MAY 21, 2012
The recently exposed case of a Florida postal worker who fell ill after handling a leaking package from Yemen brings unsettling memories of the government cover-up in the anthrax scandal that rocked the Washington D.C. post office years ago.
In that case, two employees in D.C.’s Brentwood Post Office, who had handled anthrax-contaminated letters, died. Government officials, however, covered up the danger and kept the facility open for days, unbeknownst to other employees whose lives were at risk. Judicial Watch represented hundreds of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) workers in a lawsuit against the government for its reprehensible treatment of the employees who processed the anthrax-contaminated letters at the facility.
Besides the two employees who died, many others still suffer health complications related to the anthrax exposure that the government tried to hide from the American public. During the course of JW’s investigation, stunning information and a diary/log written by Brentwood’s facility plant manager revealed that government officials knew that “mail was leaking” anthrax spores into the environment and that multiple anthrax spore swab tests “tested hot.”
That was in 2001. Now fast forward to this month’s news report about a Florida USPS employee who got really sick last year after handling a leaking package from Yemen at an Orlando mail-sorting facility. The parcel was leaking a brown viscous substance, according to the news story and the postal employee, a 44-year-old man named Jeffery Lill, is quite sick with tremors, extreme fatigue, liver and neurological problems consistent with toxic exposure.
Postal officials refuse to investigate and have said through attorneys that the incident never occurred. However, the investigative journalism team that published the exposé uncovered related documents and interviewed two whistleblowers who confirmed what happened. Because of that article, which got picked up nationally by many newspapers, the federal agency charged with assuring safe and healthful working conditions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has finally launched an investigation.
Prior to the media attention however, OSHA blew off repeated requests from the sick worker and his family to investigate the matter. The sick postal employee’s mom reveals in the news story that exposed this scandal that she’s spoken to OSHA “a number of times and each time they just flipped me off.” The U.S. Postal Service remains in cover-up mode, however.
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