Locals believe Levees were Intentionally blown
Locals believe Levees were Intentionally blown
Evidence suggests there were "cracks" in levees that were intentionally ignored, questions over how they failed.
Could the levees in New Orleans have been INTENTIONALLY blown out in order to save sections of the city deemed to be more important?
The locals certainly seem to think so, yet, as usual, the mainstream media is barely picking up on this wave of opinion, so it is left to us once again to bring the issue into the open.
When Katrina hit, it drifted 15 miles to the east of where forecasters said it would strike. Therefore it wasn't quite the monster described. The storm passed through with relatively minor damage, it was the the storm surge from the Gulf that caused Lake Pontchartrain to rise three feet and the subsequent flooding.
Katrina hit early on Monday 29th August, the levees broke in three places - along the Industrial Canal, the 17th Street Canal, and the London Street Canal. (Click here for a Map )
The main storm surge from Hurricane Katrina washed into Lake Pontchartrain at around 7AM on August 29th when the counterclockwise motion of Katrina was pushing water from the Gulf of Mexico into the lake.
Some are questioning the timeline of the levee failures, suggesting that there was a 21 hour discrepancy between the storm surge and the collapse of the levees . This is not the case. The first levee broke just a few hours after the hurricane hit on the same morning.
This confusion may have arisen due to the fact that Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff has said that the levees broke overnight between Monday-Tuesday, and that he was not informed of this til midday Tuesday.
The breach of the 17th Street Canal levee resulted in the failure of a crucial pumping station nearby, according to a statement made by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
However, it seems that this exact scenario was expected and ignored. In an interview with New Orleans radio station local radio station WWL-AM, Nagin revealed how irate he was that this had been allowed to happen:
Nagin: You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."
WWL: Who'd you say that to?
Nagin: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it. And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people ... stayed there and endangered their lives. And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city, and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people. In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there. So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of action.
It has emerged though that some kind of work was carried out on the 17th Street Canal levee. Reports have suggested that the funding was not there to complete the job, but some work had been done:
"The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late. One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer was a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday."
Of course we know that it was the White House that slashed funding for such projects in order to pump more money into the war in Iraq.
According to the New York Times, Dr. Shea Penland of the Pontchartrain Institute was surprised because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded. It did not have an earthen levee, it had a vertical concrete wall several feet thick."
It also seems that the broken section of the Industrial Canal levee was having "construction" work done on it recently.
New York Times science reporter Dr. Andrew Revkin has stated of the 17th Street Canal that "officials and [Army Corps] engineers said that after they had found the widening gap in the concrete wall on the eastern side of the canal, they had no quick-response plan to repair it."
Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the corps, said "plugging the gap was a lower priority." The corps is directed by FEMA. "It is FEMA who is really calling the shots and setting priorities here,"
Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager for the corps, was quoted in the same article as saying "there were still no clear hints why the main breach in the flood barriers occurred along the 17th Street Canal, normally a conduit for vast streams of water pumped out of the perpetually waterlogged city each day and which did not take the main force of the waves roiling the lake. He said that a low spot marked on survey charts of the levees near the spot that ruptured was unrelated and that the depression was where a new bridge crossed the narrow canal near the lakefront."
This would refute the speculation that a dip in the retaining levee or walls might have allowed water to slop over and start the collapse. So we have an unexplained crack in several feet of concrete. FEMA decided not to plug it and let the water flow until a US city was flooded and thousands had drowned.
Dynamite? History repeating itself?
Many locals have come forward to suggest that the levees were breached on purpose by the authorities. Resident Andrea Garland, now re-located to Texas, wrote in her blog:
"Also heard that part of the reason our house flooded is they dynamited part of the levee after the first section broke - they did this to prevent Uptown (the rich part of town) from being flooded. Apparently they used too much dynamite, thus flooding part of the Bywater. So now I know who is responsible for flooding my house - not Katrina, but our government."
This scenario is not so crazy as it sounds, in fact this exact thing has happened before in the same city. In 1927, the Mississippi River broke its banks in 145 places, depositing water at depths of up to 30ft over 27,000 square miles of land.
The disaster changed American society, shifting hundreds of thousands of delta-dwelling blacks into northern cities and cementing the divisions and suspicions that benign neglect has ensured remain today. New Orleans (mainly white) business class pressurized the state to dynamite a levee upstream, releasing water into (mainly black) areas of the delta. Black workers were forced to work on flood relief at gunpoint, like slaves.
Two parishes, St. Bernard and Plaquemines, which had a combined population of 10,000, were destroyed. Just before Katrina, these parishes had about 10 times the 1927 population. Both parishes are now under many feet of water.
This information is covered in depth in a book by John M. Barry entitled Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how it Changed America, 1997 which has incidentally become heavily in demand after Katrina.
Furthermore, levees were also intentionally broke after Hurricane Betsy struck New Orleans in 1965, admittedly with less of an impact. The tactic of breaking the dikes is not uncommon, as this CNN report on China's flood plains highlights.
Engineers have now punched holes in several levees in parts of New Orleans where flood levels were higher than the water in drainage canals leading to Pontchartrain, in order to let water flow out.
Did the authorities decide to sacrifice the poor folks and blow the levees in order to save the French Quarter of New Orleans which houses the richer residents, the lucrative historical buildings and thousands of businesses?
There were reports of many explosions heard in New Orleans, officials say they were transformers blowing up. Total Information Analysis has reported a claim by intelligence expert Tom Heneghen that 25 earwitnesses cited explosions immediately before the levee breach.
Similar reports are now appearing in many web blogs:
"He also mentioned that right before the mass flood there was a loud sound like an explosion." - News from St. Bernard
"I'll tell you the worst thing I've heard and I heard it from my mother. She said she heard several blasts - big booms - right before the levees broke. Several blasts and then all the water came pouring in." - aangirfan
Although these are obviously not authoritative sources of information, it is interesting to note how many local people are reporting this. So interesting in fact that the mainstream has picked up on it in places.
The Washington Post reported on the comments of a retired school teacher:
"Mullen has a schoolteacher's kindly demeanor, so it was jarring to hear him say he suspected that the levee breaks had somehow been engineered to keep the wealthy French Quarter and Garden District dry at the expense of poor black neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward -- a suspicion I heard from many other black survivors."
The Globe and Mail is also carrying a similar story.
ABC World News Tonight carried a report which contained an interview with a local, who described how a floating barge had rammed the levee. The man seemed convinced that the levee was purposefully broken. A transcript of which has appeared on the net:
David Muir: Was it solely the water that broke the levee? Or was it the force of this barge that now sits where homes once did? Joe Edwards says neither. People are so bitter, so disenfranchised in this neighborhood, they actually think the city did it, blowing up the levee to save richer neighborhoods, like the French Quarter.
Muir to Edwards as they stand on a bridge: So you're convinced-
Edwards: I knows it happened.
Muir: -that they broke the levee on purpose?
Edwards: They blew it.
Muir: New Orleans Mayor says there's no credence to this.
Mayor Ray Nagin: That storm was so powerful and it pushed so much water -- there's no way anyone could have calculated -- would dynamite the levee to have the kind of impact to save the French Quarter.
Muir concluded: An LSU expert who looked at the video today, says that while the barge may have caused it, it was most likely the sheer force of the water that brought the levee, along the lower 9th ward, down.
The mysterious barge story has also been reported by many other local residents. "The evacuees who witnessed the barge striking the levee also want to know why the major media is not covering this story."
The London Observer carried an intriguing story of a man named Correll Williams, a 19-year-old meat cutter. The article states that:
"Williams only left his apartment after the authorities took the decision to flood his district in an apparent attempt to sluice out some of the water that had submerged a neighbouring district. Like hundreds of others he had heard the news of the decision to flood his district on the radio. The authorities had given people in the district until 5pm on Tuesday to get out - after that they would open the floodgates."
So it's clear that barriers WERE being broken in an attempt to protect areas of the city.
Some final intriguing footage reveals a journalist questioning former President Bill Clinton as to why many locals feel that the levees were purposefully broken.
This was during the press conference with Clinton and George Bush Snr announcing their combined "relief effort" for New Orleans. Ignore the first 15 minutes of sickening joking and backslapping between the two and skip to the last minute of footage. Upon hearing the question Clinton appears to be surprised and then simply walks off.
We will track this story as it develops and cover any further updates.
UPDATE: After discovering the above mentioned video this morning (9th Sept) and posting this article, it now appears to have been removed by CSpan. The video link is now dead and the description no longer appears on their website, although it can still be seen on the cached Google page here. Watch this space to see if it returns.
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