George M James
Smuggling Weapons to Resistance Groups by Covert Means
352 pages in paperback
Code Name Phantom looks at security at military installations and the state of the military ordnance which are kept on these sites. There are shocking statistics highlighted in this book regarding this state of affairs for all militaries and not only in South Africa.
In 2010, in South Africa, there was 78,000 tons of immediate use ordnance available, 67% of which need immediate destruction. That is 52,260 tons.
In simple terms, the old ordnance may explode at any time. The problem is getting worse since they are unsafe to move. They should have already been used in exercises, shot out or destroyed. However, it will take 34 years to destroy the existing unstable ordnance using normal methods which are by either burning or blowing. Dumping them into the oceans, the traditional way, is forbidden by international treaties and will not happen.
These are mindboggling figures and they should worry you if you live close to any military ordnance depot anywhere in the world. But, it gets worse. It is also known that Special Forces, all of them - from the Russian Spetsnaz to the American Green Berets are designated first base hitters.
This means, when a conventional war breaks out, they are ready to pounce on ammunition depots, air bases, fuel tanks etc. A war machine runs on logistics, end of story, no ammunition, fuel, and food and the surrendering begins.
What is worse, is that ammunition depots are prime targets for terrorists even when not in a war situation as obviously, terrorists, need explosives and weapons. Since smuggling ammunition is difficult and risky, raiding a depo is the answer.
Accordingly, you would think such places are well defended as the threat is known. They are not. Traditionally, the attacking forces always succeed in penetrating unobserved, shockingly so. In the US Military, the penetration exercises to test security became known as “Red Cell Operations.” The time of a military depot also being a fort, able to defend itself against a determined attack, is long gone. What is not perhaps so well-known is how secret agents, spies, work with Special Forces to test the depot security.
However, the question arises: What if such weapons can be channelled towards resistance movements, unofficially so? What if discarded but still usable ordnance can be somehow seized and used for covert operations?
The problem with the Iran / Contra Scandal was money trails which were easily investigated. A better way had to be found and was found by Angelique Dawson in 2010.
Spymaster extraordinaire, Angelique Dawson and her team are testing military installations against enemy attack, officially assuming the role of “terrorists” or so she explains to her bodyguard and later husband, Major Geoffrey Foxtrot, the former Police Special Forces Company Commander assisting her in operations.
However, being the local head of counter-terrorism and “otherwise” at the best of times, she has her own reasons for launching Code Name Phantom. She is planning on waylaying hundreds of tons of discarded ordnance to supply it to dissidents in Zimbabwe under cover of a “Red Cell” operation.
If caught, the consequences will be dire, she is operating under a cloak of total deniability. Foxtrot has his hands full to protect her from her many enemies. She also enters into a demolition’s bet with Geelslang Peter Ndebele on who can use the least explosives to destroy a ton of discarded ammunition. A further worry for Foxtrot as Angelique is not about to lose the bet and will break every safety rule to win.
The hundreds of tons of mislaid ordnance must also be smuggled out of the country, a logistical nightmare for Foxtrot.
If you wish to read about Covert and Special Forces Operations in sub-Saharan Africa, the GMJ Books are the place to start. You will learn about covert operations, Special Forces techniques and military history not known outside the select few.
Code Name Phantom is book 24 in the GMJ Series.