Archive for January, 2014

has-nsa-leaker-edward-j-snowden-given-classified-data-to-chinaIt took me a long time to come to a decision about NSA leaker Edward Snowden. First of all, because I was too busy doing other things to research the issue, and also because there’s not a lot out there right now to research. I agree that he did terrible damage to our country. But what puzzled me from the beginning was: why did he do it? Whistle-blower or traitor?

And then I remembered some the research I did in writing ROOFMAN. In his memoirs, former CIA officer Harry Rositzke writes about why Eastern European intelligence officers defected to the West during the Cold War:

“In the black-and-white days of the Cold War it is easy to see such men opting with their feet for ‘freedom.’ They were allegedly men who changed sides out of principle, who saw our side as the ‘good guys.’ ”

Rositzke then airbrushes some reality onto this cartoon-like view: “(We deceive) ourselves to see them as heroic fighters for freedom, recurrent testimonials to the rightness of our cause.” (Rositzke, Harry, The KGB: the Eyes of Russia, Doubleday, c1981, p250-251).

Rositzke added that when CIA set up boards and committees to look into patterns of personality and background in those men that might be exploited to encourage more defectors, they found nothing. The Agency concluded that there had been no strictly ideological defectors, only individual intelligence officers who defected for personal reasons. (Roofman: A True Story of Cold War Espionage, Roofman the Spy Publishing, c2011, p31)

What Rositzke wrote back then has convinced me now that Snowden did what he did, not for ideological reasons, but for personal reasons. He is no whistle-blower. Whatever those reasons are, someone will eventually find out.

In October, 2013, I entered ROOFMAN: A True Story of Cold War Espionage, in Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. I should have known better. I used to subscribe to WD, and in each issue they would give a short readers a chance to expand upon an idea they issued in the previous issue. I found that I never much cared for the editors’ choices and found what I believed to be better writing further on down the list.

They announced the winners on December 31, 2013. Needless to say, ROOFMAN, according to those who live their lives and set their clocks according to Central Time, did not even come close. And I was convinced I was going to win the whole shebang! (Not in Peoria!)

I received a short summary of the one and only judge to view my work today:

Entry Title: ROOFMAN: A True Story of Cold War Espionage

Author: John Pansini

Judge Number: 30

Entry Category: Nonfiction

 

 

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. “0” indicates not applicable. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

 

In some cases, you may see special or out of place characters/symbols in your commentary. For example, you may see that a character/symbol replaces an apostrophe, copyright, and other “symbols”. These substitutions occur for various reasons – and are unavoidable. They are often [programming] misinterpretations due to encoding, installed fonts, web based content/sources etc. Since the “content”[data] of the commentary is comprised of data sent from several different computers (programs, fonts etc.,) and from the internet (online entry system), you may at times see an interpretation of what had been an apostrophe, dash, quotation mark etc.

 

 

Structure and Organization: 4

 

Grammar: 4

 

Production Quality and Cover Design: 3

 

Plot (if applicable): 3

 

Character Development (if applicable): 3

    

 

Judges Commentary*:

  In the book, “Roofman: A True Story of Cold War Espionage,” author John Pansini takes readers on a remarkable journey. It hardly seems possible that a “regular Joe” could become an intelligence asset so casually, and yet it happened! Wow! Pansini’s story of working with the FBI and maintaining a seemingly double life with his Russian contacts offers some wonderful insight into what was going on in the United States, right before our very eyes, during the Cold War. It’s a wonder the author was able to stay quiet so long. It was also very interesting to watch the author evolve as he grew more comfortable with his role as informant. I appreciated the links to the audio he recorded. The one place the book stumbles for me is in the length. The author should consider if every conversation and every meeting needs to be included. Question whether some stories could be removed or shortened without harming the integrity of the overall story. It was also difficult at times to keep all of the characters straight, perhaps removing some of the minor players and/or adding a list of characters would help readers. If there are newspaper clippings about the incidents, I’d love to see those included as well.

And my reply to Judge #30 is as follows:

“I think Judge #30 Self-Published Ebook awards does not know what he/she is talking about. All I’ll say is I’m damn proud of ROOFMAN.
I should have known better than to trust anything as cutting edge as ROOFMAN  to a staid publication like Writer’s Digest. I wasted $75. Glad I’m not a subscriber.
John Pansini”
Early on a promised myself that I would enter on this blog all reviews, The Good, The Bad and (even shit like the above) Warm Milk. WD is published out of Cincinnati, Ohio. My best advice to them is to never leave the Midwest.
John Pansini
(One Pissed Off Roofer!)