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Jackbooted Police State Emerging in New Orleans
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire
Entered into the database on Monday, September 19th, 2005 @ 10:04:30 MST


Untitled Document

“Let’s all be clear about one thing,” writes Josh Marshall. “President Bush has now put us on notice, the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort is going to be run as a patronage and political operation,” the same way Iraq is, and with the same disgusting corporate players—Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, Shaw Group, Bechtel, the entire roster of carpetbaggers and opportunists who have soaked and defrauded the American people in the past, treating the bamboozled American taxpayer as an oblivious cash cow. Disaster and human suffering is considered an “opportunity” for the likes of Joe Allbaugh, Bush’s former campaign manager and former head of FEMA. As if to demonstrate political patronage and cronyism knows no bounds, Bechtel’s CEO was named to Bush’s Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy was put in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

“Experts say it has been common practice in both Republican and Democratic administrations for policy makers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office, and many of the same companies seeking contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have already received billions of dollars for work in Iraq,” notes CNN. Of course, this practice should be illegal, and in the case of New Orleans local business and workers should be involved in the rebuilding of their city. But then, as the War Street Journal tells us, the new New Orleans will exclude the poor and concentrate on catering to the rich and tourist middle class. Katrina was the perfect excuse to cleanse New Orleans of undesirables, more than a few of them African-American, thus giving the impression of racism. It’s really about class, however, and the rich corporate elitists who will lord over the new New Orleans are not concerned about skin color, for they view the world through green-tinted glasses.

It’s really unfortunate the political left, mired as they are in government-loving myopia, do not see the military and “security firm” occupation of New Orleans for what it is—an incubator and testing ground for a long-sought after police state. For instance, Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! producer and correspondent, has provided us with an excellent overview of the military and paramilitary occupation of New Orleans, and yet he is bereft of obvious conclusions, instead concentrating on contracts doled out by the Ministry of Homeland Security and opportunistic Republican patronage. His comments, however, are worth examination:

It’s interesting, we talked earlier this week about the Blackwater mercenaries and I talked about my hour-long conversation with them when they had first arrived here, and I reported that they were saying they were on contract with the Department of Homeland Security. This, of course, was denied by the federal government. Well, now they have been forced to admit, the federal government, that Blackwater is on federal contract with FEMA to protect—so-called protect, its rebuilding or reconstruction efforts in Louisiana. This is just one of the firms that is getting now federal money. I think that these firms view the current situation in Louisiana as the biggest pot of federal money.

Blackwater is not in Louisiana exclusively to “protect” the so-called federal “rebuilding or reconstruction efforts” (at the behest of corporate elitists), but rather as an experiment in privatizing and farming out functions of police state control. As Scahill notes elsewhere, Blackwater mercenaries are involved in “general law enforcement activities including ’securing neighborhoods’ and ‘confronting criminals,’” in other words turning out the remaining residents, who become “internees” in FEMA organized concentration camps around the country, and killing residents who refuse to leave or who forage for food and water, as the government has stated its intention to not provide assistance and instead engage in a medieval-like siege of the city in an effort to depopulate it in preparation for the vision of the new New Orleans as planned by the corporate elitists and their business interests.

Scahill tells Amy Goodman:

I remember the other night you called me and you alerted me to this [spraying of the city with pesticide], and just today I had seen what I thought were some sort of spy drones because really, what we have seen here is sort of—some people are calling it “New Oraq” instead of New Orleans, because of all of the various forces, the Halliburtons, the KBR’s, the Blackwaters that are here now, the connections to Iraq are so incredible. The same looters who have raided the federal funds in Iraq, U.S. funds in Iraq, are looting federal funds here in New Orleans. Yes, I saw the drones flying overhead. I’m concerned, very concerned of the toxic waste that they’re now dumping on the city in addition to the horribly unsafe waters that flow through the city and continue to flow through the city.

Actually, the name “New Oraq” is a perfect fit, since the military seems to be using the same tactics they use in Iraq against the American people—or at least (for now) the most expendable of the American people (and no doubt, for the Blackwater mercenaries, there is little difference between the people of New Orleans and those of Fallujah).

Goodman mentions “reports of the spraying of the city with pesticide that’s never been used on urban populations and they’re mixing it with blue dye so that the pilots can see where they have sprayed, I think its called something like NALID.” Actually, the pesticide is called NALED (it is an organophosphate insecticide) and it is used for mosquito control. It is well established that such chemicals are carcinogens and induce “structural chromosome aberrations” in human immune system, according to research located at the University of Florida Medical Library. As this research indicates, NALED and other pesticides are often applied to vast areas with helicopters and other aerial vehicles. Obviously, with all the standing water in New Orleans, mosquito infestation is an issue. However, the military seems to be using NALED (and who knows what other chemicals) with the same cavalier disregard they used Agent Orange (a herbicide) in Vietnam. “On January 23, 2003, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine officially released the fifth comprehensive report in a series entitled Veterans and Agent Orange” and reported “that there is ’sufficient evidence of an association’ between herbicides used in Vietnam and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.” On January 30, 2004, lawyers from the National Lawyer’s Guild in association with the Vietnam Lawyers Association, filed a lawsuit against Dow, Monsanto, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock, and the other chemical companies, alleging the companies that produced the herbicides used in the Vietnam war were in “violation of international law and war crimes.” (On March 10, 2005 the Brooklyn Federal Court dismissed the lawsuit.) It is unconscionable that the U.S. military would use a dangerous pesticide in an American city where people still live. But then, as reported on numerous occasions in the corporate media, the military and their paramilitary allies consider hold-out residents of New Orleans “insurgents” the same way they consider the Iraqi people insurgents.

Scahill also notes the involvement of a “security company” called B.A.T.S. in Alabama (Bodyguard And Tactical Services). “I was talking to his head of security, I told him I was from New York, he said, I’ve been to New York during the daily news strike, referring to the strike the at the New York Daily News,” Scahill told Goodman.

Democracy Now! co-host, Juan Gonzalez, is a Daily News columnist [and] was one of the leaders of the strike. I told him that Juan Gonzalez was a colleague of mine and he told me that he spiked Juan Gonzalez’s car. He said he had put sugar in the gas tank of Juan Gonzalez’s car. The man’s name is Michael Montgomery, and he is the head of security for B.A.T.S. Security in Alabama, bragging about spiking the car of Juan Gonzalez and other strike leaders in the New York Daily News strike. He is heading up security for the Decatur Hotel chain, owned by Patrick Quinn, a major businessman in New Orleans, his wife a Republican state senator. This is just one example of cronyism that we see on the ground where the wealthy Republican contributors are being considered now for these tremendous federal contracts.

It should not be surprising goons such as Montgomery (that is if Scahill’s story is correct) are employed against labor organizers and strikers—and are now used against the people of New Orleans, or rather the untouchables the corporate elite (in collusion with the federal, state, and local government) are in the process of driving (or maybe the Israeli term “transfer” works here) from the city with military tactics similar to those used in Iraq. “One of the [Blackwater] 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,” Scahill told Goodman on September 12th.

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.

In addition to Blackwater, the Steele Foundation apparently has a role in New Orleans. “Global Rapid Response, a Steele Foundation service, has mobilized a Crisis Response Team to support those trapped in New Orleans and neighboring cities and states to assist clients in the recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina,” a PR Newswire reported on September 2. “In addition to the incident management team, several Quick Reaction Security Teams and multiple Damage Assessment Teams have been activated to travel into New Orleans to protect client personnel and to help secure assets,” in other words the Steele Foundation was hired by the corporate elite. It should be noted that Steele, as Blackwater, “is made up of former US special forces soldiers, intelligence officers and other security experts. The company has been on a State Department-approved contract with the Haitian government since 1998,” according to Pacifica Radio. It appears Steele played a role in the abduction and removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected leader of Haiti. Steele also has a role in the “vibrant marketplace” of Iraq where “hundreds of multinational and local companies” are “combating the security threats,” in other words the Iraqis don’t want them there. (See David Barstow’s Security Companies: Shadow Soldiers in Iraq.) “The experience gained by Steele’s staff at the FBI and Secret Service have forged the techniques of Forensic Behavioral Analysis to identify everything from ransom notes to potential employee eruptions,” explains SourceWatch. “The Indirect Profiling System of the FBI has been refined by Steele to reach into problems beyond law enforcement.” Is it possible these “problems beyond law enforcement” include how best to intimidate and dispossess the remaining residents of New Orleans who stand in the way of bulldozing flood ravaged neighborhoods and beginning construction of luxury hotels, time-shared corporate condos, and casinos?

Finally, private mercenary firms are only one component of the emerging police state in New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast “As the White House unsuccessfully insists on seizing control of the Louisiana National Guard to institute full-blown martial law in New Orleans, it has brought in foreign troops moving on the Western and Eastern borders of the state,” notes Total Information, citing an Associated Press story datelined September 9. “Two separate credible sources known to Alex Jones have reported that armed combat ready Mexican troops have entered Texas,” reports Prison Planet, contradicting the AP report that the Mexican soldiers were unarmed. “However, the [AP] report was only specific to one convoy. The convoys reported to Alex Jones are said to be fully armed with Heckler & Koch German assault rifles…. Another source known to Alex Jones called the Austin Police Department and they said that they knew about the armed troops. The police asked if the troops had threatened the caller. The caller said they threaten the sovereignty of the country and the police laughed and hung up.” In addition to Mexicans, Dutch troops are being used. “A contingent of about 70 Dutch Marines also landed on the beach in Biloxi on Thursday to clean up neighborhoods,” Knight Ridder reported on September 9.

Bush’s attempt to commandeer state National Guards, working with corporate elitists to hire mercenaries and privatize the police state emerging in New Orleans, allowing foreign troops in to conduct “humanitarian” work (as they carry Heckler & Koch German assault rifles), and doling out no-bid “reconstruction” contracts to corporate cronies—these are distressing signs of how the Bushian police state will unfold across much of America in the wake of “disasters,” either natural or unnatural, the latter in the form of a nuclear attack on America, as our corrupt and fascistic plutocracy continually promises. New Orleans is nothing short of an authoritarian motif designed to eliminate the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution in other American cities and subject millions of Americans to the jackbooted thugocracy Bush’s handlers and their transnational corporate benefactors have in mind. As the recent Jose Padilla ruling warns, if you happen to disagree, you may very well end up “disappeared” in a military brig or worse, never heard from again, or at least not heard from until the bogus “war on terrorism” is over, say in a hundred years or so, certainly not, as Cheney tells us, in our lifetimes.