First Assistant to the President Ruben Castillo was driving halfway to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue from the Hill following an early meeting with a Senate committee chairman. Past the Archives building on 7th Street, he looked up and saw the jets thundering down from the clouds high above.
Strange, he thought, that any aircraft--especially military--would be flying that close in the airspace over this part of Washington. Doris Benedict, his Admin sitting in the passenger seat, said so herself as they both looked up at the planes, two of them, coming down from a high altitude almost vertically towards...the White House.
Then seconds later, they felt the ground shake, at the same time they heard the explosions from several blocks up ahead. When they crossed 15th Street and passed the Old Treasury Main Building on the right, they expected to see the executive mansion come to view but all they saw was part of the East Wing and the rest of the structures--the White House and the West Wing--crumbled in a pile of burning ruins, thick columns of smoke curling up in the air.
The rush-hour traffic on both sides of them, from K Street to Constitution Avenue and within three blocks both ways in the other direction suddenly was at a standstill. Soon, Federal and City security forces, deafening sirens blaring, were converging from every direction towards the site of the devastation.
Very few present in the power bastions at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue survived. In the White House, one of them was the Chief Of Staff. But she was critically injured and lived only long enough to successfully make some phone calls with her mobile. The first one she tried was Vice President Ricardo Padua to report the message that 'the President is dead'.
No one picked up at the VP's Eisenhower Executive Office Building offices, at that time abandoned after the attack on the White House nextdoor. In his residence at the Naval Observatory, three miles away on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., she had to leave 'the message' to a family member, a young woman, who said her father was in the shower. The only other person she could think of to call immediately, one she had worked with closely for years was the First Assistant to the President, Ruben Castillo, who she knew at the time was not in the White House.
When his phone rang, Ruben Castillo, with Doris Benedict in tow, had abandoned the car and ventured on foot along Madison Place, N.W., towards the East Wing. For less than a minute, he listened to the Chief Of Staff as close as he could amidst the background cacophony at both ends of the call. He listened to the last word of instructions she gave him before she expired.
The first of those instructions Ruben Castillo acted upon was to get a hold of the House Speaker and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Of the 333 House Members and 68 Senators left of the U.S. Congress after the Federation formed, 138 and 24, respectively, perished in the attack on Capitol Hill. The Speaker, who was late getting out of bed that morning in his house in Georgetown, was not one of them. The Chief Justice, already in his chamber in the supreme court building which was not attacked, likewise, was unharmed.
After he finally reached the Vice President in the Naval Observatory residence, Ruben Castillo, assisted by his Admin Doris Benedict, arranged for all participants available to meet there as soon as possible for the swearing-in of the new President of the United States, what's left of the Union.
The war gradually came to a halt from the day after the attack on Washington, D.C. The new President immediately ordered withdrawal of all forces that had placed Denver under siege. The order was slow getting to all the battlefields from Virginia to California. With the Pentagon destroyed, rank and file in high commands, civilian and military, was in disarray and had to be re-established with those who survived. Among them, in the civilian rank: the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In the military: the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chief of Naval Operations, all the Naval Fleet Commanders and ranking Officers under these except those who had defected to the Federation. The Secretary of the Navy who was in conference with the Secretary of Defense at the time, was among the thousands killed in the attack on the Pentagon.
In the process of restoring rank-and-file, the U.S. Navy faced more rupture in its strength. First, the entire Fourth Fleet, headquartered in the Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville , Florida, defected to the Federation. This was followed by the breakup of the Third Fleet in the Pacific headquartered in Pearl Harbor. Four of its Commanders broke ranks with the CINCPACFLT: the Battle Force Commander, the Combat Support Force Commander, the Amphibious Force Commander and the Carrier Strike Force Commander who led a formidable armada of four Nimitz Class carriers and all their escort ships. The Commanders formed a separate strike force and headed to the mainland to support the Federation.
In (Northern) California, every military installation--training centers, depots, garrisons, air bases, among them the NAS Lemoore, Beale AFB, Fort Hunter-Liggitt, Camp Roberts--had either been taken over by the FDF or voluntarily turned itself over to the Federation command. Thus, the balance of military power now had shifted some more to the side of the Federation.
The lull in the Civil War, meantime, allowed time for both sides to regroup, bury and mourn their dead; time to reflect on what had happened to America, what lay ahead, and confront the question: what now?
From where U.S. President Ricardo Padua stood in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) where he now held office, he saw America still as one nation. But back of his mind, he was hard pressed in denying to himself the existence of the Federation, the reality it presented to dare the United States, the nation, the whole world, to challenge its resolve and legitimacy as a separate country.
After a few days in office, he came to the decision that the primary goal of his administration would be the reunification of America. With that in mind, he acquiesced to the idea of recognizing the Federation and having to deal with its leadership any way possible. Hopefully through nothing other than a process of peaceful negotiations for an agreement to achieve that goal.
Had it been possible for the U.S. government, what remained of it, to foresee the bigger picture of the result of the Second American Civil War, the Administration and Congress would have recognized sooner the full extent of the damage done, and the new President might not have been too quick in thinking the idea of the reunification of the Union.
The first event to befall the idea was how the war affected first the U.S. and, very soon, the global economy. Wall Street did not crash but it might as well had. The market plunged so fast it nearly hit rock bottom. Sell calls on stocks and mutual funds went on all day long from the opening bell to the closing minute. Banks practically shut down lending. Borrowing rates soared. Investors dumped Treasury securities by the hundreds of billions.
The U.S. dollar lost 55% of its value and within a week going into the middle of May 2112, it was--after recent speculations--finally replaced by the Chinese Yuan (Renminbi) as the world Reserve Currency. Countries all over the world dumped the USD for the Yuan or other currencies: the Yen, the Won (South Korea), the Euro, the Pound Sterling, the CAD, the AUD. The economic shock came close to bringing the nation to another great Depression similar to that on October 1929.
With its revenue cut by a third following the secession of the Federation state-republics, the government failed to meet several interest payments and defaulted on trillions of dollars of its debt to several European and Asian countries, the biggest ones to China and Japan. By all the criteria that mattered, the U.S. was no longer a world economic power and lately--with its Defense budget shrunk to its lowest level in one hundred years--a military power.
America, as the world had known during her rise to power through the last three centuries, was no more. She now faced what appeared to be an irreversible decline, a debilitation from a disease of poor judgments, corruption, lack of discipline, permissiveness and loose values through decades of bad governance.
Several days after the U.S. forces withdrew and ended the siege of Denver, the Federation moved quickly to solidify its legitimacy to the eye of the world as a new independent nation. The founders convened through long hours, for days, to end the provisional leadership and establish a permanent structure of governance--a parliamentary form of government of the Federated Republics: Prime Minister as head of government supported by a Cabinet of Ministers, Legislature made up of the Upper and Lower House of the Federation Parliament, both composed of Parliamentarians elected by the popular vote of the people of each Republic, Judicial System headed by a Justice Minister.
The process had to be put on hold temporarily going into the first week of June 2112 when three more states--Washington, Alabama and Florida--announced a statewide referendum to secede from the Union and join the Federation. The FDF and the armed forces of the three new member Republics were put on alert for days before and after the announcement, fearing for a U.S. counter-reaction which, to their relief but not exactly to their surprise, did not happen.
With the admission of the two southern Republics, the Federation now had a near complete dominance in the Gulf of Mexico and, with the exception of the African-American U.S. region of Georgia and the Carolinas, control of the entire Southeast. In the West Coast, with the admission of Washington, the Federation likewise now had control of the Pacific shores of the mainland except for that part of it in Southern California from south of Monterrey County.
But the new nation, now led by Prime Minister Alfred de Vera, was nowhere near the day to celebrate its independence or the beginning of a peaceful existence--or co-existence--not only with the United States, but with itself. First of all, having successfully, so far, broken away from the Union, the Federation did not automatically transform itself into a completely different nation. It had simply inherited the decay, the rot that finally brought America to its knees and broke it up. The only thing that happened was the change in leadership and governance.
The Northwest, for instance, although the whole region was now part of the new country, remained polarized in its entirety, demographically and economically (the Yuan was legal tender in all business transactions) separate from the rest of the Federation. The same as the three separate African-American regions and, especially, the Hispanic Southwest that remained under the government of the United States.
Northern California, although it was now a Federation Republic likewise remained as it was--more like a part of Mexico, the same as Southern California.
How then was this new country any different? the leaders of the Federation asked among themselves. To address the question more openly, they brought it to the nation over the airwaves, the press and the internet in a display of government transparency which was denied them for years by their former rulers in the Union.
Led by Prime Minister Alfred de Vera, along with Deputy PM Steven Fukuda and the Parliament House Leaders Henry Flynn of Northern California and Liz Murphy of Colorado, the leadership thus pledged to the people of the new nation to restore the Freedom of the Press to the fullest extent, to enforce the inviolability of its use, according to the Federation Constitution, to tell only the truth without any act of misinformation or bias by means of omission or any specific point of view other than that for the purpose of informing the consumer of the facts. They pledged also to enforce the Civil Rights Act and--in their effort to allow government transparency and regain credibility to the people--their version of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Federation had its own task of reunifying the nation, the part of America it inherited from the Union. But to come to that, it must first continue with the tasks at hand: secure its borders and enforce its laws to protect its sovereignty and establish its national identity.
It must do what the Union never did to those ends, most importantly by:
Enforcing Immigration laws,
Establishing English as the one and only official language of the nation,
Enforcing the requirement for attaining citizenship as it is now written in the Federation Constitution,
Implementing the requirement for every legal resident (citizens and immigrants)
to carry the Federation Residence Identification Card at all times,
Identifying, apprehending, detaining and deporting all illegal aliens inclusive of their children born in the country, consistent with the letters of the citizenship laws in the Federation Constitution.
And there were more. More of the tasks at hand that, from where the Federation leadership stood starting with the Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet on down to the leaders of each Republic and its MPs in the Parliament, must be dealt with without reservation. Among these, aside from the continued threat from the United States owing to its new leaders and their uncertain position regarding the Federation, was the event that took place recently in the Southwest region.
Former U.S. President Pablo Vergara who barely escaped death in the White House, had made it to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and gathered his own political forces there. Among these were the Governors of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and all those of the six border-states of Mexico--Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas.
Between them came a resolution to replace CNABS with a new entity they named La Comunidad Autonoma de Nuevo Mejico--The Autonomous Region of New Mexico (ARNM). They released a map online and on network and cable television for all the world to see showing its territories which included: Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (excluding the northwest now controlled by the Federation and called the Republic of West Texas). In the TV Special News broadcast that followed, Governor Lorenzo Huerta of Baja California presented the governing body of the ARNM. Former U.S. President Pablo Vergara was presented last and introduced as the First Governor General of the autonomous region.
A few weeks later, going into midsummer, several Federation undercover agents came back from Tucson, Arizona, San Diego, California and parts of Texas. They brought reports supported by still pictures and videos showing Mexican regular Army troops garrisoned in U.S. military bases. In southern New Mexico, they showed pictures of Mexican tanks and APCs transporting troops on Highway 10 from Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico to Las Cruces. The agents saw the same military buildup coming from the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon into San Antonio, Texas on Highway 35.
The reports also stated, and several still pictures showed, that the region was now over-crowding with people from south of the border. Hundreds of thousands of them and many more, as shown by the pictures at the borders, flooding in daily from the San Diego-Tijuana ports of entry in California to the Brownsville-Matamoros ports of entry in Texas. The border between the U.S. and Mexico was now non-existent.
The United States did absolutely nothing. It was busy licking its wounds from the turmoil with the Federation and couldn't be bothered dealing with being decimated further by this latest event. On the contrary, the government, those left running it who were a majority of Anglats with long-known strong sentiments for their origins south of the border, appeared not to mind at all, short of openly welcoming the event.
But in the Federation leadership in Denver, the immediate reaction was outrage.
Prime Minister Alfred de Vera immediately gathered the members of the newly formed Federation Security Council: Deputy PM Steven Fukuda, Cabinet Minister Cecilio Borja, Lower House Leader Henry Flynn, Upper House Leader Liz Murphy, Communications Minister George Holtzman, Defense Minister General Harold Drabek, Homeland Security Minister General Donald Lippert, Navy Minister Admiral Roscoe George, Federation Intelligence Director James Lippert, Foreign Affairs Minister Vicente Sandoval.
Many in the Council shared equally well the outrage felt by Alfred de Vera, those who along with him had suspected for years the ultimate goal of the Latinos to take over the domination of America from the Anglos. It had been happening for years since the first Hispanic ascended the Presidency in that two-term Spanglish Administration from 2088 to 2096, and continued on in stealth with the suppression of the press and the FOIA through the two terms of Pablo Vergara and to this very day.
It was Henry Flynn who--through his close associates in the U.S. Congress during the Vergara and Valderrama administrations, mostly the California House Members known as the Five Sacraments--first suspected and later ascertained the takeover goal. And it didn't matter how long it took, this coming from one other close associate and long-time friend, Professor Vicente Sandoval, speaking to him on several occasions of what he, Sandoval, learned about Pablo Vergara during and after Vergara's terms in the White House.
The mind behind CNABS was none other than Pablo Vergara. Vicente Sandoval found that out from his childhood friend Sonora Governor Rolando Beltran to whom Vergara, a cousin of Beltran, opened it all up during a Cinco de Mayo visit in the Governor's office in Hermosillo.
From Pablo Vergara himself to his cousin Rolando Beltran only the year before, almost word for word:
'We don't have to do anything more than what has been happening, or what they have allowed to happen the last one hundred years, which is basically what population experts have termed mass demographic shift. In layman's term--mass movement of people that alter the population landscape of a geographic location.
'Also, we now run the government. But, still, things could change very quickly.
'As of this time, I see two possibilities to preserve the position we've so far achieved. One, allowing the demographic shift to continue, but that takes time so speed it up by removing immigration barriers, making the border more open to the point we overwhelm the whole country by our sheer number.
'There won't be an armed conflict of any kind. The way it will be done is the same way I just said except instead of doing it nationwide, it will be only within those territories lost in the Treaty [of Guadalupe-Hidalgo]: California and all of the southwest region. As it is, the country and any tourist from abroad can see that that part of America no longer looks like part of America. Talking to the people and taking in the character of the region--the food, the color, the architecture, the language, religion, tradition, the whole way of life--one feels more like being in Mexico or Central America than anywhere in the U.S. In ways that matter the most, we have reconquered those lost territories without having fired a single shot.
'What's left to do now is to make it official. All it would take is to put some paperwork together to introduce a proposition to Congress.'
When Vicente Sandoval brought that up at one point during the Security Council gathering, everyone's revulsion seemed to solidify and turn into one formidable source of energy. Alfred de Vera had to wave down the agitation in the room momentarily.
The way it looked now, they--the Federation--might have achieved their objective to break away from the Union but by doing so, they had inadvertently helped the likes of Pablo Vergara to achieve their goal too, part of it, with the Southwest region of America. And now, if the U.S. was not going to do anything about it, which appeared to be the case, it would then be up to the Federation to do something about it or, likewise, do nothing.
The latter, everyone agreed unanimously in the succeeding meetings of the Security Council, was no way in hell an option at all. America might have broken up internally, but there was no way in hell any foreign power was going to come in and occupy any of her territories.
Everyone had the same thought run in their heads even before House Leader Henry Flynn put it into words:
"No way in hell any people of any single ethnicity, race, culture, religion, belief, way of life, is going to claim any part of America exclusively for themselves. America remains a land of the people, by the people and for the people of all the earth who wish to live in it and abide by its laws."
Those words rang louder and louder in their heads as they deliberated more later on the reports from the undercovers. The Federation leadership convened for days on end towards the last week of June 2112. Many Proposals were tabled in the Parliament, debated and passed on to the Prime Minister. Several were signed into Resolutions. One of them, immediately upon approval, was put into action.
On July 3, 2112, a day before the traditional Independence Day in America, the invasion began.
Three Divisions of Federation troops, eighty thousand soldiers and Marines, had massed at the Federation borders with Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, spread at pre-determined areas of the region. Every road from the Federation Republics leading to the three states were secured. At break of dawn, thousands of troops had moved miles south. From Utah on Highway 15 where FDF components of large Army and Marine forces headed in two directions--west towards Southern Nevada with the mission to take Las Vegas starting with a surprise assault on Nellis AFB northeast of the city; east towards the Grand Canyon in Arizona with the initial mission to invade and occupy the city of Flagstaff before starting on the next mission to do the same with Phoenix farther south. These troop movements were supported in the air with the carpet bombing of strategic targets in each state.
In New Mexico, the air attacks on several targets began early at 0500. A squadron of the solid-stealth F-40s from Colorado Springs flew at full speed to provide advanced cover to the thousands of ground troops moving south. They quickly immobilized Kirkland AFB in Albuquerque, Cannon AFB in Clovis and Holloman AFB in Alamogordo. Owing to the surprise attacks and especially the lack of organization of the U.S. military since the destruction of the Pentagon, very little resistance was encountered by the FDF both in the air and on the ground.
In the U.S. part of Texas, bombers from Oklahoma and Abilene, a city now part of the Federation Republic of West Texas, did the same for the advancing Federation ground troops moving south from West Texas and southern Oklahoma. Another squadron of the invisible F-40s, this one from Altus AFB in Oklahoma whose function was quickly converted from mainly training to combat missions, and several stealth B-2s from the Dyess AFB in Abilene, destroyed many of the military bases in the triangle area of the state between Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Huston, demolishing the state capitol in Austin along the way.
Following these were the airdrops of several battalions of combat paratroopers delivered by C-130s from Little Rock AFB for the mop-up operations in major cities in addition to the thousands of infantry units advancing from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana in the east. Farther down in south Texas, additional air support were provided by a squadron of F-40s and F-37s launched from the deck of the CSG-13 Carrier Flagship USS Andrew Jackson parked a few miles off the coast of Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the west coast, the strike force from the Third Fleet now projected its awesome sea power near the shores of California: the four Carrier Strike Groups and all their support armada of destroyers, frigates, cruisers and submarines.
On orders from Defense Minister General Harold Drabek in Denver, July 5, 2112, the CSG-9 led by its carrier Flagship USS Ronald Reagan and the CSG-3 led by the carrier Flagship USS Carl Vinson headed south from the Pacific waters of Central California. The Federation had made great advances south from the Monterey-Kings-Tulare county fronts and conquered the entire county of San Luis Obispo and part of western Santa Barbara which included the city of Santa Maria, Vandenberg AFB and Lompoc; Kern county and over half of San Bernardino. To support the continued advance of the FDF farther south, one of the Carrier Strike Groups, the CSG-3, was ordered parked off the shores of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The other, the CSG-9, headed farther south by the island of Santa Catalina near Los Angeles, only minutes to the San Diego Naval Station with the Mach 1.8 speed of a squadron of supersonic F-40s on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan.
Shortly before they boarded the Army's Boeing 780 global-range transport jet for the west coast, they sat in General Harold Drabek's Command Headquarters office in Colorado Springs and watched the Special TV newscast. Defense Minister General Harold Drabek, Homeland Security Minister General Donald Lippert, Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Vicente Sandoval, House Leader Governor Henry Flynn and Communications Minister George Holtzman.
At one point in the cable news coverage, they listened to former U.S. President Pablo Vergara, speaking alternately in Spanish and English, before hundreds of thousands of people in Las Cruces, New Mexico. People from both sides of the border to whom he finally verbalized openly and for all the world to hear, his long-hidden intentions regarding that part of the country and his desire for the future of America.
"Damas y caballeros, hermanas y hermanos, el tiempo finalmente ha llegado! The time has finally arrived. Time for us, all of us, not only our brothers and sisters in America but you on the other side of the border, to come out of the shadows of fear and enjoy the freedom to live in this land, this land that used to belong to your ancestors, our ancestors, but was stolen from us by the Yankees.
"Hoy en dia, vamos todos saben, esa frontera, esa linea que nos divide, ya no existe mas! Today, let all know that that border, that line that divides us, does not exist anymore.
"America belongs to us as much as it does to the Yankees, the Anglos. We are part of America, We are America! And we will not be prohibited from living in this land. We will not be driven out of this land. Our land!
"Even as I speak here now before you, evil forces--those rebel Anglos who killed many of our leaders in Washington, are now waging a war to deny us our freedom. But we will not let them.
"Vamos a luchar para defender nuestra libertad! We will fight to defend our freedom!
"Vamos a luchar hasta la muerte para defender nuestro derecho a vivir en esta tierra! We will fight to the death to defend our right to live in this land."
A thunder of applause erupted seconds before he came to the end of that.
The Boeing 780 landed at the Vandenberg AFB runway after flying the 930 air-miles from Denver in seventy-five minutes. From there, the five passengers were quickly airlifted further in a chopper to the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson now parked a few miles offshore between the cities of Santa Barbara and Oxnard.
General Harold Drabek then led a tour of the Flagship Carrier conducted by its Captain. On deck was an air wing of two squadrons of fighter and attack jets, two squadrons of the latest stealth bombers B-3 and B-5, a dozen high-speed AH-80 attack helicopters and a collection of ZX-10 Warrior VTOL RPA drones. Around the supercarrier were its escort ships: two frigates, three missile cruisers, three destroyers and three supply ships.
At a briefing in the Captain's command quarters, they were informed that the Federation forces had now advanced farther south inside Santa Barbara county and were crossing east into Ventura county. Live videos transmitted by surveillance aircrafts showed also FDF ground troops now crossing into northern Los Angeles county with very little resistance from enemy forces.
On the deck of the supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan in mid-afternoon several hours later, Defense Minister General Harold Drabek, in the presence of the four other leaders of the Federation he came with, gave the order as the supreme Commander of the Federation Defense Forces to attack and destroy the targeted enemy bases in Los Angeles and San Diego. The four--House Leader Governor Henry Flynn, Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Vicente Sandoval, Homeland Security Minister General James Lippert and Communications Minister George Holtzman--then watched the strike fighter squadrons of F-40s and F-37s blast off the deck of the floating airbase one after another to fulfill their mission. These were followed by a squadron of the new carrier-based stealth bombers B-3 and B-5. And behind them dozens of the VTOL ZX-10 RPA drones and their remote-pilot helicopters, rising gently from the deck before streaking away in the air towards their target in Southern California.
Once again, especially after hearing what Pablo Vergara said hours before, the leaders of the Federation at this very moment had those same words--spoken weeks before the invasion by Henry Flynn about America--ring in their ears:
No way in hell any people of any single ethnicity, race, culture, religion, belief, way of life, is going to claim any part of America exclusively for themselves. America remains a land of the people, by the people and for the people of all the earth who wish to live in it and abide by its laws
Copyright © 2014 Ann O. Symoun
All Rights Reserved
Precis and Selected Chapters
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