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Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans


By Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo
t r u t h o u t | Report
Saturday 10 September 2005

New Orleans - Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.

"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq."

Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.

What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments.

Blackwater is one of the leading private "security" firms servicing the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It has several US government contracts and has provided security for many senior US diplomats, foreign dignitaries and corporations. The company rose to international prominence after 4 of its men were killed in Fallujah and two of their charred bodies were hung from a bridge in March 2004. Those killings sparked the massive US retaliation against the civilian population of Fallujah that resulted in scores of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees.

As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Officially, Blackwater says it forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane Relief Effort." A statement on the company's website, dated September 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 2 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. One of them wore a gold Louisiana state law enforcement badge and said he had been "deputized" by the governor. They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force. We encountered the Blackwater forces as we walked through the streets of the largely deserted French Quarter. We were talking with 2 New York Police officers when an unmarked car without license plates sped up next to us and stopped. Inside were 3 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?,'" said one of the Blackwater men. 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." Later we overheard him on his cell phone complaining that Blackwater was only paying $350 a day plus per diem. That is much less than the men make serving in more dangerous conditions in Iraq. Two men we spoke with said they plan on returning to Iraq in October. But, as one mercenary said, they've been told they could be in New Orleans for up to 6 months. "This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."

If Blackwater's reputation and record in Iraq are any indication of the kind of "services" the company offers, the people of New Orleans have much to fear.

-----

Jeremy Scahill, a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, and Daniela Crespo are in New Orleans. Visit www.democracynow.org for in-depth, independent, investigative reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Email: jeremy@democracynow.org.

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The Bush Administration has deployed mercenaries from Blackwater to New Orleans. This is just the latest Neo-Con work around the U.S. Constitution. So when will Congress impeach George Bush? After the Blackwater thugs are used to "maintain order" in Washington, D.C. over the September 24-26 weekend? After there is killing at a non-violent protest? Will Congress then impeach George Bush and indict the rest of his administration? Or, only after it's too late.

I haven't read the entire report on this, but is not good for this republic if it is true. This is clever way to get around the Posse Comitatus Act and I would put money on the fact that it was Chertoff's idea.

I believe if we could get "a strong leader" like a MLK for
Liberal groups including Conservatives against Bush we
could get rid of this clown without a Revolution.
When will people stop believing Bush's lies? I blame
folks like John McCain and Sen.Norm Coleman for the mess we're in. McCain and others just lick the bottom of "W"'s boots on a continual
basis. We must face reality that "W" is King and we must obey!!!

Got brownshirts?

Call 'em BLACK SHIRTS.

AND THEIR REPUTATION CERTAINLY PRECEDES THEM ON THE BASIS OF THEIR UNRESTRAINED ACTIVITIES.BUT THAT HAS BEEN INSIDE IRAQ. HERE IN THE CONUS, THEY ARE REQUIRED TO OPERATE DIFFERENTLY. BUT IF THEY EVENTUALLY INTEND TO ENGADGE IN UNRESTRASINED , UNCONSTITUTIONAL PARA MILLITARY ACTIVITIES, IF THEIR MERE PRESENSE IS MEANT SOMEHOW TO INTIMIDATE, THOSE OTHER THAN CRIMINAL ELEMENT, WELL, I CAN ASSURE ALL YOU WHO READ THIS THAT THEY WILL COME TO REGRET ANY ACTIVITY SUCH AS THAT. HISTORY HAS PROVEN THAT NOONE, IS UNTOUCHIBLE. IF THEY ENGADGE IN UNLAWFULL BRUTAL ACTIVITY,AGAINST LAW ABIDING CITIZEN'S, THEY WILL FACE OUR RETRIBUTION BECAUSE THIS AIN'T IRAQ, AND WE ARE NOT IRAQI'S. WE HAVE AMONG OUR OWN NUMBER'S, INDIVIDUAL'S THAT EQUAL OR EXCEED THE SKILL THESE DUDE'S HAVE SO PLEASE, DON'T DESPAIR. AT THIS POINT IN TIME, ALL WE CAN DO IS KEEP THIS SITUATION UNDER OBSERVATION AND SEE WHAT DEVELOPES. THOSE WITH INSIDE CONNECTION'S TO NOLA, SHOULD RELAY THAT INFO TO THIS SITE.
**HUMPHREY**

Read investigative report about empty "prison camps" set-up by Ollie North by using FEMA during Reagan/Iran-Contra Scandal era.
In Miami Herald of Sunday July 5, 1987, ALFONSO CHARDY of the Herald Washington Bureau wrote his investigative report. It was on the front page and entitled "REAGAN AIDES AND THE 'SECRET' GOVERNMENT" (full text following link):

http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/hardtruth/secret_white_house_plans.htm

I made an "Rex84" entry at Political Friendster so ya'll could see the Rex84 connections quickly and at your fingertips:

http://www.politicalfriendster.com/showPerson.php?id=2239&name=Rex84

Operation Garden Plot and Operation Cable Splicer were spun off from Rex84 (or Rex 84 Bravo, depends on which sites you read). All these "national crisis plans" are also under FEMA. Here are sites about Operation Garden Plot and Operation Cable Splicer (real clever, huh?):

OPERATION GARDEN PLOT

http://www.uhuh.com/control/garden.htm

OPERATION CABLE SPLICER

http://www.sfbg.com/nessie/6.html

The following excerpt comes from this link:

http://wearcam.org/decon/detainment_camps11-13-smallpox2.htm

"...The REX84 plan was created by Reagan to curb dissidents and protestors. It was also created as a standby measure in case there was a flood of refugees into the US from the wars being waged Central America. But the plan can also be used for the eugenics minded Bush administration for population control and to insure a greater concentration of power. One can speculate that on the list to be rounded up would be the obvious dissidents and criminals and the not so obvious indigents, minorities including Arabians and moral contarians such as homosexuals and Hippies.

Executive Order #11490 kicks it all into action and makes it all possible if not likely. Then what to do? End the war. End the reason for bio-terrorism. End the threats upon our lives. Be vocal yet civil, be vigil and have a lifeboat to go to if the time comes for people to begin filling the camps. Could we not call the largest prison system in the history of civilization the beginning of these camps? There is a crossover in definition but in reality the detainment / quarantine camps will not involve criminals only. Keep a cool head."

The following site link was clearly written before the Bushco Administration, so obviously this writer is only concerned about one thing : THE CONSTITION AND OUR RIGHTS.

http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/CAMPS.html

Actually begun way back during the 60's civil unrest, Operation Garden Plot is today placed under US Northern Command (NORTHCOM)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Garden_Plot

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/garden_plot.htm

Operation Noble Eagle, begun Sept 15, 2001, is under Operation Garden Plot's contingency plan, according to Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Noble_Eagle

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/noble-eagle.html

Bushco, please define 'civil unrest'.

If it is not clear to you by now, Alfonso Chardy is up there in the ranks of TRUE JOURNALISTS with the likes of Michael Smith, Greg Palast, Neil McKay , etc.

I would like you all to see his many well-deserved awards:

http://www-new.latinosandmedia.org/jawards/bios/author-ChardyAlfonso.html

http://www-new.latinosandmedia.org/jawards/awards-pulitzer-category.html

Excerpts of Alfonso Chardy:

http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys1/pc17.htm

http://www.skepticfiles.org/socialis/miamiher.htm

I've also been made aware that in the roadways, interstate hiways etc, near some of these site's, are coded markers appearrently, with no presently known meaning. Recently, i discovered that these were directional markers for guidance (for whom) and for indication as to what facilities they were nearing, and direction to these alledged facilities.. My information came out of the state of Michiagan. Yank, i do beleive there is real substance to the claim's being made from the site's/link's you've given.

Ofcourse, there certainly are no shortages of those who will state that anyone beleiving all this is sevearly mentally unballanced. Rest assured that i do spend a relitive amount of time in self analysis in this regard. just to be sure. My conclusion's are inconclusive. But,, i recently either read on the web somewhere of heard on tv, that the actual mentally unballanced don't sit around wondering if their mentally unballanced... Well, thats good to know.

The truth is, i can look out this window, or go out and sit on my deck and from there it appears all is well in the world. But i know better. The possibillity of detention centers in the USA, Black Water Group paramillitary personell operating within a major American city, in spite of a sufficient number of police officer's being sent from all over to assist, and all the other fact's we are all aware of,, now resulting,, in clearly indicating,, all is in fact, not well in the US. What i wish for is that i am unballanced, and all this is an illusion, or a delusion, fabricated in my mind from some chemical unballance. Unfortunatly, i don't think im going to be that lucky. **HUMPHREY**

But for that to be the case, Alfonso Chardy would not be a Pulitzer Prize winner>>> how do I say this ? Darn!

I don't either, BUT, the point was, or is, that some alledge that those of us who belive certain thing's are mentally unballanced, my point being, if that WERE true, then all these are, or would be delusion's. **HUMPY**

It's like, we wish we weren't right, right? People who think we're nuts, hey, I wish I was nuts too... then at least the bad stuff wouldn't be happening, or in the planning stages. I know that I can't talk to certain people about this outside of my PC, or I get the strange looks and mutterings. But, as bad as it is, I feel better knowing than being ignorant. Being ignorant drives me REALLY crazy because I know there are multiple things wrong but I don't know why. But the good thing about this true stuff, if there is good from so much bad, is that we found out blogging matters and really makes a BIG positive difference in society and in the world. We CAN stop the REAL bad guys!!!

RESPONDING TO THAT STATEMENT, IF I MAY
*
I don't know. A lot is riding on the special prosecuter, Patrick Fitzgerald, and the indictments to be handed down. What worries me is the current efforts being made within the Bush Administration to have the investigation stoped, and, or, the indictments suppressed.
Look at the spin comming from the White House.(Karl Rove) Their spewing out-right lies over NOLA! The obvious truth that should be appearrent to even the most febble-minded among us is REPUBLICANS CAN'T GOVERN! THEY CAN WIN ELECTION'S, BUT THEY CAN'T GOVERN. NOLA has demonstrated this. Every endeavoe they set out to achieve ends up a monumental screw-up. Hopefully, if we have to rise up and go to war against them, (and i know you know what i mean)hopefully, their counter measures will likewise, be as screwed up.

The Regular Army, the National Guard, USMC, and the rest of the service's are made up of us, our sons, our daughters, our brothers, and our mothers and fathers. I think at this time, all of us need to begin a public relations effort to communicate with our relitive's, our kin (for you southerner's) to let them know what the true score is and find out as president BUSH ONCE REFERED TO, "WHO AMONG THE RANKS OF THE MILLITARY IS WITH US, AND WHO IS WITH THE TERRORIST (BUSH). I think the tactical necessity for this information should be obvious to those with any tactical sense.

The internal struggle that erupted back in 1861 led to division's between families, and this situation will be no different, im sure. What i suspect will occure is that the other side of this issue may find itself comming up short with respect to individuals that will remain on that side of the line. Subsequently, organizations like black water security, may find itself carrying more of the other side's burden than it ever bargined for.

The NOLA situation has the potential now to destroy the Bush Administration, and the Republican hope for victory in next years mid-term elections. The numbers of those who still support the Bush Administration as as low now as Nixon's support number's were at the height of the Watergste situation. This needs to be exploited to the tenth degree! Republican's up for reelection next year are worried. very worried. a month ago they were not, now they are because America, and the entire world, now knows the truth. THEY CAN WIN OR STEAL ELECTION'S,(i've seen evidence the 2000 election was stolen) BUT THEY CANT GOVERN! SOMRTIME REAL SOON, FITZGERALD WILL BE HANDING DOWN INDICTMENT'S. ALL HELL MAY BREAK LOOSE. SO, start thinking about this.**HUMPHREY**

The Nazi SS was once a civilian security force. Here we have a civilian security force hired by rich people to guard their property, while at the same time the citizens of New Orleans are having their guns confiscated.

This is a terrible precedent. We need to monitor closely.

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