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Frost vs. Perry reaches 9th Circuit [report]

From: ( Anderson, Jared)
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 13:04:19 -0800




The case of government workers exposed to hazardous waste at the
Groom Lake facility at Area-51 went to the appellate court this
morning in San Francisco. The 3 judges presiding were Harlington
Wood jr., Pamela Rymer, and A. Wallace Tashima. The lawsuit which
began in 1994 was originally directed towards three individuals,
Defense Secretary William Perry, National Security Adviser
Anthony Lake and Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall of the DOD
and Carol Browning of the EPA. Jonathan Turley is the sole lawyer
representing a group of plaintiffs consisting of base workers the
primary of which is Helen Frost representing her deceased husband
Robert who died due to complications resulting from exposure to
toxic substances. Walter S. Kasza who also died since the
inception of the lawsuit in 1994 is being represented by his
widow Stella. The additionial plaintiffs remain anonymous. Turley
made a passionate plea for the opportunity to prove criminal
activity by base administrators in a court of law. Due to limited
time, Turley only touched on 2 of the 11 issues presented on
appeal directed by the affidavits from his clients.

Judge Rymer continued to ask "which facility was in question?"
The judge's lack of clarity about the priniciple facility may
have been compounded by the assertions of Air Force attorney
Colonel Richard Sarver in the District Court hearings where he
stated that the facility at Groom Lake was run by the Department
of Energy, was not a military asset, and was not called Area 51.
Turley responded by saying that he presented evidence indicating
that all of Sarver's testimony was false and there was no dispute
about which facility was in question in the District Court case.
Turley stated that the government was lying both in and out of
court at least 5 times during his rebuttal making constant
reference to how no one in the government acknowledged the
existance of Project 51 (Area 51 operating project name). Judge
Rymer also expressed concerns over whether Turley would be able
to prove guilt since state secerts had been applied to protect
the facility. Apparently the government did not appeal the
District Court's decision but elected to take exemption. Turley
disagreed with Judge Rymer and made several vague assurances that
he could prove guilt and pleaded for the chance. The judge in
turn stated lack of existing evidence in discovery requests
indicated the case could not be tried. Judge Rymer asked Turley
point blank "If you had hard proof that hazardous waste exists at
the base, what would you do with it?" contending that Turley
could not prove guilt by association.

Turley faced four government lawyers for the defense the first of
which to speak was Justice Department lawyer Robert Klarquist who
made a number of brief but succinct responses to Turley's
contentions including that Congress should not be forced to
release classified information as a routine matter in the case.
Klarquist contended this was a clear conflict between national
security and environmental law. The next defense lawyer to speak
was James Kilbourne also from the DOJ. Kilbourne stated that a 3
year DOJ evaluation of the case revealed that no prosecution was
necessary based on the available evidence.

After the court recess Turley answered questions for reporters in
front of court building. The media frenzy included a full news
crew from KLAS TV Las Vegas with front man George Knapp asking
Turley questions on camera. Knapp also attended the appeal along
with a number of other reporters all of which furiously scribbled
notes while the attorney's made their arguments. Turley told
reporters that biopsies of Robert Frost's tissue were sent to
labs at Rutgers which determined that his body had been saturated
which TCE (trichloroethyline) and that he had satellite photos of
waste dumps at Groom Lake in his possession. Turley stated that
if guilt is proven the ultimate burden will fall on president
Clinton's shoulders as he will have to be accountable for crimes
committed by a "black" facility that he exempted from
environmental laws through executive order but conversely did not
exempt from the disclosure provision.I asked Turley to respond to
the assertions made by Washington Lobbyist Stephen Basset on a
national radio talk show this week alleging that the government
had attempted to "classify" him, his practice and his office. He
stated that it was all absolutely true and that he had been
threatened numerous times and told not to speak to the media etc.
He humorously stated that he couldn't even get a janitor into to
his office to vacuum it. Results of the appeal hearing are


Index: Groom Lake Hazardous Waste Lawsuit

Area 51 > List > 1997 > Nov > Here

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Created: Nov 6, 1997