A New Frontier for Terrorism
Personal Note from the Author
By Leon R. Koziol, J.D.
Western door is currently available in a downloadable format at www.westerndoornovel.com. The paperback version is scheduled to be released by a Vermont publishing company in May 2010. To order the hardcopy call (315) 735-2271.
Part One: Reality Check
It was less than eight months after 9-11 when I left a marina in Buffalo, New York en-route to Lake George in eastern New York. With a crew of friends, we embarked upon a 500 mile water route featuring events not unlike the ones depicted in this novel. All along our itinerary, we maintained a lookout for customs docks and personnel on the logical belief that our borders would be secure. Instead, to our utter dismay, we were able to pass freely across international and state borders with hardly an inquiry. No one checked our vessel, a 41 foot cruiser yacht weighing more than 20,000 pounds that slept eight people. At Port Colborne, on the Canadian side of Lake Erie, we made the obligatory telephone contact with Canadian customs. All they required was a customs ID, description of our vessel and an itinerary. Through the Welland Canal, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Seaway we sailed, border crossings so numerous that we began to wonder if anyone even knew of our existence. Ports as large as Montreal, Canada and as small as Ticonderoga, New York (a mere boat launch) produced no inquiries whatsoever. We passed more than 2,000 islands along the way when, eventually, the dangers to our fellow Americans and Canadians became manifest. At Rousses Point, on the American side of Lake Champlain, we inadvertently sailed past the customs dock. Retreating to this location an hour later, we learned that the customs inspectors had left for the afternoon. To maintain regularity, a nearby marina employee suggested that we call an agent at his home. Thirty minutes later, a man arrived only to look over the exterior of our vessel and wish us safe passage into the United States. Years later I would start this novel. The characters are based upon real people I came to know in Chicago during my law school years, clients in my 20 year law practice and most notably, the boating friends at Lake George who provided me with memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. The friends featured here have long married off or left our scenes of engagement at the lake. As I reflect upon this work, I recognize that it was pretty much a sole venture. The research was fascinating, if not unsettling, and the entertaining features could not have been possible without all the very lively personalities that came into my life. All of you exist in some large or small measure in the diverse events that comprise this book.
It is my sincere hope that American Homeland security and Canadian authorities take note of this story. Based upon my experiences as a navigator and civil rights attorney, I firmly believe that we are now ripe for another terrorist attack. This one will come by water route, a means of access not yet exploited by those who would destroy our way of life.
Part Two: Overview
To those familiar with the course of domestic security following 9-11, Western Door might be described as the “Second Shoe”. This was the early reference used by security experts to describe the follow-up plot expected from terrorist operatives exploiting a nuclear device as opposed to passenger jets. Indeed, one month after the Trade Center attacks, a CIA agent known simply as Dragonfire triggered the highest level of alert when he reported the suspected existence of a ten (10) kiloton nuclear weapon in Manhattan. It was a false alarm, but barely a year later, another report surfaced regarding the use of private boats to deliver a similar attack in New York harbor. It was sufficient to produce a gunboat dispatch from Norfolk. Such alarms have largely faded, and we are now experiencing a false sense of security. Western Door is designed, in part, to incite the Paul Revere atmosphere which prevailed immediately after 9-11. With the signing of a successor “New Start” nuclear reduction treaty, this novel could not be more timely. The principal modern day threat to civilization is identified as “loose nukes and suitcase bombs seen as the real menace in today’s age of terrorism”, Associated Press article, April 8, 2010 by Jennifer Loven. The “real threat”, however, is much more ominous than the one which exploited commonly accessed passenger jets to deliver the worst attack on America soil. With thousands of variably sized nuclear devices on the black market, the Second Shoe is certain to involve another carefully orchestrated plan at least as bold, unexpected, and sophisticated as the one executed on 9-11. In comparable manner, this plot would be years in the making. A scenario is offered here which combines years of research and experience building upon real life events. After two decades of civil rights litigation involving a wide range of criminal defendants, abuse victims and government dysfunction, I can attest to the ease with which terrorists could exploit our nation’s freedoms and constitutional protections to execute a modern day nuclear attack. The one that concerns me most is not an Al-Qaeda type attack but a plot conceived and carried out by a home grown entity. Such a plot is found in this novel. An assortment of radical interests is merged into a terrorist network indentified simply as “Ultimate Solution”. I derived this fictitious organization from Aum Shinrikyo, or Supreme Truth, a 1995 terrorist network in Japan comprised of multi-national operatives. Completely off anyone’s radar screen at the time, an attack upon a subway in Tokyo led to multiple arrests and the discovery of a nuclear development facility in Australia. The terrorist plan in my book is no less likely or calculated than the one already carried out by Osama bin Laden. Given the unrest occurring in our country today caused by escalating forms of government intrusions upon basic human rights, a domestic terrorist entity can easily
develop. In my story, a home grown cell is transformed into a sophisticated network bent on extorting a new country within the borders of North America. Unlike the destructive aims of Al-Qaeda, Ultimate Solution, code named Ulti-Sol, constructs a weapons development facility at a former boat works on the Canadian shores of lakes Superior and Huron. Pleasure boats are retrofitted with nuclear devices and dirty bombs hidden deep within the vessels’ rear hulls. Typical dual engines are fueled by a single gas tank with the other standard tank containing a lead encased device to prevent radiation detection. After a development period of two decades, the plot is executed on “Millionaire Monday” when a fleet of terrorist pleasure boats reach key harbors of two imperialist nations. To succeed with sovereignty extortion demands, these terrorist must position their vessels at select piers where the devices can be reconditioned from year to year. In the end, a fateful call to the president by the terrorist mastermind disguising himself as a Native American chief, then leads to a highly classified treaty with the rogue network. Formal recognition of a new completely sovereign nation in America is consummated in the epilogue. To give my fictional plot a dose of reality, I devote a number of chapters to the Indian land claims and vast casino holdings that feature various Native American nations. At present, we find them still engaged in treaties and lawsuits seeking the eviction of innocent landowners. Based upon my representation of aggrieved citizen groups in these lawsuits, I have discovered fertile ground for the formulation of this fictitious entity known as Ultimate Solution. Readers may verify the same potential in news reports over the past three decades, some of which form the genesis of fact patterns found within my novel. For example, not long after the filing of a class action petition in federal court by the Oneida Indian Nation in 1998, seeking an “ejectment” of 20,000 landowners, a bomb threat was issued upon the Turning Stone Casino by a group styling itself as the United States National Freedom Fighters. I was among a large number of information sources contacted by federal and state investigators after my law office received an unannounced visit from a group calling itself the Iroquois Federal Marshals. Armed with a dubious warrant of arrest, they were seeking to apprehend a rival Indian Nation Leader. These and other real life events find themselves merged within my novel. Readers should consider in their own minds the vast circumstances which might cause a domestic organization to materialize. From the events in Waco, Texas to a Michigan militia engaged in anti-government exercises in March, 2010, the possibilities are substantial. One area familiar to me as a practicing attorney is parenting rights. Our federal and state governments are increasingly involved in separating good parents from their offspring for revenue generation purposes. We see the problem daily in Family Court and unnecessarily contested divorce proceedings around the country. As a constitutional rights advocate, I have filed a number of test cases seeking to establish a limit to privacy invasions that have caused an ominous increase in suicide-murder cases. This “child custody” framework has been analogized in my legal briefs to the child control institutions found in China and practiced among other oppressive regimes in human history. When mainstream Americans, such as a former Georgia state Senator and a
police investigator in upstate New York find themselves fatal victims to domestic incidents outside of their control, the circumstances are ripe for a fringe entity not unlike Al-Qaeda to recruit suicide operatives and intellectual support.
Part Three: Setting
Western Door is actually an update sequel to my first novel, Paradise Under Siege, published in 2005. It received interest from two film makers; however, litigation priorities and a run for public office left me without the necessary time to satisfy the rigors of marketing the product. An itinerary at the time called for speaking and book signing engagements across numerous port communities in upstate New York and Lower Canada where the setting for both novels remains focused. Those of you who may have endeavored a book project will relate. It requires full time commitment, and circumstances in my personal, professional and political life have since enabled me to facilitate this undertaking. My novel opens with a prologue which orients the reader to something very special: picturesque Lake George. This is the largest body of water in the Adirondack State Park, boasting a surrounding forest preserve that exceeds any other in the continental United States. Located only 150 miles north of metropolitan New York, this six million acre park provides the ideal setting for a final showdown between a homeland security militia and a domestic terrorist network. Both the opening and closing scenes of Western Door are found on Lake George simply because everything about it is quintessentially American. Setting aside for the moment its regional historic features such as Saratoga, Fort Ticonderoga and Whitehall (birthplace of the United States Navy), this fjord-like waterway retains a centuries old distinction as the Queen of American lakes. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are among those who have described its beauty very eloquently. The reader will search in vain, however, and find no reference to Lake George in the text of this book. Consistent with patriotic duty, I followed the lead of early writers such as James Fenimore Cooper who evidently protested the British conferred title. He called it Lake Horicon in his famous novel (and blockbuster movie) Last of the Mohicans. When Indian, French and British imperialists conquered the treasured waterway, its identity was successively changed. Early American leaders never followed suit. Lake Adirondac is used here to replace the “Second of the House of Hanover” (King George II). Many of today’s novels bring the reader immediately into the action or dialogue of characters. This has the attention-grabbing feature of promoting sales in a fast paced society. I took an opposite approach because Lake George is a jewel of nature, something to behold and not quickly passed by. Yet the more sophisticated reader will not be disappointed because, as a Gannett newspaper editor wrote, in “Koziol’s literary world, art imitates life”. This 2005 book review addressed an identical prologue depiction of the lake’s scenery. At first blush, the topographical descriptions appear innocent enough. But as you complete a four page tour of the lake, the features take on the countenance of human conflict. Peaks, chasms and forests appear to be readying themselves for a showdown as the Autumn
sun descends behind the mountain tops. The ultimate clash results not in any cataclysmic blast but in nature’s graceful selection of a majestic mountain as the victor of a scenic competition on any random day. In short, there is much more happening in the prologue than what has been graphically conveyed, even here in the author’s note. The point which hopefully pervades all others is the finality of a nuclear holocaust upon a delicate terrain which mankind can never reverse. We proceed to that human side.
Part Four: The Characters
I would like to have developed the characters more extensively. I certainly possessed a wealth of experience over 23 years of practice to instill for the reader a plethora of traits and antics that would easily have doubled the size of this book. However, my objectives might have become compromised in the process. The goal of my writing here is to draw real attention to a crisis of apocalyptic proportion. Exploitation of “loose nukes” as they are called, is easily within the grasp of fanatics after a Cold War that resulted in thousands of diverse weapons lost to an international black market. Virtually all experts agree that too many have fallen into the hands of terrorist operatives. A short novel was therefore an unbridled imperative to engage those readers who could make a difference. In this vein, I am not simply referring to persons in positions of authority, but every day people such as Jody Williams who spearheaded an activist cause that, against all predictions, led to a world treaty banning land mines. It earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. In my book, I offer the construct of a homeland security militia to offset the threat of nuclear terrorism. A group of career women was selected as the key figures in my novel. After all, this is the human half which brings life into the world and might appropriately be credited for saving mother Earth. The characters in the opening chapters have no offspring; as the text emphasizes, their “career tracks made sure of it”. However, as Shelly Falcon and lesser characters appear later on, children become a factor in upstaging various terrorist strategies which are crucial to ultimate success. Tonya Kinsley is the central character. Her traits derive from two real life people: a close colleague during my law school years in Chicago and a boat owner from the capital district of New York. Tonya is a merger of two women that never allowed their careers to subsume their femininity. The “Tonya” in Chicago, last I knew, had worked her way up the judicial ladder. In our day, she was at a level well above my economic status and her parents, even at that age, kept a watchful eye over her activities. During the early eighties, it was highly unusual to find an African-American family with uncles, parents and siblings occupying such positions as a judgeship, surgeon and business owner. The reader who comes across this statement should not try to locate my Chicago “Tonya”. First off, her real name remains undisclosed, but more importantly, this woman is sure to fly out to New York and order my death sentence in the event she reads about herself here.
The New York Tonya is quite the opposite. Similarly pleasant and lovable, this woman would seek me out to offer additional details that were not included in the story. A salon owner, this Tonya provides more of an adventurous side to the character featured in my novel. Always the reconciler, she made the fun happen out on Lake George. Indeed she is the reason why the other touring characters came into my life. Like Tonya, Karen Marszalek derives from two real life women while capturing a flavor from my siblings. One is a manager in a Utica, New York office while the other was introduced to me by the Tonya salon and boat owner. Karen is a clean freak, the organizer and a person quick to give orders. However well intentioned, she is the kind nevertheless to evoke some friendly banter and insults. This provides the ideal backdrop for introducing the rest of the crew of “Queen Castle”. Mary Beth Rochelle triggers fond memories of a single woman on Lake George during the late nineties. So unique is her character that I could find no other human comparable to construct any merger of traits. This makes her the only one capable of suing me for privacy violations. Long married off, I came upon her recently with her husband (“boatwrecker” in Chapter 18 – Senility of a Serene Lake) at the Algonquin Restaurant on Lake George. It was a couple years ago during what might be called a spontaneous reunion of boating friends. After reading about herself in my first novel, she was gracious enough not to push me into the lake. Kate Golden derives her character principally from another Kate long gone from the lake. Introduced again to me my Tonya, Kate also possesses traits that I fondly recall from my Albany nieces during their teen and college years. Kate is a boat owner who always displayed that never ending flare for youth. It was pleasantly child-like at times. She possesses diverse wit and humor to entertain any gathering. This is one of the reasons why the real Kate was so successful in her career. But like the other members of this “hastily contrived” crew, Kate Golden is quite alone. Something substantial is missing from her life and she agrees to join this voyage with an aimless goal of filling that void. Kate and Karen have known each other since infancy, but that fact is painstakingly hidden until Chapter 17 (Maelstrom at Montreal). Kate is brought into the plot last for an important reason. As the only one familiar with car and boat motors, she is belatedly acclimated to the party atmosphere surrounding the girls’ celebrations and departure from Port Tonawanda in Chapter One. This in turn prevents her from detecting the mechanical problems caused by the terrorist manufacture of Tonya’s vessel. When the defects eventually become clear, Kate is already taken hostage. Shelly Falcon does not join this “unusual crew of Americans” until Chapter 7 (U.S. Invades Canada). Her reasons are similar, but unlike the others, she has children and an important man in her life. Shelly’s character is based upon a Mohawk woman I came to know in 2002 on Lake George immediately following my own voyage along an identical route. A successful real estate broker, she enlightened me to some of her real life heritage. She is very much a likable and entertaining person, but she has a discreet agenda complicated by her Native American roots.
The guys in this novel, for the most part, are the facilitators behind the good and evil that come into play during this voyage. Like the inanimate features of the prologue, conflicts and contrasts become increasingly evident. The good guys include Jonathan Pike, the lawyer; Cliff Tullis, the police official, and Lynn a/k/a Lynx, the Seneca Iroquois Marshall. They assist the girls from points outside the voyage to overcome key terrorist figures that include Chief Blackhawk, Korean businessman Kim Yung Jang and casino attorney, Mark Raven.
Part Five: Select Chapters
Use of the words western door as the title for a novel about terrorism would quickly evoke the scenario of an Al-Qaeda type attack upon a western country such as the United States or Canada. But like the deception and diversions which impair a truly comprehensive domestic security, Western Door is in reality a home grown plot caused by domestic strife. These terrorists emerge from an assortment of government injustices and they exploit our Constitution for all the wrong reasons. During the course of more than two decades as a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, I have come across individuals who could become fertile ground behind a domestic plot. Because I have long maintained a policy against representing drug dealers, child molesters and certain heinous suspects, these individuals were not among my clientele. However, given the challenges I did face, I am confident that I could have unwittingly secured the freedom of a would-be terrorist already engaged on American soil. Among the injustices which have concerned me most are those which increasingly injure our ever faithful mainstream society. We have coddled the criminal element to the point of assuring rights for terrorists that are routinely denied to American citizens. So brazen is the purchase of protection that a terrorist could conclude that we are welcoming their challenges. More chilling is the means with which our government is inciting a domestic incident. In Chapter 12 (U.S. Eviction Order), I provide the reader with a short story largely isolated from the main action plot to flesh out a real life injustice currently being executed by our government. The educational subplot, as I call it, is patterned around actual events surrounding the unresolved Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca Indian land claims in upstate New York. Related subplots involving internal Native American conflicts are found in Chapters 11 and 17. In an effort to correct a 200 year old historical injustice in an era of political correctness, our federal government has joined the side of Native American tribes, two of which fought against our country in the Revolutionary War, to evict innocent families from their homes. These unfortunate and politically insignificant victims were the government’s own citizens. They were singled out and made to feel the guilt of our imperialist past when unaffected neighbors such as the U.S. Postal Service derived their titles from the same allegedly defective 18th century treaties. The eviction of mainstream Americans by their own government is supplemented two chapters later by a greater injustice featured in Chapter 14 (Return of the Mohicans). Here I present a fairly lengthy transcript of a fictitious public hearing which patterns the ones
occurring at VVS High School (near the Oneida Turning Stone Casino), the Finger Lakes and Grand Island (involving the Cayuga and Seneca claims) ten years ago. The characters and controversies could easily emulate any controversial public meeting. In this chapter, I draw additionally upon my experience as a school board attorney, city councilman and citizen advocate. Virtually all of our constitutional rights are at play in this fictitious meeting at the Sagamore Inn and Conference Center on Lake George (Adirondac). Certain speakers and attendees re-emerge with greater impact in later chapters.
Part Six: Conclusion
A major theme of this novel exists in the political abuses carried out by career promoting prosecutors, professionals and law enforcement officials. Grave deviations from their oaths of office can be found by example in Chapter 15 (A Militia is Formed). This opens the door to the kind of domestic terrorism which is well off the radar of homeland security personnel. In an ideal environment, federal and local authorities would partner with our front line citizenry to yield a modern day militia against terrorism. Authority for such a framework is found under Article II; section two of the original Constitution and the Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights. As it is, however, in my professional, personal and political experience over thirty years, I have found a dangerous level of egotism and dysfunction which could easily herald another 911. Because this next attack, the Second Shoe, is potentially terminal upon society as we know it, there can be no room for arrogance, stupidity and self orientation. The stakes are simply too high. In this era of nuclear terrorism, cooperation, aggressiveness and creativity are the hallmarks behind an effective Homeland Security program. There will be no Third Shoe.
Western door is currently available in a downloadable format at www.westerndoornovel.com. The paperback version is scheduled to be released by a Vermont publishing company in May 2010. To order the hardcopy call (315) 735-2271.
Leon R. Koziol, J.D.
April 15, 2010