Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #385 Formula for Disaster

Record­ed Octo­ber 27, 2002
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

This pro­gram is inter­roga­to­ry in nature—the mate­r­i­al is emphat­i­cal­ly des­ig­nat­ed as spec­u­la­tive. This is, if you will, a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry! It is what Mr. Emory calls “Food for Thought, Grounds for Fur­ther Research.” Nonethe­less, this is a line of inquiry that he has been con­sid­er­ing for more than twen­ty years–recent events have moti­vat­ed him to put this par­tic­u­lar ball in play, so to speak. Uti­liz­ing an his­tor­i­cal nov­el strong­ly ground­ed in fact, this pro­gram access­es The For­mu­la by Steve Sha­gan. Although it is a novel—and Mr. Emory empha­sizes again and again dur­ing the broad­cast that his pre­sen­ta­tion is not meant to be con­sid­ered as a lit­er­al pre­sen­ta­tion of fact—the mate­r­i­al in The For­mu­la can be cor­rob­o­rat­ed to a great extent by cred­i­ble, well-doc­u­ment­ed infor­ma­tion on the pub­lic record.

The For­mu­la trail­er.


1. Made into a major motion pic­ture star­ring (among oth­ers) George C. Scott as Bar­ney Caine (a Los Ange­les Police Detec­tive and ex-CIA agent) and Mar­lon Bran­do (as Adam Steif­fel, CEO of the fic­tion­al “Tidal Oil”), the book is pred­i­cat­ed upon the I.G. Far­ben com­pa­ny’s syn­thet­ic fuel pro­gram. I.G. Far­ben (the Nazi chem­i­cal car­tel that was cen­tral to the Third Reich’s war econ­o­my) uti­lized the hydro­gena­tion process in order to turn coal into oil. This process, in turn, was at the epi­cen­ter of (arguably) the most impor­tant car­tel deal of the 20th cen­tu­ry, neto­ti­at­ed between what were (again, arguably) the two most impor­tant indus­tri­al con­cerns of that century—the Stan­dard Oil com­pa­nies and the I.G. Far­ben firm. This agree­ment, the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment of 1929, is cov­ered at con­sid­er­able length in Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M11.

2. The Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 was sim­i­lar, in cer­tain respects, to what has become known as a “debt-equi­ty swap.” I.G. had invest­ed a great deal of cap­i­tal into “R&D” (research and devel­op­ment) of the hydro­gena­tion process in order to uti­lize Ger­many’s large coal reserves to syn­the­size oil—Germany has no domes­tic petro­le­um reserves. As a result of its enor­mous expen­di­tures in this regard, I.G. Far­ben’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion was pre­car­i­ous. Stan­dard Oil of New Jersey–the most impor­tant of the Stan­dard firms (lat­er Exxon, now Exxon-Mobil)–recognized that the suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of the hydro­gena­tion process had the poten­tial to threat­en its prof­it posi­tion by free­ing indus­tri­al economies from depen­dence on nat­u­ral­ly-pro­duced oil. The two com­pa­nies nego­ti­at­ed the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment of 1929—satisfying the needs of both com­pa­nies. Through this agree­ment, I.G. Far­ben received: a sig­nif­i­cant block of Stan­dard of New Jer­sey’s stock (mak­ing it the sec­ond largest stock hold­er in the firm behind the Rock­e­feller fam­i­ly), as well as the right to pro­duce and mar­ket syn­thet­ic fuel devel­oped by hydro­gena­tion in Ger­many only. This gave I.G. Far­ben bad­ly need­ed cap­i­tal and guar­an­teed Ger­many’s access to hydro­gena­tion-pro­duced syn­thet­ic oil. Through this agree­ment, Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey received: the exclu­sive right to pro­duce and mar­ket syn­thet­ic oil devel­oped through the hydro­gena­tion process every­where but in Ger­many. This assured Stan­dard­’s prof­it posi­tion by pro­tect­ing against the poten­tial threat posed by syn­thet­ic oil.

3. Dur­ing World War II, I.G. Far­ben’s hydro­gena­tion plants pro­vid­ed Ger­many with the bulk of its fuel, thus real­iz­ing the poten­tial of the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment. The 1944 aer­i­al cam­paign against the largest of those plants, the giant I.G. facil­i­ty at Leu­na, was one of the piv­otal engage­ments of the air war in West­ern Europe. “The Bat­tle of Leu­na” was instru­men­tal in crip­pling Ger­many’s war machine. Although Ger­many man­aged to keep the plant oper­at­ing by can­ni­bal­iz­ing equip­ment from oth­er hydro­gena­tion facil­i­ties, the result­ing dam­age to the over­all syn­thet­ic oil pro­gram was a deci­sive ele­ment in the destruc­tion of the fuel for Ger­many’s war machine.
(“The Bat­tle of Leu­na” is dis­cussed in FTR#278. See also: The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; by Joseph Borkin; The Free Press [Macmil­lan]; Copy­right 1978 [HC]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0; pp. 128–30.)

4. In the ear­ly 1990’s, the Leu­na refin­ery (which had been rebuilt by the Sovi­ets after the war) became the focal point of a com­plex deal involv­ing the French oil firm ELF-Aquitaine, the Thyssen heavy indus­tri­al firm and the Sau­di Ara­bi­an arma­ments indus­try. This deal, in turn, is at the cen­ter of an ongo­ing scan­dal in Ger­many involv­ing polit­i­cal pay­outs to the CDU par­ty of for­mer Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl, bribes alleged­ly made by French politi­cians, kick­backs involv­ing pow­er­ful Cana­di­an polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic inter­ests, and the intel­li­gence ser­vices of numer­ous coun­tries. In turn, the CDU fund­ing scan­dal is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Under­ground Reich. (For more about the CDU fund­ing scan­dal, see FTR#‘s 193, 276, 278.) The intense inter­est on the part of major polit­i­cal and indus­tri­al inter­ests in this ren­o­vat­ed Sec­ond World War facil­i­ty is of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance in this con­text. Most of the indus­tri­al infra­struc­ture of the for­mer East Ger­many was bought out and liq­ui­dat­ed (with enor­mous resul­tant hard­ship for the cit­i­zens of that part of Ger­many) short­ly after reuni­fi­ca­tion. In con­trast, the for­mer I.G. facil­i­ty at Leu­na was con­sid­ered a valu­able prize. The maneu­ver­ing around the Leu­na facil­i­ty and the CDU fund­ing scan­dal was instru­men­tal in con­vinc­ing Mr. Emory that The For­mu­la was of more than mere lit­er­ary sig­nif­i­cance. It con­vinced him that that fact-based nov­el would have to be dis­cussed at some future point.

5. The nov­el The For­mu­la revolves around the for­mu­la for a cat­a­lyst (“the Man­gan Cat­a­lyst”) devel­oped by I.G. Far­ben as part of its “Gen­e­sis Project.” The sig­nif­i­cance of the project lies in the fact that it great­ly improved the effi­cien­cy of the hydro­gena­tion process, stream­lin­ing Ger­many’s syn­thet­ic fuel pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty and (poten­tial­ly) mak­ing the hydro­gena­tion process eco­nom­i­cal­ly com­pet­i­tive with nat­u­ral­ly-pro­duced petro­le­um. In the nov­el, the post-1973 increase in the price of oil makes the “For­mu­la” a piv­ot-point of clan­des­tine intrigue. Con­sid­er the sig­nif­i­cance of the hypo­thet­i­cal exis­tence of such a for­mu­la. It would: poten­tial­ly con­trol petro­le­um-pro­duc­ing coun­tries (includ­ing the for­mer USSR and the Mid­dle-East oil king­doms) by threat­en­ing their eco­nom­ic foun­da­tion; offer the key to manip­u­lat­ing the econ

omies of non-oil pro­duc­ing indus­tri­al economies by poten­tial­ly free­ing them from the need to import oil; con­trol the “prof­it posi­tion” of the major oil com­pa­nies; and legal­ly free­ing Ger­many from the need to import oil—I.G.‘s suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies would have retained the right to pro­duce hydro­gena­tion-derived oil. Giv­en the improve­ments in organ­ic chem­istry and oth­er tech­nolo­gies in years since World War II, it seems unlike­ly that some­thing like the “Man­gan Cat­a­lyst” (or an anal­o­gous tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment) would not have been devel­oped.

6. In the con­text of the emphat­i­cal­ly hypo­thet­i­cal, inter­roga­to­ry nature of this pro­gram, one should not lose sight of the fact that the world’s nat­ur­al petro­le­um reserves are lim­it­ed, and will be exhaust­ed with­in a few decades. The moti­va­tion of the petro­le­um-pro­duc­ing coun­tries and the oil com­pa­nies them­selves to extract the remain­ing oil from the ground at “top dol­lar” before bow­ing to the inevitable would, there­fore, be con­sid­er­able under the cir­cum­stances. This should be eval­u­at­ed as one delves into the text and sub­stance of this fact-based work of fic­tion.

7. The dis­cus­sion begins with the detec­tive Bar­ney Caine (played by George C. Scott in the film ver­sion of the nov­el) dis­cussing with “Tidal Oil” CEO Adam Steif­fel (played by Mar­lon Bran­do) the man­ner in which he had been set up to track down the remain­ing I.G. Far­ben sci­en­tists aware of the Gen­e­sis project, and its suc­cess­ful real­iza­tion. After Caine locat­ed them, they were assas­si­nat­ed. One of the threat­en­ing ele­ments that pre­cip­i­tates the events in the nov­el is the poten­tial of a Swiss-based con­sor­tium to put the “for­mu­la” into pro­duc­tion. In that con­text, one should not lose sight of the fact that I.G. Far­ben had the most pro­found con­nec­tions in Switzer­land. (For more about the Swiss‑I.G. con­nec­tion, see FTR#‘s 292, 335, among oth­er broad­casts.) ” ‘The Swiss con­sor­tium had the means to make the for­mu­la viable, to go into mass pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic fuel. We could­n’t tol­er­ate that. But we could­n’t be overt. We need­ed a cov­er.’ ”

“Bar­ney nod­ded. ‘And what could be a bet­ter cov­er for killing Ger­man cit­i­zens than their involve­ment with an Amer­i­can cop pur­su­ing an Amer­i­can crime?’ ”

“The old man smiled. ‘Yes. We used you right from the start.’ ”

“The impact of Steif­fel’s words struck Bar­ney with a dead­en­ing force. He fell silent for a moment, his mind rac­ing back over past events. The old man sucked and chewed on the wet end of the cig­ar. He seemed to be enjoy­ing Bar­ney’s dis­so­lu­tion.”

” ‘Ah, don’t take it per­son­al­ly, boy,’ Steif­fel said. ‘After all, you were out of your milieu. You were a pawn. A sol­dier being moved by a mas­ter.’ ”

“Bar­ney felt a ball of heat col­lect­ing in his throat. ‘I halfway sus­pect­ed it after I met with Dies­tel. He was too open. He cloaked it behind his Nazi phi­los­o­phy, but he over­played his hand. I was sure after Siebold led me to Reimeck. I just did­n’t want to believe some­one was maneu­ver­ing all those peo­ple.’ Bar­ney sighed. ‘I should have known you were call­ing the shots once Clements was hit.’ ”
(The For­mu­la; by Steve Sha­gan; Copy­right 1979 Cirand­in­ha Pro­duc­tions, Inc.; Soft Cov­er edi­tion pub­lished in 1980 by Ban­tam Books; 0–553-13801–4; p. 328.)

8. The broad­cast fur­ther devel­ops the rela­tion­ship between a Ger­man woman who works with the post-war SS under­ground (head­ed by “Dies­tel”), the oil car­tel and PLO-con­nect­ed ter­ror­ists. “Lehmans” is a Ger­man police detec­tive who assist­ed “Caine” in his inves­ti­ga­tion. ” ‘Your blond Ger­man girl friend and the mys­te­ri­ous Los Ange­les brunette are one in the same. But she’s a ter­ror­ist, recruit­ed by some­one who wants to keep the Gen­e­sis For­mu­la off the mar­ket. The Arabs would obvi­ous­ly have sim­i­lar inter­ests.’ ”

“Bar­ney’s response was calm and shad­ed by utter des­o­la­tion. ‘I guess that’s the ball game.’ ”

” ‘Not quite. We found Diestel’s pri­vate phone num­ber in Lisa Span­gler’s apart­ment. Which means she was plant­ed by Dies­tel.’ ”

” What the hell for?’ Bar­ney asked.”

” ‘To have minute-by minute knowl­edge of your progress. Remem­ber Dies­tel still con­trols the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the Gen­e­sis team. It’s the strong arm of the Kam­er­ad­schaft.’ ”

” ‘The what?’ Bar­ney asked.”

” ‘The Fra­ter­nal Order of SS.’ Lehmans replied.”

” ‘Which means Dies­tel ordered Ober­mann and Siebold to see me’ Bar­ney offered.”

” ‘And to direct you to Esau,’ Lehmans added. ‘It also proves that Dies­tel knew you were com­ing to Berlin and that you had Ober­man­n’s name in your pos­ses­sion.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 267.)

9. The rela­tion­ship between “Dies­tel,” the fic­tion­al “Tidal Oil” and the Under­ground Reich reflects the real-life rela­tion­ships between the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, the suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies to the I.G., and the oil indus­try. (See, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR#305.) ” ‘What about Dies­tel?’ Bar­ney asked.”

” ‘He was our man in Berlin. He was a high cor­po­rate offi­cer of a West Ger­man firm we do busi­ness with. He held the Fra­ter­nal Order in his hand. He was most use­ful.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 329.)

10. One of the major points in the book is a con­fronta­tion between “Caine” and “Esau,” the top I.G. Far­ben sci­en­tist, in charge of the Gen­e­sis project and based at Leu­na. “Esau” is dis­cussing the cir­cum­stances fol­low­ing his cap­ture by the Sovi­ets. “Reimeck” was one of the vet­er­ans of the I.G. “Gen­e­sis project.” ” ‘You nev­er revealed the final for­mu­la?’ ”

” ‘Nev­er. They knew we made oil from coal through hydro­gena­tion. They knew it was cost­ly and required slave labor. But they did not know we had per­fect­ed the ulti­mate cat­a­lyst.’ ”

“Esau’s lips drew back in a self-sat­is­fied grin, and Bar­ney per­mit­ted the old man a moment of vic­to­ri­ous rem­i­nis­cence before he asked, ‘What hap­pened to the for­mu­la?’ ”

” ‘Reimeck prob­a­bly informed you of the clan­des­tine meet­ing in the old Adlon Hotel. Did he not?’ ”

” ‘Yes.’ Bar­ney nod­ded.”

” ‘The con­voy con­tain­ing the for­mu­la was cap­tured by the Amer­i­cans. They in turn sent it to the British in Ham­burg.’ ”

“Bar­ney craved a cig­a­rette but did not dare smoke in the pres­ence of Esau, who seemed to have trou­ble draw­ing enough oxy­gen to speak. ‘I know about that con­voy,’ Bar­ney said. ‘What I’m ask­ing you, Doc­tor, is what hap­pened to the for­mu­la after the war.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 278–279.)

11. “Esau” then dis­clos­es to “Caine” the nature of the maneu­ver­ing around the Gen­e­sis for­mu­la. ” ‘The answer to your ques­tion is obvi­ous, it is not?’ He sucked the stale air. ‘After the oil embar­go of ’73 all the oil reserves of the sev­en major Amer­i­can com­pa­nies increased in val­ue by four hun­dred per­cent. OPEC is their cre­ation. They have joined with large bank­ing inter­ests and arma­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers to pre­vent the man­u­fac­ture of syn­thet­ic fuel. Of course, there is a con­spir­a­cy.’ His voice trem­bled and rose. ‘They will con­tin­ue to with­hold syn­thet­ic fuel until their prof­it posi­tion is assured.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 279.)

12. “Bar­ney asked, ‘You keep refer­ring to ‘they.’ Who are ‘they’?”

” ‘The car­tel,’ Esau rasped. ‘They have main­tained my life because I pos­sess the for­mu­la.’ He leaned back. ‘They per­mit­ted me to stay alive because I agreed to with­hold its pub­li­ca­tion. And should I die under abnor­mal cir­cum­stances, that for­mu­la would be deliv­ered to cer­tain Swiss indus­tri­al inter­ests.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 279–280.)

13. Next, “Esau” dis­clos­es to “Caine” the cat­a­lyst’s util­i­ty in pro­duci

ng methanol. (In con­sid­er­a­tion of same, it is inter­est­ing to note the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s involve­ment in pro­mot­ing tim­ber-cut­ting cor­po­ra­tions’ access to forests on fed­er­al lands.) Mr. Emory can­not endorse this hypo­thet­i­cal appli­ca­tion. ” ‘And that cat­a­lyst not only pro­duced motor fuel from coal at an eco­nom­ic price but also pro­duced methanol. Yes. Methanol, the mag­ic sub­stance that will fuel the ener­gy require­ments of future mankind.’ ”

” ‘Why do you call methanol mag­ic?’ Bar­ney asked.”

” ‘Because it can be made from wood, trees, pulp, grain. It only requires that a car have no car­bu­re­tor, rather a fuel injec­tor. It pro­duces no pol­lu­tants. It burns clean­ly, pro­duc­ing no car­bon buildup on the engine. It requires only the plant­i­ng and replant­i­ng of trees and wheat.’ He paused. ‘And along with reg­u­lar fuel, my for­mu­la permits’—he gasped and wheezed for breath—‘permits syn­the­sized petro­chem­i­cal prod­ucts com­plete­ly uncon­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by sul­fur. Of course, imme­di­ate pro­duc­tion would be made from coal. But then wood and grain will take over.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 280–281.)

14. In anoth­er of the nov­el­’s cli­mac­tic moments, “Steif­fel” reveals to “Caine” the future of the “Man­gan cat­a­lyst,” and the hydro­gena­tion process. In this con­text, as well, it is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s renewed empha­sis on coal pro­duc­tion. (See, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR#289.) “Steif­fel walked up to the big glass win­dow, and Bar­ney sat down in a chair fac­ing the cir­cu­lar desk. ‘Don’t feel too dis­heart­ened, son,’ Steif­fel said, turn­ing to Bar­ney. ‘We will man­u­fac­ture syn­thet­ic fuel. And in great quan­ti­ty. We already own most of the coal in the coun­try. We know what’s com­ing. We have the for­mu­la. We have the Man­gan cat­a­lyst, and we have the tech­nol­o­gy. But we must be cer­tain of prof­it. By 1990, the coun­try will be on its knees to OPEC. The gov­ern­ment will then turn to us. And in their des­per­a­tion they will insure our prof­it posi­tion in the man­u­fac­ture of syn­thet­ic fuel.’ ”

” ‘Nice,’ Bar­ney said.”

” ‘Busi­ness,’ Steif­fel replied, ‘just busi­ness.’ He crossed from the win­dow and walked toward Bar­ney. ‘We are a team of giants nurs­ing the lul­la­by of the mass­es.’ ”

“Steif­fel sat down on the sofa oppo­site Bar­ney and peered across at him in the dim light. ‘You must­n’t think of us as evil, rapa­cious men, cling­ing to the keys of our num­bered Swiss accounts. On the con­trary, we are a small fam­i­ly of sim­ple busi­ness­men seek­ing only the tran­quil pur­suit of prof­it. And we take great care to bestow suf­fi­cient largess on the cit­i­zens.’ ”

” ‘Is this where you play ‘The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner’?’ Bar­ney asked?”

“Steif­fel smiled. ‘I under­stand your anger and there­fore excuse it. You’re an old-fash­ioned man. In a way the epit­o­me of the Amer­i­can myth of the rugged indi­vid­ual. And I respect that. I come from a long line of strong-willed men. But like it or not, the world has changed. You’re a police­man. You can­not pos­si­bly under­stand the com­plex­i­ties of glob­al eco­nom­ics.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 330–331.)

15. Begin­ning the sec­ond half of the broad­cast, the focus turns to a fic­tion­al dis­cus­sion between the VERY real-life SS Gen­er­al Wal­ter Schel­len­berg (in charge of the for­eign intel­li­gence branch of the SD—the SS intel­li­gence ser­vice), a Ger­man gen­er­al “Kladen” and “Esau.” It is impor­tant to note that Schel­len­berg, Allen Dulles and SS Gen­er­al Wolff were indeed involved in real-life nego­ti­a­tions dur­ing the clos­ing phase of the war. These nego­ti­a­tions areac­cu­rate­ly reflect­ed in the fic­tion­al pre­sen­ta­tion in the book. (For more about these nego­ti­a­tions, see, among oth­er broad­casts, FTR#‘s 121, 233, RFA#37.) ” ‘The Reich is defeat­ed. We must there­fore save as much of the Ger­man nation as pos­si­ble.’ ”

” ‘I am pre­pared to car­ry out the mis­sion,’ Kladen replied.”

“Schel­len­berg paced for a moment, then placed him­self in the cen­ter of the suite. ‘SS Gen­er­al Wolff is at the moment in Zurich con­duct­ing secret nego­ti­a­tions with the chief of Amer­i­can Intel­li­gence [sic], Allen Dulles. Wolff has made the propo­si­tion to turn over to the Amer­i­cans our most crit­i­cal mil­i­tary doc­u­ments con­cern­ing research and devel­op­ment of secret weapons. We offer the infor­ma­tion in return for amnesty for those of us who have served the Reich in cer­tain areas that may be con­strued as war crimes. In addi­tion, we are seek­ing Amer­i­can guar­an­tees that they will enter Berlin before the city falls to the Sovi­ets.’ Schel­len­berg sipped some more cham­pagne and turned to Dr. Esau. ‘Please describe to the gen­er­al the mate­ri­als we will be sur­ren­der­ing.’ ”

In dis­cussing the tech­nolo­gies to be turned over the Amer­i­cans (some­thing sim­i­lar to this actu­al­ly took place under Project Paper­clip), “Esau” lists the Ger­man “syn­thet­ics” patents as among the most impor­tant. That this may have been the case should not be too read­i­ly dis­missed. “Dr. Esau spoke in a cold, clipped monot­o­ne. ‘The prin­ci­pal doc­u­ments per­tain to: the ME-262 jet fight­er; the new Zeiss sights; the V‑one and V‑two rock­ets; the design engi­neer­ing of the jet wind tun­nel; the remote con­trol ground-to-air heat-seek­ing mis­sile; the long-range rock­ets known as A‑four and A‑nine; the designs for the ura­ni­um-pow­ered sub­ma­rine; and final­ly all our files on syn­thet­ics.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 11.)

16. The con­fronta­tion between “Caine” and “Steif­fel” con­tains more dis­cus­sion of the hypo­thet­i­cal car­tel maneu­ver­ing around the Gen­e­sis for­mu­la. “He rose, paced for a moment and reflec­tive­ly said, ‘Over the years, we have been con­cerned with the con­tin­ued exis­tence of the sur­viv­ing Ger­man sci­en­tists who worked on the Gen­e­sis pro­gram. But our con­cern was benign. After all, we con­trolled the oil from the sands to the pumps. And the man­u­fac­ture of syn­thet­ic fuel was an eco­nom­ic impos­si­bil­i­ty. There­fore, we were con­tent to let sleep­ing dogs lie. But when the Swiss indus­tri­al­ist con­tact­ed Ober­mann, every­thing changed.’ ”

“Bar­ney inter­rupt­ed. ‘How did you know about the Swiss con­tact?’ ”

” ‘Ober­mann duti­ful­ly report­ed that con­tact to Dies­tel. And we became active­ly con­cerned.’ ”

” ‘Why?’ Bar­ney asked. ‘What’s wrong with mak­ing Amer­i­ca self-suf­fi­cient in syn­thet­ic fuel?’ ”

“The old man stared at Bar­ney with a look of total won­der. ‘Do you hon­est­ly expect a three-hun­dred-bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try to under­mine its own stake in the lucra­tive scarci­ty of oil by mass-pro­duc­ing syn­thet­ic fuel?’ ”

“Steif­fel walked back to his desk and sat down. ‘We’ve had that for­mu­la in our pos­ses­sion since the con­clu­sion of the war. British Intel­li­gence turned it over to our chemists in ear­ly ’46. We even import­ed a few Ger­man sci­en­tists to build pilot hydro­gena­tion plants, to be cer­tain the process was eco­nom­i­cal­ly unsound. We ter­mi­nat­ed those plants in ’56. But’—he paused—‘that was twen­ty-two years ago. Things change. The price of crude oil has risen dra­mat­i­cal­ly since ’73, mak­ing the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic fuel an eco­nom­ic pos­si­bil­i­ty. The Gen­e­sis For­mu­la makes it an eco­nom­ic real­i­ty. There­fore, we could not risk the for­mu­la falling into the wrong hands.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 326–327.)

17. After he has suc­cess­ful­ly obtained the “for­mu­la” from “Esau, “Caine” dis­cuss­es its sig­nif­i­cance with “Lisa Spangler”—the SS pro­tégé and PLO fel­low-trav­el­er who is manip­u­lat­ed by the car­tel. In FTR#370, the con­nec­tions of the Bush fam­i­ly to the Con­sol­i­dat­ed Sile­sian Steel Cor­po­ra­tion, the coal deposits near Auschwitz, and the Third Reich’s syn­thet­ic fuel pro­gram are set forth at some length. It is inter­est­ing to con­sid­er the Bush fam­i­ly’s posi­tion in light of this con­nec­tion, as well as the hypo­thet­i­cal “black­mail” strat­a­gem cen­tral to this nov­el and, pos­si­bly, real-life as well. ” ‘It’s iron­ic to think so many died for eight pages of sci­en­tif­ic equa­tions,’ she said tho


“Bar­ney did not respond, but he thought about the truth of her words. He thought about those who had per­ished. The slaves. The inmate work­ers at I.G. Farben—Auschwitz. And all the oth­ers, at the fif­teen hydro­gena­tion plants. Those huge fac­to­ries and refiner­ies that had mys­te­ri­ous­ly escaped Allied bomb­ing.” (Ibid.; p. 283.)

18. One of the alto­geth­er hypo­thet­i­cal ele­ments in the nov­el con­cerns “Caine’s” revenge against “Steiffel”—the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the for­mu­la to the Israelis. Whether this, too, is reflec­tive of actu­al clan­des­tine polit­i­cal real­i­ty is any­one’s guess. “Steif­fel’s eyes widened, his lips quiv­ered, and his voice trem­bled. He breathed the word as if he’d heard it for the first time, ‘Israel—why Israel?’ ”

“Bar­ney said, ‘The for­mu­la went to Israel because they have no con­nec­tions with big oil. It was cir­cum­stance, pure chance. It was Heisen­berg. Those ran­dom particles—they’ll kill you every time.’ ”

“The old man turned, and moved to his desk. ‘You’re out of my hands. You have cre­at­ed a sit­u­a­tion that has removed you from my care. You are a damn fool, Mr. Caine. A sui­ci­dal mani­ac. You dis­ap­point me. I gave you cred­it for more intel­li­gence!’ ”

” ‘You made a mis­take,’ Bar­ney said. ‘You may be in a lit­tle bit of trou­ble, Mr. Steif­fel.’ He turned and start­ed for the door.”

” ‘Caine!’ the old man shout­ed.”

“Bar­ney looked back at the old man. The col­or had gone out of his cheeks, and his lips were blue. His voice was tense but com­posed. ‘Send­ing the for­mu­la to Israel is spe­cious and futile. They have no coal. No min­er­als. No funds. All they have are oranges.’ ”

” ‘But they have sci­ence,’ Bar­ney said. ‘And they have con­nec­tions. And you know how it is.’ Bar­ney paused. ‘When mon­ey talks, peo­ple lis­ten.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 332–333.)

19. Still lat­er, “Lehmans” urges “Caine” to make the for­mu­la pub­lic. The hypo­thet­i­cal real­i­ties that impel “Lehmans” are worth think­ing about. “Lehmans touched Bar­ney’s arm. ‘For God’s sake, man make that for­mu­la pub­lic. Get it out in the open. The god­damn Arabs, the banks, the inter­lock­ing car­tel of oil com­pa­nies are chok­ing the life out of the West­ern democ­ra­cies. And if they fall, you have anoth­er Ger­many of the thir­ties. [Empha­sis added.] Make it pub­lic, Bar­ney.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 315.)

20. Bear­ing in mind the fact that this book was writ­ten dur­ing the late 1970’s, it is unset­tling to read some of the dis­cus­sion between “Esau” (dying of can­cer) and “Caine” against the back­ground of polit­i­cal real­i­ties that became evi­dent in the years fol­low­ing the nov­el­’s pub­li­ca­tion. The Osir­ak reac­tor bombed by the Israelis in 1981 was, indeed, being built by the French. FTR#‘s 278, 300, and 372, among oth­er pro­grams, high­light the French cor­po­rate col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Third Reich, before, dur­ing and after the Sec­ond World War—a major ele­ment of “Esau’s” con­ver­sa­tion. “Accom­mo­da­tion” and the equip­ping of Iraq with tech­nol­o­gy that can be used for weapons of mass destruc­tion is not exclu­sive to the French. “The slack mouth gath­ered itself, and his lips moved slow­ly.”

“ ‘The French are build­ing an atom­ic reac­tor in north­ern Iraq.’ ”

“Bar­ney was speech­less. It was one of those non sequitur that defied answer.”

” ‘Did you know that?’ Esau rasped.

“Bar­ney shook his head. ‘No. I did­n’t.’ ”

” ‘The French will do any­thing for a prof­it. Dur­ing the occu­pa­tion, their sci­en­tists worked hand and glove with me. The resis­tance was a myth. All through the war the Parisian night­clubs were open. The race­tracks ran; the restau­rants were full. The French are a peo­ple whose prin­ci­pal char­ac­ter trait is ‘accom­mo­da­tion.’ And now they sell the Iraqis an atom­ic reac­tor.’ He coughed twice and wiped some spit­tle from his lips. ‘The world will end with­in two cen­turies; of that there can be no ques­tion.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 277–278.)

21. It has been said that “art imi­tates life.” Indeed. Per­haps the reverse is true as well. As we peer into the dark­ness of the future, con­sid­er “Caine’s” con­fronta­tion with “the old man”—“Barney Steif­fel.” ” ‘What hap­pens when there’s no more prof­it left to squeeze from the cit­i­zens? When the whole god­damn world is on its knees?’ Bar­ney asked angri­ly.”

“The old man looked up at the ceil­ing for a moment, then stared at Bar­ney. ‘In that case, the car­tel per­forms its his­toric duty. We unleash the dogs of war. There are those times when war is both eco­nom­i­cal­ly and eco­log­i­cal­ly nec­es­sary for the ulti­mate sur­vival of the species.’ ” [Empha­sis added.] (Ibid.; p. 331.)

22. Again, one can not stress too heav­i­ly that this book is a nov­el. Nonethe­less, the extent to which it reflects real­i­ty is eerie, and makes it well ahead of its time when weighed against the gen­er­al lev­el of polit­i­cal knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion avail­able in that peri­od (the 1970’s). Con­sid­er the her­itage of the “Lisa Span­gler” char­ac­ter. She dis­cuss­es her back­ground and her father. “He was the com­man­der of the Ravens­bruck con­cen­tra­tion camp. Three hun­dred thou­sand women were gassed and burned at that place. I was born there in my father’s vil­la, at that killing cen­ter. Toward the end my moth­er hid me in a room full of teeth. Jars of gold teeth.’ She leaned against the bureau. ‘My moth­er escaped with me two days before the Sovi­et troops came. My father was hanged but we sur­vived. My moth­er was quite beau­ti­ful. We were tak­en care of by the Fra­ter­nal Order [of the SS] . . .’ ” (Ibid.; p. 301.)

23. Not­ing the Under­ground Reich’s links to ter­ror­ist groups such as Baad­er-Mein­hof, “Lisa Span­gler’s” char­ac­ter por­tray­al is insight­ful. (See, among oth­er broad­casts, FTR#‘s 333, 354, 371, 383.) Note that Fran­cois Genoud was an asso­ciate of ele­ments of Baad­er-Mein­hof, as well as the PFLP of George Hab­bash. (See FTR#‘s 350, as well as the pro­grams not­ed above.) ” ‘I felt I had to do some­thing. Some­thing that would save human­i­ty. I had to take a stand. I had to atone for what my father was. I met the peo­ple in Baad­er-Mein­hof. And I found a way to act. And a goal to achieve.’ ”

” ‘What goal?’ Bar­ney asked gen­tly.”

” ‘The uni­ver­sal broth­er­hood of mankind.’ She walked over to him, and her lips trem­bled. ‘I was sent to Dam­as­cus. I was trained by Habash [sic] . . .’ ” (Ibid.; p. 302.)

24. “Lisa Span­gler” also reflects the real­i­ties of the Saudi/Middle East­ern ter­ror­ist con­nec­tion. Car­los the Jack­al (asso­ci­at­ed with Genoud and Hab­bash, as well as the milieu of Baad­er-Mein­hof) was among her inspi­ra­tional sources. (For more about Car­los and the Under­ground Reich, see, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR#‘s 341, 344.) “She crushed her cig­a­rette and said, ‘My mind was free of all past con­cep­tions, of all con­science. I was trans­formed. And for the first time in my life, I had some­thing to believe in. I knew that ter­ror and vio­lence were the only means.’ ”

” ‘The means to what?’ he asked.”

“She stared into his eyes. ‘Chaos.’ ”

” ‘Then what?’ ”

” ‘With chaos comes a void. That void will be filled by our move­ment.’ She paused. ‘We are fund­ed by the Saud­is. The syn­thet­ic fuel for­mu­la is a dire threat to them. And to oth­er inter­ests that I have no feel­ing for but are nev­er­the­less allied . . .’ ”

“Car­los said that. It’s his favorite quo­ta­tion. ‘Shit is thick­er than blood.’ Make shit out of them.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 302–303.)

It remains to be seen if life will imi­tate art in this case.


No comments for “FTR #385 Formula for Disaster”

Post a comment