Борис (dikayasobaka) wrote in hurricane_fema,

Incompetence? Crime? You decide

10 June 2006

As Hurricane Katrina passed across the Gulf Coast last August, the federal Interior Department offered hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats, thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the rescue effort. But much of the equipment and personnel were not used as part of the federal response, or at least not used effectively, according to an account prepared by department officials.

"Clearly these assets and skills were precisely relevant in the post-Katrina environment," said the department's assessment, prepared at the request of a Senate committee investigating the government's flawed reaction to the storm. The report focused on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Interior Department, the document says, has a staff of 4,400 law enforcement officers, "many of whom work in harsh environments and are trained in search and rescue, emergency medical services and evacuation," and many of them were in the Gulf Coast area. Yet the report says they were not called to help by FEMA until late September.

The Interior Department was not the only government agency to offer assistance that was not used, or at least not used effectively. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said in September that Amtrak had offered, before the storm, to carry residents out, but that its train had left nearly empty. New Mexico offered National Guard troops, but for days officials waited for formal approval to use them.
FEMA turned away thousands of rescue workers from other government agencies as Katrina victims drowned
Eric Lipton, The New York Times, January 30, 2006

Apparently, things even went beyond the 36 hour delay in the DHS ordering the FEMA to initiate its planned response to the disaster in the Gulf Region. FEMA appears to have been in no hurry to even get started for the next month or so, although it did not hesitate to impose regulations that impeded the actual rescue including directly ordering first responders not to do their job.

Helen and Harry Highwater of Unknown News comment on the Eric Lipton's article quoted above thusly:
FEMA disregarded its own hurricane disaster plans, and ignored other agencies' offers of help.

FEMA had no use for "hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats, thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the rescue effort"?

"Mistakes were made," says some schmuck at Homeland Security, FEMA's mother agency, but I'd like someone at FEMA or DHS to explain -- under oath -- how this could be a "mistake."

With a major American city in ruins and who-knows-how-many thousands of people suddenly homeless across the South -- thousands of people are still 'missing' today -- FEMA turned away thousands of trained rescue personnel ... by "mistake"?

There's incompetence, and beyond incompetence there's outright malfeasance. And this is miles beyond malfeasance.

This is mass murder.

The management at FEMA, beginning with former FEMA Chief Michael Brown, should be prosecuted.
At this point I tend to have a less radical view of this situation as I lack direct evidence of criminal intent on the part of the federal officials. However one can not safely assume that there was no criminal intent on the part of those officials and that aspect of their activities needs to be investigated.

This is of course my perspective - nothing more, nothing else. You should not take it for granted, by any means. Consider the facts, form your own. Just don't shy away from considering uncomfortable possibilities.
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