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FEMA and the Galveston West End Cover up

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posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 01:07 AM
IMHO barrier islands are exactly that! BARRIER ISLANDS. They should be state and county parks, with no homes except perhaps low cost beach cottages.

All developers and home owners should have to post a bond to pay for clean up of the debris from their construction should a hurricane strike.

Any realtor that sells property on the island should be required to have photos of the effects of hurricanes on the islands for the past 200 years.

Home owners on these and other dangerous areas should not be able to get or should be required to pay high premiums for building in these areas.

Name me, "Tired of paying for other people's stupidity."
Like the 2000 year old proverb states, "Do not build your house on the sand..."

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 01:20 AM

Originally posted by loam
Anyone want to guess what kind of vehicles these are?

Front Loaders
They are going to need them to pick up the piles of debris.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 01:53 AM
The LA Times appears to have removed information about the missing.
The parts in bold were in the original article indexed by Google 13 hrs ago.

Debris clogged the island's waterways as well: Coast Guard officials said that 90% of the navigational aids used to guide ships through the channel had been destroyed or damaged, and the water was littered with car upholstery, toilet seats and cow carcasses. With many people on the island still unaccounted for, crew members kept a lookout for human remains

LA Times

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 02:11 AM
Excellent post...
I was in Miami during the Andrew days, and saw first hand damage that was NEVER reported. We also knew with certainty that the death toll announced as "official" was nowhere near the truth. Why? Who knows....
Seems the hand that moved figures there and possibly in Katrina's aftermath is at work here as well...

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 02:28 AM
Many thanks for this thread. Having read all of it, I appreciate the efforts put in by the OP and so many others in providing links and other information resources. Where I live in the middle of Europe, there has been precious little in the media about Ike's effects. Now, you might think that un-surprising, but compared to Katrina and even some other "lesser" storms, the dearth of reporting in this case has left me puzzled.

Even the recent (ie post-storm) reporting by CNN International has been pretty sparse. Prior to the storm and even during its arrival on land, we had hours of coverage, a lot of it fed in from CNN USA. Bearing in mind that when it was the middle of the night there in the US it was already morning here, I was able to watch the live reports from Galveston from reporters based there as the eye of the storm came in. As an aside, I still wonder about the fact that if there is a "certain death" storm on the way, it kind of negates the warnings in some people's minds to have reporters standing there only yards from thundering waves, telling us how dangerous it is and how they should have got out. I can almost hear people saying, "Well if it's so dangerous then wtf are you doing there?"

But back to the main point: after Katrina, we had literally days of coverage here from the US, much of it live and carried even on our local channels (with simultaneous interpreting) as news crews made their way around the devastated areas and interviewed survivors, beamed footage of rescues and those pleading for rescue from their rooftops, showing us the dreadful conditions at the "refuge of last resort" and the people chanting "We want help, we want help," and even showing us the sad and chilling images of bodies lying in the streets.

From what I have read on this thread it seems that some of what we saw was not shown to you who live in the US -- at least the latter part I mentioned. Or, if you saw such images post-Katrina, you are getting virtually nothing now, and neither are we. I for one am glad not see those saddest images of humans who lost their lives for I saw enough of that first-hand when I was a volunteer firefighter; on the other hand, having heard statements from PTB that something like 100,000 homes have been lost and that the devastation is widespread, I'd like to know that this time, the US authorities have reacted in a far more coordinated and effective way than they did after Katrina wreaked her havoc.

You might ask why I, a non-American, could care less. Well, I'll tell you straight that I just could not believe what I saw last time. Not the destruction: large hurricanes are the biggest well-organized moving energy masses on the planet so their effects should surprise no-one. No, it was the utter shambles of the post-Katrina rescue and relief efforts that stunned me, because I had thought that the USA's authorities would do better when it came to helping their own people.

So I have been waiting for some detailed and honest reports about what has really gone on and what is being done about it, and there has been so little coming out that it's frankly disturbing. It's like it never really happened. As several have said, you can't hide the effects of a hurricane. However, if you clamp down on the mass media you can certainly slow down the release of that information and reduce its impact.

Is that the reasoning? I don't know. But it seems from what I have seen (via the links to press conferences) that the media are being restricted.

There was no attempt to "lock out" reporters from New Orleans after Katrina. They even have resources such as helicopters and high-quality cameras that can aid in SAR efforts. It seems absurd to not use them. By making use of the news media's assets, lives could be saved that otherwise might be lost, or at the very least, the suffering of some stranded and desperate people (and their loved ones) could be lessened. And as for trying to shield people from the truth that their homes or even their loved ones may have come to harm, would it not be better to try and clarify things? The worst thing is not knowing. I speak from experience: after a disastrous bushfire in Australia some years ago my first concern was the safety of my neighbours and friends -- and of course, our homes. My home was lost but at least I knew about it pretty soon and that was better than being left in the dark. Worry is destructive. True, so is grief, but the sooner the grieving can start the sooner "closure" can take place and we can move on.

So why deliberately keep thousands of worrying people in the dark?

A comment about restricting news choppers and so forth from flying over the worst-affected areas: chopper pilots are no fools and very, very rarely make mistakes. A lot of them are ex-military and are, to put it bluntly, bloody good pilots. They have flown in far more dangerous conditions in the past than in their now-civilian occupation and we do not need to tell them to be careful. Why news choppers should be restricted, then, is not a matter of safety or "getting in the way" of official SAR missions. Far from it. They can (and often do) provide valuable assistance in these missions. So why they've been restricted is a mystery to me.

My apologies for this long post but it seemed easier to lump everything together rather than post five or six shorter ones in response to other posts here. I guess I just want you to know that it's not only in the US that we are concerned about this tragedy. All over the world, people recall Katrina and what went on afterwards, and I am surely not the only one in this part of the world who is wondering why we are hearing and seeing almost nothing this time.

I think the authorities -- whoever they are who've placed these restrictions -- should consider the needless worry and suffering they are causing by not letting people know what has happened to their families, friends, and properties. If there are extra-ordinary and valid reasons for what appears to be a clampdown, then one has to wonder what they are.

I pray that most people are safe. My heart goes out to all of those who've lost ones dear to them.


posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 02:41 AM
reply to post by JustMike

I think this is exactly why there is no coverage-they are avoiding the spotlight on their ineptitude and don't want public outrage a la Katrina in an election year.

I mean, does that assessment not speak to the underlying theme of this thread in a nutshell?

They only like to spread fear and panic if it suits them.

Like someone just mentioned, this storm caused damage in a lot of places besides Galveston Island TX, rivers flooded in my area and people are w/out power -no fatalities thankfully.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 02:44 AM
reply to post by iamthatwhichiam

I agree that if someone builds in an area prone to damage by the elements, then they have to expect that sooner or later their homes will be damaged. However, I think it also reflects on the authorities who allow people to build in unprotected areas (like beyond the reaches of the sea wall in this case). I guess the opportunity to collect tax revenues from the owners outweighs considerations of human safety or potential property loss.

Regarding the sea wall: when I first saw reports about this wall prior to the storm, I wondered at the fact that so many homes were built on areas that weren't protected by it. In other words, there was really only half a wall, and half a wall is pretty useless if there is anything to protect beyond its limits. This is the case on the island where Galveston stands -- and its neighbouring communities once stood.

The question now is -- what will be done in the future? Will the sea wall be extended? If not, then what will happen when the next hurricane hits, a hundred years from now or perhaps much, much sooner? And how many other communities exist in similar locations along that storm-affected coast? Do they have sea walls? If they don't, will they build them? It surely must be more cost-effective to construct a sea wall than rebuild entire communities and their shattered infrastructures. If they do have sea walls, then have they extended those walls to protect areas that may have been developed more recently? Or do they intend to?

Short question... What lessons have been learned?

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 03:12 AM
This kinda reminds me of Resident Evil video game but in real life....

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 03:15 AM
I live in Houston and the reason that you aren't hearing anything out of that area is that most of the areas that didn't have a seawall were mandatorily evacuated. They showed Crystal Beach tonight on local news and its a desert, everything gone. I am in Northwest Houston and my cell just started working about 12 hours ago. Most of those areas are impassable so you aren't going to get news coverage until there is alot of heavy cleanup. No Conspiracy just DEVASTATION.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 03:19 AM
reply to post by JustMike

Other posters have touched on this fact, but let me see if I can further clarify why this is. First thing is that if they allow one news helicopter in they have to allow them all in. Here in my small town we had a car discovered in a lake by my old apartment, and at least 10 news helicopters (Local TV, and Local Radio) showed up for that event, so you can imagine the number of aircraft that would be in that area if they did not restrict it (Local TV, Local Radio, National News, International News, Insurance Surveyors, Rubber Neckers, etc…). All those aircraft along with the aircraft doing rescue operations are flying in Visual Flight Rules, meaning that there is no Air Traffic Control oversight, if there is even operating radar available in the area. Though most of these pilots are ex-military, as you mentioned, there have been accidents in the past where news helicopters have collided, or impeded rescue operations. Rescue helicopters have to remain at a stable hover to launch crane ops, and even the prop wash of another helicopter that ventures too close may cause them problems. Another issue to consider is the noise factor, often rescuers have to listen for trapped people to draw their attention, this is much more difficult with dozens of helicopters in the area.

Someone mentioned that it was an interference of people’s rights to close the airspace, and that is completely incorrect. Flying, like driving, is a privilege, and airspace is frequently restricted over disaster scenes, sporting events, military maneuvers, testing locations, and other such places where the air traffic can be a nuisance, unsafe, or impede rescue efforts. If they start restricting news personnel on the ground, then you may have a case for a rights violation.

[edit on 9/16/2008 by defcon5]

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 05:56 AM

Originally posted by defcon5
reply to post by JustMike

Other posters have touched on this fact, but let me see if I can further clarify why this is. First thing is that if they allow one news helicopter in they have to allow them all in.

This isn't true. From Saturday/Sunday on the authorities selected a single local news outlet to send a chopper in to take "pool" footage for all media sources. Problem was, they never got very far past the sea wall.

[edit on 9-16-2008 by Valhall]

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 05:58 AM

Originally posted by necspe

What sort of breakthrough are you waiting for? What does that mean? Do want bridges to magically repair themselves?

I really wished you would start keeping up with the news on this issue prior to coming in and making statements that are incongruous with the latest reports.

TxDoT has inspected both bridges on to the island and found no structural damage.


[edit on 9-16-2008 by Valhall]

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 06:04 AM
Galveston Daily News editorial on media black-out:

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 06:47 AM
reply to post by JustMike

Here is some historical background: Galveston was previously destroyed in 1900 by a hurricane. After that tragedy (6-12K lost), the city raised it's grade by 2m and added the seawall. Thus, it ptotected the extant city of circa 1910. It's useless to build a seawall the legnth of the island. Hurricanes are a risk from Mexico to New York City. Where would they end? The houses past the seawall were mostly built as vacation homes, and mostly since the last big strom (Carla, 1961) destroyed most of the older fishing shacks and ranch buildings.

Befoe the 1900 strom, Galveston was the largest city in TX, the second largest port on the Gulf of Mexico, and rapidly closing on it's economic rival, New Orleans. Houston benefitted from Galveston's downfall, and eventually became the fourth largest US city.

Galveston also once had a smaller rival for shipping trade, Indianola. That city was razed by two back to back hurricanes in the 1870's and the site abandoned. Thus, there is a historical precedent for the destruction of three major Gulf cities (including New Orleans), the abandonment of one site and possibly now a second. The 1900 Galveston storm is currently the largest natural disaster in US history.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 07:07 AM
reply to post by defcon5

Thanks for your comments. I agree with pretty well everything you said. Not sure though if letting in one or a few news choppers automatically means that they are all allowed in; I would expect that the authorities could place some restrictions on their numbers. However I follow what you say about prop wash and collision risk. Fortunately the pilots would be aware of those risks and I'd hope would fly according to the high standards they must maintain, just as the "official" pilots involved in the region would do. Yes, accidents have happened from time to time but I think the ratio of collisions or downings to hours flown would be very low. It's still a point well worth considering, for sure.

Your point about the noise factor is an excellent one and inarguable. That would certainly be a valid reason to restrict all lower-altitude over-flight activity in certain areas. Maybe not on an open-ended basis, but from time to time it may well be vital in the search for survivors.

I also agree that restricting flights is not a question of infringing civil liberties per se, in the same way that while we may have drivers' licenses, that doesn't give us the right (for example) to drive the wrong way on a one-way street, or at any speed we wish. I think what concerns us here are the blanket restrictions that were put in place and which seemed to dis-allow even the use of private assets like news choppers to assist in SAR missions, which I believe they have done on several occasions in the past.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 07:27 AM
reply to post by Anonymous ATS

Thank you for the information. I was aware of most of it in respect of Galveston but didn't know about Indianola.

You ask where would the sea walls end? I didn't propose building walls along the entire Gulf coast; just asked if the towns along that region that are susceptible to heavy damage by storms have sea walls or not and what are their future plans. In my opinion there are good and valid reasons for extending the Galveston sea wall. The images of destruction in areas on the island beyond its limits are those reasons. Holiday homes or otherwise, they are homes, and people have lost them, and in some cases, perhaps even the land on which their homes once stood. Some people may also have lost their lives because miles of coastline on the island had no sea wall. I think those are reasons to do something about it and also for other, similarly sited towns to at least review their own situations in a similar scenario.

Regarding another matter -- namely the restrictions on air space -- here's a link to the NOTAM for restrictions over the Galveston region.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 07:43 AM
I fear this story is an example of WHY people are not being "found"...

Bolivar Peninsula is home to about 30,000 people during the peak summer season, but after scouring almost all of the western end of the peninsula by nightfall Monday, officials said they had found no dead. But Reed said he had spoken with residents who weren't able to find fellow holdouts after the storm, and he feared their bodies might turn up as the waters recede. Home designer and builder Bobby Anderson limped off the peninsula late Monday in a pickup truck battered by the storm, saying Ike swept out to sea a woman who had clung with him to a building's rafters. When asked to describe their ordeal, he refused. "I'd really rather not," Anderson said. Ike's death toll officially stood at 40 Tuesday, with most of the deaths coming outside of Texas. Among those killed in the state were at least three people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using generators.

The Galveston County Daily News

Based on the reports coming out so far....I expect a judge to also call for the removal of all remaining residents of Galveston. Except, of course, the geniuses who thought placing a level 4 bio hazard research facility on this island was a great idea. They should have a lot of elbow room from now on.

Bottom line: I believe FEMA has figured out that the best way to improve operations from lessons learned in Katrina is not to allow anyone to watch what happens in the future.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 07:49 AM
reply to post by iamthatwhichiam

The united states has 2 faultlines that can go at any time.

The entire state of florida is in the prime hurricane zone.

the midwest is tornado alley.

We have 2 coastlins a huge gulf and many bays.

We should not build in any of those places.


What we should do is build where we can and evacuate when we can. We should build our structures better and learn from our mistakes.

[edit on 16-9-2008 by jprophet420]

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 07:58 AM

Originally posted by Valhall
Typical of the behavior exhibited during Katrina, it now appears we have a real-time cover-up playing out for the West End of Galveston Island.

From the very first post on this thread...Val was right.

GALVESTON — Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas on Monday ordered all city employees not to talk to news reporters. She did not say when that order would be lifted. Thomas and City Manager Steve LeBlanc will be the only officials allowed to talk to reporters.

But at a noon press conference Monday, Thomas and LeBlanc talked for less than 30 minutes and refused to answer more than five questions. Thomas said she would try to hold another conference today. Daily News reporters who tried to speak to city employees were denied and told no one could talk except for the mayor and city manager. “It’s the worst thing the city could do. Those who will suffer most are evacuees,” Publisher Dolph Tillotson said in a statement via text message. “The media will have to turn to other sources that might be less reliable. I can’t imagine a dumber move under these extreme circumstances.” Before the press conference Monday, LeBlanc asked reporters whether he could go off the record. Some television crews agreed and turned their cameras off. LeBlanc then asked news crews to urge their bosses and managers to show more coverage of the island on television because evacuees didn’t care about what was happening in Houston.

Reporters staying at the city’s emergency operations center at the San Luis Hotel were asked to leave Monday. San Luis hotel owner Tilman Fertitta was housing reporters at the nearby Hilton Hotel, which he also owns. Reporters would be allowed on the island only if they had proper identification, Thomas said. She didn’t clarify what that meant. Reporters were also forbidden from visiting areas on the far West End, Thomas said. She did not explain why.

Full Story: Galveston officials Restrict Media Access

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 09:09 AM

Originally posted by JustMike
... but compared to Katrina and even some other "lesser" storms, the dearth of reporting in this case has left me puzzled.

...after Katrina, we had literally days of coverage here from the US...and even showing us the sad and chilling images of bodies lying in the streets.

So why deliberately keep thousands of worrying people in the dark?

Much of this has been ringing a bell, as I recall reading a piece about the untold death toll of Hurricane Andrew, back in '92.

The government cites 65 dead: "Andrew was directly responsible for 26 deaths, but including indirect loss of life the death toll was 65."

But I found a report by k.t. Frankovich, originally published in nexus magazine (chime in here Duncan, if you have anything to add) which includes the following:" According to the information which I received from my own sources within the National Guard, the figure I was quoted when I was down there was 5,280-something. And they were quietly disposed of in incinerators that were hurriedly put together by both the National Guard and FEMA..."

I wouldn't try and pitch a product on another site...but one should read this chilling report. (mods...some leeway, please. Trying to avoid skirting copyright issues as well)

What can I tell you...I can only hope for the best, and that Katrina taught the various levels of government how to serve their citizens...instead of serving up another FUBAR.

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