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The Gruesome Genius of the System
By Michael Teague
Instruments of the State
By D.W. Aossey
Progressive Independent Media, 2010
D.W. Aossey does not resemble his acclaimed peers in the genre of spy fiction. The work of ex-intelligence operatives and analysts, whose books are always prominently featured atop best-seller lists, mostly tend to criticize the politicization, petty internecine rivalry, and financial intrigue that has rendered intelligence agencies so suspect and incompetent over the last decade or two (Robert Baer and Barry Eisler are only two examples in a long list of such authors). While such criticisms are inarguably well-warranted, Aossey approaches the subject from a far more troubling perspective. His first novel “Instruments of the State” will seem shocking and perhaps even offensive to some, as it thoroughly entertains the idea that attacks on the United States, from the 1983 bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut to the events of September 11, were actually false-flag operations coordinated by a shadowy group of power-brokers deeply imbedded within the U.S. and Israeli governments, in order to bewilder their respective populaces, and indeed the entire world, into a highly profitable state of permanent war.
Stylistically, the novel is a mixture of the more gruesome aspects of William S. Burroughs’s work with the ubiquitous and highly refined cruelty that was the specialty of the Marquis de Sade. “The Gang of Five,” a powerful group of operators installed in various high positions in the military and civilian administrations of the United States and Israel, are in a state of despair over the unintended consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Particularly, they lament the possibility that their wide-reaching financial interests will be negatively affected. Together, they hatch a plan to stage the greatest false-flag operation the world has seen, the attack on the World Trade Center towers. Over the course of the decade, they set in motion a sophisticated plot to bring the towers down. Along the way, child-traffickers, assassins, politicians, heroin dealers, and addicts across the U.S., Western and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, all play some part, unwittingly or otherwise, in enacting this plan. Aossey lampoons these characters’ lust for money and power; indeed many of them are very thinly veiled renditions of the Cheney/Bush-era neoconservatives who are no doubt still lurking about in the halls of power awaiting their next chance. This aspect of the novel makes for extremely gratifying reading.
It is possible that some readers may be distracted by the book’s thesis about the events of September 11, but that would be unfortunate. Aossey is a fantastic writer and his plot has a non-linear structure that is at once complex and entertaining, and the character development is equally compelling. While it must be said that the author’s contempt for the politicians whom his characters are supposed to represent occasionally becomes just a smidgen too palpable and snide, this in no way detracts from Aossey’s effective use of them to explore the intertwined themes of power, cruelty and addiction. “Instruments of the State,” incidentally the author’s debut, is a page turner, and provides a refreshing interpretation of the thriller genre. Let us hope that it is the first of many novels from this promising writer.
This review appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 16, no. 63, 2010.