Let�s start at Ground Zero itself. New
York Daily News staff writer Greg B. Smith reports �seven contractors cited
for everything from mob ties to tax fraud to fatal accidents are getting a
slice of the $16 billion reconstruction at Ground Zero . . .
�The problem firms are found every day working the bulldozers, cranes,
jackhammers and pile drivers rebuilding the site of the World Trade Center . .
. All of the companies work for the Port Authority, the Dormitory Authority or
the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. on taxpayer-funded contracts worth
millions of dollars.�
The list begins, as Smith points out, with John Galt Co., which turns
out to be a shell company at the heart of the new investigations into the
August 18 fire at the Deutsche Bank tower in which two firemen died.
John Galt, the company�s name, ironically taken from the hero in Ayn
Rand�s tome to laissez faire capitalism,
Atlas Shrugged, is certainly no hero, but tied to Safeway Environmental, a
company with not only a terrible safety record but one barred from city work.
It seems one of its directors is a reputed mob associate. This News� story runs
like a Sopranos episode. In fact, the
News came up with six more companies, all with crooked storylines. You got a
problem with that?
Then read the eye-opening facts of Quadrozzi Concrete�s ties to the
Luchese crime family; PAL Environmental�s toxic disposal of waste; Leticia
Inc.�s dirt hauling jailbird-for-fraud owner; Testa Corp.�s falling cranes; the
Laquila Group Construction�s pay offs to mob-controlled unions, their hire by
Larry Silverstein no less; plus Juda Construction�s organized crime
You wonder, isn�t there anybody honest running construction? Or is the
only honesty coming from the working stiffs busting their bones everyday to get
the work done, not just for a paycheck but to build something they believe is
of common benefit, a Freedom Tower to stand for their country.
And is it just the Alpha apes, the ruling criminal families that bring
the selfishness we see so often in construction and other industries. Let me
postulate that there are two forces at work here, criminality and the forces
that expose and fight them, like Smith, the Daily News, enforcement officials,
outspoken activists, and readers who take the time to learn the facts. What�s more,
let�s consider who will inhabit the Freedom Tower.
The criminals inside the buildings
Let�s pass over Wall Street�s profits made from the foreknowledge of
9/11; pass over the millions individuals made in puts, i.e. bets that the
airlines, Morgan Stanley housed in Tower 1 and other to-be-damaged corporations
would tank as a result; let�s gloss over the calls, i.e. bets that prices would
go up on defense stocks and allied industries. That is all old news. Let�s deal
with today and the criminally garbaged stock market left by subprime lending,
which bubble recently broke, and whose vacuum could suck us up into nowhere.
At the core of all that white-collar effort is one operative word: criminality, the willful choice to
profit from wrong-doing. The guys selling the houses and mortgages had to know
those buyers didn�t have a pot to pay with. It�s their business. So looking the
other way on bad financial specs is not an accident, or even a sincere effort
to provide opportunity to the disenfranchised. It�s a criminal way to make a
buck, to collect massive commissions on these sales, and let somebody else eat
the real bill. That�s us, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, duly paying for the common
Unfortunately, that kited debt paper was collateralized into bonds, mutual
funds, hedge funds, and like a cancer quietly ate away at the economy until it
started to fail, and still does. Then credit suddenly tightened, huge sell-offs
of stocks occurred in the market, with reverberations of same around the world.
And the Fed had to step in and pour our tax money in to save the asses of these
creeps. Because of the quantity of Creeps R US, the impact of the liquidity
dry-up could make world markets choke as everyone else goes under. Runs on
banks could flourish and 1929 could return like a risen Titanic in no time.
So, really, what is the difference between the guys that send in a
wobbly crane that will fall and kill workers, the crooked companies poisoning
the environment with toxic dumping or other crooks bribing unions to put nonunion
workers in as union workers on the job, so they can inflate the costs to the
city and state? What is the difference between the blue-collar crooks and the
A crook is a crook is a crook. And crookedness is much of how the market
and the Fed and Wall Street work. With insider trading, with consciously
deflating or inflating values of stocks and bonds and our dollars, evaporating
savings and retirement funds, skimming from money-laundering, manipulation of
currencies, leaving humongous deficits for the sapped people to pay. These
criminals turn our economy into their profit-making whore. But let�s bang it up
a notch, BAM, as Emeril Lugasi would say. What about . . .
The criminals in the US government
9/11�s planned and executed tumble to start two wars (now weighing in at
$3-4 billion a week), to trying to screw seniors out of Social Security, sick
and healthy people out of universal health care, the poor out of Medicare; from
watching bridges tumble into rivers to forcing states like New Jersey to offer
up their Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway for privatizing, means some
bozo (not even from the US necessarily) buys it and runs it as he wishes. The
war spending drains monies from city and state governments and dries up money
for education, social services and the institutions of a vibrant democracy.
From attempting to dissolve the nation itself into the North American
Union, which enables the needs of multi-national corporations south and north
of the borders to override the laws and standards of living of Americans; to
the privatization of still more common land, infrastructure, and natural
resources, wildlife areas that belong to the people of our country; to the
creation of spying programs via telephone and internet to subvert the rights
and liberties of the American people, the criminal intent, to take unfair
advantage of others, is the same.
From the attempt to destroy our democratic framework of government, by
undermining both parties with outrageous campaign contributions, literally
buying them to lobby not legislate, you thereby subvert the Congress itself;
from padding judicial benches with political appointees solely for the
advancement of one party�s needs at the expense of decisions to be made for all
people on the true right and wrongs of evidence and testimony, is more of the
same, simply criminality.
In fact, for the White House to laugh in the faces of investigators and
deny them access to documents, testimony and tapes of meetings whose purpose
was fraud and complicity (as in Enron) is criminal. And so is the denial of any
victims' families of 9/11 to have a court trial in six years. Merely to offer
those victims' families the hush money of the Victim Compensation Fund and no
right to sue for liability or damages, that, too, is the rankest kind of
criminality. Yet, there are those who fight it, at all levels of American life,
even a humble widow like Ellen Mariani.
Add to the murders created by 9/11�s engineers, the War on Terror
resulting a day later, resulting in the subsequent murder of Afghan people in
the unsuccessful search for the patsy Osama bin Laden, resulting soon after in
the illegal preemptive attack of the Iraqi people based on willfully false
accusations of Saddam Hussein being in possession of weapons of mass
destruction, which he didn�t have, and willing to use them at any moment, which
he didn�t do. Thus to go in illegally and �bomb the people of Iraq into the
Stone Age� is murder, clear and simple. Yet there are more and more people
speaking out against these acts of criminality.
But what separates the evildoers in our government from the crime
families of the concrete business? The Murder Incorporated of Depression Days,
the Al Capone of the St. Valentine�s Day Massacre, the Helter Skelter murders
of Charles Manson, the multi-faced anonymous serial killers of the past and
present? What separates them from the Mafia, the Mossad, the SS, the
vulture-like Elites feasting on genocide, religionists killing for their god?
Nothing separates them. Except perhaps wardrobe, names, skin tones, theologies,
all that is ephemeral. The core of criminality is one thing, from the ground up
to the sky, and to the moon that some would privatize and colonize (read
steal), as with every particle of life.
Look beyond the criminals
Consider that in the criminally manufactured apocalypse of 9/11, as
thousands were dying in New York City, the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania
field, others were rushing in to save the lives of strangers and colleagues.
Others put selfless heroism before selfish interest. First responders rushed
into the World Trade Center, into the chaos of the end days to save their
fellow man for another day, honoring the commitment to give their lives if
necessary. Everyday working people became towering heroes leading colleagues
from the falling towers, and returning to the towers only to lose their lives
trying to save even more people.
If 9/11 was a day of criminal government infamy, it was also a day in
which average men and women manifested an innate and willing courage to fight
disaster, to transcend fear and terror, right down to gathering the parts of
the dead, even at the future cost of their health and lives. In the darkest of
hours created by criminals, good people stepped forth to bring life,
compassion, honor, courage, love, strength, in short, humanity to the scene.
The life-preserver and giver took back the awful message of the life-taker. And
as the dark cloud of the criminally-pulverized towers descended, blotting the
sky, the human spirit rose above it as the morning sun, bringing together the
people of the city and the world to lend their help, generosity and unity.
Again, it was the criminals who belittled that great human outpouring of
love and selflessness. It was the little man with a megaphone who came to lie
to the world, the criminal liar who faced the noblest of men, their soiled
faces and beat bodies ready to serve. And once again the criminals steered the
good into the havoc of war. For the criminals, only their own selfish interests
and need to dominate the city, the nation and the world matter.
Yet I invite the criminals to consider the cost of their actions. And as
they smirk, sneer at what may seem naivet�, I ask them to examine history and
its greatest criminals: Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, Amin, et al, and see the
disasters, the bloodshed, the genocides and the self-destruction they lead to. As the poet John Donne wrote in his
meditation XVII . . .
"All mankind is of one author, and
is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but
translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated . .
. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher
only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how
much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. . . . No man is
an island, entire of itself . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am
involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee."
Perhaps that passage is clich�. Nevertheless the simplicity,
the eternal quality of its observation, the genetic truth of man�s dual nature
rings again, like the bell that tolls for all. Let the good and best among us
put our shoulders to the wheel and right the direction of this world. We can do
it. We must do it. The alternative is no alternative, either to history or
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New
York. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.