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.”
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!’”
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.



Anonymous said...

Dear Len,

Sofar, you are one and first with some-others to see through the miriads of shame and shit!


You are like a real 'HUMANE/CHRISTIAN/EXSTENTIALIST' who sees him-selve in the eye of one-other, sofar I trust you.



What do we have(what do you have to) lose by beïng as direct as we can be?

Al communication is (more or less) controlled anyway!

Go far Go Deep, Go without anything wich breaths FEARE!





Unknown said...

I hear you and am interested in doing everything I can to make posting comments easier. But when I checked out "Haloscan", it appeared to me that all comments are displayed in 'pop ups', obviously on their server. That means that issues covered primarily in the comments sections won't get 'spidered' in google searches. Am I missing something here? Really, I am not trying to be difficult, just trying to keep 'comments' on this server while making them easier for visitors. Help!

Anonymous said...

Current system works fine, Len. No advantage in haloscan afaiks.

Michele Boselli said...

I agree, there are a lot of useless things in the web nowadays that simply make it more complicated and user-unfriendly. can somebody tell me what Facebook is for when we have emails and groups?? here in London everybody's on Facebook now, only to complain that their mails are read by everybody... bah!

on the subject, thank you for the in-depth report on New Orleans. here in Europe we find American liberal blogs a great source of independent info, particularly in this year of presidential elections. visit me Len! :)

New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey Noble LenMon, I failed all those tests in elementary school and like your blog set-up juuuust fine thank you very much.
And thank you for keeping the story on BlackWater New Orleans ergo America.
I was living there during the 1st week of the flood and saw those bastards with my own lyin'eyes. You do not want these Repug Troopers in your hometown. Really folks.
Needless to say I hung you onto the Ladder.

Thanks again,
editor~NO News Ladder

Anonymous said...

Nice piece about a horrendous situation. I believe that Edwards would still be in the Presidential race if he would have gone back to New Orleans again and again and again, because there is no better place to hammer home the realization that America has turned into a corporatocracy, where elected leaders
barely pretend to represent the interests and needs of the people.

Anonymous said...

workshop -
I was an Edwards supporter, so I did follow his effort somewhat closer then the other candidates...Edwards hit on the corporatocracy issue plenty...he was articulate, passionate and covered it with accurate regional appeal for where ever he was campaigning.

No matter, that is the very reason he was marginalized out of the run, the only time he was given any face time or shrift, was typically in a negative light, or an after thought... as was true with most of the non main stream candidates. He did prove with some of his high numbers he may have had a chance to catch on, but he also fell short in crucial races, so it was a mix on his campaigns part, not to mention the tough competition of facing a Clinton and an Obama.


Unknown said...

Miss Welby said...

here in Europe we find American liberal blogs a great source of independent info, particularly in this year of presidential elections. visit me Len!

In America, of course, the GOP has tried to make of 'liberal' a dirty word. Texas, by the way, is not nearly as conservative as its reputation would indicate. Bush is a 'carpetbagger', a Connecticut Skull and Bones cultist, a scion of the privileged 'elite' in a nation that was supposed to have eschewed the very concept of aristocracy when it separated from Mother England. Simon Schama recently said of the Magna Carta that it established the principle that even King's were bound by the rule of law and could be 'brought to book' for flouting it. I am with Schama. I often miss England --not unusual for Texans who travel abroad. Every real cowboy can feel very, very much at home in the little country pubs off the beaten track in places like Sharnbrook and Evesham.

New Orleans News Ladder said...

Hey Noble LenMon, ...I was living there during the 1st week of the flood and saw those bastards with my own lyin'eyes. You do not want these Repug Troopers in your hometown. Really folks.
Needless to say I hung you onto the Ladder.

Thanks for the headline, Bruce! I am humbled! Dig your blog very much. I could literally taste those N'awlins style BBQ Shrimp! I will add you to my blog roll, if that's OK. And I am sure that being "hung onto the ladder" beats being hung 'from it"! Thanks for dropping in. Don't be a stranger. Have a beignet and some Community Coffee. BTW --I am sorry I left out the Neville brothers. Legendary.

For anonymous and workshop, I am likewise sorry Edwards dropped out. I am quite sure Hilary cannot address the issue of inequities quite like Edwards who made it his life work. I admire anyone who can sue the shit outta big corporations and walk away a winner. I was afraid that Obama was too smooth --but, he gets stronger as the campaign goes on. If Obama is the good man we think and hope he is, he will only grow stronger.

Anonymous said...

Dear Len,

I've send you some posts( comments) about beïng frienly for the imment growing populace of elderly people!

Next, wich is maby more abject, I'm not an American, I'm Dutch, maby a dubble Dutch, but thats the way it is!

YOU ARE ON A GLOBAL SCALE, like American Policies are on a GLOBAL SCALE, like Seymour Hersh and Gore Vodal and Naomi Klein!

Keep track with your 'EUROPEAN' attention where ways of doïng and goïng in "communication" is going on!

I cannot say that you're not trying, (I think you work harder and more influëntual than most of us HUMAN BEÏNGS) to get your messge across!!

I'm just saying that I meet blogs and sites who are more 'friendly' to me 'FROM-OUT EUROPE AND THE NETHERLANDS" that seem LOGIC!

And logic, dear Len, thats about you!


Maby there's some-one-around enought in your circle of people to deal with this 'out of America' this 'GLOBAL' and in my case this 'EUROPEAN' effect of your endeavour behaviour in HISTORY!


Anonymous said...

Precisely. Great work, Len.


Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE ON A GLOBAL SCALE, like American Policies are on a GLOBAL SCALE, like Seymour Hersh and Gore Vodal and Naomi Klein!

That is mighty fine company you put me in, anonymous. Seymour should get a medal for the work he did on Abu Ghraib alone. Gore, of course, is legendary. I remember when he went toe-to-toe with Bill Buckley on, I believe, the Jack Parr show. Buckley lost his cool and threatened to punch out Vidal amid loud profanity. Compared to those old vets, Naomi is a youngster who has already made shock waves. Good on her! I hope she keeps up the great work and am quite sure she will. I am hopeful that you forgive my decision not to add Haloscan at this time. The only improvement that I think blogger should implement would be simply opening up on the current page a text box with a submit button. Upon submission, the page would then refresh with the comment added. That is not terribly complex programming ...some PHP, some SQL et al. I would think the geniuses at google could do that in their sleep. They did a great job when the recent improvements to the 'master template'. For blog operators it is much nicer, faster and easier. I would hope 'comments' is next in line to be updated. `

Unknown said...

Thanks, farang.

Anonymous said...

The term or practice of "martial law" does not exist under Louisiana state statutes. Mayor Nagin "declared" martial law on August 31, 2005, even though, as I state above, such a declaration was illegal. More confusion occurred when (then White House press secretary) Scott McClellan stated that "martial law has been declared in Mississippi and Louisiana".

A "State of Emergency" was declared, and because of the murkiness of such a declaration, many feel that the spirit, if not the letter of the Posse Comitatus Act was violated by the federal, state and local governments when military and quasi-military troops were used for law enforcement duties. This was done in spite of reserve police officers being present from several surrounding states; it would have made more sense to use these sworn LE officers than military troops, if anything to at least erase the whole “army of occupation” feeling” that existed at the time.

The utter incompetence with which the situation was handled, followed by the complete clusterfuck that followed lead most observers to believe that this was not a weather-control event (mmmmm, aluminum foil) or a “practice run” for securing a US city (NO wasn’t ever, and still isn’t secure).

Farnsworth68 said...

And I'm sure that NO's big population of African-Americans and its gay-friendly live-and-let-live attitudes had absolutely NOTHING to do with this patently offensive and highly illegal occupation.
Jeez, you'd think people could actually SEE what's going on.
--The F Man

Christopher said...

Hi Len - in one of your comments, you said "........I often miss England --not unusual for Texans who travel abroad. Every real cowboy can feel very, very much at home in the little country pubs off the beaten track in places like Sharnbrook and Evesham.......".

After seeing this, I thought I would break my rule against repeating re-cycled humorous stories, which usually have the humour progressively drained out of them with each re-telling. True humour, after all, comes from spontaneity, not from Bob Hope-style re-telling of corny anecdotes.

So, a Texan was visiting England, and talking in a pub with one of the locals, who was pointing out to the Texan, the uniqueness of England.

"We have picturesque country roads" said Englishman.

"We in Texas have huge highways that make your country roads look like nothing", said the Texan.

"We have the dinkiest pastures with sheep and goats", said the Englishman.

"We have gigantic cattle ranches, which stretch for as far as the eye can see", said the Texan.

"We have the River Thames" said the Englishman, "which goes on for over 200 miles".

"In Texas we have the Rio Grande, which is over 1800 miles long" said the Texan.

"Y'know" said the Texan, "England's so small, you could fit it in one little corner of Texas".

"Yes, and wouldn't it make a difference to the place", said the Englishman.

OK - Gotta go!!!

Unknown said...

Christopher, that's priceless : )

Now --as a source for both anecdote and antidote, may I suggest J. Frank Dobie's "A Texan in England".

J. Frank was a UT prof of History whom Henry Steel Commager invited to teach a course at Cambridge during WWII. BTW --J. Frank was the last of his kind, a true gentleman cowboy, learned, liberal, yet steeped in cowboy lore, history and genuine wit.

With misgivings, Dobie embarked for England where he grew to love the ale and the 'folk'. And they him!

In his first class of Cambridge undergraduates, one of them ventured to ask him: "Do we sound as strange to you as you do to us?"

Anonymous said...

FuzzFlash sez..

LH: "I was afraid that Obama was too smooth --but, he gets stronger as the campaign goes on. If Obama is the good man we think and hope he is, he will only grow stronger."

You don't know how good it is to see you coming around on The Kid, Len. Recall you going ballistic when he made the kiss-ass comments about Reagan, but he sure made a lot of folk sit up and take notice. He's not as ideologically sound as Kucinich, agreed, but at least he's electable, and he's a much better bet than Beltway Johnny McCain or HRC. Realpolitikally, The Kid is it. Elmer Gantry without the roving eye. Harbinger of hope to a broken nation. Geez I hope they don't get a chance to whack him!

Great post on N.O. Sure do love the place,it's people and it's history. As Ken Burns said, in 100 years time, America will be remembered for Baseball, Jazz(sprouted in N.O.), and the way in which a perfectly good Constitution was trashed. Won't return to Crescent City till The Imbecile is out of power for reasons that hardly need articulating.
Corker of a story about The Dart and TX, Christopher.
Damien, that was a truly wonderful and patient piece of counselling on the previous thread. You're a bloody lay priest, mate, apart from your many other talents.
And Len, re the blog template, if it works, don't fix it!
Love yez all.

Unknown said...

FuzzFlash sez..

He's not as ideologically sound as Kucinich, agreed, but at least he's electable,

That's something I suppose. Americans just can't handle the unvarnished truth. Look what happened to Kucinich and Mike Gravel. Gravel never got out off the blocks and Kucinich is now in a fight for the office he already holds.

Hilary is in serious disarray. Expecting a cake walk, she ran into a mine field and has, in fact, done nothing right. She lacks the common touch. Her whiny, nasal voice annoys even Democrats. She cannot shake the impression that she was 'entitled'. She ain't and she's history.

A final shot: Bill did her no good.

As long as the topic is on the table. I parted company with the Clinton administration over Waco but defended him against the crazy ass GOP scheme to impeach. If the GOP had been a legitimate party and not a crime syndicate, it would have prosecuted Janet Reno for the Waco incident; it would not have made up shit to pin on Clinton.

What is to be said of an edemically stupid party that believes it's worse to get a blow job than to mass murder people without a warrant? God how I hate the GOP!!!!

To his credit, Clinton presided over the all to brief reversal of a pernicious trend. Under his stewardship, the rich stopped getting richer at the expense of everyone else. If the trend had been allowed to continue, the US would be a different and better place today.

Bush dashed all those hopes and made it worse. I hope someone is building a scaffold somewhere near his cell.