February 7, 2007

What America Needs to Know About Rudy Giuliani

From Crooks and Liars:

You might recall that several New York firefighters died when the towers collapsed. Giuliani testified to the 9/11 Commission that firefighters had been given an evacuation order, but they chose to stay because they were rescuing civilians.
This testimony was not exactly, um, true.


"On perhaps the most painful of these, the loss of at least 121 firefighters in the north tower, Mr. Giuliani suggested that they stayed inside the trade center because they were busy rescuing civilians — never mentioning that they could not hear warnings from police helicopters, that many of them never learned the south tower had collapsed or that they were having serious problems staying in touch with their own commanders.


It is clear, witnesses said, that even after the south tower collapsed, many, if not most, of the firefighters had no idea that they were in dire peril, or that it was time for them to leave. In contrast, police officers received strong guidance from their commanders to get out of the building, the commission reported, thanks in large part to the information sent to the ground by police helicopters."

The police could not talk to the firefighters, however, because the two NY departments used different types of radios set on different frequencies. Giuliani offered the 9/11 commission a lame excuse about the limits of technology, which is absurd on its face. In fact, there had been many complaints about the radios before 9/11, and the Mayor had done nothing.


Wayne Barrett (author of
Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 and Kevin Keating (director of the documentary “Giuliani Time” were interviewed by Amy Goodman recently; see the transcript here. Wayne Barrett said,

"The firefighters were using the same radios that they used at the ’93 bombing, even though we found a report that was written in 1990 that said that they were already obsolete and that they were a danger to the life of firefighters. And the firefighters are still carrying those same radios eight years after the 1993 bombing."

The list goes on, it's long and disturbing. I haven't even read the whole thing. Since Rudy's a presidential hopeful for '08, I thought it'd be good to discuss this. I'm still trying to decide whether all of this stuff was all his fault. I never really thought of Giuliani as a "lame-duck" mayor, as this post said, but I guess that's because I'm not from New York, and I've mostly seen Giuliani on old episodes of SNL, where he appeared often back in the day.

I'm also still not sure of what a mayor's job actually is...

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