Saturday, August 29, 2015

Unist'ot'en Camp "High Alert"

Unist'ot'en Camp on "high alert" under rumours of police raid

by Elizabeth McSheffrey 

 RCMP say recent discussion on social media concerning 
the Unist'ot'en Camp doesn't reflect "the situation."

Aug 27th, 2015

ACCESS DENIED: A still from video footage shows Houston RCMP officers requesting Unist’ot’en Camp spokesperson Freda Huson for access on July 15. When that failed, Chevron American officials tried on July 23 and got the same response.

Policers officers have not directly confirmed or denied rumours of an impending raid of the Unist'ot'en Camp in northwestern B.C., which has long been on their radar for repeatedly denying the oil and gas industry access to its territory.

Corporal Janelle Shoihet, a media relations officer in Surrey, said a press release issued by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) outlining the "mass arrest operation" is currently under review and no police action has been taken yet.

"We understand that there has been some discussions on social media that don't accurately reflect the RCMP's action or the situation," she told Vancouver Observer in an email statement.
"To date, there has been no police action. It is our understanding that discussions between industry and the Wet'suwet'en are still possible."

Rumours of the "mass arrest operation" outlined in the UBCIC release quickly gained traction among local leaders and activists, who discouraged police action against the peaceful residents of the Unist'ot'en Camp in any form.

Standing in solidarity

More than 50 individuals and organizations including Elizabeth May, David Suzuki, and Greenpeace Canada, signed an online declaration of support for the clan, which has claimed and governed the territory through its traditional and hereditary laws.

"We are deeply and gravely concerned to learn from a variety of sources that the RCMP appear to be on the verge of executing a highly provocative and dangerously reckless operational plan to make arrests," said the document.
"We are local, national and international organizations monitoring these developments closely and we affirm that the Unist’ot’en are not alone."

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) also sent a letter to the RCMP urging them to scrap any plans to cross into Unist'ot'en territory and make arrests.

"... Police must proceed with the utmost caution in a situation such as this, so as not to interfere with the constitutional rights of the Indigenous people," wrote BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson. "If the RCMP is, as reported, planning to move in on the camp and remove its members against their will, we urge that this plan be reconsidered."

RCMP will have to cross Unist'ot'en checkpoints to enter the territory and make arrests.

Possible indicators of RCMP action

Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said that senior RCMP officials used “deliberate language” around their intentions to go in the Unist'ot'en Camp and make arrests during a meeting with the First Nations Leadership Council on Mon. Aug. 24.

He also said this meeting was preceded by phone call with RCMP about "growing concerns" with the camp's placement, contributing to theories that a raid on the Unist'ot'en residence may be coming soon.

"It seems like incredibly drastic actions on the part of the RCMP," he told Vancouver Observer.
"We said that there needs to be a very real effort made at negotiations as opposed to mobilizing a large force of RCMP officers moving in on a camp."

Phillip said any police action against the Unist'ot'en will undoubtedly surface in an annual meeting between Premier Clark, her cabinet, and Indigenous leaders between Sept. 8 and 10.

In the meantime, residents of the Unist'ot'en Camp are preparing for an imminent police shakedown.

Peacefully awaiting arrest

"We’re just peacefully sitting here, waiting for them to show up," said camp spokesperson Freda Huson.
"That’s all we’ve been doing because we have every right to be here."

Unist'ot'en checkpoints have been set up on two entrances to its territory on Moricewest Forest Service Road and Chisolm Road. The Indigenous group has allowed loggers, tree-planters, and hunters to pass through peacefully, but has used the barriers to keep oil and gas officials at bay.

The camp has not and never will approve pipeline construction on its land, said Huson, despite more than 10 proposals involving its ancestral land. Among the most controversial pipeline projects that would affect the Unist'ot'en are Enbridge Northern Gateway and Chevron's Pacific Trail Pipeline.

Operation Gladio 2.0 in Europe?

Has Gladio Returned to Europe?

by Wayne Madsen - SCF

 Aug. 29, 2015 
The recent shooting of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul by two women who were claimed by Turkish authorities to be members of a far-left terrorist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), as well as a suspicious incident on a Thalys high-speed train bound for Paris from Amsterdam, indicate that the false flag operations conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s Cold War-era «stay behind network» known as Gladio may be back in full operation.

The DHKP-C is claimed to have carried out a suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013, an attack that killed a Turkish security guard.

 In that attack, a website called «The People's Cry», supposedly operated by DHKP-C, claimed that one of its members, Ecevit Sanli, carried out the suicide bombing at the embassy, which killed both Sanli and the Turkish guard.

The problem with the overall claim of DHKP-C involvement was a video posted by «The People’s Cry» that was discovered by the Israeli Mossad-linked «Search for International Terrorist Entities» or «SITE», a Washington, DC-based group that has been known to distribute to the media dubious videos and communiqu├ęs purporting to be from «Al Qaeda», «the Islamic State», and other alleged Islamist terrorist groups.

The alleged resurgence of DHKP-C has provided the Turkish government with cover to pound Kurdish guerrillas in eastern Turkey and instill a siege mentality among Turkish voters as the country heads into another national election that pits the Islamist-oriented government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the secular opposition.

Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani is accused of boarding a Paris-bound train in Brussels in order to launch a killing spree on passengers. Khazzani, who had in his possession an AK-47 and other weapons in a bag that he said he «found» in a Brussels park, was overpowered by three Americans and a British national. Two of the Americans who helped subdue Khazzani are members of the U.S. military, U.S. Air Force Airman Spencer Stone and Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos. The British national is Chris Norman, born in Uganda and a resident of southern France.

It is believed that Khazzani, a native of Tetouan, Morocco, like so many alleged Islamist attackers in France, had traveled abroad extensively prior to committing his terrorist attack. Khazzani was a resident of Algeciras and Madrid in Spain until 2014, whereupon he took a job with the French mobile phone company Lycamobile and moved to France.

Khazzani reportedly was radicalized at a mosque in Algeciras, across from the British territory of Gibraltar, where British intelligence keeps a very close eye on surrounding Spanish territory, including Algeciras. In June of this year, Khazzani was reportedly fighting alongside Islamic State guerrillas in Syria, later traveled from Antakya, Turkey to Tirana, Albania.

Khazzani’s story is almost the same as the one proffered by Mehdi Nemmouche, the Franco-Algerian who is said to have attacked the Jewish Museum of Brussels. Before the Brussels attack, Nemmouche is said to have fought with the Islamic State’s forces in Syria and spent some time in Britain. After attacking the Brussels museum, Nemmouche caught an overnight bus to Marseille from Brussels. A customs check discovered Nemmouche’s bag with an AK-47, a revolver, and bullets.

Nemmouche claimed after his arrest by French police that he discovered the weapons in a parked car in Brussels and stole them in order to sell them on the black market in Marseille. Khazzani claims that he intended to use the weapons he found in a Brussels park, an AK-47, a Luger pistol, a box cutter, a half-liter of gasoline, and nine magazines of ammunition to rob passengers on the Thalys train in order to buy food because he was penniless and homeless.

Both Kazzani and Nemmouche were well-known to French and other European law enforcement agencies as potential threats, yet no action was taken to conduct surveillance of their activities. Before the attack on the train, Khazzani was the subject of a French police «Fiche S» or «S notice that was transmitted to various European law enforcement agencies and requested Khazzani to be placed under police special surveillance. In addition, the Spanish police had Khazzani’s DNA on file. Moreover, not only Spanish, but German and Belgian, as well as French intelligence, had fairly complete files on Khazzani prior to the attack on the Thalys train.

Mohamed Merah, the Franco-Algerian who killed seven people in the Toulouse region, including three Jewish school children, in 2012, and Said and Cherif Kouachi, the Franco-Algerian brothers who attacked the offices of «Charlie Hebdo» magazine in January of this year, also had «Fiche S» and other intelligence files collected on them by French authorities.

The Franco-Senegalese-Malian gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked the Hyper-Cacher Jewish supermarket in Paris at the same time the Charlie Hebdo offices were attacked, was also well-known to French police and intelligence. Danish police and intelligence files also turned up the name of the alleged deadly attacker of Copenhagen’s Central Synagogue and a Danish film festival, Omar Alhamid Alhussein, a Danish national of Palestinian descent and criminal with a violent record who was released from a Danish prison just two weeks prior to the attack on the synagogue. Danish police shot and killed Alhussein after his alleged twin attacks.

The Thalys train was traveling through the Oignies region in Haute Picardie, France when Khazzani was subdued by the passengers. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve immediately suggested that Khazzani was a member of a radical Islamist group.Cazeneuve also wasted no time in flying to Copenhagen right after the synagogue and film festival attacks.

French Police Commissioner Helric Fredou

It was Cazeneuve who was reportedly under investigation by 45-year old French Police Commissioner Helric Fredou, the second in command of the French Judicial Police in Limoges, for links with Jeanette Bougrab.

Bougrab was the so-called «girlfriend» of slain «Charlie Hebdo» editor Stephane Charbonnier or «Charb», as he was known to his colleagues. Bougrab claimed to have been Charb's girlfriend and even insinuated that he fathered her daughter. Fredou is said to have committed suicide at the height of his investigation of a link between Bougrab and Cazeneuve. Fredou is said to have shot himself in the head after becoming despondent after meeting the family of one of victims of the French attacks. However, Fredou's family and friends discounted reports that Fredou was depressed. Furthermore, they pointed out that he had cracked open a major lead in the terrorist attacks a move that placed him at loggerheads with Cazeneuve.

According to French news reports, Fredou had Cazeneuve under suspicion since the police commissioner's days as Cherbourg police «commissaire». Cazeneuve has been mayor of the town of Cherbourg-Octeville since 2001 and it was during his time as police commissioner that Fredou first became aware of Cazeneuve's links with Mossad and his relationship with Bougrab and her cabal of anti-Muslim provocateurs.

The re-introduction of Gladio on the European political scene is in response to growing hostility to the European Union and austerity dictates by European central bankers. The corporatists and fascists who have steered Europe into bankruptcy are now using their media assets to morph their favorite threat over the last two decades - Islamist terrorism - to a combined menace of Islamist terrorists teamed up with an international network of anarchists. 
In Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Spain there are signs that the paradigm shift from Islamist terrorism to leftist anarchism is already occurring, with highly-suspicious and likely false flag bombings taking place at embassies and other facilities. The media will step up planted stories designed to link «anarchists» to «Jihadists».

After the Thalys train incident in Brussels, Cazeneuve and his friend, the anti-Muslim and right-wing Socialist French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, are calling for airport-style security checks at European train stations. The end-game is for the European Union to exercise increased political and social control over the peoples of the continent.

It is noteworthy that the rise of previously unknown «anarchist» groups is occurring in the very same countries where Gladio’s operations were most extensive: Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Italy was the nexus for «Organazzizione Gladio», the Italian branch of the pan-European CIA-led terrorist operations. In Turkey, Gladio was known as «Ergenekon» and in Greece, the Gladio operations were known as «Operation Sheepskin».

As long as Gladio is back in operation in Europe, the people of the continent should be afraid, in fact, they should be very afraid.

America's Policing Problem

What’s Wrong with Police in America - We need peace officers, not Pinkertons

 by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

Aug. 29, 2015
Americans got a glimpse of what policing is like in a more humane and civilized society last year when four young Swedish cops, on vacation in New York City and riding on a subway, found themselves faced with a bloody fight in the aisle by two angry black men.

New York's Finest busting up a legally protected
protest during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street Movement

A subway car full of New Yorkers watched in stunned disbelief as the four Scandinavian cops, all in civvies and unarmed, leapt into action [1]. They used non-lethal techniques to pin the two combatants without hurting either one and then began trying to talk them down, calmly, never raising their voices, and avoiding any swearing or verbal abuse. Neither man was hit by any of the officers despite their struggling. As the Swedish cops waited for New York’s Finest to arrive, they gently rubbed and patted the distressed captives and spoke to them reassuringly.

It was not the way that situation would likely have gone down had it been four off-duty New York cops in that car. First of all, they would almost certainly have had guns on them. Second, they would have been shouting and upping the tension level. Third, they might well have applied choke-holds instead of arm restraints, and would have had the men pinned face down, with knees in their backs. Quite possibly punches would have been thrown along with kicks and stomping in a gang-banging frenzy. Given the history of prior such incidents, it’s conceivable that shots might even have been fired, and that passengers could have been hit by stray police bullets (as happened in a Times Square incident not long ago). One or both of the fighters might well have been injured or even killed.

Instead a violent incident was peacefully halted...incredibly with nobody hurt.

That’s how policing is done in much of Europe, where police shootings are almost unheard of [2]. It’s how it should be done here.

But the whole concept of policing in the US is quite different from what prevails in most democratic countries. For one thing, abroad police are not ubiquitous in most places. I was in Finland, Austria and southern Germany last year, as well as in Quebec, and it’s actually hard to find a cop in any of those places when you’re looking for one. I walked for two hours in Montreal and didn’t see a single police officer, on foot or in a patrol car. Not so in New York, Philadelphia, Boston or even my local community of Upper Dublin, PA, where it’s easy to pass two or three cop cars just while driving the three miles between my house and the train station.

America is infested with police, and instead of responding to emergencies, they spend a lot of their time, from what I can observe, just looking for things to bust people for. Laws that can get people arrested have proliferated over the past few decades so fast [3] that today most of us are probably breaking laws every day that we don’t even know are on the books. This country is so over-policed that departments are thinking up ways to keep busy by spying on us, and they’re using tax money and confiscated cash to buy fancy new toys, from “Stingray” mobile phone taps to drones [4] (including armed drones), that will help them do it.

But it’s not just that. Cities and communities are hiring people as police officers who are not fit to be public servants. Many are bullies and have mental problems that lead them to resort to violent confrontation instead of negotiated solutions [5]. They are also people who tend to turn quickly to using a gun or a taser when they feel threatened or even disrespected.

Think about the other major category of uniformed public employee: firefighters. Here we have people who have signed up, and often literally volunteered to do probably the most dangerous job that a person can do: running into burning buildings that could collapse at any moment in order to rescue someone who might be in there, and if so, might still be alive.

I witnessed this kind of action once when I lived in an apartment in New York. We lived on the 11th floor of a large fireproof building of 17 stories. One day, there was an alarm and fire trucks rushed onto the street. Looking out my living window, I saw thick black smoke and flames pouring out of an apartment about five stories below and to the right of mine. Fire fighters were rushing into the front door of the building.

I raced down the stairs to the floor of the fire, and went into the hall, rushing down to the door of the burning apartment, which was metal, but had paint blistering paint on it from the heat of the fire inside. At that moment two firefighters -- both large men in full gear with compressed air tanks on their backs and cans of fire retardant in hand came around the corner after having climbed the stairs. They told me to get away, and then walked up to the door. Without even stopping to think -- or say a prayer -- one guy just kicked hard on the door and busted it wide open. Smoke, flames and heat roared out at them and yet, to my astonishment, they just rushed in together into that inferno.

As it turned out, nobody was in the two-room apartment, and the two men came back out. The fire was extinguished with hoses that sprayed in through the windows from the outside and it was quickly all over.

I’ve thought about that incident over the years, and especially lately as we see case after case of police officers shooting unarmed young men and women (and sometimes young kids), claiming their actions were justified because they “felt threatened.”

Those two firemen certainly had to have “felt threatened” as they contemplated, however briefly, busting down that door with its bubbling paint and then rushed into the darkness and smoke of the apartment in search of someone in need of rescuing. Yet they didn’t hold back and wait for the trucks outside to douse the fire. They went in.

Why are firefighters willing to put their lives at risk to save people (even black ones!), while so many cops, with their body armor and their guns, are so quick to shoot to kill people that they imagine might be intending to harm them? Why do we as a society expect our firefighters to put their lives on the line to save us without a thought for themselves, but just shrug when cops, instead of putting their lives on the line to defuse situations involving drunken or mentally ill, or otherwise disturbed or possibly suicidal people, just take out their guns and blow such people away?

I’m not saying that there may not be cases where a police officer has no alternative but to shoot someone (although shoot-to-kill policies in place at most departments [6] are an outrage that makes such killings much more likely), and I’m not saying that there aren’t cops who have the same courage and compassion as firefighters, but most of the cases we’re seeing lately are showing the opposite. Shooting a fleeing man in the back, as happened in Charleston South Carolina, or choking a man to death for being uncooperative during a bust for selling cigarettes illegally, or driving up to a 12-year-old kid with a toy gun who is sitting calmly on a park bench and shooting him immediately upon exiting the car, or tossing a stun grenade through a window into a house with kids in it and killing a baby are not examples of restraint or even of a willingness to take risk to save others' lives.

If killer cops like these were firefighters, they’d be fired the first day out on the job because they’d be the cowardly ones refusing to go into burning apartments or houses to rescue people crying for assistance.

It seems clear to me that the problem with police in America is not going to be solved by requiring body-cams or by requiring independent prosecutors to investigate police shootings and seriously prosecuting questionable shootings and abuse. Nor is it going to be solved by hiring more minority and women cops, or by requiring racial sensitivity training. What we need is a wholesale revamping of concept of policing, and a re-evaluation of why we need police in the first place. Whatever we do, it’s clear that we need a whole lot fewer cops, and a whole lot less firepower in the hands of the ones we do have, too.

Two weekends ago I was just driving through the upstate town of Walton in New York, where there was a county fair underway. A guy, clearly a part-time or off-duty cop judging by his unruly facial hair, was directing traffic to the fairground on Main Street. He was dressed in civilian clothes, with a yellow reflecting vest that said “Police”. Although he was simply directing traffic, he had a pistol holstered prominently on his belt.

I found myself wondering, “Why in the hell does this guy need a gun to direct traffic?” And indeed, in Europe or the UK he would not have been wearing one. Because he was packing though, if there were some incident involving a driver doing something wrong, and if that incident involved a black driver, the gun could easily have come into play. That’s just nuts, but it’s the norm in the US. We need to change that.

American police may sometimes display the phrase “Protect and Serve” on the side of their patrol cars, but for the most part, that is not what they do. They are “law enforcement.” The connotation of that term is something completely different from protecting and serving. Someone who protects and serves talks politely, and acts like a servant of the public. Someone who “enforces” is inherently oppositional, which is why we Americans are expected to say “yes sir” and “no sir” to police when they stop us. Argue with a cop in America and you’re looking for trouble...or worse. Run and, especially if you’re not white, you may well be shot or tased. (Hell, I’m a 66-year-old white guy and I was recently threatened with arrest by a thuggish young cop if I continued trying to hitch-hike after he, incorrectly, informed me that it was illegal in Pennsylvania and ordered me to stop.)

What we need is to have the same kind of people who apply to be firefighters applying to be cops -- people who are ready to put their own lives on the line to save others’ lives, not to take them.

We need real heroes and real public servants, in other words, and not overlords, bullies and thugs who want to strut their guns, tasers, clubs, fists and cuffs.

If we had cops who were more like firefighters, we wouldn’t be talking about requiring them to wear bodycams.


Keeping Writers Out of Nanaimo District: Directors See a Problem with Gathering

Nanaimo Regional District Tries to Banish Writers

by Kim Goldberg

Thistledown Farm - Just two days before our Sharing the Fire gathering of writers is scheduled to begin at Thistledown Farm B&B in Cedar, BC, bureaucrats from the Regional District of Nanaimo have threatened to shut it down.

The event involves about a dozen writers and artists gathering for three days (August 28-30) to discuss creative approaches to ecological and societal problems.

Five of us have been planning this event for a year. Some participants are travelling from as far away as Whitehorse, Toronto, and the United States to participate.

Regional District employees seem to think that a dozen writers getting together for a creative think-tank on private property is illegal. They have threatened to seek an injunction to bar the pre-registered guests from gathering this weekend at Thistledown Farm.

What will these bureaucrats next decide is illegal, dinner parties in one’s own home?

The gathering will, of course, proceed. It is not illegal for writers to meet in Canada. Perhaps the RDN bureaucrats are thinking they exist in some other era or some other country. If the RDN bureaucrats wish to dress up as jack-booted fascists and come kick the door down and haul away a dozen authors, perhaps they should wait until Halloween so we can give them some candy and send them on their way.

Kim Goldberg
August 26, 2015

The following media release was issued today by the owners of Thistledown Farm B&B, Laurie Gourlay and Jackie Moad:

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2015

Writers & Artists Not Welcome, says Region - ‘Fahrenheit 451’ alive and well in the RDN

CEDAR, BC – Threatening to seek an injunction, and to prevent future gatherings, lawyers for the Regional District of Nanaimo couriered Cedar farm owners today, giving them until 4pm to shutdown a planned writers and artisans retreat for this weekend.

Just under the deadline the owners replied, denying they were breaching any rules, and questioning the RDN’s selective application of vague and dated by-laws to stop a dozen writers, poets and artisans from coming to Nanaimo. Since Monday RDN emails have repeatedly stated that rules against “public assembly” and camping on private property are sufficient reason to prevent the visiting writers from spending a quiet weekend on the farm – but the property owners don’t understand what the problem is.

“If the RDN wants to claim North America’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ reputation then this is the way to do it,” said Laurie Gourlay, one of the farm’s owners. 

“Chasing away writers, from across Canada and the US, who just want to get together to discuss literature and the arts? I don’t get it.”

Thistledown Farm is a 20-acre working farm and registered B&B, with membership in the Ladysmith & Area Accommodations Association. The farm advertises through the Nanaimo Economic Development Commission’s Tourism Nanaimo brochure, and supports efforts by Tourism VI to build interest in the area as a destination for ‘super, natural BC’ vacations.

“We like to share the property with people who care about nature and local agriculture,” says Jackie Moad, who divides her time between being an RN and being a farmer.

“As well as running a B&B we volunteer with community groups, and we know how hard it is to get enough money for projects and planning. So we make the farm available for free to six non-profit groups and charities every year. This is the first time there’s ever been a problem.”

The couple’s letter challenged the RDN over the refusal to allow a few of the writers to camp on their farm, noting the contradiction with approval previously given “by the RDN for camping on private property for a UN student workshop in the past. The RDN appears to be insisting that past precedence should be ignored.”

Moad and Gourlay have also taken issue with the RDN’s use of the rule against “public assembly” to try and stop the writer’s gathering, suggesting “that a dinner party, or meeting of a community group, could just as well be subject to the rather intolerant interpretation you have applied to the upcoming weekend gathering of writers that we expect to host.”

The couple end their letter by noting that the RDN has acted “in a demanding and insensitive manner – without attempting to first gain a full understanding of the circumstances. It is apparent that there has been little consideration for the writers who are coming, or the repercussions to the economy and Nanaimo’s reputation.”

Moad and Gourlay state they are prepared to discuss the matter further, or to challenge the RDN’s assertions in Court if necessary. But, they would prefer an amicable resolution that’s fair to one and all. “Respect and due process is a right in a democracy,” says Gourlay. “We won’t be burning any bridges or any books on the farm this weekend.”

Contact: Jackie Moad and Laurie Gourlay
Thistledown Farm
2689 Cedar Road
Cedar BC, V9X 1K3

Friday, August 28, 2015

Katrina Remembered Again at Ten

Katrina Remembered Again at Ten

by C. L. Cook -

Aug. 28., 2015

It seems impossible ten years have passed since the storm that sank New Orleans. Everything seemed impossible then; the casual neglect of the warning signs, and failure of the federal government to respond; the horror of realization at the nature of that belated response when it did finally come.

As I have for a number of years now, here is presented a timeline of articles produced before and during the great storm in 2005. Some I wrote, some I aggregated from other places. Sadly, the links at the bottom are dormant, but the synopses should give some indication of the unfolding disaster. - Ape

Florida Smote by 'Stealth' Storm

by C. L. Cook 

PEJ News
Aug. 30, 2005

In a record year of tropical storm warnings in Florida, many in southern Florida took the approaching Katrina casually. But, what came ashore, killing several people and wreaking havoc with the state's power grid, was no mild blow.

The storm now dubbed, "Little Andrew," in reference to the worst hurricane event in the state, has Floridians picking up the pieces, more than a million of them in the dark, and asking, "How the hurricane savvy locals could be taken by surprise?"

Many, expecting tropical storm Katrina to come and go as benignly as the ten T.S. category events preceding it this year, didn't bother to prepare. Jaded storm veterans, though well equipped with the usual disaster kits, failed to shutter homes, or secure outdoor material possessions. There were none of the familiar hardware store stampedes, or laying in of water and canned goods. What they didn't realize was, Katrina's pass over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico magnified its power enough to upgrade it to an official hurricane; a hurricane heading straight for south Florida and its unofficial capital city, Miami and its three million inhabitants.

For those in the city receiving news of Katrina's promotion to Class 1 Hurricane status was not a big deal; the city survived Class 5 Andrew and its 200 mile an hour winds ruffled but shaken. But, Katrina's nature was wholly different from the rampaging Andrew, that killed 67 and created more than 26 billion dollars worth of damage claims in 1992. This was a slow moving system, heavily laden with the oily waters of the Gulf. Where Andrew raced across the city and state, Katrina lingered, dumping more than twenty inches (500 centimeters) in just six hours.

The torrential rain and high wind brought down trees and power lines. Almost a third of Miami lost power. The National Hurricane Center in West Miami had a front row seat, Katrina's eye passing directly over their building. Said one scientist working in the building at the time; "We have monitored scores of hurricanes here, but never been this close," said one scientist. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew tore off the building's storm shutters and forced its temporary evacuation.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as contributing editor to PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

SuperDome Lockdown

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News
August 30, 2005

At this hour, more than 80 are feared dead in New Orleans, while reports coming from neighbouring Biloxi, Mississippi say "hundreds" may have been killed by a massive storm-surge wave. Looting and rising water has prompted curfews and a declaration of martial law. Car-jackings have been reported, allegedly by "refugees" desperate for a way out New Orleans. City jails too were evacuated, adding some 5,000 inmates to the growingly chaotic scene there. Thousands of National Guard, who would normally be in place to aid in resuce and evacuations, are currently stationed in Iraq.

The water is still rising in hard-hit New Orleans, as one of the city's levees gave way today, sending millions of gallons of storm water into the sub-sea level metropolis. It's merely more misery for the citizenry. But none are suffering in quite the way as the thousands who took refuge from Katrina in the Superdome.

An estimated 10-12 thousand people unable to evacuate prior to Katrina's landfall in the historic city and forced to seek shelter in the football stadium today find themselves locked down and under armed guard. The situation inside the dome is grim. Gaping holes torn from the roof of the decades-old structure allowed cascades of rainwater in, flooding the field and sending refugees scrambling for the nose-bleed seats. But, from the beginning, the Superdome operation was miserable.

In the hours leading to the landfall of the, ultimately Class 4 hurricane, thousands were left waiting for hours in the open while security checks were laboriously undertaken, with National Guard and police searching and confiscating liquor, guns, and other contraband. Though no comments have yet emerged, the racial dimension to the exodus was immediately apparent on television. Corporate newscasts of the long lines snaking around the Dome revealed the overwhelmingly Black cast of the evacuees. A cast contradicted by that of police and National Guard sent in to oversee the operation.

Trapped in the stifling heat and humidity of the Dome, Guardsmen allowed some access to the concourse winding around the building to get fresh air and relief. But, the Guard in still under orders to bar exit to those stuck for the second day. Utilities and waste-disposal systems inside are currently overwhelmed, with reports of the failure of air-conditioning and overflowing toilets and garbage bins adding to the people's trials. One woman, frustrated with the situation would rather take her chances outside, saying; "I don't care how bad my house is. It's got to be better than this."

One man was reportedly injured this morning in a fall from the heights of the Dome. It's unclear at this hour whether this was an accident, or intentional. Survivors today also learned they are to be sequestered until at least next Monday. Guard spokesperson and commander of Guard troops deployed to the Dome, General Ralph Lupin says he knows the situation is bad, but ruled out release, saying;

"We're doing everything we can to keep these people comfortable. We're doing our best. It's not getting any better, but we're trying not to let it get any worse." Adding; "I know people want to leave, but they can't leave." He said, "There's three feet of water around the Superdome."

Part of the concern is looting. National Guard are trying to get into the streets, while helicopter over-flights are reporting scavengers roaming the flooded city in search of anything they can find. There are also reports of grocery and convenience stores being looted in New Orleans and outlying towns.

The Superdome, billed as "hurricane proof" at the time of its construction faired less well than its architects hoped, with the outer skin peeling away in the high winds, with several large holes opened in the roof when panels were torn loose.

The Dome was opened in 1980.

[CNN is now reporting, those rescued from rising waters, plucked from roofs and trees are being transported to the Dome, swelling the numbers inside to an estimated 20,000. ]

[Blog's Eye view of Katrina's landfall.]

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He's also a contributing editor to PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

The Golden 72 Hours

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News
September 2, 2005

Well known to any familiar with disaster relief, the "Golden 72 Hours" refers to the timeline where catastrophe becomes desolation. Over the first 72 of the unprecedented natural destruction reaped against the continental U.S. the federal infrastructure did nothing.

While the leader of the nation strummed guitar in San Diego, sneaking in a round of golf on Wednesday, the message to "Outre" Americans was: "You're on Your Own."

This lame abandonment comes after the billions of dollars diverted in recent years to the military and Homeland Defense, and drastic cuts to budgets requested for the shoring up of the city's defensive network of levees. Now, with roving gangs, reportedly heavily armed thanks to the easy availabilty of firearms at such family centered vendors as WalMart, and tough talk coming from governing figures in the form of deployments of "Shoot-to-Kill" National Guard troops to curb looting and lawlessness, an impression of impending calamity none of the "pundocracy" wish to examine, per se a race/class war in America, is poised to leap across the country.

New Orleans is one of America's "majority black" cities. Wealth disparity and high unemployment levels make the tourist Mecca a poster child of all that's worst about the emerging economic order of America in the 21st century. But, the disaster unfolding in Louisiana cannot be looked at solely through an economics lens.

Just across the waters in Cuba, a country economically ravaged by serial illegalities on the part of the United States, where they too were hit by the Katrina, more than a million Cubans were safely evacuated beforehand. There, in a nation driven to its economic knees for decades, they still managed to care for the people.

But, this is really an expression of intent.

The Cubans, unlike those ruling today's America, believed it the duty of government to pursue the well-being of the people. Clearly this is a concept the illegitimate leadership currently ensconced in Washington, D.C. today do not share. The ragged and off-colour survivors of Katrina, not provided an avenue for escape before the fact, denigrated by the press for their shiftless determination to disobey evac. orders, are now threatened with a Fallujah-like assault. One politico apologist even managed to recycle the language uttered by U.S. military flacks prior to one of the horrendous "shoot-to-kill" assaults on the Iraqi city of Fallujah said those remaining in the city are "the worst of the worst."

So, is an 'American Fallujah" to be expected next?

The situation in New Orleans, so hauntingly familiar when viewed from the comfortable distance created by the media and the television glass separating it from we fortunates for away, reminds of the effects of the "Bush Doctrine." Now, as the scenes once reserved to those far-flung places are being burned into America's self-consciousness, it begs the question:

"Will this horror serve as catalyst for further examinations of America's policies at home, and abroad?

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.  

Guns Not Butter

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News
September 9, 2005

esterday, the Bush administration requested the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provide aid to the stricken Mississippi delta region. As with the rest of this incredible spectacle unfolding in the aftermath of the killer hurricane, Katrina this belated move by Bush has a queer ring.

Neglecting to respond to numerous offers from around the world these painful past days, and actually "deporting" a foreign rescue team of the highest calibre, what's now thought required by the White House is military reinforcements, drawn from allies. The military hue to the Bush "relief" operation in Louisiana gets greener by the moment.

And, there's an even more macabre side to this fiasco. While refusing an offer of doctors and nurses from less politically incorrect Thailand, the dispatch of coroners and forensic experts from the far off nation was welcomed.

That be just prudent planning, finally, on the part of the official responders to the unprecedented calamity. After snubbing offers of the usual types of assistance from Poland, Denmark, (Sweden), Cuba, Venezuela, and a host of nations too minor to merit, the need for legions to deal with the dead is the most sensible thing done by this baffling band of buffoons yet.

According to the Associated Press' Matt Moore, the clarion call that eventually blew from Pennsylvania Avenue was a call for the elite, mobile military strike force, NATO Response. NATO describes the saviours of New Orleans on their website thus:

"The Nato Response Force will consist of air, maritime and ground forces which will be rotated on assignment over a period of six months. The size of the force applied will be dependant on the mission that is to be carried out, but rough estimates indicate the following as a guideline:

  • Nato Land forces up to Brigade size. 
  • Maritime forces up to the size of a Nato Standing Naval Force
  • Command and Control capabilities and Air assets capable of carrying out and supporting up to 200 combat sorties daily. 
  • It is expected that such a force will number roughly 21,000 personnel.


Those forensic experts are really going to have their hands full! You see, the remaining citizens of New Orleans are not quite dead, yet. But they number in the thousands; thousands living under Falluja-like conditions of deprivation, curfews, and harassment by heavily armed police, National Guard, reputed "contractors," and various military and State agency enforcers patrolling their neighbourhoods. Add to that mix willing coalition of foreign military forces and the analogy is complete.

Already, the corporate press is working overtime, in tandem with their erstwhile Iraq embed partners in the Pentagon to paint a picture of those American citizens too afraid, or mule-headed to leave, as the dregs of society, not worthy of concern.

The administration has also attempted, with near complete success, to pull the plug on differing versions of the reality of the situation that may emanate from "unapproved" sources through intimidation of journalists trying to stay in, or get into the city. And, the language used to refer to this draconian turn of events through the usual media mouthers is eerily identical to the talk we've heard so often before, if only directed at the distant "others" facing this treatment, and worse.

According to history, the curse of empire is always an imposition of the cruelty and barbarity meted on the reluctant citizens of its distant colonies and outposts coming home with equal force to be landed upon the heads of its own. This is generally during the final desperate throws of its power. One can only hope, the desperate men running the Hell on Wheels show that has been America's recent history are not so determined that they would launch similar "aid" models to other cities following natural, or otherwise disaster.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

9/11 and Katrina: 

True Culprit Revealed!

by C. L. Cook

 PEJ News
 Sept. 18, 2005

Following what has become the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, many have sought answers to the serial failures at all levels of government that magnified Katrina's devastation. Fingers have been pointed, and at least one mid-level bureaucrat has been axed, but none 'til now has correctly identified the true culprit behind this, and the 9/11 attacks.

9/11 and Katrina:
True Culprit Revealed!
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
September 18, 2005

There are powerful forces at work in today's American; devious, perverse entities that seek nothing less than the destruction of the soul of the nation. Chief among these conspirators is the deceptively benign sounding Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Their machinations are, incredibly, at the heart of America's twin disasters.

In 2001, just weeks before the infamous September attack against the nation, the ATAS announced the emcee of their annual awards gala; it was to prove a fateful decision. The Academy chose as their presenter, against the dictates of decency and decorum, the celebrated sexual deviant, Ellen Degeneres. In so choosing Degeneres, the unapologetic lesbian television star, the Academy doomed New York City, the venue of the Godless Bacchanalia that is the Emmy's.

Flaunted, God reached down to Earth, and through the instruments of religious fanatics, struck a terrible warning in the form of flame and ruin. HIS message is clear: God don't tolerate lesbos!

But the twisted ATAS defied HIM, and this year again elected Degeneres to host the Emmy Awards, thus dooming the host's hometown, New Orleans.

Yes, if we wish to discover the true origin of this double blow to America, we need look no further than Ellen Degeneres and the degenerate Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Or so says Pat Robertson, pastor of the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of its flagship program, The 700 Club. Robertson, who recently garnered headlines for his televised call for the assassination of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavas, now declares Ellen a threat to American national security. The good minister told his (reputedly) million strong television audience Degeneres' obstinate refusal to apologize for the 9/11 attacks led to Katrina and the failure of New Orleans' levees. Says the Reverend Pat:

“This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards.” "America is waiting for her to apologize for the death and destruction that her sexual deviance has brought onto this great nation.”

But it gets worse!

Mindless of the anger her wanton girl-on-girl lifestyle provokes in the Almighty, Hollywood, through its promotion of Ellen's talk show, thus heightening of her television profile in 2003, just so happens to coincide with America's unprovoked and illegal war and occupation of Iraq, and the gathering strength of the insurgency!

There's a lot of Hell being paid by good Americans because of one Ellen Degeneres. Yet, she remains silent, neither accepting, or even acknowledging her culpability.

Robertson though will not let America stand naked before the wrath of God. He's going after the infernal ATAS, as witnessed from his electronic pulpit, and directed the CBN's crack team of "researchers" to compile a list of the decadent homosexuals the infest the airwaves. So far, his list is 283 names long, and growing. He believes this list will spare other awards shows from kinky contagion. Bear witness:

“God already allows one awards show to promote the homosexual agenda, but clearly He will not tolerate such sinful (sic) behavior to spread beyond the Tonys.”

Thank God for small mercies!

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor to PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina's Prisoners: SuperDome Lockdown

Katrina's Prisoners: SuperDome Lockdown

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - New Orleans' least fortunate, those too poor or infirm to flee Monday's killer hurricane, taking refuge in the city's Superdome football stadium today find themselves prisoners in a fast deteriorating situation.

[breaking 2:06pm pdt- Louisiana Governor announces an evacuation of one of New Orleans' emergency shelters due to rising water caused by the failure of a second levee protecting the city. Water too is accumulating in the biggest area of refuge, the SuperDome. Says situation "untenable" and the entire city must be evacuated as levee waters rise. And the rains have begun again.]

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina's Patsy: Who Are You, Mr. Brown?

Katrina's Patsy: Who Are You, Mr. Brown?

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The guillotine blade is risen and heads will roll. Though the melons most suited to fill those baskets will be spared, it may provide solice that those that do, vile co-conspirators of the authors of Katrina, the crime that dwarfed 9/11, and eclipsing for now the toxic legacy of that other criminal quagmire, Iraq. Michael Brown, current head of FEMA and odds on favourite for first tete in the bucket, is tonight revealed by TIME On-line as having "discrepancies" in his resume.

Katrina's Patsy:
Who Are You, Mr. Brown?
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
September 8, 2005

Brown's appointment in to succeed his Federal Emergency Management Agency boss and Bush crony, Joe Allbaugh in 2003 seemed a no-brainer to most casual observors. The Number Two at the agency would make an easy appointment, passed over the beltway with a yawn. So, who's paying attention to minor details like qualifications, work record, and all those annoying details the unconnected hoi polloi are forced to endure to secure a job?

But "Brownie," as "Dubya" would have, ain't little people. In fact, he thinks Brown is doing great work! And, as he picked the guy in the first place, Bush knows he's qualified.

TIME's Daren Fonda and Rita Healy looked a little deeper into the bona fides of the lawyer and former Horse Show circuit luminary and came up with some things Brown would likely prefer left in the paddock. It turns out, of the several versions of his resume and official bio information, the one that landed him the deputy chief gig at FEMA, his staircase to the top, was a little more manure than hay. Not that his conflation amounted to much anyway.

Touting Brown as formerly "overseeing the emergency services division" for the bedroom community of Edmond, Oklahoma, while a student at Central State University. His Assistant City Manager job is a position described as more resembling a "internship" than leadership role, according to the city's current PR head, Claudia Deakins. But, to his credit, his former boss, city manager Bill Dashner claims Brown was a good worker who was punctual and, "always had on a suit and a starched, white shirt." Dashner further praises his administrative assistant as a "loyal" aide who wrote speeches for him. Basically a communications guy who had a way with words and could type.

Fair enough. Hardly damning stuff. But, "Mike" has accused TIME's story, through FEMA's public affairs officer Nicol Andrews, of inacuracy. She says, he says, "a large portion is very inacurate."

But, there's more.

Lawyer Brown list among his accomplishments at, a professional web listing site, TIME reports the curious entry, "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University." While Central State lists him as a former student, there's no record of his professorial "achievements." In fact, U. of Central Oklahoma, the former Central State, lists Brown as having studied there, and may perhaps, according to Charles Johnson of the University Relations office, have served as an "adjunct professor," something less than a professor. As far Mike's self-proclaimed scholastic position, former poli-sci professor at Central, Carl Reherman says Brown was never a member of the faculty.

Brown claims the FindLaw listing is wrong, and that he never claimed to be on Central's faculty, but was instead an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City School of Law and his "Outstanding" citation was earned as a "senior" at Central.

Mistakes happen. But, according to FindLaw, mistakes seem to be the hallmark of Mr. Brown's incredible career that culminates at the apex of the colossal government agency. They also list him as a director of the Oklahoma Christian Home. Administrators however have no recollection of him; not in the claimed twenty-plus year association with them.

Jumping to Brown's defense, Andrew's says he "never claimed to be the director of the home; something neither TIME, nor FindLaw asserted. But, she reiterates his claim as having served "on the board directors, or governors of the nursing home." It's a claim a long-time employee refutes, saying Brown "was never director here, was never on the board of directors, was never executive director. Adding, "He was never here in anycapacity. I never heard his name mentioned here."

Even Brown's much quoted connection with the International Arabian Horse Association now seems murky. The FindLaw profile citing that relationship was deleted today. There had been a media debate as to whether he had resigned his position with the horse breeders under pressure, or been fired outright. Now, he seems to have become something of a spectre there too.

At best, government response to the disaster in Louisiana represents a catastrophic systems breakdown rivalling 9/11. There's plenty of blame to spread around here, and it seems unlikely none will walk the plank this time, and the sharks are already circling for Mr. Brown.

Chris Cook host Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pointing Fingers in the Wake of the Flood

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - While the waters still rise in New Orleans and the monumental task of evacuating the entire city and environs begins, already accusing fingers are pointing directly to the White House and George W. Bush.

Pointing Fingers
In the Wake of the Flood
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
August 31, 2005

The job at hand has, by turns, been described as overwhelming and impossible. Will New Orleans be rebuilt? And, how to protect it from hurricanes that are both more frequent and more powerful than ever?

Hurricanes are nothing new to those Americans living in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. But Katrina, easily the most damaging storm to have ever hit the United States, befuddled many in all three of them. The states most effected were all, in one way or another taken off guard.

Though Floridians were warned when the approaching Tropical Storm Katrina became a full-blown hurricane, many hadn't bothered to take appropriate defensive measures. Louisianans kept a sharp eye as Katrina meandered the Gulf of Mexico, growing to its Category 5 peak, before wheeling back to the coast, but thousands of them failed to heed official advisories to evacuate the city.

How bad could it be?

We now know just how bad it could be. In fact, had Katrina's course been slightly closer to New Orleans and neighbouring Lake Pontchartrain, things could have been far worse. But, as it stands, one of the nightmare scenarios dreaded by SELA, the failure of the levees and subsequent flooding of the city has come to pass. The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project is a joint federal, state, and local task force designed to mitigate just such an event. So what went wrong?

The imagined New Orleans catastrophe has been a topic of concern for decades, but in 1995, following rain floods that killed a half dozen people, SELA was set up by congress. For ten years, the Army Corp of Engineers spent close to half a billion dollars, shoring up levees, dykes, providing disaster relief, and building pumping stations. They had done a lot, but there was still more to do, a lot more.

Then, the money dried up.
In 2003, the effects of George Bush's tax cuts, the ongoing war in Iraq, and the implementation of the gargantuan Homeland Security bureaucracy put the Army in a pinch. The Corps cited the war in Iraq, directly blaming it for SELA's effective shutdown.

Local papers wrote extensively, in the years leading to disaster, complaining about the lack of hurricane and flood control funds. The Times-Pacayune wrote no less than nine articles on the subject, and on Tuesday night (Aug. 29) the now abandoned paper's web site posted a poignant reminder, saying:

"No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

Early last year, President Bush's budget proposed spending less than a fifth of the money the Army Corp of Engineers requested for precisely the purpose of reinforcing the Lake Pontchartrain levee system. In June 2004 Emergency Mangement Chief for Jefferson Parish remarked on the budget reductions for his area, saying:

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Likewise, last year, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went begging to a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, saying $2 million was urgently required because Washington wasn't willing to pony up. He said then:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement."

"The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."

Naomi got his money, only to find the Fed had ducked out of a 15 million dollar project to shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain in the 2005 budget. And, just months ago, despite 2004 being the most lively hurricane season in memory, a further 26 million dollars was being withheld from SELA.

It was the largest budget reduction for preparedness every made.

For New Orleans, the irony couldn't be greater; just last year, recognizing the growing number and magnitude of hurricanes, a study was proposed by the Corps that would examine how the city would handle Category 4 and 5 storms. But that too was shot down by the Bush administration. Again citing the cost of the war in Iraq, the New Orleans office was ordered to undertake no new studies.

There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22. A Newhouse News Service article published on the Times-Picayune website Tuesday noted:

"The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."

Senators in Washington had been working on a proposal to reverse the heavy budget cuts to the hurricane and flood programs for fiscal year 2006.

No word if that effort will continue now.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor to PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Happy Hurricane Season!

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News
June 2, 2006

They're likely not singing Auld Lang Syne in Florida, Louisianna, Alabama, Texas, or anywhere else that felt the effect of last year's Gargantua, Hurricane Katrina, but the newborn hurricane season marks beginnings, and reminds of Fate's uncertainties.

The wind is blowing hard here tonight. The Pacific has been slow to force her hand against the withering-cold Arctic stream. The swallows fly well through it, those most masterful aviators, but one wonders if they're not thinking they came North too soon. There are few insects worthy to be called a meal able to take to the air with this blow.

And it is too, to the larger animals seeming unseasonal.

The weathermensch predict hurricanes a-plenty for the Gulf this year, some saying New Orleans is the dead-on favourite for another hurricane hit; but, they won't predict of what size. Devastating Katrina has broken the bottle, and now all bets are off. Some worry, the lack of concrete progress made in the rebirthing of the 'Big Easy' over the last nine months leaves it vulnerable again to failing levees, and failing governments: Ray Nagin's failure to fail to win re-election aside.

What likely will not be predicted in the corporate press, etc. is: When in the Future will the Past be addressed? When will accountability for crimes both of commission and omission be heard? Judging by the course of events these recent sad years past, the smart money says:

"Never - 10 will get you five."

And, when will the real murder weapon be identified?

We know, those who shun gloves in summer for no need of protecting their knuckles a-tarmac scrapings, as they scuttle their mindless way through existence, 'Climate Change' defined the colossal parameters of Katrina's power. We know, nothing has been achieved in the interim to lessen the theorized meterological effects seen last year. In fact, the opposite is true. The citizens of the Gulf, some who have seen their 'Hurricane Insurance' balloon, depending on the proximity of the ocean, or rivers, or lakes, to their property, triple, and more over the last year are no better protected today than last year.

Listening to lefties and greenies on enviromental issues is one thing easily dismissed in the press and around the water cooler, but these buttoned down, corporate loyalists are putting the money where only the politics exist, and selling short.

The money says:

"Climate Change is real!"

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full flower North of the border. While the nation witnesses this year's glories on the diminishing ice, and listen to 'Don' Don Cherry, the Mafia-esquely dressed clown giving praise the Canadian soldiers' march to empire, ignoring "new marching orders" issued those "heroes" from another capitol, as the world grows a little warmer.

And, so for war be damned; it's the Finals!

God, She must laugh. The Mistress of Irony. Laid out plain as day before eyes too blind to see, a killing joke. And, it seems such with this year's Cup finalists: the Carolina Hurricanes v. the Emdonton "Oil Town" Oilers.

Big nature v. Big World.

Who do you bet wins?

North America's (unified) political consensus has turned away from Kyoto, and made clear they stand with corporate interest, regardless of their effects on the biosphere. Through George W. Bush, Tony Blair, a cast of Canadian transient politicos, and myriad other enablers across the world, it has been decided:

"Earth Smurth!"

There is a titanic battle to come. Hard combatants, determined they vie for the ultimate trophy. June 6th, Lord Stanley's Cup will again be placed in the middle of the ring. And, this year, the vyers will be: the Edmonton's Oilers v. the Carolina's Hurricanes.

My money is on storms to come.

C. L. Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/web/cast from the University of Victoria, the Nation Formerly Known as Canada (NFKAC). You can check out the GR Blog here.

Katrina: A Two-Week Timeline

by C. L. Cook

PEJ News
September 11, 2005
Florida Smote by 'Stealth' Storm
August 26, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - In a record year of tropical storm warnings, many in southern Florida took the approaching tropical storm Katrina casually. But, what came ashore, killing several people and wreaking havoc with the state's power grid, was no mild blow.

New Orleans Sinking? Mammoth Katrina Spurs Evacuations
August 28, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The storm Floridians discounted as minor last week has spent the weekend gathering strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina has now ballooned to an unprecedentedly large and powerful Catagory 5, with sustained wind speeds nearing 280 kph, and gusts topping 300kph.

SuperDome Lockdown: Katrina's Prisoners
August 30, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - New Orleans' least fortunate, those too poor or infirm to flee Monday's killer hurricane, taking refuge in the city's Superdome football stadium today find themselves prisoners in a fast deteriorating situation.

[breaking 2:06pm pdt- Louisiana Governor announces an evacuation of one of New Orleans' emergency shelters due to rising water caused by the failure of a second levee protecting the city. Water too is accumulating in the biggest area of refuge, the SuperDome: Says situation "untenable" and the entire city must be evacuated as levee waters rise. And the rains have begun again.]

New Orleans Funeral March a Funeral for America?
August 30, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - It is a total disaster. The slow death of New Orleans, though defying worst case scenarios that have furrowed the brows of experts for years, is nevertheless a fait accompli. The failure of two vital levee guardians of the sub-sea level city means one of America's cultural icons, and arguably most important commerce ports is, as Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco says, "untenable." As analogue, the demise of the Big Easy mirrors the disaster that is George W. Bush's America.

Orleans Down the Drain, But Who's to Blame?
August 31, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - "You didn't hafta have been there in the past two days to be stung by what happened. Anyone who walked the streets or partied in NO, or watched Angel Heart (the movie), or walked the dusty roads along the Gulf saw an America that won't ever be again..." - Da'ud X Mohammad, New Orleans refugee

From Baghdad to Biloxi: Bringing Home the Guard

August 31, 2005

WarMadeEasy - Norman Solomon - The catastrophic hurricane was an act of God. But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is a continuing act of the president. And now, that effort is hampering the capacity of the National Guard to save lives at home.

Pointing Fingers in the Wake of the Flood
August 31, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - While the waters still rise in New Orleans and the monumental task of evacuating the entire city and environs begins, already accusing fingers are pointing directly to the White House and George W. Bush.

The "Disaster" President
August 31, 2005

thiscantbehappening - Dave Lindorff - The destruction of New Orleans--a catastrophe far worse than anything Osama Bin Laden could hope to wreak, considering the number of deaths, the closing down of a major U.S. port city for months, the destruction of an urban environment that will take years to repair, and the devastating disruption of one-fourth of the nation's oil production, which is likely to initiate a national recession--gives final proof of the stupidity and criminality of the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq and of the bankruptcy of the Democratic so-called opposition.

Fallujah, Louisiana
September 1, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Night is falling again in New Orleans, and reports aired by CNN paint a desperate picture. Without water, power, and hope for immediate rescue, the people stranded in the city face another night of thirst, hunger, deprivation, and now, reportedly, marauding armed gangs, and at least one insane sniper.

The Battle of New Orleans

September 1, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - Goaded perhaps by looped television footage of "looting" amongst the ruins of New Orleans, overwhelmingly displaying non-white participation, police and military spokespersons say "law and order" will take precedence to rescue missions as evacuation efforts continue in the stricken city. {lex}

"The Name of This Hurricane is Global Warming"
September 1, 2005

Democracy Now! - Shortly after he took office, the President reneged on his campaign promise to cut emissions from power plants. He then ordered the EPA to remove all references to the damages of global warming from its website. Vice President Cheney came out with his energy plan calling for 1,900 new power plants, most of them coal. This is the fast track to climate hell. And, of course, the President withdrew us from the Kyoto Protocol, so he is really going in the opposite direction from the rest of the world, and he really is following the dictates of the fossil fuel lobby. There's no question about it.

The Big "O": Abandoning New Orleans
September 2, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - DAY 5: No more water; the fire this time. Explosions rock and illuminate the darkness of New Orleans -- some from exploding gas lines and some from gunfire. Another night in a wet and dangerous town that is quickly coming to resemble a war zone in the Third World. It is a place filled with angry and hungry people, people who have felt abandoned and been abandoned for a long time-- even as help is said to be finally on the way.

The Hurricane and Bush's Criminal Negligence
Sepetember 2, 2005

IAC - September 1, 2005--With every hour that passes, we see and hear new stories of the horror and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. What makes these images more shocking is the realization that much of the death and destruction could have been prevented. Almost all of the death and destruction arising from the hurricane is the direct result of criminal neglect by the Bush Administration. This crisis was predicted in numerous reports and news articles and little, if anything, was done.

International Action Center

The Golden 72 Hours
September 2, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - It seems now to many, the "Plan" worked out by the myriad minions working at the Department of Homeland Security for disaster relief in America can most charitably be described as benign neglect. Much as the Bush administration has starved the very agencies that could and would have averted the current disaster in New Orleans, the reaction of the multi-billion dollar entities created in the wake of 9/11 instructs all citizens: "In case of disaster: You are on your own!"

"Take Your Rightful Share!"
September 2, 2005

Greg Palast - 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!" - [roughly] Huey Long, 1927

"They're Washing Us Away"
September 3, 2005The Moscow Times - Chris Floyd - The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level. Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind."

"Them" Coming Home: Third World Redux in America
September 3, 2005

The Jazzman Chronicles - Jack Random - It is happening and my heart, like every ordinary American, has broken a thousand times. It does not look like America, no less the soul of America, but it is. Ultimately, it occurred to me that the sorrow of New Orleans bore a striking resemblance to an entry in recent history, one that should still be fresh in every mind and heart: It looked like Port au Prince, Haiti.

No News is Bad News: CNN's Evacuation of New Orleans
September 3, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook ? The message has trickled from the Atlanta corporate head office of CNN: In the Age of Rage, the flagship of American television journalism is to desert its post; as have hundreds of police and fire-fighters in New Orleans. If you have, as have I, been monitoring the coverage of the unprecedented disaster unfolding in the American south these last days, you may have noticed: CNN?s coverage consists today of almost entirely re-cycled footage and heart-tearing stories, while ignoring the real situation on the ground in that God-damned city.

Halliburton to Orleans' Rescue
September 4, 2005

ADE - Kurt Nimmo - It is mighty suspicious the New Orleans "refugees" (as the corporate media call the Americans removed from the disease-ridden swamp left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) are being relocated far and wide. Most of them will probably never return and will end up in ghettoes in Baton Rouge, Houston, and elsewhere (it appears Baton Rouge is being groomed as an expansive slum, since the rebuilt New Orleans will be a casino and tourist destination with time-share condos and luxury housing).

Whose Desire Would Burn the World
Sept. 4, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Speechless. The television remains off, I can't take it today. In print, the rolling misery of America, its veneer scraped as effectively as the Superdome's roof, revealing all many have known all along; but, seeing it is something else again. And behind this ghastly production, George W. Bush and his now infamous coterie stand in the wings, authors of this through their insatiable cravenous appetite, poised to profit the calamity.

Dear PEJ News: Full of Bewildered Anger
September 4, 2005

From: Cameron McLaughlin - To: "lex at pej" - Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 21:20:41 -0500 - I can't watch or hear news of New Orleans without breaking down right now. The best I can hope for is that the extremist right-wing radio stations here on the Gulf Coast are full of bewildered anger. So are many of the journalists who have seen the carnage and devastation for themselves.The sleeping giant may be waking, and the helpless ones may be beginning to realize that they and their cities may be the next to be sacrificed. Big Daddy not only can't and won't protect them, he will mock them by pretending to be their savior while privately affirming his indifference to them. Big Daddy is a reptilian psychopath who will let New Orleans drown while he strums the guitar and plays golf and his cabinet members attend Broadway shows and shop for shoes. He will reward gross incompetence and literally give the despairing victims of New Orleans the finger.

Black Nightmare
September 4, 2005

PEJ - The Red Cross spends 40% on administration according to their website. The number two organization that FEMA supports is "Operation Blessing" founded by Pat Robertson who 2 weeks ago said "Lets go and assassinate Hugo Chavez".

"Thanks, But No Thanks!" U.S. Rejects International Aid Offers
September 5, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The gross incompetence displayed by the Bush administration and it's budget-heavy Homeland Security, in these days, a week past the disastrous landfall of Hurricane Katrina, a week of inexplicable inaction on the part of the federal government, is now compounded as Bush thumbs his nose at international offers of aid.

Reverse Triage: An Inhumane Policy
Sepetember 5, 2005

PEJ News - F.H. Knelman, Ph.D. - The Katrina disaster is a classical case of reverse triage of class and colour. Triage is a French word referring to the priority with which a mixed group of wounded are divided into three groups and which group is the first to receive medical services. These three groups are (1) the severely wounded or ill; (2) those less seriously wounded and (3) those who have not been wounded or hurt. According to the principle of triage it is the first group that is initially evacuated for medical treatment. Reverse triage simply reverses this order. Under certain fairly unique conditions, reverse triage is practiced in war conditions, i.e. the non-wounded soldiers are evacuated first and the severely wounded are abandoned. In summary triage is a natural humane order of emergency needs, whereby the most vulnerable are treated first. In the case of New Orleans, we faced the need for mass triage. Instead it was a case of reverse triage as well as an exercise in bureaucracy.

US Troops in New Orleans Are Treating Hurricane Victims as Members of Al QaedaUrgent International Appeal
September 5, 2005

Wayne Madsen - U.S. troops in New Orleans are treating hurricane victims as members of "Al Qaeda." Reports coming to WMR report that the greater New Orleans area has been turned into a virtual military zone where troops threaten bewildered and hungry survivors who approach them for help. One resident of the unflooded Algiers section of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River reports that the 65,000 population of the neighborhood has been reduced by forced evacuations to 2000 even though there are relatively undamaged schools, parks, and churches available to house the homeless. The remaining population of Algiers is in urgent need of medical supplies. The same situation exists in Jefferson Parish and other areas in the greater New Orleans area. U.S. troops are treating the remaining people in New Orleans nd its suburbs as "suicide bombers," according to the Algiers resident.

"We're Angry, Mr. President"
An Open Letter to George W. Bush from New Orleans

Sept. 5, 2005

Times-Picayune - We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame.

[Note: The Times-Picayune also authored an award-winning series of articles over the last two years questioning, and criticizing, the federal governments budget cuts and failures in providing New Orleans with the much needed funds for levee reconstruction, citing precisely the disaster New Orleans now face. - lex]

"Have You No Blame, Sir?"
September 7, 2005

The Nation - Katrina vanden Heuvel - As Republicans desperately cry out of one corner of their mouths to stop the blame game, they have been blaming everyone but themselves since this catastrophe.

No Cameras Please: Journalism Under Attack in New Orleans
September 7, 2005

Reporters Without Borders - In the days following the devastation of New Orleans, running battles between police and what they described as "looters" were strictly off-camera; a situation today extended to a ban on images of the bodies being recovered there. That there have been conflicting reports about who these "looters" were, most based on fleshtones, the real issue not yet at issue here is, "When is it O.K. to shoot a starving citizen in search of food?" - {lex}

Surviving the Flood
September 7, 2005

CounterPunch - This is a transcription of an interview Charmaine Neville, of New Orleans's legendary Neville family, gave to local media outlets on Monday, September 5.

Trapped in New Orleans: First By Floods, Then Martial Law
September 7, 2005

Counterpunch - LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY - The owners and managers of Walgreen's in New Orleans had locked up the food, water, pampers and prescriptions, and fled the city. Outside Walgreens' windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry. The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized, and the windows at Walgreens gave way to the looters.

Destroying the City to Save It: Hurricane Cassandra
September 7, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - News descending at this hour, fuelled by the relentless wind of CNN, and the rest of the elements comprising the agit-prop pretending to journalism (and serving the public weal) in that Untied State of America, currently relating the grim realities of the "graveyard that is New Orleans," exemplified best by five-star reporter and favoured hand-maiden to orchestrated calamity everywhere, Christiane Amanpour, would have the world believe, there is little option left for the beleagured government forces massed ready to pounce on the funereal remains inconveniently still assembled in New Orleans, but to massacre the remnants, witnesses of the Great Flood and its aftermath. The long awaited saviours must now 'Destroy the City in Order to Save It.'

Katrina Evacuees: FEMA Internees
September 8, 2005

ADE- Kurt Nimmo - Asked by Senator Nancy Pelosi if he'd call for FEMA head, Michael Brown's resignation, George Bush asked, "Why would I do that?" When prompted, it may be appropriate in light of the agency's disastrous performance during the crisis in New Orleans and all that went wrong, all that didn't go right, the President asked, "What didn't go right?" - {lex}

Katrina's Patsy: Who Are You, Mr. Brown?
September 8, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The guillotine blade is risen and heads will roll. Though the melons most suited to fill those baskets will be spared, it may provide solice that those that do, vile co-conspirators of the authors of Katrina, the crime that dwarfed 9/11, and eclipsing for now the toxic legacy of that other criminal quagmire, Iraq. Michael Brown, current head of FEMA and odds on favourite for first tete in the bucket, is tonight revealed by TIME On-line as having "discrepancies" in his resume.

[update: Sept. 10, 12:00 p.m. - Mr. Brown is now in the eye of the sh*t storm. He's been relieved of responsibilities overseeing the next phase of the Bush administration's management of the disaster.- lex]

Guns Not Butter for Louisiana
September 9, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Befitting the conduct of this emergency promising disaster, the Bush administration has only now, nearly a fortnight following the unleashing of chaos, decided to accept foreign aid for the victims of Katrina and the consequent New Orleans Flood. But, it's not the doctors and medicines promised by Castro, or the subsidized fuel offered by Chavez, or even the Urban Search and Rescue team unceremoniously sent packing back to Canada from the epicentre of the catastrophe they want; the intrepids at Camp Bush have put out a mayday to NATO, in the form of a deployment of its freshly minted military strike force.

"Go F**K Yourself, Mr. Cheney!"
September 9, 2005

Jackson Thoreau - Dr. Ben Marble, a young emergency room physician who plays in alternative rock bands and does art on the side, needs our help. Since he was the one who told Dick Cheney to "go fuck yourself" on Thursday, that's the least we can do.

The Nauseating Mrs. Bush
September 10, 2005

WMR - Wayne Madsen - Famous already for the nauseating response to a reporter's question concerning Iraqi civilian casualties that would result her little boy George's campaign there at the start of the carnage that is America's gift to the world, Barbara Bush, doyen of the Bush dynasty replied, "Why would I want to waste my beautiful mind thinking about that?" Responding to the plight of the displaced casualties of the great New Orleans flood "Babs" said, as she stood amongst the human chattel filling Houston's Astro Dome: ""What I?m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality . . .And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this --this is working very well for them." Compassionate Conservatism in full Texas Rose bloom. {lex}

Martial Law America
September 10, 2005

ADE - Kurt Nimmo - New Orleans is no longer part of America. It is a brave new world devised by FEMA and the Ministry of Homeland Security. In the new New Orleans, there are no constitutional rights. Not only are soldiers allowed to break down doors (as they do in Iraq) in violation of the Fourth Amendment and even ?shoot to kill? if they believe they are threatened (as soldiers in Iraq ?shoot to kill? grandmothers and kids at Israeli-styled checkpoints), now the Second Amendment no longer exists.

Of Alligators and Crocodile Tears: Bush Katrina Aid Plan
September 10, 2005 - Dave Lindorff - The Republican Congress (and their conservative Democratic quislings) have decided to show a little compassion for the victims of Bush Administration incompetence and nature's revenge by including a waiver in the bankruptcy bill to exempt them from losing their shirts along with their houses. They've also decided to postpone cuts in Medicaid, so as not to gut what little public healthcare remains in Louisiana during this crisis. 

Katrina: Next Phase September 10, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Michael Brown, lately chief of FEMA's hurricane response efforts, has been 'redeployed." Perhaps in like-manner to tend the animals, as was the Navy pilot punished for the temerity of defying orders and actually rescuing people. Sadly, Michael Brown is no hero. But, neither is he the true goat. - {lex}

New Orleans Unmasks "Apartheid, American Style"
September 11, 2005

PEJ News - Jason Miller - What is the recipe for a toxic sludge potent enough to destroy a heavily populated city and inflict infection with a mere splash? Start with a force of nature powerful beyond belief. Mix in an ample supply of sewage, garbage, brackish water from Lake Ponchatrain, floating corpses of humans and animals, and various and sundry noxious chemicals. Blend well with a system of seriously inadequate levees resulting from cuts in federal funding. Of course this concoction would not be complete without heaping portions of racism, spiritual emptiness, and avarice fueling slow and inadequate federal relief efforts.

Orleans Doctors "Put Down" Terminal Patients at Height of Flood September 11, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - George W. Bush arrives in Louisiana today as relevations of further horrors during the flood that followed hurricane Katrina's August 30 landfall. Doctors, caught between the rising waters and drug seeking hospital looters, were forced to make "unbearable" decisions during the evacuation.

A Martial Plan for Orleans
September 12, 2005

Paul Craig Roberts - Lawlessness, the eruption of which was guaranteed by delayed relief, provides cover both for martial law, which suspends constitutional protections, and for the confiscation of legally owned private firearms in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Everyone has by now seen the images of troops and police breaking into New Orleans homes and pointing weapons in the faces of residents. U.S. military even described survivors as "insurgents." (At time of writing news reports are confused whether martial law exists in New Orleans.