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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 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 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 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 24 December 2016
Very interesting read. Shame Mark Curtis doesn't share his wisdom on YouTube as F. William Engdahl of The Lost Hegemon fame does.
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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 27 February 2016
I am half way through this extraordinary book. For long I have been more than aware of how UK politicians have cow-towed to those in power in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain etc, selling human rights activists like Raif Badawi for a mess of potage - oil wealth, billions of pounds worth of armaments and so on. Mark Curtis in this book takes us on a very detailed and wide-ranging journey through all the countries that have been involved in islamic jihad to turn the world into slaves of repression, closing the doors of freedom on humanity. And the UK in the shape of its elite classes has been hand in glove with the most evil of them all. From Pakistan to Afghanistan and Iran, from Bosnia and Croatia, to Egypt and the Sudan.

Terrorism is not the sole property of those we think of as the obvious criminals. The criminals also are those meant to be our leaders who lead this country into feebleness in the face of tyrants all over the world. The corruption of the human race is in these pages. One only longs for a book that would give some sense that there are still men and women in our land, or indeed anywhere, to give faith in some sort of victory for true human values. We must not rest content with the kind of politicians who are leading the world into the chaos of greed and self-seeking as we see everywhere here. I doubt if Mark Curtis will show us any sign of hope for humanity before the end of this book. I would like to think he might turn his gifted hand to this kind of exploration sometime in the future.
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on 6 February 2016
With anti-Muslim fervour, and immigration hysteria, and in the wake of the 'Iraq', and 'Afghanistan',
and now latterly 'Syria', this book could not be more timely.

It also has content which provides valuable context re: the Chilcott Inquiry - IF, that is,
it ever materializes..... (Has the West's interaction with the Middle East nations changed all that
much, since the days of the earlier empires of the 'Great Powers'?)

Reading this exposes much of the political rhetoric, spin, and media coverage as quite ridiculous,
and often totally out of sync with the reality - relative to Western foreign policy, reactions to that policy,
and often how misguided policy is/has been - skewed by corporate interests as it is (typically phrased as
"national interests" by politicians - who are invariably rewarded for the complicity, with seats on
boards, and/or "non-jobs" with very real salaries.)

It's a great pity that this is unlikely to be read by 100s of millions - as with many facets of international
relations, if the truth were more widely known, perhaps Justice would be brought to bear with
more uniformity, and swiftness; and the "1 %" might have a harder time getting away with "it".

I'd also recommend John Perkin's Confessions of an Economic Hitman,
and anything by Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Norman Finkelstein, Mearsheimer and Walt,
Tariq Ali, Eduard Said, Naomi Klein, to name but a few.
Collectively, they represent the difference between understanding the world, or remaining
susceptible to what passes for "News", in the mainstream media.
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on 30 April 2017
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on 4 April 2017
First class read,Britain the U.S.A. on the road to hell.
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