Jeremy Duns @JeremyDuns Author of Free Agent, Song of Treason, The Moscow Option, Spy Out The Land and non-fiction Dead Drop. Simon & Schuster UK/Penguin US. Agent: @GreeneandHeaton May. 31, 2019 6 min read

Right, another thread on very dodgy non-fiction practices. A major British publisher has just come out with a translation of a book by a Spanish antisemitic conspiracy theorist, and has done so knowingly, because to cover it up they've removed passages about the Rothschilds.

No, I can't quite believe it, either, but there we are. About a decade ago, when my agent was trying to sell my first novel in the US, two publishers there were interested: one was Weinstein Books and one was Penguin. I chose the latter! It was Penguin, after all.

You can see my header on here is from the omnibus edition of my first three novels in the States, and there's that little logo on it. It's a logo that's meant a lot to me in my life, as a reader and a writer. That's a brand that means something to me. So what to do?

I'm now going to 'publicly shame' Penguin UK for having done this, but what else can I do about it? Do you think it would make any difference if I raised this with them via email? This is a Penguin error, but I think we're in DEFCON 3 for publishing now, and few have noticed.

It's a little like the situation a few years ago with British broadsheet newspapers. Disbelief at first that they would publish clickbait nonsense. Now we're all used to it. Those brands have been devalued as a result. It's commonplace. Please let's try to stop this with books.

I've got lots of windows open and am still staring in disbelief at some of it, so bear with me. But I think you'll agree this is a pretty serious problem we're facing. As usual, it's about fact-checking, research, due diligence, and not doing them.

Also as usual, this is something that just randomly flew past my Twitter feed and I thought 'Eh?' and looked into it. This isn't some sort of campaign I'm mounting. This stuff is all over the place. Several times this week, in fact.

Yes, I am getting to it. Earlier today, I saw this tweet from David, who I follow and you should as well, and it sent me down a rabbit-hole because I looked at the cover of the book on the left and thought 'Wow. What? Who published that?'

Because that's two for the price of one tropes commonly seen in antisemitic literature: the octopus tentacles as power, and the title 'How They Rule The World'. Presumably that was just unfortunate, I look it up. It's published by Penguin UK. I'm fairly surprised, let's say.

So I looked into the author a bit, Colonel Pedro Baños. He's best described as a Spanish Sebastian Gorka, I think. A military intelligence expert, often in the Spanish media, with political influence (was briefly national security director), and a conspiracy theorist.

He's also a Putin fan, often on the Spanish versions of Russia Today and Sputnik. He tweeted about domestic popularity rating of 74% for Putin: 'Wouldn’t we love to have a political leader half as popular right here in the European Union!!!' Source:  https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/06/08/inenglish/1528443762_082284.html 

That's a credible source, and it's ringing several more alarm bells. So I dig more and find this interview with him on another Russian website, Fort Russ. And this is conspiracy theory city.  https://www.fort-russ.com/2017/12/rothschild-family-russias-fault-for/ 

This is a translation of an interview from December 2017 (original:  https://www.elboletin.com/mvc/amp/noticia/157103 ). There's enough conspiratorial nonsense in it to realise he's not a credible author Penguin should be going anywhere near, but it ends with this answer from him:

So far that research had taken me 10 minutes' googling. It made the octopus imagery and the title 'How They Rule The World' look very dodgy indeed. The guy's an antisemite. And he is very much on this Rothschild train. eg in this interview last year:  https://latribunadeespana.com/sociedad/coronel-pedro-banos-el-periodismo-alternativo-es-un-ejercicio-de-riesgo 

My Spanish isn't great - I have a bad A Level in it - but I could understand it. This Google translation seems to me to be pretty accurate, but you can judge for yourself:

It's standard 'the Jews run the world stuff', with a dash of anti-imperialism thrown in. He claims it here as well:  https://latribunadelpaisvasco.com/art/8234/coronel-pedro-banos-ldquo-los-movimientos-migratorios-en-muchos-casos-musulmanes-estan-rompiendo-europa-rdquo- 

In this tweet (which by quoting him means he can read this thread, of course), you see him directly relate the content of the book to the question of how Israel is so powerful - who supports them?

In this TV interview, he comes up with a new JFK theory to me: Kennedy didn't want Israel to have nukes, after he was killed Johnson let it happen, could it have been the Jews, I mean Israel, just asking?  https://www.cuatro.com/cuarto-milenio/Coronel-Pedro-Banos-Detras-Kennedy_2_2470155051.html 

In this interview last year, he claims Trump is pushing the US away from the UN and towards Israel, noting he will have to get 'the Jewish lobby' on board:  https://www.antena3.com/noticias/espana/el-coronel-banos-sobre-la-campana-que-le-hizo-perder-el-cargo-de-director-de-seguridad-nacional-lo-ocurrido-conmigo-es-un-asesinato-social_201806205b2a02160cf22a63b1199a77.html 

So I bought the Kindle version of the UK translation, published by Penguin a few weeks ago, and had a look. And it's awful in lots of ways. Almost no primary sources, it reads like a kind of kids' guide to conspiracy theories.

Just lots of terribly basic stuff, very badly padded, like this section on populism. I mean, this isn't good enough for an anonymous blog, really:

Publishers come out with a lot of stuff, but this is bad. The whole book is like this - running through history one Wikipedia page or conspiracy blogpost he's looked up at a time. A lot is from Spanish Wikipedia, I think. Some is clearly plagairised.

I mean, this is from the author's note. There are about 19 red flags. Don't publish someone who opens their book like this:

He plagiarises Global Research, a well-known conspiracy site. GR on the left, How They Rule The World on the right. He hasn't cited any of this properly, or used quotes: it's clear plagiarism. Also, look at the heading in his. I mean, Jesus.

Lots of this in the book. It's a Captain Obvious guide through well-known conspiracy territory. He quotes verbatim Goebbels' precepts and so on. He's also a fan of J.F.C. Fuller, a British general and military historian who was also a well-known fascist and pro-Nazi.

I'd have hoped someone might have picked that up. Oh, I missed a bit: here's a Google translate of that TV interview I mentioned earlier. This is classic antisemitism.

And yet, despite all his mentions of the Rothschilds in interviews, there's not a single mention of them in How They Rule The World. But lots of forum discussions mention him and the Rothschilds - what is going on? So I buy the Spanish ebook on Amazon.

It's the same book... and yet here are his beloved Rothschilds, the richest family in the world according to some website or other:

That entire section is missing from the English version of the book. Perhaps because British readers would cry foul? I don't know. But from a single tweet by David, this rabbit-hole. Penguin has just published an antisemite's book in the UK, titled 'How They Rule The World'.

I know, it's a very long thread and people hate those (while buying whole books like this). But I'm furious and frustrated and pissed off. Fucking check! Can't anyone fucking check anything anymore? Thread ends.


You can follow @JeremyDuns.



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