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on 12 July 2012
The thousands of pieces of evidence that Curtis has amassed and structured into this remarkably coherent book, present a convincing picture of a country that has been (and continues to be) put at risk through the machinations of unseen and unaccountable people working for secret organisations, whose motives and strategies are as opaque as they are questionable. Yet, even if their purposes remain opaque, there has been an remarkable consistency in the nature of their plottings over the century since the break-up of the Turkish Ottoman empire and the establishment of the nations of the Middle East that were created largely by the British in pursuit of a "divide and rule" policy designed to retain control over the oil wealth in the region.

Curtis presents clear evidence that throughout its post-colonial history, beginning even as far back as the 1920s, British governments and Civil Service have exploited Islam and Islamic fundamentalism for its own (obscure) purposes - from the establishment of the Saudi kingdom; the division of India in 1948 to create the strategically useful Muslim state of Pakistan; to the support of the Muslim Brotherhood during Nasser's control over Egypt; to the backing of both sides during the Israeli-Palestinian wars; to the active support of terrorists (including Bin Laden) during the Afghan-Russian war; to the support of KLA and other terrorists during the Bosnian and Kosovan wars. Even after the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, Britain continued to harbour known terrorists on its shores, giving them a safe-haven from American, French and other prosecutors.

The other consistency in the story is that like the US in its terror campaigns against democratically elected popularist and nationalistic governments in Central and South America, Britain has consistently given support to brutal dictatorships in the Middle East and Asia and actively suppressed nationalist parties and organizations, and undermined popularly elected governments, at the cost of many hundreds of thousand (or, more likely, millions) of innocent lives. Presumably Britain's elite continues to pursue such policies, but since the secret services who mastermind such activities, do not publicise what they are doing or planning, and since British governments of every ilk seem to acquiesce unquestioningly in whatever MI6 and MI5 do in the name of "public service", it is unlikely that we will ever know what has been going on until it is too late.

Curtis deserves the greatest credit for piecing together this immensely complex jigsaw of evidence. He also deserves credit for his bravery in publishing his findings. It's hard to imagine that there are not many people both within the British secret agencies and amongst the multitude of terrorist groups that he names, who would like to see him silenced. I urge everyone to read this book. It's not a pleasant read, but it's an essential one.

I must now go on to read his earlier book (Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy: Britain's Real Role in the World) to which he makes reference at several critical junctures in this more recent book.
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on 17 January 2013
Mark Curtis following up from the highly recommended "Web of Deceit" has with "Secret Affairs" provided a comprehensive and powerful expose of the UK governments collusion with extremist & radical Islam in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Gulf states, Indonesia, the former USSR, the Balkans, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iran etc often in order to overthrow moderate secular regimes. All in order to control oil and sell weapons and other dodgy trade deals.

Read this book to understand what our governments real policy is so we can start to hold them to account to stop this madness.
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on 6 February 2011
I have recently returned from a four week holiday to Iran. Whilst this beautiful country is full of very friendly people, who apologized endlessly for their country's poor relations with the rest of the world, they all asked me why the UK and US keep "scheming behind the scenes" in the Middle East and Central Asia. This book substantiates this belief, but from a European perspective, and goes a long way to explaining how it is that the UK Government, which claims every day to be here to protect its citizens from terrorism, was the principal sponsor if not creator of Islamic terrorism. What a sad world we live in!! The saddest part is, having chosen its friends, the UK Government can not even be loyal - look at the speed with which David Cameron dumped his buddy Mr Mubarak. This book explains all in simple terms and with a lot of detailed evidence. It joins the dots between well know events and fills in the missing parts to make a coherent story. My only (small) complaint is that Mr Curtis does not clearly explain reason the Islamic terrorists turned on their sponsors (the UK and US) in the early 1990s. I recommend this book.
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on 28 September 2010
In this stunning book, historian Mark Curtis details the British state's collusion with Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors.

Britain is allied with the two major sponsors of Islamist terrorism, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia funded Al Qa'ida and Pakistan funded the 7/7 bombers. As the interim report of the 9/11 Commission said, "Pakistan, not Iraq, was a patron of terrorism."

Britain was the second largest investor in Pakistan, which received Britain's third largest aid programme in Asia. By 2001, 900 British citizens were visiting Kashmir for military training every year.

London is a base for many jihadist groups including Algeria's Armed Islamic Group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Osama bin Laden's front, the Advice and Reformation Committee. After 9/11, the Terrorism Act made it an offence to send someone abroad for terrorist training, yet Abu Hamza wasn't touched for years.

In 2004, MI5 heard the London bombers `talking about jihadi activity in Pakistan and support for the Taliban', but as they weren't talking about terrorist attacks in Britain, MI5 left them alone. Britain, like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, tries to get its own terrorists to attack only targets abroad.

In April 2005, three months before the London bombings, the Joint Intelligence Committee said that the war in Iraq `has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism'. The bombings stemmed from the terrorist bases set up by the Pakistani state, backed by the British state. British governments accuse Iran of what Saudi Arabia and Pakistan do - backing and training terrorists.

The war in Afghanistan in the 1980s was Britain's biggest covert operation since 1945. Britain's support for, and arms supplies to, the mujehadin started months before the Soviet intervention. Thatcher praised the mujehadin as `genuine freedom fighters'. The SAS trained the mujehadin and SAS units were involved in operations. The CIA, MI6 and Pakistan's ISI jointly raided into Soviet Central Asia.

Saudi Arabia has spent $50 billion on promoting Wahhabism, its extremist version of Islam, building 1,500 mosques and 2,200 madrassas across the world. The Saudi state is the world's leading source of funds for Al Qa'ida and other jihadists; it has been the major sponsor of terrorism for the last 30 years, and it provided 45 per cent of the foreign fighters in Iraq.

Britain, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran all illegally sent arms to Bosnia, in breach of the UN embargo. Britain helped 4,000 Islamist militants to travel to Bosnia. British-born jihadists fought in Bosnia and Kosovo: 3,000 passed through Al Qa'ida training camps in the 1990s.

In 1998, Britain, the USA and the EU all denounced the Kosovo Liberation Army's terrorism, its heroin-trafficking and connections with Al Qa'ida and Osama bin Laden; by March 1999, the KLA was NATO's ground force there. Also in 1998, Britain started arming and training KLA fighters, violating UN Resolution 1160, which banned arming and training any forces in Yugoslavia.

A NATO report of August 2009 on the Afghan war said, "the overall situation is deteriorating"; NATO forces face a `resilient and growing insurgency' and admitted that NATO forces are causing `unnecessary collateral damage'.

While claiming to support Islamic moderates, the British state has backed Islamic extremists - the Saudi Arabian and Pakistani states, the Muslim Brotherhood, the KLA, the mujehadin. The British state backs these Islamists against democrats, nationalists, secularists and supporters of women's rights, as its proxy fighters against secular nationalism and socialism.

Added 21/9/12.
In this very useful new edition of Curtis' hugely informative book, he shows that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the major state sponsors of Islamist terrorism. Al-Qaeda was largely created by Saudi Arabia. The 7/7 bombers were largely created by Pakistan - which is now more of a threat than Al-Qaeda.

These two states are allies of both the USA and Britain. This is largely why the USA and Britain bombed Kabul and Baghdad, not Islamabad and Riyadh.

Curtis points out that in March and April 2011, NATO flew 2,800 sorties and destroyed a third of Gaddafi's military assets. Qatar provided $400 million support to the Libyan rebels. There were an estimated 1,000 jihadists fighting in Libya - how many are there now in Syria?

Curtis concludes, "Britain's foreign policy-making system is far removed from promoting the national interest. Rather, Whitehall's secret affairs with radical Islam have increased the terrorist threat to Britain and the world; a distinctly immoral aspect of foreign policy has made Britain, the Middle East and much of the rest of the world more insecure."
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on 14 October 2014
Mark Curtis continues to trawl through formerly secret or widely unknown official papers, and uses them to reconstruct a compelling picture of the way in which the British establishment has consistently acted through the years to protect what it sees to be its interest. This geopolitical "strategy" to use perhaps too polite a word, has had grave consequences for hundreds of thousands (actually probably rather millions) of citizens in other countries who arguably have had the chance for peace and security snatched away from them. This book is essential background reading on what is now happening in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and with ISIS etc, and to the present (continuing) political fixation on so called islamist terror.
What would be interesting is to read the counter-arguments, if anyone is willing or able to articulate them, in a well researched and referenced study, arguing i.e. that this foreign policy has been successful and was the right approach at the time, and we are right to be continuing similar policy now, in light of the obvious consequences.
(Web of Deceit and Unpeople are similarly enlightening and required reads).
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on 6 June 2011
I found this book to be one of the most frightening books that I have read in a very long time. The content that Mark curtis has revealed is quite frankly, staggering.

The book takes the reader through a consistant catalogue of collusion by British authorities throughout a very long period. It names persons who have held high office and shows that these people certainly have blood on their hands.

There are copious notes throughout the book and these give details of source of information. This verification I found to be necessary as some of the charges that Mark Curtis makes are simply staggering.

This book should be read by anyone who has even a slight interest in the machinations of politics. It is an eye opener on a huge scale.

Whilst I found the content staggering, I found the book to be eminently readable and would hav no hesitation in recommending the book to anyone.
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on 13 April 2014
This should be a wake-up call to every British subject! (I hesitate to use the word citizen).
If half of what Mark Curtis has written is true then we are in real trouble. It least we can now understand why every Judeo-Christian value has been quenched from our society by those who, instead of representing us, have taken power over us and are using an ideological strategy that has been hidden for many years. Not any more. 911 and 7/7 are just the tip of an iceberg . . .
Buy one for your own study shelf and buy a second to give away . . .
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on 17 August 2010
This is a very informative book on the true relationship between Britain and Islamist. In a sense it takes the lid off the 'Secret Affair' between the British state and Islamist and reveals why this geo-political relationship exists. And how Britain has attempted to use extreme Islamists to her advantage.

Mark Curtis is one of only a few British dissidents in the UK who focuses on British foreign policy per se. He is not one of these Chomsky regurgitators, who simply focuses on what America is getting upto. Curtis brings dissent back to us.

If you are looking for something truely beyond the headlines,'BBC impartiality' and formuliac American-obsessed dissent, then this book is certainly the starting point.
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on 28 April 2014
Two faced Tories ( and Labour) sitting sozzled in their Mayfair club deciding which Arab du jour is to be killed, sick scum.

Great Imperialist tradition of sitting round drawing up kill lists yet presenting themselves as impartial benevolent disinterested party.
Anybody familiar with the workings of British counter insurgency practices will be all too familiar with the Brits publicly fighting one side when in actual fact helping both warring factions to kill each other, sick degenerate no-neck chinless wonders.
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on 31 July 2013
If this won't scare you then you must be part of the Occupation Army here in England! The bare Truth of the lies of HMG for 100 years plus!
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