- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Terrorists are under attack! STN has declared their War against Terrorists on September 11, 2010, nine years after the Twin Towers attack.
Paradise Denied! engrosses the reader in this intricate and powerful plot ...
Terrorists are under attack! STN has declared their War against Terrorists on September 11, 2010, nine years after the Twin Towers attack.
Paradise Denied! engrosses the reader in this intricate and powerful plot while delving into personal and political issues and controversies.
Paradise Denied! is a story of three ordinary men with lofty ideals who assume leadership roles. Each man leads a dual life as they vacillate between being a normal citizen and the clandestine leader of their respective killing teams. World leaders feel threatened. The Peace Envoys, originally created to help third world countries, are thrust into a new and secret mission: Destroy STN. Two clandestine groups with vast resources strive to eliminate their adversary. Will either succeed?
He couldn't put off reviewing Red Sunset any longer The first time he read the report, it frightened him, even though he had not absorbed all the details. What he did remember was enough to make him dread reading more. Today, in spite of his apprehension, he felt compelled to do his job.
"Alice, please bring me the Findings' Report," Ed Walker requested of his secretary through his office intercom.
"Sure thing. I'll be right there."
A few moments later Alice Hennings entered his office, walked to his wall safe and expertly manipulated the complex dual security combination lock of the safe. Ed always had Alice open his wall safe because it frustrated him. As often as he tried, he usually managed to screw up one of the six maneuvers. He hated to appear stupid, especially to himself, but some inexplicable reason, he couldn't remember the number sequence. Alice, timid, mousy looking in her badly tailored two-piece steel gray business suit, her gray hair tightly tied in a bun and held in place with a black hair clip, easily managed to implement the six steps needed to release the locking mechanism of the safe.
Not that I couldn't do it, he reassured himself. I merely avoid another little unnecessary frustration at the office.
She placed the report on his low luster cherry wood desk and asked,
"Need anything else?"
"No. I'll buzz you when I'm ready. Please close the door and hold my calls for the next twenty minutes. Thanks."
Ed Walker glanced at his watch. 8:21. He had been in his office at the CIA complex, in McLean Virginia, building 2, since 7:20 that morning. Even leaving early, he could not avoid the McLean traffic that slows to a crawl when the rain is heavy. This morning was no exception.
The black bound think-tank report was a heavy eighty-seven pages thick. This was the second time he read the report since its publication five days ago, and he wanted to be sure that he understood the full implications before over reacting. With documents this long, Ed preferred to skim it first and highlight items that caught his attention or needed further review. His initial impression of Red Sunset was disbelief laced with a touch of uncertainty. That alone was enough to warrant a thorough examination before jumping to any conclusions.
The government published and distributed only seven classified copies. The official title "Findings of the Commission on World Crises in the Next 20 Years," prepared under the authority of President Alan T. Schuster. Report submitted by the Commission, chaired by Russell K. Schreiber, August 28, 2009, had a code name: Red Sunset.
Early in his first term in 2009, President Allan T. Schuster commissioned a panel of his brightest advisors from the intelligence community to develop an analysis of what worldwide scenarios might be in ten, fifteen and twenty years. The President's premise was for the committee to make the worst-case assumptions and to evaluate their impact on the security of the United States. Part two was the impact on the rest of the world.
The Commission issued its report eight months into the President's first term.
Ed Walker's initial impression of the report's conclusions was unsettling.
Despite the fact that the committee excluded the possibility of nuclear weapons use by rogue states, they concluded that world chaos would be a likely consequence of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism. Their analysis clearly pointed to a major global disruption of society and business. The projections suggested that millions of innocent people would die, the global economy would be on the verge of a major financial crisis, and worse, many governments would be seized or paralyzed by militant, terrorist, or fanatical religious groups. Under the Commission's worst-case assumptions, one or all these groups would control a majority of the free world. Multiple small wars or police actions would be the norm as countries tried in vain to counter hostile takeover attempts. Disrupted lives, governments overthrown or dissolved, and the progress and scientific developments of the past century would be overturned because of the emerging dominance of the Islamic Fundamentalists. Once the free world governments dissolved or are overthrown, people's lives would change dramatically, and world progress would stop or even regress.
Walker rubbed the back of his neck as he reread the portions he had marked for review. The more he read, the slower his hand moved. When the rubbing ceased, it was a subconscious indication He was engaged in deep thought. Troubling ideas made his wiry body stiffen to a point where he barely could move. His fingers clenched his neck in a desperate attempt to prevent his head from falling off his body.
During his first reading, Ed highlighted in yellow the most unnerving and riveting conclusions of the report. Items four to seven drew the most yellow.
Conclusion Four: "It is our opinion, with a probability of over 78%, that terrorism, however defined, and wherever based, would become commonplace." The related footnote further explained that fanatics willing to kill themselves are impossible to stop under present day attitudes, policies, and capabilities of the free world governments. Suicide bombers acting alone, emboldened by their own outrage, or that of their leaders, had the capability to create and sustain world chaos.
Conclusion Five: "No present day global government or military, acting alone or in concert, could not prevent or deter terrorists from accomplishing their devastating killings." The footnote to five referenced the long held axiom of traditional wisdom that emphasized the impossibility of stopping or detecting an individual intent on destroying others by blowing themselves up.
Conclusion Six: "Structured terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda or the Taliban, who are funded from multiple unknown sources and whose members blend into the civilian population, operate under the same general safeguards as normal citizens." The footnote claimed identification of the individual members of the group is nearly impossible. "That puts society at the mercy of the terrorist attackers," it stated.
Conclusion Seven, the one that Ed had highlighted and underlined in red and yellow, the one that slammed his mind and body, forecasted:
"The chaos and control of the terrorists will, in all probability, get much worse across the globe. As terrorists gain access to more sophisticated weapons, or even nuclear weapons, they could potentially achieve geographical dominance within 10 years in the Middle East, within 12 years in Asia and the Pacific Rim, Europe within 12-15 years, and the US a year after Europe." Footnote to Seven reminded the reader the stated period was within Red Sunset's twenty-year exposure window.
Salty sweat dripped from his brow, into his eyes, past his lips into his partially open mouth. The salt stung his eyes and dried his throat, while his rigid body barely reflected the tempest churning within. Waves of nausea accompanied a sudden shortness of breath. He wanted to scream, to run away, to stop the sudden fear that was shattering his nervous system. Pounding. Exploding thoughts. Exhaustion. Immobilization. Despair. And Fear. Everything happened simultaneously.
He wanted, he needed help ... relief from being lost ... from being confused... from the terror that was sucking him dry. Alice? Janice? God? Anyone?
For Ed Walker, there was nowhere to turn, not at this panic filled moment. He was lost in a world of vivid and scary images.
"Get a grip," he admonished himself. "Breath slowly, relax." He repeated these words over and over. Two, three ... five minutes lapsed. Slowly he allowed himself to escape from his self-imposed hell.
"I ... I ... can't believe what I just read," he whispered to himself. "My life, my family, my country, all at risk? In less than sixteen years? And they say we probably can't stop it from happening? What does this mean? Surely something can be done, but what?"
Ed rapidly reviewed his knowledge and conceptions about terrorists, knowledge he had accumulated over the past 11 years as a CIA analyst of terrorist funding sources. It was his job to trace the financial dealings from selected terrorist groups in the Mid East, including how they obtained their money, where they banked, who supported them and anything else related to their ability to financially sustain them.
His thoughts drifted to the presently held perceived reasons people joined terrorist organizations. Some theories depicted the terrorists as coming from well educated or financially well off families, who are attracted to terrorism because they believed their religious freedoms were under attack by western societies. Others concluded that religious leaders had mesmerized their young followers into joining, with the promise of a better live in Paradise if they die while fighting infidels in their land. Others depicted the West as Satan and against Islam, and declared a jihad, a religious war, to destroy their enemies. Still others theorized terrorists were people who had gotten the taste for killing, and who fed their passion though ever more bizarre acts. The reasons or suppositions didn't matter. Only their results did. For some, as long as they killed in the name of Allah, that in itself was their ultimate achievement. Paradise was their promised reward.
Based on these many profiles, police and special security forces throughout the US and free world was trained to recognize typical terrorist personality traits, and to prevent, interrupt, or to react to their actions. In spite of all the money spent and the prevention or detection technologies, Red Sunset concluded, individual terrorists could not be stopped. The difficulty of infiltrating terrorist organizations further limited the levels of intelligence about their structure, their members, their intent, or their plans. The committee further concluded that little would change this paradigm.
The body of the report cited the example of the aborted efforts by the Palestinian Authority in the Middle East, who organized Death Squads to control terrorists within their borders, and accomplished little.
The report went on to rank, in descending probability, the most likely countries to fall to terrorist control. The top of the list were the Middle Eastern countries. Once the Middle East region fell under Islamic control, they postulated, Islamic Fundamentalism would spread to Asia, The Pacific Rim, Europe, and finally to the Western Hemisphere. They estimated these events could happen in less than 16 years. They offered frightening statistics in which South American countries would succumb to the Fundamentalists ideals, beginning with Venezuela. Canada would be next to fall, and the pressure on the United States would result in the US engaged in a war against the rest of the world. Eventually, as United States depleted its resources, the Fundamentalists would gain sufficient political and military power to control the country. The report did not specify by what means governments would succumb to Islamic rule, whether by force or through elections. They only offered their conclusions. They stated in bold print, under a worst-case scenario, that it could become a reality, if all their assumptions were met.
Red Sunset panicked and deeply rattled him.
"I've got to talk to someone about this. I need to know if anyone else feels the same as I."
He immediately focused on Dr. Leonard Winslow, his immediate superior and the Deputy Director of the Foreign Activities Department.
He waited another ten minutes before he buzzed Alice on the intercom.
"Alice, see how fast you can set up a meeting with Winslow. The subject is the Findings' Report."
"When do you want to meet?"
"The sooner the better. It's not urgent, but really important."
"How much time will you need? You know he likes to know that in advance."
"About 45 minutes."
"I'll let you know."
Ed wasn't quite sure why he had reacted so adversely. It was only a report, and a worse case one to boot. Yet, he understood he desperately needed to talk to someone about Red Sunset. Now. Later was too late. Never before had he felt such a sense of urgency or of impending doom. Intellectually he knew the report was theoretical, but it seemed more real than not.
"Perhaps Leonard can help me. I know he is on the approved reading list. IF I DON'T GET THIS OUT OF MY HEAD, I'LL GO NUTS," he shouted internally.
Minutes later Alice buzzed to tell him the meeting was set. 2:15 today. Ed felt a small measure of relief.
Len'll help; I know he will he convinced himself. The remainder of the morning, lunchtime and the next hour dragged. His concentration shot, his nerves jangled, and his stomach ached from this morning's trauma.
He walked the polished and near immaculate tile corridor that lead to Winslow's massive office located three aisles from his, roughly 1/2 a block away. He arrived five minutes early.
"Hi Gwyn" he greeted Winslow's secretary, busily pounding at her computer and hadn't seen him approach.
"You scared the crap out of me."
"Sorry" Ed said somewhat seriously.
"He's running a little late, probably 15 minutes or so. Want to wait?" she asked
"Yeah, just in case he breaks earlier."
Experience taught him that any scheduled meeting with his boss usually happened on time, or as close to on time as possible. Even if he was running late, you'd better be there when he was ready for you or he moved onto his next appointment.
"I thought so," she giggled. "How are Janice and the kids?"
"They're doing great, thanks," he replied.
"Looks like you've gained some weight. Still refuse to go to the gym?"
Ed looked wistfully at his slight paunch protruding above his waist, broadly smiled, and laughingly replied,
"I guess I have gained a little weight. Must be Janice's good cooking."
Gwyn and he had a long-term work-related relationship. She had worked in his office pool years ago when he first joined the CIA, and they become quick friends. Nothing romantic, just friends. She had a nice figure for a forty-two-year old. Beautiful blue-gray eyes set symmetrically from her button nose, and always dressed tastefully yet fashionably. He often thought of how pleasant it would be to kiss her full and sensual lips. In spite of his mild fantasy about her, he never pursued any closer relationship, nor would he. He was happily married to Janice. The respect he felt for her, coupled with the fear of being caught, outweighed notions of sexual encounters with Gwyn. It however didn't stop him from fantasizing when in her presence.
Occasionally they would lunch together or chatted when they had time. Years ago, she came to him when her husband of 14 years told her he was gay and wanted a divorce. She was devastated and depressed. Ed helped her through her crisis by being a friend and offering sage advice. She never forgot it.
"I'll let you get back to work, Gwyn."
"No problem. I miss our little talks from yesteryear. I guess we all have to move on, don't we?" Gwyn had never remarried, which puzzled Ed.
Seven minutes later Leonard Winslow emerged from his office.
"Come in, Ed." He closed the door behind him.
"Thanks for seeing me on such short notice."
"Glad I had the slot open. So, what's on your mind?" he asked as he gestured for Ed to sit on the deep brown leather sofa he had personally selected for his office. He never sat behind his desk when talking to another CIA employee. He reserved his desk position for official business with outsiders. He preferred to sit on his plush brown leather wing back chair carefully placed opposite the sofa, at a slight angle to allow him to look directly at anyone sitting on the sofa. The chair at one time was a favorite of former President Jerome Mathews. After he was promoted to Deputy, he rescued the chair from congressional storage where it sat covered by plastic for 18 years.
"I just finished reviewing Red Sunset for the second time, and frankly I'm really upset."
Winslow was an astute manager and person. Tall, athletic, with gray hair cropped close, bright blue eyes that were capable of digging into your soul when he chose, a nose pushed out of place too often from his collegiate basketball days, and glistening white teeth. He dressed as though he had stepped out of a GQ ad. His suits were always pressed, fashionable, understated, and appropriate. At work, he wore only a white heavily starched white shirt with a traditional narrow spread collar. He felt that colored or striped shirts conveyed an image of casualness, and he preferred to be thought of as a dedicated professional. He believed it gave him an air or authority. He refused to deviate from his self-imposed office uniform that he accessorized with a plethora of conservative ties perfectly color matched with his suits.
Excerpted from Paradise Denied! by H. J. Kaplan Copyright © 2009 by H. J. Kaplan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted February 27, 2012
September 11, 2001: it was Generation X's Pearl Harbor. Over 3000 people killed in a span of less than a half-hour. It is as a result of this that STN, Stop Terrorists Now, is born. It's mission is to hit the terrorists by engaging in the same tacticts they use. Ed Walker and Bilal Ahmed are each recruited as regional leaders of STN, Walker in the US and Ahmed in the Middle East. Walker comes filled with frustration that the world's governments shy away from doing anything not politically correct; Ahmed is seeking vengance for the death of his wife and kids at the hands of HuM. STN is ruthless, well-funded and willing to go after all terrorists without reservation. At the same time, the Peace Envoys, comprised of government representatives from around the world, seeks to stop terrorism thru more peaceful means. These two groups are destined to collide and when they do, everyone could lose.
"Paradise Denied" by H.J. Kaplan is an amazing book that is as current and realistic as anything I've ever read. While largely fictional in nature, the plot could very easily be the headline in tomorrow's paper. The vigilante group, STN, embodies what many of us would like to do but are unable to because of the rule of law and the sacrifices that such a course of action would require. I can truly identify with the frustration Kaplan displays in his foreword. I myself have felt huge frustration at the apparent impunity with which terrorist groups commit acts of violence. This book is fast-paced with lots of action. I highly recommend this book and give it 5/5 stars.
Posted March 3, 2010
Paradise Denied! is a "page turner." Once you start this book, you will not want to put it down until finished. It's a plot that deals with the elimination of world wide terrorism and the very interesting characters who would accomplish this goal, and the methods they would use. In a very entertaining way, Kaplan forces us to deal with the basic issue of whether the "end justifies the means." A very good story that will keep you thinking about its content long after you have finished reading it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2010
Paradise Denied exceeded my expectations. The story flowed seamlessly and easy. Kaplan's style is clear and very focused. I felt his characters were believable. I had many emotions about his main characters, from anger, to sympathy to satisfaction. I identified with them because their actions seemed to mirror some of the people in my life. Each had theyr strengths and weaknesses, and kaplan made me aware of them all. I also loved his premise. Even though it's a fiction novel, I found myself hoping that someone could have the courage to take his no holds barred apprach to ending the terror and destructoon that terrorists bring to everyone.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written book with an excellentb plot and wonderful character development. I'm looking forward to his next book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2010
No text was provided for this review.