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A NEW PRESIDENT

This election was a massive rejection of Hillary Clinton; not an endorsement of Donald Trump. Trump now needs to be given the benefit of the doubt. Look at it one way. Trump will not be as terrible a president as George W. Bush, arguably the worst in our history, who saddled our nation with unnecessary, trillion dollar wars (which he never paid for) and a fiscal policy of debt that led to the crash of 2008. And, for better or worse, the six-year period of government-in-gridlock should be over. Whew!
Like many, I held my nose and voted for Hillary. Strange as it may seem, I’m not disappointed by her defeat.
The very worst year in my lifetime was 1968: the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and MLK, the depth of the Vietnam War, the inner-city riots which began in 1965, and the election of Richard Nixon. An ugly time for our nation.
So hang on to your hat for a while. It’s going to be interesting. I doubt it will be a disaster. Though I’m an optimist, there is one caveat: those manufacturing jobs lost to technology will never come back for those forty or fifty-year old men and women who crossed their fingers and voted for Trump. Those jobs are gone for good (regardless of who won the election).
On the other hand, defense industry employment will expand significantly as the budget for spending on the military increases. Sequestration in that area will be a thing of the past.
Final irony: Her closest aide, Huma Abedin, lost this election for Hillary Clinton. Had she not backed up her 650,000 emails onto Anthony Weiner’s laptop, the FBI would not have publicly reopened an investigation ten days before the election. In the meantime, and because of that shock, enough mail-in ballots had been cast to tip the balance of the votes against Clinton. One could barely write fiction with so many twists.

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JAVA SEA -Available on Kindle for free until November 5th.

Chapter 1
Bali, Indonesia

The most urgent task following the explosion was to remove the critically burned survivors and place them in nearby hotel swimming pools to relieve their unbearable pain. Other injured men, women and a few children were taken to Denpasar’s hospitals which were soon overwhelmed. Eventually many of the victims were flown long distances, one thousand to two thousand miles, to receive specialized treatment.
The driver of the van had never learned how to drive. Jeko Rusdiana taught him only how to steer in a straight line. That’s all he needed to know to guide the van on the road that ran past the five-star hotel. The van was rigged for detonation by remote control – in case the suicide bomber got cold feet. Jeko had stood on the roof of a building overlooking the hotel and held a trigger, a cell phone, in his hand for that eventuality.
The Mitsubishi L-300 van incinerated in the explosion along with its driver.
The six overseers of the plot, led by Ghazali, escaped from the area in the small hours of the morning on rented motorbikes which they ditched before boarding the boat that ferried them away from Bali.
The half dozen perpetrators separated when they arrived in East Java. Ghazali ordered them to limit future communications among themselves. When necessary they would employ the secure techniques he had taught them. Chances were they would never meet again.

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JAVA SEA – A Novel

A horrific terrorist bombing in Bali, Indonesia, claims the lives of 150 Americans. When the Indonesian leader asks the U.S. president not to meddle in the investigation, he reluctantly complies, choosing not to upset the head of the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. But when Roy Mancini learns of the U.S. president’s decision, he takes the terrorist attack personally, having lost his two closest Balinese friends in the bombing. He enlists his partners in Asia and the United States to launch a private mission to identify, track, and assassinate the bombing’s four principal operatives. Vividly portrayed in settings throughout Southeast Asia, this second book in the series involves cyber espionage, humint, and an international cast of intelligence professionals and underworld characters that will keep you guessing until the explosive end.

JAVA SEA will be published on Amazon and Kindle in September 2016.

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JAVA SEA

It’s been a while since we last spoke. I’ve been busy – writing the sequel to CHINA SEA. The title of the second novel is JAVA SEA. The story takes place twenty-seven years later. Roy Mancini and Cynthia got married and had a couple of sons. Roy and his oldest son, Marc are the main characters in JAVA SEA.

The story begins with a bang – literally and figuratively. Marc and his fiance, Ayu, are engaged in a torrid sex scene at the very moment there is an explosion  in the distance. There is a massive terrorist bombing in Bali.

Later on the president of Indonesia warns the U.S. president not to get involved in the investigation. And that is where Roy and Marc Mancini  enter the picture. They plan and execute a mission to identify, locate and terminate the bombers – one by one.

The settings for the novel are in Indonesia, from Bali to Aceh, and the Visayan islands and Mindanao in the Philippines.

We will publish the novel later this year. Stay tuned.

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REGIME CHANGE IS FOR THE BIRDS

The horror of this past week has been traumatic for most of the world, for all religions and all nationalities. This is NOT a clash of civilizations. This is seventh century barbarism.

The sheer savagery of the Paris massacre is beyond description. The revelation of seemingly half-hearted counter-terrorism effort in Belgium is deflating. The stay-the-course anti-Assad position of the U.S. administration inspires angst. It’s like we’re all aimlessly herding cats. And the evil ones take charge, and celebrate, because of all that confusion.

There is a lot of talk about the need for American leadership in the world. What does that mean exactly? It means learning from recent history for one thing. And that history tells us that a strategy of regime change is a failed policy. The results in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya scream: STOP IT.

“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” -as Mark Twain put it.

The United States has wasted something like 2 trillion dollars and countless lives changing regimes during the past thirteen years. The results: bloodthirsty Sunni radicals appear to be better organized and more motivated in each area. ISIS discovered a void in these locations (one hesitates to call them cohesive nations). And in the case of Iraq, the terrorists have propagated in a milieu of Sunni vs. Shia hatred where the brave Kurds hang on for dear life. ISIS would have lasted about five seconds under Saddam Hussein. Libya was probably better off, more stable, under the iron fist of wicked Gadhafi than it is with the anarchy and incipient Sunni ISIS caliphate. Is Afghanistan ISIS’s next target?

My point? It is that the United States must desist from a strategy of regime change in Syria. Rather we need to refigure our objective of getting rid of Assad. As evil as he (and his late father) is, he pales next to the barbarity of ISIS. The United States should indeed lead. And it needs to lead an AD HOC coalition of forces in Syria and Iraq that is focused on one thing: the obliteration of ISIS. Leave the status of Assad to diplomacy (as vague as that may sound); on the back-burner. But when it comes to warfare, it needs to be focused on one, repeat one, enemy. And that enemy is ISIS.

It seems obvious to even the most casual observer that the oil-rich Sunni nations in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and the rest) will not be effective members of a coalition that is hell-bent on wiping out a gang of Sunnis. We’re back to square one (the subject of my earlier blog post): Sunni versus Shiite.

And square one is my contention that the United States of America and Iran have the potential to be AD HOC allies, if not close friends, in the war against ISIS. An ideal for me in the effort to squeeze ISIS out of existence is a coalition of the USA, Western Europe, Iran, the Kurds and perhaps Russia – going after the terrorist caliphate from every direction, on land, sea and air. No more playing “Mr. Nice Guy”. No more political correctness. No rules of war. Do what it takes, Mr. President. While you’re at it, forget about regime change: anywhere and everywhere.

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ESPIONAGE – READ ALL ABOUT IT

A Spy’s Life

Roy Mancini is living the good life in San Francisco, California. A year later he’s operating under deep cover as an Arabica coffee bean merchant in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Sulawesi and Bali.
If you’re curious about what the life of an actual intelligence officer is like, CHINA SEA will captivate you. The story is loaded with the author’s real-life experiences: the secret agents, the settings and the people in Southeast Asia where he operated.
Follow the high-wire escapades of a talented jazz musician, sailboat racer and undercover Cold War spy.
Read CHINA SEA by Stanton Swafford.

NOW AVAILABLE ON:

AMAZON: http://bit.ly/ChinaSeaPaperback

KINDLE: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0130OEZMQ

ITUNES: Search for China Sea by Stanton Swafford on your iPad or iPhone.