From the October 2005 Idaho Observer:

Katrina’s flood waters are receding, leaving behind a layer of muck from sea to shining sea

It’s been over a month since Katrina devastated the Gulf coast. Almost daily we receive new information on how deadly and destructive this tropical storm was to people and property. And, as the tragedy was unfolding and, indeed, to this very day, we accumulate more and more evidence of how scandalously the federal relief efforts were mismanaged—and how the entire disaster is being used to justify the provisioning of a standing army to manage natural disasters and terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Following is a collection of Katrina headlines and comments that have come in over the last several weeks. The purpose of this page is to get a clear picture of post-Katrina America.


Sept. 9: Eight lies about Katrina—an article from Alternet, listed some official whoppers that place anything from the Bush administration regarding Katrina into question. Among them, "I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees," said President Bush (nonsense because the levee integrity had been of local concern for years). "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center [SuperDome] so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day," said Mike Brown Sept. 2. But on Sept. 2, MSNBC reporter Tony Zumbado reported live from the Convention Center that the people had been told to go there, so they did—and had received no food and no water for four days. Michael Chertoff stated on CNN Sept. 1 that people spontaneously appeared at the Convention Center.

Sept. 9: Divers examining the levee breaks claim to have found physical and forensic evidence suggesting the levee was blown up by at least two separate explosive devices the day after Katrina hit. Witnesses claim they heard three explosions near the levee at about 4 a.m. Sept. 10: The Orlando Sentinel reports that, "The FBI is taking the unprecedented step of allowing its closely guarded national criminal history database and finger-printing catalog to be used to screen Hurricane Katrina evacuees seeking shelter in private homes as well as the people offering to house them." The database was also being used to do background checks on relief workers.

Sept. 11: By now there were dozens of reports from government officials that snipers were taking positions and shooting at police. Though the reports have never been independently confirmed, police began conducting door-to-door weapons searches and gun confiscations.

Sept. 12: Doctors report that they were forced to kill critically ill patients with overdoses of morphine rather than leave them in agony while awaiting evacuation.

Sept. 12: Lafayette attorney Jason Robideaux reported that a flotilla of 500 boats and 1,000 extremely capable and experienced men were prevented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (DWF) from bringing supplies of food, water and clothing into anarea where people were stranded and prevented from filling those boats with people so they could be taken to safety. Witnesses claim that about 200 DWF agents were just standing around while thousands of people in their midst needed help.

Sept. 13: Knight Ridder reports that Department of Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff delayed federal response to Katrina for 36 hours. While he, according to disaster preparedness protocols, had the authority to coordinate an immediate response to the disaster—even before it occurred—his deputy Paul Brown did not. Brown was publicly blamed for the delay, relieved of his duties and reassigned elsewhere.

Sept. 24: The UK Independent reported, "A leading U.S. human rights group accused prison officials in New Orleans yesterday of abandoning hundreds of men in the city jail in the run-up to Hurricane Katrina, leaving them locked up without food, water, electricity, fresh air or functioning toilets for four days as the floodwaters rose to their chests, necks and higher.

Sept. 27: "New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass quit Tuesday, saying "it’s time to hand over the reins to someone else," the UPI reported. It was truly an odd time for a police chief/public servant to announce his resignation—in the middle of the biggest disaster his town has ever seen. Citizens were reporting that Compass’ cops were looting and several reportedly committed suicide in Katrina’s aftermath.

Oct. 3: "Relief efforts to combat Hurricane Katrina suffered near catastrophic failures due to endemic corruption, divisions within the military and troop shortages caused by the Iraq war, an official American inquiry into the disaster has revealed," the UK Independent reported.

Oct. 3: Knight Ridder reported that the environmental damage left in the wake of Katrina is unprecedented. Just imagine the sewage, chemicals, petroleum products, decaying human bodies (and their toxic burdens) that would have been released in the region.

Oct. 4: The AP reported that "The search for Hurricane Katrina victims has ended in Louisiana with a death toll at 964, but more searches will be conducted if someone reports seeing a body, a state official said Monday." Military sources reportedly confirmed (unofficially) Sept. 24 that 10,000 body bags had been used and that realistically, the death toll probably exceeds 25,000.


Oil Storm

You are not going to believe this—unless you’ve seen it for your own eyes. In June the FX Channel was showing a fictional "docudrama"that seemed like a real-life documentary called "Oil Storm." It depicted a week-before-Labor Day hurricane that hit New Orleans hard, destroyed the oil platforms in the gulf, made the ports impassable for oil tankers and leveled the oil refineries. The film then followed a "fictional" scenario of escalating gas prices, runaway inflation and deepening tensions between nations as the U.S. maneuvers to make up for the 20 or so percent of oil supply that had been coming through New Orleans. A friend of ours happened to catch it and taped it for us—and we saw it six weeks before Katrina actually hit.

On a strangely related note, the same FX Channel produced a similar docudrama last winter called "Smallpox." During commercial breaks, it was mentioned that the entire show was fiction, though its presentation was edited to appear as if a smallpox epidemic that began in England was spreading all over the world faster than the authorities could vaccinate everyone.

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