International Writers Magazine:First
'A bird that you set free may be caught again. But a word that escapes
your lips will not return.
March 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina suffered
an attack by an Islamic terrorist group that claimed the lives of
29 people and wounded 242. A group called Islamic Jihad, supposedly
linked to Hezbollah claimed responsibility. Although the investigations
that followed were carried out by the local Argentine police, a
member of the intelligence branch of the military, Captain Francisco
Nuñez was assigned to the case at the request of the Jewish
diplomatic mission. Of Jewish origin, with past secret service experience
during the build up of the Falklands War and assisted by the
2nd secretary of the Embassy, Alona Berg, they begin to uncover
the more dangerous and relatively unknown terrorist movement of
Al Qaeda. Their personal liaison will conflict with the secrecy
required from both nation intelligence services as they unravel
the framework of the terrorist organization that threatens world
Note: This future
novel is a sequel to my original book, The Goa File (on
sale on www.amazon.com) that dealt with the Dirty War in
Argentina during he 1970s that ended with the Falkland Islands
conflict in 1982. In my first novel, Captain Nuñez was a young
officer at the time working with Commander Di Martino as they uncovered
the invasion plot by the Argentine government. After serving in the
Navy during the war he returned to the Intelligence Unit directed by
his old boss. His new liaison role with the Israeli Embassy will be
piecing together information on Al Qaeda aided by Noel Schneider, an
old contact in the CIA and Jerry Strickland, who is now the CEO of Metropolitan
Oil Company in Bahrain. Both owe Nuñez a past favour! Once again,
world leaders as well as events of the time period will enhance this
thriller as it reaches its final climax.
Return - South Atlantic. 2nd of May, 1982.
Lieutenant Francisco Nuñez was still relaxing in the officers
mess re-reading his week old mail when young Rating Pedro Jimenez appeared
at the door, alongside the main starboard side corridor that was one
deck below the water line. He knocked on the side wall and facing Nuñez,
said, sorry sir, but the Captain wants you on the bridge right
away. He said it was urgent. Nuñez looked at his watch.
It was 3 PM. He wasnt due to relieve Lieutenant Fernando until
later; in an hours time. He got up from the worn and stained sofa,
replaced the letter in its envelope, tucked it, together with two others
into his shirts side pocket and walked towards the rating. He
saluted and without a word made his way to the bridge. He was the 3rd
officer on the Argentine Navys battleship General Belgrano.
You were in intelligence, Lieutenant, werent you? What do
you make of this? said Captain Hector Bonzo as he handed him a
telex. It was un-coded and marked Urgent. Nuñez was
hastily trying to adjust his tie as he briefly read the single liner
that had just been received from HQ in Comodoro Rivadavia. He looked
at his watch. The message was sent two hours ago. It read,
USA HAS BLOWN YOUR COVER. YOUR POSITION IS AT RISK. RETURN TO
War had already broken out between Britain and Argentina after the Argentine
forces that invaded the Falkland Islands on the 2nd of April. They had
refused to abandon Port Stanley at the insistence of the international
bodies that were now very much involved in the conflict. A great deal
of political as well as diplomatic negotiations was carried out between
Buenos Aires, Washington and London but to no avail. In the end, Mrs.
Margaret Thatchers government ordered the full might of the British
Navy to proceed at full speed to retake the islands, cost what it may.
I dont give a damn what deals Reagan has with the Military
Junta down there, no nation on earth will ever stop us from defending
our people and our integrity, she had said to a silent Parliament
the day she decided to fight for Britains honour. In the meantime,
General Leopoldo Galtieri, the ruling president of Argentina was revelling
in his recent and unprecedented conquest after booting out the small
British garrison at Port Stanley and sending the British Governor Rex
Hunt back to Montevideo. Once again the Argentine flag was raised on
the British colony in the South Atlantic.
Before Nuñez had answered, Captain Bonzo continued, youre
half American arent you? Nuñez nodded affirmatively.
Must hurt to see how the yanks are in on the act and supporting
that bitch back in London! The captain resumed his original question,
well? Nuñez was cut short with an answer as a thundering
explosion suddenly caused the ship to shudder throwing most of the crew
on the bridge including Nuñez and the Captain on to the deck.
The bow had been blown away. The lights began to flicker and no sooner
had Nuñez gained his footing that a second explosion hit the
ship three quarters of the way along blowing a hole right up through
to the upper decks. As the smoke and screams began to expand, Captain
Bonzo issued the fatale warning to all on board, Abandon Ship!
You can send that message off to the Admiralty now, Richard. Lets
get out of here, said Commander Chris Wreford-Brown on RN nuclear
submarine HMS Conqueror. Back in London the following text
was received read, 16:17.05.82. Lat.55. Long.62. Three torpedoes,
two impacts. Enemy vessel sunk. Proceeding full speed north by north
east. Stop. The carnage had just begun.
Military Hospital. La Plata. 22nd of May, 1982.
It was touch and go with you, said Doctor Gomez as he checked
in on Lieutenant Nuñez who had been flown back to the main military
hospital in La Plata for further treatment. His skull had been severely
fractured and both his legs had been broken. He had been in the intensive
care unit for 20 days down in the naval hospital in Comodoro Rivadavia.
Still under heavy sedation, he managed to burble, where am I?
Doctor Gomez went over to the bedside to take Nuñezs pulse
whilst he briefed him on his condition. Youll be here for
a while yet, young man. The left leg is much better but the right one
was nearly torn off. As for your head injury, only time will tell.
As he was about to leave he noticed the look on a silent lieutenants
face. When the time comes, Ill let your superiors go over
the ordeal youve just been through; but not for now. Youre
condition is still very critical.
Retired Naval Home. Buenos Aires. 15th July 1982.
Lieutenant Nuñez had been transferred to the home and was still
convalescing from his injuries. Although his left leg as well as his
slight brain damage had been healed, he was waiting for a third operation
on his right leg. He was still bedridden. The doctors were unsure whether
Nuñez would ever be able to walk again. They kept him briefed
on his condition yet due to the seriousness of his mental condition
had refused any interrogation or visits by his commanding or other officers
until he was stable enough. For weeks he kept mulling over the confused
events during those fateful minutes on the bridge after the attack as
the Belgrano began to sink. All he could remember was the after shock
of the blasts, the Captain and one of the other crew members carrying
him out of the bridge and then suddenly falling down a stairwell. The
severe knock on his head as he landed a deck below knocked him unconscious.
He had come out of his coma four days later still suffering from an
excruciating pain in his head and numbness in his right leg. The aftermath
at the time was still a blank.
A knock on the door brought him back to reality.
Admiral Jose Sorensen and two other officers entered the room. Good
morning Nuñez. Glad to know you are making excellent progress.
After a series of verbal niceties, the Admiral continued, this
is Captain Serafín Bullock and Captain Francisco Ibañez.
Both are from Naval Intelligence and both are descendents of American
citizens. He opened his briefcase and handed Nuñez and
envelope. Im not going to go over what has happened over
the past few months as the end of the war has been painful for all us
Argentines. No, I have something more important at hand. Nuñez
was now confused. He was still uninformed about the events in the South
Atlantic. He had been kept from any detailed information on purpose
due to his delicate state of health although he was aware that the ordeal
had ended sometime in April and that Britain once again had taken over
the Falklands. The Admiral turned and addressed Captain Bullock, suggest
you put him in the picture, captain. He can check the details later,
pointing at the envelope.
You are half American lieutenant, is that correct? Yes,
sir, answered Nuñez. The Captain paused and then asked,
what is your mothers maiden name, lieutenant? Howitz,
sir. I assume that you are therefore Jewish. A cold
sweat began to flow through Nuñezs body. What are
these men driving at? he thought. Seeing the look on his face,
Admiral Sorensen interrupted the captains address and smiling
at Nuñez said, easy son, we need to confirm your unwritten
credentials before you take a look at the contents. How do you feel
about the state of Israel? Again Nuñez was confounded.
Composed he chose his words carefully, I believe they are a legitimately
constituted state and a friend of Argentina, sir. Silence reigned
for an interminable second. OK, Ill come straight to the
point; did you know that Israel has declared war on Lebanon? Nuñez
had heard something about it but was too preoccupied with his own ordeal
to have taken any note. Without hesitation he answered, yes sir.
Again there was a pause. So, what is your reaction? This
time it was an impatient Captain Ibañez who butted in, well?
Nuñez finally reacted and in a strong tone said, sorry
sirs, but what the hell is all this about?
The officers burst out laughing and then began to walk out of the room.
Before they left, Admiral Sorensen turned and pointing at the envelope
said, youll find your orders in there. The doctors tell
me that your brain is one hundred percent and that you should at least
be able to move around in a wheelchair in about a months time.
Well then contact you again. Welcome back to Intelligence, lieutenant.
© James G. Skinner. October 2008.
Extract from his novel about the Falkland's War
The Goa File Part
The CIA connection
Published in full by Cyberwit December 2006
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