From: Robert Faust
Homeland Security Admits They Denied Red Cross
Access to New Orleans
This is killer information that should be distributed widely to media, politicians, church leaders, and everyone you know. Both Red Cross and Homeland Security have admitted that Red Cross was not allowed into the city of New Orleans ALL WEEK.
I find it very disturbing that people died of dehydration and starvation in the Superdome “shelter”, while President Bush’s suggestion was “Send cash to the Red Cross”. Red Cross was allowed access to the outlying more white communities where
they gave out food and water.
What reason do they give for withholding food and water from 50,000 predominantly poor African Americans left in the city because they did not have cars to evacuate?
Red Cross says the reason was that their “presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.”
Kevin Cowan at the Louisianna Office of Homeland Security said they “don’t want to put anyone at undue risk”. I guess that reference to “anyone” must only refer to white Red Cross workers. Certainly the 20,000 people in the Superdome and the other thousands at the Convention center were put at grave risk by being held at gunpoint with no food, water, or bathroom facilities for days. Ten bodies were found in the Superdome. So if they were afraid to put the Red Cross workers at risk, why didn’t they escort them in with military back-up, or just have the National Guard drive in the darn truckloads of Red Cross food & water? When there are disasters in other countries, the Red Cross is there right away with food and water, because other countries do not deny them access to the victims. A few bloggers posted that they had heard on CNN and on Larry King Show, the head of Red Cross saying they weren’t allowed in. I found this news at Dailykos, which has a lot of information now about the disastrous disaster response. See for yourself on the FAQ section of Red Cross’s website:
Here is an excerpt in case they remove it from their website soon:
Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?
Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders. The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans
following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
A DailyKos blogger called up Homeland Security to verify this statement on Red Cross’s web-page. The Federal Homeland Security guy admitted it at first, but would not stand by his statement. On the Red Cross Webpage it says “”state Homeland Security department”, so then he called the Communications Center for the Louisianna Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at 225-925-7500. Lt. Kevin Cowan (Public Information Officer) confirmed that their office did prevent Red Cross from coming in! Read the text of his phone calls here. He goes on to say “Orj Ozeppi reports that the Salvation Army is telling people the same thing as the ARC(Red Cross): “if we help, people won’t leave.” So we have a discrepancy between these relief agencies and LA Homeland Security as to the reason. The relief agencies are consistent. It may be that this policy is just because it’s a disaster zone, as the LA Homeland Security guy said, but this question needs to be answered. Was the decision to keep the relief agencies out made to force people to evacuate (and punish those who didn’t… perhaps making a lesson of them?) by making conditions intolerable??? If not,
why do these relief agencies say so? ”
In fact, many aid offers have been turned down by President Bush & Homeland Security. Even Homeland Security was blocked by Bush! The Homeland Security division, “NorthCOM” in Colorado, which was supposedly coordinating the relief efforts
(Surprise! This must be a stealth mission), said they did not send 9 million meals which were ready before the hurricane hit, because they were waiting for Bush’s order.
A Canadian Med-vac team was denied access to the USA. They have now made a deal directly with local officials to come in by ship. according to the Washington Post, Cuba offered med teams and supplies. France and Germany offered med teams, tents, water purification equipment, but were initially turned down.
President George W. Bush said in a television interview that the United States could take care of itself. In contrast, Sean McCormack of the State Department said,
“Anything that can be of help to alleviate the tragic situation of the area affected by Hurricane Katrina will be accepted”. Al Gore knows a doctor at one of the hospitals in NO and lined up TWO 747 airliners to fly in and evacuate victims in order to fly critical care patients to waiting hospitals around the nation. Homeland Security BLOCKED this from happening. Why? Because FEMA is not allowed to help PRIVATELY funded
Those people in critical condition, in hospitals were DENIED a free and safe evacuation. According to nola.com (the N.O. Times-Picayune website), Homeland Security has also declined the Forest Service’s offer to put out the fires in New Orleans.
“The Forest Service has offered fixed plane aircraft used to fight forest fires to
help extinguish blazes in New Orleans, according to two congressional sources. But the sources said the planes, which can pour large amounts of water on fires, remained grounded in Missouri Friday because the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t authorized their use. “We’ve been asking them to request that the planes be used, but nothing has happened,” said one of the two congressional sources, both of whom asked to remain anonymous. The planes were offered by the Forest Service because of news reports that firefighters in New Orleans lacked adequate water pressure to fight a number of fires in the city.”
President Bush is returning to the area to do more cheerleading and take more photo ops to shift the rising tide of public anger. Meanwhile, our government’s disaster response seems more like sabotage than aid.
posted by susan at 9:39 AM