So after enough time writing up reports that went directly into an electronic black hole I figured I was too young to feel like I was wasting my life stuck behind a desk. Now the book I wrote is up on the internet totally for free.

Maybe I just took Fight Club a little too seriously.

But I decided to leave the DoD to write a colloquial and accessible book about terrorism, I'd studied Government while in college, getting Harvard's equivalent of a minor in Arabic and taking as many classes about the Middle Eastern history and Islamic politics as I could - what's happening now in the Middle East is pretty much exactly what I studied, what'll happen when democracy finally comes along and sweeps across the region. So after doing the query letter thing I managed to land myself an agent who seemed pretty awesome. And then the literary industry began to collapse, and then the economy tanked. So we amicably parted ways and I set off on my own.

At that point I begin to seriously question my decision to leave my desk job and take on $87,932 of debt to try and get what I thought was an important message out there, and also be able to keep coaching high school sports year-round.

Coaching has been an invaluable way of getting in touch with exactly where our upcoming generation is at in terms of race relations and values - I've coached both welfare kids and some of the wealthiest and notoriously privileged private school kids in the country.

After being loosely affiliated with a couple social media companies, I decided to just go ahead and throw the entire thing up online where you can read it for free. If you want to get an idea of what it's like, this post is a general overview of my take on terrorism, and this one gets into specifics about just how damaging the War on Drugs has been.

In the same way that you can go into a bookstore and browse as long as you'd like or listen to just about anything online totally for free, but to really take something with you, you have to pay for that convenience - if you'd like to keep reading offline you can buy an e-copy of the book for your Kindle or Nook, or get a physical copy of it.

All that said - ask me anything!!

Comments: 736 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

HunterSThompson_says131 karma

Ah! I've been reading your book for the past 72 hours - this is REALLY good stuff man!

I really can't thank you enough for writing this, because frankly it is the sort of message that needs spreading.

I'm interested in your take on the current wave of uprisings in the mideast and north Africa, and their likely effects on the Bin Laden/Al Queda "positive feedback loop" you talk about in Section one of your book. Do you see these current events as strengthening or weakening the Jihadi movement, or is it simply too soon to tell?

tremblethedevil2011160 karma


I honestly don't know enough about each specific country to speculate too much about what's going to happen in the region now. I mean I really don't know shit about Libya's demographics or history, but for Egypt and Syria I'd have to guess that the upcoming reforms are going to strengthen the groups who want their nations to become more "Islamic."

Although what exactly "Islamic" means is going to be fungible. The example I use a lot is that in the Arab world showing cleavage is pretty much verboten, but in American cleavage is totally fine everywhere. However if you go an inch lower and show a nipple, everyone freaks the fuck out.

While in Europe, nipples are all over the fucking place. There's a spectrum of morality that's going to be evolving, there's nothing in the Bible that addresses why cleavage in public is fine but nipples aren't.

I don't think Al-Qaeda has been a concrete group for a really long time, if anything it's pretty close to our own Anonymous.

I guess the bottom line is that even one of the godfathers of fundamental Islam took more issue with the worship of wealth and sexuality in the West than anything else - not freedom in and of itself. In a sense the wackos in America who flip out when they see a nipple on TV are pretty much in line with many fundamentalist Muslims.

sidewalkchalked59 karma

I'm in the middle east. Every time I compare Anon with Al Qaeda in terms of organization, people call me insane, but it's really spot on. I'll check out your book.

tremblethedevil201121 karma

Thanks, go crazy hitting me back with comments or feedback!!

[deleted]7 karma

Started reading your book, its awesome. Great work, glad to see you're willing to take a chance to stand by your convictions.

I posted the link to your book on facebook and some other forums, trying to get you some more views. I hope that some agent finds it and contacts you.

But you mentioned you worked with lower class kids and upper class kids.

What were the differences in opinions of Drug Use/The War on Drugs/Terrorism between them?

Im just curious because drug use is starting earlier and earlier it seems. I grew up with some kids who started drinking and smoking marijuana when they were 10-11.

and regards to the War on terror part, in the post 9/11 world I think kids now are more informed about terrorism and global politics than I was and my generation when I was younger

I think everyone has the right to put what they want in their bodies, but I think that should only be when they are legal age, just personal opinion

tremblethedevil20118 karma

Establishing which intoxicant is worse than another is incredibly tricky, I'm honestly not sure where to draw the line.

Because of family issues I'd almost argue that SSRI's can be more destructive than alcohol in a lot of ways... at least human brains have spent 10,000 years adapting to booze.

But then at the same time, I've coached kids who were into way harder things then they were ready for, and had regrets because of it.

vbl5 karma

Seems to me like the conversation shouldn't be about one drug vs. another, but rather about how certain socio-economic classes and race groups deal with substances in general, what roles those substances play, the power dynamics surrounding supply and consumption, etc.

All of the same issues that make heroin use in some European countries negligible and, at the same time, legal.

That said, I didn't read your piece yet so my apologies if I'm preaching to the choir. Methinks your book will be a good reason to pick up my Kindle again.

tremblethedevil20117 karma

I think we're barking up the same tree, drug laws are more about social control than the particular potency of any one substance - hope you enjoy the reading!!

hal0094 karma

at least human brains have spent 10,000 years adapting to booze

That's not quite correct - the real boozing has not started until 1400 in Europe when the monasteries started to develop more efficient distillation techniques, and the concentrated stuff (vodka, etc) has not appeared wide available to masses until 15th century, iirc.

tremblethedevil20115 karma

Humans developed agriculture to grow ingredients for beer, bread was likely a pleasant side effect. Either way, beer has been around for at least the past 10,000 years.

princessbunny9 karma

I think I love you.

tremblethedevil201110 karma

Yeah I'm pretty hilariously poor though, and we all know about you bitches loving money.

princessbunny14 karma

Ha ha. I'm a grad student at the London School of Economics... and you'd think that most people who go here are all about power and money, but having seen what power and money does to people, I think I can safely say that some bitches don't care about the money.

tremblethedevil201113 karma

Well the way to this guy's heart isn't (just) through his stomach, read a few chapters of the book and hit me with some constructive feedback and then we can talk.

But for serious thanks for the props, and good luck in your studies.

peteyH2 karma

What are your thoughts - and do you address - the plight of the Copts in Egypt? Moreover, do you have any thoughts on whether/how a coalition of minorities - say Copts, Nubians, Jews (all 3 of them) etc. - may form a cohesive minority or opposition party in Egypt?

This is an area in which I have some expertise and I'd love to hear what you think.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Holy shit, I wish I was educated enough to give a truly constructive reply. Sadly I think the only possible precedent would be what's happened in Israel with their coalition governments, as dysfunctional as that's been it's carried out democracy fairly well.

I didn't even take AP Stat so I can't possibly postulate on how being able to only select one person for an office versus being able to rank three people 1, 2, and 3 would effect things... I remember writing a paper about that at some point though.

So I think the Copts would be best served by that kind of system, when it's not all-or-nothing but instead you rank people for each office. But having something that logical and comprehensive happen in Egypt for this first round of elections would be more than a minor miracle.

FelixLeiter27 karma

I fucking love your book, that is all. Emailed you a thank you a while back, didn't think you'd respond. You did. I read your website all the time. Would love it in print, buy buying the kindle edition. You are the fucking man.

Edit: I even knew it was you by the title alone.

Edit 2: I just took the FSOT, passed, and submitted my personal narrative. Any tips you have for me during an interview? Anything I should read, other than Tremble the Devil?

tremblethedevil201123 karma

Can't even begin to tell you how much that kind of thing means, throughout the whole process it wasn't my close family and friends who kept me going... it was the random people who'd see me writing like a douchebag in Starbucks and come up to give me totally unsolicited but potent encouragement, or the readers like you who'd email in letting me know I wasn't just screaming into a void.

FelixLeiter5 karma

Yeah, I actually learned about Tremble The Devil from lifeat160. Looks like I wrote to you on 6/2/2010. Anyway, thanks a bunch for writing it. Any advise for a potential FSO?

tremblethedevil20117 karma


FelixLeiter6 karma

Foreign Service Officer. Passed the initial test, sent my personal narrative in, should get an email soon saying when/where I can interview. I have my PoliSci/IR B.A. from UCLA.

tremblethedevil201137 karma

Kiss the right motherfucking asses. Everything in the government happens based on personal favoritism, if your boss or the person who write your performance reports is a crazy cat lady, go out and buy yourself a bunch of cat figurines and start photoshopping yourself into pictures working at a rehab clinic for 'nip addicted cats or something.

[deleted]14 karma

Why are you an expert in this subject? Aren't there other books by criminolgists that examine the same topic?

tremblethedevil201132 karma

The entire book isn't about crime and drugs, it's only in the last third that I get into the War on Drugs and how it's created the same system of State Shells (when a lack of government leads to gaps that gangs fill) that's lead to terrorist groups like the Shining Path and Hezbollah in other nations.

As far as I know there isn't a book about American criminology that talks about the history of the Middle East and also ties it into the formation of modern Islamic terrorist groups in the '70s and then links all of that to what's going on in America right now.

So far as I've been able to find, no one else has tied the idea that terrorist groups are incredibly similar to modern American gangs with this much depth and detail.

[deleted]7 karma

How is your work different from "The Other path" by Hernando De Soto?

tremblethedevil201119 karma

You're the first I've heard of that, just from a quick googling it seems like my third part would have a lot in common except I apply things to America specifically, and leading up to that I talk about the unique history of the Middle East and Islam, and deal with terrorism across the globe and not just specifically to Peru.

But thanks for the heads up, I just ordered that sucker on Amazon, we probably draw a lot of the same conclusions.

[deleted]4 karma

the history of the Middle East and also ties it into the formation of modern Islamic terrorist groups in the '70s

Can you briefly elaborate on this point for me?

tremblethedevil201122 karma

I start into that in this chapter about the Munich Olympic shootings and the advent of modern television equipment. In a nutshell I'm arguing that modern terrorism was born along with the modern technology that allowed television to be transmitted from anywhere in the world, because terrorism has always depended on spectacle.

Along with the modern technology of international television came the emergence of modern terrorism:

The potency of this event was not imbued only because the Olympics are the world’s grandest stage, but because in the early ’70s the mini-cam, the battery-powered video recorder, and the time-base corrector were invented. These portable devices first allowed reporters to broadcast live transmissions from any point on the globe. And the first of those points for many of them was Munich, from where they sent live transmissions into the homes of the world’s television viewers.

[deleted]6 karma

In a nutshell I'm arguing that modern terrorism was born along with the modern technology that allowed television to be transmitted from anywhere in the world, because terrorism has always depended on spectacle.

There was this paper from MIT (which I can't find ATM), which looked at all of the IED events in Afghanistan, and then somehow analyzed the "peaks" in media attention that the conflict was getting. They claimed that there was a causal link between the media coverage and the IED attacks on the coalition troops, basically the attacks peaked when they could maximize their media exposure, not when they could inflict the most damage to the NATO troops. It reinforced what you are saying extremely well.. I thought ARS Technica had it, but maybe not...

tremblethedevil20118 karma

That wouldn't surprise me, I mean even the end of The Tipping Point talked about how violence of every imaginable sort ticks upwards when it's covered in the news, everything from fatal car accidents to teen suicides.

Huge props for the heads up though, I'll see if I can find it too - seems about as relevant as it gets.

[deleted]2 karma

I'm arguing that modern terrorism was born along with the modern technology

Well, for one, 'modern' terrorism existed well before television was pervasive. And it didn't always rely on spectacle. The haganah or the PLO didn't start committing terrorist acts only after television came about. So, I guess what I'm saying is, that your timeline is wrong.

tremblethedevil201119 karma

It's certainly arguable, but most scholars out there argue that the PLO and at least modern Islamic terrorism was pretty much "born" after Munich:

Somewhere around a quarter of the world's population is estimated to have at least been aware of Black September's Munich attack, with most of them made aware by the television blaring in their living rooms. Along with the Holocaust it is the only real event to be turned into a big-screen movie by Steven Spielberg. The PLO's intelligence chief explained well that a landmark act of Symbolic Terror had been achieved, "world opinion was forced to take note of the Palestinian drama, and the Palestinian people imposed their presence on an international gathering that had sought to exclude them.

Time, as it so often is, was on their side.

Just a week after Black September hijacked the Munich Olympic Games, the PLO released a communiqué to a Beirut newspaper gloating that nothing, not "a bomb in the White House, a mine in the Vatican, the death of Mao tse-Tung, an earthquake in Paris" could've "echoed through the consciousness of every man in the world like the operation in Munich." The PLO understood the potency of the Symbolic Terror, going on to write that Black September's assault had been "from a purely propagandistic view-point, 100-percent successful" since it had been "seen from the four corners of the earth."

Eighteen-months after Black September took not even a dozen Israeli lives came Yasir Arafat and the PLO’s proudest moment. In one of the more surreal gatherings of the UN General Assembly, at least until Hugo Chavez came along, Yasir Arafat was invited as a guest speaker. He became the first guest speaker in United Nations history to show up at the General Assembly looking like a mangy hungover ferret brandishing a semi-automatic pistol. After his gesticulating address the PLO was granted special observer status, and by the end of the decade the PLO would have diplomatic relations with fourteen more countries than Israel. All of this with the death of only eleven men.

And I don't at all mean to be the font of everything terrorism, I'm just trying to introduce most people to the basics without getting all academic and boring.

CeeDawg13 karma

Does your book address the fact that the War on Drugs has nothing to do with drugs. It has everything to do with the military industrial complex requiring a perpetual stream of revenue? For example, what's happening in Mexico, just below our borders, is not an's a strategy.

tremblethedevil201123 karma

I definitely address the fact that the War on Drugs isn't about drugs, but to stay focused on the ideas the interactions between institutions and people (in terms of religion, government, and everything else) I more talk about how the War on Drugs is also about social control.

There's a lot I left out as I was writing to try and keep a consistent focus, for instance I probably don't get into corporate aspect of prisons as much as I could or should of - but when in doubt I kept things general throughout the book, so the average reader could follow along and not get distracted.

CeeDawg8 karma

I look forward to reading it. Seems to me you might have another couple of books in you.

tremblethedevil201118 karma

Thank you kindly, the entire thing's up online for free, I'd love any feedback you might have... really the only thing that's kept me going have been the anonymous readers emailing in with critiques and suggestions. It's been edited a handful of times by people who just enjoyed reading it, which was beyond awesome.

And yeah the next one will probably be about how kids are growing up these days, in terms of how texting and Facebook are changing the way kids become teenagers and interact with the world - I'm not even thirty but it blows my fucking mind how incredibly different everything is now.

goatrodeo11 karma

Have you ever thought of doing print on demand... printing out a couple hundred copies and selling your book at various gatherings of like minded people.

Also, just a suggestion, is to donate a copy to the LOC so that it becomes part of our national history and you get entered into OCLC.

I would actually look up the collection development policies of various libraries in your area and see what their policies are on donated material. Some libraries have policies on accepting locally published authors..

tremblethedevil201112 karma

I have, I just honestly haven't had enough time to do anything other than coach, try and get the bills paid, and try and keep the website updated and presentable.

Plus last quarter Amazon sold more e-books than actual books, so I'm hoping to ride that wave. Although if I got enough demand I'd definitely do the print-on-demand thing, at this point though I don't have anywhere near enough capital to order a few hundred copies and pray that someone buys them.

Smushface9 karma

I'm interested in trying to get a job with the feds as some sort of policy analyst sometime in the future so I have a few questions about the field.

1) How did you get the job? Did you just apply through

2) What's the skill set that they look for when hiring? Also, what degrees did you find among your peers?

3) I know you said that you were unhappy with your work there. Care to elaborate? Were you doing interesting stuff that just fell through the cracks or was it more pushing endless paperwork?

4) Anything else you care to discuss about what it's like working for the feds?

I know I narrowed down the scope of these questions quite a bit, and if you care to open them up a bit, please feel free to do so. I'm jonesing for information pretty hard because it's pretty difficult to get first-hand accounts about mid-low level policy analysts.


tremblethedevil201117 karma

1) I got a scholarship out of high school that I ended up walking away from, pretty much Intelligence ROTC

2) Honestly I have no idea, hiring seems like a pretty subjective process where if your personality doesn't mesh with the people in charge you're fucked. I just had a kid I used to coach who's fluent in Persian but raised here and studying nuclear engineering get rejected. The degrees were all over the place - it's like any big bueracracy, advancement is more about social politicking than anything else.

3) Some of it was very interesting, but all of it fell through the cracks. You were advanced because you kept the party line and stuck your nose in the correct dark crevices, not because you had any sort of challenging or innovative approach to things.

5) It's like any huge ungainly bureaucracy, things don't make sense and a lot happens on the personal whim of whoever happens to be in charge. A meritocracy it's not.

Exodox3 karma

Can you give more info on the scholarship? Sounds interesting.

tremblethedevil20115 karma

One does not simply walk into Mordor. And really... one really doesn't want to anyways.

Chubbstock7 karma

I'm in the US Navy, about to be deployed (a year and a half away or so) to Afghan for a "Hearts and minds" type of tour drilling wells and building stuff. Do you, from a counterterrorism professional point of view, believe that this strategy is actually effective in preventing hostility? Or are we just kinda spinning our wheels?

tremblethedevil201115 karma

I can't really speak from my own experience, but from military buddies I have it seems like whatever good we're doing may be undermined whenever a drone goes and offs a handful of kids.

If our foreign policy was just carried out with daggers, I think we'd be in a pretty good place overall... but it's not, and so the innocent people who die might be outweighing the good that's done in terms of infrastructure and everything else.

What's depicted in Three Cups of Tea certainly makes a huge difference, but from what I can tell our military and governmental actions along those lines are outweighed by the accidental innocent deaths.

And the shit like the trophy killings that just broke this week.

Chubbstock6 karma

IRT The trophy killings, I've never been more embarrassed of an organization in my life.

tremblethedevil201116 karma

Yeah, it's that kind of thing that probably undoes almost all the good done by so many guys in the military who are trying to reach out and make a legitimate tangible difference. I'm not sure what the solution is, atrocities have been a part of war since they existed, and now they're all documented.

waitwutok7 karma

I have a degree from Tulane. I guess that's not good enough for internet forum post titles.

tremblethedevil20114 karma

Yeah, but I'm pretty sure you drank a lot more beers and hooked-up with much hotter girls while you were there.

When our SGA threw a football tailgate on a three-day weekend with free beer and pizza for everyone with a school ID on a perfect fall afternoon, maybe three-dozen kids showed up.

jamierc6 karma

If I'm honest I think you're a little too proud of yourself.

tremblethedevil20115 karma

How's that couch you've been sleeping on?

yakkerman6 karma

What was the debt incurred for, breaking a contract?

tremblethedevil201110 karma

Nope, just for not working for The Man for as long as I was supposed to.

j0kr5555 karma

Would you have a problem if in the interest of sharing this information someone made a video highlighting key points?

tremblethedevil201113 karma

Would I mind if someone cribbed from my stuff and made a video of it? Not the fuck at all, so long as you had some kind of small attribution back to the website. I wouldn't have put up everything up online for free if I didn't want it spreading, thanks for checking with me though.

easydate4 karma

are classes at harvard really challenging? i imagine that place (and others) to be impossible to get into, but an easy ride once you're there.

tremblethedevil201113 karma

Compared to the handful of other colleges I visited the classes were actually fairly tough - at least as far as the liberal arts go. I really didn't have any fluff or bullshit classes, and some of my roommates were doing graduate and borderline PhD level stuff in the hard sciences that was extraordinarily difficult.

One of my roommates was not only on a much much different level of "smart" than me but worked on his studies as hard - honestly probably harder - than I ever did on athletics and academics combined (I played two varsity sports while I was there).

And the grading sucked, because of grade inflation in the years before I got there I was told in each reading section of 12-18 kids that there would be one A, one A- and everyone else would probably get some sort of B. So I cruised into my Bs without too much complaint.

So hard to get a B, no - hard to get an A, yes. But overall I think there is a difference between most Harvard liberal arts classes and your average State School class, although on the whole you can certainly hunt and peck for liberal arts classes at a UVA or Michigan that are just as tough as any class at Harvard, just have to look harder.

easydate3 karma

thanks, tremble!

tremblethedevil20119 karma

Ain't no thang.

[deleted]3 karma

Cool! I'm writing my undergrad honors thesis right now on the perverse structural incentives set up in the 1970's comprehensive drug abuse act that led to the failure of the war on drugs. I have spent 50++ hours going through microfiche slides of every fucking congressional debate in the senate/house and all the sub-committee hearings debating the legislation.

I just finished my first 17 page rough draft :)

tremblethedevil20114 karma

Very cool, make sure you check out the article I linked up at the top, about how the War on Drugs has done and fucked all kinds of shit up.

Let me know if you need page numbers or anything, I'd be happy to hook you up... honestly I didn't have the heart to go back through the book after I put it up online and add all like 300 page citations.

irokie3 karma

The article about the War on Drugs got me really angry. I'm not American and I'm not black, so I'm not directly affected by the whole thing, but the sheer unfairness of it all, the brazenness...

It is not right.

tremblethedevil20113 karma

I feel you... in fact I feel you so much I wrote a book about it.

[deleted]2 karma

I can't blame you for that but you should strongly consider it anyway. Just do 20/day or something. It would bolster your credibility.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Really good call, I guess not doing it was based on the idea that linking to the book would hopefully give enough credit to not be hit with plagiarism accusations and if most people didn't have the book in front of them anyways linking specific page numbers would be a bit silly.

But you're right, I really need to do that.

thinkhard13 karma

Few people are willing to leave the comfort and familiarity of a steady job to follow a dream at great personal risk. Fewer still see the dream through to completion, instead of running back to safer environs when the doubts and adversity arise. You are in rare company and I commend you for your courage and perseverance.

I'm curious about what drove you to take this risk. Had you always wanted to do something like this? Were you comfortably positioned financially to do it - or did you just follow the dream no matter what? What do you see as the ultimate outcome of the book?

tremblethedevil20119 karma

Personally, I blame fucking Tom Clancy and Chuck Palahuniak and every other great author I read growing up.

I distinctly remember walking through the hallways at work before I left, coming back from unnecessarily going to the bathroom for about the fourth time in an hour, and thinking that this was not where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing when my someday kids asked me about my job.

I wasn't comfortably positioned at all, I've been sleeping on a couch for the past few years - but it's not like I was worried about not being able to eat, just about not being able to fit into the mainstream culture of young guys in their 20's.

Growing up I dreamed of becoming a spook, and then when I was an almost spook... I realized it kinda sucked. And that growing up what I was too afraid to admit myself was that I wanted to be a writer, my fondest childhood memories were my Dad reading to me every night before bed.

That built into reading everything I could, and Jack Ryan probably had as big an impact on me as anyone I actually met in real life - at least until high school sports.

I don't know what the ultimate outcome will be at this point, hopefully to just get the message out there and not feel like a complete jackass for chasing the dream.

[deleted]3 karma

Why the hell doesn't your blog have an RSS feed link on it? Do you want people to read your words? why bother typing them at all?

I bought the kindle edition. Thank you for your service.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Balls, it used to but I've had a couple developers go in and touch things up - it must've gotten wacked along the way. Assuming the easiest way to do that is through a WordPress plug-in I'm certainly open to suggestions, thanks a ton for the heads-up!!

HunterSThompson_says3 karma

Second question: in an imaginary world, where you were given the reins over US foreign/drug policy for long enough to enact whatever change you desired, where you take our drug laws? What would you see as a desirable end-state for drug legislation in this nation?

tremblethedevil201116 karma

Well, it certainly looks like decriminalizing drugs has worked for Portugal so something pretty close to that. Treating drugs like a mental health issue instead of a crime to start, but there's such a huge shadow economy inside of our inner-cities that runs on the drug trade that that'd certainly have to be coupled with all kinds of economic reforms to fill in the gaps.

HunterSThompson_says2 karma

That's about what I figured. Honestly, I think Portugal is the future of drug treatment and legislation for most of the west, but there is something I worry about, and that is the legitimate use of mind-altering substances by aware, educated, and risk-conscious human beings.

(bear in mind, I'm only just starting Part II)

Do you address in your book at all the prospect of people taking and doing drugs because they want to, and because they have that right as free citizens of the world? Even Portugal still goes after the drug suppliers, and to me, recreational drug use is just that - recreation. I'm not opposed to treatment for the genuinely addicted or sick or mentally disturbed, but do you envision any place in the future for those who wish to alter their own consciousness?

tremblethedevil20119 karma

Nope, I don't get into that at all... I'm not a huge fan of AA, but I think that the idea that the first step is to "admit you have a problem" is the right idea applies to society as well.

America has to admit that something's wrong before anything at all will change, and I'm far from smart enough to begin prescribing what will need to come next.

stupernan3 karma


know that one human in the world is very proud of you for even taking a step at confronting this monster

tremblethedevil20114 karma

Which monster?

Arronwy3 karma

Wow, this is kinda what I want to get into intelligence analysis. Do you have any suggestions for a college student getting into the field? For instance where did you start your career?

tremblethedevil20115 karma

I'd suggest trying to get an internship at a place like Carlyle, or a thinktank that supports your specific views on the world. The smaller the better for the most part, the larger and more bureaucratic an organization gets, the less sense shit starts to make.

rva_monsta3 karma

Is there a reason you spell Laden as "Ladin"?

tremblethedevil20119 karma

Well, it started off as a mistake, but then it was a shout-out to all the other Arabic linguists out there who've gotten fed the fuck up trying to transliterate names.

Like Libya's dictator can be either Qaddafi, Kaddafi, Qyaddfi, and any other number of permutations. So it's meant to be something between an inside joke and a hidden cookie. Plus I do think it's a better transliteration, the end of his name isn't really "Den" when you say it in Arabic.

ColonCorsair8 karma

"Usama bin Ladin" is the accepted US Government spelling.

tremblethedevil20116 karma

Good point... knowing how to transliterate his name has sure done a fuckload of good in catching him.

misterstark-3 karma

Coaching has been an invaluable way of getting in touch with exactly where our upcoming generation is at in terms of race relations and values.

This can't be more true.

tremblethedevil20115 karma

Yeah JV football is fucking incredible, seeing kids from different backgrounds all come together to try and chase the same dream together is all kinds of amazing. And without high school sports, there'd be almost no reason from kids from different socio-economic backgrounds to ever relate to each other - nonetheless become bestfriends when it matters most.

[deleted]3 karma

How do you know within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone if they went to Harvard?

[they'll tell you]

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Either that, or their wearing some fucking Harvard gear.

paulderev2 karma

Maybe I just took Fight Club a little too seriously.

Ladies and gentlemen, Reddit.

tremblethedevil20113 karma

I know right? But at least I put those pages where my wallet was. And now, strangely, isn't anymore.

sox3502us2 karma

I like the cut of your jib. Bought your e-book on amazon. How much of a profit do you get? I hope that 90% of what I paid goes to you and not Amazon.

tremblethedevil20115 karma

It's 70% from Amazon, which is a whole lot better than the 4% or so I'd get if you bought it as a hardcover book from a retailer, or even from Amazon as a hardcover.

ImInterested2 karma

I have seen people comment (not here) that the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon was a pivotal event for MidEast terrorism and the USA.

I think Reagan pulled the Marines out of Lebanon, this taught terrorists they could use violence to get desired reaction from USA.

What is your knowledge/opinion?

tremblethedevil20112 karma

I'm not sure it taught terrorists that they could get the reaction they desired through violence, they'd already learned that through Munich, but it certainly taught then that America isn't invincible.

It's like in boxing, when you catch a hook in the liver - do you flinch and flush and drop your hands, or just pretend that it didn't even hurt. We flinched and flushed.

nothingnothing2 karma

As a young writer myself, how did you go about finding an agent? What was working with them like? Did they want to change parts of your writing that you felt were important? Also you said that you are no longer with the agent, is there any reason why? I know this comment is way off topic from others, but I'm curious and it is an AMA. . .

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Oh fuck. Use one of the huge query sites to find all the agents who represent your kind of book, and then email each and every fucking one of them. Almost none of them will respond at all.

A few will, and then you'll talk on the phone to see who seems like the best fit.

Honestly I'm pretty sure going forward that the future is right here - on the intertubes. Write and then link everything you write to your Facebook and then start submitting it to sites like Reddit.

We parted ways because no one was buying new non-fiction manuscripts and he said his made money was in film and television not in books. He didn't want me to change anything, the industry is just dying.

jimmyjewtron2 karma

just wanted to say thank you sir.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Thanks right back.

Damocles20102 karma

I just spent the last 12 hours reading your book online - cover-to-cover...well web page 1 to the end...

It certainly is captivating reading. Well researched, well presented, easy to understand - really well done.

Where it fails - IMHO - is how do we stop it? Stop it all? On both sides and in the middle - or are we, as the human race - still too greedy, disagreeable, fervently religious, tribal, primal or simply animal to ever change?

When Sting sang "The Russians Love their children too..." he was trying to humanise an enemy.

Your comments about desensitising soldiers so they will actually kill is very interesting. Maybe we need to start "sensitising" people again...

I am sure Muslims love their children as much as I love mine...

tremblethedevil20112 karma

Honestly I'm not sure anything in terms of the War on Drugs will change until shit starts blowing up and people are forced to question what our drug policy has done to our inner-cities.

In terms of humans learning to love each other I think it takes a generation, like learning a language learning to love openly has a cut-off point where it happens easily and when people are actively radicalizing their children they're guaranteeing another generation of hate.

This TED talk at least gives me some hope:

dpapathanasiou2 karma

If you'd like to sell the book directly through your site, let me know, and I can get you an invite code for a web payments service we just launched (think PayPal without the suckage).

tremblethedevil20116 karma

...this sounds like you speak of unicorns.

CL4M-SL4MMER1 karma

In your research, did you find any evidence of CIA involvement of drug trafficking to the US or anywhere else?

tremblethedevil20115 karma

Nope, I imagine if there is any it's pretty well buried. Just about everything I read in Confessions of an Economic Hitman was news to me.

If that kind of thing does exist, it likely doesn't exist in any formal record and was probably hatched behind closed doors - more as a concept for policy than any concrete written policy itself.

CL4M-SL4MMER2 karma

Thanks. That book looks interesting. I recognize the author from the Zeitgeist: Addendum movie. Looking forward to reading your book.

tremblethedevil20111 karma

Awesome, definitely don't be shy about hitting me up with any feedback.

brainlessnick1 karma

Wait, why do you owe the government almost $90 grand? I don't even...

And as a serious question: How long does it take a moderate student to speak arabic in such a way that he could live in the middle east without much hassle?

tremblethedevil20117 karma

Modern Arabic is a lingua franca, no one actually speaks it on the street - well I mean you could because everyone studies it in school, but they'd all look at you like you were speaking Shakespearean English.

I took an awesome Lebanese (or really Levantine, since the dialect/language spoken in Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine is mutually comprehensible) course in college that made you pretty communicative after about a year though. Taught by Prof. Thaxton, you could try hollering.

Pituquasi1 karma

Does your book address actual US government/military as an active participant in the drug trade such as Air America flying opium out of Vietnam, Southern Air Command flying cocaine into the US, and our current involvementy in the Afghan opium trade?

Do you go into the conspiracy theory that the US actually introduced drugs into the black community and then used the War on Drugs to destroy it?

tremblethedevil20114 karma

Given what Nixon's quoted by his Chief of Staff as saying I don't really think it's a conspiracy exactly: "Nixon emphasized that you have to face the fact the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognises this while not appearing to."

And nope, don't get into anything about U.S. government involvement in the drug trade.

composer771 karma

I think that's an interesting theory. However, I would say our economic system, un-restrained capitalism (and the stock market, banks, and other institutions that it fosters), is the true cause of this inequality, and that you can see its effects on non drug users. The drug war is just an excuse to lock up what is considered the "excess" population. It also is a foreign policy strategy, giving us an excuse to invade South America, in the same way that anti-terrorism gives us an excuse to invade the Middle East. But, I think if the drug war hadn't come along, then they would have tried a different route, whether it was McCarthy style anti-communism, or some other draconian policy.

Note that wealthy people don't have to worry about getting locked up to the extent that poor people do, which is what allows the drug war to work effectively against targeted populations. I think the excuse for having the largest prison population the world will shift over to terrorism, and that the drug war will be defunded quite a bit over the next decade. We can already see it with the marijuana debate. Ten years ago, legalizing pot would have been unthinkable.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

I agree that the War on Drugs wasn't irreplaceable, I'm not sure where you disagree with me - it was a way to continue social control.

If things remain stable for the next decade you might well be right, but given what's going on in the world right now I wouldn't bet any sort of money that in ten years anything taken as a given now will still stand.

Vexedx101 karma

Just watched "American Drug War: The Last White Hope" a couple nights ago on Netflix watch instantly. They make the assertion that terrorism is funded from illegal drugs, drug regulation not legalization is the answer. They also cover some other ground, like the US governments involvement in bringing drugs into the country, private prisons, alcohol and tobacco companies fighting to keep drugs illegal. The war on drugs is just a big money making scheme. It's an interesting watch that's for sure.

tremblethedevil20112 karma

I haven't seen it but I'll check it out, trying to trace out the money is certainly tricky... but legalization seems like it'd undercut whatever fiduciary advantage terrorists might get from the drug trade.

Kalium1 karma

I want an e-book, but I don't have a kindle or a nook...

tremblethedevil20111 karma

You can download the Kindle app for just about any personal digital assistant out there, and you can get it on your computer too.

Kalium1 karma

Not to belabor the point, but I have a dedicated e-book reader of the Sony variety (the Nook wasn't out at the time) and I would like to purchase your book in a way that enables me to read it on that device.

Might you consider the Google Bookstore, and then permitting epub download?

I want to buy your book. I just want to buy it in a way that I can use it.

tremblethedevil20111 karma

What's the name of your reader? If it supports the Kindle app you can download that for free... but I can't even tell you how awesome it is to hear that someone with another device would want to read it, so let me know.

[deleted]1 karma


tremblethedevil20112 karma

It's up for the Kindle, but from what I've gathered print-on-demand requires a bit of a capital investment beforehand. I might be wrong though?