Articles on this Page
- 09/10/16--07:51: _Column: 15 years af...
- 09/10/16--09:16: _Election hacks rais...
- 09/10/16--09:57: _What happened to th...
- 09/10/16--10:28: _John Hinckley, who ...
- 09/10/16--11:36: _Should 9/11 trials ...
- 09/10/16--12:07: _America’s most comm...
- 09/10/16--12:42: _Clinton says ‘deplo...
- 09/10/16--12:59: _U.S. and Russia cre...
- 09/10/16--13:28: _These vivid NYC mur...
- 09/10/16--14:25: _Standing Rock Sioux...
- 09/11/16--04:28: _Post-9/11 prejudice...
- 09/11/16--06:03: _Obama calls on Amer...
- 09/11/16--07:03: _Kaine says Catholic...
- 09/11/16--07:12: _9/11 through the ey...
- 09/11/16--08:05: _How Clinton and Tru...
- 09/11/16--09:49: _Fifteen years after...
- 09/11/16--09:59: _Clinton left 9/11 e...
- 09/11/16--11:16: _Meet the Native Ame...
- 09/11/16--12:00: _Millions of Muslims...
- 09/11/16--12:44: _CIA Director John B...
- 09/10/16--07:51: Column: 15 years after 9/11, how have students’ reactions changed?
- 09/10/16--09:16: Election hacks raise fears of Russian influence
- 09/10/16--09:57: What happened to the remnants of the World Trade Center?
- 09/10/16--11:36: Should 9/11 trials be held at Guantanamo Bay?
- 09/10/16--12:07: America’s most common workplace injury is hearing loss
- 09/10/16--12:42: Clinton says ‘deplorables’ comment was ‘grossly generalistic’
- 09/10/16--12:59: U.S. and Russia create joint plan to defeat ISIS
- 09/10/16--13:28: These vivid NYC murals spotlight climate-threatened birds
- 09/10/16--14:25: Standing Rock Sioux tribe claims small victory in pipeline battle
- 09/11/16--04:28: Post-9/11 prejudice echoes in this year’s presidential race
- 09/11/16--06:03: Obama calls on Americans to embrace diversity on 9/11
- 09/11/16--07:03: Kaine says Catholic Church might change on gay marriage
- 09/11/16--07:12: 9/11 through the eyes of a first responder and his disposable camera
- 09/11/16--08:05: How Clinton and Trump plan to tackle education as president
- 09/11/16--09:49: Fifteen years after 9/11, illnesses compound for first responders
- 09/11/16--11:16: Meet the Native Americans fighting against the North Dakota pipeline
- 09/11/16--12:00: Millions of Muslims meet in Mecca for hajj pilgrimage
- 09/11/16--12:44: CIA Director John Brennan warns of Russian hacking
On September 11, 2001, I was in the second week of the new school year with my first period senior English class at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, just a few miles south of the Pentagon. I didn’t know the kids in front of me that well yet, but they seemed like a great group.
Suddenly that morning, a colleague who grew up in the Rockaway section of Queens opened the classroom door and said, “Turn on the TV. The World Trade Center has just been hit by a plane.”
I’ve always believed in never letting school get in the way of my students’ education. I switched on the TV in front of the room and my students and I listened to the announcers speculate about what had happened — only to see the second plane hit. At first, the sight of the towers burning didn’t seem to have much more immediacy than a TV action movie, but soon things in that classroom would get far too immediate.
In what seemed like about a half hour after the second plane hit, we heard a loud explosion outside the school. Several students were startled and I told them not to worry, that “it was just a car backfiring.” A moment later a boy sitting near the windows that faced north said, “That’s no car; look at that black smoke.” We could see an enormous plume of smoke rising in the distance, but didn’t know where it was coming from until, a few seconds later, the NBC reporter stationed at the Pentagon broke into the New York coverage to say that he felt the ground shake beneath him as he heard an explosion – obviously the same one that had just startled my students. As I remember, it was several minutes before it was announced that the explosion came from a plane hitting the Pentagon.
At that point, a boy sitting across the room from the windows – a football player and a macho dude by any standard – suddenly came undone and had to be comforted by the girls in the class. His mom worked in the Pentagon and when he tried to get her on his cell phone he could not get through. As the reporting went on, early estimates of Pentagon deaths were far overblown, some reaching over 800.
Students from other classes whose parents worked at the Pentagon were also panicking and had gotten permission to go out into the halls to try to get cell phone service to reach their parents. As I remember, there was no cell phone service anywhere in the area, and that, combined with the fact that the street in front of the school was at a never-before, bumper-to-bumper standstill, added to a sense that we were trapped and had no idea what was coming next. Students could only leave the school if their parents came to get them and a number of Muslim parents, worried that their children might be somehow blamed for what happened, did come to take their children home. (By the way, the football player’s mom at the Pentagon reached the school later in the day to tell her son that she was OK.)
I spent that whole day with my students and though, at the time, I didn’t have all their names down, as the year went on, we shared a special bond that will last: Whenever someone asks any of us, “Where were you on 9/11?” I’ll remember them and they will remember me.
But what really concerns me is how students – or any of us, for that matter – remember, absorb and see the significance of our national history.
I like to think that the kids with me that day got a chance to come closer to plumbing the significance of the biggest historical event of their lifetimes.
However, the next year, when I took a group to New York, only one kid out of some thirty – both his parents were Navy officers – was willing to go the the site. The rest of them went shopping, site-seeing, just hanging out. Part of me wanted to get angry at them, but I knew too well that the immediacy of the present, especially for teenagers, can drown out any desire to delve into the past.
Yet, I still kept trying. On every 9/11 until I retired in 2013, I would have students read C.K. Williams “War,” a difficult but rewarding poem that puts the 9/11 outrage in context of wars going back to the Greeks and Trojans. I would also have them read some of the New York Times’ “Portraits of Grief,” the powerful profiles of the victims of 9/11. What would really bring home the horror of that day was a film by the French brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet who just happened to be making a documentary about the training of a rookie fireman stationed in the Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse in Lower Manhattan when the attacks occurred.
As an English major who took a lot of philosophy and theology courses and always found poetry more interesting than history, I am well aware of how lacking my knowledge and sense of the past has been. My first-period class from that day is now in their early thirties. But I do feel that the one time period that I, and they, know pretty well is the day of Sept. 11, 2001.
The post Column: 15 years after 9/11, how have students’ reactions changed? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Recent hacks of election data systems in at least two states have raised fear among lawmakers and intelligence officials that a foreign government is trying to seed doubt about — or even manipulate — the presidential race, renewing debate over when cyberattacks cross red lines and warrant a U.S. response.Federal officials already are investigating cyberattacks at the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, believed to be the work of hackers tied to the Russian government. Trolling a private organization’s emails is one thing, cyberexperts say, but breaching state election systems to undermine the integrity of the November ballot would be quite another.
“The mere access to those systems is incredibly concerning to me,” said Sean Kanuck, former national intelligence officer for cyber issues at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. “I think that the manipulation of election data or voting systems would warrant a national security response.”
No one has yet confirmed that data was actually manipulated. Law enforcement and intelligence officials are investigating the election-related breaches, but also are looking at the extent to which Russia could be involved in a disinformation campaign to diminish U.S. clout worldwide. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow wasn’t involved in the hacking of emails of the Democratic Party.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said last week he thinks it’s unlikely that Russia is trying to influence the election. “I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out,” he said on RT America, the U.S. partner of Kremlin-backed network Russia Today.
But Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued a public warning to Moscow last week while in Europe. “We will not ignore attempts to interfere with our democratic processes,” Carter said. Asked later to elaborate, Carter said he was referring to Russia’s use of hybrid warfare — “interference in the internal affairs of nations, short of war” — which he said is a concern across Europe.[Watch Video]
Late last month, the FBI sent a “flash alert” to warn state officials to strengthen their election systems in light of evidence that hackers targeted data systems in two states. The FBI described a “compromise” of one elections board website and “attempted intrusion activities” in another state’s system. The FBI didn’t name the states, but state election websites in Illinois and Arizona experienced hack-related shutdowns in the parts of the websites that handle online voter registration.
Manipulating an election in the United States would be difficult, officials say, because there are thousands of electoral jurisdictions across the 50 states.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday that the election system is “so decentralized, so vast … it would very difficult to alter the count.”
FBI Director James Comey agrees.
“The vote counting in this country tends to be kind of clunky,” which is a blessing because it makes harder for hackers to infiltrate, Comey said. “It makes it more resilient and farther away from an actor who might be looking to crawl down a fiber-optic cable, and find there actually is no fiber optic cable — that it’s actually some woman named Sally and a guy named Joe and they roll the thing (voting machine) over and pull out the punch cards,” Comey said.
Such reassurances have not eased concern on Capitol Hill, yet reaction has been mixed.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada was “deeply shaken” after a half-hour briefing about Russian activities that he received at the FBI office in Las Vegas, according to an individual familiar with the briefing. The individual was not authorized to publicly discuss the briefing and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
An aide to another senator, who also was briefed, said what gave the lawmaker “pause” was that Russia might be meddling in the United States in the same way it has in Eastern Europe where it has a history of using cyberattacks to facilitate their political objectives.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there is bipartisan concern about the “Russian government engaging in covert influence activities.” He said a section of this year’s intelligence authorization bill directs the president to set up an interagency committee to ‘counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence over peoples and governments.'”
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, however, that he’s not surprised by the hacks.
“I just think people have been asleep,” he said. “This is the challenge of going to digital records, digital voting. This is why it’s imperative to keep paper voting.”
How the U.S. should respond to cyberattacks is the subject of much debate.
John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department, described a three-pronged approach: figure out who’s responsible, don’t be afraid to take it public and routinely impose consequences.
Andrew McCabe, deputy director of the FBI, said each one of those steps presents challenges. “In terms of options for action, they are limited — very understandably sometimes — by international policy constraints, diplomatic challenges and the concern about the impact on partners and relationship with partners.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said each cyberattack will require a different U.S. response. In some cases, it could begin with “naming and shaming” responsible parties, he said. Other cases call for economic or other sanctions. When it comes to cyberattacks by North Korea, perhaps the U.S. should consider dropping public leaflets aimed at denouncing the repressive North Korean government, he said.
“I think the failure to act, the failure to establish any deterrent, the failure to even name responsible parties — particularly in the case of Russia — only invites further exploitation, further attacks and further effort to disrupt our elections,” Schiff said.
Associated Press writer Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.
They come in various forms and sizes, collected from the wreckage of the World Trade Center buildings in the months following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Fifteen years later, some of the rusted pieces of twisted steel, tattered emergency vehicles, signs, clothing and other relics, which numbered in the thousands, have been disseminated to all 50 states and to the far reaches of the world. Many of them now stand as memorials to 9/11.
More than 2,600 artifacts collected from the site were housed inside Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, under the purview of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
Under the Port Authority program, which began in 2010 and ended last month, the items were given out to 1,585 fire and police departments, museums, municipalities and organizations in an effort to remember the nearly 3,000 people who died that day.
Most of the requests came from the tri-state area and California, according to the Port Authority. Among the artifacts were 1,944 pieces of steel.
New York (291), New Jersey (271) and California (65) received the largest number of artifacts. At least 10 countries, including China, Russia, England and Canada also received pieces of the World Trade Center or other relics from Ground Zero.
Amy Passiak, who served as an archivist and project manager for the artifact program, spoke to the NewsHour this week about her experiences with the project.
Tell us about your role in this program.
As archivist, I oversaw the cataloging, storage, environmental conditions of the hangar, controlled access to the facility, and coordinated assignments and pickups and shipments of artifacts. Early on in the project, my primary goal was to assess the complete collection of materials as well as quantify the requests. Assessment included a re-inventory of artifacts, sizes, estimated weights, types of materials, photography, display and care recommendations. I also developed and managed an archive that recorded all of this data for easy sorting and tracking.
During this project, I was an employee with Art Preservation Services, under the principal Steven Weintraub, who is a trained object conservator specializing in preventive conservation. This type of conservation assesses conditions — like relative humidity, temperature and light — for better object care and storage to prevent any or further degradation. Weintraub and APS were therefore brought in by Port Authority to initially assess the storage of these artifacts and to oversee the initial preservation efforts on the last beam removed from the World Trade Center site, which was covered with ephemera by emergency personnel.
In 2009, when the Port Authority decided to begin the give-away program in earnest, Weintraub then realized they needed a collections-trained staff member to oversee the assessment and sorting of the artifacts for better and more efficient distribution. I was working at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the time in collections and was recruited.
Throughout the project, I assessed requests in order to best match up the appropriate size, weight and material. Some groups were requesting large artifacts to display outside, others were requesting small artifacts to display inside an interior case. In order to fulfill more requests, we instituted a “cutting” program, where larger steel beams were cut into smaller sections. This allowed us to fulfill requests under 150 lbs that could be shipped to groups who could not logistically make the trip to New York City. Anything larger had to be picked up from our facility, and in the later years of the project, I coordinated these pickups and facilitated on site.
Where were the artifacts before the program began in 2010?
A few artifacts were distributed in 2008 and 2009, including to the Newseum and New York State Museum. The organization that is now the National September 11 Museum was also assessing potential artifacts for their collection during this time.
Previous to this time, the artifacts sat in storage at Hangar 17. Until legally released, they were technically still part of evidence for September 11 according to the FBI. Legal orders listing all artifacts were issued in 2009 and 2010 in order to fulfill the give-away program.
What was the application process, and how did the Port Authority decide who would get the artifacts?
The application process was originally handled by the Port Authority marketing department and then taken over by the department of Government and Community Relations in early 2014.
A formal request letter had to be addressed to the Port Authority executive director and sent to these departments for review. The requesting groups had to be a non-profit or government agency who would display the requested artifacts as part of a memorial accessible by the public. The idea of memorial is somewhat fluid, as some of the requesting groups were museums who were either creating new exhibitions featuring the artifacts, or incorporating into already existing exhibits.
It was also stipulated that the pieces must preserve the integrity of the artifact, meaning they could not be drastically altered. The artifacts could also not be given away to another organization in either piece or whole, without permission by the Port Authority.
Additionally, the Port Authority requested that the following acknowledgement, or something similar, be included in the memorial:
Artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001 courtesy of The Port Authority of NY & NJ and displayed in memory of the 2,752 victims, including:
343 NYC Firefighters
37 Port Authority Police Officers
23 New York City Police Officers
What kinds of displays or memorials were created as a result of the program?
There is every type of memorial, from small to large. The smallest pieces were about 6 inches and largest up to 36 feet in length. There is actually a page online where organizations can self-register their memorials.
Not all of these have pieces incorporated from the artifact program. You can search this by location and also search if it includes World Trade Center steel.
Some of the first memorials built with steel or artifacts from this project include the USS New York, the Newseum, the First Responders Park in Hilliard (Ohio), Westerville Firefighters memorial in Ohio, Mendon Fire Department memorial in Massachusetts, Keane Foundation memorial in Connecticut and the Glens Falls memorial in New York.
What were some of the most memorable moments of the program?
Most of my memorable moments involve interacting with and meeting individuals who were requesting or picking up steel. I have worked with anyone from a Boy Scout from Berwick, Pennslyvania, building a 9/11 memorial as part of his Eagle Scout project, to meeting the art students at Fulton-Montgomery Community College who were going to design their 9/11 memorial with a large piece of the antenna to helping retirees at the Sons of American Legion Post 419 to working with staff and students at Cracker Trail Elementary in Florida. The list goes on and on.
I also found it fascinating to see the fire engines that were going to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum be prepped for transport at the hangar. They had to be lowered into the museum through an opening. Cradles were built and secured around the engines so that they could be lifted and lowered on end into the site.
One time we were visited at the hangar by Richard Riley, a union worker who had helped to install and maintain the broadcasting equipment in the antenna. He passed away in 2011.
I was also able to witness several moving ceremonies during pickup. Some emergency services groups picking up were accompanied by members of their organization and performed an honor ceremony while their piece was loaded and upon exiting the hangar grounds. One of the more recent ones was Huntington Manor Volunteer Fire Department, who brought along a piper.
A fascinating aspect during pickups, was the bonding of attending organizations. We would generally try to schedule between five to 20 groups, and these would be conducted during a specified time slot on first-come basis. Several groups would arrive at the same time and, while waiting for their turn to load, would exchange information and stories. Although from different states or type of organizations, these groups were always so grateful to meet each other and exchange information for future contact and updates. Sometimes, I would even witness shared connections between seemingly very different organizations.
An old family friend is a volunteer at the West Chester Railroad in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This is a historical railroad site. His organization had requested a portion of the PATH train rail from our project and was approved. I was then able to help facilitate the assignment of a piece and pickup. This was a really special moment. They recently discovered the stamping of Bethlehem steel in Pennsylvania on the piece, and were able to acquire original Bethlehem hardware in order to secure the piece for memorial display within their historic railway station.
What else do you want people to know about the project?
I think one of the most amazing aspects of this project is its far reach. Many of the requesting organizations were emergency services, and of those there were quite a few volunteer departments. Because of this project, there are now memorials in cities, and also rural communities. The project has definitely created a network that will continue the memory of 9/11 through history. Although many groups are still working to build their memorials, I feel that the lasting legacy of this project is not yet fully realized. I look forward to traveling more extensively around the U.S. and being able to visit memorials that I was able to help facilitate.
See below for more photos of the project.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The post What happened to the remnants of the World Trade Center? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Jonathan Hinckley, who became a household name in 1981 when he tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster, is set to leave his mental hospital today to live with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.
After 35 years under psychiatric care since Hinckley, now 61, was found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting Reagan and three others, he was scheduled to be released from St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., under strict conditions. He is not allowed to travel near the current president or members of Congress, contact his victims or anyone related to them, or contact Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed.
Hinckley’s lawyer Barry William Levine told NPR after the initial ruling that Hinckley has been in full remission and that he poses no threat to public safety. “This case shows that people who are ravaged by disease, mental disease, can get well and become productive members of society without imposing any threat of danger,” he said.
But neighbors worry.
“It could be a grave mistake to try to force fit him into that community with his 90-year-old mother,” Joe Mann, a neighbor of Hinckley’s mom, told NPR.
A lesser-known fact about Hinckley’s case is that it revolutionized how the courts in the U.S. view the insanity defense and also set a precedent for using brain scans as evidence in defense of mental incapacity.
Just two years after the producers of computed tomography X-ray, or CAT scan, won the Nobel Prize, Hinckley’s lawyer realized the technology could be useful to prove to the jury that he had a dysfunctional brain.
The court permitted the psychiatrist who diagnosed Hinckley with schizophrenia and depression to explain to the jury how the CAT scans bolstered his diagnoses.
Dr. David Bear pointed out Hinckley’s sulci – the medical term for the squiggly grooves that run along the cerebral cortex. He said that they were wider than average, connecting the trait to a scientific paper from St. Elizabeths that showed a correlation between wider sulci and schizophrenia.
The paper had found that one out of every three patients with schizophrenia had wider than average sulci, while people without the mental disorder have the same trait only two percent of the time.
“That is a high figure,” Bear said during cross-examination. “The fact that one-third had these widened sulci — whereas in normals, probably less than one out of fifty have them — that is a very powerful fact.”
It’s unclear what effect the scans had on the jury, who ultimately agreed that Hinckley was too mentally incapacitated to understand the crime he committed. Outrage over that decision sparked nationwide changes on the insanity defense. The federal government shifted the burden of proof onto the defense and made insanity harder to substantiate.
In Hinckley’s case, it was up to the prosecution to prove he was sane. Now, the defense in federal cases has to prove that the defendant is insane, “by a standard as high as beyond a reasonable doubt,” and is also limited the scope of expert testimony.
Four states have opted to get rid of the insanity defense altogether.
Now, the court routinely admits brain scans as evidence into the courtroom. They are most often seen during the mitigation phase of the death sentence, when a person has been found guilty and is hoping to convince the jury that he or she does not deserve to die.
A presidential report on neuroscience last year found that among more than 1,500 judicial opinions issued between 2005 and 2012, 40 percent of them were to mitigate the death sentence. Only 3 percent of them were to defend a capital case of insanity.
“Although neuroscience cannot answer whether an individual is legally insane … it might get us closer to answering whether an individual satisfies the legal test, or even if that legal test can be improved or modified by a better understanding of human behavior,” the report stated.
However, Hinckley’s lawyer did not present brain scans to the judge who presided over the decision to release him in July.
The post John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, to be released from mental hospital today appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Read the full transcript below.PHIL HIRSCHKORN, NewsHour Weekend: On September 11th, 2001, Jean Nebbia lost her big brother, Steven Schlag.
JEAN NEBBIA: Steven was a character. If you didn’t like him, he would do something to you to make sure you liked him.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: A generous soul who loved to ski. A bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, Schlag was trapped on the 105th floor of the North Tower, above the first plane hijackers crashed into the World Trade Center.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: A teacher’s assistant from New Jersey, Nebbia volunteers for the 9/11 Tribute Center giving tours of the memorial site.
JEAN NEBBIA: I get to let people know everything about him. My thoughts are to celebrate what I had with him.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Nebbia has also stared down her brother’s alleged killers in person at legal proceedings called military commissions at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: These five men are the only people in U.S. custody now charged with a direct role in planning 9/11. Long after their capture and detention in secret CIA prisons overseas, they were transferred to Guantanamo 10 years ago.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The government says Khalid Shaikyh Mohammed, known as KSM, was the architect who brought the planes plot to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Ramzi Binalshibh was allegedly his right hand man, the liaison with the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks. Walid bin Attash allegedly helped train the hijackers in camps in Afghanistan. Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali allegedly funneled money to the hijackers.
JEAN NEBBIA: They’ve already admitted to it. They’ll get convicted, and the death penalty will be justice served.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: But that outcome is neither guaranteed nor coming soon. With the military commissions mired in procedural roadblocks and interminable delays, prosecutors and defense attorneys involved in the case say it won’t be concluded before the year 2020.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Former United States Attorney David Kelley was part of a team of federal prosecutors in New York that wrote the book on prosecuting major terrorism cases. The first chapter was the trial for the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing, which convicted four defendants, each sentenced to 240 years in prison.
DAVID KELLEY: You know, we were the ‘go to’ folks pre-9/11, and the criminal justice system, and then on September 12th, it wasn’t so much that way anymore.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Kelley won a jury conviction against the attack’s ringleader, Ramzi Yousef, who was sentenced to life in prison.
DAVID KELLEY: Cold-blooded, indeed. And he could, you know, look at you and smile, and rip your heart out at the same time.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: In the mid-1990’s, Kelley’s colleagues in the Southern District of New York also convicted Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheik, from Egypt, and nine other Islamic extremists for a conspiracy to carry out attacks on New York City landmarks like the George Washington Bridge and the United Nations headquarters.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: I think the most memorable, historically significant thing about it for me is the degree to which it indicated what was coming.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Michael Mukasey was the judge who presided over the trial and used his discretion to sentence Abdel Rahman to life behind bars.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: It was not a great ordeal or a tough call.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: But Mukasey worries the public disclosure of evidence at that trial aided America’s enemies.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: The government was required to serve a list of unindicted co-conspirators that it knew about, and they did. One name on that list was Osama bin Laden. Very few people had ever heard of him at the time. We later found out that within 10 days or two weeks after that letter was served on the defendants, it had found its way to Khartoum, where bin Laden was then living, and so that he was aware not only that the government knew about him, but also who else the government knew about.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: After bin Laden soldiers truck bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 – killing more than 200 people, including a dozen Americans, federal prosecutors in New York convicted four men for the attack in a jury trial that ended a few weeks before 9/11. All received life sentences.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Former federal prosecutor David Kelley believes those early cases proved terrorism trials work.
DAVID KELLEY: Not only because it’s effective because it gets terrorists off the streets, but because it’s done in a way that meets all of our Constitutional requirements.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: One of those requirements is that any defendant’s statements be voluntary, not coerced. Kelley says it‘s a myth that once terrorism defendants get a lawyer, they automatically stop talking.
DAVID KELLEY: The old adage is bad guys just want to talk, and they typically do. And notwithstanding their opportunity to have a lawyer, they typically will forego that, at least at the outset, and they’ll give you a lot of information.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Before the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in northern Virginia, the FBI tried to get information, unsuccessfully, from al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested for a visa overstay three-and-a-half weeks before 9/11 after arousing suspicion in a Minnesota flight school.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Since Moussaoui ended up pleading guilty, his trial in Virginia federal court focused only on his sentence. Instead of the death penalty, the jury opted for life in prison without the possibility of parole.
EDWARD MacMAHON: Moussaoui sits in a cell 23 hours a day, doesn’t even have natural light.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Edward MacMahon led the defense team. To date, Moussaoui is the only person convicted by the U.S. in any venue for the 9/11 conspiracy.
EDWARD MacMAHON: It was a very dignified proceeding conducted by a federal judge in a federal courtroom under rules of evidence. A jury deliberated, came to its verdict. Was the client, did he act out? Of course, that happens lots in criminal cases.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Moussaoui’s antics and his trying to represent himself caused delays, but so did the government’s blocking access to al Qaeda leaders in military custody, like KSM, that Moussaoui wanted to testify on his behalf. From arraignment to verdict in May 2006, the case took four-and-a-half years.
EDWARD MacMAHON: It seems like a blink of time compared to what’s happening in Cuba. 10 years later they don’t even have a trial date. If I went into court and told a judge in Alexandria that I needed 10 years to prepare for trial, I’d get 10 weeks.
CULLY STIMSON: I believe deeply in both systems.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Charles “Cully” Stimson helped write the rules for the military commissions as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Bush Administration. He’s also a former military judge and federal prosecutor. Stimson helped manage that transfer of the 9/11 defendants to Guantanamo in September 2006.
CULLY STIMSON: They would be held accountable. They would be brought out of the so-called shadows, and that for those that could be tried, they would be subjected to military commissions.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The legal procedures for handling Guantanamo detainees have been subjected to three Supreme Court decisions requiring changes in the military commissions spelled out in two acts of Congress. There have been endless debates about what evidence is admissible, including the mistreatment of the defendants in CIA custody. Stimson is as disappointed as anyone that the 9/11 military commissions are taking so long.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: It could be 20 years after 9/11 before we have a 9/11 military commission completed?
CULLY STIMSON: And that leaves a bad taste in my mouth and everyone watching this show. The measure of justice is not speed; it’s fairness. You know, the military commissions are not speedy, and they are not quick justice.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: And it’s not a flaw of design?
CULLY STIMSON: I think that it’s because it’s new, and being tested aggressively and appropriately by the defense in every which way to Sunday. It’s taking time. The best reason it should stay at Guantanamo is because so much work has been done.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Stimson points out that work includes 20 weeks of pre-trial hearings, 50 oral arguments, 217 substantive motions, and 500-thousand pieces of evidence turned over to the defense teams.
CULLY STIMSON: There’s a law in place, a federal law in place that says they can’t be brought to the United States. So unless and until Congress changes that law, and there’s the political will to bring them to Federal District Court and hit the restart button, it’s not going to happen.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: That law passed after the Obama Administration announced in late 2009, it Intended to transfer the 9/11 defendants from Guantanamo to New York for trial in the Federal courthouse less than a mile from Ground Zero.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The decision reflected not only a preference of venue by the President and Attorney General Eric Holder, but a track record:
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Since 9/11, federal prosecutors have won more than 350 terrorism-related convictions in federal court.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Besides Moussaoui, the list includes foiled plotters like Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, Underwear Bomber Umar Farook Abdulmutallab, and would-be Subway
Bomber Najibullah Zazi.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: By contrast, military proceedings at Guantanamo have yielded only 8 convictions, half later reversed, and generally lighter sentences.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: For example, former Bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan, was sent home to Yemen after a conviction and serving five-and-half years at Guantanamo.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Before moving any 9/11 detainees, the Obama Justice Department had a test case: Ahmed Ghaliani, an East Africa embassy bomber captured in Pakistan in 2004 and sent to Guantanamo. He became the first and only Guantanamo detainee ever transferred to U.S. soil and stood trial in Manhattan federal court.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: Ghailani, you’ll recall, almost beat the case. He was acquitted of all the murder counts resulting from the bombing of the embassies. He was convicted only of conspiracy to damage government property.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: But that was enough to get him a life sentence.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: It was enough to get him a life sentence because of the intended circumstances. But it was an awfully close matter.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: That close verdict, plus fears that defendants would have a platform in open court, and concerns about public safety in Lower Manhattan fueled opposition to moving the 9/11 trial.
DAVID KELLEY: Is there a security concern? Yeah. But it’s yet another hurdle that can be overcome. I saw greater traffic jams when we came out with Martha Stewart’s conviction than when we came out with any of the terrorist convictions.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Still, by 2011, Obama and Holder changed course. The 9/11 defendants remained at Guantanamo.
EDWARD MacMAHON: If when Obama had taken office, if he’d he done what he said, and he had moved those five gentlemen to New York City, they would have already been tried and convicted. No question in my mind. And I feel sad for the 9/11 family members who still want justice and who fly down to Cuba and watch these ridiculous proceedings in Cuba.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: For two years at Guantanamo, Edward MacMahon assisted the defense team for 9/11 defendant Walid bin Attash. From what he saw, he believes the military is miscast to handle the 9/11 case.
EDWARD MacMAHON: You wouldn’t ask the Justice Department to go take Baghdad and charge into the palace holding briefcases. I just think there’s a lot of institutional inability to put on a death penalty trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They don’t have judges that have ever done it. The prosecutors have never done it.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: When Judge Mukasey retired from the bench in 2006 and became President George W. Bush’s Attorney General the following year, his view of terrorism trials in federal court had dimmed.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: We’ve already got a reputation for having a fair system. We don’t need to establish it. The sense that we have to prove something to the world, I think, is ridiculous.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Mukasey also sees a benefit in the defendant’s ongoing military detention of the 9/11 suspects.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: The most valuable feature of any of these defendants is as a source of intelligence. You get some information. You go back, check on it. Maybe go back for more. Once he broke, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was providing information for months.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: You would stay the course with them for these 9/11 defendants?
MICHAEL MUKASEY: Not sure. I think I would. I think starting again would be a travesty.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Guantanamo is not a cheap facility to keep running. These days — the prisoner census below a hundred — it’s estimated it’s three to four million dollars per prisoner, per year.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: Right. You know what the cure for that is?
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: No.
MICHAEL MUKASEY: Bring more prisoners.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Also willing to wait for the outcome at Guantanamo is Jean Nebbia, who lost her brother on 9/11.
JEAN NEBBIA: We need justice. It’s frustrating, but I have no desire to see them on American soil.
Eight years ago, Jeff Ammon, now 55, began noticing a feeling of pressure in his ears every day after work.Over the next months, when his symptoms progressed into a slight loss of hearing and sensitivity to noise, he became worried. Ammon, a construction worker for 32 years, eventually started wearing ear protection hoping this would address these complaints — but it was too late.
From that point on, sounds ranging from the hum of a lawnmower to normal tones of conversation caused a piercing, jabbing pain in his inner ear. He stopped working in 2011, when the pain became unbearable. He also hears ringing in his ears and experiences dizziness, both side effects of the auditory damage.
“It’s debilitating … completely,” he said.
Ammon spent almost all of his working life surrounded by the loud noises of jackhammers, saws and air compressors. Now he avoids going outdoors, choosing instead to stay in his soundproof basement in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and communicate with his doctor mostly through an online patient portal.
“The medication to address pain has not been very successful at all. … I’m also on some medication for stress, anxiety and depression,” he said. “It has isolated me from society.”
Ammon is not alone in suffering from workplace-related hearing loss. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the most common work-related injury with approximately 22 million workers exposed annually to hazardous levels of occupational noise. Workers in the mining sector, followed by those in construction and manufacturing, are most likely to suffer from hearing impairment. An estimated $242 million is spent on worker’s compensation annually for hearing loss disability, according to the Department of Labor.
In an effort to reduce these numbers, the Labor Department launched a challenge earlier this summer called “Hear and Now,” in which it is soliciting pitches for innovative ideas and technology to better alert workers of hazardous noise levels.
But critics say that while these efforts might help, technology to reduce hearing injuries already exists. They contend that the maximum level of noise exposure allowed before employers are required to provide sound-protection equipment is too low, and the regulations developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are outdated. For example, those regulations use sound level limits that don’t factor in the noise exposures that occur beyond the workplace — at restaurants, concerts and sporting venues, for instance — that can add to workers’ cumulative risks of harm.
According to OSHA officials, the agency will issue a request for information later this year about current regulations at construction sites to figure out if more stringent protections are needed and how companies are complying. (The construction industry has often been held to separate noise-related rules and requirements than those in place for other industries.) The review may lead to an update to these rules, most of which date back to the 1970s. A similar call for information was issued in 2002, but no changes resulted from the action.
Employers may also have to shoulder the responsibility of instilling more awareness and education among their workers. For example, workers sometimes choose not to wear hearing protection at work sites because they are not aware of their risks — especially when they are not operating loud equipment.
Mark Cullen, a professor at Stanford University who explores workplace hazards, found in a study that the employees who suffer most from hearing loss were those who were working in jobs involving moderate noise levels instead of high-noise environments.
“At very high noise exposures, people very faithfully wear hearing protection and at low noise situations, people don’t,” he said.
For general industry workers who are exposed to noise for eight hours a day at or above a time-weighted average of 85 decibels, OSHA requires employers to provide notification, audiometric testing and free hearing protectors. Employers also have to offer training programs for affected workers. The limit is 90 decibels for an eight-hour exposure for construction industry workers.
Cullen said employers could build noise barriers or eliminate noisy equipment, but old factories often choose to just offer hearing protection gears.
“But the problem with hearing protections is it is way too easy, unsupervised, to take it off,” he said. “What would really make a difference is to train employers.”
He said there is also existing technology that will measure noise exposure in real time in each worker’s hearing protection gear, with lights that will flash when the level becomes hazardous. The data can be downloaded each day to monitor daily exposures.
Theresa Schulz, hearing conservation manager at Honeywell Safety Products, said many companies, including hers, already have such products. While she sees more large employers expressing interest in these technologies, the cost might be a deterrent for others.
“But when you think about it … the cost of having these electronics to protect the workers is nothing compared to the damage after that,” she said.
Meanwhile, the CDC, as part of its Buy Quiet campaign has an online database of power tools with information about sound levels of different tools to encourage businesses to invest in quieter tools and machinery.
Ammon worked for several small construction companies building houses. He said he was never told to wear ear protection. His colleagues didn’t wear it either. No one talked about it and, even when he worked with loud equipment, he wasn’t aware of the need for it.
“It costs money. That’s my opinion on why it’s gotten as bad as it has, at least for small construction companies,” Ammon said, and the rules are “just not enforced.”
Some of the steps taken by the federal government to move toward tightening regulations and increasing awareness suggest this might be changing. But in the meantime, people like Ammon, who feel disabled by their condition, might face difficulties in getting recognition for their symptoms and financial support.
He applied for Social Security disability benefits but was rejected because his condition was not on the Social Security Administration’s list of medical diseases considered disabling. When he first experienced his symptoms, he visited dozens of audiologists who only told him he had slight hearing loss. Research linking hyperacusis — unusual tolerance towards ordinary sounds — and pain was only at its infancy. Specific treatments still are not available for people with this type of hearing damage.
These days, he experiments with new medications or therapies, hoping for more awareness about the illness — and about protecting hearing at the workplace. He is waiting for the third appeal for Social Security disability benefits.
“I’m hearing a little more about it, but not nearly enough,” he said. “And it needs to start at the workplace.”
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton said Saturday that she was wrong to put half of Donald Trump’s supporters in a “basket of deplorables,” but didn’t back down from a description of his campaign the Republican nominee said smeared many Americans and would take a political toll.Less than 24 hours after she made the statement at a private New York City fundraiser, Clinton said “I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.” But she argued that the word “deplorable” was reasonable to describe much of Trump’s campaign.
“He has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people,” Clinton said.
Clinton, who has said she is the candidate to unify a divided country, made the “deplorables” comment at an LGBT fundraiser Friday night at a New York City restaurant, with about 1,000 people in attendance.
“To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it,” she said, before stressing that other Trump supporters are frustrated and need sympathy.[Watch Video]
Trump and his supporters quickly pounced on the remark.
“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard-working people. I think it will cost her at the polls!” Trump said in a tweet.
Running mate Mike Pence, in remarks at the Values Voter conference in Washington, shot back: “The truth of the matter is that the men and women who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hard-working Americans, farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community, members of every class of this country who know that we can make America great again.”
The rhetorical scuffle comes as the candidates head into the final two months of the campaign, with Trump trying to make up ground on Clinton before the Nov. 8 election.
While Clinton is taking heat for her comment, Trump’s brand is controversy. At a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, he said Clinton is “so protected” that “she could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, right smack in the middle of the heart. And she wouldn’t be prosecuted.”
The comment was reminiscent of Trump’s January description of the loyalty of his supporters. “They say I have the most loyal people … where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible,” he said.
At the fundraiser, Clinton bemoaned the people she described as “deplorables,” saying “unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America,” said the Democratic nominee, who was the country’s top diplomat during President Barack Obama’s first term.
Clinton then pivoted and tried to characterize the other half of Trump’s supporters, putting them in “that other basket” and saying they need understanding and empathy.
She described them as “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”
It could prove a stumble for a seasoned — and polarizing — politician who wants to lead a country that includes many who have embraced Trump’s exhortations to “lock her up.”
Clinton has made similar comments in the past. In an interview with Israeli TV this week, Clinton said that Trump supporters are, “what I call the deplorables; you know, the racists and the, you know, the haters, and the people who are drawn because they think somehow he’s going to restore an America that no longer exists.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a series of tweets after the remarks that Clinton has been talking about the “alternative right,” or “alt-right” movement, which often is associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.” Merrill argued that “alt-right” leaders are supporting Trump and “their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events.”
In her statement, Clinton said of Trump: “it’s deplorable that he’s attacked a federal judge for his ‘Mexican heritage,’ bullied a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith, and promoted the lie that our first black president is not a true American. So I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign.”
On Saturday, Clinton’s staff said she attended another fundraiser at the Armonk, New York, home of attorney David Boies. But reporters traveling with her campaign were not allowed in and did not see her.
Comments about voters — especially at private fundraisers — have tripped up presidential hopefuls in the past.
Weeks before the 2012 election, Republican Mitt Romney landed in hot water for saying that 47 percent of the public would vote for President Barack Obama “no matter what” because they depended on government benefits and his job was “not to worry about those people.”
During the 2008 Democratic primary, then-Sen. Obama said that small-town voters “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
The post Clinton says ‘deplorables’ comment was ‘grossly generalistic’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Read the full transcript below.
MEGAN THOMPSON: Walk these urban streets of Upper Manhattan and you just might catch a glimpse of a tundra swan or a roseate spoonbill — just a few of the birds native to North America, ones also painted by the 19th century artist John James Audubon, who lived nearby.
MARK JANNOT: You listen to these birds chirping and you’re like, “Oh my god. We may not- might not hear that sound in 50 years.”
MEGAN THOMPSON: Mark Jannot, a Vice President at the National Audubon Society, says the whimsical portraits of “The Audubon Mural Project” are meant to send a very serious message. A 2014 Audubon Society study found that half of all North American birds are threatened by climate change this century as their habitats shift and shrink.
MARK JANNOT: It might be a grassland bird, and it’s going to shift into areas that are forests, so that it won’t be suitable to live there.
MEGAN THOMPSON: To get the word out, the Audubon Society partnered with local art gallery owner Avi Gitler. He’s working with artists to paint all 314 of the threatened birds.
AVI GITLER: So far, we’ve painted about 45 birds. We have a long way to go before we finish the 314, but we’re hoping to have painted about 150 birds by the end of 2016.
MEGAN THOMPSON: Like the birds they depict, the murals can be tricky to spot. Many are painted on stores’ security gates, which are only rolled down when the business is closed. Some paintings cover entire walls. Others adorn panels inserted in doors and windows.
AVI GITLER: Over here you have a great painting by Tom Sanford who lives in the neighborhood. It’s John James Audubon contemplating the cerulean warbler. Over here you have a mallard by the Pennsylvania-based artist Graham Preston. The last two panels are of these two wonderful brown pelicans, one diving, and one about to be fed.
MARK JANNOT: There are a lot of birds on the list that people are surprised to learn that they’re threatened. For instance, the common loon, which is the state bird of Minnesota. By the end of this century, by 2080, will no longer be found in the state of Minnesota. The Baltimore Oriole will no longer be found in Baltimore. The Bald Eagle, our national bird, it is seen to be threatened by climate change in this century as well.
MARK JANNOT: This mural was the first one that we painted on the side of an entire building, our first big wall mural. The main bird here, that’s a swallow-tailed kite. That composition is exactly as John James Audubon painted that bird.
AVI GITLER: One of the things that the Audubon Society and I agreed on from the beginning was that we were going to allow the artists to express themselves. We weren’t looking to paint 314 birds in the style of John James Audubon. We wanted artists to come in and do something original, do something in their style.
EZO CU KILLZ: My grackle? He’s a badass grackle. He’s there with his wife. (laughs)
MEGAN THOMPSON: New York-based painter Ezo Cu Killz recently painted his grackles on the gate of an eye clinic.
EZO CU KILLZ: It’s a loud bird, and kind of like obnoxious, you know. It seems that it’s like a New York bird, even though he’s not from New York. I just got the picture of the grackle in my phone. I have an idea of the composition that I wanted to do. I wanted to add some structures behind it. So, it’s almost like nature versus technology. You know, just, you know, that’s the fight we’re in right now, and kind of finding the balance in that, which is what we’re trying to do with these pictures, you know, inform the public, and expand their mind.
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CANNOBALL, NORTH DAKOTA — The smoldering fire had been burning at the center of the Sacred Circle for weeks. On Friday, its trail of smoke wafted into the cloudy afternoon sky as John Eagle, Sr. stepped up to the community microphone.
In his hand was an official statement released about an hour earlier by the U.S. Department of Justice. It regarded a lawsuit by the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe claimed the government agency inadequately consulted with them about a multi-billion dollar pipeline project. The pipe’s underground path, designed to transfer up to 400,000 barrels of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois, was expected to snake narrowly close to the Missouri River, the tribe’s main water supply.
About two hundred demonstrators, mostly people who had been camping for weeks near the Sacred Circle, had gathered there to eat and wait. Anticipation over U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s ruling in the case had been mounting, even though the tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, had tried to downplay the significance of the decision. “Whatever happens, there’s going to be an appeal process,” said the chairman on Thursday before the ruling.
Now, Eagle stood in the same spot, reading the DOJ statement.
“Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time,” he read aloud. Then he paused, looked towards the crowd over the rim of his reading glasses and declared, “YOU STOPPED IT!”
Men hooted and shot single fists into the air. Women lulu’ed calls of victory. As Eagle read on, the celebration grew. Many people did their best to fight off tears.
“This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects,” Eagle continued, before adding his own commentary that indigenous voices had been heard. A light rain began to fall just as Eagle finished reading the statement.
“Our ancestors are so proud, they are crying with us. They’re here,” Andrea Longoria said. She, herself, could not keep from crying. “It’s a good day to be indigenous, to be a mother, to be a grandmother.”
Longoria, a Cheyenne-Arapaho and Caddo native from Oklahoma, had journeyed to Standing Rock despite a broken leg and work obligations back home. This narrative is not unlike the thousands of people who have made the pilgrimage to these historic Dakota hills to pray for the protection of ancestral indigenous lands. “I feel like this is a legacy we’re leaving our children, our grandchildren and the unborn.”
One small victory amid a larger battle
To people far removed from the celebrations of the Sacred Stone Camp, the story seems far less uplifting. On Friday, Judge Boasberg denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a temporary injunction. Meantime, Boasberg questioned the tribe’s claims that historic lands were threatened by the pipeline, as it had alleged all along. “This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux,” said Boesberg in a memorandum opinion, but added that the tribe had not demonstrated that an injunction was warranted.
That this modern-day battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is unraveling on the plains of North Dakota is both symbolic and ironic. For centuries, the land here has been the site of Indian massacres that have defined America’s legacy. Not far from the Sacred Stone Campsite where protesters have gathered since April, lies the headstone of murdered Lakota warrior Sitting Bull.
Meanwhile, these once-fertile farming lands of the Sioux were the casualty of a different energy project some 75 years ago. Led by the federal government’s Corps of Engineers, the Garrison Dam, constructed between 1947 and 1953, rushed in with little notice to the Lakota, forcibly displacing them from their homelands and drowning out a life of agricultural subsistence.
More recently, the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation has represented political clout in a region where poverty is high and advocacy at the state level for the Lakota is all but obsolete. In 2014, the tribal community became the first tribal nation visited by a sitting president since 1999. During his visit, President Barack Obama made a vow to Indian Country.
“I know that throughout history, the United States often didn’t give the nation-to-nation relationship the respect that it deserved,” Obama said. “So I promised when I ran to be a president who’d change that — a president who honors our sacred trust, and who respects your sovereignty.”
On Wednesday, Chairman Archambault referred to that visit, after Obama was confronted about the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute during a town hall meeting in Laos.
“When Obama came, I asked him for nothing,” he said. “But he sees how we live here. He’s the commander in chief and he can overrule any branch in the military including the Army Corps of Engineers. Even if it’s just a statement by him on the matter. It means something.”
That the Department of Justice intervened on Friday’s court ruling between the tribe and the Corps has signaled to tribal leaders a nod of support from the President. “When Obama’s administration stepped in, it was just a spiritual healing that was so overwhelming,” said Chief Arvol Looking Horse.
The Lakota spiritual leader performed a ceremonial blessing with Obama during his visit at Standing Rock in 2014. “Our prayers were heard. Thank you, Obama,” Looking Horse said.
‘I’m here for the long haul’
What remains clear, following Friday’s developments, is that the fight here is far from over. Dakota Access and its development company, Energy Transfer Partners, are still permitted to pave the way for the pipeline, although the DOJ has requested a voluntary pause to their construction.
Meanwhile, state advocates in support of the 1,200 foot-long energy project are renewing claims that modern technology makes the Dakota Access Pipeline a safe way to generate tax revenue for the state — and that it cuts down on the amount of oil that travels by train. President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council Ron Ness said even if activists manage to stop the pipeline in court, energy development of the crude is inevitable. “What happens if this pipeline gets stopped? This oil’s gonna get produced,” he said. “There’s absolutely no question. This oil’s being produced today. I think the pipeline continues.”
Back at the Sacred Stone Camp, Morris “Bosco” Wade, Jr. of Pawnee, Oklahoma pulled on a cigarette, taking in the latest developments. “I just phoned my family and told them I’m not coming home,” he said. A tall, strong teepee stood erected behind him. “I’m here for the long haul.”
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When staff suggested that Abdallah Higazy, the principal of a Muslim elementary school in Pennsylvania, keep a gun handy to protect the students from a potential hate crime, Higazy winced.
As a Muslim from Egypt who was framed as a terrorist in the U.S. and spent a month in maximum security prison soon after Sept. 11, Higazy has seen firsthand the damaging effects of nativism. Though he never could have anticipated what this year’s election has evoked when he accepted the position in Mechanicsburg two years ago.
Presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.,” because “our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad.” His stance has inspired nationalists who support him to harass and attack ones who are here.
Fifteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Higazy and others say that because of these kinds of statements, the second generation of Arab-Americans are growing up with more racism and bigotry now than what they faced in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
Instead of a gun, because “kids are very good at finding stuff,” he took advice from the sheriff’s department to give each teacher a baseball bat.
“Parents started saying that some of the people that support Trump might feel like they’re doing something patriotic by attacking Muslim children,” he said. “We would like to defend ourselves…just in case.”
A false accusation — and the fallout
Muslim mosques, schools and families in the past year have also been building fences, installing surveillance cameras and having daily conversations about how to protect children – something that was not as ubiquitous 15 years ago, several parents told the NewsHour. Higazy said there were people who were “generally jerks,” who would give him dirty looks, but it didn’t happen often and it appeared harmless. Now, physical safety is a concern for his students.
Higazy said there are usually two ways that people within the community cope with this fear. Some choose to only socialize with other Muslims, whereas others believe that Islam is inclusive and want to reach beyond their own community. “We are more of the second mentality,” he said.
While lessons about prejudices and racism, freedom of expression and religion are a part of life for most, Higazy is acutely versed.
Fifteen years ago, he was staying on the 51st floor of the Millennium Hotel across the street from the World Trade Center as a temporary dorm while earning a computer engineering degree in Brooklyn when the planes crashed and he had to evacuate.
When he returned to the hotel in December to pick up what he had left behind, he was greeted by the FBI.
The security team there had told the FBI that it found in Higazy’s room a Koran and an aviation transceiver, a radio used to communicate with airplanes from the ground.
Higazy, who used to be a Lieutenant with the Egyptian Air Force, was thrown into solitary confinement. He asked to take a lie detector test but was coerced – or bullied, depending on the source – into a false confession that the radio belonged to him at the end of a three-hour session. Prosecutors brought their statement before U.S. Federal Judge Jed Rakoff, saying that Higazy confessed to previously lying to the FBI about owning the radio and hypothesized that he did it to cover up that he used it to guide the planes into the Twin Towers.
Rakoff detained him without bail.
Three days later, the pilot who had actually left the radio at the hotel tried to retrieve it. Then, a security guard admitted that he had lied about finding the radio at all, let alone in Higazy’s room.
Rakoff ordered an investigation into how the FBI obtained the confession. After he found that the FBI did not act outside of its legal boundaries, he wrote an article why polygraphs are used not for their reliability, but to try to elicit confessions. He also recently told NewsHour that Higazy was a victim of “plain old racism,” but a lucky one.
It was a case of “a perjurious hotel employee (who appears to have been motivated by anti-Arab sentiment) and an FBI agent and federal prosecutor who, in the wake of 9/11, were too quick to jump to conclusions,” he wrote in an email to the NewsHour.
The biggest lesson, from Rakoff’s perspective, is not to let current events, “even terrible events like 9/11,” affect criminal investigations or how the justice system operates.
“It was very lucky in Higazy’s case that a tragedy was avoided,” he wrote.
A ‘national climate of fear’ in the U.S.
Arab and Muslim Americans have been unfairly targeted by police since 9/11, the ACLU claimed in a lawsuit it filed against New York City in 2013.
Without evidence of wrongdoing or warrants, New York police mapped out Muslim communities and mosques, put them under surveillance and entered the information into a database, the ACLU claims.
Earlier this year, it issued plans for a settlement that establishes reforms designed to protect people from discriminatory surveillance if enacted – including the prohibition of using race or religion as a motivating factor for investigation.
These investigations have instilled a different kind of fear over the years into the communities that are already targeted, in the classroom and elsewhere. And this is a catastrophe that has continued to worsen during this year’s election cycle, said ACLU Director of the National Security Project Hina Shamsi.
“A national climate of fear is now exacerbated to an unprecedented degree by political rhetoric,” Shamsi said.
Higazy only saw the man who framed him once, when he was tried for perjury and sentenced to six months of weekends in jail.
“I just looked at him, and there were so many things I wanted to say, but I just decided to be quiet because it wasn’t even worth it,” he said. “If I never see [him] again it’d be too soon.”
After seven years of court battles, he won a $250,000 settlement from the U.S. government in a civil suit, though the government did not admit any wrongdoing or liability.
Now Higazy isn’t just worried about perjurious patriots — he’s worried about violent ones. He knows his students will eventually experience bigotry, hatred and racism, that has been stewing since 9/11. And He knows his son, who was born in Brooklyn, will too.
“He’ll eventually know,” he said.
That’s the hardest part, according to Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, an outspoken Muslim and Arab American who fields daily doses of racism and bigotry for it.
“As an organizer and an advocate, that’s actually been the most difficult part, is to explain to my kids why – why no one is held accountable,” said Sarsour. “This is the only America that they know.”
What young Muslims are hearing at school
Sarsour is a Palestinian who was born in Brooklyn and never felt like she stuck out until September 12, 2001. Despite her awareness of anti-Arab prejudice, she still felt sideswiped when she heard what happened to her son.
She was looking through his application for high school while they were riding to his interview. It included an essay from his English class. He wrote about when a classmate said he was good at math because, “Muslims make bombs.” And her son, a sports car fanatic, decided not to react, likening that decision to making a pit stop on a race track.
“Like a mental pit stop. He could have responded in so many different ways, but he didn’t respond at that moment,” Sarsour explained. “He also chose not to tell me. God only knows what else goes on.”
These kinds of scenes are common. Muslims are “the most targeted group in schools,” along with people within the LGBTQ community, according to Hussam Ayloush, an executive director at the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR).
Late last year, CAIR released a report in California that surveyed more than 600 Muslim children and found that 55 percent of them are bullied, more than twice the national average.
Ayloush said parents often ask him to convince their children to mask their religion by taking off their headscarves or shaving their beards, but he believes exposure is better than trying to avoid conflict.
“I actually tell people the way we address fear of Muslims is by making sure that Muslims are more visible, more engaged and more known,” he said. “There’s no way to defeat a phobia except by subjecting the person who suffers from it.”
Ayloush was born in Lebanon to Syrian parents and emigrated as a teenager during civil war to the U.S, where he naturalized and met his wife, a Mexican American. They have five children.
Trump has vowed to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., and has made racist comments, including one that discredited a federal judge overseeing one of his cases because he is Mexican.
A few months ago, Ayloush’s daughter in 4th grade was innocently teased in class and told that she would be the first to get deported if Trump were elected, since she is both Mexican and Muslim.
“She came back home and asked, ‘Is that true?’” Ayloush said. “But for me, it’s like, ‘Oh my God.’”
The post Post-9/11 prejudice echoes in this year’s presidential race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by calling on Americans to embrace the nation’s character as a people drawn from every corner of the world, from every religion and from every background. He said extremist groups will never be able to defeat the United States.Obama spoke to hundreds of service members, and relatives and survivors of the attack that occurred at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Defense Department’s headquarters, killing 184 people. The youngest victim was only 3 years old.
In all, about 3,000 people lost their lives that day as a result of the planes that crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center and in a Pennsylvania field.
The president said extremist organizations such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida know they can never drive down the U.S., so they focus on trying to instill fear in hopes of getting Americans to change how they live.
“We know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage is not a weakness, it is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said. “This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”
Obama spoke on warm, mostly sunny morning, noting that the threat that became so evident on Sept. 11 has evolved greatly over the past 15 years. Terrorists, he said, often attempt strikes on a smaller, but still deadly scale. He specifically cited attacks in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando as examples.
In the end, he said, the enduring memorial to those who lost their lives that day is ensuring “that we stay true to ourselves, that we stay true to what’s best in us, that we do not let others divide us.”
“How we conduct ourselves as individuals and as a nation, we have the opportunity each and every day to live up to the sacrifice of those heroes that we lost,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments also came in the heat of a presidential election in which voters will weigh which candidate would best keep America safe.
Republican nominee Donald Trump said he would suspend Muslim immigration into the United States, a policy he later amended by saying he would temporarily ban immigration from “areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.” Obama’s speech Sunday reinforced themes he has emphasized in recent months when he has described Trump’s proposals on Muslim immigration as “not the America we want.”
Obama also marked his final Sept. 11 observance as president with a moment of silence inside the White House to coincide with when the first plane hit the Twin Towers. Atop the White House, the American flag flew at half-staff. Obama invited governors, interested organizations and individuals to follow suit.
Obama said he has been humbled by the people whose 9/11 stories he’s come to learn over the past eight years, from the firefighters who responded to the attacks, to family members of those who died, to the Navy Seals who made sure “justice was finally done” in the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. He said the nation’s security has been strengthened since 9/11 and that other attacks have been prevented.
“We resolve to continue doing everything in our power to protect this country that we love,” he said, facing the benches that are a hallmark of the Pentagon Memorial.
Behind the president, a U.S. flag stretching some three stories tall hung on the section of the Pentagon that was struck on Sept. 11. The president said 15 years may seem like a long time, but he imagined that for the families, it can seem like yesterday. He said he has been inspired by their efforts to start scholarship programs and undertake volunteer work in their communities.
“In your grief and grace, you have reminded us that, together, there’s nothing we Americans cannot overcome,” Obama said.
This report was written by Kevin Freking of the Associated Press.
The post Obama calls on Americans to embrace diversity on 9/11 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is predicting that the Roman Catholic Church may eventually change its opposition to gay marriage.Kaine is a devout Roman Catholic as well as a U.S. senator from Virginia and a former governor of that state. He told the Human Rights Campaign during its national dinner Saturday in Washington that he had changed his mind about gay marriage and that his church may follow suit one day.
“I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, ‘It is very good,'” Kaine said. He then recalled Pope Francis’ remark that “who am I to judge?” in reference to gay priests.
“I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it,” Kaine said.
While he pledged to fight for increased rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans, Kaine admitted that he had opposed gay marriage until 2005.
“For a long time while I was battling for LGBT equality, I believed that marriage was something different,” he said. Virginia’s lieutenant governor when state lawmakers pushed for a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between one man and one woman, he recalled speaking to amendment supporters who said they hoped LGBT people would feel so unwelcome that they would move out of Virginia.
“When I heard the proponents describe their motivations, it became clearer to me where I should stand on this,” he said.
Voters approved the amendment in 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states in June 2015.
Before introducing Kaine, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called Republican nominee Donald Trump the “gravest threat” the LGBTQ community has faced in a presidential election.
The post Kaine says Catholic Church might change on gay marriage appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Anyone who was in the U.S. during the Sept. 11 attacks has their own images from that day imprinted in their mind. Ken George, a first responder to the events of that day, captured some of those images on a disposable camera that he took with him when he was ordered to ground zero the night of the attack.
George worked for New York City’s Department of Transportation at the time, working on bridges, fixing trucks, and ripping up and repaving roads. He thought he was going to direct traffic on the evening of the attacks, but when he got to ground zero, his assignment was much grimmer. The bulk of it involved removing debris — including body parts — in the aftermath.
“It looked like the gates of hell opened up and swallowed everything,” George told the PBS NewsHour.
George spent more than 750 hours at the World Trade Center site, taking dozens of pictures of what he saw. He says he took them “so my grandkids could see what I went through back then.”
Fifteen years later, he’s given NewsHour permission to republish some of them. See George’s photos below.
The post 9/11 through the eyes of a first responder and his disposable camera appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton has spent decades talking about the needs of children and touting the benefits of early education. It’s a new subject for Donald Trump.The Republican presidential nominee added plans for education to his still relatively thin roster of policy proposals this past week, unveiling an effort to spend $20 billion during his first year in office to help states expand school choice programs. Trump wasn’t shy about his intentions, debuting his ideas at an inner-city charter school in Cleveland as part of his new outreach to minority voters.
“There’s no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government-run education monopoly,” Trump said at the school, blaming the Democratic Party for having “trapped millions of African-American and Hispanic youth in failing government schools that deny them the opportunity to join the ladder of American success.”
“It’s time to break up that monopoly,” he said.
But like many of his policy plans, this was one was vague, with few specifics.
Trump argued his approach would create “a massive education market,” one that produces better outcomes than the nation’s existing public education system. Beyond his $20 billion in federal money, he wants states to divert another $110 billion of their own education budgets to support school choice efforts, providing $12,000 to every elementary school student living in poverty to attend the school of their choice.
Clinton’s much more detailed education plans, meanwhile, are firmly rooted in improving the country’s public schools. The Democratic nominee has called for new spending to improve classrooms, improve teacher salaries and add computer science programs.
“We’re going to invest in education and skills, from early childhood education to giving our teachers the tools and flexibility they need to succeed in the classroom, without a lot of top-down strings all over them from Washington,” she said on Monday.
On education, the two candidates are as far apart as they are on any issue at stake in the 2016 election. A summary of their proposals:
TRUMP: The billionaire businessman has embraced the concept popular among conservatives, which calls for students and their parents to be able to select the school they wish to attend — public, private, charter or magnet. To support that effort, Trump proposed reallocating an unspecified $20 billion in his first budget as president into block grants to states, and directing them to use the money to help millions of elementary school students living in poverty attend the school of their choice. That money “should follow the students,” a concept known in education policy as portability. Critics of school choice argue that approach would deprive public schools of money, and Congress rejected the idea in the education law it passed last year to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.
CLINTON: Clinton has voiced support for charter schools, which operate with public money but are governed by an independent “charter” rather than a community’s established public education system. But Clinton does not back the broader concept of school choice. “I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system — not outside of it — but within it, because I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy and it is a path for opportunity,” she said in November 2015.[Watch Video]
Student loans and debt
TRUMP: He has decried the impact of debt from loans on college students, but beyond his often-stated promise to create jobs as president, he has not offered a concrete proposal to address what he called “one of the biggest questions I get is from people in college.” Trump has criticized the federal government’s student loan program for making a profit, telling The Hill newspaper in July 2015 “that’s probably one of the only things the government shouldn’t make money off. I think it’s terrible that one of the only profit centers we have is student loans.”
CLINTON: She has proposed that students from families making less than $125,000 a year be able to attend a public college or university in their home state without having to pay tuition, and that all community colleges be tuition-free. Under her plan, students with existing student loan debt would be able to refinance, and Clinton promises a three-month moratorium on payments to allow those in debt to take steps to reduce their monthly payments. Those deemed “entrepreneurs” will get a three-year deferment on their loans “so that student debt and the lack of family wealth is not a barrier to innovation in our country.”[Watch Video]
TRUMP: The academic standards adopted in more than 40 states are a frequent target of Trump’s ire. “We spend more by far, and we’re doing very poorly. So, obviously, Common Core does not work,” he said this past week. Trump has pledged to do away with the standards if elected, which could prove a challenge: they were created and adopted by states, not the federal government. Trump has also pledged that ripping up the state-developed standards and bringing education “to the local level” would immediately boost student performance.
CLINTON: The standards are not mentioned in Clinton’s education plans, although her campaign does note that as the first lady of Arkansas, she chaired the state’s education standards commission. Speaking in Iowa during the primary season, Clinton lamented what she called the “really unfortunate argument” about the standards. “It wasn’t politicized,” she said. “It was to try to come up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country, no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was, that there wouldn’t be two tiers of education.”
TRUMP: Trump said in August he would “reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes.” He has not provided more details, which he said would come after he refined his plan with his daughter, Ivanka. As a tax deduction, rather than a tax credit, Trump’s plan would primarily help more affluent households. More than 40 percent of U.S. taxpayers don’t make enough money to owe taxes to the federal government, meaning they would not benefit from a deduction.
CLINTON: She proposes that no family should spend more than 10 percent of its income on child care. To achieve this goal, Clinton would seek to boost federal spending on child care subsidies and provide “tax relief for the cost of child care to working families.” Those benefits would be offered on a “sliding scale” based on need. Since announcing the plan in May, Clinton has offered few details on the specifics, including how it would be funded beyond raising taxes on wealthy Americans.
Early childhood education
TRUMP: Trump has not discussed early childhood education.
CLINTON: She would seek to make preschool universal for all 4-year-old children within 10 years of her election by providing new federal dollars to states. Clinton also seeks to double the number of children enrolled in Early Head Start, a government program that provides early education services to low-income families. Clinton has not detailed in depth on how she would pay for these expanded efforts.
The post How Clinton and Trump plan to tackle education as president appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
When Ken George was sent to the site of the World Trade Center after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, he thought he was going to be directing traffic.
George worked for the New York City Department of Transportation, but when he arrived at the site that first night, he was quickly put to work sorting through and removing debris, including human remains.
“That psychologically took a toll on me,” he said. “I wasn’t trained for none of that stuff.”
But it wasn’t just mental stress. Over the next several months, George worked 750 hours at the site, where he was exposed to airborne toxins and dust and rarely wore a mask to cover his face.
Today, George is one of many first responders still dealing with the long-term health effects, both physical and mental, of having been a first responder at the World Trade Center. He has been diagnosed with a myriad of respiratory illnesses, but also post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes he has difficulty even leaving the house.
“I did everything and I was perfect. Now I can’t do anything, nothing at all. I can’t breathe,” George said. “I know my life is cut short big time.”
George’s health care for the illnesses connected to exposure at ground zero is covered by the World Trade Center Health Program, which was created by Congress nearly a decade after the attacks. But making the link between exposure and health effect can be a difficult task.
“What we look for is signals,” Dr. John Howard, the administrator of the WTC Health Program, said. “We look for small indicators that there may be something that can relate between the exposures and the health effects.”
When the law that created the WTC Health Program was passed in 2011, about two dozen illnesses were on the list of covered conditions, including common ailments in responders like asthma and PTSD. Since then, the program has added new diseases, including more than 50 types of cancer, but some responders would like to see more conditions on the list.
John Coughlin was an NYPD Officer in 2001 who helped with search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site. He has several conditions covered by the World Trade Center Health Program, but also suffers from neuropathy, a pain and numbness in the hands and feet that he believes was caused by exposure to toxic dust.
“I know there’s a procedure, but people are out there suffering, and dealing with these issues and not getting the treatment that they need or require,” he says.
Howard is left to balancing the needs of responders with the WTC Health Program’s requirements.
“I’d very much like to cover your condition but I need some sort of evidence to be able to show the connection,” he said. “Having spoken to many, many responders who have conditions that we do not cover, this is a very difficult thing for [those] who are suffering from those conditions.”
Read the full transcript below.
KARLA MURTHY: In his home on Long Island, an hour from New York City, Ken George keeps a box of mementos from his time as a first responder to the September 1tth terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
KEN GEORGE: First night I was there I was walking there and I took pictures. My eyes were burning, man the smell was unbearable. That’s all the ash, and it’s like papers flying in front of you that you can actually touch.
KARLA MURTHY: In 2001, George worked for the New York City Department of Transportation, which sent him to ground zero. He wears sunglasses for sensitivity to light.
KEN GEORGE: I thought I was going to be like blocking traffic. For the first couple of hours, I was on bucket brigade, passing buckets around, stuff like that.
KARLA MURTHY: Removing debris?
KEN GEORGE: Yeah, debris, or whatever we found. I wound up stepping on, I say a torso, part of a torso.
KARLA MURTHY: So you were finding body parts?
KEN GEORGE: A lot. A lot of body parts.
KARLA MURTHY: George worked 750 hours on site, exposed to airborne toxins and dust, rarely wearing a mask over his face. He developed a bad cough, and his doctor diagnosed him with asthma.
KEN GEORGE: I never smoked, I never had nothing, so he gave me all these asthma medications, and cough medications.
KARLA MURTHY: Were you thinking at that time how this was going to affect your physical health?
KEN GEORGE: No, never thought that once,
KARLA MURTHY: In the years after 9/11, George’s respiratory issues worsened. Doctors diagnosed him with restricted airway disease and put him on dozens more medications.
For his illnesses connected to exposure at ground zero, George doesn’t have to pay for his care. It’s covered by the World Trade Center Health Program, with more than $6 billion allocated through 2025. The program was established in 2011 by the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. It’s named after an NYPD detective who died in 2006 from respiratory disease after working as a first responder. In December, the law was reauthorized by Congress for 75 years to cover the lifetime of responders.
DR. JOHN HOWARD: I think they were trying to show and the American people were trying to show, gratitude for what these responders did.
KARLA MURTHY: Dr. John Howard is the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, known as NIOSH. It administers the WTC Health Program, which provides care for nearly 75,000 responders, survivors, and residents. It also determines what conditions are connected to 9/11 exposures.
DR. JOHN HOWARD: When you think about the amount of dust containing all of these various carcinogens that these thousands of individuals breathed it makes scientific sense that this could damage the body.
KARLA MURTHY: Today, at 52, George’s health issues make it difficult for him to leave home. He retired from the Department of Transportation in 2006.
KEN GEORGE: I worked at a blacksmith shop, welding shop, I ripped up the roads, I did everything, everything, and I was perfect. Now I can’t do anything, nothing at all. I can’t breathe. I know my life is cut short big time.
KARLA MURTHY: But George isn’t just suffering physically. He also suffers psychologically from working on a site where nearly 3,000 people were killed. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD,
KEN GEORGE: I was waking up in the middle of the night screaming, I was punching the walls, my temper was flying off the wall, for no reason, and I’m not that way.
KARLA MURTHY: In the past 15 years, as many as one-fifth of World Trade Center recovery workers, like George — city employees, construction workers, and police — have experienced this combination of mental and physical symptoms.
Dr. Benjamin Luft heads the Stony Brook World Trade Center Wellness Program and has been studying the interaction between physical and mental symptoms among responders.
DR. BENJAMIN LUFT: This was a very unique event in that the level of trauma that were occurring concurrently in – the mind and the body – they occurred at the same time in the same person.
KARLA MURTHY: Stony Brook researchers found that responders with PTSD symptoms are twice as likely to develop respiratory issues. And are nearly three times as likely to experience cognitive impairment compared to responders without PTSD.
In a study now underway, responders filled out surveys every five hours for a week about their PTSD symptoms and supplied biological samples.
RACHEL ROGERS: They would put this in between their gum and their tooth there, and collect as much saliva on here as possible.
KARLA MURTHY: A goal of the research is to see how PTSD might impact other parts of the body.
DR. BENJAMIN LUFT: Some of these things, like chronic stress, may cause cardiac disease. There’s some data to suggest it may even potentiate the development of cancers. It’s not that these are in your mind, as they say, it’s that there are actual biological materials that are being produced, which potentiate a whole bunch of physical problems.
KARLA MURTHY: NIOSH has funded nearly $75 million of research on the health effects of the WTC attacks since 2010, including the research at Stony Brook. NIOSH relies on research to determine what illnesses should be covered by the WTC Health Program.
DR. JOHN HOWARD: To make the link between exposure and a health effect is a very difficult thing. When the Congress passed the James Zadroga Act they said figure out whether that exposure aggravated, contributed to or caused that particular health effect so that’s a burden on the program.
KARLA MURTHY: When the law was originally passed, the WTC Health Program designated about two dozen illnesses that would be covered, including asthma, sinus infections, and PTSD. But not every condition many first responders experience is on the list… like neuropathy, a pain and numbness in the hands and feet.
John Coughlin has that. A volunteer firefighter in Deer Park on Long Island, he was a New York City Police officer on 9/11 and assisted with search and rescue at ground zero.
JOHN COUGHLIN: This is our 9/11 memorial over here.
KARLA MURTHY: He worked at the site frequently until he retired from the NYPD in 2002. At the time, he had a clean bill of health, but as the years went by he developed respiratory problems, underwent open heart surgery, and started to experience PTSD.
JOHN COUGHLIN: I may look good on the outside, but inside, me personally, I’m like a broken bottle. I just hide it well.
KARLA MURTHY: In 2007, he began experiencing symptoms of neuropathy.
JOHN COUGHLIN: Your feet feel like you’re walking in sand all the time, okay, and for me, from the lower knee down to my feet, and my fingers, and my arms get numb, but my feet, the worst. Even walking sometimes is painful.
KARLA MURTHY: Dr. Marc Wilkenfeld, an occupational physician at Winthrop University Hospital in New York, treats patients for the WTC Health Program.
DR. MARC WILKENFELD: If a patient comes to see me in my office with neuropathy, I can’t treat it under the program. It’s not covered by the government.
KARLA MURTHY: In the last several years, he has started to notice more patients reporting neuropathy symptoms.
DR. MARC WILKENFELD: People started coming in, and they’d be coming for their asthma, you know, something that’s covered. And then a few times someone would say to me as an afterthought, “Oh by the way, I get this strange tingling in my feet,” or, “I’m having weakness in my hands. You think it’s related?”
KARLA MURTHY: In 2014, Dr. Wilkenfeld decided to test his hunch that neuropathy might be related to the toxic dust at ground zero.
KARLA MURTHY: His first study looked at exposure to WTC dust in rats. Then, in a study based on surveys of first responders published in January, Wilkenfeld found responders were 15 times more likely to have symptoms of neuropathy than non-responders.
Do you feel that you have enough evidence right now that does prove that there’s a link?
DR. MARC WILKENFELD: Without question. If there’s a small doubt, I would think you would give these people the benefit of the doubt.
KARLA MURTHY: In April, the WTC program rejected a petition to cover neuropathy, criticizing Wilkenfeld’s study of responders for having “self-reported… data” and a “small sample size.”
DR. JOHN HOWARD: A lot of petitions that we get that don’t make it the first round, we hope that we’ll see additional studies. So we hope that researcher will then be able to give us a second study, maybe including a larger number of people, maybe another researcher will be able to corroborate. So I think it’s a difficult area, and I think, having spoken to many, many responders who have conditions that we do not cover, this is a very difficult thing.
KARLA MURTHY: Dr. Wilkenfeld is working on follow-up studies, but meanwhile first responder John Coughlin waits.
JOHN COUHGLIN: I know there’s a procedure but people are out there suffering, and dealing with these issues, and they’re not getting the treatment that they need, or require,
KARLA MURTHY: Since 2011, the conditions covered by WTC Health Program have expanded, including prostate and dozens of other kinds of cancers.
How can you be sure that a responder’s cancer is linked to their exposure at the World Trade Center site?
DR. JOHN HOWARD: We can’t be sure. So what we look for are small signals. Is this particular cancer more common, is there any kind of a signal that it’s more common in our 9/11 exposed population than it is in the general population?
KARLA MURTHY: For Michael Shea and his wife Ingrid, having cancer treatment covered for responders is a huge relief.
Last year, Shea was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. A Nassau County police officer, he had spent about 50 hours at ground zero helping secure the area immediately after the attack.
KARLA MURTHY: So up until the point though that you got cancer, you were perfectly fine and healthy?
MICHAEL SHEA: Yes. Nothing. This is the only time I ever had any type of medical condition.
KARLA MURTHY: After months of chemotherapy and brain surgery, Shea’s ability to walk, talk, and remember things has diminished.
INGRID SHEA: Next one, your favorite…
MICHAEL SHEA: Ice Cream.
INGRID SHEA: Very good!
KARLA MURTHY: Ingrid has become his primary caregiver.
INGRID SHEA: How did he get it from the World Trade Center. Was it the dust, or was it something he touched. Nobody knows.
KARLA MURTHY: Do you have any doubts that his cancer is linked to the World Trade Center?
INGRID SHEA: I really don’t know the answer to that, but they say it is.
KARLA MURTHY: Shea is now one of 5400 people whose cancer treatment is covered by the WTC Health Program.
KARLA MURTHY: It’s a lot you’re going through…
INGRID SHEA: Every day. It’s all a job, to make his life easier. He’s my priority. Right, baby?
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Hillary Clinton abruptly left a 9/11 anniversary ceremony Sunday after feeling “overheated,” according to her campaign, and hours later her doctor disclosed that the Democratic presidential nominee had pneumonia.
A video showed Clinton slumping and being held up by three people as she was helped into a van after the event, and her doctor said in a statement that Clinton had become overheated and dehydrated. “I have just examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely,” Dr. Lisa R. Bardack said in a statement.
The physician said Clinton has had an allergy-related cough, and that during a follow-up examination Friday, the candidate was diagnosed with pneumonia, put on antibiotics, advised to rest and modify her schedule.
Less than two months from Election Day, it was an unwanted visual for Clinton as she tries to project the strength and vigor needed for one of the world’s most demanding jobs. Republican rival Donald Trump has spent months questioning Clinton’s health, saying she doesn’t have the stamina to be president.
Clinton’s departure from the event was not witnessed by the reporters who travel with her campaign and aides provided no information about why she left or her whereabouts for nearly two hours. Spokesman Nick Merrill eventually said Clinton had gone to her daughter’s nearby apartment, but refused to say whether the former secretary of state had required medical attention.
Clinton exited the apartment on her own shortly before noon. She waved to reporters and said, “I’m feeling great. It’s a beautiful day in New York.”
The video of Clinton posted to social media shows her being held up by aides as a black van pulls up. She stumbles and appears to fall off the curb as she is helped to the vehicle.
After leaving her daughter’s, Clinton was driven to her home in Chappaqua, New York, and made no public appearances. She was scheduled to fly to California Monday morning for fundraising and it was unclear whether her schedule would change.
Trump, who attended the same event marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was noticeably restrained. Asked by a reporter about Clinton’s health incident, Trump said, “I don’t know anything.”
The incident compounds an already difficult stretch for Clinton as the presidential race enters its final stretch. Despite Trump’s numerous missteps, the race remains close and many Americans view Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy.
On Friday, Clinton told donors that “half” of rival Donald Trump’s supporters are in a “basket of deplorables” – a comment that drew sharp criticism from Republicans. Clinton later said she regretted applying that description to “half” of Trump’s backers, but stuck by her assertion that the GOP nominee has given a platform to “hateful views and voices.”
Now Clinton is sure to face new questions about whether she’s physically fit for the presidency. Trump and his supporters have been hinting at potential health issues for months, questioning Clinton’s stamina when she takes routine days off the campaign trail and reviving questions about a concussion she sustained in December 2012 after fainting. Her doctor attributed that episode to a stomach virus and dehydration.
Clinton’s doctor reported she is fully recovered from the concussion, which led to temporary double vision and discovery of a blood clot in a vein in the space between her brain and skull. Clinton also has experienced deep vein thrombosis, a clot usually in the leg, and takes the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent new clots.
Clinton spent about 90 minutes at the 9/11 event Sunday, standing alongside numerous other dignitaries, including New York’s Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. The weather was warm and humid in New York on Sunday, and there was a breeze at the crowded memorial plaza during the ceremony.
Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said he spent time before the ceremony chatting with Clinton and watching her sign autographs and take pictures. He said he was standing behind her during the remembrance and “she did not seem out of the ordinary at all.”
“It was stiflingly hot. I was sweating through my shirt,” Crowley said. “I had to leave myself. I drank about a gallon of water.”
Schumer said he also spoke with Clinton during the event and saw her leave “on her own accord.”?
Trump’s personal physician has said the Republican presidential nominee is in excellent health both physically and mentally. But the 70-year-old has refused to release his own health records.
Dr. Harold Bornstein’s report last December remains the only medical information released so far by the Trump campaign. Bornstein told NBC News he needed just five minutes to write a glowing public assessment of Trump’s health as a limousine waited to carry the letter back to Trump.
Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Tom Hays and Michael Balsamo in New York, and AP writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.
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For Guy Jones of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe, this past week has marked an awakening for Native Americans.
Jones, along with his family and hundreds of others from tribes across the country, camped at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in objection to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline is supposed to stretch across 1,100 miles, some of it running close to his tribe’s ancestral land.
When people in the Standing Rock Sioux tribe found out, they said the pipeline could desecrate their ancestral burial grounds and also contaminate the Missouri River, their only water supply. These issues were detailed in a lawsuit the tribe filed in July claiming they were never consulted.
On Friday, it came to head when the U.S. Department of Justice ordered a pause of construction near the site to address some of the issues, rebuking a decision from a federal judge in the suit who had denied the tribe an injunction just minutes beforehand.
Jones told the NewsHour he had never seen a greater assembly of Native Americans than in the week leading up the decision. When the Department of Justice issued its order, people at the camp lulu’ed, threw fists in the air and cheered. Several of them told the NewsHour that they will continue protesting through the winter, whatever it takes to ensure their land is safe.
Hear from some of the protesters below, and watch the NewsHour this week for more updates.
William Brangham contributed reporting.
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More than a million Muslims on Sunday ascended the craggy hills of Mount Arafat outside the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca during the peak of the annual hajj pilgrimage.The climb, conducted by many of the estimated 2 million people now reported to be in Mecca, is among several religious rituals Muslims follow each year as they retrace the steps of their prophets through Islam’s holiest sites.
It is believed that the prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon atop Mount Arafat, 12 miles outside of Mecca, about 1,400 years ago. All Muslims are required to make the religious pilgrimage at least once during the course of their lives if they are able.
Saudi Arabia increased security this year after a 2015 stampede during the hajj killed hundreds of devotees, with as many as 400 from from Iran. The Saudi government said nearly 800 people died, though some countries whose citizens attended have pinned the death toll at more than 2,000. Hundreds of religious pilgrims also were killed by stampedes in 2004 and 2006.
Following the stampede and the execution of a Shiite cleric by Saudi Arabia, which renewed diplomatic tensions between the two countries, the Iranian government blocked its citizens from attending this year.
On Sunday, police were seen directing foot traffic and using drones to monitor crowd movement.
The Associated Press reported health checkpoints were established along the route, with water-spraying stations used to cool the masses, as temperatures rose above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
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WASHINGTON — CIA Director John Brennan warned on Sunday that Russia has “exceptionally capable and sophisticated” computer capabilities and that the U.S. must be on guard.When asked in a television interview whether Russia is trying to manipulate the American presidential election, Brennan didn’t say. But he noted that the FBI is investigating the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, and he cited Moscow’s aggressive intelligence collection and its focus on high-tech snooping.
“I think that we have to be very, very wary of what the Russians might be trying to do in terms of collecting information in a cyber realm, as well as what they might want to do with it,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
On the terrorism threat, Brennan said the U.S. government is much better now at sharing information. He praised Saudi Arabia as “a good example of how foreign intelligence services can work against these terrorist organizations.”
On Friday, Congress sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan bill that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers from Sept. 11 were Saudi nationals. The Obama administration has said that if U.S. citizens can take the Saudis to court, then a foreign country could in turn sue the United States. The White House has indicated Obama would veto the measure because of the potential for it to backfire and because of apprehension about undermining a longstanding yet strained relationship with a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East.
Also in the interview, Brennan:
— defended the work of U.S. drones in combating threats. He said drones were “exceptionally powerful and capable means of taking kinetic actions against terrorists when that is called for.”
— said there has been a “significant reversal” of the Islamic State group’s strength in Iraq and Syria. “They do not have the same type of control of the territory that they did this time last year,” he said. Brennan said IS is now a “failing organization” that has lost the momentum is gained in exploiting lawless areas in Iraq and Syria. “Their narrative has been refuted. Their claims of great victory have been debunked. So that’s why I think there are fewer and fewer people now there looking to ISIS as being an organization they want to belong to.”
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