09-20-2005, 12:18 PM
Post interesting articles, essays, personal accounts. If possible, links to a site are preferable to copying and pasting the entire article.
09-20-2005, 12:23 PM
Cornel weighs in
Cornel weighs in... but like the note says below, why in London and not in the Liberator???... we got a picture of him holdin the joint, so I know he knows about it. (I know you know about us Cornel!!!) lol.
Joana: An interesting article from Cornel West, one of America's most thought-provoking intellectuals and advocate. It's interesting that his commentary was printed in a newspaper from your country, not a paper in the United States.
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Published on Sunday, September 11, 2005 by the Observer/UK
Exiles From a City and From a Nation
by Cornel West
It takes something as big as Hurricane Katrina and the misery we saw among the poor black people of New Orleans to get America to focus on race and poverty. It happens about once every 30 or 40 years.
What we saw unfold in the days after the hurricane was the most naked manifestation of conservative social policy towards the poor, where the message for decades has been: 'You are on your own'. Well, they really were on their own for five days in that Superdome, and it was Darwinism in action - the survival of the fittest. People said: 'It looks like something out of the Third World.' Well, New Orleans was Third World long before the hurricane.
It's not just Katrina, it's povertina. People were quick to call them refugees because they looked as if they were from another country. They are. Exiles in America. Their humanity had been rendered invisible so they were never given high priority when the well-to-do got out and the helicopters came for the few. Almost everyone stuck on rooftops, in the shelters, and dying by the side of the road was poor black.
In the end George Bush has to take responsibility. When [the rapper] Kanye West said the President does not care about black people, he was right, although the effects of his policies are different from what goes on in his soul. You have to distinguish between a racist intent and the racist consequences of his policies. Bush is still a 'frat boy', making jokes and trying to please everyone while the Neanderthals behind him push him more to the right.
Poverty has increased for the last four or five years. A million more Americans became poor last year, even as the super-wealthy became much richer. So where is the trickle-down, the equality of opportunity? Healthcare and education and the social safety net being ripped away - and that flawed structure was nowhere more evident than in a place such as New Orleans, 68 per cent black. The average adult income in some parishes of the city is under $8,000 (£4,350) a year. The average national income is $33,000, though for African-Americans it is about $24,000. It has one of the highest city murder rates in the US. From slave ships to the Superdome was not that big a journey.
New Orleans has always been a city that lived on the edge. The white blues man himself, Tennessee Williams, had it down in A Streetcar Named Desire - with Elysian Fields and cemeteries and the quest for paradise. When you live so close to death, behind the levees, you live more intensely, sexually, gastronomically, psychologically. Louis Armstrong came out of that unbelievable cultural breakthrough unprecedented in the history of American civilisation. The rural blues, the urban jazz. It is the tragi-comic lyricism that gives you the courage to get through the darkest storm.
Charlie Parker would have killed somebody if he had not blown his horn. The history of black people in America is one of unbelievable resilience in the face of crushing white supremacist powers.
This kind of dignity in your struggle cuts both ways, though, because it does not mobilise a collective uprising against the elites. That was the Black Panther movement. You probably need both. There would have been no Panthers without jazz. If I had been of Martin Luther King's generation I would never have gone to Harvard or Princeton.
They shot brother Martin dead like a dog in 1968 when the mobilisation of the black poor was just getting started. At least one of his surviving legacies was the quadrupling in the size of the black middle class. But Oprah [Winfrey] the billionaire and the black judges and chief executives and movie stars do not mean equality, or even equality of opportunity yet. Black faces in high places does not mean racism is over. Condoleezza Rice has sold her soul.
Now the black bourgeoisie have an even heavier obligation to fight for the 33 per cent of black children living in poverty - and to alleviate the spiritual crisis of hopelessness among young black men.
Bush talks about God, but he has forgotten the point of prophetic Christianity is compassion and justice for those who have least. Hip-hop has the anger that comes out of post-industrial, free-market America, but it lacks the progressiveness that produces organisations that will threaten the status quo. There has not been a giant since King, someone prepared to die and create an insurgency where many are prepared to die to upset the corporate elite. The Democrats are spineless.
There is the danger of nihilism and in the Superdome around the fourth day, there it was - husbands held at gunpoint while their wives were raped, someone stomped to death, people throwing themselves off the mezzanine floor, dozens of bodies.
It was a war of all against all - 'you're on your own' - in the centre of the American empire. But now that the aid is pouring in, vital as it is, do not confuse charity with justice. I'm not asking for a revolution, I am asking for reform. A Marshall Plan for the South could be the first step.
Dr Cornel West is professor of African American studies and religion at Princeton University. His great grandfather was a slave. He is a rap artist and appeared as Counselor West in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
© 2005 Guardian Newspapers, Ltd.
09-20-2005, 12:57 PM
A personal account
Just wanted to give a brief report. As you know, I went into New
Orleans Wed. and I stayed until early yesterday evening.
It is inhabited almost solely by the military, firefighters and
media. I say almost because there remain pockets of life, defiant
pockets. Maybe I'm just sick in head, but the arguments given by
people determined to stay in New Orleans started sounding mighty
After attending the daily press conference at City Hall Thursday, I
walked over to the Central Fire Station on Decatur and talked to
Dist. Chief Gary Haydel who was overseeing not only his own folks
but people who've come in from everywhere else to help. And since I
was in the French Quarter, I thought it was only fitting that I walk
over to Treme and see what was up there.
You should know that when the person ostensibly in charge of our
"New Orleans bureau" reached me on the phone he wanted to know why I
was hiking toward Treme, which I interpreted (rightly or wrongly) as
a kind of "Who cares?" kind of question. I said, "Well, it's the
oldest black neighborhood in the country." It wasn't like I was
paying all that much attention to him anyway (or observing a chain
of command). So I shrugged off his question and walked into my old
Some things don't change. And I'm glad about that. That level of
concern that sometimes borders on nosiness proved really helpful to
me on my trip. For example, when I turn off onto St. Claude, I see
two men sitting on a stoop directly across from where poet Kysha
Brown Robinson was staying. Kysha had recently been hosting the
NOMMO Literary Society out of her apartment. The man I spoke to --
he'd only give Chief Al as his name -- said "Yeah, I know her. And
her husband. Freddy, I think his name is. Nice people, man. Real
nice people." Al is chief of the bone gang, the black parading
organization that wakes up folks Mardi Gras morning, and he spent a
little time telling me why he and Sunpie Barnes (who used to be in
his gang) split ways. To reduce his tale down to a sentence: If
you want to wear stilts and grass skirts, you might as well join Zulu.
Anyway, Al ain't leaving. Neither is his friend Jim "Lucky" Osborne
or the other man who didn't say a word the whole time I stood
there. When I asked about the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which
houses some suits from big chiefs of the past, he said that he was
keeping watch over it. "I'm the security for the Backstreet and
'OZ," he said. He was referring to WWOZ, the public radio station
in adjacent Armstrong Park. There wasn't anybody in Treme I knew or
had heard of that Al didn't. Kalamu (who use to work out of there,
both with NOMMO and 'OZ), both Lolis Elies (the civil rights
attorney and the columnist for The Times-Picayune), Father Jerome
Ledoux of St. Augustine Catholic Church and Jerome Smith of
Tambourine and Fan. I knew the Elies were okay because I'd seen
Lolis Eric, his mother and his sister. Chief Al told me that Jerome
Smith was fine and that Father Ledoux was packing up because he'd
been sufficiently frightened by the armed people saying that
everybody had to clear out.
"This not communism," he told me. "I don't know where in the hell
(Mayor) Nagin gets off thinking he can do that," i.e. make people
leave. He believes the evacuation plan is designed to take Treme
for the benefit of rich people.
I wanted to see my old house. So I walked down Treme toward
Barracks. Lolis Eric Elies' houses (where we used to meet for
NOMMO) look fine. But during my stay in N.O. lots of houses looked
fine that I know are not. So I can't say with any certainty.
Wendell Pierce had an apartment on the opposite side of Lolis' and I
guess he still does. Like 1110/12 Treme, 1114/16 looked okay.
St. Augustine suffered some wind damage, a portion of the second
floor wall had fallen away exposing the skeleton of the building,
but it didn't look all that bad.
At the corner of Treme and Barracks, I came across another group. I
heard a generator running and I saw a man running a grill. I talked
to Q. I told him I couldn't print what he told me with just Q, so
he gave me Robert Thomas. At least I think so. Could have been
Thomas Robert. He had had a lot of beer and seemed to be excited
just to tell someone (someone else, at least) why he wasn't leaving.
And here's the part that, to me, made a disturbing amount of sense:
Q has a bed in his own house. The military has been bringing by
food. He's had water to drink, and he'd clearly had his share of
beer. Why would he leave that to go into a tent? His word, not
mine. He'd heard the stories of children being raped. He'd heard
the stories about folks being trampled to death, murdered and
generally exploited. And perhaps most importantly, he hadn't heard
from his family. If he leaves New Orleans, he said to me, "Where
the hell I'm gon' be after that?!"
While the people I talked to aren't necessarily looking out for the
best interests of the government, they did say repeatedly: just
bring me by food and water, and I'll be fine. They find that option
to be both more cost efficient and less emotionally rending than the
thought of leaving their homes.
My old house at 1310 Barracks looks the same way it looked when I
left. Little People's Place, the bar a few doors down, looks the
same, too. Lolis Edward Elie's place always looked like a fortress
to me, and it looked like it weathered the storm well. Going back
up St. Claude, I stopped in front of the Backstreet Cultural
Museum. The huge metal awning was no longer attached, but its
placement directly in front of the door looked like it was probably
the work of Chief Al and not the work of Katrina.
At Ursuline and St. Claude I spoke to Carmen Montana, Toby Clark and
her husband William Auchterlonie. They wanted the same thing Q
wanted: food, water and freedom. Toby and her husband wanted to be
together, and they didn't think that would necessarily be the case
if they agreed to leave. Some families had been separated, and they
weren't gonna risk that. "That's the worst case scenario," William
said. "That could happen."
"We have so little money," Toby said. "We leave with that we're
gonna come back with nothing."
No one believed they were risking their health by staying. When I
told the first group that the mayor said it was unsafe and that the
water was filthy, Lucky said, "I been drinking it for days. Just put
a little booze on it and it's okay," he said. Carmen was especially
dismissive. "Jesus Christ, I know that!" she said when I mentioned
the alleged health risks. "Just make us sign a release form or
something. Don't make us leave our home."
She told me that she had voted for Nagin, despite her being a
Republican, but "I'm disappointed with him."
"Just leave us alone," she said more than once.
I realize that I moved past brief a long time ago, and there's still
much to say, including news of three buildings at Dillard burning
down and a couple trips I made into the lower 9th Ward. I
personally did not make it into the East, but one reporter who went
along Haynes said it was so dry it was dusty. Not that it hadn't
flooded, but it had been so brutally hot since then that driving
past it's not easy to see how high the water got.
So I'll send more soon. But please know that I am safe and out of
New Orleans. And thanks to everybody who asked about me.
09-20-2005, 12:58 PM
Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orlean
Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans
Monday, September 12th, 2005
In addition to the thousands of military troops patrolling the streets of New Orleans, there are also scores of private soldiers that are now spreading out across the city, like those from the Blackwater Security firm. Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports. [includes rush transcript]
• Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! producer and correspondent.
- Read: "Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans"
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, in New Orleans it is a militarized zone. When we came into the French Quarter on Saturday, we met some, well, interesting people.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you just get here?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: We have been here a couple days.
AMY GOODMAN: Yeah? Who are you working for?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: Blackwater.
AMY GOODMAN: And who are they working for?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: Really don't -- don't have any way to tell you that. You know, we just do our assignments, and we go from there.
AMY GOODMAN: What's your assignment today?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: I'm not at liberty to discuss. I'm sorry.
AMY GOODMAN: Have any of your guys just come back from Iraq, by any chance?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: Last year.
AMY GOODMAN: Have you?
BLACKWATER MERCENARY 2: Last year. Who are you guys with?
AMY GOODMAN: Blackwater. Today we're going to talk about that with Democracy Now! correspondent, Jeremy Scahill. We have been traveling through New Orleans together. Jeremy, you wrote a piece this weekend called "Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans."
JEREMY SCAHILL: That's right, Amy. And the Blackwater mercenaries became very well known internationally a few years back when four of their men were killed in Fallujah, Iraq. Two of them had their bodied burned and then hung from a bridge. And that resulted in the massive retaliatory onslaught against Fallujah that resulted in tens of thousands of people having to flee the city and scores of people being killed, and now Fallujah has become an international symbol of resistance, and that goes back to those killings of the four Blackwater workers.
Well, as I was walking with Daniela Crespo through the streets of the French Quarter, we were talking to two New York City police officers when an unmarked vehicle pulled up, and there were three heavily armed men inside dressed in khaki outfits, and they asked the New York police officers, "Do you know where the Blackwaters guys are?" And my ears immediately perked up, because, of course, having covered Iraq for a long time, I know well who the Blackwater mercenaries are. And the New York police officer said, "Well, they're down the street that way. There are lots of them around here." And then I said to the New York police officer, "Blackwater? You mean, like the guys in Iraq?" And he said, "Yeah. They're all over the place."
And so, we tracked them down, found them down the street, and just approached the Blackwater mercenaries and began talking to them. Two of the guys that we talked to had served on the personal security details of L. Paul Bremer, the American pro-counsel in Iraq originally, the head of the occupation, as well as the U.S. ambassador -- former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. One of the guys had just gotten back from Iraq two weeks ago. These are some of the most highly trained killers, professional killers in the world. And they had served in Iraq in a number of cities and in a number of capacities.
And one of them was wearing a golden badge, that identified itself as being Louisiana law enforcement, and in fact, one of the Blackwater mercenaries told us that he had been deputized by the governor of Louisiana, and what's interesting is that the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security have denied that they have hired any private security firms, saying that they have enough with government forces. Well, these Blackwater men that we spoke to said that they are actually on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and indeed with the governor of Louisiana. And they said that they're sleeping in camps organized by the Department of Homeland Security.
One of the Blackwater guys said that when he heard New Orleans, he asked, "What country is that in?" And he was bragging to me about how he drives around Iraq in what he called a State Department issued level five explosion-proof BMW. This, as U.S. soldiers don't even have proper armor on their Humvees and other vehicles. And so, we also overheard one of the Blackwater guys talking to, we presume, a colleague, complaining that he was only being paid $350 a day plus his per diem, and that other firms were paying much more. And we're seeing many of these Blackwater mercenaries and other private security agents roaming the streets of New Orleans.
And what's significant is that the way it's being reported and the way the company is presenting it is that they are here to help with the hurricane relief efforts, but they told us clearly that they are engaged in quote, "stopping criminals" and that they're actually patrolling the streets. In fact, we saw them take over a building on Bourbon Street when we were walking around with them. And now they have set up shop there on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. So this is very, very disturbing, I think, for anyone who knows the record of Blackwater. Of course, they do not ask questions first. They shoot first, and that is their reputation in Iraq. And so, Americans should be asking right now what these kinds of trained killers are doing on the streets of New Orleans, apparently on contract from the Department of Homeland Security.
AMY GOODMAN: And Jeremy, as we went around, saw other figures, we didn't know who they worked for, like those in front of Hibernia Bank, as we were driving by and John Hamilton was filming. They flagged down our car. They said, "Stop the filming." And we said, "Why?" And they said, "We just said 'stop the filming.'" They said, "These are our streets," and made clear next to their sports shirt, you could see clearly that they were carrying guns.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yes, that's right. And they also alleged that they had been deputized. And another key point is that these Blackwater guys said that they were given the authority to use lethal force, as well as the power to make arrests. And when we asked them about this use of them in the United States, they said that they believe that we're going to see a lot more of this and that this is a trend. So, I think that this is a very, very disturbing development that we are seeing here on the streets of New Orleans, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, if you want to read "Overkill" by Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo, go to our website at DemocracyNow.org.
09-20-2005, 01:00 PM
Prisoners In New Orleans
Prisoners In New Orleans
Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast last week, many people have asked if WPBP had any information on the status of prisoners in the affected states. We do know that at this time, the New Orleans Books to Prisoners group has been wiped out, their office is underwater. There are reports that several core members had stayed behind during the evacuation to try and save the office, and we have not yet had word that those folks are okay.
Since the health and well-being of folks in prison is not a very high priority for state and local officials during the best of times, the reports we have heard from area jails and prisons come as no surprise. Below are two articles, one based on a report by a guard in the New Orleans city jail, and one based on an account from an inmate in that same jail.
Prisoners Fall on Barbed Wire in Bid to Find Water
New Orleans prison inmates desperate to get water fell out of cell windows onto razor wire where they hung for hours waiting to be rescued, according to a sheriff's deputy. Luis Reyes, who guarded a prison during Hurricane Katrina and the days after, said that some detainees drowned in their cells as flood waters rose.
In an interview with AFP, Mr. Reyes said many prisoners broke out of their cells because there were just not enough guards to control the Community Correctional Centre during the chaos after Monday's storm.
It took three days to evacuate the prisoners and for most of that time no food or water was given to the inmates, Mr Reyes said.
There were about four floors to the building with 100 prisoners on each floor. The crisis reached a peak after the levees protecting New Orleans broke on Tuesday and flood water poured in. "At one stage the inmates at the bottom tier had water up to their chests.
There are dead inmates in there still. When the guards were doing their last sweeps there were one or two here and there," said the 33- year-old deputy.
Troubles erupted in the correctional centre on Wednesday, according to Mr. Reyes. "The inmates said they did not want to take over the jail they just wanted food and water. We had nothing to give them because basically everything was under water."
He said that in a nearby prison building, "the inmates started jumping out of the windows onto the razor wire and they were hanging there until we could get to them. "But the scary thing for me was running up the buildings because the inmates were breaking out of the cells and were tearing holes in the walls. They had been escaping throughout the night because we were so shorthanded. People just did not come in. There was no plan for this situation."
"They were hanging out of the windows and trying to get water. Some of the inmates were so desperate for water that they tied their t- shirts together and lowered a boot into the diseased water that they had just relieved themselves into."
Eventually the prisoners were grouped together on a bridge where at one stage there were between 4,600 and 5,000 inmates waiting to be evacuated out of the city. The detainees were eventually driven away in trucks on Thursday with the help of prison officers brought in from other towns. But the New Orleans officers and their families were left behind, Mr Reyes said.
"They were left with food and water but they were angry at being abandoned. They spent the night sleeping on the concrete overpass with about 100 other people who had been stranded," he said.
Relief eventually arrived on Friday, Mr Reyes said. He said he survived on a handful of cereals each day for five days.
Prisoner Recalls Ordeal at Orleans Parish Prison
Ahmad Nelson, a native of New Orleans, was in the Orleans Parish Prison on the day the Hurricane hit. He was there on trumped up charges of trespassing (he is a black male, and this happens to him all-too frequently).A really good friend of mine is close friends with him (they have a baby boy together) and just talked to him over the phone. Ahmad is in Houston now, with a portion of his family.
Ahmad told Maga (my friend) that he was Left in the Orleans Parish Prison, along with every other prisoner, when the Hurricane hit and the flood waters rose.
The prison guards and other staff left, evacuated the prison and left the inmates there to fend for themselves - most of which were locked in their cells (the cell doors were stuck due to power outages).
Ahmad tells of riots and total panic within the prison as it started filling with water. He says "the whole prison is going to have to be rebuilt" as the inmates literally tore the place apart, trying to escape anyway they could.
Ahmad went four days and nights locked in the prison WITHOUT ANY FOOD OR WATER.
It is unclear to me how he escaped, but he did, and swam what he said seemed like MILES in flood waters feet above his head (he is over 6" tall) until he finally came to an interstate bank above the flood waters. Along his swimming path he tells of seeing people throwing their babies and themselves into the water, starved and tired after being alone, stuck on their rooftops for over four days and nights in the summer sun without any food, water or shelter - or any relief in sight.
Ahmad is safe now, miraculously. He is in Houston and has found many members of his family their. I am not sure where they are going next, but am told, amazingly that they are in good spirits and are very positive and happy to be with each other.
My friend Maga and I are working with friends in Houston to ensure that Ahmad and his family find proper care, etc. I am writing this to those I know, as this is a story that I have yet to hear on the media - and it is a story that must be told!
It is one of the more disturbing stories outlining the examples of governmental neglect and racism towards the people of New Orleans.
I thought I would write friends and collegues to share this story, as I know many of you do work within independent (and public) media.
If anyone would like to learn more about Ahmad's story and the story of the New Orleans prisoners left behind in the rising flood waters, please feel free to contact Maga at :email@example.com.
She is on contact with Ahmad and his family on a day-to-day basis.
5. Volunteer Opportunity
Longtime WPBP volunteer Carly Voshell is working with Ramsey County Corrections coordinating volunteers to work with prisoners. She asked us to pass on the following volunteer opportunity to WPBP
Interested in becoming a Volunteer in Corrections, working with female and male inmates at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility in Maplewood, MN? We are currently in need of parenting, anger management and relapse prevention facilitators, a Family Lawyer, GED tutors, and an artistic individual to assist a new service-learning project. Still doesn't sound like you? We can create a program around your skills, talents and schedule. Please contact Carly Voshell for more information contact Carly Voshell at:
Carly.Voshell@Co.Ramsey.MN.US or (651) 266-1446.
Thank you for reading this month's extra long WPBP email. We will see all of you at the Open House, and at the Headwaters Walk!!!!!
We welcome your feedback! Email us with comments, suggestions, etc. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo modify your subsciption, visit the yahoogroups website at http://www.yahoogroups.com/mygroups
09-20-2005, 01:01 PM
Okay, these FEMA Camps Are Crazy
Okay, these FEMA Camps are crazy
09-20-2005, 01:02 PM
# Executive Order Number 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An "emergency czar" was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies. The bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic.
# Executive Order Number 12656 appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry.
# Executive Order 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
# Executive Order 10995 allows Seizure of all communications media in the United States.
# Executive Order 10997 allows Seizure of all electric power fuels and minerals, public and private.
# Executive Order 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
# Executive Order 10999 allows Seizure of all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control of highways, seaports and waterways.
# Executive Order 11000 allows Seizure of all American people for work forces under federal supervision including the splitting of families if the government finds it necessary.
# Executive Order 11001 allows seizure of all health, education and welfare facilities, public and private.
# Executive Order 11002 empowered the postmaster general to register all men, women and children in the U.S.
# Executive Order 11003 allows seizure of all airports and aircraft.
# Executive Order 11004 allows seizure of all housing and finance authorities to establish Forced Relocation Designated areas to be abandoned as "unsafe."
# Executive Order 11005 allows seizure of all railroads, inland waterways and storage facilities, public and private.
# Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
# Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
# Executive Order 12919 Signed June 3, 1994, by President Clinton. Encompasses all the above executive orders.
09-20-2005, 01:03 PM
Police Guard Suburbs, Turn Fleeing Residents Back
Racist' police blocked bridge and forced evacuees back at gunpoint By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 11 September 2005
A Louisiana police chief has admitted that he ordered his officers to block a bridge over the Mississippi river and force escaping evacuees back into the chaos and danger of New Orleans. Witnesses said the officers fired their guns above the heads of the terrified people to drive them back and "protect" their own suburbs.
Two paramedics who were attending a conference in the city and then stayed to help those affected by the hurricane, said the officers told them they did not want their community "becoming another New Orleans".
The desperate evacuees were forced to trudge back into the city they had just left. "It was a real eye-opener," Larry Bradshaw, 49, a paramedic from San Francisco, told The Independent on Sunday. "I believe it was racism. It was callousness, it was cruelty."
Mr Bradshaw said the police blocked off the road on the Thursday and Friday after Hurricane Katrina struck on Monday 29 August. He and his wife Lorrie Slonsky, also a paramedic, had sheltered with others in the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.
When food and water ran out they were forced to head for the city's convention centre, but on the way they heard reports of the chaos and violence that was taking place there and inside the Superdome where thousands of people were forced together without running water, toilets, electricity or air conditioning. So Mr Bradshaw spoke with a senior New Orleans police officer who instructed them to cross the Crescent City Connection bridge to Jefferson Parish, where he promised they would find buses waiting to evacuate them.
They were in the middle of a group of up to 800 people - overwhelmingly black - walking across the bridge when they heard shots and saw people running. "We had been hearing shooting for days. What was different about this was that it was close by," he said.
Making their way towards the crest of the bridge they saw a chain of armed police officers blocking the route. When they asked about the buses they were told their was no such arrangement and that the route was being blocked to avoid their parish becoming "another New Orleans". They identified the police as officers from the city of Gretna.
The following day Mr Bradshaw said they tried again to cross and directly witnessed police shooting over the heads of a middle-aged white couple who were also turned back. Eventually, late on Friday evening, the couple succeeded in crossing the bridge with the intervention of a contact in the local fire department.
Arthur Lawson, chief of the Gretna police department, said he had not yet questioned his officers as to whether they fired their guns.
He confirmed that his officers, along with those from Jefferson Parish and the Crescent City Connection police force, sealed the bridge and refused to let people pass. This was despite the fact that local media were informing people that the bridge was one of the few safe evacuation routes from the city.
Gretna is a predominantly white suburban town of around 18,000 inhabitants.
In the aftermath of Katrina, three quarters of the inhabitants still had electricity and running water. But, Chief Lawson told UPI news agency:
"There was no food, water or shelter in Gretna City. We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people. If we had opened the bridge our city would have looked like New Orleans does now - looted, burned and pillaged."
Mr Bradshaw and his wife were evacuated to Texas and have since returned to California. They condemned the authorities, adding: "This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm, heartfelt reception given to us by ordinary Texans.
"Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept and racist...
Lives were lost that did not need to be lost."
09-20-2005, 01:05 PM
Fred Hampton Jr. Launches Black Cross Campaign
POCC launches Black Cross Campaign
by POCC Min. of Info JR and Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.
International Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee left the South this week to officially launch the POCC Black Cross Campaign, leading a delegation to Jackson, Miss., to pick up five families who were victims of the disaster to hit the South. Many of our people have given millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other agencies that have not been distributing resources to Black people, our people, in an adequate, respectful manner, so the POCC is organizing the Black Cross Campaign, recognizing that it’s on us to do for us.
The POCC Black Cross Campaign will be sending busloads of clothes, food and other basic need items to give directly to the people in the South and locally who have been affected. Chairman Fred gave this interview from a POCC Black Cross bus that was coming from Jackson on its way back to Chicago. Check it out …
JR: What are you doing locally in the Chicago area and what is the POCC doing nationally with this Black Cross Campaign?
CF: We’re responding to the Code Red situation that is going down with our people in New Orleans and throughout Mississippi in reference to the hurricane and the conditions that our people are being subjected to – not just the hurricane but in the aftermath – and these future contradictions that we’re going to have to deal with. The fact is that we still got people in places like New Orleans still in standing water, still in dire conditions, still people that are dying, still people that are being literally murdered, which is different from what the ruling class media is putting out.
And we have launched a campaign that is not only local but on an international level, and that being the Black Cross Campaign, in which we’re trying to form coalitions with various other organizations. This is done in direct contention with the Red Cross, FEMA and any other ruling class entities, because we’re clear that this country and any of its apparatuses don’t have the interest of African people at hand.
Just to put it plainly in laymen’s terms like the brotha Kanye West laid out the other day, “George Bush doesn’t like Black folks,” you know what I’m saying? So with that being said, we’re mobilizing, organizing and politicizing, man.
As we speak, I’m literally on a bus right now. We got about five families that we got out of Jackson, Mississippi. We’ve made stops in Camden, Biloxi and a couple of more stops down there, and we have first hand witnesses that have witnessed the atrocities that our people are still being subjected to, man. I’m talking about in the Coliseum in Mississippi, with the white Aryan nationalism.…
They just took a confederate rebel flag out of the Coliseum, and that’s just one thing. They divvy out the rations like they’re feeding dogs, I’m talkin’ about the level of disrespect …
JR: What do you mean?
CF: They send people through all kinds of questionnaires to get the petty rations, and they’re shutting down independent people who are trying to bring in decent food and treat the people with some sort of respect. There was this one cat named Bob Ford. He had a couple of cats who just got out, one brotha just got through with doing nine years in Parchman Penitentiary and came out there to assist. They wasn’t looking for no fanfare or nothing, just to serve their people.
The Red Cross literally harassed these brothas to the point where they said that they were finna leave up outta there. They packed up and said that they are going to see if they’re going to have better luck in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Again this is the type of treatment that the Red Cross…
When we came up in there, they drove down on us like it was martial law. We came there to help our people and serve our people, man, to get some basic needs met down there. The Red Cross was literally turning down pampers, sanitary napkins and water straight out, talkin’ about naw they don’t want it.
One sista from New Orleans, the Ninth Ward in particular, had told us when we first got there, “Hey, don’t give it to them. Make sure with whatever ya’ll got you give it straight directly to the people.” She was telling us about the situation over the last two days, how the workers have been taking the stuff for their own personal good, stuff that has been donated from different places and people, churches and community organizations – just straight out theft, man.
This is going down in these different places and people got to be aware of it, man. This also ties into this propaganda that the state has been putting out about this so-called looting. We’ve got reports in New Orleans where the pigs have run the people out of different stores where the brothas are trying to retrieve food and basic needs, not even thinking about themselves, thinking about the babies, man. And the pigs are running these forces out, then the pigs themselves are going and taking the goods and everything.
We’ve got cases and reports where there are bodies being found with bullet holes all in their faces. I’m talking about thousands of bodies laid out and shot up in places like the Calliopes and Magnolia housing projects. They have declared martial law, man. It’s open season on us, man. The furthest that you’re able to get up in there, from the community, is Jefferson Parish …
JR: So what you’re saying is that it is all cordoned off?
CF: Right, and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Association, a direct government agency, got it where you have to have seals on your vehicle to get in. And, you know, a majority of the time they let the white folks get the seals and stickers to get in the area.
In Jefferson Parish, which is like a county, that’s right before you get into New Orleans, they got a block up there. That’s the same hometown of David Duke, the Klansmen who ran for state senator, you know what I’m saying? So you know what kind of white nationalism that you’re dealing with there.
So you got not only the pigs with open shootout season on our people, you got the common cracker, the white nationalist trying to attack our people. We still got people down there – Mama Dee, Mama Diane French Cole – who’s down there right now off of St. Bernard, still working with the basic needs organizing the people, man.
We still got people in New Orleans, and the last time we talked to them, they had helicopters flying all over; it’s like martial law, man. This is a fine example that ain’t nobody going to save us but us. Again, it’s Code Red, and we’re going to be organizing this call to support the Black Cross, not only throughout the country but outside of the country, on an international level, man.
We’re going to need to meet basic needs; I mean shoes, clothes, personal hygiene items, you name it. We’re going to be bringing people up. Right now as we speak, we’re bringing five families to Chicago now, we’re going to hook them up with some housing and some more things, man.
Look for the Great Migration to be happening all throughout this country with our people, man, you know what I’m saying? But it’s going to be a whole bunch more contradictions that we’re going to have to deal with, with this situation of attempted genocide that’s going down in New Orleans, and that’s how it needs to be summed up. We gotta say, “Stop the Genocide in New Orleans.”
To hear the Block Report recording of this interview, email email@example.com. The POCC is organizing people in the Bay Area, LA, Tucson, Atlanta, Jackson, Bridgeport, New Orleans and beyond. If you want to help with the Black Cross campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
09-20-2005, 01:06 PM
Let's be clear on their tactics...
Okay, so now they are trying to force people to leave New Orleans by STARVING THEM?
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