Friday, September 21, 2012

If It’s Wrong and Doesn’t Work, End It

by David Darracott, author of Internal Security
and guest blogger for The Jag Review

Some friends ask why I chose to write a novel that includes such a distasteful topic as torture.  It is so ugly and controversial, most people would rather avoid the subject altogether.  Further, Internal Security depicts the reality of the act, not some harmless comic book version.  Why, indeed?
The truth is, I could probably write a second book on why it is so important to challenge this ancient and immoral practice.
Torture-them-until-they-talk is a very bad policy that will come back to haunt our nation for decades— perhaps centuries.  Overstatement?  Hardly.  In the Constitution, our founders specifically outlawed cruel and unusual punishment, along with self-incrimination, for good reason.  For them, memories were still fresh of abuses suffered at the hands of brutal rulers in the countries they had left behind in Europe.  They still remembered horrifying and senseless punishment meted out in its worst forms, and they resolved to prevent it from ever happening here.
Today, most Americans prefer not to think about torture at all, but it is particularly uncomfortable to those who want to think of our nation as wholly benign and just.  Torture, for any reason, is wrong.  Inflicting pain and degradation on a fellow human being has no true justification.  As a captive, the victim cannot fight back, cannot escape, cannot seek protection.  Moreover, if the victim claims innocence, perhaps truthfully, the torturer increases and prolongs pain in an attempt to get at a supposed truth, thus torture presupposes guilt.  If guilty, your pain worsens—if innocent, it also worsens.
Anyone suffering excruciating pain and fear of death would do anything to make it stop, which brings up a central and highly practical argument against coercive interrogation—it does not work.  A tortured human being will say anything—including truth or lie or in between—to end their pain.  Information obtained by such methods is worse than useless because it has no credibility, and therefore, can only mislead.  Indeed, how could anyone deranged by intense pain even be sure of what they are saying?  How could they ascertain fact from fiction?
Wouldn’t you say or do anything to have a live electrode removed from your tongue?  Or to have a black hood taken off your head you’ve been forced to wear for days.  Or to clear your lungs of water as you choke to the point of unconsciousness?   After hours or even months of such treatment, would you even know your own mind and memories well enough to distinguish a lie from the truth?
Our founders knew full well that government-sanctioned torture has a way of flying out of control.  They had experienced that kind of government in Europe and wanted to end it.  They understood that allowing these methods to be used on suspects is just a short step from using it on anyone.  You, yes you, could be next.  They understood that lesson from direct experience.  Perhaps we have forgotten it. 
When examined even casually, nothing about torture sounds very sensible.  Yet it is exactly what our nation has done recently, and is most likely still doing at secret sites around the world.  Torture is not comic book violence.  Real people suffer real horror, all in the name of somehow keeping us free and safe, as if freedom and safety have any validity when we betray our core principles so readily.
Still unsure?  Ask any man who spent time in a prison camp in North Vietnam or North Korea what he thinks of torture.  Or perhaps ask a survivor of Stalin’s secret police, or a victim of the Khmer Rouge or the Nazis, or . . . even the Americans. 
Ask the victims of American torture.  It has an awful ring to it, doesn’t it? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Jerusalem Inception by Avraham Azrieli

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by:  Creative Space
Pages:  Paper Back
Rating:  8 JAGS

The Jerusalem Inception is a one punch knock-out. The year is 1967 and tension is boiling over, not only between the sovereign Jewish state and its neighboring  Arab countries, but within Israel’s borders as well, as the Six Day War is about to ignite.  
Elie Weiss, Ultra Orthodox Rabbi Abraham Gester and Mossad Agent Tanya Galinski are survivors of the Holocaust and Israel’s only hope at defeating its enemies and halt the infighting between the Jewish populace and their governing body. The memories of 6 million Jews perishing by the hands of Nazi Germany is still fresh in their mind, even after all these years, as the three of them vow to stop at nothing to ensure a Jewish victory.
The Jerusalem Inception rocks the fiction thrill ride genre with a fresh perspective on the Jewish plight years after World War II, and gives a page by page account of love, betrayal and the manipulation used with detailed characters that bare their pain and turn it into purpose. This is must read for any action junkie looking for a book that will satisfy. Buy! Buy! Buy! I cannot stress this enough. Avraham Azrieli rival Ludlum and Le Carre in this action pack series.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Social Media Marketing for Dummies by Shiv Singh/Stephanie Diamond

Genre:  Non-Fiction
Published by:  John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Pages:  Paper Back
Rating:  4 JAGS

Social Media Marketing for Dummies helps you to navigate the importance of social media for businesses, brands, and websites to your customer. This introduction assists you better understand the importance of why more consumers are turning to social media to get product and service reviews. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln and even Youtube are opening up the potential for more leads to your business, while engaging the customer in real time. Marketers are realizing the valuable tools these sites have to offer to push out their name.
Social Media Marketing for Dummies breaks down all the jargon so that you can find your business voice and appeal to a larger audience; all while giving direction on how to examine what marketing strategy works best. Most importantly, little to no budget is needed to start your online campaign. What are required are time, patience and a lot of resolve. Social Media Marketing offers tips and testimonials on what has worked for major brands, and how you can apply them to your business.
WAIT! Do not purchase new, or used. While Social Media Marketing for Dummies compiles and simplifies what social media marketing is, you’re better off dedicating a set time and researching everything yourself without paying the cover price of $25.00. The consistent theme is trial and error, so instead of visiting your local bookstore, power up your computer and spend an afternoon and google your questions to find what answers best suit your needs.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Internal Security by David Darracott

Genre:  Fiction
Published by:  Lighting Rod Books
Pages:  Paper Back
Rating:  7 JAGS

In Internal Security, a terrorist explosion on Daytona’s sandy beach kills hundreds of students and the race for control for the strength of the most powerful nation on the planet begins in this exciting thrill ride. Tom Darden is a second rate reporter working for a third rate news organization who investigates the attack on American soil. What he uncovers is the story of a life time, but to get the truth out to the American public, he has become target number 1 by a shadowy secret organization working to take control of the U.S. Government. There is no one Tom can trust as he looks for clues from the east coast, all the way to the battle fields of the Iraqi war.

Tom must put country first, above all else, which could ultimately destroy the fabric of America. The evil forces that he is up against will stop at nothing to turn the country into a police state and worse, a forced dictatorship to keep any opposition at bay.
With Internal Security, David Darracott hit it out of the park. He has taken the headlines from today’s news and turned it into a page turning work of fiction that rings a certain truth that could fuel conspiracy theorists for decades. This roller coaster thrill ride will not only leave you wanting more, but will raise the bar for suspense fiction from this point forward. Watch out Brad Thor and Brad Meltzer, because David Darracott is a contender.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paris Metro by Carl D. Malmgren

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Published by:  Omega Publications

Pages:  Paper Back

Rating:  1 JAGS

Paris Metro introduces us to Nick Edwards, aspiring writer who pens an essay that wins him the opportunity to study aboard in the glamorous cosmopolitan city of 1925 Paris. Here, he meets Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, as well as a cast of characters from American fiction. Nick decides to start his own novel under the tutelage of Hemingway, but interest weans as Nick and his new friends explore the Paris night life.

With decadence and the spirit of a forgotten age, murder ensues and the violent air of reality comes crashing down on Nick and his entourage, as they come face to face with the truth of Paris, love and betrayal. Nick’s plan of documenting the revival of American Literature in the city of Paris has taken a backseat to investigate the murders that marked his time in the city of love.

This book was confusing at best. It felt as if it was all over the place, blurring the lines of fiction and literary heroes. Paris Metro was slow moving at first, while finishing up with a dialogue to drawn out to gain any merit. I would not purchase new, or ask to receive as a gift. In part, it was so descriptive; it left no imagination for the reader. Sadly, I would pass this book entirely. The one highlight of this book was the historical fiction that Malmgren has chosen to write about.

The Edge Of Whiteness by Joe Montaperto

Genre:  Memoir
Published by:  Self-Published
Pages:  Paper Back
Rating:  6 JAGS

The 70’s are alive and well in this laugh out loud memoir; “The Edge of Whiteness” by Joe Montaperto. Picture this, New Jersey 1970’s. Public Schools are now integrated, and the culture shock for most white students is mind-boggling.  Joe Montaperto is one of many who are captivated at the difference between white and black youth as he walks down the hall of his high school. One part intimidating, two parts intriguing, Joe sets out to embrace black culture by any means possible.  
What starts out as dated, blossoms into a memoir that transcends 70’s slang and flared checkered pants, to remind the reader of what it was once was like to be in high school trying desperately to fit in. The Edge of Whiteness is a perfect coming of age story set during a time where the civil rights movement was still emerging and the need to fit in was as important then, as it is now.  Joe Montaperto’s story is a perfect blend of white fright, stereotypes and a common thread that links us all together, as he tries to find acceptance at an awkward time in adolescence.
This memoir was a great read. I enjoyed every minute of it. This is a perfect purchase that will have you reliving your high school years with a smile. Joe Montaperto shows where The Edge of Whiteness ends and the abyss of acceptance begin.