Eerie echoes of Bhopal as Katrina conspiracy theorists start tallying the numbers

By Lynn Landes
16 September, 2005
Questions mount over Hurricane Katrina’s death count. Estimates are now well below 10,000 with the death toll currently standing at 648 for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. So, why did the Bush Administration order 75,000 body bags?
Along that line, other things don’t add up. For instance, why did FEMA contact a crematorium in the local area; how could people identify their loved ones if only ashes remain? Why did FEMA rebuff efforts of volunteer morticians? Why did the feds try to ban reporters from covering the body recovery effort? Why have the feds employed mercenaries in New Orleans? Don’t we have plenty of volunteers, police and military in the U.S. to get any job done that needs doing? What’s really going on?
I don’t know with any certainty, but here are some theories:
Maybe the Bush Administration doesn’t want us to know how many people died because they just can’t take the political heat for being completely incompetent. That’s somewhat understandable. Maybe they ordered 75,000 body bags and hired Houston-based Blackwater mercenaries as more pork barrel projects. Nothing new there.
Or, maybe the feds want to hide bodies in an effort to grab land for their developer friends, or deny insurance claims for their friends in the insurance industry, as some people assert happened last year after Hurricane Charley in Florida. The Bush Administration can’t count on the police or military to carry out their dirty work, so they use private security firms. That’s in keeping with the Bush Administration’s MO (modus operandi).
Or, maybe they don’t want us to know exactly how some of these folks died. Maybe some New Orleans police did not abandon their stations. Maybe they were murdered while trying to protect their city. After all, Mayor Ray Negin made public statements saying, “The CIA might take me out”. What was that all about? There are reports that there was a shoot-out between New Orleans police and contractors. And rumors are rampant that the 17th Street levee was bombed to protect the wealthier parts of New Orleans. Something along those lines occurred in the Great Flood of 1927.
Or, maybe the body bags have little to do with Katrina. Maybe the bags are for us. On September 11th, the Bush Administration announced a new Pentagon guideline to allow pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Most people think that means an attack on Iran. However, some observers believe that some place in America (perhaps off the Carolinas’ coast) will be the Bush Administration’s first target.
Under the cover of Katrina, maybe the Bush Administration hopes no one will notice an order of 75,000 body bags.
In Bhopal too the authorities went to extreme lengths to hide the death toll. Here is the testimony of a municipal worker who was engaged in removing dead bodies from the city:
“I used to drive a truck to dispose of dirt and waste. My truck was also a special truck – I used to pick up unclaimed dead bodies from the mortuary, I was used to doing it. That night (3rd December 1984) I put in thousands of bodies that we dumped – in one grave we would put 5-6 bodies, and we burnt piles and piles with logs. Many bodies were burnt unindentified – Muslims were burnt and Hindus were buried.
“They (the govt.) said ‘leave your wives and children in your houses and go on duty’. We used to be on duty till 12:00 at night and after that the military trucks used to come and dump the bodies in the Narmada river. This went on for three to four days. Even on the 16th (of December 1984) we had to come back again. They gave us Rs 500/- for this but then they took it back from our wages.
“We would fit 120 bodies in one truck and this we would fill and empty five times a day. There were eight trucks on duty (so that is 4,800 bodies a day). It carried on for exactly the same intensity for three to four days, and after 12:00 am the military took over.
“We took a bulldozer and dug pits to bury all the animals. Some people were picking up bodies and some animals. 50 – 60 drivers were all working that day (3rd December). We picked up the bodies with our own hands. Every time we picked one up it gave out gas. The bodies had all turned blue, and had froth oozing from their mouths.
“In some houses everyone had died so there was no one to break the locks. In one case a 6 month old girl had survived and everybody else (mother, father and siblings) was dead. I broke the locks to that house.
“At least 15 – 20,000 people died in those first few days. What they said in the papers was absolutely wrong. What could I have done? I was a government servant. What the government said was absolutely wrong but what could I do?
“Those who have survived are like the living dead. My lungs have become useless: till today I’m being looked after by Hamidia hospital. Ever since I got affected I get vertigo – I would have to stop my truck because I get vertigo if I drive. My hands and feet don’t work, I can’t see well. The last two to three years I’ve gotten much worse.”
If Mohammed Karim is right – and he was there – even the initial death toll could have been as high as 20,000.

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