The Shell Game, 9/11, and Islamophobia: Truth Jihadi Interviews Steve Alten

Kevin Barrett interviews Steve Alten: Tuesday, 1/21/08 9-11 pm CT,

Steve Alten's new thriller The Shell Game promises to take 9/11 truth to the bestseller lists. It's about a neocon plot to stage a mega-9/11 to trigger martial law and an attack on Iran. It's studded with quotations from David Ray Griffin, Mike Ruppert, and other well-known truth advocates. What's more, it's got its own terrific 9/11 truth website: What 9/11 truthseeker could argue with that?

Well, a few have. Alten has recently taken some heat for ignoring Israeli connections to 9/11: And some of my Muslim and Muslim-friendly friends have found parts of the book painfully Islamophobic. One friend--a well-known 9/11 truth movement figure--found the book too painful to read.

My two cents: Let's not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. The Shell Game isn't perfect, either artistically (Shakespeare it ain't) or politically (the author doesn't have the good taste to share all of my views about everything). But it's a gripping read that packs a huge 9/11 truth wallop, and if we're smart we'll help push it to the top of the NY Times bestseller list.

I disagree with Alten on some important issues. For example, Alten casts Hamas and Hezbullah as among the villains, while for me--as for virtually all of the planet's 1.5 billion Muslims, and everyone else who supports the right to resist illegal occupation and aggression, a right granted by international law--those groups are heroes.

Alten also apparently believes that "Israel is one of our most important allies, the one true democracy in the Middle East" ( which I think is a load of hooey. As I told a shocked Sandra Lubarsky, Jewish co-editor of 9/11 & American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out
comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa is an insult to the Afrikaaners.

My differences with pro-Zionist Lubarsky did not stop us from working together on an interfaith 9/11 truth book--and my differences with Steve Alten are not going to stop me from supporting the good that he's doing. I look forward to airing our points of agreement as well as our differences tomorrow, Tuesday, 1/21/08 on 9/11 and Empire Radio, 9-11 pm CT,

Please discuss Islamophobic aspects . . .

separate from:

1. It's a coverup of Israeli involvement.

2. It doesn't recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as heroes.

It is possible to be concerned about the fearmongering against Muslims and Iran in this book, without arguing that the book should instead be blaming 9/11 on Israel. That's a separate issue, and a red herring to the topic here: Islamophobia.

If you are going to invoke international law, why not discuss Iran's right as a sovereign nation to develop nuclear energy or even nuclear weapons, subject to the Non-Proliferation Treaty since it is a party.

The overarching theme of this book is that radical Islam is an existential threat to Western civilization. Do you believe that?

Please also reconcile these quotes at the Mujca website:

"Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor" (Exodus 16). "So Then, Putting Away Falsehood, Let All of Us Speak the Truth to our Neighbors, for We Are All Members of One Another." (Ephesians 4:25), "They Try to Deceive Allah and Those Who Believe, But They Only Deceive Themselves, and Realize it Not." (Qur'aan 2:9)

with your statements that this book is "good" even if Alten did not "have the good taste to share all of [your] views about everything."

Rather than bring in the views of people who think Alten should have blamed Israel instead, or your view that Hamas or Hezbollah are heroic, please explain which parts of the book your Muslim and "Muslim-friendly" (whatever that means) friends found painfully Islamophobic. It is possible, you know, to be concerned about fear-mongering, war-mongering, and hate-mongering without being "Muslim-friendly" or "anti-Zionist."

Then explain which parts of the book counterbalance this war-/fear-/hate-mongering with a "huge 9/11 truth wallop."

Whether "fair" or not nukes a no-no under NPT

Especially with neighbor Israel in an undeclared legal domain around their 100-200 nukes, and india and Pakistan as not interested in the NPT partially because of their feud, it is fair to talk about whether it is "fair" to Iranian sovereignty for them to not develop a nuke.

We can talk about the fairness in all this, but technically Iran's commitment to the NPT while securing their internationally-accepted (w/ attempts from the West to undermine) right to Nuclear power (and we can talk about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the nuclear energy route for all of us) commits them to not building nuclear weapons. And this is why they say this themselves.

But part of defeating Islamphobia, is to make sure that we don't allow ourselves to swing from extreme cartooned caricature to extreme cartoon cariacature, i.e. from "behind every Muslim there is a terrorist" to "behind every muslim extremist there is an innocent victim or pawn of Western Imperialism."

We must allow for the full and nuanced personhood of the humans of the Muslim world. Meaning, just as there are clear problems with Judeo-extremists (Zionist Supremacists) and Christian extremists (Christo-fascists), there are also challenges from extremism in the Muslim world. Yes, there has been alot of Western manipulation and meddling for Imperial ends, but just as I believe Judeo/christian extremism is a threat to Western civilization and clearly to Muslim civilization, I also believe that Muslim extremism can be a threat to Western civilization, and certainly to Muslim civilization.

This nuanced attempt to think with "thickness" about Muslims is what it will take to turn away from a "Clash of Civilizations" to unique civilizations dealing with their own problems in relationship to each other in a highly inter-connected world.

And Kevin, if you think Hamas are "heroes," I would go deeper into the Mossad machinations behind the set-up. And how killing Israeli civilians is really the good and just way to dismantle Israeli apartheid. Similar situation to South Africa-the killing of civilian white South Africans was going to get the liberationist nowhere and wouldn't have gained the international pressure necessary to bring aartheid to its knees. Zionist Supremacist Extremists can only hold power in a situation of mutual terrorism. And while I would never deny any human their right to defend themselves, their family and their people, has Hamas really done a good job of defending the interests of the Palestinian people in terms of developing a Gandhian type resistance against apartheid that would gain the world's support and consensus?

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” –Plato

"We must speak the truth about terror." --George W. Bush

That's what I meant - no nuclear weapons b/c party to NPT

I'm glad Iran is a party to the NPT. My point is that they have agreed not to develop nuclear weapons, and should not for that reason. That's fair.

The International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons violates international law, so I was wrong to argue that Iran has the right to develop them. Rather, they have as much right as any other nation.

I agree with you that religious extremists of all types are a concern. I've been reading your nuanced comment (and Danse's) about possible Israeli involvement in 9/11, and have long thought what you said here:

"I think to imply that the 'real' traitors are all about Israel represents a similar psychological block to those who think the 'Ayrabs' did it. It measn you don't have to face some of the other, very well embedded sources of treason and tyranny deep within our own society."

The problem I have with Alten's book is that we have been presented no reliable evidence that Islamic extremists are responsible for 9/11, and without 9/11, Islamic extremism would not be viewed as an existential threat. Alten thus promotes an unproven premise about 9/11, a premise that has resulted in much death and destruction. I don't see how promoting that can be good.

Very fair

In terms of understanding 9-11 as a singular event, I think it is clear by now that any aspects of the "Muslim" involvement is at most the patsy cover-story being set-up. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda does still exist, even if it is primarily an asset of Western Intelligence agencies. And it is also very true, that the amount of energy that has been pushed into the "Muslim" official cover story is met by a startling small amount of energy that attempts to reveal the deeper terrorist networks maintained by the Axis of "Good", US, Israel and the UK.

Having not read the book, I can't really speak to how "The Shell Game" deals with, or does not deal with this aspect of Jihadi terrorist networks as cultivated , combed and well-directed by Western intelligence agencies. I'm glad someone's doing it though.

it's about a neocon plot....

what kind of neocons? if they are of the Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld ilk only and not of the
Zakheim/Zelikow/Feith/Netanyahu ilk, then i have no desire to read this book.

here you go, kevin

Wendy Campbell at the above URL engages in an email exchange with anti-Semitic, Zionist shill Steve Alten and gets him to reveal his True Shillness, and who he is really working for (Israel and their American “fifth column”). I know the other day I was being all nice and mellow, and saying how we should not overly concentrate on calling out the shills, but some people are so damn transparent that you could pretty much spray paint “SHILL” on their front lawns, and do so with little guilt or doubt.

Watch the pathetic mental gymnastics this guy tries to pull in his email responses as he tries to protect from exposure his paymasters, the same Israeli Zionist Neo-Con-artist subhuman filth that brought you 9/11 and the current, real Holocaust of the Middle East. Anyone, such as Bill Douglas, who pretends to care about 9/11 Truth and pushes this little weasel’s Israeli propaganda piece, is a movement leader who works for Israel – the enemy, the subverter of America and killer of its peoples. Has the 9/11 Truth Movement been infected by those who consciously spin their clever little webs and give cover for the murderers and the guilty? Absolutely, and the infection is found right at the top, as usual.

“Don’t follow leaders, and watch the parking meters” – Bob Dylan
(thanks, Lazlo)

Interesting info.

Wow, here's Steve Alten's response to Wendy:

"I seriously doubt Mossad agents allowed themselves to be filmed high fiving. And news footage from Israel showed the population WEEPING after the WTC went down…as opposed to high fiving Palestinians. I would categorize your views as anti-semetic. I would also say your views are what kills credibility in the 9/11 movement."

He reminds me of Ron Paul -- another false 9/11 truth hero being pushed on us who doesn't even know the alternative views on what happened or what the popular alternative opinions are.

I think Wendy C's positions can be over the top and I know some people who have criticized her as anti-semitic, but on a lot of the stuff she talks about, she is correct.

"high fiving Palestinians"

Wow, what a narrow view Alten has. The Israelis reportedly told the FBI they were cheering because they thought the attacks would be good for Israel.

Assuming that is true, how is that less despicable than Palestinians cheering?

Alten doesn't impute their actions to the entire population of Israel, yet he compares news footage showing Israel's "population WEEPING" with footage of a small number of Palestinians.

Is that representative?

Is it even true?

Even if it is true, look how it was used:

The footage was shown on this station in New York State, before interviews with local Arab-Americans. At the beginning, the talking head states: "Leaders in the local Arab community are cautioning people not to jump to conclusions," followed immediately by this footage of Palestinians dancing. How grotesque and irresponsible to frame the story that way, even if the footage really had showed Palestinians dancing in response to 9/11.

The LA Times reported that the Palestinian authorities confiscated pictures from Western journalists, but the article is not properly sourced. Have any journalists written about this?

Yes, indeed

>>Wow, what a narrow view Alten has.

You have to wonder where he's been to not know these basics. It suggests that although he may have read Ruppert and Griffin, he apparently only knows of MSM news on the Middle East, which is pretty sad. How could someone have awareness of peak oil but be completely offbase on Israel/Palestine?

Someone in Gaza the other day said that now, more and more, the Israelis are using drones to kill them.

Democrazy ?

A democracy that allows it's military to censor the news or anything else ?
Sorry, but Israel is a bandit-nation .
"Listen carefully now : DO NOT DESTROY OIL-WELLS" Dubya

don't be shilly

I'm tired of hearing about how so-and-so is a "shill" because they espouse a dangerously different point of view. As a Muslim working for interfaith dialogue on 9/11, I've spent several years looking for Jewish Americans willing to talk about 9/11 truth. If I insisted that they drop their pro-Israel bias and Islamophobic paranoia before talking with me, I would have had even fewer conversations than I've actually had.

So I don't think Alten is a shill. He just shares the prejudices common to many Americans, especially Jewish Americans. I agree that the biggest ideological weakness of The Shell Game is the way it partially relies on Islamophobic sources like "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West"--and the way the Zionist connection is written out of the book, even though "neocons" are the false-flagging bad guys. I will argue these points when I interview him tonight.

Whatever Alten's faults, the 9/11 truth community should be big enough to accept and encourage people who are raising the important issues, however imperfectly. Recognizing and appreciating the good that people are doing, while having a civil debate about areas of disagreement, will build a movement more effectively than screaming "shill" every time somebody takes a position we don't like.

Feel free to call in tonight, especially during the second hour (10-11 pm CT) 888-202-1984

Shellgame quote: "Did the

Shellgame quote:

"Did the U.S. intelligence community know al Qaeda's attack was coming?


But did we try to stop them?

Yes, but we were prevented from doing so."