Tag Archives: mexico

Researching Target Deck

Today I thought I would share with you guys some of the sources I used when researching the background data I needed when writing Target Deck.  I put a high premium on realism but since these are novels I’m writing what I often do is take elements that are very real and combine them in ways in which I can only speculate may be happening but could never prove.  I’m also guilty of kicking everything up by several orders of magnitude, this is action-adventure we’re talking about here.  However, for those interested in the real life issues that you might encounter in the novel and would like to get the real deal, I can recommend a few places to start looking.

Teenage girls who were arrested while training to become cartel assassins

Teenage girls who were arrested while training to become cartel assassins

Amexica by Ed Vulliamy and El Narco by Ioan Grillo were two books which I found very helpful when trying to penetrate the world of Mexican drug cartels and get some situational awareness not just of how the mechanics of the cartels function but the cultural overlay that exists south of the border around the drug plazas.  Both of these books attempted to do what Roberto Saviano did with not just exposing but understanding the Italian mafia in his brilliant book Gomorrah.  All three of these books include some great investigative journalism and hands on accounts of life inside organized crime.

Borderland Beat provided some great background by publishing fascinating information about the cartel wars that would have otherwise remained obscure if not completely unreported.  For instance, I found some great tidbits about the Office of Bi-National Intelligence, an interview with perhaps my favorite military analyst, Robert Bunker, the cartel’s clandestine communications network, and information about US Special Operations planning to capture/kill a cartel boss.

Narco blog has some interesting information as well after filtering it though a language translator for us gringos.

Daniel Hopsicker is one bad ass mofo as far as I’m concerned.  We need more hardcore journalists like him who are out there dropping some bombs on official collusion between drug cartels and “the authorities” on both sides of the border.  His blog, Madcowprod was invaluable to me as I tried to understand how the criminal underground works as a globalized system of drug smuggling and money laundering.  Click your heels three times and repeat after me, “there are no American drug lords.”

MEK terrorists, supported by the "good guys"

MEK terrorists, supported by the “good guys”

Old school investigative journalist Sy Hersh also came through and helped fit together some puzzle pieces.  His article, “Our Men in Iran” is a must read.  Did you know that the US government has been training an Iranian terrorist group on US soil as a Nevada Department of Energy facility?  When people ask me which parts of my books are fact and which parts are fiction, I simply remind them that the creepy parts are the most realistic.

While writing Target Deck I also cultivated a number of my own sources of information regarding what is going on down in Mexico.  This proved to be invaluable and helped steer me in the right direction.  For instance, I found out that the so-called Fast and Furious scandal is really just a drop in the bucket.  The weapons that ATF allowed to “walk” across the border is nothing compared to the military hardware that the cartels are hijacking in transit as the US government ships them to Mexico under the Merida Initiative.  It’s some heavy shit getting stolen too, AT4 anti-tank rockets, M203 grenade launchers, ect…  We’ve heard nothing about this on the news thus far.

For those looking for a one stop shop and get the inside line on the cartels, I can’t recommend this article from Small Wars Journal enough.  It sums up much of the above information.

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Filed under News, Uncategorized, Weapons and Tactics, Writing

Random adventures in Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala.

I figured I would take a little break from all this go-to-war stuff.  Maybe some people want to see something else other than esoteric and obscure methods of strangulation, who knows?

This is a picture of me at the ruins of Lubantuun where the world famous Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull was found in Belize.  Due to poor record keeping at the time, the care takers were unable to tell me exactly where the crystal skull was found.  It’s a fascinating story in of itself.  Anna Mitchell-Hedges found the skull buried in these ruins on her sixteenth birthday in 1924.  Nobody knows who made the skull or how, and because you cannot carbon date crystal, no one knows how old it is either.   Apparently, Mitchell-Hedges was of the opinion that it came from Atlantis.

Another picture from the jungles of Belize.

Doing a little bit of Spelunking in a jungle cave in central Belize.  As you can see, it was damned hot down there.

Tikal, Guatemala.  Absolutely amazing place.  You feel like you are inside a Tomb Raider game or something, only much cooler.  Make sure you take a look at Lake Flores on the way there, another beautiful place.

Chechen Itsa, Mexico.  Mayan pyramids.  Another very cool spot, even while hung over as it turns out.  Great scuba diving in this area of the Yucatan as well.

 

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Filed under Action Adventure, Pictures, Uncategorized