9/11 Victims' Lawyers Blast Ground Zero Toxic Air Lies In Court Infowars.net | December 11 , 2007
Appeals court hears that EPA and Christie Whitman intentionally lied to residents, students and workers
Lawyers representing lower Manhattan residents told an appeals court Monday that the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Whitman, knowingly lied about air quality after the 9/11 attacks and should be personally responsible for medical monitoring and a cleanup.
The plaintiffs' lawyer Sherrie Savett said Whitman "made false statements to the public, inducing them, seducing them to go back to their homes and to send their kids back to school."
Five days after the attacks, Whitman told reporters, "The good news continues to be that air samples we have taken have all been at levels that cause no concern."
This, The EPA's own Office of the Inspector General later revealed, was an outright lie.
The New York Daily News Reports:
In their class-action suit, residents, workers and students living around Ground Zero say they relied on Whitman's comments in deciding whether to return to an area coated with dust from the twin towers' collapse.
"If she had not said this, they probably would have made their own decision," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said after the hearing. "She was telling people it was safe when she knew damn well it wasn't."
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The government's lawyer responded by arguing that if Whitman is held responsible then it would set a "dangerous" precedent that would open up public officials to liability.
Yes, that's right, God forbid that public officials should be liable for the decisions they make and the actions they take, they should be above the law and be able to lie whenever they want to, even when people's lives are at stake.
Whitman had originally refused to testify for the hearing, so it was left to District judges to subpoena Whitman at the request of New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes the World Trade Center site. In doing so one judge referred to Whitman's actions as "conscience-shocking."
In August 2003 it was revealed that the Government ordered the EPA to give the public misleading information , telling New Yorkers on September 12 it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available and Asbestos levels were known to be three times higher than national standards.
Further documents were obtained by CBS news last September, 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.
"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.
An EPA whistleblower, Dr. Cate Jenkins then wrote a letter to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and other members of the New York congressional delegation blasting the EPA for hiding dangerous toxins from Ground Zero workers in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Letter claimed that EPA-funded research on the toxicity of breathable alkaline dust at the site “falsified pH results” to make the substance appear benign, when it was, in reality, corrosive enough to cause first responders and other workers in lower Manhattan to later lose pulmonary functions and, in some cases, to die.
In an even more shocking development it was revealed that Whitman apparently had financial interests in reassuring the public that all was well and that lower Manhattan could safely be reoccupied.
In a New York Post piece which has since been memory holed, but that was reported by Infowars.net , these facts became clearly evident:
Meanwhile, Whitman's newly released financial-disclosure forms show that she said seven months before 9/11 that she would not get involved in any issue related to the finances of the Port Authority - which owns the WTC site - because she or her family owned PA bonds. Its finances could be impacted by lawsuits growing of the cleanup.
"I understand the following interests that belong to me, my spouse or my children present a conflict of interest," Whitman wrote at the time. She then listed various investments, including the bistate agency.
But Whitman was involved at Ground Zero despite that refusal, although she or her family also owned shares of Citigroup, whose insurance-company subsidiary, The Travelers, paid out hundred of millions of dollars in claims to downtown residents displaced by the attacks.
Not surprising then that Whitman did not want to testify. She is totally compromised and clearly in very deep trouble. Congressman Nadler himself blasted Whitman when this was revealed stating:
"She conspired [with the White House] to convince people to go into an unsafe environment . . . For that, she ought to be prosecuted," Nadler said. "People are dead because of her."
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However, it must be remembered that Whitman and the EPA are accountable to the White House and act under the direct authority of the Bush Administration.
It was the 2003 EPA Inspector General's investigation that revealed that it was the White House that had pressured EPA into changing its press releases to add more "reassuring" language.
The further memos revealed that Whitman conspired with the White House to falsely reassure New Yorkers that the air was safe.
The New York Post also reported on the fact that the internal documents show it was Condoleezza Rice's office that gave final approval to the infamous Environmental Protection Agency press releases days after 9/11 claiming the air around Ground Zero was "safe to breathe,".
Now Secretary of State, Rice was then head of the National Security Council - "the final decision maker" on EPA statements about lower Manhattan air quality, the documents say.
And it cannot be forgotten that Rudolph Guiliani , who was mayor at the time, also said repeatedly that the air was safe. Giuliani has gone on to make millions from speaking on 9/11 and has made it the cornerstone of his presidential campaign, much to the disgust of many first responders and firefighters who continue to campaign to expose Giuliani's culpability on 9/11.
Furthermore it has been the Bush Administration that has PURPOSEFULLY blocked millions in health compensation programs for ground zero workers and continuously attempted to stonewall the issue because to do otherwise would be an admission of responsibility for exposure to harmful substances after the government had already given the all clear. It has been the Bush administration that has allowed 9/11 heroes to die while at the same time disgracefully using the event as a cart blanche excuse for their own criminal actions at home and abroad.
It seems Whitman knew immediately that she was being fingered as the ultimate scapegoat. When the new information broke in September 2006, she was quick to blame the city for not forcing Ground Zero workers to wear respirators.
In a "60 Minutes" interview, Whitman maintained that the nation's leading environmental agency did not have authority to enforce rules at the site, though the agency did warn the city about dangers in the air at Ground Zero.
"We didn't have the authority to do that enforcement, but we communicated to the people who did," Whitman stressed. Whitman stuck to this story during her testimony last June .
However, a 2004 report by the Sierra Club detailed gross malfeasance by EPA, FEMA, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and then suggested a cover-up of the public health hazards of Ground Zero ensued.
The report found that the EPA and FEMA, in concert with New York City's own health department, told families that they could clean up the contaminated dust themselves with wet rags. In fact, they actually discouraged area residents from wearing safety masks.
Some preliminary scientific studies have indicated that as many as 400,000 people were exposed to toxic ground zero dust. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have fallen ill, and several have died from lung ailments blamed on inhaled Trade Center ash.
Any probe into this issue that cannot establish these basic conclusions and pinpoint those at fault AT ALL LEVELS WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT will be highly suspicious. It is blatantly clear that not only Whitman and her EPA counterparts were complicit in a conspiracy and cover up the environmental hazards at ground zero, but also that high ranking officials with the Bush administration are also complicit.
It is also apparent from reports that Whitman had significant financial interests in the ground zero site, which should also be investigated in addition to the financial interests other officials complicit in this diabolical case also had before and after 9/11.
We have postulated that the left arm of the Washington power elite will be unlikely to fully expose the reality of the monumental criminal culpability of the Bush Administration on this particular issue , but will instead seek to once again close off the issue. Indeed it seems that Whitman is in the frame to take the fall and once cover the behinds of the ever increasingly unaccountable Neocon crime syndicate in the White House.
The hearing continues.
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