Similar to their previous publications "Abuse Your Illusions" by The Disinformation Company, Ltd. is a collection of articles from various sources. Each source is well documented as to their background and why their information and opinion should be seriously considered. Although it follows quickly on the heels of "You are Being Lied To", which we gave a high recommendation last year, this book far better. It contains much better written articles with a great deal more evidentiary matter presented for each article.
A fine example is the article "Pieces of the 9/11 Puzzle". While it does not attempt to reach a conclusion, it does point out several very interesting facts that have generally not been released to the public. There are so many strange coincidences that it caused Senator Richard Shelby to remark in November of 2002 that "The American people must know the full story has yet to be told". The article includes photographs from CNN of WTC Building 6 that appears to explode before the twin towers fell on it. The photograph of it afterwards also shows that it blew apart in the middle and apparently did not collapse as the result of the Twin Towers debris falling on it. The author also brings up the myriad problems with Mohamed Atta's luggage, the request by President Bush to Tom Daschele to limit the investigation into September 11, the lack of black boxes from the planes, the fact that for a few weeks before September 11 the employees of the towers were evacuated several times, the fact that the head of the independent probe, Thomas Kean, has had many business deals with Osama bin Laden's brother in law, Khalid bin Mahfouz who is suspected of financing al Qaeda, and many other problems.
The articles are sometimes very conservative and sometimes quite liberal, but they are all interesting and pose many, many questions about dozens of media mirages and official establishment positions. Some articles may go too far with a sort of conspiracy theory approach, but most of them present solid evidence complete with thorough documentation. While you will probably not agree with the positions of some of the authors, you can't take an informed position without at least being aware of the information presented in this book. For those who want to know the other side of the story so you can get a whole picture it is a highly recommended read.
We have reached the bottom of the Disinformation barrel. While editor Russ Kick says in this book's intro that it's easy to locate enough covered-up stories to fill out these compilations for years to come, I beg to differ. I am a big fan of the Disinfo team and all their efforts to bring the necessary attention to issues that have been whitewashed by the establishment. That makes this whiny and sarcastic collection all the more disappointing. To show I'm not a reactionary who automatically disagrees with the Disinfo political stance, you can see my reviews for this book's two superior predecessors: You Are Being Lied To (four stars on 01/01/02) and Everything You Know Is Wrong (five stars on 10/27/02).
This volume does bring to light many important issues, but articles that are not sunk by pretentious or self-aggrandizing writing are few and far between. Some of the best levelheaded entries here include "US Homeland Security..." by Ritt Goldstein, "The Lilly Suicides" by Richard DeGrandpre, or "The Flouridation Fraud" by Robert Sterling. Sadly, there are a great many articles that deal with incredibly important topics but lose their impact with atrocious writing. The terrifying "Invasion of the Child Snatchers" is sunk by Diane Petryk Bloom's sarcastic implications that the entire child protection establishment is corrupt, while most of the entries in the *Not on the Nightly News* section are swamped by flimsy conspiracy theories that could be debunked by a preschooler. This is a depressingly common pattern in this book, indicating a lazy selection process by the Disinfo folks.
By far the most annoying articles here are from writers complaining about how their books or essays have been rejected by major publishers, with the predictable conspiracy claims followed by sales pitches. A horrific example is "Unanswered Letters..." by April Oliver, who courageously revealed Operation Tailwind from the Vietnam War era, but here complains about her letters on the subject not being answered by major newspapers. Daniel Ellsberg, who was greatly persecuted after his hugely important reporting on the Pentagon Papers 30 years ago, is still complaining about it in two different articles here. Then there are some articles that make so little sense that they appear to be merely filler, like "Inside Science's Closet" by Richard Zacks, and the useless conspiracy theory attempt "How I Crashed a Chinese Arms Bazaar..." by Jakob Boeskov. And at all costs avoid the insulting "The Man Who Invented Normal" by Lucy Gwin, who claims that the battle against human disease is a forced conformity project by white males, and that Dr. Kevorkian (regardless of his other questionable ethics) is a eugenicist.
If you've enjoyed the previous compendiums by the Disinformation folks, there are still very important issues covered here, but these writers usually sink their own efforts. A bigger crowd of self-important and sarcastic finger-pointers will be hard to find. It's time for Disinfo to end this book series or get new editors.
This is another in a series of books containing articles on subjects that will not be covered in the mainstream press. Spanning the political spectrum, the independent researchers, media critics and other experts behind these pieces (many written especially for this book) blow away the fog that keeps us confused.
Greg Palast catches the news media in several blatant lies; not just misinterpretation, but actual, black and white, lies. The most popular antidepressants can cause suicide. The Watergate break-in may have been all about a call girl ring after all. The producer of the CNN report about Operation Tailwind (asserting that America used sarin nerve gas in Vietnam) gives her side of the story. A former federal drug agent describes first-hand how the Drug War is designed to fail. The New York Times knows about, but refuses to publicize, America's illegal bioweapons program. Howard Zinn brings the US bombing of Afghanistan down to the individual level, looking at some of those who suffered and died. Operation Pipeline is a racial profiling program in California that pulls over minorities on the pretext of minor traffic violations. The editor digs up more neglected information on September 11, including: some of the highest US officials admitted that the attacks could have been prevented, a US Senator has said that at least one foreign country actively aided the terrorists, and one of the warnings received by the US was from the Taliban.
Also covered in this book are the diamond trade, child protective services, fluoridation, the Resurrection story, government sponsored anti-drug ads, the US military faces a huge rape crisis, the flexible definition of "terrorism," and corporations that have claimed the "right" to lie.
As with its two prequels, Everything You Know Is Wrong and You Are Being Lied To, this is a must read of a book that has something to upset or offend everyone. I learned a lot from these eye-opening articles. This isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" book, but it is very highly recommended.
on August 21, 2003
They're back... Disinformation Press continues its crusade against cooperate media bias and establishment deceit in Abuse Your Illusions, its third collection of exposés. Like its predecessors, the fairly-interesting You Are Being Lied To and the absolute-must read Everything You Know Is Wrong, Abuse Your Illusions gathers a plethora of experts, insiders, academics and journalists unafraid to ask the tough questions on everything from the war on terror to the Virgin of Medjugorje.
At its best, Abuse Your Illusions offers some of the best investigative reporting available. Intelligence Online's Wayne Madsen explores the 2001 death of leading microbiologist, Don Wiley, finding what is almost certainly cover-up. Religion journalist, Richard Abanes, exposes a disgusting strain of racism in the history of Mormonism. The Sunshine Project, a think-tank opposing the development of chemical weapons, uncovers the Pentagon's treaty-breaking research into germ warfare. And investigative reporter, Diane Petryk-Bloom examines the self-serving abuses of power of child protection agencies and the terrible harm it is causing families. It would be worthwhile for every parent in America to read Petryk-Bloom's alarming piece.
But Abuse Your Illusions' crown jewel is a tally of new revelations, unanswered questions and stories that do not add up concerning the September 11th attacks, compiled by Russ Kick, the editor of this volume and its forerunners. From the missing videos of the Pentagon collision to the White House's efforts to block a Congressional investigation into the attacks to the unlikely emergence of a hijacker's luggage and its even more unlikely contents, Kick's facts will make the reader seriously question the official version of the tragedy. It is articles like this that make Disinformation's collections so valuable.
Unfortunately not all articles are as hard-hitting and on-target as the aforementioned. In fact, out of all of the Disinfo volumes, Abuse Your Illusions makes the most missteps.
Many of the pieces are obvious, trivial or not-fully-substantiated. Dissident historian, Howard Zinn's grisly accounts of innocent causalities in the US military campaign in Afghanistan are certainly affecting, but would only be shocking to someone to whom warfare is a completely alien concept. Investigative reporter, Jim Hougan's defense of the theory that investigation into a Democratic call-girl ring begat Watergate states nothing more than such a theory is possible. And alternative journalist, Paul Krassner's article theorizing that Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson were brain-washed by scientologists screams crack pot.
Another mistake is the inclusion of articles that seem, ironically enough, biased. Articles concerning media controversies, written by people involved, seem like axe-grinding sessions. Shouldn't the most accurate and unbiased views on CNN's Operation Tailwind story, the leaking of the Pentagon Papers and James Bacque's research pointing to Allies mistreatment of German POWs in World War II be written by people other than those who have much at stake in them?
There are many instances in Abuse Your Illusions in which Disinformation proves itself a relevant and enlightening institute. But one should look to the previous two volumes to see the group at its best before reading this utterly uneven collection.
on September 30, 2003
I love the Disinformation series, but this most recent effort isn't nearly as intriguing as their previous anthologies. Both "Everything You Know Is Wrong" and "You Are Being Lied To" had more page-turning value than this edition. Still, there is interesting ground to be covered here, and in a familiar vein.
Received opinion is demolished in some cases (the Wayne Williams serial murders, Watergate), while glaring light is shed on sound but unpopular arguments unfamiliar to the mainstream reader (i.e., the Drug War - a Disinfo favorite topic). Elsewhere, an expose' of racial profiling provides ample grist for the proverbial liberal mill, and the editor's compiliation of 9/11 non-topics provide disquieting food for thought.
The beauty of the Disinfo series of books is that they challenge the acceptance of mainstream media dogma as fact, without regard for political ideology. If there is a liberal element to the writing, it is largely because the authors are often disenfranchised journalists and social commentators working from the fringe. Some reviewers insinuate that this creates a safe haven for crackpots, but that consensus is far too exclusionary and only logical if you share the mainstream media arrogance that only THEY are above the fray. Clearly, they are not. In "Abuse Your Illusions", as in previous Disinfo offerings, even the "crackpots" make relevant arguments at some level. A few pundits have misconstrued the inclusion of contradictory articles as a lack of focus on the part of the editor, but in fact it's - surprise! - fair and balanced coverage. In these times, such non-partisan discourse should truly be encouraged. And $upported, if you know what I mean...
So, although an uneven bag this time around, anyone wondering "Dude, where's my country?" is encouraged to read this book. Rest assured, there are still some courageous, principled souls looking out for us. And even a few journalists.
on July 25, 2016
Originally published a dozen years ago, some of the info may be a little out-of-date. But that didn't stop me from enjoying this book, as many of the articles are filled with timeless info still relevant today. Not much shocks me anymore these days, though a few of the articles did shake me up somewhat. I'm just glad the folks at Disinfo are churning out these books, as we Americans have a right to know!
on March 8, 2010
Last month I re-read the essay on pp.198-227 pertaining to the events of 9/11/2001. In early February 2010, the idea of questioning the official story of 9/11 became a political hot-topic in the Texas gubernatorial race. Television propagandist (and all-around-idiot) Glenn Beck declared Debra Medina unfit for office for the thoughtcrime of merely questioning the official conclusions of the 9/11 Commission. By her own words, Medina was not advancing any conclusions about the events of 9/11, but merely questions whether the official story is complete and accurate. From the essay in this book, it certainly seems there is plenty about 9/11 not addressed by the official explanations. Reason aside, it now appears that merely questioning the official 9/11 story is portrayed as a sort of "political kryptonite".
Citizens need to consider very carefully the implications of this new McCarthyism ("are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of the 9/11 Truth movement?"). The essay in this book is germane to that discussion. This particular publication, and some of the contributing authors (including Howard Zinn, who incidentally defended the official 9/11 story!) are controversial, but whatever one's beliefs, this essay deserves to be considered on its merits.
**This book comprises a collection of essays, so the star rating is an average of just the essays I've read (I admit I've only read about 1/2 of them), and the "read date" is just for the 9/11 essay
on July 24, 2013
I have nothing at all bad to say about the book itself. In fact I have a paper copy of the book and I love it! But I bought it for my Windows 8 Kindle for PC and it is absolutely pathetic and worthless. I tried several times removing the book from my PC and then downloading it again. No success. I just spent the last 2 hours trying to call or email Amazon about this and get a refund. But I could not get through to them although it appeared that I would be able to do tis. This is my first bad experience with Amazon Kindle, but it has soured my day. Again, don't get me wrong. The book itself is terrific, but I suggest you NOT buy the Kindle edition of it unless you want to throw away your money!
on March 10, 2010
I was drawn to the article on "Good Old Days Mythology" because it is so prevalent these days. It can be used to shut down those who are longing for a magical, simpler time where today's cares were absent, a time that never really existed.
I'm currently reading the story on the "War on Drugs" and the ignorance that the media has spread.
Every item in the book, as in his others, serves to reveal "establishment lies" we have been constantly fed.
on June 21, 2004
If a collection of essays can be judged by a single essay within the collection, then this book must be awful. I only read one of the essays, but it was enough to make me put the book down forever.