Editorials | Opinions | March 2009
|"Mistakes Were Made..."|
A Letter to the Editor from Tom Chavez
Recently, Dick Cheney, the ex Vice President of the United States of America stated on CNN that "mistakes were made" with regard to the well publicized capture program. I am writing to you because I am one of those mistakes. What I am about to tell you is the truth and I will detail as much as possible about a failed capture operation, a psychological interrogation done even after they knew who I was, a second entrapment operation and manipulation of persons and agencies with which I had earned the right to be involved with. Above all, we as Americans, suffered a constitutional crisis and a blatant disregard for the rights of other nations as well as causing mass xenophobia and hatred towards Americans around the world. The main issues affecting the world are and continue to be poverty, racism, abuse of power and drugs and violence. Persons or groups causing mass causalities should be brought to justice in a manner that is appropriate and legal within the framework of international conventions. What were they thinking?
After working as an Assistant Professor of Programming at the Kazakh American University in Almaty Kazakhstan, I was invited to participate in an English language summer camp in Irkutsk Russia at the request of Mr. Sergei Rasputin whose father (Valentin Rasputin is a writer) in June 2005. I especially admire his book, "Siberia Siberia" as well as his poetry. He also suffered under tyranny but later learned how to use his talents for the benefit of Siberians and Russians alike His writings are required in high school composition papers throughout Siberia.
In January 2006, I suffered from an internal medical problem and I had to be operated on and one Russian doctor knowing that I did not have insurance operated on me and saved my life. He said, "tell everyone that I do not care who you are but I am Doctor and I will save your life". I am thankful for his compassion and his willingness to uphold the basic hypocritical oath of medical professionals "Thou shall cause no harm". After recovering in January and February 2006, my visa was about to expire and I made the journey to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia which is a common route for foreigners from Western nations looking to renew their documents or to relocate to other nations. I was still healing from major surgery.
In March 2006, I entered Mongolia from Ulan Ude, Russia and made my way to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where I worked as an English teacher at Santis Corporation for one month and at the same time, I went to the embassy four times. During these visits, Joan the section chief and embassy staff, subjected me to a racist finger printing operation where an individual paraded around the embassy stating "I just go married to a Chinese women who works at CCTV and I can΄t even get a legal visa for her but why do they allow all of the illegal Mexicans to enter the US". I was insulted because I am Mexican American but I recognized what he was doing. I had informed Joan that I was still recovering from major surgery as well. This man approached me and asked questions and attempted to get me to hold a photo (fingerprinting op) because he had covered his ID with something like post it notes. After he was unable to get my fingerprints he handed the photo to the attendant and shook his head no. After that, Joan approached me and she handed me my official passport which I had mistakenly used for personal travel since the loss of my regular travel passport (which I reported as lost in Kazakhstan while in Mongolia). She handed my official passport to me and then asked for it back. Obviously, another fingerprinting operation. At this point, she said, "you can go back to the US using your drivers license" and then she said something like (yes, I am sure that customs will let you enter the US with a drivers license). However, I could not buy a ticket to return to the US without a passport and it also subjected me to arrest and/or detention. They made their decision and I decided after this that I had to hide and I decided to find my way back into Russia and find a way to recover from my surgery while in hiding.
In late April 2006, I entered the Russian Federation from a well known mountain pass that is normally reserved for Russians and Mongolians and I made my way along the Arshan mountains and found my way to my friends but I never told them anything about what happened in Mongolia. I worked again in an English language camp at Lake Baikal for along time because we use camp names and not our real names and then I spent considerable time in a small village in the Russian Far East. I managed to make my way around Russia using the cover of snow, darkness and other means. For reasons of my own security and actions of having to cross a border without official documents I will not elaborate too much. I did manage to have one of my closest and most respected friends send a letter to the US embassy in Moscow while she was there on business. She did so at great risk to herself and to her family. Her response to me was that the US asked "why doesn't he bring it himself" and she tried to explain to them but she was later investigated for trying to help me. Shortly after this period, I was lost and remembered being trapped in the Russian Far East in the middle of winter. At this point, I made contact with Sonata Coultier, the duty officer at the US consulate in Yekaterinburg, but I never said who I was because I was still in hiding and I told her that. I told her that I would try to make it to her location or the Consulate in Vladivostok. I was stopped by the militia in Irkutsk while trying to find a safe way to the Consulate and I argued with them and said that my passport was lost. After a short time, I was taken to an office where I was issued a one way travel permit to travel to Yekaterinburg to obtain a new passport. I arrived in Yekaterinburg in late November in -24 degree weather with heavy snow storms. I was short on money and I checked into a cheap hotel after bargaining with them and the following morning, I was given a courtesy ride to the Consulate.
Upon arriving at the US Consulate, I noticed two vehicles in front of the Consulate. After seeing me, the driver got into the vehicle and I walked right by the vehicles (a beige Dodge 300 station wagon with diplomatic plates and an SUV) with four people. I remember my thought in this moment "Just what do you think your doing?" after that, they pulled into the central compound of the Consulate and appeared to set up a capture. The Russians reacted and blocked the driveway. After that, I was asked how I got to Russia and I said "It wasn't to hard". Subsequently, there were many Russians in the consulate at this time because it is a shared compound with Russian Security. After a short time, I was invited for lunch and I was hesitant to eat the food and Sonata saw my concern and as I checked the food I noticed that Sonata was shaking her head up and down (I was led to believe that the food might be poisoned). Next, I gave her a code word that I had provided to them via my sister in an email so that they would know it was me. I said it but they did not recognize it so I realized I had to do something else. I saw a group of men and women and the men had contacts lenses that looked like cross hairs. Sonata saw that I saw this and she again (shook her head up and down) and I was led to believe that I was going to be shot. Her questioning went on and on and I even pretended to be a Russian Omon and I said "you are operating illegally inside the territiory of the Russian Federation without the consent of the Russian Government." I did this because I didn't think that they would shoot a Russian.
After lunch, I was sent into the waiting room where the embassy had let a large number of Russians enter the consulate (to observe me and to harass me) and later they called me back into the cafeteria and the group of people marched in - in formation which led me to believe again that they were going to shoot me again. There were many things that happened and many questions but I did see one mans concern when I disassociated for mental health protection and I think he thought I was having a heart attack. I saw his look of concern but Sonata would not stop. And again I was sent back with the Russians in the waiting room. Finally, for the last time, I was in the cafeteria being questioned and interrogated and apparently, they finally received the letter from my sister and in the letter was a threat from me that I would hurt them if they did anything.
At this point, the Consul General, John S. walked quickly into the room and said "I see we have a visitor from the Spanish Embassy" and Sonata said "he is joking three times" and she had to be forced to read the letter before believing it. I walked out of the room around 5:30 PM (7 ½ hours after arriving) and Sonata gave me 400 Rubles and asked me to go to a certain restaurant where I went. Upon arrival I saw another embassy employee observing me and he was wearing a hat. He was the person that had asked me earlier a question about "Spying is Beaurocatic". Obviously, I was sent into another trap to see if I collaborated with the Russians. They saw that I did not. The next morning, the international airport appeared to be shut down and I was escorted out of the Russian Federation under escort ironically by the same man who was in charge of the vehicles parked in front of the Consulate. There is no doubt that I was the subject of a failed capture attempt and thankfully the Russians blocked it. In light of this action, it is clear that the coercive/psychological operation was employed despite knowing that I was an American and that I was the person who was told to return to the United States using only my drivers license. Of course, there are more details about the interrogation which are sensitive but I cannot disclose them). I returned to the US the following day and I went to my sisters for Christmas and went to the VA hospital to have them look at my surgery.
If you think this is the end of the story, well it is only half.
Later in 2007, I went on a six month volunteer assignment in Tehuacan, Puebla where I volunteered as an English teacher in an Institute. After that, I went to Mexico City where I worked as a teacher in an English language school. I suffered the loss of a unborn child with my girlfriend and I was very hurt. After that, in late April, 2007, I went to the Russian Embassy in Mexico City to get some visitor information. Upon entering the Russian Embassy in Mexico City, a group of apparent African Americans were ahead of me in line and a white male came in after me. Unfortunately, the Russian attendant kept watch over me and one of the colored man stared at me and the another black man in front of me turned to me, pulled his dark sunglasses down and exposed his cat eye contact lenses and he pretended to dial a number on his phone while moving towards me. Obviously, another operation against me had started.
I stayed in line and asked for a travel brochure and then I sat down while the white man stood in the middle of the room in a karate like stance watching the attendants and the wall opposite the attendants and the Colored men became angry and threw his application for visa papers down next to me and he asked me for help stating in Spanish "that you know how to do it" I said in Spanish that I "didn't know". (fingerprinting operation again, you decide?) I pulled some papers from my jacket and compared my notes to the travel brochure and the colored man stood over me watching and reading. Finally, I gave the brochure back to the attendant and took the internet address paper and the two running the operation left.
After this incident, I decided to return to the United States. Upon arrival in Brownsville, Texas, I realized that things were going to be different for me after the entrapment attempt in Mexico City. During this time period in the US, I had two applications for some things I applied for, one for official use and the other was for the Company. Clearly, I was being subjected to another psychological operation involving my entire life. I saw what was happening and so I decided to pretend to be paranoid. This went on for more than four months and my entire life was turned upside down.
Finally, while in the Veterans Administration in August for anxiety, I was told by an attendant that my blood sugar level was elevated and then she immediately pretended to give me a shot of insulin into my left arm with a syringe. There was absolutely nothing that I could do. What would you do in this situation? The next time, I went in for a follow-up appointment in September, the Physicians Assistant took me into his office and showed me his computer with a DOS dialogue box that had a diagnosis of delusional disorder from August 2008, when I wasn't even in the US. He said "I am supposed to treat you like a delusional disorder". I became angry and left. I took a photo of the screen and the man. What appeared to happen here is that some elements of Homeland Security, while not manipulating my official records, used computer manipulation to try and confuse me, to deceive me and to start me arguing with the VA about a diagnosis that is not a part of my mental health. The VA probably was not responsible but someone really wanted me to argue about a delusional disorder diagnosis and then to talk about my experience in Russia and Mexico City. It was exactly for those reasons that I was not able to discuss this matter while President Bush was in power because I was the target of his capture operation, an entrapment operation, denied a legally entitled return passport from Mongolia and two years of psychological operations that encompassed my entire life and a manipulation of my basic benefits with the VA.
Now, I would like to ask your readers if they understand why I was not able to file a complaint with the Justice Department, the State Department and access my legally entitled services under the Bush Administration without a psy-op. Does everyone understand that I forgive Bush and Cheney because I believe that some of the officers objected to these operations. Yes, I fought with the State Department, said inappropriate things to them and I am sorry for that but the fact remains that I was "a mistake" and now we all know what happened to "mistakes" during the Bush Cheney Administration when you choose to stand up and fight for your rights. I thank God everyday that we as a nation are turning the corner and trying to be better people. We have a long way to go but I believe that as long as peace is the main goal we will be better off in the long run.
Thank you for your time and I want to thank the Doctor in Russia for his honor and for saving my life, to my friends who risked their lives to help me and to those people who see my message as a way of looking forward. Please stop the senseless arguing and fighting around the world. I would appreciate,