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Katrina - a catalogue of mismanagement or worse?

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posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 12:46 PM
Greg Palast has a new DVD out about the negligence and mismanagement of the response to Katrina. If you want you can find it on Google Video, but it's against the terms and conditions of this site to link to it directly. It's called New Orleans: Big Easy to Big Empty, and it gives a fascinating rundown on areas of mismanagement ignored in the mainstream press.

He details how Innovative Emergency Management were given a half-million-dollar contract to come up with an evacuation plan for New Orleans. No such plan was ever produced, and when Palast went to their offices to ask them why not, they threw him out.

The Bush Administration were warned that the levees were 18" too low, that they had not been built to spec, and that they were an accident waiting to happen. FEMA had helicopters monitoring the levees, and reporting to Washington that the levees had broken in places... and this information was withheld from the State Police who were already trying to co-ordinate a life-saving effort. One of his interviewees, who was involved in the evacuation effort, says,

"FEMA knew at eleven o'clock on Monday that the levees had breached. At two o'clock they flew over the 17th St. Canal, and took video of the breach. By midnight on Monday the White House knew... but none of us knew until, ...on Tuesday. Monday night I was at the State Emergency Operations Center, and nobody was aware that the levees had breached... the way we found out was on CNN, on Tuesday around midday."

Palast also goes to visit a FEMA trailer park, or, as he puts it, "George Bush's federal Guantanamo for Katrina survivors." Not only are conditions less than ideal for people there, who are unable to leave, but he then goes back to NO and finds people who are unable to return to housing untouched by the flood, but which has been sealed up (metal plates put over doors and windows) by the local authorities.

A picture emerges that the local authorities used Katrina as an excuse to evict poor, mostly black people living in well-maintained public housing so that they could redevelop the area, which is close to the business district.

There are some wonderful interviews and a few neat plot twists. For example, the Bush Administration hired a consulting firm to investigate what went wrong with the response to Katrina.

Guess who they hired?

Watch the movie to have your worst suspicions confirmed.

It's a great little documentary and I urge anyone with any interest in the Katrina disaster and the "recovery" of NO to find it and watch it.

posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 01:17 PM
In a supplemental interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, it emerges that Palast had to sneak his cameras into the FEMA trailer park. Goodman tried to talk to some inhabitants of another FEMA park, and private security guys drove them off, forbidding the residents from talking to the press.

Also it turns out that the guy whom I quoted in the post above, who is a professor at Louisiana U, could lose his job from talking to Palast.

The interview is certainly worth watching, too. It gives more details on how Louisiana is being whitened, and how it's been turned from an industrial port to a tourist town (but with a military base built on a no-bid contract by Halliburton). It also emerges that most of the teachers in NO have been fired, and the educational aid has been spent on teaching software - teaching by computer - sold by Marvin Bush's company!

So the Bush family is profiteering from Katrina.

posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 01:17 PM
Oh, and now I've found this article that shows how the housing scam is moving on even further...

In June 2005, HUD announced they were not going to let any residents back in her apartment complex and three others (Lafitte, St. Bernard and BW Cooper) because they were going to be demolished. Over one hundred maintenance and security workers for the housing authority were let go. HUD took over the local housing authority years ago and all these decisions are being made in Washington DC.

The demolished buildings would make way for much newer and many fewer apartments which would be built by private developers. The demolition and private development would be financed by federal funds and federal tax breaks designed to help Katrina victims!

Nearly $100 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds were designated for the private developers. Another $34 million in Katrina Go-Zone tax credits were also donated to the developers.

Read the whole article to see how public buildings and money that's supposed to be for the poor is being ripped off for private development.

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