- My friend Les Evenchick, an independent Green who lives
in the French Quarter of New Orleans in a 3-story walkup, reports that
90 percent of the so-called looters are simply grabbing water, food, diapers
and medicines, because the federal and state officials have refused to
provide these basic necessities.
- Les says that "it's only because of the looters
that non-looters -- old people, sick people, small children -- are able
- Those people who stole televisions and large non-emergency
items have been SELLING THEM, Les reports (having witnessed several of
these "exchanges") so that they could get enough money together
to leave the area.
- Think about it:
- - People were told to leave, but all the bus stations
had closed down the night before and the personnel sent packing.
- - Many people couldn't afford tickets anyway.
- - Many people are stranded, and others are refusing to
leave their homes, pets, etc. They don't have cars.
- You want people to stop looting? Provide the means for
them to eat, and to leave the area.
- Some tourists in the Monteleone Hotel paid $25,000 for
10 buses. The buses were sent (I guess there were many buses available,
if you paid the price!) but the military confiscated them (!) and would
not let the people leave. Instead, the military ordered them to the now-infamous
- HOW SIMPLE it would have been for the State and/or US
government to have provided buses for people BEFORE the hurricane hit,
and throughout this week. Even evacuating 100,000 people trapped there
-- that's 3,000 buses, less than come into Washington D.C. for some of
the giant antiwar demonstrations there. Even at $2,500 a pop -- highway
robbery -- that would only be a total of $7.5 million for transporting
all of those who did not have the means to leave.
- Instead, look at the human and economic cost of not doing
- So why didn't they do that?
- Why have food and water been BLOCKED from reaching tens
of thousands of poor people?
- On Thursday, the government used the excuse that there
were some very scattered gunshots (two or three instances only) -- around
1/50th of the number of gunshots that occur in New York City on an average
day -- to shut down voluntary rescue operations and to scrounge for 5,000
National Guard troops fully armed, with "shoot to kill" orders
-- at a huge economic cost.
- They even refused to allow voluntary workers who had
rescued over 1,000 people in boats over the previous days to continue on
Thursday, using the several gunshots (and who knows WHO shot off those
rounds?) to say "It's too dangerous". The volunteers wanted to
continue their rescue operations and had to be "convinced" at
gunpoint to "cease and desist."
- There is something sinister going down -- it's not simply
incompetence or negligence.
- How could FEMA and Homeland Security not have something
so basic as bottled drinking water in the SuperDome, which was long a part
of the hurricane plan? One police officer in charge of his 120-person unit
said yesterday that his squad was provided with only 70 small bottles of
- Last year, New Orleans residents -- the only area in
the entire state that voted in huge numbers against the candidacy of George
Bush -- also fought off attempts to privatize the drinking water supply.
- One of the first acts of Governor Kathleen Blanco (a
Democrat, by the way) during this crisis was to TURN OFF the drinking water,
to force people to evacuate. There was no health reason to turn it off,
as the water is drawn into a separate system from the Mississippi River,
not the polluted lake, and purified through self-powered purification plants
separate from the main electric grid. If necessary, people could have been
told to boil their water -- strangely, the municipal natural gas used in
stoves was still functioning properly as of Thursday night!
- There are thousands of New Orleans residents who are
refusing to evacuate because they don't want to leave their pets, their
homes, or who have no money to do so nor place to go. The government --
which COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE provided water and food to residents of
New Orleans -- has NOT done so INTENTIONALLY to force people to evacuate
by starving them out. This is a crime of the gravest sort.
- We need to understand that the capability has been there
from the start to DRIVE water and food right up to the convention center,
as those roads have been clear -- it's how the National Guard drove into
- Let me say this again: The government is intentionally
not allowing food or water in.
- This is for real.
- MSNBC interviewed dozens of people who had gotten out.
Every single one of them was WHITE.
- The people who are poor are finally leaving the horrendous
conditions in the SuperDome and are being bussed to the AstroDome in Houston.
- Call them "People of the Dome."
- If people open fire on the National Guard coming to remove
them against their will, will New Orleans become the first battle in the
new American revolution?
- Mitchel Cohen Brooklyn Greens / Green Party of NY