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The next battlefront in the war on terror will be Washington, DC

About the author:

Prominent Middle East analyst, author, and former U.S. government official with more than two decades of experience in the underworld of terror, Kenneth R Timmerman has shared bunkers with Muslim terrorists under hostile fire, worked with freedom fighters from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and been held hostage in a war zone. Some of his former contacts have been gunned down by Iranian government hit squads.

His first novel, The Wren Hunt, was published in 1982 and acclaimed by the author of The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell.

In 2006, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize for his work on Iran by the former deputy prime minister of Sweden, Per Ahlmark.

Click here for a more detailed, on-line bio.

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A sizzling thriller about the next battlefront in the war on terror from New York Times best-selling author, Kenneth R. Timmerman

Could it really happen? Is it real?

Find out here

Read "The Defector" (excerpt)

Conservative agenda: Mostly mission before luxury

by Ellyn Wexler | Staff Writer (Gazette Newspapers)

Fiction is a luxury for Kenneth R. Timmerman. The 55-year-old Kensington journalist and neoconservative political activist published
his second novel ‘‘Honor Killing” this year, but nonfiction has been the mainstay of his writing career.

‘‘Fiction has always been my first love, because it allows you to not just write about things, but to actually create characters and places that a reader can see and smell and hear and taste,” he explains.  Read more

Web Resources

Many readers want to know how I came up with the plot for Honor Killing.

• How much of the book is true?

• How much of it is pure invention?

• Could it really happen?

• Just how vulnerable are we in America to a catastrophic terrorist attack?

Now, while I'm not going to unveil all my secrets, here are a few of the resources I used when writing this book. I had fun putting them together. I hope you enjoy using them.

Inter-active Reader's Guide

Book 1: Cargo
Book 2: Murder
Book 3: Satan in the Flames
Book 4: Maracaibo
Book 5: The 12th Imam
Book 6: Kourosh
Book 7: The Engineer
Book 8: Eva
Further Reading

Book 1: Cargo

The BVI. We don’t have a clue who Mr.Traventus is when he goes to the bank or takes a plane.We don’t even know if he really exists. The BVI keeps corporate ownership confidential – I mean, really confidential. This is not Switzerland. They are really serious about protecting the identity of the bad guys.” [Zvi Reuben briefing Israel Tan, p26]

Are companies registered in the British Virgin Islands really so secretive and difficult to investigate?

Yes, and that is precisely why the mysterious billionaire who owned the East Wind III registered his company there. Offshore Companies House and BVI Offshore Services provide information on how the incorporation process works, and on the BVI in general. Jost Van Dyke, home to philandering British lawyer, Trevor Pettigrew, is of course a prime tourist spot. "Epoxy Foxy" Callahan has become so famous he now even has his own website. Pettigrew's office is just across from the Government Dock in Road Town, Tortola. As for the "Hollywood smile" of Mossad operator "Scott Harper," please suggest who you think would best portray the man who entraps Pettigrew.

• Follow the East Wind III on the first leg of its journey to al Mukalla, Yemen.

Book 2. Murder

 Brannigan made a note of the black plastic cable ties that bound the girl’s wrists. They had used them in Afghanistan on prisoners. Whoever used them here had applied them expertly. Whether they’d tossed her off the dam or dumped her into the river below, the poor girl never had a chance. [p71-72]

Does the Brighton dam, where the body of a Muslim-American girl is found by Dr. Eva Romera while walking her dog, really exist?

Yes. Many residents of suburban Washington, DC have never heard of the Brighton dam, which blocks the Patuxent river to form Tridelphia resevoir on the border between Maryland's Montgomery and Howard counties. While it's not the Hoover Dam, the fall from the top is more than sufficient to be fatal. And yes, dog-walkers do wander through here. But the banks of the Patuxent river are so overgrown that access is difficult - which is why FBI Special Agent Michael Brannigan and Detective MaryJo Slotnik are unable to catch the terrorists who were stalking them through the forest.

Dr. Kumar sighed. “You know, detective, in parts of my country we tolerate certain practices by the Muslims that any normal person would find – well,frankly inhuman. They call it honor killing. When a girl, such as this one, dishonors her family before marriage, the family elders can condemn her to death. The authorities know all about it, but in most cases they are helpless because no witnesses ever come forward. I hope that’s not what we’re seeing here. I would have thought Muslims in this country would be coming here precisely to get away from that kind of – barbarity!” [p76]

Question: Have honor killings ever happened in the United States?

Answer: Yes. The best-known case involved accused terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization, who allegedly murdered the sister of a member of their terrorist cell in 1989. You can read the Justice Department affidavit that describes the honor killing here (PDF file). The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base has a full entry on the case.

Book 3: Satan in the Flames

Dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt that said, I Love New York, Mohsen’s physical presence made his father bristle. But Hajj Imad wasn’t alone among senior regime officials who found that his spawn failed to embrace the Islamic Revolution with the same enthusiasm as his parents. It wasn’t much of a consolation, but at least it avoided him embarrassment. All of their sons and daughters were in love with the West, and only went to mosque when they were forced to attend. They preferred MP3 players to prayers. [p149]

How realistic is the scene in this chapter, where the 16-year old son of Iran's master terrorist confronts his father as he is tracking U.S. satellite movements on a subscriber-only website?

Answer: The defection to the U.S. of Ahmad Rezai, the son of former Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Mohsen Rezai, is undoubtedly the best-known instance of revolt by a son of the revolutionary elite. As for U.S. military satellites, a great deal of public information is available about their capabilities, and orbits. And yes, there are user-groups that track satellite positions in real time - but I'm not going to reveal them here! However, this public tracking site is run by NASA!

“Wishbone Prime is a real weapon,” Zach explained. “The good news is that it’s too large to fit in anything but a big tactical missile, such as the old Soviet FROG, which has a limited range. Just enough to reach major Indian cities – unless the wind happens to be blowing the wrong way.” [p128]

Question: Is Wishbone Prime the code-name of Pakistan's 1998 nuclear test, as nuclear weapons expert Zach Miller tells Dr. Eva Romera when she visits the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

Answer: The real name of Pakistan's 1998 tests are classified. However, U.S. nuclear weapons tests were given exotic names such as Starfish Prime, which was part of the 1962 Dominic series. (Trivia lovers: Starfish Prime was the first time U.S. nuclear scientists saw the effect of Electro-magnetic Pulse, which many today believe could be even more devastating to U.S. infrastructure than a nuclear blast hitting Washington, DC).

Further reading:
• 2004 report from the EMP Commission (PDF file)
• My Aug. 11, 1998 oped in the Wall Street Journal about Iranian terror, which details some of what was known then about Iran's involvement in sophisticated terror plots.

Book 4: Maracaibo

On a side street beyond the main gate, David French was waiting for Chen’s signal inside an unmarked white delivery van crammed with computer screens and communications gear. He had monitored the entire conversation until that point, and had gotten a visual of the Cuban DGI counter-intelligence operative from the miniature camera lodged in Chen’s glasses. Carlos Pena showed up in their data base as the deputy cultural attache in Washington, DC who had handled Ana Montes until January 2001, then returned to Cuba where he was promoted to director of the North America division. Given his lowly status while in Washington, this was a rather significant elevation. It all became clear once Montes was busted and began to talk. What was Pena doing here? he wondered. [p162]

How realistic is the schedule that the East Wind III follows on its voyage from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Maracaibo?

I carefully plotted the progress of the East Wind III based on an average speed of 12 knots, which is fairly standard for coasters. This task was made easier by using this incredible website, where you can select the departure and arrival ports and calculate the sailing time. Shipspotting.com soon became one of my favorite sites for visualizing the East Wind III on its journey. Geocities has a Shipping 101 primer on various types of cargo ships; and here are registries of world shipping managers, charterers, and owners. You can also track the location of Iranian state-owned ships.

Further reading:
• Ana Belen Montes was the "queen" of Cuban spies, as I detailed in this Newsmax article.
• DIA spy-catcher Scott Carmichael believes many more Cuban spies continue to lurk inside the U.S. government, possibly in Congress.
Montes became the "go-to" analyst on Cuba for the entire U.S. intelligence community.

Book 5: The 12th Imam

She watched him disappear toward the Metro, and contemplated having another glass of wine before she took the Marc train up to Camden station in Baltimore. She was going to miss the vigor of his youthful body. But there would be others. She wondered for a moment if his dismay at being discovered was a put-on, then dismissed it. Muslim men, she thought. Getting them to undress the first time was a feat. Getting them to keep their clothes on after that was a joke. [p247]

Is Joanna Greary, the renegade FBI agent in the book, based on a real person?

In the disclaimer on the credits page of the book, I am careful to insist that all scenes in Honor Killing are fictional, and that "Any resemblance between the characters in this book and real persons would be, to quote a famous passage from the 9/11 Commission report, “a remarkable coincidence.”

As he was saying these words, light appeared in a halo around him, seemingly from out of nowhere. It burned with increasing intensity, bright white, like a collar of shimmering diamond. He stood without speaking, beaming at the crowd, for what seemed like several minutes as the light burned around him like a diamond on fire. Finally, a lone male voice in the crowd broke the spell. [p256]

Question: Iran's "boy president" in Honor Killing believes that the 12th Imam will return at the End of Days to bring about the ultimate triumph of Islam over the infidels.  Is there any basis for this in fact?

Answer: Yes. When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2005, he reported experiencing a "religious vision" and "seeing a light" while addressing world leaders. One of his first acts as president, right after taking office in August 2005, was to visit the well in Jamkaran, outside of Tehran, where the 12th Imam was supposed to be hiding. According to the Financial Times, stories were circulating inside Iran that "as mayor of  Tehran, he drew up a new city plan for the imam 's return." Iranian commentator Amir Taheri reported in April 2006 that Ahmadinejad was known to disappear periodically to have "a khalvat  (tête-à-tête) with the Hidden Imam.

Further reading
Who is the Imam Mahdi (the 12th Imam)
Major signs of the Mahdi's return
How Jesus is viewed in Muslim eschatology (a traditional Muslim view)
Is the Muslim Jesus the same as the Christian Anti-Christ? (Joel Richardson's view)
MEMRI's analysis of the Ahmadinejad and his IRGC allies

Book 6: Kourosh

“Singling out a Muslim as a suspect in the murder of his own sister is racist, it’s bigoted, and it has no business here in America. If the president ever learned of what’s been going on over here, I guarantee you heads would start to roll.” [p260]

Question: Presidential confidant Hilbert Christiansen nearly succeeds in shutting down an FBI murder investigation. Could political cronies from outside of government really have that much influence on law enforcement?

Answer: Defeating cronyism and the power of unelected individuals has motivated investigative journalists and members of Congress since the early days of our Republic. In 230 years, little has changed.

Book 7: The Engineer

Sayeed had described the place to him many times in great detail, but he was in utter awe of it when they arrived. It was perfect. No, it was better than perfect. At the bottom of the curve in Hay’s Beach Road, an unmarked dirt path led nearly a half-mile through abandoned tobacco fields to the water. There were no houses in sight all the way through the fields.  The land was flat, empty, and dark. “This is good,” he said, tapping the young man on the shoulder from behind [307-8].

Question: You chose an unusual landing point for the Iranian ship. Why not just bring the bomb into a U.S. container port?

I did extensive research on U.S. port security while preparing a cover story that appeared in Newsmax magazine in December 2005, and came away with the conclusion that the tremendous efforts undertaken since 9/11 to enhance cargo screening and install radiation detectors had reached the tipping point. No one I interviewed at Customs and Border Patrol had any illusion that their systems were failsafe. However, if a terrorist had just one bomb, would he want to take a 40% or 50% chance that the U.S. might discover it?  Most U.S. ports now have large VACIS machines, portal monitors such as these I photographed at the port of Newark/New York, hand-held radiation detectors, whole cargo screeners such as the Eagle machine in Baltimore, and a host of other equipment, in addition to computerized cargo manifest screening systems. While we should continue to upgrade port security, 100% cargo inspection is over-kill. In my view, the terrorists will strike elsewhere.

Additional reading:
• Track the East Wind III as it enters Ambrose channel in New York.
• "The fastest thing on the water," is how U.S. Customs pilot Brandon Snaden described his Go-Fast boat to me.
• Satellite photos of Scotland beach, Maryland, and Tangiers Sound
• Chart of the San Marcos wreck (ex USS Texas) (Don't ask why before you read the book!)

Chapter 8: Eva

O’Garrity knew it wasn’t much of a prayer. But it was all that he could muster. He crossed himself, and seeing Danny next to him do the same, he whispered. “God have mercy on us all.” [p379]

Chaplain Duncan O'Garrity leads the crowd on the National Mall in prayer during the final, climatic scenes of the book. What can ordinary citizens do in the event of a nuclear attack?

A lot. Most estimates place the kill radius of a small nuclear explosion in a city such as Washington, DC just two to three miles. Here's an Internet tool to calculate overpressure zones (set the bomb blast to 20 KT - about the size of the Hiroshima bomb and the likely size of a terrorist bomb) As those of us who were brought up in the 1960s recall, the key is "duck and cover" - or better yet, get underground and stay put until civil defense radio stations sound the all clear. Here's a good backgrounder on radiation detectors available to the public. The last FEMA guide on surviving nuclear attack was published in 1997.  Newsmax put out an excellent 1-2-3 of nuclear survival in 2002, and offers a terrific World Band radio equipped with a hand crank as a bonus to new subscribers. Here's a more recent Internet guide to survival by a vendor of radiation detectors and other gear. Bottom line is: don't panic, and don't give up.

And here's a map, from the Sept. 7, 2007 edition of the Washington Post, you can use to track the events of the final scenes of the book (Ssshht!).
I've also prepared a printable version should you need it (3.8 mb jpeg file), which you can download here.

Read what others are saying about Honor Killing...

"This is not a book about the what. There is no doubt about what is planned by the enemies of freedom, or whether they will succeed. This is a book about the how...You will finish Honor Killing not that long after you begin, its almost four hundred pages notwithstanding. And you will then discover that you just completed a multi-subject seminar that was so entertaining that you never realized during the process that you were being educated. Read. Learn. Enjoy!
- Talk radio host Julian Tepper, reviewing the book at Newsmax.com

From the blogs....
"Do you think AQ et al will duplicate their methods in 9/11? ... Read Kenneth Timmerman's new book Honor Killing. Think ship launched missile with dirty and/or low yield poor man's nuke off our coast from one of OBL's ghost fleet of container ships. Think this is far fetched? The Iranians have been testing shipped launch missiles and blowing them up in mid flight. Now why do you suppose they'd do that?
Blogger "RBT" aka rocketbrain in Seattle's  Spokesman Review

"A great new book by Kenneth Timmerman...I literally can’t put it down."
- Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at NoisyRoom.net

"I came to love Ken Timmerman's book, Countdown to Crisis. He tells us the insurgency is all in Iran. They start every meeting with "Death to America, death to Israel," and everyday they try and make both things happen. From Beirut to the Khobar Towers, and now in Iraq, they have been killing our people. I wonder how much longer we will take it and when we will prove UBL is in their country.

–Brian Kilmeade, FoxNews