Thursday, September 01, 2005
It's turning out to be very hard to find out, for rather startling reasons.
In my first post on this, I quoted their original press release:
IEM, Inc., the Baton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Don't bother trying the link to that release on the original post. It doesn't work any more. Let me explain. If you go here now, you'll see IEM's page of press releases. Below is what it looked like at 3am on Friday 2nd September, a few minutes ago.
You'll notice that there's a release on May 25, 2004 and the next one's on July 14, 2004. But here's the very odd thing. Only a couple of days ago - just before Katrina started, y'know, destroying New Orleans - this, below, is what the IEM press-release page looked like.
See the highlighted word? There used to be another press release, between May and July, dated June 3, announcing that 'IEM Team to Develop Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan for New Orleans & Southeast Louisiana'.
That's right. The evidence that hurricane-management was privatised and handed over to IEM has been eradicated from the IEM website. It's almost as if someone was trying to evade responsibility for incompetence that's resulted in the deaths of thousands, or something.
For those interested, this is what the press release used to look like.
You can still find the verbatim copy from the press release in the Insurance Journal. There are also details available from a New Orleans business provider, where we learn from IEM Director of Homeland Security Wayne Thomas that his company's 'approach to catastrophic planning meets the challenges associated with integrating multi-jurisdictional needs and capabilities into an effective plan for addressing catastrophic hurricane strikes'. Right. So, the IEM team's approach isn't to siphon off tax money, spout management shit, provide a demonstrably catastrophically inadequate plan, then fuck off like craven fucking caveworms and hide the evidence when the fucking corpses start piling up?
More intriguing information here (pdf), in the Spring newsletter of the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association, where we hear all about an exciting hurricane planning workshop organised by IEM. Relevant extract:
And just check how prescient their model was! '[S]ustaining winds of 120mph... destroyed over 75% of the structures in its path, and left the majority of New Orleans under 15-20 feet of water'. That's impressively accurate. '[S]heltering, temporary housing, and temporary medical care' were chosen as areas to focus on, 'functional plans' were put in place, that can be 'implemented immediately'. Result? 'Louisiana is much better prepared for a catastrophic hurricane'.
Then be proud, IEM! Why so coy? Why so shy of having won this prestigious contract? I think we should help IEM out by telling everyone we can their involvement in this, and bringing to people's attention the company's sudden inadvertent mislaying of its press release.
Update. It's been pointed out to me that the online archive WayBack Machine has the original press release, and a few versions of the main page on which it was flagged in all its glory.
Update 2. Well, well.