Category Archives: Espionage

What’s the Difference Between an Illegal Semi-Automatic and an Illegal Full-Automatic Weapon?

Read this excerpt from Tier Zero to find out.

Two vessels knifed through the waves, away from the port and out to open sea. The Barbara Gee was a recreational trawler, and the Tinseltown was a diving support craft once used for underwater cinematography, as well as towing robot sharks and other sea monsters. It was now stripped of all deck machinery and had plenty of open space inside the horseshoe-shaped fence of antennas and satellite dishes, bristling from just inside the gunwales like the mutant quills of a giant aquatic porcupine.

Tied down to the deck was what looked like a radio-controlled airplane. Only it wasn’t a scale model of an existing aircraft. There were no fake windows or any markings at all. It was made of smooth, nondescript aluminum painted dull green on top, blue on the bottom.

Rocco Cavarra had procured both the watercraft and the captains when Tommy gave the green light. The line of credit provided by Vince’s new pal in New York paid for them, and a whole lot more.

“How does that work again?” Josh Rennenkampf asked, pointing at the German shepherd mix on the deck of the Tinseltown.

“First you gots to put her in demo search mode,” Leon Campbell replied. He called down to his dog, “On station!”

Shotgun put her nose to the deck and ran immediately to the ammo crates not yet loaded in the hold below. She bellowed low, like a cold engine being turned over with a weak battery.

“That’s her bark for powder-type explosive,” Leon explained. “Good work, girl. Now check that one.” He pointed to the foot locker which contained bricks of C4.

Shotgun trotted over to the footlocker and yelped repeatedly at a higher pitch.

“And that there’s her bark for putty-type ordnance. Good job, Shotgun. Stand down.”

Shotgun stopped barking and returned to Leon’s side, sitting beside his feet.

“I bet she comes in handy in Iraq,” Tommy said.

Leon nodded. “She saved a few lives.”

“How long did it take you to train her?” Gunther Scarred Wolf asked.

“Well, I ain’t done with her, yet,” Leon replied. “Folks say I shoulda’ trained her like the bomb squad dogs, but I didn’t know I’d even be able to teach her this much. She still tend to put herself in demo search mode all by herself when new ordnance come into a secured area. I’m workin’ on it.”

“The last thing we need on this trip is a mutt,” Vince said. “You better clean up behind it, ‘cause the first time I step in something that stinks, I’m throwing it overboard.”

Tommy glared at his brother, then slapped Leon’s shoulder. “Hey, we’re glad to have a mascot, buddy.”

Dwight Cavarra came up the ladder from belowdecks huffing and puffing. “Okay, somebody else’s turn to stack gear down there.”

“I got it, Rocco,” Campbell said. “Go lay down, Shotgun.”

Shotgun slunk away to the stern and curled up on a coil of ropes.

Rocco caught Leon’s attention before he climbed down. “Hey, I think I found a stock for your M21 you’re gonna like.”

“Not one of them ‘chassis’ I hope,” Leon replied. “The ones cost both arms, a leg and your firstborn.”

“I can get you a deal on those, too,” Cavarra said. “But no. This is a polymer stock with a nice grip, and an adjustable cheek piece. A fraction of the price. We’ll talk about it later.”

“Okay, sounds good,” Leon said, and disappeared into the hatch.

“Speaking of weapons,” Tommy said, nodding to Josh, “we’re far enough away from snooping eyes, now. Show me what we got.”

Josh nodded, kneeling beside a large plastic case. He unlocked it and swung it open, pulling out a heavily-oiled M10. Out of habit he racked the bolt to check the chamber before handing it to Tommy. “It’s Christmas, Chief. Mr. Ingram has seen to our short-range room-clearing needs.”

Tommy worked the bolt himself, peering into the empty chamber, then inspected the exterior of the little blocky box of a machine pistol.

Vince stepped closer for a look at the weapon. “Is that a MAC-10? Those are illegal.”

Josh cocked an eyebrow up at him as he pulled another Ingram from the case. “According to who?”

“According to the law,” Vince said.

Tommy groaned. He knew there was a volatile mixture of personalities aboard, but it looked like they were going to touch off even faster than he feared.

“The law says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” Josh said. “If you’re a cop, and you sure act like one, then you swore an oath to uphold that law…not the so-called laws that violate it.”

“Those are easily converted into automatic weapons,” Vince declared. “And full-auto weapons have been banned from civilians for 80 years, hot shot.”

“These are full-auto, Vince,” Tommy said.

Vince’s complexion darkened. He appeared ready to blow a gasket. “Do you even know…? I mean, I could throw all of you… I could lose my badge just for…”

Josh handed one of the submachineguns to Cavarra. “Why waltz when you can rock & roll? Do you know what the difference is between an ‘illegal’ semiautomatic weapon and an ‘illegal’ full automatic weapon?”

Cavarra worked the bolt and gave it the once-over. “Yup. Firepower.” He snapped the fingers of his free hand and strode across the deck, stooping to unzip a nylon rifle case. From it he produced a Galil rifle with an M203 grenade launcher mounted underneath. “Remember this?”

“Fondly,” Tommy said. “In fact, I got a variety of 40mm rounds for it in some crates downstairs. Brought a 60mm mortar too, just for giggles.”

“Tommy,” Vince protested. “You know better than this! These guys are all…” the words froze in his mouth when he saw Josh screwing a suppressor onto the threaded barrel of an Ingram. “Silencers? Silencers!”

Josh rose to his feet with an irritated scowl, gesturing toward Vince with his free hand, and asked Tommy, “Is he gonna do this the whole trip?”

Excerpt #2.

Excerpt #3.

The Exception – a Review

Coincident with the German blitzkrieg into France, Heinrich Himmler assigns a special detail to “protect” Wilhelm Hohenzollern, the former Kaiser of the Second Reich, who is exiled in Holland.

The assignment is passed down to young Captain Brandt, a veteran of the Poland Campaign who was wounded winning the Iron Cross, but also got on the wrong side of the SS after witnessing an atrocity. Still recovering from shrapnel wounds to his stomach, he nonetheless doesn’t want this cushy rear-echelon job. But orders are orders, so off he goes.

Brandt is quickly caught in a tug of war between the Kaiser’s military attache; the Gestapo; Wermacht Intelligence (trying to track down a British spy in the area), and a young, nubile war widow who is down for cheap, meaningless sex.

It’s a pleasant surprise how good this movie is. While it certainly has its faults, it’s not always easy to guess what will happen next.

In Case There Was Any Doubt

…That Hillary Clinton armed ISIS and other Muslim terror organizations while Secretary of State, Wikileaks has confirmed it.

Clinton took the lead role in organizing the so-called “Friends of Syria” (aka Al Qaeda/ISIS) to back the CIA-led insurgency for regime change in Syria.

Under oath Hillary Clinton denied she knew about the weapons shipments during public testimony in early 2013 after the Benghazi terrorist attack.

And all this, once again, begs the question of what the US Ambassador was actually doing in Benghazi, and the actual reason for his murder.

Chinese Hackers and the Inevibility of War

The latest cyber-attack by the Red Chinese is being compared to Pearl Harbor.

The Washington Post reported that this is part of an ongoing strategy by which Beijing is gaining unprecedented digital power over the American people by “building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary.” Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect, based in Northern Virginia, said, “They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information. We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target.”

It’s a little like the trick-or-treating strategy employed by street bullies: Rather than do the hard work of going door-to-door collecting the loot, let someone else do it for you and then simply steal it from them. With U.S. government three-letter agencies conducting intrusive surveillance on the American people, the shortest path to that data is to hack those databases and steal it. And it appears this is exactly what China is doing. This is precisely what groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation have warned about as part of their opposition to the blanket surveillance conducted by these overreaching agencies.


In the late ’90s, intelligence sources reported that the Chinese High Command considered a war with the US inevitable within 30 years.  After the treason committed by the Clinton Administration, our strategic assets were compromised and Red China was handed technological parity to go along with its overwhelming numerical superiority. Meanwhile, the “American leadership” in Washington continues to weaken us in every way possible, except when it comes to a war with the American people that they consider inevitable.

It only makes sense that our foreign enemies would seek every possible advantage in preparing to destroy us. True, politicians are willing to hand our enemies pretty much anything they want, but the Chinese want some lower-level spies and sabateurs as well, just to have every possible base covered before they pull the trigger.

Book Giveaway: Hell and Gone

I’m giving out 10 free copies of my first novel. The giveaway lasts for a month, so you have plenty of time to enter once it is approved on Goodreads.

I’m getting close to finishing the first draft of the third book in this series. Yet, when I wrote this first one I didn’t intend to write a trilogy. In fact, not even a sequel. I considered Hell and Gone a one-off novel.

It was a blend of modern “military thriller,” old-school men’s adventure, and war novel. I tried to give it as much realism as an adventure story could handle and still be entertaining. It was never a bestseller, but it gained some enthusiastic fans. To my pleasant surprise, a few of them were veterans recently back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Vietnam veterans liked it, too. It received comments like “a man’s book, through and through” which was welcome praise, since masculine themes of honor and brotherhood are intended in most of my fiction.

Anyway, some fans asked for or suggested a sequel. At first I dismissed the idea out of hand, wanting to work in other genres. Plus a whole wave of younger veterans were breaking into military fiction, armed with up-to-date knowledge of military technology I didn’t think I should compete with. But a friend around my age (a veteran of the South African military now working as a “security contractor”) told me I should write a novel about combating modernday piracy. I’m pretty sure he was dealing with that very kind of thing during some of the long periods of silence in our communication; but he was understandably OpSec-conscious and never divulged details over the Internet.

Despite myself, the seed of an idea began to form. In time it took over, pushing everything else out of my brain, and became Tier Zero–a full-bore paramilitary men’s adventure, with a Mack Bolan-esque cover, busty nubile wenches and the whole nine yards. My South African buddy made a cameo appearance, with his name changed, of course. This time I deliberately left an opening for a sequel.

Here’s the book trailer for Hell and Gone:

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free paperback edition with the original cover. The link is on the right sidebar, and should go active soon. If you’re on Goodreads, then there are no strings attached. (An Amazon review after reading it would be appreciated, though.) If you’re not on Goodreads, it costs you nothing to join. Like any other public forum it has been dominated by feministas and leftards (both readers and authors), but there is a growing subculture of red pill readers; even some authors like me offering an alternative to the chick-lit, romance, paranormal, and other typical pinkshirt pap with Marxist themes and pixie superninjas.

After this giveaway, I plan to do the same with 10 copies of Tier Zero, so stay tuned. By the time both giveaways are complete, the third novel in the series should be ready for prime time.

BTW, if you would like advance warning when the book is about to go live, click here.

007 In Film and Fiction


Thanks to Books on Tape, Blackstone Audio, et al, and now Audible Audio for my Kindle, I’m tearing through books at a steady rate during work-related travel.

After paying for my subscription to Audible Audio, I decided it was finally time to read the source material for the spy movies I grew up with. I had previously read Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice which were fairly good reads, but were quite a different flavor from the Bond flicks I’d seen. So anyway, I set out to go through the rest of the Bond canon in the order the novels were written. So far, in addition to the two mentioned above, I’ve read Live and Let Die, Moonraker and From Russia With Love.

The first Bond I ever saw on screen was Roger Moore. It wasn’t until my teen years I began to see some of the Sean Connery flicks. I knew nothing about the literary Bond, and didn’t favor one actor over the other, but I liked the Connery flicks better. My favorite became Thunderball. How can you go wrong with an underground battle between frogmen using spearguns and submerged jet skis?

My senior year in high school I got a chance to see Dr. No and I really liked it. Not many cool gadgets, but the feel of it was groovy, and Connery’s Bond in this flick was one cool customer (closer to Ian Fleming’s character, in my opinion, than any actor has come until Daniel Craig or perhaps Timothy Dalton).

Speaking of Timothy Dalton, I just saw License to Kill this month. Hollywood finally did to Felix Leiter what Fleming did to him in the second Bond novel. I was shocked to read about the fate of Bond’s CIA counterpart in Live and Let Die, not just because it was gruesome, but because Felix Leiter had been a healthy, able-bodied staple in just about every Bond movie.

I’m sure this topic has been analyzed to death, so I won’t ramble on too long. But reading the books does take some of the Bond mystique away.

The silver screen Bond is a supercharged exaggeration of the character in nearly every way, as are his adventures. The literary Bond has only used his “license to kill” a couple times in his career. The movie Bond kills anywhere from three to a dozen times in any given story.

One of those kills to Bond’s credit, by the way, occurred during the war if I remember correctly. What war? Fleming’s Bond got into intelligence work during WWII, and continued serving in that capacity into the Cold War. In the movies, he was strictly Cold War, and we were never given any indication how he got into the business. He was conceived in a test tube by M for all we knew. With all the reboots, I think even the Cold War origin will soon be swept back (if it hasn’t been already). And with the Daniel Craig films delving more into the Bond character than any previous flicks, we’ll probably get his background filled in, too (retrofitted, of course).

Hmm. Just checking the canon, I realized I skipped Diamonds Are Forever. Have to remedy that. I was actually checking because From Russia With Love ended in an almost cliffhanger fashion and I wanted to see what followed it, guessing it would be You Only Live Twice.

Nope. Dr. No.

My least favorite Bond is, hand’s down, the Pierce Brosnan dynasty. That’s when the writers and directors transformed our favorite sexist pig superspy into just another action hero franchise. Along with that, the amazon superninja has become as obligatory in OO7 flicks as in every other action movie.

I’ll be glad to watch Halle Berry strut up out of the ocean all day long, but watching her out-macho the male lead is about as interesting as an old Wonder Woman rerun.

Look for Bond to get a sex change in the future, much like Thor, the Terminator, etc. “Bond. Jane Bond. I’ll take a sloe gin phiz, shaken, not stirred.” Maybe some “Bond boys” with names like Dick Steel, Bolt Upright and Hardin Cox.

Well, my Bond education will continue. Though the books are interesting, I don’t like them enough to make them a priority. So this could take a while.


Operation Perfida–Len Levinson’s Take on the JFK Plot



Since I began blogging, I’ve been fortunate to meet some of the authors of my favorite books, including Jim Morris and the late Jerry Ahern. It should be no surprise  that high on that list is Len Levinson, one of the best action adventure authors from the 1970s and ’80s. I’m very familiar with his work in the war genre, but hadn’t delved into his other dabblings until recently.

Since I’ve long been fascinated with the JFK assassination, and Piccadilly Publishing has released a Levinson novel with a connection to that historic turning point, I just had to get this book on my Kindle.

A strong main character makes this one too engaging to put down.


True to Levinson form, Operation Perfidia is a really fast read and hard to put down. He is a master storyteller and the first two thirds of the novel just crackles along. Last year I read two novels of cold war intrigue–Ken Follett’s Code to Zero and Ian Fleming’s Moonraker. There are many similarities between this story and Follett’s, but to me this was the most enjoyable of the three books and I attribute this to the main character, David Brockman. The CIA field agent is tough, smart, and good at his job. His Achilles’ heel is the mile-wide blind spot he has for the woman he loves.

This book supports the most popular spin on the facts and rumors surrounding the mystery of the JFK snuff–the “vast right-wing conspiracy” theory. It is fairly obvious just from reading the blurb that the culprits will turn out to be anti-Castro Cubans. Of course anti-Kennedy CIA good ol’ boys collaborate. Nothing new here, but then this book was originally published in 1975, 16 years before the Oliver Stone film would make this hypothesis a household assumption.

But it does leave room for improvement…


The most disappointing aspect of the book was in the climax and ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I read the last words wishing there was more to it. Not that the reader needs more concrete plans for the hero’s future–best to leave it uncertain as-is. I guess I wanted a little bit more expose` on Brockman’s wife Mirallia. Flesh out that angle a bit more. After all, Brockman only stumbles upon the JFK plot as a side-effect of chasing his wife, anyway. She’s his primary motivation through the bulk of the novel; then when he finally tracks her down, it unfolds a touch on the anti-climactic side.

All in all, this is a nice espionage thriller to cuddle up with. You can get it for your Kindle here or by clicking the cover image at the top of this post.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was not prepared for what happened at the theater. Knowing full well the sequel factor, and having seen a poster for a movie about Cesar Chavez on the way inside (a bad omen if there ever was), I was expecting Hollywood business as usual.

(In fact, it’s kind of surprising Captain America wasn’t turned into “Captain Global Village” long ago, replacing his stars-and-stripes motif with rainbows and olive branches. Well, Marvel did turn him into “Nomad” for a while in the 1970s, but I guess the fans wouldn’t stand for it.)

I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. Marvel Studios has stuck to the formula that has made most of their cinematic efforts so successful, including some great lines, a funny cameo by legendary Stan Lee, and an extravaganza of spectacular destruction surrounding a plot that ties in nicely to the rest of the Marvel Movie Canon.

Where’s the red and white, by the way?

Of course there were annoying themes, too, like the mask removal fetish. (Question for Marvel’s creative Czars: if secret identities are now public, why do your superheroes wear masks at any time whatsoever?)

Winter Soldier is an enjoyable flick for the whole family, but there’s some interesting themes under the surface, too.

Here are some tasty morsels for conspiracy theorists: SHIELD, a pseudo-secret government agency with an unlimited budget and power that Hitler’s Secret Police could only dream of, has itself been compromised–infiltrated to the very highest levels by Hydra (a super-secret international organization bent on enslaving the world). SHIELD has developed a preemptive crime stopping program which is ready to go online, and I almost choked on my popcorn when they mentioned Operation Paperclip. The predictive algorithm explained in dialog also sounds a lot like PROMIS. Through this new program, SHIELD can prevent crimes before they happen by identifying potential criminals.

In effect, SHIELD (with Hydra pulling the strings) is on its way to becoming the Thought Police that George Orwell warned us about. Keep in mind that in the constantly evolving Newspeak of the dominant ideology, “thought crime” is now called “hate crime.” And the method chosen to eradicate thought crime is nearly identical to how enemies of the state can now be dealt with. Replace unmanned drones with huge, high-tech airborne gun platforms and you have the same execution of US citizens without trial favored by the Obama Administration.

It’s pretty amazing these themes survived to the final cut. Chances are the script was written during the Bush II regime, when violations of civil liberties were double-plus ungood to the Hollywood Zeitgeist. And at one point you see that one of the millions of thought/hate criminals located is in the White House. Yeah, right. But still, it’s astounding that this plot element was retained with only a weak revision like that.

Take a knee, Cap, and prepare for debriefing.

However it happened, it appears the message of this film backfired on the Hollywood Elite in similar fashion to John Carpenter’s They Live.