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Masters of Disasters: The Industry of Economic Destruction

Updated on May 20, 2013

From the Red Cross to Specializing in Disasters

The Red Cross was established in 1891 through the efforts of Clara Barton, the first superintendent of the US Army Nurse Corps. Everything is open to exploitation in a free market society so eventually everything is made to support the cancerous system that creates wealth from the poverty, adverse situations, and circumstances of those who are under-educated and have less marketable resources. There is an aphorism, a proverb or idiom that says "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Once your good idea leaves your mind where it can be shared it becomes open to exploitation where others usually profit from it. I think Clara Barton would be incensed to know the organization she built to serve humanity was now the core of a global humanitarian market that employs experts from as varied expert fields as animals rights, to disasters both natural and manmade, with hundreds if not thousands of organizations identified as NGO's or nongovernmental organizations that serve as clearinghouses for all sorts of consultants, specialists, private contractors and experts. A vast multi-billion dollar industry, disaster management, is an industry I had the opportunity to work within in 1984 as an "infield facilitator" while in Sudan. It would be decades later before I fully realized that my role in Sudan of 1984 and the others who taught "survival English" to refugees in what history recorded as Operation Moses was not only a US-Israeli "covert operation" (the first airlift of the Ethiopian Jews out of Africa to Israel and the United States) but more importantly, a disaster industry cash cow. All refugees began a new life in America or Israel with a debt. Air fares were credited to their accounts that they were accountable to pay, as well as dental and medical bills in many incidences. People who complain and believe that refugees are a drain on domestic resources know nothing of the business in legal human trafficking or refugeeism. Hurricane Katrina was worth between $10-$25 billion. Selected contractors got extremely rich. The vetting process was not as much competitive as knowing certain inside information that was withheld from most minorities. The British Petroleum (BP) oil field fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico was another disaster that allowed certain individuals to become wealthy.

The blueprint for the response to African refugees was taken from Southeast Asia. Refugees are a very important component of the Disaster Industry. The idea was and is that a refugee population is the same no matter what part of the world they happen to find themselves in.

Private Disaster Industry Contractors: The Father of Disaster Relief, Fred Cuny

Stached away in my files are infield briefing documents that were written 29 years ago by Fred Cuny founder of the Texas based disaster relief specialists company Intertect , with titles such as Famine and Food Emergencies in Africa, Droughts and Desertification, and Refugees and Displaced Persons these documents were infield guidelines in accessing target populations. Cuny took the "food for work program" and gave it a new twist. I clearly remember his infield briefing. Cuny divided disaster food programs into three separate categories; selective feeding programs, supplementary feeding programs, and Intensive feeding programs. Today, thanks to Fred Cuny the United States operates a Food for Work program. Food Stamp recipients can be denied services if they refuse work if offered. Many times recipients fare worse by participating because food stamps are reduced even if a person is hired part time at minimum wages, not earning enough to break free of food stamps and being issued less food stamps because they work; a very efficient Catch-22.

If Fred Cuny didn't write the book on Food as a Weapon he no doubt inspired its development and pioneered its use. The most vulnerable children, those assigned to the "intensive feeding " program were usually given powered milk that required water to mix it, but since the water was usually contaminated with the gardia lamblia, a parasite that inhabits the small intestines, small children got sick and died at an alarming rate. The area of Al Qardarif Sudan where I lived was called "the killing fields" by non-compassionate NGO workers because for a time 100 babies were buried weekly if not daily; I can't remember which. It got so bad refugee women would hide their children from the weighing scales, a ritual that had to take place before food was issued. If they refused to allow their children to be weighed then they forfeited their food rations.

Another important Cuny technique was the "concept" of "remote detection" . Cuny taught that it was possible to gain fore-knowledge of a target group deep inside a country from studying a sampling or "population pyramid". The refugee camp provided the control group and facilitators unknowingly provided implementation if they kept proper paperwork; I was always lousy at paperwork and to this day cannot keep a tidy office.

Who Was Fred Cuny?

Who was Fred Cuny? To his supporters he was a hero, to others maybe not so much. In any case he and his team were reported missing in early 1995 in Chechnya. They were never found. It isn't difficult to loose your life while living and working outside America. I have been loudly called a spy in public, picked up from a public outing by a military envoy, taken to a military installation and questioned and ordered to apply for a "special permit" in order to keep my camera and promise never to photograph military installations, bridges or certain other areas I was obliged to remember.


Special Permit Sudan 1984

Masters of Disasters Career Forums: At A Campus Near You

A recent Georgia State University Career Services announcement proclaimed - "Exciting forum for those of you who want careers in areas of preparedness and disaster relief, both nationally and internationally. Guest panelists from these and other areas will be available to share their experiences, provide information and answer your questions". Sounds exciting and idealistic and it is until you find yourself on the other side of the world in a movieist situation standing before a seemingly congenial smiling officer and wondering if you will ever see your family again.....

Disasters are historically of two types; natural and man-made. With technology appearing to have no limits there now exists a thin line between military applications and the next cool gadget. Cell phones and multi-media are awesome strategical and tactical weapons that can allow single individuals to change the course of history as witnessed in recent history as millions crouched around TV screens around the world as Saddam Hussein and later Osama Ben Laden lives ended in televised real time. Disasters are no different. Whether natural or man-made they can be accessed, tracked and even controlled to unspeakable economic ends. Why would anyone want to be a master of a disaster? Glad you thought of asking; because it allows the same egotistical adrenalin rush as being masters of other human beings. I pray that the next time you hear of a disaster you are led to see them differently...His In Service

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