Criminality from the ground up on 9/11/2007
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Sep 14, 2007, 01:43

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 connections.

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 good.

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 white-collar crooks?

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

From 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 evolution.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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