Mercenaries in New Orleans

The US government has deployed heavily armed mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm to patrol the “streets” of New Orleans. Armed mercenaries patrolling a US city on behalf of the US government? That seems like a very disturbing precedent to me. The mercs are a bit surprised, too:

“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 two weeks ago.
Overkill in New Orleans, AlterNet, 8/12/05

Other players, who are making “a killing” in Iraq, are now getting busy in new Orleans, too:

According to experts, Katrina was almost the perfect storm for Halliburton. Estimates of the cost of rebuilding the city range as high as £100 billion (£54bn). On 2 September, Congress voted $10.5bn for emergency relief. Last week the White House asked for $50bn more. Poe Fratt, analyst at AG Edwards in St Louis, says: ‘Oil field services groups will get work on repairing the infrastructure. Halliburton would expect to win contracts on refineries and production facilities.’ Fratt estimates that some $1bn will initially be spent on oil infrastructure.
All eyes on Halliburton as contacts turn into contracts , The Observer, 9/11/05

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