Mercs in New Orleans

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Bear, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    I thought this was interesting..... I don't know much about these guys or BlackWater..... but.... something to consider or plan for.... guys like these in your town after a disaster..... Hmmmmm......
    " 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 for in-depth, independent, investigative reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Email:"
  2. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wonder what Sniper-66 knows about this?
  3. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Not good at all :shock:
  4. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    From the Interdictor's blog.

    Then we walked down Poydras toward the Dome. When we got near Le Pavillion, we noticed an enormous security presence on both sides of the street. I talked to two guys in US Marshall outfits, and they told us that everyone in the area was private security, themselves included. I asked what possible reason could a hotel have for needing 8 armed guards wielding AR-15s a sniper rifle, shotguns, etc. now that most of the civilians were gone.

    He said there was a shooting there just 3 days ago, and one man was beaten to death right on the neutral ground (median) of Poydras. He said there are still snipers in the area, and they've had unconfirmed reports of them on the roofs of several buildings. Sounded a little far fetched to me (why wouldn't the 82nd be clearing all suspected buildings...), but he insisted that they were still taking intermittent fire. Some of them (security personnel) actually suspect that there is a terrorist element in the city trying to cause trouble.

    Anyway, when I tell you that these guys are armed, I mean they're carrying stuff that I didn't even know the US had in its arsenal as far as small arms go. And full body armor too. The two Marshalls reported that the high end physical security guys were making $500+ per day while he and his buddies were making about $300 per day.

    Almost everyone on the street except for us were armed. I asked them about civilians carrying weapons and he said there's no point in carrying here (which is what we had already decided several days ago), but that if we went to anywhere outside the CBD, we'd be silly not to be packing. Direct opposition to the confiscation of weapons we've seen on the news.
  5. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    When I was stationed in Alexandria, I was parked next to a Blackwater helicopter and I watched the snipers every day head out to go hunting.
    Yes, it is troubling, but here is the crux of the problem. The military obviously can't be shooting the citizenry, the cops can't be caught doing it if they ever expect to have respect again, so who is going to take out the trash here? Blackwater is a company that is hired by the state department to do it's bidding, so makes sense to hire a mercenary to take out the trash. The Governor cannot call for martial law because federal troops are on the ground, so the only way to get rid of these gang bangers that are murdering people is to take them out. It has worked, we don't fly with armor anymore and we turned our weapons in today as they aren't needed.
    Gents, don't take this as my condoning law abiding citizenry having thier rights run asunder, the people being taken out are the guys that raped a seven year old girl and then slit her throat, but didn't do a good enough job, she lived for several hours before she died, so who is going to clean this kind of trash up?
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I agree Sniper. The only troubling aspect is the precedent it may set for future 'Emergencies' I think the Trash should be shot on site. I'd just hate to be seen as Trash by Balckwater guys if I decided to stay in my house during a Tornado or something. These current actions may be fully justified. But is a sandbox seasoned Mercenary, who had just made th next leap to pulling the trigger on Americans, able to be both judge and Jury and be right?

    I have some pretty strong feeling about how those and other criminal should be dealt with. I just also feel that when you give our .gov an inch once, they take a foot the next time around. These are very tough fine lines
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I knew a guy who at one time did some work for them from time to time and one of the reasons they liked him was he had been black bag special ops in Nam and then was booted when he broke a superior officer for touching him, these aint nice guys, they tend to operate under ideas of shoot first and dont bother with question and laws and such are meaningless you just acomplish the mission however it can be done. These guys are NOT what I would want to see comeing down any street.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I have tried to find the time to go to Blackwater for some training. They have one of the best facilities in the States for all kinds of Firearms training. And it's in NC
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It would be great if a couple of us could hook-up one day for a class somewhere. Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, Blackwater, etc...
  10. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Yup me too,
    it’s a double edged sword that cuts on both sides.
  11. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    I agree the "trash needs to be taken out".... and like Melbo, I just hope if these guys are out there, they can discern between me and the "trash" rather than "letting God sort them out".....
    It's an "interesting" precedent being set here..... Sniper makes a great point... find the right people for the right job........ still worried about the next disaster and the call to bring in the mercs..... [peep]
  12. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Haven't seen a Blackwater helo since the last post. The streets are pretty calm now, even the ground guys have stopped wearing armor. The only guys wearing armor are the forced entry teams. They are finding that the majority of the people who are left are there for a reason, they tend to be protecting something, drugs, loot, whatever the case.
    This is a slippery slope, it will be interesting to see how this works out.
  13. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Although I am not crazy about them being there, since they already are lets hope the streets of New Orleans are cleaned out.
  14. BigUglyOne

    BigUglyOne Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Blackwater Training

    And they are affiliated with a good armory, too

    Iron Brigade
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