Getting a Grip 

Anthrax, Taxes, Nazis, and Spooks. 
Tales of Greed and Intrigue from the War Front.

  By Michael I. Niman

              At the onset of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt admonished Americans that the war effort would require sacrifice.  In the ensuing years poor people paid the cost of the war with their lives.  Wealthy folks paid the cost by shelling out additional taxes, with rates increasing sharply in the upper brackets.  Many gave their lives as well.  Theoretically, everyone was supposed to do what he or she could for the war effort.

            The United States is now a different country.  The new war began on the tail of George W. Bush’s tax restructuring program, dubbed “the tax cut,” by the media.  Under this program someone with Dick Cheney’s income will benefit from a $2.3 million tax cut.  By comparison, the poorest 40% of American workers will see less a cut of less than $100.  The $300 “advance” y’all received against next year’s cut amounts to nothing more than a cruel joke.  And we’re all going to pay through the nose in the form of higher local taxes to restore essential services lost in the new federal budget.

Show Us the Money

              The immediate question on September 13th, as the US committed the first oodles of billions of dollars to the war effort, is where is this money coming from.  The Bush “tax cuts,” in their first months, had already knocked the US treasury off kilter.  This isn’t a multiple-choice exam – there’s only one answer.  Apologize to all those rich bastards, remind them they’re Americans and we’re “at war,” and cancel their party.  When they start to whine Bush could wrap himself in the flag and flash the cute puppy in the headlights face.  The so-called tax cut would be history and we could start to rebuild New York.

              Dream on, the Bush nightmare is real.  Not only don’t the rich ante up, but Bush is now proposing further tax cuts for the ultra rich as, get this, an economic  “stimulus” bill.  It’s part of the “War on Terrorism” so Democrats had damn well better support it.

            The Bush proposal, now inching its way from the House to the Senate, proposes an immediate $54 billion tax cut to be followed during the next year by an additional $46 billion.  According to former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, writing for the Los Angeles Times, all of the $54 billion, would go to the wealthiest 30% of US households, with half of it going to the richest 5%.  Buried in this tax package, according to The New York Times, is a $1.4 billion tax break for IBM, $800 million for GM and, most frightening, a $670 million break for NBC’s corporate parent, GE.  Needless to say, Tom Brokaw will continue parroting the Administration line.  Also benefiting from this bill, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, will be TXU Power, Chevron/Texaco, Enron, Phillips Petroleum, IMC Global and CMS Energy.  All are energy or mining companies based in or near Texas.

West Valley, Twin Towers & Treason

              While proposing an unprecedented wartime tax cut for the rich, the Bush Administration has continued cutting money from needed programs, recently announcing cuts that might paralyze the cleanup of the West Valley Radioactive Waste Dump (let’s call it what it is).  The local media has focused mostly on the job loss at the West Valley site, seemingly forgetting the potential catastrophe the workers there are working to avert.   On the subject of nuclear catastrophes, Bush, earlier this year proposed cutting $100 million from a Clinton era program designed to secure Russian nuclear weapons against terrorist theft.  This sum amounts to 7% of the proposed Bush handout to IBM. 

            Of the $40billion recently promised to rebuild New York, it now seems that only $7billion will be going to rebuild New York and The Pentagon.  Governor Patacki, fresh from Lower Manhattan photo-ops with “The President,” went to Washington with damage estimates of around $36 billion but came back empty handed.  New York City lost 100,000 plus jobs immediately following September 11th.  Sixty-Six restaurants in lower Manhattan alone are closed.  The migration to New Jersey in the wake of the attacks has made Jersey City the fastest growing municipality in the US.  The loss of tax revenues to both New York City and the State are staggering, with the ripple effects threatening to cripple many services here in Buffalo.  As a state, we’re expected to shoulder the cost of the terrorist attack against our nation while Bush, exploiting his newfound popularity, attempts to divert billions in federal funds to his Texas handlers.  As New York continues to dig the corpses of firefighters and police officers out of the rubble of lower Manhattan, Bush’s actions amount to nothing less than treason. 

Daddy Bush & The bin Ladens

            Following the money brings us to a few strange twists in the road.  It now seems, according to The Wall Street Journal, that the senior George Bush is employed as a consultant for the Carlyle Group, a company owned in part by the bin Laden family.  While the bin Ladens have officially disowned their son Osama, the FBI has subpoenaed the bin Laden family business’s bank records as part of its investigation into the attacks of September 11th.  Judicial Watch, a Washington DC based public interest lobby assailed the connection, arguing “The idea of the President’s father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in connection with the terror attacks of September 11 is horrible. President Bush should not ask, but demand, that his father pull out of the Carlyle Group.”  Bush’s father works for Osama’s father.  Who knew? It’s a small small world after all.

            Hang on.  It gets weirder.  Vice President Dick Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton Energy.  Investigative journalist and author, Bill Weinberg, recently reported that Halliburton, according to company websites, owns, in a joint venture with the “bin Laden Group,” Bredaro-Shaw, a company whose predecessor built pipelines in Iran, Libya and Alaska.  Spooky Cheney also, according to the Amarillo Globe, held a seat on the Kazakhstan Oil Advisory Board in the mid 1990s when he brokered a deal for Chevron (now Chevron/Texaco), Shell and Mobil (now Exxon/Mobile) to build a pipeline to bring Kazakhstani oil to the West.  The region is widely expected to produce over 75% of the world’s oil by the middle of the 21st century. 

            I really don’t know what to make of these strange connections and I don’t dare attempt to draw any conclusions.  Capital in today’s global economy is so inter-twined, these coincidences could very well be innocent.  But it gets stranger.  Fasten your seat belts and read on.

Bin Laden Meets With CIA?

            According to a report published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, and the French newspaper, Le Figaro, the American Hospital in Dubai treated Osama bin Laden in July of this year.  The newspapers cite French intelligence sources as reporting that while in the urology clinic of the hospital, bin Laden was visited by two CIA agents as well as Prince Turki al Faisal, who at the time headed the Saudi intelligence agency.  The papers report that bin Laden is widely believed to be suffering from advanced stages of Hepatitis C and had a dialysis machine delivered to his bunker in Afghanistan.  The specter of bin Laden, the FBI’s most wanted man, meeting with CIA officials two months prior to the September 11th attacks, is, to say the least, curious.  US officials deny the meeting occurred and American Hospital officials in Dubai deny bin Laden was a patient.  The next question, then, is why would French intelligence sources float such an accusation?

A is for Anthrax

            Anybody who has turned on a television knows the war in Afghanistan has taken a back seat to the Anthrax war at home.  Suddenly our postal carrier has taken on the duel roles, both as hero and angel of death.  Beyond the images of HAZMAT teams and surgically secure mailrooms, the American media is telling us little about this latest scary white powder.  This much we know.  According to a report published in New Scientist magazine, the strain of anthrax that has so far shown up is the “Ames Strain,” developed by the US military’s bioweapons program, which officially destroyed its stockpile in 1969.  The Ames strain emerging now creates a great embarrassment for the US military. 

Early on in the anthrax scare government officials speculated that this Ames anthrax was “weaponized” in Iraq.  If this is the case, they will have to answer the question as to how Iraq came to be in possession of American military anthrax.  For years, reporters in the alternative media fielded allegations that the first Bush Administration might have covertly supplied biological weapons to Iraq to use against Iran, but these reports were previously dismissed as impossible to verify.

The Nazi Connection

            It is not likely, however, that they would have to answer these questions. The British newspaper, The Observer, cites US Justice Department sources as alleging that evidence now points to right wings terrorists in the US as culprits in the Anthrax attacks.  Interestingly, while the British press began reporting about right wing American connections to the attacks in mid October, most mainstream US media outlets continued to parrot suspicions about Iraqi origins of the attacks.  This despite a 1998 New York Times report linking white supremacist Larry Wayne Harris with an attempt to obtain Bubonic Plague, which he intended to release in a New York subway.  According to The Times, the FBI suspected that Harris’ group might be in possession of other biological weapons.  The mainstream media now seems to have amnesia regarding the 1998 Times story.  Their recent reporting ignores both the Harris incident and the homegrown bioterrorist threat it unveiled.  Instead of solid investigative reporting about anthrax, we’ve received knee-jerk conclusions similar to those the media dished out immediately after the Oklahoma City attack

            It shouldn’t have taken a sleuth, however, to connect right wing extremists to recent acts of terrorism.  They’ve certainly left enough breadcrumbs, as they lined up to support the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center.  Since September 11th, representatives of the American Nazi Party, the Aryan Nations, Aryan Action and the National Alliance have all gone on record supporting al Qaida and the attacks against the Twin Towers, which they describe as “buildings full of Jews.”  One white supremacist website carried the question, “Is there not a single person who has received these anthrax letters that isn't an avowed enemy of the white race?” 

            With few exceptions, the American corporate press has either downplayed or outright ignored this story, despite the fact that it broke three weeks ago in the UK.  As of press time, the New York Times and National Public Radio are still reporting that officials have no clues as to the origins of the anthrax.  This is a classic example of misinformation.  The public needs one identifiable enemy and he’s in Afghanistan, not Idaho.  The frightening questions are, if this story proves true, how did racists get US military grade anthrax, and, given the presumably small group of known racists with military ties, why haven’t they been caught yet?

Bucks for Bayer

            If there’s a winner in this anthrax mayhem, it’s Bayer A.G., the German conglomerate that holds the global patent to Cipro, the antibiotic used to treat Anthrax.  With thousands of potentially exposed postal and government workers now taking Cipro prescriptions, and with literally tens of thousands of neurotics stockpiling Cipro, sales have soared.  This couldn’t have come at a better time for Bayer, a company suffering from financial woes after pulling its anti-cholesterol drug, Baycol, from the market.  Before the recent anthrax scare, Bayer discontinued its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, and was considered ripe for a hostile takeover.

            Cipro sales, however, changed all that.  Cipro prescriptions in New York City for the final week of September alone, were 27% higher than for all of 2000.  Our nation’s bad fortune became Bayer’s good fortune.  They’re still not, however, ready to become good corporate citizens.  Like the American corporate beneficiaries of the Bush Administration’s new proposed tax cuts, the folks at Bayer see gold in the dust of war.  And their pursuit of that gold is relentless.  When the Canadian government attempted to stockpile a generic version of Cipro for purposes of national security, Bayer threatened to sue under international trade law for patent infringement.  If indeed the anthrax virus is a weapon of war, it’s insane for a private company to think they can own and license the technology to defeat it.  But such is postmodern warfare.

Dr. Michael I. Niman’s previous articles about “The War on Terror” are available online at


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