“By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the nexus of Republican politicians, think tanks and land developers started talking about ‘clean sheets’ and exciting opportunities, it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering.”
-Naomi Klein The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
It is now the 10-year anniversary of what many people consider to be the worst natural catastrophe that has ever befallen this country in terms of lives lost and ruined. It was certainly the costliest, according to Wikipedia, at $108 billion in total damages. However, the true catastrophe wasn’t hurricane Katrina itself (devastating though it most certainly was) but rather the abject failure of the so-called government response on practically all levels (city, state, and federal) that was the real tragedy of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. However, what if it wasn’t as natural as we’ve been led to believe? And, perhaps most disturbing of all to consider, what if the government response wasn’t so much a failure of total incompetence but rather the result of a federally mandated coup of a state’s emergency response in order to a) Institute Martial Law over the Gulf Coast region as part of a psychological “Shock and Awe” program and b) Displace about a million mostly poor black people from their homes as part of a massive land grab and development privatization agenda? It was this militaristic and greedy tragedy that revealed itself in the racist, disaster capitalist aftermath of Katrina that truly scarred this nation…the effects of which are still continuing today. We might, therefore, begin to ask ourselves: “What, if anything, have we learned from the storm of 2005?” My guess would be not much of anything, as recent racially charged events have shown.
While the mainstream media focused on the gross ineptitude of agencies like FEMA in their lax response to the unfolding events, the true story of the Battle of New Orleans post-Katrina has yet to be fully told and likely never will be. The reason for this is because to tell the true story would point to evidence that is far more devastating than mere incompetence and show how there were concerted aims within the highest levels of government that helped make this disaster much, much worse as part of a brutal, though sophisticated, psy-op and land grab. Granted, this was not to say that cronyism and nepotism played no role in the disaster response. After all, Michael Brown (or “Brownie” as Bush called him) was appointed to the position out of simply being close to Bush and Co. from using his previous position as Judge and Steward of the International Arabian Horse Association to run a vendetta on behalf of a close Bush Sr. friend. However, one wonders in vain how that qualifies him for the top spot at FEMA. And, yet it’s deeper than that. So, although pseudo-liberal media pundits feel compelled to rail against the socioeconomic inequalities that they rightly perceive within the mostly poor black parishes surrounding New Orleans as putting them in a much more vulnerable position viz-a-viz the government, the idea that fascist factions within government would help precipitate and even benefit from such a major disaster are considered by most mainstream media outlets to be conspiratorial lunacy. However, I believe that is precisely what happened.
Let’s examine the evidence for this thesis very closely. First, we now know through the work of Jerry Smith, Elana Freeland, and others that the US has access to “weather modification technology” and huge arrays like HAARP, which constitute an entire revolutionary form of technology under the rubric of “Geo-engineering”. In the case of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project) that acts as a giant ionospheric heater, this technology can essentially alter the jet stream, create drought-like conditions over an area, and (in the case of Katrina, Rita, and the more recent hurricane Sandy) even steer a hurricane into a city if need be. This is the conclusion of research done by David Icke and Richard Hoagland, both of whom posted articles on their websites showing weird heat signatures in the Gulf of Mexico when it appeared that hurricane Katrina might very well have been steered into New Orleans rather than allowing it follow its natural trajectory that had it going further west into southeast Texas.
Apparently, HAARP was very active that day 10 years ago when hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, which, given the fact that it is a city where much of it is built under sea level, was quite unprepared to handle such a powerful direct hit. As we all know, shortly after Katrina made landfall…many of the levees broke and the real very extensive damage to both people and property was made evident in the heavy flooding of the area where hundreds of people lost their lives. Here again, however, we have conflicting reports as to what actually caused those levees to break. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the levee system was designed to withstand a Category 4 hurricane and below. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall and therefore should have held but didn’t. Why not? Were the levees really that poorly constructed, or were they intentionally blown up as some New Orleans residents close to the levees reported happened?
Even Spike Lee’s acclaimed documentary, entitled “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts” that originally aired on HBO, made reference to the idea that certain levees were blown up intentionally (most likely using underwater shape charges) to flood poorer neighborhoods like the Lower 9th Ward and help save rich tourist areas like the French Quarter, which remained relatively undamaged and comparatively dry. At one point during the documentary, long-time New Orleanians recounted hearing huge explosions going off and then quickly being flooded out. The $64,000 question, however, remains, “Were the extremely loud explosions heard merely the result of the levees breaking from the force of the water, or were they the result of a controlled demolition that caused them to burst by people, elements, and/or agencies yet unknown?” If, in fact, my thesis is correct in presuming that the Katrina catastrophe was part of a psychological warfare campaign against the poor and real estate land grab after their inevitable displacement, then I would suspect that those people orchestrating such a move would leave nothing to chance and would therefore blow the levees intentionally using people like underwater demolition experts, like Navy SEALs, to pull it off. Unfortunately, the only way to truly ascertain whether or not something like that was done would be to collect and examine the levee walls for possible explosive residue left over, but this kind of evidence (much like the debris from the Twin Towers post-9/11) would obviously be hauled off, destroyed, and subsequently covered up.
What of the horrific human costs? This, more than anything, represents the most tragic aspect of the disaster that continues to live on in the shattered lives of people who lost everything in the floods (their homes, their lifelong possessions, their pets, their community, their friends, even sometimes their family members) only to face a very harsh and uncertain future in a strange town or city far away from what they called home. Forced to live like a refugee and vagabond with distant relatives, in-laws, or even total strangers who opened up their homes, these survivors faced a new set of challenges to overcome in cobbling together what was left of their lives and family. And, no doubt, many would succumb to paralyzing depression, PTSD, alcoholism, drug addiction, and suicide in the months and years to follow their mass exodus out of Louisiana. Adding to this stifling stress was the knowledge that nothing was being done to help these refugees transition back to New Orleans, since their neighborhoods remained toxic debris fields years afterwards and therefore a prohibition remained in place to returning.
What many people fail to realize is that many (if not most) of those people who lived in the predominantly poor black neighborhoods of the Lower 9th Ward and East New Orleans were home owners, and when they lost their homes in the flood waters, were screwed by the insurance companies in receiving just compensation for their loss, and were prevented from returning and rebuilding due to the city bureaucracy and law enforcement…they literally had no fall back position in which to fully recover. However, as Naomi Klein makes clear in her book “The Shock Doctrine”, a disaster (whether natural or man-made) is quickly capitalized on by private corporations to make major money in the midst of majority misery. So, you can expect that private real estate developers are making a killing on commercial New Orleans real estate that, thanks to their corrupt friends in the City Council and State Legislature, I’m sure they’ll be gentrifying with high-end condos, restaurants, hotels, and clubs in order rake in the moolah, while the ghosts of Katrina’s dead stir restlessly in the humid breeze and the impoverished black survivors are kept outside the homeowner’s association neighborhood gates. Even for “Chocolate City”, the implied sign above the entrance into the French Quarter reads- “Black Lives Don’t Matter”.
If you remember back when celebrities were busy raising money for New Orleans, Kanye West said as much on live television with Mike Myers looking thoroughly shell shocked as he stood next to him. But, in retrospect, it wasn’t shocking at all to suggest that President Bush didn’t care about black people. After all, why would he? Even his mother is on record as making a flippant remark about their predicament after Katrina hit. And, if Bush’s response (or rather lack thereof) isn’t bad enough, let’s not forget that as people sat for many days on their rooftops waiting to be rescued…FEMA was actually making things a lot worse including cutting the power lines and preventing parishes from being able to communicate their desperate needs to anyone that would listen. This would imply active complicity in making things worse, not better. People trying to flee the city were prevented from doing so under threat of armed national guard blocking the bridges and freeways, and everybody was told to make their way to the Super Dome that would quickly devolve into an absolutely sickening nightmare for anyone that happened to be unfortunate enough to get stuck within in its hellish confines.
The conditions within the Super Dome grew so deplorable that many suffocated under the strain of the chaos that ensued due to lack of water, food, sanitation, security, and sleep that occurred from these circumstances. Robberies, assaults, and rapes were not uncommon from the roving gangs of hoodlums that preyed upon the young, weak, good, and elderly people. And, even those humanitarian social workers, doctors, psychologists, and priests that attempted to help were soon forced to make a hasty retreat when their own safety was imperiled by remaining. Those outside of the Super Dome faced an even more uncertain future in their attempts to survive through scavenging for food, water, and other essentials. According to a New Orleans police officer that bravely went on the record, the NOPD were told to shoot on site anyone they saw looting. And, although one surmises that there were officers whose consciences wouldn’t allow it, obviously the many dead that littered the brown, watery streets of New Orleans attested to the fact that some cops did shoot those whom they thought were looting…even if it was essentials like food and water for survival. Clearly the National Guard and Blackwater mercenaries (who were on the scene) have no compunction about killing people in a declared state of national emergency, especially under such chaotic and unaccountable conditions where the likelihood of being prosecuted is virtually nil.