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January 2015

Free Fire Zone- Bring it Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming to address Congress and do the work our own President is abdicating- Telling the truth about the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama is desperate for a deal to save face and attempt to gild his non-existent foreign policy legacy. Sadly he is willing to let them build a bomb and try to "contain" them afterwards. Bibi Netanyahu will put him and his band of appeasers to shame and let the American people judge for themselves what will be the catastrophic results of Obama's biggest failure yet.

Hosting Secure Freedom Radio & Talking Iran

I guest hosted for Frank Gaffney yesterday and had some lively discussions about Iran. Aside from building a nuclear bomb, attempting to dominate the Persian Gulf and the rest of the Middle East and making bad mischief in South America and Africa, they are a model member of the world community. As usual the Obama administration is doing pretty much nothing right on any of these issues. 

With Bing West, Diana West, Fred Fleitz, Katherine Zimmerman

BING WEST, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs:

  • Why Obama believes history will treat him favorably on foreign policy
  • Potential red lines that will force U.S. troops back into Iraq
  • The need for a new Anbar Awakening
  • American allies’ mistrust of America’s role in defeating the Islamic State

DIANA WEST, author of “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character”:

  • Repression in Saudi Arabia and the Pentagon essay contest regarding the late King Abdullah
  • Controversy over the BBC’s hesitance to label the Charlie Hebdo attackers “terrorists”
  • The century-spanning discussion and debate over radical Islam
  • Will French authorities crack down on “no-go zones” and the urgent security threat posed by home-grown jihadists?

FRED FLEITZ, former CIA Analyst and Senior Fellow at Center for Security Policy:

  • Obama’s recent statements concerning the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program
  • How Iran is taking advantage of the U.S. power vacuum
  • The Middle East’s looming nuclear arms race
  • Will Iran save the Obama Administration from itself?

KATHERINE ZIMMERMAN, Research Fellow and lead Al Qaeda Analyst on the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project:

  • Shia Houthi rebels in control of Sanaa’a and the disbanding of the Yemeni government
  • Saudi Arabia’s options for confronting Iranian influence in Yemen
  • The role of U.S. counterterrorism policy in whatever governance arises in Yemen
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Book Review - "The Carrier" by Sophie Hannah

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.

9780670785865_p0_v2_s260x420The Carrier by Sophie Hannah is an intense psychological thriller.  It can be considered a love story and a gripping mystery, a “who done it” of sorts.  Released earlier this month in the US, it has already won the 2013 Crime Thriller of the Year at the UK National Book Awards.

This story offers deep insights into interpersonal relationships through the different character’s personalities.  The plot begins when Gaby Struthers, a scientist who has an innovative technology company must room with Lauren Cookson, a caregiver prone to hysteria.  They are stuck in Germany overnight when their plane is delayed.  Lauren lets slip that she knows someone who has been arrested for murdering his wife, Francine, and that he, Tim, is innocent. Panicky, she refuses to discuss the matter further, but a quick Google search tells Gaby that the man now in jail is the only man she has ever loved. The storyline plays off the book, Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, where a certain number of people are “persons of interest” in the house where the murder occurred. Recurring characters, Detectives Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer try to sort out the different stories of those involved, attempting to find the true murderer. The sub-plot shows through poetry the love Gaby and Tim have for each other, and how Gaby will stop at nothing to prove Tim’s innocence.

The characters are a dichotomy of each other, with the heroine, Gaby, the only one that is truly likeable, although, Lauren is someone that grows on the reader.  Gaby is strong, smart, independent, and sharp-tongued.  It is a wonder why she would fall so hard for Tim who appears boring, self-centered manipulative, wimpy, and spineless. Lauren is frighteningly prone to hysteria, a complainer, whiny, yet very vulnerable, insecure, and has a moral compass.

Hannah noted to blackfive.net, “I wanted Gaby’s character to stand out.  My intention was for Gaby to be the heroine and the one who the readers will identify with.  She finds herself in a situation where almost everybody she comes into contact with is abusive, unsatisfactory, or not very supportive.  While Gaby is tough and must look after herself, all the others let her down. I will have a future cameo role for her in another book. To Gaby, Tim is like a performance that seems to impress her.  What makes her attracted to him is his attitude.  Opposites attract.  She is intelligent, a high achiever who has her act together in every way but her romantic feelings.  Gaby is a sucker for Tim’s awful, manipulative, and useless ways. She should have walked away from him since he caused her a load of misery.  Regarding the other characters, I did not intentionally write them as despicable.  They were pushed around with forces beyond their control. Although Lauren can be infuriating she does have redeeming features.”

Adding to the intrigue of the novel are the many themes of the book.  The examination of people’s dysfunctional relationships, how their emotions make them behave as they do and what lengths ordinary people will go to in response to extraordinary events. There is also the potent subject of mercy killing vs. assisted suicide vs. murder. Finally, the author explores what happens when a good person takes upon evil traits.

The Carrier is a riveting tale of emotionally scarred and psychologically paralyzed characters.  What makes the story even more interesting is the alternating perspectives between the heroine Gaby and the police investigation concerning the mystery.

Hannah also gave a heads up about her next book due out this summer, Woman With A Secret, a Zailer and Waterhouse mystery.  It is about a respectable housewife and mother, Nicki, who is leading a dangerous secret double life. Because of her suspicious behavior, and her inability to explain to the police her whereabouts, Nicki becomes the person of interest in a murder investigation. The victim is a controversial newspaper journalist, a shock jock columnist who seems to offend every element of a population. 


Exclusive Interview with Author Jack Higgins

The following interview with Jack Higgins is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category on the right side bar.

Jack Higgins, the author of the famous book, The Eagle Has Landed, has a new book out, Rain On The Dead. There are similarities between both books, including IRA characters, the main character as someone flawed, as well as a plot line that includes assassinations and kidnappings. 

Rain On The Dead begins when two Chechen Muslims attempt to assassinate the US President, Jack Cazalet.  Unfortunately for them, Cazalet has guests with him, including black ops specialist Sean Dillon, and ex-IRA gunman, and his colleague, Afghan war hero Captain Sara Gideon. With the help of the English authorities Dillon, Gideon, and company search for those responsible, IRA sympathizers and Al Qaeda terrorists.

Yet, readers cannot think of Higgins without bringing to mind his classic thriller, The Eagle Has Landed, especially since this year is the fortieth anniversary. The plot has Colonel Kurt Steiner forced to take a crack team of commandos to England.  Their mission is to kidnap or assassinate Winston Churchill.  The Germans enlist the help of an IRA assassin and a South African woman who hates everything the English stand for.  This book is a riveting account of whether the Germans will succeed.

Below is the Q/A with the author about these two books for blackfive.net.

Elise Cooper:  Both books deal with the IRA.  What point were you trying to make?

Jack Higgins:  They were fighting for the position of Ireland in the British Empire.  They wanted independence as a country.  In the end they achieved something of the kind.   

EC:  In Rain On The Dead you imply that the IRA fights for independence while the Muslim terrorists fight to impose their will.  Do you agree? 

JH:  Yes.  I see what you mean.  Both groups are fighting a new type of war and do not wear a uniform.  It becomes very difficult for the authorities to recognize the enemy.  It could be anyone in the street.  At least with the Irish, they had a genuine desire for independence, which many saw as reasonable.  I would not compare this with they type of terrorism the American President and the British Prime Minister were recently discussing. 

EC:  Let’s talk about Rain On The Dead.  In it you have the likeable character Sara Gideon who is Jewish.  Why?

JH:  I made her Jewish because my foster parents were Jewish and were very good to me.  I got to know Jewish traditions and the faith very well.  I wanted to show that there are plenty of Jewish people who are serving in the British and US military.  That is why she is a retired war hero.  She is a good character and her Jewishness is a part of who she is. 

EC:  Why did you bring back the former US President, Jack Cazalet?

JH:  I found it interesting to use him in this story.  He is quite a popular character and I enjoy writing about him so I felt we were at a stage to bring him back.  There are a huge number of fans that look forward to reading about this character and seeing what will happen to him. 

EC:  What US President did you most admire?

JH:  I suppose it would have to be Jack Kennedy.  Many years ago I wrote a book, Day of Judgment, which was primarily set in Germany.  It had in it a very famous visit by a US President to Berlin where he made a very famous speech to the German people.  Historically, it affected world politics at the time.  I used it as background for this book.  The novel is about the underground that tried to help people escape from the East German Communist regime.  Obviously, I used President Kennedy in certain scenes of the book. 

EC:  Your style is to write characters that are not all good and are not all bad, such as Sean Dillon and Colonel Kurt Steiner.  Please explain.

JH:  Human beings are not like they are portrayed in Hollywood.  They are individuals who are a mixture of good and bad.  Many of my fans like these type of characters.  I like when people question if the characters are really villains or protagonists. These types are very interesting to write about.

EC:  What about Steiner?

JH:  I tried to make the point that he and his men were not Nazis but just soldiers.  Steiner is a reasonable person who was forced by circumstances to do a certain job.  There is not much he could do about it.  If he did not join he and his family would all be punished. 

EC: In The Eagle Has Landed you contrast the soldiers with the Nazi atrocities of the Warsaw Ghetto and what was done to Steiner’s father.  Why?

JH:  I wanted to show these atrocities through the eyes of the German soldiers.  They were disgusted by what was happening; yet, were unable to do much to stop it.  I also had some personal experiences.  I served in Germany just after the Second World War and my uncle was a regular soldier in the British army.  He was wounded and captured early in the war.  Although he was not Jewish he was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp to work in the factory there, which was against international law.  This gave me an interest in the Nazi situation and World War II.

EC:  Colonel Steiner saved a Jewish girl but was not executed.  Is that realistic?

JH:  Yes.  What the Germans did to soldiers like Steiner is require them to do very dangerous jobs within the military.  For example, they worked to dispose bombs and clear mine fields.  With these jobs there was a good chance of blowing themselves up.  In the novel, Steiner and his men were made to do the dangerous work of sitting on top of torpedoes to disarm them.  This was a suicide job since most did not survive for very long. 

EC:  In the book you have Steiner commenting on the rules of engagement. This is the direct opposite of what the Islamists terrorists did in your latest book. Please explain this quote from The Eagle Has Landed, “Why, did you think we’d hold the entire village hostage or come out fighting, driving the women in front of us?  The brutal Hun? Sorry I can’t oblige.”

JH:  Steiner was an honorable man and soldier.  He had a moral code.  I really don’t know why the Muslims do what they are doing.  Those terrorists don’t seem to have a moral code. 


EC:  Since this is the fortieth anniversary of The Eagle Has Landed any plans?


JH:  I believe there is talk of remaking the story on television.  There was the movie starring Michael Caine as Steiner.  I think a TV show would be very helpful to get more of the book story told than in the two hour and ten minute film.



Book Review - "Breaking Creed" by Alex Kava

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.

9780399170768_p0_v2_s260x420Breaking Creed by Alex Kava is a fascinating mystery based around a serial killer who is being chased by an FBI agent and a retired Marine.  In this new series Ryder Creed uses the dog handler skills he learned as a Marine in his current civilian job. Her other series has FBI behaviorist Maggie O’ Dell investigating horrid crimes.

Creed was introduced in Stranded, a book from Kava’s other series whose main character is FBI behaviorist Maggie O’ Dell. Although the Creed series is being billed as new, it is actually a spin off of the O’ Dell books.  Kava noted to blackfive.net that her two series, the O’ Dell and the Creed books, will overlap.  “Each series will alternate between the main character and the supporting one, but both will have a strong role in the plots.  They will not just make cameo appearances. Yet, respectively they will have their own secondary characters.  The many different scenarios that I can get into is very exciting for me. Ryder is a different kind of investigative character.  He does not carry a gun and is not an intricate part of the crimes scene investigation. I am able to add a new dimension to the plot.”

Readers will find Creed a very likeable but damaged character, who is trying to overcome PTSD.  He does this with the support of his good friend, Hannah. He gains solace by taking in and training abandoned dogs to assist law enforcement.  Hannah also helps the discarded, individuals who are runaways, abused women, and veterans that must try to overcome tragic circumstances, among them a former Marine, Jason.  What makes these stories very interesting are the likeable characters, the chemistry between Ryder and Maggie, and the banter among Hannah and Creed. But the character that stole the show is Grace, a Jack Russell Terrier.  She is feisty, scrappy, driven, and eager to learn. 

In this story Creed and his dogs comb for drugs, become a search and rescue team for trafficked children, and help O’Dell find the dead victims of a serial killer.  The story becomes very suspenseful, as Creed, O’Dell, and company must find the killer before he finds them.  To add to the intensity Kava brings in creepy, crawling things, such as fire ants, scorpions, and snakes.

Kava gives a shout out to those in the military through many of her characters.  Hannah’s husband, Creed, and Jason all served, although her husband was killed while deployed.  The author always touches on an issue related to military personnel.  In Breaking Creed she discusses PTSD while in her next book Kava will explore the suicide rate among veterans.

Breaking Creed has a very fast-paced and thrilling plot with many twists and turns.  For any dog lover this is a must read. If not an animal lover, readers can also just enjoy the tough, smart, and dynamic characters of this series.

The author also gave a heads up about her next book, Silent Creed.  It will continue the sexual tension between Maggie and Ryder as they work on a new case together.  Kava is known for including among her antagonists non-human elements. With Silent Creed the threat comes from, not creepy things, but the environment. 

The plot begins with a massive landslide in North Carolina.  Creed and his canine partners are called in to help with the search and rescue of a facility that was destroyed by the landslide.  Maggie is also brought in to investigate the facilities secret experiments involving viruses. 

Free Fire Zone- Secure Freedom Strategy to defeat Global Jihad

The Center for Security Policy released our Secure Freedom Strategy for Victory over the Global Jihad Movement last Friday at the National Press Club, C-SPAN broadcast it live and you can see the whole event and read the documents here (That includes you Mr. President).

We have a comprehensive plan to fight the Islamists all the places they are attacking, with military force, intelligence efforts, information warfare, economic warfare, lawfare and much more. There is no way to win without a full faith, full force effort and we have the blueprint. I will break down the various parts over the next few weeks, but here is a taste with my remarks at the press conference.

American Sniper - Some Thoughts

Before anything else, I want to note that I went to the first showing of the movie yesterday, and that the theatre was almost full.  It was clear that a number of people there were prior service, and that many of those attending had brought the family with them.  It was the most respectful, quiet, and polite audience I have ever experienced in a theatre, and once the movie started not a single cell phone rang, pinged, or made any noise.  It was also clear that the dust in the theatre got to most there, and even as the silent credits rolled, the politeness and respectful tones continued.  I noted more than one parent talking to their children afterwards, and that such conversations were exploring some very complex topics and helping children (and others) explore some difficult concepts and emotions.  

The movie is powerful, extremely well done, and respectful to the subject and the subject matter.  It was fairly accurate to the book, and while some liberties were taken for dramatic purposes, it was done with respect and with consideration of the whole.  Frankly, they were small change in comparison to the faith given the true tale.  

The acting is superb, and it was almost scary how much Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller look like Chris and Taya.  That, in many ways, was just the start of the level or realism to the film.  The directing and production were amazing, as was the cinematography.  The silence of the credits was a truly masterful touch, one of many in the movie.  

As for those seeking to tear down the movie and Kyle, most of whom have not seen it (including one major reviewer), well, most here have sworn to (and fought for) their freedom of speech.  However, while their right to it is one paid for by those here, there is no obligation to respect ignorant and bigoted opinions, nor the miserable and degraded creatures that hold them.  The one review that matters to me comes from Taya, who says they got it right.  

The movie is powerful, well done, and respectful.  It conveys almost frightningly well the cost and pain of war, and of coming home.  Bradley more than deserves his Oscar nod, and I have not seen an actor convey so much with just his eyes since Edward Woodward in his prime.  Both he and Sienna did so much with just eyes and expression, and in so doing made for truly powerful portrayals.  

Go. See. It. Now. 

Boots on the Ground to Train "Moderates"

We are sending 400 troops to train "moderate" Syrian rebels... finding a moderate Syrian rebel is like finding a moderate Red Sox fan...they may exist, but only in the off season.  Via the Army Times:

The U.S. will send about 400 troops to train the moderate Syrian opposition, defense officials confirmed Thursday night.

This is years too late.  The moderates are, most likely, all dead or assimilated into the radical groups.  Also, it won't just be 400 trainers.  This kind of statement is par for the course for the Obama Administration - it helps keep the perceived number of troops lower than what will actually be "boots on the ground".

In addition to the 400 trainers, enablers will be needed to support them, Smith said.
More than 2,100 U.S. troops are in Iraq; President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 U.S. troops to that country.


President Obama, You Have Got to Be ****ing Kidding Me?!

After being a no show during the anti-terror marches/protests/kumbaya...our American administration brings James Taylor to France to play "You've Got a Friend".  No, that's not from the Duffel Blog or the Onion.

First thought after, Is this the most embarassing foreign policy moment in our history?, would be...

This is the response we bring?! (via Allahpundit)

Twitchy has the acerbic reactions to this complete buffoonery.  

This is just unbelievable.

Book Review - "Spectrum" by Alan Jacobson

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9781497641938_p0_v1_s260x420Spectrum by Alan Jacobson is a very interesting thriller as it explores the main characters’, Karen Vail’s, backstory.  Through a serial killer case that has haunted Vail for twenty years the author gives insight into her professional development:  who were the people that influenced her, and her tenacious desire to pursue the criminal.  The chapters in the book alternate from present day back to her first days on the job.

Jacobson commented to blackfive.net, “While writing her as a rookie cop in her early twenties I was nervous at first.  But after the first paragraph I saw how I could explore her attributes and her life.  In the 7th Victim I alluded to why she decided to become a profiler but now I specifically explain what happened.  I was also able to describe how she allowed herself to marry a loser husband who was abusive.  This sub-plot showed what could happen to someone who has a psychiatric condition that goes untreated.”

The story reflects themes of friendship, trust, hardship, and perseverance.  Vail’s law enforcement career begins in the 1990s as a NYPD rookie cop mentored by a veteran, Carmine Russo, who takes her under his wing.  She displays the qualities of courage, confidence, and intelligence while attempting to examine the workings of the murderer’s mind.  Unfortunately her supervisors do not always agree with her assessments, resulting in her career stalling. After meeting and being influenced by FBI Special Agent Mark Safarik she decides to join the FBI, eventually getting assigned to the esteemed Behavioral Analysis Unit.  Now twenty years later, Vail revisits her first case, the one that tortured her because of the number of New York women brutally murdered.

Since so many of Jacobson’s characters are from law enforcement he speculated on what they would say in regard to the attitude toward the police today.  “Through my research I interacted with NYPD old timers.  I think my characters would agree with those who have retired.  They are not happy with the Mayor, who does not seem to have their backs, and the way they are being depicted.  The feelings include frustration and anger because there is a lack of understanding for the day-to-day duties.  The police are individuals trying to do a job the best way they can.”

Jacobson also wants readers to understand, playing off the Billy Joel song, that while writing this book, “I was in a ‘New York state of mind.’ It started from a trip in 1995 when I made a visit to New York City, where I grew up.  You can take the man out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the man.  This is absolutely true with me. My heart and soul is as a New Yorker even though I have lived in California ten years longer.”

Spectrum has a plot that combines a mystery with an understanding of how the mind of a serial killer works.  It explores how these individuals can commit such violence on other human beings.  Fans of Karen Vail also get a bonus because the storyline explains her backstory.