Publisher Stands by ‘Global Power’ Book Amid Antisemitism Allegations
Penguin Random House is standing by one of its books amid allegations that it traffics in antisemitic tropes.
“How They Rule the World: The 22 Secret Strategies of Global Power” was authored by Spanish colonel Pedro Baños and published in April by Ebury Press, a division of Penguin.
The work was criticized starting late last month by author Jeremy Duns, who noted that the cover features a drawing of octopus tentacles — an image long associated with antisemitic propaganda.
Duns compared the Spanish language edition of the work to its English translation, and found that references to the Rothschild family, a frequent target of antisemitic conspiracy theories, had been removed. One passage accused the family of wielding “gigantic” economic power and an “ability to influence in all senses,” which “has led to multiple speculations about their capacity to intervene in key global decisions,” The Guardian reported.
In Spanish-language interviews, Baños — previously the counter-intelligence and security chief for the European Army Corps — “called the Rothschilds dominant and likened them to the Illuminati. On Spanish TV, he also once accused Israel of being behind the assassination of John F Kennedy,” The Guardian added.
Following criticism by Duns, who claimed Penguin had knowingly given a platform to “a Spanish antisemitic conspiracy theorist … because to cover it up they’ve removed passages about the Rothschilds,” Penguin told The Guardian these “serious concerns” pushed it to closely review both the work and its author.
“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,” the publisher added in a statement. “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 antisemitic. Nor are there any legal concerns with this book or any known reputational issues with the author.”
Penguin further explained that it selected the cover image “to reflect the octopus as a symbol of domination by an imperialist power … This symbolism has been widely used in political imagery from the 19th Century onward by many cultures about their most feared geopolitical rival, which is very pertinent to the subject of the book.”