Apr 20, 2007
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK An appeals court ruling could spell trouble for New Yorkers
suing the Environmental Protection Agency and its former chief for saying that
sooty Lower Manhattan air was safe to breathe after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
A three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared this
week that EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and other agency officials
can’t be held constitutionally liable for making rosy declarations about air
quality in the days following the World Trade Center’s destruction.
The opinion, written by the court’s chief judge, Dennis Jacobs, said opening
EPA workers up to lawsuits for giving out bad information during a crisis could
have a catastrophic side effect.
“Officials might default to silence in the face of the public’s urgent
need for information,” Jacobs wrote.
The ruling, filed Thursday, applied only to a suit brought by five government
employees who did rescue and cleanup work at ground zero, but it contained language
suggesting that similar legal claims could face trouble.
It specifically mentioned a class action lawsuit brought by lower Manhattan
residents who claim Whitman jeopardized their health by declaring that “the
air is safe to breathe” at a time when, according to the EPA inspector
general, a quarter of dust samples were recording unhealthy asbestos levels.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts, refused to dismiss that case,
calling Whitman’s statements “conscience-shocking.”
That decision is now on appeal and has yet to be argued before the 2nd… Continue reading
Terrorized by ‘War on Terror': How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a “war on terror” did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.…Continue reading
The American Freedom Agenda’s (AFA) mission is twofold: the enactment of a cluster of statutes that would restore the Constitution’s checks and balances as enshrined by the Founding Fathers; and, making the subject a staple of political campaigns and of foremost concern to Members of Congress and to voters and educators. Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law. The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence.
The 10-point American Freedom Agenda would work to restore the roles of Congress and the federal judiciary to prevent such abuses of power and protect against injustices that are the signature of civilized nations. In particular, the American Freedom Agenda would:
Bloomberg Seeks U.S. Aid for Treatment of 9/11 Illnesses
By SEWELL CHAN
WASHINGTON, March 21 — Testifying at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pleaded for at least $150 million in annual federal aid to monitor and treat thousands of people who became ill after being exposed to dust and debris at ground zero.
The mayor also called for the creation of a special fund to compensate those who became sick, urging that the city and its contractors be protected from potentially ruinous liability as a result of lawsuits brought by rescue and recovery workers who have argued that they were not adequately protected from the environmental hazards left by the World Trade Center’s collapse.
Senators from both parties expressed sympathy for the mayor’s arguments, which were delivered at the start of a three-hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
A panel appointed by Mr. Bloomberg last month put the total cost of evaluating and treating everyone potentially affected by the trade center attack at $392.6 million a year. The panel called for the federal government to provide, at a minimum, $153 million a year to sustain health programs run by the Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Fire Department and Bellevue Hospital Center.
Mr. Bloomberg told the committee’s chairman, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, that he supported a bill they introduced that would provide $1.9 billion for 9/11 health monitoring and treatment between 2008 and 2012.…Continue reading
Note: The Mt. Sinai study, referred to by David Miller, can be found here, with other resources from Mt. Sinai for individuals affected by WTC toxins.
Report from NY911Truth.org:
“9/11 First Responders: Voices From The Pit”
Sunday, June 25th at Community Church
I’m not sure how David Miller found us, but he has been attending our Sunday events for at least 3 months. NY 911 Truth has been enriched by his presence. Between hearing of his experience as a first responder with his National Guard unit, reading the many recent articles about the plight of responders, and meeting several other responders at a conference sponsored by SUNY-New Paltz, we’ve had our eyes and hearts opened to a unique aspect of the 9/11 tragedy.
We knew we had to have an event dedicated to calling attention to the cause of responders, survivors, and also downtown residents who were all told by the EPA, the air was safe to breath. However, 14 rescue dogs died and nearly 5 years later many responders have died, thousands are very sick, can’t work, and are in dire straits financially. Adding insult to injury, 1 billion dollars of federal funds are sitting in an offshore bank account and many have had to fight to get workers comp due to incredibly slick maneuvering by government agencies. Our event began with comments from Father Frank Morales who served as chaplain at Ground Zero in the early weeks after the attacks. He shared an essay about his experience which was deeply moving.…Continue reading
by Sid Shniad
The Hidden History of 9-11-2001
Research in Political Economy
2006 Volume 23.
Ed. by Paul Zarembka
Governments have long found it useful to manufacture rationale for pursuing war and repression. The sinking of the Battleship Maine at the outset of the Spanish-American-Cuba War is the classic example. When President Harry Truman wanted to offer assistance to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey in 1947, Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg promised his support if Truman would “scare the hell out of the American people.” In 1962, the Pentagon mounted Operation Northwoods, a plan involving false-flag actions, state-sponsored terrorism and the hijacking of planes on U.S. and Cuban soil designed to generate American public support for an invasion of Cuba. Then there was the case of the distraught young Iraqi woman testifying before U.S. Congressional hearings in the run-up to Gulf War I about babies being tossed out of incubators by Saddam Hussein’s soldiers.
The essays included in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 lead to the conclusion that the attack on the World Trade Center may have been the biggest false-flag operation of them all. This 2006 issue of Research in Political Economy examines different aspects of 9-11, which, taken together, provide a serious challenge to those who dismiss the possibility that a government-based conspiracy was behind the events of 9-11.
The first section of the journal debunks the information provided by the U.S. government about the number and identity of the hijackers. Following that, other authors provide evidence indicating that it was impossible for the burning jet fuel from the planes to have caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers; that a series of military war games taking place on 9-11 caused confusion in military circles and prevented normal emergency response operations to kick in; and that the insider trading in the shares of the airlines that were hijacked that day lays open the possibility that huge sums were made by people who were aware in advance of what was coming.…Continue reading
Information about New Film and Interviews at Visibility911.com
Visibility 9-11 last week published a three-part series focusing on the 9-11 dust and its aftermath. One week after September 11th, Christie Todd Whitman, then Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, stated, “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington D.C., that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink”, even though the EPA had information to the contrary.
In fact, the 9-11 dust was extremely caustic and in August of 2003, the EPA issued a report documenting changes made by the Bush administration to the EPA’s initial cautionary statements, which were originally worded to warn the public of the dangers in the dust. These warnings were changed to reassurances and the public never heard the truth. These lies have resulted in at least 70,000 people getting sick from breathing the toxic dust, and now, over five years later, they are dying. If you think our own government isn’t capable of deliberately allowing its own citizens to become sickened and die, think again.
Interviewed in this series:
Jenna Orkin of the World Trade Center Environmental Organization
Penny Little, producer of the new 9-11 documentary 9-11 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade Center
John Feal, president of the Feal Good Foundation.
You can hear this series of interviews and watch the trailer of the new film, “9/11 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade Center” at the Visibility 9-11 Dust Special webpage.…Continue reading
by Catherine Komp
Dec. 11 — A US Department of Homeland Security program that compiles data on millions of travelers and determines how likely they are to be terrorists may be operating illegally, according to privacy advocates and some members of Congress.
The Automated Targeting System (ATS) gathers travelers’ data from foreign governments, from numerous Customs and Border Protection sources, and from the Passenger Name Record, a controversial system used by the United States and Europe to gather travelers’ information from airlines and travel agencies.
ATS has long been used to track imported and exported cargo. But recent revelations by the Department show ATS is also being used to scrutinize airline passengers and cars entering or leaving the United States. The system draws on the collected data to assign a risk factor to each person or vehicle in order to help border patrol agents decide whether travelers “should receive additional screening because the traveler may pose a greater risk for violation of US law.”
It is unclear how long ATS has been used to screen humans. The DHS announced it had expanded ATS to include monitoring people in a November 2 notice in the Federal Register. However, the Department did not say when the expansion took place and some DHS officials have said the program has been in place for years.
Calling the program “equitable,” the agency said it “uses the same risk assessment process” for all individuals.
The DHS has announced it will keep the personal data gathered by ATS for up to 40 years to “cover the potentially active lifespan of individuals associated with terrorism or other criminal activities.…Continue reading
by Kristen Lombardi
November 28th, 2006 5:22 PM
Believe 9-11 is causing cancer?
An open thread in Power Plays
It was October 6, 2004, three years after Ernie Vallebuona’s three-month stint as a rescue and recovery worker at ground zero in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and he was hunched over and trembling, racked by a pain like nothing he had experienced in his 40 years of sound health. He had just returned to his Rockland County home after finishing the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift in the NYPD vice unit, where he’d reported to work for the last six years. Vallebuona had bought some fish from a street vendor near his office, on the Lower East Side. And as he drove the 35 miles from Manhattan to New City, he chalked up a searing stomachache to food poisoning. Maybe the vendor had filleted that fish with a dirty machete?
Photo: To date, 75 recovery workers at ground zero have been diagnosed with blood cell cancers that a half-dozen top doctors and epidemiologists have confirmed as having been likely caused by that exposure. Ernie Vallabuona (left) is one of them. photo: Scott McDermott
By the time he pulled into his driveway, the pain had grown excruciating, too horrible for him to even lie in bed that day. The chills swept over his body; so did the shakes. He called his doctor, who suggested ulcer medication. His mother advised him to forget that diagnosis and consult a… Continue reading
November 22, 2006
Defeating the Bill of Rights
Bush’s Lone Victory
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
George Orwell warned us, but what American would have expected that in the
opening years of the 21st century the United States would become a country in
which lies and deception by the President and Vice President were the basis
for a foreign policy of war and aggression, and in which indefinite detention
without charges, torture, and spying on citizens without warrants have displaced
the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution?
If anyone had predicted that the election of George W. Bush to the presidency
would result in an American police state and illegal wars of aggression, he
would have been dismissed as a lunatic.
What American ever would have thought that any US president and attorney general
would defend torture or that a Republican Congress would pass a bill legalizing
torture by the executive branch and exempting the executive branch from the
What American ever would have expected the US Congress to accept the president’s
claim that he is above the law?
What American could have imagined that if such crimes and travesties occurred,
nothing would be done about them and that the media and opposition party would
be largely silent?
Except for a few columnists, who are denounced by “conservatives”
as traitors for defending the Bill of Rights, the defense of US civil liberty
has been limited to the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International,
and Human Rights Watch. The few federal judges who have refused to genuflect
before the Bush police state are denounced by attorney general Alberto Gonzales
as a “grave threat” to US security.…
Jenna Orkin, of WTC Environmental Organization www.wtceo.org, describes the envirotoxic disaster of 9/11, horrendous health effects on residents and rescuers, and lies of the administration that led to the situation.
“Jenna…details how the Bush administration Environmental Protection Agency told the public that the air in Lower Manhattan after the attacks of 9/11 was safe to breathe even while knowing is was not. This raises the question: if the Bush administration was willing to sacrifice the health and the lives of United States citizens, what else would they be willing to do?”
There has been a great deal of discussion about the Military Commissions Act
of 2006 [.pdf], recently passed by both houses of Congress, and most of it has
to do with the provisions allowing torture of alien detainees, that is, of non-citizens
apprehended in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq, and their treatment at the hands of their American captors. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Warner,
all Republicans, grandstanded for weeks over the torture provisions, then capitulated.
Another “Republican maverick,” Arlen Specter, zeroed in on the real
issue, however, when he said the bill would set us back 800 years by repealing
the habeas corpus protections against arbitrary arrest and jailings — and then went ahead and voted for it, anyway.
Liberal opposition mainly centered around the morality
— or, rather, immorality — of torture, but the debate largely ignored the ticking time-bomb at the heart of this legislation, scheduled to go off, perhaps, in tandem with some future crisis, e.g., another terrorist attack on American soil: the redefinition of the “unlawful combatant” concept that lays the foundations for this administration’s reconstruction of the gulag. Here is the new, broadened definition, as enunciated in the legislation recently passed by the House:
“The term ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ means Ã± (i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or associated forces); or (ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the president or the secretary of defense.”
September 29, 2006
Listen to Segment ||
The Senate has agreed to give President Bush extraordinary power to detain and try prisoners in the so-called war on terror. The legislation strips detainees of the right to challenge their own detention and gives the President the power to detain them indefinitely. The bill also immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for torturing detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. We get reaction from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
On Capitol Hill, the Senate has agreed to give President Bush extraordinary power to detain and try prisoners in the so-called war on terror. The editors of the New York Times described the law as tyrannical. They said its passage marks a low point in American democracy and that it is our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The legislation strips detainees of the right to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their own detention or treatment. It gives the president the power to indefinitely detain anyone it deems to have provided material support to anti-U.S. hostilities. Secret and coerced evidence could be used to try detainees held in U.S. military prisons. The bill also immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for torturing detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year.
The Senate passed the measure sixty five to thirty four. Twelve Democrats joined the Republican majority.…Continue reading
By Anthony DePalma
The New York Times
September 6, 2006
The largest health study yet of the thousands of workers who labored at ground zero shows that the impact of the rescue and recovery effort on their health has been more widespread and persistent than previously thought, and is likely to linger far into the future.
The study, released yesterday by doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center, is expected to erase any lingering doubts about the connection between dust from the trade center and numerous diseases that the workers have reported suffering. It is also expected to increase pressure on the federal government to provide health care for sick workers who do not have health insurance.
Roughly 70 percent of nearly 10,000 workers tested at Mount Sinai from 2002 to 2004 reported that they had new or substantially worsened respiratory problems while or after working at ground zero.
The rate is similar to that found among a smaller sample of 1,100 such workers released by Mount Sinai in 2004, but the scale of the current study gives it far more weight; it also indicates significant problems not reflected in the original study.
For example, one-third of the patients in the new study showed diminished lung capacity in tests designed to measure the amount of air a person can exhale. Among nonsmokers, 28 percent were found to have some breathing impairment, more than double the rate for nonsmokers in the general population.
The study is among the first to show that many of the respiratory ailments – like sinusitis and asthma, and gastrointestinal problems related to them – initially reported by ground zero workers persisted or grew worse in the years after 9/11.…Continue reading
By Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor The Crisis Papers
August 29, 2006
The imminent fifth anniversary of 9/11 provides the proper moment for a good, ol’-fashioned sum-up of the past half-decade under CheneyBush, especially because so much has happened in the past 12-months:
The Bush Administration’s Katrina debacle, Iraq being sucked deeper into the civil-war vortex, Afghanistan turning once again into a major war theater, more and more military leaders speaking out about the disaster that is CheneyBush foreign policy, the defection of so many moderate conservatives from their GOP home, the plummeting of Bush’s popularity to not much more than his fundamentalist base, the revelation that Bush&Co. have been spying on citizens’ phone calls and emails without court warrants, the indictment of CheneyBush’s chief aide Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice in the case of the White House’s outing of a covert CIA agent, the “rendering” of detainees abroad for extreme torturing, etc. etc.
I’ll get to the annual list in a moment. But first let’s step back and take a deeper overview. Buckle your seat belts, here we go.
WHAT 9/11 PERMITTED BUSH TO DO
Whatever you may think of 9/11, and the extent of involvement of Bush&Co., it’s crystal-clear that the events of that tragic day were and continue to be used as an excuse for a wide variety of immoral and illegal actions by the CheneyBush Administration. The radical agenda that was barely on the public’s horizon five years ago has since become all too evident, both domestically and in terms of foreign/military policy, which is why so many traditional conservatives are abandoning the extremism of the Republican Party.…Continue reading
President Bush is at the Helm of an Administration that Won’t Stop Lying
Paul Craig Roberts
The Bush Regime has killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly women and children. The deaths are excused as unintended “collateral damage” of the ongoing war, but the deaths are nonetheless important to the tens of thousands of relatives and friends. An equally important casualty of the Bush Regime is truth. The American public has been trained to obediently accept their government’s lies fed to them by their government’s handmaiden, the US Media. No statement or claim by a Bush Regime Official is too outlandish to be received with acceptance. Consider the claim by Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary for War and Aggression, made to the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on May 17, that Iran was to blame for the instability in Iraq.
Did the senators laugh Rumsfeld out of the room? No.
Did the media remind the “informed public” that it was actually the US invasion and unsuccessful occupation, together with mass detentions, torture, slaughter of citizens and invasions of their homes, destruction of infrastructure and entire cities, such as Fallujah, and removal of Saddam Hussein’s government, which kept the three Iraqi factions from each other’s throats, that destabilized Iraq?…Continue reading
July 27, 2006
Toiling deep in the bowels of Ground Zero, Firefighter Kevin Delano suspected he was breathing in poison but continued hunting for bodies anyway.
Now there’s more proof the asthma that has made it impossible for the 52-year-old to cross his lawn without wheezing was caused by the deadly dust he inhaled.
A soon-to-be-published study co-authored by David Prezant, the Fire Department’s deputy chief medical officer, has found that FDNY rescuers lost the equivalent of 12 years of lung function because of exposure to toxic dust.
“We knew it was bad, we knew it was bad from the first day,” said Delano, who had to retire from the FDNY after 9/11 and also has been battling leukemia. “This just proves it.”
Prodded by a series of hard-hitting Daily News editorials that described the plight of 12,000 ailing Ground Zero workers, Mayor Bloomberg has promised to look into whether the city has stiffed its 9/11 heroes.
But Bloomberg has refused, thus far, to acknowledge that the deaths of at least four first responders – and the illnesses of thousands more – were directly related to their toiling in The Pit.
The analysis of fire and Emergency Medical Technician workers conducted by the FDNY and Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine could make Bloomberg reconsider his position. It found that firefighters in The Pit suffered a loss of lung power “equal to that of 12 years of age-related decline.”
“Those who had more exposure, those who arrived earlier, had a more severe loss,” said Montefiore’s Dr.…Continue reading
by Jeff Wells
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy.
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can’t help it if I’m lucky. – Bob Dylan
This may be old news to you, but just a quick note here of something I’d missed about Flight 77, thanks to “Bismillah” and the RI forum, that I hope you won’t miss, too.
At least among those with a mind for such things, it’s fairly well-remembered that on September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld made the shocking announcement that the Pentagon “couldn’t track” $2.3 trillion of its transactions. “Iroquois” observes, “What’s interesting to me is that he made his press release on a Monday. In DC, I always see bad news given on a Friday, usually late in the afternoon on Friday. The exception, of course, would be when someone happens to know that there is a far bigger story coming out.”
And we know that Flight 77, allegedly piloted by an incompetent, made an aerobatic, spiralling descent over Washington, effecting a 270-degree turn to strike the Pentagon from a western approach at ground level. The side struck was the only one with an exterior wall hardened against attack, and was relatively empty while renovation continued.
Relatively. The unfortunate construction workers perished outside, but who were the expendables within?