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Old 09-12-2005, 08:44 AM   #1
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IO - We are a Banana Republic

http://www.alternet.org/katrina/25320/

Paramilitary Troops in NOLA?

wtf?
...
Officially, Blackwater says its forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane relief effort." A statement on the company's website, dated Sept. 1, advertises airlift services, security services and crowd control. The company, according to news reports, has since begun taking private contracts to guard hotels, businesses and other properties. But what has not been publicly acknowledged is the claim, made to us by two Blackwater mercenaries, that they are actually engaged in general law enforcement activities including "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals."

That raises a key question: under what authority are Blackwater's men operating? A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department, Russ Knocke, told the Washington Post he knows of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security. "We believe we've got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety," he said.

But in an hour-long conversation with several Blackwater mercenaries, we heard a different story. The men we spoke with said they are indeed on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana governor's office and that some of them are sleeping in camps organized by Homeland Security in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force.

Where the Real Action Is

We encountered the Blackwater forces as we walked through the streets of the largely deserted French Quarter. We were talking with two New York City police officers when an unmarked car without license plates sped up next to us and stopped. Inside were three men, dressed in khaki uniforms, flak jackets and wielding automatic weapons. "Y'all know where the Blackwater guys are?" they asked. One of the police officers responded, "There are a bunch of them around here," and pointed down the road.

"Blackwater?" we asked. "The guys who are in Iraq?"

"Yeah," said the officer. "They're all over the place."

A short while later, as we continued down Bourbon Street, we ran into the men from the car. They wore Blackwater ID badges on their arms. "When they told me New Orleans, I said, What country is that in?" one of the Blackwater men said. He was wearing his company ID around his neck in a carrying case with the phrase "Operation Iraqi Freedom" printed on it. After bragging about how he drives around Iraq in a "State Department issued level 5, explosion proof BMW," he said he was "just trying to get back to Kirkuk (in the north of Iraq) where the real action is."
...

This is why the Govenor was reluctant to hand over authority to the Feds.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:39 AM   #2
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I told that to nbcrusader already when we talked about accepting Chavez´ help lately.

Banana republic hits the nail on the head. I have nothing against bananas though. The privatization of state power is just another neo-liberal zilch side detail. You know, maybe Blackwater will be more "effective", like some "experts have found out".

The world wants to see Americans questioning the style of their leaders instead of sheeping. There´s such a lot of prejudices about Yankees, I agree.

But there is some American opposition now. It is good to see a new class arising from the shacks of 9/11 and Katrina: a middle class that is uncomfortable with its elite. A middle class that doesn´t care whether its blue or red, but asks the real questions: what about rich and poor... in our country; how about rich and poor ... in the rest of the world ... where is all this comfort from ...
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:43 AM   #3
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A question worth asking is if these people were asked at all to go into New Orleans? One of the classic disaster scenarios is that an area plunges into anarchy and then the self-important militias come in and start marching around like they own the place. Is that the case here? That was certainly the case with the "Minutemen" border patrol around Arizona.

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Old 09-12-2005, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: IO - We are a Banana Republic

Quote:
Originally posted by Scarletwine
http://www.alternet.org/katrina/25320/

Paramilitary Troops in NOLA?

wtf?
That raises a key question: under what authority are Blackwater's men operating? A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department, Russ Knocke, told the Washington Post he knows of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security.
...
But in an hour-long conversation with several Blackwater mercenaries, we heard a different story. The men we spoke with said they are indeed on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana governor's office and that some of them are sleeping in camps organized by Homeland Security in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force.
...
This is why the Govenor was reluctant to hand over authority to the Feds.
On this one, Scarletwine, again I agree with your general suspicion and, if its true, outrage that sucha a private paramilitary would be contracted by our government to patrol the streets of the USA. But some of it's not adding up. The Feds deny knowledge of their employ (which, I know, could be a cover-up), but then we also see them linked to the Louisiana state government, yet you imply the LA Governor didn't want to hand authority over to the Feds because of fear the Feds would employ Blackwater. What am I missing? It looks like it may have just as likely been the LA government that brought them on board, if anyone.

My inclination agrees with melon that these goons enlisted themselves without anyone's asking. Maybe they have some "buddies" in the NOPD, which has not always been a shining beacon of integrity.

~U2Alabama
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:23 AM   #5
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It seems they are working for Homeland Security and the Govenor.

http://www.democracynow.org/article..../09/12/1426242

And so, we tracked them down, found them down the street, and just approached the Blackwater mercenaries and began talking to them. Two of the guys that we talked to had served on the personal security details of L. Paul Bremer, the American pro-counsel in Iraq originally, the head of the occupation, as well as the U.S. ambassador -- former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. One of the guys had just gotten back from Iraq two weeks ago. These are some of the most highly trained killers, professional killers in the world. And they had served in Iraq in a number of cities and in a number of capacities.

And one of them was wearing a golden badge, that identified itself as being Louisiana law enforcement, and in fact, one of the Blackwater mercenaries told us that he had been deputized by the governor of Louisiana, and what's interesting is that the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security have denied that they have hired any private security firms, saying that they have enough with government forces. Well, these Blackwater men that we spoke to said that they are actually on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and indeed with the governor of Louisiana. And they said that they're sleeping in camps organized by the Department of Homeland Security.

One of the Blackwater guys said that when he heard New Orleans, he asked, “What country is that in?” And he was bragging to me about how he drives around Iraq in what he called a State Department issued level five explosion-proof BMW. This, as U.S. soldiers don't even have proper armor on their Humvees and other vehicles. And so, we also overheard one of the Blackwater guys talking to, we presume, a colleague, complaining that he was only being paid $350 a day plus his per diem, and that other firms were paying much more. And we're seeing many of these Blackwater mercenaries and other private security agents roaming the streets of New Orleans.

And what's significant is that the way it's being reported and the way the company is presenting it is that they are here to help with the hurricane relief efforts, but they told us clearly that they are engaged in quote, “stopping criminals” and that they're actually patrolling the streets. In fact, we saw them take over a building on Bourbon Street when we were walking around with them. And now they have set up shop there on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. So this is very, very disturbing, I think, for anyone who knows the record of Blackwater. Of course, they do not ask questions first. They shoot first, and that is their reputation in Iraq. And so, Americans should be asking right now what these kinds of trained killers are doing on the streets of New Orleans, apparently on contract from the Department of Homeland Security.
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:38 AM   #6
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If riots break out on American streets, I don´t have a shadow of doubt who will be hired. Shoot first, ask questions later, when no one can reply anymore, yeah John Wayne tradition comes in handy when the elite has to be protected.

Haha, the department of Homeland Security hired them
Well, who else!!

Say thanks to your leader who created this GREAT department with the GREAT job its doing on ALL LEVELS (be it cleaning new Orleans of casualities or FEMA or TSA, name it) out of nothing - or shall I say, of your taxes.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOUR PREZ AND ADMINISTRATION YANKEES!

I remember how happy some of you sweeties were when you won the last election like little kids who just got the lolly they wanted. Oooh daddy is it red or blue this time?

You voted for disaster, there you go.
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:20 PM   #7
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I took a look at this "Blackwater organization's website and it listed specifically as one of their security details that of guarding the numerous petroleum and chemical facilities in the vicinity. That may not be so bad, but I don't think I can agree with such a group patrolling local neighborhoods and public streets and what-not.

~U2Alabama
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