They Put The Hype In Hypocrisy
Thomas Calabrese — It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and the dew was glistening on the leaves like a million diamonds dangling from the trees. There were mixed scents of jasmine, carnation and summer flowers drifting on the breeze. Chief Petty Officer John Thorne almost wished he didn’t have to break the tranquil atmosphere, but the mission was his top priority.
The Special Operatives were currently in the Lake Naivasha region of Kenya, the third largest exporter of cut flowers in the world. Roughly half of Kenya’s 127 flower farms are concentrated around this area.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Connor Roland walked over and commented about the rolling fields of flowers, “I’ve never seen this many flowers in one place.”
“When this is over, I’ll pick you a bouquet,” Thorne said, “Tell the men, we’re moving out in 10 mikes (minutes).”
Roland responded, “Copy that,” and turned to leave.
Joe Ashby was a world-renown travel writer from Oceanside, California. He had journeyed to the four corners of the globe over his illustrious 30-year career to write travelogues about the uniqueness of each location. He usually went with his wife, Elaine, who took the photos. They had just finished visiting, Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Aboseli safari parks and were prepared to return home when he received a call from a government official at their hotel in Nairobi, asking him to visit Lake Naivasha.
Joe asked, “Why would I want to do that? We’ve already booked our flight home.”
“We’ve recently upgraded a resort in the area. A story from you about its amenities would go a long way in publicizing it,” Chege Kikuyu of the Kenya Tourist Bureau said, “The Kenyan government would like you to be our guest at the new Lake Naivasha Resort. At the end of your stay, we’ll pay for your first-class flight back to San Diego.”
“That is very generous. Your country has always been very hospitable to my wife and me during our visits. We’ll be happy to accept your invitation. ”
Joe informed his wife of their change of plans and she was upset that she was not consulted, “You could have asked me first.”
“I planned on it, but when the government asks us for a favor, it’s like money in the bank when we need something later,” Joe explained.
“I’m not saying that you made the wrong call. Next time tell them, let me ask my wife first. It’s called courtesy, Elaine strongly suggested.”
Joe responded, “Point taken, it won’t happen again.”
Someone at the tourist bureau leaked to a member of Al-Shabaab, a terrorist, jihadist fundamentalist group based in East Africa about the Ashby’s travel itinerary. Muktar Robaw, second in charge of the organization, decided to kidnap the American couple and ask for five million dollars and the release of ten political prisoners.
Lake Naivasha is home to a variety of wildlife including over 400 different species of birds and a sizable population of hippos. Joe and Elaine were walking along the Njorowa Gorge near the entrance to Hell’s Gate National Park.
Joe retired from the Air Force as a Colonel and B-52 bomber pilot and never expected to start a second career as a travel writer. Once he and his wife started visiting foreign lands, they posted their photos and observations in their local neighborhood newsletter. He was approached by a magazine editor who read about his visit to Tuscany, Italy. From there, things developed, Joe and Elaine now traveled six months a year, then returned to their condo in Oceanside for the other six.
Since they were often in areas that they were unfamiliar with, Joe thought it was a prudent decision for them to always wear personal locator beacons while traveling. This high-tech mini device could be turned on and off and was small and flat enough to fit comfortably inside the waistband.
When captured by four armed terrorists, Joe reassured his wife, “We’ll be fine.”
The terrorists took their cellphones and quickly searched them, but overlooked the locator beacons. They were placed in the back of a Toyota pick-up and a tarp was placed over them. Joe activated his beacon as the truck bounced along the dirt road.
John Thorne and his team were training with the Kenyan military, off the coast of Mombasa. They received notification about the American couple’s abduction and since they were the closest special operations team in the area, they were ordered to perform the rescue.
Using a special surveillance program on their tablet, they located the beacons, “I wish all hostages wore these…it would make it a hell of a lot easier.” Thorne said.
When the Navy Seals got to the top of the ridge, overlooking the wooden building where the Ashbys were being held, Thorne instructed the two snipers teams, “Get your calculations…when we get to 50 yards of the target, I’ll give the call to take out the guards.”
“Copy that, Chief,” First Class Petty Officer Scott Tyner responded.
When the rest of the Seal team got in position, Thorne gave the signal and the snipers took out four guards in less than two seconds. Thorne was the first to reach the building and tossed a flashbang grenade through the window to disorient the terrorists inside. Two Seals crashed through the door and shot three terrorists with accurate headshots.
Thorne approached Joe and his wife, “Are you alright, sir?”
Joe sighed in relief, “A lot better now…thanks for coming to get us.”
“We were in the neighborhood,” Thorne smiled, “Let’s go home.”
A radio communication came in from a sniper team, “We’ve got a situation, two trucks headed your way…I estimate 20 MAMs. (military-aged males)”
“Roger that,” Thorne replied, “Take out the drivers…we’re exiting the structure.”
The snipers hit both drivers and the trucks crashed. The terrorists in the back of the vehicles were thrown out, got to their feet and rushed toward the building.
Thorne calmly instructed the Ashbys, “Stay behind us, we’ve got this covered.”
The Seals took up defensive positions and began eliminating the terrorists. When one attacker circled to the left, Connor Roland had to stand up to take him out. In doing so, he exposed himself to enemy fire and took two rounds to the chest. Thorne rushed to his comrade’s aid and was shot in the lower right leg. He crawled over to Roland and dragged him back to where the Ashbys were concealed. He protected all three of them until the threat had been neutralized by the rest of the team.
Thorne was sitting down in an open field and the team Corpsman was applying a bandage to his leg wound, while Connor laid next to him in obvious pain.
Joe Ashby walked over and expressed his heartfelt gratitude, “Thanks for saving our lives.”
“Our privilege, we’re just glad that you and your wife are fine,” Thorne commented, then nudged Connor, “Right?”
Connor grimaced, Yeah, yeah right. We were in the neighborhood, besides we like flowers.”
Joe Ashby made a promise, “I don’t know how or when, but someday I’m going to find a way to repay you.”
“Not necessary,” Thorne replied.
“Necessary to me,” Joe answered.
A Kenyan Army helicopter landed and Ashbys were safely airlifted out. A U.S. chopper followed minutes later and Connor was carried aboard. As Thorne limped to the aircraft, he picked some flowers. Once the chopper was airborne, he gave them to Connor. “I promised you a bouquet. Don’t get the wrong impression…we can still see other people.”
During the flight a Corpsman tried to make Connor Roland as comfortable as possible.
The Navy Seals returned to Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek, Virginia. Connor was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After two surgeries to repair the damage to his right lung and the removal of his spleen, Connor was recuperating.
It was early morning on the day of January 6, 2021. John Thorne got up at 0400 hours to begin the 210 miles drive from Little Creek, Virginia to Bethesda, Maryland.
Upon entering the hospital room, Thorne greeted his team member, “How you doing?”
“Like I got kicked by a bull… lucky my vest took most of it.”
Thorne asked, “How much longer you going to be in here?”
“I asked them that…wouldn’t give me a definite date,” Connor said, “What about you, how long are you staying in DC?”
“I’ll be here overnight, got a room at the Trump International. I’m heading back tomorrow sometime. They give a pretty good discount for active duty personnel. I figured I’d hang out here and keep you company,” Thorne said.
The two Navy Seals watched several episodes of Gunsmoke on the western channel for a couple hours until Connor fell asleep. The nurse came in later and checked the wounded Seal’s vital signs, then commented, “Right now, his best medicine is rest. He’ll probably sleep through the night.”
“Is he going to be alright?” Thorne asked.
The nurse smiled, “He’ll be kicking down doors real soon.”
“If you would do me a favor, I’d appreciate it,” Thorne said.
“If I can,” The Nurse said.
Thorne requested, “Tell him that I’ll stop by tomorrow before heading back to base.”
After returning to his hotel room, Thorne commented to the desk clerk, “I noticed a lot of people in town, what’s going on?”
“Don’t you listen to the news?”
Thorne replied, “Not if I can help it.”
The desk clerk responded, “There’s a support rally for the President.”
The doctor prescribed medication for his leg injury but Thorne didn’t take them. He had been hurt worse and survived without drugs. When his leg buckled under him, he decided to use his cane instead for support and deal with the pain. Thorne was slowly walking down the street when he heard voices over a loudspeaker. He walked over for a closer look as the crowd became more rowdy. A police officer was standing at the top of the concrete stairs, trying to control the ever-expanding crowd. Suddenly a brick hit him in the head and he tumbled down the steps. Some hooligans started kicking him and Thorne pushed them aside to protect the officer.
A group attacked Thorne and he cracked one over the head with his cane, punched another in the face and the others backed away. The officer was bleeding badly from his head wound and Thorne immediately rendered first-aid. When the crowd rushed forward, he was knocked over and his cane was lost in the melee. By this time, others police officers arrived to care for their injured comrade.
Two weeks later, John Thorne was back training with his team when he got a message that the Commanding Officer wanted to see him.
Thorne knocked on the door-jam and said, “You wanted to see me, sir?”
Commander Paul Sawyer looked up, “C’mon on in, Johnny.”
Thorne walked in and stood before the desk.
“How’s the leg?”
“Good, back to full speed.” Thorne replied.
Commander Sawyer hesitated for a moment, “I received a request from Chain of Command that the FBI wants to see you.”
Thorne asked. “Did they say what for?”
“They were especially careful to not say why?”
Agents from Washington are on their way,” Commander Sawyer said, “I’ve been ordered to tell you not to leave the base.”
Things didn’t sound right and Thorne was suspicious, “Is there something that you’re not telling me?”
Commander Sawyer warned, “I’m telling you what I know… just be careful, Johnny.”
Later that day, Thorne was escorted to a private interrogation room and kept waiting for three hours. Two men eventually entered and identified themselves as FBI agents, but did not give their names. This was already a red flag for the Navy Seal. The two agents’ body language was stiff and unbending and Thorne sensed they had an agenda.
First Agent asked,” Were you in Washington DC on the 6th of January?”
A wise old sailor once advised Thorne about answering questions when things didn’t seem right. The words of Master Chief Landro came back to him, ‘Preface your answers with the phase ‘to the best of my recollection’. That way they can’t get you in a perjury trap.”
“To the best of my recollection,” Thorne answered.
This angered the agents and the second man snapped, “Either you were or you weren’t!”
The two FBI agents already knew the answer because John Thorne was picked up on surveillance cameras and was identified by facial recognition software.
The first agent decided to play the good cop, but his insincerity was evident, “We’re not after you…this is just a routine investigation.”
“I bet you run into a lot of extremist groups in your business,” the second agent added.
Thorne responded, “I would need your definition of extremist before I could answer that question.”
The first FBI agent’s cellphone rang and he answered it, “Right…got it,” then disconnected the call and turned to his partner, “We need to go.”
As the second agent left, he looked back and sneered, “This isn’t over, Petty Officer John Thorne.”
Two weeks later, Naval Criminal Investigative Agents escorted John Thorne to FBI Headquarters in Washington DC.
The same two agents entered the interrogation room. “I told you that this wasn’t over,” the Second Agent smiled.
The two agents sat down at the table across from Thorne. A moment later, another agent poked his head in, “The ice cream shop down the street is offering 25 cent impeaches and cream sundaes in honor of the President’s impeachment trial. Do you want one?”
First Agent, “Yeah thanks.”
The second agent handed the man a five dollar bill, “Get me three.”
“What about you, Thorne…want one?” The First Agent asked.
Thorne replied, “I don’t eat political desserts.”
The second agent quipped, “Did we offend your sensibilities?”
Thorne replied, “On second thought, maybe I will have something. Instead of the presidential sundae, I’ll have the FBI malt.”
The second agent was confused, “What’s that?”
“Anything that has spoiled milk and rotten eggs in it.”
The first agent reached under the table pulled out a long plastic bag and held it up, “Is this cane yours?”
Thorne looked closer, “Might be… I lost one like that.”
“It has your fingerprints and the blood of a murdered police officer on it,” The first agent said, “A coincidence possibly?”
The second agent snickered, “Maybe to the best of his recollection, he’s up the creek without a paddle or a snappy comeback.”
The first agent left the room and went over to the NCIS official who was in the waiting room, “We’re going to prepare the paperwork. I need you to take Thorne back to Little Creek and put him in the brig. The US Marshals will be down to get him when it’s completed.”
The NCIS agent asked, “What’s the charge?”
“Murder…but don’t tell the Navy…just say he’s in protective custody.”
The NCIS agent was conflicted, but reluctantly agreed, “Yes sir.”
The NCIS agent and John Thorne barely spoke on the way back to the base. When they reached Little Creek, the agent said, “The FBI wants to put you in the brig under protective custody.”
Thorne didn’t believe that, but replied, “Protective custody…right.”
After leaving the brig, the agent went over to Seal Team Headquarters and informed Commander Sawyer, “You didn’t hear this from me. The FBI is going to file murder charges against Chief Petty Officer John Thorne,” and walked out.
To further his own political agenda, an unnamed source in the FBI released information about the pending indictment against Chief Petty Officer John Thorne to the media. They embellished and broadcasted the story every hour with their own slanted commentary. John Thorne went from being a patriot and elite warrior to a card-carrying member of an extremist group who was working with foreign adversaries. Some politicians began calling for a complete investigation and 60-day stand down for Special Operations units.
When the indictment was released three days later, the government went big…very big. They charged John Thorne with first degree murder and treason. Both offenses were punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole.
This stunned and outraged the military, especially the top tier operators who took it personally that one of their own had been betrayed. The new administration wanted to demoralize the men and women who dedicated their lives to the protection of America because they had become too strong and emboldened under the previous Commander-In-Chief.
This indictment would be the first opportunity to send a message to the Armed Forces that this was a new politically correct globalist appeasement time in America. It had to be a strong one, because the new administration wanted to focus on the green new deal, immigration policies, defunding the police, higher taxes and reducing the defense budget by 15 per cent. Even if John Thorne was acquitted in a long protracted trial, which was unlikely, it would still be a major diversion.
The new Secretary of Defense, Malcolm Greenwood and Secretary of the Navy, Conrad Haines, were partisan hacks who had been bouncing in and out of administrations like rubber balls for the last three decades. When they weren’t parked at the public trough, they used their connections to work for companies that had multi-million dollar government contracts, and they got very rich in the process.
The orders from the White House were clear, show no mercy to John Thorne. He was placed in solitary confinement and denied any visitors. Three months passed and the media blitz on discrediting this American hero may not have been daily, but they were regular enough. There were falsified reports and anonymous sources saying they witnessed things that never happened.
Judge Advocate General lawyer, Commander Dale Taggart, was meeting with Commander Sawyer, in a small roadside café far off base. Both men were wearing civilian clothes and took extraordinary precautions to avoid being seen by anyone who might know them. Their careers would be over if they were caught.
Commander Taggart stated matter of factly, “There is no way that Thorne is going to be acquitted.”
“What makes you so sure?” Commander Sawyer inquired.
“I’m working on the prosecution team, the evidence isn’t credible, the witnesses have been coached and the judge is a political appointee who will do as he’s told. They’re going for maximum sentence and they’re going to get it.”
“Why am I not surprised,” Commander Sawyer said, “Any suggestions?”
Commander Taggart hesitated for a moment, “You guys make a living getting people out of tough spots. Now would be a good time to use that experience.”
It’s that serious?” Commander Sawyer asked.
“It has gone past serious and hovering at critical.”
The trial was due to start in three weeks and politicians, pundits and the news media were all on the same bandwagon to convict John Thorne. They put the hype in hypocrisy for every one of them had always put their self- serving interests above their loyalty to the country and the rule of law.
Thorne was a warrior and he dealt with the solitude of his confinement with the strength and bravery that he had always exhibited in his career.
It was decided by a group of Thorne’s friends that former Navy Seals would carry out the mission. That way, current personnel in his unit would have plausible deniability and an alibi. Dozens of Navy Seals, support staff and civilian employees were at the party at Ravens’ Restaurant in Little Creek, Virginia. Only a select few actually knew about the escape and when the time came, they looked at the watches and nodded to each other.
The former special operatives still maintained their skills even though they were no longer on active duty. A key part of their plan was not to hurt anyone in the escape. The power was shut off to the section of the base where the brig was located and the emergency generator would take three minutes to engage. The team took out the two exterior gate guards with fast acting tranquilizer darts. Once inside the perimeter, they moved to the west side of the structure and pumped sleeping gas through the heating and air conditioning unit. Five minutes later, the extraction team put on their gas masks and entered. They found the keys to Thorne’s cell and opened it. He was unconscious and one of the men used a fireman’s carry to get him outside.
The truck was five miles away from the base when Thorne started to awaken. From Virginia, they drove down the coast to Florida, where a civilian defense contractor and former Seal was waiting for them at an airfield. The leader of the extraction team extended his hand, “Good luck.”
“Thanks for your help,” Thorne replied.
The former Seal smiled, “You would have done the same for us.”
Thorne boarded the plane and it was airborne in a few minutes.
When news of the escape became known, the current administration wanted retribution for the embarrassment. They demoted and relieved dozens of leaders from their commands. Some individuals chose to take early retirement and others voluntarily left the service. The investigators could not find out anything and everybody they interviewed was less than helpful, had an alibi or just admitted to having a bad memory.
Their final report simply stated, “This was a massive conspiracy with numerous individuals in the military and civilian world involved. None have been identified.
The Nam Hai Hotel is situated on a tranquil area along the pristine China Beach in the country of Vietnam. It has 60 beautiful guesthouses and 40 pool villas and offers magnificent views of the South China Sea and Cham Islands.
Joe Ashby and his wife were guests at the resort and were having dinner at the hotel restaurant when John Thorne walked up and sat down, “Thank you sir for getting me a job here. It’s a great place to live and work.”
Joe smiled, “I have an investment in this property. I told the other owners that we need a man of your character and qualifications and they agreed. Besides, I told you that I would find a way to pay you back.”
Elaine commented, “Sorry about how things worked out for you. You deserved better for all you’ve given to our country. Maybe someday, you’ll get the chance to go home again.”
“That day will never come until truth matters and they take the hype out hypocrisy. In the meantime, my friends know where to find me,” Thorne said
Joe added, “And don’t forget Vietnam has no extradition treaty.”
Elaine picked up the menu and said, “I’m in the mood for something sweet, any recommendations on the dessert menu?”
Thorne replied, “Everything is good… there is one thing you won’t find here.”
“What’s that?” Joe asked.
Thorne said, “Impeaches and Cream.”