Although the facts of the Bush family/Nazi Germany connection have been whirling around in cyberspace for years, veteran journalist John Buchanan was among the first to confirm the story in print. Now he's running against George W. in the New Hampshire Republican primary.
In January 2003, Buchanan got involved in the antiwar movement and began researching war profiteering in the Bush administration by way of such companies as the Carlyle Group, Engineered Support Systems, BioPort, Halliburton, Bechtel and Wackenhut. His investigation ultimately led to a screenplay called Project Clear-Vision, taken from the name of an actual CIA anthrax-biowarfare project that may have violated the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
"The plot of the script," he told me, "is that the German principals of Bayer AG, which came out of I.G. Farben after WW II, blackmailed Daddy Bush with the 'Nazi past' of the family into allowing the anthrax letters to happen so Cipro sales could save Bayer US from bankruptcy. I got a really hotshot young turk agent in Hollywood who told me on September 2 that he could [sell] the script if I could 'prove' the Nazi past and publish the documentation. So, technically speaking, motivated more by sheer greed than patriotism, I set out to sell a movie script for millions of dollars by landing a huge scoop."
He spent a few days at the National Archives and the Library of Congress, where he found "smoking gun" information in the personal papers of former New York governor Averell Harriman, only to learn that the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC News, CNN?even his hometown paper, the Miami Herald?all refused to acknowledge the documentation of his discovery. He ended up in the fortnightly New Hampshire Gazette, which claims to be the oldest paper in America, founded in 1756. After his first article appeared in the Gazette on Friday, October 10, more than 60 web sites around the globe picked up the story. (Analysis of the Bush/Nazi connection is also found in Kevin Phillips' new American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Viking, 2004.)
The Internet postings generated hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, including one from the Associated Press. AP Washington reporter Jonathan Salant went to the archives under Buchanan's direction and studied the documents, but then, in Buchanan's words, "misreported them in a watered down, inexplicably erroneous story that ran all over the world the weekend of October 17-19"?in the Moscow Times, the (London) Guardian, Hindustan Times, Sydney Morning Herald, the Jerusalem Post and, in the US, Newsday, the Washington Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Kansas City Star, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, among others.
"Meanwhile," says Buchanan, "the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC and CNN, not to mention the Miami Herald (whose official response to the AP story was to send the police to my apartment as a 'suspected terrorist sympathizer') stonewalled and refused to look at the documents. After that, Joe Conason?to everyone's shock?wrote a column in the New York Observer in which he dismissed my story as a 'smear' against George W. Bush. That set off a backlash that culminated in a Sunday Doonesbury 'Bush-Nazi?' cartoon that turned the scoop into pop culture. Finally, presidential historian and Daddy Bush official biographer Herbert Parmet came to my rescue in November 2003 with a major essay at the History News Network at George Mason University."
I asked Buchanan how his decision to run for president came about.
"It wasn't my decision. My own friends and peers would have laughed?as they did. Nevertheless, I was literally drafted by a living legend?John McConnell, the 86-year-old cofounder of Earth Day, whose friends included 33 Nobel laureates and former UN Secretary General U. Thant. McConnell called me on October 13 after he read my first Gazette article online, and told me he thought I was 'the kind of person who can change the world.' I didn't even know who he was in that first call, which lasted over an hour. Then, after I found out who he was, we talked some more and agreed to form a new political party based on a policy of peace, justice and care of the planet.
"A week later, as I was writing a platform, a group that included a Republican, a Democrat, an independent and a Muslim author agreed that I should run?but as a Republican, head-on against Bush, as the truth candidate. I agreed, on the condition that I would not be a politician, but a working journalist whose ideas and claims have grown out of a long career of writing about government, politics, business, the arts?you name it. So, I have a unique perspective, in that I have nothing to lose and only have one responsibility, which is to tell the truth in response to every question I get."
His platform is quixotically idealistic: (1) end the corporate reign in this country by getting corporations out of politics and government entirely; (2) end war profiteering by former government officials and Washington insiders, which leads to billions of dollars in secret profits that are banked offshore, without scrutiny; (3) reform the media. His campaign manager is David Kubiak, a Democrat who ran in the New Hampshire primary for vice president in 2000.
"Even though you'll be running as a Republican," I said, "and it's a given that you won't win, do you expect, ironically enough, to help the Democrats defeat Bush by exposing his lies?"
"I submit that, based on the unreported facts, he is guilty of treason because of the sinister and longstanding relationship he and his family have with the Saudis and the bin Laden family, both via the Carlyle Group and prior to that via Bush's Texas oil ventures in the 70s. I am running for president as a grand experiment to see whether the truth matters anymore in this country?and whether we can deal with it if it can be gotten out for open debate in a presidential election cycle.
"I am going to focus on 9/11 and how Bush & Co. have exploited it purely for financial gain?and name the businesses and what they've made to date.
"We are talking in the billions of dollars being skimmed off by insiders like Halliburton. I will show that. I will raise the serious issue of unanswered questions about 9/11 and the ongoing cover-up. I am now supported by Ellen Mariani, the 9/11 widow who is suing Bush under the RICO statute.
"My question now is, can a common citizen, armed with the truth and good ideas, get any attention at all in a presidential primary without the traditional political advantages of money and organization? To put it mildly, it is a journey into unknown territory. I intend to fight like a son-of-a-bitch to win. That means getting 10 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, which earns me one delegate. Then I'll go to the Republican Convention and try to shut it down, aided by some surprising and well-organized institutional supporters.
"The real reason I'm running is to raise the question, 'Who owns the government, them (the corporate elite) or us (we the people)?' If it is us, then we face a big challenge in terms of demonstrating that peacefully and legally under the Constitution. If it's 'them,' then we should face up to that and accept the consequences. The real question, of course, is do people even really care at this point, having been lulled into silence (and a failure to even vote) by their material comforts?"
Buchanan is getting on ballots in other states, including Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Texas. At the College Convention in New Hampshire on January 7, he received a major ovation and is now considered the front-runner of the fringe candidates.
Paul Krassner can be reached at [paulkrassner.com].