Thursday, December 20, 2007

National Security Report- Climate Change

Want to read some scary stuff here is the national security report on climate change and the military.

Beyond the Point of No Return

Below is a longish essay by author, scientists and journalist about what the near future with run away climate change will be like.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

On-Line Emergency courses

I received a couple of positive notes about the TEEX on-line classes
that asked for more of similar kind of training. Although I don't
like the Yale-New Haven Center for Preparedness & Disaster Response
courses as much as the TEEX, they are SHORT!. Yale has seven free on-
line training sessions targeted to health care workers in a hospital
setting, that might be of interest. Upon successful completion of
the multi-choice test, you can print a certificate. Course subjects:
- Bioterrorism for Clinicians
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Introduction to Emergency Management
- Introduction to Radiological Emergency Preparedness
- Introduction to Emergency Management with NIMS
- Mental Health Aspects of Emergencies and Disasters
for Non-Mental Health Professionals
- ICS for Health Care with NIMS

Brief course descriptions have been copied from their website and
pasted below.

The Center recommends taking these awareness level training before
going on technician & operational level classroom training.

How To Take The Course:
If you wish to take any of the courses below, go to and log in using the blue box in
the left column of the home page. If you are a first-time user,
please click the "Register" button to establish your LoginID and

Important NYC-area SW Repeaters



Flushing 440.700+445.700 -114.8 WB2HWW

ASTORIA 447.325- 100

ARES/EMERGENCY ONLY 440.650+445.650 110.9

FAR ROCKAWAY 444.550+449.550 NO 88.5



BENSONHURST 147.300+147.900no 146.2 KB2NGU


FLATBUSH 440.200+445.200 88.5 (NOT AUTO)

SUNSET PARK 446.825-441.825 141.3


NORTH CENTRAL 441.100+446.100 -136.5 N2ROW/R (fdny/ ares)

UNKNOWN 447.625-442.625No 136.5 N2HBA/R

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS 29.680 MHz -100 KHz 136.5 (ares)
Pl 136.5


UNKNOWN 147.000-146.400 136.5 (ARES NOT AUTO)

BILINGUAL 224.020- 222.420 123.0

TIMES SQUARE 434.575+439.575 136.5

BCARS/ALIVE 445.075-440.075 114.8

RED CROSS 449.6250-444.6250 88.5

NYC ARES 147.000-146.400 136.5

EMPIRE STATE 448.275-443.275 136.5


UNKNOWN 223.840-222.240 No 141.3

NORTH SHORE 448.475-443.475 97.4


SYOSETTE/NASAU 448.025 MHz -5 MHz 136.5 (ares)

BOHEMIA/SUFFOLK 444.600 MHz +5 MHz 136.5 (ares)

NEW JERSEY/ RED CROSS 449.6250-444.6250 88.5


NYACK/ SKYWARN SYSTEM 147.165+147.765 114.8

WEST POINT 224.180-222.580 No 123.0

WESTCHESTER 146.91-146.310 yes 114.8


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Disaster response is class war by other means"

We're not big fans of Greg Palast, but when it comes to the California fire response, we couldn't have said it better -

BURN BABY BURN – The California Celebrity Fires

What color is your disaster? It makes a difference. A life and death difference.


Population of San Diego fire evacuation zone: 500,000
Population of the New Orleans flood evacuation zone: 500,000

White folk as a % of evacuees, San Diego: 66%
Black folk as % of evacuees, New Orleans: 67%

Size counts, too. Size of your wallet, that is:

Evacuees in San Diego, in poverty: 9%
Evacuees in New Orleans, in poverty: 27%

The numbers would be even uglier, though more revealing, if I included evacuees of the celebrity fire in Malibu.


In 2005, while the bodies were still being fished out of flooded homes in New Orleans, Republican Congressman Richard Baker praised The Lord for his mercy. “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did,” he said about the removal of the poor from the project near the French Quarter much coveted by speculators.

But as this week’s flames spread, no Republican Congressman cried, “Burn baby burn!” to praise the Lord for cleaning up the ‘Boo, the sin-and-surf playground of Hollywood luvvies.

In New Orleans, God’s covenant with real estate developers has been very profitable. Over 70,000 families remain, two years after the waters receded, in mobile home concentration centers far away from the N.O. re-building boom. Let’s see how long it takes to get Tom Hanks back on his beach towel.

Standing next to Governor Schwarzenegger, a smug little Bush said, “It makes a big difference when you have someone in the statehouse willing to take the lead” – a snide attack on the former Democratic Governor of Louisiana on whom the White House successfully dumped the blame for the horror show in New Orleans.

Mr. Bush never mentioned – and the media would never give away his secret – that 15 hours before the levees broke, the White House and FEMA knew the flood barriers were cracking, yet failed to inform the Governor and state police. Nor did Mr. Bush mention that his Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA trolls took away evacuation planning from the state and gave it to a crew of crony contractors who, for a million bucks, came up with a plan that came down to, “If a hurricane comes, get in your car and drive like hell.”

In California, plans were in place, money poured down with the flame retardant, and no one is suggesting that Mel Gibson move his swastika collection to a FEMA trailer.

Not comparable, the ‘Boo and the N.O.? You can say that again. But as a kid who grew up in the ass end of Los Angeles, I can tell you that disaster apartheid applies on the local scale as well. Look at the tarry filth of Compton and Long Beach shores versus the panicked reaction when a bit of garbage or oil sheen hits Malibu sands. (I remember, standing on the crude-covered shore of an Alaska Native village in March, 1991, the day Exxon announced it would end the clean-up from the Exxon Valdez spill. That same day, the papers showed the careful scouring that week of every pebble on Malibu beaches hit by dinky spill incident.)


What I’m saying is: Besides the flames, there’s a class war raging in America. Or, should I say, Class Massacre. Because only one side is taking all the bullets. Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica are “incorporated communities” – islands of privilege politically fenced off from the riff-raff sea of Los Angeles. These self-incorporated Bantustans of the wealthy have their own fire departments and schools. The money islands are relieved of having to pay for the schools and hospitals of the city where their gardeners live. (I can’t tell which is the worst disaster that can befall an Angelino – a fire, an earthquake or the LA public school system.)

Now, it’s easy to say it’s just George Bush who’s the class clown of the class war. But it’s an old story. When a flood took out the tony homes at Westhampton Dunes, the Clinton Administration picked up the full tab for rebuilding these summer hideaways of investment bankers. While today, death-by-poison stalks the environment of Black townships of Louisiana (the FEMA ‘guests’ are parked in a zone called Cancer Ally), Al Gore can’t be found. But when speaking of rising sea levels that can take out the homes of his buddies in ‘Boo or the Hamptons, Gore goes ga-ga.

The one thing I’ll say in favor of that vile little Louisiana Republican cheering the drowning of public housing residents, at least he's honest about how the system works. He’s not afraid to remind us of the gods’-honest truth: disaster response is class war by other means.

So let me not forget to report the war’s body count:

New Orleans flood deaths: 1,577.
California celebrity fire deaths: 5

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Peru's earthquake & the Shock Doctrine

"An earthquake is like a war situation arising from a foreign invasion. In situations like this we need a single chain of command, with less democracy and a more vertical command structure."
- Peruvian President Alan García

As can be seen by the above quote and through out the article ( the earthquake in Peru is being used by their local gov't and multinational contractors (Bechtel, Haliburton, ETC.) to impose ineffeciencent hierarchical measures to disrupt and retard spontaneous and effective self-organization.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flood Risk US (Article)

Rising seas likely to flood U.S. history

Ultimately, rising seas will likely swamp the first American settlement in Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting.
In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased.
Global warming — through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding — is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches. It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say. And it will reshape the nation.
Rising waters will lap at the foundations of old money Wall Street and the new money towers of Silicon Valley. They will swamp the locations of big city airports and major interstate highways.
Storm surges worsened by sea level rise will flood the waterfront getaways of rich politicians — the Bushes' Kennebunkport and John Edwards' place on the Outer Banks. And gone will be many of the beaches in Texas and Florida favored by budget-conscious students on Spring Break.
That's the troubling outlook projected by coastal maps reviewed by The Associated Press. The maps, created by scientists at the University of Arizona, are based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Few of the more than two dozen climate experts interviewed disagree with the one-meter projection. Some believe it could happen in 50 years, others say 100, and still others say 150.
Sea level rise is "the thing that I'm most concerned about as a scientist," says Benjamin Santer, a climate physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
"We're going to get a meter and there's nothing we can do about it," said University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the February report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris. "It's going to happen no matter what — the question is when."
Sea level rise "has consequences about where people live and what they care about," said Donald Boesch, a University of Maryland scientist who has studied the issue. "We're going to be into this big national debate about what we protect and at what cost."
This week, beginning with a meeting at the United Nations on Monday, world leaders will convene to talk about fighting global warming. At week's end, leaders will gather in Washington with President Bush.
Experts say that protecting America's coastlines would run well into the billions and not all spots could be saved.

And it's not just a rising ocean that is the problem. With it comes an even greater danger of storm surge, from hurricanes, winter storms and regular coastal storms, Boesch said. Sea level rise means higher and more frequent flooding from these extreme events, he said.
All told, one meter of sea level rise in just the lower 48 states would put about 25,000 square miles under water, according to Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. That's an area the size of West Virginia.
The amount of lost land is even greater when Hawaii and Alaska are included, Overpeck said.
The Environmental Protection Agency's calculation projects a land loss of about 22,000 square miles. The EPA, which studied only the Eastern and Gulf coasts, found that Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina would lose the most land. But even inland areas like Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia also have slivers of at-risk land, according to the EPA.
This past summer's flooding of subways in New York could become far more regular, even an everyday occurrence, with the projected sea rise, other scientists said. And New Orleans' Katrina experience and the daily loss of Louisiana wetlands — which serve as a barrier that weakens hurricanes — are previews of what's to come there.
Florida faces a serious public health risk from rising salt water tainting drinking water wells, said Joel Scheraga, the EPA's director of global change research. And the farm-rich San Joaquin Delta in California faces serious salt water flooding problems, other experts said. "Sea level rise is going to have more general impact to the population and the infrastructure than almost anything else that I can think of," said S. Jeffress Williams, a U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist in Woods Hole, Mass. Even John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a scientist often quoted by global warming skeptics, said he figures the seas will rise at least 16 inches by the end of the century. But he tells people to prepare for a rise of about three feet just in case. Williams says it's "not unreasonable at all" to expect that much in 100 years. "We've had a third of a meter in the last century."
The change will be a gradual process, one that is so slow it will be easy to ignore for a while.
"It's like sticking your finger in a pot of water on a burner and you turn the heat on, Williams said. "You kind of get used to it."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Shock Doctrine

A new book by Naomi Klein (from No Logo fame) about the role disasters and other shocks reinforce global capitalism. She even suggests that the orgins of modern capitalism is the result of disasters in the past. There is also a short award winning documentary by the director of Children of Men on her web-site which is excellent. You can info about the book and watch the video on Klein's new eb-site:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peru Solidarity and Appeal for Action

Earthquake leaves cities in ruins

The militants of the Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta is calling for a meeting of
all libertarians, friends and anyone interested, to be held on Sunday
at noon in Plaza Francia, to organize aid for the region hit by the
---Appeal for aid to Ica

Comrades and friends, everybody already knows about the disaster that
hit our brothers and sisters from the south of the country (Ica,
Pisco), besides the mountain areas of Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Ica,
southern Lima. Because of this, and irrespective of personal differences,
now is the moment to unite and show our solidarity, not only in words
but also through action.

The militants of the Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta is calling for a meeting of
all libertarians, friends and anyone interested, to be held on Sunday
at noon in Plaza Francia, bringing with us all that we can, such as:

used clothes in good condition
non-perishable foodstuffs
anything considered useful.

The city of Ica is also home to the comrades of the Ica No Pasiva
collective, though at the moment we have no news of them. All collected

donations will be sent then to Ica by means of a commission from the
Movimiento Nacional de Nats* Organizados del Perú (MNNATSOP - National

Movement of Organized Child and Teenage Workers of Peru) that has a
in Avenida Arequipa. This organization of working youths is trustworthy

since we know about its work and we have had some previous contacts
them. There is also a possibility that some of us may take part in the
commission. Let's help the men, women, children, old people and
that live in the Ica area, who have nothing. While today we are with
families, many of these people now have no family and no home to spend
night. We cannot be indifferent.

Article Excerpts about Politics and Disasters from Harpers

The Uses of Disaster: Notes on Bad Weather and Good Governments

By: Rebecca Solnit (Harpers 10/2005)

…The days after 9/11 constituted a tremendous national opening, as if a door had been unlocked. The aftermath of disaster is often peculiarly hopeful, and in the rupture of the ordinary, real change often emerges. But this means that disaster threatens not only bodies, buildings, and property but also the status quo. Disaster recovery is not just a rescue of the needy but also a scramble for power and legitimacy, one that the status quo usually-but not always-wins. The Bush Administration's response after 9/11 was a desperate and extreme version of this race to extinguish too vital a civil society and reestablish the authority that claims it alone can do what civil society has just done-and, alas, an extremely successful one. For the administration, the crisis wasn't primarily one of death and destruction but one of power. The door had been opened and an anxious administration hastened to slam it shut.

You can see the grounds for that anxiety in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which was the beginning of the end for the one-party rule of the PRI over Mexico. The earthquake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, hit Mexico City early on the morning of September 19 and devastated the central city, the symbolic heart of the nation. An aftershock nearly as large hit the next evening. About ten thousand people died, and as many as a quarter of a million became homeless.

The initial response made it clear that the government cared a lot more about the material city of buildings and wealth than the social city of human beings. In one notorious case, local sweatshop owners paid the police to salvage equipment from their destroyed factories. No effort was made to search for survivors or retrieve the corpses of the night-shift seamstresses. It was as though the earthquake had ripped away a veil concealing the corruption and callousness of the government. International rescue teams were rebuffed, aid money was spent on other programs, supplies were stolen by the police and army, and, in the end, a huge population of the displaced poor was obliged to go on living in tents for many years.

“Not even the power of the state,” wrote political commentator Carlos Monsivás, “managed to wipe out the cultural, political, and psychic consequences of the four or five days in which the brigades and aid workers, in the midst of rubble and desolation, felt themselves in charge of their own behavior and responsible for the other city that rose into view.”

To read the whole article go to:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Flood/Hurricane Maps for NYC

Below are links for flood and hurricane maps for NYC. Print them out since you won't be able to read the internet if something happens.

This is the Hurricane Preparedness brochure from the City, the red dots are evacuation centers

Here is a very detailed Climate Change/ Flood map via google earth. Very intersting

You will notice the stadiums are underwater even at a 1 meter sea level rise and a level 2 hurricane yet that is THE plan for all of us according to the Mayors office

Sunday, July 15, 2007

FEMA to pay Home Depot & WalMart to provide Emergency Relief

Disaster plan teams state and retailers
Stores, instead of FEMA, counted on to get supplies to the scene early

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

When the next hurricane hits Texas, the Gulf region's recovery time may
depend less on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and much more on
Wal-Mart, H-E-B, Home Depot and other large retailers.

"If FEMA shows up, good," said Jack Colley, chief of the Governor's
Division of Emergency Management. ''But we're not waiting."

Call it one more example of the lingering Hurricane Katrina effect, but
Colley and his team are looking past the traditional
go-through-FEMA-to-get-ice kind of emergency management model.

This new strategy, borne during 2005's Hurricane Rita and fine-tuned in
the two years since by the state's emergency agency, has retailers
conducting mock drills alongside government officials.

"FEMA was an old contact point for ice, water, etc," Colley explained
from his agency's state operations center in the basement of Texas
Department of Public Safety headquarters in Austin. "The private sector
is willing and able to do this for us."

For the past two years, Colley and Texas Homeland Security Director
Steve McCraw have cultivated direct relationships with retailers after
watching Louisiana and Mississippi officials dial FEMA in vain for
water and other aid.

"FEMA can't compete with the private sector," Colley said. "They do it
quicker, smarter, faster every day."

For the rest of this absurd article go to

Thursday, June 21, 2007

AAA Planning Meeting

We will be having a planning meeting on Monday 16th at 7pm at Tomkins Square Park (the grassy hill area)

All are welcome to attend there will be refreshments provided.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Black Flags & Windmills

This is an anarchist examination of Common Ground Relief by one of the founders Scott Crow. He looks at why and how CG lost its anarchist identity. It is sincere and may hold possible lessons for our organizing.

The article can be found at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Report about First Responders of Katrina

This 18 page report is a result of interviewing hundreds of First Responders during the Katrina Disaster. It is interesting reading from University of Colorado

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Report Back from Kansas Mutual Aid

Somewhere over the Rainbow: A report from a Kansas Mutual Aid member from tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas

by Dave Strano

On Saturday May 12, four members of Kansas Mutual Aid, a Lawrence based class struggle anarchist collective traveled to the small South Central Kansas town of Greensburg. Our intention was to go as a fact-finding delegation, to report back to the social justice movement in Lawrence on what exactly was happening in the city.

On Friday May 4, 2007 Greensburg was almost completely destroyed by a F5 tornado. 97% of the buildings in the town of 1500 were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Nearly every single resident was left homeless, jobless, and devastated. At least eleven people died in the storm, and hundreds of companion animals, livestock, and wild animals were killed as well.

According to the 2000 census, 97% of the population of Greensburg was white, and the median income of the population was a meager $28,000. The city was and still is comprised of overwhelmingly poor, white working people.

Shortly after the tornado, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took control of the recovery efforts in Greensburg. The United Way became the coordinating organization for relief volunteers but, after orders came from FEMA, halted the flow of volunteers into Greensburg. FEMA demanded that Greensburg needed to be "secured" before the area could be opened to real recovery efforts.

So, as hundreds of recovery volunteers were told to not come to Greensburg by the United Way, hundreds of police from dozens of Kansas jurisdictions were mobilized to enter the city and establish "control."

Reports coming from the recovery effort in Greensburg had been woefully short of information. We made multiple phone calls to the United Way and other aid agencies, and were told repeatedly not to come, that “We don’t need volunteers at this time.” We were told that if we wanted to help, we should just make a financial donation to the Salvation Army or United Way.

With the experiences of Katrina and other major disasters fresh in our collective conscious, we decided to go anyway, to assess the situation and be able to present a better picture to those people in Lawrence that were rightfully concerned about the effectiveness of the relief efforts.

On the night of Friday May 11, in the spirit of offering solidarity to the working class population of Greensburg, members of KMA traveled two hours to Wichita and spent the night there. A mandatory curfew had been imposed on Greensburg, with no one being able to be in the city between 8pm and 8am. So after a nearly sleepless night, we piled into our vegetable oil burning car and made the final two hour drive to Greensburg, careful to not arrive before 8.

Multiple news agencies had reported that because of FEMA, all volunteers were being denied entry at the checkpoints set up outside the city. As we approached the checkpoint, we became really nervous, and tried to make sure we had our story straight.

We were stopped by an armed contingent of Kansas Highway Patrol Officers. We explained that we had come to help with the relief efforts, and after a quick stare and glance into our car, the officer in charge directed us to a red and white tent about half a mile into the town.

It turned out that on Friday the 11th, a week after the tornado destroyed Greensburg, the Americorps organization was finally given permission to establish and coordinate volunteer recovery efforts. Americorps members from St. Louis had set up their base of operations in a large red and white canopy tent that was also being used a meeting place for the residents of the city.

Americorps volunteers proved to be pretty reliable for information, and good contacts to have made while we were down there. Despite the hierarchical and contradictory aims of the national organization, the Americorps people on the ground were the only people really offering any physical recovery aid to the residents of Greensburg.

The four of us from KMA, signed in to the volunteer tent and were given red wristbands that were supposed to identify us as aid workers. We decided not to wait to be assigned a location to work, and instead to travel around the city on foot and meet as many local people as we could.

Our primary goals were numerous. We intended to analyze the situation and assess how our organization could help from Lawrence. If long term physical aid was needed from us, we had to make contacts within the local populace that could offer a place to set up a base camp. We also intended to find out what happened to the prisoners in the county jail during and after the storm, and what the current procedure for those being arrested was. In a highly militarized city, the police and military were the biggest threat to personal safety.

As we traveled further into the ravaged town, it became clear that the photographs I had seen had not done justice to what truly had happened here. All that could be seen was endless devastation in every direction. There wasn’t a single building in this area of the town that had been left standing. The devastation was near complete. Every single house we came across in the first moments we entered the town had completely collapsed. Every single tree was mangled and branchless. Memories of watching post-nuclear warfare movies filled my head as we walked around the city.

This was a post-apocalyptic world. The city was eerily empty for the most part. National Guard troops patrolled in Hummers and trucks. Occasionally, a Red Cross or Salvation Army truck would drive by. Very few residents were there working on their homes.

After a short while, we met with several people evacuating belongings from their home. They told us that FEMA had been there for a week, and that all FEMA could offer them was a packet of information. The packet, however, had to be mailed to the recipients, and they had no mailing address! Their entire house had been destroyed. Their mailbox was probably in the next county. All they were left to do was evacuate what few belongings could be saved from their house, and then pull the non-salvageable belongings and scraps of their house to the curb for the National Guard trash crews to haul away.

No agency in the city besides Americorps was offering to help with the removal of this debris, or the recovery of people’s homes. FEMA’s mission was to safeguard the property of businesses in the area and offer “low interest” loans to property owners affected. The National Guard was on hand along with the local police, to act as the enforcement mechanism for FEMA, while occasionally hauling debris and garbage out of the city.

The only building in the city that FEMA and others were working in or around was the County Courthouse. When we approached this area, we quickly took notice of the giant air-conditioned FEMA tour buses, along with dozens of trailers that were now housing the City Hall, police dispatch centers, and emergency crews.

The media had reported that residents of the city would be receiving FEMA trailers similar to the ones in New Orleans. The only FEMA trailer I saw was being occupied by police.

At this location, we tried to formulate some answers as to what had happened to any prisoners being housed in the county jail during the storm, as well as the fate of the at least seven people that had been arrested since the storm.

Not a single person could offer us a real answer. As of the writing of this article, we are still working to find the answer to that question. We have ascertained that any prisoners that were in Greensburg during the storm were sent to Pratt County Jail immediately after the storm had subsided. However, we still don’t know how many people that accounts for, nor do we know the fate of any arrestees in the week since.

Several of the arrestees after the storm were soldiers from Fort Riley that were sent in to secure the town. They have been accused of “looting” alcohol and cigarettes from a grocery store. The residents I talked to said that they had been told that the soldiers had just returned from Iraq. Is it a wonder that they would want to get drunk the first chance they could? The social reality of this situation was beginning to really set in. The city was in chaos, not because of the storm, but because of FEMA and the police.

In the immediate recovery after the storm, FEMA and local police not only worked to find survivors and the dead, but also any firearms in the city. As you pass by houses in Greensburg, you notice that some are spraypainted with how many weapons were recovered from the home. This is central Kansas, a region with extremely high legal gun ownership. Of the over 350 firearms confiscated by police immediately after the storm, only a third have been returned to their owners. FEMA and the police have systematically disarmed the local population, leaving the firepower squarely in control of the state.

Later in the day we traveled with an Americorps volunteer that turned out to be the sister of one of the members of the Lawrence anti-capitalist movement. She gave us a small driving tour of the rest of the devastation that we hadn’t seen yet, and then deposited us in front of a house of a family that was busy trying to clear out their flooded basement.

Two days of rain had followed the tornado, and with most houses without roofs, anything left inside the house that may have survived the initial storm, was destroyed or at risk of being destroyed. The casualties of the storm weren’t just structures and cars… they were memories and loved ones, in the forms of photographs, highschool yearbooks, family memorabilia and momentos. People’s entire lives had been swept away by the storm.

We joined in the effort to help clear the basement, and listened to the stories of the storm that the family told us. They explained that they had just spent their life savings remodeling the basement, and now it was gone. It had survived just long enough to save them and some neighbors from the storm.

We removed whatever belongings were left in the basement, and sorted the belongings into five piles. The smallest of the piles by far, as the pile of things that were salvageable and worth keeping. The other piles included one for wood debris, one for metal, one for hazardous waste, and another pile for anything else that needed to be removed. From under one of the piles, a scent of rotting flesh wafted through the air. The family was afraid to look and see what may be hidden under the metal.

As we were preparing to leave the work site after clearing the entire basement, we were thanked heartily by the family and their friends. “Next time,” one of them said, “bring fifty more with you.”

Next time we will. It should be obvious to most by now, that the federal, state, and local governments that deal with disasters of this magnitude are not interested in helping the poor or working people that are really impacted. Only through class solidarity from other working people and working together with neighbors and community members will the people of Greensburg be able to survive and rebuild.

Kansas Mutual Aid is in the midst of organizing a more permanent and structured relief effort. We are continuing to make contacts to secure a base camp for our work. We hope to have things organized and solidified by Memorial Day Weekend when we plan to travel back with as many people, tools, and supplies we can take.

Our goals are three fold:

1) To provide direct physical relief support to the residents of Greensburg by being on hand to help salvage their homes, and provide any other physical support they ask of us.

2) To offer solidarity and aid in any future organizing or agitating efforts that will be needed to retain possession of their homes, or to acquire any other physical aid they demand from the government or other agencies.

3) To provide support and protection of human rights during the police and military occupation of the city. We will work to document arrests and ensure that human rights of arrestees are protected.

If you live in Eastern Kansas, or are willing to travel, we need your help and experience. We also need a laundry list of supplies including:

Money for fuel for our vehicles
Respirators and filtered face masks
Headlamps and flashlights (none of the city has power, and there are a lot of basements that will need to be worked in)
Shovels, pickaxes, prybars, crowbars, sledgehammers, and heavy duty rakes
Gloves, boots, goggles, construction helmets and other protective clothing
First Aid supplies
Water and Food (non-perishable) for volunteers heading down
Chainsaws and Gasoline
Portable generators
You and your experience

Please, if you have anything you can offer, or want to help in the relief, e-mail us at

We will be hosting a presentation on Monday May 21st at the Solidarity Center in downtown Lawrence (1109 Mass Street) at 7pm on our experiences in Greensburg, and on our plans to offer relief in the form of solidarity and mutual aid, and not as charity. Please join us if you can.

There seems like there is much more to say, but with the experience fresh in my mind, it’s hard to keep typing. Action and organization is needed more than a longer essay at this moment. In love and solidarity,
Dave Strano
Kansas Mutual Aid member
Lawrence, Kansas

Disaster background about Greensburg

Disasters of our Age: From Fallujah to Greensburg

By Joe Carr


I spent last Saturday in Greensburg, Kansas, and I can barely describe the devastation I saw there. I wish that I could say I’ve never seen anything like it, but the destruction and official response was hauntingly similar to what I witnessed in Palestine and Iraq during my trips there from 2003-2005.

Greensburg is a small central Kansas town of about 1,400 people. A largely white working class city, the median income is $28,000, leaving almost 20% of the population under the official poverty line. On Friday, May 4th, a 1.7 mile-wide tornado (possibly the largest ever recorded) destroyed or damaged 95% of the city, killing 9 people. Most residents lost everything and have not been able to return.

We called the United Way last week about going down to help, and they told us that they didn’t need any more volunteers and to just send money. Upon further pressing, they admitted that there was a lot of work to do, but they didn’t have a good system for coordinating volunteers. Other news sources were saying that National Guard troops had sealed off the city and no one was being allowed in. We decided to head down there and see for ourselves.

The checkpoint was much easier to get through than any checkpoint I experienced in Iraq or Palestine. But it was new for me to be questioned by armed military personnel in order to enter a US city. The town is very much under military occupation, armored hummers and trucks patrol the streets, along with police from all over the state. Indeed, I saw more police and military vehicles than construction equipment, despite Kansas having over half its machinery and many of its National Guard troops deployed to Iraq. You can bet that if there was a social uprising in a US city, the National Guard would be sent in full force to repress it like we saw in the 60’s and 70’s. But when people actually need help, our troops and equipment are busy terrorizing and destabilizing Iraq.

Entering a Greensburg neighborhood was overwhelming. Absolute destruction in all directions as far as the eye can see. It brought me right back to Fallujah, Iraq, which I visited with the Christian Peacemaker Teams in May of 2005. US Troops destroyed 70% of that city of 150,000. However, I witnessed more people rebuilding in Fallujah than in Greensburg, despite a much more serious military occupation and severe restrictions on importing building materials in Fallujah. There were hardly any Greensburg homeowners out cleaning up their property, and government agencies seemed only focused on repairing government buildings or policing the streets.

Though we had trouble getting information or guidance on how to volunteer, we were followed around by an Overland Park police vehicle for over an hour. They were quite blatant about it, driving close behind us at every turn, and slowly following us as we walked. We learned later that there are ten Lawrence cops in Greensburg who likely recognized us from our political activity and took the opportunity to try and intimidate us.

Government officials finally addressed the residents of Greensburg at a large town meeting held last Friday, May 11th, under a large tent on the edge of town. Citizens were told that they would be fully responsible for cleaning up their property and hauling away the rubble. Aid will largely come in the form of 2.785% loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), but will be based on the applicant’s ability to pay. Citizens will still be required to pay property tax on their destroyed lot; the city is only waving the interest and other fees. FEMA is offering a maximum of $28,200 to eligible residents, and it is clear that much of the poor and uninsured will largely be left with nothing.

One man I spoke to, an uninsured renter, said he lost everything and is left only with debt. We passed by a destroyed grocery store, and I asked him if people had tried to get food in the aftermath of the storm. “I’m not a looter” he said vehemently. Surprised, I commented that trying to get food in a time like that is hardly looting. “There wasn’t time to get food”, he said, “We had to pull people out of the rubble, and…. I lost a friend.”

We spent a few hours hauling damaged property out of one family’s home. They were actually one of the luckier ones. They lost everything, but had full-cost insurance and will qualify for an SBA loan. Their roof was ripped off and most the walls were destroyed. The basement (recently remodeled for $20,000) was then flooded in the following downpour and now reeks of mildew. The older couple survived the storm in that basement, along with four other neighbors who didn’t have basements. They’d lived in the house for 32 years, and were hoping to leave it to their children. As we hauled out everything from their basement, I imagined trying to clean everything out my parent’s basement and what a project that would be. At first this family had pretty much decided they would abandon the lot and live out the rest of their lives else ware, but after the town meeting they’re considering staying.

Stories of determination to return and rebuild were everywhere. Some people who’d planned to move away before the storm, have now decided that they’re going to band with the rest of the community and help re-create their city. It reminds me very much of the determination of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, also echoed by the survivors of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans. All of these refugees have the right to return to their homes, and we will continue working to make that possible.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebilius has vowed to make the city a “Green City”, using environmentally friendly building designs, though largely limited to increased insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems. This idea reminds me of the real cause of these national disasters. Scientists say that the recent intensification of these storms can be linked to the global climate change caused by excessive CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were related to this, as was the recent flooding in Missouri that damaged at least 570 homes. Unless there is a drastic shift in US environmental and energy policy, these storms will only get worse.

The official response will continue to be militarization and political game-playing. Our government’s actions in the Middle East make it clear that their priorities are more death and destruction, not less. The abandonment and criminalization of Katrina survivors, the attacks on victims of our immigration policy disaster, and the growing crisis in our prison-industrial complex remind us that those living on American soil will also be targets.

It’s up to grassroots movements to bring change. We must continue to resist US war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and US support for Israeli colonization of Palestine. We must continue to develop models to support the survivors of environmental policy disasters, such as the Common Ground collective coordinating relief work in New Orleans.

The Kansas Mutual Aid collective based in Lawrence, KS, will be helping coordinate grassroots relief efforts in Greensburg. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer, help organize a group of volunteers, or donate equipment or supplies:

We will be doing a presentation on what we saw in Greensburg and discussing ways to get involved on Monday, May 21st at 7pm at the Solidarity Center, 1109 Massachusetts in Lawrence, KS.

Our next big trip will be Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28th. We have a school bus for transportation and will arrange for accommodations.

Please get involved now to support your fellow Midwesterners, you never know when you’re going to need it.

In solidarity

-Joe Carr
Kansas Mutual Aid

Anarchist First Responders Stopped by Cops, FBI & FEMA

Tornado Ravaged Greensburg, Kansas:
Kansas Mutual Aid Relief Workers forced out of city by police

Saturday May 19, 2007
by Dave Strano

Infoshop News

On Saturday May 19, five members and volunteers affiliated with Kansas
Mutual Aid, a Lawrence based class struggle anarchist collective, made
the trek back to Greensburg to again help in relief efforts in the
tornado ravaged city. A week earlier, four KMA members had traveled to
Greensburg on a fact finding mission to assess the situation there. What
KMA members found was a militarized, entirely destroyed city where
relief efforts were moving tragically slow.

Today's trip back to Greensburg by KMA members and volunteers was
intended to solidify the bonds we had created in the first trip, and
establish a base of operations for future relief efforts. KMA spent the
morning working on a house with members of AmeriCorps, and then
proceeded to meet with contacts with the Mennonite Disaster Services.

We then headed out of town to a church just outside of city limits that
we were told would be a place we could probably set up a base camp for
our work. The church had been converted into a fire station by the
state, so we continued down the road and met a farmer who was willing to
work with us and let us use his land.

Soon after meeting the farmer, we were approached by officers with the
Dickinson County Sheriff's Department. After a brief exchange, the
officers left, and we were told to report to the Kiowa County Emergency
Response Command Post to receive official permission to set up our base
of operations. We were notified that if we did not do so, we would risk
having our operation ceased by the state.

Two of our delegation went to the Command Post, while the other three of
us went to the County Courthouse to pick up some water and provisions
being offered by the Red Cross. While we were picking up water and food,
I was approached by an Olathe Police Officer named Ty Moeder who knew my
face and identity. I was ordered to take my hands out of my pockets and
follow the officer to a side street "to avoid making a scene".

I and the other people with me followed the officer, and were repeatedly
ordered to keep our hands out of our pockets, where they could be seen
by the officer. Soon more officers approached, as well as at least one
member of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and some people from FEMA.
Surrounded by agents of the state, we were ordered to produce our

When I asked the police why we were being detained, Officer Moeder
responded "We need to check to see if you are affiliated with the
anarchists." At this moment, our remaining two comrades approached to
see what was happening. They were detained as well, and made to produce
their identification.

Officer Moeder asked how we had gotten in to the city. "We drove in,"
someone replied.

"They weren't supposed to let you in at the road block," responded
Moeder, seemingly frustrated and perplexed by that answer.

"They even gave us a day pass to drive in and out," we shot back.

A waiting game ensued for the next several minutes, with more officers
approaching, now numbering almost fifteen. A Lawrence police officer
approached, and was ordered to take photos of the car we had driven that
was parked down the street. Officer McNemee from the Lawrence Police
Department took extensive photos of the car, even of the inside contents
of the vehicle.

Officer Moeder ordered me to step away from the rest of the relief
workers and speak with him. "You're being ordered to leave and not
return. This is not negotiable, not appealable. You can't change it. If
you return you'll be arrested on site. And believe me, you don't want to
push that right now. This system is pretty messed up, and you wouldn't
be issued bail. You'd disappear in the system."

I asked repeatedly what we had done and why we were being ordered to
leave the city. "You're part of a dangerous anarchist group that will
only drain our security resources," he responded. "We've been monitoring
your website and e-mails, we know what kind of agenda you have."

"So this is about our political beliefs?" I asked.

"No," he responded. "This is about you being federal security threats.
Kansas Mutual Aid is not welcome in this city, end of story. I know you
are going through legitimate means to work in the city, and you're story
seems picture perfect, but we know who you are, and you're not allowed

We were ordered back into our car and escorted out of the city by
several police vehicles with their lights flashing, and left just
outside the city.

We returned to Lawrence just moments ago, unhindered in our resolve to
provide support to the people in the disaster area. We will continue to
work in whatever capacity we can in the areas around the city that we
may still be allowed into, and provide support to those entering the city.

The area is a police state, to be certain. Police and Law Enforcement
from across Kansas and the country are making the rules about
everything. Relief workers were banned from Greensburg today because of
their political beliefs and work against oppression and tyrannical state

A longer, more in depth update with an announcement for future action
will come soon. Please spread this story far and wide.

In love and solidarity,
Dave Strano, on behalf of KMA

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Anatomy of a Disaster

Anatomy of Disasters

Researchers for the government have been studying “Disaster Psychology” for decades and have collected tons of materials related to the psychological, sociological (and covertly the political) effects of disasters. Below is some of their findings.

“Traumatic events can generate feelings of powerlessness and a perception of being out of control as well as the capacity to impact all aspects of a community's life, regardless of educational background or socio-economic level. “

“Most people pull together and function during and after a disaster, but their effectiveness is diminished. “
Survivors may go through distinct emotional phases following a disaster:
In the impact phase, survivors do not panic and may, in fact, show no emotion. They do what they must to respond to the situation and keep themselves and their families alive.
In the inventory phase, which immediately follows the event, survivors asses damage and try to locate other survivors. During this phase, many discard routine social ties in favor of the more functional relationships required for initial response activities, such as searching out family members and seeking medical assistance.
In the rescue phase, emergency services personnel are responding and survivors take direction from them without protest. They trust that rescuers will address their needs and that they can then put their lives back together quickly.
In the recovery phase, survivors may believe that rescue efforts are not proceeding quickly enough. That feeling, combined with other emotional stressors (for example, dealing with insurance adjustors, or living in temporary accommodations), may cause survivors to pull together AGAINST those who are trying to help them.

Taking care of others following a traumatic event . . .
Listen carefully
Spend time with the traumatized person
Offer your assistance and a listening ear even if they have not asked for help
Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for children etc . . .
Give them time to be alone
Help them stay away from alcohol and drugs
Keep in mind what they've been through
Don't try to explain it away
Don't tell them that they are lucky it wasn't worse
Don't take their anger, other feelings or outbursts personally
Insurrectory Mutual Aid affinity groups must be flexible, able to adapt to the needs of a changing situation.Part of the organizational challenge following a disaster is to be able to:
◦ Size up the scope and requirements of the situation. The best way to do this is draw heavily on local community groups.◦ Identify resources as they become available. “Disaster areas almost always have resources it is the distribution networks that may no longer be available” (FEMA) ◦ Deploy those resources within already existing social networks (e.g. community centers).As an individual responder, you must be ready to function in various roles perhaps and wear more than one "hat" at a time or "change hats" as the availability of resources changes. You must begin by assessing and managing your own personal situation, then that of the immediately adjacent area (neighborhood), and then join others in forming response teams based on affinity. This type of concentric development results in an evolving self-organizing structure and requires flexibility in its members

Friday, April 27, 2007

If you wish to join our Listserv

We now have a new moderated and private listserv covering the topics of climate chaos, emergency preparedness and disasters from a radical grassroots perspective. If you are interested, send an email to the moderators at

Insurrectionary Mutual Aid

From the Curious George Brigade zine.

From Mobilizations to Insurrectory Mutual Aid

While too many anarchists wring their hands about the end of the rollicking anti-globalization mobilizations of the last decade, others are conspiring a resistance of direct action in places where we have a chance to win. The truth is that while we learned many valuable organizational and tactical lessons during the years after Seattle, most of our energy was spent on largely symbolic actions. The real strength of these mobilizations was actually in the organizing: the ability to awaken many people to the possibility of resistance to global capitalism, as well as providing a catalyst for regional and international networks. At no point did these mobilizations actually threaten to end world capitalism or seriously challenge State power. or even liberate any socio-geographical territory. As anarchists, now is not the time to mourn the death of “anti-globe” mobilizations, but move to the next phase of our resistance – Insurrectory Mutual Aid.

Insurrection - an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion, sabotage and direct resistance -calling in question the legitimacy and efficacy of the government.

It is through acting and learning to act that we will open a path to insurrection. Propaganda does have a role, but that role is limited to clarifying actions not inciting them, since its context is dependent on the actions of people. Simply put: waiting only teaches waiting; in acting one learns to act.

The force of an insurrection is not the state’s military response, but the social upheaval it generates. Beyond the surface of the armed clash, the importance of any particular revolt should be evaluated by how it managed to expand the paralysis of normality in a given area and beyond. The Zapatistas are a recent example of this. Their limited military clash, less than ten days long and 150 people killed, with the government at San Cristobal on New Year’s day 1994 was an example of insurrection. It was a success, not because of a stunning military victory, but because it was able to disrupt normality in Chiapas which is still going on to this day. Recently the Zapatistsa have used this base in Chiapas to launch a new challenge to the legitimacy of the Mexican State and have expanded beyond Chiapas.

It is this potential expansion that gives an insurrection its power and drives the fear behind the state’s reaction. In a crisis or emergency situation, fortune favors the rebel, since, crises are by nature (if only temporarily) beyond the control of government forces. Governments have numerous contingencies to deal with a variety of “acceptable variations” [actual term used in FEMA documents] however they lack imagination and the lumbering bureaucracy that dominates all governments make it difficult to react to new situations. If it falls outside their imaginations they are at a loss to improvise. It can be a short step from emergency to the emergence of self-organized resistance. Argentina is one recent example of how an economic crisis can transform itself into a real counter-force to capitalism and the state.

Mutual Aida voluntary giving or lending of resources, labor or goods to others in a shared community/communities with the expectation that the entire community will in turn benefit.

Mutual Aid is a concept that is familiar to many anarchists, but often not fully understood. Mutual aid is not charity nor is it some baroque bartering system. It rejects the “tit-for-tat” psychology of modern capitalism while challenging the nightmare of communist distribution. Mutual aid is freely given help (in the form of services and resources) to others in our community. The idea is that as individuals in the community help each other the entire community benefits and that in turn supports the individuals own goals. It is not dissimilar to the simple concept of sharing. Mutual aid , like charity, central communism and capitalism, promotes a specific ideological system. In the case of mutual aid it supports a libertarian ideology where individuals are trusted to make economic decisions that promote the entire community.

The state and its flunkies work from a position that charity is an effective tool to re-establish the status quo. In its most recent report on Katrina, FEMA summarized the state’s logic on providing assistance to affected people: “All aid should be used strategically. The use of sustainable supplies must be administered in such a way to maximize compliance with the emergency plan. Unfortunately, this may delay some aid but the primacy of maintaining control in the first few days can not be underestimated.”

It comes as no surprise that our leaders are willing to let us die while they implement their misguided plans to maintain law and order. It is during this period of government hesitation that we need to be on the ground providing real solidarity for those the state is afraid of and indifferent to. Solidarity is more than holding protests, organizing fundraisers and filing indymedia reports. Real solidarity requires commitment, risk and preparedness. Mutual aid is a direct challenge to the government and the associated NGOs and religious institutions that monopolize “helping people.” Mutual aid by necessity promotes an egalitarian relationship between individuals and groups, where charity and government aid have buttress hierarchical relationships of dependence (at best) and oppression (more often). Through the solidarity of mutual aid, we can show our commitment to those excluded by the government emergency managers and truly reclaim the tactic of Propaganda by the Deed.

However, to be effective we need to prepare now. The influx of supplies and labor to locally affected communities—that we share affinity with—could mean the difference between the streets of Argentina and the stadiums of Louisiana. We must be prepared if a crisis happens tomorrow. A crisis is not the time to have fundraisers to get initial supplies. We need to be work on getting these things now, so when an emergency occurs, we can act immediately.

Showing up during a crisis is not like summit hopping. Any insurrectionist needs to be self-sufficient in the basics and have ready access to extra supplies of: food, water, medications, power, communications and shelter. It should be obvious in emergency situations one can not simply arrive and expect to plug-in to an already organized network. Unprepared radicals can actually put a strain on scarce resources by showing up unprepared. When hundreds of well-intentioned college kids flooded New Orleans during their spring break; it did not turn out to be the boon organizers first had hopped for. The students came without adequate clothes, food, water, shelter and so on. One organizer spent an entire afternoon tracking down some medication for a student who had assumed they could they important prescription filled at a local drugstore. The organizers were swamped with the logistics of supporting these hundreds of volunteers and organizing them to do meaningful and much needed work. The Food Not Bombs people provide a positive example on how groups of people can organize themselves and be adequately prepared enough so the focus can be on the work that needs to be done. In the weeks following the hurricane more than a hundred Food Not Bomb and related volunteers served thousands of meals to those in need. They had their own shelter, communications and supplies. The local communities did not need to waste limited energy and resources on these volunteers.

An insurrectionary must also be prepared to deal with real risk. Anti-Globalization mobilizations did a good job of training and preparing us for possible arrests and police brutality. Even though the majority of protestors were never arrested or beaten with billy-clubs, the very real possibility of state violence allowed one to decide what levels of risk one was willing to engage in with their affinity groups. We need to be just as honest and talk with those in our affinity groups about what level of risk we are willing to crisis mobilizations. During emergencies all sorts of laws change and the risk of arrests are greatly heightened along with real violence from the state and others. Real solidarity is taking similar risks as those most affected, not just sitting on the side-lines wishing they luck.

Insurrectory Mutual Aid is difficult high risk activity that requires a substantial of resources and preparedness. It is reasonable to ask if this tactics is worth it. As anarchists, the revolution is our constant point of reference, precisely because it is a concrete event; it must be built daily through more modest attempts which do not have all the liberating characteristics of the social revolution in the true sense. These more modest attempts are insurrections. In them the uprising of the most exploited and excluded of society and the most politically sensitized minority opens the way to the possible involvement of increasingly wider strata of exploited on a flux of rebellion which could lead to revolution. It is never possible to see the outcome of a specific struggle in advance. Even a limited struggle can have the most unexpected consequences. The passage from the various insurrections – limited and circumscribed – to revolution can never be guaranteed in advance by any method.

Below are some advantages and difficulties involved in practicing Inusrrectory Mutual Aid

The Advantages of Insurrectory Mutual Aid

Ø Crisis allows us to refocus and put our energies back into direct action.

Ø Connects us with folks that may have never heard about anarchism.

Ø Challenge the State and the capitalists on a more even playing field.

Ø Allow us to test out our assumptions about how societies can be organized along anarchist principles.

Ø Reinvigorate our anarchist networks by coming together for crisis mobilizations.

Ø Provide more permanent socio-geographic areas for further resistance.

Ø Access to public exposure.

Ø Fighting for something, instead of against things.

Ø Learn a new skill set that may be more appropriate for wide-spread militant resistance.


Ø The stakes are much higher; people could get into serious trouble.

Ø The events are spontaneous (as oppose to scheduled events) so it is harder to plan for.

Ø Requires greater mobility

Ø Requires decisiveness. There is often only a small window of opportunity.

Ø Greater demand on a functioning inter-network communications system. Issurectionaries need to develop a real-time multiply redundant communications system beyond just the internet.

Ø Often requires complex logistics.

Ø Means working in areas that may have entrenched and baroque internal interests and politics- which we may know very little about.

Ø Greater need for self-sufficiency.

Mutual Aid is not charity! It is an attack!