It's midnight, again. And I'm tired, again. Hey, everything is normal here in Algiers! Everyday is a whirlwind of new information, some positive, some negative, some news that just really makes you want to scream.
I've been really blown away by the incredible response Common Ground Collective has been getting. We are getting well over 500 calls a day between various landlines and cells. We've raised over $5000 in two days. People are starting to come in by the carload - both individuals and groups like Campus Anti-War Network (http://www.campusantiwar.net) who came by to check us out yesterday.
Today we were joined by nurses from SEUI who took initiative and left thier work with the Red Cross to make a real difference here. We hear those stories all the time. People involved in the "official" relief effort bailing to get the work done through creative grassroots means. Beautiful.
But the most amazing part is watching the faces of people who stop by but don't know exactly who we are or what we are doing. Are you with FEMA? No. What non-profit are you with? None. Oh, you mean this is grassroots community aid? Exactly!
I'm also deeply grateful for all the positive response I've been getting from the blog. It's helped spark people to come down here, supplies to arrive, and people to be more vigilant about what is happening in the storm area in general. I'm just really blown away by it all. Thank you.
Please keep in mind that coming down here is hard work. And I'm not talking about King George "hard work" that trashes Iraq, runs the government (into the ground) or antagonizes the people of the storm area.
That said, EVERYONE that doesn't have other responsibilities should already be in their car on the way. We may not be in emergency operations here in Algiers anymore, but the rebuilding and community solidarity work with those who are displaced is coming to the forefront. We are expanding operations too - to the outer parishes and into Mississippi, so more bodies are needed. Please come.
ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: OPPRESSION HOME & ABROAD
Over the last two years that I know of, civil liberties monitors have documented the use of Israei Defense Force personnel providing training to U.S. law enforcement personnel. In fact, an office at Georgia State University helps to foster this international, inter-agency "cooperation." Considering IDF's atrocious human rights record, I don't think U.S. cops need any additional methods to violate the civil liberties of the public.
Here in New Orleans, we are blessed not just to have IDF trained police departments here, but IDF soldiers themselves! Why kill Americans on the Gaza Strip (Rachel Corrie) when you can kill them on their home soil! L' chaim!
I don't need to point out all the international aid that was turned down, or even refused entry into the US. But we accepted soldiers who have one of the worst human rights records on Earth. Ooookay.
What has occurred here in New Orleans has been a primer on urban warfare. And I will tell you that the aggressive use of information warfare is one of the key tactics of this kind of military operation. It just so happens this writer is a part of Save Our Civil Liberties collective and we've been studying the evolution of government policy that has pushed militarized, urban warfare response to the forefront. Urban warfare is based on the presumption that hungry, impoverished, politically disenfranchised people are a threat to "State authority" and must be "controlled."
The violent police action in Miami during the 2003 FTAA protests - urban warfare drill. The preemptive State of Emergency and military takeover of Brunswich in Georgia during the 2004 G8 - urban warfare drill. SWAT team action in marginalized communities - urban warfare, not a drill. Hurricane relief in New Orleans - urban warfare, not a drill.
I'll be doing a deeper analysis of what's occuring at a later date. There's so much to take in. Digestion takes time.
The "official body count" is bogus. We will never know just how high it is because the bodies are being hidden and disposed of without public oversight. But I've heard the whispers, the stories from people on the street, from military personnel getting things off their chest. I'll publish more as it becomes clear...
By the way, if you gave to the Red Cross I'de like to tell you what your donation has supported. A delayed emergency response embroiled in red tape. Warehouses of food and supplies that went unused for days. Disaster relief lines that take two days of calling and waiting to speak to a human being. Using their connections with the police and military to force grassroots relief out of buildings and communities. Getting a relief worker who just picked up supplies from their warehouse arrested by a multi-agency posse.
And our Red Crossed story of the day: The Red Cross shelter in Covington, LA absolutely disallowed displaced parents and young children who have lost everything from spending an afternoon of joy and relaxation at a picnic organized by Camp Covington- Veterans for Peace. Your donated money at work, aren't you proud?
HELLO HOMELAND SECURITY
Our friends at Department of Homeland Security has been keeping tabs on grassroots relief efforts that operate outside of the Disaster Industrial Complex. I'm so glad they can spend the time to monitor organizers and activists but they can't actually save or help anyone.