Friday, September 16, 2005
The reconstruction of New O-Raq
That's what they are calling it
That's what they're calling this weird, mutated vision for New Orleans that is evolving. Consider the following:
Jeremy Scahill: ...I still have only seen one FEMA vehicle, the entire time I have been here... But there are soldiers all over the city. What's incredible is that you see them doing almost nothing. They're either just standing around or sitting around.... 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 to put their hands into since the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also, two days ago, had the chance to meet one of the wealthiest of citizens of New Orleans, F. Patrick Quinn III. He is the single greatest owner of private rooms in New Orleans. He owns the largest hotel chain in the state of Louisiana, to cater to hotels....I was talking to him, as his head of security and after he pulled off in his S.U.V., about 30 Mexican workers came out of his hotel, and one of his security guards said that they had been brought in from Texas, and in fact another news report, about Patrick Quinn, said that he had brought in workers from Texas as well. So, we have the reality of these shelters full of people wanting work and then you see Mexican workers being brought in from Texas, and when they're done, doing this dirty work, they will be put on the back of trucks, piled into trucks and they go to wherever it is that they were staying....It must be noted that he is a major contributor to the Republican party. In fact, his wife was just elected in the special election to the state Senate. Her name is Julie Quinn.
And Amy, he has brought in security from a company called B.A.T.S. in Alabama: Bodyguard And Tactical Services. And I was talking to his head of security [and he said...] 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....
James Rice has brought in Israeli para-militaries to guard his facility. It's Israeli company that brags about having former members of the Shin Beit, the GSS, the Israeli Defense Forces. He has brought them in. I was talking to them in front of his property. Some of them participated in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and these are guys now who are patrolling outside on St. Charles avenue in front of Audubon Place and will potentially come into conflict with residents of New Orleans. What on earth are Israeli paramilitaries doing on the streets of New Orleans?...
[S]ome 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.
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