Friday, 3 May 2013

The Quiet Slave Story

It won't appear in your local press, or the Today Show, or anyone much....but the Homeland Security guys got a tip and yesterday reacted to a 'slave-situation'.

The best that I can say....somewhere within forty-odd miles of DC....there's a fancy house out in Virginia....fairly large in size.  Two individuals got word out that they were being kept there as slaves.  The house is owned by members of the Saudi Arabian embassy.  Homeland Security reacted, showed up, and helped the two individuals leave.

The local news network here in Virginia did do one interview and the Homeland Security guy responsible for Virginia did speak or two minutes on the episode.  He would not say much except that they get tips, and they react.  They showed pictures of the house....one of the $5 million places, if you ask me.

It would appear that no one can charge anyone connected to the house....because of diplomatic immunity.  Other than freeing the folks, that's about all they can do.

What likely happened?  There's probably some Philippine-maids that were working in Saudi Arabia at some residence, and they were told to pack and get on some plane which landed in Virginia....which had diplomatic immunity from examination, and then they were whisked over to the house.  They probably work sixty hours a week and never get out.....kept locked up and supervised constantly.  Big fence around the property, so escape just isn't possible.

A crime?  Yeah, under a bunch of federal laws, and a number of state laws.  Judgement on this?  Nothing.  The Saudi guys will grin....look confused, and then call their State Department buddies to fix all this mess up.  The question is....how many more slaves in America exist?  And you just don't know.

A Dead Horse Story

This week, I've had two experiences that I just shake my head over.

First, I had our headquarters counter-intelligence folks want to "debrief" me.  When generally you have a security clearance, and you travel to some forbidding countries.....military organizations always want to debrief you.

To be honest, in thirty-odd years of government service and travel throughout Europe.....I've never been debriefed, nor did I ever need to be.  After last week's trip to Germany....these dimwits suddenly popped up and wanted to debrief me.  I responded and said any such report would be "awful sparse , and not worth the effort.  They simply responded that it was necessary to fill in the holes.

All of this....had to be done over a secure phone....which I haven't used one in almost four years.  I discovered there's only like three of these in the whole unit.  In my old days with intelligence....there fifty of these phones around a work area.

So the first question was....did anyone go through your bags?  I thought for a second.....well, yeah....my German wife, and her two cats.  Then I thought.....I better not say that, so no was the answer.

We proceeded on.  Did the customs guys bother me?  Was I intentionally delayed?  Did someone go through my cellphone or camera?  On and on....twenty-five questions....no was always the response.  It took around eight minutes to say no twenty-five times.

If I had gone off to Russia or Cuba or Burma.....maybe this would be necessary, but for Germany?  Total waste.  I imagine that they do these debriefs probably every week.....just to fill a square.  There's some database out there...filled with millions of these "no-reports" (as I would call them....utterly worthless).

My second episode?  I had these two guys show up from the headquarters.  They were supposed to be there just to walk through the facilities.....but it became this "we-need-you-to-do-this" visit.

Every time the AC, or electrical goes out.....they wanted me to call them personally and let them know it was going on.....mostly before their one-star civilian guy over their division knew it.  Since I'm mostly a one-man shop....I just nodded my head.  I have no intention of wasting my time like this.

Then they wanted me to do a status report each Friday (kinda like a TPS report on the movie Office Space).  I just looked at the guy and nodded....other than responded with "nothing to report"....this is a total waste of my time.

Then they got into the drawings of the work spaces we occupy.  My drawings go across twelve pages, and they don't really fit together....separate places in the Pentagon.  This was all confusing to them, and they felt I need to number the hallways or make this so they could sit forty miles away and read my office space drawings.  I just said sure.....I won't do anything to change the drawings.

Then they got around identifying when walls were painted, carpet was redone, new chairs were done for certain work-areas, etc.  They wanted each drawing annotated with such information.  It would have made no sense, and considering that I only have three years of history there.....it wouldn't be accurate at all.

So I got to some point near the end....realizing that they weren't my boss.....and were simply becoming an extension of my boss....but sitting forty miles away.  They really weren't going to help me....they were going to become more of pain than a help.

I have roughly fifty days left before I quit.  I've determined over the past year that between furlough, sequestration, stupid government incompetence, and lousy leadership....it's just not worth staying around in the middle of this mess.

There's an old saying....which relates to the Indians of the Great Plains.  As a group of Indians were riding across the plains at a good pace....one pony would fall and drop dead.  The warrior to roll and then stand up....gazing down at his dead horse.  The chief, the assistant chief, the division chief, and safety chief....would all ride up.  The four wise men would all stand around the dead horse, and each respond: "....with a dead horse, you cannot ride".  You can imagine the warrior standing there and listening to four idiots repeat the same idiot phrase.

In the management world....there's this related phrase: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

Well....I've decided that I've ridden this dead horse as far as I can, and I've dragged this dead horse as far as I can, and it's best not only to dismount, but to put as much distance between me and the dead horse as possible.  So on 1 July, I will be set free for the first time in my life....with no job, and I just frankly don't care.

I'm returning to Germany....fixing up the wife's house and landscaping, traveling (I've got a bucket list), and maybe write a book or two.  I will take a moment or two each day....to think of the dead horse situation, and then never look back.