Archive for the ‘WTC’ Category
WASHINGTON – The outgoing Bush administration appears to be working “covertly” on a contract that would strip the 9/11 health and treatment program from the FDNY and Mount Sinai Medical Center, sources told the Daily News.
The plan, which sources say is being batted around within the Department of Health and Human Services, would yank all Sept. 11-related monitoring and care from the city and put it in the hands of of one company – likely based outside the city.
A new contract could potentially force 9/11 patients pay up front for services, and then be reimbursed. Currently, the tab is covered.
More than 50,000 people are enrolled in the city-based health and monitoring program, open to those exposed to Ground Zero. About 16,000 participants are actively receiving treatment.
Some 4,000 people are enrolled in a national version.
“The department is not working on a solicitation of this type and this allegation is untrue,” HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson insisted.
Nevertheless, a source told The News officials within the department “have not liked this program from the beginning.”
“They are ideologues, and they could stick the Obama administration with this contract. At best, it’s disruptive,” the source added.
A spokesman for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which administers the 9/11 programs, said the contract for treating ill Americans outside of the tri-state area would end in the summer – but could not say if there were any plans for the city programs.
“What they want to do is broaden that national contract, and put everyone in there,” a source with New York ties said, adding that federal officials appear to be trying to bid out the new program before Barack Obama takes office.
The source said New York legislators learned of the impending move after a potential contractor called them, hoping to get help preparing a bid.
That prompted Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler (D- Manhattan) to fire off a angry letter Thursday demanding an explanation for the secret moves after officials had promised to keep them in the loop.
“Last week, we were dismayed to hear of a new solicitation about to be issued by your department that would apparently replace all current arrangements,” says the letter addressed to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and obtained by the News.
“This information on the new solicitation concerned us not only with regard to the potential damage to the current program,” the letter went on, “but also regarding the apparent attempt to covertly announce this contract solicitation in the last days of the Bush administration.”
Maloney and Nadler gave the secretary three days to respond.
“We just received this letter today and immediately called their offices to say these allegations are unfounded,” Pearson said.
$700,000,000,000 to save the butts of people who intentionally cheated for profit – and a bill to provide long-term health care to 9/11 First Responders who are ill. These people tried to SAVE LIVES and are dying as a result. Priorities need to be reassessed.
BY OREN YANIV
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Congress Sunday shelved a $10.9 billion bill to provide health care and compensation for Ground Zero workers, at least in part due to opposition from Mayor Bloomberg.
The House of Representatives failed to vote on the bill after City Hall objected to a provision that would have required the city to pay 10% of the cost of a long-term Sept. 11 health program.
The total cost would have been $5.1 billion for a 10-year program that would have provided health care to those sick from working amid toxic World Trade Center debris. The city’s share was to be $500 million.
The bill also would have reopened the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, adding an estimated $6 billion for those who became sick after working amid the debris.
John Feal, a 9/11 responder and founder of the FealGood Foundation, went to Washington in a failed push for the bill.
“The mayor pretty much squashed the bill on us,” a disappointed Feal said last night. “We should do right by these people who are sick and dying.”
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) and Pete King (R-L.I.) said the New York delegation would reintroduce another bipartisan bill next year.
“We will work together to meet the sizable need to care for those who lived and worked in the immediate area around Ground Zero – not to mention those who helped in the immediate aftermath,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
Supporters had hoped the House would vote on the package over the weekend, but time and support ran out amid intense congressional negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout package.
The Senate would likely not have had time to pass the bill anyway, but backers said House passage would have helped move the measure forward.
Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the Sept. 11 health bill was “a step backward” and said “it put an undue burden on city taxpayers.” He noted the bill would raise fivefold the city’s annual tab for 9/11 programs.
Other city officials said the feds should pay the full cost as a matter of principle because Sept. 11 was an attack on America.
Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, countered that the bill was doomed by “shortsighted” thinking at City Hall.
“What really sunk this was the mayor’s opposition,” Hughes said. “I think they miscalculated.”
9/11 First Responder and star of “SAVE THE BRAVE” Greg Quibell lost his fight with the illness he contracted while trying to save lives at Ground Zero nearly 7 years ago.
On 9/11/01, as many as 100,000 brave men and women like Mr. Quibell were exposed to a toxic mixture of pulverized glass and concrete, asbestos, lead, and burning jet fuel. The exposure was made that much worse by the EPA’s announcement that the environment was safe. Doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City estimate that 70% of the firefighters, police officers, emergency medical crews, construction workers, utility workers and volunteers suffered lung and other serious health problems.
Nearly 7 years later, most of us have moved on with our lives. These men and women, however, are reminded every day. Not only is there no guaranteed long term comprehensive medical treatment program but the Bush administration consistently has delayed and cold-heartedly blocked efforts and cut funding for Sept. 11-related health care.
Please join us by holding Mr. Quibell’s family and friends in your hearts – and take just a few moments of your time to let the people who represent YOU in Washington know that you haven’t forgotten the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans. Tell them that something needs to be done by them, in YOUR NAME, to help the 9/11 First Responders NOW.
From The Fealgood Foundation –
Yes – it’s true – you can watch him say it. (We had to get past our aversion to the smirk to even watch this interview!) Listen closely – it’s at the 3:52 mark on the video:
By Correlli Barnett
For George W Bush’s proclaimed “global war on terror”, this has been a week to remember – but also a week that should make us challenge the basic assumptions behind this so-called “war”.
Last Tuesday, the world commemorated the sixth anniversary of 9/11, when the ultimate totems of America’s capitalist pride, the 110-storey Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre, were attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists using hijacked airliners as guided missiles, and then, with the world watching on TV, collapsed one by one like broken Lego.
It was this stunning event which goaded President Bush into declaring his “global war on terror”.
But the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, was nothing like Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, when the entire American battle fleet was sunk or crippled by a mass air attack by another great power, Japan.
No matter how sensational its impact, 9/11 still remains a terrorist outrage perpetrated by a mere 19 men armed with Stanley knives.
Nor had the attack been masterminded, like Pearl Harbour, by the government of a foreign state, but simply by an Islamist fanatic and a handful of co-conspirators.
So for Bush to declare “war” on Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was actually to exaggerate their importance – and glorify their actions. Worse, it was his declaration of “war” that led in 2001 to the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and, in 2003, to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
As it happens, this week has also been marked by Bush’s speech in which he said 5,700 US troops would be brought home from Iraq by the end of the year, followed by a gradual withdrawal up to next July.
There was also General David Petraeus’s report to Congress on how the “war” is going in Iraq four-and-a-half years after Bush’s own bragging announcement of “Mission Accomplished”.
Of course, Petraeus asserted that the new offensive against Iraqi insurgents (now all conveniently dubbed “Al Qaeda”) is going well, even if the insurgents may well have simply shifted out of the way of his 168,000 Darth Vader-style storm troops.
“Give me another six months,” says Petraeus, and the chance of one last military heave, and success would at last be won.
Success? While Petraeus was being subjected to sharp questioning this week by Republicans as well as Democrats, he could only offer the hope that by next summer – five years after “Mission Accomplished” – American forces in Iraq could be cut back to 130,000, the total before the current “surge”.
But let us recall that at the beginning of 2004 – repeat, 2004 – the Pentagon was proposing to reduce the 135,000 men then in Iraq to 105,000. In the bosoms of the American military and the Washington political hawks, hope certainly springs eternal.
The truth is that Petraeus has simply been using a temporary and doubtful tactical success in order to conceal long-term strategic failure.
In any case, whatever Petraeus achieves on the ground will be irrelevant because of the hopeless disarray, the utter impotence, of the Al-Maliki government in Baghdad. At the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Bush and Co expected to create a strong and stable democratic regime. Instead, they have brought about a failed state.
And the human cost of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? The total number of American servicemen and women killed in action already amounts to 3,826, with 168 British forces having been killed. And between 500,000 and 600,000 Iraqi men, women and children have died. What’s more, since Saddam fell, four million Iraqis have become refugees, either inside Iraq or beyond.
Meanwhile this week, another two British soldiers have been killed by the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, bringing the total British losses since 2001 to 78.
The occupation of Afghanistan in November 2001 was the first bitter fruit of that “global war on terror” declared by Bush in the hour of America’s rage and fright after 9/11.
When the Taliban regime refused to surrender Osama Bin Laden or shut his Al Qaeda training camps, Bush and Co decided that the only answer was to topple the Taliban, take over the country and convert its tribes and warlords to democracy.
So six years on, we have North Atlantic – repeat, North Atlantic – Treaty Organisation forces attempting to defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. It’s a struggle which some soldiers estimate could last ten years or more.
And while in Iraq “democracy” has meant a government whose writ hardly runs beyond the Baghdad “Green Zone”, so in Afghanistan it has meant the government of Mohammed Karzai, whose writ hardly runs beyond Kabul.
This sixth anniversary of 9/11 has also been commemorated by Osama Bin Laden himself, popping up on a new video in order to praise the “martyrs” who carried out the attack, and to call on America and the West to convert to Islam.
No doubt as intended, the tape sharply reminds us that Al Qaeda has not been crushed by the loss of its Afghan bases.
The truth is that despite Bush’s “war on terror” and the American-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamist terrorism has continued to seethe and bubble across the world – and sometimes explode, as in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.
This summer, an attack on Glasgow Airport mercifully failed because of the terrorists’ own incompetence. And German counter-terrorism police foiled a plot (meant to mark the sixth anniversary of 9/11) which was aimed at truckbombing Frankfurt Airport and the US air base at Ramstein.
Yet the basic puzzle of 9/11 remains: exactly why did Osama Bin Laden decide to attack the World Trade Centre and other American targets?
It is clear enough that Bin Laden himself and Islamist militants everywhere are motivated by sheer hatred of America, her global hegemony and her materialist civilisation. This goes hand in hand with a passionate religious belief in the righteousness of the cause.
We’ve seen this in the videos of Bin Laden and of those young jihadists about to blow themselves up along with their fellow human beings.
But I have long thought that Bin Laden was also motivated by a specific strategic purpose in launching 9/11 – a wish to trap the United States into an ideological struggle with the Islamic world. He certainly succeeded in this – but only because Bush and his neo-con cronies have been all too willing to accept the challenge.
Why? Because just as much as Bin Laden and his fellow jihadists, they, too, see world affairs in simple terms of ideological conviction.
Remember, Bush and his vicepresident Dick Cheney are fundamentalist Christians, while Bush’s own political base lies in his fellow fundamentalists of the American ‘Bible belt’. And tragically for Britain, Tony Blair passionately shared Bush’s belief that world policy must be inspired by religious faith.
The grim truth is that when George W. Bush declared “a global war on terror”, he was really announcing a jihad of his own – a struggle to convert the whole world to American-style capitalist democracy.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Bush trumpeted to a tame audience of the American Legion that the U.S. was engaged in “the first ideological war of the 21st century”.
So we have two global jihads colliding head on. The collision has transformed world affairs from the cool-headed fixing of deals into an apocalyptic conflict between Good and Evil.
“We” are the righteous, while our chosen enemy is “the Axis of Evil” or “the Great Satan” (take your pick) with whom no compromise is possible, and against whom any violence is permissible.
Al Qaeda and its associated jihadists massacre the innocent to the cry of “Allah Akbar” (‘God is Great’). Meanwhile, President Bush launches “shock and awe” aerial onslaughts on Iraqi and Afghan villages and cities in the sure belief that Jesus Christ wants him to spread democracy around the world.
Yet belief in the righteousness of the cause is only the vehicle for something deeper and even more alarming. And that something is sheer emotion. We see it in jihadist books and preaching. We see it in Bush’s inflamed rhetoric. We saw it in the preachings of Tony Blair.
Such emotion is terrifyingly dangerous. The great German philosopher on war, Carl von Clausewitz, pointed out that the intensity of a conflict is determined by the importance of the political object at stake.
If the war is about some limited issue like ownership of a province or control of an economic asset, then the war itself will be limited in violence, extent and duration.
But wars have no such limits if they are fuelled by mutual hatred, or inspired by rival political or religious faiths, or fought for national survival. Instead, they will escalate to extremes.
All three of these factors were true of the titanic struggle to the death between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941-45.
Now we see a comparable mutual hatred and fear – comparable fanatical beliefs – fuelling the current struggle between the two jihads of Bush and Bin Laden.
Here lies the peril for the future. For how can “the Axis of Evil” and “the Great Satan” negotiate a businesslike compromise on the basis of live-and-let-live?
Today, Iran has become the prime target of Bush’s ideological mission. He recently trumpeted: “We will confront this danger before it is too late. Either the forces of extremism succeed or the forces of freedom succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests.”
In this inflamed rhetoric, echoing his rants in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam Hussein and his alleged development of weapons of mass destruction, we can hear the louder and louder beat of war drums.
It therefore seems that the disastrous consequences of American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught Bush nothing.
Nor has he learned the harsh lesson from history that launching a war in order to achieve an ideological objective can lead to horribly unintended consequences.
Hitler expected a sixweek walkover when he invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, only for the war to end four years later with his suicide in the ruins of his own capital, Berlin.
The lesson here – the lesson of all military history – is that war, no matter how passionate the belief in the righteousness of the cause, is inherently uncontrollable, its outcome quite unpredictable.
Now, during the present honeymoon of Gordon Brown’s premiership, is therefore surely the moment for Britain to revert from ideology to strategy as the guide to her own approach to world affairs. For example, we should stop regarding the Iranian regime as yet another “monster” to be confronted and, instead, negotiate with those more moderate ayatollahs.
In 1820, that outstandingly able Tory statesman, Lord Castlereagh, refused to join other European states in meddling in “the domestic upsets” (his words) of certain countries then in revolutionary turmoil.
He told the great powers that Britain “would not charge itself as a member of the Alliance with the moral responsibility of administering a general European police”.
For ‘European’ in 1820, substitute “global” today, and Castlereagh’s dictum still makes admirable good sense.
Very similar advice was given to the young United States in 1821 by John Quincy Adams: “We are friends of liberty everywhere, but we go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
If only George W. Bush would abandon his paranoid search for ideological monsters, we could all sleep more peacefully in our beds.
The true answer to Islamist jihad does not lie in Bush’s ideological counter-jihad, but in cool political heads and painstaking work by police forces and intelligence services across the world.
• CORRELLI BARNETT is the author of The Deport Generals (Phoenix Paperback, £8.99).
From The Daily Mail
Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission now admits that the official evidence they were given was ‘far from the truth’.
12, 2007 10:30 AM
Six years after 9/11, the American public have still not been provided with a full and truthful account of the single greatest terror attack in US history.
The chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, respectively Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, assert in their book, Without Precedent, that they were “set up to fail” and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation. They also confirm that they were denied access to the truth and misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the federal aviation authority;
and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate slapping officials with criminal charges.
Despite the many public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to, not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.
From the outset, the commission seemed to be hobbled. It did not start work until over a year after the attacks. Even then, its terms of reference were suspiciously narrow, its powers of investigation curiously limited and its time-frame for producing a report unhelpfully short – barely a year to sift through millions of pages of evidence and to interview hundreds of key witnesses.
The final report did not examine key evidence, and neglected serious anomalies in the various accounts of what happened. The commissioners admit their report was incomplete and flawed, and that many questions about the terror attacks remain unanswered. Nevertheless, the 9/11 Commission was swiftly closed down on August 21 2004.
I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I prefer rigorous, evidence-based analysis that sifts through the known facts and utilises expert opinion to draw conclusions that stand up to critical scrutiny. In other words, I believe in everything the 9/11 Commission was not.
The failings of the official investigation have fuelled too many half-baked conspiracy theories. Some of the 9/11 “truth” groups promote speculative hypotheses, ignore innocent explanations, cite non-expert sources and jump to conclusions that are not proven by the known facts. They convert mere coincidence and circumstantial evidence into cast-iron proof. This is no way to debunk the obfuscations and evasions of the 9/11 report.
But even amid the hype, some of these 9/11 groups raise valid and important questions that were never even considered, let alone answered, by the official investigation. The American public has not been told the complete truth about the events of that fateful autumn morning six years ago.
What happened on 9/11 is fundamentally important in its own right. But equally important is the way the 9/11 cover-up signifies an absence of democratic, transparent and accountable government. Establishing the truth is, in part, about restoring honesty, trust and confidence in American politics.
There are dozens of 9/11 “truth” websites and campaign groups. I cannot vouch for the veracity or credibility of any of them. But what I can say is that as well as making plenty of seemingly outrageous claims; a few of them raise legitimate questions that demand answers.
Four of these well known “tell the truth” 9/11 websites are:
1) Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which includes academics and intellectuals from many disciplines.
2) 250+ 9/11 ‘Smoking Guns’ a website that cites over 250 pieces of evidence that allegedly contradict, or were omitted from, the 9/11 Commission report.
3) The 911 Truth Campaign that, as well as offering its own evidence and theories, includes links to more than 20 similar websites.
4) Patriots Question 9/11, perhaps the most plausible array of distinguished US citizens who question the official account of 9/11, including General Wesley Clark, former Nato commander in Europe, and seven members and staffers of the official 9/11 Commission, including the chair and vice chair. In all, this website documents the doubts of 110+ senior military, intelligence service, law enforcement and government officials; 200+ engineers and architects; 50+ pilots and aviation professionals; 150+ professors; 90+ entertainment and media people; and 190+ 9/11 survivors and family members. Although this is an impressive roll call, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these expert professionals are right. Nevertheless, their scepticism of the official version of events is reason to pause and reflect.
More and more US citizens are critical of the official account. The respected Zogby polling organisation last week found that 51% of Americans want Congress to probe President Bush and Vice-President Cheney regarding the truth about the 9/11 attacks; 67% are also critical of the 9/11 Commission for not investigating the bizarre, unexplained collapse of the 47-storey World Trade Centre building 7 (WTC7). This building was not hit by any planes. Unlike WTC3, which was badly damaged by falling debris from the Twin Towers but which remained standing, WTC7 suffered minor damage but suddenly collapsed in a neat pile, as happens in a controlled demolition.
In a 2006 interview with anchorman Evan Soloman of CBC’s Sunday programme, the vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, was reminded that the commission report failed to even mention the collapse of WTC7 or the suspicious hurried removal of the building debris from the site – before there could be a proper forensic investigation of what was a crime scene. Hamilton could only offer the lame excuse that the commissioners did not have “unlimited time” and could not be expected to answer “every question” the public asks.
There are many, many more strange unexplained facts concerning the events of 9/11. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to be puzzled and want an explanation, or to be sceptical concerning the official version of events.
Six years on from those terrible events, the survivors, and the friends and families of those who died, deserve to know the truth. Is honesty and transparency concerning 9/11 too much to ask of the president and Congress?
What is needed is a new and truly independent commission of inquiry to sort coincidence and conjecture from fact, and to provide answers to the unsolved anomalies in the evidence available concerning the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Unlike the often-stymied first investigation, this new commission should be granted wide-ranging subpoena powers and unfettered access to government files and officials. George Bush should be called to testify, without his minders at hand to brief and prompt him. America – and the world – has a right to know the truth.
We will not be posting Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007. We are participating in the STRIKE FOR PEACE.
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