December 13, 2015

Death Merchant #59: The Burma Probe

Brink of Disaster

Deep in the heart of Burma's thickest jungle lies the deadliest military secret of modern history. After generations of strategic planning, the Red Chinese have grasped the vital key to world power. In a desperate, zero-hour maneuver the Death Merchant is given the go-ahead. Infiltrate. Destroy!

Never before has Richard Camellion encountered such brilliant defense. No loopholes, no missing links. The Death Merchant is slam up against terror on a scale far beyond the imagination of the average citizen, locked into a global game he knows will have only one winner...


The Red Chinese are planning to launch 352 missiles filled with chemical weapons from the jungles of western Burma into Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, killing millions and showing that the communist nation is a world force to be reckoned with.

As the Chinese prepare their attack, US satellites have detected activity in the Burmese jungles. A huge area has been cleared and buildings and an airstrip have been constructed. The CIA and Britian's SIS agree that a group of mercenaries should trek into the dangerous jungle and find out exactly what is going on. (For some reason, although the US satellite cameras are so powerful they can read car license plates from space, the US is not entirely sure of the location of the Chinese installation.) That means it's a job for Richard "Death Merchant" Camellion and "Mad Mike" Quinlan and Quinlan's Thunderbolt Unit: Omega team of mercs.

Camellion, Quinlan, and Krishan Darhangak head to Rangoon, posing as British film representatives, supposedly scouting locations for a film of the Japanese occupation during WWII. They are in Rangoon to meet up with Alfred Knowles, an agent who will take them to the local man who will lead them into the jungle. (Unbeknownst to them, however, Knowles has already been kidnapped.) While out walking one evening, the three men realize they are being followed by members of Chinese intelligence. Although they are unarmed, the three quickly turn and surprise the agents, killing six of the nine assailants. The local authorities are naturally suspicious, but eventually let the three men go, agreeing that they acted in self-defense.

The three men head to Mandalay to meet up with Chit Soe Kha, an Indian intelligence agent who will be their jungle guide. On the train, Camellion recalls his briefing for the mission, and we get a two-page flashback in which Camellion argues with a CIA man about the supposed accuracy of self-proclaimed psychic Jeane Dixon.* In Mandalay, they meet Kha - the Death Merchant and Quinlan have darkened their skin to better fit in - and are transported to the lower hills of the Angew Taungdan mountain range by hiding in the false bottom of two trash carts drawn by mules, a journey that was "the most miserable that Camellion had ever been forced to endure".

* Camellion offers his own predictions: "It's not difficult to predict certain events if one has a sense of history, uses logic and keeps informed on world events. ... I can predict that Mexico, about 1986 or 1987, will experience the same kind of turmoil that is going on in Iran, or that the United States is going to collapse financially, or fall entirely. But my predictions are based on real events, on facts and trends, as proven by history." Later, we read: "Camellion knew that by the year 2000, there would be only radioactive rubble where New York had once proudly stood. In fact, every major city in the United States would be destroyed by the year 2000. The old cycle would be ended, and the new cycle begun ..."

Camellion and three others must first hike to the camp of the People's Freedom Army, led by Po Dat Wol. While en route, they anticipate an ambush near a canyon pass, and Camellion and Quinlan sneak up ahead and get the drop of a couple of small groups of Chinese soldiers, killing them all. Heading back to Darhangak and Kha, they discover that they are now with Camellion's old friend Lester Vernon Cole and five others from the PFA camp.

Cole, who last worked with the Death Merchant in #47 (Operation Skyhook), is an ardent admirer of Hitler and is not shy about expressing his unabashedly racist views. Interestingly, we get the same right-wing nonsense even in the chapters that are written from the enemy Chinese's point of view, that the "stupid" United States government is turning the "land of the free" into a third world nation by "permitting all sorts of trash to enter their country", namely Mexicans and Latin Americans. Cole cites the supposedly higher-birth rates of these minorities, which he says will threaten "the continued existence of the white race". (Along the way, we also get rants against the postal service, homosexuals, the peace movement, the integration of the public school system, and Amtrak.)

While Camellion and Quinlan are at the PFA camp, the 253 members of Thunderbird Unit: Omega are relaxing in Calcutta, waiting for the call to action from Mad Mike. The Death Merchant is trying to arrange helicopters to take himself and Quinlan to the spot where they will meet the other mercs and start their jungle mission. (So why they travelled for days to the PFA camp is not really clear.) There is a traitor in the camp and he has used a transmitter to broadcast the camp's location, which prompts a furious aerial and ground attack from the Chinese.

After much mayhem, the members of the camp and the Death Merchant and his men begin an eight-day trek out to a series of caverns where they will be safe. From there, Camellion and Quinlan are picked up by two helicopters and flown to meet up with the 250 Omega mercs. It turns out that there will be no hike through the jungle. (There is only about 30 pages remaining in the book at this point.) After the other copters riddle the base with air-to-ground missiles, destroying most of the buildings, the men land right on the airstrip. The 500 or so Chinese troops are in hiding - and the Death Merchant and the 250 mercs stand around in the rain planning their strategy. The final fight is similar to the end of every Death Merchant book. Both sides let loose with their automatic weapons until they run out of ammo - at the same time! - and because they are in too-close proximity to reload, they end up fighting hand-to-hand.
You two pieces of trash should get a break today, but you won't from me! Camellion stepped lightly to his left, twisted so that the right side of his body was facing Yi'fing and ducked the stabbing muzzle of the T-50 SMG. One eye on Shuti Ju'chan, Camellion calculated his rush, then punched Yi'fing's final ticket with an expertly delivered right-legged groin kick, his foot coming up between the man's legs. Only a grenade or a bullet to one of his vital organs could have done more damage to the man. Camellion's kick had been very accurate and his foot had crushed Yi'fing's testes, broken his pubic bone and flattened his bladder to the extent that urine should have jumped from Yi'fing's mouth, nose and ears. Yi'fing couldn't even scream. The horrible agony, inducing shock in the central nervous system, was more than any human being could stand. A look of stamped, frozen horror on his wedge-shaped face, and with gurgling sounds thrashing about in his throat, Hai K'an Yi'fing dropped the T-50 SMG. His knees buckled and he wilted to the ground at the same time that Camellion turned to his left, sidestepped quickly to his right and reached out with his left hand. He had timed Shuti Ju'chan's rush correctly, to the split second. The bayonet cut the air only several inches from the Auto Mag holstered on the left side. By then it was far too late for Shuti Ju'chan. The most any enemy, face to face with Death Merchant, could hope for was one chance. Ju'chan had blown his. By the time he realized his mistake, Camellion's left hand was wrapped around the barrel of the T-56-1 assault rifle, right behind the raised wrapped-around-the-barrel sight, and his right hand was streaking toward Ju'chan's throat. In an instant it was over, and the ridgehand slam had crushed Ju'chan's trachael cartilage and CameIlion was jerking the T-50 SMG from the dying man's limp hands. His eyes almost popping out of their sockets, gurgles and burbles percolating in his throat, Shuti Ju'chan fell sideways and almost collided with Mike Quinlan who had just killed two Chinese, stabbing one in the solar plexus with an all black Tekna survival knife and cracking the skull of the second enemy with the side of a Safari Arms "Black Widow" .45 semiautomatic. The man with the cracked skull fell in front of a furiously fighting Jose Jesus Santino who was ducking a bayonet thrust by a bare-headed Che'il Kkuno who was wasting a lot of time and energy screaming, "White debil die! White debil die!"
Rosenberger, who claimed to once have been a karate instructor, gives us a long list of martial arts moves employed by the Death Merchant and his men: a three-finger Hapti Tun stab, a right Herabasemi inside ridge hand, a left Shuto knife hand, a high Mae Geri Keage front snap-kick, a right-legged Yoko Geri Kekomi side thrust kick, a Ura Uchi Ken back knuckle strike, a Hira Ken angular knuckle strike, and a right-legged Yoko Geri bill-of-the-foot kick.

Before the final fight, we learned exactly what firearms each man is carrying:
All five Thunderbolts were dressed in hot weather olive-drab jungle fatigues, U.S. Special Forces mountain boots and black berets. On the front of each beret was a silver death's head. There were no crossed bones at the bottom of the death's head. Instead, there were two crossed thunderbolts. All the mercs wore Ace type combat harnesses, complete with ammo pouches for pistol and SMG magazines. Yet each man carried different types of weapons.

Alexander Pratt carried an Israeli Galil assault rifle. On his hips were two 9mm Sig-Sauer P220 auto-pistols in black nylon holsters. Strapped to his narrow chest was a short machete; on his left leg was strapped a steel tomahawk.

Rene DuBois, the Frenchman, was armed with an FN-FAL A-R, two Star M-28 auto-pistols and a USAF survival knife. In addition, he carried five Marauder throwing-combat knives. Double-edged, the Marauder had a guard that terminated in two sharp points. Three more points were at the end of the handle, two perpendicular, one horizontal.

Other than his shotgun and Valmet assault rifle, Santino—quick, keen-eyed—had two Llama .44 magnum revolvers in tan leather shoulder holsters. At his waist, a large SHIVA knife was holstered on the right side. A holstered Colt .45 auto-pistol was on the left side.

The Peppermint Kid sat holding a Steyr AUG 5.56mm A-R upright between his legs. Two H/K P7 pistols were strapped around his slim waist. A Buck custom commando dagger and a SEALTAC-I knife were in sheaths fastened to a wide strap across his chest. What fascinated Darhangak the most was the huge canvas holster hanging from a heavy cord around O'Malley's neck. In the holster was a 9mm semiautomatic Linda pistol with a long magazine that contained forty-three rounds.

Finally there was the huge Bruckner who, to Darhangak, looked like a giant box with arms and legs—and a bullet head. Bruckner was holding a Heckler & Koch MP 5K submachine gun in his lap. In two shoulder holsters were P-38 Walther autoloaders; a curved jambiya Arab dagger, in a metal sheath, was stuck in his belt. To his right front thigh was buckled an M16 bayonet.
At the very end of the fight, Camellion learns about the Chinese high officials and officers hiding in the underground cavern, and he and his men rig the air shaft and entrance with RDX. The mammoth explosions trap the men inside, burying them alive. While the other mercs debate the pros and cons of being a mercenary in the 1980s, Camellion is already thinking of his next mission ... in Germany!


"The Death Merchant had not been impressed with the visit to the Shwe Dagon, mainly because of his realization that all things existed only for a moment and that the only real constant was change, with the real Universe occurring as a series of instantaneous occurrence on a moment-to-moment basis."

"Mad Mike twisted his body slightly to the left and his left leg came up as his left arm streaked outward, the tip of his Chukka boot catching Lung Ting-yi where the sun never shines and the moon never casts a shadow, the short but deadly snap-kick crushing Ting-yi's testicles with the force of a sledge hammer slamming down on a slice of lemon."

FN: "Hindus are very prejudiced against nursing ..."

FN: "This writer has always warned that the West has more to fear from the Chinese than from the Russians."

"Frig a frozen frog!" ... "Shit on a shiny shingle!" ... "Beaver balls!"

Camellion's Law Number Three: "Aim for perfection. Half right is always half wrong." [To my memory, Rosenberger has never revealed Laws One or Two.]

"Red Chinese strategists had planned well, reasoning with typical Oriental logic that while the only two nations capable of stopping them were the United States and the Soviet Union, neither the U.S. nor the USSR would interfere."

FN re opening, reading, and resealing someone's mail: "Burmese intelligence is behind the times. American intelligence, the F.B.I. and Postal Inspectors use a chemical, a 'letter bomb visualizer,' that turns most papers transparent for thirty to sixty seconds. They don't have to open the letters. The chemical costs about $40.00 per bottle, but liquid Freon, purchased from photographic suppliers, will do the same job. Yes, there is a way to circumvent 'letter bomb visualizer.' I'm not going to explain how, however."

December 5, 2015

Death Merchant #58: The Silicon Valley Connection

Computer-Age Counterplot

GA-1—Yankee ingenuity has triumphed again, creating a revolutionary supercomputer and missile guidance system. But in the hands of the Russians, the computer could spell Armageddon for the free world.

A specially trained group of KGB agents has managed to pull off a daring midday kidnapping of the inventor of the GA-1, Dr. Burl Martin, from near his laboratory in California's famed "Silicon Valley". Aided by a slick and ruthless motorcycle gang, Satan's Gentlemen, who "make the Hell's Angels look like Boy Scouts," the KGB plans to bring Martin to a Soviet submarine waiting off the Pacific coast. The CIA is short on time, and even shorter on clues.

Only Richard Camellion stands to bring the scientist back alive. But even the Death Merchant will have to use more than just his great cunning and awesome firepower to win at this deadly game of cat and mouse.


It was noted at the end of the previous Death Merchant book that Richard Camellion hated the state of California "for a variety of reasons". So I read The Silicon Valley Connection hoping for some Rosenbergerian rants about hippies, Hispanics, and homosexuals. I was disappointed. While Rosenberger's opening sentence is promising - "In Richard Camellion's opinion the only difference between Hell and Los Angeles was that one met a better class of people in Hell—and Hell was a lot safer." - he doesn't go very far with criticizing California. He describes LA as a "murderous mess" and refers to San Francisco as a "provincial" city that "cannot claim any kind of leadership in anything", except perhaps high numbers of gay men and women, but that's about it.

KGB agents have infiltrated many of the electronic firms in Silicon Valley, hoping to learn the secrets of "American military technology" and, in particular, the GA-1 microprocessor. The book opens with Dr. Norman Revlon meeting some Russians on a yacht in a Los Angeles port, where he will turn over the GA-1 plans for a cool million dollars. The FBI has learned about Revlon thanks to some recording devices secreted in the House of Pandemonium, a sleazy San Francisco nightclub run by "Dandy" Phil Butler, the head of a biker gang known as Satan's Gentlemen. But the FBI agents that infiltrated the group "vanished" and so the CIA was notified and they called in the Death Merchant ("and his efficient but usually illegal methods").

Camellion tails Revlon and sneaks on board the yacht, but is captured. However, he manages to get free of his captors, killing them all (and Revlon) in the process. Four cops, responding to reports of gunshots, are about to take Camellion into custody as he comes off the boat when the Death Merchant's accomplice (who had been waiting in a van) guns them down; a few minutes later, Camellion wipes out four more cops who arrive on the scene. Afterwards, Camellion's plan is to "black bag" Dandy Phil - Satan's Gentlemen are working with the KGB - and see what the CIA can learn. (During the meandering discussion, we get off-topic negative comments about the ACLU, Mexican immigrants, and the Freedom of Information Act. Because Rosenberger.)

At the same time, in the wake of the yacht catastrophe, the KGB decides to not lay low, but to move quickly and kidnap Dr. Burl Olin Martin, the inventor of the GA-1. The Russians offer Butler $300,000 to have his gang kidnap Martin, but Butler wants one million.

Camellion and his "Blood Bone Unit" go to the House of Pandemonium in San Francisco. While two agents pose as customers, the Death Merchant and two other men walk right into the club with fake FBI identification and go upstairs to Butler's office. The biker asks to see the warrant and holds it up to the light. He's looking for the Department of Justice watermark - but there isn't one! He yells that the men are imposters! Camellion and his two partners pull their weapons and fire, before retreating back down the hallway. They make it outside to the waiting van, but are pointed out to the cops by a nightclub employee (a "brill-o-head" that works in the kitchen). They elude the cops because Camellion unloads (from a secret tank in the van) a bunch of Superslick, a chemical compound that the cops' cars' wheels slip on while negotiating a corner, leading to a crash.

The focus then shifts to a "safe house" in a funeral home where the DM and some others discuss a file on Willis Colturvane, owner of the Big Green Mountain Outdoor Supply Company. Camelllion saw a file related to Colturvane in the nightclub office and figures that since he's got ties to the biker gang, he's probably knows something about the KGB and the microprocessor. Because why would that important information be comparmentalized? So after the Death Merchant works his magic in disguising himself and three others as "PLO terrorists", they go to the Majestic Mall to kidnap him. Things go somewhat awry - and Rosenberger spends way too much time describing the layout of the store and back rooms, which ends up being completely irrelevant information - but they make it out with Colturvane (whose name changes in this chapter to Coultervane).

Camellion learns that there is an abandoned winery that is in Coultervane's wife's name - and thinks that Dr. Martin may be being held there. So it's off to the winery - but Camellion and his men are too late. Martin was there, but he has been transferred. So they settle for shooting up a bunch of pig farmers and engaging in some deadly hand-to-hand combat. (They keep one guy as prisoner and pump him for info.)

Martin is being taken by a cabin cruiser to a Soviet sub waiting in international waters. It's a shot in the dark hoping to find the surfaced sub in thousands of square miles of Pacific Ocean, but they find it! A barrage of heavy artillery destroys the yacht and rips a hole in the top of the sub - preventing it from submerging. The Death Merchant and his fellow commandos rappel down onto the Russian sub and, after dropping tear gas canisters and grenades down the hole, clamor inside. They make their way through various bulkheads and a massive fire-fight breaks out.
The Strange One had used his ear syringe to squirt DMSO and novocaine on the back of Young's neck. In less time than it takes a tornado to blow away a house made of straw, the mixture of DMSO and novocaine penetrated Young's skin and entered his blood stream. Instantly, the goof felt as if he were being turned to stone. Here, there, almost everywhere feeling fled, and he suddenly got the idea that he was looking out of eyes that, along with his head, no longer existed! The numbness reached his lower leg, then his ankles and quickly spread to his feet. Unable to maintain his balance, he toppled.

So did Nelson "Black Charlie" Widside and Max Wittenbach, the latter of whom had tried to blow away Randy Kooney with a double-barrelled shotgun. Just in time, Kooney kicked up and out with his left leg, his foot knocking the barrels upward as Wittenbach pulled both triggers. The weapon boomed, the double blast blowing two holes in the ceiling. Before Wittenbach could lower the now empty weapon, Kooney's SIG P-210 autopistol cracked twice, the two nine-millimeter slugs stabbing Wittenbach in the chest. He was kicked back against Tag Varner, who had tried to take out Max Weems with a series of karate chops, stabs and blows. Weems had grinned, spit in his face and ducked every attack. Worse for Varner, Weems had counterattacked and had just put Varner on a merry-go-round of pain with a Yon Hon Nukite four-finger spear thrust to the solar plexus. In agony, Varner now had only one hope: that Dale "The Hammer" Vasquiez, rushing in at Weems from the right, could save him. Called "The Hammer" because he preferred to fight with a small hammer in his right hand—the kind with a series of screwdrivers in the hollow handle—Vasquiez couldn't save Varner and didn't. Weems didn't waste any time. Always short-winded, he turned the Coonan mag pistol toward the wild-eyed Vasquiez and pulled the trigger. The big weapon roared, the .357 bullet stabbing Vasquiez's stomach, blowing through his spine and hitting Nelson "Black Charlie" Widside in the lower left side. Wyatt Scronce, about to blow away Black Charlie with one of his S&W .357 mag revolvers, was just as surprised as Black Charlie when the latter let out a short "OH-UHHH!" twisted his face in agony and fell. Scronce marvelled when he saw the Death Merchant take out Sid "The Sorrowful" Uffel and Billy Valerius with a series of fast kicks—a leaping left side thrust kick that caught Valerius on the jaw, then a lightning quick spin to a "Dragon-Whipping-its-Tail" kick that was aimed at Uffel's groin. But the "tail" kick, falling short, only staggered Uffel. Snorting like an angry rhinoceros, Uffel rushed the Death Merchant who let the big dummy have a flying thunder kick squarely in the stomach, his foot almost giftwrapping Uffel's stomach and part of his liver around his backbone. Shock did the rest, and pain. The world went black and "The Sorrowful" started to sag.
In the end, Dr. Martin is found dead - having been drugged by the bikers, he was likely weak and killed by the concussion from the grenades. Still, for the Death Merchant, it's a victory: "The KGB didn't get to keep Doctor Martin and we put a big dent in the Soviet apparatus that concerns itself with the products turned out in Silicon Valley."

Early in the book, a couple of right-wing interjections come out of nowhere:
"Terminate the rest," Camellion said cheerfully. "Should one word of this leak to the general public, the stink would give even more encouragement to the Soviet Union than those ignorant Catholic Bishops and their 'ban the missiles' policy that wants to leave this country defenseless."
"It's a large area, even the comparatively small part we're searching," Baxter Lincolnwell said thoughtfully, "and there are numerous civilian ships down there. Radar can't tell the difference between friend and foe."

"In this case radar seems to be like American education which maintains everyone is 'equal' in learning ability," Tensor said.

"Fuck a duck!" exclaimed Wyatt Scronce. "It was those damned crosstown buses and the lowering of standards to graduate apes that wrecked American education."
Rosenberger also includes a bunch of off-topic political stuff, then says it is completely irrelevant to the plot of the book:
"The problem is to find a way of insuring national security with minimal damage to the American business community," Camellion said. "It's easier said than done. The way it's set up now, the Commerce Department reviews between 80,000 and 90,000 export applications a year. Maybe between eight to ten thousand of these applications involve national-security considerations. Out of these, the Commerce Department asks the Pentagon to look over two or three thousand. What the Pentagon wants is complete veto power over Commerce, that is, complete control over any export from the U.S. that could conceivably endanger U.S. security. So far, the Pentagon hasn't gotten to even first base. It's all politics. American businessmen would rather make a bunk and risk a thermonuclear war than do what is logical. But none of that helps us with this particular mission."
Cathy frowned. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the present administration is being extra tough with the USSR!"

"I mean those nitwits in the Carter administration," Royall said half-angrily. "It was that moron Carter who gave the USSR the world's largest electromagnet. I forget the date9. I do remember it was Carter and his 'good ole boys' who committed that bit of stupidity. And it was Carter and his 'boy scouts' that gave the Russians—all in the name of 'peace'—a giant computer that the Soviets used for military research.'"

The Death Merchant cleared his throat, at the same time thinking that the Mercury, when it exploded at the House of Pandemonium, had not injured anyone.

"This is all very interesting," he said lazily, "but it doesn't help with our present problem."

"Four things have changed the 20th Century: the automobile, Adolf Hitler, television, and the microprocessor—a 'computer on a chip.' Not that it matters. The fifth will be a shifting of the poles in 1999. The human race—what's left of it—can then start over."
(Epigraph from Richard J. Camellion, Votaw, Texas)

"Double fudge! ... Damn him to Section B of Hades!"

"Spain was dead before the sound could even reach his ears, the big flatnosed bullet striking him in the forehead just above the bridge of the nose, the terrible force splitting open his skull the way a hammer would squash an orange."

"The telephone on the starboard wall rang. Men on the bridge or in some other part of the vessel? It's certainly not the good tooth fairy—and not the kind of fairies they have in 'Frisco either!"

"Julia Maria Uzhgorod was not a beautiful woman, yet with her slim figure, she did not appear Russian."

"Yet she did have good, well-rounded breasts, and she obviously wasn't wearing a bra, unless it was made of the finest of tissue paper which permitted her nipples to struggle furiously for freedom beneath her crepe de chine blouse." (Later, Rosenberger will describe go-go dancers shaking "their milk bars at moronic customers".)

"Look, this is a worse mess than being in the middle of a Chinese tupperware party."

"He let out a loud cry of fear and anger, but he had less chance to live than a Nazi war criminal in the middle of Tel Aviv."

"Roy Gomoll, the other Satan's Gentlemen, who had a face like a concrete mixer ..."

"Ollie Wogers almost reached Tensor before he ran into the Strange One's foot, the tip catching him squarely in his jingle-jangles."

"This is enough to make me want to pee at the moon! Pterodactyl terds! We're at a dead end!"

"While the Russians are backward when compared to the West, they have the same capacity for intelligence as any other people of the human race."

"The Russians are so stupid they think Peter Pan is something to put under the bed! ... Or study for six weeks to pass a urine test! ... [S]o stupid that he believed testicles were something found only on an octopus. ... [S]earch a lumber yard for a draft board."

"Faster than a wino reaching for a fifth of 'Sweet Lucy," the Death Merchant was inside the watch room shoving a fresh magazine into his MAC-10."

Rosenberger continues to have trouble with military time. At two different points, he has 3:00 AM and 3:15 AM as 1500 and 1515 hours.

Future Volumes: In Chapter 3, Rosenberger mentions a CIA agent who has written about the existence of Atlantis. A footnote cites DM #67, The Atlantean Horror. How far in advance was Rosenberger writing these things? This book is #58! It turns out that The Atlantean Horror will end up as #64. ... And later in the book, Rosenberger goes off on a multi-page rant about the "Soviet slave system" and says he will deal with this topic in #68, Escape From Gulag Taria (which will be published as #67).

November 15, 2015

Death Merchant #57: The Romanian Operation

Freedom Run

The breathtaking but treacherous mountains of Romania become a deadly arena of intrigue. RSBK head, General Ion Gheorghe Constantriescu, wants to defect to the United States, and only the Death Merchant can get him out of the isolated Soviet bloc country. Two minor obstacles, however: Constantriescu will only leave Romania with his wife, a fiercely loyal Russian KGB agent assigned to spy on her husband. And the General's organization is doing its damndest to capture the Death Merchant.

Chances for success are extremely slim, like "trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube", as Camellion assesses the situation. But with a little help from a handful of Romanian freedom fighters, a monastery of Jesuit priests, a top-secret aircraft, and a deadly arsenal of weapons, the master of cunning and disguise plots an extraordinary kidnapping and escape.


The back cover of The Romanian Operation plainly lays out the task for Richard Camellion: get General Constantriescu and his family out of the country. It will be a tough task, as Romania is completely surrounded by other Communist countries: the Soviet Union to the north and east, Bulgaria to the south, and Hungary and Yugoslavia to the west.

The Death Merchant is in Bucharest with fellow agent JoAnn Jackson, in disguise and posing as an elderly German couple: Professor Hans Hermann Bach and his wife Greta. They are roused from their hotel bed by six armed agents of the Romania Brosko Stramosesc Kibuyturii (RSBK). With multiple guns drawn on him, Camellion fakes a heart attack, then springs into action "with such speed that the human eye could not follow his movements". They kill the RSBK agents and escape. After stealing a car, they transfer to public transportation and during the streetcar ride to the Zimbor Doll Factory, Camellion ponders his latest assignment.

Constantriescu wants to defect to the United States, but he insists that his wife Sonya and his two children be taken out of Romania with him. At a couple of points in the book, Camellion wonders what information Constantriescu could possess that would be so important to the U.S. Author Joseph Rosenberger never returns to this thread and so we never learn why the CIA undertook this dangerous operation.

A plan is formed to kidnap Constantriescu. Knowing that he suffers from arthritis and visits the hot springs at Baile Herculane a few times a year, someone is able to (slightly) poison him so he has leg pain and heads to the baths. He and his wife are stopped along the road by the Death Merchant and his crew and kidnapped. (The two children are left to fend for themselves, it seems.)

While in the custody of the Death Merchant, they travel to a few different spots, including hiding in a few rooms hidden under the stone floor of the Moldevita Monastery, founded in 1466. They hope that a special U.S. military plane - across between a jet and a helicopter - can land on the monastery's grounds and whisk them away. Unbeknownst to the Death Merchant, there is a hidden transmitter in Sonya Constantriescu's handbag and the local militia is able to pinpoint their location. By the time Camellion finds the transmitter, it is too late.

They battle the RSBK and escape from the monastery through a tunnel - and make their way through the Alps to a cave known to the local group helping them. It is stocked with food and blankets. However, they must return to the monastery to be air-lifted out of Romania. (While walking through the snowy canyon, Camellion experiences a bit of deja vu about being in a similar canyon "in another land, in another time, and as another person". (I have no idea what Rosenberger is getting at here. Also, he seems to get confused in his narrative: "Camellion moved through the snow ... each step an effort, for the snow was heavy. Fortunately, it was dry and not all that heavy.")

They make their way back to the monastery and have one final battle before being taken away to safety - lifting off just as RSBK reinforcements arrive. The book ends as the men (and one woman) escape. All we know is that in two weeks, Camellion would be in California, for his next mission.

Rosenberger's political and social rants return in this volume, with a strong focus on the evils of U.S. immigration. (Any and all typos are in the original.)
Prahova's large eyes blinked rapidly behind the large plastic frame of his glasses. He said calmly, "I was referring to the United States being the only nation in the world—that I know of—that works against its own national interests. I don't think you can disagree with me. ... The United States policy of immigration ... Any kind of people can get into the United States. You admit any and all of them, even people who cannot read and write. For that reason the United States is no longer the great power it used to be. Your nation's present deterioration stems from its loss of racial homogeneity and racial consciousness and from the the alienation of most of your citizens."

Called out Hisamic, pulling a board from the top of a crate, "Your government is doing nothing about the millions pouring across its southern border. Some months ago one of your national news magazines called in a 'Brown Horde' that is costing your taxpayers millions.2 It is a pity that Americans have yet to learn what we Europeans have known for centuries: that no multi-racial society can be a healthy society. The United States government has made itself a laughing stock with its theory of 'equality.' All men are not equal in ability and morality, and to attempt to push all men forward on a broad front only succeeds in bringing down all standards. Do you disagree with me, my friends?" ...

FN2: 18.5 percent of undocumented women of Mexican descent, living in Los Angeles and interviewed after giving birth at county hospitals, said their families received welfare.
Rosenberger then shatters the fourth wall, listing a bunch of unsourced claims - not in a footnote, but in the narrative:
In a study of illegal aliens in New York City who had been caught, 13 percent of the Haitians and 29 percent of the Dominicans said they were receiving unemployment insurance.

A California survey found that nearly 25 percent of illegal aliens received unemployment benefits.

An Illinois survey suggests that illegals collect more than $50-million in unemployment benefits from that state; and that 46-51 percent of illegal aliens apply for unemployment benefits.

The above is from the 10-6-82 Phoenix Gazette, and was reproduced in the Daily News Digest, whose editor stated that "This is a natural result of a welfare state. Consider what we Americans are going to see when economic and political unrest in Mexico drives millions more people across the border into the United States!"
Later, Camellion offers his thoughts on the idea of "racism" (and, of course, immigration):
JoAnn Jackson laughed softly and looked at the Death Merchant. "You sound like a racist," she mocked. "I always thought you believed in the salvation of all men."

Ignoring her scathing sarcasm, Camellion hooked a thumb into the handkerchief pocket of his tweed sports jacket.

"'Racism' doesn't mean closing one's eyes to reality," he said. "I don't pay the expenses of other ranchers in Texas, where I live. Why should I help pay the expenses of aliens, for people who aren't even U.S. citizens? This is government-enforced 'charity.' Defenders of such a policy only kid themselves when they say it's the 'American way.' Nonsense. Charity cannot be orchestrated by any government without the will of the people—and find me a single American who wants part of his taxes to go for the support of people who don't even have a right to be here? And we must remember the kind of people who come to our shores, with the exception of Europeans and the Japanese. Your more skilled, intelligent and successful citizens of the countries stay where they are. It is the less fortunate, the less skilled and the less educated that come into 'Welfare America' for whatever they can get. Some of them do pull themselves up. The vast majority do not. They end up on welfare roles and, as President Reagan says—and I believe it is true—there are jobs out there available to those who have skills. The illegal aliens don't have any skills. . . ."
It's unclear how Camellion pays for "the expenses for aliens", since in earlier books, he proudly states that he pays no taxes on the $100,000 he receives for each mission.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) receives particular condemnation:
With his plate, Chris Ankers had sat down at another table and was saying to Josef Hisamic in a friendly voice, "I agree with what you and Stefan said about American society being fragmentated. The American people would like to kick out every parasitic spic. They can't because of self-serving politicians who kiss the ass of every minority group in order to get votes. No doubt if two Martians landed, the politicians would kiss their butts too, then ask the little green men to vote for them."

"There's more to it than that," said Mund, filling his plate. "It's all the bullshit 'freedom' organizations and the do-gooders—like Catholic priests and bishops—who are constantly butting into politics. The worst of the lot is the ACLU—the American Civil Libery Union. The ACLU is all for the 'undocumented worker' and adores common criminals. Your wife can be raped and your children's throats cut by some piece of scum. The ACLU will be right on the spot, making sure that the trash gets his 'rights.' They'll give all sorts of excuses—the criminal was 'poor' or he was 'abused' in childhood or whatever. Naturally the ACLU is against the death penalty.4 Yes sir, the ACLU has a positive genius for coddling the worst kind of criminal."

FN4: In Arizona the ACLU is even against roadblocks to stop drunk drivers! The fact that such roadblocks save lives is of no concern to the ACLU.
Switching on the noise filter of the set, Camellion gave a low chuckle. "The Russian pig farmers have always reminded me of the American Civil Liberties Union in my country, the good old ACLU that is helping wreck American society."

Hisamic's face darkened with concern. "Surely this ACLU in your land can't be compared to the viciousness of the Russians?"

"Not to Soviet viciousness—No. To Russian hypocrisy—yes. For example, my government is thinking of passing a Family Protection Act, a bill that would help to make the family more of a unit and protect the morals of children. Believe it or not, the ACLU is dead set against this bill. Their reason is that the bill, if passed, would deny U.S. taxpayer monies from being used in colleges for the study of homosexuality. But at the same time, the ACLU is opposed with a passion to little children saying a single prayer in schools! In short, it's fine with the ACLU to spend federal bucks for perversion and unnatural sex acts, but a 'crime' to fund any activity that even remotely relates to religion."

"Their attitude is wrong," Hisamic said simply.

"Of course their attitude is wrong. The ACLU also has it all backward when it comes to crime. They say that if it's true that you can judge a civilization by the state of its prisons, then the U.S. is in 'deep trouble.' The truth is that you can judge a civilization by the kind of maniacs who run around free and are not in prison! And if any organization has helped to keep the trash and the scum and the crazies on the streets, it's the ACLU!"
Camellion is clearly confused in his thinking. At one point he says he doesn't want any of his taxes to be used for anything religious, but then he gets upset that the ACLU doesn't want federal money (i.e., tax money) used for anything religious.

One of Rosenberger's biggest bugaboos (judging from what he editorializes about in these books) is that U.S. politicians bend over backwards to give black people "extra rights". Here he gets so worked up, he's typing in ALL CAPS!! During their time in the monastery's hidden rooms, Sonya Constantriescu says, "None of you terrorists—nor you Ion—will ever reach the nigger-loving United States—never!"
"Tch, tch, tch, such racism!" mocked JoAnn. "But that's par for you Communists. You preach equality for all; yet you're against blacks."

"We Communists have more sense than to think black apes and savages can be 'equal' in anything. In your country, a nigger can commit crimes and scream 'racism' when he's caught.3 The pity of it is that your nigger-loving government listens to him. Lenin was right. Germany did militarize herself out of existence. England expanded herself into being a third rate power, and the United States will eventually put itself out of existence by pampering to savages and the world's trash."

FN3: An exaggeration, to be sure; yet there is an element of truth to Sonya's statement. For example, in 1982, five blacks gang-raped a thirteen-year-old girl in a park in Bexley, a Columbus, Ohio suburb. The two young white boys with the girl were forced to commit oral acts with the girl, and then forced to fellate the blacks.
After the five blacks were arrested and brought to trial, the NAACP screamed "discrimination!" Blacks charged that a "big deal" was being made because the defendants "are black" and the rape victim was "white." "Why, they consider us animals," said the blacks. . . . From the Columbus Citizen-Journal.
In December of 1982, when a black was executed for murder in Texas, after FIVE SOLID YEARS OF APPEALS, the American Civil Liberties Union maintained that the condemned's rights had been "violated" because HE HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL! It is this kind of illogical thinking that is destroying the fabric of American society.
As usual, in none of these conversations does anyone put forth much of a contrary viewpoint. (Also, we have no way of verifying the accuracy of Rosenberger's reporting.) Perhaps a character might quibble with one or two strands of thought, but even then, he is generally forced to admit that most of what the bigoted speaker says is right.

An amusing note: On page 146, we are told that Camellion "considered racial jokes a mark of stupidity"!


Camellion "had been born with a memory that was 99.9 percent photographic. He could read a page and remember it almost word for word ten years later, including the number of the page, the title of the book, and its author."

"Damn! Double fudge and curly, crinkly crap!"

The CIA was "as suspicious of General Constantriescu as a KKK member at a NAACP convention".

"Camellion wasn't the type of man one could question, even subtly. He was a loner. Open your mouth the wrong way to him and all you'd get would be the fuzzy end of the lollipop."

"Well, crunch my corn!"

"This makes as much sense as Liz Taylor going to the Midwest on a 'peace' mission."

"Feeling like a black man being forced to sing 'White Christmas' at gunpoint, Camellion watched Prahova who continued to count the pegs ..."

"He stared at the large hole that the 88mm missile had torn in the north wall. As empty as the head of a fundamentalist."

"Death was the same as entering into another country were [sic] the customs are different and the language strange—Sort of like living in California!"

At one point, Rosenberger includes the footnote: "Although this is a work of fiction, the names are real." The book includes a "Special Dedication to: Miron G. Badrokov (the real "Stefan Prahova" - who did escape from Romania)".

October 25, 2015

Death Merchant #56: Afghanistan Crashout

Rescue Mission

"With the help of Allah," a handful of fanatic Afghanistan freedom fighters plan an all-out attack on the Soviet high command in the mountain city of Kabul. But the odds are staggering: The Russians have twenty thousand crack troops and the most sophisticated weaponry; the rebels are poorly organized, and still depend on knives for fighting and carrier pigeons for communication. Everyone, including the rebels, thinks that the attack will probably be a suicide mission. Even the Death Merchant has his doubts.

But the CIA needs Richard Camellion to get two key Western spies out of the Soviet-controlled Central Prison in Kabul, a hellhole of inhuman slaughter and torture. Only the Death Merchant could attempt such a daring rescue, but even he'll have to use more than just his great cunning and deadly firepower to pull this one off.


Richard Camellion is in Afghanistan ("the hillbilly haven of Asia", according to author Joseph Rosenberger), with a group of Shi'a Muslims led by Khair Bahauddin Ghazi. As noted on the back cover, the Death Merchant is trying to reach the Central Prison in Kabul and rescue two agents who were inadvertently swept up in a mass arrest.

Ghazi and his tribe are fighting the Russians, who have invaded Afghanistan (as they did for real in late 1979; this book was published in August 1983). The Death Merchant and three others - Rod Hooppole, Ghazi's son Ismail, and another Afghan - have been hiking for two weeks on their way to the prison when they spy a Russian mine-laying unit, complete with armoured cars and grenade launchers. Ghazi wants to attack the Russians and basically taunts Camellion into going along with his seemingly suicidal scheme. (Of course, all of the Russians are wiped out.)

Back at the complex of caves in the lower hills of the Karakorum mountain range, Ghazi reveals his big plan: to attack the city of Kabul in three weeks and drive the Soviet forces out. Ghazi has been amassing men and weapons on the outskirts of the city for awhile. Camellion thinks this idea is pure suicide; the Afghans' methods are so rustic, they rely on human runners and carrier pigeons for communication. (Yet, the CIA is supplying them with weapons.*) Ghazi agrees with Camellion to a point, admitting that while he expects to triumph, he'll likely lose 80% of his 7,000-mujahideen fighting force.

* The US is doing this covertly, of course. Rosenberger says that is because the US does not want to trigger WWIII. (But wouldn't the Russians already know (or deeply suspect) from whom the Afghans are getting their weapons?) Ghazi says that the US should care deeply about what happens in Afghanistan: "The Soviet Union's invasion of our country is a major international disaster which in the long run will adversely affect the United States." In this, Rosenberger was quite prescient.

As they are discussing the Kabul mission, they receive word that Soviet helicopters and tanks are approaching the base. First, the town of Bashawal is destroyed, reduced to smoking rubble. ("The Cosmic Lord of Death descended on Bashawal.") The Afghans fire some RPGs and destroy five of the copters. Close to 400 Russian troops begin to advance up a hill - and the Afghans hold their fire, waiting until the Russians advance far enough that a retreat is impossible. Camellion orders the Afghans to charge - the "brain-washed Russian goofs" have walked right into a trap! An epic firefight erupts, a battle that is big enough to be saved for the end of the book. Rosenberger describes the shooting and hand-to-hand combat in his usual overly descriptive way, informing us of the paths the many slugs take through human bodies.

After the fight, approximately 100 people begin the long march to Kabul (190 kilometers), most of it through the Hindu Kush mountains. At some point, Camellion feels that the mission "is no longer feasible", that the attack on Kabul will surely fail and the chances of rescuing the two men in the prison are next to nil; he wants to be helicoptered out when a supply drop is made. The CIA doubles his usual $100,000 fee and for that reason and some others that are not too clear, the Death Merchant agrees to continue. The march continues through the Nuristan region, and past a communication center in Failiya (which apparently is in Iran); they traverse a huge gorge known as Aknib Limok (fictional) and encounter an encampment of Kuchis. A week later, they are at the ruins of Shahri-i-Chulghula (also fictional (or misspelled)).

When they make it to the Zaranj plain, on the outskirts of Kabul, where the CIA will make the weapons/supplies drop, they are once again attacked by Soviet helicopters. This assault is over very quickly, though, as the mujahideen fire Stinger missiles and blow the pig farmers' "eggbeaters" out of the sky.

While drawing up the plans to attack the seemingly impregnable Central Prison from all four sides, Rosenberger goofs on military time yet again. It is daylight at 0400, someone asked if darkness will be a problem at 1500, and 1500 is also referred to as "three o'clock in the morning".

Afghanistan Crashout ends when Camellion et al. kill all of the prison guards and free the captives. We hear about the Afghans' subsequent attacks on the Soviet headquarters and airbase in a one-page Aftermath. They did not succeed and nearly 4,000 mujahideen were killed. But Camellion's mind is elsewhere, as the men hike out of Afghanistan to be picked by helicopter in India. (One of the two jailed agents that Camellion was trying to rescue died in his cell before the Death Merchant arrived; the second one dies in his sleep during the trek to India, two days after being rescued.) The Death Merchant will fly first to London and then on to Romania for his next mission.

Like the last few DM volumes, this book was a real slog in some places. Rosenberger's goofiness from the earliest books is long gone, and you really get the sense that he saw the series at this point as a job, and perhaps not a very pleasant one. While he still includes a ton of research (which is sometimes interesting, though it's hard to know if any of it is fictional) and will occasionally offer a poetic turn of phrase, often when describing the climate or specific terrain, Rosenberger's narrative is overly serious; there is a heaviness to the book. Rosenberger puts a lid on the usual discussions of politics in this book, though Camellion does muse that the internal collapse of the United States is "right around the corner":
"[U]nless something was done quickly by 1990 the American transportation system would collapse. Aliens from Asia, from Mexico and Latin America had already ruined many major cities. The demise of their economy and the free enterprise system was staring the American people in the face, while lawlessness was increasing, due to Kennedy-type liberalism.1

FN1: All this was foreseen by a recent symposium with both U.S. mayors and scientists in attendance.
There is also a serious increase in gun porn, with Rosenberger taking time out to describe exactly how some weapons work:
The Death Merchant sighted down the updated M16, thinking about the RAW, the Rifleman's Assault Weapon that was designed to give all riflemen the instant capability of defeating such obstacles as concrete bunkers, walls, and armored vehicles. The system required very little training to use; it was as easy as fixing a bayonet. The man firing attaches the unit to his rifle, pulls out the safety pin and fires an ordinary cartridge at any target, using standard sights. Within a quarter of a second, the RAW is propelled from its launch frame—attached to the barrel of the rifle—and flies straight to the target in less than two seconds with zero trajectory.

The RAW's launcher frame holds a tube which is free to rotate on bearings and which contains rear vents, as well as two side vents consisting of two curved tubes that are at opposing right angles to the axis of the main tube. The projectile—it resembles a round metal ball—fits into the main tube and up against part of the main launcher support. It is this portion of the support that has a hole drilled through it which connects with the muzzle sleeve. The removal of the safety pin unblocks a firing pin at the lower end of the hole where it meets the body of the projectile. When the bullet leaves the muzzle of the rifle, some of the expanding gas flows down the launcher-tube hole and through the bracket. With the safety pin removed, the gas is free to strike the firing pin, driving it into a primer in the rear of the projectile and starting the rocket motor that drives the five inch diameter ball-projectile. As gas is expelled from the rocket, it is directed through the two right-angled tubes, causing the main tube and the "ball" to spin sixty revolutions per second. At launch, the gases are directed through the 'rear vents and diverted away from the man pulling the trigger.

The RAW warhead is armed through a conventional thrust/pin mechanism. Upon contact, the front part flattens, giving a "squash head" effect for the thirty-four ounces of TNT that explodes. The RAW is rifle munition with artillery power.
Nevertheless, I'm committed to reading the rest of the books in the series - or perhaps I should be committed for doing so. I'm already looking forward to going back in time and reading the other series Rosenberger wrote in the early-to-mid 70s (Murder Master and Kung Fu: Mace). I fully expect those books to have plenty of the humour and wackiness Rosenberger displayed in the earliest Death Merchant volumes.


Opening line: "By the big black beard of Boob McNutt, this just isn't my day!"

"Camellion aimed with all the precision of a newly married virgin bride reading a marriage manual ..."

"The Afghans are nuttier over 'macho' than the refried bean boys south of the border."

"In contrast, Mului Imu was killed outright by the eighth grenade, the hundreds of pieces of shrapnel turning him into bloody Afghanburger ..."

When the battle begins: "The show was on the road! The curtain had just gone up. But it beats being an oboe player!"

"To the Death Merchant a Russian was about equal to a spirochete, the microorganisms that cause syphilis."

"Grojean can go fly a milk bottle!"

"The Death Merchant despised communists of any nationality, disarmament freaks, people who grabbed at him, cults, and green beans - and in that order."

"Damn pig farmers! They dropped out of first grade - when they were thirty!"

"What do you get when you cross a Mexican with an octopus?" "I don't know, but you should see it pick lettuce!"

Footnote, page 80: "Richard Camellion has written three books on bare-handed kills. Two are not available to the public. The third is: Assassination: Theory & Practice. Paladin Press, P.O. Box 1307, Boulder, Colorado 80306." I have a copy of this book, which was published in 1977. Paladin published another book "written" by Camellion, Behavior Modification: The Art Of Mind Murdering, the following year. I wonder why Rosenberger didn't mention that one; perhaps because it concerns mind-control and not "bare-handed kills"?

October 11, 2015

Death Merchant #55: Slaughter In El Salvador

Revolutionary Rampage

The tiny Central American nation of El Salvador becomes a seething cauldron of blood as right wing death squads and leftist guerrillas engage in brutal warfare. Civilians die by the thousands and the fragile pro-Western government teeters on the brink of collapse.

The turmoil is an opportunity for Moscow - and a deadly challenge for the Death Merchant. Wanting neither a Moscow stooge or a bloody dictator in power, the US assigns Richard Camellion to terminate the crazed leaders of each extremist faction.

Luck won't be enough, the Death Merchant will need all the firepower he can get - because his mission will put him in the middle of a jungle holocaust.


At the end of the last "incredible" Death Merchant adventure, Richard Camellion asked H.L. Kartz if he'd like to accompany him to El Salvador on his next mission. Kartz - a Hitler-loving nihilist - said yes, and as the two men (along with Wilbur Fainn) are sneaking through a coffee plantation on an assignment to terminate the six leaders of the right-wing terrorist group, Escuadron de la Muerte (Squadron of Death), the racist Kartz is going on about how "this Central American tortilla trash is only one step above the gooks in Vietnam". Charming.

The Death Merchant's mission in Slaughter in El Salvador is to wipe out the six high-level leaders of the Sandinistas, as well as a handful of top Cuban and Russian officials, at a meeting in Managua. The Death Merchant and a force of five are in disguise as KGB officials (Camellion's alias is Colonel Viktor Maikop Kizhnatsky) who are supposedly late for the meeting. They get ushered up to the fourth floor conference room in the National Institute for Agrarian Reform and commence firing as soon as possible. The slaughter is over fairly quickly - the men at the table have no time to draw their weapons - and then it's a battle with the building's guards as the Death Merchant et al. head to the seventh floor and then to the roof, where a helicopter will be waiting to carry them to safety.

Before that, there is a trek into the Mountains de Huapi with members of the Paribundo Marti National Liberation Front (who are also fighting the "Sandys") and various shoot-outs that all seem like killing time (and filling pages) before crashing the big Managua meeting. At one point, one of the El Salvadorians tells Camellion that he is sick of hearing Kartz's racist opinions. The Death Merchant is of little help: "Racism is a tricky word that has many meanings to many people. ... I don't agree or disagree with what he said ... I will say this: any man who thinks all races are equal in abilities is an idiot."

Early in the book, author Joseph Rosenberger offers a short explanation of how the United States government "has always meddled in Central America":
As far back as 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt issued the "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, declaring that the United States was entitled to police Central America.

U.S. troops were sent to Honduras in 1911 to protect American business interests and property. Between 1912 and 1933, U.S. Marines periodically fought Nicaraguan peasant rebels whose fanatical resistance made Washington worry about "Bolshevik" influence close to the Panama Canal. Before the Marines left they had established a National Guard that soon placed Anastasio Somoza Garcia in power and created a dynasty that lasted almost fifty years.

Then there was Guatemala! mused the Death Merchant. In 1954 Washington helped overthrow the Guatemalan government. Well, D.C. didn't have much of a choice. Not only had President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman expropriated property belonging to the United Fruit Company, but his wife, being a communist, had other agrarian reforms in mind. Those two idiots should have known better than to try to buck American Big Business.

Aided by the CIA, Guatemalan exiles invaded their homeland and overthrew Arbenz.

And here we are in El Salvador, trying to convince "God's Forgotten" that we only want to help!
It's a blunt history lesson I didn't expect from Rosenberger, who from all appearances was extremely conservative. Rosenberger even castigates President Ronald Reagan for giving tax breaks to the rich. Fainn refers to Kartz as "the Rolls-Royce of hit men" and then states (complete with footnote!):
"You now, speaking of Rolls-Royces, I suppose you know how our dear President—he who loves the poor!—has handed Rolls-Royce owners a tax break, giving them seventy grand tax-break rebates—two-thirds of the purchase price of their jazzy jalopies. A working stiff has to depend on his own wallet, but a rich guy can buy a new Rolls and Uncle Sam will save him seventy thousand dollars.7

7: Fact.
In Rosenberger's world, there is always time - even during the most tense part of a mission - for a discussion/argument about the evils of religion:
"God help us all!" breathed Leon Sunol, squeezing the fingers of his right hand. "It will be only with the help of the Almighty that we get out of this alive."

Kartz lit a cigarette. "You mean it will be with the help of firepower," he said with a sneer out of the corner of his mouth. "You can leave out God and his holy joes. In fact, it's the holier-than-thou morons and their unrealistic ideals who are making it easy for the Russians, not only in the U.S., but down here in Central America. If you spi— if you people down here had brain one, you'd boot out all the ministers and priests, and that includes the so called lay missionaries who are working with the rebels and their 'noble cause.'"

"You're really something, H.L.," exclaimed Fainn. "It seems to me that every time you bump your gums together you're castigating someone or something. Don't you ever have anything good to say?"

Kartz gave Fainn a You-dumb-banjo-butt look. "I say it how it is. Those who can't stand the heat of reality can get the hell out and hide in the cooler of unreality. That's what the Jesus boys and girls are doing—helping communist revolutionaries and thinking they're 'serving God' and doing 'His will.' The idiots! How in hell do they know what God wants!"

"He's right." The Death Merchant came to Kartz's defense, not so much because he liked the man and admired his professional kill ability, but because he respected truth in any form. "I'll give an example. The nuclear-freeze movement and the phony peace drive are inspired and directed from Moscow. The Soviet-controlled World Peace Council works with American groups to promote disarmament. The nuclear freeze program, for example, has been coordinated by the American Friends Service Committee under its disarmament program. This outfit is active with the World Peace Council. It was also the American Friends Service Committee that helped found the U.S. Peace Council."

The Death Merchant went on, "All over Central America and South America, priests and Protestant ministers are helping Communist especially the damned Jesuits. In fact, the Jesuits are so bent on overthrowing governments that the Pope has told them in no uncertain terms to stay out of local politics; and the damn fools think they are doing it in the cause for 'peace.'"

Kartz blew cigarette smoke toward the sky, then snarled, "You know what 'peace' means to the Soviets? It means the killing of all opposition to Soviet-dominated territories, whether it's by mass murder as in Afghanistan, by slow starvation and overwork as in their own Gulags, or by random terrorist attacks as in the target populations of Latin America and Africa." He tossed away his cigarette and practically glared at the Death Merchant. "Or we going to sit here and gab, or get on with it?"
Remarkably calm as he always was when the Cosmic Lord of Death was close by, Richard Camellion was not interested in the glories of Managua. Every nation has its "beautiful" cities with all their past and present "glories," their monuments and "sacred" places that its people cherish—and that in a twinkling of an eye can be turned into dust. It was all relative, all meaningless when viewed within the framework of reality—If the sun turned into a nova tomorrow and this planet evaporated, not the tiniest wave of discontent would ripple through even our own galaxy, much less the Universe. In less than thirty years, Managua would be nothing but rubble, its buildings deserted, most of its people dead and scattered throughout the jungle. And so will New York, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, and all the rest of the "great" cities of the world. But the THEN does not have anything to do with the NOW!

So far, he reflected, they had not encountered any difficulty. The drop-off at Pedro Melgarejo's small farm had gone as scheduled. They had spent a restless night and had left the farm on schedule. Not once had any Sandinista, or group of Sandys, stopped the jeep to ask the occupants for identification, none of which surprised Camellion. Other Sandinistas, seeing Sunol, Dorticos and Tristaban in similar uniforms, assumed everyone in the jeep belonged there and that the vehicle was on some official errand.

The jeep was soon skirting the guajiros barrio, a tremendous district of dilapidated houses, the poor section that was soon far to the rear as Tristaban turned onto the Autopista, the wide highway that would take them to the Avenida Andres, the long tree-lined boulevard that moved through the center of the city and divided it into the east and the west sections.

Traffic increased as they moved deeper into the city . . . a trickle of traffic, the kind one would find in Moscow, or Warsaw, or any city in any communist country. The automobiles were also similar to the vehicles one would find in a nation in the pig-farmer bloc—small East German and Czech cars. There weren't, however, any Soviet-built vehicles. Another difference was that there were quite a few American cars on the streets, these having been imported before the revolution.

Ricardo Tristaban called back in a loud voice, "Americanos, see how few cars there are? This is due not only to a lack of gasoline, but to a total lack of turistas. Rush hour used to be a bullfight in the streets with every car a blaring beast and every pedestrian a toreador. Not even the sidewalks were safe. All that has changed. People are afraid. At night the streets are deserted."

"Si, even the prostitutes have been driven out of business," said Leon Sunol. "Ironically, driving out the prostitutes is the only social good the Sandinistas have accomplished, and then it was unintentional."

Emilio Dorticos said, "So far they have not put any restrictions on religion. They have expelled many foreign priests and ministers. So far it's nothing like what is taking place in El Salvador where they're murdering the Religious left and right!"

Those weird "laughing" noises from Kartz. "Yeah, both the Left and the Right are knocking off the holy joes and janes."

"With the communists, religious liberty never lasts long," said Leon Sunol. "What kind of a nation can you have without religious freedom?"

And often . . . what kind of a nation do you have WITH religious freedom? The Death Merchant recalled the words of Lucretius: "How suasive is religion to our bane."

"Religious freedom" seems to be on par with stupidity, hyprocrisy, and brutality . . . with opponents of abortion committing arson against abortion clinics, and kidnaping and threatening death against those who disagree with them—all in the name of Jesus!

With opponents of the prayer-in-school amendment being reviled, threatened, and their patriotism impugned—all in the name of Jesus!

With books being banned by dangerous, uneducated boobs who tell us that God cannot stand Kurt Vonnegut!

I wonder what kind of God these people have? I wonder what kind of people are these, these screaming and raving Bible thumpers, these twentieth century Torquemadas who, with their inquisition of hate, are so quick to curse, so slow to forgive, so in love with compulsion, and so very ignorant of the very Bible in which they so fervently believe; these moronic sadists who could rationalize the worst moral crimes by saying it was "God's will" . . . who could totally ignore the real teachings of Jesus, who told his followers to pray in private . . . the same Christ who praised the publican's quiet prayer in the shadow over the Pharisee's public display of righteousness, who said religious acts should not be ostentatious, should almost be done on the sly, so that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing!

On the sly!
The Death Merchant wanted to vomit. Modern religion in the United States was a symphony of loud noise, with screaming and screeching of "The Word," on television and radio productions aimed at the gullible millions—all of it orchestrated by legal con artists with an eye on the Almighty dollar.

I rather suspect God finds it hardest to hear prayers that are boomed from loudspeakers!
Camellion is referred to early in the book as "an amateur paleontologist", and none of Rosenberger's research goes to waste:
The escape corridor was not a straight shot to the canyon. It was not built like a railroad tunnel. To the contrary, the passage twisted and turned, often at very sharp angles; nor were the roof and the floor evenly spaced from each other. In some places the rock overhang was as much as thirty feet above the floor, in other places no more than six feet. There were no stalactites or stalagmites. There was only the dark ceiling, the floor strewn with rocks and the jagged walls of metamorphic strata with large cavities known as vugs; yet within the light of high intensity flashlights, "Night Blaster" lanterns and spot Q-beams, Camellion could see that within the walls were embedded the skulls of primitive birds, the bones of ganoids and placoderms, dinosaur vertebrae, wing bones of pterodactyls, and the bones of archaic mammals such as Xiphodons, palaeotheres, Eohippi, titanotheres, pinoeshemes, and Oreodons. ...

The Death Merchant saw that the far rim of the canyon, half a kilometer away to the east, was four hundred feet from the floor, all sides wild and primitive. On the canyon floor were bluffs and broad washes, interlaced with steep weedy slopes thick with tangled grass, cactus, and scrub. The bare surfaces that could be seen revealed an absence of Archaean and primordial strata, most of the rocks being Jurassic and Comanchian sandstones, with now and then a glossy black outcropping that suggested a hard, poor grade coal. These were gabbros, coarse-grained igneous rocks composed of diallage and labradorite.
At last, with his mission completed, the Death Merchant thinks some deep thoughts:
It has to do with Reality, with Time. If our future is predetermined, our every act is determined, including how and where and when we die. But who determines it? But if Time isn't a closed circle and the past, present and future aren't one, all rolled together, this means the future doesn't exist during the present and that the past is totally gone, except in memory. On the other hand, if we somehow choose our future from an infinite number of existing parallel universes, then there isn't any fixed result at any given time in any future and all possible futures exist. Precognition does exist. Does that particle of future exist at the same time that one is aware, precognitively, of that slice of future, of that specific happening? Fudge! None of this can explain a death aura.

"Fate put funny relish on our cheeseburger."

"Only one man in the second jeep had time to realize that the Cosmic Lord of Death was in their midst. He couldn't do anything about it. He could die, and did, a stream of slugs blowing open his skull like an overly ripe melon before he could even pick up his AK assault rifle."

"Porcupine poop!" ... "Camel crap!" ... "Donkey dung!" ... "Cassowary crap!"

"All four of you belong in the Who's Who of Dumb!" sneered the Death Merchant, who swung the AKM toward the doomed Sandinistas."

"'What is your name?' Stark naked vindictiveness dripped from all four words as the Death merchant let Sevilla have his most ferocious stare, stabbing him straight in the eye. For only a split second did the two men lock eyes, but that tick of time was too long for Sevilla. He didn't know what he glimpsed in the depths of those blue pools, but whatever it was the sheer malevolence, beyond time and matter, filled him with a flash of unspeakable dread and horror."

"'Hot diddly damn!' yelled Kartz—happier than a wino who had just broken into a liquor store and was looking at all the cases and shelves filled with booze."

"Give the man a tube of gold-plated Preparation H."

"The 9mm 115 grain JHP projectile stabbed into Enrique Varona ... the impact of the slug in the man's chest staggering him. Varona was still acting like a man trying to open an umbrella in his pants ..."

In each of the last half-dozen books, Rosenberger has made a passing reference to someone in California named "Rance Galloway". Rosenberger clearly does not like this guy (or his "sow-slut" wife), but Google has been no help. (I wonder if it's someone from Rosenberger's personal life.)

September 19, 2015

Death Merchant #54: Apocalypse U.S.A.!

VXB-2L6 - it's the most deadly nerve gas ever invented. In the hands of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi it could spell death for millions of Americans.

The mad Muslim strongman has sent a crack team of Libyan terrorists and East German spies to America to carry out his plan: the poisoning of the atmosphere above the east coast of the US. If the scheme succeeds there will be twenty-five million corpses - from New York to the nation's capitol - and the world will rock as World War III breaks out.

Only Richard Camellion stands to stop Qaddafi's lust for blood - but the Death Merchant's search and destroy mission is turning into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the terrorist team.


In Apocalypse, U.S.A.!, author Joseph Rosenberger once again makes Muammar Qaddafi the bad guy (see DM #s 49 and 50, in which Rosenberger referred to him as "Kaddafi"). This time, the Libyan dictator's weapon against the U.S. is nerve gas ... with a name like a Canadian postal code!

When we first see Richard "Death Merchant" Camellion at the CIA's "Black Station" near Keasbey, New Jersey, he is dressed in a "tan heather turtleneck, redwood corduroy slacks, and Padmore chukka boots", eating from a sack of carob-coated sunflower seeds. Camellion has teamed up with a variety of agents, including Hannibal Llewellyn "H.L." Kartz, who is a totally ruthless nihilist and "an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler". (Rosenberger describes nihilists as people who "have no loyalties, no culture, no religious faith, and consider themselves a law unto themselves". Which sounds not unlike the Death Merchant.)

Naturally, Kartz is a guy who runs his mouth, so he gets to litter the narrative with his conservative rants, including one with broadsides against Billy Graham, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the "leftwing trash" who protest the U.S.'s nuclear arms build-up. And while Camellion "couldn't have cared less about the pinheads in the federal government ... much of what [Kartz] said was the truth".

The book is not 40 pages old before Kartz takes part in an epic argument about Israeli aggression towards the Palestinians. (It's been hard to determine Rosenberger's personal stance on this issue, since he seems to flip-flop when bringing it up in recent DM books. In this volume, he's clearly anti-Israel.)
Ever since the Sikorsky Sea Stallion had lifted off from the naval station, Kartz had been in a heated debate with Daren Givens over Israel, Kartz maintaining that the Israelis were ruthless assassins who murdered innocent Arabs, men, women, and children—that "There are many thoughtful Jews—in Israel and in the U.S.—who feel that the wrong damn bunch is running Israel these days, whipping up hatred for the Arabs that is more typical of the most primitive political systems of the Middle East and not at all characteristic of the hopes of the majority of Zionists who struggled to establish and build Israel."

Sergeant Givens, a young, husky blond who was pro-Israel, maintained stoutly that the Israelis—"They're three million surrounded by one hundred million"—had a moral right to defend themselves, that "What the hell do you think we Americans would do if the Mexes were firing at us from across the Texas border? You know what we'd do! We'd go into chili-land and make short work of the greasers!"

Neither Camellion nor Captain Glen W. Griffith, the commander of the ten SEAL Force 1 antiterrorist commandos, intervened. Why should they? Kartz and Givens were grown men. Besides, the loud discussion—with Kartz moving his arms like the blades of a windmill in a strong wind—within the partially soundproof chopper took the minds of the other men off the deadly danger into which they were flying.

"You don't seem to consider what Yasir Arafat and the PLO have sworn to do!" Givens yelled at Kartz, who was sitting across the aisle. "Push every Israeli into the sea. And that means kill every Israeli! It was the PLO that blew up a busfull of Israeli children. What the hell do you expect the Israelis to do, send the sonsabitches a thank-you note?"

"Don't worry! The Israelis got even," sneered Kartz. "Last summer when they invaded Lebanon, they killed ten thousand civilians and created more than half a million homeless refugees. They even used cluster bombs on civilians. This doesn't surprise anyone who knows Ariel Sharon, who led the Israeli force. He's a tyrant who intimidates even that little runt Begin!"

"I think Sharon is a damned good general," ground out Givens. "He sure beat the piss out of the PLO and the Syrians."

"He's also a sadist. He's the joker who ordered his troops to snuff twelve Arabs in retaliation for the murder of an Israeli woman and her two children. After twelve were gunned down, Sadist Sharon still wasn't satisfied, so he had forty-six Arab houses blown up while the Arabs were still inside. Sixty-nine Arabs were killed, most of them women and children.1 Need I say more about Israel's defense minister?"

"Make your point! Make your point!"

"I'm saying that what happened months ago in Lebanon can easily be understood when one realizes that Begin and Sharon believe that pure violence can destroy an idea and terrorize a people—in this case the Palestinians."

Sergeant Givens thought for a moment and hooked his thumbs over the pouched cartridge belt around his waist. Then he said, "I suppose you'll say next that the PLO hasn't been killing innocent Israelis! What about that?"

"I didn't say that," growled Kartz. "Hell yes the Arabs knock off Israelis—and that's murder. But they don't kill on the scale that the Israelis kill. Killing is Menachem Begin's trademark! His savage record goes all the way back to the 1940s, when a group of prominent American Jews wrote a letter protesting Begin's visit to the U.S. He was then the leader of some Jewish party in Palestine. I forget the magazine the letter appeared in.2 But it was Begin and his terrorist group that blew up the King David Hotel—almost a hundred: people were killed—and ordered terrorist assaults on Arab villages, including the massacre at Dar Yasin."3

All this time, Pini Hilleli had stayed out of the discussion between Kartz and Sergeant Givens. Now he said, unexpectedly, "As a former Israeli, sergeant, I can tell you that he's right about Begin. Only several years ago, Begin wrote in an Israeli magazine that the slaughter at Dar Yasin was not only justified but necessary, that without it there would never have been a state of Israel!"

"Exactly," Kartz said with satisfaction. "And now Begin and Sharon—his chief 'hit man'—are slaughtering thousands of Arab civilians to crush the Palestinian spirit, the same kind of spirit that fires up Zionists like them."

"Begin's logic is really fascinating," Hilleli said, grinning as if he were about to tell a joke. "If an Israeli shoots up Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Mosque and kills Arabs—well, he's crazy. But no nation bombed Israel for it! On the other hand, if an Arab gunman kills an Israeli, then U.S. supplied Israeli bombers rain cluster-bomb death on Lebanon. No insult intended toward you men, but the biggest suckers are you Americans!"

Kartz's grin was from ear to ear.

Sergeant Givens made an angry face. "How do you figure that?"

"Look what Begin did right after his army finished with blowing hell out of Lebanon. He flew to Washington and demanded that the record 1980 two-and-a-half billion-dollar aid to Israel be upped to three billion. Begin makes you American taxpayers pay twice—first for Israel's brutal assault on Lebanon and then for the relief of Lebanon's suffering people. You should ask your Congress who runs this nation—Begin or the Reagan administration?"

1 True—this took place in 1953.

2 True. On December 4, 1948, the New York Times ran a letter signed by twenty-eight of America's most respected Jews, including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook, and Rabbi Jessurun Cardozo. The letter protested the visit of Menachem Begin, then leader of the Herut party, described as "closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties." The signers were worried that Begin would collect money and support, thus creating the impression that "a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel." The signers cited Begin's terrorist acts and espousal of "ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority." (Italics mine.)
[Rosenberger used italics on the three quotes]

3 True. The massacre occurred April 10, 1948. Dar Yasin was an Arab village whose residents lived on good terms with Jews. But Begin's Irgun terrorists wanted to occupy Dar Yasin for strategic purposes. The terrorists, led by Begin, attacked with rifles, machine guns, grenades, and even cutlasses—later seen dripping with blood. Some 241 men, women, and children were butchered. Twenty men were led off in chains and actually paraded like cattle through Jerusalem's Jewish sector, then lined up against a wall and shot. Begin later bragged that the horror at Dar Yasin caused seven hundred thousand Arabs to flee Palestine. British historian Arnold Toynbee had something else to say. He said the mass murders were "comparable to crimes committed against Jews by the Nazis."
In his attempt to kill millions of Americans with deadly nerve gas, Qaddafi has teamed up with the SSD, the East German Security Service - and three American businessmen. After weighing the pros and cons, Camellion decides to kidnap Keith Griesbeck, a wealthy Atlanta businessman who has "international connections". Camellion et al. hijack a tractor trailer delivering 23 tons of scrap metal to Big Benny Laczko's scrapyard, where Griesbeck (an old friend of Benny's) has lunch every Thursday at noon. The attempted kidnapping of Griesbeck is spread out over five chapters and the book is nearly half-over when the Death Merchant and his men lift off from the scrapyard in a helicopter with their prize.

When questioned, Griesbeck tells them he thought the Qaddafi deal was for neutron bomb secrets. He  mentions his contact - and so the Death Merchant decides to black-bag that guy. That leads to a shootout in a former brick-making factory in Brooklyn. Three East Germans are taken prisoner and they quickly blab about the Prinz Rupert, a ship that is carrying the nerve gas. It sets up a showdown with the Death Merchant and twenty SEAL commandos rappelling from two helicopters onto the enemy ship. They make their way through the vessel, killing everyone in their path. Why don't they simply sink the ship and send the nerve gas to the bottom of the ocean? Because Uncle Sam wants to grab the deadly gas and add it to its own chemical weapon stockpile!

Throughout the book, Rosenberger touches on his usual political and social topics. While there is no talk in this book of the Death Merchant being able to seeing human auras - and tell by their colours which people have been marked by the Cosmic Lord of Death - there is a small bit about the angels mentioned in the Book of Genesis as actually being extraterrestrials.

And, of course, Rosenberger has Camellion muse about the end of human civilization, which the author has mentioned many times will occur before the year 2000 (this volume was published in March 1983):
Camellion suddenly thought of another irony, this one involving the mighty of the world. In reality, their power was zero! Cosmic forces were in motion, forces that would utterly transform world society within the next seventeen years, in the form of a catastrophe never before seen by modern man—One that is impossible for the average man to even conceive. Men can never face up to what they think is total oblivion!

There would be a literal shifting of the axis of the earth, and the planet would be tilted at a new angle so that the sun and the moon would appear to move in different orbits in the sky—Unless Michel de Notredame is wrong! Well, he's been right on target for hundreds of years.10

The tilt of the earth would come during World War III—a nuclear holocaust—and usher in a new age, one of peace, one that would last for a thousand years, from A.D. 2000 to A.D. 3000, after which there would be a new horror, a new evil. Only this time man would not be fooled; he would be prepared, having developed a higher spiritual consciousness. At the end of the year A.D. 7000 there would be a universal conflagration in which earth would be destroyed. The planet would vanish in fire and smoke because its purpose will have been served, the material sphere no longer needed to support the physical body of man. By then, man will have left his material body and will have become pure spirit, as he was intended to be.

10 This is Nostradamus, the only truly accurate seer the world has ever known. Here is the actual quatrain in which he predicts the change of position of the sun and the moon. Only a tilting of the earth on its axis could effect such a change. The "twentieth year" is the year 2000.
The grand twentieth year ends, also the position of the moon.
It will hold a different monarchy in the sky for another 7,000 years.
Then the sun, too, will be tired of its place.
And at that time will my prophecies for the world be ended.
Late in the book, fighting for their lives aboard the Prinz Rupert, Camellion and his force engage in some "savage eyeball-to-eyeball combat"!
"Like Raid, it kills bugs dead!" [Camellion] snarled and pulled the trigger of the AMP. The Alaskan boomed and Erich Bamberger's face and head disappeared in a flash of bones, blood, and brain that tried to shoot to the sky but made it only to the ceiling. He let the empty MAC-10 SMG drop from his left hand and, at the same time he slammed Siegfried Feuermann across the face with the long barrel of the AMP, let Horst Erzkinner have a left-legged Shito-Ryu Mae Geri Kekomi front thrust kick, a grand slam that wrapped the German's stomach around his spine and crushed vital blood vessels and arteries in the abdominal region. There was never any redemption from such a kill kick. Looking as if his features had been frozen by a blast of liquid air, the dying Erzkinner fell back and started to sag, eyes wide, arms quivering.

Muttering oaths in German, Hans Fischer grabbed Camellion's right wrist with his left hand and tried a right-handed sword chop aimed at the left side of the Death Merchant's face. Concurrently, another SSD agent rushed in from behind Camellion, intending to turn the back of his head to mush with the barrel of an empty Czech Skorpion machine pistol. Instinct and the rush of air against his back warned Camellion of the attack coming at him from the rear. Camellion exploded into action. An Ushiro Keage Geri rear snap kick with his left leg caught Alfred Groner Heine five inches below where his last meal rested and made the SSD officer think his small intestine had collided with a buzz saw. Tasting the bile that jumped up in his throat, he tried to fight the waves of agony flowing throughout his body. Losing the battle, he found himself falling backward and vaguely sensed that someone was reaching out for him. Heine couldn't have fallen into worse hands.

"Stupid! You're breathing my air," snarled H.L. Kartz. His arms flashed out in the beginning of a commando neck-breaker. His left forearm went over Heine's throat, his fingers fastening to the top of his right arm. As his left arm tightened, his right hand went to the left side of Heine's head and pressed mightily to the right. Snap! Crackle! Pop! Heine's neck snapped a few seconds after the Death Merchant used a left-handed Ippon Nukite one-finger spear thrust that caught Hans Fischer in the right side of his neck, the intense agony forcing the East German to release his hold on the Death Merchant's right wrist. Camellion could then have easily put a bullet into Fischer. But why waste a bullet on a piece of slime?

"If brains were made of leather, you wouldn't have enough to saddle a flea," laughed Camellion, who then killed the SSD man by slamming the barrel of the AMP against his left temple. ...

A man who lived life in one long gleeful rage, H.L. Kartz was having one of the prime times of his life. Like Camellion, Kartz had eyes in the back of his head and a built-in sensor that could detect personal danger from all sides. A roundhouse kick to Edwin Hemholtz's lower chest wrecked the man's xiphoid process, the fingerlike tab of cartilage hanging off the lowermost edge of the sternum, or breast bone. This is the insertion of the rectus abdominus muscle on the sternum. Any severe blow that strikes the xiphoid process while traveling upward at an angle toward the heart causes severe bruising to the liver, stomach, and heart, resulting in unconsciousness and even death. In the case of Hemholtz, Kartz's expertly delivered kick caused instant unconsciousness. The German was still falling when Kartz killed him with a right Chungdan ap chagi middle front snap-kick to the side of the neck.
While the ending of Apocalypse, U.S.A.! has plenty of the intricate fighting scenes and exquisitely-described gore that we expect from Rosenberger, it's a weak finish because Camellion snuffs out the murderous plot before it really has a chance to get off the ground. And Rosenberger relegates the discovery of the nerve gas on board the Prinz Rupert to an aside in the "Aftermath".


"[Camellion] could shoot the balls off a bee at a hundred feet." (page 16)

"Camellion could have shot the butt off a bee at a hundred feet." (page 84)

The "hawk-eyed" Death Merchant, "who could have seen a flea fly in a foggy field".

"[T]he road was deserted, the glow of the streetlights falling only on ice and snow and loneliness."

"Go kiss a hair brush."

"The well-dressed Keith Griesbeck looked so confused that the Death Merchant assumed it would have taken him two hours to watch '60 Minutes'".

"'And especially to hold off the police,' finished the Death Merchant, speaking with the sharpness of a construction boss rebuking a steel riveter who complains he's afraid of heights."

"A thin, cold wind blew snow around their legs, and there was an uncanny suggestion of invisible pipes playing an evil tune, one that suggested the terrible sadness that could only come from a city of lonely corpses."

"'You know how it is,' Kartz growled. 'Cast your bread upon the waters and you'll get a soggy sandwich every time.'"

"'I'll be happy when we're on deck,' said another man. 'Getting down the ladder is going to be more difficult than a Sioux manhood ritual.'"

"Dimirrel weighed 194 pounds and was as strong as two young camels in their prime".

"There was another reason, the biggest of all: he immensely enjoyed what he was doing. He was not alone in his love of excitement. Kartz and Chatters, Hilleli and—to a certain extent—the SEAL commandos were the kind of men fascinated by death-dealing machinery. All very normal—for them. Normal because there are those men and women who love danger, who find violence and death fascinating. Some become professional mercenaries. Or stuntmen. Or drive racing cars. Always they live in the fast lane, skating barefoooted on the cutting edge of life's razor blade."

August 21, 2015

Death Merchant #53: The Judas Scrolls

A British archaeologist discovers twenty-seven ancient scrolls in the west Bank of Jordan. The scrolls, written by none other than Judas Iscariot, contain information so devastating it could bring the Vatican to its knees.

Then the Palestine Resistance League steals the valuable scrolls and offers them to the highest bidder - Russia or the Vatican. Price: $30 million. But then the scrolls are stolen again.

This deadly game of hide and seek could undermine the entire Christian world. Only the Death Merchant, master of cunning and disguise, can stop it. He must penetrate the enemy dragnet and find the scrolls before the Russians do. But now the hard part - even Camellion's not so sure he can get out of this death trap alive.

Twenty-seven ancient scrolls have been discovered underneath the floor of a ruined temple near Mount Hebron by a British archeologist. It turns out that these scrolls were written by Judas Iscariot and as the back of this book says, the information they contain "could undermine the entire Christian world" and "bring the Vatican to its knees". But how can the scrolls be smuggled out of Israel?

Author Joseph Rosenberger lays out a somewhat complicated backstory that includes the scrolls being stolen by members of the Palestinian Resistance League and offered to either the Vatican or the KGB for $30 million, and then eventually hidden in a cave in the Arqā Mountains. Rosenberger explains the backstory of the scrolls, which state, among other things, that Jesus survived his ordeal on the cross (being a master yogi, he was able to "turn off" the pain) and lived to the age of either 51 or 64 - depending on where in the book you are reading.

Once again, I am amazed at the lengthy digressions that Rosenberger adds to his action narrative. I don't know that much about the men's adventure genre, but I'm assuming that no other writer did this kind of thing and certainly not to the extent Rosenberger did. His asides usually fall into one of two categories: philosophical/mystical or racial/social.

As the expedition team is assembled, Richard "Death Merchant" Camellion jokes, "Welcome aboard, Follmer. I hope you can get used to A-rabs. You're going to see plenty of sand crabs before this deal is over and done with." And in a blink of an eye, the narrative veers off into a long segment of right-wing racism and paranoia.
Follmer, who had walked over to the liquor and was pouring another vodka, said, "Almost anything would be better than the mess back in the States. I don't have to tell you about the race policy of the current crop of idiots in D.C. You know how we're being invaded by aliens. For example, 80 percent of the babies born in Los Angeles County hospitals in 1981 were to illegal aliens, to illegal immigrant mothers, almost all of them from Mexico—and all their medical expenses were paid by taxpayers."

Kelly Dillard laughed sinisterly. "Why you shouldn't talk like that!" he chided. "After all, the nonwhite trash mean more votes for the politicians, more money for businessmen, more souls for the two-faced clergy, and more opportunities for the goddamn race mixers to destroy America's white heritage."

"Ordinarily, I'm a fair-minded person," Phil LaHann said thoughtfully. "I must agree with you. We can see what the nonwhite morons have already done to the American educational system. The lowering of scholastic and disciplinary standards in order to accommodate the huge influx of black and Chicano students into previously all-white schools has resulted in one big mess. Whites are learning less, while the coons and spics are learning nothing, which is normal enough. But no one should be surprised that white students do not learn in a school system that sees more than 5,000 of its teachers assaulted each month. What a joke! One might as well try to 'educate' apes!"

The Death Merchant, who seldom involved himself in useless discussions, felt like saying Folks! You ain't seen nothin' yet! Knowing world history as he did, Camellion was only too aware of the road the United States was taking—For the federal government, for America's teeming nonwhite minorities, and even for a very substantial portion of the white majority, the choice is clear: they will continue straight ahead—

And into oblivion!

They will continue to clamor for more racial mixing in the schools, in residential neighborhoods, and on the job. They will continue to allow millions of nonwhite aliens to pour across the U.S. borders from Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Orient; and the U.S. economy and the standard of living will grow steadily worse. They will continue to push for more handouts for those who will not work, more indulgences for the least productive elements of society, more of the same permissiveness and lack of discipline that have helped bring on present problems.

The massive influx of aliens is rapidly transforming the character of America's population and the appearance of its cities. The principal beachheads of the foreign swarms—New York City and its environs, Florida, southern Texas, and California—are in the process of acquiring nonwhite majorities. The intruders—with the morals of camels—are taking over entire neighborhoods that once were home to native Americans of European stock.

It will end in a race war. The nonwhites will lose. They have neither the intelligence nor the firepower to win.
First of all, it's hilarious to read that the Death Merchant doesn't get involved in these political/social "discussions". In truth, he's often leading them! It's also interesting that Rosenberger, who regularly uses footnotes to back up various bits of arcane information, presents no citations here.

This is merely the first of several racist polemics found throughout The Judas Scrolls. While Rosenberger has always included this type of material in his books, there are more of them in this volume than I can recall reading in any earlier DM book. And the rants are longer and seem more serious, angrier. Long gone is any trace of the goofiness that used to characterize Rosenberger's rants.

Only five pages after this section, Rosenberger shows off another authorial quirk, writing a 12-page conversation between Camellion and two Jesuit priests who are accompanying the search for the scrolls. Earlier books have had off-topic philosophical discussions but nothing of this length and breadth. Rosenberger mentions the Shroud of Turin, the supposed ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Nostradamus, the Essenes, Giovanni Pettinato, the Santorin volcano, the thoughts of Plato in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, Saint John Bosco, etc.

During this discussion, Camellion points out that "a new glacial age has begun":
Camellion proceeded to explain that the experts' alarming forecast was based on a number of incredible factors:

—The sun is shrinking at a rapid rate—much faster than scientists have predicted over the years. Already, over the past 400 years, the sun has lost a total area equivalent to that of 80,000 earths!

—The temperature of the earth is falling. A drop of only 4.9 degrees would result in the same freezing temperatures as those of the last Great Ice Age.

—The growing season is the food-producing temperate zones has shortened by three weeks in the past forty years.

Sizzling summers and vicious winters have killed more than 1,000 people during 1981 in the United States alone, and there are not any signs that the freakish weather will subside over the next decade.

—Shifts in the position of the sun, Earth and the other planets will change terrestrial climate dramatically. The result will be a new Ice Age. Colossal cold will creep throughout the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres, killing off agriculture altogether in many areas and severely reducing food production in others. Result: a worldwide famine. ...

"I'm thinking of a similar prediction," said Father Norton, "made by Johann Friede, a thirteenth-century Austrian monk. He said that toward the end of the world, mankind will face its last, hard trial. That the end would be foreshadowed by striking changes in nature, that the alternation between heat and cold will become more intense. He said storms will have more catastrophic effects. Earthquakes will destroy many lands and the seas will overflow into many lowlands."

LaHann said easily, "I'd be safe in saying that we can find clues to these troublesome times to come in a study of the zodiac. History—"

"Astrology is superstitious claptrap!" Father Gatdula said flatly.

"History and legend show an analogy between the archetypal temperaments of man and the twelve signs of the zodiac. A lot of historians feel it is these analogous relationships which underlie the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve apostles of Christ, the twelve nights [sic] of King Arthur's Round Table, and the twelve labors of Hercules."
I can't help but wonder what Rosenberger, who died in 1993, would have thought of climate change and global warming. Also, Rosenberger has mentioned the recurring number of 12 in previous books, so I wonder how much of that he actually believed.

At one point, someone mentions how nice the United States government is to Israel:
"They're right about our being 'nice' to everyone," [Follmer] said in an unpleasant voice, his eyes raking Camellion. "Look how 'nice' we've been to the blacks. Since World War II, we've made fools of ourselves by restructuring our entire society in a stupid attempt to uphold the myth that we're all 'equal.' We've handed billions to those brillo heads to finance their idle ghetto loungings—and look at the result. Our streets and parks have been turned over to black punks, and then they plea-bargain and are turned loose on early parole so they can prey on us again. We've handcuffed our policemen, lest they make the slightest infringement of blacks' rights. We've forced our kids to go to school with those moron asses, and we've rubbed our kids' nose in lies about white guilt. And when none of it has worked, when the blacks remain as far as ever from 'equality' but are ten thousand times more surly, we bow our heads, go into a white Step'n' Fetchit act, and humbly beg their forgiveness—and give them still more. Yeah, we're 'nice' people. We're unrealistic idiots!"

"Oh, we're suckers in other ways too," Dillard said. "It's not just the jungle jigs we're 'nice' to. We've let millions of aliens swarm into the States and deprive our people of jobs. Spics, those gooks from Vietnam—you name it! We let 'em come in. The only Orientals who have any intelligence and culture are the Japanese—and they have too much sense to want to live in the United States."

While the Death Merchant totally disagreed with Follmer and Dillard, he was not putting on an act when he got in his six-and-a-half cents' worth.

"You're forgetting the traitors in our midst," he ground out. "All the scum who ran off to Canada; and when mobs of demonstrators—during the Vietnam years—paraded in the streets behind the banners of the Vietcong and spattered our nation's flag with filth and dragged it in the gutter, the police had to stand by and be careful not to violate the 'civil rights' of the scum. Later, the Washington, D.C., idiots welcomed home with open arms and forgiveness the thousands of traitors and deserters."

"They should have been shot," growled LaHann.

"Wrong!" snapped Camellion. "They should have strangled slowly with piano wire. There's nothing lower on this earth and in any society than a yellow belly who deserts his country."
Elsewhere, Dillard and Camellion have a talk about President Ronald Reagan and how someone should murder Senator Ted Kennedy (... but but but I thought the DM avoided such "useless discussions").

In two footnotes, Rosenberger describes Haitians as "murderous savages lacking in both conscience and morals" and Cubans as drug dealers responsible for the high murder rate in Dade County, Florida. Elsewhere, Rosenberger writes: "Like African blacks, Arabs are prone to become utterly bloodthirsty and sadistic during battle and to revert to instincts far lower than those in so-called animals. Controlled by such insanity, an Arab, or a black, will commit any murderous act. No atrocity is too cruel."

On the next-to-last page of the book, Camellion thinks to himself:
The United States was being flooded by an alien invasion from Southeast Asia, India, Burma, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Maylasia, Israel, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico. U.S. Education Commissioner Ernest Boyer had revealed during the winter of 1982 that only 28 percent of Americans eighteen and younger are Anglo, while 36 percent are black and 41 percent Hispanic. Only 39 percent of Anglo families have children in school, against 61 percent of Hispanic families who have children in public schools. It was only a matter of time before white Americans would be a minority in what was their land. Already the nation's schools were becoming obsolete and the United States was becoming a nation of undereducated citizens. Another fact was clear: if the taxable incomes of the rapidly increasing minority groups did not keep pace with their growth in numbers, the whites would either be taxed to death or the entire system would collapse—The latter is more likely because the white people are not going to take it. There's a lot of truth in what Bob Follmer says. One can look at the problem in terms of a diminishing upper and middle class having to support a lower class of ignorant, lazy trash. Right now there are more El Salvadorians as illegal aliens in Los Angeles than the total population of San Salvador! But the trash have a technique—any person who gives the facts is called a racist.
So regarding Follmer's views on immigration: Camellion is "more than a little disgusted" on page 71, "totally disagreed" with him on page 78, but admits on page 198 that "there's a lot of truth" in what he says. I don't think Camellion had a racist epiphany; it seems more likely that Rosenberger couldn't keep straight what he had written earlier in the book.

Interestingly, at one point, the Death Merchant defends poor blacks:
More than a little disgusted over Follmer's racism, Camellion sank to a chair and said in a cold voice, "You might have a different opinion if your skin were black. Consider for a moment what's happened recently. The rich got big tax breaks, but poor people—black and white—lost jobs, food assistance, training opportunities, and a lot more. As for the blacks—they exist in a cocoon of poverty and defeatism that's been handed down, from generation to generation, like some deadly inherited disease. The entire pathetic mess has congealed into a Lumpenproletariat of female-headed families, jobless men, and bitter young people. In short, my friend, don't profess to know all about another people until you've walked for a while in their moccasins."
However, the only footnotes included in this section offer validation for the racists' comments:
3 The FBI's Uniform Crime Report reveals that blacks commit violent crimes 8.5 times as often as whites, relative to their numbers in the overall U.S. population. Blacks are 7.2 times as likely to commit rape, 11.2 times as likely to commit murder, and 14.1 times as likely to commit robbery. Violent black crime is typically spontaneous rather than planned and reflects a general lack of inhibition and foresight.

4 In a newly published study, "Black-White Contacts in Schools: Its Social and Academic Effect," Purdue University sociologist Martin Patchen concludes: "Available evidence indicates that interracial contacts in schools does not have consistent positive effects on students' racial attitudes and behavior or on the academic performance of minority students." Italics mine—JRR.
Similarly, Camellion tells one member of his force to calm his hatred. "The Israelis are neither good nor bad. They're only 'the Other Side.'" Of course, that bit of advice comes only two pages after Rosenberger writes "the Death Merchant was still wanting to strangle—very slowly—every sand crab in Araby-land".

Rosenberger offers some extremely purple prose when it comes to describing Jabal Arqā:
The minutes raced by and all twelve of the birds were soon over the Jabal Arqā. In actuality, they were flying over the lower foothills of the actual mountains that were, in spite of their lack of height, jagged for forbidding, as though they were ill-omened tombstones in a disguised necropolis of hate. ...

Very suddenly he felt the cold, insidious evil of the Jabal Arqā, of these ancient mountains sick with spiritual putrescence. He could hear in his mind the shouted blasphemies in sixty different dialects from men who, over the long crawl of centuries, had fought and killed each other for possession of this barren real estate. Within their silent sobs and shouts, 10 million ghosts gave off a stench far more terrible than all the sins that humanity could commit, all the bitter maledictions thunderously denounced by holy men who lived in ape ignorance.

These mountains were actually crypts; and nothing, not even the breath of God Almighty could erase the blood that had flowed over the rocks and down through titanic arcades. Shapes of Hell howled and laughed and strode monstrously within the valleys, flitted across the face of the cliffs, and danced in mockery on the high peaks. The Cosmic Lord of Death had reigned supreme here, and nothing faintly holy would ever dare approach his kingdom. He still reigned within the mighty rocks and still held unhallowed rites with minions of the doomed, with incubi and succubi. There they were, all gathered in hideous abomination—Moloch and Beelzebub, swollen toads and ten-headed Moon calves—all singing the ghastly glories of eternal damnation.
And ... we get some nutty Camellion stream-of-consciousness:
This whole damn business is similar to abstract art—a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered. But Grojean does have talent for intrigue. Ha! We're still the unprincipled, and the Jordies are more than bewildered! They're angry and afraid. Join the club, boys. So am I. ...

Parrot poop! We can't turn back. Let's hope none of these Jordanians get crazy-brave or stupid-foolish. What the hell! This still beats being in L.A. or New York City, where rats crawl over babies and all civilization has stopped. Crazy-brave? I don't think they will! ...

God Save the White Sox and damn the Mohawks if there are any left! ...

Yeah! And tuna fish is up 60 percent! Holy mackerel!
There is the inevitable martial arts segment in the climatic battle:
An expert, in thanatology, Camellion was no longer concerned about the gasping, gagging, choking Luvirol as he spun and concurrently used a double-handed Gedan barai to stop the leg of Gideon Alal Padon, who was trying to ace him out with a Mawashi geri roundhouse kick, and let fly a Mae geri kekomi that caught Josef Gann (who was also a secret Mossad agent) in the solar plexus, the vicious slam paralyzing Gann's central nervous system and almost making his eyes pop out of his head.

Padon was not as easy to terminate. Camellion barely managed to block a right Shuto knife hand aimed at his left temple and a Yon bon nukite four-finger spear thrust directed at his lower chest. He countered with a Tsuma-saki tip-of-toes kick, aimed at the testicles, combined with a right Herabasami inside-ridge-hand feint that was coupled with a left Yubi basami knuckle-fingertip strike that wanted the center of Padon's throat. Padon wasn't fooled. He made Camellion fail by using a Sukui uke scooping block. He then twisted and tried a right Ushiro kekomi geri rear thrust kick. Fatal mistake! Camellion stepped aside, snarled, "Geharget zolstu veren!" grabbed Padon's right ankle, and twisted as hard as he could to the left, Padon yelling in pain and anger as Camellion flipped him over and he fell heavily on his stomach, the fall knocking the wind out of him. He didn't have the time or the strength to jerk away. And he was in agony from his twisted leg, the pain shooting through his hip.

The Death Merchant released the leg, kicked Padon savagely in the left side of the rib cage, the slam breaking four ribs and bringing another howl of pain from the Israeli commando.

Victory! Camellion jumped high and came down on Padon's back, the heel of his left foot smashing into the Israeli's neck, his right foot slamming into the small of the back. There was a sound like two sticks being snapped. Padon shuddered and lay still.
Rosenberger translates "Geharget zolstu veren" as "Drop dead", literally "You should be killed". (However, a website translates this Yiddish phrase as "You should get killed.")

Finally, one dope no longer has to worry about his speech impediment:
Shuberinski had thrust his arm and hand inward for the stab he thought would end the life of Majid. Jumping back slightly, Majid had promptly brought down the heavy blade of the bi'rang and cut off Shuberinski's right hand. Only for a flashing second was the horrified Israeli able to witness the gush of blood pumping from his right wrist. He then felt the hidious pain—but again only for a moment—as Captain Majid slid the bloody blade of the bi'rang into his stomach and ripped upward. Never again would Shuberinski have to worry about his stuttering. H-H-He w-a-sss de-de-de-de-dead and si-si-si-si-sink-inggg into e-eter-nity.

Rosenberger lived in Arizona in the early 1980s and he includes two mentions of the area: "Nuts to that joker. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was an ex-member of the New York City—or Mesa, Arizona—Police Department!" and "This is almost as bad as going into a bar in Phoenix on a Saturday night!"

"The policeman went down in death faster than an Appalachian moonshiner running from an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent."

"As careful as a cow chewing a cud of cactus, he jumped from the starboard opening and started to move toward the nose."

"Belief in a god never requires logic, only superstition and a desperateness against the obvious, against oblivion. That kind of madness is called 'faith.'"

"Dillard, Follmer, and LaHann, having expected the worst kind of trouble (short of having hemorrhoids in Sydney, Australia) were not caught with their reflexes and attention span napping."

"[The Death Merchant] let fly a deadly right-legged Tae Kwon Do Hyung Chungdan Ap Chagi middle front snap kick that made the astonished Markek think he had run into an invisible steel wall."

"A holy man he was, but Allah didn't prevent a big 20mm projectile from opening up his chest the way a blast from a shotgun shatters a watermelon."