Ebury review refutes anti-Semitism claims against Baños book

Ebury review refutes anti-Semitism claims against Baños book

Ebury says Spanish colonel Pedro Baños’ book on global power does not contain anti-Semitic views or any legal concerns, following a review after allegations of anti-Semitism from British author Jeremy Duns. 

The Penguin Random House imprint launched a review into How They Rule the World: The 22 Secret Strategies of Global Power, which was published in April after author Duns drew attention to the book and highlighted links between the title and cover, which bears an image of octopus tentacles. The octopus symbol is commonly associated anti-Semitism and was often used in Nazi-era propaganda.

Duns, who is published by Simon & Schuster in the UK and Penguin in the US, highlighted issues he found concerning on Twitter which also included allegations of plagarism and links with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “So I bought the Kindle version of the UK translation, published by Penguin a few weeks ago, and had a look,” Duns tweeted at the end of last month. “And it's awful in lots of ways. Almost no primary sources, it reads like a kind of kids' guide to conspiracy theories.”

The British author, who lives in the Åland Islands off the coast of Finland, described his tweets as an “open letter” to raise awareness of the situation. He also compared the Spanish language edition of How They Rule the World with the English text, and shared a section about the Rothschild family which does not appear in the English translation. The Spanish edition contains three references to the Rothschilds, none of which appear in the English, including a section that compares their wealth with other rich families, and concludes: “It is clear that [the Rothschilds’] economic power is gigantic. As is their ability to influence in all senses, an aspect that, when considering their traditional distance from the media spotlight, has led to multiple speculations about their capacity to intervene in key global decisions.”

A PRH spokesperson told The Bookseller that a review had taken place about the book but no action would be taken. “We are aware that there have been serious concerns raised about one of our titles, How They Rule The World by Pedro Baños," they said. “As a publisher who takes our responsibilities to our readers and our authors extremely seriously, we always undertake careful due diligence before committing any book to publication, and this book was no exception.  However, given the serious nature of these concerns, we have undertaken a thorough review into the UK publication.

“Our conclusion was that whilst the author clearly expresses robust opinions about geostrategies and geopolitics, focusing on the historical, psychological and social reasons for the alleged global domination of many different groups, he does not in our opinion express views in this publication, including in the parts omitted, that are anti-Semitic. Nor are there any legal concerns with this book or any known reputational issues with the author who was formerly the chief of Counter-Intelligence and Security for the European Army Corps.”

On Tuesday (11th June) Duns said he was “still processing Ebury's reaction to this” in response to a Guardian report on the situation, while it has also been covered by the Spanish media. In a series of tweets, he said: “In the Rothschild passages Ebury omitted from the English translation, he claims the family are the wealthiest in the world and suggests they are enormously powerful but secretive and unaccountable. This has been debunked, and it's *classic* anti-Semitism. And why was it omitted?”

Duns told The Bookseller: "Ebury have also added a passage about Cambridge Analytica and Robert Mercer to make Banos' nutty views seem more balanced, and cut references to Orban and several other references to Soros, that paint him in a bad light... If they really do value their responsibilities as they said to the Guardian, I think they should explain why they have published this antisemitic crank, have given legitimacy to his views by doing so and respectability by softening his language, omitting clearly dodgy stuff and adding material to make it read as more acceptable."

The synopsis for the book on PRH’s website, reads: “Wherever you turn – Europe, Russia, China, Korea, Syria, the Middle East – we are living in a time of global geopolitical power plays. Once an insider to this closed world, Pedro Banos reveals that however it might be smoothed over by the PR of political diplomacy, the world of geopolitics is one of war and conflict by strategic means, where countries have sought dominion and power over their rivals since the dawn of time.

Baños' biography on the PRH website says he was “a colonel in the Spanish Army and was formerly the chief of Counter-Intelligence and Security for the European Army Corps” and “one of Europe’s top specialists in geopolitics, terrorism and intelligence”.

The Bookseller has asked Baños for a comment via his publisher.