Monday, February 18, 2008

An Epidemic of Police Thuggery First Seen in US Occupied New Orleans

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The Bush administration did not rebuild New Orleans. It occupied it. When normal folk looked at New Orleans they saw a picturesque, beautiful, culturally unique city. When the GOP looked at New Orleans, it saw Disneyland and Las Vegas! Certainly, the brutal Blackwater occupation of New Orleans was but a foretaste of an epidemic of police thuggery and brutality that now sweeps the US.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown --better known as 'Brownie'--did a 'helluva job' for George W. Bush and the party/syndicate bosses. Just one year after the Gulf Coast region, New Orleans most dramatically, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina it was clear that nothing had been done to rebuild the city. 'Brownie' wasn't fired, just 'removed from his job', hid from public scrutiny.
It is hard not to believe that this corrupt GOP administration deliberately punished New Orleans for its liberal, free-thinking, free-wheeling, Democratic history. The Bush administration did not rebuild New Orleans. It occupied it.
"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]
The occupation was cruel and unnecessary. People were forced to leave pets and property. Charities were deliberately turned away by the Bush occupation forces. Some who were merely trying to scavenge something to eat were treated like dangerous criminals.
The forces of US occupation in New Orleans disrupted private transportation; flights in and out of New Orleans were burdened with absurd police state measures put into effect after 9/11. Private property was confiscated. Families were broken up. Citizens were simply rounded up like cattle, herded into buses and buildings, deprived of adequate ventilation, water or plumbing.
“Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.”
[AP]
Meanwhile, back at GOP Occupied America Headquarters:
CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’”
[Gawker]
The imposition of martial law in New Orleans was deliberate. The hired killers of Blackwater were dispatched to the city of Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain and the Marsalis family.
The Bush government did every thing it could to prevent Katrina survivors from surviving the US military occupation of New Orleans. Governor Kathleen Blanco described National Guard troops sent to New Orleans to impose order. She said that they were "fresh back from Iraq ...locked and loaded ...ready to "shoot to kill." And they did!

The GOP never does anything unless there is something in it for the party. The party bosses were most certainly prepared to sacrifice New Orleans for the ambitions of filthy rich white guys and various land re-development schemes. Katrina, after all, had done the dirty work of displacing most of the city's 'poor' population. The GOP '...don't like po folk' or as Kanye West told his audience: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” [BBC, 9/3/05]. Bush and his crooked party would have preferred not to get its hands dirty. How propitious Katrina! The GOP didn't even have to come up with an absurd cover story --incompetent Arab pilots, impossibly hot fires, or parallel dimensions capable of swallowing up airliners. The Bush administration was, perhaps, inspired by 'progress' that was already evident.
The land has always been a part of the folklore. For years the leaders of New Orleans have been approving plans to tear down the city's housing projects, which are mostly occupied by black people, and replace them with expensive condominiums. Uptown, the St. Thomas was the first to go. The Desire, in the Ninth Ward, soon followed. Now, on the Westbank, most of the Fisher has been demolished. And the other four seemed on their way out before Katrina even came. The result of all this is that a large part of the black community is being split up and shipped off to other areas. And as with the cases of the St. Thomas and Desire, when black people see white people moving in and taking over their part of town, conspiracy theories inevitably arise.
--Kenneth Cooper, 'They' Destroyed New Orleans
What was mistakenly called 'incompetence' was really just GOP strategy.
  • Demoralize the Democratic base with phony press releases and whisper campaigns.
  • Attack opponents' strength with character assassination.
  • Suppress the vote in every possible way.
  • Buy some people off with tax cuts.
  • Scare the rest into voting against their own interests.
  • --Republican Dirty Tricks
Even now, the city is little changed but for the symbolic photo ops and other staged media events. New Orleans is not rebuilt and when it is, Bush will have had nothing to do with it. If New Orleans is lucky, it will escape the evil schemes that the right wing has in store for a city utterly beyond its comprehension.

Various schemes to rebuild New Orleans range from nothing at all to GOP visions of golf courses, Potemkin villages, and glitzy casinos owned by crooks and other heavy contributors to the GOP crime syndicate. Much of those proceeds, you can be sure, will wind up in party coffers. Most unsettling is the reasonable suspicion that in New Orleans, we glimpsed the horrible future that awaits us all, a future in which a fascist central government patrols our streets and dominates our lives with corporate armies like Blackwater, killer vigilantes, armored, blacksuited thugs, Nazis cum Robocop!
In the duplicitous “War on Terror,” mercenary armies like DynCorp, Blackwater USA, KBR, Custer Battles, and Aegis plunder Iraq and other victims of Pax Americana, operating with no rules of engagement and near-total legal immunity, usually earning at least four times the salaries of enlisted U.S. soldiers.

A Sept. 21 London Independent investigation labeled the $120 billion sector “arguably the fastest-growing industry in the global economy,” with operations in 50 countries, adding, “None of the estimated 48,000 private military operatives in Iraq have been convicted of a crime and no one knows how many Iraqis have been killed by private military forces, because the U.S. does not keep records.”
--Private contractors threaten U.S. democracy, Rice Thresher
More than 1,800 people died in the Katrina disaster --less than died on 911. The GOP got off cheap. 911 cost the government some hardware. It is only the people who lose their lives whenever the GOP dreams of a 'permanent GOP majority'. Dictatorship!

For news straight from the Crescent city, check out the New Orleans News Ladder
for essential resources.
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