Hurricane Katrina: Police State Occupation of New Orleans

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Hurricane Katrina: Police State Occupation of New Orleans ...

Overall

"It is impossible to over-emphasize the extent to which this area is under government occupation, and portions of it under government-enforced lockdown. Police cars rule the streets. They (along with Humvees, ambulances, fire apparatus, FEMA trucks and all official-looking SUVs) are generally not stopped at checkpoints and roadblocks. All other vehicles are subject to long lines and snap judgments and must PROVE they have vital business inside the vast roped-off regions here. If we did not have the services of an off-duty law enforcement officer, we could not do our jobs in the course of a work day and get back in time to put together the broadcast and get on the air." Brian Williams, for MSNBC, 18 Sept. 2005

"This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. [1]

Militarization

Private Security

In addition to the thousands of military troops patrolling the streets of New Orleans, in the wake of public outcry against the dismal failure of preparedness authorities for Hurricane Katrina, there are also scores of private soldiers that are now spreading out across the city, like those from the Blackwater security firm; and they won't talk about their mission assignments. -- Democracy Now!, Monday, September 12th, 2005

Department of Homeland Security "spokesman Russ Knocke said he knows of no federal plans to hire private security, though he would not rule it out," Washington Post writer Griff Witte reported September 8, 2005.

"North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, for example, has 150 security personnel in the Gulf Coast region. The company ... began by donating the services of a helicopter crew to help the Coast Guard with rescue efforts. But it since has added commercial clients that either have buildings in the region, such as hotels, or are sending employees there to help with the reconstruction. ... ArmorGroup International, a British company, has about 50 employees in the Gulf Coast," Witte wrote.

Heavy-Handed Police Work

Governor orders "Shoot to Kill" orders

"Police fearing deadly confrontations with jittery residents enforced a new order that bars homeowners from owning guns. That order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of M-16-toting private security guards hired to protect businesses and wealthy property owners," Associated Press reporter Erin McClam wrote September 9, 2005.

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