Perspective: Thriller Writer Who Predicts Disaster; Author James H Jackson Rejected a Plot about Terrorists Blowing Up the World Trade Centre Because His Publisher's Would Have Thought It Too Far Fetched, Writes Alison Jones

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Jones

Like the rest of the world, thriller writer James H Jackson found it hard to take on board the images of the World Trade Centre being razed to the ground by terrorists on a suicide mission.

His disbelief was not caused by the shock of the unthinkable happening. It was the fact that he had written an almost identical scene in his first novel Dead Headers then dismissed it as being too fanciful.

'In the book I actually blew the head off the Statue of Liberty. I thought nobody would believe me if I did it to the World Trade Centre because of the scale of it.

'If I had written what actually happened last week my editor would have said it was ridiculous, that perhaps terrorists could have got one plane but not four.'

James is not a psychic. He does however have an uncanny knack of predicting some of the most dramatic and catastrophic events to happen on the world stage.

His insight comes from his years of experience as an international defence and political risk consultant. He also lectures on global conflict and arms trade issues.

He saw something like the attack on the twin towers coming and he also knows there is only one way to stop further atrocities happening.

'When I was lecturing in terrorism I said there would come a stage when it graduated from the traditional bomb, bullet and booby trap. It was going to happen.

'These groups are as capable of outwitting, improvising and coming up with ideas as anybody else. In American, the so called intelligence agencies, the FBI, the CIA and Defence Intelligence don't always talk to each other.

'Intelligence is to do with piecing together a jigsaw and if each of those agencies have a different piece of the jigsaw it can get very difficult.

'During the Cold War, for example, Defence Intelligence and the CIA had completely different statistics on the weapons being developed.

'Also America has never felt itself to be that vulnerable towards terrorist attack so the FBI has never been geared towards it, whereas our security services in the UK are almost exclusively geared to countering terrorism because of Northern Ireland.'

The dramatic title Dead Headers actually sums up his attitude to the way the problem should be combated.

'I have always maintained that you have to get in on the ground and cut them off at the knees and you go back and again and again.'

However he stresses that any war on terrorism must be directed inward, not just at those responsible for reducing parts of Lower Manhattan to rubble.

'There is no point in saying you are going to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism abroad if you are not going to dismantle the infrastructure here.

'Why haven't they wrapped up extremist groups in this country? That is not an anti Muslim remark that is an anti fanatic remark.

'There is no point being hamstrung by political correctness because the next thing that will happen is we will get a bloody huge bomb going off in London. …