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Julian
This post is mostly inspired by an article in the current issue of Private Eye magazine. The online version would make an American reader think it's just a thin version of The Onion, but the print version is a long-established and much-respected vehicle for some of the most dogged and ground-breaking investigative journalism that goes on anywhere. (Plug over, Mr Hislop. If you're reading this, a free subscription would be nice mrsparkle.gif ).

Because it's not available online, I'm going to have to paraphrase it to avoid breaching copyright law, and to avoid breaking ad.gif rules.

The article is in turn based on a left-wing blog (which - beware kiddies - contains strong language) and can be found at Leninology.Blogspot.com.. this site links to actual screenshots of the various websites of businesses involved. Without question, it's ideologically partisan, so right-leaning :AD:ers might need to hold there nose while reading it, but there does seem to be some genuinely fresh and groundbreaking journalism going on there, at least on this issue.

Edited to add: Our very own Phaedrus posts comments there quite a bit. It's a small world. smile.gif

Here goes...

QUOTE(Private Eye @ almost)
In 2004, FEMA contracted out responsibility for hurricane preparedness to a consortium of companies, headedby Innovative Emergency Management, a private Lousiana business. The contract was worth $500,000. After running a simulation exercise, IEM published a somewhat worrying report in December '04. The conference that decided what to do next was scheduled for - oops! - August this year. Oh, well, they weren't to know, and besides, another conference wasn't within the scope of their contract with FEMA, so without more public money there wasn't much they could do.

In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, Baton Rouge-based IEM edited their website to excise a press release headed "IEM team to develop catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana". the press release cited a special merit award for "hurricane emergency prepaqredness" that had been awarded to its CEO, Madhu Beriwal.

After a few days, the press release reappeared, with a new disclaimer that James Lee Witt Associates - the same James Lee Wiit who was Clinton's head of FEMA - was not involved in the disaster planning process. JLW Associates have distanced themselves from the IEW project, saying that after the initial IEM proposal to FEMA, they had no further part in the entire thing.

IEM is not only contracted for SE Louisiana and New Orleans disaster planning, but also for emergency planning at several US nuclear power facilities; for nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) preparedness in several states; and for developing emergency management systems for the USA's chemical weapons stockpile.


Private Eye concludes it's article with a lip-quivering "Crumbs!".

My own interpretation is rather more akin to this "Lenin" chap than that of Private Eye, but because I read in in the Eye first, and to avoid accusations of blatant Bush-bashing, I paraphrased the Eye's take.

So, my questions for debate, having been edited for clarity in the hope of getting responses, are:

Did you know that disaster preparedness in NOLA - specifically for hurricanes - had been privatised?

Does this change the way you think blame should be attributed? Why, or why not?

How do you expect this to be treated by the Presidential inquiry?

If this story contains any truth, how does it affect your views on the privatisation of public services?
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Amlord
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 19 2005, 12:29 PM)
Did you know that disaster preparedness in NOLA - specifically for hurricanes - had been privatised?

Does this change the way you think blame should be attributed? Why, or why not?

How do you expect this to be treated by the Presidential inquiry?

If this story contains any truth, how does it affect your views on the privatisation of public services?

*



I'm not sure where the controversy is...

FEMA contracted IEM to provide training and planning.

I think some people see "privatized" and think "AHA!!". I don't. The fact that the contract ended at some point does not surprise me.

It would be interesting to see what was proposed in December '04.

Otherwise, I don't see anything controversial in this.
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