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Atlantic Free Press Book Reviews
Book Reviews from Atlantic Free Press Writers and Bloggers 


Wed

29

Nov

2006

Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar's New Book: Perilous Power - Book Review by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 10:49
by Stephen Lendman

Noam Chomsky needs no introduction. He's MIT Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics and a leading anti-war critic and voice for over 40 years for social equity and justice. He's also one of the world's most influential and widely cited intellectuals on the Left. Gilbert Achcar is a Lebanese-French academic, author, social activist, Middle East expert and professor of politics and international relations at the University of Paris. Their new book, Perilous Power, is based on 14 hours of dialogue between them over three days in January, 2006 and updated six months later in July in a separate Epilogue at the end. It covers US foreign policy in the most volatile and turbulent region in the world, the Middle East, and discusses the wars in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan as well as such key issues as terrorism, fundamentalism, oil, democracy, possible war against Iran and much more. Chomsky and Achcar collaborated with Stephen Shalom, Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University acting as moderator to pose questions and keep the discussion on track.

The book is divided into five chapters. This review will cover each of them in enough detail to give the reader a good sense of their flavor and content.
 

Sat

28

Oct

2006

James Petras' New Book: The Power of Israel in the United States - Book Review by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 28 October 2006 14:21

by Stephen Lendman

James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He's a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles. He's also an advisor to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina. Along the way, he managed to find time to write many hundreds of articles and 62 books published in 29 languages including his latest one in which he discusses another vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and has written frequently about - the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.

Petras' powerful new book is titled The Power of Israel in the United States. It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.

 

Wed

22

Nov

2006

Eva Golinger - Bush vs. Chavez - Book Review by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 15:53
by Stephen Lendman

Eva Golinger's eagerly awaited new book is now out - but only for those able to read and understand Spanish as it's not yet available in English. It's appropriately called Bush vs. Chavez - Washington's War Against against Venezuela published by Monte Avila Editores in Caracas. Hopefully it will soon be available in English as well.

Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney specializing in international human rights and immigration law. She wrote her first blockbuster book published in 2005 called The Chavez Code - Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela that documented the events surrounding the 2002 US-directed failed coup against Hugo Chavez that ousted him for two days and that the people of Venezuela through their mass outrage reversed. In her first book, Golinger obtained top-secret documents from the CIA and State Department through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests showing the Bush administration had prior knowledge of and was complicit in the 2002 coup against President Chavez and had provided over $30 million in funding aid to opposition groups to help pull it off. It failed because they hadn't expected the kind of people-power that's likely to arise again in the face of trouble and support the president they love and won't give up without a fight.

Golinger also showed how the US government funded the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED) that functions to subvert the democratic process to help oust leaders more concerned with serving their own people than the interests of wealth and power. Also involved in the coup plot was the international arm of the Republican party, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the AFL-CIO that has a long and disturbing record of acting as an instrument of US foreign policy instead of sticking to what it's mandated to do - representing the interests of American working people it falls far short of much too often in its policy of selling out to the interests of capital for the personal gain of the union's leadership.

In the Chavez Code, Golinger showed how these agencies funded and worked with the Chavez opposition beginning in 2001 cooking up schemes that led to mass-staged street protests leading up to the day of the coup. It was done with the full knowledge and approval of the Bush White House that mounted a full-scale effort post-9/11 to oust Hugo Chavez and has now tried and failed three times to do it.
 

Mon

10

Sep

2007

MARJORIE COHN’S JUSTICE GENE Book Review by William Fisher
Monday, 10 September 2007 16:04
by William Fisher

The past six years have seen an avalanche of books excoriating President George W. Bush, the key figures in his administration, and the ideologies, policies and practices they have embraced.

Some have been eye-opening blockbusters, like Bob Woodward’s State of Denial. Others have found themselves in the remaindered section of your bookstore. Some, like Woodward’s, have been long and dense, tough reads filled with incriminating quotes from The Decider himself. Others have been often inaccessible offerings by serious journalists in military history, like Tom Ricks of the Washington Post (Fiasco) and Michael Gordon of the New York Times (Cobra II). A few have genuinely illuminated little-known and under-reported aspects of the Bush Administration; Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran springs to mind. So too does David Cole’s Enemy Aliens. Too many others have forsaken solid evidence and confirmed sources to deliver over-simplistic rants, more akin to pamphleteering on rhetorical steroids.

Consider just a few of the other titles in this growing cottage industry: The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception by David Corn. Bush Must Go by Bill Press. Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush by John W. Dean. Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq by Sheldon Rampton. The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush by Molly Ivins. The Bush - Haters Handbook: A Guide to the Most Appalling Presidency of the Past 100 Years by Jack Huberman. The One Per Cent Doctrine by Ron Suskind. And the list goes on. And on. And on.
 

Mon

10

Sep

2007

Occupied Iraq: A Horizontal View (Book Review by Mahammad Idrees Ahmad)
Monday, 10 September 2007 12:28
by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq by Dahr Jamail, Haymarket Books, pp 240, $20

Charity, vertical, humiliates. Solidarity, horizontal, helps. [1]

In 1937 George Steer’s report on Guernica in the Times (London) turned what would have otherwise been a footnote in history into a metaphor for naked aggression against a defenceless civilian population. While Guernica was not the worst of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis assisting Franco’s Fascists during the Spanish Civil War, the vivid account of the savagery conjured up in Steer’s descriptive reportage brought home for many horrors of a conflict hitherto deemed distant and insular. A comparable role was played by Seymour Hersh in 1969 exposing the massacre and subsequent cover up at My Lai, turning public opinion at home decisively against the war. In 2004, an account of a similar tragedy, albeit on a much larger scale, was dispatched to the Inter Press Service from the ruins of Fallujah by Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist of exceptional courage, except no publication in the mainstream picked up the story as nationalist (or perhaps commercial) imperatives trumped journalistic responsibilities. The news however percolated in the farther reaches of cyberspace for a year; meanwhile several other Fallujah-scale catastrophes were inflicted on the people of Iraq with a similar media reaction. Only when a documentary on the Italian RAI TV corroborated the reports of the use of chemical weapons with footage and soldiers’ testimony, could the story no longer be suppressed and newspapers in Britain finally had to publish it.
 

Sun

31

Dec

2006

SLEEPING GIANT - In Delusional Democracy, Joel S. Hirschhorn speaks truth to a malfunctioning republ
Sunday, 31 December 2006 20:05

Book Review by Maryann Mann

The Wall Street Journal is no bastion to anti-capitalist sentiment – a notion borrowed from Michael Mann’s devastating cinematic media critique, “The Insider”. Nor do editorial boards at the Wall Street Journal and establishment newspapers alike typically encourage, let alone fortify, civic grievances challenging the contemporary state and structure of the American republic itself. But times, they are a-changing. Peggy Noonan, staunch Republican and speechwriter to both presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, recently penned a piece of commentary attributed to the Wall Street Journal noting that America is primed for a new political party. Her opening remarks were blunt. And bold. And went something like this: “Something's happening. I have a feeling we're at some new beginning, that a big breakup's coming, and that though it isn't and will not be immediately apparent, we'll someday look back on this era as the time when a shift began.”

To compare the political makeup of Peggy Noonan and academic Joel S. Hirschhorn, Ph D., requires a formidable exercise in bridge gap creativity. In outright comparison one would be hard pressed to find the embodiment of two more opposite political philosophies. In this case however, these two former Washington insiders share a similar perspective. Both Noonan and Hirschhorn believe the American people are tearing at the fabric of our two-party political duopoly; salivating for a viable alternative to the status quo.

And it is here, essentially, where conservative pundit and progressive professor draw the line.

Picking up where Noonan left off, Hirschhorn’s incendiary new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Government without Overthrowing the Government, surges democratic obsession into a newly practicable and enthralling high gear.

 

Mon

18

Dec

2006

"United States v. George W. Bush et al" America Files Fraud Charges Against Bush
Monday, 18 December 2006 04:43

by Ahmed Amr


The Grand Jury indictment was hand delivered in a plain brown envelope. Because it arrived late, I decided to have dinner before unsealing the package. I had enough clues about the contents to know it was going to be a long night.

By dawn - I was still up desperately fighting off the temptation to sleep. Every page of the indictment revived buried memories from the scene of the crime. Long forgotten details were resurrected in vivid color. To my surprise, there was also a lot of evidence that I wasn't aware of - the kind of details only a professional investigator knows how to dig up.

After a few hours of sleep - I got up and instinctively reached for the indictment. The charges were conspiracy to defraud the United States of America. An ex-district attorney from California had taken it upon herself to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice for systematically lying to the American people to make a fraudulent case for launching a war in Iraq.

By noon, I was done. I had read the indictment, seen the compelling evidence, waded through an instructive lecture explaining the exact legal definition of conspiracy and fraud and accepted an implicit invitation to sit on the Grand Jury.

It was a closed and shut case. There was no beating the rap. The former district attorney had obviously done her homework and she was going to cakewalk her case from the Grand Jury to a full-blown trial.
 
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