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Streams of Consciousness strewn together without a game plan or a meaningful context
on September 3, 2012
At neck-breaking speed and with few road signs to guide the reader through the complicated maze of exposes, this author engages the reader in perhaps the densest and most dissatisfying and unreadable prose one is likely ever to encounter in an investigative brief. And while it all seems to have the smell of conspiracy, somehow it never quite rises even to that minimalist level. Worse yet, the author never comes up for air and never once draws a context around his mountain of isolated facts; nor does he comes up with a single "smoking Gun."
From beginning to end, it is all insinuation, speculation, "near facts," and "guilt by juxtaposition and association." Thus, the writing style greatly hinders the kind of understanding that would allow one to finally ferret out the key connections of this trail of "near-conspiracies" that could then be used to connect the dots between the Mafia, the CIA and George W. Bush.
Both the author and his subjects seem to wriggle through the maze like a barrel of eels, always too slippery for the reader to get his hands around, and without much over-arching rhyme or reason. In addition to failing to pin the tail securely on the conspiracy donkey, the author also fails to provide us a clear road map or context to wade through his jungle of actual facts, "near-facts," innuendoes, insinuations and speculation. Mr. Brewton simply never alters his pace, or comes up for air, or, more importantly in my view, securely comes up with the goods.
The reader is taken on a dizzyingly rollercoaster ride and left gasping for breath at the end in a vain effort to connect the dots, which are randomly strewn across 400 pages. Again and again we are left to our own devices to order and make sense out of complicated trails of circumstantial evidence of "near-facts" which when examined carefully and at close range, reach dead ends, hit switchbacks and peter down to irrelevances. In short, most of his story (such as it is) like water in a sieve disappear through the holes the author's loosely held together story has created.
What is clear is that whatever these characters are up to -- either as individuals or in various combinations -- what they are doing it is in no way innocent. Yet, a trail of interlocked deals by power players, with means, is the rule and not the exception and thus is not in and of itself a crime. They, like the rest of the world are in the business of busily trying to protect their own interests, often at the expense of the public. And while this may be unethical and makes for interesting conspiratorial insinuations, without a smoking gun, this trail of isolated details does not add up to a full story. Again and again, the author gets lukewarm with his cast of main characters from William Mischer and Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante. However, to the George Bush family; but when the time comes to tie the pieces together, the loosely designed trap he springs, invariably fails.
Despite providing us the outlines of the anatomy of the "bust out fraud" (a strategy in which either undervalued assets are acquired from and sold back to friends at inflated prices, raking off the illicit appreciated equity in tax-free profits; or buying overvalued assets at inflated prices, using loans acquired from well-connected friends to drain the assets when the loans are either abandoned or the assets are sold at a loss, which in either case inevitably leads to a default on the loans -- or in some instances, a refinancing of them beginning yet a second cycle of the same process, etc. Either way, lawyer friends can be hired to shepherd the process both ways. No matter the outcomes, lawyers make money that further siphons off resources both going and coming ) the author still leaves the reader to his own devises as far as making sense of this mountain of data.
We are thus forced like spectators sitting idly by on the sidelines, to witness a game of "watch the rats in the underworld chase their tails," while the author points out to us "who-is-who" as this gallery of societal and conspiracy misfits "rounds the viewers stand" once again. As his subjects proceed through a complex maze of questionable banks, S&L, insurance companies, investment houses, construction industries, drug and illicit political and military deals -- all of which have a very high potential for questionable practices that more often than not go uninvestigated and unenforced - we are left to our own devices to keep score, keep the players and their crimes untangled; and in the end left to believe that since the maze is full of wriggling eels, high level crimes somehow must be being committed?
Although there is a lot of useful scenery to see as we traverse the maze from coast to coast, I could not have been more disappointed because even without this book, in the complete absence of supporting facts, my intuition tells me more than I can learn from this book: that the chances that this group of characters will be engaged in crime is very high indeed. Therefore the author's 400-page picture of a maze made up of "juxtaposed insinuated near-facts" about them does not improve upon my intuition by very much.
For my money, I'd just as soon settle for a single smoking gun that links Bush and the CIA to crimes with the Mafia? I think we are well beyond the era when readers just need a more secure platform for guided speculation. What we need nowadays is hard cold facts that can be linked to a "smoking gun," one that finally connects all the dots. I had a hard time finding a single "smoking gun" here. Three stars.