THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010
Government Trying to Sweep Size of Oil Spill Under the Rug, Just As It Has Tried to Sweep the Economic Crisis, 9/11 and All Other Crises Under the Rug
As I previously pointed out, the Gulf oil spill is very similar to 9/11, because - in both cases - the responders helping with rescue and clean up were getting sick ... but were told they don't need any safety gear. And see this.
In addition, the government is keeping scientists away from "ground zero" of the oil spill and - for that reason - scientists cannot accurately measure the size of the oil spill.
BP has also tried to cover up its blunders by lowballing spill estimates, keeping reporters out of areas hardest hit by the oil (and see this, this, this and this) and threatening to arrest them if they try to take pictures (and see this), hiding dead birds and other sealife, and using dispersants to hide the amount of spilled oil (the dispersants are only worsening the damage caused by the spill).
The government is complicit in all of these cover-ups. Indeed, the Obama administration has made it a felony to get near enough to oiled wildlife and beaches to film them.
Similarly, the official 9/11 investigators were themselves largely denied funding, access to the site and the evidence contained there, or even access to such basic information as the blueprints for the world trade center.
Indeed, just as the government and BP have consistently underestimated the amount of oil gushing out of the Gulf, the blueprints for the World Trade Center are still to this day being withheld from reporters and the public, and the government agency in charge of the investigation has grossly mischaracterized the structure of the buildings.
How are we supposed to improve building safety regulations if the blueprints are still being hidden from engineers and scientists investigating the collapse of world trade center buildings 1, 2 and 7 on September 11th?
Moreover, as I previously pointed out:
9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:
Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
• The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into 9/11 said that government "minders" obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses
• The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements
• The tape of interviews of air traffic controllers on-duty on 9/11 was intentionally destroyed by crushing the cassette by hand, cutting the tape into little pieces, and then dropping the pieces in different trash cans around the building as shown by this NY Times article (summary version is free; full version is pay-per-view) and by this article from the Chicago Sun-Times
• Investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House. As the New York Times notes:
Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence . . .
* * *
The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.
In his book "Intelligence Matters," Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said "the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source.'' On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter "a smoking gun" and said, "The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House."
Of course, the government's response to the economic crisis, torture, the anthrax attacks, and just about every other crisis has been the same: try to sweep it under the rug.
It almost seems as if the main activity of government these days is trying to cover up criminal negligence and fraud ... instead of actually solving problems, firing - let alone convicting - the folks who caused the problems, or changing things enough to prevent future crises.
Tape of Air Traffic Controllers Made on 9/11 Was Destroyed
The New York Times
By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: May 7, 2004
WASHINGTON, May 6— At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, made a tape recording a few hours later describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it, the Transportation Department said Thursday.
The taping began before noon on Sept. 11 at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., where about 16 people met in a basement conference room known as the Bat Cave and passed around a microphone, each recalling his or her version of the events of a few hours earlier. The recording included statements of 5 or 10 minutes each by controllers who had spoken by radio to people on the planes or who had tracked the aircraft on radar, the report said.
Officials at the center never told higher-ups of the tape's existence, according to a report made public on Thursday by the inspector general of the Transportation Department.
A quality-assurance manager at the center destroyed the tape several months after it was made, crushing the cassette in his hand, cutting the tape into little pieces and dropping them in different trash cans around the building, according to the report. The tape had been made under an agreement with the union that it would be destroyed after it was superseded by written statements from the controllers, the report said.
The quality-assurance manager told investigators that he had destroyed the tape because he thought making it was contrary to Federal Aviation Administration policy, which calls for written statements, and because he felt that the controllers ''were not in the correct frame of mind to have properly consented to the taping'' because of the stress of the day.
None of the officials or controllers were identified in the report.
The inspector general, Kenneth M. Mead, said that keeping the tape's existence a secret, and then destroying it, did not ''serve the interests of the F.A.A., the department, or the public,'' and would raise suspicions at a time of national crisis.
The value of the tape was not clear, Mr. Mead said, because no one was sure what was on it, although the written statements given later by five of the controllers were broadly consistent with ''sketchy'' notes taken by people in the Bat Cave. (The sixth controller did not give a statement, apparently because that controller did not speak to either of the planes or observe them on radar.)
Mr. Mead had been asked by Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, to look into how well the aviation agency had cooperated with the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. McCain said in a statement that he looked forward to ''appropriate disciplinary actions'' and that he might investigate this matter further.
A spokesman for the 9/11 commission, Al Felzenberg, said Mr. Mead's report was ''meticulous'' and ''came through the efforts of a very conscientious senator.'' Mr. Felzenberg said that the commission would not comment now on the content of the report, but that it ''does speak to some of the issues we're interested in.''
The quality-assurance manager destroyed the tape sometime in December 2001, January 2002 or February 2002. By that time he and the center manager had received an e-mail message from the F.A.A. instructing officials to safeguard all records and adding, ''If a question arises whether or not you should retain data, RETAIN IT.''
The inspector general ascribed the destruction to ''poor judgment.''
An F.A.A. spokesman, Greg Martin, said that ''we have taken appropriate disciplinary action'' against the quality-assurance manager.