner? Is he even a lawyer?”

“Yes, he is. We all agreed Thuy was the lesser of the two evils.”

“Well, she just got the confessions tossed.”

“The Judge has not ruled on that—oh, I forgot you know things before they happen. Do you know how the Judge is going to rule on the interview room surveillance?”

“That’s not your worry. We have strong legal opinions that support recording the attorney-client interactions for national security purposes. As long as there’s a firewall between the NSA and the prosecutors—“

“Of course, you do; opinions by the same jackasses who approved the torture and the drone strikes in violation of international law and common sense.”

“Director, you want to play hardball. You better up your game. There will be no trial. We will not defend the history of the republic and present and past administrations on world-wide broadcast.”

“And just how are you going to prevent a trial—“

“You had a chance, Sharon. You could have leaned on his parents. They are not U.S. citizens. They had numerous errors in their residence applications—“

“Lloyd, we have covered this ground before with the White House and the oversight committees. They had technical errors, and the Supreme Court has clearly stated that is not the basis for revocation of residency or—“

“Madam Director, the President thanks for your service. Those services are no longer required. There’re two U.S. Marshals here to help you gather your personal items. Thank you—“

“Greer, don’t do it. It will backfire on you, on us. Everyone will see through it—“

[Six hours later Abraham Abu Washington was found dead in his cell from unknown causes. The FBI conducted an extensive investigation that concluded with the arrest and later convicted of Federal Public Defender Cara Truong Thuy for providing Washington with the means for his suicide. The Administration did retain the Senate. As of writing this the U.S. drone attack program has expanded into West Africa, Kenya, and the Philippines.]

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