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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #61
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    $400M for lawyers?
    The sick and dying of 9/11 deserve better

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-378052c.html

    9/3/2006

    Lawyer David Worby champions the cause of Ground Zero responders - with the potential of earning big fees.

    Carpenter James Nolan rushed to help on 9/11. Now he struggles to breathe and is among thousands who have been compelled to figh in court for compensation.

    Within weeks of 9/11, it was already clear to New York officials that Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers were serving under such hazardous conditions that the city and its cleanup contractors were likely to face more than $2 billion in damage claims.

    As 40,000 firefighters, cops, construction workers and others labored amid the caustic dust and carcinogens released by the World Trade Center collapse, consultants retained by the Law Department predicted that responders would wind up seeking compensation for injuries stemming from exposure to toxins, including asbestos.

    The forecast, which surfaced recently in court papers, has proven tragically accurate. As is by now well-known, thousands of the men and women who helped bring New York back from tragedy were sickened. The toxic cloud that shrouded The Pile seared their airways and scarred their lungs, bringing debilitation and, in the worst cases, death.

    They are owed.

    And many are being victimized yet again.

    Demanding compensation from the city and the major construction companies called in to dismantle the rubble, more than 8,000 people have enlisted to join a mass lawsuit that is mushrooming into a monumental legal ripoff that could extend for decades.

    At issue is who, if anyone, should be entitled to a share of $1 billion in federal money that was set aside by Congress to insulate the city and the contractors against liability. But the warring in court is so intense and tangled that high-priced lawyers could siphon up to $400 million away from the forgotten victims of 9/11 in legal fees.

    That math is obscene: All those responders get a shot - someday, long in the future - at dividing, maybe, $600 million, while a couple dozen attorneys reap an amount that's almost as large. Correction, the math is not obscene; it's sinful.

    As a matter of justice, those who were sickened at Ground Zero should not have to fight this hard for compensation, nor should they have to wait years for payment. They deserve the overwhelming share of the available monies; the trial lawyers on both sides of the table don't.

    There's a better way. The process of apportioning financial restitution should be removed from court, ideally through no-fault payments. Proof of an injury stemming from Ground Zero service should trigger the issuance of a check, with the amount governed by clear guidelines.

    The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, administered by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, used such a system with great success to distribute $6 billion to the survivors of 2,880 people killed in the terror attack and $1billion to 2,680 people who were injured. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, the New York congressional delegation, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg must now join forces to push Congress to reauthorize the fund in order to take care of people who were left out only because their illnesses emerged too late for them to file claims.

    A Feinberg-like compensation fund is the surest way to efficiently provide reasonable payment to people who were hurt because they acted with valor, as they were asked to. Among that legion are James Nolan and Michael Valentin.

    Nolan, 41, a Local 608 carpenter, rushed to Ground Zero on the night of 9/11 with shovels, picks and seven cases of bottled water. In the thick of the toxic cloud, he searched for bodies and he "burned steel" to perform demolition. He was there for almost two weeks straight and then shifted to carpentry work at the site for the better part of a year.

    Two months in, Nolan developed what's now known as World Trade Center cough and the acid reflux that's common among responders. Then came asthma, and the skin that peels from his hands, and an oversize liver, and gasping for air. He weeps when recounting his experience. "I get up in the morning and I feel like I am 80 years old," said Nolan, who struggles to work because without a job he has no health insurance.

    Valentin, an NYPD detective, got to Ground Zero on the afternoon of 9/11. "It looked like winter out, like dust devils all over the place," he said. He also recalled "seeing fluorescent green smoke, the most beautiful green you could see. It was really eerie."

    Every day for two months, Valentin, now 41, worked a bucket brigade that searched for body parts, checked nearby properties for human remains and performed perimeter security. His only respiratory protection was an American flag bandanna purchased by his wife.

    After a few months, Valentin began coughing up blood, got acid reflux, had numbing in his hands and suffered night sweats. His lung capacity began to drop, he developed a mass the size of a lemon outside his lungs and the lining of his lungs began to thicken. He breathes with pain, depends on 10 medications and uses a nebulizer every three or four hours.

    Michael Valentin is owed.

    James Nolan is owed.

    Many thousands more are owed.

    Congress and President Bush must be made to understand the terrible and growing toll that was inflicted by the attack on America, and they must be shown the gross inequities in how responders have been treated. Through the 9/11 fund, Feinberg wrote checks to almost 2,700 Ground Zero workers who came down with respiratory conditions like those that now afflict thousands. But he went out of business before the scope of the epidemic began to emerge.

    Quite likely, Washington will not be immediately receptive to a new compensation fund. There would have to be an open-ended commitment to help responders if and when it's proven that Ground Zero exposures are producing diseases like cancers, as many medical experts predict will happen in the coming decades. And Congress would have to cap the liability of the major builders, such as Bovis Lend Lease and Tully Construction, that threw themselves into the cleanup out of patriotism, not out of profit. The long-term purpose for protecting these companies is simple: American businesses will be a lot less likely to respond with similar vigor to another terror disaster if bankruptcy will be the reward.

    Should Congress refuse to create a compensation fund, Bloomberg and Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo will have to act independently to remove the claims of the forgotten victims of 9/11 from the courts. No less an authority than Feinberg supports this approach.

    "The city has over a billion dollars sitting in the bank, just sitting there," Feinberg said. "Why not replicate the 9/11 fund on a local basis to compensate these 8,000 people? Isn't the answer to design a system cooperatively that compensates eligible victims, denies those who can't meet the minimum requirements and puts some money aside for future illnesses as they arise?"

    Legally, this may be easier said than done, because Congress placed the money in the WTC Captive Insurance Co., a special entity that is supposed to defend the city and 140 companies from liability. And there is no guarantee that $1 billion would cover all claims that may arise. Still, compensating people with proven Ground Zero-related illnesses through arbitration would be a lot more efficient and dignified - and a lot less costly - than waging, literally, 8,000 individual lawsuits in a war without end.

    In one battlefield trench, trial lawyers David Worby and Paul Napoli represent the mass of people who allege they suffered respiratory ailments from inhaling the toxic cloud of 9/11, are afraid they are going to become ill, or believe they contracted cancers, such as leukemia and malignancies of the brain and kidney, at Ground Zero. Worby and Napoli argue that the city and contractors should be held liable because the workers were placed in unsafe conditions in violation of labor laws.

    Worby recognized the emerging Ground Zero health crisis early on, beginning with a chance encounter in 2003 with NYPD Detectives John Walcott and Richard Volpe, partners who had searched for survivors at Ground Zero. Walcott was suffering with leukemia and Volpe with kidney disease, sicknesses they attributed to toxic exposure.

    The face and voice of the suit, Worby mixes zeal for winning treatment for the ill, including Nolan and Valentin, with assertions that an unprecedented combination of carcinogens, cancer accelerants and immunosuppressants has caused malignancies to develop far faster than medicine has ever seen before. There is no scientific proof for such a theory, and it is dismissed out of hand by many experts.

    If Worby is the mouth of the court action, Napoli is the muscle. His firm invests millions of dollars waging mass suits against the likes of, say, a major drug company, essentially gambling on winning big. After a loss, he gets nothing. After a win, he stands to collect up to a third of any settlement.

    With $1 billion up for grabs, Worby and Napoli are eying a cut of as much as $333 million - enough, Worby said, "to make some people think about buying a Gulfstream" private jet. For his part, Napoli said that after paying expenses, such as lawyers' salaries and office overhead, the typical profit margin in a mass-tort suit is about 25%. In this case, that would be more than $80 million. Neither would discuss specific arrangements with clients.

    In the opposite trench are Cardozo, the city's chief lawyer, and the hired guns who represent the Captive Insurance Co. They have asked Manhattan Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the city and its agents are, by law, immune from liability because they were responding to an emergency.

    Hellerstein and appeals courts will decide the matter - but whatever the outcome, the forgotten victims of 9/11 will be the losers. On the one hand, the judges could throw the case out of court, leaving the responders at the mercy of Congress. On the other hand, the judges could let all or some of the suits proceed - draining ever more of the available monies into the lawyers' bank accounts.

    Just getting this far, the insurance company has spent more than $28 million on attorney fees, and it is perfectly plausible that the costs could eventually rise to $100 million. In fact, Ernst & Young, the accounting and consulting company, projected in 2001 that the bills could hit $267 million.

    There, again, is that sinful math: As much as a third of a billion dollars to the responders' legal teams, at least $100 million and perhaps much more to the city's battery - and a prayer for one eight-thousandth of whatever is left to each responder in the suit. And that leaves out others who have not joined the case or who may become sick in the future.

    Now, as the lawyers like to say, let's stipulate: Every one of the attorneys is representing clients honorably and with passion, and each of their positions has powerful merit. But the perverse result is Pyrrhic combat among parties - the workers, the city, the companies - who rushed nobly into action five years ago. And the forgotten victims of 9/11 are again bearing the brunt, this time in a fleecing of epic proportions. It must be stopped.

    They must be protected.

    They are owed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #62
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    9/11 health problems widen

    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/lo...-top-headlines

    September 4, 2006

    Mariama James is neither a firefighter nor an emergency medical technician, and after the World Trade Center attacks, she spent no time working on the pile as a volunteer responder. The 35-year-old mother of three is a bookkeeper who lives at 90 Gold St., four blocks east and one block north of Ground Zero.

    But right after Sept. 11, when a thick layer of dust from downtown blew in through her windows, James, who was eight months pregnant at the time, said she started feeling pain in the middle of her chest. Then came the cysts that appeared from her face to her groin, and "really horrific" allergies and respiratory problems that she said affect both her and her children, who are now 14, 20 and 4. She said her husband, who was out of town for months before and after 9/11, suffers from none of these ailments.

    Last week, the city's Department of Health issued some long-awaited guidelines to help doctors diagnose and treat Ground Zero-related illnesses. But advocates say the guidelines suggest that only those who had acute and prolonged exposure to conditions at Ground Zero, such as first responders and volunteers, are affected. They say the guidelines ignore a health threat to people who simply live and work in lower Manhattan, and whose homes, schools and workplaces were also contaminated.

    "People are hurting and they want medical help," says Kimberly Flynn, co-coordinator of 9/11 Environmental Action, a group that advocates for downtown residents and office workers such as James, who claim health problems from Ground Zero exposure. But Flynn said the medical guidelines read as if the only people whose health is at risk were those who had acute and prolonged exposure at the pile or whose homes or offices were severely damaged and full of dust and debris.

    "That is completely misleading," Flynn said.

    In past columns, I've called on the city to issue the guidelines, since many Ground Zero responders and volunteers who are now sick were initially misdiagnosed and received the wrong treatment, their doctors say. But while Mount Sinai Medical Center posted medical guidelines on its Web site in early 2002, city health officials say there was no consensus among physicians until now about what illnesses were caused by exposure to the toxic stew at Ground Zero.

    The health problems of firefighters, police officers, emergency technicians and volunteers who worked at Ground Zero have received the lion's share of publicity. But the illnesses of people such as Mariama James and her children may be the next big public health problem that city and federal officials will have to address.

    "I'm very angry today," said Jonathan Bennett, a spokesman for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a private group that works on workplace safety issues.

    "It's perfectly reasonable for the guidelines to focus a great deal on the people who had the heaviest exposure, but there's no reason to ignore people who had lighter exposure," Bennett told me.

    He said he doubted that a physician who read the guidelines, and then treated a patient who lives on Duane Street who's having problems breathing, would ever suspect there was a link to Ground Zero.

    While Bellevue Hospital Center operates a World Trade Center screening and treatment program for lower Manhattan residents and workers, advocates say there should be a medical program right in lower Manhattan, closer to those who might be affected. And there have been repeated calls for the federal government to test the inside of apartment buildings and offices for contaminants that might pose a health threat. After 9/11 the feds cleaned only residences below Canal Street, Bennett said.

    By producing the medical guidelines, city officials have finally acknowledged, after years of denial, that the conditions at Ground Zero have made a lot of Ground Zero responders sick, and the full dimensions of that public health problem still aren't known.

    But it's time that city and federal officials also recognized the health problems of people like Mariama James and her children, who could be feeling the effects of 9/11 for years to come.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #63
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    Officials Slow to Hear Claims of 9/11 Illnesses

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/05/ny...=1&oref=slogin

    Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press
    9/5/2006

    Dr. John Howard, right, coordinator of federal 9/11 efforts, with Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner.

    But for many of the ill and those worried about becoming sick, government actions — coming from officials whom they see as more concerned about the politics of the moment than the health of those who responded to the emergency — are too limited and too late.

    The delay in assistance along with a lack of rigorous inquiry into the magnitude of the environmental disaster unleashed that day is all the more disturbing, they say, as the country faces a future in which such disasters could happen again.

    Dr. John Howard, who was appointed by the Bush administration in February to coordinate the federal government’s 9/11 health efforts, readily admits that costly delays and missed opportunities may have shattered responders’ trust in the government.

    “I can understand the frustration and the anger, and most importantly, the concern about their future,” Dr. Howard said in an interview. “I can’t blame them for thinking, ‘Where were you when we needed you?’ ”

    A review of recent federal initiatives reveals a pattern of the government’s not fully delivering what was promised. Dr. Howard’s office, for example, has no full-time staff members assigned to 9/11 health issues. For the first time, money for treatment — $52 million — has been included in the federal budget, but even the officials responsible concede that it is not nearly enough. And only last week did New York City release clinical guidelines that could help doctors properly diagnose 9/11-related illnesses.

    “They seem to be running from the people who are sick, not standing with them and helping them,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens and has been critical of federal efforts at ground zero. “And that is just plain wrong.”

    One of the thorniest problems, and one reason officials have given for the long delay in responding, is the difficulty of linking the dust and smoke to specific symptoms and diseases. Making a medical diagnosis for illnesses related to toxic substance exposure requires extensive and sophisticated tests. Simply measuring the toxicity of the dust has proved to be controversial.

    And state workers’ compensation systems, designed to handle common workplace injuries like broken arms, are not well suited for determining an illness that may take months or years to emerge.

    Even so, clinical evidence of a serious health problem surfaced not long after the attack. Initial studies of firefighters found that many had developed “trade center cough,” a stubborn hacking that caused them to cough up soot and dust particles.

    A large-scale medical study came out in 2004, when the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that more than half of the first 1,138 workers it had examined had serious respiratory problems.

    Workers also suffered gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux, asthma and mental stress. (Mount Sinai is scheduled to release a far larger study today, and it is expected to show serious ailments among many more workers.)

    Successive studies through the years have found that the health hazards were more persistent than first thought.

    A Fire Department study released this year showed that firefighters had suffered a loss in lung capacity in the first year after the attack equal to what they might have lost over 12 years of normal duty. The department has also found that the incidence of sarcoidosis, a serious lung scarring disease, rose to five times the expected rate in the first two years after 9/11.

    An initial survey released in April of the 71,437 responders, residents and downtown workers who signed up for the World Trade Center Health Registry, run by the city and the federal government, showed that more than half said that they had experienced new or worsening respiratory problems since 9/11. And a Red Cross survey in May found that two-thirds of the responders and survivors who sought help in coping with emotional distress believe that grief still interferes with their lives.

    One death — that of 34-year-old Detective James Zadroga in January — has been formally linked by a coroner’s report to lung disease caused by trade center dust. The families of at least six other responders who died believe those deaths were also linked to toxic substance exposure at ground zero.

    Sept. 11 Navigator: Health Resources and Documents When Dr. Howard was appointed a few weeks after Detective Zadroga died, many in the city were relieved to have a federal czar in charge.

    But Dr. Howard, who was trained as a pulmonary specialist and is the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has not assigned a single one of his 1,300 employees to work full time on ground zero medical issues, though about 20 work on such issues part time. And though the institute has a budget of about $285 million, he has not received any additional money to address the complex medical issues involved.

    “I’m a czar without a budget,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the need for treatment assistance has grown as more people have become ill. While many rescue and recovery workers are covered by their own health insurance, that coverage may become inadequate in the years ahead. Many union workers, for example, can lose their coverage if they become too sick to work, while most illegal immigrants who worked there had no insurance.

    Some 16,000 union workers and volunteers have been examined through the screening and monitoring program run by Mount Sinai, which began in 2002 with $11.4 million in federal money and was extended in 2004 for five years with an additional $81 million. (Information about the program is available at www.wtcexams.org.)

    But until last year, there was almost no money available for treatment through the screening program. With $9.4 million from the Red Cross, Mount Sinai doctors were able to treat 2,050 responders last year, offering them therapy, medications and medical procedures in some cases.

    Ms. Maloney and other members of the New York Congressional delegation, in pushing for more federal aid, succeeded last December in getting the Bush administration to restore $125 million in unused workers’ compensation assistance that it had threatened to take back.

    Of the $125 million, about $50 million was set aside for future workers’ compensation awards and about $52 million was split equally between two treatment programs — one for firefighters and another for injured police officers, union workers and other responders, but not office workers or neighborhood residents.

    A working group appointed by Dr. Howard has not yet determined which diseases will be eligible for treatment with the new money or whether the money will cover hospital stays as well as office visits. But he recognizes that it is not nearly enough to cover New York’s needs, let alone the national treatment program he intends to start.

    “You don’t have to go to cancers years from now, or asbestosis, to be able to say ‘Gee, John, how far do you think this money is going to go?’ ” Dr. Howard said. “I don’t think it will go that far.”

    Besides the lack of money for treatment, the absence of timely public health information made it more likely that doctors who initially saw sick responders would be unprepared to treat what they found.

    Doctors at Mount Sinai have said that up to a third of the workers they examined were taking improper medications because their doctors had misdiagnosed their symptoms. Severe sinusitis, for example, was treated with antibiotics even though that condition might have been caused by chemical burns from the caustic dust.

    Yet it was not until Thursday, days before the fifth anniversary, that the city issued diagnostic guidelines for the unusual illnesses linked to ground zero dust, despite urging by medical specialists and labor leaders as early as December 2001.

    “This is a significant failure of the public health system,” said Micki Siegel de Hernandez, health and safety director for District 1 of the Communications Workers of America. Ms. Siegel de Hernandez contended that the city delayed releasing the guidelines because it was worried that acknowledging the extent of the health problems might increase its legal liability.

    Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in an interview that the city had decided it made more sense for the doctors at Mount Sinai’s screening program to put guidelines on their Web site because they were seeing the workers while the city’s medical staff was not.

    Mount Sinai did publish guidelines in early 2002, but they did not carry the weight of an official city advisory and had limited impact.

    “We lost opportunities by not disseminating guidelines widely or at least putting out a caution,” Dr. Howard said.

    Dr. Frieden agreed that if they had been released sooner, the guidelines might have helped clinicians make more accurate diagnoses.

    “Would I rather have had the guidelines out sooner? Sure,” he said this summer. “But it’s important to get this right.” He said the delay had nothing to do with concerns about the city’s legal liability for sick responders.

    About 8,000 responders have sued the city and the big contractors who worked for the city in the recovery operations, charging them with reckless disregard for workers’ health. The city has asked a federal court in Manhattan to dismiss the suit.

    Although five years have passed, many questions about the environmental disaster at ground zero remain unanswered. To this day, the government has never precisely measured where the dust went, information that could help determine the health impact on residents near ground zero. And it is unclear whether cancers, possibly linked to the toxic materials, will arise in future years, or if some of the sick will get better.

    For now, among the sick and their doctors, the faltering and delayed governmental response raises unsettling questions about whether the country is prepared to handle a similar catastrophe.

    “I think of that every time I come to New York,” Dr. Howard said. “Given this betrayal of trust, this lack of being there at the time and all these other things, I don’t know. We can try with what we have, but it certainly is a different situation when you do it five years later.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #64
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    Most 9/11 recovery workers suffered lung ills
    70 percent of WTC responders developed symptoms, major study shows

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14681710/

    Updated: 12:34 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2006

    NEW YORK - Nearly 70 percent of recovery workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center suffered lung problems during or after their work at ground zero, a new health study released Tuesday shows.

    Less than a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mount Sinai Medical Center issued the results of the largest study on related health effects.

    It found, among other things, that illnesses tended to be worst among those who arrived first at the site, and that high rates of lung “abnormalities” continued years later.

    The study focused mostly on what has been dubbed “World Trade Center cough,” which was little understood immediately after the attacks but became a chief concern of health experts and advocates.

    Findings highlighted by the study include:
    • Almost 70 percent of World Trade Center responders had new or worsened lung symptoms after the attacks.
    • Among responders who had no health symptoms before the attacks, 61 percent developed lung symptoms while working on the toxic pile.
    • One-third of those tested had abnormal lung function tests. In lung function tests, responders had abnormalities at a rate double that expected in the general population. Those abnormalities persisted for months and in some cases years after the exposure, the study found.

    The findings are based on medical exams conducted between July 2002 and April 2004 on 9,500 ground zero workers, including construction workers, law enforcers, firefighters, transit workers, volunteers and others.

    The hospital has been the focal point of New York research on Sept. 11-related illnesses, and thousands have sought treatment there.

    The report comes as public concern over the fate of ground zero workers has risen. In a class action lawsuit against the city and its contractors, 8,000 workers and civilians blame Sept. 11 for sinusitis, cancers and other ailments they developed after the attacks.

    Dr. John Howard, who was appointed by the Bush administration in February to coordinate the various ground zero health programs, told The New York Times for Tuesday editions that he understands the skepticism of many responders.

    “I can understand the frustration and the anger, and most importantly, the concern about their future,” said Howard, the head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “I can’t blame them for thinking, ‘Where were you when we needed you?”’

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg was expected to announce related program plans on Tuesday.

    Tracking long-term effects
    The programs would “build on our track record of supporting those who supported us in the months after 9/11,” he wrote in an op-ed piece in the Daily News. “The city will continue to do everything possible to learn about the problems people face and develop effective strategies to deal with them.”

    Gov. George Pataki signed legislation last month that expanded benefits for workers who became sick after toiling at ground zero, but Bloomberg objected to the laws, saying they were unfunded and would cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

    A House committee plans to hold a hearing on Sept. 11 health issues this week.

    The city-run World Trade Center Health Registry is tracking the long-term effects on 71,000 people, including those who lived or worked in lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks and the months of cleanup.

    Just last week, New York City health officials issued long-awaited guidelines to help doctors detect and treat Sept. 11-related illnesses — medical advice considered crucial for hundreds of ground zero workers now scattered across the United States.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #65
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    Documents: Feds, City Knew Of Ground Zero Toxins
    Part II -- Memo: NYC Reopened WTC Area Despite EPA Warning

    http://wcbstv.com/911/local_story_249164937.html

    Marcia Kramer
    9/7/2006

    (CBS) NEW YORK CBS 2 Exclusive: Stunning proof has been uncovered that the government knowingly put New Yorkers in harm's way after 9/11.

    CBS 2 News has obtained documents revealing that Lower Manhattan was reopened a few weeks following the attack even though the air was not safe.

    The two devastating memos, written by the U.S. and local governments, show they knew. They knew the toxic soup created at Ground Zero was a deadly health hazard. Yet they sent workers into the pit and people back into their homes.

    One of the memos, from the New York City health department, dated Oct. 6, 2001, noted: "The mayor's office is under pressure from building owners ... in the Red Zone to open more of the city." The memo said the Department of Environmental Protection was "uncomfortable" with opening the areas but, "The mayor's office was directing the Office of Emergency Management to open the target areas next week."

    "Not only did they know it was unsafe, they didn't heed the words of more experienced people that worked for the city and E.P.A.," said Joel Kupferman, with the group Environmental Justice Project.

    Another part of the memo noted: "The E.P.A. has been very slow to make data results available and to date has not sufficiently informed the public of air quality issues arising from this disaster."

    "Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me," said health protestor Yuichi Tamamo. "For the last five years we've been saying air quality here has been horrible."

    It also doesn't suprise Carmen Flores, who lives in an apartment in the Baruch Houses that was engulfed in the 9/11 toxic plume. Her health has deteriorated and she has multiple medicines.

    "I feel forgotten," she said.

    Bruce Sprague, an E.P.A. official in the New York and New Jersey region during 9/11 admited to CBS 2 News the agency was finding alarming air quality readings at Ground Zero and in the surrounding areas.

    Sprague said the E.P.A. had written much more conservative health assessments, but the memos had to go to Washington. And when the White House got its hands on them, they -- according to Sprague -- softened them.

    The city health department refused to comment on the memo, but inside sources told CBS 2 News the memo is real. And its veracity is not questioned by the Environmental Justice Project's Kupferman.

    He calls it "a smoking gun."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #66
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    9-11 health impact dispute: "We never lied," Christine Whitman lies

    http://ww4report.com/node/2450

    Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Sat, 09/09/2006 - 02:03.

    It is a truly appalling spectacle to watch former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman and New York City officials pass the buck for the deadly 9-11 health fallout back and forth like a shuttlecock. Whitman said in a "60 Minutes" interview to be aired this weekend that the EPA did not have authority over the Ground Zero site, and claimed she provided an accurate assessment of the air quality following the attacks. She distinguished between the air in lower Manhattan, which was considered safe, and the air at Ground Zero, which was not. "The readings [in lower Manhattan] were showing us that there was nothing that gave us any concern about long-term health implications," she said. "That was different from on the pile itself, at ground zero. There, we always said consistently, 'You've got to wear protective gear.'" (AP, Sept. 8)

    But this a bogus defense, given that she failed to make this rather critical distinction at the time. New York Newsday saves this Sept. 18, 2001 Whitman quote from the Memory Hole:

    "We are very encouraged that the results frpm our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances. I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

    Yet she has the chutzpah to tell "60 Minutes": "We never lied." Ommission is a form of lying, Christine. Ask any lawyer.

    Meanwhile, New York City legal counsel Michael Cardozo responded that "the City of New York did everything within its power to protect those who participated in the recovery effort." Fortunately, Newsday also saves this Sept. 28, 2001 gem from the much-lionized Rudolph Giuliani, mayor at the time of the attacks, revealing him as perfectly complicit in the EPA's cover-up:

    "Although they occasionally will have an isolated reading with an unacceptable level of asbestos...it's very occassional and very irsolated. The air quality is safe and acceptable."

    The dust-up comes days after a study of nearly 9,500 police officers, paramedics, construction workers and others who toiled at Ground Zero was released by physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The study finds that seven out of 10 first responders and workers who were at Ground Zero suffer from chronic lung ailments that probably will be lifelong. The study represents the first scientific evidence linking Ground Zero dust and debris to health woes, vindicating doctors and patients who for years insisted the connection was undeniable.

    The study focused mostly on so-called "World Trade Center cough," the primary concern of health experts and advocates. Doctors at Mount Sinai also said they expect to find disproportionate cancer among the study's participants in the years to come.

    "There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick," said Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program at Mount Sinai.

    Herbert was joined at a news conference announcing the findings by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Reps. Jerold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), and other officials, who said the federal government must respond with programs to cover the health-related costs of the sick workers. (Newsday, Sept. 6)

    More info at 9-11 Environmental Action.

    See our last report on how New York's heroes are getting screwed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #67
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    Time to stop the toxic lies of 9/11
    Federal, city leaders should be owning up to WTC health risks

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-379421c.html

    9/9/2006

    The very leaders who failed to protect countless New Yorkers from the toxic pollution after Sept. 11 are now trying to blame each other.

    What they should be doing is owning up to their lies and deceits.

    In the weeks after the World Trade Center collapse, this column repeatedly warned that federal, state and city leaders were all hiding the true extent of environmental hazards in lower Manhattan.

    Instead of admitting the truth, city and federal officials attacked those columns as alarmist and irresponsible - and they exerted enormous pressure on the Daily News to stop publishing them.

    Some samples of the supposedly "irresponsible" work:

    On Sept. 28, 2001, I reported that testing of dust samples around lower Manhattan by the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project had revealed more widespread asbestos contamination than Christie Whitman, then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, had led the public to believe. I also reported that city officials were not enforcing the use of proper safety equipment by workers at Ground Zero.

    On Oct. 9, 2001, I reported that private testing done by a widely respected Virginia environmental firm had revealed unusually high levels of asbestos inside two office buildings near Ground Zero. Many of the fibers had been pulverized into such unusually microscopic size by the towers' collapse that they went undetected by much of the equipment federal agencies were using.

    The story accused of being the most "alarmist" piece ran Oct. 26, 2001, in a front-page story headlined "A Toxic Nightmare at Disaster Site." I revealed for the first time that hundreds of pages of the EPA's own tests showed the agency had detected such toxic substances as dioxins, PCBs, benzene, lead and chromium in the air and soil around the WTC site - sometimes at levels far exceeding federal standards.

    The EPA's regional administrator immediately blasted the report as "one of the worst kind you can write." He conceded there had been some "elevated readings" near the site but the agency's overall testing "indicates people are safe."

    "Sometimes the odor is terrible," former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said then, "but what I'm told is that it is not dangerous to your health."

    That column led furious City Hall aides and federal officials to pressure The News to stop these reports.

    The next voice on this subject belonged to Whitman, who wrote an op-ed piece for The News defending her agency's response to air-quality monitoring.

    But there were too many complaints from sick residents and workers to ignore, and The News continued to publish more of my reports challenging the official story.

    Five years later, there is a mountain of evidence that all levels of government issued misleading information and outright lies about air quality in those early days.

    Whitman now wants to blame Giuliani for lack of safety enforcement at the WTC site. The city was in charge of Ground Zero and the EPA "didn't have the authority to do that," she says.

    Another deceit.

    Yes, Giuliani and the city failed miserably to enforce federal safety rules at the site. For weeks, the city did not ensure that every worker used proper respirators and decontamination methods - something federal inspectors noted in a highly critical report on Oct. 6, 2001.

    But Whitman's agency had the legal power to step in at any time and take control, under a 1998 presidential directive that puts the EPA in charge of cleaning up contaminated sites after a terrorist attack.

    More importantly, the EPA created a false sense of security among rescue workers and the public after 9/11. Whitman herself said the agency's early testing of air and dust showed "no reason for concern."

    That reassuring message had its roots in the White House.

    Three years ago, the EPA's inspector general revealed that White House aides rewrote the agency's initial press releases to lull both the public and rescue workers into thinking everything was okay.

    For example, in an EPA draft of a Sept. 13, 2001, press statement, the White House removed the following words - "Even at low levels, EPA considers asbestos hazardous" - and inserted a more benign statement: "Monitoring and sampling ... have been very reassuring about potential exposure of rescue crews and the public to environmental contaminants."

    City Hall, however, didn't need the EPA or the White House to reveal a major contamination problem.

    A city Department of Environmental Protection spokesman told The News on Sept. 17, 2001, that "no levels of asbestos or any pollutants that raise concern" had been found.

    Another lie.

    In February 2002, the agency finally released the results of its own early testing. It turned out that 27 of DEP's first 38 outdoor tests detected asbestos levels higher than the agency's safety threshold.

    You'd think that five years after that horrible day, our leaders - from the White House on down - would stop the lies.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  8. #68
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    Officials accused of 9/11 lie

    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/lo...sland-homepage

    BY JENNIFER MALONEY
    Newsday Staff Writer

    September 18, 2006

    Hugh Kaufman, a former chief investigator for the EPA's inquiry into the response to Sept. 11, criticized government officials yesterday, accusing them of lying to the public about New York's air quality after the terrorist attacks.

    "Until we fix the broken government, none of us is safe," he said at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington at the screening of a documentary about Sept. 11-related illnesses.

    According to an internal EPA report released in 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency was directed by the White House in the days after Sept. 11 to amend its news releases by adding reassuring statements and removing cautionary ones. Tests later revealed that dust from Ground Zero had high levels of fiberglass and pulverized asbestos.

    Kaufman said the new document shows that former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman -- in addition to the White House -- was responsible for manipulating information and deceiving the public.

    Before the screening, Kaufman released an EPA document showing that both the White House and Whitman, urged an EPA spokeswoman to "reassure the public" in the aftermath of the attacks.

    The document summarizes an August 2002 conference in which public affairs officials were interviewed about their department's response to Sept. 11. It quotes Tina Kreisher, a former associate administrator for the Office of Communications, Education and Media Relations.

    The document says: "When asked whether there was a conscious effort to reassure the public, Ms. Kreisher said there was such an effort. This emphasis 'came from the Administrator and the White House.'"

    Kaufman also released a February 2001 memo in which Whitman recused herself from dealing with matters affecting her investments, including Port Authority bonds. The Port Authority owns the World Trade Center site.

    "She should not have worked on the case," Kaufman said. "It was a conflict of interest."

    Other speakers at the event -- which featured the documentary "The Toxic Clouds of 9/11," produced and directed by Alison Johnson -- included first responders who worked on the pile and have since become ill.

    Paramedic Marvin Bethea was buried twice in debris on Sept. 11 while escorting people to safety. Five weeks later, he suffered a stroke attributed to Sept. 11 stress and later was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic rhinitis. He was not awarded workers compensation until this year.

    "We've got to make sure 9/11 does not become an afterthought," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  9. #69
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    Rice Reportedly Signed Off On 9/11 "Safe To Breathe" Documents

    http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index...id=1&aid=62865

    September 24, 2006

    Former EPA head Christie Whitman has come under fire from city leaders who accuse her of deceiving the public about the air quality after September 11th, but according to the New York Post, Condoleezza Rice also approved documents declaring the air around the World Trade Center site "safe to breathe."

    The paper says Rice – then head of the National Security council – gave final approval to those infamous EPA press releases days after 9/11.

    Scientists have since said the air was filled with toxins. Whitman's camp tells the Post that she never discussed press releases directly with Rice.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  10. #70
    beltman713 Guest
    Damn, Rice just keeps digging that hole deeper and deeper.

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