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The rise of international jihad and Western ultra-nationalism In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal excavates the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten peace across the globe are the inevitable flowering of America’s imperial designs. Washington’s secret funding of the mujahedin provoked the Russian The rise of international jihad and Western ultra-nationalism In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal excavates the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten peace across the globe are the inevitable flowering of America’s imperial designs. Washington’s secret funding of the mujahedin provoked the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. With guns and money, the United States has ever since sustained the extremists, including Osama Bin Laden, who have become its enemies. The Pentagon has trained and armed jihadist elements in Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya; it has launched military interventions to change regimes in the Middle East. In doing so, it created fertile ground for the Islamic State and brought foreign conflicts home to American soil. These failed wars abroad have made the United States more vulnerable to both terrorism as well as native ultra-nationalism. The Trump presidency is the inevitable consequence of neoconservative imperialism in the post–Cold War age. Trump’s dealings in the Middle East are likely only to exacerbate the situation.


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The rise of international jihad and Western ultra-nationalism In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal excavates the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten peace across the globe are the inevitable flowering of America’s imperial designs. Washington’s secret funding of the mujahedin provoked the Russian The rise of international jihad and Western ultra-nationalism In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal excavates the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten peace across the globe are the inevitable flowering of America’s imperial designs. Washington’s secret funding of the mujahedin provoked the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. With guns and money, the United States has ever since sustained the extremists, including Osama Bin Laden, who have become its enemies. The Pentagon has trained and armed jihadist elements in Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya; it has launched military interventions to change regimes in the Middle East. In doing so, it created fertile ground for the Islamic State and brought foreign conflicts home to American soil. These failed wars abroad have made the United States more vulnerable to both terrorism as well as native ultra-nationalism. The Trump presidency is the inevitable consequence of neoconservative imperialism in the post–Cold War age. Trump’s dealings in the Middle East are likely only to exacerbate the situation.

30 review for The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mila

    Honestly, this is essential reading. I've enjoyed his past work and podcast, but nonalignment with Blumenthal’s politics prior to this book should not dissuade anyone from reading this fantastic indictment of the American foreign policy establishment. Let me praise this by saying who I think *wouldn’t* appreciate this book to try to convey its importance. The first is obviously the US national security state, which Blumenthal masterfully embarrasses throughout the book by showing how it put its t Honestly, this is essential reading. I've enjoyed his past work and podcast, but nonalignment with Blumenthal’s politics prior to this book should not dissuade anyone from reading this fantastic indictment of the American foreign policy establishment. Let me praise this by saying who I think *wouldn’t* appreciate this book to try to convey its importance. The first is obviously the US national security state, which Blumenthal masterfully embarrasses throughout the book by showing how it put its trust in the world’s most savage religious extremists, and how the US often had to let these criminals get away with it because prosecuting them would make them lose informants and further embarrass themselves. The second is Saudi Arabia and its other gulf allies, which are shown to cynically pour tons of money into American think tanks and extremist groups. These are the same states that then pretend they fight extremism by speaking against Iran. This is their défense when they execute Shia activists. But they are shown to be major financiers of both global terrorism and neoconservative ideology. In turn, this revelation further embarrasses the US- a country that claims to be fighting Islamist extremism - by revealing how close they are to both extremists and their financiers. The third is the liberal media like CNN and MSNBC which is shown to be gullible, spineless, and racist all at the same time. They encourage conservatives like Trump to take military action against Arab states under the guise of human rights and fall for ploys such as 6 year old daughters of Islamists begging for war on twitter. They claim to want to help refugees while cheering on foreign regime change wars that create them. This book presents the reader with a lot of information to take in, making you have to read it carefully and keep checking the citations at the back (some controversial claims are made, making them all the more shocking to see the sources be things like direct CIA memos or words from the mouths of those Blumenthal is criticizing) - but honestly, I ploughed right through it because it was so interesting to me. Mild critique: It was a bit jarring to introduce a discussion of Russiagate at the end when the book was largely about the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Islamist extremism. I think there was a way to fit it in, but I just wasn't expecting it and it seemed like more of a side rant for a bit. I started to see the point of this when Blumenthal discussed how it pertained to the first chapter on Afghanistan, but it wasn't clear to me that that was the purpose at the beginning. I think in general, organizationally, Blumenthal could benefit from stating what the main aim of the chapter is at the beginning of each chapter/setting out a map of how one concept pertains to the main theme. There is A LOT of content and a lot going on in this book, and some recaps/setting out aims by chapter could help manage the amount of stuff that's going on in here. But that could just be a product of me being poisoned with analytic philosophy for four years. When it comes down to it though, I loved this book. As a long time critic of war, as someone whose family has been impacted by war in the Middle East, I really appreciated this booking and its damning of islamophobes, orientalists, warmongers, and Islamist extremists all at once. This is easily Max Blumenthal’s best work!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Foreign policy 101 - the “symbiosis” of Western imperialism and xenophobia with jihadism: Highlights: --Blumenthal’s fast-paced journalistic writing-style piles on many names and events, so it’s prudent to take a step back and review the frameworks: 1) The “symbiosis” of terror: i) Origins: US’s imperialist intervention in Vietnam was costly and embarrassing, as Vietnamese guerilla forces proved much more resilient against total annihilation and eventually the American public turned against the agg Foreign policy 101 - the “symbiosis” of Western imperialism and xenophobia with jihadism: Highlights: --Blumenthal’s fast-paced journalistic writing-style piles on many names and events, so it’s prudent to take a step back and review the frameworks: 1) The “symbiosis” of terror: i) Origins: US’s imperialist intervention in Vietnam was costly and embarrassing, as Vietnamese guerilla forces proved much more resilient against total annihilation and eventually the American public turned against the aggression, with lasting effects (“Vietnam Syndrome”). ii) US imperialism wanted to inflict a Vietnam-like trap on its foe, the USSR: --Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter’s NSC Advisor) came up with the “Afghan Trap”: covertly arm and train fringe mujahideen “freedom fighters” to terrorize Afghanistan and lure USSR into a costly intervention. --This became Reagan’s Operation Cyclone. This also involved supporting Pakistan’s Islamic dictator Zia-ul-Haq and Saudi monarchy/Wahhabism (including Bin Laden). --On a broader level, this is Western imperialism (which the Liberal “Center” is very much part of, in this case the Carter administration) using a divide-and-conquer strategy by supporting fringe extremist proxies and despots to do the dirty work of imperial administration. --Liberal Centrists like Hillary Clinton have no problem supporting “moderate rebel” jihadists to co-opt protests and attempt regime-change (Libya, Syria), if it supports imperial ambitions. iii) Extremists become volatile “disposal problems” and cause blowback, which fuel Western xenophobia and the rise of the Far Right. Thus, the symbiosis, where terror from one side feeds on and legitimizes the terror from the other: --al-Qaeda’s “Management of Savagery” strategy is to provoke superpower interventions, where subsequent chaos promotes the recruitment of more jihadists. Thus, after the fall of the USSR, Bin Laden wanted to reverse the “Afghan Trap” against the US. --ISIS’s “eliminating the grayzone” strategy is to provoke polarization and xenophobia in the West to push Muslims there out of the “grayzone” of coexistence. --Zionist Likud/Netanyahu’s “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” strategy is to topple regional regimes that are against Zionist expansionism (Saddam’s Iraq, then Syria which was allied with Iran/Hezbollah), thus requiring direct US intervention. --Post 9/11, Bush neocons “War on Terror” mirrored Netanyahu’s strategy of regime-change. 2) Media propaganda: --Long before Trump seized on “fake news”, those paying attention recognized the propaganda model of mainstream corporate media, with current foreign policy being the murkiest of topics. --How do we engage with the general public in the cacophony of mainstream stenography and “alternative” hysteria? i) Frameworks in history/political economy (as described above, and a few detailed below)...the challenge is to make these accessible. ii) Dependable (independent) news outlets: journalism and sourcing is a lot of work, so we all need shortcuts to synthesize all the info. I was troubled by popular Progressive outlets like “Democracy Now!” and “The Intercept” in their use of the White Helmets content in their coverage of the Syrian conflict. I wish I saved the article by The Intercept regarding the White Helmets (I can’t find it anymore) where concerns over their funding and motives were nonchalantly dismissed. I sure hope it wasn’t Jeremy Scahill who wrote such drivel. Of course, outlets like “MintPress News” have long questioned The Intercept’s funding (billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar). --Recommendations? a) The author is part of “The Grayzone” news outlet, as well as “The Moderate Rebels” podcast. -Here is an episode introducing this book: https://youtu.be/3ActAKgwVMU -April 2020 update: on the erosion of US "Progressive" media (in particular, how the Democrats used Russiangate to divert attention of much more tangible collusion they are equally guilty of, i.e. legalized bribery with tax-dodging multinational corporations/Wall Street, Saudi Arabia petrodollar/Wahhabism, Israeli apartheid, etc.): https://youtu.be/8676Q93GW1k?t=6957 -More on US media, especially "democratic socialism" like Jacobin: https://youtu.be/B3I5MgbOvFo b) Follow the fabulous Vijay Prashad (Tricontinential: Institute for Social Research): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... -“ideological censorship”: https://youtu.be/6jKcsHv3c74 -"The Foreign Policy of the 1%": https://youtu.be/DiHtfeof15s?t=51 -"The Many Lives of Communism in the Third World": https://youtu.be/NZXh2Guebhg?t=108 -on ISIS, Saudi Arabia, imperialism: https://youtu.be/LVzso1Tydoc?t=365 -"Western Bombs, Eastern Societies": https://youtu.be/Tgphk_jDuE4?t=283 -"The Destruction of Nations and R2P": https://youtu.be/1MiYazFZYpI?t=499 c) Also follow Abby Martin (Empire Files): https://youtu.be/rezvemRMelQ The Missing: --Another invaluable contextual framework to incorporate: US imperialism as real-world capitalism. Vijay Prashad provides on intro (see above: "The Foreign Policy of the 1%"). The intro anti-war Americans are most familiar with is probably War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier. --I have yet to read an accessible summary of the detailed research done on Military Industrial Complex spending and financial imperialism (ex. Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Foppe

    I wish the author had read or understood Parenti's work on the intertwining of imperialism and capitalism/corporatism, as I suspect that'd have made the book more interesting. That said, it delivers what it promises in the title, even if the focus on "Donald Trump" makes that part less interesting than it could've been if he'd just focused on elite/media collusion and its long history, how that ties in with elite myopia, and so on. Must read especially for people who don't yet know how the CIA as I wish the author had read or understood Parenti's work on the intertwining of imperialism and capitalism/corporatism, as I suspect that'd have made the book more interesting. That said, it delivers what it promises in the title, even if the focus on "Donald Trump" makes that part less interesting than it could've been if he'd just focused on elite/media collusion and its long history, how that ties in with elite myopia, and so on. Must read especially for people who don't yet know how the CIA as well as the FBI encourage terrorism for imperialist state and propaganda purposes (namely mainly to pimp their arrest statistics, but also to contribute to the fear culture that exists in the US).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book made me so angry. The hubris in American foreign policy toward the middle east is just staggering. The end and the Russia stuff was also pretty good

  5. 5 out of 5

    Randall Wallace

    The US spent over a billion dollars funding radical Islamic jihad in Afghanistan to give Russia its own Vietnam and then pretended 9/11’s extreme Islam response came out of nowhere. Creating terrorists for the Russians to fight was called Operation Cyclone and it was the largest covert operation in CIA history. The US creates four million third grade textbooks for Afghan children that turn them into little jihad warriors by telling them to gouge the eyes and amputate the legs of Russians. The ch The US spent over a billion dollars funding radical Islamic jihad in Afghanistan to give Russia its own Vietnam and then pretended 9/11’s extreme Islam response came out of nowhere. Creating terrorists for the Russians to fight was called Operation Cyclone and it was the largest covert operation in CIA history. The US creates four million third grade textbooks for Afghan children that turn them into little jihad warriors by telling them to gouge the eyes and amputate the legs of Russians. The children got math problems like: Fifty Russians are attacked and 20 are killed; how many Russians fled? The US covert war in Afghanistan creates the worst refugee crisis in history. To get Saudi Arabia aboard the jihad Russian killing machine, Caspar Weinberger sets up a $8.5 billion-dollar arms deal with them. The Russians, when in Afghanistan, empowered Afghan women and sent them to school. That would all be undone due to US fueled Islamic extremism. When the Taliban took over Herat in 1995, they threw thousands of girls out of schools – and not one word from the US press. Americans will be pleased to know their tax dollars went behind their backs towards Afghanistan forbidding women from attending school, requiring head to toe covering, banning music and replaced it with public executions (no doubt done to Rod Stewart’s The First Cut is the Deepest). Walls were bulldozed onto homosexuals, women turned to their new exciting job – begging in the street, while an entire generation of Afghan children got hardcore Taliban indoctrination every day, paid for by the US. The CIA trained lots of people to build bombs, change their identity and kill people and after such training, these killers stay in business wreaking “havoc around the world.” In 1997 six jihadists butcher fifty-eight tourists at Luxor. The six killers disemboweled their victims because they had seen it on the Afghan battlefield. That film South Pacific was right, you have to be carefully taught. No one is ever held accountable for US crimes on either side of the aisle, and so neither political party is pressured to stop bipartisan crimes against humanity. The Iraq War was about collapsing a stable secular country while the US desire for regime change in Syria funds ISIS. Clinton bombs a pharmaceutical plant producing 50% of the medicine going to the poorest countries. Clinton’s lapse in judgment “wiped out Sudan’s supply of TB vaccinations” and destroyed their vet drugs to be used to prevent transfer of parasites to children. Some of Clinton’s cruise missiles landed but didn’t explode and Al Qaeda happily sold them all for $10 million each according to China. Imagine that sale on the nightly news. Clinton imposes no fly zones over Iraq where the US could happily “bomb Iraq once a week at a cost of over one billion dollars”. Madeleine Albright chimes in, telling 60 Minutes that 500,000 Iraqi children’s deaths were “worth it”. I picture a L’Oreal ad with Madeleine Albright’s hair flowing in front of a children’s morgue while she repeats it’s “worth it” tag line. On August 6th, 2001, Bush gets a presidential daily briefing with one and half pages devoted to the headline, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the US.” Perhaps, if there were pictures also in the report, Bush might have read it. During 9/11 Howard Stern says on air, “we’ve got to drop an atomic bomb.” Robin Quivers demanded war but Stern said we needed to burn their eyes out. Later, Stern said after our atom bombs flatten wherever over there, “we’ll take the oil for ourselves.” And Americans wonder where Donald Trump came from! Stern is not right wing but his comments show you the neo-conservative mindset across the mainstream US. A once classified memo from Donald Rumsfeld mentioned regime change in “first Iraq, then Syria, and finally Iran, with Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan somewhere in between.” After 9/11, a racist mob of 300 headed towards a mosque in Illinois shouting “Kill the Arabs! USA, USA!” – Police got there in time. The Patriot Act was passed by a vote of 99 to 1. The original name of There Goes Your Privacy Forever Act, I thought was more catchy, but not a big vote getter. Stern happily lied to his audience saying the attacks were celebrated by Arabs while FBI files showed the only happy faces were Israeli intelligence agents in lower Manhattan caught filming the flames while smiling. John McCain provides his Vietnamese captors with “valuable intelligence on war planning” and diplomatically said in 2000, “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.” That sure will bring out the Asian vote. The Iraq War goes down first because Americans believed a US PR Firm’s hiring of a woman (Nayirah) to claim she saw 312 babies ripped from their incubators by Iraqis in Kuwait to die on the cold floor. That same PR firm Hill & Knowlton had already testing the war talking points to better ram them down American throats. The Manufacturing of Consent. Wolfowitz said to Wesley Clark, “with the end of the Cold War, we can use our military with impunity.” He told Clark they only had a few years to “clean up” Iraq and Syria before “the next superpower emerges to challenge us”. Charming. Did you know in 2006 The Pentagon started its 1033 program to put eight ton MRAPS, Grenade launchers and 84,258 assault rifles into the hands of police officers to be used against civilians (those MRPS tear up street asphalt big time too). That new breed of well-stocked warrior cops will make any black person think twice about walking outside while black. One fifth of all suicides in the US are veterans (20 a day, as of 2016). Gaddafi haters like Hillary C ignore that a secret 2006 US embassy cable stated Libya was a bulwark of stability and cooperation with it was “excellent”. Obama devoted his Noble Peace prize acceptance Speech to challenging Europe’s “deep ambivalence about military action”. National security archives show that Saddam and Gaddafi and Assad posed “little present threat to American national security.” So why all the years of unwarranted hostility from the US? The answer was that the US had its panties in a bunch because “Syria was the only state in the Arab League aligned with Russia”. How dare it pursue an independent foreign policy? Is selling out profitable? The Clinton Foundation has gotten between ten to twenty-five million dollars from Saudi Arabia’s government, and Friends of Saudi Arabia gave them as much as $5,000,000. Birds of a feather sure do flock together. Clinton’s major donors not so secretly fund ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria. Meanwhile, “the Syrian military was doing the bulk of fighting against ISIS.” The US lie was Assad regime change would combat ISIS – not at all the story coming from Syrians. The joys of “the West’s dirty war on another formerly stable Arab state’ – it also produced the worst refugee crisis since WWII (five million forced beyond Syria’s borders). Only 16% of the refugees blamed Assad first. US led sanctions on Syria were crushing, contracting Syria’s manufacturing sector alone by 70%. Mining and tourism were shattered. All this because Assad refused to back down to an armed insurgency. What leader wouldn’t do so? Tulsi Gabbard was “pilloried” for wanting to work with Assad; Tulsi said she heard bad things from both sides but the US media remained one-sided. Not mentioned is that US regime change leads to increased Islamophobia. Hillary said we can’t have tuition-free healthcare and Bernie reminded her she supported invading Iraq and spending trillion THERE was to her clearly not a problem. Wall Street Journal’s “hyper-militaristic columnist” Max Boot actually wrote with a straight face that “US imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world.” Meanwhile US imperialism turned Libya into “a vision of hell” offering high-definition snuff films of “decapitating a dozen Egyptian Christian Coptic migrant workers.” The war peddling Washington Post also hired Anne Applebaum known for being vehemently anti-Russian. Hillary said, “we have learned the hard way when America is absent, extremism takes root.” Meanwhile, US history and this book shows only if you change to word “absent” to “present” was Hillary’s statement correct. US actions in Libya noticeably destabilized Nigeria, Somalia, and even Syria (by flooding Syria w/ weapons). Just remember if anyone asks you, Afghanistan is where “the CIA weaponized political Islam to stop the spread of socialism in Central Asia. When Russia fell, the US broke its promise and shoved NATO up around it, followed by selling Russian state assets by “the Harvard boys” neoliberal Lawrence Summer and company. That lead to an oligarchy that Americans are wrongly taught, is only of Russia’s doing. Amazing book, all Americans would benefit from reading this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clif

    Journalism is very easy to describe: you find the story and relate it to readers. But to do it with skill requires not only making the story readable but doing the demanding work of excavating the connections behind the superficial story presented to the public by all the people involved who have an interest in the public seeing a situation in a certain way. We should all be very dizzy because we live in a world of spin. In modern times, journalism has split into those who appear before the publi Journalism is very easy to describe: you find the story and relate it to readers. But to do it with skill requires not only making the story readable but doing the demanding work of excavating the connections behind the superficial story presented to the public by all the people involved who have an interest in the public seeing a situation in a certain way. We should all be very dizzy because we live in a world of spin. In modern times, journalism has split into those who appear before the public, those referred to in the radio and TV business as "the talent", and those who work out of sight and get credit, if any, in a name attached to a printed story. Commercial radio and TV are designed to be easy to digest and get listeners/viewers to return for more. The attractive voices and faces that become household names need not be journalists at all. In fact, most recently the ability to attack on the air is more important than sticking to the facts. Whatever facts come through are from reporters who may not even get credit for the work they do. In TV it has long dropped to the point of "newswriters" taking incoming stories from new services and rephrasing/simplifying them (more than they already are) to be presented in a minimum number of seconds on the air. It's because of this that true journalists, who must be fearless, such as Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Ronan Farrow and Max Blumenthal provide value in pursuing stories until they reach the foundation of relationships between characters that, though each character is working for him or herself, are tied into the actions that we hear about. Without the skill of the journalist, it looks like an impossible maze to navigate and you can be sure none of those involved will want you to know more. The idea is to do one thing and present it as another, a skill in plentiful supply. The Management of Savagery is an investigation of the causes of the turmoil in the primarily Islamic world since the fall of the Soviet Bloc in 1989, starting more particularly with the failure of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan that was eagerly pursued by the United States attempting to give the USSR its own Vietnam by energetically supporting the Islamic fighters most famously represented by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. It shows that what was hoped at the time to be the start of a peaceful world after the end of the Cold War instead became a parade of violent interventions by the United States against the very forces that it had empowered without thinking of the possible consequences. As was shown by the American debacle in Vietnam, great power has great inertia, interests will become vested in supporting a conflict and the result will be catastrophe for the people of a conflict riddled area even when it is known at the top that the project is untenable. It was this that drove Daniel Ellsberg to reveal the Pentagon Papers. Over 50,000 American lives were pointlessly lost in the Vietnam War, but in a real preview of what was to come, over 2 million Vietnamese died. The lesson of Vietnam was not the clear one that the US should avoid such engagements in the future, but the pragmatic one that it should get rid of the draft and avoid US casualties in the future. Savagery in itself, as long as it was suffered by the people in distant lands, could be managed. The end of the Cold War was followed by endless regionally devastating hot wars by the US against an enemy of its own creation, the Islamicists. A world with only one superpower convinced that all it does is for the good brings a world of woe to tens of millions of civilians in the Islamic world. The adventuring in Syria looks limited only by the reappearance of the old challenger drawing a line in the sand. Russia in its own interest is determined to stop fanatical Islam from coming any closer, already experienced with such in Chechnya. This is a definite national security interest that is in sharp contrast to the remote wars that Washington fights and this is understood by the administration stuck in the morass, Syria edition. Max Blumenthal relates in great detail the names not only of those directing policy, but the names of the bit players who both exploit and are exploited by US administrations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The confusion about what Syrian guerrilla groups were "moderate", who was on what side, who launched a chemical attack, and who were the White Helmets make a farce of US administrations acting in ignorance and on the spur of the moment. If nothing else, this book will put to rest any idea that American leaders know what they are doing and will choose to do the right thing. Power corrupts and that includes the thinking process. Strategy is all, individuals dying or fleeing the carnage are nothing. I've thought of of re-reading this book with a sheet of paper and pencil ready to draw a line diagram of all the countries and people Blumenthal brings into his account. What gives the account power is the same thing that has made Chomsky famous: there can be no argument when everything related is factual, drawn from quotations, government studies (as was the Pentagon Papers), and testimony from people in position to know because they have been actors in the events described. And everyone is in here, from Pamela Geller to Alex Jones, the shoe bomber to the Blind Sheik, Dick Cheney to Hillary Clinton, bin Laden to Gaddafi, Trump to al-Baghdadi, and I mention only names you may know. The author has done his usual outstanding work. Don't be one who dismisses world events with the thought that they are too complicated to understand. This is precisely what world leaders want you to believe but the truth is always there to be discovered and though talented journalists are rare in a popularity seeking media world, some do exist and Max Blumenthal is one of them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Orestes

    Max's thesis that is laid out in the title is pretty solid. Without the National security state arming, funding and training jihadists in Afghanistan to provoke a USSR invasion to "give them their own Vietnam", you wouldn't have Osama Bin Laden with considerable training and then subsequent anger aimed the US. Which means 9/11 doesn't happen which means Trump doesn't happen. It might not seem like it at first but Max really does make his case in this book. I would recommend for anyone who is cur Max's thesis that is laid out in the title is pretty solid. Without the National security state arming, funding and training jihadists in Afghanistan to provoke a USSR invasion to "give them their own Vietnam", you wouldn't have Osama Bin Laden with considerable training and then subsequent anger aimed the US. Which means 9/11 doesn't happen which means Trump doesn't happen. It might not seem like it at first but Max really does make his case in this book. I would recommend for anyone who is curious about what most of their tax dollars go towards funding, if you're curious about the Syrian civil war, about the "deep state" or just generally speaking a view of politics and US foreign policy from a perspective you will get almost no where else, certainly not in the main stream. If you really want to know what is going on, you have to go to the dissidents of society, only a fool takes the official line from the "official" institutions uncritically.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    A review of three works: The Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal Brazillionaires, Alex Cuadros HATE INC., Matt Taibbi Figuring it was time to take a breather from recent weighty reads, I turned to some brain candy; three well-written books, of nearly identical length, authored by professional journalists, all with the lure of safely feeding and reinforcing my confirmation bias. The authors met expectations. I’ve found that many journalists rely on sentence structures that liven things up a bit, t A review of three works: The Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal Brazillionaires, Alex Cuadros HATE INC., Matt Taibbi Figuring it was time to take a breather from recent weighty reads, I turned to some brain candy; three well-written books, of nearly identical length, authored by professional journalists, all with the lure of safely feeding and reinforcing my confirmation bias. The authors met expectations. I’ve found that many journalists rely on sentence structures that liven things up a bit, taking liberties with attribution, the description of events, and the establishment of fact to capture our attention. This does make for a more entertaining, engaging reading experience (note the word ‘entertaining’ -maybe a better word is ‘infotaining’). Admittedly, traditional historical or academic authors can also engage in similar loose language, it’s just that the journalist author seems naturally endowed with this trait and all too willing to use it. I find this reading experience akin to eating a fresh, warm Krispy Kreme donut, well the third Krispy Kreme donut; “Did I just down two or is this my third? Damn these things go down good!” Of course, there’s little nutritional value in that ecstatic treat. The Management of Savagery President Eisenhower’s speech on January 17, 1961 warning of the military industrial complex, pretty much said all we need to know. Since then, perhaps with a short retrenchment post-Vietnam and questions of a peace dividend following the demise of the Soviet bloc, America has continued to grow its security state with successive self-propelled rationales. Why is a nation overflowing with amber waves of grain, securely moated with large oceans, bordered with two friendly neighbors, free of military incursion to its continent for more than 200 years, so committed to a security state with the largest incarceration rate on the planet, by far the largest defense budgets, increasingly militarized police forces, and destructive, destabilizing international interventions, one following the other? I wonder if our endowed wealth and intrinsic natural security somehow, perplexingly, are at the heart of our illogical behaviors. I don’t believe there’s a likely resolution to this situation, unfortunately. Some, including me, can attempt to profit from this systemic aberration in some small way. Even that, however, is a risky proposition, as those who invested in private prisons found. I guess we can make easy peace with our military policies because they largely directly affect the voiceless and the opportunity costs are so ambiguous, so intangible. Brazillionaires When I first visited Brazil in the early 1990s, I remember flying over miles and miles of shanties – only later did I learn these are called favelas – then, upon landing, meeting with several persons from Brazil’s financial elite. How was it possible for wealth to aggregate in the hands of the few, persons no smarter than yours truly, in a land with so much poverty? The answer, I very much suspected, was a cozy, dare I say corrupt, relationship between financiers and government. If a friend in the Ministry of Finance gives a nod that your currency is soon to be devalued, what do you do? Why you lever up and take the opposite side of that trade, or so I believed. What genius! Such acumen! I don’t remember studying this business model in graduate school, unless it was in ethics class. Then again, apparently, this activity was not illegal in Brazil until more recent years. Finishing this work, John Law, the scam artist and Controller General of France under a young Louis XV came to mind. So too did Lord Alfred Hayes, of professional wrestling fame, though for different reasons. HATE INC. As a longtime viewer and subscriber to high-brow print and television media, I’ve often thought of the commercial value of selling divisiveness, a theme that loops directly back to Mr. Blumenthal’s work, by the way. The issues we have with the media are nothing new. Thomas Jefferson remarked, “I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.” Maybe it’s the media’s omnipresent character, now associated with every personal electronic device, it seems, that has changed. Commercial and political interests, which may have merged, desire our attention, even for the briefest of moments; it’s a steeplechase to the basest emotions, where Jerry Springer’s annoying early 90s antics are so widespread we barely notice. Mr. Taibbi devotes quite a bit of this work reflecting on Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. He includes an exchange with Professor Chomsky as an appendix. I guess I need to put that one on my ‘to read’ list. These books, while describing conditions affecting modern life, offer little prospect for betterment. They seem products from a shelf of the very store they appear to deride. Since our evolution into governed states and, especially, the dawn of the industrial revolution, we seem accelerating further and further from our natural roots. This is very good news for book publishers as it ensures a limitless flow of similar product to these three volumes, all the while avoiding actionable remedy for that which ails, upsets and stymies. I’m reminded of the wise central African tribal chief X’Nuthru, who some 77,350 years ago pointed his spear at each setting sun saying, “T’axugra, t’axugra jhalru qhatrrh mnemba!” giving thanks to the sky god for providing abundant warmth and light that day. His tribe, gathered around, danced and sang, just as they did every sunset prior and every sunset thereafter. All felt harmonious and in great order.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Theo

    Disingenuous in many aspects. How on earth can you write about the Syrian insurgency without mentioning Assad's purposeful release of Jihadists, the torture chambers, the hospital bombings, the violent demonstration crackdowns. Max knows all this, and is currently enjoying his holiday in Damascus sponsored by the Assad regime.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is more like 3.5 stars. Blumenthal has written an important book in The Management of Savagery, one everyone should read to have their conventional thoughts on the US foreign policy apparatus challenged. I saw one review describe this as an “alternate history” of the topic and I think that’s accurate. The book highlights the underreported US contribution to spawning terror groups, a result of poorly-planned and frequent military interventions abroad. These are the strongest parts of the wor This is more like 3.5 stars. Blumenthal has written an important book in The Management of Savagery, one everyone should read to have their conventional thoughts on the US foreign policy apparatus challenged. I saw one review describe this as an “alternate history” of the topic and I think that’s accurate. The book highlights the underreported US contribution to spawning terror groups, a result of poorly-planned and frequent military interventions abroad. These are the strongest parts of the work, and a warning about the US's continued misadventures in regime change. Where the book suffers is in Blumenthal’s nearly-conspiratorial blame for all the world’s problems on “neoliberal interventionists” and a mainstream media that buries their misdeeds down their “memory holes”. Reasonable points and criticisms about certain events devolve into tinfoil-hat theories about a security apparatus that creates worldwide chaos to validate its own existence. Blumenthal sees their work everywhere, like when he peddles a Russian-created (source: The Guardian article on James Le Mesurier) claim that the Nobel Prize-nominated White Helmets in Syria cozied up to Al-Qaida and other terror groups in their effort to overthrow the Assad regime. The Afterword on Russiagate is essentially a rant and is out of place with the rest of the book, one that I am dubious to take seriously due to Blumenthal’s past affinity for Russia Today (RT). I’m glad I read this, but felt like I wanted to argue with every tenth page.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darn Arckerman

    I've been following Blumenthal for a while, so some of the late middle sections of the book, particularly the Syria stuff, wasn't totally new to me. But I was blown away by the early chapters about the (symbiotic) origins of neocons and jihadis, the total scandal of the US proxy war on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and the complicity of US intelligence and other government agencies in the growth of Al Qaeda. Since you can tell going into the last chapter ("Active Measures") that it's going to I've been following Blumenthal for a while, so some of the late middle sections of the book, particularly the Syria stuff, wasn't totally new to me. But I was blown away by the early chapters about the (symbiotic) origins of neocons and jihadis, the total scandal of the US proxy war on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and the complicity of US intelligence and other government agencies in the growth of Al Qaeda. Since you can tell going into the last chapter ("Active Measures") that it's going to be about Russiagate, I was ready to read a lot of stuff I'm already familiar with again. But the context Blumie gives about the reality of Russian opposition to US empire and the development of the multipolar world that I usually take for granted but can't trace historically gave me a whole new understanding of Russiagate. It actually makes perfect sense that Russiagate formed as a reaction to the failure to shatter Syria, that this whole thing ends up right where it started. I rec!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Accessable in style and organization, Blumenthal's summary of recent US foreign policy history and its demonstrably negative side effects on its own (and others) domestic policy is not to be missed. A necessary corrective to so much of the left, right, and center narratives out there. My full review can be found here: https://geotrickster.com/2019/04/15/t... Accessable in style and organization, Blumenthal's summary of recent US foreign policy history and its demonstrably negative side effects on its own (and others) domestic policy is not to be missed. A necessary corrective to so much of the left, right, and center narratives out there. My full review can be found here: https://geotrickster.com/2019/04/15/t...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    The Management of Savagery is a brilliant and thorny book, a bold indictment of American foreign policy let down by two versions of core thesis, and an emotional commitment to an unconventional wisdom Blumenthal desperately wants you to believe. The weak version of the the book's thesis is simply: 9/11 was the direct result of American blowback, the end result of Zbigniew Brzezinski's ploy to cripple the USSR in Afghanistan by supplying and training proxy militias of Salafi extremists, which woul The Management of Savagery is a brilliant and thorny book, a bold indictment of American foreign policy let down by two versions of core thesis, and an emotional commitment to an unconventional wisdom Blumenthal desperately wants you to believe. The weak version of the the book's thesis is simply: 9/11 was the direct result of American blowback, the end result of Zbigniew Brzezinski's ploy to cripple the USSR in Afghanistan by supplying and training proxy militias of Salafi extremists, which would eventually grow into Al Qaeda. We all know the consequences: 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, a never ending imperial quagmire. Worse, "giving Muslim extremists guns and money and hoping for the best" has become the bipartisan foreign policy establishment's go to plan despite the fact that it never ever works, leaving shattered countries, a maze of atrocities on all sides, seas of refugees, and right-wing populist backlashes to the refugees. The weak version of the thesis is well worth attending to, especially claims of contacts between Al Qaeda and Western intelligence agencies in the period leading up to 9/11. There's also hints of a very important book about the nature of American governance in the early part of the 21st century, a kind of nightmare hydra of self-proclaimed 'counter-terrorism experts' laundering credibility through a revolving series of government, academic, thinktank, and media posts to justify imperial expeditions no matter who sits in the White House. That Project for a New American Century ghouls (remember PNAC?) and humanitarian interventionists like Hillary Clinton and Samantha Powers could come to the same means and ends is worth considering in full. The problem is the strong version of the thesis. If this bipartisan foreign policy has been one of the major contributors to human misery in the 21st century, it is evil, and therefore anybody who opposes it is... well good might be too far, but righteous perhaps? It's the same kind of blinkered thinking that leads to the CIA handing weapons to Salafi extremists, and it puts Blumenthal in the same corner as Assad, Putin, and Trump, and renders his analysis crude and conspiratorial. And this is a goddamn shame. Because we need to be reminded of this legacy of absolute failure, and the way that the parasitic counter-terrorism security state is choking the life out of our democracy (he says, as clouds of teargas drift through Seattle and Portland). And there is a very solid realpolitik analysis to be made here, about which factions have power within states, be they intelligence agencies or extremist cells or the people, and the balance of power between the Gulf Monarchies, Iran, Israel, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, America, Turkey, NATO, Russia, China etc..., and how this is leading us all down a bloody road, but Blumenthal isn't quite objective enough to make the case. And I sympathize, Blumenthal is an ADL designated anti-Semite (for the record, the ADL needs to chillax on officially designating people anti-Semites), and he's been writing stories the Israel government would rather not have published his entire career. But the web of treachery is too big to be adequately explained in this short book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Gendron

    This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Max Blumenthal writes in a way that is very descriptive and informative, probably because he is a journalist, and so it keeps you enthralled and is easy to finish the 300 page book. It is also very timely and relevant for the current geo-political situation we are in now. I have always been suspicious of the narrative that we are being told about what the United States is doing in the Middle East and how it effects American politics. In This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Max Blumenthal writes in a way that is very descriptive and informative, probably because he is a journalist, and so it keeps you enthralled and is easy to finish the 300 page book. It is also very timely and relevant for the current geo-political situation we are in now. I have always been suspicious of the narrative that we are being told about what the United States is doing in the Middle East and how it effects American politics. In this book, Blumenthal lays bare how the US National Security State fueled the rise of terrorist groups in the Middle East and influenced domestic politics by helping usher in Donald Trump as President. This is a big part of why International Jihad and Western Ultra-Nationalsim is so popular right now. Blumenthal starts the book in Afghanistan and details the secret funding of mujahedin to taunt Russia into invading in 1979. With advanced weaponry and a constant flow of cash, Washington has been a reliable Sugar Daddy sustaining their extremism for decades. He also highlights how the US has been involved in training and arming jihadists in places like Syria and Libya and springing military coups to spur regime change in sovereign nations all over the Middle East. This all created the perfect storm for terrorist attacks on US soil and the rise of groups like the Islamic State. I especially appreciated how Blumenthal pulled no punches when illuminating how tied up we are with Saudi Arabia and how we support extremist views of Islam when we see a political gain for us or our allies. I truly did not know that the US and Israel were hoping that ISIS took over Damascus and Baghdad all because they wanted to get rid of the governments with influence in the region. It is ironic that, for as much as we demonize them, Iran and Russia had to get involved in order to save lives. Blumenthal does a really good job of exposing which actors are really doing good in the region and which are creating more chaos and death. It was especially sickening to learn that a lot of supposed humanitarian groups, like The White Helmets, are actually participating in the destruction of these countries by claiming that gas attacks are being committed by the government on the people, when it is more likely that the "moderate rebels" we are supporting are doing it or the White Helmets themselves. Blumenthal also follows the money behind the media organizations that are fueling the conflict and misinforming people in and outside of the region about what is really going on. Max ties everything together and explains how Trump and a lot of bi-partisan war profiteers in our political system have been pushing Islamaphobia in order to keep the wars going. The saddest part about the book is how it shows that we will do anything to keep supporting American Empire even if it tears us apart. I hope that all who read this book will come to the understanding that until we have a real anti-war movement, the system we have created and tolerated over the years will continue to wreak havoc on the global community while we unwittingly support it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Payne

    A detailed description of the USA and its allies nurturing terrorists from the 1980's until today, creating an enemy for its proxy wars against the Soviet Union/Russia, but also creating a deadly enemy for the West. I already had the opinion that the War on Terror was corrupt nonsense, but this book shows the specific interactions and deals between US officials & politicians, military capitalists, Islamic extremists, think-tank employees, and pundit-propagandists who fabricated non-stop lies to f A detailed description of the USA and its allies nurturing terrorists from the 1980's until today, creating an enemy for its proxy wars against the Soviet Union/Russia, but also creating a deadly enemy for the West. I already had the opinion that the War on Terror was corrupt nonsense, but this book shows the specific interactions and deals between US officials & politicians, military capitalists, Islamic extremists, think-tank employees, and pundit-propagandists who fabricated non-stop lies to feed billions of tax-payer dollars into the hands of murderous jihadists resulting in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands (at least) of civilians over the past few decades. It's horrifying, but the blatant corruption and hypocrisy is almost hilarious. Honestly this book explains SO MUCH about the current cultural chaos and divisiveness that has fractured Western society. Strongly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Vacillates between deserved criticism of US warmongering in its various forms (particularly interesting is the critique of Humanist Militarism) and what amounts, by comparison, to kid gloves towards non-western entities. It all amounts to an autopilot anti-imperialist stance that eschews genuine engagement with empire, and how imperial rhetoric acts as a cover for both intra- and extra-national justifications for violence, for a blanket book-length listicle of the atrocities committed and precip Vacillates between deserved criticism of US warmongering in its various forms (particularly interesting is the critique of Humanist Militarism) and what amounts, by comparison, to kid gloves towards non-western entities. It all amounts to an autopilot anti-imperialist stance that eschews genuine engagement with empire, and how imperial rhetoric acts as a cover for both intra- and extra-national justifications for violence, for a blanket book-length listicle of the atrocities committed and precipitated by the US. If the author continued to develop the inevitable self-inflicted immolation implied by a "Management of Savagery" then the book could have tied the narrative into something more cohesive.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Blumenthal provides a comprehensive, well sourced and finely written account on the US wars on terror. An excellent summary and primer on how these wars didn’t begin on 9/11, but rather are the continued consequences of decisions and policies of both democrat and republican administrations since the 1970s. Easily accessible, yet detailed and insightful, this is a terrific book for both those new to learning about these wars and those who are experts. There are some typos and minor date errors that Blumenthal provides a comprehensive, well sourced and finely written account on the US wars on terror. An excellent summary and primer on how these wars didn’t begin on 9/11, but rather are the continued consequences of decisions and policies of both democrat and republican administrations since the 1970s. Easily accessible, yet detailed and insightful, this is a terrific book for both those new to learning about these wars and those who are experts. There are some typos and minor date errors that I expect will be corrected in subsequent printing. Criticism of this book as Islamophobic or conspiracy based are just absurd and belied by Blumenthal’s narrative and sources. Well done Max. Matthew Hoh Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy

  18. 5 out of 5

    R.J.Cicisly Jr.

    This was the 1st book I’ve read by Max, although I’ve followed his articles, interviews and watched his Alternet, Moderate Rebels and GrayZone productions . I agree with some other comments regarding Max’s pivoting off topic by mentioning the Magnitsky Act saga and the RussiaGate saga in the Afterword Chapter. Although he mentioned “Fake News” a few times , and Alex Jones twice, Max left out mentioning the passage of the Smith-Munda Modernization Act of 2013 which repealed the 1949 SM Act, which This was the 1st book I’ve read by Max, although I’ve followed his articles, interviews and watched his Alternet, Moderate Rebels and GrayZone productions . I agree with some other comments regarding Max’s pivoting off topic by mentioning the Magnitsky Act saga and the RussiaGate saga in the Afterword Chapter. Although he mentioned “Fake News” a few times , and Alex Jones twice, Max left out mentioning the passage of the Smith-Munda Modernization Act of 2013 which repealed the 1949 SM Act, which prohibited the US Propaganda broadcasted throughout the world, to be broadcasted to American Citizens. Highlighting this would help explain the ties between CNN, MSNBC etc, kowtowing to the “Intelligence “ sector .

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    An important story that needed to be told, and I was relieved to see that Verso didn't capitulate to the """""concerned members of the Syrian-American community""""" in the end. Can't give it 5 only because some of the sources were dubious to ridiculous, despite how badly I *wanted* the claims to be true lol (specifically, too dubious to feasibly show other people: e.g. the ISIS-Israel collaboration claim, no matter how much *I* personally believe it, has no support from any news org that anyone An important story that needed to be told, and I was relieved to see that Verso didn't capitulate to the """""concerned members of the Syrian-American community""""" in the end. Can't give it 5 only because some of the sources were dubious to ridiculous, despite how badly I *wanted* the claims to be true lol (specifically, too dubious to feasibly show other people: e.g. the ISIS-Israel collaboration claim, no matter how much *I* personally believe it, has no support from any news org that anyone besides... people like me would believe. As in, people/I should try and *get* some less-crank news orgs to fucking report on it! Plz!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Þorvarður Pálsson

    Good overview of the implications of US foreign policy with regards to Islamist terrorism but could've used better editing. Blumenthal writes in a clear and readable style and exposes the blowback to the United States from their support for terrorist groups. I would also recommend Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam by Mark Curtis for an exploration of Britains overt and covert collusion with terrorist groups.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karem Mahmoud

    ‏#quarantine readings: ‏“The Management Of Savagery” for Max Blumenthal ‏A must read book to anyone interested to learn more about the Islamic extremist forces and their global threaten of peace and even countries’ existence. ‏The book follows the traces of those forces back to the United States role and dealings in their existence, flourishing expansion from a country to another. ‏From 1979, Mecca’s siege to Afghanistan Mujahideen and the raise of Al Qaeda and its breed, ISIS

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Davila

    A must read for anyone interested in American foreign policy. Blumenthal’s in-depth research and journalistic skills are on full display in The Management of Savagery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed

    Fantastic read..

  24. 4 out of 5

    André Rio

    A

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex Cardy

    A forcefully argued and well written look at the symbiotic relationship between militant Islamist groups and the US national security state. Blumenthal does an excellent job at connecting the rise of far right movements in the EU and US to the criminal actions of these same countries in the middle east and North Africa. A valuable contribution to understanding the actual history behind the war on terror and the sprawling national security state.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This book makes a good argument that the national security state is ironically responsible for our greatest security threats. I don't buy it 100%, but it is well presented. Generally the facts used are accurate, but there are cases where they're a bit cherry-picked, and other important (and possibly more important/significant) things are missing. The core arguments about AQ and IS being primarily the result of our own actions are solid; the peripheral arguments about the individual decisions not This book makes a good argument that the national security state is ironically responsible for our greatest security threats. I don't buy it 100%, but it is well presented. Generally the facts used are accurate, but there are cases where they're a bit cherry-picked, and other important (and possibly more important/significant) things are missing. The core arguments about AQ and IS being primarily the result of our own actions are solid; the peripheral arguments about the individual decisions not being good on their own weren't as well supported. (For instance, defeating communism absolutely was worth the blowback in Afghanistan, and the support of horrible people in Afghanistan didn't automatically mean AQ would rise to the same level it has; it required multiple things.)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Boris

    Another invaluable book after "Goliath" and "Republican Gomorrah". Written with his famous very detailed research and highest integrity. Each chapter is a concise summary of events and their implications. Once again -- a truly invaluable and unique book. I hope it will also be offered in Audible format.

  28. 5 out of 5

    MÉYO

    Amazing book! A lot of lol moments as the author brilliantly describes the absurdity of American politics with beautiful vocabulary. I was pissed how the book ended so abruptly after the election of Trump. I wish this book was 200 pages longer!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Greco

    In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal reveals the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten global peace are a result of America’s war hawkish, imperial designs. Failed war after failed war have made the U.S. more vulnerable to both terrorism as well as native ultra-nationalism, and the Trump presidency is the inevitable consequence of neoconservative imperialism unreined and amuck in the post–Cold War age. A dense, unforgiving In the Management of Savagery, Max Blumenthal reveals the real story behind America’s dealings with the world and shows how the extremist forces that now threaten global peace are a result of America’s war hawkish, imperial designs. Failed war after failed war have made the U.S. more vulnerable to both terrorism as well as native ultra-nationalism, and the Trump presidency is the inevitable consequence of neoconservative imperialism unreined and amuck in the post–Cold War age. A dense, unforgiving, necessary read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Glazer

    Real good book by a great and brave journalist Max Blumenthal. He recently got unfairly arrested also. :(. This is a difficult book though in both content and tone. I don't understand the Middle East the way I need to to really understand this book, but I still learned a bunch of stuff. Also the U.S.'s foreign policy is incredibly unethical and depressing. Good book, only gave it 4 stars because some of the content was over my head. Max Blumenthal is great though.

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