The first time they allowed Brandon Mayfield any visitors, he reached out toward the heavy glass partition and spoke into the telephone, trying to
reassure his wife and mother:
"Even after the FBI had searched his house, carried away belongings and
confiscated credit cards and checkbooks - without charging him with a crime
- Mayfield told his family that he had faith in the system.
"'He said he believes in this system. He said it is the best system in the
world,' AvNell Mayfield, 63, recalled. 'He knows he will be exonerated. He
said no matter what transpires, just be patient, reassure the children and
don't let the waiting get to you. He said, 'This will all turn out alright.'"
And so it did - but not until John Ashcroft's Justice Department had done
everything to keep him jailed, defenseless, and smeared as a "terrorist" in
the eyes of the world.
Two weeks after the March 11 Madrid terrorist bombings, the FBI started
watching the 37-year-old lawyer and Muslim convert 24/7. The ostensible
reason was that a computer search matching up fingerprints found at the
scene of the bombing matched his - along with 15 others. The FBI narrowed
it down to three, and homed in on Mayfield because of his religion, his
associations, and his political views. This is what one FBI official later
described as "an absolutely incontrovertible match."
Using the power granted them by the "PATRIOT" Act, FBI agents broke into
his house and conducted a search in his absence, rifling through his kids'
Spanish homework, and leaving the doors double-bolted - which immediately
alerted the Mayfield family that someone had been on the premises. Mayfield
called 911 when it happened a second time, and he found a man's footprint
on the rug. They couldn't pick up the phone without hearing an odd
clicking. When the FBI finally swooped down on the Mayfield's home in a
quiet suburb of Portland, Oregon, they burst in the door, trashed the
place, and trundled him off in handcuffs without a word. He was jailed for
weeks without charges: Ashcroft's goons told the media he was being held as
a "material witness" to the Madrid bombings..