Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Asbestos and Mirrors

A lot of attention was given to today’s testimony at a congressional hearing about the environmental impact of the September 11th attacks. Much of the news coverage focused on the finger-pointing taking place between Former Environmental Protection Agency Chief and Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and Republican Primary Presidential Hopeful and Former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani. None of it focused on the bigger picture behind the EPA fiasco, and who is really winning the Blame Game.

9/11 has been getting a revival in the news, in part due to “America’s Mayor” Rudy G., who has been running his campaign on an “I was Mayor during 9/11” platform. His false Hero status has been taking hits from unavoidable news events, such as the EPA hearings and the New York Firefighters rebellion against him, bringing plenty of debate and argumentation to an already hot-button issue.

Michael Moore’s new documentary Sicko has also added fuel to the 9/11 flames, with his criticism of the US healthcare system and well-timed Cuba visit controversy drawing attention to the Ground Zero rescue workers, who were literally poisoned by the air they breathed during the prolonged rescue mission and following restoration.

So, with all of this attention being given to the specific question of who was responsible for monitoring the air quality after the Twin Towers collapsed, you would think a little attention would revert back to what we already know. Right?

Whitman blames Giuliani for not properly following EPA recommendations regarding respirator usage and exposure to the toxic air around the site. Giuliani’s staff says they did the best they could, and that Whitman’s just trying to divert the blame.

What no one is mentioning is that, according to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA back in 2003, the White House implicitly instructed the EPA to give the public misleading information regarding the air quality in the vicinity of the World Trade Center rubble, going as far as requiring all statements to the media to be cleared through the NSC first, which repeatedly resulted in scientific warnings about air toxicity and suggested cleaning procedures to be either toned down or deleted.

Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around. Whitman released false statements regarding the safety of the air in New York City after 9/11, and didn’t make any attempt to correct false or misleading information after it was released. Giuliani knew enough about the false clean air assurances that he urged the city's Congressional delegation to limit the city's liability for Ground Zero illnesses to $350 million combined. But the EPA and Manhattan Island weren’t running the show, and the people with the power to set things right were calling the shots with the intent putting up a good front, at the cost of health and wellbeing of the people they expected to clean up the mess.

Its about time some fingers started pointing in the right direction.

1 comment:

Itty said...

Therein lies the problem. Until Bush is gone, the "1984" pall that has been cast over the American people won't be lifted. Lying to the public, granted, is a political specialty... but I've never seen it to such a badly-executed extent as it has been with the Dubya White House. Yeah, yeah, Nixon; but public manipulation in this presidency is SO obvious and messily covered-up, it beats Nixon hands-down. So I'm not surprised that with the whole conspiracy surrounding the actual 9/11 attacks in the first place that something else like this has popped up.