Monday, August 27, 2007

Fire Claims Lives of Two Firefighters at Ground Zero; Wall St. Journal Blames Community

Jenna Orkin*

The tragic fire at the former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan nine days ago which took the lives of two firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino, 33 and Robert Beddia, 53, and which has already spawned two criminal investigations, highlights problems about which the community of Lower Manhattan has been warning for years.

The company hired to perform the demolition of the building whose chief claim to fame, post-9/11, was that it had been contaminated with 150,000 times the normal levels of asbestos among other toxic substances, (which have since been reduced to a supposedly "safe" level) has "apparently never done any work like it" nor much of anything else since it was incorporated in 1983.

But while the John Galt Corporation has proven as mysterious as the eponymous character in the Ayn Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged - which opens with the question, "Who is John Galt?" - this elusiveness has allowed it to serve as an effective front for members of Safeway Environmental Corporation whose contract had been cancelled because of mob connections. One of Safeway's owners, Hank Greenberg, is a two-time felon who has been linked by the FBI to the Gambino crime family. So it was no great surprise, when a building in the process of demolition on Manhattan's Upper West Side collapsed ahead of time, trapping pedestrians including a seven-month-old baby, to learn that Safeway Environmental was in charge.

Another firm involved in the demolition of the former Deutsche Bank, United Research Services, told Minnesota transportation officials that it would be able to fix flaws in the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed this summer.

A third firm, Bovis Lend Lease "presided over" nine major safety incidents in the past five years apart from those at the former Deutsche Bank.

On top of this shaky foundation (not the sort one wants when demolishing the equivalent of a former Superfund site) the NYC Fire Department failed to check the standpipes at the former Deutsche Bank building every 15 days as required by law. Thus the firefighters who went in on Saturday were unaware of the broken standpipe in the basement which prevented water from reaching the two trapped members of their company.

Lest the reader assume that last Saturday's tragedy might result in at least a temporary show of caution, the following Thursday two more firefighters sustained serious head injuries from debris that fell from scaffolding at the site.

Shocking as all these events are, they are no surprise to the community of Lower Manhattan which initially brought to the public’s attention the shadowy connections of Safeway Environmental, protested the hiring of the equally dubious John Galt Corporation, highlighted unsafe conditions at the site such as windows falling out of the building and urged the City and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which owns the former Deutsche Bank building, to put in place emergency plans both for the work site as well as for the surrounding area.

Yet when the fire broke out, many residents received no warnings or instructions.

It is therefore particularly galling to read an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal as well as a letter in the New York Times which essentially blame Saturday's tragedy on the community's preciousness about any remaining environmental hazards in the building.

The Times letter, whose writer lives in Brooklyn, maintains that the community's concern for 'every speck of dust and every fiber of asbestos' has delayed the demolition process and that somehow that delay caused the fire. For surely if the building had already been demolished, it wouldn't have caught fire, now, would it? And if you could go back in time and stop your grandparents from meeting....

The Wall Street Journal article compares the community's arguments (which are supported by scientific expertise as well as legal precedent) to "the endless debate and litigation we've also layered into efforts to surveil and prosecute terrorists." (That pesky Constitution again.)

The arguments put forth in these two pieces attempt to pit the interests of firefighters and site workers against those of residents, office workers and students. In fact, these populations have worked together effectively for six years and have always been able to see through the divide-and-conquer tactics of their opponents. They understand that such finger-pointing is designed to divert attention from the corrupt entities whose purported job is to protect the public but whose true purpose is to uphold the economy (particularly their own piece of it.) In this latter endeavor those entities have indeed done a heckuva job.

*Jenna Orkin of the World Trade Center Environmental Organization, is one of twelve original plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the EPA.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

US Attorney Comptroller Warns: Learn from the Fall of Rome
Cost/Benefit Analyses of Sustainability
CIA OIG Report
Bank Pulls Speech to Quell Instability
The Fed Blinks
Russia Restores Bomber Patrols...
...and Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties
Russia's resumption of Cold War activity includes a recent flag-planting caper by a submarine on the floor of the Arctic, throwing down the gauntlet to Canada and the U.S.
Venezuela to Get its First Oil From Ocean Floor
Zimbabwe Situation
Stan Goff: How Pat Tillman Died
Group Threatens to Sue Pentagon Over Military Role in Evangelical Festival
Warming Will Pause, Then Full Steam Ahead, Scientists Contend
Warming Will Exacerbate Global Water Conflicts
This is another instance of an article being of interest not so much for what it says, which is no news to readers of this blog, but because of who's saying it: The Washington Post.
Fight Global Warming by Taxing McMansions, Dingell Says

Albert Einstein once speculated that if honeybees were to become extinct, the world would starve in less than four years.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Mike Ruppert Update

A colleague at another website wrote today asking the following question, among others. I answered the other questions but sent this one on to Mike whose response is below.


Here's something I've wondered about for a while. Given the probability of increasing die-outs over the next several decades, and more aging baby boomers dying, there will be an increasing number of estates that go up for grabs, seized or badly gutted by the govt. if families and individuals do not plan legal steps carefully to pass on to family members or charitable causes. If one were to steer people towards ways to contribute money that would fight the criminal system instead of feeding it, what would they be? What would MCR recommend? Too bad FTW is gone...

The entire universe of charities and foundations has been corrupted, making good places harder than ever to find.

Mike Ruppert's response

Very big and very good things happening here. Very fast. Very, very good.

You know, as far as I'm concerned these days I wouldn't trust ANYcharity. That's not becuase I know they're all dirty or compromised. It's because I am just so burned out on trusting anything that's"in-the-system" that I won't take the time to even ponder thequestion.

There is no time left to do anything except get ready.

Get ready.

My health is fully restored (even improved). I have recently come into an inheritance after a two and a half year struggle. About 75% of all of FTW's debts (and mine) are paid in full. The rest will be taken care of soon; including refunds to all FTW subscribers and customers who paid for things they never received. Within the last month, myattorney and I have been to Los Angeles and Ashland.

Ashland proved to be a very loving homecoming.

In Ashland we had an excellent meeting with a detective and intell anylast from the Ashland Police Department. I canot say much except that there's a real possibility that one or more people are going to go to jail over the burglary of June 06. There's a lot more coming on that front.

As for me, Jenna and I are moving to Oregon within the year and we are taking our own advice.

Get ready.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Is Creaking America on the Road to Ruin?
More mainstream recognition of what FTW has been asserting for years.
"According to a report by Ernst & Young, the consultancy group, published in June, the US has a funding shortfall for infrastructure of $1.6 trillion (£785 billion), a sum needed merely to repair and bring the existing infrastructure back up to scratch."
Central Banks Take Emergency Credit Crunch Action
This looks like the work of an international arm of the Plunge Protection Team.
International Forum on Globalization
Food that Travels Well
In case we forgot that the devil is in the details, the article claims "...that lamb raised on New Zealand’s clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard. Similar figures were found for dairy products and fruit."
Tillman Memo Contradicted Citation
CIA Report on 9/11 Due Labor Day

From Anne Scott

I am about to tell you the story of my morning. This does not end tragically, nor is it of global importance. It is a small, local happening. But the much broader significance will be frighteningly, gut quiveringly, evident.

For background: I've not had a dog for more than twenty years. Much travel with work and frequent moves made it impossible to happily raise a dog. Imagine my joy, after buying the farm, to find a lovely young pup at our local shelter. Never was a dog born who so richly deserved a farm. Nor has a better farm dog walked this earth.

This morning she walked up to the glass door and waited for me to see her. In horror I saw she had a face filled with porcupine quills! I grabbed a heavy shirt, gloves, pliers, and raced out to help her. I was only able to remove one quill before realizing she would not allow me to proceed. Even with two of us to hold her, it was not going to happen. She weighs eighty pounds, and though sweet tempered, even during this ordeal, I feared hurting her even more.

I called her vet at six a.m. No one there, and no one on call. I called another and within half an hour, she arrived and immediately sedated Sakai. Within an hour, the Dr. returned with more help and transported her to the clinic. By the time I arrived, moments later, they had already removed all the quills, given antibiotics and she was groggily returning to the world. I could not stop crying or saying thank you, thank you.

The bigger meaning of all this came crashing down on me as I waited for help to arrive. Peak oil, mega disasters, war, martial law, name your poison. I am more prepared and self-sufficient than ninety eight percent of the population, yet I was helpless in a fairly routine situation. I now will become more prepared. A stretcher to move someone, sedatives to give if needed, and what ever else occurs to me when my mind is operating at normal again. Because it is one thing to intellectualize about "help not arriving" and another thing entirely to feel the result of what could have been, and most probably, will be. The future is about no help being able to arrive.

I shall never forget the look in Sakai's eyes this morning. She did not whimper, or cry. Just looked at me mommy.....

I am crying as I write, can't seem to stop. She is sleeping peacefully and has just enough energy to wag her tail when I walk up.

So, now! I shall make more preparations. I'll miss something, no doubt. But I'll learn every lesson the Universe is sending. And say Thank You...Thank You.

Her name, Sakai, was given to her by the woman who rescued her and brought her to the shelter. It is from a Native American language and means "Brave little one".


Thursday, August 02, 2007

White House OKs Tillman Case Interviews
Russians Plant Flag on the Arctic Seabed Is the Arctic seabed American, Canadian or Russian? I guess Russia just settled that issue.
Washington Post on Tillman: "'The system failed' is the ultimate cover-up...
The way the system works, of course, is to ensure that government officials -- particularly high-level government officials -- are always insulated from incriminating evidence. Lower-level flunkies know what to tell their bosses and how to use the chain of command to insulate themselves from higher-up decisions. If each person at each level behaves as mandated, decisions can be made without any real responsibility and accountability."
Richard Myers at Tillman Trial Myers was less successful than Rumsfeld at dodging questions.
China Climate Change Storms Affect 200 Million
Bearish on Bees The New Yorker's in-depth study of Colony Collapse Disorder ending on an upbeat note, whether justifiably or not.
Gangs In the Military
Zimbabwe's Chaos One of three articles on Zimbabwe in the New York Times in the last two days. The first, a page one in-depth study of the collapse of the country, mentioned oil in passing but placed the full weight of the blame on Mugabe.
Why Mugabe Cannot Retire
Pacifica's Kellia Ramares' Own Sicko Videos
McKinney Libel Suit Against Atlanta Journal-Constitution