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
, 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
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.