Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rudy Giuliani - His failed leadership and disrespect

Firefighters: Giuliani Ditched 9/11 Body Recovery 24 Hours After Securing $230 Million In Buried Gold

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has regularly touted his leadership in the wake of 9/11 as one of his major selling points. A host of 9/11 responders have alleged, however, that Giuliani provided them with poor radios, misled them into working amidst toxic fumes, and most recently, hastily cleared out the rubble before bodies were all recovered.

Six weeks after 9/11, Giuliani abandoned efforts to recover remaining bodies and buckled to pressure from developers eager to “scoop” the rubble:

The fact is that the Mayor’s switch to a scoop-and-dump coincided with the removal of tens of millions of dollars of gold, silver and other assets of the Bank of Nova Scotia that were buried beneath what was once the towers. Once the money was out, Giuliani sided with the developers that opposed a lengthy recovery effort, and ordered the scoop-and-dump operation so they could proceed with redevelopment.

Yesterday, Harold Schaitberger of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) — the nation’s largest firefighters organization, consisting of 280,000 members — assailed Giuliani, detailing how the mayor ditched body-recovery efforts only 24 hours after recovering the $230 million in gold. “He found the gold on October 31, and on November 1 is when he issued the order to remove the firefighters from their recovery mode.” Watch it:

The IAFF has produced a video entitled “Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend,” extensively documenting Giuliani’s negligence after 9/11, featuring “active and retired fire fighters, fire officers and families of the fallen speaking out about the ‘Real Rudy,’ his failed leadership and his disrespect for the recovery of those we lost.”

Already, the video has been attacked by the right wing as another form of “Swift Boating.” But as the Carpetbagger noted, “The comparison is ridiculous. The Swiftboat attackers were lying; the International Association of Fire Fighters aren’t.”

Source: Article

Judge: 9/11 defendants must turn over materials from 1992 --

NEW YORK - Defendants in lawsuits resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks must turn over materials from as far back as 1992, when it appears that Osama bin Laden called for a holy war against the United States, a federal judge said Friday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels affects defendants in lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages from numerous banks, charities and individuals worldwide who are alleged to have supported al-Qaida before the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Daniels said it was reasonable to require organizations such as the Muslim World League, the International Islamic Relief Organization and Wa'el Jelaidan to turn over evidence necessary to decide the merits of lawsuits brought by representatives, survivors and insurance carriers of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The groups had argued that they should not be required to turn over documents that were made prior to 1996, when Osama bin Laden issued a fatwah declaring war on Americans. They also argued that the materials were overly burdensome and outweighed any potential value to plaintiffs.

In ruling, Daniels noted that 1992 was the year when bin Laden is alleged to have joined other senior al-Qaida leaders to issue a formal fatwah calling for violence against the United States and other Western allies.

Lawyers for defendants in the lawsuits have said it was unfair to require them to turn over the earlier documents because the defendants were not adequately put on notice about al-Qaida's terrorist activities towards the United States until the 1996 fatwah.

A message left with a lawyer for defendants was not immediately returned Friday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Firefighters group takes on Giuliani over handling of 9/11

WASHINGTON - In an effort reminiscent of the bitter "Swift Boat" campaign during the 2004 presidential race, a group of New York firefighters who lost sons in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks is organizing a political committee to take on former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

A leader of the 9 /11 Firefighters and Families group met Tuesday with union leaders and political consultants, readying plans to set up a tax-exempt committee that would fund appearances and a media drive against Giuliani's campaign for the Republican nomination.

Jim Riches, a New York Deputy Fire Chief whose firefighter son was killed in the 2001 disaster, said the group aimed to raise doubts about the central premise of Giuliani's presidential campaign - his leadership role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. "If we have to follow him around all 2008, we'll do it," Riches said.

Lauded as "America's Mayor" for his blunt talk and compassion amid the attacks, Giuliani's political stock soared and he went on to build a multimillion-dollar consulting group emphasizing his leadership skills.

"A majority of firefighters believe that Rudy was a great leader on 9 /11," said Howard Safir, who ran New York fire and police departments under Giuliani and now heads First Responders for Rudy, a group affiliated with Giuliani's campaign.

But the former New York mayor's frequent references to Sept. 11 on the campaign trail have infuriated Riches and about 20 activists who lost firefighter sons. The New Yorkers blame Giuliani for decision-making failures that they feel contributed to the deaths.

After protesting near Giuliani fundraising events in New York to little fanfare, they now plan to raise their voices in Florida, South Carolina and other primary states seen as essential to Giuliani's path to the GOP nomination. "When he announced his plans to run for president, we felt he was doing it on the backs of our dead sons," Riches said.

The Sept. 11 group already is being compared by some political observers to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group, which damaged Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry's candidacy in 2004 by impugning his Vietnam War service in the Navy. Both groups feature a self-sustaining constituency of passionate supporters and are aided by outside political forces eager to use them as vehicles in the presidential race.

"Starting small doesn't mean you can count them out," said Stephanie Cutter, a political consultant who countered attacks as Kerry's press aide in 2004. "When the Swift Boat group started . . . they had no money and no plan. In a matter of months they had enough money to go up with an ad buy, and that triggered their relevance."

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised more than $25 million for media buys. Some of the money was donated in multimillion-dollar installments from reliable Republican fundraisers such as Texas businessmen T. Boone Pickens Jr. and Bob J. Perry. Last December, the group was fined nearly $300,000 by the Federal Elections Commission for exceeding spending limits and acting in concert with GOP campaign efforts.

The Swift Boat operation made use of an Internal Revenue Service exemption that allowed so-called 527 groups - a reference to IRS code - to raise funds and participate in political debate as long as they adhered to funding and election rules.

"To the extent that new 527 groups would like to do what the Swift Boat group did in 2004 may be subject down the road to much stiffer penalties than the Swift Boat people got," said Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel with the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog group.

According to several participants in Tuesday's discussions between Riches and his supporters from the International Association of Firefighters, the Sept. 11 group is leaning toward using a 527 structure. Riches said the group already had been pledged nearly $200,000 and hoped to raise as much as $1 million for a Web site, media buys and campaign travel.

The Giuliani campaign, reeling in recent weeks from dropping poll numbers and running controversies, already has taken steps to blunt the firefighters' attacks. Heading the campaign's First Responders for Rudy, Safir has appeared on several political talk shows alongside Riches but has been careful not to engage him face to face, recognizing the delicacy of debating a Sept. 11 victim.

"We owe all families that lost loved ones on 9 /11 an unpayable debt, but finally this small group is admitting that this is a political attack with no other objective than to tarnish Mayor Giuliani's good name," Safir said Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the union produced an ad for its Web site that featured Riches and other New York firefighters criticizing Giuliani for blunders before and after Sept. 11. The New Yorkers claimed that Giuliani failed to provide first responders with proper radio equipment before the attacks and afterward sharply reduced recovery teams at the World Trade Center site even though the bodies of many firefighters had not been found.

Giuliani and his aides have long disputed the radios' role in the collapse of emergency communications on Sept. 11. In a recent interview, Safir contended that the "radios worked" but the repeaters - which can extend the range of the radios into high-rise buildings - did not.

The Sept. 11 group's effort to raise questions about Giuliani's performance before and after the attacks "takes on Rudy's strength," Republican consultant Tom Edmonds said. "I'm not sure that will go over with an American public that was impressed with what they saw."

WNYC - News - NY Lawmakers Blast Feds Over 9/11 Health Screening

WNYC - News - "NY Lawmakers Blast Feds Over 9/11 Health Screening

NEW YORK, NY December 16, 2007 —New York lawmakers say the federal government's plan to stop health monitoring for ground zero workers outside the metro area is unfair and misguided.

REPORTER: New York's congressional delegation and some ailing workers stood outside the World Trade Center site Saturday to protest this week's decision. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says on 9/11, people came from many places to work on the toxic rubble.

MALONEY: They came from every single state in our country, and now many of them are sick.

REPORTER: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed paperwork this week canceling plans to pay a company to screen the affected workers. Officials were concerned the program could cost far more money than Congress has provided."

9/11 WTC Memorial Will Betray America

The “National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center” foundation, under the direction of Chairman Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is currently conducting a nationwide fundraising tour. However, what Bloomberg is not telling the American people is that the memorial will remake the WTC site so that it does not acknowledge the attacks. As per the 13 member memorial jury that dictated the memorial concept none of the authentic artifacts of the World Trade Center or 9/11 can be returned to the site “in order to preserve the integrity of the memorial.”

The jury was made up of intellectuals, artists, political appointees and one well connected 9/11 family member - who would later try and co-found upon the site the notorious “International Freedom Center” which laid responsibility for the attacks upon “an immoderate world.”

It was headed by Vartan Gregorian, born in Iran and educated in Lebanon. In his response to 9/11 he wrote “Islam, A Mosaic, Not a Monolith.” A history of Islam that told us how Muslim conquerors brought intelligence, enlightenment, and general religious tolerance while the West brought murder, plunder and religious persecution. Problems of Muslim nations today are attributed to Western colonialism and the creation of Isreal. Any transgression of Islam, no matter how barbaric, is equated with or topped by some action of the West, even if they occured ten centuries ago.

He chides Americans for their ignorance and belligerence toward Islam. Americans, he wrote, believe history is “irrelevant.” “Unfortunetly,” he wrote, “it is not.”

Except at the WTC site.

Returning any of what speaks directly to the attacks, such as the towers façade remnants or the Koenig Sphere, or identifying the victims as the “flyers of the missing” did, all that America embraced as commemorating 9/11 (because they spoke directly to the attacks) would be, the jury assured us in a brilliant display of Orwellian logic, “telling us what to think.”

Somehow, eliminating all of the authentic evidence of the crime from the site and all that we embraced as commemorating 9/11, is not “telling us what to think.”

Gazing upon the ruins of the WTC or the crushed fire trucks at the WTC site, or upon those facts of the “flyers of the missing” – “Cantor Fitzgerald, WTC 1, 104th floor” – we might conclude that the Islamic fundamentalists who attacked were “guilty” and their American targets “innocent.” We and future generations might draw from a visit to the site political and moral lessons. We, and they, might confront 9/11 and our responsibilities and obligations in response.

That, we are told, would be “didactic.” The site must be remade to eliminate that.

Instead, all history of Sept. 11, 2001 and all those authentic artifacts that speak directly to it will be discarded so that the jury can impose their own meaning upon the site.

At the WTC site, where America was attacked, a handful will control what you know in order to dictate what you think and feel.

In order that they might impose their own meaning, the jury ignored the history of the site and looked to Maya Lin’s (who sat on the jury) Vietnam War memorial for their inspiration. However, a memorial in Washington DC to a war on the other side of the world is not a viable model for a 9/11 memorial at the WTC site. No battles of Vietnam were fought on the Washington Mall; none of those soldiers whose name is on that wall died there.

The World Trade Center is the site of a vast crime against humanity. At what other place of equal or similar historical value have we discarded the history in order to impose our own meaning? Would anyone, for any reason, dismantle and dispose of the death camps at Auschwitz in order to do that? And specifically, to eliminate any moral or political lesson? Because that would be “didactic?”

Why are we doing it at the WTC?

If you discard or displace the authentic artifacts that speak directly to a history, you in effect deny it. It would be so if we did it anywhere else; it is so if we do at the WTC site.

That, however, was irrelevant to the jury.

We do not have the option of not confronting 9/11 at the WTC site. Indeed, that is what all go to the site for. The site must speak to future generations as equally as it does to us. No one may alter or omit history in order to impose their own meaning and to dictate what visitors should think and feel.

Yet this is all we are getting at the WTC site.

Bloomberg understands what the memorial must do; despite the fact that his will ignore 9/11 he claims it reminds us to “Never forget” and inspires us “Never again.” It, of course, does neither and that was the intent of the jury: to help us forget and thus inspire no more response than wallowing in the wonder of ourselves.

He is just clueless as to why. In response to the arrest of several men for allegedly plotting a jihadist threat against JFK airport his police commissioner told New Yorkers “to look at their world through the prism of 9/11.” In contrast, when neighborhood residents expressed concern, Bloomberg told them to “get a life. You have a better chance of being hit by lightening than killed by a terrorist.”

In response to the terrorists’ attacks upon America there was courage, there was heroism, there was sacrifice, there was compassion and there was wisdom. First, however, and this is the virtue from whence all those others come, there was humility. From the office workers who helped each other escape, to the firefighters who responded, from those trapped in the towers above, to the airline passengers in the skies over Western Pennsylvania. Thanks to Michael Bloomberg and the memorial jury, however, humility will not be found at the WTC site. And that is the final betrayal of 9/11.

Source: Original Article here
By Guest:
Michael Burke on Dec 16, 07
For more info: see

Michael Burke

note: On 9/11, my brother, FDNY Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., of Eng. Co. 21 gave his life. I served on the family advisory committee on the memorial to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp and the advisory committee on the memorial and museum center.

Federal Government To Scrap Center For Those With 9/11 Health Issues

Bush White House abandons 911 World Trade Center Vets again...

December 14, 2007

The federal government's decision to cancels plans for a national processing center dealing with health problems stemming from the September 11th terrorist attacks has local lawmakers demanding answers.

The Department of Health and Human Services filed paperwork Thursday scrapping plans to hire a company to set up the center, saying it just doesn't have money to cover the $165 million cost of the project.

The center was designed to improve various September 11th-related health programs and help victims living outside of the New York area find coverage.

Five lawmakers, including Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, sent a letter to the head of HHS asking him to further explain the move.

A noon protest is scheduled for Saturday near the World Trade Center site