Friday, August 31, 2012

New Orleans Times-Picayune Exposé on Hurricane Katrina Murder and Mayhem Rescued from the Memory Hole!

[Postscript, 9/2/12: Tonight, Peter Brimelow just published my VDARE Katrina update, “Revising Katrina for the Age of Obama.”]

By Nicholas Stix

The following September 6, 2005 article, by the Times-Picayune’s Brian Thevenot, which I refer to in my own work as “9/6,” was one of the two most influential on the Katrina mayhem. It told stories of stacks of corpses at the New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and other horror stories. When it was published, its findings were repeated 24/7 in the media echo chamber.

The only article more influential than 9/6 was the one Thevenot co-wrote with three Times-Picayune colleagues 20 days later, which I refer to as “9/26.”

9/26 completely contradicts 9/6, but without ever saying that 9/6 was wrong. The later article acts as if it is refuting some unnamed writer or writers at some other media outlet. 9/26 even goes so far as to use the same witness, Louisiana National Guard Spc. Mykel Brooks, to impeach the most lurid tales told in 9/6, without mentioning that the primary witness for those stories was none other than Spc. Mykel Brooks.

Why the contradictions? Black activists and leaders were outraged by the honest reporting that had been carried out by many media outlets, including the Times-Pic, which had failed to portray blacks solely as victims of white racist evil, which indeed is the media’s own creed. The honest reporting had been a severe lapse.

The media echo chamber immediately turned on a dime, and began repeating the 9/26 story 24/7, as if 9/6 had never been published.

The lies of 9/26 were a form of reparations, for which Thevenot and the Times-Pic were richly rewarded, with two Pulitzer Prizes, and an award from at least one racist black group.

One award that Thevenot & six colleagues and editors would rather not have won came from yours truly. I wrote a series of exposes of different length, and bestowed on them the Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy:

1,900-word version;

Two-part, 3,900-word version (here and here); and

9,900-word version.

* * *

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mayor says Katrina may have claimed more than 10,000 lives
Bodies found piled in freezer at Convention Center

By Brian Thevenot
Staff writer
[New Orleans Times-Picayune; story has no link, because it is no longer online. At the time, the Times-Pic was not being publioshed on paper, due to damage form Katrina, and was instead being published as a rolling blog.]

Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.

"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man."
Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."

He moved on, walking quickly through the darkness, pulling his camouflage shirt to his face to screen out the overwhelming odor.
"There's an old woman," he said, pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. "I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death," he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair.

Brooks and several other Guardsmen said they had seen between 30 and 40 more bodies in the Convention Center's freezer. "It's not on, but at least you can shut the door," said fellow Guardsman Phillip Thompson.

The scene of rotting bodies inside the Convention Center reflected those in thousands of businesses, schools, homes and shelters across the metropolitan area. The official death count from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana was 71 as of Monday evening, but that included only those bodies that had been brought to a make-shift morgue in St. Gabriel.

Nearly a full week after Hurricane Katrina, a rescue force the size of an invading army had not yet begun the task of retrieving the bodies Sunday. What's more, officials appeared to have no plan.

Daniel Martinez, a spokesman for FEMA working on Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans, said plans for body recovery "are not being released yet."

Dozens of rescue workers questioned Monday said they knew of no protocol or collection points for bodies; none said they had retrieved even one of the many corpses seen floating in neighborhoods around the city as they searched for survivors.

Scores of rescue workers this week repeated the same mantra, over and over: We can't worry about the dead; we're still trying to save the living.

But as rescue teams across the city said they had checked nearly every house for survivors, the enormity of the death that lay in Hurricane Katrina's wake came into sharp focus even as the plans for taking care of the dead remained murky.

Mayor Ray Nagin, addressing the potential body count for the storm for the first time, said the storm may have claimed more than 10,000 lives.

In a news conference Monday morning, Deputy Chief Warren Riley said his department was "not responsible for recovery."

"We don't have a body count, but I can tell you it's growing. It's growing," he said.

As the rescue missions covered more and more ground but yielded fewer survivors, New Orleans Police Deputy Chief Steve Nicholas said that the time has come to start dealing with the dead.

"I know we're still rescuing people, but I think it's time we start pulling out the bodies," he said.

The highest concentration of casualties from Hurricane Katrina likely will come in the Lower 9th Ward, St. Bernard Parish, areas first inundated on Aug. 29 with floodwaters that engulfed second story homes in minutes. New Orleans also will likely see mass casualties, New Orleans Police Capt. Timothy Bayard said.

"We're going see a lot more bodies out of New Orleans East than we anticipated," he said.

In just one subdivision, Sherwood Forest, survivors who showed up to the Convention Center on Monday said police told them roughly 90 people in the subdivision had died.

In St. Bernard, 22 bodies were found lashed together. Officials surmised the drowning victims had tried to stay together to keep themselves from being washed away in the storm.

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said "more than a thousand" people had died in St. Bernard. "When the death toll comes out, it's going to be a jolt for everybody," he said. "I'll be surprised if the casualties in St. Bernard are less than a thousand."

Even Uptown near the river, one of the few spots of dry land, a body lay in front of a white wooden shotgun double at 4732 Laurel St. The body of an older woman lay under a gray blanket, pinned down at the corners by brick and slate, adorned with a plastic-wrapped flower bouquet. Above her, a yellow cardboard sign quoting John 3:16 had been taped to the window.

Alcede Jackson
Rest in Peace
In the loving arms of Jesus

Given the length of time many had been dead, and in the water, some of the bodies already might be unrecognizable, and some may never be recovered.

Many trapped by flood waters in shelters found their own ways of dealing with those who died in their midst.

Near an elementary school at Poland and St. Claude avenues, Dwight and Wilber Rhodes, two brothers, said they had tried to save a middle-aged man and woman at the Convention Center who appeared to have drowned.

"We performed CPR on them, but they were already dead," Dwight Rhodes said. "So we took the food out of the freezer and put the bodies in."

Of the four bodies that lay just inside the food service entrance of the Convention Center, the woman in the wheelchair rattled Brooks the most. When he found her two days before among the sea of suffering in front of the Convention Center where one of the last refugee camps evacuated, her husband sat next to her. He had only one concern when Brooks and some of his comrades carted her away.

"Bring me back my wheelchair," he recalled the man telling him.

One of the bodies, they said, was a girl they estimated to be 5 years old. Though they could not confirm it, they had heard she was gang-raped.

"There was an old lady that said the little girl had been raped by two or three guys, and that she had told another unit. But they said they couldn't do anything about it with all the people there," Brooks said. "I would have put him in cuffs, stuck him in the freezer and left him there."

Brooks and his unit came to New Orleans not long after serving a year of combat duty in Iraq, taking on gunfire and bombs, while losing comrades with regularity. Still, the scene at the Convention Center, where they conducted an evacuation this week, left him shell-shocked.

"I ain't got the stomach for it, even after what I saw in Iraq," said Brooks, referring to the freezer where the bulk of the bodies sat decomposing. "In Iraq, it's one-on-one. It's war. It's fair. Here, it's just crazy. It's anarchy. When you get down to killing and raping people in the streets for food and water … And this is America. This is just 300 miles south of where I live."

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