Katrina: a bit more truth comes out….


Richard Moore

i wish someone (michael moore?) would do a tv doc exposing all this stuff.
impact would be greater with interviewed faces & local images.


Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 09:37:03 -0700
From: Robert Bolman <•••@••.•••>
X-Accept-Language: en-us, en
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Katrina:  New Orleans prisoners left to die; 249 police  suspended

This is far & away and without question the most shocking
thing that I've heard surrounding the whole Katrina debacle.
Forward far & wide.

SEP 27, 2005
Since 1964, Washington's most unofficial source


HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH - As Hurricane Katrina began pounding New
Orleans, the sheriff's department abandoned hundreds of
inmates imprisoned in the city's jail, Human Rights Watch
said. Inmates in Templeman III, one of several buildings in
the Orleans Parish Prison compound, reported that as of
Monday, August 29, there were no correctional officers in the
building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates,
including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not
evacuated until Thursday, September 1, four days after flood
waters in the jail had reached chest-level.

"Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be
one of the worst," said Corinne Carey, researcher from Human
Rights Watch. "Prisoners were abandoned in their cells without
food or water for days as floodwaters rose toward the
ceiling." . . .

According to officers who worked at two of the jail buildings,
Templeman 1 and 2, they began to evacuate prisoners from those
buildings on Tuesday, August 30, when the floodwaters reached
chest level inside. These prisoners were taken by boat to the
Broad Street overpass bridge, and ultimately transported to
correctional facilities outside New Orleans.

But at Templeman III, which housed about 600 inmates, there
was no prison staff to help the prisoners. Inmates interviewed
by Human Rights Watch varied about when they last remember
seeing guards at the facility, but they all insisted that
there were no correctional officers in the facility on Monday,
August 29. A spokeswoman for the Orleans parish sheriff's
department told Human Rights Watch she did not know whether
the officers at Templeman III had left the building before the

According to inmates interviewed by Human Rights Watch, they
had no food or water from the inmates' last meal over the
weekend of August 27-28 until they were evacuated on Thursday,
September 1. By Monday, August 29, the generators had died,
leaving them without lights and sealed in without air
circulation. The toilets backed up, creating an unbearable

"They left us to die there," Dan Bright, an Orleans Parish
Prison inmate told Human Rights Watch at Rapides Parish
Prison, where he was sent after the evacuation.

As the water began rising on the first floor, prisoners became
anxious and then desperate. Some of the inmates were able to
force open their cell doors, helped by inmates held in the
common area. All of them, however, remained trapped in the
locked facility.

"The water started rising, it was getting to here," said
Earrand Kelly, an inmate from Templeman III, as he pointed at
his neck. "We was calling down to the guys in the cells under
us, talking to them every couple of minutes. They were crying,
they were scared. The one that I was cool with, he was saying
'I'm scared. I feel like I'm about to drown.' He was crying."

Some inmates from Templeman III have said they saw bodies
floating in the floodwaters as they were evacuated from the
prison. A number of inmates told Human Rights Watch that they
were not able to get everyone out from their cells.

Inmates broke jail windows to let air in. They also set fire
to blankets and shirts and hung them out of the windows to let
people know they were still in the facility. Apparently at
least a dozen inmates jumped out of the windows.

"We started to see people in T3 hangin' shirts on fire out the
windows," Brooke Moss, an Orleans Parish Prison officer told
Human Rights Watch. "They were wavin' em. Then we saw them
jumping out of the windows . . . Later on, we saw a sign, I
think somebody wrote `help' on it." . . .

"It was complete chaos," said a corrections officer with more
than 30 years of service at Orleans Parish Prison. When asked
what he thought happened to the inmates in Templeman III, he
shook his head and said: "Ain't no tellin' what happened to
those people. At best, the inmates were left to fend for
themselves," said Carey. "At worst, some may have died."

Human Rights Watch was not able to speak directly with Orleans
Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gussman or the ranking official in
charge of Templeman III. A spokeswoman for the sheriff's
department told Human Rights Watch that search-and-rescue
teams had gone to the prison and she insisted that "nobody
drowned, nobody was left behind."

Human Rights Watch compared an official list of all inmates
held at Orleans Parish Prison immediately prior to the
hurricane with the most recent list of the evacuated inmates
compiled by the state Department of Corrections and Public
Safety (which was entitled, "All Offenders Evacuated").
However, the list did not include 517 inmates from the jail,
including 130 from Templeman III.

Many of the men held at jail had been arrested for offenses
like criminal trespass, public drunkenness or disorderly
conduct. Many had not even been brought before a judge and
charged, much less been convicted.


249 New Orleans Police Officers Left Posts

JULIA SILVERMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS - Nearly 250 police officers
- roughly 15 percent of the force - could face a special
tribunal because they left their posts without permission
during Hurricane Katrina and the storm's chaotic aftermath,
the police chief said.  Police Superintendent Eddie Compass
plans to assemble a tribunal of four of his assistant chiefs
to hear each case and sort the outright deserters from those
with a legitimate reason for not showing up for work. . . The
department has about 1,700 officers.


Almost 6,000 Doctors Displaced by Katrina, Study Says

AP - Nearly 6,000 doctors along the Gulf Coast were uprooted
by Hurricane Katrina in the largest displacement of physicians
in U.S. history, university researchers reported. How many of
those doctors will set up shop permanently in other cities, or
decide to retire instead of reopening their practices, remains
as unclear as New Orleans's future.


[These false reports are now being used by Bush to justify a
military takeover of disaster operations]

LA TIMES - Maj. Ed Bush recalled how he stood in the bed of a
pickup truck in the days after Hurricane Katrina, struggling
to help the crowd outside the Louisiana Superdome separate
fact from fiction. Armed only with a megaphone and scant
information, he might have been shouting into, well, a
hurricane. . . "It just morphed into this mythical place where
the most unthinkable deeds were being done," Bush said Monday
of the Superdome.

His assessment is one of several in recent days to conclude
that newspapers and television exaggerated criminal behavior
in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, particularly at the
overcrowded Superdome and Convention Center.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday described inflated
body counts, unverified "rapes," and unconfirmed sniper
attacks as among examples of "scores of myths about the dome
and Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media
and even some of New Orleans' top officials." Indeed, Mayor C.
Ray Nagin told a national television audience on "Oprah" three
weeks ago of people "in that frickin' Superdome for five days
watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people,
raping people.". . .

Hyperbolic reporting spread through much of the media.

Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome
began, issued an "alert" as talk show host Alan Colmes
reiterated reports of "robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots
and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night,
hidden by the cover of darkness."

The Los Angeles Times adopted a breathless tone the next day
in its lead news story, reporting that National Guard troops
"took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed
mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to
flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance."

The New York Times repeated some of the reports of violence
and unrest, but the newspaper usually was more careful to note
that the information could not be verified. . .

State officials this week said their counts of the dead at the
city's two largest evacuation points fell far short of early
rumors and news reports. Ten bodies were recovered from the
Superdome and four from the Convention Center, said Bob
Johannessen, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health
and Hospitals.

(National Guard officials put the body count at the Superdome
at six, saying the other four bodies came from the area around
the stadium.)

Of the 841 recorded hurricane-related deaths in Louisiana,
four are identified as gunshot victims, Johannessen said. One
victim was found in the Superdome but was believed to have
been brought there, and one was found at the Convention
Center, he added.



[To get a sense of scale, Louisiana officials are seeking $250
billion in federal aid. Let's say there are a million
individuals who are homeless, injured, or jobless as a result
of the hurricanes. That would be $250,000 for each individual
or a million dollars for a family of four. Of course, the
victims won't see anything close to this. Here's where the
money is really going]

NY TIMES EDITORIAL - The first results are in on who is set to
profit from the Katrina cleanup, and - surprise - many of the
firms winning major contracts have big political connections.
Congressional investigators are already looking into Ashbritt,
a Pompano Beach, Fla., company with ties to Mississippi's
governor, Haley Barbour - the former chairman of the
Republican National Committee. Ashbritt has nabbed $568
million in contracts for trash removal. Questions have also
been raised about the political connections of two other major
contractors: the Shaw Group, and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a
subsidiary of Halliburton. Both companies have been
represented by Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign
manager and the former head of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency - although Mr. Allbaugh says he does not
help any of his clients obtain federal contracts.

And there's more. An article in yesterday's Times by Eric
Lipton and Ron Nixon reports that more than 80 percent of the
$1.5 billion in contracts signed by FEMA for Katrina work were
awarded without bidding or with limited competition. The Times
article even finds a federal employee - Richard Skinner, the
inspector general for the Homeland Security Department -
willing to go on the record with his concern, saying, "We are
very apprehensive about what we are seeing."

So are we. The government is spending more than a quarter of a
billion dollars every day on rescue, relief and reconstruction
along the Gulf Coast. Anyone who pays taxes in America should
be concerned about how the money is being spent and who is
profiting. We think that when Congress appropriates money for
disaster relief, the advantage should be maximized for the
victims, not for the same cast of characters that have been
profiting from no-bid contracts in Iraq. Kellogg, Brown &
Root, Americans may recall, is the company that came up with
those $100-per-bag laundry bills for work in Iraq.

All of this comes back to cronyism. The resignation of the
FEMA chief, Michael Brown, was only one of the recent
departures. The head of federal procurement policy at the
Office of Management and Budget resigned just before he was
arrested on charges of lying to federal investigators, and the
Pentagon's former inspector general has left for the private
sector but remains the target of a Congressional inquiry. . .



Emergency Management Agency officials complain of a drastic
shortage of sites suitable to state and local officials for
the huge trailer parks that FEMA hopes to establish for
evacuees. Local and parish leaders say FEMA's plans to supply
the trailer parks with water, sewer, electricity and other
services are haphazard or nonexistent, and the encampments --
some of which could include 15,000 units -- are bigger than
any the agency has ever established.

Builders of manufactured housing say red tape has bottlenecked
contract orders, which may take as long as 12 months to fill.
Congress is considering a new program to offer housing
vouchers to the displaced. Meanwhile, planners from Baton
Rouge, La., to Washington fear there is no government-wide
housing strategy, and no one is certain how many displaced
families will return to the Gulf Coast.

In the confusion, White House planners are weighing in,
according to agencies involved in the talks. But delays are
compounding what some housing advocates call a slow-motion
replay of the bureaucratic divisions that crippled the
emergency response for days after Katrina hit. "We seem to be
in this new state of chaos," said Sheila Crowley, president of
the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "Nobody's on
message, because everybody's got their own message."



MARK TOWNSEND HOUSTON, OBSERVER - It may be the oddest tale to
emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed
dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and
pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of
Mexico. Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean
training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying
'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim,
from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest.
The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military
purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since
the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have
apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military
vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm,
sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the
controversial use of dolphins in the US defense program claim
it is vital they are caught quickly.

Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has
worked for government and industry, said he had received
intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine
fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.

'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in
wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers
or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if
equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they
could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the
target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what
happens if the victim is not found for hours?'



BILL SAMMON, WASHINGTON TIMES - President Bush sought to
federalize hurricane-relief efforts, removing governors from
the decision-making process. "It wouldn't be necessary to get
a request from the governor or take other action," White House
press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. "This would
be," he added, "more of an automatic trigger."

Mr. McClellan was referring to a new, direct line of authority
that would allow the president to place the Pentagon in charge
of responding to natural disasters, terrorist attacks and
outbreaks of disease. "It may require change of law," Mr. Bush
said yesterday. "It's very important for us as we look at the
lessons of Katrina to think about other scenarios that might
require a well-planned, significant federal response -- right
off the bat -- to provide stability."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Mr. Bush of
attempting a power grab in the wake of fierce criticism that
he responded too slowly to Hurricane Katrina a month ago.
"Using the military in domestic law enforcement is generally a
very bad idea," said Timothy Edgar, national security policy
counsel for the ACLU. "I'm afraid that it will have unforeseen
consequences for civil liberties." . . . "The Posse Comitatus
Act is sometimes criticized as some sort of obscure,
centuries-old law," Mr. Edgar said. "But you know, most of our
liberties are centuries old. So that would be like saying the
Bill of Rights is obscure and old. "Our strict separation
between military and civilian power is one of the things that
separates us from Latin America, for example," he added.
"Changing that would put us on a huge slippery slope."


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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