Who profits from war? The truth behind The Jerusalem Puzzle – Updated

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Research, The Jerusalem Puzzle

“WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” Smedley Butler, the most decorated US Marine at the time of his death, wrote that in an essay entitled, “War is a Racket,” back in 1935. Smedley served all his life in the military, won two medals of honor during combat and saw first hand the horrors of war. Currently, there are a lot of people profiting from war. Three of the largest arms manufacturers in the world are: No 3. Boeing – 49% of their 2013 sales worldwide of $64.3 billion were arms related. They have about 160,000 employees and their main military products include the F-15 fighter jet. No 2. BAE – achieved €32.9 billion of arms sales in 2013. They employ about 98,000 and their products include the Bradley fighting vehicle and the F-35 fighter jet. No 1. Lockheed Martin – achieved $45 billion of arms sales in 2013. They employ 132,000 and their products include the F-16 and Trident nuclear missiles. But maybe all this war machinery is a necessary evil. But why did US arms sales total $66.3 billion in 2013, more than three-quarters of global arms sales? Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.  We don’t need this level of arms sales. Do we? To illustrate the growth and market for arms sales consider this, US arms sales to Saudi Arabia totaled $33.4 billion in 2013. That amount surpassed the entire total of US arms sales to all countries in the world in 2012, $31 billion. Keep this in mind when you contemplate our future. The number one killer in history is governments. In the 21st century they killed 292 million people. Could we be selling arms to fascists? Smedley had this to say about how profitable war is, “In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict.  . . . new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the war.” The trillion dollars a year that emerges from the US Defense Department doesn’t all end up in the pay of ordinary soldiers. Here’s who Smedley thought paid for all this. “The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill? This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.” Have things changed since then? Yes they have. These days our great arms companies sell their wares to debt ridden African countries, fearful Sheikhs and brow beaten allies to ensure their trough is filled higher and higher each year. I don’t expect any of this to change soon, but I...

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Movie news & a new month long chance to win signed copies of The Jerusalem Puzzle & The Istanbul Puzzle

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Competitions

Last month’s winner of a paperback copy of The Jerusalem Puzzle was Jamison Duncan. Please email me Jamison (lob@yourasms.com) with your address! This month I am offering a free copy of The Jerusalem Puzzle & a unique advance reader copy of The Istanbul Puzzle, both signed, posted anywhere in the world. An exciting offer has come in from a Hollywood producer to make a movie of The Istanbul Puzzle, shooting to start within eighteen months, so I expect these signed copies will eventually become more valuable. But for now we keep our feet on the ground. The competition will run for a month, until the 15th April 2013. You have a chance of winning a free copy of both my published novels if you share this post, on Twitter and Facebook please, with your followers. You must comment below when you have done that to enter. I truly appreciate and am humbled by all your support. If I can involve you in the movie making process I will, as I will be a script consultant. Get in touch if you have ideas, what scenes must stay in, who should play Sean and any other thoughts. I am working on finishing The Manhattan Puzzle this week. It is due out October 10th. I hope it will entertain and interest you. The truth about the puzzle will be revealed in The Manhattan Puzzle. If you are a writer and want to be on my list for guest posts please email me: lob@yourasms.com and I will send you guidelines. I want us all to work together to promote our writing. If you want to buy The Istanbul Puzzle click here. And if you want to buy the The Jerusalem Puzzle click here.  Each month, from now until October, one person will be chosen using a random number generator from the list of comments below. So keep coming back  if you don’t win! And you can enter multiple times by sharing on Twitter and Facebook on multiple days and commenting on each day below, so you have multiple comments. I will take a look at any multiple comment winner shares to make sure this is fair for everyone. Thank you all for sharing this post and for buying my novels and for all your support.  I hope you win! And I hope you’ll enjoy the...

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Symbol Secrets from The Jerusalem Puzzle & a £100 prize.

Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Historical Puzzles, The Jerusalem Puzzle

The square and arrow symbol in the manuscript Sean and Isabel found under Hagia Sophia in The Istanbul Puzzle returns in The Jerusalem Puzzle. In The Jerusalem Puzzle the symbol is discovered in the Museum of Antiquities in central Cairo near Tahrir Square.  This is the museum where  King Tutankhamun’s famous golden mask is on display. The remains of many famous Pharaohs are housed there, as well as items from their tombs, along with a huge papyrus and coin collection on the ground floor. Sean goes to the museum after seeing a picture of a papyrus fragment in a guide to the museum. Here is the fragment: My interest in the square and arrow symbol was inspired by this fragment. The caption on the card beneath the fragment reads, according to my notes: Papyrus fragment found 1984 in rubbish pit near the Black Pyramid (built King Amenemhat III, Middle Kingdom era, 2055-1650 BC), by the Austrian Institute of Cairo. The lower hieroglyph represents the Queen of Darkness. The upper hieroglyph has not been deciphered. The only other example of these hieroglyphs is from a stone inscription at the Gihon Pool in Jerusalem, a Canaanite province of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom era. The symbol reappears later in The Jerusalem Puzzle when it is used as a marker and also near the end when its purpose is further alluded too. The Jerusalem Puzzle provides strong clues as to what this symbol means. And there is still a prize of £100 available to anyone who breaks the code contained in the symbol. Some other possible meanings since I created this original post on what the symbol means, include that it was used as a mnemonic or that it was an old Mandarin symbol for the sun found in the  Zhongyuan Yinyun. The character has been simplified in modern Mandarin to 日 (rì) meaning day; sun; date; or day of the month according to that theory. I don’t know if any of that will help you win the £100 prize! But it just might. Good luck! And remember – no purchase is necessary to solve this...

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Foreshadowing. What makes you read on? #4

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in On Writing

This is the final post in this series, created as a lead in the launch of The Jerusalem Puzzle ebook on Monday Dec 3rd.  We have had: A sense of adventure. What makes you read on? #1 Action opening alternatives. What makes you read on? #2 A sense of mystery. What makes you read on? #3 and now this final post in the series. Foreshadowing, for me, comes in two forms. The first is the simple, “something different was about to happen” phrase inserted in the text, which makes the reader wonder what is about to happen. I recommend doing this only very occasionally. I think I use this explicit form of foreshadowing only twice in The Jerusalem Puzzle. The reason you can’t use it very often is that readers get tired of such things very easily. Explicit foreshadowing loses its appeal very quickly. The second type of foreshadowing is a general foreshadowing brought about by the plot. For instance, if the main character is going  to Jerusalem to investigate the disappearance of someone he knows, then the reader will naturally anticipate what will happen next. This subtle foreshadowing is useful because it uses the reader’s imagination. It’s not just plot driven novels that use subtle foreshadowing, literary novels use it too. When any change or event is anticipated in the text you are using foreshadowing. Inspiring anticipation is a critical aspect of writing compelling fiction in my opinion. Anticipation is, for me, one of the greatest pleasures of being alive. Looking forward to Christmas, a holiday, a big game, a night out, a family event, an election, are what keeps many of us going through the hum drum nature of everyday life. If you can inspire anticipation in your writing, by hinting at what is to come, you will have cracked a powerful technique to make people read on. And I use make deliberately. I hope you have enjoyed this series. If you would like to order The Jerusalem Puzzle please click one of the links to the right. Next week  I will post about the secrets revealed in The Jerusalem Puzzle. Thanks for coming...

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News on book awards & The Jerusalem Puzzle

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in On Writing

The excitement is mounting in the run up to the Irish Book Awards on Thursday night. I will post the result as soon as I can. I don’t expect to win the Crime category for The Istanbul Puzzle. But we will enjoy the gala dinner with dinner suits, black tie and long dresses and authors glaring at each other and others getting drunk! In other news The Jerusalem Puzzle has broken though the 1,000 rank barrier on Amazon.co.uk, which means preorders are going well. If you haven’t ordered your ebook for Dec 3 yet here are the links. ,amazon.co.uk first then amazon.com then iTunes. I am sure it will be out at the same time on Nook, Kobo and other ebook service: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Jerusalem-Puzzle-ebook/dp/B009JWB0AO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352443811&sr=1-1 and http://www.amazon.com/The-Jerusalem-Puzzle-ebook/dp/B009JWB0AO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352443991&sr=1-1&keywords=the+jerusalem+Puzzle and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-jerusalem-puzzle/id567149681?mt=11 wish me luck for Thurs night and thank you to all who voted for The Istanbul...

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