A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders.
As it stands, officials cannot compel people to evacuate, only warn that those who stay behind won’t have any emergency services at their disposal. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of “reasonable force” to remove people from the area.
The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods.
Don’t expect police to go door to door arresting people or forcing them from their homes if a hurricane is headed toward Corpus Christi.
“If the hurricane is arriving here, we’re going to be doing the best we can to hunker things down, to make sure we have as many special-needs patients evacuated, to prevent crime and looting,” Corpus Christi Police Cmdr. Mark Schauer said. “We’re going to have a hard enough time preventing crime, let alone arresting people who don’t leave.”
County Judge Loyd Neal agreed that arrests for ignoring orders are unlikely.
“I don’t have a jail big enough to put 20,000 people in,” Neal said. “You have to hope people will use good sense. The majority of people usually do.”
Schauer sees the law more as a tool to compel people to leave, or to be used in special situations. For example, officials could issue a mandatory evacuation for the beaches, giving police the authority to arrest people who go storm-watching and put themselves in danger.
A man died after being swept off a Packery Channel jetty last summer as he watched swells caused by Hurricane Ike as it headed toward Galveston.
The law also makes people who must be rescued after ignoring mandatory evacuation orders civilly liable for the costs of the rescue.
A mandatory evacuation order often is a course of last resort, for a variety of economic and logistical reasons. Hospitals and nursing homes must move patients, and businesses must let workers leave town.
The evacuation provision is part of a larger bill overhauling the emergency response code after Hurricane Ike.
While protesters rallied in his support, the owner of a Concord Mills kiosk that sells conservative merchandise said he met with the mall’s manager Sunday to see what arrangements can be made for him to remain after his lease expires Friday.
Nothing was agreed to, except that the two would meet again Monday, said Loren Spivack, owner of Free Market Warrior.
Spivack has contended that he’s being kicked out of the mall for political reasons. He’s traced his exile to a letter to the editor in the Charlotte Observer criticizing his business, saying it promotes “ideas such as racism, sexism and even slavery.”
He said he was at work again Sunday when he got a call from mall manager Ray Soporowski inviting to talk in his office.
“It was a pleasant, amicable conversation, but we didn’t come to any resolution about whether our business would be able to stay in the mall,” Spivack said. “He wanted to include some of his company’s senior management and we agreed to talk again Monday.”
Mall officials have repeatedly declined to comment. Reached Sunday, Soporowski continued that policy. “With all due respect, that conversation is between Loren and myself,” he said.
Sunday, about 100 people rallied in front of the mall to support Spivack and his right to free speech.
He opened his Free Market Warrior kiosk last spring, selling such items as “Impeach Obama” bumper stickers and baby bibs that say, “My parents chose life. Thanks Mom and Dad!”
Spivack said he’s found other stores in the mall selling T shirts and other merchandise with offensive slogans and feels he’s being targeted “purely for politic reasons.”
Since the controversy arose, he said his business has picked up.
More American troops means more protection needed on bases, convoys
U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country.
The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to cut back on the use of contractors that now provide a wide range services to American troops in war zones, including transportation, communications, food service, construction, and maintenance. As recently as February, however, Gates called the use of private security contractors in certain parts of Afghanistan “vital” to supporting U.S. bases. A contract for the work also creates job opportunities for Afghans, he said.
But the use of private contractors in Iraq has been highly contentious. Since a September 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad by guards employed by Blackwater (now Xe Services), critics have urged U.S. officials to maintain much tighter controls over hired guards.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Army published a notice July 10 informing interested contractors it was contemplating a contract for “theater-wide” armed security.
“The contract would provide for a variety of security services, to include the static security of compounds on which U.S. and coalition forces reside, and for the protection of mission essential convoys in and around forward operating bases located throughout Afghanistan,” the notice states.
No formal request for proposals has been issued. If the military decides to move ahead, a contract could be awarded by Dec. 1.
After federal border agents detained several Mexican immigrants in western New York in June, an article about the incident in a local newspaper drew an onslaught of vitriolic postings on its Web site. Some were racist. Others attacked farmers in the region, an apple-growing area east of Rochester, accusing them of harboring illegal workers. Still others made personal attacks about the reporter who wrote the article.
Homeland Security started an investigation into the posts this month, according to the reporter, Louise Hoffman-Broach, and Richard M. Healy, the Wayne County district attorney. A spokeswoman for the federal agency’s inspector general said she could neither confirm nor deny an investigation; department rules prohibit the use of office equipment for the personal transmission of material that could offend fellow employees or the public.
Coming on the eve of the apple harvest season, the Web posts and the investigation — first reported this week on The Star’s Web site — have ratcheted up longstanding tensions in Wayne County, where farmers and laborers have accused immigration officials of using heavy-handed tactics like racial profiling and arbitrary or unjustified detentions.
Such tactics, the farmers say, have scared Hispanic farmworkers from the region just as growers are preparing for the harvest.
Representative Dan Maffei, who represents the area in Congress, said the allegations of overaggressive immigration enforcement, coming from a wide range of constituents, were “of extreme concern.”
“I’m investigating these reports to make sure that people’s rights aren’t being harmed and that the economy of Wayne County is not being harmed,” said Mr. Maffei, a Democrat.
A. J. Price, a regional spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection, defended the work of the area’s officers. “We are constantly criticized for doing our job, and that’s just part of our job,” Mr. Price said.
Local officials and residents say that beginning about 2006, federal officials stepped up their enforcement of immigration laws in western New York.
Farmers and other residents said the push created a climate of fear in communities whose economies depend on migrant laborers, many of them illegal immigrants.
The Obama administration has moved to a less confrontational policy at work sites, focusing on employers. But Customs and Border Protection, which does not conduct work-site inspections, had not changed its strategy in New York, Mr. Price said.
The latest flare-up began with a boat trip on June 12. A local farmer, Robert Norris, decided to take a Mexican employee and relatives of another worker for a spin on Lake Ontario, Ms. Hoffman-Broach said.
Federal agents stopped the boat because it had too many people on board, Mr. Price said. When some of the passengers were unable to produce documentation proving they were citizens or legal immigrants, he said, they were detained. All but one was eventually released, The Star reported.
The article about the arrests, posted on June 16, led to a torrent of angry Web postings. One, sent from a fake e-mail address, said, “watcha doing to mi wifey, no checky her papeles. she no legal, but she havey benifit card.”
A response, which carried a Homeland Security Internet protocol address, read: “That sounds like my boyfriend. Leave him alones and get your own. My boyfriend works sometimes but he is really good at getting FREE benefits from the Federal and State government.”
Another post, apparently sent from a separate computer linked to Homeland Security, read in part: “These farmers have a problem because the gravy train that they were riding for soooooo long is being brought to light.”
The newspaper removed the posts. It also reported that it had discovered others, dating to last year, that appeared to have come from computers affiliated with Homeland Security.
On March 25, Shepard Ambellas, reporting for Infowars, documented preparation of mass graves at the Department of Veterans Affairs Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona.
A UK Home Office cabinet committee brought up the specter of the Great Plague and burial pits used during the seventeenth century.
Ambellas’s story followed a harrowing report by D. H. Williams of the Daily Newscaster in February. Williams reported on revelations of an Indiana county municipal official in the vicinity of Chicago who detailed FEMA and DHS discussions with county officials about the prospect of mass graves and a mass vaccination program.
On March 28, we reported on a large expansion of graves at the Houston National Cemetery in Texas.
Aaron Dykes, reporting for The Jones Report on April 3, detailed how the State of New York Division of Cemeteries sent out “Mass Fatality forms” to cemeteries in that state to collect data about their ability to deal with the high volume of casualties that would occur if their were a flu pandemic or other disaster. “Should a prolonged mass fatality disaster or pandemic flu occur in your community would your cemetery be able to provide temporary or permanent internment space for a significant number of disaster or flu deaths in additional to your current burial services?” the form stated.
In response to the mass grave stories posted on the Infowars and Prison Planet websites, Larry Scott, a self-described Veterans Administration critic, went on the Thom Hart radio program in late March and characterized the stories as “rumor-mongering.” According to Scott, the expansion of graves around in Phoenix was part of a standard upgrade intended to accommodate a record number of veteran deaths. Larry Scott put the number at an astounding 700,000 per year. Other critics have also characterized the stories as preposterous.
And yet, according to an AFP news item, governments are indeed planning for mass graves in response to a flu pandemic. In Exter, England, the city council recently moved to use underground burial chambers, currently a tourist attraction, to store the corpses of swine flu victims if the pandemic worsens. “A council spokesman said the plan could be put into operation if the cemeteries and the crematorium could not keep up with funeral demands.”
In 2006, the UK Home Office announced plans to use mass graves in the event of a widespread pandemic. “According to a confidential report seen by the Sunday Times, 320,000 people in Great Britain could die as a result of a flu pandemic originating from a mutated H5N1 bird flu virus strain.” A cabinet committee brought up the specter of the Great Plague and burial pits used during the seventeenth century.
Earlier this year, Alan Johnson, the British Health Secretary, unveiled the National Pandemic Flu Framework. “Mass graves, inflatable mortuaries, 24-hour cremations and ‘express’ funerals could all be used, government papers show,” the Telegraph reported. “Some scientists say a flu pandemic is now overdue, either from the mutation of the normal human flu virus, or of the H5N1 strain that infects birds.”
A report issued by the government in Scotland claims a pandemic would force mortuaries, crematoriums and cemeteries “to operate round the clock, with old warehouses, council buildings, refrigerated lorries and specialist inflatable mortuaries being requisitioned to temporarily store the dead,” the Guardian reported on July 22. “With deaths expected to peak sharply within six to seven weeks of an outbreak, crematoriums would in many areas have to operate 24 hours a day, while every town and city would require temporary mortuaries and body storage facilities.”
On July 25, the Los Angeles Times reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects the flu pandemic expected this autumn to kill hundreds of thousands. “The number of potential deaths is much higher than that usually seen in seasonal flu, which kills an estimated 36,000 Americans a year, and is even higher than the nation’s most recent pandemic.” The 1957 pandemic of Asian flu killed 70,000. The 1918 Spanish Flu claimed between 500,000 to 675,000 lives in the United States.
The CDC announced last week that it will no longer keep track of the number of people killed by the virus. “Health officials from the CDC said the virus was too widespread to continue counting,” the Digital Journal reported. “Health experts say millions have likely been infected worldwide.”
The U.S. government has bought 195 million doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine for a possible autumn vaccination campaign, a U.S. federal official told Reuters on July 23. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has also contracted for 120 million doses of adjuvant, a compound to stretch the number of doses of vaccine.
In addition, HHS has created a website “to help state and local governments, the medical community and citizens prepare for H1N1 and the fall flu season,” according to America.gov, a site produced by the U.S. Department of State.
As author F. William Engdahl notes, even though the H1N1 virus has killed a relatively small number of people and no “government or private agency in the world has yet to scientifically isolate, to photograph with means of electron microscopy and to list the chemical characteristics of the ‘novel H1N1 Influenza A virus’ as it is now officially called,” this has not stopped WHO from declaring a “Pandemic Alert” Phase 6 alarm. The hyped “pandemic” has prompted the Obama administration and Congress to approve an astounding $7.65 billion for the non-proven pandemic influenza.
On Friday, the World Health Organization said the H1N1 virus and pandemic is “gaining speed” and will likely strike this coming winter.
In response to an outbreak of swine flu in 1976, the U.S. government ordered a mass vaccination program. The experimental and untested vaccine killed dozens and left an undetermined number of people with Guillian-Barre syndrome, a debilitating neurological paralysis. The vaccine killed more people than the virus.
In late April, sources close to investigative journalist Wayne Madsen reported that the outbreak of swine flu was the result of the introduction of a human-engineered pathogen capable of producing a widespread global pandemic. “A top scientist for the United Nations, who has examined the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, as well as HIV/AIDS victims, concluded that H1N1 possesses certain transmission ‘vectors’ that suggest that the new flu strain has been genetically-manufactured as a military biological warfare weapon,” Madsen reported.
“Our best intelligence estimate is that pandemic Avian Flu has already been created through genetic engineering in the United States, fusing the deadly genome of the 1918 Pandemic, misnamed the ‘Spanish Flu’, with the DNA of the innocuous H5N1 virus in a growth medium of human kidney cells, according to the National Institutes of Health and the vaccine’s manufacturer. Some virologists believe that this would insure that the man-made mutant virus recognizes human cells and knows how to invade them,” writes Rima E. Laibow, MD, head of the Natural Solutions Foundation, a citizen watchdog group monitoring the pharmaceutical industry.
In addition to planning mass graves and crematoriums operating around the clock, governments are planning to implement martial law in response to a pandemic.
In late 2007, the Bush administration issued a “directive” establishing a “National Strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness” based on Biodefense for the 21st Century. Prior to this, in May of 2007, the U.S. military had the foresight to “plan for a possible avian flu pandemic that could kill as many as three million people in the United States in as little as six weeks,” according to Yahoo News. Guidelines and “planning assumptions for US military services and combatant commands” were published in a document entitled “Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza.”
“Possible scenarios include US troops being called in to put down riots, guard pharmaceutical plants and shipments, and help restrict the movement of people inside the country and across its borders,” Yahoo summarizes. “The plan envisions fast moving, catastrophic waves of disease that would overwhelm health facilities and cripple the ability of state and local authorities to provide even basic commodities or services.”
The “hidden agenda consists in using the threat of a pandemic and/or the plight of a natural disaster as a pretext to establish military rule” and “suspend Constitutional government and allow the Military to intervene in civilian affairs in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act,” author Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2005.
As Infowars reported last week, on July 27 FEMA will conduct National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09), scheduled to run through July 31. NLE 09 will ostensibly focus on “terrorism prevention and protection,” according to the FEMA website. In addition to the participation of domestic “partners,” the FEMA exercise will include foreign troops. “This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09.”
The FEMA website states that “Fire and Emergency Medical Services will play a crucial role in the event of a pandemic. Planning for pandemic influenza is key.”
In Natural Disasters and the Militarization of America, Chossudovsky details how deployment of the military in response to a pandemic “would be governed by the same criteria in conformity with the basic tenets of the ‘war on terrorism.’ The latter also characterize the workings of FEMA…. Under the NRP [Homeland Security's National Response Plan]… civilian organizations are directly under the authority of the DHS, FEMA and the Pentagon.”
In short, martial law will be declared. Is it possible this is what NLE 09 is gearing up for?