Blackwater mercenaries used in New Orleans

Thursday, September 15, 2005

As of September 1, 2005, Blackwater USA [1] sent equipment and security forces to the Hurricane Katrina disaster area, including a SA-330J Puma helicopter, with the stated purpose of assisting in the evacuation of citizens from flooded areas. A later press release on Blackwater USA's web site confirms that their privately contracted forces are on the ground in New Orleans, being used to secure petrochemical facilities and provide security services for the federal government.

Private citizens are also reported to be hiring Blackwater "military warriors" and bodyguards to protect them and/or their expensive homes in New Orleans, such as in the Garden District, despite the repeated mandatory evacuation orders of all civilians by local, state, and federal authorities. One publication has reported that the number of soldiers for hire could be in the hundreds, as told to them by the commander of Blackwater's operations in the city. Israeli mercenaries from the firm known as ISI were also seen guarding a gated community, and were wearing full military gear including bulletproof vests and M16 assault rifles.

Blackwater has a history of being employed by the U.S. government and by private contractors across Iraq over the last two years to protect civilian and military convoys and provide security and bodyguarding services.

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