Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Katrina: Twisted relief went to Blackwater mercenaries

American Indian Tribes in California, New Mexico and elsewhere donated millions to the Red Cross after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for Indian victims.

None of the money ever reached the largest tribe, the Houma Indians, hit on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, according to the tribe's leaders. The Red Cross was a no-show.

The Red Cross used some of its incoming donations to hire Blackwater mercenaries "to protect" the Red Cross.

Remember all those people standing on their roofs waiting, day after day to be rescued? Remember the people floating on mattresses?

The US didn't have the money or time to rescue them, but the US did hire mercenaries:

"Blackwater Rising"
Guerilla News Network

Excerpt from Jeremy Scahill's book "Blackwater, the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army"

"In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina its forces deployed in New Orleans, where it billed the federal government $950 per man, per day—at one point raking in more than $240,000 a day. At its peak the company had about 600 contractors deployed from Texas to Mississippi. Since Katrina, it has aggressively pursued domestic contracting, opening a new domestic operations division. Blackwater is marketing its products and services to the Department of Homeland Security, and its representatives have met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The company has applied for operating licenses in all US coastal states. Blackwater is also expanding its physical presence inside US borders, opening facilities in Illinois and California."

Comment posted to article:

Blackwater mercenaries "guard" Red Cross in Katrina Relief

"Yesterday I drove to the Algiers Red Cross distribution point which is located in the southern section of the Algiers neighborhood near the middle-class white section of town. As soon as I walked in, I noticed a frowning young man in a khaki shirt and black hat with a sidearm and corporate logo prominently displayed.
Blackwater Security is now providing security to the Red Cross! That’s right, you heard correctly. Armed mecenaries are providing security to a (supposedly) humanitarian relief organization. I spoke with three Red Cross volunteers about what was going on with their distribution and pointed out that Blackwater is a group of armed mercenaries – corporate contractors who have a very bad reputation. I offerred the question – who are they accountable to?”
A well meaning volunteer from Vermont said that the Blackwater guys were very nice and they offered protection. I asked, “Who do you need protection from?” The conversation ended.
So if you donated money to the Red Cross, you are supporting extra-legal armed mercenaries who were observed shooting people out of French Quarter windows following Katrina. Hurricane relief at gunpoint. Aren’t you proud?"
Scahill's interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman:
Blackwater in the Caspain Sea, now opening operations near Chicago and San Diego:

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