Jihadists Stealing Bob Baer’s Book, Among Others

The English-language section of al Qimmah, an online forum associated with the jihadists in Somalia, has misappropriated former CIA officer Bob Baer’s book, Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude.  Specifically, they have scanned the  book in its entirety and posted it online.  Presumably they like the book because Baer comes down hard on the Saudi regime and links the Saudis with the CIA and the US Government more broadly: tarring both by means of guilt by association with the other.  Jihadists have made similar use of the works of former CIA counterterrorism officer Michael Scheuer who takes the United States to task for what he perceives as its misguided policies.

Now, I will admit to not being a fan of Bob Baer’s written works.  That said, I can’t countenance theft of an author’s work, so I will provide you with a convenient link to Baer’s book at Amazon.com and at BookFinder.com, my favorite used book site.

As an aside, jihadists have also been quite free in circulating Brynjar Lia’s book, Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of al Qaeda Strategist Abu Musab al-Suri and also Will McCant’s translation of Abu Bakr Naji’s The Management of Savagery.  In these cases, however, the jihadists have not misappropriated these works in order to score rhetorical points against their enemies.  Rather, they seemed to have used these scholarly works as vehicles to more widely spread the ideas of important jihadist thinkers to people in their movement who may not read Arabic well or at all.

I seem to recall that Salafi jihadists do not believe in copyright because it is a function of international law, and thus has no foundation in the sharia.  Unfortunately, I don’t recall where I read this.  (Perhaps one of my readers can remind me where I might have seen this and can comment on the validity of the claim.)  In any event, this is a convenient belief for the jihadists to hold, it seems.

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Published in: on July 4, 2010 at 9:16 PM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What don’t you like about Bob Baer’s books? I just picked up “See No Evil” yesterday and want to know if there’s anything I should watch out for…

    • I’m horribly sorry for the slow response. I’ve been on a brief hiatus as I juggled other balls I have in the air.

      Anyway, I would simply say that my readings of Bob Baer’s book lead me to think that he jumps to some very interesting political conclusions that may be true but that the evidence doesn’t support. So, I’d certainly endorse his books as providing a view of Bob Baer’s opinion and world view. I wouldn’t view them as go-to books for political analysis.

      Now, of course, you should know that part of what may be influencing my answer is a cultural difference. Bob Baer was an operator and I was an analyst. Stereotypically the members of those two communities approach problems very differently, and, in particular, analysts tend to be quite intellectually conservative. (I speak here of mental processes, not political proclivities.)


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