Money: for good or bad?

What do rich people do with all of their money?
Billionaire businessman and TV presenter Donald Trump is using his wealth to fund his own presidential campaign. While it is theoretically true that every American child can grow up to become president, the vast majority are unable to raise the huge amount of campaign dollars needed. They need the endorsement of a major political party and the support of its fund-raising machine.
Trump, on the other hand, is free to be as much of a maverick as he wants to be. Opinion polls show the tactic seems to be working, at least at this early stage, with American voters. During the press conference called to launch his campaign, he bragged: and”Iand’m using my own money. Iand’m not using the lobbyists. Iand’m not using donors. I donand’t care. Iand’m really rich.and”
The sale of Turkeyand’s online meal order service Yemeksepeti to Delivery Hero of Germany also made it into CNNand’s international news bulletin this week. With a price tag of a mere $589 million, such a deal would normally only be newsworthy for the financial media. But under the strapline and”This is what profit-sharing should look like,and” CNN journalists told the world that owner Nevzat Aydin believed his employees should share in the proceeds of the sale just as they had shared in the hard work to build the company.
So, he paid $27 million out to 114 employees. As CNN pointed out, since most employees earned $1,000-2,000 a month, this bonus was on average about 150 times their monthly wage. A very philanthropic use of money.
This follows a recent announcement by Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkey-born founder and CEO of the Chobani yogurt company in the US, that he would donate $700 million to help refugees from the conflict in Syria and Iraq. According to Forbes, he was worth $1.4 billion in 2014, so this is a whooping half of his assets. Ulukaya gave credit to his family when commenting on his philanthropy: and”I have always planned to give most of what I had. Growing up, I watched my mother give to those who needed and it came from the most amazing place in her heart.and”
With so many inspiring examples of people using personal wealth to help others, it seems almost unfathomable that money could be used to finance terror. However, this week, India executed Yakub Memon, convicted of financing the deadly bomb attacks on Mumbai in 1993 in which 257 people lost their lives. The attacks were designed to divide India along communal lines.
This was a classic and”false flagand” attack. A third party carries out an attack that, if it blamed on a known enemy, will result in the victim retaliating and give rise to further hostilities. An alternative and more sinister form of a false flag is when the act of aggression is carried out by the victim in order to give an excuse for punishment or retribution. This latter is the stuff of conspiracy theories.
A similar scenario where an assortment of rogue agents, gangland thugs and hired mercenaries are bankrolled by a wealthy individual as they carry out a false flag attack is the subject of Alex Berensonand’s and”The Counterfeit Agent.and” Much of the action takes place in Istanbul as a mysterious shadowy figure who claims to be a defector from Iranand’s Revolutionary Guards provides information to the deputy chief of the CIAand’s station on the Bosporus about planned attacks by Iran on the United States.
The first meet is set up for the Grand Bazaar. But and”Rezaand” has only dead-dropped instructions for another location at the gas station by the Cevizlibai metro station. The intel he eventually gives concerns two attacks on Israeli embassies. This tip comes true, giving credibility to him as a source. However, through a series of flashes of action around the world, we realize that the attacks were committed not by Iranand’s secret services directly but by a cell run by a female mercenary named Salome. We first meet her in an op to obtain 1.3 kilograms of enriched uranium from a vault in South Africa.
After three months of silence, a telephone call summons the CIAand’s Brian Taylor to a meeting in room 1509 at the InterContinental Hotel in Taksim. Now the tip-off concerns a plot to kill a CIA section chief. Before we see this unfold, there is a spate of seemingly unconnected assassinations. Two German steelworks directors who have been selling steel to Iran, two Iranian scientists at a conference in Belgrade, three rocket engineers poisoned in Kiev and a banker garroted in Madrid. The Times newspaper connects the dots and links them all to Iranand’s nuclear program and blames Mossad.
As the CIA and the US military become suspicious, they need a deniable option. On cue, John Wells — a trusted clean-up man — enters the action on the trail of rogue agents. As he uncovers the web and realizes that what is going on is a false flag op, he realizes that the mercenary group aim to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program. They are upping the ante each time: and”Only the American military can stop Iran therefore we will trick it into an attack.and”
Sadly, getting his superiors to agree to this is as difficult as stopping the men of violence. This is a thriller with a difference. We donand’t experience the usual and”whodunitand” suspense as all of the undercover action and the connection between the participants has been revealed to us as readers. As such, it is less of a page-turner than it should be. The only suspense is a residual one: Whether those in Langley, the Pentagon and the White House will believe what seems to be an illogical conspiracy theory. If they do, there is a chance that attacks can be stopped and lives can be saved. If they donand’t, they will fall for the false flag and there is the very real specter of a US attack on Iran.
This is a well-concocted plot of action, with many actors in different parts of the globe that gives the tale both color and interest. Youand’ll need to concentrate on who is who, though, because many of the characters have at least one cover name as well as their real one. In a refreshing change for this type of novel, there is a distinct lack of over-exaggeration of the violence. There is an amazingly high body count but zap-pow scenes are not dragged out. Berenson is sparing with the blood and gore, but sadly very liberal with corny comments, in particular in describing new participants in the action. (For example, we are introduced to Vinny Duto, ex CIA head turned senator, as and”instead of ordering drone strikes he now listened to lobbyists and his fellow lawmakers droning on.and”)
Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke famously said, and”All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.and” This thriller with a difference shows us that all that is necessary for the triumph of shadowy figures is for smart people not to follow the famous aice of a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes: and”Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.and”
The ending, however, is let down by a host of loose threads, the chief one being we know who financed the false flag op but we know very little about him and even less about why. After pressing on to the end for a resolution to the one mystery in this yarn, you feel somewhat cheated by the clear trailer for the next title in the series: and”Twelve Days.and”
We are left with fictional headlines that are eerily scary in July 2015 as US Secretary of State John Kerry gives evidence to the Senate defending the recent deal: and”Ultimatum over nuclear program andhellip threats of war andhellip drones strike Tehran Airport.and”
and”The Counterfeit Agentand” by Alex Berenson is published by Headline. 8.99 pounds in paperback ISBN: 978-147220825-5 Rating: three stars out of five