Saturday, May 20, 2006

Looking in the dark

The TLS has gone out of its way this week to bring its readers the probable truth behind the headlines. Amy Knight gives a lengthy precis and uncritical review (not online) of John B. Dunlop's monograph with the snappy title: The 2002 Dubrovka and 2004 Beslan Hostage Crises. Despite being published in Stuttgart in a decidedly-plain academic style, it has drawn a review that spreads over three side of the paper.

Why the fuss? Well, after reading the review, one can only be sure that the headlines conceal some extraordinary facts about Putin's government's and the Russian Security Service's role in both events. Perhaps mainstream publishers are afraid to release this kind of thing for fear of upsetting the political elite? In that case, I suppose, ibidem verlag and the TLS are to be thanked. Knight even provides a URL of a Russian language site offering the "Pravda Beslana". (The woman who runs it was apparently "savagely beaten by thugs" on a Moscow street and told to "be careful").

Even without being able to read most of it (there's a small English section), the site does look like any number of US-based conspiracy theory sites about the 9/11 atrocities. We shouldn't have to wonder how books questioning the official story of those events would be discussed, even if they were. However, if you are wondering, you can get an idea by listening to Radio 3's Nightwaves edition featuring a staggering discussion of Chomsky's new book (which isn't about 9/11).

But one doesn't always have to look into the obscure corners of the publishing world to illuminate the probable truth. We're still awaiting, six months after publication, the first national press review of Edwards' and Cromwell's groundbreaking Guardians of Power published by our very own Pluto Press.

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