Friday, February 20, 2015

Canada's "Anti-Terrorism" Bill Could Target Activists

The Anti-terrorism Act 2015 (Bill C-51) will expand the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), allowing the state to increase its crackdown on dissent.

The legislation would relax privacy restrictions, lower the legal threshold for police to obtain a warrant, and allow Canadian authorities to hold suspects without charges for as long as one year. The Toronto Star reported the bill would give 17 security agencies "access to any information in any government department on any Canadian."

The introduction of C-51 comes on the heels of news that the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's spy agency, is operating a covert, mass surveillance program that monitors the online activities of millions of Internet users around the world. Ron Deibert, a professor at the University of Toronto, likened the CSE program to a "giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives. . . . Every single thing that you do . . . is being archived, collected and analyzed."

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives remain hostile to transparency and accountability. They eliminated CSIS's internal watchdog in 2012 and C-51 offers little in the way of additional oversight. University of Ottawa law professor Craig Forcese says the Conservatives want to return to an era when the security services were free to engage in illegal, dirty tricks. He wrote that the bill creates a "secret jurisprudence on when CSIS can act beyond the law."

Silencing of dissent appears to be one of the bill's main goals. When Green Party leader Elizabeth May asked the public safety and justice ministers during question period if C-51 could be applied to non-violent civil disobedience, such as blockading along a pipeline route, she did not receive a direct answer.

Paul Champ, a civil liberties lawyer, said there are serious concerns that C-51 "is going to target not just terrorists who are involved in criminal activity, but people who are protesting against different Canadian government policies." Indeed, an internal RCMP report from January 2014, obtained by Greenpeace, reported that the so-called "anti-petroleum" movement is a growing "security threat" to Canada.

Harper states the bill would merely "criminalize the promotion of terrorism" and give the government the power to remove "terrorist propaganda" from the internet. Left unanswered is who defines "terrorism" and "terrorist propaganda." The bill is written in such overly broad terms it could be applied to nearly anything the Conservative government wants to deem criminal.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, said C-51 "proposes an unprecedented expansion of powers that will . . . impose a broad chill on legitimate political speech".

After 9/11 it was the Liberals, with the support of the Conservatives, who brought forward "anti-terror" legislation that eroded civil liberties. Now they are trading places, with the Liberals promising to support Harper's latest attack on democracy.

Elizabeth May has criticized the bill, saying it would "allow the Conservatives to turn CSIS into a secret police force," while NDP leader Tom Mulcair has warned that "we cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing them."

This article was first published in Socialist Worker.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Chris Offutt: "My Dad, The Pornographer"

Chris Offutt, New York Times Magazine, February 5, 2015:
My father, Andrew Jefferson Offutt V, grew up in a log cabin in Taylorsville, Ky. The house had 12-inch-thick walls with gun ports to defend against attackers: first Indians, then soldiers during the Civil War. At 12, Dad wrote a novel of the Old West. He taught himself to type with the Columbus method — find it and land on it — using one finger on his left hand and two fingers on his right. Dad typed swiftly and with great passion. In this fashion, he eventually wrote and published more than 400 books. Two were science fiction and 24 were fantasy, written under his own name; the rest were pornography, using 17 pseudonyms. ...

In the mid-1960s, Dad purchased several porn novels through the mail. My mother recalls him reading them with disgust — not because of the content, but because of how poorly they were written. He hurled a book across the room and told her he could do better. Mom suggested he do so. According to her, the tipping point for Dad's full commitment to porn, five years later, was my orthodontic needs.

When I was a kid, my teeth were a terrible mess: overlapping, crooked and protruding like fangs. Mom wanted to work part time and pay for braces. Dad suggested that if he quit his job as a salesman and she typed all his final drafts, they could finance my dental care. Over cocktails in the woods of eastern Kentucky, they formed a partnership to mass-produce porn. ...

The commercial popularity of American erotic novels peaked during the 1970s, coinciding with my father's most prolific and energetic period. Dad combined porn with all manner of genre fiction. ... By the end of the decade, Dad claimed to have single-handedly raised the quality of American pornography. He believed future scholars would refer to him as the "king of 20th-century written pornography."
A fascinating account of a man, in his mid-50s, learning about his father's life.

I look forward to reading Offutt's forthcoming memoir.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Death Merchant #37: The Bermuda Triangle Action

This may be the first Death Merchant book that doesn't begin with whatever Richard Camellion is doing. In Chapter One, we meet some Russians/Cubans working on a construction project off the U.S. coast in the general vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle.

Camellion first appears on page nine, doing some reconnaissance work related to the Russians' project. The pig farmers are up to something in the Atlantic Ocean and the U.S. has called on the Death Merchant to find out what it is. Along with CIA man Josh Forran, Camellion scuba-dives up to the Russian installation, killing four Ruskies along the way. There is a gigantic domed structure, as well as nine buildings/modules connected by huge pipes.

It seems clear that Camellion's earlier guess about the purpose of this activity was totally on the mark: the Russians are drilling along a fault line, and a few well-placed hydrogen bombs could cause catastrophic floods and damage along the U.S. east and south coasts. (Non-Spoiler Alert: The undersea complex is eventually destroyed.)

The Bermuda Triangle was more of a cultural phenomenon in the late 70s, so I was wondering how Rosenberger would play it (this book was published in early 1980). It is taken for granted by both the American and Russian forces that something mysterious and deadly is happening in this part of the world. Rosenberger recounts the disappearance of various ships (including a US sub with a crew of 320 men that vanished three months only earlier) and airplanes in the area also known as the Devil's Triangle. Camellion expands on this topic, talking about the disappearance of large groups of people from other parts of the world.
The Death Merchant explains his beliefs regarding the Bermuda Triangle:
"We're crawling around on a speck of dust that's revolving around a middle of the road star in the boondocks of our galaxy; yet we still have the nerve to think we're 'special.' It's that kind of stupidity that forces scientists - most of them - to close their eyes to the true secret of the Bermuda Triangle. ...

"My own hypothesis is that the Bermuda Triangle and other maritime areas are 'points of entry' into a different reality, probes controlled by aliens that employ techniques involving manipulation of space and time. ...

"This world appears real to us because we can sense only one microscopic slice of this underlying reality at any particular time. This mode of reality would also explain the mechanism operating behind telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance and other paranormal activity. ...

"The problem is that we don't have the right kind of instruments to detect these alien energy forms."
So: (1) What is "the true secret" of the Bermuda Triangle to which science has thus far been blind? (2) And how will Rosenberger treat this possible entry point "into a different reality"?

Answers: (1) We are given absolutely no idea. (2) He won't. It's yet another instance of the author introducing and then ignoring an alien/supernatural subplot.

On their way in a small sub to initially check out the Russian underwater construction, Camellion and three others encounter a huge craft in the water, which turns slightly to face them before zipping away at a high rate of speed. The men immediately assume it must be otherworldly life, but once the craft leaves, Camellion immediately forgets about it, and is focused only on getting the job done. Upon returning from his mission, Camellion finds a strange pyramid and a box in the sub, two items apparently left by the aliens. I was wondering how the aliens (or the large craft) would figure into the final clash with the Russians, but Rosenberger never mentions the craft (or the two objects) again.

***

Various snips: "The average pig farmer is so dumb he runs around his bed to catch up with his sleep." ... "Our schedule is tighter right now than the tail feathers on the rump of a prairie chicken." ... "Richard Camellion was not only the most cold-blooded man he had ever seen, but he was the twin brother of catastrophe, a man whose natural habitat was the bleak and dark landscape of Death." ... "Whoever or whatever Richard Camellion was, he didn't need anyone. Nor did he seem to feel anything. And one always had the impression that there was something alien about him ... another kind of presence staring out through his eyes."

Rosenberger goes overboard on describing the mayhem with food metaphors:
"The other Cuban, Andres Fonseca, took the .357 Magnum slug from the right AMP just below the hollow of the throat, the impact of the dynamite-powered slug opening a hole in him the size of a lemon ..."

"Calcines' head exploded, parts and portions of skin, skull and brain making like shooting stars."

"The PPS in his hands roared, the muzzle flashing fire. Koloviev jumped on the driver's seat, and his hands left the steering wheel of the fork lift as his head exploded like a melon hit by buckshot."

"The 150-pound hook, swinging from the end of the boom on 4 feet of steel cable, pulverized their heads the way a sledgehammer would splatter an egg. Skull bones exploded, and gray-white brain matter shot in every direction, at the same time the bottom girders made pulp of their shoulders, backs, and chests."

"In a low crouch, the Death Merchant fired the AMP and the Ingram. A swarm of 9mm Ingram projectiles erased Jose Matar's face and popped open his skull like a lemon hit by a blast from a double-barrelled shotgun."

"Camellion had shot Chevsky; at the same time he had kicked in the scrotum of the cockroach who had tried to smash him with the butt of a Stechkin, the toe of the Death Merchant's weighted Neoruperine boot flattening the man's testicles like a pancake."
Also, in the aftermath of a battle in which Camellion used several incendiary grenades, the dead bodies "gave off the strong odor of a barbeque at a family get-together."

Rosenberger was not a big fan of Jimmy Carter, referring to the former U.S. president as stupid, "weak and an unrealist", and accusing him of taking the side of Communist revolutionaries in Rhodesia (an actual issue back in 1979) "to obtain the good will of American blacks". This is an obvious sore point with Rosenberger, as he has in previous books criticized U.S. politicians for basing their decisions on how to best appease blacks in America.

Rosenberger/Camellion ridiculed Nixon in the early books (towards the end of his second term and mostly over his resignation from office) and now Carter gets slammed. I'm curious what Rosenberger will make of Reagan as this series moves into the 1980s.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Infinite Jest: Flagging The Colours

[Corrie] Baldauf initially began the process of flagging all the references to color in the text — more than 2,600 of them — as a sort of mechanism to help her concentrate on reading David Foster Wallace’s infamous masterwork ...

"It started as a tool, which is how someone would start drinking coffee or doing cocaine," Baldauf says. "But once the tool resolved the problem of not reading it, that was when it became an obsession."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Death Merchant #36: The Cosmic Reality Kill

Is Hannibal Nigel Frimm, the founder and leader of a religious cult called The Church of the Cosmic Reality, responsible for the murder of Everett Padden, a "deprogrammer" of young people who have managed to break away from the cult?

Padden was a close friend of Richard Camellion, so the Death Merchant is going to do everything he can to find out the answer to that question. And it should come as no surprise that the Church of the Cosmic Reality will soon have a rendez-vous with the Cosmic Lord of Death!

The 58-year-old Frimm - referred to as "His Oneness and His Onlyness" - lives in a modest frame house in the New Earth Community, at the church's national headquarters outside of Colorado Springs. His Cosmic Truth magazine has more than one million subscribers, due in part to his unstinting patriotism and the fact that many Americans agree with his views: "Namely, that the morals of the United States were more debased than those of Ancient Rome. Obscene books, motion pictures, and especially televisions were corrupting the minds of millions of American children!" Frimm tells his followers (known as "Frimmies") there is only one country on earth more morally evil that the U.S., and that is the Soviet Union (of course!), diseased by Satan with "the moral cancer of communism".

Camellion cases the Haven of Truth camp in Colorado Springs, one of roughly 70 communities established by Frimm throughout the United States, because it was the specific camp targeted by Padden. Camellion's initial attempt to infiltrate the camp goes awry and he ends up killing 8-10 guards during his escape. For the next three weeks, Camellion chills at the nearby Warm Rest Trailer Park waiting for a CIA contact. But Frimm's goons have somehow located him and they attempt to run him off the road while Camellion is driving his car. Although he has no weapons, the Death Merchant manages to survive the attack (while several of the goons perish). The local cops are highly suspicious of this event, but Camellion insists it must have been a case of mistaken identity.

Eventually, Camellion - relaxing in a "white gabardine jumpsuit" - meets up with CIA man Russell Linders and his girlfriend, an ex-cop named Janet Minnick. (Janet is very attractive, as Rosenberger writes: "Just looking at her was distracting, making [Camellion] think of creating life instead of destroying it." !!) Linders has a motorhome and they agree to take a tour of the New Earth compound, with Camellion in disguise, posing as Linders's elderly father.

Camellion stays behind after the day's final tour, hiding in a bathroom closet. At 3 AM, he goes into action, but is captured and questioned by Frimm himself. Camellion jabbers a lot of nonsense and makes a bunch of strange noises - causing Frimm believe he is possessed by Satan! Locked in a basement cell, the Death Merchant then uses some explosives and blasting caps hidden in the heel of his shoe. He blows the cell door, rushes out and surprises the guard, stealing his gun. Camellion shoots some Frimmies, steals a jeep, blows a hole in the fence, and drives away.

The overall mission seems to be a bust, but the Death Merchant has more more plan up his sleeve. (Janet: "Camellion's plan is so fantastic and ridiculous, it might work!") The plan is certainly ridiculous, as it involves projecting holographs of a UFO and a giant fly in the sky above the compound. This is meant to terrify Frimm and his armed followers. (We are told that Beelzebub is often portrayed as a fly.)

After the theatrics, the helicopters drop the DM and 13 fighters into the compound and the final battle is on. During the raid, Camellion dumps LSD into the compound's water supply, but not much is made of this tactic, though afterwards, we hear that hundreds of Frimmies were hospitalized after suffering mass hallucinations. (I guess this rendered them unable to fight.) In the end, Camellion learns that Padden was indeed killed by the cult and his body destroyed by being thrown into a pond of acid. (However, in the early pages of the book, Padden's body was found by the authorities, which was what got the Death Merchant involved in the first place.)

The Cosmic Realty Kill began as Camellion avenging a murder, then evolved into putting the Frimm cult out of business. Either way, the reasons for the mission are pretty thin. But the subject matter gives Rosenberger the opportunity to have Camellion discourse on the nature of reality, the past, present, and future, and the idea of good and bad being only illusions.
"Standards of moral conduct are all relative, like time and space. The Inquisition, or the systematic pursuit of heresy, was not only 'moral' and 'ethical' in the 15th century, it was considered the 'will of God.'"
When Camellion is hiding in the closet, waiting for the Frimm camp to empty out, he has plenty of time to think about "man's illusion of time":
Nature does not advance in a line - it happens simultaneously, everywhere-at-once. And because nature does not proceed in a line, it does not proceed in time, but has the whole of its existence simultaneously, and that is the nature of Eternity.

Actually, Camellion thought, the whole notion of succession, of one "thing" succeeding another "thing" in time, depends entirely and directly upon our precesses of memory, for it is quite obvious that without memory we would have absolutely no idea of time, either of the past or of the future. Okay. The question, then, is whether memory represents a real phenomenon which we call time, or whether memory creates an illusion of time. Yet in remembering any "past event", we are not really aware of the actual past at all. I remember what I ate in the tent hours ago, but this memory won't let me see the meal, or touch it, or taste it. The truth is, we are never aware of any actual past at all, but rather only dim mental images of the past, and those pictures exist only as present experience.

The same holds for the "future" as well, for any thought of tomorrow is nonetheless a present thought. Inescapably, we know the "past" and "future" only in the present and as part of the present. The only time we are ever aware of is now. Mind is always now. There is really no before and no after for the mind. There is only a now, this instant. The past is literally nothing but a memory and the future nothing but an expectation, with both memory and expectation being a present fact. Think of the past - that is a present act. Anticipate the future - also a present act. All done with the mind - a state of ever-present non-dual awareness wherein the observer is the observed! The mind and the now-moment, the only true reality for man. ...
Although Rosenberger has never shown Camellion smoking dope at his Texas ranch, I have to believe the Death Merchant does inhale.

There is an amusing typo concerning Frimm's prophecy about the end of the world. On page 3, Rosenberger writes: "The end of all Time, of all Matter and Space, would occur the first second of the year 2000 A.D." Nothing wrong with that; many stories envisioned the end of the world coming as the calendar clicked over to 2000. But then, two pages later, Rosenberger pinpoints the time of destruction as "a microsecond after midnight of January 31, 1999"!

"Richard J. Camellion" contributes a two-page introduction to the book in which he defines a cult and explains how they differ from more established religions. "Cults are nothing more than big business, enriching their founders and making saps out of thousands of men and women who should know better, but haven't the guts to stand on their own two feet and fight the battle of life."

Rosenberger's story is only 167 pages. It is followed by an eight-page readers' survey.
Now that you've finished reading this volume in The Death Merchant series, we'd like to find out what you liked, or didn't like, about this story. We'll share your opinions with the author and discuss them as we plan future books. This will result in books that you will find more to your liking. ...
Some of the 40+ questions: Are you glad you bought this book, and did it live up to your expectations? ... What seems to be the major factor that persuades you to buy a certain book? ... What do you do with your paperbacks after you've read them?

Respondents are asked if they have read (or watched on TV) Taylor Caldwell's Captains and the Kings, John Jakes' The Bastard, James Michener's Centennial, or Irwin Shaw's Rich Man, Poor Man.

They are also asked to rate the "sexuality" and "romance" portions of the Death Merchant books - Excellent / Okay / Poor - which is amusing, since, outside of a stray sentence like the one quoted above, those portions don't apply to Camellion at all. ... I also wonder how "A sense of reality" fared in the survey.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Death Merchant #35: Massacre In Rome

The reclusive Maria Angelina Gondozatti is "one of the world's greatest mystics". Since the age of thirteen, she has been able to predict world events with 100% accuracy, and has been "an enigma to the scientific world for over fifty years". While her predictions have never been made public, they have been transmitted to the Vatican, and picked up by the CIA's "many ears".

Now Gondozatti has been kidnapped by the Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse), an Italian terrorist organization demanding its imprisoned and on-trial members be released or she will be executed. The Italian government has a month to make its decision. "The CIA made its decision in fifteen minutes. It called in the world's deadliest master of controlled violence - the Death Merchant." As the back cover of Massacre In Rome explains, Richard Camellion's job is: "Find Maria Gondozatti, and settle the Red Brigade's [sic] hash once and for all - at any cost!"

The big question is why is the CIA's Scientific Division of the CIA so interested in Gondozatti. Is there another, more exciting subplot to this story? Is this an excuse for Joseph Rosenberger to explore his thoughts on the supernatural? No and no. While the reasons the Death Merchant is hired to go to extreme lengths to rescue Gondozatti are not really explained, that's the book's plot. It's a pretty thin idea.

Gondozatti seems to be the real deal. She predicted - in 1924 - the series of events that would lead to World War II and she predicted as far back as 1969 that a man named Carter would become President of the United States. Her latest prognostication? "The end of the world before the end of this century." (Note: MiR was published in August 1979. However, one character mentions that they have only about one decade's amount of time left?!?)

Camellion and his companions work step-by-step until they can rescue her. Camellion first stalks a villa outside of Rome, hoping to grab Vito Camerini, who supposedly has contacts in the Red Brigades and could provide some valuable intel. However, after icing three lookouts outside the villa, Camellion discovers that he's a bit tardy. He sees five Russian goons escorting Camerini down the stairs of his home. (Are the "pig farmers" also on the trail of Gondozatti?) In the gunfight that follows, Camellion kills all of the Russians - and Camerini, too, unfortunately - before high-tailing it back to CIA man George McAulay II, who is waiting in a getaway car. On their way back into Rome,  the men are forced to kill three cops at a roadblock.

Camellion next tries to nab Alfredo Bertini, the alleged paymaster for many of the Red Brigades cells in Rome. They wait for him in a tratorria, as per Bertini's usual schedule, but when he doesn't show, they head to his apartment. There, they find another group of goons escorting him down the stairs. Gunfire erupts, but this time, the Death Merchant leaves with Bertini - who tells Camellion that he gets the money from Angelina Moretti, wife of a dentist named Bernard Moretti.

So it's off to the Morettis' house. The DM has a cunning plan to dress as Gypsies but after buying a used car, colourful clothes and whatnot, they decided to simply storm the place without any pretense. They drive a 1968 Dodge through a big picture window and the assault is on. They eventually corner Dr. Moretti and he tells Camellion that Gondozatti is being held at a farm southwest of Anzio.

So it's off to the farm owned by Vittorio Salvi Duse. The Death Merchant and four others are dressed as priests, disguises which enable them to safely get through two roadblocks. Grenade launchers come in extremely handy as they wreck the hell out of the farm house and the barn. ("It beats pushing a plow through a turnip patch.") Gondozatti is being held in an underground room beneath the barn, but Camellion et al. are too late. It turns out she died in her sleep of a heart attack the day before the big raid. Oh, well. Camellion and his forces escape in waiting helicopters just before the cops arrive. The end.

During the final assault, the antitank grenades are flying and suddenly the action skids to a halt as Rosenberger decides to spend nearly an entire page explaining exactly how the grenades work.
The enormity of the explosion did not surprise the Death Merchant. A high explosive antitank rifle grenade, the M31 had an explosive filler of 9.92 ounces of Composition-B, and the capability of penetrating 25 centimeters (10 inches) of homogeneous steel armor or 50 centimeters (20 inches) of reinforced concrete. What made the M31 so very deadly was that the antitank grenade achieved penetration by means of the Munroe Principle of the shaped charge. The Munroe Principle is governed by the following three principles of explosive reactions: (1) An explosive force reacts against the weakest force containing it. In the M31, this containing force was a thin sheet of copper which forms an inverted cone liner. This cone gives the filler its shaped effect. The grenade's hollow nose provides the proper standoff distance for the explosive forces to converge. (2) An explosive force reacts against the force containing it at right angels. In the case of the M31, the forces reacted against the copper cone at right angels and moved toward each other. (3) Converging explosive forces combine to form a third and greater force known as the explosive jet. In the M31, the jet is a combination of heat and force which will melt a path through armor and carry pieces of molten armor through it. These molten chunks then rapidly return to solid form. In the case of an armored vehicle, the jet penetrates the vehicle's body armor and also flakes off pieces of the inner side of the armored hull. This fragmented armor ricochets about the interior of the vehicle's body, killing personnel and detonating sensitive ammunition.

When the shell burns through concrete, it is the jagged chunks of concrete that act as fragments; and since concrete is much softer than armor plate, the radius of destruction is always four to five times larger.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ....

In two footnotes, Rosenberger gives some advice on the most effective way to shoot someone in the head and describes a technique known as "fanning":
Don't believe all the nonsense that the "victim was shot between the eyes and died instantly." It is not wise to shoot between the eyes unless one is using a very powerful cartridge, such as a magnum bullet, in which case the brain will be destroyed by hydrostatic shock. A target can be shot in the head with a bullet of moderate power and still survive long enough to get off several shots. ...

This technique is very useful when you are facing several opponents at once and works best with an autoloader which has a large magazine capacity. Brace your hand against the hip and wiggle the index finger of your other hand against the trigger. the technique - also called the "Alley Broom" technique - can be mastered with practice. But it is only useful close up, as it is a very inaccurate method of shooting.
Massacre In Rome has two epigraphs: one by Boris Pasternak, the author of Doctor Zhivago, and this one from Richard J. Camellion:
Intelligent people do not try to reason with sadists who slaughter the innocent, with terrorists who murder in the name of "freedom". Intelligent people kill them!
This is an odd quote for Rosenberger to invent and highlight, since Camellion quite clearly murders innocent people - the three Italian cops at the beginning of the book being the most recent example - and he certainly does his job in the name of "freedom". At one point in Massacre in Rome, an agent named Lola Presswood, having assisted Camellion in one gunfight, is somewhat sickened by "the violent side of international intelligence operations". Still ...
She supposed that men like Richard Camellion - and even that vulgar Ferro - were necessary in a world that was only a sugar-coated slaughter house ... men who were self-contained, men who needed nothing or no one and who would always be alone, even in a crowd. Without such men - would there be a United States of America?

Friday, January 09, 2015

Death Merchant #34: Operation Mind-Murder

After doing battle in northern Alaska in #33, it's more cold weather for the Death Merchant. Richard Camellion and three Chinese-Americans (including the awesomely-named Dionysius Woo) are sent on a re-con mission to Wrangel Island, a Russian island located a little north of Siberia. Camellion has been tasked with taking secret photographs and video of a Soviet installation in which the Russians conducted medical experiments on still-held prisoners of World War II.

In a footnote, author Joseph Rosenberger writes that the reports of Russian torture are "fact", and not invented for Operation Mind-Murder. He cites a February 20, 1978, article in The Spotlight, a far right-wing publication of the Liberty Lobby. (Through the wonder of Google, I found a copy of both the original article and a follow-up on February 27.)

The February 20, 1978, article begins:
An Alaskan island in the Arctic Ocean is the site of three super-secret Russian concentration camps where KGB agents carry out incredible human experiments on thousands of prisoners held captive there.

And the United States government has known about this gross violation of human rights on American territory since 1973 but continues to ignore the deplorable situation. ...

Thousands of prisoners of war - including high-ranking German, Spanish and Italian officers thought dead since World War II - have been secretly imprisoned on Wrangel Island. ...

Official government maps of Wrangel Island, made for the CIA from satellite photographs and which would confirm or deny the existence of the horror camps, have been classified "secret".
Rosenberger copies quotes from the article from Avraham Shifrin, a former Wrangel Island prisoner, into Operation Mind-Murder. In 1973, Shifrin testified before a U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee that was investigating Soviet labor camps. Shifrin later interviewed hundreds of prisoners for his book, The First Guidebook to Prisons and Concentration Camps of the Soviet Union (Bantam, 1982).

Rosenberger writes at one point that the torture and other inhumane experiments are not the main reason for Washington's (and, thus, Camellion's) interest in Wrangel Island. The Russians are rumoured to be building an enormous complex, some sort of weather experimental base. And because the Ruskies cannot be trusted, the U.S. decrees that this complex must be destroyed. Later in the book, though, Rosenberger forgets about this subplot. It's never mentioned again. During the island invasion, all Camellion is concerned about is that the men take pictures of the Russians' documentation of the experiments.

There is a lot of action in Operation Mind-Murder. The book opens with the four men on the island. After Camellion and Woo photograph the Soviet buildings, they travel back to the beach where they have stashed their scuba gear. Woo stays with the equipment and Camellion heads back to their cave to get the other two men and the three of them return to the beach. Each bit of travel across some part of the island includes a run-in with some "pig farmers". And almost half the book (pp. 98-184) is taken up with the climatic invasion of Wrangel Island by Camellion and a 180-man force. It features the usual Rosenberger insanity, with some highly-detailed scenes of karate thrown in for good measure:
Gordon then resorted to a defense that was all karate. He employed a hiza ate knee lift to the groin of one man, ducked another KGB man's straight-in fist-punch, slammed out the fellow with a haito uchi sword-hand ridge-strike to the side of the neck and, with his left hand, stunned into partial unconsciousness an enemy by using a tettsui uchi hammer-hand blow that caught the Russian squarely on the end of the chin. The Russian that Gordon had struck in the side of the neck went down choking and gasping ...

The Death Merchant blocked Roshgin's closed-fist blow with a right hiji uke elbow block and the intended nukite stab with a left sukui uke scooping-hand sweep. ... The Death Merchant's hands and arms moved with such blinding speed that the Russian couldn't realize what was happening. Roshgin could only gag from the agony of Camellion's otoshi hiji ate downward elbow-strike that broke his nose and made blood spurt from both nostrils. Camellion's koko-i tiger-mouth kill-clutch to Roshgin's throat ended his life by crushing his voice box and the upper part of his windpipe. He was choking to death, velvet falling over his mind, by the time the Death Merchant turned and used a right-legged knee shift as a defense against Colonel Milovanov's left-foot stamp that was intended to shatter his knee cap; and a double ko uke arch block to wreck Milovanov's double-piercing-finger strike aimed at the side of his neck.

Milovanov was very fast and very good at sambo. His only flaw was that he wasn't good enough. He jerked back from Camellion, feigned a left foot kick to the groin and a right-handed fist-strike to the side of the neck. With his left hand he attempted the real McCoy, a vicious spear-hand thrust to the Death Merchant's solar plexus.
Camellion, who had fought far better men than Milovanov, wasn't fooled by such tactics. He blocked the spear hand by sweeping aside the Russian's arm. Simultaneously, he used an ippon ken single-knuckle punch to shatter Milovanov's front teeth. A very fast haito ridge-hand to the Russian's left cheek sent him staggering, his senses reeling ...
Rosenberger provides his usual allotment of gore (while tracing the destructive path of numerous slugs):
The LMG roared, but the stream of 7.62mm slugs passed a foot or more to Camellion's right. The Russian couldn't fire again. One of the .357 magnum bullets exploded in his neck, blew apart his throat, and sent his Adam's apple flying like a bloody golf ball. ...

Both KGB men had half executed the swing around when the Death Merchant fired both Auto Mags. One .357 magnum bullet, going in at a steep angle, hit Vilenski in the right chest, exploded, and sent up a tiny cloud of cloth, foam padding, bits of flesh, and pieces of rib bone. The expanded projectile came out the left side of his chest, then smacked Dashkov in the right forearm at the same time that the Death Merchant's second big bullet bored into Dashkov, just above the humerus of his right arm. The bullet exploded, tore the humerus from the scapula, or shoulder blade, then, travelling downward, shattered the end of the right clavicle, broke six ribs on both sides and finally left the Russian's body via his left side.
Etc.:

Camellion "knew that while the Cosmic Lord of Death rules the Universe - He does not rule alone!"

"Like Time, Death was relative and not at all important in the long scheme of one's total development."

"Telling Richard Camellion to be careful was as silly as telling a crocodile to beware of minnows."

"... sweating like an Israeli spy at a PLO meeting ..."

"The big show is getting hotter than the balls of a Gila monster in a New Mexico desert in August!"

"The only thing dumber than an average Russian is two average Russians."

"Although as grimy as two old-time chimney sweeps, the two commandos were as cheerful as two prostitutes who had the sole franchise at a salesman's convention."

After coming up empty in the last few books, Rosenberger gives us a fruit mention: "One of the Death Merchant's Auto Mags roared and the head of the KGB man exploded with the kind of sound a hammer makes when it hits a watermelon."

At the very end of the book, Camellion asks one of the captured Russian scientists about the wide road in the middle of the island. Dr. Agarev says that it leads to an underground installation, where there is a machine known as a "Cosmic Generator". We don't get much of a description of what this machine is or does, but I wonder - considering Camellion's mysterious connection to the Cosmic Lord of Death - if it will turn up in a future volume.