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"The Shell Game" - Endgame of Empire

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By Jim Hogue


   The following article discusses a work of fiction, The Shell Game. The article presents the case made by the author, Steve Alten, and some experts on international affairs, that the government of the United States is planning a false flag attack on American soil. This attack is to be blamed on Iran, and would be used as an excuse to impose martial law and to attack Iran in order to take out the last remaining hurdle to the successful completion of the Project for a New American Century. The term “false flag” is a both a common term, and a specific term of admiralty parlance, used to describe a ship that flies the colors of another country in order to disguise its identity.


   The Shell Game by Steve Alten is an endgame scenario. At stake are 1) the American empire and its hegemony over the Middle East, and 2)  Planet Earth. The immediate challenges to the players of endgame are democracy in Saudi Arabia and a hostile Iran. The particular prize is the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia.


   The action takes place mostly in the year 2012, with a conservative 44th president (David McKuin) and a Neo-Con VP (Ellis Prescott). Prescott’s Neo-Con masters are planning to nuke an American city in order to free themselves from the restraints of the Constitution and international law, and to shake the public from its naïve belief in such documents as well. The attack is to be blamed on Iranian terrorists with suitcase nukes. The attack will prove, of course, that the Neo-Cons were right all along to torture, to spy on Americans, and to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The attack will justify the destruction of what’s left of the Constitution, and will clear the way for the attack against Iran. The Democrats will concur. But unlike the events surrounding the first 9/11, there lurks, in this work of fiction, a hero with the means and courage to bring the perpetrators to justice . . . maybe.


   There are four different aspects to The Shell Game, three of which are essentially non-fiction. These take the form of quotes, a journal, and news reports. Among them are a concise history of the House of Saud, and also a concise and understandable explanation of Iran/Contra and the BCCI scandal.


   The plot, and the characters who carry it forth, are fictional. Each of its 50 chapters is introduced by appropriate and revealing quotes from the likes of Clint Eastwood, John Lennon, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Edmund Burke, Osama Bin Laden, John O’Neill and countless others. The quotes and the non-fiction sections of the book combine to leave no doubt that, one way or another, the Neo-Cons in the media and in government were responsible the 9/11 attacks. These forces are furthermore responsible for the failure to develop alternative energy, for the coming collapse if the US economy, and for shortages of food and water leading to mass starvation in the US and around the world.


   Alten’s reasoning is simple. The world is running out of oil. Oil supports transportation and food production. Without oil there will barely be enough food to support 20 percent of the world’s population. Those who get the oil will eat. Those who don’t will starve.


   But fear not. The authorities have a plan: 1) Kill off entire populations with a pandemic before they get uppity, 2) Control the flow of oil, 3) Rig and suspend elections, 4) Suppress alternative energy and sustainable ways of life.


   They have heard the trumpets: “Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world!”

 Revelation, 8:13.


   The book is brilliantly called The Shell Game because we are the objects of a con. Our only role is to pay for it with our money or our lives.


   Elections are fraudulent. News is false. Militarism is for good old-fashioned greed. Patriots are called traitors and traitors are called defenders of democracy at home and abroad. It’s a shell game. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Just watch television, pay your taxes, shut up and shop. But in Alten’s page-turner of a political thriller, for the most part, “The good end happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction is all about.” (Thanks Oscar.)


   The hero (an oil executive) is pitted against the forces of evil (the Neo-Cons and their Saudi partners). He does a damn fine job of saving the planet. His means may come from beyond the grave, but he does not shirk his duty to this world, despite the dastardly machinations of the directors of the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security, the Saudis, Iran,  the media, and the executive branch. He surrenders a few fingernails etc in the torture cells, but he prevails. The opposition party (there is one, proving further that the book is fiction) is poised to win the next election; so the world might just be saved from mass starvations, pandemics, global warming and/or blowing itself up.

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Jim has performed and directed for regional, community, and educational theatre since 1971, in Vermont with Lost Nation Theater, Ice Fire, The Skinner Barn and Unadilla Theater since 1990; and he has appeared in several films. Jim has a radio (more...)
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