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"March demands accountability of Gretna police action" (the bridge is back!)

Just when you'd forgotten all about the Gretna Crescent City Connection incident, it comes roaring back in this:

A March to Gretna in protest of the actions of the Gretna police in the aftermath of Katrina and in support of displaced African-Americans from New Orleans, who continue to be denied access to participation and opportunity in the reconstruction process is planned for Monday, November 7...
In the aftermath of Katrina, New Orleans authorities directed people to evacuate the city by crossing the Crescent City Connection Bridge which spans the Mississippi River linking New Orleans to the west bank city of Gretna. It's alleged that if you were black or in the company of blacks, armed Gretna police with guard dogs blocked you from evacuating New Orleans. Reportedly, under orders from Gretna Police Chief Arthur S. Lawson, the bridge was sealed off and evacuees denied safe passage when Gretna police officers fired shots in the direction of the crowds.
The March to Gretna, organized by the Hip Hop Caucus and UP (United Progressives) for Democracy, will commence with a rally at the New Orleans Convention Center. It is expected to attract Howard Dean, Chairman, Democratic National Committee; Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and Congressman John Conyers...
...The Hip Hop Caucus is also calling for a federal investigation of the events by the Justice Department...

Who stands in solidarity with those mentioned above?

The MARCH TO GRETNA is endorsed by Black Leadership Forum, Center for Social Justice, Cities for Progress/Institute for Policy Studies, Clergy & Laity Concerned About Iraq, Code Pink, ColorofChange.org, Common Ground, Community Labor United, Ella Baker Center for Civil Rights, Global Crisis Coalition, Global Exchange, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Healthcare NOW!, Hip Hop Caucus, Independent Progressive Politics Network, League of Pissed Off Voters, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, New Orleans Network, National Organization for Women, No Fear Coalition, People's Alliance for Community Empowerment, People's Hurricane Relief & Reconstruction Oversight Committee People's Institute for Survival & Beyond, Progressive Democrats of America, Project South, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, National Progressive Youth & Student Organization, Quality Education as a Human Right, Rebuild Green, Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition (NOLA), Rebuild Hope NOW, Saving Our Neighborhoods, Southwest Workers Union, TransAfrica Forum, United for Peace & Justice, United Houma Nation of Louisiana, Urban Heart, World Can't Wait.

Oh gawd.

Conyers supporting socialists' Gretna bridge tale

Several far-left Congresspersons, led by John Conyers, Jr. (D-Space), are demanding that U.S. AG Gonzalez investigate the Gretna bridge incident:
From the letter:

...In particular, we are concerned that law enforcement officials may have denied minority citizens the ability to cross the Greater New Orleans Bridge to safety in the midst of the flooding, and were negligent in fleeing the Orleans Parish Prison, leaving hundreds of prisoners to possibly drown...
On September 10, 2005, the New York Times reported the firsthand accounts of two emergency medical service (EMS) workers who tried to cross the Greater New Orleans Bridge on September 1, 2005... In a chronicle of their experiences in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the EMS workers at the scene reported that earlier that day, a New Orleans police commander had directed the majority African American group to the Bridge.

Yes, and on who's advice were people sent to the CCC? Let's take a look back at Ray Nagin: "We" told people the Crescent City Connection was open.

According the EMS workers, the officers said that "the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their city." The EMS workers took these statements as "code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you are not getting out of New Orleans." It then became clear to the EMS workers that their group had been directed to the Greater New Orleans Bridge only to prevent them from camping out in front of the makeshift police command center.

It's sad, but not unexpected, that Conyers should repeat the obviously biased account of the EMS workers. I'd reprint here the names of the co-signers, but I don't want search engines to think this is the Washington DC Komsomol chapter.
So far, there are at least three instances of conservative-leaning pundits and blogs doing the jobs of the far-left for them:
1. This case, in which almost no one (except, of course, me) has pointed out that the EMSs' obvious agenda makes their tale a bit suspect in its details...
2. Bush's wrong-headed attempt to buy his way out of this crisis rather than do something positive...
3. The effort to downplay the initial reports of violence. Obviously, hacks from both sides want to minimize those reports, leaving those who want the truth to be voices in the wilderness.

CRS: Blanco took all necessary steps to get federal assistance

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is supposedly a nonpartisan research agency for Congress. They've released a report that apparently says that Governor Kathleen Blanco took all the steps that she should have in order to obtain federal assistance.
The report is in this 2.7 Meg PDF file, and John Conyers' summary is in this small PDF file.
The large file is a multi-page, hard-to-read FAX which I'll let someone else wade through.
From Conyers' press release:

In addition to finding that "...it would appear that the Governor did take the steps necessary to request emergency and major disaster declarations for the State of Louisiana in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. (p.11)" The report found that:
-- All necessary conditions for federal relief were met on August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the Stafford Act, "(t)he declaration of an emergency by the President makes Federal emergency assistance available," and the President made such a declaration on August 28. The public record indicates that several additional days passed before such assistance was actually made available to the State;
-- The Governor must make a timely request for such assistance, which meets the requirements of federal law. The report states that "(e)xcept to the extent that an emergency involves primarily Federal interests, both declarations of major disaster and declarations of emergency must be triggered by a request to the President from the Governor of the affected state";
-- The Governor did indeed make such a request, which was both timely and in compliance with federal law. The report finds that "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco requested by letter dated August 27, 2005...that the President declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period from August 26, 2005 and continuing pursuant to (applicable Federal statute)" and "Governor Blanco's August 27, 2005 request for an emergency declaration also included her determination...that 'the incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of disaster."

There's a start of a discussion on this here or here, and please leave any interesting questions on the report in comments.

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