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Archive: 8/29/05-9/4/05

Sunday  9/4/2005

By the Numbers: In Katrina’s Wake, Race and Class Still Not Being Addressed  9/4/2005 Think Progress 

Hurricane Center Director Tells Paper He Briefed Brown and Chertoff on Danger of Severe Flooding  9/4/2005 Editor & Publisher 

Was rescue a race, class issue?  9/4/2005 Seattle Times 

Homeland Security Won't Let Red Cross Deliver Food  9/4/2005 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

An Angry 'Times-Picayune' Calls for Firing of FEMA Chief and Others in Open Letter to President On Sunday  9/4/2005 Editor & Publisher 

Senators Call Government Response 'Immense Failure'  9/4/2005 Capitol Hill Blues 

Who Really Knows Who Shot Who?  9/4/2005 BlogSpot: ""Stations: The latest New Orleans-datelined urgent series Hurricane Katrina-Shootings has been KILLED. The Army Corps of Engineers says the contractors were shot at, then police fatally shot the gunman who'd fired on the contractors. The contractors were NOT killed." "A kill is mandatory. Make certain the story is not broadcast.""

Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting - White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials  9/4/2005 Washington Post: "Chertoff planned to fly overnight to the New Orleans area to take charge of deploying the expanded federal and military assets for several days, he said. He said he has "full confidence" in FEMA Director Michael D. Brown, the DHS undersecretary and federal officer in charge of the Katrina response. Brown, a frequent target of New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin's wrath, said Saturday that "the mayor can order an evacuation and try to evacuate the city, but if the mayor does not have the resources to get the poor, elderly, the disabled, those who cannot, out, or if he does not even have police capacity to enforce the mandatory evacuation, to make people leave, then you end up with the kind of situation we have right now in New Orleans." New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas acknowledged that the city was surprised by the number of refugees left behind, but he said FEMA should have been prepared to assist. "Everybody shares the blame here," said Thomas. "But when you talk about the mightiest government in the world, that's a ludicrous and lame excuse. You're FEMA, and you're the big dog. And you weren't prepared either."" [Numerous newspaper stories show that all plans expected at least 100,000 to stay behind after an evacuation.]

Blacks must monitor how hurricane victims are treated  9/4/2005 Chicago Sun Times 

Bywater evacuated at Gunpoint  9/4/2005 New Orleans IndyMedia: "By Andrea Garland of Get Your Act On and member, Green Party of Louisiana. The entire city of New Orleans is under evacuation orders. I just spoke to my friend Daniel in the Bywater (9th ward). He reports that unmarked police vehicles (cadillacs) are driving through the neighborhood with SWAT team police armed with 'big black machine guns' telling people through bullhorns they are under orders to evacuate and must leave the city now…. Daniel says that in 6 days they have not seen or received any help. In 6 days they saw one policeman - flying through the neighborhood in a police car at 40 miles an hour. He reported that for the first two days after the storm, Wildlife and Fisheries were rescuing people from the flooded out lower 9th ward, blocks from my house and his house by boat - and just dropping the people off on the dry side of the levy, with no food or water or anywhere to go. He said that after two days the boats just stopped coming. He had no idea why until I explained the situation with the National Guard to him, and that the rescue boats were told to stand down and stop rescuing people. The people locked down in the city have no idea that supplies are sitting just outside the city and being turned away. The only reason they have food is they managed to gather what they could from friends' apartments, etc., but again, no one has come to help them or bring them food. Other than the people left stranded in the neighborhood, it has been completely abandoned by all official entities. Here is a bit of heart breaking news. There is only one radio station people can receive in the city. Daniel said that people trapped in their attics in the lower 9th ward have been calling the station saying where they are and asking that some one come get them. But there is no one to come. Those that are not already dead are dying. Daniel estimates that there are easily some 40-50,000 people dead in their homes in the lower 9th ward. I can not imagine listening to this on the radio, knowing that these peoples pleas are falling on deaf ears. They have simply been left to die."

'It's black people who are dying, so Bush doesn't care'  9/4/2005 Observer: "The last person who was able to really lift us out of the trickbag of race was Martin Luther King. He said: "Look, poor black people and poor white people, we're all catching hell, so let's get together in this poor people's campaign and march up to our government and say you can no longer fool us by turning us on each other with race." I am shocked and I am not shocked by what is happening now. It is instructive to a lot of people that we really have not been concerned about the poor and certainly about the blacks in this nation. When you look at who is in control of the politics, when you look at who the appeal has been to from the conservatives, you see that whole racial element coming up again. Louisiana is pulling the sheath off the nation.'"

New race row rattles relief drive for hurricane victims  9/4/2005 AFP: "Terming the poor, mainly black, people evacuated by air and bus from the terrible aftermath of Katrina as refugees "is insulting, it is racist, it does not describe American citizens," Jackson said. "If you characterise them as refugees, it is someone other than citizens," he said. Aid agencies classify those who are forced to flee their homes but do not cross international borders as internally displaced people."

Spreading the poison of bigotry  9/4/2005 Chicago Tribune: "They locked down the entrance doors Thursday at the Baton Rouge hotel where I'm staying alongside hundreds of New Orleans residents driven from their homes by Hurricane Katrina. "Because of the riots," the hotel managers explained. Armed Gunmen from New Orleans were headed this way, they had heard. "It's the blacks," whispered one white woman in the elevator. "We always worried this would happen.""

Doctors Hamstrung in Relief Efforts  9/4/2005 AP 

3 Duke students tell of 'disgraceful' scene  9/4/2005 Herald Sun, Durham: "We found it absolutely incredible that the authorities had no way to get there for four or five days, that they didn't go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai," said Hans Buder, who made the trip with his roommate Byrd and another student, David Hankla."

Navy ship nearby underused - Craft with food, water, doctors needed orders  9/4/2005 Chicago Tribune 

Venezuela to Sell U.S. More Fuel Because of Storm, Chavez Says  9/4/2005 Bloomberg 

An Impending Economic Meltdown  9/4/2005 NNPA 

Joe "Funeralgate: Allbaugh Destroyed FEMA  9/4/2005 "Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea -- that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided -- seems self-evident to me," he said. In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level." As a result, says a disaster program administrator who insists on anonymity, "We have to compete for our jobs -- we have to prove that we can do it cheaper than a contractor.""

Bush tour a 'photo op': Louisiana senator  9/4/2005 Sydney Morning Herald: ""Perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street Levee," said Landrieu, a Democrat. "Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. "Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a presidential photo opportunity. "The desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment."

Saturday  9/3/2005

Notes from Inside New Orleans  9/3/2005 Counterpunch: "In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp… There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused of everything from drug running to corruption to theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests for several months. The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child's education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient, insecure jobs in the service economy."

Ex-officials say weakened FEMA botched response  9/3/2005 Chicago Tribune: "FEMA's chief has been demoted from a near-Cabinet-level position; political appointees with little, if any, emergency-management experience have been placed in senior FEMA positions; and the small, 2,500-person agency was dropped into the midst of the 180,000-employee Homeland Security Department, which is more oriented to combating terrorism than natural disasters. All that has led to a brain drain as experienced but demoralized employees have left the agency, former and current FEMA staff members say… It had been standard practice for FEMA to position supplies ahead of time, and the agency did preposition drinking water and tarps to cover damaged roofs near where they would be needed. In addition, FEMA has coordinated its plans with state and local officials and let the Defense Department know beforehand what type of military assistance would be needed. "I'm a little confused as to why it took so long to get the military presence running convoys into downtown New Orleans," Copenhaver said. And there isn't an experienced disaster-response expert at the top of the agency as there was when James Lee Witt ran it during the 1990s. Before Michael Brown, the current head, joined the agency as its legal counsel, he was with the International Arabian Horse Association. That loss of experienced personnel might explain in part why FEMA was not able to secure buses sooner for the evacuation of New Orleans, a step anticipated by the hurricane disaster simulation last year." [Brown was fired from the International Arabian Horse Association for ruining its finances.]

Directing Katrina Money to Pat Robertson - Faith-Based FEMA?  9/3/2005 Counterpunch: "Operation Blessing, an evangelical Christian charity, was founded by Rev. Pat ("take him out") Robertson. Robertson still serves on its national board. Operation Blessing is given a place of prominence at the FEMA website. Operation Blessing appears third on a list of charities overwhelmingly dominated by religious groups. The governmental endorsement of Operation Blessing has been a media boon for the Christian group, with wire services, newspapers, television and other media widely publicizing FEMA's promotion of it."

Guardsmen 'played cards' amid New Orleans chaos: police official  9/3/2005 AFP: ""We expected a lot more support from the federal government. We expected the government to respond within 24 hours. The first three days we had no assistance," he told AFP in an interview. Riley went on: "We have been fired on with automatic weapons. We still have some thugs around. My biggest disappointment is with the federal government and the National Guard. "The guard arrived 48 hours after the hurricane with 40 trucks. They drove their trucks in and went to sleep. "For 72 hours this police department and the fire department and handful of citizens were alone rescuing people. We have people who died while the National Guard sat and played cards. I understand why we are not winning the war in Iraq if this is what we have.""

Shame on This Administration - It's Time for Bush to Act - By Rep. CYNTHIA McKINNEY  9/3/2005 Counterpunch: "Maximize the use of U.S. Customs air assets to drop badly needed food and supplies to the people. Sadly, I have been told by an investigative journalist that precious Customs air assets are available, but are not being used to ferry badly-needed food, radios, and supplies. We dropped food in Afghanistan, certainly we can drop food in the United States."

"Let Them Eat Shit..." - People of the Dome  9/3/2005 Counterpunch: "Those people who stole televisions and large non-emergency items have been selling them, Les reports (having witnessed several of these "exchanges") so that they could get enough money together to leave the area… Some tourists in the Monteleone Hotel paid $25,000 for 10 buses. The buses were sent (I guess there were many buses available, if you paid the price!) but the military confiscated them to use not for transporting people in the Dome but for the military. The tourists were not allowed to leave. Instead, the military ordered the tourists to the now-infamous Convention Center… On Wednesday a number of Greens tried to bring a large amount of water to the SuperDome. They were prevented from doing so, as have many others. Why have food and water been blocked from reaching tens of thousands of poor people? On Thursday, the government used the excuse that there were some very scattered gunshots (two or three instances only) -- around 1/50th of the number of gunshots that occur in New York City on an average day -- to shut down voluntary rescue operations and to scrounge for 5,000 National Guard troops fully armed, with "shoot to kill" orders -- at a huge economic cost… One of the first acts of Governor Kathleen Blanco (a Democrat, by the way) during this crisis was to turn off the drinking water, to force people to evacuate. There was no health reason to turn it off, as the water is drawn into a separate system from the Mississippi River, not the polluted lake, and purified through self-powered purification plants separate from the main electric grid. If necessary, people could have been told to boil their water -- strangely, the municipal natural gas used in stoves was still functioning properly as of Thursday night! There are thousands of New Orleans residents who are refusing to evacuate because they don't want to leave their pets, their homes, or who have no money to do so nor place to go. The government -- which could have and should have provided water and food to residents of New Orleans -- has not done so intentionally to force people to evacuate by starving them out. This is a crime of the gravest sort."

Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food  9/3/2005 Pittsburgh Post Gazette 

Rapes, killings hit Katrina refugees in New Orleans  9/3/2005 Reuters: ""Last night at 8 p.m. they shot a kid of just 16. He was just crossing the street. They ran him over, the New Orleans police did, and then they got out of the car and shot him in the head," Batiste said. The young man's body lay in the street by the Convention Center's entrance on Saturday morning, covered in a black blanket, a stream of congealed blood staining the street around him. Nearby his family sat in shock. A member of that family, Africa Brumfield, 32, confirmed the incident but declined to be quoted about it, saying her family did not wish to discuss it."

The Two Americas  9/3/2005 Truth Out: "What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go." "Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes. Contrast this with George W. Bush's reaction to Hurricane Katrina. The day after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Bush was playing golf. He waited three days to make a TV appearance and five days before visiting the disaster site. In a scathing editorial on Thursday, the New York Times said, "nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis." "Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable" in Cuba, Valdes said. "Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin." They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed."

Black and white issue? Some black leaders say federal officials responded slowly to Hurricane Katrina because many victims are African-Americans  9/3/2005 Newsday 

Disaster aid raises race issue Critics say poor blacks not considered in planning for emergencies, evacuations  9/3/2005 SF Chronicle: "Two African American professors contend that racism was a factor in the government's slow response and in the conditions that put so many blacks in harm's way. Black leaders complain the media have focused disproportionately on African American looters in New Orleans, but a conservative African American pundit says the looters themselves are guilty not just of stealing but of shaming all blacks by their criminal behavior." [Elsewhere we learn that people looting consumer goods were selling them to raise cash to leave town, something that should have been the government's responsibility to arrange.]

Bush visit halts food delivery  9/3/2005 Times Picayune: "Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said. The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon’s chief of staff, Casey O’Shea."

Matters of race enter into Katrina perspectives  9/3/2005 Journal Times 

Kanye West's Torrent of Criticism, Live on NBC  9/3/2005 Washington Post: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!"


Just to give you a sense of just how badly FEMA has f*cked up.  9/3/2005 Daily Kos: "On Wednesday morning a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette in the early morning and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The flotillia of trucks pulling boats stretched over FIVE miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Nick Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana. The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries."

Brown pushed from last job: Horse group: FEMA chief had to be `asked to resign'  9/3/2005 Boston Herald 

Red Cross Banned From Bringing Food and Supplies to Nola  9/3/2005 TalkLeft 

How to help: Black groups rally to aid victims  9/3/2005 Guerilla News 

FEMA Chief: 'Urban Warfare' Slowed Rescue  9/3/2005 NewsMax: "Federal Emergency Management Agency Chief Michael Brown said Friday that rescue efforts in New Orleans were hampered when relief workers came under attack by the city's criminal element, prompting conditions that resembled "urban warfare.""

Critics say bias delayed relief to disaster area  9/3/2005 Chicago Tribune: "African-American congressional leaders shied away from directly blaming racism for the slow evacuation. Instead, they said that because blacks trapped in the city without transportation are poor and powerless, they were more easily ignored. But they did not deny race was part of the picture. "People see class, and they also see race," Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), another Black Caucus member, said in an interview. "It [the conditions in New Orleans] just tended to dramatize the plight of a segment of the population that has been left out and behind." Suggestions that race might have been a factor in the relief response seemed to prompt the Bush administration to send out one of its top Cabinet officials, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, herself an African-American, to say that such allegations are not true. "That Americans would somehow, in a color-affected way, decide who to help and who not to help--I just don't believe it," she told reporters at the State Department. A native of Alabama, Rice said she would tour the devastated area on Sunday. Rice said of any racial implications: "I think everybody's very emotional. It's hard to watch pictures of any American going through this. And yes, the African-American community has obviously been very heavily affected." Project 21, an organization of black conservatives, took issue with statements by Congressional Black Caucus members that race contributed to the delays in relief. Project 21 said in a statement that such a claim amounted to "racially politicizing a natural catastrophe.""

Congress Likely to Probe Guard Response  9/3/2005 AP: "Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck — a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard last Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday."

The Lost City  9/3/2005 Newsweek: "On Wednesday night, Mayor Nagin ordered 1,500 policemen—virtually the entire city force—to stop trying to rescue people from attics and rooftops, and to turn instead to stopping the looting. "They are starting to get to the heavily populated areas—hotels, hospitals—and we're going to stop it right now," he said… By Thursday, New Orleans was on the verge of anarchy. Policemen, many of whom had lost their homes, were turning in their badges rather than face the looters for another day. Jail inmates were moved out of town, but their criminal records are underwater. Sorting out who has been charged and with which crime could be a nightmare. Shoplifters might be incarcerated with rapists, and the system might be compelled to let some suspects go free."

"They've got to open the base"  9/3/2005 Salon: "That wonderful possibility, hatched by state Sen. Cleo Fields and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, is to house the displaced residents at the Air Force base instead of shelters and sports stadiums like the Astrodome, many of which are full anyway. They haven't gotten permission to do that, but that's not stopping them. The black leaders say racism is behind both the late response to the emergency and the dispersal of rescued residents far away from New Orleans."

FEMA Chief: 'Urban Warfare' Slowed Rescue  9/3/2005 NewsMax: "Federal Emergency Management Agency Chief Michael Brown said Friday that rescue efforts in New Orleans were hampered when relief workers came under attack by the city's criminal element, prompting conditions that resembled "urban warfare." "We are working under conditions of urban warfare," Brown told CNN, explaining why his agency was unable to act more quickly to save those left behind by evacuation efforts."

Met by Despair, Not Violence - As they begin to patrol the chaotic city, troops are surprised by what they don't find.  9/3/2005 LA Times 

Friday  9/2/2005

France, Cuba, Venezuela among those offering aid  9/2/2005 AP 

US Will Accept Venezuela's Offer of Aid for Hurricane Victims  9/2/2005 VOA: "A top U.S. State Department official says the United States will accept Venezuela's offer of humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but does not view the offer as a signal of change in the strained relations between the two countries. The official made the comment to VOA Friday in a wide-ranging interview as he prepares to leave his post later this month. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega, says Washington has received offers of relief assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina from some 15 countries in the Americas, including Venezuela."

Barbara Lee Blames War for Slow Response to Katrina  9/2/2005 Truth Out 

Emergency crews turned back by FEMA: They lacked "the required paperwork"  9/2/2005 Unknown News 

Airboaters stalled by FEMA - The pilots stand ready to go help hurricane victims but have not been allowed to do so.  9/2/2005 Orlando Sentinel 

Talk Race, But Don't Play Race Card With Katrina  9/2/2005 PNS: "The comments on some black Web sites pulse with speculation that the continual TV shots of blacks running wild in the streets are orchestrated to ensure that as little as possible will be done to aid New Orleans blacks. That kind of talk smacks of defeatism. If one screams racism and deliberate neglect, and then when it happens, screams "I told you so," it can become a grim, self-fulfilling prophecy. A heavy-handed rush to paint the tragedy of New Orleans as yet another terrible example of the black-white divide in America does a disservice to all the poor and needy who are suffering. Yes, a majority of them are black, but many of the victims are white, too. Such remarks stir fear, anger, and latent racism in many whites. It stirs the same fear anger, and racial antipathies among many blacks."

Jackson Blasts Bush Over Katrina Aid  9/2/2005 AP: "Jackson questioned why Bush has not named blacks to top positions in the federal response to the disaster, particularly when the majority of victims remaining stranded in New Orleans are black: "How can blacks be locked out of the leadership, and trapped in the suffering?" "It is that lack of sensitivity and compassion that represents a kind of incompetence." U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, head of the military task force overseeing operations in the three states, is black. His task force is providing search and rescue, medical help and sending supplies to the three states in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency."

The big disconnect on New Orleans - The official version; then there's the in-the-trenches version  9/2/2005 CNN: FEMA Chief Brown is willfully ignoring obvious realities.

Blame It on the Looters - How Bush Deals with a Disaster He Helped Create  9/2/2005 Counterpunch 

Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans  9/2/2005 Army Times: “This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.” ...Numerous soldiers also told Army Times that they have been shot at by armed civilians in New Orleans. Spokesmen for the Joint Task Force Headquarters at the Superdome were unaware of any servicemen being wounded in the streets, although one soldier is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during a struggle with a civilian in the dome Wednesday night… Spc. Cliff Ferguson of the 527th Engineer Battalion pointed out that he knows there are plenty of decent people in New Orleans, but he said it is hard to stay motivated considering the circumstances. “This is making a lot of us think about not reenlisting.” Ferguson said. “You have to think about whether it is worth risking your neck for someone who will turn around and shoot at you. We didn’t come here to fight a war. We came here to help.”"

The Politics of Displacement - Will the "New" New Orleans be Black?  9/2/2005 Counterpunch: byGlen Ford, Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Black Commentator

Bureaucratic Failure  9/2/2005 Wall Street Journal: [Having gutted FEMA which previously worked well, the right wingers now want to privatise it.] "A public role is unavoidable and political leadership is necessary. But if we're going to live with First World threats, such as the destruction of a major port city, let's deploy the most imaginative First World brains--in the private sector and academia--to mitigate those threats."

An American Hotel Rwanda - Desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina  9/2/2005 Dogon Village: "Dear Black America, There is a woman in Tucker, Georgia housing 52 victims of Katrina in a small house. Her sister-in-law has 40 people at her home in Decatur, GA. I'm sure there are numerous people across the country in the same situation. When I told the woman I had space for some of them, she asked if I could take 33 -there are more on the way!"

Daley 'shocked' at federal snub of offers to help  9/2/2005 Chicago Tribune: "Frustration about the federal response to Hurricane Katrina has reached Chicago City Hall, as Mayor Richard Daley today noted a tepid response by federal officials to the city's offers of disaster aid. The city is willing to send hundreds of personnel, including firefighters and police, and dozens of vehicles to assist on the storm-battered Gulf Coast, but so far the Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested only a single tank truck, Daley said."

Political storm blows in Washington  9/2/2005 MSNBC: "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus gathered in Washington on Friday to voice their frustration at the pace of hurricane relief efforts on the Gulf Coast and offered a few specific ideas that they thought might help, such as, every hotel chain in America opening its doors to people evacuated from Louisiana and providing donated accommodations."

Louisiana officials accused of blocking rescue volunteers  9/2/2005 New Orleans IndyMedia: "State Police in Lafayette, Louisiana, have been accussed of hindering attempts by private citizens to rescue people trapped by floodwaters in New Orleans. The accusations were contained in an unconfirmed report received via email by Jason Robideaux, an attorney from Lafayette…. "My two friends were allowed to drive to the launch site where the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. My friends were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing nothing. After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette," the email said."

The people who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave New Orleans are overwhelmingly poor and black  9/2/2005 Granma 

Notes From Inside New Orleans  9/2/2005 New Orleans IndyMedia 

Jailed for saving lives  9/2/2005 News Blog: "A friend on a lawyer listserve sent me this story. This kid is definitely getting a pro bono lawyer. He found an abandoned bus in New Orleans, packed it with survivors, and drove it to the Astrodome. The reaction of the officials? They're going to charge him with theft. Unbelievable. This kid is a hero. They should give him a medal. He evacuated 100 people faster than FEMA."

Genocide in New Orleans  9/2/2005 IndyBay: "I was seriously hoping that I would not have to write this article. But it has been too long now, and I have to say something. Regardless of whether the deaths en masse of poor black folks in New Orleans is due to neglect or maliciousness, the end result is constructively a genocide on poor blacks in America, right now, in 2005. The lack of aid to New Orleans at this late hour (7 pm, Sept. 1) is not explicable. I have only one explanation that I can muster up. And that explanation is classism and racism… New Orleans is not even a day away from the West Coast. I cannot explain why it is taking days to get help to those people dying down in New Orleans right now. But I remember when I was in the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, that the white middle class people had all the water they could use from the national guard, while only a few miles to the south, the mostly Hispanic communities, were standing in lines for hours in the sun to get only 5 gallons of water. My son and I drove up from the San Fernando Valley into the Santa Clarita Valley in 1994 after the quake collapsed our apartment, after seeing block-long lines at stores for water and long lines at high schools and parks with National Guard trucks giving out water to anyone with a 5 gallon container. When we hit Santa Clarita, there were cases of bottled water at every I-5 off ramp, with military personnel just sitting there, waiting for these middle class families to drive up. When I hit the Santa Clarita Red Cross, they also asked me to take some water off their hands, unloading a few cases of Evian water into my trunk! They had a surplus. I asked both the military and the Red Cross to please load the water up and drive just a bit over the hill where the water was desperately needed. And they refused. Maybe that story is a microcosm of what is going on here in New Orleans right now. No one wants to drive over the hill with supplies?"

New Orleans: A Disaster Waiting To Happen  9/2/2005 NNPA: By George E. Curry, who editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and, serving more than 200 Black newspapers. "I am angry. I am angry at the mayor of New Orleans. I am angry at the governor of Louisiana. I am angry at the Environmental Protection Agency. I am angry at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, now part of the Department of Homeland Security. I am angry at George W. Bush. I am angry because they were warned last November that New Orleans was one of the “Disasters Waiting to Happen” – and did nothing about it. Consequently, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are dead. Needlessly."

FEMA Dir. Mike Brown fired from prior job at Horse Assoc.  9/2/2005 Daily Kos: "He or the WH lied on the WH presser announcing him to FEMA. IAHA was never connected to the Olympic Comm, only the half Arab registry then and the governing body to the state and local Arabian horse clubs. He ruined IAHA financially so badly that we had to change the name and combine it with the Purebred registry. I am telling you this after watching the fucking shipwreck in the Gulf. His incompetence is KILLING people."

New Orleans on a hair-trigger  9/2/2005 Toronto Star: "In seconds, as many as 40 officers sped to the scene, most in marked cars — but one in a Kinko's van — some of whom set up behind Oleniuk, their guns aimed over his left shoulder. Others, guns drawn, shouted at me to get out of the way. Realizing he was in the line of fire, Oleniuk raced for cover behind a cruiser and worked alongside a group of police as they fired into the building. After 15 minutes, the last of more than 350 images shot by Oleniuk depicted officers delivering a fierce beating to the two suspects, an assault so fearsome one of the suspects defecated. Realizing their frontier justice had been captured for posterity, the police turned on the photographer, one ripping a camera from his neck with such force it broke its shoulder strap."

Jesse Jackson hits out at Bush, suggests race behind New Orleans' plight  9/2/2005 AFP 

Thursday  9/1/2005

McClellan Refuses To Answer Questions About Levee Funding  9/1/2005 Think Progress 

'Fats' Domino Missing in New Orleans  9/1/2005 Fox 

Katrina: Musicians Domino, Thomas, Toussaint Missing or Stranded  9/1/2005 

Hurricane Katrina Leaves Thousands of African-Americans Without Shelter, Food or Water  9/1/2005 AP 

What pictures of the looters really may say  9/1/2005 Philadelphia Inquirer 

Black Colleges, Students in Affected States Get Assistance, Band Together  9/1/2005 Black America Web 

finding-looting  9/1/2005 Yahoo: "Flickr user dustin3000 uploaded two similar news photos; each of a flood victim in New Orleans wading in chest high water with boxes and bags. Caption 1 under the very dark skinned person: " A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans" Caption 2under the light skinned person: "Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store...""

Anarchy in New Orleans - Chaos rules with 200,000 still stranded in the city. Looting, gunfire and a death toll still unknown  9/1/2005 Independent, UK: "The prospect of an ugly, elemental battle for survival in New Orleans was made worse by the fact that even before Hurricane Katrina it was the poorest urban area in the United States. The ghastly spectacle of overwhelmingly black residents caged in an unsanitary sports stadium and left almost entirely to their own devices could not but evoke memories of the darkest days of segregation and overtly racist Jim Crow laws in the American South. The potential for racial conflict has been quietly side-stepped in much of the US media coverage to date, but it is also impossible to ignore."

Disease outbreaks a real threat: Public health problems loom in Katrina's wake  9/1/2005 CNN 

Taking refuge in the Astrodome  9/1/2005 KRGVTV, Houston: "NEWSCHANNEL 5 crews were in Houston as some desperate refugees arrived in a stolen bus." Video of the 18 year old black driver who will be charged for taking 100 people to safety on an abandonned bus.

New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize  9/1/2005 Stratfor: "The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States… New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to."

Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Concerned About the Health Repercussions From Hurricane Katrina  9/1/2005 Dogon Village 

Love Canal-type landfill submerged in New Orleans floodwaters  9/1/2005 Solid Waste & Recycling: "The Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL) is situated on a 95-acre site in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. The ASL is a federally registered Superfund site, and is on the National Priorities List of highly contaminated sites requiring cleanup and containment. A few years ago the site, which sits underneath and beside houses and a school, was fenced and covered with clean soil. However, three feet or more of flood waters could potentially cause the landfill's toxic contents – the result of decades of municipal and industrial waste dumping – to leach out."

Airlines Cancel More Flights, Prepare for Possible Fuel Shortages  9/1/2005 AP 

Wednesday  8/31/2005

Four charged with plotting terror attacks in L.A  8/31/2005 Reuters 

Racial Insensitivity On Hannity & Colmes  8/31/2005 News Hounds: "Hannity introduced an interview with Charles Foti, Louisiana Attorney General, and a former New Orleans sheriff, by saying, "This morning, cameras caught people ransacking a grocery store, trying to gather as much food as possible." Nearly everyone in the video was African American. The video was show repeatedly throughout the hour."

Katrina's brewing scandal  8/31/2005 "The faces of the refugees for whom the first refugee camp in United States history is being set up are disproportionately black. As I watched Shepherd Smith's live coverage on FoxNews, the video footage of the refugees streaming out of New Orleans showed almost entirely poor blacks in the crowd. Blacks outnumber whites by vast margins in nearly every picture or video of the disaster. I am not one for playing racial politics following disasters, or for playing politics at all in the wake of such events, but mark my words, the race and economic status of the refugees will become a vastly more long-lasting political issue for the left than anything having to do with Iraq or global warming. The fact that Governor Blanco of Louisiana is a Democrat will not matter, because the left has made this entirely about President Bush. The image of the South as a hillbilly region rife with racism and active discrimination against blacks will probably be resurrected to explain why it seems that the disproportionate amount of refugees are black. And as with any debate about race, the rhetoric will be extremely heated."

New Orleans Is At the Mercy of Lawless Thugs  8/31/2005 American Daily: "While all of the images coming out of the Gulf Coast are deeply disturbing, those of the looting are perhaps the most troubling." - never mind all the black babies being carried through the water with no place to go, suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration, with no one to evacuate them.

Lost in the Flood - Why no mention of race or class in TV's Katrina coverage?  8/31/2005 Slate: "To be sure, some reporters sidled up to the race and class issue. I heard them ask the storm's New Orleans victims why they hadn't left town when the evacuation call came. Many said they were broke—"I live from paycheck to paycheck," explained one woman. Others said they didn't own a car with which to escape and that they hadn't understood the importance of evacuation."

Bigots Gloat over Hurricane Victims; Spew Racist and Anti-Semitic Hate Online  8/31/2005 ADL 

Bush Diverted Levee-Building Funds to Iraq War, Tax Cuts  8/31/2005 Pensito 

Muhammad says he was beaten by the LAPD  8/31/2005 Wave: "Nation of Islam minister accuses officers of beating and kicking him after he was handcuffed during candlelight vigil in Hyde Park. Police officials say officers were defending themselves."

MEMORANDUM TO THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE  8/31/2005 "Israeli Surveillance of the Future Hijackers and FBI Suspects in the September 11 Attacks and Their Failure to Give Us Adequate Warning: The Need for a Public Inquiry"

Katrina Exposes Racism  8/31/2005 Znet 

Venezuelan President Offers Aid For Katrina Victims  8/31/2005 AHN 

The War on Katrina  8/31/2005 TPM Café: "While New Orleans is a predominantly African-American city, it is also clear (based on the pictures of the people struggling there) that the impact of such devestation is going to be felt in less affluent neighborhoods where access to alternatives is limited -- whether those neighborhoods are minority or not."

'This is criminal': Malik Rahim reports from New Orleans  8/31/2005 SF Bay View: "Malik Rahim, a veteran of the Black Panther Party in New Orleans, for decades an organizer of public housing tenants both there and in San Francisco and a recent Green Party candidate for New Orleans City Council, lives in the Algiers neighborhood, the only part of New Orleans that is not flooded. They have no power, but the water is still good and the phones work. Their neighborhood could be sheltering and feeding at least 40,000 refugees, he says, but they are allowed to help no one. What he describes is nothing less than deliberate genocide against Black and poor people. - Ed."

New Orleans is Sinking, But… "Hey, Shoot that Black Guy Running Off with the Bottled Water from Wal-Mart!"  8/31/2005 Counterpunch 

Hurricane Katrina exposes racism and inequality - Left behind to face the worst  8/31/2005 Socialist Worker 

Tuesday  8/30/2005

Overseas deployments hinder Guard hurricane presence  8/30/2005 AP 

The Louisiana Superdome of shame  8/30/2005 Pravda: "Watching news coverage of the refugees trying to enter the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans for safety from the approaching force-five Hurricane Katrina, I was incredulous how the people attempting to enter the stadium were being treated by the national guard troops and local police. The people were made to stand for hours outside in the awful Louisiana climate while they were admitted one or two adults at a time so they could be searched "for firearms and alcohol." "

Black Employees Sue Tyson Foods for Maintaining ‘Whites Only’ Restroom  8/30/2005 Black America Web 

SuperDome Lockdown: Katrina's Prisoners  8/30/2005 PEJ: "In the hours leading to the landfall of the, ultimately Class 4 hurricane, thousands were left waiting for hours in the open while security checks were laboriously undertaken, with National Guard and police searching and confiscating liquor, guns, and other contraband. Though no comments have yet emerged, the racial dimension to the exodus was immediately apparent on television. Corporate newscasts of the long lines snaking around the Dome revealed the overwhelmingly Black cast of the evacuees. A cast contradicted by that of police and National Guard sent in to oversee the operation."

Addie Greene Isn’t the Problem – Our Unequal Treatment by Police Is  8/30/2005 Black America Web 

NAACP, Urban League Assessing How to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims  8/30/2005 Black America Web 

9 Weeks to Pump Out New Orleans?  8/30/2005 SlashDot 

How Bush's policies doomed New Orleans  8/30/2005 PHX 

America’s doomsday prophecy  8/30/2005 Daily Sun, Nigeria: "Every lover and patriot of the country Nigeria should feel disturbed by the recent US intelligence report that if certain things are not put in place, Nigeria will disintegrate within the next 15 years. Since this report became public knowledge, Nigerians have as usual been divided over the veracity or falsehood of such a prediction coming from one of our friendly nations. Many including the President Olusegun Obasanjo dismissed the report as a product of mischief-makers and prophets of doom."

When the levee breaks  8/30/2005 Philadelphia Daily News: article opens with this quote "It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us. -- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004."

Katrina's real name  8/30/2005 Boston Globe: "THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming… Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue. The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history. In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign. In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies. As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change."

Venezuela: a Launch Pad for Muslim Extremism?  8/30/2005 Counterpunch: "Now, this is a curious figure. The total population of Venezuela as of July 2005 was, according to the CIA Factbook, about 25,375,000. The same source specifies that 98% of Venezuelans are Catholic or Protestant Christians, leaving 2% "other." Other sources give a Jewish population of 35,000, a Buddhist population of 25,000. This leaves half a million who are neither Christians, Jews, nor Buddhists. But the most substantial listing of Venezuelan religious population I've found doesn't give any information on Islam at all, and a Muslim site gives the figure of only 126,876 believers in Venezuela. I suppose there might be a large community of Arab Christian immigrants, but looks to me like Arostegui has simply done some math, found that the missing two percent amount to 507,000, and finds therein that "half-million strong" and threatening "Venezuelan Arab community" providing (in his fevered imagination) haven to the Muslim rogue-state agents."

Monday  8/29/2005

Senators Should Skip Abortion and Ask John Roberts About Eminent Domain  8/29/2005 Black America Web 

Hurricane Katrina leaves New Orleans’ poor out in the storm  8/29/2005 Black News Weekly: "While whites and the well-off Blacks got the hell out of town, poor Blacks and whites in New Orleans who were too poor to leave, had to wait out hurricane Katrina in the Superdome. As New Orleans braced itself for one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the US, it's a shame how the poor in the city were left to fin for themselves. Consider this; if you are Black and still in News Orleans, and can't swim, then them crackers have left you up shit's creek!"

Democratic deal-makers once again sell out blacks  8/29/2005 USA Today: "The compromise, which was struck by seven moderate Democrats and seven moderate Republicans who have been branded the "Gang of 14," allows Democrats to filibuster a judicial nominee only under "extraordinary circumstances." Several key members of this group say that exception can be triggered only when serious questions about a nominee's ethics or character arise. If this interpretation holds, Roberts' confirmation is all but assured. Even more chilling for me is the fear that his elevation to the Supreme Court will usher in an end to the Second Reconstruction."

Jesse Jackson Says Venezuela No Threat, Praises Venezuelan Government Concerns  8/29/2005 Venezuela Analysis: "With regard to the question about whether Jackson shares Chavez’s complaint that the Bush administration is funding opposition civil society groups in Venezuela, Jackson said, “If [Venezuela’s] government were to fund opposition groups in the U.S., it would be unacceptable. Democracy demands that we play the game by one set of rules.” "

Venezuela to seek legal action against Robertson  8/29/2005 Reuters: ""I announce that my government is going to take legal action in the United States ... to call for the assassination of a head of state is an act of terrorism." Chavez said in a televised speech. The fiery left-wing critic of Bush's foreign policy who frequently charges the U.S. government is plotting to kill him, called Robertson "crazy" and a "public menace." He said Venezuela could seek Robertson's extradition under international treaties and take its claim to the United Nations if the Bush administration did not act."

FBI raids Atiku's US home  8/29/2005 Vanguard, Nigeria: "OPERATIVES of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) have searched the US home of Vice President Atiku Abubakar as part of an international anti-corruption probe, according to reports yesterday."

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