Friday, June 19, 2009

An Interview With `The World Is Turning' Author Don Paul--Part 5

On April 14, 2007, New Orleans-based writer-poet-musician-Marathon runner-activist Don Paul was the Chief Prosecutor for the "San Diego Citizen's Grand Jury on the Crimes of September 11, 2001 in New York City" event that was held at San Diego State University. He co-founded the organization Rebuild Green three days after Hurricane Katrina and moved from San Francisco to New Orleans in January 2006 to help with effort for recovery there. The author of more than 20 books and the producer of more than 20 albums, Paul was recently interviewed by email about the Democratic Obama Administration's first 100 days and about his most recent book: The World Is Turning: `9/11,' The Movement for Justice & Reclaiming America for the World. (The text of this interview was originally posted on the site. See below for parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).

Recently some Big Media attention has been focused on the American International Group [A.I.G.] because it used a lot of its U.S. taxpayer-provided bail-out fund money to just give big bonuses to A.I.G. executives. But your book seems to indicate that A.I.G. also apparently profited from what happened on September 11, 2001 in Downtown Manhattan. Besides learning more about how A.I.G. may have profited from what happened on 9/11/01, what other kinds of information about the 9/11/01 events which the Big Media or U.S. left alternative media generally never mention, will U.S. anti-war readers find in your new book?

Don Paul [DP]: The insurance pay-outs from demolition of the three World Trade Center Building is dwarfed by profits realized by grants in the insurance and re-insurance businesses since 9/11/01. The biggest of these are the American International Group [AIG] and holdings of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company, including General Reinsurance. Because these giants were able to raise premiums as much as 2000%, their revenues rose about 40% in the three years after 9/11. For the year 2004—before it dove into the global grand casino of “derivatives” and Credit Defaults Swaps et cetera—AIG reported a profit of $9.73 billion.

The giant insurance corporations also got great breaks from Congress post-9/11. Maurice Greenberg, then CEO of AIG, and his son Jeffrey, then CEO of March & McClennan, an insurance-firm that lost 295 employees due to demolition of the South Tower, went to Congress less than two weeks after 9/11. The insurance industry came away with a new law, the Terrorism Risk Prevention Act of 2002, by which the public would absorb 90% of insurers’ losses up to $100 billion after a minor deductible of $5 or $50 million. The TRPA remains in effect under the Obama Administration. (end of part 5)