On September 11, 2001 Alan Greenspan was flying back from an international banker's conference in Switzerland on Swissair flight 128. The person in charge of his security told Greenspan that the captain of the plane needed to see him.
Alan had been a smart kid all throughout school, followed by a successful stint in Ivy League colleges around the United States. Academically, he had been successful at everything he'd put his mind to, from Computer Science to Keynsian economics. He had been behind some of the most complex computer algorithms written during his day, and yet he was so diverse that President Ronald Reagan had appointed him to head the Federal Reserve soon after Reagan took office in 1981. There had been rumours, untested, that he was the subject of a scrapped Martin Scorsese film entitled 'The Byte Doctor' which was purportedly about an inventor who creates the first real 'artificial intelligence' software program. A program so agile that it is capable of begetting other computer programs.
But what Alan has been able to keep from public attention is his membership of the dreaded secret society 'The Trachea Snappers'. This society is said to be so secret that members do not know each other. They have meetings in full-body cloaks, and are only permitted to speak through a device that disguises the speaker's voice. As with a lot of secret societies, membership is by invitation only, and invitation is only for 'trying out' for the society. A number of people are said to have died during the trials, and the deaths of such individuals were always deemed to be 'accidental overdoses'.
On the airplane Greenspan was told that two planes had flown directly into the World Trade Centre. Furthermore, another plane had allegedly flown into the Pentagon, whilst another had lost contact with air traffic control and was deemed to be missing. The Captain got the impression that Greenspan had a quizzical look on his face as he had to assure Greenspan that he was not kidding. The Captain was nervous as he steered the plane now towards Zurich.
On the plane Greenspan buckled into his seat and had some time to himself. If what the Captain had said was true, then America was under full frontal attack. What was coming next? The World Trade Centre was in New York. It housed the biggest commercial bank in the world (not including Central Banks). The Pentagon had allegedly been hit, with another airliner. Which nation was bold enough, and had the incentive to, carry out such an attack? As soon as Greenspan was within touching distance of a television there was no question as to which channel he'd be watching in the hope of getting some answers. The Captain had not been joking, surely. No, this was not a joke. The look on the Captain's voice told him so. Plus he'd felt the plane turn around in midair as it apparently headed back towards Zurich.
Greenspan asked the captain if it was indeed necessary to return all the way to Zurich, could they not land in Canada instead. The captain informed Greenspann that his instructions were to return the plane to Zurich. This plan was then announced to the rest of the passengers over the intercom, at which point their phones became jammed.
Greenspan gave himself credit for the way he'd acted so far. He was sure that the captain had been taken in by his act of surprise. None of the other passengers, he was sure, would have any idea that Greenspan was any-the-wiser to the goings-on in New York. So this was the crisis that had been spoken of in hushed tones at 'The Lodge'. Like other very senior members of his Masonic sect, Greenspan knew that something significant was going to occur today. They had been told that something world-changing would occur on this day, but they had not been told what (maybe to help with their necessary act of surprise) but now Greenspan had no doubt that this was the act of which they'd been talking about. Hopefully the news channels would be able to fill him in on the gaps in the story they'd been fed, and plus he'd then be able to gauge just how significant this act was.
With the flight re-routed, Greenspan had three-and-a-half hours to think things through ('was this part of a wider conspiracy?'). His first concern was for his wife who was a foreign affairs correspondent for NBC in Washington.
Greenspan buckled himself into his seat for the longish trip back to Zurich. He pulled out his laptop which had his Root A application program on it. He closed his eyes and told himself that he would get some sleep. But too many things were buzzing through his mind. He knew that The Cabal, of which he was a part of, would not allow an opportunity like this to pass without taking advantage of it. That was how The Cabal operated. What was that saying about never allowing a crisis to go to waste. But a side of Greenspan did actually feel some anguish at whatever was going on. Details were sketchy, but mumblings in the cabin had it that the attack was orchestrated by a Osama bin Laden, somewhere from his caves in Afghanistan. Greenspan knew better than to believe everything he heard, but if this was the line that they were going with, would the public bite? That was the question he kept asking himself. He knew of Osama bin Laden, but did Mr Joe Public? He still did not know the official reason given for the attack, but this he knew would be made plain to the public. Depending on the gravity of the situation, the real question was, what was going to be the response.
Greenspan was not overly concerned that there was any real chance that his wife was visiting the Pentagon at the time of the attacks. His only other real concern was for the wellbeing of the families of the other members of the Federal Reserve.
As Greenspan buckled into his seat for the flight back to Zurich, he felt a mysterious calm come over him. He got the sense that everything around him was going according to plan. Things were suddenly beginning to make sense to him now. The Lodge had made it clear that something groundbreaking, something world changing, was going to occur today. They had been told that for their own safety, little more information could be given out. Though rare, there had been stories of defects away from The Lodge, and they had been told that under no circumstance could they afford to have a leak of the goings-on at The Lodges at this time. This event, this attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon had to be what was being referred to. Whether he was right or wrong would soon become apparent in the next couple of days. He knew his phone was jammed at the moment, but there were a couple of people at the Federal Reserve that Greenspan wanted to check up on. Cooper, Yellen and Spader come quickly to mind. Was there anything he could do for them from where he was at this solemn time? he asked himself.
These attacks, the first on US soil since Pearl Harbour, would be devastating for the country, but the question that Greenspan kept asking himself was 'could the economy be managed?' The obvious concern was the possible collapse of the financial system, with the Federal Reserve being in charge of all electronic payments.
Despite his best efforts, sleep didn't come to Greenspan. The other passengers on the plane were clearly in a panic. Unlike himself who gave off an air of calm, they shuffled between one another unable to keep silent as more and more sketchy details about what was going on came through. There was talk of a large number of firefighters being trapped in the World Trade Centre. Some were saying that it wasn't an airplane that hit the Pentagon, but was instead some sort of military missile. Maybe because he knew where his wife was supposed to be on this day, he was relatively calm. Different economic models flashed through his head. He kept his mind on those models which referred to a country under stress, such as during war. He knew that, despite the press reports, the economy was rather weak and fragile. Truth be told, these attacks could not have come at a much worse time. Did these attacks occur at a coincidentally bad time (Greenspan did not believe in coincidences).
Greenspan and his team had the belief that if someone wanted to cripple the US, they would target the payment system. Banks would be forced to deal in the inefficient physical transfers of cash, whilst firms would have to start dealing in IOUs.
Greenspan's mind kept wondering as he sat as a passenger in the plane. Greenspan did not know for sure that America was under attack, but it sure felt like it. Regardless of the facts on the ground, Greenspan knew that he himself would soon be required to give a press conference, such a high security risk was the Federal Reserve. For the moment he felt completely helpless though. He could not contact anyone to tell them that he was OK or to check up on them. Despite the fact that he was totally rested from the night before, Greenspan felt sleep slowly begin to creep up on him. He had put on the in-flight entertainment movie (yet another showing of Die Hard 2) but he was already beginning to drift in and out of sleep. He took one last look at his watch again. The pilot had said that there would be one refuelling stop before the long flight back to Zurich. They were due to land at their destination at around 15.00 according to their current local time. Despite his advanced years, Greenspan was on very little medication and needed nothing to get himself to sleep.
The Federal Reserve had put in place redundancies, so that each bank had another bank that was backing it up, in case it went down itself. This was the situation that reserve Fed Chair Roger Ferguson found himself in.
They say that thirteen is his number. A deliberate affront to God, whose number is believed to be 12. On his secret board, he had thirteen members. This board met thirteen times a year, at thirteen different locations. Today was a special day. Although the trigger had been pulled two days early, there was a practical reason for this. The trigger was initially meant to be pulled on 13 September, but the weather forcast for this day was not conducive. The trigger had been pulled a few hours ago, and now The Cabal had to meet. All the members of the board had prior knowledge of the upcoming event, and all of them had committed to being present at the special meeting of The Cabal. This special meeting had an unusual feel to it. As if the grand plan was going to plan. The location of the meeting had been sent out to the members in the usual way. This was done on a need-to-know basis, and the usual protocols had been adhered to in order to ensure that news of the meeting did not leak out, even to other members of The Cabal. All was set. Igor was set to chair his seventh 'special meeting'.
Sitting in his chair onboard the flight back to Zurich, Greenspan began to wonder about the motives for the attacks. Were they designed to hurt the US financially? Surely the US could sustain such an attack. No, the attack was more likely an attack on the freedoms of capitalist America.
Igor sat smugly at the head of the conference table. He had the impression of a man who had a lot on his mind. One could not tell if this was a good load or a bad load that he was carrying, but he clearly had a lot on his mind. 'Be seated, gentlemen!' he began. All the members of the present Cabal were male, white, and billionaires (one was rumoured to be a trillionaire). 'Thank you for coming, guys. We have a lot to discuss today.'
The present members of The Cabal joined Igor in being seated, and one-by-one they went round the table introducing themselves and stating their presence. 'Hello, this is Judah, representing the tribe of Judah. Present,' began Judah.
'Hello, this is Reubens, representing the tribe of Reubens. Present,' continued Reubens.
'Hello, this is Gad, representing the tribe of Gad. Present,' said Gad.
'Hello, this is Asher, representing the tribe of Asher. Present,' said Asher.
'Hello, this is Naphtali, representing the tribe of Naphtali. Present,' said Naphtali.
'Hello, this is Mannesah, representing the tribe of Mannesah. Present,' said Mannesah.
'Hello, this is Simeon, representing the tribe of Simeon. Present,' said Simeon.
Greenspan worried a little about the interconnectedness of the American society. If someone withdrew their services for, say, fear of a suicide bomber, there was going to be a snowball effect.
'Hello, this is Levi, representing the tribe of Levi. Present,' said Levi.
'Hello, this is Asachar, representing the tribe of Asachar. Present,' said Asachar.
'Hello, this is Zebulun, representing the tribe of Zebulun. Present,' said Zebulun.
'Hello, this is Joseph, representing the tribe of Joseph. Present,' said Joseph.
'Hello, this is Benjamin, representing the tribe of Benjamin. Present,' said Benjamin.
'Hello, this is Deadpool, representing the tribe of Deadpool. Present,' said Deadpool.
This had all been a formality. Igor knew that all members were present, and so did everyone else. But if one thing could be said for this secret society, The Cabal rigidly stuck by protocol. No matter what. 'Now that we have been round the table, let me begin this emergency meeting. Although this meeting was called in advance, about a month ago, it will formally go down as an emergency meeting. As usual, Dik-Dik will take the minutes of this meeting. May I also take this opportunity to introduce you to Hilton. Hilton has worked for 'Blackwater' for many years and I've invited him here as an observer and advisor. His discretion is beyond question, and none of you need be worried that the details of this meeting will leak out through him, so please feel free to communicate in the normal way.'
Several thoughts flashed through Greenspan's mind as their plane headed for Zurich. Shocks such as these attacks could result in massive withdrawals in the financial system. Could the U.S. sustain such an outcome. Greenspan began to contemplate that the US had become complacent in the decade that followed the end of the Cold War.
Igor had that look about him. That look which said that something had been done successfully. 'I take it we all know one another. After all, this is far from our first meeting together. We have all seen the news, have we not.' There were nods and grunts of confirmation. The members seemed all on edge, but none said anything, waiting instead for Igor to lead the discussion. 'This meeting has been called because of the strikes on New York, as per the news feeds. This was the event that we had been talking about for several months now, and now we have to ready a response. I need to know your reaction to the events, and also I need to know how you think we should respond. We have a wide array of suggestions, but I want the response to involve all of you here. We are all in this together.
'A few things come to my mind,' said Naphtali. 'When the news broke this morning of the attacks, I was certain that this was the event that had been spoken of for several months. I just want to know if I was alone in this room of not knowing what was to come. I mean, how could an attack of this magnitude be planned and carried out without the involvement of those present at this meeting?
Greenspan's plane touched down in Zurich at around 20.30 local time, still in the afternoon back in the States. He was welcomed by Swiss bankers who ushered them to a special suite in the departure lounge. They offered to show Greenspan news footage of the collapsing Twin Towers, but he declined. He thought to himself that it was entirely possible that people he knew had died in the carnage.
For the first time Igor looked a little ruffled, but he was determined to give off an air of total confidence. 'What if this action, this attack, was divine?' asked Igor. "Would we be expected to consult you in such an event?' The meeting went eerily quiet at this suggestion. Igor had not expected this. But maybe it was right that they know. Not everything discussed in these meetings was of this world. 'Do I need to say any more on this 'preparation' topic?'
There were a few murmurings before Dan interjected. 'Igor, sir, are you indeed saying that these attacks were a divine act? An act of which you had prior knowledge? I believe that this issue is troubling us at the moment.'
At this moment, all Greenspan wanted was a working phone. He soon managed to get hold of Andrea shortly after 21.00. After they had convinced each other that they were okay, she informed Greenspan that she had to get on the set to report the day's events.
Again there was silence around the table. This silence was in effect deafening, one could hear a pin drop if it fell on the floor. Igor began at almost a whisper. 'It seems that there is doubt amongst you about my special gifts.' Silence. 'Am I right?'
'I wouldn't say doubt,' Naphtali said. 'It's just that there are certain issues that when we ask for, or require, a detailed explanation, you throw in the 'divine aspect'. Just when we're getting our heads around something in a rational sense, you throw in the divine line.'
'Sounds like doubt to me,' said Igor.
'We're a rational group of men here. All men, though I'm not complaining. Is it not at all possible to give us explanations that do not delve into the spiritual relm. After all, on our inauguration you prided yourself in telling us that we were chosen partly because of our agnostic viewpoints.'
There were further murmurings around the table. Followed by grunts of agreement. Igor took his time to respond, clearing his throat.
Greenspan was speaking to his wife Andrea on the cell when she immediately put the cell to one side and went live-on-air. Greenspan, over the phone, could hear everything.
Igor was taken a little by surprise by the gathered. Up until now, in previous meetings, he had had the feeling that The Cabal took his word as 'golden'. Even when he doubted himself, and felt that he was making stuff up, there had never been any queries from The Cabal. Now he felt that he was on the spot. Naphtali was questioning him. Deep down, somewhere, he knew that Naphtali was right. He could not continue to just rely on the 'divine line' and expect The Cabal to swallow it. A bit more than before he had to back up what he was saying, what he was claiming, with sources and facts. Even if the facts were disputed. However, he still did not appreciate Naphtali's efforts. Right now he had to save face. He just wanted those present to still see him as 'boss'.
Igor continued. 'I am special. Surely there are those amongst you who know this. I see things that others don't, or can't, see. I don't know what you expect me to do when I am unable to explain in earthly terms how I do or know something.' He paused, so as to allow any interjections by The Cabal. But there was none. 'On this critical matter, all I can currently ask is that you trust me. Proof of what I am saying will be forthcoming, I assure you.'
While all flights into the United States were locked down, Greenspan managed to get a hold of Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, to request passage back to the United States. Soon Greenspan was on board an Air Force tanker on his return to the United States.
There was a knock on the door. 'Come in,' screamed Igor. At that their secretary Petre walked in. He headed straight for Igor and whispered in his ear, 'There's a call for you. He says it's urgent and has given the necessary codeword.
'Sure.' Petre handed Igor the phone. It was Greenspan on the other end, informing Petre that he had heard the news and assuring him that he was on his way back home. He wanted to know if there was going to be a meeting to discuss these attacks, and was told that more information would be forthcoming on his arrival. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Igor hung up. Igor turned to the assembled Cabal. 'For the time being, do I have your undoubted trust?' he asked them. Their response of murmurings was really a confirmation, but it was a conditional confirmation: confirmation proof would soon be required.
If Igor could claim 'divine knowledge', what else could he claim? This was an issue that was bothering Naphtali, and he decided that he would sound out the feelings of the other gathered Cabal members at the appropriate time.
The captain of the flight that Greenspan was on allowed Greenspan to listen to the radio air chatter at the moment. Unbelieveably it was silent, which was not normal.
Igor allowed himself to relax a little more than he had been doing up until now. He could use the 'divine' line for now, but he decided to proceed cautiously. 'All I'll say for now is that we knew that there was going to be an earth changing event that was to occur on this day. It was going to require an emergency meeting. It was only in the last week that we became aware of exactly what the event to occur was.'
'So we can take it from what you are saying that you did not take part in these events?' asked Dan.
Igor allowed himself an appropriate amount of silence. He gathered his thoughts, then continued. 'This is a rational conclusion from what I am saying to you, however, it is not one hundred per cent correct. We were asked to play a part in these attacks, and oblige we did.'
'You were asked to play a part in these attacks? According to the news they are blaming a terrorist fighter in Afghanistan. Did these fighters ask for your assistance?' asked Dan.
'As you know, we own the press. We own the news. Not CNN, not Fox News, but us. Very little of what they report comes from outside of us. The real people who carried out the attacks are the ones who asked for our assistance,' said Igor defiantly.
The captain of Greenspan's flight was given permission to fly over what was the Twin Towers, so that those on board could see the ruins for themselves. On landing, Greenspan was taken under police escourt to the Fed.
It was clear what Igor wanted to happen next. He expected a present member of The Cabal to ask who had really carried out the attacks. But for now at least, the members of The Cabal did not oblige, and instead sat in silence. 'Any questions?' asked Igor. Silence. 'Any comments so far?' Again silence. 'I hope this answers your question,' continued Igor. 'We were not responsible for initiating the attacks, but neither can it be said that we are totally innocent in aiding and abetting.'
Igor continued chairing the meeting by explaining the assistance given in the attacks without saying who was responsible for making such a request, nor saying why they had agreed to assist in attacking the United States. Those present did not all come from the United States (4 from Europe, 1 each from Africa and Asia) with Australia, Canada and New Zealand being represented to compliment the rest from the United States. However, this meeting was being held in the United States, and this felt like suicide.
Once Greenspan and crew arrived at the Fed they got to work. Electronic funds transfers seemed to be fine. However, the good-old-fashioned clearing of cheques was proving to be a problem. This could be assisted with an extension of credit to the banks.
What was not making sense to most of the Cabal present was that Igor had confessed that assistance had been given to the attackers (who still remained anonymous) yet at the same time all was being done to rectify the problem. Problem-reaction-solution was a common method of The Cabal, but not for something on a scale such as this.
Judah raised his hand and was allowed to speak. 'Look, Igor, to be frank with you, there are a lot of unanswered questions that most of us here have. From what I understand, this was a massive attack, and none of us here were consulted. Granted, even with your 'divine knowledge', should we not have been queried on this? Are we that unimportant to you?'
Igor was beginning to get the picture. The members present were not happy with the unilateral action that had been taken by the upper echelons of The Cabal. Igor had miscalculated. It was clear that maybe he'd gone too far on this one. It wasn't so much that the act was too great for the members to stomach, but they were clearly angry that they were not consulted in any form.
Greenspan spent the next few days looking for signs of a massive economic slowdown. For the past few months the economy had been in a mini-recession as it recovered from the dotcom crash of 2000.
'How any of you could think that you lot are unimportant to The Cabal is beyond me,' went on Igor. 'All will become apparent to you in due course. What you must realize is that we had very little time with the knowledge of these attacks. I took the decision to accede to the request as I felt that there was no time to get a consensus from all of you here. A decision was needed immediately. If you were as unimportant to us as you seem to think, we would not be having this meeting.' From the murmurings and grumblings that followed, it was apparent that these last few words of Igor had gone down well. What he was saying made sense. 'If we'd had a little more time to discuss the issue, I want to assure you that you all would have been consulted,' concluded Igor.
Naphtali, who had assumed a leadership role during the course of this meeting, made it clear that, although he still had some reservations, he was generally pleased with what Igor was saying. As the discussion went around the table, most of the other members were also of the same opinion.
Andrea could not get anything of international significance onto the news. All the Fed was concerned with was how low they could take interest rates.
'We haven't really spoken about the agenda for this emergency meeting. Mind you, the few comments that have been raised concern it,' said Igor. 'I really only called this meeting to confirm to any doubters among you that these attacks were what we were referring to recently. We will obviously have a detailed, planned meeting regarding this issue in the not-too-distant future. For now, unless there are any other outstanding issues, this meeting is adjourned.' With that, the meeting terminated.
Greenspan finally arrived back home. It was late. Andrea was not home. With the recent events one could easily argue that one was working late with raising the suspicions of the other. He tried two phone calls, but both were busy. On his third attempt he got through to Yellen. She sounded overly pleased to hear from him. 'What did you bring me from Zurich?' she demanded to know.
'I would have brought you something expensive from 'duty free' but with the events at the Twin Towers I allowed myself to become distracted,' replied Greenspan. 'Just checking up on you. Making sure that you're OK. How is Tony Toni?'
'Can't you hear him barking in the background?' replied Yellen. 'Thanks for the concern. Sure I'll see you soon enough.' After checking in with a couple of other work colleagues, Greenspan made his way to the kitchen.
The Federal Reserve consists of twelve regional banks situated around the United States. Each of these banks lends to other banks within its region, as well as regulating the region itself.
It was late. After fixing himself a hot cup of coffee, Greenspan made his way to the living room. Although tired, Greenspan did not feel like sleeping. Not at the moment. Too many things were racing through his head. Could the economy sustain such a blow? Was this the event that The Cabal had eluded to that may occur sometime in September of this year? While his thoughts inevitably fixated on the economy, he was well aware that there were many other considerations at a time like this. Loss of life being the main one. How much more life would be lost in the response to these attacks? Greenspan had to get a grip of himself. He found himself mumbling a prayer. The Cabal, though it did not say so explicitly, hated this. They hated prayer. Especially hated was solitary prayer. If one had to pray, you prayed in a group. And you prayed to their god. A god they could understand. All the same, Greenspan finished his prayer and finished supping his coffee.
Greenspan relaxed on the couch and found himself nodding off. Even though, he could not bring himself to haul himself up the stairs and make his way to their bedroom. Was it because Andrea was not home, even though it was late enough? It being past midnight. Greenspan turned on the television. Fortunately or unfortunately the TV had been left on the news channel.
What they were now being told was that spending on all non-essentials had virtually dried up, whereas spending on essentials in preparation for further attacks had risen. So spending on groceries, bottled water, and insurance had risen, whereas spending on entertainment and tourism related activities had fallen.
For the time being Greenspan decided to switch channels, but even non-related channels (e.g. a shopping channel) were carrying the story. Greenspan decided to turn off the TV. He knew he would have plenty of time to get to grips with what the nation was feeling. After all, in his line of work he was going to be in the front line in terms of response. He had already been told that there would be a debriefing with a member of the security agency tomorrow. Then there were the personal friends he'd made in New York who he would have to try and track down, one-by-one. Right now, all he wanted to do was reflect. When one gets to a certain age, even without a catastrophe such as this, one often reflects on life (could I have done things differently?) and finds oneself appreciating things that were previously taken for granted. Greenspan was no different to most in this regard.
The flow of auto parts from Windsor, Onatario to Detroit had virtually come to a standstill. This had led to Ford temporarily closing five of its plants. There were major impacts on the just-in-time inventory system.
Greenspan had a major brainwave. Call Igor. Could he? Should he? Igor had given Greenspan his personal number and told him to call if he needed to talk. But everyone knew that you only called Igor if it was vitally important. If it was essential. Could he justify such a call at this time. Surely Igor would be impossibly busy at the moment, even though it was around midnight. Greenspan wanted to feel important, at least within The Cabal. After giving the issue a few more seconds thought, Greenspan decided against calling. As much as he wanted to have a catch-up with Igor, Greenspan knew that he did not, as yet, have anything vital to pass onto Igor. He would only be disturbing him. He also knew that if Igor wanted to get in touch with him, he had Greenspan's number and did not need to have anything mega-important to relay in order to call. Such was life. His phone was buzzing. Greenspan looked at his phone display to see who it was. It was Igor. 'Hello, is that Igor?' Greenspan asked as he answered the phone.
'Good morning. Sorry to disturb you at this hour. This is Igor's secretary. He would like to speak with you.'
On September 14 Congress authorised the appropriation of $40 billion and authorised the President to use force against those who had attacked the United States.
'Sure,' replied Greenspan. A meeting was arranged for the day-after-tomorrow. Greenspan was to tell no one of the meeting and was to come alone. After agreeing the time, they hung up. For a split second, annoyingly, Greenspan considered telling his wife about the upcoming appointment. After a second or two of hesitation, he thought it better to only tell her that he'd spoken to Igor. After a further few seconds, good sense got the better of Greenspan, and he decided against telling Andrea anything of this conversation. Feeling a little more energized, Greenspan decided to turn himself over to sleep. It was just as well, as the events of the day had caught up with him, and he was now feeling knackered.
Greenspan woke to find Andrea beside him. 'Good morning darling,' he began. But there was no response. He shoved her in the back, repeating himself.
Andrea stirred, clearly annoyed at having been woken so early. 'Good morning dear. What time is it?' she asked, even though the digital alarm clock was right beside her, blazenly stating 06.20.
'What time did you get in?' asked Greenspan.
Andrea was deliberately silent for about 45 seconds, then mumbled, 'Four thirty. I slept fine, thanks for asking.'
Alan just laughed. He rarely forgot to start the day by asking Andrea how she had slept. Even when they were apart and he was speaking to her on the phone, he always started by asking how the night was, asking how she'd slept.
There were a number of proposals on Capitol hill as to how to help the nation get back on its feet. There was a proposal to pump money into the airlines, into recreation, and into tourism. Then there were also proposals to give businesses tax-breaks, all with the purpose of getting money into the economy.
'Not that I'm trying to get my revenge,' continued Alan, 'but I'm gonna be very busy for the next few weeks. You understand, right.'
'Oh, is this your way of getting me back?' Andrea asked smugly.
Alan just chuckled at this suggestion, but did not dignify it with a direct response. 'As you can probably guess, we're gonna have a security meeting with one of the secret service agencies. It's probably best you don't mention any of this to your colleagues at work.' Andrea wasn't going to anyway. She was used to her husband mumbling some classified information to her in between the sheets, but she was discreet enough not to mention any of his mumblings to anyone. Alan jumped into the bathroom. The Dixie Chicks were on the radio. Greenspan didn't feel the mood was right right now for pop music. He pulled out his Gillete razor and began shaving. On completion of his shave he turned on the hot water for his bath.
Greenspan felt it necessary to save the airlines. Congress quickly approved a $15 billion airline rescue package. After this Greenspan paid little attention to the airlines, preferring to concentrate on the bigger picture.
Igor woke up with a start. He looked around the strange room and was unsure where he was. He looked across the double bed, but there was no one in there with him. Then he heard the toilet flush. Shit. Who was the girl he was sleeping with. He was glad to see that Gillian came striding from the bathroom. She was his second favourite squeeze. It was Gillian after all. Not some minor. Not another man. He was in no mood for controversy right now. As long as his third wife did not find out, there was no controversy here at all. Two consenting adults and all that. He sat up in the bed and felt his blood run down his back. Then the memory hit him. They'd been playing some games last night. One of the games had gone a little wrong in that they'd both spilt blood. They'd spilt the blood within five seconds of each other, which meant that the game ended in a draw. Gillian came and snuck up beside him. Now for the words he'd been preparing to say for over an hour. 'I gott go. Important business awaits.'
During times of national emergency, every congressman feels the need to introduce a bill. Even Presidents feel under pressure to act, but this can lead to ineffective, counterproductive legislation such as the oil rationing introduced in response to the OPEC oil shock of 1973 by President Nixon.
'OK, bye,' Gillian replied.
Igor smirked. 'Does this mean that you're not going to make a fight of this action I'm taking?'
'Why should I?' asked Gillian. 'You're leaving plenty of time for me to clean up my place before you return this evening. Go, and oh, be a good boy won't you.'
'I'm coming back this evening? Sure, of course I am. See you.' With no washing whatsoever, Igor threw on the same clothes he was wearing yesterday and made for the door. He banged it shut behind him without saying a further word. Twenty seconds later there was a knock on Gillian's door.
'Who is it?' Gillian demanded to know.
'It's me, Igor. I forgot something.' After a few seconds Gillian opened the door with her eyes deliberately closed and her lips pouched, waiting for the inevitable kiss that Igor had forgotten to give her. Igor barged in and collected the car keys that he'd left on her coffee table. He planted a peck on Gillian's waiting cheek, and then he was gone, out of the door.
Igor sped out of Gillian's car park and directed his BMW M3 in the direction of his condo. He was glad to be alone for a short while. Business awaited him. As he turned into the road that led to his street, he looked at the messages on his Samsung. His wife had called 4 times. He knew from experience that wives could be funny when you didn't spend the night at home and didn't call to say where you were.
Greenspan considered the fact that the United States had survived the biggest one day crash in market history, the housing loans issue of the 1980s, the Asian financial crisis, the dotcom bust. Greenspan was beginning to think that the United States' stock markets biggest asset was its resilience.
Igor closed the door behind him as he arrived at his private condo. It was private in the sense that none of his girls knew about it, and that included his wife. He brought only his most trusted lieutenants here, and they were sworn to secrecy regarding their visit there and its existence. He picked up the landline phone and dialed a number. It was busy. He dialed a second one and this time got through first time. 'Hi, it's me, Igor. Have you got a second?'
'Oh, good morning. Yes I do. How can I help?' asked Greenspan.
'I know you know something serious has happened. I need to have a private meeting with you. A one on one. Can you do it?'
'Sure I can. When were you thinking of meeting up?'
'As soon as possible. What's your schedule looking like?' asked Igor.
'Today is really busy. How about tomorrow lunch time?'
'Lunch time is no good in that we're almost certain to be seen. How about tomorrow evening?'
'Sounds fine to me,' said Greenspan.
'Fine, come by my secret location, alone, tomorrow at around six thirty.' Igor did not wait for a response from Greenspan. He simply hung up. Greenspan prided himself on the fact that he didn't feel he had any bosses. But it sure didn't feel that way when he was speaking to Igor.
Igor slumped onto his bed. He needed to rest. This much he knew. But too much was going through his mind. There were certain members of The Cabal that he needed to brief about the goings-on of the past few days. He was painfully aware that there were a few people out there who knew too much. There were a few people out there who could, if they so desired, tell the American public, and the world at large, just what really happened and who was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers. These people would have to be dealt with in the usual way. They had to be silenced. Permanently.
Greenspan developed the belief that the best way to react to the events was to wait and see what the repercussions were on the economy. He said as much at a congressional meeting.
Igor had decided what to do with those who knew too much. But what was just as important, if not more important, was coming out with the narrative of what 'really happened', coming out with the official story. Igor got on the phone and called his trusted lieutenant Jake.
'Hello this is Jake. Well I never. Is this really Igor on the other end? If so, have I got news for you.'
'Yeah, it's me,' Igor replied. 'Always good to hear your voice, especially during these crazy times.'
'You call these times crazy?' Jake asked. 'Let me tell you about crazy. First of all, do you know the definition of 'crazy'?' asked Jake. 'Bear with me a second whilst I look it up.'
'That won't be necessary,' stated Igor. 'Listen, I've got something a little serious to discuss with you_____'
'Insane, mad; foolish. Colloquial is extremely enthusiastic. Right____'
'What you're seeing on the news at the moment, these attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, this is what we've been talking about for the past few months.'
'I see,' replied Jake. 'To be honest, I did think as much. Were you in on it? You know, given that you knew the timing and all that.'
'Not directly, no,' replied Igor. 'But to some extent we were involved. We knew about it in advance and I knew who ordered it.'
At a meeting that included Dick Gephardt, senators wanted to assess the full economic impact of the attacks.
'Well, you know my next question don't you. What's the official story? What is the press to report?' asked Jake.
'We've already got a story. I just want to run it past you to see if it sounds believealbe. Does the story sound plausible?'
'Go on,' said Jake.
'Well, America is being attacked for religious reasons. Her freedoms. She's been attacked by Islam. The attacks were coordinated in Afghanistan, where we've been seen as having gone in as sort of Crusaders. This must be shown to be Islam's motive for carrying out these attacks.'
'Forgive my ignorance, but who rules in Afghanistan at the moment?' asked Jake.
'Well, we're not going to have to worry too much about individuals at the moment. Afghanistan is lawless. The story goes further to say that it was the Taliban that masterminded these attacks. The terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his cohorts coordinated them. They recruited the hijackers of the planes, had them filter into America, learn to fly planes, hijack the planes mid-air, and then flew them into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. That's the nuts-and-bolts of the story.'
Igor inhaled a long, hard breath. Jake did the same. 'More detail will obviously be needed,' began Jake. 'Do you have anything to back up your story, apart from the fact that the Afghans are pissed at the Americans intervention in their country?'
'We're working on some 'evidence',' said Igor. 'We've got some evidence that some of the terrorists on board attended some flight training schools.'
Also present was Lindsey, who felt that as the terrorists had dented American confidence with these attacks, the best way to counter this was with tax-cuts. The proposal was for $100 billion to be injected into the US economy.
'MMMmmmm, I'm listening,' Jake continued. 'Anything else?'
'We've got some passports of the alleged hijackers too,' Igor said.
Jake gave a small sigh on this one. He didn't say anything, but it was clear that he didn't really feel that this was enough to build a story on. 'Go more with the story that the Afghans are pissed at us,' said Jake. 'Don't push the evidence too much. That's my advice.' Jake wanted more time to think, to see if there weren't any alternatives. But the trouble was that the die had been thrown, there simply wasn't that much time. 'We've got the initiative now, don't waste it. Don't give the public time to shoot holes in your story. Keep the story moving.'
Nicholas arrived at Heathrow airport fifteen minutes after the gates for his plane's departure had closed. With him was his new 'gal' Royan Al Simma, and they were late for their flight to Nairobi, Kenya. The lady at the checkout desk looked at him as if to say, 'I've heard your excuse before, but tell me what it is anyway.' After studiously listening to how his sister had gone into labour, the girl told him that although British Airways only did a single flight to Nairobi that day, she could put him on a Kenya Airways flight to the same destination and it would arrive within a couple of hours of the arrival of the British Airways flight that they had just missed. Nicholas Quenton-Harper quickly agreed to her proposed flight change proposal. Inwardly, Royan was mighty relieved that a solution had quickly been found, because if the truth be told, it was her delaying that had caused the couple to be late for their plane.
Within three hours of their arrival at Heathrow, Nicholas and Royan were taxiing down the runway in their Kenya Airways Airbus. Despite Nicholas' best efforts, Royan was not in a very talkative mood, even concerning matters of their return to Africa. Maybe she was feeling guilty about their late arrival at the airport, but she needn't have as Nicholas was already way past remembering past wrongs.
Tourism and the airlines had been badly affected by the strikes. But remarkably, on September 17, the New York Stock Exchange opened, sending out a positive signal.
The stop in Kenya was a mere stopover. They were on route to Ethiopia and the Sudan. They were going as archeologists in search of hidden treasures. There was no saying how much treasure was in store for them if they were successful. They were on the hunt for tomb of the Egyptian Pharoah Mamose. If they succeeded in their quest, gold was but one of the treasures that they stood to uncover. They knew from experience that there were likely to be many hurdles along the way.
The Kenya Airways hurtled down the runway and was soon airbourne. After the seat-belt lights had come off, Nicholas decided to stretch his legs and took a walk around the cabin. Royan was soon nodding off in her chair. Sleeping in economy class sights was not the easiest thing to do in this jet, but Royan had become an expert in it. The Airbus was new and so the seats were clean and comfortable. The in-flight entertainment really impressed Nicholas. Even in this economy class there was video on demand and online games. For a small extra fee one could hire the Virtual Reality gaming headsets which would make the long flight disappear in next to no time. Nicholas decided to give the hardware a go. After acquiring a set of the VR device, he decided to throw on the new game 'The Bionic Man', based on the seventies TV series 'The Six Million Dollar Man' from Paramount Studios. The game started with a failed launch of a rocket to the moon, whereby the astronaut Steve Austin is involved in a horrific crash in the shute, which leaves him with life-threatening injuries.
The stock market had not crashed. Prices had merely come down, and then stabilized. Greenspan felt that the best course of action was to wait for two weeks, after which time more would be known. He gave the same message to the Senate Banking Committee.
Whilst being rebuilt on the operating table, the protagonist was given instructions of missions he was to complete if his rehab operation was successful. Having been a fan of the hit TV series, Nicholas was soon absorbed in the game, as he used his super human strengths to deal with super-villains on a blacklist.
After a couple of hours of gameplay and a tiny dinner served on what felt like cardboard, Nicholas was ready to turn in for the night. He was tired. It had been a long day. There were only a few hours 'til landing, at which time he would get in touch with their sponsors in New York to tell them the progress of their archealogical 'find'. The date was September 10, 2001. Royan was still fast asleep. Nicholas leaned over and gave her a kiss on her exposed cheek. Danny, the four year old kid on their aisle seat, packed out laughing at what he considered this 'nothing gesture'. Nicholas turned and gave the delinquent kid a threatening stare, at which the kid quickly disappeared down the aisle.
Nicholas replayed in his mind what his sponsors had been telling him in their recent call. If they could pinpoint Pharoah Mamose's tomb, there was serious treasure to be had.
Greenspan mentioned that over the past couple of decades the US economy had become more resilient to shocks, thanks to such things as a more flexible labour market and advances in information technology.
Nicholas gathered from their evasive answers that his sponsors did not want to say what they were expecting to find Pharoah Mamose's tomb, but it was clearly substantial. But for now, Nicholas was prepared to play dumb. After all, he still had not figured out how his sponsors hoped to check what he had found if they were not there with him when he found Pharoah Mamose's tomb. Of course he'd heard of how other people had been caught by their sponsors, with spies infiltrating the entourage or the chief archaeologist becoming greedy when someone undercover went and made them an offer for their findings. But Nicholas was sure there were no spies amongst his ranks. He went through each of his recruits, one-by-one in his head. Was Mek Nimmur a spy? Surely not. No, Nicholas Quenton-Harper felt himself becoming paranoid. He needed to relax.
What Greenspan feared most was another terrorits bomb. This was probably how everyone else in Washington was feeling as a unanimity of votes supported the use of force against the terrorists.
Igor had taken on board Jake's advice not to say too much about the attack, for fear of contradicting themselves. Igor was not in the public eye, so it was not he who would be embarrased if mistakes were found in their story, but he was mindful that he could easily lose the support of his deputies if enough holes were bourne in their story.
Igor was the elected head of the secret society movement 'The Cabal'. The Cabal had several functioning units, but Igor was the overall elected head. His term was for five years, and this was the first. He had moved quickly to cement his authority. He claimed that he had not really ordered the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, but nobody in The Cabal believed him. He simply had too much information about the attacks. And he had the information too soon. Word had come out that some members of The Cabal had been warned by Igor himself not to travel by any means in New York when they had made it known that they would not be able to attend the next meeting and that they planned on being in New York on or around September 11, 2001. Igor was a man in a hurry. Although there were no term limits on the Presidency of The Cabal, Igor was well aware that nothing was certain. There was no guarantee that he would win re-election, and how old would he be should he win re-election at a future date.
Greenspan, on the record, was less pessimistic about current events than he truly felt inside. He did not want to spook the markets half to death.
Igor had begun his first term on 1 July 2001. This was his first 'crisis' meeting. He knew that this terrorist attack move was do-or-die for him. He would either rise to the position that he felt was due to him, or he would fall to the gutter as a result of this move. He justified everything to himself by saying that he had to act now. Failing to act, he was scared, would leave him with a lame presidency. A bit like the presidency of his predecessor Damien Dash, with nothing happening. By moving so quickly, Igor felt that he had put his own personal signature to this period in history. Anyway, what was done was done, and now it was time to act. To respond.
The official story was beginning to gather pace and take a life of its own. According to the gathering official narrative, terrorists from Saudi Arabia had infiltrated the United States and had secretly gone to flight schools to learn to fly planes. This was on the instruction of their leader Osama bin Laden, head of the Taliban, holed up in the mountains of Afghanistan. The fact that the Taliban were refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden for questioning in the United States only added credibility to this version of events.
The Department of Labour statistics showed that unemployment had reached 450,000 which was a 13% increase on the August figure.
While America, and indeed the world, waited, Igor acted. The official story was being leaked to the press on a drip-drip basis. The response of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government was going to be crucial. He saw no other response that the US government could take other than military. The Federal Reserve was another matter. There were many options available. Choosing a correct option was going to be the issue. It was a generally accepted fact that the economy was on a downward slope during the months leading up to the attacks. The general public had not yet really got wind of this fact, so the question was, could the state of the US economy be blamed on the attacks. This would be in the interests of the Federal Reserve and the government. Igor had already had a one-to-one phone conversation with Alan Greenspan, but with the story gathereing pace, Igor knew that he would have to meet up with Greenspan directly. An economic response would be necessary by the Federal Reserve to cushion the blow to the US economy. Economic policy would have to be set for both the US economy, as well as the global economy. No one seemed to realise it, but even though the Federal Reserve was a private bank (always had been) it set the economic policy for the US, and to some extent, the World. As long as the correct economic policy was set, this would leave the US government free to pursue its external options. Igor got on his cell and phoned Lindsay.
'I knew you'd call me back,' she began.
'Arrange a one-to-one meeting with me and Greenspan at my place as soon as possible,' Igor retorted, and immediately hung-up.
Two days later and Alan Greenspan drove into Igor's luscious residence. On Igor's arm was his extravagant, beautiful, and abused trophy wife. She'd been told of the importance of this meeting and so had managed to stay sober for 24 hours. Her make-up covered up her bruising, and thus from a once over look at her it was hard to tell that she'd spent the last month in tears at her sadistic treatment by Igor.
The shock was such that even a resilient economy would suffer from it.
Igor and his wife Nicola were waiting together at the porch as Greenspan strode up to greet them. Greenspan was of the opinion that his meeting with Igor was of such importance that they would be alone. He had detected the urgency in Igor's voice when he'd summoned this meeting. 'Good morning Alan,' Igor began. 'You've no doubt met my beautiful wife Nicola, have you not.'
'Morning Igor,' began Greenspan, 'yes, I've had the privilege________'
'Nicola is just going to show us to my anteroom. As you can probably guess, we cannot be disturbed or interrupted in our upcoming meeting. Nicola will leave us in peace once we're alone.'
Nicola did her best not to show her displeasure at the obvious dismissive nature in which she was being treated by her husband. She did a good job of acting unconcerned. After all, she was used to the 'abuse'.
Once they were alone in the anteroom, Igor began at pace. 'We need to iron out an economic response to the attacks of a few days ago. What do you suggest?'
Greenspan took a few seconds to deliberately clear his throat. He spoke slowly, as he even did publically. 'Some of us at the Federal Reserve have already had a chance to meet up and discuss the implications and ramifications of these terrorist attrocities. We're obviously following closely the developments on the news, and there have been some suggestions as to how we should respond.'
Greenspan and his colleagues reconvened in the Hastert's conference room on Wednesday, October 3 in order to review the economy. A further 517,000 people had requested unemployment assistance.
'We have to inject money into the system. We can do this by way of tax cuts. The economy is reeling from the attacks, and unemployment is up, especially in the tourism and hotel sectors. We have to assit these guys any way we can.'
'Good,' said Igor. 'You have my full support. Do what you feel needs to be done. Any thoughts on monetary policy?'
'We haven't yet had a chance to discuss it,' continued Greenspan. 'Off the record, my feeling is definitely that we have to lower interest rates quite a bit. Maybe not all in one go, but let's go on a downward trend. By doing so we make it cheaper for people and businesses to borrow money. Of course, at the same time we're hurting savers.' Greenspan let this sink in for a few moments, before inquisitvely asking, 'Do you know what the US governments response is going to be to these attacks? I get the impression it's not in our president's DNA to forgive and forget, or to even negotiate.
'I don't yet know what the US's response is going to be. I do have some personal thoughts on the matter that I'm willing to share with you.' Igor didn't wait for Greenspan's response. 'My feeling is, we've got to strike quickly so as to send out a warning, a message, a threat.'
Greenspan proposed a stimulus package of $100 billion. A substantial amount, but not so much that it would overstimulate the economy, leading to a rise in interest rates.
Igor allowed this statement to linger in the air for a bit. He wanted it to sink into Greenspan. 'We need to invade Afghanistan and get rid of Osama bin Laden,' Igor announced proudly. 'Then the Taliban will know that they messed with the wrong country.'
'Well, that's not my remit,' countered Greenspan. 'Anyway, what did you call me here for?'
Igor did not answer. He simply pointed to a couch, signalling that Greenspan should take a seat. He then walked across the room to his bookshelf. Igor had volumes and volumes of tomes. He pulled out a particularly large one and began leafing through it. He stopped about a third of the way through the volume and then began reading to himself. After a further few seconds, he stopped and gestured for Greenspan to come over and read what he was pointing at. This Greenspan did, and then he stared at what Igor was pointing at. 'How to enter someone's mind' was what was written directly above Igor's finger. 'I don't understand,' countered Greenspan. 'What is this?'
'You don't understand,' confirmed Igor. 'But you soon will. It's time for you and me to have a little chat.'
Press reports were out which gave the impression that Greenspan was running the show, calling the shots. Greenspan was uncomfortable with this interpretation, preferring to be seen as an expert behind the scenes, an implementor of orders.
'Please, take a seat. I need to talk to you,' said Igor.
Greenspan was beginning to feel a little uneasy. He was failing to understand why a rational man like Igor needed to read a book with instructions on how to enter someone's mind. Didn't they have pressing matters to discuss. 'Mr Alan Greenspan,' Igor continued, 'time is of the essence at the moment, as I'm sure you appreciate. I come to you because I need to talk to someone I can trust. And right now that someone is you.'
'Why thank you,' began Greenspan. 'I'm all ears.'
'This nation is at a critical junction,' continued Igor, 'and it's at times like these that certain people have to stand up and be counted. It is my belief that you and me are two such people.' Igor let this thought hang in the air for a while. It was clear that Greenspan was digesting all of this in his mind. He was doing sums in his head and coming to conclusions. Igor needed to influence those conclusions. 'You are a member of The Cabal, and that in itself tells me a lot. You understand that we are capable of a lot more than is normally appreciated. I kinda have a secret to tell you about my own personal powers and capabilities.'
Despite his persuasive powers, the weeks after 9/11 did not go Greenspan's way. Perhaps anticipating another terrorist attack was a big mistake.
Greenspan made himself more comfortable. He was really trying to lessen the shock of what he was about to hear. He always thought of Igor as a 'strange one' and truthfully, could not understand when he was elected head of The Cabal. By profession, he was a brilliant chemist. He had worked for many heavy-industrial companies, and had even taught Chemistry during his spare time at some universities. No one could seriously doubt his intellect. But all the same, Greenspan had his reservations about him. If he was to be honest with himself, he had started to worry about Igor when Greenspan saw him beat one of his girlfriens half-to-death. It was at a wine bar, where the four of them had gone to relax and socialize (Igor, Greenspan, Igor's girlfriend, and Greenspan's escourt). Igor and his girlfriend had got into a 'nothing argument' over a stare, or so Igor accused Daisy (his girlfriend) of giving some other guy in the bar. Greenspan had thought this was the usual 'lover's rift' until Igor smashed a wine goblet into Daisy's face and then proceeded to beat her senseless in front of everyone in the bar. The bouncers in the bar were in Igor's pocket, and so they just stood by as he beat Daisy. They only stepped in when Greenspan threatened to call the police after pleading with them to do something about Igor. From this point on Greenspan began to see Igor as somewhat of a 'loose cannon'.
Now Igor wanted to let Greenspan in on a little secret. What was it 'this time'? 'Go on,' said Greenspan. 'What secret powers do you possess?'
Igor cleared his throat before proceeding. 'It's not just that I have this special powers,' he said, 'but I want to share these powers with you. Interested?'
Greenspan decided to play along. 'Interested. Yes, I'm interested. But first I have to know what these special powers are.'
'I can possess foreign entities. I can inhabit anyone's body whom I so choose. Wouldn't you like these powers as well?'
This line really spooked Greenspan. What did Igor mean that he could possess foreign entities? 'Well, yeah, I guess I'd like these powers,' lied Greenspan, 'but could you delve a little further into what you mean by all this. Perhaps with an example or demonstration.'
The economy righted itself. Industrial production, after a further month of decline, bottomed out in November. Unemployment assistance fell, and the economy started to grow.
Igor was silent for a while. Greenspan was doing what he always did, showing scepticism at what Igor was claiming. Maybe it was Greenspan's analytical background, but he seemed to always want proof of any statement made. 'You're a hard man to convince,' said Igor. 'I want you to tell me how you want the United States to respond to these attacks, and after we negotiate back-and-forth, that's exactly what will happen.'
'Oh come on you can't be serious,' went on Greenspan. 'You mean to tell me that what the two of us decide should happen in response to this unprovoked attack is what will ultimately occur? Igor, I'm not sure where you're going with this, but I'm afraid I don't believe you.'
This response was fine by Igor, it played directly into his hands.'How should we, as a nation, respond, Mr. Greenspan?' It was the casual way that this question was phrased that really struck Greenspan.
'And when I tell you how we ought to respond, how I would respond were I in charge, what are you going to do?' asked Greenspan.
'Why, I'm going to make it happen of course. I want to show you, unequivocally, that I have supreme power. By my powers, one-by-one I will enter the minds of those people necessary to carry out your wishes. How does that sound?'
Greenspan was not worried if his expectations were not met as the economy's response to the attacks of 9/11 were proof of one thing: the economy's strong resilience.
Greenspan was now really spooked, as he knew he would be when dealing with Igor. But he didn't realise that he would be this spooked. Greenspan had worried about Igor when he seemed to often go off on a spiritual angle. It was perhaps for this reason that Greenspan had been really surprised when Igor was elected president of The Cabal. Greenspan had initially thought of The Cabal as a secular, or near-secular, organisation. But the more he learnt about the organization, the more he saw of its 'spiritual' side. Greenspan had not been too worried by this discovery at first, but now he got the impression that this side of The Cabal was taking over the running of the entire organization. 'I'm not sure you have that power,' confessed Greenspan. 'And furthermore, I'm not sure why you'd want it.'
'That's an honest answer,' replied Igor. 'But time is of the esssence. We can argue about the why later, but for now, please tell me how you'd respond if you had unlimited power.'
Greenspan didn't know what to think or how to respond. For a second he thought that perhaps he was being set-up. Would he be accused of trying to set in motion whatever he now proposed?
But what caused this market resilience? This was the type of question that Adam Smith had wrestled with.
'Well, let me get this straight,' said Greenspan. 'You're not necessarily asking what should be done, but rather what I would do were I in power. Correct?'
'Correct,' said Igor.
Greenspan cleared his throat. He was preparing for a long speech. 'Well, to start with, I'd like to convince myself, the nation as a whole, as to who was responsible for this murderous act. Then I'd demand that those responsible be brought to justice. That would mean bringing them here to the United States. A trial of sorts would have to be had. In addition to being brought to justice, reparations would have to be paid. Our economy is going to take a massive hit as a result of all this.'
'That's all well and good,' interrupted Igor, 'but what happens in the case where the offending country will not comply? What happens when this country will not send over to the United States those that are responsible for these acts?'
'I hate to say this,' replied Greenspan, 'but in such a case we would have to act unilaterally. That is, with or without the consent of our friends and colleagues. We would have to invade such a country, or countries, and go after those we deem to be responsible.'
'Bravo,' said Igor. 'Bravo!'
This book is in part a detective story. After 9/11 Greenspan realized that we are living in a different world. A more resilient, global economy.
Igor headed The Cabal. The Cabal was a secret, secret society. Members were invited into the organization, and in nearly all cases, the members were recruited from other secret societies. Oaths were taken, and rituals carried out. Further information was only given to members as they rose through the ranks. The new information imparted to them was only done so after the recipient swore secrecy. They were often told that the penalty for revealing information was death. No one was known to have been killed, but nor was anyone known to have broken the oath.
The Cabal was known to be a breakaway of another secret society. It was a breakaway of a Freemasons lodge. As a result it had many things in common with the Freemasons, but it differed in some critical areas. Its spiritual makeup was fundamentally different from that of the Freemasons. Freemasons accepted men from any religious background, although all members were required to believe in a higher, spiritual force, a Creator, a Great Architect of The Universe. Whilst The Cabal also accepted men from any, or even no, faith, a conversion was required.
The Age of Turbulence is Greenspan's attempt to understand this new world, say how we got here, and say what lies beyond the horizon. All this is done from Greenspan's perspective.
A conversion was required so that, in theory, all members of The Cabal had the same spiritual belief. The Cabal had its very own Bible. It shared a lot in common with the Masonic Bible in that it did not espouse any particular other faith, but its critical difference was in its version of Revelation. The Cabal Bible went on at length on the subject of prophesy. Its central argument was that there was coming a Man. No ordinary man, but a Man of God. Unlike the Christian's Jesus Christ, this man had never walked the earth before. But this man was sent by God to rule in place of God. According to The Cabal Bible, when this man finally showed up, there would be no more need for God. This man would in effect be God-in-flesh. But as to the identity of this man, their Bible said little. His name was not given, nor any characteristics. Somehow, earth would just know that this man had arrived. Earth seemed to be under instruction to allow this man to rule, for he did not seem to achieve power through his own means. Although he did not have any defining characteristics, he was said to be super-intelligent, as well as having prophetic skills.
Greenspan explores the emerging global environment, the consequences that arose out of the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, as well as global financial imbalances.
Determining someone's prophetic skills was always a difficult thing to do. Most prophets were clever enough to make very general prophetic statements such that when a significant event occured, the so-called prophet could always claim that this event was what they were referring to. Few prophets nowadays ever gave a precise date and event on which their word could be tested. So provided they did not give a prophecy that was dead wrong, someone could always claim to have prophetic skills. Igor had told Greenspan that he had something very significant to tell him. Something that was significant, but that for now could not be shared with anyone else. Greenspan wondered why he'd been chosen to receive such news. Was Igor about to make some kind of prophecy? Greenspan had no doubt that what he was about to hear was significant. However, he had to confess to himself that unless Igor's statement had some kind of backup, Greenspan would likely have trouble believing it, such were the statements that had been coming out of Igor's mouth of late.
'Are you seated comfortably?' Igor asked Greenspan. 'What I'm about to say is rather important, as I'm sure you'll agree.'
Greenspan would also conjecture about the world economy in 2030. His privileged position at the Federal Reserve gave him an advantaged vantage point.
'I am indeed,' replied Greenspan. He took a long swig of water that was in the glass beside his chair. 'What is it?'
Igor cleared his throat. 'What I have to say is deep,' began Igor. Oh no, Greenspan thought to himself. 'I know the identity of The Chosen One spoken about in our bible.' Igor decided to stop here and let this sink in. A whole 3 minutes passed with the two of them in silence. Greenspan kept dead silent, and this surprised Igor. When two individuals are having a conversation, 3 minutes of unenforced silence seems like an eternity. No music, no chirpring birds, just silence. Greenspan was a patient man, but decided to break the 'deadlock'.
'Oh, I see,' said Greenspan. 'Any idea that you may share his identity with others.'
'Well, you're looking at him,' barked Igor. This response did not surprise Greenspan. Not the idea that Igor was The Chosen One. If this were indeed the case then Greenspan would be shocked. But what didn't surprise Greenspan was the fact that Igor would come out and say something like this. Igor had begun to gain a reputation for being the author of very odd remarks. But Greenspan had sadly noted that his remarks became even odder when the two of them were alone. It's not that Greenspan believed that Igor was the chosen one. But Greenspan did believe that Igor believed he was the one.
Greenspan had the privilege of being able to call on any member of the Federal Reserve academic board. He could assess the pros and cons of any subject matter.
Again there was silence for a while. Then Greenspan decided to intervene. 'I see,' he said, hoping that he sounded like he believed what he had heard. 'How did you find out?'
'I was hoping you'd ask that,' replied Igor, looking excited. 'You'll be pleased to know that you are the first person I've told, and as such I'm hoping that for now you'll keep our conversation, and this information, to yourself.'
'Of course,' said Greenspan, 'go on.'
Igor cleared his throat again and continued. He explained that, unlike some had prophesized, he had not 'discovered' this truth. He had been told. Not by a leprechaun, as some had said would happen, not by an Irish gypsy, but by a clairvoyant. He said that he had been summoned at night, in a dream, by a spirit force. Yes, it was in a dream that he had been summoned, but the next day, when he was fully awake, he had found the location of the clairvoyant just as had been described in the dream. So he had not been sleeping when he'd been told the news, but he had been sleeping when summoned. The dream had been brief, on reflection, and in it he had simply been told the location of the clairvoyant, who the clairvoyant was, and the password he was to use to identify himself.
'So what did the clairvoyant say when you identified yourself?' Greenspan genuinely intrigued, asked.
Greenspan has not been inhibited in reaching some sweeping hypotheses. We can all see, that thanks to electronics, the world has changed. The proliferation of cell phones, email, internet, and so on.
'She immediately told me that I was the Chosen One and that I should be careful whom I told this to,' replied Igor. 'And you're the first person that I have told.' Igor went on to explain to Greenspan that, at first, he had not believed what he was hearing. But the clairvoyant had convinced him, able to tell him things about himself that nobody else could possibly know. Deep down Greenspan did not believe that Igor was The Chosen One, but he was unsure as to whether the story being relayed to him was true or false. Had these events occured as Igor said they had. Of this, Greenspan was not entirely sure. Maybe Igor really had met up with this clairvoyant. But if so, what was the incentive for telling Igor this 'untruth'. And what about the fact that the clairvoyant was able to rattle off details about Igor's life that only Igor knew. These facts played on Greenspan's mind.
This was the crux of what Igor had wanted to tell Greenspan. When Igor had finished relaying his story to Greenspan, there was yet again silence. Greenspan was determined that this time he would not break the silence, but deep down he felt the urge to do so. If only to get away from Igor and be alone for some time.
From Pekin, Illinois, to Peking, China, people's lives had changed. Communications had been revolutionized. People now had access to technology that Greenspan could not have dreamt of growing up in the 1940s. This technology was in the realm of science fiction.
The silence continued. This time it was broken by Igor. 'That's all I really want to say to you. Since you clearly don't have any more questions for me, let me ask you to comment. Do you believe me?'
Greenspan was sort of expecting having to comment on whether he believed this story or not. 'Oh, oh I believe that this meeting happened just as you said it did. But, but...'
'But you don't believe it's me,' interrupted Igor. 'You don't believe I'm The Chosen One.'
'Hold on, hold on,' said Greenspan firmly. 'You make it sound like I'm accusing you of lying. Which is certainly not the case.'
'Well, let me ask you. How can I not be The Chosen One and still be telling the truth?'
Greenspan thought for a moment. It's not that he did not know what to say, but rather was not sure how to say it. 'Firstly, I want to assure you that I don't think you're lying. We've got to make that clear. It's just that, maybe, perhaps a mistake was made. Again, I'm not even saying that you are not The Chosen One, but just that it's entirely possible that this clairvoyant got it wrong. That's the point that I'm trying to make.'
Trade barriers set up before World War II had led to a decline in international trade. Capital markets were required for globalisation and prosperity.
'Is it at all possible that this clairvoyant got it right?' asked Igor. 'What if I told you that this clairvoyant was not my only source for this statement I'm making.'
Correction, this CLAIM you're making, Greenspan thought in his head, but had the good sense not to speak his thoughts out loud. 'Of course it's entirely possible,' said Greenspan, 'but it's just that I don't want you to get your hopes up, in case she's made a mistake.'
'Bye for now,' said Igor. 'We'll carry on this subject some other time.'
The Cabal Bible made for one interesting read. It began in a similar way to the Christian Bible, with the creation of the universe by a God. It spoke of a chosen people (not the Jews) who were rescued from oppression by this God. Then, roughly four chapters into the work, the book broke with the Christian Bible and went high tech. It spoke of an alien existence separate from humans. This existence was malevolent and in constant battle with God. From the outside they were indecipherable from humans. But inside, their makeup was completely different. For every human that had a heart on his left side, there was an alien who had a heart on his right, and similarly with humans that had a heart on the right. It was as if every human on earth had an alien counterpart. These aliens had their own god and their own religion, but where they came from and who made them was not covered in The Cabal Bible.
According to The Cabal Bible this alien species and humans did not mix in any notable way for over 5000 years. But then one of the humans got greedy. Known for his good looks and wealth, this human soon got tired of all the earthly women that he had. Drake, as The Cabal Bible referred to him as, began to desire an alien, and called on the witches of his time for aid in acquiring one. Summoning an alien was his first problem. He did not tell Heather (the witch in this case) of his real motive, but only that he wanted to know how to summon an alien so as to have a conference.
A long time ago the creation of new financial institutions helped develop capital markets. A full quarter century later and the embrace of market capitalism had brought inflation to quiescence and interest rates to single digits.
Heather duly obliged. She trained Drake on the rituals necessary in summoning an alien species, and Drake learned quickly. When he had mastered the skills he put them to practice. No sooner had a female alien appeared than he seduced her. He was surprised at how easy this had been, having been taught that the aliens (the Vong as they were better known) detested humans. However, unlike with the earthly women, Drake took a fancy to the Vong and did not become bored with them. He settled down and had offspring with them. However, these children were an abomination to Drake's god, and they were immediately put under god's curse. They hardly spoke, but hissed. Although lazy, they were extremely powerful, and it was this offspring that developed a hatred for pure humans. Maybe Drake's god had known that this would occur and for this reason had banned intermarriage. Nontheless, Drake cared and loved for his children.
The Drake and Vong offspring were in constant battle with the pure humans, and The Cabal Bible prophesized that from the pure humans a Chosen One would arise who would put an end to the fighting and would rule forever.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 revealed economic collapse. Central planning was seen as an unredeemable failure.
Now Igor was claiming to be this very Chosen One. Claiming to be a direct descendent of Drake. What was Greenspan to make of this? At least Greenspan was alone for now. Keeping his word would be difficult but not impossible, so he would not utter a word of their conversation with anyone. But did Igor need help? Was there more going on than this claim? Greenspan put himself on alert. For now he would not anonymously seek a second opinion, but he'd keep a careful eye out. If Igor displayed any more signs of delusion, Greenspan would seriously consider getting help for Igor. But this would not be easy, what with Igor being the elected head of The Cabal. Who would Greenspan be able to turn to? Would he have to go it alone?
A few weeks passed and Greenspan began to wonder if it were not himself who was delusional. The whole country was baying for blood. An invasion of Afghanistan was on the cards. The excuse given was to 'get Bin Laden for the attacks on the Twin Towers'. Wasn't this what he had said he would do when asked by Igor as to his desired reation to the attacks. Was Igor behind all this? Was Igor more powerful than Greenspan would want to admit? The President's 'with us or against us' rhetoric was going down fine with the public. Greenspan hadn't been alone with Igor since their meeting, and so he did not have to comment on the goings on in the political world. Mind you, the way he felt right now, he didn't want to hear Igor say 'I told you so'.
It was not only the old Soviet bloc countries that had embraced market capitalism, but also what was formerly known as The Third World - countries that had remained neutral during the Cold War but had engaged in very centralised planning.
The Cabal Bible really did not say how The Chosen One was to be identified. But he was to be obeyed and feared. He was, in effect, a god. The Cabal now had many gods, a god of this and a god of that. The animal kingdom had gods for each type of animal. The plant kingdom had gods. Each of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy was created by a separate god. There was a god for each sense and emotion that humans could have. Many man-made inventions had gods. There seemed to be a god of everything and anything, with many of these gods having books of their own for whoever cared to read them. The surprising thing was that members were not forced to give up their own religion, their own god. But for those who chose to learn more about the Cabal religion, there was plenty of literature to read. But the prophesy was that The Chosen One would be a believer. He would also be very knowledgeable in the ways of The Cabal religion.
China's decision to protect property rights of foreigners accelerated foreign direct investment (FDI) to a level of $70 billion in 2006.
Igor was educating himself in the ways of the Cabal religion. Just like in Freemasonry, secrecy was the key. There were severe penalties for leaking anything about the religion to the outside world. Igor had decided to disguise his knowledge and practice of the Cabal religion by also diving into the conventional bible. Igor often found it useful to compare-and-contrast the two faiths. There were clearly a number of similarities, just as there were a number of major contradictions. Igor found comparison between the two faiths very useful as he found that by doing so he became very knowledgeable in both religions. Although he firmly believed that he was The Chosen One, he also became convinced that he could become a god in either faith. At first he felt as if he'd 'let slip' by revealing his identity to Greenspan, but this feeling began to fade. It was replaced by a conviction that he'd done the right thing. Done the only thing that he should do with such knowledge, and that was to reveal it to those closest to him. Time would soon tell if he'd made a mistake.
The abundance of low-cost labour had driven down wages and prices in the developed world. Furthermore, a take-up of high technologies in the so-called Asian tigers had increased their standard of living with exports to the west.
Igor was well-aware that he had not convinced Greenspan of who he was. He decided not to push this for now. He thought it would be better to tell one-or-two more people and gauge their response. Better to find a few adherents to the cause than get a whole bunch of supporters who were ready to throw him in a mental hospital at the first opportunity. Maybe he should be a little more careful as to whom he chose to reveal himself to, Igor thought. Convincing Greenspan ceased to be his number one priority. After all, Greenspan was just one man. It was going to take an army to achieve what he wanted to achieve.
There were passages from The Cabal bible that Igor had decided needed to be commited to memory, and recited at the appropriate time. 'He is the first born son of a first born son of a first born son'. This prediction from the Book of Ichaita was what Igor had decided to hammer home to anyone who questioned him. He was the first born son in his family, as was his father. He was not too sure about his late grandfather, but it could not be proven either way.
There had been a shift in the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the developing countries. These countries tended to have a higher savings rate than the industrialised countries. This is because these countries tend to have a weaker safety net, so their households save more of their income for a rainy day and for retirement.
So, accoring to Igor, he could prove the birthright. He was clearly conversant in the ways of The Cabal Bible. He had committed lare junks of it to memory. An example of a passage he could recite was the following:-
'When the Man of Blood rises, nothing and no one will be able to stop him. He will trample over all those who stand in his way. He is above all men and is considered a god amongst gods. He will come from a very powerful country, a very powerful city, from a very powerful family, and he will be part of a very powerful clan.' Igor wasn't sure what was meant by clan, but amongst the dictionaries definitions was the description of a group with a common interest. If it came down to proving he was part of a powerful clan, he would have to rely on The Cabal, or the gang he'd been a member of whilst still young.
The shift of global GDP from developed low-saving rate countries to developing high-savings rate countries served to increase the global savings rate to an amount greater than planned investment. The shift also served to put downward pressure on interest rates.
The Musanyepa Gang considered itself one-of-a-kind. It believed in self-improvement. Positive self-improvement in that it educated its members. Prizes included a paid semester at college. It held shares in a number of gymnasiums and swimming-pools and it was involved in quite a few social programmes. But its altruistic actions came at a financial cost, and these costs were often extracted mercilessly, with Musanyepa involved in many questionable pursuits. Money laundering, drugs, escourts (though no sanctioned prostitution) were "par for the course". Musanyepa justified its actions to itself by pointing to the good works it carried out (ends justifying the means mentality).
Igor was a member of Musanyepa. He was well aware of all of its operations, but he turned a blind eye to it. In fact, being a founding member of the gang he was just as culpable as any member of the gang when it came to their dodgy dealings. If anything, the gang had cost Igor more than he'd made from it. But he carried on with it more for the connections that he made. Plus, whenever he was bored he had somewhere to hang out and have his way with beautiful women who were free to the 'founding fathers'.
The supply of investment funds looking for returns on investment were greater than the investment demand. There were many factors that contributed to a dampening of global interest rates.
There really was no entrance criteria for the Musanyepa gang. Anyone could join. But acquired grades were needed in order to advance, and the gang was known to kick out non performing members. The gang had even attempted to go legit in certain areas. They had a valid team in the Pub Pool league, but it had initially gotten into trouble as it initially refused to allow female members to join. But political correctness had gotten the better of Musanyepa, and they had relented. Igor was happy to be a member of the social scene with regards Musanyepa without insisting, as he usually did, to be made leader of every social club he was a member of. The one area where he had a sort of leadership role within Musanyepa was with regards its finances. Igor was the treasurer, and this role he carried out with the utmost secrecy. And the fact that Musanyepa was too small to require an audit only served Igor's interests. But stealing from Musanyepa was not part of Igor's agenda. As previously mentioned, he actually contributed more financially to Musanyepa than he took out of it. He saw Musanyepa as a way to make contacts, not as a way to get rich.
Inflation has been kept down to single digits. This is unique for a country that has left the gold standard and adopted fiat currency for over 40 years.
But the truth is, Igor didn't need Musanyepa to get rich. This he already was. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He had been rather selfish growing up. Many teachers thought that he was an only child. He was also incredibly cruel to pets. Electrocution and burns were common for them. But unlike other kids deemed psychopaths, Igor was highly attentive in class. Teachers had the impression he was on a mission. He almost never missed a class, and he was top-of-the-class in almost every subject. When it came to the subject of 'History', his teachers were amazed. It was as if he knew everything in the class books. He rattled off dates the same way some of his class mates rattled off the names of sports stars. Teachers didn't like taking him for History because he sometimes had a nasty habit of embarrassing the teachers. He corrected Mr. Evans on a number of facts about the French Revolution, until Mr. Evans quickly segued to the subject of Napoleaon Bonaparte. It got to the point where, even at a young age (11) Igor apologised to a History teacher about his knowledge. Apart from the occasional outburst, he was known to the teachers as a rather respectful pupil.
Central banks credit themselves with having adjusted their long term policies so as to benefit the global economies. The decline in real interest rates had led to a jump in the price-earnings ratio of stocks and real-estate.
But it was his cruelty to animals that made Igor Jnr stand out. Cruelty to animals at that age is not that uncommon. But the extreme sadistic nature of this boy was something to behold. He often started by cutting out the tongues of the pets. Then after hours in agony he would use sellotape to put back the tongues in the wrong animals (a half cut cat's tongue in a dog, for example). Then after this an eye would be slashed with a blunt knife. He clearly got off on the sound of the screams. The animals were not killed before their tails were cut off, some of them passing out from the torture. Igor got away with all this thanks to the high society status of his parents. One of the Jesuit priests at his school atttempted to have a word with him about his sadistic tendencies, but Igor succeeded in buying him off with a bottle of scotch and a case full of Cuban cigars. All was forgiven and ignored when it was exam time, at which Igor excelled.
Igor was also good at keeping secrets. He had his own form of voodoo. He had found a way to do what many said could not be done: to control the spirits of certain dead folk.
World equity prices rose between 1985 and 2006 at a pace faster than that of world nominal GDP. As a consequence, world liquidity rose. Homeowners were able to dip into their home equity at a rate faster than their incomes would allow.
Surely Greenspan had no option but to feel privileged about his association with Igor. Although Igor had not revealed all his powers to Greenspan, his claim of his powers over the spirits of the dead he had shown to Greenspan. Showing Greenspan had been easier than Igor thought. He hadn't even had to wait until dark as he thought he would have to. Greenspan had come up to him and demanded 'a miracle', as opposed to all Igor's talk of spiritual superiority. It had been around 4 in the afternoon and Greenspan had wanted one there and then. Like a god, Igor had given Greenspan the usual spiel about not depending on what the eye could see, and of not forgetting what had gone on before. Knowing that this would not be enough, Igor had closed the curtains and created a darkroom. He had had his audio equipment all in place but had found that he hadn't even needed it. As they sat around a small table, the room had started to vibrate. Quietly at first, but more violently after a minute or two.
The increase in household spending had been enough to absorb the increase in exports from the emerging economies. 'The Economist' had said in 2006 that this increase in spending meant that the world was on course for its best decade ever.
Although Igor had not been afraid of these vibrations (he had lived through earthquakes in South America) he had seen the mortal terror in the eyes of Greenspan. Greenspan had not waited for any more proof and had simply bolted from the room in record time. Greenspan had never again mentioned the incident, and Igor thought it prudent that he not mention it either. There was a certain air that went with the silence on the issue. The only thing that sometimes disturbed Igor was that Greenspan acted like the incident had never occurred. He had seemed to return to his old skeptical ways. He had again become a non-believer pretty quickly.
Igor had long decided that it was time to put his seniority in the Musanyepa gang to good use. He had an agenda which was becoming overdue and so it was time for a little muscle-flexing. Should he call a meeting? That was a possibility. He could call a physical meeting or have one in cyberspace. All the same, he felt he needed to remind those present, and particularly Greenspan, that he was the boss. The other thing that troubled him was whether to show those present that he had spiritual powers. Should he delve into the Dark Arts.
The reinstatement of open markets and free trade had lifted many millions of the world population out of poverty. Admittedly there were many millions who still needed help, but many millions had been lifted to a standard of living that used to be the preserve of the so-called developed world.
The reason that Igor was troubled by the Dark Arts issue was because he spent so much time perfecting his art. Enough to know of the dangers, especially of using his spiritual gifts for earthly gain. But even if he were to 'show off' his spiritual talents, would this be enough to convince those present that he was indeed The Chosen One. Would it be enough to convince Greenspan. Up until now he had confided only in Greenspan, but maybe if he widened his net a little, and others became convinced, then Greenspan in turn would also become convinced. For whatever reason, convincing Greenspan became his primary goal. Igor leafed through his copy of The Cabal Bible hoping for some inspiration. There wasn't really any instruction on how the chosen one should behave or act, but merely indications as to some of the things that he would do on his return.
Igor got on the phone to Greenspan. 'Hi Alan, how are you doing?' he began.
'Oh, it's you again,' replied Greenspan. Igor really didn't like Greenspan's attitude, and made a note to do something about it.
'I wanna call a meeting of The Cabal,' continued Igor.
If the current period has a punchline, it is the reemergence of market capitalism. After the increase of state intervention during the 1960s, market capitalism has once again risen to prominence.
'A physical meeting?' asked Greenspan.
'Let's do it in cyberspace,' replied Igor. 'A few things have come to mind and we need to do this as quickly as possible. Make it happen. Please.'
With that Igor hung up and left the planning of the meeting to Greenspan. Having the meeting in cyberspace meant that he would not really be able to show off his spiritual skills. But he knew that he had to once again show leadership. He had lost the initiative, and this he needed to regain.
Greenspan came back to Igor quicker than Igor expected. In less than four hours he had gotten replies from most members of the team, and they all could attend. The meeting was set for the following morning and would be conducted over skype. Igor was pleased with Greenspan, but reminded himself of his mental note that Greenspan needed to be reigned in. There had been no agenda set for the meeting, so it would have to go down as an 'ad hoc', emergency meeting. Igor felt that he was in his element. Now to prepare his room from where he would chair the meeting.
All of this led to a fostering of a spirit of entrepreneurship. The role of governments in the lives of its citizenry was reduced.
The first thing Igor did was to sweep the room clean. He threw away nearly everything that was on the floor, with the notable exception of his Apple iPad and mobile phone. The dirty clothes that he'd thrown on the floor were put into a laundry basket. He spent a mere 20 minutes on cleanliness and tidiness. Then came the fun part. Then came the part of which Igor could be considered an expert.
Igor prepared the room for the spirit world. The room had to be spiritually perfect. Igor had prepared rooms for covens, so this was nothing new to him. For the actual meeting, the room had to be as dark as skype would allow, but this was not the case during the preparation phase. The red pentagram would have to take up the centre of the skype feed of the room. He had a poster with a pentagram, and on top of this he would place a picture of the head of one of their gods, Baphomet. Then he would need an image of baby-blood. Getting a lookalike blood liquid in the picture would not be a problem, but how to ensure that the viewer's knew that this was a representation of baby-blood was the problem. Red blood could come from anyone or anything.
During the early post-World War II years international capital flows were tightly controlled and exchange rates were in the grip of finance ministers decisions. Central planning was prevalent in developing and developed markets.
Igor decided that it would be simple to have an image of a dead baby with a knife wound to its neck, from which the blood was seeping through. After about an hour and a half, the room was ready. Normally when Igor was having such meetings physically in his room he would have to take great care to ensure that his hidden microphones were just that: hidden. The same went for the speakers. Those present could have no clue that what they heard was not, in fact, coming from the spirit world, but from a boom-box. But in the virtual world, as long as such devices were out-of-sight of the webcam, Igor was fine.
The room was dark, and looked menacing enough. The emails were sent out, with the meeting set for 19.30 tomorrow evening. Igor played around with some scary tunes, which he'd use for an introduction. He dug up a record of Yoko Ono, wife of the late-former Beetle John Lennon, and on it she was screaming in a high-pitched voice. This he would play half way through his 'sermon', with the sudden change in tempo intended to shock and scare. Smell was of no importance over skype, but Igor made sure to have to room pervaded with incense, more for the look over the feed than for the smell.
During the mid-1970s Economic Policy Committee meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only Hans Tietmeyer of Germany and Alan Greenspan called for market-based policymaking decisions.
The webcam was facing the desk which was backed up against one side of the wall. Half way up was placed the pentagram with the picture of Baphomet and the slaughtered baby. Igor was sure to make certain that the audio devices could not be seen in the video feed. He then played around with the sound settings so as to make sure that the mood was set right. The desk was pretty sparse, with the exception of the tome of The Cabal Bible that was placed in its centre.
After a cursory examination of the room, Igor was pleased that the video feed seemed to give off the right air. The only other thing of which he had to pay special attention was his attire. Igor had to dress appropriately. He wanted to dress as a high priest should. For such sermons, especially when he was filmed alone, Igor always wore red. From head-to-toe, red. It was a red cloak that Igor had settled on, with a priests collar. He then tried on his reading glasses. Perfect. He felt ready. All he had to do now was to wait for the alloted time for the meeting to start.
Keynes offerred a mathematically sound argument as to why the world economy had stagnated and proffered that government deficit spending provided a solution. Government intervention became the prevalent paradigm of the mid-1970s.
The one last item that Igor felt was needed in the room was infestation. That's right. Infestation from the animal kingdom. The idea of stuffing the room full of cats and dogs did pass through Igor's mind. But he wanted something more menacing. He settled on rats. If he filled the room with enough rats, their stench would help develop the atmosphere of the surroundings. Plus their presence would show the viewer an adequate level of 'lack of hygiene'. He wasn't too sure if the viewer would be able to see the rats through the darkness, but he was sure they'd be able to hear them running around the room. Attracting them would not be a problem. He'd heard some of them within the last couple of weeks, and the ones that had made a scratching sound during the night had given him a fright. If only he could transmit this feeling over the webcam. He littered the room with food droppings so as to attract them before the meeting. In addition to the food droppings, Igor took out a slab of raw meat from the fridge and left it slap-bang in the middle of the table.
Incomes policies differed from country to country, but they were mainly a negotiation between unions, which were much more powerful than they are today, and management. Incomes policies were ostensibly voluntary.
The next morning and the room was all but ready. Igor was pretty sure that despite all his preparation, the following meeting would not go absolutely perfectly. That was impossible. But what Igor wanted to know was whether he could bend time. That is, could he change what had happened. He knew from experience that mistakes would occur during the meeting, whether from himself, from the guests, or from both. But Igor thought it would be a good idea to make a deliberate mistake and then see if he could reverse it. Was not reversing time everyone's dream. The paedophile could rape as many children as he desired, and then reverse the action when the time made this necessary. But what did reversing time mean? Would the paedophile still have enjoyed himself once the time had been reversed.
Igor had read a lot of contradictory works on the reversal of time. Was it possible was a debatable option by those in the know. And if it was possible, how could one be certain that it was not occuring at the present time. After all, only the present could be proven true: correct? What if the French Revolution never occurred? Was it possible to make France, instead of America, the centre of the universe.
President Nixon's ill-advised, though initially immensely popular wage and price control of 1971, saw the last vestiges of wage and price interventionalism in the postwar era in the developed world. Greenspan had come to appreciate the beauty of market capitalism.
So interfering with the sequence of time was a priority for Igor. As was the switching of dimensions. But what this meant was clearly non definable, as 'dimension' meant different things to different people. But what this meant for Igor was the ability to control space. He could be somewhere else, without actually being there in person. So he could enter someone's room (presumably whilst his conference was being conducted), move things about, but be invisible to those in the room. Igor was determined to give this a go at this or the next conference. Igor had decided to reveal his identity to all present. He would then enter the rooms of those he considered to be 'doubting Thomas's', looking for evidence of whoever they actually considered to be the 'chosen one'. He would attempt to replicate this evidence, and in so doing convince the member that he, himself, was The Chosen One. All this Igor would attempt alone, and he knew that here he had a problem. And this problem existed assuming he was successful. He would have to allow the conference to go on so long as to allow him time to enter each individual's room and do a search. This he assumed would have to be done serially.
Greenspan was appreciative of having worked with the main economic policymakers of the past generation. Doing so had made him appreciate competitive market forces as a power for good.
Many questions Igor had. But no answers as yet. He had made up his mind that he would play a sort of trial-and-error game. He would find out during the live conference if he had the magical powers he needed to carry out his aims. There was nothing more to do now than wait. Wait until the conference went well. He practised. But he had no real way of knowing if he'd been successful. In front of his mirror, he had perfected the art of turning himself invisible. This he did by entering a deep, non-breathing trance. When he was in this state, he looked at himself in the mirror and saw right through himself. Success, yes. But could he be certain that he could not be seen by others. Whilst in this state he had also perfected the art of bending time. This he thoroughly enjoyed doing as the exercise did not drain him of much needed energy. He could slow clocks down and speed them up. He could even turn them back to a maximum of five minutes. He only felt psychic energy leaving him if he attempted to make alarms go off. This he was not always successful at.
But he had not had success in all the areas of the dark arts that he attempted to master. Despite long hours of practice he still was not able to turn lights on and off using his mind. Nor could he levitate goods. But without doubt his successes outnumbered his failures.
There is persistent questioning as to how unfettered markets distributes its rewards. There is ambivalence to this question. Market competition creates winners and losers.
So the room was now prepared. Igor dimmed it for effect. He sat cross-legged in the centre of the video feed, without any chair or desk. He quickly entered a meditative state as part of his preparation. A wave of energy flowed through him. He had the uncanny feeling that today was going to be a good day. He was going to achieve all of his objectives. After introducing the participants to the meeting, Igor would attempt to begin his magic, his dark arts. Without warning he would disappear from view, and then he would attempt to enter each of the participant's rooms. Then, again without warning, he would reappear. After this, the highlight of the meeting, the reason for its calling. He would reveal himself to all those present. He would tell them of who he was spiritually, and wait for their individual reactions. Then the real fun would begin.
End of Part One