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The big disconnect on New Orleans


The big disconnect on New Orleans
The official version; then there's the in-the-trenches version

Friday, September 2, 2005 Posted: 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Diverging views of a crumbling New Orleans emerged Thursday. The sanitized view came from federal officials at news conferences and television appearances. But the official line was contradicted by grittier, more desperate views from the shelters and the streets.

These conflicting views came within hours, sometimes minutes of each of each other, as reflected in CNN's transcripts. The speakers include Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, evacuee Raymond Cooper, CNN correspondents and others. Here's what they had to say:

Conditions in the Convention Center

FEMA chief Brown: We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need. (See video of CNN asking why FEMA is clueless about conditions -- 2:11)

Mayor Nagin: The convention center is unsanitary and unsafe, and we are running out of supplies for the 15,000 to 20,000 people. (Hear Nagin's angry demand for soldiers. 1:04)

CNN Producer Kim Segal: It was chaos. There was nobody there, nobody in charge. And there was nobody giving even water. The children, you should see them, they're all just in tears. There are sick people. We saw... people who are dying in front of you.

Evacuee Raymond Cooper: Sir, you've got about 3,000 people here in this -- in the Convention Center right now. They're hungry. Don't have any food. We were told two-and-a-half days ago to make our way to the Superdome or the Convention Center by our mayor. And which when we got here, was no one to tell us what to do, no one to direct us, no authority figure.

Uncollected corpses

Brown: That's not been reported to me, so I'm not going to comment. Until I actually get a report from my teams that say, "We have bodies located here or there," I'm just not going to speculate.

Segal: We saw one body. A person is in a wheelchair and someone had pushed (her) off to the side and draped just like a blanket over this person in the wheelchair. And then there is another body next to that. There were others they were willing to show us.

Evacuee Cooper: They had a couple of policemen out here, sir, about six or seven policemen told me directly, when I went to tell them, hey, man, you got bodies in there. You got two old ladies that just passed, just had died, people dragging the bodies into little corners. One guy -- that's how I found out. The guy had actually, hey, man, anybody sleeping over here? I'm like, no. He dragged two bodies in there. Now you just -- I just found out there was a lady and an old man, the lady went to nudge him. He's dead.

Hospital evacuations

Brown: I've just learned today that we ... are in the process of completing the evacuations of the hospitals, that those are going very well.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta: It's gruesome. I guess that is the best word for it. If you think about a hospital, for example, the morgue is in the basement, and the basement is completely flooded. So you can just imagine the scene down there. But when patients die in the hospital, there is no place to put them, so they're in the stairwells. It is one of the most unbelievable situations I've seen as a doctor, certainly as a journalist as well. There is no electricity. There is no water. There's over 200 patients still here remaining. ...We found our way in through a chopper and had to land at a landing strip and then take a boat. And it is exactly ... where the boat was traveling where the snipers opened fire yesterday, halting all the evacuations. (Watch the video report on corpses stacked in hospital stairwells -- 4:45

Dr. Matthew Bellew, Charity Hospital: We still have 200 patients in this hospital, many of them needing care that they just can't get. The conditions are such that it's very dangerous for the patients. Just about all the patients in our services had fevers. Our toilets are overflowing. They are filled with stool and urine. And the smell, if you can imagine, is so bad, you know, many of us had gagging and some people even threw up. It's pretty rough.(Mayor's video: Armed addicts fighting for a fix -- 1:03)

Violence and civil unrest

Brown: I've had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they're banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I've had no reports of that.

CNN's Chris Lawrence: From here and from talking to the police officers, they're losing control of the city. We're now standing on the roof of one of the police stations. The police officers came by and told us in very, very strong terms it wasn't safe to be out on the street. (

The federal response:

Brown: Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.

Homeland Security Director Chertoff: Now, of course, a critical element of what we're doing is the process of evacuation and securing New Orleans and other areas that are afflicted. And here the Department of Defense has performed magnificently, as has the National Guard, in bringing enormous resources and capabilities to bear in the areas that are suffering.

Crowd chanting outside the Convention Center: We want help.

Nagin: They don't have a clue what's going on down there.

Phyllis Petrich, a tourist stranded at the Ritz-Carlton: They are invisible. We have no idea where they are. We hear bits and pieces that the National Guard is around, but where? We have not seen them. We have not seen FEMA officials. We have seen no one.

Security

Brown: I actually think the security is pretty darn good. There's some really bad people out there that are causing some problems, and it seems to me that every time a bad person wants to scream of cause a problem, there's somebody there with a camera to stick it in their face.

Chertoff: In addition to local law enforcement, we have 2,800 National Guard in New Orleans as we speak today. One thousand four hundred additional National Guard military police trained soldiers will be arriving every day: 1,400 today, 1,400 tomorrow and 1,400 the next day.

Nagin: I continue to hear that troops are on the way, but we are still protecting the city with only 1,500 New Orleans police officers, an additional 300 law enforcement personnel, 250 National Guard troops, and other military personnel who are primarily focused on evacuation.

Lawrence: The police are very, very tense right now. They're literally riding around, full assault weapons, full tactical gear, in pickup trucks. Five, six, seven, eight officers. It is a very tense situation here

LINK TO ORIGINAL

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This Village idiot was elected, "Commander in Chief". He is responsible for the ineffectuality of the consequences of the hurricane. He was well aware of the situation before it happened. He should've ordered FEMA and the National Guard to be physically there and ready for this horrendous natural catastrophy. He just happened to gamble his money (the American public's) on Iraq for his own f#%!^# personal glory. Where is Halliburton's contribution? I haven't heard one peep out of those greedbags. And the Village Idiot had the nerve to blame and criticise the lack of response on someone else. This Idiot put those players in his circle. IMPEACH HIM NOW.

Found a good article today by Greg Palast that seems relevant here. It's a bit long, but I think it's worth posting in full:

Bush Strafes New Orleans
Where is our Huey Long?

The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she'd piss on herself: the President of the United States had flown his plane down to 1700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! And there was a photo of our Commander-in-Chief taken looking out the window. He looked very serious and concerned.

That was yesterday. Today he played golf. No kidding.

I'm sure the people of New Orleans would have liked to show their appreciation for the official Presidential photo-strafing, but their surface-to-air missiles were wet.

There is nothing new under the sun. In 1927, a Republican President had his photo taken as the Mississippi rolled over New Orleans. Calvin Coolidge, "a little fat man
with a notebook in his hand," promised to rebuild the state. He didn't. Instead, he left to play golf with Ken Lay or the Ken Lay railroad baron equivalent of his day.

In 1927, the Democratic Party had died and was awaiting burial. As depression approached, the coma-Dems, like Franklin Roosevelt, called for balancing the budget.

Then, as the waters rose, one politician finally said, roughly, "Screw this! They're lying! The President's lying! The rich fat cats that are drowning you will do it again and again and again. They lead you into imperialist wars for profit, they take away your schools and your hope and when you complain, they blame Blacks and Jews and immigrants. Then they push your kids under. I say, Kick'm in the ass and take your rightful share!"

Huey Long laid out a plan: a progressive income tax, real money for education, public works to rebuild Louisiana and America, an end to wars for empire, and an end to financial oligarchy. The waters receded, the anger did not, and Huey "Kingfish" Long was elected Governor of Louisiana in 1928.

At the time, Louisiana schools were free, but not the textbooks. Governor Long taxed Big Oil to pay for the books. Rockefeller's oil companies refused pay the textbook tax, so Long ordered the National Guard to seize Standard Oil's fields in the Delta.

Huey Long was called a "demagogue" and a "dictator." Of course. Because it was Huey Long who established the concept that a government of the people must protect the people, school, house, and feed them and give every man or woman a job who needs one.

Government, he said, "We The People," not plutocrats nor Halliburtons, must build bridges and levies to keep the waters from rising over our heads. All we had to do was share the nation's wealth we created as a nation. But that meant facing down what he called the "concentrations of monopoly power" to finance the needs of the public.

In other words, Huey Long founded the modern Democratic Party. Franklin Roosevelt and the party establishment, scared senseless of Long's ineluctable march to the White House, adopted his program, called it the New Deal, and later The New Frontier and the Great Society.

America and the party prospered.

America could use a Democratic Party again and there's a rumor it's alive -- somewhere.

And now is the moment, as it was in '27. As the bodies float in the streets of New Orleans, now is not the time for the Democrats to shirk and slink away, bleating they can't "politicize" this avoidable disaster.

Seventy-six years ago this week, Huey Long was shot down, assassinated at the age of 43. But the legacy of his combat remains, from Social Security to veterans' mortgage loans.

There is no such thing as a "natural" disaster. Hurricanes happen, but death comes from official neglect, from tax cuts for the rich that cut the heart out of public protection. The corpses in the street are victims of a class war in which only one side has a general.

Where is our Huey Long? America needs just one Kingfish to stand up and say that our nation must rid itself of the scarecrow with the idiot chuckle, who has left America broken and in danger while he plays tinker-toy Napoleon on other continents.

I realize that the middle of a rising flood is a hell of a bad time to give Democrats swimming lessons; but it's act up now or we all go under.

or, perhaps - Chickenhawk-in-Chief

For Arvie: I did notice that when Air Force One passengers were being deplaned in Alabama, I saw 2 of his Chronies with golf clubs. No kidding! Check it out yourself. Clear as day.

But I have no problem believing that the insensitve jerk is capable of anything.

Well, we hear today that Hussein will have his day(s) in court (impartial I'm sure in a Shiite/Kurd/American controled government). I suggest we save our US tax dollars (what's left that hasn't been given back to Bushites and friends) and have Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, etc, join Hussein at the accuser's chair!!! Given Extremist Muslim theocratic law that our military has helped protect in the "new" democracy will no doubt find all of them innocent till proven guilty! Riiiiight, and gas stations will NOT take advantage of the Katrina digrace either!

New Orleans: Who is jamming communications and why?

UPDATE: We can now report that the jamming of New Orleans' communications is emanating from a pirate radio station in the Caribbean. The noise is continuous and it is jamming frequencies, including emergency high frequency (HF) radios, in the New Orleans area. The radio frequency jammers were heard last night, stopped for a while, and are active again today. The Pentagon must locate the positions of these transmitters and order the Air Force to bomb them immediately.

However, we now have a new unconfirmed report that the culprit may be the Pentagon itself. The emitter is an IF (Intermediate Frequency) jammer that is operating south southwest of New Orleans on board a U.S. Navy ship, according to an anonymous source. The jamming is cross-spectrum and interfering with superheterodyne receiver components, including the emergency radios being used in New Orleans relief efforts. The jamming frequencies are:

72.0MHZ

45.0MHZ

10.245MHZ

10.240 Mhz

11.340 Mhz

455 IF 233 MHZ

A former DoD source says the U.S. Army uses a portable jammer, known as WORLOCK, in Iraq and this jammer may be similar to the one that is jamming the emergency frequencies.

If a U.S. Navy ship is, in fact, jamming New Orleans communications, the crew must immediately shut down the jammer and take action against the Commanding Officer..

***

We have just learned from a journalist in Mobile that yesterday, Sprint blocked all cell phone calls from the Gulf Coast region to points north and west. Calls were permitted between Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida but no calls could be made to Washington, New York, or Los Angeles

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMPEACH...IMPEACH...IMPEACH...IMPEACH...NOW...NOW...NOW!!!

ditto, right on

Otherwise, you may find that you've jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

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