Category Archives: Writing

Target Deck Excerpt: Police Station (pt. 1)

Deckard threw the door open as Pat brought the car to a halt outside the Oaxaca police station. Holding his Kalashnikov at the ready, he proceeded up the steps, striding over a body riddled with bullets as Samantha followed close behind.

A second corpse lay in the entrance, graciously holding the door ajar for them to pass through.

“Better call and cancel that guy’s dinner plans.”

The female police chief snorted.

“Cartel scum.”

Behind them, the engine squealed as Pat peeled off to position himself behind the building, just in case everything went sideways on them.

Alto!” someone shouted at them from down the hall.

Samantha spoke in rapid fire Spanish that was too fast for Deckard to follow.

Stepping from behind an over turned desk, with a snub nosed .38 revolver in one hand, a portly man in a police uniform crossed himself. Obviously, he hadn’t expected to see his new boss again, not unless she was hanging under an overpass somewhere.

In the corner, a muted television showed a broadcast of a masked man brandishing a machete from behind a podium as he gave his speech. Deckard did not need to hear the audio to know the revolutionary was fixing to lop some federale’s head off. Over the last few months Mexico had begun its final decent towards chaos, the federal government not controlling anything outside of Mexico City. Everyone with a gun was moving to fill the vacuum and the disarmed civilian population was forced to resort to the machete, the traditional weapon of peasant uprisings in the Latin world.

Continuing their conversation in their native language, the two police officers led Deckard into the offices. Peering into one of the adjacent jail cells, Deckard spotted the bales of narco-dollars wrapped in cellophane, safely locked behind bars.

“They didn’t come for the money,” he said curiously, referring to the cartels who would want their money back.

“No, senior, the police officer on duty said. Just a few opportunist thinking they might find some easy money. Word must have leaked out on the streets.”

“They had me,” Samantha said. “They thought the money would be theirs to reclaim whenever it suited them.”

“How many police officers do you have on call?”

Samantha looked at her subordinate, who in turned shrugged his shoulders.

“One, including me. The others left, ran away. They will be swallowed up by the Jimenez cartel,” Samantha said referencing the largest and most powerful drug cartel in southern Mexico. “That or they will go to work with them.”

“Along with whatever is left of Ortega’s organization,” Deckard added.

“We have to move on them fast.”

“I agree, but first we need to move the money to our new headquarters. We can keep you safe there as well, along with-” Deckard looked at the sole beat cop in Oaxaca city.

“Officer Lopez,” the policemen responded with a half assed salute.

“Right, let’s get moving.”

Lopez switched back to Spanish, asking his police chief something. Deckard only caught on to one word, intelligentsia.

“I’m not CIA.”

“That’s right, your some kind of gun for hire, huh? Then what do we call you mystery man?” Samantha asked.

“Black will do for now.”

“Well, Mr. Black, I don’t know-” her words were cut short as an old rotary phone sitting on one of the desks began to ring.

Como?” Lopez said, holding the phone to his ear.

Si,” he paused before cupping his hand over receiver. “It’s for the gringo.”

“I guess that must be me,” Deckard said taking the phone. “Yeah?”

Heavy breathing sounded over the phone before someone spoke, “We want the money.”

“Who is this?”

“A friend of Mr. Jimenez.”

“You want the money? Come get it.”

“Leave this place now. You don’t belong here.”

“We’ll see who’s standing when the smoke clears.”

“Take a walk and don’t come back. That is the deal.”

“Make your play.”

Another pause.

“I already have.”

The police station was suddenly plunged into darkness as someone cut off the electricity.

This has been a preview of Target Deck, the upcoming sequel to Reflexive Fire!

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What Does Four More Years of Obama Mean for US Special Operations Forces?

Thenextfouryears

Since 9/11 we have seen a revolution in how the entire US defense structure approaches and deals with the issue of terrorism. While the Clinton administration introduced some legislation that would pave the way for “targeted” killings in instances where there was an Executive Finding, the Clinton administration took a limp-wristed approach to intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism for the bulk for the 1990s, including missed opportunities to kill Al Qaeda head honcho, Osama Bin Laden.

The post-9/11 Bush Administration not only swung US Special Operations forces into action, along with Para-Military and Clandestine Services, but also pushed hard for an expansion of these capabilities. Then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld played a large role in expanding the Special Forces Regiment and personally visited the Delta Force compound on Ft. Bragg to get a better understanding of how counter-terrorist forces operate.

Obama stepped into the White House during a transition period where America was withdrawing from Iraq and attempting to hash out an exit strategy for Afghanistan. While timelines were debated, shifted to the right, and a number of phony withdrawals were staged for the media, the US military did pull out of Iraq and is currently working towards doing the same in Afghanistan. No doubt this action has increased support from both the Pentagon and the American public with the near total lose of credibility of US Counter-Insurgency strategy with the so-called “insider” or “green on blue” attack where our Afghan allies suddenly turn on and kill American soldiers.

In the face of this withdrawal, the War on Terror seems to be decreasing in over all troop deployments while simultaneously expanding in all directions with low-visibility operations in places like Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Mali, and Libya. Meanwhile, other long standing operations have continued in places like Colombia which have been largely ignored by a media, and perhaps a Pentagon, that has a fixation on the Middle East.

With SEAL Team Six eliminating Osama Bin Laden during Obama’s watch, the Special Operations community has received unprecedented popularity in the public arena. Reportedly, the Obama Administration has delegated responsibility for counter-terrorist operations to JSOC and his National Security Council, leaving them more or less to their own devices.

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Target Deck Excerpt, The Arab

Good news, the draft and first edit of the novel are in the can.  Now it is with a proof reader/editor for review!  In the meantime, I will be posting a few excerpts…

The Iridium satellite phone was picked up on the first ring.

Nam?” the man answered in his native language. For a moment he was confused as to where he was and who he was talking to.

“It is a Gulfstream V. The paint job is gray but there are no commercial labels or official seals. The tail number is N44982,” the caller told him.

“Good work Arturo,” the Arab thanked him while committing the information to memory.

The Mexican intelligence official had become his go between with the Jimenez cartel and himself. It was now clear that the CIA would be of no use to them. They were perfectly happy to see the Jimenez cartel liquidated. The Arab worked for vested interests who were determined to ensure that this never happened. If Jimenez went down, there was no telling how many of the drug corridors would collapse if the American set off some kind of domino effect. They had to nip this problem in the bud.

The Arab smiled. He was good at troubleshooting these types of problems.

“You are sure he is on this flight?”

“Yes,” Arturo said. “My contact in the federales personally saw him board this plane just before the pilots made an illegal take off from Cancun. I would have left the problem in your hands but before I could intervene our air force sent up a couple fighters.”

“Did you have them stand down?”

Fear clenched the Arab’s gut. On one hand if the Mexican Air Force shot down the jet it would save him the trouble, the job would be complete. On the other hand, he would be stuck with seven mad men that he would need to find a way to get rid of.

“No, I was too late but somehow they managed to avoid the fighters. The Air Force is still trying to figure it out. It may have been some type of radar cloaking.”

“But you are sure they are returning to Gran Cayman?”

“Almost certain. My sources indicate that the island was their stop off point on their way to Cancun and they were heading back in that direction when they dropped off the radar.”

“I will call you when it is finished.”

“I would appreciate that my friend,” the intelligence agent sounded uneasy. “Jimenez grows…impatient.”

“This ends today. You will hear from me soon.”

The Arab terminated the call and set the phone down.

In the muffled interior of the garage he could hear his seven charges initiating their prayers. The chants to Allah reverberated off the walls, filling the garage with their religious incantations. The Arab winced, his fingers tracing the thick scar tissue on his forearm. In the Caribbean heat it felt like the scars were tightening up on him. Soon it would be time for more plastic surgery to relieve the pain. The scars were a constant reminder of who he had been in a past life.

The Arab packed away his satellite phone and edged around the side of the Toyota van towards the prostrated Muslim extremists.

“It’s time.”

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No Easy Op, SOFREP Exclusive E-book About “No Easy Day”

Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb and I (former Ranger and Special Forces guy that I am) teamed up to write a e-book that covers the ins and outs of the controversy surrounding former SEAL Team Six member Matt Bissonnette and his decision to write a first hand account about the Bin Laden raid.  SEAL Team Six operators, a Recon Marine, a fellow Ranger, and many others were consulted in the writing on this e-book.  We examined why former Special Operations members decide to write books, give some behind the scenes insight, talk about the controversy surrounding Matt’s book “No Easy Day”, dissect the interaction between SOF and the media, and provide insight into the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid.  Also revealed is key information about how and why the White House decided to initiate high level leaks of military secrets to the media.

As I wrote in the book, the intersection where Special Operations meets with Facebook, Twitter, television, and publishing is a labyrinth of lies and deceit.   We hope this e-book helps the reader cut through the BS and begin to discern what is really going on.

Buy it on Amazon!

PS: The publisher of “No Easy Day” is plenty pissed at us for writing this book!

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Negative Book Reviews

I try not to comment (much) when my books get negative reviews.  The review is the prerogative of the reader and it really isn’t my place to judge them for it.  Good, bad, indifferent, every reader is entitled to their opinion.  That said, some reviews just leave me scratching my head…

“If you like to waste time reading about incredible actions performed by supermen succeding against overwhelming odds, then this is the book for you. The plot is contrived and stunted with plenty of bad people, thankfully exterminated by our all-American hero.”

Dude, if that isn’t what you are looking for in a novel then why in the world would you read a book with this product description?

Reflexive Fire Military Thriller

An assassin who is in over his head.
A cabal that wants him to lead a secret army.
A conspiracy decades in the making.

“The hero is everything you could hope for in an action-adventure–intelligent, charismatic, honorable, a combat veteran from an elite unit, and just slopping over with badassity.” -Hank Brown, author of Hell and Gone.

As a freelance assassin, Deckard is no stranger to the shadow world of covert operations, but when he is summoned to Bohemian Grove and hired to train and lead a battalion of Kazakh mercenaries, he soon discovers his employer’s real agenda: a doomsday plot decades in the making.

“If you’re the kind of guy who loves action movies, but grimaces with every technical and tactical fail… you NEED to buy this book.” -a combat veteran from a NATO nation.

Now, free humanity’s only chance for survival rests with Deckard’s renegade Private Military Company. From Afghanistan, to Burma, and beyond, the clock is ticking down to global extinction.

“A military novel, written by a true expert on the subject, just takes the story to another, higher level, compared to books made up by ‘civilian’ authors with vivid imaginations.” -Frank Jones, 15-year military veteran and private security contractor.

“Fiction has a new star in the making. This awesome work of fiction (is it really..?) will rank right up there with ‘Dogs of War’ and ‘The Forever War’ in defining a new era in action/adventure novels or genre.” -JG Scott

“With Jack Murphy, you know he’s been there and done that, so you wonder where the line is between the made up stuff and where he’s drawing upon his real-life experiences.” -Dan Eldredge

I wrote this book for those of you who are ready for this genre to go to the next level, beyond superficial political messages and stereotypical terrorists wearing turbans on their heads, I hope this book connects with a different breed of reader and action-adventure fan. -Jack Murphy, author, Special Forces veteran.”

Sometimes the problem is that it just isn’t the right book for the right person.  I can’t appeal to readers who want to hear about gay vampires anymore than the authors of Twilight or Harry Potter can appeal to military veterans like me.  Thems the breaks I guess!

Oh, I almost forgot…BUY MY BOOK!

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RIP to RASP: How Rangers Are Made

Today’s modern Ranger Battalions were first established in 1974 as America’s premier Airborne Light Infantry unit which would be a part of America’s new and growing Special Operations capability. The unit would be specially trained and selected in order to maintain high standards and serve as a role model for the rest of the Army.

With this in mind, 1st Ranger Battalion was stood up as was its selection program called the Ranger Indoctrination Program, or RIP. Soon after when 2nd Ranger Battalion would activated, they too began their own RIP for incoming and prospective Rangers.

After graduating from Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Airborne School, those enlisted soldiers who wish to join the ranks of the 75th Ranger Regiment then attend the Ranger’s selection program. This is a brief history of that program and how it has evolved from the early days up to the present.

 

Battalion-level RIP

Former 1/75 Ranger Mingo Kane had this to say about his experience going through RIP in 1984, “First week, run…run, PT, road march, run…get screamed at, run…flutter kicks, run. Not a lot of sleep…it was pretty much to weed out the weaker students…Hand to hand was nothing more than getting your ass kicked, everything revolved around punishment…elevating your feet shoulder height to knock out push ups when you fucked up, which was often…I gotta say, I never knew a human fucking being could run like they did in RIP…fuckers [cadre] were beasts. The chow hall was a good ways off, you ran there, ate in 45 seconds and ran back….you had to read the [Ranger] handbook every down second of time, no laying around on bunks at night shooting the shit, you were exhausted anyway…I think we started out with something like 26 and graduated something like 6…one year later I was the only one left in 1st Batt (Frances Elder was killed in Panama).”

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Finished the Draft of Target Deck today

123k words.  Glad I was able to knock it out before the end of the summer.  Now comes the proof reading and editing.  Marc is nearly finished with the cover.  I’m looking to release the book before Christmas!  Stay tuned for excerpts and more…

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My Book Cover Makes All Other Book Covers Look Like Wimpy Little Girls

Deckard walked across the freshly expended brass that rolled across the street.

“It’s for you,” the radio operator sitting in his assault truck said as he handed him the hand mic.

With Fedorchenko’s platoon on stand down to recover from their airborne operation and Aghassi and Nikita running recon, Deckard was out on a parallel operation with Sergeant Zhenis and Second Platoon. They were back in Oaxaca City, mowing grass and churning through their target deck. After a brief firefight, they had taken down another ring of contract killers.

“This is Six,” Deckard said over the command net.

“We have a problem.”

It was Frank.

“What?”

“Our entire ring of informants is about to be liquidated. Spooky-One’s mission was a success and they are on exfil right now. The virus allowed us to tap into the cartel’s network but not in time to stop him. Jimenez had someone conduct a link analysis on all cellular traffic in Oaxaca.”

Deckard’s guts twisted in a knot.

“How bad is it?”

“We’re trying to establish that now while we reach out to as many of our sources as possible.”

Gun fire popped off somewhere deeper in the city. It was just a few shots, then a spray. Seconds later, the heavy bolt of a machine gun thumped on full auto coming from a different direction, each blast echoing across the city.

“Start giving me names and locations,” Deckard told him. “We’ll see how many we can pull out.”

As he listened to the gunfire, Deckard knew it was already too late.

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The Activity Hits Publisher’s Weekly

As an occasional military consultant for this comic, I have a few quotes in the article! -Jack

When the deadly raid against Osama Bin Laden’s fortress was announced to the world, the truth behind the secretive group responsible, Seal Team Six, was kept secret. But inside the Special Forces community there’s a group even more secret than Seal Team Six; it’s called the Intelligence Support Activity, the ISA. And for the first time, this clandestine group is getting its chance in the sun in a new comic book series from Image titled The Activity.
Created by writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerads, The Activity is a comic series in the vein of Tom Clancy if he was a hardcore Call of Duty gamer, mixing heavily researched military specifics with action-oriented storytelling ideal for the comics medium. A collection of the first six issues came out in June.
The Activity features a real-life, and truly secret Special Operations group in high-action, globe-trotting missions, most fiction, but some based in reality,” explains Edmondson, who also wrote the spy/noir series Who Is Jake Ellis?.”In real life the Intelligence Support Activity has a goal of being the “eyes and ears” of the Special Operations community—serving, for example, groups like Delta Force (who are more recently called “Combat Application Group.”). “
“There is much speculation, however, that within the ISA is a contingent that focuses on more ‘hot’ engagements: snatch and grab jobs, assassinations, battlefield preparation,” explains Edmonson. “The Activity’s Team Omaha is a fictionalized representation of that idea. But whether within the ISA or not, what our team does in The Activity are things that groups in our Special Operations do, absolutely, in real life.”

Edmondson and Gerard open up the world of the ISA and The Activity in the first story-arc through the introduction of a new recruit into Team Omaha, nicknamed Fiddler. The team quickly find themselves on the road, with missions crisscrossing the globe. The book features stories about current conflict zones without pulling any punches or making up fictionalized nations.

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Book Review: Classified Woman, The Sibel Edmonds Story

As someone who has worked extensively with translators overseas, I know how important their role is and how critical they are to the mission. When I read Sibel Edmonds’ story I was shocked but not necessarily surprised. I wasn’t surprised at the lack of professionalism that she witnessed among the staff of translators at the FBI’s counter-intelligence office, but I was shocked at how over the top, brazen, and corrupt it was. One of my Arabic teachers at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School told us that he carried a book full of the names of Palestinian martyrs so I didn’t think I was naive about this subject. He would get a kick out of showing us Special Forces students propaganda clips from Memri TV of a Rabbi making Matzo ball soap with the blood of a young Christian boy.

Sibel Edmonds was a naturalized US citizen who got a call shortly after 9/11 to come work at the FBI and help them translate documents and catch up on their backlog, hopefully to turn up clues that would help unravel the plot behind the attacks. We don’t know for sure what language Sibel was translating into English, the title of her book isn’t just a gimmick. The courts have ruled that where she was born, when she was born, and the languages she is fluent in are all classified as state secrets. Government officials have said she is the most Classified Woman in US history. However, we can surmise that Sibel is fluent in Turkish and probably Farsi as well having grown up in Turkey and Iran.

While simultaneously working towards a college degree, Sibel begins working as a translator at the FBI `s counter-intelligence office. Her hard work is quickly recognized and she gets picked up for multiple field assignments, helping exhausted FBI agents in their investigations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

It is back at the FBI headquarters building in Washington, DC that she begins to realize that something is amiss. Classified documents are mishandled, some translators are not qualified and can barely speak English, and documents of critical importance are non-nonchalantly being stamped as being not relevant to FBI investigations.

It gets much worse when a co-worker and her husband (a Major at the Pentagon) come to visit Sibel and her husband Matthew at their home. They then proceed to “pitch” them. They want Sibel to join several Turkish-American Associations. These are the same organizations that Sibel and her co-worker are targeting everyday at their job as translators for FBI counter-intelligence. The FBI has been investigating a dangerous group that is involved in drug trafficking and nuclear espionage with connections to Israel and worse connections to US politicians on both sides of the aisle.

It sounds very much like the plot of a dime store novel, but these are events that bring down the whole house of cards for Sibel, as they would for any honest American. A criminal network has penetrated the FBI and is actively sabotaging investigations that could threaten their operations.

Read the rest at SOFREP.com

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