View Full Version : Katrina Victims Testify About Ethnic Cleansing, Levee Bomb

12-08-2005, 04:07 PM
Katrina Victims Testify About Ethnic Cleansing, Levee Bomb
Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/7/13757/8197)

UPDATE: Video Up at C-Span. There's Part 1 (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/hur/hur120605_evacuees.rm) and Part 2 (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/hur/hur120605_evacuees2.rm). In Part 1, the first panelist is not so hot, but the next 4 are powerful and Mama D is the fifth and final panelist of Part 1. This was the most amazing hearing. If you didn't see it yesterday look for it to repeat. The Congressmen tried to get Mama D to not go overtime and she scolded them, saying she came up from N'awlins with a list of complaints from fellow victims and she is going to read ALL of them.

Then she accused Chris Shays of accusing the victims of lying about police pointing M-16s at 5 year olds, of perfectly fine housing projects that Bush had steel-plated and closed, of a LEVEE BOMB (and she went "BA-BOOOOOM! right in the hearing room), of concentration camp tactics on the I-10 Causeway, of outright Ethnic Cleansing.

One chagrinned Repuke said "Could you please refrain from calling it a Concentration Camp", to which eveacuee Leah Hodges exclaimed "No I will not! They separated children from families, did not feed us or give us water, they let people die, a woman lost her baby. And all the while trucks are going past--with no supplies--just full of soldiers with M-16s. It was like Hitler."

(There is no transcript up yet so I'm trying to remember)

WASHINGTON --Black survivors of Hurricane Katrina said Tuesday that racism contributed to the slow disaster response, at times likening themselves in emotional congressional testimony to victims of genocide and the Holocaust. The comparison is inappropriate, according to Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.

"Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed," Miller told the survivors.

"They died from abject neglect," retorted community activist Leah Hodges. "We left body bags behind."

Angry evacuees described being trapped in temporary shelters where one New Orleans resident said she was "one sunrise from being consumed by maggots and flies." Another woman said military troops focused machine gun laser targets on her granddaughter's forehead. Others said their families were called racial epithets by police.

"No one is going to tell me it wasn't a race issue," said New Orleans evacuee Patricia Thompson, 53, who is now living in College Station, Texas. "Yes, it was an issue of race. Because of one thing: when the city had pretty much been evacuated, the people that were left there mostly was black."

Not all lawmakers seemed persuaded.

"I don't want to be offensive when you've gone though such incredible challenges," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. But referring to some of the victims' charges, like the gun pointed at the girl, Shays said: "I just don't frankly believe it."

"You believe what you want," Thompson said.

The hearing was held by a special House committee, chaired by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., investigating the government's preparations and response to Katrina. It was requested by Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"Racism is something we don't like to talk about, but we have to acknowledge it," McKinney said. "And the world saw the effects of American-style racism in the drama as it was outplayed by the Katrina survivors."

The five white and two black lawmakers who attended the hearing mostly sat quietly during two and a half hours of testimony. But tempers flared when evacuees were asked by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., to not compare shelter conditions to a concentration camp.

"I'm going to call it what it is," said Hodges. "That is the only thing I could compare what we went through to."

Of five black evacuees who testified, only one said he believed the sluggish response was the product of bad government planning for poor residents -- not racism.

http://www.boston.com/... (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/12/07/katrina_victims_testify_on_racisms_role/)
There are numerous witnesses to the explosion sound and divers have found a 30-foot crater at the bottom of the 17th St. Levee that flooded the 9th Ward, said the panel. In addition, they said historically, towns have blown levees upstream to prevent their own town from flooding, so blowing up levees was nothing new for Louisiana.

Don't know if the Levee Bomb is true or not, but they all swore to God it was the truth. All the rest of the Ethnic Cleansing charges certainly appear to be true to me, especially the shuttering of the housing projects that NEVER GOT FLOODED.

Anyone else see it yesterday or last night on C-Span 2?

Update [2005-12-7 14:26:47 by Sherlock Google]: Otis704 found this. Good Catch O!
When the rains broke records in April 1927, the Gulf of Mexico was full and worked as a stopper to the Mississippi. The Mississippi was full, too, pushing its own waters up tributaries, breaking levees and causing flooding as far as Ohio and Texas. All that water had to go somewhere. It couldn't go to New Orleans, panicky city fathers told the Army Corps of Engineers; it would devastate the regional economy.

To save New Orleans, the leaders proposed a radical plan. South of the city, the population was mostly rural and poor. The leaders appealed to the federal government to essentially sacrifice those parishes by blowing up an earthen levee and diverting the water to marshland. They promised restitution to people who would lose their homes. Government officials, including Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, signed off.

On April 29, the levee at Caernarvon, 13 miles south of New Orleans, succumbed to 39 tons of dynamite. The river rushed through at 250,000 cubic feet per second. New Orleans was saved, but the misery of the flooded parishes had only started. The city fathers took years to make good on their promises, and very few residents ever saw any compensation at all.

The water, which had started rising on Good Friday, would not recede until July. Many victims would never return to their homes. Hoover, who won support for leading relief efforts, went on to win the presidential election. And the Corps of Engineers, who had said the levees would hold, was humbled. Says Daniel: "People complained about the corps . . . but they never blamed the river. They understood: 'That's the river. That's nature. That's what it's supposed to be doing.' " -Judd Slivka

1927: Hoover, 39 tons of Dynamite, Blow Levee and Flood Poor Parishes (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/050912/12leadall.b.htm)

12-08-2005, 04:25 PM
McKinney starts at 9:10... in Part I.

911=inside job
12-08-2005, 04:42 PM
i think they blew the fucker!!!!

12-08-2005, 05:19 PM
I want EVERYONE to watch this.

12-08-2005, 05:25 PM
Shays is such a cocksucker.

12-08-2005, 05:56 PM
Shays is trying to discredit Mama D.

12-08-2005, 06:03 PM
I would like to see the "Mainstream" coverage of this. WHERE is it?!

12-08-2005, 06:13 PM
Steve Buyer is putting words in his mouth. What a fucking cocksucker.

12-08-2005, 06:26 PM
This is infuriating.

12-08-2005, 06:36 PM
I'm only 50 minutes in, its fucking painful to watch - and I haven't even got to the bit where the good politicians inevitably suggest these people shouldn't be trusted (because they're angry working class black people who have an irrational, probably race-based, vendetta against the government).

12-08-2005, 06:42 PM
Shays is the one who questions their integrity.

12-08-2005, 09:24 PM
I am sorry, how the hell did the bush administration build a weather machine that could be controlled so perfectly it hit an intended city at the right spot so as they could plant bombs in a levee all for the purpose of puting an insignificant minor dent in the african american population? Hoowee

I think it came down to incompatance surrounding an act of god. Also Am I the only person that heard on the news people were shooting at police helicopters and threatning and fighting police? Kinda makes it hard to rescue a lot of people when a few are idiots and trying to kill you. What did the bush admin gain except a horrible reputation and in this case unfairly being called racist? how does that help them ?

I don't buy it. In fact I dread that spike lee movie, that man is racist in my books, all white men and all white cops are bigots? kinda racist no?

12-12-2005, 02:12 PM
Drowned city cuts its poor adrift

The waters have receded but the mainly black, low-income citizens of New Orleans are now the victims of rising rents, forced evictions and plans that favour the better off, reports Peter Beaumont

Sunday December 11, 2005
The Observer (http://www.observer.co.uk/)

Miss Mildred's piano lies where the water knocked it down three months ago, amid ruined photographs and clothes. Her favourite chair is jammed in a corner; the wooden tiles of her tiny clapboard house muddy and peeled loose. There is nothing to salvage from a thrifty, industrious life, so she has come to see her home in New Orleans' devastated Ninth Ward for one last time.'I don't have anything to come home to. No food, no water or electricity,' said the 74-year-old, whose family has been scattered. 'I can't afford to live in the French Quarter and there is nowhere else to rent. I have three more years on the mortgage to pay for this.' She will not sell the property, she says, but she also will not return. And Mildred W Franklin is angry. In a city where the wealthy areas are buzzing with reconstruction, her neighbourhood, one of the worst affected, is silent and ghostly. 'They want us to be disgusted. They don't want us to return.'

She is not alone in thinking this. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans it was the city's poor - almost exclusively African Americans - who were left to fend for themselves as the city drowned in a lake of toxic sludge. Now, three months on, the same people have been abandoned once again by a reconstruction effort that seems determined to prevent them from returning. They are the victims of a devastating combination of forced evictions, a failure to reopen the city's public house projects, rent gouging and - as in the case of Mildred - a decision to write off whole neighbourhoods.

They are victims too of a reconstruction effort that, while its funding remains stalled in Congress, and lacking proper leadership, has been left to the care of the private sector with little interest in the city's poor. As a rapacious free market has come to dominate the rebuilding of the Louisiana city, it has seen spiralling prices and the influx of property speculators keen to cash in on the disaster. The result is one of the most shocking pieces of urban planning that black and poor America has seen: reconstruction as survival of the wealthiest.

Sitting in the back of the pick-up truck of union activist Jim Prickett, Aaron is on fire with anger. A young black man in his twenties in dreadlocks and a Veterans for Peace T-shirt, he flares out at all around him. 'My grandpa died at the airport [during the evacuation]. Now me and my mama can't get into our home. There is a notice on the door. If we try, we are looting. Do you understand how that must feel?' he shouts. 'Do you understand? I live how I can. It has jumbled me up here,' he points to his head. 'It is genocide and ethnic cleansing. It's the return of Jim Crow.'

Aaron's anger is not unique, although a crushed sense of depression is more common. It is fuelled by the suspicion among the city's dispersed poor that what is happening is nothing short of an attempt to redraw the city's demographics and gentrify it. It is a suspicion fuelled by widely reported comments from senior administration and city officials that in the future New Orleans, which once had a population that was 65 per cent black, will no longer look that way. Alphonso Jackson, President George Bush's Housing and Urban Development Secretary, is one of those who has predicted a change in the ethnic mix of the Big Easy. 'Whether we like it or not,' he told the Houston Chronicle, 'New Orleans is not going to be 500,000 people for a long time ... New Orleans is not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again.'

Jackson is not alone in holding that view.'As a practical matter, these poor folks don't have the resources to go back to our city, just like they didn't have the resources to get out of our city,' said Joseph Canizaro, once one of the city's biggest developers and a member of New Orleans' rebuilding commission. 'So we won't get all those folks back. That's just a fact. It's not what I want, it's just a fact.'

While some in the city are overtly racist, what is happening in New Orleans is only racist by default. The discrimination is against the poor, who once made up an unusually high percentage of the population for a US city. It just happens that the vast majority of them are African Americans.

One who is not is Sonia Fabiola, 54, a house cleaner from Guatemala whose story is typical in a city where thousands are being evicted by private landlords keen to cash in on doubled monthly rentals after the loss of 200,000 homes to the storm. And it is being fuelled by a property boom. 'We were one of the 25 most underpriced markets in the United States,' Arthur Sterbcow, president of the region's Latter & Blum estate agents, told Reuters recently. 'We were as far away from what they called a housing bubble as you get. Now we've had three record-breaking months in a row.'

It is a boom that has fuelled unscrupulous practices of which Sonia has been a victim. A resident in a low cost private complex in the Terrytown district, Ms Fabiola, who was evicted from her apartment last Wednesday after a struggle to remain, had been the victim of constant harassment since her return home, allegedly with the connivance of some members of the police. It is a story of pure Rachmanism. She had been threatened, had her rent cheque refused, her electricity cut off and seen her absent neighbours' flats cleared of all their possessions, while rubbish was dumped outside her door.

But in a state with some of the poorest tenants' protection laws in the US, her fight to remain was hopeless. And that is likely to be a massive problem in a city whose rents have doubled and trebled in some instances. 'I came here from my own country to get away from corruption and this kind of behaviour,' said Ms Fabiola, 'and now I am treated like this in the United States. It is terrible. No one sees how the poor people here are being treated. I have never missed my rent in the 20 years I have lived here, and now I am being treated like this.'

'The racial issues are real,' said Miles Granderson, an activist lawyer who grew up in New Orleans and returned after the storm to campaign on housing issues. He adds a caveat: 'It is socio-economic more than anything, but in many cases black and poor and black and criminal are seen as the same thing - consciously or subconsciously. The main issue here is housing - and it is utterly incomprehensible that we don't have large numbers of emergency trailers here, or that we haven't finished or significantly progressed in rehabilitating the areas with only modest damage, or opened more public housing units.'

A case in point is the Iberville Project on the edge of the French Quarter, an area now bustling with out-of-state contractors spending their money in the restaurants and bars off Bourbon Street. Despite the project suffering minimal damage, like the vast majority of the city's projects its residents remain shut out. Public housing campaigners in the city believe that 3,750, or about half of the public housing units, are either ready for occupation now or can easily be made so. Yet only a few dozen have been reopened.

The net effect is a city that is not only too expensive for its low-income families to return to, but a city that many are not sure they want to reclaim. And as a consequence, the longer that people are kept away the less likely they are to return. 'There is a real concern that we will lose the nation's attention the longer this takes,' Bobby Jindal, a Republican from Metairie, just west of New Orleans, recently told the New York Times. 'People are making decisions now about whether to come back. And every day that passes, it will be a little harder to get things done.'

They are all problems that are unlikely to have been noticed by the former Presidents George Bush Snr and Bill Clinton when they came to New Orleans last week. The places that they visited were a bustle of activity, including one city worker set pointlessly to work with a tree pruner neatly clipping the branch ends of a tree.

It was a different story just 15 minutes' drive across the city in the flood-devastated neighbourhoods of the Ninth and Lower Ninth and in the city's east. For if there is busy reconstruction work in New Orleans, it has largely been following the money to households that can afford thousands of dollars to put them right.

On an official level there appears too to be a danger that the same assumptions are emerging. A report commissioned from the Urban Land Institute by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been equally controversial in suggesting that resources be focused on rebuilding New Orleans' less damaged neighbourhoods first - which also happen to be the wealthier ones - while studying whether it makes sense to repopulate areas that saw the worst flooding. And while Nagin has sought to calm critics by stressing that 'every section of the city will be rebuilt', the long delays in the poorest and worst-affected districts have effectively condemned vast areas of largely wooden housing to rapid disintegration.

Which makes such men as Newell Jack doubly courageous in trying to come back. Last week he had returned to his flood-damaged house on Abundance Street in the Ninth Ward to clear the debris prior to renovation. Mr Jack is fortunate in one sense: his house, like several in his street, is made of brick. For those few like him who have returned and are trying to rebuild it is a massive gamble. If no one else comes back, the inheritance of their effort will be a house in a blighted ghost town.

'I was lucky,' he says amid the acrid smell of 200lb of rotting shrimps the restaurateur was forced to abandon to Katrina. 'I was well insured. But a lot of people are going to have problems coming back. I own four chicken places. I lost two of them. Another is open and I'm working on the fourth. I can't leave what I had here. But the authorities have left it too long to come in and clear up this neighbourhood. They picked up some trash, but not much else. Now the mould has got into all the houses.'

For all his anger at the way he feels his neighbourhood has been abandoned, Newell Jack, however, is an optimist. 'New Orleans'll come back,' he says. 'It might take a while, but it will come back.'

The Legacy of disaster

Population of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina: 500,000

Present population: 60-70,000

Black population pre-Katrina: 65 per cent; post-Katrina it is predicted by the US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development to be 35-40 per cent

Concentration of poverty pre-Katrina: 18.4 per cent, making it the second highest concentration in a US metropolitan area. For African-Americans, the rate pre-Katrina was 35 per cent

Car ownership pre-Katrina: 75 per cent

Number of people who have applied for federal aid following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: 2.5 million

People in New Orleans suffering 'significant distress or dysfunction' 45 per cent; 25 per cent have an even 'higher degree of dysfunction'

There were 15,800 subsidised homes for poorer families before the storm. Now only a few score are occupied

The sum needed to rebuild homes in New Orleans: more than $20 billion

114,000 buildings have been inspected - around half of those in the city. Only 28 per cent of them are deemed to be habitable

The number of houses now receiving electricity from New Orleans power company Entergy: 55,000 out of 190,000

Estimated cost of repairing damaged levees: from $4bn to more than $30bn

12-12-2005, 10:05 PM
I just think it has less to do with race and more to do with poor.

I feel the media and film makers are capitalizing on a race issue that does not exist.

Therefore they are creating racism and this is why i have a problem with the way it has been presented.

12-13-2005, 12:45 PM
But race and poverty and inextricably linked in the US. Sure, there are poor white people (lots of them). But per-capitia poverty is much higher among black and hispanic people. Racism is still rife in the US - and no, Condi and Colin cannot be used as 'proof' of racial harmony.

12-14-2005, 03:45 PM
But race and poverty and inextricably linked in the US. Sure, there are poor white people (lots of them). But per-capitia poverty is much higher among black and hispanic people. Racism is still rife in the US - and no, Condi and Colin cannot be used as 'proof' of racial harmony.Oh yes I agree to that compleatly...just not that the RESPONCE to katrina was racism, it was anatural disaster, racism DOES exist, just this media hype surrounding katrina is perpetuating it.

12-15-2005, 03:06 AM
But race and poverty and inextricably linked in the US. Sure, there are poor white people (lots of them). But per-capitia poverty is much higher among black and hispanic people..I don't doubt it, but i would like to see you're source on blacks being poorer per capita than white people in america, perferably a recent study and one that incorperates those under 35, because I have looked and can not find such a study.

12-15-2005, 12:00 PM

12-15-2005, 09:05 PM
Thank you!

05-06-2006, 09:51 PM