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The soon-to-be-unveiled film, Zero Dark Thirty, directed by filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, about the apprehension and the final chapter of the manhunt for the world’s most elusive and sought after terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, is already receiving considerable buzz in Hollywood prior to its release on January 11, 2013. The film is a likely contender to take home multiple Oscar awards and is based on firsthand accounts from CIA and American intelligence members. However, the film, which has a premise that is widely known by regular individuals the world over, is not the first insider account of high-level terrorist and counter-terrorism activity. Author Nicholas Black, former U.S. Navy and French Foreign Legion member who has penned 17 books, recounts his own story of an undercover operation which ran from October 2002 until June 2003, and which ultimately ended in the tragic train bombings in Madrid, Spain, on March 11, 2004.

Black, who also has served as a private bodyguard and has extensive martial arts and specialized training, makes some considerable claims in his book, including that the U.S. government not only knew about the Madrid terrorist attack, but also allowed the attack to happen. However, unlike some conspiracy claims that find a home on the Internet, Black has the material, including court documents, to back his claim up. Indeed, a large amount of Black’s knowledge was provided to him while he was in Valdemoro prison in Spain. It was here, inside the walls of the nicknamed “Terrorist University,” that Black not only had the opportunity to glean insider intelligence into al Qaeda operations, but he was also able to befriend several high-ranking al Qaeda operatives, all while serving on an undercover intelligence gathering mission.

“I was in prison awaiting extradition and the U.S. Government saw an opportunity to use me,” stated Black. “They asked me to gather information on al Qaeda and I agreed to do this. There was not a happy ending, however, because of my work. About six months after I left Span, the Madrid train bombings occurred. It involved the same group of terrorists that I had been tasked with getting close to, and ultimately, getting information about the attack-to-be from.”

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