Two Years Ago: The post-Hurricane Katrina disaster revisited
Two years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the southern Gulf coast of the United States, providing a convenient crisis for a criminal pillage of New Orleans, and militarization of the region.
What remains unaddressed, but fully corroborated by the eyewitness testimony of survivors, is the fact that in the immediate aftermath of the storms, the Bush administration, in conjunction with state and local authorities:
- allowed New Orleans and adjoining areas to fall into anarchy, leaving storm victims isolated and in danger of violence
- turned New Orleans into a police state, teeming with armed troops and mercenaries from Blackwater USA
- deliberately withheld and blocked relief and federal assistance
- ethnically cleansed large portions of the African-American population, through various means, from “evacuation” and “relocation” to cold-blooded murder
- seizeed political control of the oil-rich (but once inconveniently African-American) South.
Two years later, this holocaust remain fully in effect. New Orleans and neighboring areas have not been rebuilt or “revitalized”, and remain (deliberately) without federal assistance. The hardest-hit areas that were left to rot remain devastated, its citizens still suffering, surviving only through the courageous work of local activists.
The recently-held International Tribunal on Hurricane Katrina and Rita provided harrowing testimony from survivors and eyewitnesses (such as Malik Rahim of Common Ground, about the unaddressed crimes that occurred, the continuing horror of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the continuing cover-up of political officials on every level. (To hear audio from the Tribunal, including the Rahim’s account, go to Pacifica Radio’s Hard Knock Radio.)
To commemorate the anniversary of the event, it is instructive to revisit some of the analysis and reporting from the immediate wake of Katrina, including the following:
Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoints program (listen to archived programs for September 7, 9, 12 and 16, 2005, featuring interviews with Malik Rahim of Common Ground and the 9/12/07 interview with investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, who has also written a book about Blackwater)
As noted by Michel Chossudovsky and others, Katrina/New Orleans was “not a situation of political inertia. Quite the opposite. The military has taken control of the emergency procedures”, laying more groundwork for a full-scale police state within US borders.