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Four Directions Relief Project - in solidarity with Native Americans in Lousiana
Katrina Survivors Fight Back - Ongoing CoverageFriday 9/30/2005
Finding Common Ground: Lessons from Algiers, New Orleans 9/30/2005 InfoShop News
Hurricane Brings Miss. Real Estate Frenzy 9/30/2005 AP: "The Mississippi coast, wracked by Hurricane Katrina, is caught up in a real estate rush, as speculators and those looking to replace their own wrecked homes pinpoint broken and battered waterfront neighborhoods. In the weeks since the hurricane, prices of many homes - even damaged properties - have jumped 10 to 20 percent. But what Katrina spared, the real estate rush now imperils. The arrival of speculators threatens what's left of bungalow neighborhoods that are among the Gulf's oldest communities, close-knit places of modest means where casino workers, fishermen and their families could still afford to live near the water."
Tales of rape, murder in Superdome appear false 9/28/2005 AP: [classic prodrome to a lynching]
FEMA Plans to Reimburse Faith Groups for Aid 9/27/2005 Washington Post: "After weeks of prodding by Republican lawmakers and the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that it will use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA officials said it would mark the first time that the government has made large-scale payments to religious groups for helping to cope with a domestic natural disaster. "I believe it's appropriate for the federal government to assist the faith community because of the scale and scope of the effort and how long it's lasting," said Joe Becker, senior vice president for preparedness and response with the Red Cross." [the same racist red cross that can't distribute warehouses of goods in white neighborhood to black ones]
George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People by: The Legendary K.O. 9/25/2005 Black Lantern
How Corporations Cashed in on Katrina - Stealing the Moment - By RALPH NADER 9/25/2005 Counterpunch
Purging the Poor 9/25/2005 The Nation
Saving Ourselves 9/24/2005 SOS After Katrina: "Black America learned a very valuable lesson this week in America. We learned that Black Americans have to Save OurSelves because we cannot rely on the Federal Government to save our people Now nor in the future. Black Americans must band together to make it through this massive endeavor of recovery after Hurricane Katrina. We shall prevail! Black America has always fought the good fight."
Rapper's line bashing Bush put into song via the Web 9/24/2005 Chicago Tribune: Nickerson lives just minutes from the Houston Astrodome and said he was motivated by survivors' firsthand accounts. "Seeing the loss of human dignity ... it created a lot of pent-up emotion," he said. "I knew I was going to put it into a song."
US Northern Command and Hurricane Rita 9/24/2005 Global Research
Miles of Traffic as Texans Heed Order to Leave 9/23/2005 NYT: ""The question is how many people will be gravely ill and die sitting on the side of the freeway," said State Representative Garnet Coleman, Democrat of Houston. "Dying not from the storm, but from the evacuation." Mr. Coleman's family had tried to leave the city Thursday at his urging - he is traveling on the West Coast - but they gave up after 12 hours of stalled traffic, without even passing the city's outer ring highway. "If you can't move outside the city of Houston in 12 hours, then nobody else is getting out," Mr. Coleman said. "This is it. Because even if you tried to leave now, you would not move fast enough to get out of harm's way in advance of the storm." The situation raised serious worries about how the city would handle something like a terrorist attack, he said. Timothy Adcock, 48, a Houston landscaper who was in the 15th hour of inching to Tyler in a companion's pickup truck after his car broke down under the grueling conditions, said, "I never saw anything so disorganized." "
Food Not Bombs Needs Help Feeding the Survivors of Rita and Katrina 9/22/2005 Food not Bombs: "PLEASE CONTINUE TO HELP! We are in need of volunteers and food to help the people displaced by both Rita and Katrina. Last week Food Not Bombs opened a Community Center in the 9th Ward. We also need as many volunteers in , Houston, Baton Rouge and New Orleans as possible. Tucson and Prescott Food Not Bombs report that there is widespread need in Baton Rouge. Volunteers, food and personal items such as tampons are needed. A 24 foot truck will be leaving Tucson soon."
'That Could Have Been Us' -- Struggling Communities Seek New Solutions After Katrina 9/22/2005 Pacific News
The Invisible Victims of Katrina 9/22/2005 Pacific News: "They are nameless faces who -- just like hundreds of thousands of others in the Gulf Coast -- lost everything they had to the rabid winds of Hurricane Katrina. They are victims of the storm, but because they don't exist in the eyes of federal authorities, they will not be treated as such. Because they are undocumented immigrants, they are invisible. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would help all the victims of Katrina, it did not really mean "all." When asked over and over again by Spanish-language journalists whether or not undocumented immigrants would be excluded from aid, time and time again FEMA's representatives said the aid is for "all" of the victims. But we later learned how relative the terms "aid" and "all" can be."
Rescue Came from the Grassroots: The People, Not FEMA, Saved Themselves 9/22/2005 Black Commentator: "The first folks to send a couple of vans of food and supplies was TOPS, The Ordinary Peoples Society, a prison ministry in Dothan AL founded and staffed by ex-offenders. They organized food from a food bank, pooled their money to get additional goods and moved it to Mobile where they connected with a second organization of formerly incarcerated brothers down there to distribute it while they went back to Dothan for more. That's why we tell everybody now that it was felons who were the first to feed, the first to respond to need, the first to get up and do something. They didn’t wait for permission or for a contract. That’s real leadership.”
Rescue Came from the Grass Roots 9/21/2005 Black Commentator: "The first folks to send a couple of vans of food and supplies was TOPS, The Ordinary Peoples Society, a prison ministry in Dothan AL founded and staffed by ex-offenders. They organized food from a food bank, pooled their money to get additional goods and moved it to Mobile where they connected with a second organization of formerly incarcerated brothers down there to distribute it while they went back to Dothan for more. That's why we tell everybody now that it was felons who were the first to feed, the first to respond to need, the first to get up and do something. They didn’t wait for permission or for a contract. That’s real leadership… So well stocked and well-supplied Red Cross operations sat in white churches only a short distance from predominantly black areas which had not been reached by any private or government relief agency before black churches and black ex-offenders and black grassroots organizations took matters into their own hands."
The Black 911: Baush has declared war on Black people - ‘The revolution has begun – we need to get down here!’ - by Suncere Ali Ahakur 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "There is total devastation in the Black community down here in New Orleans. All the stories you hear about FEMA and the Red Cross, man, they are slow getting to the people down here. If it wasn’t for the people on the ground, the grassroots folks getting supplies and water and things they need, they probably would just perish. I’m in Algiers (a neighborhood on the West Bank across the river from downtown New Orleans) with brother Malik Rahim. With the people he’s been able to organize, he’s been able to save about 70 percent of the community… On all four corners we’ve got Blackhawk helicopters flying around. You know how paranoid the government gets when people start moving on their own. I don’t have a problem with white people coming down here and helping out, especially if they are in the right spirit. The community we have here is good. They’re about work. The thing is I haven’t heard any Black nationalist organizations giving any funds to help this brother (Malik Rahim) doing what he is doing. I haven’t heard any of these organizations sending any bodies, because we need bodies to do what we are doing. This brother has a clean heart and soul. He’s really about the people, and that’s rare. That is very rare… These people have upped the stakes on us. They’ve taken advantage of Katrina, and they’re making a movement and a land grab on our folks and they’re shooting them in the streets. Our people are not criminals. They’re trying to survive this hell hole. We’ve come down here and set up soup kitchens and a mobile clinic. After we did everything, then the Army came in. They said the people need vaccinations. We already gave them vaccinations. They said the people need water. We already gave them water. But this man (Malik) can’t sustain this stuff by himself. We need us down here to see about us. I don’t care where you come from. We got people driving two days in a row from San Francisco in a car (that’s) packed. We got technicians down here. We’ve got internet set up. Basically we’ve got a little command center and everything. We’ve got people that can get you through those checkpoints. If you all worried about getting shot at, dammit, you’re going to get shot at in your own neighborhood. You run the same risk staying home – so you might as well come on down here and let’s move. The revolution has begun. We need to get down here. These people are not attacking us covertly any more through the prison industrial complex, through sorry health care or through sorry housing. Bush has declared war on Black people. This is the Black 911. Hopefully this will galvanize us, bring us together. You can’t sit back, watch our people die and get their land taken away from them. This is slavery, man. It’s just like slavery when they took slaves, broke them up and sent them to different plantations. It’s the same thing going on. These people are down here terrorizing our people, scaring them not to come back. You’ve got Homeland Security and the Army terrorizing people. I had three friends stopped last night on their way home by three guys from Homeland with guns. There’s nobody here, bro. Why all the guns? Ain’t nobody here. We need some soldiers down here. It’s genocide now. It’s not covert any more. Now it’s overt. I’m not advocating any kind of violence, but protect yourself at all times, of course."
Lost my husband and my home to Katrina 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "My husband was in Orleans Parish Prison since Aug. 7 on a court hold and was left to drown when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The staff abandoned the jail and left the prisoners alone with no water or food for two days. When they finally did come to evacuate the jail, they brought my husband along with others to Hunts State Penitentiary in Gonzales, Louisiana, where they spent the night on a hillside in the rain… When he arrived at Phelps Correctional Center in Dequincey, Louisiana, where he is to this day, they sprayed them down and gave them numerous shots for disease control. My husband is very ill and needs lots of care. He is only on court hold. He was accused of rape in 2002, but the alleged victim waited 11 months to even report this rape and only then after we had filed a complaint against them for an illegal eviction in a state funded facility. I do have concrete evidence of his innocence, including a 30-minute segment of the meeting of the illegal eviction back in 2001. In this meeting, the director of the facility where we lived states she wanted to give him a fresh start and there was no actual penetration or physical assault. So why is he accused of rape three weeks later?"
Bush to New Orleans: Let the niggers die! 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "West had nothing to gain by criticizing Bush and everything to lose in terms of his newly-won mainstream musical success. Certainly the media and the government will try to destroy his career, just as they have done with other outspoken Black commercial artists who have criticized the political establishment… Nobody in the government cares about these Black and poor people. To this government, even a number of poor whites who shared in their fate were totally expendable. They are niggers too, the underclass. No buses were sent by the mayor, governor or president for these Black and poor people to take them to safety, even though there was a full three to four days warning. No plans were made to feed or house them or to give them medical attention. They were abandoned to their fate. Neither Bush nor the local politicians cared if they lived or died. This was a criminal, genocidal non-response by American government officials in the Bush administration especially, one of the most right-wing federal administrations in U.S. history."
Back inside New Orleans 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "I spent yesterday inside the city of New Orleans, speaking to a few of the last holdouts in the Ninth Ward neighborhood. Their stories paint a very different picture from what we've heard in the media. Instead of stories of gangs committing crimes while police and soldiers kept order, there were stories of collective action and everyone looking out for each other - communal responses."
Update for medical clinicians coming to New Orleans - How to donate services and funds to Common Ground Clinic, inspired by Malik Rahim 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "I'm posting an update on the Algiers Clinic, and how things have been going in New Orleans. We're now calling the clinic Common Ground, and we're referring to the staffing as part of the Mutual Aid Collective of Algiers. The clinic is located on 1401 Teche St, and our phone is (504) 361-9659. To support Common Ground, send donations to Common Ground, P.O. Box 3216, Gretna, LA 70054. Please no clothes or food. More information and online monetary donations are available at the new action website at http://www.commongroundrelief.org."
Hurricane Raps -- Freestyles, Conscious Laments and Battle Rhymes Inspired by Katrina 9/21/2005 New American Media: "The Hurricane Katrina experience has sparked an explosion of rhymes from New Orleans evacuees. Many use rapping as a way to express their wonder, anger and frustration as they wait to pull their lives back together. One in an ongoing series of storm survivor narratives."
Help reunite New Orleans prisoners with their families 9/21/2005 SF Bay View
Of race and nature’s wrath by Mumia Abu-Jamal 9/21/2005 SF Bay View
The Titanic of our era by Bill Fletcher Jr. 9/21/2005 SF Bay View: "There is another way to think about the disaster: the steerage on the Titanic. To refresh your memory, that was the section of the ship that provided the cheapest accommodations and where the poorest were housed. It was also the lowest part of the ship, the least safe and the site of overwhelming death. One may remember, as portrayed in the film “Titanic,” that the passengers in steerage were literally locked in, trapped like rats such that they could not escape the rising water. Does this somehow sound familiar? Did the builders of the Titanic design it in such a way that they aimed to kill the occupants of steerage? Not at all. They did, however, design it so that if anyone was going to die, it would be those in steerage. Their deaths were acceptable for the builders of the Titanic. After all, those in steerage were considered a less-relevant population than the rich on the upper decks… They calculated that they could ignore the plight of the Gulf Coast’s poor. Each hurricane that missed the Gulf Coast was another source of relief and a confirmation that it was better to put resources into wars and tax cuts than into saving the lives of those at the bottom. So, it did not have to be a conspiracy, because, in fact, the game of U.S. capitalism has been rigged from the beginning. We just happened to see the results in bloated bodies, crying and ill children, the devastation of a beautiful coastline and the possibly permanent displacement of hundreds of thousands of people."
News about Food Not Bombs and Our Effort to help the Victims of Katrina 9/20/2005 Food not Bombs: "We have new information daily - Food Not Bombs groups all across the southern United States are feeding families displaced by Katrina. Help us get food and supplies past FEMA. We need clothes, cooking equipment, food, cooks and money to provide for thousands of hungry homeless people. We have no overhead, rent or salaries so every donation goes directly to helping people. Many affected by Katrina are familiar with Food Not Bombs because we have been sharing free food in communities through the area for many years. Because we are independent we can take food and supplies to areas where no other agency can reach."
Katrina’s Lesson: Self-determination for Blacks Everywhere 9/20/2005 SF Bay View
FROM VICTIMS TO VANDALS: MASS MEDIA AND NEW ORLEANS 9/20/2005 Cuba Now
New Orleans: Survivor Stories 9/20/2005 City Pages, Minneapolis
Katrina survivors speak out - Millions More Movement conveners launch fact-finding mission 9/19/2005 Final Call: "He also revealed to the press a report that he received, from a “very reliable source” he said, that there was a 25-foot hole under one of the levees that broke, which suggested it may have been busted on purpose to destroy the part of the city where Black people lived. “This is a horrible thing to think that somebody would do,” he observed, “but all one needs to understand is our history, and Black-White relations in this country, and what some are capable of doing out of envy and desire for political and economic advancement.” He reminded the press of the only time that bombs ever fell on the soil of the United States—May 31, 1921, the bombing of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Okla., one of the most economically prosperous and independent Black communities ever developed. He recounted that an incident over a Black person “insulting” a White person was fabricated and fomented the farmers’ hatred and envy enough to take to the skies in their planes and drop bombs to burn the Black community to the ground, killing 300 people and wiping the entire district off the map."
Faith-based disaster 9/19/2005 SF Chronicle: "Immediately after the hurricane, there were only two secular organizations to which FEMA's Web site urged that contributions be made; all the others were faith-based. What's worse, in at least some instances, FEMA relied on faith-based charities to spearhead the emergency-relief effort, regardless of whether they had expertise."
Transcript for September 18 - Bill Clinton, Thad Allen, Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, Judy Woodruff & Byron York 9/18/2005 NBC: "I was stunned in New Orleans at how many black New Orleanians would tell me with real conviction that somehow the levee breaks had been engineered in order to save the French Quarter and the Garden District at the expense of the Lower Ninth Ward, which is almost all black. You know, I don't for a minute think the Corps of Engineers or the city of New Orleans would be clever enough to do that at this point. But these are not wild-eyed people. These are reasonable, sober people who really believe that. And that tells you something about our racial divide in New Orleans."
FEMA: A Legacy of Waste 9/18/2005 Sun Sentinel, FL: "The handling of aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina is only the latest in a series of missteps and fraud that has plagued this tax-funded government agency. The Sun-Sentinel took a look at 20 recent disasters and found mismanagement and misallocation abound."
BLOCKED EVACUATION ROUTE - Police decision to close bridge justified, city says 9/17/2005 Houston Chronicle
Going back for more 9/17/2005 Corvallis Gazette-Times, OR: "After a couple of weeks in New Orleans with an emergency team providing aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, Philomath residents Peggy Peirson and Dan Kearl spent only a few days at home resting up and telling stories before getting ready to head back and continue recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast."
FEMA, Slow to the Rescue, Now Stumbles in Aid Effort 9/17/2005 NYT: "Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina cut its devastating path, FEMA - the same federal agency that botched the rescue mission - is faltering in its effort to aid hundreds of thousands of storm victims, local officials, evacuees and top federal relief officials say. The federal aid hot line mentioned by President Bush in his address to the nation on Thursday cannot handle the flood of calls, leaving thousands of people unable to get through for help, day after day. Federal officials are often unable to give local governments permission to proceed with fundamental tasks to get their towns running again."
Doctor says FEMA ordered him to stop treating hurricane victims 9/17/2005 Baton Rouge Advocate: "In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me. "I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave." FEMA issued a formal response to Perlmutter's story, acknowledging that the agency does not use voluntary physicians."
Media Hallucinated ‘Thoughtful’ Bush Commentary on Race 9/17/2005 Think Progress: "Given this kind of media treatment, it’s worth noting that Bush’s 3,300-word speech actually contained just a single, 19-word sentence about race. Even more notable, that one sentence describes racial discrimination in the past tense"
I Will Rebuild With You, Mr. President By Donna Brazile 9/17/2005 Washington Post: "On Thursday night President Bush spoke to the nation from my city. I am not a Republican. I did not vote for George W. Bush -- in fact, I worked pretty hard against him in 2000 and 2004. But on Thursday night, after watching him speak from the heart, I could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast."
Katrina shows effect of climate change, says Gore 9/17/2005 FT: “Katrina is the first sip, the first taste, of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us over and over again. It is up to us [to tackle climate change], and it does involve accepting that there is a legitimate role for government.”
After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons 9/16/2005 LA Times: "GRETNA, La. — Little over a week after this mostly white suburb became a symbol of callousness for using armed officers to seal one of the last escape routes from New Orleans — trapping thousands of mostly black evacuees in the flooded city — the Gretna City Council passed a resolution supporting the police chief's move. "This wasn't just one man's decision," Mayor Ronnie C. Harris said Thursday. "The whole community backs it.""
A Bridge Too Far 9/16/2005 Washington City Paper: "The print media get picky about a story involving police forcing evacuees back into New Orleans."
FEMA under fire for slow Katrina aid 9/16/2005 Reuters
The New York Times Leads the Pack in Scapegoating Black Americans - Race, Katrina and the Media 9/16/2005 Counterpunch: "Also, I'm not surprised that there was very little difference between the former Ku Klux Klan leader's comments and commentary earlier this week by the New York Times' elite columnists Nicholas D. Kristof and John Tierney. Conservatives might view the Times as liberal, but, in my opinion, the Times leads the nation's media when it comes to scapegoating blacks for the country's social problems. Kristof endorsed a deal suggested by the clueless Rich Lowry of the National Review in which the left would devote " ... greater attention to out-of-wedlock births ... in exchange for the right's support for more urban spending." Missing from this proposal is the fact that out-of-wedlock births among black teenagers have plummeted more than that of any ethnic group, while those among white women are on the rise, according to the latest figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. Kristof also praised Times writer Jason DeParle, who has made a good living identifying welfare as an exclusively black problem. Meanwhile, some members of the Vietnamese community are in a crisis because their five years of receiving checks are about to expire. (When he appeared on C-SPAN, I asked DeParle why the Times always accompanied welfare stories with a black face. He squirmed as callers from around the country referred to other ethnic groups with large numbers on the welfare rolls, including immigrants from Russia.)"
No Understanding of the Poor or Racism - Bush's Judges and Black America 9/16/2005 Counterpunch
Leadership vacuum stymied aid offers - Doctor: Officials gave hospital staffers mops as people died 9/16/2005 CNN: "Warehouses in New Orleans burned while firefighters were diverted to Atlanta for Federal Emergency Management Agency training sessions on community relations and sexual harassment. Water trucks languished for days at FEMA's staging area because the drivers lacked the proper paperwork. ...Dr. Bong Mui and his staff, evacuated with 300 patients after three hellish days at Chalmette Medical Center, arrived at the New Orleans airport, and were amazed to see hundreds of sick people. They offered to help. But, the doctor told CNN, FEMA officials said they were worried about legal liability. "They told us that, you know, you could help us by mopping the floor." And so they mopped, while people died around them. "I started crying," he recalled. "We felt like we could help, and were not allowed to do anything."
Ice Runs - A neighborhood survives in New Orleans — without any government help 9/16/2005 LA Weekly
Dignity - Respect - Collaboration - Action 9/16/2005 Get Your Act On!: "Some serious things are going down in New Orleans - we have many questions and very few answers. We fear that New Orleans is slated to be turned into a 'destination resort' - a Disneyfied version of New Orleans, minus the people that make the culture of New Orleans what it is. We refuse to watch our city be stolen and its cultural heritage trashed. Get Your Act On! is moving back in and will take it from there - we want our city and our people back."
Eyewitness, politically charged, on-the-ground truth telling from New Orleans 9/16/2005 Global Research: "It's not so much that the government is not responding [with storm relief], they are obstructing the response. They are telling us we can't bring people the basic necessities of life because that would give them hope. It is a question of oppression vs. mutual aid. That is the revolution. – Jesse, an organizer with MayDay DC volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA"
After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons 9/16/2005 LA Times
Hold the United States Accountable 9/15/2005 Black Commentator: "The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide just such a framework. The principles identify the internationally recognized rights and guarantees of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities due to a number of factors, including natural disaster. According to this set of principles, those who have been displaced from their homes but not crossed international borders are classified as “internally displaced persons,” not “refugees” or “evacuees.” This is not a mere question of semantics, but an essential definition that establishes the obligations that government has to protect and defend the rights of the Gulf Coast residents who have been dispersed across the country. The extent to which various aspects of the recovery should be funded will be a topic of much debate among policymakers, especially given the federal deficit and competing economic needs. But the rights of the displaced must be viewed as a separate and overriding issue. Receiving protection and humanitarian assistance from government authorities is not an act of benevolence, but rather is obligatory for displaced people – for the duration of their displacement. This will be especially important to remember after media coverage of Katrina has faded, and we must not compound the plight of the displaced by letting them fend for themselves once the dust has settled. If we accept that it will take years to rebuild New Orleans, we must also accept that it will take no less time to rebuild the lives of the displaced from New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast."
City of Gretna Louisiana - The most evil, racist city in America. 9/15/2005 GretnaSucks.com: "Gretna Police Chief Arthur S. Lawson, Jr. ordered his officers to kill any black people that tried to cross the bridge that lead into Gretna. His officers shot at blacks or people in the company of blacks that tried to cross the bridge. A group of around 20, mostly blacks who were fired at when they tried to cross the bridge, camped out at the top of the bridge. Their camp was raided at dusk by Gretna police who held them at gun point, shouted racial slurs and robbed them of their food and water. They hate black people so much that they wanted to add to their suffering pilled on them by hurricane Katrina by taking away their life sustaining food and water. Many died as a result."
The Political Wrath of Hurricane Katrina 9/15/2005 Black Commentator
O'Reilly: "Many, many, many" hurricane victims who failed to evacuate New Orleans are "drug-addicted … thugs" 9/15/2005 Media Matters: "Many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition. They weren't going to leave no matter what you did. They were drug-addicted. They weren't going to get turned off from their source. They were thugs, whatever."
Katrina: Contemporary Screams of Agony 9/15/2005 Black Commentator
A sausage -- looted or not -- lands elderly church leader in prison 9/15/2005 AP: "Merlene Maten undoubtedly stands out in the prison where she has been held since Hurricane Katrina. The 73-year-old church deaconess, never before in trouble with the law, now sleeps among hardened criminals. Her bail is a stiff $50,000. Her offense? Police say the grandmother from New Orleans took $63.50 in goods from a looted deli the day after Katrina struck. Family and eyewitnesses have a different story. They say Maten is an innocent woman who had gone to her car to get some sausage to eat but was wrongly handcuffed by tired, frustrated officers who couldn't catch younger looters at a nearby store. Not even the deli owner wants her charged."
Speculators Rushing In as the Water Recedes 9/15/2005 LA Times: "The real estate agent has $10 million in the bank, wired by an investor who has instructed her to scoop up houses — any houses. "Flooding no problem," Farris' newspaper ads advise. ADVERTISEMENT Her backer is a Miami businessman who specializes in buying storm-ravaged property at a deep discount, something that has paid dividends in hurricane-prone Florida. But he may have a harder time finding bargains this time around. In some ways, Hurricane Katrina seems to have taken a vibrant real estate market and made it hotter. Large sections of the city are underwater, but that's only increasing the demand for dry houses. And in flooded areas, speculators are trying to buy properties on the cheap, hoping that the redevelopment of New Orleans will start a boom. This land rush has long-term implications in a city where many of the poorest residents were flooded out. It raises the question of what sort of housing — if any — will be available to those without a six-figure salary. If New Orleans ends up a high-priced enclave, without a mix of cultures, races and incomes, something vital may be lost."
Malik Rahim and medics from SF to DC set up health clinic in New Orleans 9/15/2005 SF Bay View: "Mayor Ray Nagin announced Thursday that Algiers will be the first of the communities in New Orleans to reopen to residents. While FEMA and the Red Cross will surely trumpet their efforts, the real success of Algiers belongs to those courageous community members who stayed through the storm and activist Malik Rahim who helped to catalyze the bustling Common Ground Relief effort… Cracker squads are groups of white supremacists who are using the slanderous media coverage and storm chaos to terrorize communities of color in Louisiana and Mississippi. One young woman in a Mississippi town relayed to us that a cracker squad had shot Black men in the woods and threatened retaliation for those going public with the story. Similar stories have come in from Algiers, downtown New Orleans and the outlying parishes of Louisiana. A related threat are the armed mercenaries of Blackwater and other contractors who are patrolling downtown New Orleans. Internet reports indicate they have been particularly brutal in the handling of storm survivors."
Expulsion is Transfer: The Colonial Logic of Bush’s Response to New Orleans 9/15/2005 Black Commentator: "First, they order the American Red Cross to leave the site of the catastrophe and not return. Whenever the Red Cross is thrown out of a human disaster zone, the message to any other relief team, either church-based or public is, don’t even think about it. This, incidentally, is the same military strategy that the Israeli army used during its racist siege of Beirut in 1982, where Israel refused to permit the Red Cross to visit Palestinian refugee camps it had just bombed into oblivion (see Noam Chomsky’s The Fateful Triangle, p. 231). In fact, the New York tabloid media seemed to sense this kind of Israelization of the situation in New Orleans when it turned its attention, instantly, to all the dangerous snipers shooting down cops, etc, etc. This fixation on snipers provided the government’s official rationale for martial law, even though the reality of the situation called not for martial law but rather for urgent and massive relief efforts led by the Red Cross. The Bush response to the New Orleans catastrophe was a white supremacist military response, modeled in a precise way after the Israeli colonial occupation of Arab Palestine and the U.S.’s own colonial occupation of Iraq, duly noted, ironically, by commander Riley."
Right-Wing Myths About Katrina, Debunked 9/15/2005 Think Progress
Cheney Diverted Power Crews from Hospitals to Oil Pipeline 9/14/2005 Buzzflash: "Cheney intervened and directed utility crews to restore power for an oil/gasoline pipeline at the expense of medical facilities throughout Mississippi. He gave this order while he was still in on vacation in either Wyoming or Maryland, negotiating on his new $2.7 million summer home."
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement mobilization and demand statement 9/14/2005 SF Bay View: "The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a national New Afrikan (Black) human rights organization, calls on every sector of the Black community, including civil rights organizations, human rights activists, workers’ organizations, religious communities and civic and cultural groups to UNITE in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who have survived Hurricane Katrina."
Last-ditch efforts to save inmate - Black leaders predict dire consequences if Frances Newton is executed tonight 9/14/2005 Houston Chronicle: "Those weapons, they contend, could have been switched during ballistics testing, thereby wrongly indicating that the gun Newton hid in a vacant house after the shootings was the murder weapon. Newton has said she removed the pistol from her apartment and hid it to keep her husband from getting into a violent encounter with drug dealers. Much of the evidence and testimony supporting their multiple-pistol theory, defense attorneys say, was developed after Newton's initial trial."
National Conference of Black Lawyers blasts Bush regime, calls for Black community self-reliance in assisting displaced persons 9/14/2005 SF Bay View
These are the people the government abandoned - Powerful words of survival, struggle and spirituality of hurricane survivors filled Oakland church Saturday 9/14/2005 Poor News Network
Time for a Truth & Justice Commission - Back Inside New Orleans 9/14/2005 Counterpunch: "I asked Okra, in his house off of Piety Street, what the biggest problem has been. He said, "It's been the police - they've lost the last restraints on their behavior they had, and gotten a license to go wild. They can do anything they want. I saw one cop beat a guy so hard that he almost took his ear off. And this was someone just trying to walk home" ...According to a report that's been circulated, Denise Young, one of those trapped in the convention center told family members, "yes, there were young men with guns there, but they organized the crowd. They went to Canal Street and looted,' and brought back food and water for the old people and the babies, because nobody had eaten in days. When the police rolled down windows and yelled out the buses are coming,' the young men with guns organized the crowd in order: old people in front, women and children next, men in the back,just so that when the buses came, there would be priorities of who got out first" But the buses never came. "Lots of people being dropped off, nobody being picked up. Cops passing by, speeding off. We thought we were being left to die"
New Orleans: Escape from flooded hospital 9/14/2005 SF Bay View: "The distorted emphasis on criminal behavior has stigmatized the people who are now in shelters. Events this week exposed racial, economic and geographic segregation in our society that includes inequality in planning and resources. People need to stick up for the folks in the shelters. I guarantee there’s a shelter coming to a city near you. There are not enough places here for all these people. The New Orleans community is like a glass paperweight that was smashed by a fifty pound iron mallet. Poor people from New Orleans are going to be everywhere. People need to help them, not fear them. Our question should not be, “Why was there looting,” but “How are your families?” and “How can we help?”"
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement mobilization and demand statement 9/14/2005 SF Bay View
What GOP Leaders Fear Most in New Orleans 9/14/2005 Buzzflash: "The woman in the wheelchair is old enough to have been around in Jim Crow times. Now she and the little girl seem to be holding hands without a second thought. In the wake of the hurricane, most black and white Americans saw themselves as on the same side, despite the GOP and their PR flaks attempts to create a racial divide and portray the survivors as savage looters and snipers. I have often wonder if Martin Luther King was killed not for his civil rights work for blacks, or his opposition to Vietnam, but because the last cause he was involved in, that garbage workers strike, was showing that working class blacks and whites had more to gain as allies than enemies."
Hurricane Kanye hits America 9/13/2005 SF Bay View: "Kanye told the TRUTH, and it needed to be said. Anytime white conservative talk show hosts like Neal Boortz (http://boortz.com – We need to start an email and phone campaign to holla at him this Tuesday, for real) can get on the radio and make racist statements against Black people who are suffering from a natural disaster and urge the good ole boys to arm themselves and shoot first and ask questions later, somebody has to say something! We all know that “martial law” is a code word for white folks to shoot Brothas on sight. We must support Brothers and Sisters who stand up for the people like Kanye West did. As the right wing gathers its forces to attack this Brother, we must attack back! Every time one of them disses Kanye on the radio, TV or newspaper we must make an immediate organized response. We must show them the real meaning of “Bring tha noise!”"
Afrika Bambaataa Speaks on Hip Hop, Katrina and Race 9/13/2005 Davey D's Hip Hop Daily News: "Bam went on to talk about the Black-Brown tensions in cities like Los Angeles. He noted that there’s been a lot of confusion and that much of this has to do with Willie Lynch syndrome and White world supremacy, which strives to keep us divided and going at each other.. Bam went on to note that many Latinos have African roots so its confusing that there would be any sort of tension. He said its important for people not to get caught up in the language of their oppressor (Spanish-English) but to focus on who and what we really are… Bam also said he wants to start doing more interviews in Latin magazine and radio shows to express this unity and bring some of these points to light."
Holy Rollers -- The Church Van Is Hero of Katrina Recovery for Blacks 9/13/2005 Pacific News
Rosa Clemente Reports Back From New Orleans 9/13/2005 Davey D's Hip Hop Daily News: "Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente is one of the few ‘non-mainstream journalist allowed into New Orleans where the flood waters and damage has occurred. She brings to us an heartwrenching eye opening account of what’s really going on… She talks about the smell of death in the air and how things are much worse then we could ever imagine….Read what she wrote and peep out the interview… There’s more to come.."
FEMA to set up camper cities for 200,000 9/13/2005 NOLA
Chertoff delayed federal response, memo shows 9/13/2005 Knight Ridder: "But Chertoff - not Brown - was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government's blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by President Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homeland security director. But according to a memo obtained by Knight Ridder, Chertoff didn't shift that power to Brown until late afternoon or evening on Aug. 30, about 36 hours after Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That same memo suggests that Chertoff may have been confused about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department."
The Rationale for a Scaled-Back City 9/13/2005 WSJ: "But some economists are starting to wonder if Mr. Hastert might have had a point about caution when it comes to rebuilding New Orleans, as poorly articulated as it might have been. It's not just the city's natural disadvantages (much of it is located below sea level) that worry economists. It's also its economic position -- rampant poverty and an exodus of people and businesses even before the hurricane touched down -- and the need to avoid creating incentives that could lead to development that is no less vulnerable. "We have an obligation to people, not to places," says Edward Glaeser, a Harvard professor who specializes in urban economics. "Given just how much, on a per capita basis, it would take to rebuild New Orleans to its former glory, lots of residents would be much [better off] with $10,000 and a bus ticket to Houston." However the help, and the promise of rebuilding, also gives people an incentive to keep living in disaster-prone places. Like Mr. Glaeser, he's for helping victims. But to limit the perverse incentives, Mr. Becker says any rebuilding of the place should come with tough love from the government, such as tight zoning restrictions in flood-prone areas and tough flood insurance rules. He's not the only Nobel-winner arguing for circumspection about rebuilding New Orleans. "The best policy is not to permit rebuilding in New Orleans in the areas that are subject to flooding," says Edward Prescott, a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who famously used flood-plain relief as an example of how seemingly sound short-run policies can skew incentives in the long-run. Richard Posner, the conservative jurist who shares an economics Web log with Mr. Becker, proposes that the city come back something like Colonial Williamsburg -- a quaint tourist site that isn't really attached to a city. [The blueprint for getting rid of black people in New Orleans.]
Hurricane looting not over yet 9/13/2005 Chicago Sun Times: by Jesse Jackson - "Already Halliburton is on hand with a no-bid contract for reconstruction. Fluor, Bechtel, the Shaw Group -- Republican-linked firms -- are lining up for contracts. Lobbyists like Joe Allbaugh, close friend of George Bush, and James Lee Witt, close friend of Bill Clinton -- both former heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- are advising their corporate clients to get teams on the scene. Normal rules of contracting and competition are being waived in the emergency. Big bucks are on the table. It is a time to be wired politically. The ideologues are in the hunt, too. Newt Gingrich is circulating memos calling for turning the region into a massive enterprise zone, slashing corporate taxes, reducing regulations. The oil lobby is pushing for drilling in Alaska and off the shores of the United States. Right wing activist Grover Norquist calls for cutting taxes on the wealthy even more to stimulate the economy. Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flak suggests conservatives use the crisis to try out their favorite ideas -- vouchers for education and health care. President Bush characteristically issued an executive order effectively lowering the wages of reconstruction workers -- and hiking the profits of their companies. He wiped out the requirement to pay prevailing wages in the disaster region, apparently thinking that $9 an hour for construction workers was too high a price to pay. The government can save money, no doubt, by exploiting illegal immigrant labor."
Heads of NAACP, National Urban League, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund Urge Fairness for African Americans, Katrina Survivors in Recovery Spending 9/13/2005 McKinney Associates
The Great New Orleans Land Grab - The 17th Street Canal levee was breached on purpose 9/13/2005 La Voz de Aztlan: "Who were these "military agents" that were killed by the police near the 17th Street Canal breached levee and what were they doing there? Why did the New Orleans police find it necessary to shoot and kill 5 or 6 of them? No one is saying anything and it appears that the news story has now been swept under the rug. Were these US Department of Defense personnel a Special Forces group or Navy Seals with top secret orders to sabotaged the levee? There are verifiable reports that at least 100 New Orleans police officers have disappeared from the face of the earth and that two have committed suicide. Could these be policemen that died defending the levee against sabotage by "federal contractors"? Another telling incident that points to a "nefarious plan" is what New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said at the height of the crisis. He said publicly, "I fear the CIA may take me out!" Mayor Nagin, a Black, said this twice. He told a reporter for the Associated Press: "If the CIA slips me something and next week you don't see me, you'll all know what happened." Later he told interviewers for CNN on a live broadcast that he feared the "CIA might take me out." What does Mayor Ray Nagin know and why does he fear the CIA? In an interview by WWL TV, Mayor Nagin complained vociferously that Louisiana National Guard Blackhawk helicopters were being stopped from dropping sandbags to plug the levee soon after it breached. There is evidence that no repairs were allowed on the levee until after New Orleans was totally flooded! Many civilian groups who were attempting to aid people trapped in their attics, on their roofs and at the Superdome are reporting that FEMA, other federal agents and the US military essentially "stopped" them from doing so. Convoys that were organized by truckers and carrying "food and water" were blocked by agents of the federal government on the highways and roads leading to New Orleans. The American Red Cross, in addition, encountered numerous incidents and has made formal complaints."
Usher Supports Kanye, Rebukes Media 9/13/2005 All Hip Hop News: "R&B crooner Usher is denying that he took exception to Kanye West’s off-the-cuff commentary that “George Bush doesn’t like Black people,” an opinion expressed during a live NBC telethon. Usher released a statement to contradict the reports and rebuked the media for promoting division between the two artists. “Contrary to false media reports, I support the personal opinions made by my friend Kanye West. If it wasn’t for his comments, there would not be an open dialogue about the underserved people in the Gulf Region,” Usher said in a statement."
Hard Knock Radio To Do Fact Finding Mission in Gulf States 9/12/2005 Davey D's Hip Hop Daily News: "Some of the Organizations we hope to connect and help (not a full list and we are still attempting to contact folks): The People's Hurricane Fund & Community Oversight Committee Incite Gulf States Chapter, FFLIC (Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children), Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Southern Echo 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, Malcom X Grassroots Movement Gulf States Chapters, NAACP/MER-C in Missisippi Southern Relief Fund c/o Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights"
Cynthia McKinney censored in congressional record- Is someone afraid of the word IMPEACHMENT? 9/12/2005 Bella Ciao: "I mentioned the word impeachment on the House Floor Thursday late afternoon, but I don’t see it in the official Congressional Record transcript. I was chided by the Speaker that it was out of order to question the President’s motives. I didn’t question motives, I questioned actions: from lack of actions on Katrina to cutting the budget of safety net programs, to rewarding the rich to the detriment of all the rest of us. This transcript directly from the Congressional Record is mangled and omits that word!!!! I can’t believe this. Please read the attachment (I don’t normally do attachments) and see if I missed it. If I hear back from you that it is, indeed, missing, then I will say the word repeatedly on the House Floor upon my return to force them to put my words as I say them in the Congressional Record."
Obama: Ignorance of inner city life partly at fault 9/12/2005 Chicago Sun Times: 'Whoever was in charge of planning was so detached from the realities of inner city life in New Orleans ... that they couldn't conceive of the notion that they couldn't load up their SUVs, put $100 worth of gas in there, put some sparkling water and drive off to a hotel and check in with a credit card,'' Obama said. ''There seemed to be a sense that this other America was somehow not on people's radar screen. And that, I think, does have to do with historic indifference on the part of government to the plight of those who are disproportionately African-American.'' He added that ''passive indifference is as bad as active malice.''
How, in the Katrina debate, can we be talking about racism? 9/12/2005 Town Hall
Bush allies getting Katrina work - Companies with ties to the White House among the first awarded reconstruction deals. 9/12/2005 CNN
Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans 9/11/2005 Democracy Now: ""When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?,'" said one of the Blackwater men. He was wearing his company ID around his neck in a carrying case with the phrase "Operation Iraqi Freedom" printed on it. After bragging about how he drives around Iraq in a "State Department issued level 5, explosion proof BMW," he said he was "just trying to get back to Kirkuk (in the north of Iraq) where the real action is." Later we overheard him on his cell phone complaining that Blackwater was only paying $350 a day plus per diem. That is much less than the men make serving in more dangerous conditions in Iraq. Two men we spoke with said they plan on returning to Iraq in October. But, as one mercenary said, they've been told they could be in New Orleans for up to 6 months. "This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations." If Blackwater's reputation and record in Iraq are any indication of the kind of "services" the company offers, the people of New Orleans have much to fear."
Locals believe Levees were Intentionally blown 9/11/2005 InfoWars
Exodus from Katrina-Hit States May Alter Political Mix in Louisiana, Texas 9/11/2005 Black America Web
Disasters Waiting to Happen 9/11/2005 NY Times: "The American Society of Civil Engineers, whose 137,000 members are involved in virtually every public works project undertaken in the United States, says that $1.6 trillion must be spent over the next five years to prevent further deterioration. Only $900 billion is now earmarked. Absent the additional spending, said Lawrence Roth, deputy executive director of the society, "every natural disaster is going to be more destructive than it needs to be." Infrastructure deteriorates in more than one way. There is lack of maintenance: roughly 13,000 highway fatalities each year, for example, are a result of inadequate maintenance of aging highways, the civil engineers say. And there is overuse: the levees in California, many of them built by farmers to convert marshes to farmland, now must be strengthened to prevent the destruction of newly built communities."
Blackwater Mercenaries: Coming Soon to Your Town 9/11/2005 UrukNet: "It is now obvious how martial law (not officially declared as such) will work in America in the wake of the devastation of New Orleans. Instead of federal troops or an influx of National Guard troops sent to “restore order” (the latter mandated in our now anachronistic Constitution; see Article 1, Section 8) and empowered to “suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions,” in Louisiana the state and federal governments have brazenly violated the Constitution by sending in Blackwater Security and other private goon squads. “Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans,” write Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo. “Some of the mercenaries say they have been ‘deputized’ by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force.” Soon after Katrina slammed into New Orleans, the media reported the presence of Blackwater goons (and have no doubt, Blackwater hires “special ops types from South Africa’s former apartheid regime,” according to James Ridgeway and others, people fairly characterized as murderous paramilitary goons)."
Katrina Survivor: 17th St. Levee 'Bombed' 9/11/2005 Conspiracy Planet: [This story, despite its "Conspiracy Planet" provenance, mirrors the many rumors passed around among the survivors, many of whom heard the explosions in the 9th ward.]
Attacks on democratic rights, breaching legal barriers: FEMA and Katrina: REX-84 Revisited The "Black Curtain" around FEMA's Operations 9/11/2005 Global Research: "In short, the corporate media would have us believe Brown is a clueless lawyer and former horse trader and FEMA an unresponsive federal bureaucratic leviathan wrapped up in red tape. But this does not explain the following: FEMA refused evacuation help from Amtrak; it turned away experienced fire fighters and first responders; it turned back Wal-Mart supply trucks; refused to allow the Red Cross to deliver food; blocked a 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid; turned away generators and other equipment (see this page with links to news stories). In other words, FEMA went out of its way to deny aid and allow people to die from dehydration, starvation, and lack of medicine and medical help. In addition to denying aid, and thus killing an as of yet (and possibly forever) unknown number of people, FEMA is attempting to control media access to the worst natural disaster in American history (see Journalist Groups Protest FEMA Ban on Photos of Dead). Moreover, journalists and photographers have been assaulted by troops and had their notebooks and cameras confiscated (see The Eye of the Hurricane by Matthias Gebauer)."
FEMA's Blocking Of Relief Efforts - An Amazing List 9/11/2005 Rense: [understandable in the context of FEMA as a continuity of government and control agency, not a disaster relief agency]
We had to kill our patients 9/11/2005 The Mail, UK: "Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive."
Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade' 9/11/2005 Independent, UK: "Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger. In an exclusive interview, Hugh Kaufman, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health. The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analysed. "Inept political hacks" running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income migrant workers by getting them to do the work. His intervention came as President Bush's approval ratings fell below 40 per cent for the first time. Yesterday, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, turned the screw by criticising the US President's opposition to the Kyoto protocol on global warming. He compared New Orleans to island nations such as the Maldives, which are threatened by rising sea levels. Other US sources spelt out the extent of the danger from one of America's most polluted industrial areas, known locally as "Cancer Alley". "
Sheriff threatens to arrest FEMA officials - Countermands FEMA order that stores remain closed 9/11/2005 Times Picayune, New Orleans
Breakdowns Marked Path From Hurricane to Anarchy 9/11/2005 NYT: "Oliver Thomas, the New Orleans City Council president, expressed a view shared by many in city and state government: that a national disaster requires a national response. "Everybody's trying to look at it like the City of New Orleans messed up," Mr. Thomas said in an interview. "But you mean to tell me that in the richest nation in the world, people really expected a little town with less than 500,000 people to handle a disaster like this? That's ludicrous to even think that.""
Vermont Guard find La. style of policing different 9/11/2005 Times Argus, VT: "Two deputies were in the cruiser and another three or four were loaded into the truck. The deputies asked the Guard members how things were going. When the soldiers said it was boring, one deputy said, "I guess we'll go make a run through there to see if we can stir some (stuff) up." "They're going in in squad size. It looks like they're loading up," one Guardsman said as the deputies pulled forward about 50 yards to get ready to make their patrol. The Guard prepared to spread out to catch anyone running from the deputies, but the next hour or so was quiet. "They said they went back in there and kicked everybody's door in," said Sgt. Francis Estey of Arlington. Staff Sgt. Eric Crammond said the police officers had a much harder attitude than the Guardsmen — understandable, given what they had gone through in the first days after the disaster. "They're talking the way we used to talk when we were 'in theater,'" he said, referring to the unit's recent deployment to Iraq. "They were in there the better part of an hour. (The residents) are pretty intimidated." ...Spc. Michael Shepard of Winooski noted another detail about the neighborhood. "All of the kids asked us if that's all we have for weapons," he said, hoisting his M-16 rifle and nodding towards the 9 mm pistol in a holster on his leg. "I was like, 'uh-oh.'" A number of the Guard in third platoon reported police officers carrying weapons as large as an AT-4 — an anti-tank weapon and a successor to the bazooka."
Rebuilding New Orleans means reinventing the whole city 9/11/2005 Baltimore Sun
On the Edge Without an Exit 9/11/2005 LA Times: "A Gretna, La., social worker tries to treat and evacuate the remaining residents in his housing project, as local officials say they can't do much."
COVERUP: The dynamiting of the New Orleans levee system 9/11/2005 Voz de Azatlan: "The ultimate purpose is to rid New Orleans of poor Black folks and take their valuable land away. We are already seeing the plan take fruition. Banks and mortgage companies are now foreclosing on homes and properties because poor Black in diaspora are unable to make mortgage payments. Also, Black families in New Orleans who owned their homes outright could not afford damage insurance and do not have the money to rebuild. Most likely, their properties would be taken away for failure to pay property taxes. Developers, and contractors stand to make a lot of money in the new New Orleans. Vultures are already hovering over the devastated city. Dick Cheney was recently in town to survey the possibilities for Halliburton and deals are being made with a Las Vegas group to build multi-million casinos in the Big Easy."
Katrina: Relocation or Ethnic Cleansing? 9/11/2005 Dissident Voice
BANNER TURNS HERO FOR MISSISSIPPI HURRICANE VICTIMS 9/11/2005 Contact Music: "Banner, who has organised a benefit concert in Atlanta, Georgia to raise cash for survivors, felt guilty when he realised he had clothes and footwear he'd never wear when so many were without anything. So he packed up his truck and travelled across the state dropping off his belongings to others."
German plane with Katrina aid turned back from U.S. 9/10/2005 AP: [Add this to a long list of similar events.]
Police in Suburbs Blocked Evacuees, Witnesses Report 9/10/2005 NYT: "Arthur Lawson, chief of the Gretna, La., Police Department, confirmed that his officers, along with those from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the Crescent City Connection Police, sealed the bridge. "There was no place for them to come on our side," Mr. Lawson said. He said that he had been asked by reporters about officers threatening victims with guns or shooting over their heads, but he said that he had not yet asked his officers about that. "As soon as things calm down, we will do an inquiry and find out what happened," he said."
FEMA has hired Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Management 9/10/2005 Talking Points Memo: "Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Management, a Houston-based company which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), another Houston-based corporation, which bills itself as the "dominant leader in the North American death care industry." SCI is not only closely associated with the president (which is not surprising since the company is based in Houston), they were also at the center of what is probably the best-known scandal during Bush's six years as governor of Texas: the so-called 'funeralgate' case."
Beyond Incompetence 9/10/2005 Bellacio: [Many instances where the government was not just incompetent but actively sabotaged aid to Katrina victims]
Katrina effort mired in bureaucratic hash 9/10/2005 Newsday
Fearful Southerners buy firearms at torrid pace 9/10/2005 Chicago Tribune: "In any case, there is no shortage of homeowners putting up signs that read "Looters will be shot on sight." On the ground, there is mounting evidence to suggest firearms are a hot commodity. Take the neighborhood surrounding the Astrodome in Houston, where gun stores say they're selling at a brisk pace. "Basically, what we are seeing is people who are just afraid," said Valde Garcia, manager of Bailey's House of Guns near the Astrodome, where thousands of Katrina's victims have been housed temporarily."
New Orleans: covert operations underway? 9/10/2005 UrukNet: "Wednesday's broadcast of KPFA's "Flashpoints" featured a telephone interview with Malik Rahim, who gave a gut-wrenching and shocking firsthand account of the staggering horror of still-neglected New Orleans that he and other survivors are facing. In stark contrast to increasingly optimistic mainstream media coverage (cover-up) about "improving relief efforts" and "rebuilding," Rahim exposed the fact that there is no relief. No Red Cross, no food, no emergency medical care under a FEMA lockdown that has kept any relief from getting into New Orleans. Meanwhile, as the Bush administration's combat operations ramp up, and troops prowl the streets, no help whatsoever has been offered to residents, according to Rahim. Rotting corpses litter the streets. People, heroically fending for themselves and their own, are being left in shocking conditions to suffer and die."
Business Elite Ethnically Cleanse the Poor in New Orleans 9/10/2005 UrukNet: "In 1927, the so-called Great Mississippi Flood was used to ethnically cleanse African-Americans. “As the flood approached New Orleans, Louisiana 30 tons of dynamite were set off on the levee at Caernarvon, Louisiana,” explains Wikipedia. “This prevented New Orleans from experiencing serious damage but destroyed much of the marsh below the city and flooded all of St. Bernard Parish… During the disaster 700,000 people were displaced, including 330,000 African-Americans who were moved to 154 relief camps. Over 13,000 refugees near Greenville, Mississippi were gathered from area farms and evacuated to the crest of an unbroken levee, and stranded there for days without food or clean water, while boats arrived to evacuate white women and children. Many African-Americans were detained and forced to labor at gunpoint during flood relief efforts… The aftermath of the flood was one factor in the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities.”"
The Real Heroes of New Orleans 9/10/2005 EV World: another copy of the story of the Gretna sheriff turning back survivors at the bridge.
Kevin Powell Reports Back from Louisianna 9/10/2005 Davey D's Hip Hop News
LAPD Shut Down dead prez/KRS Benefit Show 9/10/2005 Davey D's Hip Hop News: "Fidel also dropped some knowledge about LAPD including the sorted history of police Chief William Bratton and the increased militarization of the police. He also spoke about how a lot of folks in the hood were being depicted as potential terrorists and how there was new laws on the books that allowed the President to keep one in prison indefinitely after he slapped them with a label ‘enemy combatant. Folks were all up in the place soaking everything up. By the time I arrived KRS had already ripped it big time… Well known DJs like Mark Luv of the Zulu Nation held it down on the ones and twos and Ras Kass took the stage and repped in a major way.. On deck after Ras Kass was dead prez and judging by the enthusiastic applause it was clear folks came to see them. So Ras is rocking his set when suddenly everything is thrown off by the loud noise of LA’s infamous ‘ghetto bird’ (police helicopter). At first, everyone thought the copter was just flying by, when suddenly it circled around and flashed its big floodlights on the peaceful crowd. It made a couple of more passes and then almost on cue, the entire crowd started chanting ‘@#%$ the Police’ and put their middle fingers up to the sky."
Cops trapped survivors in New Orleans 9/9/2005 Washington Times: ""We shut down the bridge," Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been "a closed and secure location" since before the storm hit. "All our people had evacuated and we locked the city down," he said. The bridge in question -- the Crescent City Connection -- is the major artery heading west out of New Orleans across the Mississippi River. Lawson said that once the storm itself had passed Monday, police from Gretna City, Jefferson Parrish and the Louisiana State Crescent City Connection Police Department closed to foot traffic the three access points to the bridge closest to the West Bank of the river. He added that the small town, which he called "a bedroom community" for the city of New Orleans, would have been overwhelmed by the influx. "There was no food, water or shelter" in Gretna City, Lawson said. "We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people. "If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged." " [The standard excuse for lynchings was rape of a white woman.]
Fox touts misleading Red Cross account to blame Blanco 9/9/2005 Media Matters
Iraq hurt Katrina response, general says 9/9/2005 CNN: "The deployment of thousands of National Guard troops from Mississippi and Louisiana in Iraq when Hurricane Katrina struck hindered those states' initial storm response, military and civilian officials said Friday. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that "arguably" a day or so of response time was lost due to the absence of the Mississippi National Guard's 155th Infantry Brigade and Louisiana's 256th Infantry Brigade, each with thousands of troops in Iraq."
EXPLOSIVE RESIDUE FOUND ON FAILED LEVEE DEBRIS! 9/9/2005 Hal Turner Show
Dallas meeting plans reconstruction of New Orleans without poor African Americans 9/9/2005 Wayne Madsen Report: "According to well-informed New Orleans sources, New Orleans' wealthiest families, including those who are direct descendants of the French who settled New Orleans (not the Acadians [Cajuns] who were poor refugees from British tyranny in Nova Scotia) are meeting in Dallas today with Bush administration officials, New Orleans city officials, wealthy Texas oilmen, and bankers to plan for the reconstruction of New Orleans. These wealthy New Orleans residents live in the gated community of Audobon Place, a section of the city near the Garden District replete with personal helipads that still has running water and sewage and was only slightly affected by hurricane Katrina. It is now reportedly being patrolled by private Israeli security forces… The Dallas meeting focused on rebuilding and re-zoning New Orleans without the "criminal element," a code word for the city's poor African American community. These New Orleans residents have been scattered across the United States and are now under the control of FEMA. There is an understanding by the wealthy New Orleans elite that the poor will never be able to return."
Rebuilding New Orleans for Big Oil 9/9/2005 Unknown News: "The port where New Orleans sits is one of the most important on the Gulf Coast, if not the most important. A huge amount of oil, gas, and other commerce moves through this port. On top of this, for years now, the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) industry has been trying to get past strict environmental regulations to try to establish a LNG terminal somewhere along this coast, but has run into nothing but roadblocks. It's just too damn dangerous to have such a facility located anywhere near so many people. It has its own inherent dangers, being that there would be such a huge amount of explosive gas moving through the area, but it would also be certain to attract terrorists. But what if they could get rid of one of the biggest roadblocks, the people? Enter Hurricane Katrina, and you have the perfect opportunity. We haven't heard from Dick Cheney through this entire ordeal. Suddenly he emerges from his Wyoming hideaway, and he is being dispatched to New Orleans to oversee the reconstruction. How telling. How convenient. Just the man for the job, that is, if it involves furthering the interests of Big Oil/Gas rather than rebuilding for the little people, and poor black ones at that."
Beware: The Post-Katrina Great Land Grab! 9/9/2005 National Black Business News
KANYE FIRES OFF AGAIN 9/9/2005 Contact Music: "And he isn't finished yet - appearing on ELLEN DeGENERES' US television chat show this morning (09SEP05), West insisted Bush and other politicians knew America's Gulf Coast couldn't withstand a hurricane a year before Katrina hit." [Actually for many years.]
New Orleans Population has the Right of Return 9/8/2005 Black Commentator: "Displacement based on race is a form of genocide, as recognized under the Geneva Conventions. Destruction of a people’s culture, by official action or depraved inaction, is an offense against humanity, under international law. New Orleans – the whole city, and its people – is an indispensable component of African American culture and history. It is clear that the displaced people of New Orleans are being outsourced – to everywhere, and nowhere. They are not nowhere people. They are citizens of the United States, which is obligated to right the wrongs of the Bush regime, and it’s unnatural disaster. Charity is fine. Rights are better. The people of New Orleans have the Right to Return – on Uncle Sam’s tab."
Military courage, love to save our people 9/8/2005 Final Call: On Sept. 3, New Black Panthers from Houston and Dallas under the direction of National Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, along with Houston Chairperson Krystal Muhammad and Dallas Chairperson Robert Williams, left the Houston Astrodome headed for New Orleans in two Black-owned chartered buses… Lynelle Washington, who gave her story directly to The Final Call afer she was rescued by them: “I have been here through it all. I never left my house in Gretna, La. It’s right across the bridge from New Orleans. I got completely flooded out. I have been trapped here the entire time. The cops came by on Saturday and they saw that I was alive. They gave me two bottles of water and kept going. I was scared to go out of my house. The boy down the street went into the Walgreen's across the street to get him something to eat and they (police) beat him. They thought he was the one who broke in, but he wasn’t, it was already broken into. I saw him, he went in after it was already broken into. “They keep changing up their stories. First, they got on the loudspeakers telling people to go into the places and get them something to eat, then when the people go in, they beat them. They beat up the boy and left him on the street. I went out after the police left and gave the boy one of the bottles of water they gave me. Thank God for these Brothers that came to get me.”"
WAYE encourages hurricane victims 9/8/2005 Birmingham Times: "WAYE 1220 AM decided to declare Friday September 2 as a day of encouragement for the hurricane evacuees that are placed in the City of Birmingham. WAYE manager Minister Mary Agee and program director Bishop Demetrics Roscoe organized an inter-faith tribute to all the displaced victims that are stationed around the area. Pastors, businesses, politicians, and local citizens all joined together to support this concerted effort. According to one of WAYE listeners this one-hour program was one of the most dynamic and healing moments she had ever experienced."
Black Outrage and Worldwide Criticism Mounting 9/8/2005 Black Voice News
New Orleans and the Demise of the Democrats 9/8/2005 Black Commentator: "The entire country is facing the plight of the people of New Orleans, coping with the dangers of Republican hell and Democratic high water. One party is proud of its viciousness while the other claims not to be vicious but proudly proclaims its willingness to shoot desperate refugees."
Bush suffers in polls post-Katrina 9/8/2005 Reuters
Unbearable Crime on the Mississipi 9/8/2005 Black Commentator: "When I woke up today, the only thought that came to mind was Reverend Jesse Jackson's indignant cry, "This is the bottom of the slave ship we are looking at." ...Jesse's metaphor is also so apt in that you only had to listen to five minutes of reporting to know families had been separated in ways that could be irreparable – across states, even mothers from month-old babies...just evacuating babies without contact with the parents is such a nightmare, I hate even hearing about it. These are the people who were marginalized from the Internet as well; are they going to run to a computer site? ...Lastly, there is now what is called the Katrina Diaspora. This diaspora of people without resources puts the restoration of families and community at risk, and in the case of New Orleans' black community, probably makes that impossible. Even people who own land there are going to be in deep trouble trying to hold onto it when the real estate boondoggle gets in the courts. I'm afraid we'll be reading a lot of stupid crap about how they couldn't be found, taxes were owed, etc. as in times past throughout the South. That's why I hope Jesse gets someone to bring people like Congressman Bennie Thompson into the fold, as he is familiar with the commission that had to be set up in the Delta because people are still trying to get back land stolen in the 1930s. And the developers are probably asking for eminent domain to be declared even as I'm typing."
America's Pretenses Washed Away 9/8/2005 Black Commentator: "Message boards all over the Internet are filled with posts from white people that are espousing hatred and rejoicing that Katrina caused such devastation and how they wished that it had killed all the (racial epithet) of New Orleans. Black America has been feeling the pain of the racist tone since the first reports of Black people being termed “looters” while white people were miraculously “finding” food. We are supposed to accept our lot in life and not complain because that’s the premise of this great nation. Black people, check your birth certificate to see if you are classified as three-fifths of a human being. Chances are, if you are poor and undereducated, it says you are because that’s the way the government is treating us."
Poll: Katrina Response Inadequate 9/8/2005 CBS: [the blame game may play well]
Louisiana senator: Thank you Canada 9/8/2005 CBC News: "A Louisiana state senator has praised a Canadian search and rescue team. Senator Walter Boasso said a Vancouver-based team reached St. Bernard parish five days before the U.S. army got there. "Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people ... We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere.""
Camps 9/8/2005 Simbaud: survey of detention camps
Helicopter Pilots Get Shit On For Rescuing Hurricane Victims: Pissed Sailors Cut Off Their Search/Rescue Patches 9/8/2005 UrukNet
The Militarization of New Orleans. From Victims to Vandals: Mass Media and New Orleans 9/8/2005 Global Research: "The mass media commentators and interviewers wholeheartedly co-operated in decriminalizing the state. The officials guilty of crimes against the humanity of poor and destitute citizens were transformed into humanitarian saviors. Not a single word of self-criticism from the officials and none suggested by the media moderators. The few dissident critical voices of the first few days were chastened and disappeared from the television screen. The US media was the only place in the world in which the guilty officials were exonerated… Given the government’s total abandonment of tens of thousands of poor, starving and homeless blacks, it was obvious that many people would scavenge for food and water. By deliberately linking the survivors with “looters” and “rapists”, public officials set the stage for the subsequent militarization and de-facto martial law – fertile terrain for the killing fields. The first reports that filtered out from (unembedded) eyewitness reports mentioned groups of Guardsmen beating the self-help survivors. Military reports cited the killing of several ‘snipers’. No doubt the Government’s first pre-occupation is to saturate the city with the military to prevent the survivors from organizing for justice and to channel all communications about the state of the city through officially approved sources. Even more significantly the military defines the nature of the situation as a problem of criminality and the repressive “solution” through maximum control and minimum aid."
KATRINA TIMELINE 9/8/2005 UrukNet
International offers of support: What about Cuba? 9/8/2005 Final Call
Was racial bias behind U.S. government failure in New Orleans? 9/8/2005 Final Call: "Later, federal officials and Republicans began shifting the blame to local and state officials. They insisted that local and Louisiana state officials are the designated “first responders,” and they accused the Democratic governor and mayor of New Orleans of not sounding the alarm soon enough. However, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had, in fact, made an urgent official request three days before the storm, according to Rep. Cummings, “for some kind of a special designation from FEMA, which would have had the buses taking people out, three days before the storm,” Mr. Cummings told The Final Call in an exclusive interview. “It sat on a desk and didn’t even get looked at until after the storm had hit. “This has got to be a wake-up call for us, as African American people, from another perspective,” he continued. “That is, if we believe that the government is going to always be there for our rescue, we need to re-think that. Because I don’t want us to be in a position where we’re not doing for self, when we can. And this is the perfect situation for that lesson to be learned.”"
Katrina, Aftermath Galvanize Black America 9/8/2005 AP: "Some 71 percent of blacks say the disaster shows that racial inequality remains a major problem in America, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 6-7 among 1,000 Americans; 56 percent of whites feel this was not a particularly important lesson. And while 66 percent of blacks think the government's response would have been faster if most of the victims had been white, 77 percent of whites disagreed. On Thursday, first lady Laura Bush said it was "disgusting" that critics blamed her husband's policies for the racial disparities between hurricane survivors."
Interview about restrictions on New Orleans detainees ends abruptly 9/8/2005 Unknown News: [Has Utah created a concentration camp for Katrina survivors?]
FEMA Nixes Grassroots Radio Station for Hurricane Evacuees 9/8/2005 Village Voice
Two Bush 2000 Florida recount aides were rewarded with top FEMA posts 9/8/2005 Philadelphia Daily News: "Reversing an eight-year crusade to rid the now-embattled Federal Emegency Management Agency of political patronage, a newly elected George W. Bush in 2001 named two key players in his Florida recount fight to important FEMA posts."
"What didn't go right?" 9/8/2005 Salon: "The Bush administration's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina stands as the pluperfect case study of the Republican Party's theory and practice of government. For decades conservatives have funded think tanks, filled libraries and conducted political campaigns to promote the idea of limited government. Now, in New Orleans, the theory has been tested. The floodwaters have rolled over the rhetoric. Under Bush, government has been "limited" only in certain weak spots, like levees, while in other spots it has vastly expanded into a behemoth subsisting on the greatest deficit spending in our history. State and local governments have not been empowered, but rendered impotent, in the face of circumstances beyond their means in which they have desperately requested federal intervention. Experienced professionals in government have been forced out, tried-and-true policies discarded, expert research ignored and cronies elevated to senior management."
FEMA - The Secret Government 9/8/2005 UrukNet: originally published in 1995 - "Some people have referred to it as the "secret government" of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions of dollars. This government organization has more power than the President of the United States or the Congress, it has the power to suspend laws, move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant and hold them without trial, it can seize property, food supplies, transportation systems, and can suspend the Constitution."
Media groups say FEMA censors search for bodies 9/7/2005 Reuters
International offers of help came immediately, but U.S. approval was delayed by days 9/7/2005 Washington Post
Why Do They Hate You? John Wayne and New Orleans Indians 9/7/2005 Counterpunch: "I kept warning others that they should not go out, even in taxis, because they would be in danger returning. I tried to explain why, to no avail. Sure enough, a young historian from Maine was shot and killed by a sniper in front of the Hyatt after returning from fun in the French Quarter. After that, the historians stayed inside until ready to go to the airport in buses. Now, New Orleans will be rebuilt as one big "urban renewal" project, destroying the remaining working class homes and apartments, a sort of Disneyland for tourists and the wealthy. It's been going in that direction for forty years, as have other cities like Manhattan and San Francisco. But, it may not be that easy with that insurgency which, hopefully, will not capitulate."
Three Days In Hell 9/7/2005 TPM Café: "One time, to amuse themselves, the soldiers threw bottles as hard as they could into the crowd, like in baseball. A woman was hit in the head. The Navy arrived and it was even worse: the soldiers did not stop yelling at us. From the bus that took us on Friday morning towards Dallas, we saw a cotton field outside the windows. The blacks joked: “Nothing has changed,” they told us."
Welcome to the Rockies, now get behind the fence! 9/7/2005 Blue Owl Six: "And then there is that report I have noted in recent days of the 1,000 evacuees flown to Roosevelt Roads naval base on Puerto Rico's eastern tip. What of them? I've still seen no reports, but I confirmed it with a Puerto Rican friend of mine. This is too surreal. As for forcing Americans into a fenced-in camp? I don't like it. Not one bit."
‘There was about to be a riot in New Orleans’ - ‘They are trying to make the conditions here intolerable so that everyone will leave’ - by Malik Rahim 9/7/2005 SF Bay View
FEMA packed with W's pals 9/7/2005 NY Daily News: "The three top jobs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Bush went to political cronies with no apparent experience coping with catastrophes, the Daily News has learned. Even if Bush were to fire embattled and suddenly invisible FEMA Director Michael Brown over his handling of Hurricane Katrina, the bureaucrat immediately below him is no disaster professional, either. While Brown ran horse shows in his last private-sector job, FEMA's No. 2 man, deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and White House. He also did short stints at the Commerce Department and Small Business Administration."
Key aim of the Bush administration's takeover of the NOLA situation is to cut off press access 9/7/2005 Talking Point Memo: "Take a moment to note what's happening here: these are the marks of repressive government, which mixes inefficiency with authoritarianism. The crew that couldn't get key aid on the scene in time last week is coming in in force now. And one of the key missions appears to be cutting off public information about what's happening in the city. This is a domestic, natural disaster. Absent specific cases where members of the press would interfere or get in the way of some particular clean up operation, or perhaps demolition work, there is simply no reason why credentialed members of the press should not be able to cover everything that is happening in that city."
Bush's White Wash of Katrina 9/7/2005 National Black Business News
The Deadly Legacy of the Welfare State Lies in New Orleans 9/7/2005 The Future of Freedom Foundation: [Why is it that the word Freedom now makes us so suspicious - perhaps this article is a good example, with its twisted logic and ignorance of the facts. Cuba can evacuate 1.7 million people on a dime, and they sure don't do it via the "Welfare State Scam".]
ANSWER delegation reports from New Orleans 9/7/2005 SF Bay View
WSJ: White rich elude Orleans chaos, don’t want poor Blacks back 9/7/2005 SF Bay View
Prisoners abandoned in Orleans Parish Prison 9/7/2005 SF Bay View: "Ahmad told Maga, my friend, that he was LEFT IN ORLEANS PARISH PRISON, along with every other prisoner, when the hurricane hit and the flood waters rose. The prison guards and other staff left, evacuated the prison and left the inmates there to fend for themselves. Most of them were locked in their cells; the cell doors were stuck due to power outages. Ahmad tells of riots and total panic within the prison as it started filling with water. He says, “The whole prison is going to have to be rebuilt,” as the inmates literally tore the place apart, trying to escape any way they could. Ahmad went four days and nights locked in the prison WITHOUT ANY FOOD OR WATER."
When the sky is taken by storm: The rage and anguish of Black America 9/7/2005 SF Bay View
Add it all up: News from New Orleans - What do you get? Genocide! 9/7/2005 SF Bay View: "“Reports are emanating from Iraqis who are working with the Americans, both at the Baghdad International airport and in the Green Zone, of a mutiny that occurred among the American soldiers against their officers,” uruknet.info reports. “Three days ago, one American soldier went into hysterics upon hearing of the death of three members of his family in New Orleans. Corporal Nick Lancer shouted: ‘This is the curse of Iraq. My family paid for my crimes in Iraq. Send us back to help our families. God damn you, Bush and Rumsfeld.’ “Matters escalated when an officer tried, by force, to calm Lancer down. Lancer was then joined by other soldiers who started to beat the officer. The fighting escalated when other officers tried to intervene in the melee and the soldiers began attacking and hitting them with their rifle butts. This included the beating of Iraqi senior army officers who attempted to help the American officers. “The soldiers were shouting: ‘You scoundrels. We will throw you out to the Resistance to kill you. It is because of you that we are getting killed here.’ At one point, one of the soldiers radioed other fellow soldiers, who were out on patrols, to stop their mission and to return quickly to join them.”
Dean: Race played a role in Katrina death toll 9/7/2005 AP: ""We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not," Dean said. Dean said Americans have a moral responsibility to not ignore the devastating effects of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast. The former presidential candidate said the government will be judged on how it treats the old, the young and the poor. "People are poor in different parts of the country. They are not refugees. They are Americans," he said. Dean said that instead of considering proposed estate tax breaks, the Senate should channel the $760 billion savings into disaster relief funds."
Sucker's Bets for the New Century The U.S. after Katrina 9/6/2005 Znet: "Our rulers have insisted by both word and deed that the laws of physics and chemistry do not apply to us. That delusion will now start to vanish. Katrina marks Year One of our new calendar, the start of an age in which the physical world has flipped from sure and secure to volatile and unhinged. New Orleans doesn't look like the America we've lived in. But it very much resembles the planet we will inhabit the rest of our lives."
Hurricanes thriving on global warming 9/6/2005 The Register: "In a paper appearing in the online edition of the journal Nature Kerry Emmanuel, professor of meteorology in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, writes: "My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in [hurricanes'] destructive potential, and - taking into account an increasing coastal population - a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the 21st century." Emanuel analysed data from tropical cyclones dating back to the middle of the last century, tracking the amount of energy released by each storm, the duration of the storm and its top windspeed. He found that since the 1970's, the storms have become more energetic, around half as fast again, and last on average 50 per cent longer. The results are broadly in line with computer simulations of the impact of climate change on hurricane intensity. The increase has also happened in parallel with an increase in the average surface temperature of the world's oceans. Some of this temperature increase can be ascribed to global warming, Emanuel says."
Firing Michael Brown Is Not Enough 9/6/2005 Znet
Real Heroes and Sheroes of New Orleans 9/6/2005 Znet: "As we approached the bridge, armed sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and the commander’s assurances. The sheriffs informed us that there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move. We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans, and there would be no Superdomes in their city. These were code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you are not getting out of New Orleans."
The Real Costs of a Culture of Greed 9/6/2005 Alternet: "Yet the problem is much deeper. For half a century, free-market purists have to great effect denigrated the essential role that modern government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Thus, the symbolism of New Orleans' flooding is tragically apt: Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Louisiana Gov. Huey Long's ambitious populist reforms in the 1930s eased Louisiana out of feudalism and toward modernity; the Reagan Revolution and the callousness of both Bush administrations have sent them back toward the abyss."
New Orleans during the disaster: Authorities vs. humanity 9/6/2005 EMS news: "The authors are paramedics from California who were attending the EMS conference in New Orleans… Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water. Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of "victims" they saw "mob" or "riot". We felt safety in numbers. Our "we must stay together" was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups."
Refugees from New Orleans behind barbed wire in Utah 9/6/2005 Unknown News
I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp 9/6/2005 Above Top Secret: [in Oklahoma] "The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and "a sum of money" and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months."
White House Press Briefing: Angry Reporters Hit McClellan Hard on Hurricane, Ask if Heads Will Roll 9/6/2005 Editor & Publisher
Ray Nagin Is NOT America's Mayor 9/6/2005 MichNews: [background on New Orlean's mayor from a Republican point of view, praises Bush, neglects to mention that FEMA never responded to request to evacuate city on school buses. Evacuate to where?]
Bush greeted by storm backlash 9/6/2005 Newsday: "As the man who represents, to many in the Gulf States, a government response that Bush himself called "not acceptable," the president faced a continuing backlash from survivors and officials along the flattened path of last week's hurricane."
GREEKS BEARING GIFTS - Paul Krugman at the New York Times and Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt Leading America Into the Next Slaughter 9/6/2005 From the Wilderness: "Intelligent critics from both left and right have for years painstakingly documented FEMA’s paramount leadership role in Continuity of Government (COG) operations and planning. Better described, COG is what will happen if Congress is nuked, if a major catastrophe makes “normal” government operations impossible, or if there is major civil unrest (or total economic collapse). Much of FEMA’s infrastructure is really dedicated to this task and not to disaster relief. The COG function and authority has been greatly expanded since 9/11. At FTW we have written about FEMA many times and discussed it at length in my book Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. There is no shortage of verifiable government records confirming all this including about two score Executive Orders, The Patriot Act, The Homeland Security Bill, and a couple of pieces of legislation having to do with biological warfare enacted in the post-9/11 climate. COG work was initially begun way back in the late 1970s, and involved early input from the likes of Iran-Contra criminal Oliver North. That’s where FEMA actually came from. If this thinking is not curtailed, then as the economic collapse of the United States becomes ever harder to conceal, FEMA will have been given a green light to impose the most draconian and heartless of measures in our country. FEMA will have the ability to divide the US up into ten autonomous regions, independently governed. Denver will be key to that decentralization and I note with irony that the CIA recently announced it was moving its National Resources (formerly Domestic Operations) Division to Denver (Washington Post, May 5, 2005) . FEMA will have the authority to confiscate any private property, food, medicine, personal vehicles, water supplies and even to impress citizens into forced labor and relocation as needed. FEMA will be able to override all local governments in a declared national emergency, quarantine neighborhoods and compel people to receive untested (for efficacy) vaccinations of drugs which may be dangerous (remember the smallpox vaccines?) and which will only enrich the pharmaceutical companies. FEMA will have the authority to confiscate firearms and gold held by private individuals. The government records proving what I say here are available in abundance and have been widely circulated over the internet for years. The little that remains of our Bill of Rights will simply cease to exist with a Code Red terror alert or another Katrina. And global warming makes another Katrina somewhere inevitable."
Mayor ready for armed standoff with FEMA 9/5/2005 AntiWar.com: "Ben Morris, Slidell mayor: We are still hampered by some of the most stupid, idiotic regulations by FEMA. They have turned away generators, we've heard that they've gone around seizing equipment from our contractors. If they do so, they'd better be armed because I'll be damned if I'm going to let them deprive our citizens. I'm pissed off, and tired of this horse$#@@.""
New Orleans Activist Malik Rahim Blasts Mayor Nagin 9/5/2005 Democracy Now
Why FEMA Was Missing in Action - Most of the agency's preparedness budget and focus are related to terrorism, not disasters. 9/5/2005 LA Times
Five dead 'were army workers' 9/5/2005 The Australian: "At least five people shot dead by police as they walked across a New Orleans bridge yesterday were contractors working for the US Defence department, according to a report by The Associated Press."
The Cavalry can't get past FEMA 9/5/2005 Meet the Press: when this is played on network TV, they leave out the part about FEMA: "We had Wal-mart deliver three trucks of water. Trailer trucks of water. Fema turned them back, said we didn't need them. This was a week go. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a coast guard vessel docked in my parish. The coast guard said come get the fuel right way. When we got there with our trucks, they got a word, FEMA says don't give you the fuel. Yesterday, yesterday, fema comes in and cuts all our emergency communications lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in. he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards said no one is getting near these lines."
Rove Returns: CIA Leaker Now Leading Campaign to Blame Local Officials for Katrina Aftermath 9/5/2005 Think Progress
’US Troops mutiny in Iraq’ 9/5/2005 Wayne Madsen Report: "WMR has learned that the US embassy in Baghdad is checking into reports that U.S. troops in Iraq, including National Guardsmen, Army and Marine Corps Reserves, and regular military troops from Louisiana and Mississippi, have mutinied against their officers and are demanding to be immediately sent back home to help their families. It is not known whether the reported mutinies involve physical violence. The reports of rebellions among U.S. troops are filtering out of the Green Zone and at Baghdad International Airport from Iraqis who are working alongside their American counterparts at both locations."
FEMA "dragging its feet" as businesses try to help hurricane, flood victims 9/5/2005 FT
Why FEMA turned away help 9/5/2005 Daily Kos: FEMA's "reason" -- they wouldn't let anyone in "until the National Guard has secured the city."
Venezuela's Citgo sets up hurricane relief centers 9/5/2005 KLFY, LA
'When you look at who is left behind, it is very disturbing to me.' 9/5/2005 Negrophile: good links
Hurricane Katrina: Black America's 9/11? 9/5/2005 Different Kitchen: good links
Was rescue a race, class issue? 9/4/2005 Seattle Times
An Angry 'Times-Picayune' Calls for Firing of FEMA Chief and Others in Open Letter to President On Sunday 9/4/2005 Editor & Publisher
'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.'"
By the Numbers: In Katrina’s Wake, Race and Class Still Not Being Addressed 9/4/2005 Think Progress
Blacks must monitor how hurricane victims are treated 9/4/2005 Chicago Sun Times
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."
Senators Call Government Response 'Immense Failure' 9/4/2005 Capitol Hill Blues
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.]
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."
Hurricane Center Director Tells Paper He Briefed Brown and Chertoff on Danger of Severe Flooding 9/4/2005 Editor & Publisher
Homeland Security Won't Let Red Cross Deliver Food 9/4/2005 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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.""
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."
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."
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
Joe "Funeralgate: Allbaugh Destroyed FEMA 9/4/2005 Democrats.com: "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.""
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.""
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."
KATRINA RESPONSE ANGERS BLACK LAWMAKERS 9/3/2005 AfroNet
Red Cross Banned From Bringing Food and Supplies to Nola 9/3/2005 TalkLeft
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
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!"
Matters of race enter into Katrina perspectives 9/3/2005 Journal Times
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.]
Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food 9/3/2005 Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"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."
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."
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."
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."
Don't You Know Me, I'm Your Native Son… Notes from Inside New Orleans 9/3/2005 Counterpunch: has list of local organizations at the end.
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."
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.""
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.""
Storm brews around Bush leadership 9/3/2005 New Zeland Herald
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."
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."
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
"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."
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."
How to help: Black groups rally to aid victims 9/3/2005 Guerilla News
Brown pushed from last job: Horse group: FEMA chief had to be `asked to resign' 9/3/2005 Boston Herald
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.]
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."
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
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?"
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."
Emergency crews turned back by FEMA: They lacked "the required paperwork" 9/2/2005 Unknown News
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."
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."
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."
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.
Notes From Inside New Orleans 9/2/2005 New Orleans IndyMedia
Barbara Lee Blames War for Slow Response to Katrina 9/2/2005 Truth Out
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."
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."
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."
Jesse Jackson hits out at Bush, suggests race behind New Orleans' plight 9/2/2005 AFP
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: A Disaster Waiting To Happen 9/2/2005 NNPA: By George E. Curry, who editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and BlackPressUSA.com, 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."
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
The people who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave New Orleans are overwhelmingly poor and black 9/2/2005 Granma
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."
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."
France, Cuba, Venezuela among those offering aid 9/2/2005 AP
|"Hezbollah is ready to embark on it's new project, rebuilding New Orleans. Sure they're muslim terrorists, but at least they're not FEMA!'" - the Daily Show, 8/16/06|
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