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One Nation Under Blackmail
By John Ketwig (reviewer)
One Nation Under Blackmail : The Sordid Union Between Intelligence and Crime that Gave Rise to Jeffrey Epstein(Volumes 1 & 2)
by Whitney Webb
(Trine Day, 2022)
Over the years, I have reviewed a long list of books for The Veteran. I can't recall a more difficult book (or books) to describe. I have the highest regard for the people who read The Veteran, and I am inclined to respect authors and the folks who produce books. In the spirit of full disclosure, the publisher of this mammoth work was also the publisher of my second book, Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter. No matter how I present this review or these reviews, I'm afraid I won't be enticing anyone to purchase and read these books. And that would be a shame. Every American should read this non-fiction story in two parts because they are one book that documents and exposes much of American and world history throughout the last seven decades. Volume 1 is 530 pages, and Volume 2 comes in at 417. If you should dare to read these books, be prepared to be completely overwhelmed. Within the combined 947 pages, you will find hundreds of famous characters and the names of amazing numbers of countries, international intelligence organizations, and thousands of businesses and corporations set up to camouflage the nefarious deeds that are the troubling core of the stories. Governments, banks, shipping companies, booze and drug traders, organized crime at all levels, communications giants, newspapers, and TV networks are all exposed here, and their "covert" activities are amazing. "Power tends to corrupt," Lord Acton famously asserted, "and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If you have the fortitude to read these two books completely, you will probably come away traumatized and convinced that our country cannot be saved and doesn't deserve saving. You will be amazed.
Reading these books is like witnessing a terrible traffic accident—multiplied by about a thousand times! No matter how knowledgeable or skeptical you may be, these two books will multiply your skepticism and demolish any faith or hope that America will overcome corruption and become the shining example we want our grandchildren to inherit. Instead, if you read both books completely, I predict you will feel like a truck ran over you. I suggest you keep a notebook handy to record all the people and company names, but that would only result in writer's cramp. The subtitle of this collection is The sordid union between Intelligence and Organized Crime that gave rise to Jeffery Epstein. There are two different groups of characters on the two covers, with the US Capitol building in the background of both. I am troubled that I only recognize Jeffrey Epstein, who is featured in Volume 2. I take comfort from the knowledge that if they are pictured on the covers of these books, they are villains.
I was surprised to learn that Ghislaine Maxwell was a charmer who learned her craft from her father, and her sister, Isabel, was equally nefarious and influential. I was shocked at the constant references to names in Jeffery Epstein's two address books and the fantastic cast of characters who flew on his jet or visited his many extravagant palaces. I was surprised to learn how many times Jeffery visited the Clinton White House and the many ways the Clintons participated in the tragic, utterly corrupt events. I must point out no less than the Bushes, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama. No one in American politics is clean, and no one is spared in these two incredible books.
Author Whitney Webb has done an awe-inspiring job of researching the enormity of American history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the dirty underbelly of the American political and business activity across the planet, and the many personalities, foreign and domestic, who have played a part in those histories. If I describe the contents of these books, you will think I'm exaggerating. If I quote a sentence, a paragraph, or even a page, you will not begin to comprehend the sheer volume of information contained within these two volumes. Every shocking revelation is fully documented, and you will wonder how so much disturbing history has eluded you all these years. How in the world did this author discover all this and fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle on such an awe-inspiring scale?
Whitney Webb was interviewed in the American media when the book was released, and death threats soon made it necessary for her to move her family out of the country. She has done an breathtaking job of researching the enormity of this situation, this underbelly of American political and business activity. She has thoroughly documented her sources at the end of each chapter. If you read these books, you will become a fan.
Early in Volume 1, we learn that the Plaza Hotel in New York City had a special "blue suite" where men of city, state, and national prominence went to party with young men, many of them teenage male prostitutes. Supercop J. Edgar Hoover was a regular patron dressed in female attire. This newspaper does not have enough pages for me to name all the names revealed in these books or the many companies created to camouflage or hide what was going on. Suffice it to say that the FBI and CIA's long history of "covert" deeds is not unique. They have made history by blackmailing the most powerful, and many of the most powerful have observed all this and done plenty of their own.
The first pages of Volume 1 make clear that blackmail using photographs or information of intimate encounters, often among gay men, was typical. What was more common were blackmail operations involving foreign governments and their agents and prominent American businessmen, especially those trading in state-of-the-art weapons. Does the term Iran-Contra ring a bell?
Throughout 947 pages, author Webb carries on a strong-armed assault upon the reader's imagination. Sadly, sometimes, the editing does not equal the author's inspiration or knowledge, but that is a minor obstacle easily overcome.
These are reference works; summing up, I can only say, "Holy cow!" Don't buy just one volume because they are one continuous story, and you won't want to miss any of the sordid details.
John Ketwig is a lifetime member of VVAW and the author of two critically acclaimed books about Vietnam, ?and a hard rain fell and Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter.