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October 2014

Book Review - "Capital Offense" by Kathleen Antrim

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.

9781480298774_p0_v1_s260x420Capital Offense, by Kathleen Antrim, has just been re-launched for this political season.  The author used her vast experiences of being a national correspondent to create a very intriguing premise: how far will a political machine go to achieve ultimate power. This book takes the reader behind the scenes of a political race, touching on journalistic integrity and the power brokers.

The author noted in the beginning of the book that she was inspired by the unregulated power of first ladies, with Hillary Clinton the spark that ignited the story.  It is more a story of manipulative politicians as seem through the life of   Warner Lane, his wife Carolyn, and his political pundits. In attempting to grasp political power they will stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve their goal.  They are obsessed with the desire to see him become President, even willing to frame Carolyn for the killings they committed. The story exposes this and how many journalists look the other way, while never questioning relevant facts.  That is until one reporter, Jack Rudly, investigates his dad’s death wondering if it was murder instead of an accident.  Throughout the novel readers see the inner workings of getting someone elected while avoiding the many barriers in their path. 

Although people think the main character draws a comparison to Hillary Clinton she is more like Jackie Kennedy and Laura Bush combined.  She is intelligent, sympathetic, and altruistic.  It is obvious that Carolyn’s marriage to Warner is one of convenience, a business and power agreement.  This marriage was not bound together by love but by ambitions.  The author skillfully contrasts her with Warner Lane, showing how she is very successful professionally but has demons in her personal life, including an abusive husband.  As the story progresses so does the reader’s dislike for Warner who never takes any responsibility, degrades in personality, and erodes into the world of moral bankruptcy.  This can be seen in a quote from the book when Warner blames Carolyn who “caused him to lose control, caused him to hit her...”

Antrim explained to blackfive.net, “I thought about how certain First Ladies want a voice in the administration.  Carolyn had issues dear to her heart and did what she felt was needed to stay in power.  She thought she had a good reason for what she was doing.  Compare her to Hillary Clinton who has a forward aggressive personality.  Even though she was not elected or appointed by the President she had enormous power.  She demanded an office in the West Wing, which is very valuable real estate.  Every other First Lady, past and present, has an office in the East Wing.  Think about it, even national security advisors have some kind of oversight while the First Lady has none.”

Readers might question if the plot sustains believability but they should think no further than some political pundits who had controversial deaths.  In December 1972 Dorothy Hunt, the wife of convicted “plumber” E. Howard Hunt died in a suspicious plane crash.  The Clinton White House counsel, Vince Foster, supposedly committed suicide; yet, there is forensic evidence that his body was dumped in a park. Ron Brown, the Secretary of Commerce in 1996 also died in a plane crash, but Antrim noted, “The autopsy report shows a cylindrical hole in Brown’s head consistent with a bullet wound.  People might not believe the killings in this story but let’s remember people have been killed for far less than aspiring to achieve the most powerful position on the planet, the President of the United States.”

The story faults many journalists for not wanting to expose the truth, as evidenced with this quote, “If the press doesn’t report the truth, the people don’t get the truth.”  Antrim wanted to hammer this point home, that objective journalism is basically dead.  She did a great job with it in this story even if some events were a bit exaggerated.  She is discouraged with today’s reporting, “When reading the front page of a major newspaper you can see how biased the writer is by the word choice and the angle chosen.  Even bloggers need to understand that there are rules unless someone is making a commentary and then they need to find an angle and use reputable sources to support it.”

Capital Offense has a very believable plot considering the deceit, revenge, power and murder in this novel, basically, politics as usual. Besides being suspenseful and riveting, every concerned voter should read this book as an eye-opener to what political campaigns are really like. 

On a side note, Kathleen Antrim will be participating in the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th, because she thinks those who serve are amazing and should be recognized for the sacrifices made day in and day out. She is one of those that does the walk along with the talk considering she is currently the USO Director for International Thriller Writers and has done two tours entertaining the troops in the Middle East since many are readers.   

Canada had Lone Wolf under surveillance

The Canadians were watching their "lone wolf" killer before he killed CPL Cirrillo. But nothing came of it, what is the problem? My compatriot at Center for Security Policy Kyle Shideler takes a look at why watching isn't enough. 

October 22nd’s terror attack by Michael (aka Abdullah) Zehaf-Bibeau brings into focus an important question for Western counterterrorism efforts, as reports are now indicating that Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly a Muslim convert, or having recently become religious, had been under Canadian law enforcement scrutiny prior to the attack, over fears that he may head abroad to join the Islamic State. This exact same set of circumstances also existed for Martin Couture Rouleau, who killed one Canadian soldier, and wounded another, in a hit and run terror attack on October 21st.

Nor are the Canadians the only ones who have had all the proper intelligence on suspects, and literally surveilled them all the up until the moment they began their deadly assault. A look at the past several years brings to mind multiple examples. The FBI was made aware of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev , and even interviewed him, well before he engaged in his jihad. British MI-5 had likewise been made aware of Michael Adebolajo, when he was arrested by Kenyan authorities allegedly for trying to join the jihad in Somalia. Adebolajo (together with a partner) would go on to engage in the beheading of British Army drummer Lee Rigby, in an attack very nearly copied by Rouleau.

In Defense Of Traditional VSO's

Mike Lermon has a wonderful response to the rather disingenious op-ed that ran a week or so ago in the Washington Times.  I really think you will enjoy reading it.  

Unlike the previous op-ed, I will disclose that I am a bit biased and know Mike, as he's the project lead for Operation Audie/Task Force DeForrest at Mission: VALOR.  


Free Fire Zone- A Pack of Lone Wolves

How many lone wolf attacks will it take to get the media, liberals and our fearless leaders in DC to admit they are connected and they are all committed by Islamist extremists? That's right, they are Muslims, by their own shouted declarations. This doesn't mean all Muslims are to blame, but it is long past time to admit that something about Islam is causing many of its followers to slaughter innocents. And it is also time for us to stop pretending this isn't so.

The second in my series for the Center for Security Policy.


An Ebola Article worth your time

As everyone is looking for information, this article has it all- history, current efforts, and the backgrounds of those fighting it.

A MUST-READ this weekend for you.


The Ebola Wars

How genomics research can help contain the outbreak.


Pardis Sabeti and Stephen Gire in the Genomics Platform of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have been working to sequence Ebola’s genome and track its mutations.Pardis Sabeti and Stephen Gire in the Genomics Platform of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have been working to sequence Ebola’s genome and track its mutations.CREDITPHOTOGRAPH BY DAN WINTERS

Free Fire Zone- ISIS Military Prowess

I happily present the first in a hopefully long series of videos I will be producing in my new role as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy. I have known and worked with its CEO Frank Gaffney for quite a few years now and have been a regular guest and guest host of his radio show. My focus will be on Terrorism, Unconventional Warfare and Cybersecurity, but I will also be helping the Center create a world class information operations capability. The Center's motto is "The Special Forces in the War of Ideas" so it is a very good fit for me literally and figuratively. I look forward to fighting back against misinformation and bringing some truth and reality to as many people as we can.

Book Review - "Saul's Game" by Andrew Kaplan

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.

9780062315458_p0_v3_s260x420Saul’s Game is an original novel of the Homeland series written by best selling author Andrew Kaplan.  It is a prequel that takes fans of this series back to 2009 and before.  The plot includes the backstory on many of the characters and what influenced their current attitudes. 

The story has Saul Berenson and Carrie Mathison returning to the Middle East, Syria and Iraq in particular.  They are trying to find the al Qaeda terrorist Abu Nazir and instead come across different plots that would threaten the American forces and involve Arab tribal differences. 

Kaplan’s experiences have greatly contributed to the realism of the story.  As someone who served in the US and Israeli Army he knows the make-up of the Middle East.  In fact, what he wrote could be snatched from the views of former high-ranking CIA officials.  These former officials speak about the alienation of the Sunnis, by the former Iraq Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the corruptness created by the Shiites, which all fits into the narrative of the story.

Kaplan explained to blackfive.net, “I put into the book a scene that explains why many Americans just do not get what is happening over there.  If the Sunnis take over Syria there would be an increase in massacres of the Christians and Kurds.  Don’t forget the book was written over a year ago.  In the Middle East there are no losers because all losers are killed.  What Carrie and Saul are attempting to do is prevent the real enemy, Iran, from having Iraq as its puppet.”

Saul’s Game allows readers to find out more of the early life of the main characters but also gives an understanding of the issues facing the Middle East today and why American troops should not have been completely withdrawn.

On a side note he will be attending the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego on board the USS Midway.  He stated, “I am vey pleased to be included in this book fair that includes some wonderful authors.  I think doing it on the Midway is a wonderful idea, including matching every book sold to a giveaway to active military personnel.”

NYT reports there were chemical weapons in Iraq

One of the biggest complaints about the Iraq War by members of the left was that "Bush lied, people died" regarding the existence or not of WMD. This factually inaccurate phrase was bandied about so relentlessly that is became conventional wisdom among the perpetually unwise. The NY Times published a story last week noting that a number of US troops suffered injuries from encountering these supposedly non-existent weapons.

The argument often centered around whether Saddam had stockpiles of active chemical and biological weapons and/or programs actively working on those as well as the big baddy nuclear weapons. As it turned out there were no stockpiles of recent vintage and most of the weapons the troops ran into were of pre Gulf War vintage. But programs that could produce chemical and biological weapons and most importantly the scientists and institutional knowledge to do so did exist. They could have had fresh batches of all kinds of bio-weaponized evil in as little as five weeks.

Saddam had made a calculation that this capability was even better than the physical weapons themselves which could be found by the UN inspectors he let gallivant around the country. So the inspectors dutifully reported that they had found no weapons or factories and too many people took this as evidence that Saddam had been defanged. Wrong, and the danger posed by a dictator with the ability and inclination to build and use these weapons should not have been ignored. Frank Gaffney discusses all of this with the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Bush administration Douglas Feith.