Legerdemain: The President’s Secret Plan, The Bomb and What The French Never Knew
A Memoir by James J. Heaphey, Ph.D.
Nominated for the Harry Truman Award by Harry S. Truman Institute for National and International Affairs, a bi-annual award given to best book, published during 2008-2009, by Truman Library dealing with national security affairs during Truman Administration.
Nominated for 2008 Book of the Year Award for Autobiography by ForeWord Magazine.
“In the early 1950s the United States and the Soviet Union confront one another with enough nuclear power to literally blow one another away. The Mediterranean Sea is the decisive theater of conflict. The Russians are trying to gain control in Greece and Turkey in order to gain a warm water port. The United States places so much sea and air power in the area that the Mediterranean is called ‘an American lake.’
“Intertwined with the Cold War is the determination of people living under colonial regimes to rid themselves of their European masters. These nationalist rebellions present problems for American Cold War strategy. In French Morocco, for example, where we have three air bases from which our nuclear bombers can reach and strike the Soviet Union. Nouasseur, my home base, is the most important one because it has a runway long enough to launch our most potent nuclear warrior, the B-36 bomber. Morocco is a French Protectorate. Nouasseur is a French air base. The French let us use it because they are NATO partners with us, and because we pay them a lot of money to be there. Nuclear warheads are secretly stored at Nouasseur. The French do not know this.
“Having staging areas in French Morocco for bombers pointed at the Soviet Union is more important than friendship with the French. The American president, along with anyone who thought about such things, believed the French would be driven out of Morocco. So, then what? The answer was easy, cozy up to the Moroccan nationalist movement, Istiqlal, while pretending to be a loyal ally of the French. And that is where I come in.
“I am a young, barely trained and very inexperienced Air Force undercover agent. My primary assignment is to provide information to Istiqlal as requested by them. Sy Fulan (some persons in this memoir are not identified by their real names) is my Istiqlal contact. He tells me what they want to know. For example, I gauge how French Foreign Legion Garrisons in the Atlas Mountains might react if Istiqlal drums up trouble in their regions. My cover is being editor of the Nouasseur base newspaper, the Minaret, and contributor for the European edition of Stars and Stripes.
“This liaison with Istiqlal is top secret. The only person at Nouasseur Air Base who knows what I’m doing is the commandant, General Jackson. We camouflage our meetings with a story that he is a vain man who likes to see his picture in the Minaret on the front page of every issue and his name mentioned in Stars and Stripes once a month or so. Most of the people at the base who know about our frequent meetings think I have sold out and become his personal publicity agent...”
Legerdemain is the true story that takes Jim Heaphey through the alleyways and bathhouses of Casablanca, the exotic Arabian Nights-like Fair in Marrakesch, the settings of the privileged in Cairo and the hillside villages of Cyprus. The story unveils the workings of MI6, the CIA, French Security Force, the Moassad and the KGB. In so doing, the story brings to the reader an understanding of the Islamist mind and sets the stage for the affairs of the Twenty-First Century.
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