POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ailing 9/11 Workers Confront Giuliani In New Hampshire

Finishing a disappointing sixth in the Iowa caucus and staring down a similarly poor result in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani has yet another problem on his hand.

Before Saturday's GOP debate, several members of the 9/11 recovery effort will be stationed outside the forum petitioning the former New York City Mayor to discuss the mishandled health safety issues following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The protest coincides with and promotes a new short video by Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films, which uses the testimony of these 9/11 workers to detail the dangerous conditions and serious illnesses encountered at the recovery site.

Still today, many suffer from violent coughs, severe asthma, and pulmonary and mental health issues. Giuliani, the workers note, is not responsible for their sicknesses, but he did not sufficiently warn about the hazards at the site and, more importantly, has done next to nothing to help the thousands who are suffering from recovery-related ailments.

"The hypocrisy of running a campaign on a 9/11 agenda and you have these people still dying and becoming much sicker then they were a year or two years prior is really insulting," Alex Sanchex, a janitorial worker, says in the film.

Greenwald told the Huffington Post: "These first responders are not blaming Rudy for being sick, they are asking why he has done nothing to help them since they got sick. They want to meet with him and ask what he is going to do to help them. They have tried to call and meet with him. Nothing. He who is Mr. 9.11 has abandoned the real heroes of 9/11."

More than 2,000 New York City firefighters have been treated for serious respiratory problems following their work at the World Trade Center recovery site. Toxic dust from that area has been directly linked to sarcoidosis, a debilitating disease that FDNY members now develop at five times the rate they had previous to working around the toxins.

Following the Democrats takeover of Congress in 2006, hearings were held to determine what went wrong in exposing these firefighters to such porous conditions. Much blame was laid at the feat of the then-EPA chief Christie Todd Whitman. Subsequently, several investigations have called into question the extent of Giuliani's knowledge and handling of the hazardous 9/11 site.

According to the New York Times, in the aftermath of 9/11 Giuliani "seized control and largely limited the influence of experienced federal agencies" during the clean up effort, but "never meaningfully enforced federal requirements that those at the site wear respirators." Moreover, the paper added, Guiliani "warned companies working on the pile that they would face penalties or be fired if work slowed."

But what has drawn the ire of the recovery workers is not what Giuliani did in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11, but rather how he has seemingly forsaken their plight in favor of focusing on his business and political careers. Giuliani, Greenwald notes, has offered no assistance to other New York elected officials in efforts to lobby the federal government for funds for victim treatment. He won't even meet with the victims themselves.

"The fact of ignoring those who sacrificed the most while he profits and profiteers from 9/11 is a scandal and is disgusting," the filmmaker said.

The remarks echoed those made in the film by Mike McCormack, a USAF Auxiliary Civil Air Patrolman: "After he left office, you may have to turn in your key to the city. But I don't believe turning in your moral compass and responsibility to people who trust you. That shouldn't fall at the wayside."

This is the third Giuliani movie made by Greenwald and Brave New Films. The first looked at Giuliani's decision to put New York's terrorist response center in the World Trace Center complex - a known and obvious terrorist target. The second focused on Giulaini's failures to upgrade the faulty radios used by FDNY members on 9/11.