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Bush's Failure To Protect NYC Before & After the 9/11 Attacks

The NYC Indymedia print team has just published a new issue of The Indypendent. It is available online here as a PDF and at spots around New York. While there is no RNC-related coverage per se, there is a brief article on a class action lawsuit by downtown residents against the Environmental Protection Agency for its mishandling of the clean-up after 9/11 and for lying to residents about the health effects. As the Republican National Convention approaches I'd expect the Bush administration's handling of 9/11 both before and after the devastating attacks to reemerge as major stories.

Last night on "60 Minutes" Bush's former counterterroism czar Richard Clarke revealed how little attention the administration paid Al Qaeda before Sept. 11. (In his new book he reveals that the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz honestly thought pre-9/11 that Iraq posed a bigger threat; Clarke also said Condi Rice gave the impression when she took office that she didn't even know what Al Qaeda was.) For good coverage on Clarke's charges check out the Center for American Progress, TalkingPointsMemo or the Washington Post. While the Post puts the story on its front page today, the New York Times handed the assigment to the notorious White House apologist Judith Miller and buries her article on page 18.

As the Bush administration's failure in protecting New Yorkers before 9/11 is getting more notice, isn't it time to re-examine what it did after the attacks when it put the lives of thousands in jeopardy by lying about the health risks?

If anyone missed the series of chilling articles detailing how the White House forced the EPA to lie to New Yorkers about the health and environmental effects of the collapse of the towers please take the time to read them: "EPA Misled Public on 9/11 Pollution" (Newsday) and "It's Public Be Damned At the EPA" (N.Y.Daily News).

Here's how Democracy Now! reported the story last summer on Aug. 26:

    An Environmental Protection Agency report released Friday reveals that the National Security Council pressured EPA officials to downplay the health hazards caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    The public was lied to about the extensive presence of asbestos from the two buildings, toxic dioxins floating in the downtown air, and increased amounts of lead found in the atmosphere. The report reveals the trail of public misinformation began in the White House.

    For example, one statement from the initial draft revealed that asbestos levels in some areas were three times higher than national standards. This was changed to say "slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material."

    In another case, despite warnings by EPA scientists, a sentence was added to a Sept. 16 news release concluding "Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York's financial district."

    And a statement which raised concerns about "sensitive populations" such as asthma patients, the elderly and people with underlying respiratory diseases was deleted.

March 22, 2004 | Permalink

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