Review: Death of a King – The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year

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Tavis Smiley

5.0 out of 5 stars OK to Challenge Racism and Poverty — NOT OK to challenge militarism and the national security state, September 12, 2014

The publisher has done a rotten job of summarizing this book. Here, paraphrasing the author as he just spoke on the John Stewart show, is the bottom line:

The minute that Dr. King turned against militarism and denounced the USA as the greatest purveyor of violence upon the world, he was first marginalized and then assassinated. “The System” was fine with Dr. King focusing on racism, and even poverty, but it would not tolerate for one moment his questioning the military-industrial complex and the national security state.

The author — whom I found to be very inspiring, coherent, and concise — a brilliant articulator of the key points in the book — goes on to have a conversation with Jon Stewart about how the USA simply cannot handle truth-tellers in relation to “big money” matters such as elective wars (racism and poverty being “little money” matters, and deliberately so).

Dr. King was ultimately assassinated by a US Army sniper on detail to the FBI and under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover. The story is told in An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King and has also been documented and validated in a judgment by a federal court awarding the King family the single dollar in damages they requested.

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Sep 12

Review: 935 Lies – The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

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Charles Lewis

5.0 out of 5 stars Title Short-Changes Value — This is One of the Most Important Books of Our Time, July 12, 2014

I’m not thrilled with the title because it implies to the browser that the book is about the 935 now-documented lies that led to the war in Iraq, and that is not the case — those lies are simply one of many evidentiary cases spanned a much broader spectrum. As the author himself outlines early on, the book is about a retrospective review of the struggle for truth from the lies that led to Viet-Nam to date (less 9/11); a concurrent review of the corruption and diminuition of commercial journalism; and finally, the future of the truth.

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Jul 12

Review: They Were Soldiers – How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story

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Ann Jones

5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary book — Gabriel’s trumpet on true cost of war, December 3, 2013

A necessary book. The author has rendered a national — a global — service in documenting the psychological, social, and physical costs of war, costs that surpass the continually astonishing financial cost of war. SIX STARS (my top 10%)

I read this book this afternoon while waiting for a flight out of Afghanistan. The book hit me hard. Although I have been well aware of the staggering number of disabled veterans and suicidal veterans, most of what this book offers up was new to me and deeply disturbing.

The book also made me realize that as an intelligence officer save in a basement — the occasional big car bomb not-with-standing — my time in Afghanistan has been illusory, in that I have not at any time confronted the blood and guts pathos that this book lays out with a professionalism that is compelling.

The book also forces me to think of my three sons, the youngest of whom is contemplating joining the military after college. While I served and retired honorably from the Marine Corps, my wars were Viet-Nam as the son of an oil man and El Salvador as a clandestine case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ve seen my share of dead people across all three, but I never personally experienced the deep gut-wrenching mind-altering pathos that this book lays down.

QUOTE (5): [This book] is about the damage done to soldiers, their families, their communities, and the rest of us, who for another half-century at least will pay for their care, their artificial limbs, their medications, their benefits, their funerals, and the havoc they dutifully wrought under orders around the world.”

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Dec 4

Review: The Media Ecosystem — What Ecology Can Teach Us About Responsible Media Practice

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Antonio Lopez

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and timely integrative overview with many original insights, August 22, 2013

I received this book as a gift, and am glad that I did as I normally would not have noticed it, bought it, or reviewed it. I hope my review will inspire others to buy the book, and if not, provide a summary of some of the highlights that I consider quite timely, original, and useful.

This is a manifesto of sorts, on CRITICAL INFORMATION, or stated another way, on public decision-support needs and the urgency of restoring both integrity (tell the truth) and holistic soundness (report on everything, and on the cause and effect cost and consequences of everything in relation to everything). Of course modern media fails this test, and the author should be credited with providing a manifesto and high-level handbook of how we might proceed.

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Aug 22

Review (Guest): Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies

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Susan Landau

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive text on the topic July 8, 2011

Ben Rothke

Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies is a hard book to categorize. It is not about security, but it deals extensively with it. It is not a law book, but legal topics are pervasive throughout the book. It is not a telecommunications book, but extensively details telco issues. Ultimately, the book is a most important overview of security and privacy and the nature of surveillance in current times.

Surveillance or Security? is one of the most pragmatic books on the topic is that the author never once uses the term Big Brother. Far too many books on privacy and surveillance are filled with hysteria and hyperbole and the threat of an Orwellian society. This book sticks to the raw facts and details the current state, that of insecure and porous networks around a surveillance society.

In this densely packed work, Susan Landau, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University details the myriad layers around surveillance, national security, information security and privacy. Landau writes that her concern is not about legally authorized law enforcement and nationally security wiretapping; rather about the security risks of building surveillance into communications infrastructures.

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Apr 30

Review: Saucers, Swastikas and Psyops: A History of A Breakaway Civilization: Hidden Aerospace Technologies and Psychological Operations

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Jospeh P. Farrell

5.0 out of 5 stars This is an Information Operations / Counterintelligence Hidden Gem, December 23, 2012

The cover does this book a dis-service. This is a SERIOUS book that should be used in serious courses of instruction for both Information Operations (IO) and Counterintelligence (CI). The book lacks an index, a terrible mistake on the part of the publisher, but I have to say the notes are world-class and this book earns my intuitive respect quickly.

This book is a bit rough but I put it at a solid five stars and even considered six (my top ten percent across 1800+ books) because this book does something extraordinary:

01 It makes the case for UFOs being a terrestial Information Operations (IO) Psychological Operation (PSYOP — never plural).

02 It connects US underground tunnel civilization (a possible explanation for the Pentagon’s missing 2.3 trillion) and advanced technologies including “Nazi physics” versus “Jewish physics”

03 It connects the Rockefeller-Morgan Nazi-philes, Latin America, Switzerland, the Bank of International Settlements, and the drug cartels — in other words, this is also an excellent reading for Counterintelligence (CI).

I draw two major insights from this book:

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Dec 23

Review: Hard Measures – How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives

Jose Rodriguez and Bill Harlow

3.0 out of 5 stars 5 as Personal Memoir, 1 for Nonsense About “Hard Measures”, May 3, 2012

As a memoir of time in the CIA bureaucracy and occasional righteous deeds in the field, the book is a must read along with a handful of others by former case offices of stature-no one denies the stature of the primary author-I do question the role of the second author. Unfortunately, the author himself may not realize the falseness of the context, the premises, the claims, the reports, and the ethics surrounding rendition and torture. All I can do is point this out and hope that readers will take the time to reflect and read beyond this book.

I am a former clandestine case officer from the Latin America Division, and among those from CIA, including former Director Stansfield Turner, case officers Robert Bauer and Vince Cannistraro, and many others, who signed the letter to Senator McCain against torture.

Real professionals, which is to say, not the Ollie North’s of CIA, know that torture does not work. Anything in this book that says it does, and that leads came out of torture that were important, is in my independent judgement a lie-perhaps not a deliberate lie. The primary author was so far removed from the ground reality as to be unwitting of the lies being told to him by contractors and case officers who sought only to improve their “record” without regard to the truth or the consequences.

Anytime there is an argument over whether something is torture or not, it is. This will not be understood by the loosely-educated who lack an appreciation of ethics and the strategic value of morality.

Dick Cheney committed over 20 impeachable crimes (I itemize them in my review of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, while also telling 935 now documented lies. The primary value of this book may be in clearly identifying the author as an enabler of Dick Cheney’s crimes and lies, and a subject for future investigation if the USA ever gets an honest government again.

The CIA is an empty shell, with child analysts and no bench in the clandestine service. This is one reason DIA is working so hard to create its own “Class A” clandestine service, but sadly, DIA is turning to the same low standards that CIA has had all these years, and will be hard pressed to get much beyond its present standard for clandestine operations, “push ups done silently.”

I love books and I love the truth. I have written, edited, and published nine books on intelligence so far, and believe with all humility that I am helping set the gold standard for what ethical intelligence could and should be. In my personal opinion, this book demeans everything that CIA, the US Government, the Constitution, and the Republic should stand for.

You can find almost all of my reviews on books about intelligence at one single consolidated list easily found by searching for the phrase below (all reviews lead to their respective Amazon page). Buy something other than this book — it shames us all and does no service to the craft of intelligence.

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

Here are nine other books [Amazon has a ten link limit]-the first two show CIA at its best, the rest at its normal worst.

A Spy For All Seasons: My Life in the CIA
Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism
Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project)

Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
BLOND GHOST
Someone Would Have Talked
Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11

Robert David STEELE Vivas
ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World

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May 13

Review: The Information Diet – A Case for Conscious Consumption

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Clay Johnson

5.0 out of 5 stars Gift Book, Gift Idea, Gift Economy, Get a Grip,February 18, 2012

I received a copy of this book as a gift, and gladly so since the top review at this time is unfairly dismissive while also confessing that the reviewer only read the first third of the book (but evidently not the preface (first page) that states plainly (first sentence, actually), “The things we know about food have a lot to teach us about how to have a healthy relationship with information.”

Having just reviewed The Telescreen: An Empirical Study of the Destruction and Despiritualization of Consciousness, and so many other books here at Amazon, I easily connect the point in last night’s reading: that food, medicine, education, and the media are all “co-conspirators” in dumbing down a human population whose brains started out as enormous pools of potential creativity, to this book. The information — and the food and the medicine and the tabloid garbage we are ingesting — is killing us.

What the first reviewer completely misses is that this is the first manifesto, beyond The Age of Missing Information, to actually focus on how out of control our relationship is to the world of information. As a lifetime professional in these matters I can state clearly that not only are governments substituting ideology for intelligence and corruption for integrity, but so are all the other communities of information (academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government / non-profit. We live in a totally corrupt world where — right now — banking families (Rothschild et al) own the banks and the banks own the two-party tyrannies (or the outright dictators) that own government, and they own the the corporations, with the 99% being expendable fodder for 1% theft from the commonwealth. This book is a cry from the heart, and an eloquent one at that.

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Feb 18

Review: The Telescreen – An Empirical and Philosophical Study of the Destruction of Consciousness in America

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Jeffrey Grupp

5.0 out of 5 stars You need a brain to read this book; if you have one, the book will scare you,February 17, 2012

I have been keeping in touch with “alternative” sources for some time, ever since I realized in about 1988 that neither the US secret intelligence world nor the US media were at all reliable — they are each very good at what they choose to do, but that does not include the public interest.

The author refers very often to his 2007 book, Corporatism: The Secret Government of the New World Order, to the point that I do recommend that be bought and read before this book.

I am hugely impressed by this author. He does detailed, meticulously documented research and the presentation is excellent. I especially like footnotes I can see while reading the body instead of endnotes.

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Feb 17

Reference: The Privatization [Corruption] of Democracy – Honoring & Documenting the Work of Eva Waskell

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Gordon Cook

I am honored that Eva Waskell has entrusted me to present The Privatization of Our Democracy, a work that I regard as her Profile in Courage. For 25 years she has labored to correct what is possibly the most significant public policy failure of the computer age—the privatization of vote counting carried out under the rationale that computers are simply automatic calculators that can tabulate votes more cost effectively than old analogue machines. I have known her for 19 of those years.

. . . . . .

People think they know that something is wrong with the way elections are conducted in this country.  They are correct. There is. But readers only now will get access to a full history of the abuse of public trust by the elected politicians of the United States of America. That’s a large claim to make, but see for yourself.

Click on Image to Enlarge

I believe that there are multiple publications here in what Eva has to say. The scholarly monograph. An Elections for Dummies paperback. A paperback of humorous tabby cat photos where the kitties are running elections.  Eva is a national treasure and I am proud to be able to use the Internet to make her story known. Fortunately, there are many, many public spirited citizens left.

Full Report (PDF 160 Pages)

Cook Report Home

Table of Contents and Selected Quotes Below the Line –

A SPECTACULAR Piece of Work

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Nov 6