SAS DELIVERS END GAME FOR ISLAMIC STATE

by Terence Strong

Events appear to be entering the very end game for Da’esh (Islamic State) in Syria.
While British RAF Typhoons contributed to air support with Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles, 60 plus troops of B Squadron 22 SAS reportedly advanced on the town of Baghuz on the banks of the Euphrates river. They deployed by RAF SF Chinook helicopters and dune buggies, alongside American and French Special Forces, which were based at Al Qaim over the border in Iraq.

Fighting alongside fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the elite soldiers suffered two casualties whilst killing 150 jihadis in the ongoing battle.
Over 600 mortar rounds were used, driving the remaining IS fighters into a defensive tunnel system.
The severed heads of over 50 Yazidi female sex slaves were discovered, shocking even the most combat-hardened soldiers, marking the death cult’s final act of depravityand barbarity.

Several IS commanders were apparently caught trying to escape the area disguised as women in traditional Arab dress. There appear to be now only some 200 IS fighters remaining, trapped in Hawi- al-Dandal, a mere mileage of scrub on the river bank.
They may have nowhere to run, but unfortunately the terrorists do still hold over a hundred civilian hostages.

WORLD WATCH: VENEZUELA ABOUT TO KICK OFF BIG TIME

by Terence Strong
Trouble is brewing fast in Venezuela, a troubled land I visited some 25 years ago when researching my thriller White Viper. The place was a socialist dystopian wreck even then. In the capital Caracas, roads melted in the tropical heat because of political corruption, big money changing hands between politicians and the construction industry mafia.
Drug business from neighbouring Colombia was rife as were many related murders. Rule One was don’t inform the police if you stumble across a body, because you’d be locked up as prime suspect.
Nothing worked in the city, it was like a scene from Mad Max. Now even more so.
Under another failed extreme socialist or Communist government, whose president Nicholas Maduro refuses to step down as the country sinks into chaos with hyper inflation, starvation, medical wipe-out and a surging people’s revolution and mass migration from its borders.
If the United States is put on standby, tempted to provide at least 5000 troops to deliver humanitarian aid, we already hear that the Russians have also dispatched Warners Spetsnaz-trained mercenaries to assist Maduro in shoring up his failed regime.

To date he’s keeping the army and police on his side, but for how long?
If that wasn’t enough potential fuel to the fire, the feared hard-left National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas of next door Columbia is threatening to intervene against such an American “invasion”.
It won’t take much to light the touch paper for an almighty conflagration.

(See White Viper on the Book Information page)

ANGRY CHINESE WHISPERS ARE LOUD AND CLEAR

by Terence Strong

Things are shifting on the international stage as, in preparation for a BREXIT that may never come, Britain lifts its eyes to the far trading horizons.

The British government plans to extend its reach of the Royal Navy to east of Suez (excluding the Gulf) for the first time since the late 60s, despite having the smallest number of ships in living memory and a dire shortage of sailors.
It is looking for new bases in the Indian Ocean and the Far East.

Under renewed threat of violence from Communist Chinese President-for-life Xi JinPing, the independent Tiawan is offering facilities to the UK in return for a desperately needed friend against the bullying motherland, that wants it back at any cost.
That base will come with a defence-treaty price tag, do doubt.

www.facebook.com/terencestrong.author

BREAKING THE EU’S BREXIT BARRIER

by Terence Strong
The UK can join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which it helped form in the 60s, and now comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It is recognised and “understood” by the EU.
Under EFTA, the UK controls its own fisheries and agriculture and it can make its own Trade Deals with nation that it wants.
Moreover, it is free of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Customs Union.
Within EFTA, the UK will represent itself at the World Trade Organisation and will no longer be subject to any EU direct or indirect taxation.
Membership of EFTA also allows the UK to “contribute” to discussions at the beginning of all new EU legislation.
EFTA is akin to what the British public thought it was voting for in the beginning.
The dreaded Freedom of Movement (FoM) does not apply except of other EFTA members. So be prepared for a flood of Icelanders some time soon.

‘THE BEAST FROM THE EAST’ BROUGHT MORE THAN JUST SNOW

by TERENCE STRONG
Over time, the regime of Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin has come to feel ever more confident that it can act with impunity on the world stage. Having manipulated his own country’s constitution so that he is likely to be President-for-life, the man himself has proved to be a Grand Master in the chess game of world affairs.

He has cleverly exploited the political errors and judgements of his opponents over Syria and Iran.
He has got away with foreign incursions and annexations, without invasion. Instead he used his famous “little green men”. Like leprechauns, no one really knew who they were. Or if they did, they couldn’t prove it.
Airliners and assassinations of the President’s enemies occurred in foreign lands with no reprisals by the simple expedient of crafty denial. His regime has become ever emboldened to do whatever it likes. After all who’s going to stop it?
No one’s going to make Napoleon or Hitler’s mistake of going to war with the Russian Federation today. Putin has discovered a toolbox of devices to make himself exceedingly rich, to stay in power indefinitely and to do whatever he wants.
And if proof were needed, the much-heralded “Beast from the East” really did arrive at the end of February (2018) in a metaphorical snow-screen blizzard that completely paralysed the UK. Under its cover, assassins struck in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
As yet unidentified persons used a deadly nerve agent in spray or powder form to attempt the murder of a former British spy, a Russian who had formerly been caught and imprisoned in his own land but later released in a spy swap with America. Released but not forgiven.
It was a reckless act of terror in a very public place and put countless innocent lives at risk, breaking every accepted international rule and convention in the book.
World-renowned chemical and biological experts at nearby Porton Down quickly established incontrovertibly that the agent was of the Novichok family, an exclusively Soviet-era product.
When challenged by Britain to explain itself, Moscow ignored the questions with disdain.
The Prime Minister Theresa May, somewhat known for her indecisive character, has decided to dismiss 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation.
But is that enough to make the leopard change his spots? Unlikely.
In a previously Cold War spat back in 1971, PM Alex Douglas-Home kicked out 105 KGB and GRU members from the Russian Embassies. He named them all along with all their aliases and refused to let their numbers be replaced. Apparently that hit hard.
Foolish talk of cyber-attacks are a no go. A bit like Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) with nuclear weapons, the UK would not want to be on the receiving end of any more of those hitting the NHS, Inland Revenue or the energy industry.
Should May do the same now, knowing Moscow will respond in kind?
She could also push along the “Magnitsky Amendment”, legislation waiting in the wings of Parliament that would allow the government to freeze suspected illegal Russian assets and cancel individual visas.
No doubt BP, with its massive oil investments beyond the Urals, would feel a backlash from that one. And gas supplies from Russia may be annoyingly interrupted for one reason or another.
The beast from the East has indeed arrived, and it doesn’t seem to be going to go away any time soon.
#SergeiSkripal #Salisbury #Novichok #Putin #KGB #MI6 #Russia #Moscow

SILVER FOX takes over the Terence Strong thriller list

by TERENCE STRONG

My own imprint – Silver Fox Press – has now taken over my entire backlist. And it will publish my new hardback thriller WOW (do enter the Guess-The-Title Competition on the ‘Terence Strong. Author’ FACEBOOK page) this autumn.

In recent years I have been published by Simon & Schuster UK, although in 2013 I set up Silver Fox Press to publish ten of my backlist titles that had become available for eBook format.

At the same time, my last thriller Some Unholy War was published by S & S without much fanfare.

As a result of this, I have decided that Silver Fox Press will now re-publish all my titles in both paperback and eBook editions. This process should be complete by the New Year.

It will also publish its first hardback, my latest thriller code-named WOW (there is a pre-launch title competition now running, see my FACEBOOK ‘Terence Strong. Author’ Page) which will be out for Christmas.

For the first time, WOW introduces the bad boys of the super-secret E Squadron SAS, veteran ‘handmaidens’ to MI6.

In the fastest growing book sector, ISIS AUDIO has already snapped up WOW and has announced that it is immediately revamping and recording missed titles and even re-recording some older editions in the Terence Strong range.

 

DON’T UPSET ME – Or I may put you in a book and kill you

by Terence Strong

(Author of Whisper Who Dares, The Tick Tock Man and Some Unholy War)

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’

Isn’t that the question all authors dread? I mean just where do you begin?

My stance when giving a talk to enthusiastic readers is to begin with ‘I know the three questions you are all dying to ask. So we can get on, here are the answers: In the bath. A garden shed. And, yes, I always use a rubber – because we all make mistakes.’

That usually manages to set the tone.

I’ve been a member of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) for a long time, although I feel a bit of a fraud because I’m probably classed as a thriller writer rather than a crime writer – although crime writers certainly thrill. Or at least the best ones do.

And crimes I write about just seem to be a bit more ostentatious and on a bigger scale than most. Mass genocide, world terrorism, war crimes and narcotics. While crime writers may be content with a bottle of arsenic, I’m only happy with a phial of polonium. I always thought the CWA should have an annual Kalashnikov Award, although I can’t complain as they do now have the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger to represent the hunt to find international criminals of all types.

This is sounding like an excuse for we thriller writers to be as accepted in decent literary society as the authors of traditional crime novels and whodunits. Well, the truth is, we thriller writers have nowhere else to go and need to be loved like every other author. After all, we all have to answer that ideas question. Like me, you probably get some yours from national and local newspapers.

Most weeks I read the profile of a CEO of a multinational in the Business Section and know I can plan simply from that how to go about finding him or her to assassinate them. Or, in more mellow mood, to abduct for ransom, or capture and hold his wife and children hostage and to work out how I’d get away with it.

I sat in an optician’s once and listened to a delightful young lady give all her personal details, address, telephone number and email to the receptionist. She became my first serial killer victim.

I buy two weekend broadsheet newspapers every weekend to keep up to date with everything in the world – at home and abroad.

But often ideas come without trying . . . through half-remembered dreams. The one I remember most vividly was being stuck in London knowing there were IRA bombs being planted all around us. I asked this beat copper, which way should I go. He shrugged and said ‘Your idea’s as good as mine, mate. Just run!’ That ended up as the Seven Dials Bomb in The Tick Tock Man.

More recently I awoke as a spy being controlled by chef John Torode and Greg Wallace from Masterchef. They provided me with a hooker and told me to be nice to her because she was one of their best. Absolutely true. They have now become the inspiration for MI6 field officer Ollie Parsons and an Australian Army minder on secondment in my new thriller WOW (code-name) which is due out shortly.

Even better they are joined by the evil teenaged Chief Mbobo, inspired by a contestant who appeared on BBCTV’s The Apprentice a few years back. Mustn’t say too much as I’ve turned him into a nasty piece of work. It’s amazing what they’ll try to sue you for nowadays.

Less controversial was feisty lawyer Sam Browne in Rogue Element who was inspired by one of Joanna Lumley’s creations and actress Frances de la Tour who – in my head – magnificently became the character of MI6 officer Iona in Deadwater Deep.

The Asia-born Ravi in Some Unholy War was influenced by a brilliant pro bono charity solicitor fighting against the almighty NHS in my private life. At one point I locked antlers with a consultant in a battle that caused me tremendous personal anguish and grief. He became a character. I killed him in Cold Monday (the BREXIT thriller). On paper. The bastard.

From that same real-life situation two nurses, who were brilliant, were awarded with starring roles in the same book. I captured their personalities and breathed new life into them. Ah, yes, it’s true that one of them did get bumped off. But she was collateral damage. Not intended, nothing personal.

A gorgeous and daffy barmaid at my local – The Lying Toad – very successfully transformed into my hero’s secretary and inadvertently saved the day by her unpredictable way of doing things. Amalgamating several friends or acquaintances into one character is also fun. It gives the author so much to work with. Mind you, sometimes it’s best not to mention it to the person concerned – even if you think you know them well. Recently I raided someone I knew – and disliked – in the 60s. The revenge was late, cold, but very sweet.

Yesterday in Waitrose, a cocky new greengrocery shelf-stacker told me blatantly that asparagus was not in season. That’s why the store had none in stock. I looked into his eyes and saw that he had no soul.

It is very possible that by next year he will be a junior officer in the Russian Army and will be shot dead during the writing of Ice Island.

Terence Strong © 2017

[Apart from author photograph other media material may be subject to copyright]

BACK TO THE FRONT – SAS RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN

By TERENCE STRONG

Like they’ve never been away, up to a 60 plus-man Squadron of the SAS is being redeployed to Afghanistan to support the new military “surge” planned by the Donald Trump administration.

With Marine Corps vets dominating in the White House, the new President is determined to crush reviving Taliban forces and the Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces they are harbouring.

SAS troops are likely to be joined by members of the smaller Special Boat Service (Royal Marines), which had made Special Forces’ activities their own during the prolonged conflict in the country.

Serious concerns about the regrouping and rapid growth of the extreme Taliban religious sect, which previously ran the country, were confirmed in recent weeks by the British Army’s top-secret Defence Intelligence Unit. It specialises in training and operating human intelligence (“humint”) and running agents on the ground in war-zones, being particularly adept at focusing on target recognition of terror group leaders.

Any new “surge” by the United States is likely to see a return to the Black Ops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Although criticised by many neo-liberals back home, they proved to be ruthlessly efficient in smashing the rule of terror in both countries. They comprised night-after-night of surprise raids, snatch squads and harsh interrogation with immediate follow-up of intelligence gleaned. It wasn’t always a pretty sight. (See Some Unholy War).

The operations took their toll on Special Forces operators themselves as well as the terrorist networks they destroyed.

 #SAS #SBS #SpecialForces #Afghanistan #Surge #BlackOps #Trump #USMarineCorps

 

 

WRITING FOR REAL

Article originally for Simon & Schuster website/Dark Pages

WRITING FOR REAL

By TERENCE STRONG

“Fill an overnight bag and grab your passport.”

These would normally be the words I’d want to say to anyone buying one of my books, warning, “You are in for the white-knuckle ride of your life.” I could, but wouldn’t add, “But don’t worry, you’re in a safe pair of hands.”

Terence StrongBecause that is what thriller writing and reading is all about and always has been. Being led by the hand into an unfamiliar and dangerous world where no one and nothing is quite what it seems. Yet knowing that the person taking you – however tough things get – will let you come to no harm. Although if your habit is to read last thing at night, you could be in for a restless sleep.

That is the way I safely travelled the world as a child, flying with Captain W.E. Johns’ famous creation, pilot James Bigglesworth. With him I went everywhere from the jungles of South America, the Gobi deserts of Mongolia and even Syria, so much in the news today. Later I changed companions to Ian Fleming, Hammond Innes, Desmond Bagley and Graham Greene. Sven Hassel tended to get me shot at quite a lot. Not sure how safe I felt with him.

But none of it did my Geography, General Knowledge and some History any harm at school. I wrote my first proper book at the age of 16 and my second when I was in my very early twenties.

Neither was seriously submitted for publication, but it was to be only a matter of time before it was my turn to take readers by the hand and lead them into another more unfamiliar and dangerous world beyond the front door of their cosy town house or suburban semi.

Work in journalism and a bit of military research had shown me there were other places you wouldn’t necessarily want to go and people you wouldn’t want to meet. I developed friends and contacts in the British and American military, including Special Forces, spying and counter-espionage, terrorism, narcotics and assassination. And it isn’t always the good guys I am having a drink with.

Thriller writers are a bit like media reporters that way. Their job is to report the facts, not to be judgemental. Writers do, however, have a licence to tell it how it really is and how it feels. We can look at characters and the effect of events on the human condition.
Countless times I have found that, on examination, commonly-held beliefs about people, places and events are misplaced or misjudged. That can come as quite a shock sometimes, but makes for interesting reading.

Desk research is as important as travel research. After the first Gulf War, a huge-selling British writer had his hero break into one of Saddam Hussein’s bunkers – into a broom cupboard! I had a similar occurrence in Stalking Horse. It took me just one phone call to bunker architects in Northern Ireland to establish how it can be done…It can’t – you have to have an accomplice on the inside! Normally with research, if you knock on a door – however secret – and ask nicely, someone will open it for you.

For SOME UNHOLY WAR you won’t need your passport. Together, we’ll recount deadly black ops by the SAS with their American allies in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We’ll experience again the sultry heat and the dusty desert air. Remember the sights, the sounds and the smells. We’ll feel again the adrenalin rush of relentless combat, the unaccountable elation and the terrible fear.

But most of our action will be on the streets of home. Did I say home? Through the eyes of the veteran soldier it won’t feel much like home. More like an alien planet. When you’re down on your luck and on the streets, you make new friends. And new enemies.

To fight them will take deep resolve. You’ll need to kick the black dog that keeps following you and deal with the pit bull that the drug-dealer has on a leash in front of you. It won’t be a walk in the park, I promise you.

But like all the other trips we may have made together – on the borders of Northern Ireland, chased by the Russian Spetsnaz in the Scandinavian mountains, fighting child soldiers in Mozambique, the narcos in the South American jungles, the hostage takers and ship hijackers in Arabia – we’ll get through safely in the end.

And recount our tales of derring-do down the pub, until we’re ready to go again.

© 2013 Terence Strong

KURD GIRL SNIPERS TIGHTEN NOOSE ON ISLAMIC STATE

by TERENCE STRONG

The city of Raqqa is the dark heart of the so-called Islamic State of Da’esh, the Sunni Muslim death cult in Syria. It still pumps and spills blood within its decimated houses of rubble as its hard-core believers continue to hold on.

They are Chechen vets, former al-Qaeda fighters and Iraqi Ba’athists who supported Saddam Hussein. And they are in no mood to give up the dying dream of being at the centre of an extreme Islamic Caliphate that would stretch halfway across the world from the UK to the Philippines.

After all, they have had three years to prepare and dig in with secret tunnels, booby-traps and car-bombs, all surrounded by a soft bubble-wrap human shield of several hundred thousand civilians in the built-up central neighbourhood.

Pitched against them for the past two months are the US-backed Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a Kurdish-led coalition of Arab, Assyriac and Yazidi fighters.
In there somewhere, of course, are advisers from the British SAS.

Recently the SDF claim to have secured the northern half of the city, but the confusing front-line continues to ebb back and forth. Everyone knows the final push will be long and hard to win. That bloody victory will have to be achieved by scarcely-trained teenagers of YPG – part of the SDF – who make up in enthusiasm and blind courage what they lack in any kind of military expertise.

America is happy to fire them up with rhetoric, military technology and brand new Humvees that still have their protective plastic film sheaths on.

So leading the attack on Islamic State are thousands of untrained young Kurdish fighters, including deadly and fearless girl snipers who are apparently taking a deadly toll on the Christian world’s historic anti-Christ enemy.
They will need all the spiritual help they can get, and no doubt deserve.

#SDF #Kurds #YPG #Syria #Raqqa #USA #CIA #IslamicState #Daesh #alQaeda #SAS #MI6