Back in 1932, the British politician, Stanley Baldwin made a speech. This was during the time of the bomber fleet (from the air) theorists that envisaged air power being able to destroy cities and hence win wars on its own. Naturally, this bothered a lot of people and the topic of the day.
Looking back, it was an interesting speech and good enough to quote in a new GMJ Book, Code Name OST-M (GMJ 16). He said: “I think it is well also for the man in the street to realise that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through. The only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves...If the conscience of the young men should ever come to feel, with regard to this one instrument [bombing] that it is evil and should go, the thing will be done; but if they do not feel like that – well, as I say, the future is in their hands. But when the next war comes, and European civilisation is wiped out, as it will be, and by no force more than that force, then do not let them lay blame on the old men. Let them remember that they, principally, or they alone, are responsible for the terrors that have fallen upon the earth.”
As we know, no matter who laughed at this speech and many did, the bomber fleets did get through and destroyed large cities in Germany and other places. Yes, they took massive losses but they got through. Many famous men joined the American Air Fleets, for instance Charles Bronson and Clark Gable were aerial gunners, flying in combat. Jimmy Stewart was one hell of a good bomber pilot. He would go on to become a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve flying also in Vietnam as an observer in a B-52. I do not wish to get into the debate of the effectiveness of terror bombing or carpet bombing as it was known and authorised by Winston Churchill. The Yanks tried precision bombing (as it was at the time) and the RAF did not. According to Albert Speer, the German Armaments Minister, the bombing campaign did create problems, massively so and opened a new front, thus tying down hundreds of thousands of men who would otherwise have been on the front. The tactic also killed, some say murdered but that is a bit farfetched during wartime, hundreds of thousands of civilians and the so called London Blitz was absolutely nothing in what was dished out on say Berlin or Dresden. In the end though they failed, airpower did not win World War Two or anywhere else. In Vietnam they dropped more bombs than the entire World War Two and yet, they lost. In studies I uncovered I found that saboteurs in Occupied France, under a female spy, destroyed more trains and locomotives in three months than what the vaunted Air Forces could do in a year. The point is, the bomber did get through and it did cause problems and that is where it ended.
What this blog is about is that a terrorist bomber, the guy willing to blow himself up, will also always get through. It is a fact of life in counter terrorism but not one which our turd brigade (politicians float in what they talk), internationally and local, gets. They come up with wonderful expressions stating that “We (the counter terrorist lads) have to fail just once and the terrorist get lucky just once” and so forth. Things like - “We have to succeed all the time to prevent terrorist attacks etc. and if we fail it is the end of the world.”
Let me tell you, and I speak of decades of experience. You live in a dream world and are talking crap. In real life, the bomber always gets through. You may stop a hundred attacks and then the next one gets through and the point is that radicals, whether from Islam or the Far Right, are not normal people. You cannot reason with them since they sincerely believe you are wrong and they are right and they are willing to die for their cause. The recent attack on France is not the first nor a 9/11. The downing of the Russian airliner in Egypt is not the first and hear my words, many more attacks are coming. Brace yourself because it is now part of life in Europe but it is pinpricks in the greater scheme of things (and I mean no disrespect towards the dead). Such attacks will not, never, convert any great nation to become a radical Muslim State, no, it will bring misery to Muslims worldwide as they will respond in kind.
Many of my readers are astonished when I say I fear France in Africa above all. Why? They respond, they attack and they don’t ask much questions either before they do so. As I put it in the GMJ Books, “You wake up and the legionnaires are there to teach you manners and the Mirages are circling. The only lines in the sand is where your heels are dragging as they cut your balls off.” When you travel in Africa, the more secluded parts where the tourists are not, you see the Tricolour and you know, the Legion is nearby. We saw recently France going alone into Mali, we saw them opening the airstrikes (before the Americans and rest) in Libya and yes, I do not consider France to be the defeated nation it was (with everyone else including Britain) in 1940. America by the way, is seen as a joke, chucked out of Somalia (Mogadishu) with no staying power as proven since Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Unless you can back up your “line in the sand” with an armour division, we will laugh at you and pay lip service. So I have no doubts whatsoever that France and Russia is going to hammer ISIS like they never believed possible and they will not stop, the Paris attacks were a pinprick but it will have major consequences.
I am also amused to read the statements released in South Africa that we are safe from Radical Islam although I agree up to a point but not with the reasons given in public. Yes, we have an excellent spy agency and they are good. Not the rubbish NIA, called the National Disgrace in my books, but SASS was good, better than their predecessors NI anyway and I worked with both, so I know. And they are right when they say the radicals are here. If you bother to read my books you will find views and facts backing those views which should bother you. Yes, South Africa had links with the so called “London Tube” bombers of 2005, the so called “white widow” Samantha Lewthwaite did hide in South Africa (Johannesburg) for a while. There are a large and vocal local Muslim population clamouring for two things: (1) to boycott Israel and (2) to prosecute any South African Jew serving with the Israeli Army. And we had in the nineties attacks on American companies here.
South Africa is not a Jewish Friendly State as it was during Apartheid. Not in my eyes anyway and there are many reasons why I say so, purely from an analytical view on what was said, done and implemented since 1994, it is in the GMJ Books, properly explained for anyone to read and to agree or disagree with. The books are fiction but based on facts I can prove; it is not speculation or conspiracy theories. Hence it stands to reason, there is no logical reason for a Muslim radical to attack South Africa because they feel at home here. They are not killed, they are not arrested and they are not abused nor are they deported and the “War on Terror” is not our official concern. We don’t care. Why not? The answer is obvious, read my books and find out.
Someone asked me the other day, writing the GMJ Books, does that affect me in any way? It is a good question, actually. I dislike, intensely, to read my non-fiction autobiography books simply because they do affect me. I go back to the mode I was in during that time period and I become what I tried hard for two decades now not to be. You must also remember; the GMJ stories are based on reality so it takes something from me – more in what to leave out to protect people. Having said that, the GMJ Books are fun to write, it is not work and I do not suffer from what is known as “writer’s block.” Perhaps I am just lucky but first I get the idea, and then they idea grows and soon my fingers talk to the keyboard.
When I write, I type twelve to fourteen hours a day with short breaks for coffee, to make food, watch television for an hour and a daily walk. I write from about 07h30 to 16h00 and then rehearse (go through) what I wrote at night. And tomorrow is the same and soon you have 250 – 300 pages but it really depends on the story. And it takes about two to three weeks before the editor has it. The cover will be guided by the story and unlike many I do not plan the book, it writes itself which is why there are surprising turns in the plot. Sometimes they repeat, unfortunately, I have to explain in each book the premises they are based on and that takes about twenty pages – why, because each book can be read separately. We should never assume that the reader read every book and would know what happened. So in that sense it repeats (not word for word) and it cannot be helped.
But do they affect me? Yes, in certain ways and with readers. I do write jokes in the books which makes me laugh because they take the Mickey out of myself writing them. See if you can spot them, it is funny. Of course, whenever a lawyer is involved, it is a joke aimed at me. There are other examples also. Some of the loyal readers, I know a few that read every GMJ Book (thank you), and they say to me – “I was driving home from work, and I listened to Angelique’s songs!” Okay, in the books Angelique Dawson (she is based on a real person as is all the characters) has two songs she always refers to. The first, and she whistles it whenever she is busy with some shenanigans (like winning a sniper competition against Foxtrot who has to cheat to win) “Always a woman to me” by Billy Joel.
We came to this song because of the lyrics which describes her so well “And she never gives in, She just changes her mind.” That is Angelique Dawson, Mrs “Always Right” and she is dangerous which brings us to her second song “Dangerous” by Roxette, the Swedish super group in the eighties when the characters (and I) were young people. When I hear these songs, I think… “Angelique” and look around to where she is. Of course, Angelique will always remind the reader or Foxtrot (I feel sorry for him at times, he is abused with garlic and her “otherwise” behaviour) she is “not a little bit dangerous” and my word, she is not. She is as dangerous as any of the men and more because she is smarter by far.
Then, flares. Every reader will know Angelique loves shooting flares more than anything else in life, into the air, at people (her twins once remarked they felt homesick when French Navy instructors shot at them with flares, it reminded them of their mom). Whenever I play Solitaire, and I win, you see flares exploding on the screen. Then I think… “Angelique” and I smile. Also where I see an actual flare going up, I can see her smirking and standing with hand stuck out waiting for another (Foxtrot almost spit in her hand, a schoolboy prank, in Books 15, Code Name Blue Tang which will be out end of November 2015). Yep, I doubt if she would have taken kindly to that and her reaction entirely predictable (violent) – although she admits in this book and others she always misses on purpose where he is involved, her soul and future husband.
Flares are also involved in one of the most romantic scenes in the entire series. In Code Name Angel (the first book where Angelique really features – they recover lost nukes) she fires three flares and twists into Foxtrot’s arms to give him an unexpected Christmas kiss. That was the first time she showed emotion, such kind of emotion, physically towards him. Yet the feedback I get, is that Code Name Foxtrot is the most romantic book of them all - where Foxtrot takes revenge for the death of his wife, Marwa and Angelique’s husband also passes and they help each other in their grief. It is also the shortest book, only 203 pages. I am told that Code Name Dawson (the end of the Egg Breaker War) is great because they become a family, she is seen getting home, pregnant and re-joining Foxtrot. Originally, the Series would have ended there, at book 5, those who know me would have noted the dates and know why. But then I got requests on what happened to them before the Egg Breaker War and so we are now ten books further with no end in sight, really.
As you write the characters grow on you. Intriguing is how many asked that Foxtrot and Geelslang “flashback” to the eighties and their Special Forces days as we did with Code Name Missa 72 (a genuinely great read). Most also wants to know more about Geelslang Peter Ndebele and the Zulu Nation in general. Of all the characters, Geelslang is the one most asked about – unfortunately, you will need to read the books – his details are in small parts in all of them to form a complete picture. I don’t know if we will flashback to the eighties, as explained, the stories write themselves. It may or may not but I can tell you, those three will never die in my books and there is always a happy ending. We live in hard enough times. Sad endings, yeah I get that it is “arty” and to me just so much crap – I don’t like sad endings, not in books, not in life and not in movies. So, no sad endings for GMJ Books and if that makes them predictable, so be it.
Lastly, whenever I see something blown up, I automatically think Geelslang or Angelique and I recall them cheating well within the rules to get the rights to blow a quarry to repair a runway in Code Name Cadillac. And yes, I was laughing aloud when I rehearsed the section, it was vintage Angelique doing the lads in to get the right to set the charges. She will always win, she is very much my late wife in this regard. I remember when I wrote Code Name Vfo565 and Code Name Pour Angelique, the cover designer said to me - she is your wife. Well, she is, she has the same eyes, green, same hair, and same smile. Perhaps I did write her like that and there is a real Angelique out there too – she puts the fear of God into me at times. It is great fun, these stories and most ask if it is for real (a great honor). I explained that aspect in other blogs.
Most readers also become part of the Series, I remember when Angelique got wounded, shot in the arm in Code Name Phoenix (sometimes wrongly attributed as Code Name Lise in books) she was showing her pregnancy (about 5 months) and two female readers asked: “What the F is wrong with you? She is pregnant!” Yes, that proved to me the books are entirely believable. In my defense, I did get medical opinion beforehand, and unlike real life, here I have control. I knew she would not die.
If you bothered to read any GMJ Book, you will find in each two themes which will never be missing. (1) Winston Churchill is an arch liar and idiot of note that got lucky – all his shenanigans are exposed and (2) the British Army invented something called “Concentration Camps” and not the nasty Germans. The characters are Afrikaners or in Geelslang’s case, Afrikaner orientated and not about to have politically correct views. It makes them special and what they say is sometimes disquieting but never racially motivated, only historical.
Naturally, such ideas as the above are designed to annoy a Pommy and what is worse, I can prove every word. If I say Churchill was a disaster, say in Norway in 1940, you can bet your last penny, I know the truth and since I am not an Englishman and have no desire to be one, it is safe to say that I have other views on Winston Churchill than what is the norm. The same with the suspected homosexual called Lord Kitchener, the British Commander in Chief that started the concentration camps in 1901 during the Second Anglo Boer War. Yes, he is the fellow on that famous World War One poster stating “I want you!” and that is now seen in a frightening light. This creating of concentration camps, by the way, is something mentioned by one Herman Goering now and then and the connection? His father served in German South West Africa right next to the two Boer Republics during the Herero Uprising of 1904, so his son knew and drove the British Ambassador nuts with it. Despite my less than stellar opinion of Winston Churchill, dubbed the “arch liar” in every book with reason, his books are of no use as a research tool, too misleading – he did after all said and I quote: “History will be kind to me, I intent writing it,” I am fair in my books.
I acknowledge that although fully one third of all Afrikaner women and children died in those concentration camps, yes, between 26 000 and 37 000 excluding their loyal servants (not slaves, hallo), I do say it was not on purpose. Nope, it was by disease and also hunger because of a lack of administration and a f you attitude in general. It took Emily Hobhouse to get some sense in the administrators. And yet, those Boer women and children died and unlike Hillary Clinton (she plays a large role in the books too) it does matter. You only have to see the picture of those skeleton children and women to understand the Afrikaner’s dislike of anything English since then. Those pictures will remind you of places like Buchenwald and Auschwitz and yet, no apology.
When the main leech, that is Queen Victoria to you, died during the Second Anglo Boer War, many said straight it was justice from a Higher Power. Which brings us to another topic, some Indians are now suing for the return of the Kho Noor diamond they said was stolen from them? Well, in law, no, I just don’t see that happening but I have to wonder then - Cullinan Diamond? Read the new GMJ Book, Code Name Blue Tang, hopefully available by the end of November 2015, and you will know about the Cullinan Diamond and others “stolen from Africa” to quote a well-known singer from the Caribbean. With taxpayer money too, pathetic, to suck up to the royals. Amazing, it seems corruption did not start in 1994 then. What do you know?
And now I see some German writers published a book “Faces of Evil: Crimes and Criminals of the 20th century” and our mate, the suspected homosexual, Lord Kitchener, is heading that list for the “45 000” women and children he murdered. In all fairness, that is a higher number than usually acknowledged but I am glad to see his face there, thoroughly deserved says I. And the entire British online population is showing their lack of history knowledge with denials, not so much on Lord Kitchener, no, more on the fact that the authors also called Bomber Command leader, Arthur Harris, a criminal. Well, he did start carpet bombing of innocents during the Second World War but say the Brits, Germany did so first. In fact, Germany did not. It was the Arch Liar who had Berlin bombed three times before the Luftwaffe attacked London after Hitler publically warned he will retaliate. Yes, go and read your history books but unfortunately you won’t find that, nope, to the victor goes the spoils and so it is. But ask any German or neutral student of history, and you hear another story. And then they jump back to the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940 whilst the British Army was running for home leaving the French to face the German panzers alone (against their treaty obligations, the Dunkirk runners were supposed to be taken to another part of France immediately after – we know they only came back under US command four years later). The Rotterdam aerial attack was against entrenched troops, not a war crime as was the concentration camps and yes, Great Britain did sign the Genève Convention before the camps were created, no excuse then. Also interesting is that there are many rumours that an Afrikaner succeeded in killing Lord Kitchener by signalling a German submarine to sink the ship he was on. I know such little known history and like bringing it into the GMJ Books, then the reader walks away wiser even if not in complete agreement.
What was also an eye opener to me, seems today is a day of surprises, is that the South African Jewish Community is now (only now?) worried about their future role in South Africa. Well, they have good reason to be, why? Go and read the GMJ Books, it will open your eyes to the threat against them because we see more than what you think and what we see are patterns. And I know my own sphere, better than most, it is fascinating and often discussed as the characters do work with the “Jerusalem Water Works” (Mossad) now and then. Yep, it is interesting times.
I believe it was Stephen King who said he wants to grab the reader by the throat or somewhere and keeps him fascinated and reading his books. He did that, no doubt, he sold more than sixty million copies, made several wonderful movies from his books and some colleges studies his work for reasons they can explain. And he did this with simply good, fascinating stories, no silly Fifty Shades of Filth extras were needed. I like that, really, no type of porn should be in books and certainly not be on your book rack.
The power of reading is a big deal in your education. I do not get people that don’t read and find them shallow to talk to. If you base your knowledge on what your read in newspapers or popular magazines, you are really at a disadvantage. You will never be able to talk with readers at the same level, sad but true. The problem though is that not everyone likes reading, that is a fact of life, I cannot know why, the two groups don’t mix well. They will say we booklovers are weird, live in our own world and probably nerds too. And yet you cannot tell me that intellectuals are not good sport men and women. We find highly educated, medical doctors, lawyers (debatable, I have yet to meet a smart one) on our sports fields. So it takes all types and then there are the authors, my word, a specie on themselves.
I don’t get why an artist and it is extremely debatable if an author is an artist should be “otherwise” and “moody” and God know what else. At the end of the day, if you punch them on the nose hard enough, they will bleed. And as a group they are boring people too, always talking of their latest books (understandably so, me too, you ask me about the GMJ Series, man, be warned, I will talk for hours and ignore your polite disinterested looks, so don’t ask me). But there is also jealousy, if one makes more money or gets a good review and you are told you suck, a lot of anger comes out, unnecessary so. The nice thing about a pseudo name like mine, a code, is that I am not known as the author of the GMJ Series besides a few mates. And yet, I can tell you, anyone reading those books will recognise me and I am invited for “tea” now and then by the “State” because of the contents of the books, which is military history, espionage, love and accurate enough to draw official attention. They always ask, how do you know this? I always smile, go and find out! We parted ways years before.
On a personal note, I have no hopes really, nor any delusions, that I am the next great writer. Nor do I believe the books will ever be top sellers as you need a lot of luck and money to reach that status. Someone must “discover” you and if not you have to “get discovered” and so the writing part is easy, fun and exciting. The marketing part, for a nerdish fellow like me, a nightmare of epic proportions. Especially when you cannot afford marketing anyway. I made peace, it will take time and I concentrate on why I wrote the Series, now 15 books. I wrote them to honour my late wife and as far as that is concerned, I succeeded and I am happy with that. I am also proud, the few who read the books, seemed happy and wanted more but in all honesty, it is also a desire to tell stories from my part. Yes, to get you to love the characters, to laugh at times and to put the book down thinking, wow, I learned something. Hell, is this fiction or not? Who is GMJ? What made him honour his wife like that? She must have been special (damn right, she was and is).
Last week a local Bank made their name even more muddy than usual – yes, a senior guy, a director (oh my word, so important if you work at that Bank, for the rest of us, a zero of a contract) said people should save money by NOT buying books. They should borrow or go to the library or looks around second hand (he obviously does not know what second hand books cost) and the entire author community rose in anger. This, you have to get, is their lifeline, income and very bad news to them. You would have seen many blogs and personal attacks and an apology demanded. It is all part of the game, marketing, get in the news, perhaps someone will “discover” me.
It may be odd to you but I agree with the man, paper books are ridiculously expensive and cannot be afforded by many. Where an e-published book is about 2.99 on average (USD) the very same book, word for word, is about 14.99. Is paper better? I don’t know, holding a book in your hands, smelling it and getting paper cuts is traditional, it is what we grew up with. For me, no, I think e-publishing is much better, I like Kindle and I like the idea of not having to bother with paper books and I love books. What is sad about all this is that the longer the book, like the latest GMJs are all 300 plus pages in paper, the less money the author makes. Yes, weird but true, the costs increase and the loser is you, the reader because most authors will then write it shorter. We can play with words you know, it is what we do, we decide the length but only up to a point. When it comes to me, the story decides the length. That is why the books are between 93 000 and 138 000 words, the story will take us to wherever and I count words, not pages. Oddly, I don’t plan the books in advance, they write themselves, a talent from God, not me and one I am proud off. I do like my own books and I am vain enough to be saddened when they are not read because they are not “discovered” and I feel frustration when too broke to market or you send someone a copy and they do not even have the good manners to say thank you. You then wonder why will you do so again? And you remember why you write and why they get a book for free.
I write because I am close to my late wife when I write, I tell her the story and she smiles at me when I do so, that makes me happy and so I write. The latest book, Code Name Blue Tang, is one she played a massive part in. Yes, dogfighting between modern fighter jets, a long standing discussion (we never had disagreements, she was too smart to argue with) on what will happen if the South African Air Force Gripen JAS39 goes up against her F-18 Super Hornet. She knew everything about the Super Hornet, by the way, and never actually believed me either when I told her the South African derived Mirage Cheetah C defeated the American F-15 Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon in mock air combat. Since I do not wish to give the story away (it’s based on facts as is all GMJ Books) you can read it for yourself. I am sure it will be shocking to many and delightful to others but we had fun! And that is all what counts, not the lack of sales, the lack of good reviews, the lack of fame, nah, all crap, we had fun!
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations in sub-Saharan Africa, a military historian and published author of more than 50 books. In the GMJ Series, you will learn about Covert Operations, Special Forces techniques, current political analyses and military history not known outside the select few. Every GMJ Book is based on historical fact and often what is revealed in a GMJ Book is published by the mainstream media a short while later. Many of the GMJ Books are used as training material by Police Forces (SWAT) across the world. Note please that GMJ does not claim to have served in South African Army or Police Special Forces.