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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #481
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    Some 9/11 victims weren't compensated

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/nati.../17212877.html

    BY HERB JACKSON
    WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT
    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    More than 100 people who developed serious illnesses from exposure to Ground Zero overflowed a Capitol Hill hearing room Tuesday and two House subcommittees debated whether the government should compensate them.

    The victims, including police, firefighters, construction workers and even former bus driver Gil Gonzalez of Jersey City, likely would have qualified for federal payments from a fund created in 2001, only their symptoms showed up too late.

    The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund paid out more than $7 billion in taxpayer funds to nearly 5,600 survivors and victims, but was required by law to stop accepting claims in December 2003.

    Gonzalez used to drive NJ Transit's No. 80 bus route in Jersey City, but after 9/11 spent a couple weeks taking Port Authority police officers from Journal Square through the Holland Tunnel, which was closed to other traffic, to Ground Zero.

    "I was approximately 50 to 75 feet away from the pile," Gonzalez said, referring to the burning rubble of the collapsed twin towers. "We would also provide transportation to firefighters already there from one part of Ground Zero to another part of Ground Zero. We weren't supposed to have done that, but we did anyway."

    About three months later, he started having trouble breathing, but doctors X-rayed him and found no problems. It wasn't until later that he was diagnosed with asthma and after that, blood clots, an aneurysm and then a stroke forced him to retire on disability.

    Gonzalez watched the hearing of two House Judiciary subcommittees from an overflow room, as did Antonio Hernandez of Succasunna. Hernandez developed lymphoma after going to work in lower Manhattan 17 days after 9/11 to lay fiber-optic cables that helped rebuild the communications network the stock markets needed to reopen.

    "I was supposed to have a radiation treatment today, but I postponed it to be here," Hernandez said.

    Congress members on both sides of the political aisle praised the victims, but there was a split when it came to what should be done for them.

    "They need our help, not more salutes," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., head of one of two subcommittees. "The pain and suffering of the living victims of 9/11 is real and cannot be ignored. I think it's clear that we, as a nation, must do more."

    Nadler said that while terrorists were responsible for the attack, many of the subsequent injuries would have been avoided if the federal government did a better job warning about dangerous air quality and requiring protective equipment at the collapsed twin towers.

    The administrator of the 9/11 compensation fund, Kenneth R. Feinberg, said there are about 11,000 people who have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries that would have been covered if the symptoms had shown up before December 2003. Many have lung ailments from breathing air that tests have shown contained asbestos, glass fibers and lead, among other things.

    "The only reason they weren't paid is they didn't manifest any injury from their exposure at the World Trade Center site until after the fund was dissolved," Feinberg said. He said that over the next five to 10 years, there have been estimates that another 25,000 to 30,000 victims could come forward.

    Republicans at the hearing said construction companies that responded to New York City's call for help also needed protection from the lawsuits they are facing today from former employees.

    "They stepped up as corporate good Samaritans, without having to protect themselves with contracts and insurance," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said of the construction companies. "They worked 24/7 and did so without a profit motive. These corporate heroes should not be forgotten by their government."

    King also said that if Congress creates a new compensation fund, it needs to ensure that it does not "hand the keys of the Treasury to trial lawyers."

    More than 100 people who developed serious illnesses from exposure to Ground Zero overflowed a Capitol Hill hearing room Tuesday and two House subcommittees debated whether the government should compensate them.

    The victims, including police, firefighters, construction workers and even former bus driver Gil Gonzalez of Jersey City, likely would have qualified for federal payments from a fund created in 2001, only their symptoms showed up too late.

    The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund paid out more than $7 billion in taxpayer funds to nearly 5,600 survivors and victims, but was required by law to stop accepting claims in December 2003.

    Gonzalez used to drive NJ Transit's No. 80 bus route in Jersey City, but after 9/11 spent a couple weeks taking Port Authority police officers from Journal Square through the Holland Tunnel, which was closed to other traffic, to Ground Zero.

    "I was approximately 50 to 75 feet away from the pile," Gonzalez said, referring to the burning rubble of the collapsed twin towers. "We would also provide transportation to firefighters already there from one part of Ground Zero to another part of Ground Zero. We weren't supposed to have done that, but we did anyway."

    About three months later, he started having trouble breathing, but doctors X-rayed him and found no problems. It wasn't until later that he was diagnosed with asthma and after that, blood clots, an aneurysm and then a stroke forced him to retire on disability.

    Gonzalez watched the hearing of two House Judiciary subcommittees from an overflow room, as did Antonio Hernandez of Succasunna. Hernandez developed lymphoma after going to work in lower Manhattan 17 days after 9/11 to lay fiber-optic cables that helped rebuild the communications network the stock markets needed to reopen.

    "I was supposed to have a radiation treatment today, but I postponed it to be here," Hernandez said.

    Congress members on both sides of the political aisle praised the victims, but there was a split when it came to what should be done for them.

    "They need our help, not more salutes," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., head of one of two subcommittees. "The pain and suffering of the living victims of 9/11 is real and cannot be ignored. I think it's clear that we, as a nation, must do more."

    Nadler said that while terrorists were responsible for the attack, many of the subsequent injuries would have been avoided if the federal government did a better job warning about dangerous air quality and requiring protective equipment at the collapsed twin towers.

    The administrator of the 9/11 compensation fund, Kenneth R. Feinberg, said there are about 11,000 people who have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries that would have been covered if the symptoms had shown up before December 2003. Many have lung ailments from breathing air that tests have shown contained asbestos, glass fibers and lead, among other things.

    "The only reason they weren't paid is they didn't manifest any injury from their exposure at the World Trade Center site until after the fund was dissolved," Feinberg said. He said that over the next five to 10 years, there have been estimates that another 25,000 to 30,000 victims could come forward.

    Republicans at the hearing said construction companies that responded to New York City's call for help also needed protection from the lawsuits they are facing today from former employees.

    "They stepped up as corporate good Samaritans, without having to protect themselves with contracts and insurance," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said of the construction companies. "They worked 24/7 and did so without a profit motive. These corporate heroes should not be forgotten by their government."

    King also said that if Congress creates a new compensation fund, it needs to ensure that it does not "hand the keys of the Treasury to trial lawyers."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    'ZERO' FOR HEROES, SAYS NY-BASH POL

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/04022008...pol_104639.htm

    By DAPHNE RETTER, Post Correspondent

    April 2, 2008 -- WASHINGTON - A California congressman drew the fury of New York lawmakers yesterday - after he said the feds shouldn't pay another dime to help the 9/11 emergency responders who became ill after working at Ground Zero.

    "I have to ask why . . . the firefighters who went there and everyone in the City of New York needs to come to the federal government," Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, said during a House subcommittee hearing.

    "How much money has the federal government put out post-9/11, including the buckets of $10 and $20 billion we just threw at the State and the City of New York versus how much has been paid out by the City and the State of New York?" Issa asked.

    "It's very simple: I can't vote for additional money for New York if I can't see why it would be appropriate to do this every single time a similar situation happens, which quite frankly includes any urban terrorist. It doesn't have to be somebody from al Qaeda. It can be someone who decides that they don't like animal testing at one of our pharmaceutical facilities."

    Just minutes after a retired New York City police officer, Michael Valentin, had labored through an emotional description of the serious health problems he has endured since rushing to Ground Zero, Issa downplayed the severity of the attack.

    Issa said the destruction of the World Trade Center did not involve a dirty bomb or a chemical weapon designed to make people sick.

    "It simply was an aircraft, residue of the aircraft and residue of the materials used to build this building," Issa said.

    Sitting nearby, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens) was visibly enraged at Issa's remarks.

    "The notion that this is the City of New York asking for more money because we were the point of attack on this country is absurd and insulting," Weiner fumed.

    Weiner said after the hearing that Issa's comments were some of the worst "New York-bashing" he has heard on the Hill.

    "I've never heard anyone speak with such contempt about our heroes as Mr. Issa did today. There was a good reason that he made his remarks and then slithered out of the committee room," Weiner said.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), who chaired the hearing, also defended the emergency responders.

    "They gave up their health for the balance of their years because this country was attacked," Nadler said.

    New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, who testified at the hearing, blasted Issa's statement that New York was trying to get the federal government to pick up the tab for something that should be a state and city responsibility.

    "Congressman, this was I believe an attack on the United States of America. It was located at Ground Zero, but it was an attack on America," Cardozo said.

    Issa spokesman Frederick Hill said his boss opposes any federal effort to continue funding the now-expired victims' fund, because the case has not been made for "which unique factors make this different" from wildfires in California or the Oklahoma City bombing in 1996, which killed 167 people.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    NY courts forced to hear 9/11 lawsuits

    http://media.www.nyunews.com/media/s...-3297059.shtml

    4/2/2008

    When the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, John Feal, a city demolition supervisor, was one of thousands of responders first dispatched to clean up the rubble. But after a steel beam crushed Feal's left foot, he became permanently disabled and was forced to retire.

    Like many other responders, Feal said his workman's compensation claims were repeatedly denied by the city after the emergency.

    But that may change.

    Feal, who founded the FealGood Foundation, a group that advocates for Sept. 11 responders, is one of nearly 10,000 workers suing the city for injuries and health problems caused by unsafe conditions at ground zero during cleanup. And thanks to a recent federal court decision, they may be one step closer to seeing a settlement.

    The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that New York City is not immune to WTC workers' claims. In the decision, the appellate court stated, "private contractors are paid for their services and able to pass along the cost of liability protection to the government."

    The Second Circuit decision does not necessarily mean that the 10,000 responders will receive compensation. However, the decision indicates that these lawsuits can move closer to trial or settlement.

    Many of the responders have severe respiratory illnesses and other ailments they attribute to improper protection by the city from the dust at the World Trade Center site.

    The city argued, however, that it had immunity from the lawsuits because it was responding to an emergency situation, which required an "extraordinary response," according to a statement. When a Manhattan district court said there was not enough evidence for immunity, the city appealed to the Second Circuit Court, which upheld the district court's decision.

    The City Law Department's Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo said in a statement that although disappointed with the decision, the law department is "confident that the city and contractors will be found to be immune from the lawsuits" in future litigations.

    David E. Worby, the attorney who is representing most of the responders, told The New York Times that if the case goes to trial, the city may wind up paying billions of dollars in compensation.

    Though the recent ruling is good news for Feal and his fellow responders, he wasn't completely content with the decision. Feal said in a phone interview that the decision was "a step in the right direction, but it was four to five years late." However, he added that he was "optimistic that by the end of the year, people will start getting compensated."

    It is unclear what the next step in the legal battle will be. Cardozo said in the statement that the law department has not yet decided whether to appeal last week's decision to the Supreme Court.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Former Head Of 9/11 Fund Wants To Compensate Sick WTC Workers

    http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index...=203&aid=80041

    April 01, 2008

    The former head of a fund to compensate September 11 victims supports reopening it for sick workers.

    Ken Feinberg testified at a congressional hearing Tuesday that the fund should help thousands of people sickened by the dust cloud from the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    He said it would be better for everyone than costly lawsuits.

    Feinberg said there could be problems with re-opening the fund, since nothing similar was set up after the Oklahoma City bombing or Hurricane Katrina.

    The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund was created by Congress after the 2001 attacks and distributed about $7 billion in total before expiring at the end of 2003.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Reps. Nadler, Lofgren Investigate Status of Compensation for 9/11 Illnesses
    Hearing Marks First Congressional Inquiry into Economic Losses of Individuals

    http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press...on_040108.html

    4/1/2008

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law today held a joint oversight hearing titled, “Paying With Their Lives: The Status of Compensation for 9/11 Health Effects.”

    “I am outraged that more than six years after 9/11, the heroes of that day are still waiting for the help they deserve,” said Rep. Nadler. “The federal government not only failed to protect those who died on 9/11, but it also bears responsibility for not preventing the injuries of thousands more. Obviously, none of this would have occurred were it not for the terrorists, but many of the injuries we are seeing today could have been avoided. Therefore, the federal government has a moral and legal obligation to compensate the living victims of 9/11, to provide for their health, and to attempt to make them whole for their subsequent financial losses. I am confident that, through this investigation, we can find the best way to do so, and I believe it will highlight the necessity for the House to act on the Maloney-Nadler-Fossella 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”

    “Congress has an obligation to ensure that the programs it created to assist the victims of 9/11 function efficiently and effectively,” noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “These programs were created to compensate victims, not to force them into torturous litigation. Since its creation, the Captive Insurance Fund has managed to only pay five claims. At the same time the fund has spent millions in litigation expenses fighting countless other claims. This hearing is an important first step in guaranteeing that the victims receive the compensation they are entitled to under the law.”

    Previous Congressional investigations have focused on how the federal government should provide health care services for individuals whose health was adversely impacted by the effects of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Today’s hearing is the first time that Congress focused specifically on the economic losses of those individuals. Many people incurred such losses when they became too sick to work and lost their jobs, while others have inadequate health insurance, and are struggling with exorbitant medical bills.

    The hearing examined different compensation approaches used thus far to address 9/11-related economic losses, such as the World Trade Center Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company. Reps. Nadler and Lofgren noted that the Captive Insurance Company, created by Congress with a $1 billion appropriation, has spent millions of dollars in administrative and legal costs to contest, rather than to pay, claims.

    Lawmakers also examined the specific problems arising for first responders, workers, local residents, students and other individuals whose illnesses did not become apparent for months or years after September 11, as well as individuals who may become sick in the future. The hearing also provided a venue to consider possible solutions to provide the necessary relief to affected individuals who have and will continue to experience losses, but have thus far seen little or no compensation.

    Also, last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that New York City and its contractors are not immune from lawsuits that have been filed by first responders, residents, area workers, students, and others who were exposed to the environmental toxins and other hazards during the clean-up at the World Trade Center site.

    Rep. Nadler’s opening statement, as prepared, follows:

    “First, let me thank Congresswoman Lofgren for agreeing to hold this oversight hearing. Thank you.

    “This joint hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law will investigate the status of compensation for the tens of thousands of people who are suffering because of the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. While other Congressional investigations have focused on the ongoing health crisis, and this committee has previously investigated the disastrous response to the environmental catastrophe, no previous inquiry has focused on compensation for the victims.

    “I want to welcome our witnesses and thank them for participating. We are fortunate to have an expert panel with us today to discuss the past successes, current challenges, and proposed solutions in the ongoing struggle to provide proper compensation to the victims of 9/11.

    “I would also like to recognize those individuals who have traveled to Washington today to attend this hearing, and thank you for coming. Many of are the very people who have been denied proper compensation thus far, and I hope that we can learn today about why the system has failed so many of you.

    “After the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, tens of thousands of first responders, residents, area workers, and students were exposed to a cocktail of toxic substances said to be worse than the Kuwaiti oil fires. They are now coming down with diseases like sarcoidosis, lymphoma, and rare blood cancers. Last June, Senator Clinton and I held companion hearings on the actions of the Environmental Protection Administration and other federal agencies that allowed workers to work in a toxic environment without proper protection and gave them false assurances as to their safety.

    “At the House hearing, we heard the callous voice of former EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman try to explain why she told New Yorkers that the “air was safe to breathe” when, in fact, she had evidence to the contrary. We reviewed the EPA Inspector General’s report which found that her statements “were falsely reassuring, lacked a scientific basis, and were politically motivated.” We heard about how the White House changed EPA press releases, ‘to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.’

    “Obviously, none of the injuries we are talking about would have occurred were it not for the terrorists, who are ultimately to blame, but many or most would have been avoided if the Federal Government had acted in a responsible manner. The federal government, therefore, has a moral and legal obligation to compensate the victims of 9/11 and to provide for their health.

    “Many hearings have examined the health issues and we have heard from many who are too sick to work. And we must assume that many more will become sick in the future. In a September 2006 peer-reviewed study conducted by the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, of 9,500 WTC responders, almost 70 percent of them had a new or worsened respiratory symptom that developed during or after their time working at Ground Zero. Furthermore, another study documented that, on average, a New York City firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center has experienced a loss of 12 years of lung capacity.

    “Which brings us to today’s hearing. We have with us the former Special Master of the federal Victim Compensation Program who was responsible for providing approximately $7.1 billion in compensation to the families of those who lost their lives and to those injured in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. He paid claims of about 2900 families of the deceased and 2500 people with physical injuries including respiratory illnesses. The funds he distributed were tax free and every award took into account the recoveries from collateral sources, such as private insurance, pensions, and workers compensation. Claims payments were halted because of a statutory expiration date.

    “We will also hear from Mike Valentin a police officer and 9/11 first responder who can no longer work, and who long ago exhausted his prescription drug coverage and is now fighting to keep his family financially afloat. Unfortunately, his case is all too typical.

    “New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo will discuss the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company, which established with a $1 billion Congressional appropriation, has spent millions of dollars in administrative and legal costs to contest, rather than to pay, claims filed by first responders and other individuals whom Congress intended to assist. Only a handful of claims have been paid, and none of those have been related to the respiratory problems that so many suffer. I look forward to hearing from him how many claims have been paid out and what he sees as the challenges to compensating 9/11 victims.

    “I am sure he will discuss last week’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision, denying New York City and its contractors immunity from World Trade Center-related lawsuits. Some 8,000 victims have filed suit, claiming that they “suffered respiratory injuries due to the failure of the City and the Port Authority to monitor those conditions and to provide them with adequate safety equipment, and/or warn them of the hazards.”

    “Finally, I look forward to the testimony of Dr. Jim Melius who is an expert on the proposed legislative solutions to reopen the victim compensation program and to provide for the long term health needs of those affected by the attacks of 9/11.
    “I would like to note that my colleagues, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman Vito Fossella, and I have introduced the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would provide comprehensive medical treatment to any person whose health was affected, and reopen the Victim Compensation Fund so that people can be compensated for their economic losses.

    “The pain and suffering of the living victims of 9/11 is real and cannot be ignored. I think it is clear that we, as a nation, must do more. During the final months of the Civil War, President Lincoln, in his Second Inaugural Address, noted that the nation had to beyond mourning the dead and needed to look towards what could be done to help the nation recover and reconstruct. Nearly seven years after 9/11, and we are in the same position. We must, as Lincoln remarked, “bind up the nation’s wounds [and] care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

    “I hope that as we continue to bring the truth to light through these hearings, we can do a better job of repaying a debt that can never fully be repaid to the victims and heroes of 9/11.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    GOP Rep. Darrell Issa under fire from everywhere after 9/11 comments

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008..._from_eve.html

    BY RICHARD SISK and MICHAEL McCAULIFF
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
    Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 4:00 AM

    WASHINGTON - The California congressman who called the Sept. 11 attacks "simply" a plane crash ran for cover Wednesday under a barrage of ridicule from fellow Republicans, first responders and victims' families.

    San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center.

    "That is a pretty distorted view of things," said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. "Whether they're a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage."

    "New York was attacked by Al Qaeda. It doesn't have to be attacked by Congress," added Long Island Rep. Pete King, a Republican.

    "I'm really surprised by Darrell Issa," King added. "It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It's wrong and inexcusable."

    Lorie Van Auken, who lost her husband, Kenneth, in the attacks, slammed Issa's "cruel and heartless" comments.

    "It's really discouraging. People stepped up and did the right thing. They sacrificed themselves and now a lot of people are getting really horrible illnesses," she added.

    Under pressure from all sides, the Golden State pol - who got rich selling car alarms after getting busted for car theft as a teen - pulled a partial U-turn. He issued a statement but cowered from the press.

    "I continue to support federal assistance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," he said.

    But he didn't retract his wacked-out rhetoric claiming the feds "just threw" buckets of cash at New York for an attack "that had no dirty bomb in it, it had no chemical munitions in it."

    He went on: "I have to ask ... why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration."

    In his statement yesterday, Issa insisted he only "asked tough questions about the expenditures" during a hearing Tuesday on an aid bill for sick New Yorkers.

    "He realized he stepped in it," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), who was leading the hearing when Issa popped off.

    "The sound I'm hearing is him slamming the brakes and going in reverse," crowed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn-Queens). Issa also belatedly admitted 9/11 was "an attack on America" in his statement.

    It shouldn't have been that hard.

    He took to the floor of Congress on Sept. 11, 2001, to argue passionately that America - not just New York - had been attacked, but conveniently forgot that during his Tuesday diatribe.

    "It seems that with the passage of time, something happened along the way where the scope of the problem and the real extent of the problem has not drifted out to California," fumed Staten Island GOP Rep. Vito Fossella.

    Health officials estimate it could cost $1 billion to care properly for the ailments that may emerge in the people who lived through the horror of Sept. 11 or breathed that toxic dust.

    New York lawmakers now want Democratic leaders to bring the 9/11 care bill to the floor soon - before more members of Congress start spouting off like Issa.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    GOP Rep. opposes sick Sept. 11 worker fund

    http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_New...ker_fund/9377/

    Published: April 2, 2008 at 9:08 PM

    WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- A California congressman said Wednesday he has reservations about a proposed new fund for rescuers sickened by the 2001 terror attacks, not supporting victims.

    At a hearing in Washington Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., balked at the idea of a new compensation fund for emergency responders who fell ill after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, the New York Daily News reported.

    Issa insisted the airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York were not weapons. He suggested the cause of illness for the responders was simply debris from the collapse of the towers.

    "It simply was an aircraft, residue of two aircraft and residue from the materials used to build this building," Issa said.

    Issa issued a statement Wednesday clarifying his position.

    "During (Tuesday's) hearing, I asked tough questions. ... I continue to have reservations about the specific bill (Tuesday's) hearing focused on and I have questions about the appropriate way to determine federal and local responsibility to victims," Issa said. "I want to make clear that I strongly support help for victims who suffered physical injury as a result of an attack on America, including support from Congress and the federal government."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Lawmaker Criticized for 9/11 Comments

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j...7wLtwD8VQOSQ80

    By ERICA WERNER – 11 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A conservative Republican congressman says he supports helping victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but did not offer an apology for remarks he made while questioning the need for federal compensation.

    Following criticism from fellow lawmakers and others, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., issued a statement Wednesday insisting he would "continue to support federal assistance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," although he did not specify how that should be done. He opposed reopening a victims compensation fund that expired in 2003 after distributing about $7 billion.

    On Thursday, after more negative reaction to his remarks, Issa's spokesman Frederick Hill said, "The congressman recognizes he could have chosen his words better at the hearing."

    During a joint hearing on Tuesday by two House Judiciary subcommittees considering legislation to extend benefits, Issa described the Sept. 11 attacks as "a fire that had no dirty bomb in it" and added: "It had no chemical munitions in it. It simply was an aircraft, residue of two aircraft and residue of the material used to build this building."

    He questioned "why the firefighters who went there and everyone in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus, quite frankly, this being primarily a state consideration."

    Issa went on to say that he couldn't vote for additional money for New York "if I can't see why it would be appropriate to do this every single time a similar situation happens which, quite frankly, includes any urban terrorist. It doesn't have to be somebody from al-Qaida. It can be somebody who decides they don't like animal testing at one of our pharmaceutical facilities."

    In opposing the legislation, Issa cited concerns about extending compensation to people who weren't physically injured and didn't work at Ground Zero. The bill would allow people who lived, worked or volunteered in the area to be compensated for psychological as well as physical problems.

    His remarks immediately drew indignant responses from New York lawmakers at the hearing as well as from the witness he was questioning, Michael Cardozo, New York City's top lawyer.

    "Congressman, this was I believe an attack on the United States of America. It was located at Ground Zero, but it was an attack on America," Cardozo retorted.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who chaired the hearing, said in an interview Thursday that Issa's statements were "extremely rude, extremely stupid, extremely insensitive, extremely unpatriotic — to put it mildly."

    Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said in a statement: "New York was attacked by al-Qaida. It doesn't have to be attacked by Congress. I'm really surprised by Darrell Issa. It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It's wrong and inexcusable."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Justice for Ground Zero worker

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...ro_worker.html

    BY RACHEL MONAHAN
    Tuesday, April 8th 2008, 4:00 AM

    Demetrius "Bo" Samadjopoulos has been a part of history. In the 1980s, he worked on restoring the Statue of Liberty.

    For six weeks after 9/11, he pulled 12-hour shifts at Ground Zero.

    "I'm not a hero. I went down to do a job," said Samadjopoulos, 49, of Park Slope, who worked for 15 years as a carpenter for the city's Transportation Department.

    But Samadjopoulos was denied a pension, even though a World Trade Center medical expert and his own doctor found his work injuries from 9/11, along with the wear and tear of a demanding job, had disabled him.

    "I'm not looking for free money. I'm looking for my measly $20,000 a year and medical coverage for my daughter," said Samadjopoulos.

    In October 2006, a city medical board report found "the documentary and clinical evidence failed to substantiate that (Samadjopoulos) is disabled from performing the duties of carpenter."

    Last week, however, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub annulled the medical board's decision, noting it "lacks a rational basis," after Samadjopoulos claimed his medical exam only lasted 15 minutes and did not "include any tests" of his respiratory ailments.

    Samadjopoulos' lawyer, Gary Stone, hailed the judge's decision.

    "It's quite a remarkable indictment of the medical board," said Stone, pension-unit director of South Brooklyn Legal Services. "It was a disturbing finding, if we think about how many people's cases get decided by the medical board."

    Law Department spokeswoman Laura Postiglione said city lawyers would review the decision when they had received "a formal copy."

    Samadjopoulos' doctor, Jacqueline Moline, director of the World Trade Center Monitoring and Treatment Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, had supported his case for a pension.

    "It is absolutely clear to me ... that Mr. Samadjopoulos is disabled as a result of his work at the World Trade Center site," she wrote.

    Samadjopoulos said he left the private sector and went to work for the city for the security of a pension.

    "It's a travesty," said Samadjopoulos. "Every time I hear Bloomberg ... saying all the things they're doing for people, I feel like puking."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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