portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

9.11 investigation | imperialism & war

major link: Bush terror crimes always cleaned up by Houston's Bush crony Kenyon/SCI !!

In 1997, FEMA formed a working agreement with Kenyon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bush linked SCI (headed by his childhood friend Waltrip) to provide disaster relief services, including mobile morgues and body recovery services, according to a Kenyon spokesman. Kenyon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI)—which runs one of the largest chains of funeral homes in the country—worked at the WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE IN 2001 as well as IN THAILAND/TSUNAMI OF 2004 to retrieve Australian citizens, it had contract with UNITED NATIONS BOMBED BUILDING IN BAGHDAD IN 2003 when they started to move in on Bush Halliburton jurisditional claims, and it has the contract for NEW ORLEANS CLEANUP IN 2005. --- SCI owns 1,500 funeral homes throughout North America, and has been a close political supporter of George W. Bush since his days as governor of Texas. SCI implicated in multiple scandals—-involving unlicensed embalmers, digging/dumping of 'old' bodies to clear space for 'new' bodies and more profits, & stuffing of bodies sent for cremation into sheds like ricks of wood. Joe Allbaugh, then governor Bush's chief of staff, later his first appointment as FEMA's director, was involved in the scandal in Texas. Now, Allbaugh's private firm is "helping coordinate the private-$ector response to the storm," according to the Washington Post. One of Allbaugh's top clients is Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton...
Interesting thread runs through the clean up of major terror events of the past several years: Kenyon/SCI. If Bush has a sensitive state terrorist event to clean up, worldwide, you can see it always ends up with Kenyon/SCI--everytime! Another smoking gun of Bush state terrorism--particularly given Kenyon/SCI's high level Bush family connections from, well, childhood--as well as Bush covering for the SCI group in the "Funeralgate" of 1998--which incidentally involved Allbaugh as well as Bush just like now.


summary:
-----------------------------

Louisiana's Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco and FEMA officials haggled for days with Kenyon over a business deal giving them exclusive rights to profits from body recovery. .... Ricardo Zuniga, another FEMA spokesman, who "said Monday that the agency's policy barred military and municipal police officers from touching the bodies, except to tag them and report their location to higher [corporate] authorities."

First, Spokesmen for Kenyon have said the company arrived in Louisiana in early September, but delayed and failed to start working until September 7.
Next, the company threatened to leave, according to Blanco, when FEMA would not provide it with "an acceptable" written contract. While Kenyon haggled for more money, Governor Blanco stepped in, signing a deal with the company, even though she insisted that it was FEMA's responsibility.

****In 1997, FEMA formed a working agreement with Kenyon to provide disaster relief services,*** including as before mobile morgues and body recovery services, according to a company spokesman. Governor Blanco, too, said, "recovery of bodies is a FEMA responsibility." Yet, when Kenyon arrived, they balked and denied their ongoing relationship since 1997! According to FEMA spokesman David Passey, er, "From the beginning, the state had indicated that it will collect the bodies." He directly contradicted Blanco--and previous policy since FEMA/Kenyon deals since 1997--saying, "The collection of bodies is not normally a FEMA responsibility." [lie: because...] ***FEMA offered Kenyon a written contract [like before], but [this time] the company rejected the deal [and impeded anyone else cleaning up]. "It was a business decision," said Bill Berry, a spokesman for Kenyon.

Who runs Kenyon?

Kenyon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI)—which runs one of the largest chains of funeral homes in the country—worked at the World Trade Center site in 2001 as well as in Thailand to retrieve Australian citizens after last year's tsunami. It also had a contract with the United Nations in Baghdad in the initial stages of the war to provide "mortuary operations, family assistance and disposition of personal effects," according its web site. Based in Houston and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, SCI owns 1,500 funeral homes throughout North America, and has been a close political supporter of George W. Bush since his days as governor of Texas. SCI has been implicated in multiple scandals—involving unlicensed embalmers, the digging up and dumping of bodies to clear space for new graves and more profits and the stuffing of bodies sent for cremation into sheds.

When the company came under investigation in Texas during Bush's term as governor, ***an SCI employee threatened the lives of state regulators.***

***Nonetheless, Bush defended its CEO, Robert Waltrip [a childhood friend],*** helping to scuttle the probe. The Texas legislature investigators [looking into Bush linked SCI] lost their posts instead! The controversy led to a lawsuit by the commission's director against Bush, charging the then-Texas governor with obstructing legal investigations and having fired an investigator for refusing to contribute to a cover up.

Playing a prominent role in the scandal was Joe Allbaugh, then governor Bush's chief of staff and later his first appointment as FEMA's director [who was in charge of FEMA on September 11, 2001, in NYC].... Allbaugh then was the war profiteer in Bush linked deals in making money off Iraq supplies, and now he appears in the Katrina areas doing the same. Leaving FEMA, and putting his old college roomate in his place, Michael Brown (the soon to be fired horse show director placed there only two days before Brown was to be fired from his "horsey show judge" position), Allbaugh was once more the campaign head for Bush 2004--just like Bush 2000.

-----------------------------






Recovering New Orleans' dead subordinated to profit and politics
By John Levine
16 September 2005

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

One of the essential tasks in a disaster recovery operation—after evacuation and care for the living—is the removal of the dead. This is essential both to prevent the spread of disease and to identify the remains of those who were lost. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, however, federal and state authorities did not even begin the process for more than a week.

The delay in retrieving the bodies of Katrina's victims is one of the most telling examples of the indifference of the authorities to the massive human suffering caused by the disaster.

Incompetence and negligence—combined with contracting out the task to a private company—have resulted in a situation where bodies have been allowed to literally rot beyond recognition in the fetid flood waters that still cover large parts of New Orleans.

A major factor contributing to the delay in carrying out this grim task has been the Bush administration's concern about the impact that a rising body count will have on public opinion. Having already come under sharp criticism for the devastating consequences of its botched response to the hurricane, the administration sought to delay for as long as possible news and images of the bodies adding to the mounting death toll.

The ham-fisted attempt of the top military officer in New Orleans, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, to block any news coverage of the recovery operation collapsed in the face of a legal challenge from the CNN cable television news network. Honore's claim that the principal concern was "dignity" was belied by the blatant failure to do anything to collect bodies that littered the city's streets in the previous days.

The operation was rendered even more sordid by bitter disputes between the local authorities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the private contractor—Kenyon International Emergency Services—over the terms of the commercial agreement struck for collecting corpses. Louisiana's Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco and FEMA officials haggled for days with Kenyon over a business deal giving them exclusive rights to profits from body recovery.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune quoted David Passey, a spokesman for FEMA, telling the newspaper he "could not say why active-duty and National Guard soldiers have not been participating in the body collection process even though they constitute the largest relief personnel presence in the New Orleans area."

The paper also cites Ricardo Zuniga, another FEMA spokesman, who "said Monday that the agency's policy barred military and municipal police officers from touching the bodies, except to tag them and report their location to higher authorities."

Spokesmen for Kenyon have said the company arrived in Louisiana in early September, but did not begin working until September 7, and then only on the basis of an oral contract.

The company then threatened to leave, according to Blanco, when FEMA would not provide it with an acceptable written contract. Governor Blanco stepped in, signing a deal with the company, even though she insisted that it was FEMA's responsibility.

Profits on dead bodies

The fact that the sensitive and urgent task of retrieving victims' bodies is contracted out to a private corporation is itself testimony to the contempt for Katrina's victims. It is a prime example of how big business and its political representatives subordinate all aspects of social life to profit.

The operation was gripped by chaos as federal and local authorities conflicted over who was really in charge of signing the deal. In 1997, FEMA formed a working agreement with Kenyon to provide disaster relief services, including mobile morgues and body recovery services, according to a company spokesman. Governor Blanco, too, said, "recovery of bodies is a FEMA responsibility."

Yet, according to FEMA spokesman David Passey, "From the beginning, the state had indicated that it will collect the bodies." He directly contradicted Blanco, saying, "The collection of bodies is not normally a FEMA responsibility."

He claimed that Blanco's administration had indicated it would take responsibility for the corpses, but then changed its mind, asking for federal assistance. FEMA, according to Passey, then brought in Kenyon on an oral contract on September 7, nine days after the hurricane, while it continued negotiations with company officials.

FEMA offered Kenyon a written contract, but the company rejected the deal. "It was a business decision," said Bill Berry, a spokesman for Kenyon. The company began work with roughly 115 workers based on the oral contract, which had been set to expire Tuesday. Berry complained that FEMA made no arrangements with the company to help it retrieve bodies.

After Kenyon threatened to withdraw its workers from the disaster region on Monday, the state of Louisiana signed its own contract with the company on Tuesday. According to Reuters, "The contract between the company and the state's Department of Health and Hospitals runs from September 12 to November 15 at a daily personnel rate of $118,980, after a 10 percent discount. Kenyon also estimated expenses of around $639,000 for the first 31 days of its mission, covering everything from body bags to trailers to laundry services for its staffers." It will also provide for housing closer to New Orleans.

The company says it will increase its staff by the "tens and twenties, if not more," from its current 115. If it had 150 workers in the area, that would amount to an average of nearly $800 per employee per day, surely with the bulk of the funds going to company profits and salaries of top executives based in Houston, Texas. And this does not include expenses which will be charged to the state as the company deems fit.

Who runs Kenyon?

Kenyon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI)—which runs one of the largest chains of funeral homes in the country—worked at the World Trade Center site in 2001 as well as in Thailand to retrieve Australian citizens after last year's tsunami. It also had a contract with the United Nations in Baghdad in the initial stages of the war to provide "mortuary operations, family assistance and disposition of personal effects," according its web site.

Based in Houston and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, SCI owns 1,500 funeral homes throughout North America, and has been a close political supporter of George W. Bush since his days as governor of Texas.

SCI has been implicated in multiple scandals—involving unlicensed embalmers, the digging up and dumping of bodies to clear space for new graves and more profits and the stuffing of bodies sent for cremation into sheds.

When the company came under investigation in Texas during Bush's term as governor, an SCI employee threatened the lives of state regulators. Nonetheless, Bush defended its CEO, Robert Waltrip, helping to scuttle the probe.

The Texas legislature, whose members also received political contributions from SCI employees, passed a law overhauling the Texas Funeral Service Commission, the agency in charge of regulating the funeral industry, and the investigators lost their posts.

The controversy led to a lawsuit by the commission's director against Bush, charging the then-Texas governor with obstructing a legal investigation and having her fired for refusing to go along.

Playing a prominent role in the scandal was Joe Allbaugh, then governor Bush's chief of staff and later his first appointment as FEMA's director. Currently, Allbaugh's private firm is "helping coordinate the private-sector response to the storm," according to the Washington Post.

One of Allbaugh's top clients is Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton (the company formerly run by Dick Cheney, the vice president), which is already profiting from reconstruction contracts in the Katrina disaster.

See Also:
Forty-five bodies recovered at New Orleans hospital
[14 September 2005]
Bush suspends Davis-Bacon Act
Wage-cutting and profit-gouging in the midst of the Katrina disaster
[12 September 2005]

---
 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/sep2005/body-s16.shtml



more

FEMA Nominee Joe Allbaugh Is a "Named Conspirator" in "Funeralgate" Lawsuit

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2001 For More Information: Bob Fertik bob@d... 212-396-3457 Charles Herring Jr. cherring@h... 512-320-0665 or 473-2375 Web site: www.democrats.com - click on "Funeralgate" logo

FEMA Nominee Joe Allbaugh Is a "Named Conspirator" in "Funeralgate" Lawsuit; Democrats.com Publishes Key Documents on its Web Site

Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's nominee to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has been revealed to be a "Named Conspirator" in "Funeralgate", a Texas whistleblower lawsuit against George W. Bush, according to documents published on the Internet by Democrats.com, the largest independent news and community website for Democrats.

Allbaugh was campaign manager of Bush's Presidential campaign, and is widely regarded as one of Bush's most powerful aides, along with strategist Karl Rove and spokeswoman Karen Hughes. Together, the three are known as the "Iron Triangle."

Allbaugh is scheduled to testify before the Senate Government Affairs Committee on Tuesday, February 13 at 10:30 a.m.

The "Funeralgate" lawsuit was filed by Eliza May, who was Executive Director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC) while George W. Bush was Governor of Texas.

May alleges she was fired from her job in retaliation for her investigation of Service Corporation International (SCI), the world's largest funeral services company, which is owned by Robert Waltrip, a major Bush contributor. She alleges "improper and illegal pressure and conspiracy" by the governor and his staff "in attempting to impede and subvert the TFSC investigation of SCI."

Allbaugh is a "Named Conspirator" in this case, according to Eliza May's complaint. He is named on the second page of a 149-page document filed on July 10, 2000.

"Joe Allbaugh is a key player in the 'Funeralgate' scandal," according to Bob Fertik, co-founder of Democrats.com. "Allbaugh was personally involved in efforts to thwart the investigation by Eliza May's office. He did everything in his power to help a major Bush donor avoid a large fine and to prevent Texas citizens from receiving justice."

The "Funeralgate" lawsuit was filed in 1998. Then-governor Bush filed a sworn affidavit denying any knowledge of, or conversations about, the investigation. This affidavit was contradicted by the testimony of other witnesses, and Bush was added as a defendant in 2000. According the document released by Democrats.com (page 89), "multiple witnesses have testified or otherwise indicated that Governor Bush gave a false sworn statement in this case."

The defendants have fought the lawsuit every step of the way, and persuaded Texas district judge John Dietz to delay any depositions of Bush and Allbaugh until after the 2000 election. Eliza May plans to seek depositions from both Allbaugh and Bush later this year following depositions by other key witnesses, according to May's attorney Charles Herring Jr.

According to the Supreme Court's 9-0 ruling in the Paula Jones lawsuit, a President can be forced to testify under oath in a civil case stemming from actions taken before becoming President. President Clinton's evasive testimony in the Paula Jones deposition was the basis for subsequent testimony before a grand jury convened by Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and his eventual impeachment by the Republican Congress in 1998.

At the time, Joe Allbaugh was Governor Bush's Chief of Staff. Allbaugh has acknowledged his involvement in the events that are the subject of the lawsuit, but he has denied any wrongdoing. He provided a written response to the Senate Government Oversight Committee last week, and brushed aside May's allegations.

Allbaugh was asked, "The allegations include claims that TFSC staff members were pressured during the meeting(s) and in conversations afterward to terminate an ongoing investigation into SCI." Allbaugh replied, "The reported allegations... are not grounded in fact, nor are they credible." Allbaugh says he merely "facilitated" the meetings, and did not exercise "pressure." May's lawsuit alleges that he did.

"Joe Allbaugh appears to have lied to the Senate Government Oversight Committee in response to its question about 'Funeralgate,'" said Fertik. "In the coming days, Democratic and Republican members of the committee should carefully examine Allbaugh's evasive answer - and pose additional detailed questions - to get to the truth about Allbaugh's involvement in this scandal, which reaches all the way up to the President of the United States," Fertik concluded.

 http://www.newsmakingnews.com/archives/
archive2,5,01,2,10,01.htm#FEMA%20Nominee%20Joe%20
Allbaugh%20Is%20a%20%22Named%20Conspirator%22%20in%20%22
Funeralgate%22%20Lawsuit


newswire article reporting united states 08.Jun.2005 15:11
government | imperialism & war | political theory
Ground Zero Cameraman
author: Kimosabee
Strange Activities regarding the only videographer allowed at Ground Zero.
Very interesting news about the ex-FEMA cameraman Kurt Sonnenfeld:

Right after he finished his duty as the only videographer allowed on Ground Zero at the WTC, his wife committed suicide. they arrested him for it, although she left a suicide note, she was reported as depressed and suicidal in the weeks before, only his wife's prints were on the gun, and only her hands had gushot residue. A lot of people thought the whole thing was bizarre.

Exactly ONE day before his trial was to begin, murder charges against him were completely dismissed and he was set free. He then filed a lawsuit for $20 million, claiming false arrest, false imprisonment, deprivation of civil rights, and brutality, among other things (suing the police is not an action of a guilty man!).

Three years later, the charges against him were re-filed because they say they found two convicts he suposedly "confessed to"! He was re-arrested in Buenos Aires Argentina and has been held in prison there for some time.

Some very strange activity, I think. It's like they're chasing him around the globe, using his wife's suicide (?) as their excuse. What do you suppose they're after?


----------------------------

excerpted from:

911 Skeptics Unite
Reflections on 9/11 Investigations and post-political aftermath
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Monday, March 15th 2004
By Ewing2001

...

Joe Allbaugh (ex-FEMA), George Bush's 2000 campaign director, should be grilled ASAP.

Not only involved in FuneralGate (1998) and accused of being responsible for destroying some National Guard-files from Bush (make certain "there's not anything there that will embarrass the governor"), but since then most active for many other Bush-family members.

After Allbaugh quit as FEMA boss, [and put in fired horse judge as national FEMA head!] he started to work for New Bridge Strategies, a company for Iraqi Auctions.

Neil Bush was providing "miscellaneous consulting services" to Crest Investment, which received an Iraq contract.

Crest, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman, Crest's chief executive, Jamal Daniel is in business with Allbaugh.

Daniel, Neil Bush and John Howland, the company president of New Bridges, have also been directors of Silvermat, a Swiss company controlled by Crest Investment that supplies the hospitality industry and has had financial and industrial relations problems.
(More background dirt at Republicons) [website there now defunct]

Then we have the Cheney-Allbaugh connection:

Three electricity companies freshly employed his wife, Diane Allbaugh as a lobbyist, when Cheney's Secret Energy Task Force took place in Summer 2001.

website:
 http://911skeptics.blogspot.com/2004_03_01_911skeptics_archive.html