WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security has not been able to find any recording of a crucial conference call five hours after Hurricane Katrina made landfall - though it has transcripts of other key discussions recorded in the days before and after the storm struck.
Senate investigators want to know who conferred and what they said on a 40-minute call that began at noon Aug. 29, as levees were being breached in New Orleans and government relief efforts were overwhelmed by the enormity of the storm.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wants the transcript for its investigation of why the response was bungled. The public phase of that probe is scheduled to end today with the appearance of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who in recent days has become the critics' favorite target.
Chertoff, whose testimony Tuesday was postponed because of Senate votes, will spend only two hours on the witness stand, citing previous commitments.
...But missing will be any detailed information about the Aug. 29 Homeland Security briefing.
"We have not found recordings of the VTCs [video teleconferences] for August 29 or September 3, 2005," Homeland Security General Counsel Philip J. Perry wrote to the committee.
Department spokesman Russ Knocke said his agency has nothing to hide, and has provided the committee with more than 300,000 pages of documents and made dozens of witnesses available. "We've been forthcoming throughout this process," Knocke said.
Video teleconferences normally are recorded and then transcripts are made. Senate and House investigators sought recordings or transcripts, and the department made available transcripts of calls from Aug. 28 through Sept. 2.
But Aug. 29 was not included. "It could have been as inadvertent as someone not pressing `record,'" Knocke explained. He could not say who was on the call.
"There is no record of it having been recorded," he said...
There she goes again with her conspiracies, but at least this time she's naming names:
SAN FRANCISCO - Senator Clinton told a largely friendly audience here Saturday night [1/28/06] that the slow pace of government-sponsored reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina was the result of a deliberate decision by the Bush administration and may have been motivated by a desire to discourage Democratic voters from returning to the devastated region.
"I think that basically we are now watching a deliberate policy of neglect take root," Mrs. Clinton said during an appearance at a fund-raiser for legal services charities. "It is deeply troubling for any American to believe that your government would abandon such a huge part of our country and such an important part of our history."
Mrs. Clinton said she suspected that the assignment of President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, to oversee the relief effort indicated that political mischief was afoot. "Cynical minds might suggest that the destruction of the Democratic vote in Louisiana was a mixed blessing. If you rebuild New Orleans, all those Democrats might come home," she said during a 90-minute public interview conducted on an auditorium stage by a former television host, Jane Pauley.
A White House spokesman, Trent Duffy,rejected Mrs.Clinton's claims that the administration was intentionally foot-dragging on disaster recovery in the Gulf. "It's patently untrue and it's unfortunate she would suggest such a thing," he told The New York Sun yesterday...
She might indeed have a point, but it's obscured by her partisanship and the various other even further-left people who believe the same thing.
NBC's Brian Williams conducted a long interview with president Bush, and the section about Katrina has Bush:
- repeating his blame-taking for the weak federal response ("to the extent that the federal government was ineffective, I'm responsible")
- given the opportunity to blame Blanco, Nagin, or others, he said "we're beyond that"
- he was watching the TV reports from the Superdome...
- he "certainly hopes" that we won't lose New Orleans on his watch...
- Bush not only knows what the Ninth Ward is, he's familiar with the conspiracy theory about the government blowing up the levees...
- Bush has read about- or had someone tell him about - the blowing up of the levees that occured in the 20s...
And, there's this perhaps-not-entirely-accurate bit:
one of the things we've learned about the levees, Brian, is that they call the levees a certain category, but they weren't up to standards. And so we're now in the process of working with local folks to get the standards of the levees up to where they should have been prior to the storm and even better. And hopefully we'll have the capacity to announce that relatively quickly.
The levees and floodwalls might not have been designed correctly however.
I remember saying that, when I thanked those chopper drivers from the Coast Guard who performed brilliantly, they didn't lower those booms to pick up people saying, "What color skin do you have?" They said, "A fellow American's in jeopardy. And I'm going to do my best to rescue that person."
However, some far-lefties have speculated that shots fired at choppers were because they were being ignored because of triage.
Speaking about Brownie:
You know, Michael [Brown], resigned. And I, you know, I had worked with him during the four hurricanes that hit Florida. He got pretty good marks. And in this case, for whatever reason, the system overwhelmed the whole process. And Michael said, "I'm responsible." And he left.
The radio host appears to have coined a new term:
Some of the Katrina media -- by Katrina media, meaning they've gotten nothing right. Remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Where are the 10,000 bodies? I want to see the 10,000 bodies. 'Til I see 10,000 bodies I'm not going to believe a damn thing that these people say anymore.
If it were just that, it'd be a term I might use here too. However, he went on:
I want to see the toxic soup water. I want to see the city shut down for six months. I want to see all this. I want to see the evidence that Bush steered the hurricane in there. I want to see the evidence that he blew up the levees to wipe out the ninth ward and to scatter a bunch of black Democrats all around the country thereby watering down their voting power in Louisiana. I want to see all these things before I believe anything they say.
As for the diaspora, well, doesn't it seem to have happened? What exactly is the Bush administration doing to get those black Democrats back to NO? We can argue about whether this was a plan or a happy side-effect, but it certainly seems to be something they favor, no? The Bush administration is making conspiracy theories come true.
As for the toxic soup, do a search here for "soup" or look in to the Katrina cough. The jury still seems to be out on that.
And, only a very small number of people think El Arbusto has a weather machine, and that was only briefly on the nightly news and only in their Oddly Enough segment. It's a bit sleazy for Rush to work that in there, as if it's on par with the rest.
Instead of making cute jokes, El Rushbo might want to consider the long-term impact of Bush's mishandling of the crisis on the GOP.
Yahoo prints a long Space.com article on weather modification here.
...But some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025" - a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025.
That report came with requisite disclaimers, such as the views expressed were those of the authors and didn't reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force,
Department of Defense, or the United States government. Furthermore, the report was flagged as containing fictional representations of future situations and scenarios.
On the other hand, Air Force 2025 was a study that complied with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force "to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future."
...Eastlund pointed to the High frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). This is a major Arctic facility for upper atmospheric and solar-terrestrial research, being built on a Department of Defense-owned site near Gakona, Alaska.
Eastlund wonders if HAARP does, in fact, generate gravity waves. If so, can those waves in turn influence severe weather systems?
Started in 1990, the unclassified HAARP program is jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research. Researchers at the site make use of a high-power ionospheric research instrument to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study, observing and measuring the excited region using a suite of devices...
...The last large hurricane modification experiments -- under Project Stormfury -- were carried out by the U.S. Air Force, Eastlund said. "It is likely the Department of Defense would be the lead agency in any new efforts in severe storm modification."
Additionally, federal laboratories with their extensive computational modeling skills would also play a lead role in the development of a science of weather modification.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would find their respective niches too. The satellite diagnostic capabilities in those agencies would play a strong role, Eastlund suggested.
It appears that only modest amounts of government dollars have been spent on weather modification over the last five years.
"Hurricane Katrina could cost $300 billion by itself," Eastlund said. "In my opinion, it is time for a serious scientific effort in weather modification."
Oddly enough, they don't mention the proposed "Weather Modification Operations and Research Board".
Spike Lee, Michel Martin from ABC News, and Tucker Carlson appeared on Bill Maher's show recently (video) and discussed the conspiracy theories about levees being blown up. The only problem is that one of the theories they discuss appears to be coming true. Let's go to the tape:
Bill Maher: Farrakhan said he thinks the feds wanted to flood the poor black districts... I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't believe it, but when you see some of the things that have gone on in this country...
Spike Lee: It's not far-fetched... it's not necessarily 'blow it up', [uses Compton vs. Beverly Hills example to say that they could have decided to help rich areas first instead of poor areas]...
Maher: But that's different from proactively blowing up a levee to flood one neighborhood...
Michel Martin chimes in, saying it would require a massive conspiracy...
Lee chimes in about the stolen election...
Tucker Carlson: I was in New Orleans right after the hurricane... while I didn't hear anyone say the levee was blown up by the federal government, I did hear a bunch of people... who thought this was part of a conspiracy to rid New Orleans of black people... they honestly believed that... I didn't argue with them... I felt bad for them...
Let's examine the facts that might lead people to suspect that:
Obviously, a lot of people are going to think there was a conspiracy such as described by Carlson. Wouldn't they be right? Are the feds working as hard as possible to bring former residents back and get them the jobs that are now being done by people from another country? No, they are not. Unless they change that, one would have to be extremely gullible to think this wasn't part of the plan.
If the GOP wants to avoid yet another major scandal, they'd be very wise to work to reverse what the Bush administration is doing. Just like Lee's mention of the Tuskegee Experiment, this is one that could be brought up for decades.
A Time interview contains this:
TIME: Did race or class issues play into the slow U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina?
Farrakhan: I was not there but the feeling is that race played a part. There are some I heard on TV saying that levee was purposely busted so that the water would come in on that side. They haven't verified the truth of that but some people think that, and that perception is real until truth either verifies it or dispels it.
TIME: In the aftermath of Katrina the rap artist Kanye West accused President Bush of not caring about black people. Was that a fair statement?
Farrakhan: It was a long time before the president met with the Congressional Black caucus, and he's never appeared before the NAACP. Even though he has put black people into high positions, that has not made black people feel that he is closer to us at all.
[Jesse] Jackson believes a big barge crashed through the floodwall here [Industrial Canal], bringing the tidal surge into this neighborhood, causing the devastation.
According to Ernest Murry from the Army Corps of Engineers, everything - including who owns the barge - is still up in the air. The barge has an ID #, but they don't know why it was there during the storm. And, from Murry: "My theory is the barge came through after the wall fell".
The Army Corps of Engineers said the sheet pilings for the flood wall on the Industrial Canal were driven 20 feet deep. That's what engineers specified to protect the area from a category-3 hurricane.
As crews continue to make repairs, Murry said he thinks water came over the top of the floodwall, undermining the levee.
The Army Corps of Engineers said it does not know who owns the barge that came crashing through the neighborhood during Hurricane Katrina.
"It eroded all the ground on the backside of the wall and then the wall just collapsed over," Murry said, pointing out one of two breaches on the east side of the Industrial Canal.
But why, Jackson asked, was that barge in this canal as a category-4 hurricane made landfall?
"When they anticipate a hurricane coming, don't they move barges further away from the possibility of this kind of collision?" Jackson said as Murry nodded in agreement.
When the barge did come through, Murry said it landed on top of some homes.
"Actually, it was about 30 feet overÃ¢â‚¬Â¦during Katrina. And then when Rita came through, it floated through again and came over this way," he said.
Michael Moore is reportedly filming something, now someone perhaps even worse is getting into the act:
Filmmaker Spike Lee on Tuesday announced he is making a film for HBO about the post-Hurricane Katrina flooding in New Orleans, and said he wouldn't be shocked if conspiracy theories of intentional government involvement in the flooding proved true.
Lee's appearance on CNN, to promote his new co-authored memoir/biography, Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It, followed a report on the rumors circulating among evacuees that the government somehow engineered the flooding of the largely black and poor Ninth Ward section of New Orleans.
CNN's report stressed that there is no evidence anyone caused the flooding on purpose. Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, who commands the Army Corps of Engineers, told CNN there was no truth to the rumors.
But after a handful of unidentified evacuees told CNN they believed something was afoot, anchor Daryn Kagan asked Lee if he thought there was potential for a movie in the tales.
Lee, 47, said he is already in development on a film with HBO called When the Levee Broke.
Asked about the possibility that the rumors of government involvement had any truth, Lee said it wouldn't surprise him.
"It's not too far-fetched ... I don't put anything past the United States government," Lee said. "I don't find it too far-fetched that they tried to displace all the black people out of New Orleans."
From their earth-tone bunker, the Louisiana Green Party has released the following statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders urged Congress and all Americans to reject the White House's intention to turn New Orleans and all disaster areas into zones of military control, weakened human rights protections and oversight of federal agencies, and corporate profiteering similar to occupied Iraq.
"The treatment of New Orleans' poorest, especially African Americans, has already been widely reported and is now a national shame, as is the ineptitude of Mayor Nagin's office, FEMA, and other government bodies whose poor preparation and delayed response helped turn the city into a ruin," said Romi Elnagar, Acting Secretary of the Green Part of Louisiana. "But we've also witnessed a new pattern, of policies and actions that have turned New Orleans into a war zone all too similar to occupied Iraq."
...Blackwater... prisoners being left behind... no-bid contracts... Karl Rove to lead reconstruction... more...