Sunday, November 20, 2005

9/11: The Death Toll Continues......

Ground Zero Worker and 9/11 Hero Dying of Cancer From Toxins at WTC; White House And New York Officials Deny Liability and Have Thrown Victims into the Streets Like Pieces of Garbage
Pat Arcese, now dying of cancer, says government lied about the safety of workers at Ground Zero. He is now suing New York but officials have denied liability, leaving him $2 million in debt from mounting medical bills.
20 Nov 2005

By Greg Szymanski



Pat Arcese wakes up every morning, knowing the clock is ticking, knowing he’s fighting a losing battle against cancer, a deathly cancer caused by working at Ground Zero after 9/11.



It’s a story that would break anyone’s heart, a story about a 9/11 hero left to die by heartless, inhuman government officials who tossed Arcese aside like throwing away a piece of garbage in the street.



Forget about all the political wheeling and dealing for a moment. Forget about Valerie Plame, Dick Cheney’s leak problems, Baby Bush’s drinking problems and all the other White House idiotic nonsense.



And think about one thing. Think about how these scoundrels, these less than human political pieces of garbage treated Arcese, a longtime New Yorker and Ground Zero hero.



Think about how former Mayor Giuliani, Bush, EPA officials and all the others down the lying chain of command told Arcese and others it was safe to work at Ground Zero, knowing full-well it wasn’t, knowing all along they were sending these rescue and clean-up workers into nothing but a disgusting and lethal pit of pollution.



Now four years later, two other workers are thought to have died from the exposure of lethal contaminants at Ground Zero and, according to Arcese, he may be the third in what may prove to be only the beginning of a long line of graves caused by the likes of these ‘garbage bag’ politicians, these pitiful specimens of human beings who sent thousands of workers unprotected into nothing but a cesspool of deadly toxic waste.



“I am 6’3”, used to be 225 pounds and solid as a rock. I was the toughest guy on the block and if you knocked me down, I’d just get up and keep coming at you,” said Arcese in a telephone conversation this week from his mother’s home near Tampa, Florida, where he stays due to his weakened condition.



Arcese, who was once robust and solid as a rock, has now been reduced, turned literally into a walking skeleton, as his over 200 pound muscular frame has been dwindled down by cancer to a mere 125 pounds.



“Remember Raging Bull or the Marciano fights? That was me and if you don’t believe me, you can ask anyone who knew Pat Arcese in New York what I was really like. You could knock me down but I would always get up,” recalls Arcese about his days on the streets in New York.



“Right now I can’t sleep at nights so sometimes I go walking late at night. I’m not the kind of person who turns the other cheek and that’s probably why I worked at Ground Zero longer than most, working 12 hours a day and staying long enough to decorate one of the first Christmas trees there in remembrance of the 3,000 people who were murdered there and, I mean, murdered!



“Even though I have been ill, I still ain’t gonna change. I still helped someone recently one night who was being mugged, saved his life and then testified against the perpetrators and put them away where they belong.



“And here in Florida one night, when I was out walking late because I couldn’t sleep due to the pain, I helped someone out like I did in New York, someone who was being robbed in a van. I’m just that way. I’m not gonna turn my back on anyone who needs help.



“You know, there were a lot of people who saw what happened at Ground Zero, came all gung-ho to help and then, just as quick, just left because it was so bad. I don’t hold it against them because it was a really a bad scene, I mean the worst possible scene. It was sort of like coming and going to hell and back every day. That’s about the best way to describe it.”



After working at Ground Zero day and night for more than three months, Arcese started feeling ill about eight months later, the symptoms starting with respiratory problems, paleness and skin rashes, but rapidly growing much worse.



“I kept waking up every day wondering what the hell was wrong with me,” recalls Arcese who twice during his illness collapsed on the New York streets, his heart stopping and having to be brought back to life by paramedics. “I deteriorated so fast and nobody knew what was going on. But it felt like my insides were being ripped out and I knew it had to be from toxins, asbestos and other contaminants I was exposed to at the World Trade Center.



“My god, I was never sick a day in my life and now I am down to 125 pounds and can’t hardly stand up straight without a cane! I kept telling the doctors, ‘you tell me what it is, smart guy, if it ain’t what I was exposed to at Ground Zero?’”



When working at Ground Zero, Arcese recalls three important facts that made it clear to him that the city of New York, the White House and the EPA were all lying to him and the other workers who were all told – told point blank – the air was safe to breadth and conditions safe to work every day they reported to Ground Zero.



The three facts, in Arcese’s own words, that proved to him the government lied were:



“One, they had these little test tube bottles all around the WTC and they would use these as proof to the workers it was safe. Every day One of the EPA workers would tell us they checked the tubes and it was safe. I knew they were lying.



“One day I went around and filled at least 30 of the tubes with asbestos that I found lying around the site. When EPA announced next morning and said it was safe, I caught them lying red-handed and called the official a liar right to his face.



“Another thing. The government spent millions of dollars on wash down machines for workers, but they never even used them once. Why? Well, they never even gave us protective gear or any protective clothing. They just didn’t care about people, but they sure did care about getting the billions of gold out from the basement and they sure cared about hauling the steel away as quick as they could.



“The second reason I know they lied is because I found out after the trucks that hauled the steel out left the WTC, they went into a wash down contamination center. What does that tell yah”



“And, the last thing, which is the icing on the cake, is the EPA put up this protective fence or what they called the ‘safe zone.’ And, think about it, there were hundreds of FBI and CIA there every day but they always stayed in the ‘safe zone’ and on the other side of the fence. Why?



“And the politicians, like Bush Giuliani and the rest, they’d only show up for a quick photo session and get the hell out of there as fast as they could in their limousines. Ask yourself: why didn’t they stay and lend a hand if it was so safe? And tell me why did they dump the dust right into the river? Hell, they tried to contaminate the whole city!”



In answer to Arcese’s question, the politicians never stayed longer than a few minutes at Ground Zero because everybody in high places knew all along the WTC and the surrounding area was a powder keg of lethal contaminants.



In fact, it was well-known by the city of New York that the WTC was an asbestos bombshell. For years, the Port Authority treated the building like an aging dinosaur, attempting on several occasions to get permits to demolish the building for liability reasons, but being turned down due the known asbestos problem.



Further, it was well-known the only reason the building was still standing until 9/11 was because it was too costly to disassemble the twin towers floor by floor since the Port Authority was prohibited legally from demolishing the buildings.



Although the city of New York and the federal government has refused to accept liability in Arcese’s case leaving him $2 million in debt for his medical bills, he is still pursuing a lawsuit filed in New York.



He recently overcame a motion to dismiss by city lawyers, claiming no responsibility Arcese’s deadly cancer diagnosis even though he has independent medical examinations saying his condition is directly related to the battery of carcinogens and toxins he was exposed to at Ground Zero.



“I recently got back from the doctor and was told there was no cure and nothing could be done,” said Arcese, adding that he also has knowledge that several of his New York friends, including a good buddy named Patty O’ Neil, all coming down with the same symptoms. “I just talked to Patty and he said his skin was turning gray and he was having breathing problems. I told him, Patty, you got to get to a doctor quick because that is exactly what happened to me.”



Besides Arcese, several other Ground Zero workers have sued the federal government in 2004 for lying about air quality at the WTC.



The suit accuses EPA officials of making misleading public statements about the level of dangerous contaminants released into the air after the twin towers were destroyed in a terror strike.



The plaintiffs say they were sent to work without proper protective gear, exposing them to PCBs, asbestos, benzene and other known carcinogens.



Among those making claims are city correction officers, a National Guard medic and a city paramedic sent to help with the cleanup. Also in the case, a federal marshal charges he lost two months of work because of shortness of breath and other ailments triggered by his work at the site.



Attorneys are asking to classify the case as a class action to include thousands of workers sent to Ground Zero after the attacks. Among those named as defendants are former EPA director Christie Whitman and officials from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, accusing them of authorizing news releases in the day after the attacks that were "false and misleading."



To indicate how false and misleading the EPA reports really were after 9/11, the following was sent out on September 18, 2001, by Whitman:

“EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced today that results from the Agency's air and drinking water monitoring near the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster sites indicate that these vital resources are safe.

“Whitman also announced that EPA has been given up to $83 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support EPA's involvement in cleanup activities and ongoing monitoring of environmental conditions in both the New York City and Washington metropolitan areas following last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

“We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances," Whitman said. "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breadth and their water is safe to drink,” she added.

However, according to Arcese and many others now suffering illnesses from being exposed to the air at Ground Zero, was anything but safe, as children in nearby schools are now complaining of respiratory problems, more than half the site workers have serious breathing problems, half of the firefighters can no longer work and at least 14 rescue dogs have died.



Regarding the enormity of the health problems, one man who has pushed the issue about the EPA lies has been American philanthropist, Jimmy Walter, who has publicly called for justice for these “unsung 9/11 heroes,” many who like Arcese are sick and dying.



“If you worked or had loved ones in Manhattan after 9/11, who have resulting injuries or health issues, we encourage you to consider filing criminal charges against Mayor Giuliani, Christi Whitman, James Connaughton and other members of the White house, EPA and the NY Health Department,” said Walter in a written plea on his web site at www.reopen911.org. “We are dedicated to bringing justice to the real terrorists who attacked us and answering the glaring, painful questions surrounding 9/11.”





Arcese, who recently appeared on Greg Szymanski’s radio show the Investigative Journal on the Republic Broadcast Network at www.rbnlive.com, announced he is trying to raise money to go back to a New York Hospital to receive special treatment after two recent operations have been unsuccessful in stopping the cancer spread.



“I spend my time taking care of a young horse I adopted after I found him starving in a nearby field during one of my walks in the neighborhood,” said Arcese, adding he plans to one day return to New York and ride his newfound friend, who he named Twin Towers, in one of the New York City parades.



“Twin Towers has become a real friend and the day he tried to get in the car with me. Everybody in the neighborhood is telling how good he looks and the other day I took him with me to the store and he just waited outside in the parking lot until I came out. The police came by and at first told me you can’t have a horse out here, but after they found out it was me, they just all huddled around and starting taking pictures of me and Twin Towers walking on sidewalk in the middle of a six lane highway.



“But about the cancer, this has been a tough thing to beat, but my friends back in New York said if anyone can beat the cancer, it’s Pat Arcese and I’m not going to let them down.”



Editor’s Note: If anyone is interested in helping Pat get up the funds to get treatment he needs back in New York since he is living on a small fixed income, please contact the Arctic Beacon at arcticbeacon@earthlink.net and we will put you in touch with Pat Arcese, a true 9/11 hero.