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West Virginia mine disaster: official whitewash

After the West Virginia mine disaster, the official whitewash begins

Source: World Socialist Web Site

By Jerry Isaacs
11 January 2006

The governor of West Virginia and a spokesman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced Monday that they will conduct a joint investigation and public hearings into the Sago Mine disaster that claimed the lives of 12 miners last week. A US Senate subcommittee also announced a public hearing to be held January 19.

Governor Joe Manchin made clear, however, that the joint state-federal investigation would not focus on the well-documented safety violations at the mine or why state and federal regulators allowed it to remain open. Instead, he said, the probe would concentrate on the communications failure that led miners’ families to believe the men had been rescued alive.

“We’re going to do this a little differently,” he said. “I’m asking that we do a communications investigation. I’m asking for this because I have witnessed first-hand the unbelievable human suffering that comes from miscommunication.”

Presumably, the suffering from the death of family members and loved ones was less “unbelievable” than the additional pain from the false hopes raised by company and government officials. Manchin’s absurd statement was a clear signal that the official investigation will be more concerned with covering up the responsibility of the mine owners and government regulators for the tragedy than uncovering the truth.

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